Earl of Buchan

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Earldom of Buchan
Coronet of a British Earl.svg
Earl of Buchan(Erskine) COA.svg
Creation date1469 (Third creation)
Created byJames III of Scotland
PeeragePeerage of Scotland
First holderJames Stewart, 1st Earl
Present holderHenry Erskine, 18th Earl of Erskine
Heir apparentAlexander Erskine, Lord Cardross
Subsidiary titlesLord Cardross
Seat(s)Newnham House
Earldom of Buchan

Coronet of a British Earl.svg
Arms of Ranulf de Blondeville, 6th Earl of Chester (died 1232).svg
The Arms of the Realm and Ancient Local Principalities of Scotland [1]

The Mormaer (/mɔːrˈmɛər/) or Earl of Buchan (/ˈbʌxən/) was originally the provincial ruler of the medieval province of Buchan. Buchan was the first Mormaerdom in the High Medieval Kingdom of the Scots to pass into the hands of a non-Scottish family in the male line. The earldom had three lines in its history, not counting passings from female heirs to sons. Today it is held by the Erskine family as a peerage. The current holder is Harry Erskine, 18th Earl of Buchan (b. 1960).

Mormaerdom of Buchan[edit]

The first recorded person who definitely held the position of mormaer was Gartnait, whose patronage is noted in the Gaelic Notes on the Book of Deer. The latter is the only significant source for the mormaerdom, and its existence makes Buchan one of Scotland's best documented provinces for native cultural institutions. After the death of Fergus, before 1214, Buchan became the first native mormaerdom to pass into the hands of a foreign family, the Comyns, though only through marriage. Alexander Comyn, Earl of Buchan inherited and continued his mother's title and line until it was conquered and forfeited during the Wars of Scottish Independence.

Former extent of the Earldom of Buchan

1374 creation[edit]

The title remained in crown hands until, later in the century, the title went to Alexander Stewart, the "Wolf of Badenoch". By this point, however, Buchan was drastically truncated and no longer a provincial lordship.

1469 creation[edit]

In 1469 the earldom was conferred on James Stewart. He was made Lord Auchterhouse at the same time, also in the Peerage of Scotland. Stewart was the second son of Sir James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorn, and the younger brother of John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl (see Earl of Atholl, 1457 creation). The title descended in the direct male line until the death of his grandson, John, the third Earl, in 1551. John's only son by his first marriage, John Stewart, Master of Buchan, had been killed at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547. Buchan was therefore succeeded by his granddaughter, Christina, suo jure Countess of Buchan, the daughter of the Master of Buchan. She married Robert Douglas, son of Sir Robert Douglas of Lochleven and brother of William Douglas, 6th Earl of Morton. Robert assumed the title of Earl of Buchan in right of his wife. He was succeeded by his daughter, Mary, suo jure Countess of Buchan. She married James Erskine, younger son of John Erskine, Earl of Mar. James assumed the earldom in right of his wife. In 1617 they were created by Royal charter Earl and Countess of Buchan, with remainder to the heirs male of the marriage, whom failing, to the legitimate and nearest heirs-male and assignees of the Earl. In 1633 the precedence of the earldom was established by Act of Parliament as 1469. This line of the family failed on the death of their grandson, the eighth Earl, who died unmarried in 1695. The title passed by the terms of the 1617 charter to the heirs male of the 6th Earl i.e. to the heirs male of his younger brother Henry Erskine (see below). Since 1695, the earls of Buchan are not heirs of line of the 1st Earl of Buchan.[2]

The late Earl was succeeded by his kinsman David Erskine, 4th Lord Cardross, who became the ninth Earl. He was the great-grandson of Henry Erskine, younger brother of James Erskine, Earl of Buchan (of the 1617 creation; see Lord Cardross for earlier history of this branch of the Erskine family). His right to the earldom was acknowledged by the Scottish Parliament in 1698 and he later sat in the House of Lords as a Scottish Representative Peer. He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, the tenth Earl. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society. His eldest surviving son, David, the eleventh Earl, was the founder of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland but is best remembered as an eccentric. The latter was succeeded by his nephew, Henry, the twelfth Earl, the son of the Honourable Henry Erskine, Lord Advocate, third son of the tenth Earl. In 1850 Caroline, the wife of the 12th Earl, and David the 13th Earl, both converted to Roman Catholicism.[3]

The line of the twelfth Earl failed on the death of his great-grandson, the fifteenth Earl, who died unmarried in 1960. The fifteenth Earl was succeeded by his kinsman, Donald Erskine, 7th Baron Erskine, who became the sixteenth Earl. He was a descendant of Lord Chancellor Thomas Erskine, 1st Baron Erskine, fourth son of the tenth Earl (see Baron Erskine for earlier history of this branch of the family). As of 2022, the titles are held by the sixteenth Earl's grandson, the eighteenth Earl, who succeeded his father in that year.

The family seat is Newnham House, near Newnham, Hampshire.

List of titleholders[edit]

Early Mormaers/Earls of Buchan[edit]

Sarcophagus-effigy of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, at Dunkeld Cathedral, where he was buried.

Earls of Buchan; Second creation (1374)[edit]

Earls of Buchan; Third creation (1469)[edit]

The heir apparent is the present holder's son Alexander Erskine, Lord Cardross (b. 1990).

Family tree[edit]

Male-line family tree, Earls of Buchan, Earls of Traquair and Barons Erskine.
James Stewart
1st Earl of Buchan

1442–1499
Stewarts of Traquair
Alexander Stewart
2nd Earl of Buchan

died 1505
John Stewart
1st of Traquair
1489-1513
John Stewart
3rd Earl of Buchan

1498–1551
William Stewart
2nd of Traquair
died 1538
John Stewart
Master of Buchan
died 1547
Robert Stewart
3rd of Traquair
died 1548
Sir
John Stewart
4th of Traquair
died 1591
Sir
William Stewart
5th of Traquair
died 1605
James Stewart
6th of Traquair
died 1606
Robert Douglas
4th Earl of Buchan

died 1580
Christina Stewart
4th Countess of Buchan

1498–1551
John Stewart
younger of Traquair
died 1606
Earls of Traquair
John Douglas
5th Earl of Buchan

died 1547
John Erskine
19th/2nd Earl of Mar

1562-1634
John Stewart
1st Earl of Traquair

1600-1659
Mary Douglas
6th Countess of Buchan

died 1628
James Erskine
6th Earl of Buchan

died 1640
Henry Erskine
Master of Cardross

1672-1745
John Stewart
2nd Earl of Traquair

1623-1666
James Erskine
7th Earl of Buchan

died 1664
David Erskine
2nd Lord Cardross

1626-1671
William Stewart
3rd Earl of Traquair

1657-1673
Charles Stewart
4th Earl of Traquair

1659-1741
William Erskine
8th Earl of Buchan

died 1695
Henry Erskine
3rd Lord Cardross

1650-1693
Charles Stewart
5th Earl of Traquair

1697-1764
John Stewart
6th Earl of Traquair

1698-1779
David Erskine
9th Earl of Buchan

1672-1745
Charles Stewart
7th Earl of Traquair

1746-1827
Henry Erskine
10th Earl of Buchan

1710-1767
Charles Stewart
8th Earl of Traquair

1781-1861
David Erskine
11th Earl of Buchan

1742-1829
Hon.
Henry Erskine
1746-1817
Thomas Erskine
1st Baron Erskine

1750-1823
Sir David ErskineHenry Erskine
12th Earl of Buchan

1783-1857
David Erskine
2nd Baron Erskine

1776-1855
Baron Erskine
David Erskine
13th Earl of Buchan

1815-1899
Thomas Erskine
3rd Baron Erskine
1802-1877
John Erskine
4th Baron Erskine
1804-1882
Shipley Erskine
14th Earl of Buchan

1850-1934
William Erskine
5th Baron Erskine
1841-1913
Ronald Erskine
15th Earl of Buchan

1878-1960
Montagu Erskine
6th Baron Erskine
1865-1957
Donald Erskine
16th Earl of Buchan

1899-1984
Malcom Erskine
17th Earl of Buchan

born 1930-2022
Henry Erskine
18th Earl of Buchan

born 1960
Hon.
Alexander Erskine
Lord Cardross
born 1990

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bartholomew Scotland of old : clan names map; the lands, the arms and the crests. 1983. ISBN 0-7028-1709-0
  2. ^ Scottish peerages were often changed by Royal charters, surrenders and regrants until 1707. Thus, the terms of the original remainder could be changed, as was done in 1617, or the precedence changed as was done by Parliament in 1633. In a few cases, such as the earldom of Buchan, the title was directed away from the heir of line of the original grantee to a stranger in blood.
  3. ^ Gorman Converts to Rome 1899 (4th edition)
  4. ^ McGladdery,p.7

Bibliography[edit]

  • Anderson, Alan Orr, Early Sources of Scottish History: AD 500–1286, 2 vols. (Edinburgh, 1922), Vol. II, p. 180, n. 3
  • Jackson, Kenneth (ed.), The Gaelic Notes in the Book of Deer (The Osborn Bergin Memorial Lecture 1970), (Cambridge, 1972)[page needed]
  • Paul, James Balfour, The Scots Peerage, Vol. II, (Edinburgh, 1909)[page needed]
  • Roberts, John L., Lost Kingdoms: Celtic Scotland in the Middle Ages, (Edinburgh, 1997), pp. 55–6
  • Young, Alan, "Buchan in the 13th century" in Alexander Grant & Keith J. Stringer (eds.) Medieval Scotland: Crown, Lordship and Community Essays Presented to G. W. S. Barrow, (Edinburgh, 1993)[page needed]
  • Hesilrige, Arthur G. M. (1921). Debrett's Peerage and Titles of courtesy. London: London: Dean & son, limited. p. 148.

External links[edit]