James Fea II of Whitehall

In 1697, he is recorded as the master of the of the Kirkwall ship “Elephant”, which belonged to James Traill of Elsness.  That summer, when returning from the Continent, the ship was captured by a French privateer off Shetland and held to ransom.  Fortunately, they were able to borrow £240 from John Scott, an Edinburgh merchant, who was in Shetland at the time.

James Fea II of Whitehall was to marry three times:

(1) Jacobina Forbes, the daughter of Patrick Forbes, Bishop of Caithness on 13th December 1700.   She seems to have been some twenty years his senior and this was her third marriage.  Her first was to Captain William of Rusland on 2nd November 1672. He died in 1679.

The 23 of Jarij. 79, being Tursday, Wm. Buchanan of Rusland depairted this lyfe, and was intered in St. Magnus Kirk the nixt Sabath following, being the 26 of ye sd moneth.

The Diaries of Thomas Brown 1675-1693 (1898),  p7
Edited by A Francis Steuart

Her second husband was John Moodie whom she married on 13th April  1683. 

Ffryday’s morning, about four houres, or yrby, the 13 Appll. 1683, John Mudie wes maried to Jacobina Forbes.

The Diaries of Thomas Brown 1675-1693 (1898),  p25
Edited by A Francis Steuart

He passed away shortly afterwards. 

Jacobina Forbes died in the early 1700s.  No children are known of these marriages.

(2) James Fea remarried shortly afterwards but no name is known of his wife.  They had two daughters;

(3) Jean Manson was the third wife of James Fea, whom he married in 1727.  She was from Kirkwall and the daughter of James Manson.  They had one son:

In 1717, James Fea II of Whitehall was the owner and master of the “Margaret ” of Stronsay.  It is likely that he was involved as a merchant with the Continental ports, as were most of the Orkney lairds.

He is considered to be the first person to see to the making of kelp in Orkney. The date for this is usually given as 1722.

There is a record from 1726 of his giving a property known as “The Hall” to his sister, Barbara Fea.  This was in ruins but must have been rebuilt later as described as “new” in 1740.

James died around 1729. The Whitehall farm was struggling and his widow appeared to be in financial difficulties with various creditors pressing for payment, including David Anderson, writer in Edinburgh, and George Traill, Writer in Kirkwall. The estate was transferred to their son, James, who was too young to run it. “Tutors” were therefore appointed to look after his affairs: James Fea VI of Clestrain, David Traill Jnr of Elsness and Rev Thomas Baikie, who had married Elizabeth Fea, sister of James Fea II of Whitehall.

This continued until 11th December 1732, when Jaspar Simpson, Commissar Officer for Orkney, arranged a legal process whereby Barbara Fea, James’s sister took over the role of main tutor from James Fea VI of Clestrain and the estate was in practice run by her husband,  Hans Heitman.  Witnesses to this arrangement were William Moray and Thomas Skea under the chairmanship of William Liddell of Hammar.