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Marr


MARR, or MAR, earl of, a title in the Scots peerage, now possessed by the family of Erskine. The ancient district of Aberdeenshire of this name, lying chiefly between the Don and the Dee, was one of the old maormordoms into which the north of Scotland was divided, whose origin in lost in antiquity. The first mention of it is in1065, when Martachus, maormor of Marr, was witness to a charter of Malcolm Canmore in favour of the Culdees of Lochleven. His son, Gratnach, witnessed in 1114 the foundation charter of the monastery of Scone by Alexander I. Properly, Gratnach may be considered the first earl of Marr, and not Martachus, as stated by Douglas in his Peerage, the Saxon title of earl not being known in Scotland in Malcolm Canmore’s days. He had a son, Morgundas, who witnessed a grant of lands by David I., to the monks of Dunfermline, and was father of Gillocher, witness to a charter of the same monarch in 1093. Gillocher’s son, Morgund, received from King William the Lion in 1171, a grant of the renewal of the investitures of the earldom of Marr. He had five sons, the three eldest of whom, Gilbert, Gilchrist, and Duncan, according to Douglas, were successively earls of Marr, but the succession, as given in the Index to Anderson’s Diplomata Scotiae, runs as follows: 1. Gratnach; 2. Morgund; 3. Gilchrist; 4. Duncan, his brother; 5. William; 6. Donald; 7. Gratney; 8. Donald II.; 9. Thomas, &c. Earl Duncan died before 1231.

His son, William, fifth earl, according to the above enumeration, was, in 1258, during the minority of Alexander III., appointed one of the regents of Scotland. In 1264 he obtained the office of great chamberlain, and in 1270 he was sent on a special mission to Henry III. of England. He died the same year. By his countess, Elizabeth, daughter of William Comyn, earl of Buchan, he had two sons, Donald and Duncan.

Donald, the sixth, usually called the tenth earl of Marr, was knighted at Scone, by Alexander III., 29th September 1270, and witnessed a charter of that monarch to the fourth earl of Lennox in 1272. He was also a witness to the marriage contract of the princess Margaret of Scotland with Eric, king of Norway, in 1281, and one of the Scots nobles who, in the parliament of Scone, 5th February 1283-4, swore to acknowledge the Maiden of Norway as their sovereign in the event of the death of Alexander III. He was present in the assembly at Brigham 12th July 1290, when the treaty for the marriage of the Maiden of Norway, Alexander’s grand-daughter and successor, with the prince of Wales, afterwards Edward II. of England, was concluded, but her death at Orkney, on her passage from Norway, put an end to that project for the union of the two kingdoms.

Donald, earl of Marr, was one of the nominees chosen on the part of Robert Bruce, earl of Carrick, in his competition for the Scottish crown in 1190. He died in 1294, leaving a son, Gratney, who succeeded him, and two daughters. Isabella, the elder, as the wife of Robert the Bruce, was queen of Scotland. Mary, the younger, married Kenneth, third earl of Sutherland.

Gratney, 7th, called 11th earl, married the lady Christian Bruce, sister of Robert I., the Bruce and Marr families being thus doubly united. With a son, Donald, his successor, he had a daughter, Lady Elyne Marr, the wife of Sir John Menteith, and mother of a daughter, Christian, married to Sir Edward Keith. Lady Keith’s daughter, Janet, married Sir Thomas Erskine, and her son by him, Sir Robert Erskine, in her right, claimed the earldom of Marr. The Lady Christian Bruce brought to the family of Marr the magnificent castle of Kildrummie, in Aberdeenshire, which, at an early period, was royal property. In 1335, when besieged by the earl of Athole, whom the Baliol faction had made governor of the kingdom, it was under her charge. After Earl Gratney’s death, the countess married Sir Christopher Seton of Seton, and afterwards Sir Andrew Moray of Bothwell.

Donald, 8th, called 12th earl, was very young at his father’s death. On the defeat of his uncle, Robert the Bruce, at Methven in 1306, the earl of Mar was taken prisoner by the English. During the long and arduous struggle for Scotland’s independence, he remained a captive in England. When, however, it had at last been achieved on the field of Bannockburn, he obtained his liberty, being, with the wife, sister, and daughter of Bruce, and the bishop of Glasgow, exchanged for the earl of Hereford. He was present in the parliament of Scone in 1318, but as he appears to have chiefly resided in England during the uneasy reign of Edward II., his name does not appear at the famous letter of the Scottish nobles to the Pope in 1320. He was appointed by King Edward guardian of the castle of Bristol, and in September 1326, when the English queen Isabella, with her paramour, Lord Mortimer, landed in England from France, with an army, against her husband and his favourites the Despensers, he delivered up the castle to her, and returned to Scotland. In the following year he held a subordinate command in the Scottish army which, under Randolph and Douglas, invaded England.

On the death of Randolph, July 30, 1332, the earl of Marr, on 2d August, was chosen regent in his stead, his principal recommendation being that he was the nephew of the late king, as he was every way unfitted for an office so arduous. He held the appointment, however, only for ten days. On the very day of his election he received notice that Edward Baliol, accompanied by the lords Beaumont and Wake, had appeared with a fleet in the Firth of Forth. After defeating a small force which had hastily collected to oppose his landing at Kinghorn, Baliol marched to Perth, and encamped near Forteviot, having the river Earn in his front. The earl of Marr drew up his army, of 30,000 men, upon Dupplin moor, on the opposite bank of the river. Baliol’s force did not exceed 3,000 men, but he had friends in the Scottish camp. Many of the Scots nobles, whose relatives had been disinherited by Bruce, secretly favoured his pretensions, as offering a chance of their being restored to their estates. Despising so small a force as Baliol commanded, the Scots abandoned themselves to careless security, and after spending the day in drunkenness, went to rest, without taking the common precaution even of placing sentinels. During the night of the 12th of August, the English crossed the river by a ford pointed out to them by Andrew Murray of Tullibardine, one of the disaffected Scottish barons, and attacking the Scots army in their sleep, put them to complete rout. Among the killed was the earl of Marr. He left a son, Thomas, ninth earl, and a daughter, Lady Margaret, who succeeded her brother.

Thomas, ninth called thirteenth earl, was one of the ambassadors sent to treat with England, for the temporary release in 1351 of David II., from his English captivity; and in 1357, when that weak king was at length set at liberty, he was one of the seven great lords from whom three were to be selected as hostages for the payment of his ransom. In 1358, the earl of Marr was appointed great chamberlain of Scotland. In 1362, he was named an ambassador to treat with England, and in 1369 he was one of the guarantees of a truce with that nation. He appears to have favoured the English interest, as he had a pension from King Edward III. of 600 merks yearly. He died in 1377, leaving no issue. In him ended the direct male line of the old earls of Marr.

His sister, Margaret, succeeded as countess of Marr. She married, first, William, first earl of Douglas, who, in her right, became earl of Marr, and is designed earl of Douglas and Marr in several charters. Having been divorced from him, she took for her second husband Sir John Swinton of Swinton, killed at Holildon Hill in 1402. By the earl of Douglas she had a son, James, Earl of Douglas and Marr, and a daughter, Isabella. The second marriage was without issue.

James, earl of Douglas and Marr, fell at Otterburn, July 31, 1388,

“This deed was done at Otterbourne,
About the breaking of the day;
Earl Douglas was buried at the braken bush,
And the Percy led captive away.”

As he left no legitimate issue his sister, Isabella, became countess of Marr. She married, first, Sir Malcolm Drummond of Drummond, styled, in her right, earl of Marr. He died without issue, before 27th May, 1403. At this time the countess was residing tranquilly at her castle of Kildrummie, and Alexander Stewart, a natural son of the earl of Buchan, called the wolf of Badenoch, deeming her and her broad lands a prize worth the having, at the head of a formidable band of outlaws and robbers, stormed the castle, and either by violence or persuasion, obtained her in marriage. The father of this lawless young man was the fourth son of King Robert III., and as his father’s brother, the duke of Albany, governor of the kingdom, for his own purposes, winked at the feuds and excesses of the nobles, he took advantage of the disturbed state of the country and the unprotected condition of the countess, to commit an act, which was attended with complete success. On 12th August, 1404, the countess made over her earldom of Marr and Garioch, with all her other lands, to the said Alexander Stewart, “and the heirs to be procreated between him and her, whom failing, to his heirs and assignees whatsoever.” To give a legal aspect to the whole transaction, on the 13th September, he presented himself at the castle gate of Kildrummie, and surrendered to the countess not only the castle, but all within it, and the title deeds therein kept; in testimony of which he delivered to her the keys to dispose of as she pleased. The countess, holding them in her hand, deliberately and of her own free will, chose him for her husband, and conferred upon him the castle, pertinents, &c., as a free marriage gift, of which he took instruments. This, however, was not deemed sufficient, for, on the 9th December following, the countess, standing in the fields, outside the castle of Kildrummie, in presence of Alexander, bishop of Ross, and the whole tenants, that it might appear to have been conferred without force on his part, or fear on hers, granted a charter of the same to him, duly signed and sealed. After this the said Alexander Stewart was usually styled earl of Marr and lord of Garioch.

In 1406, he was one of the ambassadors sent to England, to treat of peace. The following year he was again in England, when he engaged in a tournament with the earl of Kent at London. In 1406, he went to France and Flanders, with a splendid retinue, and, according to Wyntoun (Chronykil, vol. ii. pp. 421-440) gained great distinction in the service of the duke of Burgundy, by whom he was sent to assist in quelling a rebellion at Liege, of the inhabitants against John of Bavaria, their bishop. It is said that, on this occasion, although his wife the countess of Marr was then alive, he married the lady of Duffyn in Brabant. In a charter to his brother, Andrew Stewart, with his other acquired titles, he is styled “dominus de Dufle.” This was the earl of Marr who commanded the royal army against Donald, lord of the Isles, at the battle of Harlaw in 1411. The ostensible cause of the battle was the earldom of Ross, which had been held by his father, the Wolf of Badenoch, in right of his wife, the countess of Ross, and was claimed by his uncle, the regent Albany, for his second son, the earl of Buchan, as well as by Donald of the Isles in right of his wife. The struggle, however, was only a part of that long contest which took place betwixt the Saxon and the Celtic portions of the nation for the sovereignty of the country, which lasted till the latter were finally obliged to succumb. The lord of the Isles, with an army of 10,000 men, had advanced as far as the district of Marr, intending to plunder the city of Aberdeen, and to ravage the country to the borders of the Tay, but was stopped in his progress by the earl of Marr, as thus related in the old historical ballad called ‘The Battle of Harlaw.’

“To hinder this proud enterprise,
The stout and mighty earl of Mar,
With all his men in arms did rise,
Even frae Curgarf to Craigievar.

And doun the side of Don right far,
Angus and Mearns did all convene
To fecht, or Donald came sae near,
The royal burgh of Aberdeen.

And thus the martial earl of Mar
Marcht with his men in richt array,
Before the enemy was aware,
His banner bauldly did display,
For weal eneuch they knew the way,
And all their semblance weel they saw,
Without all danger or delay,
Came hastily to the Harlaw.”

In 1416 the earl was appointed ambassador extraordinary to England, and soon after warden of the marches. His uncle, the duke of Albany, being at this time governor of the kingdom, may partly account for his being preferred to such high offices, especially after the signal service he had done him in defeating his formidable rival, Donald of the Isles.

The countess of Marr died in 1419, when the fee of the earldom should have devolved on the heir of line, Janet Keith, wife of Sir Thomas Erskine, but Earl Alexander, conscious that he had only a liferent right to it, used the device of resigning it into the hands of the king, James I., on which a charter of the earldom, dated 28th May 1426, was granted by the king, to himself for life, and to his natural son, Sir Thomas Stewart, after him, and the lawful heirs male of his body, and on their failure to revert to the crown. Earl Alexander died, without legitimate issue, in August 1435, and his natural son, Sir Thomas Stewart, having predeceased him, the earldom, according to the charter, became vested in the crown.

Sir Robert Erskine, only son of Sir Thomas Erskine and Lady Janet Keith, grand-granddaughter of Gratney, 7th, called the 11th earl, now advanced his claims to the earldom, in right of his mother. On 22d April 1436, he was, before the sheriff of Aberdeen, served heir to the Countess Isabel, and in the following November infefted in the estates. Assuming the title of earl of Marr, he granted various charters to vassals of the earldom. He was not, however, allowed to retain possession of it. In 1437, immediately after the assassination of James I., an act of parliament was passed that no lands or possessions belonging to the king should be given to any man without the consent of the three Estates, till the young king (James II., then only seven years old) should be twenty-one years of age, and in 1440, it was agreed “for the good and quiet of the land, that the king should deliver up to Sir Robert Erskine, calling himself earl of Marr, the castle of Kildrummie, to be kept by him till the king’s majority, when the said Sir Robert should come before the king and the three Estates, and show his rights and claims, as far as law will.” At the same time Sir Robert delivered up to the king the castles of Marr and Dunbarton held by him. In 1442, Sir Robert Erskine took a protest at Stirling, in presence of the king and council, complaining against the chancellor, for refusing to retour him to the lordship of Garioch, and put him in possession of the castle of Kildrummie. He afterwards besieged and took the castle, whereupon the castle of Alloa, belonging to him, was taken possession of in the king’s name. In 1448, in consequence of a new indenture, Sir Robert Erskine obliged himself to deliver up the castle of Kildrummie to the king.
On Sir Robert’s death, after 1449, the king, on various grounds, obtained a reduction of his service before an assize of error, held, in his presence, at Aberdeen, 15th May 1457.

The earldom, being thus unjustly withheld from the rightful owners, was never long enjoyed by any of the various personages on whom it was subsequently conferred, the fate of all of whom was singularly unfortunate. The first of these was John, 3d son of James II., a young prince of great accomplishments, and expert in all the knightly exercises and pastimes of the age. Having rendered himself obnoxious to the favourites of his brother, James III., he was in 1479 by them accused of plotting against his life by spells and incantations, and by the king’s command imprisoned in Craigmillar castle. Being condemned to die by the king’s domestic council, he was removed to the Canongate, Edinburgh, and bled to death by having a vein opened. The earldom was next bestowed, or rather the revenues of it, on Cochrane, the principal favourite of the king, who styled himself earl of Mar, hanged at Lauder Bridge in 1482.

The next possessor was Alexander Stewart, duke of Ross, third son of James III., who had a charter of the same, 2d March 1486. After his death, the date of which is unknown, it returned to the crown, and in February 1561-2, it was conferred by Queen Mary on her natural brother, the lord James Stewart, afterwards regent. A week previous he had been created earl of Moray, a title which he preferred to that of Marr, the latter being claimed by the Erskine family.

At length in 1565, the earldom of Marr was restored by Queen Mary to its legitimate proprietor, John, fifth Lord Erskine, after the family had been deprived of it for 130 years.

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John, fifth Lord Erskine, and first acknowledged earl of Mar of that family, was elected regent of the kingdom, on the death of the regent Lennox, in 1571. From Queen Mary and King Henry (Lord Darnley) he received a charter, 18th July 1566, granting to him, heritably and irredeemably, and his heirs, bearing the surname and arms of Erskine, the office of sheriff of Stirlingshire, and the captainship and custody of the castle of Stirling, with the office of bailiary and chamberlainry of the lands and lordship of Stirling and of the water of Forth. The Erskines had been hereditary keepers of Stirling castle from the time of Sir Robert Erskine, who received the appointment from David II. The earl was by far two honest and patriotic for the post of regent, to which he had been elected at a time when a civil war of unexampled ferocity raged in the kingdom, and being unable to prevent the scenes of blood and disorder which were continually occurring, or to bring about any union of parties, he sank beneath the burden of anxiety and grief which the distracted state of the kingdom occasioned him, and died 29th October 1572. By his wife, Annabella, daughter of Sir William Murray of Tullibardine, he had a son, John, and a daughter, Mary, countess of Angus.

John, 2d, properly 7th earl of Mar, of the name of Erskine, born about 1558, was, though eight years older than the prince, educated with King James VI. At Stirling castle, by George Buchanan, under the eyes of the countess of Mar, his mother, and Sir Alexander Erskine of Gogar, his uncle, ancestor of the earls of Kellie (See KELLIE, earl of). He was only 14 years of age when he succeeded his father in 1572. In April 1578 the earl of Morton prevailed upon him to remove his uncle, Sir Alexander, from Stirling castle, and to take the keeping of the castle and of the king’s person into his own hand. Morton then obtained admission to the castle, with his friends and followers in small parties, and after that the young earl durst do nothing but what he commanded.

In August 1582, Mar was one of the nobles engaged in the Raid of Ruthven, the object of which was to get rid of the favourites, Lennox and Arran. The following year, Arran being recalled to court, Mar was committed to the custody of the earl of Argyle, and ordered to deliver up the castle of Stirling to the king and council, on pain of treason. On his doing so, the king gave the keeping of Stirling castle to Arran, and also appointed him provost of Stirling. Mar, in the meantime, with the others concerned in the Ruthven affair, had taken refuge in Ireland. Returning to Scotland, they, on the 17th April 1584, surprised Stirling castle, but were forced hurriedly to leave it, on the 27th, on the approach of the king with a large force, and to take shelter in England. In the parliament which met 22d August of that year, the earl was attainted, with the others. In November 1585, however, he and the other banished lords re-entered Scotland, and assembling their retainers, at the head of 8,000 men, took possession of Stirling castle and the king’s person, the unprincipled Arran, stripped of all his titles and estates, being allowed to drop into his original obscurity. In the parliament which met in December of the same year, the pardons of the confederated lords were ratified, and their honours and estates restored.

On the arrival of the king with Queen Anne from Denmark 1st May 1590, they were received at the top of the stairs at the pier of Leith, by the duke of Lennox, the earls of Mar and Bothwell, and others; the countesses of Mar and Marischal standing first in order amongst the sixteen noble women and ladies selected to receive the queen. In 1592 he was appointed governor of the castle of Edinburgh. At this time he was in high credit at court, and held the office of great master of the household. In March 1594 he was one of the noblemen, who subscribed the bond at Aberdeen, where the king then was, for the security of the protestant religion, against the Popish earls, Huntly, Angus, and Errol, and others. After the baptism of Prince Henry on the penult day of August that year, the king dubbed the royal infant a knight, when he was “touched with the spur by the earl of Mar.” At the banquet which followed, “the king and queen, with the ambassadors, sat at table in the great hall, at eight hours at even; the office men to the king, the earl of Mar, great master household; the lord Fleming, great usher; the earl of Montrose, carver; the earl of Glencairn, cupper; the earl of Orkney, sewer; to the queen, the lord Seton, carver; the lord Hume, cupper; the lord Sempill, sewer. The table was so served that every one might see another.”

In the spring of 1595, the queen insisted that the young prince should be removed from Stirling to Edinburgh castle, with Buccleuch as governor of the latter fortress, but the earl of Mar, who had charge of the infant, would not allow her to come near him, except with a small retinue, lest he should be carried off. In July of that year the king formally intrusted the keeping and education of the prince to the earl, by a warrant under his own hand, being the fifth generation of the royal family which had been put under the charge of an Erskine. At a convention held at Holyrood palace, Dec. 10, 1598, the earl of Mar was sworn one of the council appointed to meet twice a-week to assist the king with their advice.

In the mysterious business of the Gowrie conspiracy the earl of Mar was one of the king’s principal attendants. In 1601 he was sent to England, as ambassador, and to his excellent management on this occasion is in part attributed the smooth accession of King James to the English throne. When in London, Robert Bruce the celebrated preacher, then in banishment for his disbelief of the guilt of the Gowrie brothers, had an interview with him, and through the earl’s influence with the king, he subsequently received a license to return to Scotland. In 1603, the earl was one of the Scots nobles who accompanied the king on his departure for London to take possession of the throne of England. Before reaching York, however, he was compelled to return, as the queen had taken advantage of his absence to go to Stirling with a large retinue of noblemen and others, and demand that prince Henry should be delivered up to her. The countess of Mar, the earl’s mother, refused to give him up, without an order under the earl’s own hand. The queen, enraged at the refusal, took to her bed, and, says Calderwood, “parted with child the 10th of May, as was constantly reported.” He refused to give to any one but herself the letters he had brought from the king to her majesty, and both the queen and the earl wrote to James express regarding this business. The duke of Lennox was, in consequence, sent from court to have the affair adjusted. He arrived at Stirling the 19th May, with the king’s approval of the proceedings of the earl and his mother, and with commission to transport both the queen and prince to England. The earl of Mar then repaired to London, and on his arrival at court, he was sworn a member of the English privy council, and installed a knight of the Garter, 27th July the same year. In 1604 he was created Lord Cardross, at the same time obtaining the barony of that name, with the power of assigning the barony and title to any of his male heirs. The king’s reason for conferring this unusual privilege upon him, as stated in the grant, was that he ‘might be in a better condition to provide for his younger sons, by Lady Mary Stewart, daughter of the duke of Lennox, and a relation of his majesty.” His portrait is subjoined.


[Earl of Marr]

In the beginning of 1606, he returned to Scotland from London, to assist at the trial of Mr. John Welch and five other ministers at Linlithgow, on a charge of treason, for having declined the jurisdiction of the privy council in a matter purely ecclesiastical. He was rather favourable than otherwise to the prisoners, for when the justice-depute, on a preliminary objection being taken to the relevancy of the indictment, declared that by the uniform votes of the whole council and lords there present, the trial should proceed, the earl of Mar and two others interposed, and said. “Say not all, for there are here that are not, nor ever will be, of that judgment.” They were, however, overruled. He was a member of the court of high commission erected in 1610 for the trial of ecclesiastical offences, and also on its renewal in 1619. In December 1616, he was appointed lord-high-treasurer of Scotland, an office which he held till 1630. At the opening of the parliament at Edinburgh, 25th July 1621, he carried the scepter, as he had often done on similar occasions before. It was at this parliament that the obnoxious five articles of Perth were ratified, the earl of Mar being among those who voted for them. As a courtier and favourite of King James he could not have done otherwise. In 1623 he was one of the noblemen named in a commission to sit at Edinburgh twice a-week for the redress of grievances, but which never took effect. He was at the proclamation of Charles I. as king at the Cross of Edinburgh, betwixt six and seven o’clock in the evening of the last day of March, 1625.

The earl died at Stirling castle 14th December 1634, aged 72, and was buried at Alloa. He was twice married, first, to Anne, second daughter of David, second Lord Drummond, by whom he had a son, John, his successor; and secondly, to Lady Mary Stewart, second daughter of Esme, duke of Lennox, already mentioned. By this lady he had five sons and four daughters. The eldest of these sons, Sir James Erskine, married Mary Douglas, countess of Buchan, in her own right, and was created earl of Buchan. The second son, Henry, received from his father the barony of Cardross, and was known as the first Lord Cardross. The third son, Colonel the Hon. Sir Alexander Erskine, was blown up at Dunglas-house, in East Lothian, with his brother-in-law, the earl of Haddington, in 1640. He was a man of elegant person, and the hero of the beautiful and pathetic Scottish song, beginning “Baloo, my boy,” the heroine of which was Anna Bothwell, daughter of Lord Holyroodhouse, the victim of an unfortunate passion. The Hon. Sir Charles Erskine of Alva, knight, the 4th son, was ancestor of the Erskines of Alva, a family now represented by the earls of Rosslyn; and the Hon. William Erskine, the youngest son, was cupbearer to Charles II., and master of the charter House, London. All the lord-treasurer’s four daughters were married to earls, namely, Marischal, Rothes, Kinghorn, and Haddington. The earl himself was familiarly called by his classfellow, James VI, “Jocky o’ Sclaittis,” that is, slates; and this name he continued to give him even after he had become lord-treasurer. When a widower, the earl had fallen deeply in love with Lady Mary Stewart, the daughter of Lennox and cousin of the king. As his lordship was twice her age, and had already a son and heir, she at first positively refused to take him. The king, however, took his part, and in his own homely way, said, “I say, Jock, ye sanna die for ony lass in a’ the land.” He is said to have prevailed on the lady to marry him by promising to make a peer of her eldest son.

John, the eighth earl, was invested with the order of the Bath at the creation of Henry prince of Wales, 30th May 1640; sworn a privy councilor, 20th July 1615, and appointed governor of Edinburgh castle. On 1st February 1620, while still Lord Erskine, he was named one of the extraordinary lords of session, and in 1620 was superseded with the rest of the extraordinary lords. Reapp0ointed 18th June 1628, he again sat on the bench till 1630. He succeeded his father in 1634, and in 1638 was deprived of his command of Edinburgh castle, General Ruthven, afterwards earl of forth, having been recalled from the Swedish service and by the king appointed governor of the castle, at the commencement of the civil commotions in Scotland, when the infatuated Charles resolved to suppress the covenant by force. He got security, however, for a compensation of £3,000. the same year, he was prevailed upon to sell to the king the sheriffship of Stirling and bailiary of the Forth, for £8,000 sterling, for which he obtained a bond, 1st November 1641. He was one of the noblemen proposed by the king to the Scots Estates to be a privy councilor, and was accordingly sworn one for life on the 13th of the same month. Being a great projector, he obtained a patent for the tanning of leather, but in consequence of its having been complained of as a monopoly, it was discharged by parliament, on 16th November the same year. A remit was, however, made to the council to consider his expenses, that reparation might be made to him for the same.

The earl of Mar at first favoured the Covenanters, but soon joined the Cumbernauld association to support the king. In consequence, his property was forfeited by the Estates. He is said to have sold several lands in Scotland, and with the money received for them, purchased an estate in Ireland, which he lost by the Irish rebellion. He died in 1654. by his countess, Lady Christian Hay, daughter of Francis, ninth earl of Errol, he had three sons and two daughters.

The elder son, John, called the 9th earl of Mar of the name of Erskine, had, when still Lord Erskine, the command of the Stirlingshire regiment in the Scots army which, in 1640, marched to England. The following year, with his father, he acceded to the Cumbernauld association to support the royal cause. In 1645, on the approach of Montrose’s army to Alloa, the Irish in his service plundered that town and the adjoining lordship which belonged to the earl of Mar. Notwithstanding this unprovoked outrage, however, the earl and Lord Erskine his son, gave the royalist leader and his principal officers an elegant entertainment, and for doing so, the marquis of Argyle subsequently threatened to burn his castle of Alloa. After the battle of Kilsyth, 15th August 1645, Lord Erskine joined Montrose, and was at the rout of Philiphaugh, on 13th September following, but escaped, and was sent by Montrose into the district of Mar, to raise forces to recruit his discomfited army. He was fined by the Estates 24,000 merks, and his houses of Erskine and Alloa were plundered by their order. On succeeding his father in 1654, his whole estates were sequestrated, and till the Restoration he lived privately in a small cottage at the gate of Alloa house. To add to his misfortunes, he was struck with blindness. In his portrait he is represented as a fair-haired, mild-looking old man. When King Charles got “his own again,” the earl was restored to his estates. He died in September 1663. He was twice married. His first wife, Lady Mary Scott, eldest daughter of the first earl of Buccleuch, had surviving issue. By his second countess, Lady Mary Mackenzie, eldest daughter of the second earl of Seaforth, he had two sons and three daughters.

The eldest son, Charles, tenth earl of the Erskine name, born 19th October 1650, succeeded to the earldom in his 14th year. In 1679 he raised the 21st regiment of foot, or Royal Scots Fusileers, of which he was appointed colonel. In 1682 he was sworn a lord of the Scots privy council, and continued one in the reign of James VII., but not approving of that monarch’s arbitrary measures, he had left his house to retire to the continent, when tidings of the landing of the prince of Orange arrived in Scotland (Douglas’ Peerage, vol. ii. p. 217). He appeared in the convention of Estates held at Edinburgh, 14th March 1680, but gave the viscount Dundee a promise that he would accompany him to a proposed convention of the king’s friends to be held at Stirling. After Dundee’s abrupt departure, with his troopers, from Edinburgh, the earl was apprehended, not unwillingly it is supposed, in a feigned attempt to escape from the capital, but was released on giving his parole that he would not leave the city without the permission of the convention. He died on the 23d of the following month. In Douglas’ Peerage, and in Swan’s Views on the Clyde, p. 65, it is erroneously stated that he was obliged, from the heavy incumbrances on his estates, to sell, “shortly previous to the year 1689,” his lands of Erskine in Renfrewshire, the most ancient possession of the family. They were, however, disposed of fifty years previously, having been bought, in 1638, by Sir John Hamilton of Orbiston, from John, eighth earl. In 1703, they became the property of the noble family of Blantyre.

By his countess, Lady Mary Maule, eldest daughter of the second earl of Panmure, Earl Charles had eight sons and one daughter, Lady Jean, married to Sir Hugh Paterson of Bannockburn, baronet, a zealous Jacobite, in whose house near Stirling, Prince Charles slept in 1745, on his advance from the north to Edinburgh, with the Highland army, and who was afterwards forfeited for his share in the rebellion. Of the sons, five died young. The others were, John, eleventh earl; the Hon. James Erskine of Grange, lord-justice-clerk; and lieutenant-colonel the Hon. Henry Erskine, killed at the battle of Almanza, in 1707, aged 25, unmarried.

Of the eldest son, John, eleventh earl of the Erskine family was the leader of the rebellion of 1715. Thomas, Lord Erskine, his only surviving son, by his countess, Lady Margaret Hay, daughter of Thomas, earl of Kinnoul, was commissary of stores at Gibraltar, and was elected M.P. for Stirlingshire, on a vacancy in 1747, and for the county of Clackmannan at the general election the same year. He died 16th March 1766. The Mar estate which, with the titles, had been forfeited, was purchased for him from government, by his uncle, the Hon. James Erskine of Grange.

This gentleman, whose name has been rendered conspicuous by the proceedings in relation to his wife, passed advocate 28th July 1705, and was appointed a lord of session fifteen months afterwards, namely, on 18th October 1706, when he assumed the title of Lord Grange. His brother, the earl of Mar, was at that time secretary of state for Scotland, which accounts for his speedy promotion. On 6th June 1707, he was constituted a lord of justiciary, and on 27th July 1710, appointed lord-justice-clerk. From a wish to join the opposition against Sir Robert Walpole, he was anxious to enter parliament, and in 1734, offered himself as a candidate for the county of Stirling. With the view to exclude him from the house of commons, Walpole got the act of that year passed, which incapacitates judges from being members of parliament. Lord Grange, thereupon, resigned his seat on the bench, both of the court of session and justiciary, and was elected M.P. for Stirlingshire. He took an active share in the debates, but, as the Walpole administration continued in office, he was disappointed in being made secretary of state for Scotland, the great object of his ambition, in the event of their overthrow. He is said to have held the office of secretary to the prince of Wales, but soon retired from political life, and again appeared in the court of session as an advocate; but in a short time relinquished his practice and left the bar. He died at London 24th January 1754, in his 75th year.

He married Rachel Chiesley, the daughter of that Chiesley of Dalry who, on 31st March 1689, shot Lord-president Lockhart in the Old Bank close, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, in consequence of a decision given by him that he was bound to support his wife. The story of Lady Grange is one of the most romantic and extraordinary that occurred in real life in the 18th century. There can be no doubt there was madness in her family, and the unfortunate lady herself was unfortunately a confirmed drunkard. Becoming jealous of her husband, she employed spies to watch him when he was in England, and is said to have often boasted of the blood from which she had sprung, alluding to her father’s murder of the president, as a significant intimation of what she might be able to accomplish, if driven to extremities. Wodrow (Analecta, vol. iv. p. 166 Maitland Club,) thus describes her conduct, in July 1730, just before her celebrated abduction, an account of which and her confinement in the Western Isles, is given in the Edinburgh Magazine for 1817: “She intercepted her husband’s letters in the post-office, and would have palmed treason upon them, and took them to the justice clerk, as is said, and alleged that some phrases in some of her lord’s letters to Lord Dun, related to the Pretender, without the least shadow for the inference. Last month it seems his lady, being for her drunkenness palpable and open, and her violent unhappy temper and mismanagement, inhibited by my lord, left the family. This was pleasing to her lord, and he did not use any endeavours to have her back, since sometimes she attempted to murder him, and was innumerable ways uneasy. Upon this, my lady gave in a bill to the lords for a maintenance, and containing the grounds of her separation. But the matter was taken up, and my lord entered into a concert with her friends, allowed her £100 a-year, and she declared she would be satisfied with that: and so they live separately.” On the evening of 22d January 1732, Lady Grange, as she was commonly called, who then lived in lodgings next door to the house of her husband, was seized and gagged by several Highlanders, who had been secretly admitted into the house. The celebrated Simon, Lord Lovat, one, of Lord Grange’s most intimate friends, was charged with being the main instrument in her abduction, and she herself declared that those who carried her off wore Lovat’s livery, by which, it is supposed, she meant his tartan. She also mentions that Lovat had an interview with her principal gaoler near Stirling, to arrange as to her journey. She is said to have possessed herself of a dangerous letter by her husband, and had even taken her place in the coach to London to deliver it to the king. Lord Lovat, in the strongest language, denied all share in the transaction. “As to that story about my Lord Grange,” he says, “it is a much less surprise to me, because they said ten times worse of me, when that damned woman went from Edinburgh than they can say now; for they said it was all my contrivance, and that it was my servants that took her away; but I defied them then, as I do now, and do declare to you upon honour, that I do not know what has become of that woman, where she is, or who takes care of her, but if I had contrived, and assisted, and saved my Lord Grange from that devil, who threatened every day to murder him and his children, I would not think shame of it before God or man.” By this lady, Lord Grange had four sons and four daughters. He is said to have been the great lay head of the ultra-Presbyterian party in Scotland, and Wodrow records that on one occasion “he complains much of preaching up of more morality, and very little of Christ and grace.” His lordship left a diary, very full of earnest piety, which, under the name of the diary of a Member of the College of Justice, was privately printed in 1843.

Lord Grange’s two eldest sons died young. James, the third son (advocate, 1734, appointed knight marischal of Scotland, 1758) married his cousin, Lady Frances Erskine, only daughter of the eleventh earl of Mar, and died 27th February 1785, aged 75. He had two sons, John Francis Erskine of Mar, and James Francis Erskine, a colonel in the army, died 5th April, 1806, aged 63.

John Francis Erskine of Mar, the elder son, was an officer of dragoons, and in 1762 obtained a captain’s commission in the first regiment of horse. He quitted the army in 1770, and succeeded to the estate of Alloa, on the death of his mother in 1776. On 17th June 1824, the attainder was reversed by act of parliament in his favour, when he became twelfth, but was styled fourteenth earl of Mar of the name of Erskine. He died 20th August 1825. By his wife, Frances, only daughter of Charles Floyer, Esq., governor of Madras, he had four sons and five daughters. John Thomas, the eldest son, succeeded his father. The second son died without issue. Henry David, the youngest son, married in 1805, Mary Anne, daughter of John Cooksey, Esq., and died 31st December, 1846. Henry David’s second son, Walter Coningsby Erskine of Shaw Park, Alloa, captain in the 73d regiment Bengal Native infantry, is heir presumtive (1856) to the earldom of Kellie; married, with issue.

John Thomas Erskine, the eldest son, fifteenth, property thirteenth earl of Mar, born in 1772, died 20th September 1828, He married 17th March 1795 Janet, daughter of Patrick Miller of Dalswinton, Dumfries-shire, the well-known steamboat projector, and, with two daughters, had a son, John Francis Miller Erskine, called the sixteenth earl, born 28th December 1795. On the death of Methven Erskine, tenth earl of Kellie, in 1829, he claimed that title, as heir male general, with the minor titles of Viscount Fenton and Baron Dirleton, and his right was allowed by the house of lords. (See KELLER, earl of). His lordship married, in 1728, the eldest daughter of Sir Charles Granville Stewart Menteath, baronet of Closeburn. The countess died 15th December 1853, without issue.

The earl’s two sisters were, Lady Frances Diana, married William James Goodeve, Esq. of Clifton, and, besides daughters, had an only son, John Francis Erskine Goodeve, born at Clifton, 29th March 1836, heir presumptive to the earldom of Mar (1856); and Lady Janetta, wife of Edward Wilmot-Chetwode, Esq. of Woodbank, Queen’s county, Ireland, with issue. The sixteenth earl was many years in the army, and served at Quatre Bras and Waterloo; 33d in descent from Martachas, maormor of Mar in 1065, and premier earl, viscount, and baron of Scotland.


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