Patrick Hume of Polwarth

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Sir Patrick Hume of Polwarth and Redbraes (c.1550–1609) was a Scottish courtier and makar (court poet), the eldest son of Patrick and Agnes Hume, a major Scottish Borders family with landholdings in The Merse. As eldest son, Patrick Hume succeeded to the family estates, including Redbraes Castle, on the death of his father in 1599. His brothers notably included the poet and courtier Alexander Hume (c. 1557–1609) and George Hume (c. 1556–1611) later Earl of Dunbar when that title was resurrected in 1605.

Patrick Hume was introduced to the Scottish court, probably by his father as a member of the royal household, sometime before 1580. He rose to prominence as one of the household servants of the king, James VI, and after 1589 to the Queen Anne, becoming Scottish warden of the Marches in 1591 and keeper of Tantallon Castle the following year.

He is probably best known to history through his association with the Castalian Band, the group of court poets writing in Scots headed by the king in the 1580s and 1590s. Only two works by him are known, his first published poem, The Promine (1580), a hagiographical portrait of the king in aureate verse, and his contribution to The Flyting Betwixt Montgomerie and Polwart (c.1583), a poetic contest in which he proved himself a worthy opponent to Alexander Montgomerie. Both works have survived.

Hume was knighted in later life, probably around 1605, though he does not seem to have had quite the same courtly ambition as his younger brothers George and Alexander. He was a rather reluctanct juror in the 1606 treason trial in Linlithgow brought by his brother George (by then first Earl of Dunbar) on behalf of the king in London against a number of Church of Scotland ministers who were defying James' attempts to bring about a union between the Scottish and English Churches.[1]

He was succeeded by his eldest son, also Sir Patrick Hume, who died in 1648.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Undiscovered Scotland See section Union of the Crowns.