Back to Fiona's Finding Service
Back to Index | Previous page | Next page


[From Peterkin's Rentals]


  12. FEA
  13. FLETT
  17. GORDON
  18. GRAEME
  19. GROAT
  20. HALCRO
  21. HARCUS
  22. HEDDLE
  24. IRVING
  29. LAING
  30. LEASK
  34. MOODIE
  35. MOWAT
  36. MUIR
  42. TRAILL
  44. YULE
BAIKIE - This name has long been identified with the Orcadian mainland, and is considered to be the diminutive of beck - a stream. The earliest notice of the surname is to be found in the Rental of Merwick (for the King) 1595, where Henry Baky is noted as having excambed land in Ysbustar, Marwick, for ob terre in Tronston. In 1623 James Baikie purchased the first part of the estate of Tankerness. In 1686 James Baikie of Tankerness received a Grant of Arms, and in 1780 Robert Baikie of Tankerness was elected to represent Orkney and Shetland as a Member of Parliament for the United Kingdom, but was unseated on petition. A fuller account appears in [from Burke's Landed Gentry], which see.

BALFOUR - The Balfours were hereditary sheriffs of Fife, and the name is derived from Balfour Castle, in the vale or Strath of Or, a tributary of the Leven. The first ancestor on record is one Siward, in the reign of Duncan I (1033). The Orcadian line was founded by Sir Gilbert Balfour, Master of the Household to Mary, Queen of Scots. He married Margaret Bothwell, stepdaughter of Oliver Sinclair of Pitcairn, and sister of Adam, Bishop of Orkney and Shetland, who granted a charter 30th June 1560, to Gilbert Balfour and Margaret Bothwell, his wife, of lands in Westray. This was followed by grants of other church lands in Westray, Sanday, Stronsay, and South Ronaldsay. Mrs. Brunton, the novelist, author of "Self Control" and "Discipline", was a daughter of this family, which has on three occasions represented the Earldom in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and has ever been identified with movements tending to advance Orcadian interests. David Balfour, late of Balfour and Trenaby, prepared the "Memorial for Orkney" - a lucid exposition of its "Odal Rights and Feudal Wrongs". For further particulars of this family the reader is referred to Burke's Landed Gentry.

BEATTOUN - This family is stated to derive originally from France, where the spelling is "de Bethune". David de Betune is mentioned as a Scottish baron in 1289. The Scottish scions acquired importance through the eminence of the Cardinals so named. It is not clear whether the Orcadian Beattons are indigenous, or Scottish offshoots. As early as 1503 Symon or Sigmund Beaton is noticed in the Stromness Rental, and James and John Beaton are in that of Orphir. The lineage continues numerous in the same locality.

BELLENDEN - Oliver Sinclair of Pitcairn held the Isles in tack [lease], 1540-48, and was married to Katherine Bellenden, relict of Francis Bothwell, Provost of Edinburgh, one of the fifteen original Senators of the College of Justice, founded in 1532. The intermarriages of the Bellendens with the Bothwell-Sinclair connection account for Sir Ludovic Bellenden obtaining a similar grant later on [1587]. His widow married Earl Patrick of Orkney, who thus acquired a large jointure. For some time after this the Bellendens appear as holders of lands in Stenhouse and Evie: In 1595 Sir Patrick Bellenden holds various Orkney lands in feu. There is a peerage dormant in this family. In 1565 Patrick Bellenden was Provost [Chief Magistrate] of Kirkwall.

BORWICK - Perhaps the Scottish baronial family may he traced to one of the places in Orkney thus named. The Borthwicks always appear in close connection with the St.Clair Earls. In 1514 Alexander Borthwick attests the decree of Tohop, and he is doubtless the legatee of that name in Sir David Synclar’s will in 1506.

CLOUSTON - On the 22nd March 1503, it is noted Earl William of Orkney had bought from Evot, spouse of umquhile [deceased] John Cloustane, a penny land in Garmistane, Sandwick. Clouston is a sixpenny land in the same parish. The word is also spelled Cloustaith, and William Cloustaith attesting to the above fact will doubtless be the William Clouthcath, Rothman, present at the adjudication of Tohop in 1514. The family is very numerous in the neighbourhood of Stromness.

CORRIGALL of that Ilk [of Corrigall] - The town of Corrigall (anciently Corgill) is a twopenny land in Harra, where are also the Kame, the Dale, and the Burn of Corrigall. The members of this family are noticed as "of that Ilk" in Orcadian records, where their names appear frequently, and occasionally throughout this work.

CRAIGIE - James of Cragy, laird of Hupe [Westray], is mentioned in 1422 as having married Margaret, daughter of Earl Henry I of Orkney, by [son of) Elisabeth, daughter of the late reverend and venerable Malise, Earl of Orkney. Johannes de Krage is mentioned in the Complaint of 1426, and in or about 1446 Joan Cragy, "my armig", attests the Diploma of Succession prepared by Bishop Thomas Tulloch. In 1504 John Cragy is legifer, while James of Cragy, his wife, and Sir Thomas Crazy are also on record. In 1514 Hendrie, Thomas, and Nicoll, brether-german [full brother] to umquhile [deceased] John of Cragy, affirm the conveyance of Tohop. In 1529 James Cragy of Brogh, Gilbert Cragy, William Cragy, and John Cragy of Banks fought at Summerdale, and were respited in 1539, while in 1544 James of Brugh attested the Deed of Erection for the Cathedral Chapter of Orkney. At various times Craigies have represented the Earldom in Parliament. The family seat was at Gairsay, and the arms, according to Nisbet's Heraldry, are: Ermine, [fur background] a boar's head couped Rules, armed and langued [tongued] or [gold]. Crest: a boar passant argent [silver], armed and langued [tongued] azure [blue]. Motto: Timor omnis abest. The ruins of their mansion-house, supposed to have been built at the end of the 17th century, are to be seen on the south shore of Gairsay. At that period the Craigies were a distinguished family, and the loop-holes in the building show that they were in a position to defend themselves from intruders. Just outside the mansion there are the ruins of an old chapel. Hugh Craigie was Member of Parliament for Orkney and Shetland in the Scottish Parliament, 1661-63; Sir William Craigie of Gairsay, 1681-82, 1689, 1689-1702; David Craigie of Over-Sanday, Member of Parliament for Kirkwall, 1681-82, 1685-86; and Robert Craigie of Glencloig, Lord Advocate, Member of Parliament for the Tain Burghs (including Kirkwall) in the Imperial Parliament, 1742-47. Patrick Craigie was Provost [Chief Magistrate] of Kirkwall in 1660, and Hugh Craigie in 1691. William Craigie of Gairsay is mentioned 8th November 1640. On 25th May 1670, David Craigie of Over-Sanday desired at a Sederunt (the Lord Bishop being present) "in respect his umquhile [deceased] brother, Hugh Craigie of Gairsay, left in legacy to the church. £5 sterling, which himself had delivered to the church thesaurer (as was well known to the members of the session), that the burial place, which is beside the sixth and seventh pillar from the west church door on the south side, where his father, mother, and foresaid brother lie all interred, may be appropriated to their family, and that no other person have privilege to bury the dead there; which desire my Lord Bishop and session thought reasonable, and has appropriated the said ground to their family, with this provision, that they hold up the glass window above the said burial-place". The name is also spelled "Croy".

CROMARTY - This is a family of numerical strength in the South Isles, especially in South Ronaldsay. In 1502 Magnus Cromertie has Arueip viz. Burvik, and Quyscharpis, which latter is possessed by John Cromarty of Cara in 1595. John and Magnus Cromarte fought at Summerdale 1529, and received remission 1539. In 1640 John Cromartie, younger, was bailie for South Ronaldsay. Adam Cromarty, tacksman [leaseholder] of South Ronaldsay, held Paplay there in 1595.

CURSETTER of that Ilk [of Cursetter] - Cursetter is a threepenny land in Firth. Magnus Cursetter in that Ilk is confirmed by Lord Robert Stewart, 3rd May 1581, in his lands of Wasdale, Setter, Bingascart, and Rossmyre, of which he and his predecessors "have been in peacable possession past memory of man".

DISCHINGTON William de Dischington received from King Robert Bruce the lands of Balglassie, Aberlemno, and others in Forfar. Prior to the year 1330 he married Elisabeth, the king’s younger sister. Of his two sons, John, the younger, obtained the lands of Langhermiston. William, the elder, was, by David II, his cousin, knighted and appointed steward of the palace. In 1368 he received a royal charter of a third part of the barony of Ardross, Fife, in succession to his relative John Burnard, and also the same year a charter of the lands of Kynbrachmont. A skilful architect, he constructed the castle of Ardross, and the church of St.Monans, which latter was erected at the cost of David II to denote his gratitude to God for being preserved from a storm which overtook him and his queen, Margaret de Logie, when crossing the firth to visit William de Dischington at Ardross, The Dischingtons continued in Fife till 1673. In 1549 Margaret Dischington is noted as wife of Edward Sinclair of Strom, and as being under the special protection of Bishop Reid. In 1583 John Dischington, a younger son of the Laird of Ardross, passed to Orkney, and was acknowledged as a relative by Earl Patrick Stewart, who appointed him Sheriff and Commissary of Orkney and Shetland, Several of his descendants figure as officers in the royal navy and as ministers of the church.

FEA - This is the name of several places in Orkney. It is pronounced in two syllables, with stress on the first as indicated by diaeresised e. Two hundred years ago it was one of the mediatised families in the Isles. On the old house of Stove - their mansion in the Isle of Sanday - was this inscription: "Soli Deo gloria. Septem proavi haec nobis reliquerunt. J.F. (Jacobus Fea) B.T. (Barbara Traill), 1671". "These septem proavi were all direct ascendants, all of the same name, James Fea, and holders of the same property and title, ’Clestron’". Over the door of the house of Whitehall stood the initials "P.F." and "B.T." and the date 1671. The latter was the family residence in the Isle of Stronsay, James Fiia, of Stowe and Clestran, gave evidence on oath before Bishop Graham, 25th June 1627; Oliver and Robert Fia had been sworn in like manner at Stronsay the day preceding. Oliver and Malcolm Feais were bailies for Stronsay in 1640. In 1711 James Fea had a chaplain in his family upon whom also devolved the education of the children, and in 1714 be erected near his mansion house of Stove a handsome little Gothic chapel with nave and chancel, and vaulted roofs, supported on fourteen pillars, the Fea burial place being in the chancel. This gentleman first introduced into Orkney the manufacture of kelp. His son James Fea, a Jacobite, captured Gow the Pirate in 1725, and is said to have been ruined by the vexatious suits brought against him for his share of the prize money. [from Craven]

FLETT - Harald Flett, Danish by family, had a son Swend, who became a great viking and champion. He was a very clever man, and of high birth in his own country. He was fostered by Thorer of Steige, and was very dear to King Hakon of Norway, on whose death (in 1093) he led an army against his successor. Winning one or two engagements, he was eventually defeated and fled to Denmark, and remained there; and at last came into great favour with King Eystein, the son of King Magnus, who took so great a liking to Swend that he made him his dish-bearer, and held him in great respect. The dish bearer was an office of dignity, equivalent to the chamberlain in modern courts - the dapifer, Guttorm, son of Harald Flittr, was a king's officer at Konghelle [1135]. About 1136 Thorkell Flett, a violent and powerful man, lived in Westray. Thorkell contributed a ship, which he commanded in person in the naval engagement between Earl Paul and Olvir Rosta. He received from Paul the lands in Stroma, which had been owned by Valthiof Olaf-Rolfsson; a fatal gift, for Valthiof's kinsmen attacked and burnt him in the house there. His Son Haflidi was commander of a ship under Earl Rognvald. Wilhelm Flett is referred to in the complaint of 1426, and Kolbein Flaet appends his seal to same. In the rentals of 1503 Johne Flet has Hundskarth (Harray), and Cloustaith (Stanehous), and Sir Robert Flett is noted as having of late (1503) bought from an uthalman three penny land in Lyrland alias Leyland" (St.Cross, Sanday). In 1506 Sir David Sinclair leaves "to William Flete and his brother Criste Flete my little ship, with all gear, and all my lands in Orkney with my innes in Kirkwall except Setter and Vactesquyr". In 1514 Johnne Flett of Harray is one of the Council of Lawmen at Kirkwall. In 1525 Robert Flett attests probate of Sir David Sinclair's will. Arms: - Argent [silver background], a chevron between three trefoils, sable [black].

FOTHERINGHAME - In the Seals in the British Museum there is one, of date 1170, of Sir Hugh de Fotheringay, or Fotheringham, and one of similar arms in use in 1459 by David de Fotheringham of Powrie in Forfarshire, ancestor of the family so designated. In 1440 Richard Fodringame, Lawrik man at Kirkwall, appends his seal to the Diploma; in 1502 William Fotheringhame is noted as of Hermansgarth, in St.Colm's, Sanday; and in 1640 Jerome Fothringhame is a bailie for that Isle.

FOUBISTER of that Ilk [of Foubister] - In 1502 the fourpenny land of Fowbustare was in the parish of St.Andrews. Hendrie Fowbuster is a Rothman of Orkney at Kirkwall, June 1514. John Fowbister is of that Ilk, 1613, and Malcolm Foubister of that Ilk is noticed 1617-61.

GARRIOCK - This family apparently commences with a South country immigrant, or the name may derive from Garek, as in Gareksay, or Gairsay. Henry Garoch is named in the Complaint of 1426. In 1502 Henry Gareoch is assessed for the lands of Brugh and Terland in Ronaldsay. Magnus Gariacht fought at Summerdale 1529. In 1640 Magnus Gareoch in Braquoy is a bailie for Holm.

GORDON - This family has sustained two or three changes of name. Originally surnamed Winton, by marrying the heiress of the Setons the latter name was assumed, and some generations later, upon marrying the heiress of the Gordons, a similar change was made. The Huntly and Sutherland Gordons are all of the Winton stock. After the storming of Dornoch in 1570, Hugh Gordon of Drummoy retired to Orkney, where be married one Ursula Tulloch. He was a cadet of the Sutherland Gordons, and is probably ancestor of the family of Gordons who a little later are found permanently connected with the lands of Cairston, Stromness.

GRAEME - Donald Greme held Nether Knarstane in 1502. The principal Graemes in Orkney were, however, descendants of Bishop George Graham (a cadet of Braco, in Perth), who gave origin to two families - the Graemes of Graemeshall, and those of Breckness, the latter being now represented by Watt of Breckness and Skaill. Harie Graham of Breckness was Member of Parliament for Orkney in the Scots Parliament (1686-89). Admiral Patrick Grame was of the Graemshalls. A fuller account of the family, their arms, etc., is to be found in the article Sutherland-Graeme in Burke's Landed Gentry.

GROAT - This family comes from Caithness (Scottish Orcadia), where Hugh Grot is noticed as early as 1496, and a very clear succession is illustrated from old inventories down to 1741. Malcolm Groat of Tankerness, 1570, appears in the Rentals of 1595. In 1627 William Grott is of Tankerness, after Johnne Grott of Traistads, Sanday. The Groats held a good position in Orkney until recent times.

HALCRO of that Ilk [of Halcro] - This family commences with Andrew Halcro of Halcro (then pronounced Hawcro), mentioned in 1544 as dead. The first appearances of the name in earldom records are these - 1519, sir Hugh Halcro and sir Nicol Halcro, priests in Orkney; 1525, Nicoll Hawcro of Tygwall, Shetland; 1530, Sir Nicoll Halcro, rector of Orphir; Mr. Malcolm Hawcro, Archdean of Shetland and Canon of St.Magnus; 1539 schir Nycholl Halkraye is parson of Orphir, in Orkney; and on the 20th January 1544. apud Halcro, the sons and heirs of the quondam [the deceased] Andrew Halcro de eodem, viz. Hugh Halcro, Canon of the Ecclesiatic Chapter of Orkney, and Mr. Malcolm Halcro, Provost of the said church, and Archdeacon of Shetland, with consent of Elizabeth Halcro, their sister, spouse of Gilbert Moody, issue a charter of lands, various, of Halcro, alias Holland, etc., in Ronaldsay, to their cousin Hugh Halcro - remainder to Ninian Halcro, his brother, Edward Halcro, his brother-german [full brother], Henry, son of quondam [the deceased] Magnus Halcro - James, brother of Henry, Magnus, son of the quondam [the deceased] Andrew Ha1cro, and William, son of quondam [the deceased] John Halcro, without division between brothers and sisters, but according to the custom in Scotland. The instrument establishing the Cathedral Chapter of Orkney, 28th October 1544, enumerates Mr. Malcolm Halcro, Bachelor in Sacred Letters, Prebend in St.Trinity, and Vicar of Ronaldsay, with sustentation of the Church of Barwick, also Archdeacon of Shetland: dominus Nicholas Halcro, Prebend of Orphar and Vicar of Stanhous; and dominus Hugh Halcro, Prebend of St.Magnus: the two first attest execution of the deed. In 1548 Patrick Mowat of Balquholly entered into a contract with Malcolm Halcro of that Ilk for the marriage of their son and daughter. A charter about this time from Balquholly to Halcro mentions several carnal sons of the latter, some being in holy orders. Magnus Halcro married Margaret, heiress of Sir James Sinclair of Sanday and the Lady Barbara Stewart, and for the next two or three generations the Halcros are found matching with the more powerful families in the Isles, the Sinclairs. Stewarts, Moodies, Mowats, Bellendens, etc. In St.Mary's Kirk, South Ronaldsay, are the chalice, cross, and arms of sir Hugh Halcro of Halcro, who died 20th August 1545. In 1581 a grant of Cava issued to William Halcro of Aikeris, now represented by John Halcro of Hogarth, in Rendall, who is also "af Halcro", the senior branch of the family having become extinct towards the close of the xviith century. A certain knight, Sir Hauq'n, is a witness at Kirkwall, 23rd April 1391. The earlier history of this family is difficult to unravel. Perhaps the solution may lie in the Vatican Library. Unmentioned in the national documents of Orkney until 1519, they presently appear in full canonicals, possessing offices, power, wealth, houses, and lands. They are not noted in the Rental of 1503, nor in the Respite of 1539, yet in 1544 the charter discloses several families of the name. It may be that they received their name from the picturesque headland so styled in S. Ronaldsay, but even that is not clear, for the lands were also called Holland. A Certificate of Character was given to Margaret, lawful daughter of the late Hugh Halcro, in the Isle of Weir, and Margaret Stewart, his spouse, which has, "As also, that she is descended of her father, of the house of Halcro, which is a very ancient and honourable family in the Orkneys". Kirk of Evie, 27th May 1606. This clearly implies an Orcadian establishment of more than two generations, or only sixty years.

NOTE - An examination of the Mowat-Halcro charters will throw light on the history of these families in their Orcadian connection.

HARCUS - In early Scottish records Alan de Harcarres and William de Harkars are noted 1250-1350. Robert Harechas was Sheriff of Perth in 1305. The arms of Harcarse of that Ilk [of Harcase], Berwick, are cited in the Catalogue of Seals, British Museum. Members of the Orkney family first come before us in the Respite of 1539 for complicity in connection with the Battle of Summerdale, 1529. That parchment includes the names of Robert, Johnne, and George Hercas, being three out of thirty-one names enumerated, a very fair percentage, indicative of the relative importance of the family at that time. The name sometimes appears written as Arcus.

HEDDLE of Haddale in the parish of Firth Wilhelm de Hedal is referred to in the Complaint of 1426. In the Rental of Stanehouse 1503, John Haddale has lands in Garmistane there, and William Haddale bears witness to a conveyance of Garmistane lands. Harrie Haddell of that Ilk, is reported as absent from the Sederunt of the Curia Vicecomitatus; 4th November 1617, held in the Palace of the Yairds in Kirkwall, and on 14th January 1640, Harie Haddell of Haddell is noted as similarly absent. James Haddell indweller in Shapinsay, is one of the Islesmen whose advice is sought as to the estate of that Isle, 24th June 1627. He is the James Haddell of Elwick who gave similar information upon oath on the 13th June same, relative to Shapinsay, James Haddell and Walter Haddell in Linton are appointed with others as bailies for the Isle of Shapinsay, 4th November 1640. See Burke's Landed Gentry for later account of this name.

HOURSTON is a sixpenny land in North Sandwick. It is spelled in 1503 as Thurstacht. In 1544 Peter Hourston is Rector of Hoy and Vicar of Walls. In 1640 Hew and Magnus Hourston were appointed bailies or superintendents for Sandwick and Evie respectively.

IRVING - William de Irwin was secretary and armour-bearer to Robert Bruce, and subsequently Master of the Rolls. Bruce gave him in free barony the lands of Drum, 1324. He had two sons, Sir Thomas, successor to Drum, and William de Erwin, an inhabitant of Kirkwall in 1369. The complaint of 1426 mentions Wilhelm Yrving. "John of Erwyne" is mentioned 1438 (Wilson's Prehist. Annals), and in the Rental for Hurray Brugh in 1503 it is noted that Earl William St.Clair (1420-71) exchanged with Elizabeth Urviug the lands of Garth and Midgarth in Harray for three merks land in "Claistrand apud Orphir". James Irwine "Lawman", or Chief Judge (Legifer) of the Orkneys in 1560, was father of Magnus of 1608, the first Shapinshay Irving, ancestor of the celebrated Washington Irving, from whose "Life and Letters" this notice is in great part extracted. The Irvings of Sabay were also a principal family of this name.

ISBISTER of that Ilk [of Isbister] - The place is noted in 1503 as Eisterbuster, ninepenny udal land, and in 1595 as Ysbustar. At the latter date a Robert Isbuster is resident in Birsay Be-South. Henceforward various Isbusters pass under review.

JOHNSTON. - This name, more properly John'a son, is, of course, a general one, and it is thus difficult to identify the various families as being derived from a common ancestor. In 1369 Hakon Jonsson was Norwegian prefect of Orkney. Erengisle, Jarl of Orkney, 1353, was the son of Sune Johnson, and in 1360 one William Johnsson was Archdeacon of Shetland, and he is supposed to be identical with Bishop William V, 1382-94. There is, however, no known connection with the Annandale Johnstons, and the rarity in Orkney prior to 1550 of the personal name John renders it probable that most of the families now so named are not only indigenous Orcadians, but of the same stock. The Complaint of 1426 notes Malcolm, John, and Nicol Johnsson, and the Rental of Deirness. 1502, finds Andro Johnston in Sanday there, while in North Sandvik, 1503, Christie Johnesoun has Hammerclet in Scalbrycht (Scabra).

JOHNSTON of Coubister. - James Johnston of Outhrecks, in Stromness, was succeeded by a younger brother Richard, a Stromness merchant. about 1690. Their father had come from Birsay and bought that property. Richard's only son, John, born in 1690, also a merchant in Stromness, acquired considerable property throughout the Islands, including one-third of Stromness. His son Joshua, a lawyer in Stromness, married Margaret Halcro, heiress of Coubister, Cava, and Gyre. Their son, John Johnston of Coubister, sold all the Johnston property. A sister of Joshua Johnston married Adam Irvine, and they settled in Canada. Among their descendants may be mentioned the late Colonel Irvine, A.D.C. to the Governor-General, and his sons, the late Colonel Acheson Irvine, the Hon. George Irvine, at present a judge, and the late Commissary General Bell Irvine. Joshua's brother John also settled in Canada, and is now represented by Lady Meredith, widow of the late Chief Justice of Quebec. A sister of the late James Johnston of Coubister (son of John Johnston of Coubister) married Commander John Nugent, Royal Navy (son of Count Nugent of Balinacorr), with whom Mr. Johnston served as a midshipman during the war of 1812-1814. Mr. Johnston's son, the present laird of Coubister, is best known from the interest he takes in farming in Orkney, having revived and successfully carried on the Orkney Agricultural Society. Mr. Johnston and his brothers, and their sons, are the only male representatives of this family of Johnston in Orkney, tracing at least as far back as 1560. The tradition in their family is that their ancestor was a son of the laird of Annandale, who, as the result of a border feud, had to go into exile, and fled to Orkney, where be lived in hiding among the Birsay folk as one of themselves, and where his family afterwards remained.

[Contributed by Alfred W. Johnston, youngest son of the late James Johnston of Coubister]

KIRKNESS of Kirkness, in Sandwick - Sir Thomas of Kirkness is a witness at Kirkwall, 13th April 1391, to a conveyance executed by Henry I, Earl of Orkney, to his brother David St.Clair. On 6th March 1503, in noting the lands of Over Garsend, in North Sandwick, there is a reference to a Sir Stevenissonn and Johne of Kirknes sone, as subject to rent charge. In 1611 letters were issued against William Kirkness for assisting Robert Stewart, Bastard of Orkney.

KNARSTON of that Ilk [of Knarston] in Harray - In 1503 Nerstaith was a fourpence halfpenny udal land. William Knarston is noted in 1595, and Gilbert Knarston of Knarston 1617-40, when the latter is bailie for Harra.

LAING of Strynzie - In the list of voters for Kirkwall, 1800, Robert Laing, Esq. (of Strynzie), last Provost, Gilbert Laing, merchant, and Malcolm Laing, Esq., advocate, are enumerated. The latter, who was born at Stryuzie in 1762, was the celebrated historian of Scotland. He represented Orkney and Shetland in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, 1807-12. Later on Samuel Laing of Crook has at various times been returned for the Northern electorates, 1852-85, and has been secretary to the Treasurer and Finance Minister for India. Samuel Laing the elder was the translator of Sturleson's Heimskringla

The Weirs of Damsay registered arms in 1801 quartering Laing thus 2nd and 3rd. Argent [silver background] three piles [vertical stripes] in point sable [black] in middle chief a martlet [bird] or [gold].

LEASK of that Ilk [of Leask] - Leask is located in Buchan. Thomas de Laysk is a witness at Kirkwall 23rd April 1391. James Leask appends his seal to the Diploma at Kirkwall, circiter 1446. On June 21st 1484, Alexander Lesk is mentioned in the matter of the farms of Sanday, and in 1497, Lord St.Clair's accounts for Orkney are rendered pr. Alexander Lask. In 1506 Sir David Sinclair appoints Richard Lesk co-executor of his will, and leaves him 20 merks landis in Cwndistay and my English ship with all gear. The arms of this family are: Sable [black] a fesse [horizontal band] between three mullets [stars] in chief and as many mascles [diamonds] in base. Crest: A crescent argent [silver]; Motto: Virtute cresco.

LINKLATER of that Ilk [of Linklater], North Sandwick In 1505 Lynkclet was a threepenny land. The Complaint of 1426 enumerates amongst other nobles Christian de Ellingeklat. Andro Linclett is one of the Council of Lawmen in 1515. John Linkleter is mentioned in 1595. In 1621 Andro Linklatter is of that Ilk, and in 1640 three are appointed bailies, James for Harra, Henrie for Rendell, and Alexander Linkletter of Linklatter for Sandwik. There is a place similarly named in South Ronaldsay.

LOUTTIT - Maurice Lowtefute appears in the Exchequer Rolls of 1456 as collector of the ferms of Stratherne. In 1426 Paris Lutzit, a dependent of Thomas Sinclair, mandatary for Earl William, complained of having been imprisoned by David Menzies. In 1502 Olay Loutfut has Sandisand and Gloupquoy in Dourness; 1503, Dowskarth, Stennis is noted as perteining to the heirs of the Lutfuttis; James Loutfut has Netherlyking in South Sandwik; and Peiris Loutfut has then Howth in Orphir, the last is a Rothman at Kirkwall, June 1514. Johne Louttit fought at Summerdale 1528. Magnus Louttit of Lyking has notices 1595-1653, and many others appear during and after that period.

MONCRIEFF - John Moncrieffe of Rapness (said to be a son of Sir John Moncrieff of Moncrieff by Beatrix Forman) was father of David of Rapness, who married, first, Barbara Baikie of Tankerness, and secondly, Mary Nisbet of Swannie. By the first marriage he had Thomas, clerk of the exchequer and treasury, who was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, 1685, and dying without issue, was succeeded by his nephew, Thomas of Rapness. For fuller account see Baronetage works. James Moncrieffe was Member of Parliament for Kirkwall in the Scottish Parliament, 1669-74.

MOODIE - This family has generally been considered as indigenous to Orkney, and even attributed to Harald Mudadson, whose male issue, Buchanan informs us, were all carefully emasculated by William the Lion. The Moodies are more likely Scottish. In 1455 William Mudy, Bishop of Caithness, gave church lands to his nephew Gilbert, and also the castles of Scrabster and Skibo; confirmation issued in 1478. Sir Thomas Moody witnesses a deed by William Tulloch, Bishop of Moray, in 1481. Lands in Hoy in 1503 are held "In manibus Magistri Willielmi Mudy", while in 1506 Sir David Sinclair leaves "to John Mude 20 merks which I bought from him in Scatness and the full payment thereof". In 1567 Magister William Mudie of Breckness, and Katharine Sinclair, his wife, received a grant of lands in the Utter Town of Stromness. The Moodies of Melsetter were an important family in Orkney. James Moodie, younger of Melsetter, was Member of Parliament in the U.K. Parliament for Orkney and Shetland in 1715-22. Nisbet's Heraldry (1700) states, "it is an old family in Orkney, upwards of 400 years standing, who have possessed several lands in Caithness since 1470. Captain James Moodie, late commander of "H.M.S. Prince George", for his merit and great services done to Her Majesty Queen Anne, and in particular for relieving the town and castle of Denia in Spain, when besieged by the French in 1707 and 1708, was honoured by Queen Anne with a coat of augmentation to his arms. The ancient coat of Mudie of Melsetter was: Azure [blue] a chevron ermine [fur] between three pheons, argent [silver], in a chief a hunting horn. Motto: "God with us"

MOWAT - The Norman form of this name was Mouhault, invariably Latinised into Monte Alto - the high mount. Like the Sinclairs, before reaching Scotland and Orcadia they passed through England, and were Welsh Lord Marchers. Sir William of Montealt obtained from King William the Lion (1166-1214) the lordship of Ferne in Forfarshire. of which county Eustace de Montealto was sheriff in 1263, while in 1241 Richardo de Montealto, Justiciario Scotire, witnesses a confirmation of Alexander II, Contemporary to Richard is Sir Robert de M-A to a charter by whom Laurentia de M-A is a witness, Bernardus de Mohane was one of the Scots Nobles parties to the treaty with Wales about 1259, and later on he witnessed the grant of Roslin in 1280. In 1281 Sir Bernard Mouat, knight, was one of the Norwegian Embassy, and was drowned on the return voyage. Nisbet's Heraldry notices a Michael de Monte Alto in 1252 in connection with the perambulation of Cleish, in Fifeshire. In 1275 William de Monte Alto witnessed an agreement between Archibald, Bishop of Caithness, and William, Earl of Sutherland. In 1289 Guillam de Muhaut subscribes to the Scottish letter of Brigham, and he will be the Willielmus de Monte Alto, miles, who submitted to Edward I in 1296. This is the earliest Scottish surname associated with the Island history. In 1312 Patrick of Mowat, a Scot, was seized by the Orcadians and held to ransom. Robert Bruce granted (1306-30) a charter of Freswick in Caithness to a Mowat of the principal family of Balquholly, in Aberdeen. In 1377 Richard de Montealto, Chancellor of the Church of Brechin, received grants of the baronies of Fferne and Kynblachmond, Forfar. The Duke of Albany, between 1406-13, confirmed a wadset of Freswick aud Aukengill, granted by William Mowatt of Loscraggy to his son John, who, in 1419, was killed in the chapel at Tain. Further notices of the Mowats are to be found in "Caithness Family History" and Shetland County Families They are apparently all of the Balquholly stock. In 1545 Alexander Mowatt witnesses a charter of Sir Hugh Halcro, and the same year Patrick of Balquholly attests the erection of the Cath. Chapter in Orkney, while in 1548 the latter contracted with Malcolm Halcro of that Ilk [of Halcro] in Orkney for the marriage of his son (Mowat) to Halcro's daughter. In the Provostry Rental of 1584 Magnus in Hoxa, Magnus in Stowis, and Ingoram Mowat in Mersettir are named. Patrick Mowat of Swinzie (1638), married Elizabeth Leask, and was succeeded by Alexander of Swinzie, who married Jean, daughter of Hugh Halcro of that Ilk [of Halcro]. "In the churchyard of Flotta is a tombstone with the inscription: 'Heir is the Buriall-Place of the Antient Names of the Mouats - In Ferra, William Mouat and Marjorie Sutherland and his Grand Mother". These Mouats were a branch of the noble Mouats of Hoy, the baronetcy of which family has been allowed to drop. "Sir George Mowat of Ingliston was created a baronet of Nova Scotia by letters patent, 2nd June 1664, with remainder to heirs male of his body. He was succeeded by Sir Roger as second Baronet, to whom his brother, Sir William, was served heir in February 1683, while Nisbet's Heraldry (about 1700) refers to Sir Alexander Mowat of Ingliston, Baronet, descended of Balquhollie, as then having arms - Argent [silver background], a lion rampant [upright] sable [black] armed gules [red], within a bordure of the second; Crest, an oak tree growing out of a rock, natural colour; motto, Monte Alto.

MUIR - This family has been located in Sanday since 1502, when William of Mure and his brother are recorded by Henry, Lord St.Clair. William, who is designed as of Clat, there, held also the bull (mansion house) of Brugh, Lemsgarth, and Brusgarth. Sir Nicholas Muir, Canon of Orkney, is named in 1426.

REDLAND of Redland, Stromness - William Redland is named in 1595 and 1614; John Redland of that Ilk [of Redland], and his second son, Magnus, have all appearance in 1622. Several are enumerated in the Valuation of 1653, and other earldom records. This family owned the Palace of Brittabreck.

RENDALL of Rendall - Henrie Rendale, as Lawman of Orkney (1426), appends his seal to the Diploma. In the Rental of 1503 Sir Hew of Randale is noted as having been sent to Norway for his lifetime by Earl William. Johnne Rendale fought at Summerdale 1528, and was respited in 1539, and as Johanne Randaile de eadem attests the Cathedral Erection of 1544. In 1640 John Rendell is a bailie or superintendent Westray.

SINCLAIR - Notices of this lineage appear elsewhere throughout this work.

STEWART - There have been several families derived from legitimated and natural issue of the Orkney Earls so named. Some of the members of these have represented the Islands in Parliament.

SUTHERLAND - Alexander de Suderland named in the Complaint of 1426 is probably identical with Alexander Sutherland, who having married Mariota de Ross, received from her brother Alexander, Earl of Ross, a charter of the lands of Dunbeath in Caithness, sasine issuing 24th October 1429. By his testament, made in l456, it is clear that he was a person of great importance. His daughter Marjory married William St.Clair, Earl of Orkney. Dunbeath's sons were Alexander, Archdean of Caithness, Robert, Nicholas, Edward, and John. Contemporary with these were Richard Sutherland of Forse, and William Sutherland of Berriedale, son and apparent heir of Alexander Sutherland of Duffus, an account of the descendants of whom is given in "Caithness Family History". The Rentals of 1503 disclose Sir Robert Sutherland as owning Sandisend in Grimsey, Overquhame and Bowbrek in Stromness, and Over Garsand and Mobisyord in North Sandwick, and it is recited that he has withheld the king’s scatts for twenty-two years. 1n 1546 Thorrald Sudyrland and his sister Margaret Reid are cited as heirs of Katrin, daughter of Thorrald of Broycht, a great estate in Shetland. The name is very numerous in the South Isles.

TRAILL Nisbet's Heraldry derives this family from the Tyrol, of which the name is a corruption. There was one Hugh Trail who, at a tournament in Berwick (time of Robert III), defeated an English champion, John Merlo. Walter Traill, Archbishop of St.Andrew's, purchased the lands of Blebo in Fife (Robert III) which he gave to his nephew. The Orkney Traills derive from those of Blebo. They have represented the Earldom in Parliament.

TULLOCH - Tulloch is a place-name in Aberdeen, and there is also a Tulloch Castle, Inverness. The family has been erroneously derived from an apocryphal Earl of Orkney, Harald the Holy (ta helig). Thomas Tulloch was Bishop of Orkney, 1422-55, and to him is attributed the erection of Noltland Castle; in 1438 he granted Kynclune to his brother David de Tullach, and in 1445 Walter de Tulach receives from the Orcadian bishop a pension of £5. In 1446 Nicolas Tulloch attests the Diploma. In 1456 the Testament of Alexander Sutherland of Dumbeath enumerates several of the name. In 1455 William Tulloch became Bishop of Orkney. In 1481 Sir Martin Tulloch witnesses a charter by Bishop William. In the rental of 1503 Nicol Tulloch is named, and Tullo of Ness in the adjudication of 1514. In 1544 Thomas Tulloch is of Fleuris, and in 1567 Hieronimus Tulloch grants Breckness to Mudie. They have been Members of Parliament for the Earldom. See Burke's "Colonial Gentry" for amplified notice.

YULE - Sir Robert Yule is noted in the Rental of 1503, and to the Rev. Yule of later times Orcadians are indebted for the measures taken to preserve St.Magnus' Cathedral.

VARIOUS - The "afs" are in italics, and similar place-names are astericised.

ADIE, Aikers*, Aim, Annal, Aith*, BANKS*, Benston, Berstane* (1503, '14, '39), Bews, Bichan (Buchan, 1369), Bigland*, Brass, Breck*, Brock* or Brough*, Broun, Budge, Burgar*, CAITHNESS, Corsie, Corston*, Coubister, Cumloquoy, DEERNESS*, Delday, Dinnison, Drever. FIRTH*, Foister, Flaws. GARMISTANE*, Garsand (1426), or Garson*, Gray, Grieve, Groundwater*, HARRALD, Harray*, Hay, Hestwall*, Housgarth*, Hunto or Hunter. Hurie. INKSGAIR, Inkster*, Instabille, KELDIE, Kirkbrek*, LANGSKAIL*, Larquoy*, Laughton. Linay* (Altars of Linny). MAINLAND, Male, Manson, Marsetter*, Marwick*, Matches (Mathew's), Menson of Whytquay (Holm 1617), Meil, Moar, Midhouse*, Miller of Redland (1716). NORQUOY*, Norn, Nestegard*, Newgar*, ODDIE, Omand, Orkney. PAPLAY* (1369. 1539), Peace (1310), Petrie, ROUSAY* (now Rosie, Rosey, and Rossey), Ritch, Rusland*, SABISTON*, Scarth* (1514), Sclatter, Scollay, Seatter*, Shearer, Shurie, Skae, Skethaway*, Skaill*, Spence, Stanger*, Stove, Stockan*, Swanney, Stainsgar*, TAIT, Towrie or Tyrie, Turfeus, Twatt*, VELZIAN, Vedder, Voy. WALLS*, Work, Wick, YORSTON, and other less frequent names.

Back to Fiona's Finding Service
Back to Index | Previous page | Next page