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Fife


FIFE, sometimes spelled Fyfe, a surname derived from Fiv, one of the ancient provinces of Scotland, now the county of Fife. The origin of the name is involved in some uncertainty. Sibbald, in his History of Fife, (p. 11, edit. 1803,) mentions a monkish tradition, in which, however, he puts no faith, that “it was called Fife from Fifus Duffus, (of whom below,) a nobleman who did eminent service in war.” It has also been conjectured to have been derived from the Gothic word Veach, signifying painted, as applied to the Picts, softened into Fife in the English, “which,” says Sibbald, “the permutation of letters easily admits, F expressing Ve very well,” This Pictish word Veach is also supposed to have been the same as Fothe or Foithe, a very common name among the Picts, but as remarked by the Rev. Dr. Adamson, the editor of the edition of Sibbald’s History published in 1803, “it requires a wonderful partiality for the word Veach to shape it into so many forms, Vec, Vac, Wauch, Pict, Foth, Fife.” That gentleman has a theory of his own in regard to the derivation of the name. He thinks it probable that it was given to the district “from one of its most striking natural productions. Fifa, in the Scandinavian dialects, is the cotton grass, – Lanugo palustris, – a plant that must have been very common in a country full of lakes and marshes, and which still abounds in the remaining undrained spots.” The name, however, existed long before any dialect of Scandinavian or Teutonic origin prevailed in the country, and the cotton grass did not become so plentiful till after the destruction of the ancient forests of the district, when those mosses and marshes in which it is found were in a great measure originated. The derivation of the name may be referred to some of the Celtic dialects. The word Pict does not mean painted, as commonly supposed, and this at once disposes of the favourite but ugly word Veach as the origin of the name. According to Chalmers, in his Caledonia, the Pictish people received their distinctive appellation from their relative position beyond the Roman wall to the more civilized Britons of the Roman province. From their free unrestrained condition they were in the ancient British speech styled Peithi, which was Latinized into Picti, signifying “those that are out of exposed,” – “the people of the open country,” – “the people of the waste or desert,” – also. “those who scout, who lay waste.” As the letter P, in the ancient Celtic changes in the oblique cases into Ph with the sound of F, the softening of the word Peithi into Fife does not seem more remarkable than many other changes in orthography from the Celtic language no less singular.

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FIFE, earl of, an ancient title in Scotland, Fibh or Fiv being one of the seven provinces into which that country was divided previous to the thirteenth century. The first possessor of the title is stated to have been Duncan Macduff, chief or maormor of Fife (the celebrated thane of Shakspeare) famous in history as the enemy of the usurper Macbeth, (see article MACBETH,) who was overthrown and slain by Macduff at Lumphanan, in Aberdeenshire, in 1056. In reward for his signal services, which had secured the throne to Malcolm Canmore, that monarch is said to have bestowed on him the following privileges, namely, 1st, That he and his successors, lords of Fife, should have the right of placing the kings of Scotland on the throne at their coronation. 2d, That they should lead the van of the Scottish armies whenever the royal banner was displayed. 3d, That if he or any of his kindred committed slaughter of a suddenty, they should have a peculiar sanctuary, girth, or asylum, and obtain remission on payment of an atonement in money. A cross, called Macduff’s Cross, which stood near the town of Newburgh, but of which only the pedestal now remains, long formed the evidence of this privilege. Douglas (Peerage, vol. i. p. 573, Wood’s edition) states that Malcolm also created him earl of Fife. The title earl, of Saxon origin, was not introduced into Scotland till after the settlement in the country of Saxon families, to which Malcolm, who had married a princess of the Saxon line of the kings of England, gave great encouragement. The Celtic title maormor was previously held by the chiefs or governors of the different divisions of the country, and it does not appear that Macduff ever bore the Saxon title of earl. According to the absurd fables of Boece and Fordun, he was the eighth in descent from Fifus Macduff above mentioned, a potent chieftain who is stated to have lived about the year 834, and who is said to have given his name to the district of Fife, which had been conferred on him by Kenneth the Second, king of Scots, in return for the aid afforded him against the Picts, and of which he was appointed hereditary thane; but it is very doubtful if this Fifus Macduff ever lived. In Sibbald’s History of Fife (p. 168) is the copy of a charter in which Etheldred, abbot of Dunkeld, a son of Malcolm Canmore, is styled earl of Fife, but this is considered a mistake of the monk who transcribed it, if the charter itself is not a forgery. Lord Hailes conjectures that this Etheldred had the custody of the earldom of Fife during the minority of the son or grandson of Macduff, and hence had received the title of earl of Fife as being custos comitatus. [Dalrymple’s Annals, vol. i. p. 43, note.] The period of Macduff’s death is unknown. He is stated upon occasion to have commanded the king’s army against the rebels in Mar.

      The son of Macduff, Dufagan, is styled by genealogists second earl of Fife, although many doubt his existence. Douglas alleges him to have been witness to many charters of King Alexander the First. Sir James Dalrymple, in his Historical Collections, page 273, shows him to have been an assenter to a charter of that king, confirming the rights of the Trinity church of Scone, but although named, he is not styled comes or earl of Fife in the charter.

      Constantin, styled third earl, and supposed to have been the first who adopted the title, is mentioned in the suppositious charter of Etheldred above cited, and is witness to a charter of the monastery of Dunfermline. During his time a curious occurrence took place, which is very illustrative of the state of the country at that remote period. Sir Robert Burgoner had violently oppressed the monks of Lochleven, who complained to the king. David summoned a meeting of the whole county of Fife and Forteviot, to do justice between them. Earl Constantin, who was great judge of Scotland, collected the strength of the county, and the bishop of St. Andrews sent his retainers to support the civil power. The dispute was referred to three judges; Constantin the earl; Dufgal a judge, venerable for his age, and respected for his knowledge; and Meldoineth, also a judge of high character. After hearing evidence, the judges pronounced sentence against the knight; trial by jury, a Saxon institution, it would seem having not then been introduced into the Celtic portion of Scotland. Constantin is said to have died in 1129, about five years after the accession of David the First to the throne.

      Constantin’s eldest son, Gillimichel Macduff, fourth earl, is witness to the foundation charter of the abbey of Holyroodhouse in 1128, and to several other charters of King David. He died in 1139, leaving two sons, Duncan, fifth earl, and Hugo, ancestor of the earl of Wemyss. (See WEMYSS, earl of.]

      Duncan, fifth earl, is witness to several charters of King David the First, and of Malcolm the Fourth, and was a liberal benefactor to the church. In 1138, the year before his father’s death, he is conjectured to have been one of the five hostages delivered by David to Stephen, king of England, that the terms of the truce concluded after the battle of the Standard would be preserved by the Scots. According to Wintoun he was appointed, by David the First, regent of Scotland in the minority of Malcolm the Fourth, and under his guardianship, the young Malcolm, then in his eleventh year, was sent by his grandfather, on the death of his father, Prince Henry, in June 1152, in a solemn progress through the kingdom. In every district of Scotland he was proclaimed and received as heir to the crown, according to the practice of an age in which the laws were but too seldom attended to. David the First died in 1153, and Earl Duncan in the following year, after he had performed for the youthful Malcolm the ceremony of placing him on the inaugural stone, at his coronation. From his younger sons are said to be descended the Macintoshes, Duffs, and Fifes.

      His eldest son, Duncan the second, sixth earl, was one of the Scottish nobles who agreed to the convention made by William the Lion with Henry the Second of England at Falaise in Normandy in 1174. He is often named in charters of Malcolm the Fourth and William. In 1175 he was associated with Richard Comyn, who was advanced in life, as Justiciarius Scotiae. Sibbald says he married Ada, niece of King Malcolm the Fourth, and got with her the lands of Strathmiglo, Falkland, Kettle, and Rathillet in Fife, and Strathbran in Perthshire, for which he quotes a charter, but gives no authority for the statement. He died about 1203, so that he held the office of justiciary for twenty-eight years. He had three sons: Malcolm, seventh earl; Duncan, father, by his wife Alicia, daughter of Walter Corbet of Makerstoun, of Malcolm, eighth earl; and David, upon whom his father settled the lands of Strathbogie, which he had obtained from King William the Lion. He assumed from them the name of Strathbogie, and was the father of John de Strathbogie, earl of Athol.

      Malcolm, seventh earl, married Matilda, daughter of the earl of Strathearn, and received with her the lands of Glendevon, Carnbo, Adie, and Fossaway. From a charter of King William it appears that Uthredus de Burgoner had, in the king’s presence, acknowledged Malcolm, earl of Fife, to be his nearest heir, and resigned his lands of Burgoner in his favour. Upon this narrative the king granted a charter of these lands to the earl and his heirs. Earl Malcolm founded a monastery of Dominican or Black friars at Cupar, and, in 1216, a convent of Cistertian nuns at North Berwick. In 1217 he also established a monastery of Cistertian monks at Culross, where there had previously been an establishment of Culdees. He died, without issue, in 1229, and was buried in the church of St. Servanus at that place.

      His nephew Malcolm, eighth earl, was one of the guarantees of a treaty with the English in 1237, and again in 1244, on occasion of the truce entered into between Alexander the Second and Henry the Third of England. In the minority of Alexander the Third, the earl of Fife was one of the faction in the English interests, and he was a member of the regency appointed 20th September 1255, under the influence of the English monarch, Henry the Third. In 1260, he was one of the Scottish nobles to whom Henry made oath that he would restore the queen of Scotland and her child, when she went to England to be confined that year. He died in 1266. He married a daughter of Lewellyn prince of Wales, and had two sons, Colbanus and Macduff.

      Colbanus, the ninth earl, was knighted by King Alexander the Third in 1264, two years before he succeeded to the earldom, which he did not long enjoy, as he died in 1270, leaving a son, Duncan, tenth earl, only eight years of age, whose ward the king disponed to his son, Prince Alexander. This young prince, unfortunately for Scotland, died in 1284, the year previous to his father Alexander the Third’s lamented death.

      Duncan, tenth earl, was one of the regents appointed, in 1286, to govern the kingdom, after the death of Alexander the Third. He was assassinated at the age of twenty-six, on the 25th September 1288, at a place called Potpollock, by Sir Patrick Abernethy and Sir Walter Percy, who had been instigated to the deed by Sir William Abernethy. [See ABERNETHY.] He left a, also named Duncan, who must have been a mere infant at his father’s death, as he remained for many years under the guardianship of William Fraser, bishop of St. Andrews.

      At the coronation of John Baliol at Scone, November 30, 1292, the earl of Fife, being a minor, could not perform the usual ceremony of placing the new king on the regal stone, and Edward the First, having the young earl in his ward, granted a commission to John de St. John to act as the earl’s deputy on the occasion. Macduff, the granduncle of the young earl, taking advantage of his nephew’s minority and of the unsettled state of the country, seized the lands of Rires and Croy, belonging to the earldom, which he alleged had been bestowed upon him by his father the eighth earl. He was, however, dispossessed by the bishop of St. Andrews, the young earl’s guardian, on which he complained to King Edward, and, by that monarch’s command, the regents of Scotland, after investigating the case, restored him to possession. But in the first parliament held by Baliol after his coronation, Macduff was summoned to answer for his conduct for taking forcible possession of lands which were in ward of the king. He acknowledged the possession, but denied the trespass, and pleaded that his father Malcolm had made a grant of the lands to him, and that Alexander the Third had, by charter, confirmed the grant. Judgment, however, was given against him, and he suffered a short imprisonment. On his release he petitioned Baliol for a hearing, and offered to prove his title by written evidence, but the petition was rejected; on which he again appealed to Edward, who summoned Baliol to appear in person before him, and answer the complaint of Macduff. This dispute is interesting in history as being, with Baliol’s conduct in regard to it, the primary cause of that unfortunate monarch’s downfall. At first he disregarded the summons of Edward, but the English king again peremptorily ordered him to appear, and unable to resist, he attended at a parliament held by Edward after Michaelmas in the year 1293, at which Macduff also was present. He was haughtily asked what excuse he had to give for his conduct. He had the spirit to reply, “I am king of Scotland. To the complaint of Macduff, or to ought else respecting my kingdom, I dare not make an answer without the advice of my people.” “What means this refusal?” demanded Edward. “Are you not my liegeman? Have you not done homage to me? Is it not my summons that has brought you here?” Baliol, however, remained firm in his refusal to answer. The English parliament, in consequence, found him guilty of manifest and open contempt and disobedience to his liege lord, and they advised the king of England not only to do full justice to Macduff and to award damages against Baliol, but to seize three of his principal castles, and retain possession of them until he made satisfaction for his contempt and disobedience. Edward, however, at the request of Baliol, delayed proceeding farther till the day after the feast of the Trinity in 1294. A prolongation of the term for answering Macduff’s complaint was afterwards granted by the king of England; but in 1296 he summoned Baliol to appear before him at Newcastle. Baliol’s subsequent fate is matter of history, (see BALIOL). In the struggle for Scottish independence under the heroic Wallace, Macduff, who is supposed to have been put in possession of the disputed lands, joined the national standard, with the men of Fife, previous to the battle of Falkirk, 22d July 1298. Notwithstanding his obligations to Edward, and his having so far acknowledged his supremacy as to have appealed to him from the courts of Baliol, he was one of the few patriots who, with their adherents, remained with Wallace, after the greater part of the Scots nobles had deserted him, and, with the brave Sir John Graham, the ‘fidus Achates’ of that hero, he fell gallantly fighting in that disastrous action.

      Besides his son, Duncan, eleventh earl, Duncan, the tenth earl, had a daughter, Lady Isabel, married to John third earl of Buchan, the romantic and high-spirited lady who, in the absence of her brother, then of the English party, exercised the privilege of her family in placing Robert the Bruce, on his second coronation, in the inaugural chair at Scone, 29th March, 1306, (See BRUCE). This Duncan, eleventh earl, born about 1285, is styled by Sibbald, the twelfth earl, but it is obvious, even by his own computation, that this is a mistake. Lord Hailes has shown that the Duncan whom Sibbald styles the eleventh earl, never could have existed. Since the death of his father in 1288, the earl had resided at the English court, and in the memorable year 1306, while his heroic sister, the countess of Buchan, was suffering under the rigorous confinement of her cage at Berwick, for so nobly maintaining the ancient privilege of her race, the young earl was married to the grand-daughter (not the niece, as generally stated) of Edward the First, Mary de Monthermer, daughter of Ralph de Monthermer, earl of Gloucester and Hereford. He subsequently joined the party of Bruce, and received from him charters of the earldom of Fife, and of the baronies of O’Neil in Aberdeenshire, Kinnoul in Perthshire, and Calder in Edinburghshire. In 1317, when that monarch was absent in Ireland, assisting his brother, Edward Bruce, a considerable English force attempted to land at Donibristle near Inverkeithing, and a party of five hundred mounted men-at-arms hastily collected by the sheriff of Fife to oppose them, were disgracefully put to flight on the first attack. William Sinclair, bishop of Dunkeld, at the head of sixty of his retainers, meeting them in their flight, succeeded in rallying them, and charging furiously against the advancing English, repulsed them, and with a loss of more than five hundred men, drove them back to their ships. For this heroic deed, Bruce, on hearing of it, declared that Sinclair should be his own bishop. Lord Hailes, on the authority of Barbour, says that the earl of Fife commanded the Scots on this occasion, along with the sheriff, although other writers do not mention him. He was the first of the earls who signed the celebrated letter to the Pope, asserting the independence of Scotland, in the parliament at Aberbrothwick, 6th April 1320. He fought at the fatal battle of Dupplin, 12th August 1332, on the side of his countrymen, and was taken prisoner, after a determined resistance, in which three hundred and sixty men-at-arms who fought under his standard, were killed. He now submitted to Edward Baliol, the temporary victor, and at his coronation at Scone, on the 24th September following, he exercised his privilege of placing Baliol in the royal chair; while Sinclair, bishop of Dunkeld, whom Bruce had styled his own bishop, placed the crown upon his head. It is very likely that the earl obtained his liberty on this occasion all the readier as the assistance of the possessor of the earldom of Fife, or his representative, at the coronation of a Scottish monarch, was, in those days, deemed an indispensable portion of the ceremony. Perth having been fortified, the earl of Fife was by Baliol appointed governor of it, but that town was shortly after stormed and taken by Sir Simon Fraser and Sir Robert Keith, who destroyed its recently-erected fortifications, and took prisoners the earl and his daughter Isabella, afterwards countess of Fife in her own right. The English historians report that the earl betrayed the town to the English. “It may seem strange,” said Lord Hailes, “that Baliol placed such confidence in the earl, so lately an enemy, as to make him its governor. But the forces of Baliol were not numerous, and he could not leave an English garrison in Perth. He, therefore, judiciously intrusted that town to a lord whose territories lay open to the incursions of the English fleet. This circumstance might either serve to insure his fidelity, or afford means of chastening his bad faith.” [Dalrymple’s Annals, vol. ii. p. 156, note.]

       At the battle of Halidon-hill, fought 19th July 1333, the vassals of the earl of Fife, under his banner, were engaged. At this time, says Lord Hailes, the earl himself was a prisoner, and it is now known who led his vassals. In a curious MS. preserved in the British Museum, containing a list of the nobles and leaders of the Scots at this disastrous battle, a copy of which has been printed by Tytler, the earl is mentioned as being one of the leaders of the division of the army commanded by the regent Douglas. If so, the probability is that he was among the slain. Sibbald says he was killed the previous year, but this is obviously a mistake.

      His son Duncan, twelfth earl, was the last earl of Fife in the male line of their great ancestor Macduff. He adhered to the fortunes of David the Second, and early in 1336, when Sir Andrew Moray of Bothwell, the regent, made an inroad into Fife, he was joined by the earl and the earl of March, and by their aid he demolished the tower of Falkland, took the castle of Leuchars, and after a siege of three weeks made himself master of the castle of St. Andrews, then held by the English. In 1346 the earl accompanied David the Second in his ill-fated expedition to England, and at the battle of Durham, fought 17th October of that year, he was taken prisoner, with his unfortunate sovereign, and many others of his nobles. Being tried for treason to the English king, he was found guilty, and sentenced to death, on the ground of having appeared in arms against his liege lord, Edward the Third. He was, however, pardoned on account of his relationship to Edward the First, a consideration which did not always weigh with the English monarchs in regard to those unfortunate Scots nobles allied to them, who fell into their hands. Previous to 1350, he was allowed to return to Scotland, to raise money for his ransom, and in that year, in fulfilment of a vow which he had previously made, he mortified the church of Auchtermuchty, to the monastery of Lindores. He died betwixt 1353 and 1356, without male issue.

      Sir George Mackenzie, in his ‘Science of Heraldry,’ gives a copy of one of the seals of the Macduffs, earls of Fife, of which the following woodcut is a representation:


[woodcut of Macduff seal]

      By his wife, Mary, the twelfth earl had an only daughter, Isabella, who succeeded as countess of Fife. She married, first, William Ramsay, who, as earl of Fife, (in her right,) is witness to a charter of King David the Second, 12th April 1357. He also obtained from that monarch a charter erecting the town of Cupar into a free burgh, and soon afterwards died. She married, secondly, Walter Stewart, second son of King Robert the Second, by his first wife, Elizabeth More, daughter of More of Rowallan. He died in 1360. She married, thirdly, Sir Thomas Byset of Upsettlington, to whom David the Second granted a charter of the earldom of Fife, 8th June, in the thirty-fourth year of his reign, that is, 1362. After his death she took for her fourth husband, John Dunbar, as among the missing charters of King David the Second is one to John Dunbar and Isabel, countess of Fife, of the earldom, with all its pertinents. The countess had no children by any of her husbands, and in consequence appears to have been prevailed upon to resign the earldom to Robert Stewart, the brother of her second husband, and earl of Menteith in right of his wife, afterwards the regent duke of Albany. Sibbald says he had a copy of the agreement or indenture by which this arrangement was effected, and he gives its substance. By this agreement, she acknowledged the earl of Menteith to be her heir-apparent, as well as by the entail made by her deceased father, Duncan earl of Fife, in favour of Allan earl of Menteith, grandfather of the Lady Margaret, spouse of the said Robert, then earl, as by the entail made by herself, and her late husband Walter Stewart, by which, on the said earl’s assisting her in the recovery of the earldom, which she had by force and fear otherwise resigned, she, when the earldom was recovered, and had come into her possession, agreed to resign it into the hands of the king, that infeftment thereof might be given to the said earl. The countess was to receive, during all the days of her life, the free tenement of the lands of the earldom, except the third part allotted to Mary, countess of Fife, her mother. Among other things it was also agreed that the earl should have the castle of Falkland, with the forest, in his own keeping, and that he should have right to place a constable therein, the countess to be entitled to live within the tower when agreeable to her. In virtue of this indenture, which is dated 31st March 1371, Robert earl of Menteith became earl of Fife, and possessor of the palace of Falkland, the scene of the murder of his nephew, the young duke of Rothesay, in 1402. This earldom was forfeited by the attainder of his son, Murdoch, duke of Albany, in 1425, and annexed to the crown by act of parliament 4th August of that year. [See ALBANY, duke of.]

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      The title of earl of Fife was revived as an Irish peerage in the person of William Duff, Lord Braco of Killbryde, only son of William Duff of Dipple, in the county of Elgin, (by Helen, daughter of Sir George Gordon of Edinglassie, Aberdeenshire,) who derived his descent from David Duff, representative of the ancient earls of Fife, although the precise line of his relationship to them cannot now be traced. This David Duff in 1401 received from Robert the Third a grant of considerable lands and of the barony of Muldavit, Banffshire, which continued to be one of the chief titles of the family, until alienated in the beginning of the reign of Charles the Second. The above-mentioned William Duff, Lord Braco, succeeded to the estate of his cousin, William Duff of Braco, in 1719, and was chosen M.P. for Banffshire at the general election in 1727. He was created by Queen Caroline, regent in the absence in Hanover of her consort, George the Second, a peer of Ireland, by the title of Baron Braco of Kilbryde, by patent, dated 28th July 1735, to him and the heirs male of his body. During the rebellion of 1745, he supported the interests of the government, and on the duke of Cumberland’s arrival in Aberdeen in March 1746, he waited on his royal highness with an offer of his services in any way the king should require. In 1751 he purchased, for three thousand pounds sterling, the superiorities and church patronages of King’s college, Old Aberdeen, by which he acquired the right of presentation to about fifteen parishes. In consideration of his descent from Macduff, the conqueror of Macbeth, he was, on 26th April 1759, advanced to the dignity of earl of Fife and Viscount Macduff, with limitation to the heirs male of his body. He died at his seat of Rothiemay, Banffshire, 8th September 1763. He was twice married: first to the Lady Jane Ogilvie (or Forbes, widow of Hugh Forbes, eldest son of Sir William Forbes of Craigievar, baronet), daughter of James fourth earl of Findlater and first earl of Seafield, chancellor of Scotland, but by her had no issue; and, secondly, to Jane, daughter of Sir James Grant of Grant, baronet, and by her had seven sons and seven daughters.

      The Hon. William Duff, the eldest son, died before his father, in his twenty-seventh year, and James, the second son, in consequence became second earl of Fife. The youngest son, the Hon. Arthur Duff, of Orton, in the county of Elgin, was admitted advocate in 1764, and chosen M.P. for Elginshire at the general election in 1774. Early in 1779 he was appointed comptroller of excise in Scotland, an office which he resigned in 1804, in favour of his nephew, Richard Wharton, Esq., the son of his third youngest sister, Lady Sophia Henrietta Diff, married 13th July 1774, to Thomas Wharton, Esq., commissioner of excise in Scotland. Dying unmarried at Orton, 26th April 1805, he was succeeded in his estate by his said nephew, who, on the 13th July following, obtained the king’s license to assume the name of Duff in addition to his own.

      James, the second earl of Fife, the second and eldest surviving son, born 29th September 1729, was chosen M.P. for the county of Banff at the general election of 1754, and was afterwards four times re-elected for the same county. At the general election of 1784 he was elected for the county of Elgin. He had succeeded his father as earl of Fife in September 1763. He greatly increased his extensive property by several purchases of land in Banffshire, Morayshire, and Aberdeenshire. His plantations covered no less than fourteen thousand acres of till then barren and unproductive land, for which he twice obtained the gold medal from the Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce. He zealously promoted the improvement of agriculture on his estates, and had a farm adjoining to each of his seats, where the most approved systems of cultivation were carried on under his own immediate notice. In the calamitous years 1782 and 1783 he not only sold his grain at reduced prices to the poor, but imported several cargoes of grain from England, for the same purpose, with a pecuniary loss to himself of three thousand pounds. The gain to his own feelings and character for such generous conduct is not to be estimated by money. To the tenants on his Highland estates, during these years of scarcity, he allowed, besides, a deduction of twenty per cent, from their rents. In 1783 he received from the crown a charter of novodamus, erecting the thriving town of Macduff, in the vicinity of his splendid seat, Duff house, in Banffshire, into a burgh of barony. He also built a harbour in that port, at an expense of five thousand pounds, and it is now one of the best in the Moray firth. The earl, who was lord-lieutenant of Banffshire, was created a British peer by the title of Baron Fife, 19th February 1790, with limitation to the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten. He died at his house in Whitehall, London, 28th January, 1809, in the eightieth year of his age, and was buried in the Mausoleum at Duff house, Banffshire. He married, 5th June 1759, Lady Dorothea Sinclair, only child of Alexander, ninth earl of Caithness, but having no issue by her, his British peerage became extinct at his death, while his other titles devolved upon his next brother.

      Alexander, third earl of the new creation, born in 1731, was admitted advocate in 1754, and married on 17th August 1775, Mary, eldest daughter of George Skene, Esq. of Skene in Aberdeenshire, and Carriston, Forfarshire, and had by her two sons and four daughters, namely, James, fourth earl; Alexander, a general in the army, of whom afterwards; Lady Jane, married 2d December 1802, to Major A.F. Taylor, R.E.; Lady Anne, married in 1809 to Richard Wharton Duff, Esq. of Orton, and died 24th January 1829; Lady Sarah, married in 1807, to Daniel Collyer, Esq., and died in 1811; and Lady Mary, who died young. His lordship died 17th April 1811.

      James Duff, fourth earl, K.T., G.C.H., born 6th October 1776, was created Baron Fife in the peerage of the United Kingdom, by patent dated 27th April 1827. During the Peninsular war he volunteered his services in the Spanish patriotic army, in which he obtained the rank of general. He was wounded at the battle of Talavera in 1809, and again at the storming of Fort Matagorda near Cadiz in 1810. In 1823 he was made a knight grand cross of the order of the Guelphs of Hanover, and in 1827 a knight of the Thistle. He married, 9th September 1799, when he bore the courtesy title of Viscount Macduff, Mary Caroline Manners, (died in 1805,) second daughter of the late John Manners, Esq. of Grantham Grange, Lincolnshire, and Louisa, countess of Dysart in her own right, but had no issue. His lordship died March 9, 1857.

      His brother, general the Hon. Sir Alexander Duff of Delgaty castle, Aberdeenshire, G.C.H., entered the army as an ensign in the 66th foot in 1793, and served at Gibraltar, in Flanders, in the East Indies in 1798, and in Egypt in the expedition under Sir David Baird. In 1806 he went to South America, where he commanded the centre column in the attack on Buenos Ayres. In 1816 he was presented with a sword by the officers of the 88th regiment, who had served under his command. He was appointed to the colonelcy of the 37th foot in 1831; and in 1833 was nominated a grand cross of the Hanoverian Guelphic order. In 1834 he was knighted by King William the Fourth, and attained the full rank of general in 1838. In 1848 he was appointed lord lieutenant of the county of Elgin. He was also a deputy lieutenant of Banffshire. He married Anne, youngest daughter of James Stein, Esq. of Kilbagie, and had two sons and two daughters. He died 21st March 1851, aged 73.

      His elder son, James Duff, born in 1814, succeeded his uncle, March 9, 1857, as fifth earl of Fife, and soon after was created Baron Skene of Skene, in the peerage of the United Kingdom. He married, 16th March 1846, Lady Agnes Georgiana Hay, 2d daughter of the 17th earl of Errol, with issue.

      The earl’s brother, George Skene Duff, 2d son of General Sir Alexander Duff, born in 1814, was for some time an attaché to the British embassy at Paris, and M.P. for the Elgin burghs. To him and his sisters the queen granted, 2d June 1857, the rank and precedence of children of an earl.


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