Menteith comprised, along with Strathearn, the Pictish kingdom of Fortriu during the middle centuries of the first millennium, the centre of power of the Picts having moved south from Moray in order to strengthen the defences against the Britons and Angles to the south and the Scots from the west. Menteith is located in what is now southern Perthshire, though stretching into part of north Stirlingshire around the Lake of Menteith (so named due to its low-lying position in the Carse of Stirling, from the word “laich” meaning low place). There is little mention of it prior to the middle of the 12th Century, implying that its borders were perhaps not well defined and subject to changes in military dominance.
Earls of Menteith (c.1164)
1st Earl of Menteith, Gille Crist, b.?, a.c.1164, d.b.1198
Gille Crist is the first recorded holder of the mormaerdom, indicating that prior to him there was little formal governance of this part of the country, and is mentioned in several Royal charters of the time.
2nd Earl of Menteith, Muireadhach, b.?, a.1198, d.?
Son of Gille Crist. His name may be translated as Murdoch or Maurice. His right to the mormaerdom was challenged by his brother, and it appears that King William the Lion arbitrated between the two, finding in favour of the younger, and so he resigned in 1213. Given that the two brothers had the same name it is perhaps the case that they had different mothers and the younger brother had better blood connections to the ruling establishment.
3rd Earl of Menteith, Muireadhach II, b.?, a.1213, d.1233
Younger brother of the 2nd Earl, as mentioned above gaining the position by the resignation of his brother after arbitration by King William I. He was present at William’s funeral alongside the new King Alexander II. He is referred to as the Sheriff of Stirling in a document of 1226. He had no sons but both his daughters followed him. They also both married into the Scottish-Norman community, indicating that Murdoch Og (the Younger) aligned himself closely with the new regime.
4th Earl (Countess) of Menteith, Isabella, b.?, a.1233, d.1260-1261
Daughter of the 3rd Earl. She married Walter Comyn, Lord of
Badenoch, but he died in 1258 and she married an English knight named John
Russell. This marriage weakened her position and she was challenged by Walter
Stewart (b.1225-1230, d.1293-1294), son of Walter Stewart, 3rd High Steward of
5th Earl (Countess) of Menteith, Mary, b.?, a.c.1261, d.a.1294
Younger sister of the 4th Countess. Her husband Walter
Stewart became Earl of Menteith de uxoris. Walter Stewart was actively involved
in much of what went on in
6th Earl of Mentieth, Alexander de Menteith, b.?, a.c.1294, d.1297-1304
Son of Countess Mary and Walter Stewart, though he dropped the Stewart name in favour of Menteith. He also supported Bruce, but had to swear fealty to Edward at Norham in 1291. Notwithstanding, he was one of the leaders of the Scottish army that invaded England after the sacking of Berwick by the English in 1296, but was taken captive after the Battle of Dunbar. He was transferred to the Tower of London, but soon released after making promises of service and repeating his oath of fealty, although two of his sons were kept as hostages. Perhaps in response to this, he took little further involvement in affairs of state. His brother John de Menteith was made Governor of Dumbarton Castle by Edward I, and is infamous as the betrayer of William Wallace.
7th Earl of Menteith, Alan de Menteith, b.?, a.1297-1304, d.c.1310
Son of the 6th Earl. He was a supporter of Robert Bruce, but was captured by the English at the Battle of Methven, and died in captivity.
8th Earl of Menteith, Muireadhach III, b.?, a.c.1310, d.1332
Younger brother of the 7th Earl. He was killed at the Battle of Dupplin Moor.
9th Earl (Countess) of Menteith, Mary II, b.?, a.1332, d.?
Daughter of the 7th Earl. She married John Graham (b.?,
d.1346), who became Earl of Menteith de uxoris. He was with King David II
during the invasion of
10th Earl (Countess) of Menteith, Margaret Graham, b.b.1334, a.1360, d.1372-1380
Daughter of Countess Mary and John Graham. She worked her way through several husbands before marrying Robert Stewart, 1st Earl of Fife and later 1st Duke of Albany, who became Earl of Menteith de uxoris.
11th Earl of Menteith, Murdoch Stewart, b.1362, a.1420, d.1425
Son of the 10th Countess and Robert Stewart. More detailed information is given in the Albany page. Since Murdoch was attainted, the title became extinct.
Earls of Menteith (1427)
1st Earl of Menteith, Malise Graham, b.c.1407, a.1427, d.1490
Malise (or Maol Iosa) Graham was the current Earl of Strathearn, being the son of Eupheme Stewart, Countess of Caithness and Countess Palatine of Strathearn and daughter of King Robert II, and Sir Patrick Graham (b.?, d.1413), de uxoris Earl of Strathearn. While he was still young, James I returned from England and deprived him of the earldom of Strathearn (on the pretext that the succession of that title was strictly heir-male), handing out the Menteith title in its stead, but with territories much reduced, though he did have some Graham land at Kinpont in West Lothian. He was then sent as hostage for James and kept at Pontefract Castle until 1453, and he did not take much part in affairs of state after this.
2nd Earl of Menteith, Alexander Graham, b.?, a.1490, d.1536-1537
Grandson of the 1st Earl and Ann de Vere, daughter of Henry de Vere, Earl of Oxford, and son of Patrick Graham and Isobel Erskine, daughter of Thomas Erskine, 2nd Lord Erskine (for whom see the earls of Mar).
3rd Earl of Menteith, William Graham, b.?, a.1536-1537, d.c.1543-1544
Son of the 2nd Earl and Margaret Buchanan. He was a member of the pro-French party at Parliament. He was killed during a fight with the Highland Stewarts of Appin who were passing through his land.
4th Earl of Menteith, John Graham, b.b.1538, a.c.1543-1544, d.1564-1565
Son of the 3rd Earl and Margaret Moubray. He accompanied the young Queen Mary to France in 1550 but later became one of the Lords of Congregation.
5th Earl of Menteith, William Graham, b.c.1552, a.1564-1565, d.1578
Son of the 4th Earl and Marion Seton (b.?, d.1567), daughter of George Seton, 4th Lord Seton (for whom see the earls of Winton). He followed his father as a staunch Protestant and took to the field against Mary at the Battle of Langside.
6th Earl of Menteith, John Graham, b.c.1573, a.1578, d.1598
Son of the 5th Earl and Margaret Douglas, daughter of Sir James Douglas of Drumlanrig.
7th Earl of Menteith, William Graham, b.1589, a.1598, d.1661
Son of the 6th Earl and Mary Campbell, daughter of Colin Campbell of Glenorchy. He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1616 and in 1628 was Lord President of the Court of Session and Lord Justice General. A favourite of Charles I, he was appointed to the English Privy Council and made 1st Earl of Strathearn in 1631. However, this title was withdrawn in 1633 and replaced by the alternative title of 1st Earl of Airth, after having boasted of his credentials, being a descendant of King Robert II, and also considered a threat to landowners adjacent to the Strathearn and Menteith lands, he being in a position to claim ancient rights of ownership. Nevertheless, he remained a Royalist and fought against the Covenanters.
8th Earl of Menteith, William Graham, b.c.1634, a.1661, d.1694
Grandson of the 7th Earl and Agnes Gray, daughter of Patrick Gray, 6th Lord Gray, and son of John Graham of Kinpont (b.c.1613, d.1644) and Mary Keith, daughter of William Keith, 5th Earl Marischal. On his death, the earldom became extinct or dormant.
(Last updated: 19/05/2011)