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Earl of Mar

The Earldom of Mar is one of the ancient peerage titles of in the Peerage of Scotland. The title was created in the twelfth century, but there is no clear and definite succession to the earldom until later. While the eleventh holder of the title, Isabel Douglas, Countess of Mar, was alone at the Castle of Kildrummy, Alexander Stewart entered it and forced her to sign a charter on August 12, 1404. She revoked the charter later that year, but on marrying him, she gave him the earldom for life; the King confirmed her last action the next year. In 1426, Stewart resigned the title so that he could be granted a new one by the King, the new title being more "legitimate". The King did so, but specified that the earldom and associated lands would revert to the Crown upon the death of the Earl. In 1435, the Earl died, and Robert, Lord Erskine claimed the title, but the King claimed its lands under the specifications of reversion made in the patent. The issue remained unresolved until 1457, when James II obtained a court order declaring the lands as crown possessions. Thereafter, he bestowed the title on his son John, who died without heirs in 1479. It was next granted to James' other son, Alexander, Duke of Albany, but the title was then declared forfeit because of Alexander's alliances with the English. James III created his son John Earl of Mar in 1486, upon whose death in 1503 the title became extinct again. The title was once again created in 1562, for James, Earl of Moray, son of James V, but he, too, could not produce a qualified heir.

In 1565 John, Queen Mary made Lord Erskine, heir to the Lord Erskine who quarreled with James II about the Earldom, Earl of Mar. John, the sixth Earl, was attainted for rebellion, and the earldom remaining forfeit for over a century. In 1824, the Earldom was finally restored by Act of Parliament to John Francis Erskine, the heir of the attained Earl. His grandson, the ninth Earl, inherited the earldom of Kellie and other titles in 1835.

At the death of the ninth Earl of Mar and eleventh Earl of Kellie in 1866, the Earldom of Kellie and the family's estates passed to Walter Erskine, the cousin of the late Earl, and his heir-male. Meanwhile, it was assumed that the Earldom of Mar passed to John Francis Goodeve, the late Earl's nephew, and his heir-general. (An heir-male is an heir in a male line, while an heir-general is an heir in either the male or female line. The terms do not refer to the gender of the holder.) Goodeve changed his name to Goodeve Erskine; his claim was agreed upon by all. He even participated in the election of representative peers for the Peerage of Scotland. However, the Earl of Kellie submitted a petition to the House of Lords asking that the Earldom of Mar be declared his, dying before it could be considered. His son, the thirteenth Earl of Kellie, renewed the petition, and the Lords referred it to their Committee on Privileges. The petition made a number of claims:

Goodeve Erskine had different ideas, however. He portrayed the Crown's takeover of the territorial Earldom not as pursuant to a charter, but rather as an act of tyranny. He argued: The House of Lords Committee on Privileges ruled in 1875, to the dissatisfaction of many, that the Earldom of Mar was newly created in 1565, passed only to heirs-male, and therefore belonged to the Earl of Kellie, and not to Goodeve Erskine. The Lord Chancellor, Roundell Palmer, 1st Baron Selborne, declared it to be "final, right or wrong, and not to be questioned".

However, there was a sentiment that the Lords had decided wrongly. A bill was brought to Parliament, to allow Goodeve Erskine to assume the title, and was passed without dissent. The Earldom of Mar Restitution Act declared that because of the doubts relating to the 1565 creation, it would be assumed that there are two Earldoms of Mar. The Earldom created in 1565 would be held by the Earl of Kellie. The ancient Earldom, however, was declared to be still in existence, and was given to John Goodeve Erskine. For the purposes of precedence, it is assumed that the Earldom held by Goodeve Erskine's heirs was created in 1404.

Table of contents
1 Earls of Mar, first Creation (circa 1114)
2 Earls of Mar, second Creation (1426)
3 Earls of Mar, third Creation (1457)
4 Earls of Mar, fourth Creation (1483)
5 Earls of Mar, fifth Creation (1486)
6 Earls of Mar, sixth Creation (1562)
7 Earls of Mar, seventh Creation (1565)
8 Earls of Mar, second Creation (1426)
9 Earls of Mar and Kellie, seventh Creation (1565)

Earls of Mar, first Creation (circa 1114)

Earls of Mar, second Creation (1426)

Earls of Mar, third Creation (1457)

Earls of Mar, fourth Creation (1483)

Earls of Mar, fifth Creation (1486)

Earls of Mar, sixth Creation (1562)

Earls of Mar, seventh Creation (1565)

Earls of Mar, second Creation (1426)

Earls of Mar and Kellie, seventh Creation (1565)