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The Peerage of Scotland (Scottish Gaelic : Moraireachd na h-Alba; Scots : Peerage o Scotland) is one of the five divisions of peerages in the United Kingdom and for those peers created by the King of Scots before 1707. Following that year's Treaty of Union, the Kingdom of Scots and the Kingdom of England were combined under the name of Great Britain, and a new Peerage of Great Britain was introduced in which subsequent titles were created.
Scottish Peers were entitled to sit in the ancient Parliament of Scotland. After the Union, the Peers of the old Parliament of Scotland elected 16 representative peers to sit in the House of Lords at Westminster. The Peerage Act 1963 granted all Scottish Peers the right to sit in the House of Lords, but this automatic right was revoked, as for all hereditary peerages (except those of the incumbent Earl Marshal and Lord Great Chamberlain), when the House of Lords Act 1999 received the Royal Assent.
Unlike most peerages, many Scottish titles have been granted with remainder to pass via female offspring (thus an Italian family has succeeded to and presently holds the earldom of Newburgh), and in the case of daughters only, these titles devolve to the eldest daughter rather than falling into abeyance (as is the case with ancient English baronies by writ of summons). Unlike other British peerage titles, Scots law permits peerages to be inherited by or through a person who was not legitimate at birth, but was subsequently legitimised by their parents marrying later.
The ranks of the Scottish Peerage are, in ascending order: Lord of Parliament, Viscount, Earl, Marquess and Duke. Scottish Viscounts differ from those of the other Peerages (of England, Great Britain, Ireland and the United Kingdom) by using the style of in their title, as in Viscount of Oxfuird. Though this is the theoretical form, most Viscounts drop the "of". The Viscount of Arbuthnott and to a lesser extent the Viscount of Oxfuird still use "of".
Scottish Barons rank below Lords of Parliament, and although considered noble, their titles are incorporeal hereditaments. At one time feudal barons did sit in parliament. However, they are considered minor barons and not peers because their titles can be hereditary, or bought and sold.
In the following table of the Peerage of Scotland as it currently stands, each peer's highest ranking title in the other peerages (if any) are also listed. Those peers who are known by a higher title in one of the other peerages are listed in italics.
|Shield||Title||Creation||Other Dukedom or higher titles||Title used in the House of Lords prior to the Peerage Act 1963||Monarch|
| ||The Duke of Rothesay||1398||Since 1603, usually Prince of Wales as the heir to the throne|
Duke of Cornwall in the Peerage of England.
|King Robert III|
| ||The Duke of Hamilton||12 September 1643||Duke of Brandon||King Charles I|
| ||The Duke of Buccleuch||20 April 1663||Earl of Doncaster||King Charles II|
| ||The Duke of Lennox||9 September 1675||Duke of Richmond in the Peerage of England.|
| ||The Duke of Queensberry||3 February 1684||Duke of Buccleuch in the Peerage of Scotland.|
| ||The Duke of Argyll||23 June 1701||Duke of Argyll||King William III and II|
|Baron Hamilton of Hameldon|
| ||The Duke of Atholl||30 January 1703||Queen Anne|
| ||The Duke of Montrose||24 April 1707||Earl Graham|
| ||The Duke of Roxburghe||25 April 1707||Earl Innes|
|Shield||Title||Creation||Other Marquessate or higher titles||Title used in the House of Lords prior to the Peerage Act 1963||Monarch|
| ||The Marquess of Huntly||17 April 1599||Baron Meldrum||King James VI and I|
| ||The Marquess of Queensberry||11 February 1682||King Charles II|
| ||The Marquess of Tweeddale||17 December 1694||Baron Tweeddale||King William III and II|
| ||The Marquess of Lothian||23 June 1701||Baron Ker of Kersehugh|
|Shield||Title||Creation||Other Earldom or higher titles||Title used in the House of Lords prior to the Peerage Act 1963||Monarch|
| ||The Earl of Sutherland||1230||King Alexander II|
| ||The Earl of Crawford||21 April 1398||Baron Wigan||King Robert II|
| ||The Earl of Mar||1404||King Robert III|
| ||The Earl of Erroll||12 June 1452||King James II|
| ||The Earl of Caithness||28 August 1455|
| ||The Earl of Rothes||20 March 1457|
| ||The Earl of Morton||14 Mar 1458|
| ||The Earl of Buchan||1469||Baron Erskine||King James III|
| ||The Earl of Eglinton||3 January 1507||Earl of Winton|
|Baron Ardrossan||King James IV|
| ||The Earl of Moray||30 January 1562||Baron Stuart||Queen Mary I|
| ||The Earl of Mar||22 July 1565|
| ||The Earl of Home||4 March 1605||Baron Douglas||King James VI and I|
| ||The Earl of Perth||4 March 1605|
| ||The Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne||10 July 1606||Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne|
| ||The Earl of Haddington||20 March 1619|
| ||The Earl of Kellie||12 March 1619||Earl of Mar (1565) in the Peerage of Scotland.|
| ||The Earl of Galloway||19 September 1623||Baron Stewart of Garlies|
| ||The Earl of Lauderdale||14 March 1624|
| ||The Earl of Lindsay||8 May 1633||King Charles I|
| ||The Earl of Loudoun||12 May 1633|
| ||The Earl of Kinnoull||25 May 1633||Baron Hay of Pedwardine|
| ||The Earl of Elgin||21 June 1633||Baron Elgin|
| ||The Earl of Wemyss||25 June 1633||Baron Wemyss|
| ||The Earl of Dalhousie||29 June 1633||Baron Ramsay|
| ||The Earl of Airlie||2 April 1639|
| ||The Earl of Leven||11 October 1641|
| ||The Earl of Dysart||3 August 1643|
| ||The Earl of Selkirk||4 August 1646||Presently disclaimed.|
| ||The Earl of Northesk||1 November 1647|
| ||The Earl of Kincardine||26 December 1647||Earl of Elgin in the Peerage of Scotland.|
| ||The Earl of Balcarres||9 January 1651||Earl of Crawford in the Peerage of Scotland.||King Charles II|
| ||The Earl of Dundee||8 September 1660||Baron Glassary|
| ||The Earl of Newburgh||31 December 1660|
| ||The Earl of Annandale and Hartfell||23 April 1662|
| ||The Earl of Dundonald||12 May 1669|
| ||The Earl of Kintore||20 June 1677||Viscount Stonehaven|
| ||The Earl of Dunmore||16 August 1686||King James VII and II|
| ||The Earl of Melville||8 April 1690||Earl of Leven in the Peerage of Scotland.||King William II and III|
| ||The Earl of Orkney||3 January 1696|
| ||The Earl of March||20 April 1697||Earl of Wemyss in the Peerage of Scotland.|
| ||The Earl of Seafield||24 June 1701|
| ||The Earl of Stair||8 April 1703||Baron Oxenfoord||Queen Anne|
| ||The Earl of Rosebery||10 April 1703||Earl of Midlothian|
| ||The Earl of Glasgow||12 April 1703||Baron Fairlie|
|Shield||Title||Creation||Other Viscountcy or higher titles||Monarch|
| ||The Viscount Falkland||10 November 1620||King James VI and I|
| ||The Viscount of Arbuthnott||16 Noveber 1641||King Charles I|
| ||The Viscount of Oxfuird||19 Apr 1651||King Charles II|
|Shield||Title||Creation||Other Lordship or higher titles||Monarch|
| ||The Lord Forbes||1442||King James III|
| ||The Lord Gray||1445|
| ||The Lord Saltoun||1445|
| ||The Lord Sinclair||1449|
| ||The Lord Borthwick||1452|
| ||The Lord Lovat||1464||Baron Lovat||King James III|
| ||The Lord Sempill||1488||King James IV|
| ||The Lord Herries||1490|
| ||The Lord Elphinstone||14 January 1510||Baron Elphinstone|
| ||The Lord Torphichen||24 January 1564||Queen Mary I|
| ||The Lord Kinloss||2 February 1602||King James VI and I|
| ||The Lord Balfour of Burleigh||16 July 1607|
| ||The Lord Dingwall||8 June 1609||Baron Lucas in the Peerage of England.|
| ||The Lord Napier||4 May 1627||Baron Ettrick||King Charles I|
| ||The Lord Fairfax of Cameron||18 October 1627|
| ||The Lord Reay||20 June 1628|
| ||The Lord Elibank||18 March 1643|
| ||The Lord Belhaven and Stenton||15 December 1647|
| ||The Lord Rollo||10 January 1651||Baron Dunning||King Charles II|
| ||The Lord Polwarth||26 December 1690||King William II and III|
Peerages in the United Kingdom form a legal system comprising both hereditary and lifetime titles, composed of various ranks, and within the framework of the Constitution of the United Kingdom form a constituent part of the legislative process and the British honours system. The term peerage can be used both collectively to refer to the entire body of titled nobility, and individually to refer to a specific title. British peerage title holders are termed peers of the Realm.
The Peerage of Ireland consists of those titles of nobility created by the English monarchs in their capacity as Lord or King of Ireland, or later by monarchs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It is one of the five divisions of Peerages in the United Kingdom. The creation of such titles came to an end in the 19th century. The ranks of the Irish peerage are duke, marquess, earl, viscount and baron. As of 2016, there were 135 titles in the Peerage of Ireland extant: two dukedoms, ten marquessates, 43 earldoms, 28 viscountcies, and 52 baronies. However, these titles have no official recognition in the Republic of Ireland, with Article 40.2 of the Constitution of Ireland forbidding the state conferring titles of nobility and stating that an Irish citizen may not accept titles of nobility or honour except with the prior approval of the Irish government.
The Peerage Act 1963 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that permits women peeresses and all Scottish hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords and allows newly inherited hereditary peerages to be disclaimed.
The Peerage of England comprises all peerages created in the Kingdom of England before the Act of Union in 1707. In that year, the Peerages of England and Scotland were replaced by one Peerage of Great Britain. There are five peerages in the United Kingdom in total.
Marquess of Huntly is a title in the Peerage of Scotland that was created on 17 April 1599 for George Gordon, 6th Earl of Huntly. It is the oldest existing marquessate in Scotland, and the second-oldest in the British Isles; only the English marquessate of Winchester is older. The Marquess holds the following subsidiary titles: Lord Gordon of Strathaven and Glenlivet and Earl of Aboyne, and Baron Meldrum, of Morven in the County of Aberdeen.
The Peerage of Great Britain comprises all extant peerages created in the Kingdom of Great Britain between the Acts of Union 1707 and the Acts of Union 1800. It replaced the Peerage of England and the Peerage of Scotland, but was itself replaced by the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 1801.
The Peerage of the United Kingdom is one of the five Peerages in the United Kingdom. It comprises most peerages created in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland after the Acts of Union in 1801, when it replaced the Peerage of Great Britain. New peers continued to be created in the Peerage of Ireland until 1898.
In the United Kingdom, representative peers were those peers elected by the members of the Peerage of Scotland and the Peerage of Ireland to sit in the British House of Lords. Until 1999, all members of the Peerage of England held the right to sit in the House of Lords; they did not elect a limited group of representatives. All peers who were created after 1707 as Peers of Great Britain and after 1801 as Peers of the United Kingdom held the same right to sit in the House of Lords.
The House of Lords Act 1999 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reformed the House of Lords, one of the chambers of Parliament. The Act was given Royal Assent on 11 November 1999. For centuries, the House of Lords had included several hundred members who inherited their seats ; the Act removed such a right. However, as part of a compromise, the Act did permit ninety-two hereditary peers to remain in the House on an interim basis. Another ten were created life peers to enable them to remain in the House.
A Lord of Parliament was the holder of the lowest form of peerage, entitled as of right to take part in sessions of the pre-Union Parliament of Scotland. Since that Union in 1707, it has been the lowest rank of the Peerage of Scotland, ranking below a viscount. A Lord of Parliament is said to hold a Lordship of Parliament.
Earl of Stair is a title in the Peerage of Scotland. It was created in 1703 for the lawyer and statesman John Dalrymple, 2nd Viscount of Stair.
The hereditary peers form part of the peerage in the United Kingdom. As of August 2023, there are 805 hereditary peers: 30 dukes, 34 marquesses, 189 earls, 110 viscounts, and 442 barons.
The history of the British peerage, a system of nobility found in the United Kingdom, stretches over the last thousand years. The current form of the British peerage has been a process of development. While the ranks of baron and earl predate the British peerage itself, the ranks of duke and marquess were introduced to England in the 14th century. The rank of viscount came later, in the mid-15th century. Peers were summoned to Parliament, forming the House of Lords.
The British peerage is governed by a body of law that has developed over several centuries. Much of this law has been established by a few important cases, and some of the more significant of these are addressed in this article.
In the United Kingdom, life peers are appointed members of the peerage whose titles cannot be inherited, in contrast to hereditary peers. With the exception of the Dukedom of Edinburgh awarded for life to Prince Edward in 2023, all life peerages conferred since 2009 have been created under the Life Peerages Act 1958 with the rank of baron and entitle their holders to sit and vote in the House of Lords, presuming they meet qualifications such as age and citizenship. The legitimate children of a life peer appointed under the Life Peerages Act 1958 are entitled to style themselves with the prefix "The Honourable", although they cannot inherit the peerage itself. Prior to 2009, life peers of baronial rank could also be so created under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 for senior judges.
The British nobility is made up of the peerage and the (landed) gentry. The nobility of its four constituent home nations has played a major role in shaping the history of the country, although the hereditary peerage now retain only the rights to stand for election to the House of Lords, dining rights there, position in the formal order of precedence, the right to certain titles, and the right to an audience with the monarch. More than a third of British land is in the hands of aristocrats and traditional landed gentry.
Following the enactment of the House of Lords Act 1999, the number of hereditary peers entitled to sit in the House of Lords was reduced to ninety-two. The Earl Marshal and the Lord Great Chamberlain were entitled to sit ex officio; the remaining ninety were elected by all the hereditary peers before the passing of the reform. Since November 2002, by-elections have been held to fill vacancies left by deaths, resignations or disqualifications of those peers. Since the passing of the House of Lords Reform Act 2014, by-elections have also been held to fill vacancies left by the retirements of those peers.
A peerage is a legal system historically comprising various hereditary titles in a number of countries, and composed of assorted noble ranks.