The Campbells of Loudoun
The Campbells are one of the more notable of Scottish families who can trace their descent from Colin Campbell of Lochaw, the 'Great Campbell' who is regarded as the founder of the family. One of the many cadet branches of the Campbells were the family of Campbell of Loudoun who were descended from Donald Campbell, second son of the 'Great Campbell'.
It was a Duncan Campbell, one of the signatories of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, who first obtained the barony of Loudoun in Ayrshire by the simple means of marrying Susanne Crawford or Crauford the daughter and heiress of Reginald Crawford of Loudoun and Sheriff of Ayr. Subsequent generations of Campbells retained the barony whilst serving as hereditary Sheriffs of Ayr, until Hugh Campbell was created a Lord of Parliament with the title of Lord Campbell of Loudoun by James VI on the 30th June 1601. Sadly his only son George Campbell, Master of Loudoun, predeceased him in March 1612, and thus it was his grand-daughter, Margaret Campbell, who inherited the title and estates at Hugh's death on the 15th December 1622. However Margaret had earlier married a distant cousin named John Campbell of Lawers (thus keeping everything within the family so to speak) and it was this John Campbell who created Lord Tarrinzean and Mauchline and Earl of Loudoun on the 12th May 1633.
As it happened John Campbell was one of the leading opponents of Charles I's attempt to impose a new Prayer Book in Scotland and as a result his letters patent were deliberately withheld. It wasn't until August 1641, when events in England had persuaded the king to adopt a more conciliatory attitude to the Scottish opposition, that king Charles felt obliged to appoint him Lord Chancellor of Scotland, and allow him his title of Earl of Loudoun. Despite these marks of royal favour, Campbell continued to favour the Presbyterian cause in Scotland, although subsequent to the execution of Charles I in 1649, he came out in support of Charles II, assisted at his coronation at Scone in 1651 and later joined the royalist rising of 1653. His estates were subsequently seized by Oliver Cromwell, but he lived to see the Restoration, dying at Edinburgh on the 15th March 1663.
The 1st Earl was succeeded by his elder son, James who spent his entire life abroad and died at Leiden in 1684, and was succeeded in turn by his son Hugh. The 3rd earl was particularly favoured by Queen Anne, and successively held the offices of a Commissioner of the Treasury, Secretary of State for Scotland, and Keeper of the Great Seal. He later supported the government during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, and fought at the battle of Sheriffmuir, and also served as a representative peer of Scotland for twenty-four years.
Hugh Campbell died in 1731 and was succeeded as 4th Earl by his son John, who raised a regiment against the Jacobites in 1745 and fought at the battle of Prestonpans. He was later was commander-in-chief of the British force in North America from 1756 to 1757 and second in command of the British forces in Portugal in 1762, although on the whole he is regarded as a dangerously incompetent military commander. The 4th Earl did however plant a lot of trees at Loudoun, including "a most extensive collection of willows", before he died unmarried at his home in Scotland on the 27th April 1782. The title passed to his nephew James Mure Campbell, who had assumed the additional name of Mure on succeeding to the estate of his grandmother, the Countess of Glasgow and heiress to the fortune of the family of Mure of Rowallan. James Mure was also a military man, achieved the rank of major-general in the army, and died in 1786 leaving an only child as his heir.
The child in question was Flora Mure Campbell, at which point it is worth mentioning that the grant of the title in 1633 had specified that it should descend to heirs general as opposed to heirs male, which therefore allowed Flora to become the Countess of Loudoun in her own right. In 1804 she married George Rowdon-Hastings, the Earl of Moira, who after a distinguished career in politics including a stint as Governor-General of India was created the Marquess of Hastings on the 13th February 1817, at which point he was also created the Viscount Loudoun.
With the death of Flora Mure in 1840 the Loudoun title went to their son George Hastings, 2nd Marquess of Hastings, and the title of Earl of Loudoun remained united with that of Hastings until the death of the 4th Marquess in 1868.
Rawdon-Hastings and Abney-Hastings
George Rowdon, as he was originally known, was the son of a John Rawdon of Moira. This George later adopted the surname of Rawdon-Hastings in 1789 when his mother succeeded to the barony of Hastings, before inheriting the title of Earl of Moira, and progressing to the status of marquess. His grandson Henry Weysford Rawdon-Hastings, 4th Marquess of Hastings married Florence Cecilia Paget, daughter of Henry Paget, 2nd Marquess of Anglesey on the 16th July 1864, but died without issue some four years later on the 10th November 1868 at the age of only twenty-six. With his death the titles of the Earl of Moira and Marquess of Hastings became extinct, but that of the Earl of Loudoun passed to his sister Edith Maud Rawdon-Hastings, now Countess of Loudoun in her own right. Edith Maud had married Charles Frederick Clifton, and in 1859 both she and her husband assumed the name and arms of Abney-Hastings by Act of Parliament, and at her death on the 23rd January 1874 the title passed to her son Charles Edward Abney-Hastings, now the 11th Earl of Loudoun. (He also later inherited the title of Baron Donington from his father in 1895.)
The 11th Earl married Alice Elizabeth Fitzalan-Howard, daughter of Edward George Fitzalan-Howard, 1st Baron Howard of Glossop, but there were no children and so with his death on the 17th May 1920 the title passed to his niece Edith Maud Rawdon-Hastings, (The Donnigton title passed to his nearest male heir, which was his younger brother Gilbert Theophilus.) Edith Maud married Reginald Huddleston on the 12th December 1916, but soon afterwards assumed the name and arms of Abney-Hastings by Royal Licence, dated 15th January 1918. Their only son, Ian Huddleston Abney-Hastings, known as the Lord Mauchline, was killed during the war on the 11th July 1944, and so at her death on the 24th February 1960, the title passed to her eldest daughter, Barbara. The 13th Countess was married a total of three times, and in 1955 both she and her final husband Peter Griffiths decided to adopt the surname of Abney-Hastings by Deed Poll. She later died on the 1st November 2002 and was succeeded by the only child by her first marriage to a Walter Strickland Lord.
Originally Michael Edward Lord, now Abney-Hastings, the current and 14th Earl of Loudon left for Australia in 1960 where he has since preferred to be known as Mike Hastings. Most recently a rice farmer at Jerilderie, New South Wales, by his wife Noelene he has five children, amongst whom is the heir apparent, Simon Michael Abney-Hastings, known by his courtesy title of the Lord Mauchline.
Mike Hasting is notable in that he can trace his descent back though the Hastings family to Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, daughter of George, Duke of Clarence. In fact Mike Hastings is the senior male heir of the aforementioned George, and thus it has been argued by some that he is indeed the 'rightful king of England'. This is based on the highly questionable notion that Edward IV was in some way 'illegitimate' and hence George and his descendants should be regarded as the sole legitimate heirs of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York. It is however unlikely that the current Earl will be moving into Buckingham Palace within the near future.
THE EARLS OF LOUDOUN
As Lords Campbell of Loudoun
As Earls of Loudoun
- The 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica entry for
LOUDOUN, JOHN CAMPBELL, 1ST EARL OF
- The Campbells of Loudoun, from The Great Historic Families of Scotland by James Taylor, 1887
- A genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain at www.thepeerage.com
- Stirnet Genealogy at
- The Peerages of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom at http://www.angeltowns.com/town/peerage/Peers.htm
- Descendantcy of the name and arms of Abney-Hastings through Loudoun: