Earl of Sutherland
|Earldom of Sutherland|
|Created by||Alexander II of Scotland|
|Peerage||Peerage of Scotland|
|First holder||William de Moravia|
|Present holder||Elizabeth Sutherland, 24th Countess|
|Heir apparent||Alistair Charles St Clair Sutherland|
|Remainder to||heirs general of the body of the grantee|
|Subsidiary titles||Lord Strathnaver|
The original line of earls of Sutheland had the surname "de Moravia" although they sometimes used the surname "Sutherland", taken from their hereditary title. The name de Mroavia meant "of Moray" or "of Murray". The de Moravias who were Earls of Sutherland and chiefs of Clan Sutherland shared their paternal ancestry with the chiefs of Clan Murray who were Earls and later Dukes of Atholl. However the de Moravias of Sutherland were the senior line of the family.
Elizabeth de Moravia, 10th Countess of Sutherland, married Adam Gordon, whose descendants were several of the next Earls of Sutherland, who all used the surname Gordon. The title was again held by a long string of men, until the death of William Gordon, 18th Earl, without sons, when the title passed to his daughter Elizabeth.
Elizabeth, 19th Countess of Sutherland then married George Granville Leveson-Gower in 1785; he inherited the title of Marquess of Stafford from his father in 1803. The Marquess held vast lands and wealth, having inherited from his father, the first Marquess of Stafford, from his maternal uncle, the second Duke of Bridgewater, and also holding much property associated with the Earldom of Sutherland, which belonged to his wife. He was made Duke of Sutherland in 1833.
The Duke's son, also named George, inherited the Earldom of Sutherland from his mother and the Dukedom of Sutherland from his father. The two titles continued united until the death of the fifth Duke in 1963. The Earldom passed to his niece Elizabeth, while the Dukedom had to pass to a male heir.
The subsidiary title associated with the Earldom is Lord Strathnaver (created 1230), which is used as a courtesy title by the Earl's or Countess's eldest son and heir.
Ancestors of the Earls of Sutherland
Different sources give different accounts of the ancestors of the Earls of Sutherland. The generally accepted ancestry is that William de Moravia (William Sutherland), 1st Earl of Sutherland in the peerage of Scotland (d. 1284) was the son of Hugh de Moravia, who in turn was a grandson of Freskin, a Flemish knight.
However 17th century historian Sir Robert Gordon, who was a younger son of Alexander Gordon, 12th Earl of Sutherland states that William de Moravia (William Sutherland), 1st Earl of Sutherland (d. 1284) was the son of Hugh, Earl of Sutherland who was nicknamed Freskin, who was in turn son of Robert Sutherland (Earl of Sutherland and founder of Dunrobin Castle), who was son of Walter Southerland (Earl of Sutherland), who was son of Alane Southerland, Thane of Sutherland.
Earls of Sutherland (Creation in the Peerage of Scotland)
Although the original line of Earls had the surname "de Moravia", historian Sir Robert Gordon, who was a younger son of Alexander Gordon, 12th Earl of Sutherland, states in his book "A Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland" that the original line in fact used the surname "Sutherland".
- William de Moravia, 1st Earl of Sutherland (William Sutherland) (d. 1284)
- William de Moravia, 2nd Earl of Sutherland (William Sutherland) (d. 1307)
- William de Moravia, 3rd Earl of Sutherland (William Sutherland) (d. 1330)
- Kenneth de Moravia, 4th Earl of Sutherland (Kenneth Sutherland) (d. 1333)
- William de Moravia, 5th Earl of Sutherland (William Sutherland) (d. 1370)
- Robert de Moravia, 6th Earl of Sutherland (Robert Sutherland) (d. 1427)
- John de Moravia, 7th Earl of Sutherland (John Sutherland) (d. 1460)
- John de Moravia, 8th Earl of Sutherland (John Sutherland) (d. 1508)
- John de Moravia, 9th Earl of Sutherland (John Sutherland) (d. 1514)
- Elizabeth de Moravia, 10th Countess of Sutherland (Elizabeth Sutherland) (d. 1535) (Sister of the 9th Earl, married Adam Gordon, a younger son of George Gordon, 2nd Earl of Huntly, chief of Clan Gordon).
- Alexander Gordon, Master of Sutherland (d. 1530) (son of Adam Gordon & Elizabeth de Moravia)
- John Gordon, 11th Earl of Sutherland (c. 1526–1567)
- Alexander Gordon, 12th Earl of Sutherland (c. 1552–1594)
- John Gordon, 13th Earl of Sutherland (1576–1615)
- John Gordon, 14th Earl of Sutherland (1609–1679)
- George Gordon, 15th Earl of Sutherland (1633–1703)
- John Gordon, 16th Earl of Sutherland (1661–1733) (changed his surname from Gordon to Sutherland)
- William Sutherland, 17th Earl of Sutherland (1708–1750)
- William Sutherland, 18th Earl of Sutherland (1735–1766)
- Elizabeth Leveson-Gower, 19th Countess of Sutherland (1765–1839)
- George Granville Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 2nd Duke of Sutherland, 20th Earl of Sutherland (1786–1861)
- George Granville William Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 3rd Duke of Sutherland, 21st Earl of Sutherland (1828–1892)
- Cromartie Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 4th Duke of Sutherland, 22nd Earl of Sutherland (1851–1913)
- George Granville Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 5th Duke of Sutherland, 23rd Earl of Sutherland (1888–1963)
- Elizabeth Millicent Sutherland, 24th Countess of Sutherland (b. 1921)
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, Alastair Charles St Clair Sutherland, Lord Strathnaver (b. 1947). Lord Strathnaver's heir apparent is his son, Alexander Charles Robert Sutherland, Master of Strathnaver (b. 1981)
- Sutherland, Malcolm. "A Fighting Clan, Sutherland Officers: 1250 – 1850”. Page 3. Avon Books. ISBN 1-897960-47-6.
- Gordon, Sir Robert. (1580–1657) "Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland". Originally written between 1615 and 1630. Republished in 1813.
- Gordon, Sir Robert. (1580–1657) "Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland". Originally written between 1615 and 1630. Republished in 1813. Page 30.