About Robert de Moravia, 6th Earl of Sutherland
Burke's Peerage entry - (Linked to document attached)
ROBERT SUTHERLAND, 6th Earl of Sutherland; born c 1347; married 1389 Margaret, illegitimate daughter of Sir Alexander Stewart (‘The Wolf of Badenoch'), 1st Earl of Buchan of the c 1382 created(and 4th s of ROBERT II), apparently by Mariot Athyn, and died by 1427, leaving: see doc.
(19) Robert, sixth Earl of Sutherland, died 1442. He married Margaret Stewart, daughter of Alexander, Earl of Buchan, and had three sons:
19(a) John 19(b) Robert Sutherland. 19(c) Alexander Sutherland.
Burke's Peerage entry
ROBERT SUTHERLAND, 6th Earl of Sutherland; born c 1347; married 1389 Margaret, illegitimate daughter of Sir Alexander Stewart (‘The Wolf of Badenoch'), 1st Earl of Buchan of the c 1382 created(and 4th s of ROBERT II), apparently by Mariot Athyn, and died by 1427
Robert, 6th Earl of Sutherland (son of William, 5th Earl of Sutherland)
Robert (Sutherland), Earl of Sutherland [S.], 2nd but 1st surv. s. and h., being 1st s. by the 2nd wife, wa not among the nobles who swore fealty to the new King Robert II on 27 Mar. 1371. He was probably the Earl of Sutherland mentioned by Froissart as present at the capture of Berwick in 1378, and as one of those Lords who welcomed Sir Geoffrey de Charny, Seigneur de Montfort, at Montrose in Apr. 1384 and Sir John de Vienne, Seigneur de Rollans and Admiral of France, at Edinburgh in May 1385. He was with Robert II's 2nd s. Robert, then Earl of Fife and Menteith and afterwards Duke of Albany, when in Aug. 1388 he raided into Cumberland, which was ravaged as far as Brough-under-Stainmuir. Earl Robert was present in the church at Inverness on 2 Nov. 1389, when the Bishops of Moray and Ross reprimanded and excommunicated Alexander, Earl of Buchan (who had already become, or was just about to be, his father-in-law) for his matrimonial shortcomings, and was named by that Earl as one of the sureties for the £200 in which sum he was bound by the consistorial decree not to maltreat his wife (who was not the mother of Earl Robert's wife). On 22 Jan. 1400/1 he gave the lands of Drummoy to his br. Kenneth, ancestor of the family of Sutherland of Forse. He m., in 1389, Margaret, illegit. da. of Alexander (Stewart), Earl of Buchan (4th s. of King Robert II), presumably by Mariot Athyn, and d. probably in or before 1427, aged about 80.
-  Acts of Parl. [S.], vol. i, p. 545. It is possible that the 5ht Earl was still living at that time, but was too old or too ill to come south for the ceremony.
-  Froissart, vol. ix, p. 27; vol. x, pp. 290, 377. Earl Robert is not recorded to have received any of the 40,000 gold francs brought over by the Admiral (Rymer, vol. vii, p. 485), who was a Knight of the Annunziata in Savoy, 1382, and was killed by the Turks at the battle of Nicopolis in "the last Crusade" on 26 Sep. 1396 (Anselme, vol. vii, p. 793). The money which he brought to Scotland was divided chiefly among those whose lands had been devastated by the English.
-  Froissart, vol. xiii, pp. 201, 207, 229, 257.
-  Reg. Episc. Morav., pp. 353-54. The "Wolf of Badenoch" seems to have resented this ecclesiastical interference in his domestic affairs, as in the following year he sacked and burned the towns of Forres and Elgin and the Cathedral of Elgin in the diocese of Moray (Idem, p. 381).
-  Origines Parochiales, Bannatyne Club, vol. ii, p. 673; Additional Case (see p. 558, note "e", and p. 563, note "b" below), p. 12. This charter was given at Dunrobin, which is first mentioned in it and is supposed to take its name from him - the Castle of Robert.
-  In 1766 George Sutherland of Forse was a claimant of the Earldom of Sutherland, as h. male of the 1st Earl. See p. 563, note "b" below.
-  See Reg. Episc. Morav., p. 353.
Source: White, G. H. (1953) The Complete Peerage, vol. XII. London: The St. Catherine Press.
Robert, sixth Earl of Sutherland, was Earl in 1389, and contrary to Sir Robert Gordon's account, who makes John succeed to his father William and a mythical Earl Nicholas to John, followed by Robert, the latter was really the son of William and his successor. His accession in or before 1389 is proved by the presence as Earl at the pronouncing of the decree against Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, by the Bishops of Moray and Ross, on 2 November 1389. it is possible that he was Earl in or soon after 1370, and that it is he who figures in the pages of Froissart as taking part in the welcome to the French knights in 1384 and to Sir John de Vienne and his company in the following year. But he is not named among those nobles who received shares of the 40,000 gold francs sent from France. The Earl of Sutherland also, according to Froissart, was a leader in the Scottish force which invaded the west of England in 1388. On 2 November 1389, he was, as already stated, a witness to the consistorial decree pronounced against Alexander, Earl of Buchan, and he was also named by the Earl as one of his sureties for fulfilment of the decree. He was then, or became soon after, the Earl's son-in-law. On 22 January 1400-1 he granted to his brother Kenneth the lands of Drummoy, and others, with certain conditions as to services to the neighbouring mills and as to fishings. This writ contains the earliest reference to the castle of Dunrobin, where it is said to be granted, and it was probably used as a residence by Earl Robert; and it may have been he from whom it took its name, though a building may have stood on the site from a very early period. The later history of Earl Robert was apparently uneventful. He is said to have died in 1442, though he may have deceased before 1427, when the 'Earl of Sutherland' went to England in place of the eldest son of the Earl of March, and it is probable it was his son who went. He married Margaret Stewart, daughter of Alexander, Earl of Buchan, and had issue:--
- 1. John, seventh Earl of Sutherland.
Sir Robert Gordon asserts that the Earl had two other sons, Robert and Alexander, but the statements made regarding them cannot be verified, and it is possible they may have been placed in the wrong generation.
-  That Robert was the son of Earl William is indirectly proved by the charter to his brother Kenneth of 1408, already cited. There has been much confusion as to the succession of the Earls at this point (cf. Origines Parochiales, ii. 660 n.), and even the Complete Peerage inserts another Earl William before Robert; but there seems no good reason for this. The account in the text has been adopted as having most probability and as being best vouched for.
-  Reg. Moraviense, 353, 354. Sir Robert Gordon makes his Earl John died in 1389, and this may have been the year of Earl William's death, but there is no record of him after 1370.
-  Froissart, Johne's ed., ii. 48.
-  Rymer's Foedera, vii. 485.
-  Froissart ut cit., ii. 362-364. Froissart styles the Earl John.
-  Charter cited at length Origines Parochiales, ii. 673, from Forse charters. Date given by Lord Hailes, Supp. Case, 12 n.
-  Orig. Parochiales, ii. 681.
-  Cal. Doc. Scot., iv. 1010.
-  Earl Robert is usually said to have married Mabilla or Mabel, alleged daughter of John Dunbar, Earl of Moray, but there is no evidence of such a person, and Wyntoun (in a passage cited below) implies that he married a daughter of Alexander, Earl of Buchan, who had only one named Margaret.
Sources: Balfour Paul, J. (1911) The Scots Peerage, vol. 8. Edinburgh: David Douglas.
After the death of William, the fifth earl, the husband of the Princess Margaret Bruce, Sir Robert Gordon states that John, the first of that name, Earl of Sutherland, succeeded and married Mabella, daughter of the Earl of March, by whom he had two sons, Nicolas and Hector. Sir Robert also alleges that this John, Earl of Sutherland, with other prominent Scots, joined in the inroad into England in 1388 when the memorable battle of Otterburn was fought, in which the Scots were victorious, Henry Percy, popularly known as "Hotspur," and Ralph Percy, two sons of the Earl of Northumberland, with many others, being taken prisoners. James, Earl of Douglas and Mar, was among the slain, and his tragic death was long mourned both in prose and poetry by the Scots as that of their greatest leader. As usual, Sir Robert Gordon makes his Gordon ancestors figure very gallantly throughout all the great battles fought during this period. Sir Robert closes the memoir with the statement that Earl John died in his own country much regretted, and was buried at Dornoch in the sepulchre of his fathers in the year 1389.
Sir Robert also devotes a chapter to Nicholas Sutherland, Earl of Sutherland, and alleged son and successor of Earl John, detailing some controversies between him and the Mackays in Strathnaver. He then describes the great clan fight before the king at Perth, between the clan Chattan and clan Kay, in the year 1396, which has in modern times been commemmorated by a magic hand in the Fair Maid of Kent, and finally states that Earl Nicolas died in 1399 and was buried at Dornoch; and that unto him succeeded his eldest son, Robert Sutherland. Unfortunately for these statements, later investigations prove that there was no John and no Nicolas, Earls of Sutherland in succession to William, the fifth Earl, whose son John, having predeceased him, never was Earl of Sutherland.
The successor of Earl William was undoubtedly Robert, who is styled Earl of Sutherland in 1389, when he was a witness to the ecclesiastical decree pronounced against Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, in regard to his wife Euphemia Ross. He was certainly the son of a "William, Earl of Sutherland," and Lord Hailes makes him the grandson of the brother-in-law of David the Second, assuming that the latter was a very old man. But the husband of Margaret Bruce being comparatively young when he succeeded to the earldom, the appearance of Earl Robert in 1389 renders it probably that he was the son and not the grandson of William, the fifth earl.
It is probably Earl Robert who figures in the pages of Froissart as one of those earls and nobles who in 1384 welcomed Sir Geoffrey Charney and his companions as visitors to Scotland, and for their pleasure organised a raid into England. The earl was also one of those who in the following year greeted Sir John de Vienne and his company who came as an expedition from France to wage war against England from the Scottish frontier. He was present when the barons of France waited on the King of Scots, and may have been among those who "were much rejoiced" when an invasion of England was resolved upon. Whether he joined the expedition which followed is not stated, but he was not one of those magnates who shared in the distribution of the 40,000 francs of gold which de Vienne brought with him from France. These were chiefly appropriated by such nobles as had suffered most from the English invasions of 1385.
Froissart is also the authority which tells us that the Earl of Sutherland attended the meeting of Scottish nobles and their followers which took place at Southdean in the Forest of Jedburgh, and which resulted in the battle of Otterburn. He came there in pursuance of a resolution entered into at a meeting in Aberdeen in the summer of 1388, to take advantage of the disputes between the English king and his nobles and make a raid into England on a large scale, partly in retaliation for the English invasion under Richard the Second in person three years previously. The result of the assemblage at Southdean is well known. The Scottish leaders divided their force into two unequal portions, the smaller of which, under James, second Earl of Douglas and Mar, marched direct to Newcastle-on-Tyne, and ravaged Durham almost to the confines of Yorkshire. On their return the battle of Otterburn was fought, where Douglas was slain. Meanwhile the larger division, under Robert Stewart, Earl of Fife and Menteith, Archibald Douglas, Lord of Galloway, and others, entered England by the Western Marches and advanced towards Carlisle. It was to this force that the Earl of Sutherland was attached, but its doings have not been recorded by the Scottish historians.
In the year following the battle of Otterburn, 1389, Robert, Earl of Sutherland, was, as already stated, concerned in an important matter affecting the family circle of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan. That nobleman, the fourth son of King Robert the Second, and better known as "The Wolf of Badenoch," married, in 1382, Euphemia, Countess of Ross, daughter of William, Earl of Ross. He deserted her for a woman named "Mariota filia Athyn," and on 2d November 1389, he was ordained by the bishops of Moray and Ross to live with his wife, and became bound not to maltreat her under a penalty of £200. The decree against the Earl of Buchan was pronounced in the Church of the Friars preachers of Inverness. The Earl of Sutherland was not only a witness to the proceedings, but was named by Buchan, who was also present, as one of the sureties for his fulfilment of the terms of the decree. This office Earl Robert accepted, probably on account of his relationship to the Earl of Buchan, whose daughter he appears to have married.
There is no further mention in any record or charter of Robert, Earl of Sutherland, until the year 1401, but an incident which Sir Robert Gordon assigns to the year 1395 may relate to him. Sir Robert states that the Earl of Sutherland at that date, whom he calls Nicholas, appointed a meeting at Dingwall with the Lord of the Isles (probably Alexander of the Isles, Lord of Lochaber) and others to bring about a reconciliation between himself and the Mackays of Strathnaver. The parties met and were lodged in the castle of Dingwall, but unfortunately the Earl of Sutherland and the elder Mackay quarrelled over the subject of dispute, and the earl, in the heat of passion, killed both the elder Mackay and his son, escaping to his own country with difficulty from the vengeance of their followers.
In January 1401 Earl Robert granted to his brother, Kenneth of Sutherland, and his heirs-male, the lands of Drummoy, Torrish, and Backies, giving common pasture in the land called, in English, the Glen, to all the inhabitatnts of the land of Backies. The earl reserved to himself and his heirs the mill called the mill of Dunrobin, with the croft lying between the mill and the water running on the west side of the croft; also the fat fish coming to the lands of Drummoy and Backies, except the fish called "Pellokis," which alone the grantee should be allowed to carry home, and about which no question should be raised by the earl or his heirs. The grantee as tenant of the lands of Backies was bound to cause carry millstones to the mill of Dunrobin, the millhouse to be maintained according to ancient custom. Similar service was due to the mill of Kilmalie for the lands of Drummoy, the lands of Backies and Drummoy being free of multure. Further, failing Kenneth Sutherland and his male heirs, the lands were to revert to the Earl and his heirs.
This charter is said to be dated at the castle of Dunrobin, the first reference in authentic record to that building. Sir Robert Gordon asserts that Dunrobin was founded about the year 1100 by an imaginary Robert, Earl of Sutherland, and was "so called from his name; for Doun-Robin signefieth the mote or hill of Robert." Another suggestion by a more recent writer as to the name and founding of the castle is, that it may be ascribed to Rafn, "one and apparently the chief of several prefects left to rule the country by Rognwald Gudrodson, in the reign of King William the Lion, and subsequently in 1222 present at the death of Bishop Adam, when he had in vain adviced to conciliate the infuriated populace." The same writer says that, from Sir Robert Gordon's description in 1630 of the site of the castle as "a place seated upon a round mote," it may fairly be inferred to have taken the place of a more ancient edifice, one of those curious structures known as Pictish Towers. This is possible, but it is not improbably that as we have the first mention of the castle only in 1401, the subject of the present memoir, if not the founder, was the first of the Earls of Sutherland to use the building as a residence, and that it was named from him.
Robert, sixth Earl of Sutherland, held the earldom for seventy years, during a great part of which both highlands and lowlands were in a troubled and unsettled condition. Sir Robert Gordon accordingly finds ample material for describing at great length the feuds and battles between the Mackays, Macleods, and other Highland clans who inhabited Sutherland. These need not be detailed at length, but only referred to in so far as they affected the earl himself or required his intervention. The first event related, whether first in point of time or not is uncertain, is a conflict between the men of Sutherland and the Macleods of Lewis, which is thus introduced by Sir Robert: "In this Earl of Southerland his tyme, the terrable conflict of Tuttim Tarwigh was foughten by the inhabitants of Southerland and Strathnaver against Malcolme Mackloyd of the Lewes." Angus Mackay of Parr in Strathnaver, whose father had been killed at Dingwall by Earl Robert, had after an interval of hostility reconciled himself to the earl. Angus soon afterwards died, leaving his widow, a sister of Macleod of the Lewis, and two boys to the care of his brother Hugh. The latter ill-treated the widow, and Macleod visiting her and being displeased at her ill-usage, on his way homeward plundered Strathnaver and "the Braechat" or part of Lairg, in Sutherland. Earl Robert hearing of this, both because of the damage done, and his friendship with Mackay, gave orders for pursuit of the Macleods. This was done by a force under Alexander Murray of Culbin, who, after a severe conflict defeated the Macleods, leaving, it is said, only one of their company alive, who escaped to his own country but died shortly afterwards.
Passing over the battle of Harlaw in 1411 and some other incidents in which the Earl of Sutherland apparently took no part, we find him in another conflict near Tongue in the parish of Farr. A descendant of one of the Mackays, Thomas Macneil or Neilson, had murdered the laird of Freswick and burned the chapel of St. Duthac near Tain, where the victim had taken refuge. For this he was proclaimed a rebel by King James the First, who offered his estates to the person apprehending him. Angus Moray, a cadet of the Culbin family, undertook this, and enlisted in his service the two brothers of the murdered, promising them the aid of the Earl of Sutherland to gain lands in Strathnaver. With their assistance the murderer was taken and delivered up, and Angus Moray, to fulfil his promise, invaded Strathnaver with a company of Sutherland men, levied with the consent of Earl Robert. Angus Dow Mackay, the chief of that clan, mustered his followers, but being unable to head them himself, he placed them under the command of his natural son, known as John Aberigh. He first, however, offered to make terms with the invaders, which were refused, and a battle ensued, fought with great ferocity on both sides, so "that there remayned in the end verie few alive on either syd." Angus Moray and his two accomplices were slain, while John Aberigh only escaped with life, but sorely wounded. The Earl of Sutherland, however, it is said, now pursued him hotly in revenge for Angus Moray's death. John Aberigh fled, but afterwards came to Strathullie, where he again fell under the earl's displeasure and was forced to submit and crave pardon for his offences, which was granted.
This conflict took place about 1429, or about two years after a parliament which King James had summoned to meet at Inverness, on which occasion these two chiefs, Angus Dow Mackay and Angus Moray, had been seized and imprisoned for a time as a warning to keep the peace. It is probable that the Earl of Sutherland was present at the assembly, but there is no record of its proceedings.
If Sir Robert Gordon, instead of recounting these sanguinary conflicts between neighbouring clans, had considered the question of the parentage of this Earl of Sutherland, and detailed the result of his investigations and proofs as to whether the Princess Mararet, the first wife of his father Earl William was his mother, or whether Earl Robert was really the son of his father's second wife, Joanna Menteith, Countess of Strathern, his work at this point would have been more satisfactory. Such testimony would have been the more valuable as at that early period of our history it is only in rare instances that contracts of marriage are to be found preserved in the private charter-chests even of a great and ancient family like that of Sutherland. Among the muniments of the great house of Douglas, there is indeed a contract of marriage, dated on Palm-Sunday 1259, being nearly a century anterior to the marriage of William, the fifth Earl of Sutherland, and his first wife, Princess Margaret Bruce. As the Douglas contract for a marriage between the two families of Douglas and Abernethy, both great and powerful at the time, is still extant, it might be supposed that the contract of marriage of a daughter of King Robert the Bruce, under the auspices of her brother, King David Bruce, with the head of the house of Sutherland, should also have been preserved. But the Douglas writ is an exceptional document, being one of the oldest, if not the oldest of its kind in Scotland, and no contracts of marriage between the fifth Earl of Sutherland and his first or second wives have been discovered. The contnents of the royal marriage contract, if any existed, may be inferred, in part at least, from the charters and grants of royal property described in the previous pages under the memoir of the Earl William and his son John. But Sir Robert Gordon makes no allusion whatever to the earl's second marriage, though it is ascertained from other sources. The proofs stated on a former page show that Robert must have been the offspring of the second marriage.
Robert, sixth Earl of Sutherland, is said to have died in 1442, and he was certainly dead in 1444, when his son John is designated Earl of Sutherland.
The countess of this Earl of Sutherland was Lady Margaret Stewart, daughter of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan. Wyntoun, who was a contemporary of the earl, speaks of his son John in 1408 as the nephew of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar. The only explanation of this relationship is that Robert, Earl of Sutherland, married a sister of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar. If so, his wife must have been a daughter of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, who had one daughter named Margaret. The earl and his wife had issue,
- 1. John, who succeeded his father in the earldom as seventh earl. Of him a memoir follows.
- 2. Robert, according to Sir Robert Gordon, married the younger daughter and co-heiress of James Dunbar of Frendraught, and had a son John, who died without issue. This statement has not been verified, and Sir Robert's pedigree of the Dunbar family is erroneous. It may be noted, however, that Janet Dunbar, the eldest co-heiress, who married James Crichton, married as her second husband before 1458 a John Sutherland, who may have been the son of Robert, but they had no issue. Robert Sutherland was, according to the family historian, still alive in 1487, when he is said to have led a company of Sutherland men against the Rosses at the battle of Aldycharrish; but if so, he must have been a very old man, and it may be doubted if it were not another person of the same name.
- 3. Alexander, of whom nothing has been definitely ascertained. He may have been the ancestor of Alexander Sutherland of Dilred, who was killed in 1499.
-  Genealogy, pp. 54-57.
-  Genealogy, p. 58.
-  Registrum Moraviense, p. 354.
-  Earl William, if he died in 1370, could scarcely have been more than 55 years of age, and his younger brother Nicholas was still alive more than thirty years later [cf. vol. iii. of this work, p. 22].
-  Froissart, Johnes' Edition, vol. ii. p. 48.
-  Froissart, Johnes' Edition, vol. ii. pp. 362, 364. It may be noted that Froissart names this Earl of Sutherland John, which may account for Sir Robert Gordon's statement, but as Froissart also speaks of a William, Earl of Fife, Stephen, Earl of Menteith, and William, Earl of Mar, none of whom then existed, his accuracy as regards Scottish names is not to be relied on.
-  Registrum Moraviense, p. 304.
-  Genealogy of the Earls of Sutherland, p. 58. Some doubt has been thrown on this story, and an opinion has been expressed that in any case the date must be erroneous. On this point, however, as Sir Robert Gordon appears to be the sole authority for the tradition, there is not sufficient evidence to warrant a definite judgement. He may have mistaken the date.
-  Charted, dated 22d January 1401, cited at length in Origines Parochiales, vol. ii. p. 673; confirmed by Robert, Duke of Albany, in 1408, vol. iii. of this work, p. 22.
-  Origines Parochiales, vol. ii. p. 681 note.
-  Genealogy, pp. 61, 62.
-  Genealogy, p. 66. Bower (Scotichronicon, Lib. xvi. cap. xvii.) states that of 1400 men who took part in the fight, only nine persons survived.
-  Genealogy, pp. 74, 78, 79.
Source: Fraser, W. (1894) The Sutherland Book. Edinburgh: Privately Printed.
Vnto Nicholas succeeded his sone Robert Southerland, Earle of Southerland, who mareid the Earle of Murray his daughter, by whom he had John, Robert, and Alexander. Of this Alexander are descended the Sleaght-Kenneth-Wick-Allister. Robert Erle of Southerland gave, by infeftment, to his brother Kenneth Southerland, and to his airs-male, the lands of Drummay, Backies, and Torrish, in Southerland, the yeir of God 1400, to be held of the Eirls of Southerland in warde and releiff, as they ar at this day. In the which infeftment, Alexander bishop of Catteynes, and Alexander Morray of Cubin (called Allister-Neschren-Gorme) are witnesses. This charter wes afterwards confirmed by the Duke of Albany, governor of Scotland, the yeir of God 1408.
In the raigne of King Robert the Third, the yeir of God one thowsand four hundred and three, Murdo Stuart, elder sone to Robert Stuart, governor of Scotland, accompanies with this Earle of Southerland, the Earles of Douglas, Morray, Angus, and many other nobles, went into England to revenge the overthrow at Nisbett, latelie befor receaved. They overran, burnt, and spoiled all the cuntrey befor them, evin to Newcastell; and returning home with ane infinit prey of riches and goods, they wer invaded vnawars at Hommildoun, by Henry Hotspurr, Earle of Northumberland, and by the Earle of Marche, who wes then banished into England. Ther followed a sharp and cruell conflict, wherin the Scottshmen wer put to flight; bot by the exhortation and couragious hardiness of Sir Adam Gordon of Huntly and Strathbogie, they renued the feight; yet in the end they were quyte overthrowne, many of them slain, and divers taken prisoners. Sir Adam Gordon wes killed ther, with his vncle Roger Gordon, valiantlie feighting for the good of ther nation.
This Sir Adam Gordon (who, by some, is called Sir John) maried the daughter of the Lord Sommervell, by whom he had tuo daughters, Elizabeth Gordon, and another, wo died vnmareid. Elizabeth Gordon, heyre of Huntlie and Strathbogie, after the death of her father Sir Adam Gordon, mareid Alexander Seton, second sone to William Lord Seton, (in whose guard and protection she then wes) haveing in her option to marie which of hte Lord Seton's sons she liked best. They heyres and successors were, by matrimoniall contract and act of parlament, called Gordons; vpon which condition (and no otherwise) she yeilded to marie Alexander Seatoun, being carefull of the preservation of the surname of Gordoun: for Elizabeth did covenant by her contract of mariage, that iff the sone begottin by them should forsake the name of Seatoun, and reteine the surname of Gordoun, then presentlie, (evin in his mother's lyftyme) he should enter in possession of her inheritance, which wes aggreid vpon by both the parties (sayeth Ferrarius). Of them are descended the Marquis of Huntlie, the Earl of Southerland, and divers other great families of the surname of Gordoun. In memorie whereof, all the Gordouns that ar desccended from the Seatoun have thrie half moons, with a double tressour, or border, filled vp with floors de luzes, joyned with the Gordons armes; which half moones ar the proper armes of the Seatons. Alexander Seatoun had by Elizabeth, heyre of Huntlie and Strathbogie, thrie sonns and one daughter; Alexander Gordon, first Erle of Huntlie, William, Henri, and Annabill, who mareid George Erle of Rothes. William mareid the heretrice of Meldrum, and by him is descended the laird of Meldrum, who reteineth the surname of Seatoun vnto this day. Sir Adam Gordon, slain at Homildoun, had tuo bastard sones, by Elizabeth Crushshanks (daughter to the laird of Assuanly, called Toshdiragh) John Gordon in Scurdarg, and Thomas Gordon in Riwen.
From these tuo bastards, John and Thomas, are descended these families of the surname of Gordoun: Petlurg, Haddo, Craig-Auchindore, Lesmoir, Tillighandie, Carnborrow, Strathlogh, Rothimay, Newtoun, Bucky, Kincraigie, Delpairsie, Auchannachie, Knokespack, Park, Lentush, Innermarkie, Lichestoun, Tilliangus, Breaghby, Sauchin, Prannie, Blealack, Ahead, Coclarachie, Cults, Despro, Saphok, Brothrom, Tilligrig, Breakegh, Nethermure, Tullielt, Petarrie, Tullogh, Balgown, Baragh, Halhead, Creighie, Birkinburn, Brodland, Braw, &c.
About this tyme the Scottsmen invaded Ingland agane with yre and suord, wasting all befor them, evin to Pontrefract castell, in Yorkshire; wher Robert Erle of SOutherland behaved himselff valiantlie. In this journey, Nicolas Southerland did resigne, at Pontefract castle, into the hands of his superior, (Erle Robert) the baronie of Thoroboll, in favors of his sone Henrie Southerland.
In this Earle of Southerland his tyme, the terrable conflict of Tuttim Tarwigh wes foughten, by the inhabitants of Southerland and Strathnaver, against Malcolme Mackloyd of the Lewes. Upon this occasion, Angus Macky of Far, in Strathnaver, (the eldest sone of Donald Macky, slain at Dingwall in Rosse) reconciled himselff vnto Robert Erle of Southerland, with whom he had some quarrelling for the slaughter of his grandfather and father at Dingwall. Shortlie after this reconciliation, Angus Macky died, leaveing his tuo sones, Angus Dow and Roriegald, with his lands, to the government of his brother, Houcheondow Macky, who keipt the same vntill his death, which followed within tuo yeirs efter this conflict. Angus Macky had mareid the sister of Malcolme Mackloyd of the Lewes, who, vnderstanding that his sister, (the widdow of Angus Macky) wes hardly delt withall in Strathnaver by Hutcheon Dow, he took his journey thither to visite her, being accompained with a number of the choysest men of his cuntrey, thinking to right her, either by intreaty or by force, if they had offered her any injurie. Mackloyd conceaveing that his sister wes not weill vsed, returneth homeward malecontent; and in his way he spoilled Strathnaver, and a great pairt of the Breachat in Southerland, careing the booty along with him. Hucheon Dow Macky, and his brother Neill Macky, getting intelligence thereof, they advertised Erle Robert in all hast, who, (by reasone of the late reconciliation, and also becaus a pairt of his cuntrey wes spoilled) presentlie sent Alexander Ne-Shrem-Gorme, (otherwise called Alexander Morray of Cubin) with a companie of stoute and resolute men to assist them. THus they followed Maccloyd with all speid, and overtook him at Tuttim-Turwigh, vpon the merches, betueen Rosse and Southerland, wher Houcheon Macky, Alexander Morray, and Neill Macky, made heid against the enemy, and endevoared to recover the prey. The feight between them wes long, furious, cruell, and doubtfull; great valour wes shewne on either syd, rather desperat then resolute. At last, violent valour, weill followed with the braine and resolute courage of the inhabitants of Southerland and Strathnaver, wrought such effect, that they recovered the goods and cattell, killed all ther enemies, together with ther commander Malcolm Mackloyd, who wes called by a byname Gilcalm-Beg-McBowen. Onlie one man of that pairtie escaped, being grivouslie wounded. Bot how soone he had returned home vnto the Lewes, and had declared the wofull calamitie and destruction of his companions, he died presentlie; preserved, as should seem, to report vnto his cuntriemen the event of that vnfortunat battell. The place of this conflict is yit vnto this day called Tuttum Tarwigh, which signifies a plentifull fall or slaughter. After this victory, Houcheon Dow Macky and Neill Macky parted from Alexander Morray, and everie one returned homeward, so many at least as escaped out of the battell. This Houcheon Dow Macky had a sonne called Nicolas, who, together with all his families, wes killed by his owne kinsmen in Leayd Nigglas, in the Diri-More; and from him it wes so called. Neill Macky (heir mentioned) had thrie sonnes, Thomas, Morgni, and Neill, of whom wee shall have occasion to speik hereafter.
The yeir of God one thowsand four hundred and eight, the infeftment given by Robert Earle of Southerland, the yeir of God 1400, to his brother Kenneth Southerland, and to his heyrs-male, of the lands of Drummoy, Backies, and Torrishe, wes confirmed by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, Earle of Fyff, and governor of Scotland, as appeareth by his charter of confirmation.
The yeir of God one thowsan foud hundred and nyne, Walter Stuart, Erle of Atholl and of Catteynes, obtained ane infeftment of the lands of Cortaquhie, lying within the sherrifdome of Forfar, by the voluntarie resignation of Archibald Erle of Douglas. This Walter wes afterwards executed and forfaulted for the slaughter of King James the First, and had, in the raigne of his brother K. Robert the Third, obteyned ane infeftment of the earldome of Catteynes.
The yeir of God one thowsand four hundred and eleven, ther arose great trouble in the north of Scotland, by the rebellion of Donald, Lord of the Iles, who clayming, by right of his wyff, a title to the earldome of Rosse, was frustrated of the same by the practise of Robert Duke of Albany, governor of Scotland, who by subtile conveyance had assured the said earledome vnto his second sone John Stuart: whereat Donald of the Iles took such indignation and displeasure, that raising all the power of the iles, he came into Rosse and spoilled the cuntrey, which Angus Dow Macky of Farr indevoared to defend, becaus that Donald had molested som freinds which he had in that province. He mett the Lord of the Iles at Dingwall, where he fought a cruell skirmish against him. In end, Donald overthrue Angus Dow, took him prissoner, and killed his brother Rorie-Gald-Macky, with divers others. Donald Lord of the Iles, not satisfied with this overthrow which he gave Angus Dow Macky, passed through Rosse and Morray, and so to Garioch, purposing to burn the toun of Aberdeen. His army still increased by the coming of the adjoyning Highlanders, as he went on his journey without resistance. Bot Alexander Stewart, Erle of Marr, being assisted by Alexander Seton (that mareid the heyre of Huntley and Strathbogy) and divers other gentlemen of good qualitie, assembled a power with all diligence to resist Donald, and mett him at Harlaw, wher ther ensued a sharp and cruell feight, which continued from the morning vntill the darknes of the night parted them; by reasons whereof great slaughter wes made on either syd, the victorie in the end being so doubtfull, that both the parties were forced to draw out of the feild, and flie to the nixt mountanes. Ther were slain one Donald his part, M'Clayn and M'Intoshe, with a number of common souldiers. On the Earle of Marr his syd, ther died Sir Alexander Ogilvie, shirref of Angus; Sir James Scrymgeour, constable of Dundie; Sir Alexander Irving of Drum; Sir William Abernethie of Saulton; Sir Robert Mauld of Panmure; Sir Alexander Murray; Sir Alexander Stretton of Laurestoun; and Sir Robert Davidson, provest of Aberdene, all knights, with divers gentlemen, and many common people. This battell was foughtin on St James evin, in the yeir of God one thowsand four hundred and elevin.
The yeir of God 1424, Allane Stuart, (sone to Walter Stuart, Erle of Athole) obteyned ane infeftment of the earldome of Catteynes, in the raigne of King James the First, and died without issue.
In the dayes of Robert Erle of Southerland, the yeir of God one thowsand four hundred and tuentie-and-six, Angos Dow Macky and his sone Neill, assembling all the forces of Strathnaver, they entered into Catteynes with all hostilitie, and spoiled the same. The inhabitants of Catteynes conveined with all diligence, and fought against Angus Dow Macky at Harpsdell, wher ther wes great slaughter on either syd. The report heirof came to the eares of King James the First, who therevpon came north to Innernes, of intention to pursue Angus Dow Macky, for this and such other enormities; and as his majestie had alreadie purged the rest of the kingdome, so also now he intendit to cleanse the north pairts of all such kind of malefactors. Angus Dow Macky heiring of the king's being at Invernesse, he came and submitted himselff to the king's mercie, and gave his sone Neill in pledge for his good obedience from thence fordward; which submission the king accepted, and sent Neill Macky to remane in captivitie in the Basse, who from thence furth wes alwayes called Neill-Wasse-Macky. Heir yow may observe, that all the ewill trubles and seditions which befell in these north pairts of the kingdome, for the space of 20 yeirs, happened dureing the minoritie of King James the First, which moved him to be so exact and seveir afterward in punishing such enormities.
In this Earle of Southerland his tyme, the cruell conflict of Drumne-coub wes fought, in the yeir of God 1427, or (as some doe write) the yeir 1429. Vpon this occasion, Neill Macky (who assisted to feight the battell of Tuttun Turwigh) had thrie sones, (as I have alreadie shewne) Thomas, Morgni, and Neill. Thomas Mackneill (that is, the sone of Neill) possessed the lands of Creigh, Spanizedaill, and Palrossie, in Southerland. This Thomas had conceaved some displeasure against the laird of Freshwick, called Mowett, whom he had pursued and killed, with all his company, neir the toun of Tayn, in Rosse, within the chappell of Sanct Duffus, and brunt also that chappell, vnto the which this Mowet had retired himselff, as to a sanctuary. The king hearing of this cruell fact, proclamed and denunced Thomas Mackneill to be a rebell; promising his lands and possessions for a reward to any that would kill or apprehend him. Angus Morray, (the sone of Alexander Morray of Cubin, befor mentioned) vnderstanding the king's proclamation, went about to effectuat this service; and to this purpose he had a secret conference with Morgni and Neill, the brethren of Thomas. Angus Morray offered vnto them, if they wold assist him to apprehend their brother Thomas, he wold give them his owne tuo daughters in mariage, and help them also to get the peceable possession of such lands in Strathnaver as they made clame vnto, which then they might easelie obteyn, with litle or no resistance, in regard that Neill Macky (the soon of the cusigne Angus Dow) lay prissoner in the Basse, and Angus Dow himselff was then vnable, by reason of the weaknes of his bodie at that tyme, to withstand them; and further, he promised that he wold deale with the Earle of Southerland to favor and assist them. To this they easalie yeelded, pretending a title to Angus Dow his possessions in Strathnaver. So presentlie therevpon, apprehending ther brother thomas, at Spanizedell in Southerland, they delivered him to Angus Morray, who wes presented to the king. Then was Thomas Mackneill executed at Innernes, and the lands of Palrossie and Spaniziedaill (which he did possesse) wes given by the king to Angus Morray, as a reward for this service.
It is vncertain, either by what right either Thomas Mackneill possessed those lands, or Angus Morray could obtayne them from the king. This Thomas Mackneill possessed also the lands of the town of Creighmore, which, by this fact, fell into the hands of his superior, the Lord of the Yles, of whom the lands of Creighmore were then halden, and wer, at that tyme, given by the Lord of the Yles to the Polsons, as fallen into his hands by the death and fellony of Thomas Mackneill; and this is the ground of Robert Gray his title to the toun and lands of Creighmore at this day, seing his right floweth from the Polsons and the Monrois, who purchased it from the Polsons.
The lands of Creigh-More, with all the lands of Sleash-Chilish, lying vpon the north syd of the river Port-ne-Couter, ar called Ferrin-Coscarrie, and did appertein somtyme to the Clandonald, which they had from the Earles of Rosse, who possessed the same, as appeareth by ane infeftment granted to the Earle of Rosse, by King Robert Bruce, the 16th yeir of his raigne, and of God 1322, of certane lands, and speciallie of the lands of Ferran-Coscarie, designed to be within the Earldome of Southerland. These lands of Ferrin-Coscarie, or Sleash-Chilish, fell to the lairds of Glengarie and Kildun, by the mariage of tuo sisters of the surname of Clandonald, who wer heyrs and heretors of the same; which lands were sold by Glencarie and Kildun to the Banes, and the Banes disposed them to the Monrois, who doe possesse most of them at this day, and have alwise kepied a true and inviolable friendship with the erles of Southerland.
Angus Morray, for performance of his ingadged promise maid to Neill and Morgni, gawe them his tuo daughters in mariage; then gathering a companie of Southerland men, withe Earle Robert his attollerance, he went one with these tuo brethren into Strathnaver, to invade the same. Angus Dow Macky hearing of ther approach, conveined his cuntriement, and becaus he wes vnable himselff in persone then to resist his enemies, he made his bastard sone, John Aberigh, commander of his hoast. When they wer readie to encounter, some tuo myles from Toung, at a place called Drum-Ne-Coub, Angus Dow Macky sent message vnto his cusigne-germans, Neill and Morgin, offerring them all his lands and possessions, except that which is called keantayle in Strathnaver, which offer they did refuse, wherevpon ther ensued a cruell and sharp conflict, valiantlie fouhtin a long tyme with great slaughter on either syd; Neill and Morgin trusting to ther forces, John Aberich reposing his confidence in the equitie of his cause, encouraged his men to assault their enemies afresh, who, eith the lyk manhood, made stout resistance; by reasone whereof there ensued such a cruell feight betueen them, that there remayned, in the end, verie few alive on either syd. John Aberigh seemed to have the victorie, because he escaped with his lyff, yet verie sore wounded, and mutelate by the losse of one of his armes. His father, Angus Dow Macky, being careid thither to view the place of the conflict, and searching for the corps of his vnkynd cousins, wes their slain with an arrow, after the conflict, by a Southerland man that wes lurking in a bush hard by. Neill and Morgni, with there father-in-law, Angus Morray, wer slain; and as they had vndertaken this interpryse vpon ane evill ground, so they perished therin accordinglie. This Neill Mackneill (that is, the sone of Neill) had thrie base sones: Angus M'Neill, of whome the Seill-Neill are descended; John Bayn Mackneill, of whom ar descended the Banes in Catteynes; and Paull Mackneill, of whom the Seill-Phaill ar come. These tuo brethren (Angus Makneill and Paull Mackneill) settleing themselues in Southerland, did infest the inhabitants of the coast of that province, dryweing away some cattell from them, where-withall they did still repair to the Ile of Dolay in Breachat. In end, being hotelie pursued, and not thinking themselues saiff aneugh within the yland, retired, vnder silence of the night, vnto ane hill hard by, (called, from this accident, Knock-wick-Neill) to ly saifly ther from the pursute of ther enemies, who comeing to the iland to invade them, and not finding them ther, they trod ther footsteps, evin to the hill wher they lay, and killed them both, with all ther followers, from thence, this hill, (from that accident, to this day) is called Knock-wick-Neill.
The Earle of Southerland being advertised how all passed at Drum-Ne-Coub, and being informed of Angus Morray his death, he pursued John Aberigh so hotely, that he constrained him, for saiftie of his lyff, to flie into the Iles. Bot John returning from thence, the night ensueing Christmasse, he came to Strathvlly, and ther killed thrie of the Southerlands at Dinoboll, haveing invaded them at vnawars; wherevpon Earle Robert pursued John Aberigh the second tyme, so eagerlie, that he was constrained to submitt himselff, and crave him pardon for his offence, which he obtayned vpon his submission. Then agane John Aberigh setled himselff into the cuntrey of Strathnaver, wher he continued vntill the death of King James the First, that his brother Neill-Wasse-Macky (the righteous heyre) wes releived out of the Basse, by the means of hte ladie of that place, who wes his neir kinswoman. And at Neill his return into Strathnaver, John Aberigh willinglie surrandered vnto him all his lands within the cuntrey; yit Neill gave vnto his brother, John, the lands about Lochnaver, as a possession to duell in dureing his dayes; which lands, his posteritie, the Sleaght-Ean-Aberigh (a race of people in Strathnaver, of whom I shall have occasion to speik afterwards) dow possesse and ihnabite at this day: John Aberigh wes so called becaus a woman of Lochaber wes his mother.
Out Scottesh historiens, descryveing and writing this conflict of Drum-Ne-Coub, by wrong information, have mistaken the place, the persons, and the fact, and have quyte changed the same; for the persone Angus Dow Macky, is, by some of our writers, called Angus Duff, and by others, Angus Duff of Strathearn; for the place, they mak Anugs Duff of Strathern, to come from Strathnaver (som say from Strathern) into Morray and Catteynes, as these tuo shyres did ly and march together; whereas everie man knowes that Morray and Catteynes, as these tuo shyres did ly and march together; whereas everie man knowes that Morray and Catteynes ar farr asunder, haveing a great arme of the sea interjected between them, called Morray frith; and haveing Southerland and Rosse interjected by land betueen them; for the fact, they make Angus Duff to come for a prey of goods out of Catteynes and Morray, which errour any man may easalie perceave, that knoweth these cuntries. Bot the true occasion of this skirmish wes, the comeing of the cousines of Angus Dow Macky into Strathnaver, to clame certane lands ther; the memorie whereof remayneth into that cuntrey with the posteritie vnto this day.
The same yeir of God 1427, King James the First took Alexander, Lord of the Isles, prissoner in Invernesse, for manteyning of thieves, and not bringing them to justice; but vpon promise of amendment, the king did pardon him, and set him at liberty; wherevpon ther followed some truble, for immediatlie thereafter, he burnt the toun of Inuernesse, and beseidged the castle. Bot being advertised that the king wes coming against him, he fled into the Iles. In end, knowing that he culd not escape from the king, he came disgused in poore array, to halierudhous on Easterday, and finding the king in the church at his divotion, he fell doun on his knies befor him, and asked pardon for his lyff, for his sake that rose that day for the salvation of mankynd, which the king granted him; yit he sent him to the Erle of Angus, to be kepit prissoner within the castle of Tamptallon, therby to kepie the ilanders in better subjection.
Then Donald Ballogh, brother (or, as some write, cousin-german) to this Alexander Lord of the Iles, nothing commoved by Alexander his imprissonment in Tamptallon, came with a number of men into Lochaber, spoilling and wasting the cuntrie at his pleasure. Againes whom (sayeth Boethius) went Alexander Erle of Marr, and Allane Stuart Erle of Catteynes, with ane army. They encountered at Innerlochie, wher these tuo erles wer suddentlie invaded and beatin, the earle of Catteynes killed, the Erle of Marr chased, and the most pairt of ther men slain. Donald Ballogh returned, with this victorie, into the yles; yet he wes so sharplie followed by the king, that he fled into Ireland, wher he wes killed, and his head sent to the king to Stirling, the yeir of God 1426.
Now give me leave to shew you a notable example of condigne punishment afflicted (about this tyme) by King James the First, vpon a notorious theiff called Donald Rosse, who, with spoills and robberies, became exceedinglie rich. This wicked oppressor shod a woman with iron horse-shoes, becaus she told him (vpon some injurie he had offered to her) that she wold go to the king and reveill his wicked doeings. How soon the woman wes recovered of her wounds, shee went to the king, and decared the crueltie done to her by that vngracious and wicked person. The king had gottin this malefactor into his hands befor her comeing, and imprissoned him, determining to sie just and due punishment inflicted vpon him for so haynous a cryme. In the meanwhile, he conforted the poor woman, promising her, that shee should sie a just revenge of her wrong. Wherevpon Mackdonald Rosse being brought out of prisson, with tuelve of his associats, the king commanded, that they should be likewise shod with iron shoes, in the same sort as they had befor served the woman, and afterwards, that they should be caried thrie severall dayes through the streets of Edenburh, for a spectacle to the people. All which being performed, the said Mackdonald Rosse wes beheaded, and his tuelve companions hanged on the high wayes. A notable paterne of justice, which may be an example to the negligent and sluggish justiciars of our tyme, who suffer the poore and weak to be oppressed by strong and idle wagabounds.
In this earle of Southerland his dayes, Neill-wasse-Macky, immmediatlie efter his releasement out of the Basse, the yeir of God 1437, entered into Catteynes, and spoiled the cuntrey. He skirmished with some of the people of the cuntrey, at a place called Sandsett, wher he overthrew them with slaughter on either syd. This conflict wes called Ruoig Hanset, that is the flight of chase at Sanset. After which Neill Wasse died, leaveing tuo sonnes, Angus and John Roy. Of this John Roy the Sleaght-ean-Roy ar descended.
The sixteinth day of March, the yeir of God 1438, Elizabeth Gordon, heyre of Huntlie and Strathbogy, died at Strathbogy, and wes buried at Nicolas his church, in New Aberdene, in the yle of Coclarachie, which yle hersleff had caused build. She wes a judicious wiffie, and prudent woman, verie carefull that the surename should continue, for after her father, Sir Adam his death, shee being (as I have shewne before, page 60) in the guard and tuition of the Lord Seatoun, who desired her to mak choyse of any of his sones shoe lyked best, for her husband, shoe maid choyse of the second, and maried him, vpon condition that their airs and successors should reteyne the surname of Gordon, whervnto he yeilded.
About this tyme ther fell some variance betueen the Kaiths and some others of the inhabitants of Catteynes. The Kaiths mistrusting ther owne forces, they sent to Angus Macky, (the sone of Neill-Wasse) intreating him to come to ther aid; wherevnto he easelie condiscended. So Angus Macky, being accompanied with his brother John Roy, and John More-Mack-Ean-Reawigh, went into Catteynes with a company of men, and joyning with the said Kaithes, they invaded a pairt of that cuntrey with all hostilitie. Then did the inhabitants of Catteynes convein in all hast, and met the Strathnaver men and the Kaiths, at a place in Catteynes called Blare-Tannie. Ther ensued a cruell feight, with great slaughter on either syd. In end, the Kaiths had the victorie, by the meanes cheiflie of John More-Mack-Ean-Reawigh, who is verie famous in these cuntreyes, for his valor and manhood shewen at this conflict. Of him are descended the Sleaght Ean Reawigh, a race of people that possessed the Cogigh a good while, and are now in Assint, being a branch of the Seill Torquill. At this skirmish, tuo leaders (or chiftanes) of the inhabitants of Catteynes, were slain, with divers others. This Angus Macky, heir mentioned, wes afterward killed and brunt in the church of Tarbet, by the surname of Rosse, whom he had often molested with incursions and invasions. He left behind him thrie sones and one daughter; John-Reawigh-Macky, Y-Roy-Macky, and Neill-Navarigh Macky; of all these we shall have occasion to speik heirafter. His daughter wes maried to the laird of Dalred. All these seditions and troubles which hapned at this tyme, not onlie in this diocie of Catteynes, bot also throughout the whole kingdome, fell furth through the division which wes then in the state, betueen the governor Sir Alexander Levingstoun, and Sir William Crichtoun, chanceller of Scotland, after King James the First his death, dureing the minoritie of James the Second, from the yeir of God 1436, vntill the yeir of God 1443.
In this Earle of Southerland his dayes lived Alexander Stuart, Earle of Marr; Duncan, Earle of Lennox; John Dumbar, Earle of Morray; William Sinclair, Earle of Orknay; Alexander, Lord of the Iles, Earle of Rosse; Walter Stuart, Erle of Atholl and of Catteynes; George Dumbar, Erle of Merch; and Allane Stuart, Erle of Catteynes.
This Robert Earle of Southerland ended his lyff at Dounrobin, and wes much regrated, cheiflie by the inhabitants of Southerland, whom he had alwise defended from the oppression of their adjoyning nighbors. He wes buried at Dornogh, in the cathedrall church with his ancestours, the yeir of God one thowsand four hundred fourtie-and-tuo.
Gordon, R. (1813) A Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland, from its origin to the year 1630; written by Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun, Baronet. With a Continuation to the Year 1651. Edinburgh: Ramsay & Co.
Robert de Moravia, 6th Earl of Sutherland's Timeline
Dunrobin Castle, Golspie, Sutherland, Scotland
Dunrobin Castle, Golspie, Sutherland, Scotland