John Hamilton-Gordon, 1st Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair

John Campbell Hamilton-Gordon, 1st Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair, KT, KP, GCMG, GCVO, PC (3 August 1847 – 7 March 1934), known as The 7th Earl of Aberdeen from 1870 to 1916, was a Scottish politician. Born in Edinburgh, Lord Aberdeen held office in several countries, serving twice as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1886; 1905–1915) and serving from 1893 to 1898 as Governor General of Canada.[1]

The Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair

Lord Aberdeen.jpg
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
In office
11 December 1905 – 17 February 1915
MonarchEdward VII
George V
Prime MinisterSir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Preceded byThe Earl of Dudley
Succeeded byThe Lord Wimborne
In office
8 February 1886 – 20 July 1886
Prime MinisterWilliam Ewart Gladstone
Preceded byThe Earl of Carnarvon
Succeeded byThe Marquess of Londonderry
7th Governor General of Canada
In office
18 September 1893 – 12 November 1898
Prime MinisterCanadian:
John Thompson
Mackenzie Bowell
Charles Tupper
Wilfrid Laurier
William Ewart Gladstone
Lord Rosebery
Lord Salisbury
Preceded byThe Lord Stanley of Preston
Succeeded byThe Earl of Minto
Personal details
John Campbell Hamilton-Gordon

(1847-08-03)3 August 1847
Edinburgh, Midlothian,
Died7 March 1934(1934-03-07) (aged 86)
Tarland, Aberdeenshire
United Kingdom
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)Hon. Ishbel Marjoribanks
ChildrenGeorge, 2nd Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair
Marjorie, Baroness Pentland
Dudley, 3rd Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair
Lord Archibald Gordon
ParentsThe 5th Earl of Aberdeen
Mary Baillie
Alma materUniversity of St. Andrews University College, Oxford

Early and personal lifeEdit

Lord Aberdeen was born in Edinburgh to George Hamilton-Gordon, 5th Earl of Aberdeen, and his wife, Mary Baillie, daughter of George Baillie and sister to The 10th Earl of Haddington. He studied at the University of St Andrews and University College, Oxford. He succeeded as The 7th Earl of Aberdeen following the death of his eldest brother, George, 6th Earl of Aberdeen, in January 1870.

Ishbel Hamilton-Gordon, Marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair

In 1877 he married Ishbel Maria Marjoribanks (1857–1939), daughter to Sir Dudley Marjoribanks, 1st Bt., M.P. (later created, in 1880, The 1st Baron Tweedmouth), and Isabella Weir-Hogg. They had been long-time friends.

Lady Aberdeen later served as President of the International Council of Women from 1893 to 1899 and founded the National Council of Women of Canada and the Victorian Order of Nurses.[2]

They had five children:

Political lifeEdit

Lord Aberdeen entered the House of Lords following his succession to his brother's earldom in January 1870. A Liberal, he was present for William Ewart Gladstone's first Midlothian campaign at Lord Rosebery's house in 1879. He became Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire in 1880, served as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland from 1881 to 1885 (he held the position again in 1915), and was briefly appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1886. He became a Privy Counsellor in the same year.[3] In 1884, he hosted a dinner at Haddo House honouring William Ewart Gladstone on his tour of Scotland. The occasion was captured by the painter Alfred Edward Emslie; the painting is now in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London, given by the Marquess's daughter, The Baroness Pentland, in 1953.[4]

He was appointed Honorary Colonel of the 1st Aberdeenshire Artillery Volunteers on 14 January 1888 and retained the position with its successors, the 1st Highland Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, until after World War I.[5]

In 1889 he was chosen as an alderman of the first Middlesex County Council, his address being given as Dollis Hill House, Kilburn, in that county.[6]

In 1891, he bought the Coldstream Ranch in the northern Okanagan Valley in British Columbia and launched the first commercial orchard operations in that region, which gave birth to an industry and settlement colony as other Britons emigrated to the region because of his prestige and bought into the orcharding lifestyle.[7] The ranch is today part of the municipality of Coldstream, and various placenames in the area commemorate him and his family, such as Aberdeen Lake and Haddo Creek.[8][9]

He served as Governor General of Canada from 1893 to 1898 during a period of political transition. He travelled extensively throughout the country and is described as having "transformed the role of Governor General from that of the aristocrat representing the King or Queen in Canada to a symbol representing the interests of all citizens".[10]

He was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1895.[11]

He was again appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1905, and served until 1915. During his tenure he also served as Lord Rector of the University of St Andrews (1913–1916), was created a Knight Companion of the Order of the Thistle (1906), and was created a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (1911).[12] Following his retirement, he was created Earl of Haddo, in the County of Aberdeen, and Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair, in the County of Aberdeen, in the County of Meath and in the County of Argyll, in January 1916.[13]

Later lifeEdit

Aberdeen died at the House of Cromar (now Alastrean House) in 1934.
Aberdeen caricatured by Spy for Vanity Fair, 1902

Aberdeen lived the later stages of his life at the House of Cromar in Tarland, Aberdeenshire, which he had built and where he died in 1934. His son, George, succeeded to the marquessate.

The House of Cromar passed to Sir Alexander MacRobert in 1934 and it was renamed Alastrean House by his widow.[14] It was leased to the RAF Benevolent Fund in 1984.[15]

Jokes Cracked by Lord Aberdeen, a collection of John Hamilton-Gordon's dinner party repartee, was first published in 1929. The "bafflingly unfunny" book, long out of print, gained a cult following in more recent times and was reissued in 2013.[16]

The Rocking Chair RancheEdit

From 1883 until 1896, he was also an owner of and investor in the Rocking Chair Ranche located in Collingsworth County, Texas, together with his father-in-law, The 1st Baron Tweedmouth, and his brother-in-law Edward Marjoribanks, 2nd Baron Tweedmouth.[17]

Honorific eponymsEdit

Geographic Locations


Coat of arms of John Hamilton-Gordon, 1st Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair
On a wreath Azure, Or and Gules, two arms holding a bow and arrow straight upwards in a shooting posture and at full draught all Proper.
Azure, three boars' heads couped Or armed proper langued Gules within a tressure flowered and counterflowered interchangeably with thistles, roses and fleurs-de-lis Or.
Dexter an earl in his robes sinister a doctor of law in his robes both Proper.
Fortuna Sequatur[18]


  1. ^ Chambers Biographical Dictionary, ISBN 0-550-18022-2, page 4
  2. ^ Morgan, Henry James, ed. (1903). Types of Canadian Women and of Women who are or have been Connected with Canada. Toronto: Williams Briggs. p. 3.
  3. ^ "No. 25557". The London Gazette. 9 February 1886. p. 613.
  4. ^ Emslie, Alfred Edward. "Dinner at Haddo House, 1884". National Portrait Gallery, London.
  5. ^ Monthly Army List, various dates.
  6. ^ The County Council of the Administrative County of Middlesex : 76 Years of Local Government, 1 April 1889 to 31 March 1965. Middlesex County Council. 1965. p. 10.
  7. ^ Living Landscapes (Royal BC Museum) website, Ethnic Agricultural Labour in the Okanagan Valley: 1880s to 1960s, II. The Early British Settlers: 1860s - 1920s , Mario Lanthier & Lloyd L. Wong
  8. ^ BCGNIS entry "Aberdeen Lake"[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ BCGNIS entry "Coldstream (District Municipality"[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Former Governors General". Website of the Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
  11. ^ "No. 26628". The London Gazette. 25 May 1895. p. 3082.
  12. ^ "No. 28513". The London Gazette. 14 July 1911. p. 5265.
  13. ^ "No. 29427". The London Gazette. 4 January 1916. p. 179.
  14. ^ "Alastrean House and sundial". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  15. ^ Briggs, Caroline (4 September 2003). "RAF veteran care home to close". BBC News Online. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
  16. ^ Bury, Liz (3 October 2013). "Heard the one about the bearded laird?". The Guardian.
  17. ^ Anderson, H. Allen (15 June 2010). "Rocking Chair Ranch". Handbook of Texas (online ed.). Texas State Historical Association.
  18. ^ Debrett's Peerage. 1921.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Earl of Kintore
Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire
Succeeded by
The 2nd Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair
Government offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Carnarvon
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Londonderry
Preceded by
The Lord Stanley of Preston
Governor General of Canada
Succeeded by
The Earl of Minto
Preceded by
The Earl of Dudley
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Succeeded by
The Lord Wimborne
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Rosebery
Rector of the University of St Andrews
Succeeded by
Sir Douglas Haig
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair
Succeeded by
George Gordon
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
George Hamilton-Gordon
Earl of Aberdeen
Succeeded by
George Gordon