You are here

Forbes Mackenzie

Forbes Mackenzie

Major Forbes Mackenzie was the son of the Rev Colin Mackenzie of Fodderty, who had first recognised the health-giving properties of the water at Strathpeffer, leading to the town becoming a noted Victorian spa.

Major Mackenzie served in the Militia and was Chamberlain of the Lewis ca 1816-1820. He was Deputy Lieutenant of Ross-shire for 37 years, and an active agricultural innovator, reclaiming land and introducing Clydesdale horses, short-horn cattle and Cheviot sheep to the North Highlands - not, of course, to the benefit to the crofters.

He is also remembered for a strange incident in 1828:

As Major Forbes Mackenzie of Fodderty, in Strathpeffer, Co. Ross, was traversing a field on this farm, he was surprised to find a considerable portion of the ground covered with herring fry, of from three to four inches each in length. The fish were fresh and entire, and had no appearance of being dropped by birds, a medium by which they must have been bruised and mutilated. The only rational conjecture that can be formed of the circumstance is, that the fish were transported thither by a waterspout -- a phenomenon that has before occurred in this county, and which is by no means uncommon in tropical climates. The Frith of Dingwell lies at a distance of three miles from the place in question, but no obstruction occurs between the field and the sea -- the whole is a level stretch or plain -- and waterspouts have been known to carry even farther than this. Major Mackenzie has forwarded a small quantity of the fish to the secretary of the Northern Institution.

The Gentleman's Magazine, 1828

He married Catherine Nicolson, daughter of Angus Nicolson of Stornoway, in 1816 and had several children: Colin Nicolson (1817), Mary (1818), Roderick, Thomas, Dorothy and Catherine.

Their eldest son Nicolson was an army surgeon, drowned off Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1853. Their daughter Mary was married to Dr John Kennedy, the noted Free Church minister and author.


Title: Forbes Mackenzie
Record Type: People
Date of Marriage: July 1816
Occupation: Chamberlain of the Lews
Sex: Male
Record Maintained By: HC
Subject Id: 65026