Monday, 9 November 2015

1st Viscount Thurso

THE SINCLAIR BARONETS, LATER VISCOUNTS THURSO, WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN THE COUNTY OF CAITHNESS, WITH 78,053 ACRES

THE RT HON JOHN SINCLAIR MP, of Ulbster and Thurso Castle, lineal descendant of the 4th Earl of Caithness,
privy counsellor, founder and President, Board of Agriculture; MP; Cashier Excise Scotland; Colonel, Caithness and Rothesay Fencibles, which he raised; DCL, FRS, FRAS; Author: Statistical Account of Scotland; Agricultural innovator.
Mr Sinclair was created a baronet in 1780. His eldest son,

SIR GEORGE SINCLAIR (1790-1868), 2nd Baronet, of Ulbster; married Lady Catherine, daughter of Sir William Talmash, Lord Huntingtower, in 1816. His eldest son,

SIR JOHN GEORGE TOLLEMACHE SINCLAIR DL MP (1825-1912), 3rd Baronet, of Ulbster;
married Emma Isabella Harriet, daughter of William Standish Standish, in 1853, Scots Fusiliers Guards; Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, and Deputy Lieutenant, Caithness; Member of Parliament for Caithness; Page of Honour to QUEEN ADELAIDE in 1869.
His grandson,

THE RT HON SIR ARCHIBALD HENRY MacDONALD SINCLAIR (1890-1970), 4th Baronet, KT, CMG, JP, of Ulbster,
married Marigold, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel James Stewart Forbes, in 1918, Major, Life Guards; Lord-Lieutenant of Caithness, 1919–64; Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1921–22; Member of Parliament for Caithness and Sutherland, 1922–45; educated at Eton and RMC Sandhurst; Justice of the Peace; Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (CMG), 1922; Privy Counsellor, 1931; Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle (KT), 1941.
Sir Archibald was elevated to the peerage, in 1952, as VISCOUNT THURSO, of Ulbster in the County of Caithness.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son the Hon James Alexander Robin Sinclair (b 1984).

THE CASTLE, Thurso, Caithness, was built in the 1870s by the architect David Smith for Sir Tollemache Sinclair, 3rd Baronet, replacing the original castle of about 1660.

The Victorian castle was built in the style of a French chateau close to the shore on the east of the river mouth.

During the 2nd World War, a sea mine exploded nearby and the castle became structurally unsafe.

Consequently, much of it was demolished to make it safe in 1952.


The contractor who had the job of taking the roof off and demolishing other parts to make it safe was paid by being allowed to keep the lead from the roof.

What is left standing shows the height and number of floors that made it a very impressive structure given its position on the coast where it could be seen a long way off.

Its position gave it marvellous views over Thurso Bay.

First published in November, 2013.

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