Viscounts of Stair (1690)


1st Viscount of Stair, James Dalrymple, b.1619, a.1690, d.1695


James Dalrymple was the son of the laird of the small estate of Stair in Kyle in Central Ayrshire. He was well educated, attending the University of Glasgow. His intention then was to study law at the University of Edinburgh but he ended up fighting for the Covenanters. He returned to Glasgow to spend seven years as a tutor at the University before finally moving to Edinburgh, where he was admitted to the bar in 1648. As an high profile Reformer, he was instrumental in the events of the period and was part of the Commission sent by the Scottish Parliament to negotiate with Charles II in The Hague. He was also present when Charles arrived in Scotland after the death of Montrose. He maintained a good relationship with the English Parliamentarians, including Monck and Cromwell and expanded his knowledge of the law in general by travelling across Europe.  At the Restoration he was knighted by Charles and joined the Court of Session and in 1671 became Lord President of that body. His service in high office is noted by his attempts to mitigate some of the harsher anti-Catholic laws being passed, in particular the Test Act of 1673 which required those entering public office to forswear transubstantiation and the receiving of the blessed sacrament, and his reluctance to support this law resulted in his removal as a judge. He retired to write the important work “The Institutions of the Law of Scotland”. In 1681, a dispute between his son John Dalrymple, Master of Stair, and John Graham of Claverhouse, otherwise known as Bonnie Dundee, over some land, blew up out of proportion, with the respective powerfule friends of each man taking sides, and Dalrymple was advised to flee the country. He went to live in Leiden in Holland. In his absence, various charges of treason were brought against him, but on the accession of his son as Lord Advocate these came to nothing. He returned to Scotland in the company of William of Orange and eventually recovered his position as Lord President of the Court of Session. He was created 1st Viscount of Stair in 1690. Complaints about him favouring his sons (one who succeeded him as Viscount and three others who became baronets) and suspicions about his involvement in the Massacre of Glencoe, ensured that he continued to have enemies in Parliament and in the courts, but he died peacefully in old age.


2nd Viscount of Stair, John Dalrymple, b.1648, a.1695, d.1707


Son of the 1st Viscount and Margaret Ross (b.b.1628, d.1692). Born into a powerful family, he was made 1st Baronet Dalrymple of Stair in the Peerage of Nova Scotia in 1664. He became close to King James VII and was made Lord Advocate in 1687. However he used this position to ingratiate himself with William II by bringing the Scottish Parliament round to giving its support to the new King. In 1690 he was raised to the peerage as 1st Lord Glenluce and Stranraer and in 1691 was made Secretary of State for Scotland. He was responsible for devising the pardon to all the Scottish clans who had joined in the Jacobite uprising in support of James VII, as long as they swore an oath of allegiance to William. He used his position to make it appear that the MacDonalds of Glencoe had failed to meet the terms of the pardon, although in fact the Clan Chief Alastair MacDonald had made the oath at Inveraray Castle, albeit slightly beyond the deadline. Dalrymple wanted to make an example of at least one clan and ensured that the MacDonalds did not appear on the list of clans that had made the oath by the deadline. Unaware of their situation, the MacDonalds welcomed the billeting of Government troops from Fort William into their houses. The massacre began at 5am, but due to the darkness, the bad weather and the fact that the houses were spread down the valley, only 38 people were killed at the time, though more later died of exposure after escaping into the hills. The furore that followed in political circles forced Dalrymple to resign. After a few years in the political wilderness he was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1700 and in 1703 was created 1st Earl of Stair, 1st Viscount of Dalrymple and 1st Lord Newliston, Glenluce and Stranraer. He was an ardent advocate of the Act of Union but died before the Act was passed.



Earls of Stair (1703)


1st Earl of Stair, John Dalrymple, b.1648, a.1703, d.1707


2nd Earl of Stair, John Dalrymple, b.1673, a.1707, d.1747


Son of the 1st Earl and Elizabeth Dundas, daughter of Sir James Dundas of Newliston. He lived in the Netherlands while young but returned to take over at his father’s death and was an inaugural Representative Peer in the British Parliament. He fought in the Wars of the Spanish Succession under the John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and reached the rank of general before falling out of royal favour. However in 1714, George I came to the throne and Dalrymple was made British Ambassador to France, amongst other things responsible for keeping an eye on the exiled Jacobites. He was made Vice-Admiral of Scotland in 1720 but was removed from that post when the Government of Robert Walpole came to power. In 1742, with Walpole’s fall, Dalrymple was promoted to Field Marshall and in 1744 was made Commander-in-Chief of all the Forces. From 1742 to his death he was also Governor of Minorca. He had obtained a re-grant in 1707 allowing him to select his successor from amongst the descendants of his father, and chose his nephew John Dalrymple, son of his brother George Dalrymple. However, his other brother, William Dalrymple, had married the Countess of Dumfries and they contested the nomination. The House of Lords decided in favour of their younger son.


3rd Earl of Stair, James Dalrymple, b.b.1742, a.1747, d.1760


Grandson of the 1st Earl and son of William Dalrymple (b.b.1688, d.1744) and Penelope Crichton, Countess of Dumfries. He also had no children, and the earldom devolved to his older brother.


4th Earl of Stair, William Dalrymple-Crichton, b.b.1716, a.1760, d.1768


Older brother of the 3rd Earl. He had previously inherited the earldom of Dumfries from his mother. When he died, also with no surviving children, the earldom of Dumfries devolved to his sister’s family, while the earldom of Stair devolved to the originally nominated candidate.


5th Earl of Stair, John Dalrymple, b.b.1745, a.1768, d.1789


Grandson of the 1st Earl and son of George Dalrymple (b.b.1707, d.1745), the youngest surviving brother of the 2nd Earl, and Euphame Myrton (b.?, d.1761), daughter of Sir Andrew Myrton, 1st Baronet Myrton of Gogar.


6th Earl of Stair, John Dalrymple, b.1749, a.1789, d.1821


Son of the 5th Earl and Margaret Middleton (b.?, d.1798). He was a Representative Peer from 1793 to 1807 and served as Ambassador to Prussia. He also died without children.


7th Earl of Stair, John William Henry Dalrymple, b.1784, a.1821, d.1840


Son of General William Dalrymple (b.b.1745, d.1807), a younger brother of the 5th Earl, and Marianne Dorothy Harland (b.?, d.1785), daughter of Admiral Sir Robert Harland, 1st Baronet Harland of Sproughton, county Suffolk. He died without issue, having had his marriage annulled.



Baronets Dalrymple of Cousland (1698)


1st Baronet Dalrymple, James Dalrymple, b.1650, a.1698, d.1719


Younger brother of the 1st Earl of Stair. He was in fact created 1st Baronet of Borthwick, Killock and Cousland but the title was simplified by later holders.


2nd Baronet Dalrymple, John Dalrymple, b.?, a.1719, d.1743


Son of the 1st Baronet and Catherine Dundas, daughter of Sir James Dundas of Arniston.


3rd Baronet Dalrymple, William Dalrymple, b.1704, a.1743, d.1771


Son of the 2nd Baronet and Elizabeth Fletcher.


4th Baronet Dalrymple, John Dalrymple, b.1726, a.1771, d.1810


Son of the 3rd Baronet and Agnes Crawford (b.?, d.1755). He married Elizabeth Hamilton-Makgill, daughter of Thomas Hamilton-Makgill and Elizabeth Dalrymple (herself a daughter of the 2nd Baronet), who was the heiress to the estates of the Viscountcy of Oxfuird (or Oxenfoord), which had passed to her through forfeiture, and changed his surname to Dalrymple-Hamilton-Makgill. The name of Oxenfoord was added to the baronetcy.


5th Baronet Dalrymple, John Hamilton Dalrymple, b.1771, a.1810, d.1853


Son of the 4th Baronet and Elizabeth Hamilton-Makgill. He reached the rank of General before retiring to become MP for Midlothian from 1832 to 1835. In 1840 he succeeded to the title of 8th Earl of Stair.



Earls of Stair (1703, continued)


8th Earl of Stair, John Hamilton Dalrymple, b.1771, a.1840, d.1853


With no immediate heirs, the title reverted to a junior line of the Dalrymple family as outlined above. In 1841 he was created 1st Baron Oxenfoord in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, with remainder to his younger brother, in order to allow him to sit in the House of Lords. In 1847 he was created a Knight of the Thistle.


9th Earl of Stair, North Hamilton Dalrymple, b.1776, a.1853, d.1864


Younger brother of the 8th Earl.


10th Earl of Stair, John Hamilton Dalrymple, b.1819, a.1864, d.1903


Son of the 9th Earl and Margaret Penny (b.b.1802, d.1828). He was MP for Wigtownshire from 1841 to 1856 and Lord-Lieutenant of Ayrshire from 1870 to 1897. He was Governor of the Bank of Scotland from 1870 to 1903. He was created a Knight of the Thistle in 1865.


11th Earl of Stair, John Hew North Gustav Henry Hamilton-Dalrymple, b.1848, a.1903, d.1914


Son of the 10th Earl and Louisa Jane Henrietta Emily de Franquetot (b.?, d.1896), daughter of Augustin Louis Joseph Casimir Gustave de Franquetot, Duc de Coigny.


12th Earl of Stair, John James Dalrymple, b.1879, a.1914, d.1961


Son of the 11th Earl and Susan Harriet Grant-Suttie (b.?, d.1946), daughter of Sir James Grant-Suttie, 6th Baronet Grant-Suttie of Balgonie. He was MP for Wigtownshire from 1906 to 1914 and Lord-Lieutenant of Wigtownshire from 1935 to 1961. He was also a Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland from 1924 to 1926 and was received as a Knight of the Thistle in 1937.


13th Earl of Stair, John Aymer Dalrymple, b.1906, a.1961, d.1996


Son of the 12th Earl and Violet Evelyn Harford. He was Lord-Lieutenant of Wigtownshire from 1961 to 1983


14th Earl of Stair, John David James Dalrymple, b.1961, a.1996


Son of the 13th Earl and Davina Katherine Bowes-Lyon (b.1930), grand-daughter of Claude George Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore. He lost his place in the House of Lords in 1999 but was elected in 2008. As well as being 14th Earl and 15th Viscount of Stair, he is also 14th Viscount of Dalrymple and 14th Lord Newliston, Glenluce and Stranraer, 15th Lord Glenluce and Stranraer, 15th Baronet Dalrymple of Stair and 11th Baronet Dalrymple of Cousland.



The courtesy title for the heir is Viscount Dalrymple.


(Last updated: 26/12/2009)