Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sir James Fullerton (d. 1631) - Hamilton's man

I was in London last week and had hoped to visit Westminster Abbey to see the memorial to Sir James Fullerton, but time didn't permit. Fullerton was James Hamilton's right hand man and fellow Ayrshireman, and is an interesting character in his own right:

According to Paterson's History of the County of Ayr (1852), his parents were John Fullerton of Dreghorn and Janet Mure of Rowallan. John was a firm supporter of the Reformation in Scotland. Dreghorn is only about 12 miles from James Hamilton's home of Dunlop, and given that Hamilton's father was the local minister it's possible that James Hamilton and James Fullerton had known each other from childhood. James Fullerton became a pupil of the firebrand Scottish Reformer Andrew Melville.

In 1587 Hamilton and Fullerton left Scotland together and sailed for Dublin, where they established a school and later became founding Fellows of Trinity College. In 1605 when Hamilton got wind of the impending deal between Con O'Neill and Sir Hugh Montgomery to split the O'Neill's Clandeboye estates in half, Fullerton was at the Royal court and got to the King, persuading him to divide the estate into three, with one third for Hamilton (to whom the King owed a lot of favours). For his trouble, James Fullerton is said to have been granted Olderfleet Castle in Larne and other parcels of land in Westmeath, Tipperary, Waterford, Sligo, Donegal, Dublin, Roscommon, Kerry, Kilkenny, Kildare and Cork, including a licence to hold a weekly Saturday market and two fairs in Sligo.

Fullerton however '...loved ready money and to live in Court more than in waste wildernesses in Ulster...' and doesn't seem to have spent much if any time here at all.

Below is Fullerton's modest memorial at St. Paul's Chapel in Westminster Abbey. Official description here.

- some further details on the Ayrshire Fullartons, and their Covenanter connections, can be found here on ElectricScotland. HEre is an excerpt:

'... John Fullarton of Dreghorn, who was served heir to that estate in 1546, and who was the fifth in direct descent from Rankine Fullarton of Fullarton, mentioned previously, took an active part in the Reformation in Scotland, and involved his estate very much on that account. With a view of suppressing the convent of Carmelite friars at Irvine, which the Fullartons of that ilk for centuries liberally supported, he purchased, on 19th May 1558, from Robert Burne, prior of said convent, the lands of Friars Croft and Dyets Temple, on which it was situated. At the meeting of the first General Assembly of the reformed Church of Scotland at Edinburgh, 20th December 1560, Fullarton of Dreghorn was one of the commissioners “for the kirk of Kyle.” On 4th September 1562, with the earl of Glencairn, Lords Boyd and Ochiltree, and a number of the gentlemen of Ayrshire, he subscribed the famous band at Ayr, to support and defend the reformed religion at all hazards, and against all its enemies; and, on Queen Mary’s marriage with Lord Darnley, he went, on 31st August 1565, to Edinburgh, along with the earls of Moray, Glencairn, and Rothes, and Lords Boyd and Ochiltree, at the head of 1,300 horse, in defence of the reformed faith. He was also one of those who, on 25th July 1567, subscribed the articles agreed to in the fifteenth General Assembly, for the punishment of the murderers of the king (Darnley), the defence of King James, and the rooting out of all monuments of popery. In 1570, with the Reformed noblemen and gentlemen of Ayrshire, he signed the letter addressed to Kirkaldy of Grange, desiring to know the meaning of his threats toward John Knox. In the General Assembly of March 1571, he was one of the commissioners appointed to wait upon the Regent, relative to matters pertaining to the jurisdiction of the church. By his wife, Janet, daughter of Mungo Mure of Rowallan, he had three sons and three daughters. His third son, Sir James Fullarton, was educated at Glasgow, under the tuition of the celebrated Andrew Melville, and afterwards went into the court of Charles the First, who knighted him, and appointed him first gentleman of the bedchamber. In this situation he died, and was interred in Westminster Abbey, where an elegant monument was erected to his memory...'