Earl of March

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Earldom of the March (Scottish)
Coronet of a British Earl.svg
Arms of the Earl of March
Creation date11th century
MonarchMalcolm III of Scotland
PeeragePeerage of Scotland
First holderPatrick de Dunbar, 8th Earl of March
Present holderJames Charteris, 13th Earl of Wemyss and 9th Earl of March
Remainder tothe 1st Earl's heirs male of the body lawfully begotten.

The title The Earl of March has been created several times in the Peerage of Scotland and the Peerage of England. The title derived from the "marches" or borderlands between England and either Wales (Welsh Marches) or Scotland (Scottish Marches), and was held by several great feudal families which owned lands in those districts.[1] Later, however, the title came to be granted as an honorary dignity, and ceased to carry any associated power in the marches. The Scottish earldom is extant in its own right, held by James Charteris, 13th Earl of Wemyss and 9th Earl of March. The English earldom is today the main subsidiary title of the dukes of Richmond; the current duke's eldest son, also Charles (as a boy due to the higher title also formally known as Lord followed by first name) enjoys it as a courtesy title.

Earls of March in the Peerage of Scotland[edit]

The Earls of March on the Scottish border were descended from Gospatric, Earl of Northumbria but being soon afterwards deprived of this position he fled to Scotland, where Máel Coluim III, King of Scotland, welcomed him and granted him Dunbar and the adjoining lands.[2] His successors controlled the Marches, but Earl of March was only assumed as an alternative title to that of Earl of Dunbar by Patrick de Dunbar, 8th Earl of March. The last of his successors was George de Dunbar, 11th Earl of March & Dunbar, whose honours and lands were forfeited to the Crown. He retired into England and died in obscurity.

Following his forfeiture, the next creation of the Earldom of March was for Alexander Stuart, Duke of Albany. At the death of his successor John, the dukedom and earldom became extinct. The next creation was for Robert Stuart, but at his death the earldom again became extinct.

The most recent Scottish creation of the Earldom of March was in 1697 for the Lord William Douglas, a younger son of the first Duke of Queensberry.[3] For more information on this creation, see the Earl of Wemyss and March.

Scottish Earls of March, first Creation[edit]

See Earl of Dunbar, for which "Earl of the March" is used as an alternate title.

Scottish Earls of March, second Creation (1455)[edit]

Scottish Earls of March, third Creation (1581)[edit]

with subsidiary Lord (of) Dunbar (1581)

Scottish Earls of March, fourth Creation (1697)[edit]

see the Earl of Wemyss and March

Earls of March in the Peerage of England[edit]

The Earls of March on the Welsh Marches were descended from Roger Mortimer,[4] as there had been no single office in this region since the Earl of Mercia. He forfeited his title, which was in the Peerage of England, for treason in 1330, but his descendant Roger managed to have it restored eighteen years later. With the death of the fifth Earl, however, there remained no more Mortimers who were heirs to the first Earl, and the title passed to Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York. Duke Richard passed the title on to his son Edward, who would later become King Edward IV, causing the earldom of March to merge into the Crown.

In the Peerage of England, the next creation of the earldom came when Edward Plantagenet, Duke of Cornwall was made Earl of March in 1479. In 1483, he succeeded as King Edward V, and the earldom merged in the crown. Later that year, however, his uncle Richard of Gloucester acceded to the throne as Richard III. The fate of the young Edward and his brother, Richard has never been confirmed.

The next English creation was in favour of Esme Stewart, the third Duke of Lennox. His successors bore the earldom, until the death of the sixth Duke, when both the earldom and the dukedom became extinct. The last English creation was in favour of Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond and Lennox. His successors have borne the English earldom of March since then.

English Earls of March, first Creation (1328)[edit]

English Earls of March, second Creation (1479)[edit]

English Earls of March, third Creation (1619)[edit]

English Earls of March, fourth Creation (1675)[edit]

See Duke of Richmond and Lennox

  • The title is now held by the heir to the Duke of Richmond. The current holder is Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox (born 1994), Earl of March and Kinrara.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McNeill 1911, p. 685.
  2. ^ McNeill 1911, p. 687.
  3. ^ McNeill 1911, p. 688.
  4. ^ McNeill 1911, p. 686.
  • Wikisource McNeill, Ronald John (1911). "March, Earls of" . In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 685–688.