A Fight for Inheritance: James Innes-Ker, 5th Duke of Roxburghe and “Lady Chandler’s Sister”

One of the minor characters in my 2019release, Lady Chandler’s Sister, was inspired by James Innes-Ker, 5th Duke of Roxburghe, whose tale I came across when doing research on a piece on primogeniture and inheritance laws. At the time, I thought the contest for the dukedom more than interesting, but had not thought to use the real life character in one of my stories. However, Roxburghe’s life and the location of his home, Floors Castle, fit perfectly for my story line, but I did not wish to name the actual person, for the Roxburghe line continues. Moreover, in the rewrites, I realized Roxburghe’s real-life tale, did not fit with my fictional one. Therefore, I kept the character, and, in the rewrites, left out Roxburghe’ history. Instead, I made the location less specific and made the character the godfather to the hero, but it was the Roxburghe legacy I had in mind while writing. 


coat of arms of the duke of Roxburghe Arms. uarterly, 1st and 4th grandquarters: quarterly, 1st and 4th, Vert on a Chevron between three Unicorns’ Heads erased Argent armed and maned Or as many Mullets Sable (Ker); 2nd and 3rd, Gules three Mascles Or (Weepont); 2nd and 3rd grandquarters: Argent three Stars of five points Azure (Innes). Crest. 1st: A Unicorn’s Head erased Argent armed and maned Or (Ker); 2nd: A Boar’s Head erased proper langued Gules (Innes). Supporters. On either side a Savage wreathed about the head and middle with Laurel and holding in his exterior hands a Club resting on the shoulder all proper. Motto. 1st, Pro Christo Et Patria Dulce Periculum (For Christ and country danger is sweet); 2nd, Be Traist. Cracroft’s Peerage Saltspan – This file was derived from: Royal Hanover Inescutcheon.svg Coronet of a British Duke.svg Coat of Arms of the College of Arms.svg Wildman Supporter (Heraldry).svg Badge of the Snawdoun Herald.svg White Boar Badge of Richard III.svg Torse of a British Gentleman.svg Coat of Arms of John of Austria (1545-1578).svg ~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_of_Roxburghe#/media/File:Coat_of_arms_of_the_duke_of_Roxburghe.png


Derived from the royal burgh of Roxburgh in the Scottish Borders, the title was originally created as Earl of Roxburghe in 1616. Before the title was elevated to that of “duke,” other subsidiary titles, all part of the peerage of Scotland, except one) were held, including Marquess of Bowmont and Cessford (created 1707), Earl of Kelso (created 1707), Earl Innes (1837 – the exception, for it was a title belonging to the peerage of the United Kingdom), Viscount Broxounth (1707), Lord Roxburghe (1600), and Lord Ker of Cessford and Cavertoun (1616). The Duke’s eldest son bears the courtesy title of Marquess of Bowmont and Cessford.

The dukedom and its associated titles descend to heirs who shall inherit the earldom which in turn had a very specific line of descent. On the death of the 4th duke the titles became dormant as no one could prove their claim. In 1812 the House of Lords ruled in favor of Sir James Innes-Ker, 6th Baronet, of Innes, rejecting claims by the heir female of the second earl and heir male whatsoever of the first earl. The Duke of Roxburge is considered the Chief of Clan Innes, but cannot be so recognized as he retains the name Innes-Ker. 

The line of succession for the period in which I write had the eldest son of Sir Henry Innes, 5th Baronet, James Innes succeed to the baronetcy upon his father’s death. He was a descendant of Robert Ker, 1st Earl of Roxburghe, and in 1812 placed a claim to the vacant Scottish Duke of Roxburghe title. 

According to Wikipedia:

It took seven years of litigation for the dukedom to be secured by James Innes-Ker. As indicated above, the 3rd Duke never married. The title then devolved upon William Bellenden-Ker, who died within a year of assuming the title. He had no 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.

Encyclopedia Britannica gives us the following explanation: “John, 3rd duke of Roxburghe (1740-1804), the famous bibliophile. John was betrothed to Christiana, daughter of the duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; but when the princess’s sister Charlotte was affianced to George III., reasons of state led to the rupture of the engagement, and he died unmarried on the 19th of March 1804. The duke’s library, including a unique collection of books from Caxton’s press, and three rare volumes of broadside ballads, was sold in 1812, when the Roxburghe Club was’ founded to commemorate the sale of Valdarfer’s edition of Boccaccio. Roxburghe’s cousin William, 7th Lord Bellenden (c. 1728-1805), who succeeded to the Scottish titles and estates, died childless in October 1805, and for seven years the titles were dormant. Then in 1812 Sir James Innes, bart. (1736-182 3), a descendant of the 1st earl, established his claim to them, and taking the name of Innes-Ker, became 5th duke of Roxburghe. Among the unsuccessful claimants to the Roxburghe dukedom was 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).

“The 5th duke’s great-grandson, Henry John Innes-Ker (b. 1876), became 8th duke in 1892. The duke of Roxburghe sits in the House of Lords as Earl Innes, a peerage of the United Kingdom, which was conferred in 1837 upon James Henry, the 6th duke (1816-1879).”

Lord Bellenden, mentioned above,  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. One can understand why it took seven years to sort out who was who. “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). 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.” [James Innes-Ker, 5th Duke of Roxburghe]

James Innes-Ker married twice. His first wife, Mary Wray, died in 1807, a mere ten years after they had married. The same year of Mary’s death, Innes-Ker married Harriet Charlewood. His son, James Henry Robert Innes-Ker, delivered by Harriet, succeeded to the Dukedom upon his death.

LCS eBook Cover-01

Lady Chandler’s Sister: Book 3 of the Twins’ Trilogy [March 23, 2019]

Finalist, Romance Novel, 2019 International Book Award 

Sir Alexander Chandler knows his place in the world. As the head of one of the divisions of the Home Office, he has his hand on the nation’s pulse. However, a carriage accident  on a deserted Scottish road six months earlier has Sir Alexander questioning his every choice. He has no memory of what happened before he woke up in an Edinburgh hospital, and the unknown frightens him more than any enemy he ever met on a field of battle. One thing is for certain: He knows he did not marry Miss Alana Pottinger’s sister in an “over the anvil” type of ceremony in Scotland.

Miss Alana Pottinger has come to London, with Sir Alexander’s son in tow, to claim the life the baronet promised the boy when he married Sorcha, some eighteen months prior. She understands his responsibilities to King and Crown, but this particular fiery, Scottish miss refuses to permit Sir Alexander to deny his duty to his son. Nothing will keep her from securing the child’s future as heir to the baronetcy and restoring Sir Alexander’s memory of the love he shared with Sorcha: Nothing, that is, except the beginning of the Rockite Rebellion in Ireland and the kidnapping of said child for nefarious reasons.

An impressive ending to the beautifully crafted Twins’ Trilogy – Starr’s ***** Romance Reviews

Love. Power. Intrigue. Betrayal. All play their parts in this fitting conclusion to a captivating, romantic suspense trio. – Bella Graves, Author & Reviewer

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PVT5GQ9/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=lady+chandler%27s+sister&qid=1553390378&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1091376581/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=lady+chandler%27s+sister&qid=1553430979&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lady-chandler-s-sister

Nook https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1131002644?ean=2940161421314

NOTE!!! Black Opal Books has graciously lowered the price of the eBooks 1 and 2 of the trilogy to $2.99 each. Those are Angel Comes to the Devil’s Keep and The Earl Claims His Comfort. 


About Regina Jeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and historical romantic suspense.
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