Seton, Alexander (d.1470) (DNB00)

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SETON, Sir ALEXANDER, first Earl of Huntly (d. 1470), was the elder son of Alexander Seton (second son of Sir William Seton of Seton), by Elizabeth Gordon, only daughter and heiress of Sir Adam Gordon, lord of Gordon, killed at Homildon, 14 Sept. 1402. On 20 July 1408 Seton and his wife received from Robert, duke of Albany, a charter, with remainder to their heirs, of the lands and baronies of Gordon, and other lands belonging to the late Lord of Gordon; and Seton was thereafter styled Lord of Gordon and Huntly. The son was one of the Scots nobles who attended Princess Margaret of Scotland to France in 1436 on her marriage to the dauphin Louis, son of Charles VIII; and in the following year he was sent to England to treat of a peace. In January 1445–6 he happened, on his way home from attending the court, to be the guest of the Ogilvys at Castle Ogilvy, when they were preparing for combat against the Crawfords, and shared in their defeat at Inverquaharity. Naturally, therefore, he supported the king against the league of Douglas with the Earls of Crawford and Ross, and, after the assassination of Douglas by the king in Stirling Castle in 1452, he was appointed (having in 1449 been created Earl of Huntly) lieutenant-general of the kingdom, and entrusted with the special task of subduing Crawford. On 15 March he encountered him near Brechin and totally defeated him, but not without severe loss, his two brothers, Sir William and Sir Henry Seton, being among the slain. During his absence his lands were wasted by the Earl of Moray, brother of the late Douglas; but on his return from his victory at Brechin he devastated the lands of Moray, and plundered and burnt the city of Elgin. Ultimately he succeeded in completely restoring order, and, having come to terms with Crawford, contrived during the king's progress in the north in 1453 that Crawford and his followers should appear before the king in beggarly apparel, when he so successfully interceded for them that they received a free pardon, and Crawford was restored to his estates and titles.

Huntly was one of the commanders at the siege of Roxburgh Castle in 1460, when the king was killed by the bursting of one of the siege guns. He died at Elgin on 14 July 1470. By his first wife, Jean, daughter and heiress of Robert de Keith, grandson and heir of Sir William de Keith, great marischal of Scotland, he had no issue. By his second wife, Egidia, daughter and heiress of Sir John Hay of Tulliebody, Clackmannanshire, he had a son Sir Alexander Seton, ancestor of the Setons of Touch, Stirlingshire. By his third wife, Elizabeth, daughter of William, lord Crichton, lord high-chancellor of Scotland, he had three sons and three daughters, who took the name of Gordon, the succession to the earldom of Huntly being settled on the issue of this marriage, by charter 29 Jan. 1449–50. The sons were George Gordon, second earl of Huntly [q. v.]; Sir Alexander of Midmar, ancestor of the Gordons of Abergeldie; and Adam, dean of Caithness and rector of Pettie.

[Lindsay of Pitscottie's Chronicle; Bishop Lesley's History of Scotland; Exchequer Rolls of Scotland; Tytler's History of Scotland; William Gordon's House of Gordon; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 643–4.]

T. F. H.