William of Sutherland

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William of Sutherland

Also Known As: "William of Sutherland", "Sir William Freskin de Moravia", "Baron of Duffus and Straybrock", "Knight", "Laird of Duffus"
Birthplace: Duffus Castle, Duffus, Morayshire (now Moray), Scotland (United Kingdom)
Death: circa 1203 (60-69)
Duffus Castle, Duffus, Morayshire (now Moray), Scotland (United Kingdom)
Place of Burial: Duffus, Morayshire (now Moray), Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of Laird Freskin "The Fleming" Sutherland, 1st Lord of Duffus and Not Known
Husband of N.N.
Father of William de Moravia, Kt; Freskin de Moravia of Duffus and Andrew de Moravia, parson of Duffus
Brother of Andrew, Bishop of Moray

Occupation: Baron (or only feudal lord?) of Duffus and Strabrock, Knight
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William of Sutherland

Date of death might be 1204.

Date of burial might be 1204.

Burke's Peerage

FRESKIN, allegedly of Flemish origins, granted large estates by DAVID I, including Strabrock, W Lothian, and Duffus, Moray; confirmed in these by roy charter 1166–71; diedby 1172, leaving:

icn_check.gif WILLIAM; of age by 1160; seems to have died in or after 1204, having had, with two younger sons

A genealogical and heraldic history of the landed gentry ; or, Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland by John Burke, supports that Freskin had only one son:

Freskine, a Fleming, who settled in Scotland during the reign of David I., and acquired from that monarch the lands of Strathbrock, in the county of Linlithgow. "Soon after the insurrection of the Moray-

men in 1130," says Chalmers, " Freskine, who probably contributed by his skill and bravery to the bravery to the subduement of those ancient people, obtained from the same prince some of the most fertile districts of the Lowlands of Moray," including Duffus, Inshkiel, Rosile, &c., and erected a fortalice at Duffies, where he resided, and where the massy ruins of the castle are still to be seen. Freskine was s. in 1168, by his only son.

William de Moravia, as appears from a charter, granted under the great seal, by William the Lion, " Willielmo, filio Freskini, scilicet terras qnas Freskine, pater suus, teiiuit, tempore regis David avi mei." He left two sons, namely, William, his heir.
Hugh, wlio obtained from his father the lands of Dufliis.


William of Sutherland, son of Freskin, who under that designation appears on record first as a witness to a charter granted at Perth by King Malcolm IV. in 1160 to Berowald the Fleming of the lands of Innes, in Morayshire.[1]

Between 1166 and 1171 he had the grant, already cited, of his father's lands of Duffus, etc. He witnessed a number of royal charters, chiefly those granted at Elgin or elsewhere in his own neighbourhood, though he is also found further afield.[2] He seems to have survived the year 1204, if he were the William Freskeyn who was Sheriff of Invernaryn in that year.[3]

He had issue:--

  • 1. Hugh, who became ancestor of the family of Sutherland.
  • 2. William, known as William son of William, son of Freskin. He and his brother Hugh frequently appear together as witnesses after 1195.[4] He also, about 1200 or later, assumed the sirname 'de Moravia,' and in a charter about that date refers to Hugh as 'his lord and brother,' which proves the latter's seniority.[5] He was lord of Petty and Bracholy, Boharm and Arteldol, and died before 1226. He is believed to be the ancestor of the Morays of Bothwell.
  • 3. Andrew, described in a writ of date before 1203 as son of William, son of Freskin, and parson of Duffus.[6] He is also described in a later writ by Hugh Freskin as brother to him and William.[7] He is named in 1221, but it is not certain that he was then alive.[8]


  • [1] The Familie of Innes, 2, 51, 52.
  • [2] Reg. Moraviense, Nos. 5, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14; cf. Reg. de Aberbrothoc, i. 62, 63.
  • [3] Acta Parl. Scot., i. 118.
  • [4] Reg. Mag. Sig., 16 August 1464; Cal. Docs. France, 491; Reg. Moraviense, passim.
  • [5] Reg. Mag. Sig., 5 August 1452.
  • [6] Reg. Moraviense, No. 119.
  • [7] Sir W. Fraser's Sutherland Book, iii. 1.
  • [8] Reg. Moraviense, 456.

Sources: Balfour Paul, J. (1911) The Scots Peerage, vol. 8. Edinburgh: David Douglas.

http://www26.us.archive.org/stream/heraldryofmurray00john#page/n21/... Page 3 (No2)

(1) Freskin died before 1171

  • 1(a) William (2 below)
  • 1(b) Hugh (13 below)
  • 1(c) Andrew - probably Bishop of Moray 1184-85

(2) William died c1203

  • 2(a) Hugh de Moravia
  • 2(a)1 Walter, married Eufemia da of Ferchard, Earl of Ross
  • 2(a)1-a Freskin, Lord of Duffus, married Johanna, Lady Strathnaver



This surname was taken from the province of Moray, where a Fleming named Freskin settled in the reign of David I. (1123-52) at Duffus near Elgin, obtaining also lands in Linlithgowshire called Strathbrock.

His immediate descendants styled themselves "De Moravia," and were long great landowners in the district. The name Freskin was perpetuated in this family for some generations, and is found also in that

branch of the Douglases which settled in Linlithgow, from which, and similarity of armorial bearings, some have inferred their common origin.

By the close of the thirteenth century Freskin's descendants were widely spread over Scotland, there being twelve Morays who did homage to Edward I. in 1296, six of whom were of knightly rank. One of the most important of the surname at that time was Sir "William de Moravia" " dominus de Bothwell," from the extent of his possessions, in one place called "le riche." Besides this great barony, to which many detached estates in Koxburgh and elsewhere were annexed, which had come into the family, it is believed, by the marriage of his father, Walter de Moravia, to the heiress of the Olifards, Sir William owned the lands of Petty, a part of the original Morayshire possessions of Freskin, which had by this time been subdivided, as the two co-heiresses of Freskin de Moravia of Duffus, a collateral branch, had carried that possession into the families of Chen and Federeth about this period (1290). These Chens and Federeths also owned part of Strathbrock so late as 1335, which most probably came with these co-heiresses.

From the deeds printed in the Chartulary of Moray,1 it appears that Freskin had three sons—Hugh, William, and Andrew. Hugh is the undoubted ancestor of the Earls of Sutherland. In a grant by him of Scelbol (Skibo) to Gilbert, archdeacon of Moray, his two brothers William and Andrew, simply styled " fratres ejus," are witnesses. The late Mr Cosmo Innes, editor of this Chartulary, placed Hugh as eldest brother and head of the chief branch of the Moravia family. Mr Kiddellx controverted this, basing his argument on the fact that William succeeded Freskin in Strathbrock, Duffus, and his other lands in Moray, none of which devolved on Hugh; whence he inferred that William was the eldest brother. These two learned gentlemen disputed some other points in the Moray representation, which can now be settled through the better knowledge we possess.

But the difficulty as to the seniority of Hugh and William remains, for it has not yet been shown whether Sutherland was acquired by Freskin or his son Hugh. If by the father, then, as the most extensive domain, the eldest son would naturally succeed to it; if the son acquired it after his father's death by " conquest " (to use a Scottish law term), then the presumption is rather in favour of William, as successor in the original grants to his father, being the eldest. As the Sutherland family has long failed in the main line, the point is now immaterial.

On the only occasion, however, on which I have seen the Sutherland and Bothwell arms together,2 the former exhibits the three mullets plain, the latter shows them surrounded by a bordure charged with eight roundels. I have never seen the Bothwell arms with the tressure except on a stone in the east window of Bothwell choir, where they are impaled with another shield, also bearing three mullets, but without the tressure. Who this last shield commemorates is unknown, unless it is that of Sir Thomas Moray, last lord of Bothwell, and his wife, whoso surname is unknown.


Duffus Castle served as a fortress-residence for over five hundred years. During that time the place underwent great changes, none more radical than the replacement of the original earth-and-timber castle by one of stone and lime. When the first castle was built about AD 1150, it was among the foremost defensible strongholds in Scotland. By the time of its abandonment in 1705, the once mighty medieval castle was little more than a decaying fragment of history, completely unsuited as a residence of nobility.


Freskin, allegedly Flemish, died before 1172 (1166 in Scots Peerage)

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William of Sutherland's Timeline

Duffus Castle, Duffus, Morayshire (now Moray), Scotland (United Kingdom)
Duffus Castle, Duffus, Morayshire, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Duffus Castle, Duffus, Moray, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Age 65
Duffus Castle, Duffus, Morayshire (now Moray), Scotland (United Kingdom)
Age 65
St. Peter's Church, Duffus Castle, Duffus, Morayshire (now Moray), Scotland (United Kingdom)