|Lord High Admiral of Scotland|
|Formation||circa 15th century|
|First holder||The 1st Earl of Orkney|
|Final holder||The 4th Earl of Wemyss|
|Succession||Lord High Admiral of Great Britain|
|Deputy||Vice Admiral of Scotland|
The office was one of considerable power, also known as Royal Scottish Admiralty, including command of the King's ships and sailors (see Royal Scottish Navy) and inspection of all sea ports, harbours, and sea coasts. The Admiral appointed judges to decide causes relating to maritime affairs, including both civil and criminal jurisdiction, and jurisdiction over creeks, fresh and navigable waterways. The duties were exercised through Vice-Admirals and Admirals-Depute, later called Judge Admirals.
Apart from occasional earlier references,[clarification needed] the office seems to have originated in the early 15th century and was once held by Sir Robert Logan of Grugar, later also of Restalrig and the Earls of Bothwell and the Dukes of Lennox. It was one of the heritable offices that Charles II gave to his illegitimate son Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond and Lennox.
The earliest surviving records of the Scottish High Court of Admiralty date from 1557, convened under the authority of the Earl of Bothwell, in Edinburgh or Leith. Although all maritime causes in Scotland below a river's first bridge were in its view, it was inferior to the Court of Session, and its authority was contested by the Court of Justiciary in criminal matters. The Court was formally to be held, fenced, within the sea-flood and wherever it was actually held the Admiral would declare that to be the case. The judges were Bothwell's two vice-admirals, men otherwise unknown who were almost certainly professional lawyers rather than mariners.
By the Act of Union 1707 all admiralty jurisdictions were placed under the Lord High Admiral of Great Britain or Commissioners of the Admiralty. Nevertheless, the Vice-Admiral of Scotland who received his commission from the Crown continued to appoint the Judge Admiral (until 1782) and Admirals-depute and to rank as an Officer of the Crown.
The Public Offices (Scotland) Act 1817 provided that no person thereafter appointed as Vice Admiral should receive a salary. The Admiralty Court in Edinburgh was abolished in 1830 and the Court of Session granted subject-matter jurisdiction.
List of Lord High Admirals
- The 1st Earl of Orkney
- George, 1st Earl of Caithness (Third Creation)
- William, 1st Earl of Caithness (Fourth Creation)
- The 1st Duke of Montrose
- The 1st Duke of Albany
- Sir Robert Logan of Grugar, later also of Restalrig 1400
- The 1st Earl of Crawford before 1403
- The 1st Earl of Bothwell appointed 1488.
- The 1st Earl of Arran sailed with royal fleet 1502, 1504–5, 1513
- The 5th Earl of Angus
- The 5th Lord Maxwell
- The 2nd Earl of Bothwell appointed 1508 in succession to his father.
- The 3rd Earl of Bothwell appointed 1513, duties performed by Patrick Hepburn, Prior of St. Andrews.
- The 4th Earl of Bothwell appointed 1556.
- The 4th Earl of Morton appointed 1568.
- The 1st Earl of Bothwell (Second Creation) appointed 1581, confirmed 1587.
- The 2nd Duke of Lennox appointed 1591.
- The 4th Duke of Lennox 1626
- The 2nd Earl of Kincardine 1668
- James, Duke of York and Albany 1673
- The Duke of Hamilton 1692
- Charles, 1st Duke of Richmond and 1st Duke of Lennox 1694
- The 1st Duke of Montrose 1702
- The 4th Earl of Wemyss 1706–1707, thereafter Vice-Admiral
List of Vice Admirals
- 1708 The 4th Earl of Wemyss
- 1714 The 9th Earl of Rothes
- 1727 The 3rd Duke of Queensberry
- 1729 The 2nd Earl of Stair
- 1733 The 13th Earl of Morton
- 1738 The 5th Earl of Findlater
- 1764 The 3rd Earl of Hyndford
- 1767 The 4th Duke of Queensberry
- 1776 The 3rd Earl of Breadalbane and Holland
- 1782 Lord William Gordon, son of The 3rd Duke of Gordon
- The 1st Earl Cathcart
- Thomas Callander Wade ed., Acta Curiae Admirallatus Scotiae, 1557-1562, Stair Society, (1937), xiii-xxiii.
- Article 19, Act of Union 1707
- "Section 10, Public Offices (Scotland) Act 1817", Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, 64, p. 10, 7 July 1817,
No person henceforth to be appointed to either of the offices of knight marshal or vice-admiral in Scotland shall enjoy or receive any salary whatever for or in respect of either of the said offices.
- "Section 21, Court of Session Act 1830", Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, 69, p. 21, 23 June 1830, retrieved 31 August 2009,
the Court of Session shall hold and exercise original jurisdiction in all maritime civil causes and proceedings of the same nature and extent in all respects as that held and exercised in regard to such causes by the High Court of Admiralty before the passing of this Act
- "No. 6631". The London Gazette. 9 December 1727. p. 2.
- "No. 11712". The London Gazette. 22 October 1776. p. 2.