James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Abercorn

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His Grace
The Duke of Abercorn
James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Abercorn.jpg
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
In office
13 July 1866 – 1 December 1868
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Earl of Derby
Benjamin Disraeli
Preceded by The Lord Wodehouse
Succeeded by The Earl Spencer
In office
2 March 1874 – 11 December 1876
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli
Preceded by The Earl Spencer
Succeeded by The Duke of Marlborough
Personal details
Born (1811-01-21)21 January 1811
Westminster, Middlesex,
United Kingdom
Died 31 October 1885(1885-10-31) (aged 74)
Baronscourt, Tyrone,
United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Lady Louisa Russell (1812–1905)
Children Harriet Anson, Countess of Lichfield
Beatrix Lambton, Countess of Durham
Louisa Montagu Douglas Scott, Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry
James Hamilton, 2nd Duke of Abercorn
Katherine Edgcumbe, Countess of Mount Edgcumbe
Georgiana Turnour, Countess Winterton
Lord Claud Hamilton
Lord George Hamilton
Albertha Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough
Lord Ronald Douglas Hamilton
Maud Petty-Fitzmaurice, Marchioness of Lansdowne
Lord Cosmo Hamilton
Lord Frederick Spencer Hamilton
Lord Ernest Hamilton
Parents James Hamilton, Viscount Hamilton
Harriet Douglas
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Abercorn, KG, PC (21 January 1811 – 31 October 1885), styled Viscount Hamilton from 1814 to 1818 and the Marquess of Abercorn from 1818 to 1868, was a British Conservative statesman who twice served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

Background and education[edit]

Born at Seymour Place, Mayfair, Abercorn was the son of James Hamilton, Viscount Hamilton, himself the eldest son of John Hamilton, 1st Marquess of Abercorn. His mother, Harriet, was the second daughter of the Hon. John Douglas, himself the son of James Douglas, 14th Earl of Morton. His father died when Abercorn was only three. In 1818, aged seven, he succeeded his grandfather in his titles and estates.[1] He was educated at Harrow School and Christ Church, Oxford. In 1856, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Laws from the University of Oxford.[1]

Political career[edit]

On 12 December 1844, Lord Abercorn was made a Knight of the Garter at the relatively young age of 33, becoming on 13 November of same year Lord Lieutenant of Donegal and Deputy Lieutenant of Tyrone. On 25 February 1846 he was appointed a Privy Counsellor and Groom of the Stole to Prince Albert, and remained a prominent figure in the royal court for the next two decades.[2] In 1866, he was appointed Viceroy of Ireland, and two years later was created Marquess of Hamilton (in the Peerage of the United Kingdom) and Duke of Abercorn (in the Peerage of Ireland), resigning shortly after Gladstone won the 1868 general election. He was reappointed to the post in 1874, and the Duke served as Viceroy until his resignation in 1876, partly on account of his wife's ill health. In 1874, he was chosen Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, a post he held until his death.[3] Abercorn was Envoy-Extraordinary for the investiture of King Umberto I of Italy with the Order of the Garter on 2 March 1878. He was elected Chancellor of the University of Ireland in 1881, and died four years later at his home of Baronscourt, County Tyrone.

He is buried in the cemetery at Baronscourt Parish Church, the traditional burial place of the Dukes of Abercorn and their families.[4]

Family and children[edit]

James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Abercorn

Abercorn married Lady Louisa, second daughter of John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford, in 1832.[1] They had fourteen children, thirteen of whom survived infancy:

Abercorn died in October 1885, aged 74, and was succeeded by his eldest son, James. The Duchess of Abercorn died in March 1905, aged 92. Through his son, the 2nd Duke, Abercorn is a great-great-great grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales. Through his daughter, Lady Louisa, Abercorn is a great-grandfather of HRH Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, and a great-great-great-grandfather of Sarah, Duchess of York. Through his daughter, Lady Beatrix Frances, Abercorn is a great-grandfather of the Prime Minister Alec Douglas-Home.



  1. ^ a b c Dod, Robert P. (1860). The Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage of Great Britain and Ireland. London: Whitaker and Co. p. 80. 
  2. ^ Doyle, James E. The Official Baronage of England 1066-1885. 1st Ed. 3 vols. London: Longmans, Green, and Co. 1886.
  3. ^ Waite, Arthur Edward (2007). A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. vol. I. Cosimo, Inc. p. 400. ISBN 1-60206-641-8. 
  4. ^ Baronscourt Parish Church

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Kimberley
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Succeeded by
The Earl Spencer
Preceded by
The Earl Spencer
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Succeeded by
The Duke of Marlborough
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Marquess of Donegall
Lord Lieutenant of Donegal
Succeeded by
The Duke of Abercorn
Court offices
Preceded by
The Marquess of Exeter
Groom of the Stole to Prince Albert
Succeeded by
The Earl Spencer
Masonic offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Leinster
Grandmaster of the Grand Lodge of Ireland
Succeeded by
The 2nd Duke of Abercorn
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
John Hamilton
Marquess of Abercorn
Succeeded by
James Hamilton
Peerage of Ireland
New creation Duke of Abercorn
Succeeded by
James Hamilton