Middleton, Tarbat and Clarendon overcame Charles's reluctance to restore episcopacy; Lauderdale fell into the background; The Rev. James Sharp, hitherto the agent of the Resolutioners, or milder party among the preachers, turned his coat, and took the archbishopric of St Andrews.
He was saved by the exertions of Lauderdale, and Tarbat suggested, while Middleton adopted, a scheme for ostracizing, and making incapable of office, twelve of their opponents, including Lauderdale.
Middleton and Tarbat were cashiered, and the able but profligate earl of Rothes united four or five of the highest offices in his own person, Lauderdale remaining at court as secretary for Scotland.
To this were added from time to time the various estates scattered throughout Ross-shire - the most considerable of which were the districts around Ullapool and Little Loch Broom on the Atlantic coast, the area in which Ben Wyvis is situated, and a tract to the north of Loch Fannich - which had been acquired by the ancestors of Sir George Mackenzie (1630-1714), afterwards Viscount Tarbat (1685) and 1st earl of Cromarty (1703).
Desirous of combining these sporadic properties into one shire, Viscount Tarbat was enabled to procure their annexation to his sheriffdom of Cromarty in 1685 and 1698, the area of the enlarged county amounting to nearly 370 sq.