Kerr, William (1662?-1722) (DNB00)


KERR, WILLIAM, second Marquis of Lothian (1662?–1722), eldest son of Robert, first marquis [q. v.], and grandson of William Kerr, third earl of Lothian [q. v.], was born about 1662. On the death of his kinsman Robert Kerr, third Lord Jedburgh, in 1692, he succeeded to that title, and sat in parliament as Lord Jedburgh. He was colonel of the 7th regiment of dragoons, 1 Oct. 1696, and a stout adherent of the revolution. On his father's death, 15 Feb. 1703, he became Marquis of Lothian, was created a knight of the Thistle in 1705, cordially supported the union, and was chosen a representative peer of Scotland in 1708. On account, however, of some informalities this election was cancelled, but he was re-elected in 1715. He obtained the command of the 3rd foot-guards, 25 April 1707, with the rank of lieutenant-general, 1708, and was deprived of his regiment on a change of administration in 1713, but afterwards became major-general on the North British staff. Macky, the court spy in the time of Queen Anne, describes him about the date of his succession to the marquisate in the following terms: 'He hath abundance of fire, and may prove himself a man of business when he applies himself that way; laughs at all revealed religion, yet sets up for a pillar of presbytery, and proves the surest card in their pack, being very zealous though not devout; he is brave in his person, loves his country and his bottle, a thorough libertine, very handsome, black, with a fine eye, forty-five years old' (Memoirs, pp. 197, 198). This character is generally borne out by references to him in letters of the period. He married his first cousin, Lady Jean Campbell, daughter of Archibald, ninth earl of Argyll, who was beheaded in 1685, and he did so purely from a chivalrous desire to befriend those who he believed were suffering wrongfully (ib.). The marquis died at London on 28 Feb. 1722, aged 60, and was interred in King Henry VII's Chapel in Westminster Abbey. A full-length portrait of Lothian, attributed to Scougal, is at Newbattle. He was succeeded by his son William, and left four daughters: Anne, married to Alexander, seventh earl of Home; Jean, married to William, fifth lord Cranston; Elizabeth, married to George, twelfth lord Ross; and Mary, married to Alexander Hamilton of Ballincrief.

[Douglas's Peerage of Scotland (Wood), ii. 140.]

H. P.