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SETON, William Lord of that Ilk, Sir
(About 1345-1409)
(About 1364-1430)
GORDON, Adam 12th of that Ilk, 'Lord of Gordon', Sir
(About 1357-1402)
KEITH, Elizabeth 'lady of Aboyne'
(About 1358-1437)
SETON, Alexander of that Ilk, Lord of Gordon, Sir
(About 1380-1441)
GORDON, Elizabeth heiress of Gordon
(About 1391-1438)
SETON, THEN GORDON, Alexander Earl of Huntly, Sir
(Before 1410-1470)


Family Links

1. HAY, Egidia

2. CRICHTON, Elizabeth
3. CUMYN, Jean 'Fair Maid of Moray'

SETON, THEN GORDON, Alexander Earl of Huntly, Sir 1 2 3 4

  • Born: Before 1410
  • Marriage (1): HAY, Egidia by 8 January 1426(1427) 1 2 3
  • Marriage (2): CRICHTON, Elizabeth about March 1439(1440) 1 3 4
  • Partnership (3): CUMYN, Jean 'Fair Maid of Moray' 3 5 6
  • Died: 15 July 1470, Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 1 3
  • Buried: 1470, Elgin Cathedral, Moray, Scotland 1 3

   User ID: M457.

  General Notes:

"SIR ALEXANDER SETON, eldest son of Sir Alexander Seton and Elizabeth Gordon, succeeded his father before 3 April 1441. He is mentioned on record in 1427 and 1438 in connection with his first marriage. It was probably he who in 1435 was one of the Scottish gentlemen who attended the Princess Margaret of Scotland on her voyage to France to marry the Dauphin. The Chronicler describes him as 'Master of Gordon.' He is styled Alexander of Seton, Master of Gordon, Lord of Tullibody, when, on 20 February 1439-40, he stood up in a General Council at Edinburgh and protested that none of the writs made by his mother or grandfather should prejudice himself. But in a charter three days later, 23 February 1439-40, relating to the same matter, he is designed Sir Alexander Seton of Tullibody, and heir of Elizabeth Gordon, late lady of that Ilk, when he confirmed an excambion made between the deceased Sir William Keith and Margaret Fraser (his grandparents) and the deceased William Lindsay, Lord of Byres, of certain lands in exchange for Dunottar."

"Sir Alexander Seton was, in or about 1445, raised to the Peerage as EARL OF HUNTLY. This honour was conferred on him some time between 30 October 1444 and July 1445. Bower states positively that he was created Earl of Huntly in 1445, without naming the exact date, but it may have been in the June Parliament of that year, as on 3 July he witnesses a charter to James, Lord Hamilton, where he appears as the latest Earl, after Moray and Ormond, created in the same year."

" .... he attended at Court, and seems to have lent money to the King. Perhaps as a reward for such services, he received a charter, on 28 April 1451, of the lordship of Badenoch and Castle of Ruthven, which refutes the statement that they were granted for his conduct at the battle of Brechin."

"He seems to have changed the family name from Seton to Gordon about this time (1454). In a remission to him and his son on 7 March 1456-57, the latter is styled George Seton. But in the following writ George and his brothers are named Gordons."

from Scots Peerage (vol 4) 3

Alexander married Egidia HAY, daughter of John HAY 2nd of Tullibody and Margaret STEWART, by 8 January 1426(1427).1 2 3 The marriage ended in annulled before 26 march 1438. (Egidia HAY was born about 1408.)

  Marriage Notes:

"Alexander, Earl of Huntly, married first, according to the various genealogies, Jean Keith, daughter and heir of Sir Robert Keith, the grandson and heir-apparent of Sir William, the Marshal of Scotland. Of this marriage we can find no record, and, as the Earl had married Egidia Hay when he was only seventeen years of age, there is grave reason to doubt the connection, notwithstanding the fact that it was a characteristic of the age, for the sons and daughters of great families to marry remarkably young. It has been alleged that the Earl of Huntly acquired great estates through Jean Keith, who is said to have died without issue - but we have already shewn how the Fraser-Keith estates came into his possession through his mother and grandmother.

The Earl's first wife was Egidia Hay, daughter and heiress of John Hay of Tullibody. They appear to have been married before 8th January 1426, for the king on that date, upon the resignation of Egidia, granted to them and their heirs the lands of the barony of Tullibody; the lands of the forests of Boyne and Enzie and barony of Kilsaurle; and the lands of Kinmundy in the barony of Kinedward. Of this marriage there appears to have been a son, Alexander, who succeeded to the Tullibody estates of his mother, and became ancestor of the Setons of Abercorn. As before stated, the Earl divorced Egidia Hay, and in a liferent charter which she granted him of the lands of Tullibody, &c., dated at Aberdeen, 26th November 1438, she styled him 'her beloved kinsman. Sir Alexander Seton, son of Sir Alexander Seton, Lord Gordon.' Sir Robert Gordon states that the Earl was divorced from Lady Hay, 'and for satisfaction of all the patrimonie that he had with her in marriage, he gave unto the son begotten between them the lands of Tough and Tullibody.' On 7th August 1440, at Dingwall, Egidia Hay, Lady of Tullibody, in her pure widowhood, for the many faithful services rendered to her by Sir William Forbes, knight, grants him a charter of the lands of Achonwery with the pertinents. Whom she married after her divorce from Huntly has not yet been ascertained."

from Records of Aboyne

"The first Earl of Huntly married, on or about 8 January 1426-27, Egidia, daughter and heiress of John Hay of Tullibody. On that day King James I. granted to Alexander Seton and Egidia Hay, whom he shall marry, the barony of Tullibody, the forests of Boyne and Enzie, and barony of Kilsaurle, with the lands of Kinmundy in the barony of Kinedward. The marriage was annulled some years later, it is said, at the instance of Sir William Crichton, afterwards Chancellor, though he was not actually Chancellor when the separation took place, before 26 November 1438, when Egidia Hay granted to her 'cousin' Sir Alexander Seton the lands of Tullibody, but came into office in the following April or May.7."

from Scots Peerage (vol 4)

"Egidia or Giles, only daughter and heiress, married, as first wife, in or about 8 January 1426-27, Alexander (Seton), first Earl of Huntly. This marriage was annulled some years later before 26 March 1438. She had a son, ancestor of the Setons of Touch, etc."

from Scots Peerage (vol 8) 1 2 3

Alexander next married Elizabeth CRICHTON, daughter of William CRICHTON of that Ilk, Lord Crichton, Chancellor of Scotland and Agnes, about March 1439(1440).1 3 4 (Elizabeth CRICHTON was born about 1420 and died after 1471 3.)

  Marriage Notes:

"The Earl next married Elizabeth, daughter of William, Lord Crichton. On 18th March 1439, there is a charter to them and their sons and daughters, and also in the event of a divorce between them to Alexander's heirs whomsoever, of 100 merks out of the lordship of Gordon, reserving the liferent of Alexander, Lord Gordon, upon whose resignation the charter was granted. The Earl died at Huntly upon 15th July 1470, and was buried at Elgin. During his lifetime his kinsman, Richard Forbes, dean of Aberdeen, mortified some lands to the altar of the Virgin Mary for the repose of his soul and that of his Countess Elizabeth. 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,' by whom he is said to have had two daughters - one married to James Innes of that Ilk, and the other to Hugh Rose, 8th of Kilravock. It may be noted, however, that in the many documents relating to these ladies they are never represented as illegitimate."

from Records of Aboyne

"Elizabeth, married, as his third wife, to Alexander, first Earl of Huntly, with issue, on whom the earldom and estates were settled by charter of tailzie, dated 2 March 1457."

from Scots Peerage (vol 3)

"Seton married, secondly, the Chancellor's daughter, Elizabeth Crichton, and on 18 March 1439-40 the spouses had a charter limiting the entail of the estates to their children only, with remainder (in case of a divorce) to Alexander's heirs whomsoever. Elizabeth Crichton survived her husband, and was alive in 1471. It
is said by Ferrerius that she died 9 July 1479." (page 524)

"On 3 April 1441 Sir Alexander Seton resigned his lands in the King's hands and received a charter to himself and Elizabeth, his spouse, of the lordships of Gordon, co. Berwick, and Strathbogie, co. Aberdeen, the lands of Aboyne, Glentanner, and Glenmuick, all in Aberdeenshire, with Panbride in co. Forfar, to be possessed by Sir Alexander in liferent, and by George of Seton their son in fee, and the lawful heirs-male of his body." (pages 521 and 522)

"During the next few years he appears as taking part in local affairs, and in January 1449-50 he had another charter of the same lands and baronies as before
to himself and his heirs by Elizabeth his Countess." (pages 523 and 524)

"In 1458, the Earl and his Countess again resigned their lands, the earldom of Huntly, comprehending Strathbogie, Aboyne, Glentanner, and Glenmuick in Aberdeenshire, the lordship of Badenoch in Inverness, Enzie in Banffshire, Gordon and Huntly in Berwickshire ; and on 15 March 1457-58, King James II. regranted the lands to the Earl for his lifetime, with remainder to George de Gordon his son and the lawful heirs-male of his body" (page 524)

from Scots Peerage (vol 4) 1 3 4

Alexander had a relationship with Jean CUMYN 'Fair Maid of Moray', daughter of Sir Thomas CUMING of Altyr and Margaret GORDON.3 5 6 (Jean CUMYN 'Fair Maid of Moray' was born about 1420.)

  Marriage Notes:

"The Earl had also two daughters, whose mother is said to have been a Cumming of Altyre, known as the 'Fair Maid of Moray,' and described as his fourth [third] wife, but his second wife survived him."

from Scots Peerage

"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.

"The Earl had also two daughters, whose mother is said
to have been a Gumming of Altyre, known as the * Fair
Maid of Moray,' and described as his fourth [third] wife,
but his second wife survived him."
3 5 6


1 e-books, The Records of Aboyne 1230-1681 edited by Charles XI Marquis of Huntly (1894).

2 e-books, The Scots Peerage ed. Sir James Balfour Paul vol. 8 (1911).

3 e-books, The Scots Peerage ed. Sir James Balfour Paul vol. 4 (1907).

4 e-books, The Scots Peerage ed. Sir James Balfour Paul vol. 3 (1906).

5 e-books, Family Records of the Bruces and the Cumyns by M. E. Cumming Bruce (1870).

6 e-books, A Genealogical Deduction of the Family of Rose of Kilravock by Hew Rose and Lachlan Shaw (1848).

Copyright 2024 Mary McGonigal

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