Nicholas Sutherland, 1st of Duffus

Nicholas Sutherland, 1st of Duffus (son of Kenneth, 4th Earl of Sutherland)


Nicholas Sutherland, the first of his family who held the lands from which his descendants took their title, was the second son of Kenneth, fourth Earl of Sutherland, by his wife Mary or Marjorie, daughter of Donald, tenth Earl of Mar.[1] In 1360 his elder brother William, Earl of Sutherland, granted to him sixteen davochs of land in free barony called Torboll, as named and described, to be held in free barony for the service of one Knight yearly.[2] This grant was confirmed by King David II. on 17 October 1363.[3] He acquired part of the ancient barony of Duffus in Moray, and also, it would appear, lands in Caithness, by his wife Mary, the elder daughter and co-heiress of Reginald le Cheyne and Mary, Lady of Duffus, his wife. Towards the close of his life he appears as Lord of the Castle of Duffus, showing that with his wife's portion of the barony he held the chief messuage. They had issue, so far as recorded, two sons:--
     1. John, who in 1408, as son and heir of Nicholas, Lord of the Castle of Duffus, who was then apparently still alive, ratified a resignation of certain lands by his father in favour of his younger brother Henry. John was one of the hostages for King James I. in 1424, and is then described as Lord of Duffus, but he was exchanged in 1427 for another hostage.[4] Nothing more is known regarding him, and he probably died without issue, as in 1433 his nephew was Lord of Duffus.
     2. Henry Sutherland, of Torboll.

[1] According to Sir Robert Gordon in his History of the House of Sutherland. If Mary and Marjorie are the same, she was the widow of John of Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl, who was executed in 1306. If they are not the same, then Gratney, Earl of Mar, had three sisters, though he is usually said to have had only two.
[2] Sutherland Book, iii. 18.
[3] Ibid., 20.
[4] Cal. Doc. Scot., iv. No. 1010.

Sources: Balfour Paul, J. (1906) The Scots Peerage, vol. 3. Edinburgh: David Douglas.

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