Monday, 20 June 2016

DNA evidence resolves baronetcy inheritance claim in Scotland

DNA evidence has overturned an inheritance claim in a ruling that could have profound implications for similar cases within the aristocratic and landed classes in Britain, and perhaps beyond.

An accountant from High Wycombe called Murray Pringle and a businessman from Hastings, Simon Pringle, had both claimed the right to inherit the baronetcy of Pringle of Stichill, near Kelso in the Scottish Borders. The original baronetcy had been granted by the Crown to Robert Pringle of Stichill and all "male heirs from his body" in January 1683. When the 10th baronet died in 2013, the two claimants, who are second cousins once removed, asserted their right to inherit.

Murray Pringle's case was based on the allegation that Simon Pringle's grandfather, Norman Pringle, the 9th Baronet, was not a son of the 8th baronet of the same name - whereas the 9th baronet's brother Ronald, father to Murray Pringle, was a legitimate son. Seven judges at the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, asked to intervene by the British Queen (see my previous post at, had ruled that DNA testing was perfectly legitimate as a means to resolve the dispute. The test results have now confirmed that Simon Pringle is not a male line descendant of the 8th baronet, and thus has no claim as a 'male heir of his body' to inherit; the same tests have shown that Murray Pringle is the legitimate heir, as his DNA confirms his descent.

For the full story, visit and

The full judgment itself is available at


For details on my genealogy guide books, including A Decade of Irish Centenaries: Researching Ireland 1912-1923Discover Scottish Church Records (2nd edition), Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit

1 comment:

  1. How interesting - I had presumed that the only issue was: who is the heir to the last baronet? Seems like, because of the entail on the way the title was set up, the question is always: Who is the male heir of the first baronet. So I wonder how many titles are set up like that?

    And I think that they must have been reading your book, Chris, given that they talk about service if heirs and all that!