Ogilvy - Encyclopedia

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OGILVY, the name of a celebrated Scottish family of which the earl of Airlie is the head. The family was probably descended from a certain Gillebride, earl of Angus, who received lands from William the Lion. Sir Walter Ogilvy (d. 1440) of Lintrathen, lord high treasurer of Scotland from 1425 to 1431, was the son of Sir Walter Ogilvy of Wester Powrie and Auchterhouse, a man, says Andrew of Wyntoun, "stout and manfull, bauld and wycht," who was killed in 1392. He built a castle at Airlie in Forfarshire, and left two sons. The elder of these, Sir John Ogilvy (d. c. 1484), was the father of Sir James Ogilvy (c. 1430-c. 1504), who was made a lord of parliament in 1491; and the younger, Sir Walter Ogilvy, was the ancestor of the earls of Findlater. The earldom of Findlater, bestowed on James Ogilvy, Lord Ogilvy of Deskford, in 1638, was united in 1711 with the earldom of Seafield and became dormant after the death of James Ogilvy, the 7th earl, in October 1811 (see SEA Field, Earls Of).

Sir James Ogilvy's descendant, James Ogilvy, 5th Lord Ogilvy of Airlie (c. 1541-1606), a son of James Ogilvy, master of Ogilvy, who was killed at the battle of Pinkie in 1547, took a leading part in Scottish politics during the reigns of Mary and of James VI. His grandson, James Ogilvy (c. 1593-1666), was created earl of Airlie by Charles I. at York in 1639. A loyal partisan of the king, he joined Montrose in Scotland in 1644 and was one of the royalist leaders at the battle of Kilsyth. The destruction of the earl's castles of Airlie and of Forther in 1640 by the earl of Argyll, who "left him not in all his lands a cock to crow day," gave rise to the song "The bonny house o'Airlie." His eldest son, James, the 2nd earl (c. 161 5-c. 1704) also fought among the royalists in Scotland; in 1644 he was taken prisoner, but he was released in the following year as a consequence of Montrose's victory at Kilsyth. He was again a prisoner after the battle of Philiphaugh and was sentenced to death in 1646, but he escaped from his captivity at St Andrews and was afterwards pardoned. Serving with the Scots against Cromwell he became a prisoner for the third time in 1651, and was in the Tower of London during most of the years of the Commonwealth. He was a fairly prominent man under Charles II. and James II., and in 1689 he ranged himself on the side of William of Orange. This earl's grandson, James Ogilvy (d. 1731), took part in the Jacobite rising of 1715 and was attainted; consequently on his father's death in 1717 he was not allowed to succeed to the earldom, although he was pardoned in 1725. When he died his brother John (d. 1761) became earl de jure, and John's son David (1725-1803) joined the standard of Prince Charles Edward in 1745. He was attainted, and after the defeat of the prince at Culloden escaped to Norway and Sweden, afterwards serving in the French army, where he commanded "le regiment Ogilvy" and was known as "le bel Ecossais." In 1778 he was pardoned and was allowed to return to Scotland, and his family became extinct when his son David died unmarried in April 1812. After this event David's cousin, another David Ogilvy (1785-1849), claimed the earldom. He asserted that he was unaffected by the two attainders, but the House of Lords decided that these barred his succession; however, in 1826 the attainders were reversed by act of parliament and David became 6th earl of Airlie. He died on the 20th of August 1849 and was succeeded by his son, David Graham Drummond Ogilvy (1826-1881), who was a Scottish representative peer for over thirty years. The latter's son, David Stanley William Drummond Ogilvy, the 8th earl (1856-1900), served in Egypt in 1882 and 1885, and was killed on the 11th of June 1900 during the Boer War while at the head of his regiment, the 12th Lancers. His titles then passed to his son, David Lyulph Gore Wolseley Ogilvy, the 9th earl (b. 1893).

A word may be said about other noteworthy members of the Ogilvy family. John Ogilvy, called Powrie Ogilvy, was a political adventurer who professed to serve King James VI. as a spy and who certainly served William Cecil in this capacity. Mariota Ogilvy (d. 1575) was the mistress of Cardinal Beaton. Sir George Ogilvy (d. 1663), a supporter of Charles I. during the struggle with the Covenanters, was created a peer as lord of Banff in 1642; this dignity became dormant, or extinct, on the death of his descendant, William Ogilvy, the 8th lord, in June 1803. Sir George Ogilvy of Barras (d. c. 1679) defended Dunnottar Castle against Cromwell in 1651 and 1652, and was instrumental in preventing the regalia of Scotland from falling into his hands; in 1660 he was created a baronet, the title becoming extinct in 1837.

See Sir R. Douglas, Peerage of Scotland, new ed. by Sir J. B. Paul (1904 fol.).

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