What did Lord John do to get exiled to Ardsmuir in Outlander?

Becoming the Governor of Ardsmuir Prison was not a position sought after. It was a punishment for Lord John Grey, but what did he do?
Outlander Season 3 -- Courtesy of Aimee Spinks/STARZ
Outlander Season 3 -- Courtesy of Aimee Spinks/STARZ /

We know that Lord John Grey was “exiled” to Ardsmuir Prison in Outlander. We get a few details as to why that was in Lord John and the Private Matter.

The start of the Lord John Grey novels bring us events that happened between Ardsmuir and Jamaica. We learn that John was welcomed back to London after initially being exiled to Scotland. It doesn’t take long to learn some of the details as to why he was sent to Scotland in the first place.

Lord John and the Private Matter elude to the reason. However, it’s clear that not everyone knows what John did to get sent there, and that includes Harry Quarry.

Lord John’s involvement with a man before Outlander

John’s mother is the one to elude to the events that happened leading to John being sent to Scotland. It turns out that it was something to do with George Everett.

We learned in Lord John and the Hellfire Club that John and George know each other rather well. They are both gay, and George is so scared of his secret coming out that he attempts to kill John. However, Quarry realizes that George is going to kill John and saves the day—still having no idea about the connection between John and George.

In Lord John and the Private Matter, we learn that John and George also knew Lavender House. It’s clear that the two were involved in some sort of affair, and if word got out, the reputation of the Greys would be ruined. John’s mother believes that a married woman was involved in whatever John and George were doing.

Hal is the one who managed to help the family. It’s highly likely that he knew the full truth about John. After all, Hal knew that John was in love with Hector. He likely comes to figure out John’s feelings for Jamie. This is a man who loves his brother dearly and will do what he can to protect John’s reputation and the reputation of the Grey family as a whole, but he won’t disown his brother.

Hal likely saw that the best option was to get John out of London. Exiled to Ardsmuir Prison made the most sense at the time.

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