Montgomerie, Hugh (1531?-1585) (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

MONTGOMERIE, HUGH, third Earl of Eglinton (1531?–1585), eldest son of Hugh, second earl, by his wife Mariot, daughter of George, third lord Seton, was born about 1531. He succeeded to the estates on the death of his father, 3 Sept. 1546. Hugh Montgomerie, first earl [q. v.], was his great-grandfather. With his brother William he was incorporated a student of St. Mary's College, St. Andrews, in 1552. Having married Lady Janet Hamilton, daughter of the regent Arran, he for some time acted, although a catholic, in concert with Arran in political matters. He assembled his forces with Arran in October 1559 in Edinburgh in support of the congregation (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1559-60, entry 130), and in December he was stated to have declared openly against the French (ib. entry 392). Yet in the February following he was reported to be wholly addicted to the queen's cause (Crofts to Cecil, 23 Feb., ib. entry 762); and he was one of those who after the death of Francis II, husband of Mary Stuart, attended a convention at Dunbar on 10 Dec. 1560, when a bond was signed on behalf of the queen (ib. 1560, entry 818). In February following he set out to visit Mary in France (ib. entry 968), and remaining there till her return to Scotland in August, set sail in one of the vessels of her train, which was captured and for a short time detained by the English.

Eglinton was one of the most constant and persistent supporters of Mary Stuart in her catholic policy, and especially in her efforts to establish the mass. On 3 June 1562 Randolph reports that he and the Bishop of St. Andrews hear daily masses (ib. 1562, entry 145), and Knox mentions him as present with other papists at the mass in the chapel of Holyrood when Darnley, in February 1565-6, received the order of the Cockle from the king of France (Works, ii. 519). At the marriage banquet of Mary and Darnley, 29 July 1565, he was one of the nobles who waited on Darnley. With other lords and barons of the west he also, on 5 Sept., signed a bond for the king and queen (Reg. P. C. Scotl. i. 363); and in the 'roundabout raid' against Moray his forces formed part of the van (ib. p. 379). He was one of the lords who, 17 Dec. 1566, assisted at the baptism of the young prince James, at Stirling, according to the rites of the Romish church (Knox, ii. 536).

Eglinton had no connection with the murder of Darnley, and with other catholic lords was opposed to the marriage with Bothwell, although at first he maintained a position of neutrality. He attended the supper given by Bothwell in Ainslie's tavern, 19 April 1567, but, alone of those present, managed to slip out without signing the bond for the marriage. He joined the lords who met at Stirling to take measures for the deliverance of the queen from Bothwell, but did not support their action after her confinement in Lochleven, and held aloof from the parliament convened by the regent's party in the following December (Calderwood, ii. 550). He joined the Hamiltons and other supporters of the queen after her escape from Lochleven (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1566-8, entry 2172), and fought for her at Langside, 15 May 1568. After the battle he made his escape by hiding himself till nightfall in the straw of an outhouse. On the 24th he was charged to deliver up the castles and fortalices of Eglinton and Ardrossan (Reg. P. C. Scotl. i. 626). This he failed to do; and having, with the Hamiltons and others, held a convention on behalf of the queen at Ayr on 29 July (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1566-8, entry 2397), he was at a parliament held on 19 Aug. declared guilty of treason. For some time he adhered to the party of the queen, but in May 1571 gave sureties to the regent (ib. 1569-71, entry 1620; Calderwood, iii. 33). He was, notwithstanding, sent to ward to the castle of Doune, Perthshire, but obtained his release in July, and on 12 Aug. subscribed at Stirling his obedience to the regent (ib. p. 135). He was present with the nobles of the regent's party at Stirling on 3 Sept., when the town was entered by the Hamiltons and others, and the regent Lennox slain. During the raid he was shut up by them as a prisoner in his lodgings under a guard. On the accession of Mar to the regency an order was granted on 7 Sept. discharging Eglinton and his sureties from all pains and penalties (Reg. P. C. Scotl. ii. 79). After the election of Morton to the regency, Eglinton at the parliament held in February 1573 endeavoured with Lord Lindsay to secure toleration for the catholics (Cal. State Papers, Scott. Ser. i. 368), but he also supported the league with England, and took care to express special detestation of the St. Bartholomew massacres.

After the fall of Morton in 1578 Eglinton attended the meeting of the lords in the Tolbooth on 9 April, when measures were taken for the safety of the king's person and the peace of the country (Moysie, Memoirs, p. 6). On the reconciliation with Morton he was chosen a lord of the articles and a member of the new privy council. On 17 June a complaint was made against him by Alexander Cunningham; commendator of Kilwinning, for occupying the steeple of Kilwinning, when both parties were commanded to cease from using the steeple as 'ane house of war' in time coming (Reg. P. C. Scotl. iii. 2), but the arrangement by no means ended the dispute (ib. passim).

Eglinton subscribed the order of 30 April 1579 for the prosecution of the Hamiltons for the murder of the regents Moray and Lennox (ib. p. 147), and having been appointed one of the commission of lieutenancy to carry the order into effect, received on 22 May the thanks and exoneration of the council for the discharge of his duties (ib. p. 165). He was one of the assize for the trial of Morton in 1581; but though not directly connected with the raid of Ruthven, was present at the convention, 18 Oct. 1582, in Holyrood, which formally approved of the raid (Moysie, p. 40). He was also one of the privy council which on 4 Feb. 1582-1583 offered a reward of 5001. for the name of the author of the pasquil against the raid (Reg. P. C. Scotl. iii. 549). He died 3 June 1585.

In April 1562 Eglinton raised a process of divorce against his first wife, Janet Hamilton, on the ground of consanguinity (Fraser, Earls of Eglinton, ii. 163-81). The marriage on this ground was dissolved by the pope, but at the instance of the countess Eglinton was divorced from her by the kirk on the ground of adultery (ib. ii. 183-5). By this marriage he had no issue. The first countess died in December 1596, and was buried in Holyrood Abbey. Shortly after the divorce Eglinton married Margaret, daughter of Sir John Drummond of Innerpeffrey, and widow of Sir Hugh Campbell of Loudoun, by whom he had two sons and two daughters: Hugh, fourth earl, slain by the Cunninghams on 18 April 1586; Robert of Giffen; Margaret, celebrated by the poet Alexander Montgomerie [q. v.], married to Robert Seton, first earl of Wintoun, by whom she had, among other issue, Alexander, sixth earl of Eglinton [q. v.]; and Agnes, married to Robert, first lord Semple. The second countess remarried in 1588 Patrick, third lord Drummond.

[Histories of Knox, Calderwood, and Keith; Moysie's Memoirs (Bannatyne Club); Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. and Scott. Ser.; Reg. P. C. Scotl. vols. i-iii.; Paterson's Hist. of Ayr; Sir William Fraser's Earl of Eglinton; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 499-500.]

T. F. H.