Somerville, Hugh (DNB00)
|←Somerville, Andrew||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 53
SOMERVILLE, HUGH, fifth Lord Somerville (1483?–1549), born about 1483, was second son of William, master of Somerville, by Margory Montgomerie, daughter of Alexander, second lord Montgomerie, and sister of Hugh Montgomerie, first earl of Eglinton [q. v.] His father died in 1488, in the lifetime of the grandfather, John, third lord (d. before 14 Feb. 1491–2), and thus John, the elder son, became fourth lord Somerville about the beginning of 1492, and he, dying without issue about 1522, was succeeded by Hugh, who sat in parliament as Lord Somerville on 16 Nov. 1524. He found himself involved in a quarrel with John Somerville of Cambusnethan, his relative, a follower of Angus, who had been restored in blood on 3 Aug. 1525, and who demanded to be put in possession of the lands of Carnwath, which Lord Somerville held. On the claimant attempting to execute process on the tenants, a fight took place. But Somerville of Cambusnethan getting a new warrant on 22 Aug. 1527, Lord Somerville was forced to give way, and took up his residence in the ancient stronghold of Cowthally. This he much improved, and, as it stood encircled by morasses, he valued its security.
When in July 1528 James V escaped from the keeping of Angus [see Douglas, Archibald, sixth Earl of Angus], Somerville was one of those who joined him at Stirling, and from this time he was more or less intimate with the young king, who, for one thing, brought to decision the disputes between Somerville and Cambusnethan (30 May 1532), one of the first-fruits of the establishment of the new college of justice. In 1531 he was one of those acquitted of complicity in the murder of John, earl of Lennox [see under Hamilton, Sir James, (d. 1540)]. In July 1532 the king was present at the marriage of Somerville's daughter, and it was at Cowthally that James seems first to have met his mistress, Elizabeth Carmichael, who afterwards married the young Cambusnethan. In the September following James paid him a sudden visit on his way to the Carmichaels, and it is said that he tried in vain to secure Lady Somerville's assistance in regard to his future mistress, then living with her father at Crawfurd. On 3 Nov. 1536, at the marriage of Somerville's second daughter Margory to one of the Tweedies, James came a third time, and then probably arranged for Elizabeth Carmichael's marriage. When James V came back from his French expedition, landing at Leith on 19 May 1537, Somerville was one of those who were there to meet him, and his biographer relates that he cut a slice out of his rent-roll to meet the cost of new liveries for his men and clothes for himself.
In the troubles which now came upon Scotland Somerville took a leading and, on the whole, a dishonourable part. His eldest son James married, in 1540, Agnes Hamilton, daughter of Sir James Hamilton (d. 1540) [q. v.], an old friend of the Somervilles. In 1542 Somerville joined James's expedition into England which ended so disastrously at Solway Moss (24 Oct. 1542). There he was taken prisoner, and seems for some time to have been kept in the north; he was at Newcastle 3 Dec., York 11 Dec., Newark 16 Dec., and did not reach London till about the 19th. He was given into the keeping of Lord Audley, and, like the other lords, subscribed the open article asking Henry to take into his hands and government both the kingdom and the young queen of Scotland; and he was one of the ten who desired the king to take the crown of Scotland in case of the death of the young queen. He was also negotiating with Sir Richard Southwell [q. v.] in the north in January 1542–3. His ransom, which had been four thousand marks, was reduced to one thousand marks, and he was allowed to go back to Scotland before 17 March 1542–3, on leaving his eldest son in his place.
From this time he was a member of the English party in Scotland, and seems to have accepted a pension from Henry. He was in communication with Sir Ralph Sadler [q. v.] and John Dudley, lord Lisle (afterwards earl of Warwick and duke of Northumberland) [q. v.], and on 18 April is mentioned as one of those whom Sadler had to ‘ripe’ to Henry's new proposals. He took money from the English. In August 1543 he went against the cardinal with the Earl of Glencairn. He disobeyed Arran's summons to Stirling [see Hamilton, James, second Earl of Arran and Duke of Chatelherault], and on 8 Sept. he, with others, signed ‘the band’ at Douglas. He had a conference with Sadler at Edinburgh in October, and then went to the meeting at Glasgow [cf. for these events Douglas, Archibald, sixth Earl of Angus]. On 25 Oct. he was deputed to go to England with the views of his party by those assembled at Douglas Castle, but on his way he was (1 Nov.) seized in the High Street of Edinburgh and shut up in Edinburgh Castle, whence he was moved (6 Nov.) to Blackness at the mouth of the Firth of Forth. He was now in great danger. He and his second son tried to get his eldest son back again, and successfully. But after trying in vain to bribe the keeper, he, perhaps by means of a secret pact with Arran, got out, being set at liberty some time before 2 April 1544. He died in 1549, and was buried in Carnwath church. He gave much money to the hospital of St. Mary Magdalen, Edinburgh. By his wife Janet, daughter of William Maitland of Lethington, he had James, sixth lord (see below); John, Hugh, and three daughters. His wife died about the same time as he did, and is buried in the same tomb.
James Somerville, sixth Lord Somerville (d. 1569), when he took his father's place in England in 1543, lived with the Duke of Suffolk, who described him as courageous, although not personally attractive. He returned to Scotland about December 1543, Henry's wish to recall him coming too late. He is said to have told Angus that, whatever understanding his father might have with Arran, he would stand by him. He was hampered by his father's extravagance. In the main issue of the time which followed he took the catholic side. He was of Mary of Guise's party, and she employed him in negotiating with Châtelherault; and though in 1560 he is noted as a waverer, he was certainly strongly opposed to the lords of congregation. He signed the band of the lords and barons of the west country of 1565, took up arms, marched to Hamilton, and fought at Langside on 13 May 1568. There he was wounded in the thigh and face, and, going home to Cowthally, he died about December 1569. By his wife Agnes, daughter of Sir James Hamilton of Finnart, he left, with other children, Hugh, seventh lord (1535–1597), who was served heir to his father in 1571, and built the mansion of Drum in 1584. He did not take part in the catholic rebellion of 1589, but took part in the trial of the insurgents [see Gordon, George, sixth Earl and first Marquis of Huntly] (cf. Teulet, Papiers d'État, Bannatyne Club, iii. 524–5). He died, after much trouble with various members of his family, at the Raploch on 24 March 1597, and was buried in the choir of Cambusnethan church. By his wife Eleanor, daughter of George, lord Seaton, he had sixteen children. He was succeeded by his son Gilbert, eighth lord. One of the sons, Robert, was accidentally killed by his brother William about 1587 (Teulet, op. cit. i. 244).[Somerville's Memorie of the Somervilles, esp. vol. i. (many of the errors in this account are corrected by Sir Walter Scott in the notes); Douglas's edition of Wood's Peerage, ii. 506; Sadler Papers, i. 72, 96, &c.; Stoney's Life of Sadleir; State Papers, iv. 115, v. 232, &c.; Reg. Privy Council of Scotland, i. 21, &c.; Hamilton Papers, vols. i. and, ii.; Wriothesley's Chron. i. 138.]