Sutherland Estates On Visit To The North Highlands OF Scotland

Tour Scotland travel video clip, with Scottish fiddle music, of some of the landscape of the estates of the Duchess of Sutherland, on ancestry visit to the historic county of Sutherland, Scottish Gaelic: Cataibh, in the North Highlands. Elizabeth Sutherland Leveson Gower, Duchess of Sutherland and 19th Countess of Sutherland, lived from 24 May 1765 to 29 January 1839. She was a noblewoman and landowner associated with the Sutherland Clearances. Elizabeth was born near Edinburgh, the only child of William Sutherland, 18th Earl of Sutherland. He died in 1766, leaving the one-year-old Elizabeth to inherit his title as 19th Countess of Sutherland. She was brought up by her grandmother, Lady Alva, in Edinburgh. Elizabeth's right to her father's title was challenged in the courts, but decided in her favour by the House of Lords in 1771. At the end of the 1700s, the economic and political factors that had affected every corner of the Highlands since the defeat of the 1745 Jacobite uprising were also affecting the family's vast estates. The demise of the traditional clan system meant that people living on an estate were no longer an asset to be called upon in time of war: instead they were viewed as a liability, preventing the introduction of modern farming methods and the maximising of the lairds' incomes from their estates. The result, right across the Highlands and Islands, were the Highland Clearances.. At the start of the 1800s the Sutherland estates of the Countess of Sutherland and the Marquess of Stafford amounted to some 1.5 million acres and formed the biggest private estate in Europe. Large numbers of Scottish people lived on the estates. One solution to overpopulation was seen as military service, and in August 1800, the 93rd Regiment of Foot, the Sutherland Highlanders, mustered in Strathnaver before marching off to service in the Napoleonic Wars. But this still left a huge resident population. The result was what became the most notorious episode in the Highland Clearances when, between 1811 and 1821, some 15,000 people were cleared from the Sutherland estates. On one occasion a witness reported seeing 250 crofts on fire from a single vantage point in Strathnaver, and in 1816 the Countess's factor, Patrick Sellar, was tried but acquitted on charges of arson and culpable homicide arising from the death in 1814 of the elderly Margaret MacKay. The Clearances fundamentally changed the landscape of much of northern Scotland All photographs are copyright of Sandy Stevenson, Tour Scotland, and may not be used without permission.

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