I greatly enjoyed Alan Hay’s article in Leopard about his ancestors’ feud with the Gordons of Gight. As he says, the Gight clan were a pretty violent bunch.
In 1594 John Gordon, 5th laird of Gight, along with his sons William and Captain John, were in the 6th Earl of Huntly’s party which raided Donibristle house in Dalgety Bay and slew the bonny Earl o Moray. Captain John, badly wounded in the raid, was left behind by Huntly and taken across the Forth by Moray’s mother and her servants.
At Leith he was seized by the king’s men and executed with indecent haste in order to prevent him from spilling the beans. His brother William became the 5th laird of Gight and was known to have committed at least four murders. His son George, the 6th laird, is the one who fell out with the Hays.
In 1634, along with his son, also George, he was one of the Licht Horsemen, a militia raised by Huntly to plunder the lands of Crichton of Frendraught after the infamous fire.
The Licht Horsemen were put to the horn and hunted by the sheriff’s men, but Gight managed to avoid capture. He died at Edinburgh in 1640.
Young George, a keen Royalist, was summoned to Aberdeen on 11 June 1640 by the Covenanter leaders Marischal and Monro, and was put under guard, but he managed to escape from his captors at the Justice Port “and be plane speid of foot he wynis cloiss away, to all their disgraces, and to Germany gois he, whair he stayis —-“ (Spalding vol.1 p.287).
He was back by 1642, and was with a troop of 80 Royalist horsemen of the Strathbogie Regiment who routed a band of Covenanter horsemen near Ellon, disarmed them, and sent them “schamefully bak agane to Abirdene.” (Spalding 1 p.322).
In March 1644 he was with John Gordon of Haddo’s troop of 60 horsemen which came thundering through the Gallowgate Port and into Aberdeen. They seized the Provost and three of his baillies and carried them back to Strathbogie as their prisoners.
Later that year both Haddo and Gight were seized for this outrage by the Marquis of Argyll and taken to Edinburgh where they were sentenced to death. Haddo was duly executed, but Gight managed to escape by bribing his guards, and was pardoned in 1647.
Yes, the Gight Gordons were a wild bunch, but the North-east in those days was a wilder place than America’s Wild West some two centuries later. The Hays also took an active part in the Wars of the Covenant, although they weren’t considered to be as volatile as the Gight Gordons.
Skateraw Road, Newtonhill, Stonehaven