Frederick Hamilton (soldier)

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Frederick Hamilton
Manorhamilton Castle - - 1495776.jpg
Ruin of the castle built by Frederick Hamilton at Manorhamilton.
Bornc. 1590
Spouse(s)Sidney Vaughan
ChildrenGustavus & others
Relatives7th Lord Seton (grandfather)
Frederick Hamilton (grandson)
2nd Viscount Boyne (grandson)

Sir Frederick Hamilton (c. 1590 – 1647) was a Scottish soldier who fought for Sweden in the Thirty Years' War in Germany and for the Covenanters in Ireland, Scotland, and northern England. He built Manorhamilton Castle in County Leitrim in Ireland. His son Gustavus became the 1st Viscount Boyne.

Birth and origins[edit]

Frederick was born about 1590[a] in Scotland, probably at Paisley. He was the fifth of the six children that lived to adulthood, and the youngest son, of Claud Hamilton and his wife Margaret Seton. His father was the 1st Lord Paisley. His father's family descended from Walter FitzGilbert, the founder of the House of Hamilton,[1] who had received the barony of Cadzow from Robert the Bruce.[2] Frederick's mother was a daughter of George Seton, 7th Lord Seton[b] by his wife Isobel Hamilton.[3] Both parents were Scottish and seem also to have been both Catholic. They had married in 1574.[3]

Family tree
Frederick Hamilton with wife, parents, his four children, and other selected relatives.[c]
2nd Earl

c. 1516 – 1575
7th Lord

3rd Earl


1st Lord


d. 1616
1st Earl

d. 1614
& Roscrea
d. bef. 1657
b. c. 1629
d. bef. 1646
James of

d. 1652


d. 1721
c. 1663 – 1715

d. 1748
c. 1685 –
c. 1692 –



XXXSubject of
the article
XXXEarls of
of Hamilton
XXXEarls of
*d.v.p. = predeceased his father (decessit vita patris)

Several of his siblings died in their infancy or childhood.[5] Six reached adulthood:[6]

He also had sisters among which:

  1. Margaret (died 1623), married William Douglas, 1st Marquess of Douglas

His mother died in March 1616.[14]


He and his brothers James, Claud, and George were involved in James VI and I's Plantations of Ireland. In March 1620, he was given the quarter of Carrowrosse in the Barony of Dromahair in northern County Leitrim.[15] Leitrim is in the Province of Connaught but northern Leitrim lies along the border with Ulster. Over the next two decades he increased his estate to 18,000 acres (73 km2). All that land had been seized from the O'Rourke clan in the Plantation of Leitrim.

Marriage and children[edit]

On 20 May 1620 Frederick Hamilton married Sidney Vaughan. She was a rich heiress, the only child of Sir John Vaughan, Governor of Londonderry.[16]

Frederick and Sidney had four children:[17]

  1. Christiana (married 1649), married Sir George Munro[18]
  2. Frederick (died before 1646), was killed in action in Ireland[19]
  3. James of Manorhamilton (died 1652), married his cousin Catherine, daughter of Claud Hamilton, Lord Strabane[20]
  4. Gustavus (1642–1723), became the 1st Viscount Boyne[21]

Swedish service[edit]

In November 1631, he entered Swedish service. He must by that time have converted to Protestantism as a Catholic would not have been acceptable to the Swedes. He became colonel of a Scottish-Irish regiment that served in Germany for 15 months during the Thirty Years' War. They fought in General Tott's army on the Elbe, the Weser and the Rhine. After spending a few years back in Leitrim, he unsuccessfully attempted to re-enter Swedish service in September 1637.


In 1634 he started building Manorhamilton Castle in northern Leitrim, around which grew the town of Manorhamilton.

Sir Frederick was involved in a lengthy legal dispute over the ownership of parcels of land in the County of Leitrim with Tirlagh Reynolds of Kiltubbrid. On 15 November 1633 an injunction was granted to give Tirlagh possession, but it was dissolved. On 13 June 1634 a second injunction in favour of Tirlagh was granted. A Chancery order of 19 December 1634 dissolved that second injunction. On 5 December 1640, the committee for Irish affairs of the Long Parliament heard four petitions from Sir Frederick in this respect.[22] The Down Survey shows Tirlagh Reynolds as owner of several parcels in southern Leitrim in 1641.[23]

During the Irish Rebellion of 1641, Manorhamilton Castle was besieged several times, but remained intact. In the ensuing Irish Confederate Wars he fought for the Scottish Covenanters trying to keep the Confederates out of the north of Ireland. In 1643, after another unsuccessful attack upon the castle, he hanged 58 of his enemies from a scaffolding in front of the castle.

On 1 July 1642, in retribution for cattle raids by the O'Rourke clan, he sacked the nearby town of Sligo, burning part of it, including Sligo Abbey, a Dominican friary.[24][25] Local legend tells that on the way over the mountains back to Manorhamilton Castle, some of his men got lost in heavy fog. A guide on a white horse offered to lead them safely over the mountain, but intentionally led the men over a cliff and to their doom. This legend is the subject of a short story by Yeats, entitled The Curse of the Fires and of the Shadows.[26]


The "Cessation" ceasefire of September 1643, negotiated by the Marquess of Ormond, was not recognised by the Covenanters, with which he was allied. The war in Leitrim and Ulster therefore went on. However, after 1643 he left Ireland for Scotland where he became a colonel of a regiment of horse in the army of the Solemn League and Covenant fighting in Scotland and Northern England, while still retaining his foot regiment in western Ulster where his sons Frederick and James probably represented him. However, his son Frederick was killed and on 5 June 1646 the Covenanter army under Robert Monro lost the Battle of Benburb against the Confederates under Owen Roe O'Neill, after which they retreated to Carrickfergus, abandoning Leitrim and southern Ulster to the Confederates.

Death, succession, and timeline[edit]

In 1647, Sir Frederick, aged 57, left the then disbanding Scottish army and retired to Edinburgh, where he died later that year in relative poverty. He had received very little compensation for his military efforts from the English parliament. He was succeeded by his son James, who had two daughters with which Manorhamilton passed out of the family.[27] In 1652 Manorhamilton Castle was burned by Ulick Burke, 1st Marquess of Clanricarde, who had taken over as leader of the royalists from Ormond. The castle then fell into ruins.

Notes, citations, and sources[edit]


  1. ^ a b His birth year is constrained by his parents' marriage in 1574, the gestations of his elder siblings, and his mother's death in 1616.
  2. ^ Numbered as the 5th Lord Seton by Paul.[3]
  3. ^ This family tree is partly derived from the Abercorn pedigree pictured in Cokayne.[4] Also see the lists of siblings and children in the text.


  1. ^ Chisholm 1910, p. 878: "... the first authentic ancestor is one Walter FitzGilbert. He first appears in 1294–1295 ..."
  2. ^ Paul 1907, p. 341, line 12: "At a later but uncertain date he received the barony of Cadzow from King Robert ..."
  3. ^ a b c Paul 1904, p. 39, line 24: "... having married, 1 August 1574 (contract dated 15 and 16 June 1574), Margaret daughter of George, fifth Lord Seton by Isabel daughter of Sir William Hamilton of Sanquhar ..."
  4. ^ Cokayne 1910, p. 4: "Tabular pedigree of the Earls of Abercorn"
  5. ^ Paul 1904, p. 39: "... three children who died in infancy: ..."
  6. ^ Paul 1904, p. 40: "... and the following who attained maturity:"
  7. ^ Paul 1904, p. 40, line 1: "... and the following who attained maturity:"
  8. ^ Cokayne 1910, p. 2, line 8"On 5 Apr. 1603 he was cr. [created] Lord Abercorn, co. Linlithgow [S. [Scotland]], to him and his heirs whatsoever."
  9. ^ Paul 1904, p. 40, line 4: "Sir John Hamilton, married Johanna, daughter of Levimus Everard, Councillor of State to the King of Spain, in the Province of Mechlin ..."
  10. ^ Paul 1904, p. 40, line 17: "Claud Hamilton of Shawfield, co. Linlithgow, a Gentleman of the King's Privy Chamber, appointed 11 February 1613 a member of the Privy Council in Ireland, was granted as an undertaker the small proportions of Killeny and Teadane or Eden containing together 2000 acres of the barony of Strabane ..."
  11. ^ Burke 1869, p. 3, left column, line 40: "Claud (Sir), commander of Fort of Toome, co. Antrim; m. [married] the dau. [daughter] and h. [heir] of sir Robert Hamilton, of manor Elieston, co. Tyrone, and d. [died] 1629, leaving a son and heir."
  12. ^ Paul 1904, p. 43, line 4: "Margaret, married first to Sir John Stewart of Metven, natural son of Ludovic, second Duke of Lennox; and secondly, to Sir John Seton of Gargunnock."
  13. ^ Lodge 1789, p. 110: "Sir George Hamilton of Greenlaw, in the county of Tyrone, and of Roscrea, in the county of Tipperary, was granted the middle proportion of Largie alias Cloghogenal and the small proportion of Derrywoone but the grant was never enrolled. In 1611 he was resident at Derrywoone ..."
  14. ^ a b Paul 1904, p. 39, line 28: "... and by her [Margaret] who died in March 1616, had issue ..."
  15. ^ a b Paul 1904, p. 44: "By patent, 16 March 1620, he [Frederick Hamilton] had a grant of a quarter of land called Carrowrosse, in the Barony of Dromahere and county of Leitrim ..."
  16. ^ Lodge 1789, p. 174, line 30: "He [Frederick Hamilton] married Sidney, daughter and heir to Sir John Vaughan, a captain in the Irish army, Privy Counsellor and Governor of the county and city of Londonderry ..."
  17. ^ Paul 1904, p. 45, line 1: "... and had three sons and one daughter."
  18. ^ Paul 1904, p. 45, line 34: "Christiana m. [married] at Coleraine in 1649 as his second wife Sir George Munroe of Newmore ..."
  19. ^ Paul 1904, p. 45, line 3: "Frederick, died unmarried before his father, being killed in the wars in Ireland."
  20. ^ Paul 1904, p. 45, line 6: "James of Manor Hamilton, died 27 December 1652, married in 1647 or 1648 his cousin Catherine, daughter of Claud Lord Strabane ..."
  21. ^ Paul 1904, p. 45, line 21: "Gustavus born in 1642, entered Trinity College ..."
  22. ^ D'Ewes 1923, p. 111, Footnote 28: "A supporting of Tirlagh against Sir Fredericke Hambledon hee had been prosecuted uniustlie for lands in the Countie of Leytrim in Ireland ..."
  23. ^ "The Down Survey of Ireland".
  24. ^ a b O'Rorke 1890, p. 155: "The irruption of Hamilton into Sligo took place on the night of the 1st July, 1642."
  25. ^ Coleman 1902, p. 99, line 30: "... to the Friary, burned the superstitious trumperies ... the Fryars themselves were also burnt, and two of them running out were killed in their habits."
  26. ^ Yeats 1914, p. 134.
  27. ^ Lodge 1789, p. 175: "having only two daughters, they carried the aforesaid estate into the families of their husbands ..."
  28. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, p. 44, line 1: "James I ... acc. 24 Mar. 1603 ..."
  29. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, p. 44, line 16: "Charles I. ... acc. 27 Mar. 1625 ..."
  30. ^ Duffy 2002, p. 114: "When the latter [O'Neill] scored a surprise victory at Benburn, on 5 June 1646, over the Ulster Scots led by General Robert Munro, it seemed that the confederates were in sight of victory ..."


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]