William Sutherland, 6th of Duffus

William Sutherland, 6th of Duffus (son of William Sutherland, 5th of Duffus)

William Sutherland of Duffus succeeded his father between 22 July 1527 and 1 April 1529. On the former date his father resigned Duffus to him, and on the latter date it was clearly he who entered into a contract with John Kynnard of that Ilk to pay the sum of 2300 merks Scots by definite instalments, for each instalment receiving certain lands, including the lands of Skelbo and others, to be held of the Earl of Sutherland as overlord.[1] Kynnard also conveyed Aberscors, Invershin, and other lands, and the whole sale and transfer of Skelbo took place finally on 15 September 1529.[2] The new Laird of Skelbo, on entering to his fresh acquisition of territory, gave a bond of man-rent to his overlord, Alexander, Master of Sutherland, on 4 September 1529, acknowledging that the Master had received him as tenant and vassal in the lands. The penalty for breach of the bond of service and manrent was £1500 Scots, of which £500 was to be paid to the cathedral at Dornoch, £500 to the Master, and £500 to the King.[3] King James V., on 31 March 1530, granted to him, until the majority of the rightful heir, the non-entry duties of the lands of Galvell, Armadale, Farr, and others in Strathnaver. No owners of the lands are named, but they apparently had belonged to Hugh Mackay of Farr.[4] William Sutherland was killed some time between the above date and September 1530, it is said, by the Clan Gunn at Thurso, who, Sir Robert Gordon States, were instigated by the Bishop of Caithness to commit the murder.[5] He adds that 'the haill dyocie of Catteynes was in a tumult' in consequence, though he does not name the cause of offence. Mr. Thomas Stewart, treasurer of Caithness, and several others, apparently clergymen, gave caution on 3 September 1530, to underly the law for Sutherland's murder.[6] The name of his wife is not known, and he left issue, so far as recorded, one son:--
     William Sutherland, 7th of Duffus.

[1] Sutherland Book, iii. 86, 87.
[2] Origines Parochiales, ii. 630.
[3] Sutherland Book, iii. 92-94.
[4] Reg. Sec. Sig., viii. ff. 168, 169; Origines Parochiales, ii. 705, 710, 711.
[5] Genealogy of the Earls of Sutherland, 102.
[6] Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, i. *149.

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

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