v 7.00.00
23 Jan 2024
updated 23 Jan 2024

The Erskine of Mar and Erskine of Dun Connections

coat of arms
The escutcheon of Erskine
Perspicax, audax;
(Je) Pense Plus
coat of arms
The escutcheon of Mar
(Gratney, 8th Earl)
coat of arms

The escutcheon of Erskine of Mar

coat of arms

The escutcheon of Erskine of Dun

Click here for online access to a facsimile of Fairbairn's
Book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland

And maybe also here, though it's a bit up-market for me.

The Erskines have proved a via dolorosa, and still without end in sight – I'm now reliably advised that like the Academy's portals through which no-one ignorant of geometry should enter, the Erskines (of Mar in particular), as integral with and peculiar to the Scottish way of doing things, require (on my part at least) a preliminary familiarity with the classic texts on Scottish heraldry, genealogy and inheritance.

This to me is rather like turning to Newton's Principia or Maxwell's Treatise to gain understanding of mechanics or electromagnetism – yes, they are indeed the ultimate authorities, but difficult to appreciate without a modern commentary. Nevertheless, click here to gain access to the texts in question.

Click here for a very thorough but eminently readable and very well illustrated modern account of heraldic terminology.

The escutcheon (shield) is only a part (though the most important) of the various features on a coat of arms – such as supporters, mantling, crest and motto. Two more elaborate realisations (reproduced from the best efforts by custom heraldry websites) are shown below, together with an interestingly-conceived, though indifferently-executed, version from a pleasantly quirky Erskine-dedicated website that is very well worth visiting.

coat of arms

(Click here to dig deeper)
Though just in monochrome of course, and displaying the original escutcheon of pre-Mar Erskine this embodies all other features of the Mar blazon that we encounter below – particularly the second motto "unione fortior" which certainly didn't emerge until much later. So it's very interesting, but not totally convincing as to its early origins.

The blazon (precise heraldic prescription) presented below describes the arms of the Earldom of Mar as they were agreed upon in 1885 – nominally, at least, as granted by letters patent in 1114 – after almost half a century of legal dispute, the origins of which will be analysed later. Compromises had to be reached, and some of the traditional Erskine imagery going back before the first millennium evidently had to be quietly discarded. Nevertheless, the superb visual realisation of that blazon as also reproduced below, could hardly be bettered.


Earldom of Mar

Creation: let. pat. 1114

Family name: Erskine later Goodeve later Goodeve-Erskine later of Mar

Arms: Azure a Bend between six Cross Crosslets fitchée Or

Crest: Upon a Chapeau Gules faced Ermine two Wings each of ten Pen Feathers erected and addorsed both blazoned as the Shield

Supporters: On either side a Griffin Argent armed beaked and winged Or

Motto: Pans Plus (Think more)

Badge: A Demi-Nobleman bearded proper in robe Gules furred Ermine with a Conical Hat Gules furred Ermine embellished with a Tall Feather Or quilled Azure all within an oval Chaplet of Scots Fir banded of Ribbands Azure and Or and ensigned with the Comital Coronet of Mar

Standard: Azure a St Andrew's Cross in the hoist and of two Tracts Or and Azure upon which is depicted the Badge in the first compartment and the Crest in the second and third compartments along with the Motto "Pans Plus" on letters Azure upon two transverse bands Argent


coat of arms

The blazon next presented describes the arms of the Earldom of Mar and Kellie as they were agreed upon at about the same the same time as those above – nominally, at least, as granted by letters patent in 1565. This is a composite title, comprising the Earldom of Kellie and the 1565 Earldom of Mar, the latter running in parallel with the 1114 Earldom of Mar held by the Earls of Mar pure and simple. The latter situation is rather reminiscent of the twin Papacies of Rome and Avignon in mediaeval times.

But it's interesting to note that certain features of this blazon – the pales and the areskine crest – go way back to pre-Norman times, and could with equal justice have persisted in the 1114 version. However, the greater complexity of this coat of arms means that its visual realisation as also reproduced below is even more magnificent!


Earldom of Mar

Creation: let. pat. 22 Jul 1565

Family name: Erskine

Arms: Quarterly: 1st and 4th, Argent a Pale Sable (Erskine); 2nd and 3rd, Azure a Bend between six Cross Crosslets fitchée Or (Mar); over all on an Escutcheon Gules the Royal Crown of Scotland proper within a Double Tressure flory counterflory, ensigned with an Earl's Coronet also proper (Kellie); behind the shield are placed in saltire a Key wards outwards Or and a Baton Gules garnished Or and ensigned with a Castle of the last (Insignia of Office of the Hereditary Keeper of Stirling Castle)

Crests: 1st: On a Cap of Maintenance Gules turned up Ermine a Dexter Hand holding a Skene in pale Argent hilted and pommelled Or; 2nd: On a Cap of Maintenance Gules turned up Ermine a Demi Lion rampant guardant Gules armed Argent

Supporters: On either side a Griffin Argent armed beaked and winged Or

Motto: Over the 1st Crest: Je Pense Plus (I think more); over the 2nd Crest: Decori Decus Addit Avito (He adds honour to the honour of his ancestors); beneath the Shield: Unione Fortior (Strengthened by unity)


coat of arms

Just a few extra mumbles on my part:

The gryphons are sergeant (ie rampant and addorsant, insofar as I understand these terms), and gules (red) – rather than argent (silver) as specified in the blazon – though correctly winged or (gold).

The key and baton symbolise the Erskine family's traditional rôles as Keepers of Stirling Castle and the Royal Crown located within the central inescutcheon probably refers to the Earls' vital services as guardians of the youthful heirs to the Scottish throne.

The six Cross crosslets on the escutcheon are fitchée (fitched/sharpened), and could well serve as daggers – one might justifiably wonder whether they are indirect references to the areskene crest?

I don't know what significance attaches to the bend dexter (ie running diagonally from the bearer's right shoulder) – possibly it's to place beyond doubt that it isn't sinister!

The comital coronet symbolises the earldom (of Mar, or Kellie and Mar) granted to the Erskine family – a good many times over, as will be discussed later.

The thistle is an ancient Celtic symbol of nobility of character as well as of birth, for the wounding or provocation of a thistle yields punishment.

A chapeau, I believe, simply provides a dignified support for a crest – in this case two chapeaux are required, the one crest being the areskene (of which more later) and the other a lion gules, rampant and guardant (I've not seen him in this context before).

As for the mottos, the first is the longer-established (and more closely associated with Mar), and the second arrived, I think, with the Kellie link.

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On the verge of threescore years and ten, one starts to feel like the unfortunate Galois, frantically scribbling his algebraic testament on the eve of that disastrous duel, save that the opponent in this instance is the even more implacable Father Time.

There is such a wealth of collateral material to explore, never mind recount, in this (to me) most fascinating of all the Connections, that I cannot afford to diverge too far from the basic mission of recording the lineage in question as clearly and accurately as possible, with names, dates, spouses, offspring and immediate personal contexts. And yet I invariably do – no fool like an old fool.

In the Erskine and Wardlaw Connection, I followed the lineage of the present-day Waddells (such as myself) back via Helen Halcro Wardlaw to the seventeenth century Erskines so justly celebrated in the religious history of Scotland.

The original mission statement of this Connection was to pursue the lineage of those Erskine divines Henry, Ebenezer and Ralph, up the nights and up the days, up the arches of the years, as one might say, to their uttermost origins.

That's actually relatively easy, as we will see below. But as going downstairs rather than upstairs is far harder in childhood (and, as I'm discovering, in old age too), to present a lineage in descent 'down the labyrinthine ways' – essential if we are to get a realistic view of the actual historical perspective – is much harder than in ascent: it's a divergent process, with new lineages kicking-off in each generation and spreading outwards in time and location.

I really ought to consider several historical processes, progressing in parallel or in sequence (and I wish I'd realised that before I started):

  1. The origins of the Earldom of Mar
  2. The emergence of the early Erskine family and the Lords of Erskine
  3. The emergence of the Erskines of Mar and simultaneous divergence of the Erskines of Dun
  4. The confluence of Mar and Dun as antecedents of the Secessionary Trio of Henry, Ebenezer and Ralph, direct ancestors of the Waddells today
  5. The divergence of the Earls from our ancestry at just that same point in time – they took the high road and we took the low road, but I'm more than happy with that.

It is far easier to chronicle our ancestors' names, dates and accomplishments, than the often ambiguous, and not infrequently contested, often retrospectively, titles with which they may have been bestowed, sometimes of several distinct orders of precedence and territorial reference. Furthermore, any particular title could be attainted, extinguished or recreated several times over, and several different ordinal numbers could apply simultaneously to the same holder of the same title, depending on where you started the head-count.

We shall encounter numerous instances of such difficulties in almost all the narratives that follow. They have caused me more perplexities than almost everything else put together.

Note also that the first column of the Generation Tables in this Connection will be used for ordinals rather than generation offsets, as there are so many familial discontinuities, except for tabulations of those Erskines who are my own direct forebears.

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The Mormaers of Mar

Let's start with a reasonably authoritative quotation.


The Earldom of Mar is one of the most noble and ancient lineages in Scotland, the origins of which are said to be lost in the mists of antiquity. Burke's Peerage records it as 'the most ancient title in Great Britain, perhaps in Europe'. And 'it has been held in succession by members of the great historic houses of Douglas and Stewart, Drummond and Erskine'. The province of Mar which covered large tracts of the north east of Scotland was named after the Mormaer, a Pictish dignitary, inferior only to the king. The area of Mar was one of the 7 divisions of Scotland. At the beginning of the 10th century the title of Mormaer was exchanged for the title Earl and the areas became Earldoms. Burke's Peerage records the first mormaer as Martachus with his son Gratnach as the first Mar to bear the title Earl. Through history the heads of the house of Mar held the highest offices in the royal households. Within Mar the Earls finally held 3 castles, Kildrummy, Corgarff and Braemar.

This gives the impression that the rank of Mormaer was peculiar to the region of Mar. In fact, this usage was common in a number of regions, though the actual title varied. Mormaer itself seems to have translated as Great Steward, but there were others such as toisech (chief), thanus (thane), and comes (count), or ruirí / rí (kinglet = little king, so that that Ruaidrí, the first Earl of Mar tabulated below, would probably have started as a Mormaer with ruaid = red hair)

Also, a powerful local chieftain might have been a de facto Mormaer without being recognised as such de jure. So where did one start counting? Indeed, at what point did the Mormaers become recognisably Earls? These aren't idle questions, as the knock-on effect of such uncertainties extends right up to the present day.

Of course, the position of Mormaer in the early days was no more secure, let alone hereditary, than that of a political leader or sports champion today. And we might know their names but not always their chronological order.

However, I have encountered several websites that state more or less explicitly that there were four Mormaers of repute before the Earldom proper was instituted. And they were probably in the following order (substantiated by 'mac' meaning 'son of' in Gaelic, as any fule kno).

#IndividualSpouse / PartnerFamily
(d 1014, Battle of Clontarf, at which King Brian Boru was killed)

son of Eimen son of Cainnech
2Muirchertach / Martachus
(b 995)
3Gartnait / Gratnach mac Martachus
(b 1020)
4Morgundus mac Gratnach
(b 1040)

The Early Earls of Mar (Part One)

The authorities with whom I'd like to conform are

But the statuses of the elusive Gille Cedrig (Gillocheri) and the appalling Alexander Stewart as legitimate Earls of Mar (or not) multiply the ordinal possibilities – and the second and third of these authorities differ both from each other, and from my own first draft based on Wikipedia. I have provisionally decided to stick with my original choice of ordinals, at least until the other content has bedded-down satisfactorily.

#IndividualSpouse / PartnerFamily
1Ruadri (Rothri)
First known Earl of Mar

fl 1130
2Gille Cedrig (Gillocheri)
2nd Earl of Mar

Name uncertain
3Morggánn (Morg(r)und)
3rd Earl of Mar

(1115 – 30 Mar 1182)
Ada Alesta
(1136 – 22 Sep 1182)

(1165 – 7 Feb 1244)
Agnes Máel Coluim (Malcolm)
(b 1149)

(1151 – 1232)

(b 1159)

Donald, John
4Gille Críst (Gilchrist)
4th Earl of Mar

(not Morggánn's son)

ruled 1183 - 1203
  Máel Coluim


also a daughter
5Donnachaidh (Duncan)
5th Earl of Mar

(Morgánn's son)

(1165 – 7 Feb 1244)
ruled 1203 – 1244
Arabella (aka Orabillis) of Nessius Uilleam
6Uilleam mac Dhonnchaidh
(William son of Duncan)
6th Earl of Mar

ruled 1244 – 1276

built Kildrummy Castle
Lady Elisabeth Comyn

daughter of William Comyn
Earl of Buchan
Domhnall 1

(d 1267)
Muriel / Maud

daughter of Malise,
6th Earl of Strathearn
7Domhnall mac Uilleim (Donald 1)
7th Earl of Mar

ruled 1276 – 1301
Helen ferch Llywelyn

daughter of Daffyd ap Llywelyn, Prince of North Wales

widow of Malcolm,
7th Earl of Fife


Alexander (imprisoned in the Tower of London with Edward Baliol by King Edward I, 1297)

Isabella was the first wife of Robert I of Scotland (while Gartnait married Robert's sister!)

Marjory, married twice:
(1) John 9th Earl of Atholl,
(2) Kenneth 4th Earl of Sutherland
8Gartnait mac Domhnaill (Gratney)
8th Earl of Mar

ruled 1301 – 1305
Christina Bruce, sister of King Robert I who created her Lady of Garioch Helen (Ellen) of Mar
(d >1342)

9Domhnall (Donald 2)
9th Earl of Mar

Regent of Scotland

ruled 1305 – 1332
(killed at Battle of Dupplin)
Isabel(la) Stewart

daughter of Sir Alexander Stewart of Bonkill

(became 2nd Countess of Mar following Thomas' death sp)
10th Earl of Mar
1st Lord Garioch

ruled 1332 – 1377
Margaret Graham of Menteith sp
Margaret Stewart
Countess of Angus
sp (tho she bore a natural son George – later Earl of Angus – and a natural daughter Margaret – later the 1st Laird of Bonjedward – both fathered by her sister-in-law's 1st husband William 1st Earl of Douglas)

Thomas died childless in 1377, bringing his line and the ancient Gaelic earldom of Mar through the male line to an end, He was succeeded by his sister Margaret, who was married to William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas, and thereby the earldom passed into a rather strange transitional era.

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The Early Earls of Mar (Part Two)

Note that William Earl of Douglas, rather than his wife Margaret, is sometimes reckoned as inheriting the Earldom of Mar from Thomas. And that his son James then inherited it (briefly) from him. I think that this is an assumption based on traditional English practice, ignoring the enlightened attitude of Scottish society that accepted women as possible heirs to a title in their own right rather than as somebody's wife.

And in the generation following, although the dreadful Alexander Stewart assumed control by force, as we shall see, he still had to get his wife Isabel to cede the title officially by signing a charter.

#IndividualSpouse / PartnerFamily
11Margaret Countess of Mar, 2nd Lady Garioch

ruled 1377 – 1393
William 1st Earl of Douglas
(~1327 – May 1384)
(m 1357)
James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Douglas
(1358 – Aug 1388)
(killed at Battle of Otterburn)

Isabel Douglas, Countess of Mar (1360–1408)
Sir John Swinton
12Isabel Countess of Mar

(in 1404 xferred title and rent to Stewart but not to his heirs)

(she also xferred the estate of Bonjedward to her 'dear halfsister' Margaret Douglas)

(1360 – 1408)
ruled 1393 – 1404
Sir Malcolm Drummond

brother-in-law of King Robert III

imprisoned & murdered by Alexander Stewart
Alexander Stewart
(d 1435)
13Alexander Stewart
12th Earl of Mar

ruled 1404 – 1426

Second Creation
(1426 – 1435)

ruled 1426 – 1435
Isabel Douglas Countess of Mar
(d 1408)
Marie van Hoorn
(m 1410)

daughter of Willem Lord of Duffel


The town hall of Duffel, in the Belgian province of Antwerp, a town nowadays famous for the heavy woollen cloth used to make duffle coats and duffle bags

Thus ended this brief period of tenure. As Alexander's kin had no right of succession to the Earldom, the stage was set for the Erskine family, with whom we shall get up to speed in due course.

Before that, though, we must examine the misdoings of Alexander Stewart. It's clear from the following narrative that he forcibly imposed his ambitions – and his marital intentions – upon Isabel. Over two decades later, long after she had died, he persuaded the King to regularise the situation. The King agreement was conditional on the repossession of the Earldom by the Crown at Alexander's death. The validity of this condition (called a remainder) was naturally disputed by the Erskines, and the issue wasn't finally resolved in the Erskines' favour until 1626.


While the eleventh (by some counts) holder of the title, Isabel Douglas, Countess of Mar, was alone at the Kildrummy Castle, Alexander Stewart entered it and forced her to sign a charter on 12 August 1404 yielding the earldom to him and his heirs. She revoked the charter later that year, but on marrying him, she gave him the earldom for life with remainder to her heirs. The King confirmed her last action the next year.

In 1426, Stewart resigned the title so that he could be granted a new one by the King, the new title being more "legitimate". The King did so, but specified that the earldom and associated lands would revert to the Crown upon the death of the Earl. In 1435, the Earl died, and Robert, Lord Erskine claimed the title, but the King claimed its lands under the specifications of reversion made in the patent. The issue remained unresolved until 1457, when James II obtained a court order declaring the lands as crown possessions. Thereafter, he bestowed the title on his son John, who died without heirs in 1479. It was next granted to James' other son, Alexander, Duke of Albany, but the title was then declared forfeit because of Alexander's alliances with the English. James III created his son John Earl of Mar in 1486, upon whose death in 1503 the title became extinct again.

See this too:


The direct male line of the Mormaers ended in 1377 with the death of Thomas, the 9th Earl who died childless. The Earldom was inherited by his brother-in-law William, Earl of Douglas, but this ended when Douglas' son was killed at the battle of Otterburn. The earldom of Mar then passed to his sister, Isabella, wife of Sir Malcolm Drummond, who resided at Kildrummy Castle. After Sir Malcolm's untimely death, blamed on a vicious attack by Alexander Stewart (son of the Wolf of Badenoch), the young Countess Isabella was persuaded to marry the man who had been responsible for her husband's death. In 1404 she made over to her new husband, [Alexander] Stewart, the earldom of Mar and Garioch and all her castles. It was this Earl of Mar who defeated Donald of the Isles in the Battle of Harlaw in 1411. Because [Alexander] Stewart had only acquired a "life interest" in the earldom, after the death of the Countess of Mar in 1426, he "sold" it to the Crown receiving titles and estates in return for resigning it. After a series of legal battles during that century it was granted in [1486] to Alexander Stewart, Duke of Ross, son of James III. On his death it reverted once more to the Crown. In 1565 Mary Queen of Scots bestowed the title on John, [6]th [Lord] Erskine. The title has remained with the Erskine family ever since.


The ruined remains of Kildrummy Castle

Quite a rag tag and bobtail had a crack at the Earldom of Mar in the interim

#IndividualSpouse / PartnerFamily
John Stewart
(son of James II)
Earl of Mar & Garioch

Third Creation
(1457 – 1479)

ruled Jul 1457 – 1479
Alexander Stewart
(son of James II)
Earl of Mar

Fourth Creation
(1479 – 1483)

ruled 1479 – 1485
(though forfeited antehumously 1483)
John Stewart
(son of James III)
Earl of Mar

Fifth Creation
(1486 – 1483)

ruled 2 Mar 1486 – 1503
James Stuart
(natural son of James V, half-brother of Mary Queen of Scots)
Earl of Mar and Moray

Sixth Creation
(1562 – 1565)

ruled 1562 – 1565

Meanwhile, the Erskines simply got on with the job of being de facto Earls of Mar. But let's first review their origins.

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Origins of the Erskine family and the Lords of Erskine

An especial source of confusion is the title of Lord (of Parliament), which in England refers generically to anybody, from Duke down to Baron, who (at least until the crass 'reforms' initiated by Tony Blair) is entitled to sit in the House of Lords. (Some) Anglican Bishops are also so entitled, though are not regarded as Peers of the Realm, hence the phrase 'my lord Bishop'.

Scottish usage is that the title of Lord is specific, and equivalent to an English Baron. In Scotland the title of Baron is a lesser distinction, equivalent to an English Baronet. Wikipedia puts it all into context.


A Lord of Parliament was the lowest rank of nobility automatically entitled to attend sessions of the pre-Union Parliament of Scotland. Post-Union, it is a member of the lowest rank of the Peerage of Scotland, ranking below a viscount. A Lord of Parliament is said to hold a Lordship of Parliament.

Scotland differs from the rest of the United Kingdom in that the lowest rank of its peerage is not the baron. In Scotland, the term "baron" refers to a feudal baron considered a minor baron of non-peerage however, equal to the continental baron. Therefore, the Scottish equivalent to the English baron is the Lord of Parliament.

For example, the lordship of Erskine referred to their territory (subsequently sold and later held by Lord Blantyre – note that the Erskine family arrived in Alloa near Stirling in 1363 and built their principal residence Alloa Tower not long after) in the county of Renfrewshire, the west central lowlands of Scotland, south of the River Clyde nowadays spanned by the splendid Erskine Bridge ...


... and (despite incorrect references one sometimes sees to the "Earl(s) of Erskine") the lordship is quite distinct from the earldom of Mar, which relates to the ancient province of Mar in the northeast of Scotland, and which later became (almost) inseparable from the family name (until recent times at least).

I'm going to conform to the numbering system as per Wikipedia


The Lordship of Parliament of Erskine (Lord Erskine) was created around 1426 for Sir Robert Erskine. The sixth lord was created Earl of Mar in 1565, with which title (and the earldom of Kellie) the lordship then merged.

  • Robert Erskine, 1st Lord Erskine (d. 1453)
  • Thomas Erskine, 2nd Lord Erskine (d. c.1491)
  • Alexander Erskine, 3rd Lord Erskine (d. c.1509)
  • Robert Erskine, 4th Lord Erskine (d. 1513)
  • John Erskine, 5th Lord Erskine (d. 1552)
  • John Erskine, 6th Lord Erskine, de jure later de facto 17th Earl of Mar, de jure 1st Earl of Mar (d. 1572)
  • For further lords see Earl of Mar (seventh creation) and Earl of Kellie.

Here and there we come across the curious phrase "of That Ilk" – which could be rather derisively misinterpreted – but actually has (or did have) a technical Scottish legal meaning of "of that same name", that is, the person concerned has an estate of the same name as himself. The example almost invariably quoted is Sir Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, 11th Baronet Moncreiffe; as noted on Wikipedia "Like other Scottish landowners, and other baronets, he distinguished himself from other Moncreiffes by referring to his estate: of that Ilk is Scots for "of the same [place]", since his estate was Moncreiffe Island.

In the following narrative I've inserted Generation Numbers of the individuals concerned, as per the Generation Table that duly follows. I've also amended the Lordship ordinals to conform with the box above.


Origins of the Erskines

ERSKINE, anciently spelled Areskin, and sometimes Irskyn, a surname of great antiquity, and one which has been much distinguished in all periods of Scottish history, was originally derived from the lands and barony of Erskine in Renfrewshire, situated on the south side of the Clyde, the most ancient possession of the noble family who afterwards became Lords Erskine and earls of Mar.

An absurd tradition asserts that at the battle of Murthill fought with the Danes, in the reign of Malcolm the Second, a Scotsman having killed Enrique, a Danish chief, cut off his head, and with the bloody dagger in his hand, showed it to the king, saying in Gaelic, Eris Skene, alluding to the head and dagger; on which Malcolm gave him the name of Erskine. In those remote times, however, surnames were usually assumed from lands, and all such traditions referring to the origin of the names of illustrious families are seldom to be depended upon. The appearance of the land justifies the derivation of the name from the British word ir-isgyn, signifying the green rising ground. The earliest notice of the name is in a confirmation of the church of "Irschen" granted by the bishop of Glasgow in favour of the monastery of Paisley, betwixt the years 1202 and 1207 [Chartulary of Paisley, p. 113.] In 1703, the estate of Erskine was purchased from the Hamiltons of Orbinston by Walter, master of Blantyre, afterwards Lord Blantyre, in which family the property remains.

(-22) Henry de Erskine was proprietor of the barony of Erskine so early as the reign of Alexander the Second. He was witness of a grant by Amelick, brother of Maldwin, earl of Lennox, of the patronage and tithes of the parish church of Roseneath to the abbey of Paisley in 1226.

(-20) His grandson, Johan de Irskyn, submitted to Edward the First in 1296.

(-19) Johan's son, Sir John de Erskine, had a son, Sir William, and three daughters, of whom the eldest, Mary, was married, first to Sir Thomas Bruce, brother of King Robert the First, who was taken prisoner and put to death by the English, and secondly to Sir Ingram Morville; and the second, Alice, became the wife of Walter, high steward of Scotland.

(-18) Sir William de Erskine, the son, was a faithful adherent of Robert the Bruce, and accompanied the earl of Moray and Sir James Douglas in their expedition into England in 1322. For his valour he was knighted under the royal banner in the field. He died in 1329.

(-17) Sir Robert de Erskine, knight, his eldest son, made an illustrious figure in his time, and for his patriotic services, was, by David the Second, appointed constable, keeper, and captain of Stirling castle. He was one of the ambassadors to England, to treat for the ransom of that monarch, after his capture in the battle of Durham in 1346. IN 1350 he was appointed by David, while still a prisoner, great chamberlain of Scotland, and in 1357 he was one of those who accomplished his sovereign's deliverance, on which occasion his eldest son, Thomas, was one of the hostages for the payment of the king's ransom. On his restoration, David, in addition to his former high office of chamberlain, appointed Sir Robert Justiciary north of the Forth, and constable and keeper of the castles of Edinburgh and Dumbarton. In 1358 he was ambassador to France, and between 1360 and 1366 he was five times ambassador to England. In 1367 he was warden of the marches, and heritable sheriff of Stirlingshire. In 1371 he was one of the great barons who ratified the succession to the crown of Robert the Second, grandson, by his daughter Marjory, of Robert the Bruce, and the first of the Stuart family. To his other property he added that of Alloa in Clackmannanshire, on the north bank of the river Forth, which King David II bestowed on him in 1368, in exchange for the estates owned by the Erskines at Strathgartney beside Loch Katrine, in the Highlands. He died in 1385.

(-16) His son, Sir Thomas Erskine, knight, succeeded his father, as governor of Stirling castle, and in 1392 was sent ambassador to England. By his marriage with Janet Keith, great-grand-daughter of Gratney, eleventh earl of Mar, he laid the foundation of the succession on the part of his descendants to the earldom of Mar and lordship of Garioch.

(-15) Sir Robert Erskine, [first Lord Erskine] knight, his son, was one of the hostages for the ransom of James the First in 1424. On the death of Alexander, earl of Mar, in 1435, he claimed that title in right of his mother, and assumed the title of earl of Mar, but the king unjustly kept him out of possession. He died in 1453.

Sir Thomas Erskine, [second Lord Erskine] his son, was dispossessed of the earldom of Mar by an assize of error, in 1457, but in 1467 he was created a peer under the title of Lord Erskine.

This family were honoured for several generations with the duty of keeping, during their minority, the heirs apparent to the crown. Alexander, the [third] Lord Erskine, had the charge of James the Fourth, when prince of Scotland, and ever after continued in high favour with him. He died in 1510.

John, the [fifth] Lord Erskine, had the keeping of James the Fifth during his minority. On his coming of age he was sent by James in 1534 ambassador to France, to negotiate a marriage with a daughter of the French king, and afterwards he was sent ambassador to England. On the death of James, in conjunction with Lord Livingston, he had committed to him the charge of the infant queen Mary. He dept her for some time in Stirling castle, and afterwards removed her to the priory of Inchmahome, situated on an island in the lake of Monteith, in Perthshire; which priory had been bestowed upon him by James the Fifth, as commendatory abbot. Subsequently, for greater security, he conducted the youthful Mary to France. He died in 1552. Margaret Erskine, daughter of this nobleman, was the mother, by James the Fifth, of the regent Murray.

His eldest son, the master of Erskine, was killed at the battle of Pinkie in 1547. He was the ancestor, by an illegitimate son, of the Erskines of Shielfield, near Dryburgh, of which family the famous Ebenezer and Ralph Erskine, the originators of the first secession from the Church of Scotland, were cadets. Memoirs of them are given below. The fourth son, the Hon. Sir Alexander Erskine of Gogar, was the ancestor of the earls of Kellie.

The second son, John, the [sixth] Lord Erskine, succeeded his father as governor of Edinburgh castle. Although a Protestant himself, he preserved a strict neutrality in the struggles between the Lords of the Congregation and the queen regent, Mary of Guise, while he upheld the authority of the latter, to whom, when hard pressed by her enemies, he gave protection in the castle of Edinburgh, where she died in June 1560. On the return of Queen Mary from France in 1561 he was appointed one of her privy council.

In the following year he submitted his claim to the earldom of Mar to parliament, and was successful in establishing his right as the descendant, in the female line, from Gratney, eleventh earl of Mar. In consequence of Lord Erskine being confirmed earl of Mar, the queen's natural brother, afterwards regent, who then bore the title, was styled earl of Moray instead. On the birth of James the Sixth in 1566, the new earl of Mar was intrusted with the keeping of the young prince; and on the death of the earl of Lennox in 1571 he was chosen regent in his stead. He died in the following year, leaving a high reputation for integrity and honesty of purpose.

Have a look, too, at the entertaining and informative webpage

The information in this next Generation Table is reproduced from the website www.wikitree.com/genealogy/ERSKINE, and more specifically from the entry (the pivotal significance of which will become apparent in due course) that is designated as follows:

Margaret (Halcro) Erskine1647 Parish of Elvie, Isle of Wyre, Orkney, ScotlandDaniel Thompson8 Feb 2014

Please note that I've adopted their useful notation whereby, for example, a daughter Elizabeth (Erskine) Lindsay was born Elizabeth Erskine, but became Elizabeth Lindsay by marriage – this helpfully indicates that she did marry, and the surname of her husband, even though no details are to be found further down the table (which is of course just patrilineal).

#IndividualSpouse / PartnerFamily
Henry Erskine
(1190 – 1226)

born in Erskine,
‑20John Erskine
(1217 – 1271)

born in Mar,
Jane Hatcher John Erskine
‑19Sir John Erskine of Mar
(1249 – 1296)
Margaret Macgilronan
(m 1279)
William Erskine

Janet Erskine

Margaret Agnes (Erskine) Livingston
‑18Sir William Erskine
(1274 – 1331)
Beatrix Stewart Robert Erskine

Christian Erskine

Alan Erskine

Andrew Erskine
‑17Sir Robert Erskine of That Ilk
(1310 – 1385)

Constable of Stirling Castle.
High Chamberlain of Scotland.
Scottish Ambassador to England.

Purchased the Barony and house of Dun
Beatrix (de Lindsay) Douglas
(m <1340)

daughter of Sir Alexander de Lindsay
Thomas Erskine

Nicholas Erskine

Marion (Erskine) Drummond of Kincraid
Christian Menteith of Arran
(m ca 1352)

daughter of Sir John Menteith, Lord of Arran, and Helen of Mar
Christina (Erskine) Crichton

William Erskine
‑16Sir Thomas Erskine of that Ilk
(1354 – 28 May 1404)
Mary Douglas
(d 30 Jun 1367)

daughter of Sir William Douglas
Janet (de Keith) Barclay
(1342 – 1413)
(m 13 Apr 1370)

daughter of Christian Menteith's first marriage to Edward de Keith
Christian Erskine?

Robert Erskine

John Erskine
(ca 1380 – 1410)
The House of Dun

Elizabeth Erskine?
‑15Sir Robert Erskine
13th Earl of Mar
6th Lord Garioch
1st Lord Erskine
(b 13 Apr 1370)
(d <6 Nov 1452)

great-great-grandson of 7th Earl
Elizabeth Lindsay
(1391 – 1452)
(m >1388)!
Janet Erskine

Christian (Erskine) Graham

Agnes Erskine

John Erskine

Thomas Erskine

Alexander Erskine

John Erskine

Elizabeth (Erskine) Lindsay
Margaret Stewart
(m >20 Dec 1400)
‑14Sir Thomas Erskine
14th Earl of Mar
7th Lord Garioch
2nd Lord Erskine
(b 1425)
(d < 1493)

Sheriff of Stirling
Janet Douglas
(ca 1421 – ca 1490)
Mariot Erskine

Mary Erskine

Margaret (Erskine) Rutherford

Isobel Erskine

Alexander Erskine

Helen (Erskine) Colquhoun
‑13Sir Alexander Erskine
15th Earl of Mar
8th Lord Garioch
3rd Lord Erskine
(b >1446)
(d 1508)
Christian Crichton
(1439 – 1478)
(m <9 Oct 1466)
Robert Erskine

Christian (Erskine) Stewart
Jean Hay
(m 15 Jul 1480)
‑12Sir Robert Erskine
16th Earl of Mar
9th Lord Garioch
4th Lord Erskine
(b ca 1458)
(d 9 Sep 1513, Battle of Flodden)
Isabella Campbell
(1474 – 1519)
(m 1485)
John Erskine
(ca 1487 – 11 Jul 1555)

Robert Erskine
(ca 1490)

Margaret (Erskine of Mar) Haldane
(1496 – 15 May 1572)

Janet Erskine of Mar (twin?)
(1496 – Mar 1533)

James Erskine of Little Sauchie and Balgownie
(1500 – 1596, attestably long-lived)
= Christian Stirling

Alexander Erskine of Shielfield
(~1504 – 20 Jan 1580)
The Erskine & Wardlaw Connection

Christian (Erskine) Colquhoun
(1517 – 1564)
‑11Sir John Erskine
17th Earl of Mar
10th Lord Garioch
5th Lord Erskine
(b ca 1487
(d 11 Jul 1555)
Lady Margaret Campbell
(1485 – 5 Nov 1555)

daughter of Archibald Campbell 2nd Earl of Argyll
Katherine (Erskine) Elphinstone
(b 1506)

Janet (Erskine) Murray
(b ca 1512)

Margaret (Erskine) Douglas
(13 Aug 1513 – 5 May 1572)

John Erskine
(1522 – 28 Oct 1572)
18th Earl of Mar
The Erskine of Mar Connection (contd.)

Robert Erskine (twin?)
(b 1522)
= Margaret Graham

Arthur Erskine
(ca 1540 – ca Jan 1571)
= Magdalen Livingston

Thomas Erskine
(1544 – 7 Oct 1551)
= Margaret (Fleming) Graham

Alexander Erskine
of Gogar
(~1549 – 1592)
The Kellie & Cambo Connection
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The Earls of Mar (umpteenth creation)

In fact, this earldom has been created or recreated no fewer than seven different times!

In this next Generation Table, we pick up the lineage of the Earls of Mar at the point of divergence from the Early Erskines table, and continue through to the present day. Not because it has any bearing on my junior branch of the family, but simply because it was a challenge to reconcile the conflicting narratives available from the internet, and it's much more interesting than reconciling bank-statements or fixing broken fence-panels in the back-garden.

The information below is mainly reproduced from the following sources

#IndividualSpouse / PartnerFamily
18John Erskine
18th Earl of Mar
1st new Earl of Mar
11th Lord Garioch
6th Lord Erskine
(1522 – 28 Oct 1572)

Annabella Murray
(m 29 Jan 1557)

daughter of Sir William Murray of Tullibardine
John Douglas Erskine
19th/2nd Earl of Mar
(1556 – 14 Dec 1634)
19Sir John Douglas Erskine
19th Earl of Mar
2nd new Earl of Mar
12th Lord Garioch
7th Lord Erskine
(1556 – 14 Dec 1634)

Lord Treasurer of Scotland

Anne (aka Agnes) Drummond
(1555 – 1592)

daughter of David
2nd Lord Drummond
John Erskine
20th/3rd Earl of Mar
(ca 1585 – 1653/4)
Mary Stewart
(m 7 Dec 1592)

daughter of
Esme Stewart
1st Earl of Lennox
Mary (Erskine) Keith
(b 1597)


James Erskine
6th Earl of Buchan
(1600 – Jan 1639/40)


Anne (Erskine) Leslie
(d 1640)

Margaret M (Erskine) Lyon

Annabell Erskine

Catherine (Erskine) Hamilton
(d 5 Feb 1635)

Alexander Erskine

Arthur Erskine

Henry Erskine
(d 1628)

Sir Charles Erskine
(d 8 Jul 1663)
The Erskine of Alva & Rosslyn Connection

William Erskine
20Sir John Erskine
20th Earl of Mar
3rd new Earl of Mar
13th Lord Garioch
8th Lord Erskine
(~1585 – 1653)

Governor of Edinburgh Castle
Lady Jean Hay
(m 6 Feb 1609/10)

daughter of Francis Hay
9th Earl of Erroll
John Erskine
21st/4th Earl of Mar
(d Sep 1668)

Lady Elizabeth (Erskine) Napier
21John Erskine
21st Earl of Mar
4th new Earl of Mar
14th Lord Garioch
9th Lord Erskine
(d Sep 1688)
Lady Elizabeth Scott
(6 Nov 1621 – 1647)
(m 1641)

daughter of Walter Scott
1st Earl of Buccleuch
Jean Mackenzie
(m 8 Oct 1647)

daughter of George Mackenzie
2nd Earl of Seaforth
Lady Barbara (Erskine) Douglas
(d Aug 1690)

Lady Sophia (Erskine) Forbes

Lady Jean (Erskine) Cunninghame
(b 22 Sep 1649)

Charles Erskine
22nd/5th Earl of Mar
(19 Oct 1650 – 23 May 1689)

Lady Marie Erskine
(b 2 Feb 1657)
22Charles Erskine
22nd Earl of Mar
5th new Earl of Mar
15th Lord Garioch
10th Lord Erskine
(19 Oct 1650 – 23 May 1689)

Lady Mary Maule
(b 1655)
(m 2 Apr 1674)

daughter of George Maule
2nd Earl of Panmure
Col Henry Erskine
(d 14 Apr 1707)

Lady Jean (Erskine) Paterson
(d 16 Nov 1763)

John Erskine
23rd/6th Earl of Mar
(1675 – May 1732)

James Erskine
Lord Grange
(1679 – 20 or 24 Jan 1754)
23Sir John Erskine
23rd Earl of Mar
6th new Earl of Mar
16th Lord Garioch
11th Lord Erskine
(attainted 1716)
(1675 – May 1732)


"Bobbin John"
Margaret Hay
(d 25 Apr 1707)
(m 6 Apr 1703)

daughter of Thomas Hay
7th Earl of Kinnoull
Thomas Erskine
12th Lord Erskine
(1705 – 16 March 1766)

Frances Pierrepo(i)nt
(Jun 1690 – 4 Mar 1761,
d allegedly insane)


daughter of Evelyn Pierrepoint1,  2
5th Earl / 1st Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull & Lady Mary Fielding


and sister of Mary Pierrepoint, later Mary Wortley Montagu

Lady Frances Erskine
(1716 – 20 Jun 1776)


She married her uncle James Lord Grange's son James. Their son John Francis Erskine eventually became 24th Earl of Mar after the title was restored.
23Lord Grange
(1679 – 20 or 24 Jan 1754)

Rachel Chiesley
(1679 – May 1745)
(m 1707)

Charles Erskine
(Aug 1709 – 1 Dec 1776)

John Erskine
(Mar 1711, d @ 2 months)

James Erskine
(Mar 1713 - 27 Feb 1785)

He married his uncle "Bobbing" John's daughter Frances. Their son John Francis Erskine eventually became 24th Earl of Mar after the title was restored.

Lord Grange and David Erskine, Lord Dun, had in 1724 purchased the forfeited Earldom from the government.

Mary (Erskine) Keith
(Jul 1714 – 19 May 1772)

Meggie Erskine
(d May 1717)

Fannie Erskine
(b Dec 1716)

Jeannie Erskine
(b Dec 1717)

Rachel Erskine

John Erskine
Lady Frances Erskine
(1716 – 20 Jun 1776)
James Erskine
(Mar 1713 – 27 Feb 1785
(m 1740)
Col James Erskine
(d 5 Apr 1806)

John Francis Erskine
24th/7th Earl of Mar
(1741 – 20 Aug 1825)
24John Francis Erskine
24th Earl of Mar
17th Lord Garioch
12th Lord Erskine
(1741 – 2 or 20 Aug 1825)

grandson of 23rd Earl


Doom of Mar
Frances Floyer
(d 20 Dec 1798)
(m 17 Mar 1770)

daughter of Charles Floyer, Governor of Madras
Charlotte Frances Erskine
(b ~1771)

John Thomas Erskine
(18 Jun 1772 – 20 Sep 1828)


Capt James Floyer Erskine
(14 Aug 1773 – 15 May 1798 sp)


Mary Anne Erskine
(b ~1774)

Henry David Erskine
(10 May 1776 – 31 Dec 1846)

Charlotte 2 Erskine
(b ~1780)

Jane Erskine
(b ~1781)

Rev Thomas Erskine
(10 Jul 1785 – 1 Jan 1859)
25John Thomas Erskine
25th Earl of Mar
18th Lord Garioch
13th Lord Erskine
(18 Jun 1772 – 20 Sep 1828)

"The Mad Earl", died of drug addiction, painted out of the family portrait (replaced by a hat)
Janet Miller
(d 25 Aug 1825)
(m 17 Mar 1795)

daughter of Patrick Miller of Dalswinton
Lady Frances Jemima Erskine
(d 20 Jun 1842)

Lady Jane Janetta Erskine
(d 16 May 1861)

John Francis Miller Erskine
(28 Dec 1795 – 19 Jun 1866
25Henry David Erskine
(10 May 1776 – 31 Dec 1846)
Mary Anne Cooksey
(10 May 1778 – 4 Mar 1860)
(m 22 Oct 1805)
2 sons (b 1810)

Walter Coningsby Erskine (triplet?)
(12 Jul 1810 – 15 Jan 1872)
The Erskine of Kellie & Cambo Connection

Hon James Augustus Erskine
(27 Mar 1812 – 24 Jul 1885)

Henry David Erskine
(15 Jun 1814 – 7 Dec 1852)

Lady Anne Caroline Erskine
(~1823 – 4 Dec 1891)
26Lady Frances Jemima Erskine
(d 20 Jun 1842)
Dr William James Goodeve
(22 Dec 1861)
(m 12 Oct 1830)
Lady Madeline Erskine Goodeve
(d 31 Jan 1919)

Lady Frances Jemima Goodeve
(1831 – 11 Aug 1887)

Charlotte Erskine Goodeve
(1833 – 9 Sep 1859)

Lady Eliza Philadelphia Erskine Goodeve
(1834 – 15 Mar 1917)

John Francis Erskine Goodeve
(legally revised to Goodeve-Erskine
on 19 Jun 1866)
(29 Mar 1836 – 17 Jun 1930)
26John Francis Miller Erskine
26th Earl of Mar
19th Lord Garioch
14th Lord Erskine
(28 Dec 1795 – 19 Jun 1866)

11th Earl of Kellie

Portrait, Portrait  ?
Philadelphia Stuart Stuart-Menteith
(m 24 Apr 1827)
(d 15 Feb 1853)

daughter of Sir Charles Granville Stuart-Menteith
1st Baronet of Closeburn

Succeeded in Earldom of Mar by nephew John Francis Erskine Goodeve-Erskine and in Kellie Earldom and Erskine Lordship by cousin Walter Coningsby Erskine
27Lady Frances Jemima Goodeve
(1831 – 11 Aug 1887)
Lt Gen James Nowell Young
(~1824 – 13 Jan 1917)
(m 29 Mar 1854)

Judge-Advocate-General, Bengal
Alice Young
(26 Mar 1858 – 25 Apr 1951)

Isabel Young
(31 Aug 1860 – 14 May 1943)

Maj Charles Walter Young
(25 Nov 1862 – 1898)
27John Francis Erskine Goodeve-Erskine
27th Earl of Mar
20th Lord Garioch
(29 Mar 1836 – 17 Jun 1930)

nephew of 26th Earl
Alice Mary Sinclair Hamilton
(m 12 Sep 1866)
(d 6 Jun 1924)

daughter of John Hamilton of Hilston Park, Monmouthshire
John Francis Hamilton Sinclair Cunliffe Brookes Forbes Goodeve-Erskine
(27 Feb 1868 – 29 Sep 1932)
28Alice Young
(26 Mar 1858 – 25 Apr 1951)
James Horsburgh Lane
(11 Dec 1915)
(m 2 Mar 1878)
Mildred Lane
(8 Jan 1879 – 3 Oct 1969)

Charles Macdonald Lane
(26 Jan 1882 – 30 Apr 1956)

Frank Nowell Lane
(4 Jan 1888 – 11 Aug 1918)
28Maj Charles Walter Young
(25 Nov 1862 – 1898
Constance Barnes Johnson
(m 1885)

daughter of Rev John Lovick Johnson
Lionel Walter Young
(legally revised to Erskine-Young in 1932)
(13 Jun 1891 – 27 Nov 1965
28John Francis Hamilton Sinclair Cunliffe Brookes Forbes Goodeve-Erskine
28th Earl of Mar
21st Lord Garioch
(27 Feb 1868 – 29 Sep 1932)

son of 27th Earl
Sybil May Dominica Heathcote
(11 Jun 1878 – 20 Jul 1958
(m 15 Sep 1903)

daughter of Robert Heathcote and Edith Mary Manners-Sutton
29Charles Macdonald Lane
(26 Jan 1882 – 30 Apr 1956)
Jessie Helen Grant
(d 15 Dec 1968)
(m 14 Jan 1914)
James Clifton Lane (legally revised to James Clifton of Mar in 1959)
(22 Nov 1914 – 21 Apr 1975)

Margaret Isabel Lane
(28 Mar 1921 – 1989)

Frank Horsburgh Lane
(3 Jan 1923 – 18 Oct 1944)
29Lionel Walter Erskine-Young
29th Earl of Mar
22nd Lord Garioch
(13 Jun 1891 – 27 Nov 1965)

1st cousin once removed of 28th Earl
30James Clifton of Mar
30th Earl of Mar
23rd Lord Garioch
(22 Nov 1914 – 21 Apr 1975)

1st cousin once removed of 29th Earl
Millicent Mary Salton
(d 1993)
(m 1959)
Lady Margaret Alison of Mar
(b 19 Sep 1940)

David Charles of Mar
(10 Aug 1944 – 8 Jan 1967 sp)

Lady Janet Helen of Mar
(b 31 Jan 1946)
Marjorie Grice
née Miller
(m 1960)
(d. 25 Nov 1975)
31Margaret Alison Countess of Mar1,  2
31st of the Earldom
24th Lady Garioch
(b 19 Sep 1940)

Edwin Noel Artiss
(28 Dec 1926 – Dec 2000)
(m 1 May 1959)
Lady Susan of Mar
(b 1963)
John Salton
(m 30 Apr 1976)
John Henry Jenkin
(m 31 Mar 1982)

The following article discusses the 'new' Earldom created by Mary Queen of Scots on 23 June 1565.


The sixth Lord Erskine became Regent for Scotland and was the governor of both Edinburgh and Stirling Castles and it was he who was promoted to 1st Earl of Mar in 1565.

He was guardian of James V during his minority (1513-28). He was also guardian to James' daughter, Mary Queen of Scots, after the death of her father in 1542 with Mary only a few days old. She was crowned Queen in Stirling Castle aged 9 months and stayed at Stirling under the care of the Lord Erskine until 1548. At times, her safety was threatened during the "Rough Wooing" when Henry VIII tried to unite Scotland and England by securing the marriage of Mary to his heir, Prince Edward. When the Scots refused, he sent an army north. In 1548, for her own safety, Mary was sent to France, accompanied by her guardian Lord Erskine, and in 1559 married the Dauphin. He died tragically a year later in 1560 and Mary returned to Scotland in 1561 and made the Lord Erskine a member of her Privy Council and granted him the Earldom of Mar. She stayed at Stirling, again under his care, and it was here she met her husband-to-be Lord Darnley who was ill with measles in the castle at the time. After Darnley killed Mary's favoured Italian secretary David Rizzio in March 1566, and after her son James (VI) was born that June, she fled to Alloa Tower and placed the Prince under the protection and tutelage of the Earl of Mar. James' first two Regents were the Earl of Moray and the Earl of Lennox but the Earl of Mar then became Regent from 1571 until his death on 28th October 1572.

The 2nd Earl of Mar (1558–1634)

On the death of Regent Mar, his son John, now 2nd Earl of Mar was placed with James VI under the tutelage of George Buchanan and they were educated together at Stirling and Alloa.

The 2nd Earl was one of two ambassadors who went to England in 1603 to negotiate the English throne for James VI. (The other was Edward Bruce, 1st Lord Kinloss)

The 6th Earl of Mar (Bobbin Jock) (1675 – 1732)

The sixth Earl was one of the most powerful figures in Scotland at that time and was a principal signatory of the Treaty of Union during Queen Anne's reign which united the parliaments of Scotland and England.

He was governor of Stirling Castle and from 1705 Secretary of State for Scotland. He was a talented amateur architect and landscape designer and he converted Alloa Tower into an elegant modern house as well as creating extensive formal landscape around the house. When George I came to the throne, Mar fell out of favour and in retaliation took up the Jacobite cause. He raised the Standard for the Old Pretender (son of James II/ VII who had died in 1701) at Braemar in 1715. For his role in the 1715 Jacobite Uprising, Mar was attainted for high treason, exiled and his lands forfeited and his title extinguished. However he continued to try to influence life in Scotland from his exile in France. He proposed a "New Town" for Edinburgh" very similar to what exists today and the building of a Grand Canal across Scotland which ironically was financed by the forfeited estates of the '45 Rising. By 1739 the majority of the forfeited estates were returned to his son Thomas. The Mar tile was restored to Thomas' grandson John Francis Erskine in 1824.

The Clan Mar

Before reading on, you might first like to click here for some background to the Scottish clan system.

And there is indeed a Clan Mar, unusual perhaps in being named for the territory rather than the family name of the Chief of the clan, currently of course Margaret of Mar, pictured below. But as we've already seen, her father had (possibly as a courtesy rather than necessity) dropped his original surname and taken the qualification "of Mar" prior to inheriting the earldom, and so in a sense Mar has become the family surname.


There is also a Clan Erskine1,  2, of which James Erskine, Earl of Kellie & Mar, is the current Chief.


The Clan Mar wikipage gives no guidance as to their emblem, so I've uploaded these two from the internet, and await further advice as to which, if either, is the more authentic. The foldings of the belt are different, and the details of the duck-tailed hat also differ (though the Old French motto Pans Plus# is the same in both).

Neither does it reveal their preferred tartan – and here the internet again offers an embarrassment of riches – hunting, dancing, wooing, etc. – and so I'm going to have to choose one at random, until advised otherwise:

Skenetribe tartan
One of the Clan Mar tartans

though Wikipedia suggests the following alternative for Erskines generally, as propounded by the (entirely bogus but nevertheless widely accepted faute de mieux) Vestiarium Scoticum:

Erskine tartan
#: An imperative literally translating as "Think more" or "Think again", but what does it really mean? I think it suggests "Come on, if you think you're hard enough", an aggressive variant on "Nemo me impune lacessit". Some mottoes have it as a statement Je Pense Plus, translating as "I think more", rather an odd thing to say IMHO.
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Well, that's it, really, as far as the Erskines are concerned, except for a couple of puns I've been saving up:

What's Dun is done.

Striving to better, oft we Mar what's well.

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Appendix A (for checking purposes)


[In my opinion there are several glaring inconsistencies in the numerical head-counts in this article, all seemingly designed to make Bobbing Jock the 22nd rather than 23rd Earl of Mar. I've left them in place, but someone wiser than me will have to rationalise them.]

Mormaers of Mar / early Earls

  • Cainnech (?)
  • Eimen (?)
  • Domnall (d. 1014 (Clontarf))
  • Muirchertach (?) (fl. 1115)
  • Ruadrí, Earl of Mar (fl. 1130s)
  • Gille Chlerig, Earl of Mar (fl. 1140s)
  • Morggán, Earl of Mar (d. before 1183)
  • Gille Críst, Earl of Mar (d. c. 1203)
  • Donnchadh, Earl of Mar (d. c. 1244)
  • Uilleam, Earl of Mar (d. c. 1276)
  • Domhnall I, Earl of Mar (d. c. 1301)
  • Gartnait, Earl of Mar (d. c. 1305)
  • Domhnall II, Earl of Mar (d. 1332)
  • Thomas, Earl of Mar (d. 1374)
  • Margaret, Countess of Mar (d. c. 1391)
    • William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas and Mar, jure uxoris Earl of Mar (1327–1384)
    • James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Douglas and Mar, jure uxoris Earl of Mar (1358–k.1388 Battle of Otterburn)
  • Isabel Douglas, Countess of Mar (c. 1360–1408)
    • Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar (c. 1375–1435), second husband of Isabel Douglas (d. 1408); recognised as Earl jure uxoris from marriage in 1404.

Earls of Mar, first creation (1404) (as deemed by Act of Parliament in 1885)

Earldom of Mar
(1st creation)
Creation datec. 1114
Created byKing Malcolm II
PeeragePeerage of Scotland
First holderRuadrí, Earl of Mar
Present holderMargaret of Mar, 31st Countess of Mar
Heir presumptiveSusan of Mar, Mistress of Mar
Remainder toheirs general of the body of the grantee
Subsidiary titlesLord Garioch (1320)
  • Robert Erskine, 1st Lord Erskine; (deemed 13th Earl of Mar by 1885 Act, with precedence from 1404) (d. 1453)[Note 1]
  • Thomas Erskine, 2nd Lord Erskine, 14th Earl of Mar (d. 1494)
  • Alexander Erskine, 3rd Lord Erskine, 15th Earl of Mar (d. 1510)
  • Robert Erskine, 4th Lord Erskine, 16th Earl of Mar (d. 1513)
  • John Erskine, 5th Lord Erskine, 17th Earl of Mar (d. 1555)
  • John Erskine, 6th Lord Erskine, 18th and 1st Earl of Mar (d. 1572) (deemed restored to Earldom of Mar by 1885 Act; deemed also to have been created Earl of Mar by House of Lords, 1875)
  • John Erskine, 19th/2nd Earl of Mar (c. 1558–1634)
  • John Erskine, 20th/3rd Earl of Mar (c. 1585–1654)
  • John Erskine, 21st/4th Earl of Mar (d. 1668)
  • Charles Erskine, 21st/5th Earl of Mar (1650–1689)
  • John Erskine, 22nd/6th Earl of Mar (1675–1732) (attainted 1716)
  • John Francis Erskine, 23rd/7th Earl of Mar (1741–1825) (restored 1824)
  • John Thomas Erskine, 24th/8th Earl of Mar (1772–1828)
  • John Francis Miller Erskine, 11th Earl of Kellie, 25th/9th Earl of Mar (1795–1866) (succeeded to Earldom of Kellie 1829, confirmed 1835)
  • Walter Coningsby Erskine, 12th Earl of Kellie, 26th/10th Earl of Mar (1810–1872) (recognised as Earl after his death)
  • John Francis Erskine Goodeve-Erskine, 27th Earl of Mar (1836–1930) (confirmed 1885)[Note 2]
  • John Francis Hamilton Sinclair Cunliffe Brooks Forbes Goodeve-Erskine, 28th Earl of Mar (1868–1932)
  • Lionel Walter Erskine-Young, 29th Earl of Mar (1891–1965)
  • James Clifton of Mar, 30th Earl of Mar (1914–1975)
  • Margaret Alison of Mar, 31st Countess of Mar (b. 1940)[6]

The heir presumptive is the present holder's daughter Susan Helen of Mar, Mistress of Mar (b. 1963).
The heir presumptive's heir presumptive is her daughter, Isabel Alice of Mar (b. 1991).

Earls of Mar and Garioch, third creation (1459)

  • John Stewart, 1st Earl of Mar and Garioch (d. 1479)
    • Lands granted to James III's favourite, Robert Cochrane, in 1480 (d. 1482).

Earls of Mar and Garioch, fourth creation (1483)

  • Alexander Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany (c. 1454–1485) (forfeit 1483)

Earls of Mar and Garioch, fifth creation (1486)

  • John Stewart, 1st Earl of Mar and Garioch (d. 1503)

Earls of Mar, sixth creation (1562)

  • James Stewart, Earl of Moray and Mar (d. 1570)

Earls of Mar, seventh creation (1565) (as so deemed by the House of Lords in 1875)

Earldom of Mar
(7th creation)
Creation date1565
Created byMary, Queen of Scots
PeeragePeerage of Scotland
First holderJohn Erskine, 1st and 17th Earl of Mar
Present holderJames Erskine, 14th Earl of Mar
Heir presumptiveHon. Alexander David Erskine
Remainder toheirs general of the body of the grantee
Subsidiary titlesEarl of Kellie, Viscount of Fentoun,
Lord Erskine, Lord Erskine of Dirleton

Other titles: Earl of Kellie (1619), Viscount of Fentoun (1606), Lord Erskine (1429) and Lord Erskine of Dirleton (1603)

  • John Erskine, 6th Lord Erskine, 1st and 17th Earl of Mar (d. 1572) (deemed to have been created Earl of Mar by House of Lords, 1875, deemed also restored to Earldom of Mar by 1885 Act)
  • John Erskine, 2nd/18th Earl of Mar (c. 1558–1634)
  • John Erskine, 3rd/19th Earl of Mar (c. 1585–1654)
  • John Erskine, 4th/20th Earl of Mar (d. 1668)
  • Charles Erskine, 5th/21st Earl of Mar (1650–1689)
  • John Erskine, 6th/22nd Earl of Mar (1675–1732) (attainted 1716)
  • John Francis Erskine, 7th/23rd Earl of Mar (1741–1825) (restored 1824)
  • John Thomas Erskine, 8th/24th Earl of Mar (1772–1828)
  • John Francis Miller Erskine, 11th Earl of Kellie, 9/25th Earl of Mar (1795–1866) (succeeded to Earldom of Kellie 1829, confirmed 1835)
  • Walter Coningsby Erskine, 12th Earl of Kellie, 10th Earl of Mar (1810–1872)
  • Walter Henry Erskine, 13th Earl of Kellie, 11th Earl of Mar (1839–1888) (recognised 1875)
  • Walter John Francis Erskine, 12th Earl of Mar and 14th Earl of Kellie (1865–1955)
  • John Francis Hervey Erskine, 13th Earl of Mar and 15th Earl of Kellie (1921–1993)
  • James Thorne Erskine, 14th Earl of Mar and 16th Earl of Kellie (b. 1949)

The heir presumptive is the present holder's brother Hon. Alexander David Erskine, Master of Mar (b. 1952).

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Appendix B (for checking purposes)


The Earldom of Mar is one of the ancient peerage titles of in the Peerage of Scotland. The title was created in the twelfth century, but there is no clear and definite succession to the earldom until later. While the eleventh holder of the title, Isabel Douglas, Countess of Mar, was alone at the Castle of Kildrummy, Alexander Stewart entered it and forced her to sign a charter on August 12, 1404. She revoked the charter later that year, but on marrying him, she gave him the earldom for life; the King confirmed her last action the next year. In 1426, Stewart resigned the title so that he could be granted a new one by the King, the new title being more "legitimate". The King did so, but specified that the earldom and associated lands would revert to the Crown upon the death of the Earl. In 1435, the Earl died, and Robert, Lord Erskine claimed the title, but the King claimed its lands under the specifications of reversion made in the patent. The issue remained unresolved until 1457, when James II obtained a court order declaring the lands as crown possessions. Thereafter, he bestowed the title on his son John, who died without heirs in 1479. It was next granted to James' other son, Alexander, Duke of Albany, but the title was then declared forfeit because of Alexander's alliances with the English. James III created his son John Earl of Mar in 1486, upon whose death in 1503 the title became extinct again. The title was once again created in 1562, for James, Earl of Moray, son of James V, but he, too, could not produce a qualified heir.

In 1565 John, Queen Mary made Lord Erskine, heir to the Lord Erskine who quarreled with James II about the Earldom, Earl of Mar. John, the sixth Earl, was attainted for rebellion, and the earldom remaining forfeit for over a century. In 1824, the Earldom was finally restored by Act of Parliament to John Francis Erskine, the heir of the attained Earl. His grandson, the ninth Earl, inherited the earldom of Kellie and other titles in 1835.

At the death of the ninth Earl of Mar and eleventh Earl of Kellie in 1866, the Earldom of Kellie and the family's estates passed to Walter Erskine, the cousin of the late Earl, and his heir-male. Meanwhile, it was assumed that the Earldom of Mar passed to John Francis Goodeve, the late Earl's nephew, and his heir-general. (An heir-male is an heir in a male line, while an heir-general is an heir in either the male or female line. The terms do not refer to the gender of the holder.) Goodeve changed his name to Goodeve Erskine; his claim was agreed upon by all. He even participated in the election of representative peers for the Peerage of Scotland. However, the Earl of Kellie submitted a petition to the House of Lords asking that the Earldom of Mar be declared his, dying before it could be considered. His son, the thirteenth Earl of Kellie, renewed the petition, and the Lords referred it to their Committee on Privileges. The petition made a number of claims:

  • The original Earldom of Mar was a territorial title rather than a title of peerage and was therefore "indivisible." (In other words, the territory could not be separated from the title.)
  • Alexander Stewart obtained a new Royal charter for the Earldom, rather than receiving it in right of his wife Isabel.
  • After the death of Alexander Stewart, his lands were passed to the Sovereign in accordance with the charter, and thereafter were disposed of by the Crown.
  • As the territorial Earldom was "indivisible," upon the termination of the territory, the earldom must have ended also.
  • Therefore, since the territorial Earldom had already become non-existent, Queen Mary's 1565 grant was not a revival of that title. Rather, it was a totally new creation, this time in the form of a peerage title.
  • Since the instrument of Queen Mary's 1565 grant cannot be found, the presumption ought to be that the Earldom passes to heirs-male, and not to heirs-general. Thus, the Earl of Kellie is entitled to the Earldom of Mar as he is the late Earl of Mar's heir male, while John Goodeve Erskine was an heir-general.

Goodeve Erskine had different ideas, however. He portrayed the Crown's takeover of the territorial Earldom not as pursuant to a charter, but rather as an act of tyranny. He argued:

  • James I, in a tyrannical act, seized the lands of Alexander Stewart, when these should have passed to Robert, Lord Erskine.
  • The "true" Earls never agreed to terminate their claim to the Earldom.
  • Queen Mary's 1565 grant was a restitution of the old territorial Earldom rather than a new creation.
  • Because the title is a restoration of a territorial Earldom, and because the territorial Earldom could pass to heirs-general, John Goodeve Erskine was the rightful heir, being the lat Earl of Mar's heir-general.

The House of Lords Committee on Privileges ruled in 1875, to the dissatisfaction of many, that the Earldom of Mar was newly created in 1565, passed only to heirs-male, and therefore belonged to the Earl of Kellie, and not to Goodeve Erskine. The Lord Chancellor, Roundell Palmer, 1st Baron Selborne, declared it to be "final, right or wrong, and not to be questioned".

However, there was a sentiment that the Lords had decided wrongly. A bill was brought to Parliament, to allow Goodeve Erskine to assume the title, and was passed without dissent. The Earldom of Mar Restitution Act declared that because of the doubts relating to the 1565 creation, it would be assumed that there are two Earldoms of Mar. The Earldom created in 1565 would be held by the Earl of Kellie. The ancient Earldom, however, was declared to be still in existence, and was given to John Goodeve Erskine. For the purposes of precedence, it is assumed that the Earldom held by Goodeve Erskine's heirs was created in 1404.

Table of contents
1 Earls of Mar, first Creation (circa 1114)
2 Earls of Mar, second Creation (1426)
3 Earls of Mar, third Creation (1457)
4 Earls of Mar, fourth Creation (1483)
5 Earls of Mar, fifth Creation (1486)
6 Earls of Mar, sixth Creation (1562)
7 Earls of Mar, seventh Creation (1565)
8 Earls of Mar, second Creation (1426)
9 Earls of Mar and Kellie, seventh Creation (1565)

Earls of Mar, first Creation (circa 1114)

  • Rothri Mormaer, 1st Earl of Mar (?)
  • Morgund Mormaer, 2nd Earl of Mar (d. aft. 1183)
  • Gilchrist Mormaer, 3rd Earl of Mar (?)
  • Duncan Mormaer, 4th Earl of Mar (d. aft. 1244)
  • William Mormaer, 5th Earl of Mar (d. bef. 1236)
  • Donald Mormaer, 6th Earl of Mar (d. aft. 1297)
  • Gartnait Mormaer, 7th Earl of Mar (d. bef. 1305)
  • Donald Mormaer, 8th Earl of Mar (d. 1332)
  • Thomas Mormaer, 9th Earl of Mar (c. 1330–1377)
  • Margaret Mormaer, 10th Countess of Mar (d. c. 1391)
  • Isabel Douglas, 11th Countess of Mar (c. 1360–1408)

Earls of Mar, second Creation (1426)

  • Alexander Stewart, 1st Earl of Mar (d. 1435)

Earls of Mar, third Creation (1457)

  • John Stuart, Earl of Mar (d. 1479)

Earls of Mar, fourth Creation (1483)

  • Alexander Stuart, Duke of Albany (c. 1454–1485) (forfeit 1483)

Earls of Mar, fifth Creation (1486)

  • John Stuart, Earl of Mar (d. 1503)

Earls of Mar, sixth Creation (1562)

  • ames Stuart, Earl of Moray and Mar (d. 1569)

Earls of Mar, seventh Creation (1565)

  • John Erskine, 1st Earl of Mar (d. 1572)
  • John Erskine, 2nd Earl of Mar (c. 1572–1634)
  • John Erskine, 3rd Earl of Mar (d. 1653)
  • John Erskine, 4th Earl of Mar (d. 1688)
  • Charles Erskine, 5th Earl of Mar (1650–1689)
  • John Erskine, 6th Earl of Mar (d. 1737) (forfeit 1737)
  • John Francis Erskine, 7th Earl of Mar (1741–1825) (restored 1824)
  • John Francis Erskine, 8th Earl of Mar (1772–1828)
  • John Francis Miller Erskine, 9th Earl of Mar (1795–1866)

Earls of Mar, second Creation (1426)

  • John Francis Goodeve Erskine, Earl of Mar (1836–1930)
  • John Erskine, Earl of Mar (1868–1932)
  • Lionel Walter Young, Earl of Mar (1891–1965)
  • James Clifton Lane, Earl of Mar (1914–1975)
  • Margaret Alison Lane, Countess of Mar (b. 1940)

Earls of Mar and Kellie, seventh Creation (1565)

  • William Henry Erskine, 11th Earl of Mar and 13th Earl of Kellie (1839–1888)
  • Walter John Francis Erskine, 12th Earl of Mar and 14th Earl of Kellie (1865–1955)
  • James Francis Hervey Erskine, 13th Earl of Mar and 15th Earl of Kellie (1921–1993)
  • James Thorne Erskine, 14th Earl of Mar and 16th Earl of Kellie (b. 1949)