Robert Ker, 1st Earl of Roxburghe

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Robert Ker, 1st Earl of Roxburghe (1570? – 1650) was a Scottish nobleman. He was the eldest son of William Ker of Cessford (died 1605), and grandson of Sir Walter Ker of Cessford (d. c. 1584), who fought against Mary, Queen of Scots, both at Carberry Hill and at Langside.

He helped James VI against Bothwell. He was a member of the Privy Council of Scotland from 1599, and was created Lord Roxburghe in 1600. He accompanied King James to London in 1603.

He succeeded to his father's estates in 1606 and was created Earl of Roxburghe in 1616. He was appointed Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland in 1637.

He subscribed to the King's Covenant at Holyrood in 1638, and joined the King's party in the civil war. When the King attempted to arrest five members of the House of Commons in 1642, Ker kept the door of the chamber open (see article on William Lenthall). He supported the "Engagement" for the King's rescue in 1648, and was consequently deprived of his office as Keeper of the Privy Seal in 1649.

He died at Floors, his residence near Kelso, on 18 January 1650. His son Harry, Lord Ker, had died in January 1643. Consequently, his titles and estates passed by special arrangement to his grandson, William Drummond (d. 1675), the youngest son of his daughter Jean and her husband John Drummond, 2nd Earl of Perth. William took the name of Ker, became 2nd Earl of Roxburghe, and married his cousin, Lord Ker's daughter Jean.


Ironically, given his family's stand against Queen Mary, he married in 1587 Margaret Maitland (d by 1613), daughter and eventual heiress of William Maitland of Lethington by his second wife, Mary Fleming, one of the "Four Maries", the devoted companions of the Queen of the Scots. His only son Harry died in his lifetime, but the earldom and, later, dukedom of Roxburghe eventually passed to Lord Ker's descendants.

His second wife was Jean Drummond, the daughter of Patrick Drummond, 3rd Lord Drummond, and his first wife, Elizabeth.


  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Hamilton
Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland
Succeeded by
John Gordon
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
New Creation
Earl of Roxburghe
Succeeded by
William Drummond