Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sinclair, James (1821-1881)

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SINCLAIR, JAMES, fourteenth Earl of Caithness (1821–1881), son of Alexander, thirteenth earl, by Frances Harriet, daughter and coheir of William Leigh of Rushall Hall, Staffordshire, dean of Hereford, was born on 16 Aug. 1821. In 1856–8 and 1859–66 he was a lord-in-waiting. From 1858 he sat as a representative Scottish peer, until, on 21 May 1866, he was created a peer of the United Kingdom by the title of Baron Barrogill of Barrogill Castle, Caithness. He devoted much of his leisure to scientific pursuits, was a fellow of the Royal Society of London, and the inventor of a steam carriage for travelling on macadamised roads, a gravitating compass which came into general use, and a tape-loom by which a weaver might stop one of the shuttles without interfering with the action of the whole. In 1877 he published ‘Lectures on Popular and Scientific Subjects,’ which reached a second edition in 1879. He died suddenly, of paralysis of the heart, in the Fifth Avenue Hotel, New York, 28 March 1881, and was buried in the Chapel Royal, Holyrood. By his first wife, Louisa Georgina, third and youngest daughter and coheiress of Sir George Richard Phillips, baronet, of Weston, Warwickshire, he had a son George Phillips Alexander, who succeeded him as fifteenth earl of Caithness. By his second wife, Marie, duchesse de Pomar, widow of General le Comte de Medina Pomar and daughter of Don José de Mariategui, he left no issue.

[Burke's Peerage; G.E.C.'s Complete Peerage; Times, 30 and 31 March 1881.]

T. F. H.