Earldom of Home

Creation date1605
PeeragePeerage of Scotland
First holderAlexander Home, 6th Lord Home
Present holderMichael Douglas-Home, 16th Earl of Home
Heir presumptiveAlexander Sholto Douglas-Home
Subsidiary titlesLord Home
Lord Dunglass
Baron Douglas
Seat(s)The Hirsel
Former seat(s)Dunglass Castle, Hume Castle, Fast Castle, Bothwell Castle
The 11th Earl and Countess of Home (seated) at the marriage of their son Lord Dunglass, Douglas Castle, 1870

Earl of Home (/ˈhjuːm/ HEWM) is a title in the Peerage of Scotland. It was created in 1605 for Alexander Home of that Ilk, 6th Lord Home. The Earl of Home holds, among others, the subsidiary titles of Lord Home (created 1473) and Lord Dunglass (1605) in the Peerage of Scotland, and Baron Douglas, of Douglas in the County of Lanark (1875), in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. Various Earls of Home have also claimed the title of Lord Hume of Berwick. The Earl is also Chief of the Name and Arms of Home and heir general to the House of Douglas.[citation needed] The title of Lord Dunglass is used as a courtesy title by the eldest son of the Earl.

The most famous recent holder of the title was the 14th Earl, Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, better known as Sir Alec Douglas-Home. After the unexpected resignation of Harold Macmillan, the 14th Earl was named Prime Minister by the monarch. For the first time in over sixty years, a sitting Prime Minister was a member of the House of Lords rather than of the House of Commons. Because he believed that it was impractical and unconventional to remain a member of the Lords, the Earl disclaimed his peerages on 23 October 1963 under the Peerage Act passed in the same year.[1] He then contested the House of Commons seat of Kinross and Western Perthshire by standing in the 1963 Kinross and Western Perthshire by-election. The seat had been vacated by the death of the previous Member of Parliament, Gilmour Leburn. As of 2022 the titles are held by the 16th Earl, who succeeded in that year.

The family seats are The Hirsel near Coldstream, Berwickshire, and Castlemains near Douglas, South Lanarkshire. Former seats include Douglas Castle (mostly demolished), Dunglass Castle (demolished), Tantallon Castle (ruined) and Bothwell Castle (in the care of the state).


The Earls of Home descend in the male line from Cospatric I (died after 1073), the Anglo-Danish Earl of Northumbria. His descendant William de Home (son of Sir Patrick de Greenlaw, the second son of Cospatric III, Earl of Lothian), adopted the surname following his acquisition of the lands of Home in Berwickshire during the early 13th century, through his marriage to his second cousin Ada (the daughter of Patrick I, Earl of Dunbar).[2] William's arms featured the silver lion of Dunbar but with a green field instead of a red field, in reference to his lands of Greenlaw.[3]

Lords Home (1473)

Earls of Home (1605)

Present Earl

Michael David Alexander Douglas-Home, 16th Earl of Home, was born on 30 November 1987, the only son of the 15th Earl and his wife Jane Margaret Williams-Wynne. He has two older sisters, Lady Iona Katherine (born 1980) and Lady Mary Elizabeth (born 1982), and was Page of Honour to Queen Elizabeth II from 1997 to 2000.[4]

Styled as Lord Dunglass between 1995 and 2022, in 2017 he married Sally Antoinette Underhill, a daughter of Group Captain Gregory B. P. Underhill.[5] On 22 August 2022 he succeeded to the peerages and to the estate of The Hirsel.[6]

There is no heir apparent. The heir presumptive is the present earl's second cousin, Alexander Sholto Douglas-Home (born 1962), a great-grandson of the 13th earl.[4]

Line of succession, simplified
  • Charles Douglas-Home, 13th Earl of Home (1873–1951)
    • Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home (1903–1995); 14th Earl of Home: 1951–1963, when peerage disclaimed; made life peer as "Baron Home of the Hirsel" in 1974.
      • David Douglas-Home, 15th Earl of Home (1943–2022)
        • Michael Douglas-Home, 16th Earl of Home (born 1987)
    • Hon. Henry Montagu Douglas-Home (1907–1980)[7]
      • Cecil Robin Douglas-Home (1932–1968)[7]
        • (1). Alexander Sholto Douglas-Home (born 1962)[7]
          • (2). Louis Robin Douglas-Home (born 1999)[7]
      • Charles Cospatrick Douglas-Home (1937–1985)[7]
        • (3). Tara John Douglas-Home (born 1969)[7]
          • (4). Nicholas Charles Aernout Douglas-Home (born 2002)[7]
        • (5). Luke Cospatrick Douglas-Home (born 1971)[7]

There are further male descendants of the younger sons of the 13th Earl in the line of succession.



Coat of arms of the Earl of Home
Arms of the 12th and later Earls with the collar of the Order of the Thistle (for the 12th to 15th Earls).
The coronet of an Earl.
1st, on a cap of maintenance proper, a lion’s head erased argent (Home); 2nd, on a cap of maintenance proper, a salamander vert, encircled with flames of fire proper (Douglas).
Quarterly: 1st and 4th grand quarters counter-quartered, 1st and 4th vert, a lion rampant argent, armed and langued gules (Home); 2nd and 3rd argent, three popinjays vert, beaked and membered gules (Pepdie of Dunglas); overall an escutcheon or, charged with an orle azure (Landale); 2nd and 3rd grand quarters counter-quartered, 1st azure, a lion rampant argent, armed and langued gules, crowned with an imperial crown or (Lordship of Galloway); 2nd or, a lion rampant gules, armed and langued azure, debruised of a ribbon sable (Abernethy); 3rd argent, three piles gules (Lordship of Brechin); 4th or, a fesse checky azure and argent, surmounted of a bend sable, charged with three buckles of the field (Stewart of Bonkill); overall on an escutcheon argent, a man's heart, ensigned with an imperial crown proper, and a chief azure, charged with three mullets of the field (Douglas).
Two lions argent, armed and langued gules.
True to the end.[9]

See also


This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Earl of Home" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (September 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
  1. ^ "No. 43143". The London Gazette. 25 October 1963. p. 8770.
  2. ^ Nisbet, Alexander (1816). A System of Heraldry. William Blackwood. p. 270.
  3. ^ Nisbet, Alexander (1816). A System of Heraldry. William Blackwood. p. 270.
  4. ^ a b Burke's Peerage, volume 2 (2003), p. 1948
  5. ^ ”Miss S. A. Underhill and Lord Dunglass” in Engagements, The Daily Telegraph, 27 May 2016
  6. ^ The Earl of Home, obituary, The Times, 5 September 2022, accessed 7 January 2023 (subscription required)
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Morris, Susan; Bosberry-Scott, Wendy; Belfield, Gervase, eds. (2019). "Home, Earl of". Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage. Vol. 1 (150th ed.). London: Debrett's Ltd. pp. 1859–1863. ISBN 978-1-999767-0-5-1.
  8. ^ Mosley, Charles, ed. (1999). "Home, Earl of". Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage. Vol. 1 (106th ed.). Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd. pp. 1433–1434. ISBN 2-940085-02-1.
  9. ^ Hesilrige 1921, p. 483.

Works cited