James Hamilton, 2nd Duke of Abercorn

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The Duke of Abercorn
James Hamilton, 2nd Duke of Abercorn.jpg
James Hamilton, 2nd Duke of Abercorn, circa 1913
Born(1838-08-24)24 August 1838
Died3 January 1913(1913-01-03) (aged 74)
Noble familyHamilton
Spouse(s)Lady Mary Anna Curzon-Howe
James Albert Edward Hamilton, 3rd Duke of Abercorn
Lady Alexandra Phyllis Hamilton
Lady Gladys Mary Hamilton
Lord Arthur John Hamilton
Lord Claud Nigel Hamilton
FatherJames Hamilton, 1st Duke of Abercorn
MotherLady Louisa Jane Russell
Garter encircled arms of James Hamilton, 2nd Duke of Abercorn, KG, as displayed on his Order of the Garter stall plate in St. George's Chapel.
The duke as Marquess of Hamilton by Leslie Ward, 1881

James Hamilton, 2nd Duke of Abercorn KG CB PC (Ire) (24 August 1838 – 3 January 1913), styled Viscount Hamilton until 1868 and Marquess of Hamilton from 1868 to 1885, was a British nobleman, groom of the stool and diplomat. He was the son of James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Abercorn, and Lady Louisa Jane Russell.


Lord Hamilton was educated, like his father, at Harrow and Christ Church, Oxford,[1] where he matriculated on 28 May 1857. After graduating from Oxford with a BA in 1860,[2] he entered Parliament as Conservative MP for County Donegal, a constituency he represented from 1860 to 1880. After serving as High Sheriff of Tyrone for 1863, he re-entered university and emerged with an M.A. in 1865 (he was created a Companion of the Order of the Bath the same year). That year, he also embarked upon a diplomatic mission to Denmark. He served as a Lord of the Bedchamber to the Prince of Wales from 1866 to 1885; in the latter year, he took over his father's position of Lord Lieutenant of County Donegal, and inherited his father's peerage titles. He led the Lords' reply to the Speech from the throne wearing the uniform of Lord Lieutenant of Donegal on 21 January 1886.[3] He was chosen Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1886, a post he held until his death.[4] In 1887 he was appointed to the Privy Council of Ireland.

Abercorn held several positions after acceding to that title, including Groom of the Stool (1886–1891), and Chairman of the British South Africa Company. In early 1901 he was appointed by King Edward to lead a special diplomatic mission to announce the King's accession to the governments of Denmark, Sweden and Norway, Russia, Germany, and Saxony.[5]

He was also created a Knight of the Garter, and died of pneumonia in London at the age of seventy-four. He is buried in the cemetery at Baronscourt Parish Church, the traditional burial place of the Dukes of Abercorn and their families.[6]

Family and children[edit]

In 1869 he married Lady Mary Anna Curzon-Howe (1848–1929), daughter of Richard Curzon-Howe, 1st Earl Howe (1796–1870), and Anne Gore (bef. 1832–1877, daughter of Adm. Sir John Gore (d. 1836). They had seven sons and two daughters:

Through his oldest son James Albert Edward Hamilton, he is a great-great-grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales.



  1. ^ Cokayne 1910, p. 10.
  2. ^ Foster, Joseph (1888–1892). "Hamilton, James, Viscount" . Alumni Oxonienses: the Members of the University of Oxford, 1715–1886. Oxford: Parker and Co – via Wikisource.
  3. ^ http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/lords/1886/jan/21/address-in-answer-to-her-majestys-most
  4. ^ Waite, Arthur Edward (2007). A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. vol. I. Cosimo, Inc. p. 400. ISBN 1-60206-641-8.
  5. ^ "The King – the special Embassies". The Times (36410). London. 23 March 1901. p. 12.
  6. ^ Baronscourt Parish Church


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Edmund Hayes, Bt
Thomas Conolly
Member of Parliament for County Donegal
With: Thomas Conolly 1860–1876
William Wilson 1876–1879
Thomas Lea 1879–1880
Succeeded by
Thomas Lea
John Kinnear
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Duke of Abercorn
Lord Lieutenant of Donegal
Succeeded by
Sir John Olphert
Masonic offices
Preceded by
The 1st Duke of Abercorn
Grandmaster of the Grand Lodge of Ireland
Succeeded by
The Earl of Donoughmore
Military offices
Transferred to Special Reserve Honorary Colonel of the North Irish Horse
Succeeded by
The Earl of Shaftesbury
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
James Hamilton
Duke of Abercorn
Succeeded by
James Hamilton