| Back |

The ancient Earls of Ross

{Sir James Balfour Paul, The Scots peerage : founded on Wood's edition of Sir Robert Douglas's peerage of Scotland..., vol I pp 1-36}

Ross was not one of the ancient provinces or earldoms of Scotland, but was comprehended in the great district of Moray, and was ruled by the same Jarls or Earls as that territory. But in a writ dated between November 1160 and September 1162 there appears on record

I. Malcolm, Earl of Ross, to whom King Malcolm IV. directed a letter placing the monks of Dunfermline under his protection. Some doubts have been cast on his identity, but there is good reason to believe that he is identical with Malcolm MacEth, who also appears before 1160 as a witness to one of King Malcolm's charters. He had, for former insurrection against David I., been imprisoned in Roxburgh Castle, but in 1154 Somerled, Lord of Argyll, with his nephews, Malcolm's sons, invaded Scotland, and caused a civil war, which lasted until the King released Malcolm in 1157 and, according to an English chronicler, gave him a certain province. Mr. Skene, in his Celtic Scotland, expresses an opinion that this was Ross, part of the territory of Moray, from the ancient rulers of which he claimed descent. He is not to be confounded with the Wimund whose remarkable career is narrated by William of Newburgh. If, as is probable, he was made Earl of Ross in 1157, he may have been the 'Gillandres', one of the six Earls who, according to Wyntoun, joined in the opposition to Malcolm IV. after his return from Toulouse. 'Gillandres' has been supposed to be a different Earl of Ross, but as 'Gillandres' or 'Ghilleanrias' was the patronymic of the Earls of Ross in the time of Wyntoun, it is not improbable that he applied it to Malcolm. The latter died 23 October 1168.

Malcolm married a sister of Somerled, Lord of Argyll, and had issue, with others, a son Donald, who was imprisoned with his father, and a daughter Gormlath, or Hvarfleda, married to Harald, Earl of Caithness.

Florence III., Count of Holland, was created Earl of Ross on his marriage to William the Lion's sister in 1161, but it is doubtful if he ever possessed more than the title, as his descendant complained in 1291 that the earldom was detained from him without reason, and he had never been forfeited. After this the earldom remained in the hands of the Crown until Alexander II. bestowed it upon Ferquhard, Earl of Ross.


Taulu 1

I Ferquhard, 1st Earl of Ross, k. abt. 1237, who is said to have been Ferquhard Macintagart, son of the lay parson of the territory of the monastery of Applecross, which had passed into the hands of a family of lay abbots called Sagarts or Priests of Applecross, and he was therefore a powerful Highland chief. When Alexander II., soon after his accession, was forced, in 1215, to suppress an insurrection in Moray and Ross, Ferquhard, siding with him, seized the insurgent leaders, beheaded them, and presented their heads to the King, 15 June 1215, and was knighted by him. He was, at a later date, created Earl of Ross, appearing as such in a writ dated probably after June 1226. The charter was at one time upon record, but the roll is now lost. He may have been Earl in 1225, but this is not certain. He founded the Abbey of Ferne, in the parish of Edderton, some time before 1230, the first Abbot being installed in that year. In 1235 he greatly assisted King Alexander II. in suppressing the insurrection in Galloway. In 1237 he was witness to an agreement between the Kings of England and Scotland, in presence of Odo, the Legate. Dominus Fercardus, Comes de. Ross, is a witness to a composition between Andrew, Bishop of Murray, and Walter Cumyn, Earl of Menteith, concerning the lands of Kincardine in 1234, to a composition between the Chapter of Moray and Alexander de Stryvelene concerning the half davach of land in Devath in 1234 ; and in 1244 he was one of those who informed the Pope of the treaty of peace made with the King of England. He died about 1251, and was buried in the Abbey he had founded, where the stone effigy of a warrior is said to mark his grave.
(SP. 7. s.231-232).


1. William, 2nd Earl of Ross. Tauluun 2

2. Malcolm de Ross. named in a confirmation by King Alexander of the donation made by Malcolm, son of Ferquhard, Earl of Ross, to William de Byset of the lands Craigarn, 24 December and twelfth of reign. (1225 or 1260) (SP 7.s.232).

3. Euphemia de Ross. (SP 7.s.232).
Puoliso: Walter (Lord of Duffus) de Moravia, knight, s. 1224, k. abt. 1263.

4. Christina de Ross. said to have been wife of Olaus, fifth King of Man and the Isles, who died 1237. (SP 7.s.233).

Taulu 2 (taulusta 1)

II William 2nd Earl of Ross k. 1274. described as son of Earl Ferquhard, when he witnessed a charter in September 1232. He confirmed his fathers donations to the Abbey of Ferne 1258 and made a grant to the religious in Moray, witnessed by Robert, Bishop of Ros, who died 1270. He was Justiciary of Scotland north of the Forth, as appears by a precept from him to David Wemys, Sheriff if Fife, 7.10.1239, commanding David Wemys to pay the eighth part of the amercements of Fife imposed in the Justice Ceire of Cupar to the Abbot of Dunfermline, according to his rights. In the time of Archibald, Bishop of Moray, who was consecrated 1253, and died 5.12.1298, it seems that William, Earl of Ross, had done some injury to the church of Pettie and to the prebendary of Brachlie, for the reparation of which he gave the lands of Catboll in Ross and other lands to the Bishop and canons of Moray. On 12.3.1258-59 he and other Scottish nobles entered into an offensive and defensive alliance with the Prince of Wales and other Welsh magnates that, without their consent, "they would make neither peace nor truce henceforth with the King of England or many magnates of his realm, who were adverse and rebels to the Welshmen and the granters, unless they were all similarly bound with themselves. In 1264 a fine imposed upon him was remitted by the King. He obtained a grant of the Isles of Skye and Lewis from Alexander III, and he died at Earles Allane May 1274. (SP 7. s.233).

Puoliso: Jean de Comyn
Vanhemmat: William (Earl of Buchan) Comyn, s. abt. 1160, k. 1233 ja Sarah.


1. William, 3rd Earl of Ross, s. abt. 1249. Tauluun 3

Taulu 3 (taulusta 2)

III William, 3rd Earl of Ross, s. abt. 1249, k. 28.1. 1322 Delny. In 1283 he was one of the nobles who acknowledged the Maid of Norway as heir to the Crown. He appeared in the convention of Brigham 12.3.1289-90, when the marriage of Queen Margaret with Prince Edward of Ebgland was Proposed. He sited alternately with the English and Scottish parties, dis homage to Edward I, as overlord, at Berwick 1.8.1291. He was one of the suditors elected by Bruce and Baliol at the trial before Edward I in 1292. His seal is attached to one of the writings deposited in the Exchequer concerning the fealty done by John Baliol to Edward. In 1292 his lands in Argyll were formed into the sheriffdom of Skye. In 1296 he was one of the leaders of the Scottish army which made an incursion into England, devastating the country, and occupied the castle of Dunbar. On 20.4. the Scots were defeated in battle, and on the following day the castle capitulated. The Earl was among the prisoners, and was sent to the Tower, where the Sheriffs were ordered to pay 6d. a day for his maintenance. His eldest son Hugh obtained a safe-conduct to visit him 28.8.1297. On or about the 29.9.1303 anorder for his escort to Scotland and guard, with minute directions for his journey, was issued. He reached Perth 12.12., where he remained with the Prince of Wales until 3.2.1303-4, when he was sent home. In the following December he was with King Edward at Dumfermline and received a horse, armour and other presents from him. In 1305 he was appointed Warden beyond the Spey. In 1306 Bruce's Queen and daughter, Princess Marjory, on the advance of the English army, took refuse in the girth of St.Duthace at Tain, but the Earl, violating the sanctuary, delivered them up to the English. They were sent prisoners to England, and not liberated till 1312. Edward II numbered the Earl of Ross among his adherents in Scotland. as on the 20.5.1308 he addressed a letter to William, Earl of Ross, and Hugh, son of the said Earl, thanking them for past servoces and requesting their aid. In 1308 Bruce and the Earl were reconciled at Auldearn. He did homage to Bruce as King, and was infeft in the landsof Dingwall and Ferncrosky. In 1307-8 he reported to Edward II the invasion of Ross by Robert the Bruce, and asked aid in this and other matters troubling him, petitioning by his sons Hugh and John, and excusing his truce with Robert the Bruce. In 1312 he witnessed, at Inverness, an agreement between the Kings of Scotland and Norway, and in 1320 he concurred in the Barons letter to the Pope asserting the independence of Scotland. (SP 7. s.233-235).

Puoliso: Euphemia de Balliol
Vanhemmat: John Balliol ja Devorguilla of Galloway, s. c.1218, k. 1289/90. abt.1233.


1. Hugh, 4th Earl of Ross, s. abt. 1275. Tauluun 4

2. Sir John Ross. Sir John Ross, who married Margaret Comyn,second daughter and coheiress of John, Earl of Buchan. He had with her a half of the Earl of Buchan's heritage in Scotland. Dying s.p., the lands passed to his nephew, William, Earl of Ross. (SP 7.s.235)

3. Sir Walter Ross. Sir Walter, who was a scholar at Cambridge 1306, and on 4 June 1307 received a gift of 10 marks from King Edward. He appears in 1312 as a witness to a charter by Henry Maule to John of Glasreth. According to Barbour he was the friend of Edward Bruce, and fell at Bannockburn 23 June 1314. (SP 7.s.235).

4. Isabella de Ross. Isabella, who obtained a dispensation from Pope John XXII., dated at Avignon, 1 June 1317, to marry Edward Bruce, Earl of Carrick, connected within the third and fourth degrees of affinity. He fell at the battle of Dundalk, s.p.l., 5 October 1318. The marriage probably never took place. (SP 7.s.235).
Edward de Bruce, King of Ireland, Lord of Galloway, Earl of Carrick, s. abt. 1280, k. 14.10. 1318 Battle of Dundall, Ireland. the immediate yonger brother of Robert I, had charter from that King creating him Earl of Carrick, with remainder to the heirs-male of his body. The date of this charter cannot be ascertained, but it was probably between 1.3.1312-13, when Edward Bruce is styled Lord of Galloway, and 24.10. same year, when he appears as Earl of Carrick. Having been invited to expel the English from Ireland, he landed at Carrickfergus with a large army, and after a succesful campaign was crowned King of Ireland 2.5.1316, but was ultimately defeated and slain by the English at the battle of Dundalk 14.10.1318. On 1.6.1317 a dispensation was granted by Pope John XXII, permitting the Earl of Carrick to marry Isabella, daughter of William Earl of Ross, notwithstanding their being within the third and fourth degrees of consabguinity, but it is doubtful if the marriage actually took place. He had a son Alexander by Isabel of Atholl, sister of David the Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl, his relations with whom caused a quarrel between the two earls. He is generally said to have keft three illegitimate sons, Robert, Alexander and Thomas, who successively became Earls of Carrick, but this is a mistake. Robert never existed, or has been confounded with a son of King Robert of that name; Alexander did become Earl of Carrick, as will be mentioned hereafter, but Thomas never held the title, while it is not certain that he was son of Edward, though there can be no reasonable doubt that he was the progenitor of the Bruces of Clackmannan. (SP 2, s.435-436; ES NF/II Tafel 92).
Vanhemmat: Robert (Earl of Carrick) de Bruce, Lord of Annandale, Earl of Carrick, s. 7.1243 Annandale, Dumfrieshire, k. 1304 Palestine ja Marjorie (Margaret) Countess of Carrick, s. abt. 1252, k. 27.10. 1292. 1271.

5. Dorothea Ross, k. 22.1. 1321. Dorothea, said to have been married to Torquil M'Leod, second of Lewis. (SP 7.s.235).
Torquil Macleod, 2nd Chief of the Lewis

Taulu 4 (taulusta 3)

IV Hugh, 4th Earl of Ross, s. abt. 1275, k. 19.7. 1333 battle of Halidon Hill. On 14.12.1307 he asked to obey the Earl of Richmond as Warden. Robert I gave to Sir Hugh de Ross, knight, son and heir of William, Earl of Ross, the sheriffship and Burgh of Crumbathy, or Cromartie, 5.12.1315; the third part of the fermes of Kirckcudbright was assigned to him. He obtained, by various charters from the King, the lands of Skye, Strathglass, Stratconan etc. He succeeded to the title apparently on 28.1.1322-1323, but certainly before 28.3.1324, when, as Hugh, Earl of Ross, he witnessed a charter of King Robert I to Thomas de Carnoto. The same year he was one of the guarantors of the marriage articles of Prince David of Scotland and the Princess Johanna of England. Hugh, Earl of Ross, renouncrd to the King the advocation of the church of Philorth, in Buchan, 29.3.1330. At the battle of Halidon Hill, near Berwick, fought on 19.7.1333, he led the reserve to attack the wing which Baliol commanded, but his troops were driven back and he himself slain. The English found on his body the shirt of St.Duthace, supposed to possess miraculous powers, and restored it to the sanctuary at Tain. (SP 7 s.235-236).

1. puoliso: abt. 1308 Matilda or Maud de Bruce, Sister of the King, k. bef. 1329. (SP 2,s.435; ES NF/II Tafel 92).
Vanhemmat: Robert (Earl of Carrick) de Bruce, Lord of Annandale, Earl of Carrick, s. 7.1243 Annandale, Dumfrieshire, k. 1304 Palestine ja Marjorie (Margaret) Countess of Carrick, Countess of Carrick, s. abt. 1252, k. 27.10. 1292. 1271.

1. William, 5th Earl of Ross. Tauluun 5
2. John de Ross, k. 27.5. 1364. (SP 7.s.236).
3. Marjory of Ross. Tauluun 6

2. puoliso: Margaret Graham of Kincardine (SP VI,s.211).
Isä: Sir David (of Kincardine) Graham.


4. Hugh de Ross, 1st of Balnagown. (SP 7.s.236).

5. Euphemia de Ross,Countess of Moray s. Tauluun 7.

6. Janet of Ross. Janet, married, first, to Monymusk of that Ilk; and, secondly, to Sir Alexander Murray of Drumsergarth. An indenture was executed at Perth, 24 November 1375, between Queen Euphemia and her son Earl David of the one part, and Alexander Murray of Drumsergarth of the other part, agreeing that Alexander Murray should marry Lady Janet de Monymuske, sister of the Queen, who with the Earl promised to assist him in recovering his inheritance, and that Walter Murray, brother to Alexander, should, if he pleased, marry the elder daughter of Lady Janet. (SP 7.s.237).

7. Lilias of Ross. said to be married to William Urquhart, Sheriff of Cromartie, but no corroborative evidence has been found. (SP 7.s.237)

Taulu 5 (taulusta 4)

V William 5th Earl of Ross, and Lord of Skye, s. and h. by Maud de Brus, was in Norway at his father's death. He was "made Erll," 17 May 1336. At the siege of Perth in 1339 he forced the surrender of the English garrison by draining away the water-supply. He was Justiciary north of Forth in 1339; certainly until 1348. When the Scottish forces were assembled at Perth in 1346, for the invasion of England, the Earl withdrew his men, and returned to his own country. During David's imprisonment in England, the Earl appears to have opposed Robert Stewart, the King's Lieutenant. In Sep. 1357 he attended the Parl. [S.] which undertook the payment of the King's ransom. In June 1358 he was coming to England as one of the relief-hostages for that payment. Both he and his half-brother Hugh contumaciously absented themselves from the Parl. [S.] Of 1366, when order was taken with regard to the rebels in Ross. The Earl was absent also in 1367. He m. (dispensation, 25 May 1342) Mary, da. of Angus "Og," Lord of the Isles, by Agnes, da. of Guy of Cathan of Ulster; and d. 9 Feb. 1371/2 at Delny. (CP XI s.145-146).

Puoliso: Mary
Lapsia 3.

Taulu 6 (taulusta 4)

V Marjory of Ross, k. abt. 1350. (SP 7.s.236).
abt. 1334 Malise, 8th Earl of Strathearn, Caithness and Orkney, s. abt. 1290, k.
Vanhemmat: Malise 7th Earl of Strathearn, 7th Earl of Strathearn, Earl of Orkney & Caithness, s. 1275/80, k. abt. 1329 ja N.N..
Lapsia 5.

Taulu 7 (taulusta 4)

V Euphemia of Ross, Countess of Moray, s., k. 1387. (SP 7.s.236).

1. puoliso:
John Randolph, 3rd Earl of Moray, Regent. k. 17.10. 1346 Battle of Neville's Cross.
Vanhemmat: Thomas Randolph,1st Earl of Moray k. 20.7. 1332 ja Isabel (of Bonkyl) Stewart, Lady of Garlies.

2. puoliso: abt. 1355 Robert II King of Scotland, King of Scots 1370-1390, s. 2.3. 1316 Paisley,Renfrewshire, k. 19.4. 1390 Dundonald Castle, Ayrshire. (ES NF/II Tafel 93; NF/III Tafel 159).
Vanhemmat: Walter (6th High Steward) Stewart, 6. High Steward of Scotland, Regent of Scotland, s. 1292 in Dundonald, Kyle, k. 9.4. 1326 ja Marjorie Princess of Scotland, s. , k. 2.3. 1316 Paisley, Renfrewshire. 1315.
Lapsia 6.

Made with EditPad© 2010 Ossian Mesterton