Portrait of John Erskine (c.1542-1572), 1st Earl of Mar (1565), Regent of Scotland (1571-1572)
John Erskine, Earl of Mar (died 28 October 1572), regent of Scotland, was a son of John, 5th Lord Erskine, who was guardian of King James V and afterwards of Mary, Queen of Scots. John was Commendator of Dryburgh Abbey from 1547 and succeeded his father as 6th Lord Erskine in 1552. He joined the religious reformers. He did subscribe to the letter asking the Calvinist reformer John Knox to return to Scotland in 1557. The custody of Edinburgh Castle was in his hands during the struggle between the regent, Mary of Guise, and the Lords of the Congregation, during which he appears to have acted consistently in the interests of peace. When Mary, Queen of Scots, returned to Scotland in 1561 Lord Erskine was a member of her council and was in favor of her marriage with Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. His wife was Annabella Murray, daughter of William Murray of Tullibardine. She was a frequent companion of Queen Mary. In 1565 Erskine was granted the earldom of Mar. As guardian of James, afterwards King James VI, at Stirling Castle he prevented the young prince from falling into the hands of Lord Bothwell, and when the Scottish nobles rose against Mary and Bothwell, Mar was one of their leaders; he took part in the government of Scotland during Mary's imprisonment at Lochleven Castle and also after her subsequent abdication. In September 1571 he was chosen Regent of Scotland, but he was overshadowed and perhaps slighted by James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton. He died at Stirling on 29 October 1572 after a short illness.
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