RUTHVEN (riv'en), name of a noble Scottish family tracing descent from a certain Thor, who settled in Scotland during the reign of David I. In 1488 one of its members, Sir William Ruthven (d. 1528), was created a lord of parliament as Lord Ruthven. Patrick, 3rd Lord Ruthven (c. 152o-1566), played an important part in the political intrigues of the 16th century as a strong Protestant and a supporter of the lords of the congrega tion. He favoured the marriage of Mary with Darnley, and was the leader of the band which murdered Rizzio. This event was followed by his flight into England, where he died. Ruthven wrote for Queen Elizabeth a Relation of the murder, which is preserved in mss. in the British Museum.
A descendant of the 1st Lord Ruthven in a collateral line, also named Patrick Ruthven (c. 1573-1651), distinguished himself in the service of Sweden, which he entered about 16o6. After leav ing the Swedish service he was employed by Charles I. in Scot land. He defended Edinburgh castle for the king in 1640, and when the Civil War broke out he joined Charles at Shrewsbury. He led the left wing at the battle of Edgehill, and after this en gagement was appointed general-in-chief of the Royalist army. For his services he was created Lord Ruthven of Ettrick in 1639, earl of Forth in 1642 and earl of Brentford in 1644. The earl compelled Essex to surrender Lostwithiel, and was wounded at both battles of Newbury. In 1644 he was superseded in his com
mand by Prince Rupert. After visiting Sweden on a mission for Charles II., Brentford died at Dundee on Feb. 2, 1651. He left no sons and his titles became extinct.
Patrick, 3rd Lord Ruthven, was succeeded as 4th lord by his son William (c. 1541-1584), who like his father was prominent in the political intrigues of the period and was also concerned in the Rizzio murder. In 1582 he devised the plot to seize King James VI., known as the raid of Ruthven, and he was the last known custodian of the famous silver casket containing the let ters alleged to have been written by Mary, queen of Scots, to Bothwell. In 1581 he was created earl of Gowrie, but all his honours were forfeited when he was attainted and executed in May 1584. (See GOWRIE, 3RD EARL OF.) In 1853 the barony descended to Mary Elizabeth Thornton (c. 1784-1864), the wife of Walter Hore (d. 1878). She and her husband took the name of Hore-Ruthven, borne by later barons.
See the Ruthven Correspondence, edited with introduction by the Rev. W. D. Macray (1868) ; J. H. Round, "The Barony of Ruthven of Freeland" in Joseph Foster's Collectanea Genealogica (1881-85) ; and Sir R. Douglas, The Peerage of Scotland (new ed. by Sir J. B. Paul).