The family name of the Earls of Rosebery is Primrose, a name
associated with lands in Fife owned by Dunfermline Abbey.
The earliest known member of the family, Henry, was born in
1490; his grandson James became Clerk to the Privy Council
under James the VI and I and died in 1640.
James' son, Archibald Primrose, succeeded his father as Clerk
to the Privy Council during the perilous period leading up
to the Civil War. Praised by Charles I for his "fidelity,
judgement and discretion", he fought on the Royalist
side, lost his estates and, at one point, was under sentence
of death. His capable and unswerving service to the exiled
Stuart kings earned him a knighthood at the Restoration and
appointment as Lord Clerk Register of Scotland. In 1662, he
bought the Barony of Barnbougle and Dalmeny and moved into
the 13th-century tower house on the shore.