Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Gordon, Adam de (d.1402)

GORDON, Sir ADAM de (d. 1402), warrior, was son and heir of Sir John de Gordon, a knight distinguished in border warfare. In the ‘raid of Roxburgh’ (1377), when the Earl of March massacred all the English who had come to the annual fair, Gordon was a principal assistant, in revenge for which a band of English raiders broke in upon his lands and carried off his cattle. Gordon invaded the English side of the border and was bringing home a large booty with many prisoners when he was intercepted by Sir John Lilburn and his brother, with whom a battle was fought near Carham, Northumberland. Gordon was wounded, but victory was gained and the two brothers made prisoners. He was also in the division of the Scottish army which, under the young Earl of Douglas, invaded Northumberland in 1388, ending with the battle of Otterburn on 19 Aug., where Douglas with many other Scottish noblemen was killed. On 18 June the same year Robert II granted him a charter confirming to him and to his heirs the lands of Strathbogie given to Sir Adam de Gordon (d. 1333) [q. v.] by King Robert Bruce. Gordon was included in the grand army with which, in 1402, the Earl of Douglas invaded England. Though watched by the Earl of Northumberland and his son Hotspur, the Scots penetrated without hindrance to the gates of Newcastle. They had reached Wooler on their homeward journey when the approach of an English army forced them to take up a position upon Homildon Hill. They became impatient under the discharge of the English arrows. Sir John de Swynton, with whom Gordon had been at feud, called impatiently for a charge. Gordon fell on his knees, begged Swynton's forgiveness, and was knighted on the spot by his reconciled enemy. They charged the English at the head of a hundred horsemen, and inflicted much slaughter, but were overpowered and slain. Gordon left two daughters, one of whom died early; the other, Elizabeth de Gordon, married Alexander, son of William Seton of Seton, Edinburgh. On 28 July 1408 the Duke of Albany, regent of the kingdom, granted a charter confirming to Alexander Seton and Elizabeth Gordon, heiress of Gordon, the barony of Gordon and Huntly, Berwickshire, with other lands which had formerly belonged to Gordon there and in Aberdeenshire. From this couple descended the earls of Huntly, the dukes of Gordon, the dukes of Sutherland, and other noble families.

[Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, pp. 295-6; Gordon's History of the Family of Gordon; Gordon of Gordonstone's Genealogy of the Earls of Sutherland; Reg. Mag. Sig., printed 1814, p. 235; Wyntonn's Cronykil, book ix. c. ii. p. xxvi; Fordun's Scotichronicon, ed. Goodall, ii. 384, 434; Tytler's History of Scotland, iii. 15, 131.]

J. T.