Hamilton Clan

Hamilton Clan Crest: From a coronet, an oak tree fructed and penetrated transversely by a frame saw.

Hamilton Clan Motto: Through.

Hamilton Clan History:
The House of Hamilton springs from Walter Fitz Gilbert of Hameldone, first recorded in 1295, and who received the lands of Cadzow from Robert the Bruce. The surname adopted by the family is said by some to derive from Hambleton in Yorkshire or Lancashire, but no evidence exists to confirm this.

Walter's son David fought for David II at the Battle of Neville's Cross in 1346 and was taken prisoner, but released upon payment of a ransom. In the following century, James Hamilton married Princess Mary Stewart, daughter of James III and was created Lord Hamilton. Their son was created Earl of Arran, and his son, the 2nd Earl of Arran, served as Regent during the infancy of Mary Queen of Scots.
For his role in negotiating the marriage of Mary to the Dauphin of France, he was made Duke of Chatelherault in the French peerage. When he later opposed Mary's marriage to Lord Darnley, he was sent into exile, but, on his return, sheltered the Queen, following her escape from Loch Leven Castle.

In 1599, the 4th Earl of Arran, Chancellor of Scotland and Keeper of both Stirling and Edinburgh castles, was made Marquis of Hamilton. His brother had earlier been created Lord Abercorn, and was the founder of the Ulster-based duke of Abercorn line. In 1643, James, 3rd Marquis of Hamilton, a supporter of Charles I,  was created Duke of Hamilton and Premier Peer of Scotland. However, following his capture at the Battle of Preston, he was taken to London and beheaded.  Two years later his brother, who had inherited the dukedom, was killed at the Battle of Worcester.

The dukedom then passed to Anne, daughter of the 1st Duke, who was married to William Douglas, Earl of Selkirk. It was she who initiated the foundations of Hamilton Palace in Lanarkshire. Their son, the 4th Duke of Hamilton, supported the Jacobite Cause and proved an ineffective defender of the anti-Union cause in Scotland. He was created Duke of Brandon in 1711 and died fighting a dual in London. In the following century, with the additional building of the hunting lodge known as Chatelherault, Hamilton Palace was extended and filled with spectacular collections of art. The Hamiltons lived in great style and, in 1843, William, 11th Duke of Hamilton and 8th Duke of Brandon (1811-1863), married Princess Marie of Baden,  a cousin of Napoleon III. Their daughter, Lady Mary, married Albert I, Prince of Monaco.

In the early part of the 20th century, Hamilton Palace was found to be sinking, a consequence of the extensive coal mining operations in the area. It was demolished between 1922 and 1932 and the family re-located to Lennoxlove in East Lothian.

Sir Thomas Hamilton, President of the Court of Session, and Keeper of the Privy Seal, was created Lord Binning in 1613, and 1st Earl of Haddington in 1627.   In 1858, the title devolved on to George Baillie through his mother and thus Mellerstain House, the magnificent Adam-designed mansion near Kelso, passed to the Baillie-Hamilton family.  Lands at Tyningham, near East Linton, were granted to the 1st Earl of Haddington in 1628 and his descendants built Tyningham House.

Patrick Hamilton (1498-1528) was son of Sir Patrick Hamilton and Catherine Stewart, natural daughter of the Duke of Albany. A staunch Lutheran, he was burned in front of St Salvator's College in St Andrews, an action which greatly influenced the ensuing Reformation. Gavin Hamilton (1515-71), son of Hamilton of Raploch, became a Lord of Session in 1555. William Hamilton (1704-54) was a Scottish poet best known for writing 'The Braes of Yarrow.'  Sir William Hamilton (1730-1803), grandson of the 3rd Duke of Hamilton,  was a British Ambassador to Naples (1764-1800) and husband to Emma Lyon, who became Admiral Lord Nelson's mistress.  Thomas Hamilton (1784-1858) was the architect of Edinburgh's Royal High School and Royal College of Physicians. Sir William Hamilton Bt (1788-1856) was the publisher of the Edinburgh Review and became Professor of History, then Professor of Logics and Metaphysics, at Edinburgh University.

Places of Interest:
Hamilton House, Prestonpans, East Lothian. Built by Sir John Hamilton, brother of 1st Earl of Haddington in 1628. Today it is owned by National Trust for Scotland.
Lennoxlove, Haddington, East Lothian. Former home of the Maitlands. Bought in the 18th century by Lord Blantyre. Today is the seat of the Duke of Hamilton & Brandon.
Kinneil House, near Bo'ness, Midlothian. Sixteenth-17th century fortified seat of the dukes of Hamilton.
Brodick Castle, Isle of Arran. Passed from Hamilton family to the Duke of Montrose through marriage. Today it is owned by the National Trust for Scotland.

Clan Hamilton membership certificates.