Monday, 13 November 2017

1st Earl of Mar and Kellie

THE EARLS OF MAR AND KELLIE WERE THE LARGEST LANDOWNERS IN CLACKMANNANSHIRE, WITH 6,143 ACRES

This is a branch of the noble family of Erskine, Earls of Mar, springing from

THE RT HON SIR ALEXANDER ERSKINE OF GOGAR, knight, third son of John, 5th Lord Erskine and 16th Earl of Mar de jure, by Lady Margaret Campbell, daughter of Archibald, 2nd Earl of Argyll.

The house of Erskine, Earls and Countesses of Mar, is one of the most ancient families in the Scottish peerage; so old, indeed, that the date of the creation of its honours is lost in its antiquity.

This Alexander was sworn, in 1578, of His Majesty's privy council, nominated Governor of Edinburgh Castle, and constituted Vice-Chamberlain of Scotland.

He married Margaret, daughter of Lord Home, by whom he had three sons and three daughters.

The eldest son, Sir Alexander, fell at the surprise of Stirling Castle, in 1578, and the second,

SIR THOMAS ERSKINE, born in the same year with JAMES I, and educated with that monarch, having accompanied His Majesty to England, was created, in 1606, Baron Dirletoun and Viscount Fenton (the first viscountcy of Scotland).

His lordship was advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1619, as EARL OF KELLIE, installed a Knight of the Garter, and sworn of the privy councils of England and Scotland.

He married Anne, daughter of Sir Gilbert Ogilvie, of Powrie, by whom he had a daughter, and a son, Alexander, Viscount Fenton, who wedded the Lady Anne Seton, daughter of Alexander, 1st Earl of Dunfermline, by whom he left three sons:
ALEXANDER, 3rd Earl;
CHARLES;
THOMAS, the eldest.
THOMAS succeeded his grandfather in 1639, and dying unmarried in 1643, the family honours devolved upon his brother,

ALEXANDER, 3rd Earl, who was succeeded, in 1657, by his only son,

ALEXANDER, 4th Earl, who was also succeeded (in 1710) by an only son,

ALEXANDER, 5th Earl, who married twice and was succeeded, on his demise in 1756, by his eldest son,

THOMAS, 6th Earl, who died unmarried, in 1781, when the family honours devolved upon his brother,

ARCHIBALD, 7th Earl, who died, unmarried, in 1797, when the peerage reverted to his kinsman,

SIR CHARLES ERSKINE, baronet, of Cambo, the direct descendant of Charles Erskine (who was created a baronet in 1666), youngest son of Alexander, Viscount Fenton, eldest son of Thomas, 1st Earl of Kellie.

His lordship dying unmarried in 1799, the family honours reverted to his uncle,

THOMAS, 9th Earl.
The heir presumptive is Lord Mar's brother, the Hon Alexander David Erskine, Master of Mar (b. 1952). It is known that the lineage survived in the Erskine-Kellies, with the current heir Andrew Erskine (b. 1998) estimated as the 17th Earl of Mar and 19th Earl of Kellie.

CAMBO HOUSE, near Kingsbarns, in Fife, was built between 1879-84, to designs by the architects Wardrop & Reid.
The estate of Cambo was granted to Robert de Newenham by a charter of King William the Lion. His descendents took the name "de Cambhou", and had settled in Fife by the early 14th century. In 1599, the estate was granted to Thomas Myretoun.
In 1668, Sir Charles Erskine Bt (d. 1677), the Lord Lyon King of Arms and brother of the 3rd Earl of Kellie, purchased the property from the creditors of Patrick Merton.

The estate passed through the Erskine family to the 5th Earl of Kellie, who forfeited his lands after supporting the Jacobite rising of 1745.

In 1759, Cambo was sold to the Charteris family, who bought it for their son who was studying at St Andrews University.

Thomas Erskine, 9th Earl of Kellie, bought the estate back in the 1790s.

A successful merchant in Sweden, he invested heavily in improving the estate, building the picturesque Georgian estate farms, and carrying out extensive land drainage.

The 9th Earl commissioned the architect Robert Balfour to remodel the house in 1795.

His descendents continued the improvement of the estate through the 19th century, laying out ornamental gardens, with a series of early cast iron bridges.
The old house comprised a tower house with numerous additions, including a first-floor conservatory. It was destroyed by fire in 1878, after a staff party when the Erskine family was away.
The present house was built on the same site between 1879-84, to designs by the architects Wardrop & Reid.

The house is operated as self-catering and bed & breakfast accommodation, while the walled garden and woodland gardens are open to the public year-round.

The estate woodlands have a significant collection of snowdrops, including over 300 varieties of Galanthus species.

The estate was awarded National Collection status by the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens.

Kingsbarns Golf Links was laid out in 2000 to designs by American golf course architects Kyle Phillips and Mark Parsinen.

The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, an annual pro-am golf tournament, is played in October at Kingsbarns, St Andrews Old Course, and Carnoustie.


ERSKINE HOUSE, Glasgow,  was designed by Sir Robert Smirke, the architect of the British Museum.

During the 1st World War it became the Princess Louise Hospital for Limbless Sailors and Soldiers.

It is now the Mar Hall Hotel, its name recalling the estate’s former ownership by the Earl of Mar.
During the early 18th century, the Mar estate and old Erskine House came into the ownership of the Lords Blantyre. In 1828 Major General Robert W Stuart, the 11th Lord Blantyre and a distinguished veteran of the Wellington’s Peninsular campaigns during the Napoleonic Wars, commissioned the present house.
His architect, Sir Robert Smirke (1781-1867) was still engaged in designing the British Museum.

That, however, is a very classical design whereas Erskine House is more Gothic with touches of Tudor, in the small turrets and pointed arches in the principal windows and entrance porch.

The stone was quarried locally. Sir Charles Barry produced designs for the gardens.

The house was completed only in 1845.

The final cost was £50,000, about £2.5m today.

When the Blantyre line became extinct in 1900, the house was left derelict but in 1916 it re-opened as the Princess Louise Scottish Hospital of Limbless Sailors and Soldiers.

In recent years £15m has been invested in the refurbishment of the house and the restoration of its many original features as the Mar Hall Hotel.

First published in November, 2013.   Kellie arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

No comments :