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 Dunnottar Castle, seat of the Earls Marischal

William Keith, 4th Earl Marischal (died 7 October 1581) was a Scottish nobleman and politician.

Family background and career

William Keith was the son of Robert Keith, Master of Marischal and Lady Elizabeth Douglas, daughter of John Douglas, 2nd Earl of Morton.[1] He succeeded his grandfather, William Keith, 3rd Earl Marischal.[2] He was one of the earls who accompanied James V to France for his marriage to Madeleine of Valois, daughter of King Francis I of France. The wedding took place on 1 January 1537 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and was followed by days of Jousting at the Louvre.[3]

He fought at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547, in which the Scots were defeated by the English forces led by Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset in a bloody battle that was part of the War of the Rough Wooing.[4] Keith was said to have been in favour of the proposed marriage between the infant Mary, Queen of Scots, and Prince Edward of England, son of King Henry VIII.[5] He held the Office of Extraordinary Lord of Session in 1541, 1561, and lastly in 1573. In 1561, he was a member of Queen Mary's Privy Council.[5] Later, the Earl Marischal retired with his great fortune to a secluded life at Dunnottar Castle becoming known locally as "William of the Tower."[6][7] The Earl died on 7 October 1581.[2][7]

Marriage and issue

He was married to Margaret Keith, eldest daughter of William Keith younger, of Inverugie, with whom he obtained large estates.[7] He and Margaret had twelve children:

  • William Keith, Master of Marischal (died 1580).[8]
  • Hon. Robert Keith, 1st Lord Altrie (died 1596).[9]
  • John Keith, probable Rector of Duffas.[9]
  • Agnes Keith, Countess of Moray (or Annas), m. 1st to the Regent Moray, 2nd. to Colin Campbell, 6th Earl of Argyll. She died 16 July 1588 at Edinburgh.[9]
  • Alexander Keith
  • Alison, m. to Alexander Abernethy, 6th Lord Saltoun (died 1587).[9]
  • Mary, m. to Sir John Campbell of Calder (dispensation for consanguinity).[9]
  • Beatrice, m. to Sir John Allardice of Allardice. She died 19 May 1596.[9]
  • Joneta, m. to James Crichton of Frendraught.[9]
  • Margaret, m. to John Kennedy of Blairquhan.[9]
  • Elizabeth, m. to Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum.[9]
  • Isobel, m. Alexander Strachan of Thornton. She died August 1595.[9]
  • Barbara, promised in m., failing her sister Isobel, to Alexander Strachan; m. Alexander Forbes of Pitsligo.[9]

Keith's chief residence was Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire.[10]

When he died on 7 October 1581, he was succeeded by his grandson, George Keith, son of William, Master of Marischal; George became the 5th Earl Marischal.[8]

References

  1. Bernard Burke, Genealogical History of the Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited, and Extinct Peerages of the British Empire (Burke's Peerage/Genealogical Publishing Co., 1883/1985, 1996) p. 303
  2. 2.0 2.1 George Edward Cokayne, The complete peerage; or, A history of the House of lords and all its members from the earliest times, Volume VIII (The St. Catherine Press, Ltd., London, 1932), p. 477
  3. Guy-Michel Leproux, La Peinture à Paris sous le règne de François Ier (Presses de l'Universite de Paris-Sarbonne, 2001), p. 26
  4. George MacDonald Fraser, The Steel Bonnets: The Story of the Anglo-Scottish Border Reivers (Skyhorse Publishing, NY, 2006), p. 252
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Scots Peerage, Founded on Wood's Edition of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, Sir James Balfour Paul, Vol. VI (David Douglas, Edinburgh, 1909), pp. 46-7
  6. Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, Volume 3, Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, London, 1872
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The Scots Peerage, Founded on Wood's Edition of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, Sir James Balfour Paul, Vol. VI (David Douglas, Edinburgh, 1909), pp. 48-9
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Scots Peerage, Founded on Wood's Edition of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, Sir James Balfour Paul, Vol. VI (David Douglas, Edinburgh, 1909), p. 49
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 The Scots Peerage, Founded on Wood's Edition of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, Sir James Balfour Paul, Vol. VI (David Douglas, Edinburgh, 1909), p. 50
  10.  "Keith, William (d.1581)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 


Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
William Keith
Earl Marischal
1530-1581
Succeeded by
George Keith

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