John Hamilton, 1st Marquess of Hamilton

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John Hamilton
Born c. 1535
Died 26 April 1604(1604-04-26)
Title 1st Marquess of Hamilton
Tenure 1599-1604
Nationality Scottish
Offices Commendator of Inchaffray Abbey
Commendator of Arbroath
Successor James Hamilton, 2nd Marquess of Hamilton
Spouse(s) Margaret Lyon, Countess of Cassilis
Parents James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran
Margaret Douglas

John Hamilton, 1st Marquess of Hamilton (c. 1535 – 26 April 1604) was a Scottish nobleman.


Hamilton was the third son of James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran by his wife Margaret Douglas, a daughter of James Douglas, 3rd Earl of Morton. His elder brother, was James Hamilton, 3rd Earl of Arran and younger was Claud Hamilton, 1st Lord Paisley.

In 1547, at an early age he was made Commendator of Inchaffray Abbey, a position he held until 1551, when he was made Commendator of Arbroath. He had the benefit of Arbroath until 1579, although he had previously had struggles with George Douglas (later Bishop of Moray and son of the Earl of Angus) over tenure.[1]

Hamilton's older brother Lord James succeeded to the Earldom of Arran in 1575, but for reasons of his insanity, the care of the Hamilton estates was entrusted to Lord John. Hamilton was, like his family, a supporter of Mary, Queen of Scots, and for that in 1579 he and his family were forfeited, by the government of James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton, regent for the underage James VI of Scotland. Hamilton fled to England, then France. He returned to England and there stayed with his brother Claude in the North. While in England he reconciled himself with Archibald Douglas, 8th Earl of Angus who was also in exile there following the Raid of Ruthven. King James had by now come under the influence of James Stewart of Bothwellmuir, to whom the King had granted Hamilton's brother's earldom of Arran. Hamilton with his brother, Angus and others including the Earl of Mar and the Master of Glamis, with the connivance of Elizabeth I of England raised an army and entered Scotland and reached Stirling in October 1585. King James capitulated on 4 November and received the banished lords into his presence.[2]

King James had not previously met Lord John, but greeted him warmly as an especially faithful servant to his mother. At a parliament convened at Linlithgow on 1 December 1585, King James rescinded Hamilton's forfeiture and restored him and the other lords to their previously held lands. Further Hamilton was raised to the Privy Council and made captain of Dumbarton Castle [3]

Hamilton continued to rise in the King's favour, and on 15 April 1599, following the baptism of Princess Margaret at Holyroodhouse, he was created Marquess of Hamilton, Earl of Arran and Lord Aven[4]

In 1588 Hamilton founded a grammar school that became known as Hamilton Academy.

Marriage and issue[edit]

John contracted to marry Margaret Lyon, Countess of Cassilis, the widow of Gilbert Kennedy, 4th Earl of Cassilis, and daughter of John Lyon, 7th Lord Glamis, before 10 February 1578 on 30 December 1577.[5][6]

They had three children:

Hamilton also had two illegitimate children:

  • Margaret Hamilton, married Sir Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss
  • Sir John Hamilton of Letterick, from whom descended the Lords Bargany

External links[edit]



  1. ^ Balfour Paul, vol iv, pp 370-371
  2. ^ Balfour Paul, vol ii, p 371
  3. ^ Acts of Parliament 1 December 1585
  4. ^ Balfour Paul, vol iv, p372
  5. ^ HMC 11th report part 6, Duke of Hamilton, (1887), 54-55.
  6. ^  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1892). "Kennedy, Gilbert (1541?-1576)". Dictionary of National Biography. 30. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 


Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
New Creation
Marquess of Hamilton
Succeeded by
James Hamilton