9. George Keir Senior (1705-1788) (Part II)

Welcome to the 9th Blog entry in this current series of articles looking at the Keir family from Aberdalgie (and Kirkliston). Continuing on from the last blog of 2016 – blog #8, we trace further the story of George Keir (Sr), the 3rd son of Rodger Keir and Isabel Armour.

In the last installment (blog #8; George Keir (Sr.) Part I) we learnt that George had left Scotland for Horsforth in Yorkshire, England where he married Catherine Hinscliff (in 1736) and had 13 children – most of these born whilst George was working as ‘gardener’ (estate agent/factor) for John ‘Lawyer’ Stanhope. We take up this tale again in the year, 1761.

Late in 1761 George Keir (Sr.) wrote a two page letter to Robert Hay-Drummond  – then the Honourable and Right Reverend Lord Bishop of Salisbury (but more importantly the newly appointed Archbishop of York) – at his house in Dartmouth Street, London apparently with the main purpose of asking his Lordship to request that his brother, Thomas Hay*, the 9th Earl of Kinnoll intercede in the appointment of the next Minister for Hawkshead in favour of one Rev. John Deason of Rawson.

A transcription of the Letter is as follows:

My Lord,

Nothing should have prevailed upon me to have troubled your Lordship at this time had it not been at the repeated desire of one Mr Deason a very worthy clergyman in this place that could not make his case known to your Lordship by any other means. He was born at a place called Hawkshead in the north of Lancashire and his friends there hath sent him word that their parson lays a dyeing and begs that he would make interest with my Lord Kinnoul to succeed him and all the Gentlemen in this neighbourhood being strangers to his Lordship he devises me to beg the favour of your Lordship to speak to my Lord Kinnoul on his behalf and ( if not?) already promised will wait on your Lordship when or where you would please to permit him he being a man of a very weak constitution has a great desire to be among his relations, otherwise his Benefit here is better than that of Hawkshead which is only between 60 and 70 £ a year. It gives me great pleasure to hear that your Lordship is to succeed the see of York and in case of a vacancy I hope my son would be able to serve your Lordship as well and with as much fidelity as any as it would be in my power to assist him until such time as my Lord Kinnoul call upon me. I humbly beg pardon for this trouble and freedom? And I am 

                    My Lord

                    Your Lordships most B…..bed and very humble servant

                              George Keir


August 18th  1761

[included by the grateful permission of the Borthwick Institute, York.]

While the main body of the text is to do with the request on behalf of Mr. Deason, it is the last sentence which holds all of the genealogical interest for us. Here George Keir senior not only asks ‘his lordship’ if he has a vacancy for his son (almost certainly referring to the eldest son, George Keir, junior then aged 25 years old) but also indicates that he (George senior) has already teed up a job with his patron, “my Lord Kinnoul”.

As we will see in Part III of this current blog stream, George Keir Sr. (and his family) do return to Scotland for George to take up the position of factor to Thomas Hay (Lord Kinnoull) at Dupplin Castle (near Aberdalgie).


* It is important to mention that not only was Thomas Hay the ‘9th Earl of Kinnoul’ but also the ‘Chancellor of the Duchy and County Palatine of Lancaster’ and as such would be instrumental in appointing the next incumbent to the ‘living of Hawkshead’, (one of 42 parishes in Lancashire). Deason did not get the position.


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