Lewis Bellenden

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Sir Lewis Bellenden of Auchnole and Broughton, Knt., (c. 1552 - 27 August 1591, Edinburgh), knighted about 1577, was the eldest son of his father Sir John Bellenden of Auchnole & Broughton, whom he succeeded as Lord Justice Clerk on 15 March 1577.

On 1 July 1584 he was promoted as a Lord Ordinary as a Senator of the College of Justice, in place of Sir Richard Maitland of Lethington. In 1586 he was Keeper of Blackness Castle, and on 22 November 1587 was appointed Keeper of Linlithgow Castle. On 24 December 1587 he was appointed (with Patrick Bellenden of Evie) Clerk of the Coquet of Edinburgh.

He was not averse to the conspiracies of the period and was one of the conspirators involved in the notorious Raid of Ruthven, and Godscroft represents him as extremely violent on the occasion. Sir Lewis does not seem, however, to have shared in the ruin which attended his co-conspirators, joining the College of Justice in 1584.

He bore a principal part in the downfall of the Earl of Arran, and the return of the banished Lords, although he was despatched by the former, then ignorant of his intentions, to accuse the latter at the court of Queen Elizabeth I of England. He was in Stirling in November 1585 when the banished Lords surprised James VI and Arran there. The latter intended to have slain Bellenden, the Master of Gray, and the Secretary, "but they drew to their armes and stude on their awn defence," and Arran had too much on his hands with his enemies without the walls to attack them.

Sir Lewis Bellenden seems to have been useful in procuring the consent of the clergy to the Act whereby the temporalities of the prelacies were annexed to the Crown in 1587, and was the same year named one of the Commissioners "for satisfying the clergy of the lyferents."

In 1589 he accompanied King James VI in his matrimonial excursion to Norway, and was sent the following spring as Ambassador to the court of Elizabeth, probably to notify the nuptials.

Sir Lewis Bellenden married, by contract dated 4 July 1581, Margaret (d.after August 1591) daughter of William, 6th Lord Livingstone, and had three sons and two daughters, of whom his son and heir was Sir James Bellenden of Broughton. Two other sons went to Ulster.


  • An Historical Account of the Senators of the College of Justice of Scotland, from its Institution in 1532, originally by Sir David Dalrymple of Hailes, Bt., re-edited & continued, Edinburgh, 1849, pps:194 - 196, which states that he was not yet 25 years of age in November 1578.
  • The Privy Council Registers, 26 August 1582, p.507, cite Sir Lewis Bellenden, Knt., Justice-Clerk, as one of the 'Ruthven Raiders'.
  • The Scots' Peerage, by Sir James Balfour Paul, Edinburgh, 1905, vol.ii, pps: 68-70.