George Melville, 1st Earl of Melville

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George Melville

Also Known As: "1st Earl of Melville"
Birthdate: (71)
Birthplace: Monimail, Fife, Scotland, United Kingdom
Death: May 10, 1707 (71)
Monimail, Fife, Scotland, United Kingdom
Place of Burial: Monimail, Fife, UK
Immediate Family:

Son of John Melville, 3rd Lord Melville of Monimail and Anne Erskine of Innerteil
Husband of Catharine Melville (Leslie), Countess of Melville
Father of Alexander Melville, Lord Raith; David Melville, 3rd Earl of Leven and Margaret Melville
Brother of Anne Melville

Managed by: Private User
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About George Melville, 1st Earl of Melville

From Darryl Lundy's Peerage page on George Melville:

George Melville, 1st Earl of Melville [1]

  • M, #29915,
  • b. 1636,
  • d. 20 May 1707
  • Last Edited=30 Apr 2011

George Melville, 1st Earl of Melville was born in 1636.[1] He was the son of John Melville, 3rd Lord Melville of Monymaill and Anne Erskine.[1]

He married Catharine Leslie, daughter of Alexander Leslie, Lord Balgonie and Lady Margaret Leslie, on 18 January 1655.[1]

He died on 20 May 1707.[1]


  • He was invloved in the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion, and escaped to Holland.[1] In 1685 his estates were forfeited by attainder.[1]
  • In 1688 he returned to England with King William III, and was reinstated.[1]
  • He held the office of Secretary of State [Scotland] from 1689 to 1690.[1]
  • He held the office of High Commissioner to the Scottish Parliament in 1690.[1]
  • He succeeded to the title of 4th Lord Melville of Monymaill [S., 1616] on 8 April 1690.[1] He was created 1st Viscount of Kirkcaldy [Scotland] on 8 April 1690.[1] He succeeded to the title of 1st Lord Raith, Monymaill and Balwearie [Scotland] on 8 April 1690.[1] He was created 1st Earl of Melville [Scotland] on 8 April 1690.[1]
  • He held the office of Privy Seal [Scotland] between 1691 and 1696.[1]
  • He held the office of President of the Council [Scotland] between 1696 and 1702.[1]
  • He was Commissioner for executing the office of Lord High Admiral [Scotland] in 1697.[1]

Child of George Melville, 1st Earl of Melville

  • 1. Anne Melville+

Children of George Melville, 1st Earl of Melville and Catharine Leslie

  • 1. James Melville+[1]
  • 2. Alexander Melville, Lord Raith [1] b. 23 Dec 1655, d. 27 Mar 1698
  • 3. Margaret Melville+[3] b. 28 Oct 1658
  • 4. David Leslie, 5th Earl of Leven+[1] b. 5 May 1660, d. 6 Jun 1728


  • 1. [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 2312. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.
  • 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] 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 380. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.


From the English Wikipedia page on George Melville:,_1st_Earl_of_Melville

George Melville, 1st Earl of Melville (1636 – 20 May 1707) was a Scots aristocrat and statesman during the reigns of William and Mary.

In 1643, he succeeded his father as Lord Melville.

At the Restoration of the Stuarts Melville was a moderate Whig and Presbyterian who whilst serving under the Duke of Monmouth in his suppression of the Covenanters in 1679 had tried to persuade the insurgents (Whig extremists) to lay down their arms peacefully.


The turning point in his career came in 1683 when Melville and his son David Leslie-Melville, the Earl of Leven, were accused of complicity in the Rye House Plot — a Whig conspiracy to assassinate King Charles II and his brother the Duke of York (the future James VII).

To escape arrest Melville, together with his son, Leven fled to the Netherlands where they joined the band of British Protestant exiles at the court of Prince William of Orange. Here Melville became one of the chief Scots supporters of William of Orange.


After the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 Melville played a prominent part in Scots and English politics, most notably in the Convention Parliament which offered the crown of Scotland to William of Orange and his wife, Mary, daughter of the deposed James VII. In 1689 William made him sole Secretary of State for Scotland and in 1690 he was created Earl of Melville, Viscount Kirkaldie, and Lord Raith, Monymaill and Balewarie (all in the Peerage of Scotland).

Although Melville’s appointment as Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland in 1693 was a political demotion he enjoyed substantial emoluments, the more so after 1696 when he became President of the Privy Council of Scotland at an annual salary of £1,000 sterling.

In fiction

It is possible that details of Melville and his son's lives were used by Sir Walter Scott in this novel Old Mortality to lend authentic sounding biographical detail to the hero Henry Morton.

In the novel Morton — like Melville a moderate Whig who desires peace and religious tolerance whilst supporting the Stuart monarchy — is reluctantly involved in the Covenanter uprising of 1689 (albeit on the Rebel side) and attempts to negotiate a peaceful end to the conflict between his brother Calvinists and the Anglican Royalists.

Later Morton is forced to flee to the Netherlands where (living under his mother's name of Melville) he becomes one of William of Orange's supporters, before returning to Britain in the wake of the Glorious Revolution.


"An Historical Account of Melville House", John Gifford

Political offices

  • Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland (1693 – 1695)
    • Preceded by The Lord Carmichael
    • Succeeded by The Duke of Queensberry

Peerage of Scotland

  • Earl of Melville (1690 – 1707)
    • Succeeded by David Melville
  • Lord Melville (1643-1707)
    • Preceded by John Melville
    • Succeeded by David Melville
view all

George Melville, 1st Earl of Melville's Timeline

Monimail, Fife, Scotland, United Kingdom
December 23, 1655
Age 19
Linlithgow, Scotland, UK
October 28, 1658
Age 22
May 5, 1660
Age 24
May 10, 1707
Age 71
Monimail, Fife, Scotland, United Kingdom
Monimail, Fife, UK