Schomberg Kerr, 9th Marquess of Lothian

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The Marquess of Lothian

Secretary for Scotland
In office
11 March 1887 – 11 August 1892
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded by Arthur Balfour
Succeeded by George Trevelyan
Personal details
Born (1833-12-02)2 December 1833
Died 17 January 1900(1900-01-17) (aged 66)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Lady Victoria Montagu Douglas Scott (1844–1938)
Children 9 (see below)
Alma mater New College, Oxford

Schomberg Henry Kerr, 9th Marquess of Lothian KT, PC, FRSE, (2 December 1833 – 17 January 1900), styled Lord Schomberg Kerr until 1870, was a British diplomat and Conservative politician. He served as Secretary for Scotland under Lord Salisbury between 1887 and 1892. He was usually styled simply as Lothian.

Background and education

Lothian was the second son of John Kerr, 7th Marquess of Lothian, and Lady Cecil, daughter of Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, 2nd Earl Talbot. His younger brothers Major-General Lord Ralph Kerr (1837–1916) and Admiral of the Fleet Lord Walter Kerr (1839–1927) both had distinguished military careers.[1] He was educated at Trinity College Glenalmond, now Glenalmond College Perth, and was one of the first of 14 boys to join the newly started school in 1847, arriving one day early by mistake.[citation needed] He later went to Eton College before attending New College, Oxford.[2] He did not graduate.[3]

Diplomatic and political career

Lothian entered the Diplomatic Service and was Attaché at Lisbon and Tehran in 1854, Baghdad in 1855 and Athens from 1857, then second secretary at Frankfurt from 1862, Madrid from 1865, and Vienna from 1865.[2] In 1870, he succeeded to the marquessate on the early death of his childless elder brother, and took his place in the House of Lords.

In 1886, he was sworn of the Privy Council,[4] and the following year he succeeded Arthur Balfour as Secretary for Scotland[5] and Vice-President of the Scottish Education Department[6] in Lord Salisbury's Conservative administration. However, in contrast to Balfour, he was not a member of the cabinet. He remained as head of the Scotland Office until the government fell in 1892.[7]

Apart from his political career, Lord Lothian was Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland from 1874,[8] a post he held until his death 26 years later, and was also Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland while Secretary of State. In 1878, he was created a Knight of the Thistle,[9] and in 1882 he received an honorary degree (LL.D.) from the University of Edinburgh.[2] The students of the same university elected him Rector of the University of Edinburgh between 1887 and 1890.[10] He was a Trustee of the Board of Manufactures in Scotland until his death.[11]

He was Captain-General of the Royal Company of Archers, president of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (1876-1890) and Royal Scottish Geographical Society (1894-1898), and a Knight of Grace of the Venerable Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. From 1878 to 1889, he was colonel commanding the 3rd Battalion Royal Scots, and he later became Honorary Colonel of that battalion.[2]


Portrait of the 9th Marquess

Lord Lothian married, in 1865, Lady Victoria Alexandrina (d.1938), daughter of Walter Montagu Douglas Scott, 5th Duke of Buccleuch. They had three sons and six daughters:

  • Lady Cecil Kerr (born on 14 February 1866) married John Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 2nd Baron Montagu de Beaulieu
  • Walter William Schomberg Kerr, Earl of Ancram (29 March 1867-June 1892)
  • Lady Margaret Kerr (born on 12 June 1868)
  • Lord Schomberg Kerr (4 August 1869 – 1877)
  • Lady Mary Kerr (born on 25 December 1870), married Henry Kidd
  • Lady Helen Kerr (born on 9 December 1872), married in 1902 her relative Major Frederic Walter Kerr (1867–1914), son of Admiral Lord Frederic Kerr (1818–1896), who was the youngest son of William Kerr, 6th Marquess of Lothian
  • Robert Schomberg Henry Kerr, 10th marquess of Lothian – 22 March 1874
  • Lady Victoria Kerr (born on 7 November 1876) married William Sullivan Gosling
  • Lady Isobel Alice Adelaide Kerr (born on 25 September 1881) married James Cospatrick Hepburne-Scott

The eldest son Walter Kerr, Earl of Ancram (1867–1892) died in a shooting accident in Australia in June 1892, unmarried, while his second son Lord Schomberg Kerr (1869–1877) died as a child.

Lord Lothian died at his town residence in London on 17 January 1900, aged 66,[2] and was succeeded in the marquessate by his third and only surviving son, Robert. The Marchioness of Lothian later remarried and died in June 1938, aged 93.[1]


  1. ^ a b Schomberg Henry Kerr, 9th Marquess of Lothian
  2. ^ a b c d e "Obituary - Lord Lothian". The Times (36027). London. 1 January 1900. p. 9.
  3. ^ Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
  4. ^ "No. 25557". The London Gazette. 9 February 1886. p. 613.
  5. ^ "No. 25683". The London Gazette. 15 March 1887. p. 1557.
  6. ^ "No. 25687". The London Gazette. 29 March 1887. p. 1831.
  7. ^  Rigg, James McMullen (1901). "Kerr, Schomberg Henry". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement​. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  8. ^ "No. 24120". The London Gazette. 7 August 1874. p. 3859.
  9. ^ Knights of the Thistle
  10. ^ Rectors of the University of Edinburgh Archived 7 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ "No. 27165". The London Gazette. 16 February 1900. p. 1076.
  • Torrance, David, The Scottish Secretaries (Birlinn 2006)
Political offices
Preceded by
Arthur Balfour
Secretary for Scotland
Succeeded by
George Trevelyan
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Earl of Dalhousie
Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland
Succeeded by
The Earl of Leven
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Iddesleigh
Rector of the University of Edinburgh
Succeeded by
George Goschen
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
William Schomberg Robert Kerr
Marquess of Lothian
Succeeded by
Robert Schomberg Kerr
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