Kenneth Mackenzie, 1st Earl of Seaforth

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Kenneth Mackenzie, 1st Earl of Seaforth FRS (15 January 1744 – 27 August 1781) was a British peer and politician and Chief of the Highland Clan Mackenzie.


Mackenzie was the son of Kenneth Mackenzie, Lord Fortrose (died 1761) by Mary, the eldest daughter of Alexander Stewart, 6th Earl of Galloway. His paternal grandfather was the attainted William Mackenzie, 5th Earl of Seaforth, whose estates he repurchased from the government. The Earls of Seaforth descended from the ancient family of Mackenzie of Kintail.[1]


Mackenzie was created Viscount Fortrose and Baron Ardelve in the Peerage of Ireland on 18 November 1766. He was a Member of Parliament for Caithness from 1768 to 1774. On 3 December 1771, he was created Earl of Seaforth (a new peerage, also in the Peerage of Ireland).[1]

On 12 November 1772, Mackenzie was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.[2]

He was commissioned lieutenant-colonel and raised a regiment, the Seaforth (Highland) Regiment in 1778. He sailed with them to the East Indies, but died at sea in 1781.[1] He was succeeded as Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant by Thomas Frederick Mackenzie Humberston.[3]


Mackenzie married first Lady Caroline Stanhope (1747–1767), daughter of William Stanhope, 2nd Earl of Harrington by whom he had one daughter, Lady Caroline Mackenzie (1766–1847), who married Louis Drummond, Comte de Melfort (d. 1833) and had issue. He married secondly Harriet Powell (died 11 December 1779), the daughter of an apothecary. Sir James Balfour Paul describes her tactfully as "a fashionable beauty of the town",[1] but Horace Bleackley is rather more explicit:

The graceful Harriet Powell, equally frail and famous, whose winsome face was portrayed in many a mezzotint, had spent her early youth as an inmate of Mrs Hayes's disreputable establishment in King's Place, but now at last she had become faithful to one man, and was keeping house with Lord Seaforth, the creator of a famous regiment.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Sir James Balfour Paul, The Scots Peerage, volume 7 (David Douglas, Edinburgh, 1910), at pages 512-513
  2. ^ The Royal Society Library and Information Services, List of Fellows of the Royal Society, 1660-2007
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 12270. p. 1. 16 February 1782.
  4. ^ Horace Bleackley, Ladies fair and frail: sketches of the demi-monde during the eighteenth century (J. Lane, London, 1910), at page 207
Parliament of Great Britain
alternating constituency
Title last held by
John Scott
(to 1761)
Member of Parliament for Caithness
alternating constituency
Title next held by
John Sinclair
(from 1780)
Military offices
New regiment Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant of the
78th (Highland) Regiment of Foot

Succeeded by
Thomas Frederick Mackenzie Humberston
Peerage of Ireland
New creation Earl of Seaforth
Viscount Fortrose
Preceded by
Kenneth Mackenzie
Chief of Clan Mackenzie
Succeeded by
Thomas Frederick Mackenzie Humberston