The office of
Marischal was created to look after the Royal Regalia, that is, the Scottish
Crown Jewels, the Crown, the Sceptre and the Sword of State, and also to
perform the function of King’s bodyguard. The position was raised into the
Peerage as Earl Marischal. The position was hereditary to the Keith family from
ancient times, these being descendants of an ancient non-Pictish tribe, the
Caitt, that had inhabited the far north of
1st Marischal, Hervey de Keith, b.?, a.?, d.b.1196
Hervelus of Keith, later Keith Marischal, who had obtained the lands of Keith
2nd Marischal, Philip de Keith, b.?, a.c.1196, d.c.1225
Grandson of the 1st Marschal and son of Malcolm de Keith. By his marriage to Eda, heiress of Fraser, he obtained the lands of Hundeby that were merged with his own to create the barony of Keith.
3rd Marischal, Hervey de Keith, b.?, a.c.1225, d.c.1250
Son of the 2nd Marischal.
4th Marischal, John de Keith, b.?, a.c.1250, d.c.1270
Son of the 3rd Marischal.
5th Marischal, William de Keith, b.?, a.c.1270, d.c.1293
Son of the 4th Marischal and Margaret Comyn, daughter of William Comyn, Earl of Buchan.
6th Marischal, Robert Keith, b.?, a.c.1293, d.1332
Son of the 5th Marischal and Barbara de Seton. He was Justiciar of the North in 1300 and aided in the government of the country after the death of Wallace. He became a supporter of Robert Bruce and fought against the Comyn and Inverurie, after which he was made Sheriff of Aberdeen. He commanded a troop of Scottish cavalry at the Battle of Bannockburn, and was responsible for driving the English bowmen from the field. He was a signatory of the Declaration of Arbroath and acted as a Commissioner to broker peace with the English in 1323. He died at the Battle of Dupplin Moor.
7th Marischal, Robert Keith, b.?, a.1332, d.1346
Grandson of the 6th Marischal and Barbara Douglas, and son of John Keith (b.?, d.1324). He died at the Battle of Neville’s Cross.
8th Marischal, Edward Keith, b.?, a.1346, d.b.1351
Younger brother of the 6th Marischal. Edward’s younger son, John Keith, was the ancestor of the Keiths of Inverugie, a branch that married back into the main line some 200 years later.
9th Marischal, William Keith, b.?, a.c.1350, d.b.1410
Son of the 8th
Marishal and Isabella, heiress of Synton. He was Commissioner to the
10th Marischal, Robert Keith, b.?, a.b.1410, d.b.1430
Son of the 9th Marischal and Margaret Fraser, daughter of Sir John Fraser and grand-daughter of Alexander Fraser, the former High Chamberlain of Scotland.
11th Marischal, William Keith, b.?, a.b.1430, d.b.1476
Son of the 10th Marischal. He was instrumental in maintaining peace in the country during the minority of James II and was recognised for this service by being raised to the Peerage as 1st Lord Keith in 1451, and then further as 1st Earl Marischal.
Earl Marischals of
1st Earl Marischal, William Keith, as above
N.B. The numbering is not always consistent across the sources, and some give the next holder as the first Earl.
2nd Earl Marischal, William Keith, b.?, a.1475, d.1482-1483
Son of the 1st Earl Marischal and (possibly) Mary Hamilton, daughter of Sir James Hamilton of Cadzow. Another possible candidate is Marjorie Fraser.
3rd Earl Marischal, William Keith, b.?, a.c.1483, d.c.1527
Son of the 2nd
Marischal and Mariota Erskine, daughter of Thomas Erskine, 2nd Lord
Erskine (for whom see the earls of Mar). His two sons,
Robert and William, and many more prominent members of the Keith family, died
defending the King at
4th Earl Marischal, William Keith, b.?, a.1530, d.1581
the 3rd Earl Marischal and Lady Elizabeth Gordon, daughter of George
Gordon, 2nd Earl of Huntly, and son of
Robert Keith, Lord Keith (b.?, d.1525), and Lady Elizabeth Douglas (b.?,
d.1527), daughter of John Douglas, 2nd Earl of Morton.
He accompanied James V on his visit to
5th Earl Marischal, George Keith, b.1553, a.1581, d.1623
the 4th Earl Marischal and Margaret Keith, daughter of Sir William
Keith of Inverugie, and son of William Keith, Master of Keith (b.?, d.1580),
and Lady Elizabeth Hay, daughter of George Hay, 7th Earl of Erroll. In his youth, he was educated first at King’s
College Aberdeen and then in
6th Earl Marischal, William Keith, b.c.1585, a.1623, d.1635
Son of the 5th
Earl Marischal and
7th Earl Marischal, William Keith, b.1614, a.1635, d.1670-1671
Son of the 6th
Earl Marischal and Lady Mary Erskine, daughter of John Erskine, 2nd
and 18th Earl of Mar. He was a Covenanter, and
twice marched on
8th Earl Marischal, George Keith, b.?, a.1670-1671, d.1694
brother of the 7th Earl Marischal. He fought in the French Army,
reaching the rank of Colonel. During the Civil Wars he was initially neutral,
but later joined the ill-fated Engagement into
9th Earl Marischal, William Keith, b.c.1664, a.1694, d.1712
Son of the 8th
Earl Marischal and Lady Mary Hay (b.?, d.c.1667), daughter of George Hay, 2nd
Earl of Kinnoull. He was an opponent of the
10th Earl Marischal, George Keith, b.1692, a.1712, d.1778
Son of the 9th
Earl Marischal and Lady Mary Drummond, daughter of James Drummond, 4th
Earl of Perth. His inheritance was greatly reduced by
his father’s largesse. A Roman Catholic, he was alienated from Government and
took part in the Jacobite rebellion of 1715 alongside his brother James Keith.
After the Battle of Sheriffmuir, he joined the Old Pretender in exile, his
titles were attainted and his estates forfeit to the Crown. In 1719 he made
another attempt to restore the Stewarts, landing in the
(Last updated: 14/08/2009)