The Sutherlands

Sutherland, or Sudrland, was so termed because it was the southerly portion of the original earldom of Caithness, which comprehended the two modern counties of Caithness and Sutherland. The latter was that territory which lay south of the great chain of hills running across from the Hill of Ord to Forsinard and thence westward to Suilven in Assynt. It included the parishes of Dornoch, Creich, Golspie, Rogart, Clyne, and Loth, with part of Kildonan and Lairg, but excluding Assynt, Edderachillis, Durness, and Strathnaver or Farr. The district thus known as Sudrland was at an early period under the sway of the Norse Earls, who also held Caithness, Ross, and Moray. The last of these who held the district was Earl Thorfinn, from 1014 to 1056, but before his death the power of the Kings of Scotland was beginning to make itself felt in Sutherland. It was in the time of Harald Maddadson, however, that King David I., between 1146 and 1153, was able to grant lands near Dornoch to Andrew, the first recorded Bishop of Caithness, and thus lay the foundations of a more civilised policy. Between 1203 and 1211 there is evidence that a large portioin of the ancient 'Sudrland' had passed into possession of the family who have held the territory ever since in direct lineal succession.[Sutherland Book, iii. 1.]. Their first recorded ancestor was Freskin.

Sources: Balfour Paul, J. (1911) The Scots Peerage, vol. 8. Edinburgh: David Douglas.

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