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THE TRAILLS OF CASTLEHILL AND RATTAR

The estate of Castlehill is in the parish of Olrig.
The estate of Rattar is in the parish of Dunnet.

The connection of this family with the county dates from the settlement of Dr. George Traill as minister of Dunnet in 1751.

In 1581, George Traill, of the family of Traill of Blebo, in Fife, settled in Orkney. He was twice married: to Jean Kennedy and to Isabella Craigie. From the former marriage are descended the Orkney families of Traills of Holland, Skaill, Tirlot, and Vena, and from the latter are descended the Traills of Quendal, Hobbister, Westness, and Weststoye.

I. JAMES TRAIL, FIRST OF QUENDAL, was the son of George Traill by his second marriage, and he had three sons: -

  1. James of Quendal, his successor
  2. George, first of Hobbister
  3. John of Sanday
II. George Traill of Hobbister had two sons: -
  1. James, who died in 1756
  2. George
III. DR. GEORGE TRAILL, THIRD OF HOBBISTER, succeeded to that estate on the decease of his brother James in 1756. Having studied for the Church, he was settled as minister of Dunnet in 1751. In 1761 he purchased Castlehill; in 1773 he obtained the degree of D.D. from the University of King's College, Aberdeen, and in 1785 he died, aged. 62.

In 1753 Dr. Traill married Jean, (ob. May 1810) daughter of James Murray of Clairden, and his wife, Margaret Sinclair (daughter of George Sinclair of Barrock and his first wife, Anne, daughter of John Dunbar of Hempriggs), and had two sons and three daughters: -

  1. George, who died unmarried
  2. James, advocate, afterwards of Castlehill and Rattar
  1. Margaret
  2. Isabella
  3. Barbara
These ladies all died unmarried.

IV. JAMES TRAILL OF HOBBISTER, CASTLEHILL, AND RATTAR, was appointed Sheriff-depute of Caithness in 1788, and about 1789 he purchased the estate of Rattar. He married Lady Janet, youngest daughter of William Sinclair of Rattar, tenth Earl of Caithness, and died in 1843, in the eighty-fifth year of his age. He was held in the highest estimation during his long, active, and useful life, as an able judge and as a leading county gentleman.

Mr. Traill had three sons and six daughters: -

  1. George, his successor
  2. John, a young gentlernan of much promise, who died in early life
  3. James, barrister, who for many years was one of the Police Magistrates of London
  1. Williamina-Barbara
  2. Jean
  3. Isabella
  4. Mary
  5. Margaret, who died at Brighton, 3d June 1878, aged 82
  6. Janet
These ladies all died unmarried. They were, during their lives, held in universal regard.

V. GEORGE TRAILL OF RATTAR represented Orkney in Parliament for three years. In 1841 he was elected member for the county of Caithness, which he represented until 1869, when he retired, having been returned in seven successive general elections, five times without a contest, and twice by majorities. He entered the House of Commons as a Liberal, and in his public career he was throughout eminently consistent, while in his private relations he was held in the greatest esteem as an upright and honourable man. He died, unmarried, at London, on 29th September 1871, in his eighty-third year.

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