[Up] [Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Selling castle for taxes

At 11:44 09/08/99 -0400, you wrote:
>The only story I know of concerns George Sinclair, the 6th Earl of Caithness,
>who mortgaged his estates to John Campbell of Glenorchy. George Sinclair of
>Keiss eventually got them back through royal decree. Not being an expert like
>the other marvelous people on this list, I hope I have provided what you may
>be looking for. By the way the mortaging of the estates took place in the
>late 1600s.
>[ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, sinclair@mids.org
>[ To get off or on the list, see http://www.mids.org/sinclair/list.html


I think you have your George's mixed up.  You have obviously confused 
George VI with
George IV.

It was George IV who sold his Estates to his principal creditor who was 
Campbell of Glenorchy.

His losses were sustained in civil wars.  Writing from Thurso Castle on 
25th August, 1661 he
fully explains the effect of those wars: "I can give an accounbt of 
200,000 which I have lost to
Generals Middleton and Morgan besides the burning of my houses which put me 
in such a
conditionthat I had not a place to settle myself in till I laid out a 
thousand pounds to repair the
house I live in"

There were two dispositions in favour of Glenorchy, the first dated 10th 
June, 1661 and the
second dated 8th October, 1672 conveying all and sundry, his lands etc. The 
latter stipulated
that, in the event on non-redemption, Glenorchy and his heirs would be 
entitled to use the
surname of Sinclair and the arms of the House of Caithness.  There can be 
no doubt that this
particular clause had been inserted at the request of Campbell of Glenorchy 
to be used as a pretext
for the assumption of the title of the Earl of Caithness at a subsequent 
period which, of course,

Indeed, when George IV died at Thurso Castle in 1676, his widow (Mary 
Campbell, the daughter of
the Marquis of Argyll) immediately married her kinsman, Campbell of 
Glenorchy who was created
Earl of Caithness .  (The fickleness of women has no 

  Glenorchy's right was challenged by George Sinclair of Keiss.  However, 
the Privy Council
  upheld Glenorchy's claim and prohibited Keiss from assuming the title of 

Nevertheless, the people of Caithness were in favour of George Sinclair of 
Keiss because they regarded
Glenorchy as an usurpur who had taken advantage of the necessities of 
George IV to trick him out
of his lands.  George Sinclair of Keiss maintained his rebellion against 

Glenorchy eventually invaded Caithness.  The Battle of Altimarlach ensued 
about which I have
already written but, although the Sinclairs were defeated,  Keiss continued 
to press his case
and eventually laid siege to Castles Sinclair and Girnigoe which he reduced 
by firearms and
artillery to the ruin which we see today.

For this act he was declared a rebel by the Government along with Sinclair 
of Broynach, Sinclair
of Thura and Mackay of Strathnaver who had assisted him in his battle 
against the Campbells.

Eventually, through the intervention of the Duke of York, Keiss was 
pardoned and given the Earldom
of Caithness.   Glenorchy was compensated for his loss  by being made the 
Earl of Breadalbane                                                and 
Baron of Wick.  However, the people of Caithness detested him so much 
because of his
cruelties at the Battle of Altimarlach  that public opinion forced him to 
quit Caithness altogether.

He sold his Caithness lands to the Sinclairs of Ulbster in 1719 who became 
the largest landowners
in the County.

George Sinclair of Keiss, who became George V of Caithness,  (the 45th Earl 
of Caithness) died
without issue and was succeeded in the Earldom by his second cousin, Sir 
John Sinclair of Murkle.
Thus the title jumped from the Sinclairs of Mey, to the Sinclairs of Keiss 
to the Sinclairs of Murkle
and, later, it went over to the Sinclairs of Rattar before coming back 
again to the Sinclairs of Mey
only to revert to the Sinclairs of Durran before returning to the senior 
branch, the Sinclairs of Mey
( i.e. if you ignore the Broynach Claim).

If you find all this confusing, you are not alone.  We are truly a mixed up 
bunch.   Sinclairs married
other Sinclairs with such regularity that the different branches became 
inextricably interwoven until
everyone could claim descent from an Earl of Caithness at some point in 
their family tree and, believe
me, they do!!

Niven Sinclair

[ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, sinclair@mids.org
[ To get off or on the list, see http://www.mids.org/sinclair/list.html