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Historic Earls and Earldoms of Scotland
Chapter IV - Earldom and Earls of Erroll
Section VII


EARL GILBERT was subjected to much trouble for the part that he had taken in connection with the coronation of Charles II., and for attending meetings of Parliament, by the commissioners of the Commonwealth appointed under Cromwell’s Government of Scotland. By the ordinance of pardon and grace to the people of Scotland, issued under Cromwell’s rule, certain parties were excluded, and enormous fines were imposed upon them. A fine of Ł2000 sterling was imposed on the Earl of Erroll. But, in 1654, the Earl addressed a petition to these English Commissioners under Cromwell, in which he clearly explained his position. He pointed out that he was not at the battles of Dunbar, Preston, nor Worcester, and did not invade England in the years of 1648, 1650, or 1651, and that he was not engaged in any war against England during these years, as he was under age and tutors, and at school. He had not attained the age of 21 years until July, 1652, and therefore he was not qualified by the law of the nation to sit as a member of Parliament.

"But the truth is, that the petitioner being, by his birthright and by succession of many ages, High Constable of Scotland, an office of great enimence and trust in this nation, was several times during his minority brought by his tutors and curators from the schools to be present at some Parliaments and committees only for preserving his office, and to sit there in the Constable’s chair, and to look upon the guarding and ordering of the House of Parliament, as properly belonging to the High Constable’s office. This he humbly conceives can infer no guilt upon him as he had no vote in Parliament nor any accession to the carrying out of any designs therein. Though the Parliament did sometimes (in his minority) give him the name colonel or member of committee, yet that cannot be a ground to infer any guilt upon the petitioner, because he was all that time a minor; so he never owned nor acted in any charge in the armies, nor followed the court nor armies during the King’s abode in Scotland; save that he once came to Stirling in July, 1651, and stayed there only a few days, where your petitioner refused the charge of a regiment of horse to which the Parliament had named him. This was looked upon with an evil eye by all those then in power, whereupon your petitioner immediately retired to his own house, where ever since he has lived peaceably.

"Since the present authority was established in this nation, the petitioner has been constant in submission and obedience to it. . . . And his submission and peaceable conduct has had no small influence upon many persons of all ranks in this quarter of the country. . . . So he has deserved by his good conduct to be taken into favourable consideration.

"As to the petitioner’s estate, when the rental of it and the specification of the vast burden left upon it by his father (who died in 1636, when your petitioner was but five years of age) shall be exhibited to be considered by your honours, it will be evident how far his condition has been mistaken, and how unable the petitioner is to pay the fine imposed on him, or any part thereof, without utter ruin to himself and family."

In general, Cromwell’s Government was very hard on the Scottish barons. Indeed, some of them were ruined by the heavy fines extorted from them, and many were crippled.

Earl Gilbert married Lady Catharine, a daughter of James, Earl of Southesk. The Earl took a keen interest in the restoration of Charles II. After this event, Erroll was made a Privy Councillor. He died at Slains in 1674 leaving no issue.

The Earldom then reverted to the descendants of the fourth son of Earl Andrew, Sir George Hay of Killour. He married Elizabeth, a daughter of Sir Patrick Cheyne of Essilmont, and they had a son, Sir Andrew Hay of Killour. He married Margaret, a sister of the first Lord Kinnaird, and had a son, Sir John Hay. This Sir John then became twelfth Earl of Erroll, and sixteenth High Constable of Scotland.

Earl John married Lady Anne Drummond, only daughter of James, third Earl of Perth, by whom he had issue, three sons and two daughters.

The Earl and Countess of Erroll took a great interest in the Revolution of 1688, more especially as Drummond, Earl of Perth, was Lord Chancellor and head of the Government of Scotland when the revolutionary movement began. The following letter, dated at Leith on the 12th of December, 1688, was addressed to the Countess of Erroll :—" Upon Monday last (there having been a tumult the night before), my Lord Chancellor called all the councillors in town, and others of the nobility to Holyrood House: and after he had spoken with them, went away towards Drummond, having with him about ten gentlemen of his own friends and 40 militia horsemen. That night he went to the Earl of Callendar’s house of Almond, between Linlithgow and Falkirk. And in Edinburgh, after he was gone on the Monday night, there was a terrible tumult, and his lodgings were entirely rifled; and all those of the Roman persuasion were used in the same manner, even old Lady Margaret Hay, Lady Lucie Hamilton, and Mr Andrew Hay, the Laird of Niddrie. And towards the morning they came to Blair’s lodging and ruined everything within the house, broke his cabinets to shivers, treated his children very barbarously, and burnt his papers on the floor of one of his rooms, and all other papers they got Himself and his lady had withdrawn, and now he is out of town and his family to follow. I was fully of your ladyship’s mind as to my lord’s being here, but it was both the King’s service and my Lord Chancellor’s security that he should stay; and though in resisting of tumults there is much danger and little honour to be won, as your ladyship very rightly says, yet even that danger cannot at some times by persons of quality be well declined. However, now my lord is on his way towards your ladyship, yet going by Drummond, which is the reason I have troubled you with this account, because himself thought the post would be at Aberdeen before him.... So, wishing God to comfort your ladyship for this affliction of your dearest and nearest friends, I shall add no more."

The Earl of Erroll, along with his friends, was inclined to the side of the Stuart line of Kings. But, at the crisis of the Revolution he acted with singular moderation and judgment.

On the 5th of February, 1700, the Earl of Erroll was elected Chancellor of University and King’s College, Aberdeen. He held this office till his death, which occurred on the 30th of December, 1704. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Charles, thirteenth Earl of Erroll. His two brothers, John and Thomas, died without issue.

Earl Charles was elected Chancellor of University and King’s College, Aberdeen, on the 12th of February, 1705. He held this office for 11 years, and resigned it on the 14th of May, 1716.

On the 24th of April, 1705, he was served heir to his father, as Earl of Erroll, Lord Hay and Slains, and High Constable of Scotland, and also served heir to the lands of the barony of Slains, along with the patronage of the churches of the parishes of Cruden and Turriff. Also the castles, towers, and manor houses, mills, and fishings—" as well in salt as in fresh water. . . . The lands of Leask and Garnhill, in the parish of Slains; the lands of Artrochies, Tipperty, and Tartie, in the parish of Logie; the lands of little Arnadge, in the parish of Ellon; the lands of Pitmedden and mill of Torrie, in the parish of Udny; the lands of Wester Auchquharnie and Earlescat, in the parish of Cruden; the lands of Kininmonth, of Haddo and Rattray, in the parish of Crimond, in the county of Aberdeen; and the lands of Elsick, in the parish of Fetteresso and county of Kincardine, along with the donation of church benefices and chaplainaries all lying in the lordship and barony of Slains. And also the lands and barony of Essilmont, with tower, fort, and manor place thereof. . . With salmon fishing on the water of Ythan . . . the towns and lands of Aberdour and Pennan, lying in the parish of Aberdour, and the manor places and houses, all in the barony of Essilmont and county of Aberdeen. . . And also the lands and barony of Crimond with castle, tower, fort, and manor places thereof—the dominical lands of Crimond, mill, lands of Blairmarmouth, Cairnekempsie, Tilliekeirries, and the lands of Crimondhayhills, with the meal mill thereof; the lands of Crimondgorth, with the meal mill of Loch-hills; the lands of Crimondmogate, with the meal mill and dye mills; the lands of Cairnlob, Blairquhattan, and Berribrae, all lying in the parishes of Crimond and Lonmay and in the barony of Crimond, and county of Aberdeen. Also the lands and barony of Delgaty, with the manor place, meal and dye mills. . . . The lands of Udoch Coupland, called the dominical lands of Udoch and manor place, with the flower gardens. . . With the superiority of the shady half of the lands of Ardein and the pertinents lying in the parish of Turriff.... And likewise the town and lands of Meikle and Little Auchrys, with the tower, fort, and manor place; the town and lands of Netherwood and Hairmoss; the lands of the shady half of Greeness, and Grayston, Mill of Hairmoss, and mill lands.... And also the towns and lands of Over and Nether Kinmissities, and Corssgeldie . . The lands of Muriefauld, Assogills mill and lands. . . . Whiterashes, Wraes, Skatertie, Claymyres, along with the fishing on the water of Deveron, all lying in the barony of Delgaty, and the parishes of Turriff and Monquhitter. Also the towns and lands of Leasyde, Haughmuir, Leys, Ross, Chapelhill, Pollcalk, Cassingray, and Gourdies, lying in the shires of Fife and Perth. Further, in the lands and barony of Mountblairy, with the tithes, rectorial and vicarage, lying in the parishes of Alva and Forglen, and the county of Banff. . . . The lands of Turriff and Knockinsch, Hillhead and Knockiemill, with the mill of Turriff, and mill lands and pertinents, which lands are held of the Queen, as coming in place of the late rectors of Turriff, for a yearly payment of three pounds." The barony of Slains was held in free regality; the barony of Essilmont was held in free blench from the Crown; and the baronies of Crimond and Delgaty were held of the Crown in taxed ward.

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