Ancient Title from the Thanage of Fermartyn

The ancient Kelly baronial title is offered for sale by the Trustees of the Mar Estate. This is of special interest to Scottish historians, for genealogically important Gordon families lived on and close to the Kelly lands, and it was combined with the Haddo estate to be the seat of the Earls of Aberdeen, significant players in British politics.
A PDF file, accessible from this page, gives an outline of Kelly’s long history together with the arms of barons and lairds who were associated with the Thanage of Fermartyn in which it was an influential barony.
Kelly’s principal claim to fame is based on the resistance of Sir John Gordon of Haddo to the Covenanters when they besieged the House of Kelly in 1644. The King had appointed him second in command to his clan‘s chief, the Marquis of Huntly, the King’s Lieutenant in the North, but when superior numbers overwhelmed Kelly‘s defences he was forced to capitulate to his cousin, the Earl Marischal, who promised him honourable terms.
The Marquess of Argyll overruled the surrender agreement, much to the Earl Marischal’s grief and shame, and the prisoner was sent to Edinburgh for a monstrously unjust trial. Kelly was destroyed totally, and all the tenants’ horses and cattle were looted or killed.
Of Argyll a contemporary noted that he had “no martial qualities, nor the reputation of any more courage than violent and imperious persons, whilst they meet no opposition, are used to have.” He was the Saddam of that age. His victim’s wife and children, as so often elsewhere, were left with their house and lands ruined. Sir John himself, after imprisonment in a small cell in St Giles’s Church, known to this day as “Haddo’s Hole”, defended the charge of treason (in that he fought for the King and had defended Kelly against the government) skilfully, but the verdict had been agreed before the trial began. The speed of the execution left no time for an appeal.
Some Heraldry from Kelly

(much more in the PDF file)

Gordon of Kelly
Erskine of Mar
Comyn of Buchan
Lindsay of Crawford
The Barony of Kelly was sold to its new Baron shortly after being featured in the Baronage pages.
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Barony of Kelly
illustrated PDF file
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© 2004 The Baronage Press