The name Erskine derives
from the Barony of Erskine in Renfrewshire, where Henry of Erskine had land during the
reign of Alexander II. The family were loyal adherants of Robert the Bruce and Sir Robert
Erskine of that Ilk was Chamberlain of Scotland at that time. He had two sons; the eldest
Thomas, married Janet Keith, heiress of the Earldom of Mar and their son assumed the title
of the Earl of Mar, the younger son, Malcolm, was the ancestor of the House of Kinnoul.
Sir Thomas of Mar was disposed of his title in 1457 and was created Lord Erskine in 1467,
but Queen Mary conferred a new earldom of Mar on the Erskines, hence the 6th Lord became
not only 18th but also 1st Earl of Mar. Mary bestowed this earldom in gratitude of her
safe custody by the 5th Lord when she was transported as an infant to France. This
responsibility continued into the hands of the Earl of Mar who was appointed guardian and
later Regent to James VI, carrying him safely at his coronation in 1567 despite Bothwel
l's attempts to replace him with his own heir. After his death in 1372, his wife Annabella
remained in charge of the King and was later to succeed to the charge of his own eldest
son. The Regent's son, John was appointed by James VI as Lord Treasurer of Scotland in
1616 and it was he who built Braemar Castle. From his sons descend the Erskine families
that became Earls of Rosslyn and Buchan. The 11th Earl, known as "Bobbing John"
for his regular switching of loyalties, raised the Royal Standard for Kin g James at
Braemar in 1715, he later changed sides and accepted a pension from George I. He was made
Duke of Mar, forfeiting his earldom which was not reversed till 1824. The Erskines were
prominent in the Scots Guards in France and fought under the leadership of Joan of Arc.
Three holders of the Erskine baronetcy of Cambo have held the office of Lord Lyon,
Scotland's King of Arms.
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