John Ker, 1st Duke of Roxburghe

John Ker, 1st Duke of Roxburghe, KG, PC, FRS (30 April 1680[1]–27 February 1741) was a Scottish nobleman.

The Duke of Roxburghe

John Ker, 1st Duke of Roxburghe.jpg
Secretary of State for Scotland
In office
Preceded byThe Duke of Montrose
Succeeded byVacant
Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland
In office
Preceded byThe Duke of Atholl
Succeeded byThe Marquess of Annandale
Personal details
Born(1680-04-30)April 30, 1680
Died27 February 1741(1741-02-27) (aged 60)
Lady Mary Savile
(m. 1707; died 1718)
RelationsRobert Ker, 4th Earl of Roxburghe (brother)
John Hay, 1st Marquess of Tweeddale (grandfather)
ParentsRobert Ker, 3rd Earl of Roxburghe
Margaret Hay
Coat of arms of John Ker, 1st Duke of Roxburghe, KG, PC, FRS

Early lifeEdit

Ker was born on 30 April 1680. He was the second son of Robert Ker, 3rd Earl of Roxburghe, and Margaret Hay, daughter of John Hay, 1st Marquess of Tweeddale. He older brother was Robert Ker, 4th Earl of Roxburghe, and his younger brother was The Hon. William Ker, who fought on the Continent under the Duke of Marlborough and was present at the Battle of Sheriffmuir. He served as Groom of the Bedchamber to the Prince of Wales in 1714, and was a Member of Parliament for Berwick and Dysart Burghs.[2]

John became 5th Earl of Roxburghe on the death of his elder brother Robert in 1696.


In 1704, he was made a Secretary of State of Scotland, and he helped to bring about the union with England, being created Duke of Roxburghe in 1707 for his services in this connection. This was the last creation in the Scottish peerage.[3] On 28 May 1707, he was admitted a FRS.[4]

The duke was a representative peer for Scotland in four parliaments. George I made him a privy councillor and Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland, and he was loyal to the king during the Jacobite rising in 1715. He served as Secretary of State for Scotland in the British Parliament from 1716 to 1725, but he opposed the malt tax, and in 1725 Sir Robert Walpole procured his dismissal from office.[3]

In April 1727, he was one of the six pall-bearers of Sir Isaac Newton's coffin at Westminster Abbey.[5] He was one of the original governors of the Foundling Hospital, a charity created by royal charter on 17 October 1739.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

On 1 January 1707/8, Roxburghe was married to widow Lady Mary Savile. Lady Mary was the only child of Daniel Finch, 7th Earl of Winchilsea. From her first marriage to William Savile, 2nd Marquess of Halifax, she was the mother of Lady Mary Savile (who married Sackville Tufton, 7th Earl of Thanet in 1722) and Lady Dorothy Savile (who married Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington).[7] Together, John and Mary were the parents of:[6]

The Duchess of Roxburghe died on 19 September 1718 and the Duke died on 27 February 1741.[8] He was buried first in his family vault beneath Bowden Kirk. Later his remains were relocated to the Roxburghe Aisle attached to Kelso Abbey. Upon his death, his only son, who had been created Earl Ker of Wakefield in 1722, became 2nd duke.[6]



  1. ^ Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564–1950
  2. ^ "KERR, Hon. William (bef.1682-1741)". History of Parliament Online (1690-1715). Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b   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. ^ "Lists of Royal Society Fellows". Archived from the original on 22 January 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2006.
  5. ^ Notice in London Gazette, 4 April, No. 6569
  6. ^ a b c d "Roxburghe, Duke of (S, 1707)". Heraldic Media Limited. Archived from the original on 19 May 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  7. ^ "Lady Dorothy Savile, Countess of Burlington and Countess of Cork (1699–1758)". National Trust Collections. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  8. ^ John M. Simpson, ‘Ker, John, first duke of Roxburghe (c. 1680–1741)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2005.
Political offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Montrose
Secretary of State for Scotland
Succeeded by
Office Vacant
Preceded by
The Duke of Atholl
Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Annandale
Peerage of Scotland
New creation Duke of Roxburghe
Succeeded by
Robert Ker
Preceded by
Robert Ker
Earl of Roxburghe