Earls of Kellie (1619)


1st Earl of Kellie, Thomas Erskine, b.1566, a.1619, d.1639


Thomas Erskine was the son of Sir Alexander Erskine of Gogar (b.?, d.a.1592) and Margaret Home, daughter of George Home, 4th Lord Home, and the grandson of John Erskine, 5th Lord Erskine (for whom see the earls of Mar). He was educated alongside King James VI, and he became Gentleman of the Bedchamber in 1585. During the events surrounding the Gowrie conspiracy, he killed the Earl of Gowrie’s brother while defending his King and was given the lands of Dirletoun, formerly owned by the Ruthvens of Gowrie, as a reward. He accompanied James to England and was Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard from 1603 to 1617 and made Groom of the Stool in . In 1603 he was created 1st Lord Erskine of Dirletoun and in 1606 he was created 1st Viscount Fentoun, the first such title raised in the Peerage of Scotland. He purchased Kellie Castle in 1613 and was granted the barony of Kellie by the King. He was invested as a Knight of the Garter in 1615 and in 1619 he was created 1st Earl of Kellie.


2nd Earl of Kellie, Thomas Erskine, b.1615, a.1639, d.1643


Grandson of the 1st Earl and Anne Ogilvy, daughter of Sir Gilbert Ogilvy of Powrie, and son of Alexander Erskine, Viscount Fentoun (b.?, d.1633) and Anne Seton, daughter of Alexander Seton, 1st Earl of Dunfermline.


3rd Earl of Kellie, Alexander Erskine, b.?, a.1643, d.1677


Younger brother of the 2nd Earl. He was a Royalist who fought and was taken prisoner at the Battle of Worcester and held at the Tower of London. He was excepted from Cromwell’s Act of Grace and in consequence lost most of his estates and retired to the Continent. He returned to Scotland after the Restoration and was made a Privy Counsellor in 1661.


4th Earl of Kellie, Alexander Erskine, b.1677, a.1677, d.1710


Son of the 3rd Earl and his second wife Mary Dalzell, daughter of Sir John Dalzell of Glenae (whose descendants inherited the title of Earls of Carnwath).


5th Earl of Kellie, Alexander Erskine, b.?, a.1710, d.1756


Son of the 4th Earl and Anne Lindsay (b.1674, d.1743), daughter of Colin Lindsay, 3rd Earl of Balcarres. He was a Jacobite, but surrendered voluntarily after the 1745 Rebellion and was exempted from punishment after being imprisoned at Edinburgh Castle for three years.


6th Earl of Kellie, Thomas Alexander Erskine, b.1732, a.1756, d.1781


Son of the 5th Earl and Janet Pitcairn (b.?, d.1775). He became a famous musician and composer during his life, but little of his music has survived, and he has only recently been re-established as an important figure in the development of British music. After attending the Royal High School in Edinburgh, he travelled to Mannheim in Germany to study under Johann Stamitz, returning to Scotland as a virtuoso violinist. He was taken to London by James Boswell, where his compositions became popular, and returned to Edinburgh in 1767. He was an active Freemason, being Grand Master of the Ancient Grand Lodge of England from 1760 to 1766 and Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland from 1763 to 1765. He was also well known for his dissolute lifestyle, which affected his health to such an extent that he visited Spa in Belgium in 1781 and afterwards stayed in Brussels, where he died of a fever following a collapse. In recent years, several of his chamber works have been found and recordings made.


7th Earl of Kellie, Archibald Erskine, b.1736, a.1781, d.1795


Younger brother of the 6th Earl. He reached the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the 104th Foot Regiment in 1782 and was a Representative Peer from 1790 to his death. He died without issue and the earldom was inherited by another descendant of the 1st Earl, as outlined below.



Baronets Erskine of Cambo (1666)


1st Baronet Erskine, Charles Erskine, b.?, a. d.1677


The younger brother of the 2nd and 3rd Earls of Kellie. He was Lord Lyon King of Arms from 1663 to 1677.


2nd Baronet Erskine, Alexander Erskine, b.1663, a.1677, d.1727


Son of the 1st Baronet and Penelope Barclay, daughter of Arthur Barclay of Colhill. He followed his father as Lord Lyon King of Arms until 1726.


3rd Baronet Erskine, Charles Erskine, b.1687, a.1727, d.1753


Son of the 2nd Baronet and Anna Erskine, daughter of Alexander Erskine, 3rd Earl of Kellie and his first wife Anne Kirkpatrick, daughter of Colonel John Kirkpatrick.


4th Baronet Erskine, John Erskine, b.1690, a.1753, d.1754


Younger brother of the 3rd Baronet.


5th Baronet Erskine, William Erskine, b.1695, a.1754, d.1781


Younger brother of the 3rd and 4th Baronets.


6th Baronet Erskine, Charles Erskine, b.1730, a.1781, d.1790


Nephew of the 5th Baronet, being the son of that man’s younger brother David Erskine (b.?, d.1769) and his second wife, name unknown.


7th Baronet Erskine, William Erskine, b.1759, a.1790, d.1791


Son of the 6th Baronet and Margaret Chiene, daughter of John Chiene of Craill.


8th Baronet Erskine, Charles Erskine, b.1765, a.1791, d.1799


Younger brother of the 7th Baronet. In 1795 he succeeded his distant relative as 8th Earl of Kellie.



Earls of Kellie (1619, continued)


8th Earl of Kellie, Charles Erskine, b.1765, a.1795, d.1799


9th Earl of Kellie, Thomas Erskine, b.c.1745, a.1799, d.1828


Uncle of the 8th Earl, and younger brother of Charles Erskine, 6th Baronet Erskine of Cambo (b.1730, d.1790) mentioned above. He travelled to Gothenburg in 1759 and was employed in the offices of George Carnegie, a Jacobite exile and local merchant, before transferring into the iron-exporting business, where over a period of 30 years he amassed a fortune. He was appointed British Consul in Gothenburg in 1775 and was invested as a Knight Commander of the Order of Gustavus Vasa of Sweden in 1808. He re-purchased the family seat of Cambo House in 1790 but remained in Gothenburg until succeeding his nephew as earl. He was a Representative Peer from 1804 to 1806 and from 1807 to 1828, and Lord-Lieutenant of Fife from 1824 to 1828. Although he had no legitimate children, his illegitimate daughter Anna Erskine married David Engelhart. The 9th Earl arranged for a separate baronetcy of Erskine of Cambo in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom for their son, also David, who changed his name to Erskine and inherited the estates of Cambo.


10th Earl of Kellie, Methven Erskine, b.c.1750, a.1828, d.1829


Younger brother of the 9th Earl. When he died, the original baronetcy became extinct and the other titles devolved to the collateral heir-male.


11th Earl of Kellie, John Francis Miller Erskine, b.1795, a.1829, d.1866


John Francis Miller Erskine was the then current 25th & 9th Earl of Mar. When he also died without children, the earldom of Kellie passed to the next heir-male. However the earldom of Mar became subject to dispute as it was also claimed by his sister’s son John Francis Goodeve Erskine as heir-general, arguing different rules of succession.


12th Earl of Kellie, Walter Coningsby Erskine, b.1810, a.1866, d.1872


Grandson of John Francis Erskine, 7th and 23rd Earl of Mar, and Frances Floyer (b.?, d.1798), and son of Henry David Erskine (b.1776, d.1846) and Mary Anne Cooksey (b.?, d.1860), and therefore cousin of the previous holder. He also claimed the earldom of Mar, but died before a decision was reached by the House of Lords. He was later to be considered 10th Earl of Mar de jure. He joined the army as a young man and served in Bengal, where he reached the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and was a Representative Peer from 1869 to 1872.


13th Earl of Kellie, Walter Henry Erskine, b.1839, a.1872, d.1888


Son of the 12th Earl and Elise Youngson (b.?, d.1895). He gained the title of 11th Earl of Mar after a House of Lords decision in 1875 stated that the new creation of that title from 1565, along with the Erskine lordship, passed to heirs-male only, and therefore belonged to the Earl of Kellie rather than John Francis Goodeve Erskine mentioned above. However, there were sufficient doubts about this for the House of Lords to declare that the original ancient Earldom of Mar would continue to exist as a separate earldom, with greater precedence as the older title, and this title was given to Goodeve Erskine. The 13th Earl of Kellie was a Representative Peer from 1876 to 1888 and Grand Master of the Freemasons from 1882 to 1885.


14th Earl of Kellie, Walter John Francis Erskine, b.1865, a.1888, d.1955


Son of the 13th Earl and Mary Anne Forbes (b.?, d.1927). He reached the rank of Lieutenant in the Scots Guards and was Lord-Lieutenant of Clackmannanshire from 1896 and a Representative Peer from 1892 to 1950. He was made Honorary Colonel of the 7th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. In 1911 he was invested as a Knight of the Thistle and was Chancellor of the Order of the Thistle from 1932 to 1949. In 1923 he became Hereditary Keeper of Stirling Castle and he held the post of Lord Clerk Register from 1936 to 1944.


15th Earl of Kellie, John Francis Hervey Erskine, b.1921, a.1955, d.1993


Grandson of the 14th Earl and Lady Susan Violet Ashley (b.1868, d.1938), daughter of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 8th Earl of Shaftesbury, and son of Major John Francis Ashley Erskine (b.1895, d.1953) and Lady Marjorie Hervey (b.1898, d.1967), daughter of Frederick William Fane Hervey, 4th Marquess of Bristol.


16th Earl of Kellie, James Thorne Erskine, b.1949, a.1993


Son of the 15th Earl and Pansy Constance Thorne (b.1921, d.1996). Educated at Eton, he served as Page of Honour to Queen Elizabeth II in 1962 and 1963. He was created 1st Baron Erskine of Alloa Tower in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, a life peerage, in 2000, in order to allow him to remain in the House of Lords beyond the 1999 Act. As well as being 16th Earl of Kellie and 14th Earl of Mar, he is also 16th Viscount Fentoun (the premier viscountcy of Scotland), 19th Lord Erskine and 16th Lord Erskine of Dirletoun. He is also Chief of Clan Erskine.



The courtesy title for the heir is Lord Erskine.


(Last updated: 05/04/2011)


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