Sir William Duff Gordon

8th Apr 1772 - 8th Mar 1823


William Gordon, later William Duff Gordon, son of Alexander Gordon (4th son of 2nd Earl of Aberdeen) and Anne Duff, a wine merchant trading to the West Indies of Gordon, Murphy & Co. (q.v.) and MP for Worcester 17/02/1807 - 1818. With his partner John Murphy (q.v.) he owned an estate called Profit, Success and Relief in British Guiana.

  1. Entered the counting house of his uncle James Duff, British consul at Cadiz.: 'Gordon handled the correspondence with Cadiz and Jamaica when in London. Elected for Worcester 1807. 'His business interests included slavetrading, to the indignation of the Worcester dissenters, but he was not among the diehard minority against abolition in 1807.' John James Ruskin, John Ruskin's father, was his chief clerk in Gordon, Murphy [and appears in that capacity as one of the five 'outsiders' used to introduce David Kynaston's The City of London.]

  2. William Duff Gordon's widow Caroline appears to have carried on the wine business for almost 10 years after his death. Their son Alexander Cornewall Duff Gordon 3rd bart. (1811-1872) was the husband of Lucie Duff Gordon nee Austin, in the ODNB as travel writer and translator.


  1. History of Parliament online 1790-1820, M.J. Williams, 'Gordon [afterwards Duff Gordon], William (1772-1823), of Halkin, Ayr.'

  2. London Gazette 18998 27/11/1832 p. 2605; ODNB online Lila Marz Harper, 'Gordon, Lucie Duff [nee Lucy Austin], Lady Duff Gordon (1821-1869), travel writer and translator.'

Further Information

Caroline Cornewall
Alexander; 1 other son; 2 daughters
Wine merchant and West India merchant

Associated Estates (1)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1817 [EA] - 1825 [LA] → Joint owner

Legacies Summary

Commercial (1)

Name partner
Gordon, Murphy & Co.
Wine merchant  

Political (1)

election →
Worcester Worcestershire
1807 - 1818

Relationships (1)

Business partners