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THE SINCLAIRS OF DURRAN

The estate of Durran is in the parish of Olrig.

Calder mentions a "Sinclair of Durran" in 1621, who, having been ejected by the Bishop's Chamberlain from lands which he occupied as tenant under the Earl of Caithness, killed one Lindsay, to whom the lands had been given. The Earl held church lands in feu, but had been deprived of them, and as the lands of Durran seem, in 1657 and 1659, to have belonged to the bishopric, it is probable that they were the lands from which Sinclair had been ejected; and that he was styled of Durran as the occupier only, or perhaps the wadsetter under the Earl. Of what family this Sinclair of Durran was we cannot say; but he seems to have been" kinsman" to Sir Andrew Sinclair, envoy for the King of Denmark, for whose intervention he applied to obtain his pardon for the murder of .Lindsay. Of Sir Andrew's connection with the county we have no account.

I. ROBERT SINCLAIR, third son of Sir James Sinclair of Canisbay, and the great-grandson of George, fourth Earl of Caithness, was styled of Durran; but until 1717, when Lord Glenorchy granted a disposition to John Sinclair of Durran, of the lands of Durran, and of Stangergill, Thurdistoft, and others, which now form part of the Castlehill estate, the Durran estate was held in wadset from the Earl of Caithness, by Sir William Sinclair of Cadboll and Sir James of Canisbay.

Robert Sinclair married, in 1678 (Contract of Marriage, March 1), Anne, youngest daughter of William Sinclair of Rattar, afterwards styled "Lady Harland", and had a son and two daughters: -

  1. John, his successor
  1. Anne, who was third wife of James Sutherland of Langwell, and on his death married John Sinclair of Barrock
  2. Janet
II. JOHN SINCLAIR OF DURRAN married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of George Sinclair of Barrock, (Douglas) by his second wife, Elizabeth Murray. He died in 1728, and had four sons and a daughter: -
  1. Robert, who died in 1725
  2. John, who died in 1727
  3. James, afterwards of Durran
  4. George, Major in the 65th Regiment, who died without issue
  1. Jean, who married her cousin-german, James Sutherland of Swinzie
III. JAMES SINCLAIR OF DURRAN married, first, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Patrick Dunbar of Northfield, by his second wife, Katharine, daughter of Joseph Brodie of Milntown. By this marriage Tister came into the family, (Gentleman's Magazine) Sir Robert Dunbar having, in 1758, given a disposition in favour of his daughter and husband in liferent, and to the heirs of the marriage in fee. James Sinclair died in 1793, and had three sons and four daughters: -
  1. Patrick, his successor
  2. George, Writer to the Signet, who married in 1775 Elizabeth, daughter of John Sutherland of Forse. He died in 1779, leaving a son, John Sutherland, Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Artillery, who was three times married, and died in 1841. By his first marriage, to Miss Gamble, Colonel Sinclair had two sons, George, W.S., who died in 1834, and John, Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery, who died in 1828, and a daughter; all of whom died unmarried. By his second marriage, to Miss Ramsay, he had two daughters, and by his third marriage, to Euphemia, daughter of Thomas Buchan of Auchmacoy, (Died December 1872) he had several children, of whom there are surviving James Augustus and Charles Horne
  3. Major Robert, who died at Bombay, in 1793, unmarried. (Gentleman's Magazine)
  1. Margaret, who married Patrick Honyman of Graemsay
  2. Katharine, who married Alexander, son of James Robertson of Bishopmiln
  3. Elizabeth, who married William Robertson of Auchinroath
James Sinclair married, secondly, Dorothea Bruce, by whom he had an only child: -
  1. John, who seems to have died young before 1789
IV. PATRICK SINCLAIR OF DURRAN, Captain in Royal Navy, died at St. Domingo in 1794, in command of the Frigate "Iphigenia". He married Anne, daughter of James Sinclair Sutherland of Swinzie, and had two sons and a daughter: -
  1. Patrick, who died young and unmarried
  2. James
  1. Katharine
V. JAMES SINCLAIR OF DURRAN was a Lieutenant of Marines. He was killed in action in 1801, at cutting out the French Corvette "La Cheverite", and was succeeded by his sister, Katharine.

VI. KATHARINE SINCLAIR OF DURRAN married Captain John Worth of Oakley, R.N., and died in 1849, leaving a daughter-

Mary Katharine, who married, in 1834, Admiral Sir Baldwin Walker, Bart., K.C.B., etc., etc., who died in 1876, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Baldwin Walker, a Lieutenant in the Navy.

The estate of Durran was sold in 1827 by Mrs. Worth to the late Alexander, thirteenth Earl of Caithness, for 15,000. The nearest existing respresentatives of the family in the male line are the two sons of Colonel John Sutherland Sinclair, namely, James Augustus and Charles Horne Sinclair, both of whom are married. The family of Sinclair of Durran is next in succession to the earldom of Caithness, on failure of heirs-male of the present Earl.

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