Royal Naval Biography/Kerr, Mark Robert

Rear-Admiral of the Blue.

There are two very ancient families of the name of Kerr in Scotland, those of Lothian and Roxburghe; which, if they sprung from one common ancestor, separated too early to be traced up to the same stock; but who, in the reign of James VI. engaged in deadly feuds concerning the right to the Wardenry of the Middle Marshes. They were originally distinguished by the designations of Kerr of Fernyhirst, and Kerr of Cessford; the latter being ancestor to the present Duke of Roxburghe, and the former to the noble house of Lothian.

The subject of this sketch is the third son of William John, fifth Marquis of Lothian, K.T., a General in the army, and Colonel of the 11th regiment of dragoons, by Elizabeth, daughter of Chichester Fortescue, Esq., M.P. for the county of Louth, whose lady was the daughter of Richard, 1st Lord Momington, grandfather of his Grace the Duke of Wellington.

Lord Mark Robert Kerr was born Nov. 12, 1776; entered the naval service at an early age, and in 1792 was a Midshipman of the Lion, 64, in which ship it will be remembered Lord Macartney proceeded on his embassy to China, and returned from thence to England Sept. 6, 1794, after an absence of two years. The Lion was at that time commanded by the late Admiral Sir Erasmus Gower, Knt.[1] We next find Lord Mark serving as a Lieutenant on board the Sans Pareil, of 80 guns, in the action off l’Orient, June 23, 1795; on which occasion, as already stated at p. 246, three French line-of-battle ships fell into the hands of the British. He afterwards commanded the Fortune sloop of war, mounting 12 guns, on the Mediterranean station, under the orders of Sir John Jervis, by whom he was promoted, Feb. 18, 1797, to be Captain of the San Ysidro, 74, one of the prizes taken four days before in the memorable battle off Cape St. Vincent. His Lordship’s subsequent appointments were, March 7, 1797, the day on which he was confirmed in his post rank, to the Danae; Oct. 17th following, to the Cormorant, of 20 guns; and on the renewal of hostilities in 1803, to the Fisgard frigate. The Cormorant formed part of the squadron under Commodore Duckworth, at the reduction of Minorca, in Nov. 1798; and on the 19th March in the following year, captured the Spanish brig of war El Vincelo, of 26 guns and 144 men. In the Fisgard Lord Mark cruised with considerable activity and success on the coasts of Spain and Portugal. He was advanced to the rank of Rear-Admiral July 19, 1821.

His Lordship married, July 18, 1799, Charlotte, youngest daughter of the last Marquis of Antrim, and sister of the present Countess.

Residence.– Holmwood, near Henley on Thames.

  1. Sir Erasmus Gower died May 31, 1814, in the 72d year of his age, after a faithful and honorable servitude in the navy of near 60 years, during which he was esteemed, in all his professional stations, for his amiable and eminent qualifications. A memoir of Sir E., with some interesting particulars relative to Lord Macartney’s embassy, will be found in the Naval Chronicle, vols. iv. & xxx.