Kerr, Robert (1636-1703) (DNB00)


KERR, ROBERT, fourth Earl and first Marquis of Lothian (1636–1703), born in 1636, was the eldest son of William, third earl [q. v.], by his wife Anne, countess of Lothian in her own right. In 1673 he served as a volunteer in the Dutch war. He succeeded his father in 1675, and on 23 Oct. 1678 a patent of the earldom of Lothian was granted to him and heirs male of his body, with the original precedency. On 4 Jan. 1686 he was sworn a privy councillor (Lauder of Fountainhall, Hist. Notices, p. 686), but on 14 Sept. a letter was read in the council from James II removing him and four other privy councillors (ib. p. 750). He was a supporter of the revolution, and on 25 June wrote to the Earl Melville suggesting 'some return suitable to the capacity I think I can best serve his majesty in '(Leven and Melville Papers, Bannatyne Club,p. 79). He was appointed a privy councillor to King William, and in August was also constituted justice-general. On the death of his brother Charles, second earl of Ancrum, in 1690, he united that earldom to his other titles.

In 1692 Lothian was appointed commissioner of the king to the general assembly of the kirk of Scotland. The occasion was notable, on account of the recommendation of the king that episcopal ministers who were prepared to accept the confession of faith and submit to the authority of the ecclesiastical courts should be received into the kirk. The royal recommendation was enforced by Lothian in a speech the liberality and kindliness of which tended rather to awaken than allay presbyterian prejudice. After a month spent in routine business the assembly still refrained from taking into consideration the subject pressed upon their attention, and it was dissolved by Lothian, who declined to fix any date for the next assembly. Thereupon the moderator, notwithstanding the protest of Lothian, appointed the third Wednesday of August 1693. No assembly was, however, held on that date (see narrative in Burton's Hist. of Scotl. vii. 450-3, founded on the Register of the Actings and Proceedings of the Assembly, printed for private circulation).

Lothian was created marquis by patent on 23 June 1701. He died on 15 Feb. 1703. A portrait of him, attributed to Scougal, dated 1654, is at Newbattle. He married Lady Jean Campbell, second daughter of Archibald, marquis of Argyll. His eldest son, William, second marquis of Lothian, was a lieutenant-general in the army, was elected representative peer for Scotland in 1715, died 28 Feb. 1722, and was buried in Westminster Abbey (see Macky, Memoirs of Secret Services). The first marquis had four other sons: Charles (d. 1735), who was made a director in chancery in 1703; John (d. 1728), who for some time had the command of the 31st regiment; Lord Mark Kerr d. 1752), who became captain in the army 8 June 1693, was wounded at Almanza on 25 April 1707, acted as brigadier-general at the capture of Vigo in 1719, was governor of Guernsey in 1740, obtained the rank of general in 1743, was made governor of Edinburgh Castle in 1745, and died in London 2 Feb. 1752; and James. Of the first marquis's five daughters, Mary married James, marquis of Douglas.

[Burton's Hist. of Scotland; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), ii. 139-40.]

T. F. H.