Papers of the Dukes of Hamilton (1658-1895)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The papers of the Dukes of Hamilton including those in the Laing Collection are composed of writs, inventories and correspondence about the business affairs of the Dukes. The material includes: correspondence of James Hamilton (1658-1712), 4th Duke; legal document relating to James Hamilton (1702-1742), 5th Duke; letter of James Hamilton (1724-1758), 6th Duke; legal documents relating to James George Hamilton (1755-1769), 7th Duke; letters and legal documents of Douglas Hamilton (1756-1799), 8th Duke; letters and documents of Archibald Hamilton (1740-1819), 9th Duke; letters and inventories of the papers of Alexander Hamilton (1767-1852), 10th Duke; letters of William Alexander Anthony Archibald Douglas Hamilton (1811-1863), 11th Duke; and, papers of William Alexander Louis Stephen Hamilton (1845-1895), 12th Duke of Hamilton.

Administrative / Biographical History

Over a long period of time, the Hamilton family provided the heirs presumptive to the Scottish crown. The Hamiltons were descended from the 13th century Walter Fitz Gilbert of Hameldone. The name appeared to have changed to Hamilton in 1445 in a charter authorised by King James II when James Hamildone became a Lord of Parliament. Royal marriage and descent led to the elevation of the Barony of Hamilton to the rank of Marquis in 1599 and subsequently to Duke. It was the Royalist James Hamilton (1606-1649), 3rd Marquess of Hamilton, who had become the 1st Duke in April 1643. In September 1711, James, 4th Duke of Hamilton, was created a Peer of Great Britain, becoming 1st Duke of Brandon. Already a Knight of the Thistle, he was installed as a Knight of the Garter in 1712. Ancestral property of the Dukedom included the Isle of Arran and its Brodick Castle. Latterly, the ducal seat was Hamilton Palace on the Hamilton estate above the Avon, a tributary of the Clyde. Mine workings in the area rendered the Palace unsafe however, and it was demolished in 1920. Today, Brodick Castle is in the hands of the National Trust for Scotland. The home of the present 15th Duke of Hamilton and 12th Duke of Brandon, Angus Alan Douglas Douglas-Hamilton (b. 1938), is the estate of Lennoxlove, near Haddington in East Lothian. Lennoxlove (formerly the estate of Lethington and home of William Maitland, Secretary of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots) was purchased by the Hamiltons in 1947. Housed at Lennoxlove are the death mask of Mary Stuart, a silver casket which may well be the one that contained the Casket Letters, and many pieces from the demolished Hamilton Palace. The Duke of Hamilton is the Premier Peer of Scotland, and the Hereditary Keeper of the Palace of Holyrood House, Edinburgh. The 15th Duke succeeded his father, Douglas Douglas-Hamilton (1903-1973), 14th Duke of Hamilton and 11th Duke of Brandon. His grandfather was Alfred Douglas Douglas-Hamilton (1862-1940), 13th Duke of Hamilton and 10th Duke of Brandon. The Hamiltons have also claimed the title Duke of Châtelherault. James Hamilton (1517-1575), 2nd Earl of Arran, had received the title to this French Dukedom in 1549 (as Duc De Châtelherault) after joining the pro-French party in Scotland and agreeing to the marriage of Mary Stuart with Francis, Dauphin of France.

Conditions Governing Access

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Note

The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Keay, John. and Keay, Julia (eds.). Collins encyclopaedia of Scotland. London: Harper Collins, 1994. (2) Burke, Sir Bernard. and Burke, Ashworth P. A genealogical and heraldic history of the peerage and baronetage, the privy council, and knightage. 87th edition. London: Burke's Peerage Ltd., 1929. (3) Who's who 1995. London: A. and C. Black, 1995. (4) The new encyclopaedia Britannica Micropaedia. Ready Reference.15th edition. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., 1991. (5) earlier issues of Who's who.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.

Related Material

The local Indexes show the Hamilton related material (check the Indexes for more details) in the Laing Collection at: La.II.509 Ham; La.II.511; La.II.573; La.IV.17; La.Add.4/1, 6/8; and, La.Add.6/76 and La.Add.6/78, and elsewhere. In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes papers of several Dukes of Hamilton:

James Hamilton (1606-1649), 1st Duke of Hamilton: miscellaneous papers and letters, 1627-1633, National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division, Ref. MSS 1031-32; political and diplomatic correspondence and papers, 1635-1647, Private, Ref. NRA(S)2177 NRA 10979 Hamilton; letters to Fielding, 1636-1647, Warwickshire County Record Office, Ref. CR 2017 NRA 23684 Fielding; and, correspondence to 1st Earl of Traquair (13 items), 1637-1643, Private, Ref. NRA(S)0054, 1362, 3666 NRA 9765 Traquair

William Hamilton (1615-1651), 2nd Duke of Hamilton: papers, National Archives of Scotland, Ref. GD406 NRA 10979 Hamilton; and, letters, 1651, National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division, Ref. MS 1031

James Hamilton (1658-1712), 4th Duke of Hamilton: letters and papers, 1694-1724, National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division, Ref. MSS 1031-32, and correspondence with the 1st and 2nd Marquesses of Tweeddale, 1699-1700, Ref. MSS 7020-7021, 7104 Passim; correspondence, 1701-1712, Private, Ref. NRA(S)2177/C2 NRA 10979 Hamilton; and, letters to Duke of Montrose, 1702-1708, National Archives of Scotland, Ref. GD 220/5 NRA 32572 Graham

James Hamilton (1703-1743), 5th Duke of Hamilton: correspondence, 1716-1743, Private, Ref. NRA(S)2177/C3 NRA 10979 Hamilton; and, correspondence with the 4th Marquess of Tweeddale, 1734-1742, National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division, Ref. MSS 7044-7050 Passim

James Hamilton (1724-1758), 6th Duke of Hamilton: correspondence, 1740-1757, Private, Ref. NRA(S)2177/C3 NRA 10979 Hamilton

Douglas Hamilton (1756-1799), 8th Duke of Hamilton: letters (33) to W. Pitt, Public Record Office, Ref. PRO30/8 NRA 20658 Pitt; and, correspondence and papers, 1794-1798, Private, Ref. NRA(S)2177/C3, bundles 5326-5330 NRA 10979 Hamilton

Archibald Hamilton (1740-1819), 9th Duke of Hamilton: correspondence and papers, National Archives of Scotland, Ref. GD406 NRA 10979 Hamilton; and, correspondence, 1775-1818, Private, Ref. NRA(S)0332 2177/C3-4 NRA 10979 Hamilton.

Alexander Hamilton (1767-1852), 10th Duke of Hamilton: correspondence and papers, 1788-1851, Private, Ref. NRA(S)2177 NRA 10979 Hamilton; letters relating to James Skene's application for preferment, 1829, Private, Ref. NRA(S)0464 NRA 13753 Skene; 1810-51: correspondence with Robert Brown, 1810-1851, Private, Ref. MSS 6290-6361; 1556-1612; 1928-1948 Passim, NRA 10979 Hamilton; letters from his wife (c69 items), 1809, nd, Oxford University, Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts, Ref. MSS Beckford NRA 22980 Beckford, and correspondence with and relating to William Beckford, 1782-1848, Ref. MSS Beckford NRA 22980 Beckford; miscellaneous papers, 1813-1858, National Archives of Scotland, Ref. GD406 NRA 10979 Hamilton; letters to Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, 1806-1835, Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections, Palace Green Section, Ref. Grey of Howick collection NRA 6228 Grey; correspondence with 2nd Earl of Liverpool, 1814-1823, British Library, Manuscript Collections, Ref. Add MSS 38256-38296 passim; letters to 4th Duke of Newcastle and Lord Lincoln, c. 1833-1846, Nottingham University Library, Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections, Ref. Ne NRA 7411 Pelham; and, miscellaneous correspondence including Lord Rutherfurd, 1842-1851, National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division, Ref. MSS 9690, 9712-15 Passim.

William Alexander Anthony Archibald Hamilton (1811-1863), 11th Duke of Hamilton: correspondence and papers, Private, Ref. NRA(S)2177 NRA 10979 Hamilton; correspondence with William Beckford and with his parents, 1822-1841, Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts, Ref. MSS Beckford NRA 22980 Beckford; and, correspondence with John Strang, 1852-1860, Glasgow City Archives, Ref. TD68 NRA 15405 Glasgow Dilettante

Douglas Douglas-Hamilton (1903-1973), 14th Duke of Hamilton: correspondence and papers, 1927-1948, Private, Ref. NRA(S)2177/bundles 5397-5456 NRA 10979 Hamilton; correspondence and papers relating to Rudolf Hess and Anglo-German relations, 1993-1968, Private, Ref. NRA(S)2177/bundles 5000-5035 NRA 10979 Hamilton; and, microfilm copy of above, National Archives of Scotland, Ref. RH4/202

Geographical Names