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


THE Boyds were an old family. Robert Boyd of Kilmarnock was one of the small party who joined Bruce in the spring of 1306—the forlorn hope of the Scottish nation. The Boyd family possessed the Lordship of Kilmarnock from an early period. In the fifteenth century they had attained considerable influence and power. Sir Robert Boyd of Kilmarnock was created a Lord of Parliament in 1459; and William, ninth Lord, was created Earl of Kilmamock in 1661.

James, Lord Boyd, fifteenth Earl of Erroll, and nineteenth Lord High Constable of Scotland, was a nobleman of striking personal form and stature, distinguished also for his amiable mind and high and generous spirit.

He was born on the 20th April, 1726. In 1749 he married Rebecca, a daughter of Alexander Lockhart, a Lord of the Court of Session, by whom he had an only daughter, Mary. She married General John Scott of Balcomie. Secondly, in 1762, his lordship married Isabella, a daughter of Sir William Carr, Bart., of Etal, Northumberland, by whom he had three sons and nine daughters. His third son, James, was accidentally drowned in 1797. Lady Charlotte married the Rev. William Holwell Carr. She died in 1800. Lady Augusta married the Earl of Glasgow, and died in 1822. Lady Maria Elizabeth married the Rev. George Moore, a son of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and died in 1804.

Earl James, as Lord High Constable of Scotland, was present and officiated at the coronation of George III., on the 22nd of September, 1761. The functions of the High Constable of Scotland at this ceremony were much the same as those described at the coronation of George II. in a preceding section. It may be remarked that on this occasion Erroll made an excellent appearance.

In 1770 he was elected one of the representative peers of Scotland. He died in 1778, and was succeeded by his eldest son, George, sixteenth Earl of Erroll. His lordship married Elizabeth, a daughter of Joseph Blake, Esq. of Ardfry, Galloway. He died on the 14th of June, 1798, leaving no issue.

The Earldom then reverted to his brother William, seventeenth Earl of Erroll. He was born on the 12th of March, 1772.

Earl William married first Jane, a daughter of Matthew Bell, Esq., by whom he had an only daughter; his countess died in 1793. Secondly, his lordship married Alicia, youngest daughter of Samuel Eliot, Esq., of Antigua, by whom he had three sons and four daughters. Thirdly, his lordship, on the 14th of October, 1816, married Lady Harriet Somerville, a sister of Lord Somerville, by whom he had a son and two daughters.

In 1805 Erroll was appointed Knight-Marischal of Scotland. He was elected one of the representative peers of Scotland in 1806. For several years he was Lord High Commissioner to the Church of Scotland.

His eldest son, James, Lord Hay, entered the army. He was present and engaged in the battle of Waterloo, and fell on that memorable field. The Earl’s third son, Samuel, was born on the 9th of January, 1807. He also joined the army. On the 2nd of April, 1832, he married Louisa, only daughter of Vice-Admiral Duncombe-Pleydell Bouverie. He died on the 25th of November, 1847.

Lady Isabella married Lieutentant-General Wemyss on the 14th of April, 1820. She died on the 28th of July, 1868. Lady Caroline Augusta married John Morant, Esq. of Brokenhust, Hants, in 1823, and had issue. She died on the 19th of August, 1877.

Earl William died on the 26th of January, 1819, and was succeeded by his eldest-surviving son, William George, eighteenth Earl of Erroll. He was born on the 21st of February, 1801.

On the 4th of December, 1820, his lordship married Lady Elizabeth Fitzclarence, a natural daughter of King William IV., by whom he had a son and three daughters.

His eldest daughter, Lady Ida Harriet Augusta, married the Earl of Gainsborough on the 1st of November, 1841. She died on the 22nd of October, 1867. Lady Agnes Georgina Elizabeth married James Duff, fifth Earl Fife, on the 16th of March, 1846, and had issue. She died on the 18th of December, 1869. Lady Alice Mary Emily married the Count Charles Edward d’Albanie, only son of Charles Edward Stuart, Count d’Albanie.

When King George IV. visited Scotland in August, 1822, the Earl of Erroll, as Lord High Constable, attended His Majesty and discharged the functions of the office. On this interesting occasion, the High Constable was accompanied by eight esquires on horseback, four pages, ten grooms, and 25 marshal-men on foot; and also a large company of Highlanders, placed at his disposal by the Duke of Argyle, the Earl of Breadalbane, the Countess of Sutherland, Sir Evan Macgregor, and Macdonald of Glengarry. Thus the High Constable’s officers and suite presented a striking appearance. Whenever the King landed at Leith all criminal jurisdiction within four miles of the Royal presence became vested in the High Constable of Scotland. And in order that justice might be administered, the Sheriff of Midlothian, the magistrates of Edinburgh and Leith, and the Bailie of Holyrood were appointed the Constable’s deputies in the office of constabulary. A great concourse of people turned out to welcome and see His Majesty on Scottish ground.

In the procession from Leith to Holyrood the Lord High Constable took precedence immediately before the King, carrying the baton of his office. The Constable claimed apartments in Holyrood Palace. Accordingly, rooms were set apart for his use adjoining the private chambers occupied by the King. In the procession from Holyrood to the Castle of Edinburgh, the Constable rode on the right hand side of the King’s carriage, carrying his baton. At the grand banquet in the Parliament House he sat on the left hand of the King, and the Lord Provost of Edinburgh sat on His Majesty’s right hand.

On the 31st of May, 1831, Erroll was created a British Peer, under the title of Baron Kilmarnock of Kilmarnock, in virtue of which he had a seat in the House of Lords. The following year he was appointed Knight-Marischal of Scotland. He was created a Knight of the Thistle and a Knight Commander of the Guelphs of Hanover. He was one of the Lords of the Royal Household, and also Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire.

He died in 1846, and his Countess died on the 16th of January, 1856. He was succeeded by his son, William Harry Hay, nineteenth Earl of Erroll. He was born in 1823. In 1848 he married Eliza-Amelia, a daughter of the Hon. General Sir Charles Gore, by whom he had issue, three sons and two daughters.

When Lord Kilmarnock, in his father’s lifetime, he joined the army. In 1854, he was a major in the Rifle Brigade. He was engaged in the battle of the Alma, fought on the 20th of September, 1854, in which he was wounded in the hand.

His lordship died in 1891, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Charles Gore Hay, twentieth Earl of Erroll, Baron Kilmarnock of Kilmarnock, and twenty-fourth Lord High Constable of Scotland, of the Erroll line.

He was born in 1852. He entered the army; and was an aide-de-camp to the Commander-in-Chief, and late Lieutenant-Colonel commanding the Royal Horse Guards.

In 1874 he married Mary Caroline, youngest daughter of Edmund L’Estrange, Esq., of Tynte Lodge, and has issue. The same year he was appointed a Deputy-Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire. In 1895, the University of Aberdeen conferred on him the honorary degree of LL.D.

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