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This name is taken from the lands of primrose in the parish of Dunfermline. It has been suggested that it originally came from the old British, "prenn rhos: meaning "tree of the moor.

The Primroses were well settled in Fife, and particulary around the Abbey of Culross, by the fifteenth century. Henry Primrose, who was believed to be born sometime prior to 1490, had four sons and one daughter. Gilbert,his grandson, was one of the Ministers of the reformed church at Bordeaux,and afterwards of the French church in London. He was appointed Chaplain to James VI and Charles I, and became Dean of Windsor in 1628.

Archibald Primrose rallied to the banner of the Marquess of Montrose after his victory at the battle of Kilsyth. He was the king's lieutenant at Philiphaugh, where he was captured when the royal army was surprised by a strong force of cavalry. He was tried and found guilty of treason, and although his life was spared on the orders of Argyll, he was held in prison until Montrose was ordered by Charles I to disband his army and leave the kingdom. Primrose was released and knighted by the king.

In 1648 he joined in the Engagement, a scheme to rescue Charles I from the English Parliamentarians, and although the plan was a failure, he survived to join Charles II on his march into England in 1651. The king created him a baronet. He fought at the Battle of Worcaster and after Charles fled into exile, the Primrose estates were sequestrated.

They were restored after the Restoration of 1660, and Primrose was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court and Lord Clerk Register of Scotland. He took the title, "Lord Carrington" He was opposed to the policies of John Maitland, Duke of Lauderdale, and resigned his offices, but he was later to be lord Justice General, from 1676 to 1678.

He acquired the barony of Barnbougle and Dalmeny between Edinburgh and South Queensferry, which remains the seat of the family to this day.

The Lord Justice General was succeeded by his son, Sir William Primrose, and his son, Sir James Primrose of Carrington, was elected Commissioner of Parliament for Edinburgh in 1703. In November of that year he was elevated to the peerage as Viscount Primrose.

The second Viscount died unmarried in 1706, and when his brother, Hugh, the third Viscount, left no issue,the title lapsed. Archibald Primrose, born in 1664 was the only son by the second marriage of Sir Archibald, the Lord Justice General, who left to him the estate of Dalmeny.

He was appointed a Gentleman of the Bedchamber after the accession of Wiliam and Mary. He was Commissioner of Parliament for Edinburgh from 1695 to 1700, when he created Viscount of Rosebery, Lord Primrose and Dalmeny. On the accession of Queen Anne he was advanced to the rank of earl.

In 1707 he was a Privy Councillor,and was appointed a commissioner for the Treaty of Union. After the union he was one of the sixteen peers elected to represent Scotland in the House of Lords.

His daughter, Mary, married a cousin, Sir Archibald Primrose of Dunipace. His son, Jamres, succeeded as second Earl of Rosebery, but also claimed the dormant family title of Viscount Primrose. The third Earl was a representative peer, and in 1771 he was made a Knight of the Thistle. He died in 1814, when he was succeeded by his son, Archibald John, as fourth Earl of Rosebery. A Member of Parliament for Hellston and later Carlisle, Primrose was created a baron of the United Kingdom with the titleof 'Lord Rosebery'in 1828. Like his father, he was made a Knight of the Thistle(in 1840), and three years later he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Linlithgowshire.

The family seat at Dalmeny is of considerable architectural interest, and houses a splendid collection of paintings and furniture. although still very much a family home,it is now open to the public.



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