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George Gordon


(4th Marquis of Huntly; 1st Duke of Gordon)

1643 - 1716

Royalist noble. He succeeded his father, Lewis Gordon, the 3rd Marquis (c.1626-53), when only a boy. His grand-father had lost the family estates because of support for Charles I (1600-49) and his father had failed to recover them. Gordon completed his education in Europe, serving both in the French and Dutch armies, returning home in 1674. In 1676, he married Lady Elizabeth Howard, a daughter of the Duke of Norfolk.

He was appointed Governor of Edinburgh Castle by King Charles II (1630-85) and Charles created him Duke of Gordon in 1684. In 1687, he was created a Knight of the Order of the Thistle.

Despite his sympathies for King James VII, Gordon showed great restraint when anti-Catholic riots broke out on the streets of Edinburgh leading up to the 'Glorious Revolution' (1688). He held the castle against the Covenanters and despite expectations did not support John Graham, Viscount Dundee (1649-89).

Gordon travelled to the continent and in 1691 visited the exiled court of James VII at St. Germain-en-Laye (France). However, having not steadfastly supported the old King at home, he received an unenthusiastic welcome and he retired to Switzerland. However, suspicions were raised that Gordon was a spy and he was arrested and transported back to Scotland. Suspected as a secret supporter of the exiled James, he was regularly imprisoned. When King George I ascended the throne in 1714, Gordon was ordered to be confined within the city of Edinburgh. He died in Leith little more than two years later.


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