James, second Earl of Airlie, was born
about 1611, and, in 1630, was still being educated with
his brothers under a tutor at St. Andrews. Like his
father and all his family, he early embarked in the wars
on the side of the King, and held Airlie Castle against
the Earls of Montrose and Kingliorn 1640, but was forced
to surrender. He was declared a rebel and exempted from
pardon. In February 1643 he went to Court with Montrose,
and in July was therefore charged with high treason. He
acted as Montrose's aide-de-camp, was taken prisoner
and imprisoned in the Tolbooth, but was liberated after the
battle of Kilsyth. He was again taken prisoner after
Philiphaugh, 18 September 1645, and condemned to death,
but escaped from the Castle of St. Andrews the night before
his execution, having changed clothes with his sister Lady
Margaret Urquhart ('Lady Meldrum'), 20 January 1646, and
was not betrayed, although a reward of 1000 sterling was
offered for him dead or alive. He was pardoned by Act of
Parliament, 7 June and 9 July 1649, and gave satisfaction
to the Kirk. He joined King Charles II. at Scone in 1650,
and was afterwards captured at Alyth by Cromwell's
troops and imprisoned in the Tower of London (with a short
interval) until January 1657. After the Restoration he
received a pension from King Charles II., which was very
irregularly paid, commanded a troop of horse, and was
sworn a Privy Councillor. He declared for the Prince of
Orange, but was fined 1200 Scots for not attending the
Parliament, and in 1693 he was on account of age excused
from attending Parliament. He died after 1698 and before
1704, being described as 'a little light man . . . always
very loyall, and a great follower of his cousin the great
Marquess of Montrose.' A matrimonial project he had with
Lady Magdalene Carnegie, afterwards wife of the Marquess
of Montrose, not being carried out, he married (contract
dated 20-25 March 1629) Helen Ogilvy, eldest daughter of
George, first Lord Banff. She was the Lady Ogilvy of the
burning of Airlie, and was, after the destruction of her
husband's castles by Argyll, forced (though with child) to
flee with her children to Dundee. She died after February
1664. He married, secondly (contract dated 31 October
1668), Marie, Marchioness-dowager of Huntly, daughter
of Sir John Grant of Freuchie and widow of Lewis, third
Marquess of Huntly. As a Catholic she was excommunicated,
and her marriage was arranged with great difficulty. She
survived her husband.
He left issue by his first marriage:-
- 1. James, baptized at Banff, 6 August 1633, died young.
- 2. David, succeeded his father.
- 3. Anne, married, with a tocher of 6000 merks (contract
dated 10-13 February 1660), to Sir John Wood of
- 4. Margaret, married, first, to Alexander, second Lord
Halkerton, and, secondly, to Patrick Lyall.
- 5. Marion, married, first (contract dated 11 October 1666),
to James, Lord Coupar (see that title) ; secondly, 31
July 1669, to John, third Lord Lindores.
- 6. Helen, married (contract dated 3 March 1686) to Sir
John Gordon of Park.
- 7. Elisabeth, baptized at Alyth, March 1650.