The First Duke of Sutherland is know locally as the 'Mannie', but who was he?
George Granville-Leveson Gower, Lord Trentham, Earl Gower and later the 2nd Marquis of Stafford married Countess Elizabeth of Sutherland and Baroness Strathnaver, owner of the whole of the county of Sutherland in 1785.
In 1833 he was created the 1st Duke of Sutherland for services to politics.
- Road building and bridge building along the East coast including the Mound.
- Mail coach service along these new roads to the North coast.
- Setting up a fishing industry including boatbuilding, fish curing and coopering.
- Harbour developments. Industrial developments along the coast.
- Land improvements - introduction of the Cheviot sheep and black faced sheep.
- The inhuman eviction of thousands of people from their homes to achieve the land improvements.
- Depopulating the glens and straths of Sutherland to make sheepwalks.
- Movement of people to coastal areas to work in the new industries.
- Not keeping close enough control over what was happening in Sutherland in his and his Countess/Duchess' names.
The Duke of Sutherland died in July 1833 at Dunrobin Castle and was buried in Dornoch Cathedral.
In 1834 a subscription list was opened in order to build the monument in his memory. Subscriptions came in from a wide area, but it is interesting to note that of the 170 Golspie subscribers only 14 were Sutherlands. The stone base for the base and plinth of the statue was quarried on the north east side of the Ben about fifty yards from the monument and the remains of this quarry can still be seen. The monument itself was sculpted by Sir Francis Chantrey and it was taken up to the top in sections by horse and dray along the cart track that winds its way from Golspie Tower up the back of the Ben.
In 1837 it was completed, towering 100ft above the top of Ben Bhraggie, the 'Mannie', one of the Highlands best known landmarks, a reminder of the man and his times.