Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Memoirs and Adventures of Sir John Hepburn
Appendix IV. Of Hepburn's family and regiment, etc

Some writers have fallen into remarkable errors respecting Sir John Hepburn.

Pdre Daniel, in his Histoire de la Milicie Frangois, states that he was esteemed by Henri IV., who died in 1610; whereas Hepburn did not leave school in Scotland till 1614.

Hamilton states that he was knighted on his return from Sweden by James VI., who died in 1625, and Hepburn did not return until 1632.

Harte, in his Life of Gustavus Adolphus, says “the inflexible Hepburn took this opportunity of quitting the Swedish ensign, proposing, as it is thought, to make a tender of his services to France, but in that kingdom had the misfortune to be killed in a duel;” a curious misstatement, when there is such abundant proof that he was killed at Saveme.

The Old Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. x., states that he joined General Alexander Leslie, who was passing through Haddington with a company to join Gustavus Adolphus; but there is sufficient proof that he went with Sir Andrew Gray to Bohemia in 1620.

The New Statistical Account has a still more improbable story, to the effect that, when Major-General Sir David Leslie was encamped at Gladsmuir, (?) before the battle of Philiphaugh, Hepburn of Athelstaneford, and his five sons, paid a visit to the general, who was so much pleased with the appearance of one of them that he offered him a commission in the Scottish army. Young Hepburn, continues the reverend author, conducted himself with so much propriety and courage, that, when peace was restored to Scotland, he entered the service of Gustavus Adolphus, and afterwards became a marshal of France.— (Vol. ii., 1845.) He also refers to the interesting Memoirs of Sir John Hepburn—a work which never existed until the present was compiled.

The battle of Philiphaugh was fought near Selkirk in 1645, nine years after Hepburn had been in his grave, thirteen years after Gustavus was slain at the battle of Lutzen.

Marshal Hepburn was succeeded in the command of his regiment by his cousin, Sir James Hepburn, heir-apparent of the ancient estate of Waughton, who had served with him in Germany. “The King has given the Scots Regiment to the Baron Hebron,” says Richelieu to La Yalette, Sept. 22, 1636, “which your letter did not a little promote.” His relation, the senior captain, whom the Cardinal styled a Huguenot, was perhaps the same who is mentioned thus, in 1643, by Gilbert Blakhal, in his Breife Narrativey published for the Spalding Club:—

“Captain Leith is going to Scotland for a recrute to his company, and siclyke are Captain Foulerton and Captain Hebron: these will sie the Marquis of Huntly.”

Whether Sir James was the Coronall Hepburn who is mentioned by Sir Thomas Hope, as being in England in March 1635, and being sent with a “pacquett. to Lord Panmure, with one to him anent the Bishop of Canterbury and the Presentory of Maisondieu,” it is impossible to say; but thus far is known, that he commanded le Regiment de Hebron during the war in Alsace under the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, whose army was composed of French, Scots, and Germans; and that he was slain in 1637, fighting for King Louis in Lorraine, nearly one year after his uncle’s fall at Saverne. Lord William Douglas succeeded as colonel of the regiment, and was also slain near Arras in 1655; and was in turn succeeded by his brother George, Earl of Dumbarton, who so bravely defended Treves, and so eminently distinguished himself among the Scottish cavaliers at the Revolution. Prior to that event, the regiment (then diminished to two battalions) had entered the Scottish service, and continued as part of our national establishment under Frederick, duke of Schomberg, who was killed at the battle of the Boyne; Sir Robert Douglas of Glenbervie, who was slain rescuing its colours at the battle of Steinkirke; and Marshal the Earl of Orkney, under whom, at the Union in 1707, it was incorporated with the British army, and is now known as the First, or Royal Scots Regiment of Foot.

Sir John Hepburn’s monument is on the western side of the left transept of the great cathedral of Toul, and is marked as “l’Epitaphe du Colonel Heilbron” in the Abbe Augustin’s plan of the church, engraved in 1728. Immediately opposite is the ChapeUe de la Blanche Mere de Dim, and behind it rises a lofty Gothic window.

In March 1639, “the brethren and sisters of umquhile Collonel Sir John Hepburn, having submitted all questions and rights which they might pretend to the goods, gear, and means of the said umquhile Sir John, to the Laird of Waughtoun and some other friends, wherein the submitters were bound, and did refer to the said friends, to determine what proportion of the said goods should be given to George Hepburn, son of the eldest brother of the said Sir John, which George was then in France, at the time of making the said submission and bond, and did not subscribe the same, nor none taking the burden for him; upon which submission the saids friends had given their decreet-arbitral: the living brethren and sisters of the said Sir John being confirmed executors, pursues one Beaton, a factor in Paris, for payment of twenty thousand pounds adebted by him to the said umquhile Sir John.”

This money was probably the ransom of Mettemich.

Soon after this plea, the family appear to have become extinct, or to have lost their lands, as there is in the Chancery Office a charter to Adam Hepburn de Humbie, Knight, of the lands of AthelstanefonL It is undated, but witnesswed 1646 and 1651; and in 1686, Setoon of Gaimoton vas a finl In lands and toon {villa et terris) of Athehtaneford.

The hoose where a marshal of France was born is traditionally pointed out by the villagers, by whom the life of his family is forgotten now. However, a fragment of the mined church, called the Hepburns's Aisle, still survives; but the place of their sepulchre has long since been appropriated, like their dwelling, by the new possessors of the soil.


Return to Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus