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THE BRUCES OF LYTH

The estate of Lyth is in the parish of Bower.

In 1524 Lyth belonged to the "Mansons". In that year Kenneth, Donald, and William Manson got a charter of the lands in equal shares from Andrew, Bishop of Caithness, and, in 1532, a commission was directed by the Pope for confirming the grant.

Between 1583 and 1610, Lyth was acquired by the Bruces, William Bruce of Stanstill having, in 1583, obtained a charter from the Bishop of one-third, - while, in 1601, another one-third was held by Saul Bruce, and the remaining one-third, in 1610, by Gavin Bruce.

Saul and Gavin Bruce, portioners of Lyth, were probably brothers, and in a removing against them in 1610, at the instance of William Bruce of Stanstill (Gavin Bruce's father-in-law), from the lands of Bilster, they are designed by the alias of "Donald Williamsons". Their connection with the Stanstill branch is not known further than Gavin's alliance by marriage.

In 1592 there was a charter to William Bruce, eldest son of Donald Williamson or Bruce. In 1681 the Bishop granted a charter to -- Bruce, heir of Gavin Bruce, son and heir of Donald. In 1683 there was a special retour and also a precept of clare constat to James Bruce, grandson of Gavin. Thus there are: -

  1. Donald Bruce Williamson
  2. William Bruce, eldest son of Donald, in 1592
  3. Gavin Bruce, who married Christian, daughter of William Bruce, second of Stanstill
  4. --- Bruce, Gavin's son
  5. James Bruce, grandson of Gavin. In 1682 he disponed his third of Lyth to George Sinclair of Barrock
I. SAUL BRUCE married one of the Manson family, to whom, in 1524, Lyth, then divided into three portions, belonged. He had three sons and a daughter: -
  1. David, minister of Olrig, or more probably of Halkirk. In 1591 Saul Bruce was minister of Reay, and between 1597 and 1599 he was translated to Olrig. David Bruce is not in the list of ministers of Olrig in "Fasti Eccles. Scot"
  2. William
  3. Walter of Ham
  1. Marjorie, who married Sinclair of Dun
II. DAVID BRUCE, portioner of Lyth, said to have been minister of Olrig and Skinnet, married Janet Sinclair, the widow of John Smart, who was minister of Wick in 1638, and who died minister of Dunnet, in 1667.

The great interest taken by David Bruce in the affairs of the Stanstill family has been already noticed. He died in 1633, and, having no family, he left his property of Lyth to his brother, William, who is designed of Milburn; his moveables to his brother, Walter Bruce of Ham; a legacy to his sister, Marjorie; and another legacy to her "and William Sinclair's bairns". William Sinclair of Dun is mentioned by Father Hay as having married Marjorie, daughter of Saul Bruce of Leith (Lyth). She was, no doubt, David Bruce's sister.

III. WILLIAM BRUCE, portioner of Lyth, succeeded his brother, David, and had three sons: -

  1. Robert
  2. George
  3. William of Myreland; and also of Kirk and Myrelandhorn, which he apprised from James Sinclair, and assigned to his grandson, George, together with an apprising of Lyth
IV. ROBERT BRUCE, eldest son of William, and portioner of. Lyth in 1653, came into possession of Stanstill. For further particulars regarding him reference is made to the "Notes" on the Stanstill family.

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