George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly

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George Gordon

Also Known As: "4th Earl of /Huntly/", "Earl of Moray", "Earl George /Huntly/"
Birthplace: Huntly Castle, Abderdeenshire, Scotland
Death: October 22, 1562 (49)
Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland (Stroke suffered while imprisoned after the battle of Corrichie.)
Place of Burial: Elgin, Morayshire, Scotland, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of John Gordon, Lord Gordon and Margaret Stewart
Husband of Lady Elizabeth Keith, Countess of Huntly and Lady Elizabeth Gordon, Countess of Huntly
Father of John Gordon of Ogilvy; George Gordon, 5th Earl of Huntly; Elizabeth Gordon, Countess Atholl; Sir Patrick Gordon; Jean Gordon and 7 others
Brother of James Gordon and Alexander Gordon, Bishop of Galloway
Half brother of Henry Drummond; Agnes Drummond, Countess of Eglinton; Isabel Drummond of Innerpaffrey; Jean Drummond and Margaret Drummond

Occupation: 4th Earl of Huntly
Managed by: Dana Marie Wheatley
Last Updated:

About George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly

George Gordon, fourth Earl of Huntly, “the most powerful subject in Scotland, “who was killed at Corrichie, near Aberdeen in 1562. (Apparently the cause of death is now determined to have been stroke while being held prisoner.)

From the English Wikipedia page on George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly,_4th_Earl_of_Huntly

George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly (1514 – 28 October 1562) was a Scottish nobleman. He was the son of John Gordon, Lord Gordon, and Margaret Stewart, daughter of James IV.[1] George Gordon inherited his earldom and estates in 1524 at age 10.

As commander of the King's Army he defeated the English at the Battle of Haddon Rig in 1542, was a member of the council of Regency under James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran and Cardinal Beaton and succeeded as Chancellor on the murder of Beaton in 1546. He was captured at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547, but escaped and in 1550 accompanied Mary of Guise to France.

He joined the Lords of the Congregation in 1560 and was prepared to accept Mary, Queen of Scots, until she transferred the Earldom of Moray, which had been given to the Earl of Huntly in 1549, to her half-brother Lord James Stewart, at which point he withdrew to his estates in the North-East of Scotland.[2]

Mary, Queen of Scots, toured the northeast in August 1562, and was refused entry to Inverness Castle on Gordon's orders. The Queen's forces captured the Castle before moving to Aberdeen where she issued a summons for Gordon. He refused to answer and was outlawed. He marched on Aberdeen but was defeated by James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray at the Battle of Corrichie in October 1562.

He died of apoplexy after his capture, and his son, Sir John was executed in Aberdeen. Huntly was posthumously forfeited by parliament in May 1563.

After his death his body and the goods from Strathbogie Castle were shipped from Aberdeen to Edinburgh. The body stood for the earl at his trial. The goods were taken to Holyrood Palace. When Mary was imprisoned at Lochleven, she was given the earl's cloth-of-estate.[3]


On 27 March 1530 he married Elizabeth Keith, daughter of Robert Keith, Master of Marischal, by whom he had nine sons and three daughters, including;

  • 1. Thomas Gordon
  • 2. George Gordon, 5th Earl of Huntly
  • 3. Lady Margaret Gordon
  • 4. Lady *Jean Gordon, Countess of Bothwell (1546 - 14 May 1629)
  • 5. Lady Elizabeth Gordon (died 1557)
  • 6. Alexander Gordon, Lord Gordon
  • 7. Sir John Gordon, executed 1563
  • 8. Adam Gordon, (born 1545) [4]


  • 1. ^ He was the grandson of Alexander Gordon, 3rd Earl of Huntly by his wife, Lady Jean Stewart, daughter of John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl, by his wife Margaret Douglas. Margaret Douglas was the daughter of Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas by his wife Euphemia Graham. Euphemia Graham was a maternal great-granddaughter of Robert II of Scotland and Euphemia de Ross) and Margaret Stewart, Illegitimate daughter of King James IV of Scotland and Margaret Drummond.
  • 2. ^ "Chapter III - Earldom and Earls of Huntly", Electric
  • 3. ^ Robertson, (1863), xxii.
  • 4. ^


Gordon, George (1514-1562)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

Bonner, Elizabeth, 'The Earl of Huntly and the King of France, 1548: Man for Rent', English Historical Review, vol. 120, no.485 (Feb 2005), 80-103.

Robertson, Joseph ,Inventaires de la Royne Descosse, Banntayne Club, (1863), xxii-xxv, 49-56.

Peerage of Scotland

  • Earl of Huntly (1524–1562)
  • Preceded by Alexander Gordon
  • Succeeded by George Gordon

Political offices

  • Lord Chancellor of Scotland (1546–1562)
  • Preceded by Cardinal Beaton, Archbishop of St Andrews
  • Succeeded by 4th Earl of Morton

From Darryl Lundy's Peerage page on George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly:

George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly [1]

  • M, #109218,
  • b. 1513,
  • d. 22 October 1562
  • Last Edited=25 Apr 2011
  • Consanguinity Index=0.64%

George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly was born in 1513.[3]

He married Elizabeth Keith, daughter of Robert Keith, Master of Marischal and Lady Elizabeth Douglas, on 27 March 1530.[3]

He died on 22 October 1562, apparently from a seizure (not wounds).[3]

He was the son of John Gordon, Lord Gordon and Margaret Stewart.[2]

  • He succeeded to the title of 4th Earl of Huntly [S., 1445] on 21 January 1523/24.[3]
  • He held the office of Lord Chancellor [Scotland] between 1546 and 1549.[3]
  • He was decorated with the award of Knight, Order of St. Michael of France in 1548.[3]
  • He was created 1st Earl of Moray [Scotland] on 13 February 1548/49.[3]
  • He held the office of Lieutenant-General of the North.[3]
  • He was invested as a Privy Counsellor (P.C.) [Scotland].[3]
  • He held the office of Lord Chancellor [Scotland] from 1561 to 1562.[3]
  • On 22 October 1562 at Corriche, Scotland, he was taken prisoner after rebelling.[3] On 28 May 1563 his titles were forfeited.[3]

Children of George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly and Elizabeth Keith

  • 1. Thomas Gordon [3]
  • 2. George Gordon, 5th Earl of Huntly+[3] d. 19 Oct 1576
  • 3. Lady Margaret Gordon+[4]
  • 4. Lady Jean Gordon+[3] d. 14 May 1629
  • 5. Lady Elizabeth Gordon+[1] d. b 1557
  • 6. Alexander Gordon, Lord Gordon [3] d. bt 18 Sep 1552 - 11 Aug 1553
  • 7. Sir John Gordon of Ogilvy [3] d. Oct 1562
  • 8. Sir Adam Gordon [3] d. 1580


  • 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 I, page 314. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  • 2. [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 2011. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.
  • 3. [S37] Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition, volume 2, page 2012.
  • 4. [S37] Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition, volume 1, page 1451.
view all 17

George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly's Timeline

January 1, 1513
Huntly Castle, Abderdeenshire, Scotland
Sutherland, Scotland
Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Of, Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Of, Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Of Auchindoun, Argyllshire, Scotland
Of, Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland