George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly
Died28 October 1562 (aged 47–48)
TitleEarl of Huntly
PredecessorAlexander Gordon, 3rd Earl of Huntly, grandfather
SuccessorGeorge Gordon, 5th Earl of Huntly, second son
SpouseElizabeth Keith
Children12, including George, Jean, James, Adam, and Patrick
Parent(s)John Gordon, Lord Gordon
Margaret Stewart

George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly (1514 – 28 October 1562) was a Scottish nobleman.


He was the son of John Gordon, Lord Gordon, and Margaret Stewart, daughter of James IV and Margaret Drummond.[a] George Gordon inherited his earldom and estates in 1524 at age 10. As commander of the King's Army he defeated the English at the Battle of Haddon Rig in 1542, was a member of the council of Regency under James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran and Cardinal Beaton and succeeded as Chancellor on the murder of Beaton in 1546. He was captured at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547, and held in the Tower of London but in autumn 1548 he was released when a ransom was delivered by Robert Carnegie, Lord Kinnaird.[1]

In 1550, he accompanied queen Mary of Guise to France. He joined the Protestant Lords of the Congregation in 1560, although he was "a late, reluctant, and unreliable recruit".[2] He was a religious conservative, however, and he worked for "a form of co-existence between Catholic and reformed worship".[3] Huntly was prepared to accept Mary, Queen of Scots, until she transferred the Earldom of Moray, which had been given to the Earl of Huntly in 1549, to her half-brother Lord James Stewart, at which point he withdrew to his estates in the North-East of Scotland.[4]

Mary, Queen of Scots, toured the north-east in August 1562, and was refused entry to Inverness Castle on Gordon's orders. The Queen's forces captured the Castle before moving to Aberdeen where she issued a summons for Gordon. He refused to answer and was outlawed. He marched on Aberdeen but was defeated by James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray at the Battle of Corrichie in October 1562. He died of apoplexy after his capture, and his son, Sir John was executed in Aberdeen. Huntly was posthumously forfeited by parliament in May 1563.

After his death his body and goods seized at Strathbogie Castle were shipped from Aberdeen to Edinburgh. The body stood for the earl at his trial. The goods were taken to Holyrood Palace. When Mary was imprisoned at Lochleven, she was given the earl's cloth-of-estate.[5]


On 27 March 1530, he married Elizabeth Keith, daughter of Robert Keith, Master of Marischal, by whom he had nine sons and three daughters, including;

A letter from Edward Stanhope to the Earl of Essex, dated 6 December 1598, describes Richard Rutherford of Hunthill as "cousin german to Earl Huntly".[9] If Stanhope was correct, then it appears George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly, fathered an additional daughter:

  • (daughter) Gordon married John Rutherford of Hunthill



  1. ^ He was the grandson of Alexander Gordon, 3rd Earl of Huntly by his wife, Lady Jean Stewart, daughter of John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl, by his wife Margaret Douglas. Margaret Douglas was the daughter of Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas by his wife Euphemia Graham. Euphemia Graham was a maternal great-granddaughter of Robert II of Scotland and Euphemia de Ross.


  1. ^ ODNB: Robert Carnegie
  2. ^ Oxford DNB (2004), Gordon, George, fourth earl of Huntly, (1513–1562).
  3. ^ Oxford DNB (2004), Gordon, George, fourth earl of Huntly, (1513–1562).
  4. ^ "Chapter III – Earldom and Earls of Huntly", Electric
  5. ^ Robertson, Inventaires de la Royne Descosse, (1863), xxii.
  6. ^ CSP. Scotland, vol. 1 (Edinburgh, 1898), pp. 655–6.
  7. ^ Stephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney, eds. (1890). "Gordon, James (1541-1620)" . Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 22. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  8. ^ "Person Page".
  9. ^ Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Marquis of Salisbury at Hatfield House, vol. 8, p. 480


  • "Gordon, George (1514-1562)" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  • Bonner, Elizabeth, 'The Earl of Huntly and the King of France, 1548: Man for Rent', English Historical Review, vol. 120, no.485 (Feb 2005), 80–103.
  • Robertson, Joseph, Inventaires de la Royne Descosse, Banntayne Club, (1863), xxii–xxv, 49–56.
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by Earl of Huntly
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Cardinal Beaton
Archbishop of St Andrews
Lord Chancellor of Scotland
Succeeded by