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The Scots Peerage
Founded on Wood's Edition of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, containing an Historical and Genealogical Account of the Nobility of that Kingdom, Edited by Sir James Balfour Paul, Lord Lyon King of Arms with Armorial Illustrations


The Peerage of Scotland, brought out in one volume folio by Sir Robert Douglas of Glenbervie, Baronet, in 1764, was a work which at once took its place as a high authority on the subject with which it dealt. Half a century later a new and revised edition was completed by Mr. John Philip Wood, in two volumes folio. The works both of Douglas and Wood were for their time admirable examples of ability and research. The former author, himself a member of an ancient Scottish house, was in a position which made it easy for him to collect information from the members of the Scottish nobility, and many of their charter-chests were opened to him. But he and his editor, Wood, laborious and painstaking though they were, lived at a period when the historical records of the country were very much less accessible than they now are. With the exception of the Acts of Parliament in an abridged and mutilated form, absolutely nothing in the way of records had in Douglas' days been printed, and references and authorities had to be patiently sought with much expenditure of time and trouble in the badly arranged, insufficiently housed, and wholly unindexed public documents. The natural consequence was that while their information, so far as it dealt with their own times or the generation immediately preceding, was on the whole commendably accurate, the particulars regarding the earlier centuries were scanty and too frequently untrustworthy. But though every student of family history has to acknowledge a deep debt of gratitude to their labours, after a time a general desire arose that a more accurate and detailed account of the Scottish Peerage should be prepared. Especially of late years, owing to the official publication of several important series of records, such as the Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland, the Exchequer Rolls, the Register of the Great Seal, the Register of the Privy Council, and the Lord Treasurers Accounts, it was evident that these in themselves afforded a deep mine from which information might be drawn. Again, many private collections have within the last century seen light. The publications of the Bannatyne, Maitland, and Spalding Clubs have revealed what a rich store of ancient documents remained in Scotland, and the Historical MSS. Commissioners have made accessible many most valuable collections, which had lain more or less neglected in the charter-rooms of many a noble house.

A new edition of the Peerage of Scotland has been for a long time the ardent aspiration of the present Editor. A good many years ago a meeting of persons interested was called by him, and the subject was carefully considered. But the difficulties in 'the way were apparently unsurmountable. The expense of such an undertaking was considerable, and the class of readers to whom it would appeal was necessarily a limited one : the project therefore was at the time abandoned. Since then, however, the munificence of Sir William Fraser, K.C.B., himself a well-known writer on genealogical subjects, and whose series of family histories are monuments of patient research, rendered possible a way out of the difficulty. Sir William left a certain sum of money to his Trustees with directions that it should be spent in printing works which would tend to elucidate the history and antiquities of Scotland. In carrying out his intention the Trustees resolved to devote part of this sum to making possible a new edition of Douglas's Peerage, though it would far from cover the whole outlay entailed in such an undertaking.

Modern methods demand a much more thorough treatment of genealogical questions than was desired or even possible a century ago. The day of the one man dictionary or cyclopaedia is over, and it would take the devotion of a lifetime for any individual to write the history of the Scots Peerage as it ought to be written. It was determined therefore that the work should be undertaken by a staff of writers under the supervision of an editor, and in many cases this has resulted in a title being treated by an author who had made the history of the family his special study, and had access to sources of information which could not have been readily got by any other. There are, no doubt, certain drawbacks to this method : a writer is apt to extend the particulars of a family in which he takes a special interest to a degree far beyond the limits of a work such as this. The editor's duty is to combat against this tendency, but occasionally circumstances are too much for him, and he is unwilling to reject information which is really valuable and interesting even though it may seem unduly to increase the length of the article.

In commencing the preparations for this edition instructions were given to contributors that, while free latitude in this respect was given them, they might, if they pleased, use the actual words of Douglas or Wood when no correction was necessary as to the facts. While to a certain extent this has been done, it has been found better in many cases to re-write the articles entirely without reference to what the previous editors had done. So many errors had to be corrected, so many facts re -stated in the light of modern research, and so many abbreviations made, that it was found to be the only satisfactory mode of treatment. It has also, it is hoped, conduced to greater clearness in diction, as the somewhat verbose comments of Douglas and Wood, though quite in the style of their own day, hardly commend themselves to the more practical requirements of our times. The work, however, has been arranged very much on the lines on which Wood left it, save that instead of having to hunt for the Royal lineage through the article Albany a succinct account of the Kings and Queens of Scotland, with their issue, has been included at the beginning of the first volume.

As a general rule cadets of families have not been brought down further than the second generation from the parent stem. But there are cases where this has been departed from, such as when the descendants of a younger son ultimately succeeded to the title, or where it is necessary to show the extinction of some cadent branch.

Not the least important feature of this work is the fact that wherever possible, references have been given to the various authorities for the statements made. This is especially the case as regards the older dates. Douglas and Wood are fairly accurate as to their own times, and they must have got information from contemporaries who had personal knowledge of the facts they communicated. As regards more recent dates it has been thought unnecessary in many instances to give authorities for them, as they are contained in the ordinary books of reference. Burke, Debrett, and Lodge are Peerages to which the Editor lies under the greatest obligation for the many more modern dates which have been taken from them.

In compiling the accounts of the different families more importance has been given to the genealogical than to the historical side of their career. And it has been absolutely necessary, out of consideration for space, to omit much of the historical matter which appeared in the former editions, more especially with regard to the notices of the younger sons. But in the case of the holders of titles themselves it has been found impossible to omit certain details in connection with the history of the country with which they were so intimately associated. Indeed, not to have done so would have been to deprive the work of much of its value.

In conclusion, the Editor has to thank his contributors for the loyal and hearty support which they have given him. He has often had to regret having had to omit, from unavoidable reasons, much information, the collection of which must have entailed a large expenditure of time and labour. There are two persons to whom he owes a deep debt of gratitude: Dr. Maitland Thomson, the Curator of the Historical Department in H.M. Register House, placed the resources of his exceptionally wide knowledge of Scottish families freely at his disposal. There is hardly an article which does not owe something to his powers of research and willingness to communicate the result. His colleague the Rev. John Anderson, assistant Curator of the same Department has acted as assistant editor, and it is not too much to say that without his invaluable help the Editor would have found his task not an easy one in any case immeasurably more difficult. Whatever success the work may have owes much to Mr. Anderson's learning and constant care.

The illustrations, with the full-page achievements and the initial letters, are the work of Mr. Graham Johnston, Heraldic Artist to the Lyon Office, whose advance to the front rank in his profession the Editor has for some years watched with interest and pleasure.


EDINBURGH, April 1904.

Volume 1
Kings of Scotland, and Abercorn, Hamilton, Earl of, through to Balmerino, Elphinstone, Lord.

Volume 2
Banff, Ogilvy, Lord, through to Cranstoun, Cranstoun, Lord.

Volume 3
Crawford, Lindsay, Earl of, through to Falkland, Cary, Viscount.

Volume 4
Fife, The Ancient earls of, through to Hyndford, Carmichael, Earl of.

Volume 5
Innermeath, Stewart, Lord, through to Mar, Stewart, Earl of.

Volume 6
Marchmont, Hume, Earl of, through to Oxfuird, Makgill, Viscount of.

Volume 7
Panmure, Maule, Earl, through to Sinclair, Sinclair, Lord.

Volume 8
Sommerville, Sommerville, Lord, through to Winton, Seton, Earl of.

Editorial Note

THE death of the Rev. John Anderson, Curator of the Historical Department of H.M. Register House, which took place as the final pages of this, the last volume of the Scottish Peerage were passing through the Press, cannot be passed over unnoticed in this work. A profound Record scholar with a special knowledge of early charters, he was from the inception of the Peerage a loyal and able colleague of the Editor. Many of the best articles were from his pen, and whatever merits the work may have are largely owing to his diligence and learning. He lived to correct the proofs of the last article he wrote, the second last article in this volume. His death will be felt acutely by the many students of family history who resorted to him for advice and guidance, and to whom his varied stores of information were always open.

Volume 9
Editorial Note, Addenda et corrigenda, Index

Editorial Note

THIS, the concluding volume of the Scots Peerage, completes a work, the first volume of which was published in 1904. It contains, in the first place, a long list of addenda et corrigenda: the latter may, it is hoped, serve to put right some at all events of the actual errors which have occurred in the work; the former, and they are the larger class of the two, contain a good deal of information which has come to light since the publication of the several articles. The editor has to thank many kind correspondents and contributors for information supplied, and especially he may name his friends Mr. J. Maitland Thomson, LL.D., and Col. the Hon. B. E. Boyle, both of whom have been unremitting in their helpful endeavours to increase the usefulness and accuracy of the Peerage. Nobody is more aware of the many shortcomings of this work than the editor himself, but perhaps he may be allowed to claim that at all events it is an advance on what has gone before. No doubt, with increased facilities of investigation and the further publication of national records and the contents of private charter-chests, a future generation may be able to produce a fuller and still more accurate account of individual families, but it is hardly probable that a history of the Scottish Peerage on a scale similar to that of the present work will be attempted for many years to come. The full and elaborate Index, with which the greater part of this volume is occupied, is the work of Mrs. Alexander Stuart, who has brought towards its completion an enthusiasm, energy, and ability which are beyond all praise. Not only does it contain a list of between forty and fifty thousand names, but each person is definitely described by the mention of his or her title, occupation, or relationship. In itself, indeed, the Index forms a valuable compendium of Scottish family history, which will be found useful even without reference to the pages of the Peerage. But it goes without saying that such an Index doubles the usefulness of a work like the present. It is not often that an editor meets with a compiler who is so fully in accord with him as to the standard to be aimed at in an index, and who is so capable of carrying it to a successful conclusion. It is difficult for the editor adequately to express the obligations he is under to Mrs. Stuart for her services in this matter.

The Index has been compiled on the following principles:-

1. A Peerage title is given, in capitals, with its holders in alphabetical order, and their respective wives.
2. If the name of the title is changed, e.g. from Lyon to Glamis, it is given a separate heading.
3. The surname of the holder of a Peerage title is given in capitals with the various Peerages, in alphabetical order, pertaining to it.
4. After Peers, owners of lands are given in alphabetical order; those of the same Christian name are put in chronological order.
5. Ordinary persons then come in alphabetical order and according to the paging in the volumes.
6. Women are given under their maiden names: if married, as ' wife of '; if unmarried as 'dau. of .'
7. As a rule, children who died in infancy are not inserted.

In taking leave of a task which has been a congenial if a somewhat strenuous one for the last twelve years, the editor has to express his appreciation of the amicable relations which have subsisted between him and his contributors (some now, alas, beyond the reach of acknowledgments). It is a pleasure to have worked with such colleagues.


EDINBURGH, June 1914.

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