John Gordon, 1st Viscount of Kenmure (1599–1634) was a Scottish nobleman, renowned Presbyterian, and founder of the town of New Galloway.


Sir John Gordon of Lochinvar (as he was known before his enoblement) was the eldest son of Sir Robert Gordon of Lochinvar (d. November 1628), a Gentleman of the King's Bedchamber, by his wife Lady Isabel Ruthven, daughter of the William Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie.[1][2] After completion of his studies he travelled on the continent, and while there he resided in the house of the famous John Welsh, who was then minister at St. Jean d'Angély in France, having been banished from Scotland.

He was one of the first to embark in the scheme for the establishment of colonies in America, and in 1621 obtained a charter of what was called the barony of Galloway in Nova Scotia (now Baleine, Nova Scotia).[3]

On his return home Gordon exerted himself with success in getting Anwoth the parish in which the family residence was situated, disjoined from two other parishes with which it had been united; and through his, Samuel Rutherford was appointed minister of the new charge in 1627, which Kenmure later said was "the most meritorious action of my life".

At some point Gordon was knighted. A strong supporter of the Stuart monarchy, on 8 May 1633, as Sir John Gordon, knight, he was created Viscount of Kenmure and Lord Lochinvar by Charles I by Letters Patent, at his Scottish coronation in Edinburgh. The destination was to heirs male whatsoever bearing the surname and Arms of Gordon.

He attended the parliament held at Edinburgh the following June, but avoided the debate on the King's measures relative to the church, retiring instead to Kenmure Castle. He later regretted that he took no part but expressed his dilemma at not wishing to upset his monarch.

Among other favours conferred upon him by Charles I was the charter, dated 15 January 1629, of a Royal Burgh of New Galloway, a new town which was built within the limits of his estate at Kenmure Castle.[4][5]

Samuel Rutherford attended Kenmure on his deathbed and later wrote a tract entitled The last and heavenly Speeches and glorious Departure of John, Viscount Kenmure, printed in Edinburgh in 1649, by Evan Tyler, His Majesty's Printer. It was reprinted in 1827.

John Gordon married Lady Jane Campbell, sister of Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess of Argyll.


When John Gordon died, Lady Jane remarried, on 21 September 1640, to Sir Harry Montgomerie of Giffen, second son of Alexander Montgomerie, 6th Earl of Eglinton, and they had no children. She lived to a great age and was still alive in 1672.


  1. ^ Scots Peerage, Vol. V, p. 115; ed. Sir James Balfour Paul.
  2. ^ "Lochinvar". Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Encouragements, For such as shall have intention to bee Vnder-takers in the new plantation of Cape Briton now New Galloway in America. by mee Lochinvar. Edin. 1625". Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "New Galloway". Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "Kells Parish Church and Graveyard 4". Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  • Anderson, William, The Scottish Nation, Edinburgh, 1867, vol. v, p. 333-4; vol. vi, p. 599.

External linksEdit

Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
New Creation
Viscount of Kenmure
Succeeded by
John Gordon
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