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The Peerage of Scotland (Scottish Gaelic : Moraireachd na h-Alba, Scots : Peerage o Scotland) is one 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 The Peerage Act 1963 granted all Scottish Peers the right to sit in the House of Lords, but this automatic right was revoked, as for all hereditary peerages (except those of the incumbent Earl Marshal and Lord Great Chamberlain), when the House of Lords Act 1999 received the Royal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, Marquis 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.
|Title||Creation||Other Dukedom or higher titles||Title used in the House of Lords|
|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.
|The Duke of Hamilton||12 September 1643||Duke of Brandon in the Peerage of Great Britain||Duke of Brandon|
|The Duke of Buccleuch||20 April 1663||Duke of Queensberry in the Peerage of Scotland||Earl of Doncaster|
|The Duke of Lennox||1675|| Duke of Richmond in the Peerage of England;|
Duke of Gordon in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.
|The Duke of Queensberry||3 February 1684||Duke of Buccleuch in the Peerage of Scotland|
|The Duke of Argyll||23 June 1701||Baron Sundridge|
Duke of Argyll (Peerage of the United Kingdom)
|The Duke of Atholl||1703|
|The Duke of Montrose||1707||Earl Graham|
|The Duke of Roxburghe||1707||Earl Innes|
|Title||Creation||Other Marquessate or higher titles|
|The Marquess of Huntly||1599|
|The Marquess of Queensberry||1682|
|The Marquess of Tweeddale||1694|
|The Marquess of Lothian||1701|
|Title||Creation||Other Earldom or higher titles|
|The Earl of Sutherland||1230|
|The Earl of Crawford||1398||Earl of Balcarres in the Peerage of Scotland|
|The Countess of Mar||1404|
|The Earl of Erroll||1452|
|The Earl of Rothes||1457|
|The Earl of Morton||1458|
|The Earl of Buchan||1469|
|The Earl of Eglinton||1507||Earl of Winton in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.|
|The Earl of Cassilis||1509||Marquess of Ailsa in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.|
|The Earl of Caithness||1455|
|The Earl of Mar||1565||Earl of Kellie in the Peerage of Scotland|
|The Earl of Moray||1562|
|The Earl of Home||1605|
|The Earl of Perth||1605|
|The Earl of Abercorn||1606||Duke of Abercorn in the Peerage of Ireland|
|The Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne||1606||Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.|
|The Earl of Haddington||1619|
|The Earl of Kellie||1619||Earl of Mar (1565) in the Peerage of Scotland|
|The Earl of Galloway||1623|
|The Earl of Lauderdale||1624|
|The Earl of Lindsay||1633|
|The Earl of Loudoun||1633|
|The Earl of Kinnoull||1633|
|The Earl of Dumfries||1633||Marquess of Bute in the Peerage of Great Britain.|
|The Earl of Elgin||1633|
|The Earl of Southesk||1633||Duke of Fife in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.|
|The Earl of Wemyss||1633||Earl of March in the Peerage of Scotland|
|The Earl of Dalhousie||1633|
|The Earl of Airlie||1639|
|The Earl of Leven||1641||Earl of Melville in the Peerage of Scotland|
|The Earl of Dysart||1643|
|The Earl of Selkirk||1646||Presently disclaimed by James Douglas-Hamilton - Lord Selkirk of Douglas in the Peerage of the Life in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.|
|The Earl of Northesk||1647|
|The Earl of Kincardine||1647|
|The Earl of Balcarres||1651|
|The Earl of Dundee||1660|
|The Earl of Newburgh||1660|
|The Earl of Annandale and Hartfell||1662|
|The Earl of Dundonald||1669|
|The Earl of Kintore||1677|
|The Earl of Aberdeen||1682||Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair in the Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|The Earl of Dunmore||1686|
|The Earl of Melville||1690||Earl of Leven in the Peerage of Scotland|
|The Earl of Orkney||1696|
|The Earl of March||1697||Earl of Wemyss in the Peerage of Scotland|
|The Earl of Seafield||1701|
|The Earl of Stair||1703|
|The Earl of Rosebery||1703||Earl of Midlothian in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.|
|The Earl of Glasgow||1703|
|The Earl of Hopetoun||1703||Marquess of Linlithgow in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.|
|The Earl of Bute||1703||Marquess of Bute in the Peerage of Great Britain|
|Title||Creation||Other Viscountcy or higher titles|
|The Viscount Falkland||1620|
|The Viscount of Stormont||1621||Earl of Mansfield in the Peerage of Great Britain|
|The Viscount of Arbuthnott||1641|
|The Viscount of Oxfuird||1651|
|The Lord Forbes||1442|
|The Lord Gray||1445|
|The Lady Saltoun||1445|
|The Lord Sinclair||1449|
|The Lord Borthwick||1452|
|The Lord Cathcart||1452||Earl Cathcart in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.|
|The Lord Lovat||1464||Baron Lovat in the Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|The Lord Sempill||1488|
|The Lady Herries||1490|
|The Lord Elphinstone||1510||Baron Elphinstone in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.|
|The Lord Torphichen||1564|
|The Lady Kinloss||1602|
|The Lord Colville of Culross||1604||Viscount Colville of Culross in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.|
|The Lord Balfour of Burleigh||1607|
|The Lord Dingwall||1609||Baron Lucas in the Peerage of England.|
|The Lord Napier||1627||Baron Ettrick in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.|
|The Lord Fairfax of Cameron||1627|
|The Lord Reay||1628|
|The Lord Forrester||1633|| Baron Verulam in the Peerage of Great Britain;|
Viscount Grimston in the Peerage of Ireland;
Earl of Verulam in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.
|The Lord Elibank||1643|
|The Lord Belhaven and Stenton||1647|
|The Lord Rollo||1651||Baron Dunning in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.|
|The Lord Ruthven of Freeland||1651||Earl of Carlisle in the Peerage of England.|
|The Lord Nairne||1681||Viscount Mersey in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.|
|The Lord Polwarth||1690|
The peerages in the United Kingdom are a legal system comprising both hereditary and lifetime titles, composed of various noble ranks, and forming a constituent part of the British honours system. The term peerage can be used both collectively to refer to the entire body of nobles, and individually to refer to a specific title. British peerage title holders are termed peers of the Realm. The peerage's fundamental roles are ones of government, peers being eligible to a seat in the House of Lords, and of meritocracy, the receiving of any peerage being the highest of British honours. In the UK, five peerages or peerage divisions co-exist, namely:
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. The Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland continues to exercise jurisdiction over the Peerage of Ireland, including those peers whose titles derive from places located in what is now the Republic of Ireland. Article 40.2 of the Constitution of Ireland forbids the state conferring titles of nobility and an Irish citizen may not accept titles of nobility or honour except with the prior approval of the Irish government. This issue has not arisen in respect of the Peerage of Ireland because no creation of titles in it has been made since the constitution came into force.
The Peerage Act 1963 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that permitted women peeresses and all Scottish hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, and which 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 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 being 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 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.
Earl of Shrewsbury is a hereditary title of nobility created twice in the Peerage of England. The second earldom dates to 1442. The holder of the Earldom of Shrewsbury also holds the title of Earl of Waterford (1446) in the Peerage of Ireland and Earl Talbot (1784) in the Peerage of Great Britain. Shrewsbury and Waterford are the oldest earldoms in their peerages held by someone with no higher title, and as such the Earl of Shrewsbury is sometimes described as the premier earl of England and Ireland.
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.
Earl Cathcart is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.
The hereditary peers form part of the peerage in the United Kingdom. As of September 2022, there are 808 hereditary peers: 29 dukes, 34 marquesses, 191 earls, 111 viscounts, and 443 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.
In the United Kingdom, life peers are appointed members of the peerage whose titles cannot be inherited, in contrast to hereditary peers. In modern times, life peerages, always created at the rank of baron, are created under the Life Peerages Act 1958 and entitle the holders to seats in the House of Lords, presuming they meet qualifications such as age and citizenship. The legitimate children of a life peer are entitled to style themselves with the prefix "The Honourable", although they cannot inherit the peerage itself.
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 now they 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. Ninety of the first ninety-two 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.
John Richard Boyle, 15th Earl of Cork and 15th Earl of Orrery is a British hereditary peer and a member of the House of Lords, where he sits as a Crossbencher. Boyle was an officer in the Royal Navy and then had a career in the sugar industry before inheriting his titles in 2003.