John, 7th Earl of Sutherland

John, 7th Earl of Sutherland (son of Robert, 6th Earl of Sutherland)


John (Sutherland), Earl of Sutherland [S.], 1st s. and h., was, when about 17, one of the esquires of his maternal uncle Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, who commanded a Scottish detachment in the campaign of Jean Sans Peur, Duke of Burgundy, against the burghers of Liége. He was knighted by his uncle, probably on the morning of 23 Sep. 1408, when the Duke defeated the burghers in a decisive engagement; and presumably he returned with his uncle to Scotland thorugh England under safe-conduct granted to Mar and 30 persons with him, 29 Dec. 1408.[1] In 1427, as Earl of Sutherland, he relieved Patrick Dunbar, eldest s. of the Earl of March [S.], as one of the hostages for the payment of the ransom of King James I, who had been released on 28 Mar. 1424;[2] and he was interned in Pontefract Castle with several Scottish hostages. While at Pontefract he confirmed, 12 July 1444, the resignation of Torboll by Nicholas Sutherland, 6th of Duffus, and its re-grant to his yr. s. Henry, afterwards 8th of Duffus, in Oct. 1408 in favour of his 2nd cousin, Alexander Sutherland (s. of Henry), 9th of Duffus.[3] He was at Dunrobin in May 1448[4] and on 29 Apr. 1451 he and his wife received a Crown charter of lands in the parish of Loth, Sutherland,[5] which were reserved in life-rent for them when, on 22 Feb. 1455/6 in the garden of St. Mary's Chapel at Inverness, he resigned his Earldom into the hands of King James II, who next day re-granted it to John, Master of Sutherland.[6] He m., in or before 1432,[7] Margaret, da. of Sir William Baillie of Lamington (grandson of Sir William Baillie of Hoprig, Penston and Carnbrae), by Marion, said[8] to have been da. of Sir John Seton of Seton. He is said to have d. in 1460. His widow d. between 30 Apr. 1509 and 19 May 1510,[9] aged 95 years or over.

[1] Wyntoun's Chron., Historians of Scotland, vol. iii, p. 112; Rot. Scotiae, vol. ii, p. 190.
[2] Idem, p. 261.
[3] Sutherland Book, vol. iii, p. 25.
[4] Charter of presentation 10 May 1448 by the Earl; text in Idem, p. 26.
[5] Reg. Mag. Sig. [S.]. 1424-1513, no. 443.
[6] Texts of Resignation and Precept of regrant in Sutherland Book, vol. iii, pp. 28, 29.
[7] Her 2nd son was of age in Feb. 1455/6. Her mother's parents were already married, 8 Mar. 1392/3.
[8] Ped. of Baillie of Dochfour.
[9] Exch. Rolls [S.], vol. xiii, pp. 267/68. According to Sir Robert Gordon the tower which she had erected in Helmsdale was pulled down by her son the 8th Earl, who vexed her in other ways (Gen. Hist., p. 79).


Source: White, G. H. (1953) The Complete Peerage, vol. XII. London: The St. Catherine Press.



John, seventh Earl of Sutherland, is first named as taking part, as one of the retinue of his uncle Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, in the latter's campaign in Flanders about 1408. Wyntoun, a contemporary, tells how the Earl, before an expected battle, knighted some of his esquired, one of these being John Sutherland 'his newew, a lord apperand of vertew, Heretabil Erl of that countrè.'[1] The young knight fought bravely, and the cause the Earl favoured was victorious. Nothing further is recorded of him until 1427, when it was probably he who went to England as one of the hostages for King James I. He remained in England for many years, being confined in Pontefract Castle, where there were many other Scots hostages. While there, on 12 July 1444, he granted to his kinsman, Alexander Sutherland of Duffus, a charter confirming the lands of Torboll.[2] On 3 February 1444-45 a safe-conduct was issued to Margaret Sutherland, Alexander and Robert Sutherland, probably the Earl's wife and children, for a year, to pass between England and Scotland.[3] He must have been liberated not very long after, as he was at Dunrobin Castle in May 1448, when he presented a chaplain to the chapel of St. Andrew at Golspie.[4] On 29 April 1451 he and his wife Margaret received a crown charter of Crakaig, Easter and Wester Loth, and other lands in the parish of Loth.[5] These lands were reserved for liferent use to himself and his Countess when he resigned his earldom into the hands of King James II. in favour of his son John, who was infeft in the lands in his father's lifetime. This Earl is said by Sir Robert Gordon to have died in 1460, and to have been buried in the chapel of St. Andrew at Golspie. He married Margaret Baillie, perhaps a daughter or sister of one of the Earl's fellow hostages at Pontefract, Sir William Baillie of Hoprig and Lamington. She survived the Earl, and, contrary to what Sir Robert Gordon asserts, appears to have remained a widow.[6] She was alive on 30 April 1509, but died before Whitsunday of 1510.[7]
     Earl John had issue:--
     1. Alexander, Master of Sutherland, who is named as such in a charter by Alexander, Earl of Ross, granted at Inverness 10 October 1444. It is apparently he who is named in the safe-conduct of 3 February 1444-45, already cited, but he must have died before February 1455-56, when his father resigned the earldom to his brother John.[8]
     2. John, who became eighth Earl of Sutherland.
     3. Nicolas, named by the Earl in a charter of May 1448 as his son.[9]
     4. Thomas, known as Thomas Beg (i.e. little), of whom nothing has been found except in the pages of Sir Robert Gordon, who states that he was the ancestor of a family of Sutherland in Strathullie.[10].
     5. Robert, named in the above safe-conduct of 3 February 1444-45, may have been a son, and not improbably he was the Robert Sutherland who, according to Sir Robert Gordon, took part in the battle of Aldycharrish. Sir Robert says he was an uncle of the Earl, but if he were he must have been of great age in 1487, the alleged date of the conflict.
     6. Janet, said by Sir Robert Gordon to be the eldest, but apparently the only daughter of the Earl,[11] was married, it is said, in 1480, to Alexander Dunbar,[12] third son of Sir Alexander Dunbar of Westfield, and brother of Sir James Dunbar of Cumnock and of Gavin Dunbar, Bishop of Aberdeen. Alexander Dunbar had the lands of Altcash, Kilcolmkill, and others. He was murdered between 25 and 31 March 1498, by Alexander Sutherland of Daldred or Dirlot, who was executed for the crime. His wife survived till 1511 or 1512,[13] when her terce was paid to her, but nothing is known of her after that date. She was, by Alexander Dunbar, mother of James Dunbar of Conze, and the ancestress of the Dunbars of Kilbuiac, Mochrum, Asleisk, Northfield and others.
     The Earl had also, it is said, a natural son, known as Thomas Mor, who had issue two sons, who were killed by their uncle Earl John.

[1] Wyntoun, Laing's ed., iii. 112.
[2] Sutherland Book, iii. 25.
[3] Cal. Doc. Scot., iv. No. 1175.
[4] Sutherland Book, iii. 25, 26.
[5] Reg. Mag. Sig.
[6] Sir Robert (p. 80) states that she married, secondly, Alexander Dunbar, brother of Sir James Dunbar of Cumnock, but he really married her daughter Janet. No evidence of a second marriage by Margaret Baillie has been discovered.
[7] Exch. Rolls, xiii. 267, 268.
[8] Sutherland Book, iii. 28-32.
[9] Ibid., 26, 27.
[10] Genealogy.
[11] Muriel Sutherland, wife of Alexander Seton of Meldrum, is said to have been a younger daughter of this Earl, but she seems to have been a daughter of Alexander Sutherland of Duffus and Muriel his wife (see that title).
[12] The Sutherland Book, i. 60, 61, denies the existence of this Alexander, and is otherwise erroneous in treating of Janet Sutherland.
[13] Exch. Rolls., xiii. 448.

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

The first mention of this Earl of Sutherland is by Andrew Wyntoun in his rhyming chronicle. The exact date of the reference is uncertain, but the events narrated took place in the year 1408. The passage in a certain sense is rather an appendix to than an actual portion of the chronicle itself, as it relates to events which took place outside Scotland, but they were evidently noted down at the time from the lips of persons present, as the author indicates. The narrative deals with the fame and exploits of the eldest son of the "Wolf of Badenoch," Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, who, from being a wild youth and a leader of caterans, had become a man of great wealth and considerable renown in arms.[1] Wyntoun, after detailing some other exploits, tells us that the Earl of Mar, in the year 1408, passed into France "in his delite and his plessance," with a noble company
"Wele arayit and dantely
Knychtis and Sqwieris, gret Gentilmen."
     In Paris he is said to have kept royal state, holding open house for twelve weeks. There he made the acquaintance of the reigning Duke of Burgundy, John the Fearless, and this led, at a later date in the same year, to his being asked, after he had gone to Bruges, to join the army raised by the Duke and the Count of Holland on behalf of their brother-in-law, the bishop of Liége. To this request Wyntoun says the earl made a blithe answer -
"And said, 'Set we be nocht ma
Bot I and my Boy, we twa,
I sal be thare that forsaid day,
Purvait, as I be purvayt may.'"
     Who the particular "boy" was that was to be thus distinguished is not stated, but the young lord of Sutherland was certainly in attendance upon the earl at the time, and no doubt was with him during his stay in France. He was one of those who now accompanied the earl to the field. The whole force numbered only a hundred men, but these were very well equipped, and, few as they were, the earl and his party were heartily welcomed by the Duke of Burgundy, who gave them a place of honour in the van. According to custom, the earl before the battle knighted several of the squires who waited upon him, and first of these was John of Sutherland.
". . . his Newew,
A lord appearand of wertew,
Heretabil Erl of that countrè."
In the battle which followed, although only the earl's own exploits are dwelt upon, we are told regarding the earl's nephew and his companions that
"Their sex knychtis stout and wycht,
Wyth foure knychtis before than mád,
Of his natione than ten he had
Manful, hardy, stout and wycht
In all the hále force of that ficht;
And all his Sqwyeris and Yomen
Provit all stount and manful then."[2]

The victory remained with the force to which the Earl of Mar and his men were attached, and the Scottish writers attribute the result chiefly to his advice.

     Of the young Earl of Sutherland, the winning of whose spurs is thus referred to, no further notice is found on record until the year 1444, when he was at Pontefract Castle, where he appears to have been as a hostage for payment of King James the First's ransom. He or his father had gone to England in 1427, as a substitute for the eldest son of the Earl of March. The hostages were apparently allowed to receive their friends and transact business, and thus we find him granting to his kinsman, Alexander Sutherland of Duffus, a charter of the lands of Torboll, in terms of resignations by Alexander's father and grandfather.[3] The grant was witnessed by various Scottish gentlemen, who were also hostages, Michael Scott of Balwearie, Alexander Erskine of Dun, Alexander Straton of Lauriston, and Sir William Baillie of Hoprig, who was either brother-in-law or father-in-law to the earl himself. There was thus in Pontefract a little community of hostages, some of whom probably had their families with them.
     Although there is no evidence as to why he was allowed to leave England, the earl was in his own country, and residing at Dunrobin Castle in May 1448, where he issued a presentation in favour of Alexander Rattar to be chaplain of St. Andrew's chaplainry at Golspie. The emoluments of the office were derived from the lands of Drummoy, with crofts, etc, round the chapel, and a croft upon the hill between the burns, which are conveyed in the earl's presentation.[4]

     Little further is recorded of this Earl of Sutherland. In 1451 he received to himself and his wife, Margaret, a crown charter of Crakaig, Easter Loth, Overglen of Loth, Wester Loth, and other lands in the parish of Loth.[5] The earl also, in 1456, resigned the earldom into the hands of King James the Second, for a regrant to John, his second son, and his heirs, but reserving the liferent of the above-named lands to himself and his countess.

     Sir Robert Gordon relates that in the time of this earl, Sutherland was invaded by Macdonald of the Isles, who, with five or six hundred followers, penetrated as far as Skibo, and was there defeated. Another party who came at a later period were met at Strathfleet, and after a sharp skirmish were put to flight.

     John, seventh Earl of Sutherland, according to Sir Robert, died at Dunrobin in the year 1460. He is further said to have been buried in the chapel of St. Andrew at Golspie.[7] This was contrary to the previous custom of the family, which was to bury in the cathedral at Dornoch.

     He married Margaret Baillie, apparently a daughter or sister of one of his fellow-hostages, Sir William Baillie of Hoprig and Lamington. Sir Robert Gordon extols her beauty. She survived her first husband, and was alive in the first half of the year 1509, for she received payment of her terce up to 30th April of that year; but she died before 1510. Sir Robert Gordon states that she was annoyed by the persecutions of her son, Earl John, who pulled down a tower erected by her at Helmsdale. She built a chapel at East Garty, and for some time resided near it. It is said she was compelled to marry Alexander Dunbar, a brother of Sir James Dunbar, to whom her daughter Jean was married, but this is not true. Sir James Dunbar of Cumnock married Euphemia Dunbar of Mochrum, and he had no brother named Alexander. His father, Sir Alexander Dunbar of Westfield, may be meant, but he married an Isobel Sutherland, who survived him. No evidence has been found of a second marriage of Countess Margaret.

     The earl and his countess had issue:--

     1. Alexander, Master of Sutherland. He is named as such in a charter by Alexander, Earl of Ross, dated at Inverness, 10th October 1444,[8] and he died, before 1456, while his father was still alive. According to Sir Robert Gordon he left issue, by a wife whose name and family are not recorded, a daughte rof Marjorie, who married William Sinclair, first Earl of Caithness. Lord Hailes, however, proves that Marjorie, Countess of Caithness, was the daughter of Alexander Sutherland of Dunbeath, and in consequence he doubted the existence of Alexander, Master of Sutherland; but he could not have been aware of the charter referred to above. Alexander must have died without issue previous to 1456, when his next brother, John, was treated as the heir to the title and earldom of Sutherland.
     2. John, who became eighth Earl of Sutherland, and of whom a memoir follows.
     3. Nicolas, who is a witness to his father's letter of presentation in 1448, but of whom nothing further has been ascertained.
     4. Thomas, known as Thomas Beg, of whom nothing has been definitely ascertained; but according to Sir Robert Gordon, he was the ancestor of a family of Sutherlands of Strathullie.
     The daughters are siad to have been Lady Jean, who married Sir James Dunbar of Cumnock, and had issue, among others, Gavin Dunbar, bishop of Aberdeen; and Lady Muriel, who married Alexander Seton of Meldrum. But while there is evidence that Alexander Seton married a Muriel Sutherland, her connection with the Earl of Sutherland has not been ascertained, and in the Seton pedigree she is said to be of the family of Duffus. Further, Sir James Dunbar of Cumnock married Euphemia Dunbar of Mochrum. His father, Sir Alexander Dunbar of Westfield, married, about 1458, a lady named Isobel Sutherland; but she is generally supposed to have been a daughter of Alexander Sutherland, Lord of Duffus, and they were certainly the parents of Gavin, bishop of Aberdeen. Isobel survived her husband, who died about 1497. This disposes of the story that Margaret Baillie, Countess of Sutherland, married an Alexander Dunbar who was slain about that date.
     The Earl had also, according to Sir Robert Gordon, a natural son, Thomas More, who had issue two sons, killed afterwards by their uncle, Earl John.

[1] Fordun à Goodall, vol. ii. p. 500.
[2] Wyntoun's Chronicle, ed. 1795, vol. ii. pp. 434, 435; cf. pp. 424/440.
[3] 12th July 1444. Vol. iii. of this work, p. 25.
[4] Ibid., pp. 26, 27.
[5] Registrum Magni Sigilli, vol. ii. No. 413.
[6] Vol. iii, of this work, pp. 28-32.
[7] Genealogy, p. 75.
[8] Registrum Magni Sigilli, vol. ii, No. 281.

Source: Fraser, W. (1894) The Sutherland Book. Edinburgh: Privately Printed.



Then vnto Robert succeeded his sone, John Earle of Southerland, who mareid Margaret (or Magdalen) Baillie, daughter to the laird of Lamingtoun; a woman of excellent beauty, by whom he had four sones and tuo daughters; Alexander, John, Nicolas, and Thomas Beg. Alexander (Master of Southerland) died befor his father, and had onlie one daughter, called Margerie, who mareid William Sinclar, Earle of Orknay, of which mariage ar descended the Sincklars, now Earles of Catteynes; for William Sincklar, the second sone of this William Sincklar Erle of Orknay, by this woman, is the first man by whom the Sincklars, now Earles of Catteynes, may justlie clame any right or title to that earldome; which he obtayned in the raigne of King James the Third. Jane Sutherland (Earle John his eldest daughter) mareid Sir James Dumbar of Cumnock; from the which marriage proceeded that worthie preelat Master Gawan Dumbar, bishop of Aberdeen. Earle John his second daughter mareid the laird of Meldrum. From Thomas Beg descended those Southerlands that duelt in Strathvlly, who were destroyed and slain by the bastard Alexander Southerland, (there cousin-german) in the dayes of Adam Gordon Earle of Southerland. This John Erle of Southerland had also a bastard sone, called Thomas Moir.
     The tuelft day of Julie, the yeir of God one thowsand four hundred and fourtie and four, John Earle of Southerland (immediate superior) entered Alexander Southerland vnto the lands of the barony of Thoroboll, vpon the presenting of a resignation, which had been formerlie made by Nicolas Southerland, of the saids lands, in favors of his sone Henry, (the father of the said Alexander), into the hands of Robert Earle of Southerland, at Pontefract castell in Yorkshire in England, as is set doun at lairge in the said precept of clare constat.
     In this Earle of Southerland his dayes, the yeir of God one thowsand four hundred fourtie-and-six, or (as others write) one thowsand four hundred fourtie and nyne yeirs, Sir Alexander Gordon of Huntlie and Strathbogie, (the sone of Alexander Seatoun and Elizabeth Gordon) wes created Earle of Huntlie by King James the Second; at the same tyme George Leslie wes maid Erle of Rothesse.
     The yeir of God one thowsand four hundred fourtie-and-six, (or, as some write, one thowsand four hundred fourtie-and-fyve yeirs) the conflict of Arbroth wes foughtin by the Lindsayes and the Ogilvies, upon this occasion: The Master of Crawfoord, that is, the Erle of Crawfoord his eldest sone, (for so the Scots doe call the eldest sone, or nixt ayre of any erle or lord) wes baillie of Arbroth, whereof he had now acquyred the possession; which government Sir Alexander Ogilvie of Inverquharitie (tutor ot JOhn Lord Ogilvie of Airly) did clame, as justlie apperteyning to his nevoy and pupill John Lord Ogilvie, whose right he would manteyne, being assisted by the churchmen of that abbey. Bot the Mr of Crawfoord, (set on thereto by the Earle of Douglas) being vnwilling to losse his possession, he conveines a number of his friends, and possess himselff with the abbay of Arbroth, thereby to defend with strong hand which he culd not doe by law. At this verie tyme, Alexander Erle of Huntlie, (sayet Leslæus) being then returned from court towards the north, and lying the night preceding in Sir Alexander Ogilvie his hous at Innerquharitie, joyned himselff with the Ogilvies, and took their pairt; ane ancient custome (sayeth Leslæus) among the Scottishmen, that wheresoever they happen to ludge, they defend ther hosts from all hurt, evin to the shedding of ther blood, and lossing of ther lyves from them issueid bee, so long as ther meat is vndigested in ther stomaks. Sir Alexander Ogilvie, vnderstanding what the Mr of Crawfoord had done, he, together with the Earle of Huntlie, doe invade the abay of Arbroth. Which tumult being reported to the Earle of Crawfoord, then lying at Dundie, he maks speid to Arbroth to assist his sone; and haveing arryved ther, he finds both the hosts, (as it wer) to tak vp the mater, he wes slain; which so incensed the Mr of Crawfoord, and his surname, (the Lindsayes) that they presentlie joyned battell, and invaded ther enemies with great furie and violence. After a hard conflict, with great slaughter on either syd, Sir Alexander Ogilvie wes taken, and careid to Phinewen, wher he died shortlie therefter of his wounds receaved in this battell. The Earle of Huntlie retired into the north, haveing losed John Forbes of Pitsligo, with some others, in that conflict.
     This John Erle of Southerland disponed, by his gift under his hand and seale, vnto Alexander Ratter, the chaplanrie of Golspi Kirktoun, which wes built and founded by his ancestors the Earles of Southerland, in honor of Sanct Andrew, and is called Sanct Andrew his chappell at Golspie; whereof the Earles of Southerland ar patrons vnto this day. These lands wer given by Earle John his predicessors, for the mantenance of a priest to serve the cure ther. This presentation and gift wes dated at Dunrobin, the tenth day of May, the yeir of God one thowsand four hundred fourtie-and-eight; in the which Nicolas Southerland (the sone of Earle John) is witness. The nixt yeir of God, which wes one thowsand four hundred fourtie-and-nyne yeirs, Earle John tooke an infeftment of the lands of Cracok from the king.
     In this Earl John his tyme, the notable battell of Brechen wes foughtin by Alexander Gordoun, Earle of Huntley, against Alexander Lindsay, Earle of Crawfoord, in defence of King James the Second, who had determined to leave Scotland, and to flie into France, therby to eschew the power of the Douglases and ther faction; bot that he stayed on the hope he had in the Earle of Huntlie's assistance against the Earles of Douglas, Crawfoord, Rosse, Morray, and Ormond. The Earle of Crawfoord, vnderstanding that the Earle of Huntly wes coming from the north to ayd the king, he assembled all his freinds and followers to hinder his passage, at the foot of the Carn of Month. Huntley did weill know that he wes to pass thorow the enemies cuntrey, which maid him presse on with all his might and force, to gain the passage at the North-water bridge. This he did, although with some losse of his men. Both the armies rencountered tuo myles by east Brechen, betueen the toun and the Northwater bridge. After a long and cruell battell, foughtin with great obstinacie on either syde, the Earle of Crawfoord, with all his power and forces, were overthrowen, and chased evin to his gates of Finewen, as sayeth Leslæus. His brother John Lindsay wes killed, with the most pairt of the gentlemen of Angus. William and Henrie, (the Earle of Huntlie his tuo brethren) with divers other gentlemen of the Earle of Huntlie his partie, wer their slayn, which maid the victorie lesse pleasing to the Earle of Huntlie. This hapned the eighth day of May, (being the Ascension day) the yeir of God one thowsand four hundred fyftie-and-tuo.
     In recompence of this notable good service, the Earle of Huntlie had from the king the lands of Brechen, becaus the battell wes foughtin ther, that this victorie might therby be thus recommended to posteritie; which lands the Earle of Huntlie exchanged shortlie therefter for the lands of Badzenogh; and therwithall he had thrie lyon heads augmented to his armes; and had then also the priviledge to carie befor his horse-companies, at waponshawes and battells, from thence furth, a pincell of four corners, or four-squared; which priviledge non other of the Scottish nobilitie hath. At this tyme the Earle of Huntlie gave away and disponed divers lands to such as had assisted him in that battell, and cheiflie (as sayeth Leslæus) to the Forbesses, Leslies, Irwings, Ogilvies, Innesses, and Grants. Presentlie after that the battell wes ended, the Erle of Huntlie marched fordward without delay, and releived the king from the power of the Douglases. Then wes the Earle of Crawfoord attainted and forfaulted; who, doubting to recover the king's favour, came wher the Earle of Huntlie wes, and entring the hous, he rendered himselff vnto him, intreating him to be a meanes to reconcile him vnto the king. Huntley receaved him honorablie and courteouslie, promising vnto him to doe his best; and withall he advysed Crawfoord what course he should tak, being myndfull how vncertane the estate and condition of humane effairs are in this world. So at the Earle of Huntlie his earnest intreatie, and by his mediation, the king pardoned the Earle of Crawfoord, and restored him agane to his land and offices, excepting onlie his place in parlament, which he exchanged with the Earle of Huntlie, and also resigned vnto Huntley the shirrefship of Aberdeen heretablie. Now, whilest the Earle of Huntlie wes feighting at Breighin against the Earle of Crawford, Archbald Douglas, Earle of Morray, burnt the house of Strathbogie, spoilling withall the lands therabout; and in his return homward he killed some of Huntlie's servantss and tennents at the Boigs of Dalquintin; in revenge whereof, the Earle of Huntlie, at his returned into the north, entered the earldome of Morray with all hostilitie, burnt, spoilled, and wasted all the lands of that province, spareing onlie the abbay of Kinlosse; and chased Erle Archibald with his pertakers out of all the bounds of Morrayland, by these meanes dauntoning the pryde of the Douglasses.
     The yeir of God one thowsand four hundred fyftie-and-four, in a parlament held at Edinburgh, George Crightoun wes created Earle of Catteynes by King James the Second, vpon condition, that iff the said Crightoun should die without heyres-male lawfullie begottin of his owne bodie, in that case, the said earldome should agane return to the croun. This George Crightoun died the nixt yeir following, without issue, wherby the earldome of Catteynes came agane into his majestie's hands. At this same parlament 1454, William Hay, constable of Scotland, wes maid Earle of Erroll, whose predicessors had been before this tyme maid constables of Scotland by the king; which office wes fallin into his majestie's hands by the forfaultour of Roger Quincin his successors; which office the said Roger Quincin had by mareing the eldest daughter of Allane Lord of Galloway, in King Alexander the Second his dayes.
     The yeir of God 1455, this John Earle of Southerland took a new infeftment of the earldome of Southerland, by resignation of the same into the king's hands, in favors of his sone John, reserveing his owne lyffrent and his wyff Margaret conjunctlie to these lands; which he did least his lands and earldome sould fall from his heyres-male to the daughter of his eldest sone Alexander, who wes now dead. In this infeftment William Lord Keith, marishall of Scotland, is witnes.
     About this tyme, Mackdonald of the Yles, being accompanied with some of his kinsmen and followers, to the number of fyve or six hundred men, came into Southerland, and incamped hard by the castell of Skibo. Wherevpon Neill Morray (sone to Angus Morray, slain at Drum-ne-Coub) wes sent by this Earle of Southerland to resist them, least they should offer any harme to the inhabitants. Neill Morray perceaveing them going about to spoile the cuntrie, invaded them at Skibo, and killed on of ther captanes, (called Donald-Dow-Ne-Soirn) with fyftie others. Mackdonald himselff escaped by flight, and retired into Rosse with the rest of his companie. Shortlie therafter, another company of Mackdonald his kin and freinds came from the yles, and out of Rosse, to Strathfleet in Southerland, with a resolution to spoile and wast that pairt of the cuntrie, and so to repair the losse they had befor receaved. Robert Southerland (the brother of Earle John) hearing therof, assembled some men in all hast, and encountered with the Clandonald vpon the sands of Strathfleet, wher ther followed a sharp and cruell skirmish, foughtin with great courage on either syd. In the end, Mackdonald his men were overthrowen, and most pairt of them killed, either in the conflict or in the chasse, which continued long, even to the Bonagh. From thencefurth the Clandonald never returned into Southerland in such hostile maner; for all these controversies were shortlie therafter removed and taken away by mariage.
     This Robert Southerland (the brother of Earle John) maried the Dumbar of Frendraught his second daughter, by whom he had a sone called John Southerland. The Dumbar his eldest daughter (called Jane) wes never maried; and James Crichtoun (the eldest sone of William Lord Crightoun, chancellar of Scotland) mareid the Dumbar his youngest daughter; so that the Dumbar of Frendret dying without issue, (as indeid he did) the succession and inheritance of Frendret wes lyklie to fall vnto this John Southerland, a verie active and comlie gentleman; who being prevented by death, and leiving no succession, the lands of Frendret fell to the said James Crightoun, and his successors (the Crightounes) doe possesse these lands at this day. This James Crightoun begat, vpon the Dumbar of Frendraught his daughter, Sir James Crightoun of Frendraught. Sir James Crightoun mareid the Lord Borthwick his daughter, by whom he had William Crightoun of Frendret. William Crightoun mareid the Lord Saltoun his daughter, by whom he begat Sir James Crightoun of Frendret. Sir James Crightoun mareid the Earle Marshall his daughter, by whom he had James Crightoun of Frendret, and George Crightoun. James Crightoun mareid Janet Gordoun, daughter to Alexander Gordon of Lesmore, by whom he had James Crightoun of Frendret, that now lives, and a daughter mareid to the laird of Meldrum. This James Crightoun hath mareid Ladie Elizabeth Gordon, the daughter of John (the sixt of that name) Erle of Southerland, by whom he hath James, William, Elizabeth, Issobell, Marie, Jane, George. Thus yow sie how God by revolution of tyme hath brought agane the succession of Frendret to the blood of the house of Southerland.
     This is all I can learne of this John Southerland, Earle of Southerland, and of all that passed within Southerland or the nighboring cuntries dureing his dayes, which he ended at Dunrobin, the year of God one thowsand four hundred and thriescore, and wes buried in the chappell of Golspi Kirktoun, which wes built and enriched with some lands by his predicessors, the Earles of Southerland.

Gordon, R. (1813) A Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland, from its origin to the year 1630; written by Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun, Baronet. With a Continuation to the Year 1651. Edinburgh: Ramsay & Co.

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