Sempill, Hew (DNB00)

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SEMPILL, HEW, eleventh Lord Sempill (d. 1746), was the fifth son of Francis Abercromby of Fetterneir, Aberdeenshire, who was created Lord Glassford for life on 5 July 1685. His mother was Anne, baroness Sempill, daughter of Robert, seventh lord Sempill. He became ensign in July 1719, and although he succeeded to the peerage (taking his mother's maiden name), held by his mother, on the death of his brother John, tenth lord Sempill, in August 1716, he remained in the army, serving in Spain and Flanders under Marlborough and Ormonde. In 1718 he was promoted major of the 26th regiment or Cameronians, and in 1719 lieutenant-colonel of the 9th foot. On 14 Jan. 1741 he succeeded the Earl of Crawford as colonel of the Black Watch, then the 43rd and now the 42nd foot. In 1743 the regiment, originally raised to keep watch in the highlands, received orders to proceed south to England; and when a rumour reached the soldiers in London that they were to be sent to the West Indies, they immediately proceeded to return to Scotland, but were overtaken and compelled to turn back. Their destination was Flanders, and there, under Lord Sempill, they specially distinguished themselves in the defence of the town of Aeth when it was besieged by the French. So exemplary was the conduct of the regiment in Flanders that the elector palatine desired his envoy to thank George II for their behaviour, adding that for their sakes he would ‘always pay a respect and regard to a Scotchman in future.’ On 25 April 1745 Lord Sempill was appointed colonel of the 25th foot, and at the battle of Culloden on 16 April 1746 he acted as brigadier-general, his regiment occupying a place in the second line on the left wing. He died at Aberdeen on 25 Nov. 1746, while in command of the troops stationed there. Lord Sempill in 1727 sold the estates of Elliotson and Castle Semple, and in 1741 bought the estate of North Barr. By his first wife, Sarah, daughter and coheiress of Nathaniel Gaskill of Manchester, he had five sons and six daughters; he was succeeded by his eldest son John. His grandson Hugh, thirteenth Lord Sempill (1758–1830), was author of ‘A Short Address to the Public on the Practice of cashiering Military Officers without a Trial; and a Vindication of the Conduct and Political Opinion of the Author,’ London, 1793.

[Cannon's Hist. of the 42nd Regiment; Lieutenant-colonel Percy Groves's Hist. of the 42nd Royal Highlanders, 1893; Chambers's Hist. of the Rebellion of 1745; Collections for Renfrewshire, 1890; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), ii. 496–7.]

T. F. H.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.245
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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235 ii 10-15 Sempill, Hew, 11th Lord Sempill: Note that the author of ‘A Short Address .... of the Author,’ London, 1793, was not by the subject of this article, but by his grandson, Hugh Sempill, thirteenth Lord Sempill (1758-1830).