Puneet Varma (Editor)

Earl of Atholl

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Creation date  12th century
Extinction date  1595
Peerage  Peerage of Scotland
Former seat(s)  Blair Castle
Earl of Atholl
First holder  Dubdon of Atholl (Mormaerdom)
Last holder  John Stewart, 5th Earl of Atholl

The Mormaer or Earl of Atholl was the title of the holder of a medieval comital lordship straddling the highland province of Atholl (Ath Fodhla), now in northern Perthshire. Atholl is a special Mormaerdom, because a King of Atholl is reported from the Pictish period. The only other two Pictish kingdoms to be known from contemporary sources are Fortriu and Circinn. Indeed, the early 13th century document known to modern scholars as the de Situ Albanie repeats the claim that Atholl was an ancient Pictish kingdom. In the 11th century, the famous Crínán of Dunkeld may have performed the role of Mormaer.


Royal connections continued with Máel Muire, who was the son of King Donnchad I, and the younger brother of Máel Coluim III mac Donnchada. Matad was perhaps the most famous of the Mormaers, fathering Harald Maddadsson, a notorious rebel of the Scottish King and perhaps the first Gael to rule Orkney as Earl of Orkney. The line of Máel Muire and Crínán came to an end when Forbhlaith, the daughter of Mormaer Henry married David de Hastings.

The latter marriage produced a daughter, Ada, who married into the Strathbogie family, a semi-Normanized Gaelic family with Fife origins. The Strathbogies ruled until the Wars of Independence, when the Campells took over. It finally passed to the Stewarts.

Early Mormaers/Earls of Atholl

  • Dubdon (fl. 960s)
  • Duncan II MacDonachadh 970s - 1010
  • Crínán? (d. 1045)
  • ?
  • Máel Muire (fl. 1130s)
  • Matad, Earl of Atholl (d. 1151x1161)
  • Máel Coluim, Earl of Atholl (d. 1190s)
  • Henry, Earl of Atholl (d. 1211)
  • Isabella, Countess of Atholl (d. ?)
  • m. Thomas of Galloway (d. 1232)
  • m. (?) Alan Durward
  • Padraig, Earl of Atholl (d. 1241)
  • Forbhlaith, Countess of Atholl (d. ?)
  • m. David de Hastings
  • Ada, Countess of Atholl (d. 1264) m. John de Strathbogie
  • David de Strathbogie, 8th Earl of Atholl (d. 1270)
  • John de Strathbogie, 9th Earl of Atholl (d. 1306)
  • David II Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl (d. 1326) (forfeited)
  • After David II, two of others of his name claimed the lordship, though neither exercised it:

  • David III Strathbogie, titular Earl of Atholl (d. 1335)
  • David IV Strathbogie, titular Earl of Atholl (d. 1369)
  • Earls of Atholl; Second creation (1320)

  • John Campbell, 1st Earl of Atholl (d. 1333) inherited the property confiscated from David II Strathbogie in about 1320, but died without issue
  • Earls of Atholl; Third creation (1341)

  • William Douglas, 1st Earl of Atholl (d. 1353) resigned his earldom upon or shortly after creation
  • Earls of Atholl; Fourth creation (1342)

    Other titles: Earl of Strathearn (1358, abd. 1369, regained 1370)
  • Robert Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl (1316–1390), grandson of Robert I, ceased to be Earl of Atholl in 1367, and later became King Robert II in 1371
  • Earls of Atholl; Fifth creation (1398)

    Other titles: Duke of Rothesay (1398) and Earl of Carrick (c. 1390)
  • David Stewart, Duke of Rothesay, 1st Earl of Atholl (d. 1402), grandson of Robert II, died without issue
  • Earls of Atholl; Sixth creation (1403)

    Other titles: Duke of Albany (1398), Earl of Fife (1371, res. 1372) and Earl of Buchan (1382, res. 1406)
  • Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, 1st Earl of Atholl (1340–1420), third son of Robert II, was created Earl of Atholl for the life of his brother (Robert III) only. He therefore lost the earldom upon the death of his brother in 1406.
  • Earls of Atholl; Seventh creation (1404)

    Other titles: Earl of Caithness (1375, abd c 1428–1430), Earl of Strathearn (1427 for life), Earl of Caithness (1430) and Baron Cortachy (1409)
  • Walter Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl (d. 1437), sixth and youngest son of Robert II, was attainted (his honours forfeit) and executed for his part in the murder of James I
  • Earls of Atholl; Eighth creation (1457)

    Other titles: Lord of Balveny (1460)
  • John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl (1440–1512) (a half-brother of James II (from a different Stewart family))
  • John Stewart, 2nd Earl of Atholl (d. 1521), only son of the 1st Earl
  • John Stewart, 3rd Earl of Atholl (1507–1542), only son of the 2nd Earl
  • John Stewart, 4th Earl of Atholl (d. 1579), only son of the 3rd Earl
  • John Stewart, 5th Earl of Atholl (1563–1595), only son of the 4th Earl, died without issue
  • Earls of Atholl; Ninth creation (1596)

    Other titles: Lord Innermeath (1469)
  • John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl (1566–1603) (only son of the 5th Lord Innermeath)
  • James Stewart, 2nd Earl of Atholl (d. 1625) (only son of the 1st Earl, died without issue and both titles became extinct)
  • Earls of Atholl; Tenth creation (1629)

  • see Duke of Atholl
  • References

    Earl of Atholl Wikipedia

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