Tuesday, 29 November 2016

1st Earl of Traquair

THE EARLS OF TRAQUAIR WERE THE SECOND LARGEST LANDOWNERS IN SELKIRKSHIRE, WITH 9,765 ACRES

JAMES STEWART, second son of Sir James Stewart, Black Knight of Lorn, by Joan, Dowager Queen of JAMES I of Scotland, who was created Earl of Buchan in 1469, left a natural son by Margaret, a lady of the family of Murray,

JAMES STEWART (1480-1513), 1st Laird of Traquair, who obtained a charter of legitimacy, 1488-89, and received, by deed of gift, the barony of Traquair, which was confirmed by royal charter, in 1492.

This gentleman wedded Katherine, daughter and sole heiress of Richard Rutherford, of that ilk, with whom he acquired the baronies of Rutherford and Wells, Roxburghshire; and falling at Flodden, in 1513, was succeeded by his son,

WILLIAM STEWART, of Traquair, whose great-grandson,

SIR JOHN STEWART, was elevated to the peerage, in 1628, by the title of Lord Stewart of Traquair; and created, in 1633, Lord Linton and Caberston and EARL OF TRAQUAIR.

His lordship wedded Katherine, daughter of David, 1st Earl of Southesk, by whom he had one son and four daughters.
This nobleman was constituted treasurer-depute of Scotland by CHARLES I; and when that unfortunate prince was subsequently confined in the Isle of Wight, his lordship raised a regiment of horse for His Majesty's service, and marching at its head to the battle of Preston, himself and his son, Lord Linton, fell into the hands of the rebels, and were committed to Warwick Castle, where Lord Traquair remained four years; being at last, however, released, he returned home and suffered extreme poverty.
His lordship died in 1659 and was succeeded by his son,

JOHN (1624-66), 2nd Earl, who married firstly, in 1649, Harriet, second daughter of George, Marquess of Huntly, by whom he had no issue; and secondly, Anne, daughter of George, 2nd Earl of Winton.

Dying in 1666, he was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM, 3rd Earl, who, dying unmarried in 1741, the honours devolved upon his only surviving brother,

CHARLES, 4th Earl, who espoused Theresa, daughter of Sir Baldwin Conyers Bt, of Great Stoughton, Huntingdonshire; but dying without issue in 1764, the honours devolved upon his brother,

JOHN, 6th Earl. This nobleman wedded Christiana, daughter of Sir Philip Anstruther, and left issue, his only son,

CHARLES (1746-1827), 7th Earl, who married, in 1773, daughter and co-heiress of George Ravenscroft Esq, of Wickham, Lincolnshire; and was succeeded by his only son,

CHARLES (1781-1861), 8th Earl, on whose decease the titles became dormant or extinct. 


TRAQUAIR HOUSE, near Peebles, Selkirkshire,is claimed to be the oldest continually inhabited house in Scotland.

While not strictly a castle, it is built in the style of a fortified mansion.

The house has been inhabited for over 900 years and was originally a hunting lodge for the kings and queens of Scotland.

In 1491, it was gifted by the Earl of Buchan to his son, James Stewart, who became the 1st Laird of Traquair.

During the 1500s and 1600s the main building was completed and it was during this time that the Lairds of Traquair were at the centre of political power and became associated with Mary Queen of Scots who visited Traquair in 1566.

In the early 1600s the 7th Laird rose to become Chief High Treasurer of Scotland in 1636 and was granted an earldom.

However, in the mid 1600s the family returned to the Catholic faith, thereby forfeiting any further chance of advancement and their later support for the Jacobite cause increase their isolation.


The two wings were added in 1694, and these were the last additions to the house, with the exception of the famous Bear Gates at the top of the main drive, which were built in 1739 only to be closed in 1745, following the visit of Bonnie Prince Charlie when the 5th Earl promised they would never be opened again until the Stuarts returned to the throne.

The Stuarts survived at Traquair until 1875 when Lady Louisa Stuart died unmarried.

The earldom was lost and the house passed to her cousin Henry Constable Maxwell who took the name Maxwell Stuart and it is Catherine Maxwell Stuart, 21st Lady of Traquair, who lives with her family in the house today.

First published in January, 2014.  Traquair arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

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