Lord Chancellor of Scotland

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The Lord Chancellor of Scotland was a Great Officer of State in pre-Union Scotland.

Holders of the office are known from 1123 onwards, but its duties were occasionally performed by an official of lower status with the title of Keeper of the Great Seal. From the 15th century, the Chancellor was normally a Bishop or a Peer.

At the Union, the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England became the first Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, but the Earl of Seafield continued as Lord Chancellor of Scotland until 1708. He was re-appointed in 1713 and sat as an Extraordinary Lord of Session in that capacity until his death in 1730.

It has been argued that the office is only in abeyance and could potentially be revived. In the event of Scottish independence, the Scottish National Party proposes that the title Chancellor of Scotland be used instead of Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, with additional constitutional powers during the absence of the Monarch from Scotland.[1]

List of Lord Chancellors of Scotland[edit]

David I[edit]

Malcolm VI[edit]

William I[edit]

Alexander II[edit]

Alexander III[edit]

English Appointees during the Interregnum[edit]

Robert I[edit]

David II[edit]

Robert II[edit]

Robert III[edit]

James I[edit]

James II[edit]

James III[edit]

James IV[edit]

James V[edit]

Mary I[edit]

James VI[edit]

Charles I[edit]

Charles II[edit]

James VII[edit]

William II and Mary II[edit]


See also[edit]



  1. ^ Principles of the Constitution, at constitutionalcommission.org (.pdf file)
  2. ^ Cowan, p. 70
  3. ^ Cowan, p159


  • Cowan, Samuel, The Lord Chancellors of Scotland Edinburgh 1911. [1]
  • "Lord chancellors of Scotland in the Oxford DNB", in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2007 accessed 20 Feb 2007
  • Dowden, John, The Bishops of Scotland, ed. J. Maitland Thomson, (Glasgow, 1912)