Copy bond of obligation of George Leslie to deliver Kirkwall castle to James III, 1487

Scope and Content

Copy bond of obligation of George Leslie, first earl of Rothes.

Copy bond of obligation made by George Leslie to guarantee that his grandson Henry Sinclair, son of his daughter Christian and William Sinclair, would deliver to James III, king of Scots, and Andrew [Painter] bishop of Orkney, all the king’s lands in Orkney and Shetland together with the castle of Kirkwall [Orkney] at the end of his 2 year tack, and if he did not then Leslie would deliver up his house and castle of Leslie instead. Ballinbreich, 13 August 1487.

Administrative / Biographical History

George Leslie (c.1417-1489/90), first earl of Rothes, inherited a large collection of estates mainly on the east coast of Scotland which made him an important noble in North-East Scotland. He was made a lord of parliament and his support of James II was rewarded with the earldom of Rothes and barony of Ballinbreich in Fife in 1458. However his career stalled in financial problems and difficulties with William Sinclair, earl of Orkney over the annulment of his second marriage, as children of this marriage had married into the Sinclair family. He attended parliament but was not a significant political force. He was ordered by James III to make provision for his grandson and heir George Leslie in 1487 after a rift in the family.

James III obtained the earldom of Orkney and lordship of Shetland in 1472 from Christian I of Denmark-Norway who needed to raise a dowry for his daughter Margaret to marry James. Henry Sinclair was granted a thirteen year lease of Orkney and Shetland, the custody of Kirkwall castle and the offices of justiciar, foud and bailie of Orkney and Shetland in 1488.

Henry Sinclair (c.1480-1513) was the son of Christian Leslie, daughter of George Leslie, first earl of Rothes, and William Sinclair, son of William Sinclair, third earl of Orkney, and inherited the Sinclair properties in Orkney.


Single item

Access Information

By appointment with the Keeper of Manuscripts. Access to records containing confidential information may be restricted.

Acquisition Information

Bequeathed to the Library by Rev Dr John Stirton, 1945.


Call number used to be ms667

Other Finding Aids

Individual Manuscripts and Small Collections database available as part of Manuscripts Database.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Paper: 29.3x27cm

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Maia Sheridan, Archives Hub project archivist, based on material from the Manuscripts Database

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Manuscripts. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.



Related Material

University of St Andrews: GB 227 msDA783.8L4: Instrument in favour of Christian Leslie, 1487