CUMYN, Jean 'Fair Maid of Moray' 1
- Born: About 1420
- Partnership (1): GORDON, Alexander 1st Earl of Huntly 1 2
User ID: X878.
MARRIAGE? OR NO MARRIAGE?
Did Jean Cumyn marry the 1st Earl of Huntly?
According to the author of the book of the Rose family of Kilravok:
"George Marques of Huntly, (called with the lukkon hand) who certainly might best have known the truth of anie, told Mr. John Rose, father to the laird of Pettindreich, that he had her mothers contract of marriage in his charter kist."
This statement, if true, still raises the question of when such a marriage might have occurred, and under what circumstances.
Generally, Jean is held to have married Alexander Gordon after his marriage to Elizabeth Crichton. Yet was that even possible? Charles , Marquis of Huntly thinks not. He reminds us that Elizabeth Crichton outlived her husband who died in 1470:
"The Countess Elizabeth survived her husband, and in 1471 she pursued Andro Mercer of Mekillour for taking 16 oxen out of the lands of Netherdale. This proves that the Earl could not have married as fourth wife (as supposed) the 'Fair Maid of Moray' "
He goes on to admit, however, that Jean's daughters were not described as natural, that is illegitimate, in documents of the time.
Looking at the chronology, if the era of her parents was as described in Cumyn genealogy, Jean must have been born by 1420. Her own daughters' dates regarding what is known of marriage and births of their children suggest that the relationship between Jean and Alexander Gordon existed between about the late 1440s and 1460, exactly the period when he was married to Elizabeth Crichton.
If Alexander Gordon married Jean, or at a minimum, legitimised their daughters, it is difficult to see how, or when. 2 3
Jean had a relationship with Alexander GORDON 1st Earl of Huntly, son of Sir Alexander SETON of that Ilk, Lord Gordon and Elizabeth GORDON Heiress of Gordon.1 2 (Alexander GORDON 1st Earl of Huntly was born before 1410, died on 15 July 1470 in Huntly parish, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 3 and was buried in 1470 in Elgin, Moray, Scotland 3.)
"His daughter 'Jean,' called, for her great beauty, 'The Fair Maid of Moray,' became the fourth wife of Alexander, 'first Earl of Huntly,' by whom he had two daughters: 1, Lady Janet, married Innes of Innes ; 2, Lady Margaret, married Hugh Rose of Kilravock."
from Bruces and Cumyns
"Som through mistake have alleaged this Margaret Gordone (Jean's daughter who married Hugh Rose) to have been a naturall daughter of the familie of Huntlie; but George Marques of Huntly, (called with the lukkon hand) who certainly might best have known the truth of anie, told Mr. John Rose, father to the laird of Pettindreich, that he had her mothers contract of marriage in his charter kist. Her mother was Cuming, a daughter of the familie of Altyre, called, for her singular beauty, the Fair Maiden of Murray; and it was nothing strange that ane aged nobleman should marie such a gentlewoman for his fancie."
from Family of Rose of Kilravok
Note: These quotations are provided for reference. In practice, it is difficult to see how and when Alexander Gordon and Jean might have married. See Research Notes for Jean.