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Erskine Tartan


Erskine is a name of great antiquity and was originally derived from the lands and barony of Erskine in Renfrewshire situated on the south side of the Clyde. The earliest notice of the name is in a confirmation of the church of "Irschen" granted by the bishop of Glasgow in favor of the monastery of Paisley between 1202 and 1207.(1)

Henry was proprietor of the barony of Erskine as early as the reign of Alexander II. He was witness of a grant by Amelick, brother of Maldwin, Earl of Lennox of the patronage and tithes of the parish church of Roseneath to the abbey of Paisley in 1226.


·  2I. JOHN-


(1) Chartulary of Paisley- p.113

The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880
The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, p.590


John witnessed a charter in 1260 and two writs dated 1262/3 and 1271. He submitted to Edward I in 1296.


·  3I. JOHN-


The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880
The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, pp.590-1


Between 1300 and 1309 James, Lord High Steward of Scotland granted to John Yrskyn, son and heir of John land in Largs.(1) This John may have been the one who swore fealty to Edward I in 1296.


·  4I. WILLIAM- alive in 1331

·  II. Mary/Helen?- m.1. Sir Thomas Bruce, 2. Sir Ingram Morville

·  III. Alice- m. Walter, High Steward of Scotland

·  IV. John-

·  V. Margaret- m. William Livingston, Laird of Drumry

·  29VI. JANET- m. JOHN MONTGOMERY, Laird of Eaglesham


(1) Macfarlane MS, Adv. Lib. 34.3.25, p.222

The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880
The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, p.591


alive in 1331

Sir William was a faithful adherent of Robert the Bruce and accompanied the Earl of Moray and Sir James Douglas in their expedition into England in 1327. For his valour he was knighted under the royal banner in the field. While attempting to draw the English archers into an ambush he was taken prisoner, but was shortly exchanged for an English prisoner. He was alive in 1331 when he is referred to as a creditor of the late King Robert.


·  5I. ROBERT- m.1. BEATRICE LINDSAY (m.1. Archibald Douglas (d. 1333), d. before 1352), m.2. c.1352 Christian Menteith (m.1. Edward Keith of Sinton, d.c.1387), d. 1385

·  II. Alan- m. before 1362 Isabel Inchmartine (d.c.1399), d. May 1400

·  III. Andrew- granted a charter to Roploch in 1361

·  IV. Archibald-


The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880
The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, pp.591-2


m.1. BEATRICE LINDSAY (m.1. Archibald Douglas (d. 1333), d. before 1352
2. c.1352 Christian Menteith (m.1. Edward Keith of Sinton, d.c.1387)
d. 1385

Stirling Castle

In 1343 Robert witnessed a charter by John Maxwell to the monks of Dryburgh.

Sir Robert was appointed constable, keeper and captain of Stirling castle by King David II. He was one of the ambassadors to England to negociate the ransom of the King after his capture in the battle of Durham in 1346. In 1350 he was appointed Great Chamberlain of Scotland by David II while still a prisoner. In 1357 he was one of the people who negociated for the release of the King and his son Thomas was one of the hostages for the payment of the King's ransom. Upon his return David appointed Sir Robert justiciary north of the Forth and constable and keeper of the castles of Edinburgh and Dumbarton. In 1358 he was ambassador to France and was ambassador to England between 1360 and 1366 receiving a gift of a gold cup valued at £9/18/6 in 1363.

In 1359 he applied to the Papal See for a dispensation and release from a vow he had made to bear arms against the Saracens in the Holy Land and to visit Mount Sinai as he was unable to go due to the King's business and the frequent wars. The reply on 11 Aug. 1359 said that if a date for his going was fixed it might be postponed for a year.(1)

In 1367 he was warden of the marches and heritable sheriff of Stirlingshire. In 1371 he was one of the great barons who ratified the succession of Robert II to the crown.

In 1373 he exchanged the lands of Ednam for an annual rent of £100 from the custom's duties of Aberdeen. He also received 500 marks as compensation for giving up the keepership of Stirling castle. Alloa was added to his other property in exchange for the hunting district of Strathgartney in the Highlands in 1368. In 1358 he had a charter of the lands of Garioch from Thomas, Earl of Mar.

Alloa Tower- home of the Erskines


·  6I. THOMAS- m.1. c.1365 Mary Douglas, 2. before 13 Apr. 1370 JANET KEITH (m.1. Sir David Barclay of Brechin, d. 1413)

·  II. Nicholas- m.1. Jean Cameron of Balegarno (d. before Mar. 1382/3), 2. after 1402 Elizabeth Keith (m.1. Adam Gordon), d. before Dec. 1406

·  III. Marion- m. before 1362 Maurice Drummond of Concraig


(1) Papal Reg. Petition- I, 346

The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880
The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, pp.592-6


m.1. c.1365 Mary Douglas
2. before 13 Apr. 1370 JANET KEITH (m.1. Sir David Barclay of Brechin, d. 1413)

In 1354 a "son and heir" of Robert Erskine was proposed as a hostage for the return of King David II and upon the king's release he was again a hostage and was under the care of John de Coupland on 2 Oct. 1357.(1)

In 1365 Thomas married Mary Douglas heiress of William Douglas the Knight of Liddesdale. Mary died in childbirth and there was some question as to whether the child was born dead or alive. Thomas claimed the liferent of his wife's estate based on the fact that the child lived while James Douglas the next heir claimed the estate on the grounds that the child was stillborn and the two of them wanted to settle the matter by personal combat. The duel was to take place at Edinburgh in the presence of the King. Just before the battle they were knighted, James Douglas by Sir Archibald Douglas "the Grim", and Thomas by his father. They fought for a short time before being separated by the king's command. The matter was finally settled and Thomas accepted a sum of money as payment for his right to the estate.(2)

Before 1371 Thomas was keeper of Edinburgh castle and Sheriff of Edinburgh.(3) In 1371 he was in favor of the Act of Succession which supported the Earl of Carrick. He had an annuity of £53/6/8 from the customs of Linlithgow and £100 from the customs of Aberdeen.(4)

Edinburgh Castle

Thomas had a charter from Robert II of the barony of Dun near Montrose in Forfarshire 8 Nov. 1376.(5)

Thomas was frequently a witness to royal charters which indicates his attendance at court and on 27 Jan. 1398/9 when David, Duke of Rothsay was made Lt. General of the Kingdom Thomas was one of the people appointed to be his special advisors.(6)

By his marriage with Janet Keith, great grand-daughter of Gratney, 11th Earl of Mar, he laid the foundation of the succession on the part of his descendants to the Earldom of Mar and Lordship of Garioch. On 22 Nov. 1393 Robert III granted to Thomas that although Isabella Douglas, Countess of Mar might make an agreement with anyone to resign the earldom of Mar to which Thomas' wife is entitled the royal consent would not be given and these agreements would be considered null and void.(7)

On 2 Feb. 1392/3 Thomas and his wife were granted a portable alter by Pope Clement VII.(8)

Thomas was taken prisoner at Homildon Hill 14 Sept. 1402 and may have still been a prisoner at his death in 1403/4.(9)

The Battle Stone with Homildon Hill in the background

Here is a dear, a true industrious friend,
Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse.
Stain’d with the variation of each soil
Betwixt that Holmedon and this seat of ours;
And he hath brought us smooth and welcome news.
The Earl of Douglas is discomfited:
Ten thousand bold Scots, two and twenty knights,
Balk’d in their own blood did Sir Walter see
On Holmedon’s plains. Of prisoners, Hotspur took
Mordake the Earl of Fife, and eldest son
To beaten Douglas; and the Earl of Athol,
Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith:
And is not this an honourable spoil?
A gallant prize? ha, cousin, is it not?

Shakespeare- Henry IV, part 1, act 1, scene 1.



·  8II. JOHN-

·  III. Elizabeth- m. Duncan Weymss of Rires


(1) Cal. Doc. Scot.- III, 434, 1576; Acta Parl. Scot.- I, 519
(2) Fordun- ed. 1871, 370n.
(3) Exch. Rolls- II, 364
(4) Ibid- III, Passim
(5) Reg. Mag. Sig.- fol. ed., 129
(6) Acta Parl. Scot.- I, 572-4
(7) Acta Parl. Scot.- I, 578; Antiq. of Aberd. and Banff- IV, 165
(8) Vatican Archives- Avignon Regista- 272, 389
(9) Exch. Rolls- III, 606

The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880
The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, pp.596-601


m. ELIZABETH LINDSAY of Crawford(1)
d. 1453

Robert was captured at the battle of Homildon Hill in 1402, but was back in Scotland in 1405 when he received a pension on behalf of his mother.(1) He was one of the hostages for the ransom of James I and was exchanged for the Earl of Menteith in 1427.(2) In 1430 he was an ambassador to England and keeper of Dumbarton castle.(3)

On the death of Alexander, Earl of Mar in 1435 Robert claimed the title in right of his mother and assumed the title of Mar and claimed one half of the lands of the earldom. On 22 Apr 1438 he was by means of a fraudulent plot served heir to the countess Isabel and in the following Nov. was given the estates. He was not however allowed to retain possession of it. In 1437 after the assassination of James I an act of Parliament was passed that no lands or possessions belonging to the King should be given to any man without consent of the three Estates until the young King James II should be 21 years old. At a General Council at Stirling 10 Aug. 1440 it was agreed: "for the good and quiet of the land, that the King should deliver up to Sir Robert Erskine, calling himself Earl of Mar, the castle of Kildrummie, to be kept by him till the King's majority when the said Sir Robert should come before the king and the three Estates, and show his rights and claims, as far as law will."(4) At the same time Sir Robert delivered up to the King the castles of Mar and Dumbarton held by him. In 1442 Sir Robert took a protest at Stirling in the presence of the King and council complaining against the chancellor for refusing to return to him the Lordship of Garioch and put him in possession of the castle of Kildrummie. He afterwards beseiged and took the castle and the castle of Alloa which belonged to him was taken possession of in the King's name. In 1448 because of a new indenture Sir Robert was obliged to give the castle of Kildrummie to the King while Alloa was returned to Sir Robert. On 4 Apr. 1449 his son Thomas appeared before the King and Estates on behalf of his father. He offered to fulfil all previous agreements and protested against the fact that the revenues of the earldom had been detained by the King's officers.(5) Another protest was submitted on 26 Jan. 1449/0 to the King and Parliament concerning the earldom of Mar which belonged to Robert by hereditary right and which was unjustly detained by the King.

Kildrummy Castle


·  9I. THOMAS- m. JANET DOUGLAS?, d. before 1493

·  II. Janet- m. Walter Stewart of Lennox



(1) Exch. Rolls- III, 639
(2) Cal. Doc. Scot.- IV, No.872,942,1010
(3) Ibid- No.1032
(4) Acta Parl. Scot.- II, 55
(5) Mar Minutes of Evidence, 92

The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880
The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, pp.601-5


m. JANET DOUGLAS?, daughter of James, Earl of Morton
d. before 1493

Thomas is first mentioned as a knight on 24 Jan. 1440/1 in a charter of his father's.(1)

Sir Thomas was dispossessed of the Earldom of Mar by an assize of error held in the presence of the King 15 May 1457 at Aberdeen, but in 1467 he was created a peer under the title of Lord Erskine. After loosing the earldom of Mar, Thomas disappeared from public life. He received L100 per year from the revenues of Aberdeen, regularly attended Parliament and took the side of James III in the war of 1488.(2)


·  10I. ALEXANDER- m.1. before 1466 CHRISTIAN CRICHTON (m.1. Sir Robert Colville of Ochiltree), 2. before 1480 Ellen, daughter of Lord Home (m.1. Sir Adam Hepburn of Hailes (living in 1513)), d. before 10 May 1509

·  II. Helen- m. Sir Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss

·  III. Isobel- m. Patrick Graham of Kilpont

·  IV. Elizabeth- m. Sir Alexander Seton of Touch

·  V. Mariota- m. William, 2nd Earl Marischal


(1) Reg. Mag. Sig.- 30 Oct. 1444
(2) The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, pp.605-7

The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880


m.1. before 1466 CHRISTIAN CRICHTON (m.1. Sir Robert Colville of Ochiltree)
2. before 1480 Ellen, daughter of Alexander, Lord Home (m.1. Sir Adam Hepburn of Hailes (living in 1513))
d. before 10 May 1509

On 9 Oct. 1466 Alexander won a dispute concerning the office of bailiary of the barony of Ochiltree against Lord Cathcart who renounced his claim to the office.(1)

Alexander was granted a charter of the lands of Balhagirdy and the mill of Inveramsay on 26 Aug. 1485.(2) He also received a Crown Charter to Alloa, the forest of Clackmannan, Pittarrow in Forfarshire, and Kellie in Aberdeenshire upon his father's resignation 12 Aug. 1489.(3) He succeeded his father before 1493 as in that year as Lord Erskine he had a sasine of Sintoun.(4)

On 21 Oct. 1497 he founded a chaplainry at the high altar of St. Mungo in the Alloa kirk for the souls of his father, mother, the late James III and Queen Margaret and for the welfare of himself, his two wives and King James IV.

Alloa Kirk

Issue- first two children by first wife, last two by ?

·  11I. ROBERT- m.c.1485 ELIZABETH/ISOBEL CAMPBELL of Loudoun (alive in 1519), killed at Flodden 1513

·  II. Walter- of Over Dunnotter

·  III. Christian- m. David Stewart Jr. of Rossyth

·  IV. Agnes- m. William Menteith of Kerse


(1) Acta Auditorum- 3
(2) Reg. Mag. Sig.
(3) Ibid
(4) Exch. Rolls- X, 768

The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880
The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, pp.607-8


m.c.1485 ELIZABETH/ISOBEL CAMPBELL of Loudoun (alive in 1519)
killed at battle of Flodden in 1513

On 2 Mar. 1485/6 Robert was mentioned as son and heir apparent of Alexander Erskine of Balhagerdy in a Crown Charter to himself and his wife of the lands of Ellem and others in Co. Berwick and elsewhere.(1) He had Crown Charters of various lands during his father's lifetime and was given his father's estates about 1508 or before May 1509.(2) He also acquired lands in 1510.(3) Robert was killed at Flodden 9 Sept. 1513.

Memorial at the Flodden Battlefield


·  I. Robert- d.s.p. before 1513

·  12II. JOHN- m. MARGARET CAMPBELL, alive 11 July 1555

·  III. James- m. before 7 June 1541 Christine Stirling (d. Sept. 1582, ae. 70), d. between 1592 & 1596

·  IV. Alexander- Parson of Moniabroch or Kilsyth (4)

·  V. William-

·  VI. Margaret- m. 14 Dec. 1518 James Haldane of Gleneagles, alive in 1534

·  VII. Janet-


(1) Reg. Mag. Sig.
(2) Ibid- per Index; Exch. Rolls- XIII, 659
(3) Reg. Mag. Sig.
(4) Mar Minutes- 516

The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, pp.608-9


alive 11 July 1555

John had the rank of knight before June 1510 and was the Scottish ambassador to France in 1515.(1)

John was appointed guardian for James V during his minority and was paid between £50 per month to £200 per year. When James V went on his expedition to the Isles in 1540 he appointed John as one of the guardians of his infant son James.(2) Later John was ambassador to England. Upon James' death and along with Lord Livingston he was guardian of the infant Mary, Queen of Scots.(3) He kept her for some time in Stirling castle and then moved her to the priory of Inchmahome, situated on an island in Lake Monteith, Perthshire. The priory had been bestowed upon him by James V as commendatory abbot. For greater security he then took young Mary to France.

Inchmahome Priory- Loch Monteith


·  I. Robert- m. Margaret Graham, killed at battle of Pinkie 10 Sept. 1547

·  II. Thomas- m. 30 Jan. 1548/9 Margaret Fleming, d. before 1555

·  13III. JOHN- m. 29 Jan. 1556/7 ANNABELLA MURRAY (d. Feb. 1602/3), d. 29 Oct. 1572

·  IV. Alexander- of Gogar

·  V. Arthur- m. 7 Jan. 1561/2 Magdalen Livingstone, d.s.p. before Jan. 1570/1


·  15VII. MARGARET- m. 11 July 1527 ROBERT DOUGLAS, mistress of James V, d. 5 May 1572

·  VIII. Janet- m. 1 Sept. 1532 John Murray of Touchadam

·  IX. Elizabeth- m. Walter Seton of Touch

·  X. Margaret- ?illegitimate, m. before Aug. 1526 George Home of Lundies, alive 25 Mar. 1556


(1) Rymer's Foedera- XIII, 509
(2) Mar & Kellie Papers- 15
(3) Acta Parl. Scot.- II, 414
(4) The Lords Elphinstone, Fraser, I, 77-9

The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880
The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, pp.609-12


m. 29 Jan. 1556/7 ANNABELLA MURRAY (d. Feb. 1602/3)
d. 29 Oct. 1572
will 9 Aug. 1568

Sir John Erskine, Earl of Mar

Sir John succeeded his father as governor of Edinburgh castle and was Abbott of Dryburgh and Commendator of Inchmahome in 1548 and Commendator of Cambuskenneth. Although a Protestant himself he preserved strict neutrality in the struggles between the Lords of the Congregation and the Queen Regent, Mary of Guise. He upheld the authority of the Queen Regent to whom when hard pressed by her enemies he gave protection in Edinburgh castle where she died 11 June 1560. On the return of Queen Mary from France in 1561 he was appointed one of her privy council and was of the opinion that she should marry an Englishman. In the following year he submitted his claim to the Earldom of Mar to Parliament and was successful in establishing his right as the descendant of Gratney, eleventh Earl of Mar. From Queen Mary and King Henry (Lord Darnley) he received a charter 18 July 1566 granting to him and his heirs the office of sheriff of Stirlingshire, the captainship and custody of Stirling castle with the office of bailiary and chamberlainry of the lands and lordship of Stirling and of the water of the Forth.(1) Upon the birth of James VI in 1566 Sir John was intrusted with keeping the Prince (2) and on the death of the Earl of Lennox in 1571 he was chosen regent (5 Sept.). John was far too honest and patriotic for the post of regent to which he had been elected at a time when a civil war raged in the kingdom. He was unable to prevent the war or to bring about any union of the various parties and he died the following year leaving a reputation for integrity and honesty.


·  16I. JOHN- b.c.1562, m.1. Oct-Nov. 1580 ANNE DRUMMOND (d. before 1592), 2. 7 Dec. 1592 Lady Mary Stewart (d. 11 May 1644), d. 14 Dec. 1634 Stirling Castle

·  II. Mary- m. 13 June 1573 Archibald, Earl of Angus


(1) Minutes of Mar Evidence- 121; Cal. Scot. Papers- II, 157; Mar Minutes- 121,390,87; P.C. Reg.- I, 344-6; Acta Parl. Scot.- II, 549
(2) Mar & Kellie Papers- 16-7

The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880
The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, pp.612-5


m.1. Oct.-Nov. 1580 ANNE DRUMMOND (d. before 1592)
Lady Mary Stewart

Sir John was educated with King James VI at Stirling castle by George Buchanan, his mother and Sir Alexander Erskine of Gogar. He was only 14 years old when he succeeded his father 3 Mar. 1572.(1)

In April 1578 the Earl of Morton prevailed upon him to remove his uncle Sir Alexander from Stirling castle and to take the keeping of the castle and of the King's person into his own hand. Morton then obtained admission to the castle with his friends and followers and after that the young Earl dared not do anything except what he was commanded to do. In Aug. 1582 John was one of the people involved in the Raid of Ruthven to get rid of the favorites Lennox and Arran. The next year he was committed to the custody of the Earl of Argyle and was ordered to deliver Stirling castle to the King and council on penalty of treason. The King gave the keeping of Stirling castle to Arran and appointed him provost of Stirling. In the meantime John and the others took refuge in Ireland. They returned to Scotland 17 Apr. 1584 and surprised Stirling castle, but were forced away and again on the 27th, but were repelled by the King with a large force and were driven into England. In Nov. 1585 he and the other banished lords re-entered Scotland and raising a force of 8,000 men took possession of Stirling castle and the King with the unprincipled Arran, stripped of all his titles and estates dropped into obscurity. In Dec. Parliament ratified the pardons and their honors and estates were restored. On the arrival of the King and Queen Anne from Denmark 1 May 1590 the Duke of Lennox and the Earls of Mar and Bothwell were among the first to receive them.

Sir John was called by his classmate, King James, "Jocky o'Sclaittes" or slates because as the boys were playing a game John "slaited" or outwitted the future king. When a widower John fell in love with Lady Mary Stewart the daughter of Lennox and cousin of the King. As John was twice her age and already had a son and heir she at first refused to take him. The King, however, took his part and in his own homely way said: "I say Jock, ye sanna die for ony lass in a' the land." He is said to have prevailed on the lady to marry him by promising to make a peer of her eldest son.

In 1592 he was appointed governor of the castle at Edinburgh. At this time he held the office of Great Master of the household and was charged with the care of Prince Henry with special instructions from King James. In March 1594 he was one of the noblemen who signed the bond at Aberdeen for the security of the protestant religion against the Catholic Earls Huntly, Angus, Errol and others. After the baptism of Prince Henry in Aug. 1594 the King made the royal infant a knight when he was "touched with the spur by the Earl of Mar." At the banquet which followed "the King and Queen with the ambassadors sat at table in the great hall at eight hours at even; the office men to the King, the Earl of Mar, Great Master Household, the Lord Fleming, Great Usher, the Earl of Montrose, Carver, the Earl of Glencairn, Cupper, the Earl of Orkney, Sewer, to the Queen, the Lord Seton, Carver, the Lord Hume, Cupper, the Lord Sempill, Sewer. The table was so served that every one might see another."

In the spring of 1595 the Queen insisted that the Prince should be moved from Stirling to Edinburgh castle, but Sir John who had charge of the infant would not allow her to come near him by herself since she might carry him off. In July the King formally intrusted the keeping and education of the Prince to Sir John by a warrant in his own hand. At a meeting held at Holyrood House 10 Dec. 1598 Sir John was sworn one of th council appointed to meet twice per week to assist the King with their advice.

In Aug. 1600 occurred the Gowrie conspiracy where the Earl of Gowrie and his brother Alexander Ruthven planned to assassinate the King in revenge for their father's execution in 1584. On 5 Aug. King James was at his palace of Falkland in Fife hunting when he met Alexander Ruthven who informed him that he had seized a very suspicious character in disguise who had a pot full of money under his cloak and who he had locked up in his brother's castle at Perth. The King was led to believe that this person was an agent of the Pope or the King of Spain and was persuaded to go to Perth to question him taking only the Duke of Lennox, Sir John and about 20 others. Soon after their arrival while eating supper Alexander asked James to come with him privately and leading him up stairs through several rooms which he was careful to lock behind them, came to a small study where stood a man in armour with a sword and dagger by his side. Ruthven snatched the dagger and held it to James' throat stating: "Remember how unjustly my father suffered by your command, you are my prisoner, submit to my disposal without resistance or outcry or this dagger shall instantly revenge his blood." Ruthven then left the King in the charge of the armed knight to find his brother. Meanwhile the King's men became impatient and on inquiring for James one of the servants told them that he had just ridden off towards Falkland. All of them rushed out into the street and Sir John called for their horses. By this time Alexander had returned to the study and swore that there was no remedy and that James must die. While attempting to bind his hands a struggle began and the man in armour opened the window and the King dragging Ruthven towards it yelled: "Treason! Help! My lord of Mar! Help! Help! I am murdered!" His men below looked up at the window and saw Ruthven grab the King around the neck. Lennox, Sir John and several others ran up the stairs, but found all the doors locked and were unable to force their way in. Sir John Ramsay, however ascended the back stairs called "the back turnpike" and found the door of the study open. He entered and seized Ruthven who was still struggling with the King and struck him twice with his sword and threw him towards the door where he was killed by Sir Thomas Erskine and Sir Hugh Herries. With his last breath he said: "Alas! I am not to blame for this matter." His brother the Earl of Gowrie then rushed into the room with a sword in each hand along with seven of his followers who were well armed. In the battle Sir John Ramsey pierced the Earl through the heart and the inhabitants of Perth hearing of Gowrie's fate surrounded his house threatening revenge. James explained the situation to the people and they finally dispersed. Three of Gowrie's accomplices were later condemned and executed at Perth and a search was made for the man in armour. Upon a promise of a pardon Andrew Henderson, the earl's steward acknowledged that he was the man. From the confessions of all involved it appeared that they were ignorant of Gowrie's motives.

Gowrie House

In 1601 Sir John was sent to England as ambassador and was instrumental in making the accesion of King James to the English throne smooth. While in London Sir John met with Robert Bruce the famous preacher who was in banishment for his disbelief of the guilt of the Gowrie brothers and through John's influence with the King he obtained a license to return to Scotland. Queen Elizabeth received the Earl and presented him with "a very fine bason and laver of mother of pearle with severall rubies and pearles set thairin."(2)

In 1603 Sir John accompanied the King on his departure for London to take possession of the throne of England. Before reaching York he had to return as the Queen had taken advantage of his absence to go to Stirling with a large group of noblemen and others and demanded that Prince Henry be given to her. The Countess of Mar refused to hand him over without an order in Sir John's own hand. The Duke of Lennox was sent from court to straighten out the affair. He arrived at Stirling castle 19 May 1603 with the King's approval of the proceedings of Sir John and his mother and was told to bring the queen and prince to England. Sir John then returned to London and on 9 July he was made a Knight of the Garter and was sworn a member of the English privy council.(3) In 1605 Henry IV of France wrote to the Earl wishing to maintain the frienship with King James and sent John a jewel valued at 15,000 levies.(4) In 1604 John was made Lord Cardross with the power of assigning the barony and title to any of his male heirs. The reason for this unusual privilege as stated in the grant was that he "might be in a better condition to provide for his younger sons, by Lady Mary Stewart, daughter of the Duke of Lennox and a relation of his majesty."

In the beginning of 1606 John returned to Scotland to assist at the trial of Mr. John Welch and five other ministers at Linlithgow on a charge of treason for having gone against the jurisdiction in an ecclesiastical matter and in 1609 King James asked his help in the matter of the Marquess of Huntly and the Earl of Errol who were suspected of papist leanings.(5) He was a member of the court of High Commission established in 1610 for the trial of church offences.

The Crown Jewels of Scotland

In Dec. 1616 he was appointed Lord High Treasurer of Scotland which he held until 1630. At the opening of Parliament at Edinburgh 25 July 1621 he carried the sceptre as he had often done before. In 1623 he was made a member of a commission to sit at Edinburgh for the redress of greivances, but which never took effect. He was at the proclamation of Charles I as King at the Cross of Edinburgh 31 Mar. 1625.

In his will he appointed his wife Mary tutor to their son William and appointed his grandson John Erskine his executor. He gave his wife in addition to her rightfull third the "jewell of diamonds" which he recieved from the French King. He also tells his oldest son to care for his step mother and brother and sisters, especially the "lytell ons wha can nocht do for thamselffis." His estate was valued at £75,971/17/6.(6)

Issue- first child by Anne, last twelve by Mary

·  17I. JOHN- m. 6 Feb. 1610 JEAN HAY, d between Jan & Oct 1655

·  II. James- m. Mary Douglas, countess of Buchan

·  III. Henry- received barony of Cardross

·  IV. Alexander- mistress Anna Bothwell (d. Apr. 1625). He was blown up at Dunglas house, East Lothian with his brother-in-law the Earl of Haddington 30 Aug. 1640.

·  V. Arthur- m. 25 June 1628 Margaret Buchanan of Satscraig, killed 3 Sept. 1651 Worcester

·  VI. John- m. 1640 Margaret Inglis of Otterstoun, Fife, d. before 1668

·  VII. Charles- m.1. Mary Hope of Craighall, 2. Helen Skene of Curriehill (m.1. Robert Bruce of Broomhall, 3. 1666 James Dundas of Arniston)

·  VIII. William- Cupbearer to Charles II and master of Charles House, London, d.s.p.

·  IX. Mary- m. 12 Oct. 1609 William, Earl of Marischal

·  X. Anna- m. 28 Dec. 1614 John, Earl of Rothes

·  XI. Margaret- m. John, Earl of Kinghorn, d.s.p.

·  XII. Catherine- m. 27 Feb. 1622 Thomas, Earl of Haddington

·  XIII. Annabella- d. young


(1) Mar Minutes- 127-8
(2) Mar Peerage Evidence- 517
(3) The Knights of England, William A. Shaw, I, 30
(4) Mar & Kellie Papers- 52; Mar Peerage Evidence- 517
(5) Mar & Kellie Papers- 60-3
(6) Stirling Tests.- 19 Aug. 1635

The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880
The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, pp.615-22


m. 6 Feb. 1610 Lady JEAN HAY (d. 24 May 1668, will 6 May Alloa)
d. between Jan. & Oct. 1655

Sir John was invested with the order of the Bath at the creation of Henry, Prince of Wales 30 May 1610 and was sworn a privy councillor 20 July 1615 and appointed governor of Edinburgh castle.

On 8 Mar. 1620 he was granted a monopoly of the leather trade in Scotland for the purposes of reforming the tanning trade.

On 1 Feb. 1620 he was named one of the Extraordinary Lords of Sessions and in 1626 he was superseded with the rest of the Extraordinary Lords. He was reappointed 18 June 1628 and sat on the bench until 1630.

He succeeded his father 25 Mar. 1634/5.(1) In 1638 he was deprived of his command of Edinburgh castle with General Ruthven, Earl of Forth having been recalled from the Swedish service and appointed governor in his place by the King. This was due to the commotions in Scotland when King Charles resolved to suppress the covenant by force. John did receive £3,000 as compensation. Also in 1638 he sold to the King the sheriffship of Stirling and bailiary of the Forth for £8,000.(2)

On 23 June 1638 he gave his lands to his son John in exchange for paying off his creditors.(3) He was proposed by the King to be a privy councillor and was sworn for life on 13 Nov. 1641. He obtained a patent for the tanning of leather, but was accused of having a monopoly and it was discharged by Parliament 16 Nov. 1641.

In 1640 he was ordered by the Estates to muster his men for defense of the county.(4) At first John favored the Covenanters, but soon joined the Cumbernauld association to support the King and therefore his property was forfeited by the Estates. He is said to have sold several lands in Scotland and purchased an estate in Ireland which he lost by the Irish rebellion.


·  18I. JOHN- m.1. 1641 Lady Elizabeth Scott (d. 23 July 1647), 2. 8 Oct. 1647 Lady MARY MACKENZIE (m.2. Andrew, Lord Fraser), d. Sept. 1668 Alloa

·  II. Francis- d.s.p. 1662

·  III. Elizabeth- m. Archibald, Lord Napier

·  IV. Mary- d.s.p.

·  V. Annabella- m. Robert Stewart of Culbeg


(1) Mar Minutes- No.147-9
(2) Mar & Kellie Papers- 195
(3) Mar Evidence- 671-91
(4) Mar & Kellie Papers- 197

The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880
The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, pp.623-5


m.1. 1641 Lady Elizabeth Scott (d. 23 July 1647)
2. 8 Oct. 1647 MARY MACKENZIE (m.2. Andrew, Lord Fraser)
d. Sept. 1668 Alloa

In 1638 John received his father's lands. In Nov. 1638 he was at the Glasgow Assembly where he stated his grief at being held aloof from their meetings and wished to be admitted to their covenant.(1)

Sir John had the command of the Stirlingshire regiment in the Scots army which in 1640 marched to England. In 1641 with his father he acceded to the Cumbernauld Association to support the royal cause. In 1645 the Irish in Montrose's army plundered Alloa and the next town which belonged to the Earl of Mar. Notwithstanding this outrage the Earl and John gave the Royalist leader and his officers an elegant banquet and for doing so the marquis of Argyle threatened to burn his castle at Alloa. After the battle of Kilsyth 15 Aug. 1645 Sir John joined Montrose and was at the battle of Philiphaugh on 13 Sept., but escaped and was sent by Montrose into the district of Mar to raise additional forces for his army. He was fined by the Estates 24,000 marks (2) and his houses of Erskine and Alloa were plundered by their order. In Jan. 1651 he was ordered by Charles II to assemble a regiment of horse from Stirling, Clackmannan and Dumbarton. On succeeding his father in 1654 all his estates were taken and until the Restoration he lived in a small cottage at the gate of Alloa house. His estates were restored to him when King Charles returned to the throne in 1660 and at the first Parliament he carried the sword at the opening ceremony.(3) He was restored as Governor of Stirling Castle and was a member of Parliament in 1663 at the close of which he carried the crown.(4) He was also made Justice of the Peace and Commissioner of Supply 23 Jan. 1667.(5)


·  19I. CHARLES- b. 19 Oct. 1650, m. 2 Apr. 1674 MARY MAULE (m.2. 29 Apr. 1697 Col. John Erskine of Alva) d. 23 May 1689 Edinburgh

·  II. George- d. 21 June 1676 Muchall

·  III. Barbara- m. 7 Sept. 1670 James, Marquess of Douglas, divorced 1681, d.c.1690

·  IV. Mary- m. 5 Aug. 1673 John, Earl of Glencairn

·  V. Sophia- m. 1676 Alexander, Lord Forbes


(1) Letters & Journals- Baillie- I, 144
(2) Mar & Kellie Papers- 203
(3) Lamont's Diary- 130
(4) Acta Parl. Scot.- VII, 107; Lamont's Diary- 163
(5) Acta Parl. Scot.- VII, 508

The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880
The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, pp.625-6


b. 19 Oct. 1650
m. 2 Apr. 1674 MARY MAULE (m.2. 29 Apr. 1697 Col. John Erskine of Alva)
d. 23 May 1689 Edinburgh (1)

Sir Charles succeeded to the earldom at age 14 and had a grant of his father's escheat on 8 Oct. 1668.(2) He had a sasine of his lands from certain creditors on 19 Sept. 1670 and a Crown charter of the earldom on 25 Mar. 1674.(3) He had another charter 1 June 1677.(4) In 1670 he was given a charter to have a weekly fair and market at Kildrummy .

In 1679 he raised the 21st regiment of foot or Royal Scots Fusileers of which he was appointed colonel.

In 1681 he was empowered to receive a small toll from passengers passing over the Tullebody bridge for repairs.(5)

In 1682 he was sworn a lord of the Scots privy council and continued one in the reign of James II, but he did not approve of that monarch's arbitrary measures or pro-Catholic policy and in 1686 he voted against the Act for releasing the papists from the penal statutes against them and thereby lost favor with the King and was deprived of his office as keeper of Stirling castle.(6) In 1688 he was ordered to attack the Highlanders who were in rebellion and as a consequence his castles of Kildrummy, Corgarf and Braemar were burned.(7)

Corgarf Castle

Braemar Castle

He retired to the continent when news of the arrival of the Prince of Orange arrived in Scotland. He appeared at the Convention of Estates at Edinburgh 14 March 1689, but gave the Viscount Dundee a promise that he would accompany him to a proposed convention of the King's friends to be held at Stirling. After Dundee's abrupt departure with his troopers from Edinburgh Charles was apprehended in a feigned attempt to escape from the capital, but was released on giving his word that he would not leave the city without the permission of the convention. He died the following May without a will, the incomplete inventory showing £1,063 of silver plate, £1,052 for books and arms and the rest for horses for a total of £4,807.


·  20I. JOHN- m.1. 6 Apr. 1703 Margaret Hay (d. 25 Apr. 1707), 2. 20 July 1714 Frances Pierrepont (d. 4 Mar. 1761), d. May 1732 Aix-la-Chapelle, France

·  II. James- b. 1679, m. Rachel Chiesley of Dalry (d. June 1749, Idragil, Isle of Skye), d. 24 Jan. 1754 London

·  III. Henry- b. 11 Sept. 1682, killed at battle of Almanza, Spain, 14 Apr. 1707, d.s.p.

·  IV. Jean- m. 21 Feb. 1712 Sir Hugh Paterson of Bannockburn, baronet (d. 23 Mar. 1777 Touch), d. 16 Nov. 1763 Bannockburn. Hugh was a Jacobite in whose house the "Young Pretender" slept in 1745 on his advance from the north to Edinburgh with the Highland army.(8)


(1) Acta Parl. Scot.- IX, 85, app. 37
(2) Mar Minutes- No.153
(3) Ibid
(4) Ibid- No.156
(5) Acta Parl. Scot.- VIII, 22, 364
(6) Mar & Kellie Papers- 217-9; Acta Parl. Scot.- IX, 67
(7) Mar & Kellie Papers- 220, 222
(8) Douglas' Peerage- II, 217; Views on the Clyde- Swan, p.65

The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880
The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, pp.626-9


m.1. 6 Apr. 1703 Twickenham, Lady Margaret Hay (d. 25 Apr. 1707)
2. 20 July 1714 Acton, Middlesex, Lady Frances Pierrepont (declared a lunatic Mar. 1730, d. 4 March 1761 Marylebone)
d. May 1732 Aix-la-Chapelle, France

Sir John appears to have been deformed and was called the "crooked backed count". According to a contemporary he had an insinuating and courteous deportment and his conduct in regard to affairs showed him to be a man of good sense, but bad morals always making his politics subservient to his personal interests. He was quiet a rake as a youth and had several affairs with lady friends. Having a child out of wedlock was not frowned upon then as it was in the time of Queen Victoria and was especially common among the nobility. It is not improbable that John had an illegitimate child at Newcastle, Monmouthshire given the above and given the fact that Newcastle was a gathering place for Jacobite sympathizers.

John did have some good points. He had a great interest in gardening and architecture and laid out the gardens at Alloa. It is said that during his exile he proposed plans for the improvement of Scottish architecture and for reconstructing Edinburgh which have since been carried out. He also proposed a canal between the Forth and Clyde which was also completed.

John was a MP beginning in 1696 and had a charter to the Earldom of Mar from the Crown 10 Mar. 1698/9.(1) In Sept. 1705 he was appointed Secretary of State for Scotland under King William as a reward for getting the treaty through the Scottish Parliament.(2) He became a member of the Commission for the Union of the Kingdoms in Mar. 1706 and took charge of carrying the Act of Union through. In Jan. 1703/4 he was in London and reported that the project of the Union was progressing although slowly.(3) His story of the last Parliament in Scotland is told in his letters to Sir David Nairn and others in London between Oct. 1706 and Mar. 1707.(4)

John was one of the sixteen Representative Peers chosen for Scotland by the Parliament of 1707. He was continually re-elected during the reign of Queen Anne and continued in the office of Secretary of State for Scotland and was also a member of the Privy Council in 1708. He was afterwards appointed to the command of a regiment of foot and invested with the order of the Thistle on 10 Aug. 1706.(5) Upon the death of the Duke of Queensbury in 1713 he was again appointed Secretary of State for Scotland.

The Order of the Thistle

Because of his involvement in bringing about the Union John was very unpopular in Scotland, but tried to regain the favor of his countrymen by attending a meeting with the Duke of Argyle, Cockburn, Ormiston and Lockhart of Carnwath which presented to Queen Anne in 1712 a resolution to move for a repeal of the Union with England.

Everything changed upon the accession of George I to the throne. In a letter to the King he pledged his loyalty. He also composed a letter addressed to himself and supposedly from some of the heads of the Jacobite clans stating that as they had always been ready to follow his directions in serving Queen Anne they were equally ready to concur with him in serving His Majesty. A loyal address of the clans to the King was drawn up by Sir John's brother Lord Grange which John intended to present to King George on his arrival at Greenwich, but the King was well aware that in order to ingratiate himself with Queen Anne he had procured from the same people a letter of very opposite character only a few years before. Sir John was accordingly unnoticed by the King and was dismissed from office, deprived of his ancestral job as Governor of Stirling Castle and lost his political clout. The versatility of "Bobbin' John's" politics was probably due to circumstances in which he was placed. He was a Jacobite from principle, but as the fortunes of his family had been taken away in the Civil War by their aliance with the Stuarts and upon entering public life he found the cause of the exiled family at a low ebb, he sought to retrieve his family's losses and gratify his ambitions by attaching himself to the existing government. The loss of £5,000 per year, his office and the insult he had recieved from the King was the last straw. At this point he openly became a Jacobite and rallied the Scottish nobility and raised an army to support the landing of "the Old Pretender" at Peterhead. In May 1715 a rumor was spread among the Scottish Jacobites that the "Chevalier de St. George" would decend upon Britain to recover his crown and they began arming themselves. The government sent troops to the Highlands where a party of Highlanders were dispersed near Inverlochy. Information was received that the Chevalier intended to land in North Britain and a reward of £100,000 was offered for his apprehension. On the eve of Sir John's departure from England to place himself at the head of the army in Scotland he appeared at court in the presence of King George I 1 Aug. 1715 with all the complaisance of a courtier and with that affability of demeanor for which he was famous. He then disguised himself as a woman and left Gravesend the following day on a collier bound for Newcastle. Opon arrival there he boarded another ship for the Firth of Forth and landed at Elie near the mouth of the Firth. He finally reached Kildrummy in the Braes of Mar on the 18th. The next day he summoned a meeting of the neighboring noblemen and gentlemen to a grand hunting match at Aboyne on the 27th and an unanimous resolution was made to take up arms with John regretting his share in "that cursed Union" and promising a revolt in England and help from France and Sweden. According to arrangements at a subsequent meeting on 3 Sept. he on the 6th set up the standard of the Pretender at Castletown of Braemar and assumed the title of Lieutenant- General of His Majesty's forces in Scotland. The Chevalier was proclaimed King James VIII at Aberdeen and other towns and Sir John marched to Dunkeld and then to Perth where he established his head quarters. With an army of 12,000 men he resolved to attack Stirling and left Perth 10 Nov, but encountered the Royal Army under the Duke of Argyle at Sheriffmuir near Dunblane on 13 Nov. and was defeated and forced to retreat to Perth. The unfortunate and ill advised James arrived at Peterhead from France 22 Dec. 1715 and Sir John (now the Duke of Mar) met him at Fetteresso and went with him to Scone where he issued several proclamations including one for his coronation on 23 Jan. They soon moved to Perth where it was decided to abandon the enterprise. The Old Pretender, Sir John, Lord Drummond and others left Montrose 4 Feb. in a French ship which had been kept off the coast and landed at Waldam near Gravelines 11 Feb. 1715/6. James tried to get aid for his followers while in Paris, but having failed he and Sir John went to Avignon as the guest of Pope Clement XI.

A Letter from the Earl of Mar to the King- Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5, Page 6, Page 7, Page 8, Page 9, Page 10, Page 11, Page 12, Page 13, Page 14, Page 15, Page 16, Page 17

Unfortunately for the Scots the English did not share their enthusiasm for the idea and the "fifteen" and the "forty-five" failed because of lack of support south of the Tweed. The revolt of 1715 in England was the last effort of feudalism and Romanism in the Northern Counties and received the "coup de grace" from the consequences of the revolt. Although the Jacobites had quite a formidable force the Whigs were ready for them as they expected a revolt as a result of George I's accession. The Whigs also had John Campbell, Duke of Argyle who was an excellent general. All the Scots had was Sir John who was neither statesman nor general and "James III" who arrived too late and had not the personality to rouse the people as did his son. Fortunately for George I France wanted England's friendship so did not assist James "III" and the other allies of Jacobitism (Sweden and Spain) fell by the wayside.

All of Sir John's lands and titles were forfeited by Attainment 19 Jan. 1715/6.(6) However, some of the Erskines remained in Scotland and bought up much of the old Erskine estates and eventually they got the title back also, but the various Mar peerage cases resulted in two Earldoms of Mar being created.

On 10 Nov. 1717 Sir John was again created Earl of Mar and on 13 Dec. 1722 he was made Duke of Mar, these titles being conferred upon him by the exiled King James III. John served the exiled Stuarts for many years. John and King James remained in Avignon until Feb. 1717 when they moved to Urbino. James was married to Maria Clementina Sobieska at Montefiascone in Sept. 1719 and they settled down in the Palazzo Muti in Rome which was a gift from the Pope. They also had a house in Albano, the Palazzo Savelli. In 1721 Sir John left Rome and after a short residence in Geneva where he was subjected to a brief confinement at the insistence of the British government he took up residence at Paris as minister for James III at the French court. While in Geneva he applied for and received a loan from the Earl of Stair, the British ambassador in Paris and soon afterwards accepted a pension of £2,000 and his countess and daughter £1,500 per year income out of the produce of his estate. Sir John fell out of favor with King James when he negotiated with the British Government for a pardon which was refused and he was not allowed to return to Scotland. He was also accused by Bishop Atterbury of having betrayed the secrets of the exiled government to the English and in 1724 he was dismissed from his post as minister at Paris and finally broke with the Stuarts in 1725. In 1729 Sir John left Paris because of his bad health and moved to Aix-la-Chapelle where he died in 1732.

In addition to his other duties, John was involved in the early Masonic Temple as he was Grand Master of the Order of the Temple in Scotland in 1715. While in Paris he became a close friend of Chevalier Ramsay, one of the chief propagators of 18th century Freemasonry.(7)

Issue- second and third children by Margaret, fourth by Frances

·  21I. JOHN-b. 6 Jan. 1694 Hilston Park, Monmouth, m. 16 July 1719 CATHERINE SURPLUS (b. 9 Mar. 1703 Kittery d. 1770), d. 1750, wrecked off Cape Cod

·  II. Thomas- b.c.1705, d. 16 Mar. 1766

·  III. John- d. ae 3 mos.

·  IV. Frances- m. James Erskine (d. 27 Feb. 1785)


(1) Mar Peerage Minutes- No.157
(2) Mar & Kellie Papers- 235
(3) Ibid- 227
(4) Ibid- 289-385
(5) Ibid-272; The Knights of England- I, 76
(6) Mar Peerage Minutes- No.169

(7) "The Temple and The Lodge"- Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh- Archade Publishing, NY, 1989- pp. 166-7

The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880
The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, pp.629-332
The Passing of the Stewarts- Agnes Mure MacKenzie, MacMillan Co., N.Y., 1937
The Rash Adventurer- Margaret Forster, Stein & Day, N.Y., 1973


b. 6 Jan. 1694 Hilston Park, Monmouth
m. 16 July 1719 CATHERINE (2) SURPLUS (b.9 Mar. 1703 Kittery, d. 1770)
d. of exposure 1750, wrecked off Cape Cod
bur. Frost Burying ground, Eliot, ME

John was a mariner and assumed the name of Mar upon coming to America in 1717. He was first known as John de Mar, but then changed his name to John Marr.(1)

The belief in John's descent from the Earl of Mar prompted a number of John's descendants (mostly descendants of Dennis) to form an organization to recover the Mar estates and wealth in Scotland thinking they were dealing with an estate worth $80 million. On 24 Apr. 1833 they all signed a document giving their lawyer Arthur McArthur $20,000 to begin the legal chase. Over the next 40 years they spent an additional $50,000 to try to prove their claim and all of this in 19th century dollars! Unfortunately they lost their case due to misconceptions, poor home work and bad advise. All of this activity alerted the Erskine heirs in Scotland who were fighting among themselves for the title. The birth of John Erskine alias Marr was recorded in Llangattock-vivon- Abel near Hilston Park and the village of Newcastle, but during the 1840's the records of this parish mysteriously disappeared. John Marr of Rochester, NY, a lifetime student of Marr genealogy wrote in 1903 that: "I have never heard in all my eighty years of life any doubt expressed that John of Kittery was other than the son of John Erskine, Earl of Mar."(2)

For a complete discussion of all the arguments concerning this link between John of Kittery and Sir John Erskine see "The Descendants of John and Catherine Marr of Kittery" by James F. Jamison.

Dodavah Curtis of Kittery, yeoman, his wife Elizabeth and Withers Berry of Kittery, yeoman sold for £10 to John Marr of Kittery, Mariner, one acre of land in Kittery "beginning at North West Corner of the sd Mars own land & runs West South West to the Country Road... comes in a Little Gore a Little below sd Mars House..."

On 7 Nov. 1724 William and Elizabeth Godsoe of Kittery gave to his son-in-law John Marr and Catherine his wife 256 pole of land on the road from Woodman's Ferry in Kittery.(3) On 13 Aug. 1721 William deeded additional land to John and Catherine. John and Catherine sold their home to John Jr. 24 Dec. 1740.

Issue- all children born in Kittery, ME

·  I. John- b. 3 Aug. 1720, m. Mary Chandler (d.s.p. before Mar. 1791), d.c.1778

·  22II. JAMES- bpt. 3 Oct. 1725, m.1. 19 Mar. 1746/7 Mercy Mitchell 2. 1 Jan. 1752 LYDIA (5) HILL, d. before 9 July 1791 (see MARR)

·  III. William- bpt. 4 Aug. 1728, m. Ruth Spinney (b. 18 Apr. 1742, d. 16 Aug. 1816 Georgetown, ME), d. before 3 Aug. 1755

·  IV. Surplus- b. 15 Sept. 1729, m.1. 15 Nov. 1750 Sarah Hammett 2. 1763 Rachel Chesley, d. 8 Apr. 1816 South Berwick, ME

·  V. Dennis- b. 10 July 1735, m.1. 2 Apr. 1759 Falmouth, ME, Hannah Sawyer 2. Elizabeth Winter (b. 1735, m.1. 16 Nov. 1752 Solomon Larrabee, d. 8 June 1770) 3. 7 Aug. 1770 Sarah Manson (b. 10 Nov. 1741, m.1. ______ Hutchins, d. 16 Aug. 1826 Scarborough, ME), d. 19 June 1812 Scarborough, ME, bur. Evergreen Cemetery, Portland

·  VI. Jane- bpt. 30 Aug. 1740, m. Thomas Chandler

·  VII. Elsie- bpt. 22 Sept. 1745, m.1. 21 Oct. 1761 Thomas Rogers (b. 1 Sept 728) 2. Nathan Dame


(1) "The Descendants of John and Catherine Marr of Kittery"- James F. Jamison, p.242
(2) Ibid- p.241
(3) York Deeds- Vol.XIV, p.190

Old Kittery and Her Families- Everett S. Stackpole, pp.604-5
Saco Valley Settlements- Gideon T. Ridlon, p.904
John Marr Founded Maine Branch of Family- William Mountain, Downeast Ancestry, Vol.2, No.4 (Dec. 1978), p.20
American Ancestry- Vol.VII, p.186


Sir John succeeded to the lands of Dun and had a charter from Robert III 25 Oct. 1392.(1)




(1) Reg. Mag. Sig.- fol. ed., 210

The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, p.600
The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880



·  24I. JOHN- d. 15 Mar. 1508


The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, p.600
The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880


d. 15 Mar. 1508

Sir John received a charter of the lands of Dun from James II 28 Jan. 1449 while his father retained the liferent. He resigned his lands of Dun to his son John in 1473 retaining the liferent for himself. He and David Graham of Morphie were involved in a court action with Christina, Lady Graham.


·  25I. JOHN- d. 9 Sept. 1513, Flodden

·  II. Thomas-

·  III. Alexander-


The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, p.186 The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880


killed 9 Sept. 1513 Flodden

Sir John treated the inhabitants of Montrose in a tyrannical manner and caused the town to apply to the King for redress and a summons was issued against him and four of his sons 4 Oct. 1493.


·  26I. JOHN- m. before 21 June 1508 MARGARET RUTHVEN (m.1. Alexander, Earl of Buchan (d. 1505), 3. before 23 Dec. 1518 James Stewart of Ryland (killed at Edinburgh before 11 Mar. 1524/5), 4. William Wood of Bonnyton, annulled 18 Dec. 1534, d. 1548), d. 9 Sept. 1513 Flodden

·  II. Thomas- of Brechin, secretary to James V

·  III. Katherine- int. 2 Mar. 1526 Robert Arbuthnott (m.2. Christian Keith, 3. before 13 Apr. 1558 Helen Claphane), d.s.p. 15 June 1529 Arbuthnott

·  IV. Elizabeth- m. George Falconer of Halkerton (d. 1511)


The Scots Peerage- Vol. 5, p.244; Vol.1, p.290
The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880


m. before 21 June 1508 MARGARET RUTHVEN (m.1. Alexander, Earl of Buchan (d. 1505), 3. before 23 Dec. 1518 James Stewart of Ryland (killed at Edinburgh before 11 Mar. 1524/5), 4. William Wood of Bonnyton, annulled 18 Dec. 1534, d. 1548)
d. 9 Sept. 1513, Flodden


·  27I. JOHN- b. 1508, m.1. int 20 Dec. 1522 ELIZABETH LINDSAY (d. 29 July 1538), 2. Barbara de Beirle, d. 12 Mar. 1591


The Scots Peerage- Vol. 2, p.268; Vol.4, po.258-9
The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880


b. 1508
m.1. int. 20 Dec. 1522 ELIZABETH LINDSAY (d. 29 July 1538)
2. Barbara de Beirle
d. 12 Mar. 1591

Sir John succeeded to the estate when only five years old and was educated by his uncle Sir Thomas Erskine of Brechin.

John murdered a priest from Montrose, Sir William Froster, and was required to pay a fine to the priest's father 5 Feb. 1530.

Sir John studied abroad and upon returning in 1534 he brought with him a Frenchman to teach Greek. On 10 May 1537 he had a license from James V for himself and his son John: "to pas to the partis of ffrance, Italie, or any uthiris beyond se, and thair remane, for doing of thair pilgramagis besynes and uthir lefull erandis, for the space of thre yeiris."

Thomas Erskine of Brechin obtained from the King the office of Constabulary of Montrose which he gave to John 9 Feb. 1541. In Apr. 1542 John and his cousin Thomas and John Lambie of Duncarry had a license to travel into France and Italy for two years.

Sir John became a convert to the Protestant cause and his house was always a sanctuary for those who were persecuted. In 1548 and 1549 he supported the Queen Dowager and the French in opposing the English and in 1548 when some English ships landed near Montrose he attacked and defeated them. Mary, the Queen Dowager highly respected John and many of their letters have been published. In a letter 29 Aug. 1549 she tells of the arrival of French Captain Beauschattel in Montrose and reasured John that there was: "na entent bot till kepe the fort and nocht till hurt you in your heretage or ony othir thing." At Stirling 10 Mar. 1556 John and others signed a "call" to John Knox in Geneva to return to Scotland and promote the Reformation. At a dinner at Sir John's house it was resolved to stop attending Mass. Knox stayed at Dun quite some time and on 3 Dec. 1557 Sir John signed the first Covenant at Edinburgh. At Parliament 14 Dec. 1557 he was appointed to go to France to witness Queen Mary's marriage to the dauphin. Upon his return the Protestants due to their increase in numbers and the accession of Elizabeth to the English throne petitioned the Queen Regent to be allowed to practice their religion. However, for granting toleration she issued a proclamation requiring the Protestant ministers to appear at Stirling 10 May 1559 to be tried as heretics. Sir John in an effort to avoid a battle went to Stirling and talked the Queen out of trying the preachers, but no sooner had she made the promise than she broke it and the ministers were declared rebels and a civil war began which ended 23 Oct. 1559. On 10 June 1560 the Queen Regent died. Sir John had by this time relinquished his armor and became a preacher and was appointed to act as an ecclesiastical superintendant of counties Angus and Mearns in July 1560. He was installed in his office by John Knox in 1562. Sir John was appointed moderator of the 9th General Assembly at Edinburgh 25 Dec. 1564 and also in 1565, 1566 and 1567. In Jan. 1572 he attended the convention at Leith where episcopacy was established. When Mary, Queen of Scots was asked to hear some of the Protestant preachers she said as Knox relates: "That above all others she would gladly hear the superintendent of Angus, Sir John Erskine for he was a mild and sweet natured man, and of true honesty and uprightness." In 1569 he visited the university of Aberdeen and suspended the principal, sub-principal and three professors for supporting "popery". In 1577 he assisted in writing the Second Book of Discipline. On 20 Sept. 1579 he was required to take the house of Redcastle from James Gray and return it to John Stewart. Sir John still retained some of the old beliefs from the Catholic church as he was given permission from the King and Privy Council 25 Feb. 1584 to eat meat during Lent.

In 1584 at the insistance of the King Parliament passed "the obligation" which made the King supreme head of the church. John told his ministers to go along with the law and therefore "the Laird of Dun was a pest then to the ministers in the north." The Archbishop of St. Andrews, Patrick Adamson gave John an explanation of "the obligation" in a letter 22 Jan. 1585: "the desys of his Majesties obligatioun extendis no forthir bot to his hienes obedience, and of sik as bearis charge be lawfull commission in the cuntrie, quheirof his Majestie hes maid ane speciall chose of your Lordship: as for the diocese of Dunkeld, I think your Lordship will understand his Majesties meening at your cuming to Edinbrught, and as ffor sik pairtis as is of the diocese of Sanct Androwis in the Merns and Anguse, I pray your Lordship to tak ordour thairin for thair obedience and conformitie as your Lordship hes done befoir, that they be nocht compellit to travell forthis, bot thair suspendis may be rathir helpit nor hinderit." A summons for payment of John's stipend as superintendent of Angus and Mearns 9 Sept. 1585 shows £800 of which £337/11/6 was paid in money.

John died in 1591 at age 82. Spottswood states that he governed the part of the country given to his "superintendance with great authority till his death giving no way to the novations introduced nor suffering them to take place within the bounds of his charge while he lived. A baron he was of good rank, wise, learned, liberal, and of singular courage; who, for diverse resemblances may well be said to have been another Ambrose."


·  I. John-



The Scots Peerage- Vol. 3, p.27
The Scottish Nation- William Anderson, A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh, 1880
Dun Papers in the Miscellany of the Spalding Club- Vol.4
Calderwood's Church History- Vol.IV, p.209ff

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