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Gowrie, William Ruthven, 1st earl of

Gowrie, William Ruthven, 1st earl of [S] (c.1541–84). The Ruthven estates were in Perthshire and the family, protestant by religion, formed part of the English interest. Gowrie's father, the 3rd Lord Ruthven, took a leading part in the murder of Rizzio in 1566, but died almost immediately after. Gowrie was also involved, and at Lochleven in 1568 helped to obtain Mary's abdication in favour of her young son. From 1571 he was treasurer of Scotland and in 1581 was created earl of Gowrie. He was the leader in 1582, with Mar and Angus, of the Ruthven raid and held the king prisoner for ten months, demanding the withdrawal of Lennox from the kingdom. An ill-judged reconciliation with Arran in 1584 led to his downfall and he was executed at Stirling. His sons were involved in the Gowrie conspiracy in 1600, both being killed.

J. A. Cannon

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