George Seton, Lord Seton.


Eldest surviving son of the 3rd Earl of Winton, he was born 15th May, 1613, and continued the family's long-standing Catholic traditions.  Through his father's influence, he married, in 1639, Lady Henrietta Gordon, daughter of the Marquess of Huntly, with whom he made a great match and by whom he had four sons, of whom George succeeded his grandfather as Fourth Earl of Winton, and the others died young or without issue.  He showed tremendous promise in displaying his military abilities and his firm attachment to the Royalist cause. 


Although the family estates flourished under his stewardship, his father providing many opportunities to learn and excel at managing the family affairs, during the many troubles of the 17th century Lord Seton suffered great hardships at the hands of the rebels during the Civil War, and his father having to dispone of the ancient family lands long held in Linlithgowshire, those of Wynchburgh and in particular that of Niddry Castle, to rescue him from imprisonment.  He later died prematurely and unexpectedly of illness resultant of this imprisonment, at Seton on 4th June, 1648, predeceasing his father.  His son George, succeeded as 4th Earl. His coat-of-arms appears in the beautiful large memorial window to the Great Marquess of Montrose, in Saint Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, as one of the prominent companions of that illustrious commander.



George Seton, Fourth Earl of Winton.

(d. 1704). He was on the Continent for his studies, a boy of under ten years of age, when he succeeded to the title and estates in 1650. Notwithstanding his youth, a heavy fine was imposed on him by Cromwell's Act Of Grace and Pardon. His tutor and uncle was Lord Kingston, by whom he was brought up “in the true Protestant religion, thus severing the long attachment of his family to the Catholic Church. June 19 1656, Lord Kingston reported to the Presbytery by order of the Synod that Lord Winton had hitherto been educated in the Protestant Religion and his education should still be carefully attended to. Lord Winton was accomplished in the knowledge of arms, and gave proof of his skill and gallantry at the siege of Besancon, in France, in 1660.

Returning to England with a brilliant reputation he was well received by Charles II. And sworn of the privy Council, and given command of the East Lothian Regiment of Foot against the Covenanters in 1666; and in 1679 commanded the same regiment “upon his own charges, with all his vassals, in noble equipage, in his Majestie’s army of 14,000 men,” at Bothwell bridge, where the rebels were totally defeated. After the battle he entertained the Duke of Monmouth and all the Scottish and English officers with magnificent hospitality at Seton. Oliver Cromwell (April 25, 1599–September 3, 1658) was an English military and political leader best known for making England a republic and leading the Commonwealth of England.

In May, 1682, he accompanied the Duke of York from London to Edinburgh in the Gloucester Frigate, which was wrecked, with great loss of life, on Yarmouth Sands. An interesting letter written to Mr. Hewer from Edinburgh, Monday, May 8, 1682, on this disaster on which he was present, is found in the correspondence of Samuel Pepys.

In 1685, Lord Winton was appointed by King James II to the high office of Grand Master of the Household; and in the same year Professor Sinclair presented him with a curious and rare work entitles Satan’s Invisible world discovered; or A choice collection of relations anent devils, spirits, witches, and apparitions. The lengthy “Epistle Dedicatory” is in a vein of exaggerated praise, somewhat relieved by a description of the Earl’s coal-mining operations, in which he brings in the name of Anthanasius Kircher, the Jesuit, whom most people have heard of only through the Kircherian Museum in the Roman College, at Rome, but who was one of the first natural philosophers and scientists of the age.

This Earl did much to improve his property and incidentally to benefit the public. He rebuilt the harbour at Cockenzie, called “Port Seton” that his grandfather and great-grandfather had originated and which still exists by this name, which resort has recently been revived and come into favor with Edinburgh people as a summer resort. It is now of sufficient importance to find a place on the indexed Map of Scotland published at Chicago by Rand, McNally& Co.

In 1691-93 he was journeying in Holland, and is found at Amstredam and at Leyden, where he met travelers and learned men in whose company he delighted, as he was much given to mathematics and physical science. Nisbet says of this nobleman that “he imitated the extraordinary loyalty of his ancestors; none of them having ever been guilty of treason or rebellion, nor addicted or avarice, nor found with lands of the Church in their possession.”

George, 4th Earl of Winton married 1st (04.09.1662) Mary Montgomerie, dau of Hugh Seton Montgomerie, 7th Earl of Eglinton and by whom he had an only daughter, Mary Seton who died at a very young age and Mary Montgomerie herself died in 1677, where he married 2nd, Lady Christian Hepburn daughter and heiress of John Hepburn of Adiston: “an ancient baron in East Lothian, who since King Robert Bruce were heritable standard bearers to the House of Seton.” By Lady Christian Hepburn he had two sons: George, Lord Seton and 5th Earl of Winton, and Christopher Seton who “was cut off by death, 5th Jan., 1705, to the great regret of all that knew him. The Countess of Winton died in 1703, and the Earl on the 6th of March, 1704.