William Ross, 12th Lord Ross
William Ross, 12th Lord Ross (c.1656 – 15 March 1738), was a Scottish nobleman, soldier and politician.
Ross was born in about 1656. He was the son and heir of George Ross, 11th Lord Ross, who died in 1682, by Grizel, daughter of William Cochrane, 1st Earl of Dundonald. The Rosses of Halkhead, or Hawkhead, in Renfrewshire, were a Lowland family, not apparently related to the Earls of Ross or the Highland family of Ross of Balnagown.
Ross had commissions as lieutenant (27 September 1678) and captain (4 September 1680) in Lord Home's troop of horse, and as captain (26 December 1682) and major (4 August 1686) in Claverhouse's regiment of horse, the last of which, however, he shortly afterwards resigned. In 1685, he was wounded in an action during the pursuit of the Earl of Argyll.
He appears to have been a personal friend of Claverhouse, having been a witness at his wedding in 1684, and later excused himself from joining the army raised against his old friend and commander by pleading the pressure of his Parliamentary duties.
In 1689 Ross was present at the first Parliament of King William and was chosen by the Convention of Estates to go to London to give the King an account of their proceedings. He was also appointed as a commissioner to consider the question of union with England. On 18 May 1689, he was appointed a member of the Privy Council.
Disaffected perhaps by the lack of reward for his services, Ross became closely involved with the Earl of Annandale in the dissident "Club" of Sir James Montgomerie of Skelmorlie. However, he recanted and, although sent to the Tower of London in July 1690, was eventually released without prosecution.
On 29 February 1704 he was appointed Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. A later attempt in about 1707 to secure for himself the ancient Earldom of Ross aroused the genealogical indignation of the Earl of Cromartie, who memorably wrote that Ross had no more relation to the old Earls of Ross "than the miller of Carstairs has to the Prince of Parma".
Ross died at Edinburgh on 15 March 1738.
Ross married no fewer than four times:
- first (7 February 1679) to Agnes, daughter and heiress of Sir John Wilkie of Fouldean
- secondly to Margaret, daughter of Lord Wharton (and widow of Major Dunch and Sir Thomas Sulyarde)
- thirdly to Anne, daughter of John Hay, 2nd Marquess of Tweeddale
- fourthly (contract 16 June 1731) to Henrietta, daughter of Sir Francis Scott of Thirlestane (who survived him and died on 16 January 1750).
By his first wife, Lord Ross had:
- George Ross, 13th Lord Ross
- John, who was born on 13 July 1687 but died young
- Euphame (10 November 1684-1729), who married first William Boyd, 3rd Earl of Kilmarnock and secondly (after 1717) John Murray
- Mary (born 18 July 1687), who married (contract 26 June 1710) John Murray, 1st Duke of Atholl
- Grizel, who married (in or before 1715) Sir James Lockhart of Carstairs and died in November 1749.
- Sir James Balfour Paul, The Scots Peerage, Volume VII
- P.A.Hopkins, Sir James Montgomerie of Skelmorlie, in The Stuart Court in Exile and the Jacobites (ed. Cruickshanks and Corp, Hambledon Press, 1995), chapter 3
|Peerage of Scotland|