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LOTHIAN, a surname derived from the district of that name lying on the south side of the Firth of Forth, the origin and meaning of which are unknown. Chalmers (Caledonia, vol. i. p. 258) thinks that the name was imposed by the Gothic people who took possession of the country on the withdrawal of the Romans. In old charters it is written Lawdonia, and sometimes Laodenia. Buchanan calls it in Latin Lothiana, and says that it was so named from Lothus, a king of the Picts, but no such name appears in the Pictish Chronicle as that of one of the Pictish kings. In the Teutonic language of the German jurists, says Chalmers, Lot-ting, Lothing, or Lodding, signifies a special jurisdiction on the marches, and in a note he states that in Orkney the senate or head court was called in the ancient language of the country Lawting. This is more likely to have been the origin of the name than any other that has been hazarded.


LOTHIAN, earl of (1606), and marquis of (1701), a title in the Scottish peerage possessed by the noble family of Kerr of Fernihirst, descended from Mark Kerr, second son of Sir Andrew Kerr of Cessford. In 1546 he became abbot of Newbottle, now Newbattle, in the eastern division of the county of Edinburgh, and renouncing popery in 1560, he subsequently held his benefice under the title of commendator. He obtained the vicarage of Linton in Peebles-shire, 26th March 1564, and was one of the lords who met on Queen Mary’s side at Hamilton in June 1567. His portrait is subjoined:

[portrait of Mark Kerr]

Nominated one of the extraordinary lords of session 20th April 1569, he, the Lord Boyd, and the justice-clerk, were, by one of the conditions of the pacification of Perth, concluded in February 1573, “appointed sole judges on the south syd of Forth, in all actions for restitution of goods spulziet in the recent troubles.” (Hist. of King James Sext, p. 132). He appears to have sided with the earls of Athol and Agryle against Morton in 1578, and in 1581 he obtained a ratification by parliament of his commendatorship. In the following year, after the Raid of Ruthven, he was employed by the duke of Lennox to propose terms to the lords conspirators, but was unsuccessful. He died in 1584. He had four sons and a daughter. George, the third son, is mentioned by Robertson, as an emissary from the Catholic noblemen to the court of Spain in 1592.

      Mark, the eldest son, first earl of Lothian, was appointed master of requests, 20th March 1577, which office was confirmed to him in 1581. He had a reversion of the commendatorship of Newbottle abbey from Queen Mary, and, on the death of his father, it was ratified to him by letters under the great seal, 24th August, 1584. He was appointed one of the extraordinary lords of session in his father’s place, 12th November of the same year. He had the lands of Newbottle erected into a barony by charter, 28th July 1587, and the baronies of Prestongrange and Newbottle being united into the lordship of Newbottle, he was created a lord of parliament, 15th October 1591. He was one of the commissioners for holding the parliament in 1597, and, the same year, was appointed collector-general of a tax of £200,000, then granted to King James VI. He was named vice-chancellor, in the absence of the earl of Dunfermline, 9th October 1604, and was created earl of Lothian, by patent, dated at Whitehall, 10th February 1606, to him and the heirs male of his body. He died 8th April 1609. In Douglas’ Peerage, it is stated that he had four sons and seven daughters, but Scotstarvet (p. 104) says that he had thirty-one children by his wife, Margaret Maxwell, daughter of Lord Harris. He adds that her ladyship was addicted to the black art, and that this at last proved fatal to the earl. “That lady thereafter being vexed with a cancer in her breast, implored the help of a notable warlock by a byname called Playfair, who condescended to heal her, but with condition, that the sore should fall on them she loved best, whereunto she agreeing did convalesce, but the earl her husband found the boil in his throat, of which he died shortly thereafter.” His third daughter, Lady Margaret Kerr, whose first husband was the seventh Lord Yester, was the founder of Lady Yester’s church at Edinburgh. She died 15th March 1647, aged 75.

      Robert, second earl, appointed master of requests, 8th April 1606, had, by his countess, Lady Annabella Campbell, second daughter of the seventh earl of Argyle, two daughters, and being without male issue, he made over his estates and titles, with the king’s approbation, to the elder of them, Lady Anne Kerr, and the heirs of her body. She accordingly succeeded thereto at his death, 15th July 1624. His next brother, however, Sir William Kerr of Blackhope, assumed the title of earl of Lothian, but was interdicted from using it by the lords of council, 8th March 1632. Anne, countess of Lothian, married William, eldest son of Robert Kerr, first earl of Ancrum, and thus carried the title into the house of Fernihirst.

      The first of that house, Ralph Kerr, settling in Teviotdale about 1330, obtained lands on the water of Jed, of which the earls of Douglas were superiors, and called them Kershaugh. He died about 1350. His grandson, Andrew Kerr of Kershaugh, was cupbearer to King Robert II. Andrew Kerr of Kershaugh, the grandson of the latter, accompanied the earl of Douglas to Rome in 1450, and is particularly described in a passport from the king of England. The latter’s great-grandson built the castle of Fernihirst, in the middle of Jedburgh forest, and is designed of Fernihirst in the records of parliament, 1476.

      His eldest son, Sir Andrew Kerr of Fernihirst, rendered himself remarkable by his border exploits against England in the reigns of James IV. and V. His castle of Fernihirst was besieged by the earl of Surrey and Lord Dacre in 1523, and after a gallant defence, surrendered 24th September of that year. At the time that James V. was little better than a captive in the hands of the Douglases, a summons of treason was raised against him for not attending the earl of Angus, lieutenant and warden of the marches, and for engaging in factions against his majesty. He appeared personally in presence of the king and Estates in parliament, 20th July 1526, when he was declared innocent of all the points laid to his charge. He was guardian of the middle marches, and one of the commissioners to treat of a peace with England in 1528. In 1542 he obtained the hereditary office of bailie of Jedburgh forest, and died in 1545.

      His second son and successor, Sir John Kerr of Fernihirst, appointed warden of the middle marches in 1548, was knighted by the regent Arran (duke of Chatelherault) for his services in repelling the incursions of the English on the borders. In 1549, after a severe struggle, he retook his castle of Fernihirst, with the aid of the French troops under D’Esse, then stationed in Jedburgh. He and his kinsman, William Kerr of Cessford, had a letter of remission under the great seal, for being art and part in the murder of Sir Walter Scott of Branxholm, knight, in October 1552. He died in July 1562.

      The eldest of his three sons, Sir Thomas Kerr of Fernihirst, distinguished himself by his adherence to Queen Mary, and on her account suffered, at different periods, fourteen years’ banishment. In October 1565 he attended the queen and Darnley to Dumfries, to assist in quelling an insurrection of the nobles at the time of the Roundabout Raid. On this occasion they commanded him to raise the royal standard at the head of his followers, and the queen placed herself under his immediate protection. On Mary’s escape from Lochleven in May 1568, he joined her standard at Hamilton. In January 1570, the day after the murder of the regent Moray, he and Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch swept over the borders at the head of their vassals, with fire and sword, in the hope of kindling between the two countries a war that might prove advantageous to the interests of the captive queen Mary. By way of retaliation, the earl of Sussex and Lord Hunsdon, in April of the same year, entered Scotland, and after ravaging the neighbouring country, demolished the castle of Fernihirst. The castle was not rebuilt till 1598. In September 1571 Sir Thomas Kerr was one of those who were engaged in the Raid of Stirling when the regent Lennox was killed. He joined his father-in-law, the chivalrous Kirkcaldy of Grange, in the defence of Edinburgh castle. He had removed to that fortress his family charter chest, and on its surrender in 1573, it was seized by the regent Morton, and never recovered. He afterwards sought refuge on the continent, but in 1579 was allowed by King James VI. to return to Scotland, and in 1581 he was restored to the possession of his whole estates, which had been forfeited. Soon after he again went into exile, but on 26th November, 1583, he obtained a full remission from his majesty, under the great seal. In Midsummer 1585 he and Sir John Foster, the English warden of the marches, met, according to the custom of the borders, when a fray took place, in which Sir Francis Russell, son of the earl of Bedford, was killed. To appease Queen Elizabeth, Sir Thomas Kerr was committed to ward in Aberdeen, where he died in 1586. By his first wife, Janet, daughter of Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange, governor of the castle of Edinburgh, he had, with two daughters, a son, Sir Andrew Kerr, and by his second wife, Janet, sister of Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch, one daughter and three sons. The latter were, Sir James Kerr of Crailing, who succeeded his brother; Thomas, on whom his father bestowed the lands of Oxenham; and Robert, the infamous favourite of King James, known in English history as Carr, earl of Somerset. He was first a page to the king, whom he attended to England, and at his coronation was invested with the order of the Bath. Subsequently he went to France, where he spend four years, and in 1607 returned to the English court. At a tilting match, Richard Lord Dingwall made choice of him to present his shield and device to the king, but while dismounting from his horse, he was thrown, and his leg broken. By the king’s orders he was lodged in the court, and his majesty visited him often during his confinement. On his recovery he was appointed a gentleman of the bedchamber, and became the king’s principal favourite. He was created viscount of Rochester, 25th March 1612, and in May following installed knight of the Garter. In 1613 he was constituted high-treasurer of Scotland, and on 3d November of the same year created earl of Somerset and baron of Brancepath. He was also made chamberlain of the household, and sworn a privy councillor. He married, in the chapel of Whitehall, in the presence of the king and queen, 26th December 1613, Lady Frances Howard, third daughter of the first earl of Suffolk, the divorced wife of Robert earl of Essex. He and his countess were tried and condemned for the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, 24th May 1616. Sir Thomas had ventured to dissuade the earl from marrying the divorced countess, and through their contrivance he was sent to the Tower, where he was poisoned. Somerset and his guilty wife, after a confinement in the Tower till January 1622, were ultimately pardoned in 1624. The earl died at London in July 1645, when his titles became extinct. His only child, Lady Anne Carr, married the first duke of Bedford, and was the mother of Lord Russell.

      Sir Andrew Kerr, the eldest son of Sir Thomas, obtained in March 1587, from James VI., a grant of the bailiary of the lands and baronies of Jedburgh Abbey, and in 1591 he was appointed one of the gentlemen of the king’s bedchamber. He was created a peer by the title of Lord Jedburgh, by patent, dated at Newmarket 2d February 1622, to him and his heirs male and successors in the family of Fernihirst, bearing the name and arms of Kerr. He died in 1631, without surviving issue. His only son, Sir Andrew Kerr, master of Jedburgh, was in 1618 appointed captain of the king’s guard, and sworn a privy councillor. On 8th November 1628 he was constituted one of the extraordinary lords of session, and died 20th December following, without issue. His wife was the relict of Lord Yester, already mentioned as the foundress of Lady Yester’s church at Edinburgh.

      On his brother’s death, Sir James Kerr of Crailing became second Lord Jedburgh, but did not assume the title. He died in 1645. His son, Robert, third Lord Jedburgh, obtained from King Charles II. a confirmation of that peerage to him and the heirs male of his body, whom failing, to William, master of Newbottle, son of the marquis of Lothian, and his nearest lawful male heirs, by patent dated 11th July 1670. He died 4th August 1692, without issue, whereby the title of Lord Jedburgh devolved on William Lord Newbottle, who sat and voted as such in parliament. The representation of the family in the male line came to Robert, earl of Lothian, descended from Robert Kerr of Ancrum, third son of Sir Andrew Kerr of Fernihirst, the famous border chieftain. Robert’s son, William Kerr of Ancrum, was assassinated by Robert Kerr, younger of Cessford, in 1590, when the disputes about the seniority of the families of Fernihirst and Cessford ran so high. He had two sons, Sir Robert, first earl of Ancrum, a memoir of whom has been given earlier, under the name of KERR, SIR ROBERT; and William of Lintoun, groom of the bedchamber to James VI. and Charles I., who, for his signal services on the borders, received from the former a pension of £1,000 a-year for life.

      Lord Ancrum’s eldest son, William, married Ann, countess of Lothian in her own right, and with her he got the lordship of Newbottle. The account of the death of her father, the second earl of Lothian, is thus given by Calderwood: “Upon Satterday, the 6th of Marche, (1624) Sir Robert Ker, Earle of Lothian, went up earlie in the morning to a chamber in the Place of Newbottle, pretending he was gone to lay accounts and write missives, and commandit that none come toward him for an houre. He barreth the chamber doore, and cutted his owne throat with a knife, efter he had given himself sundrie wounds with his dagger. Some imputed this desperate course to the great debtts which were lying on his hands, others to consulting with magicians and witches.” (Hist. of Kirk of Scotland, vol. vii. p. 596.) The countess’ husband, William Kerr, was created third earl of Lothian 31st October 1631. In 1638 he joined the Covenanters, and after the pacification of Berwick in the following year, he waited on the king at that place. In 1640 he was in the Scottish army that invaded England, and after defeating the royalists at Newburn, took possession of Newcastle, of which place he was appointed governor. In 1641 he was one of the four commissioners of the treasury. In 1642 he had the command of a regiment in the army sent to quell the rebellion in Ireland. In 1643 he was sent from Scotland by the privy council, with the approbation of Charles I., to make some propositions to the court of France, relative to certain privileges of the Scottish nation. On his return he repaired to the king at Oxford, where he was detained by his majesty’s order, under suspicion of treachery, and being committed close prisoner to Bristol castle, he remained there several months. In 1644 he and the marquis of Argyle commanded the forces sent against the marquis of Montrose, who was obliged to retreat. On delivering up his commission to the committee of Estates, Lord Lothian received an act of approbation of his services. He was president of the committee despatched by parliament to the king in December 1646, with their last propositions, which were refused. He protested against the “Engagement” in 1648, and when it was declared unlawful by parliament in January 1649, his lordship was appointed secretary of state, in room of the earl of Lanark, deprived by the act of classes. He was one of the commissioners sent to remonstrate in name of the kingdom of Scotland, with the parliament of England, against using any violence or indignity upon the person of the king, when he was put under arrest, and sent with a guard to Gravesend, to be shipped to Scotland. On his return he received the thanks of the Scots Estates for his conduct on this occasion. With the earl of Cassillis, he was despatched to Breda in 1649, to invite King Charles II. to Scotland. He died in 1675.

      His eldest son, Robert, fourth earl, served with distinction, as a volunteer, in the Dutch war in 1673. Sworn a privy councillor 4th January 1686, after the Revolution, which he heartily supported, he was a privy councillor to King William. He was justice-general, and lord high commissioner to the General Assembly of the church of Scotland in 1692. He was created marquis of Lothian, by patent dated at Kensington, 23d June 1701, and died 15th February 1703. He had five sons and five daughters. His second son, Lord Charles Kerr, was appointed director of the chancery in 1703. Lord Robert, the third son, was an officer in the army. Lord Mark, the fourth son, a distinguished officer, was wounded in the arm at the battle of Almanza, 25th April 1707, and acted as brigadier-general at the capture of Vigo. He was appointed governor of Guernsey in 1740, and of the castle of Edinburgh 30th January 1745. He ranked as general in the army from 1743, and died 2d February 1752. Punctilious in points of honour, and somewhat frivolous in manner, he fought several duels, sometimes on very trivial occasions.

      William, second marquis of Lothian, the eldest son, succeeded to the title of Lord Jedburgh in 1692, and sat in the Scots parliament as such. He was invested with the order of the Thistle in 1705. Active in bringing about the Union between the two kingdoms, he voted for it on every occasion. In 1708 he became lieutenant-general in the army In 1715 he was chosen one of the sixteen Scots representative peers, and appointed major-general on the staff in Scotland. He died at London 28th February 1722, in his 61st year, and was buried in Westminster abbey. He married his cousin-german, Lady Jean Campbell, daughter of Archibald earl of Argyle beheaded in 1685, sister of the first duke of Argyle.

      His only son, William, third marquis, voted as Lord Jedburgh, at the election of Scots representative peers in 1712. After succeeding to the family titles, he was elected one of the sixteen Scots representative peers, 19th February 1731, and four times re-elected – the last time in 1754. In 1734 he became a knight of the Thistle, and was lord-high-commissioner to the church of Scotland from 1732 to 1738, both inclusive. In 1739 he was appointed lord-clerk-register of Scotland, an office which he resigned in 1756. He died 28th July 1767. He had, with one daughter, two sons. Lord Robert Kerr, the second son, a youth of great promise, captain of the grenadier company of Barrel’s foot (the 4th regiment), was the only person of distinction killed on the side of the government, at the battle of Culloden, 16th April 1746. He fell, covered with wounds, at the head of his company, when the rebels attacked his regiment.

      The elder son, William Henry, fourth marquis, a captain in the first regiment of foot-guards in 1741, acted as aide-de-camp to the duke of Cumberland at the battle of Fontenoy, 30th April 1745, and was severely wounded with a musket-ball in the head. As lieutenant-colonel of the 11th dragoons he commanded three squadrons of cavalry on the left wing at the battle of Culloden. At this time he bore the title of earl of Ancrum, which he assumed on his marriage, having been previously designed Lord Jedburgh. He had subsequently, till the following August, the command of the forces at Aberdeen and on the east coast of Scotland. In December 1746 he accompanied the duke of Cumberland to the Continent. In 1752 he succeeded his brave grand-uncle, Lord Mark Kerr, as colonel of the 11th dragoons. He served as lieutenant-general under the duke of Cumberland in his expedition to the coast of France in 1758, and attained to the full rank of general in the army in 1770. Elected M.P. for Richmond in 1747, he was re-chosen at the general elections of 1754 and 1761, but resigned his seat in 1763. After succeeding as marquis of Lothian, he was elected one of the sixteen Scots representative peers, 26th October 1768, and the same day was invested with the order of the Thistle at St. James’. He died 12th April 1775, in the 65th year of his age. He married, in 1735, Lady Caroline D’Arcy, only daughter of Robert, earl of Holdernesse, and great-granddaughter of the celebrated duke of Schomberg, who fell at the battle of the Boyne in 1690, and of Charles Louis, elector palatine, and, with two daughters, had a son, William John, fifth marquis. The latter, a general in the army, was invested with the order of the Thistle, 11th October, 1776, the year after his succession to the family honours. He was one of the Scots representative peers, and having, on the important question of the regency, on George the Third’s first illness, voted for the right of the prince of Wales, and signed the protest to that effect, in December 1788, he was, on the king’s recovery, deprived of the colonelcy of the first regiment of life-guards, which occasioned a discussion in the House of Commons, 17th March 1789. He died in 1815.

      His eldest son, William, 6th marquis, K.T., lord-lieutenant of Mid Lothian and Roxburghshire, was created a peer of the United Kingdom, July 17, 1821, as Baron Kerr of Kershaugh, county of Roxburgh. He was twice married, and had issue by both marriages. He died April 27, 1824.

      His eldest son, John William Robert, 7th marquis, lord-lieutenant of Roxburghshire, and colonel of Edinburgh militia, married July 19, 1831, only daughter of Earl Talbot; issue 5 sons and 2 daughters, and died Nov. 14, 1841.

      William Schomberg Robert, his eldest son, 8th marquis, born Aug. 12, 1832, and educated at Christ church, Oxford, where he was second class in classics in 1852, was appointed captain of the Edinburgh militia in 1853. He married in 1857 Lady Constance Talbot, daughter of earl of Shrewsbury.

LOTHIAN, WILLIAM, D.D., a divine and historian, the son of a surgeon in Edinburgh, was born there, Nov. 5, 1740. After studying at the university of his native place, he was licensed to preach in October 1762, and ordained one of the ministers of the Canongate in August 1764. He was the author of a ‘History of the United Provinces of the Netherlands,’ published in 1780. Previous to this publication the university of Edinburgh had conferred on him the degree of D.D. He died Dec. 17, 1783. Two Sermons by Dr. Lothian are printed in the ‘Scottish Preacher,’ Edinburgh, 1776.

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