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Country code GB
Repository code 234
Repository National Records of Scotland
Reference GD164
Title Papers of the Sinclair Family, Earls of Rosslyn
Dates 1162-1976
Access status Open
Location Off site
Description The 1st Earl of Rosslyn was Alexander Wedderburn (1733-1805), a distinguished lawyer who was Solicitor-General of England, 1771-1778, and Lord Chancellor of England, 1793-1801. The muniments include papers relating to his legal interests but few relating his political activities. The 2nd Earl, his nephew, was General Sir James St Clair Erskine (1762-1837), of the Alva family. The muniments include some records of his military career and his office as Director of Chancery in Scotland, and of the various public activities of the 3rd and 4th Earls. The personal correspondence of the 4th Earl and his Countess is also of interest, as they moved among the highest of Society in the latter part of the 19th century. The Earls of Rosslyn were descended in the female line from the family of Sinclair of Herdmanston and the Lords Sinclair and from them inherited the estates of Dysart in Fife and Roslin in Midlothian. Consequently, the muniments include the legal and estate records relative to these properties and other records of these families prior to 1763.


GD164/1-175 Titles to lands in Fife, 1542-1848
GD164/176-188 Titles to lands in the Lothians and elsewhere in lowland Scotland, [1162 x 1189] - 1703
GD164/189-197 Titles to lands in Aberdeenshire, 1474-1734
GD164/198-208 Legal papers. Orkney and Shetland, 1487-1567
GD164/203-268 Legal papers. Family provisions and inheritance, 1563-1929
GD164/269-363 Legal papers. Documents of debt, 1581-1835
GD164/364-464 Other legal documents, 1162-1913
GD164/465-958 Estate and household papers. Fife. 1620-1932
GD164/534-740 Vouchers of accounts of estate of Dysart, including household accounts and some personal accounts and debt vouchers. The factors are: 1719-1721 Henry Sinclair 1722-1733 William Grant 1733-1734 David Paterson 1734-1759 David Beatson N.B. These vouchers were in some disarray and the present arrangement may therefore differ from their original one. 1719-1759
GD164/774-780 Vouchers of oncost books of Dysart colliery and salt works. 1752-1763
GD164/785-789 Vouchers of household accounts of James Drummond, servant to General Sinclair, in Dysart. 1753-1759
GD164/862-873 Vouchers of accounts of John Jameson [Jamieson], factor. 1803-1807
GD164/918-922 Letters to Earl of Rosslyn from James Thomson, factor at Dysart, on estate matters. Including Enclosed sketch plan of proposed loop line for mineral traffic near Thornton Junction (North British Railway) 1873-1879
GD164/959-1024 Estate and household papers. Roslin and Herdmanston estates in Midlothian, East Lothian, and Berwickshire; including Roslin Chapel. 1623-1923
GD164/1025-1066 Estate and household papers. England. 1766-1928
GD164/1029-1033 Account books of Alexander Wedderburn, later Lord Loughborough, for personal and household expenses, mainly in London. 1774-1800
GD164/1067-1089 Estate and legal papers. Estate of Alva 1704-1775
GD164/1090-1094 Other Scottish estate papers 1717-1864
GD164/1095-1197 Financial Papers 1623-1926
GD164/1198-1239 Ecclesiastical papers, including heritors' records, relating to parishes of Dysart and Kinghorn 1643-1876
GD164/1240-1269 Local administration papers. Fife. 1668-1879
GD164/1270-1312 Papers concerning ferries across the Forth 1684-1828
GD164/1313-1385 Military and Naval Papers including papers of General James St Clair Erskine during occupation of Minorca, 1798-1799, and correspondence of 3rd Earl of Rosslyn as Under Secretary of State for War, 1859. 1640-[Late 19th Century]
GD164/1372-1380 Correspondence of Earl of Rosslyn as Under Secretary of State for War. 1855-1859
GD164/1386-1500 Public and English legal papers of Alexander Wedderburn, 1st Earl of Rosslyn, Solicitor General and Lord Chancellor 1673-1803
GD164/1450-1472 Note-books [kept by Lord Loughborough] recording actions in some detail. Some are labelled 'Term Notes'. 1780-1800
GD164/1501-1535 Public papers of 2nd Earl of Rosslyn as M.P., Director of Chancery, Lord Privy Seal etc. 1795-1837
GD164/1514-1529 Warrants under the Signet to James, Earl of Rosslyn, as Keeper of the Privy Seal, for warrants to the Chancellor of England for letters patent under the Great Seal. 1829-1830
GD164/1536-1580 Public papers of 4th Earl of Rosslyn relating to General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Byron Memorial Committee, embassy to marriage of King of Spain, etc. 1874-1888
GD164/1581-1598 Other public and political papers 1612-1923
GD164/1599-2093 Correspondence and personal papers 1642-1934
GD164/1829-1831 Letters to Earl of Rosslyn from Herbert H. Walford, at Piccadilly, on legal and financial matters concerning the Maynard Trust and the property of Easton Lodge in Essex. 1866-1872
GD164/1833-1849 Letters to Countess of Rosslyn from the Earl, on personal, family and social matters. Most of these letters are not dated in so far as the year is concerned, and so the arrangement must be regarded as provisional. 1867-1890
GD164/2094-2111 Masonic papers 1799-1915
GD164/2111-2124 Papers concerning horses 1755-1926
GD164/2125-2140 Poetry and related papers 1821-1915
GD164/2141-2159 Photographs and other illustrative material. [Late 18th Century] - [20th Century]
GD164/2160-2219 Miscellaneous papers [16th century]-1948
GD164/2220-2318 Additional papers accessioned 1996 (estate and personal papers, correspondence, poetry and miscellaneous) 1673-1976
Level Fonds
Arrangement A rough list compiled by the then factor in 1948 is now preserved in the muniments (GD164/2219). Although this inventory is arranged by sections, the pieces are numbered consecutively throughout the collection and should be ordered by the reference number GD164 and relevant piece number.
Publication note Information about the Sinclairs of Herdmanston and the Lords Sinclair will be found in the 'Scots Peerage', vol vii. pp 569-589, and Burke's 'Peerage', and about the Earls of Rosslyn in GEC's 'Complete Peerage' and Burke's 'Peerage'. A narrative of the history of the Sinclair family also is related in 'Eminent Men of Fife' by MF Connolly, pp 408-412.
Related material The Rosslyn Muniments deposited in the National Records of Scotland and here catalogued are by no means complete. In particular, there is only a small amount of records relating to Orkney and Shetland and few of the records described in the Historical Manuscripts Commission Second Report, appendix pp 191-2, have remained with the collection. While what happened to these absent records between the 1870s and 1940s is not altogether clear, it seems that some records, mainly mediaeval, were sold by the 5th Earl of Rosslyn to Randolph Erskine-Wemyss of Wemyss Castle. The Wemyss family certainly sold some American papers, dated primarily 1764-1780, to the William L Clements Library of the University of Michigan. These 'Alexander Wedderburn Papers' are described in the library guide by Howard H Peckham. Some early 19th century political papers of the 2nd Earl are also believed to have been sold, possibly by the 6th Earl.
Archival history The Rosslyn Muniments were deposited with the Scottish Record Office on indefinite loan in 1954 by the 6th Earl of Rosslyn. They had previously been kept in the Dysart and Rosslyn Estate Office in Kirkcaldy. A small additional deposit was made in 1956 through the agency of the Earl's solicitors, Dundas and Wilson CS.

National Records of Scotland, H.M. General Register House, 2 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3YY; tel +44 (0) 131 535 1314; email: [email protected]