William Sutherland, 7th of Duffus

William Sutherland, 7th of Duffus (son of William Sutherland, 6th of Duffus)

William Sutherland of Duffus, when he succeeded, made strenuous efforts to avenge his father's death, and various offers of compensation were offered to him, which he refused. He summoned the Bishop to appear in Edinburgh to answer for the crime, but the Bishop paid no attention. The young Laird seized one of the Bishop's servants, and he and his uncle, the Dean of Caithness, were cited before the Privy Council. On appearing they were thrown into ward, and were compelled to come to terms with the Bishop, without compensation, before they were set at liberty.[1] In April 1534, or a year later, the young Laird granted a discharge to John Murray of Cambusavie for the balance of a sum of 500 merks due to his late father.[2] He was, on 25 September 1535, declared to be his father's heir in Torboll and other lands.[3] In February 1540 he granted, probably on mortgage, the lands of Kinstearie and Brichtmony to John Campbell of Calder,[4] and he granted various deeds at Elgin in October 1540 and March and May 1541.[5] In 1542 he was declared by a jury to be the lawful heir of his father, the late William Sutherland of Duffus, in all the lands and rents in which his father died infeft within the county of Inverness;[6] and in the same year he and Donald McKy of Farr submitted to the arbitration of the Earl of Moray a dispute betwixt them as to the ownership of certain lands, and also as to the non-entry duties granted to William's father in March 1530. The dispute had gone on for some years, and much disturbance and bloodshed had been caused, but the Earl's award, which practically gave the lands and non-entry duties to Donald for a sum of money, seems to have terminated the friction.[7] In any case, William Sutherland did not long survive the settlement, as he died before the end of 1543.[8] His wife was Elizabeth Stewart, who survived him, and married, secondly, James Murray of Culbardie. She was still alive in August 1579.[9] They had issue:--
     1. Alexander Sutherland, 8th of Duffus.
     2. William, of Evelix, who appears as a witness in 1562 to charters in favour of his elder brother.[10] He took part with his brothers in the taking and keeping of the castle of Berridale in 1566.[11] At the burning of the church of Dornoch, about 1570, he is said to have broken open the coffin of Bishop Gilbert Moray, or St. Gilbert, and to have scattered the saint's dust to the wind. Sir Robert Gordon adds that, as a consequence, he died soon afterwards of a loathsome disease,[12] which was regarded as a special divine punishment of his sacrilege, but was probably the natural result of blood-poisoning.
     3. Nicholas, who also is a witness to charters in 1562, as cited. He is named also in charters of 1562[13] and 1566, and was also concerned in the affair of Berriedale.

[1] Sir Robert Gordon's Genealogy, etc., 102, 103.
[2] Origines Parochiales, ii. 630, date uncertain.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Reg. Mag. Sig., 18 February 1539-40.
[5] Ibid., 8 Dec 1540, 15 April, and 25 July 1541.
[6] Origines Parochiales, ii. 631.
[7] Ibid., 711.
[8] Reg. Sec. Sig, xviii. f. 17; cf. Exch. Rolls, xviii. 583.
[9] Reg. Mag. Sig., 6 July 1542; Reg. of Deeds, viii. f. 457; Exch. Rolls, xx. 551.
[10] Origines Parochiales, ii. 632, 633, notes.
[11] P. C. Reg., i. 447-450.
[12] Genealogy of Earls of Sutherland, 158.
[13] Origines Parochiales, ii. 633 n.

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

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