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THE SUTHERLANDS OF WESTER

The estate of Wester is in the parish of Watten.

In 1633 John, Master of Berriedale, granted to Mr. John Stewart, minister of Wick, a wadset of the lands of Wester or Westerloch and North Kilimster. This wadset was acquired by: -

I. William Sutherland (of the family of Sutherland of Forse and of Langwell), who was the eldest son of David Sutherland in Ausdale (third son of William Sutherland or McEan, first of Langwell), and Catharine Polson, his first wife, as appears from a bond of provision in his favour by his father, dated in 1697.

From the MS. diary of Bishop Robert Forbes it appears that on his visit to Caithness in 1762 he saw William Sutherland of Wester, of whom he speaks highly, describing him as a man of reading, who had been bred to the sea and seen much of the world.

He states himself to have been hospitably entertained by the "honest old Trojan and his wife, sister to the Rev. John MacLachlan's first wife, Betty Sutherland". At this period Wester's son and successor, John, was married and had children, two of whom were confirmed by the Bishop.

II. John Sutherland of Wester succeeded his father, William, and married Anne, daughter of Alexander Innes (the younger brother of Harry Innes of Sandside), and died about the end of last century, leaving a son, Alexander, and five daughters.

III. Alexander Sutherland of Wester was in early life an officer in the army, and his father having left his affairs in an involved condition, he was reduced to a state of poverty, and died about 1821. The reversion or right to redeem the wadset had been acquired by the Hempriggs family, on the sale of the Caithness estates, and after much litigation with Sir Benjamin Dunbar, Alexander Sutherland gave up possession of North Kilimster, and took a lease of Wester at a rent equal to the interest of the wadset sum, payment of which was postponed for many years. It was ultimately paid to the Sandside family, who had come to be in right of it.

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