Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Gordon, Charles (d.1681)

GORDON, CHARLES, first Earl of Aboyne (d. 1681), was fourth son of George, second marquis of Huntly [q. v.] He was little more than a child when his father and eldest brother were carried prisoners to Edinburgh in 1639, and still young when his father was executed ten years afterwards. The eldest son of the family had been killed in 1645 by a random shot when pursuing the defeated covenanters at the battle of Alford. The second son escaped to France, where he died of grief on hearing that Charles I had been executed. Lewis, the third son, called ‘the plague of Moray,’ from the predatory habits of his followers, represented the family, but did not inherit the estates, which were occupied for the parliamentary party by the Earl of Argyll. In 1650 Charles II landed at Spey mouth and passed a night in Gordon Castle, which he found uninhabited. The estates were all in a neglected condition. Charles was crowned at Scone on 1 Jan. 1651, and in a parliament held at Perth on 5 March issued a proclamation restoring Lewis Gordon, third marquis of Huntly, to his honour and estates. The defeat at Worcester made this proclamation unavailing, and the family still continued to be in a distressed condition. Lewis lingered in exile on the continent and died in 1653, after which only a thousand crowns yearly were allowed to his widow for the support of herself and her children. After the Restoration in 1660 George Gordon, son of Lewis, obtained his title and estates as Marquis of Huntly, and on 10 Sept. 1660 his uncle, Lord Charles, received a peerage with the title of Lord Gordon of Strathavon and Glenlivat and Earl of Aboyne, by patent to him and the heirs male of his body. In 1661 he had a charter under the great seal of the whole lands and lordship of Aboyne, Aberdeenshire. As a catholic he was excluded from public life, and his time was occupied in the improvement of his estate, including the erection of Aboyne Castle, which occupied six years in building. He married Elizabeth Lyon, daughter of John, second earl of Kinghorn, and, leaving a family, died in March 1681.

[Douglas's Peerage, pp. 24-5; Gordon's Hist. of the Antient, Noble, and Illustrious Family of Gordon, ii. 257, 277; A Concise Hist. of the Antient and Illustrious House of Gordon, pp. 198, 199, 249, 257, 261, 262, 265; Shaw's Hist. of the Province of Moray, i. 56-9; Collections for a Hist. of the Shires of Aberdeen and Banff (Spalding Club), p. 587.]

J. T.