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The earls of Cromartie; their kindred, country, and correspondence (Volume 1) online

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offices he displayed a great capacity for business.

In the latter part of his life Sir Roderick acquired many lands. He
obtained a Crown Charter of the Island of Barray on 16th July 1621. In
1623 he purchased the lands of Easter Aird, Easter Tarbat, Downielarne,
and Meikle Tarrell from George Monro of Tarbat, eldest son and heir of
George Monro of Meikle Tarrell, for 1 10,000 merks. Downielarne was to be
held of the Earl of Eothes, for payment of £2 Scots and two hunting dogs,
and the keeping of them so often as the Earl should go to hunt with the King
within Eoss.^ Tarbat had been only a short time in possession of Monro of
Tarrell, who acquired them from the old possessors, the D unbars of Tarbat.
On 31st March 1610, George Monro of Meikle Tarrell obtained a charter of
the lands of Easter Tarbert, and fishings thereof, from James Dunbar of Tar-
bert. Sir Eorie obtained a decreet from the Lords of Session, on 17th July
1624, against James Dunbar, grandson of the deceased James Dunbar of Tar-
bert, for delaying to resign in his favour the north half of the lands of the
davoch of Easter Tarbert, whereby the Lords decern the defender to resign
the lands. James Dunbar, fiar of Hemprigs, is charged by letters at the
instance of Sir Eoderick M'Kenzie of Coygeach, to enter his person in ward
within the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, to remain there at his own charges till
order should be taken with him touching his presenting " ane hagbuit " at
the said Sir Eoderick. That charge was given under the Signet, 1st August
1623. But whether the assault complained of had anything to do with the

^ Procuratory of Resignation, dated 12th - Extract Registered Disposition, dated at

August 1620, at Tarbat House. Nairn 17th May 1623, at Tarbat House.



xlviii .S77? BOBIE MACKENZIE, TUTOR OF KINTAIL.

acquisition of Tarbat from the Dunbars does not appear. The lands of
Tarbat consist of Easter and Wester Tarbat, in the parish of that name.
Easter Tarbat now belongs to Mr. Macleod of Cadboll, and Wester Tarbat,
which is commonly called Seafield, is the property of Mr. Murray of Geanies.

Sir Eorie had a dispute with George Monro of Tarrell as to the marches
between the lands of Coigeach, etc., and Drumvaich and Breinletter, belong-
ing to Monro. That dispute was amicably settled by contract in 1618;
and the contract is renounced by Monro in Sir Eorie's favour in 1625, he
having bought the lands of Drumvaich and Breinletter.

In the latter part of his life Sir Eorie had a difficulty with his ward, now
considerably past his majority. In 1625 he raised a summons against Colin
Earl of Seaforth, narrating the disposition by Kenneth M'^Kenzie of Kintail
in favour of Sir Eorie (then of Culteleod) of the lands of Inchveandie and
i3chterneid, and mill called Tympanmill, and two other contracts between the
said parties, charging the said Colin to compear before the Lords of Council
to see these contracts registered in the Books of Council and Session, that
Sir Eorie might have action against him for implement of the same.^

According to a contemporary authority, although Sir Eorie Mackenzie
made great exertions to preserve the Lewis for his nephew, Lord Mackenzie,
he had idtimately desired to possess the island himself, in exchange for his
barony of Coigeach. But this was refused by his nephew, who retained
the Lewis.^

Sir Eorie is still remembered in Eoss- shire as a man of great bravery, and
many anecdotes are told of him. His valour is extolled by Simon Lord Lovat,
who was his great-grandnephew, in a letter to the third Earl of Cromartie.
Lord Lovat promised a visit to the Earl at Castleleod, and to bring with him the

1 ISumraons, dated 8tli November 1625, at - Supplement to the History of the Feuds

Tarljat House. and Conflicts among the Clans.



^







SIR RORrE MACKENZIE OF COIGEACH, KNIGHT
BORN 1574 - DIED 1626.



Ills TRIUMPHING SWORD. xlix



triumphing sword of his great and worthy ancestor, and his own great-grand-
uncle, Sir Eorie, Tutor of Kintail. Lord Lovat had the sword ready to go along
with him. He designed to brush and dress it up, but he was advised to keep
it in the old rusty dress it was in till he put it in Lord Cromartie's hands.^

The following tradition of Sir Eorie and his sword is current in Eoss : — ■

The Tutor had occasion to visit Edinburgh in the interest of his ward,
Seaforth, and, while passing with his retinue through Athole, he was chal-
lenged by a band of Athole men for doing so without leave from the lord of
the land. The Tutor dismounted, and quietly proceeded to look out for a
smooth stone, on which he began to sharpen his claymore. The Athole men
kept at a safe distance, and their spokesman interrogated him what he was
doing there. " I am going to make a road," was the ready answer. " You
shall make no road here," was the defiant rejoinder. " Oh, I don't seek to
do so, but I shall make it between your master's head and his shoulders if I
am thus hindered from pursuing my lawful business." The Athole men
sought no further parley, but retired ; and on reaching their Lord they
recounted what had occurred, when he remarked that they must have en-
countered one of two personages — the devil, or the Tutor of KintaiL " Let
him have a free path by here for ever."

The following proverb is also still current : —

There are two things worse than the Tutor of Kintail : frost in spring,
and mist in the dog-days — Rcothadh cMituin agus ceo 'san iuchar.

By his marriage with the heiress of the Lewis, Sir Eorie had six sons and
one daughter : —

1 . Sir John Mackenzie of Tarbat, who succeeded him. \

2. Kenneth Mackenzie of Scatwell, in the parish of Contin, who married,

first, a daughter of Sir Eobert Munro of Fowlis, by whom he had

^ Letters, vol. ii. p. 284.
a



one son and three daughters. Secondly, Janet, daughter of Walter
Ross of Invercarron, by whom he had several sons and daughters.
He died in Kinlochluichart, the 3d of March 1662, and was buried
at Dingwall. A descendant of Kenneth was created a Baronet, and
the present representative of the Scatwell branch is Sir James John
Raudoll Mackenzie, Baronet. His heir presumptive is Captain
Mackenzie of Findon and Mount Gerald, in the county of Ross.

3. Colin Mackenzie of Tarvey, in the parish of Contin, who married Alex-

ander Mackenzie of Gairloch's eldest daughter, widow of John Mackenzie
of Lochslin, by whom he had two sons and three daughters. He died
at Kinellan, and was buried at Dingwall.

4. Alexander Mackenzie of Ballone, in the parish of Lochbroom, and county

of Ross, A\^ho married the daughter of Hugh Fraser of Culbockie, widow
of Kenneth Mackenzie of Inverlawl, and had issue. His son Alexander
succeeded him in Ballone. His eldest daughter, Jean, married Simon,
second son to Simon Mackenzie of Lochslin. The contract of marriage
is dated December 1663.^ His youngest daughter married Master Rorie
Mackenzie of Kilmuir. He left a natural son called Colin, who was cham-
berlain to the Lord Tarbat. As fourth son of Sir Rorie Mackenzie of
Coigeach, Alexander granted a disposition to Sir John Mackenzie of
Tarbat, of Auchadaschaild, 24th June 1637. This Alexander died at
Munlochy in 1645, and was buried at Dingwall. Alexander Mackenzie
of Ballone Avas served heir of Alexander Mackenzie of Ballone, his father,
who died in March 1726, in the superiority of Cullnichmeauoch, etc., in
the earldom of Ross, on 28th June 1733 [Cromartie AYrits]. The
estate of Ballone was sold by the Mackenzies, and it now forms part
of the estate of Braemore.

5. Charles, who died unmarried at Chanonry in 1629, and was buried at

Dingwall.

6. James, who died unmarried at Inchrorie, in the year 1647, and was

buried at Dingwall.'-
^ (Jriginal Contract at Tarbat House. sons were Eorie, Colin, Kenneth, George,

•^ History of the Mackenzies, by Jolm Alexander, and James, and a daughter mar-

-Mackenzie of Applecross. ried to Murdo M'lver in Leckmelme. Mr.

■Sir Rorie had one natural son, called Mr. .John Mackenzie died at Tarrel in 1G66, and

John Mackenzie, archdean of Ross, whose was buried at Tarbat.



MARGARET MACLEOD, HEIRESS OF LEWIS. li

Sir Eorie's daughter, Margaret, married Sir James Macdonald of Slate.
Their contract of marriage is dated 23d February 1633, and Sir John,
her brother, gave her a tocher of 15,000 merks.^

Dame Margaret Macleod, Lady Coigeach, survived her husband, Sir Eorie,
many years. She married, secondly, Thomas Fraser of Strichen, ancestor of
the present Lord Lovat, before 15th July 1643. Dame Margaret Macleod,
sometime spouse of the deceased Sir Rorie M'Kenzie of Coigeach, Knight, and
now relict of Thomas Fraser of Strichen, granted an assignation to her grand-
son, George M'Kenzie, son of Sir John, of 800 merks, payable to her yearly
during her life, by Sir John INI'Kenzie of Tarbat, Knight Baronet, furth of
Kenneth M'Kenzie of Scatwell's rents, conform to contract in her favour.-
Dame Margaret Macleod was living on 10th March 1651, when she entered
into a contract with her eldest son. Sir John.

Sir Rorie Mackenzie, having fallen into fatal illness, made his latter will
and testament on the 2 2d September 1626, in the following terms : —

LEGACIE.

Seing thair is nothing moir certane nor deathe, and nothing moir wncertane
nor the hour thairof, I, Sir Rodrick M'^Kenzie of Cogaich, knicht, being waik and
sick in body, hot haill in spreit, sensis, and memorie, committis my sawill to the
omnipotent God, and my bodie to be bureit in the kirk zeard of Dinguall, at the
eist gewill of the kirk thairof. Att whilk place I ordaine Johne M'^Kenzie, my
eldest sone and appeirand air, and Dame Margarat M'^Claud, my spous, to cans
build ane lairge and fair lyle or chappell, weili woAvtit abone, and theckit with
hewin stoine. Item, I nominat and ordaine the said Johne M'^Kenzie, my said
sone and appeirand air, my only executour testamentar, and vniuersall intromit-
tour with my haill goodis and geir ; and ordaines the said John M'^Kenzie and
the said Dame Margarat M'^^^Claud, my spous, to giwe wp the just and perfyt Inven-
tar of my haill moueabill goodis and geir whilk is left furth out of this my testa-

^ Extract Contract of Marriage at Tarbat - Original Assignation, dated 22d Septem-

House. ber 1647, at Tarbat House,



^7^ RORIE MACKENZIE, TUTOR OF KINTAIL.



ment. Item, mair, I nominat, leawe, and ordaine Maister Collene M<=Kenzie of
Kinnock, Mr. Alexander M'^Kenzie of Culcowy, and Jolme M°Kenzie of Fairburne,
tutouris testamentaris to Kenneth, Collene, Alexander, Charles, James, and Mar-
garat M'^Kenzies, my bairnes. Item, mair, I leawe to the said Dame Margarat
M'^Claud, my spous, the haill scheip and goat in my possessioun, togidder with
the number of tna bowis of ky. Item, mair, I leaw the vse of all the insicht
and plenishing presentlie standing within my duelling place of Tarbat, to the
said Dame Margarat M'^Claud, my spous, to be vseit be hir duiring all the dayes
of hir lyftyme, schoe finding sufficient cautioun and souertie that the .sameu salbe
furthcumand to the aires laufulli gottin betuix me and hir, whensoeuer thay pleis
requeir the samen, efter hir deceas, when it sail happin. Exceptand and reser-
wand alwayes out of this nominatioun, the haill boirdis, dressouris, formes, copal
morels [large cupboards], standing beddis, and vther fixit wark within my said
duelling place.

Debtis awand to me, the said Sir Eodrick M'^Kenzie, be the persones efter
following : —

Item, in the first, restand awand to me wpone band be Duncane M'^Kenzie,
laufull sone to Hectour M'^Kenzie of Wester Fairburne, the sowme of tuelf
hundreth markis mone.

Item, mair, restand awand to me, conforme to ane vther band (maid in
favouris of Archibald Eliot, serwitour to the eirll of Melros, whais name was
borroweit thairto) be Hectour M°Lean, younger of Dowart, the sowme of four
hundreth markis mone.

Debtis awand be me, the said Sir Eodrick M'^Kenzie to wtheris : —
Item, in the first, restand awand be me, conforme to ane obligatioun to Sir
James Eeid, knicht, the sowme of saxtene thousand pundis mone.

Item, mair, restand awand be me, conforme to ane wther band to James
Dunbar of Boigis, the sowme of ten thousand markis mone.

Item, mair, restand awand be me, conforme to ane vther band to James Rea,
merchand, burges of Edinburgh, the sowme of ten thousand markis mone.

Item, mair, restand awand be me, conforme to ane vther band to Margarat
]\PKenzie, my eldest laufull dochtter, the sowme of ten thousand markis mone.

Item, mair, restand awand be me, conforme to ane vther band to Mr. John
M^Kenzie, my naturall sone, the sowme of thrie thousand markis mone.



HIS LATTER WILL AND DEATH IN 1626.



This was done att Cultealeod, wpoiie the tuentie tua day of September J"' vj''
tuentie sax zeires, in presens of Johne M*=Kenzie of Ord, Murdo M'^Kenzie of
Mellabost, Eonald Bayne, burges of Dinguall, Kenneth Bayne, burges of Dinguall,
and Alexander M'^Ley, notar publict, wrytter heirof, witnessis heirto, askit and
requeirit.

Sir Rodrick M'^Kenzie, with my hand lead at the pen be the notar vnder-
writtin, specialy requeirit be me heirto, becaus I can not wryt my self, in respect
of my waiknes in body. De mandato dicti domini Eodorici M'^Kenzie scribere
nescientis, vt asseruit, ego Alexander M'^Ley notarius publicus in premissis
requisitus subscribe. Johne Mackenzie of Ord, vitnes ; Ranald Bane, burges of
Dinguale, witnes ; Kenneth Baine, witnes. [Original will at Tarbat House.]

Soon after making his will, Sir Rorie died at Castleleod, in the forty-
eighth year of his age, and he was buried at Dingwall. Though so young
a man, we are told by his grandson, Lord Cromartie, that his death was
regarded as a great public calamity.



_jfC^VK ^-^ ^A^i..£:v.^i^



^^jm w^




liv




SIR JOHX MACKENZIE OF TARBAT, BARONET, FATHER OF THE
FIRST EARL OF CROMARTIE, 1608-1654.

ON the death of Sir Eorie Mackenzie in 1626, he was succeeded by his
eldest son, John Mackenzie, who took the designation of Tarbat. He
was then under age, as he had tutors in August 1628.

The hereditary title of Knight-Baronet was first instituted by King James
the First in 1611, for England, and was extended to Ireland in 1619, for the
purpose of promoting the plantation of Ulster. The order was extended
to Scotland by King Charles the First, on his accession in the year 1625,
with the view of furthering the plantation of Nova Scotia.

Two years after his succession to his father, and on his attaining
majority, the young Laird of Tarbat was created a Knight-Baronet of Nova
Scotia by King Charles the First, in 1628, and was thereafter known as Sir
John Mackenzie, Knight-Baronet, of Tarbat. As Sir John was then a young
man, and had not yet had an opportunity of gaining distinction for himself,
it is presumed that the honour was conferred on him for the services rendered
by his father. Sir Rorie, in quieting and civilising the Northern Highlands
and Islands.

Part of the arrangement made on the creation of the earlier Baronets of
Nova Scotia was, that along with the honour of Knight-Baronet, they also
received a grant of territory in Nova Scotia, which was erected into a barony
generally corresponding in name to one held by the grantee in Scotland.




SIR JOHN MACKENZIE, FIRST BARONET OF TARBAT,
BORN 1608 - DIED 1654-



HIS MARRIAGE WITH MARGARET ERSKIXE. Iv



Sir John Mackenzie received a Royal grant of a tract of land in the new
colony, extending to 16,000 acres, situated on the north of the gulf of Canada,
to be called the Barony of Tarbat. That grant is dated 21st May 1628,
and he was infeft in it at the Castle of Edinburgh, the place appointed for
infeftments in the Baronies of Nova Scotia, on 13th February 1630. It is
in favour of Sir John and his heirs-male and assignees.^

The grant of the lands to Sir John Mackenzie proceeded upon the resigna-
tion of Sir William Alexander of Menstrie, afterwards Earl of Stirling,
secretary of state for Scotland to King Charles the First." The Earl was
the chief promoter of the colonisation of Nova Scotia, and received from the
King a large tract of country there, for the plantation of Nova Scotia ; and
portions of it were given off to the Baronets as they were created.

In 1629 Sir John married Margaret Erskine, younger daughter and co-
heiress of Sir George Erskine of Innerteil, in the county of Fife. Sir George
was a younger son of Sir Alexander Erskine of Gogar, brother of John, the
lirst Erskine Earl of Mar, Eegent of Scotland. The elder brother of Sir
George was Thomas first Earl of Kellie. Sir George Erskine was educated
by George Buchanan, the famous classic scholar, along with King James the
Sixth. In 1617 Sir George Erskine v/as made one of the Senators of the
College of Justice, and he took the judicial designation of Lord Innerteil.
He continued on the Bench till his death in 1646. By the contract of
marriage of Sir John and Margaret Erskine, which is dated 2.5th July 1629,
Lord Innerteil gave his daughter a tocher of 20,000 merks.

Sir John Mackenzie of Tarbat entered zealously into the early measures
taken against the policy of Archbishop Laud in imposing the Service-book
on the Scottish Church by the King's prerogative. Even in his own parish

1 Sasine, recorded in General Eegister of - Original Resignation, dated 27th Septeni-

Sasines 15th March 1630, at Tarbat House. ber 1628, at Tarbat House.



lyi SIB JOHN MACKENZIE OF TARE AT, BARONET.

there was a miniature contest going on, which serves to illustrate the
apparentl}" simple causes that afterwards resulted in the conflicts of the civil
war. The Court of High Commission was established in 1634, the chief
end of which was to put down all opposition to the Episcopal establishment,
and the farther changes contemplated by the King and his ecclesiastical
advisers. One of the members of that Commission was Mr. Thomas
^Mackenzie, minister of Tarbat, afterwards Laird of Inverlawel, in Eoss. In
the following year, 1635, the minister of Tarbat was forced to desert his cure,
from the opposition of his parishioners to his introducing the Liturgy. In
this opposition Sir John Mackenzie appears to have concurred with the
rest of the parishioners. In the famous Assembly of the Church of Scot-
land, held at Glasgow in 1638, Sir John was one of the ruling elders for the
Presbytery of Tain. Sir John was a Covenanter ; and the Mackenzies are
mentioned, along with Forbeses, Frasers, Grants, M'Cayes, Macintoshes,
]\rLaines, ]\Iacdonalds, Irwines, Innices, and all the Campbells to a man, as
being zealous subscribers of the Covenant.^ The lay elders at this Assembly
numbered about 100, and the ministers 140. Among the laymen were the
Earls of Home, Lothian, Cassillis, Eglinton, Eothes, Montrose, and Wemyss.
It was at that Assembly that Archibald Lord Lome made his first appearance,
and, his father having died during the Assembly, he became Earl of Argyll.
He boldly assisted the cause of those who continued the proceedings of
the Assembly. Sir John Mackenzie took a considerable share in the busi-
ness of the Assembly, and especially in the measures for abolishing the order
of bishops in the Church.

In the fifth session of the Assembly, which was held on Monday the
2Gth of November, Mr. Thomas Mackenzie, who had been translated from
Tarbat to KiUearnan, came with a commission from the Chanonry of Eoss.

1 Letters and Journals, by Principal Robert Baillie, Letter dated July 22, 1638.



ATTENDS GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF 1638. Ivii



It was rejected, on the protest of Sir John Mackenzie of Tarbat against it.
On the rejection of his commission, jNIr. Thomas Maclcenzie next gave in a
protest against ruling ekiers, affirming them to have no warrant in Scripture,
example of antiquity for 1500 years, without any ground or reason, in respect
of their ignorance and insufficiency for such an office. Both the Royal Com-
missioner Hamilton and the Earl of Eothes craved instruments of the protes-
tation. At the reading of Mr. Thomas Mackenzie's protest, Ivlr. Andrew
Eamsay got up, as an old writer says, " like a little cock on a form," opposite
the Commissioner, and with great confidence undertook to prove by Scripture,
reason, antiquity, practice of foreign and reformed kirks, and of the Assem-
blies of the Scottish Kirk, the lawfulness and practice of the office of ruling
elder. The protest was rejected, and Lords Eothes and Lothian protested in
respect of the infamous calumnies on the nobility and gentry. Mr. Thomas
jMackenzie was ultimately deposed by the Assembly on a libel charging him
with drunkenness and other sins. Baillie says he was a most vicious fellow, and
another historian adds that he was of a very litigious temper. He subscribed
the bishops' declinature, and had to leave the country for Ireland, but after-
wards returned, and was reappointed to one of his charges at the Eestoration.

The admission of laymen as elders was one of the objections to the
Assembly afterwards urged by sucli of the bishops as declined to be judged
by the Assembly, The question was fully argued, and decided in the
affirmative. The Commissioner, after having withdrawn the Service-ljook
and High Commission, and offered other concessions to the Assembly, on
finding them resolute to proceed to try the bishops, withdrew, and the
Assembly proceeded to abolish Episcopacy.

The part taken by the Baronet of Tarbat in this Assembly has been

thus described by the historian of tlie Mackenzies : —

" Upon the first breaking out of the Rebellion he joyn'd the Covenanters, and

h



Iviii SIR JOHN MACKENZIE OF TARE AT, BARONET.



was one of the lay elders in the famous Assembly of Glasgow in the year 1638 ;
and in an anonymous History of that Assembly which I have, wrote by one of
themselves, I find in the 8th session, which sat doun upon the 29th of November,
he is nominate one of the Comitee appointed by the Assembly for examining
the lybels given in against the bishops, in order to their deprivation. And in
the ISth session, which sat down upon the 7th of December, he is one of the
sworn witnesses against the Bishop of Eoss ; and in the 17th session, which sat
down upon the 10th of December, he witnesses that he saw Mr. David Lindsay,
Bishop of Ross [should be of Edinburgh] bow to the altar. But I was told by
his son, the late Earl of Cromarty, that he left them long befor he dyed, and was
a faithful adherer to the King's interest."^

The Committee of which Sir John was a member on 29th November
1638, was one of those appointed to prepare in private the chief weighty
affairs to come before the Assembly. The Committee on which Sir John sat
had, as their special duty, the preparation of the libels, processes, and proofs
against the bishops, preparatory to their deposition.^ Baillie says, " Our
folkes had not been so diligent as need had been, to have their prooffes in
readiness for the particular crymes they had lybelled against the bishops'
lives ; so that Committee proceeded the more slowlie." From Baillie's
Letters it appears that, contrary to Dr. Mackenzie's statement, it was during
the seventeenth session, Monday, 10th December, that both Dr. David
Lindsay, Bishop of Edinburgh, and Dr. John Maxwell, Bishop of Eoss, were
deposed and excommunicated. As Sir John Mackenzie w^as a principal
witness against both, it may be noted that the charges against the Bishop of
Edinburgh comprised breaking the caveats, pressing the late novations,
urfiuff the lituro-y, bowing to the altar, wearing the rotchet, elevating the
elements at communion, etc. ; while Dr. Maxwell's libel comprised reading
the liturgy, bowing to the altar, admission of fornicators, companying with

' History of the Mackenzies, MS., by Dr. George Mackenzie.
- Baillie's Letters and Journals.



ATTEXDS THE PARLIAMESTS OF 1633, ETC. lix



papists, carding on Sunday, that instead of going to thanksgiving on a com-
munion day, he called for cards to play at the Beast, robbing his vassals of above
40,000 merks, declining the Assembly, and fomenting the troubles in Churcli
and State. Baillie adds, " Of his excommunication no man made question."^

Sir John Mackenzie took also an active share in politics during the troubled
reign of King Charles the First. In 1633 he was commissioner for the barons
and freeholders of Inverness to the Parliament convened by the King ; and
again, in the important Parliament of 1639, he represented the same shire,"
along with Thomas Eraser of Strichen, the second husband of his mother.
Dame Margaret Macleod, the heiress of the Lewis. In that Parliament a
supplication was presented by the General Assembly of the Church of Scot-