Originally named after the lands of Erskine, south of the River Clyde, the Erskine name is possibly derived from the ancient British for ‘green rising ground’.
The history of the clan can be traced back to a Henry de Erskine, a proprietor of the barony as early as the reign of Alexander II in the 12th century.
The Erskines were staunch supporters of the Bruce family during the Scottish War of Independence and the clan chief, Sir Robert de Erskine, became a renowned figure during this time – being given the role of constable and keeper of Stirling Castle, a role the current clan chief still holds today.
In 1497, a large tower would be constructed by Alexander, third Lord Erskine at Alloa, a tower which would serve as the clan seat for 300 years.
The original branch of the family associated with the chiefship would be stripped of their other titles following their support of the Jacobite Uprising in 1715 – where the 6th Earl of Mar would lead Jacobite forces into battle but ultimately fail and flee to France. The estates were also therefore forfeited and passed to another branch of the family who purchased them. The Erskines would, however, regain their earldom in 1824.
The current clan chief is James Erskine, Earl of Mar and Kellie.