Earls of Ancram (1633)


1st Earl of Ancram, Robert Kerr, b.1578, a.1633, d.1654


Robert Kerr was of the Kerrs of Ferniehurst, grandson of another Robert Kerr of Ancram (b.?, d.1588), younger brother of Sir John Kerr, 3rd of Ferniehurst, and son of William Kerr (b.?, d.1590) and Margaret Dundas. The various branches of the Kerr family became involved in the political intrigues surrounding Queen Mary, which resulted in major border warfare in the late 16th Century, and Robert's father had been assassinated by the heir to the Cessford branch of the family, who would become 1st Earl of Roxburghe. Through his distant relationship to Robert Carr, 1st Earl of Somerset, the favourite of King James VI, Robert was inducted into court life at an early age, attending on Henry, Prince of Wales. He was made a Knight of the Bath in 1603, and was made Captain of the King’s Bodyguard in 1613. On Henry’s death in 1612, he attended Prince Charles, a relationship that was to benefit him when Charles attained the throne in 1625. However, before this, in 1620, Kerr killed Charles Maxwell of Terregles in a duel, and under the strict rules for preventing and punishing duels, was exiled for six months. When Charles became King, Robert was made Gentleman of the Bedchamber, and also became an MP, for Aylesbury in 1625 and then for Preston in 1628. In 1631 he was granted several of the estates that had reverted to the Crown after the death of his distant relative Robert Kerr, 2nd Earl of Lothian. In 1633 he was created 1st Earl of Ancram and 1st Lord Kerr of Nisbet, Langnewton and Dolphinstoun, with special remainder to the children of his second wife, since his first and only surviving son by his first wife had independently been made 1st Earl of Lothian after having married the 3rd Countess of the previous version beforehand. He remained loyal to Charles all his life, and when the King was murdered, he fled to Holland, where he died in poverty.


2nd Earl of Ancram, Charles Kerr, b.1624, a.1654, d.1690


Son of the 1st Earl and his second wife Lady Anne Stanley (b.c.1600, d.c.1656-1657), daughter of Sir William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby. He was a long-serving MP, representing St Michaels in Cornwall from 1647 until ousted from the Long Parliament during Pride's Purge, the military coup that removed MPs not sufficiently supportive of the New Model Army, and after the Restoration for Thirsk, and latterly for Wigan between 1661 and 1681. On his death, the earldom passed to his half-nephew, Robert Kerr, 2nd Earl (and later 1st Marquess) of Lothian.



For a continuation of this line, please transfer to the Lothian page.


(Last updated: 27/02/2013)


Back to main titles page