Baronets Gordon of Haddo (1642)
1st Baronet Gordon, John Gordon, b.1610, a.1642, d.1644
This branch of the Gordon family is descended from Sir John Gordon (b.?, d.1395), a grandson of the first Gordon of that Ilk and great-grandson of Sir Adam Gordon, Justiciar of Lothian. As he never married, the main line transferred to his younger brother, Sir Adam Gordon, whose heiress Elizabeth married Alexander Seton, who changed his surname to Gordon, thus beginning the line of the Gordons of Huntly. However John Gordon had two illegitimate sons, John Gordon and Thomas Gordon. From Thomas are descended the Gordons of Halhead and of Esslemont, while John junior had several sons, including James Gordon, who married the heiress of Methlic. This branch later obtained the lands of Haddo in Aberdeenshire, the name deriving from half-davoch, where a davoch is the area an ox can plough in a day. Other lands that came into the family were at Kellie and at Tarves. Several generations later, another John Gordon, a staunch Catholic and Royalist, was second in command of the King’s forces, behind the Marquess of Huntly, against the Covenanters. He was created 1st Baronet Gordon of Haddo in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia by Charles I as a reward for his victory at the engagement known as the Trot of Turriff in 1639. In 1644 he joined Huntly again in support of the King, attacking Aberdeen, and was ex-communicated by the General Assembly. When Huntly was forced to retreat, Gordon tried to defend his Castle at Kellie against Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess of Argyll. Persuaded to surrender with terms in order to save the lives of his men, he was imprisoned in St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, then tried for high treason and, on being found guilty, was executed at the Mercat Cross, his titles forfeit.
2nd Baronet Gordon, John Gordon, b.c.1632, a.1644, d.1665
Son of the 1st Baronet and Mary Forbes, daughter of William Forbes of Tolquhon. At the Restoration the attainder of his father was lifted, allowing him to succeed. He married Mary Forbes, daughter of Alexander Forbes, 1st Lord Forbes of Pitsligo, but having no sons the titles transferred to his brother.
3rd Baronet Gordon, George Gordon, b.1637, a.1665, d.1720
Younger brother of the 2nd Baronet. He studied at King’s College, Aberdeen, where he became a professor in 1658. He then travelled on the Continent for several years, studying civil law, but returned to Scotland after the death of his older brother. He became an Advocate in 1668 and represented Aberdeenshire as an MP from 1669 to 1674. In 1678 he was re-elected and made a Privy Counsellor. He was a Lord of Session from 1680 to 1684, being Lord President of the Court of Session from 1681 to 1682 and then Lord Chancellor of Scotland from 1682 to 1684. He was created 1st Earl of Aberdeen shortly after taking that high office, as the appointment of a commoner had offended the nobility, with the subsidiary titles of 1st Viscount of Formartine and 1st Lord Haddo, Methlick, Tarves and Kellie, and was also appointed as Sheriff Principal of Aberdeenshire and Midlothian.
Earls of Aberdeen (1682)
1st Earl of Aberdeen, George Gordon, b.1637, a.1682, d.1720
He was known as being a proud and severe man, though a fine orator, a supporter of James VII & II, and keen on enforcing religious conformity, but was eventually removed from office by the machinations of his political rival William Douglas, 1st Duke of Queensberry in 1684. He continued to be active in Parliament until the Revolution, whereupon he kept a low profile, in order not to display any particular allegiance, until the accession of Queen Anne in 1703. He was a vocal opponent of the Act of Union but abstained from the final vote. He added to his estates thoughout his life, his last purchase being that of his former father-in-law’s lands of Tolquhon.
2nd Earl of Aberdeen, William Gordon, b.1679, a.1720, d.1745
Son of the 1st Earl and Anne Lockhart (b.?, d.1707), daughter of George Lockhart of Torbrex. In 1708 he became MP for Aberdeenshire, but was considered unsuitable, as the son of a peer, to sit in the House of Commons. After he succeeded to the earldom, he was a Representative Peer from 1721 to 1722, taking anti-government stances whenever possible. He married three times, his first two wives unfortunately both dying in childbirth. He added several estates to the Haddo collection, including Fyvie and its castle, and began the construction of Haddo House. He died suddenly in Edinburgh while travelling to support Bonnie Prince Charlie, which meant that the family avoided having their lands forfeited after the failure of the Jacobite Uprising.
3rd Earl of Aberdeen, George Gordon, b.1722, a.1745, d.1801
Son of the 2nd Earl and his second wife Lady Susan Murray (b.1699, d.1725), daughter of Sir John Murray, 1st Duke of Atholl. He was a Representative Peer from 1747 to 1761 and from 1774 to 1790. His eldest son, George Gordon, Lord Haddo, had a large family, several of whom attained high rank in the British Army. He died before his father so the succession passed to his own eldest son.
4th Earl of Aberdeen, George Hamilton-Gordon, b.1784, a.1801, d.1860
Grandson of the 3rd Earl and Catherine Elizabeth Hanson (b.c.1733, d.1817), and son of George Gordon, Lord Haddo (b.1764, d. 1791) and Charlotte Baird (b.?, d.1795). Born in Edinburgh and educated at Harrow and St John’s College Cambridge, he travelled on the Continent for several years before returning to Britain, and was one of the founders of the Athenian Society. He became a Representative Peer in 1806 and was invested as a Knight of the Thistle in 1808. He served as Ambassador to Austria in 1813, being successful in negotiating with the Emperor against Napolean, and was created 1st Viscount Gordon of Aberdeen in the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 1814 and made a Privy Counsellor. In 1818 he changed his surname to Hamilton-Gordon by Royal Licence after marrying Harriet Douglas, Viscountess Hamilton. She had previously been married to Viscount Hamilton, son of John James Hamilton, 1st Marquess of Abercorn (and which made her the mother of James Hamiltin, 1st Duke of Abercorn) and he had previously been married to Catherine Elizabeth Hamilton (b.?, d.1812), daughter of the same John James Hamilton, and so his second wife was his first wife’s sister-in-law. He held numerous senior posts in government, becoming Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1828 and then Foreign Secretary in the Duke of Wellington’s Government. After serving in opposition for a number of years, he was re-installed as Foreign Secretary under Robert Peel. At this time he pushed a bill through Parliament that attempted to give power to Church courts to reject appointees, in order to remove dissension between the various Church factions. In effect, however, this move alienated almost everyone in the Church establishment and was eventually repealed. Notwithstanding, the Peel Government was ousted from power in 1846. When Peel died, Aberdeen became the de facto head of the Tory Party and was eventually asked to be the head of a new coalition Government in 1852, which held power over the course of the Crimean War, although Aberdeen was a pacifist by nature. He retired from the post of Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury in 1855 and was invested as a Knight of the Garter. He was also Chancellor of King’s College Aberdeen from 1847 to 1860 and Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire from 1846 to 1860.
5th Earl of Aberdeen, George John James Hamilton-Gordon, b.1816, a.1860, d.1864
Son of the 4th Earl and Harriet Douglas (b.1792, d.1833) mentioned above. He was born at Bentley Priory in Hertfordshire and was educated at Harrow and Trinity College Cambridge. He was elected as MP in 1854 for Aberdeenshire despite being absent in Egypt, recovering from tuberculosis, and, on leaving the House of Commons after succeeding his father, travelled once more to Egypt, where he tried to convert the Coptics to orthodox Christianity.
6th Earl of Aberdeen, George Hamilton-Gordon, b.1841, a.1864, d.1870
Son of the 5th Earl and Lady Mary Baillie (b.?, d.1900), sister of Sir George Baillie-Hamilton, 10th Earl of Haddington. Born in the Palace of Holyroodhouse, he spent most of his short life at sea, mostly in the Americas. In 1863 he visited his uncle, Arthur Hamilton-Gordon (b.1829, d.1912), who was at that time Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, in Canada, returning to Britain when his father fell ill. After his father’s death he returned to North America under the assumed name of George Osborne and entered naval college at Boston, becoming a Captain in the United States Merchant Marine. He settled briefly in Richmond, Maine, from where he would make frequent journeys at sea. He was washed overboard while travelling on the Hera from Boston to Melbourne.
7th Earl of Aberdeen, John Campbell Hamilton-Gordon, b.1847, a.1870, d.1934
Younger son of the 5th Earl. Born in Edinburgh and educated at the University of St Andrews and University College Oxford, he held many important offices of state. He was made Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire in 1880, a post he held until his death, and High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland from 1881 to 1885. He became a Privy Counsellor in 1886 and served as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland in that year. He served as Governor-General of Canada from 1893 to 1898, travelling extensively across that country and making significant contributions to the development of British Columbia. He received Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1895 and was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1905 to 1915. In 1906 he was made a Knight of the Thistle and in 1911 was created a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order. He was rewarded for his public service in 1916 by being created 1st Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair and 1st Earl of Haddo, in the County of Aberdeen, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. He also served as Captain in the Royal Company of Archers.
Marquesses of Aberdeen and Temair (1916)
1st Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair, John Campbell Hamilton-Gordon, b.1847, a.1916, d.1934
2nd Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair, George Gordon, b.1879, a.1934, d.1965
Son of the 1st Marquess and his second wife Dame Isabel Maria Marjoribanks (b.1857, d.1939), daughter of Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, 1st Baron Tweedmouth. Educated at Harrow, the University of St Andrews and Balliol College Oxford, he became a County Councillor in London, representing the ward of Peckham, and later of Fulham West, and in 1920 received an OBE. He was also Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire from 1934 to 1965, and invested as a Knight of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (K.St.J.) in 1949. He married twice but had no children.
3rd Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair, Dudley Gladstone Gordon, b.1883, a.1965, d.1972
Younger brother of the 2nd Marquess. He was educated at Harrow and then worked for engineering company J & E Hall Ltd in Dartmouth before taking a commission in the Gordon Highlanders in 1914. He received the Distinguished Service Order for gallantry in 1917 and reached the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding the 8th/10th Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders during the First World War. He later became a noted industrialist, serving as President of the British Association of Refrigeration from 1926 to 1929, President of the British Engineers Association from 1936 to 1939, President of the Federation of British Industries from 1940 to 1943 and President of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in 1947.
4th Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair, David George Ian Alexander Gordon, b.1908, a.1972, d.1974
Son of the 3rd Marquess and Cecile Elizabeth Drummond (b.1878, d.1948). Also educated at Harrow, and then at Balliol College Oxford, he gained the rank of Major in the Gordon Highlanders and served in the Second World War. He was entered into the Royal Company of Archers in 1955, and received a CBE in 1963 and was invested as a Knight of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalm (KStJ) in 1964. He was Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire in 1973, having already served as Deputy Lieutenant and Vice-Lieutenant. His four adopted children were not eligible to inherit, though in 2004 a Royal Warrant was issued allowing adopted children the same styling as other children.
5th Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair, Archibald Victor Dudley Gordon, b.1913, a.1974, d.1984
Younger brother of the 4th Marquess. He worked for the BBC in their Radio Talks Department from 1946 to 1972, ultimately as Head of Radio Talks and Documentaries, and produced many party political and election broadcasts. He died unmarried and childless.
6th Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair, Alastair Ninian John Gordon, b.1920, a.1984, d.2002
Younger brother of the 4th and 5th Marquesses. He was educated at Harrow and Gray’s School of Art before joining the Scots Guards in 1939, and saw active service in the Middle-East, North Africa, Italy and Northern Europe during the Second Worls War before being demobbed at the rank of Captain. After the war he attended Camberwell School of Art and began an interest in botanical painting. After succeeding his brother as marquess, he served as a crossbencher in the House of Lords but took little real interest, preferring to write about art for newspapers and magazines.
7th Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair, Alexander George Gordon, b.1955, a.2002
Son of the 6th Marquess and Anne Barry (b.1924, d.2007). He was educated at Harrow. As well as being 7th Marquess, he is also 13th Earl of Aberdeen, 7th Earl of Haddo, 10th Viscount Gordon of Aberdeen, 13th Viscount of Formartine, 13th Lord Haddo, Methlick, Tarves and Kellie and 15th Baronet Gordon of Haddo.
The courtesy title for the heir is Earl of Haddo.
(Last updated: 21/02/2011)