The Viscount of Strathallan is a title in the peerage of Scotland drawing its name from Strathallan, the valley of the Allan water, which rises in the Ochil Hills in southern Perthshire and joins the Forth at the Bridge of Allan just above Stirling.
The Lords Maderty
The family of Drummond of Strathallan are descended from James Drummond, the second son of David Drummond, 2nd Lord Drummond. It was this James's good fortune to be educated along with his namesake James Stuart, otherwise known as king James VI and seems to have remained a royal favourite throughout his life. James Drummond became one of the Gentlemen of the Royal Bedchamber in 1585, and was subsequently appointed to the office of commendator of Inchaffray Abbey, not in order to perform any religious function, but simply so that Drummond could gain possession of the Abbey's lands which were then formed into a temporal barony. He was subsequently created the Lord Maderty on the 31st January 1609; Maderty being the name of the parish in which Inchaffray was situated.
The 1st Lord was succeeded after his death in September 1623 by the elder of his two sons who was also named John Drummond. The 2nd Lord was by inclination a Royalist during the Civil War, although like many he waited until after the Marquess of Montrose had won his famous victory at the battle of Kilsyth in 1645, before joining in on king Charles I's side. He died sometime between the years 1649 and 1651 and was succeeded by his eldest son, David as the 3rd Lord was similarly a Royalist, being imprisoned for that offence in 1644. The 3rd Lord was twice married, his second wife being Beatrice, sister of the aforementioned Marquess of Montrose, but both the sons she bore him died young and thus following his death without male issue on the 20th January 1692 the title passed to his nephew William Drummond.
The Viscounts of Strathallan
In the meantime the 3rd Lord's brother William had also been active in the Royalist cause, taking an active part in the 'Engagement' of 1648 and later commanding a regiment at the battle of Worcester in 1651. He was taken prisoner after that defeat, but later managed to escape and subsequently joined the revolt of the Earl of Glencairn, which ended at the battle of Lochgarry in 1654. At this point the 3rd Lord fled to the Continent where he joined the Russian army and spent the years from 1655 to 1665 fighting the Poles and Tartars. William later returned to Scotland after the Restoration in 1660 when he became Major-General of the Forces in Scotland and spent his time persecuting the remaining Covenanters. He was rewarded for his diligence on the 16th August 1686 when he was created the Viscount of Strathallan and Lord Drummond of Cromlix.
The 1st Viscount died on the 23rd March 1688 and was succeeded by his eldest son William. It was this William the 2nd Viscount who also succeeded his uncle David as the 4th Lord Maderty on the 20th January 1692. The 2nd Viscount later married his cousin Elizabeth, daughter of the 1st Earl of Melfort and died on the 7th July 1702. He was succeeded by his only son William, 3rd Viscount, who subsequently died without issue in his sixtieth year on the 26th May 1711. At this point the family estates passed to the 10th Earl of Kinnoul as heir of line, whilst his titles passed to the nearest heir male, a cousin and another William Drummond, who was the great-grandson of a James Drummond of Machany, the younger son of the 1st Lord Maderty.
The 4th Viscount retained a sense of loyalty to the Stuart dynasty and joined the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715. But despite being taken prisoner at the battle of Sheriffmuir, the authorities failed for some unexplained reason to exact any punishment and he was permitted to retain both his estates and titles. However this act of clemency did nothing to change the 4th Viscount's opinion of the government as thirty years later he joined the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, during which he was given command of the Jacobite forces stationed in Scotland following the battle of Preston, whilst the bulk of the rebels marched into England. The rebels of course later marched back again, and met the government forces at the battle of Culloden on the 16th April 1746, which is where the 4th Viscount met his end. His eldest son James Drummond who now succeeded him as the 5th Viscount was also at Culloden, although he survived and succeeded in making his escape to the Continent. Some seven weeks after Culloden, an Act of Attainder was passed on the 4th June 1746 which duly stripped him of his titles and property.
The former 5th Viscount James later died at Sens in Champagne on the 22nd June 1765 leaving two sons. The elder son James died unmarried in 1775, whilst the younger Andrew John Drummond became an officer in the British army, and later succeeded in repurchasing the family estates in 1775, although his repeated petitions during the years 1787 and 1790 to have his titles restored were all unsuccessful. Like his elder brother, he also died unmarried on the 20th January 1817, but he did however bequeath the family estates to his nephew, James Andrew, being the second son of another William Drummond, himself the third son of the 4th Viscount of Strathallan. This James was the former chief of the British settlement at Canton who later became the Member of Parliament for Perthshire from 1812 until the year 1824, at which point he obtained an Act of Parliament of the 17th June 1824, which restored him as the Viscount Strathallan.
Being regarded as the 6th of his line, James Drummond was afterwards elected one of the sixteen representative peers of Scotland, and continued to hold that position till his death on the 14th May 1851. He was succeeded by his eldest son, William Henry who was twice Lord-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria. The 7th Viscount died on the 23rd January 1886, and was followed by his son James David, a Lieutenant-Colonel in the 6th Dragoon Guards and a Scottish representative peer from 1890 until his death on the 5th December 1893.
His son William Huntly Drummond duly became the 9th Viscount and later also succeeded to the title of Earl of Perth following the death of his distant cousin, George Drummond, 14th Earl of Perth on the 28th February 1902. He and his successors have therefore been known under that superior title, although they continue to hold the title of Viscount of Strathallan, which is used as the courtesy title of the eldest son and heir apparent to the earldom of Perth.
Note that some sources such as stirnet include a sequence of 'de jure viscounts' and refer to James Drummond (c.1752-1775) as the de jure 6th Viscount, and his younger brother Andrew John Drummond (1758-1814) as the de jure 7th Viscount, (both of whom were the sons of the attainted 5th Viscount), with a consequent re-numbering of the subsequent Viscounts. Strictly speaking this is not correct, as the Act of 1824 restored the title rather than reversed the attainder.
THE VISCOUNTS OF STRATHALLAN
DRUMMOND (OF STRATHALLAN)
As Lord Maderty
As Viscount Strathallan
Title forfeit 1746, restored 1824
The 9th Viscount succeeded as the 15th Earl of Perth in 1902.
- The Strathallan Drummonds from The Great Historic Families of Scotland
by James Taylor, 1887
- The entry for PERTH, CHIEF OF DRUMMOND from Burke's Peerage and Baronetage 106th Edition
- A genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain at www.thepeerage.com
- Stirnet Genealogy at