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Sholto Charles Douglas, 15th Earl of Morton



Sholto, 15th earl of MortonSholto Charles was born in 1732 and was the only son of James, 14th Earl of Morton to survive to adulthood. 


He married, 19 November 1758, at Edinburgh, Katharine, fourth daughter and co-heir of John Hamilton, second son of Thomas, sixth Earl of Haddington. She, who was born December 1736, died 25 April 1823. They had two sons. His first son, George, would succeed his father after his death, September 25, 1774.

His 2nd son was Lt. Hon. Hamilton Douglas Halyburton (10 October 1763 – 31 December 1783).  Lt. Hamilton died of exposure while commanding the barge of HMS Assistance, which was caught in a snowstorm while going to look for deserters and wrecked on Sandy Hook.


This image is taken from a family group portrait, when he would have been Lord Aberdour.


Educated at Glasgow University, in February 1754 Sholto was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, as was later its President.

In 1759 he, as Lord Aberdour, raised a corps of light dragoons(2), of which he was captain commandant 10 October of that year. He was one of the Lords of Police from 1760 till his death.

morton window
Window in Lerwick
15th Earl of Morton
He was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England (Moderns) from 1757-61 and 20th Grand Master Mason of Scotland, 1755-56.  There is a stained glass window in Orkney commemorating him as Grand master.


In 1775 hostilities commenced between Great Britain and America; Boston became a garrison, and was abandoned by many of its former inhabitants. The regular meetings of the grand lodges were terminated, and the brethren of St. John's Grand Lodge held no assembly until after the reestablishment of peace. There was at that time also a grand lodge held at Boston upon the ancient establishment, under the designation of "The Massachusetts Grand Lodge," which originated as follows: In 1755 a number of the order residing in Boston, who were Ancient Masons, in consequence of a petition to the Grand Lodge of Scotland, received a dispensation, dated November 30th, 1752, from Sholto Charles Douglas, Lord Aberdour, then Grand master, constituting them a regular lodge, under the title of "St. Andrew's Lodge, No. 82," to be held at Boston. This establishment was discouraged and opposed by the St. John's Grand Lodge, who thought their privileges were infringed upon by the Grand Lodge of Scotland; they therefore refused to have any intercourse with St. Andrew's Lodge for several years. The prosperous state of St. Andrew's Lodge soon led its members to make great exertions for the establishment of an ancient lodge in America, which was soon effected in Boston by the assistance of travelling lodges belonging to the British army who were stationed there.


Death: 25 September1774, Taormina, Sicily (Probably on a visit to Mount Vesuvius) (1).

Father: James (14th Earl of Morton) Douglas b: 1709
Mother: Agatha Halyburton


He was succeeded by his son, George.



See also:

•  The Earls of Morton



1.  The source of this information needs a geography lesson! Mount Etna, possibly.

2.  17th Regiment of Light Dragoons. The institution of entire regiments of Light Cavalry, as part of the standing army of Great Britain, in the spring of 1759, was attended with such signal success, that, after the formation of the two splendid corps of Eliott and Burgoyne, which were numbered the Fifteenth and Sixteenth, King George II. was induced to carry the plan to a still greater extent, and to augment the Light Dragoon establishment with five additional regiments, which were numbered the Seventeenth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-first Light Dragoons. The first of these additional corps was raised in Scotland by Lord Aberdour.  It never consisted of more than two troops, and was disbanded at the termination of the seven years' war, in 1763.


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Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024