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Collection of pamphlets on the Earldom of Mar

Identifier: Coll-1973

Scope and Contents

Scrapbook entitled 'A Collection of pamphlets etc. on the Earldom of Mar' containing pamphlets, letters, reports, transcripts, and newspaper cuttings related to the controversy regarding the Earl of Mar title that took place during the years 1875-1885, opposing Walter Henry Erskine, Earl of Kellie, and John Francis Goodeve-Erskine, Earl of Mar. The texts collected in this scrapbook clearly defend the latter.

The dispute spanned over 10 years, and was between Walter Henry Erskine, Earl of Kellie, and John Francis Goodeve-Erskine, Earl of Mar, who both claimed to be the rightful heirs to the earldom. It had deep historical roots: it started because the Earldom of Mar had been seized by the crown in the 15th century, and restituted by Mary, Queen of Scots in 1565. The crux of the matter was to know if this new Earldom of Mar was a restitution, or a new creation. If it was a newly created peerage, it would mean that the rules of succession for titles of peerage would apply: the title could not be passed through the female line, and could only be inherited by heirs-male. However, if it was a restitution of an ancient earldom and not a recreation, then it would mean the old laws of succession for territorial earldoms would apply, and the earldom could be inherited by the heirs-general through the female line. Walter Henry Erskine was the heir-male, whereas John F. Goodeve-Erskine was the heir-general. In 1875, against all expectations, the House of Lords Committee on Privileges ruled in favour of the Earl of Kellie. Many saw this as an outrage and gave their support to John F. Goodeve-Erskine, and in 1885 he was allowed to assume the title of Earl of Mar thanks to the The Earldom of Mar Restitution Act 1885 (48 & 49 Vict.). However, the Earl of Kellie kept his title too, which means so there are now two Earls of Mar.


  • Creation: 1875-1885

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open. Please contact the repositopry in advance.


1 scrapbook

Physical Location

Df.3.94 (522)

Alternative reference


The pages also bear the reference 'R.8.32' and '53525'.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Found in the old Df sequence amid printed books. No information on provenance, except for a manuscript note at then end reading 'Quaritch. 23 June 1948', which means it was possibly bought from the bookseller Bernard Quaritch Ltd in 1948.

Processing Information

Catalogued by Aline Brodin in November 2019.

Collection of pamphlets on the Earldom of Mar, 1875-1885
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
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