Wednesday, 25 November 2020

1st Earl of Rosebery


This family derives its surname from the lands of Primrose, in Fife.

DUNCAN PRIMROSE, who was seated at Culross, Perthshire, in the reign of QUEEN MARY, married Janet, daughter of Main, of Arthurhouse, and had two sons,
GILBERT, principal surgeon to JAMES I and MARY;
ARCHIBALD, of whom we treat.
The second son,

ARCHIBALD PRIMROSE, was employed by the abbott of Culross in settling the rate of the feu-duty to be paid by the vassals of that abbey, and in managing the revenues thereof.

He married Margaret, daughter of Bleu, of Castlehill, and had two sons, the younger of whom,

JAMES PRIMROSE, a lawyer of eminence, was appointed, by JAMES I, in 1602, Clerk of the Privy Council, in which post he officiated for nearly forty years.

He wedded firstly, Miss Sibylla Miller, and had seven children, of whom Alison, the eldest daughter, married, in 1609, George Heriot, the celebrated court jeweller.

Mr Primrose married secondly, Catherine, daughter of Richard Lawson, of Boghall, by whom he had twelve more children; and dying in 1641, was succeeded by the eldest son of his last marriage,

ARCHIBALD PRIMROSE (1616-79), who was appointed clerk of the Privy Council by CHARLES I, and created a baronet in 1651.

Sir Archibald remained faithfully attached to his royal master during the civil wars, and was constituted, after the Restoration (1661), a Lord of Session and Lord Register, when he assumed the honorary title of Lord Carrington.

He married firstly, Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of Sir James Keith, of Benholm, and granddaughter of George, 5th Earl Marischal.

Sir Archibald had acquired considerable landed property by purchase, particularly the noble barony of Barnbougle and Dalmeny, which he bought, in 1662, from John, 4th Earl of Haddington.

This gentleman had issue by his first wife,
James, pre-deceased him;
William (Sir), 2nd Baronet;
Gilbert, Major-General in the Army;
Catherine; Margaret.
Sir Archibald wedded secondly, Agnes, daughter of Sir William Gray, of Pittendrum, and had further issue,
ARCHIBALD, of whom hereafter;
Grizel; another daughter.
Sir Archibald's youngest son,

ARCHIBALD (1664-1723), one of the gentlemen of the bedchamber to Prince George of Denmark, MP for Edinburgh, 1695, was elevated to the peerage, in 1700, in the dignities of Baron Primrose and Dalmeny and Viscount Rosebery.

His lordship was further created, in 1703, Lord Dalmeny and Primrose, Viscount of Inverkeithing, and EARL OF ROSEBERY.

He wedded, about 1690, Dorothy Cressy, and had issue,
JAMES, his successor;
Margaret; Mary.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

JAMES, 2nd Earl,
The heir apparent is the present holder's son Harry Ronald Neil Primrose, styled Lord Dalmeny (b 1967).

DALMENY HOUSE, South Queensferry, is the seat of the Earls of Rosebery.

It is set in parkland overlooking the Firth of Forth, just west of Edinburgh.

When Dalmeny House was completed in 1817, it marked a great departure in Scottish architecture.

Its Tudor-Gothic style, with its highly-decorated chimneys and crenellations, looked back toward fanciful 16th-century English mansions, such as Hampton Court.

The house was designed by a University friend of the 4th Earl of Rosebery, William Wilkins, who would go on to design the National Gallery in London and much of King's College, Cambridge - parts of which closely resemble Dalmeny.

With its Gothic Great Hall and corridor, its large, formal regency apartments and its sweeping views across the Firth of Forth, it is a house which combines comfort and romanticism, and which produced many imitations throughout Scotland.

Most of the principal rooms are in the Regency style, with the exception of the hammer-beam roof of the hall.

The house contains many paintings and items of furniture from both the Rosebery and Rothschild collections, as a result of the 5th Earl's 1878 marriage to Hannah, daughter and heir of Meyer de Rothschild.

Much of the French furniture and porcelain came from the family's English mansion, Mentmore, Buckinghamshire, following the latter's sale in 1977.

Dalmeny also holds one of the United Kingdom's largest collections of Napoleonic memorabilia.

The house stands in a large wooded park and enjoys views across the Firth of Forth.

A public path runs along the shore, from Queensferry in the west, to Cramond in the east, although a passenger ferry across the River Almond that used to connect the path to the village of Cramond has not operated since 2000.

There is still a traditional agricultural estate of tenanted farms.

First published in December, 2013.   Rosebery arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

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