James Innes-Ker, 5th Duke of Roxburghe

James Innes-Ker, 5th Duke of Roxburghe (10 January 1736 – 19 July 1823) was a Scottish nobleman.

The Duke of Roxburghe
Personal details
James Innes

(1736-01-10)10 January 1736
Died19 July 1823(1823-07-19) (aged 87)
Mary Wray
(m. 1769; died 1807)

Harriet Charlewood
(m. 1807; his death 1823)
RelationsSir Harry Innes, 4th Baronet (grandfather)
Sir James Grant, 6th Baronet (grandfather)
James Innes-Ker, 7th Duke of Roxburghe (grandson)
ChildrenJames Innes-Ker, 6th Duke of Roxburghe
ParentsSir Henry Innes, 5th Baronet
Anne Drummonda Grant

Early lifeEdit

He was the eldest surviving son of Sir Henry Innes, 5th Baronet (c. 1711–1762), and Anne Drummonda Grant (1711–1771). His grandfathers were Sir Harry Innes, 4th Baronet, who represented the Parliament of Scotland constituency of Elginshire from 1704 to 1707, and Sir James Grant, 6th Baronet, a Member of Parliament for Inverness-shire and Elgin Burghs.[1]

Upon his father's death in 1762, he succeeded to the Innes Baronetcy.[1]

Dukedom of RoxburgheEdit

Through the Innes family, he was a descendant of Robert Ker, 1st Earl of Roxburghe, and in 1812 established his claim to the vacant Dukedom of Roxburghe. The fight for the succession of the title encompassed seven years of constant litigation; according to one biography, "seldom have the lawyers met with a richer harvest. The courts of Edinburgh and London have revelled in conflicting claims, and the House of Lords has been disturbed by never-ending appeals."[2] On the demise of the 3rd Duke, who had never married, his principal titles, and large and productive estates, devolved on William Bellenden-Ker, 4th Duke of Roxburghe, who died shortly thereafter, without heirs. The succession was contested by Major-General Walter Ker and the Right Honorable William Drummond; and only at vast cost decided, on 11 May 1812, in favour of Sir James, as descended from Lady Innes, the third daughter of Hary, Lord Ker, son of the first Earl of Roxburghe.

Lord Bellenden was descended from the second Duke; General Ker claimed to be heir male of the first, and Mr. Drummond heir male of the second Earl, so that the issue turned on the construction of an entail, which gave the right to the female line.[2] Other claimants included John Bellenden Ker (c. 1765–1842), famous as a wit and botanist and the author of Archaeology of Popular Phrases and Nursery Rhymes (1837), whose son was the legal reformer Charles Henry Bellenden Ker (c. 1785–1871).[3] It is notable that 25 years later, Walter Ker's daughter Essex Ker was involved in litigation against her father's lawyers in connection with bonds issued to cover the costs of the succession litigation.[4]

Personal lifeEdit

James took the name Innes-Ker, and became the 5th Duke of Roxburghe. He married twice, first on 19 April 1769 to Mary Wray (1729/30–1807), the eldest daughter of Sir John Wray, 12th Baronet and sister of Sir Cecil Wray, 13th Baronet.[1] His wife died in 1807 and he remarried to Harriet Charlewood on 28 July 1807. Harriet was a daughter of Benjamin Charlewood, of Windlesham, Surrey. Together, they were the parents of:[1]

Innes-Ker died on 19 July 1823, and was succeeded in the Dukedom by his only son from his second marriage.[6] Four years after his death, his widow remarried to Lt Col Walter Frederick O'Reilly, CB of the Royal African Corps, on 14 November 1827.[1]

Descendants and legacyEdit

Through his son James, he was a grandfather of James Henry Robert Innes-Ker, 7th Duke of Roxburghe (1839–1892), who married Anne Emily Spencer-Churchill, daughter of the John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough.[7]

Portraits of the Duke and his second Duchess were painted by Henry Raeburn, and hang in the entrance hall of the family seat of Floors Castle in the Scottish Borders.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Roxburghe, Duke of (S, 1707)". cracroftspeerage.co.uk. Heraldic Media Limited. Archived from the original on 19 May 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b Portrait Gallery of Illustrious and Eminent Personages of the Nineteenth Century, with memoirs, by William Jerdan, 1833 Archived 12 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Roxburghe, Earls and Dukes of". Encyclopædia Britannica. 23 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 789.
  4. ^ Decisions of the Court of Session: From 12 November 1836 to 11 July 1837, George Robertson and Charles Robertson; Adam & Charles Black, Edinburgh, 1838
  5. ^ Lodge, Edmund (1846). The Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire as at Present Existing (15th ed.). Saunders and Otley. p. 460.
  6. ^ King, Greg (2007). Twilight of Splendor: The Court of Queen Victoria During Her Diamond Jubilee Year. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-04439-1.
  7. ^ "Lord R. Innes-Ker weds Jose Collins; Brother of Duke of Roxburghe Married to Musical Comedy Actress in London. Ceremony was a Secret. Bride, Daughter of Late Lottie Collins, Won First Success Herein "The Merry Countess." New York Times, 4 November 1920, p. 16], (citation only)([1] full article)

External linksEdit

Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
William Bellenden-Ker
Duke of Roxburghe
Succeeded by
James Innes-Ker
Baronetage of Nova Scotia
Preceded by
Harry Innes
(of Innes)
Succeeded by
James Innes-Ker