LIVINGSTON, James, 1st Earl of Newburgh [S] (c.1622-70), of Cirencester, Glos.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1661 - 4 Dec. 1670

Family and Education

b. c.1622, o. s. of Sir John Livingstone, 1st Bt., of Kinnaird, Perth by Jane, da. of Richard Sproxton of Wakefield, Yorks., wid. of William Marwood of Little Busby, Yorks.; step-bro. of Richard Gorges, 2nd Baron Gorges of Dundalk [I]. educ. Merton, Oxf. matric. 17 Dec. 1638, aged 16, travelled abroad (France) c.1642-6. m. (1) 1648, Lady Catherine Howard (d. c.1650), da. of Theophilus Howard, 2nd Earl of Suffolk, wid. of Lord George Stuart, 9th Seigneur d’Aubigny, 1da.; (2) c. May 1660, Anne (bur. 26 May 1692), da. of Sir Henry Poole of Sapperton, Glos., 2s. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. Mar. 1628; cr. Visct. Newburgh [S] 13 Sept. 1647, Earl of Newburgh [S] 31 Dec. 1660.1

Offices Held

Lt.-col. Life Gds. [S] 1650-1; col. of horse (Spanish army) 1656-8; capt. of the bodyguard [S] 1661-70.

PC [S] 1661-d.; v.-adm. [S] 1666-8; gent. of the privy chamber 1668-d.2

Commr. for loyal and indigent officers, Glos. 1662, assessment, Glos. 1663-9, Gloucester 1663-4; j.p. Glos. and Lincs. 1664-d.


Lord Newburgh’s ancestry cannot be traced with certainty beyond his great-grandfather, who was elected provost of Stirling in 1553. His father was groom of the bedchamber to James I, from whom he received generous grants of land in Scotland. About 1642 he himself was sent to France to be brought up, in accordance with Charles I’s instructions. He joined the King at Newcastle in 1646, was given a Scottish peerage, and married into the royal family. After planning to rescue the King on his way to Windsor in December 1648 before his trial, he fled to Holland, but accompanied Charles II to Scotland in 1650, subscribed to the Covenant, and took his seat in the Scottish House of Lords. Escaping abroad again after the battle of Worcester, he relieved the tedium of exile by duelling and a brisk correspondence with the Scottish Royalists. He commanded one of the English regiments which fought under the Spaniards at the battle of the Dunes.3

Newburgh continued his military career after the Restoration, becoming captain of the bodyguard in Scotland. He was given a Scottish earldom, with a special remainder to his heirs ‘whomsoever’, and received many other favours, which continued throughout his life. By his second marriage he became lord of the manor of Cirencester, for which he was returned, apparently unopposed, at the general election of 1661. An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was named to only 29 committees and took no part in the Clarendon Code, though he was appointed to the committee on the bill for the execution of those under attainder. He had property in the Lincolnshire fens, although his title was disputed by his stepson, the Duke of Richmond and was appointed to committees for no less than five land reclamation bills. During 1662 he was in Scotland, assisting Lord Middleton in the establishment of episcopacy and incurring the lasting enmity of Lauderdale. He was reported as particularly ‘severe against those who refuse to abjure the Covenant, not only removing them from office, as in England, but imprisoning them’. He was back at Westminster for the second session, and on 5 May 1663 was appointed to the committee to bring in the bill restricting offices to loyalists. In 1664 he was on the list of court dependants, and the House resolved that his interest should be taken care of under his brother-in-law’s estate bill. As vice-admiral, he was in Scotland from February to December 1666, chiefly concerned with the suppression of the Pentland Rising.4

After the fall of Clarendon Newburgh was among those appointed to consider the balance of trade with Scotland. In April 1668 he was twice teller for reading the Lords’ bill to ascertain the alnage duties, which had been granted to Richmond. Sir Thomas Osborne included him among the Members who had usually voted for supply. He resigned his commission early in 1670, on the grounds of ‘corpulency and goutishness’. His dispute with his stepson came to a head in the same year, with both parties issuing writs of ejectment and claiming privilege, but a collision between the Houses was averted by Newburgh’s death on 4 Dec. ‘One of the finest gentlemen of his age, with untainted principles of loyalty and honour’, he was buried at St. Margaret’s, Westminster.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. Scots Peerage, vi. 452; Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 5), iii. 210.
  • 2. Carlisle, Privy Chamber, 182.
  • 3. Scots Peerage, vi. 446-7; DNB; Clarendon, Rebellion, iv. 478-9; v. 9; vi. 44; State Trials, v. 1019; Clarke, Jas. II, i. 326-7, 345; Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 69.
  • 4. Rudder, Glos. 354, 660; Reg. PC Scotland (ser. 3), i. 215; ii. 137; CSP Dom. 1663-4, p. 264; HMC Hastings, ii. 144; CJ, viii. 551.
  • 5. CJ, ix. 83, 84; Grey, i. 288-92; HMC 8th Rep. pt. 1 (1881), 146.