The Seton Family



'In Adversitate Patiens –In Prosperitate Benevolus – Hazard Yet Forward'
Motto of George, 7th Lord Seton


George Seton, 7th Lord Seton

In Sir Richard Maitlands' History, written in Lord Seton's lifetime, he correctly lists the 7 Lord's Seton and the five George's Seton in succession with their appropriate Titles, but his manner in writing is the cause of confusion as he wrote the passage for the George's that begins: ' George lord Seytoun, first of that name, succedit, have and bot nyne yeiris of age, to Lord Johne his father'.

Each succeding Lord Seton is given afterwards as ' OFF LORD GEORGE, the secund of that name' etc... culminating in Viscount of Kingston's note: ...' OF THE FIFT GEORGE LORD SETON TO THIS SEVENTH GEORGE LORD SETON, OF THAT NAME, AND THE ELEVENTH LORD SETON, FOURTH EARL OF WINTON...'

The portrait, right, is of George Seton, 7th Lord Seton and 5th Seton Lord in succession with the name of 'George', although this portrait was long at Winton House it is no longer in the family's possession, it is still incorrectly labeled as 5th Lord, even at the National Gallery in Scotland, when only the slightest inspection would correct the error to read as his proper title as: George 7th Lord Seton.

George Seton was born in 1531, educated early in France and raised close to the family of the Monarchy as both his father and grandfather's had been before him, and eventually succeeded his father George 6th Lord Seton, in 1549 to become himself, George 7th Lord Seton.  It was to this “noble and mighty lord” that Maitland dedicated his 'History of the Family of Seytoun', begun at the request of his father.  In his youth he was addicted to horse-racing and to hawking, and on May 10, 1552, was noted as having won a silver bell which was run for at Haddington, the county town.

Before he was twenty he married Isabel, daughter and heiress of Sir William Hamilton of Sanquhar, at the time one of the Senators of the College of Justice and Captain of Edinburgh Castle, a singular combination of Peace and War.  She brought him the Manor of Sorn and other lands in Kyle.  A number of gold medals were struck to commemorate this union, on account, especially, of the bride’s relationship to the Earl of Arran, Regent of Scotland and Duke of Chatellerault in France.  The medal is now very rare.  It is described by Francisque Michel in his Civilization in Scotland.

Sir William Hamilton of Sanquhar was also Lord Treasurer to James V, and invited his Majesty to Sorn Castle, in Ayrshire, to be present at the marriage of his daughter to Lord Seton.  On the eve of the appointed day the king set out on the journey; “but he had to traverse a long and dreadry tract of moor, moss, and miry clay, where there was neither road nor bridge; and when about half-way from Glasgow, he rode his horse into a quagmire, and was with difficulty extricated from his perilous seat on the saddle.  Far from a house, exposed to the bleak wind of a cold day, and environed on all sides by a cheerless moor, he was compelled to take a cold refreshment in no better position than by the side of a very prosaic well; and he at length declared, with more pettishness than wit, that ‘if he were to play a trick on the devil, he would send him to a bridal at Sorn in the middle of winter.’  The well at which he sat and swore is still there and is called the King’s Well; and the quagmire in which his horse floundered is ironically called the King’s Stable.

Soon after coming of age, Lord Seton was elected Provost of Edinburgh in 1557, and governed the capital for several tumultuous years with firmness and discretion, and would on occasion send his carpenter, Robert Fendour, to the Burgh Council as his representative. On one occasion there was an uproar or riot in the city, whereupon two of the municipal officers hurried out to the Provost at Seton; but he, finding they were to blame, promptly confined them in his castle dungeon, while he rode into Edinburgh, summoned the guard, and firmly suppressed the riot. 

Toward the end of 1557, he was one of the Commissioners appointed by Parliament to be present at the marriage of Queen Mary Stuart with the Dauphin of France, afterward Francis II, and on which occasion a magnificent present of silver plate exquisitely wrought by Benevenuto Cellini was made him by the king.  This work of art, superior to anything yet seen in Scotland, after serving at banquets prepared for royalty and Winton House and Seton Castle, was finally stolen and beaten to pieces or melted down, in the plunder of the family mansions in 1715. In February 1558, he was one of eight commissioners sent to Henry II of France to negotiate the marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots, to the Dauphin, and being successful, on 29 November 1558, the Parliament of Scotland granted that Seton and the others had fulfilled their commission.

Initially in his first years he was in great favour with the council, and where in February 1559 the town council gave him funds to prepare a grand banquet for Mary of Guise on their behalf. However, Seton and the burgh council began to encounter difficulties, due in part to the tumultuous events surrounding the Scottish Reformation and his own attachment to his Catholic faith. During this period and after rioting broke-out in Perth, Edinburgh was occupied by the Protestant Lords of the Congregation in June 1559, and where  Seton tried unsuccessfully to protect the Blackfriars and Greyfriars monasteries in the city, along with the nunnery of Saint Catherine of Sciennes, all to which his family had hereditarily long belonged to and greatly patronized.

The Protestant Lords left Edinburgh in July, but made an agreement with Mary of Guise permitting 'freedom of conscience in religion'. Seton along with the Earl of Huntly and Duke of Châtellerault were asked to meet the people of Edinburgh to discuss the restoration of Mass in St Giles, however according to John Knox, they were met with blunt refusal and the people would not allow the Mass in any other church. By the time the Lords of the Congregation re-occupied Edinburgh for the second time in October 1559, another rival council had already been formed lead by Archibald Douglas of Kilspindie. Although the Protestant lords retreated and Seton's council was re-instated, when the English army was mobilized by the Treaty of Berwick and arrived in April 1560, Seton was forced to step aside and Kilspindie's protestant council was placed back in power.

During the subsequent Siege of Leith in 1560, he fought for Mary of Guise against the Scottish Protestants and the English army, and on the 24th April he attacked the English camp at Restalrig, and during which attach he was seized by an English cavalryman, who broke his sword and staff, however, he was quickly identified and rescued by a party of French musketeers. After the treaty of Edinburgh concluded the fighting, he sailed to France with the evacuees, aboard the French ship 'Mynyon'. In Paris in October 1560, he quickly established himself at court and had gained a French pension as a gentleman of the King's Chamber. While there, he secretly met the English ambassador, Nicolas Throckmorton, asking him for a passport to return to Scotland through England. He managed to convince Throckmorton that he had regretted his service of Mary of Guise and the French causes, and intended to take a portrait of Queen Mary and her letter to Elizabeth. However, Mary disappointed him of this mission saying the picture was not ready. He eventually left France in November 1560, accompanied by a modest guard, and in particular an archer of the Scots Guard called Alexander Clark, whose loyalty Throckmorton thought he had bought. After the marriage of Mary and Francis, he was sent to England to present Queen Mary’s portrait to her cousin Queen Elizabeth, and was worthily entertained at the English Court.

After the death of the young King Francis, he returned to France to accompany Queen Mary, now a widow, back to Scotland; and having enjoyed her favor in the hour of prosperity, he was a devoted friend in the days of her adversity. Here, the Seton’s always in the forefront of culture and refinement and progress, by illustration it is stated that among other things in the Memorie of the Somervilles, that “the first coach brought to Scotland was by George, 7th Lord Seton when Queen Mary came from France”, when he accompanied her return home. 

Although Mary was unsuccessful in proposing Seton being re-instated as Provost of Edinburgh again in October 1561, the next year she settled and made the choice to back Kilspindie now firmly associated with the Reformation, he was however immediately sworn by the young Queen one of her Privy Council, and appointed Master of the Royal Household. He was also a knight of the most noble Order of the Thistle, and Nisbet describes a life-sized portrait of him at Seton, in which he grasps his official baton, and underneath which were painted in letters of gold lines:

                               “In Adversitate Patiens –

                                 In Prosperitate Benevolus –

                                 Hazard Yet Forward !”

A motto which denotes his characteristics of patience, courtesy, and courage.  Mottoes were all the vogue among distinguished people in this and the following reigns, and under the arms of his son, the celebrated Lord Chancellor Seton, moulded in stucco at Pinkie House, is this one which continue's the tradition:

                               “Nec Cede Adversis Rebus”

                                 Nec Crede Secundis.”

A young Queen Mary Stuart.It lacks the chivalrous sentiment of his fathers', and said to 'smack too much of the Jesuit Balthasar Gracian’s Art of Worldly Wisdom', but the point is well made and continued. During the reign of Mary in Scotland, George had a loyal inscription set in large carved letters and gilded above the entrance to Seton Palace, to indicate the unshaken loyalty of himself and family and express in a single line his religious and political principles, and he caused to be carved in stone and filled in with large gilt letters of gold set up over the main entrance to the Seton Palace which he had rebuilt, the French inscription: "UN DIEU, UN FOY, UN ROY, UN LOY", the translation being: One God for all time, One loyalty to the Monarch.

When Queen Mary, then at his house, was about to create her half-brother Lord James Stuart, Earl of Moray in January 1561, she proposed to advance her faithful friend also; but he asked with a pride perhaps that apes humility to be allowed to retain his lower rank, because as it has been alleged he preferred the dignity of being the Premier Baron, rather than a junior Earl.  It has also been noted that there was an arriere pensee which he was too perfect a courtier to express, and that the real reason of his refusal was that, Stuart being a bastard and a bad man, “False to his vows, a wedded priest”, a gentleman of Lord Seton’s high sense of honor, and where no King had ever found a mistress of his name and blood, would not share the glory of an Earldom in his company.

It was on this occasion that the Queen wrote with a diamond ring upon the window of the great hall – called Sampson’s Hall – at Seton these Latin verses:

                               “Sunt comites, ducesque alii, sunt denique reges; Setoni dominum sit satis esse mihi.”

Which Sir Walter Scott has rendered them into English: "Earl, Duke, or Duke, be thou that list to be; Seton, thy lordship is enough for me."

During the years of comparative peace and happiness following Queen Mary’s immediate home-coming, Queen Mary Stuart was a frequent visitor to Seton, both prior to and during her marriage, and her honeymoon following her marriage to Lord Darnley was likewise spent at the Seton Palace.  Thomas Randolph, the English diplomat, heard that Mary and Lord Darnley went to Seton Palace and were 'bedded' immediately after their marriage at Holyroodhouse.

The Queen passed endless periods at Seton for a variety of reason; where she would practice archery and play at golf, two games for which the Seton Butts and Seton Links were famous; and holding her Court there.  Chambers, in his Stories of Old Families, describes the joyous times at Seton; and the beautiful “Seton Necklace,” sold with other Eglinton heirlooms a few years ago, was a prize won by George's sister, the famed Mary Seton, at a grand sporting game of golf against the Queen.

Maitland mentions some of the architectural improvements and additions of Lord George to his principle residence, which had suffered severely from English depredations, being on the direct road from Edinburgh to Berwick.  Maitland also tells us how on the 16th of February, 1561, at two o’clock in the morning “the great dungeon of the old tower of Seton fell to the ground, but as God would have it, it did nobody harm.” Nevertheless Lord Seton rebuilt and enhanced the old Palace which was esteemed at the period and for many years afterward, much the most magnificently constructed and furnished house in Scotland.  It was often called, in accordance with the Scotch fashion introduced under the influence of French ideas, the Palace of Seton, because it was so frequently the abode of royalty. 

This vast and handsome structure occupied a pleasant position in the midst of a well-wooded demesne in East Lothian, on the coast of the Firth of Forth, and took it’s name from one of the oldest, wealthiest, and most influential families in the kingdom, and there is no end of traditions regarding the princely style maintained at Seton.  It had been visited in the royal progresses not only by Queen Mary, but also by her son King James VI, by the unfortunate King Charles I, and by the merry monarch King Charles II, and an account of the masques and ceremonies on these occasions would fill a volume.

A brief  inscription on an oblong stone tablet – George Lord Seton of His Age 36, 1567 – long commemorated this nobleman over one of the windows of the castle.  It disappeared in the mid 19th century, but by great good fortune a sketch of it was made in 1852, and is engraved in Ballingall’s Edinburgh Past and Present

At the Reformation and for almost a century afterward, Seton House was the stronghold of the Catholic party in the south, one of the refuges and hiding places for the priests, and the first mansion at which the clergy and diplomats coming from the Continent were received and entertained, after landing in disguise in that part of Scotland.  In addition to a large host of other estates, the Seton’s also had a large and magnificent townhouse in Edinburgh, near the gates of the Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse, to which Lord Darnley sojourned there in 1565, and about eighteen years later the French ambassador Manzeville as well, and it was well-referred to in the Diurnal of Occurents in Scotland.

In March 1565, over a point of honour regarding the Queen, Seton fought a duel with Francis Douglas who was badly injured. The Earl of Morton and the Laird of Lethington sought revenge upon him over the event and tried to take legal action when Seton was sent on a diplomatic mission to France, but were unsuccessful. This however was the beginning of a constant tension, opposition and dislike between Morton and Seton, and which would continue until Morton's death. Seton returned to Scotland in October 1565, during the Chaseabout Raid, and carried in a great ship, arms from France for Queen Mary. Learning of his impending arrival, an English ship, 'the Aid', tried to blockade Leith to prevent him docking, but was repulsed. In addition to his munitions, Seton's cargo also included a gift of three great horses for Lord Darnley.

After the unfortunate events of the murder of the Queen's Secretary David Rizzio, both she and Darnley fled first to Seton. Days after the death of Lord Darnley, on 17 February 1567, Mary had a blue costume for her fool, called 'George Steven', delivered to her at Seton Palace, and in April she was there with her council holding Court at the Palace, and it was during this time that the famous charge of her playing golf at Seton during what was to be her period of mourning, was objected to by the Presbytery.

Nevertheless, along with other supporters of Mary's marriage to James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, Lord Seton signed the Ainslie Tavern Bond on 19 April 1567, and although Mary's marriage and continued rule in Scotland was opposed by the Confederate Lords, she stayed at Seton Palace yet again before her capture nearby at the battle of Carberry Hill. In June 1567, Queen Mary and Bothwell, with several Lords who had answered their unhappy sovereign’s appeal, as well as a considerable force, assembled for battle on Carberry Hill.  In Aytoun’s poem of Bothwell Lord Seton is described at the moment:

                               He was of a noble stamp

                               Whereof this age hath witnessed few;

                               Men who came duly to the camp,

                               When’er the Royal trumpet blew.

                               Blunt tenure lords, who deemed the Crown

                               As sacred as the Holy Tree

                               And laid their lives and fortunes down

                               Not caring what the cause might be.

Following Carberry, when she was imprisoned at Lochleven Castle, it was from Lord Seton's house that the plan to hatch her escape was contrived. Lord Seton's sister Mary Seton acting as the stand-in for her Monarch, switched places with her, and the Queen made the legendary escape to Seton's Niddry Castle.  Lord Seton’s gallant rescue of Queen Mary from her captivity in Lochleven Castle in May, 1568, is the most romantic episode in her life and in his own career, and after her escape she rested for several days at Niddry; and it is of her stay there, to give time for her adherents to assemble under the Hamiltons, that Miss Strickland says: “She stood a Queen once more, among the only true nobles of her realm, those whom English gold had not corrupted, nor successful traitors daunted.”

Unfortunately, her supporters were again defeated shortly afterwards, at the battle of Langside, Seton himself taken prisoner, and where early reports had thought him killed. The son of Lord Ochiltree, John Knox's brother-in-law, would have killed him in revenge for his father's injury, but he yielded, and Lord Seton was saved by James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray. Queen Mary fled into England, where her companion, Seton's half-sister Mary Seton, quickly joined her. With the other Marian Lords, Seton was imprisoned by the now Regent Morton in Edinburgh Castle, and where Mary had written that she was worried that he was at risk from contracting the plague.

Eventually, Queen Elizabeth I of England obliged his transport, and sent him a passport on 1 June 1569. He was finally released by the Regent allowed to go into exile in France, where he remained for time, but not without action.

As is well known, the disastrous battle of Langside destroyed Queen Mary’s party.  Lord Seton here displayed the hereditary valour of his race, repeatedly charging the rebel heights with the cry, “God and the Queen! Set on! Seton on!”  He was wounded and taken prisoner, and came near being put to death.  When he was brought into the presence of Moray, he was bitterly rebuked by him as having been the prime author and the chief performer in this tragedy; whereas according to Moray, it was his duty to have been one of the first to protect the infant King. Seton answered that he had given his fidelity to one prince, and that he would keep it as long as he lived, or until the Queen should have laid down her right of government of her own free will.  Irritated by the reply, Moray asked him to say what he thought his own punishment ought to be, and threatened that he should undergo the extreme severity of the law.  ‘Let others decide.’ Said Seton, ‘what I deserve.  On that point my conscience gives me no trouble, and I am well aware that I have been brought within your power, and I am subject to your will.  But I would have you know that even if you cut off my head, as soon as I die there will be another Lord Seton.’

As it was, he got imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle, but after less than a year’s confinement went into exile.  He lived thus two years in great poverty and distress in Flanders and Holland, where he came into relations with Alva, and brought himself into serious trouble, which might have ended fatally, by trying to bring the Scots regiments then in the service of the rebellious States over to the Spanish side.  Lord Seton returned to Scotland in January, 1571, and is then constantly mentioned in letters and state papers, and always as an incorruptible and untiring agent of the imprisoned Queen and of the Catholic cause.  In Bellesheim’s History of the Catholic Church in Scotland, he says:

“An interesting glimpse of the condition of the Scottish Catholics at this time is given us by the letter sent to Pope Gregory on February 15, 1574, by John Irving, a Knight of Malta, from his prison in Edinburgh.

                “Irving, who attributes his present situation to the action of informers, affirms his adherence to the Catholic faith, for which he is ready by God’s grace to endure every extremity.  He mentions, as one of the most faithful of the Scottish nobles, Lord Seton, who had made great sacrifices in the cause of religion and who, together with his three sons, had been excommunicated by the Established Church.

                The writer adds that Lord Seton has under consideration various plans for the restoration of the Catholic faith in Scotland, which he doubts not will meet with the approbation of his holiness.”

Three Scottish supporters of Mary, the Duke of Châtellerault, the Earl of Huntly and Earl of Argyll gave Seton a commission to treat with the Duke of Alba, Viceroy of Lower Germany, as Mary's ambassador in August 1570. He was to ask for Spanish help to re-instate Mary in Scotland and expel her son's supporters who depended on English power. In September 1570, Lord Morley met him in the household of Katherine Neville, the Countess of the exiled Earl of Northumberland at Bruges. Seton told Morley that he had come to escort the Countess, who had previously sought refuge in Scotland, into France. The author of "The Historie and Life of James the Sext", recorded what must have been a popular account of the mission to the Duke of Alba. Seton tried to convince Alba to provide an army of 10,000 men by persuading the Scottish soldiers fighting against Spain to change sides. The soldiers were unresponsive until Seton himself was captured and tortured on the rack. The soldiers then mutinied only till he was released. There was an offer of money, but Alba could not spare the men, and Seton's mission was unsuccessful. Meanwhile in Scotland, the goods of his French stepmother, Marie Pieris, and his half-brother Robert Seton were seized by the Regent Moray's officers.

In January 1572, Seton was in the Spanish Netherlands with the Duke of Alba and still in contact with the Countess of Northumberland. Seton's return to Scotland through England prompted thorough searches of Scottish shipping in English waters. An Italian called Battista di Trento, wrote a long letter to Elizabeth I of England in 1577, which alleged to reveal a plot some years earlier involving Seton and his sons, including Alexander, then a student in Rome. As part of the Ridolfi Plot, Mary would have married the Duke of Norfolk and be restored to the Scottish throne, and Lord Seton would pay to secure Edinburgh Castle on her behalf. Battista laid out five schemes for the plot and the 19th century editor of William Cecil's papers believed his circumstantial details to show some "sub-stratum of truth" to these statements.

In May 1579, during the suppression of the Hamilton family, Lord Seton and three of his sons were ordered to enter ward at Brechin Castle, under suspicion by the Presbyterian's of treason. His son Sir John Seton of Barnes, known as the 'Cavalier de Bucca' from his post at the Spanish court, had returned to Scotland and was suspected to have brought messages from the exiled Queen Mary. Seton pleaded with the King's keepers at Stirling Castle to mitigate their charge of treason, and which was successful. The tides finally changed, and Morton himself was eventually brought to trial for his abuses of power, George being one of the Judges at the trial, whereupon Morton declared guilty, was sentenced to death. On the 2nd June 1581, Seton and two of his sons watched justice being served and the execution of their long enemy the Regent Morton, from a fore-stair on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.

In November, 1583, Lord Seton was sent ambassador to the King of France (Henry III), and letters were subsequently written to King James VI by the Duke of Lorraine, the Cardinals of Guise and Bourbon, and others relative to his embassy and commending his diligence, zeal, judgment, and unswerving loyalty.  An interesting letter from Lord Seton to Pope Gregory XIII is published in Theiner’s Annals.

After the collapse of the Gowrie Regime, Lord Seton was re-commissioned and sent again as an Ambassador to France, in December 1583, and was accompanied by William Schaw, Master of Works to James VI of Scotland. An English observer heard that the young Laird of Fintry, a Catholic, would accompany them to escape his excommunication from the Church of Scotland, and the Master of Livingston would go to bring Catherine, Duchess of Lennox, widow of Esmé Stewart, and her son Ludovic back to Scotland. The French diplomat, François de Rocherolles, Seigneur de Maineville (Manzeville), according to Sir Robert Bowes, was behind the mission and the choice of Lord Seton.

When he was selected for the Embassy in September 1583, Seton wrote to Queen Mary from Seton Palace to explain his mission. He said he was to continue the Auld Alliance with France, follow the advice of the Duke of Guise, and complete the treaty with her and her son. He explained that the poverty of King James frustrated his plans, which lead to Seton undertaking the diplomatic mission at his own expense, and he hoped she could help. Her service was his principal motive. He mentioned that the English envoy Francis Walsingham had left Scotland on the 15th (or 25th) September 1583, and had a very poor reception and entertainment in Scotland.

The Scottish embassy was keenly observed by an English diplomat, Sir Edward Stafford. Stafford noted his audience with the French king in February 1584, supported by the Dukes of Guise and Joyeuse. He said that Seton was lavish in his entertainment and display of silver plate, which resulted in a suspicion that he was funded by Spain, where his son Sir John Seton had served in the Spanish Court. Stafford thought that Seton's mission concerned a marriage for James VI to the Princess of Lorraine.

Lord Seton also had a commercial mandate from the Burgh of Edinburgh which had also contributed 2000 marks to his hire of Andrew Lamb's ship, but by May 1584, he had run out of money and pawned his silver plate and the guns of his ship at Dieppe. He had asked Stafford about the rebel leaders of the Raid of Ruthven who had fled into England, and Stafford wrote to Francis Walsingham that Seton was foolish in this conversation. On 21 June 1584, Stafford remarked in another letter that Seton's phrases echoed those of Mary, Queen of Scots, and clearly the two maintained frequent communication. Nevertheless, after his eventual return to Scotland, 'de Maineville' (Manzeville) wrote to James VI in November 1584 that he had been earnest in this embassy, but the time was not right, and primarily, France was anxious to maintain good relations with England. He remained in France till July 1585 or later, where the Jesuit Robert Parsons wrote that he was uncertain whether to return himself, or to send his son Alexander back to Scotland. Although the ultra-Protestant Gowrie Regime was defeated, the political situation in Scotland was not as Seton had hoped.

After his return to Scotland in January, Sir John Colville twice noted him as gravely ill in his letters, and he died in February 1586. On 22 June 1586, his son Alexander, Prior of Pluscarden, returned to Edinburgh council copies of their papers regarding French import duties sent with George to Henry II. He died as Lord George Seton, 7th Lord Seton, and was buried at Seton Collegiate Church. His memorial has a lengthy Latin epitaph, which also describes his children's careers, and the Latin text is signed 'A.S.F.C.F.F.,' presumably referring to his son Alexander Seton as its author.

A portrait of this nobleman by Holbein was long in the possession of the Somervilles; but by far the most interesting one is the group by Sir Antonio More, which has been engraved by Pinkerton in his Scottish Iconographia, and was also in the possession of the Somervilles and now rests in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.  This famous composition consists of Lord Seton in his thirty-ninth year, his daughter and four sons.  It has been enthusiastically described by Sir Walter Scott in the Provincial Antiquities, who there calls attention to “the grave, haughty, and even grim cast of countenance” which distinguishes them all.  

In July, 1882, at the disposal of the Hamilton Palace collection, a beautiful miniature of “George, Lord Setone, aetatis suae 27,” by H. Bone, R.A., after an original in the Somerville family, was sold to Mr. Denison for $131 British pounds. There are also exquisite vis-à-vis miniature portraits of Lord and Lady Seton at the top of the Armorial Pedigree of Touch in the possession of the Seton-Steuarts, Baronets.

After a life of trying vicissitudes, during which he had seen the subversion of the Ancient Faith, the captivity of his sovereign Mistress, and the establishment of the Protestant Religion in Scotland, Lord Seton died on the 8th of January, 1585, and was buried in his family church, where, on a slab of black marble embedded in the wall, there is  a lengthy epitaph from the pen of his son, Alexander, who was an elegant Latin scholar.  It is now in parts defaced and indistinct.

By his marriage to Lady Isabel Hamilton, Lord Seton had five sons and a daughter:

  1. George Seton, Master of Seton, who predeceased his father in 1562.

  2. Robert Seton, 8th Lord Seton and later 1st Earl of Winton.

  3. Sir John Seton of Barnes, Lord Barnes, Vice-Prior of Pluscarden, Master of the King's Horse and Comptroller of the Royal Revenue.

  4. Alexander Seton, Prior of Pluscarden, Lord Urquhart and Lord Fyvie, 1st Earl of Dunfermline and Great Chancellor of Scotland.

  5. Sir William Seton of Kylesmuir, Sheriff of Lothian.

  6. Lady Margaret Seton, who married Claude Hamilton, created Lord Paisley.  This marriage took place “with great triumph” at Niddry Castle on the 1st of August, 1574. Their son was the first Earl of Abercorn, ancestor of the present Duke of Abercorn.


The Arms of George Seton, 7th Lord Seton.
Arms of George Seton, 7th Lord Seton © The Seton Family 2005

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Arms of George, 7th Lord Seton.

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7th Lord Seton's Family Portrait - Epitaph