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Easter Ross
Invergordon


The Burgh of Invergordon stands, as has already been pointed out, on a promontory which gives it not only a commanding scenic situation but has helped it in the formation of a commodious harbour which has done much for the district. The town itself consists principally of one long broad street with many side streets built at right angles. At present it is plain that any description of the town as it is, must in the course of a year or two be completely out of date, as there is much activity in the erection of all kinds of buildings. There is now in course of erection more large oil tanks for the navy, new hotels, club houses, and dwellings of all kinds to meet the requirements of those who have business in connection with the navy.

It is only this year (1914) that Invergordon celebrates its jubilee as a burgh, though it has for much more than fifty years been a busy seaport town in regular communication with such places as Cromarty, Inverness! Aberdeen, London, etc.

Only two or three years ago the inhabitants were debating as to how ‘ its trade and commerce could be improved, and plans for making it a desirable seaside summer resort were thought of, but the making of the Cromarty Firth a naval base has altogether altered the outlook. The inhabitants were never of the type that looked simply to the past, rather have they been looking to the future, and now, that a future is assured them they have acquired quite an American atmosphere of keenness and hustle, and much business is daily being done at the commodious and well equipped shops here.

The town possesses since 1870 a hanasome town hall, Italian in architecture. The pediment shows a sculptured figure of Neptune with his proper attributes of cornucopia, bulrushes, water urn, etc. It has seating accommodation for five hundred people. A noticeable building is the United Free Church which is Gothic in style and cruciform in plan, with a spire 160 feet high. The Established Church of the parish is situated more than a mile to the west of the town. There is a handsome well-built and excellently equipped academy here with accommodation for about four hundred pupils, many of whom travel to it long distances daily by rail, etc., because of the excellence of education got here. There are as yet branches of only two banks here—the Commercial and the North of Scotland, both of which have handsome buildings in the main street.

In 1902 King Edward and Queen Alexandra landed here, and had a right royal welcome. To commemorate that visit a handsome lamp and fountain were erected in the most central part of the town.

The town can also boast of being the first to publish a newspaper in the county, “The Invergordon Times,” which has been regularly issued since 1855.

Here the Freemasons have a lodge as have also the Oddfellows and Good Templars. There are Literary, Dramatic and Debating Societies, tennis, bowling, cricket, golf and football clubs. There are Dorcas and Temperance Societies, and, most popular of all, a Regatta and Boating club, indeed the Invergordon Annual Regatta is one of the most popular events in the whole district and year by year so excellent is the programme submitted that to witness the events, large and fashionable crowds gather into the town during the two days over which the Regatta extends.

THE FOUNDER OF INVERGORDON.

Sir William Gordon, the first baronet of Invergordon, he who gave the town its present name, which really is quite a modern one, was in his time one of the best known public men in Scotland. This Sir William succeeded his father Sir Adam in 1700 and was one of the few people who made money of the South Sea Bubble. He ultimately became a rich banker in London. Where he got his original wealth is a mystery, but rich he was, and honours fell to him in rapid succession. He was created a baronet in 1704, was made a burgess of Edinburgh in 1708 (his ticket is preserved among the Laing charters in Edinburgh University), he represented Sutherlandshire in five Parliaments (1708-1727) and Cromartyshire from 1741-1742. He was commissioner for stating debts due to the army and he had the satisfaction of having two grandsons ennobled (Lord Melville and Lord Cromarty). He had much influence with the Earl of Sutherland and had a residence at Uppat near Dunrobin. He bought the estate of Inverbreakie from the Macleod family (who had borrowed the money from his father) and re-christened it Invergordon. But he had his difficulties with the customs and with a Ludovick Gordon of Elgin who in 1713 brought an action against him. Ludovick alleged that he had gone to Sir William’s house to demand payment of bills amounting to ^93. Instead of paying, Sir William set two servants on him and they abstracted his pocket book containing the bills and retained his jockey coat, his sword and his whip. Sir William was put on trial and won, but Ludovick was not to be baulked and had a fight even up to the House of Lords for the price of his coat, sword and whip with 100 as damages.

Sir William took the side of the house of Hanover in 1715 and Horace Walpole declared that the Prince of Wales saved Cromartie after the ’45 in return for Sir William’s “coming out of his deathbed to vote for Sir Robert Walpole at the Chippenham election.” Sir William died at Chelsea in 1742.

The second baronet of Invergordon was Sir John, who was M.P. for Cromartie from 1742 to 1747 and from 1754 to 1761. He also was a personage of considerable influence politically, as is shown by the most notable event in his career—his strong and partly successful plea for the life of his nephew, Lord Macleod, who had become implicated in the Jacobite rebellion. The third baronet was Rev. Sir Adam Gordon and Sir George was the fourth. By a not uncommon fate in families who have striven to be great the baronetcy of Invergordon ended in an imbecile, for Sir Adam was insane, and having been baronet for ten years died unmarried in 1850. There were heirs, but the baronetcy has been allowed to lie dormant. These heirs are probably descended from the uncle of the last baronet. This uncle, a John Gordon, was a drover and cattle dealer, and dormant baronetcies were not much in his line, and thus ended the baronetcy of Invergordon.


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