Archibald Campbell, 4th Earl of Argyll

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Coordinates: 55°59′46.9″N 4°56′35.6″W / 55.996361°N 4.943222°W / 55.996361; -4.943222

Gillespie Roy Archibald Campbell, 4th Earl of Argyll (c. 1507 – 1558) was a Scottish nobleman and politician.


Campbell was the eldest son of Colin Campbell, 3rd Earl of Argyll (died 1529) and Jean Gordon, daughter of Alexander Gordon, 3rd Earl of Huntly. Immediately after succeeding to the title and offices of his father (in late 1529/early 1530), he was put in command of an expedition to quell an insurrection in the southern Scottish Isles. The voluntary submission of the main chiefs resulted; and Alexander of Islay, a prime mover in the insurrection, was able to convince King James V that he was personally well disposed to the government. More than that, he argued the disturbances in the Isles were chiefly because the earls of Argyll had made use of the office of lieutenant over the Isles for their own personal aggrandisement. Campbell was therefore summoned before the king to give an account of the duties and rental of the Isles received by him; and, as the result of the inquiry, was committed for a time to prison. Shortly afterwards he was liberated, but was deprived of his offices, and they were not restored to him until after the death of James V.[1]

In a charter of 28 April 1542, Argyll is called "master of the king's wine cellar". Along with the Earls of Huntly and Moray he was named one of the council of the kingdom in the document which Cardinal Beaton produced as the will of James, and which appointed Beaton governor of the kingdom and guardian to the infant Mary, Queen of Scots. After the arrest of Beaton, on 20 January 1543, Argyll retired to his own lands to muster a force to maintain the struggle against the Earl of Arran, who had been chosen governor. Shortly afterwards the Earls of Argyll, Bothwell, Huntly, and Moray, supported by many of the barons and landed gentry, as well as by bishops and abbots, assembled at Perth, vowing their determination to resist the measures of the governor. On being summoned by the governor to disperse they did not resist; but when it became known that Henry VIII of England had succeeded in arranging a treaty of marriage between the young queen Mary and Edward, Prince of Wales, the Earls of Argyll, Huntly, Lennox, and Bothwell marched from Stirling with a force of ten thousand men, and compelled the governor to surrender to their charge, the infant queen, with whom they returned to Stirling.[1]

In the summer of 1544 Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, who had gone over to the party of the English king, plundered the Isle of Arran, and made himself master of Bute and Rothesay Castle. As he sailed down the River Clyde he was fired on by Argyll, who with four thousand men occupied Dunoon Castle. After a consultation with his English officers, Lennox attacked Dunoon, landing and burning the village and church. Retreating then to his ships, he subsequently laid waste a large part of Kintyre; but, as he had not succeeded in obtaining possession of Dumbarton Castle it was a transient victory. On the forfeiture of the estates of Lennox, Argyll was rewarded with the largest share. Although Lennox continued to foment discontent in the Isles, the practical result of his actions was further to increase the power of Argyll.[2]

At the Battle of Pinkie, on 10 September 1547, Argyll, with four thousand west Highlanders, held command of the right wing of the Scottish army. In January 1548 he advanced to Dundee to capture Broughty Castle; but English negotiators deterred him, even if he denied the rumours that he favoured England, and had been bought off. At the siege of Haddington, he was made "knight of the cockle" by the king of France at the same time as the Earls of Angus and Huntly.[3]

Argyll had come under the influence of John Knox and the Scottish Reformation. On his way to Geneva in 1556 Knox stayed with him at Castle Campbell. After the agreement of the barons, in December 1557, that the reformed preachers should teach in private houses till the government should allow them to preach in public, Argyll took on the protection of John Douglas, a Carmelite friar. To induce Argyll to renounce the reformed faith, John Hamilton, Archbishop of St. Andrews, sent him a long letter, to which he wrote a detailed answer.[3]

Argyll died between 21 August 1558,[3] and 2 December 1558 at Dulnynn, Scotland. He was buried at Kilmun Parish Church in Kilmun, Cowal.[4]


Argyll was married three times. He married, firstly, Helen (died in or before 1541), daughter of James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran,[3] and Janet Bethune.[5] They had a son:

Argyll married, secondly, Lady Margaret Graham, daughter of William Graham, 3rd Earl of Menteith,[3] and Margaret Moubray, on 21 April 1541 at the Priory of Inchmahome.[7] They had three children:

Argyll married thirdly, Catherine Maclean, daughter of Hector Mor Maclean, 12th Clan Chief, on 12 March 1546.[5]

Argyll had two other children:


  1. ^ a b Henderson 1886, p. 313.
  2. ^ Henderson 1886, pp. 313, 314.
  3. ^ a b c d e Henderson 1886, p. 314.
  4. ^ Dawson 2004.
  5. ^ a b Lundy 2011 cites Cokayne 2000, p. 201 and Mosley 2003, p. 607
  6. ^ Dawson 2004a.
  7. ^ a b Lundy 2011 cites Mosley 2003, p. 607
  8. ^ Lundy 2011 cites Cokayne 2000, p. 201
  9. ^ a b Lundy 2011 cites Mosley 1999, p. 104
  10. ^ Lundy 2011 cites Cokayne 2000a, p. 222


  • Dawson, Jane E. A. (2004). "Campbell, Archibald, fourth earl of Argyll (1498–1558)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/4469.  (subscription required)
  • Dawson, Jane E. A. (2004a). "Campbell, Archibald, fifth earl of Argyll (1538–1573)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/4470.  (subscription required)
  • Lundy, Darryl (26 January 2011). "Archibald Campbell, 4th Earl of Argyll". The Peerage. Retrieved 2009-04-14. Archibald Campbell, 4th Earl of Argyll was the son of Colin Campbell, 3rd Earl of Argyll and Jean Gordon. ...  cites:
    • Cokayne, G.E., ed. (2000) [1910-1959]. The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant new ed., 13 volumes in 14. 1 (reprint in 6 volumes ed.). Gloucester, U.K: Alan Sutton Publishing. p. 201. 
    • Cokayne, G.E., ed. (2000a) [1910-1959]. The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant new ed., 13 volumes in 14. 3 (reprint in 6 volumes ed.). Gloucester, U.K: Alan Sutton Publishing. p. 222. 
    • Mosley, Charles, ed. (1999). Burke's Peerage and Baronetage. 1 (106th (2 volumes) ed.). Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage. p. 104. 
    • Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage (3 volumes). 1 (107th ed.). Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage. p. 607. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Argyll
Lord Justice General
Succeeded by
The Earl of Argyll
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
Colin Campbell
Earl of Argyll
Succeeded by
Archibald Campbell