Nielsen Hayden genealogy

John Mowat

Male - 1617


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  • Name John Mowat 
    Born of Hugoland in Northmaven, Shetland, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Gender Male 
    Died Aug 1617  [3, 4
    Person ID I20723  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of TWK
    Last Modified 29 Dec 2021 

    Father Andrew Mowat,   b. of Hugoland in Northmaven, Shetland, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1609 
    Mother Ursula Tulloch,   d. Between 1577 and 1587 
    Married Bef 15 Oct 1558  [3
    Family ID F12369  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Christian Stewart,   d. Aft 1634 
    Children 
    +1. Jean Mowat,   d. May 1682
    Last Modified 21 Dec 2018 
    Family ID F12361  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • From The Biggings, Papa Stour, Shetland (citation details below):

      Andrew's son and heir by Ursula Tulloch, John, was married to Christian Stewart, illegitimate daughter of Earl Robert of Orkney, which is an indication of the status of the Mowats in the islands at this time. After his father's death John took over 'the heritable tacks from gentlemen of Norway', which he must have recovered from Mr. James Pitcairne. So long as John was alive relations between him and his brothers, James Mowat of Ure and Gilbert, minister of Delting, seem to have been peaceable. Mr Gilbert Mowat was however an ambitious and greedy minister of the Church. He succeeded to the living of Northmaven on the death of James Pitcairne, acting as the latter's executor appearing indeed to have been a beneficiary in the latter's will (dated 1611) to the extent of being left 'the silver wark'. A decade or so later he had succeeded in obtaining what may well have been all Andrew and John Mowat's lands in Northmaven, plus the twelve 'lasts' of the lands of Papa Stour (in the parish of Sandness), with the pertinents (in the parish of Northmaven) i.e. 'Papa guids', for the sum of 5262 merks, 8 shillings Scots 'due to him'. Clearly the trouble which had caused Andrew and John to dispone all their rents and duties to James Pitcairne in 1609 had not been resolved and Mr Gilbert was becoming the legal possessor of the Papa lands of the 'lords of Norroway' due to his brother's default.

      The extent of the trouble which racked Northmaven as a result of the enmity between Mr Gilbert and Ninian Neven, supported by James Mowat of Ure, can be read in the full account of the case between them brought before the Privy Council in 1624. Papa Stour was not apparently a matter of contention at that time, but a few years later the central Scottish records reveal evidence of Mr Gilbert's violent activities on the island. Again it was a woman's legal situation which lay behind the attempts by the strong-armed to gain the advantage of disputed rights to the incomes due. In the 1560s it had been over Ursula Tulloch's rights as her father's designated heiress: in 1631 it was over Christian Stewart's rights as the widow of the former holder of the lands, and her attempt to collect life-rent duties from the tenants. The Complaint which she presented in person to the Privy Council in 1634 gives a vivid account of the assaults she had suffered at the hands of Gilbert Mowat and his accomplices as she attempted to collect her rents from the island. and again at her own lands of Ollaberry. Further violence was perpetrated against the tenants of the 'Papa guids' lands which probably means those in Northmaven in an attempt to get possession of the 'dewteis and maills thairof'. It is very interesting to note that Christian and her brother-in-law James Mowat of Ure attempted to get information about these events to Norway and wrote letters to 'some burgomaisters in Norway to advertise the heretours of the said lands of Papa there of the said Mr Gilbert his cariage aganis the said Christiane'. However Mr Gilbert heard of this and managed to get one of his supporters who was travelling in the same ship to steal the letters from the pouch of her messenger when he was sleeping and bring them back to him. The residual rights of the 'lords of Norroway* were simply ignored by Mr Gilbert and his son James who, as stated in a document written later in the 1630s, 'have intruded themselves in the lands called Papastoure and sindrie uther lands pertaining to the Lords of Norroway and keipis themselves in possesion thairof be bangsterie (violence) and oppression'. This document was written by an opposing Sinclair faction but the evidence already discussed would suggest that it is not exaggerating the extent of the Mowats' aggressive tactics: it moreover claims that they tried to eject the udallers from their lands 'upon the pretext that ther ryghts ar not conforme to the lawes of Scotland' and yet attempted themselves to protect their possession of lands by udal law and custom. Evidence about Mr Gilbert's behaviour as a 'cruell oppressour' who made 'unjust purchase of poore men's lands' had been fully publicised in the case before the Privy Council in 1624. So when Christian Stewart complained to the Privy Council in 1634 that her brother-in-law had rewarded her husband's kindness towards him with 'manie unnaturall and un dewtifull outrages, intolerable in a person of his profession' her statement would have occasioned no surprise.

  • Sources 
    1. [S1579] The Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants to the American Colonies, Quebec, or the United States, Who Were Themselves Notable or Left Descendants Notable in American History by Gary Boyd Roberts. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2018.

    2. [S50] Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families by Douglas Richardson. Second edition, 2011.

    3. [S376] Janet and Robert Wolfe Genealogy.

    4. [S6149] The Biggings, Papa Stour, Shetland: The Excavation of a Royal Norwegian Farm by Barbara E. Crawford and Beverley Ballin Smith. Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph Series number 15. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi, 1999., year only.