Seton, Alexander (fl.1311-1340) (DNB00)

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SETON, Sir ALEXANDER (fl. 1311–1340), keeper of Berwick, was probably a brother of Sir Christopher Seton [q. v.] His name is found among those of the Scottish nobles who, in 1320, signed the letter to the pope asserting the independence of Scotland. From Robert I he received the manor of Tranent and other lands, as well as the fortalice and lands of Fawside. In February 1311–12 he was named prior or inquisitor of forfeited lands in Lothian (Cal. Documents relating to Scotland, 1307–57, No. 245). He had a safe-conduct in September 1322 to go and return from England (ib. No. 767), and on 25 July 1324 he received a safe-conduct to go to Scotland and come again (ib. No. 846). In 1327 he was appointed keeper of Berwick (Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, i. 63), and while it was besieged by the English in 1333 held command of the town, the Earl of March being entrusted with the defence of the castle. After a long blockade, during which provisions ran short, they agreed to capitulate within a certain time unless succour was obtained, giving as hostage, among others, Thomas Seton, son of Sir Alexander. Just before the period expired Sir William Keith succeeded in throwing himself into the town with a body of Scots soldiers. Keith, who was now chosen governor, refused to surrender, whereupon Edward, on the ground that the Scots had broken the stipulations of the treaty, hanged Thomas Seton before the gate of the town in the sight of the garrison. Alarmed for the safety of the other hostages, the Scots renewed negotiations, and signed an agreement to deliver up the town, unless they were relieved before 19 July by two hundred men-at-arms or the English were defeated in pitched battle. It was accordingly surrendered after the defeat of the Scots at Halidon Hill on 19 July 1333.

Seton was present in Edward Baliol's parliament on 10 Feb. following, and witnessed the cession of Berwick to the English. He had a safe-conduct to go into England, 15 Oct. 1337, and he was one of the hostages for John, earl of Moray, on his liberation in August 1340. By his wife Christian, daughter of Cheyne of Straloch, he had three sons and a daughter: Alexander, killed in opposing the landing of Edward Baliol, 6 Aug. 1332; Thomas, put to death by Edward III before the walls of Berwick; William, drowned during an attack on the English fleet at Berwick in July 1333; and Margaret, who being predeceased by her three brothers, became heiress of Seton. She married Alan de Wyntoun, whose son, Sir William Seton of Seton, was created a lord of parliament.

[Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland; Exchequer Rolls of Scotland; Rymer's Fœdera; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), ii. 640–1.]

T. F. H.