David Colyear, 1st Earl of Portmore

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The Earl of Portmore
The Earl of Portmore
Born 1656
Died 2 January 1730
Weybridge, Surrey
Buried at Weybridge, Surrey
Allegiance  Kingdom of Great Britain
Service/branch British Army
Rank General
Battles/wars Nine Years' War
War of the Spanish Succession

General David Colyear, 1st Earl of Portmore KT PC (c. 1656 – 2 January 1730) was a Scottish general and Governor of Gibraltar.


He was the elder son of Sir Alexander Robertson, of the family of Strowan, Perthshire, who settled in Holland, where he acquired a considerable property, and adopted the name of Colyear. [1]

Military career[edit]

Colyear was commissioned into the Army of William of Orange in 1674, becoming Lieutenant-General of the Scots Brigade, the three Scottish regiments which had been fighting in the service of the Netherlands for many decades.

He led the troops ashore when William landed at Torbay on 5 November 1688 and then served in most of William's Irish campaigns, being made Governor of Limerick in 1691. For his service in Ireland he was created Lord Portmore on 1 June 1699. In 1702, he obtained the rank of major-general, and on 27 February 1703 received the command of the The Queen's Royal Regiment of Foot, later the 2nd Foot. On 13 April 1703, he was raised to the dignities of Earl of Portmore, Viscount of Milsington, and Lord Colyear.[1]

He took part in the War of Spanish Succession and participated in the Battle of Cádiz in 1702 and the Battle of Vigo Bay later that year.[1] In 1710, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the forces in Scotland, and in January 1711 was raised to the rank of general. In 1712, he served under the Duke of Ormonde in Flanders, and the same year he was named a member of the privy council and made a Knight of the Thistle. [1]

In August 1713, he was constituted Governor of Gibraltar, and in October of the same year he was chosen one of the sixteen representative peers of Scotland. When Gibraltar was besieged by the Spaniards in 1727, he embarked for that place to assume command, but on the approach of Admiral Wager with eleven ships the siege was raised. He died 2 January 1730.[1]


David Colyear had two sons (pictured) with Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester.

He married Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester, daughter of Sir Charles Sedley of Southfleet, Kent, and former mistress of James II.[1]

They had two sons:

  1. David Colyear, Viscount Milsington (1698 - 1728-9)
  2. Charles Colyear, 2nd Earl of Portmore.[1]




 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHenderson, Thomas Finlayson (1887). "Colyear, David". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography. 11. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 424–425. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
John Wauchope
Colonel of The Earl of Portmore's Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
Viscount Dalrymple
Preceded by
Henry Bellasis
Colonel of The Queen's Royal Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
Percy Kirke
Preceded by
Thomas Stanwix
Governor of Gibraltar
Succeeded by
Richard Kane
Preceded by
The Earl of Stair
Colonel of the Grey Dragoons
Succeeded by
Sir James Campbell
Peerage of Scotland
New title Lord Portmore
Succeeded by
Charles Colyear
Earl of Portmore
Baronetage of Nova Scotia
Preceded by
Alexander Colyear
Baronet (of Holland)
1685– 1730
Succeeded by
Charles Colyear