Lords Ruthven (1487-1488)


1st Lord Ruthven, William Ruthven, b.?, a.1487-1488, d.1528


The name of Ruthven is taken from lands in Rannoch, Perthshire and the family is descended from the Norseman Sweyn, Lord of Crawford in the 12th Century. origin. William Ruthven was Hereditary Sheriff of Perthshire and sat in Parliament as a feudal baron. He fought on the side of James III at the Battle of Sauchieburn, against the rebel lords, and it was probably shortly prior to this that he was created 1st Lord Ruthven. He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1513, and became one of the Guardians of the young James IV.


2nd Lord Ruthven, William Ruthven, b.c.1510, a.1528, d.1552


Grandson of the 1st Lord and Isabel Livingston, and son of William Ruthven, Master of Ruthven (b.b.1480, d.1513) and Catherine Buttergask. He became a Privy Counsellor in 1542 and Lord Privy Seal in 1546, and was an early proponent of Protestantism. His father died at Flodden.


3rd Lord Ruthven, Patrick Ruthven, b.?, a.1552, d.1566


Son of the 2nd Lord and Janet Halyburton, Lady Dirletoun (b.?, d.c.1560), daughter of Patrick Halyburton, 5th Lord Dirletoun. He became 7th Lord Dirletoun on his mother’s death. He was a Privy Counsellor, and held the post of Lord Warden of the Middle March. He was a supporter of the Reformation and took part in many of the skirmishes between the factions at the time. He was the ringleader in the assassination of Rizzio, rising from his sickbed to lead the murderers into the Queen’s chambers. He fled to England but died shortly afterwards.


4th Lord Ruthven, William Ruthven, b.1541, a.1566, d.1584


Son of the 3rd Lord and Janet Douglas, daughter of Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. He initially fled to England with his father, but was pardoned soon after. He took a large part in the politics of the time and was at Carberry Hill when Mary surrendered. He was one of those entrusted with conducting the Queen to Lochleven Castle. There are suggestions that he may have become sympathetic to her, but any hope she had was lost when he fought against her at the Battle of Langside. He was rewarded by being made Lord High Treasurer in 1571 and one of the Extraordinary Lords of Session. In 1578, he was made Lord Warden of the Marches and invested as a Privy Counsellor. He then fell out with the Regent Morton, and was involved in the conspiracy that led to Morton’s arrest and execution in 1581, after which he was created 1st Earl of Gowrie.



Earls of Gowrie (1581)


1st Earl of Gowrie, William Ruthven, b.1541, a.1581, d.1584


In 1582, having taken sides against the new Regent Arran, he led the Raid of Ruthven, kidnapping James VI from Perth, and holding him captive for a year at Ruthven Castle. After the King was rescued, Ruthven pleaded for forgiveness and was pardoned, but when Arran was restored to power, the plots and counterplots continued. He was eventually arrested and executed for treason.


2nd Earl of Gowrie, James Ruthven, b.1575, a.1586, d.c.1588


Son of the 1st Earl and Dorothea Stewart, daughter of Henry Stewart, 1st Lord Methven (for whom see the Avandale page). The attainder of 1584, abolishing the titles of William Ruthven, was reversed in 1586, allowing James to succeed his father.


3rd Earl of Gowrie, John Ruthven, b.1577, a.1588, d.1600


Younger brother of the 2nd Earl. He was educated at the University of Edinburgh and at Padua University, and followed his older brother as Hereditary Sheriff of Perthshire. He and his younger brother Alexander Ruthven (b.a.1577, d.1600) were involved in the Gowrie conspiracy, which may have had something to do with the fact that James VI was heavily in debt to the earl. It seems that the King and a group of nobles were invited to Ruthven Castle to interrogate a foreign prisoner. The King was led through a succession of doors that were locked behind him, and finally confronted by Alexander, perhaps in an attempted kidnap. Whatever the real reasons, the King managed to attract the attention of his followers, who found a back staircase into the room in which he was being held, whereon Alexander was killed. John Ruthven then attacked his brother’s killers, only to be killed himself. All his honours and estates were forfeited and the name of Ruthven Castle changed to Huntingtower. Two younger brothers, William and Patrick, survived by fleeing to England. William eventually emigrated to Virginia, but Patrick was captured and spent nineteen years in the Tower of London.



Lords Ruthven of Freeland (1651)


1st Lord Ruthven, Thomas Ruthven, b.?, a.1651, d.1671


Thomas Ruthven was great-grandson of William Ruthven, 2nd Lord Ruthven, mentioned above, grandson of that individual’s youngest son Alexander Ruthven (b.?, d.1599) and Elizabeth Moncrieffe, daughter of William Moncrieffe of that Ilk, and son of William Ruthven and Isabella Fotheringham. He served as an MP for Perthshire and was made a Privy Counsellor in 1643. Although an anti-Royalist, he was made 1st Lord Ruthven of Freeland by Charles I, perhaps as a bribe for his support.


2nd Lord Ruthven, David Ruthven, b.?, a.1671, d.1701


Son of the 1st Lord and Isabel Balfour, daughter of Robert Balfour, 2nd Lord Balfour of Burleigh. In 1674, knowing he would have no heirs, he entailed his estates to his sisters, in precedence from the youngest. He was Lord of the Privy Council in 1689.


3rd Lord (Lady) Ruthven, Jean Ruthven, b.?, a.1701, d.1722


Younger sister of the 2nd Lord.


4th Lord (Lady) Ruthven, Isabel Ruthven, b.?, a.1722, d.1732


Niece of the 3rd Lady Ruthven, and daughter of Elizabeth Ruthven (b.?, d.b.1674) and Sir Francis Ruthven, 1st Baronet Ruthven of Redcastle (a descendant of William Ruthven, 1st Lord Ruthven).


5th Lord Ruthven, James Ruthven, b.?, a.1732, d.1783


Son of the 4th Lady Ruthven and Colonel James Ruthven of Graitney (formerly James Johnstone). He was baptised as James Johnstone, but both he and his father changed their surname.


6th Lord Ruthven, James Ruthven, b.1733, a.1783, d.1789


Son of the 5th Lord and Janet Nisbet.


7th Lord Ruthven, James Ruthven, b.1777, a.1789, d.1853


Son of the 6th Lord and Mary Elizabeth Melville (b.?, d.1820), daughter of David Melville, 8th Earl of Leven. He reached the rank of Major in the 90th Foot Regiment. He married but had no children.


8th Lord (Lady) Ruthven, Mary Elizabeth Thornton Ruthven, b.c.1784, a.1853, d.1864


Younger sister of the 7th Lord.


9th Lord Ruthven, Walter James Hore-Ruthven, b.1838, a.1864, d.1921


Grandson of the 8th Lady and Walter Hore-Ruthven (b.1784, d.1878), and son of William Hore (b.?, d.1847) and Dells Honoria Lowen (b.c.1819, d.1883). He obtained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Rifle Brigade and fought in the Crimean War and the First World War, even though he was in his seventies during the latter conflict. He was made King’s Messenger and decorated as Grand Officer of the Crown of Belgium in 1915. In 1919, he was created 1st Baron Ruthven of Gowrie in the Peerage if the United Kingdom.


10th Lord Ruthven, Walter Patrick Hore-Ruthven, b.1870, a.1921, d.1956


Son of the 9th Lord and Lady Caroline Annesley Gore (b.1848, d.1914), daughter of Sir Philip Yorke Gore, 4th Earl of Arran and the Arran Islands (an Irish peerage). Educated at Eton, he fought in the Boer War, earning the Distinguished Service Order. He also fought in the First World War, being wounded, and mentioned in dispatches several times. In 1914 he became a Brigade-Major in the 4th Guards, and was made commanding officer of 1st Battalion, Scots Guards.  In 1918 he was put in charge of the 120th Infantry Brigade as Brigadier-General, and reached Major-General in the Scots Guards. He was made a Companion of the Bath in 1919 and awarded the Gold Medal of Montenegro. From 1929 to 1934 he was Lieutenant-Governor of Guernsey.


11th Lord (Lady) Ruthven, Bridget Helen Hore-Ruthven, b.1896, a.1956, d.1982


Daughter of the 10th Lord and Jean Leslie Lampson (b.1877, d.1952). She was made a Commander of the British Empire and was Senior Controller of the Auxiliary Territorial Service during the Second World War. She married Lieutenant-Commander George Josslyn L’Estrange Howard, 11th Earl of Carlisle (b.1895, d.1963) in 1918, although she later divorced and re-married.


12th Lord Ruthven, Charles James Ruthven Howard, b.1923, a.1982, d.1994


Son of the 11th Lady and the 11th Earl of Carlisle. He fought in the Second World War in the Rifle Brigade, losing a leg to a severe wound, and received the Military Cross in 1945. He became the 12th Earl of Carlisle in 1963, and succeeded to his mother’s title on her death in 1982. He was Forestry Commissioner from 1965 to 1988.


13th Lord Ruthven, George William Beaumont Howard, b.1949, a.1994


Son of the 12th Lord and Ela Hilda Aline Beaumont (b.1925, d.2002), daughter of Sir Wentworth Henry Canning Beaumont, 2nd Viscount Allendale. He is also 13th Earl of Carlisle, 13th Viscount Howard of Morpeth and 13th Baron Dacre of Gillesland, all in the Peerage of England.



Earls of Gowrie (1945)


1st Earl of Gowrie, Alexander Gore Arkwright Hore-Ruthven, b.1872, a.1945, d.1955


Second son of the 9th Lord Ruthven. A career soldier, he reached the rank of Captain in the 3rd Battalion, Highland Light Infantry and fought in Sudan. He was decorated with the Victoria Cross in 1899. He then moved joined the Welsh Guards, where he became Colonel, being severely wounded in the First World War. He received numerous honours, including Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1935, having previously been a Companion, and then a Knight Commander, of that Order. He was also made a Companion of the Bath in 1919 and a Knight of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem; and received the Distinguished Service Order and bar, and the Croix de Guerre. Between 1928 and 1944, he served as a provincial governor and then Governor-General of Australia. In 1935, he was created 1st Baron Gowrie of Canberra (Australia) and Dirleton (East Lothian). In 1937 he was made a Privy Counsellor, and in 1945 created 1st Earl of Gowrie and 1st Viscount Ruthven of Canberra.


2nd Earl of Gowrie, Alexander Patrick Greystell Hore-Ruthven, b.1939, a.1955


Grandson of the 1st Earl and Zara Eileen Pollok (b.1879, d.1965) and son of Major Alexander Hardinge Patrick Hore-Ruthven (b.1913, d.1942) and Pamela Margaret Fletcher (b.1910, d.2006). Educated at Eton, Balliol College Oxford and Harvard, he published books on Art, as well as holding various government ministries, including Minister for Arts from 1983 to 1985. He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1983 and was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1984 to 1985. As well as being 2nd Earl, he is also 2nd Viscount Ruthven of Canberra, 2nd Baron Gowrie of Canberra and Dirleton, and 3rd Baron Ruthven of Gowrie (which he inherited as heir-male as the rules of succession excluded the 11th Lady Ruthven mentioned above).



The courtesy title for the heir is Viscount Ruthven of Canberra.


(Last updated: 19/02/2010)