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Sir Alexander Seton


(1st Earl of Dunfermline)

1555 - 1622

Lawyer. Born in Seton (East Lothian), Alexander Seton became a Privy Councillor in 1585 and was appointed a judge in the Court of Session taking the name Lord Urquhart (1586). The Setons were Roman Catholics who had been supporters of Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87). They remained somewhat out of favour until the maturity of her son King James VI (1566 - 1625), who thanked them with various senior appointments. Alexander rose to be Lord President of the Court (1593). He was regarded as the finest legal mind of the time, becoming an advisor to James VI and guardian and tutor to his son, Charles (1600-49). He also served as Chancellor of Scotland, was Lord Provost of Edinburgh for nine years and Keeper of Dunfermline Palace. He took part in abortive negotiations regarding a union with England (1604) and was given the Earldom of Dunfermline in 1605. He was also responsible for the remodelling of Fyvie Castle (1596-9).

Seton married Margaret Hay of Yester (1607) and acquired Pinkie House (Musselburgh) in 1597, extending it on a grand scale (1613).

He died at Pinkie and was buried in the family vault, in Dalgety Church, near Dunfermline.


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