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George Gordon


(2nd Marquis of Huntly; Viscount Aboyne)

? - 1649

Royalist noble. The eldest son of the 1st Marquis, Gordon married Anne, daughter of Archibald Campbell, 7th Earl of Argyll in 1607. In 1623, he went to France and was appointed Captain in the Scots Bodyguard of the King. In 1637, he returned to Strathbogie Castle as the 2nd Marquis, his father having died the previous year.

The Covenanters tried to persuade Gordon to join them, but he remained loyal to King Charles I. Indeed, he encouraged the people of Aberdeen to take up arms against them. However, in 1639, in the face of a much larger Covenanting force led by James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose, Gordon agreed a truce at Inverurie. However, Montrose treacherously took him prisoner. He was held in Edinburgh Castle, along with his eldest son Lewis, but within months they were released and went south to join Charles I.

Archibald Campbell, the 8th Earl of Argyll, a Covenanter leader and Gordon's brother-in-law, had taken over parts of Gordon's land while he was away and continued to cause problems for him. In 1643, Gordon raised an army and marched to defend Aberdeen, but Campbell had persuaded two of Gordon's sons to join his Covenanting army and thus Gordon withdrew. A reward was offered for his capture and he took refuge in the wilds of Sutherland, while Campbell laid waste to his estates.

When Montrose changed sides and marched north taking Aberdeen, Gordon could not decide whether to join him, not surprising given Montrose's earlier treachery. In 1645, after Montrose had defeated Campbell at Inverlochy, Gordon did join him and they fought together at Auldearn (1645). This proved an unwise decision. The Covenanters had gained the upper hand, and Gordon was forced to retreat. Strathbogie Castle was captured, followed successively by his other strong-holds. He was hunted down and captured at Delnabo in 1647, taken to Edinburgh and eventually executed at the Mercat Cross, on the 22nd March, 1649.

Gordon's titles were forfeit and Campbell took over his estates.


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