The Seton Family






'Habet et Suam'
Motto of The Hon. Sir John Seton of Garleton


The Honourable Sir John Seton, 1st Baronet of Garleton.The Honourable Sir John Seton, 1st Baronet of Garleton.

He was born 29th September 1639, and was the eighth son of George Seton, 3rd Earl of Winton by his second marriage to Elizabeth Maxwell, daughter of John Maxwell, 6th Lord Herries of Terregles. Early provided for, having from his father the 3rd Earl of Winton on 13th August, 1649, a charter of the fee of the lands of Athelstaneford and Garmiltoun (Garlston), where his father initially purchased the house and lands of Gourleton (Garleton) for 95,000 merks, the half of Athelstaneford, from Sir John Tours (Towers) Laird of Inverleith in 1643 for his son Christopher Seton (who died with his brother William when their ship was wrecked off the Dutch coast in 1648), and the other half of the same lands from Sir Patrick Hepburn of Waughton, and had the whole of these lands (Garmiltoun-Noble and Garmiltoun-Alexander) created into the Barony of Athelstaneford, and which lands he provided for his son as his patrimony.

John Seton then, later called 'Sir John Seton of Garleton', was created knight baronet of Scotland by Charles II, where on the 9th December, 1664, he was created a Knight-Baronet of Nova Scotia, with the style "of Garlston", and from him descended the cadet branch of that name 'Seton of Garleton', later claimants to the Earldom of Winton. Sir John was well-educated in the Catholic-tradition of the Seton family, and was later the receipt of an espistle-dedication of the Jesuit book, 8th vol., 137 pages, "An Answer to Monsieur De Rodon's Funeral of the Mass", by Father William Aloysuis Lesley, at Douay, in France, dated 1681.

He maintained a strict Catholic household like that of all of the Seton family of the period, and which tradition was continued by his son and heir. He was immoveable in his adherence to his traditional faith, and constantly referred to in the church records as sheltering the Priests of the area, and sponsoring the Jesuit missions. In 1685, he is noted as having challenged the local Presbyterian church court over the excommunication of his gardener, 'for Papistry', and the following year just prior to his early death, both he and his son were targeted in an anti-Catholic-riot that occurred in Edinburgh.

On the 20th of February, 1672, he was served heir to his brother, the Hon. Sir Robert Seton of Windygoul who died without issue in November 1671. Lord Kingston describes his brother Sir Robert as 'ane hopefull young gentleman and a good schollar' ; and mentions that he was buried in the 'Colledge Kirk of Seton', and the date of his death appears in the entry in the record relative to his testament-dative and inventory of goods, etc., given up by Anna, Countess of Traquair, Isobel, Lady Semple, and Lady Mary Seton, his sisters-german and only executors. Amount of debts owing to the deceased . . ,£62,800, 10s.  'Intromitted with by Sir John Seton of Garleton presently of ready money, gold, etc., lying beside the deceased, his abulziements, furniture of his lodging, certain horses, etc., value 5000 merks.' Confirmed 7th April 1673, Captain Francis Wauchope, brother to the Laird of Niddrie, being cautioner.

He was himself remembered as: '...a vertuous man; much given to policie; ane improver of his fortune.' His principle Estate however, bordered that of the already established Seton's of Barnes, and both he and his son and heir had a long series of legal battles over boundary's of their respective property against George Seton of Barnes and noted in the Court of Session records, with Seton of Garleton losing the legal challenges, followed by those with his other bordered Estate of the Stevenson's, to which he also lost the legal suits (see below).

Garleton Castle itself, overall, is a significant complex of buildings that has long history of occupation. The southwest lodge is a fine example, albeit truncated, of a late 16th century structure. The main fabric of the building dates to the 1590s and many of the original features, including the gun-loops have been retained without alteration. The 2 vaulted chambers are also little altered from their original form, having only the floor levels raised during the conversion-work. The building itself bears testimony to the fortunes of the families who owned Garleton from the 16th century Setons, to the present day ownership of the Wemyss and March Estate.

The building of Garleton, previously associated with the famed Sir John Seton 1st of Barnes, has consisted of an extensive courtyard enclosed with a strong wall. The main portion of the structure is in a state of complete ruin. It occupies the north-east corner of the courtyard, and contains the remains of three arched cellars. The round tower projecting outside the east wall, which is furnished with various shot-holes, is tolerably entire. . . . There is an extensive old garden round the south, north, and east sides, while the courtyard and the site of the Castle are occupied by kitchen-gardens. In the centre of the west side of the courtyard is situated the well.

'Garmylton' (as the name was formerly spelt) formed part of the adjoining barony of Byres, and in 1478 David Lindsay of the Mount, grandfather of the poet, had sasine of the lands. The poet died about 1555, and the probability judging from the style is much greater that he built the original block-Castle.  Garleton later passed into the possession of the Earl of Haddington in 1637, and in 1686 it was back in the hands of the Seton family, from whom it was purchased by the Earl of Wemyss in 1724.

He died in the year 1686, at the comparatively early age of forty-seven, and was buried at the Church of Athelstaneford.

Upon the extinction of the male line of the Viscount's Kingston which became extinct on the death of James, third Viscount in 1719, the Garleton branch became next in the legitimate-degree. On the death of the fifth Earl of Winton in 1749, Sir George Seton, third Baronet of Garleton, became sixth Earl, de jure ; and, on his death without issue, in 1769, his first cousin, Ralph Seton (son of his uncle John), became seventh Earl. Ralph died without issue in 1782, when his nephew John (son of Ralph's brother John) became eighth Earl 'de jure' and who never made claim to the Honours; and on John's death without surviving male issue, in 1796, the succession opened to Hugh, twelfth Earl of Eglinton, and claimed by his heir.

Sir John, 1st of Garleton married Christian (also called Isabel), daughter of Sir John Home of Renton, by his wife  Margaret, daughter of Sir John Stewart, Prior of Coldingham, second son of Francis Stewart, last Earl of Bothwell, and whose father the Lord Prior of Coldingham, was the illegitimate son of King James V. The issue of the marriage was six sons and four daughters : —

1. Sir George Seton, 2nd of Garleton, his father's successor, below.

2. John Seton, who died in Germany in 1715, having married, July 1695, Frances, daughter of Sir Richard Neale of Plassy, Baronet, by whom he had two sons : —

(1) Ralph, born 27th June 1702, and died without issue at Newcastle-on-Tyne in December 1782, being described in the register of his burial as ' Lord Seton,' and ' representative of George Seton, Earl of Winton, attainted in 1715,' who, on the death without issue of Sir George Seton, third Baronet of Garleton, in 1769, became heir to the Winton honours.

In the charter-chest at Duns Castle there is an interesting joint family bond and engagement relative to Ralph Seton, to the following effect : — ' We, whose subscriptions are hereto annexed, considering the indigent circumstances of Ralph Seton, the representative of the family of Winton, and, from our connection with that family, resolving to contribute something for his support, do hereby bind and oblige ourselves, and our heirs and representatives, to pay to James Keay, writer in Edinburgh, the sums annexed to our respective subscriptions, yearly, at the term of Martinmas, beginning the first year's payment at the term of Martinmas 1771, and so to continue yearly during the life of the said Ralph Seton, etc. In witness whereof, these presents, being written by Alexander Keay, writer in Edinburgh, on stamped paper, are subscribed (at different dates between October 1771 and January 1772) by Alexander, Duke of Gordon, at Gordon Castle ; by Lord Adam Gordon, at Prestonhall ; by Margaret, Lady Blantyre, at Lennox- love ; by Alexander Hay of Drummelzier, at Whittingham ; by Archibald, Earl of Eglinton, at Eglinton ; by Hugh Seton of Touch, Esquire, at Touch ; and by William, Lord Blantyre, at Lennox-love,' — all in presence of witnesses, whose names are duly inserted, followed by the amount of the respective subscriptions.

(2) John, 1 of St. George the Martyr, county of Middlesex, born 22nd June 1707, in Crossgate parish, Durham, and died in January 1775, having married Mary, daughter of Francis Newton of Irnham, co. Lincoln, by whom he had two sons and one daughter : —

(a) John, also of the parish of St. George the Martyr, who, on the death of his uncle Ralph, in 1782, became representative of the Winton family. He was born in December 1755, and died 3rd August 1796, when the succession to the Winton honours is believed to have opened to Hugh, twelfth Earl of Eglinton. By his wife, Mary, daughter of John Hughes of Berryhall, Warwickshire, whom he married, 16th February 1786, John Seton had (besides two sons, John and John-Joseph, and a daughter Mary, who all predeceased their father in infancy) a surviving daughter, Mary-Catherine, born 2nd June 1796, and married to Mr. John Broadbent, by whom she had several sons and daughters, and who assumed the surname of Seton.

(b) Robert, died a minor, unmarried, in April 1778.

(c) Barbara, married to Thomas Douglas, Esquire, and died without issue in 1784.

The third son of Sir John Seton, first of Garleton, was:

3. Robert Seton, styled ' Father Robert Seton,' a Roman Catholic priest, born in 1667, entered the Society of Jesuits at Toulouse, 7th September 1688, and died at Deeside in 1732, celebrated for his ' indefatigable labour
and great charity.'

From a manuscript formerly in the possession of the Rev. Dr. Lee, Principal of the University of Edinburgh, entitled ' Information anent Papists in Mar, April 1703,' we obtain some particulars relative to ' Father Robert Seton ' : — ' Lews Farquharson of Auchindrein not only keeps a priest, but has also frequent conventions and masses at his house, whereof many instances and pregnant probation might be given ; but we judge a few may serve. First, Mr. Robert Seton stayed at his house throughout the whole month of December last, going about all the ridiculous and superstitious rites usual in the Romish Church in time of Yule, etc. . . . Thirdly, Mr. Seton did, at Auchindrein, solemnise the marriage of John
Forbes in Ennerchanlig, Protestant, with a Popish woman. . . . Mr. Seton did also baptize a child.' In another ms. List of Papists, etc., in Glenmuick, in the Presbytery of Kincardine-o'-Neil, and sheriffdom of Aberdeen, in May 1704, Mr. Robert Seton, brother to Seton of Garleton, is mentioned as having been for seven years a priest in that locality.

4. Alexander Seton, apprenticed to John Hay, merchant, in April 1688, and died unmarried about 1705.

5. and 6. Christopher Seton and Charles Seton, who both died young before 1694.

Sir John Seton's four daughters were:

1. Margaret, who, after four years' residence in a nunnery in Paris, 'dyed in France a young woman.'

2. Christian.

3. 4. Elizabeth and Isobel, who both died young.


Court of Session - 1676, 1677, and 1678. Sir John Seton of Gairleton against George Seton of Barns.
1676. July.—Sir John Seaton of Gairleton convenes George Seaton of Barns before the Secret Council, for oppression and riot, in casting down a dry-stone dyke Gairleton was building on the march betwixt them, for taking in a park.
Barnes Alleged he had done no wrong; because he had encroached upon his land, and was going to enhance, appropriate, and inclose a well, which not only served his beasts, but also made a mill he had to go, with some derived help. 2do,—He had used civil and legal interruptions, per novi operis nuntiationem super damno infecto, quod nondum quidem factum est, sed fieri timetur; (see these titles D. and C.;) and they not desisting nor finding caution, he might stop per viam facti. Yet see Joannes Vandus, libro 2, Qucestio SO; who says; it must be authore prcetore. Vide supra, in the case of Kirknes, No. 475", \June I676.3
And whereas he pretends he had power, by the 17th Act of Parliament 1669, to keep his dyke straight, to take somewhat of the adjacent neighbour's lands,
It is Answered, Imjo,—That is for encouragement of parking ; but this cannot be called a park. 2do,—Since he has appealed to that Act of Parliament he must stand to it. It appoints the same to be done at the sight of the sheriff, and not privata authoritate. See the rest in the Informations.
The difference was settled by the mediation of my Lord Dundonald ; and it was but reason it should be so : for as Abraham said, in a like contest about a well, to Lot,—" Why should we contend together, for we are brethren."
Advocates' MS. No. 485, folio 250.

1677. February.—In the declarator pursued by Seton of Barnes against Seton of Garleton, anent his right to the aqueduct of his well, &c. Garleton offering to prove it was in his ground, a visitation act and commission was appointed by Colinton, before whom it was debated. Then, upon a bill given in by Barnes, the Lords named Newbyth and Gosfoord to perambulate and take inspection of the ground, and receive the depositions of witnesses to be adduced by either party, anent the property, and possession past memory, &c. (See the information.) Who met, upon the ground, on the 9th of May, and considered, from point to point, if my Lord Dundonald's Hecreet-arbitral betwixt them was fulfilled ; then examined four witnesses for either party, anent the property of the strand and aqueduct, and Barnes his use of casting the same, &c. . Advocates' MS. No. 553, folio 278.

1677. November 14.—Sir John Seton of Garmilton having charged George Seton of Barnes, upon a decreet of the Sheriff of Hadington, finding that some of Barnes his cattle had come upon an inclosure in Garleton's ground, and therefore fining him in £5 Scots for each beast, conform to the Act, in the Parliament 1661 : Of this decreet Barnes raised suspension and reduction, upon iniquity, that the sheriff had refused a visitation, and found it to be an inclosure, upon the testimonies of some of Garmilton's own servants; and that it truly had none of the qualifications required, by the foresaid Act of Parliament, to a privileged inclosure.
The suspension coming first to be called,-^Newton repelled the reasons, as not instantly verified, and found the letters orderly proceeded ; superseding extract for a month, in which time Barnes might insist in the discussing of his reduction. Before the elapsing of this time, on the 21st of November, we gave in a bill to the Lords, representing, that our reduction was now ready ; and, for the speedier dispatch, to verify our reasons, the process led before the sheriff, and the principal depositions of the witnesses would be necessary ; therefore craved a warrant against the sheriff-clerk, to send them in.
The desire of this bill the Lords granted. And Barnes having charged him with horning, he transmitted the haill process to Mr Thomas Hay ; after which, upon a new bill, we got it remitted to Newton, to compare the probation with the decreet, and with the reasons libelled against it, and, after perusal, to report:

Which he having done on the 26th of February 1678, the Lords found the said decreet unjust; and therefore reduced and suspended simpliciter.
We were not expecting so much ; but only that the Lords should have turned it to a libel, and appointed a visitation and perambulation on the ground, for cognoscing if it was truly such an inclosure as was meant by the foresaid Act of Parliament. See the copy of the decreet, and reasons against it, apud me. Anent the evoking and transmitting processes in inferior courts, see an instance, supra, num. 623, Sir A. Ramsay, [26th July 1677.D
Advocates' MS. No. 655, folio 307.

1678. February 2.—In the declarator of property, or cognition and perambulation of molestation of the meiths and marches, between Seton of Barns and Seton of Garmilton, (of which vide supra, No. 553,)—the probation and report of the commission being this day advised, and the Lords having considered the report made by the Lords Newbyth and Gosfuird, visitors, adhere to the said report, in so far as they have determined the matter in question. And siclike, having considered Garmilton's oath and deposition, and the testimony of the witnesses adduced, they find, by Garmilton's deposition, That the stone dyke of the park is rightly situated, according to the Earl of Dundonald's decreet-arbitral; and find that Garmilton should make a stone pend in the park-dyke, sufficient to let the water go out, not being of that wideness to let ,in or out beasts. And find that the water-gang, from the parkdyke to Barnes his mill, ought to continue in the old channel; and that the channel wherein it now runs is the old channel ; and that the said water-gang, from the ston park, is the march betwixt Barnes' and Garmil-. ton's lands; and that the water running therein can suffer no division; and the diversion made by Garilton ought to be restored, so that the water may run entire in the old channel. And find that Garilton's feal-dyke, at the east end thereof, is built, by the space of a pair of boots, on Barnes his land; andthat therefore the same ought to be demolished, by the said space of a pair of boots. And find that both Barnes and Garmilton may, at their pleasure, cast the foresaid aqueduct and water-gang ; and that, in their casting, they ought to do no prejudice, either of them, to other's lands, or to the feal-dyke built by Garmilton, except in so far as the same is ordained to be demolished and that the mud and earth, to be cast out by either party, when they dight the aqueduct, ought to be casten, the one half thereof on Barnes his side of the aqueduct, and the other half on Garmilton's side : and decerned accordingly.

On the 6th of June I678, Garmilton having given in a bill to the Lords, com* plaining of this decreet, (for it was not then extracted,) and craving the Lords would re-advise the probation; and answers being made to it,—The Lords refused the bill, and adhered to their interlocutor. Advocates' MS. No. 719* folio 318.
[The subsequent part of the Report of this Case, Dictionary, page 10,476.3

1683 and 1684. Sir John Seaton of Garmilton against Sir Robert Sinclair of Stevenston.
1683. March 14.—Between Sir John Seaton of Garmilton, and Sir Robert Sinclair of Stevenston; the Lords found Garmilton could have no other servitude on Stevenston's land for his mill-dam, save what he has been in possession of; and assoilyied Stevenston from damages. But see this altered 30th current. • Vol. I. Page 225.

1683. March S0.—The Lords alter the interlocutor of the 14th current, and found Stevenston liable to refound and make up Garmelton's damage, that the water ran not towards his mill as it was wont to do: though all the servitude which Stevenston owed him in law was only a nuda palientia through his ground, and that the channel of the water was diverted casu and by speat, without any fact or deed on Stevenston's part, and could not be returned to the former channel. Vol. I. Page 231.

1684. January 11.—Sir Robert Sinclair, upon a new advising, is assoilyied from the damages libelled by Sir John Seaton of Garmilton, as done to his mill. Anent which, vide 30th March 1683. Vol I. Page 259.

His eldest son and successor was:

2. Sir George Seton, second Baronet, who the same year (1686) was retoured in the lands and town (villa et terris) of Athelstaneford. Sir George Seton went abroad when very young, travelling in England, Flanders, France, Italy, Germany, and Bohemia. The writings stating that his son was the Sir George Seton of Garleton famed in the Jacobite Rising of 1715, are in fact incorrect, as it was this Sir George, 2nd of Garleton who was the active 'Seton of Garleton'. He had married Barbara, daughter of Andrew Wauchope of Niddry, by whom he had four sons and three daughters, but was long noted in the records of the Presbytery for his infamous extra-marital affairs, and morality-raids by the Presbytery. His notorious adultery with a local shop keeper Anna Cheisly, who sold cravats to gentlemen, brought about his subsequent divorce actioned by his Catholic wife in the Protestant court, and was very much a curiosity of the day.

His children from Barbara Wauchope were : —

1. Sir George Seton, 3rd Baronet of Garleton, of whom afterwards.

2. James, Captain in Colonel Keith's regiment, and resident in France, died without issue before 1769.

3. John, a Roman Catholic priest, born 9th November 1695, and died in Edinburgh, 16th July 1757. At one period he appears to have resided with the Traquair family. On the 20th of September 1 7 16 he entered the Society of Jesus at Madrid, joined the Scottish Mission in 1725, and ten years later made his solemn vows at Aberdeen.

4. Andrew, an officer in Irelande's (formerly Wauchope's) regiment, died without issue, at the Camp of Randasso, in Sicily, 10th October 1719.

These four sons are all distinctly specified in a deed of division dated 12th September 1716, and recorded in the Books of Council and Session 18th August 1721.

Sir George Seton's three daughters were : —

1. Margaret, described in her testament-dative which was given up by her sisters Barbara and Mary, as ' eldest lawful daughter to the late Sir George Seton of Garleton,' and her death took place in June 1730. The debt owing to the deceased amounted to £5015, 13s., which sum was due to her by Sir George Seton of Garleton, third Baronet, by bond dated 1st December 1720, in which she is designed ' Mistress Margaret Seton, his sister-german.'

2. Barbara.

3. Mary, who married John Arrat of Fofarty, and on the 16th of November 1724 granted an assignation in favour of Colonel Francis Charteris, with consent of her curator, Mr. James Don, Advocate. On the 1st of December 1769 Mrs. Arrat was served as 'legitima et propinquior hseres lines, cum beneficio inventarii,' to Sir George, 'sui fratris germani,' which establishes the fact that before that date her three brothers, James, John, and Andrew, died without issue.

Sir George Seton 3rd Baronet of Garleton who was born in 1685, succeeded his father between 20th June 1718 and 2nd May 1720 as third Baronet, and who but for the attainder of George, 5th Earl of Winton (who died in 1749), would have been the 6th Earl of Winton, the Kingston branch having previously failed. He was later commonly styled 'Earl of Winton' since no legitimate male heir was found nor proved from George, 5th Earl, and he was living at Paris in December 1750. About two years afterwards, he was resident at Versailles and noted in various correspondence regarding the Seton Estates.

Barbara, married to Sir George Seton of Garlton, or Garmilton, Haddingtonshire. The contract of marriage is dated in 1686. There are several papers in the charter chest at Niddrie concerning this family.  Amongst others is a disposition (18th Aug. 1721), by which Sir George sets apart 15,000 merks to be divided amongst his younger children. This he does in virtue of a previous disposition, 12th Jan. 1705, granted by him of the lands of Garmiltoun-Noble and Garmiltoun-Alexander, with the " tower, fortalice, manor place, and other pertinents, to and in favours of Dame Barbara Wauchope, Lady Garmiltoun, for her lyfrent, therein exprest," in which it is made " leisum and lawfull for George Seton, his eldest son, and his other sons and heirs," to burden the said lands with the sum above-mentioned, as a provision for the younger children. George Seton, yr. of Garltoune had, in 1712, given his mother, Dame Barbara Wauchope, Lady Garltoune, a back-bond for a thousand merks which she had assigned to him. Besides George, there was another son, James, and three daughters, who appear in the papers at Niddrie House :

1. " A discharged account, Mrs Margaret Seton, Lady Gairltoun's daughter, to Excrs. of Alexander M'Vicar, merchant, Edinburgh, 1731."

2. "Contract of marriage betwixt John Arrot, of Foffartie, in Forfarshire, and Mrs Mary Seton, daughter of the deceased Sir George Seton of Garleton, Bart., Gth March 1733." Mrs Mary had sasine of an annuity of 1 000 merks from the lands of Foffartie, following on the above contract, 27th June 1733.

3. Andrew Wauchope of Niddrie grants a life-rent bond of £30 stg. yearly " to Mis Barbara Seton, daughter of the deceased Sir George Seton of Garletoun," 13th Dec. 1731. This seems to have been a gratuity.

Although it has been stated by various writers that he was attainted and forfeit, in fact there was no such legal-process ever under-taken, and the Garleton Baronetcy was never attained nor forfeit, should been seen as dormant/extinct.

He died without issue 9th March 1769, when Ralph Seton, already referred to, became heir to the Winton honours. The following announcement appeared in the Scots Magazine for April 1769 : ' At Versailles, in the eighty-fourth year of his age, Sir George Seton of Garleton, representative of the Winton family.' In the notice of his death in the Annual Register for 1769 he is described as ' Lord George Seton, a Scottish Peer, and a Baronet of Great Britain.' In point of fact he was a Baronet of Nova Scotia.

The 'Jacobite' Rebellion of 1715:

On 6th September 1715 after the death of Queen Anne and the succession of George I of Hanover, The Earl of Mar raised the Royal Standard at Braemar in favour of the Old Pretender, now James III and VIII. On the 12th October, the Jacobite officer, Brigadier William Mackintosh of Borlum crossed the Forth and after an abortive attempt to hold Leith, fell back on the Seton {Palace, the seat of Sir George Seton of Garleton's cousin, the Earl of Winton. Borlum there entrenched the avenues and fortified the gates‚ and saw off a party of volunteer horse sent to stop him. On the 18th of October orders came to Borlum to march south, and with him went George Seton, 5th Earl of Winton, the head of the House and name of Seton with his own small troop of horse, and it included at least two other Seton lairds from East Lothian.

On the 1st of November, they invaded England. The English Jacobites failed to rise up and within a fortnight the tiny Jacobite army of 1,400 men, were surrounded and forced to surrender after an abortive stand at Preston in Lancashire. Among the prisoners was Sir George Seton of Garleton. It was generally been assumed that this was the young George, Sir George Seton's heir, as in his mid-twenties he would seem a more likely candidate for going off to war than his fifty-year old father (particularly as he is known to have later lived in exile and died at Versailles in 1769). This however is incorrect and the sources which list the prisoners after Preston, (such as the London Gazette) and which list those sent to Newgate prison distinguish other younger sons from their fathers, but do not mark the prisoner taken at Preston as, 'George Seton younger'‚ nor do they generally or consistently make use of the Title of 'Sir' when listing prisoners which would help distinguish young George from his father.

On the other hand, two deeds written in London in 1716 do carefully make this distinction because they are signed by Sir George of Garleton. Sr., and they involve matters relating to George Seton younger, who is not recorded in documents as, 'of Garleton' until after his fathers death, which occurs long after the Jacobite proceedings, sometime between June 1718 and 2nd May 1720. These documents providing for his family show that it was the old Sir George Seton, the noted 'rake and apostate', who we can definitely place in London. And we can go further, as the witnesses to the deeds tie him firmly to the Jacobite prisoners in Newgate. The 12th September deed was witnessed by James Mossman, late servant to the deceased John Hall, now servant to George Seton of Barnes. Both Hall, who was executed at Tyburn that July and Seton of Barnes (who was still in prison), were held at Newgate.165 There was another 'George Seton' in Newgate, besides Barnes, and who can be followed along with other Scottish lairds captured at Preston; this is Sir George Seton, 2nd of Garleton.

He was one of the captives led in triumph, pinioned with cords, through the streets of London on December 10th 1715, as the Hanoverian mob huzza'ed loudly. And he then found himself having to pay through the nose for the most basic of prison accommodation in Newgate which could cost at the top end, as much as £5 sterling a week, enough to put one up in St James's Square or Piccadilly if not otherwise in jail.

According to Daniel Defoe who wrote the little pamphlet 'The History of the Press Yard', the Rebel prisoners didn't lack for female visitors or admiration, which must have pleased Sir George if he stayed true to past form. However, keeping up appearances in jail was expensive; "there was nothing among them but 'flaunting apparel, venison pasties, hams, chickens, and other costly meats, and the best French wine'...". Although when the trials began, the condemnations for treason and the first executions, such as that of Mr Hall (whose servant signed Sir George's deed) and gloom descended on the little Jacobite community punctuated by desperate escape attempts, they contemplated what lay in store for them. For this reason Sir George made the closest thing we have for him to a will, dated that September in London, a disposition to his younger children: 'Margaret gets 5,000 marks, Barbara junior, 4,000 merks, Mary 3000, John 1500, Andrew 1,500. George the heir is to be otherwise provided for...'.

These documents providing for his family show that it was the old Sir George, the rake and apostate, who we can definitely place in London. And the witnesses' to the deeds tie him firmly to the Jacobite prisoners in Newgate. The 12th September deed was witnessed by James Mossman, late servant to the deceased John Hall, now servant to George Seton of Barnes, and both Hall, who was executed at Tyburn that July and the elder Seton of Barnes (who was still in prison), again, were held at Newgate.

Sir George finally had to face his trial, which did not occur until November 30th, 1716, when a 'George Seton' who clearly is not George Seton of Barnes but who was tried among other Scottish lairds taken at Preston, was taken before a special commission of the Court of Common Pleas at Westminster, and who by this period had good fortune as the government mood had changed. The administration no longer wanted blood as there had been enough of that, and Sir George Seton and 13 others were discharged without punishment. There is then, no sign of attainder, nor of the estates being forfeited, and Sir George was not stripped of his title, as there is no record of that. Likewise, as he did not evade justice, there would be nothing to stop him taking full advantage of the indemnity act which came the following year in July to recover his property and station.

Unfortunately however, the government didn't need to attaint him and forfeit his estates, as a further lengthy spell in prison on top of the usual debts was enough to finally financially ruin him, and it was recorded that on the 8th December 1716, before Alexander Hall, coach maker, and James Greenham, both inhabitants of London, that Sir George Seton finally signed the Estate of Garleton away in a disposition.

The court for the trial of the Preston prisoners sat at Westminster, and which according to their last adjournment, discharged 14 men who were engaged in the rebellion, including the following: Mr George Seton, Mr Francis Congletoun, Mr Alexander Congleton Mr Thomas Anderson, William Dundas gent. William Dundas merchant, Mr Alexander Foster, Mr William Dalmahoy, Mr Edward Maxwell, Mr Gabriel Robertson of Guy, Mr Daniel Hall, Mr George Skinner, Mr Lyon, Mr Charles Maxwell, Mr Stewart... etc... Both Garleton Noble and Garleton-Alexander went to his neighbour back home in Haddingtonshire: Mr John Baird of Newbyth, younger. All that was saved were some liferents, the annual incomes paid to his children and to Barbara, but the lands and the castle were gone. Just as their Royalism had finished the 'Towers (family) of Garleton', Jacobitism had finished the Setons.

From the final sale then, an annual income (liferent) of the Garleton Estate was paid to, Sir George Seton 'now of Garmilton' therein designed. The title was not forfeit in the 1715, and some attempt was made to keep an interest in the lands for the young Sir George Seton, who had succeeded his father, although on the 12th of May, 1725, at the manor place of Garleton, the last Seton-connection was finally cut, and the interest sold. Sir George Seton leaving for France, and died in Versailles 9 March, 1769. He is believed to have been out in the 1715 rebellion, but there is no evidence which would indubitably link him to the rebellion. As a landless laird then, with only a small life-rent left for him to subsist on, it was simply more affordable for him to seek a future in France, and as Catholic who is never recorded as denying his faith, it was certainly have been more congenial.

Armorial Bearings.

The following blazon occurs in a folio MS. in the British Museum (20,701), entitled 'Arms of the Nobility and Gentry of Scotland registered in the Lyon Office,' and bearing the book-stamp of Alexander Deuchar, seal engraver, Edinburgh : —

'Sir John Seton of Garleton, Bart., 3rd (sic) lawfull son of ye E. of Winton, carrys two coats quarterly, 1 and 4 or three crescents w*in a doub. tress., counterflowered w* flouer de lisses gules for Seton; 2 and 3 azure three garbs or for Cumming, all w*in a bordure quartered azure and or, w* the badge of Nova Scotia, as Baronet.

'Crest — a star of six points in its splendor.

'Motto — Habet et Suam.'


A MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR - The Robbing of the Post-Boy, and the Seton's of Kingston and Garleton.

Three years afterwards (16th August 1690) he turns up in a strange  adventure, narrated by Dr. Chambers in his Domestic Annals of Scotland — 'Adam Cockburn, the post-boy, who carried the packet or letter-bag on that part of the great line of communication which lies between Cockburnspath and Haddington, had reached a point in his journey between the Alms-house and Hedderwick Muir, when he was assailed by two gentlemen in masks; one of them "mounted on a blue-gray horse, wearing a stone-gray coat with brown silk buttons"; the other "riding on a white horse, having a white English gray cloak coat with wrought silver thread buttons."

Holding pistols to his breast, they threatened to kill him if he did not instantly deliver up "the packet, black-box, and by-bag," which he carried; and he had no choice but to yield. They then bound him, and leaving him tied by the foot to his horse, rode off with their spoil to Garleton House near Haddington.

'As the packet contained Government communications besides the correspondence of private individuals, this was a crime of a very high nature, albeit we may well believe it was committed on political impulse only. Suspicion seems immediately to have alighted on James Seton, youngest son of the Viscount Kingston, and John Seton, brother of Sir George Seton of Garleton ; and Sir Robert Sinclair, the Sheriff of the county, immediately sought for these young gentlemen at their father's and brother's houses, but found them not. With great hardihood, they came to Sir Robert's house next morning, to inquire, as innocent men, why they were searched for, when Sir Robert, after a short examination in presence of the post- boy, saw fit to have them disarmed and sent off to Haddington. It was Sunday, and Bailie Lauder, to whose house they came with their escort, was about to go to church.

If the worthy Baillie is to be believed, he thought their going to the Sheriffs a great presumption of their innocence. He admitted, too, that Lord Kingston had come and spoken to him that morning. Anyhow, he concluded that it might be enough in the meantime if he afforded them a room in his house, secured their horses in his stable, and left them under charge of two of the town-officers. Unluckily, however, he required the town-officers, as usual, to walk before him and his brother-magistrates to church ; which, it is obvious, interfered very considerably with their efficiency as a guard over the two gentlemen. While things were in this posture, Messrs. Seton took the prudent course of making their escape. As soon as the bailie heard of it, he left church, and took horse after them with some neighbours, but he did not succeed in overtaking them.

' The Privy Council had an extraordinary meeting, to take measures regarding this affair, and their first step was to order Baillie Lauder and the two town-officers into the Tolbooth of Edinburgh as close prisoners. A few days afterwards the magistrate was condemned by the Council as guilty of plain fraud and connivance, and declared incapable of any public employment. William Kaim, the smith at Lord Kingston's house of Whittingham, was also in custody on some suspicion of a concern in this business ; but he and the town-officers were quickly liberated.

'John Seton was soon after seized by Captain James Denholm on board a merchant-vessel bound for Holland, and imprisoned in the Castle of Edinburgh. He underwent trial in July 1691, and by some means escaped condemnation. A favourable verdict did not procure his immediate liberation ; but, after three days, he was dismissed on caution to return into custody if called upon. This final result was the more remarkable, as his father was by that time under charge of having aided in the "Betrayal of the Bass".

Also to note regarding the Seton's of Garleton: The descent to William Winston Seaton of the National Intelligencer in Washington, during the 19th century in America, was descended from a Henry Seaton and claimed by them to have been a son of the Honorable Sir John Seaton of Garleton, or Gairmiltoun, in East Lothian, Scotland, or of John Seton, son of Sir David Seton of Parbroath, and are both incorrect. Their descent should be corrected to reflect Henry Seaton eldest son from the 2nd marriage of Sir John Seton, 4th or Barnes, and who sought refuge in America following the first Jacobite troubles of 1689, locating in the Colony of Virginia in 1690.



Arms of the Seton Earls of Winton © The Seton Family 20055

The Seton Portraits
more >
The Seton Archives
more >
Historic Scotland
The National Trust for Scotland
National Museums of Scotland
Text Only News Media Centre How Do I...? Freedom of Information Children Recruitment Francais Gàidhlig
Contact us Search Site map Links Subscribe Copyright About this site


Arms of George, 7th Lord Seton.
     Head of the House
    Carolingian Lineage
    Seton Peerages
     The Main Line
     The Cadet Lines
     The Seton Descent
     The Early Setons
     The Early Lords
     The Lords Seton
     The Earls of Winton
     Viscount of Kingston
     The Parbroath Line
     The Meldrum Line
     The Touch Line
     The Cariston Line
     The Barnes Line
     The Garleton Line
     The Abercorn Line
     The Pitmedden Line
     The Lathrisk Line
     The Gargunnock Line
     Preston-Ekolsund Line
     The Mounie Line
     The Belches Line