Earl of Buchan

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Original coat of arms of the Earl of Buchan
Today's coat of arms of the Earl of Buchan

Earl of Buchan is a hereditary British title of nobility created four times in the Peerage of Scotland . The title originally goes back to the Mormaer of Buchan , who was the ruler of the medieval Scottish province of Buchan .


The first person known as the Earl (Mormaer) of Buchan was Gartnait , who is mentioned in the Gaelic notes added later in the 12th century in the Book of Deer . Possible predecessors in the early 12th century, named Cainneach and Gille-Michéil, are historically inadequate. In the absence of male descendants, the title was hereditary in the female line and came to Alexander from the Comyn family around 1243 . He was the first foreigner to acquire a Mormaerdom in the High Medieval Kingdom of Scotland , if only by marrying his parents. Before 1310 his granddaughter and title heiress Alicia married the English nobleman Henry de Beaumont, 1st Baron Beaumont of the House of Brienne . When he fought on the English side against Scotland in the Scottish Wars of Independence , the title and the rights and lands associated with it were confiscated from the Scottish Crown. Although Beaumont regained the right to attend sessions of the Scottish Parliament as Earl of Buchan through Writ of Summons of January 22, 1334 , the title could no longer be inherited to his descendants on his death in 1340, but became extinct.

The title remained in the hands of the crown until King Robert II awarded it in 1382 to his fourth son, Sir Alexander Stewart , the "Wolf of Badenoch". In the process, the territory of Buchan associated with the title was so much reduced that it was no longer given the rank of a province. With the death of Alexander's nephew John, 3rd Earl of Buchan , his inheritance fell to his cousin, King James I , so that the title became extinct by merging with the crown.

In 1444, King James I awarded the Earldom as a "proper title" to his daughter Maria on the occasion of her wedding to Wolfhart VI. from Borsselen . With her death on March 20, 1465 the title expired.

1469 was the title of King James III. bestowed on his father's half-brother, Sir James Stewart , along with the subordinate title of Lord Auchterhouse . In the absence of male descendants, the titles are also hereditary in the female line. When the 8th Earl died in 1695, the title fell to his relative David Erskine, 4th Lord Cardross , who already held the title of Lord Cardross , created in 1610 and henceforth subordinate . Since then, this has been used as a courtesy title instead of the title Lord Achterhouse by the title heir ( heir apparent ) of the respective earl . When the 15th Earl died in 1960, the title fell to his relative Donald Erskine, 7th Baron Erskine , who already held the title Baron Erskine , created in 1806 and henceforth subordinate . The latter baron title belonged to the Peerage of the United Kingdom and, in contrast to his Scottish titles, entitled the Earl to a seat in the British House of Lords before the Peerage Act 1963 . The hereditary right to a seat in parliament was abolished in 1999 with the House of Lords Act . The current title holder has been Malcolm Harry as 17th Earl since 1984 .

The family seat of the current Earl is Newnham House near Hook in Hampshire .

List of the Earls of Buchan

Early Mormaers / Earls of Buchan

Earls of Buchan, second bestowal (1382)

Earls of Buchan, third bestowal (1444)

Earls of Buchan, fourth bestowal (1469)

The heir to the title is the son of the current earl, Henry Thomas Alexander Erskine, Lord Cardross (* 1960).


  • Alan Orr Anderson : Early Sources of Scottish History. AD 500-1286 . 2 volumes. Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh 1922.
  • Kenneth Jackson (Ed.): The Gaelic Notes in the Book of Deer . Cambridge 1972 (The Osborn Bergin Memorial Lecture 1970).
  • John Milne: Comyn / Stewart / Douglas / Erskine, Earl of Buchan . In: James Balfour Paul (Ed.): The Scots Peerage . tape 2 : Banff-Cranstoun . David Douglas, Edinburgh 1905, p. 250–280 (English, Textarchiv - Internet Archive ).
  • John L. Roberts: Lost Kingdoms. Celtic Scotland and the Middle Ages . University Press, Edinburgh 1997, ISBN 978-0-7486-0910-9 .
  • Alan Young: Buchan in the 13th century . In: Alexander Grant, Keith J. Stringer (Eds.): Medieval Scotland: Crown, Lordship and Community Essays Presented to GWS Barrow . Edinburgh 1993.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, Don Pottinger (ed.): Scotland of Old: Clan Names Map . Bartholomew, Edinburgh 1991, ISBN 978-0-7028-1709-0 .
  2. Paul, 1909 mentions on p. 265 "used around 1415"