The Clan Hamilton

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It is believed that this family descends from the Norman, Walter FitzGilbert of Hambledon. Walter held lands in Renfrewshire but was also given lands in Lanarkshire and the Lothians for his support of Rober the Bruce.

Walter's son David was captured at the Battle of Nevill's Cross in 1346 and held for a considerabel ransom. James, 1st Lord Hamilton, married the daughter of King James III in 1474. The son of this union was made Earl of Arran and was in line for the throne of Scotland.

The second Earl of Arran was made Regent while Mary, Queen of Scots was still a child and he attempted to marry his son to her to secure the Throne for his family. This union did not take place and Mary was married to the Prince of France, the Dauphin. The Earl was created Duke of Chatelhault in the French peerage in 1548 for his part in the marriage arrangements.

After the death of the Dauphin, Hamilton again hoped fro a union into his own family and was sent into exile in 1561 when he openly opposed the marriage of the Queen to Lord Darnley. He did however try to save the ill-fated Queen after her escape from Loch Leven.

The 4th Earl of Arran and 3rd Duke of Chatelhault became Chancellor of Scotland and keeper of the castles of Stirling and Endinburgh. He was advanced to the rank of Marquess in 1599. Another branch of the family is descended from his brother, Claude, who was made Lord Paisley in 1587 and later created Lord Abercorn. Abercorn was later raised to an earldom and finally a Dukedom in 1868.

In reward for the 3rd Marquess' support, Charles I made Hamilton the premier peer in Scotland elevating him to a Duke. He led and army into England to rescue Charles I but was defeated at Preston in 1648. He was beheaded in 1649.

The title fell to the Duke's daughetr Anne who married William Douglas, Earl of Selkirk. Her son the 4th Duke, died in a duel in London in 1712. The 5th and 6th Dukes extended the palace and built the splendid hunting lodge named Chatelhault.

The 10th Duke, Alexander, completed the enlargements of Hamilton palace and lived in a regal style.

Hamilton palace was demoloished because of mining subsidence and the family seat is now at Lennoxlove, near Haddington.

If you'd like to read about the Cadzow family that is part of
the Clan Hamilton, please click here.


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