Current Barony Lands

King David I created the Barony of Cowie in the early 12th century and granted the lands to Cambuskenneth Abbey, which is the first evidence in the historic record. When Scotland formally adopted Protestantism in 1560, Cambuskenneth Abbey was closed. Its buildings were looted and destroyed, including the removal of stones for construction work in Stirling Castle. Today it lies in ruins.

In 1563, the lands and Barony were granted to John, 6th Lord Erskine, who became the first Baron of Cowie (second creation). In 1565, Mary Queen of Scots granted Erskine the Earldom of Mar. During his lifetime, he was called the 1st Earl of Mar but in 1885 he was declared to be the 18th Earl of Mar, resolving a title dispute. So although Erskine was the 1st Baron of Cowie, he would likely not have used the title since his Earldom was of higher rank.

John Erskine, 1st Baron of Cowie

Unlike English titles, Scots Barons are free to pass the title to whomever they like. In 1634, the title passed to Lady Marie Stuart. The Erskines were close to the Stuarts, from whom the current Baron also descends through his grandmother. The relationship between the two families lasted through 10 generations.

Lady Marie Stewart, 4th Baroness

In 1715, John, 6th Earl of Mar (9th Baron of Cowie), became a leader of the Jacobite rebellion of James Edward Stuart, the Old Pretender (who had a claim to the British throne as the Stuart King, James III). Mar had no military experience and was a poor general. In an indecisive battle at Sheriffmuir in 1715, Mar was unable to defeat a smaller force under the Duke of Argyll. With the failure of the ’15, Mar fled with the Pretender to France, where he spent the rest of his life in exile. In 1716, an Act of Attainder was passed against the Earl, which stripped him and his heirs of all their lands and titles.

Thus the Barony left the family, with the Murrays of Polmaise being the beneficiaries. The Barony was held by the Murrays and their descendants until 1926, before returning to the Stuarts.

Interesting Links

Map of the Barony in 1808: https://thedrlucasdiaries.wordpress.com/1808-entries/

History of Scotland: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Scotland

Jacobite Uprising of 1715: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobite_rising_of_1715

Wikipedia on Scottish Barons: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barons_in_Scotland

Registry of Scots Nobility http://www.registryofscotsnobility.com/baronage/

1654 Map of Stirlingshire by Johannes Blaeu