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Erskine
Arms: Quarterly’ 1st And 4th, Gules a royal crown with a double tressure flory counter flory Or; 2nd and 3th, Argent a pale Sable; sortout in fess a crescent Azure for difference.

SOURCE, NOTES & CREDITS: Blazon and B&W illustration for background: from page 20, “Heraldica Collegii Cardinalium”, 1800-2000 by Michael Francis Mc Carthy; Page 81, article: Kellie, Erskine, Earl of; “The Scots Peerage”, Sir James Balfour Paul, Vol. 5, Edinburgh, 1908 with reference to Alexander Erskine, 3rd Earl on page 87; Wikipedia articles on Cardinal Erskine.

Charles Cardinal Erskine 1739-1811 was born in Rome, Italy on 13 Feb 1739, son of Colin Erskine and Agatha Gigli of the noble Italian family of Gigli of Anagni.

Colin Erskine was the youngest son of Lord Lyon Sir Alexander Erskine of Cambo, 2nd Bt. Colin’s father married his cousin Anne Erskine who was the eldest daughter of Alexander Erskine, 3rd Earl of Kellie

So, our Charles Erskine was the grandson of the second Erskine of Cambo Lord Lyon and great grandson of Charles Erskine the first Erskine of Cambo Lord Lyon in the direct paternal line; and additionally through his grandmother Anne Erskine he was the great grandson of the 3rd Earl of Kellie.

Erskine was educated at the Scots College in Rome where he was the protégé of Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal Duke of York, who was the younger brother of Charles Edward Stuart, Prince Thearlaich ! (Prince Charlie, of course). He became a successful advocate and a Doctor of Laws in 1770. In 1782 Pope Pius VI made him an Auditor and Promoter of the Faith He was installed as a subdeacon in 1783, made a domestic prelate and canon of St. Peter’s Basilica. The point here is that while he was now a Monsignor he was not a priest or even a deacon…

In 1793 Erskine was sent to as Papal Envoy to the Court of St. James and had a highly successful tour there, calming the Catholic minority to the point the Pope gave him in 1795 additional powers as Envoy Extraordinary, He left London in 1801 returning to Rome. We cannot determine if he ever visited Scotland, but think not… However, we do know he communicated by letter with his Erskine relatives there.

In 1803 Erskine was made a Cardinal Deacon and was ordained a Deacon in 1804. He was still useful to English Catholics and the Pope appointed him Cardinal Protector of Scotland !

In 1808 The French invaded Rome, Erskine was made pro-Secretary of Briefs and was confined to the Quirinal with the pope. When Pope Pius VII was taken prisoner, Erskine was freed. However his property was grabbed. He wrote his Protestant Erskine relatives in Scotland and they were nice enough to grant him an allowance. In 1809 Napoleon ordered him to Paris, he was forced out of Rome in 1810. Arriving in Paris, his health declined and he died on 20 Mar 1811, age 72. Cardinal Erskine is buried in the Panthéon.

The artwork is a rendering by John Hamilton Gaylor.

2019 0522

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