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THE SINCLAIR SUTHERLANDS OF BRABSTER OR BRABSTER-MYRE

The estate of Brabstermyre is in the parish of Canisbay.
Photos of the ruins of Brabster Castle (17th century) can be seen on www.caithness.org/caithness/castles/photogallery

I. JOHN SINCLAIR, first of this family, was second son of Alexander Sinclair of Latheron, and his wife, Jean Cunningham, daughter of John Cunningham of Brownhill. On 2d December 1650 his uncle, Sir John Sinclair of Geanies and Dunbeath, disponed to him the lands of Brabster-myre, which he had acquired from the Mowat family, He had probably been involved in the political troubles of the time, for in 1658 John Murray, writer in Edinburgh (son of Murray of Pennyland), writing to Walter Bruce of Ham, who had married Brabster's sister, says-" If your brother-in-law, John Sinclair, be come home, he would doe weill to keep himself quiet, for this day Ortoun shews me who has been in Dalkeith, yet the General has sent ane ordere to Capt. Pantimane to apprehend him when he comes into the country". John Sinclair married Elizabeth, daughter of Patrick Sinclair of Ulbster, and had a son and a daughter: -

  1. Alexander, his successor
  1. Jean, who married Harry Innes of Borlum, ancestor of the late family of Innes of Sandside
From a bond of annuity dated 6th December 1683, John Sinclair appears to have had a second wife, for in this deed he provides an annuity of 500 merks to his "beloved bedfellow and spouse", Sibella Halcrow. This lady may have been of the Orkney family of Halcro of that ilk.

II. ALEXANDER SINCLAIR OF BRABSTER married Margaret, daughter of John Sinclair of Rattar, and had two sons: -

  1. George, his successor
  2. Patrick
After the death of Alexander Sinclair, his widow married Alexander Gibson, minister of Canisbay.

III. GEORGE SINCLAIR OF BRABSTER married Janet, second daughter of James Sutherland of Langwell, and his wife, Ann, daughter of Patrick Sinclair of Ulbster. "Lady Brabster" lived to a great age, and was a shrewd active woman when in her eighty-first year. In 1787 she purchased West Canisbay. George Sinclair had two sons and a daughter: -

  1. Captain Alexander, who died in 1756
  2. James, who was drowned at Elgin
  1. Anne, his successor
IV. MRS. ANNE SINCLAIR OF BRABSTER married, in 1762, her cousin, Robert Sutherland of Langwell, son of James of Langwell, and his wife, Rachel Dunbar, daughter of Dame Elizabeth and Sir James Dunbar of Hempriggs, and had two sons an a daughter: -
  1. James, who died in his nineteenth year
  2. George, her successor
  1. Alexandrina, who married James Macbeath, and had issue
V. GEORGE SINCLAIR SUTHERLAND OF BRABSTER married his cousin, Margaret, daughter of George Gibson, and grand-daughter of Alexander Gibson, minister of Canisbay, and his wife, Margaret, daughter of John Sinclair of Rattar. He died in 1840, and had seven sons and five daughters: -
  1. Robert, Lieutenant-Colonel in the East India Company's Service, who died in 1863, without surviving issue. He married his cousin, Margaret, daughter of Donald Robeson, Writer in Thurso, who survived him, and died in 1869
  2. James
  3. George, who died without issue in 1869
  4. Alexander, who died without issue in 1862
  5. John, Captain in the East India Company's Service, who died without issue in 1844
  6. David, a merchant in America, who has issue
  7. William, M.D. in Australia, who has issue
  1. Janet, who died unmarried in 1865
  2. Anne, who died unmarried in 1824
  3. Margaret, who died unmarried in 1868
  4. Camilla, who died unmarried in 1849
  5. Elizabeth, who married the Rev. Mr. McGregor, and has issue, three sons
VI. JAMES SINCLAIR SUTHERLAND OF BRABSTER succeeded in 1863, when the estate was conveyed to him by his father's trustees; and in 1865 he sold it to the Earl of Caithness for 16,500. He left two sons.

Had George Sinclair Sutherland, fifth of Brabster, been an heir-male of this family, he, as the descendant of an elder son of Alexander Sinclair of Latheron, would have succeeded in 1842, in preference to John Sinclair of Barrock, to the baronetcy of Dunbeath.

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