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THE CHEYNES OF ESSLEMONT

Amongst the earliest settlers from Scotland who came to Shetland were the Cheynes. They were the descendants of an ancient family in Aberdeenshire, where the name is met with as early as 29th March 1285, when Reginald le Chene witnesses a grant by King Alexander III to the Predicator Brothers of Elgin. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries there were many noted families of the name in the North East of Scotland, among whom that of Esslemont was probably the best known. This was the branch who settled in Shetland.

  1. HENRY CHEYNE of Esslemont was a witness to a charter by Nicolas, Earl of Errol, to Gilbert Hay, of the lands of Wry on 12th August 1467. He had two sons,
    1. John, his heir
    2. Henry, a witness to a charter by his brother John in 1497
  2. JOHN CHEYNE of Esslemont granted a charter of the lands of Esslemont, under reservation of the terce of Isabella, his spouse, in favour of Henry Cheyne, his son and apparent heir, on 11th July 1497. He had issue:
    1. Henry, who predeceased his father
    2. Patrick, his heir
    3. Alexander, who had a crown charter of the lands of Arnage in Aberdeenshire, on 27th February 1516
  3. SIR PATRICK CHEYNE of Esslemont had a crown charter of the domnical lands of Esslemont, on 26th January 1516, on the narrative that there had been a litigation between him, the said Patrick and Alexander Cheyne, carnal sons of the late John Cheyne of Esslemont, as to which of them should succeed to the lands, which belonged to the said John in liferent, and to Henry, their brother, in fee, and which were then in the King's hand, through the non-entry of the true heir, and that they had agreed to divide them, Patrick getting Esslemont, and Alexander the lands of Arnage. He married Isabel Johnston or Bad, and had issue:
    1. Thomas, his heir
    2. Patrick, aforementioned
    3. Mr. Jeremy, minister of Tingwall and Archdeacon of Shetland in 1567, which charge he demitted in 1572, but was continued in 1580, and died 1584. He had a son, Mr. Thomas, who was presented to the parish of Tingwall by King James the VI, on the 31st March 1572.
    4. William granted a wadsett for the sum of £1425, to Malcolm Sinclair of Quendale over his 27 merk land of Gresta and others in the parishes of Tingwall, Weisdale, Whiteness, and Dunrossness, on 16th April 1598
  4. THOMAS CHEYNE of Esslemont had a charter from his father, as his son and heir, of the lands of Esslemont, on 19th September 1521, and a further charter to himself and spouse, on 2nd January 1540. He married Elizabeth Gordon, succeeded his father about 1558, and was dead before 1564. He had issue:
    1. Ursilla, who had a charter of the lands of Ardwyne, in the regality of Garriock, Aberdeenshire, from William Leith of Premina, on 20th December 1557.
    2. Margaret, married Patrick Con of Auchry
    Leaving no male issue he was succeeded by his brother.
  5. PATRICK CHEYNE of Esslemont was served heir to his brother, 20th May 1564, and had a charter of the lands of Fortrie, alias Fairlie, in the Lordship of Ellon, Aberdeenshire, from John, Archbishop of St Andrews, on 20th March 1582. He married, apparently as second wife (contract dated 4th November 1575), Helen Bruce. He had issue by his first marriage,
    1. Patrick, his heir
    2. James of Pennan, served tutor of Esslemont on 28th December 1608
    3. Elizabeth, married (contract dated 29th October 1596) Patrick Hay of Pitculane
  6. PATRICK CHEYNE of Esslemont was served heir to his grandfather on 4th October 1580, and to his father on 29th November 1588. He had a charter of the Archdeaconry lands of Zetland, comprising certain lands in the island of Sanday in Orkney, 3061/2 merks lands in Whiteness, 37 in Weisdale, 381/2 in Burra, 2 in Tingwall, 2 in Trondra, 21/2 in Nesting, 3 in Quhalisay, alias Selchiskerrie, 1 in Aithsting, and 1 in Walls, on 29th July 1587, and of the lands of Fracafield, extending to 30 merks, which had pertained to his uncle Jeremy, the Archdeacon, on 23rd March 1588, in consideration of his zeal in propagating the gospel. On 25th June 1600, he sold the Barony of Esslemont and Archdeaconry lands to Mr. John Cheyne of Petfichie. He married Christian Hepburn, and had issue:
    1. Patrick, his heir
    2. John, aftermentioned
    3. Elizabeth, married James Sinclair of Brew
    4. Margaret, who is said to have married Robert Bruce of Sumburgh
    5. Alexander
  7. PATRICK Cheyne of Esslemont had a charter of confirmation of the lands of Mains of Aberdour, on 24th July 1610, and a ratification of the two charters granted to his father of the Archdeaconry and lands and others in Zetland. He married Magdalen, daughter of Sir Patrick Fraser of Fraserburgh, and had, Patrick, who probably predeceased him. He was succeeded by his brother.
  8. JOHN CHEYNE of Esslemont, and Tangwick, was served heir to his grandfather on 8th October 1634. He had a grant of lands in Cullivoe from James Scott of Voesgarth, and Janet Pitcairn, his spouse, in 1640. He married Marjorie, daughter of Alexander Bruce of Cultmalindie, and had issue:
    1. George, his heir
    2. Andrew of Haversta, who married Barbara Sinclair, and who disponed his 8 merks udal, and 4 marks Kings' land, and 2 merks land in Little Havera, to Stewart of Bigtoun, on 8th September 1697
    3. Patrick
  9. GEORGE CHEYNE of Esslemont was a Commissioner of Excise for Zetland in 1661, a Justice of the Peace 1663, and Commissioner of Supply in 1685 and 1688. He married Barbara, eldest daughter and co-heiress of James Mouat of Ollaberrie, and had issue:
    1. John, his heir
    2. James of Tangwick (see later chapter)
    3. Magnus of Hogsetter ........... He married Barbara, daughter of Thomas Cheyne of Vaila, and had issue: an only son, James, father of George in Busta, who in 1772 disponed certain lands in Walls to Gideon Gifford of Busta
    4. Elizabeth, married Simon Adolphus Rosencranse, to whom there are several references in “Laxo's Lines”, written by Mr. John Hunter
    5. Barbara, married William Umphray
    6. Margaret, married James Scott of Voesgarth
  10. JOHN CHEYNE of Esslemont was a witness to the disposition, by Patrick Cheyne of Vaila to James Mitchell of Girlesta, of the 18 merks land in Melbie called the Gifford's Last, on 1st March 1699. He married Barbara Sinclair, and had issue:
    1. George, his heir
    2. Barbara
    3. Elizabeth
  11. GEORGE CHEYNE of Esslemont was a Commissioner of Supply for Zetland in 1698, and 1707
ARMS
GEORGE CHEYNE OF ESSLEMONT, Bears quarterlie, 1st and 4th azure, a bend between six corrses pateée fitcheé argent, for Cheyne; and 2nd and 3rd argent, three dock leaves slipped vert, for Marshall of Esslemont.
Crest, a cross patée fitcheé argent
Motto, “Patientia vincit”. Registered about 1678
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