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07ab. Huntly
George Gordon, 1st Marquis of Huntly, 1562-1636

Arms: Quarterly:
1st, Azure, three Boars' Heads couped Or, langued Gules (for Gordon);
2nd, Or, three Lion's Heads erased Gules, langued Azure (for Badenoch);
3rd, Or, three Crescents within a Double-Tressure flory counterflory Gules (for Seton);
4th, Azure, three Cinquefoils Argent (for Fraser).

SOURCES/NOTES & CREDITS: BLG, 19th edition, p512; “The Scots Peerage”, Vol. IV, Paul, 1907, David Douglas, p506 (illustration), p507-562, p562 blazon , concerning our Marquis pp541-545 ; “The Sixteen Peers of Scotland”, Fergusson, Oxford 1960, pp156-159, Wikipedia Article for background illustration and biographical information. Text was adapted by D.Q. Wedvick.

George Gordon, born circa. 1562, was a minor at the time George Gordon, the 5th Earl of Huntly, his father, died in 1576, making our George the 6th Earl of Huntly. Educated in France and was still ’furth of the Realm’ in April 1580. He came from one of the leading Roman Catholic families and so did not escape collision with the ministers of the Kirk. So he signed a Confession of the Faith on 25 Feb 1587-88 to clear himself of suspicion of Popish plots. It didna matter, for the rest of his life the Kirk had him under the eye. King James VI liked Huntly and he was confirmed in Council around 1587. On 26 May 1587 Huntly was granted the Commendatorship of Dunfermline for his services to the King. He bore the Sword of State at the opening of Parliament in July 1587.

The Kirk had reason for their suspicions. Treasonable correspondence by Huntly with Spain was discovered when he was Captain of the Guard on duty at Holyrood Palace. King James however, found Catholic Lords useful as a foil to the tyranny of the Kirk. Huntly was pardoned. He was again caught raising the standard of insurrection along with Errol and Crawford. Convicted of treason and he was warded in Borthwick Castle for a year before the King set him free in Sept 1589 on the occasion of the King’s marriage.

Between 1589 and 1594 he was involved with more treasonable escapades, subject to the wrath of his enemies both political and Presbyterian.. The King allowed him to go abroad… He returned secretly not long after but the King turned a blind eye… King James received Huntly at Falkland on 13 Aug 1596.

Then due to the pressure exerted on the King by the Kirk, the king demanded Huntly abjure “Romanism” or go into permanent exile. Huntly submitted in June 1597 relaxed from excommunication he was restored to his estates in that December. He was sworn in as a Privy Councillor in Feb 1598-99; and on 17 April 1599, on the occasion of the baptism of the King’s daughter, he was created Marquis of Huntly, Earl of Enzie, Lord Gordon and Badenoch. Sir George Mackenzie, has left an account of the form of creation
which took place with much ceremonial at Holyrood. The patent itself has long disappeared, but there is a document in the Gordon Charter chest which states that the Marquis and his heirs-male should hold the title.

For the rest of his life the Kirk hounded him, though he was received into the Church of England and his excommunication absolved by the Archbishop of Canterbury and confirmed by the General Assembly in Aberdeen in August 1616. Huntly was readmitted to the Privy Council on 27 Feb 1617, but he more or less went into retirement after this.
He died we believe as a Catholic on 13 June 1636, age circa 74. He was buried at Elgin according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church.

He married on 21 July 1588, Henrietta Stewart, daughter of Esme, Duke of Lennox at Holyrood. It is believed he had contracted to marry her perhaps a few years before. In 1586 King James VI gave him 5000 merks for his expenses in bringing Henritta home from France. They had nine children, the eldest George, became the Seventh Earl and Second Marquis of Huntly.

It is to be noted that the current 13th Marquis of Huntly is the Senior (Premier) Marquis of Scotland (1599)( Peerage of Scotland ) in addition to being Chief of Clan Gordon.

The Artwork is a rendering by John Hamilton Gaylor

2018 0910 dqw266@gmail.com

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