John Auchmoutie

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John Auchmoutie of Scoughall (floruit 1580-1635) was a Scottish courtier.

He was groom of the bed chamber and master and keeper of the royal wardrobe in Scotland. Auchmoutie performed in several masques


In July 1600 he and other young men of the royal household including Robert Ker, John Ramsay, John Murray and George Murray were bought green outfits for hunting.[1]

Scoughall is near North Berwick. The surname was sometimes spelled "Auchmowtie" or Auchmowty" or "Acmooty".

After the Union of Crowns, Auchmoutie had a patent for dye materials.

John Chamberlain mentions an Auchmoutie (who had been in Padua and Venice) as one of the "most principal and lofty" of ten "high" dancers, five English, five Scottish, in the medley mask, The Irish Masque of Ben Jonson, performed during the celebrations at the wedding of Robert Carr, 1st Earl of Somerset and Frances Howard in December 1613.[2]

In 1613 he was ordered to go to Berwick-upon-Tweed to collect paperwork belonging to the king from Roger Widdrington and the paymaster (and former diplomat) George Nicholson.[3]

In 1616 he packed up four royal beds and delivered them to a Mr Nicolls to be sent to England for repair. These included a bed with curtains depicting the Labours of Hercules, a bed with crimson velvet curtains, a bed with gold silver embroidered curtains, and one embroidered by Mary, Queen of Scots. The beds were to be mended and returned to the Scottish royal palaces for the forthcoming visit of King James.[4]

In 1618 the London poet and boat-man John Taylor came to Scotland and met Auchmoutie at Burntisland, with other courtiers. After going north to Braemar, Taylor visited Auchmoutie and his brothers James and Alexander at Auldhame (Scoughall) with James Achesoun of Gosford. They ate the local Solan goose from the Bass Rock served as a special dish at a separate table from dinner, and washed down with Spanish sack, in the manner that oysters were then usually served.[5]

Masque dancing[edit]

Auchmoutie performed in the masque For the Honour of Wales by Ben Jonson first performed on 17 February 1618. A 1618 bill for yellow masque costumes for Mr Carre, Mr Abercromby, and Mr Auchmouty, each costing £55, relates to this performance.[6]

In January 1619 the Banqueting House at Whitehall Palace was burnt down during preparations for a masque. The masque was then staged at Shrovetide in the Great Hall. The twelve masquers included Prince Charles, Buckingham, the Earl of Montgomerie, the Captain of the Guards and his brother, Sir Thomas Howard, Maynard, Abercromby, and Auchmoutie, and others.[7]

The Scottish wardrobe[edit]

In June 1621 an Edinburgh merchant John Murray of Romanno was ordered by the Privy Council to deliver furnishings belonging to the king to Auchmoutie.[8] In July 1621 Patrick Murray, the son of the recently deceased treasurer-depute Gideon Murray, returned uncut damask and Dornick linen, fabric for napkins, to Mr John Oliphant, the clerk of wardrobe, when John Auchmoutie was at court in London.[9]

In March 1622 the treasurer, the Earl of Mar delivered the silver plate in his keeping to Auchmoutie. The plate, which had been in the keeping of Gideon Murray, and had been provided for the royal visit in 1617, included: eight basins, eight lavers, ten salts, 96 trencher plates, 40 candlesticks, 209 plates, 20 bowls or cups, 120 spoons, and 6 six cup pedestals and covers.[10]

In 1624 he petitioned the king for better pay for the four tapestry keepers and workers in Scotland, and the appointment of Martin Leache as a replacement for the deceased Nicolas Elmar.[11]

In 1633 Charles I was crowned in Edinburgh, and Auchmowty was involved with the royal wardrobe and the stock of table linen.[12]


  1. ^ Robert Pitcairn, Ancient Criminal Trials (Edinburgh, 1833), p. 237 quoting the treasurer's accounts.
  2. ^ Norman Egbert McClure, Letter of John Chamberlain, vol. 1 (Philadelphia, 1939), p. 496.
  3. ^ David Masson, Register of the Privy Council of Scotland: 1613-1616, vol. 10 (Edinburgh, 1891), pp. 810-11.
  4. ^ David Masson, Register of the Privy Council of Scotland: 1613-1616, vol. 10 (Edinburgh, 1891), pp. 624-5: Michael Bath, Emblems for a Queen (London, 2008), p. 20.
  5. ^ P. Hume Brown, Early Travellers in Scotland (Edinburgh, 1891), pp. 113, 126-7.
  6. ^ HMC 7th Report: Lord Sackville (London, 1879), p. 260.
  7. ^ John S. Brewer, The Court of King James the First by Godfrey Goodman, vol. 2 (London, 1839), pp. 188-9, as "Mootie".
  8. ^ David Masson, Register of the Privy Council of Scotland: 1619-1622, vol. 12 (Edinburgh, 1895), p. 501.
  9. ^ David Masson, Register of the Privy Council of Scotland: 1619-1622, vol. 12 (Edinburgh, 1895), p. 525.
  10. ^ David Masson, Register of the Privy Council of Scotland: 1619-1622, vol. 12 (Edinburgh, 1895), pp. 691, 696-7.
  11. ^ HMC Mar & Kellie, vol. 1 (London, 1904), p. 125.
  12. ^ HMC 9th Report: Traquair House (London, 1884), p. 252.