William Keith, 4th Earl Marischal

article - William Keith, 4th Earl Marischal

William Keith, 4th Earl Marischal (died 7 October 1581) was a Scottish nobleman and politician.

 Dunnottar Castle, seat of the Earls Marischal

. . . William Keith, 4th Earl Marischal . . .

William Keith was the son of Robert Keith, Master of Marischal and Lady Elizabeth Douglas, daughter of John Douglas, 2nd Earl of Morton.[1] He succeeded his grandfather, William Keith, 3rd Earl Marischal.[2] He was one of the earls who accompanied James V to France for his marriage to Madeleine of Valois, daughter of King Francis I of France. The wedding took place on 1 January 1537 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and was followed by days of Jousting at the Louvre.[3]

He fought at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547, in which the Scots were defeated by the English forces led by Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset in a bloody battle that was part of the War of the Rough Wooing.[4] Keith was said to have been in favour of the proposed marriage between the infant Mary, Queen of Scots, and Prince Edward of England, son of King Henry VIII.[5] He held the Office of Extraordinary Lord of Session in 1541, 1561, and lastly in 1573. In 1561, he was a member of Queen Mary’s Privy Council.[5] Later, the Earl Marischal retired with his great fortune to a secluded life at Dunnottar Castle becoming known locally as “William of the Tower.”[6][7] The Earl died on 7 October 1581.[2][7]

He married Margaret Keith, eldest daughter of William Keith younger, of Inverugie, with whom he obtained large estates.[7] He and Margaret had thirteen children:

  • William Keith, Master of Marischal (died 1580).[8]
  • Robert Keith, 1st Lord Altrie (died 1596).[9]
  • John Keith, probable Rector of Duffas.[9]
  • Agnes Keith, Countess of Moray (or Annas), m. 1st to the Regent Moray, 2nd. to Colin Campbell, 6th Earl of Argyll. She died 16 July 1588 at Edinburgh.[9]
  • Alexander Keith
  • Alison, m. to Alexander Abernethy, 6th Lord Saltoun (died 1587).[9]
  • Mary, m. to Sir John Campbell of Calder (dispensation for consanguinity).[9]
  • Beatrice, m. to Sir John Allardice of Allardice. She died 19 May 1596.[9]
  • Joneta, m. to James Crichton of Frendraught.[9]
  • Margaret, m. to John Kennedy of Blairquhan.[9]
  • Elizabeth, m. to Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum.[9] Their son Robert Irvine was Master of Household to George, Earl Marischal, during his diplomatic mission to Denmark.[10]
  • Isobel, m. Alexander Strachan of Thornton. She died August 1595.[9]
  • Barbara, promised in m., failing her sister Isobel, to Alexander Strachan; m. Alexander Forbes of Pitsligo.[9]

Keith’s chief residence was Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire.[11]

When he died on 7 October 1581, he was succeeded by his grandson, George Keith, son of William, Master of Marischal; George became the 5th Earl Marischal.[8]

. . . William Keith, 4th Earl Marischal . . .

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. . . William Keith, 4th Earl Marischal . . .