Friday, 25 June 2021

1st Earl of Stair

THE EARLS OF STAIR WERE THE LARGEST LANDOWNERS IN WIGTOWNSHIRE, WITH
82,666 ACRES


The name of Dalrymple (which is local, and assumed from the barony of Dalrymple, Ayrshire), occurs in Scottish records as early as the 14th century.

WILLIAM DE DALRYMPLE
acquired, in 1450, the lands of Stair-Montgomery, in Ayrshire, with his wife, Agnes Kennedy, an heiress, and was succeeded by his son,

WILLIAM DALRYMPLE, of Stair, who married Marion, daughter of Sir John Chalmers, of Gadgirth, in the same county.

This lady was one of the Lollards of Kyle, summoned, in 1494, before the king's council on account of their heretical doctrines; but JAMES IV, King of Scotland, treating the charge with contempt, the accused were dismissed.

The great-grandson of this William and Marion,

JOHN DALRYMPLE, of Stair, was one of the first that openly professed the reformed doctrines, and joined the earls of Lennox and Glencairn, in 1544, against the Earl of Arran.

He wedded Isabel, daughter of Thomas Kennedy, of Bargany, by his wife, the Lady Agnes Montgomery, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Eglinton; and was succeeded by his son,

JAMES DALRYMPLE, of Stair, whose great-grandson,

JAMES DALRYMPLE (1619-95), of Stair, having been bred to the bar, was appointed, in 1657, by Cromwell, at the recommendation of General Monck, a Lord of Session, and was confirmed therein by CHARLES II, who created him a baronet in 1664.

In 1671, Sir James became president of the court of Session, from which he was removed in 1681, and obliged the next year to retire into Holland.

Returning with the Prince of Orange in 1688, he was restored to the presidency after the Revolution, and elevated to the peerage, in 1690, in the dignity of Baron Glenluce and Stranraer, and Viscount of Stair.

He espoused Margaret, eldest daughter of James Ross, of Balneil, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
James;
Hew;
Thomas;
David.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN, 2nd Viscount (1648-1707); who was created, in 1703, Baron Newliston, Glenluce, and Stranraer, Viscount of Dalrymple, and EARL OF STAIR, with remainder, failing his own male issue, to the heirs male of his father.

His lordship, who was Lord Justice Clerk, and afterwards Lord Advocate and Secretary of State, has obtained unenviable notoriety by the part he took in the massacre of Glencoe.

He married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir John Dundas, of Newliston, Linlithgowshire, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
William;
George, of Dalmahoy, ancestor of the 7th Earl.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN, 2nd Earl (1673-1747), KT, a military officer of high rank and renown, and a participator in the victories of the Duke of Marlborough.

His lordship served as brigadier at the battle of Oudenarde in 1708, and was bearer of the despatches announcing the victory to England.

He subsequently attained the rank of field-marshal, and was appointed commander of the forces on the Rhine, with which he served as second-in-command under GEORGE II, in the battle of Dettingen; and afterwards of Her Majesty's forces in England.

In 1715, Lord Stair went to France in a diplomatic capacity, and after the death of LOUIS XIV, was constituted ambassador extraordinary to that court.

The object of his embassy was of the utmost importance, and his manner of executing it the most brilliant and spirited.

His lordship wedded Eleanor, widow of James, Viscount Primrose, and daughter of James, 2nd Earl of Loudoun, but had no issue.

In consequence of the marriage of his next brother and heir presumptive with a peeress, Lord Stair surrendered, in 1707, all the honours to the Crown, and obtained a new charter, containing, in default of male issue, a reversionary clause in favour of any one of the male descendants of the first Viscount whom his lordship should name; in conformity with which his lordship executed a deed immediately prior to his decease, in 1747, appointing his nephew John, the son of his second brother, George, his successor.

But that nomination was contested by the Hon James Dalrymple, second son of the Hon William Dalrymple, and the Countess of Dumfries; and the House of Lords deciding in his favour, in 1748, he succeeded as

JAMES, 3rd Earl; but dying without issue, in 1760, the honours reverted to his elder brother,

WILLIAM, as 4th Earl (1699-1768), KT; who had inherited the earldom of Dumfries at the decease of his mother Penelope, Countess of Dumfries.

He espoused Anne, daughter of William Duff, of Crosbie; but dying in 1768, without issue, the earldom of Dumfries passed into the right line, and the honours of the house of Stair reverted to his cousin,

JOHN, 5th Earl (1720-89); the personage who had been already defeated  under his uncle's nomination, but had then succeeded to his uncle's fortune without dispute.

His lordship married a daughter of George Middleton, a banker in London; and dying in 1789, was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN, 6th Earl (1749-1821), one of the representative lords; British ambassador to the court of Prussia.

This nobleman died without issue, when the honours reverted to his cousin,

JOHN WILLIAM HENRY, 7th Earl (1784-1840), descendant of George, of Dalmahoy, youngest son of the 1st Earl.

His lordship wedded, in 1808, Laura, youngest daughter of John Manners (grandson of John, 2nd Duke of Rutland), of Grantham Grange, by Louisa his wife, late Countess of Dysart, which marriage was dissolved in 1809, in consequence of a prior contract in 1804, with Johanna, daughter of Charles Gordon, deemed a valid marriage by the laws of Scotland when it took place.

The latter marriage was, however, annulled in June, 1820.

Lord Stair died in Paris sp; and was succeeded by his kinsman,

SIR JOHN HAMILTON DALRYMPLE, 5th Baronet (1771-1853), KT, as 8th Earl.

His lordship, a general in the army, Knight of the Thistle, and Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland, was created a Baron of the United Kingdom, in 1841, in the dignity of Baron Oxenfoord, of Cousland, in the county of Edinburgh, with remainder to his brother,

NORTH HAMILTON, 9th Earl (1776-1864), who espoused firstly, in 1817, Margaret, daughter of James Penny, of Arrad, Lancashire, and had issue,
JOHN HAMILTON, his successor;
Elizabeth Hamilton; Anne; Agnes; Margaret.
He married secondly, in 1831, Martha Willett, daughter of Colonel George Dalrymple, and had further issue, a son,
George Grey.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN HAMILTON, 10th Earl (1819-1903), KT, 
John Hamilton, 10th Earl (1819–1903);
John Hew North Gustav Henry, 11th Earl (1848–1914);
John James, 12th Earl (1879–1961);
John Aymer, 13th Earl (1906–1996);
John David James, 14th Earl (born 1961).
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, John James Thomas Dalrymple, styled Viscount Dalrymple (born 2008).

Seats ~ Lochinch Castle, Castle Kennedy, Wigtownshire; Oxenfoord Castle, Edinburgh; Bargany, Girvan, Ayrshire.

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