Lords Mackenzie of Kintail (1609)


1st Lord Mackenzie, Kenneth Mackenzie, b.c.1569, a.1609, d.1611


The Mackenzie Clan came to prominence following the loss of power suffered by the Lord of the Isles. Colin Mackenzie, the Clan Chief, swore an oath of allegiance to the King in 1574, and was rewarded by being made Lieutenant of the North. His son Kenneth Mackenzie was elected as a Privy Counsellor, though his dealings were not completely unblemished as he spent a short time in prison. When the Scottish Parliament met for the first time in 1609, he was raised to the peerage as 1st Lord Mackenzie of Kintail. The Mackenzies used the legitimacy of their position with Parliament to expand their control over the Highlands and Islands, conducting feuds against the Macleods, the macneils and most notably the Macdonells of Glengarry.


2nd Lord Mackenzie, Colin Mackenzie, b.1596-1597, a.1611, d.1633


Son of the 1st Lord and Anne Ross. He continued the Mackenzie persecution of the Macleods of Lewis, eventually taking control of the whole island, and was a favourite of the King, becoming 1st Earl of Seaforth and 1st Viscount of Fortrose in 1623, and a Privy Counsellor in 1628.



Earls of Seaforth (1623)


1st Earl of Seaforth, Colin Mackenzie, as above


Owing to the provisions of his uncle Roderick Mackenzie, a very astute manager of land, men and money, the new earl was financially powerful, and extravagant in his building of castles and endowment of churches. His son and heir died of smallpox while young.


2nd Earl of Seaforth, George Mackenzie, b.?, a.1633, d.1651


Younger half-brother of the 1st Earl, being the son of the 1st Lord Mackenzie and his second wife Isabel Ogilvy. He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1637 but originally took the Covenanter stance. After being on the receiving end of Montrose on several occasions, he was encouraged to switch sides in 1646, and led troops in the Kingís name until Charles I surrendered himself to the Scottish Parliament, whereupon Seaforth made peace with the Committee of Estates, undergoing a public humiliation as part of the agreement. However, in 1649 he left Scotland to join Charles II in exile. He died shortly after hearing of the defeat of the Battle of Worcester.


3rd Earl of Seaforth, Kenneth Mackenzie, b.?, a.1633, d.1678


Son of the 2nd Earl and Barbara Forbes, daughter of Arthur Forbes, 10th Lord Forbes. He remained in Scotland after his father left for Holland and fought at the Battle of Worcester. Exempt from the Act of Grace, he was made forfeit in 1654 and was imprisoned until the Restoration. On his release he was made Sheriff of Ross and was made a Privy Counsellor in 1674.


4th Earl of Seaforth, Kenneth Mackenzie, b.1661, a.1678, d.1700-1701


Son of the 3rd Earl and Isabel Mackenzie, daughter of Sir John Mackenzie, 1st Baronet Mackenzie of Tarbat (the father of George Mackenzie, 1st Earl of Cromartie). He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1686 and was a founding Knight of the Thistle in 1687. He accompanied James VII into exile in 1688 and was present at the siege of Londonderry in 1689, returning to Scotland in 1690 to attempt a Jacobite uprising in the North, but was captured and held captive until 1696-1697. He was created 1st Marquess of Seaforth and 1st Earl of Fortrose in the Jacobite Peerage.


5th Earl of Seaforth, William Mackenzie, b.?, a.1700-1701, d.1740


Son of the 4th Earl and Lady Frances Herbert, daughter of William Herbert, 1st Marquess of Powis. Raised in France, he was part the Jacobite uprising in 1715, raising his Clan and joining the Earl of Mar at Perth. After the disaster at Sheriffmuir, he fled back to France, attainted by Act of Parliament. However, Government failed to take possession of the forfeited estates, and in fact the rents continued to be collected and remitted to the forfeited earl. The Mackenzie vassals continued to turn a deaf ear to the state until 1725, when they arranged for a ritual laying down of arms to General Wade in exchange for his intercession on behalf of the earl to the King. In 1726, George I lifted any threat of punishment, allowing him to return to Scotland, and George II later allowed him to keep the arrears of rent, although the titles remained forfeit. Seaforthís son and heir, Kenneth Mackenzie (b.1717, d.1761), was known as Lord Fortrose, although this was actually a title in the Jacobite Peerage. He became an MP for Inverness-shire, and during the Jacobite uprising of 1745 he refused to take part.



Earls of Seaforth (1771)


1st Earl of Seaforth, Kenneth Mackenzie, b.c.1744, a.1771, d.1781


Grandson of the forfeited 5th Earl and Mary Kennet, and son of the above mentioned Kenneth Mackenzie (b.1717, d.1761) and Lady Mary Stewart (b.1720, d.1751), daughter of Sir Alexander Stewart, 6th Earl of Galloway. In 1745 he was created 1st Viscount Fortrose and 1st Baron Adelve in the Peerage of Ireland, mainly as a reward for his fatherís refusal to join the Uprising. He was further rewarded by being created 1st Earl of Seaforth in the Peerage of Ireland in 1771. That year he raised a regiment of Highlanders, initially the 78th Foot, which later became the Seaforth Highlanders. He died of scurvy on board the ship taking his regiment to India, and his titles became extinct.



Lords Seaforth (1797)


1st Lord Seaforth, Francis Humberston Mackenzie, b.1754, a.1797, d.1815


In 1779, being heavily in debt, the 1st Earl mentioned above sold his estates to his cousin Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Mackenzie-Humberston (b.1754, d.1783), great-grandson of the 4th Earl, grandson of Colonel Alexander Mackenzie and Elizabeth Paterson, and son of Major William Mackenzie (b.?, d.1770) and Mary Humberston. Thomas joined the Seaforth Highlanders and reached the rank of Captain, prior to purchasing the Seaforth estates. After the death of the 1st Earl, Thomas accompanied the regiment to India as the new Lieutenant-Colonel, and performed with distinction out there. He was aboard another ship sailing from Bombay which was attacked by ships of the Mahratta (or Maratha) Empire. All officers on board were killed. His estates transferred to his brother Francis, who had been deaf and almost dumb as a result of scarlet fever from a young age. This impairment did not halt his career, and he was an MP for Ross-shire from 1784 to 1790. He made several offers to raise a new regiment out of his own estates, and in 1793 was granted permission to do so. The existing regiment created by the 1st Earl had been renumbered as the 72nd, and this new force was called the 78th. In 1796, a second battalion was added, known as the Ross-shire Buffs. Much later, in 1881, the 72nd and 78th were amalgamated as the Seaforth Highlanders. In 1797 he was created 1st Lord Seaforth and 1st Baron Mackenzie of Kintail in the Peerage of Great Britain. In 1798, he was appointed Colonel of the Ross-shire Regiment of Militia. He was Governor of Barbados from 1800 to 1806, reaching the rank of Major-General in 1802 and Lieutenant-General in 1808. He had a large family, but all of his sons died before him.



Lords Seaforth (1921)


1st Lord Seaforth, James Alexander Francis Humberston Stewart-Mackenzie, b.1847, a.1921, d.1923


Great-grandson of the previous 1st Lord Seaforth and Mary Proby, grandson of Mary Frederica Elizabeth Mackenzie (b.1783, d.1862) and James Alexander Stewart (b.1784, d.1843) (himself a grandson of Sir Alexander Stewart, 6th Earl of Galloway), and son of Keith William Stewart Mackenzie (b.1818, d.1881) and Hannah Charlotte Hope-Vere (b.c.1816, d.1868) (a descendant of several different earls or greater). Educated at Glenalmond, Harrow and Sandhurst, he was a distinguished soldier, serving with the 9th Lancers all over the world, becoming regimental Colonel in 1891. He was created 1st Baron Seaforth of Brahan in the 1921 New Year Honours List. Having no children, this title became extinct at his death.


(Last updated: 21/09/2009)