Wednesday, 1 November 2017

1st Earl of Lauderdale

THE EARLS OF LAUDERDALE WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN BERWICKSHIRE, WITH 24,681 ACRES

This very ancient and distinguished family of Scotland has been settled at Thirlestane, Berwickshire, for more than six centuries.

Its earliest ancestor was Sir Richard de Matulant (as the name was formerly written), who gave divers lands to the abbey of Dryburgh in the reign of ALEXANDER III of Scotland.

It was ennobled in the person of

SIR JOHN MAITLAND, Knight, created Lord Maitland of Thirlestane in 1590.

His lordship died five years afterwards, and was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN, 2nd Lord, who was created, in 1616, Viscount Lauderdale; and, in 1624, advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF LAUDERDALE and Viscount Maitland.

His lordship wedded Isabella, daughter of Alexander, Earl of Dunfermline, and had issue, two sons and a daughter.

He died in 1645, and was succeeded by his son,

JOHN, 2nd Earl, KG, who, having distinguished himself by his zealous and active exertions in the royal cause during the civil wars, was, after the Restoration, installed a Knight of the Garter, and appointed High Commissioner of Scotland.

His lordship was created, in 1672, Marquess of March and DUKE OF LAUDERDALE; and enrolled amongst the peers of England, 1674, as Baron Petersham, and Earl of Guildford, in Surrey.

His Grace dying, however, without male issue, in 1682, those honours expired, but his hereditary titles devolved upon his brother,

CHARLES, 3rd Earl of Lauderdale, who married Elizabeth, daughter and sole heiress of Richard Lauder, of Hutton, by whom he had issue Richard, John, and Charles, successive Earls of Lauderdale, besides three other sons and two daughters.

His lordship died in 1691, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD, 4th Earl, PC, privy counsellor, General of The Mint, and Lord Justice General, 1681-84.

This nobleman was outlawed in 1694, for his adhesion to the fortunes of JAMES II; and dying in Paris, without issue, 1695, the peerage devolved upon his brother,

JOHN, 5th Earl, one of the Lords of Session, under the title of Lord Ravelrig, who wedded the Lady Margaret Cunningham, only child of Alexander, 10th Earl of Glencairn, and heir of line of that ancient family, and had issue, the eldest surviving son,

CHARLES, 6th Earl, who married the Lady Elizabeth Ogilvy, daughter of James, Earl of Findlater and Seafield, Lord Chancellor of Scotland, by whom he had, with other issue, his eldest son,

JAMES (1718-89), 7th Earl, Lieutenant-Colonel in the Army, who married, in 1749, Mary, daughter and co-heir of Sir Thomas Lombe, alderman of the city of London, and had issue,

JAMES (1759-1839), 8th Earl, KT.

THIRLESTANE CASTLE sits in extensive parklands near Lauder in the Borders of Scotland.

The site is aptly named Castle Hill, as it stands upon raised ground.

However, the raised land is within Lauderdale, the valley of the Leader Water.

The land has been in the ownership of the Maitland family since 1587, and Thirlestane has served as the seat of the Earls of Lauderdale.

John Maitland, Duke of Lauderdale (1616-82), one of the most important Scottish figures of the late 17th century, was appointed Secretary of State for Scotland in 1660, a position carrying unrivalled power and influence.

He employed the architect Sir William Bruce to transform the castle into a residence suitable for conducting the affairs of state.

Between 1670-76, the substantial alterations included the addition of the two front towers and the grand staircase, in addition to extensive internal modifications creating lavish staterooms with magnificent plasterwork ceilings.

Captain Gerald Maitland-Carew inherited the castle in 1972 from his maternal grandmother, Ethel, Countess of Lauderdale, wife of the 15th Earl.

At this time, the castle was in a serious state of disrepair, requiring extensive renovation.

In 1984, the castle was gifted to a charitable trust established to ensure its preservation, and major repairs were carried out, assisted by financial grants awarded by the Historic Buildings Council and the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

In addition to the grounds, the castle itself and its interiors, Thirlestane is noted for fine collections of paintings, furniture, porcelain and an historic toy collection.

The castle is normally open to visitors from April until September, however was not open during the 2013 season due to another outbreak of dry rot which is being treated.

First published in November, 2013.  Duke of Lauderdale's arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

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