Sir William Douglas, 7th Earl of Morton

William, grandson of Sir William of Lochleven, 6th Earl of Morton, was born in 1582, married Ann, daughter of George, 5th Earl of Marischal, in 1604, and succeeded his grandfather in 1606 (His father, Robert Douglas, Master of Morton, had disappeared whilst travelling c1585,). William, 7th earl of Morton

He was Lord High Treasurer of Scotland between 1630 and 1636 and was one of the wealthiest and most powerful subjects in the Kingdom. During the Civil Wars he was solidly behind the Royal Cause and advanced large sums in its support. For this purpose he disposed of the properties of Dalkeith, and other ancient holdings. For his support he was granted, June 15, 1643, the islands of Orkney and Zetland. William died August 7, 1648.

  • Birth: 1582
  • Death: 7 AUG 1648

    Father: Robert (Master of Morton) Douglas
    Mother: Jean (of Glamis) Lyon

    Marriage 1 Ann (of Marischal) Keith
    • Married: 28 MAR 1604
    1. Has Children Robert (8th Earl of Morton) Douglas
    2. Has Children James (10th Earl of Morton) Douglas
    3. Has Children Isabel (of Morton) Douglas = (1) Robert Ker, 1st Earl of Roxburghe
                                                      = (2) James Graham, 2nd Marquess of Montrose 
    4. Has Children Jean (of Morton) Douglas = James (3rd Earl Home) Home, parents of the 4th, 5th and 6th Earls.
    5. Has Children Margaret (of Morton) Douglas = Archibald (1st Marquess of Argyll) Campbell
    6. Has Children Mary (of Morton) Douglas = Charles (2nd Earl of Dunfermline) Seton
    7. Has Children Agnes\Anne (of Morton) Douglas = George (2nd Earl of Kinnoull) Hay





Earl of Morton
23rd Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1635-1643
(Yeoman of the Guard)

William Douglas was the 7th or 8th Earl of Morton and Lord High Treasurer of Scotland and the only son of Robert Douglas the 6th or 7th Earl  -  (This uncertainty can occur when the current hold of the title and his heir die together, generally in battle. Uncertainty as to whom died before whom creates this dilemma, eg father and eldest son are on the battlefield; father is the 5th Earl and is killed; automatically his eldest son becomes the 6th Earl, but he too is killed; so long as their deaths have occurred in that order there is a natural progression and the title carries on to the 7th Earl. The problem arises where it is uncertain who died first. The next in line for the title may well become the 6th Earl if it was his elder brother that died before his father....confused? Well how do you think William Douglas felt not knowing if he was the 7th or 8th Earl!)  -  He succeeded to the Earldom on the death of his grandfather in 1606, soon afterwards he was made Privy Councillor and a Gentleman of the Chamber to James VI, in which office he was continued by Charles I.  He commanded the Scots regiment of three thousand men in the Rochelle expedition of the Duke of Buckingham in 1627.  On the demission of the Earl of Mar in 12 April 1630 he was made Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, and when he resigned it in 1635, he was made Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard, invested with the Order of the Garter, and sworn a Privy Councillor in England. 

He accompanied King Charles on his visit to Edinburgh in 1633, devoting himself to the King’s interests, and humouring his Scottish policy, he enjoyed his confidence in regard to Scottish affairs, even after he had demitted the office of Lord High Treasurer.  He was one of the commissioners who accompanied the Lyon King-at-Arms to the Scottish camp in 1639, to witness the declaration of the King’s proclamation and was also appointed to assist in arranging the treaty at Ripon in October 1640.  When the King opened the Scottish parliament Morton accompanied him in the procession to the house but as he had not signed the covenant he was one of the noblemen excluded from entering the room.  On the 18 October however, he subscribed to the covenant and took his seat.  On 20 September the King nominated him for the chancellorship but his nomination was vehemently objected to by his son-in-law, the Earl of Argyll, afterwards Marquis, on the grounds that such an office might shelter him from his creditors, that he was a contemptuous rebel and often at the horn (a drinker), that he deserted his country in her greatest need and the he was ‘decrepit and unable’.  On the outbreak of the civil war he aided the King by the advance of large sums of money, disposing for this purpose of the castle of Dalkeith to the Buccleuch family.  On this account he had a charter 15 June 1643, of the islands of Orkney and Shetland, with the regalities belonging to them redeemable by the crown on the payment to him of 30,000 sterling.  In 1644 a commission of judiciary was granted to him by parliament for Orkney and Shetland for three years from 1 August.  He went to wait on Charles I in 1646 when he took refuge with the Scotch army, and after Charles was given up to parliament he retired to Orkney.  He died at the castle of Kirkwall in March 1649-50, his Countess, Agnes Keith dying on the 30 May.  Both were buried at Kirkwall. 


See also The Earls of Morton