by Gordon Douglas Duffus

The title "Lord of Duffus" began with Freskin de Moravia, the progenitor of the houses of Sutherland and Murray. Freskin, a soldier in the army of King David the Saint, marched in King's army when he put down the last rebellion of the men of Moray.  

    In 1705, Kenneth Sutherland succeeded to the title and lands of Duffus upon his father's death. The property, at this time, was either in the hands of Kenneth's brother James or was heavily mort- gaged to Dunbar of Thunderton. Revenue would be nonexistent or very slow in coming.    

At the time of Kenneth's father's death, Kenneth was out of the country on "Crown business inthe West Indies." This circumstance necessitated an extension of the legal period "for entering asheir to the estate." Upon his eventual return to Scotland, Kenneth was allowed to assume the title Lord of Duffus.

     In 1707, Kenneth took his seat in Parliament and cast his vote for "The Union." In 1708 he married Charlotta Christiana, the daughter of Eric de Sioblade, the Governor of Gottenburg. Due to the poor financial situation which he inherited, Kenneth was forced to seek employment in Queen Anne's navy, raising to the rank of Captain. On June 28, 1711, while on patrol in the West Indies, Kenneth encountered eight French privateers and the fight was on. After "a desperate struggle," during which Kenneth received "five bullets in his body," he was forced to surrender his forty-six gun frigate to the enemy.  

    In August of 1715, Kenneth was invited to a meeting by the Earl of Mar. The meeting was set for the forest of Braemar and among the invited guests were the Marquesses of Tullibardine and Huntly, George Keith, the Earls of Erroll, Kilsyth, the Lords Rollo, Drummond, and Ogilvy, General Hamiliton, Gordon of Auchintoul, Campbell of Glendaruel, Glenngarry, Lyon of Auchterhouse, and Auldbar. Mar choreographed the entertainment and concluded a general hunt with an empassioned speech in favor of a Rising for the House of Stuart. The lighted- hearted proceedings took a more serious turn when plans were formulated for each participant who then re- turned to their respective spheres of influence to put the plans into effect. Around this time, Kenneth's contemporaries described him as being "boastful and unstable."  

    Kenneth honored his Jacobite commitment when he and his kinsman, the Mackenzie Earl of Seaforth, marched into Tain at the head of five hundred Mackenzies, MacDonald's, and Chisholms. The Chevalier, St. George, was proclaimed as King James VIII at the mercat cross and Kenneth's future would now depend on the outcome of the rebellion

     After the taking of Tain, Kenneth attempted to get the Lairds of Culloden and Kilravock to surrender their houses and arms to the rebels. Culloden and Kilravock held out and the attempt failed. Seaforth and Kenneth started to march their clansmen south to meet Mar and the Jacobite army at Perth but were delayed by the inclement weather.They did succeed, however, on being on time for the Battle of Sherriffmuir. During the confused fighting, Kenneth begged the Earl of Seaforth to allow him to lend their combined force to a charge.  The command was never forth- coming and the Jacobite force, though not actually beaten, withdrew from the field. As they jour- neyed north the army began to dwindle away until there was nothing left. Mar had lost the one truly great opportunity to regain the throne for the Stuarts. The rebellion foundered and then collapsed completely.

     The rebellions' leaders, being financially better off than the men under their command, left the clansmen behind and scattered throughout the kingdom in their respective bids for freedom. Kenneth ran north, passing his castle and estate at Skelbo and probably learned that his property had been seized by his feudal superior, the Earl of Sutherland, who was a staunch Hanoverian. Kenneth succeeded in reaching Caithness where he boarded a ship for Sweden and safety.While in Sweden Kenneth learned that the British Government was actively searching the continent for him. He gained an audience with the British minister in Stockholm and advised that he was return ing home to surrender himself within the terms of the Amnesty Agreement. While traveling to the channel ports, Kennth was seized and imprisoned on orders of the British resident at Hamburg. He was kept locked away until after the amnesty date had expired at which time he was sent, in chains, to the Tower of London. On the 4th of October, 1717, never having stood trial Kenneth was released from captivity.

     Due to his naval experience, Kenneth was invited to Russia to perform the duties of a naval advisor to the Czar. He departed Scotland but returned in 1733, having less than one year to live. His return and the return of other Jacobite adherents raised a question to the legal status of the attainted noblemen. Lord Chancellor Hardwick addressed the problem: "To Lord Duffus and several others have only pardoned the pains of death execution and imprisonment of persons, and it is extremely doubtful whether any civil capacity could be restored."

     Kenneth Sutherland, 3rd Sutherland Lord Duffus, died on March 30, 1734 devoid of his title, his lands, and any dreams he may have had for a Stuart restoration. His son, Eric, attempted to have the title bestowed on himself but met with opposition from the House of Lords. He used the the title anyway!  

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