Baron Macdonald

Baron Macdonald

Baron Macdonald, of Slate in the County of Antrim, is a title in the Peerage of Ireland. It was created in 1776 for Sir Alexander Macdonald, 9th Baronet, of Sleat. The "Slate" referred to in the territorial designation is actually Sleat on the Isle of Skye, the reference to Antrim being merely a pretense.

Family history

The Macdonald family descends from Uisdean Macdonald (d. 1498), also known as Hugh Macdonald, illegitimate son of Alexander Macdonald, Earl of Ross. On 28 May, 1625, his great-great-great-great-grandson Archibald Macdonald was created a Baronet, of Sleat in the Isle of Skye in the County of Inverness, in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia. The Baronetcy was created with remainder to heirs male whatsoever and with a special clause of precedence which provided that it should have precedency over all former Baronets (Sir Robert Gordon excepted).

His great-great-great-grandson, the ninth Baronet, was raised to the Peerage of Ireland as Baron Macdonald, of Slate in the County of Antrim, in 1776. Lord Macdonald married Elizabeth Diana Bosville, daughter of Godfrey Bosville. Their eldest son, the second Baron, represented Saltash in Parliament. He never married and was succeeded by his younger brother, the third Baron. He was a Lieutenant-General in the Army. In 1814 Lord Macdonald inherited the Bosville estates of Thorpe and Gunthwaite in Yorkshire through his mother, and assumed by Royal license the surname of Bosville in lieu of Macdonald the same year. However, on inheriting the Macdonald estates on the death of his older brother in 1824 he resumed by Royal license the surname of Macdonald after that of Bosville. In 1803 Lord Macdonald married, in an English ceremony, Lady Louisa Maria la Coast, illegitimate daughter of Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh (grandson of King George II). The couple had previously married in a Scottish ceremony in 1799. However, the validity of the Scottish marriage was disputed, and as a result the eldest son of Lord Macdonald born before his 1803 marriage, Alexander William Robert Bosville, was not allowed to succeeded his father in the titles (this decision was later challenged; see below). He was therefore succeeded by his eldest son born after the 1803 marriage, the fourth Baron. His great-grandson, the seventh Baron, served as Lord Lieutenant of Inverness from 1952 to 1970. As of 2006 the Barony is held by the latter’s eldest son, the eighth Baron. He is Chief of the Name and Arms of Macdonald, see Clan Donald.

According to a decision by the Court of Session in June 1910, the children born before the 1803 marriage of the third Baron Macdonald were legitimate according to Scottish Law. However, this decision was only valid regarding the Nova Scotia Baronetcy and not the Irish Barony. As a result, the third Baron’s rightful successor in the Baronetcy was his eldest son Alexander William Robert Bosville (the de jure twelfth Baronet). He had assumed by Royal license the surname of Bosville in 1832 and had in 1847 inherited his father’s Bosville estates in Yorkshire by Act of Parliament. His grandson, the de jure fourteenth Baronet, was recognised in the Baronetcy according to the aforementioned 1910 decision by the Court of Session. As of 2006 the Baronetcy is held by the latter’s great-grandson, the seventeenth Baronet.

Another baronetcy was created in 1813 for Archibald MacDonald upon his retirement as Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer. He had held that office since 1790 and earlier had been Member of Parliament for Hindon in Wiltshire (1777-1780) and then for Newcastle-under-Lyme (1780-1792). This baronetcy became extinct in 1919.

Macdonald Baronets, of Sleat (1625)

*Sir Donald Macdonald, 1st Baronet (d. 1643)
*Sir James Macdonald, 2nd Baronet (d. 1678)
*Sir Donald Macdonald, 3rd Baronet (d. 1695)
*Sir Donald Macdonald, 4th Baronet (d. 1718)
*Sir Donald Macdonald, 5th Baronet (c. 1697-1720)
*Sir James Macdonald, 6th Baronet (d. 1723)
*Sir Alexander Macdonald, 7th Baronet (1711-1746)
*Sir James Macdonald, 8th Baronet (c. 1742-1766)
*Sir Alexander Macdonald, 9th Baronet (c. 1745-1795) (created Baron Macdonald in 1776)

Barons Macdonald (1776)

*Alexander Macdonald, 1st Baron Macdonald (c. 1745-1795)
*Alexander Wentworth Macdonald, 2nd Baron Macdonald (1773-1824)
*Godfrey Macdonald, 3rd Baron Macdonald of Slate (1775-1832)
*Godfrey William Wentworth Bosville-Macdonald, 4th Baron Macdonald (1809-1863)
*Somerled James Brudenell Bosville-Macdonald, 5th Baron Macdonald (1849-1874)
*Ronald Archibald Bosville-Macdonald, 6th Baron Macdonald (1853-1947)
*Alexander Godfrey Macdonald, 7th Baron Macdonald (1909-1970)
*Godfrey James Macdonald, 8th Baron Macdonald (b. 1947)

Macdonald Baronets, of Sleat (1625); continued after 1832

*Sir Alexander William Robert Bosville Macdonald, de jure 12th Baronet (1800-1847)
*Sir Godfrey Wentworth Bayard Bosville, de jure 13th Baronet (1826-1865)
*Sir Alexander Wentworth Macdonald Bosville Macdonald, 14th Baronet (1865-1933) (recognised in Baronetcy in 1910)
*Sir Godfrey Middleton Bosville Macdonald, 15th Baronet (1887-1951)
*Sir Alexander Somerled Angus Bosville Macdonald, 16th Baronet (1917-1958)
*Sir Ian Godfrey Bosville Macdonald, 17th Baronet (b. 1947)

Macdonald Baronets, of East Sheen (1813)

*Sir Archibald Macdonald, 1st baronet, (1747–1826), judge and politician, posthumous son of Sir Alexander Macdonald, 7th baronet of Sleat
*Sir James Macdonald, 2nd baronet (1784–1832)
*Sir Archibald Keppel MacDonald, 3rd baronet(1820-1901)
*Sir Archibald John Macdonald, 4th baronet (1871-1919)

ee also

*Earl of Ross (1215 creation)
*Clan Donald
*Clan MacDonald of Sleat


*Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). "Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage" (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990.
* [ Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page]

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