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Earls of Seaforth

Earls of Seaforth

Scottish title held by the family of Mackenzie from 1623 to 1716, and again from 1771 to 1781. The Mackenzies trace their descent to one Cohn of Kintail (d. 1278), and their name is a variant of Mackenneth. Kenneth, the twelfth head of the clan, was made Lord Mackenzie of Kintail in 1609, and his son Cohn, who succeeded his father as 2nd Lord Mackenzie in March 1611, was created earl of Seaforth in 1623. Colin’s successor was his half-brother George (d. 1651), who became the 2nd earl in 1633. George was alternately a royalist and a covenanter between 1636 and 1646, and was afterwards in Holland with Charles II., who made him secretary of state for Scotland. His grandson, Kenneth, the 4th earl, followed James II. to France and was with the dethroned king in Ireland. Sent by James in 1690 to head a rising in Scotland, he was captured and imprisoned, but in 1697 he was released and he died in Paris in January 1701.

His successor was his son William, who joined the Jacobite standard at Braemar in 1715, and then, having raised 3000 men, was present at the battle of Sheriff muir and was appointed lieutenant-general of the northern counties. He also took part in the Jacobite enterprise of 1719, being wounded at Glenshiel. In 1716 he was attainted and his titles and estates forfeited; before his death in January 1740, he had been relieved of some of the penalties of his treason, although his titles were not restored.

His son Kenneth (c. 1718—1761), who but for the attainder would have been the 6th earl, helped the English government during the rising of 1745, and was a member of parliament for some years.

His son Kenneth (c. 1744— 1781) was created earl of Seaforth in 1771, but his peerage became extinct when he died in August 1781, although there were still heirs to the older earldom, which was under attainder, This earl raised the regiment of Highianders, the 78th, known later as the 2nd battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders.

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