The MacKenzie Earls of Seaforth and the Stuart dynasty, 1651-1719

Sheffield, Edwin Charles (2023) The MacKenzie Earls of Seaforth and the Stuart dynasty, 1651-1719. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Clan MacKenzie was a dominant force in Ross-shire throughout the seventeenth century and in the early eighteenth century. Its chiefly line was the MacKenzies of Kintail/Seaforth, who at times were the earls of Seaforth and Jacobite marquesses of Seaforth, sheriffs of Ross-shire, provosts of Fortrose, Scottish Privy Councillors and Jacobite secretary of state for Scotland. However, the noble house of Seaforth remains under-analysed in scholarship for the period after 1639.

Instead, scholarship tends to approach the Scottish Highlands and Highland nobility during the temporal span of this thesis (1651-1719) from an Edinburgh- and London-centric perspective and, therefore, through nobles and clans who engaged more regularly with the Scottish and British central authorities, such as the house of Argyll, consecutively chiefs of Clan Campbell. This has led to skewed understanding of Highland nobility and clanship during this period.

Taking inspiration from successful noble- and Highland-centred approaches to historical research, this thesis describes and analyses the change in the strength of the house of Seaforth through focused studies on the political careers of Kenneth Mòr MacKenzie, third earl of Seaforth (1651-78), Kenneth Òg MacKenzie, fourth earl of Seaforth (1678-1701), and William Dubh MacKenzie, fifth earl of Seaforth (1701-19). To accomplish this, this thesis utilises source material irrespective of its genre or the language in which it was written, painting a multi-layered picture. This thesis uses a mixture of family papers and correspondence, governmental records, Gaelic poetry and genealogical histories to assess how the nature of Highland noble power changed from the perspective of the chief, revealing his apparent strategy.

More broadly, this thesis provides a local, Seaforth-centred perspective of the years 1651-1719 in order to challenge and complement long-held historiographical beliefs on national phenomena, such as on minority and absentee lordship, Highland nobles and their gentry, clans and royalism and Jacobitism, clans and religion, and clans and politics.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > History
Supervisor's Name: MacGregor, Dr. Martin and Bowie, Professor Karin
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83551
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2023 09:14
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2023 09:15
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83551

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