John, 9th Earl of Sutherland

John, 9th Earl of Sutherland (son of John, 8th Earl of Sutherland)

John, ninth Earl of Sutherland, though he was Earl de jure can scarcely be said to have been so de facto, as he laboured under the same malady as his father did, yet he does not appear to have been completely fatuous, but was evidently weak and facile. It was probably he who, with his father, was taken to the presence of King James IV. in 1498. He succeeded, it is said, in the year 1508, and was retoured heir to his father on 24 July 1509, but did not complete his title in the usual form. He was considered a ward of the Crown, and the Sutherland estates were administered by the High Treasurer, then Andrew Stewart, Bishop of Caithness. An allowance was made for his food and other necessaries to Mr. Cuthbert Baillie, rector of Sanquhar. The Earl's mental weakness, however, increased, and in 1514 steps were taken to pronounce him legally incapable of managing his affairs. A commission was issued to certain noblemen to act as sheriffs, and to summon a jury to meet at Perth, to be free from local influences. The Earl himself was present, and before the proceedings were closed he was asked as to his succession. He immediately declared that his sister Elizabeth, her husband Adam Gordon, and their children, were his nearest heirs, and he also entered into what was in law a voluntary interdiction of himself from making improper settlements or conveyances of his estate.[1] This was on 13 June 1514, and within a month the Earl died, but the place of his death and that of his burial are alike unrecorded. The succession then opened to his sister, Elizabeth.

[1] Sutherland Book, iii. 52, 53.

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

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