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Orkney, 1st Earl of
Sir George Hamilton, KT, 1st Earl of Orkney

Arms: Quarterly, 1st grand quarter Azure a lymphad sails furled and its oars in saltire within a double tressure flory counter flory Or; 2nd and 3rd grand quarters quarterly 1st and 4th Gules three cinquefoils Ermine, 2nd and 3rd Argent a lymphad sails furled Sable; 4th grand quarter Argent a man’s heart crowned proper and on a chief Azure three stars Argent

SOURCE, NOTES & CREDITS: Blazon for arms: page 583, Vol. VI “The Scots Peerage”, Sir James Balfour Paul, Lord Lyon King of Arms (Ed.), Edinburgh, David Douglas (Pub.), 1909, reworked by J.H. Gaylor; B&W full page background illustration executed by Graham Johnston, the Heraldic Artist to the Lyon Office, from Plate opposite page 578 as above. Text from internet article from Wikipedia and “The Scots Peerage adapted by D.Q. Wedvick.

George Hamilton was born on 9 Feb. 1666 at Hamilton, the fifth son of William Hamilton, Duke of Hamilton ( who had been created a life peer) and Anne Hamilton 4th Duchess of Hamilton in her own right. He was influenced by his paternal uncles, the Earls of Dumbarton, to take up the profession of arms. He fought for William of Orange in Ireland and the Low Countries was raised to the peerage in 1695 and continued to serve with distinction in the War of Spanish Succession, retiring and taking up governorships and sitting as a representative peer in the House of Lords.

Interestingly he was appointed Governor of Virginia in 1698, serving in this office until 1737. He was however, an absentee governor with eight Lieutenant Governors over the years actually in the crown colony filling in for him. In 1736 he was the first British Officer to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. He died at age 70 on 29 Jan 1737.

Sir George was succeeded by his daughter Anne as 2nd Countess of Orkney, who was succeeded in turn by her daughter Mary as 3rd Countess of Orkney, who was succeeded by her daughter Mary as 4th Countess of Orkney who was finally succeeded by a son, John, 5th Earl of Orkney. Wonder if this triple succession of daughters is unique ?

The artwork is a rendering of John Hamilton Gaylor.

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