Bellenden, Lewis (DNB00)


BELLENDEN, Sir LEWIS, Lord Auchinoul (1553?–1591), Scottish lawyer, was the eldest of the five children of Sir John Bellenden of Auchinoul, justice-clerk [q. v.], whom he succeeded in that office in 1578. In 1579 he was appointed a member of the privy council (Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, iii. 150), and was one of the most violent members of the first of the Gowrie conspiracies, popularly known as the Raid of Ruthven, 23 Aug. 1582. He was promoted, as Lord Auchinoul, to an ordinary place on the bench on 1 July (Brunton and Haig, pp. 15, 195) or 17 July (Hailes and Douglas) 1584, in succession to Sir Richard Maitland of Lethington. Bellenden combined with secretary Sir John Maitland and the master of Gray to form a faction about the king against the Earl of Arran, the chancellor, in 1585; bore a principal part in Arran's downfall, and helped to secure the return of the banished lords, Angus and others, who were Arran's chief enemies. Affecting to be opposed to Angus and his friends, Bellenden was nominated by the Scottish government ambassador to England, to demand their expulsion from the English court, whence they were to proceed straightway to Scotland. From this embassy, in which he met with complete success, he returned 15 May 1585 (Moyses' Memoirs, p. 96), and was at Stirling in November of the same year, when the banished lords surprised the king and Arran, the latter of whom intended to have slain Bellenden and Maitland; ‘but they drew to their armes and stude on their awn defence,’ and Arran had too much on hand with his enemies without the walls to attack them. In July 1587 Sir Lewis Bellenden assisted the prior of Blantyre, and Maitland, who had succeeded the Earl of Arran as chancellor in 1585, in procuring the consent of the clergy to the act proposed by the chancellor, whereby the temporalities of the prelacies ‘sould heirefter apperteyne to the king and his croun’ (Historie of King James the Sext, pp. 231, 232). In the same year, 1587, Bellenden was named one of the members of the ‘commissioun for satisfactioun of the clergie for thair lyverentis’ (Acts of the Parliaments, iii. 438). On 22 Oct. 1589 he sailed from Leith for Norway, in attendance, with the Chancellor Maitland and other officers and courtiers, on the king, in his matrimonial excursion, which, with a short stay in Norway and a longer one in Denmark, was protracted until 1 May 1590 (Spotswood, History, 4th ed. fol. 380, and Historie of James the Sext. p. 241). The justice-clerk did not, however, continue so long, for in the early spring he ‘was directed out of Denmark on an embassy to England, and returned again into Scotland about 26 April 1590’ (Moyses' Memoirs, p. 168). Bellenden was succeeded as a lord of session by Sir Richard Cockburne, whose presentation from the king was dated 25 Oct. 1591. The death of Sir Lewis Bellenden took place, therefore, in the autumn of 1591 (Brunton and Haig). ‘By curiosity he dealt with a warlock called Richard Graham, to raise the devil, who having raised him in his own yard in the Canongate, he was thereby so terrified, that he took sickness and thereof died’ (Scot, Staggering State, pp. 130-1). Bellenden married Margaret, second daughter of William, sixth Lord Livingston, by whom he had a son and a daughter—Sir James Bellenden, his heir, and Mariota, married to Patrick Murray of Fallahill. ‘Having left his lady, sister to the Lord Livingston, a great conjunct-fee, the Earl of Orkney married her, and, after some years, having moved her to sell her conjunct-fee-lands, and having disposed of all the monies of the same, sent her back to the Canongate, where she lived divers years very miserably, and there died in extreme poverty’ (Scot, Staggering State, p. 131).

[Lord Hailes's Catalogue of the Lords of Session, 1794; Brunton and Haig's Senators of the College of Justice, 1832; Spotswood's History of the Church and State of Scotland, 4th ed. London, 1677; Hume's History of the Houses of Douglas and Angus, 1644; Historie of the Life of King James the Sext, 1825; Moyses's Memoirs of the Affairs of Scotland, 1755; Scot's Staggering State of the Scots Statesmen, 1754; Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol. iii. fol. 1814, passim; Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, 1813.]

A. H. G.