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Earl of Airlie

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Creation date  2 April 1639
Peerage  Peerage of Scotland
Monarch  King Charles I
Earl of Airlie wwwairlieestatescomuploadshistory9thEarlof
First holder  James Ogilvy, 7th Lord Ogilvy of Airlie
Present holder  David Ogilvy, 13th Earl
Heir presumptive  The Hon. David John Ogilvy, Lord Ogilvy

Earl of Airlie is a title in the Peerage of Scotland, created on 2 April 1639 for James Ogilvy, 7th Lord Ogilvy of Airlie, along with the title Lord Ogilvy of Alith and Lintrathen. The title Lord Ogilvy of Airlie had been created on 28 April 1491.


In 1715, James Ogilvy, son of the 3rd Earl, took part in a Jacobite uprising against the Crown, and was therefore punished by being attainted; consequently, at his father's death two years later, he was unable to inherit the title. He was, however, pardoned in 1725. At his death, his brother John was recognised as the Earl, but John's son David was also attainted, but later pardoned. Then, a cousin, also named David Ogilvy, claimed the title, suggesting that the previous attainders did not affect its succession, but the House of Lords rejected his claim. Parliament later passed an Act completely reversing the attainders; therefore, David Ogilvy was allowed to assume the title. In the list of earls below, the attainders are therefore disregarded for the purpose of numbering.

The Earl is the chief of Clan Ogilvy.

The Earl's heir apparent uses the title Lord Ogilvy.

The family seats are Airlie Castle and Cortachy Castle, near Kirriemuir, Angus, in Scotland.

Coat of arms

The heraldic blazon for the coat of arms of the earldom is: Argent, a lion passant guardant gules crowned with an imperial crown and collared with an open one proper.

Family history

The family was probably descended from Gillebride, Earl of Angus, who received lands from William the Lion. Sir Walter Ogilvy (died 1440) of Lintrathen, lord high treasurer of Scotland from 1425 to 1431, was the son of Sir Walter Ogilvy of Wester Powrie and Auchterhouse, a man, says Andrew of Wyntoun, "stout and manfull, bauld and wycht," who was killed in 1392. He built a castle at Airlie in Forfarshire, and left two sons. The elder of these, Sir John Ogilvy (d. c. 1484), was the father of Sir James Ogilvy (c. 1430–c. 1504), who was made a Lord of Parliament in 1491; and the younger, Sir Walter Ogilvy, was the ancestor of the Earls of Findlater. The Earldom of Findlater, bestowed on James Ogilvy, Lord Ogilvy of Deskford, in 1638, was united in 1711 with the Earldom of Seafield and became dormant after the death of James Ogilvy, the 7th earl, in October 1811.

Sir James Ogilvy's descendant, James Ogilvy, 5th Lord Ogilvy of Airlie (c. 1541–1606), a son of James Ogilvy, master of Ogilvy, who was killed at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547, took a leading part in Scottish politics during the reigns of Mary, Queen of Scots, and of James VI. In June 1562, the 5th Lord Ogilvy was badly injured in a duel with John Gordon of Findlater in Edinburgh. John Gordon was imprisoned until Ogilvy recovered.

The 5th Lord Ogilvy's grandson, James Ogilvy (c. 1593–1666), was created Earl of Airlie by Charles I. at York in 1639. A loyal partisan of the king, he joined Montrose in Scotland in 1644 and was one of the royalist leaders at the Battle of Kilsyth. The destruction of the earl's castles of Airlie and of Forther in 1640 by the Earl of Argyll, who "left him not in all his lands a cock to crow day," gave rise to the song The Bonnie House of Airlie. His eldest son, James, the 2nd earl (c. 1615–c. 1704) also fought among the royalists in Scotland; in 1644 he was taken prisoner, but he was released in the following year as a consequence of Montrose's victory at Kilsyth. He was again a prisoner after the Battle of Philiphaugh and was sentenced to death in 1646, but he escaped from his captivity at St. Andrews and was afterwards pardoned. Serving with the Scots against Cromwell he became a prisoner for the third time in 1651, and was in the Tower of London during most of the years of the Commonwealth. He was a fairly prominent man under Charles II and James II, and in 1689 he ranged himself on the side of William of Orange. This earl's grandson, James Ogilvy (d. 1731), took part in the Jacobite rising of 1715 and was attainted; consequently on his father's death in 1717 he was not allowed to succeed to the earldom, although he was pardoned in 1725. When he died his brother John (d. 1761) became earl de jure, and John's son David (1725–1803) joined the standard of Prince Charles Edward Stuart in 1745. He was attainted, and after the defeat of the prince at Culloden escaped to Norway and Sweden, afterwards serving in the French army, where he commanded "le regiment Ogilvy" and was known as "le bel Ecossais." In 1778 he was pardoned and was allowed to return to Scotland, and his family became extinct when his son David died unmarried in April 1812. After this event David's cousin, another David Ogilvy (1785–1849), claimed the earldom. He asserted that he was unaffected by the two attainders, but the House of Lords decided that these barred his succession; however, in 1826 the attainders were reversed by Act of Parliament and David became 6th earl of Airlie. He died on 20 August 1849 and was succeeded by his son, David Graham Drummond Ogilvy (1826–1881), who was a Scottish representative peer for over thirty years. The latter's son, David Stanley William Drummond Ogilvy, the 8th earl (1856–1900), served in Egypt in 1882 and 1885, and was killed on 11 June 1900 during the Boer War while at the head of his regiment, the 12th Lancers. As of 2017 the titles are held by the his grandson, the tenth Earl, who succeeded in 1968.

Other noteworthy members of the Ogilvy family were John Ogilvy, also known as Powrie Ogilvy, a political adventurer who professed to serve King James VI as a spy and who certainly served William Cecil in this capacity. Mariota Ogilvy (d. 1575) was the mistress of Cardinal Beaton. Sir George Ogilvy (d. 1663), a supporter of Charles I during the struggle with the Covenanters, was created a peer as lord of Banff in 1642; this dignity became dormant, or extinct, on the death of his descendant, William Ogilvy, the 8th lord, in June 1803. Sir George Ogilvy of Barras (d. c. 1679) defended Dunnottar Castle against Cromwell in 1651 and 1652, and was instrumental in preventing the regalia of Scotland from falling into his hands; in 1660 he was created a baronet, the title becoming extinct in 1837. Lady Blanche Ogilvy, daughter of the 10th Earl of Airlie, was the mother of Clementine Churchill, the wife of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Sir Angus Ogilvy, son of the 12th Earl, married Princess Alexandra of Kent; their son James is in line to inherit the throne as well as the Earldom, though both somewhat distantly.

The numbering of the titles varies, depending on whether the attainted holders of the earldom and their successors are counted or not.

Lords Ogilvy of Airlie (1491)

  • James Ogilvy, 1st Lord Ogilvy of Airlie (1430–1504)
  • John Ogilvy, 2nd Lord Ogilvy of Airlie (d. 1506)
  • James Ogilvy, 3rd Lord Ogilvy of Airlie (d. 1524)
  • James Ogilvy, 4th Lord Ogilvy of Airlie (d. 1549)
  • James Ogilvy, 5th Lord Ogilvy of Airlie (d. 1606)
  • James Ogilvy, 6th Lord Ogilvy of Airlie (d. 1617)
  • James Ogilvy, 7th Lord Ogilvy of Airlie (1586–1665) (created Earl of Airlie in 1639)
  • Earls of Airlie (1639)

  • James Ogilvy, 1st Earl of Airlie (1586–1665)
  • James Ogilvy, 2nd Earl of Airlie (c. 1615–1703)
  • David Ogilvy, 3rd Earl of Airlie (d. 1717)
  • James Ogilvy, ''de jure'' 4th Earl of Airlie (d. 1731)
  • John Ogilvy, 5th Earl of Airlie (1699–1761)
  • David Ogilvy, de jure 6th Earl of Airlie (1725–1803)
  • David Ogilvy, ''de jure'' 7th Earl of Airlie (1751–1812)
  • Walter Ogilvy, ''de jure'' 8th Earl of Airlie (1733–1819)
  • David Ogilvy, 9th Earl of Airlie (1785–1849)
  • David Graham Drummond Ogilvy, 10th Earl of Airlie (1826–1881)
  • David William Stanley Ogilvy, 11th Earl of Airlie (1856–1900)
  • David Lyulph Gore Wolseley Ogilvy, 12th Earl of Airlie (1893–1968)
  • David George Patrick Coke Ogilvy, 13th Earl of Airlie (b. 1926)
  • The heir apparent is the present holder's son David John Ogilvy, Lord Ogilvy (b. 1958).
    The heir apparent's heir apparent is his son the Hon. David Huxley Ogilvy, Master of Ogilvy (b. 1991).


    Earl of Airlie Wikipedia

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