Thomas Erskine (1732-1781)

Thomas Erskine (1732-1781)

Composer

Thomas Alexander Erskine, sixth earl of Kellie was a musician and composer of considerable talent. After his father was incarcerated in Edinburgh Castle for supporting the Jacobites in 1745, he left for Mannheim in Germany to study under the elder Johann Stamitz. He returned to Scotland in 1756 as a virtuoso violinist and composer. 'Fiddler Tam' as he was known, acted as deputy governor of the Musical Society of Edinburgh and composed music for polite society. Unfortunately, much of his music has been lost, due to his tendency to compose on the spot and to his own absent-mindedness.

Birth in 1732

Thomas Alexander Erskine was born on 1 September 1732, the son of the Right Honourable Alexander, earl of Kellie and Janet Pitcairn his countess. There are two entries in the Old Parish Registers (OPRs). The first in the OPR for Edinburgh gives the names of witnesses to the baptism.

Birth and baptism entry for Thomas Erskine - Edinburgh

Birth and baptism entry for Thomas Erskine - Edinburgh (38 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-1/19, page 305

The second entry in the OPR for Carnbee gives the parents as the earl and countess of Kellie, the date of birth as 1 September 1732 and the place of birth as Edinburgh.

Birth and baptism entry for Thomas Erskine - Carnbee

Birth and baptism entry for Thomas Erskine - Carnbee (25 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 413/2

Testament of Thomas Alexander Erskine, earl of Kellie

(National Records of Scotland, CC8/8/125 pp 1518-1519)

View transcript (6 KB PDF)

The images of the original document are in jpeg format (approximately 130 KB):

View page 1 of the actual document
View page 2 of the actual document