Cochrane, Sir William, of Cowdon, first Earl of Dundonald d. 1686, was the second son of Alexander Blair, of the ancient family of Blair of Blair, who, on his marriage to Elizabeth Cochrane, of the ancient family of Cochrane of Cochrane, assumed the name of Cochrane. By prudent management he came to be one of the largest proprietors in the counties of Ayr and Renfrew, and was returned member of the Scottish parliament for Ayrshire in 1644 (Members of Parliament for Scotland in Foster's Collectanea Genealogica, i. 7). For his services in behalf of the king he was created a peer by the title of Lord Cochrane of Dundonald, by patent dated Scarborough, 27 Dec. 1647, with limitation to heirs male of his body. When it was resolved to raise an army in behalf of Charles I, in 1648, he was sent over to Ireland to bring home the Scotch troops (Guthry, Memoirs, 268). In 1653 he acquired the lordship of Paisley, where he fixed his residence, and lived in great splendour. The following year he was fined by Cromwell for his loyalty 5,000l., which was reduced to 2,000l. (State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1655, p. 71), and afterwards to 1,666l. 13s. 4d. (ib. 116). At the Restoration he was appointed a privy councillor and one of the commissioners of the treasury, and for these services was created a peer by the title Earl of Dundonald, Lord Cochrane of Paisley and Ochiltree, 12 May 1669. His tremulous signature appears attached to Claverhouse's marriage contract in 1684. The same year an accusation was preferred against him on the ground that his son, Lord Cochrane, when he was dying in 1679, kept a chaplain who prayed God to bless the rebels in the west with success (Fountainhall, Decisions, i. 299). He died in 1686, and was buried at Dundonald. By his marriage to Eupheme, daughter of Sir William Scot of Ardross, Fifeshire, he had two sons, William, lord Cochrane, who died in his father's lifetime, in 1679, and Sir John Cochrane of Ochiltree [qv.], and one daughter, Grizel, married to George, tenth lord Ross. He was succeeded in the earldom by his grandson John, the son of William, lord Cochrane.

     Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, i. 471-2
     Bishop Guthry's Memoirs
     Fountainhall's Decisions
     State Papers (Dom. Ser.), 1655, pp. 71, 116, 118
     Memoirs of Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee.

Contributor: T. F. H. [Thomas Finlayson Henderson]

Published: 1887