Note: The Scottish peerage dignity of Huntly first came into existence as an earldom from about 1445 and later from 1599, as a marquessate, where it has consistently been held by the same family who have adopted the surname of Gordon.
The origins of the Gordons
The Gordons where a family of Anglo-Norman descent who drew their name from the lordship of Gordon (from the Brythonic'Gawr din' for 'great fort') in Berwickshire. In the early fourteenth century there was an Adam de Gordon who was a supporter of English claims to authority in Scotland and was thus appointed Justiciar of Scotland by Edward II in 1310. But after the English defeat at the battle of Bannockburn he switched sides, and was thus rewarded by Robert the Bruce, who in 1318 granted him the lordship of Strathbogie in Aberdeenshire which had earlier been confiscated from David of Strathbogie, 10th Earl of Atholl. Adam promptly renamed Strathbogie as Huntly, after the name of a village within the Gordon lordship in Berwickshire. It was another Adam, heir and grandson to the above, who got himself killed at the battle of Homildon Hill in 1403, leaving his only daughter Elizabeth Gordon as a valuable heiress. Elizabeth married Alexander de Seton in 1408 at which point Alexander was recognised as being a Lord of Parliament under the title of the Lord Gordon. It was their son Alexander Seton, the 2nd Lord Gordon who was to be created the first Earl of Huntly.
The Earls of Huntly
The exact date on which Alexander was created Earl of Huntly remains uncertain, some accounts specify the year 1449, whilst others argue for an earlier date around the year 1445. What is certain is that by the time that Alexander was created Earl of Huntly he was on his second (or possibly third) marriage, his then wife being Elizabeth Crichton, daughter of William Crichton, 1st Lord Crichton. Therefore Alexander appears to have designated the children of his second marriage as his heirs and so after his death on the 15th July 1470 the title of Huntly passed to George, the eldest son of this second marriage. It was this George who adopted his grandmother's name of Gordon (whilst Alexander's son by his first marriage remained a Seton).
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