Historical records matching Field Marshal George Douglas-Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney
About Field Marshal George Douglas-Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney
The title 'Earl of Orkney' was created for the distinguished soldier, General Lord George Hamilton, but in reality the ennoblement was at least as much in honour of his wife, Elizabeth Villiers, who was King William III's acknowledged mistress. A remarkable woman of great intelligence, wit and charisma, Jonathan Swift called her "the wisest woman I ever saw".
Although he was of Scottish birth, the choice of Orkney as the title for Hamilton was probably symbolic - Orkney is in the far north of Great Britain, and many other earldoms (Jersey, Portland, Dover, Scarbrough, Dartmouth, etc) were created in the late C17th & early C18th for people with no known connection to the places concerned - their geographical position at the edges of the kingdom was probably the reason.
From Darryl Lundy's Peerage page on George Hamilton:
Field Marshal George Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney 
- M, #109775, b.
- 9 February 1666,
- d. 29 January 1736/37
- Last Edited=14 May 2009
- Consanguinity Index=0.93%
Field Marshal George Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney was baptised on 9 February 1666. He was born circa February 1666. He was the son of William Douglas-Hamilton, 1st Earl of Selkirk and Anne Hamilton, 3rd Duchess of Hamilton.
He married Elizabeth Villiers, daughter of Sir Edward Villiers and Lady Frances Howard, on 25 November 1695.
He died on 29 January 1736/37 at age 70.
He gained the title of 1st Earl of Orkney in 1696.
Children of Field Marshal George Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney and Elizabeth Villiers
- 1. Anne Douglas, Countess of Orkney+ d. 6 Dec 1756
- 2. Frances Douglas+ d. 27 Dec 1772
- 3. Lady Henrietta Douglas+ d. 22 Aug 1732
- 1. [S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume XI, page 616. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
- 2. [S3409] Caroline Maubois, "re: Penancoet Family," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 2 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as "re: Penancoet Family."
- 3. [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume X, page 106.
- 4. [S37] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 2, page 2096. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.
- 5. [S8] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, 2 volumes (Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 1999), volume 1, page 1283. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition.
- 6. [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume III, page 423.
From the English Wikipedia page on George Douglas-Hamilton:
Field Marshal George Douglas-Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney KT (9 February 1666 – 29 January 1737) was a British soldier and Scottish nobleman and the first British Army officer to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. The son of the Duke and Duchess of Hamilton, he fought for William of Orange in Ireland and the Low Countries.
He was raised to the peerage in 1695, and continued to serve with distinction in the War of the Spanish Succession. After these campaigns he retired from active service, taking on governorships and sitting as a representative peer in the House of Lords.
Lord George Douglas-Hamilton was born at Hamilton Palace, the fifth son of Anne Hamilton, 3rd Duchess of Hamilton and William Douglas, Earl of Selkirk. He was first trained by his uncles, Lord Dumbarton, Lord James Douglas, and Lord Angus, in military service in the 1st Regiment of Foot (then known as His Majesty's Royal Regiment of Foot).
Ireland and the Low Countries
In 1689, after entering military service, he became a lieutenant colonel, and a few months later a brevetted colonel. He and his regiment served at the battles of the Boyne and Aughrim in the Irish War.
He then moved to command of the Royal Fusiliers and fought at the Battle of Steenkeerke. He moved back to the 1st Foot, participated in various battles of the Irish rebellion, and eventually fought at the battle of Landen and the 1695 Siege of Namur, both of which were fought during the War of the League of Augsburg. At Namur, however, Hamilton received a serious wound, and was eventually promoted to the rank of brigadier.
In 1695, Hamilton married Elizabeth Villiers sister to Edward Villiers, 1st Earl of Jersey, and the following year, he was raised to the Scottish peerage as Earl of Orkney, Viscount Kirkwall and Baron Dechmont.
War of the Spanish Succession
He became a major general and fought in the War of the Spanish Succession under John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. A few years later in 1704, Orkney was promoted to lieutenant general.
At the Battle of Blenheim, Orkney led the final assault on the village of Blenheim, receiving the surrender of its French defenders. Later, in June 1705, he marched his column from the Moselle to relieve the besieged city of Liège. At the Battle of Ramillies, he led the pursuit of the defeated French, and he played a major role at the Battle of Oudenarde.
In 1708, he captured two major fortifications at Tournai. At the desperate Battle of Malplaquet, Lord Orkney's battalions led the charge toward the French entrenchments, suffering serious losses.
He remained with his army near Flanders, until the end of the war. During that time, he received a promotion to general. After the peace treaties, he received the honorary title of Colonel Commandant of his old unit, the 1st Foot.
For the next few decades, he held civilian and military positions of importance. He was installed as Governor of Edinburgh Castle, made a Lord of the Bedchamber to George I, and was Governor of Virginia in 1714, but appears never to have visited the colony.
He served as a Scottish Representative Peer in six parliaments from 1707 to 1736, and was the Lord Lieutenant of Lanarkshire. In 1735 he commissioned the building of a temple at his Buckinghamshire home, Cliveden House, by the architect Giacomo Leoni.
He was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal in 1736. This was the first promotion to the rank of Field Marshal in the British Army. Hamilton died a year later in his accommodation on Albemarle Street, London.
By Elizabeth Villiers, daughter of Sir Edward Villiers and Lady Frances Howard, Lord Orkney had three daughters, the eldest of which inherited his estate and title:
- 1. Lady Anne,suo jure Countess of Orkney, married William O'Brien, 4th Earl of Inchiquin
- 2. Lady Frances, married Thomas Lumley-Saunderson, 3rd Earl of Scarbrough
- 3. Lady Henrietta, married John Boyle, 5th Earl of Cork
- 1. ^ Heathcote, p. 165
- 2. ^ Heathcote, p. 166
- 3. ^ Balfour-Paul, Vol vi, p 579
- 4. ^ Lady Henrietta Douglas, thepeerage.com
Heathcote, T. A., The British Field Marshals 1736 - 1997, Leo Cooper, 1999, ISBN 0 850526965 Balfour Paul, Sir James The Scots Peerage IX Vols. Edinburgh, 1907
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Peerage of Scotland
- Earl of Orkney 1695-1737
- Preceded by New Creation
- Succeeded by Anne O'Brien
- Lord Lieutenant of Lanarkshire 1715-1737
- Preceded by ?
- Succeeded by ?
- Colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot
- Preceded by Robert Douglas of Glenbervie
- Succeeded by James St Clair
Field Marshal George Douglas-Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney's Timeline
February 9, 1666
Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, Scotland
Maidenhead, Berkshire, England
January 29, 1737
London, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom
Taplow, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom