Alexander Gordon, Master of Sutherland

Alexander Gordon, Master of Sutherland (c.1505-1530), Scottish magnate, made Earl of Sutherland in 1527.


Alexander Gordon was the son of Adam Gordon of Aboyne (d.1538) and Elizabeth de Moravia, Countess of Sutherland (d.1535), the daughter of John de Moravia, 8th Earl of Sutherland.

In 1522 John Mackay of Strathnaver made a bond to serve Alexander, then Master of Sutherland, as he had served his father. Robert Gordon, the 17th-century historian of the Sutherlands, saw this part as Adam's initiative to put the earldom into his son's hands. According to Robert Gordon, Alexander had defeated armed incursions by the Mackays into Sutherland territory. Adam and Elizabeth had fought the Mackays at the Battle of Torran Dubh in 1517.

Perhaps in connection with Alexander's marriage to Janet Stewart, daughter of John Stewart, 2nd Earl of Atholl, his parents resigned the Earldom of Sutherland to Alexander in November 1527, and a crown charter to this effect was issued in December. Alexander, now Earl of Sutherland lived at Dunrobin Castle, and died there on 13 January 1530.[1]

Master's charter

Alexander's royal charter of the earldom, dated 1 December 1527 describes his parents as the Earl of Countess of Sutherland. They resigned to him the earldom of Sutherland and its lands, Dunrobin with all its tenants and outliers, mills, sea and freshwater fishing, patronage of the church and chapel there, with some reservations to Adam and Elizabeth in their lifetimes. As Alexander pre-deceased his parents, he did not profit from the earldom in full.[2]


With Janet Stewart, Alexander had children;

  • John Gordon, 11th Earl of Sutherland
  • Alexander Gordon (of Kintessock), (d.1552)
  • William Gordon
  • Janet Gordon, married Patrick Dunbar of Westfield and Cumnock.
  • Beatrice Gordon, married William Sinclair of Dunbeath


  • Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun, A Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland, from Its Origin to the Year 1630; with a Continuation to the Year 1651, Edinburgh (1813)
  1. Fraser, William, ed., Sutherland Book, vol.1 (1892), pp.90-98
  2. Register of the Great Seal of Scotland, 1513-1546, (1883), p.116 no.520
Preceded by
John de Moravia, 9th Earl of Sutherland
Earl of Sutherland
Succeeded by
John Gordon, 11th Earl of Sutherland
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