Earl of Carnwath

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Earldom of Carnwath
Coronet of a British Earl.svg
Arms of Dalzell, Earl of Carnwath.svg
Sable a naked man, his arms expanded proper[1]
Creation date21 April 1639
MonarchCharles I
PeeragePeerage of Scotland
First holderRobert Dalzell, 2nd Lord Dalzell
Remainder toHeirs male whatsoever bearing the name and Arms of Dalzell
Subsidiary titlesLord Dalzell (1628);
Lord Dalzell and Liberton (1639);
Baronet, of Glenae (1666)
Dalzell House, North Lanarkshire, the original seat of the Earls of Carnwath

The title Earl of Carnwath is a dormant title in the Peerage of Scotland, created together with the subsidiary title of Lord Dalzell and Liberton, on 21 April 1639 for Robert Dalzell, 2nd Lord Dalzell. His father, Sir Robert Dalzell, had been raised to the Peerage as a Lord of Parliament when he was created Lord Dalzell on 18 September 1628, also in the Peerage of Scotland.[2] Since the death of the 13th Earl in 1941, the earldom and its subsidiary title have been dormant. The titles refer to Carnwath in Lanarkshire, and Liberton in Edinburgh. The surname of Dalzell is pronounced /dˈɛl/ (About this soundlisten) dee-EL.[3]

Earldom of Carnwath[edit]

The titles have a remainder to heirs male whatsoever bearing the name and arms of Dalzell. This means that they can pass to the senior male heir, whoever that is, outside of the line descending from the first holder the title, should that line become extinct. There is not the usual requirement that the heir be of the body of the original holder. The senior heir male is merely required to be of the bloodline and have the surname and arms of Dalzell.

Succession by this special remainder was first to occur on the death of the fourth Earl in 1702, when the line of the first Earl became extinct. The Earldom was, therefore, able to pass through collateral succession to Sir Robert Dalzell, 3rd Baronet, the senior heir of the first Lord and a collateral heir of the first Earl being the great-grandson of the first Earl's brother. But for this special remainder, he would have inherited only the Lordship, and the Earldom would have then become extinct.

Family history[edit]

The original seat of the Earls of Carnwath was at Dalzell House, Motherwell, North Lanarkshire. This formed part of the larger Carnwath Estate including the barony of Dalzell, which had been held by the family since the fourteenth century. This was to be sold by the third and fourth Earls to help pay the fines of their father and grandfather for their part in supporting the Royalist side during the English Civil War. It was to be bought by Sir George Lockart, and the Hamilton family, later Barons Hamilton of Dalzell.[4]

In 1643 the first Earl was accused by the Convention of the Scottish Estate of betraying them to the King during the Civil War. He was fined £10,000 and his titles were forfeited and he was sentenced to death by an Act of the Scottish Parliament on 25 February 1645. This Act also provided "that his lawful son Gavin, Lord Dalzell, shall enjoy not only all the estates but the title of Earl as if his father were dead". His death sentence was not to be carried out, nor was the forfeiture of the titles recognised in Royalist circles.[5]

The first Earl went on to fight with King Charles I at the battle of Naseby on 14 June 1645, where the Earl received some blame for the loss of the battle. King Charles, attempting to rally his men, rode forward but as he did so, the Earl seized his bridle and pulled him back, fearing for the King's safety. Lord Carnwath's action was misinterpreted by the royalist soldiers as a signal to move back, leading to a collapse of their position.[6] The military balance then tipped decisively in favour of Parliament.[7]

The first Earl's nephew, Robert Dalzell, Member of Parliament for Dumfries, was created a baronet, of Glenae, Dumfries, on 11 April 1666, in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia.[8] He was the son of the Honourable Sir John Dalzell, himself the younger son of the first Lord. The baronetcy was to pass from father to son, until the third Baronet succeeded as the fifth Earl of Carnwath in 1702 by virtue of the Earldom's special remainder, with the peerage titles then merging with the baronetcy.

The fifth Earl was a Jacobite sympathiser and supported the Earl of Mar in favour of James Stuart, the Old Pretender, in an unsuccessful rebellion in 1715 known as the Fifteen, or Lord Mar's Revolt. For his role in the rebellion the Hanoverian government passed a Writ of Attainder for treason against Lord Carnwath in 1716. He was sentenced to death, with his titles and what then remained of the estates being forfeited. The death sentence was later to be remitted by virtue of the Indemnity Act 1717.

The attainder was reversed by Act of Parliament on 26 May 1826 in favour of his grandson, Lieutenant-General Robert Alexander Dalzell and the titles were restored to him.[9]

Several of the Earls are noteworthy in their own right. The eighth Earl was reported as being the youngest Earl in Britain in 1873 at the age of fourteen. Both the eleventh and thirteenth Earls were Scottish Representative Peers in the House of Lords.

Lords Dalzell (1628)[edit]

Earls of Carnwath (1639)[edit]

Courtesy title for the heir apparent to the Earldom: Lord Dalzell or Lord Liberton, with the substantive title of Master of Carnwath
But for the attainder, the descent would have included the following three individuals:[citation needed]
  • Alexander Dalzell (1721–1787), eldest son of the fifth Earl
  • Robert Dalzell (1755–1808), eldest son of the above Alexander Dalzell
  • John Dalzell (1795–1814), eldest son of the above Robert Dalzell
Titles restored by Act of Parliament 26 May 1826

Dalzell baronets, of Glenae (1666)[edit]

Arms of Dalzell of Glenae, matriculated with the Court of the Lord Lyon around 1672–77: Sable a naked man, his arms expanded proper, with a bordure argent
See above for subsequent holders of the baronetcy


  • In some publications, the numbering of the Earls is larger, as they have taken into account the above three people who were in succession but were unable to legally hold the title during the time it was under attainder, and in some earlier publications the first Lord is also incorrectly numbered as the first Earl. The above numbering for each Earl is consistent with the modern numbering used in the printing of the Official Roll of the Baronetage in The London Gazette in 1915.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Paul, James Balfour (1903). An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of all Arms and Bearings in Scotland. Edinburgh, W. Green & sons. pp. 291.
  2. ^ Debrett's Peerage of Great Britain and Ireland (1840), London: William Pickering
  3. ^ www.debretts.com/forms-of-address/surname-pronunciation/craster-to-de-lotbiniere Archived 2013-10-02 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ www.thepeerage.com
  5. ^ www.thepeerage.com
  6. ^ Cust 2005, pp. 404–405 ; Gregg 1981, p. 396
  7. ^ Cust 2005, pp. 403–405 ; Gregg 1981, pp. 396–397 ; Holmes 2006, pp. 72–73 .
  8. ^ www.thepeerage.com
  9. ^ Debrett's Peerage of Great Britain and Ireland (1840), London: William Pickering
  10. ^ "No. 29056". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 February 1915. p. 1135.