William Sutherland, 4th of Duffus

William Sutherland, 4th of Duffus (son of William Sutherland, of Berydall)


William Sutherland of Quarrelwood, afterwards of Duffus, was certainly the next successor to, and holder of, the Duffus and Quarrelwood estates. As stated above, it has been assumed that he was the second son of the first Alexander Sutherland of Duffus, and that Christina of Duffus, named above, was his niece. The consistorial sentence of 29 April 1494, already cited, p. 194, supra, distinctly proves that he was the uncle of Christina, and he must therefore have been the second son, not of the first Alexander, but of William, his eldest son, and at least a younger brother of Alexander Sutherland called of Strabrock, the father of Christina. The first reference to him on record is in 1484, when he procured the usual brieves to serve him heir to the barony of Duffus, and curators ad lites were appointed to act for Christina, the daughter of Alexander Sutherland.[1] After her marriage to William Oliphant, apparently between 1484 and 1489, when she claimed to be served heir to Duffus, William Sutherland impeached her legitimacy. Her friends, however, were powerful, and the cause was debated in the ecclesiastical courts both in Scotland and at Rome for a long period, during which George Oliphant, Christina's eldest son and heir, was infeft in the lands on his mother's resignation. The lands claimed were Duffus in Moray, Berridale and Auldwick in Caithness, and Strabrock in Linlithgow. The matter was finally settled some time in or about 1507, by a decreet arbitral and contract between the parties, when it was agreed that George Oliphant should resign his fee and his father and mother their liferent rights over Duffus in favour of William Sutherland. In terms of this he had, on 18 June 1507, a Crown charter narrating the above and granting to him the lands of Duffus.[2] He is designed 'of Quarrelwood' in that charter, but had previously assumed the designation 'of Duffus' which he uses in a deed by himself of date 14 June 1507.[3] The transaction was completed by Christina's renunciation of Duffus already cited, of 27 November 1507. William died before February 1513/14, perhaps at the battle of Flodden.[4] His wife may have been the Janet Innes, 'Lady Greeship,' said to be a daughter of the family of Innes, and widow of a Laird of Duffus, who again married, some time before 1517, Hugh Rose of Kilravock.[5] He had issue, so far as known, one son,
     William Sutherland, 5th of Duffus.

[1] Acta Dom. Conc.
[2] Reg. Mag. Sig., at date; also 12 August 1497.
[3] Ibid., 28 June 1507.
[4] Exch. Rolls, xiv. 541. On 12 February 1519-20 his lands of Brichmond (Brichtmony) are said to have been in the King's hands for six years and one term, which would also count back to Flodden. Ibid., 627.
[5] The Family of Kilravock, 55.

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

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