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Hamilton Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: THROUGH

Let me share the incredible history of your family, the Hamiltons. Your family descends from a Norman knight named Walter Fitz Gilbert of Hambledon, who appeared in a charter to the monastery of Paisley around 1294. Walter’s lands were located in Renfrewshire, and as a reward for his support of Robert the Bruce, he received additional lands in Lanarkshire and the Lothians. One of these lands, Cadzow, eventually became the town of Hamilton.

In 1474, James, 1st Lord Hamilton, married Princess Mary, the daughter of James III. Through this union, your family became connected to royalty. Princess Mary’s son was later granted the title of Earl of Arran, and he became the heir to the thrones of both James IV and Mary, Queen of Scots. However, in 1561, he openly opposed Mary’s marriage to Lord Darnley, which led to his exile for five years. Upon his return, he dedicated himself to saving the ill-fated queen, who sought refuge at Cadzow after her escape from Loch Leven in 1568.

Your family’s influence continued to grow over time. The 4th Earl of Arran became the chancellor of Scotland and the keeper of the strategic castles of Edinburgh and Stirling. In 1599, he was elevated to the rank of Marquess, and his brother, Claud, was granted the titles of Lord Paisley in 1587 and later Lord Abercorn. This branch of your family prospered, with Abercorn eventually becoming an earldom and, in 1868, a dukedom. The 3rd Marquess of Hamilton, a supporter of Charles I, was rewarded with a Scottish dukedom in 1643, making Hamilton the premier peer of Scotland. Unfortunately, he was captured and beheaded at Whitehall in 1649, shortly before the execution of the king. His brother, the 2nd Duke, met his death at the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

The title then passed to Anne, the daughter of the 1st Duke. Anne was a woman of great intellect and determination. Despite inheriting heavily burdened estates, she laid the foundations for Hamilton Palace, Scotland’s most magnificent stately home. Subsequent dukes, such as the 5th and 6th Dukes, expanded the palace and built the splendid hunting lodge known as Chatelherault, which is now part of a public park. Alexander, the 10th Duke, completed the enlargement of Hamilton Palace and adorned it with spectacular works of art collected from all over the world. He lived a regal life and fulfilled his royal ambitions by arranging the marriage of his son, William, to Princess Marie of Baden, a cousin of Napoleon III. In 1933, the 14th Duke continued the family’s spirit of adventure by piloting the first airplane to fly over Everest. Sadly, Hamilton Palace had to be demolished due to mining subsidence, and your family’s seat is now located at Lennoxlove, near Haddington.

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The Family Crest

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Family Crest Motto: THROUGH

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