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SINCLAIR OF BREW in the Parish of Dunrossness

  1. HENRY SINCLAIR of Havera, died in the year 1545, leaving by his wife Jean, daughter of William Sinclair of Houss, a son,
  2. OLAVE SINCLAIR of Havera, who obtained on 19th September 1539, a respite of the slaughter of John, Earl of Caithness, who fell in the fight with the Orkney and Shetland men at Summersdale in Orkney, in 1529. He subsequently held the office of Great Fowde of Zetland, and on 17th July 1567, having failed to account to the Crown for the mails and rents of the islands, he is ordered by the Privy Council to be put to the horn if he does not do so within twenty days. In a M.S. description of Dunrossness preserved in the Advocates Library, and written by Mr. James Kay, minister of that Parish, 1682-1716, it is stated that in the reign of Queen Mary, that part of the country was several times invaded by Hutcheon Macleod of the Lewis, to avenge the death of his brother William, who, it is asserted, had been treacherously slain at the instigation of Oliver. On one of these occasions no less than sixty persons were slain near Quendale, and Oliver himself only escaped by leaping over Sumburghhead, and landing on a piece of grass in a cleft in the rock, he received no further injury than the loss of an eye. It was this Laird of Brew who entertained James Hepburn, the notorious Earl of Bothwell, when he fled to Shetland in 1567, after the defeat of Queen Mary at Carberry Hill. He died before 1579. By his wife Margaret, daughter of Alexander Baird, he had three sons and two daughters, viz.:-
    1. James, his heir
    2. Matthew of Ness, who was murdered on 27th June 1602, by Francis Sinclair of Uyea and Robert Sinclair his brother, both his nephews; John Bruce, servitor to Adam Sinclair of Brew; John Sinclair, son to Laurence Sinclair of Goat; Laurence Sinclair son to William Sinclair of Ustaness; and John Lindsay, servitor to Robert Sinclair, who were all found guilty of the crime before the Lawting Court at Scalloway on 16th August 1602, and being fugitive therefor, their whole goods, gear, and lands were forfeited. He had a son Edward, who succeeded him in Ness, and married Isabel Gordon.
    3. William, of Underhoull, had a Charter under the Great Seal, as one of the heirs of his father of 571/2 merks land, including Busta and Weathersta, in the parish of Delting, 32 in Nesting, 21 in Whalsay, 441/4 in Yell, 2413/4, including Underhoull and Uyea, in Unst, 53/4 in Fetlar, 2 in Bressay, 3 in Aithsting, 6 in Burra, 37 in Whiteness, 48 in Sandsting, and 6 in Dunrossness - in all 5041/4 merks, on 5th March 1578. As deputy of Cultmalindie he is charged, together with his nephew Robert of Ness, in 1575, with oppressing the inhabitants of the Isles of Unst and Yell, and on 15th February of that year he was ordained to find caution and lawburrows to the parishioners of Unst in presence of Barthol Strang of Voesgarth, Mr. William Lauder, Vicar of Yell, Andrew Hawick of Scatsta, and Mr. John Denoon, Vicar of Delting. On 7th February 1579, he granted a Charter to his eldest son Francis, of the lands which belonged to his deceased father Olave Sinclair of Brew. He married Margaret, daughter of John Stewart, prior of Coldingham, who after his death married William Bruce of Sumburgh. They had issue:
      1. Francis of Uyea, found guilty of being art and part in the murder of his uncle Mathew of the Ness, in 1602. On 30th June 1597, he is ordained to find caution by the Privy Council to the amount of 500 merks to maintain good rule within his lands. He disponed 12 merks of his lands in Underhoull to James Sinclair, son of the deceased Arthur Sinclair of Aith, by a Charter dated at Edinburgh on 4th February 1617, and on 9th August 1634, he witnesses a Charter by Erasmus Manson in Southsetter, in favour of Laurence Sinclair of Houss
      2. Robert, found guilty of the murder of his uncle Matthew
      3. James
      4. Katherine
      5. Margaret
    4. Barbara, married Adam Neven of Scousburgh
    5. A daughter, married Richard Leask, who was slain by a servant of Henry Sinclair of Sandwick, at the door of Sandwick Church
  3. JAMES SINCLAIR of Brew granted a discharge in 1588, to Laurence Bruce of Cultmalindie for the sum of £200 Scots, being part of a sum of £1100 to tutor of the latter's daughter. He married Janet, daughter of Laurence Sinclair of Sandes, and had issue:
    1. Adam, his heir
    2. Malcolm
    3. Laurence
    4. James
    5. Margaret, married to James Sinclair of Scalloway
    6. Jean
  4. ADAM SINCLAIR of Brew, was also charged with the murder of his uncle Matthew Sinclair of Ness, and on 23rd August 1602, was found guilty by the Assize, who “decides the said Adam's whole moveabilities, goods and gear with his whole heritable lands and possessions to be forfeit, and himself out of the country within the space of 15 days, and if he is apprehended therefter to be taken to the heading-hill of Scalloway Banks, and there his head to be taken and struck from his body as an example to others”. This sentence was not carried out, and he appears to have continued to possess his lands. On 6th June 1597, he is ordained by the Privy Council to find caution to the extent of £1000, for good rule within the same. Further, on 1st October 1611, he is charged with others before the said Council, with having as a servant of the Earl of Orkney, committed all kind of iniquity and wickedness, and was denounced a rebel. He died in 1627, having married (first) in 1588, Helen, daughter of Laurence Bruce of Cultmalindie, and had issue:
    1. Laurence, his heir
    2. James, afterwards of Brew
    3. Jane, married James Kelman, who was an officer in Montrose's army, and had issue:
      1. Margaret, married Thomas Manson of Newhouse
      2. Barbara
      3. Christian, married John Jameson of Still
      4. Katherine, married Andrew Bruce of Northhouse
      5. Grizel
      6. Andrew, married Grizel Mufet, and had issue: James, married Wilhelmina Bruce, and had a son William, who went to Holland
    4. Malcolm
    5. Barbara, married 1628, John Sinclair of Quendale
    6. Helen
  5. LAURENCE SINCLAIR of Brew disponed in 1639 to his eldest son William, five score 14 merks 6 pennies the merk in Brew, 10 merks in Whilygairth adjacent, 47 merks in the said town and among the lands of Brew adjacent thereto belonging to the Kirk and the King, and the Lords of Norway, all in the parish of Dunrossness. He appears to have been succeeded by his brother,
  6. JAMES SINCLAIR of Brew, died 8th August 1645, having married (first) Grizel Halcro, and (second) Elizabeth, daughter of Patrick Cheyne of Esslemont, and had issue:
    1. Adam, his heir
    2. Malcolm
    3. Laurence
    4. Arthur
    5. Ursilla, married William Bruce
    6. Janet
  7. ADAM SINCLAIR of Brew died 1686, having married Jean, daughter of Captain Andrew Dick of Fracafield and had issue:
    1. Charles, his heir
    2. Laurence
    3. James
    4. Arthur
    5. Margaret, married James Mowat
    6. Ann
  8. CHARLES SINCLAIR of Brew, died 1734, married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Robertson of Gossaburgh, and had issue:
    1. Alexander, his heir
    2. Arthur
    3. Robert, married 3rd February 1734, Charlotte, daughter of Sir John Mitchell, Bart.
    4. Adam
    5. Jean, married 2nd December 1740, John McIntosh, merchant, and had issue:
      1. Anne Margareta, baptised November 1740
      2. Barbara, baptised 27th July 1743
    6. Marion, married 4th February 1742, Charles Leslie
    7. Janet, married James Craigie
    8. Elizabeth
  9. ALEXANDER SINCLAIR of Brew succeeded his father in the estate, which had by this time become to a large extent overblown with sand, the rental of the whole being then only £206 Scots. He died 20th November 1759, having married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Mitchell, Bart., of Westshore, and had issue:
    1. John Charles, baptised 29th January 1727
    2. Ann, baptised 26th March 1730
    3. Elizabeth, baptised 9th April 1731, died young
    4. Andrina, baptised 14th May 1732
    5. Jean, baptised 19th May 1734
    6. Janet, baptised 10th December 1735
    7. Elizabeth, baptised 5th January 1738, married 10th January 1769, William Henderson in Papa
    8. Philadelphia, born 2nd May 1739
    9. Gifford (daughter) born 18th November 1740
    10. Craigie (daughter) born 7th February 1743, alive in 1832
    11. Ola, born 13th July 1746
    12. Arthur, his heir
    13. Margaret, married Alexander Fraser in Scalloway
    14. Barbara, married Andrew Craigie
  10. ARTHUR SINCLAIR, last of Brew, succeeded to a heavily encumbered estate, which on 24th January 1770, was adjudged from him by Sir John Mitchell, last of Westshore. He married Janet, daughter of Laurence Tarrel, merchant, Lerwick, and had issue:
    1. James
    2. Elizabeth Mitchell, married 21st April 1795, William Thomas Craigie, merchant, Leith, second son of James Craigie of Stebbiegrind
    3. Janet
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