The Seton Collection © 2005.

Fyvie Castle, built by Chancellor Alexander Seton, 1st Earl of Dunfermline.'Magnae Nobilitatis Domini'

The Gallery of Seton Residences

Portrait of George Seton, 3rd Earl of Winton and his 2 eldest sons, George and Alexander, by Adam de CologneSeton, spelt in "The Muses' Welcome" as Sea-towne and signifying "the dwelling by the sea" and which referred originally to the family's principal lands at Staithes circa 1066, the patronymic Scottish Estate stands on a picturesque plateau in a recess of the shores of Cockenzie and Port Seton in East Lothian, high above the bays with it's flowing brooklet and surrounded by ancient trees, and was long the residence of the Head of Family of Seton.

According to tradition, it was customary for the Earls of Wintoun once a year to ‘ride the marches’ of their estates, which were so extensive that a whole day, from sunrise to sunset, was required to ride in state round the boundaries of their lands. On these occasions the head of the house was always accompanied by a large retinue of friends and retainers, mounted on gaily caparisoned horses, the charger of the chief being arrayed in cloth of silk adorned with gold tassels. The festivities which followed this ceremonial lasted several days.

This Palace as it was commonly called, was a strong, extensive, turreted building much ornamented after the fashion of the 16th century, though some parts were much older and improved upon during the 17th century and with various inner and outer courtyards and a magnificent walled garden known for it's first and finest fruits. It was strong enough to afford defence against repeated English invaders looking to seize the capital, and later it's final defense against a party of the rebellious Highlanders of 1715, but was left largely abandoned following the 5th Earl's forfeiture and severely damaged about 30 years hence during the rebellion of 1745, and was falling into ruins. 

It, having been destroyed and cleared away in 1789-90, leaving only the northern block from the rear and some barrel-vaults around the old inner courtyard, the whole of which was used by the Architect Robert Adam and re-worked as it stands now, as Seton Castle. Within the walls however, still stands the Collegiate Church of Seton, a view of which is engraved in Sir Walter Scott's Provincial Antiquities of Scotland. The lands adjoining long belonging to the Earl of Wemyss and March.

The family, originally Carolingian and of the Royal lineage of Charlemagne and re-seated in the north country, owed its first Royal-elevation in Scotland to the famous union of Sir Christopher Seton with the sister of King Robert Bruce. Always loyal knights serving the Royal House were the first created Lords of Parliament and became the legendary Lord's Seton.  The Seton Palace was a favorite resort of Queen Mary, and it was visited often by her in her royal progresses. It was her first halting-place when she and Darnley made their escape from Holyrood after the murder of Rizzio.

She was entertained there by Lord Seton in 1567, and on that occasion she and Bothwell won a match in shooting at the butts against Lords Seton and Huntly. The forfeit was a dinner, which the losers had to provide in an inn at Tranent, and was later the place of her honeymoon following her 3rd marriage to the Earl of Bothwell.

The Royal Arms, ceiling panel at Winton House, circa 1633.When her son was liberated from the Douglas captivity as a youth, he was frequently at Seton, including his waiting on his bride, the Princess Anne from Denmark, from the great tower and passing his own honeymoon at Seton.  The Royal couple also entrusted the family in the rearing of their son's Henry and Charles there, and Charles later succeeding to become King Charles I.

With King James VI (and later I of England) they acquired great favour, and before the King's accession to the English throne his Majesty and the Queen were frequently at Seton, where the 1st Earl of Winton ever kept a very hospitable table, at which all foreigners of quality were entertained on their visits to Scotland. King James, who having made Robert eighth Lord Seton, 1st Earl of Winton in 1600, created his brother Alexander, Chancellor of the Realm of Scotland and 1st Earl of Dunfermline in 1599, having entrusted him with the charge of his second son, Charles Stuart, later to be King Charles I. When King James VI and I came north and revisited his native country in 1617, he spent his second night in Scotland at Seton Palace and was superbly entertained.

His Lordship the 1st Earl of Winton died in 1603, and was buried at Seton on the 5th of April, on the very day the King left Edinburgh for England. His Majesty, we are told, was pleased to rest himself at the south-west round of the orchard of Seton, on the highway, till the funeral was over, that he might not withdraw the noble company; and he said that he had lost a good, faithful, and loyal subject. The deceased Nobleman's eldest son Robert succeeded as second Earl of Winton, but in 1607 resigned the Earldom to his brother George who became 3rd Earl of Winton.

The third Earl, who was now the host of his Sovereign, lived honourably and kept a great house at Seton. In 1633, he magnificently entertained at Seton Palace, King Charles I "with all his retinue both Scots and English," on his journey from London to Edinburgh in order to be crowned there as well as in England, and who halted a night at Seton. The Earl continued to entertain his Majesty both in his Progress to Edinburgh and on his return, and was one of those who waited on the King after the pacification in 1639; and on the engagement for the rescue of his Majesty in 1648. He gave to the Duke of Hamilton the commander-in-chief, £1000 sterling for his Majesty's equipage.

The ceiling of the Long Galery, at Pinkie House.

When Charles II came to Scotland, the 3rd Earl of Winton waited on him and had continued with his Majesty till November 1650, when he went home in order to prepare for the solemnity of the Coronation, but died Dec. 17 following, aged 65, and was buried at Seton; leaving his title to his eldest son's own son, George, who became 4th Earl of Winton; and his son Alexander was created, by King Charles II, Viscount Kingston in 1650.

Alexander, younger of Seton, had at the age of twelve the honour of welcoming King Charles at Seton in 1633 with a Latin Oration, and whereby he was then knighted on the spot. The account of this ceremony may here be appropriately quoted, because it must have been very similar to the manner in which King James was received with Latin Speeches, at the houses of the Scotch nobility, but of which we have no so particular narration.

At the iron-gate of Seton, his Majesty sat in state with the Nobility sitting around him, when the young Nobleman advanced, " being attended with his Schoolmaster, a pedagogue, and four other Masters of Arts, all grave and learned men, clothed in black cloth and cloaks lined through with velvet, the ground being covered a great way from the throne with a carpet, when he did deliver his Oration boldly, with a gesture suitable to the purpose, for which he had the applause of his Majesty and all present; and before he rose off his knee, his Majesty did him the honour to confer the honour of Knighthood on him, and said to him:

'Now, Sir Alexander, see that this does not spoil your school; by the appearance, you will be a scholar.' Sir Alexander boldly answered: 'No, please your Majesty, it will not." After this he returned to school, and studied with more alacrity and assiduity than formerly, by reason of his promise to the King."

The Palace was held for a short time in 1715 by Brigadier Macintosh and a detachment of Highlanders before their march to the Borders to join the Northumbrian insurgents under Mr. Forster and Lord Derwentwater during the Jacobite Rebellion, in which event the 5th Earl of Winton was forfeit for his participation, and thus ending the Seton tenure in East Lothian.


Seton Family Residences and Estates:

Abbott's House      Abercorn      Allanton      Aquhorthies      Barnes      Barra Castle      Blair      Bourtie      Belshies      Brookheath     

Carriden      Cariston      Cockenzie House      Crichton      Cragdon       Culcreuch Castle      Dalgety Lodge      Disblair      Dunfermline House

Falside Castle       Foulstruther       Gargunnock House      Garleton Castle     Greenknowe Tower      Hailes Castle      Kemnay      Kinloch      Kippilaw      Kylesmure     

Chateau de Langeais      Lathrisk      Licklyhead Castle     Menie House     Midmar Castle      Moneylagan     Mounie Castle      Newark      Northrig      Olivestob/Bankton House     

Parbroath      Pluscarden      Powderhall      Preston House      Schethin      Seton House, Cross Wynd      Seton House, Kennoway      Seton Lodge, Touch      Slattie      Sorn Castle      St. Bridget's Church    

St. Germains      St. Laurence House     Stoneypath Tower      Strathbogie/Huntly Castle      Tranent Tower        Tullibody        Udny      Uttershill      Whitefoord House/Lord Seton's Lodge      Whittingehame      Windygoul

Detail from the Arms of the Earl of Dunfermline.
TheSetonFamily.com © 2005

Buckingham Palace
Winton House Chimneys © 2003, The Winton Estate, Scotland



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