The Atholl Inheritance

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In researching for my book “The Survival of the Crown“, the second volume of my history of Mary Queen of Scots and James VI, I came across the complex efforts made by James VI to protect the posterity of the Earldom of Atholl after the failure (on two occasions) of the male line. In 1595, John Stewart, […]

The Erskine Claim to the Earldom of Mar

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When I started writing ‘The Challenge to the Crown‘, I undertook a significant amount of research into my wife’s grandmother’s family, the Erskines. The Erskines laid claim to the Earldom of Mar, the senior Scottish Earldom, although they gained this by marriage. This account shows the initial fragility of their claim and explains the reasons […]

The Rothes Inheritance

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In researching my history of Mary Queen of Scots in The Challenge to the Crown, I became confused that the Earl of Rothes, who was a loyal adherent of Lord James Stewart, Earl of Moray, seemed suddenly to change sides and to support Mary. I then discovered that I was dealing with two different people. […]

Differences between the Ogilvys and the Gordons

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Sir John Gordon’s attempt to claim the estates of Ogilvy of Cardell In researching my book ‘The Challenge to the Crown’, I came across the story of Sir John Gordon’s brawl in Edinburgh with Sir Alexander Ogilvy of Deskford in June 1562. Having studied the genealogy of the named participants it became clear that their […]