Erskine Clan Crest: Out of a chapeau, a hand holding a dagger.
Erskine Clan Motto: Je Pense Plus (I think more).
Erskine Clan History:
The surname originates from the Barony of Erskine in Renfrewshire, south of the River Clyde, which was held by Henry de Erskine in the reign of Alexander II. Johan de Irskyne of Lanark rendered homage to Edward I of England in 1296
Despite this, the Erskines resolutely supported the rise of Robert the Bruce, and Bruce's son, David II. appointed Sir Robert de Erskine Keeper of Stirling Castle. He later became Lord Great Chamberlain of Scotland and Justiciar of the North.
Sir Robert's eldest son, Thomas Erskine, married Janet Keith, daughter of Lady Eline de Mar, and their son, another Robert, became heir to one of the oldest Celtic earldoms and Chief of the ancient “Tribe of the Land of Mar.” This Sir Robert was made Lord Erskine in 1467. Alexander, 3rd Lord Erskine built Alloa Tower in 1497, and Robert, 4th Lord Erskine was killed at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. The titular lineage, however, became a trifle complicated during the reign of Mary Queen of Scots when a second earldom of Mar was conferred on John, 6th Lord Erskine, thus making him both 18th and 1st Earl of Mar.
As Hereditary Governor of Stirling Castle, Mar became Guardian and later Regent to James VI, carrying him safely at his Coronation in 1567. The Regent's son, James VI's childhood companion, was appointed Lord Treasurer of Scotland in 1616 and it was he who built Braemar Castle.
From him descend the Erskine families of Rosslyn and of Buchan. For his part in saving the life of James VI in the Gowrie Conspiracy, the earldom of Kellie was created in 1619 for Thomas Erskine of Gogar, grandson of Thomas, 4th Lord Erskine.
The 6th and 23rd Earl of Mar, known as "Bobbing John" for his regular switching of loyalties, led the Jacobite Uprising of 1715, and his estates, forfeit to the Crown as a result, were purchased by his brother, Lord Grange, and David Erskine of Dun. In the meantime, the Alloa properties had been settled on his daughter who was married to her cousin, James Erskine, Lord Grange's son.
In 1824, the Mar earldom was restored to the family, who, in 1835, also acquired the earldom of Kellie. However, the Mar titular complications once again arose in 1885 when, under the Restitution of Mar Act, the more ancient earldom was claimed by one family, and the second earldom was retained by a cousin. This has led to their currently being two Mar earldoms, although the Erskine Chiefship is today held by the representative of the earldoms of Mar and Kellie.
Sir Alexander Erskine of Cambo. Lord Lyon King of Arms, also supported the Jacobite Cause and was imprisoned. Charles Erskine (1739-1811) became a cardinal of the Church of Rome in 1803. Sir David Erskine, natural son of the 11th Earl of Buchan. founded the Naval and Military Academy, Edinburgh. Ebenezer Erskine (1680-1745) formed the Secession Church.
Surname distribution within Scotland: The highest concentrations of the
Erskine name are in the counties of Stirlingshire, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire
Places of Interest:
Alloa Tower, Clackmannan, Stirlingshire. 14th century stronghold of the earls of Mar. Now held by the National Trust for Scotland.
Braemar Castle, Braemar, Aberdeenshire. Built by John, Earl of Mar in 1628. Today it is owned by Farquharsons of Invercauld.
Cambuskenneth Abbey, Stirling. Founded by David I in 1140. Erected into a Lordship for John, Earl of Mar in 1604. Free standing tower remains.
Cambo, Crail, Fife. Seat of Erskines of Cambo.
Kellie Castle, Pittenweem, Fife. Acquired by Sir Thomas Erskine in 1613. He became 1st Earl of Kellie and slew the Earl of Ruthven in the so-called Gowrie Conspiracy against James VI. Today it is managed by the National Trust for Scotland.