Notes on the Montrose peerage, 1853.

Scope and Content

Lord Cranworth's notes on the Montrose peerage.

Notes taken by Robert Monsey Rolfe, Baron Cransworth, Lord Chancellor, during the case brought by James Lindsay, [24th earl of Crawford and 7th earl of Balcarres], to show that he was the heir to the title duke of Montrose on the grounds that the patent granted to his ancestor David Lindsay had not been rescinded properly. Lindsay was represented by Sir Fitzroy Kelly QC with the Attorney General acting for the Crown.

Notes regarding the questions of whether the Act Recissory had destroyed the patent for the dukedom, and in not, whether the dukedom was limited to the heirs male of the first duke.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Monsey Rolfe (1790-1868) was a barrister, a judge and a politician, representing Penryn and Falmouth from 1832 to 1839. He was appointed solicitor-general in 1834, then baron of the Court of Exchequer, later vice-chancellor of the new Court of Appeal in Chancery, and finally lord chancellor from 1852 to 1858. He tried famous cases including the trial of Feargus O'Connor and the Chartists in 1843, was involved in law reform and tried unsuccessfully to create life peers. He received the title Baron Cranworth of Cranworth in Norfolk in 1850.

Montrose family: The title of Duke of Montrose was created in the peerage of Scotland in 1488 for David Lindsay, the 5th earl of Crawford, in reward for his loyalty to James III. He was deprived of the title by a Recissory Act passed by James IV, and then restored but only for his lifetime. When Lindsay died in 1495, the title became extinct. William Graham, married to a niece of the duke, was created earl of Montrose in 1505, and his descendant, James Graham, 5th earl, was given the new title of marquess of Montrose and earl of Kincardine in 1644. The title of duke of Montrose was bestowed for the second time in 1707 on the fourth marquess of Montrose, James Graham, and has remained in the Graham family ever since. The right of the Lindsays to the title was tested in the Montrose Peerage case of 1853, but dismissed.


Single item

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By appointment with the Keeper of Manuscripts. Access to records containing confidential information may be restricted.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Fletcher for one guinea, 16 December 1953.


Call number used to be ms1496

Other Finding Aids

Individual Manuscripts and Small Collections database available as part of Manuscripts Database.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Paper with gold trim: single sheets, 38x23.9cm folded. Remnants of wrapper.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Maia Sheridan, Archives Hub project archivist, based on material from the Manuscripts Database

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Manuscripts. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.



Family Names