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THE CALDERS OF LYNEGAR

The estate of Lynegar is in the parish of Watten.
In 2002 it was owned by William, Lorna and James Barnetson

The name Calder, in its older form of Caldell, is of considerable antiquity, and in the middle of the seventeenth century few names in the county are of more frequent occurrence. In 1508 we find William Caldell of Dun, and about the same period Donald Caldell, a proprietor in Wick. In 1525 a charter was granted to one Donald Caldell of lands of Dunnet and Barrock. This was probably the same person who married Helen Brisbane, one of the co-heiresses of considerable lands at Reiss and Ackergill, of which they were despoiled, when minors, by the Earl of Caithness. In 1558 Donald Caldell executed a deed in relation to the lands of Dunnet, and in 1563, his son, Donald of Barrock, resigned these lands ad remanentiam in favour of George, Earl of Caithness.

The principal families of the name were those of Lynegar, of Strath, of Bylbster, and of Achingale and Newton; but there were many others, holders of small wadsets in various parts of the county.

I. Of the Lynegar branch the first was probably ANDREW CALDER OF LYNEGAR, who in 1567 had a tack of Brabsterdorran.

II. CHARLES CALDER OF LYNEGAR was present at an inquest in 1573.

III. LAURENCE CALDER OF LYNEGAR, the son probably of Charles, died about 1629, leaving three sons: -

  1. Charles, his successor
  2. Laurence, who, as son to umquhile Laurence of Lynegar, got a precept of clare-constat in tenements in Dunnet, and a farthing land there, in 1634, and who, in 1636, married Janet Davidson. He died before 1679, and had three sons William, Andrew of Holland, who had a son Laurence, and John
  3. John, who, as narrated in a bond to his brothers, Charles and Laurence, in 1634, left Caithness "to travel in foreign countries"
IV. CHARLES CALDER OF LYNEGAR, son of Laurence, married, before 1647, Margaret Sutherland, "Lady Dun", widow of David Sinclair of Dun, and daughter of Donald Sutherland of Forse. He was succeeded by his son, Laurence.

It is probable that the Calders of Lynegar were at first merely wadsetters; but in 1632.Charles Calder got a feu-charter of the lands from William, Lord Berriedale, and from that date, at all events, the family were proprietors.

V. LAURENCE CALDER OF LYNEGAR got a disposition of the estate from his father in 1665, under reservation of his father's own liferent. In 1653 he married Isabel, eldest daughter of David Sinclair of Southdun, and he afterwards married Elizabeth Innes. In 1691-92 the Earl of Breadalbane disponed the lands to him and his wife in liferent, and to their son, James, in fee. Laurence was for some time Chamberlain to the Earl of Caithness, from whom he acquired Bowertower in 1692.

In 1661 Laurence Calder got a wadset from the Caithness family of the feu-duties of Lynegar, and he had from time to time various wadset rights in different parts of the county, such as Achalibster, Achsooraclate, etc.

By his first marriage he had four sons: -

  1. William, fiar of Lynegar
  2. John
  3. Andrew
  4. Alexander
By his second marriage he had several children, of whom the eldest was: -
  1. James, to whom in 1694 he disponed Halcro and Bowertower. (Vide Contract 1691~92, ut supra). James sold the latter in 1717 to John Sinclair of Barrock
Laurence Calder had also three daughters: -
  1. Barbara
  2. Elizabeth
  3. Jean
VI. WILLIAM CALDER OF LYNEGAR married, in 1683, Elizabeth, only daughter of Walter Bruce of Ham, and of his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Sinclair of Latheron, third son of George Sinclair of Mey. He died about 1698, and left a son, William.

VII. WILLIAM CALDER OF LYNEGAR was a minor at his father's death, and had for his curator Alexander Sinclair of Olrig, whose father had married his mother. William married Marjory, daughter of Patrick Sinclair of Southdun, and had two sons: -

  1. Patrick, his successor
  2. James
VIII. PATRICK CALDER OF LYNEGAR married Isabel, youngest sister of William Budge of Toftingall, W.S. He and William of Rattar, tenth Earl of Caithness, were cousins-german, their mothers having been sisters. He had a son and a daughter: -
  1. Alexander, his successor
  2. Jean, who married Mr. Russell, but whose issue are extinct
IX. ALEXANDER CALDER OF LYNEGAR held some office or employment in the Exchequer Office at Edinburgh, and was the last proprietor of Lynegar of this family.

He married Barbara Gray, and had three sons and two daughters: -

  1. Alexander, Colonel in the Madras Native Infantry, who married Anna Bunbury, and had a son, Francis, who married Mary Graham, and left no issue; and a daughter, Anna Bunbury, who married Mr. Wall, and has issue
  2. Francis, Captain, R.N., who died unmarried in 1855. He was a gentleman of most benevolent character, and a fountain has been erected in Belfast to his memory
  3. Patrick, Deputy Commissary-General, who died unmarried in 1853
  1. Isabella, who married William Sinclair of Freswick, and who died in 1812, leaving a son, John, and two daughters, of whom the eldest was Mrs. Thomson Sinclair of Freswick
  2. Barbara, who died unmarried in 1870
The late Mrs. Eliza Campbell or Grant, Thurso, writes, in 1826, to the late William Sinclair of Freswick, in reference to the Lynegar family, as follows: - "Sir James Calder, the father of Sir Harry and of Admiral Calder, was Equerry to the late Queen Charlotte, and his daughter married Admiral Hotham. I knew Sir James, and when he heard what part of Scotland I came from he particularly inquired for the Calders of Lynegar, who, he told me, were a very ancient family with whom he was connected, and had the honour of being a younger branch of the same family. He sent for Jean Calder (Mrs. Russell), and shewed her great attentions, as did Lady Calder and Mrs. Hotham".

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