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Caithness, Earl of (S, 1455)


Creation: let. pat. 28 Aug 1455


Family name: Sinclair




Arms of William [Sinclair], Earl of Caithness - Stirling Castle



Quarterly:  1st, Azure a Lymphad at anchor Or flagged Gules sails furled Argent oars erect in saltire within a Double Tressure flory counterflory of the second (Earldom of Orkney);  2nd and 3rd, Or a Lion rampant Gules armed and langued Azure (Sparr-Nithsdale);  4th, Azure a three masted Ship Or flagged Gules under sail Argent (Earldom of Caithness);  over all dividing the quarters a Cross engrailed and counterchanged Argent and Sable (Sinclair)


A Cock proper armed and beaked Or


On either side a Griffin Gules wings elevated armed beaked and winged Or


Commit Thy Work To God



William [Sinclair], 3rd Earl of Orkney later 1st Earl of Caithness

son of Henry [Sinclair], 2nd Earl of Orkney, by his wife Egidia Douglas, dau. and hrss. of Sir William Douglas of Nithsdale (by his wife Lady Egidia Stewart, 1st dau. by his second wife of Robert II, King of Scotland), illegit. son of Archibald [Douglas], 3rd Earl of Douglas


mar. (1)

his cousin Lady Elizabeth Stewart (widow of (1) John [Stewart], 3rd Earl of Buchan, and (2) Sir Thomas Stewart, styled Master of Mar, illegit. son of Sir Alexander Stewart, jure uxoris Earl of Mar;  d. c.1453), only dau. of Archibald [Douglas], 4th Earl of Douglas, by his wife Lady Margaret Stewart, 1st dau. of Robert III, King of Scotland

children by first wife

1. William Sinclair, later 2nd Lord Sinclair

1. Lady Katherine Sinclair, mar. 1469 (div. 1478) as his first wife her second cousin Alexander [Stewart], 1st Duke of Albany, 2nd son of James II, King of Scotland, by his wife Mary of Guelders, dau. of Arnold, Duke of Guelders, and had issue

2. Lady Elizabeth Sinclair (d. 1508), mar. Sir Andrew Leslie, Master of Rothes (dvp. bef. 3 Aug 1473), 1st son and heir ap. of George [Leslie], 1st Earl of Rothes, by his first wife Christian Halyburton, only dau. by his second wife of Sir Walter Halyburton of Dirletoun, and had issue

mar. (2)

bef. 15 Nov 1456 Marjory Sutherland, dau. of Alexander Sutherland of Dunbeath

children by second wife

2. Sir Oliver Sinclair, mar., and was ancestor of the Sinclairs of Rosslyn

3. William Sinclair, later 2nd Earl of Caithness

4. Rev Alexander Sinclair, Vicar of Legane and a notary (d. after 4 Feb 1508/9)

5. George Sinclair

6. Robert Sinclair, of Edinburgh (d. after 27 Feb 1506/7)

7. Arthur Sinclair

3. Lady Eleanor Sinclair (d. 21 Mar 1518), mar. bef. 19 Apr 1475 as his second wife John [Stewart], 1st Earl of Atholl, and had issue

4. Lady Elizabeth Sinclair, mar. to the Laird of Houston

5. Lady Margaret Sinclair, mar. David Boswell of Balmuto

6. Lady Katherine Sinclair

7. Lady Susan Sinclair

8. Lady Marjory Sinclair

9. Lady Mariot Sinclair

mar. (3)

Janet Yeman (d. after 5 Jul 1483)




1449 Lord Sinclair

28 Aug 1455 Earl of Caithness, with remainder to his heirs in settlement of a claim to his mother's Lordship of Nithsdale, Orkney, having been ceded by the King of Norway to the Scottish Crown on the marriage of his daughter to James III in 1469

suc. by

second son by second wife


suc. his father c.1418/20 as 3rd Earl of Orkney;  one of the hostages for King James I of Scotland when he was allowed to return to Scotland in 1421; Admiral of Scotland; High Chancellor of Scotland 1454-58; as Orkney and Shetland had been ceded by the King of Norway to the King of Scotland in 1469, under duress he formally resigned the Earldom of Orkney to King James III 16 Sep 1470, receiving in its place the castle and lands of Ravenscraig in Fife;  Ambassador to England 1471-73; he effected a resettlement of the Earldom of Caithness 7 Dec 1476 in favour of his second son by his second wife, William Sinclair, but reserving his life rent


William [Sinclair], 2nd Earl of Caithness



Mary Keith, dau. of Sir William Keith of Inverugie


1. Hon John Sinclair, later 3rd Earl of Caithness

2. Hon Alexander Sinclair of Dunbeath and Stemster, mar. Elizabeth Innes (mar. (2) Hon Arthur Forbes of Putachie, 1st son by his third wife of John [Forbes], 6th Lord Forbes), 1st dau. of Alexander Innes, 13th of that Ilk, by his first wife Christian Dunbar, dau. of Sir James Dunbar of Westfield, and had issue


9 Sep 1513

suc. by



John [Sinclair], 3rd Earl of Caithness



bef. 1527 Elizabeth Sutherland, dau. of William Sutherland of Duffus, by his wife Janet Innes, dau. of Alexander Innes, 13th of Innes


1. Hon William Sinclair, Master of Caithness (dvp. after 14 Jul 1527)

2. Hon George Sinclair, later 4th Earl of Caithness

1. Lady Janet Sinclair, mar. Alexander Ross of Balnagown


18 May 1529

suc. by



George [Sinclair], 4th Earl of Caithness


bef. 14 Jul 1527


Lady Elizabeth Graham (d. bef. 4 Apr 1576), 2nd dau. of William [Graham], 2nd Earl of Montrose, by his wife Lady Janet Keith, 1st dau. of William [Keith], 2nd Earl Marischal


1. Hon John Sinclair, Master of Caithness (dvp. 1578), mar. betw. 10 Dec 1565 and 16 Jan 1566/7 his second cousin (div. 17 Jul 1575) Lady Jean Stewart (widow of John [Stewart], 1st Lord Darnley, illegit. son of James V, King of Scotland;  mar. (3) Archibald Douglas, Rector of Douglas;  d. bef. 27 Jul 1599), only dau. of Patrick [Hepburn], 3rd Earl of Bothwell, by his first wife and cousin Hon Agnes Sinclair, dau. of Henry [Sinclair], 3rd Lord Sinclair, and had issue:

1a. Hon George Sinclair, later 5th Earl of Caithness

2a. Hon James Sinclair of Murchill, mar. Lady Elizabeth Stewart, 3rd dau. of Robert [Stewart], 1st Earl of Orkney (by his wife Lady Jean Kennedy (d. Sep 1598), 1st dau. of Gilbert [Kennedy], 3rd Earl of Cassillis), illegitimate son of James V, King of Scotland, and had issue:

1b. Sir James Sinclair of Murchill, mar. (1) Margaret Dundas (dsp.), and (2) Jean Stewart (d. bef. 22 Oct 1682), 1st dau. of William Stewart of Burray, and had issue by his second wife:

1c. John Sinclair, later 8th Earl of Caithness

2c. David Sinclair of Broynach (d. betw. 1713 and 1716), mar. (1) ...... Sinclair, dau. of William Sinclair of Dun, and had:

1d. James Sinclair (dsp. c. 1754)

1d. Elizabeth Sinclair

David Sinclair of Broynach mar. (2) Jun 1700 Janet Ewing, and had further issue:

2d. David Sinclair (b. Feb 1701; d. c. 1760), mar. 21 Oct 1744 Margaret Mackay, and had issue:

1e. Capt James Sinclair, unsuccessfully claimed the Earldom in 1765 and 1779 (dsp. 11 Jan 1788)

3d(?) Capt Donald Sinclair (d. 1768), mar., and had issue

1c/5c. Five daughters

2b. Francis Sinclair, mar. after 19 Jul 1621 Janet Sutherland, dau. of Alexander Sutherland of Forse, and had issue:

1c. James Sinclair (dsp.)

1b. Agnes Sinclair, mar. John Mackay of Dirlot and Strathy

2b. Elizabeth Sinclair, mar. 1613 Sir John Lucas of Cromby

3a. Hon Sir John Sinclair of Greenland and Ratter (d. bef. 21 Dec 1627), mar. Janet Sutherland, and had issue:

1b. William Sinclair of Ratter (b. bef. 1613; dvp. c. 1618)

2b. Alexander Sinclair of Ratter (b. bef. 1613; dvp. bef. 6 Jan 1623)

3b. John Sinclair of Ratter (b. bef. 1613; dvp. bef. 19 Dec 1634)

4b. Sir James Sinclair of Reaster and later of Ratter, mar. Janet Bruce, dau. of William Bruce of Stanstill, and had issue:

1c. William Sinclair of Ratter (d. after 4 May 1663), mar. (1) after 24 Mar 1642 Elizabeth Sinclair, only dau. of John Sinclair of Ulbster, and had issue:

1d. John Sinclair of Ratter (d. 1714), mar. Elizabeth Sinclair, dau. of Sir William Sinclair of Mey, 2nd Bt., and had issue:

1e. John Sinclair of Ratter (d. 3 Dec 1733), mar. Janet Sinclair, dau. of Patrick Sinclair of Southdun, and had issue:

1f. John Sinclair of Ratter (d. 1734)

2f. William Sinclair of Ratter, later 10th Earl of Caithness

1f. Jacobina Sinclair (bapt. 9 Apr 1717)

2e. William Sinclair of Freswick (d. unm.)

1e. Barbara Sinclair, mar. John Sinclair of Forse

2e. Frances Sinclair, mar. 1728 her cousin James Sinclair of Latheron, and had issue

3e. Margaret Sinclair, mar. (1) her cousin Alexander Sinclair of Brabster, and (2) Rev Alexander Gibson, Minister of Canisbay, and had issue by her first husband

4e. Katharine Sinclair, mar. George Manson of Bridgend

William Sinclair of Raster mar. (2) Jean Sinclair (widow of Alexander Sinclair of Latheron), dau. of John Cunningham of Geise and Bronhill, and had further issue:

2d. James Sinclair of Freswick (d. bef. 11 Nov 1696)

3d. Robert Sinclair (dsp. bef. 1696)

4d. David Sinclair of Freswick (d. after 11 Nov 1696)

1d. Janet Sinclair, mar. John Sinclair, 4th of Ulbster

2d. Anne Sinclair, mar. (1) 1 Mar 1678 her cousin Robert Sinclair of Durran, and (2) John Campbell of Castlehill, Commissary and Sheriff-clerk of Caithness, and had issue by her first husband

2c. John Sinclair (dsp.)

1c. Janet Sinclair, mar. Walter Bruce of Ham

2c. Margaret Sinclair, mar. 1655 John Smith, son of Rev William Smith, Minister of Dunnet

3c. Elizabeth Sinclair, mar. 1652 her cousin William Bruce of Stanstill

5b. Francis Sinclair (b. bef. 1613)

6b. Thomas Sinclair (b. after 1613)

1b. Elizabeth Sinclair, mar. John Cunningham of Geise and Brownhill

1a. Lady Marie Sinclair (d. after 20 Feb 1582)

2. Hon William Sinclair of Mey (dvp. and sp. legit.)

3. Hon George Sinclair of Mey, Chancellor of the Diocese of Caithness 1572 (d. 1616), mar. bef. 1583 Hon Margaret Forbes (b. 14 Oct 1557), dau. of William [Forbes], 7th Lord Forbes, by his wife Elizabeth Keith, dau. and cohrss. of Sir William Keith of Innerugie, and had issue:

1a. Sir William Sinclair of Mey and Canisbay (d. c. 1643), mar. after 23 Apr 1600 Katherine Ross (d. 5 Jul 1603), 2nd dau. of George Ross of Balnagown, and had issue:

1b. Sir James Sinclair of Canisbay and of Mey, 1st Bt. (cr. 2 Jun 1631 with remainder to his heirs male whatsoever) (d. 20 Apr 1662), mar. 26 Jul 1628 Hon Elizabeth Leslie, 2nd dau. of Patrick [Leslie], 1st Lord Lindores, by his wife Lady Jean Stewart, 2nd dau. of Robert [Stewart], 1st Earl of Orkney, and had issue:

1c. Sir William Sinclair of Mey, 2nd Bt., mar. 4 Oct 1643 Lady Margaret Mackenzie (d. 1692), 2nd dau. of George [Mackenzie], 2nd Earl of Seaforth, by his wife Hon Barbara Forbes, 1st dau. of Arthur [Forbes], 10th Lord Forbes, and had issue:

1d. Sir James Sinclair of Mey, 3rd Bt., mar. (1) Frances Towers, dau. of Sir John Towers of that Ilk and Innerleith, and (2) his cousin Jean Sinclair, sister of George [Sinclair], 7th Earl of Caithness, and only dau. of Hon Francis Sinclair of Keiss and Northfield, by his wife Hon Elizabeth Fraser, dau. of Andrew [Fraser], Lord Fraser, and had issue by his first wife:

1e. Sir James Sinclair of Mey, 4th Bt. (d. 26 Mar 1732), mar. his second cousin Hon Mary Sutherland, dau. of James [Sutherland], 2nd Lord Duffus, by his wife Lady Margaret Mackenzie, 1st dau. of Kenneth [Mackenzie], 3rd Earl of Seaforth, and had issue:

1f. Sir James Sinclair of Mey, 5th Bt. (b. 26 Apr 1715; d. 4 Oct 1760), mar. Nov 1735 Margaret Sinclair, dau. of John Sinclair of Barrock, and had issue:

1g. Sir John Sinclair of Mey, 6th Bt. (d. 26 Mar 1774), mar. his second cousin Charlotte Sutherland, 2nd dau. of Hon Eric Sutherland by his wife and cousin Elizabeth Dunbar, 3rd dau. of Hon Sir James Sutherland later Dunbar, 1st Bt., and had issue:

1h. Sir James Sinclair of Mey, 7th Bt., later 12th Earl of Caithness

1h. Margaret Sinclair, mar. 1 Sep 1782 Rev William Leslie of Darkland, and had issue

2g. William Sinclair, mar. Elizabeth Sinclair, dau. of Richard Sinclair, 2nd son of Alexander Sinclair of Dun, and had issue:

1h. Capt John Sinclair (d. 18 Jun 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo)

1h. Williamina Sinclair (d. unm.)

2f. William Sinclair

3f. Kenneth Sinclair

1f. Margaret Sinclair

1e. Margaret Sinclair, mar. Francis Sinclair of Stiroke

2d. George Sinclair, an officer in the Army (b. 2 Aug 1653; d. 16...), mar. Margaret Moncrieff, and had issue:

1e. Margaret Sinclair (b. 15 Nov 1687)

1d. Elizabeth Sinclair, mar. John Sinclair of Ratter

2d. Barbara Sinclair, mar. David Sinclair of Feswick

3d. Mary Sinclair (b. 29 Mar 1660)

2c. John Sinclair of Stangegill (dsp. legit.)

3c. Robert Sinclair of Durran (d. c. 1799), mar. after 1 Mar 1678 his cousin Anne Sinclair, dau. by his second wife of William Sinclair of Ratter, and had issue:

1d. John Sinclair of Durran (d. 1728), mar. Elizabeth Sinclair, 1st dau. of George Sinclair of Barrock by his second wife Elizabeth Murray, dau. of David Murray of Clairden, and had issue:

1e. Robert Sinclair (dvp. 1725)

2e. John Sinclair (dvp. 1727)

3e. James Sinclair of Durran (d. 1793), mar. (1) 1744 Elizabeth Dunbar, dau. of Sir Patrick Dunbar of Northfield, Bt., and had issue:

1f. James Sinclair (bapt. 19 Jul 1745; d. young)

2f. Capt Patrick Sinclair of Durran RN (bapt. 26 Jun 1747; d. 1794), mar. Anne Sutherland, dau. of Robert Sutherland of Langwell, and had issue:

1g. Patrick Sinclair (d. young)

2g. Lt James Sinclair RN (d. 21 Jul 1801)

1g. Catherine Sinclair (d. 1849), mar. Capt John Worth RN, of Oakley, co. Suffolk, and had issue

3f. George Sinclair, lawyer (bapt. 11 Feb 1749; d. 6 Dec 1779), mar. 19 Sep 1775 Elizabeth Sutherland, dau. of John Sutherland, 13th of Forse, and had issue:

1g. Lt Col John Sutherland Sinclair (b. 1778; d. 12 Apr 1841), mar. (1) 22 Jun 1802 Marianne Gamble, dau. of Dr John Gamble, and had issue:

1h. George Sutherland Sinclair WS (b. 2 Nov 1803; dvp. 16 Jan 1834)

2h. Lieut John Sinclair (b. 1805; dvp. 22 Jun 1838)

3h. Francis Sutherland Gamble Sinclair (dvp. 1809)

1h. Elizabeth Isabella Sinclair (dvp. 18 Jun 1815)

Lt Col John Sinclair mar. (2) 23 Jan 1817 Frances Ramsay (d. 20 Jan 1823), yst. dau. of Capt David Ramsay RN by his wife Mary Macleod, dau. of Norman Macleod of Macleod, and had issue:

2h. Mary Norman Sinclair (d. 28 Nov 1880)

3h. Amelia Anne Sinclair (d. 9 Dec 1863), mar. Dr Robert Ellis Dudgeon

4h. Davidona Frances Stewart Sinclair (dvp. young)

Lt Col John Sinclair mar. (3) 13 Oct 1824 Euphemia Buchan (b. 27 Dec 1798; d. 19 Dec 1872), sister and hrss. in her issue of James Buchan, 14th of Auchmacoy and Chief of the Name of Buchan, and only surv. dau. of Thomas Buchan, 13th of Auchmacoy and Chief of the name of Buchan, by his wife Euphemia Turner, dau. of Robert Turner, 2nd of Menie, and had issue:

4h. James Augustus Sinclair, later 16th Earl of Caithness

5h. Thomas Buchan Sinclair (b. 21 Feb 1829; dvp. 30 Apr 1838)

6h. Charles Home Sinclair (b. 4 Mar 1837; dspm. 12 Aug 1910), mar. 23 Apr 1868 Mary Louisa Paton (dspm. 11 Jan 1917), dau. of Col John Paton, of Grandholm, co. Aberdeen, and had issue

5h. Euphemia Margaret Sinclair (dvp. 12 Oct 1836)

6h. Nicola Helen Meredith Sinclair (d. 24 Nov 1855)

4f. Maj Robert Sinclair (d. 1793)

1f. Margaret Sinclair (bapt. 19 May 1744), mar. Patrick Honyman of Graemsay and Armadale

2f. Catherine Sinclair (bur. 1820), mar. 1788 Lieut Alexander Robertson RN, of Jamaica (bapt. 1747; d. 1791), son of James Robertson of Bishopmiln

3f. Elizabeth Sinclair, mar. 1775 William Robertson of Auchinroath

James Sinclair of Durran mar. (2) Dorothea Bruce, and had further issue:

5f. John Sinclair (d. bef. 1789)

4e. Maj George Sinclair (d. unm.)

1e. Jean Sinclair (bapt. 10 Dec 1724), mar. her cousin James Sutherland of Swinzie

4c. George Sinclair of Olrig, mar. Elizabeth Bruce (widow of Walter Bruce of Ham), dau. of Alexander Sinclair of Latheron, and had issue

1c. Anne Sinclair (d. 1699), mar. 6 Jul 1654 as his first wife George [Mackenzie], 1st Earl of Cromarty, and had issue

2c. Elizabeth Sinclair (d. 1722), mar. 1656 her cousin William Sinclair of Dunbeath, Latheron and Geanies MP (d. 1690), and had issue

2a. Sir John Sinclair of Dunbeath MP (dspm.), mar. (1) bef. 31 Jul 1634 Christian Mowat, dau. of Magnus Mowat of Balquholile, and (2) Hon Catherine Fraser (b. 1619; mar. (2) 30 Jun 1653 as his second wife her first cousin Robert [Arbuthnott], 1st Viscount of Arbuthnott; (3) c. 1660 as his first wife Andrew [Fraser], 3rd Lord Fraser; d. 18 Oct 1663), 3rd dau. of Hugh [Fraser], 7th Lord Lovat, by his wife Isabel Wemyss, sister of John [Wemyss], 1st Earl of Wemyss, and 2nd dau. by his second wife of Sir John Wemyss of Wemyss, and had issue by his first wife

3a. Alexander Sinclair of Latheron, mar. Jean Cunningham, dau. of John Cunningham of Lambrughton, and had issue

1a. Janet Sinclair, mar. Walter Innes of Inverbraekie

2a. Margaret Sinclair, mar. 1618 Alexander Sinclair of Forse

3a. Barbara Sinclair, mar. 1610 Alexander Keith of Pittendrum

4a. Elizabeth Sinclair, mar. William Dunbar of Hempriggs

5a. Anne Sinclair

4. Hon David Sinclair

1. Lady Beatrix Sinclair (d. bef. 25 Nov 1575), mar. (1) c. 1567 as his first wife (div. 30 Jun 1572) Alexander [Gordon], 12th Earl of Sutherland, and (2) after 10 Sep 1574 Alexander Innes, 16th of Innes

2. Lady Elizabeth Sinclair, mar. (1) Alexander Sutherland of Duffus, and (2) as his first wife Hugh Mackay of Farr, Tongue and Strathnaver, and had issue by her second husband

3. Lady Margaret Sinclair (d. before 1604), mar. after 13 Oct 1579 as his first wife William Sutherland of Duffus, and had issue

4. Lady Barbara Sinclair, mar. Alexander Innes of Innes

5. Lady Agnes Sinclair (d. 6 Nov 1619), mar. (1) 20 Sep 1581 as his second wife Andrew [Hay], 8th Earl of Erroll, and (2) 1588 Hon Alexander Gordon of Strathaven, son of George [Gordon], 5th Earl of Huntly, and had issue by her first husband


9 Sep 1582

suc. by



resigned the Earldom to the Crown, obtaining a novodamus 2 Oct 1545 with remainder to John Sinclair his son and heir app., and his heirs male and assignees, whom failing to the Earl himself, and his heirs male whatsoever


George [Sinclair], 5th Earl of Caithness




after 29 Jul 1585 Lady Jean Gordon (d. after 29 Dec 1615), only dau. of George [Gordon], 5th Earl of Huntly, by his wife and second cousin Lady Ann Hamilton, 3rd dau. of James [Hamilton], 2nd Earl of Arran, Regent of Scotland


1. Hon William Sinclair, styled Lord Berriedale (dvp. after Sep 1623), mar. his cousin Hon Margaret Sinclair, only dau. of Hon James Sinclair, Master of Sinclair (by his wife Lady Isabella Leslie, only dau. by his third wife of Andrew [Leslie], 5th Earl of Rothes), 1st son and heir ap. by his first wife of Henry [Sinclair], 5th Lord Sinclair, and had issue:

1a. Hon James Sinclair, Master of Berriedale (d. Sep 1639), mar. between May 1633 and Oct 1633 Lady Jean Mackenzie (mar. (2) as his first wife Alexander [Sutherland], 1st Lord Duffus; d. 31 Mar 1648), 2nd dau. and cohrss. of Colin [Mackenzie], 1st Earl of Seaforth, by his wife Lady Margaret Seton, 4th dau. of Alexander [Seton], 1st Earl of Dunfermline, and had issue:

1b. Hon George Sinclair, later 6th Earl of Caithness

2b. Hon James Sinclair (d. young)

3b. Hon William Sinclair (d. young)

2. Hon Francis Sinclair of Keiss and Northfield, mar. Hon Elizabeth Fraser, dau. of Andrew [Fraser], Lord Fraser, and had issue:

1a. George Sinclair, later 7th Earl of Caithness

1a. Jane Sinclair, mar. as his second wife her cousin Sir James Sinclair of Mey, 3rd Bt.

3. Lt Col Hon John Sinclair (dsp. 1632)

1. Lady Elizabeth Sinclair, mar. 21 May 1621 George [Lindsay], 14th Earl of Crawford, and had issue

2. Lady Isabel Sinclair, mar. 1636 John [Mackay], 2nd Lord Reay, and had issue


Feb 1642/3

suc. by



resigned the Earldom 3 Apr 1592 in favour of his son and heir, William, reserving the life rent


George [Sinclair], 6th Earl of Caithness



22 Sep 1657 Lady Mary Campbell (b. after 1634; mar. (2) 7 Apr 1678 as his second wife Sir John Campbell of Glenorchy, later 7th Earl of Caithness later 1st Earl of Breadalbane and Holland), 3rd dau. of Archibald [Campbell], 1st Marquess of Argyll, by his wife Lady Margaret Douglas, 2nd dau. of William [Douglas], 7th Earl of Morton


s.p. May 1676

suc. by

1st cousin once removed


In 1672, being much involved in debt, he granted a redeemable disposition of his Earldom (as held under a charter of adjudication) to his principal creditor, Sir John Campbell of Glenorchy, providing for the assumption by him of the title of Earl, when the right to the lands became absolute, that is after six years.  Glenorchy had Crown confirmation of, and sasine on, this disposition.  On the death of Earl George, Glenorchy laid claim to the dignity as well as the lands, while the heir male, George Sinclair of Keiss, also assumed the title, and got a charter in implement, including both estates and title;  and endeavoured, under sanction of the authorities, to make good his right by an armed invasion of Caithness.  Eventually it was decided that the adjudication could not extend to the peerage dignity, so King Charles II, convinced of the Sinclairs' rights, in 1680 created Glenorchy Earl of Breadalbane and Holland, who then relinquished his claim to the Earldom of Caithness.


George [Sinclair], 7th Earl of Caithness




suc. by

second cousin


John [Sinclair], 8th Earl of Caithness



Jean Carmichael


1. Hon Alexander Sinclair, later 9th Earl of Caithness

2. Hon John Sinclair, a Lord of Session as Lord Murkle (dsp. 5 Jun 1755), mar. his cousin Lady Anne Mackenzie (dsp. 21 Oct 1740), 3rd dau. of George [Mackenzie], 1st Earl of Cromartie

3. Hon Francis Sinclair of Forse (dsp. 2 Mar 1762), mar. Janet Morrison

4. Hon Archibald Sinclair

1. Lady Janet Sinclair (d. 1720), mar. 1714 David Sinclair of Southdon (d. 1760), and had issue



suc. by



Alexander [Sinclair], 9th Earl of Caithness




15 Feb 1737/8 Lady Margaret Primrose (d. 7 Oct 1785), 2nd dau. of Archibald [Primrose], 1st Earl of Rosebery, by his wife Dorothea Cressy, only child and hrss. of Everingham Cressy, of Birkin, co. York

only child

1. Lady Dorothea Sinclair (b. 4 Apr 1739; dsp. 30 Sep 1818), mar. 4 Jun 1766 (div. c. 1771) James [Duff], 2nd Earl Fife


s.p.m. 9 Dec 1765

suc. by

third cousin twice removed


the Earl of Caithness devised his estates to himself and the heirs male of his body, with remainder to his brother Francis and the heirs male of his body, then to the second and younger sons successively of his daughter Dorothea, then to George Sinclair of Woodhall, a Lord of Session, and the heirs male of his body, then to the said Lord Woodhall and his nearest lawful heir male of line whomsoever, and finally to his own nearest heirs and assignees whomsoever; on the death of the Earl of Caithness a dispute for the landed property arose between the Countess Fife and Sir John Sinclair of Stevenson, nearest heir male of line of Lord Woodhall - the Court of Session found in favour of Sir John Sinclair in 1766, the judgement being affirmed on appeal by the House of Lords in 1767


William [Sinclair], 10th Earl of Caithness


2 Apr 1727


Barbara Sinclair (d. 20 Feb 1793), dau. of John Sinclair of Scotscalder


1. Hon John Sinclair, later 11th Earl of Caithness

2. Hon William Sinclair, an officer in the Army (dvp. 30 Oct 1776)

3. James Sinclair (dvp. young)

4. Alexander Sinclair (dvp. young)

5. David Sinclair (dvp. young)

1. Lady Isabella Sinclair (d. unm.)

2. Lady Janet Sinclair (d. 29 Mar 1806), mar. 31 Jul 1784 James Trail of Hobbister, Sheriff-Depute of Caithness and Sutherland, and had issue


29 Nov 1779

suc. by



John [Sinclair], 11th Earl of Caithness




8 Apr 1789

suc. by

seventh cousin twice removed


James [Sinclair], 12th Earl of Caithness


31 Oct 1766


2 Jan 1784 Jane Campbell (d. 2 Apr 1853), 2nd dau. of Gen Alexander Campbell of Barcaldine, by his wife Helen Sinclair, 1st dau. of George Sinclair of Ulbster


1. Hon John Sinclair, styled Lord Berriedale (b. 20 Jul 1788; dvp. 1 Jun 1802)

2. Hon Alexander Campbell Sinclair, later 13th Earl of Caithness

3. Lt Col Hon James Sinclair (b. 24 Oct 1797 ; dsp. 18 Jan 1856), mar. 1819 Elizabeth Tritton, yst. dau. of George Tritton, of Westhill, Wandsworth, co. Surrey

4. Hon Patrick Campbell Sinclair (b. 14 Jul 1800; dsp. 13 Mar 1834), mar. Isabella McGregor (d. 13 Mar 1853), dau. of Maj Gen ..... McGregor

5. Hon Eric George Sinclair (b. 19 Aug 1801; d. 26 Sep 1829)

6. Hon John Sinclair (b. 4 Jul 1808; dsp. 8 Jan 1861), mar. 22 Oct 1833 Maria Petronella Church (d. 26 Feb 1878), yst. dau. of John Church

1. Lady Janet Sinclair (d. 24 Feb 1867), mar. 10 May 1805 James Buchanan of Ardenconnel and later of Craigend Castle (d. 21 Dec 1860), and had issue

2. Lady Helen Sinclair (b. 22 Sep 1786; dvp. 1 Oct 1803)

3. Lady Charlotte Anne Sinclair (b. 11 Mar 1792; d. 7 Apr 1854), mar. 21 May 1810 Maj Gen Alexander MacGregor (b. 27 Nov 1778; d. 18 Jul 1823), and had issue


16 Jul 1823

suc. by



suc. his father 20 Mar 1774 as 7th Baronet of Canisbay


Alexander Campbell [Sinclair], 13th Earl of Caithness


24 Jul 1790


22 Nov 1813 Frances Harriet Leigh (d. 23 Aug 1854), yst. dau. and cohrss. of Very Rev William Leigh, of Rushall Hall, co. Stafford, Dean of Hereford


1. Hon James Sinclair, later 14th Earl of Caithness

2. Hon William Leigh Canning Sinclair (b. 1825; dvp. 3 Jan 1834)

3. Hon Alexander Eric George Sinclair (b. 20 May 1827; d. 21 Aug 1857)


24 Dec 1855

suc. by



James [Sinclair], 14th Earl of Caithness


16 Dec 1821

mar. (1)

17 Jul 1847 Louisa Georgiana Philips (d. 31 Jul 1870), 3rd dau. and cohrss. of Sir George Richard Philips, Bt., of Weston, co. Warwick, by his wife Hon Sarah Georgiana Cavendish, 1st dau. of Richard [Cavendish], 2nd Baron Waterpark


1. Hon George Philips Alexander Sinclair, later 15th Earl of Caithness

1. Lady Fanny Georgiana Elizabeth Sinclair (b. 26 Oct 1854; d. 11 Oct 1883)

mar. (2)

6 Mar 1872 Marie, suo jure Duchesse de Pomar (b. 1830; widow of Gen the Conde de Medina Pomar;  d. 2 Nov 1895), only surv. dau. of Don Jose de Mariategul


28 Mar 1881


1 May 1866 Baron Barrogill, of Barrogill Castle in the County of Caithness

suc. by

son by first wife


George Philips Alexander [Sinclair], 15th Earl of Caithness


30 Nov 1858


25 May 1889

suc. by

sixth cousin three times removed


on his death the Barony of Barrogill became extinct


James Augustus [Sinclair], 16th Earl of Caithness


31 May 1827


26 Apr 1855 Janet Macleod (b. 23 Sep 1829; d. 5 Feb 1906), dau. of Dr Roderick Macleod, of London, by his wife Margaret Gambier Macleod, dau. of Rev Roderick Macleod DD, Rector of St Anne's Church, Soho, London


1. Hon John Sutherland Sinclair, later 17th Earl of Caithness

2. Hon Norman Macleod Sutherland Sinclair later Buchan of Auchmacoy, later 18th Earl of Caithness

3. Rev Hon Charles Augustus Sinclair, Rector of Hempstead, co. Gloucester, Hon Canon of Gloucester Cathedral (b. 11 May 1865 ; d. 9 Mar 1944), mar. 25 Oct 1899 Mary Ann Harman (d. 22 Nov 1938), 2nd dau. of Rev Edward Harman, Rector of Pickwell, co. Leicester, and had issue:

1a. James Roderick Sinclair, later 19th Earl of Caithness

1a. Janet Sinclair (b. 14 Oct 1900 ; d. 19...), mar. 29 Apr 1931 Rev Noel Braithwaite Chard, Vicar of Harlow, co. Essex (d. 28 Nov 1936), only son of C E Chad, of St Alban's, co. Hertford, and had issue

2a. Nicola Marianne Sinclair (b. 5 Apr 1904; d. 19...), mar. 27 Sep 1928 John Vernon Morley MBE, yst. son of Edward Herbert Morley, of Warwick, and had issue

3a. Lady (Margaret) Alison Sinclair, granted the style and precedence of the daughter of an Earl by Royal Licence 1947 (b. 29 Nov 1910; d. 23 Sep 1997)

4a. Lady (Euphemia) Meredith Sinclair, granted the style and precedence of the daughter of an Earl by Royal Licence 1947 (b. 22 Oct 1915)

4. Hon George Arthur Sinclair (b. 28 Apr 1874; dsp. 29 Jul 1934), mar. 30 Mar 1921 Gerda Andren (b. c. 1873; d. 28 Nov 1965)

1.Lady Margaret Helen Sinclair (d. 13 May 1926)

2. Lady Euphemia Wilhelmina Sinclair (d. 11 Jan 1941)

3. Lady Meredith Isabel Sinclair (d. 11 Dec 1955)

4. Lady Mary Jessie Sinclair (d. 22 Jan 1945)


20 Jan 1891

suc. by



John Sutherland [Sinclair], 17th Earl of Caithness


17 Sep 1857


30 May 1914

suc. by



Norman Macleod Sutherland [Sinclair later Buchan of Auchmacoy], 18th Earl of Caithness, CBE


4 Apr 1862


21 Dec 1893 Lilian Higford (d. 11 Aug 1933), 2nd dau. of Higford Butt later Higford, of Eaton Place, London, and Aldermarston Court, co. Berkshire


1. Lady Olivia Buchan, 17th of Auchmacoy (b. 15 Oct 1894; d. 13 Dec 1973), mar. 6 Oct 1920 Capt Stephen Lloyd Trevor (d. 22 Jan 1959), son of William Trevor, of Lathbury Park, Newport Pagnell, co. Buckingham, and had issue

2. Lady Diana Buchan (b. 21 Apr 1898; d. 27 Apr 1963)

3. Lady Lucy Buchan (b. 27 Feb 1902; d. 18 Dec 2002), mar. 27 Feb 1928 Sir Thomas Innes of Learney GCVO, Lord Lyon King of Arms (d. 16 Oct 1971), and had issue

4. Lady Teresa Buchan (b. 27 Feb 1902 ; d. 22 Nov 1904)

5. Lady Augusta Lilian Buchan MBE (b. 29 Jan 1910; d. 17 Apr 1988)


s.p.m. 25 Mar 1947

suc. by



Lt Col, 5th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders; changed name on inheriting the Auchmacoy estate from his first cousin once removed Louisa Buchan, 15th of Auchmacoy, in 1910; a Representative Peer for Scotland 1918-29; CBE 1919


James Roderick [Sinclair], 19th Earl of Caithness, CVO CBE DSO


29 Sep 1906

mar. (1)

29 Apr 1933 Grizel Margaret Miller-Cunningham (d. 2 Sep 1943), only dau. of Sir George Miller-Cunningham KBE CB, of Leithenhopes, co. Peebles

children by first wife

1. Lady Jean Elizabeth Sinclair (b. 11 Feb 1936), mar. 3 Jun 1961 David Peere Williams-Freeman, of Glendean Farm, Natal, South Africa, only son of Capt Frederick Arthur Peere Williams-Freeman DSO RN, of Constantia Rise, Cape Town, South Africa, and has issue

2. Lady Margaret Nicola Sinclair (b. 11 Sep 1937), mar. (1) 29 Aug 1959 Capt David Colin Kirkwood Brown, 2nd son of G/Capt Hugh Mitchell Kirkwood Brown, of Crofts Butts, Kingsbarns, co. Fife, and (2) 9 Jul 1983 John James Maxwell Glasse, of The Old Rectory, Milton Bryant, co. Bedford, son of J M Glasse, of Corsham, co. Wiltshire, and has issue by her first husband

3. Lady Fiona Catharine Sinclair (b. 27 Oct 1941), mar. 10 Jan 1969 Capt Michael Stephen Whitfield, of Plymtree, Marondera, Zimbabwe, 1st son of Maj Edward William Whitfield, of Marondera, Zimbabwe, by his wife Julia Noble Bine Renshaw, 1st dau. by his first wife of Sir (Charles) Stephen Bine Renshaw, 2nd Bt,, and has issue

mar. (2)

17 Aug 1946 Baroness Madeleine Gabrielle Ormerod (widow of Capt George Wareing Drewery Ormerod, of Tyldesley, co. Lancaster;  mar. (3) 1977 David Frederick Ewen CBE;  d. 1990), 3rd dau. of Baron Herman Edward de Pury

children by second wife

1. Hon Malcolm Ian Sinclair, later 20th Earl of Caithness

4. Lady Bridget Sarah Sinclair (b. 18 May 1947), mar. 1 Apr 1976 Nicholas Antony Oppenheim, of Lysia Street, London, son of Sir Duncan Oppenheim, and has issue


8 May 1965

suc. by

son by second wife


served in World War II; Senior Advisor to British Services minister, Burma 1948-49; Commandant, Ceylon Army 1949-52; a Representative Peer for Scotland 1950-58; Commander, 51st Independent Infantry Brigade 1952; Deputy Commander, Highland District 1955; Her Majesty's Resident Factor, Balmoral Estates 1955-65; Brigade Colonel, Gordon Highlanders 1958-65; Member, Royal Company of Archers


Malcolm Ian [Sinclair], 20th Earl of Caithness, PC


3 Nov 1948


9 Jan 1975 Diana Caroline Coke (d. by suicide 8 Jan 1994), only dau. of Maj Richard Lovel Coke DSO MC, of Weasenham Hall, King's Lynn, co. Norfolk, by his wife Molly Fletcher, 2nd dau. of Walter Townshend Fletcher, of Dorchester, co. Dorset


1. Hon Alexander James Richard Sinclair, styled Lord Berriedale (b. 26 Mar 1981)

1. Lady Iona Alexandra Sinclair (b. 18 Feb 1978)


with Savill's 1972-78 and Brown and Mumford 1978-80; Lord-in-Waiting 1984-85; Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Transport 1985-86; Minister of State, Home Office 1986-88; Minister of State, Department of the Environment 1988-89; Minister of State, Treasury and Paymaster-General 1989-90;  Privy Councillor 1990; Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office 1990-92; Minister of State, Department of Transport 1992-94; elected to the House of Lords 1999; FRICS


 Last updated 21 Mar 2005




20th Earl of Caithness

(Scotland, let. pat. 28 Aug 1455)

20th Lord Berriedale

(Scotland, let. pat. 1469)

15th Baronet, styled "of Canisbay, co. Caithness"

(Nova Scotia, let. pat. 2 Jun 1631)

Chief of the Name and Arms of Sinclair



c/o House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW



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