Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Home, Alexander (1566?-1619)

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HOME or HUME, ALEXANDER, sixth Lord Home and first Earl of Home (1566?–1619), born about 1566, was son of Alexander, fifth lord Home [q. v.] by his second wife. On the death of his father in 1575 he was placed under the guardianship of Andrew, commendator of Jedburgh. The custody of the castle of Home had been committed by the regent Morton to the widow of the fifth baron, and on 30 Nov. 1578 she and her husband complained that the commendator refused to deliver it up. He was ordered to do so, but in December 1579 it was arranged that the castle should be retained by Lord Home and the commendator, his tutor, in his name (Reg. P. C. Scotl. iii. 250). In 1581 Alexander Hume of Manderston and others were ordered to restore to Home certain lands under a penalty of 500l. (ib. pp. 422–3). In July of the following year Home, as warden of the east marches, received a special commission to hold justiciary courts in his district (ib. p. 501). He was one of those who signed the band which resulted in the raid of Ruthven on 23 Aug. following. In a memorandum on the ‘Present State of the Nobility of Scotland,’ 1583, Home is described as ‘a young man of xvii years of age, of a great living and many friends, although they all follow him not—Himself of no very good government or hope’ (Bannatyne Miscellany, i. 68). In November 1583 a violent brawl occurred betwixt him and Francis Stewart Hepburn, fifth earl of Bothwell [q. v.], in the streets of Edinburgh (Calderwood, iii. 759). Both were ordered into ward, and Home was not released till 20 Jan. 1584–5 (Reg. P. C. Scotl. iii. 719). For a time he was a prisoner in Tantallon Castle, but in December was transferred to the castle of Edinburgh by way of the Nether Bow, so that he might see exposed there the head of one of his dependents, David Hume, captain of Stirling Castle (Calderwood, iv. 245).

Notwithstanding his hereditary jealousy of Bothwell, and his previous violent quarrel with him, Home, soon after obtaining his liberty, co-operated with him in the scheme for the restoration of the banished lords and the overthrow of Arran. Along with Bothwell, he fortified the castle of Kelso, which became the rendezvous of the insurgents. He was one of those received into favour by the king after Arran's fall. In the complaint of the kirk's commissioners to the king in 1587, he is mentioned as one of the ‘Papists and idolators’ who had been promoted by the king to ‘offices and benefits contrary to the acts of parliament’ (ib. iv. 632). At the meeting of parliament in this year a quarrel occurred between Home and Lord Fleming on account of the latter being allowed by the council to vote before the other lords. Home challenged Fleming to a duel, but the combat was prevented by the citizens of Edinburgh, and the king subsequently reconciled them (ib. p. 640; Moysie, Memoirs, p. 65). After the fall of Arran the old jealousy between Home and Bothwell broke out anew. When the king in 1589 sailed to Denmark to convoy the Princess Anne to Scotland, they were specially charged to keep the peace towards each other, and while both of them were ‘employed in particular charge of service,’ they were required to keep within their own special bounds until the king's return (Reg. P. C. Scotl. iv. 423). Home, however, for a time befriended Bothwell when that nobleman fell into disgrace with the king. After Bothwell, on 22 June 1591, broke ward out of Edinburgh Castle, he dined the same evening with Home in Leith (Moysie, p. 86); and on account of his having openly joined Bothwell, proclamation was, on 2 Aug., made for his pursuit (Reg. P. C. Scotl. iv. 662). The proclamation was effectual, for soon after he went to Blackness Castle, and was reported to have turned an enemy of Bothwell (Calderwood, v. 138). Bothwell attributed the changed attitude of Home to the influence of the chancellor Maitland, but he was actuated largely both by a conviction that Bothwell's course was becoming desperate and by anticipation of a share in his forfeited lands. On 17 Nov. 1592 a convention of ministers sent a request to the king that he should remove Home, a professed papist, out of his company (ib. p. 178). The king answered ‘he had no law for him to do so,’ but after they had laid before him the dangers hanging over the church, he consented to the appointment of a commission to inquire into such matters. On more stringent measures being threatened against the catholics, Home, on 23 Jan. 1592–3, appeared before the presbytery of Edinburgh, and, professing himself a catholic, desired a conference (ib. v. 221). In June of this year he assisted James Gray, brother of Patrick, master of Gray, in forcibly carrying off a young heiress, guarding the High Street with his retainers till the deed was accomplished (ib. p. 252). After Bothwell's interview with King James in Holyrood Palace in July of this year, the king, regarding himself as practically a prisoner, entered into communications with Home to aid him to escape to Falkland, but the purpose of the king was accidentally discovered and frustrated by Bothwell. One of the conditions granted to Bothwell after he was purged by an assize was that Home should not repair to the king's company, but this condition was not kept, for Home was made captain of the king's bodyguard, and openly expressed his contempt for Bothwell and the whole race and name of the Stewarts, who, he said, ‘dared not take one sillie bee out of the moss in his bounds without his will’ (Bowes to Burghley, 13 Sept. 1593). Meantime, having failed to satisfy the demands of the kirk, Home was on 25 Sept. excommunicated by the synod of Fife. Nevertheless he remained in close company with the king, with whom he journeyed in October to Jedburgh, where a special meeting of the barons had been summoned (Calderwood, v. 269). On 22 Dec. he subscribed the confession of faith at the special instance of the ministers of Edinburgh (ib. p. 290), and at the assembly which met at Edinburgh in May of the following year he was, on professing sincere repentance and promising thenceforth to adhere to protestantism, absolved from excommunication (ib. pp. 316–21).

On 27 March previous he had received a commission for the pursuit of Bothwell. He accompanied the king in command of the horse when a skirmish took place with Bothwell near Arthur's Seat, but was driven back by a strong division of Bothwell's infantry, and compelled to retreat (Hist. James the Sext, p. 305; Calderwood, v. 297). At the opening of the parliament in May he accompanied the king to the Tolbooth, riding on his left hand (ib. pp. 329). At this parliament he was chosen a lord of the articles. After the banishment of Bothwell, his estates were divided chiefly among Home, Kerr of Cessford, and Scott of Buccleugh, Home obtaining the priory of Coldingham. He was one of the noblemen appointed in November 1596 to assist the lords of exchequer ‘in ordering of the public affairs of the country’ (Reg. P. C. Scotl. v. 338), and he was present with the king when he was besieged in the Tolbooth during the tumult of 18 Dec. of this year (ib. p. 362).

In April 1599 Home went abroad, and resigned the office of warden of the east marches, which was bestowed on Sir Alexander Home of Manderston (ib. v. 552). The cause of his absence abroad was supposed by some to be his appointment to a special embassy on behalf of the king to the papal court. For not appearing at a meeting convened to take measures for the repression of disorder on the borders, he and others were summoned to appear on 11 Aug. 1600 at Falkland on pain of rebellion (ib. vi. 136). Home obeyed the summons. In the following year he and other nobles who had previously been catholics were subjected to more stringent superintendence by the authorities of the kirk, and an ordinance was made for confirming them in the truth (Calderwood, vi. 115–23), but the commissioner appointed to wait on Home reported that he was out of the country (ib. p. 162). Home was one of the retinue who in 1603 accompanied King James to England on his accession to the English throne, the king on his way staying for a night at Home's castle of Dunglass. On 7 July the king constituted him lieutenant and justiciary over the three marches (Reg. P. C. Scotl. vi. 833). He was also sworn a privy councillor of England, and on 4 March 1605 was created Earl of Home and Lord Dunglass. Suspected anew of Roman catholicism, he was ordered in 1606 to confine himself in Edinburgh (Calderwood, vi. 608). He died 5 April 1619.

He married first Christian, sister of William Douglas, earl of Morton, and relict of Laurence, master of Oliphant. She died without issue by Home. His second wife was Mary Sutton, eldest daughter of Edward, lord Dudley, by whom he had a son James, second earl of Home, and two daughters: Margaret, married to James, fifth earl of Moray; and Lady Anne, married to John Maitland, duke of Lauderdale.

[Reg. P. C. Scotl. vols. iii–viii.; Cal. State Papers, Scott. and Dom. Ser.; Hist. James the Sext; Histories of Calderwood and Spotiswood; Balfour's Annals; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 735–6.]

T. F. H.