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GIFFORD OF BUSTA in the Parish of Delting

  1. ROBERT GIFFORD, first of Busta, was the son of John Gifford, third of Weathersta, and died 1678, aged 73 years. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Olla Manson of Islesburgh, and had issue:
    1. Laurence, who married Isabel, daughter of James Scollay, portioner of Burraness, and Elizabeth Mowat, his spouse, and predeceased his father, dying before 1672
    2. John, his heir
    3. Patrick
    4. Gilbert
  2. JOHN GIFFORD of Busta [2nd of Busta], born 1656, died 1705, was a Commissioner of Supply for Zetland in 1689, 1690, 1698 and 1704, and Chamberlain on the estates of the Earl of Morton in the Islands. He married 1678, Agnes, second daughter of Thomas Leslie of Ustaness, and had issue: twelve sons and four daughters viz.,
    1. Robert, died 1700, aged 20
    2. Thomas, his heir
    3. Patrick, Chamberlain of Zetland, died 1760, without issue
    4. John, writer, Lerwick, afterwards stewart-clerk of Zetland, married Jean, daughter of John Nicolson of Gilsbreck, and had issue:
      1. Thomas, baptised 1st July 1728, died young
      2. Peter, baptised 26th May 1731, died unmarried
      3. Grizel, baptised 14th May 1732
      4. Thomas, baptised 8th August 1733
      5. Arthur, baptised 10th May 1741, married Ann Sinclair
      6. Ann, married James Cheyne of Tangwick
    5. Andrew, of Ollaberry (see separate chapter)
    6. James, died without issue
    7. William, licensed 28th January 1728, ordained minister of Northmaven 6th March 1729, died 27th March 1767, having married Bess Leslie, who died 11th August 1776
    8. Gilbert of Urafirth, merchant, married Catherine, daughter of Sinclair of Brew, and had issue:
      1. John, surgeon, married (first) 4th March 1762, Janet, daughter of William Irvine, and (second) Ann, daughter of James Davidson, shipmaster, and died 1800, leaving issue: John and Gilbert
      2. Anne, died 20th December 1803, married Gilbert Henderson of Bardister
    9. Ann, married Andrew Fisken of Southerhouse and Netherhouse, minister of Delting 1709-51, who died 1753, and had issue:
      1. Mr John, assistant to his father, drowned with his cousins 17th March 1748
      2. Elizabeth, married John Rintoul
    10. Catherine, married 1720, William Bruce of Urie
  3. THOMAS GIFFORD of Busta [3rd of Busta] succeeded his father as Chamberlain of the Earldom, was a Commissioner of Supply in 1706, and afterwards filled the important office of Steward Depute of the County. He was the author of an Historical Description of the Zetland Isles, which, however, was not published till seventeen years after his death in 1773. On 15th May 1756, he executed a Deed of Entail of his estate. He died in 1760, having married on 4th February 1714, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Mitchell, first Baronet of Westshore, and had issue eight sons and six daughters,
    1. John, aftermentioned
    2. Robert, drowned 17th May 1748
    3. William, drowned 17th May 1748
    4. Hay, which four were all drowned on 17th May 1748
    5. James, died about 1740
    6. Thomas, born 6th June 1727, died in infancy
    7. Francis Patrick, born 1729, died 1740
    8. Thomas, born 5th September 1734, died about 1740
    9. Margaret, born 30th March 1715, married (first) William John Neven of Windhouse, and (second) 28th August 1758, William Nicolson of Lochend, and died 1768
    10. Elizabeth, born 1721,died 1740
    11. Barbara
    12. Anderina
    13. Ann, married 20th February 1752, her cousin Patrick Gifford of Ollaberry
    14. Christian, married 20th October 1750, John Bruce Stewart of Symbister, and died 1799
  4. JOHN GIFFORD, younger of Busta, the eldest son, was unfortunately drowned along with his brothers Robert, William, and Hay, and his cousin, Mr John Fisken, minister of Delting, on Saturday, 17th May 1748, while returning from a visit to their uncle, Andrew Gifford, at Weathersta. By this sad disaster the whole surviving male issue of Thomas Gifford met their doom. At this crisis a young lady named Barbara Pitcairn, daughter of George Pitcairn, shipmaster in Lerwick, who was residing in the house as companion to Mrs Gifford, announced that she had been privately married to John, and soon to become the mother of a child, who might prove to be an heir to the estates. The evidence of this marriage in the shape of the marriage lines, it is alleged, was taken by Barbara Pitcairn from the pocket of John Gifford's coat when his body was brought ashore. This paper, it is said, fell into the possession of Mrs Gifford,who suppressed it and concealed it in a drawer, where Andrew Gifford of Ollaberry pretended he found it in 1802. This document was said to be in the following terms, “At Busta, 8th December 1747. These certify that this day John Gifford of Busta, younger, and Barbara Pitcairn there, were duly married in presence of William Gifford and Hay Gifford his brothers. John Fisken, minister”. At any rate, Barbara did not maintain her claim very strongly, for she retired to Lewick, where she lived and died in 1766, always bearing her maiden name. In due time, in November 1748, her child was born, it is alleged in a garret at Busta House, and it turned out to be a boy, on whom the name of Gideon was bestowed. Whatever may have been the feeling of Lady Busta towards the child, his grandfather seemed to regard him in no unfavourable light, for he entailed his whole estates in his favour, and on his death the boy succeeded him.
  5. GIDEON GIFFORD of Busta [4th of Busta], born November 1748, was served heir to his grandfather on 26th October 1792. He kept up a great style and open house until his death in 1811. He married 4th March 1773, Grace, daughter of Arthur Nicolson of Lochend, and had issue:
    1. Arthur, his heir
    2. Grace, baptised 30th November 1776
    3. Grace, baptised 18th March 1779
    4. Thomas, baptised 14th December 1790
    5. Thomas of Hillswick, born 8th June 1789, in the East India Company's Service, married on 19th June 1821, Jessie, daughter of John Scott, younger of Melby, by whom he had issue
      1. Gideon Arthur
      2. Thomasina Jane Gifford, born 15th February 1832, now of Busta
      3. Grace
      4. Johanna
      5. Elizabeth
      6. Mary
      7. Thomas Bolt Pitcairn
      8. Barbara, who married Charles Robin, and has issue Alice and Evelyn
    6. Betsy, died unmarried
    7. Christian, married Rev.William Langridge, Wesleyan minister at Burravoe
    8. Jessie, married 14th February 1814, John Scott of Scalloway
  6. ARTHUR GIFFORD of Busta [5th of Busta] was served heir to his father 19th November 1827. In 1832 Arthur Gifford of Ollaberry, whose grandfather, but for the deed of entail, would have succeeded to the estates as heir male of Thomas Gifford the entailer, procured a brieve from Chancery for having himself served as heir in general to the said Thomas Gifford. Arthur of Busta promptly took out a competing brieve, and the proceedings thereupon came before the Court of Session. After a lengthy proof in Edinburgh, and a proof on commission in Shetland, and the whole evidence having been laid before the Jury, they returned a verdict for Busta by a large majority. Ollaberry, however, brought an action of reduction of the verdict of the Jury as being contrary to the evidence, and the same was set aside, Busta's father being declared to have been illegitimate, but he was found to be legally entitled to the estates by virtue of the deed of entail. He was also found liable in the expenses of the litigation, which were of so large an amount that the property has never been able to recover itself since. He died 3rd February 1836, having married 5th August 1810, Mary, daughter of James Hay of Laxfirth. he had a daughter, Jessie, who married the Rev.Archibald Sinclair, minister of Walls, and died 4th December 1881. He conveyed his whole estates to Trustees by his Trust Settlement, and they are now held by them on Truce for the beneficiaries under the same.
ARMS
THOMAS GIFFORD OF BUSTA, bears, gules three bars ermine, a bordure or for difference.
Crest, a hart's head erazed proper armed or.
Motto “Spare when you have nought”.
Registered 1722

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