Lord William Gordon

Lord William Gordon (1744–1823) was a Scottish nobleman.


He was the second son of Cosmo Gordon, 3rd Duke of Gordon (1720–1752) and his wife Lady Catherine Gordon (1718 10 December 1779), daughter of William Gordon, 2nd Earl of Aberdeen. His elder brother was Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon (17431827). His younger brother was the controversial Lord George Gordon, notorious for the anti-Catholic riots named after him. He also had a sister, Lady Susan Gordon.

Affair and elopement

In the mid-1760s, Lord William had an affair with a married woman, Lady Sarah Bunbury, who had once been courted by King George III. In 1768, he fathered a child upon Lady Sarah, a daughter who was not immediately disclaimed by Sir Charles Bunbury, and received the name Louisa Bunbury. Nevertheless, Lady Sarah and Lord William eloped shortly afterwards, taking the infant with them. Lord William soon tired of his lover's incessant demands for attention, gifts and ceaseless entertainments and abandoned her. Her husband refused to take her back, and Lady Sarah returned to her brother's house with her child, while her husband, Sir Charles, moved Parliament for a divorce on grounds of adultery, citing her elopement, not the birth of Louisa. It was not until 1776 that the decree of divorce was issued. The affair with Lady Sarah ruined both hers and William's social reputation, and also his military and political career.[1]


Several years after the Bunbury affair, Lord William married the Hon. Frances Ingram-Shepheard, daughter of Charles Ingram, 9th Viscount of Irvine. They had one daughter, Frances Gordon, who died unmarried. His wife died in 1841.

Another affair and progeny

While married to the Hon. Frances, Lord William had another affair and fathered an illegitimate son, William Conway Gordon (1798–1882). He arranged for the boy to receive an education and settled a reasonable income upon him. William Conway Gordon served as ADC to General Sir Peregrine Maitland, a relative by marriage of Lord William, being a distant cousin of the Hon. Frances.[2]

William Conway Gordon entered services for the Bengal Army in 1815, belonging to the 53rd Native Infantry. He married Louisa Vanrenen, daughter of Brigadier-General J. Vanrenen, Honourable East India Company's Service, in Bengal in 1828. They had four children: William George Conway Gordon, Francis Ingram Conway-Gordon, Lewis Conway-Gordon and Charles Van Renen Conway-Gordon. William Gordon was promoted lieutenant in 1851 in the 91st to lieutenant, then captain in 1854. He married Jane Miller Dickson (September 18, 1824 - January 27, 1876) in 1857, and died the following year. Jane Gordon is buried in the English Cemetery, Florence.[3]

See also


  1. GORDON, Lord William (1744–1823), of Mamore, Inverness. Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754–1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964. Available from Boydell and Brewer
  2. William Conway-Gordon in Gordons under arms: a biographical muster roll of officers named Gordon in the navies and armies of Britain, Europe, America and the Jacobite risings by Constance Oliver Skelton and John Malcolm Bullock, University of Aberdeen, 1912.
  3. http://www.florin.ms/ChapterA.html
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Arthur Duff
Member of Parliament for Elginshire
Succeeded by
James Duff
Preceded by
Archibald Campbell Fraser
Member of Parliament for Inverness-shire
Succeeded by
Norman Macleod
Preceded by
Timothy Shelley
Wilson Braddyll
Member of Parliament for Horsham
With: James Baillie (1792–1793)
William Fullarton (1793–1796)
Succeeded by
Sir John Macpherson
James Fox-Lane
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