William Kerr, 4th Marquess of Lothian

General William Henry Kerr, 4th Marquess of Lothian KT (1710 – 12 April 1775) was a Scottish nobleman, British soldier and politician, the eldest son of William Kerr, 3rd Marquess of Lothian. He was styled Master of Jedburgh until 1722, Lord Jedburgh from 1722 to 1735, and Earl of Ancram from 1735 to 1767.[1] As the Earl of Ancram, he distinguished himself during the War of the Austrian Succession.


On 6 November 1735, he married Lady Caroline Darcy (d. 1778), daughter of Robert Darcy, 3rd Earl of Holderness, and thereafter assumed the style of Earl of Ancram rather than Lord Jedburgh. They had three children:[1]

Military service

Ancram was commissioned a cornet in 1735. He was a captain in the 31st Regiment of Foot in 1739, and transferred as such to the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards in 1741.[1] He fought with the Guards at the Battle of Fontenoy (1745) while serving as an aide-de-camp to the Duke of Cumberland, and was wounded during the battle.[2] He was subsequently made an ADC to the King and a colonel.[3] In the same year, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of Lord Mark Kerr's Regiment of Dragoons, and commanded the cavalry on the left wing at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 (His younger brother, Lord Robert Kerr, was with the infantry and was the highest-ranking Government casualty of the battle).[4][5] After the battle, he commanded the forces at Aberdeen until August, and then returned to the Continent with Cumberland in December.[1] At some point during the year, he was appointed a Groom of the Bedchamber to Cumberland.

Ancram was sent home with the standards captured at the Battle of Lauffeld.[6] On 1 December 1747, he succeeded Daniel Houghton as colonel of the 24th Regiment of Foot.[7][8] On 11 December 1747, through the interest of his brother-in-law Robert Darcy, 4th Earl of Holderness, he was returned as Member of Parliament (MP) for Richmond at a by-election in place of Sir Conyers Darcy, who had also been returned for Yorkshire and preferred that seat.

In 1752, Ancram was appointed colonel of the 11th Regiment of Dragoons, in succession to his grand-uncle Lord Mark Kerr. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General in 1758 and held a command under the Duke of Marlborough during the Raid on St Malo.[1]

Resignation from the Commons

Ancram had followed his old commander Cumberland into politics, and with him supported Pitt and his opposition to the negotiations for the Treaty of Paris. While Ancram's political position was undermined in 1762 when his brother-in-law, Lord Holderness, sold off his interest in the borough of Richmond, Fox and Lord Shelburne were still at pains to persuade him to leave the House of Commons before the vote on the peace preliminaries without the interference of Cumberland. Ancram voted against the preliminaries on 9 December, having missed a message from Cumberland directing him not to do so; ultimately, he took the Chiltern Hundreds in 1763, having accepted, according to the Duke of Newcastle, £4,000 to do so.[9][10]

Later life

In 1767, he succeeded to the Marquessate of Lothian. He was elected a Scots representative peer and appointed a Knight of the Thistle in 1768. He was promoted to general in 1770 and died in 1775 at Bath.[1]


  1. Paul, Sir James Balfour (1908). The Scots Peerage: Innermeath-Mar. D. Douglas. pp. 480–481.
  2. "No. 8428". The London Gazette. 30 April 1745. p. 5.
  3. "No. 8440". The London Gazette. 11 June 1745. p. 2.
  4. Publications of the Scottish History Society, Second Series, Vol. II (March 1916) - Origins of the 'Forty-Five and other papers relating to that Rising, edited by Walter Biggar Blaikie LLD. Chapter: 'Memoirs of the Rebellion in 1745 and 1746, so far as it concerned the Counties of Aberdeen and Banff', page 152. Lord Ancrum marches to Curgaff. Footnote: William Henry (Ker) (1710-75)...lieut.-colonel in Lord Mark Ker's Dragoons (11th Hussars) 1745; commanded the cavalry of the left wing at Culloden. His brother, Lord Robert Ker, a captain in Barrel's regiment, was killed in the battle.
  5. The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford, Vol. II 1744-1753 (1840 pub. Richard Bentley), page 136 & footnote, Letter to Sir Horace Mann, 1st August 1746: ..the Marquis of Lothian in weepers for his son who fell at Culloden... Footnote: William Ker, third Marquis of Lothian. Lord Robert Ker, who was killed at Culloden, was his second son. - D.
  6. "No. 8656". The London Gazette. 7 July 1747. p. 1.
  7. A list of the officers of the army and of the corps of royal marines. Great Britain: War Office. 1833. p. 671.
  8. "No. 8698". The London Gazette. 1 December 1747. p. 1.
  9. Sedgwick, Romney R. (1970). "KERR, William Henry, Earl of Ancram (c.1710-75).". In Sedgwick, Romney (ed.). The House of Commons 1715-1754. The History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  10. Drummond, Mary M. (1964). "KERR, William Henry, Earl of Ancram (c.1710-1775).". In Namier, Sir Lewis; Brooke, John (eds.). The House of Commons 1754-1790. The History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Sir Conyers Darcy
John Yorke
Member of Parliament for Member for Richmond
With: John Yorke 1728–1757
Sir Ralph Milbanke 1761–1768
Succeeded by
Sir Ralph Milbanke
Thomas Dundas
Military offices
Preceded by
Daniel Houghton
Colonel of the 24th Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
Hon. Edward Cornwallis
Preceded by
Lord Mark Kerr
Colonel of the 11th Regiment of Dragoons
Succeeded by
James Johnston
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
William Kerr
Marquess of Lothian
Succeeded by
William Kerr
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