James Hamilton, Lord Paisley

James Hamilton, Lord Paisley (died before 1670) was the eldest son of James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Abercorn and Katherine Clifton, 2nd Baroness Clifton. He predeceased his father and is therefore an example of an heir apparent who never succeeded.

Birth and origins

James was born about 1633,[lower-alpha 1] probably in Paisley, Scotland, as the eldest of the three sons of James Hamilton and his wife Katherine Clifton. His father was the 2nd Earl of Abercorn. His mother was Dowager Duchess of Lennox from her previous marriage and Baroness Clifton of Leighton Bromswold, England, in her own right. His parents married in 1632 or not much before as she on 28 November 1632 obtained permission from the king to keep her precedence as a dowager duchess despite now marrying an earl.[1]

Family tree
James Hamilton with wife, parents, and other selected relatives.
1st Earl


d. 1632
2nd Earl

c. 1604 –
c. 1670

c. 1590 –
2nd Baron
H. of

c. 1606 –
1st Bt.

c. 1607 –
Ld Paisley
c. 1635 –
bef. 1670
d. bef.
3rd Earl

c. 1636 –
bef. 1683
3rd Baron
H. of

4th Baron
H. of

1636/7 –

d. 1686
c. 1653 –
4th Earl

5th Earl

d. 1701
d. 1699
XXXEarls of
This family tree is partly derived from the Abercorn pedigree pictured in Cokayne.[2] Also see the lists of siblings and children in the text.

He heads the list of brothers below as the eldest:

  1. James (c. 1635 – before 1670), the subject of this article;
  2. William (d. bef. 1670), who became a colonel but predeceased his father unmarried in the German wars;[3]
  3. George (c. 1636 – before 1683), who succeeded his father as the 3rd Earl but died unmarried in Padua.[4]

Both his parents were Catholics and therefore recusants in Scotland. His mother died in Scotland while he was still an infant. As a Catholic the Church of Scotland refused her a burial ceremony.[5] As heir apparent of an Earl of Abercorn James was styled Lord Paisley, the courtesy title for the apparent heir in the Abercorn family. By 1646 Lord Paisley had become a good Presbyterian as is asserted in the proceedings of the General Assembly of the kirk of that year.[6]

Marriage and children

On 28 April 1653, at St Bartholomew-the-Less in London, Lord Paisley married Catherine Lenthall, niece of William Lenthall, Speaker of the Long Parliament.[7] His wife was a Protestant, the church where they married was an Anglican one. They had one daughter:

  • Catherine Hamilton (c. 1653 – 24 May 1723), who married first William Lenthall of Burford, grandson of the Speaker (died 1686), and secondly her second cousin (see Family tree) Charles Hamilton, 5th Earl of Abercorn.

Their daughter married Charles Hamilton,[8] a second cousin (see Family tree), who had also become a Protestant.


At the Restoration he tried to obtain some preferment through the intermediate of his uncle Sir George Hamilton, 1st Baronet (see Family tree), who was now well connected at the court as he had been in exile with the King. This is shown in a letter preserved in the Bodleian Library.

Death and succession

Lord Paisley died before his father and had no son. His brother William also predeceased his father, so that the youngest brother, George, succeeded him as heir apparent and inherited his courtesy title. George succeeded as the 3rd Earl of Abercorn at the father's death in 1670.[9][10]


As the birth date is uncertain, so are the ages.

01633, aboutBorn.[lower-alpha 1]
41637, Sep.Mother died in Scotland.[5]
201653, 28 Apr.Married Catherine Lenthall in London.[7]
271660Asks his uncle Sir George Hamilton to obtain a royal favour for him.
?Before 1670Died.

Notes and references

  1. His birth date is constrained by his parents' marriage, which happened in 1632 or not much before and his mother's death in September 1637 minus the gestation of his two younger brothers. The year 1633 is thought most likely.[5]
  1. Cokayne 1913, p. 309, line 13b: "His [Esmé Stewart's] widow m., in or before 1632, James (HAMILTON), 2nd EARL OF ABERCORN [S.] and had royal lic., 28 Nov. 1632, to retain her title, rank, and precedency as Duchess of Lennox notwithstanding such marriage."
  2. Cokayne 1910, p. 4: "Tabular pedigree of the Earls of Abercorn"
  3. Paul 1904, p. 49, line 30: "William ... died before his father, being killed in the wars in Germany, without issue."
  4. Paul 1904, p. 49, line 34: "GEORGE, third Earl of Abercorn, succeeded his father but died unmarried in Padua, ..."
  5. Cokayne 1913, p. 310: "She [Katherine Clifton] d. in Scotland and was bur. 'without ceremonie', 17 Sep. 1637, aged about 45."
  6. Metcalfe 1909, p. 249"the earnest desire of Lord Paisley, the Earl's son, who is of the Religion and of hopeful expectation ..."
  7. Cokayne 1910, p. 5, line 1: "He [James Hamilton] m. 28 April 1653, at St Batholomew's-the-Less, London, Catherine, da. of Sir John LENTHALL, Marshall of the King's Bench, by Hester, da. of Sir Thomas TEMPLE, Bart. of Stowe, which John was a br. of William LENTHALL of Burford, Oxon, speaker of the House of Commons."
  8. Cokayne 1910, p. 5, line 33: "He [Charles Hamilton] m. Catherine, widow of William Lenthall (bur. 5 Sep. 1686), of Burford, Oxon, only da. and h. of James HAMILTON, styled Lord PAISLEY, abovenamed, by Catherine, da. of Sir John LENTHALL, afsd., Marshall of the King's Bench."
  9. Cokayne 1910, p. 5.
  10. Paul 1904, p. 49, line 21: "James ... who died before his father ... had only a daughter."
  • Cokayne, George Edward (1910), Gibbs, Vicary (ed.), The complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, extant, extinct, or dormant, 1 (2nd ed.), London: St Catherine Press - AB-ADAM to BASING (for Abercorn)
  • Cokayne, George Edward (1913), Gibbs, Vicary (ed.), The complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, extant, extinct, or dormant, 3 (2nd ed.), London: St Catherine Press - CANONTEIGN to CUTTS (for Clifton)
  • Metcalfe, William Musham (1909), A History of Paisley, Paisley: Alexander Gardner
  • Paul, James Balfour (1904), The Scots Peerage, 1, Edinburgh: David Douglas - Abercorn–Balmerino (for Abercorn)
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