The Scottish Title of Master

The Scottish title of master is a courtesy title, borne by the heirs presumptive and heirs apparent of the Scottish peerage, as specified below:

There are three kinds of master, all of which are connected with the Peerage of Scotland (see page above):

(1)  The heir apparent (usually the eldest son) of:

(a)  A duke, marquess, earl or a countess in her own right: bears the title of master, which is a legal dignity in its own right. Generally the master's designation is the same as the peerage, eg the son of the Earl of Lauderdale is the Master of Lauderdale. 

The eldest sons of dukes, marquesses and earls also have courtesy peerage titles (the son of the Earl of Lauderdale is Viscount Maitland as well as Master of Lauderdale), and they are generally known socially by their peerage titles.  In all legal documents, however, commissions or proceedings in court the heir apparent is referred to by his substantive title of master, eg the son and heir of the Earl of Lauderdale is referred to as John Master of Lauderdale, commonly called Viscount Maitland.

(b)  A viscount, or lord or lady of parliament: the title of master is borne both legally and socially.

(2)  The heir presumptive of a peer.  For example, Lord Lovat's brother is his heir presumptive, and he bears the title of Master of Lovat, but only for as long as Lord Lovat is without a son.  If the heir presumptive is not a close relation of the peer, it is necessary for the Lord Lyon to approve his use of the title.

(3)  The son and heir of an heir apparent, who bears a peerage by courtesy.  In practice this usage is limited to an earl's grandson, since the grandson of a duke or marquess is generally known by a courtesy title.  The master's designation is usually the same as his father's, thus the son and heir (if any) of Viscount Maitland is the Master of Maitland.  If the designation does not follow the usual practice it is by family arrangement and by decision of the Lord Lyon.

How to address a Scottish Master

The recommended (social) style of address is as follows:

Beginning of letter

Dear Master of Lochness

End of letter

Yours sincerely


The Master of Lochness; Major the Master of Lochness

Verbal communication



The Master of Lochness

Invitation* to  Master and wife

The Master of Lochness and Mrs John Lochness

Description in conversation

The Master; if distinction is necessary, or on introduction, The Master of Lochness

List of Directors or Patrons

The Master of Lochness

Place card

The Master of Maitland

Legal document

Ian Master of Lochness commonly called Viscount Lochness

*Note that, traditionally, invitations to a married couple, when sent to their home address, are addressed to the wife alone, with both names being inscribed on the invitation card. It has become increasingly acceptable, however, to address the envelope with both names.

Wife of a Master

The wife of a master is called by the appropriate peerage style, if applicable. The wife of the Master of Lochness is the Hon Mrs Ian Lochness.  If a master, as heir presumptive to a peer, has no alternative peerage style, then his wife is Mrs John Glenn.


When the mastership is held by a woman the official designation is,  'Mistress of .......'. For example, the daughter and heiress of the Countess of Mar (a peer in her own right) is known as the Mistress of Mar.




Forms Of Address

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