James, 1st Earl of Abercorn

James, eldest son of Claud, Lord Paisley, commonly designated Master of Paisley. Was highly esteemed by King James VI., who made him, 14 December 1598, one of the Lords of his Privy Council (though he did not take his seat at the board till 10 February 1601) and gentleman of his bedchamber; and gave him by a charter, dated 26 November 1600, the office of Sheriff of the county of Linlithgow, 2 with all the fees, etc., thereto belonging, to him and his heirs-male whatever; and by another charter, 11 July 1601, the lands of Abercorn, Braidmeadow, etc. He was created a Peer, by the title of LORD OF ABERCORN, 5 April 1603, when the lands of Abercorn were erected into a free barony to him and his heirs-male and assigns whatever. The next year, 1604, he was one of the Commissioners, on the part of Scotland, to treat of a union with England, which did not take effect; and, on the 10 of July 1606, he was advanced to the dignity of EARL OF ABERCORN, BARON OF PAISLEY, HAMILTON, MOUNTCASTELL, AND KILPATRICK, by patent, to him and his heirs-male whatever.

King James, purposing to hold a Parliament in Ireland, made choice of some eminent persons, capable of that honour and trust, for the nobility of their birth, and their estates and possessions in that kingdom, to assist the upper house, and to have place and voice as peers of that realm; and therefore, by letter, from Westminster, 31 March 1613, authorised the Lord Deputy to call the Earl to the next Parliament, by Writ of Summons. 6 On 20 May 1615 he was appointed of the council of the province of Munster ; and had a grant of the small proportion of 1000 acres called Strabane, and the large proportion of 2000 acres known as Dunnalonge. At Strabane he built a very strong and fair castle, a schoolhouse and church round which the town was built. He subsequently acquired 1500 acres, called Shean, from his brother-in-law Sir Thomas Boyd. He apparently doubled his holding in Ireland ere long, and proved himself a very energetic colonist, as on 24 August 1614 an Act of Council was passed acknowledging that he had fulfilled all his engagements for his share of 6000 acres in the Irish Plantation and exonerating him therefrom. He received King James in his great halls at Paisley on 24 July 1617. His last appearance at a meeting of the Privy Council was on 24 February 1618: he died in the parish of Monkton, a month after, in the lifetime of his father, 23 March 1618, aged forty-three, and was buried 29 April following in the abbey church of Paisley. His will made 7 June 1616 was proved in Ireland 26 June 1624. He married Marion, eldest daughter of Thomas, fifth Lord Boyd, by Margaret, daughter of Sir Matthew Campbell of London, and by her, who died in the Canongate, Edinburgh, 26 August 1632, and was buried, 13 September, with her husband, had issue:-
  • 1. James, second Earl of Abercorn.
  • 2. Claud, Lord Strabane, of whom afterwards.
  • 3. Sir William Hamilton, created a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1627, was long Resident in Rome on behalf of Henrietta Maria, Queen Dowager of England. He married before 1 April 1656, Jean, eldest daughter of Alexander Colquhoun of Luss by Helen, daughter of Sir George Buchanan of that Ilk, and widow, first of Alan, fifth Lord Cathcart (who died 18 August 1628), and secondly, of Sir Duncan Campbell, second Baronet of Auchinbreck (who died in 1645), but left no issue. Sir William died at South Shields, 25 June 1681.
  • 4. Sir George Hamilton, of whom afterwards.
  • 5. Sir Alexander Hamilton, of Holborn, London, married Elizabeth, daughter of ... Bedingfield, and died before 4 May 1669, when administration of his estate was granted to a creditor, leaving, with three daughters, one son:-
    • (1) Alexander, settled at the Court of Philip William, Elector Palatine, who sent him as envoy extraordinary to King James VII. He accompanied the Elector's daughter, Eleanora Magdalena, to Vienna, on her marriage with the Emperor Leopold, which took place 14 December 1676, and was created a Count of the Empire with a grant of the County of Neuburg, near Passau, and other estates in Moravia and Hungary. He left issue:-
      • i. Julius, Count of the Empire, one of the Chamberlains to the Emperor, who married Countess Maria Ernestina of Staremberg, and had issue by her, who died in 1724, three sons and several daughters.
  • 6. Anne, married in 1611 to Hugh, fifth Lord Sempill, and had one daughter.
  • 7. Margaret, married 1628 to Sir William Cunningham of Caprington, in the County of Ayr, Knight, and died without issue.
  • 8. Isobel named with her brothers and her sisters Margaret and Lucrece as parties to an action in the Court of Session on 4 November 1620.
  • 9. Lucy or Lucrece, contracted by her father, when very young, to Randal, Lord Dunluce, afterwards Marquess of Antrim, but he not abiding by the contract, she never married; and by letters from Whitehall, 28 October 1627, the Earl of Antrim was ordered to pay 3000 to James, Earl of Abercorn, for his son's failure to implement the contract.
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