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Hev. a. macdonald, 



Rev. a. macdonald, 



" The sovereignty of the Gael to the Clan ChoUa, 
It is right to proclaim it." 

Enbcritess : 




















With the publication of this volume of the Clan 
Donald, our first duty is to tender an apology to 
our Subscribers for the delay that has occurred in 
its appearance. This, however, has been owing 
much less, if at all, to lack of eftort, than to the 
large mass of material connected with the various 
branches of the Clan which had to be sifted and 
arranged, and the consequent fact that this volume 
has assumed much greater dimensions than its 
predecessor, running up as it does to some 800 
pages. Seeing that the volume is thus much larger 
than was originally expected or intended, and that 
a proportionate amount of time and labour had to 
be expended upon its publication, we trust that our 
Subscribers will excuse its belated appearance, and 
that the general result will not be unsatisfactory. 
Notwithstanding the bulk of the volume, it has 
been found impossible, without still more unduly 
increasing its size, to conclude the historical portion 
of the work within its limits. We have therefore 
decided to postpone the historical treatment of the 
family of Sleat until Volume III. is reached, for the 
reason that it was the last of the great branches to 
emerge from the parent stem. The remainder of 
Volume III. will be devoted to the genealogy of the 


Clan, and as the material for this part of the work 
is already well in hand, we do not anticipate great 
delay in its completion. 

We desire to record our gratitude for the help 
and sympathy which we have received from several 
clansmen, and others, who have interested them- 
selves in our work. Among these may be men- 
tioned the Earl of Antrim, Colonel John M'^Donnell 
of Kihiiore, Glenariff ; Hercules H. G. M'Donnell, 
Esq., Roby Place, Dublin ; the Hon. William 
Macdonald, Vancouver ; J. R. M. Macdonald, Esq. 
of Largie ; Alexander Macdonald, Esq. of Balran- 
ald ; Admiral Robertson Macdonald of Kinloch- 
moidart ; Professor Arthur M'^Donell of Lochgarry, 
Oxford ; Colonel Martin Martin, R.E., Ostaig, 
Skye ; the late Rev, Rod. Macdonald, minister of 
South Uist ; and Mr Farquhar Beaton, South Uist. 
Our grateful thanks are due to Lord and Lady 
Macdonald of the Isles for a continuation of their 
kindness in giving us access to the valuable papers 
of the Sleat family. To Macleod of Macleod, who 
maintains the best traditions of his ancient house, 
we owe a similar debt of gratitude for access to 
his family papers at Dunvegan Castle, readily and 
generously given us. To the kindness of another 
Highland Chief, MacLaine of Lochbuie, we are 
indebted for permission to reproduce a charter of 
the Bailiary of South Tyree to his ancestor, 
granted by John, Lord of the Isles, and Sir 
Alexander Macdonald of Lochalsh, in 1492. 


Special acknowledgmeni is due to Allan Mac- 
donald, Esq., LL.D., Gleiiarm, a worthy scion of 
the House of Keppoch, for much valuable assist- 
ance during the preparation of this volume, given 
with a readiness and kindness which will always 
remain a pleasant memory. Above all, we desire 
to record with sincerest gratitude our obligations 
to a highly-cultured clanswoman, Miss Josephine 
M. MacDonell of Keppoch, for much time and 
labour spent in collecting material for this volume. 
It owes much to her accurate knowledge of the 
history of the Clan, of which she is so bright an 
ornament, and to the enthusiasm and devotion 
with which she entered with us on our work. 
We desire to acknowledge the kindness and 
courtesy extended to us in the course of our 
researches by Mr Clark, of the Advocates' Library ; 
Mr Maitland Thomson, of the Historical Depart- 
ment, H.M. Register House ; and Mr Donaldson, 
of the Inverness Public Library. 

In expressing our obligations to those who have 
helped us in the preparation of this volume, we 
desire to record our profound sorrow at the 
irreparable loss we sustained in the death of Mr 
Robert Livingston, Manager of the Northern 
Chronicle, whose courtesy and urbanity, as well 
as business capacity, were an unfailing help, and 
whose warm and genial friendship we shall never 
cease to cherish. We are much indebted to Mr 
R. M, Grant, the new Manager, for the assiduity 


aud intelligence with which he has co-operated 
with us during the latter stage of this volume, 

Since the chapter on the House of Clanranald 
was completed, the Chief of that illustrious family 
has passed away. We regretfully record our pro- 
found respect for the memory of this distinguished 
Clansman, and our grateful appreciation of the 
valuable aid which he was always so ready to 

A2}ri(, 1000. 




The Fall of the House of Isla and its Consequences. — The Clan 
Rory. — Roderick of Bute. — Extensive Possessions of the Family. 
— Roderick's Invasion of the Isle of Man, and Mission to 
Norway. — Haco's Expedition. — The Legend of the " Bluidy 
Stair." — Death of Roderick of Bute. — ^AUan and Dougal, sons 
of Roderick, styled Kings in the Norse Sagas. — Allan succeeds 
his Father in the Lands of Garmoran, and receives in addition 
the Lands of Uist and others. — Death of Allan. — The Mac- 
Ruaries and the Scottish War of Independence. — Christina 
MacRuarie and Bruce. — Part of the MacRuarie Lands resigned 
by Christina in favour of her brother Roderick. — Ranald Mac- 
Ruarie and David Bruce. — Grant of Lands to Ranald. — Murder 
of Ranald. — Allan MacRuarie, broth ei- of Allan, succeeded. — 
Amie MacRuarie. — The MacRurys of Uist .... 1 



Obscurities and Mistakes. — The Descent. — " Alastair Mor." — 
Attitude towards Bruce. — Ranald MacAllister in Ireland. — 
Lowland Branches. — Donald's Descendants in Stirlingshire and 
Forfarshire. — Godfrey's Descendants in Ayi-shire. — Duncan's 
Descendants. — Hector's Irish Descendants. — Charles Mac- 
Allister Stewart of Kintyre and his Descendants. — Battle of 
Ardnary.— Death of John MacAllister at Knockfergus.— Family 
of Tarbert.— Archibald MacAllister and the Campbells.— Tutor 
of Loup Slain.— Raids on Buteshire.— Clan Allister and Dunny- 
veg.— Gorrie MacAllister and his Feuds.— Quarrel with Ardin- 
caple.— MacAllister of Balnakill.— Meagre Records in 17th 
Century.— At the Revolution.— In the 18th Century . 




Descent of Iho Family. — Loss of Gaelic Charactci-. — Vassals of 
Argyll. — Changes of Toinire. — Meiistry made a Barony of 
Argyll. — Tutor of Menstry. — Birthplace of William .Vlexander, 
Poet and Statesman. — His Edncation. — Entrance into Public 
Life. — Becomes a Conrlicr. — Receives Knighthood. — Elegy on 
Prince Henry. — Master of Ecciucsts. — Colonizing Scheme. — 
Buys Tillicoultry. — Knights of Nova Scotia. — Young Sir 
William made Deputy-Lieutenant. — Keeper of the Signet. — 
Charter for making Largs a Barony and Free Port. — Gets Land 
in Ulster. — Charter for Menstry and Tullibo ly. — Crisis in the 
Colony. — New Honours. — Lord Alexander and the Coinage. — 
His Psalter. — Visits Tarbert. — Matriculates Arms. — New House 
of Menstry. — His Death. — Character. — His Sons. — 2nd Earl. — 
.Srd Earl. — 4-th Earl.— ."ith and Last Earl.— Failure of Heirs . rA 




Alastair Og and his Sons. — Their Place in Irish History. — O'Neill's 
Galloglachs. — Cnoc 'na Cluith. — Somerled. — Turlough Mor. — 
Meagre but Sangrinary Annals of the Fifteenth Century. — 
Wars of O'Neill and O'Donnell.— Gillespie MacDonald O'Neill's 
" Nuncio." — Agreement with Lord Deputy. — O'Neill's continued 
Disloyalty. — Rupture with Macdonald. — Submission to Govern- 
ment. — Reconciliation with O'Neill. — Disappearance from 
History 81 



Descent of Conuaught Branch. — O'Connor's Galloglachs. — Marcus 
MacDonald. — His Death in l.'J97. — Descendants of Marcus. — 
Mistakes of Genealogists. — Settlement in Leinster. — Family of 
Tynekill. — Charles, son of Marcus. — John Carragh and Des- 
cendants. — Death of Turlough. — Genealogical Links. — Colla 
M'Donald of Tynekill. — Hugh Boy and his Rebellions. — 
Fergus of Tynekill. — James MacDonald and the Great Rebel- 
lion. — Forfeiture of Tynekill. — Charles Fergus. — Settlement 
at Coolavin. — The Pcacockstown Family. — Modern Family of 
Tynekill 110 




The Early History of vVrdnamurchan. — John Sprangach, son of 
Angus Mor, Lord of the Isles, progenitor of the Macdonalds of 
Ardnamiirchan. — Charter by David II. to Angus Macdonald of 
Ardnamiirchan. — Alexander of Ardnamurchan at Harlaw. — 
John of Ardnamurchan and the Erasers of Lovat. — John at 
Inrerlochy. — For his services receives a gift of lands from 
Alexander, Lord of the Isles. — Charter of lands in Islay to John 
Brayach. — His support of the Royal authority. — Maclain and 
the Macdonalds of Dunnyveg. — Maclain and Sir Alexander 
Macdonald of Lochalsh. — Quarrel over lands of Sunart with 
Clanranald. — Quarrel with the Macleans. — Maclain at Flodden. 
— Quarrel with Alexander of Isla. — Invasion of Ardnamurchan. 
and death of Maclain and his sons. — The Maclains and the 
Campbells. — James Macdonald of Dunnyveg receives a crown 
charter of Ardnamurchan. — Maclain at Blarleine. — Maclain 
and the second Rebellion of Donald Dubh. — Quarrel with the 
Macleans. — The marriage of Maclain to the Dowager Lady of 
Dowart and its consequences. — Maclain and the Rebellion of 
Tyrone. — Maclain murdered at Sunart by his uncle, Donald. — 
Macleans defeated by the Camerons and Maclains at Morven. 
— The Maclains and the Campbells. — Mr Donald Campbell 
obtains a lease of Ardnamurchan from Argyle. — ^His cruel 
conduct. — Invasion of Ardnamurchan by Young Clanranald. — 
The Clan Iain rebel, break loose, and take to piracy. — The 
Maclains of Ruthven 14' 



Obscurities of early history. — Lands of Glencoe, how held. — John 
Fraoch. — John Abrach. — Glencoe men liberate Donald Dubh. — 
Bond of John Og Maclain Abraich with Campbell of Glenorchy. 
— Commission of Justiciary against Glencoe. — Bond of man- 
rent, Freuchie and Lochiel against Glencoe. — Raid upon the 
Ogilvies at Argyll's instigation in 1591. — Complaint against 
Clanian same year. — Outbreak in 1592. — Raids into Drum- 
charrie, Ardincaple, and Lennox in 1599.— Slaughter of the 
Stewarts. — Commission against John Abrach, 1617. — Raid of 
Fendraught. — Apprehension of Alastair Maclain Abraich. — 
Battle of Stronachlachain.— Clanian in Campaign of Montrose. 
—Ranald of the Shield— Clanian at the Revolution.— For- 
feiture of Glencoe. — Breadalbane's mission of conciliation.- 


Government Proclamation. — Glencoe procrastinates. — ^Takes 
the Oath. — Suppression ol Certificate. — Dalryraple's murderous 
scheme. — King William's action. — Quai'tering of Government 
troops in Glencoe. — Treachery under friendship's mask. — The 
murder. — Commission of Enquiry. — Privations of the Clanian 
and Petition to Estates. — Help from Heisker. — Clanian in 1745. 
—The last of the Glencoes 189 



Origin of the Family of Clanranald. — Reginald surrenders the 
Lordship of the Isles to Donald. — Godfrey takes possession of 
the MacRuarie lands. — John MacArthur's claim to a share of 
the MacRuarie territory. — Allan succeeds Reginald as second 
Chief of Clanranald. — Roderick of Clanranald supports the 
Lord of the Isles. — The patrimony of the Clanranald encroached 
upon by John, Lord of the Isles. — Allan MacRory, a famous 
Chief, supports Angus Og and Alexander of Lochalsh. — The 
Raid of Cromarty. — The fall of the Lordship of the Isles. — 
Allan MacRory renders homage to the King. — Ranald Bane 
receives Chai-ters from the King. — Ranald Bane helps to quell 
the Rebellion of Donald Dubh. — He receives Crown grants of 
lands in Skye and Uist. — The character of Allan MacRory. — 
Tradition of Allan MacRory. — Dugal MacRanald's Chiefship. 
— His bond to Huntly. — Accused of appropriating the cargo of 
a Spanish ship in Uist. — His bond to Calder. — Dugal and his 
family excluded from the Chiefship. — Death of Dugal. — 
Alexander MacAUan succeeds to the Chiefship. — John 
Moideartach, son of Alexander, assumes the Chiefship. — In 
rebellion against the Government at the outset of his career. — 
John receives a Royal Charter. — A shoal of Charters. — ^Voyage 
of James V. to the Isles. — ^Takes John Moideartach prisoner. — 
Ranald Gallda and Blarleine. — Huntly sent to punish John of 
Moidart. — John of Moidart and the Rebellion of Donald Dubh. 
— Rorie .MacAlister, Dean of Morven, acting as Island Pleni- 
potentiary. — Attempt to punish John of Moidart. — John 
supports James Macdonald of Dunivaig. — Argyle sent against 
John. — His bond to Huntly. — Huntly sent against John by 
land and Argyle l)y sea. — Athole sent against him. — He is kept 
in ward at Perth. — His escape. — Refuses to meet the Queen at 
Inverness. — Continues to resist the Government. — His relations 
to the neighbouring Clans. — Character of the Chief . 




Allan Maclain succeeds — Feud with Dunvegan. — His marriages. — 
Massacre in cave of Eigg. — ^Allan's sons. — Murder of Allan Og. 
— Death and character of Allan Maclain. — Angus MacAllan 
succeeds. — Battle of Amhuinn Eoag and death of Angus. — 
Donald MacAllan succeeds. — Feud with Duart. — Captivity and 
release. — Invasion of Kintail. — Defeat of MacNeill of Barra. — 
Submission to Pri^-y Council. — Act of Supersedere. — Takes out 
titles. — Descendants of Ranald Gallda become troublesome. — 
Piracy by MacNeills of Barra.— Harbours Macleods of Lewis. — 
Action of the Ranald Gallda family ceases. — Stringent action 
by Pri^'y Council. — Bond with Glengarry. — Bond with Macleod, 
Mackinuon, and Maclean of Coll. — Death and character. — John 
Moydartach succeeds. — Dispute with Sleat. — John's tenure. — 
Bond with Glengarry. — Fishings of Seall. — The " Susannah " 
episode. — Spulzie of Minister of S. Uist. — Clanranald joins 
Montrose with 800 men. — Invasion of Argyll and flight of grim 
Archibald. — Battles of Inverlochy and Kilsyth. — Young Clan- 
ranald in Ireland. — His return. — Death of John Moydartach 
and Donald's succession. — Burgess of Londonderry. — Death 
and character. — Allan succeeds. — Killiecrankie. — Career in 
France. — Marriage, return, and life in Uist. — Battle of Sheriff- 
muir and death of Allan. — Ranald succeeds to Chiefship. — 
Retires to France. — Forfeiture and restoration of estates. — 
Donald of Benbecula succeeds. — History of Benbecula family. — 
Death of Donald. — Succession of Ranald. — Tack to Boisdale. — 
Period of 1745. — ^Young Ranald. — Flora Macdonald. — For- 
feiture and restoration of estates. — Death of Captain Donald of 
Clanranald at Quebec. — Death of old Clanranald. — Succession of 
Ranald the younger. — Quiet annals. — Death of Ranald the 
younger. — Succession of John Moydartach. — Modern family of 
Clanranald 289 



Early history of Glengarry. — The Macdonalds of Glengarry held 
their lands of the Lords of the Isles. — Final forfeiture of the 
Lord of the Isles and Alexander of Glengarry. — The policy of 
James IV. — Resistance of Alexander of Glengarry. — Alexander 
joins the rebellion of Sir Donald of Lochalsh.— Bond between 
GlengaiTy and Lochiel. — Glengarry's claim to the lands of Loch- 
alsh allowed. — Involved in Alexander of Duunyveg's rebellion. — 
Crown Charter to Glengarry. — He joins the rebellion of Donald 
Gorme of Sleat. — He is taken a prisoner to Edinburgh by James 


V. — Alexauder joins the rcbollion of Donald Dubli. — He 
supports John of Moidart and fights at Leine. — Fend between 
Glengariy and the Chief of Grant. — Visit of the Regent Arran 
to Inverness. — Fcvid with the Grants renewed- — Marriage con- 
tract between Glengarry, on behalf of his son Donald, and 
Freuchie for his daughter, Helen Grant. — Charter by Jame.s VI. 
to Glengarry. — Royal Commission to Angus of Glengarry to 
hold courts within the bounds of his lands. — Threatened 
invasion of Glengarry by the Earl of Argyle. — Quarrel between 
Glengarry and Kintail over the Loehalsh family lands in 
Wester Ross. — Glengarry enters into a bond of manrent with 
Huntly. — Glengarry in rebellion against the King's authority. 
— Differences with Freuchie finally settled. — The quarrel with 
Mackenzie renewed with great fury. — Death of Angus Mac- 
donald, younger of Glengarry. — Royal Commission to Glengarcy 
to deal with broken men. — Raid of Kilclirist. — Lord Ochiltree 
makes the Island Chiefs prisoners at Arcs. — Raid of Strathdee 
by the men of Glengarry. — Letter by James VI. to Donald 
MacAngus anent the manufacture of iron and glass near Glen- 
garry. — Raid by the men of Knoydart. — Alasdair Dearg, 
younger of Glengarry, joined the rebellion of Sir James Mac- 
donald of Dunnyveg. — Bond of friendship between Glengarry 
and Clanranald. — Glengarry employed in Government service. 
— He claims to be heir to the Lordship of the Isles. — Glengarry 
and the "Broken Men." — Angus, younger of Glengarry, and 
MacRanald of Lundic. — Raid of Glengarry by Argyle. — 
"Angus Macdonald Oy bo the Laird of Glengarry," committed 
to ward in Edinburgh Castle. — Angus joins Montrose. — Battle 
of Ijiverlochy. — Angus of Glengarry at Dundee, Auldearn, 
Alford, and Kilsyth. — Glengarry in Ireland. — He is detained a 
prisoner at Kilkenny. — At Worcester. — He bestirs himself for a 
I'ising among the Clans. — Letter and commission from Charles 
II. to Glengarry. — Glengarry joins Glencairn. — Middleton 
assumes command of the Royalist forces, and Glengarry re- 
ceives a commission of Major-General. — Defeat of the King's 
forces at LochgaiTy ......... ^RO 



The Restoration. — Glengarry raised to Peerage. — Claim against 
Argyll. — Bond with Macmartin. — Feud with Inverness. — Inter- 
position for Macmartin — Difficulties in Muck. — Exhibits Kep- 
poch. — Contract with Cluny. — Co-operation with Lawers. — 
Action of Government against Papists. — Glengarry sides with 
Duart. — Macdonald of Scotus succeeds to Estates. — Alastair 
Dubh. — The Revolution. — Dundee and the Highlanders. — 
Killiecrankie. — Forfeiture. — Submission. — Succeeds to Chief- 
ship. — Complaint re Invergarry Castle. — Address of Chiefs to 


George I. — Sheriffmuir. — Submission to Government. — James 
VIII.'s Peerage— Rising of 1719.— Death of Alastair Dubh.— 
John succeeds. — Alastair Ruadh in the Highlands. — His return 
to France with Address from Chiefs. — His imprisonment. — 
Prince Charles. — Angus of Glengarry. — Battle of Preston. — 
Angus recruiting in the North. — Attitude of the Grants. — The 
Glengarry men at Clifton. — Siege of Stirling. — Battle of Fal- 
kirk. — Death of Angus. — James takes command. — Expedition 
to Dornoch. — Culloden. — Old Glengarry's imprisonment. — 
Suspected Treachery of Barrisdale. — Release of Alastair Ruadh. 
— His difficulties. — Death of the Glengarry Chief. — Alastair 
Ruadh's succession. — His will- — His death. — His calumniator. 
— Duncan, son of Angus, succeeds. — Sale of North Morar. — 
Emigration from Glengarry. — Death of Duncan. — Succession of 
Alexander Ranaldson. — His characteristics. — His Celtic pro- 
clivities. — His death. — The Modern Chiefs of Glengarry . . 440 



Origin of the Family. — Alliance with England. — Marriage of John 
Mor. — Acquisition of the Glens in Antrim. — Richard II. in 
Islay. — Argyle raided by Irish merchants. — John Mor and the 
Gaelic Charter of 1408. — Battle of Harlaw. — Alleged cpiarrel 
between John Mor and his brother Donald. — Tragic death of 
John Mor. — King James and the Clan Donald. — Imprisonment 
of the Lord of the Isles. — Donald Balloch defeats the Royal 
forces at Inverlochy. — He finds refuge in the Antrim Glens. — 
He leads the Clan during the minority of his Chief, John, Earl 
of Ross. — He heads the rebellion in the North. — He invades 
Arran, the Cumbraes, and Lismore. — The Clan Iain Mhoir and 
the Treaty of Ardthornish. — Donald Balloch again in rebellion 
in the North. — Death of Donald Balloch. — John of Dunnyveg 
resides in Antrim. — He receives the honour of Knighthood. — 
Revolt of the Clan Iain Mhoir. — Execution of Sir John and his 
son, John Cathanach. — Struggle between Alastair Maclain 
Chathanaich and Maclan of Ardnamurchan. — Alexander of 
Dunnyveg joins the Lochalsh insurrection. — Lands of the family 
restored to Alexander. — Alliance between Alexander and 
Campbell of Cawdor. — Campaign against the Campbells. — 
Alexander in rebellion against the Government. — He is 
received into favour. — He defends himself against Argyle. — 
Several offices and gifts conferred upon him. — Alexander fights 
for the King of Scots in Ulster.— He has troubles in Antrim.— 
Alexander's death at Stirling. — James, his son, brought up and 
educated at the Scottish Court.— Held answerable for his Clan. 
—He receives a Crown Charter of the Barony of Bar.— James 
is proclaimed Lord of the Isles.— Dispute with Argyle.— He 


rooeivps from Argylo a <^i'ai)t of Ardiiaiiimclian. — Tiouhli's in 
Ireland. — JaniPS rocpivcs a <(raiit of lands in Aif^ylo from Quecii 
Mary. — He establishe.'! his autlioiity over the Route. — Agree- 
ments between him and tlio I-^arl of .Vrran. — Struggle in 
Ireland continued. — Inva.sion of Kintyre by Su.ssex. — T"]nglish 
efforts to exjjel the Macdonalds from Ulster. — James receives 
further favours from Queen Mary. — Gift of ward and marriage 
<if Mai-y Macleod of Dun vegan l)C'stowed upon him. — Fe-id with 
Maclean of Duart. — Indenture between James and Queen 
Elizabeth. — Agreement between liim and Farquhar ^loAlister 
of Skirhough— War with Shane O'Xrill.— Death of James . 4-9n 



Archibald succeeds. — Attempts to relieve his uncle. — Sorley Buy 
and bond with Argyll. — Early death oi Archibald. — Angus 
succeeds. — Early prosperity. — Feud with Duart. — Enters into 
bond of manreut. — Position in Ireland. — Grant of Eisset lands 
to Donald Gorme. — Donald Gorme's death. — Indenture by 
English Government with Angus for Bisset lands. — English 
jjolicy towards Dunnyveg. — Renewal of feud with Duart by 
treachery of Maclean. — Revenge of Clann Iain Mhoir at 
Mullintrae. — Royal intervention. — Maclean gives hostages and 
frees Angus's. — Royal letter to Huntly. — Angus visits Ireland. 
— Revenge by Duart. — Angus invades Mull. — Interposition of 
friends. — Pretended remissions by Privy Council. — Angus visits 
Tyrone. — Sale of Gigha. — Angus entrapped into ward. — Gives 
James and Angus Og as hostages. — Forfeiture in 1594. — James 
visits Kintyre and enters into bonds of manrent. — -Expedition 
to Kintyre, 1596. — Intrigues of Dunlucc. — ^Offers by Angus and 
Sir James, and the King's reply. — .Vngus submits at Ivilkerran. 
— Fails to fulfil promises. — Askomull " fracas." — Expedition to 
Kintyre proposed and abandoned. — Battle of Traigh Ghruin- 
neart. — Offers by Sir James accepted by Privy Council. — 
Campbell intrigues. — Imprisonment of Sir James. — Offers by 
Angus, 1606 — Attempted esca])e by Sir James. — Argyll con- 
firmed in North Kintyre. — Second attempt of Sir James to 
escape. — .\ngus surrenders Dunnyveg Castle. — Sir James's trial 
and condemnation. — Angus sells his patrimony to Calder. — 
Death of Angus. — Taking of Dunnyveg Castle, and relative 
intrigues. — Petition by Sir James to Privy Coimcil. — His corres- 
pondence seized. — Ilis conduct proved innocent. — .\ction of 
Argyll. — Remission to Angus Og and accomplices. — Clan 
Donald do not surrender. — Their action towards Bishop Knox. 
— Commission to Calder. — New offers by Sir James. — Villainy 
of Graham of Eiths. — Siege of Dunnvveg and surrender by 


Augus Og.— His executiou.— Muveuiuuls ot Coll Mac aiilespick. 
— Escajje of Sir James. — Progress through. Perth, Lochaber, 
Clauranald country, Skye, &c. — Is joined by large numbers. — 
Eeward for ai^preheusiou. — Captures Duuuyveg. — Attitude to 
King and Council. — Fortifies Lochgorm. — Invades Kintyre. — 
Argyll takes the held. — Descends upon ii.nityre. — Defeat of 
Clann Iain Mhoir. — Sir James's subsequent movements. — 
Efforts to treat. — Suppression of the movement. — Sir James 
goes to Ireland. — Thence to Spain. — Return to London and 
death. — ^Dunnyveg represented by the Colonsay branch. — 
Alastair MacColla and his campaigns. — His descendants . . 544 



Alastair Carrach. — His contract with Thomas, Earl of Moray. — 
Alexander in rebellion. — Quarrel with the Bishop of Moray. — 
Burning of the town of Elgin. — Alexander at Harlaw. — Insurrec- 
tion in Lochaber. — Alexander at Inverlochy. — His forfeiture. — 
Angus of Fersit. — Donald of Keppoch involved in troubles 
arising out of the surrender of the Earldom of Ross. — He pays 
homage to the King at Mingarry. — Fined for "' distrucione " of 
William Dallas to Rathlin and afterwards forfeited. — Donald 
killed in a fight with the Stewarts of Appin. — Iain Aluinn 
deposed from the Chiefship. — Alastair nan Gleann elected 
Chief. — Donald Glass does wrang "' in occupying Crown lands 
in Lochaber. — Ranald Mor at Blar Leine.— Executed at Elgin. 
— Battle of Boloinne. — Death of Alastair Boloinne. — Ranald 
Og's loyalty and friendship with Campbells. — Bond of manrent 
to Mackintosh. — Alastair nan Cleas. — Troubles with Mackin- 
tosh. — Agreement with Argyle. — Huntly friendly to Keppoch. 
— Concerned in the escape of Sir James Macdonald. — Fled to 
Spain. — Returns and is pardoned. — Charter of lands in Lochaber 
by the Earl of Enzie to Keppoch. — Keppoch's fame as a con- 
juror. — The story of the Chief's candlesticks. — Ronald of Kep- 
poch outlawed for his share in the escape of Sir James 
Macdonald. — Befriended by Himtly. — Espouses the cause of 
Charles I. — Plmidering raid by Argyle. — ^Donald Glass of 
Keppoch joins Montrose. — Signs the Bond of Union at Fort- 
Augustus. — ^Alastair Buidhe as Tutor of MacRanald supports 
Charles II. — The Keppoch murder. — John Loni Macdonald and 
the Keppoch murderers. — -Commission to Sir James Macdonald 
of Sleat to apprehend the Keppoch murderers. — Alastair 
Buidhe succeeds his nephew Alexander, the murdered Chief. — 
Archibald, the poet Chief, supports the Macleans against the 
Campbells. — Differences with Mackintosh.— Keppoch joins 
Claverhouse against the Western Whigs. — Troubles in Argyle. 
— Bond of manrent to Breadalbane. — Quarrel with Mackintosh 


renewed. — Coll of Kei)poch imprisoned by Mackintosh at 
Invernear' —Battle of Mulroy. — Coll raids Mackintosh's lands 
and takes possession of the town of Inverness. — Joins Dundee. 
— At Killiecrankie. — Defeat at Cronidale, and subsequent harry- 
ing of the lands of the Mackintoslies. — Coll submits to Govern- 
ment of William of Orange. — Mackintosh determined to disturb 
the peace of the counti-y by invading Lochaber. — Agreement 
with Mackintosh at Fort-^\■illiam. — Coll signs congratulatory 
address to George I. — Joined in the Rebellion 1715. — Escajoed 
to France. — Alexander of Keppoch at Sheriffmuir. — Entered 
the French service. — Negotiates for the restoration of the 
Stuart Family. — Joins Prince Charles in 1745. — Death at 
Culloden. — Ronald of Keppoch entered the army, and served 
in Eraser's Highlanders in America. — He retired from the army 
and died at Keppoch. — Alexander MacdonaiiA of Keppoch 
entered the army, and served under Sir Raljjh Abercromby in 
Egypt. — He died in Jamaica. — Richard of Keppoch served with 
the Gordon IIi"lilaiidcrs in the roiiiisula.— He died in Jamaica GDI 



Sorley Buy, founder of the Family of Antrim. — Imprisonment in 
Dublin Castle. — Defeats the English. — War with the Mac- 
quillins. — Macquillins expelled by Sorley from the Route. — 
Indenture between Sorley and Sussex. — Shane O'Neill's War 
against the ^.^acdonalds. — Defeat of the Macdonalds at Glen- 
taisie and Imprisonment of Sorley by O'Neill. — Shane put to 
death by the Macdonalds. — Sorley defies the English Govern- 
ment, and expels the English garrisons on the Antrim Coast. — 
James Macdonald's Widow. — Her marriage and intrigues. — 
Invasion of Ulster by Essex. — Defeated by Sorley Buy. — 
Massacre of Rathlin. — Invasion of the Route by Perrot. — The 
Bisset lands offered to Donald Gcn-m. — Raid of the Glens and 
Route by the lOnglish. — Sorley drives the English from the 
Route, and takes Dunluce Castle. — Indenture between Lord 
Deputy Perrot and Angus Macdonald of Dunnyveg. — Angus 
receives a grant of the Bisset lands. — Submission of Sorley Buy. 
— Grant of lands in his favour. — Death of Sorley. — James Mac- 
donald of Dunluce at war with Macquillins. — He drives them 
from the Route. — James visits the Scottish Court, and attempts 
to deprive Angus of Dunnyveg of his lands in Kintyre. — He is 
knighted })y King James, and leceives a grant of lands in 
Kintyre. — James defeats the English garrison at Knockfergus. 
— He joins Tyrone. — Ilis death. — Angus Ultach and Ranald 
.\rranach strive for the succession to Sir James Macdonald. — 
Ranald Arranaeli joins Tyrone. — Randal deserts Tyrone, and 
joins the Ihiglish army. — He is knighted by the Lord Deputy. 
— Grant of lands by King James to Sir Randal MacSorley. — 


Opposition of the English Officers.— Dispute about the fishing 
of the Bann— Dispute with feir Aula Macaulay of Ardincaple. 
—Wardship of Sir Randal's heir granted to the Earl of Aber- 
corn. — Sir Randal obtains a lease of Isla. — He is raised to the 
peerage. — Another attemijt to acquire Isla. — Lord Dunluce and 
the Family of Abercorn. — Lord Antrim and the Barony of 
Kintyi-e. — Eeath and character of Lord Antrim. — Lord Dunluce 
brought up in the Highland way. — Antrim espoused the King's 
cause, and is appointed one of His Majesty's Lieutenants in the 
Highlands and Islands. — Catholic Insurrection of 1641. — 
Antrim sent a prisoner to Carrickfergus. — His escape. — His 
return to Ireland, second imprisonment at Carrickfergus, and 
escape. — Antrim appointed Lieutenant-General in the High- 
lauds and Islands. — Agreement between him and Montrose. — 
Irish force sent to Scotland under Alastair MacCholla. — Antrim 
created a Marquis. — Supports the Iving's cause in Scotland. — 
Sent to St Germains by the Irish Catholics to bring Prince 
Charles to Ireland. — Came to terms with Cromwell. — ^Ill-treated 
at the Restoration. — His triumph over his enemies. — Bond 
between him and his Scottish Kinsmen. — His matriculation of 
arms. — His death. — Alexander, the third Earl, joined the 
Catholic movement of 1641. — Retires to England during the 
Cromwellian occupation of Ireland. — Entered the English 
Parliament as member for Wigan. — Correspondence between 
him and Clanranald. — Antrim sided with King James. — 
Attempt on Londonderry. — At the Boyne. — His forfeitiu-e. — 
His death. — Randal, fourth Earl, attempted to join Rebellion 
of 1715. — His imprisonment in Dublin. — His death. — Alexander, 
fifth Earl. — Randal William, sixth Earl and second Marquis. — 
Hugh Seymour, seventh Earl. — Mark, eighth Earl. — William 
Randal, ninth Earl 672 


Carta Reginaldi Filii Roderici ....••.• 743 

Confirmatio Reginaldi Filii Roderici ....... 744 

Indenture between John of Isla, Lord of the Isles, and John of 

Lorn, Lord of Argyle • ''45 

Charter by Angus, Master of the Isles, to the Abbey of lona . . 746 
Charter of the Baliary of the South part of Tiree by John, Lord of 
the Isles, and Sir Alexander Macdonald of Lochalsh, to Mac- 
laine of Lochbuie . . . . • • • • • .74/ 

Dowill M'Renyll Lettyris of Manrent '748 

Bond of Surety by James Macdonald of Dunnyveg . . . .749 
Rental of James Macdonald in Kintyre and Isla in 1542 . . -749 

John Mudgwartis Contract • 750 

Bond of Obligation by James Macdonald of Dunnyveg . . - 751 



Donald Gormc s Baud 751 

Submission of Sorley Buy Macdouald to the Lord Deputy Perrot . 752 
Instrumeut of Sasine iu favour of Donald Uorni Macdonald of Sleat . 753 

Donald Gormc's Offers to Queen Elizabeth 757 

Letter of Donald Gorme to Lord Dejjuty of Ireland .... 760 
Letter Sir James Macdonald to the Duke of Lennox .... 760 
Petition of Donald Gorm Macdonald of Sleat, Maclean of Duart, and 

Donald Macdonald of Clanranald to the Privy Council . . 761 
Charter by Donald Gorme Macdonald of Sleat to Donald Macdonald 

of Castle Tirrim 762 

Letter Sir James Macdonald of Dunnyvcsf to the Earl of Crawford . 766 
Letter to Secretary, Lord Binning, from Sir James Macdonald of 

Duunyveg ........... 767 

Contract between Donald Macdonald of Glengarry and Donald Mac- 
donald of Clanranald 768 

Sasine in favour of Ranald MEanald, Castleborf, in Liferent, and 
Ranald, his son, in Fee of Borrow and others, on Feu Charter 
from Clanranald .......... 770 

Tack by John M'Donald, Captain of Chuu-unald, to the Parson of 

Island Finnan and others ........ 773 

Bond of Manrent between Sir Donald Macdouald ui Sleat and 

Ranald Macdonald of Benbecula ...... 778 

Letter of King Charles I. to Randal Macdonald, Earl of Antrim . 779 
Bond of Clann Domhnuill Riabhaich's Following .... 780 

Sir James Macdonald : his Capitulation in 1648 .... 780 

Note on Raising and Arming of Levies in Skye ..... 781 

Bond of Reliefe, Glengarrie to Sir James Macdonald of Sleat . ■ 782 
Sasine of the Lands of Sleat, and others, in favour of Donald Mac- 
donald, yr. of Sleat, whom failing in favour of the other seven 
sons of Sir James Macdonald, whom failing in favour of the 
two brothers of Sir James, whom failing to the nearest male 

heir of the Family of Macdonald 783 

The Oath of the Friends 786 

Obligation by Coll Macdonald of Keppoch to accept of the Lieut. - 
Colonelcy of a Regiment to be raised by Sir Donald Macdonald 

of Sleat 787 

Articles of Agreement between Mackintosh and Coll Macdonald 

of Keppoch 788 

Tack by Clanranald to Macvuirich ....... 790 

Bond of Uist Men and others ........ 791 

Memorial for John Macdonald of Glengarry relating the losses sus- 
tained by him and his Family in the time of the Rebellion . . 793 



Macalister Arms 27 

Arms of Earl of Stirling 58 

Old House of Mensbrie 63 

New House of Menstrie 74 

Fac-simile of Letter by the Earl of Stirling to Viscount Stormont . 70 

Portrait of William, Earl of Stirling 72 

Arms of Macdonald of Ulster 81 

Representations of Irish Galloglachs 86 

Fac-simile of Signature of Gilleasbuig McDonald .... 100 
Fac-simile Signatures of Members of the Irish Privy Council . .104 

Arras of Macdonald of Tynekill 110 

Tynekill Castle . .' 122 

Arms of Macdonald of Ardnamurchan 144 

Mingarry Castle, Ardnamurchan 158 

Portrait of Macdonald of Glencoe 219 

Seal of John Moydartach 226 

Charter by James V. to John Moydartach 256 

Seal of Allan Moydartach 289 

Arms of Glengarry .......... 366 

Portrait of Angus, Lord Macdonald 440 

Invergarry Castle 474 

Arms of Macdonald of Dunnyveg . 490 

Fac-simile of Letter of Alastair Og Macdonald 533 

Fac-simile of Letter of James Macdonald of Dunnyveg . . . 537 

Fac-simile of Signature of Jj,mes Macdonald of Dunnyveg . . 539 

Arms of Macdonald of Dunnyveg 544 

Fac-simile Signature of Angus Macdonald of Dunnyveg . . . 586 

Aims of Macdonald of Keppocli 601 

Keppoch Relics 667 

Arms of Earl of Antri;n 672 

Redbay Castle 680 

Fac-simile of Letter of Sorlej' Buy ....... 684 

Dunluce Castle 696 

Funeral of Sorley Buy 699 

Bunamai'gie Abbey 704 

Glenarm Castle 707 

Fac-simile Agreement between Montrose and Antrim . . . 726 

Portrait of Marquis of Antrim 730 

Charter by Angus, Master of the Isles, to the Abbey of lona, 1483 . 742 
Charter by Lord of the Isles and Sir Alexander Macdonald of Loch- 

alsh to MacLaine of Lochbuie 747 


p. 208, instead of Marquis read Earl. 

P. 222, ,, Grirnmish read Grimiuisb. 

P. 319, ,, Dovecotes reac/ Dovecots. 


Macdonald, The Right Honble. The Lady, of the Isles, Armadale 

Castle, Skye. 
Macdonald, The Hon. Lady, of Clanranald, a1 Ovington Square, 

London, W. (large paper). 
AthoU, His Grace the Duke of, Blair Castle, Blah-AthoU. 
Antrim, The Right Hon. The Earl of, Glenarm Castle, Covmty 

Antrim, Ireland. 
Lovat, The Right Honble. Lord, Beaufort Castle, Beaidy. 
Macdonald, The Hon. Hugh J., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. 
Ayhner Morley, Mrs, Whiterdine, Founhope, Herefordshire. 
Baillie, J. E. B., Esq. of Dochfoui-, M.P. 
Bain, James, chief librai-ian, Public Library, Toronto. 
Barret, F. T., Esq., Mitchell Library, Glasgow. 
Barron, James, Esq., " The Inverness Courier," Inverness. 
Bethell, W., Esq., Rise Park, Hull (large paper). 
Blair, Sheriff, Ardross Terrace, Inverness — deceased (3 vols.). 
Buchanan, A. W., Esq., Larkhill, Polmont. 
Bums, W., Esq., solicitor, Inverness. 
Cameron, Donald, Esq., Lochgorm, Inverness. 
Cameron, Dvmcan, Church Street, Inverness. 
Campbell, Alex. D., Komgha, Cape Colony. 
Cazenove, C. D., bookseller, 26 Henrietta Street, Covent Gardens, 

London, W.C. 
Chisliolm of Chisholm, Mrs, Erchless Castle, Beauly (large paper). 
Clark, Colonel, Ballmdoun House, Beauly. 
Clarke, G. T., Esq., London. 
Colquhoun, Sir James, of Colquhoiui and Luss, Bart., Rossdliu, 

Loch Lomond (large paper). 
Constable, T. & A., 11 Thistle Street, Edinburgh. 
Cooke, Mrs, Raebuni, Boscombe, Boiunemouth. 
Cunninghame, Jolin, Esq. of Balgownie, Culross. 
Darroch, Duncan, Esq. of Torridon, Auchnasheen. 
Dow, Rev. John, Knockbain Manse, Miuilochy. 
D'Oyley, The Most Hon. The Marchioness (3 copies). 
Drayton, Mrs, Daleford, Sandievay, Northmilk, Cheshire. 


Ellice, C. H., Esq., Brompton, Loudon (large paper). 

Fergiisou, Rev. John, The Manse, Abordalgie, Pei'tli. 

Fletcher, J. Douglas, Esq. of Rosehaugh (large paper). 

Eraser, A., Esq.. of Messrs A. Eraser & Co., Union Street, Inver- 
ness. Charles, Esq., LL.D., of Druninioud, Inver- 

Gibson, Rev. John Mackenzie, '22 Regent Terrace, Edinburgh. 

Hay, Colin, Esq., Ardbeg, Port Ellen, Islay. 

Henderson, George, Esq., M.A.. Ph.D., 192 Morningside Row, 

Henderson, W. H., & Son, St Andrews. 

Kirkland, Cope, & Coy.. London. 

Lacoiui:., Randolp Macdonald. Chili. 

Lawlor, Heniy Cainies, 10 Wellington Park Avenue, Belfast. 

Livingston-Macdonald, R. M., Esq. of Flodigary, Skye (large 

Mainwaring, Charles, Esq., Feugh Cottage, Banchory, Aberdeen. 

Maitland, Mrs J. Keith, Theresia, Ceylon. 

Martin, Adam W., Esq., Knock, BeKast. 

Martin, Colonel Martin, R.E., Ostaig, Skye. 

Macalister, Major C.B., of Glenbarr, Kintyre. 

Macallister, James, Esq., wine merchant, BaUymena. 

M'Connel, Wm., Esq., Knockdolian, Colmonell. 

M'Crindle, John, Esq., Auchinlee, Ayr. 

Macdonald, Lieut.-Colonel A. H., Moreton, Benbridge, Isle of 

Macdonald, A., Esq., Commercial Bank, Thruso. 

Macdonald, A. R., Esq., Ord, Isleornsay, Skye. 

M'Donald, Rev. A., F.C. Manse, Ardclach. 

Macdonald, Alex., Esq., 65 Oswald Street, Glasgow. 

Macdonald, Alex., Esq., solicitor, Portree — deceased (ordered 
vols. I., II., III.). 

Macdonald, Alex., Esq. of Bahauakl, Edenwood House, Spring- 
field, Fife. 

Macdonald, Capt. A. W., Invernevis, Fort-Wilhani. 

Macdonald, Rev. Alex., Napanee, Ontario, Canada (large paper). 

Macdonald, Allan, Esq., LL.D., Glonarm, Co. Antrim, Ireland. 

Macdonald, Andrew, Esq. of Calrossie, The Manse, Rogart. 

Macdonald, Andrew, Esq., sheriff -clerk, Inverness. 

Macdonald, Angus, Esq., Cimambvmtag, Benbecula. 

Macdonald, Captiiin. of Waternish, Fasacli, Skye (2 copies, 1 large 


Macdonald, Charles, New York. 

Macdonald. Charles, 17 Oswald Street, Glasgow. 

Macdonald, Charles D., Esq., Bank of S. America. 

Macdonald, Kev. Colin, The Manse, Rogart. 

Macdonald, Rev. D. J., The Manse, Killean, Muasdale, Kintyre. 

Macdonald, Rev. Donald, Baleloch, Lochmaddy. 

M'Donald, Donald, Esq., F.L.S., Cleeve House. Bexley Heath, 

Macdonald, Donald, Esq., Rammerscales, Lockerbie. 
Macdonald, Dr, 7 Wellington Square, Ayr. 
Macdonald, Duncan, Esq., 2 Heriot Row, Edinburgh. 
Macdonald, E., Fruit and Flower Depot. 39 Donegal! Place. 

Macdonald, Ewen, Esq., Blar-nan-Craobh, Lentran. 
Macdonald, Rev. Finlay R., The Manse, Coupar- Angus. 
Macdonald, Frank, Esq., P.O. Box 761, Montgomery. Ala.. U.S.A. 
M'Donald, George, Esq., Southall, Middlesex. 
Macdonald, Harr\', Esq. of Viewfield, Portree. 
Macdonald. H. A., 370 Great Western Road. Gla.sgow. 
Macdonald, H. M., Esq.. 34 Broad Street, New York (large 

Macdonald, H. L., Esq. of Dunach, Dunach House. Oban (large 

Macdonald. James, Esq.. W.S., 4 Whitehouse Terrace. Edinburgh 

(large paper). 
Macdonald, James, Esq., Moss Cottage, Benbecula. 
Macdonald, J. M., Esq., Harley Street, London. 
Macdonald, Colonel J. A., of Glenaladale, Glenfinan, Foi-t- William. 
Macdonald, J. R. M., Esq. of Largie, Largie Castle, Kintyre, 

Macdonald, J., Esq., 42 York Place, Edmbiu'gh. 
Macdonald, John, Esq., Keppoch, Roy-Bi-idge. 
Macdonald, John, Esq., 39 Broadway, New York (3 copies). 
Macdonald, Miss Jane, of Milland Place, Sussex. 
Macdonald, Dr Keith, 21 Clarendon Crescent, Edinburgii. 
Macdonald, Lachlan, Esq. of Skaebost. Skaebost Bridge, Isle of 

Macdonald, Miss, Arderslate House, Hunter's Quay, Kirn, by 

Macdonald, Miss, Banifield Hill, Southampton. 
Macdonald, Mrs, of Keppoch, 60 Sternhold Avenue, Streatham 

HiU, London. 
Macdonald, Rev. Mosse, M.A., St Aidan's College, Birkenhead. 
Macdonald, Peter, Esq., 4 Carlton Place, Glasgow (large paper). 


Macdonald, Rev. Peter, Free Church Manse, Stonioway. 

Macdonald. Ranald IMosse, Esq.. Tlie Homestead, Datchet. 

Macdonald. Admii-al Robertson, 1 Mardale Crescent, Edinbnrgli. 

Macdonald. Roderick, Esq., 17 Oswald Street, Glasgow. 

Macdonald, Ronald, Esq., solicitor, Portree. 

Macdonald, Ronald, Esq. (now in South Africa). 

Macdonald, Stuart Hugh, Esq., The Homestead, Datchet. 

Macdonald, Rev. Thomas Mosse, M.A., Canon of Lincoln, Kersal 
Rectory, Manchester. 

Macdonald, T., E.sq., H.B.M. s Supreme Court, Shanghai, China. 

Macdonald, Tlie Hon. W. J.. Annadale House, Vancouver, 
British Columbia. 

Macdonald, Cnpt. Wm. M., 2nd Battahon Q.O. Cameron Highrs. 

Macdonald, William, Esq., Arkansas City, Kansas, U.S. America. 

Macdonald, William, Esq., publisher, Edinburgh. 

Macdonald, W. Rae, Esq., 1 Forres Street, Edinburgh. 

Macdonell, A. W., Esq., 2 Rectory Place, Gviildford. 

Macdonell, Arthur Anthony, M.A., Ph.D., Boden Professor of 
Sanskrit in the University of Oxford, and Fellow of Balliol 
College, Lochgarry Lodge, Banbury Road, Oxford. 

Macdonell, Dr D., 17 Cnunlea Road, Belfast. 

IM'Donell, Captain AVm. Joseph, of Dunfeirth, Royal Dublin 
Fusihers, Co. Kildare, Ireland. 

Macdonnell, Hercules H. C, Esq., 4 Roby Place, Kingston, 

Macdonnell, James, Esq. of Kilsharvan, Murlough. Drogheda. 

Macdonnell, Colonel John, of Kilmore, Glenariff, Coiuity Antrim. 

Macdowall, Rev. James, The Manse, Rosemarkie, Fortrose. 

M'Grath, D., Esq., postmaster, Beauly. 

Macgregor, D. R., Esq., 104 Queen Street, Melbourne, Victoria. 

Macinnes, Lieut. -Colonel John, Glendaruel, Greenock. 

M'Kain, Rev. W. James, Moray, Duchess Road, Clifton, Bristol. 

Mackay, Eneas, Esq., bookseller, Stirling. 

Mackay, Eric, Esq., 7 Royal Exchange, London, E.C. 

Mackay, John, Esq., C.E., Hereford (2 copies). 

Mackay, John, " Celtic Monthly," 1 Blythswood Drive, Glasgow 

(33 copies). 
Mackay, Wm., E.sq., solicitor, Inverness. 
Mackeachan, J., Esq., 133 St Vincent Street, Glasgow. 
Mackenzie, Andrew, Esq. of Dalmore, Alness. 
Mackenzie, Colonel Burton, of Kilcoy, Kilcoy Castle, Muir of Ord. 
Mackenzie, H. H., Esq., Balelone, Lochmaddy. 


Mackenzie, Rev. Kenneth, LL.D., Kingussie. 
Mackenzie, N. B., Esq., banker, Fort-William. 
Mackenzie, Thomas, Esq. of Daluaine (large paper). 
Mackenzie, W. Dalziel, Esq. of Farr, Inverness. 
Mackenzie, William, Esq., secretary. Crofters Commission, Edin- 
Mackillop, James, jnn.. Polmont. 

Maclaverty, Rev. A., Llangattock Manor. Monmouth. 
MacLaverty, Graeme Alex., Esq., Chanting Hall, Hamilton. 
Maclean, Alex. Scott, Esq., 31 Bank Street, Greenock. 
MacLean, Charles, Esq., Milton, Lochboisdale. 
Maclean, R., Esq., of Gometra, Aros, Mvill. 
Macleay, Murdo, Esq., Broom Cottage, Ullapool. 
Macleod of Macleod, Drmvegan Castle, Sl^e. 
Macleod, John N., of Kintarbert and Saddell. Glensaddell, by 

Macleod, Mr Neil. Torran Public School, Raasay, Portree. 
Macleod, Nomian, Esq., 25 George IV. Bridge, Edinburgh. 
Macquarrie, Rev. A. J., The Manse of Ferintosh, Conon. 
Macrae-Gilstrap, Captain John, Northgate, Newark-on-Trent. 
]MilIer, Miss J. Macdonald, Courthill, Hermitage Gardens, Edin- 

Mihie, A. & R., 299 Union Street, Aberdeen. 
Morrison, Dr, Kinloid House, Larkhall. 
Morrison, Hew, E.sq., Public Libi'ar}% Edinbiu'gh. 
Munro, Sir Hector, of Fowlis, Bart., Fowlis Castle. 
Pearson, Dr, 4 Middleton Terrace, Ibrox, Glasgow. 
Perrins, Mrs Dyson, of Ardross, Davenham, Malvern. 
Philip, Rev. A. M., The Manse, Avoch. 
Pilking-ton, H. W., E.sq., Q.C.. Tore, Tynellspass, Co. Westmeath, 

Pryor, Mrs, Annadale, Cecil Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth. 
Rankin, Rev. E. A., Kilmorack Manse, Beauly. 
Rawlins, Rev. J. Arthur, St Andrew's Vicarage, Willesden, 

London, N.W. 
Roberts, Mrs Vernon, Dunloskin, Kersal, near Manchester. 
Robertson, George, & Co., 17 Wanvick Square, Paternoster Row, 

Ross, D. Charles, Esq., Ardvarre, 39 Maxwell Drive, Pollokshields, 

Ross, Jolm M., Esq., 2 Devonshire Gardens, Kelvinside, Glasgow. 
Ryan, Mrs James, Glenomera, Ceylon. 
Shaw, Diuican, Esq., W.S., St Aubyn's, Inverness. 


Sinclair, The Venerable The Archdeacon Macdonald, of London. 

Tlie Chapter House. St Paiils Cathedral, London. 
Sinclair, Rev. A. Maclean,, P.E. Island. Canada. 
Smith, Dr J. Pender, Dingwall. 
Stechert. G. E., bookseller. 2 Stai- Yard. Carey Street, London, 


Sykes, Harold P., Esq., 2nd Dragoon Guards. 

The International News Coy., 5 Bream's Buildings. Chancery 
Lane, London, E.C. 

Tod, Ewen M., Esq., 35 Norfolk Square, Brighton. 

Tolmie, Rev. A. M. C, M.A.. The Manse, Southend. Campbell- 
town, Argyle. 

Yoimg, Messrs Henry, & Sons, 12 South Castle Street, Liverpool. 

Yule. Miss A. F., Tarradale House. Muir of Ord. 




The F;ill of the House of Isla and its C'onseqiiences. — The Clan 
Rory. — Roderick of Bute. — Extensive Possessions of the 
Family. — Roderick's Invasion of the Isle of Man, and Mission 
to Norway. — Haco's Expedition. — The Legend of the "Bluidy 
Stair." — Death of Roderick of Bute. — Allan and Dougal, sons 
of Roderick, styled Kings in the Norse Sagas. — Allan 
succeeds his Father in the Lands of Garmoi'an, and receives 
in addition the Lands of Uist and others. — Death of Allan. — 
The MacRuaries and the Scottish War of Independence. — 
Christina MacRuarie and Bruce. — Part of the MacRuarie 
Lands resigned by Christina in favour of her brother 
Roderick.— Ranald MacRuarie and David Bruce. — Grant of 
Lands to Ranald. — Murder of Ranald. — Allan MacRuarie, 
brother of Allan, succeeded. — Amie MacRuarie. — The Mac- 
Rurj's of Uist. 

We have traced the history of the main Clan 
Donald line down to 1545, when its last represen- 
tative died while striving to retrieve the fallen 
fortunes of his house. The fall of the Family of 
Isla, after a long and gallant struggle with the 
advance of Saxon power and feudal institutions, 
destroyed the most potent centre of Gaelic influence 
in Scotland, the social organism that was most con- 
servative of Celtic ideas, customs, and institutions. 
Still, the downfall of the premier Family of Mac- 
donald did not involve the ruin of the Clan as n 



Gaelic organism, or eradicate from its native soil 
all that was characteristic of Gaelic culture and 
aspirations. Doubtless, after 1493, when the feudal 
]iosition and territorial ])ossessions of the Lords of 
the Isles came to an end, the substitution of the 
superiority of the Crown for that of the House of 
Lsla led to much anarchy among the Western Clans, 
and the cadet families of the Isles had to struggle 
for the maintenance of their position amid the 
adverse conditions of the time. The vassals of the 
ancient Lordship of the Isles were comj^elled, in the 
interests of self-preservation, to take charters from 
the Crown as soon as their hereditary superiors 
became extinct, though there were two, Keppoch 
and Sleat, that continued to grasp with a firm hand 
their patrimonial acres, even though lacking those 
artificial forms of investiture which were a necessary 
feature of feudal tenure. 

In telling the story of the races that sprang from 
the bosom of the House of Finlaggan, it will appear 
that the Clan, as a whole, lost some of its historic 
dignity and lustre after 1493. With the disappear- 
ance of the princes of tlie line of Somerled, who 
swayed the sceptre and sovereignty of the Gael in 
Innsegall, the glory of the Clan Donald became to 
some extent a memory and tradition, which no single 
family into which the C/lan was broken up fully or 
adequately reflected. It will also, however, be seen 
that the offshoots, though lacking the magnificence 
of the " stem of Conn," developed a vigorous and 
hardy life when transplanted to congenial soil, each 
in its own way perpetuating important features of 
the parent type, cliaracterised by much of the robust 
luxuriance of the tree which had fallen to rise no 
more. It will also appear in the course of our story 


how the devotion of the Island vassals to the House 
of Macdonald was, in the course of ages and after 
many struggles, transferred to the Princes of the 
House of Stewart, a devotion which has enriched 
the history of Scotland with man}' a heroic episode, 
until it received its final illustration in the hapless 
enterprise of 1745. 

We have hitherto concerned ourselves with the 
history of the Lords of tlie Isles, and the story of 
the cadets has only been touched upon in so far as 
it affected the fortunes of the premier house. Much, 
therefore, that is of interest and importance remains 
to be told as to the rise, origin, and history of those 
powerful families which, hundreds of years prior to 
the death of Donald Dubh, began to come into 
prominence, and receive a territorial position under 
the slielteiing regis of the Lords of the Isles. We 
do not, therefore, grasp the thread of our narrative 
at the close of the period embraced in Volume I. 
But we propose to take up the stoiy of the cadets of 
the Isles from the very beo-innino- each in the order 
of its historical emergence, and each separately 
from the others, down to the present time. This 
method, while presenting the risk of overlapping at 
those periods during which the Clan Donald took 
common action, will, on the whole, conduce to 
greater clearness and order than the attemj^t to 
carry on concurrently the history of all the branches. 
By adopting this course we shall necessarily, but 
very slightly, anticipate the genealogical discussions 
which will occupy a part of the concluding volume 
of this work. 

The Clan Rory are not, strictly speaking, a cadet 
of the Clan Donald, seeing that Roderick of Bute 


was a younger brother of Donald of Isla, from whom 
tlie Clan Donald take their name. But the history 
and fortunes of the House of Garmoran are so 
indissolubly connected with the House of Isla that a 
record of the one must be incomplete without some 
account being given of the other. Roderick, the 
founder of the Family of Garmoran, who was the 
second son of Eeginald of Isla, Lord of the Isles, was 
born sometime during the latter half of the twelfth 
century, and, on coming of age, his father bestowed 
upon him the Island of Bute, and other lands in 
Kintyre. The lands of Bute and Arran are said to 
have been bestowed by Malcolm II. on Walter, the 
first Steward of Scotland.^ These lands afterwards 
changed hands several times, and became the subject 
of fierce contention, on the one hand between the 
Norwegians and the Scots, and, on the other hand, 
between the Scots and the descendants of Somerled. 
Towards the close of the eleventh century, both 
Bute and Arran were ceded to Magnus, King of 
Norway, by the Scots. On the marriage of the 
daughter of Magnus to Godred of Man, these lands 
were given her as a portion of the marriage dowry. 
In the middle of the twelfth century they came by 
conquest into the possession of Somerled. When, 
on the death of Somei'led, liis extensive territories 
were divided amongst his sons, Bute and a part of 
Arran, with the Lordship of Garmoran, extending 
from Ardnamurchan to Glenelg, fell to the share of 
Angus. Tleginald of Isla having driven Angus and 
his three sons out of Bute, they were in the year 
1210 killed in a skirmish in Skye by the men of that 
Island. On the; death of Angus Mac Somerled and 
his sons, Ileglnald of Isla bestowed Bute, and their 

' Memoir piefixcd to J'>ute Inventory. 


other possessions, on his son Roderick, James, the 
son of Ang-us Mac Somerled, however, left a 
daughter, Jane, who married Alexander, eldest son 
of Walter, the High Steward of Scotland, and he 
claimed Bute in rio-ht of his wife. Ptoderick, takinii' 
possession of tlie island, continued to resist this 
claim, and, aided by the Lord of the Isles, was for a 
time successful in retaining his hold on it. Besides 
Bute, and the Lordship of Garmoran in the North, 
Roderick also possessed lands in North Kintyre, as 
may be seen from the charter afterwards granted by 
him to the Abbey of Saddel, The position of 
Roderick in Argyle and the Isles was now, in point 
of power and influence, second only to that of the 
Lord of the Isles himself Together they formed a 
combination strong enough to repel the repeated 
attempts made by Alexander II. and his Scots to 
conquer the territory of the Gael. The policy of 
Norway ever since the death of Somerled had been 
to conciliate the Clan Cholla, and, if possible, 
prevent any alliance between them and the Scots. 
Now that the foundations of the Norse kingdom in 
the Isles were beginning to totter, it was necessary, 
if the aggressive Scot was to be kept at bay, that 
the leaders of the Clan Cholla should be drawn into 
yet closer friendship with their Scandinavian rela- 
tives. During the final struggle between the two 
nations, of which the eng-ao-ement at Largs was the 
crowning point, the conduct of the chiefs of the 
House of Somerled is ample evidence of the strong 
tie that bound them to their Norse ally. Roderick 
of Bute had all along been a zealous partisan of the 
Norse interest in the Isles, and he, at an early stage 
in his stormy career, developed (jualities which 
somewhat distinguished him from the other leaders 


of* the Clan Cholla. He clearly inherited the 
wanderincT seafaring tendencies of his Scandinavian 
ancestors in a greater degree than any of his father's 
house, hilt, nevertheless, we should he slow to 
accept the character of sea robber ascribed to hmi 
by the Scottish historians. That he was a wild and 
restless man, even for the age in which he lived, 
appears to he sntKciently attested by tlie glimpses 
we get of him through the thick mist that envelopes 
the history of that remote time. Not satisfied with 
the scope for his seafaring energies and wandering 
proclivities so temptingly offered by the Western 
seas, he betakes himself across the Irish Channel. 
Accordingly, in the year 1212, very early in his 
career, we find him on the Irish Coast at the head 
of an armament of 70 galleys. Having landed in 
the Emerald Isle, he, his brother Donald, and 
Thomas of Calloway, at the head of their band, 
ravaged and plundered the towns of Deny, Innis- 
owen, and Clanconnell.' In the following year, 
Roderick, in company with Thomas of Galloway, 
again visited the North of Ireland, and sacrilegiously 
pliiiidered the churches of that province." We have 
no doubt Itoderick made ample penance for the 
atrocious conduct here laid to his charge by the 
liish annalists. In any case, he atoned for his sin, 
])rol)ably after many (pialms of conscience, by making 
grants of lands to the ( 'hin-ch he had so grievously 
offended. To the Abbey of Saddel he granted the 
lands of Torrisdale and Ugadale ; and in honour of 
St Mary and St .John. Cur the scM-vice of the C'hurch 
of St John in KinlNic, he gave fivi^ ])enny lands, 
three fV(»in the saiin^ (liurch of St John, and two 

' Annals ,if Ulster. - Ibid. 


from the Church of St Maiy.^ In every attempt 
made by Alexander II. to annex the Norwegian 
possessions in the Isles to his kingdom, he was 
strenuously opposed by Roderick of Bute ; and so 
effective was the opposition on the part of Roderick 
and his brother, the Lord of the Isles, that the 
Scottish monarch utterly failed in the accomplish- 
ment of his object. During the long minority vs^hich 
followed the death of King Alexander, no effort was 
made to add the Isles to the possessions of the 
Scottish Crown. Ewin of Lorn had played a con- 
spicuous part in the struggle witli the Scottish 
monarch. To him had recently been committed the 
administration of Norwegian affairs in the Isles, and 
the present seemed a favourable opportunity for the 
accomplishment of the ambitious scheme which he 
had conceived, and which was neither less nor more 
than the conquest of the Norwegian Kingdom of 
Man. He accordingly invaded that island, and 
succeeded in getting himself proclaimed king, in the 
face of much opposition on the part of the Manxmen. 
Haco of Norway being informed of the conduct of 
the usurper, his erstwhile lieutenant in the Isles, 
immediately took steps to deprive him of his newly 
acquired dignity. He a^^pealed to Roderick of Bute, 
among others, to help him to reduce that hero's 
relative to obedience. Roderick, throwing all con- 
siderations of kinship at once aside, responded to 
Haco's apj)eal, and, with his brotlier Donald, invaded 
the Isle of Man, at the head of a considerable force. 
They fell on the forces of Ewin of Lorn, and defeated 
them with great slaughter, the pseudo king himseli* 
escaping with his life to tlie Llighlands. 

'■ Clan Donald, vol. I., pp. 564-5. 


Wliilc llotlci-ick was thus eiiguged in the service 
of Haco, advantage was taken of his absence by liis 
Scottish neighbours, who, invading Bute, took 
possession of it in name of Jane, the heiress of 
James, the grandson of Somerled, and wife of Alex- 
ander, eklest son of the Steward of Scotkmd. 
Roderick, on his retuin from the Manx expedition, 
linding that he had been forestalled, marshalled all 
his forces, and made a desperate effort to regain 
possession of his lost territory, i)ut in this he utterly 
failed, lieiaking himself to his Northern posses- 
sions, he soon fomid sco})e for his energies in that 
region. In the North, Scottish intei'ests were 
represented by Ferchar Macintagart, Earl of lloss. 
The possessions of the Earl lay along the western 
seaboard to Glenelg, while to tlie south lay the 
Lordship of Garmoran. To the west of the Earldom 
of Ross lay Skye and the Long Island, which formed 
part of the Norse possessions, with the Minch 
se[Kiratiiig tliem from the territory over which Mac- 
intagart held sway. The family of Garmoran and 
the adlierents of Norway in the North Lsles were 
much molested and annoyed by the persistent and 
savage attacks made on them hy the Earl of Ross 
and tile Scottish l)arty. Tlie Norse sagas lefer to 
the wanton cruelty and extreme barbarity which 
eharacterised the })roceedings of Macintagart and 
his followers in the Isles. Their aggressiveness at 
length attained to sucli a height that the chiefs, 
cons[)icuous among wliom was Roderick of Ga.rmoran, 
and his sons. Allan and Dougal, were forced to take 
rouiiscl together with a view to taking united action 
ill so ciitieal an emerg(^ncy. It was resolved to 
send a messenger tt) Norway to represent to Haco 
the state of matters in tlie Isles, and the choice fell 


Oil the veteran Roderick, who, iiotliing loth, took to 
his galley and sailed for Scandinavia. The result 
of lloderick's mission was the well-known expedition 
of Haco to the Isles. From his knowledge of the 
western seas, it was thought desirahle that Roderick 
should remain at the Court of Haco until such time 
as the Norse fleet got under w^eigh for the Western 
Isles. Early in the year 1263, Haco sent mes- 
sengers to Orkney to procure pilots for Shetland. 
From thence one of the messengers, John Lang- 
lifeson, proceeded to the Isles and informed Dougal 
MacRuarie of the elaborate preparations that were 
being made in Norway for Haco's expedition. It 
had been rumoured that the Scots contemplated an 
invasion of the Isles that summer in- quest of 
plunder. Dougal MacRuarie, styled in the Norse 
sao-as King Dougal, in order to ward off the 
intended Scottish descent, caused the report to be 
spread abroad that a fleet of forty sail was on its 
way from Norway to the Isles. At length the fleet 
appeared, and Dougal, with other Island chiefs, met 
Haco at Kerrera. Both he and his brother Allan, 
with tlieir father Roderick, who had acconq^anied 
him from Norway, supported Haco throughout his 
campaign in the Isles. The Norse King gave each 
of tliem an important command in his fleet, diflerent 
divisions of which were sent hither and thither to 
devastate the country. He sent a squadron of fifty 
ships under the command of Dougal MacRuarie and 
Magnus of Man to plunder the lands of Ewin of 
Lorn. Another division of the fleet sailed up Loch 
Long. In tliis region Allan MacRuarie made him- 
self conspicuous by acting as leader of a plundering 
party who penetrated into the country, doing havoc 
wherever they went, killing many of the inhabi- 


ttiiits, and retuniiiii;- to their ships laden with much 
spoil. The result of the Norwegian expedition so 
iai- had been the re-establishment of Haco's 
authority in the Isles. The Island of Bute was 
restored to Roderick, and to Allan and Dougal 
Haco gave the lands of Ewin of Lorn. He, besides, 
gave to Dougal '' tliat Castle in Kintyre which 
Guthorme Bockakaly had besieged and taken." 

Roderick having now been reinstated in the 
possession of Bute, A>'as not alow in taking advan- 
tage of the opportunity with wliich fortune favoured 
him to pimish the Stewarts and their Scottish 
followers. Not satisfied with the surrender of 
Rothesay Castle, he pursued the retreating garrison, 
and, according to the Norse account, put nine of 
them to death. Ho followed up his pursuit by 
making a descent on the mainland, which he 
plundered and wasted with tire and sword for many 
miles into the heart of the country. The Castle of 
Rothesay, now represented by a magnificent ruin 
standing in the centre of the town of that name, of 
which it forms the chief architectural object, was for 
at least a hundred years identified with the history 
of one or other branch of tlie Clan Cholla. Roderick 
made it his residence during his occupation of Bute, 
and if the legend of its " IMuidy Stair," of which the 
"dark-eyed chief" is the theme, have any foundation 
in fact, the character of our naval hero must be 
de])icted in much darker hues than we would wish to 
have it portrayed. In a corner between the main 
stair and the east gable of the chapel there is an old 
stair leading to the top of the wall of the Castle 
which is known by the name of the " Bluidy Stair," 
the legend of which is best told by quoting at 


leiiuth the foUowiiii^^ ballad, being the only evidence 
of the tragic deed ascribed to our clansman : — 

" Uh, Ivotlie.say's towev is round about, 
And Kotliesay's tower is strang ; 
And loud Avitliin its merry wa's 
The noise o' wassail rang. 

" A scald o' Norway struck the harp. 
And a good harper was he ; 
For hearts beat mad, and looks grew wild 
Wi' his sang o' victory. 

" A dark-eyed chief has left the board 
Where he sat as lord and liege ; 
And he called aloud amidst the crowd 
For Thortinn, his little foot-page. 

" ' Go tell the stranger Isabel 

That she stir not from the bower 
Till darkness dons lier blackest dress, 
And midniclit marks the hour. 

" ' And tell the Ladye Isabel 
To come when the feast is o'er 
And meet upon the chapel stair 
The chieftain Rory Mor.' 

" AN'hcn tlic feast was o'er, and a' was iuislied 
In midniclit and in mirk, 
A Ladye was seen, like a spirit at e'en, 
To [)ass by the Holy Kirk. 

" She stood at tlie foot o' the chapel stair, 
And she heard a footstep's tread ; 
For the wild Norse warrior was there. 
Who thus to the Ladye said : 

" ' I am Rory Mor, the Island Cluef, 
I'm Roderick, Lord of Bute ; 
For the Raven of Norway flies above. 
And the Lion of Scotland's mute. 


" ' 1 hate 3'our kith, fair La(l3-c,' ho said, 
' I liate your kith and kin ; 
And I am sworn to be their foe 
Till life be dried within. 

" ' Yet kiss me, luvelie Isabel, 
\\k\ lay your eheek to mine, 
Tho' yc bear the bluid o' the High Stev.ard 
I'll woo nae hand but thine.' 

" ' Awa, awa, ye rank liuteher !' 
Said the Ladye Isabel, 
' For beneath your hand my father dear 
And my three brave Ijrothers fell.' 

" ' It's I hae eonquered them,' he said, 
' And I will conquer thee ; 
For if in love ye winna wed, 
My leman ye shall be.' 

" ' The stars will dricf out their beds o' blue 
Ere you in love I wed ; 
I rather would Hy to the grave and lie 
In the mouldy endjraee o' the dead. 

" ' I canna love, I winna love 
A nuirderer for my lord ; 
For even yet my father's Iduid 
Lies lapper'd on your sword. 

" ' And i never will be your l)ase leman 
While death to my dagger is true, 
Foi- 1 hate you, Chief, as the foe of my kin, 
And the foe of my coinitry, too.' 

" An eye niieht be seen wi' revenge to gleam 
Like a shot star in a stoi'ui ; 
And a heart was felt to writhe as if bit 
]>y the never dying worm. 

"A struggle was heard on llie chapel stair, 
And a smothered shriek of ])ain, 
A deadeu'd groan, and a fall on the stone. 
And all was silent again. 


" The morning woke on the Ladye's bower, 
But no Isabel was there ; 
The morning woke on Rothesay's tower, 
And ])hiid was on the stair." 

Roderick's triumph was of short duration, at 
least so far as Bute was concerned. On the annexa- 
tion of the Norwegian possessions in the Isles to 
Scotland, in 1266, both Bute and Arran were 
restored to the Stewart fan:iily. Bute, however, did 
not pass finally from the possession of the House of 
Somerled, for in the year of Bannockburn the Lord 
of the Isles is referred to as 

" Sir Angus of the Isles and Bute alswae." ^ 

Boderick, who was compelled to relinquish his hold 
on Bute, and who was now a very old man, pro- 
bably died shortly after tiie Scoto-Norse Treaty of 
1266. At all events, we hear of him no more under 
the new order of things, and we only wonder that 
his famil}^ should have fared so well at the hands of 
their hereditary enemies. Alexander III., however, 
even if he had not been bound by the terms of the 
Scoto-Norse Treaty to conciliate the adherents of 
Norway, was himself desirous, from motives of State 
policy, of making concessions to his new subjects. 

From the prominence given to Douga] in the 
Norse sagas, it is inferred that he was the eldest son 
of Boderick. In 1261 he is mentioned as sole king 
in the Isles, and faithful to Haco." Both Allan, his 
brother, and he are honoured with the title of king, 
but this distinction could only have meant that they 
were lords over wide territories, and exercised almost 
regal jurisdiction within these. Dougal, whether 
younger or older than Allan, drops out of view 

' Barbour's Bruce. - Chronicles of the Kings of Man, 


eiitirol}^ after the .'iiiiicxatioii of the Isles to Scotland. 
The ])rol)nl)ility is tliat he refused to aekuowledge 
the sovereignty of Alexander III. In any case, his 
family disappeared duriiio- the reign of that monarch 
from among the territorial families of Argyle and 
the Isles. Gi-egory asserts that Dougal died without 
leaving any issue, hut in this he is contradicted hy 
the MS. of 1450, which, corroborated hy other 
authorities, gives Ferchar and Duncan as two sons 
of Duncan, the son of Dougal, the son of Iloderick. 
The same MS. gives the genealogy of the Maclluarie 
family back tln-ough Allan, from which it should not 
be inferred that Allan was the eldest son of Roderick. 
Wliat, however, it proves beyond any doubt is, that 
the territorial line of the family was carried on by 
Allan and liis successors, and not by Dougal and 
liis successors. 

1 Allan, therefore, succeeded his father in the 

lands of Garmoran, which included Knoydart, Moy- 
dart, Arisaig, and Morar, and also in his lands in 
North Kintyre. In all these Alexander III. con- 
tirmtnl him, and added to the already extensive 

/ territory the lands of Barra, Uist, and Harris, with 
the lesser islands of Eigg and Rum. The grant by 
Alexander III. of lands in the Long Island, and 
elsewhere, is boi-ne out by the terms of the charter 
granted afterwards by ilobert Hruce to Rodeiick, 
the son of Allan.' Allan Maclluarie continued 
htyal to the Scottish throne during the remainder 
of his life. From his exteusix'e territorial posses- 
sions ho became one of the most powerful magnates 
in the Highlands. In th(^ year 1284, when the 
Scottish Estates assembled at Scone, and declared 
Maigaret, the Maid of Norway, heiress to the 

1 Clan Ddiial.l, vol. I., p. 49.^, 


throne, the name of " AUangus fihi Ilodericl" 
appears in the hst of those present on that 
occasion. Allan MacRuaiie, Angus of Isla, and 
Alexander of Lorn, were the only Highland Chiefs 
who attended this Parliament, and all three were of 
the House of Somerled. Allan MacTluarie, who 
appears to have died shortly after the meeting at 
Scone, was succeeded in his landed possessions by 
his daughter Christina, a lady who afterwards 
played an important part in the history of Scotland. 
It may seem singular that Christina should have 
become her father's heiress, in view of the fact that 
Allan MacRuarie left at last three sons, Roderick, 
Allan, and Lachlan. It is inferred from the circum- 
stance that Roderick, the eldest of the sons, was 
passed over in favour of Christina, that he was not 
a legitimate son of Allan MacRuarie. Whether 
Roderick MacAllan was or was not feudally legiti- 
mate is a point which cannot now be definitely 
settled one way or the other, but that he was 
Celtically legitimate is conclusively proved by his 
succession in due time to the MacRuarie patrimony. 
In the charter granted to him by Bruce of the 
MacRuarie lands resigned in his favour by Christina, 
his sister, there is nothing indicative of a bar 
sinister, and in such an instrument, drawn out in 
feudal terms, reference, we think, would have been 
made to Roderick's illegitimate descent if he had 
not been Allan MacRuarie's lawful son. The 
awkward fact, however, of Christina and not 
Ptoderick inheriting the MacRuarie lands remains to 
be explained, and the only feasible explanation 
seems to be that Roderick was the issue of a liand- 
fast marriage. 


The MacRuarics made themselves conspicuous at 
a very early stage in the struggle for Scottish 
independence. In a letter of Alexander of Isla to 
Edwaid I., in the year 1292, that chief, wlio had the 
year before taken the. oatli of allegiance to the 
English King, accused Ilanald, the son of Allan, 
and Duncan, the son of Doiigal, of committing 
excesses in those regions subject to the authority of 
Edward. Again, in 1297, Alexander of Isla, who 
had now been appointed by Edward iVdmiral of the 
Western Isles, complains l^itterly of the insubordina- 
tion of the Island CJhiefs, and invokes the aid of the 
English King in keeping them under subjection. 
Alexander of Lorn, who had not yet joined himself 
to the English interest, seems to have been the 
principal offender. Instigated by the Lord of Lorn, 
the MacRuaries invaded Skye and Lewis, tlie lands 
of the Earl of Ross, and some others of the Northern 
Isles, and after comimitting great ravages in these 
islands, they burnt all the shi[)S engaged in the 
English service in the Western seas. The Mac- 
Ruarie leaders engaged in this insurrection wei'e 
Roderick, Ranald, and Lachlan, the sons of Allan, 
and grandsons of Roderick of Lute, whose piratical 
tendencies they seem in a laige measure to have 
inherited. Roderick, the (Jhief of the MacRuaries, 
though often warned of the serious consequences 
involved in his rebellious proceedings, continued 
ol)stinate. Alexander of Isla was at length obliged 
to adopt coercive m(\asures jigainst his kinsman, 
'i'heso resulted in the acknowledgment by Roderick 
of the authority of the English King, whom he at 
the same time promised faithfully to serve. In that 
state of society in which might is right, promises are 
jiiere matters of convenience, and are niade to be 


broken whenever the favourable opportunity occurs. 
The men engaged in this struggle were no exception 
to that rule. They are found now on the one side 
and now on the other, as self-interest may demand. 
Koderick MacAllan kept his promise no longer than 
it was convenient to do so. The Maclluaries again 
broke out against English rule under his leadership, 
and perpetrated great atrocities in the islands which 
were under the sway of the House of Isla. 

The outraged islanders were obliged to send 
messengers to Alexander, complaining of the hard- 
ships to which they had been put by the tyrannical 
proceedings of the MacRuaries. Special mention is 
made of Lachlan MacRuarie as the prime mover 
and leader in the depredations committed by the 
plundering band who had invaded the Southern 
Isles. Lachlan, it appears, had previously ofltered 
homage to the English King, but l)y his recent 
conduct he roused the resentment of Edward's 
representative, the Lord of the Isles, and that chief, 
taking time by the forelock, soon succeeded in 
reducing the rebel to obedience. In token of his 
desire to remain loyal to the Island Lord, Lachlan 
MacRuarie offered his son as a pledge, the only form 
of pledge which would seem to have had any binding 
effect on the islanders of those days. No soonc.T 
had Lachlan given his son as a hostage, than his 
brother Roderick, at the head of Lachlan's force?;, 
and, it is said, at his instigation, raised the flag of 
revolt. The Lord of the Isles now determined to 
strike a final blow at the MacRuaries. Collecting 
his forces, and assisted by his brothers, Angus ()g 
and John Sprangach, he pursued Roderick by sea 
and land, and at length seizing him and putting 
him in irons, he threw him into one of his dungeons 



on tlie mainland. How lono- Roderick MacAllan 
remained in this situation we know not, b\it in the 
year 1301, in a letter by Angus Og, Lord of the 
Isles, to Edward I., mention is made of Roderick's 
sons, for whose loyalty Angus holds himself 
responsible. It appears that Roderick himself still 
remained in custody, and that Angus Og acted as 
the guardian of his sons. The MacRuaries appear 
again on the historical stage in the year 1306. In 
that year Robert Bruce was crowned in the palace 
of his ancestors at Scone. After suffering defeat in 
two pitched battles, he found his way, a lonely 
fugitive, to Kintyre, where he was loyally received 
and hospitably entertained by the Lord of the Isles. 
It was not, perhaps, the friendship of the Lord of 
the Isles alone that drew the warrior King in this 
dark hour in his eventful career to the district of 
Kintyre. That district was to a large extent under 
the ])ovverful sway of a near relative of his own, on 
whose support and friendship he confidently relied. 
The relative in whom the fugitive King put such 
confidence was none other than his own mother-in- 
law, Christina of Mar, the heiress of Allan Mac- 
Ruarle of Garmoran and the North Isles. We are 
not aware that notice was ever taken of this illus- 
trious alliance formed between the MacRuaiie family 
and the Scottish throne. Christina MacRuarle, by 
her marriage with Donald, Earl of Mar, became the 
mother of Bruce's wife, and tlms the progenitrix of 
a long line of sovereigns, the first of whom was her 
great-grandson Roln^rt IL Suriounded though the 
King was by such })o\verf*ul friends as Christina of 
Mar and the Lord of the Isles, it was not deemed safe 
for him to remain long in a part of the country so 
accessible to his enemies as the jxMiInsula of Kintyre. 


It was, therefore, resolved to find a place of refuge 
for him in the lonely Island of Rachrin, on the Irish 
coast, until such time as a favourable opportunity 
arrived for a descent on Scotland. Theie is a 
tradition to the effect that Christina MacRuarle, in : 
the first instance, found an asylum for her illustrious ' 
son-in-law in her own Island of Uist, but that not 
considering him safe from the pursuit of his enemies 
in this retreat, the Lord of the Isles conveyed him 
to Rachrin. The King and his small band of 
followers passed the winter of 1306-7 in this island, 
living principally on the bounty of Christina Mac 
Ruarie, who kept up a regular communication with 
her relative. 

When Bruce resolved at length on leaving 
Rachrin, Christina sent her galleys, under the 
command of her brother Roderick, to convey him 
and his small garrison to the coast of Arran. From 
Arran the King found his way to his own country of 
Carrick. On hearing of his success there, Christina 
MacRuarie went to him, accompanied by a band of 
forty warrior clansmen, who enlisted in his service. 
She likewise brought provisions to the King, and a 
supply of money, of both of which he stood much 
in need. She further informed him of the fate of 
the garrison of Kildrummie, and of Athole, Seton, 
and others of his supporters. From this time 
onwards, the MacRuaries, with Christina's brother, 
Roderick, at their head, followed the banner of 
Bruce. At Bannockburn they fought under the 
Chief of Clan Cholla, and shared with him the glory 
won by the men of Innsegall on that ever memorable 
field. ' 

Roderick MacRuarie was amply rewarded by 
Bruce for his loyalty and services. The King 


bestowed upon liiin the lands of Lorn, forfeited 
by Alexander Macdougall, and half the lands of 
Lochaber, forfeited by the Comyns.^ He also 
bestoAved upon him a davach and a half of Moidart, 
half a davach of Arisaig, the six davach lands of 
Eigg and Rum, with the jjatronage of the Church of 
Kildonan in Eigg, the six davachs and three-quarters 
of land in Kilpeter, in South Uist, the whole lands 
of Barra and Harris, all of which were resigned in 
his favour by Christina MacRuarie, his sister." The 
rest of the MacRuarie lands in Garmoran and the 
North Isles, including North Uist and a part of 
South Uist, appear to have been granted by 
Christina at this time, or shortly thereafter, to an 
Arthur Campbell, whose descendant put in a claim 
for them in the year 1427." There is no record, 
however, of a Campbell having ever obtained actual 
possession of these lands. 

The lands resigned by Christina in favour of 
Roderick were to be held by him for the service of a 
ship of 2G oars, with its complement of men and 
victuals, for the King's army, and on due warning ; 
but if Roderick, the son of Allan, should have no 
male heir, then Roderick, the son of Christina, should 
hold the lands in heritage, on condition that he 
should give in marriage the daughter or daughters 
of the said Roderick, his uncle, if he should have 
any, with a portion of 400 merks sterling ; and if, in 
the course of nature, it should liappen that Roderick, 
the son of Christina, could not succeed to the lands, 
then the daughter or daughters of Roderick, the son 
of Allan, should succeed tlieir father in the same, or 
if lie had no surviving heirs, the lands sliould revert 
to Christina and her heirs. 

1 Chartei- lost. - Cliailoi- in Clan I), maid vol. I. j). 195. 


Roderick Maclluarie had now, by the acquisition 
of so large a territory, become a man of great power 
and influence in the Highlands, although a con- 
siderable share of the family inheritance still 
remained with his sister, the Countess of Mar. 
Roderick, as might have been expected, evinced his 
gratitude to his royal benefactor by loyally support- 
ing the interests of the Throne, at least for a time. 
One of his brothers, at the head of a number of 
Islesmen, joined Edward Bruce, and fought under 
his banner in Ireland. When the brief but brilliant 
career of that restless prince came to an end by his 
death at Dundalk, in 1318, Maclluarie fell lighting 
by his side. In the Annals of Ulster, under that 
year it is recorded that " Edward Bruce, the 
destroyer of Ireland in general, both foreign and 
Gaidheal, was killed by the foreigners of Ireland by 
dint of fighting at Dundelgain, and there was killed 
in his company MacRuadhri, King of Innis Gall." 
As Roderick, the head of the MacRuarie family, 
lived for many years after this event, the " King of 
Innis Gall" referred to by the annalist must have 
been one or other of his brothers, Ranald or Lachlan, 
already referred to. 

The loyalty of the Chief of the MacRuaries was 
already on the wane. What the precise nature of 
his offence was is not recorded. It was no doubt 
some treasonable com^mct into which he had entered 
against the Crown, for his conduct was viewed in so 
serious a light that in a Parliament held at Scone, 
on the 28th of March, 1325, Roderick was deprived 
of all his lands, both mainland and island.^ From 
the fact that there is no record of the old MacRuarie 

1 Fonistactura Roderiui de Ylay facta per Regem et Baroiies suos in 
parliameiito Sconaiu 28 Mai-tii 1325. — Acta Pari. Scot. 


lands lia\in^' been Ijestowed on aiiotlier, ^ve conclude 
that Roderick continued to enjoy the undisturbed 
possession of these dnrino- the remainder of his life. 
The lands of Lorn and Lochaber, bestowed upon him 
by Bruce, were never restored to the family. 

Roderick MacRuarie, who must have died not long 
after his forfeiture, \yns succeeded by his son Ranald. 
His other children, of whom we have any record, 
were Allan and x4-mie, the first of whom, and 
perhaps the latter, afterwards succeeded to the 
family inheritance. Evidently there was no effort 
made during- the remainder of the reign of Bruce to 
relieve Ranald MacRuarie from the effects of the 
Act of Forfeiture passed against his father in the 
Parliament of 1325. Very naturally, therefore, 
when the opportunity occurred, Ranald was not slow 
to use; it against the Bruce family. Throughout 
the long minority which followed the death of the 
renowned restorer of Scottish liberty in 1329, 
Ranald MacRuarie threw the whole weiglit of his 
iniluence on the side of England and th(^ Baliol 
faction. At length, on the return of David Bruce 
I'rom captivity in 1341, he adopted, with the view 
of strengthening his position, tlie wise policy of 
conciliation towards his Scottish opponents. The 
King was anxious to concenti'ate all the forces he 
could possibly connnand against England. To win 
over to his interest the rebellious chieftain of the 
MacRuaries, he in the year 1342 confirmed to 
him In th(^ Castle of Unpihart the 10 davoch 
lands ol' Kintail, formerly granted to Ranald 
MacRuarie by William, Fah-I of Ross.^ For tliese 
lands the King (exacted a feu-duty of one penny 
steiling, to be paid annually at the Feast of 

' l'"or tlii.s ChuiLci', see Aiipeiidix. 


Pentecost. lu the following year, Ranald's loyalty 
having revived in the interval, the King granted 
him, for his services to his majesty, a charter of the 
whole lands of Uist, Barra, Rum, Moidart, Morar, 
Arisaig, and Knoydart,^ with the patronage of the 
several chmxhes within their hounds. Though Eigg 
and Harris are omitted from this charter, they con- 
tinued in the possession of the MacRuarie family, as 
may be seen from the charter to John, Lord of the 
Isles, of the MacRuarie lands in 1372."^' 

David II., taking advantage of the absence of 
Edward III. in France, resolved to invade England 
in 1346. He accordingly issued a mandate sum- 
moning the Scottish barons to meet him at Pertli 
with the purpose of submitting to them his plan of 
action. Ranald MacRuarie of Garmoran came to 
this meethig accompanied by a considerable train of 
followers, and took up his position in the Monastery 
of Elcho, in the immediate vicinity of the Scottish 
Capital. William, Earl of Ross, was also among 
those wJio had answered the King's summons. 
That nobleman and Ranald MacRuarie had had a 
feud, the precise nature of which is not obvious, but 
very probably over the lands of Kintail, which the 
Earl had granted to the Lord of Garmoran, and 
which, as we have seen, the King had confirmed to 
that chieftain. Ranald, taking shelter under the 
royal confirmation, would likely enough have refused 
to render to the Earl the services due by the vassal 
to the superior. However this may be, the Earl, 
regardless of the sacredness of the building, broke 
into the monastery at dead of night, and assassin- 
ated Ptanald MacRuarie and several of his followers. 
On realising the heinousness of the double crime of 

' For ih\6 Charter, see Appendix. - Clau Donald, vol. I., p. 502. 


sacrilege and luui-cler which he had couiniitted, and 
iiu doubt also fearing- the consecjiieuces of his act, 
the conscience-stricken Earl hastened with all 
possible s|)eed to his Northern home, leaving the 
fate of the invasion of England to those whom it 
might concern. The MacRuaries, dejjrived of their 
leader, retired in confusion to the Isles. 

Ranald MacRuarie, liaving left no issue, was 
succeeded by his brother Allan. References are 
made to Allan IMacRuarie in several manuscript 
histories of the Clan, but there is nothing in these 
to indicate how long he survived the death of his 
Ijrotlier Ranald. Were it not indeed for the charter 
conveying the MacRuarie lands to John, Lord of the 
Isles, in 1372, in which they are described as " terras 
tricentarum mercarum que fuerunt quondam Alani 
iilii Roderici," we should be inclined to doubt that 
Allan MacRuarie ever existed. Allan MacRuarie 
having died without leaving issue, the male line of 
Roderick of Bute became extinct, and the succession 
to the family inheritance is said to have devolved on 
Amie, the sister of Allan. There is no evidence, 
however, of Amie having ever been infefted in these 
lands, or indeed that she survived her brother Allan, 
if we except the testimony of the seanachies, who 
are unanimous in asserting that she carried the 
MacRuarie lands to her husband, John, Lord of the 
Isles. Before the year 1372, John granted a charter 
of these lands and others to his eldest son, Reginald, 
which was confirmed in that year by Robert II. 
(Shortly after the latter charter of confirmation, the 
King granted a charter of the MacRuarie lands to 
John himself, and his heirs. In these charters there 
is no n^ferencc to Aniii; MacRuarie, or to the 
relationship between John and the MacRuaiie 


family, and they are granted presumably for services 
rendered, and for the love and favoiu- which the 
King bears to his son-in-law, the Lord of the Isles. 
The fact remains, however, that the MacRuarie 
lands were bestowed on Reginald; the son and heir 
of Amie MacRuarie, who transmitted the inheritance 
to the great branch of the family of Macdonald 
which bears his name. 

The position of importance occupied by the 
family of MacRuarie in the Annals of the Clan 
Cholla is at once seen if w^e glance at the charters 
bestowed upon them by successive sovereigns. From 
the extensive possessions, therefoi*e, over which they 
held sway, both on the mainland and in the islands, 
they stand in territorial significance second only to 
the family of the Isles itself The residence of tlie 
family on the mainland seems to have been Castle 
Tirrim, and in Uist the Castle of Boi've, in Ben- 
becula. Tradition points to iVmie MacRuarie as 
having Ijuilt both strongholds, but of this there is no 
historical confirmation. Though there is no reference 
to either in the charter granted by David II. to 
Ranald MacRuarie, in 1344, yet as the MacRuaries 
must have had a residence on the mainland and in 
Uist, Castle Tirrim and Castle Borve, both of which 
are mentioned in Reginald's charter of 1372, are the 
only strongholds which, with any certainty, can be 
associated with the family. Possibly also Dunranald, i 
in South Uist, as its name would seem to indicate, ! 
may have been a residence of the MacRuaries. Tliis 
old stronghold, which, if Uist tradition may be relied 
on, was occupied by the Macdonalds in the seven- 
teenth century, was no doubt built by the Norsemen 
during their occupation of the Islands. Built with- 
out mortar, it is in its architectural style like many 



of the iiiiiied forts to be met with elsewhere in the 
Outer Islands ; and Ranald being a Norse name, 
Dunranald is as likely to have derived its name 
from a Scandinavian leader as from a chieftain of 
the MacRuai'ies. 

It is worthy of notice that thouo'h the Mac- 
lluarie lands passed into the hands of another 
branch of the Clan Ch.olla, the MacRuarie name is 
still represented by a considerable number of Clans- 
men in the land of their sires. The MacRurys, as 
tliey call themselves, a name which sounds perhaps 
more Irish than Hio-hland, have been as a sept exclu- 
sively confined to the Island of Uist, which, as we 
have seen, formed part of the MacRuarie territory 
from tlie year 12GG until all the MacRuarie lands 
came into the possession of Reginald Macdonald of 
the Isles, the son of Amie MacRuarie, prior to 1372. 
MacRury is, therefore, the oldest clan name in Uist, 
whether in North or South Uist, and the sept may be 
estimated numerically at one hundred and fifty in 
both parishes. So far as can be ascertained, they have 
not kept pace with the population, and are probably 
now not more numerous than they were a hundred 
years ago. Though not many of them have risen to 
eminence, either in Chuich or State, or as a sept 
have succeeded in retrieving the fallen fortunes of 
their house, they have at least succeeded in pre- 
serving the name from being lost to the ages, and 
they have done nothing to tarnish that name, or the 
fair fame of MacRuarie of Garmoran and the North 





Obscurities and Mistakes. — The Descent. — Alji.stair J/u)\ — 
Attitude towards Bruce. — Ranald MacAllister in Ireland. — 
Lowland Branches. — Donald's Descendants in Stirlingshire 
and Forfarshire. — (^odfrey's Descendants in Ayrshire. — 
Duncan's Descendants.- Hector's Irish Descendants. — 
Charles MacAllister Stewart of Kintyre and his Descendants. 
—Battle of Ardnary.— Death of John MacAllister at 
Knockfergus. — Family of Tarbert. — Archibald MacAllister 
and the Campbells. — Tutor of Loup Slain. — Raids on 
Buteshire. — Clan Allister and Dunnyveg. — Gorrie MacAllister 
and his Feuds. — Quarrel with Ardincaple. — MacAllister of 
Iklnakill. — Meagre Records in 17th Century. — At the 
Revolution. — In the 18th Century. 

The niiddle and latter half of the thirteenth century 
witnessed the origin of a number of clan names in 
the Highlands, names which, unlike Southern 
custom, were derived from some outstanding ances- 
tor rather than from the soil on which the tribe 
took root, this feature stongly marking a funda- 



mental distinction between Celtic and Saxon cultuie. 
The oldest of all the families that branched oft* from 
the main Clan Donald stem — the Clan AUister — is 
one whose origin, history, and position are involved 
in nuich obscurity. Genealogical trees and historical 
accounts abound ; and were authorities estimated by 
their number rather than their weight, the litera- 
ture of the subject would leave little to be desired. 
In the case of this particular clan or sept, the 
accounts are so conflicting that the chronicler nmst 
tread most warily and criticpJly the path of historical 
research lest he get hopelessly lost in o.n intricate 
and bewildering maze. The confusion that un- 
doubtedly exists regarding the Clan Allister has 
arisen from a variety of causes. In the first place 
there were two Alexanders, uncle and nephew, 
separated from one another only by a generation, 
and each leaving after him a large family of sons. 
In addition to this, the posterity of neither Alex- 
ander is clearly connected with a definite territorial 
position under the Lordship of the Isles, and in 
both cases we are lacking the evidence of charters, 
at anyrate during the earlier generations. Still 
further, not only is there the absence of that charter 
evidence, which is always of such solid value in 
historical research, but there is the additional fact 
that for nearly two hundred years after the days of 
their founder, the descendants of neither Alexander 
develojjed the oi-ganisation of a clan or sept, a con- 
dition of things which, if it had existed, would 
inevitably have created history of some sort. When 
to all this is added the fact that in each of the 
pedigrees there is a " Black John," and tlie 
" Descendants of Black John," it is evident at once 
that the elements of historical chaos exist in rich 


profusion. It must also be admitted that most of 
those who have attempted to expound the suljject 
have avaiJed themselves to the full of the ambi- 
guities of the problem, and accentuated the diffi- 
culties by making confusion worse confounded, and 
advancing claims and assumptions which the 
conditions and limitations of time render utterly 

The claim has been made on behalf of the family 
of Loup^ that they derive their origin from Alex- 
ander, Lord of the Isles, and son of Angus Mor, 
who, perforce, surrendered his position to Angus Og, 
his younger brother, the steadfast friend of King- 
Robert Bruce. The M'A'^urich M8.- lends the weight 
of its authority to this view with the same amount 
of accuracy as when it speaks of Alexander as the 
younger son of Angus Mor, that is, with an incor- 
rectness not often to be detected in the pages of the 
Clanranald Seanachie. As will appear in the course 
of this chapter, there is no ground whatever for the 
view referred to as regards the descent of the Clan 
Allister. The historian of Sleat propounds an 
equally unwarranted genealogy for the families of 
Lou|) and Tarbert when he traces them to a natural 
son of Angus Mor, called Alastair Durach, or 
Alexander from Jura. This Seanachie, however, 
has already been found tripping so often in his 
genealogies, and is so addicted to the insertion of 
bars sinister where illegitimacy did not exist, that 
little importance need be attached to his views in 
this particular connection.^ 

There seems no reason to doubt that the Clan 
Allister are the descendants of " Alastair Mor," son 

' Burke's Landed Gentry. - Reliquiec Celticaj, vol. II., \k ^■''i- 
- Coll. De Reb. Alb., p. 291. 

30 TFTP OLAX 1)(^XA1.D. 

of Donald do lie, and younovr Ijrotlier ()f Angus 
Mor. This Alexander appeals on record for the 
first time as a witness to the charter by his brother, 
Ano-ns Mor, to the Monastery of Paisley in 1253.^ 
As the only brother of the Lord of the Isles of whom 
we possess any authentic account, he nnist have 
been a man of inHuence and standing in his day, 
and, according to the custom of his race, he must 
have received a " gavel" in the division of the family 
inheritance, l)ut, as already stated, the Lick of 
charters connecting himself and his descendants 
with either Oirir-ghael or Innse-gall has cast the 
veil of obscurity over their early history. In the 
year 1299, when " Alastair Mor" must have been 
advanced in life, we find him receive lionourable 
mention in the Irish Arinals as a man consjjicuous 
among those of his name and time, both in Scotland 
and Ireland, " for hospitality and excellence."- He 
a})pears to have fallen a victim to a feud between 
the Island family and the MacUougalls, for in 1299 
he and many of his followers were slain in battle 
with Alexander of Lorn. According to the MS. of 
1450, Alexander of the Isles had five sons, but 
which of them was the eldest, or succeeded him as 
head of the family, is a point not very easy to 
determine. Generally speaking, the MS. of 1450 
details the members of families whose genealogies it 
gives, in the older of seniority, and following this 
rule we sliould infer tliat (Jodfrey was the oldest 
son. It would appear, however, from certain refer- 
(iiices in the puljlic records, that Donald, the son of 
Alexander, occupied the leading place among the 
brothers, and succeeded to wliatever position his 
fatliei pr(ndously held. On the 29th December, 

' V!<1( Clan D.mal.l, vol. I., i.. 1S;V -' Annals ,,f the Fmir Mastoi-s, a.d., 1299. 


1291, apiDarently in the lifetime of Alastair Mor, 
Donald of the Isles and Alexander, his son, swear 
fealty to Edward I., and promise that they would 
bear themselves loyally towards him for the custody 
of the Isles. ^ A number of years after this submis- 
sioji, in 1314, the relative positions of the brothers 
become more clearly defined, for £it that date Donald 
of the Isles and Godfrey, his brother, appear among 
those who were to be received into the peace of the 
King of England." The inference from the order of 
the names clearly is that Donald was the head of 
the house, and subsequent events tend to confirjn 
the view. It also appears that both these brothers, 
with probably the rest of the sons of Alexander, had 
consistently adopted the same attitude of hostility 
to Bruce, and of friendship towards the Englisli, 
which was the natural, and became the traditional, 
policy of the House of Macdonald, a policy for which 
their cousin, Alexander, Lord of the Isles, had 
already paid so dear, and which proved, in a future 
century, the final ruin of the family. This political 
attitude of the sons of Alexander must inevitably 
have won for them the resentment of Bruce. Their 
possessions were probably confiscated, they them- 
selves were banished from their native shores, some 
seeking a home in Ireland, so often the refuge of 
persecuted Hebrideans. That some of them settled 
permanently in that region is clearly shown by the 
prevalence of the name M'Allister in certain districts 
of the Province of Ulster. 

Although their association with the anti-national 
party must have been fraught with disaster to the 
sons of Alastair Mor, there is reason to believe that 

1 Ayloffe's Aucieut Charters, 20, Ed. I. 
" Rot. Scot., A.D. 1314, Ed. II., p. r2lB 


the senior family of tli(^ race contiimed to maintain 
a ])08ition in the Tlio-lilands at anyrate as late as the 
closing years of the reign of David Brnce. We 
have seen that Alexander, the son of Donald, was 
associated with his father in an act of fealty to 
Edward I. in \'2\)l. After that his name passes out 
of history ; hnt in 13GG, Ranald, son of Alexander, 
appears on the scene as the heir to Clan Alexander, 
and the designation seems to confirm the opinion 
that the line of Donald was the senior family of the 
race. The circumstances in which Ranald steps on 
the arena necessitate our anticipating to some slight 
extent the history of the descendants of the deposed 
Alexander. Some of these had settled in the 
country of the O'Neills, and the oldest son was 
appointed to an hereditary military office, which his 
descendants continued to occupy for ages. (Jivil 
M'ar sometimes broke out between differen.t branches 
of the O'Neills, and in 136G Donald O'Neill, assisted 
by the MacDonalds, under the leadership of C-harles^ 
and his son, Alexander, marched against Neill 
O'Neill, O'Neill was worsted in the encounter, and 
a spoil of cattle taken from his peo]:)le. It was at 
this crisis that Ranald M'Allister, the son of Alex- 
ander, arrived with a band of followers from the 
Hebrides to assist Neill O'Neill. The common 
soldiers of both parties met at a certain ford, and 
Ranald M'Allister sent a message to C^harles Mac- 
Donald and his son Alexander, the leaders of the 
Irish forces, asking permission to cross the ford, and 
this request was made on the ground of Ranald's 
seniority, as well as of their mutual kinship. The 
])rop()sal did not meet with a favourable reception, 
for no sooner was the Helnidean army seen in the 

' The Irish tonii of Charles is always " TtirhniKh "' or Tirlou.^'h. 


act of crossing than the opposing host immediately 
advanced. A stubborn and sanguinary fight ensued, 
in the course of which Charles MacDonald slew one 
of Kanald M'Allister's sons, Avhile his own son Alex- 
ander was taken prisoner. The instinct of vengeance 
prompted the Island host to demand the execution 
of Alexander, but it seems that more hmnane and 
generous sentiments animated their leader's breast, 
for he is said to have rejected his followers' counsel, 
on the ground that he did not wish to be deprived 
of his son and kinsman in one day,^ From this 
notice in the Irish Annals, we gather that the Clan 
Allister of the senior branch were still settled in 
some part either of the Western Highlands or 
Islands, and must in a measure have recovered from 
the depressed fortunes which followed their anti- 
national attitude in the early part of the fourteenth 
century. Beyond this we cannot with any certainty 
decide the particular region to which they belonged, 
and, although Ranald appears to have had other 
sons to carry on the ancestral line besides him who 
was killed in Ireland, after 136G he and his descend- 
ants, as a Highland family, retire into unbroken 
obscurity for several generations. If the ]3eninsula 
of Kintyre was the home and nursery of the race 
— and it seems impossible to associate the Clan 
Allister as a Highland sept with any other region — 
the current of their history runs underground for 
upwards of a hundred years, and their annals during 
that period are buried in the depths of an oblivion 
from which it seems impossible to rescue them. 

So far as we can trace the Clan Allister other 
than the senior line before and after 1366, it is clear 
that a marked change has passed over them as a 

^ Amials f)t the Four Mastei-s, vol. III., pp. 633-43. 



branch of the great Clan Cliolla. Many of the 
scions of this house appear to have migrated beyond 
the Highland line into the less eventful regions 
where Saxon culture prevailed, where they entered 
the peaceful walks of civic and rural life, and where 
the surname of MacAllister became metamorphosed 
into the less romantic, the more "douce" and prosaic 
name of Alexander. While following their fortunes, 
we enter a less turbulent and more reposeful phase 
of life. Quitting the mountain side, the fluttering 
pennon and the wild note of the piohmJi or, with all 
the associations of feud and foray, we pursue the 
even tenor of our way among industrious burgesses 
and solid landholders. Almost all the families of 
the name of Alexander scattered throughout various 
regions in the Lowlands have sprung from the same 
ancestral source as those who have preserved the 
more Celtic designation of MacAllister ; but at an 
early period they seem to have been wafted by some 
force of circumstances out of the current of Gaelic 
history, and in the midst of a new environment 
developed characteristics differing at anyrate in 
outward form from those of the parent stock. 

Descendants of Donald, son of Alastair Mor, 
appear to have settled in the county of Stirling 
somewhat early in the fourteenth century. The 
first of whom we have record is Gilbert, the son of 
Donald, who received a charter for lands in tliat 
region in 1330,^ and although the lands are not 
specially defined, when we find in another connec- 
tion that, in the reign of David iJruce, Gilbert de 
Insula^ received a charter of the mill and lands of 

' Exchequor Itnlls, vi.l. I., p. -zw, 'Ciirta Oillicrti filii Dimakli."' 
According to tlie M'.O MS., J)oiiaM had a .sou, Gilheit. 
- Roheitson's Index. 


Glorat, in the parish of Campsie, we naturally con- 
clude that both allusions are to the same individual. 
We also find that durino- this century members 
of the same race obtained a footing in the count}^ of 
Forfar. In the reign of David II. and c. 1307/ 
" John de Isles" receiv^ed a charter for the reversion 
of the barony of Lundie, in the Sheriffdom of Forfar, 
after the decease of Jean, Countess of Strathdearn, 
while the identity of that individual with John, the 
son of " Gilbert de Insulis,"" who was baillie of 
Forfar in 1377, seems a highly probable conclusion. 
To this early settlement of the members of the 
House of Ala stair Mor in Forfarshire do we owe 
the numerous families named Alexander to be met 
with both there and in the shires of Kincardine 
and Aberdeen. Their annals do not seem to be 
suificiently striking to demand detailed treatment 
in the history of Clan Donald. 

Of the descendants of Godfrey, the second son 
of Alastair Mor, we are unable to say anything 
definite. According to the MS. of 1450, Godfrey 
had a son Somerled, who also had a son Gilbert, but 
beyond these names there is almost nothing in the 
records to guide us as to their place of settlement 
either in the Highlands or Lowlands. In 1372 we 
find an individual named John, the son of Gilbert, 
occupying the lands of Corsbie,^ described as in Ayr, 
but in the modern county of Wigtown ; and when 
in the following century we find families of 
MacAlexander springing up in the adjoining districts 
of Straiten and Colmonell, as well as in other parts 
of Ayrshire, we are tempted to think that this John, 
the son of Gilbert, was both the descendant of 

^ Robertson's ludex. - Exchequer Rolls, vol. II., ad terapus. 
3 Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot., vol. 1306-1424, p. 85, No. 296. 


Godfrey of the Isles and the progenitor of the many 
MacAlexanders belonghig to that region, and 
undoubtedly of the race of Alastair Mor. 

Duncan, the third son of Alastair Mor, possessed 
lands in the parish of Glenorchy, for it is on record 
that in or about 1343, David JL granted to Alex- 
ander MacNaughtane all tlie lands which in that 
jDarish belonged to the deceased John, the son of 
Duncan, the son of Alexander of Yle.^ After this 
the deep pall of obscurity which envelopes the early 
history of this family again descends, and we are 
left in utter ignorance of the progeny of this branch 
of the Clan Allister. That descendants of Duncan 
still continued in that region is to be inferred from 
the tradition that when Campbell of Glenorchy 
invaded Caithness in 1672, and fought with Sinclair 
of Keiss at Artimarclach, near Wick, he was fol- 
lowed by a number of Alexanders, some of whom 
obtained a settlement in that district, and whose 
descendants may still be there. ^ If John, the son 
of Alastair Mor, left any descendants, nothing is 
known of them. According to the MS. of 1450, 
Hector, the youngest son of Alastair Mor, had two 
sons, Charles and Lachlan, of whom history has 
nothing further to say. According to McVurich, 
Hector had another son, whom he styles Siothach 
an Dornan, who settled in Ireland, and from whom 
is descended the sept designated the Clan Sheehy of 
Munster.^ We find this tribe in 1552 fighting in 
the army of O'Neill, and described as Gallowglasses, 
that is, fighting men of the stranger septs, but the 
Irish Annals describe them as belonging to the 

1 llobertsou's Index, p. 4S, No. .'">. 

■-' The House of Alexander, vol. 11., p. \. 

" Ecli.iuitc Cclticio, vol. II., p. l.-)7. 


Province of Leinster/ Accordiiio' to M'Vurich, the 
Clan Domhnuill Renna and Mac William of the 
Province of Connaught were likewise descended 
from Alastair Mor~ ; but however interesting it 
would be to investigate the history of the various 
branches of the Clan Allister that undoubtedly took 
root in Irish soil, such an enquiry would meanwhile 
occupy space somewhat disproportionate to the 
importance of the subject. 

We have thus endeavoured to trace the history 
of the different sons of Ala.stair Mor and their 
descendants, so far as this is indicated by the 
records of the fourteenth century. We have seen 
that Ranald, the son of Alexander, and heir to the 
Clan Alexander, crossed from the Hebrides in 1367 
to take part in Irish warfare. We do not find that 
this Clan was indigenous to any region of the 
Western Highlands except the peninsula of Kintyre, 
and although it did not, in the strictly accurate 
sense, form part of the Hebrides, it was traditionally 
reckoned one of the Southern Isles ; and there is 
little reason to doubt that this Ranald had his 
residence in the quarter in which the Clan Allister 
at a later date are found largely to abound. After 
his appearance in 1367 there is a blank of over a 
hundred years in the annals of the Kintyre branch, 
for it is not until 1481 that the light either of 
history or tradition again falls upon them. In that 
year James III. bestowed upon John, Lord of the 
Isles, a considerable grant of land in Kintyre, in 
life-rent, all of which had been confiscated by the 
Crown in 1476, when the Earldom of Ross was 
forfeited.^ Among the various lands enumerated are 

1 Annals of the Four Masters, a.D. 1522, p. 1353. 
^ ReliquiK Celticte, vol. II., p. 157. ^ Clan Donald, vol. I., Appendix, p. 559. 


the lands of " Lowb." In 1481 Charles M'Allister 
was appointed by James III. to the Stewarty of 
Kintyre, and at the same time received a charter 
for a considerable i;Tant of lands in that jiart of the 
ancient patrimony of the Clan <Jhu]la. Charles 
must have been a man of some hereditary standing 
in the district prior to this appointment, and it is 
probabh; that his ancestors during- the unrecorded 
generations occupied the position of uncliartered 
freeholders under the Lords of the Isles. The 
Stewarty of Kintyre \mis a life appointment, and 
the sphere of its jurisdiction extended fiom Sanuych 
towards the west, and above the water uf Sanys 
from the west part of the same. The lands, which 
were also a life-grant and bestowed for faithful 
service, consisted in all of 40 merklands, and are 
detailed as follows : — 4 merklands of Machquharry- 
more of Danaverty, 2 merklands of the two 
RamcoUis, 2 merklands of Edyne, 1 merkland of 
Knockstippilmore, 1 merkland of Keranbeg, 2 
merklands of Glennomudlach, 5 merks of Kildovy, 
5 merklands of Polmulyn, 1 merkland of Salkauch, 
3 merklands of Glennahervy, 2 merklands of Feach- 
aig, 20 shilling lands of Corpany, the half merkland 
of Barfarnay, 2 merklands of Kilmichell, 4 merk- 
lands de la Crag, to be held in feu farra.^ These 
lands are situated some in North and some in South 
Kintyre, but there is no mention among them of the 
lands of Loup, to which Charles jn'obably possessed 
a sufficient title already, and which no doubt 
belonged to the family from a very early period. 
Loup is situated to the north of West Loch Tarbert^ 
and the name is diu-ived from the Gaelic word luJ), 
whose English equivalent is " loop," and which 

' Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot., vol. a.d. 130(5-1424, No. 1480. 


signilies a curve or bend, this Ijeiiig the configuration 
of the shore which bounded the ancient patrimony 
of the Clan Allister 

Charles M' Allister, haillie of Kintyre, was suc- 
ceeded in the representation of the family by liis son 
John, of whose existence, however, we possess only 
the faint record contained in his son's patronymic, 
when he is styled Angus John Dowson of the 
" Lowb." This Angus also passes out of history 
with a mere mention among a number of other 
Argyllshire chieftains to whom a special protection 
was given by the Duke of Albany in 1515, and who 
are referred to as " familiars and servitors" of Colin, 
Earl of Argyll, this protection to last during the 
Governor's will.^ Angus John Dowson was succeeded 
by Alexander M'AUister, of whom we learn that on 
the 23rd July, 1529, he found himself, along with 
other notables from the same region, in a somewhat 
awkward scrape. He had been involved with the 
Macleans and the Macdonalds South, in the invasion 
of the Campbell territories of Roseneath, Lennox, 
and Craignish, in that year, and was put to the 
horn for inability to find acceptable security for 
his future behaviour. Lowland men were usually 
enlisted for these friendly offices, but on this 
occasion none seemed willing to incur the risk either 
in the case of the chief of Loup or the rest of his 
confrc'^e^. Upon this, the King called upon the 
Justice-Clerk to receive James MacConnell, the son 
of Alexander, Lord of Dunnyveg, " to relax them 
from our home."" 

The islands of Arran and Bute are within a short 
sail of Kintyre, and during the fifteenth and six- 

^ Pitcairn, Mar. 7, Sec. Sig., vol. V., fo. 45. 
- Justiciary Records ad tempus. 

40 THK (^LAN DONAl.D. 

teeiith centuries members of the Clan Allisfcer 
obtained settlements in both. In 1506 Donald 
M'AUister received a grant of the King's lands in 
Bute, consisting of half the lands of Longilwenach, 
and in time the sei)t seems to have become fairly 
numerous in l)oth islands. Thougli the chiefs of 
(Jlan Allister never owned property in Buteshire, 
members of the clan in that quarter would have 
owned the authority of the patriarchal head. This 
connection was occasionally a source of trouble to 
the Chief of Loup. For example, in 1535-6, James, 
son and apparent heir of Ninian Stewart, Sheriff of 
Bute, and a landowner there, raised an action before 
the Lords of Council and Session against Alexander 
M'AUister of the Lou|)e, who was decerned to desist 
from molesting Stewart in the three merklands of 
Corretrave, or Correcrave, in the Isle of Arran.^ On 
the 16th August, 1540, Alexander M'AUister of 
Lou]3 received a remission for treasonably abiding 
from the army of Salloway, an offence which he 
shared with many of the Highland chiefs of the 

For upwards of a generation nothing worthy 
of record seems to have transpired in the 
Scottish amials regarding the Clan Allister of 
Kintyre. During the remainder of the six- 
teenth century they seem to have cultivated the 
friendship and protc^ction of the tln-ee powerful 
houses under whos(3 shadow they flourished : 
the Macdonalds of Dnnnyveg, and the houses of 
Argyll and Hamilton. They were not Crown 
vassals, but held their possessions of Dunnyveg and 
Argyll, the one l)eing th(^ dominant influence in the 
south, and the other in the north of Kintyre. Not 

1 Act. Doui. Cull,, 9tli July, ]5;J5, and Mar. 9Ui, l.'';36. 


being a clan of the first importance, they were 
not sufficiently powerful to rely upon their own 
resources amid the turljulent conditions of that age, 
and there is evidence that so far as their oroanis- 
ation as a Celtic family was concerned, they 
sheltered themselves, especially after 1493, under 
the wing of the Macdonalds of Dunnyveg. During 
the period in question, 1540-72, there is evidence 
that if the Clan Allister did not seek an outlet for 
their energies in their native Argyll, they appear to 
have done so in the North of Ireland, then in its 
usual chronic state of disorder and dispeace. The 
Western Islesmen often fought in Ulster on the side 
of Sorley Buy, and the Clan Allister, thei-e is reason 
to believe, gave him their most strenuous support. 
In 1568 Sorley triumphed over the English Govern- 
ment all along the line, and succeeded in occujiying 
almost all the garrisons on the coasts of Antrim. 
It was not the case, however, that he Avas unopposed 
or that there vvas no campaigning in Ulster for the 
next two years, as is stated by an eminent authority 
on Clan Donald history.^ On the 19th February, 
1569, a sanguinary engagement was fought between 
Owen M'Gillespick, who seems to have commanded 
a detachment of Sorley 's Scottish troops — or " redd- 
shanks," as they were called. The Irish Annals are 
silent on the subject, and we are unable, either to 
give the battle a local habitation and a name, or to 
determine exactly wuth whom the victory lay ; but 
the State Papers'- of the time leave no doubt as to 
its havino- been fought, and a number of the Clan 
Allister^Randal, Donough, Gillespick, and others, 
described as Scottish Captains of the Clan Allister 

' Hill's Macdonalds of Antrim, p. 14S. 
2 Calendar of Irish State Papers, vol. XXVII., No. 29, p. 402. 


— having been slain. A few years after this, pro- 
bably in the winter of 1571-2, another engagement 
took place before Knockfergus, in which, according 
to the only available authority, a body of Scottish 
Higlilanders were defeated by Cheston, captain of the 
English forces. This fight was still more disastrous 
to the Clan AUister, for " Owen Mc Owen duffe' Mc 
Alastrain, called the Lord of Loop," was slain." This 
was probably the son of the last named Alexander, 
and the record which chronicles the event of his 
death gives him the high eulogium that he was 
"one amongst them moie esteemed than Sorley 
Buy." This John,^ who was slain in 1572, was suc- 
ceeded in the representation of the family by liis 
son Alexander, who, in 1573, obtained a charter 
from the Earl of Argyll, and about the same time 
his name appears on the roll of those who, by Act 
of Parliament, were called upon to delivei' hostages 
in security for their peaceable behaviour. In 1580 
a bond was entered into between Angus Macdonald 
of Dunny veg and Godfrey M'Allister beg Vc AUister, 
called Sliochd Iain Owir Vic AUister, which illus- 
trates the position of dejiendenco which this tribe 
occupied in relation to the powerful Claim Iai7i 

During the latter half of the sixteenth century 
we find springing into existence a new branch of the 
Clan AUister of Kintyre, namely, the family of 
Tarbert, and from the time of its first ap|)earance on 
the liistorical arena it bulks fully more largely in 
the vision of the historical enquirer than the older 
line of Loup. The lands owned by this family 

' Mu Owen (luU'c i.s Lhe family piilronymic. 

^ Calendar (jf the Irish Slate Pajjcrs, vol. XXXV., No. 23, viii. 

* Owen or Eoin was but another form of John. 


appear to have lain by the shores of East Loch 
Tarbert and immediately adjoining the estate in the 
possession of the main branch ; while the heads of 
the house became hereditary constables of Tarbert 
Castle, which was built, or at anyrate repaired and 
fortified, by Robert Bruce, as an expression of the 
national sovereignty amid the power of the Islajid 
Lords. In 1580, Charles M'Allister comes into view 
as Constable of Tarbert, for on the 8th May of that 
year Alexander M'Allister, perpetual Vicar of the 
Parish Church of Kilcalmonell, in Knapdale, granted 
ill fee-farm as well as life-rent to this same Charles, 
his cousin, and to his heirs and assignees, the two 
merklands of old extent called Balleneile, &c., in the 
lordship of Knapdale and the sheriffdom of Tarbert.^ 
In tlie instrument of gift Charles is described as 
Constable of Tarbert, thus holding an official posi- 
tion under the Scottish Crown. The charter given 
at Tarbert was confirmed at Holyrood on the 5th 
September following. A family of some consequence, 
connected with the House of Loup, seems to have 
had some kind of holding at Bar towards the close 
of the sixteenth century, for on the 27th March, 
1588, "Joannes alias Ewyn Bane M'Ane M'Alex- 
ander in Bar" is among those to whom James VI. 
gave a Commission of Justiciary against Allan 
M'Conill Dow, chief of the Clan Cameron, and 
others, who had incurred the displeasure of the 

As already observed, the Clan Allister were vassals 
of Argyll for, at anyrate, a portion of their lands ; 
but this did nob prevent the occurrence of feucls and 
the outbreak of hostilities between themselves and 

1 Chn.u. and Mem. Regis. Mag. Sig., vol. 1580-1593,'No. 13. 
2 The Chiefs of Grant, vol. Ill, p. 167. 


the Clan Campbell, with whom the region of North 
Kintyre even in those clays was literally swarming. 
Donald Campbell of Kilmore and Doiigal, his son, 
were particularly aggressive and unruly, and gave 
much trouble to the family of Tarbert, whose estates 
lay in their immediate neighbourhood. Matters 
came to such a height that on the 9th February, 
1589, Sir James Campbell of Ardkinlas had to sign 
a bond of caution for his obstreperous and lawless 
kinsmen, for Donald £1000, and for Dougal 100 
merks, to secure freedom from hurt to Archibald 
M'Allister, apparent of Tarbert, his tenants and 

We have seen that the Clau Allister sought the 
friendshi]) and protection of the great territorial 
houses in their vicinity, and in further evidence of 
this, we find in 1590 that professions of fealty, 
dependence, and service were rendered by the Clan 
Allister to Lord John Hamilton, while shortly 
thereafter a similar bond was given by the Tutor of 
Loup and others of his clan to the same superior." 
The Clan Allister in Kintyre were in no way 
dependent upon the Hamiltons, but those of them 
who had settled in Arran and Bute occu])ied the 
position of a stranger se2)t, and such a bond was 
needful in a region where the heads of the House of 
Hamilton were Lords of the soil. In 1591 Godfrey 
M'Allister of Loup received a charter from the 
Earl of Argyll. On the 1st October, 159G, " Gorrie 
M'Aichan Vc Allaster of the Lowpe," along with 
others, attests a letter of renunciation by Angus 
MacDonald of Dunnyveg in favour of Sir James, his 
son, by which he })roposed to surrender to him all 
his lands, possessions, and rights.^ 

1 Reg. P.C, vol. v., p. 321. 2 jii,,, ^,f ti,o MaiLlaiul (,'lub, vol. IV., ].. 123. 
« Keg, P.C, vol. v., 321. 


Id 1598 a serious quarrel arose between Gorrie 
M'Allister of Louj^, who had now attahied his 
majority, and Charles M'Allister, who had been his 
tutor and guardian during the period of his non- 
age. Of the causes that led to this difi'erence 
betwixt the kinsmen, we are left in ignorance, but 
the consequence was a domestic tragedy. The 
Tutor of Loup fell beneath the sword of Godfrey, 
and the sons of the slain M'Allister, apprehensive of 
a similar fate, fled to Askomull House, the Kintyre 
residence of Angus MacDonald of Dunnyveg, the 
tribal superior of their sept.^ The laird of Loup, 
who received the countenance and aid of Sir James, 
younger of Dunnyveg, surrounded the house at 
Askomull with several hundred armed men, but the 
M'Allisters refused to surrender. The incidents 
that followed do not concern the history of the Clan 
Allister, nor do the subsequent relations between 
Gorrie and his kinsmen transpire in the records of 
the age. 

During the next few years the annals of the 
Clan Allister of Kintyre are enlivened by outbreaks 
of lawlessness. In 1600, Hector M'Allister, pro- 
bably the heir of Tarbert, was in ward in Edinburgh, 
no doubt in consequence of the irregularities that 
were committed by the Clan during that year, and 
which now demand our attention. The authorities, 
doubtful of the sufficiency of the King's prison to 
hold Hector with absolute security, accepted of a 
bond of caution from Aula M'Caula of Ardincaple 
for 1 000 me'rks that the prisoner would keep ward 
until it was his Majesty's pleasure to relieve him." 
It was this year, while John Montgomery of Skel- 

' Pitcairu's Criminal Trials ad tcmpus. 
- Re". P.C, vol. VI., p. G5f.. 


morlie was in the Lowlands, that his house and 
lands of Knockransay, in Arran, were invaded and 
captured by the Clan AUister, his wife and children 
taken prisoners, and his furnitvue and gear of 
various sorts, amounting in value to £12,000 Scots, 
seized by the marauders.^ On seeking i-edress from 
the Clan Allister, Montgomery caused Alexander, the 
son of the late Tutor of Loup, and leader of the 
raid, to be given u]) to liim in security for reparation 
of his loss and for the good order of the Clan pending 
his obtaining satisfaction. This measure for the 
\7indicati0n of Montgomery's rights was, however, so 
fenced round with restrictions and precautions that 
the advantage he derived therefrom was more 
aj^parent than real. Montgomery was compelled to 
give a bond for £40,000 in security for the delivery 
of Alexander M' Allister to Angus M'Conill and to 
Archibald M'Conill, his natural son, and this security 
not being regarded as sufficient, he also had to 
pledge his lands in Arran for the payment of 
this large sum. Some time having elaj^sed with- 
out Alexander's surrender to the authorities to 
be dealt with, John, Marquis of Hamilton, feudal 
superior of Arran, procured letters of horning 
against Montgomery of Skelmorlie, and was on tlie 
eve of denouncing him for his apparent disobedience 
in failing to bring the wrong-doer to justice, and 
charged him under the pain of rebellion to do so 
without delay. Montgomery now occupies the 
anomalous position of being the aggrieved party in 
the case, and at the same time the object of a 
formidable legal prosecution by this potentate of the 
West. He excused himself on the ground that the 
time allowed for the letters of horning was too brief, 

1 Idem, pp. 303, 341, 701. 


in respect that the distance of the complainer's house 
from the seat of justice was twenty miles of sea, and 
from the mainland to the coast sixty or eighty 
miles, his Majesty being at the time resident in the 
town of Perth. It was tlierefore impossible for the 
complain er, being in the Lowlands at the time, 
either to deliver up the said Allister or to seek 
remedy at Court within so short a time, the clmrge 
having been made at his house at Knockrausay. If 
he delivered Allister to the Marquis he would be in 
danger not only of forfeiting the penalty of £40,000, 
but also the lands in security, and thus losing all 
chance of remedy. The said Clan Allister, he 
further averred, were " sic unhappie peple and of 
sic force as the complainer is unable to resist," and 
he feared that they would, under pretence of said 
bond, put themselves ijito possession of his lands to 
the utter " wrak" of his tenants and servants. He, 
however, concluded his complaint by saying he had 
found caution to enter the said Allister, if it should 
be found that he ought to do so. The cautioner 
was Hugh Montgomerj^, baillie of the regality of 
Kilwinning, who pledged himself for £1000 that 
Montgomery of Skelmorlie would enter Allister 
M' Allister before either of the Justices of the Privy 
Council, on the 10th November following, if ordered 
to do so, and also to pay, within forty days, to the 
Treasurer, £100 for his escheat, or else obtain 
nullity of the horning used against him for not 
having delivered the said Allister to John, Marquis 
of Hamilton, conform to the charo^e executed acjainst 
him. This band was subscribed on the 2 1st 
September, 1601. We have no information as to the 
punishment inflicted upon Allister for his violence 
in the isle of Arran. Whether moderate or severe, 


it did not prove remedial, for in the course of* a few 
years the same turbulent chieftain became involved 
in a broil, fraught with results of a far more serious 
nature than the invasion of Bute seems to have 

Allister MacAllister was not the only scion f)f the 
Clan who cast covetous glances upon the fertile 
fields and well-stocked homesteads of Bute. In 
1G03, Archibald MacAllister, heir-apparent of Tar- 
bert, took part in another invasion of that long- 
suffering and devoted island. This time, however, 
the MacAllisters were not alone concerned. Chief- 
tains from North Kintyre, including Campbell of 
Auchinbreck, were parties to the attack, and 
alas I the hereditary champion of law, order, and 
nationality, the great Earl of Argyll, stoops from 
his lofty rectitude, and is found, not overtly, but 
covertly aiding, abetting in, and instigating a vulgar 
" herschipp." A force of 1200 men, all supplied with 
arms, " hagbutts and pistolettes," set sail for Bute. 
On their arrival they proceeded first to damage the 
property of a widow lady, named Marion Stewart, 
and to harry her lands of Wester Kames. Thence 
they passed on to the lands of Ninian Stewart, 
Sheriff of the County, where all sorts of atrocities 
and spoliations were committed. The depredators tzi 
being vassals of Argyll, that nobleman was, accord- ' 
ing to law, accountable to th(^ Council for their 
behaviour, and when he and they were summoned to 
appear, and f\\iled to do so, all of them — the Earl, 
Archibald MacAllister, and the other delin(pients — 
were ordered to be denounced as the King's rebels. 
With the denunciation, apparently inoperative so 
far as punishing the guilty was concerned, this 
episode appears to hav(^ closed.^ Two years after 

' Reg. Mag. Sig., vol. VI., p. 517. 


this — loth June, IGOo — an order was issued by the 
Privy Council to Archibald MacA.lh'ster of Loup, 
and John MacAlhster, Tutor of Loup, to exhibit 
their infeftments and rentals, as well as to find 
sureties for the jjayment of his Majesty's rents, 
under the pain of having the titles declared null and 
void, and being denounced as rebels. Loup| appears ^ 
to have been one of the few who attended, and we ' 

find that he got titles from Argyll for his lands of 
Loup and others during that year.^ 

So far as the public records of the age can 
indicate, the history of the Clan Allister of Kintyre 
is a blank for the nine years following 1605. In 
1614, however, Alexander MacAllister, the hero of 
the Knockransay raid, appears once more upon the 
scene as an actor in a much more portentous drama, 
and one that was big with the destinies of the 
mighty Clann Iain Mhoir. Alexander left Kintyre 
ostensibly to aid in carrying out the policy of his 
feudal supeiior, Argyll, and take part in the capture 
of the castle of Dunnyveg, in the King's name; but 
no sooner did he arrive at the seat of war in Isla 
than he quickly threw in his lot with Angus Og, 
the leader of the insurgent host." Donald Mac- 
Allister, the Tutor of Loup, appears among the 
friends who, with Angus Og, drew up terms of 
settlement with the Bishop of Argyll, the King's 
representative in tlie island ; and although Alex- 
ander, whose loyalty so rapidly thawed as soon as 
he trod the ancestral region, does not appear as a 
party to the bond ; yet his share in the rebellion is 
shewn in the evidence he gave before the Council, 
in 1615, for the vindication of Angus Og. As he 

1 Reg. Mag. Sig., vol. VH., p. 59. 
- Denmylne MS. ad tcuipxis, Book of Isla. 

50 ']'11E C'LAxN DONALD. 

took ])art ill the treasonable hostilities, so he shared 
ill the puiiisliiiieiit intiicted on the rebels. While 
awaiting his trial in the Tolbooth prison in Edin- 
buigli, the Loi'ds of Council made provision for his 
" interteynment and charges," to the amount of ten 
shillings per day, while a kinsman of his, Angus 
MacEachan MacAllistei, apparently his social inferior, 
received five shillings daily.' Other members of the 
Clan Allister — lionald Oig MacAllister, Soirlle Mac- 
Allister, Angus MacAchane MacAllister, and Donald 
MacAllister Wrik — were charged with complicity in 
the taking of Dunnyveg.'- Alexander MacAllister, 
the principal member of the Clan involved in these 
unfortunate proceedings, became the victim of the 
same tragic fate \\hich bectime the portion of Angus 
()g. Both were found guilty of treason, and hanged 
for liaving resisted the Koyal f irces by the defence 
of that historic fortress. 

Ill IGIT, the MacAllister fan.ily of Bar, to whom 
reference has already l)een made as having some 
position in the tribe, though apparently not of a 
territorial character, again conies into view. During 
that year, Donald MacAllister in Bar appears among 
those to whom, with the Earl of Argyll, a commis- 
sion was given f)r the |)Uisuit and apprehension of 
Allan Cameron of Lochiel and a number of clansmen 
and associates, who were at the honi for armed 
convention and slaughter, and various acts of law- 
lessness.'' in Mils, we find the Laird of Loup 
among those who appeared before the Council with 
proj)Osals as to keeping the peace within Argyll, 
while, in 162:3, MacAllister of Loup is on the Com- 
mission of Justices of the Peace in Argyllshire. 

' Keg. I'.C, vul. X., pp. .-l.-JO-.-WI. - ilml., p. 733. 
•' Key. I'.C, vol. XI., p. -^05. 

thil clan allister. 51 

Since 1614 the annals of the Clan Allister of 
Kintyre have been tranquil and uneventful, but in 
1623 the spell seems to be broken, and the I'ecords 
begin to display considerable animation. Godfrey 
MacAUister, who was at this date the active head 
of the house of Tarbert, though his father was 
still alive, was apparently a man of position, 
energy, and enterprise, though the latter qualities 
were not always devoted to the pursuit of the arts 
of peace. His forays were conducted on quite an 
extensive scale, and he was at feud with a number 
of the landowners of lienfi-ew and Ayr, whose 
estates lay upon the shores of that waterway which 
witnessed the last battle fought by the great Somer- 
led. To these shores Godfrey of Tarbert's birlinns 
and lymtaddas were wont to sail with warlike intent, 
and that chieftain could number among his foes Sir 
Archibald Stewart of Castlemilk, John Shaw of 
Greenock, Ferlie of that Ilk, John Crawford of 
Kilbirnie, John Brenshaw of Bishoptown, and James 
Crawford of Flatterton. Godfrey was evidently 
able to hold his own against this array of Lowland 
barons, and the offices of the Government had to be 
called into requisition. On the 7th September, 
1623, a bond of caution had to be signed on God- 
frey's behalf by John Lamont of Auchagill in £1000, 
pledging that Godfrey is not to molest these Low- 
land lieges or their families, and the bond is 
registered by Mr James King, advocate, on the 11th 
of the same month. ^ It appears, however, that the 
redoubtable chief of Tarbert was not always the 
aggressor. On the very day on which this bond of 
caution was registered, Joseph Millar, advocate, 
registers two bonds of caution for his jDrotection, one 

1 Reg. P.C., vol. XIII., p. 350 

52 Tni: ci.AN donald. 

by Arcliibuld MucA'icar of Blairrowiic in £1000 for 
Malcolm MacNauglitanc of Stroiiseir, and anothei' by 
John Duidop ill Kirkniichael, Stirling, for .£500 on 
behalf of Dougali Canipbell in Knockdarrow, securing 
that both would abstain from molesting Godfrey 
]\JacAlUster, tiar of Tarbert, and his servants. Both 
bonds were dated at Inveraray on the 24th Sep- 
tember, 1623/ It must, however, be admitted that 
Godfrey of Tarljert, notwithstanding Government 
interference, managed to keep the social atmosphere 
far and near in a somewliat electrical condition. 
His feuds were not to be calculated by units, but by 
groups. On the 5th November of this same year he 
has to find caution both for himself and llonald Hoy 
MacAllister for 3000 and 500 merks respectively not 
to molest Walter MacAulay of Ardincaple, Malcolm 
MacNauo-htane of Stronseir, Robert Colhoun, tiar of 
Cumstrodone, and Dougal Campbell in Mamoir, nor 
their famiUes, and that Godfrey would pay 40 meiks 
and tlie said llonald flO for their escheat to the 
Treasurer. The Ijond of caution granted by Andrew 
M'Keachane of Kilblane contained a clause of relief 
by Godfrey in favour of the granter." 

Before we part witli this turbulent chief, l)orn 
out of due time and scfMiiiiigly fitted by nature to 
shine in a more elemeiitaiy state of society than the 
seventeenth centur}^ there remains to be recounted 
the story of a serious (juarrel that broke out between 
himself and Walter Macaulay of Ardincaple. The 
Government having adopted a policy of reform for 
the W^estern Highlands, sought to make the herring 
of Lochfyne, still the king of tliat finny (jcjins, an 
instrument of civilisation. The Admiral of the 
Western Seas, with his deputies, protected the 

i Vol. XI 11., p. 'MrK - llii.l, ].. :J7G. 


fishermen of those waters in the pursuit of a 
calling not always popular among a race in a state 
of social transition. Macaulay of Ardincaple had 
apparently been ousted from the dej^uty admiral- 
shijo in favour of (lodfrey MacAllister of Tarbert. 
In the record of the dispute Godfrey is called 
"Admiral Depute," while Ardincaple receives the 
title of " pretended Admiral.' This disagreement 
was injurious to the industry which the Government 
sought to protect. The " slayers of herrings" were, 
as might be expected, greatly embarrassed by this 
dual control. Sometimes they were summoned to 
the courts of tlie leal, sometimes to those of the 
pretended Admiral, while fines for absence were 
imposed sometimes Ijy the one, sometimes- by the 
other. Otherwise the fishers were molested and 
harrassed. The real and pretended Admiral were, 
in the usual form, bound down to keep the peace, 
and on the 1st Octoher, LG23, Mr Matthew Forsyth, 
advocate, as procurator for the cautioners, registers 
a bond of caution by Hector MacNeill of Kilmichell 
and John Lamont of Achagyll in 3000 merks for 
Gorrie MacAllister, fiar of Tarbert, ^Admiral Depute 
of the West Seas; and in 1000 merks each for 
Hector MacAllister of Glenranloch, brother of the 
said Gorrie ; Ewen MacGillespick Vc Kenneth, officer 
to the said Gorrie; John Stewart, his baillie sub- 
stitute ; and James Bruce, notary, his clerk of court, 
not to molest Walter Macaulay of Ardincaple, 
pretended Admiral Depute of the said West Seas, 
and his family. As often happens regarding High- 
land quarrels and delinquencies, the records leave 
us enquiring wonderingly, and failing to answer the 
question, how this matter was settled, if it was 
settled at all. 


After 1624 the annals of the Clan Allister of 
Kintyre are few and meagre. On the 5th December? 
\('r27, Gorrie MacAllister, lieir apparent of Tarbert, 
who seems now to liave follen upon peaceful times, 
granted a bond in favour of Archibald, his father, 
whereby he disponed to him certain lands in the 
l)arish of Glassary. This was done for the security 
of tlie said Archibald, as cautioner for the grantor 
in a contract with Hector MacAllister and Margaret 
Campbell, his spouse.^ In 1G31 the same Archibald 
MacAllister. of Tarbert visited his distinguished 
clansman, Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, 
at Menstry, and was with him elected a burgess of 
Stirling on 10th August of that year." It is said 
that during this visit MacAllister acknowledged the 
Earl as his chief; but though there seems to be 
some ground for the statement in the records of the 
Lyon Court, we should suppose that tlie Laird of 
Loup, the real head of the clan, would have some- 
thing to say to such a proceeding. On 9th May, 
1G3G, Archibald MacAllister granted an obligation 
to Sir Dougal Campbell, Bart, of Auchinbrek, for 
eleven bolls teind meal, Gorrie, his son, being a 
witness.'' Meantime the records have been very 
silent as to the history of the main family, and even 
when the head of the house is referred to identifica- 
tion is rendered doubly difficult from the fact that 
the Christian name is often omitted. For a long 
period up to 1657 little can be gathered regarding 
the family of Loup, and even this year there is only 
the slight fact to be chronicled that Gorrie Mac- 
Allister of Lou}) appears at Inverary as signatory 
to a ])ond of obligation by Donald Makronald, 

1 Cmi. I!ck. "f I Is. V..1. IM. ■-' House of Alexander, Vol. I., p. M7. 

■ lU-K. of Deeds, vol. 49.^. 


Captain of Clanraiiakl, yr., to George Campbell of 
that burob.^ In 1661 Gorrie MacAUister of Loup is 
apparently no more, for Hector MacAllister of Loup 
is a commissioner in tbe sbire of Argyll for regulat- 
ing, ordering, and lifting the annuity of £40,000 
granted to His Majesty by tbe estates of the realm." 
Two years later tbe beads both of Loup and Tarbert 
were Justices of Peace in their districts, appointed 
under the Act of Parliament.^ Li 1667, when an 
Act of the Convention of tbe Estates was passed 
voting a sum of money to tbe King, llanald 
MacAllister, Captain of Tarbert, was commissioner 
for Argyll.^ 

We find no further notice of tbe Clan Allister 
until 1689. By that time tbe great bloodless 
Revolution was an accomplisbed fact, and tbe son of 
the late Earl of Argyll, whose titles and possessions, 
as well as bis life, bad been forfeited, was borne 
back from William's Court at the Hague on tbe 
wave of tbe new tide tliat was flowing in tbe affairs 
of State. The })resence of tbis potentate in Scotland 
is witnessed in a display of loyalty shown by the 
chief of Loup towards the powers that were. A 
Frencb vessel wbicb bad sailed from L'eland seems 
to have touched at some port in Kintyre, and was 
taken possession of by MacAllister and Angus 
Campbell of Kilberry. Sbe was stated to contain 
some passengers of quality wbose identity is not 
divulged. Tlie two local magnates already men- 
tioned put ber under a guard of thirty men, and 
wrote Argyll, who was attending tbe Convention of 
Estates, asking for instructions as to bow to dispose 
of tbe ship. The Convention issued orders that a 

1 Clanranald Papers. - Act. Pari. Scot., p. 92, 

'■' Act. Pari Scot., ad tempus. * Act. Pari. Scot., ad tempus. 



sufficient crew should be placed on board to take 
the ship to Glastrow, and, if necessity should arise, 
to press seamen into the service, and that as much 
of the loading should be disjjosed of as would 
liquidate the expense of taking her from Kintyre to 
her destination.^ It would appear that the Laird of 
Loup's loyalty was short-lived, for there is evidence 
that the Clan Allister, probably under the leader- 
ship of their chief, shared with their co-])atriots in 
the brilliant victoi y of Killiecrankie.- 

From 1G89 to 1704 we lose sight of the Clan 
Allister, and the fact that the heads of the family 
do not appear as acting in any public capacit}^ in 
their district, either as Justices or Commissioners of 
Supply, is an indication that the shadow of the 
Revolution rested on them, along with all loyal 
adherents of the House of Stewart. Li 1 704, 
however, during the first Parliament of Queen 
Anne, we find Alexander MacAUister of Loup, and 
Archibald MacAllistei- of Tarbert, as Commissioneis 
of Sui)ply for Argyll, shewing that under the reign 
of a member of the historic House, suspicions of dis- 
loyalty were removed.^ Li 1705, we find Archibald 
MacAUister of Tarbert promoting the commercial 
interests of his |)roperty by an Act which passed 
the Scottish Parliament, ordaining four yearly and 
a weekly market to be held at the town of East 
Tarbert. Each of the quarterly fairs was to last for 
two days, and the weekly market was to be held 
(5very Tuesday.^ In 1706, we find that Tarbert has 
ceased to belong to the Clan Allister, and has passed 
into the possession of a MacleaiL'' 

' Act Scot. I'ar. Iti87, \k 77. - Lfvcii an.l Melville's Piper.s, ].. 38. 

'■> A<-t. S.'nt. I'ar.. Ifi.S'l. |,. 77. ' iilein, .\.l). IBSIt. p. 77. 

•' .\.-t. I'ail. Scot. ,«l tn,n,us. 


Alexander MacAllister of Loup, who flourished at 
and after the Revolution, was succeeded by his son, 
Godfre}^ He had another son, Duncan, who went 
to Holland, and settled there in 1717, and In'.s son, 
Robert, rose to the rank of a general in the Dutch 
service, and conuuanded the Scots brigade.' His 
descendants are still in that countr}^ Since the 
time of Godfrey, last mentioned, son has succeeded 
fiither in unbroken and uneventful possession. 
Many years ago this family severed its immemorial 
connection with the peninsula of Kintyre, when 
Colonel Somerville MacAllister, grandfather of the 
present head of Loup, Charles MacAllister, Esq. of 
Kennox, sold his Highland estates. 

Though the MacAlh'sters of Tarbert seem to have 
parted with this ancient patrimony about 170G, they 
survived territorially as lairds of Balnakill and Ard- 
patrick. Both with Loup and Tarbert is connected 
the present family of Glenbarr, but the various 
ramifications can more fitly be discussed under the 
genealogical portion of this work. The arms, as 
shown in the letterpress, illustrate the connection 
of the family with the Clan Donald, while tlie 
motto, " Per mare per terras," exhibits their common 
descent with all the cadets of the Isles. 

^ Eurke's History of tlie Commoners of Great I'.i'itaiii. 





Descent of the Fauiily. — Loss of (Gaelic riiai'actor. — Vassals of 
Argyll. — Changes of Tenure. — Menstry made a Barony of 
Argyll. — Tutor of Menstry. — Birthplace of William Alexander, 
poet and statesman. — His Education. — Entrance into public 
life. — Becomes a Courtier. — Receives Knighthood. — Elegy on 
Prince Henry. — Master of Requests.— ^ Colonizing Scheme. — 
Buys Tillicoultry. — Knights of Nova Scotia. — Young Sir 
William made Deputy Lieutenant. — Keeper of the Signet. — 
r'hartei- for making Largs a IJanmy and Free Port. — Gets 
Land ill Ulster.— C'iiarters for Menstry and Tullil)ody. — 
Crisis in tlie Colony. — New Honours. — Lord Alexander and 
the Coinage. — His Psalter. — Visits Tarhert. — Matriculates 
Arms. — New House of Menstry. — His Death. — Character. — 
His Sons. -2nd Earl.— 3n1 Earl.- 1th Earl.— .3th and last 
Karl.— Failure of Heirs. 

The Alexanders of Menstry, thongli sharing the 
same ancestry as the Clan Allister of Kintyre, are 
not easily connected with any of the sons of 
Alastair Mor. Tlie loviiealoo'ical tree, foi'nuilated in 
the inteiests of a claimant to the Eni-ldom of Stir- 


ling, traced this family to Duncan, the son of 
Alexander, whose lands In the Parish of Glenorchy 
passed out of the family on the death of John, son 
of Duncan, about the middle of the fourteenth 
century. From this view we are inclined to dissent. 
Early in the fourteenth centuiy, Gilbert, the son of 
Donald, the son of Alastair Mor, received a charter 
for lands in Stirlingshire, lands which further 
evidence identifies as Glorat, in the Parish of 
Campsie. They are probably the descendants of 
this Gilbert de Insula whom we find, not far from 
this region, settled on the lands of Menstry early in 
the sixteenth century. 

The lands of Menstry belong to the Clack- 
mannanshire portion of the old Parish of Logie, and 
the modern village of the name lies nearly four 
and a-half miles to the north-east of the town of 
Stirling. It stands 75 feet above sea level, at the 
southern base of the Ochil Hills, and the beauty of 
the landscape has been justly admired. It is cele- 
brated in an ancient ballad of the district, ascribed 
to a miller's wife whom the fairies are blamed for 
having spirited away : — 

" Alva woods are boimj, 
Tilljcoultry woods are fair ; 

But when I think of the bonny braes of Menstrie, 
It makes my heart aye sair." 

During the generations of which notliing is 
recorded, and amid a new environment, the descend- 
ants of (jrilhert de Insula became weaned from their 
Gaelic proclivities and traditions, were transformed 
in fact into plodding prosaic Southerners, and in 
token of their departure from the ways of their 
Celtic forefathers, they dropped the Mac from their 
surname and become plain Alexanders. The first of 


the Alexanders of Menstrv upon wliom the Hght of 
history is shed is Tliomas, who .ippears in 1505 as 
one of tlie sixteen arbiters connected with the 
(Hvision of 40 acres in ( 'lackinannanshire, about 
wl)i('h a disj)ute hail arisen between the Abbot of 
( anibuskenneth and Sir David Bruce of (Hack- 
ni.iiiiian.' W'ilHani Alexander, another member of 
the family, ocrupicd a holcHng on the estate of 
Tulhbody in 1518, and w'ith tliat property as well 
as with Menstrv, the race was long afterwards 
associated. Tliey occupied the position of smaller 
barons, and held their lands of the great Crown 
vassals, \vhom we iind extending tiieir [)Ow^er and 
])ossessions into thi^se Southern ivgions as well as 
into Highland territories, the politic family of 
Argyll - 

Andrew Alexander, who succeeded his father 
Thomas, had a charter from the Elarl of Argyll 
of the lands of Menstry, dated 8th April, 152G, 
granted to himself and Catherine Graham, his 
spouse, in liferent, and in fee to their son Alexander." 
Not till uow do they appear to have been chartered 
land owners, a fact that may probably account for 
the obscurity of their earlier annals. Andrew was 
succeeded, in terms of the charter just referred to, 
by his son Alexander in 1527; but the Earl of 
Argyll, \vho displayed considerable vacillation as 
to the terms upon wliich his vassals were to hold 
the lands of Menstry, took sasine of them in 
February of the same year upon their having 
been surrendered by Alexander.^ Again, two years 
later, Alexander was appointed baillie on the Earl 

' ('h.iilulary (if C' A).l.(>y, \k St). 

- Act. n-in. C.-n.. V..1. XXX., lol. ;!!i. 
•= House c,f Al..x,ui.l.T, V(.l. I., ).. 8. •' Ihid. 


of Argyll's Claekmaniuiiisliire estates, and in the 
sasine wherein the appointment is chi'onicled he is 
described " hunorabilis vir Alexander Alshynder de 
Menstry." In 1530 the Earl of Argyll again 
changes the Alexanders' tenure, for on the -iUth 
April of that year James V., at Stirling, confirms, 
first a charter of fee-farm made bv Lord Archibald 
Campbell and his father, the Earl, to Alexander 
Alsynder and Elizabeth Douglas, his spouse, and 
I he longer liver of them, in liferent, and Andrew 
Alsynder, their son and heir apparent, in fee of 
their five pound land of old extent called the 
Mains of Menstry, in the sherifidom of Clack- 
mannan. Secondly, the King confirms a charter 
by Aichibald, Earl of Argyll, to his beloved servitor, 
Alexander Alsynder of Menstry, of the five merkland 
of Dunsletter, which the late Andrew Alsynder, his 
father, and Catherine Grahame, his mother, formerly 
alienated, lying in the lordship of Menteith and 
sheriffdom of Perth, to be held of the said Earl and 
his successors in fee and heritage for ever for the 
annual pajanent of one penny. ' 

In 1541 the lands of Menstry were raised 
into a barony in a sasine granted by James V. in 
favour of Archibald, Earl of Argyll." On 30th 
October, 1542, Alexander of Menstry acted as 
attorney to the Earl of Argyll in another sasine of 
the barony of Menstry. Alexander died in 1 505, 
and his will not having been produced, his 
executors were summoned before the Commissary 
Court at Edinburgh to answer for neglect. It 
appeared, however, from the evidence of William 
Alexander, his heir and successor, that before his 

1 Jieg. Mag. Sig., lil.ei-. Xlll., 19. 
- House of Alexander, vol. 1., pp. 1:^, 13. 


deatli lii.s father had made testament and constituted 
him his executor, and hence he contended that no 
datives should be given.' This Wilham Alexander 
succeeded his father, but nothing further is recorded 
of him. His younger brother James received from 
Jt>hn, Earl of Mar, a charter of an annual rent of 
100 merks Scots " furth of the land of Glencarse in 
the barony of Alloway and shire of Clackmannan," 
which charter was confirmed under the great seal,' 
where he is designed "James Alexander in Menstry." 
On 9th November, 1586, he is, in another instru- 
ment, described as a merchant burgess of Stirling.'^ 
When Alexander Alexander, who succeeded his 
father Wilham, died in 1580, he, in his will of otli 
F('l)ruary, entrusted his children to the care of this 
Janus, his uncle, wlio was tliereafter and con- 
secjui'iitly known as "Tutor of Menstry" The net 
estate of Alexander Alexander amounted to £437 
1 5s 6d. In the guardianship of Alexander's children, 
John Alexander of Pitgogar and Elizabeth Alexander 
were associated with their grand-uncle James.' 

So far we have followed the uneventful course of 
the Alexander family, a history, so far as it has 
gone, containing nuicli that was commonplace, and 
certainh' not suggesting any connection with the 
(Jeltic potentates who for centuries were rivals of 
the Scottish Kings. All of a sudden, however, 
there is a break in the monotonous detail of charter 
and sasine, of testament and succession, of gear and 
nioveal)lcs, and we come upon a commanding per- 
sonality, towering in intellectusd stature above the 

' House i)f Ale.xandei-, vol. I.. |i|i. V2, l:j. 

•-' Keg. Mag. Sig., lil.. XXX., N,,. 292. 

•• Ke- of Deedx, v..l. XXI., 201 ( '. 

' House of .\le.\anclci, \ol. I., p. 28. 



rest of his race, and by his ambition, boldness, and 
love of enterprise, reminding us that, despite the 
altered conditions, we are telling the story of the 
Clan Donald. The career of the first Earl of 
Stirling- demands somewhat detailed notice. 

William Alexander, the future statesman and 
poet, was born in the manor house of Menstry, in or 
about the year 1507.' His upbringing and tuition 


from the age of fourteen devolved, as we have seen, 
upon his grand-uncle, James Alexander, who had 
been nominated " tutor to the bairns." James 
resided in Stirling, and we may safely assume that 
William lived with him, and received the rudiments 
of his education in the Grammar School of that 
town, under the supervision of Thomas Buchanan, 
nephew of the celebrated George, and rector of the 
institution during these years. He afterwards 
attended the University of Leyden." Beyond these 
meagre facts, nothing is known of his early manhood, 
and the first incident connected with his life that 
lemains on public record is his infeftment in the 

' House of Alexaudor. vol. I., p. 28. 
- Hawtlionulean MS. 

(54 Till-: (LAX DONALD. 

live pound land of the Mains of Meustry, in 1597, 
by Archibald, Earl of Argyll. The prece|)t of sasine 
is dated the 18th March, 15'J7-8. Fioiu Archibald, 
l']arl of Argyll, he subsequently received the lands 
and barony of Menstry for the yearly payment of 
'2-i bolls of wheat, G score bolls malt, 52 bolls oat- 
meal, and 23 bolls oats, together with 4 dozen 
" sufficient capons, and 2 dozen hens, and 30 un- 
dipped lambs, with 1 00 merks of money, and 40 
merks at the entry of an heir in place of tlie dupli- 
cand of the feu duty."^ It may finally be noted witli 
regard to his tenure of the ancestral soil, that on 
the 24th September, 1G07, a charter was granted 
liim, under the great seal, of the minerals and metals 
of every kind with the lands and barony of Menstry, 
one-tenth of the proceeds being payable to the 

William Alexander's entrance into public life 
dates from his introduction to the Scottish Court by 
the Earl of Argyll, the hereditary patron of his 
house, upon which he was appointed tutor to Prince 
Henr}'', tlie heir apparent to the throne. On the 
union of the Crowns in 1G03, Alexander followed 
James to England, and was enrolled as one of 
the thirty-two gentlemen extraordinary of Prince 
Henry's private chamber. His gifts as a ])oet, his 
culture as a scholar, and his high intellectual endow- 
ments, strongly connnended him to King James, 
who plumed himself uj)on his classical learning, and 
over whose unstable and \acillating mind the able 
courtier exercised a unique and life-long ascendancy. 
In 1G07, Sir Wilham Erskine of Balgonie, commonly 
called Parson of ( 'ampsie, received a Royal warrant 

' Keg. .Ma;;. Si-, lil,. \1.IV., f>l. 
- ll.i.l, lil>. XIA'.. IS. 


for an Exchequer pension of £200 a year to be 
shared with his son-in-law, WilHam Alexander, and 
it was stipulated that after Erskine's death half the 
amount should continue to be payable to the poet/ 
In 1608, William Alexander, and his relative, 
Walter Alexander, a member of the Prince's house- 
hold, received authority to uplift all arrears of taxes 
due to the Crown from the first year of the reign of 
Edward VI. uj) to the thirtieth year of Elizabeth, 
amounting to £12,000, a sum on which they were 
to receive a commission of one half; but what 
benefits, if any, they derived from this permission 
history does not record." About 1609 William 
Alexander received the honour of knighthood from 
the King. There is no distinct record of the date ; 
but on the 20 th May of that year we find him for 
the first time described as Knight, and it is probable 
that this mark of Royal favour was conferred but a 
short time before then.' The death of Prince 
Henry, the heir to the throne of Britain, on 6th 
November, 1612, at the early age of eighteen, 
plunged the nation into mourning, and Sir William 
Alexander's elegaic poem on the life cut short in its 
early prime worthily commemorates the sad event. 
In token of appreciation James appointed the poet 
to the same position in Prince Charles' household as 
he occupied in that of the late Prince.^ 

About the beginning of the seventeenth century, 
the silver mines of Scotland held out fair prospects 
of being profitably wrought, and in 1613 the King 
granted, among others, to Sir William Alexander, 
who had begun to develop a talent for speculation, 

^ Docquet Book of Exchequer. - Records of the Privy Seal, ad tciapus. 
^ Reg. Mag. Sig., lib. I. 185, fol. 13i. 
^ House of Alexander, vol. I., p. 45. 



the working of the silver mine at Hilderston, on 
condition of a royalty being paid of one-tenth of the 
refined ore.' Eventually these mining operations 
proved unprofitable, and apparently a loss to all 
concerned. In 1014 the King appointed Sir 
William to the post of Master of Kequests, an oflnce 
in which he was expected to prevent his less fortu- 
nate countrymen from making too great demands 
u[)on the Royal bounty. In the days which followed 
tlie union of the Crowns, many Scots of long lineage 
but short purses followed James' fortunes to his 
great English capital, and Sir William's new office 
would not likely be a sinecure.' 

The project with which Sir William Alexander's 
name is chiefly connected is his scheme for the 
establishment of an American colony under the 
name of New Scotland. Already had the foundation 
of the gi'eat Republic of the West been laid in the 
famous patent of 1620, by which forty English 
subjects, incorporated as a Council, " for planting, 
ruling, and governing New England," acquired lands 
extending from the 40th to the 48th degree of 
latitude, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. 
The English Colonists having found on their north 
frontier certain other Colonists differing from them- 
selves both in religion and in race, complications 
appear to have arisen which demanded the Royal 
attention, and as to which King James consulted 
his favourite countryman. Sir William Alexander 
believed in this he saw an opportunity for advancing 
a large scheme of public utility, as well as for pro- 
moting his own private fortunes. He therefore 
secured the Royal consent for his establishment of a 

1 Acta Sec. Con., 17lli Mar. l()l:J. 
- House of Alexuiuler, vol. L, 2>- 49. 


new Scottish Colony in Canadian territory, and the 
Comj^any of New Plymouth having surrendered 
their rights, he procured a grant of the vast district 
known since then as Nova Scotia, consisting of the 
lands lying east of the St Croix, and south of the 
St Lawrence. The patent for acquiring this large 
territory was enacted on the 10th September, 1621, 
and on the 29th of the same month a charter passed 
under the Great Seal appointing Sir William Alex- 
ander hereditary Lieutenant of the new Colony.^ 
Into the details of this scheme and the adverse 
fortunes it encountered we cannot enter with much 

In the circumstances of the age, with its defec- 
tive transport and difficulties of communication, the 
scheme was too ambitious and far-reaching to meet 
with success in the near future, though it eventually 
added to the British Crown one of its best and most 
prized possessions. It was an enterprise to charm 
the fancy of the brilliant Scotsman, whose impulsive 
Celtic spirit and visionary poetic nature saw things 
through a golden halo, in which difficulties vanished 
and triumph was assured. The dream, which in a 
later age seized on the imagination of a greater Scot 
and a mightier bard, that of founding a territorial 
family on a large scale, worked also on Sir William 
Alexander's mind, and, anticipating prosperity in 
his colonizing scheme, he added to his small family 
estate of Menstry by purchasing the adjacent pro- 
perty of Tillicoultry, borrowing the purchase money 
from Walter Cowan, a wealthy citizen of Stirling." 
When loss and disaster attended the initial stages 
of his Colonial enterprise, he adopted a system of 

1 The House of Alexauder, vol. I., p. 62 
- Register of Deeds, vol. 347 


providing finances which already possessed the 
})restige of the lioyal example. James YL, who 
was not iinfrequently in the unkino-ly })Osition of 
being- ont at elbows, had established a system of 
selling titles, with the view of replenishing an 
exhausted treasnr}-. Illnglish owneis of land had 
become baronets of Ulster with immense advantage 
to the revenue ; and now Sir William Alexander, 
adopting tlie same methods, obtained the lioyal 
consent, with that of the Lords of (iHnicil, to the 
establishment of a baronetcy of Nova Scotia among 
Scottish landowners, the fees of enrolment and the 
purchase money to go towards the expenses of the 
colony.^ The death of James VI., in lO'iS, some- 
what retarded the progress of events ; but on the 
accession of Charles I. a Charter of Novodamus 
])assed the Great Seal on the 12th July of that year, 
confirming Sir William Alexander and his heirs in 
the oftice of Lieutenant of Nova Scotia.- This 
charter contained additional clauses regarding the 
new order of baronets, restricting the number to one 
hundred and fhty, and promising that the former 
grant would be confirmed by Parliament. All who 
paid a hundred and fifty pounds for six thousand 
acres were to receive the honour of a knight 
baronetcy, while the King, by letter to the Scottish 
Pri^•y Council, of date 19th July, 1625, fixed the 
amount of land that was granted to the new baronets 
at " thrie myles in breadth, and six in lenth, of 
landis within New Scotland, for their several pro- 
portions." When a technical difficulty arose as to 
the infeftment of the newly made baronets in 
their freshly accjuired territories without their own 

^ Reg. Sec. Con., Royal Letters. 
-Reg. Mag. Sig.,lib. LL, 23. 


presence on the spot, recourse was had to a curious 
legal fiction. The soil of the Castle Hill of Edin- 
burgh was, by a Royal mandate, converted into that 
of Nova Scotia, and there they were invested with 
their dignities, and took actual and corporeal pos- 
session of their lands. 

Meantime, Sir William Alexander continued to 
advance in royal favour. The Earl of Melrose 
having been removed from the office of Chief 
Secretary for Scotland, Sir William was promoted 
to the vacant post. The colonising scheme had 
not hitherto been attended with success so far as 
its practical working was concerned, and early in 
1627 preparations were made for a new expedition 
to Nova Scotia. On the eve of its departure 
alarming rumours were brought to Britain as to 
claims actively pressed by French Canadian settlers 
to a territory which embraced the whole of the 
region in which New Scotland was situated.^ This 
was not to be wondered at, seeing that the region 
in question belonged to the; French, if priority of 
discovery and occupation constituted a preferable 
claim. The English Government, however, acted 
with energy. In an engagement which ensued the 
French suffered a serious defeat, and the Scottish 
settlers were meanwhile left masters of the situa- 
tion.'' The news of the victory gave a new impetus 
to the colonial enterprise ; fourteen new patents of 
baronetcy were recorded, new vessels were chartered, 
and Sir William Alexander's eldest son was appointed 
to accompany the fleet as his father's deputy- 
lieutenant.^ It was found on their arrival at Fort 

1 House of Alexander, vol. I., p. 100. 

- Haliburton's Nova Scotia, vol. I., p. 43. 

•' House of Alexander, vol. L, p. 101. 


Royal, tht headquarters and stronghold of the 
colony, that a number of English adventurers were 
seeking to gain a footing there, and the difficulties 
arising from their pretensions necessitated the 
return of young Sir William to Britain in the 
following year. The result was the frustration of 
the Englishmen's design, the confirmation of the 
original grant, and an increase of the powers of 
the promoters to settle colonies in those regions 
of the new world. 

While Sir William Alexander's colonial ambition 
now seemed likely to be satisfied, his private 
fortunes bade fair to be prosperous. In 1627 he 
was appointed Keeper of the Signet, while his office 
of Scottish Secretar}^ was enhanced by an addition 
of £500 by the commutation of certain perquisites 
which belonged to his predecessors.^ About this 
time he resolved to establish a shipping port upon 
the AVest of Scotland, and for this purpose obtained 
a royal charter of the lands of Largs, with permission 
to erect them into a barony and to construct a free 
port and haven for the advancement of trade and 
commerce.- On the 14th January, 1627, he received 
Irisli citizenship, and following the example of several 
Ayrshire landowners who had sought to improve 
their shattered fortunes by acquiring lands in the 
province of Ulster, he obtained a grant of 1000 
acres in the County of Armagh.^ The Scottish 
Secretary also enlarged his family estate at home. 
In 1628 he obtained from Archibald, Lord of Lome, 
a new charter for Menstry by which the lands and 
barony ^yev(^ granted him and his spouse on an 
annual payment of £80 Scots. By another charter 

' 11. luso (if Alexandria, I,, p. lOU. - Hv<i:. Ma^. Sig., LTI. 9.->3. 

Ueconls of the Kolls liclaiKl, vol. V.. p. 107. 

CHca .;| -: 

J^. _/!•«. _^ „^ ii-'-'.^^^^.s ^,.s 

'^KO f'^'^ '^■^•' '^^^<Z'r^ ^>~£^f^S-i^y~ 

i^, YV ^ '^•i^" ♦"'-J^.T /i-^ #/ 4^7 J 


,4pv i^>X4'i,t:>^ ^yl^^ •^r ^^•-^ 4J>::if- jj^yi- 



under the great seal he received the lands and 
barony of Tullibody, hounding the lands of Menstry 
on the south east.' 

In 1629-30, a crisis arose in the history of the 
Colony with which Sir William's fortunes were so 
closely identified. Great Britain had been at war 
with France, but when peace was concluded Port 
Royal was ceded to the latter Kingdom, and with it 
the extensive district upon which the Scottish 
nobleman had staked his fortune. He was promised 
£6000, and £10,000 was actually voted in recom- 
pense for his losses in connection with what was 
really a national enterprise, but neither he nor his 
successors ever actually received payment. In view 
of the vast expenses he incurred on behalf of a 
Colony, first promoted but afterwards abandoned 
by the Crown, the increasing embarrassments of his 
private aftairs is not perhaps to be wondered at. 
The King, amid all changes of fortune, continued to 
pour upon him the highest honours. On the 4th 
September, 1630, Sir William Alexander was ele- 
vated to the state and dignity of Viscount of Stirling 
and Lord Alexander of Tullibody." The same year 
Lord Stirling visited Scotland, and sold fi)r £12,000 
Scots the lands and port of Largs. Charles I. 
cannot be absolved from gross inconsistency in his 
relations with Lord Stirling and the Colony of Nova 
Scotia ; but probably his increasing domestic diffi- 
culties prevented his taking a firm stand at the risk 
of a rupture with France.^ Down to the very last 
he declared his purpose to maintain the Colony, 
while almost in the same breath with this declar- 
ation. Lord Stirling was charged in a Royal missive 

' Reg. Mag. Sig., LII., 151-222. 
- House of Alexander, vol. I., p. 127. ^ Ibid., 142, 


to abandon it. Two other j^rojects witli which Lord 
Stirhug-'s name is associated, and through which he 
incurred much odium in his latter years, may be 
referred to in passing. One was the scheme by 
which he obtained the Royal authority for coining- 
copper farthings, and afterwards penny, twopenny, 
and fourpenny pieces, the carrying out of which 
involved a debased coinage.^ The other project was 
an attempt to impose upon the Chm-ches of England 
and Scotland a metrical translation of the Psalms 
executed by Lord Stirling himself" The Church 
critics objected to some of the poet's phrases, such 
as the description of the moon as " pale lady of the 
night," and of the sun as " Lord of light," such 
expressions being too suggestive of classic myth for 
the orthodox national establishments. The most 
fatal objection, however, was that the offending 
volume was being introduced by the strong arm of 
the Royal prerogative, the opposition to whicli was 
already heard in dangerous mutterings which 
heralded the violent storm of political revolution. 

In 1631, Viscount Stirling was visited at Menstry 
by Archibald MacAllister of Tarbert, wdio, on that 
occasion, acknowledged his Chiefship over the Clan 
Allister. Whatever other significance such a pro- 
ceeding possessed, it seems to confirm our view that 
the Alexanders of ]\Ienstry were, like the Clan 
Allister of Kintyre, descended from Alastair Mors 
eldest son. Lord Stirling and MacAllister of Tar- 
bert were both elected burgesses of Stirling on the 
10th of August of that year.^ It was about this 
time tliat Lord Stirling matriculated arms. The 
Royal h'tter instructing the Lyon King-at-Arms 

' Hnuse uf AlcNuiidcr, vol. 1., )>. 1 11. - Ilml., Ml'. 
•' Slii-liiig Burgh, 



ordered " to marshall his Coate Armour, allowing it 
to him. quartered with the armes of Clan Allaster, 
who hath acknowledged him for chief of the familie." 
The coat of arms granted to Lord Stirling, combined 
with the motto, is a clear acknowledgment by him 
of his Clan Donald descent, and confirms the state- 
ments of the genealogists. It is thus described in 
the MS. in the Lyon Office :— " Alexander Erie off 
Stirline Lord Alexander of Canada, &c., Bairyetli 
quarterlie — First parted per pale arg. and sable a 
chiveron with a croisant in bass counterchanged for 
his paternall coat. Secondlie, or, a lumfad raes in 
croce sable betwixt thrie croce croslet gules by the 

name of M'' ; the thrid as the second ; the fourt 

as the first. Over all ane Liscutcheon with the 
armes of Nova Scotia, viz., arg. a crose azur with 
the armes of Scotland ; aboue the schield his comitall 
crounet ; upon the same, his helme and mantle guls 
doubled ermine. For his creist, on a wreath arg. 
sable, a bever proper. For sujDporters a Savaidge 
and a Marmaid, combe in hand. His Motto, Per 
Mare per terras.'' 

It will be seen from the foregoing description 
that Lord Stirling had just been raised to the 
Peerage, under the title of Earl of Stirling. He 
had already rebuilt or enlarged the old house of 
Menstry ; but now, in the town of Stirling, whence 
he derived his new title, his son, Anthony, who had 
studied architecture, designed a handsome and com- 
modious residence, commanding a view of historic 
scenes, and abounding in patriotic memories. The 
following year (1634) the Earl of Stirling further 
augmented his family possessions, receiving under 
the Great Seal a charter of the lands and town of 
Tillicoultry. These were erected into a burgh of 



barony, to he held of (lie King, on the annual pay- 
ment of £55 Scots.^ 

The latter years of the Earl's life were clouded 
by domestic sorrow, his oldest son, Lord Alexander, 
and his second son, Sir Anthony, dying in 1637-38." 
On the l/2th February, 1640, the Earl of Stirling 
passed away, and his remains were buried in the 
family vault of his own town. His character as 
a ])ublic man was in his own day severely aspersed ; 
no one, indeed, has ever been more adversely criti- 


cised in his public relations. Yet it appears to us 
that there is no incident in his life unworthy of an 
honourable name. His errors were those of a lofty 
anil)ition, "the last infirmity of noble minds." and if 
he displayed imprudence in his financial transactions 
it was under the influence of no sordid desire, but to 
extend to a new continent the power and prestige of 
his native Innd. As a poet and as a private gentle- 
man he was esteemed beyond most, and when clouds 
of obloquy gathered round him in life's evening. 


' Iteg. Mag. Sig., lil.. liv. IJV., X.). 

long loelore, and along with otlun' land 

- House of Alexander, vol. I., ji. l] 

2(JS. Tilliciultry had l.ecn purchased 
now aci|uired is erected into a Ijarony. 


Drummond of Hawthornden remained his devoted 
friend to the last. Even Sir Thomas Urquhart of 
Cromarty, who employed his caustic pen with 
unfavourable comments upon some of the Earl's 
projects, addressed to him the following epigram 
shortly before he (Sir Thomas) died : — 

" In the iiniversal list of all the spirits 
That either live or are set down in story, 
No tyme or place can show us one who merits 
But you alone of the best poets the glorie 
That ever was in State affairs employed, 
And best statesman that ever was a poet." 

The Earl of Stirling seems to have been haunted 
by the apprehension that the honours he had 
acquired might pass out of the line of his direct 
descendants to some collateral branch. With the 
view of preventing such a contingency, he sur- 
rendered his titles of Baronet of Nova Scotia, Lord 
Alexander of Tullibody, Viscount of Canada, and 
Earl of Stirling into the King's hands shortly before 
he died. Thereupon the King, by a charter under 
the Great Seal, of date 7th December, 1639, granted 
these titles de novo to the heirs male, and failing 
them to the eldest heirs female. Yet notwith- 
standing several sons having been born to him, and 
numerous descendants of later generations having 
arisen in the male line, by a singular fatality his 
titles became extinct in less than a century after 
his death. 

Lord Alexander, the Earl's oldest son, did not 
succeed his father, having pre-deceased him by 
about a year, yet some reference to his short but 
promising career must be made. He received his 
higher education in the University of Glasgow, 


whicli he entered in 1G18, his name appearing in the 
Register as (jHllchDJis Ahwander hncres Dom. de 
Afcnsffie. In 1(128 lie received the hononr of 
knighthood, and was appointed by his father 
governor of New Scotland.^ On the 28th March of 
that year he received liberty to proceed with four 
ships to Newfoundland, the river of Canada, and 
New Scotland, for settling Colonists in these parts.- 
He returned from Canada in autumn, and on the 
25th December, Christmas day, " after his return 
from the sea voyage gave to the puir of Stirling 
fiftie aucht pundis money. "'^ On llth May, 1G30, 
Sir William Alexander received a Royal j^atent for 
thirty-one years " for the sole trade in all and 
singular the regions, countries, dominions and all 
places adjoining, for beaver skins and wool and all 
other skins of wild beasts."^ When his father w\^s 
created Earl of Stirling, he assumed the courtesy 
title of Lord Alexander. He was sworn a member 
of the Privy Council of Scotland in November, 1634, 
and on the 20th December Royal letters were issued 
at Hampstead appointing him an extraordinary 
Lord of Session in succession to his father. On 
22nd April, 1G35, he received a grant from the 
Council of New England "of all that part of the 
mainland in New England from St Croix adjoining- 
New Scotland along the sea coast to Pemo quid and 

' Young Sir William hail a seal designed for his special use by authority of 
the Privy Council. It was to display '" A shippe with all her ornaments and 
apparrelling, the niayno saile onelie displayed with the armes of New Scot- 
land, bearing a Saltoire with ane scutcheon of the ancient armes of Scotland, 
and upon the head of the said slii])pe careing ane unicorne sitand, and ane 
savage man standing upone the sterne, both bearing St Androes Grose." The 
seal was to bear the legend " Sigillum Gulielmi Alexandri Militis Magni 
Admiralli Novi Scotiae." 

-House of Alexander, vol. I., ]>. 102. 

■' Stirling Kirk Session lleeonls. 

■• Colonial Papers, p. 165. 


SO up the river to the KuibequI to be henceforth 
called the County of Canada, also Long Island 
called the Isle of Stirling.^ It is said that the 
hardships which he endured from the rigours of an 
American winter as his father's deputy in Nova 
Scotia injured his constitution and sowed the germs 
of his premature death, which took place at London, 
18th May, 1038. 

Anthony, the second son of the Earl of Stirling, 
was, like his older brotlier, a young man of talent 
and culture. He also received his education at the 
College of St Mungo, having been registered as a 
student in March, 1623. By letter addressed to the 
Privy CoTuicil, in July, 1626, Charles I. gave him 
leave to " proceed for three years on foreign travel, 
the better to qualify hiiu for the gaining of languages 
and for otherwise doing his Majestie and his countrie 
service."- It ap})ears that while on the Continent 
Anthony (hooted liimself to the study of architec- 
ture, and on his return, in 1628, he was, on the 
King's advice, appointed Master of Works conjointly 
with James Murray of Kilhaberton. In October, 
1680, he was admitted an honorary burgess of 
Stirling,'' and live years later he was knighted at 
Whitehall. During these years he had held the 
office of Joint Master of the King's Works and 
Buildings in Scotland ; but the Scottish Lodge of 
Free Masons had opj)osed his nomination, on the 
ground that the office belonged by rights to their 
hereditary Grand Master, Sir William St Clair of 
Roslin, and, acting on this objection, the Commis- 
sioners of Exchequer delayed to give effiict to the 
Royal warrant for his appointment, as well as the 

1 Colonial Papers, p. 204. -' House of Alexander, vol. L, p. Ii28. 

^ Stirling Burfrli Records. 


payment of his salary.^ Before effect could be given 
to the various Royal letters securing him in the 
emoluments of the office, Sir Anthony died on the 
17th September, 1687, and his remains were laid to 
rest in the flimily vault in Stirling." 

Henry Alexander, third son of the Earl of Stir- 
ling, was educated, like his two elder brothers, in 
the University of Glasgow. Henry followed mer- 
cantile pursuits, and on the 1 3th October, 1634, 
received letters patent under the Great Seal, along 
with Patrick Maule of Panmure, James Maxwell of 
Inverwick, and Sir Thomas Thomson of Dudding- 
ston, Kt., granting them a monopoly for thirty 
years of exporting goods from Scotland to America. 
On 21st April, 1636, the same privilege was ex- 
tended so as to include Africa. Like his brothers, 
he also received the honour of being made a burgess 
of Stirling on the 9th November, 1636, and about 
the same time was appointed Agent of the Conven- 
tion of Royal Burghs.^ 

When the first Earl of Stirling died in 1631), his 
heir. Sir William Alexander, had pre-deceased him 
by about a year. Sir William left an infant son, 
William, who succeeded his grandftither as second 
Earl of Stirling, but he seems to have survived only 
a few months, and was succeeded by his uncle, 
Henry Alexander, to whom reference has just been 
made, as third Earl of Stirling in May, 1640."' This 
position he held for ten uneventful years, when he 
died in 1650, leaving an only son Henry, who suc- 
ceeded him as fourth Earl of Stirling. The fourth 
Earl of Stirling was a child at his father's death, 

' House of Alexander, vol. I., pp. 220-30. 

- Iklfour's Annals, vol. II., )). 251. 

"* Stilling ijurgli Records. * House of Alexander, vol I., p. 238. 


and was evidently under guardians in 1G61. In 
that year his guardians submitted to the Privy 
Council a memorandum bearing upon the youthful 
Earl's hereditary claim upon the country of Nova 
Scotia, and in view of the sum of £10,000 voted to 
the first Earl never having been paid, praying the 
King to continue to the present Earl the grant of 
the Colony for which his grandfather had sacrificed his 
fortune. It does not appear that the prayer of the 
request was granted.' Henry, fourth Earl of Stir- 
ling, died in February, 1G90, and his remains were 
on the nth of that month interred in the family 
burial place at Binfield. In his will, dated 1 3th June, 
1683, and proved in the Prerogative Court of Canter- 
bury, 27th May, 1691, he named as his executors 
Robert Lee, Esquire, and his " dear sister Dame 
Jane .Vlexander," to whom he bequeathed "goods, 
plate, Jewells, and personall estate wheresoever and 
whatsoever, in trust, that they shall sell and dispose 
of the same to pay debts and divide surplusage 
amongst all my children except the eldest, Lord 
Alexander."- He left a large family of sons and 
daughters, the eldest son, Heniy, succeeding him 
as fifth Earl of Stirling. He was born on 7th 
November, 1664, and led a life of privacy and 
retirement, taking no part in public affairs. In the 
autumn of 1733 he waited on the King and Queen 
at Court in his 69th year, not having previously 
paid his respects to royalty since 1691. He was 
introduced by Sir Robert Walpole, and was graci- 
ously received." He died, without issue, on the 4th 
December, 1739,^ and with him the Earls of 

1 House of Alexander, vol. I., p. 238, - Ibid., p. 2^3. 

■' Caledonian Mercury, 2nd October, 1733. 

■* Tombstone inscription in Binfield Church. 


Stirling, though their patent of nobiht}^ could be 
transmitted through all legal heirs, became extinct. 
Since his time more than one claimant to the 
dormant honour has appeared, but none has been 
al)le to satisfy the House of Lords as to the 
miimpeachable validity of his claim, nor is it likely 
that any of the old line, though morally sure of 
his descent, will be successful in placing his right 
of succession genealogically beyond dispute. 

Tlie various estates of the first Earl of Stirling- 
were disposed of after his death for the satisfaction 
of his creditors, while the Stirling mansion, which 
was never occupied by any of his successors, passed 
into possession of Archibald, ninth Earl of Argyll, in 
IGGG. In 1764, it was sold on behalf of John, 
fourth Duke of Argyll, and about the beginning of 
the present centuiy it was transferred to the War 
Department, being used as a military hospital. The 
name of the first Earl of Stirling will always be 
remembered in connection with the colony of Nova 
Scotia. Though ceded to the French in the ]'eign 
of Charles 11., in 1763 it finally came into the 
undis})uted i)Ossession of Cjreat Britain, and since 
that time has been a favourite field of emigration 
for the many scions of the Clan Donald who have 
been forced, Ijy adverse fortune, to leave the country 
of their sires. 





Alastair Og ami his Sons. — Their Place in Irish History. — 
O'Neill's (lalloglachs. — Cnoc 'na Cluith. — Sonierled. — Tur- 
lough Mor. — Meagre but Sanguinary Annals of the Fifteenth 
Century. — Wars of O'Neill and O'Donnell. — Gillespie Mac- 
Donald O'Neill's Nuncio. — Agreement with Lord Deputy. — 
O'Neill's continued Disloyalty. — Rupture with Macdonald. — 
Submission to Government. — Reconciliation with O'Neill. — 
Disappearance from History. 

Alastair Og, the oldest son of Angus Mor of Isla, 
and so called to distinguish him from his uncle 
Alasitair Mor, succeeded his father in the lordship 
of the Isles in or about 1295. Before his father's 
death he is associated with him in some of the more 
important public acts of his latter days. He was 



2)i-esent at the meeting in favour of the elder Bruce 
and against the succession of the Maid of Norway 
held at Turnberry in September, 1286. Again, in 
1291, Alexander, who in consequence of his father's 
great age, is. the active representative of the family, 
offers the oath of allegiance to the English King, 
who by this time has wearied oi' supporting the 
pretensions of any of the candidates, and makes no 
secret of his intention to make Scotland an English 
province.^ On 11th July, 1292, there is a safe- 
guard given to himself and his father and merchants 
i'or purposes of commerce in Ireland, and similar 
letters of protection are given him, probably for the 
same purpose, in April of that year." From 
this time forward Alexander continued to give a 
steady, consistent, and avowed support to the pre- 
tensions of Edward I., while his hostility to tlie 
cause of Scottish Independence was correspondingly 
keen and inflexible. In proof of the confidence 
which the English monarch reposed in his influence 
and ability, he appointed him High Admiral of the 
Western Seas, while he also made him baillie of the 
extensive region of Kintyre. The difficulties which 
Alexander encountered in reducing tlie Highlands 
and Islands to subjection have been already nar- 
rated. In 1297 the Steward of Scotland, encouraged 
l)y the success which attended the arms of the 
heroic Wallace at the battle of Stirling, endeavoured 
to make head against the English power in tlie 
Island of l>ute, and fortified Rothesay Castle, the 
liereditary palace of the High Steward, which 
belonged to the ancient Imrony of Ascog. Alex- 
andei-, Lord of the Isles, attacked the Steward in 

' Clan Donald, vol. L, p. 84. 
- Calendar of Irish Slate Pa]iei-.s, ad tempus. 


his stronghold, captured the castle, and detained 
the Steward prisoner. It is thus clear that Alastair 
Og was one of the most strenuous as well as ablest 
of the Scottish supporters of Edward I. All the 
more was the vengeance of Robert Bruce directed 
against himself and his family when the Independ- 
ence of Scotland became an accomplished fact. 
Alexander's fate is somewhat veiled in obscurity, 
though we think there seems no reason for seriously 
questioning the tradition that he was taken by 
Bruce in the capture of Castle Swen, and imprisoned 
in Dundonald, where he soon afterwards died. 

According to the MS. of 1450, Alastair Og left 
six sons, Black John, Reginald, Somerled, Angus, 
Godfrey, and Charles, and the same authority gives 
the names of other descendants of the third and 
fourth generations. They, like the sons of Alastair 
Mor, inherited a legacy of vengeance at the hands 
of the deliverer of Scotland, and none of them seems 
to have possessed an inch of land where their father 
exercised almost regal sway. The younger brother, 
Angus Og, Lord of Kintyre and Bute, was fortunate 
enough to espouse the winning side, and became 
both feudally and Celtically the Lord of the Isles, 
while the sons of Alexander, driven from their 
native soil, had to seek refuge in another land. 

When the light of history falls upon the sons of 
Alexander after their father's downfall, we find 
them in a land with which the Clan Cholla never 
ceased to be familiar since the days of the early 
Dalriadic settlements, namely, the province of Ulster, 
or "Uladh," as it was known to the ancient Irish 
chroniclers. There is a good deal of difficulty in 
giving a clear account of the history of this race, 
important though it be as the senior family of the 


whole House of Macdoiiald. This difficulty partly 
arises from the scattered and meagre references in 
the Irish Annals, though to them we are indebted 
for most valuable information ; and partly from the 
confusion wliicli exists among the genealogists, all 
with the exception of the MS. of 1450, which must 
always be the sheet anchor of our genealogical faith. 
For these reasons it is not always easy to disen- 
tangle Alastair 0(js descendants from certain other 
Clan Donald septs which crop up in Irish history 
before and after the period when his sons crossed to 
the province of Ulster, 

The Irish Annals^ inform us that as early as 
1253 a race of Macdonalds occupied the barony of 
(Jlan Kelly, in the east of Fermanagh, in Ulster, 
and that tliese traced their name and origin to 
Donald, son of Oolgan, son of Caellach, son of 
Tuathal, son of Daimlin, son of Cairbre, son of Damh 
Airgid, the common ancestor of Maguire, Mac- 
mahon, and other chiefs of Oriel. This family is 
now extinct in the male line, the last representative 
having died in Scotland al)out 1840 in a humble 
rank of life. Little is known of its history beyond 
fragmentary notices in the Annals, though its 
position was not unimportant among the ancient 
Irish septs. This passing reference is made to it 
to prevent its being confused with the Clan 
Donald of Innse-Gall, from whom this sept is lacially 
to 1)(^ carefully distinguished. According to the 
Clani-anald seanachie and the historian of Sleat, 
some of the sons of Alastcdr Mor who went to 
Ireland left septs behind them who went by the 
surname of Macdonald. This fact, if it could be 
verified, would have to be borne in mind in 

' AiiiKils uf I'lstcr. v(.l. IV., i>. iL'.-.-'i. 


our history of Alastair Ogs descendants. The 
descendants of John Mor Tanistear, who in the 
sixteenth century became the dominant power in 
the north of Ireland, dwarfed all other Clan Donald 
septs of that region, and are easy distinguishable, as 
a rule, from the subject of the present chapter. 

There is reason to believe that all the sons of 
Alexander, Lord of the Isles, settled in various parts 
of Ireland. In these regions they became Captains 
or Constables of Galloglachs, and it is in this 
capacity that we find them referred to both in the 
Irish Annals and the public records of the sixteenth 
century. These Galloglachs, incorrectly styled 
" gallowglasses," were the most redoubtable type 
of foot-soldier known in Irish history. They were 
distinguished from the ''Kerns," who were more 
lightly clad and armed. The "galloglachs" were 
picked men, chosen for their superior size and 
strength. Harnessed in shirts of mail studded 
with iron nails and rings, they canied long swords 
and broad battle-axes called " sparres," with edges 
so keen that at one blow they cleft helmet and 
skull. Each Galloglach was attended by a boy, who 
carried three darts, thrown by the warrior before he 
came to actual grips with the foe. These were the 
most formidable element among the Irish irregular 
armies, and on them especially did the fate of 
battles depend.^ They were called Galloglachs 
because they were not natives of the land for 
whose chief they fought, but soldiers of fortune, 
or mercenaries, sometimes from distant parts of 
Ireland, but oftener still from Scotland." We find 

^ Ulster Journal of Aruhwology, vol I., p. M. Irish State Papers, 
Henry VIIL, p. 448. 

- This explanation seems justified by the derivation of the word from 
'jail, stranger, and oylach, hei'o. 



the name almost exclusively applied to fighting 
men of the stranger septs that dm^ing these 
troubled centuries were wont to cross from the 
Highlands and Islands and establish themselves 
in Ireland, under the pressure of danger at home. 
Whether these domiciled Highlanders wer-e superior 
to the native levies in size and daring or not, they 
seemed to have formed the great mass of the picked 
soldiers in the armies of the Irish chiefs. 

The hired soldiers were also called "bonaghts" 
from the manner of their maintenance. The Irish 
provincial rulers liad an ancient custom of quartering 

'Vii'iwjnj Cay^L*k 

J. hetbch 



their hired soldiers on the inferior chiefs, who pro- 
vided " coyn and livery " f )r men and horses. In 
later times, instead of the soldiers being directly 
quartered, the obligants gave the supplies, paid 
partly in money and partly delivered as victuals. 
This system was much condemned by the English 
Government, and abolished by Act of Parliament; 
but what was evil in the Irish chiefs was seen to 
possess great advantages when they were deprived 
of the right, and Irish contem})oraiy records contain 
numerous references to the (lalloglachs in the service 
of tlie Englisli sovereigns, and the exactions imposed 
for their supjjort. 


During the 14th and 15th centuries Ir-eland was 
nominally a province of England, hut the actual 
power exercised in administration was of the most 
shadowy description ; the native chiefs were a law 
unto themselves, and anarchy such as the Highlands 
never knew, even at the most lawless periods, seems 
to have prevailed. The suppression of the ancient 
system of the 12th century was not followed by any 
effective rule on the part of the conquerors, and 
results ensued which succeeding ages have hardly 
quite ameliorated. It was amid such a condition 
of things that lUack John, the oldest of the sons 
of Alastair Og, and his five brothers settled, some in 
the Province of Ulster, and the rest in Connaught, 
Munster, Leinster, and probably other parts of 
Ireland. Ulster was one of the five semi- 
independent provinces or Cuigeamhs, each ruled 
by an hereditary King, into which Ireland was of 
old divided. These large regions were further 
sub-divided into smaller territories, governed by 
Orrighs or Urrlaglits, who held lands and power 
of the greater potentates. The ancient Celtic 
rulers of Ulster were the O'Neills, and although 
from a very early period — as early as the close 
of the r2th century — the Anglo-Norman invaders 
made many efforts to accomplish the conquest of 
that province, and even received the title, Earls 
of Ulster, the greater part continued in possession 
of the native chieftains until the beginning of the 
17th century. The Hy Neills or Nelidians or 
O'Neills, as they were variously called, were 
descended from King Neill of the nine hostages — 
Niall N^aoighiallach^-Sind were divided into two 
branches, the North and jSouth O'Neills. Of the 
North O'Neills, one was Eugenius, the progenitor 


of the Kiiiell Eoguin or Tironiaiis, the ancestor 
uf the ilhistrious family ol" O'Neill, who were Princes 
and Earls of Tyrone.^ We are not directly told 
that Black John, Alexander's oldest son, was 
O'Neill's Constable of Galloglachs, but it is clear 
that the office was held by his son, and became 
hereditary among his descendants. As the Con- 
stables of Ulster, and Urriaghts urder O'Neill, 
the Clan Eo'in duibli, as they are styled in the 
MS. of 1450, though deprived of their ancestral 
honours in the Scottish Isles, did not vanish into 
the unknown. They held no ignoble position, 
though they suffered loss of property, power, and 
prestige, and they played a leading part in the 
long story of strife and bloodshed which runs like 
a crimson streak through the annals of Ulster for 
several hundreds of years. 

The hereditary Constables of the O'Neills had 
their seat at Cnoc-na-Cluitli, the hill of sport, a 
town land in the barony of Dungannon and County 
of Tyrone." There, very probably, Alexander's oldest 
son, who variously appears in the Annals as John 
Duv, Eon Duff, and Owen Duv, had his residence. 
Of him the Annalists say little directly, though his 
son Somerled is fret^uentl}^ referred to as the son 
of John Duv. Black John met his end in 1349, 
having been slain by Manus, son of Eochy Mac- 
mahoii, lord of Oriel,' a fate too common in the 
sanguinary chronicles of that age and country.' 

' 0'Flaheity'«Ogygia. 

-Annals of Four Masters, v..l. V., ].. l;ior.. Vid, also Ciamaualil I'.ook 
in Hfli<iuiiu Celliw, vol. II., p. l.'.ii. 

•'The region anticiitly kiKiwn as "Uriel" consisted ot L.iutli, Armagh, 
anil Moiifighan. 

* Ainials ot VoMv Masters, vol. III., p. r.!).'. 


Black John was succeeded in the representation 
of the family by Someiied, who is referred to in the 
Annals as " heir to the lordship of Innse-Gall and 
High Constable of Ulster." Somerled had good 
reason to beware of the Macmahon family, one of 
whom had slain his father, yet a friendship seems to 
have sprung up between himself and Brian, son 
of Hugh Macmahon, lord of Oriel, which ended 
in a matrimonial alliance. Somerled was already 
espoused to the daughter of O'Beilly, one of the 
Orrighs of Ulster, but Macmahon, a2)parently 
desirous of a closer connection between the High 
Constable and himself, prevailed upon him to do 
what was no uncommon practice in those far-off 
times, that is, to repudiate his wife and substitute 
his own daughter for her. Judging by the sequel, 
the friendship must have been a hollow one on the 
part of Brian Macmahon. The Annals are not (juite 
at one as to the precise character of the subsequent 
events, but the prevailing trend of the records 
seems sufficiently clear. Somerled MacDonald fell 
a victim to his father-in-law's treachery/ Brian 
Macmahon invited the High Constable to a feast, 
at which the potations were prolonged and deep. 
Sounds of revelry echoed through the halls of Oriel, 
and MacDonald, as he quaffed the festive cup, had 
no suspicion of his impending fate. A dispute 
having arisen in the course of the symposium, 
Brian threw his arms around Somerled — probably 
overcome by the fumes of the wine cup — ^and caused 
him to be bound in fetters, cast into a neighbouring 
lake and drowned. In the Chronicles which record 
the deed, Somerled is spoken of as the son of " Eon 
Dubh, son of Alexander, heir to Innse-Gall. Alex- 

■ Aiiuals of Ulster, vol. IV., p. 629. 


ander, the father to Eon Dubh, was sou to Angus 
Mt)re, son of Donnell, son of Kanald, son of 
Soinah-le."^ This took phice in i;]G5, and the 
atrocious deed perpetrated under the guise of hospi- 
tahty roused the deepest ire of the O'Neills, as well 
as of the numerous kinsmen of the murdered chief 
It was a theme for the tragic muse, and one Irish 
bard laments the death of Somerled ni these 
strains: — "This is the lake wherein was put an 
innocent one, Somerled of the sharp-pointed spears, 
'mid merriment, and noise, and laughter. For it 
was wine 'neath which lie was submerged." The 
Chronicler who (quotes this song of lamentation 
himself indulges in regretful sentiments :—" Woe 
the world and the land and water wherein was 
submerged the noble and well-born offspring — to 
wit, one who was to be king of Iinise-gall, namely, 
the son of John the Black Son of Alexander."" The 
O'Neills joined their forces to avenge this deed of 
guilt, and with them John, the son of Somerled, and 
Ciiarles Mor, his uncle, and all their levies, and 
Neil Mag Murchadh Mor Mag Mathgamiia, mother's 
brother to Macdonald and half King of Orgialla,'' all 
rallied to the mission of revenge. T'hey marched 
towards Bathtulach, Macmahon's stronghold, but 
word having previously arrived there of the 
advancing host, the garrison dispersed without 
striking a blow. The army of retribution marched 
in pursuit and overtook the men of Oriel at the 
river Earn, routed them, and took a rich spoil, while 
Macmahon was banished from his territories, and 

1 AmiiiLs of the Four Ma.slers, vol. 111., p. 62!). Also Aiiiuils of Loch Ce, 
vol. II., J). 33. 

- Annals of Ulster, vol. 1., p. r>ld. 

■'* The two reguli of Oriel — both Macniahon.s — ^were at enmity, antl the one 
gi\ei5 \n» services here for the punishment of the other. 


his wife and daughters were made prisoners by the 
alhed host/ 

After the death of Somerled in 1365, the suc- 
cession to the captaincy of O'Neill's Gallotvlachs 
seems rather obscure, and it is difficult to say with- 
out clearer data whether it was according to i,he 
feudal law of primogeniture or the Celtic law of 
tanistry, which latter appears to have prevailed in 
Ireland longer than it did in the Highlands of 
Scotland. Somerled left a son John, who, as we 
have seen, took part in the campaign against 
Macmahon, and of whom we hear in 1366 as 
suffering defeat along with his Galloglachs at the 
hands of Teige, son of Manus O'Connor.- It seems 
probable that John, the son of Somerled, was slain 
in this encounter with Teige O'Connor, for his name 
appears no more in the Annals, and although the 
O'Neills were for years thereafter engaged in active 
warfare, we find Charles Mor — apparently the 
youngest son of Alastair Og — and his son Alex- 
ander, acting as constables of O'Neill's Galloglachs. 
It would be unsafe on that account to conclude that 
the progeny of Black John became extinct on the 
death of his grandson in battle, for the MS. of 1450 
speaks of the Clann Eoin duihh, son of Alastair, 
son of Angus Mor, etc., which seems to suggest the 
existence of representatives of Black John at a 
period contemporary with the compiler of that frag- 
ment. One thing, however, is clear, that when war 
arose in 1366 between Donald O'Neill and Neill 
O'Neill, Charles J/or and his son Alexander were 
leaders of O'Neill's Galloglachs. The battle fought 
on this occasion by the Clan Donald of Ulster on the 

1 Four Masters, vol. III., p. 629. Loch Ce, vol. II., p. 33. 
- Four Masters, vol. 111., p. 633. 


one band, and the heir of Clan Alexander from 
Scotland on the other, has been described in a 
former chapter. It seems to have been indecisive 
in its results. Alexander, the son of Charles Mor 
MacDonald, was taken prisoner, and owed his life 
to the magnanimous clemency of the chief from 
Innsegall, and as subsequent events elucidate, his 
captivity must have been of short duration.^ 

Two years after this — in 1368 — we find that the 
feud created by the murder of tSomerled, the son of 
John Dubh, is still unhealed. Still animated by a 
thirst for vengeance, Neill O'Neill, King of Uladh 
and of Kinel (Jwen, whose Constable Somerled had 
been, marched at the head of an army into Oriel to 
attack Brian Macmahon. Charles Mor MacDonald 
has by this time either died or become unfit by age 
for military duties, and Alexander, his son — also 
described as Alastair Og — is Constable of CNeill's 
Galloglachs. Negotiations were opened between 
O'Neill and Macmahon, in the course of which the 
latter agreed to cede half his territory to O'Neill's 
son, as well as to give him other precious gifts as 
vir'ic or ransom for the death of MacDonald. On 
these favourable terms ( )'Neill consented to make 

Meanwhile the Captains of O'Neill's host, eager 
for the fray, and not waiting the issue of the con- 
ference, took the law into their own hands. Alex- 
ander Og MacDonald and the son of Murchadh 
Macmahon, king of the other lialf of Oriel, marched 
without O'NeilTs permission, at the head of three 
battalions of Kernes, to attack Macmahon's position. 
A fierce conflict ensued, but the issue was disastrous 

' Amials of Loch Ce, vol. IL, p. 33. Also Annals of the Four Masters 
vol. UL, p. 033. 


to the aggressors. Alexander MacDonalcl, Captain 
of O'Neill's Galloglachs, and many others were 
slain. ^ One of the chroniclers who records Alex- 
ander's death seems to settle the question of his 
position among the descendants of Alastair Og, for 
he styles him " Alastair Og, son of Toirbhelbliach 
Mac Domhnaill, and heir of Clan Domhnaill."" It 
seems clear that the succession to the senior famil}^ 
of the Clan Donald and to the Captaincy of O'Neill's 
Galloglachs went on concurrently, and that both 
have now passed from John Dubh's descendants to 
those of his brother, Charles Mor, 

At this stage we are left for upwards of two 
generations without a ray of light at all upon the 
history of the MacDonalds of Ulster. The Annals 
completely fail us until well on in the fifteenth 
century. All that is necessary to say meanwhile as 
to this belt of darkness is, in the first place, that 
we are safe in concluding that the succession went 
on as l)efore in tlie Captaincy of O'Neill's Gallo- 
glachs, the descendants of Alastair Og holding the 
position hereditarily as heretofore ; and, in the 
second place, that another line of his descendants 
settled in a neighbouring province and made history, 
a line which we shall afterwards consider, and of 
whose descent there is an almost unbroken recoid 
down to the present day. 

Tlie glimpses that we obtain of the Clan Donald 
of Ulster during the fifteenth century are few and 
intermittent. In 1435 there was war, no infrequent 
occurrence, between the North O'Neill's, or the 
Kinel Owen, and those of the South. Brian Og 
O'Neill and NaMitan O'Doiniell made war on 

' Four Masters, vol. III., p. 643. 
■-■ Loch Ce, V..1. I„ ji. 39. 


O'Neill of the Kinel Owen, and on his sons Henry 
and Owen, and had dislodged O'Neill from his 
camp. The expressive languatre of the Annalist 
as reproduced by the translator we shall quote 
verbatim : — " Now O'Neill and his sons and Mac- 
Donald Galloglach felt shame and disgrace at their 
expulsion from the position in which they were 
fortified, and the resolution they adopted at the 
request and solicitation of Henry O'Neill was, that 
they should attack the camp and use their boldest 
exertion to retake it. Henry's exciting exhortation 
had great effect upon the minds of the youths, and 
they attacked the camp vigorously, silently, and 
fiercely. Henry being the foremost in the van, 
MacDonald Galloglach and M'Sweeny Fanad then 
came to an engagement, in which heroes were 
mangled and slaughtered between them on both 
sides, and such was the confusion that prevailed, 
owing to the darkness of the night and the closeness 
of the combatants to each other, that friend could 
not be distinguished from f)e. Sparks of tire flashed 
from the helmets of tiie heroes and the armoiu" of 
the champions." In the course of this severe engage- 
ment, Hugh O'Neill and Brian O'Neill came to a 
personal encounter, in the course of which the latter 
was severely wounded. Upon this Brian and 
Naghtan withdrew from the field, leaving behind 
them their Galloglachs, who bore the brunt of ever}^ 
battle, and were the last to (juit the field. M'Sweeny, 
leader of the Galloglach, seeing his two superiors 
giving up the fight, ordered his warriors to retire, 
wliile single-handed he covered their retreat. This 
movement was not unobserved by O'Neill and his 
Galloglach, who went innnediately in pursuit, and 


overtaking thti retreating host at Slievetriiim, he 
attacked and made them prisoners.^ 

We have ah'eady seen that the headquarters of 
O'Neill's Constables were in the townland of Dun- 
gannon, on the borders of Armagh and Tyrone. 
They were thus within measurable distance of the 
Enghsh Pale, so called since the period of the con- 
quest of Ireland, and consisting of the counties of 
Louth, Meath, Dublin, and Kildare, all within the 
Province of Leinster. This district was known as 
the English Pale, from the fact of its occupancy by 
English settlers, who, although they originally held 
a nmch wider area, became in time congested into 
the region already named. The next time the 
Constables of O'Neill appear upon the scene is in 
1452, when the Kinel Owen and their MacDonald 
Galloglachs have a brush with the English of 
Feadhna in Louth. O'Neill led his army south- 
ward, and was joined by Macguire. The invaders 
began by harrying the country and carrying a prey 
to their camp, but the inhabitants, nuistering an 
armed band, followed them in force. In the battle 
which was fought, Sorley Mor and his warriors dis- 
played their wonted courage and determination, but 
in the end they were overwhelmed, and the Mac- 
Donald Captain and many of his bravest heroes 
were slain. - 

During the remainder of the fifteenth century we 
find in the Irish Annals l)ut few traces of the Ulster 
Clan Donald. Once more, however, we find them, 
and it is 1493, engaged as of old at the fierce game 
of war. This year the O'Neills are at strife, not, 
however, with the South O'Neills, as we often find 

^ Anoals of the Four Masters, vol. IV., p. 903. 
- Ibid, p. 977. 


them, but among themselves. The two brothers, 
Donald and Henry Og, sons of Henry, son of Owen, 
have quarrelled, and civil war breaks out within the 
Kinell (^wen. We cannot say whose side the Clan 
Donald Galloglacli espoused, but in the battle that 
was fought Ranald tlie Constable and his three sons 
Avere slain. ^ 

As we pass the threshold of the sixteenth century, 
we come upon more frequent traces of Alastair Cg's 
descendants than have been visible during the 
fifteenth, though we are still lacking a , genealogical 
thread to bind the generations into a complete unity. 
In 1501 a war arose between the descendants of 
Hugh Roe and those of Redmond, tribes that occu- 
pied a part of Oriel. Macmahon, who came to the 
rescue of Hugh Roe's descendants, drove the others 
over the frontier into the country of the North 
O'Neills. The chief of O'Neill took the part of the 
Redmondites against their foes, but in the course of 
a sanguinary and fatal fight, MacDonald Galloglach 
— John, son of Colla— was killed." In 1503 we find 
on record the rare case of a Ma(d)onald Constable of 
O'Neill dying a])parently in I)ed ; the natural death 
was evidently one of violence. Randall More, son 
of Gillespick, who was son of MacDonald, Constable 
of the Scotsmen of Ireland, died in Duibhthrian.'' 
In 1505 history again records the normal mode of 
exit from the Irish stage of life when MacDonald 
Galloglach — Colla, son of ('olla, O'Neill's Constable 
— was slain at Armagh by Gillespick, son of Sorley 
Roe MacDonald.' For a number of years after this, 
there is greater fulness in the records regarding 

1 The Four Masters, vol. IX., p. V203. 

- The Four Musters, vol. V., ].. 12tJl. 

2 Annals of tlie Four Masters, vol. V., p. 1271. ^ Ibid., p. 1285, 


O'Neil's hereditary Constables, while the Irish State 
Papers and other sources of historical knowledge 
soon become available. Much of the Celtic history 
of Ireland is suggestive of the history of our Scot- 
tish Highland CHans, and, as in other respects, so in 
regard to these creaclis, or forays, are we reminded 
that the two social systems were originally one, as 
well as resembled each other in their historical 
development. An irruption of this nature took 
j^lace in 1514, when Hugh, son of Donald O'Neill — 
of the South O'Neills — and Con, son of Niall, in 
Cluain Dohlieill, invaded the territory of John, son 
of Con, and burned John's town. O'Neill, the 
northern chief of the name, and hereditary earl of 
Tyrone, along with MacDonald and his Galloglachs, 
took up arms against the aggressors, pursued and 
routed them, and took possession of their prey, 
among the rest thirty horses being captured. It is 
said that five of the descendants of Art O'Neill were 
slain in this encounter.^ 

In 1522 w^e come upon tlie commencement of a 
great war, lasting for years, between the O'Neills of 
the North and O'Donnell, the powerful chief of 
Donegal. We liave no liglit on the cause of the 
quarrel, but preparations on a large scale were made 
by both the potentates. O'Neill assembled the 
forces of Kinel Owen, his own immediate followinp-, 
with the Galloglachs under the leadership of Donald 
Og MacDonald, their Captain. Besides these he 
had numerous allies among the chieftains of Ulster. 
The Clan Magennis and Reillys from Oriel, the 
people of Fermanagh, and a large expeditionary 
force from Scotland, these with many others, rallied 
to his support. With this large force O'Neill 

1 ILia, p. 1329. 



invaded Donegal, look the castles of Belatba Lenagh, 
Bun Drobhais, and Ben Leci, penetrated to Tyr- 
connel, and destroj^ed the country. This career of 
plunder and victory was suddenly checked. Under 
the darkness of night, while O'Neill and his army 
rested, as they thought securely, with their booty, 
keeping neither watch nor ward, all of a sudden 
.O'Donnell attacked the camp, and inflicted on the 
unwary force a terrible reverse. Nine hundred men 
fell upon the field, and among them was Donald ( )g 
MacDonald and many of his brave Galloglachs.^ 

The following year, 1523, the clouds of war are 
still darkening the Ulster sky, and O'Neill must 
have longed to avenge the discomfiture lie lately 
sustained. It is, however, by O'Donnell that the 
first move is made in the spring, when we learn of 
his encamping in Glen Finne. He invaded Tyrone, 
the land of the O'Neills, and ravaged and burnt the 
whole country, from Belfast, Ooille-nag-Curritin, to 
Dungannon. In the barony of Dungannon lay 
Ciioc-na-Cluitli, the residence and town of the Mac- 
Donalds, which suffered severely from the devastating- 
course of the invaders. We are informed l^y the 
Annalist that Cnoc-iia-CJuith was burnt and a 
beautiful herb garden destroyed by O'Donnell's 
forces. We have here an interestino- side lio-ht on 
the social condition of O'Neill's Constables, showing 
that savap-e warfare did not absorb their enerp-ies, 
but that they possessed, at anyrate, some elementary 
conceptions of the ways of civilized life.^ O'Donnell 
continued to ravage, plunder, and destroy cattle, but 
towards the end of the year there was peace between 
himself and O'Neill. The hollowness of this peace 
became apparent in 1524, when O'Donnell again 

' Four Mailers, vnl. V., y. l;3r.3. Looli Co, vol. I., p. 237. 
-' Annal.s of the Four Master!*, vol V., p. 1365. 


burst into Tyrone with fire and sword ; l^ut as there 
is nothino^ in the Annals to indicate the share of 
O'Neill's Clan Donald Captain in the campaign, we 
do not purpose to enter into details. Suffice it to 
say that the destructive series of invasions was 
terminated, and that a durable peace was compacted 
between these turbulent northern chiefs.^ 

From 1524 to 1525 there is only one record 
bearing upon the Clan Donald of Ulster, and it tells 
us that in 1530 MacDonald Galloglach — Colla, son of 
Colla — Constal)le of Sir Eoghan O'Neill, died.' Five 
years after this we find Colla's probable successor, 
Gillespick MacDonald, engaged in important negoti- 
ations, and there is altogether in this portion of the 
records a richer vein of historical ore than our 
researches liave yet |>roduced. In 1585 there is 
evidence that Con, or, as he is more pompously 
designated, Lord Conatius O'Neill of the Kinel 
Owen, has come to a rupture with the English 
authorities in Ireland, who at this time are dis- 
playing a certain amount of spasmodic activity. 
O'Neill sent Gillespick MacDonald, the principal 
captain of his nation, as he is described, as his chief 
nuncio, with powers to conclude a peace with Sir 
William Skeffington, Lord Lieutenant Deputy, and 
on the 11th June, at Maynooth, several articles of 
agreement were formulated. The main provisions 
of agreement were — ■ Firs f : —Tlmt O'Neill would in 
future behave as a faithful English subject and 
serve the King against all his enemies. Second : — 
That for the arrangement of all damages and 
injuries done to the lieges, and all disputes with the 
Lord Lieutenant's Deputy and Lords, O'Neill would 
come on the 16th of July next to the presence of 

1 Ibid. Locli Ce, vol. T.^ p. 2-17. 

- Loch Ce, vol. IL. p. 273, 


the Deputy and Council. For his security in thus 
appearing, there \vas to remain in the hands of 
Gillespick, Master Antliony C'olUe, son of the Lord 
Deputy, and two other men to he chosen hy O'Neill, 
excepting Matthew and Thomas Skeffington, sons of 
the Lord Deputy — Matthew on account of his heing 
in charge of the Castle of Maynooth, and Thomas 
by reason of his tender age. Tliird : — Conatius was 
to receive his usual stipend or subsidy, which, owing 
to liis rebellion, had been withdrawn, and all 
persons coming from his county with merchandise 
during this peace should have free ingress and 
regress in CNeill's country. Fourth : — Gillespie 
promises that if O'Neill does not fulfil these articles, 
he will aid the Lord Deputy with all his adherents 
against Conatius/ 

On the 25th of July of the same year, an 
indenture is formed at Drogheda on the lines of the 
foregoing treaty. Further jDrovisions were added 
to the eftect that O'Neill was to have restitution of 
all goods taken from him or his friends from the 
time peace was made by MacDonald, and that in 
all controversies Gillespie MacDonald with Lord 
M'Gwyre were to arbitrate. The final umpire in 
cases of disagreement was to be Lord M'Gwyre. 
All the parties took corporal oath upon the 
Lidenture, and the document bears along with the 
rest the signature of 

On the 17th August next the articles are con- 
cluded, and O'Neill agrees to surrender himself and 

^ The Carew Papers, vol. I., p. 67. 


his lands to the King, and become a good and loyal 
subject.^ Treaties, like other kinds of undertakings, 
are sometimes more honoured in the breach than in 
the observance, and we find in Sej)tember, 1537, 
two years after the articles of agreement were con- 
firmed, that the relations between O'Neill and the 
Deputy and Council had in the interval become 
strained, though matters were again beginning to 
assume a more hopeful comj)lexion. The Chancellor, 
Bishop of Meath, and Chief Justice, were ajjpointed 
to interview O'Neill, and their report upon the 
conference was favourable. The Ulster chief was 
apj^arently most reasonable, and willing to abide the 
order of the King's Council and of M'Quyr and 
MacDonald Galloglach — the two latter still occu- 
pying the role of arbiters. ■ 

In 1542 there is evidence upon the records that 
(J'Neill has been backsliding into the old paths of 
disloyalty, and that much rancour and dispeace 
exist between himself and his hereditary Constable, 
MacDonald, as well as other members of the O'Neill 
connection. It seems clear that the Chief of Tyrone, 
despite promises and professions, is at heart a rebel, 
and a bitter enemy to the English power, while his 
Constable of Galloglachs has incurred his displeasure 
by his apparent willingness to conciliate the foreigner. 
The rupture culminated in an event which an Irish 
chronicle thus records, the entry being under A.D. 
1542 : — " The son of O'Neill (Felim Ceach the son 
of Con son of Con) was killed by one cast of a 
javelin by M'Donnell Galloglach."^ The exact date 
of this fatal incident is given neither in the Annals 
nor in the public records of the time ; but the State 

^ The Carew Papers, ad temj^ns. - Id., p. 127. 

■' The Four Masters, vol. V., p. 1467. 


Papers leave no doubt as to the fact that FtjHm, M'ho 
was O'Neill's eldest son, was the aggressor, that 
Captain MacDonald acted in self defence, and that 
the issue of the combat, while it aggravated the 
enmity between the j)arties, was bv no means its 
only cause.' 

In May of this year both JMacDunald and ( )'Neill 
gave in their submission to the King, tlie former 
on the 18th and the latter on the 21st of that 
month. MacDonald's promise of loyalty has been 
preserved verbatim, and may be quoted here in its 
integrity as an interesting rnern.oUo of the descendant 
of xilastair Oy : — 

" Firstc I the siiid M'Duiicll do recognise and accopt the 
Kiiige's Majestie to he my ^^ouveraiyiie lovde and kinge and him 
onlic and his suceessors will J serve and oheye and adhering unto 
his maiestie will take his parte againste all men of the worlde as 
his maieste loyall and obedycnte siibieet oughte to do and fro 
henceforth persecut all disohediente and rehelle unto his maiestie 
to the iittcrmoste of my power. 

"If'.'iii I will adnishillate and relimpiishe the usurped authoritie 
of the Byshoppe of Roume, his adlierente and ahett'iur expell 
extirpate and diminish with the luaiste pollieie ami industrie that 
1 ean and onlie aeee})te nomynate and re})ute the Kinge maiestie 
aforesaid my most drad souveraiyne lords to l)e in earth omdiateley 
under Christ of the Churehe of England and also Irelande the 
supreme lud. 

^'Ifrm 1 the said .M'Donell beseeeh the Kinge Ma''^' 
to assign unto me and my folldwers his maiesties lands and also 
the Orene castell and the Mnurue w hieii now lyeth waaste and 
inioccupied for the whieh I hynde myself and my saiil followers to 
sarvc his Ma^"' at all tymes when he shall have nede in I'lster 
with 120 sparres well harneysed and ;it all sueh tyme as his .Ma'"' 
shall have node in any place of this his realme. 1 will saive his 
Ma*^'*-' with 80 sparres well harneysed for 11 daies or .") weekes as 
the occasion shall arrive at my owne eoste and charge, and 1 
humhlie hescech his Majestie that in ease any such nede shalbe 

' Carcw I'apcTs. \,,1. I., p. IbS. 


that no galoglas slialbe hired that such galoglas as I shall 
bring about tlie said uoinbcr may be hired afore other straingers 
and at all tvmes required for one or 7 daies I will sarve nobly all 
my powar on my owne cost. 

" Item I the saide M'Donell have putte in my pledge called 
lleynaldo M'Donell unto the hands of the Lorde Depute as well 
for performance of the promisses in case it pleast the Kingc Ma"*^ ^/ 

so to admytte the same as also have taken a corporall oath from 
henceforth to be sworne and faithfull subiecte to the Kinge 
Maieste in the house of the Lorde Depute and Counsell in his 
handes be hereinto scribed and in farder witness of the thing I 
have to the one pte of this submission setie ray hand and scale 
the 18th of May in the xxxiv. yere of the rayne of the saide most 
dread souverayne lorde Kynge henrie the eight by the grace of 
God Kyuge of England franco and Ireland Defender of ye faith 
and in earth omediately under Christe of the Church of England 
and also of Ireland the supreme lied." '• 

The Council Lad taken advantage of the bitter 
relations between Conatius O'Neill and his Captain 
to secui'e the foregoing submission. It must, liow- 
ever, be clear to any one who remembers the Treaty 
of 1535, and MacDonald's promise to forsake O'Neill 
and adhere to the Government in the event of the 
former failino- in his undertakino-s, that there was 
now no other course left to O'Neill's Constable to 
follow. On the submission of MacDonald being- 
received, it was ordained that he should put in his 
pledge, that he should remain wherever the Council 
meanwhile should appoint, and that he should give 
his countenance neither to nor against O'Neill until 
further decision should be arrived at." The Council 
was, apparently, very desirous to secure the allegi- 
ance of MacDonald and his Galloglachs as a military 
force, whose services in time of war would be of the 
first importance. The defection of this body of men 

1 state Papers, vol. X., No. 60, I. 
^ Carew Papers, vol. I., p. 188. 


under their Caj)tain ^vas regarded as the severest 
l)lo\v that O'Neill had yet received, these having 
l)eeii his most powerful support iu his conflicts 
Avith neighbouring chiefs.^ On the 22nd May, 
four days after MacDonald's submission, Lord 
O'Neill also came before the Council primed 
with accusations against Captain MacDonald, as 
well as others of his own race and nation. O'Neill 
was not a persona grata with the Council, and his 
statement was not very seriously regarded. It was 
apparent, liowever, that no reconciliation between 
himself and Mac Donald was meanwhile possible, and 
ari-angements were made for the evacuation by the 
MacDonalds of the lands in Tyrone which they held 
of him as their superior.' It was recommended by 
the Council that, in terms of Captain MacDonald's 
submission, he and his people should receive posses- 
sion of the unoccupied lands of Mourne in South 
Down, along with a stronghold called Grene Castle, 
in the same district, situated to the north of the 
entrance of Carlinoford Bay. 


1 State I'apcrs, vol. 1)1., p. .3.s3 d saj. 
- Carew Piipci.s, vol. L, }). 1S8. 


It was also decided that the MacDoiialds 
should receive the grains and crops then growing 
on the lands which they had to abandon. In 
the event of O'Neill and the MacDonalds eventu- 
ally burying the hatchet., the latter were to 
surrender the territory they now occu2)ied by the 
King's favour. The orders of Council were con- 
finned by Henry VIII. He stipulated, however, 
that the MacDonalds should make and maintain 
roads through their new territory to render that 
mountain land more accessible, and themselves more 
within reach of the arm of the Irish Executive.^ It 
thus appears that the MacDonalds, through this 
quarrel with O'Neill, were compelled to quit the 
lands of Cnoc-na-Cluith, which they had held for 
about 200 years, and take up their quarters in 
anotlier region on the border of the English Pale. 
The arrangement appears to have lasted for a time, 
but did not become permanent. iVpparently the 
MacDonalds and their Galloglachs acted temporarilv 
as a military force under English auspices, but there 
is evidence that tlie breach between the O'Neills 
and themselves was eventually healed, that they 
went back in time to their old allegiance, and 
resumed their occupancy of tlie lands with which 
they were hereditarily connected. 

For the next few years there seems little to 
indicate the tendency of events among the Clan 
Donald of Ulster, or what relations existed between 
themselves and the (J'Neills. In 1548 we find 
them under English control, as is shown in a letter 
from the Lord Deputy Bellingham to Sir Thomas 
Cusake. That letter is to the intent that he has 

' Carew Papers, vol. I., p. 188. 


ordered MacDonald to bring with him 40 spearmen, 
which of course included their 40 attendants, who 
carried among them the usual C3nn)lement of 120 
spears or javelins/ In September of this same year 
MacDonald went as contidential messenger from the 
Lord Deputy to Bellingham — the former stating in 
quaint phrase that " he sent his mind" by his mes- 
sen2:er, thouu-li tlie nature of the business is not on 
record.- On the 20th June of the following year 
we learn that O'Neill and MacDonald are still at 
variance. It ajjpears that the Council had ordered 
the restitution of two horses to MacDonald by 
O'Neill, from which one would susj)ect that the 
Irish chief was still bound to supply his quondam 
(Nonstable with the sinews and acc<nitrements of 
war, though the latter was now in the service of the 
Goverinnent. The Lord Primate and others of the 
Council, on receiving this complaint, found that an 
order to this effect had previously been given, and 
that it should now be implemented.^ O'Neill, on the 
other hand, has a complaint against MacDonald. The 
latter liad probably before the rupture of their 
friendship entered into one of those Ijonds or 
covenants once so common in Scotland, and usually 
described as bonds of manrent. Among the Irish 
Gaels it would appear that the party specially 
benefitted l)y the contract had to ]i)ay a sum of 
money to the superior. So it must liave been in the 
case of MacDonald and O'Neill, the complaint by 
the latter being that the last MacDonald had 
entered into this bond of friendship whereby he was 
bound to pay a sum of ,1:40. It had not been paid, 

^ state J'aiMTs. vol. 1.. ).. M. = lKi,l. p. 89. 

•^ Carew r.-iiieis, \()1. I., p. 215. 


O'Neill contended, either by MacDonald or his 
successor. It appears from the deliberations of the 
Council that the last MacDonald, no doubt for 
sufficient reasons, had already been exonerated from 
the payment of this sum, and it was decided that 
his successor should not be burdened witli it.^ 
From the State records of 1548 we find that Gil- 
lespick MacDonald, who was O'Neill's nuncio in 
1535, and an important intermediary between that 
powerful cliief and the English Government in many 
negotiations of the time, 1iad died since 1542, and 
been succeeded in tlie representation of the family 
by his brother Arthur. From this and other casual 
indications we learn that in all j^robability the law 
of Tanistry still obtained in the succession of the 
Clan Donald of Ulster. 

After 1548 the references to O'Neill's Constables 
Avax very rare, both in the Annals and the State 
Papers of the period. From the meagre notices 
extant we gather indications that the MacDonalds 
were reconciled to the Ulster Chief before they 
tinally passed out of the region of historic knowledge. 
In 1 551 the MacDonalds of Ulster are found making 
common cause with O'Neill against the Eno-lish, and 
inflicting upon them a signal defeat," while in 1560, 
in an enumeration of the lords under O'Neill, refer- 
ence is made to MacDonald, Constable of his Scots 
and Galloglachs. We further find that, in 1567 
O'Neill is at war A\ith O'Donnell, and suffers a 
severe defeat, while among the many slain in liis 
army is enumerated, as one of the most distinguished, 
MacDonald Galloo-lach, Constable of O'Neill.' In 

' Carew MSS., "d tehipvx. 
• Foui' blasters. ^ Carew Pajiers ad tempus 
* State Papers ad tcmpu». 


1571 MacDouald is still in his hereditary office. 
Tarloiigh Lynach, who succeeded his father, Shane 
O'Neill, in a letter to Queen Elizabeth, begs that 
'her Majesty will allow him the rule of his tribe and 
pre-eminence of the Urraghs at a time when the 
Government was seeking to destroy utterly the 
ancient system of Irish society. Among other 
Urraghs is mentioned MacDonald Galloglach.^ That 
same year a treaty of concord and peace was drawn 
up between Turlough and the Queen's Commissioners 
— Justices Dowdall and the Dean of Armagh— at 
Drumgarrow, and it was provided, among other 
stipulations, that Arthur MacDonald should remain 
in the peace of the Lord Deputy." In 1573 we find 
Turlough Lynach O'Neill demanding that Art Mac- 
Donald, who is still his Constable, should give up all 
liis lands in Tyrone, but the reasons for such a 
demand are not detailed.^ We learn from the State 
Papers of 1575 that the MacDonalds were not then 
dispossessed, for in an estimate of their military 
strength it is stated that " all these do inhabit 
between the Black water and the English Pale," AVe 
are also informed that Art M'Neill could bring into 
the field 20 horsemen and 300 Galloglachs. 

After these years the Clan Donald of Ulster, as 
an historical family, pass into obscurity. Early in 
tlie seventeeth century the system of hired soldiers 
whicli prevailed for ages among the Irish chiefs, and 
was afterwards adopted by the Government, was 
abolished by law, and the captains superannuated. 
Before this fate overtook them, the heads of the 
Clan Donald in Ulster appear to have become 

' State Papers vol. XXXH.. ],. 44.'. 
'■^ Carew Papeiv. ■' Carew Paperi?. 


extinct. In other regions, such as in the Province 
of Leinster, we find these mihtary functionaries 
receiving monetary compensation for their official 
demise, but the C-onstables of O'Neill's Galloglaclis 
vanish from the page of liistory, and " leave not a 
wrack behind." 





T V X F. K I T. I,. 

Descent of f'onnaviglit IJranch. — O'Connor's (lalloglachs. — Marcus 
MacDonald— His Deatli in 1397.— Descendants of Marcns.— 
Mistakes of (Genealogists. — Settlement in Leinster. — Family 
of Tynekill. — Charles, Son of Marcus. — John Carragh and 
Descendants. — Death of Turlough. — Cenealogical Links. — 
Colla MacDonaldof Tynekill.— Hugh Boy and his Rol.ellions. 
— Fergus of 'rynekill. — lames ^^acdc)nald and tiie Creat 
liebellion. — Forfeiture of 'I'ynekill. — Ciiarlos I'ergus. — 
Settlement at Coolavin. — Tlie Feacockstown Family. — 
Modern Familv of 'i'viiekill. 

In the last cha[)ter we expounded the view that tlie 
sons of Alastair Og- settled not only in Ulster but in 
other Irish provinces, and served the great Irish 
chiefs as leaders of their Galloglachs. We gather 
from the traditional historian of Sleat — whose some- 
what nebulous lucubi'ations have to be carefully 


scrutinized' — that the descendants of Alastair ()g, 
Lord of the Isles, estabhshed nine septs in Con- 
naught, Munstei", and Leinster. It is an undoubted 
fact that this branch of the Clan Donald did disperse 
themselves over large tracts of Ireland, but it seems 
difficult, sometimes impossible, to trace an historical 
or genealogical order through the scant materials 
that history places at our disposal. We are able, 
however, to state with some confidence that an 
examination of existing records, though much sur- 
rounded with obscurity, produces the satisfactory 
result of bringing the history of Alastair Og's 
descendants down to the present generation. The 
Province of Munster refuses to yield up its secrets 
regarding the Clan Donald, who, according to the 
Sleat Seanachie, settled in that region, and we shall, 
in the remainder of this chapter, direct our attention 
to the C^lan Donald of Connaught and Leinster. 

There seems sufficient evidence to show that the 
Clan Donald of Connaught occupied the same 
position in that region as the Clan Donald of 
Tyrone did under the reguli of Ulster, but as the 
Connaught sept appears to have placed its prowess 
at the disposal of several chiefs of that region, the 
difficulty of placing them with distinctness before 
the reader's view is rendered considerably greater 
than in the case of the Ulster branch. 

From a survey of the historic evidence at our 
command, we are able to advance the hypothesis, 
which we hope in the sequel to substantiate, that 
the Clan Donald of Connaught and Leinster are 
descended from Somerled, the son of Alastair Og. 
This Somerled the Sleat Seanachie alludes to as a 
progenitor of the Clan Donald septs in Connaught, 
and though he places him in a wrong genealogical 


connection. w«^ recognize tlie historical element that 
is embedded in mnch that is confused and per- 
plexing. Fortunately tlie identity of Somerled is 
vouched by our best genealogical authority, the MS. 
of 1450, in which he is distinctly referred to as the 
son of Alastair Og. Of the liistory of this Somerled 
we know absolutely nothing, but distinct traces of 
his descendants are to be fonnd in the provinces in 
which, during the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth 
centuries, they acquired settlements as Captains of 
Galloglachs. Towards the end of the fourteenth 
and early in the fifteenth centuries, we find the 
Clan Donald of Connauglit co-operating with two 
of the clans that were prominent in the Annals of 
that region. The first and most important of these 
was the tribe of O'Connor. This great Irish sept 
was of the royal lineage of Ireland, and descended 
from Roderick O'Connor, who was King, and abdi- 
cated at the time of the conquest, in the reign of 
Henry II. Like the O'Neills in Ulster, they con- 
tinued to he semi-independent kings in the district 
which in ancient times owned their sway, keeping a 
sort of standing army of Kernes and Galloglachs for 
the defence of their country, as well as for purposes 
of aggression. It is probable that Somerled, son of 
Alastair ()g, was Constable of O'Connor's Galloglachs, 
though of this we liave no certain knowledge ; but 
we have evidence that four of his sons acted succes- 
sively in tliat capacity, and that all of them met 
their death upon the field of battle. 

Somerled, the son of Alastair Og, was succeeded 
in the representation of the family Ijy his son 
Donald, but of him there is nothing recorded beyond 
the tragic ■ fate which overtook so many of his 
devoted. house. In l;>()7, Magiuis O'Coiinor was at 


war, we are not told with whom, but not Improbably 
with O'Connor Don, kindred in lineage but at 
frequent strife, and in too great proximity to be at 
peace. This year Magnus endured a severe defeat 
at Traigh Eathuill-int-sair. His Galloglachs, to the 
number of 150, were slain, and at their head fell 
Donald, son of Somerled, and Donald Og his son.^ 
After this the command of O'Connor's Galloglachs 
fell to the second son of Somerled, Somairle Og he 
is named in the Irish Annals. We find him in 1377 
suffering a defeat, and getting slain with many 
others by some unmentioned foe.^' He was appar- 
ently succeeded as O'Connor's captain by a third 
son of fSomerled, named Donald Og — this epithet 
being applied, we suppose, to distinguish him from 
his oldest brother Donald. The sole record of his 
history is that which chronicles his death in 1388. 
In this year Donald O'Connor made an incursion 
into the Lowlands of Connaught, devastating the 
country and burning Ard-an-Choillin and the island 
Loch Currigin. Donald Og MacDonald, Constaljle 
of O'Connor's Galloglachs, was slain on this excur- 
sion.^ On the death of Donald, Marcus, the fourth 
son of Somerled, took the command of O'Connor's 
Galloglachs. This succession of one brother to 
another, though most probably there were other 
surviving sons, is another instance of the law of 
Tanistry operating among the Irish Clan Donald. 
Marcus MacDonald held the command of the Gallo- 
glachs of O'Coinior for nine years. In 1397, 
hostilities broke out in the Province of Connaught, 
and on this occasion we are not left in doubt as to 

1 Annals of Loch Ce, vol. IL, p. 35. 

^ Annals of the Four Masters, vol IV., p. 669. 

^ Annals of Loch Ce, vol. IL, p. 35. 


the combatants, for the O'Connor Ptoe and the 
O'Connor Don, both of whose territories were in 
Koscommon, were at deadly feud. Marcus Mac- 
Donald w^as commander of the Galloglaohs under 
O'Connor Roe. M'Donough, a neighbouring chief 
of Sligo, went to the assistance of O'Connor Don, 
but w^as defeated with great slaughter. Thereupon 
O'Connor Don and M'Donough raised another army 
with the view of attacking and defeating O'Connor 
Roe. Dougall, one of the sons of Marcus, along with 
Felim, a son of Cathal Og O'Connor, visited Donegal 
to solicit the aid of O'Donnell in resisting the com- 
bined forces. The O'Donnell and the other chiefs 
of Tirconnell came to the assistance of the sons of 
Cathal Og O'Connor, and MacDonald, helping them 
to vanquish their foes and waste their country with 
fire and sword, and compelling them to give hostages 
in security for their behaviour in the future. 
Unfortunately for the O'Connors Roe and Mac- 
Donalds, the cam]3aign did not take end here. Tlie 
sons of Cathal Og, the people of Durnin, and Mac- 
Donald, Captain of Galloglachs, with their allies, 
were desirous of turning their victory to account by 
seizing part of their enemies' lands. Marching to 
Carberry, and ludting at Lissadill, in tlie country of 
the O'Donoughs, they set themselves to the task of 
spoliation and division. While thus engaged, the 
jealousies that tend to beget strife among con- 
federates attacked them. 1'hose who were united in 
battle quarrelled over the spoils of victory, and 
disunion proved their ruin. O'Donnell, the Chief of 
Donegal, appeared upon the scene with a small force 
of cavalry to settle the dispute, to hv followed by a 
number of Irisli clans, who assenil)lod in the interests 
of the defeated ( )'( 'oinior Don and M'Donougli. The 


cavalry of the sons of Cathal Og O'Connor advanced 
towards them on the way to Sligo. An arm of the 
sea was on their left hand, the stream of Bun 
Brenoige was on the right. A fierce and sanguinary 
battle ensued, of which the details have not been 
clearly recorded ; but which was fraught with 
disaster to the sons of Cathal Og, and in which 
Marcus MacDonald, O'Connor's Captain, and his son 
Dougall, were left dead upon tlie field with a large 
number of Galloglachs.' 

After the death of Marcus Macdonald, the last 
surviving son of Somerled, son of Alastair Og, of 
whom we have any account, his position as head of 
the house and as Captain of O'Connor's chosen 
warriors appears to have been taken by his son 
Somhairle Buidlie. Somerled, however, did not 
long survive his father. Brian O'Connor made a 
raid into Tir Oilella in 1398, the year following the 
death of Marcus, and was accompanied by Somerled ; 
but having been left by their own people with only 
a few companions, they were unexpectedly attacked 
by a superior force of the enemy, and the MacDonald 
Captain was slain at Cnoc-in-Crona, thus carrying 
out the fatal weird which so persistently followed 
his heroic race.' 

At this point we lose sight of the Clan Donald 
of Connaught as Galloglachs of the O'Connor chiefs, 
although it is probable that the alliance never alto- 
gether ceased until the Irisli Celtic system received 
its death-blow early in the seventeenth century. 
When the sixteenth century is far spent, the Annals 
and State Records again bring them into notice, but 
the references are so few, and the individuals who 
make history are so difficult to connect organically 

1 The ]<'our Masters, vul. \\ ., p. 7fi3. - Il.i.l, 


with the past or future of the race to which they 
belong, that the mere enumeration of names and 
dates could not be regarded as serving any useful 
purpose. Towards the end of the sixteenth century 
there also appear for the first time in the annals and 
records a branch of the Clan Donald of Connaught 
in Mayo, who are described as hereditary leaders of 
Galloglachs with the Burkes of that region. The 
same difficulty emerges in this connection also of 
constructing a clear and connected narrative, and we 
are constrained, so far as historical purposes are con- 
cerned, to part meanwhile with the Clan Donald of 
Mayo, merely reminding our readers in the j^assing 
that they, like the Captains of O'Connor's Gallo- 
glachs, are to be reckoned among the descendants of 
Alastair Og. 

We now return to the historical link which, in 
our opinion, connects the Clan Donald of Connaught 
with the sept or septs which flourished in the Pro- 
vince of Leinster. The descent of this branch has 
on all hands been admitted to be derivable from the 
Family of the Isles, but there is less unanimity as to 
the particular cliief of this extensive confederacy to 
whom it owes its origin. Irish genealogists of re})ute 
have traced them, with some show of reason, either 
to Angus Og or to his son, John of Isla. The 
deposed Alexander, Lord of the Isles, Angus Og's 
older l)rother, seems to have })assed so completely 
Ix^yond the ken of Irish and Highland Seanachies 
that his posterity has been almost entirely ignored 
in all attemjits to write the history of the Clan. 
We have, however, satisfied ourselves that Alastair 
Og's descendants established septs in Connaught, 
ana now we are about to show that the Clan Donald 
of Leinster are an offshoot of the same tribe. 


We have seen how Marcus MacDonald was slahi 
in battle in 1397, he being the last of the sons of 
Somerled of whom we possess any historical record, 
Irish and Scottish genealogists have expressed a 
variety of views as to the descent of this Marcus. 
It may be desirable at this stage to refer to a valu- 
able comj)ilation ^ prepared by members of the Family 
of Tynekill, a branch of the Leinster MacDonalds, 
and to which the present writers are indebted for 
useful and valuable information. The authors of 
this interesting pamphlet have follov/ed the most 
appioved Irish and Highland authorities in the 
development of their genealogical system, and have 
rightly deduced their origin from Marcus, to whom 
we have repeatedly referred. In estimating the 
descent of Marcus they have very naturally followed 
such authorities as Mac Firbis, who in turn has 
adopted the views of M'Vurich, the Seanachie of the 
Clanranald family. It must, however, be borne in 
mind that the M'Vurich history, while supremely 
valuable and trustworthy from about the beginning 
of the fifteenth centuiy as to the genealogy of the 
Clan, is somewhat confused and misleading on the 
more remote periods. In regard to our present 
subject, the Clanranald history is particularly unfor- 
tunate. It makes Angus Og the oldest son and heir 
of Angus Mor, and, as we have already observed, 
Alexander becomes a younger son, and the progenitor 
of the Clan Allister. The actual devolution of the 
family position upon the line of Angus Og makes 
Alexander, Lord of the Isles, and his posterity drop 
almost entirely out of sight. Not altogether, for 
Marcus seems to have come under M'Vurich's notice 
as an Irish MacDonald of Scottish descent, and 

^ Notes, Historical and Personal. 


nearly connected with the Island dynasty. Knuwinu- 
notliino- of Alexander, Lord of the Isles, M"Vurich 
not nnnaturally makes Marcus the grandson of his 
brother, Angus Og, and the son of John of Isla. 
M'Vurich, however, in imparting information about 
Marcus, shows that lie has unconsciously got an 
inkliiii-', but only an inklino-, of the truth. He tells 
US tliat Marcus was the progenitor of the Mac- 
Donalds of Cnoc-na-Cluith in Tyrone.^ But the 
Irish Annals place the fact entirely beyond dispute 
that the MacDonalds of Cnoc-na-Cluith were 
descendants of Alastair Og, the deposed Loid of 
the Isles ; and althougli it is not strictly correct to 
say tliat Marcus belonged to that branch of his 
descendants, yet it is true in the sense that he 
belonged to a line collateral with the hereditary 
Constables of ( )'Neill, who certainly resided at 
Cnoc-na-Cluith, and were the lineal descendants of 
Alastair Og. Finally, the true position of Marcus 
is confirmed by an entry in the genealogies of the 
Books of Ballymote and Leccan, which is couched 
in the following terms — " Marcus Mac Soniairle ride 
Alexander mic Angus Mor^ 

Having thus, we hope, determined the position 
of Marcus among the descendants of Alastair Og, 
\\e now jjroceed to trace the history of the race 
A\hich s^jrang from him. We are not aware that 
Dougall, the son of Marcus, who was slain when his 
father fell in 1397, or Somairle Buy, his other son, 
who was killed in battle the following year, left any 
pi'ogeny. It is })retty well authenticated, liowever, 
that the representation of the family was continued 
Ijy Charles, another son of Marcus, whose name is 

1 Ueliciui;u (Jelticiu, vol. U., p. 159. 


Oil record in some of the Irish Annals/ This 
Charles, or Toirdhealbhach, as the name appears in 
Irish Gaelic, is found, not like his father, in con- 
nection with the O'Connors, but as a Captain of 
Galloglachs under O'Kelly of the Maine, a region on 
the borders of Leitrim and Cavan. In 1419 we find 
O'Kelly and MacDiarmid of Magh Luirg collecting 
their hosts and making a raid into the district of 
Clanrickard. O'Kelly was accompanied by Charles 
MacDonald, the son of Marcus, as commander of his 
Galloglachs. M 'William Burke, the chief of Clan- 
rickard, met them with a large army at the mouth 
of Ath Lighen, gave battle and defeated his 
opponents with great slaughter. Charles Mac- 
Donald and his son escaped from the battle, and 
their connection with the O'Kellys appears to come 
to an end.'- It was probably soon after this that 
Charles, the son of Marcus, and his son John 
Carragh, migrated to Queen's County, in the 
Province of Leinster, in all probability accompanied 
by a goodly number of their tribe. Judging by the 
condition of things in Ireland during the fourteenth 
and fifteenth centuries, this settlement of the Clan 
Donald in Leinster is not hard to understand. The 
conquest of Ireland by England gave the latter 
country little administrative power over its internal 
affairs, and for a very long time anarchy was the 
chief result. The invasion of Ireland by Edward 
Bruce, seconded by his brother King Robert, spread 
ruin and desolation throughout a great part of 
Leinster, extensive districts of that province having 
become depopulated and cleared of the English 
settlers. During the fifteenth century England was 

^ Editorial Note by O'Douovau to Four Masters, vol V., p. 1641. 
- Aunals of Loch Ce, vol. IL, p. 149. 


too much engrossed in the settlement of matters 
between the rival Roses to look after the govern- 
ment of Ireland, and though perfunctory eftbrts 
Avere made to estabhsh law and order in the reign 
of llichard IL, these efforts were not sufficiently 
sustained to produce a lasting btnetit. These con- 
ditions rendered it easy for a strong and united 
sept to seize with impunity u})on lands whose legal 
owners had eitlier disap})eared or were nnable to 
vindicate their rights by physical force. Therefore, 
although we possess no detailed record of the 
manner in which the MacDonald migration irom 
C'onnaught to Leinster was actually carried out, Ave 
can well understand how the 23olitical and social 
conditions of the time rendered such a movement 
not only possible but easy. 

These settlers soon ac(juired a considerable tract 
of country at tlie base of tliose mountains of Leix 
and Wicklow, which furm part of the boundary of 
the English Pale, their lands in Wicklow being 
known for ages as the Clan Donald country. It is 
quite ])robable tliat the inliabitants of the English 
Pale acquiesced in these CHan Donald settlements 
ill their immediate neighbourliood upon conditions 
wiiich were in harmony with the spirit of the times, 
as well as witli the warlike character of the immi- 
grants. The Go\'ernment was unable to })rotect tlie 
English settlers in the occupancy or ownership of 
their lands, and the ovvners were compelled, in the 
interests of self-])reservation, to maintain jointly a 
military force. IleUimed in on all sides, except the 
w ( st, by turbulent and Avarlike tribes, this was the 
only |)o.ssible method of saving themselves from 
extinction. The position taken up by Charles Mac- 
Donald and his son John Carragh thus became 


defiiied by the necessities of their English neigh- 
bours. They became Constables of the Pale, or, to 
use a designation well known in Scottish history, 
wardens of the marches, and were thus permitted to 
approjDriate the extensive tract of country with 
which they were connected as proprietors for 
upwards of two hundred years. 

We learn from tlie Annals and public I'ecords 
that Dhree Clan Donald septs occupied the territory 
referred to, but it is not easy to determine their 
mutual relationship. It has been stated that these 
three Clan Donald sepcs of Leinster were all 
descended from C-harles, tlie son of Marcus, and 
although the evidence in proof of the statement is 
not particularly distinct in regard to two of them, 
we are not dis})osed to question its accuracy. At 
what particular })eriod they l)egan to develop sepr.rate 
tribal organisations is not particularly clear. What- 
ever may have been the genealogical position of the 
Clan Donald of liahin and Wicklow, ^ it is quite 
clear that the MacDonalds of Tynekill, apparently 
the most important of the three, were descended 
from Charles, the son of Marcus. ']'he ruined keep 
of the castle from wliich these Captains of Galioglachs 
guarded their own extensive domains, as well as the 
possessions of the Illnglish settlers, still stands in a 
state of comparative preservation. The surroundings 
of the ancient pile exemplify the character which 
gave it the name of Tynekill^ — the house of the wood 
— for a few " aged patriarchs" survive of the prim- 
eval forest, " venerable companions of the aged 
keep." - The architectural type of this interesting 

^ The hi.story of these two septs is too meagre to be dealt with satisfactorily 

ill this portion of the work. 

- Glimpses of the M'Donnells, by Sir E. Burrows, Bart. 


ivlic of the past points to the middle of the fifteenth 
century as being a})pioxiinately the period of its 
erection, and helps the antiquarian to calculate, if 
not the date of the MacDonald immigration, at any- 
rate the period of their advancement into property 
and position in Leinster. The groined ceiling and 
the finished execution of the ornamented portions 
presents a striking contrast to the rude fortresses 
which pre\^ail in the district. Through an aperture 
in the wall, covered by a flag, a concealed dungeon 
was discovered, which the surrounding Irish peasantry 
called the " murtherin hole.' The walls are of great 
thickness, 8 feet 8 inches at the base, and contain 
" curious recesses and j^assages, besides a winding 
stone stair to the summit still complete."^ The pos- 
session of so formida.ble and elaborately constructed 
a fortress is suggestive of power, wealth, and station 
on the part of its owners, though it is by no means 
unlikely that in view of the position of the (Jlan 
Donald on the borders of the English Pale, the 
English authorities may have partially borne the 
burden of its construction. The ruined fort of Tyne- 
kill no longer knows the race that erstwhile guarded 
its gates and mamied its battlements ; yet still it 
can recall to the mind of the historic student a day 
when, after the fashion of their sires of the princely 
House of Isla, the MacUonalds of Tynekill passed 
their time with antique chivalry and feudal 
splendour — 

" Seest thou you grey gleauiiug hall, 
Where the deep yew (shadows fall, 
Voiees that have left the earth loug ago 
Still are uuirmuriug rouud its hearth, soft aud low." 

^ Glimpses of the M'Di))iiiells, liy Sir E. Burrows, Bart. 


Charles, the son of Marcus, the first of the Clan 
Donald of Leinster, died, according to some of the 
Irish Annals, in 1435, and was succeeded by his son, 
John Carragh, who is described by the Annalists as 
" the best Captain of the English." ' This John 
Carragh was fighting in Offally in 1 466." This was 
the Ui-Failghe of early Irish history, the designation 
of an extensive territor}' in Leinster extending into 
the King's and Queen's counties and also into Kil- 
dare. John Carragh is said to have been slain in 
that year, and was succeeded by his son, Turlough 
Og, or young Charles, so called to distinguish him 
from his grandfather, Charles, the son of Marcus. 
Although this latter Charles was, during the last 
quarter of the fifteenth century, the head of the 
House of Tynekill, there is little light upon his life 
and times dei'ivable from the records of the age. 
We do not find any trace of him until the early 
years of the sixteenth century, when the Clan 
Donald of Leinster were at war with the Burkes of 
Mayo. The issues of the contest were disastrous to 
the Clan Donald, for in 1503 they were overtaken 
by a great and terrible overthrow, in which most of 
their Galloglachs were slain, and Turlough Og, their 
Captain, fell upon the field of battle.'^ 

After the death of Turlouo-h Go- in 1503, there is 
some obscurity as to the succession of the line of 
Tynekill, but after a careful examination of the 
authorities we have concluded that he was succeeded 
by John, who was succeeded by Turlough, who was 
in turn succeeded by Colla or Calvagh. Of the 
history of the two former there is very little on 

' Annals uf the Four Ma.ster.s, vol. V.. p. 1641, Editorial Note. 

- Annals of Dudley Firbise. 

•^ Ulster Journal of Aichteologj', vol. II., p. 34. 


record, and their position is only arrived at by a 
comparison of apparently conflicting anthorities. 
We find a trace of John, son of Turloni;h Oi,^ 
however, several years after his father's death. In 
1514, Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare, was at war with 
the O'Moores, an ancient sept of Wexford, and 
destroyed their Castle of Ciuilentragh. The Earl 
had the assistance of the MacDonalds of Tynekill, 
who on this occasion lost their chief, the Annals of 
Loch Ce recording the fatality in these terms : — 
" The son of Toirdhelbhach Og MacDomhnaill, 
Constable of Galloglasses, was killed by the 
Laighes."^ The Clan Donald of Tynekill seem to 
have been much associated with the Fitzgeralds 
whenever there was fighting to be done ; and in 
1522 we find them following the Earl of Kildare 
to the assistance of O'Neill in his strnggle with 
O'Donnell. O'Neill suffered a severe defeat, and 
many of the MacDonald Galloglachs of Leinster 
were slain. '^ As we have seen, John, the son of 
Turlough Og, was succeeded by another Turlough, 
but of this latter we can say nothing beyond the 
fact tliat he carried on the representation of the 
family. After this last Turlough, however, we come 
into a region of well-authenticated fact, and the 
position of the family of Tynekill and the functions 
of the Captains of Galloglachs become more or less 
clearly defined in the public records of the time. 
In 15G2 Queen Elizabeth gave Coll or Calvagh 
MacDonald, the then representative of the family, 
a gi-ant of the town and lands of Tynekill, 
amounting to 1)98 acres, though this was only a 
small fraction of the estates which were afterwards 
enjoyed l)y his descendants.'' For tliis grant Coll 

1 Ulster Journal of Aicli;oology, vol. II., p. 219. -' Ibid, p. 237. 
•* Notes Historieal and Personal, p. 9. 


was bound to pay a Crown rent of £12 9s Od — a 
considerable cess in those days — and also to main- 
tain 12 Galloglachs for military service. He was 
also empowered to hold at Tynekill a Court Baron 
and Leet as of the Manor of Tynekill, and a weekly 
market and fair on two days annually, viz., on the 
21st and 22nd September.^ We also learn that on 
the same date Hugh Boy, his oldest son and heir, 
received a patent of the land of Acregar, amounting 
to 320 acres, for which he paid a Crown rent of 
£3 18s Od, and was bound to keep 4 Galloglachs.- 
Coll MacDonald and his son were the first to be 
installed formally as Galloglachs under the English 
Crown, and they were expected upon sufficient 
warning to attend upon the Governor of Ireland or 
his Deputy, and " to go upon any Irishmen border- 
ing upon the foresaid countrie." It is hardly to 
be supposed that 16 foot soldiers, though heavily 
armed, would fully represent the military strength 
of the Tynekill MacDonalds. This must be regarded 
as the miniininn number required by the conditions 
of their tenure from the Crown, though IG Gallo- 
glachs are to be considered as equivalent to a much 
larg'^r force of the more slenderly equipped Irish 
kenies, being the gi-enadiers, so to speak, of the 
armed bands. 

In 1570 we find Calvagh MacDonald of Tynekill 
acting in the capacity of Constable of Her Majesty's 
Galloglachs, and on 21st June of that year he is, 
aloi\g with his two sons, Hugh Boy and Alexander, 
at the head of their forces, supporting Burke, Earl 
of Clanricard, at the siege of Shrule, in Mayo.^ It 
appears that Coll^ was slain during these offensive 

' Ulster Journal of Archfeology, vol. II., p. 34. - Ibid. 

* The Four Master.?, vol. V., p. 1641. 

■* Coll is the equivalent of the Irish Calvagh. 


operations. Hugh Boy, or, as he was also styled, 
Hugh Roe, succeeded his father as head of Tynekill 
and Captain of Her Majesty's Galloglachs. Not- 
withstanding liis connection with the English as 
conmiander of one of their frontier gairisons, the 
rianie of liis loyalty hnriied with a very flickering 
gleam, for the pnhlic lecoids hear fre([nent testimony 
to his insubordination and subsequent pardon Tn 
the interval between his father's death, in 1570, and 
the year i575, his rebellious attitude towards the 
English power is borne out by tlie fact tliat in the 
latter year he received a pardon, though we are 
not informed of the precise nature of his oflience.^ 
Shortly afterwards his loyalty again faded like a 
summer cloud, for in 1577 Tynekill was forfeited, 
and granted by the ( -rown to Bernard Fitzpatrick, 
a clear indication of wavering allegiance on the part 
of the redoubtable Hugh Boy, but here again we 
are somewhat in the dark as to the character of 
the Cliieftain's guilt." The same year his younger 
brother, Alexander, was slain before Galway, pos- 
sibly in connection with the disturbances which 
resulted in Hugh Boy's forfeiture.^ It was one 
thing, however, to alienate Tynekill on parchment 
and (juite another to oust Hugli Boy, whose grip of 
the ancestral acres and his powerful fortress was not 
to be lightly removed, and it is clear from the 
history of the troubled years that filled up the last 
generation of the sixteenth century, that the Mac- 
Donald Cliief survived unscathed all the political 
complications througli which he ])assed. That so 
great an offender against the Elizabethan authority 
in Ireland shoidd have esca])ed with his head, is a 

1 Notes, Hist.i.u-ul ;iiul l'<Ts.,i,al. p. I-'!. ' ll.i.l. 

■■' Ulster .I.n.nial ,<( Aicli;iM,l,,oy. vol. II.. ].. :i4. 


fact that testifies to the exceeding languor of the 
executive, as well as to the formidable character 
of the dehncjueiit. 

During the time of Hugh Boy of Tynekill, he, 
with the other Clan Donald Captains of Leinster, 
experienced a variety of changes wrought by the 
English power in the feudal })osition of the Irish 
Galloglachs. In 1578, shortly after his many 
pardons, Hugh Boy received a new indenture to 
serve as a Captain of one of Her Majesty's three 
septs of Galloglachs. This new indenture marked a 
change in the military position of the Clan Donald 
of Leinster, and the departure thus made implied the 
need for strengthening the Queen's forces upon the 
borders of the English Pale. By the new agreement 
they covenanted to serve Her Majesty with 90 
Galloglachs, that is 30 for each sept, a much larger 
band than was stipulated for in the indenture of 
1562.^ It is probable that a further grant of land 
was given in lieu of the fresh responsibilities 
incurred by the Clan Donald of Leinster, but of this 
there is no direct evid^^nce. 

In 1579 the Clan Donald Captains received a 
summons from the Lord Deputy and Council to put 
themsslves in readiness for war."' Fitzgerald, Earl 
of Desmond, and his brothers, representing an 
ancient family in Munster, were at that time in 
rebellion against the English, and had been pro- 
claimed traitors. The MacDonald warriors of Lein- 
ster were charged to appear at the rendezvous at 
Carrigh, by the 25th November following, when the 
Earl of Ormond was to take command of all the 
Queen's forces in the field, to punish the rebellious 
Desmonds. This outbreak on the part of the six- 

1 Carew Papers, vol. III., p. 168. -' Ibk], 


teenth Earl of Desmond appears to have come to no 
settlement until as late as 1584, in which year he, 
with 38 Captains and 747 of his following, were put 
to the sword as traitors. The fact that Desmond 
was Ormond's stepfather won him no mercy at the 
victor's hands. 

In the eleventh Parliament of Queen Elizaheth, 
the system of coyne and liver}^ by which fi'om 
distant times Irish Galloglaclis were wont to be 
maintained, was abolished and commuted for an 
annual payment in money. Though the Clan 
Donald Galloglachs of Leinster were, latterly, in the 
employment of the English Government, the ancient 
system of provision for their upkeep was continued 
in force until 1598. In 1508 a new indenture was 
formulated between the Lord Deputy and the Clan 
Donald Captains in terms that were highly flattering 
to the loyalty of Siol Ch^iinn to the English Crown, 
this particular form of loyalty not having always 
been conspicuous by its presence in that illustrious 
race. It was stated that because of "that auntient 
continual fydelitie loyalty and true service of the 
cept, gent, sept of the syde Clan Donald always 
borne and done towards Her Majestic and her most 
worthy progenitors, the bonaght, touren, deadpayes 
and blackmail heretofore bared shall be connnuted 
into a yearly pension of £300 to H.M. Exchequer."^ 
Their duties were to be unchanged. They were to 
undertake no service against the Queen, but were to 
do in her service all that was expected of Gallo- 
glaciis, such as assaulting the castles and fortresses 
of the disloyal, and taking such other duties in the 
field as the circumstances of the time might demand. 

' Ulster .I.)Ui-nal of An-lucology. vo]. II.. p. .34. 


Not long after the eulogium upon the " auntient 
continual fydelitie" of the Clan Donald of Leinster, 
there is much reason to fear that Hugh Boy of 
Tynekill, with the other ]\IacDonald Captains, 
quitted for a season the prudent paths of loyalty. 
Towards the end of the sixteenth century, the 
rebellion of Hugh O'Neill was threatening to over- 
whelm the English power in Ireland. After the 
death of Shane O'Neill, his kinsman Hugh, son of 
the Baron of Dungannon, assumed the title of Earl 
of Tyrone with the consent of the English Govern- 
ment. In 1597, however, he assumed a much more 
ancient, and distinctly more dangerous designation, 
namely, the O'Neill. It was one of those cases in 
which there is much in a name. We who know the 
devotion of the Western Clans of Scotland to the 
very title Lord of the Isles, and how dangerous this 
sentimental attachment often proved to the State, 
can understand the motives of policy which banned 
as unlawful a title like O'Neill, round which 
clustered so many traditional glories. O'Neill was 
a name to conjure with in the North of Ireland, and 
therefore must be suppressed. Thus it was that 
Hugh O'Neill, in assuming the immemorial title, was 
guilty of an act of rebellion. But he went further. 
The assumption of the dignity was but a symbol of 
active resistance to the power of the alien. He 
unfurled his banner and gathered round him not 
only those of his own name and lineage, but the 
minor sej)ts who owed him vassalage and sympa- 
thised with resistance to England, such as the 
Magennisses, Macmahons, and MacDonalds. The 
Clan Donald of Leinster took action along with the 
O'Moores, a neighbouring sept, on the side of the 
Earl of Tyrone. Tyrone was victorious in various 



engagements, and the Earl of Essex was despatched 
to Ireland by Queen Elizabeth to cope Avith the 
formidable rising and have the chance of rehabili- 
tating a somewhat shattered reputation, but he was 
only successful in taking a fresh step in the down- 
ward path of disgrace. The insurrection was quelled 
by his successor, and Hugh Boy MacDonald of Tyne- 
kill, who had been an actor in the drama of rebellion, 
was not forsaken by his former luck, and was 
fortunate in obtaining a free pardon. 

In October, 1604, a further change was produced 
in the position of the Leinster Captains of Gallo- 
glachs. It was decided by the Lord Deputy and 
Council that the office of Captain of Galloglachs, 
and the fees — £100 per sept — connected therewith, 
as settled by Sir Henry Sidney in 1598, should cease 
with the death of the present patentees, as it was 
doubtless felt that the " fydelitie " once lauded had 
proved not too reliable when the day of temptation 
came round. ^ In 1608 it appears that a further 
modification of the emoluments was contemplated by 
the Lord Dejouty and Council. They proposed to 
compound for the annual joension of £300 to the 
three septs by payment of a capital sum of £400 in 
" silver harps," and a payment of 12d a day during 
life to each of the three Captains. To all appearance 
this proposal fell through, as did also another in 
1611 ^ to reduce the £300 to £227, and it seems 
quite clear that when Hugh Boy MacDonald of 
Tynekill died, in 1618, the indenture of 1598 was 
still in force. In the Inquisition after his death, 
Hugh Boy is described as Lord of the Manor of 
Tynekill, Ballycrassel, and other lands more minutely 
detailed, as well as of the lands of Acregar, 1310 

1 C'alciKlar of Tiish Stale Pa])ers ad tcnipm. - Ibid. 


acres being the extent as estimated by the Govern- 

Hugh Boy MacDonald was succeeded as Lord of 
Tynekill and Captain of Her Majesty's Galloglachs 
by his son Fergus. Unlike his father, the loyalty of 
Fergus ajopears to have suifered no eclipse. Whether 
it was that his lot was cast in quieter times, or that 
he was himself of a more tranquil nature, sure it is 
that Fergus manufactured no history, and left no 
rebellious footprints on the pathway of these nine- 
teen years. During his time the crown rent was 
raised from £12 9s 6d to £13 19s 6d, while he was 
bound to keep twelve Galloglachs at Tynekill, and 
two horsemen but no Galloglachs for Acregar.- It 
is noticeable that the number of Galloglachs to be 
kept is much less than it was in 1578, when it was 
fixed at 30, while the position of Tynekill as a 
barony, after the fashion of a Highland lordship 
before 1745, was continued as settled in the days of 
his grandfather. 

Fergus of Tynekill died in 1637, and was suc- 
ceeded by his son James, upon whom a double 
portion of the restless sjDirit of his grandfather 
appears to have descended. He was a youth of 
twenty, and married, when he became Lord of 
Tynekill. Shortly after his succession he received a 
new patent of the Manor of Tynekill and the other 
lands possessed by his ancestors.^ The extent is 
still stated at 998 acres for the chief manor, but it 
is noticeable that Acregar is put down at 647 acres, 
as distinguished from the old figures, which were 
312. There is evidence here of loose reckoning on 
the part of the Government, which evidently made 

^ Ulster Journal of ArehECology, vol. II., p. 34. - Ibid. 

^ Notes Historical and Persooal. 


no survey of the lands in question, and while 998 
acres may have been a correct estimate of the extent 
of Tynekill proper, that figure must have largely 
underestimated the real extent of the territories 
actually possessed for generations. It was not the 
business of the grantees to limit the elasticity of the 
Government calculations as to the area of these 
family possessions, and we quite agree with the 
opinion that the 30 townlands confirmed to James, 
the son of Fergus, in 1637, and probably owned by 
his ancestors for generations, must have amounted 
to considerably over 10,000 acres. 

Four years after the accession of James Mac- 
donald of Tynekill, he became involved in those 
terrible political complications which darken the 
middle of the seventeenth century. The history of 
Ireland during the Great Rebellion has been written 
with much picturesqueness of detail by the eminent 
modern writer who elevated Henry VIII. to the 
rank of a great historical hero. Unfortunately for 
the value of his conclusions, his preconceived views 
of Irish character and history mar the cogency of 
his main historical induction.^ The dej)Ositions 
upon which his general estimate is based constitute, 
no doubt, a dreadful indictment against a nation, 
but these depositions were brought forward entirely'' 
from the prosecutor's side, and the dark shadows of 
the picture might be considerably relieved could the 
rebels have said with effect, audi alteram ■paHem. 
That racial hatred, religious rancour, and the despair 
induced by the fear of national extinction played 
a chief and tragic part in the movement which 
resulted in the confederacy of Irish Catholics cannot 
be gainsaid. If excesses and brutalities were com- 

' J. A. Frnurle in Tlie Kiiirlisli in I.-Han.l, 


mitted in the less civilised regions, these can be 
explained if they cannot be condoned. It was the 
uprising of a race and of a creed against what was 
believed to be an attempt to introduce by force the 
new religion, and to rob the ancient families of their 
ancestral acres. Hungry English courtiers were 
casting greedy eyes upon the soil of Ireland, and 
the domestic troubles which for a season rent the 
English power in twain prevented the King from 
holding the scales of justice impartially among his 
Irish subjects. 

In 1641, when the Great Rebellion broke out, 
James MacDonald of Tynekill, though only 24 years 
of age, became a colonel of the Confederated 
Catholics, and cut a conspicuous figure in the 
transactions of that calamitous time. By a pro- 
clamation issued by the Lords Justices on February 
8th, 1641, James's lands were confiscated for his 
rebellious conduct, while a free pardon with £400 
were offered to anyone who would bring his head to 
the Government. In this proclamation he was 
specially identified as " James Mac Fergus Mac 
Donnell."^ He was visited at Tynekill by the 
Marquis of Antrim in 1642, and the Marquis, who 
certainly took no part in the rebellion, but tried to 
moderate its effects, came under such suspicion 
through his intercourse with so noted a rebel that 
in after years it took him all his time to re-establish 
his character for loyalty to the satisfaction of the 
Government." Colonel James's name is in the list of 
leaders of the General A.ssembly of the Irish Con- 
federation, printed at Waterford in 1644. He is 
also mentioned in a memorandum of the available 

^ Historical and Personal Notes, p. 14. 
^ Hill's Macdonalds of Antrim, pp. 327-8. 


forces as having 1000 men, 200 of whom were 
armed. Towards the end of the rebelHon his 
attitude proves him to liave been one of the most 
stubborn and determined in his resistance to the 
English power. In 1648, the more moderate 
members of the Cathohc Confederation, who seem 
to have been in the majority, and to have finally 
prevailed, proposed to come to terms with Ormond 
the Lord Deputy. Against this conciliatory policy 
several of the leaders signed a protest, and among 
those who thus preferi-ed to fight to the bitter end 
was Colonel James MacDonald of Tynekill. James 
seems to have escaped the capital penalty of rebellion, 
but there is a singular lack of evidence as to his life 
after the turbulent events of his early days. Mr 
Hill, the historian of Antrim, hazards the view that 
the family went northwards, and dwelt for a time 
in Antrim, a conjecture based upon the fact that the 
last title to the estates of Tynekill granted to James 
in 1637 was depostited in Glenarm Castle.^ The 
forfeiture of the estate w^as never withdrawn ; but 
from an in(|uisition of 1679, April 17th, it appears 
that under a decree of 1664, May 15th, Margaret, 
the wife of James, was allowed to retain her dowry 
rights upon the land.^ Col. James' death would 
probably have taken ])lace shortly before the latter 

This closes the history of the Tynekill famil}^ as 
a territorial family in Queen's County ; but the 
history of the race does not cease with the loss of 
the patrimonial acres, and we fortunately do not lose 
the historical thread after the inheritance of their 
fathers passes out of their hands. It was probably 

' The MacDonalds of Antrim, ]>. o27. 

'■^ Historical and Personal Notes. (Tliw re^t of thi« chapter is mainly 
taken frum these notes). 


after the death of James that the family embraced 
the Protestant faith, to which they have since his 
time been consistently attached. As already seen, 
his widow was protected in the enjoyment of her 
dowry by the Government that forfeited her 
husband's property, and it was probably through 
pressure from the powers that were that she was 
induced to join the dominant church. 

James of Tynekill was succeeded in the repre- 
sentation of his family by his son Fergus Charles. 
Of his early life we know absolutely nothing, 
though, as already hinted, it may probably have 
been led under the protection of the Earl of 
Antrim. In 1690 Charles Fergus migrated to 
Wicklow, and took upon lease the farm of Coolavin, 
a townland in that county. Its extent is 398 acres 
3 roods 10 poles. It is situated half-a-mile north of 
Newrath Bridge, lying between the Dublin Road 
and the Broad Hough or long tidal water that runs 
for three or four miles close along the shore and 
next the railway from Wicklow. The family 
occupied this holding for 67 years. 

Fergus Charles was succeeded by his son Charles. 
The latter left Coolavin in 1746, and migrated to 
County Meath, where he entered on the possession 
of another holding named Baytown, in the Barony 
of Dunboyne. Upwards of 100 years had elapsed 
since the forfeiture of Tynekill, but before quitting 
his home in Wicklow, Charles is said to have 
cherished the hope that, by application to the 
Crown, the family estates might be restored. With 
this expectation he is said to have visited London 
in 1739, where he was received with such courtesy 
by the King that, in token of his loyalty to this 
representative of the Guelph dynasty, he named his 


youngest son George. No material success appears 
to have rewarded his efforts, either for the restora- 
tion of Tynekill or for obtaining compensation in 
heu thereof Charles Macdonald of Baytown died 
on 7th May, 1767, and was buried at Kilbride. He 
left a large family of sons and daughters, and his 
oldest son, Francis, succeeded him in the larger 
portion of Baytown, his son, Cornelius, occupying 
the smaller share, the whole consisting of 352 acres. 
It appears that, although Francis left a family of 
four sons, the male representation of the family in 
his hne became extinct in the second generation, 
and we have to look for the transmission of the main 
lir.e of Tynekill to Richard, the second son of 
Charles, and his posterity. 

Richard MacDonald was born at Coolavin in 
1729. Being a younger son, he did not settle 
down at Baytown as his father's successor, but 
removed to Peacockstown, in County Meath, where 
he resided for a considerable number of years. 
Peacockstown is situated on the Dublin road to 
Ratoak, about 2^ miles south-east of that city. It 
consists of 254 acres, 1 rood, 34 poles. In its near 
neighbourhood was Kilrue House, then tlie residence 
of Mr George Lowther, M.P., at one time the lather 
of the Irish House of Commons, and with whom the 
MacDonald family were on terms of great intimacy. 
Through Mr Lowther's Parliamentary influence, 
Robert, the second son of Mr Richard MacDonald 
of Peacockstown, received a Revenue appointment 
in the city of Cork. In 1797 Richard MacDonald 
appears to have left Peacockstown for Cork, where 
he lived in the liouse of his son Robert until his 
death in 1805. Charles MacDonald, Richard's oldest 
son, died without issue, having survived his father 


by only a year, and, consequently, the representa- 
tion of tlie family of Tynekill devolved upon Robert 
MacDonald, already referred to as an official in 
connection with the Revenue Department in Cork. 
Robert is said to have been in his earlier days a 
man of substantial means, and contemplated retire- 
ment from business, but his latter years were clouded 
by financial adversity, owino^ to the fall in prices 
accompanying the close of the Peninsular War. 
He died on 23 rd Februar3^ 1821. 

We have seen that since the Tynekill family lost 
their estates in the Great Rebellion they pursued 
the even tenor of their way, secluded from the 
storm of war which in past ages beat upon their 
sires, and therefore their annals have been some- 
what uneventful and obscure. We are not, however, 
to suppose that the energy and enterprise of the 
race became extinct or even dormant. Among the 
progeny of Roljert MacDonald of the second and 
third generations, the characteristics which gave 
lustre to the line of Alastair Og are displayed in 
new fields of interest, not only upon the path of 
martial glory, but in the varied spheres of academic 
and political renown. Robert MacDonald was suc- 
ceeded as head of tlie Tynekill branch by his oldest 
son, Richard, whose distinguished career is so inti- 
mately associated with the university of his country's 
capital. Richard MacDonald entered Trinity College, 
Dublin, at an early age, and became a Fellow of that 
institution in 1808, just as he had completed his 
twenty-first year. In 1813 he received the degree 
of LL.D., and commenced to study for the bar. He 
seems to have completed his legal studies, and to 
have qualified, if not practised, as a barrister ; but, 
whether the profession proved uncongenial or not, 
his legal career soon terminated, and he took holy 


orders. Though a Protestant in religion, and an 
upholder of the legislative union between Great 
Britain and Ireland, his attitude on political ques- 
tions was broad and generous. In token of this, we 
find him in 1814 signing a petition in favour of 
Catholic Emancipation, and there is evidence that, 
notwithstanding political differences, he was a fast 
friend of the celebrated Daniel O'Connell, whose 
acquaintance he had formed in the course of his 
legal pursuits. On the 24th January, 1852, the 
Earl of Clarendon, then Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, 
appointed him to the honourable post of Provost of 
Trinity College, an ofHce which he held as long as he 
lived. He died in the Provost's official residence on 
the 24th January, 18G7, in his 80th year, and such 
was the esteem in which he was held in Dublin, that 
his obsequies were publicly observed by his fellow- 
citizens when his remains were consigned to their 
last resting-place in the vault of Trinity Chapel. 
Robert, the oldest son of the Rev. Richard 
MacDonald, Provost of Trinity College, after a 
distinguished University course, died at Sorrento 
Cottage on 21st June, 1833, and was buried at 
Bray. He thus pre-deceased his father by many 
years, and upon the Provost's death, in 1867, the 
representation of tlie ftimily devolved upon the 
second son, Richard Graves MacDonald. 

This distinguished scion of the race of Alastair 
0(j was born in 1814, at 2G Harcourt Street, Dublin. 
After graduating at Trinity College, and taking a 
legal course, he was called in 1838 to the Irish, 
and in 1842 to the English Bar. His career as a 
l)arrister was destined to be brief, and it was his lot 
to achieve distinction in other and more eventful 
fields. In 1843, while still under thirty years of 


age, he received the appointment of* Chief-Justice of 
Gambia Settlement, a dependency of the Colony of 
Sierra Leone. While at home on furlough in 1846, 
Daniel O'Connell, his father's former friend, appealed 
to the Colonial Secretary, Sir Benjamin Hawes, for 
an extension of his leave, on the ground of the 
tediousness of his homeward voyage, and the pesti- 
ferous nature of the climate of Gambia. In the 
course of O'Connell's letter to the Colonial Secretary, 
he speaks of MacDonald as " a gentleman of great 
talent, considerable energy, and perseverance.'"' 
That the warm advocacy of his cause by the 
Irish political veteran was not unacceptable in 
high quarters, may be gathered from the fact 
that Richard MacDonald returned to Gambia the 
following year in the capacity of Governor of the 
Settlement. This post he filled for about five years, 
after which he was for a short time Governor of St 
Lucia and St Vincent. His capacity for rule was 
notably appreciated by the British Government, 
when in 1854 he was appointed Governor of South 
Australia. In 1855 he was in Britain, and on the 
28th November of that year was knighted by the 
Queen in Buckingham Palace, in recognition of his 
distinguished services in Her Majesty's Colonial 
Empire. His tenure of Office as Governor of 
South Australia was signalized by an event of 
great importance in the history of that Colony, 
namely, the charter of its Constitution as a free, 
self-governing dependency, which bears the date, 
27th October, 1856. Sir Pvichard gave his name to 
the MacDonald Eange of Mountains, 23 deg. S, 
Latitude, and to the MacDonald Port and District, 
37 deg. S. Latitude, while Lake Blanche and Cape 
Blanche derived their names from Lady Macdonald. 


Ill 1864 Sir Richard was Governor of Nova Scotia, 
but, owing to the changes which followed the 
confederation of the British Provinces into the 
Dominion of Canada, he resigned. In 1866 he 
became Governor of Hong Kong, an appointment 
which he held till 1872, when he finally retired 
from public life. There is an element of poetical 
justice in the fact that this descendant of James 
MacDonald of Tynekill, who strove with might and 
main to ruin the power of England in the 17th 
century, should, with no less strength of purpose, 
and with greater success, have done so much in the 
19th century to rule and consolidate the Empire of 
our Queen. He died at Hyeres, a town in the 
south of France, on February 5th, 1881. 

Sir Ptichard Graves MacDonald having died 
without issue, the representation of the family 
devolved upon Hercules Henry Graves MacDonald, 
the present head of the House of Tynekill, who was 
l^orn in Lower Baggot Street on January 3, 1819. 
He entered Trinity College in 1835, where he won 
a large share of the academic distinction which 
reflected honour on so many of the modern family 
of Tynekill. During his university course he gained 
several gold medals, winning special honours in 
Classics, Mathematics, Ethics, and Logic. In 1842 
he was called to the Irish Bar, and in 1846 to the 
English Bar at Lincoln's Inn. In 1S53 he was 
appointed Ilegistrar of the Court of Bankruptcy, 
Dublin, and on the 11th October, 1854, he became 
Secretary to tlie Commissioners of Charitable Dona- 
tions and Befjuests for Ireland, an ajjpointment which 
he held until his retirement from professional and 
public life in 1885. His patriotic interest in his 
native land was shown in 1864, when he visited the 


principal towns in Europe for the Dublin Interna- 
tional Exhibition, which took place the following 
3^ear, The head of Tynekill is a man of large 
sympathies and cultured tastes. He was among 
the founders of the University Choral Society in 
1836, and in 1856 he took part in reorganising the 
Royal Irish Academy of Music, of which he was 
Honorary Secretary for twenty years. In 1864 he 
joined in founding the Strollers' Club, and from 
1885 to 1895 arranged and edited their collections 
of ninety-seven male part songs. He is thus seen 
to have interests wider than the mere narrow groove 
of business and professional life, and h?.s proved 
himself resohite in upholding the traditions of a 
land ever famed for song and minstrelsy. He pos- 
sesses in a large degree the kindly warmth of the 
Celtic nature, a virtue which has always blossomed 
luxuriantly on Irish soil, and he is second to none 
in his loyalty to the great traditions of his race and 
name. He has attained already to a patriarchal 
age ; but we hope his days may yet be long in the 
land which has for so many ages l)een the home of 
his heroic ancestry. 

Other members of Provost MacDonald's family 
have attained to military distinction. Two of these 
died in the flower of their youth, and in the service 
of their Queen and country. The heroism of these 
two descendants of Alastair Og is enshrined on a 
tablet erected to their memory in Monkstown 
Church, County Dublin, which may be a|3propri- 
ately quoted here : " Sacred to the memory of two 
gallant brothers, the beloved sons of the Rev. 
Richard MacDonnell, Provost, T.C.D. Charles 
Eustace MacDonnell, Capt. and Brevet-Major in 
H.M. 29th Regiment, He served in the campaigns 


of the Sutledge and the Punjab, and fought in the 
battles of Ferozeshah, Sabraon, Chilhanwallah, 
Goojerat. His health sank from the effects of 
continued active service under the sun of India, 
and from a severe wound received in storming the 
entrenched camp at Sobraon. He expired at Chat- 
ham August 5, 1853, aged 29 years. 

"Frederick James MacDonnell, of the 14th 
Bengal Native Infant r3\ After the mutiny of 
that regiment he was attached to the 2nd Punjab 
Cavalry, and rose to be second in command of that 
corps. Having distinguished himself in twenty 
engagements, he was killed in a charge of cavalry 
at Korsee, near Lucknow, March 23, 1858, aged 
25 years." 

The commanding officer, reporting to the Provost 
of Trinity the death of his gallant son, Frederick 
James, concludes his letter with this encomium : 
" The service never lost a more gallant soldier ; no 
regiment a more zealous and efficient officer. He 
was beloved and admired for his many good quali- 
ties." JDulce ct decorum est pro patria mori. 

The youngest son of the Provost is Arthur Robert 
MacDonald, Major-General, KE., and J.P., County 
Nairn. General MacDonald entered the Royal 
Military Academy, Woolwich, in 1851, and was 
gazetted R.E. in 1854. In 1861 he served in the 
Abyssinian Expedition under Sir Robert Napier, 
for which he received the rank of Brevet-Major. 
He commanded the Bombay Sappers in the action 
of Aroga and the capture of Magdala, and was 
mentioned in the official despatch as having rendered 
valuable and important services. He retired in 
1884 with the rank of Major-General. Though the 
modern vsDvesentatives of Alastair Og have shone 


In the arts of peace, the flame of martial ardour 
burns as brightly still as it did in the breasts of 
Hugh Boy and James of Tynekill. The Clan 
Donald of former times sent more of its sons to the 
field of battle than to the peaceful arena of 
ecclesiastical life ; but times are changed, and we are 
changed with them. Two of the sons of the late 
Provost attained to distinction in their father's 
vocation — the Rev. Eonald MacDonald, D.D., who 
died in 1889, and the Rev. John Cotter MacDonald, 
D.D., who still survives. The latter has filled a 
variety of positions in the Episcopal Church of 
Ireland, and in 1891 was appointed Proctor to the 
Convocation of Canterbury, an office which he still 
holds. In 1896 he published the " Life and Corres- 
pondence of Archbishop Magee," one of the most 
brilliant orators of an eloquent nation, a work that 
has been received with much public favour. 





The Early History of Arduamurchan. — John Sprangach, son of 
Angus Mor, Lord of the Isles, progenitor of the Macdonalds 
of Avdnamnrchan. — Charter by David II. to Angus Mac- 
donald of Ardnamurchan. — Alexander of Ardnamiu'chan at 
Harlaw. — John of Ardnamurchan and the Frasers of Lovat. — 
John at Tnverlochy. — For his Services receives a Gift of 
Lands from Alexander, Lord of the Isles. — Charter of Lands 
in Islay to John Brayach. — His Support of the Royal 
Authority. — Maclain and the Macdonalds of Dunnyveg. — 
Maclain and Sir Alexander Macdonald of Lochalsh. — Quarrel 
over Lands of Sunart with Clanranald. — Quarrel with the 
Macleans. — Maclain at Flodden. — Quarrel with Alexander of 
Isla. — Invasion of Ardnamurchan and Death of Maclain and 
his Sons. — The Maclains and the Campbells. — James Mac- 
donald of Dunnyveg receives a Crown Charter of Ardna- 
murchan. — Maclain at Blarlcine. — Maclain and the Second 
Rebellion of Donald Dubh. — Quarrel with the Macleans. — 
The Marriage of Maclain to the Dowager Lady of Dowart 
and its consequences. — Maclain and the Rebellion of 
Tyrone. — Maclain Mui'dered at Sunart by his Uncle 


Donald. — iNIacleans defeated by the Camerous and Maclains 
at Morven. — The Maclains and the Campbells. — Mr Donald 
Campbell obtains a lease of Ardnamnrchan from Argyle. — 
His cruel conduct. — Invasion of Arduamurchan by Young 
Clanranald. — The Clan Jain rebel, break loose, and take to 
piracy. — The Maclains of Ruthven. 

The lands of Ardnamurchan may be said, with 
great probability, to have formed part of the 
original mainland jDatrimony of the Clan Cholla. 
It is in this district, or, at all events, in that of 
which it formed a part, that we find Somerled 
appearing, according to the Seanachies, and accom- 
plishing his first victory over the Norsemen. We 
find it referred to as far back as the time of 
Adamnan, Abbot of lona in the 7th century, 
who, in his life of St Cohimba, describes his great 
predecessor as having on one occasion made a 
journey through it — per asperam et saxosam 
regimiem quae dicitur Ardaimdrcliol} When the 
district of Lorn was erected into a Sheriffdom by 
King John Baliol in 1292, it included the lands of 
Ardenmuirich." This is the first reference we find 
to the lands of Ardnamurchan in any public record, 
but it is not said who the possessor then was. 
There appears to be no doubt that these lands 
formed part of Garmoran, the patrimony given to 
Angus MacSomerled of Bute, on whose death, and 
that of his sons, they passed over to Roderick, the 
son of Reginald. But they did not remain long in 
the possession of the Macruaries. About the middle 
of the 13th century the lands appear to have formed 
part of the Lordship of Lorn, and to have been thus 
for a brief period in the possession of the Mac- 
Dougals. But King Alexander III. stripped John 

'■ Adorn. Vit. Columbae. - Acts of the Pari, of Scotland. 



of Lorn of Ardnamiirchan and other lands, he 
having made himself obnoxious to that monarch. 
According to the History of Clanranald, these were 
bestowed on Angus Mor Macdonald, Lord of the 
Isles ; but whether that chief got possession of the 
lands or not it appears that in 1309, wdien Robert L 
granted a charter of Ardnamurchan with other lands 
to Angus Og, it formed part of the forfeited estates 
of the Lord of Lorn. The lands of Ardnamurchan 
extended to 80 marklands, and the lands of Sunart 
to 30 marklands, while both together consisted of 
87,753 Scotch acres. Thougli there is no record of 
the conveyance, it w^ould appear that Angus Og 
bestowed both the lands of Ardnamurchan and 
Sunart on his brother John, the third son of Angus 
Mor, who comes prominently before us as a partisan 
of the Baliols during the struggle between that 
family and the Bruces for the crown. This John 
has always been recognised by the Seanachies as 
the progenitor of the family of Ardnamurchan, 
though the origin of that family as a territorial 
House is considerably obscured owing to the absence 
of any reference to its earlier heads in authentic 
historical records. Almost all the JSeanachies of the 
Clan Donald, however, trace the descent of the 
family of Ardnamurchan to John, the third son 
of Angus Mor, referred to by them as Eoin 
Sprangach. Both the MS. of 1450 and the Munro 
MS. of 1549, than which on the early genealog}^ of 
the Macdonalds there are no better authorities, 
agree in tracing the family from John Sprangach, 
the latter authority making the Maclains of Ardna- 
murchan the fourth House of the Clan Donald. 
Reference, perhaps, ought also to be made to the 
assertion, relative to the origin of this family, of 


Hugh Macdonald, the Sleat Seanachie, whose MS. 
has been frequently quoted in this work. That 
Seanachie refers to a Somerled, said to have been 
the eldest son of the Great Somerled, as the ancestor 
of the Maclains, whence it is alleged that that family 
on more than one occasion claimed precedence of the 
other branches of the House of Somerled. There 
appears to be no doubt as to the identity of a 
Somerled who was either son or grandson of the 
first Somerled, but more probably a grandson. This 
Somerled, who appears to have been a man of high 
rank in the Isles, lost his life in the commencement 
of the Expedition of Olave the Black, owing to a 
quarrel that broke out between the Norwegians 
proper and the Norwegians that composed Olave's 
army. This, probably, is the Somerled referred to 
by Hugh Macdonald as the progenitor of the 
Maclains ; Ijut, as he is unsupported by any other 
genealogist, and as he manifestly confounds the 
alleged descendants of the second Somerled with 
the Macruaries, whose existence as a separate 
family seems to have been unknown to him, there 
need be no hesitation in accepting the authority of 
the MSS. of 1450 and 1549, and rejecting that of 
the Seanachie of Sleat. 

There is a Clan tradition, supported by more 
than one manuscript history, to the effect that prior 
to the Maclain possession of Ardnamurchan that 
region was under the sway of a Norwegian noble, 
whose character is depicted in the very darkest 
hues. This individual made himself so obnoxious 
to the inhabitants by his tyrannical proceedings 
and evil conduct generally, that they rose in a 
body against him and put him to death. A mes- 
senger was sent to Isla to the Lord of the Isles 


seeking protection against the probable vengeance 
of the friends of the slain Norseman. The Island 
Lord at once responded by sending his third son, 
John, with a considerable foHowing, to take posses- 
sion of Ardnamurchan. 

Whatever truth there may be in this story, there 
need be no doubt that the first of the family of 
Maclain who occupied Ardnamurclian was Eoin 
Sprangach, or John the Bold, who, like the other 
sons of Angus Mor, played a prominent part in the 
stirring drama of the time in which he lived. Very 
early in the contest between Baliol and the elder 
Bruce, John Sprangach, who with his brother Alex- 
ander espoused the cause of the former competitor, 
took a leading part in carrying on the negotiations 
between him and the King of England. Finally, 
on Baliol establishing his claim to the satisfaction 
of the English King, John Sprangach was rewarded 
by the former with a grant of the lands of Whitsum, 
which was afterwards confirmed by Edward I.^ On 
the accession of Bruce, the same lands were gifted 
to a Roger Pringle, and they are referred to in the 
charter of conveyance as having formerly been in 
the possession of Johannis del Yle militis.' 

In the Bagman Roll, in which are recorded the 
original instruments of submission and fealty by 
Baliol, with the clergy, nobles, and community of 
Scotland, to Edward I., we find among the signa- 
tories the name of " Johan del He." Immediately 
after the resignation in this manner by John Baliol 
of the Kingdom of Scotland, its people and their 
homage to Edward, John Sprangach was advanced 

' Rex Anglia confirmavit Chartam Johannis Regis Scot ire faotam Jdlianiii.s 
(le Insulis.— AylofTe's Calendar of Ancient Charterci. 
- Registruni Roberti Priiiii, 


to high preferment by the EngHsh King, while 
similar honours were bestowed on his brother, the 
Lord of the Isles. While Alexander was appointed 
High Admiral of the Isles, John Sprangach was 
advanced to the dignity of Baron of the Exchequer 
of England.^ From his high position in England, 
he was employed by Edward in the Scottish Expedi- 
tion.^ In the year 1300 his name appears among 
the magnates sworn in Parliament to treat of affairs 
in Scotland.^ In the year 1305 he receives the 
appointment of Justice of the Lothian, with a salary 
of 60 merks yearly while in office.^ In the following 
year he was commanded with others by Edward to 
enquire how many of the levies from Cumberland 
and Westmoreland, who were to muster at Carlisle 
to proceed to Scotland to crush the Bruce rebellion, 
had deserted, that they might be punished.^ From 
these and other references to the records which 
might be quoted, it appears that John Sprangach 
possessed no mean share of the undaunted spirit 
and bold activity which characterised the conduct 
of his ancestors, and in him we have a worthy pro- 
genitor of a family destined to play a not unimportant 
part in the history of the Highlands. After the 
accession of Robert Bruce to the Scottish crown, 
we hear no more of John Sprangach, and there is 
nothing to indicate whether he was reconciled to 
that monarch ; but in the year 1341, on the restora- 
tion of David 11. , John, Lord of the Isles, having 
forfeited the royal favour through his support of 
the Baliol party, was deprived of Isla and other 

' Calendar of documents relating to Scotland in Public Record Ofifice. 

- Ibid., Memoranda Roll. * Palgrave's Documents, &c. 

* Liberate Roll. 

' Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland. 

150 TllK (LAX DONALD. 

lands, and these were granted by the King to 
Angus, the son of John Sprangach. The charter 
conveying these lands to Angus is in the following 
terms : — 

" David c^'c. Sciatis nos dcdisse Arc. Angu«io filio Joahniiis de 
lusulis consanguiueo nostris dilecto et fideli pro servitio suo iiuliis 
fideliter impendendo Totam insulam (^uae vocatur Yla 'J'otam 
terrain de Kintyre, Insulam dc Gycbay. Insulam de Colynsay 24 
unciat : terrarum quae dicuntur Morvarne-duas unciatas terrae in 
Mule quae dicuntur Morynis cum pertinen itc. Tenen A:c. de nobis 
et successoribus nostris &c. facicndo servi:ia de predictis terris 
cum portincn tain per mare (juaui pur terram debita et consueta 

In this charter there is no mention of Ardna- 
murchan, unless indeed it be included in Morven, 
which is hardly likely. Ardnamurchan was, as 
already stated, bestowed by royal charter on Angus 
Og, Lord of the Isles, in 130'J, and as Angus, the 
son of John Sprangach, must have held it, if at all, 
under the Island Lord, it is difficult to see why, 
now that he has gained the favour of his sovereign 
and received from liim a charter of so many lands, 
iVrdnamurchan should be omitted. But John, Lord 
of the Isles, liaving espoused the cause of Edward 
Baliol, received from him in 1335 a charter of 
several lands, which included both Morven and 
Ardiian)ui'clian ; and if Angus, the son of John 
S23rangach, possessed Ardnamurchan under John, 
it is somewhat singular that it should have been 
omitted in his own charter of 1341. No infeftment, 
however, was made in respect of the lands granted 
to Angus luider this charter, owing to the strenuous 
resistance offered by the Lord of the Isles. King- 
David, being now desirous of securing the services 
of the Island Lord against England, granted him in 

' HiuUliiigtuii's Collectiuns. 


L343 a charter of all the lands he formerly granted 
to Angus of Ardnamurchan, save those of Kintyre 
alone. These same lands of Kintyre were afterwards 
surrendered by John Maclain of Ardnamurchan 
in 1499, as appears from the charter to him by King 
James IV. in that year, and it seems, therefore, that 
they continued to be held by the family under the 
charter of 1341 by David II. If this be so, the 
inference appears to be that Angus, the son of John 
Sprangach, possessed Ardnammchan in 1341, and 
after, under the Lord of the Isles. At all events, 
it seems quite clear that by whatever tenure the 
Maclains held Ardnamurchan from 1341 down to 
the final forfeiture of the Lord of the Isles in 1493, 
it was not upon a crown charter. Of Angus of 
Ardnamurchan, who was a contemporary of the 
GvOod John of Isla, we hear no more, though we 
may infer from the contents of the charter of 1341 
that he was a man of considerable importance in 
the Highlands. With the single exception of the 
charter, and in the genealogies of the Clan, we 
meet his name nowhere in the annals of his time. 
The records, so far as we had access to them, 
throw hardly any light at all on the history of this 
family from the time of Angus, the second of the 
line, down to the close of the 1 5th century, when 
the final forfeiture of the Lord of the Isles, and the 
consequent fall of the Lordship itself, marked the 
beginning of a struggle between the Scottish State 
and the West Highlanders which lasted long enough 
to furnish ample material for the historian. As 
vassals of the Lords of the Isles, the Maclans of 
Ardnamurchan followed the banner of these chiefs, 
and continued to support them in all their conten- 
tions. The history of the minor is merged in that 


of tlie larger taniiiy, and this no doubt accounts for 
the meagre references we find to the family of 
Maclain during its early history. It was when the 
families of the Isles came into conflict with the State 
that they began to be the makers of history. While 
they were allowed to live peaceably under the Celtic 
System, little was known of their history beyond the 
Highland line, or in the archives of the Scottish 

When Donald, Lord of the Isles, raised his banner 
and sent round the Cranntara in the beginning of 
the year 1411, Alexander, the son of Angus of 
Ardnamurchan, responded to the call to arms and 
followed his chief to the bloody field of Harlaw. 
Alexander, who must have been a very old 
man when the battle of Harlaw was fought, 
either fell in that conflict or died shortly there- 
after, when he was succeeded by his son, John. 
In the year 1420, we find this chieftain with the 
Bishop of Ross, and others, witnessing the resigna- 
tion by William the Grahame of the Barony of 
Kerdale, at the Chanonry of Koss.^ When Maclain 
of Ardnamurchan again comes l^efore us, it is in a 
very diflerent attitude. The extraordinary events 
connected with the King's visit to Inverness in 1427 
have already been dwelt upon In this work. Into 
the conflict between the King and Alexander, Lord 
of the Isles, following these events the clueftain of 
Ardnamurchan threw himself with all his energy, 
and incurred, as the price of his loyalty to his own 
chief, the unbounded wrath of the chief of the 
Frasers, who supported the Government. Eraser 
of Lovat had all along opposed tho claims of the 
Lord of the Isles to the Earldom of Ross, and on 

' Diplomalum Collectio. Adv. Lib. MS., James V. 


the defeat of that potentate by the royal forces in 
Lochabef, he set himself vigorously to burning and 
pillaging everywhere along the Macdonald territory 
till he came to Ardnamurchan. Here he was met 
by Maclain and other Macdonalds, and, according 
to the Morar MS., the Frasers were driven back 
with great slaughter. When Donald Balloch Mac- 
donald, in the absence of his chief, raised the 
standard of revolt against the Scottish Government 
in 1431, Maclain of Ardnamurchan and his men 
contributed their share to the defeat of the royal 
forces at Inverlochy, For his services on this 
occasion the Lord of the Isles, on his release from 
Tantallon Castle, bestowed on Maclain the quarter 
land of Baletharsauche, the eighth part of the lands 
of Teiremachacan, and the six cow lands of Proyayg, 
with their pertinents, all lying in ihe Island of Isla, 
with the bailiary of that island.^ Donald Balloch 
still further rewarded Mclain by a gift of 
certain lands in Jura." On the succession of 
John of Isla to the Lordship of the Isles and Earldom 
of lloss, John Maclain of Ardnamurchan became one 
of his councillors, and in the year 1463 his name 
appears as a witness to a charter by that nobleman. 
Shortly thereafter his son, Alexander, appears also 
as one of the Council of the Lord of the Isles, and 
witnesses a charter granted by the Island Lord to 
his brother, Celestine of Lochalsh, in 1467. On this 
occasion he signs as Alexander, the son of John, 
Lord of Ardnamurchan. He still further appears 
as one of the Council of the Isles in 1469, when the 
Earl of Ross granted a charter of lands in Skye and 
Uist to his brother Hugh, and his heirs male by 
Fynvola, daughter of Alexander Maclain. In a 

' Book of Islay, p. 33. - Ibid. 


charter, dated at Edinburgh on the 22nd December, 
1478, of the lands of Kynedward, and others, by 
John, Lord of the Isles, to Alexander Lesly, the 
name of "'Alexander McCane of Ardnamercho " 
appears as a witness. Alexander Maclain evidently 
was a man of considerable influence and power. 
The family now held, besides Ardnamurchan and 
Sunart, lands in Kintyre, Isla, and Jui'a ; but, as 
we shall soon see, it had not yet attained the zenith 
of its greatness in the Highlands. Alexander Mac- 
Iain appears to liave died some time l)efore the final 
forfeiture of the Lord of the Isles, when he was 
succeeded 1)y his nephew, John Brayach, so called 
by the Sleat Seanachie, who asserts that he was a 
natural son of Maclain, and that he seized the lands 
of Ardnamurchan to the prejudice of his cousins, 
sons of his uncle, Donald Roy, to whom he acted in 
the capacity of tutor. ^ In a- cliarter, however, 
granted by James IV. to John Maclain in 1506, he 
is referred to as " grandson and heir of John, the 
son of Alexander, the son of John of Ardnamurchan," 
and the inference is that he succeeded as the lawful 
heir of his uncle, Alexander. At all events, as he 
is never "-called Macallister, the presumption is tliat 
he was nephew and not son of the last possessor. 
Hugh Macdonald describes hiiu as a bold, intrepid 
man, and not altogether sound in his mind. In the 
different parts lie played during his somewhat stormy 
career he certainly does not impress us as having 
been wanting in either soundness of body or mind, 
but, on the contrary, he appears, judged by the 
standard of his time, to have been no less famed for 
his statesmanlike (pialities than for his personal 
prowess. He was one of the first of the vassals of 

' Hugh MacdouakrK MS. 


the Isles to make his submission to James IV. on 
the forfeiture of the Island Lord in 1493. The 
turmoil caused by that event made the King hasten 
with all speed to the Highlands, and, at Dunstaff- 
nage, he, on the 18th of August in that year, received 
the submission of John Maclain of Ardnamurchan, 
Sir John of Dunnyveg, John Cathanach, his son, 
and Alexander of Lochalsh. Of these, the only 
chieftain who made any show of loyalty was Mac- 
Iain, as after events amply prove. For his loyalty 
and services the King, on the 4th of June, 1494. 
granted him a charter of lands in Isla and Morven, 
with the bailiary of Isla, formerly held by him of 
the Lord of the Isles. ^ From this time onwards, 
Maclain uniformly supported the Government, and 
opposed the designs of the Islesmen ; but he paid 
the penalty of his loyalty and zeal for the royal 
cause by rousing the resentment of the adherents 
of the fallen Island family, and, accordingly, he 
suffered severely from their depredations. The 
chieftain of Dunnyveg, though he submitted to the 
King at Dunstaffnage, as we have seen, came away 
from the royal presence evidently no more loyal 
than he had entered it. Between him and the 
chieftain of Ardnamurchan there was no love lost. 
There had indeed been a long-standing feud between 
them over Sunart and lands in Isla possessed by 
Maclain. It was natural that Sir John of Dunnyveg 
should lay claim to Maclain's lands in Isla, but it 
does not appear that he had any right, legally or 
morally, in respect of the lands of Sunart. On 
whichever side right lay, the dispute was ended in 
a manner unsuspected, at least by Sir John of 
Dunnyveg. That chieftain, having incurred the 

^ The Bo.)k of Islay, p. 27. 


royal wrath for his conduct at Dunaverty, was 
summoDed to answer for his treason, and, having 
failed to appear, was denounced rebel. Now had 
come Maclain's opportunity, and he was not slow 
to use it. Going to Isla in the guise of friendship, 
he treacherously apprehended ^ir John of Dunnyveg, 
John Cathanach, his son, and their accomplices, 
and, delivering them up to the King, they were 
immediately brought to trial and executed. Besides 
the public grounds on which Maclain may have 
talien this step, he was no doubt to some extent 
actuated more by the love of gain than the desire 
for revenge. By handing over to doom the rebel 
of Dunnyveg he removed a powerful enemy from 
his path, and one by the disappearance of whom 
from the scene of strife he hoped to possess his lands 
of Sunart and Isla in peace. According to Hugh 
Macdonald, Maclain acted at the instigation of 
A rgyle and Glencairn ; but, however that may be, 
his conduct, judged by tlie standard even of the 
Middle Ages, is in the highest degree reprehensible. 
The next exploit of Maclain brings him before us 
in a yet darker light. This was the putting to 
deatli of Sir Alexander Macdonald of Lochalsh at 
Orinsay, not long after the execution of the Mac- 
donalds of Dunnyveg. Sir Alexander was then, 
it is said, in open rebellion, or at least meditating 
a rebellion against the crown. Smarting from the 
^ defeat at Drumchatt, he betook himself to the 
Southern Isles, expecting no doubt that the 
adherents of the House of Isla would rally round 
him ; but in this he was disappointed. His move- 
ments were watclied by the adherents of the 
Government, among whom, after Argyle, Maclain 
may be said to have been the most important. 


Whether the plot to assassmate Sir Alexander was 
hatched by the Government or was the conception of 
Maclaiii himself, the latter at all events was the 
direct instrument in bringing about the foul deed. 
The assassination of Sir xA_lexander Macdonald of 
Lochalsh, instead of having a quietening influence 
on the disaffected Islesmen, only roused them to 
more vigorous action against the Government, and 
Maclain himself, if possiVjle, became the object of 
greater hatred than ever. In these circumstances 
the King found it necessary to take steps to protect 
Maclain from the fury of his neighbours. We find, 
accordingly, that in October, 1496, Maclain and the 
chiefs of Dowart, Muiclart, Lochiel, and Keppoch 
gave mutual pledges, in presence of the Earl of 
Argyle, that the one should not suffer damage or 
injury from the other under a penalty of £500 each. 
Notwithstanding pledges, which when given by 
the Highland chiefs of those days were generally 
given to be broken, Maclain found himself about 
the beginning of the year 1498 involved in a serious 
quarrel with Allan MacRuarie of Clanranald, one of 
those who had pledged himself to Argyle, and one 
of the bravest and most distinguished of the chiefs 
of that time. Allan MacRuarie — who, according 
to MacVuirich, had married Maclain's daughter — 
demanded possession of the lands of Sunart, which 
he alleged he had taken on lease from the late Sir 
John of Dunnyveg. What legal title, if any, the 
different claimants to the lands of Sunart possessed 
we are entirely ignorant of, but it is probable that 
none of them had so good a right as Maclain 
himself The dispute between him and the Chief 
of Clanranald was referred to the King's owai 
decision, which, as might have been expected, was 

158 T77F. CLAN nONALD. 

given in favour of Maclain, and to avoid further 
dispute as to the right of possession, the King 
gave him a charter of these lands. 

The King's present policy was to crush the 
Macdonald families, and the more effectually to 
do this and to strengthen liis Government in the 
Highlands, he began to divide the lands of the 
Lordship of the Isles among favourites of his own, 
who were most likely to remain loyal to him. In 
tins respect none fared so well as John Maclain of 
Ardnamurchan. In 1499 he received two royal 
charters — one of the lands of Ardnamurchan and the 
Castle of Mingary, the other of 20 mark lands in 
Sunart, 10 mark lands in Jura, and man}^ lands 
in Isla, all extending to 200 mark lands.^ The 
latter charter bears to have been granted expressly 
for Maclain's good service done to the King in 
taking and delivering Sir John of the Isles and 
Glens, John Cathanach his son, and their accom- 
plices, and also for the surrender and renunciation 
of tlie 23 mark lands of Mid-Kintyre with the ofiice 
of tlie Stewarty of the same, and of the 84 mark 
lands in Mid-Kintyre which he held in fee. 

Jolni Maclain of Ardnamurchan had now become 
])y far the most powerful chieftain of the Clan 
Donald, and the most effective instrument in the 
hands of the King for their destruction. From the 
time he received his first grant of lands in 1494 
to the end of James's reign he was in constant 
connnmiication with that monarch, the King making 
frequent visits to Castle Mingary and holding courts 
there. Frequent references are also made in the 
records of the time to payments made to messengers 
carrying letters to Maclain from the King.^' 

' " The J5.)()k ..f I.slay," j). 30, and A)-yl(> Cliai-tor Chest. 
- The Jligli Ti-easurei'.s Accounts, James 111. and IV. 



When Donald Dubh emerged from his forced 
sechision in 1501, and raised the flag of rebellion, 
Maclain ranged himself on the side of the Govern- 
ment, and rendered conspicuous service in the 
course of that insurrection. On the rebellion being 
suppressed, the King, on the 25th of November, 

1505, for the faithful and willing service rendered 
him by his "dear John Makkane of Ardnamurchane," 
confirmed him in all the lands formerly granted to 
him, with the houses and fortalices of Castle Mingary 
in Ardnamurchan, and Dunnyveg in Tsla, and in 
the bailiary of that Island. Shortly after this, a 
quarrel arose between Maclain and Lachlan Maclean 
of Dowart respecting lands in Isla, in which it 
appears John Maclean of Lochbuy took part on the 
side of his kinsman, Lachlan Maclean. On the 8th 
of October, 1496, the King granted certain lands in 
Isla to Lachlan Maclean, believing him to be loyal, 
but, as after events proved, the Lord of Dowart 
sadly disappointed his sovereign. Maclain, who 
possessed the larger share of Isla, and held the 
oflice of bailie of that island, irritated Maclean by 
officiously interfering with his rights of jjroprietaiy. 
The diiferences between the parties h^d at length 
become so serious that the King himself had to 
interfere, and at his suggestion they agreed to 
submit these to his Majesty's Commissioners — 
David, Bishop of Argyle ; John, Bishop of the 
Isles ; and Archibald, Earl of Argyle. The C-om- 
missioiiers met at Dunadd on the 12th of June, ^^ 

1506, and before them appeared Maclan, Dowart, 
and Lochbuy. John Maclain, "for himself, his kin, 
frendis, servandis, and all that he may lett, specialie 
assouerit Lachlane M'Gillan of Dowart, his kin, 
frendis, servandis, familiaris, and all that dependis 


opoun him, that thai salbe harmeles and scaithles in 
thair persons, landis, rentis, guidis, and possessions in 
tyme tocum ony maner of uthir\\'a3'is na law will but 
fraud or gile." Lachlan Maclean of Dowart and 
John Maclean of Lochbuy gave their " bodelie aith 
the haly evangelist tuichit " that they would abstain 
from molesting Maclain, and the three chieftains, 
having exhibited their writs, were allowed to depart 
in peace. ^ Not long after the meeting at Dunadd, 
the King showered yet further favours on Maclain. 
In a charter, dated at Edinburgh on the 19th of 
November, 1506, he bestowed upon him, in addition 
to the numerous lands already granted to him, 
certain other lands in Isla, " which lands belonged 
hereditarily to liim by the heritable infeftment made 
to his grandfather by the late Alexander, Earl of 
E-oss, Lord of the Isles, and also the lands in Jura 
which belonged hereditarily to the said John through 
the late Donald of the Isles, Lord of Deniewag and 
Glynis." These lands had come into the possession 
of the sovereign by reason of " the forfeiture of the 
late John, formerly Lord of the Isles, and also by 
reason of the forfeiture of the late John of the Isles 
and of Dunewag, knight, heir of the foresaid deceased 
Donald, his father."- 

Maclain, like most of the other Highlanders, was 
in the Scottish army at Flodden, and his name, as 
well as that of Maclean of Dowart, appears in the 
old English Gazette of the battle as among the 
slain. It is certain, however, that both these chiefs 
survived the action, and that wiiile the latter soon 
after liis return headed a rebellion in the Isles, the 
former was no less active in suppressing it by all the 

' F.xchequer Rolls of Scotland, vol. XIT., ]). 709. 
- "The Book of Islay," p. :3:i. 


means in his power. On the death of the King at 
Flodden, the Clan Iain Mhoir, now that the great 
enemy of their house was no longer in the way, 
ventured once more out of their retirement into the 
arena of Scottish political warfare. Alexander, the 
head of that house, who held no lands in Scotland 
during the reign of James IV., was a chieftain 
endowed with much energy and ability, and he no 
sooner set foot on his native heath than the old feud 
between his family and Maclain was revived. 
Reference has already been made in another part of 
this work to the relentless vengeance with which 
Maclain |)ursued Alexander and the rest of the Clan 
Iain Mhoir after the execution of Sir John, and his 
son, John Cathanach. He had taken possession of 
their lands in Isla, and, according to MacVuirich 
and Hugh Macdonald, he did not rest satisfied with 
this, for he followed Alexander to Ireland with the 
object of taking his life. Maclain found himself 
surrounded by many enemies after the death of King 
James, but none was so determined as the heir of 
Dunnyveg. Hugh Macdonald relates in his MS. 
how Maclain sent his sons to Ireland to expel Alex- 
ander of Dunnyveg from the Antrim glens, and how 
finally Alexander came into possession of the House 
of Dunnyv^eg and his patrimony in Isla. 

" As to John Brayach in May, he had two sons, Donald and 
Someiled, by Argyle's daughter, who were lusty young strong 
men, the eldest of whom one day overthrew in wrestling all his 
father's train. At last the father said he would try him himself. 
The son answered that his father was old and he young and in 
his full strength, therefore it was not decent for him to throw 
down his father. But the old father would by no means be 
persuaded from wrestling with his son ; so engaging he was 
thrown down l)y the son. The old fellow said — 'You naughty 
^oy, you would sooner act my tragedy than expel Alexander John 



Catlianach's son from the tilens of Ireland.' Immediately upon 
this a levy of men was made and sent with the two sons of John 
Brayacli to Ireland. When they landed Alexander was in 
(ilenseich with 140 men, and seeing them land thought it to 
onco' niter them without delay. So immediately he led on to the 
attack. When MacTain's sons saw him and his men advance they 
asked tlieir own men (seeing Alexander's jjarty so small) whether 
they believed he had a mind to fight. The men answered in the 
aflirmative, and the Smith of Islay said that few as they were in 
number they would be a venomous thorn in their side that day, 
and that he for his own part would rather be on their side than 
on the side of the MacEans. MacEan said it was much better for 
them to want any man who thought so at heart than have him in 
their company. The Smith, singling himself from the rest, asked 
if any other that pleased to follow him should be hindered. said they would not. Upon this 50 men more separated 
themselves from the company, and following the Smith made 
straight for Alexander. The attack immediately commenced on 
both sides. The MacEans were routed, the most of whom, with 
MacKan's two sons, were killed. 

" That very night Alexander took the ciiemy's l)(>uts, with 
which he transported over his own men to islay, and wt'iit, 
accompanied by one man, for intelligence ; and falling in with 
/. MacNiven, Constable of Dunivaig, who not knowing Alexander 
asked him whence he came. Alexander answered, from Ireland. 
MacNiven en(piired of him if he knew what liad become of that 
imfortunate man Alexander Mac Jolni Cliuthanach since the 
]\IacEans went to Ireland, and whether he was alive or not. 
Alexander answered that he was alive, and asked what nas 
his concern for that man. MacNiveu told him he was Constable 
of Dunivaig, and would deliver up the Castle to him, and likewise 
that John Brayach was hi the Inch of Lochgonn. 

" Without loss of time Alexander surprises the Cnstle of 
Dunivaig, and goes straight forward to Lochgorm, where he 
beseiges MacEan in the Island, who at length surrenders on 
condition that he should give up Islay and quit all his rights 
thereof to Alexander, and that Alexander should marry John 
Brayach's daugliter. Tiiis being agreed to, John Brayach left 
Islay, and Alexander inarricd his daughter," ^ 

The events connected with the claim made hy 
Sir Donald of Lochalsh to the Lordship of the Isles 

' Hugh Macdoiiald's' unpublished MS. 


at this time, and the part acted by Maclain of 
Ardnamurchan, have already been detailed in the 
first volume of this work. Maclain, by his un- 
scrupulous loyalty, had drawn upon himself the 
vengeance of nearly all the Western Clans, and the 
protection afforded him by the Regent and Council 
was not a sufficient safeguard against so many 
powerful enemies.^ Early in the year 1515 " great 
heirschippis" were made on his lands in Isla, of 
which he complained to the Regent and Council, 
but, though summoned, the raiders failed to appear 
to answer f )r their conduct. It appears that 
Maclain's own tenants in Isla had not been loyal to 
him, for we find a letter directed under the Privy 
Seal ordering them "to rise and support him in 
whatever actions he may be engaged, under full 
penalty." We have no evidence of any such support 
having been rendered by the men of Isla ; and 
Maclain, it would appear, had to rely upon his own 
immediate followers on the mainland. His enemies 
made this the next point of attack. The Mac- 
donalds of Dunnyveg, Sir Donald of Lochalsh, the 
Macleods of Lewis and Raasay, formed a combination 
too powerful for Maclain to hold out against very 
long. They invaded the district of Ardnamurchan, 
wasted it with fire and sw^ord, and sacked Maclain's 
Castle of Mingary. Maclain and his men retreated 
before this formidable host, but they were pursued 1 
to a pla.ce called Creag-an-Airgid, in Morven, where 
a sanguinary engagement took place between the 
opposing parties. Here Maclain, his two sons, John 
Sunartach and Angus, and many of his followers, 
were slain. The death of Maclain and his two sons 

^ Special protection to John Mackane and others to endure for the 
Governor's Will— M^rch 7, 1515, Pitcairn's Grim. T, 


is given on the authority of the Sleat Seanachie, 
and in this he is confirmed by so accurate a 
chronicler as MacVuiricli, who, however, adds a 
third son of Maclain to the list of the slain. The 
date of Maclain's death is not quite certain, but he 
appears to have been alive in March, 1517, for in 
that year Colin, Earl of Argyle, appointed him 
lieutenant of the lands of Ardnamurchan for three 
years, or longer, according to the Regent's pleasure, 
and it is certain that he was dead before the 18th 
of August, 1519. With John Maclain departed the 
glory of the MacTains of Ardnamurchan. He was 
buried with befitting pomp and ceremony in the 
sacred Isle of the West, where his grave is marked 
by a beautifully sculptured stone, on which are cut 
the arms of the family of Macdonald of the Isles. 
The Maclain gravestone in lona was. according to 
the inscription, placed there by Malcohu Macduffie 
of Colonsay in memory of John Maclain, and liis 
sister, Mariota Maclain, Malcolm's wife. The 
inscription is in the following terms : — " Hie jacet 
Johannes Macceain dom[inu]s de Ardnamurchan et 
Mariota Ma[cc]eain soror eius sponsa Malcolmi 
Macduffie de Duneuin in Colonse hanc lapidem 
emit suo fratri." 

John Maclain left a son and heir, Alexander, 
who was a minor at the time of his father's death. 
On the 18th August, 1519, a letter was directed 
under the Privy Seal to Colin, Earl of Argyle, of 
the gift of the ward, nonentries, and relief of all 
lands that pertained to the late John Maclain of 
Ardnamurchan, with the offices, balieries, castles, 
fortalices, and the keeping of the House of Dunny- 
veg, together with the marriage of Alexander 
Maclain, son and apparent heir of the late John, 


How Argyle acted in the capacity of guardian to 
young Maclain we can gather only vaguely from 
after events. We know that the policy of that 
nobleman ever since his appointment as lieutenant 
of the Isles was to extend the influence of his house, 
and that all other interests were sacrificed to the 
attainment of this one grand object. The Maclains 
with their vast estates were now entirely in his 
power, and the Macdonalds of Dunnyveg, though 
their chief had now become a factor in Highland 
politics, had not yet been restored to their rights. 
In these circumstances, Argyle was not slow to use 
his opportunity. In a bond of gossipry between Sir 
John Campbell of Calder, Argyle's brother, and 
Alexander Macdonald of Dunnyveg, on May 17th, 
1520, the latter, after making a slavish promise 
to the former that he would be a " cuming 
man and servand hymself and all the brance 
of the Clandonyll he is cuming of," received 
from Sir John, as the reward of his servility, 45 
mark lands in Isla, for the space of five years. It 
was further agreed between the parties that " gif 
sabe that ony of the Clanayn or ony other that 
pertenys to the said Sir Johne that dreddis the sayd 
Alexander, or ony that perteynis to hym, that the 
sayd Alexander sail gif thame securyte, after the 
sycht of the said Sir Johne." This is the first 
appearance made by a Campbell of Calder as the 
possessor of lands in Islay, which had now become a 
bone at which every hungry dog gnawed. Sir John 
Campbell, however, had no legal title whatever, 
except that derived from Argyle, who held the lands 
in trust for the minor, Maclain. But, as we see, 
Calder himself assumes the part of guardian to 
young Maclain, and, although on his own account 


lie gives no pledge to protect him and his family, 
he makes it a stipulation that the Chieftain of 
Dunnyveg, whom they dread, " sail gif thame 
securyte." It is needless to say that the Chieftain 
of Dunnyveg never intended to fulfil one single item 
of the servile promises he so solemnly made with hicj 
hand on the pen. If he but once got possession of 
even one acre of his native Isla he cared not how, 
and once at least in the long island story a Campbell 
is outwitted in the game of political intrigue by a 
Macdonald. We now see the stroncr forces aofainst 
which Maclain has to contend. Though he held a 
charter, as his father's heir, of the larger part of 
Islay, it is certain that he never got possession of 
his lands in that island. His jDossession of Ardna- 
murchan, and other lands, appears to have been no 
more than merely nominal. How old he was when 
his father died is a matter of uncertainty. He 
appears to have been but a mere child, and the 
probability is that he died before attaining his 
majority. However that may be, advantage was 
taken of his youth for their own purpcses by those 
who coveted his patrimony. There need be no 
doubt that the purpose of Argyle was to divide the 
possessions of the House of Ardnamurchan, both 
mainland and island, between himself and his 
brother Calder, but in this he was not altogether 
successful. That young Maclain himself was not 
on friendly terms with the Campbells is proved 
by his presence at the head of his men fighting 
against them in the quarrel provoked by the 
murder of Lachlan Catanach Maclean of Dowart. 
We hear no more of the young Chieftain of 
Ardnamurchan, and he must have been dead 
before the year 1538; for in that year Mariot 


Maclain, his sister, aud wife of Robert Robertson 
of Struan, was served heiress to her father in the 
lands possessed by him at his death. Two years 
later Mariot, with consent of her husband, resigned 
these lands in favour of the Earl of Argyle, but the 
King the following year paid the sura of £5000 to 
the Earl for resigning ad 'perpetuam remancntiam 
the same lands. In 1543, Queen Mary granted to 
Argyle the lands of Ardnamurchan and others for 
the space of twelve years. This last transaction 
seems afterwards to have been thouoht irreo-ular, 
and in the year 1550 Argyle, in virtue of the old 
resignation in his favour by Mariot Maclain, the 
heiress, received a Crown charter of the 80 mark 
lands of Ardnamurchan, which he immediately 
bestowed on liis brother-in-law, James Macdonald 
of Dunnyveg and the Glens, to be held under the 
Earls of Argyle. In the same year Queen Mary 
confirmed the lands of Ardnamurclian to James 
Macdonald, for which he afterwards paid on his 
infeftment the sum of 1000 marks to Argyle, Hence- 
forth che superiority of Ardnamurchan remained 
nominally with the Argyle family, although it was 
many years before their title was completed by 
possession, the Maclains continuing to hold the 
estate as if it had been a male fief of the Crown. 
The fact that they continued to possess the lands of 
Ardnamurchan, notwithstanding the charters to 
Argyle and James Macdonald, is proved by several 
references to them in the public records as "of 
Ardnamurchan." The only feasible explanation of 
this state of matters is that considerable indulgence 
must have been extended to the Maclains by all 
parties, for otherwise it is difficult to see how they 
could have kept their hold against so strong a 


combination as the Campbells and the Macdonalds 
of Dunnyveg. The conduct of the Government in 
depriving the Maclains of their just and lawful 
rights at this time is somewhat difficult to explain. 
The loyalty of the family during the troublous times 
that followed the fall of the Lordship of the Isles 
seems to have been entirely forgotten, when it 
should have stood them in good stead. As no 
reason is given for so harsh a treatment we can 
only venture the surmise that the family of the 
Maclain who succeeded to the chieftainship in 1538 
must have made themselves obnoxious by their 
opposition to the Government. 

On the death of young Maclain in 1538, or 
shortly before that time, he was succeeded as head 
of the family by his cousin, described in record as 
" Alexander MacDonald Vclain of Ardnamurchan." 
In J 544 this chieftain, eager to engage in any con- 
flict that might cause annoyance to the Government, 
joined John Moydertach in his rebellious proceedings, 
and fought under his standard at Blarleine, where so 
many of the Erasers with their chief. Lord Lovat, 
and his eldest son, w^ere slain. For the assistance 
given by him on this occasion to the Chief of 
Clanranald, a respite was granted him by Govern- 
ment m 1548, and also for liis being absent from the 
royal army summoned to meet at Fala Muir in 
1547, previous to the battle of Pinkie.^ 

In the following year after Blarleine, the unfor- 
tunate Donald Dubh again, for the second time, 
emerged from his forced seclusion, and summoned 
the men of the Isles to his standard. Alexander 
Maclain was among the first to join him, and his 
importance may be measured by his elevation to 

' Privy Seal, vol. XXII., f. 27. 


the position of one of the Council of the Island 
claimant. He also was one of the eighteen Com- 
missioners appointed by Donald Dubh to treat 
with Henry VIII. of England. We thus see diat 
Alexander Maclain played an important part during 
that stirring time. In a rental of the Bishopric of 
the Isles and Abbacy of lona of the year 1561, we 
find that Maclain held the lands of Gargadeill, in 
Ardiiamurchan, as tenant of the Abbot of lona, 
while he possessed the Isle of Muck, as tenant of 
the Bishop of the Isles. 

The successor of Alexander Maclain of Ardna- 
murchan was his son John, who, in supporting the 
Macdonalds of Dunnyveg in their feuds with the 
Macleans, incurred the resentment of Lachlan Mac- 
lean of Dowart. In 1585, Donald Gorm Macdonald 
of Sleat became involved in a serious quarrel with 
Lachlan Mor of Dowart, the story of which remains 
to be told more appropriately in another part of this 
work. In the quarrel between these chieftains, 
which afterwards became one of considerable magni- 
tude, and involved all the Macleans and Macdonalds, 
north and soutli, Maclain of Ardnamurchan very 
naturally ranged himself on the side of the Mac- 
donalds. In the course of the feud, accordinir to a 
Maclean tradition, John Maclain went to Isla and 
falsely represented to Angus Macdonald of Dunny- 
veg that Lachlan Maclean, who had been kept 
prisoner for some time by him, had on his return to 
Dowart executed two Macdonald hostages. On 
hearing this, Angus Macdonald retaliated by 
ordering forthwith the execution of John Dubh 
Maclean of Morven, Lachlan Mors uncle, who had 
been detained on the latter's release. Macdonald 
had no sooner returned home than Allan of Ard- 


tornish, the son of John Dubh Maclean, mustered 
his followers, and hivaded Ardnamurchan, to avenge 
his father's death. Several sanguinary skirmishes 
seem to have taken place, and, if the Maclean 
Seanachies are to be believed, peace was purchased 
by the marriage of Maclain's daughter, Una, and 
Allan Maclean, to whom certain lands were given in 
name of dowry. The quarrel between the Macleans 
and the Macdonalds of Duniiyveg proceeded apace, 
and in the year 1587 cliarges are made 
against Maclain, and others, the Council meantime 
prohibiting him from gathering his men in arms. 
In the same year his name is found in the Roll of 
Chiefs, and the Clan Iain are found in the Roll of 
Clans, sent down in the Act of Parliament commonly 
called the General Bond.^ These indicate the 
position of Maclain and his Clan in the history of 
the Highlands at this time, and it seems to have 
been one of considerable importance, despite the 
absence of Crown charters. 

Maclain was mainly instrumental, as we have 
seen, in bringing about the death of John Dubh 
Maclean of Morven, and, though the latter's son had 
already been reconciled to the Chieftain of Ardna- 
murchan, his Chief, Lachlan Mor Maclean of Dowart, 
was not in a mood either to forget or forgive. 
Besides, Maclain had continued to give strenuous 
sujjport to Angus Macdonald of Dunnyveg against 
Lachlan Mor. On this account the Chief of Dowart 
considered how best he could bring about Maclain's 
destruction, now that a favourable opportunity had 
come consequent on the cessation of hostilities 
between him and Angus Macdonald of Dunnyveg. 
Maclean was aware that Maclain had formerly been 

' Acta Pivrl, vol. UL, p. 4G6, 

1:he macdonat,ds of ardnamurchan. 171 

a suitor for the hand of the Dowager Lady of 
Dowart, and, though he gave his consent to the 
aUiance. it was only that it might serve as a pretext 
for the accomplishment of a deeply-laid plot against 
Maclain's life. The Lady of Dowart, who was a 
daughter of the Earl of Argyle, was rich, and 
Maclain, apart from any tender feeling he may 
have entertained towards her, was no doubt 
ambitious of possessing her wealth. The lady 
herself seems not to have been indifferent to the 
charms of her galla^nt wo^r. When all had been -, / 
got ready for the celebration of the nuptials, 
Maclain proceeded to the bride's residence, accom- 
panied by a train befitting the occasion. What 
took place afterwards can be learned from a 
statement made by Maclain in a complaint made 
by him to the Privy Council, which, though it 
differs from the Maclean traditionary version of 
the affair, is, from its having been put on record, 
no doubt an accurate account of what took place. 
Maclain states that Maclean, having long meditated 
his destruction, and finding himself unable to succeed 
by force, resorted to craft and policy for the attain- 
ment of his object. He therefore gave Maclain to 
understand that he bore a singular goodwill and 
favour towards him, and was desirous of his 
friendship, offering for the better maintenance of 
amity between them in time coming to give him 
his mother, Janet Campbell, in marriage. This 
project being approved of by Maclain, he, at 
Maclean's earnest desire and request, repaired to 
Torloisk in Mull, where, after a conference, the 
marriage was agreed upon and solemnised without 
.delay by the " accustomed forme and ordour of 
the countrey, the banquet made, good countenance 


and entertainment shewn by all parties, and at 
nycht the said John Maclain was conveyed by the 
said Lachlan Maclean by the hand to his mother's 
own chamber and bed purposely to cover his 
mischief, and that the said John Maclain and his 
friends might be careless of their own safety as 
indeed they departed immechately to take their 
night's rest in any other house or barn nearest to 
the place where John MacTain himself was looking 
for no harm or injury from any one and least of all 
from the said Lachlan Maclean or any of his people 
in respect of his former behaviour, nevertheless 
immediately after they had fallen asleep said 
Lachlan and his complices armed with haberschois 
swerdis and durkis entered per force within the said 
house or barne and in most cruel and barbarous 
manner without pity or compassion unmercifully 
slew the said John Maclain's friends being therein 
to the number of 18 persons, gentlemen besides 
others ; and not satisfied therewith immediately 
thereafter repaired to the chamber where the said 
John Maclain was lying and with equal cruelty 
pursued him and would have bereft him of his life 
were it not his own better defence and the 
lamentable crying out and suit of the said Lachlan's 
mother, for whose sake at last they spared the said 
John's life, detaining his mother notwithstanding 
ever since with Alester Maclain and Angus Maclain 
his page in close captivity ; putting his person to 
daily torture and pains and will no ways put their 
prisoners until they be compelled."^ 

The picture presented in the foregoing melan- 
choly narrative is no doubt only too true of the state 
of society in the Highlands of the 16th century, 

^ Mivulaiii"« Coniplaiiit tu Privy Council, June 18, 1578. 


and perhaps it may not be any mitigation of the 
barbarous conduct of Lachlan Mor Maclean to say 
that the tragedy of Torloisk might have been com- 
mitted anywhere in the Scotland of that period, 
even by other than a Highland Chief Many 
instances could be given of yet greater barbarity 
by the Douglases and others in the south of Scot- 
land, and the men of Mull, therefore, were no worse 
in their day and generation than the men of Lothian 
or Tweedale. Lachlan Maclean was summoned to 
appear personally before the Privy Council, and 
ordered to produce the persons of his prisoners. 
He failed to appear, and was in consequence 
denounced rebel. He, however, appears to have 
at once given MacTain his liberty. The imprison- 
ment of MacTain, and the treatment he and his 
train had received at the hands of Maclean, elicited 
the sympathy and support of the Clan Ranald. 
The Chief of Dowart, realising his danger, made 
elaborate preparations against any possible invasion 
by the Maclains and the Clan Ranald. He entered 
into an agreement with the Captain of the " Florida," 
and stipulated for a hundred marines from that ship 
in return for the provisions supplied to the Spaniards 
by Maclean. With these Spanish marines and his 
own immediate followers, and not waiting to be 
attacked, he invaded the Islands of Rum, Cana, 
Eigg, and Muck, which belonged to the Clan Iain 
and Clan Ranald. Having ravaged and plundered 
these islands, and killed many of the inhabitants, 
Maclean and his men made a descent on the district 
of Ardnamurchan, and laid siege to the Castle of 
Mingary. Here he was met by the Macdonald 
chieftains, who defeated him with great slaughter, 
and compelled him with his Spanish contingent to 


seek the shelter of Dowart Castle. Shortly there- 
after both Maclean and Maclain, as well as those 
engaged witli them, received a remission from Govern- 
ment for all slaughters, fire-raisings, oppressions, and 
other crimes, committed against one another. Hos- 
tilities between the contending Clans being now 
suspended, peace reigned for a brief space over the 
Western Isles. The policy of the Crown, however, 
did not favour a continuation of this state of 
matters. The King was in sore need of money, 
and as the fines imposed on the Highland Chiefs 
often proved a welcome source of revenue, the policy 
of the impecunious James was to set them by the 
ears. When he failed in this he adopted other 
means. In the year 1592 he issued a decree com- 
manding the Chiefs to find surety for the payment 
of the rents of their lands. Failing to obey the 
royal decree, they were put to the horn. John Og 
Maclain was among the number, and whether or 
not he found the security demanded by the King, 
the latter, with advice of his Council, ordered him 
to be released from the horn for " ony cause bygone." 
This being the first reference we find in record to 
John Og Maclain, it appears that his father died 
shortly after the campaign against the Macleans, or 
some time in the year 1591. John Og inherited in 
a large measure the spirit of his sire, and he seemed 
determined to revive the feud between his family 
and Maclean of Dowart. Lachlan Mor for English 
gold espoused the cause of Elizabeth of England 
against the Irish rebel Tyrone.^ Both Elizabeth 
and Tyrone looked to the Western Isles for assist- 

' Maclean, in a letter to Bowes, the Auibas.sador of the English Queen, 
dated at Duart, December 20, 159.5, complains that the thousand crowns 
promised him had not been paid by Elizabeth. — Record Office, London, 


ance. The most powerful of the Island Chiefs, such 
as Donald Gorm Macdonald of Sleat, Rorie Mor 
Macleod, and Clanranald. ranged themselves on the 
side of Tyrone. John Og Maclain of Ardnamurchan 
followed the banner of Donald of Clanranald, who 
commanded a division of the Islesmen. On their 
way to join the rest of the Islesmen they landed in 
Mull under cover of night, but Lachlan Mor, who 
watched their movements, by a " bauld onset and 
prattle feit of weir," took them prisoners, and threw 
Clanranald and Maclain, " the maist doubtlit and 
able men in the Isles," into a dungeon.^ Lachlan 
Mor being called upon by the King to answer for 
his conduct, Clanranald and Maclain were released. 
Shortly thereafter we find John Og Maclain wit- 
nessing a tack, by Angus Macdonald of Dunnyveg, 
of tlie lands of Reisiboll in Sunart, in favour of the 
Minister of Islandfinan. The lands of Sunart had 
been, as we have seen, for a long time a bone of 
contention between the families of Dunnyveg and 
Ardnamurchan, and from the ftict that neither had 
a legal title, it is somewhat singular to find the 
chieftains pn.rties to a transaction which in law 
could not be binding. By his signing as a witness, 
Maclain would seem to acquiesce in the disposition 
of lands by another which he formerly claimed as 
his own. 

In 1595, John Og Maclain is offered as a surety 
for Alexander Macranald of Keppoch in a contract 
between the latter and the Earl of Argyle.^ And 
as still further evidence of his importance in the 
sphere of Highland politics, we find about the same 
time in a bond of caution by Lachlan Maclean of 

' Letter Achinross to Nicholson, in Public Record Office. 
- Collecteana de Rebus Albanicis, p. 200. 


Dowart reference made to Maclain as one of the 
principal men of the Isles. There are also indica- 
tions of an early renewal of the feud between the 
Macdonalds and the Macleans. This was brought 
about unexpectedly in the course of the following 
year by an unfortunate incident which resulted in 
the death of John Og Maclain. Maclain, it 
appears, had been betrothed to Lochiel's daughter. 
His uncle Donald and he had not been on amicable 
terms for some time past owing to differences which 
had arisen between them regarding the possession 
of Sunart, to which Donald laid claim. Donald was, 
besides, presumptive heir to his nephew, and would, 
therefore, in the event of the latter dying without 
issue, succeed him as head of the family of Ardna- 
murchan. While preparations were being made for 
the celebration of the marriage of the young 
chieftain, and as he was returning from a visit to 
Lochiel, accompanied by a small retinue, he was 
attacked and slain by his uncle, who was lying in 
wait for him at a place in Sunart called ever since 
Faoghail Dhomhnuill Chomdluich. On the news 
of young Maclain's death reaching the ears of Allan 
Cameron of Lochiel, he vowed vengeance on the 
murderer, who immediately after committing the 
crime took refuge in Mull, and put himself under 
the protection of Lachlan Mor of Dowart. Lachlan 
Mor was ready on the slightest pretext to invade 
the territory of any of his neighbours. Donald 
Maclain had, therefore, no difficulty in persuading 
him to help him against the Camerons, and the 
adherents of the late chieftain of Ardnamurchan. 
Lochiel had already pursued him to the Sound of 
Mull. Seeing the Camerons in a defiant attitude on 
the opposite shore from Dowart was a spectacle 


which the proud sj)int of Lachlan Mor could not 
long brook. He accordingly collected a force of 
220 men, and sent his eldest son, Hector, and 
Donald Maclain, at their head to the mainland. 
The Camerons and the Maclains met them in j 
Morven at a place ever since called Leachd-nan- 
Saighead, where a sanguinary conflict followed, 
which resulted in the total defeat of the Macleans, 
and the death of Donald Maclain, The local 
traditionary account of the death of Donald Maclain 
is to tlie eifect that one of the Clan Cameron, 
observing him " uplifting his helmet, instantly bent 
his bow, took aim, and drove his arrow into 
Maclain's head, pinioning his hand, which at that 
time was passing over his forehead, to his skull. 
He fell, but for a moment regaining his strength 
he arose and expressed a desire, it is feared a 
treacherous one, to deliver his sword to Lochiel, 
But the last spark of life was fast expiring. He 
clenched the huge weapon, and, in the ire of death, 
transfixed it to the hilt in the opposite bank, and 
fell on it to rise no more."^ 

On the death of Donald Maclain, John Mac- 
Allister Vc Iain succeeded as head of the family, 
but his succession to the lands of Ardnamurchan 
was disputed by the Earl of Argyle. The Clan 
Iain being weakened by intestine broils, Argyle 
seized his opportunity to enforce the deed of con- 
veyance granted in favour of the fourth Earl by the 
heiress, Mariot Maclain. Argyle accordingly forced 
Maclain into a contract whereby he became bound 
to exhibit to the Earl his writs of the 80 marklands 
of Ardnamurchan. He also bound himself to resign 
the same lands to the Earl, who agreed to feu them 

^ Dr John :\Iacleod in New Stat, Acct. of Morveiu /\ 



out ao^ain to MacTain, and certain heirs mentioned 
in the contract, to be held of the Earl for the 
])ayment of 13s 4d of feu-dutv. The Earl further 
promised faithfully to protect Maclain in the 
possession of these lands. We have not been able 
to ascertain whether this contract was ever fulfilled 
by either party, but judg-ing by the tradition of the 
country, which is, however, very vague, it would 
appear that Maclain delivered up his old title-deeds 
and did not receive the promised charter in return. 
There is also a tradition to the effect that the title- 
deeds came into the possession of Argyle by his 
having found them with a burgess of Edinburgh, 
with whom Maclain left them as a pledge for a debt 
incurred in educating his son. Be this as it may, 
the old charter of 1499 granted to John Maclain 
for apprehending the Macdonalds of Dunnyveg is 
now in the Argyle charter chest. 

The departure of King James from his native 
Scotland to take possession of tlie English Crown, 
and the turmoil which followed and continued for 
some time, no doubt prevented Argyle, wdio was 
busy elsewhere extending his influence and posses- 
sions in the name of law and order, from taking 
actual possession of Ardnamurchan. The history 
of the Ardnamurchan family from this juncture is 
one long and desperate struggle, in which they 
succeeded for a time in holding their own against 
several branches of the Clan Campbell. In 1605 
Maclain, with many other Island Chiefs, was sum- 
moned to exhibit his title deeds to Lord Scone, 
Comptroller of Scotland, at Lochkilkerran, in 
Kintyre, and at the same time to find surety for 
the regular payment of his Majesty's rents and 
duties for the lands possessed by him, under the 


penalty of haviiio' his title deeds declared null, and 
of being prosecuted with fire and sword. From all 
this it would appear that the authority of the 
Argyle family had not been established in Ardna- 
murchan, and that the Clan Iain still possessed that 
territory, though illegally, upon the old charters. 
Though elaborate preparations were made to compel 
the Island Chiefs to wait on Lord Scone, none put 
in an appearance at Lochkilkerran. Maclain had 
jDrobably no title deeds to exhibit ; but he, at all 
events, ignored the summons, and he seems to have 
incurred no penalty as the price of his disobedience. 
The intermedial policy of ruling the Isles by means 
of lieutenants, whose aims were not, to say the least, 
disinterested, was one the foolishness of which did 
not all at once dawn on the Scottish Executive 
Government. Lord Ochiltree was appointed lieu- 
tenant in 1608, and held court at Aros, in Mull, 
in that year. Maclain of Ardnamurchan wisely 
avoided billing into the trap which was so skil- 
fully and successfully laid for the other Chiefs, 
Lord Ochiltree, however, on his return from his 
expedition, reported to the Privy Council " anent 
the House of Ardnamurchan that he held the 
bond of James Campbell of Lawers that it 
should be delivered whenever required under a 
penalty of £10,000." Whether James Campbell 
was acting for Argyle, or what his connection with 
Ardnamurchan at this time was, does not appear. 
Shortly thereafter, on the 14th of November, 1609, 
the Lords of the Privy Council ordered Maclain to 
be summoned before them, for a certain day, to 
" underly such order as shall be taken with him 
touching his obedience to his Majesty, under the 
pain of rebellion." There is no evidence that Mac- 


Iain ever answered the summons, and the probability 
is that he was dead before the day appointed for 
his personal appearance before the Council. John 
Maclain left a son, Alexander, who ^vas a minor at 
the time of his father's death. In the year IGll 
we find, from the E-egister of the Privy Seal, that 
the Clan Iain of Ardnamurchan were led by Donald 
Maclain, uncle of the minor, wha is referred to as 
Tutor of Ardnamurchan. The year 1612 was 
marked by unwonted tranquihty in the region of 
Argyle. Taking advantage of this lull, and no 
doubt also of the minority of the young chieftain 
of the Maclains, Archibald, Earl of Argyle, made 
one more effort to establish his authority in the 
district of Ardnamurchan. Accordingly, he early 
in that year granted a commission to Mr Donald 
Campbell of Barbreck, " to take and receive the 
Castle and place of Meigarie and upon our expences 
to put keepers thereinto," with power to summon 
before him all the tenants and indwellers in Ardna- 
murchan, and generally to manage that territory, 
both in fixing the rents to be paid, in collecting 
them with regularity, and in punishing by expulsion 
the refractory tenants. From the tenor of this 
commission, it is clear that Ardnamurchan was then 
in a very convulsed state, arising doubtless from the 
hostility of the old family to Argyle. The com- 
missioner, Mr Donald Campbell, originally a church- 
man, and afterwards, by the force of his talents, 
both in civil and military affairs, the person most 
trusted by Argyle and the Campbells against the 
refractory Islanders, was a natural son of John 
Campbell of Calder, who fell a victim to a remark- 
able conspiracy, in which several of his own name 
and many other Highlanders wex^e concerned in 1591. 


Mr Donald Campbell, then or soon after, Dean of 
Lismore, first distinguished himself by the inveteracy 
with which he pursued those who had any share in 
his father's murder. He soon became a favourite 
councillor of the young Earl of Argyle, to whom the 
late Calder had been a guardian, and who had 
narrowly escaped a similar fate, the conspirators 
havinii' resolved to take his life, thouofh at the 
critical moment they wanted nerve to execute their 
intention. Argyle could not have selected a person 
better qualified to repress or punish the Clan Iain 
of Ardnamurchan than Mr Donald Campbell, who 
was a man of uncommon ability, a brave and skilful 
soldier, but reputed to be of a stern and even cruel 
disposition, and little disposed to conciliate those he 
was appointed to govern by the mildness of his 
measures. In return for his services as Commis- 
sioner, Mr Donald Campbell received from Argyle a 
lease of the lands of Ardnamurchan, The Clan 
Iain, who had not yet been expelled from the 
district, complained bitterly of the severity of the 
churchman's rule, and though the astute man kept 
within legal bounds, he so exasperated them by his 
harsh dealings that they broke out into open 
rebellion against his authority. The lessee was 
obliged to appeal to the Privy Council, who com- 
pelled Donald Maclain, Tutor of Ardnamurchan, 
to give a bond for himself as taking burden for 
Alexander Maclain of Ardnamurchan, his nephew, 
and for all persons for whom his nephew was by law 
obliged to answer, that they should keep good rule 
in the country and obey the laws. Donald Maclain 
further gave a pledge that he would make his 
appearance before the Council on the 10th July 
annually to render his obedience, and oftener as he 


should be charged, upon GO days' warning. The 
penalty for non-fuliilment of eveiy point of this 
bond was fixed at 2000 inerks. Donald Maclain's 
bond, as far as that individual was concerned, was a 
mere matter of convenience. Between the Privy 
Council on the one hand, and the Campbells on the 
other, the Tutor of Ardnamurchan found himself in 
a situation that whether he pleased either or both 
the result would be much the same. If he is to be 
extricated from the difficulties of his position, he 
nmst look for help to a third party ; and now there 
appeared for him a gleam of hope. Sii' James 
Macdonald of Dunnyveg had just escaped from his 
long confinement in Edinburgh Castle, and betaken 
himself to the Highlands. He had found his way 
in the first place to Lochaber, from whence he pro- 
ceeded to Skye, and on his way to Isla he was 
joined by the Maclains of Ardnamurchan. Sir 
James was received with great enthusiasm by the 
Clan Donald, both North and South, but his efibrts 
to restore the fallen fortunes of his flimily pioving 
futile, he was compelled to take refuge in exile. 
During his short and ill- planned campaign, the 
Maclains rendered conspicuous service, and thus 
only succeeded in making themselv^es still more 
obnoxious to tlie Government and the Clan 
Campbell. Donald Maclain, as might have been 
expected, failed to make his appearance in terms of 
his ])ledge to the Privy Council, and, therefore, 
incurred the penalty of 2000 merks stipulated upon 
in his bond. The Council accordingly gave a decree 
against him. Mr Donald Campbell, Argyle's tenant, 
now that fortujie had jait the Maclains in his power, 
resolved by one final blow to crush them. He 
hastened to put into force the sentence of the Privy 


Council against Donald Maclain. So cruelly treated 
were the unfortunate Maclains that the Tutor was 
obliged to appeal even to his enemy Argyle himself. 
He sent his son John to Edinburgh for the purpose 
of rej)resenting to the Earl and his brother, Camjj- 
bell of Lundy, the straitened circumstances in which 
he found himself owing to the tyrannical proceedings 
of Mr Donald Campbell. In ths absence from town 
of the Earl and his brother, William Stirling of 
Auchyle, the principal manager of all the Argyle 
estates, undertook to write a letter to Mr Donald 
Campbell, the delivery of which he entrusted to John 
Maclain. In this letter he urged Campbell to be more 
lenient to the Maclains. "It is not," he says, "with- 
out rea-son and some foirknovvledge in preventing 
further inconvenience I have written to you which 
I am assured ye will consider out of your own 
wisdom. I hope ye will press to win the people 
with kindness rather nor with extremitie specially 
at the first." Stirling's letter evidently had the 
desired effect. Peace, at all events, seems to have 
prevailed in the region of Ardnamurchan during 
the two following years; but in midsummer, IG18, 
John Macdonald, younger of Clanranald, appeared 
somewhat suddenly on the scene, and the result was 
a renewal of hostilities between the opposing parties. 
Argyle played the double part of granting a lease 
of Ardnamurchan to Sir Donald Macdonald of Clan- 
ranald, several years before the expiry of the lease 
to Mr Donald Campbell, in consideration of a certain 
sum of money in name of grassum. This transac- 
tion is explained, partly, at least, by the impecunious 
position in which the Earl of Argyle undoubtedl}'' 
found himself at that time.^ Young Clanranald, 

' Clanranald Charter Chest. 


with the assistance of the Maclains, invaded Ardna- 
nmrchan and put to flight the mihtary churchman 
and his Campbell garrison.^ On condition of Argyle 
2)aying back the money advanced by Sir Donald of 
Clanranald at the time of granting the lease, the 
latter agreed to submit the dispute between him- 
self and Mr Donald Campbell to arbitration. The 
arbiters were Sir George Erskine of Innerteil, and 
Sir George Hay of Kinnoull, who, finding that 
Campbell's lease was the best in law, ordered him 
to be repossessed in the lands of Ardnaniurchan. 
Thus the Maclains were now again at the mercy of 
the Campbells, and they had to find sureties for 
their dutiful obedience to the House of iVrgyle. 
They pledged themselves to Mr Donald Campbell 
that they would remain peaceable tenants under 
him, and pay all rents or other damages that might 
be due to him. Campbell accepted the Chiefs of 
Clanranald and Macleod, and Maclean of Coll, as 
sureties for the good behaviour of the Maclains. 
That necessity had no law for the Maclains is the 
only exj^lanation of their conduct in rendering- 
obedience to the upstart Campbell. In this atti- 
tude, liowever, they did not remain long, for, on 
the very threshold of tlie following year, Donald 
McEan in Ormisage, John, Angus, and Donald, liis 
sons, Alaster Mc Angus VcEan in Ardsliginish, 
Alaster McConeill VcEan in Camisingle, and a 
number of others of the (Jlan Iain, were put to 
the horn and denounced rebels." Campbell hhnself, 
two years later, com])lained to the Privy Council 
that Alexander Maclain had, at a meeting of his 
followers, pledged them to support him in recovering 
his possessions, either by law or by force. Though 

1 Clanranald Chai'ter Chcrtl. = Kcc. Sec. Con. Acta. 


Alexander Maclain afterwards swore before the 
Privy Council that there was no truth in the 
charge preferred against him by Campbell, yet it 
is pretty certain that the latter was not altogether 
without some cause of complaint. That there was 
some foundation for the charge against Maclain 
may be inferred from the fact that in less than two 
years thereafter he is found at the head of his men 
hi open rebellion, and bidding defiance to the whole 
Campbell Clan. On the 22nd of September, 1624, 
Sir Rorie Mor Macleod, John of Clanranald, and 
Maclean of Coll, were summoned before the Privy 
Council for not exhibiting certain rebels of the Clan 
Iain, foi- whose good behaviour, as we have seen, 
they had pledged themselves. From the charge it 
appears that the Clan Iain " pretend to be a branch 
of the Captain of Clanranald's House, quhilk he 
lykwayes acknowledgeit and takis the patrocine 
and defence of thame in all thair adois." Having 
failed to obey the summons, Macleod, Clanranald, 
and Coll were declared rebels. 

The Clan Iain had now broken loose fVom all 
ordinary modes of warfare, and, taking to a piratical 
life, they became the terror of the Western seas. 
It seems to us that, judged by the standard of their 
time, and their peculiar circumstances, there was 
much to justify the conduct of the Maclains. They 
had been hard pressed for years by their enemies, 
the Campbells, who had by unfair means dispos- 
sessed them of their lawful inheritance. For the 
repressive measures of the Government itself, it is 
difficult to find excuse, for the Maclains of Arclna- 
murchan were not sinners above all the other 
Hebrideans. The piratical band of Clansmen 
having seized an English ship, which they manned 


and armed, the Goveiiiment at once took steps to 
suppress the insurrection. Warrant was giveri to 
James, Archbishop of Glasgow, and Sir William 
Livingston of Kilsyth, to go to the Burgh of Ayr 
and " provide a ship and a pinnace well armed and 
provided for the pursuit of the Clan Ean." For 
the same purpose a commission of fire and sword 
was also given to Lord Loiii, the lairds of Lochnell, 
Achinbreck, Calder, and Ardkinlass, or any three of 
them, Lord Lorn always being one.^ Meanwhile, 
a Scottish and a Flemish ship which had been taken 
by the Clan Iain were recovered from them by a 
Captain Osborne, for the King, and delivered to the 
Archbishop of Glasgow. The Maclains, notwith- 
standing the formidable armament arrayed against 
them, continued to plunder all ships, home and 
foreign, tliat came in their way. The extent of 
their piratical operations may be inferred from a 
letter, dated July 2yth, 1G25, from the Council to 
the King, in which they are referred to as " rebellis 
of the Clan Eane be whom not only your maiesties 
awne subjectis, hot the subjectis of otheris princes 
yo'' maiesties friends and confederates were havelie 
distrest and robbed of thair shippis and goodis and 
some of them cruellie and barbarouslie slain "" The 
rebels, being now hotly pursued by Lord Lome, 
were driven by him from the Southern to the 
Northern Isles. Finding thems'^lves on the coast 
of Skye, they were pursued by Sir Horie Mor of 
iJunvegan, and driven across the Minch to the 
mainland. They landed in Clanranald's country, 
and hid themselves in tlu.^ woods and caves of 
Arisaig and Moidart. From the list of the names 
of the ringleaders, it appears that not a few of the 

' Keg. Sec. Con. Acta. - Deamyhie MSS. 


followers of the Chief of Clanraiiald had joined the 
Maclains, and this no doubt accounts for the latter 
seeking and finding refuge amongst xheir kindred. 
The Maclain rebellion being at length su23pressed, 
Lord Lorn, and those associated with him, landed at 
Ardnamurchan, and made a pretence of driving away 
the few followers of the Clan Iain that still remained 
there. Lorn was thanked by the Privy Council 
for his services, and Mr Donald Campbell became 
proprietor of Ardnamurchan for an annual feu duty 
of 2000 merks, payable to Argyle. the Superior. 
The Clan Iain now ceased to exist as a territorial 
family. It appears, however, that Alexander Mac- 
Iain, the head of the family, received a considerable 
sum of mone}' in name of compensation for his claims 
on the lands of Ardnamurchan. At Edinburgh, on 
the 22nd of April, 1629, he gives his bond for 
£40,000 Scots to Robert Innes, burgess of Fortrose,^ 
a sum which represented at that time a very large 
fortune. It appears from this transaction that how- 
ever much the family of Ardnamurchan may have 
suffered otherwise, they were now, financially at 
least, in a very flourishing condition. 

Very little is known of the history of the 
Maclains as a family from the time of their landing 
in the Moidart district in 1625. It appears, how- 
ever, that they continued for some time to annoy 
the new possessor of their old inheritance. In the 
year 1633, Sir Donald Campbell "dischargis and 
exoners'"' the leader of the Clan Iain for committing 
"sundrie wrangis" within his bounds of Ardna- 
murchan.- According to the Morar MS., John 
Macdonald of Clanranald became answerable to the 
King for the future good behaviour of the Clan Iain. 

^ Register of Deeds. '-' Clanranald Charter 


As we have seen, they had ah-eady acknowledged 
Claiiranald as their Chief, and the small remnant 
noAv left of them identified themselves with his 
I branch of the Clan Donald.' A few years ago, 
V wlien the old churchyard of St Columba, in King- 
ussie, was being improved, a tombstcme was brought 
to light bearing the following inscription : — " hetr 

WHO DIED 13 AP. 1719 ALSO AL^ & AL^ 

MOURACH." The unearthing of the tombstone in 
Badenoch shows at least that some members of the 
Maclain family lived for some time in that district, 
but there is no evidence besides that of the inscrip- 
tion itself that the Macdonalds in Ruthven repre- 
sented directly or at all the ancient family of 
Ardnamurchan. It is very probable that/ those 
whose names are inscribed on the tombstone found 
their way to Badenoch at the time of the general 
dispersion of the Clan Iain, and that Alexander 
Macdonald, whose father lived in Buthven, repre- 
sented for a time, in that district at least, the 
Maclains of Ardnamurchan. 

1 Morar MS. 




Obscurities of early history. — Lands of Glencoe, how held. — John 
Fraoch. — John Abrach. — Glencoe men liberate Donald 
Dubh. — Bond of John Og Maclain Abraich with Campbell of 
Glenorchy. — Commission of Justiciary against Glencoe. — 
Bond of manrent Fre\ichie and Lochiel against Glencoe. — 
Raid upon the Ogilvies at Argyll's instigation in 1591. — 
Complaint against Clanian same year. — Outbreak in 1592. — 
Raids into Drumcharrie, Ardincaple, and Lennox in 1599. — 
Slaughter of the Stewarts. — Commission against John 
Abrach, 1617. — Raid of Frendraiicht. — Apprehension of 
Alastair Maclain Abraich. — Battle of Stronachlachain. — 
Clanian in Campaign of Montrose. — Ranald of the Shield. — 
Clanian at the Revolution. — Forfeiture of Glencoe. — Bread- 
albane's mission of conciliation. — Government Proclamation. 
— Glencoe procrastinates. — Takes the Oath. — Suppression of 
Certificate. — Dalrymple's murderous scheme.— King William's 
action. — Quartering of Government troops in Glencoe. — 
Treachery under friendship's mask. — The murder. — Com- 
mission of Enquiry. — Privations of the Clanian and Petition 
to Estates. — Help from Heisker. — Clanian in 1745. — The 
last of the Glencoes. 

The history of this branch of the Clan Donald is 
beset perhaps by greater difficulties than that of 
any other family in the wide confederacy. Durino^ 
long periods its Annals are worse than obscure, 
they are hopelessly blank. The causes that create 
obscurity in other and more powerful branches 
operate here with two-fold effect. The causes con- 
nected with the predominance of the parent house 
have already been referred to. Yet even in the 
sixteenth century, when light dawns upon the rest 


of the Clan Donald after the fall of the Island 
lordship, the Clanian of Glencoe continue to lurk in 
their dark and cavernous retreats, and their history, 
until the seventeenth century, is almost entirely a 
blank. One reason for this was that the C^hiefs of 
Glencoe never became Crown vassals, or if they did, 
it was only at a very late period of their histor}^ 
They occupied lands which for the most part were 
held by Crown vassals, and thus the public records 
which throw so much light upon the ownership of 
land in the case of the other Clan Donald septs, are 
silent on the Clanian, and it is only when the 
Records of the Scottish Privy Council become 
available for purposes of research that the Glencoe 
famil}^, who gave the authorities a lively time, cease 
to elude the historian's grasp. 

Both M'Vurich and Hugh Macdonald are at one 
as to the tradition that Iain Og an flviaoicli — 
young John of the heather — the progenitor of the 
Glencoe family, was a natural son of Angus Og of 
Isla, Lord of the Isles, by Dugall Mac Henry's 
daughter. Why he was called John Og of the 
heather we have now no means of ascertaining, nor 
are there data available for confirming or rejecting 
the tradition that there was a bar sinister on his 
escutcheon. We know little of him beyond the 
fact that his father gave him the lands of Glencoe, 
apparently by verbal gift, a form of conveyance 
commonly used in the earlier days of the Island 
]iolity ; and it is somewhat singular that neither 
John Fraoch nor any of his descendants, until recent 
times, perhaps, seem ever to have attempted feudal 
investiture of their estate. 

The region of Glencoe forms part of the ancient 
parish of Island Mund, a Church dedicated to 


Saint Muiid, being situated in the island so called 
in the corner of Loch Leven. It forms part of the 
modern parish of Appin. The turbulent river Coe, 
from which the Glen derives its name, traverses it 
from head to fo(^t, and about midway expands into 
Lochtriachtan. The Glen itself is admired for 
the grandeur and majesty of the encompassing 
mountains, while its gloom and desolation have 
rendered it poetically fit to be the scene of a 
tragedy which froze the heart's blood of the civil- 
ized world during the last decade of the seventeenth 

The lands of Glencoe were part of the territory 
of the Clan Cholla, and passed over to the M'Dougall 
branch of the family of Somerlesd. Upon Bruce's 
accession to the Scottish Crown the family of Lome 
was forfeited, and the lands of Glencoe, which lay 
amid their possessions, were bestowed upon Angus 
Og of Isla, along with many others, as the reward of 
his unflinching loyalty. They were included in 
more than one charter bestowed by the Scottish 
Crown upon John of Isla, Lord of the Isles ; but 
after his time they no longer appear among the 
territories of the Island lordship, but become the 
property of the families of Argyll and Aj^pin, who 
held them in capitc of the Kings of Scotland. John 
Fraoch and his descendants held Glencoe from these 
superiors in some form of tenantry or vassalage, 
the nature of which, in the complete absence of 
documents, it is quite impossible to determine. 

When we say that the founder of the Glencoe 
family flourished about the beginning of the four- 
teenth century we tell nearly the whole history of 
the sept for hundreds of years. 


The first chief of Glencoe also gave the sept the 
patronymic " Ahrochson," probably because he was 
fostered in Lochaber. John Fraoch, alias Abrach, 
left no record ; and it is only from the voice 
of tradition we learn that he died at Knapdale 
in 1358, and his body was taken to lona and 
buried in Relig Orain, beside his father's remains.^ 
After John Abrach, there was an unbroken suc- 
cession of eight Johns, whose separate identities 
it is, in the circumstances, difficult, if not impos- 
sible, to define. The history of several of them 
is quite unknown, and it is only towards the 
end of the fifteenth century that we find any refer- 
ence to them in the national records. At the date 
of the last forfeiture of the lordship of the Isles, the 
head of the Glencoe tril)e was styled " John of the 
Isles alias Abrochson." In 1500 there is evidence 
that the Clanian of Glencoe have lost the benefits of 
the kindly sway of the House of Isla, and that 
there is an attempt to oust them from their lands. 
Archibald, Earl of Argyll, Lord Campbell and 
Lome, evidently tried not only to evict " John of 
the His utherwyis Abrochsoune," but also Duncan 
Stewart, son of Stewart of Appin, from the lands of 
" Durroure and Glencoyne.""^ But although decreet 
in absence was granted in favour of Argyll and 
against Glencoe by the Lords of Council, Maclain 
continued in ])ossession. 

We obtain a fleeting glimpse of the men of 
Glencoe in 1501 when they opened the doors 
of Inchconnell for the liberation of Donald Dubh, 
son of Angus Og, and heir to the lordship 
of the Isles. This conduct was a clear indication 
that whoever was their feudal superior they felt 

' Genealogy in the M'Lagaii Collection. 
- Acta Con. Doni., vol. IX.. fo. ]92. 


that their loyalty as a tribe was due to the 
patriarchal head of their race. It is well past 
the middle of the sixteenth century before further 
light breaks upon these obscure annals. In 1563 
"John Og MacAne Abrycht" was in lawful posses- 
sion or occupation of the lands of Glencoe under 
Colin Campbell of Glenurquhay, who held them 
from the Crown. On 6th May of that year a 
contract of protection and manrent is signed by 
both parties. In this bond Camjobell undertakes 
to defend the Chief of Clanian in the possession 
of his lands, while John Og on the other hand 
becomes bound to serve the Laird of Glenurquhay 
against all persons whatsoever, save only the 
authority and my Lord Argyll. It is stipulated 
that the contract shall at once become void if 
John Og does not instantly serve against the 
Clan Gregor.^ In 158S a Commission of Justiciary 
was given by James "VI. to George, Earl of Huntly, 
John Grant of Freuchie, and others against a 
number of Highland chiefs, and amongst them 
"John M'Ane Oig in Glencoe and Alexander 
M'Ane Oig," probably sons of the John Og M'Ane 
Abrycht who gave the bond of manrent to Glen- 
urquhay in 1563." That the Clanian Abraich were 
at this time, as indeed they must have been at all 
times, a terror to neighbouring communities, is 
proved by contemporary records. On 30th June, 
1589, a bond of manrent was entered into between 
John Grant of Freuchie and Allan Cameron of 
Lochie], in w^iich the former bound himself to 
fortify and assist the other party against the 
inhabitants and indwellers of Glencoe.^ The terri- 

^ Act. Dom. Con. ad tcvipus. 

- Black Book of Tayinouth. T!o. '0. Chiefs of Grant, vol. ITI., p. Ifi6. 

■■■ Chiefs of Grant, vol. Ill,, p. 170. 



torial jDOsition of the Clanian isolated them from 
the more powerful branches of the Clan Donald, 
and they were on all hands surrounded by powerful 
and hostile neighbours, while their wild and ahnost 
unapproachable fastnesses, inaccessible to strangers 
save at most imminent risk of fatal ambuscades, 
enabled them to carry on their forays and depreda- 
tions almost with entire impunity, and these, of 
course, were no infringement of the ancient code 
of Celtic ethics. 

During the last decade of the sixteenth century, 
the Act of James V. rendering a baron responsible 
for the behaviour of his servants, or feudal inferiors, 
was called into requisition in connection with the 
Clanian of Glencoe. Serious complaints were laid 
before the King and C-ouncil in 1591 as to the 
numerous cases of foray and plunder whereby the 
lieges were victimised. The P]arl of Argyll proved 
to be guilty, not only feudally and vicariously, but 
really as particejys criminis in a serious foray in 
which the men of Glencoe and others were involved 
during 1591. A feud arose between the Campbells 
and the Ogilvies of Glenisla. r'ampbell of Persie, 
who was an invited guest at a wedding in Glenisla, 
insulted the bride and stabbed her father. Lord 
Ogilvie, chief of the bride's clan, resenting the 
strange amenities, drew his sword and called upon 
the aggressor to defend himself. The com-teous 
scion of the house of Argyll was soon disarmed, and 
narrowly escaping death by hanging was despatched 
with every form of indignity beyond the confines of 
Glenisla. Argyll resolved to avenge his kinsman's 
treatment, and mustered the Glencoe men, the 
Keppoch men, and others^ and sent them to invade 
and spoil the Ogilvies and their glen. The raid, we 


may be sure, was executed with much zeal and 
success, and the rapidity with which the marauders 
marched was such that Lord Ogilvie in his complaint 
to the King said that he was " nocht able to resist 
them, but with grite difficultie and short advertise- 
ment he his wyffe and bairnis eschaiped." The 
complaint made by Lord Ogilvie to the Privy 
Council referred to Archibald Earl of Argyll and his 
friends, particularly Allan Roy M'Inoig, son to the 
Laird of Glencoe, and 500 other marauders from the 
neighbouring regions, as having committed various 
atrocities. When Argyll and those who represented 
him in these acts of lawlessness failed to appear on 
the 27th of October conformably to citation, they 
were denounced rebels.^ At a later period of the 
year other serious complaints were laid before the 
Council in which the men of Glencoe were again 
involved, this time without the countenance and 
patronage of the Earl of Argyll. " John Og 
M'Ane Abrych in Glencone, Allaster Og M'Ane 
Abrych his brother, and Donald Og M'Ane Abrick, 
brother to John Og elder," made a formidable 
incursion into the lands of John Drummond of 
Blair. They are described as dwelling and remaining 
within the bounds of Appin and Glencoe, pertaining 
to John Stewart of Appin ; and the misdemeanants 
being his men, tenants, and servants, John is 
charged to appear before the Justice in the Tolbooth, 
Edinburgh, on the 7th November following, and to 
answer under pain of rebellion." There is nothing 
to indicate the penal consequences of this last 

The following year there is a fresh outbreak. 
It was reported to the King and Council that John 

1 Reg. P.C. vol. IV.. ),. !if). - Ibid, vol. v.. p. .'.H. 


MacEan Gig in Glencone — who has now succeeded 
his father, John Og, as chief of the tribe — Allaster 
MacEan Oig his Ijrothev, Archibald MacEan Oig 
and Allan Roy, also his brother, were guilty of 
open and manifest oppression, murder, sorning, 
theft — a sufficiently formidable indictment. Having 
been called and refusing or failing to find security, 
the}^ were denounced and declared rebels and 
fugitives. Lord Eraser of Lovat and Lauchlan 
Mackintosh of Dunachton were appointed Commis- 
sioners to jDrosecute them ; ^ but it does not appear 
that the men of Glencoe laboured very long under 
the sentence of outlawry, for we find the same year 
that "MacAne Abrich of Glencone," along with 
MacAne of Ardnamurchane and others, was, by 
the King and on advice of his Council, relaxed 
from the horn. 

For several years after the foregoing events there 
is calm in the stormy annals of Glencoe, at least so 
far as these are disclosed by the Records of the 
Privy Council ; but it is the calm that follows as 
well as precedes the tempest. In 1599 Allaster 
MacEan Oig and his men, under John Og MacEan 
Abrich, reft from David Craig out of his fold of 
DnuTicharrie "seven great kye " and a bull worth 
£140.^ This was only preliminary to much greater 
deeds of "herscliipp." The complainants on this 
occasion were Ludovick, Duke of Lennox, and Aula 
MacAula of Ardincaple, and the information is laid 
in the month of November against Archibald Mac- 
Coneill Maclain Abrich, and Ronald, Angus, Allan, 
and John MacLain Abrich in Glencone. They were 
charged with oppression, including " reif, houghing 
of cattle, and purpose of murder." The men of 

i Chiefs of Grant, vol. III., p. 181. - Reg. P.O., vol. V., p. 53. 


Glencoe have enough to answer foi" if their conduct 
towards the animal creation was as bad as stated, 
without their accusers professing to divine their 
"purpose" to murder, when such a crime was not 
actually committed. Be that as it may, the charge 
against them stated in detail was to the effect that 
they came at night to the woods of Ardincaple and 
waited there until Aula came out of his house that 
they might pursue him for his life. They took 
cajDtive several MacAulas and others to prevent 
their reporting the intention of the Clanian on 
arriving at Ardincaple house. After spoiling the 
houses of several of the Clan Aula, they passed on 
to the lands of Strone and Auchingarth, belonging 
to the Duke of Lennox, and took from his tenants 
" 32 horses and mares and 24 kye." This was a 
considerable and fruitful "creach," but we do not 
hear of serious reprisals. We learn that Argyll 
was taken to task in 1602 for this recrudescence of 
violence and robbery on the part of the men of 
Glencoe. An action was laid at the instance of 
Sir George Home of Spot, Treasurer, and Mr 
Thomas Hamilton of Drumcairn, King's Advocate, 
and Argyll became bound in 20,000 merks that 
he and those for whom he was answerable should 
observe good rule in the country, and satisfy " the 
parties skaithed." ^ 

The Clanian of Glencoe are said to have been 
engaged along with Macgregor of Glenstrae in the 
slaughter of Lennox, a conflict which took place at 
Glenfruin, between the Gareloch and Loch Lomond, 
and where eighty of the Colquhoun Clan were slain ; 
but as their connection with that sanguinary engage- 
ment seems to have been subordinate and incidental, 

i Reg. P.O., vol. VI., 1. 183. 


we do not propose to detail the events of the day.^ 
In 1605, John, son of John Og Maclai.n, seems 
still to be the Chief of Glencoe. That year there is 
a charge against him to compear personally with 
tacks, securities, etc., at Loch Kilkerran in Kmtyre ; 
but there is no evidence that . Maclain presented 
himself on that occasion, nor is it likely that he 
could have satisfied the Government by the pro- 
duction of any feudal title to Glencoe. The 
Maclain charter chest does not appear to have held 
any parchments in the shape of instruments of 
teimre early in the seventeenth century. 

In 1609, John Stewart of Acharn and Alexander 
Stewart were slain by Glencoe men, and the guilty 
parties were, on the 30tli January, 1610, put to the 
horn at the instance of Elspeth Stewart, relict of 
John Stewart. The proceedings of the Privy 
Council clearly point out the guilty parties. 
During 1610 we are mformed that " Allaster 
Maclain Gig of Glencoe," who seems to have been 
the last chief's brother, and judging by his desig- 
nation to have succeeded him, is a " common and 
notorious thief and sorner, and oppressor, for many 
years a fugitive and an outlaw." We also learn 
that this individual who receives such a certificate 
of demerit fell — and Providence is devoutly thanked 
for the event- -into the hands of Colin Campbell of 
Abermichell. The Lords appointed James, Earl of 
Perth, and Stewart of Stratherne to receive the 
malefactor from Campbell's hands, and to enter him 
for trial. Shortly after this, otlier names connected 
with the Stewart murder come under our notice. 
During 1610, commission was given to Alexander 
Cohjuhoun of Luss, Hector Maclean of Dowart, and 

' Ueg. r.C, vol. VI., p. 534. 


Allan Cameron of Lochiel to convocate the lieges in 
army to apprehend Angus Maclain Du}^ in Dalness, 
Alias ter Maclain Duy in Aclitriachtan, Allan Dow 
Maclain Duy his brother, and John Og Maclain 
Duy, for not having found caution to underly the 
laws for the slaughter of the late Allaster and John 

The following year — 1611 — Allaster MacEan Oig 
of Glencoe is still in durance vile in the Tolbooth of 
Edinburgh, either undergoing, or about to receive, 
sentence for the slaughter of the Stewarts, for which 
he was charged in previous years. We find Alex- 
ander Macdonald of Gargavauch, and Ronald Mac- 
donald, his apparent heir, binding themselves as 
cautioners for him that he should appear before the 
Lords of Secret Council when charged upon forty 
days' citation.^ Whether Allaster broke ward, or 
what punishment he received at the hands of the 
authorities, we are not in a position to say. But, 
w^hether capitally punished or not, Allaster Maclain 
Oig passes out of history and is seen no more. 

In connection with the next known episode 
recorded of the Clanian, "John Abrocli" appears as 
the representative of the family. The circumstances 
were thus : — In 1617 there is a commission under 
the Signet signed by the Chancellor and George 
Ker given to the Sheriffs of Edinburgh, Perth, 
Forfar, Aberdeen, Inverness, Argyll, and Tarbert, 
and the Stewart of Stratherne, to apprehend by 
force if necessary and to try John Dow Maclnnes, 
in the town of Kellies in Glencoe, John Mac- 
Condochie Vc Gillimartyne and John MacEane Vc 
Illephatrick, servitors to John Abroch of Glencoe, 
for not answering to the charge of murdering David 

' Reg. P.C., vol. IX., p. 29G. 


Bowman.^ During this same year it would seem 
that the feud with the Stewarts is unhealed, and 
that more of the blood of that royal race has been 
shed by the ruthless denizens of the Glen. Walter 
Stewart, burgess of Inverness, was slaughtered by 
the Clanian ; and at the instance of Alexander 
Stewart, son, and James Stewart, brother and 
remaining kin of the deceased, an Order of Council 
was given with the instruction that Alexander 
Stew^art of Appin was to exhibit John MacConill 
Mac Iain on the 22nd April next, that he may be 
handed over to trial, and this charge was made 
under a penalty of £1000. Still the Stewart feud 
continued with fatal results, for on the 1 otli July of 
the same year — 1617 — a Commission was given to 
the Marquis of Huntly, the Earl of Argyll, and 
others, for the apprehension and trial of John Abroch 
Macdonald of Glencoe, Donald Bowie Maclain Vic 
Iain Oig Vic Iain Abrich, and a number of other 
Highlanders charged with the murder of Duncan 
and James Stewart. The result of these proceedings 
does not transpire. 

The foregomg monotony of lawlessness gives a 
black picture of the descendants of John Fraoch, 
but being drawn from the national record of con- 
temporary misdeeds it could hardly be otheiwise. 
There must have been in the inner life of the 
Clanian much that was chivalrous and attractive, 
even in the ruder stages of their history ; but 
the centuries refuse to give up their secrets, and 
we only see the Glencoe men in their role of 
Ishmaelites — their hand against every other, and 
the hands of many others against them. 
1 Kvg. r.c, vol. XI., p. ai'. 


From 1617 to 163-4 there is a prolonged pause, 
during which there is no trace of the men of 
Glencoe either in war and foray or in the arts of 
peace. In the latter year we find them committing 
depredations where it would hardly be supposed 
that the Western Highlanders ever ventured to 
penetrate for purposes of " spulzie," namely, the 
north-west of Aberdeenshire. The Chrichtons of 
Frendraucht had long been at feud with the 
Gordons, of whom the Marquis of Huntly was the 
chief, and all who were subject to the feudal sway 
of the xlberdeenshire noble deemed it their right 
and privilege to conduct forays into the lands of 
the laird of Frendraucht. The Lords of Secret 
Council received information on 13th November, 
1634, that great numbers of sorners and broken 
men, consisting of many Gordons, and among 
others the Maclains of Glencoe, had committed 
outrages upon the laird of Frendraucht and his 
tenants by slaughter, fire raisings, and other 
oppressive actions. The Lords ordained letters to 
be directed to tlie Gordons and the Clanian to 
compear personally before the Privy Council upon 
the 16tli December to give information to the Lords 
anent the enormities committed, and to restrain 
their people.^ On the i3th January following — 
1635 — the same information was laid before the 
Lords of Council, and in response to further charge 
to that effect, Allaster Mac Iain Abraich of Glencoe, 
evidently the chief of the tribe, appeared before 
them to answer for his alleged misdemeanours. 
An adjournment was made of his case, and he, 
with other brethren in misfortune, was ordained 
to appear again on the following Thursday.- The 

' Acta Reg. See. Cou., ard Nov., 16U. - Ibid., -Jrd November, 11535. 


Gleiicoe Chief seems to have spent a considerable 
part of the year of grace 1635 within the precincts 
of the Scottish capital. He is there on the 5th 
February, when, along with John Cameron, son to 
Lochiel, lie has to bind and oblige himself to remain 
and keep ward in Edinburgh till he found caution 
conform to the Act of Parliament. It is probable 
tluit until the following summer Maclain of Glencoe 
did not tread his native heath, but had still to 
submit to the uncongenial atmosphere of " Auld 
Reekie,'' and it is most likely that the curtailment 
of the modified liberty he was at first allowed was 
owing to some suspicion that he either tried or 
purposed to break ward. In any case, on the 30th 
July he was, with others, committed to ward within 
the Tolbooth, Edinburgli, till he found securitv for 
observing the relevant Acts ; the permission to go a 
Sabbath day's journey beyond the city, which he 
formerly enjoyed, having been withdrawn. As to 
Allaster's subsequent history we are left in the 
dark, for at this point the Records of the Privy 
Council cease to aftbrd us any information regarding 
the actions of the Maclains of Glencoe. It would 
not be safe, however, to conclude that there was 
any sudden conversion from the ancient love of 
" creach," or that their attitude towards neighbour- 
ing clans had undergone a radical change. 

In 1640 the Clan Iain took part in a foray in 
which the men of Kep|:)och were the principals, and 
which resulted in serious loss to both. At Finlarig, 
tiie res'dence of Sir Robert Campbell, festivities 
were being conducted in celebration of his daughter's 
wedding with one of the Clan Menzies, when tidings 
reached the wedding guests that a party of Mac- 
donalds from the Braes of Lochaber and from 


Glencoe, under their respective chiefs, was passing 
through the country. It turned out that they were 
on their way home after a harrying expedition in 
tlie South, and one form of the tradition is that they 
refused to pay the toll or tax which was usually 
exacted from those passing with a creach through 
the territory of a neighbouring chief. Besides, 
there was, of course, no love lost between the Mac- 
donalds and the Campbells, at that particulai- time, 
or at any time. This, along with memories of 
former injuries, supplemented by the artificial 
courage induced by festive occasions, led a party of 
the Campbells to endeavour to intercept the Clan 
Donald band. They ci-ossed the Lochay, rushed up 
tlie hill, and met the Macdonalds above Margovvan. 
A bloody conflict followed, in which the Clan Donald 
were victorious, and eighteen cadets of the house of 
Campbell were hit dead upon the field of Stronach- 
lachan.^ But the victory was dearly bought by the 
death of the two Clan Donald chiefs. 

In the political turmoil of the seventeenth 
century, the Clanian, like the rest of the Clan 
Donald, supported the claims of the House of 
Stewart. There is distinct evidence that they took 
their own share of the toils and glories of the cam- 
paigns of Montrose. On 7th February, 1644, Colonel 
James Macdonald, an Irish ofiicer, writes to the 
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to the effect that when 
he was sent from Blair Athole to Ardnamurchan 
with a l^arty to relieve the Castles of Mingarry and 
Lochaline, he was joined by the Glencoe men. A 
Council was held at Blair-Athole to consult as to 
where the army would go into winter quarters. 
The General pronounced for the Lowlands, but the 

' The Lairds bud Laud.-< of Lui-h Tayside, by Jdhu Giiristie, 1892, pp. 56-57. 


rest of the Council declared for the Highlands, as 
being most secure. Montrose gave in to the 
majority, on the assurance being given that food 
and quarters could without difficulty be provided. 
Angus, the son of Allan Dubh, who ajDpears to have 
been the leader of the Glencoe men, was at this 
crisis invited to appear before the Council of War to 
give his views upon the question of commissariat. 
Angus rose to the occasion. There was not, he said, 
a town under the lordship of MacCailein but was 
known to him, and if stanch houses and fat cattle to 
feed upon in them would answer their purjDose, they 
would 2>^'c»cure them. Tliis proved a satisfactory 
assurance from a past master in the art of foraging, 
and the prospect of an inroad upon the Campbell 
country turned the scale in flivour of wintering in 
the Highlands.^ 

The most distinguished warrior of the Clanian of 
Glencoe during the wars of Montrose and Dundee 
was Ranald Macdonald, son of Allan of Achtriachtan, 
who went under the soubriquet of Raonull na 
Syeithe, or "Ranald of the Shield." As Ranald 
bulked so largely in the scant annals of his race, it 
is permissible to reproduce the traditional account of 
how he received his by-name. In an engagement, 
the name of which has not been preserved, an English 
dragoon was taken prisoner. The demeanour of 
this captive is said to have been more arrogant 
than his position justified. On discovering that 
the Highlanders were not trained to the use of 
the sword without the target, he scorned their 
swordsmanship, and said that lie would fight the 
best Highlander in Montrose's army with the sword 
alone against sword and target. " Man," exclaimed 

' Jleliquitc Celticic, vol. II. , p. 181. 


Ranald iiidignantly, "do you think any Highlander 
would take such an advantage in fighting 3^ou ? I 
have not been taught to use the sword without a 
target, but I will fight you dirk and target against 
3^our sword, which puts the advantage on your side. 
Your being a prisoner need not deter you, for I 
pledge my honour, if you l^eat me, that you will 
not only be held scathless, but set at lil^erty." An 
understanding to the foregoing etfect having been 
arrived at, the men got ready for action. An 
interruption, however, occurred in the sudden 
appearance of Aillean duhh nam jiadh — black 
Allan of the deer — the celebrated Dalness deer- 
stalker, who, having heard of the impending 
combat, came forward to take Ranald's place and 
fight the Englishman on equal terms. Allan was 
supposed to be, next to Alastair Mac Colla, the 
best swordsman in Montrose's army. Ranald 
refused to allow any man to take ujd his quarrel, 
whereupon Allan said to him in Gaelic — " 'S fearr 
an claidheamh gu mor na bhiodag 's an targaid. 
Gabh mo chomhairle, oir cha 'n 'eil fios 'de dh' 
eireas dhuit." (The sword is much better than the 
dirk. Take my advice, or there is no knowing what 
may happen to you.) "Cha 'n 'eil/' replied Ranald, 
" fios 'de dh' eireas dhorahsa ach eiridh an diabhull 
fein dhasan." (There is no knowing what may 
happen to me, but the very devil will hajjpen to 
him.) Presumably the duel was fought on the 
principles mutually agreed upon, and as the dragoon 
was not set at liberty, the supposition is a fair one 
that Ranald was victorious. In any case the 
designation Raonull na Sgeithe stuck to him ever 
afterwards. Ranald of the Shield played a prominent 
part in all the loyalist eflforts on behalf of the 


Stewart dynasty so long as be was able to wield 
tbe claymore. He was present witb tbe Highland 
army tbat defended Worcester against suob tre- 
mendous odds and witb sucb imperishable glory. 
Besides being a distinguished warrior, lie was a 
poet of no mean repute, and some of his efforts 
have an honourable place in the poetical literature 
of the Gael.^ He lived to be a very old man, and 
we shall meet him once more in connection with 
the massacre of Glencoe. 

The annals of Glencoe, from the middle down to 
the last decade of the seventeenth century, are 
virtually a blank. Not till 1689, when the High- 
land Glans rallied once more to the support of the 
House of Stewart in the person of James VII. of 
Scotland, did the Clanian again appear upon the 
historical arena. On the 1 7th August, Alexander 
Macdonald of Glencoe signed, along with others, the 
answer of the Highland ( Jlans to General Mackay ; 
and on the 24th of the same month he put his name 
to the Bond of Association for His Majesty's service, 
undertaking for his part to bring fifty men into the 
field. ^ This bond was signed at Blair-Athole Castle. 
An interesting word picture of several Highland 
chiefs is given in a Latin poem composed by 
Dundee's standard-bearer, and the portrait of the 
Chief of Glencoe l)efore Killiecrankie may be 
accepted as substantially correct, though somewhat 
hyj)erbolical in colouring. " Next came Glencoe, 
terrible in unwonted arms, covered as to his breast 
with new hide, and towering far above his whole 
line by head and shoulders. A hundred men all of 
gigantic mould, all mighty in strength, accompany 

' CairiiiKpir.s " Laiiguai^p, Poetry, and Music of tlie Highland Clans," jip. 

- Acts of the S(n)tlish I'arlianient, Appendix p. GO. 


him as he goes to the wtir. He himself turning his 
shield in his hand, flourishing terribly his sword, 
fierce in asj^ect, rolling his wild eyes, the horns of 
his twisted beard curled backward, seems to breathe 
forth wherever he moves. "^ 

The Clanian took part in the battle of Killie- 
crankie, and it is said that Ranald of the Shield, 
who must have been an old man then, and who 
composed a poem on Dundee's victory, fought there 
with his clan. As he had a son, Ranald Og, it is 
possible that tradition may have mistaken the latter 
for his more distinguished father. In consequence 
of his share in Dundee's campaign, Maclain of 
Glencoe passed under a decree of forfeiture on the 
14th July, 1690.' On a Deposition by certain 
witnesses taken at Edinburgh on 2nd May, 1690, 
Maclain's active support of the Jacobite movement, 
as well as Stewart of Appin's conduct in the same 
direction, had been proved; and on the 11th Sep- 
tember following, a Commission was given by the 
Lords of the Privy Council to the Earl of Argyll to 
pass with a competent number of forces to the lands 
of Glencoe and others in possession of the rebels, and 
reduce them to obedience.^ It was in the Highlands 
that any serious efforts for the restoration of the 
fallen Stewart line might be expected to originate, 
and so, the reduction of that part of the kingdom to 
a peaceful acceptance of the Government of William 
and Mary, was to be the head and front of the new 
policy in Scotland. 

The circumstances to which we have just referred 
were gradually leading up to the terrible episode 

^ The Grameid, an Heroic Poem descriptive of the Campaign of Viscount 
Dundee in 1689, by James Philip of Almerieclose, 1691. 
- Acts of Scot. Pari. Appendix, p. 60. 
^ Decreta Reg. Sec. Con., lltli Sept., 1690. 


which has left so dark and ineffaceable a stain upon 
the Britisli history of the age. The deposed dynasty, 
victims of an anti(|iiated theory of royal prerogative, 
were no doubt guilty in their time of grave political 
errors, but never in the darkest hour of their rule 
did they scheme or suffer to be carried into effect, 
a conspiracy so barbarous in design and in execution 
as that which was now to be enacted, for tlie pacifi- 
cation of the Highlands, by a Government professing 
the principles of popular rights and liberties. 

In the s\nnmer of 1G91, the Government took 
certain steps for the settlement of the Highlands. 
They appointed the Marquis of Breadalbane, a 
nobleman whose character for chivalrous honour did 
not stand high with his contemporaries, to the task 
of pacification, and entrusted him with the large 
sum of £12,000, to be applied to this end. The 
choice of an intermediary should certainly have 
fallen upon one who possessed, at anyrate in some 
measure, the confidence of both parties. None less 
suited than Breadalbane to pour oil upon the 
troubled waters of Highland society, could possibly 
have been selected. For one thing it has been 
hinted that the noljle Marquis's intromissions were 
not conducted u])on the strictest principles of 
accounting, and that a much smaller moiety of the 
pacification fund found -its way into the pockets of 
the Clans, than that which remained to recompense 
his own somewhat dubious services. But there 
were more serious defects. The bearer of the fiag 
of truce from the Government was notoriously at 
feud with some of those he was appointed to pacify. 
At a meeting of the heads of Clans held at 
Achallader in July, 1691, Breadalbane inaugurated 
his mission of peace by fastening a quarrel on 


Maclain of Glencoe about cows said to have been 
stolen by his clansmen, and threatening him with 
vengeance.^ This shows the spirit in which the 
polic}'^ of conciliation was initiated, and the incident 
was ominous of future trouble. The peace of the 
Highlands was undoubtedly sacrificed for the sake 
of Breadalbane's cows. Breadalbane retained Glen- 
coe's share of the Government fund in name of 
payment for past depredations, and Glencoe, not 
expecting any benefit from the proposed submission, 
exercised his influence, not unsuccessfully for a time, 
with the other Clan Donald chiefs, to refuse or delay 
rendering allegiance to the Government. The pro- 
ceedings of the Government, as publicly declared, 
were not in the circumstances other than reasonable 
and politic. A Proclamation was issued recom- 
mending the Clans to submit to the authority of 
William and Mary, offering pardon to all who 
promised to live peacefully under their rule, if the 
submission was made on or before the 31st December, 
1691 ; but all those who held out after that date 
were to be regarded as enemies and traitors .- 

Yet behind the policy avowed there lurked the 
dark design cherished by the Master of Stair, the 
arch villain of the tragedy, and by Breadalbane, 
who, with the characteristic astuteness of his race, 
managed to keep clear of absolute implication. If 
the guilt of wrong- doers is at all to be measured by 
their intentions, the heads of the Scottish Executive, 
and especially the Secretary, the Master of Stair, 
were chargeable with a crime exceeding in wild 
ferocity that which was actually committed. The 
Clans of Keppoch, Glengarry, and Lochiel, were to 

Report of the Ctunmisaion of Enquiry int^^ the Masaacre of Glem^oe, p. 7. 

- Ibid, p. 8. 



be annihilated at one fell swoop, no less than the 
devoted tribe of Glencoe. The offer of pardon to 
those who submitted had no doubt been made, but 
the Master of Stair undoubtedly anhicipated non- 
compliance with the terms of the Proclamation. 
His orders to the commander of the forces leave 
this beyond dispute. " Your troops will destroy 
entirely the country of Lochaber, Lochiel's lands, 
Keppoch's, Glengarry's, and Glencoe's. Your power 
shall be large enough. I hope the soldiers will not 
trouble the Government with prisoners." ^ 

The scheme of destruction in its larger aspect 
was baffled by a wise and timely submission on the 
part of the other chiefs involved ; but Maclain's 
delay proved fatal. It is not easy to account for 
the Glencoe chief's procrastination, unless we sup- 
pose that he still hoped against hope for a fresh 
rally of the Jacobite cause m the Highlands. He 
seems also to have made up his mind that he could 
take the oath of allegiance at Fort-William, and 
only allowed himself sufficient time to appear before 
Colonel Hill, the Governor, before the expiry of the 
fateful days. 

When Maclaiii arrived at Fort- William, he 
found to his alarm and mortification that Colonel 
Hill, not being possessed of a magistrate's com- 
mission, was unable to receive the oath of allegiance. 
Hill, however, did all he could to help and hasten 
him on his way to Inveraray with a letter to the 
Sheriff of that region to receive Maclain as a " Icjst 
sheep." There was no help for it but to wend his 
wear}^ way through snow and tempest to Inveraray. 
There were further unfortunate and unexpected 
interruptions. Maclain was detained for twenty- 

* Keporl of the Commission of Enquiry into the Massacre of Gleucoe, p. 22, 
on which this account of the massacre is mainly based. 


four hours by Captain Drummond, a Government 
officer stationed at Barcaldine, one of the guiltiest 
of the infamous band to whom we shall shortly 
have to make reference. He was three days at 
Inveraray before Sir Colin Campbell, who resided at 
Ardkinlass, and was detained by stress of weather, 
was able to come to the county town. After some 
little hesitation on the Sherifi''s part, the oath, 
though six days after the statutory time, was duly 
administered, and Maclain, in the vain hope that 
all his difficulties were at last surmounted, retired 
once more to his historic Glen. There he called his 
people together, told them he had taken the oath of 
allegiance and made his peace with the Government, 
and thereafter charged them all to be loyal to the 
new order of things. 

The certificate of Glencoe's submission was sent 
to Edinburgh written out evidently upon the same 
page as several others bearing upon quondam 
Jacobite rebels. It ought, like the rest, to have 
been submitted to a regular meeting of the Privy 
Council, and it is clear from the treatment which 
the certificate received that there were influences at 
work in high quarters seeking to take advantage of 
the fact that, despite Maclain's submission, he was 
technically a rebel, and lying under the ban of 
State. The accidental nature of the circumstances 
which prevented his submission within the pre- 
scribed period were to be left entirely out of 
account. Sir Gilbert Elliot, Clerk to the Council, 
refused to take Glencoe's certificate on account of 
its irregularity as to time; while Lord Aberuchill 
and other Privy Councillors, who were privately 
consulted, expressed the opinion that it could not 

be received wirhout a wnrraut from th'^ Kino-. 



Upon this, Colin Campbell, Sheriff Clerk of Argyll, 
to whom the certificate had been entrusted by the 
Sheriff, erased it, and in this way the first part of 
the conspiracy, which aimed at preventing its sub- 
mission to the Council Board, was successfully 

Though Sir John Dalrymple's thirst for Highland 
blood was not destined to be fully slaked, Glencoe's 
failure to take the oath in time filled him with a 
cruel joy, and in the suppression of the certificate 
we see his action as the deus, or shall we say 
diahohis ex machina, as well as that of Breadalbane, 
his faithful coadjutor. The inhuman resolution 
which inspired the Secretary when he gave his first 
orders to the (commander of the Forces in Scotland, 
is to be measured by the instruction not to trouble 
the Government with prisoners, which distinctly 
suggested, indeed enjoined, a wholesale butchery ; 
and the same purpose is to be traced in the language 
of the subordinate officers who handed on the orders, 
or carried them into execution. 

It was on the 11th January, 1692, that the 
instructions were signed and countersigned by King 
William, by which the massacre of Glencoe was 
carried out. Drawn as these undoubtedly were by 
the Scottish Secretary, they exhibit a singular con- 
sistency with all that had gone before, as well as with 
the events that followed, inasmuch as they showed 
how necessary for the perpetration of the outrage 
was the suppression of the certificate of Maclain's 
submission. These instructions distinctly empower 
the authorities to receive on mercy, even at that late 
date, those who were willing to take the oath of 
allegiance. Maclain's case was therefore clearly 
covered bv this last Proclamation, which declared 


as follows : — " That chieftains and heritors, or 
leaders be prisoners of war, their lives only safe, and 
all other things in mercy ; they taking the oaths of 
allegiance, and rendering their arms and submitting 
to the Government are to have quarters and 
indemnity for their lives and fortunes, and to be 
protected from the soldiers ; as the principal paper 
of instructions, produced by Sir Thomas Livingston, 
bears." Hence the grave significance of the last 
paragraph of the instructions : — " If MacEan of 
Glencoe and that trybe can be well separated from 
the rest it will be a proper vindication of the public 
Justice to extirpate that sect of thieves." This 
separation, so much desired, had already been 
effected by the suppression of the certificate. 

William's action in this matter has been both 
defended and attacked. Certain considerations 
must, in justice, be kept in view, Macaulay's 
Dutch hero was not a British but a European 
statesman, and domestic questions had little interest 
for him save in their bearing on the mighty game of 
diplomacy and war in which he was engaged on the 
Continent. He governed Scotland largely by advice 
of his Council of State, and the English language 
was to him, not perhaps an unknown, but certainly 
a foreign tongue, and the more sinister portion of the 
fatal order might well have escaped his glance. 
Even had he perused it, and gathered its full 
import, he could hardly be blamed for giving it 
his imprimatur. Maclain's submission had been 
carefully concealed from him; to extirpate dens of 
robbers might well seem a function of civilised com- 
munities, and we can hardly, upon an unbiassed 
view, regard the Prince of Orange as other than an 
unconscious instrument in the plr.t that was being 


SO cunningly devised. Even should we not agree 
with the most picturesque of Engligli historians in 
his estimate of William III., we cannot deny him 
the merit of statecraft, and such a deed as the 
massacre of Glencoe would, from the point of view of 
policy, have been worse than a crime, it would have 
been a blunder of the grossest kind. For the security 
of his British rule, none knew better than he that 
to increase the existing irritation in Scotland by 
unnecessary cruelty would have surely been mid- 
summer madness. There came a time when the 
King was blameworthy, but that time was not yet. 

While the aged Chief of Glencoe dwelt in fancied 
security in his mountain home, the n^achinery for 
his own and his clan's destruction was being pieced 
together with devilish precision. The instruments 
were ready to the hand of the Scottish Secretary, 
some of them partly, others wholly, conscious of the 
depths of infamy to which the Scottish Executive in 
its civilising mission was about to descend. Sir 
Thomas Livingstone, the Commander of the Forces 
in Scotland, was furnished with a duplicate of the 
instructions. These were accompanied by letters 
from Stair, which left no doubt as to the Govern- 
meni's intentions to put the Clanian to the sword. 
Livingstone was a soldier, and it was his bounden 
duty, without reasoning why, to put into operation 
the royal instructions, interpreted as these were, by 
the letters of the chief executive official. He had to 
reaard Maclain as a rebel who must be dealt with 
by military law, and it was afterwards found by the 
Committee which investigated tlie massacre that he 
was justified in giving the orders he did. Very 
much the same remark applies to Colonel Hill, 
Governor of Fort- William. The orders received by 


Lieut.-Colonel Hamilton, Colonel Hill's subordinate, 
were first of all communicated by Sir Thomas 
Livingstone direct to Hamilton. The order had 
afterwards to be confirmed by Hill, the superior 
officer at Fort- William, and it has been conjectured 
that Hill himself was not entrusted with the 
expedition, as he was considered a man of some 
honour and humanity. The duties committed tu 
Hamilton were to take 400 men of Hill's regiment 
and 400 men of Argyll's regiment, to march straight 
to Glencoe, and there put in execution the orders 
received by the Commander-in-Chief. 

Meantime precautions were being taken by the 
Scottish Secretary to secure the thorough accom- 
phshraent of his bloodthirsty intent. On the 16th 
January he made arrangements with Argyll and 
Breadalbane that they should cut off the retreat 
of any refugees seeking to escape through their 
territories ; and the Laird of Weem was warned at 
his peril to guard the passes of Rannoch. The 
measures evidently in contemplation were harsh in 
the extreme, and constituted a flagrant breach of 
the most elementary principles of truth and honour. 
Yet the measures which were apparently in progress, 
cruel and treacherous though they undoubtedly 
seemed, would have been the height of virtue and 
good faith compared to the Satanic villainy of the 
crimes which were conceived b}^ the master spirit of 
the plot, and executed by the miscreants in his 
employment. The essence of the scheme of blood 
and treachery was that the Clanian must be 
destroyed under the guise of friendship ; must be 
betrayed to their ruin by those who were to eat 
their salt and grasp their hands as coraradep. ; in 
other words, by a species of treachery which has 


been loathed and execrated in all ages and by all 
races, not only of civilised, but even of barbarous 
mankind. The Master of Stair rightly believed 
that on the firet alarm the Clanian would be able 
to take refuge in fastnesses so naturally strong as 
to defy the efforts of an armed force to dislodge 
them. Hence the necessity, in his view, that the 
Agents of the Government must, on every pretext 
save the real one, obtain an entrance into the very 
privacy of the hearths and homes, and win the 
unsuspecting confidence of the people of Glencoe. 

The practical working out of this carnival of 
murder was to be divided between Captain Campbell 
of Glenlyon. who was connected by marriage with 
the family of Glencoe, and Lieut. -Colonel Hamilton. 
Campbell of Glenlyon was well qualified to hide a 
murderous intent under the semblance of friendship, 
and he soon proved himself the combination of liar, 
hypocrite, and assassin that was needed for the part 
he had to play. On the 1st of February, Campbell, 
nt the head of 120 soldiers of Argyll's regiment, 
marched into Glencoe. The unwonted sight of so 
many redcoats might well create alarm among the 
inhabitants of tlie Glen, and John, Maclain's eldest 
son, went to meet the formidable contingent with 
20 men. and asked them for what purpose they 
came. Thereupon Lieut. Lindsay showed them his 
orders for quartering there, and gave them the 
assurance tliat they had no ulterior end in view. 
The system of quartering troops upon communities 
that were supposed to be in any way indebted 
to the Government, was practised under a parlia- 
mentary enactment of long standing. The suspicions 
of the Clanian were at once allayed ; the ofiBcers 
and men were billeted in the glen, with free quarters 


and that hospitable entertainment always to be met 
with among the Highland people. Glenlyon and 
some of his men vv^ere lodged with Macdonald of 
Inneriugan, while another party under command 
of Sergeant Barbour lodged with Macdonald of 
Achtriachtan, the principal cadet of Glencoe. For 
nearly a fortnight these wolves in sheep's clothing 
dwelt among the Clanian and lived on the fat of the 
land. Nearly every morning Glenlyon came down 
to Alexander Maclain's house, the latter being his 
nephew by marriage, and took his morning draught, 
while the evenings were spent in card playing and 
other forms of friendly intercourse. 

At last the time arrived that had been fixed for 
the ruthless butchery. At five o'clock in the 
morning of the 13th February, Glenlyon and his 
men were to tear off the mask and to disclose the 
hideous reality. The arrangement had been that 
Lieut. -Colonel Hamilton should arrive at Glencoe at 
the hour appointed for the murder with 400 men, 
and to bar all possible avenues of escape, regarding 
which Glenlyon, during his twelve days' sojourn, 
had sent him miiuite reports. To the very end the 
appearance of cordial friendship was maintained, and 
for that same afternoon an invitation to the officers 
to dine at the Chief's house had been given and 
accepted. On the evening before the massacre the 
suspicions of the Chief's eldest son, John, were 
temporarily aroused. The soldiers were heard 
muttering, as it were, in deprecation of the work 
they had on hand. It was about midnight, and he 
hied him to Glenlyon's quarters, with anxious 
enquiries. He found Glenlyon and his men getting 
their arms ready for action, but this worthy, an 
accomplished liar and hypocrite to the last, put 


him oft' with friendly assurances and a trumped up 
story, that Glengarry's people were harr3ang the 
country, and they were preparing an expedition to 
punish them. He assured him that, if tliere was 
any danger brewing, he would be sure to mention it 
to Sandy and his w'fe, that is. to Maclain's second 
son and his own niece. 

The appointed liour arrived ; but a snowstorm 
with which Hamilton had to contend on his way 
from Fort- William upset their calculations, and 
enabled the bulk of the Clanian to escape. Glen- 
lyon's instructions were definite and peremptory, 
and whether his superior officer turned up or not, 
he was determined to carry them out without delay. 
Macdonald of Tnnericrcran, his host, was with nine 
others dragged out of their beds, tied hand and foot, 
and slain in cold blood. A boy twelve years of age 
clung round Glenlyon's feet and begged for mercy, 
promising him he would follow him over the world 
if he would only spare his life. Even Glenlyon was 
on the point of yielding, when Captain Drummond 
shot the child dead. Macdonald of Achtriachtan 
and eight of his family were sitting round the fire at 
an early hour, when a volley of musketry laid himself 
and seven of his companions low. His brother, who 
alone survived, asked of Sergeant Barbour, who led 
the band of assassins, the favour of being allowed to 
die in the open air. The answer was, " I will do 
yuu this favour for the sake of your meat which I 
have eaten." Upon this Macdonald came out, flung 
his plaid over the faces of his intending murderers, 
and the darkness favouring his movements, he 
escaped out of their hands. 

While these atrocities were proceeding, red- 
handed murder, was also busy in the residence of 




the Chief. Lieut. Lindsay, who loclo'ed in the 
immediate neighbourhood, knocked at the door, and 
asked for admission in friendly terms. Maclain, 
who arose on hearing the knocking, commenced to 
dress, and ordered the servants to open the door and 
provide refreshments for liis visitors. The visitors 
responded to the hospitable reception by firing a 
number of shots, one of which passed through 
Maclain's head, killing the grand old Chieftain on 
the spot. His wife, who was up and dressed, had 
her clothes and jewels pulled off by the ruffians, one 
of them tearing her rings off with his teeth, Asa 
result of the ill-usage she was subjected to, she died 
the following morning. 

Maclain's sons were warned by faithful servants 
of what was troino- on in time to enable them to 
escape. As John, the older son, left his house, 
20 men with fixed bayonets were on the way to it, 
but he and his brother Alexander, favoured by the 
darkness, were able to make good their escape. Old 
Ranald of the Shield, who lived with his son in a 
little townshijD of Glencoe, was on the same morning 
dragged out of his bed, and knocked down for dead. 
Young Ranald, the son, escaped, and his father, 
recovering after the soldiers were gone, got into 
another house. This house was soon burnt, and the 
brave old warrior and bard met his death in the 

When day had fully dawned, and Hamilton 
appeared upon the scene several hours late, 30 
individuals had fallen victims to the Government 
assassins, but it is probable that as many more, 
women and children and old men, died from 
exposure and want upon the hillside. One instance 
of savage ruffianism may be cited to show that 
the agents of the Government were tilled with 


a cruel lust of blood, which led them even to 
exceed their orders. They were commanded to 
slay all under 70. On Hamilton's arrival, one 
aged clansman was found who had arrived at the 
patriarchal age when the years are reckoned as a 
burden and sorrow, he being too intirm to fly to the 
mountains. Neither his gray locks nor the weight 
of his 80 years were enough to save him from these 
human tigers. Colonel Hamilton at once shot him 
dead. After setting fire to the liamlets, these 
officers and men, who had planted on their uniforms 
tlie stain of imperishable infamy, drove away from 
the smoking glen as many sheep and goats, cattle, 
and horses, as could be found. 

Thus ended the massacre of Glencoe. To write 
of it even in this late age makes the heart bleed and 
the blood boil. Not only does It touch the Mac- 
donald heart witli poignant grief and deepest 
indignation, but it must bring the blush of shame to 
the cheek of every countryman to think that in this 
land of kindly " brither Scots" so many individuals 
could be found to besmirch the fair fame of Caledonia 
with so dark and indelible a stain. 

We do not propose detailing the steps taken by 
the Government to enquire into the massacre of 
Glencoe, when the public conscience, not of Britain 
oidy, but of Europe, compelled the adoption of such 
a step. In 1695 Lieut. -Colonel Hamilton, Captain 
( ^ampbell of Glenlyon, Captain Drummond, Lieut. 
Lindsay, Ensign Lindsay, and Sergeant Barbour 
were found guilty of murder. Breadalbane, who 
had as much to do with the murder as any one not 
actively concerned could have, managed to elude 
prosecution. But the Commission of Enquiry, 
appointed in 1695, came to a most lame and 


impotent conclusion regaiding him wlio was guilty 
above all others, the prime mover of the whole 
atrocity, the Master of Stair. They clearly pointed 
out what his conduct and responsibility had been, 
but they failed to deduce the indubitable inference 
that he perpetrated an act of murder. As a matter 
of fact, the King would not allow the infliction of 
the penalty which his conduct so richly deserved. 
Instead of being sent to the block, as he ought to 
have been, he was simply asked to resign his office 
of Secretary for Scotland ! It is this that con- 
stitutes the deepest stain upon the memory of 
William of Orange, that he interposed his royal 
authority between this aristocratic culprit and the 
capital punishment which he so richly deserved.^ 

The impoverishment caused by burnt houses, 
loss of implements, flocks, and herds must have 
caused great distress and hardship to the surviving 
Clanian. On the 8th July, 1G95, a petition was 
presented to the King's High Commission and 
Estates of Parliament by John Macdonald of 
Glencoe for himself and in name of Alexander 
Macdonald of Achtriachtan. This petition stated 
how inhumanly and un-Christianly John Macdonald 
of Achtriachtan, &c., were butchered, and also 
how the King's Commission had proved that the 
petitioners were afterwards "ravenously" plundered 
of all that was necessary for the sustenance of their 
lives.- For this the petition sought redress, which 
there is reason to believe was in due time aflbrded. 
Pending the royal pleasure in this respect, protec- 
tion was given and renewed to save from caption 
and other legal executions for civil debts the 
following heads of the community of Glencoe : — 

' None of those found guilty were capitallj' punished, 
'"' Act Scot. Par. ad tempus, 


John Macdoiiald, the chief; Alexander Macdonald, 
his brother ; Alexander Macdonald of Achtriachtan, 
Alexander Macdonald of Dal n ess, Ranald Macdonald 
in Lechentuim, Ranald Macdonald of Inverigan, 
Alexander Macdonald in Braikled, and Angus Mac- 
donald in Strone.^ 

From one quarter at least the sufferings and 
privations of the Clanian elicited sympathy and aid. 
To distant Heiskir or Monach Isle, 6 miles west of 
Uist, tidings of the massacre, the robbery, and the 
ruin of the race of John Fraoch were borne to friendly 
ears, Alexander Macdonald, of the family of Grim- 
mish, or, as he was known in his day. and is still 
known in tradition, Alastair Ban. Mac Iain Ic 
Uisdein, was at the time tacksman of Heiskir and of 
other lands in the main island of North Uist. He was 
not one to listen unmoved to the sorrowful tale told 
of his oppressed clansmen. He filled his " birlinn " 
with meal, and steered it through stormy seas to 
Loch Leven, on whose shores he deposited his 
welcome freight for the relief of the suffering 
C/lanian. It was a noble and generous act, a 
bright deed of kindness shining athwart those 
years of darkness and of crime, deserving of being 
recorded in letters of gold in the Book of the Divine 
remembrance. ^ 

The remainder of the story of the Clanian of 
Glencoe is soon told. Along with many other 
Highland chiefs* and proprietors, Alexander Mac- 
donald of Glencoe signed the address to George I. 
on the occasion of his accession to the British 
throne. The non-delivery of this address to His 
Majesty, and the non- recognition of the signatories, 
was the direct cause of the rebellion of 1715. The 
Clani'i'i fought at Sheriffmuir, as also at CullodtMi. 

' A<.'t Scot. Par. ad tcmpiix, - Ujst trivlitiou, 


to which latter field Donald, the descendant of 
Ranald of the Shield, was able to lead 130 men. 
During the previous campaign an incident occurred 
in connection with the Clanian which reflects much 
honour on a people accused of having a special 
predilection for revenge. While Prince Charlie's 
army lay at Kirkliston, the Prince, in his anxiety 
to save Lord Stair from molestation, proposed that 
the Glencoe men should be marched to a distance 
from his residence, lest memories of ancient wrongs 
might move them to deeds of vengeance. When the 
proposal was made to the Glencoe men, their reply 
was that, if they were considered so dishonourable as 
to take revenge upon an innocent man, they were not 
fit to remain with honourable men, nor to support an 
honourable cause. It was only by much persuasion 
that they were induced to overlook what they 
regarded as an ins alt, and prevented from taking 
their departure.^ Donald Maclain, who led the 
Glencoe men at CuUoden, is said to have inherited 
much of the poetic talent, gay wit, and lively 
humour which characterized his ancestor, Raomdl 
na Sgeithe. 

After the events of 1745 had consigned the 
Stewart prospects to the limbo of lost and hopeless 
causes, we find scions of the Glencoe family in the 
service of the reigning monarchs. Duncan Mac- 
donald of Dalness, Colonel of the 57th Pvegiment, 
known as the " Die Hards," was one of the bravest 
and most distinguished ofificers that ever drew sword 
in his country's cause. Yet his end was a very sad 
one. He was severely wounded in the battle of 
Nivelle, towards the end of the Peninsular war, and 
although he followed the regiment in its daily march, 

1 Stewart's Sketches of the Highlanders. Ed. 1885, p. 124. 


he was never able to resume the command. On the 
occasion of a brilhant action at Ayres, some of the 
57th are said to have robbed the plate-room of a 
deserted chateau. The captain, on reporting the 
inei;ularity, threw the whole blame on the colonel, 
notwithstanding his enforced inactivity. Colonel 
Macdonald was well known to be averse to flogging, 
and it was alleged that his keeping so near the 
regiment without actually holding the command, or 
handing it to his subordinate, had marred the 
discipline and led to the misdemeanour. The result 
was that he was dismissed the service without trial, 
and on returning to England in bad health, and 
seeing his dismissal gazetted with another ofiicer of 
his rank who was cashiered for cowardice, he lost 
his reason, and throwing himself from a window was 
killed. But his memoiy was amply vindicated. 
The Duke of Wellington discovered when it was too 
late that the report on which he acted so harshly 
was substantially false, and as the only compensation 
that could be given for a cruel and fatal act, the 
War Department gave the late Colonel's brother 
the price of his commission.^ 

The last Chief of Glencoe, of whom anything can 
be traced, was Ewen Macdonald of Glencoe. He 
left a daughter, Mrs Burns Macdonald, to whom the 
estate was bequeathed, and by whose trustees it was 
sold to Lord Strathcona some years ago. Ewen 
Macdonald had two brothers, to the older of whom 
the estate must have come had it been entailed, but 
who was disinherited by his brother's act. This 
older brother was an officer in the British Army 
during the Crimean War, and was severely wounded 
in battle. He was found among a heaj) of dead by 

' t,';iin|il)('ll's L.ui^'ua^'ej I'ootiy, and \ki.-,iu of the Hif^hland Clau.s, p. 225, 


his kinsman, the late John Macdonald, manager of 
the Times newspaper, wlio acted as a war corres- 
pondent in the Crimea. Macdonald, in a passion of 
grief, threw himself on his body, thinking he was 
dead. Finding there was still some vital warmth, 
he hastily summoned medical aid, and Maclain's life 
was saved. ^ Whether he and his brother left issue, 
what their very names were, are facts of which we 
are in ignorance. But if a male representative of 
one or other of them survives in the direct line, he 
is now undoubtedly the Chief of the ancient race of 

' Facts communicated by Mrs M'Donell of Keppoch. 




'I.A\ I^ONxM.n. 






iovjih Xichnh' Herald and Gf:ivalo;iiil. vol. h, i-IiHi 

SroltUI. .SV,,/... 

:iu uf the Fiimily of Clanvanald. — Reginald .surreiiders the 
Lordship of the Isles to Donald. — Godfrey takes possession 
of the MacRnarie lands. — John Mac Arthur's claim to a share 
of tlie MacRuavie territory.- .\llan succeeds IJeginald as 
second Chief of Clanranald. — lioderick of Olani'anald 
supports the Lord of tlie Isles. — The p.itriniony of the 
Claiu'anald encroached upon by .lohn, Lord of the Isles. 
Allan MacRory, a famous Chief, supports Angus Og and 
Alexander of Loclialsh. — Tiic Raid of Cromarty. — The fall 
of the Lordshii)of the Isles. — .\llan ^LacRory renders homage 
to the King. — ilan dd Ranc receives Charters from the 
King. — Ranald Bane iielps to i|ucll the Flehellion of Donald 
Dubh. — He njceives Cnjwn grants of lauds in Skye and 
Hist. — The character of Allan MacRory. — Tradition of Allan 
XfacRory. — Dugal MacRanald's Chiefship. — His bond to 
liuutly. -Accused of appi'opriating the cargo of a Spanish 
sliip in List. — His bond to (.'alder. — Dugal and his family 
excluded from the Chiefship. — Death of Dugal. — Alexander 
MacAllan succeeds to the Chiefship.— John Moideartach, son 
of. Alc.xandci', assumes the Chiefship. — lu rebelU.iu against 


the Government at the outset of his career. — John receives a 
Royal Charter. — A shoal of (Charters. — Voyage of James V. 
to the Isles. — Takes John Moideai'tach prisoner. — Ranald 
Gallda and Blarlcine. — Huntly sent to punish John of 
Moidart. — John of ]\Ioidart and the Rebellion of Donald 
Dubh. — Rorie Mac A lister, Dean of Morven, acting as Island 
Plenipotentiary. — Attempt to pimish John of Moidart. — 
John supports James Macdonald of Duuivaig. — Argyle sent 
against John. — His bond to Huntly. — Huntly sent against 
John by land and Argyle by sea. — Athole sent against him. 
— He is kept in ward at Perth. — His escape. ^Refuses to 
meet the Queen at Inverness. — Continues to resist the 
Government. — His relations to the neighbouring Clans. — 
Character of the Chief. 

The founder of the Clanranald branch of the family 
of Macdonald was Reginald, the eldest son of John, 
Lord of the Isles, and his wife, Amie MacRuarie of 
Garmoran. The Clanranald of old included five 
principal families, descended from the five sons of 
Reginald. The first of these, styled of Moidart, and 
descended from Allan, the eldest son of Reginald, is 
the family mainly whose history we give in this 
chapter. According to MacVuirich, the family 
Seanachie, Reginald was already old in the govern- 
ment of the Isles at the time of his father's death. 
The office which he held was that of High Steward, 
an office which seems to have been one of the first 
importance in the Island polity. In his father's 
lifetime he succeeded, through his mother, to the 
MacRuarie lands, the great extent of which may be 
seen from the charters granted to the MacRuarie 
family by Robert Bruce and his son, David II. And 
John, whether as Lord of the Isles, or in right of his 
wife, Amie MacRuarie, or both, granted to Reginald 
a charter of the same MacRuarie lands in the year 
1371, and at the same time added other lands on 
the Mainland. This charter, which was confirmed 


in tlie followiuo- year 1)y Robert TL, included the 
lands of Moidart, Arisaig, Morar, and Knoydart, 
the islands of Eigg-, Rum, Uist, and Harris, with all 
the smaller islands belongins: thereto, the three 
pennylands of Sunart and Letterlochette, the two 
pennylands of Ardgour, the pennylands of Hawlaste, 
and sixty merklands in Lochaber, all to he held of 
the Lord of the Isles and his heirs. Reginald for 
this extensive principality surrendered all claims 
to the Lordship of the Isles. The King, who 
naturally interested himself in the succession 
to the Lordship of the Isles, would no doubt 
have used his influence to that end in favour 
of Donald, the eldest son of the second mar- 
riage of the Island Lord, and this would account 
for the readiness with which he confirmed the 
charter to Reginald. Be that as it may, Reginald, 
on the death of his father, convened a meeting 
of the Islesmen at Kildonan, in Eigg, and there 
handed over the sceptre of the Isles to his brother 
Donald, who v/as thereupon not only declared 
Lord of the Isles, but also Chief of the whole Clan 
Donald. He was nominated " Macdonald," and 
Donald of Islay, and was afterwards crowned King 
and Lord of the Isles with great pomp and ceremony 
in the hall of his ancestors at Finlaggan. It is 
worthy of notice, in view of the nomination of 
Donald as "Macdonald" by the men of the Isles, 
that in the only document associated with him 
which has come down to us he signs " Macdonald." 
The Island vassals would have preferred Reginald to 
Donald. Whatever irregularities there may have 
been in regard to the union of John with Amie 
from the feudal point of view, the Islesmen, looking 
at the situation from the Celtic standpoint, con- 
sidered Reginald the true heir of Innsegall. But 


Reginald hiuiself having surrendered all his claims, 
they accepted Donald, and in him they found a 
leader worthy of their choice. All the sous of John, 
Lord of the Isles, were amply provided for out of 
the family inheritance, John Mor and Alasdair 
Carrach founding families which were destined to 
play an important part in the history of Celtic 
Scotland. The division of so much of the 
family inheritance among- the sons of John, who 
still retained tlie superiority in his own hands, 
instead of crippling his power, tended rather 
to strengthen the position of the Island Lord. 
It is quite evident that Reginald lacked the 
ambitious spirit of the other chiefs of the House 
of Somerled, and in surrendering his hereditary 
rights to Donald he manifested a spirit altogether 
unworthy of a descendant of Roderick of Bute. 
A man of quiet disposition, he followed the 
example of his father in one respect at least. He 
was " a man of augmenting churches," and among 
other gifts he gave the Island of Heisker, in North 
Uist, to the Monastery of lona. On the death of 
Reginald, which, according to MacVuirich, took 
place in 1389, Godfrey, his brother, succeeded in 
obtaining possession of the MacRuarie lands both 
in Uist and on the Mainland, leaving only the lands 
in Lochaber to be divided among the children of 
Reginald. The family of Godfrey continued for 
some time in possession of the MacRuarie lands, 
but not, we may be sure, without opposition on the 
part of the children of Reginald. 

We can gather from the dim lecoids of the time 
that both the Clanranald and Clangorrie played a 
conspicuous part in the commotions that led to the 
judicial visit of James I. to Inverness in 1427. 
Besides the Clanoorrie and Clanranald, a Jolni 


MacArthur, of the Clan Campbell, put forward a 
claim to a share of the Maclliuarie teiritoiy. This 
John MacArthur was no doubt a descendant of the 
Arthur Campliell to whom, as we have seen in the 
chapter on the MacRuaries, Christina of Mar, the 
MacRuarie heiress, gave lands in Garmoran and in 
the Isles, early in the fourteenth century. Matters 
had come to such a pass between the contending 
parties, that the King, principally on their account, 
resolved to visit the Highlands in person to put an 
end to the strife. He held a Parliament in Inver- 
ness, and summoned the chiefs to meet him. Alex- 
ander, the leader of the Clangorrie, and John 
MacArthur, were at once seized and executed. 
These were the only chiefs wdiose names have come 
down to us who made atonement for the sins of 
cheir tribes. Allan MacReginald escaped the King's 
rage on this occasion, for in the Exchequer Rolls for 
1428 there is an entry recording a debt due by the 
baillies of Inverness to Alexander, Lord of the Isles, 
and Allan, the son of Reginald.^ This is, indeed, the 
only reference we can find to Allan anywhere in the 
public records of the time. His name appears often 
in the genealogies and manuscript histories of the 
Clan, but beyond his bare name there is nothing 
recorded of him. There is nothing to shew whether 
or not he succeeded to his father's lands after the 
execution of Alexander Macgorrie at Inverness. 
The probability is that, as he held a crown charter 
for these lands, the King would have preferred him 
to any of the other claimants. The Clangorrie 
decayed gradually in power after the death of their 
leader, though the family still held the lands of 
North Uist for many years after tho death of 
Alexander Macgorrie. The ])eriod i'rom the death 

' Exchequer Uolls. 


of Reginald down to the advent of Allan MacRory, 
nearly a hundred years, is by far the most obscure 
in the history of the Clanranald fannily. In the 
absence of charters, of which there is no trace from 
1372 down to 1495, it is impossible with accuracy 
to say what the position of the family was territori- 
ally. The charters of the latter year themselves do 
not throw any liglit on this point, but in the charter 
by James V. to John Moidartach in 1531, it is 
stated that the same lands then granted had bsen 
held by Allan MacRory, John's grandfather, and his 
predecessors. These consisted of the 27 merklands 
of Moidart, the 30 merklands of Arisaig, 21 merk- 
lands in Eiffo:, and the 30 merklands of Skirhouo-h 
in South Uist. The inference is that these lands, 
which formed but a mere fragment of Reginald's 
principality, were all that were left to the senior 
branch of the family in tlie time of Allan, the second 
Chief The author of the history of the family 
accounts for the absence of charters by Roderick, 
the third Chief, refusing to enter as a vassal of the 
Crown, The fact is, however, that the Crown had 
very little power over the Island vassals during this 
period. The lands were held of the Lords of the 
Isles, and this explains the absence of charters in 
the case of the Clanranald chiefs during a period of 
one hundred and twenty years down to the fall of 
the Lordship of the Isles in 1493. According to 
the terms of R^eginald's charter, the lands were 
to be held of the Lord of the Isles, but so far as the 
history of these lands is concerned during the period 
referred to, it appears that they were held by the 
different families more by the, strong hand than by 
any feudal instrument of tenure. There is no 
evidence that Reginald himself made any disposi- 
tion of his lands amongst liis cliildren, but by the 


Celtic custom of gavel each would have been appor- 
tioned an adecjuate share of the patrimonial acres. 
From the fact that the tamilies descended from 
Keginald are afterwards found in possession of 
considerable estates, the strong ))resumption is 
that they inherited these by the disposition of 
that chief himself The senior branch, liowever, 
possessed the largest share of Reginald's principality 
and maintained their pre-eminence as chiefs of the 
family. The history of the senior branch with 
which we are now mainly concerned continues 
obscured by the duhiess of the annals of the time. 
Even the seanachies who at other times are, if 
anything, garrulous, have little to say of this period, 
and contemporary records are equally dull and 
meagre. Allan very probably died before the year 
1430, and was succeeded by Roderick, his eldest 
son, who is described as " a man of outstanding 
ability, and brave leader of the Clanranald." In 
the struggle between the Crown and Alexander, 
Lord of the Isles, he naturally ranged himself on 
the side of the latter, and rendered important 
services to the cause of the Island Lord during 
that chief's confinement in Tantallon. He was 
among the first to join the standard of his father- 
in-law, Donald Balloch, the leader of the Island 
host in the absence of his Chief; and at Inverlochy, 
where the royal forces were so signally defeated, 
the Chief of Clanranald contributed largely to that 
result. Roderick contiiuied to support the interests 
of the Island Lordship during the rest of his life. 
He is found frequently defending the family interests 
in Ross-shire, and keejjing in check the Mackenzies, 
Munros, Frasers, and othei- enemies of tlie liouse of 
Macdonald in that region. Notwithstanding these 
ser\ices, the Lortl of the Isli'S ojicroached uii tlio 


patrimony of the Clanranald so far as to have 
granted in 1469 to his brother, Hugh of Sleat, 
the 30 merklands of Skirbough in South Uist, the 
12 merklands of Benbecula, and the GO merklands 
of North Uist.^ It appears from the cliarter by 
James IV. to Ranald MacAllan in 1498 that 24 
merklands in Arisaig and 21 merklands in Eigg 
had also been held by Hugh, though not included 
in the charter of 1469.- According to the family 
seanachie, Roderick MacAllan, of whom little is 
recorded, closed his career about this time, leaving 
to his successors the heritage of disputed territories, 
and other legacies of a similar nature. 

A great hero now steps upon the stage in the 
person of Allan, who succeeded his father, Roderick, 
as head of the Clanranald family. There are few 
names better known in the traditions of the Clan 
than " the mighty-deeded Allan." The period 
during which he led the Clanranald was an 
eventful one in the history of the Clan Donald. 
The forfeiture of the Earl of Ross in 1476, and the 
subsequent insurrections headed by his son, Angus 
Og, and Alexander of Lochalsh, afforded ample 
scope for the energies of the Chief of Clanranald. 
Allan, in common with the rest of the Clan Donald, 
resented the conduct of the Ear] of Ross in resigning 
the Earldom, and submitting to the Scottish Govern- 
ment. When the flag of revolt was raised by the 
Earl's son, the Chief of Clanranald threw^ the whole 
weight of his power in favour of the heir of Innsegall. 
The campaign of Angus Og and the events that 
followed have already been dwelt upon in another 
part of this work. After the death of Angus, Allan 
MacRory transferred his support to the Knight of 
Lochalsh, who considered himself, and was no doubt 

• lieg. Mag. Sig. ^ Ibid. 


now looked upon by others as, the ])i'esuraptive heh^ 
to the Lordship of the Isles. It would appear, 
indeed, that the Lord of tlie Isles himself acknow- 
ledged Sir Alexander as his heir and successor, and 
that he favoured the scheme, which the latter had 
now conceived, of winning back the Earldom of Ross 
to the Macdonald family.^ Sir Alexander's own 
influence in Ross-shire seems to liave been on the 
vanishing scale, but among the old adherents of the 
family in the Isles he found many who ^^'ere ready 
to join him in an invasion of Ross. Early in the 
year 1491 he raised his standard in Lochaber, where, 
besides the Clanranald, he was joined also by the 
Camerons and his own kinsmen of Keppoch. From 
Lochaber the rebels marched through Badenoch, 
where they were joined by the Clan Chattan and 
young Rose of Kilravock, their immediate object 
being to harry the lands of the Earl of Huntly, 
How far they carried out their intention in this 
respect is not recorded. From Badenoch they 
marched towards Inverness, and took possession 
of the castle of that town, which they garrisoned. 
Math the object, no doubt, of making it the 
headquarters of plunder. Why the lands of 
Alexander Urquhart of Cromarty should have 
been fixed on as the theatre of operations, it is 
diflicult to say, but in any case the hand of the 
spoliator fell heavily on tlie Laird, and nmch booty 
was carried oif by the followers of Lochaish, most of 
which it would a})pear fell to the share of the C'lan- 
ranald. The spoil was reckoned at GOO cows and 
oxen, 80 horses, 1000 sheep, 200 swine, and 500 
bolls victual — an enormous cicrich, but besides there 
I'emain to be added plenishing and land mails esti- 
mated at :i:()00." The extent of this foray is diHicult 

' Charter in Chiirter CliesL of xMaclaiiie of LocliKuy, luinlL-a in Appendi.x. 
- Kilravock Papers, p. 162. 


to imagine nowadays. But in war as in love all is 
fair, and, judged by the standard of the time, some 
justification may be pleaded for the Cromarty raid. 
The raiders had taken one side in the contest for the 
Earldom of Ross, while Alexander Urquhart and 
his followers had ranged themselves on the other. 
War had been declared, and as victory so far lay 
with the Highlanders, they can scarcely be blamed 
for reaping the fruits of it at the expense of the 
Laird of Cromarty. Lowland writers who speak 
igiiorantly of " Highland thieving," and stigmatise 
the Highlanders of that time as dishonest and 
lawless, surely fail in the observance of that rule 
which recommends above all things the P'race of 
charity, for creachs were as common in the Lowlands 
as in the Highlands in the fifteenth century. The 
Laird of Cromarty very naturally lost no time in 
laying his grievance before the Lords of Council. 
By an Act passed the following year, the Clanranald 
were ordered to indemnify Urquhart and his tenants 
for the loss they had sustained. Hugh Rose, 
younger of Kilravock, who had taken part in the 
Lochalsh insurrection, and whose father was keeper 
under Huntly of Redcastle and Mair of Ardmanoch, 
where the spoliation took place, was held responsible 
for the restoration to Urquhart and his tenants of 
their goods and gear. It is not recorded to what 
extent, if any, restitution was made by the raiders, 
xlfter several appeals to the Lords of Council, the 
last reference we find to the Cromarty raid is a 
decree dated March 2nd, 1497, some six years after 
the depredations had been committed, ordaining 
Allan MacRory and others to " relefe and kepe 
skaithless" Hugh Rose at the hands of the Laird of 


The rebellion of Sir Alexander of Lochalsb had 
the eifect of bringing about the final forfeitiu-e of 
the Lord of tiie Isles and the consequent fall of the 
Lordship itself The Scottish Government was 
determined to make the Islanders loyal bv cutting 
asunder the Celtic barrier which was supposed to 
stand between them and the throne. The fall of 
the Lordship of the Isles had exactly the opposite 
effect. Distance from the central authority, and the 
still wider racial chasm that separated Celt from 
Saxon, rendered the attempt to bring the High- 
landers into line with the rest of the Scottisli 
population an exceedingly difficult task. The 
Scottish Government soon found out that it was 
much easier to deal with one Lord of the Isles, 
however rebellious, than with twenty Chiefs gone 
ramjDantly wild and acknowledging no authority 
whatever. By destroying the Celtic system and 
wresting the reins of government from the firm grip 
of the strong hand that held them, the (piestion of 
making the Highlanders, now let loose, loyal to the 
Scottish throne became a greater problem than ever. 
In the altered circumstances, the Clanranald on 
the whole proved themselves more loyal and more 
willing to accept the new order of things than most 
of the Island vassals. On the occasion of the first 
visit of Kintj James to the Hiiihlands after the fall 
of the Island Lordshii^, Allan MacRory was amongst 
tlie few cliiefs who then rendered him liomage. Amid 
the turmoil of the time, the Ciiief of Clanranald kept 
tlie peace so far as his relations with the Govermnent 
were concerned ; but there are indications of differ- 
ences with his neighbours, some of whom hat! 
recently been his l)roth«u's-in-arms. In the year 
1496, the -Lords of Council ordained Allan Mac- 
Ilory, Maclean of Dcnvart, Ewen Allanson of Lucliiel, 


MacDonald of Keppoch, and Mac Ian of Ardna- 
iniu'chan, t(j lind security to the extent of £500 
each, '' y*^ ilk ane of yame shall be harmless and 
scaithless of utheris," There was, still further, a 
dispute between the Chief of Clanranald, John 
Cathanach, and Maclan of Ardnamurchan, respecting 
the lands of Sunart, a district the possession of 
which remained for many long- years a source of 
contention between the families represented by 
these chiefs. The Lords of Council ordained that 
the rents of these lands were to remain meanwhile 
in the hands of the tenants, until the matter in 
dispute between the chiefs was finally settled by 
the King's advisers, a consummation to be devoutly 
wished for the peace of the district concerned. Very 
soon after this the standard of revolt was again 
raised by the Knight of Lochalsh, but the Chief of 
Clanranald refused to join him. The restless chief, 
however, appears to have done all he could to harass 
Lochalsh's great enemy in Ross-shire, Mackenzie of 
Kintail. The Earl of Cromarty, in liis MS. history 
of the Mackenzies, records, probably with as much 
truth as is contained in some others of his Clan 
stories, how the Chief of Clanranald laid waste the 
district of Kintail and carried away much spoil. In 
course of time, however, Allan and Mackenzie were 
reconciled, and evidently became fast friends ; but 
we think there is no foundation for the story, as 
told by the Earl of Cromarty, that Allan, having 
been dispossessed of his lands by his brother, 
appealed for help to Mackenzie, "his greatest 
enemy," and that the latter, with a " sufficient 
force," proceeded to Moidart and reinstated the 
deposed chief. This story, like that of Colin 
Fitzgerald, is told for effect, and to glorify the 


Allan MacKoiy from tin's time disappears almost 
entirely from view, and Ilanald Bane, bis son, 
assumed the chiefsbip, or active leadership, of the 
Clan. In 1498, when the King visited Kintyre and 
held court at Kilkerran C/astle, Ranald Bane Allan- 
son, being in high favour, waited on his Majesty. 
The King granted him, on the 3rd of August, a 
charter of 23 merklands in South Uist ; and two 
days thereafter he granted him another charter of 
the 30 merklands of Skirbough, with the penny- 
lands of Gerigriminish, in Benbecula ; 21 merk- 
lands in Eigg ; and 24 merklands in Arisaig, all 
of which were resigned In favour of Ranald by 
John, the son of Hugh of Sleat. The King also, 
on the same day, granted a charter to Angus 
Reochson MacRanald of the 12 merk lands of 
Benbecula ; 9 merk lands in Eigg ; 6 merk lands 
in Arisaig; and the 14 merk lands of Morar, all of 
wliicb were resigned in his favour by John, the son 
of Hugh of Sleat. This Angus Reochson, who was 
a grandson of Ranald, the foiuider of the Clanranald 
family, seems to have been formerly in 230Ssession 
of Morar without any other title than what his 
grandfather may have granted. He was the head 
of a family which held Morar for several generations 
before the more modern family succeeded. It is to 
be observed that all the lands, for which the King 
now granted charters to Ranald Bane and Angus 
Reochson, formed part of the original patrimony of 
the Clanranald. John, the son of Hugh of Sleat, 
resigned these in their favour probably as an acknow- 
ledgment of their right to them, and wishing to be 
rid of lands for which, though he held a legal title, 
he never could obtain possession of Hugh Mac- 
donald, the Seanachie, asserts, and we think he is 
right ill asserting, that the lands in dispute between 


the families of Sleat and Claiiraimld were always 
kept possession of by the latter. Crown charters 
were of little value in those days, at least in the 
Highlands. The Chiefs of Sleat themselves held 
their lands without any title for a hundred years. 
The Charter of Confirmation to Hugh of Sleat in 
1495 must be held to have been cancelled by the 
several subsequent charters granted to the Macleocls, 
and others, of the same lands. But the King him- 
self, almost immediately after his visit to Kintyre, 
cancelled all the charters he had granted to the 
Island Chiefs. His Majesty's policy was clearly to 
expel the vassals of the late Lord of the Isles from 
their possessions, bestow these on his own favourites, 
and thus check any claim that might be put forward 
by any of the Macdonald Chiefs who aspired to the 
honours of the family of the Isles. In the end of 
the year 1501, the King went through the form of 
summoning for wrongous occupation of their lands 
a long array of the heads of the Clanranald tribe, 
including their Chief, Allan MacRory. No notice 
appears to have been taken of the summons, and no 
proceedings, in consequence of their contumacious 
conduct, seem to have been taken ogainst the 
Islanders, the King no doubt seeing now that a less 
drastic measure than that he had contemplated 
would be best. The King must have also seen how 
little value the Islanders set by charters, holding as 
they had hitherto held, and still were determined 
to hold, their lands by very different instruments of 
tenure. With their galleys on the sea, and their 
strong fortresses planted at every point of vantage 
throughout the Islands, let the King expel the 
hardy clansmen if he can ! His Majesty and his 
advisers, seeing the utter futility of their policy of 
expulsion by sheepskin, suddenly fell on milder 


ineasnres. Before their plans, however, were 
iimtured, whatever tliey may have been, the High- 
lands and Islands wen* once more thrown into the 
vortex of rebellion, and any attempt, therefore, to 
carry out the new policy must, meanwhile, be post- 
poned. It appears that Ranald Bane, who had now 
become Chief of Clanranald, at least de facto, did 
not join in the insurrection headed by Donald Dubh, 
though it is highly probable that the other chieftains 
of the Clanranald were engaged in it. The principal 
supporters of Donald were Lachlan Maclean of 
Duart, Torquil Macleod of Lewis, and Ewen Allan- 
son of Lochiel. But before the rebellion was yet 
suppressed, Ranald Bane Allanson was one of those 
to whom letters were addressed by Government 
soliciting their assistance in bringhig the principal 
rebels, Maclean of Duart and Lochiel, who had been 
forfeited, to justice. They were to " tak and inbring 
the samyne, and herry, destroy, and byrne thar 
lands, and gif they apprehend and tak and inbring 
any other heidsman, their complices, the takers shall 
be rewarded."^ 

As a reward for his services, Ranald Bane 
received a precept from the Crown, dated 23rd 
August, 1505, of the 20 merklands of Sleat and 
the 60 merklands of North Uist, which had been 
resigned into the King's hands by the late John, 
the son of Hugh of Sleat." The 80 merklands of 
Troternish were also let to Ranald for three years 
by the Commissioners of the Crown, the Earl of 
Huntly becoming security for the payment of the 
rent, which was to be according to the King's 
rental.^ The favours bestowed on Ranald Bane are 
sufficient evidence of the high esteem in which he 

' A<ts of Pari, (ul annum. - Privy Seal. ^ Crown Rentals. 


was held at court, but there is nothing more certain 
than that he never reaped any benefit from the 
lands of Sleat and Troternish, for which he received 
so good a title. These remained in the absolute 
possession of the Clan Uisdean, who continued 
bravely to hold them by the strong hand. As 
further proof of the good behaviour of Ranald Bane 
from the point of view of the Government, a 
commission, dated April 29th, 1508, is given him 
with Andrew, Bishop of Caithness, and Alexander 
Macleod of Dunvegan, to let for five years to good 
and sufficient tenants the lands of Lewis and of 
Waternish, in Skj^e, forfeited by Torquil Macleod 
of Lewis. How he succeeded in this post is not 
recorded, but it is difficult to believe, in view of 
the friendly relations in which he and his father 
stood to the Government, that their reward for their 
loyalty and services was the common punishment of 
traitors. Gregory alone is responsible for the state- 
ment, based on a mere conjecture, that Allan 
MacRory was tried, convicted, and executed in 
presence of the King at Blair- Athole in 1509, and 
that his son Ranald met with a similar fate at Perth 
in 1513. These conclusions are not warranted by 
reference to MacVuirich, the authority quoted by 
the learned author of the History of the Highlands 
and Islands. MacVuirich records in the Book of 
Clanranald that " Allan, after having been before 
the King, and having received a settlement of his 
estate from King James the Fourth, a.d. 1509, died 
at Blair- Athole." The same authority further 
records that " Ranald Bane, son of Allan, having 
gone before the King to settle finally the afiairs 
which his father was not able to effi3ct, died in the 
town of Perth, a.d. 1514." It is quite clear that 



there is not in these words any foundation what- 
ever for beheving that, if these men did die, the one 
in Blair- Athole and the other in the town of Perth, 
it was in the violent manner alleged by Gregory. 
In the long elegy on Allan and Ranald by 
MacVuirich, we should expect to tind reference to 
events so tragic, if these chiefs had actually suffered 
death in the manner alleged, and there is not the 
faintest hint given. But though MacVuirich is 
generally accurate in other respects, he is seldom so 
in his dates. In a bond of man rent between 
Alexander, Earl of Huntly, and Dugal McRanald, 
dated at Inverness on the 15th day of March, 1510, 
Ranald Bane is referred to as then dead. The last 
reference we can find to Ranald in the public records 
is m the year 1509, and he was dead in the 
beginning of the year 1510, on the authority of 
the bond referred to. In the former year King 
James IV. granted a letter of protection to the 
Prioress Anna Maclean of lona ordering all his 
lieges within the Isles, especially Ranald Alansoune 
MacRory, and other chiefs not to annoy the Prioress 
and other religious women, or exact from them 
anything on pretence of " sornyng or alms deeds" 
under the highest penalty.^ In the previous year 
letters of safe conduct had been directed " Ronaldo 
filio AUani Makrory " in favour of certain religious 
women then travelling in the Isles.' The lands 
belonging to the Nunnery of lona lay to a large 
extent within the bounds of the Chief of Clanranald. 
Allan MacRory appears in record for the last time on 
the 10th of December, 1501, when he was summoned 
before the Lords of Council to answer for his con- 
tinuing to hold the lands of Moidart, and others, 
without a title, and he appears to have been dead in 

' Reg. Sec. Sig. * Ibidem, 


1503, ill which year a letter is addressed hy tlie 
Council to his son as Chief of Clanranald. 

The character of Allan MacRory has been put in 
a somewhat unfavourable light by some writers of 
Highland history, who have not scrupled to lay 
almost every conceivable crime at his door. He is 
represented as a bold and reckless plunderer, whose 
whole life was consecrated to rapine, carrying his 
forays into every corner of the Highlands, far and 
near. Judged from the ethical standpoint of the 
present, there was no doubt much in the life of the 
bold chief to lend colour to this view of his char- 
acter ; but Allan, who flourished four hundred years 
ago, must be judged by the standard of his own 
time. Holding his lands at the point of his sword, 
he must use it well, and surrounded as he was by 
powerful chiefs, each of whom was ready to pounce 
upon his neighbour at the shortest notice, he 
must accommodate himself to circumstances, and 
secure larger creacJis than theirs, if it be his 
ambition to occupy a commanding position amongst 
them. Allan MacRory, rightly or wrongly, looked 
upon every Highland chief outside his own clan as 
an enemy who might at any moment invade his 
territory, and he no doubt considered it a salutary 
discipline to occasionally pay his neighbours an 
unexpected and unwelcome visit. The burning, 
harrying, and spoliation, of which we hear so much, 
were but the outcome of a primitive state of society 
fostered by an age in which the march of civilisation 
had made but little progress. Judging Allan by the 
standard of his time, we find in him a bold and 
resolute chief, a capable and fearless leader of men, 
and one who was far above his contemporaries in 
those qualities that alone constitute true strength. 

244 TirK CLAN nOXAT.D. 

Siieli a man, as tlie seanacliic of liis family puts it, 
was indeed capable of " striking terror into the 
hearts of his enemies In many parts of Scotland." 
If Allan feared not man, it must be admitted that, 
if the Ijard speaks truth, neither did he fear his God. 
He appears not to have had the reverence for the 
Church which the wildest spirits of that age seldom 
failed to show, and none more sincerely than the 
chiefs of the family of Macdonald. The satire on 
Allan MacRory in the Book of the Dean of Lismore 
is a severe castigation of the redoubtable chief The 
author announces the death of the " one demon of 
the Gael" as a tale to be well remembered, and in 
the fierce effusion which follows he traces the descent 
of Allan somewhat differently from MacVuirich, the 
seanachie of the family. 

" First of all from Hell lie came, 
The tale's an easy tale to tell." 

With "many devils in his train," the "fierce ravager 
of Church and Cross " laid sacrilegious hands on 
lona, and destroyed the priests' vestments and the 
holy vessels for the mass in the churches of St Mary 
and St Oran. The unconsecrated Vandal is further 
charged with burning the church of St Finnan, in 
Glengarry, and, in tine, if there be but a grain of truth 
in the long catalogue of crimes of which he is accused, 
Innsegall was indeed well rid of so great a curse. 
The character, however, ascribed to our Chief by 
Red Fiiday is very different from tliat given him by 
a contemporary bard. To MacVuirich "Allan was a 
hero by w^hom the board of monks was maintained, 
and by whom the plain of the Fingalls was 
defended," a chief worthy of being lamented. If 
the red-haired bard was not a Churchman, as his 
piece would suggest, but, as some think, the Chief 


of the Clan MacNab, the outpouring of his vials of 
wrath on the devoted head of Allan MacRory 
may, without any great stretch of imagination, be 
accounted for. It is highly probable that the Mac- 
Nab country had been more than once honoured by 
the presence of a foraging party from Castletirrim. 
The memory of such raids was sure to leave 
impressions of a lasting nature, and, as the broad- 
sword had failed him, the red-haired chief wielded to 
some purpose his poetic quill. 

There are many traditions handed down in the 
Clanranald country illustrative of the character of 
Allan MacRory. One of these would have it that 
he had at once as many as three Highland Chiefs 
incarcerated in his stronghold of Castletirrim. 
These were the Chiefs of Macleod, Mackay, and 
Mackintosh. Mackintosh, who had had many feuds 
with the Clanranald, to secure himself against any 
possible attack by them, built a stronghold on a 
little island in Locli Moy. On the completion of 
the building, he invited his friends and retainers to 
a housewarming. The liospitable shell was freely 
passed round at the feast, and, as a consequence, 
the host felt in a mood to give vent to his pent-uj) 
feelings, and uttered statements which bade defiance 
to Allan MacRory and the whole tribe of Clanranald. 
There happened to be present on the occasion one of 
those wandering Irish minstrels without the strains 
of whose harp no such entertainment in those days 
was held to be complete. This disciple of Orpheus 
found his way in course of time to Castletirrim, and, 
by way of ingratiating himself witli the Chief of 
Clanranald, he retailed how Mackintosh had stated 
boldly in his hearing that he no longer feared Allan 
MacRory, or any of his name. On hearing this, 


Allan was wroth, and vowed there and then that he 
would make Mackintosh feel that even Castle Moy 
was not a protection to one who presumed to offer so 
great an insult to the Clanranald. He forthwith put 
himself at the head of a body of his retainers, and 
marched under cover of night to Locli Moy, seized 
Mackintosh in bed, and carried him prisoner to 
Castletirrim. Here he kept him in durance for a 
year and a day, at the end of which he dismissed 
him with the admonition never again to consider 
himself free from the fear of a Macdonald. 

On another occasion, while Allan was on his way 
to visit his Long Island property, he encountered in 
the Minch a fleet of galleys commanded by the Chief 
of Maclean, With that Chief he was at the time, 
as indeed he was with most of his neighbours, on 
the worst possible terms of friendship. Realising at 
once his danger, and knowing that whether he 
resisted or surrendered his fate would be the same 
— for he had only one galley against Maclean's ten 
— Allan fell on the plan of feigning death, and 
ordered his men to stretch him on a bier and make 
every show of mourning for liim. On the Macleans 
coming near to the Macdonald galley they enquired 
of Allan's men whither they were bound. The 
Macdonalds, answering in very mournful tones, 
informed the Macleans tliat they were on their 
way to lona with the remains of their departed 
Chief This news so delighted the Macleans that 
they asked no further questions, and the Macdonalds 
were allowed to pursue their journey in peace. 
Instead, however, of steering for Skirhough, as he 
originally intended, the resurrected Allan changed 
his course and landed in Mull, where the Macleans 
afterwards discovered that the Chief of Clanranald 
had not gone to lona. 


Allan MacRory was succeeded in the chiefship 
of the Clanranald by his son, Ranald Bane, who did 
not lono- survive his father. He appears to have 
followed closely in the footsteps of his predecessors, 
and to have sufficiently sustained the traditions of 
the family, " his fame," according to MacVurich, 
" excelling the deeds of the Gael." The disappear- 
ance of Allan MacRory and Ranald Bane from the 
arena of clan warfare resulted in bringing much 
confusion into the internal arrangements of the 
family of Clanranald. Dugal, who succeeded his 
father, Ranald Bane, in the chiefship, appears to 
have been possessed of qualities that rendered him 
unpopular at the very beginning of his career, but 
we are left entirely in the dark as to the exact 
nature of these. The seanachies of the family 
throw very little light on the situation, and only 
make confusion worse confounded by the vagueness 
of their references. We find Dugal shortly after 
his succession to the chiefship giving a bond of 
manrent to Alexander, Earl of Huntly, dated at 
Inverness on the 10th of March, 1510.^ In this 
document he is described as the son and heir of 
" Umquhile Ranaldson of Alanbigrim," and he 
binds himself to become the Earl's man and 
servitor to serve him all the days of his life, 
" na persone except, hot the Kingis hienes 
Allenarlie." This bond of service to the Earl, 
though it did not mean much in itself, must have 
given offence to many of Dugal's followers, who dis- 
approved of any alliance with the family of Huntly. 
It was but the beginning of the many troubles that 
were in store for the new chief. Shortly after this 
we find Dugal playing another part, and the scene 

^ The Gordon Papers. 


is changed from Inverness to the coast of Uist, 
where early m the year 1512 a Spanish ship was 
wrecked^ It is not recorded what buiden this 
vessel carried, but whatever it was, it appears 
Dugal considered himself justified in appropriating 
it to his own use, on the ground, no doubt, that any 
wreckage cast ashore on his coast was his propert}^ 
The Lords of Council thought differently, and Dugal 
accordingly was summoned to appear before them 
to answer for the " spulzie" of the Spanish vessel. 
The High Treasurer allowed the sum of forty-two 
shillings for expenses to an individual bearing the 
Celtic name of Gillebride, who was sent to the Isles 
to summon Dugal. Whatever the fate of the 
pursuviant may have been in his hazardous task, 
it appears that Dugal neglected to obey the 
summons, and that no fine was exacted from him 
as the price of his disobedience. Those in authority 
were too busy elsewhere. The disastrous defeat at 
Flodden, which had the effect of throwing the Low- 
lands into a state of great confusion, afiected also in 
a similar manner many jDarts of the Highlands and 
Islands. Sir Donald Gallda of Lochalsh was the 
great disturber of the peace in the north, but the 
Clan:anald refused to join his standard, and little is 
recorded of them during the minority of James V. 
That there were, however, serious dissensions 
amongst the different branches of the family at 
this time subsequent events only too clearly prove, 
and these arose entirely from the conduct of the 
Chief himself The state of matters was not by any 
means improved by the appearance on the scene of 
the Earl of Argyle, whom the Scottish liegent 
appointed in 1517 as lieutenant of the lands of 

' Hi"!! Treafsurer's Accounts. 


Moidart, Arisaig, and South Morar. Dugal again 
finds refuge in a bond of manrent. On the 25th of 
May, 1520, he binds himself at Ellanyssa to his 
" derrest and best belovit Sir Johne Campbell of 
Cauder Knycht," and promises to serv^e him against 
all persons, saving the King's grace and the Earl of 
Huntly. The most remarkable thing in this 
document is the signature of the Chief of Clanranald, 
who positively subscribes with his own hand, 
" Dugal McRynald of Ellantyrim." It is somewhat 
refreshing to find so clear an evidence of the school- 
master being abroad in the country of the Clanranald, 
though Dugal would hardly have considered so 
monkish an accomplishment as adding any dignity 
to one w^hose code of culture did not include a 
knowledge of letters. The signing of Dugal by his 
own hand is w^orthy of notice, in view of the fact 
that, twenty -five years thereafter, of the seventeen 
chiefs who formed the Council of Donald Dubh none 
could sign his own name. 

Dugal MacHanald now disappears entirely from 
his position as Chief of the Clanranald. The same 
obscurity that envelops the cause of his unpopularity 
and deposition hangs over the manner of his death. 
MacYuirich, with studied vagueness, " leaves it to 
another certain man to relate how^ he spent and 
ended his life." This reference to Dugal in the Ked 
Book of Clanranald is omitted entirely in the Black 
Book, where it is simply recorded that " Ranald left 
his son in the Lordship, i.e., Dugal McRanald."^ In 
a Clanranald MS. of last century, it is stated that 
Dugal was " a jealous and bad-tempered man who 
put to death his two brothers, John and Allan, and 
was afterwards himself killed." Hugh Macdonald, 

' Black Book of Clanranald, }). 28. 


the Sleat seanachie, asserts that " Dugal was 
murdered by his cousins, John Moidartach and 
Allan, and that his two sons, Allan and Alexander, 
were apprehended by Alexander of Glengarry and 
killed by him, for which deeds he got some lands in 
Morar." According to the tradition of the Moidart 
country, Dugal was the victim of a plot laid by his 
own cousins in the hope of obtaining the Chiefship 
for Alexander MacAllan, Dugal's uncle. In carrying 
out their diabolical scheme, they had the ready 
co-operation of a notorious scoundrel, locally known 
as " Allan nan Core." In course of time, as Dugal 
was on his way from Arisaig to Castletirrim, he was 
waylaid at a place called Pohiish by Allan nan 
Core and his party, and cut to j)ieces, the exact spot 
where the foul deed was committed being known to 
this day by tlie name of " Coirre-Dhughaill." In 
the absence of documentary proof, it is difficult to 
say what truth, if any, there is in this story, but 
there appears to be no doubt that Dugal was deposed 
from the chiefship at this time, and that he died in 
the year 1520, or shortly thereafter, whether in the 
violent manner already desciibed we have no means 
of determining with certainty. That there may 
have been a plot such as tradition ascribes to his 
cousins we can readily believe, but if Dugal and his 
family had not made themselves obnoxious to the 
rest of the Clanranald, the tribe as a body would 
not have acquiesced in the selection of Alexander 
MacAllan as their leader, nor would they have 
deprived Dugal's son of that position, if he had 
been found to have been woithy of it. Allan 
MacDugal's mother was, according to Bather 
Charles Macdonald, in his book on Moidart, a 
daughter of the Chief of the Camerons. Brought 


Up among his mothers kin, the Camerons, when 
Allan came of age, made an attempt to place him 
in possession of his heritage, but in this they failed, 
and a compromise was arrived at whereby the lands 
of Morar were given to Dugal's son. Gregory, 
however, a more reliable authority, has it in a 
manuscript that " Dugal married the daughter and 
co-heiress of Sir Alexander of Lochalsh, but that he 
was forced by Glengarry, who had married the other 
co-heiress, and others of the Clanranald, to repudiate 
his wife, who was afterwards married to Dingwall of 
Kildun." Whether Allan was a grandson of Lochiel, 
or of the Knight of Lochalsh, he never regained by 
the help of the adherents of these chiefs the heritage 
of the Chief of Clanranald, nor did he, indeed, 
possess any of the lands of the tribe for nearly 
twenty years after his father's death, and even the 
lands he then came into possession of he held by a 
very uncertain tenure. In the year 1538 the lands 
of Morar, and others, which, as we have seen, were 
granted to Angus Reochson MacRanald in 1498, 
were, by an instrument under the Privy Seal, 
bestowed on Allan and Lachlan, the sons of Dugal, 
conjointly, and by reason of non-entry since the 
death of John MacAngus Reoch MacRanald. Allan 
thus succeeded the family of Angus Reoch Mac- 
Ranald of Morar, and became the progenitor of 
the family whose head has been known in more 
modern times as MacDliughaill Mhorthir. 

" Alexander MacAllan," we are informed by 
MacVuirich, " assumed the Lordship after Dugal, 
the son of Ranald." By the tenor of the charters 
granted by James IV. to Ranald Bane in 1498, the 
lands were to be held of the King by Ranald and 
his heirs male, with reversion to Alexander Mac- 


Allan, his brother. In the Clanranald MS., already 
quoted, it is stated that Allan Macllory gave 
Alexander, his son, lands in Moidart, Arisaig, Ei<^g, 
and Skirhough, and Hugh Macdonald in his manu- 
script refers to him as " Tanisteir of Moidart." 
in an action pursued in behalf of the King 
against several landholders in the Highlands in 
the year 1501, Alane Rorisone and Alexander 
Alansone are charged with the wrongous occu- 
pation of the lands of Moidart.^ After Dugal's 
deposition, and his family had been formall}'' 
thrown out of the succession to the family 
estate and honours, Alexander MacAllan un- 
doubtedly became head of the Clanranald family, 
both de facto and dc jure. Dugal was set 
aside by a recognised Celtic law which put 
it in the power of a clan or tribe to depose 
or elect its own chief, and the Clanranald, in 
the exercise of their undoubted right, elevated 
Alexander to the chiefship, after which it is vain 
to appeal to a feudal law of primogeniture which 
acknowledged neither chief nor clan as such. There 
are indications that Dugal and Alexander had been 
on anything Ijut friendly terms prior to the accession 
of the latter to the chiefship. In a bond of manrent 
by Alexander, dated at Inverleuer on the 20th day 
of February, 1519, he binds himself, his sons, kins- 
men, and servants, "to be lyell and trewe men and 
serv^ants to ane honorabyll knycht Johne Campbell 
of Cauder Knycht," promising to take his part 
against all, "the Kingis grace, my lorde of Ergille 
beand excepted." He furtlier binds himself to take 
Cawdor's counsel in all things, "and s[)eciale anent 
his eyme, Doygall M'Puinnald," swearing upon the 

^ Acta Doai, Con, 


"mes bowyk" to keep his promise under pain of 
200 merks to be paid within forty days.^ In this 
indenture by Alexander he describes himself as 
"Alexander M'Allan, Chaptane off the Clanranald, 
and apyerand air of Ilanterim," being the first 
occasion on which we find the distinction of 
" Captain of Clanranald " assumed in the family. 
The reason for the adoption of the title at this 
time ma}^ be found in the fact that for the first 
time in the history of the family the Clanranald 
had themselves elected their own chief; and we are 
entirely of the opinion that the title of captain is, 
in this case at anyrate, synonymous with chief, and 
that it was so interpreted in this family down 
to our own day admits of no doubt whatever. If 
" captain " and " chief" were not the same here, 
then and in that case the Clanranald could be said 
to have been chiefless for the long period of close on 
four hundred years. To avoid arriving at a con- 
clusion so manifestly absurd and contradictory, we 
must accept the designation of " Captain of Clan- 
ranald " as signifying neither less nor more than 
chief, or head, of the family of Clanranald. 

We find no further reference to Alexander in his 
new position as chief of Clanranald, though no doubt 
the annals of the clan during his short period of 
chiefthip provided ample material for the pen of the 
family chronicler. The subsequent history of the 
Clanranald itself is ample proof of the troubled state 
of the tribe at this time, but Alexander appears to 
have been a chief worthy of their choice, and as 
chief to have maintained his position with firmness 
and dignity to the last. Dying some time before 
the year 1530, Alexander was succeeded in the 

^ Thanes of Cawdor. 


chiefship by his son John, known in the history of 
the clan as "John Moidartach." This not being 
the place for a genealogical discussion, we reserve 
reference to the descent of this chief for the third 
volume of this work, where we hope the accumu- 
lation of rubbish that has gathered round it will be 
finally disposed of and the question itself satis- 
factorily settled. 

At the very outset of his career as Chief of 
Clanranald, John Moidartach is found in open 
rebellion against the Government. The cause of 
this revolt is to be traced to an Act passed by the 
Privy Council in the year 1528, which declared 
null and void all the new titles to lands within the 
Lordship of the Tsles during the King's minority. 
Alexander of Dunnyveg. being tl:e person most 
affected by this new enactment, forthwith raised 
the standard of revolt, and to his banner hastened 
John Moidartach, and many others of the insular 
chiefs. The insurrection thus gathering volume 
continued to rage for some time, until ultimately in 
the month of May, 1530, nine of the principal 
Islanders, including John Moidartach, sent offers of 
submission by Hector Maclean of Duart to the King.^ 
James, who now began to see the baneful effect of 
his hasty legislation regarding land tenure in the 
West Highlands and Islands, at once granted the 
prayer of the petition presented by Hector Maclean 
of Duart, but on condition that the chiefs should 
appear personally before him in Edinburgh, or wher- 
ever he might hold Court, before the 20th of June. 
The Islanders, however, appeared to be in no hurry 
to deliver themselves into the hands of the Govern- 
ment, notwithstanding the King's assurance of 

' Acts of the Lords of Council, 


protection, and the additional offer by the Earl of 
Argyle of no less than four Campbell hostages for 
their safe return to their Island homes. ^ The King 
at length resolved to proceed in person against the 
rebels, and made preparations for an expedition on 
a large scale to the Isles, but Alexander of Dunny- 
veg, who was the head and front of the Island 
revolt, realising his danger in the face of the Royal 
Expedition, hastened to make his submission to the 
King. John Moidartach and the other chiefs, after 
being several times summoned for treason, followed 
the example of Alexander of Dunnyveg, in the 
course of the summer of 1531 gave in their sub- 
mission, and upon giving security for their future 
good behaviour, they received the King's pardon." 
John Moidartach, to whom the King appears to 
have shown special favour, received under His 
Majesty's great seal a charter of the 27 merklands 
of Moidart, the 30 merklands of Arisaig, 21 merk- 
lands in Eigg, and the 30 merklands of Skirhough, 
in Uist, all of which of old belonged in heritage to 
Allan MacRory, his grandfather, and his predecessors. 
These lands were granted for the good service done 
and to be done by the grantee, the charters granted 
to his predecessors having been destroyed through 
M^ar and other local disturbances. The lands were 
to be held of the King in fee for service of ward, 
relief, and marriage, provided that John Moidartach 
and his heirs should not do homage to any person 
without the license of the King. This charter, 
which is still preserved in the Clanranald Charter 
Chest, is dated at Edinburgh on the 11th of 
February, 1531, but John Moidartach being then a 
rebel, the year in which the charter was granted 

1 Acts of the Lords of Council. 2 j^j^j j^gg^ ^f p^j^ g^^j^ 


must have been, instead of that given, 1532. 
On the same day he also received a pi^ecept of 
Clare Constat for infeftini,^ him in these lands. 
This charter to John Moidartach was the first of a 
long series of charters granted to different members 
of the Clanranald family during the remainder of 
the reign of James V. The multiplicity of charters, 
as might be expected, created much rivahy and 
dissension within the tribe, and, though a recital of 
them may be tedious, it is necessary, in order to 
point out the relations in which the branches stood 
to their Chief territorially. An analysis of the 
charters themselves will show them to be worthless 
as instruments of tenure. It is well known that 
Crown charters were obtained during this period 
sometimes by very unworthy means. Instances 
could be given of false representations made to 
those in power, and of bribes offered and greedily 
accepted by hungry courtiers, who, to benefit 
themselves, were ready to stoop to the lowest and 
most unscrupulous devices. What is remarkable 
about the Clanranald charters especially is the 
manifest unveracity displayed on the one hand and 
the continual encroachment on the lands of the 
Chief on the other. The lands encroached upon 
are stated in each charter to have been in the 
hands of the King since the death of the last 
lawful jjossessor, while the existence of the then 
Chief is entirely ignored. The motive of this policy 
is not far to seek, and it was neither less nor more 
than an attempt to diminish the power of the Chief 
and set the tribe by the ears. But John Moidartach 
was not the man to be diminished in this way, and 
it is quite certain that he retained his sujjeriority 
over the whole lands of the tribe to the day of his 


death, dli aindeoin go theireadh e. In 1534, having 
for some unknown reason resigned the 6 merklands 
of Kiklonan, in Eigg, and 4 merklands in Arisaig, 
into the King's hands, the King granted him anew 
a charter of the same lands conjointly with his 
wife, Mariot M'Cane.-^ In the same year, John 
granted to Archibald, Earl of Argyle, 10 merk- 
lands in the barony of Moida.rt.'^ On the 19th of 
June, 1535, the Chief is in Edinburgh settling a 
dispute with Hector Mor Maclean of Duart, the 
nature of which does not appear owing to a blank 
in the record, but of so serious a nature as to have 
rendered necessary the presence of both Chiefs before 
the Lords of Council. Donald, Abbot of Coupar, 
and Archibald Campbell of Skippinish, for John 
Moidartach, and Sir John Campbell of Ardkinglass for 
Hector Maclean, acted as " arbitratouris counsalouris 
and amicable compositouris." Having given in their 
" Decrete Arbitrate," the Chiefs departed from the 
city in peace.^ In 1538 the King granted to Allan 
and Lachlan, sons of Dugal, the deposed chief, the 
non-entry and other dues of the 14 merklands of 
Morar, 7 merklands in Arisaig, 9 merklands in Eigg, 
and the 13 merklands of Benbecula, which had been 
in the King's hands since the death of John Mac 
Angus Reoch MacRanald/ In the same year the 
King granted to i arquhar McAlister, brother to the 
Chief of Clanranald, the non-entry and other dues 
of the 23 merklands lying within the parish of 
Kilpeter, in South Uist, and in the King's hands 
since the death of Ranald MacAllan/ In the fol- 
lowing year, the King further granted to Archibald, 
Earl of Argyle, the non-entry and other dues of the 

' Clanranald Charter Chest. - Argyle Inventory. * Acta Dom. Con. 
* Reg. of Privy Seal. * Ibid. 



lands of Morar, and others, previously granted to 
Allan and Lachlan McC^oull MacRanald, having 
been in the King's hands since the death of John 
Mac Angus R-eoch MacPvaiiald.^ 

The succession of charters is now interrupted 
for a brief period by an insurrection headed by 
Donald (xorme Macdonald of Sleat, which threatened 
seriously to disturb the peace of the Isles. Donald 
Gorme, as next heir after Donald Dubh, and backed 
by a majority of the Island Chiefs, laid claim not 
only to the Lordship of the Isles, but to the Earldom 
of Ross as well. Tliis rebellion of the Chief of 
Sleat, though It Sjjent itself before gathering any 
force by the death of Donald at Ellandonan, had, 
as will be presently seen, a somewhat disturbing 
influence on the family of Clanranald. The repeated 
attempts of the Islesmen to restore the Lordship of 
the Isles, in the person of a chieftain of the Mac- 
donald family, brought tlie King to the resolution 
of taking such measures as he thought would prevent 
any further effort in that direction. With this in 
view, he put himself at the head of a formidable 
armament consisting of twelve ships, well provided 
with artillery, and manned by about fifteen hundred 
men. The fleet left Leith in the end of May, 1540, 
and proceeded, in the first instance, to Orkney. 
From Orkney it sailed back by the coasts of Suther- 
land, Lewis, and Skye. It was now seen what the 
object of the King was in making this dis23]ay of 
naval power. The Chiefs, who hastened at different 
points during the royal progress to pay homage to 
their sovereign, little suspecting that a trap had 
been laid for them, rushed on their fate and found 
themselves prisoners. Prominent among those who 

' Reg, of Privy Seal, 


were secured in this niikingly fashion was John 
Moidartach, Ca)3tain of Clanranald. The King 
proceeded vigorously in his course of chief-taking, 
and finally, having sailed ^by the southern group of 
islands, he landed at Dunbarton, sending the fleet, 
with the captive Chiefs on board, to the Leith 
roads, whence they were taken to Edinburgh and 
sent to prison. 

The news that John Moidartach was incarcerated 
in Edinburgh, with no immediate prospect of being 
liberated, had the effect of bringing great confusion 
into the ranks of the Clanranald. The opportunity 
thus afforded them was not lost on the friends of 
the Government in the north, and they, without 
delay, took steps to fill the breach created by the 
absence of the Chief Their choice fell on Ranald, 
commonly called Ranald Gallda, the youngest son 
of Allan MacRory. IJttle or nothing is known of 
the previous history of this individual. His mother 
being a daughter of the Chief of the Erasers, the 
probability is that he spent the most part of his life 
in the A.ird country, and lived on the bounty of the 
family of Lovat. He is represented by most if not 
all Clan writers as a young man at this time ; but, 
whatever else he was, young he could not have been, 
his father having died a very old man in or about 
the year 1501. It is certain that Ranald, at the 
very lowest computation, could not now have been 
much, if at all, under fifty years of age. It is some- 
what amazing, in view of the facts of the case, to 
find Ranald Gallda put forward, by every one who 
has written on the subject, as the legitimate heir of 
Castletirrim. That he had absolutely no claim 
whatever, legally or morally, feudally or Celtically, 
to this position, we shall see presently. Allan 


MacRorv liad, accordino- to MacYuiricli, three 
families, or, altogether, eight sous, the youngest of 
these being Ranald Gallda. The eldest of the eight 
sons, Ranald Bane, succeeded his father in the chief- 
ship. Dugal, Ranald Bane's son, having been 
deposed by the tribe, his family were excluded from 
the succession. But after the family of Dugal, the 
next heir to the chiefship was Alexander, the second 
son of Allan MacRory, who himself had three 
families, or, altogether, seven sons. It is evident 
that, until the issue of six sons of Allan MacRory, 
and of the seven sons of x\lexander MacAllan failed, 
Ranald Gallda could not be regarded as the legiti- 
mate heir of Castletirrim. There stood a score of 
heirs at least between him and the chiefship of 
Clanranald. It was not likely that in these cir- 
cumstances the tribe would willingly accept " Ranald 
the Stranger," as they appropriately called him, for 
their Chief But Lovat and Huntly had decided to 
place Ranald Gallda in the chiefship, and in posses- 
sion of Castletirrim. In this scheme they were 
encouraged by the Government, to whom it was 
falsely represented that Ranald was the rightful 
heir. As a first step towards carrying out their 
design, they obtained for him a Crown charter, 
dated at Edinburgh on the 1 4th of December, 
1540, of the 27 merklands of Moidart, and the 24 
merklands of Arisaig, which had been in the King's 
hands since the death of Allan Rorieson.^ The 
charter formerly granted to John Moidartach having 
been obtained, as it was alleged, on sinister and 
unjust information, was at the same time revoked. 
Tlie King, in pursuance of his policy of encroach- 
ment, had already, early in this year, gifted to 

' Reg. of Privy Seal, 


Farquhar MacAlister, the Chief's brother, the 30 
merklands of Skirhough, with the penny land of 
Gerigiiminish, in Benbecula, which had been in his 
Majesty's hands since the death of Ranald Bane 
Allanson,^ Ranald Bane died, as we have seen, 
before 1510, and the King having granted a charter 
of Skirhough and other lands to John Moidartach 
in 1532, these could not, therefore, have been in his 
hands since the death of Ranald. But one of the 
objects of the King and his advisers was not veracity. 
Having secured the person of the Chief, and gifted 
his inheritance to others, on whose loyalty they could 
reckon, the task they set themselves to perform was 

Ranald Gallda, armed with liis parchment, and 
supported by Huntly and Lovat, entered Castle- 
tirrim in triumph and assumed the position of Chief 
of the family of Clanranald. Immediately after 
taking possession, Ranald was the recipient of yet 
another royal favour. The King, to confirm his 
loyalty, granted him the 21 merklands of Eigg, 
in his majesty's hands since the death of Dugal 
MacRanald.- How it fared with the new chief 
during his short tenure of Castletirrim subsequent 
events sufficiently demonstrate. Forced as he had 
been into his position, it was not to be expected 
that he would readily render himself acceptable 
to the great body of the Clan, and as matter of 
fact he failed utterly in this respect ; but the real 
cause of his unpopularity is not to be traced to the 
parsimonious disposition attributed to him by the 
seanachies. It was not because Ranald would not 
slaughter oxen wholesale and afterwards roast them 
for the entertainment of the Clanranald that he was 

^ Reg. of Privy Seal. - Ibid. 


rejected. What led to his rejection must be traced 
to a very difterent source. He was neither the 
legitimate heir, nor had he been elected by the 
voice of the tribe. Huiitly and Lovat conjointly 
had chosen him, and, therefore, his career at 
Castletirrim was brief 

The untimely death of the King-, in the end of 
the year 1542, brought about a sudden change in 
the relations between Ranald Gallda and the Clan- 
ranald. It is certain that if the King had lived a 
few years longer Ranald's reign at Castletirrim 
would not have been so short. It is equally certain 
that, except for the King's death, so dangerous a 
firebrand as John of Moidart would have been kept 
pining in his captive dungeon it is hard to say how 
long. But Glencairn, because he hated Argyle, 
recommended the Regent Arran to liberate Jolni 
Moidartach and the other chiefs so ungraciously 
kidnapped by the late King. John of Moidart 
no sooner got his liberty than he returned to 
Castletirrim. The whole Clan at once rallied 
round their chief, and Ranald Gallda Med to the 
Aird. The heather was now on fire, and John 
Moidartach lost no time in marshalling his forces. 
These consisted of Alaster McEan vie Alaster of 
Glengarry, Allan MacDugal MacRanald of Morar, 
Angus MacAllan MacRanald of Knoydart, and 
others of the Clanranald with their followers. There 
Hocked also to the standard of the Clanranald Chief 
Ranald Macdonald of Keppoch, Ewen Allanson of 
Lochiel, and Alaster Macdonald of Ardnamurchan, at 
the head of their respective followers. Lovat no 
doubt had also sununoned his retainers, but before 
\\(i had time to m;iture his plans, Jolm Moidartach 
pushed forward at thi; head of his clansmen, and 


invading the Fraser territories, " herreit, reft, and 
spulyeit the hoili cuntrey" of Abertarf and Strath - 
errick. Not resting satisfied with having wasted 
the Lovat lands, the invaders proceeded to Urquhart, 
and taking possession of the Castle, they afterwards 
committed great excesses in the districts of 
Urquhart and Glenmoriston. According to Bishop 
Lesley, the invaders, after driving out of the Fraser 
and Grant countries the native possessors, "placed 
thameselffis as they had bene just possessouris 
thairof, thinking to enjoy the same peaceablie in 
all tymis cuming." It is not at all likely that the 
West Highlanders were quite so sanguine as the 
good Bishop would have us believe, but it appears 
at all events that they remained in possession of the 
conquered territories until compelled to retire in the 
face of superior forces, and for this they had not to 
wait long. We are left quite in the dark as to 
Lovat's movements hitherto. Whether he ever 
conceived the idea of reinstating Ranald Gallda in 
the lace of such strong forces as he had now to contend 
against is a matter of opinion. We are inclined to 
think that neither Lovat nor his jjvotege entertained 
any hope of effecting an entrance into Castletirrim, 
and that if John Moidartach and his followers had 
not " spulyeit the hoill cuntrey of Abertarf and 
Stratherrick," the Frasers very probably would not 
have taken any active part against them. The 
Clanranald, however, had unfortunately not confined 
dieir depredations to the Lovat lands, but had also 
"herreit" the Grant country, which resulted, as 
might have been expected, in pi'ovoking a com- 
bination of forces against them with which they 
could not hope to cope. But the forces of Lovat 
and Grant alone were not sufficient against such 

2€4 THE CLAN DONALt). ' 

powerful enemies as the Western host, and these 
chiefs were, therefore, obliged to appeal for help to 
the Earl of Huntly, the lieutenant of the North. 
Huntly, glad of the opportunity of punishing the 
Clanranald and their allies, at once responded to 
the appeal made to him, and raising a large force 
among his own vassals and retainers, being also 
joined by Lovat and Grant at the head of their 
respective forces, the Earl proceeded against the 
rebels. But before these combined forces reached 
the scene of spoliation, John Moidartach and his 
followers had wisely retreated towards the West 
and taken up a position in some wild and not easily 
accessible part of the countr3^ from which it would 
be difficult to dislodoe them. Having restored 
order throughout the districts which had been 
wasted by the Clanranald, Gregor}^ asserts that 
Huntly proceeded to Moidart and put Ranald 
Gallda without opposition in possession of that 
country. There is no ground for believing that 
Huntly advanced as far westward as the district of 
Moidart. It would have been at best a difficult 
task, and if attempted the chances were that it 
would have been a fruitless one, desirous as the Earl 
was of inflicting punislmient on the rebels. And 
even if Huntly had been anxious above all things to 
])ut Ranald Gallda in possesion of Castletirrim, it is 
hardly conceivable that that unfortunate indi- 
vidual would accept tlie situation and rush on 
his own destruction, a fate he was certain to 
meet if he entered the district of Moidart with 
the view of taking up ;i, permanent residence 
there. But if Huntly intended to invade the 
Chmranald country and fortify Castletirrim, the 
advantageous position of the enemy must have 


sufficed to convince him of the hopelessness of 
bringincr his campaign to a successful issue. It is 
difficult to believe that so skilful a leader as John 
of Moidart would have left the stronghold of Castle- 
tirrim unfortified, or that if attacked in that position 
he would have j^elded it without a struggle. His 
retreat before Huntly indicates very clearly what 
his movements would have been, and line of defence, 
if the Earl had chosen to follow up his pursuit. In 
none of the many versions of the story of Huntly's 
campaign do we find that he came into collision 
with the Chief of Moidart, and without this we are 
unwilling to believe that the Earl took possession of 
Castletirrim. The fact seems to be that Huntly, 
having driven the rebels, as he thought, into their 
native fastnesses, and restored the peace of the 
disturbed districts, considered the task he had set 
before himself accomplished, and further procedure, 
therefore, unnecessary and inexpedient. Bishop 
Lesley, who some twenty years later occupied the 
See of Ross, was, from the nearness of his residence 
to the scene of Huntly's operations, likely to be well 
informed in regard to the details of the campaign. 
According to Lesley, "the Erie merching forduart 
with his cumpanie maid thame (the rebels) sone to 
dislodge, and to flie in thair awin cuntrey apoun the 
west seis, quhair Lawland men cuid haif no acces 
unto thame, and so placed the Lorde Lovat and the 
Laird of Grant in thair awin landis. . . . Sua 
haiffing done for the moist parte that thing he 
come for, returnit." Having thus accomplished his 
purpose for the " moist parte," Huntly led his force 
back and proceeded on his way through Lochaber 
into Badenoch. On arriving at the opening of 
Glenroy, at the point where the Spean joins the 


Loch}'-, the Frasers and the Grants detached them- 
selves from the maui body of Huntly's army, with 
the intention of returning to their respective districts, 
and proceeded down the Caledonian Valley by the 
line of the present Caledonian Canal. Lovat's force 
consisted of his own immediate followers, and the 
Grants of Urquhart and Glenmoriston, the other 
followers of tlie Laird of Grant returning with their 
chief to Strathspey. The Grants were probably 
commanded by Patrick Grant of Glenmoriston, a 
half-brother of Ranald Gallda, whose mother, after 
the death of Allan MacRory, married the Laird of 
Glenmoriston. There w^as also a close family con- 
nection between the Lovat Chief and Freuchie, the 
Chief of the Grants, and it was on account of the 
family com^^act between the Frasers and the Grants 
that the Clanranald had wreaked vengeance on the 
latter by wasting the lands of Urquhart and Glen- 
moriston. The Clanranald and their allies had all 
along followed closely the movements of Huntly's 
army. The Fraser Chief had no sooner separated 
himself from the Earl than John Moidartach, seizing 
his opportunity, resolved to mtercept his march and 
give him battle. Lovat had evidently not antici- 
pated yi meeting with the Chief of Moidart, or he 
would have chosen a different route in returning 
home to Castledownie ; but whatever his surmising 
may have been, he had not proceeded far on his 
march when the gravity of his situation Hashed 
upon him. As he proceeded by the south side of 
Lochlochy, he espied the Clanranald on the other 
side marching rapidly towards the head t)f the loch 
to intercept his progress. Lovat's force has been 
variously estimated, but the nearest approximation 
appears to be that given in a Fraser MS., which 


puts it at four hundred strong. The strength of 
the opposing force has also been variously stated, 
but when we consider tliat the chieftains of Glen- 
garry, Knoydart, Morar, Ardnamurchan, Keppoch, 
and Lochiel, were all there with their followers, 
the numerical strength of the Western host could 
not at the very lowest calculation have been 
under six hundred fighting men. Well might 
the Fraser chief have quailed before such over- 
whelming odds. There appeared to be two alter- 
natives open to Lovat, either of which he 
must instantly accept. He must either surrender 
or fight, and the brave Chief chose the latter. 
Acting on this resolution, he moved forward to 
meet the approaching foe, sending at the same 
time a trusty lieutenant, of the name of Bean 
Cleireach, with a small band of Frasers to guard 
a pass through which he hoped to escape, in the 
event of his being forced to retire from the battle- 
field and seek refuge in flight. The two forces at 
length meeting at the east end of Lochlochy, 
arranged themselves in order of battle. The action 
was commenced by both sides advancing in the old 
Highland fashion and discharging their arrows as 
they advanced. Laying their bows aside after the 
arrows were expended, the combatants rushed 
furiously on each other with broadsword and axe. 
Both sides now fought with equal courage and 
determination, and it soon became apparent that 
the contest for victory would be bloody, long, and 
obstinate. The day being hot, the combatants, 
it is said, denuded themselves of their upper gar- 
ments and fought in their shirt sleeves, from which 
circumstance the fight, it is further said, got the 
name of Blarleinc, or " The Field of Shirts." But 


though this Is the common tradition, we are inclined 
to think that the famous engagement got its name 
of Blarleinc rather from the particular spot on vvhich 
the battle was fought, which at the time and for 
long after was known as Leny. As the fatal day 
advanced, the Fraser ranks grew thinner, but, 
animated by mutual hatred, the resolute clansmen 
continued the contest with great fury, and at the 
approach of evening the battlefield presented a 
woful scene of carnage. Borne down by the force 
of superior numbers, the surviving Frasers were 
finally obliged to retire from the field, but the pass 
which Bean Cleireach had been sent to guard being- 
secured by the Clanranald, the fight was renewed at 
this point, if possible with greater determination 
than ever. After a sharp struggle, the Frasers were 
again worsted, and kindly night at length threw its 
dark pall over the bloody field. While clansmen 
on both sides fought with equal bravery, and victory 
lay with Siol Chuinn, the stubborn courage displayed 
by the gallant Frasers in the face of vastly superior 
numbers is deserving of all praise. According to the 
traditional accounts of Blarleine, and, unforturiately, 
there are none other, the Fi'asers were nearly all 
annihilated, only five of the whole force surviving ; 
while of the Clanranald and their allies only eight 
are said to have survived. Subsequent events, 
however, show these figures to be wide of the mark. 
It is certain that no men of note on the side of the 
Clanranald and their allies fell. Four years after 
the event, in a respite to John Moidartacli for " ye 
slauchter of ye Lord Lovet and his complices," there 
are also mentioned the names of the chieftains of 
Glengarry, Knoydart, Morar, and Ardnannn-chau, to 
whom may be added, among others, the name of 


Rorie MacAlister, the diplomatic dean of Morveri, 
and tjrother of tlie Chief of Clanranald. Keppoch 
and Lochiel were reserved for a more ignominious 
fate. When the leaders, who were certain to 
have been in the thickest of the fight, survived, 
we are not willing to believe that all their followers 
perished. In a document dated on the 5th day 
of August, 1545, and drawn up by the council 
of Donald Dubh. which, with the exception of 
Keppoch, included all the Macdonald leaders 
engaged at Kinlochlochy, it is stated that " the 
Captain of Clanranald the last yeir ago in his 
defence slew the Lord Lowett, his son and air, 
his thre brother, with xiii. score of men," This 
number, given on the authority of the leaders of 
the victorious army, is not likely to have been 
under-estimated. On the contrar}^ we should 
expect them to have over-estimated than otherwise 
the number of the enemy slain. There is no refer- 
ence to the number of the slain on the Clanranald 
side. The death roll, however, on either side must 
have been considerable, while of those that survived, 
few, if any, can have escaped unwounded. On the 
side of the Erasers fell Lord Lovat and Ranald 
Gallda, both of whom, by all accounts, distinguished 
themselves by acts of conspicuous bravery. Besides 
these, among other men of note who fell were the 
three brothers of Lord Lovat, as we have seen from 
the document already quoted. The Master of Lovat, 
who fel) mortally wounded, died three days after 
the battle, having been taken prisoner by Lochiel. 
The death of the Master of Lovat was much 
lamented alike by friend and foe. The Master 
had been educated in France, and was a young 
man of many accomplishments. Goaded by the 


taunts of his step-mother, who insinuated cowardice, 
he, though strictly forbidden by his father to leave 
home, chose a select band of twelve followers, and 
joined the banner of his clan on the day that proved 
so fatal to him and to them. The loss of Lord 
Lovat and his son was a severe blow to the Erasers. 
By the fall of so man}'- others of the clan it appeared 
as if the death knell of the race had been rung, but 
the loss of so many brave clansmen was, by what 
appeared to be a direct invervention of Divine 
Providence, made up by the wives of the slain 
Frasers giving birth in due course to no fewer than 
eighty sons. The bodies of Lord Lovat, his son, 
and Ranald Gallda were carried by the surviving 
Frasers to the Aird, and buried in the Priory of 
Beauly. The inscription on Lovat's tomb, which is 
now no longer legible, was, according to a manuscript 
history of the family, in the following terms: — "Hie 
jacet Hugo Dominus Fraser de Lovat, qui fortissime 
pugnans contra Reginalderios occubuit Julii 15, 

When the news of the engagement at Kinloch- 
lochy reached the ears of those in authority, it filled 
them with indignation and horror, and measures 
were at once taken to punish the rebels. Huntly, 
" soir grieved" at the turn affairs had taken, once 
more appeared on the scene, and at the head of a 
considerable force "spulyeit and herreit" the lands 
of Keppoch and Lochiel. John Moidartach and the 
other leaders having retired to Castletirrim, Huntly 
did not consider it expedient to advance in that 
direction, and having executed those of the followers 
of the rebel chiefs that fell into his hands, he 
returned to Ruthven. The Earl utterly failed in 
accomplishing the great object of his expeditio|i, 


which was to punish the chief rebel, John of 
Moidart. He succeeded only in provoking the 
allies of that chief to commit further excesses in the 
districts which had already suffered so much from 
their incursions. Huntly, whose services were in 
demand elsewhere, had barely disappeared from the 
scene of action when Lochiel, Glengarry, and 
Keppoch retaliated by invading the district 
of Glenmoriston and carrying away a large 
creach, to which they added considerably early 
in the following year by an invasion of both 
Urquhart and Glenmoriston. The details of the 
Urquhart creach, as given by Mr William Mackay 
in his " Urquhart and Glenmoriston," are truly 
alarming, but these refer principally to the great 
invasion of the parish of Urquhart previous to 
the battle of Blavleiiie. John Moidartach and his 
immediate followers took no part in the incursions 
into the Grant country after the battle. The restless 
chief, however, was determined not to let his sword 
rust. The unfortunate heir of Innsegall had escaped 
from his life- long confinement now more than a year 
since, and the adherents of the House of Isla had 
once more rallied round his banner. The story of 
his brief and luckless enterprise has already been 
told in another part of this work. A brief reference, 
however, to the part played by the Clanranald in that 
enterprise may not be out of place here. Donald 
Dubh drew round him a council of seventeen of 
the Highland Chiefs, and among these were John 
Moidartach, Alexander Ranaldson of Glengarry, and 
Angus Ranaldson of Knoydart— all of whom had 
fought at Kinlochlochy ; while the militant Dean 
of Morven was also in the train of the Island Lord. 
John Moidartach and Maclean of Duart appear to 


have been the principal councillors of Donald Dubh, 
and both loyally adhered to his interests and 
supported his pretensions to the last. The Chief 
of Castletirrim, and a considerable number of the 
Clanranald, were included in the large army of four 
thousand that followed the Island Lord to Knock- 
fergus in the month of August, 1545, Rorie Mac- 
Alister, Dean of Morven, and brother of the Chief 
of Clanranald, with Patrick Maclean, Justiciar of 
the South Isles, and brother of Maclean of Duart, 
were the commissioners chosen by Donald and his 
council to carry their resolutions to the English 
King. The King received them at his Manor of 
Oatlands on the 4th of September. After carrying 
out their instructions, and arriving at an agreement 
with the King on the lines of the proposals contained 
in their commission, the Island plenipotentiaries 
returned to Knockfergus. Rorie MacAlister, who 
played so important a part in these transactions, 
and throughout these stirring times, began his 
ecclesiastical career as Rector of Kilchoan in 
Ardnamurchan, and developing rapidly into a 
pluralist, he held in conjunction with Kilchoan 
the rectories of Arisaig and Knoydart. He was 
afterwards advanced to the Deanery of Morven, 
and in 1545 elected to the Bishopric of the 
Isles by the Islesmen in opposition to Roderick 
Maclean, the nominee of the Scottish Regent. He 
fought, as we have seen, under his brother's banner 
at Kinlochlochy, and led no doubt by that chief's 
example, he afterwards joined the party of Donald 
Dubh. The Dean, equally active in field and 
council, was no doubt a welcome acquisition to the 
unlettered advisers of the Lord of the Isles, who in 
sooth stood much in need of a secretary. The 


diplomatic delil)erations at Knockfergus, and the 
series of statesmanlike resolutions of which they 
were th3 outcome, are unmistakeable evidence of 
the guiding hand and able counsel of the astute 
ecclesiastic. The acknowledgment, however, of the 
King of England as "supreme hed of the fayth," 
and of the Churches of England and Ireland, did 
not help Rorie in the great object of his ambition, 
and Roderick Maclean was preferred to the Bishopric 
of the Isles. Rorie MacAlister was detained in 
Ireland till the following year after the death of 
Donald Dubh, during which time he lived on the 
bounty of his " maister," Henry VIII. In a joint 
letter by him and Patrick Maclean to that King, 
dated at Dublin on the 8th of May, 1546, they 
complain that they, his majesty's faithful subjects, 
are " boyth stayed and holden here sens we did to 
your grace in Ireland uncertain if it be your hienes 
pleasure that we shuld be holden to our loss and 
damage from our native countrie and friendis where 
we might do more good service unto your hienes in 
one day nor here in one whoill year, therefore we 
beseech your most gracious and magnificent goodness 
to will your counsal of Ireland to direct us towardes 
our countrie to th' entent that we may entertain our 
freindis in your . . . unfeyned and warray trew 
service, for we departed from your hienes the fourt 
day of September last and is holden yet upon your 
gracious answer the which we await. "^ Rorie, prob- 
ably as a result of his appeal to the English King, 
was forthwith restored to his " native countrie and 
friendis." The former, no doubt through the influ- 
ence of the latter, restored him to his erstwhile 
status as a citizen, the Queen granting him a 

1 Public Record Office. 



lemission niuler the Privy Seal " for his treasonable 
jmssiiio- to Ingland and Ireland, and inbringlng of 
Inglismen within the His and iithir partis within 
the realm, and for burning, heirschip, and destruc- 
tion." The restless Dean, growing weary of pohtics, 
settled down finally to the duties of his sacred 
caUing, and closed his somewhat stormy career as 
Rector of his native parish of Islandfinan. 

John Moidartach and the rest of the Clanranald, 
whom we left deliberating at Knockfergus, returned 
after the failure of the Island expedition, and the 
death of Donald Dubh, to their homes. It could 
not be expected that even in the present turmoil 
and confusion which prevailed in every department 
of the State, so notorious a disturber of the peace of 
the lieges as the Chief of Castletirrim would be 
forgotten, or allow^ed to escape without due punish- 
ment. His recent conduct in supporting the 
pretensions of Donald Dubh had aggravated seven- 
fold his former guilt, and accordingly Parliament 
passed an Act on the 7th of September, 1545, 
summoning him, with others, to answer for treason. 
Though the summons were repeated several times, 
John Moidartach continued obstinately to defy the 
Government, and yet no direct attempt of a practical 
kind was made to bring him to obedience. The 
family inheritance had already been disposed of and 
gifted to others, so far as Crown Charters could do 
it, and only recently 30 merklands in South Uist 
had been included in a charter of the Barony of 
Bar, granted by the Queen to James Macdonald of 
Dunnyveg. The dauntless Chief, notwithstanding, 
continued to hold resolutely, in the face of all 
opposition, the heritage transmitted to him. Ar.d 
this was no easy task. Huntly had, shortly after 


the enoagement at Kinlochlochy, entered into a 
contract with Mackintosh, Mackenzie of Kintail, 
Ross of Balnagovvn, and Munro of Fowlis, by which 
they became bound to assist the Earl against the 
Clanranald.^ But this formidable array of potentates 
banded together against him made no impression on 
the irrepressible Chief of Castletirrim. The West 
Highlands still remained in a disturbed state, and 
the selection of James Macdonald of Dunnyveg 
as successor to Donald Dubh had not tended to 
improve the situation. Many of the adherents of 
the House of Isla refused to support the claims of 
the newly proclaimed Lord of the Isles. It appears 
from the letter of James to the Privy Council of 
Ireland that the onl}^ clan he could rely upon 
outside his own was the Clan Cameron ; but the 
new lord relied for the most part on English help, 
and this having failed him, he suddenly dropped 
his claims. The Chief of Clanranald, who had 
entered heartily into the schemes of James Mac- 
donald, and who indeed was bis principal supporter 
among the Islanders, must have been greatly 
disappointed at the turn affairs had taken. In 
his position of antagonism to the Scottish Govern- 
ment, and as there appeared to be no prospect of 
reconciliation on terms favourable to him, he would 
have been glad of such protection as the restoration 
of the Lordship of the Isles in the person of his 
kinsman could give him. But his hopes in this 
direction being shattered, the disappointed Chief 
reluctantly accepted the situation, and turned his 
attention elsewhere, to find by-and-bye ample scope for 
his energies. The Government, meanwhile, changing 
its attitude towards the rebellious Islesmen from a 

' Cliipf.s of Gi-aiit. 


desire to ensure their help against England, with- 
drew the summons of treason which had heen directed 
against John Moidartach and tlx^ other chiefs, and 
the disturbed districts in consequence subsided 
gradually into a state of comparative peace. War 
with England having been at length declared in the 
summer of 1547, the Regent Arran issued a proclam- 
ation summoning all the Highland chiefs to join the 
Scottish standard at Fala Muir. It could hardly be 
expected that John Moidartach would readily 
respond to the Regent's summons. He had no wish 
to take part in the quarrel with England, and in 
any case he would not %ht under the banner of 
Argyle, the other alternative being that of Huntly. 
The cautious chief, besides, was not disposed to 
enter Lowland territory at so critical a time, and all 
things considered, he judged it wiser to remain at 
Castletirrim, The conduct of the absent chief, as it 
turned out, was viewed in a more lenient light than 
he had any reason to expect. The distracted state 
of the Lowlands, consequent on the defeat at Pink}^ 
made the Regent desirous of winning over to his 
side those chiefs in the Highlands who still remained 
in a rebellious attitude towards the Government. 
John of Moidart was the most formidable of these, 
and the guiltiest. The Regent, therefore, got a 
special Act passed in his favour granting him, with 
the rest of the Clanranald leaders, full pardon, for 
" remaining and abyding at hame fra our Soverane 
Ladyis oist and army, devisit and ordanit to convene 
upon Fala-mure . . , and for ye slauchter of 
ye Lord Lovet and his complices."^ The respite to 
"John Muyduart" and the Clanranald, granted on 
the 26th of August, 1548, was to extend over a 

' Register u{ the Privy Seal. 


period of nineteen years. But this concession after 
all does not seem to have improved the relations 
between the Clanranald and the Government. 
John Moidartach continued to maintain doggedly 
his old attitude of defiance, and there being no 
immediate prospect of bringing him to obedience, he 
was allowed meanwhile to pursue the even tenor of 
his way. For some years after the respite of 1548 
he remained unmolested, so far as the Government 
was concerned, but there are indications of many 
troubles during that period, occasioned by the per- 
sistent attacks made upon him by some of the 
neighbouring chiefs. These and similar troubles 
elsewhere in the Highlands brought the Regent 
Arran north to Aberdeen in the summer of 1552, 
where he summoned the chiefs to m^eet him. 
Conspicuous among those who failed to put in an 
appearance at Aberdeen was John of Moidart.' 
From Aberdeen the Earl proceeded to Inverness, in 
the hope that the chiefs who still continued 
obstinate might submit in the Highland Capital. 
But former experience of the Highland Capital 
under similar circumstances did not dispose the 
Western Chiefs to place themselves at the mercy 
of the Regent. While many of the mainland chiefs 
submitted, the Islesmen held out in a body, and the 
Regent found it no easy task to reach them. John 
Moidartach was looked upon as the principal 
offender, and that chief was undoubtedly now the 
most serious problem the Goveriiment had to face in 
the Highlands. The Regent was at a loss how to 
proceed against him. No one seemed disposed to 
undertake an expedition to the wilds of Moidart. 
Huntly had already more than once been baffled in 

' lii.^hop Lesley'.-! History of Seotlaiul. 


his attemj)ts in that direction, and the only alterna- 
tive now seemed to be Argyle. That nobleman was 
at length prevailed upon to proceed against John, 
and so confident was he of the success of his under- 
taking that he promised to deliver the person of the 
rebel chief, a welcome present, to the Privy Council 
forthwith. The Earl in the piosecution of his 
task resorted to the familiar Campbell weapon of 
duplicity, the only weapon an Argyle seemed 
capable of wielding with any effect ; but by all the 
arts of which he was capable he could not inveigle 
the Chief of Moidart into the trap which he liad 
laid for him. No amount of fair promises, or assur- 
ances of protection, would convince him of the 
sincerity of the Earl. Di^jlomacy, therefore, having 
failed him, MacCailein Mor retired from the contest 
and left John of Moidart in possession of the field, 
much to the disappointment of the Privy Council. 
Every effort to reduce him having utterly failed, 
the stubborn chief continued in his attitude of 
resistance, and set the Government at defiance. 
The Regent's time being wholly occupied elsewhere, 
the Highland problem was meanwhile left to solve 

The cessation of hostilities seems to have had a 
good effect on the Chief of Moidart. While iu the 
beginning of the year 1553 we find him in oi:)en 
rebellion against the Government, later on, in the 
autumn of the same year, the situation is entirely 
changed. What had happened in the interval to 
bring about this unexpected change, we know not. 
The probability is that after a peiiod of calm 
refiection the Chief himself saw^ the wisdom of 
effecting a compromise with the Govcniinent. But 
by whatever means it may have been brought 


about, the spectacle of the Chief of Moidart faUiiig 

on the neck of George, Earl of Huntly, at " Rovan 

in Badzenocht," on the 11th day of September, 

1553, is both edifying and affecting. There and 

then, it was " appointit, concordit, and fynallie 

agreit betwix ane nobill and potent Lord George, 

Erie of Huntlie, lord Gordon and Badzenocht, 

leftenent generall of the North and honorabill mene 

Jhone Mudyart Capitane of the Clane Ronald and 

his son Allan, thair Kyne, freindis, allys, and pert- 

takkaris," to mutually forget and forgive. The 

Earl on his part remits and forgives the Clanranald 

all offences, wrongs, and disobedience in the past, 

" and speciall the last offence and brak maid be 

them, their freindis, allis, and pert takkaris, upon 

his gud freind, the Lord Lowett." John Moidartach, 

his son, and their friends, promise, on their part, to 

keep good rule within their bounds, and to remain 

true to the Earl. They further promise " faythfullie 

to do thar wtter deligens and laubour to cause entir 

and bring in the handis of the said Erll Donald 

Gormesson, betwixt the dait heirof and aucht days 

before Hallomes nixt witht all udir capitans and 

chieftenis within the North illis to pass to the 

Queen's grace, my lord guvernoris and the Oounsell."^ 

This, it must be admitted, is a somewhat large 

order. Whether or not the Chief of Moidart, now 

on the side of law and order, made any attempt to 

accomplish the herculean task of presenting before 

the " Queenis grace " Donald Gorme Macdonald of 

Sleat, and all the " udir capitans and chieftenis 

within the North illis," certain it is that none of 

them appeared either there or before " my Lord 

Guvenor." How it fared with the Chief of Moidart 

himself and his promises, we shall soon see. 

^ The Gordon Papers. 


At length oil a change of Government taking 
place in April, 1554, and the divisions in the 
southern portion of the kingdom heing to some 
extent healed, attention was drawn to the High- 
lands. The oftence of the Highlanders seems to 
have consisted entirely in their refusing to submit 
on the terms offered by the Government. The 
policy of ruling the Highlands by taking hostages 
from the chiefs, initiated by James V., had not 
hitherto attained the end at which it seemed to 
aim, nor was it likely to prove successful if pressed 
unduly now. The disorder, which in the estima- 
tion of the Government prevailed in the West 
Highlands and Islands since the visit of the Kegent 
Arraii to Inverness in 1552, appears to have been 
more imaginar}'- than real. According to one 
authority, however, "John Muderach, chief of the 
family of the M'Reynolds, a notorious robber, had 
played many foul and monstrous pranks."^ What- 
ever the nature of the Chief's diversion may have 
been, it is evident that he is now marked for the 
vengeance of the Government. 

The Queen Dowager, who succeeded A nan in 
the regency, had no sooner assumed the reins of 
government than she resolved to punish the Moidart 
rebel. The Earl of Huntly was ordered to proceed 
against him by land, and the Earl of Argyle by sea. 
Huntly, without delay, collected a large force, com- 
posed of his own immediate followers, and tlie Clan 
Chattan, Putting himself at the head of tliis force, 
and being joined by a body of Lowland cavalry, the 
Earl proceeded on his march to Moidart. Having 
penetrated westwards as far as Aliertarff, where he 
halted, Iluntly's ca\'alry refusiMl to proceed further. 

J Jkichuiiau's Jlislory of .Sootlaud. 


The Clan Chattan also, who it appears had been 
pressed unwillingly into the service, began to show 
symptoms of disobedience, and a tumult was raised 
in the camj:;. Huntly himself, from former experi- 
ence of the countr}^, began to realise the almost 
insurmountable difficulties that stood in the way of 
his army. The cavalry, in any case, from the rough 
nature of the country, could not have made much 
progress, and the Earl did not feel disposed to 
proceed with the infantry alone. Besides, he had 
no faith in the loyalty of the Clan Chattan, whom 
he knew hated him for putting to death their 
captain, William Mackintosli. In these circum- 
stances, Huntly wisely abandoned the idea of pro- 
ceeding further on his Moidart expedition, and 
disbanded his forces. While all these manosuvres 
were taking place on the side of Huntly, John of 
Moidart was not idle on his part. Leaving a strong 
garrison at Castletirrim, he moved eastwards to the 
head of Loch moidart. Here he took up a position 
of defence, keeping watch at the same time on every 
point where Huntly could advance. Having satis- 
fied himself that he was not to be attacked on the 
land side, he finally fell back on Castletirrim. 

The gallant chief now waited for the attack by 
Argyle. The Earl had undertaken to carry on the 
war against him by sea, and to act in concert with 
the land forces, the object of this double assault 
being to divide the forces of the Chief of Moidart, 
Castletirrim being the principal point of attack. 
Argyle, who had been provided by Government 
with a man-of-war and several pieces of artillery, 
and had been cruising for some time among the 
Outer Hebrides in search of stray recalcitrant chiefs, 
finally appeared before the stronghold of Island- 


tirrim. Finding the castle strongly fortified, he 
made a desperate eftbrt to reduce it. Placing a 
land battery on the east side between Islandtirrim 
and Dorlin Clifis, and anchoring his Government 
vessel in the loed of the i-iver on the south side, he 
began to play upon the fort on both sides. But the 
stubborn garrison held on, and refused to surrender. 
At last, probably after spending all his amnmnition, 
the Earl was obliged to retire, and John of Moidart 
remained master of the situation. 

The failure of the expedition against the Chief of 
Clanranald greatly incensed the Queen Dowager 
against Huntly. The Earl in his defence pleaded 
the refusal of the cavalry to advance into Moidart, 
and signs of mutiny among his Highland followers, 
an excuse which, though it seems satisfactory, was 
not deemed sufficient in the opinion of the Queen, 
and Huntly was thrown into prison. Mary, being 
determined to crush the Moidart Chief, ordered the 
Earl of Athole in the summer of 15.55 to proceed 
against him. Athole marched immediately at the 
head of a large force, composed, it appears, entirely 
of Lowlanders, but wdien he arrived at Abertartf the 
same difficulties that thwarted the progress of 
Huntly in the previous year presented themselves. 
In the face of these difficulties, and believing any 
attemjjt to reduce him by force would fail, tlie Earl 
resolved to open up friendly negotiations with the 
rebel chief Having informed the Queen of liis 
resolution. Her Majesty dispatched a messenger 
with " cloiss vvrittings" to the Earl and John of 
Moidart, the purport of wliich appears to have been 
approval of Athole's suggestions.^ The letter to 
Joliii liinisfir nmst have b(^pn consideretl l)v that 

' IHirh Trea.surer'.-5 Account. 


Chief as a guarantee of Her Majesty's good faith, 
coiitaiuiiig, as it no doubt did, assurances of forgive- 
ness and protection. The Chief, agreeing to the 
terms offered by the Earl, and being satisfied with 
the assurances given, agreed to accompany A thole, 
with his two sons and several of his kinsmen, to the 
Queen's presence at Perth. The Queen was 
graciously pleased to receive the Chief with great 
kindness and affability. But while she readily 
pardoned him for his past treasonable proceedings, 
now that she had him in her power she was 
unwilling, even at the risk of violating her pledge, 
to set so dangerous a rebel at liberty. The Chief 
accordingly, with his two sons and kinsmen, were 
oi-dered to be kept in ward, some in the town of 
Perth, and others in the Castle of Methven, duiing 
Her Majesty's pleasure. The conduct of the Queen 
in thus breaking faith with the Chief is deserving 
of the severest censure, as it certainly justifies the 
conduct of the Chief in breaking ward, as he did, 
whenever the opportunity came. Besides being 
conduct unworthy of a queen, it was foolish and 
short-sighted policy. After a short period of con- 
finement, John of Moidart and his companions by 
some means eftected their escape, shook the dust of 
Perthshire ofi' their feet, and retiniied home to be, if 
possible, greater rebels than ever. The Queen 
vowed the direst vengeance on the devoted head of 
the Rebel of Castletirrim, but the imperturbable 
John, who was not in the least dismayed by her 
threats, awaited with philosophic calmness the pro- 
gress of events. Mary appears to have taken time ^ 
to mature her plans, for it was not till tlie following 
year, in the month of Julv, that she came north to 


Inverness, when she was accompanied by a formidable 
train of Privy (Councillors. Overawed by the 
presence of Queen and Council, many of the rebel 
chiefs hastened to give in their submission, but 
John of Moidart, " once bitten twice shy," sullenly 
stood aloof 

The Queen was greatly enraged at the continued 
obstinacy of John Moidartach, but she could hardly 
have expected the learly submission of a chief she 
had treated so harshly, and with whom she had so 
flagrantly broken hn- plighted faith. Force having 
already so often failed, it was equally vain to try 
diplomacy, nor did the repeated declarations of 
treason against him, and the contiscation of his 
patrimony, affect the position of the triumjjhant 
chief So long as the Clanranald remained loyal to 
him, he had nothing to fear. The tide of charters 
which still continued to flow, and by which he was 
to have been overwhelmed, only intensified the 
loyalty of his followers. And charters were now 
the only weapons left to the Government wherewith 
to punish the rebel chief In 1558 some of his lands 
in South. Uist were included in a charter to James 
Macdonald of Dunnyveg.^ By an agreement dated 
at Glasgow in July, 1563, other lands in South Uist 
were sold by Farquhar MacAlister to James Mac- 
donald of Dunnyveg for 1000 merks Scots." This 
transaction was immediately thereafter confirmed by 
a charter to Archibald, son and heir of James 
Macdonald, from Queen Mary.'^ About the same 
time, the lands of Moidart, Arisaig, and Eigg 
were granted by the Queen to Allan, the 
son of Ranald Gallda.' In tliis way the lands of 

' i;,(- .,1' (ileal S.-al. - l;..,,k,- ,,[ A.lj.mi iial. 

•• Reg. oi- I'livy Seal, ■• Ibidem. 


John of Moidart were disposed of by the Govern- 
ineiit. It was tlie great era of land-grabbing, but 
no greedy robber baron of the Lowlands laying his 
raj)acioiis hands on the lands of the Church held 
them with a firmer grip than did John of Moidart 
the patrimony of the Clanranald, in spite of sheep- 

The upheaval caused by the Reformation struggle 
was not without its effect on the Highlands, As a 
religious movement indeed it may be said to have 
been almost entirely confined to the Lowlands, but 
the keenness of the controversy had the effect of 
diverting for a time the attention of those in 
authority from the state of the Celtic population. 
Very few of the Chiefs affected to accept the new 
doctrines, and none clung more tenaciously to the 
old than John of Moidart and the whole body of the 
Clanranald. From the well-known attachment of 
the young Queen to the old religion, it may be 
presumed that she was not disposed to harass 
unduly so strong a supporter of the old order of 
things as the Moidart Chief The exact relations 
between him and the governing power are not now 
easily defined. They appear not to have been 
friendly on either side, though perhaps less strained 
than they were during the regime of the late 
Queen. The precept of remission In his favour In 
March, 1566, for his not joining the royal army 
convened at Fala Muir In 1557, Is an indication 
of a change of attitude on the part of the Govern- 
ment.^ This instrument of remission is evidence, 
besides, of the unity of the different branches of 
the Clanranald under their Chief, containing as 

^ Reg. of Privy Seal. 


it does the names of Allan of Movar, the son 
of the deposed Gliief, Angus of Knoydart, and 
Angus of Glengarry. The sending of " ane hoy 
with cloiss writtingis" to John in May of the same 
year may certainly he construed in more ways than 
one.^ The probahility is that the " hoy" came on a 
friendly errand, and that the "cloiss writtingis" 
contained friendly proposals on the part of the 
Queen. However this may be, it is certain that 
John Moidartach continued in the same attitude of 
dogged resistance, and that in the following year 
one of the most serious questions that agitated those 
in authority was " he quhat meane may all Scotland 
be brocht to universal obedience and how may Johne 
Moydart and McKy be dantonit."'' What acts of 
atrocity the Chief of Moidart had recently perpre- 
trated to have earned for him the pre-eminent 
distinction of being second to " all Scotland" in 
manifesting the spirit that worketh in the children 
of disobedience, history does not record. It is 
indeed most remarkable that from the death of the 
Queen Dowager in 1560 to the end of his life, there 
should be only one or two meagre notices of him in 
the public records. Though the peace of the Isles 
was seriously disturbed during that period by 
internal dissensions arising out of incessant feuds 
between neighbouring chiefs, we do not find that 
John Moidartach was involved in any of these. He 
seems to have confined his attention more to the 
defence of his mainland territory, and to have been 
busily engaged keeping at bay the Grants, the 
Mackenzies, and the Clan Chattan. That he was 
an utter terror to these clans is evident from their 
repeated appeals for Government help, and the 

^ High Treasurer's Account, - Acts of Pari, Vol. iii. p. 44, 


many bonds of mutual defence into which they 
entered against the Clanranald. In a summons in 
name of the boy Kmg James, dated March 1st, 
1567, the Clan Chattan and Clan Mackenzie are 
charged to assist John Grant of Freuchie against 
" divers wikkit personis" of the Clanranald.^ In a 
bond dated July 27th, 1570, Colin Mackenzie, 
apparent of Kintail, binds himself "be the fayth 
and trewth" of his body to "assist, fortifie, manteine 
and defend" John Grant of Freuchie against the 
Clanranald.^ These and similar entries in the public 
records testify to tlie sense of insecurity which John 
of Moidart had inspired in the breasts of his neigh- 
bours, and the feeling of awe with which he was 
regarded by them. 

Little now remains to be told of the history of 
the illustrious Chief of Clanranald. He seems to 
have retired from the active duties of his chiefship 
at this period, for we hear no more of him in the 
public records of his time. His character has 
already passed under review. We have seen him 
to have been a man endowed with qualities which 
entitle him to rank beside the greatest and best 
of the Chiefs of Clan Cholla. In all the distinguish- 
ing characteristics of a truly great man, he comes 
behind none of these. The outstanding features 
of his character were boldness in conflict, energy 
ni the prosecution of any enterprise in which he 
might be engaged, and fertility of resource under 
ditiiculties almost insurmountable, whether in field 
or council. Single handed he defied all the resources 
of the Scottish Government, and for more than fifty 
years held his lands by no other title than that 
which his own strong right hand and the devotion 

' Chiefs of Grant. - Ibidem. 


of his followers had given him. The idea ^hich 
tradition has preserved to us ol' his figure is that 
of ''a man of great stature, in a frame well knitted 
togetlier, powerful, and equal to any amount of 
exertion." The Seanachie of his family has recorded 
of liim that "he spent the end of his life godly and 
mercifully ; " that he erected a church at Kilmarie, 
in Arisaig, and another at Kildonan, in Eigg ; and 
that he left funds to erect a chapel at Howmore, 
in Uist, where his body was buried in the year 
1584. Well might it be said of him, as of another 
Macdonald Chief — 

" Bu tu mac-samhuilt Wallace 
Jju tu Cathmor treun fo 'arm ; 
Bu tu Fionn air cheanu ua Feinne, 
Bu tu'n t-Oscar creuchdach, garg ; 
Bu tu Cuchullainn anns a bhaiteal, 
Bu tu Goll le' ghaisg thar chach ; 
Bu tu Cleabhars m6r a' chruadail, 
A chraobh-choso:air blnadhach aidh." 






(From H. Laino's Sujypletnental Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient Scottish Seah, Xo. CTG). 

Allan Maclaiii siicceeds.^ — Feud with Dun vegan. — His mai-riages. — 
Massacre in cave of Eigg. — Allan's sons. — Murder of Allan 
Og.— Death and character of Allan Maclain. —Angus Mac- 
Allan succeeds. — Battle of Anihuinn Roag and death of 
Angus. — Donald MacAllan succeeds. — F'eud with Duai't. — 
Captivity and release. — Invasion of Kintail. — Defeat of 
MacNeill of Barra. — Submission to Privy Council. — Act of 
Supersedere. — Takes out titles, — Descendants of Ranald 
Gallda become troublesome. — -Piracy by MacNeills of Barra. — 
Harbours Macleods of Lewis. — Action of the Ranald Gallda 
family ceases. — Stringent action by Privy Council. — Bond 
with Glengarry. — Bond with Macleod, Mackinnon, and 
Maclean of Coll. — Death and character. — John Moydartach 
succeeds. — Dispute with Sleat. — John's tenure. — Bond with 
Gleugarry. — Fishings of Seall. — The " Susannah " episode. — 
Spulzie of Minister of S. Uist. — Clanranald joins Montrose 
with 800 men. — Invasion of Argyll and flight of grim 
Archibald. — Battles of Inverlochy and Kilsyth. — Young 
Clanranald in Ireland. — His return. — Death of John Moy- 
dartach and Donald's succession. — Burgess of Londonderry. — 
Death and character. — Allan succeeds. — Killiecrankie. — 



Career in France. — Marriage, return, and life in Uist. — 
Battle of SherifFmuir and death of Allan. — Ranald succeeds 
to Cliiefsliip. — Retires to France. — Forfeiture and restoration 
of estates. — Donald of Benbecula succeeds. — History of 
Benbecula family. — Death of Donald. — Succession of Ranald. 
— Tack to Boisdale. — Period (*f 1745. — Young Ranald. — 
Flora Macdonald. — Forfeiture and restoration of estates. — 
Death of Captain Donald of Clanranald at Quebec. — Death 
of old Clani'anald. — Succession of Ranald the younger. — 
Quiet annals. — Death of Ranald the younger. — Succession of 
John Moydartach. — ^lodern family of Clanranald. 

When John Moydartach died, in 1584, he was 
succeeded as Chief, or Captain, of Clanranald by his 
son, Allan. Owing to his father's long life and 
towering personality, Allan's political stature seems, 
to our view of the history of that age, somewhat 
dwarfed in comparison. Allan, however, played a 
not inconsiderable part in his own time, though we 
cannot always contemplate his conduct in a spirit of 
unqualified admiration. He was certaiidy a brave 
warrior, and strenuously supported his father on the 
blood-stained field of Leine, where so many valiant 
warriors bit the dust. In 1548 Allan received a 
remission from the Regent for the slaughter of Lord 
Lovat on that day, so disastrous to Mac Shimidh 
and his clan.^ On 21st May, 15G5, Allan and his 
two brothers received a remission for what, on prima 
facie evidence, appears a much darker and less justi- 
fiable deed. We have seen how Farquhar Mac- 
Allister, the brother of John of Moydart, sought to 
convey a considerable portion of the lands he held 
in South Uist to James Macdonald of Dunnyveg, 
thus alienating them from those who were con- 
sidered by the Clanranald to be the ruling family of 
the tribe. Although the transaction passed the 

' Frivy Seal, vol. XXII., fo. 27. 


Privy Seal, it is doubtful whether actual infeftment 
ever took place ; but the possibility of such a dis- 
position by Farquhar MacAUister, who seems to 
have left no lawful issue, indicates the existence 
of unfriendly relations between himself and his 
brother's family. These facts explain, if they do' 
not condone, Farquhar's violent death, in 1564, at 
the hands of Allan, Angus, and Donald Gorme, the 
sons of John Moydartach, and for which they 
received a remission on 21st May, 1565.^ 

Beyond the references already cited, we can 
gather little or nothing from the national archives 
bearing upon the life of Allan Maclain ; and it is 
only by collating the various traditional testimonies 
that we can give our readers some idea of the Clan- 
ranald history of his day and generation. Allan 
must have been a man considerably advanced in life 
at the time of his father's death, in 1584, having 
survived Blar Leine by forty years, and in order to 
perceive adequately the trend of events during his 
own and his successor's time, we must glance at 
certain circumstances which deeply coloured their 
history, and which appear to have originated during 
the period of John Moydartach. It was evidently 
during the sway of that great Chief that the feud 
commenced between the Macleods of Dunvegan and 
the Macdonalds of Clanranald, which continued to 
rage during the time of his successor, and, according 
to the combined verdict of history and tradition, 
caused much bloodshed in the Isles. There seems 
no reason to doubt that this feud was caused by an 
episode in the domestic life of Allan of Moidart, to 
which reference must now be made. Early in the 
second half of the sixteenth century, Allan, who was 

1 Privy Seal, vol. XXXIIL, f, 44. 


then younger of Clanranald, espoused the daughter 
of Alastair Crotacli Macleod of tliat Ilk, that lady 
being at the time the widow of " John Oge Mac- 
Donil Gruamach," second of the family of Kings- 
burgh.^ By this marriage Allan had one son, Allan 
Og, but the course of matrimony, like that of true 
love, does not always run smooth, and so, unfor- 
tunately, it turned out in the case of Allan of Clan- 
ranald. We do not know how long the domestic 
sky remained unclouded. One fine day Allan 
unfurled the sails of his birlinn to a favouring 
breeze, and, accompanied by his wife, went on a 
visit to the Castle of Duart, in Mull, where the 
Chief of the Macleans held sway. Hector Mor 
Maclean, Lord of Duarfc and IVlorvern, had a family 
of seven daughters, and vvith the fifth of these, 
whose name was Jennette, Allan became deeply 
enamoured during his visit in Mull. Forgetful of 
the sacredness of the marriage vow, which in those 
bygone times was sometimes lightly entered into 
and as often easily broken, owing to the still pre- 
valent system of handfasting, young Clanranald 
scrupled not to yield to the lady's charms, and, 
embracing a favourable opportunity, he flies with 
his inamorata on board the galley, and, leaving his 
lawful wife behind in Duart Castle, makes the best 
of his way home to Castle Tirrim." The family 
historian is very reticent and laconic in this connec- 
tion, for he says quite truly, but without giving 
much information, " Allan had a good family, viz., 
Allan Og, and the daughter of Macleod of Harris 
was his mother ; he was his first son. After her he 
took unto him the daughter of Maclean of Duart, 

' Dunvegan Charter Chest. 
\ - Stuart Papers, No. CCXXXIV. 


&c."^ Allan's wife, so cruelly forsaken, was not long 
left unconsolecl. Ranald MacDonald of Keppoch 
met the fair victim of conjugal infidelity, and pitied 
her in the unfortunate position in which the faith- 
less Allan had left her. But pity, which we know 
to be akin to love, soon, in the case of the Chief of 
Keppoch, ripened into the warmer sentiment, and 
the discarded lady of Castle Tirrim shortly became 
his wife, after the free and easy fashion of the time/'' 
The domestic irregularities of Allan Maclain — 
grave eccentricities to modern eyes, but common- 
place enough 300 years ago — were undoubtedly the 
cause of all the bad blood between the Clanranalds 
and the Macleods during the remainder of the 
sixteenth century. Allan's conduct was rightly 
regarded as a serious insult to a proud and powerful 
house, and we may be perfectly sure that oppor- 
tunities of vengeance would not be overlooked. The 
massacre of the MacDonalds in the cave of Eigg, 
which strangely enough escaped all notice in con- 
temporary records, but was for ages amply authen- 
ticated by a ghastly accumulation of bones, was the 
most terrible of the many scenes in the long and 
sanguinary vendetta which arose from Allan's treat- 
ment of his wife, and darkens the latter years of the 
sixteenth century in the Macleod and Clanranald 
countries. There is probably a large measure of 
truth in the received version of the causes immedi- 
ately leading to this fearful outrage. Certain Mac- 
leods, chancing to land on the island, are said to 
have been rude to the maidens of Eigg, and, as a 
punishment for their offence, were bound hand and 
foot and set adrift in a boat, at the mercy of the 

^ Reliquiae Celticse, vol. II., p. 173. 
- Stuart Papers, No. CCXXXIV. 


wind and waves. This was very grievous to the 
Macleods, but such a thing could hardly have 
occurred, or been followed by such tragic conse- 
quences, save for the hostility between the heads of 
both clans. By some wonderful luck, the boat, with 
its helpless crew, escaped being engul^^hed by that 
stormy sea, and having drifted towards a friendly 
shore, its occupants were rescued by a party of their 
own clansmen. Having told their tale to the Macleod 
Chief, that wrathful potentate, pleased, no doubt, 
at having an excuse to make a descent upon the 
Clanranald country, manned his galleys and sailed 
for Eigg. The people of this island, with Angus, 
son of John Moydartach, who seems to have resided 
there, at their head, went with their wives and 
children, to the number of from 200 to 300, and 
took refuge in a cave, being evidently unprepared 
to resist so formidable an invasion. Here they 
remained for two whole days, and were it not 
for their natural impatience, the retreat would 
possibly have been undiscovered. A scout having 
been sent out to see if the foe had departed, 
was discovered, and theii- place of hiding ] 
detected. The mouth of the cave was partly con- 
cealed by a waterfall. The Macleods diveited it ] 
from its course, and having set fire to a heap of j 
wood piled around the entrance to the cave, every 
soul within was snffocated. The massacre took | 
place in the year 1577.^ About three years after 
the massacre of Eigg, the Clanranald are said to 
have invaded Skye to wreak vengeance upon the 
perpetrators of the deed, and tradition speaks of ' 

■ "Tlie Description of the Isle.s of Scotland," in Appendix to vol HI., 
Skene's Celtic Scotland, p. 1:53 ; Skene's Highlanders, H. p. 277 ; New j 

Statistical Account. 1 


Blar milleadh garaidh and other skirmishes, in 
which, on the authority of the Macleod Seanachies, 
the Macdonalds were of course completely worsted. 
We refer to these traditionary tales because, despite 
the silence of the public records, the feud between 
the Clanranald and the Macleods left a profound 
impression upon the minds of the people of Skye. 

Meanwhile the years have been gliding swiftly 
by, and Allan Maclain and his consort in Castle 
Tirrim have w^itnessed a number of vigorous olive 
branches sprouting from the parent stem and grow- 
ing up around them; The chapter of accidents has 
deprived them of one son. We have it, on the 
authority of MacVurich, that John of Strome, the 
oldest son by Maclean of Duart's daughter — so called 
because he was fostered with the Laird of Strome 
and Glengarry — was accidentally killed by his own 
servant-man with a stone while they were at play 
shooting with a sling. ^ If fate has been thus unkind, 
there is a dark whisper that has floated down on 
the voice of tradition to the eftect that if accident 
deprived Allan of one son, conspiracy and murder 
robbed him of another. The truth of this tradition 
is unfortunately verified by contemporary records. 

Allan Maclain \vas M^ont, along with his wife and 
family, to spend part of the summer at a place 
called Keppoch, in Arisaig, only a few hours' sail 
from Castle Tirrim. Near Keppoch the sea forms 
the lake called Lochnakeaul, the rocks on whose 
shores are much frequented by seals. Allan's sons, 
including Allan Ug, the son of Macleod's daughter, 
and the heir to the Chiefship and estates, used to 
divert themselves shooting these denizens of the 
deep as they basked in the rays of the summer sun. 

^ Reliqui® Celticse, vol. II., p. 173. 


The Chief of Claiiranald was by this time an old 
man, and the active management of family affairs 
had 23i"ohably passed out of his hands. His wife, 
however, judging from her not unwilling elopement 
with Allan in earlier days, we can believe to have 
been both strong-minded and unscrupulous. She 
knew that if Allan Og lived, her own progeny would 
occupy a secondary ])lace, and she consequently 
hated him with more than a stepmother's aversion. 
She succeeded in inspiring het own sons with hatred 
no less strong. One day as they were engaged at 
their favourite sport, while Allan Og was taking 
aim at a seal, the brothers simultaneously fired at 
him, the arrows flew with unerring precision, and 
two, if not three, quivered in the dying heir of 
Castle Tirrim.^ Comment upon such an act is 
unnecessary, further than to say that it is a foul 
blot upon the domestic annals of (Jlanranald, even 
in that rude age. 

Shortly after the death of Allan Og steps were 
taken to punish, not only those who were actually 
guilty of the deed, but also the old Chief himself, 
who, as head of the family, was feudally responsible 
for their conduct. Our readers will remember that 
Allan's rejected wife became the wife of Ranald 
of Keppoch, so that Alexander Macdonald of 
Keppoch was uterine brother to the late Allan Og. 
It was evidently at his instance that the machinery 
of the law was put in motion against the Clan- 
ranalds, and if any doubt should exist as to the 
relationshij) in question, it should be dispelled by 
the following extract from the Records of the Privy 
Seal : — " To John McRanald, son and apparand aire 
to Allan Mcllanald of Easter Leys, his aris and 

^ Stuart I'iipers, No. CXXXIV. 


assignees, ane or maa, of the gift of the escheit, &c., 
quhilk pertiiiet to Allaiie McAne Muydart and 
Angus McAllane, his son in Muydart, &c. Thro 
being of the saids personis ordaurKe denouncit 
rebelHs, and put to the horn for the slauchter of 
Allane Og McAllane McAne, broder to Alexander 
McRanald of Kippoch, and not underlying the law," 
&c. This decree passed the l^riv}^ Seal in 1588. 

It thus ajDpears that Allane Maclain and his heir 
Angus, the oldest son of Maclean's daughter, were 
declared rebels and forfeited, while their estates, at 
anyrate on parchment, were bestowed upon the 
family of Ranald Gallda, who still, no doubt, con- 
tinued to regard themselves as the true heads of the 
House of Clanranald. Allan had taken out no titles 
to his possessions prior to the death of Allan Og, and 
as the decree of forfeiture continued operative during 
the remainder of his life, he died without being 
served heir to his father. According to McVurich, 
liis death took place in 1590, but the Seanachies' 
dates are not always unimpeachable, though always 
approximately correct. We learn from the General 
Retour of the service of John McRanald as heir to 
his grandfather that Allan Maclain died in 1593. 
Certain features of Allan's character have been 
immortalised by the Clanranald historian. He leads 
us to understand that he was pious after the fashion 
of his ancestor the Good John of Isla, inasmuch as 
he was a great patron of the Chiu'ch ; and in proof 
of this, he instances the erection of a chapel at 
Kildonan in Eigg, and the completion of another at 
Howmore which had been commenced by his father. 
The family historian passes a high eulogium upon 
this Chief as having been a " generous, open-hearted, 
hospitable man, and . as affable, sensible, and 


desirous to maintain and establish a good name." 
Like other great men of the past, Allan sometimes 
indulged in large potations, but according to 
McVurich, he always insisted on fulfilling the 
promises of his inebriety after the fumes of the 
wine cup had passed away. The adage tnno Veritas 
had thus a special meaning in the case of the 
Clanranald Chief, and there was no appeal allowed 
from Allan drunk to Allan sober, though the con- 
sequences might sometimes be inconvenient.^ 

Allan was succeeded in the Chiefship and posses- 
sions of the Clanranald by his oldest surviving son, 
Angus. The earliest reference to this (^hief is in 
1587, when, along with his father and other Chiefs 
and Captains of Clans, he is brought under the 
notice of the Privy Council, and is ordered, person- 
ally or at his dwelling-place, to maintain hiniself in 
peace and quietness,^ 

In 1588 we find traces of an active feud, which 
afterwards increased in intensity, between Angus 
Mac Allan and the descendants of Ranald Gallda, 
one of whom, Angus MacAUan MacRanald, receives 
in after years a remission for the slaughter of some 
of the retainers of the young Chief of Castle Tirrim.^ 
On 5th May, 1591, we find Angus signing a Bond 
of Manrent to Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy, 
at Ferloquhane, against all and sundry, excepting 
only the authority and Angus MacConill, Sir 
Duncan Campbell, at the same time, gives Angus a 
Bond of Protection against all persons, the authority 
and the Earl of Argyll excepted.^ Reference has 
already been made to the forfeiture of the estates ol 
Angus, and of Allan his father, consequent upon 

' Reliquiie Celticio, vol. 11., \k 173. - lleg. P.C, od tcmpus. 
^ Privy Seal, ad tenipus. * Black Book of Taymouth, No. 115. 


the slaughter of Allan Og. Indeed, all the informa- 
tion we gather from the records regarding Angus 
MacAllan relate to a period before his father's death, 
when, owing to the latter's advanced age, he was 
the active leader of the clan. 

The records of the age contain no reference to 
Angus MacAllan during his occupancy of the Chief- 
ship, and there is every reason to believe that 
his career as head of the clan after his father's death 
was exceedingly brief. The testimony of McVurich 
as to the circumstances of Angus's death there are 
strong grounds for disputing, though, in ordinary cir- 
cumstances, to question McVurich history is a some- 
what grave proceeding. We are told by this authority 
that A.ngus was put to death by Angus, the son of 
James, when he was a prisoner with him at Dunny- 
veg, but this statement is entirely lacking both in 
probabilit}^ and in historical confirmation. Angus 
of Dunnyveg was at deadly feud with the chief of 
Duart, and had little reason to raise up new and 
powerful enemies by slaying the chief of a kindred 
and friendly clan, and it is hardly conceivable that 
such a deed, had it been committed, should have 
failed to rouse the enmity of the Clanranald or have 
so entirely escaped notice from the chronicles and 
records of the age.^ On the other hand, the 
traditions of South Uist point clearly and circum- 
stantially to the manner in which the Chief of 
Clanranald appears to have met his end. The event 
could hardly have taken place later than 1594, and 
it happened in connection with tlie long-standing 
feud with the Macleods of Dunvegan, which still 

> Angus MacRanald, the head of the Clan Domhuuill Herraich. was burnt 
in the conflagration of a house in Isla, where he was the prisoner of Angus of 
Dunnyveg. This Angus MacRanald had joined Maclean of Duart. Can 
MacVurich be confounding the two ? 


remained unhealed. The slaughter of Macleod's 
kinsman, Allan Og, some half-dozen years before, 
would no doubt have sharply aggravated the feud 
and intensified Macleod's animosity to the young 
Chief of Clanraiiald. At this time Angus MacAllan, 
and his brother Donald Gorme, afterwards Sir 
Donald of ( 'astle Tirrim, were living in South Uist, 
when one day word came to them through some 
friendly channel that the Macleods of Skye, in a 
fleet of six boats, with a score of men in each, 
numbering 120 men altogetlier, had landed at the 
Acarsaid fhalaich , or hidden anchorage, on the east 
side of South Uist, and intended taking away with 
them a large spoil of cattle. Clanranakl, whose 
Uist residence was at Ormiclate, at once took 
precautionary measures. Two divisions were made 
of the cattle belonging to the Oliief, the milch cattle 
being sent to the south end of the island, and the 
yell beasts to tlie east side, where they were penned 
in a hiding place well known as Buaille Ghaill, or 
the fold of the stranger or Lowlander. DonaJd 
Gorme MacAllan, the Chief's brother, was seat with 
twenty picked men to keep watch over the cattle, 
and with instructions to remain in siglit of the 
Clanraiiald army, which was engaged in joreparing 
for the expected battle. These preparations chiefly 
consisted of an entrenchment, which was thrown up 
at the base of a hill called Hiirsal, so as to give tlie 
Macleods as warm a reception as possible on their 
coming to the attack. Traces of the entrenchment 
are still to be seen. 

Early in the moining of the day of the Macleods 
landing in Uist, they sent a messenger to spy the 
land and watch the movements of the Macdonalds. 
The scout on his return reported that the Mac- 


donalds had encamped at the base of Harsal, where- 
upon the Macleods changed the route they were 
taking to the Chief's residence in Ormiclate. This 
alteration in their route was evidently made to 
enable them to keep out of sioht of the Macdonalds 
for a time, with the view, if possible, of taking them 
by surprise. However, the two armies were soon in 
sight of one another, and it is said that when the 
Macleods came near, the leader of the host put off 
his coat of mail, and threw it upon a knoll which, 
from the circumstance, is still called Maol net Uiirich. 
The Macdonalds encamped in the bend of the river, 
Amhainn Roag, from which the battle derives its 
name. This did them no good, as the enemy came 
from an unexpected quarter, and they found them- 
selves hemmed in in a small space. By all accounts 
it was one of the fiercest and most bloody Clan 
battles ever fought in the islands. The gi-eatest 
slaughter was committed by a party of the Mac- 
donalds, who were late )n arriving on the scene of 
action, and took the opportunity of attacking the 
enemy in the rear, thus changing the fortunes of the 
day. The Macdonald Chief fell in this wise. The 
two leaders met man to man on tlie brink of the 
river which gave name to the battle, and Clan- 
ranald's foot having slipped, he fell into the river, 
while Macleod, taking an undue advantage of the 
situation, decapitated and thus killed" him on the 
spot. The Macdonalds of South Uist always had a 
grudge against the Macleods of Skye for the unfair 
advantage taken by their leader of Macdonald's 
untoward and fatal accident. Donald Gorme was 
also blamed for not having gone with his contingent 
of 20 men to aid his brother in his time of need. 
Men shook their heads and looked wise when they 


stated that Donald himself succeeded to his brother's 
property and position. Among the incidents of the 
encounter was Ranald Mor Macleod having^ chased 
three Macdonalds, and killed them one by one, 
reminding us of a similar feat in classic times, viz., 
the story of the Curiatii and Horatii. On his way 
back to his own party, Raonull Mor came upon two 
Macleods dying from loss of blood. He sent some 
of his men to bury them, and the place is still 
named Glaic nam fear lota — the hollow of the 
wounded men. The loss on the Macdonald side was 
great, but the Macleod casualties enormous in pro- 
portion to their numbers, for only 40 out of the 120 
returned alive to Skye. Instead of a big creach, 
they only got one cow, which they killed and cooked 
ere their departure. There is a cairn called Carn 
Dhomhnuill Ghuirm, which points out the scene of 
an irregular and bloody action, and where Donald is 
said to have sat watching the fight when he should 
have come to his brother's aid.^ 

Whether Angus McAllan, the Chief of Clan- 
ranald, who fell at the battle of Amhuinn Roag, left 
heirs male of his body is a question we cannot now 
discuss, but however this may be, he was succeeded 
in the chiefship and estates by his brother, after- 
wards Sir Donald of Castle Tirrim. There was also 
a younger brother, Ranald, the founder of the 
Benbecula family, and the possessor of a considerable 
share of the Clanranald inheritance. Another of the 
same family was John the first of Kinlochmoydart, 
while a third brother, also named John, took holy 
orders, and became parson of Island Finnan. This 
latter fact appears corroborative of the tradition 

' The tradititm of South Uist, as reported by Farquluir Beaton, >liepherd 
at Drimsdale. 


that at the beginning of the seventeenth century 
the Clanranald family espoused the dominant religion, 
and adhered to it for three generations. 

Shortly after Donald MacAllan's accession to the 
Chiefship of Clanranald, he married Mary, daughter 
of Angus Macdonald of Dunnyveg, and very soon 
espoused with great zeal and energy that Chief's 
quarrel with Sir Lauchlan Mor Maclean of Duart. 
He was the less reluctant to engage in this feud, 
inasmuch as Sir Lauchlan had some years before, at 
the head of his own clan and 100 mercenaries, 
the remnant of the Spanish Armada, ravaged and 
plundered the Isles of Rum and Eigg. Acting in 
co-operation with his father-in-law, Angus Mac- 
donald of Dunnyveg, Donald MacAllan invaded 
the islands of Coll, Mull, and Tiree, and having 
ravaged and laid waste these regions, he returned 
to Castle Tirrim, his galleys laden with spoiL^ Sir 
Lauchlan took no immediate reprisals, but waited 
for a fitting opportunity. In the summer of 1595 
Donald Gorme of Sleat and Macleod of Harris, at 
the head of 500 clansmen respectively, resolved to 
sail for Ireland to aid Hugh Roe O'Neill in his 
resistance to the sovereignty of Elizabeth. Clan- 
ranald decided to join the confederacy, and embarked 
at the head of his vassals to the number of 900 men. 
But he was not destined to gather laurels on fields 
of Irish warfare. As the fleet was passing through 
the Sound of Mull darkness fell, and the Chief and 
his followers disembarked on a small island named 
Calve, in the neighbourhood of Tobermory, where 
they intended to pass the night. They walked into 
the mouth of the lion. The movements of so 
large a fleet could not remain unobserved, and Sir 

> 1 Appendix to the Book of 1819, No. XXV., p. 22. 


Laiichlan made the best of the situation. He bad 
foug'bt for EHzabetb in Ireland in 1591, and was 
still ber ally; nor Avas be reluctant now to serve 
ber turn, wbile lie could also discbarge bis own 
arrears of vengeance. It must have been a clever 
stratagem by which so large a force was captured, 
well deserving of being styled " a bauld stratagem 
and prettie feit of weir." Amongst the prisoners 
were Olanranald's three uncles, viz., Donald Gorme 
and other two sons of John Moydartach, also the 
Laird of Knoydart and Maclan of Ardnamurchan, 
and last, but not least, Donald MacAllan bimseHV 

There is no record of the lengtli of Donald 
Mac Allan's captivity in Mull, but the absence of 
information suggests that it was brief We gather 
from certain negotiations conducted by Sir Lauchlan 
in 1598, with the view of forming a league of the 
Western Clans for the service of Elizabeth, that more 
kindly relations bad sprung up between nephew and 
uncle; that Clanranald must, in fact, have become 
reconciled to the diplomatist of Duart." In 1601 
the Chief of Clanranald is found taking sides with 
Donald MacAngus of Glengarry in his long-standiiig 
quarrel with Mackenzie of Kintail.^ That year he 
invaded Kintail, spoiled and laid it waste ; but it 
does not appear that his efforts in Glengarry's aid 
were lengthened or sustained. During his absence 
in Mackenzie's country, trouble was brewing in the 
south end of his Long Island territory. To the 
possession of certain lands in the Boisdale district 
of South Uist MacNeill of Barra could lay claim 
with no mean historical justification. Alexander, 

>-^ ' Letter of Auchiiieross in State I'ai-crs of tlie [leiiod. 

- Letter of Sir L. Maclean to Queen Elizabetli. 
=* Appendix to the Book of 1819, No. XXV., p. 22, 


Earl of Ross, had in 1427 bestowed upon Gilleownan 
Roderick Murdoch Makneill, his foster son and 
attendant, and to his legitimate heirs male, not 
only the island of Barra, but also the unciate lands 
of Boisdale, and this charter, after the downfall of 
the Island lordship, was confirmed by James V. at 
Stirling on r2th November, 1495, It does not 
appear that any one else had during the sixteenth 
century been infefted in these lands, yet the Clan- 
rauald family seem to have recognised no land 
ownership in South Uist save their own, and to 
have acknowledged no boundaries but those of the 
"inviolate sea." Be the reason of the quarrel what 
it may, Donald, on his arrival in Uist, immediately 
marched southward with his fighting men, attacked 
MacNeill at North Boisdale, drove him from the 
island with much slaughter, compelled him to take 
refuge in one of the remoter islands of the Barra 
group, where he was at last slain. This was 
apparently the last stand made by the MacNeills of 
Barra for vindicating their ancient rights to the 
unciate lands of Boisdale.^ 

The Captain of Clanranald does not again come 
under our notice till 1605, when he appears in con- 
nection with the desperate fortunes of the devoted 
Siol Torquil of Lewis. Mackenzie of Kintail had 
been secretly encouraging the Macleods in their 
opposition to the designs of certain Lowland adven- 
turers who had received a grant of the Island with 
the view of creating a social millennium ; and in 
1605 the natives, under the leadership of Neill 
Macleod, had driven the colonists out of the Island. 
In this successful effort the Macleods had received 
material help from Clanranald, and on 16th Sep- 

1 Appendix to the Book of 1819, No. XXV., p. 22. 



. tember of the following year a commission was 
given to Mackenzie of Kintail to act for the King 
against Donald MacAllan and MacNeill of Barra 
for having contributed to incite such an insurrection 
against the forces of law and order. ^ 

The various disturbances that kept the islands in 
a ferment during the early years of the seventeenth 
century moved the Government to the adoption of 
measures for repressing the lawlessness of the clans. 
The Scottish Solomon had for some years been 
removed to the more exalted station of being 
■ Monarch of Great Britain and Ireland, and being no 
jlonger the impecunious King of a poor country, he 
ihad less motive for a policy which depended largely 
\for an income upon the fines of political delinquents. 
The Government really began to grapple with the 
problem of the Isles, and during 1608 and 1609 
measures were devised, largely through the agency 
of Andrew Knox, Bishop of the Isles, which were 
destined to have a lasting effect upon the future 
history of the Highlands. In August, 1608, exten- 
sive preparations were completed for interviewing 
the Island Chiefs, and bringing them more definitely 
under the authority of the Crown. In the course 
of this month. Lord Ochiltree, according to a Pro- 
clamation previously made by him as the King's 
Lieutenant, held a Court at Aros, in Mull, attended 
by the principal Chieftains of the Isles, and by the 
Captains of Clanranald among others. During the 
meeting, we are told that the Lieutenant treated 
them to "fair words and good promises," but it does 
not appear that the Island Chiefs were willing to 
accede to the proposals made to them in the King's 
name. And now there was enacted a piece of 

' Keg. I'.C, vol. VIII., i>. 255. 


deliberate treachery, which greatly detracts from 
the enlightened policy of the period, and illustrates 
the mixture of wisdom and meanness which charac- 
terized the Royal mind. The Chiefs were Invited 
on board the King's ship, the " Moon," where they 
Avere to be regaled both with spiritual and material 
fare. All, with the exception of old Angus of 
Dunnyveg, who was allowed to depart with a 
solemn warning, and Rory Macleod, who suspected 
foul play, accepted of the invitation. The result 
was that they found themselves prisoners in the 
King's name, and Donald MacAllan was soon, very 
much to his own astonishment, contemplating the 
interior of Blackness Castle.^ 

The captivity of the Clanranald Chief continued 
from August, 1608, to June, 1609. He was one of 
those who, in November, 1608, submitted a petition 
containing certain offers to the King and Council. 
He offered to be answerable for all his lands, including 
the lands of Moydart, Arisaig, Eigg, Moroill, and 
Skeirhow, and promised to take new infeftments for 
these, and for assurance that these promises would 
be fulfilled, he agreed to enter as pledge his son, or 
such other nearest of kin as the Council might 
appoint. After these offers were made, probably in 
presence of the Council, Clanranald was ones more 
sent back to Blackness Castle.^ It is not to be sup- 
posed, however, that he lived there in free quarters, 
or at His Majesty's expense, for the Council, on 13th 
October, decided that he was to pay £6 sterling for 
his accommodation ! On the 25th June, 1609, after 
ten months' imprisonment, a warrant was given to 
the keeper of the Castle of Blackness to deliver the 

1 Gregory's Highlands and Islands, p. 324. 
- Reg. P.C„ vol. VIII. 


C^aptahi of Clanranald, and on the 29th of the same 
month Lord Ochiltree and the Bishop of the Isles 
bound themselves, under penalty of £5000, for the 
personal compearance of the Captain of Clanranald 
on the 2nd February, 1610. Donald MacAllan him- 
self became bound, under penalt}^ of his whole lands 
and heritage, both for his personal compearance on 
the said day and that he should assist and concur 
with the Bishop of the Isles in the survey which he 
was about to make of the Isles. ^ This was the 
survey Avhich resulted in the meeting at lona in the 
following month between the Bishop and the prin- 
cipal Islesmen, and the famous and statesmanlike 
statutes of I Columkill. A v/arrant was also given 
to the Bishop of the Isles to keep the Captain of 
Clanranald's son as a pledge for the obedience of his 
father, and never to let him out of his company. 
Whether the ghostly and improving company kept 
perforce by John Moydartach in his younger days 
had the desired effect will hereafter be seen. 

After these critical and trying times in the history 
of Donald MacAllan and his clan, there is every 
evidence that Clanranald was, on the whole, a loyal 
subject of the Crown, and no serious exception to 
his conduct appears to have been taken by the 
authorities. On the 28th June, 1610, he promised 
for himself to appear before the Council, under a 
penalty of 10,000 merks, on the first da}^ of meeting 
after the 15th May, 1611, and on the same day a 
feud between himself and Lochiel, of the merits of 
which we know nothing, was terminated. We are 
told that Donald MacAllan MacEan of Castle Tirrim, 
Captam of Clanranald, and Allan MacEan Duy of 
Lochaber, compeared before the Council to show 

1 Vol. Rec. P.O., re Isles, 1608-1623, 


willingness to live under obedience to His Majesty's 
laws, and freely renounce all grudge, unkindness, 
and quarrel between them, " and heartilie embracit 
aue anitiier and choppit hands togidder and promist 
to persew thair actionis which was the occasion of 
the present differences betwixt thame be the ordinar 
course of law and justice." After this affectionate 
and touching interview, there was nothing but 
friendship between the two chiefs. The annual 
compearance enjoined by the Privy Council seems to 
have been duly observed.^ 

Donald MacAUan having so far established satis- 
factory relations with the Crown, turned his atten- 
tion to the ordering of his domestic concerns, which 
now demanded his most particular care. Owing to 
the depredations committed in past years, not by 
himself only, but by those for whom he was respon- 
sible, and for which comjoensation was to be exacted, 
Clanranald found himself in a position of great 
financial embarrassment. The Crown, therefore, to 
give him time to nurse his estate into greater 
prosperity, granted him an Act of " Supersedere " 
from all his debts for a space of three years." He 
further proceeds to put his house in order by taking 
out legal titles for his lands, and, as a matter of con- 
venience, we may at this stage detail the steps he 
took and the difficulties he encountered in connection 
with these investitures. 

His father, Allan Maclain, took out no titles, 
having survived his father only nine years, and 
being most of that time under sentence of forfeiture. 
John Moydartach, his grandfather, had since the 
arbitrary cancelling of his charter in 1531 been too 

^ Keg. P.C., ad tempus. 
^ Appendix to the Book of 1819, No. XXII., p. 19. 



much at issue with the Crown to take a step which 
involved a certain profession of loyalty. Hence, to 
use a modern diplomatic phrase, Donald MacAllan 
of Clanranald was in effective occupation of large 
territories both on the mainland and in the Islands, 
for which neither he nor his predecessors had a 
feudal title for three-quarters of a century. It might 
well be the desire of both King and vassal that 
matters should be placed upon a better footing. The 
first of the two charters he obtained was in duplicate, 
dated 20th March and 4th June, 1610. Donald 
Gorme of Sleat, as the heir of Hugh of the Isles, 
had in 1597 obtained a Crown grant of the 30 merk- 
lands of Skeirhow, the 12 merklands of Benbecula, 
and the pennylands of Gergry minis, also in the 
island of Benbecula, Of these lands Donald Gorme 
had in J 597 obtained a gift from the Crown in feu 
farm. Now Donald Gorme, as Crown vassal, gives 
a charter of these lands to Donald MacAllan, Captain 
of Clanranald. This charter entails the properties, 
Jii'st, on Clanranald and his legitimate heirs, failing 
whom, on his heirs whatsover ; and, secondly, failing 
the above, they are to devolve on Donald Gorme, 
the immediate superior, and his heirs. For this 
tenure the vassal was to pay the sum of £46 Scots 
in equal portions at the two terms of Whitsunday 
and Martinmas, with doubling of the feu farm at the 
entry of each heir to the estates. Forfeiture was to 
follow the commission of the usual grave mis- 
demeanours towards individuals or the iState. This 
charter was confirmed by the Crown on 2nd July, 
and sasine followed on tlie 5th October of the same 

The Chief of Clanranald received an important 
Crown charter on the 24th July of the same year. 

' CliuiniiKikl CliarLer Chest. 


This deed reproduces the substance of the charter 
given to Clanranald's grandfather, John Moydartach, 
in 1531, and refers to the 27 merklands of Moydart, 
the 30 merklands of Arisaig, the 21 merklands of 
Eigg, and the 30 merklands of Skeirhow, The 
charter proceeds to say that Donald Mac Allan, now 
of Castle Tirrim, and his predecessors have been 
native and kindly tenants, not only of the lands just 
enumerated, but of other 3 merklands of Moydart, 
9 merklands of Eigg, 14 merklands of Morour, 23 
merklands of Kyndess, 7 merklands of Arisaig, and 
the 6 merklands of Boisdale. All these lands, those 
contained in John Moydartach's charter of 1531, and 
the lands additionally mentioned, are now bestowed 
upon Donald Mac Allan and upon his lawful heirs 
after him.^ It may be mentioned at this stage that 
the expense of the survey of the Isles, which led to 
such far-reaching changes in after times, was charged 
by the Crown to the rent due by the vassals of the 
Isles as at July, 1606. Donald MacAllan, having 
now obtained charters for his estates, was able to 
give security for the Crown dues, and by a letter of 
the Privy Council of 5th November, 1611, disponing 
the past due taxations to Andrew Knox, Bishop of 
the Isles, the Clanranald Chief became liable to him 
for the same. 

Early in 1610 symptoms of disturbance appear 
in the Clanranald country. The memories of Blar 
Leine and its consequences still rankled in the 
breasts of Ranald Gallda's descendants, and they 
are resolved that Donald Mac Allan's position shall 
not be a bed of roses. It is probable that the scant 
notices surviving in the national records indicate 
the existence of a virulent and active feud. Even 

^ Clanranald Charter Chest. 


in the lifetime of Allan Maclain there are evidences 
of trouble which sometimes produced sanguinary 
and fatal results. In 1610 John MacAllan Mac- 
Ranald, evidently a member of the family of Ranald 
Gallda, is found creating much disturbance and 
coming under notice of the Council. He is described 
as having been this long time a murderer, common 
thief, and masterful oppressor, and commissions are 
given to various Highland chiefs, and particularly to 
Donald MacAllan, to convocate the lieges in arms in 
order to apprehend him. The Council having 
described John MacAllan in these sinister terms, 
are not unwilling to give the Chief of Clanranald 
an unexpectedly high certificate of character. 
Having purged his past offences by imprisonment 
and submission, they place on record the statement 
that although Donald MacAllan Maclain has always 
behaved himself peaceably and tried to reduce his 
friends and countrymen to the obedience of the law, 
yet many of these not only continue in their 
accustomed trade of murder and other evil practices, 
but are banded together to pursue the said Donald, 
their chief, chieftain, and master.^ 

The condition of things induced by this disaffec- 
tion on the part of Ranald Gallda's descendants 
towards the Clanranald Chief was accentuated by 
the efforts of the latter to give effect to his royal 
charter. Ranald Gallda left three natural sons — 
Allan, John, and Alexander — who all obtained a 
precept of legitimation, wliich passed the Privy Seal 
on 18th June, 1555. •^ Allan, the eldest son, is said 
to have received a gift of the non-entry duties of 
the lands of Moydart and Arisaig, and we have 
already seen that John, the son of Allan, received 

' lieg. P.C., vul. Vill., IGIO. - r.S., vul. XXAllL, f. 21. 


a gift of the forfeited estates of Allan of Clanranald 
and his son Angus after the murder of Allan Og.^ 
This, though true, is strangely contradicted by the 
Retour of Angus, son of Allan and grandson of 
Ranald Gallda, dated 1612, in which it is clearly 
stated that these lands, by reason of non-entry, 
had been in the hands of the Crown for a space of 
67 years — from the decease of Ranald Allanson in 
July, 1544." Whatever may be the reason of this 
apparent contradiction, when Donald Mac Allan 
proceeded to pronounce sentence of eviction against 
AnOTS MacAllan, the latter resisted, and, as stated, 
got himself retoured as the heir of Ranald Gallda 
before a special jurj^, which met at Inverness- 

Meanwhile the Captain of Clanranald, empowered 
by the Commission of Justiciary which he received 
in 1610, makes matters rather uncomfortable for 
the claimant to the lands of Moydart and Arisaig. 
Angus MacAllan, the heir of Ranald Gallda, had 
his residence at Draikies, near Inverness, where he 
seems to have possessed some property. Though at 
a safe distance from the Clanranald Chief, he 
complains bitterly of the treatment he receives at 
his hands. In the midst of the process by which he 
hoped to oust him, he declares that he never owned 
his Chiefship, and that he occupies by force his 
rightful estates, and has done so since his father's 
death. This complaint was lodged in May,* and five 
months thereafter, that is on 6th October, 1612, 
he obtained from the Sheriff Court of Inverness a 
decree of removal against Donald MacAllan from 
the lands of Moydart and Arisaig, with the castle 

' Book of 1819, p. 115. 

- Clanranald Charter Chest. " Reg. H.C, ad tevipus. 

* Reg. Sec. Con. Acta. 


and fortalice of Island Tirrim. On the strengrth of 
this decree Donald MacAllan was 23ronounced rebel, 
but we do not find that the Clanranald Chief was 
much discomposed when the sound of the horn at 
his gate made the welkin ring, and wakened the 
echoes of Castle Tirrim. Indeed, notwithstanding 
the formidable legal process, there are indications 
that he still continues on normal terms with the 
King and the Lords of the Privy Council. It was 
about this time that he received a remission for 
fire-raising and spulzie in Mull and Tiree in his 
younger and hotter days.^ During this and the 
following year he became more or less mixed up, not 
overtly or actively, but through the contingency of 
neighbourhood and connection, with certain irregu- 
larities committed by the MacNeills of Barra. 
Koderick MacNeill, or, as he was known, " Ruairi 
the turbulent," the Chief of the MacNeills of Barra, 
had formed two marriage alliances, the one being of 
the Celtic experimental type with a daughter of 
Maclean of Dowart, by whom he had several sons, 
and a second before the altar with a sister of the 
Captain of Clanranald, by whom there was alst) a 
family. The offspring of the second marriage were 
alone feudally capable of succeeding, and contentions 
concerning tlie birthright were inevitable. The 
oldest son of Maclean's sister was the principal 
actor in a piratical enterprise in reference to a ship 
of Bordeaux belonging to Abel Dynneis, and the 
matter having excited attention in high quarters, 
young MacNeill was apprehended in Barra by the 
Captain of Clanranald and brought to the Tolbooth, 
Edinburgh, where he died, whether by a natural 
death or by execution the Record does not inform 

1 Reg. P.S., -iTth June, 1613. 


US. His brothers-german, out of revenge, seconded 
by their uncle of Dowart, took and apprehended the 
oldest son by Clanranald's sister, accusing him of 
complicity in the piracy, and sent him to the 
Tolbooth in Edinburgh. There he remained for a 
considerable time, and the agents of Abel Dynneis 
did their utmost to find him guilty, but they were 
able to prove nothing, and he was released through 
the good offices of his uncle of Clanranald, who 
afterwards secured his succession to the property 
and chiefship. It was a condition of release that 
Clanranald bound himself upon his faith, honour, 
and credit to compear before the Council and to 
bring Neill MacNeill, son of MacNeill of Barra, 
under penalty of 10,000 merks.^ 

It was during the same period, 1612-1613, that 
Clanranald again became more or less involved in the 
misfortunes of the Macleods of Lewis. That island, 
though scarcely even in its best days the jewel of 
the Hebridean group, was still the cause of discord. 
Kintail had hastened the ruin of the Macleods by 
purchasing their title from the adventurers, and 
having obtained a commission of fire and sword 
against them, he reduced them to obedience, with 
the exception of about 30 who retired to the isolated 
rock of Berrisa, where they maintained themselves 
for three years. At last they were attacked and 
driven from their rocky fastness, when they took 
refuge in the island territories of Clanranald. 
Information and complaint were laid before the 
Privy Council that Neill Macleod and his accom- 
plices, despite the Proclamation of the Commission 
against the reset of the rebels, made at Inverness, 
and intimated to Donald MacAllan Maclain, Captain 

1 Reg. P.S. LXXXL, fo. 233. 


of Clanranald, were supplied by him, and by gentle- 
men of bis clan, whose names are already familiar to 
our readers, of whom we do not think the less 
because they risked so much in giving shelter to 
their brethren in misfortune. The mei-ciful Clan- 
ranalds were consequently to be denounced rebels, 
and letters of horning were to be given out against 
them nut later than St Andrew's day. Whether 
these threats were carried into effect or not we 
cannot say, but it is possible that the more stringent 
action that we soon notice in the proceedings of the 
Privy Council towaids Clanranald may have been 
the outcome of the episode just referred to.^ In 1614 
the action of Angus MacAllan regarding the lands 
of Moydart and Arisaig is still hanging over Donald 
MacAllan. On the 14th July, 1614, a letter passed 
the Privy Council in favour of Sir Andrew Kerr of 
Oxenham of the escheat pertaining to him in con- 
sequence of the denunciation of Donald Macxlllan in 
1612.- Shortly after this Angus MacAllan died, but 
his son John and daughter Elizabeth renewed their 
father's proceedings, denounced Donald MacAllan as 
rebel for not finding of law-burrows at their father's 
instance, and another letter passed the Privy Seal, 
this time in favour of Sir James Stewart of Killeith, 
of Clanranald's escheat.^ But death solves many a 
problem, and the demise of John and of his sister 
Elizabeth soon afterwards came to Clanranald's 

During the next two years the Privy Council 
Records indicate the adoption of serious views as to 
the condition of the Clanranald country. On 
2nd March, 1615, Donald MacAllan becomes bound 

' lleg, P.C, ((d tc)iip-U!>. 
^ Record of the Privy Seal. '^ Ibid. 


that he and those under his authority shall keep 
good rule in the country, that he himself shall com- 
pear before the Lords of Council once every year upon 
the 10th July, to render his obedience, and ofteneras 
be sliall be charged, upon 60 days' warning, under 
penalty of 5000 merks. The summons for com- 
pearance was to be delivered at the house of his 
Edinburgh agent. The 10th July was the date 
fixed for the compearance of all the Western Isles- 
men, and doubtless this midsummer influx into the 
Capital of so many plumed and plaided chieftains — 
all with their tails — must have created quite a flutter 
in the Edinburgh dovecotes.^ The following year, on 
22nd July, Clanranald appeared before the Council 
conformably to enactment, but apparently several days 
behind time. At this meeting he was placed under 
important obligations as regards the ordering of his 
household and state. He was to be allowed to 
keep in his household six gentlemen — a boy being 
allowed to each of these— and he must make Island 
Tirrim his place of residence, probably on account 
of its greater accessibility than the Isles in case of 
rebellious tendencies. He was to purge his country 
of sorners and idle men who have no lawful occu- 
pation, and clansmen were prohibited from wearing 
hacquebuts or pistols except in the King's service. 
None but the chiefs and their legal number of 
household servants were to wear swords or armour, 
or any kind of weapons in the Isles. And, finally, 
there was to be a self-denying ordinance as to the 
use of alcoholic liquor, the Chief being limited by 
Act of Parliament to the annual consumption of one 
tun of wine. The drafting of these regulations 
seems to have occupied a little time, for Clanranald 

^ Reg. P.O., ad tevipus. 


and the rest were ordained to remain in Edinburgh 
until they were dismissed by the Council. The 
following were the parties he was obliged annually 
to exhibit : — Donald Gorme Maclain, Rory Dow his 
brother, Angus MacConill Gorme, Allaster Maclain 
Oig, Donald Gorme MacAngus VcAllan, Eanald 
MacDonald Gorme — six in all. Hitherto the 
number to be annually exhibited was two, but for 
onerous reasons the Council increased the number 
threefold. Clanranald, however well disposed 
towards the Government, had more than enough 
to do to keep order among his unruly clansmen, his 
own nearest kinsman being the most unmanageable 
of all. His brothers Ranald of Benbecula and John 
of Kinlochmoydart were terrible handfuls, whom 
this same year he had to report to the Council as 
" disobedient and unanswerable persons." In the 
course of this year, and on the 18th July, Donald 
MacAllan enters into a Bond of Indemnity and 
fidelity with Donald MacAngus of Glengarry, in 
which he binds himself, under heavy penalties, not 
to molest or oppress the latter, and to assist him 
and his heirs against His Majesty's rebels of 
Knoydart.^ It appears that some of Donald 
MacAllan's restless clansmen were giving trouble in 
Glengarry's lands. On the 24th August following, 
and at Glasgow, Clanranald entered into a Bond of 
Friendship with Sir Rorie Macleod of Dunvegan, 
Sir Lauchlan Mackinnon of Straquhordal, and 
Lauchlan Maclean of Coll. Here we have a direct 
proof that the Clanranalds and Macleods, so long at 
daggers drawn, are living in amity and concord, and 

' Reg. P.O., 1608-1623, p. 246, &c. 
^ Reg P.C., ad tempus. 
"A » Bonds and Obligations; vol. CCLXIII., Regi.ster Office. 


although their friendship was not always unclouded, 
the sword was never afterwards unsheathed by 
them for mutual molestation. 

Little further remains to be said of the life and 
times of Donald MacAUan, Captain of Clanranald. 
In 1617 he visited James VT at Holyrood House 
during one of that monarch's visits to his northern 
kingdom, and received the honour of knighthood 
at his hands. ^ We have it from the voice of tradi- ( 
tion that about this time he was visited by a grave -' 
domestic trouble^ which so preyed upon his mind ' 
that his health utterly gave way. Whatever may ! 
be the truth, Sir Donald did not long enjoy his new 
found honours, as he died in December, 1618. He 
lived in difficult times, at the beginning of an era of 
great social changes, and he reaped an abundant 
harvest of trouble from the intestine broils of past 
generations. Yet he acted his part boldly and well, 
as a Highland chief of that remote age, and trans- 
mitted a great position to his son and successor. 

Donald Mac Allan was succeeded by his son 
John, who often appears in the records as John 
MacDonald MacAllan, but who is also remembered 
in the traditions of his clan and country by the 
same designation as his great grandfather, that is 
as John Moydartach. When this chief succeeded 
he inherited, along with his honours and estates, 
all the obligations and engagements for underlying 
the law, which were undertaken by his father in 
his relations with the Government. On his first 
compearance after his father's death on 5 th 
February, 1619, Sir Rorie Macleod becomes his 
cautioner under penalty of 10,000 merks, and on 
the 12th of the same month, Donald Gorme of 

> 1 Book of 1819, p. 116. 
^ Sc^«xac.w, MS. No. 15^ ^ksL^^ 


Sleat discharges the same friendly office to Clan- 
ranald's uncle, Ranald MacAllan ; while on the 
23 rd December, nephew and uncle become mutually 
answerable under the penalties of 6000 and 3000 
merks respectively/ These compearances and 
securities, along with exhibition of clansmen, are 
repeated by the Clerk of Council with monotonous 
iteration. On the 23rd December, after his succes- 
sion, John, who was a youth at his father's death, 
renounced the benefit of minority, and became 
personally responsible for his own and his clan's 

In 1622 some events occurred which demand our 
attention. There was trouble with the Burghs of the 
realm, by whose authority the Captain of Clanranald 
and his tenants were charged, on the I7th July, 
with oppression and robbery committed on the south 
countrymen fishing in the North Isles.^ This year 
was also signalized by a serious dispute with Donald 
Gorme of Sleat, Clanranald's superior for Skeirhow, 
Benbecula, and Gergryminis. There is no light 
furnished by the Records as to the cause of the 
difference. As the feu-charter for these lands was 
granted in perpetual fee and heritage, on condition 
of certain payments and other feudal obligations, we 
cannot conceive of any other cause of strife than the 
non-payment of the feu-duty which, on John Moy- 
dartach's succession, was due, and payable in 
duplicand. This and other extensive monetary 
obligations, under which Clanranald lay to the Chief 
of Sleat, seem to account for certain legal steps 
taken by Sir Donald Gorme in 1622.'* Recourse was 
had to horning and summons of removal, but in the 
end the differences were submitted to and settled by 

' Rec. P.C. ■ Ibid. » Ibid. * Ibid. 


arbitration. The arbiters on Sir Donald's side were 
Sir Rorie Mackenzie of Coigach and George Munro 
of Tarrel, while John Gordon of Buckie and Hucheon 
Fraser of Kilbockie were on Glanranald's side.^ 
Having met at the Chanonry of Ross, it was 
arranged by the disputants, in terms of the arbiters' 
award, that Sir Donald should obtain wadsets of the 
lands of Skeirhow, Benbecula, and Gergryminis, and 
that he should also obtain the superiority of lands 
which the Clanranald family held in capite of the 
Crown, namely, the merklands of Arisaig, Eigg, 
Moydart, Morour, Kyndeas, and Boisdale, to satisfy 
his claim of 26,921 merks 10s 8d Scots." 

At this stage it may conduce to clearness if we 
digress for a moment from the chronological order 
of events, and indicate the nature of the tenure by 
which John Moyclartach held his lands, (3n the 
1 0th January following Sir Donald's death, the Earl 
of Dunfermline received a Crown gift of the non- 
entry duties of Moydart, Arisaig, and Eigg.^ It was 
not until the 18th September, 1627, that, before a 
jury sworn at Inverness, John was found to be the 
heir of " Donald MacAllan Vic Ean," who died 
seased in certain lands, to which we shall direct 
more particular attention."* On 3rd March, L629, 
John Moydartach received a precept of sasine for the 
same lands, to which he was served his father's heir 
in 1627, that is Eigg, Moydart, Morrour, Arisaig, 
Kendeas, and Boisdale, and to which Sir Donald 
Gorme of Sleat had, as we have seen, acquired an 
intermediate superiority. This charter of 1629 
excludes lands which were bestowed upon Sir 

1 Rec. P.C. 
'' Clanranald Charter Chest. ^ i];^[^_ \ \\^\^_ 



Donald in IGIO, and incorporated in the barony of 
Castle Tirrim, namely, the 30 merklands of Moy- 
dart and the 30 merklands of Arisaig, but it includes 
certain other lands in both these districts, namely, 
3 merklands of Moydart and 7 merklands of Arisaig, 
which seem never before, save, perhaps, the former 
foi a short time, to have had any legal owner but 
the Crown. How the old merklands of Moj^dart 
and Arisaig came to be excluded from the Crown 
Charter of 1629 we shall shortly see. 

The large debts which John Moydartach's estates 
became burdened with during the times of his 
predecessors, laid upon him the necessity of raising 
funds on the security of his jDroperty. On 7th April, 
1625, he borrowed from Sir Donald Mackay of 
Strathnaver a sum of 7000 merks, and the 
names of Donald MacAngus of Glengarry and 
of a number of the Clanranald gentlemen appear 
as cautioners for the Bond granted by John 
Moydartach for that sum. Annual interest of 900 
merks was to be charged upon the principal sum, 
which latter was afterwards converted into an heri- 
table burden upon the lands of Moydart and Arisaig 
which Clanranald resigned to Sir Donald Mackay as 
his immediate superior on the same date on which 
he borrowed the 7000 merks, that is, the 7th April, 
1625. On this resignation there pi'oceeded a 
charter from Sir Donald Mackay to Clanranald for 
the lands of Moydart and Arisaig, at a feu-duty of 
200 merks a year, to be paid annually at the term 
of Martinmas, at Inverness, the feu-farm to be 
doubled on the entry of every new heir. The 
interest exigible from Clanranald upon the principal 
sum was, as already stated, 900 merks, and in order 
to raise funds to reduce this sum to the modified 


feu-duty of 200 merks, he in the month of March of 
that year, had given an assedation of the lands 
of Dehlea, ArdalHe, Auchnellan, Camistrowan, 
and Drumnaleme— in all 4^ meiklands — to his own 
uncle, John Ranaldson, Parson of Island Finnan, in 
liferent, and to Allan MacRanald, his brother's son 
and his heirs. The tack was to be for 19 years, 
and the tack duty was to be in the form of a 
grassiim of 1124 merks, payable in four instalments 
in the years 1629-30-31-32 respectively. Sasine 
followed upon this assedation on 28th April, 1 625. 
Upon the 22nd February, 1627, a charter of con- 
firmation from the Crown was given to the laird of 
Strathnaver, who thus became the Crown vassal for 
the lands of Moydart and Arisaig, which lands could 
not for that reason be included in Clanranald's 
Crown Charter of 1629.^ It does not appear that 
Sir Donald Mackay's superiority was of long con- 
tinuance, for on the 15th August following his 
Crown charter another superior steps upon the scene 
in the person of Colin, Earl of Seaforth and Lord of 
Kintail. He was likely a considerable creditor upon 
the Clanranald estates, through raids and "spulzies" 
into his territories, in the time of the late Sir 
Donald, and for these he would have received 
decrees of Court to enforce compensation. At the 
date last mentioned, an instrument of resignation 
passed between John Moydartach and Seaforth, by 
which the former resigned the lands in question to, 
and received new infeftments from, the latter as 
superior of these lands, and in the following year we 
find Seaforth discharging Clanranald for a sum of 
200 merks as feu-duty lor Moydart and Arisaig.^ 
In the course of the same year, Seaforth becomes 

^ Clanraqalcl Charter Chest, - Ibid, 


still more intimately connected with Clanranald's 
estates, for he receives from the latter a factory and 
power to uptake and collect the whole duties and 
renfs of his lands, a measure that was professedly- 
adopted for relieving the burden of Clanranald's 
debts due to himself and to others.^ This factory 
seems to have continued operative for a number of 
years. It may be observed in passing that on 13th 
May, 1630, John was served heir in general to his 
great-grandfather and namesake, and on the same 
day to Allan Maclain, his grandfather.^ 

Reverting to consideration of the lands held by 
Clanranald from Sir Donald Gorme of Sleat, we find 
John Moydartach receiving a precept of Clare 
constat from the Chief of Sleat for Skeirhough, 
Benbecula, and Gergryminis, on 15th August, 
1627, in regard to which we saw that both 
parties had come to an arrangement in 1622. 
That arrangement was considerably modified in 
1633-4. Sir Donald Macdonald of " Sleat in 1622 
acquired, as already pointed out, wadset rights 
to the lands of Skeirhough, Benbecula, and 
Gergryminis, of which he himself was superior, 
and he also obtained the superiority of the lands 
held by Clanranald in capite of the Crown. In 
August of 1633 the Earl of Argyll, in consideration 
of having paid to Sir Donald the sum of 26,921 
marks 10s and 8d Scots, acquired the wadset rights 
referred to ; while he also obtained possession, by 
assignation from Sir Donald, of the superiority of 
all the lands held by Clanranald from the Crown. 
This arrangement was confirmed by a Charter under 
the Great Seal on Uth January, 1634. During 

' Clanranald Charter Chest. 
- Appendix to Book of 1819, pp. 25-26. 


this year also there was a further change as regards 
the tenure of the Clanranald estates. The Marquis 
of Argyll obtained from the Earl of Seaforth the 
superior rights of the 24 merklands of Moydart 
and the 24 merklands of Arisaig, an acquisition 
upon which sasine passed on 22nd June of the 
same year. Seaforth, however, still continued to 
exercise the powers of factory wherewith he was 
formerly invested, and he retained certain superior 
rights in Arisaig, to which reference shall after- 
wards be made. This seems to exhaust the Charter 
history of the Clanranald lands during the times of 
John Moydartach, with the solitary exception of 
one transaction which took place in 1657, by which 
Sir James Macdonald of Sleat, in satisfaction of 
dues owing him by Clanranald, obtained a wadset 
of the lands of Moydart and Arisaig.^ Having thus 
stated the Clanranald land question as concisely as 
we could, we take up the thread of our proper 
historical narrative. 

In 1623 the Chief of Clanranald entered into a 
bond of alliance with Donald MacAngus of Glen- 
garry, by which they became mutually pledged to 
defend and assist one another " against all mortal 

In the autumn of 1627 there was an epidemic of 
piracy among the Macdonalds of the Isles. The 
Clan Iain of Ardnamurchan had been recently 
distinguishing themselves at this nefarious pursuit, 
and now the Clanranald and their Chief are accused 
of piratical operations, denounced i-ebels, and pat 
to the horn. A ship of Leith, laden with a valuaole 
cargo of tea, wines, and a variety of merchandise, 

^ Claurauald Charter Chest. 
-Book of 1819, p. 117. 



on her way from the Clyde to Danskiiie, was round- 
ing Barra Head in her route towards Cape Wrath, 
when John Moydartach and his followers, who were 
cruising in their galleys among the Isles, fell in 
with her. They boarded the ill-starred craft, and 
for days partook of sumptuous fare and drank of 
pleasant vintages. Nor did they quit the Argosy 
empty-handed, but took with them 5 butts of wine, 
8 casks of herring, 8 score of ])ounds, 300 double 
ells of plaid ing — the price of each TOO ell being 
£100— and 200 dollars. The Clanranald cellars 
were w^ell replenished, and the Clanranald ladies 
might walk in rich attire for many a day after 
this daring " spulzie " of the deep. Clanranald 
was put to the horn as a matter of course, but 
soon afterwards was relaxed.^ 

In 1629 the salmon fishings of Seall, belonging 
to the lands of Ardnamurchan and Sunart, are the 
occasion of a conflict between Sir Donald Campbell's 
servants and the Clanranald and Clanlan. Twice in 
succession did the usurping Campbell send down 
his servants to fish with nets, and as often did a 
numerous band of Clanranalds and Maclains, headed 
by John M'Ewine, baillie of Moydart, come upon 
them in warlike guise, and drive them off, leaving on 
the last occasion a number of " insolent and broken 
men" to prosecute the fishing. John Moydartach is, 
of course, taken to task, and summoned before the 
Piivy Council by Archibald, Lord of Lorn, for the 
conduct of his clansmen ; but the mafter is amicably 
settled -' and, judging by subsequent events, in 
Clanranald's favour. 

After this we have seven quiet, that is law- 
abidic'g, years in the annals of Clanranald. Once 
more, however, tbe peace is broken by a case of 

' Clanranald Charter Chest. * liec. P.C. 


piracy upon the high seas which engages the 
attention of the Privy Council In 1636 the 
" Susannah," an EngUsh barque commanded by 
Kichard Seyraan in Chichester, and laden with goods 
belonging to Peter Fox, of Limerick, sailed from the 
Port of St Mailles in France for the Port of Limerick. 
She carried a cargo valued at £1000, and con- 
sisting of wines, fruit, corn, &c. Having encountered 
tempestuous weather, and lost her mast, she was 
driven among the Scottish Isles. " Built in the 
eclipse and rigged with curses dark," a cruel destiny 
drove her in view of the Outer Hebrides. She made 
signals of distress which were observed in Barra. 
Some of the Islanders having come out to her in 
boats, it was agreed for one butt of sack and one 
barrel of raisins to tow her into harbour, and furnish 
the crew with the necessary provisions. But they 
were reckoning without their host. On reaching 
shore, they were met by a crowd of 300, headed by 
the Captain of Clanranald, and marching to the ' 
strains of the bagpipe. For days the Islesmen drank 
the wines of France, for days they filled their casks 
and barrels. The " Susannah" came full and 
returned empty. A youth of the ship's company 
was forced to profess himself the ship's factor, and 
subscribe a bill for sale of the goods, in consideration 
of a sum of money which was promised but not 
paid. The owner was compelled to take £8 for the 
ship, although she was worth £150. The incident 
tlirows an unpleasant light upon the ethical canons 
of the time, nor do we suppose that John Moydar- 
tach's conscience needed to be salved for this spoilinr 
of the Irishman. Horning and relaxing followed 
each other, as they were wont to do, in rapid 

1 Kec. P.c. 

328 TfiE CLA^ DONALD. 

Eight years of peace and quietness, undisturbed 
by feud or foray, pass away, when the silence is 
broken once more by a spulzie, this time upon 
terra Jirma. In 1(544, Mr Martin Macpherson was 
minister of South Uist, and judging from events, 
quite patriarchal in his possession of flocks and 
herds. We do not know what roused the ire of 
John Moydartach and his clansmen against the 
parish parson, but we kno\v that the latter wakens 
one morning to find tliat a horde as desolating as 
the ancient Sabeans has swept his barns and 
pastures like a whirlwind, and like the patriarch 
of old he is bereft of all his gear. C^ow Ijeasts 
of all ages, 80 in numl)er, 88 sheep and lambs, 
13 horses, utensils, corn, teinds, &c., to the value 
of 1067 merks, such was the loss sustained by the 
unfortunate minister. He had to leave Uist and seek 
the protection of tlie Dunvegan Chief, and though 
petition after petition to the Courts, first to the 
Sheriff" of the Western Isles and afterwards to the 
commission and estates of Parliament, were presented 
and decrees obtained, no redress was ever obtained, 
though liability was freely admitted. So late as 
1GG7 the matter was before the Supreme Court, and 
the minister received comjoensation out of the vacant 
stipends of Skye. John Moydartach does not seem 
to have sustained the reputation of the founder of 
his house, the " man of augmenting C'hurches and 
Monasteries," nor of the " Clan wlio never vexed 
the Church."^ 

In 1644 John Moydartach and his clan are found 
playing a much nobler part in history than robbing 
ships and persecuting parsons, sharing to no mean 
extent in those achievements of Montrose and 

^ Cliiiniiiiakl Cliailer Clie«l. 


Alastair MacCoUa which have shed such glory upon 
the mihtaiy annals of our land. It was at the 
particular stage of the war at which Argyll sat 
down to heleaguer Castle Mingarry, garrisoned hy 
Macdonald, that the brilliant victories which had 
already added such lustre to the royalist cause in 
Scotland began to detach the chiefs and their clans 
from the Argyll interest. To obtain reinforce- 
ments for Montrose's army, Alastair had betaken 
himself to the west. Colonel James Macdonald, 
with an Irish detachment, made for the coast of 
Argyll to relieve Mingarry ; but before he arrived at 
the scene of action the fortunes of the garrison had 
taken a favourable turn. 

The fiery cross of Alastair MacCoUa was mean- 
while passing wich meteoric speed from glen to glen 
and from isle to isle, and at last John Moydartach 
made a move. It is said by MacVuirich that the 
Clanranald chief visited Argyll's camp on the invi- 
tation of the noble Marquis, who hoped to preserve 
his insincere allegiance.^ John Moydartach departed 
unharmed, and, needless to say, unconverted. The 
men of Uist, Eigg, Moidart, and Arisaig flocked to 
his standard, and after he had raised the siege of 
Mingarry and caused Argyll to retreat, he invaded 
and wasted the lands of Ardnamurchan and Sunart. 
Thus it was that when Colonel James Macdonald 
arrived at Mingarry, the garrison was relieved and 
reinforced, and its stores replenished from the 
pastures of Argyll.' A contemporary writer gives 
us interesting information as to the numbers and 
arming of the Clanranald force when it joined the 
army of Montrose :— " McDonald returns back to 

^ KeluiiiiLO Celtiau, vol. 11., p. 179. 
- Ibid, p. 180. 


him and briiiges McAllaii (Wickeim) of some called 
the captaine of t.h(3 Claiie Ranald, one of the greatest 
men among the Clane Donald. This man brought 
with him eight hundredth of the strongest and most 
waliant men amongst the liighlanders, weel armed 
with liabershones, muriones, and targates ; for 
offensive armes, they had guns, bowes, swords, and 
aixes, called of some Lochaber aixes."' 

When these and other large reinforcements 
joined Montrose at Blair-Athole, the question of the 
next move was discussed before a council of war, 
when it was unanimously decided to spend the fol- 
lowing two or three months in the region of Argyll. 
The memory of a cruel raid by Argyll in 1640, under 
cover of a Commission of fire and sword, was fresh 
in the minds of the Clan Donald chiefs, and it was 
with no halting footsteps that they wended their 
way from Athole to the country of the Campbells." 
The Royalist army marched from Blair-Athole early 
in December, 1644, in three divisions. One was led 
by Montrose, the second by Alastair MacColla, and 
the third by John Moydartach. Its course was 
marked by devastation. The district of Appin, in 
Perthshire, belonging to the Clan Menzies, and the 
region of Loch Tay, where the Campbells of Bread- 
albane flourished, were burnt, pillaged, and laid 

The gallant noble who held state at Inveraray 
had, since the relief of Mingarry, retired for a time 
from his military duties, and dwelt in fancied 
security in his ancestral halls. He believed that 
the passes into Argyll were impenetrable in time of 
snow, and not a dream of impending danger dis- 

^ Uritanes Distemper, p. 94. -' Ibid. 
' Browne's History of the Highlands, vol. I., pp. 358-359. 


turbed his nightly slumbers. But on the first alarm 
that Montrose and the Macdonalds were coming, his 
fool's paradise collapsed, and he fled as quickly as oars 
could propel him to a herring skitf that lay anchored 
in Loch Fyne, and there, at a respectful distance, 
this knight of the rueful countenance gazed sadly 
but helplessly upon the numerous columns of smoke 
that marked the track of the advancing host/ The 
people of Argyll, forsaken by their liege lord, made 
no attempt to resist the invaders. John Moydartach 
and his men distinguished themselves as successful 
raiders. Along with the men of Lochaber they 
penetrated to Kilmartin of Glassary, and returned 
to Montrose's camp with 1000 head of cattle." 

These wild doings went on from 13th December, 
1644, to the end of the following month, when 
Montrose's army once more turned northwards, 
marching towards Lochaber. (Jn reaching Kil- 
chuimen, whose modern name is Fort-Augustus, at 
the head of Lochness, the army was joined by John 
Lom Macdonald, the celebrated bard of Keppoch, an 
enthusiastic devotee of the Stewart cause, to whose 
impassioned strains it owed so much of its inspira- 
tion. Moving in the rear of Montrose's army, he 
had gathered news of Argyll's later movements. 
Gilleashuig Gruamach had left his not too luxurious 
quarters on board the fishing skiff a,s soon as he 
could do so with absolute safety, and had sent word 
to his kinsman of Auchinbreck, who was fighting in 
Ireland for the Parliament, to come to the rescue. 
Auchinbreck, a brave soldier, quickly assembled the 
fighting men of his clan, and on Argyll receiving a 
contingent of 500 men from the estates, they entered 

^ Napier's Life and Times of Montrose, pp. 289-91. 
- Reliquiae CelticcC, vol. II., p. 183. 


Lochaber at the head of 3000 men, and desolated the 
Braes and Glenroy.^ On receiving this intelhgence, 
Montrose at once resolved to make a retrograde 
movement, and measure himself against the Parli- 
mentary army. It was this counter-march upon the 
foe that John Lom celebrated in the couplet — 

'N cuala sibhse 'n tionndadh diiinneal 
Thug- an t-arm blia 'a Cill-a-Chuimeiu ? 

Not by the Avonted beaten path along the waterway, 
but by ways unknown to strangers and untraversed 
save by the wolf and deer ; along the rugged basin 
of the Tarfj", down into Glenroy and past the Spean ; 
across the untrodden snow of that wild mountain 
land marched the army of Montrose, until at last 
from the brow of Ben Nevis they saw reposing in 
the silver moonliglit the frowning towers of the 
Castle of Inverlochy.- The descent of this human 
avalanche from the Lochaber mountains down to 
within half-a-mile of their encampment might well 
take the Campbells' breath away. The scouts fled 
to the main body with the intelligence, and the 
Marquis of Argyll, astounded at the incredible 
march of his adversary, made hasty preparations 
for battle. 

Dliirich mi mach maduinn Dhomhnuich 
Gu barr Casteil Innerlochaidh 
Chunna mi 'n t-arm dol an ordugh 
'S bha buaidh an la aig Claim Domlmuill. 

Such Avere the triumpliant strains in which John 
Lom breathed his innnortal celebration of the battle , 
of Liverlochy. He stood on the topmost battlement j 
of that historic fortress ; he saw the marshalling of 

' JU-li.lui;..' L'fllica', vol. IL, p. lS:i. Baillie'.s Loiters ami Journal.-, vul. II., i 

pp. 2G2-y. j 

- Britaues Distemper, p. 100. i 


the armed host, he saw victory settling on the 
banners of his clan. It was the field on which, 200 
years before, the Island host, under Donald Balloch, 
had gathered wreaths of imperishable renown in 
conflict with the army of the King of Scots. Now 
their descendants were to fight not against, but for, 
the lineal descendant of that same King, who was 
making a death struggle for his ancestral throne. 
At dawn of Candlemas day, the 2nd February, 
which was Sunday, Montrose began to arrange his 
line of battle. On his light wing was Alastair 
MacColla, at the head of an Irish regiment. 
Lieutenant-Colonel O'Kain, with another Irish 
regiment — Ranald Og MacDonald, of the family 
of Dunnyveg, being second in command — was on 
the left flank. Tlie centre consisted of the men of 
Athole, under the immediate command of Montrose, 
and of the Clan Donald of Uist, Eigg, Moydart, Aris- 
aig. Glengarry, Knoydart, Glencoe, and Lochal)er, 
and a few of the Macleans of ]\Iull, all under the 
lead of John Moydartach, Angus of Glengarry, 
Donald Glas of Keppoch, and other Highland 
Chiefs, Colonel James MacDonald brought up the 
rear with a regiment of Irish levies.^ 

Argyll's army, which was drawn up in a some- 
what similar formation, was largely sujjerior in 
numbers to that of Montrose, which was still 
weary after its tremendous march; but the disparity 
of numbers, as well as other disadvantae'es, was 
largely discounted by the lack of spirit and manhood 
displayed by the Marquis of Argyll, whose conduct 
on this eventful day must have had an effect the 
reverse of exhilarating on the courage and morale 
of his troops. A few weeks before, he had a fall 

1 Memorials of the Troubles in Scotland, vol. II., pp. 443-4. 


from his horse, and still felt a little bruised in the 
sword arm. His barge, nicknamed by the Mac- 
Donakls the " Dubh Luideach," lay conveniently at 
anchor to suit the exigencies either of victory or 
defeat, and havino- o-iven his instructions to Auchin- 
breck, he went on board, accompanied by Sir John 
Wauchope of Niddrie, Sir William Pollock, and Mr 
Mungo Law, an Edinburgh minister, who had all 
come from the Scottish Estates that they might 
witness and report ujDon his triumphant encounter 
with Montrose.^ 

Montrose with his whole line advanced about 
sunrise. The battle commenced by the left wing, 
under O'Kain, charging Argyll's right wing. This 
was followed by a furious onslaught by Montrose's 
right upon the left and centre of the Parliamentary 
army. The issue was not long in doubt. The Irish 
phalanx of musketeers, under Alastair MacColla 
and Colonel O'Kain, soon broke the ranks of the 
Lowland recruits, of which Ijoth wings of Argyll's 
army consisted, capturing the standard and standard- 
bearer of the Parliamentary arm}' ; while the Camp- 
bells in tlie centre were swept away by the clansmen 
of Garmoran and the North Isles, who bore down 
upon them like a winter torrent. The whole army 
was soon scattered in flight. The Campbell chieftains 
fought with iniavailing bravery; the boldest of them 
fell to rise no more. The two-handed sword of 
Alastair MacColla might be seen delivering its fatal 
blows wherever the fight was thickest, and, like the 
brand of Fionn MacCumhal, not leaving the remnant 
of a stroke. The gallant Sir Donald Campbell of 
Auchinbi-eck fell beneath one tremendous blow — 
head and helmet severed from the body. Montrose 

' Memorials of the Troubles in Scotland, vol. II., pp. 443-4. Baillie's 
Letters and Journals, vol. II., pp. 262-3, 


strove his utmost to save the flying army from utter 
destruction, but it was difficult to stem the tide of 
carnage, and 1500 corpses — the half of Argyll's 
army — stained the snow-clad field. ^ Meanwhile the 
occupants of the " Dubh Luideach," with that 
discretion which is undoubtedly the more prudent 
if not the more admirable part of valour, were 
looking at the fast receding waters of Loch Lochy 
through the blue haze of distance. 

After the battle of Inverlochy, Montrose, Alas- 
tair MacColla, John Moydartach, and other weary 
warriors, were hospitably entertained to dinner in 
the house of Angus Macqueen of Rackbeg, on their 
way to Castle Grant," but though Montrose and his 
army occupied the scene of their triumphs for two 
months, this incident is all that we can learn of 
their doings during all that time. Clanranald and 
his followers were not engaged at Auldearn or 
Alforcl, the latter battle having been foaght in the 
absence of Alastair MacColla, who was in the west 
mustering recruits. Alastair, on his return, was 
accompanied by John Moydartach and his son 
Donald, a youth in his twentieth year, followed by 
a strong force of fighting men from the Clanranald 
country. MacYuirich records, what might have 
proved an unfortunate quarrel between Montrose 
and John Moydartach, as to the latter not having 
provided sufficient forage for the army. Alastair 
poured oil upon the troubled waters, and the result 
was a huge creach from the lands of the Earl 
Marischall brought by Donald of Clanranald and his 
men to the camp at Alfbrd, which kept these hungry 
warriors in food for months.^ 

^ Memorials of the Troubles in Scotland, vol. II., pp. 443-4. 

- Napier's Montrose, p. 172. 

^ Reliquite Celtica', vol. II., p. 197. 


Space does not permit us to detail the movements 
of Montrose's army between the battles of Alford 
and Kilsyth. Suffice it to say that, during the 
nvxsterl}' retreat that terminated in the memorable 
tield last mentioned, Donald of (Jlanranald brought 
up the rear, and was credited with many doughty 
deeds. At last the Royalist army arrived at Kilsyth 
worn with sleeplessness and want, and encamped 
there on the night of the 13th August. Next 
morning, when the army of the Parliament dis- 
covered the proximity of their foes, the leaders 
assured themselves of victory. Baillie's army con- 
sisted of 6000 infantry with 1000 horse, while 
Montrose's numbered 4000 infantry and 500 horse. 
The Koyalists having held a council of war, deter- 
mined at all hazards to fight. The two armies were 
drawn up in order. The ground was well chosen by 
Montrose, and the cavalry was under command of 
Lord Gordon. The weather was hot, it being the 
middle of August, and Montrose caused his men to 
doff their outer garments, a circumstance which 
gave rise to the tradition that they fought naked. 
The condition of Montrose's army was deplorable. 
They had neither shoes nor stockings, these having 
been worn out of existence by the heavy marching 
of recent days, and they had their tunics tied 
between their legs to enable them to fight with 
greater ease. The army of the Estates commenced 
the engagement by opening a fir-e of cannon and 
musketry upon the opposite side, while the attack 
by tlie King's army was led by Alastair MacColla. 
Alastair's movement was seconded by the Macleans, 
under their chief Sir Lauchlan of Duart, and Donald, 
younger of Clanranald. Just at the moment that 
the attack was to be delivered in characteristic 


Highland fashion, a critical dispute about precedence 
arose between Duart and young Clanranald, which 
the latter chieftain settled in the only way that 
was possible without disaster. With a wild and 
unexpected rush he and his light-footed clansmen 
pushed their way through the Maclean battalion, 
Donald himself being the first to gain the enemy's 
trenches. All along the line the Royalist assault 
threw the enemy into such confusion that it was 
impossible to rally them. A total rout took place, 
and Montrose's forces cut down 4000 of the enemy's 
infantry. Comparatively few were slain in the 
actual engagement ; but the pursuit by the High- 
landers and Lord Gordon's horse made this battle, in 
the traditions of Kilsyth, a veritable Aceldema — a 
field of blood.i 

After the fatal field at Philiphaugh, at which the 
Highlanders took little or no part, the Koyalist 
party never recovered the position won for it by 
Montrose's victories. In 1646 the Marquis of 
Antrim visited Scotland, and the Cavalier party 
undertook to provide 30,000 men for the continuance 
of the struggle, Clani-anald providing 1300 of these;"" 
but on the King's advice all resistance in Scotland 
was abandoned. After this, Donald of Clanranald 
was invited by Antrim to Ireland to assist the royal 
cause there. In 1648 he embarked with 300 men 
on board two ships, one described as " a rigged low 
country frigate" and the other as a "long Gaelic ship."^ 
Sailing through the Sounds of Mull and Isla they 
came upon two ships belonging to the Scottish 
Estates, which they captured ; but one of which 

> Iteli^uiie Cellictc, vol. II.. p. 201. 

- Hill's Macdonalds of Antrim, p. 274. 

^ Reliijuifc Celtica;, vol. II., p. 205. 



only they were able to take along with them. 
When in the neighbourhood of the Irish coast they 
w^ere overtaken by a storm, which drove the ships 
far apart, one of them reaching land in the harbour 
of the Killybegs in Donegal, while Donald and the 
rest of his followers landed at Acha, which was then 
occupied by a friendly force. Thence they marched 
to Cavan, and latterly Donald quartered his men at 
Kilkenny, where the Council of Ireland sat. The 
Clanranakl men, with those of Glengarry and 
Antrim, made up a regiment 1500 strong, and 
were under the command of Alexander, the first Earl 
of Antrim's son, while Donald of Moydart was 
Lieutenant-Colonel. This young chief was actively 
engaged during the campaign of 1648, being present 
at the taking of Belfast, Knockfergus, Coleraine, 
and Londonderry, and continued with the King's 
army until its defeat in Queen's County, when he 
and Angus of Glengarry \^'ere taken prisoners. 
There Donald remained until released at the inter- 
cession of the Duchess of Buckingham, Countess of 
Antrim.^ He sailed from Wexford for his native 
land, and arrived safely at Caolas Staodhlaidh, in 
South Uist. Cathelus MacVuirich, the family bard, 
gave vent to an eulogy, in which the general joy 
is expressed that the young chief had returned un- 
injured from the wars." 

John Moydartach, chief of Clanranald, survived 
the campaigns of Montrose by a quarter of a 
century. He lived all through the Commonwealth, 
and although he did not join in the abortive rising 
of Glencairn, the evidence is not so decisive as in 
the case of some other Highland chiefs that he gave 

' Jiook of 1S19, p. 1 11. 
lleli(iui;e CelLic.e, vol. II., p, 241. 



a clear submission to the Protector. He lived to 
witness the restoration of the line for which he had 
made such great and costly sacrifices. The family 
bards, not unusually stinting in their praise, had 
not a sentence or a couplet to spare out of their 
exuberance to celebrate the memory of so redoubt- 
able a chief; but there is no doubt he was a brave, 
capable, and energetic leader, thougli more lawless 
than might have been looked for in a chief educated 
under the Statutes of Icolumkill. He died in 1670 
in the Island of Eriskay, and his remains were 
interred in the family tomb at Howmore, where his 
dust mingles with that of his great-grandfather, the 
first John Moyclartach.^ He was succeeded by 
Donald, the active period of whose life was past at 
his father's death. MacVuirich gives a quaint 
description of Donald's character and deportment 
when he joined Montrose. " That man was a 
harmless, bashful, afiable, unpresuming man in the 
presence of his friends ; but powerful and undaunted 
before his enemies." In the year of his succession 
he is charged by the Duke of Hamilton a sum of 
£232 Scots as arrears of Crown dues for his lands 
of Skeirhow, Benbecula, and Gergryminis, showing 
that the Argyll superiority had been attached by 
the Crown. In 1673 he obtained possession of the 
Island of Canna as vassal of the Earl of Argyll, 
who, in 1680, resigned the superiority of that island 
to the Bishop of Lismore. The Bishop, in 1684 
granted a charter of Canna to Donald of Clanranald. 
In 1674 Clanranald passed a signature of resignation 
and confirmation of the estates of Arisaig, Moydart, 
Skeirhow, Benbecula, and Eigg ; while in 1685 there 
is a ratification in his favour of the lands and barony 

1 Heliquia; Celticre, vol. II., p. 207. 


of Moydart, and the superioi-ity of Ar^'-yll for this 
latter is at the same time abohshed.^ 

On 2nd October, 1676, Clanranald appears to 
have visited the scenes of his former ex])]oits in 
Ireland, and was invested with the freedom of 
Londonderr3^ The burgess ticket bears the arms 
of that burgh, and the Clanranald chief is described 
as " Donaldus McDonald Dux de Clanranald miles."^ 
He died in 1686 in his sixtieth year. An elegy of 
fourteen stanzas, a marvel of brevity for a Mac- 
Vuirich, was composed by the family bard, in which 
the Clanranald chief is, no doubt deservedly, lamented 
as a patron of the bardic school, as well as of 
learning generally, as brave in battle and generous 
to the jjoor and needy. ^ He was buried at Howmore 
in the same grave as his father.^ 

When Donald of Clanranald died, his son and 
successor, Allan, was a boy of thirteen. Allan was 
brought up thereafter for some years under the 
careful guardianship) of his cousin, Macdonald of 
Benbecula, who spared no pains to secure that 
his young chief should be properly educated, 
and that the flame of loyalty to the exiled 
house should burn in his breast witli unabated 
glow. In proof of this we find the gallant 
boy of 16 accompanying his tutor to the field of 
Killiecrankie at the head of 500 men. " While 
scarce the first down tints his cheeks, he, fired with 
a great love of his country's glory, moved keenly to 
battle with Iiis whole race."'' After Killiecrankie the 
Government issued a Proclamation of Protection to 
all submitting before 1st January, 1692; but long 

' Chinranald Cliarter Chest. - Il.i.1. 

^ RL-li.|ui:i.- Celtuio, V..1. II., 11. 21-.. ' U.M., vol. II., ]i. 209. 

•■ Tho Graia.'id, [>. 122. 


before this, Allan and his brother Eanald had retired 
to the Court of St Germaius, the refuge of the 
irreconcileable. Donald of Benbecula, like the 
majority of the Highland chiefs, submitted to the 
Government, and so preserved from forfeiture his 
own and his ward's estates. Allan spent several 
years in France, where he finished his education, 
and became one of the most accomplished gentlemen 
of his time. He received a commission in the French 
army under the Duke of Berwick, and distinguished 
himself in several of the great battles fought against 
William and the Protestant Confederation. During 
his sojourn at St Germains, he wooed and won a 
Highland lady, Miss Penelope Mackenzie, who was 
destined to exercise considerable influence upon the 
future fortunes of his family.^ In 1696 Allan of 
Cl.anranald appears to have become reconciled to the 
Government of William of Orange, and on 21st 
July of that year, Kenneth Mackenzie of Cromartie 
became cautioner and surety to the Lords of the 
Privy Council for his peaceable and good behaviour, 
and undertook to present him when required under 
penalty of £500. On the 5th August, 1697, the 
Earl of Argyll and Viscount Tarbat, for the love 
and favour they bore the Clanranald Chief, entered 
into a bond relievini? Mackenzie of Cromarty from 
any loss that this cautionry might involve. From 
this circumstance we naturally infer that Allan 
returned to Scotland in 1696, and took up his 
patrimonial position as chief and leader of his clan. 
We do not find him, however, making up titles to 
his estates till 1704. On 28th July of that year 
he received a precept of dare constat from John, 
Duke of Argyll, who had obtained restoration of 

1 Book of 1819, p. 147. 


the superiority of all Clanranald's lands except the 
barony of Castle Tirrim, which he held of the Crown. 
In all these he was afterwards infefted. As early 
as 1700 Allan gave his brotlier Ranald a wadset of 
the lands of Drunnialony, Dahlea, Langoll, Meigarrie, 
Blavine, Balligarva, Keillanla, Lenique.^ 

It was after Allan of Clanranald and his wife 
came to reside permanently in Scotland, that the 
Castle of Ormiclate on his Long Island estate was 
built, the ruins of which, near the Western sliores 
of South Uist, are still an imposing feature in the 
landscape. Here during the remainder of his too 
shoit life he kept state and dispensed hospitality in 
a fashion that strongly impressed the imagination 
both of bard and seanachie. His princely home in 
Uist was a reflection, and not a pale one, of the 
ancient State and Court of the Lords of Innsegali, 
while his kind and chivalrous nature, combined with 
popular manners, endeared him to men of all ranks 
and parties. But alas I the saying proved too true, 
the gods loved him and he died young. Ormiclate 
Castle was a centre of Jacobite influence, and 
doubtless the formidable rising of 1715 was in no 
small measure owing to the Clanranald chief Ou 
the standard of tlie Chevaher being unfurled at 
Braemar on Gth September, Clanranald joined him 
with his vassals. He was appointed a Colonel in 
Mar's army, and was directed to march to Inveraray 
to prevent the Campbells and other clans that might 
be similarly disposed from joining the forces of the 
Crown. On the 17th September he made himself 
master of two redoubts of Inverlochy fortress, but 
was unable to retain them for want of artillery. 
On ()th October he arrived at Stratlitillan. and in 

' Clanranald CliarLer Chest. 


the course of 10 days, having been joined by various 
clans, the force under his command numbered 2400 
men. With this body he marched to Inveraray, 
and having directed a large detachment to overrun 
Kintyre, a considerable number who were to join 
Argyll in support of the Government were compelled 
to pledge themselves to abstain from rising. The 
town of Inveraray was too strongly occupied and 
fortified to be taken without much time and effort, 
and Allan at the head of his force once more 
marched to Strathfillan.^ On 3rd November the 
camp at Strathfillan was broken up, and the troops 
under Allan's command marched to Perth, where they 
joined the main body under the Earl of Mar. The 
battle of Sheriffmuir was fought on Sunday, 13th 
November. Early in the battle, to which 1000 
brave clansmen followed then- beloved chief, the 
brave Clanranald fell mortally wounded. He only 
lived long enougli to express the hope that his men 
would fight well, and that the day would prove 
favourable to King James. Thus fell one of the 
best and bravest of his race in the very prime of 
manhood, and his remains were interred at Inver- 
pephry, the burying-place of the Perth family. The 
bards of his clan embalmed his memory in pathetic 
strains, the hereditary bard, Neil MacVuirich, 
closing his lament on the chief's untimely end in the 
lines : — 

" Be mo chreach nach do liath thu 
Mu'n d' thainig teachdair 'ga'd iarraidh o'n righ." 

On the day of the battle of Sheriffmuir an 
ominous and unfortunate accident occurred. The 
Clanranald servants were cooking a deer in the 

• ^ Book of 1819, p. 151. 


kitchen of Ormiclate Castle, preparing, in the 
absence of both master and niistrefs, to enjoy a feast 
of fat things. During- the cook's absence from the 
scene of operations the caukh(>n was upset, and the 
fat being literally in the tire, a conflagration ensued, 
which, catching the timbers, rapidly pursued its 
devouring course until the whole pile was in ruins. 
Allan, who left no issue, was succeeded in the 
Clanranald chiefshi}) by his brother Ranald, who, 
owing to his share in the rising of 1715, was never 
actually infefted in the estates. He was present 
with his brother at the battle of SherifFmuir, and a 
letter written by him from Nuide to (yluny Mac- 
pherson subsequent to that engagement — the date 
is February 11th, 17 {w — shows that he had assumed 
his rightful position as chief and leader of his clan,* 
but shortly thereafter, with others who had com- 
mitted themselves to the cause of the Chevalier, he 
went over to the Court of St Germains. He suftered 
forfeiture, and never afterwards returned to his 
native land. During the years of his exile eiforts 
were made, successfully, to secure the restoration of 
the estates, and Mackenzie of Delvin, one of the 
Clerks of Session, was appointed by the friends of 
the family, conspicuous among them the widow of 
the late chief, to carry through the negotiations. 
Mackenzie having bought the debts upon the 
property, obtained a decree and charter of adjudi- 
cation against the estates and in his own favour. 
The Barony of Castletirrim ^ was on 9th November, 
1723, exposed for sale by the Trustees on Forfeited 
Estates, and Mr Mackenzie, in whose hands funds 

' Oleauing.-i frum the Cluiiy Charter Che.-:t. 

- This Barouy of Caatletirrim, thouf,'h su uiiuieil eoiisi.^ted oi the laiuls of 
Keiidess, or the South end of Soutli Uist. 


had been deposited for the purpose, and who was 
the highest bidder, purchased the lands of the 
Barony for .£1594 17s 7d. On the •24th August,. 
1724, a Disposition in iavour of Mr Mackenzie was 
granted by the Commissioners, which was followed 
by a Charter of Hesignation under the Great Seal 
in his favour, dated 2<)th November, 1725. Infeft- 
raent followed by an instrument of Sasine, dated 
19th October, 172G. It was to be held in free 
blench for payment of Id Scots yearly, if asked. 
The rest of the Clanranald estates were, practi- 
cally, all held of the Duke of Argyll, who on 9th 
August, 1719, did as superior obtain a decree 
against tlio Commissioners of Forfeited Estates, 
finding him to have a right to the property and 
rents of these lands in consequence of the attainder 
of Ranald Macdonald. On 1 2th June, 1 727, a Charter 
of adjudication of all the lands other than those of the 
Barony of Castle Tirrim was granted by John Duke 
of Argyll in favour of Mr Mackenzie, dated 28th 
September, and 7th, 13th, 18th, 19th days of 
October, 1727.^ In this way all the Clanranald 
estates were vested in Mr Mackenzie of Delvin ; 
but just as the way was paved for conveying them 
to the exiled chief and application for his pardon 
was to be made, news came of his death at 
St Germains, and with him the direct line of the 
first John Moydartach's descendants became extinct. 
The Chiefship of Clanranald parsed to the senior 
cadet family, namely Benbecula, and before pro- 
ceeding with the history which went on worthily 
under its auspices, something must be said regarding 
its origin and position. The Benbecula family 
sprang from Ranald, second surviving son of Allan 

y,^ ^ Clanranald Charter Chest. 


Maclan, by Maclean of Duart's daughter. On 28th 
April, 1625, John Moydartach, son of Donald Mac- 
Allan, gav^e his uncle, Ranald MacAllan, and his 
lineal heirs by Margaret, daughter of Angus of 
Dunnyveg, with reversion to the principal family, 
the following lands, viz., the 13 penny lands of 
Borrow, the i penny lands of Gergryniinis, the 
4 penny lands of Ballynacallach, the 4 penny lands 
of Belfinlay, the 5 penny lands of Belnamanach, the 
20 penny lands of Wochter, viz., the two Airds and 
Knockvoilum, all in Benbecula ; also the 3 penny 
lands of Machriemeanach in Skeirhow, the ten 
shilling lands of Ardneish, Lochylt, and Essan in 
Arisaig.^ As Benbecula was under the superiority 
of the Barons of Sleat, and there was consequent 
uncertainty in his tenure, Ranald received from his 
nephew a grant of certain lands held directly from 
the Crown in special warrant and security in case of 
eviction, viz., the whole 7 penny lands of Borronish 
Heichterach, the Zj penny lands of Borronish 
Huchterach, the 5 j^enny lands of Kildonan, the 10 
penny lands of Gerveltos, the 10 penny lands of 
Frobost, the 6k penny lands of Kilpeter. The 
principal land and messuage was to be in Ardnish in 
Arisaig, but [)ractically tlje family residence was in 
Benbecula. On 20th August, 1627, Ranald of Ben- 
becula, in order to consolidate his position in that 
island, entered into a bond of agreement with Sir 
Donald Macdonald of Sleat, acknowledging his 
superiority and chiefship.'-' On 4th March, 1633, 
Colin, Earl of Seaforth, ^vho had meanwhile obtained 
the superiority of the lands of Ardnish, Lochylt, 
and Essan, gave Ranald a Charter of Ratification 

' Names ate spell as in Charter. - Gregory Collections. 


for these lands. ^ It is evident that the valuable and 
extensive lands in the possession of the Benbecula 
family gave them a territorial position not greatly 
inferior to the Chief's. 

Ranald MacAllan, the first of Benbecula, was in 
MacVuirich's estimation a good man according to 
the fashion of his time, " hospitable and generous, 
thrifty and friendly."" One feels suspicious when " 
the seanachie is specially eulogistic that there is 
particular need of a whitewashing in the case of the 
individual who is praised. So it turns out in the , 
present case, for almost immediately after the 
encomium on the virtues of E-anald, he tells us that 
he took to him and repudiated, in somewhat rapid 
succession, four wives out of the best families in the 
Highlands ; all the marriages having, we presume, 
been contracted according to the handfasting system. 
Ranald's character, as disclosed by the Records, does 
not lend itself to eulogy. His brother, Donald of 
ClanranaJd, had to report him to the Privy Council 
as disobedient and unanswerable, and in 1618 he 
received a remission for killing a man named Alex- 
ander Roy Macdonald Roy Vc Innes. In 1630, 
Ranald, who by his numerous handfastings had been 
accumulating arrears of indebtedness to the Church 
of Rome, tries to pay his debts in part by becoming 
the champion of persecuted Catholicism. An Irish 
priest, Patrick Chagnetie by name, had been in >< 
South Uist conducting masses, and the Bishop of 
the Isles apprehended him for what was at the time 
illegal and forbidden action, and was taking him 
away to be presented to the Privy Council. After 
leaving Uist the zealous Bishop and his prize were 
overtaken by the emissaries of Ranald MacAllan, 

^ Claurauald Charter Chest. - Rehquiiu Celtics, vol. II., p. 173. 


who, unlike the family of the Chief, adhered to the 
ancient Cliurch, and the Bishop was compelled to 
surrender his captive. The Bishop complained to 
the Priv}' Council, but it was difficult in those days 
and in the outlying parts of the Kingxlom to bring- 
so powerful a culprit to account. Kanald died in 
1636, and was duly eulogised by Cathelus Mac- 

Ranald the first of Benbecula was succeeded by 
Ranald of Castle Borve, his oldest son, by his fifth 
and only lawful wife, according to the feudal law, 
Margaret of Dunnyveg. This second Ranald was 
apparently a man of quiet life, the racial ferocity 
having so far expended itself, at anyrate for the 
time, in the irregular and uncontrollable life of the 
founder of the Benbecula family. He received a 
Sasine from his cousin John Moydartach for the 
lands that had been bestowed by charter upon his 
father in 1G25, and the infeftment was registered in 
the Chanonry of Ross. Ranald is said to have been 
at law with his Chief over the payment of feu-duty 
and services, but the Laird of Benbecula seems to 
have been vn.successful in his litigation. There is 
no record of the year of his death, but as his son 
and successor Donald received a charter for all the 
family possessions in 1680, the event must have 
occui-red shortly before that date. 

On the death of Ranald, in 1725, Donald Mac- 
Donald of Benbecula succeeded to the chiefship. 
Donald, as we already saw, fought at Killiecrankie 
with his young ward and Chief He was one of 
those whu signed the answer of the Highland Clans 
to General Mackay, dated at Birse on 17th August, 
1689, and he also was one of the signatories to the 
Bond of Association at Blair Athole on the 24th of 


the same month, and he bound himself to bring 
200 men to His Majesty's service in the following 
September. Like his predecessors of the house of 
Benbecula, he was a strict Roman Catholic, and 
through his influence and upbringing his two 
immediate predecessors in the chiefship were adher- 
ents of the same faith. While succeeding to the 
chiefship of Clanranald, lie at the same time fell 
heir to the provision that was being made for the 
restoration of the family estates. The procedure 
with regard to Donald was easily comj^leted, for 
as he was not in rebellion in 1715, he had no 
political offences to be confessed or pardoned. On 
5th December, 1726, Mr Alexander Mackenzie of 
Delvin, in whom the estates M^ere vested, disponed 
the lands of the barony of Cattle Tirrim, consisting 
of Kendess, in South Uist, to Donald of Benbecula 
in liferent, to Kanald his oldest son in liferent, and 
to Ranald his oldest son and to his heirs in fee. 
Another Disposition on the same day conveyed the 
lands of Mo3^dart, Arisaig, &c., which were under 
Argyll's superiority, in exactly the same terms, and 
for all the lands infeftment took place on 28th 
September, and 7th, 13th, 18th, and tUth October, 
1727. A Charter of Confirmation was afterwards 
granted. The widow of the late Allan of Clan- 
ranald is referred to in the Disposition as the 
moving spirit of the process, her action on the 
family's behalf being determined by a tender regard 
for the memory of her deceased husband. 

The few years that Donald survived his accession 
to the honours and estates of Clanranald were quiet 
and uneventful. He continued to reside in the 
home of his ancestors in Benbecula, where he died 
in 1730, and was buried in the Churchyard of 


St Mary's at Nuiiton, \\ here, as we omitted 
to state, the dust of his father and of his grand- 
father reposed. As head of Benbecula and as 
Chief of (Jlanranald he proved himself to be one 
of the most discreet of his line, while his 
action during the revolutionary period exhibits him 
in the light of an honourable and chivalrous upholder 
of the House of Stewart. He was succeeded by his 
oldest son, Ranald, both in the chiefship and in the 
family estates. Ranald was evidently regarded as 
a good man of business, for on the very day on 
which JMackenzie of Delvin acquired the barony of 
Castle Tirrim, he appointed the heir of Benbecula 
factor and commissioner for tliat property, and 
evidence exists of his efficiency in this respect by 
documents drawn up by him and written in his own 
hand. He does not seem to have possessed the 
forceful and enterprising spirit of his predecessors, 
nor at any time to have exchanged the pen for the 
sword. He appears to have been a comparatively 
young man at his succession, for he lived for many 
years after the memorable Rising of 1745. During 
the fifteen years that elapsed from his succession, to 
the Jacobite movement, the Clanranald family made 
little or no history that calls for record. In 1734 
Clanranald granted a tack of the whole lands of 
South Uist to his half-brother, Alexander Mac- 
Donald of Boisdale — a transaction more suitably, 
as well as conveniently, considered hereafter. From 
tliis date we pass at a single step to the coming of 
Prince Charles to Scotland. 

It is cheap wisdom now-a-days to speak of the 
folly, the madness, of the enterprise so recklessly 
undertaken by the heir of the Stewart line. It was 
an undertaking no doubt which bordered on political 


insanity, but all the same it was magnificent ; it 
was rich in compensations, for it redeemed thref^- 
quarters of a century from the dead level of 
commonplace. The gallant though ill-starred 
enterprise so sublime in its imprudence, so full 
of chivalrous romance and thrilling episode, has 
imparted an inspiration to the minstrelsy of High- 
land bard and Lowland lyrist without which our 
land would be infinitely poorer. The exigencies of 
our space do not permit us to narrate with anything 
like fulness the story of the '45 ; we can but 
generally note that none of the Highland Clans 
was so closely associated with that rising as the 
Clanranald branch of the Clan Donald. It was on 
Clanranald soil, the little island of Eriskay — Coilleag 
a PJirionnsa the spot is called — that the young 
Chevalier first set foot in Scotland. It was in the 
Clanranald country, the historic Glenfinnan, that his 
standard first fluttered in the breeze : the younger 
Clanranald was the first of all the Chiefs to espouse 
his forlorn fortunes : a body-guard of 100 Clanranald 
men constituted his first military retinue, and it was 
a fair daughter of this ancient house whose memory 
has become the deathless heritage of the ages, 
because she saved him from the jaws of destruction. 

Ranald MncdonsJd, elder of Clanranald, was, as 
already stated, a man of quiet and retiring nature, 
not adapted by temperament for mingling in such 
tempestuous aftairs as the Rising of 1745, and we 
find him, though doubtless sentimentally attached 
to the cause, remaining passive during the contest. 
Alexander Macdonald of Boisdale, the Chiefs 
younger brother, was of entirely different calibre. 
He seems to have been a man of great influence, as 
well as force of character, and while not actively 


hostile, absolutely refused to compromise himself, 
though earnestly pressed to do so by Charles, during 
his lengthy visit to the " Doutelle." Ranald Mac- 
donald, younger of Clanranald, a man of chivalrous 
character and noble bearing, after a little hesitation 
espoused the Prince's cause along with most of the 
Cadets of his Clan, and continued, not only up to 
the tragedy of dark Culloden, but long afterwards, 
his staunchest and most faithful friend. Young 
Clanranald, who had the position of Colonel, with 
Macdonald of Glenalladale as his second in command, 
brought 250 men to the Prince's aini}^, and all these, 
officers and men, in the various engagements in 
which they took part, sustained the reputation of 
their clan and country for bravery and devotion, 
not even excepting their conduct at the fatal field of 
Culloden. Early in September ^ after the Prince's 
landing in Scotland, young Clanranald, accompanied 
by the Chief of Keppoch, was sent to Dundee \vit)\ 
his followers to proclaim James VIII. and collect 
public money to replenish the Prince's depleted 
treasury.^ After this he returned to Perth, where 
the Chevalier and his army were (juartered. At the 
battle of Falkirk, fought on 17th January, 174G, 
and which resulted in a decisive victor}^ for the 
army of Prince Charles, young Clanranald had a 
narrow escape. In the melee in which the High- 
landers and the enemy's cavalry were mingled, he 
was trodden down, and before he could rise, a dead 
horse fell on him in such a way as to prevent his 
extrication without assistance, rhis did not appear 
forthcoming, but while in the critical position, he 
saw a dismounted dragoon and a Highlander 
struggling near him, when it became evident that 

1 Itinerary of Prince Charles. 


on the issue of the combat his rescue would depend. 
However, he was soon relieved. The Highlander 
dispatched his foe, and the young Chief was 

In the battles fought and victories won by Prince 
Charles before Culloden, the Clan Donald received 
the place of honour on the right. This position was 
accorded to them by King Kobert Bruce, and 
l)plonged to them by right since Bannockburn, in 
recognition of the signal services rendered b}^ Angus 
(>'•, Lord of the Isles, and his Islesmen before and 
on iliat eventful field. The evidence of history does 
not seem to show that this position was uniformly 
theirs. The fact, however, is undoubted that this 
was the case during the Rising of 1745, and the 
decision of Lord George Murray, which deprived 
them of that traditional honour at a crisis in the 
fortunes of Prince Charles, was felt to be an 
intolerable insult by the proud clansmen. The 
circumstance was regarded as of evil omen by the 
Clan Donald ; it inevital^ly chilled their ardour and 
depressed their spirits, and tended materially to 
affect the fortunes of the day. Yet, despite of all, 
Clanranald, his gentlemen, and vassals, undeterred 
by feelings of resentment, fought and bled on 
Culloden Moor, and the statements to the contrary 
by Lowland scribes are either the offspring of 
fancy or gross exaggerations. The young Chief was 
severely wounded in the head ; Macdonald of Bel- 
finlay suffered injuries and hardships which brought 
him to an early grave, while John, a younger son of 
Angus Macdonald of Borrodale, was left dead upon 
the field. The battle of Culloden was fought on 
16th April, 1746. 

' Browne's History of the Higlilands, Vol. III., p. 186. 



Claiiraiiald liavino- readied in safety liis t^vaiid- 
mother's house in Inxerness, remained in conceal- 
ment there for some days, after whicli, at the head 
of a few followers, he sought the wilds of Moydart. 
Here lie very narrowly escaped being taken by the 
emissaries of the Royal savage who had now com- 
menced to signalize his trinmph by a series of 
atrocities which have branded his name with 
immortal infamy.' About a week after Culloden. 
Clanranald joined the Prince at Glenl)eusdale. and 
endeavoured to dissuade him from carrying out a 
purpose lie had formed on O'Sullivan's advice of 
sailing to the Isles. ()\Sullivan's counsel, however, 
pi-evailed, and on the 2Gth April (Uiarles embarked 
for the Isles in an eight-oared l)oat, starting from 
the bay of Lochnanuagh.- It was the last interview- 
between the Prince and young C-lanranald in Scot- 

Early in May there seems to have l)een a faint 
gleam of hope that something might still be done to 
retrieve the loss of (Julloden. Two French frigates 
touched at Lochnanuagh with 35,000 louis d'ors for 
the supply of the Prince's empty treasury, and 
prospects were entertained of military forces and 
stores from France. Fortified by these considera- 
tions, Clanranald and some other chiefs entered into 
a Bond of Association for the continuance of the 
struggle ; but eventually it was found impossible to 
raise the clans, and the attempt ^vas abandoned."' 
Nor were military supplies ever sent from France. 

Yoiuig Clanranald is generally supposed to have 
gone to France ^vithin a very few months after the ; 
Culloden disaster. It soems (|uit(' clear, liowevcr 

' liock ..f isiii, pp. it;7-.s. 
- Browne's Mi.<torv uf tlu' lli-lilands, \,,1. \\\., p. L'lll. '' ILul \'. -'67. 


that he secretly lingered in his own country for at 
least eighteen months thereafter, chiefly in the 
wilds of Moydart, a course which in the circum- 
stances of tlie time was fraught with the greatest 
peril. ^ Eventually, probably in the early months of 
1748, he made his way to Brahan, the seat of tiie 
House of Seaforth, politically opposed but on terms 
of friendship with his family. Here he met his 
ladylove, Miss Hamilton, and the dark hour of 
danger and defeat was enlivened by a wedding 
and a honeymoon. From Brahan Castle the young 
couple proceeded to Cromarty, embarked on a 
London-bound ship under the name of Mr and Mrs 
Black, and shortly thereafter found their way to 
Paris, where we shall, for the present, leave them." 

The boat in which Prince Charles embarked at 
Lochnanuagh, on the 26th April, was overtaken by 
a furious gale and driven to llossinish, in the island 
of Benbecula. Clanranald, senior, the lord of the 
manor, on receiving a message from the Prince, 
paid him a visit during the few days that he first 
remained in th;it neighbourhood, and it also appears 
that he was interviewed by MacDonald of Boisdale 
during this visit to the Long Lsland. It was on the 
advice of the latter that he made a fruitless journey 
to Lewis in the hope of lighting upon some ship in 
Stornoway to take him over to France.^ On the 
Prince's return from Lewis he again took up his 
quarters in Benbecula in a miserable hovel, a couple 
of miles from the landing place, and there he was a 
second time visited by the Clanranald Chief; while 
his kind-hearted lady sent the unfortunate wanderer 
a much-needed and welcome consignirient of clothes, 
provisions, and other creature comforts. On the 

' Clanranald Charter Chest. - Book of 1819. 

2 Browne's History of the Highlands, vol. Ill,, p. 278. 


Chiefs advice Charles passed over to South Uist 
and stayed in a comfortless i'orester's house hi Glen 
CoiTodale until the middle of June in a position of 
comparative safety.^ By that time men of war 
beoan to liover about the coast, bands of militia 
appeared in various parts of the island, and the 
situation of the adventurer daily increased in peril. 
At this crisis he was visited at Corrodale by 
MacDonald of Boisdale and Hugh MacDonald of 
Baleshare, tlie latter of Avhom has left on record a 
graphic and lively picture of festive hours spent at 
the shrine of Bacchus during three nights passed in 
that lonely region. His visitors apprised the 
Prince of his danger from tlie troops and spies 
of the Government, and shortly after their 
departure he left his hiding place at Corrodale, 
when the first intelligence he received was to the 
effect that MacDonald of Boisdale, who, though not 
a professed adherent, was a true friend, had been 
taken jorisoner.^ Just at this moment, when the net 
of his foes was slowly but surely closing around 
their victim, and there seemed little human possi- 
bility of escape, the heir of all the Stewarts was 
saved from captivity and certain death, and the 
British Government from the perpetration of a 
tragedy which, in its existing temper, might he 
regarded as certain, by the coolness, the resource, 
and tlie devotion of Flora Macdonald, the heroine of 
that stirring time. It is l)eside our purpose to 
detail the incidents of the escape of Charles Edward 
from Uist. But it is noteworthy that among his 
many marvellous escapes none was more wonderful 

' The in MuuniiiiK. TIk' I'^ve ni CornMlalc liaditioiiallv iioiiiteJ 

DUt as L'limhii I'lirioaam — tlio I'lince's Cave— i.s not onco lefeneil to ill 
contemporary ai.-counts, 

- Ibid. 


or providential than his fliglit under the guise of 
Betty Burke, the Irish spinning maid. Flora, on 
returning from Milton, her brother's residence, to 
Nunton in Benbecula, the seat of Clanranald, was 
apprehended, along with her male attendant, Neil 
MacEachan, by the guard of soldiers placed there to 
arrest all wayfarers after dark who were travelling 
without a passport. Yet even at this stage, the 
crux of her whole scheme, when her enterprise 
seemed doomed to shipwreck, the stars in their 
courses were hgiiting for her success. The guard at 
the south ford was under command of her step- 
father, Hugh Macdonald of Armadale, evidently a 
secret sympathiser. When he arrived on the scene 
next morning, he at once ordered her release, giving 
her at the same time a passport to Skye for her 
spinning maid, her man-servant, and herself 

On the 27th June, Betty Burke, accompanied by 
Flora and Neil MacEachan, embarked at liossinish 
in Benbecula in a boat manned by six stalwart 
Clanranald oarsmen. The furious storm in the 
Minch, the landing at Monkstadt, the visit to 
Kingsburgh, the parting at Portree between Flora 
and the Prince, these and other incidents of the 
three eventful days do not demand detailed narra- 
tion here, and we have referred to them along with 
the previous course of events — though of necessity 
ui brief — because they constitute one of the noblest 
and most heroic pages in the history of an heroic 

A bill of attainder was brought against the chiefs 
implicated in the '45, and it obtained the Royal 
assent on 4th June, 1746. Almost immediately 
after this, the members of the Clam'anald family, 
who were more or less directly concerned with the 


Priuce's ]'>i"otectioii iji, and his esca])e IVoni, Uist, 
were apprehended and taken to London to stand 
their trial. Amonu tlieni were old CJlanranald, Lady 
Clanranald, Boisdale, and Flora Macdonald, who, 
after a sliort continenient, were allowed to return 
home. Notwithstanding tlie forfeiture, etforts were 
not awanting on the part of (Jlain-anald's friends to 
relieve the financial embarrassment caused by the 
llehellion. (_/onspicuous among these was n tack to 
MacDonald of Kinlochmoydart of the lands of 
Arisaig, Moydart, and Carnui, for an annual rent of 
5100 merks, and dated "J 1st September, 1747. 

In 1748 the Barons of Exchequer decided on a 
survey of the estates named in the Act of Attainder, 
and Mr David Bruce was ap|)ointed for the purpose. 
Fortunately for the Clanranald family, it was found 
that a serious teclmical Haw had crept into the 
definition of tlieir case, as in the list of forfeitures 
the party attainted was described as Donald. Con- 
sequently, when the (jrovernment agent took action 
towards a survey, on the 27th of August, 1748. a 
protest was lodged at the instance of Clanraiiakl. 
through his procurator, MacDonald of Cleiialladale. 
on the twofold ground U) that Clanranald senior 
had not Ijeen accessory to tl)e Uebellion, and {'I) 
that his son and heii', Ranald, had not been con- 
victed in any Court of Justice, nor attainted I)y Act 
of Parliament.^ Pending the settlement of this 
question between Clanranald and the ( *ro\vn, the 
rUiief took out titles for his Benbecula estates, which 
do not appear to have been attacked by the attainder, 
and to which he had succeeded on his i'ather's death 
in 17:50. With the view of keeping Benl)eeula. as 
of old, a separate holding, in possession oi' a distinct 

' Clanranald Charter Chest. 


flxmily, he first of all, on 17th April, 1750, took 
out an Instrument of Clare Constat in his own 
favour, and next day disponed it to his second son, 
Donald, with reversion to the younger brothers suc- 
cessively, and finally to the heir of Clanranakl. 
Thereupon Donald, in consideration of the position 
of the Clanranald estates as affected by the for- 
feiture, made over his rights to Benbecula to his 
brother, Ranald, in the event of the head of the 
house being permanently deprived ; but if the Clan- 
ranald estates were restored, this deed would be null 
and void. Sasine in favour of old Clanranald fol- 
lowed on 29th April and 12th May, and in favour of 
Donald on 18 th April. ^ 

During these years Kanald, younger of Clan- 
ranald, was under sentence of attainder, and an 
exile from his native land. He obtained military 
employment in France, and enjoyed occasional inter- 
course and corres})ondence with the Prince, of whose 
restoration he did not cease to clierish hopes.- On 
20th December, 1751, the Clanranald case regarding 
the relevancy of tlie attainder against him was 
decided in his favour l)y the almost unanimous vote 
of the whole of the Judges of the Court of Session 
present, and no appeal was afterwards taken. Thus 
the claims of father and son to the Barony of Castle- 
tirrim, and the lands of Moydart, Arisaig, &c., were 
sustained.^ It was probably in 1752, and subsequent 
to this favourable issue, that young Clanranald 
returned to Britain. His history during the next 
two years is by no means easy to trace, l)ut it 
appears that, despite the break-down of the 
attainder, his political offences were cliarged against 

' (Maiirauald Charter Chest. ^ ' Stuart Paiiers. 
'■' Clanranald Charter 


liiin ill a new and more successful form, and he was 
ke])t prisoner in London till April, 1754. Early 
tills month he was set at liberty, and returned to 
his home and estates after an absence of nine years. 
Shortly after his return his lather made out a right 
of his own life-rent in his favour, and he at the same 
time obtained a nine years' tack of Benbecula from 
his brother, Donald. By these means much was 
done through young Clanranald's energy and capa- 
city to relieve the pecuniary tension in which the 
last and previous forfeitures liad [)laced the estates.' 

Captain Donald Macdonald of Benbecula, old 
Clanranald's second son, deserves special reference in 
the history of his house. In early life he entered the 
French army, but followed Prince Charles in 1745, 
and fought in all the battles of the campaign. After 
many vicissitudes, he again entered the French 
service, but returned to Scotland in 175G.- The 
following year he obtained a commission in Fraser's 
Highlanders, and greatly distinguished himself in 
the American war. He was wounded at the taking '■ 
of Ca])e Breton, where he rendered brilliant service 
in 1758, and on the 28th April, 17(10, he fell on the 
heights of Abraham, near Quebec, in an attack by 
General Murray on the French besieging army. We 
are informed by an eminent authority that " lie was 
employed on all duties where more tiian usual 
difficulty and danger were to be encountered, and 
where more than common talent, address, and 
s[)irited example were re(julred." •' 

After the subsidence oi' the gronnd swell that 
succeeded the storm of 1745, (1;inr;in;d(l history 
))ursues an cNen uneventful course during tiie 
remainder of the 18th century. In l7()-"5 the 

i Clanruualil L'liurlur Chest. -' ChuiruiKiia t'liiirlcr I'lic.^l. 

" Stewart of Uartli. 


younger Clanranald purchased from Allan Mac- 
(louald the lands of Knockeilteig, Cleatill, and 
Holin, and in 1764 the Barons of Exchequer 
renounced in his favour their claim to the lands of 
Kinlochmo3alart, once held in wadset by the 
attainted Donald Macdonald. This latter year 
Clanranald gave a commission and factory for the 
management of his estates to William Macdonald, 
Esq., W.S., Edinburgh. In June, 1766 — we cannot 
condescend upon the precise date — old Clanranald 
died at an advanced age, and was buried in the family 
cemetery at Nunton, where his father's dust w\as 
laid 35 years before. The circumstance made no 
appreciable difference in the position of affairs, as 
Clanranald junior had since 1753 been the respon- 
sible head of the house. On 9th September, 1765, 
Clanranald made a disposition of the barony of 
Castletirrim in favour of John, his oldest surviving 
son, and of his heirs, and on the same date 
executed a similar disposition of all his other lands. 
A chartei' of confirmation from the Crown followed 
on 5th Decern! jei'. in 1777 Clanranald made a 
settlement of his affairs in favour of his wife and 
children, and appointed guardians in their interest, 
among them being Lord Macdonald of 81eat, Archd. 
Macdonald of Sanda, and Colin Macdonald of 
Boisdale.' Soon after putting his ten;poral affairs in 
order, and befoi'e the expiry of 1777, the Chief of 
Clanranald died, and was buried with his fathers. 
The public and private records of his age and family 
exhibit him in the light of a noble, brave, and 
generous (Jhief, considerate to his vassals, loyal to 
his fririiils. and never failing in gratitude to those 
who rendered him ftiithful service. 

^ Claiuauakl Cliartei' CliewL. 


Uaiiakl Macdoiiald of Clauraiuild was succeeded 
hy his oldest siii'viviiig son John, to wlioni, as a 
cliild. MacC^odvnnK the celel)rated Uist bard, com- 
])osed " Tahidli lain Mhuideartaicli.'" John of 
Moy(hirt's lullahy.' At Edinbm-oh on "iord 

February, 1780. he was served lieir to his father 
for all his lands." He is said to have been liberally 
educated and to have travelled on tlie (Continent 
for several years under the supervision of a learned 
tutor. He obtained a connnission in the army as 
Captain hi the •J2nd Dragoons, but soon retired 
from service, and settled down quietly in tlie family 
residence at Nunton. He married his tirst wife in 
1786, and by a post nu[)tial contract made a 
disposition of the lands of Kendess and others in 
the barony of Castletirrim to himself and heirs of 
the marriage. The same year he received a cliarter 
of resignation from the Commissioners of the Duke 
of Argyll for the lands of Moydart and others, on 
which sasine followed.'' On the liDth March. 17*J4. 
he appointed Hector Macdonald Buchanan. W.S.. 
Edinburgh, factor, commissionei-. and agent on his 
estates, and on 2*Jth October following executed a 
commission and factory and disposition in trust to 
Archd. Macdonald, Es([., of Sanda, and Hector 
Macdonald Buchanan, W.S. ( )n the 5th September 
previous to this last deed, lie had appointed 
guardians ibr his young fiinily,' and as the missive 
contains evidence that he was intending to leave 
Scotland for a lengthened period, we naturally infer 
that his health had broken down, and that he })ur- 
])Osed seeking a sunnier clime. It is doubtful, 
however, if he proceeded further on his journey than 

' Vide rist Bai-ils, 1,. ill. 
- e'laiiraiiald Cliailur Chfst,. ■' Wnd. HIn.l. 


the South of Scotland, where he died in the month 
of November, 1794, and though no inscription marks 
the place of sepulture, his remains are believed to 
rest beneath a stone which bears the Clanranald 
anus iu a vault at Holyrood, where other members 
of the familv rej)Ose. He died ere he could fulfil, 
save in small measure, the rich promise of his early 

John MacDonald of Clanranald was succeeded by 
his oldest son, Ranald George, who was only five 
years of age at his father's death. During 1795-6 
he Mas served heir to his father, and infefted in all 
his estates. In 1805 the superiority of all the lands 
held from Argyll was acquired by purchase. Ranald 
George MacDonald, having received his education in 
Edinburgh and Eton, came o("age in 1 810, and, during 
this and the following year, executed two successive 
deeds for the management of his estates ; but finalW, 
in 1811, he found it necessary to execute a trust 
deed on behalf of his creditors for liquidating debts 
outstanding against his predecessors, as well as con- 
siderable habilities contracted by himself^ In 1812 
he acquired the superiority of Canna from the Duke 
of Argyll, and the following year the island of Muck 
was sold to Maclean of ( Joll.-' The early part of the 
nineteenth century Vk^as, owing to many social and 
economic changes, a time disastrous to many High- 
land proprietors, and the open-handed Chief of Clan- 
ranald was not too well equipped by nature for 
contending with the altered conditions. One after 
another the various portions of the once magnificent 
domain had to be sold to the stranger, until at last, 

' Clani-aiiuia (Jliartei- Chest. 

- Ibid. There is uo reeoid nf when the ishind of Muck was aciiuired by 
the tivmily. 


ill 1838, tlie Long Island estate was disposed of to 
Colonel Gordon of Cluny, Aberdeenshiie. All that 
now remains of the once ])rond possessions are the 
Island and Castle of Tiniui.' 

The lati (Jlanranald (Jhief for many years com- 
manded the Long Island regiment of Liveriiess-shire 
local militia, and represented the hurgh of Plymton 
in Parliament from 1812 to 1824. Li 1821 a some- 
what acrimonious controversy arose between himself 
and the Chief of Clengarry regarding the Chiefship 
of the Clanraiiald. and, whatever be the merits of 
the case, the former conducted his side of the dis- 
cussion with great coolness and dignity. He visited 
his native country in 1871, and two years later, on 
11th March, 1873, died at the advanced age of 85. 

He was succeeded in the Chiefship of the Clau- 
ranald by the present (Jhief, lleginald John James 
George, whose career as an officer in the British 
Navy reflects the highest Ijonour l)oth on himself 
and his illustrious line. Admiral Sir Ueginald Mac- 
donald of Clam-anald, K.C.B., K.(!.S.L, has been 
the reci])ient of many lionours in recognition of 
distinguished public service. Besides the order of 
knighthood and otliers already indicated, he received 


1813. Zoc/ia/is— sold to Alexander Macdoiiaia, E.sq. of J )aliloa,,. £.3,0.'i-l 

1813. -Oft/i/ca— sold to Alex. Macdoiiaia of Glenalailiilo S.ittiO 

Mand of Shona-^ do., do. (3,100 

hhmd of Muck—sokl to Alex. M'Leau of Coll 9,997 11 7 

1S26. ^s<<(,<eo/ .4 r/,s«/i^—«old to Lady Ashburtou'.s Trustees.... 48,9.')0 

ifiiperlority of BoniU/i >ii\i\ \n ,\i< ."i.'iO 

/.*mf; o/AVyy— sold to Dr MaciiluTson M.riOO 

Jxland of CVmww— sold to Don. MacNeill . 9.000 

1827. />fmf/j<o/i1/(>t(/(<r(— sold to Major Allan Nil ols,,!, ^Ia,.,l,.nald 9.000 

.S'Ar«//;'.s///H//.s— .-<,, Id to Alexander Macdoiiakl uf i;iiu(- :!00 

hnuh of h;i,r/,n;i;i,ui ^ sold to Colonel Cameron 8,«00 

]KiS. South /■;.,(, I ud JJrnhnnfu^soia to Co]. Qorduu 9(5,000 

£211,211 11 7 


a s|)ecial gold medal fVoni Kev Majesty in 1877 and 
ail Etruscan (Jiip inlaid ^\■itll figures in gold and 
silver, a gift from Humbert, King of Italy, in 1878 ; 
but, as a scion of the princely house of Finlaggan, 
there is no honour that he appreciates more highly 
than to be Chief of the Society of the great Clan 
Donald, That the Clanranald Chief may enjoy the 
after-glow of a long life's evening, and that his 
progeny may be long in the land to perpetuate the 
race and the renown of Castletirrim, is the devout 
wish of every genuine clansman.' 

^ The Clanranald Cliief.s, .sinco young Clanranald of the 'ii>, have been of the 
Protestant faith. 





Einly history of (Jlenunriy. — The Macdoiialds of (Tlenyarry held 
their lands of the Lords of the TsK's. — Final forfeiture of the 
Lord of the Isles and Alexander of ({lenpirry.- — The policy of 
James IV. — Resistanee of Alexander of Glengarry. — Alex- 
ander joins the rebellion of Sir Donald of Lochalsh.— Bond 
between Glengarry and Loehiel. —Glengarry's claim to the 
lands of Lochalsh allowed. — Involved in Alexander of 
Dunnyveg's rebellion. — Crown Charter to (Jlengarry. — He 
joins the rebellion of Donald Gorme of Sleat. — fic is takeu 
a ])nsoner to Edinburgh bv .Jaines V. — Alexander joins the 
rebellion of Donald Dnbh. — He supports John of .Moidart 
and fights at Leine. — Feud between CJlengarry and the Chief 
of Grant. — Visit of the Regent Arran to Inverness. — Feud 
with the Grants renewed. — Marriage ( ontract between 
Glengarry, on behalf of his son Donald, and Kreucliie for his 
daughter, Helen Grant. — Charter by James VI. to (ilengarry. 
— Royal Commission to Angus of Glengarry to iiold courts 
within the bounds of ins lands. — Threatened invasion of 
Clen-aiTv 1-v tlie Earl "\ Avuvle. ()narrel between Glen- 


_t;arrv mid Kiiitail over the Lochalish family laiidfs in Wester 
Uoss. — (deiiuany euteis into a Imnd of inanrent with Hnntly. 
— Glenganv in rebellion against the King's authority. — 
UiflFerenees with Freuchie finally settled. — The quarrel with 
Mackenzie renewed with great fury.— Death of Angus 
Macdon;dd, younger of Glengarry. — Royal Commission to 
Glengarry to deal with broken men. — Raid of Kilchrist. — 
Lord Ochiltree makes the Island Chiefs prisoners at Arcs. — 
Raid of Strathdec by the men of Glengarry. — Letter by 
James VI. to Donald .MacAngus anent tlie manufacture of 
iron and glass near Glengarry. — Raid by the men of Knoy- 
dart. — Alasdair Dearg, younger of (Tlengarry, joined the 
rebellion of Sii' .Tames Macdonald of Dunnyveg. — Bond of 
friendshi]) between (illengarry and Clanranald. — (ilengarry 
employed in ( iovernnient service. — He claims to be heir to 
the Lordship of the Isles. — (Jlengarry and the "Broken 
Men."' — Angus, younger of (Uengarry, and MacRanald of 
Lundie.— I!:iid of Glengarry Ijy Argyle.- -" Augus Macdonald 
()g to the Laird of (Jleiigarry," couaiiitted to ward in Edin- 
burgh Castle. — Angus joins — Battle of Inverlochy. 
— Angus of Glengarry at Dundee, Auldearn, Alford, and 
Kilsyth. — Glengarry in Ireland. — -He is detained a prisoner 
at Kilkenn}'. — At Worcester. — He bestirs himself for a rising 
among the Clans. — Letter and commission from Charles IT. 
to Glengarry. — Glengarry joins Glencairn. — ]\Iiddleton 
assumes command of the Royalist forces, and Glengariy 
receives a commission of Major-General. — l)efeat of the 
King's forces at Lochgarry. 

Glengarry of old foinietl part of the Lordship of 
Lochaber, possessed by the Cuuiyii family from the 
beginning of the thirteenth century until their 
forfeiture for their adherence to the English faction 
early in the reign of Bruce. The earliest notice of 
Glengarry as a place name in any authentic record 
is to be found in a grant of the Earldom of Moray 
by Bruce to his nephew. Thomas Randolph, some 
time after his coronation at Scone in 1306.^ For 
his loyalty and services to Bruce, the King, after 

^ Regist. Moraviense. 


his victory at Bnimocklmrii. o-raiited to Angus of 
Isla a cliarter of many lands, inchiding- half the 
Loidsliip of Lochaber, while the other half was 
bestowed on Roderick of Ciarmoran, who also had 
distinguished himself on the side of Bruce. By the 
Ibrfeiture of Roderick in 1325, the whole of the 
Lordship of Lochaber came into the possession of 
the Lord of the Isles, and it remained in his family 
I'rom this time onwards until the final forfeiture of 
the last Lord in 1493. It will thus be seen that 
the lands of Glengarry were included in the Lord- 
ship of the Isles from the beginning of the fourteenth 
century, while the family of Macdonald, styled of 
Glengarry, took its rise either at the end of the 
same or in the beginning of the succeeding century. 
The early history of this family is involved in con- 
siderable obscurity, as is indeed that of the t)ther 
cadet families of the Isles, overshadowed as they all 
were by the great parent House. It was not until 
the downfall of that House that they emerged from 
their obscurity and began to play an independent 
part in the drama of clan history. All the most 
reliable authorities are agreed that Donald, the 
second son of Reginald, from whom all the Clan- 
ranald are descended, was the jnogenitor of the 
family of Glengarry. To Reginald, his father John, 
Lord of the Isles, granted a charter of many lands 
within the Lordship of the Isles, including lands in 
Ijochaber, and the same was confirmed by another 
charter by Robert II. in 1371.' According to Mac- 
Vuirich, his father bestowed on Donald the Stew- 
ardship of his lands of Lochaber, and it is highly 
})robable, though we can find no record of it any- 
where, that Regiiiald bestowed on him as his 

' Uubei'tson's Index. 


patrimony these lands, or at least some lands in 
Lochabei'. while the western portion of his extensive 
territory went to his eldest son and heir, Allan. 
One historian of the Clan affirms that the first pos- 
session of the family of Glengarry was North Morar 
only, and that it was through the matrimonial 
alliance with the family of Lochalsh that Glengarr}^ 
which appeared to have been held in leasehold, came 
to them. The fact that the early heads of the 
family are on record as " of Morar and Glengarry," 
would seem to indicate that Morar was their first 
possession, or at least that it was their first place of 
residence. North Morar remained in the family till 
near the end of last century, when it was sold by 
Duncan Macdonald of Glengarry to the family of 
Lovat. There is no trace of the lands of Glengarry 
in any charter to the Macdonalds of Lochalsh, or by 
them. It appears, however, that they laf claim to ;'/ 

certain lands in Lochaber, some of which at least ^ 

were granted by Alexander, styling himself of Loch- 
alsh and Lochiel, to Ewen, Captain of the Clan 
Cameron, in 1492.^ Either these lands in Lochaber 
were granted to the family of Lochalsh by the Lord 
of the Isles, of which, if there ever was such a grant, 
there is no record ; or Alexander lat^ claim to them Lc^l 
as heir presumptive to John, the last lord. There 
is no evidence that the family of Lochalsh ever pos- 
sessed or laid claim to the lands of Glengarry, and 
it is certain that these lands were possessed by the 
Macdonalds of Glengarry before there was any 
matrimonial alliance between them and Lochalsh. 
In several MS. histories, Alexander, the son of 
Donald, is referred to as the first of the Macdonald 
family who possessed Glengarry. Alexander Ranald- 

^ Reg. of Great Seal.- 



son of Glengarry himself must liave been of this 
opinion when, in a genealogical tree in liis " Vindi- 
cation of the Clanronakl of Glengarry," he strikes 
out the name of Donald, the son of Tieginald, 
altogether, and makes Donald's son, Alexander, the 
progenitor of tlie family. MacVuirich records the 
death of Alexander, '' a powerful, bold, warlike Lord 
of the Clanranald," as having taken place on the 
Island of Abbas, in 1400, but he makes no reference 
to him as a territorial magnate. The reason why 
there is no reference to the early heads of the family 
in contemporary records is owhig principally to their 
not holding their lands of the Crown. Very soon, 
however, after the final forfeiture of the Lord of the 
Isles, there is an action liy the Crown against 
Alexander John Alexander Ronaldson, who is sum- 
moned for " wrongous occupation " of the lands of 
Glengarry and Morar.^ Summons at the same time 
are directed against several otlier cliieftains of the 
Clan Donald, who are now called upon to take out 
Crown charters for their lands. Alexander John 
Alexander Ranaldson, against whom the summons 
is directed, appears often on record, and in a way 
that would indicate, though not expressly stated, 
that his two predecessors had also possessed the 
lands of Glengarry. There is a letter under the 
Privy Seal, dated 30th March, 1538, to " Alexander 
MacKane MacAlester of Glengarry," of the non- 
entries of the Slyfonoyae of Gkmgan-y and Montr, 
" wyt all malis fermes proffittis and dewteis of ye 
saide lands wyt yare pertinents of all yeris and 
termesbigane yat ye samin hes been in oure soverane 
lordis handis or his predecessoris be resoune of noii- 
entres sen ye deceis of John MacAlister fader to ye 
saide Alexander, or his ])i-f'dpcessoris." - 

' Aclii Doiu. Con. - Iteg. of Privy Seal, 


It would appear, however, that tlie earhest record 
evidence of the actual possession by a Macdonald of 
the (/lainanald branch of the lands of Glengarry is 
no further back than the year 1496. In that year 
it ajjpears from the C'rown Rentals that the 30 mark 
lands of Glengarry were occupied " he Angus More 
and Alexander Johne Ranaldsoun." ' But there 
need be no doubt that for a hundred years prior to 
the entry in the Crown Rentals the family, through 
a succession of chieftains, occupied the lands of Glen- 
garry. The history of that period, it is true, so far 
as the Macdonalds of Glengarry are concerned, is 
almost a ])lank. Little can be gleaned from the 
seanachies, whose meagre references do not often 
amount to much more than mere names. Mac- 
Vuirich, referring to Donald, the progenitor of the 
Glengarry family, merely records that he was the 
second son of " Ranald the Tanist," and that, dying 
in Lochaber, of which he was steward, in 1420, he 
was buried with his ancestors in Relic Oran in Tona. 
He records further that Donald was succeeded by 
his son, Alexander, known as " Alasdair na Coille," 
who appears to have inherited the fighting qualities 
of his ancestors in an eminent degree, and who, 
dying on the Island of Abbas, in 1460, was likewise 
buried in lona. 

From the MS. of 1450, written in the lifetime of 
Alexander, it appears that the eldest son of Donald 
Macranald was John, whose mother was Laleve, the 
daughter of Maclver, while Alexander, " the power- 
ful, bold, warlike Lord," was the eldest son of his 
second marriage by a daughter of Lovat. Mac- 
Vuirich makes no reference to this Jolni, and traces 
the Glengarry family in the usual Irish fashion from 

* Crown Rentals. 


son to father back to Donald, through Alexander. 
It would therefore ap2:)ear that John either left no 
issue, or was thrown out of the succession by Alex- 
ander. ( )f John MacAlister, the first referred to 
in record as. havino- possessed Glengarry, little is 
known. It is stated by the Glengarry clianipion in 
the lianaldiau controversy that John MacAlister of 
Glengarry, having been invited by Lovat to a 
friendly interview, was nnu'dered l)y him at 
Achteraw, in Abertarft*. 1'his resulted in a conflict 
between the families, in which the Frasers were 
defeated, and Lovat surrendered the lands of 
Abertarii' to Glengarry. According to the same 
authority, proceedings were afterwards instituted by 
Alexander Maclain of Glengarry before the Lords 
of Council against the murderers of his fither. 

From the Books of Adjournal it appears that 
Donald Bane was arraigned " ad subeunc legem pro 
arte et parte crudelis interjectionis (piondam Joannis 
Mac Alister, et hie pleg. capt. fuit de mandate D.(\ 
per eorum deliberationem qui ad cornu existebat.'" 

It is worthy of notice that in Dean Munro's 
Description of the Western Isles, written in tlie 
year 1549, no reference is made to the family of 
Glengarry, wliile the families of Sleat, Dunivaig, 
Ardnamurchan, Clanranald, and Ke})j^och are given 
as the then five principal families of the Clan 
Donald. It is quite evident that tlie family of 
Glengarry had not I'isen to tlie importance of the 
other families in the Dean's time, though having 
then acquired a large share of the lands of the 
family of Lochalsh they were in point of territorial 
sway at least not behind some of them. But the 
fact, often overlooked, is that the family of Glen- 
garry was merged in the (Jlanranald of Garmoran, 


and with that of Moidart and Kuoydart formed one 
tribe. The history of Glengarry down to the 
charter of 1538 is part of the history of the Clan- 
ranald Not, indeed, until w^ell on in the sixteenth 
century did the family of Glengarry act an inde- 
pendent part. If they ever held charters for their 
lands under the Lords of the Isles they are now 
lost, and no reference to them can be found any- 
where. The probal^ility, amounting almost to 
certainty, is that they never held any written title 
for their lands prior to the grant of James V. to 
Alexander Maclan MacAlister in 1538. As far 
back as 1466, John, Earl of Ross, granted to Duncan 
Mackintosh, Chief of the highly favoured family of 
Mackintosh, the office of Bailie of his hereditary 
lands of Gleno-arry, and many others in Lochaber, 
including Keppoch.^ It is difficult to account for 
this favour conferred on Mackintosh by the Lord of 
the Isles over the heads of two cadet families of his 
own house. Perhaps it was out of gratitude to the 
Clan Chattan for deserting his father's standard in 
1429. The conferring of this important office on 
Mackintosh, it may be presumed, affected Macdonald 
of Glengarry as little as w^e know it did Macdonald 
of Keppoch, and his authority was as little regarded 
by the one as by the other. 

Although there is no definite record of the part 
played by the heads of this family during the 1 5th 
century, yet it may be assumed that in the struggles 
of the Clan Donald, under the Lordship of the Isles, 
which ended in the final forfeiture of John, in 1493, 
it was not an unimportant part. In these struggles 
the Clanranald of Garmoran acted a distinguished 
part, but reference having already been made to it 

i Keg. of the Great Seal. 


elsewhere, it is not necessary to dwell upon it in this 
place. The fall of the Lordship of the Isles brought 
al)ont many changes, both in the social and })olitical 
econoiny of the Clan Donald families. The pcjlicy of 
the King was not, to say the least, conceived in a 
friendly spirit, though the great energy with which 
Ijo set about restoring order among the broken clans 
is worthy of all praise. The first step towards 
receiving the allegiance of tlie Islanders was the 
insistence by the King on all the Chiefs taking out 
charters for their lands formerly held of the Lords 
of the Isles. With this purpose in view, James pro- 
ceeded to the Highlands immediately after the 
forfeiture of the Island Lord, and received the 
submission of most of the Chiefs. Among the first 
to submit was the Chief of Clanranald, whose sub- 
mission appears for the time to have sufficed for the 
other chieftains of that branch of the Clan Donald. 
The Chief received two charters, dated res})ectively 
August 3rd and 5th, 1494, while at the same time 
Angus Reochson M' Ranald, the head of one of the 
branches of the (Jlanranald, received a cliarter of the 
lands of Benbecula and others.^ Alexander of Glen- 
garry appeared to be unwilling to accept the terms 
on which these Crown charters were granted, and 
the result was that in 1501 lie ^^•as sunnnoned for 
occupying the lands of Morar witliout a title, while 
Alexander, eldest son of the Earl of Huntly, had in 
the ]:)revious year received a grant of a portion of his 
lands of Glengarry.- It is very evident that Alex- 
ander stood ill a r(!bel]i(»us attitude towards the 
Gov(n'iniiL'iit for many Aoars after the fall ol' the 
Lordsliip of the Isles, from tlie fact that tlie lands of 
Glengarry are leased alternately to Huntly and 

' Jtfg. of the Great Sl-hI. - niidcm. 


Lochiel. The attitude of the Chief of Glengarry is 
partly at least attributable to the policy of the 
Government. The King, no doubt with the desire 
to see good government established in the High- 
lands and Islands, committed the task of carrying 
out his policy to Huntly and Ai-gyle. Having 
broken the power of the Island family, he delegated 
that power to two noblemen who were universally 
and deservedly detested by the clans. The one was 
an interloper within the Highland line ; while the 
other, boasting of a long line of native Celtic 
ancestry, had surreptitiously risen to power on the 
ruins of the smaller tribes of Argyleshire, of which 
for centuries and but recently his family formed one. 
To the houses of Huntly and Argyle can be traced, 
without any difficulty, most, if not all, the com- 
motions and petty internecine strife which for cen- 
turies disgraced the pages of Highland history. It 
was surely short-sighted policy on the part of the 
King and his advisers to deprive of its power a 
family who for long years had been the kindly rulers 
of the Highlanders, and put it in the hands of two 
unscrupulous and selfish nol^lemen like Huntly and 

Though the relations between Alexander of 
Glengarry and the Government continue unfriendly, 
it does not appear that he took any part in the 
insurrection headed by Donald Dubh, which created 
80 great a commotion in the Highlands and Islands 
on the threshold of the sixteenth century. Influ- 
enced no doubt by tlieir chief, who was in high 
favour at Court at that time, none of the branches 
of the Clanranald of Garmoran appear among the 
supporters of the unfortunate heir of Innsegall.i 
Alexander of Glengarry evidently continued in his 


altitude of resistance to the Government, for in 
1510 the King granted to Alexander, Earl of 
Hnntly, the lands and Bahary of Glengarry for nine 
years for the payment of 40 marks.' North Morar, 
however, their othei- possession, remained in the 
family during all those years, in spite of tlie 
summons against Alexander Maclain in 1501." The 
comparative peace and quietness which prevailed 
over tlie Highlands and Islands during tlie first 
decade of the sixteenth century was at last biokeii 
l)y tlie advent into the arena of rebellion of Sir 
Donald Gallda of Lochalsh. The loyalty of the 
redoubtable kniglit, always a- doubtful (piantity, 
suddenly vanished on the death of King James at 
Flodden. Inmiediately after that tragic event he 
repaired to the Highlands, and made elaborate 
prejjarations with the view of having himself pro- 
claimed Lord of the Isles. Among the first to join 
him was Alexander Maclain of Glengarry. At the 
head of a large body of men lie invaded Unpihart, 
took the castle and expelled the garrison, and 
having plundered the lands of Grant of Freuchie, 
he carried off a laro'e booty. In the besfinnini;' of 
the year 1517, John Grant of Freuchie obtained a 
decree from the Lords of Council against Sir Donald 
of Lochalsh, Alexander of Glengarry, William Chis- 
holm of Comar, and others, for £2000 Scots, at 
which he estimated his loss/' Though the decree 
obtained against him does not seem to have afl'ected 
Alexander of Glengarry at tlie time, the Raid of 
Urquhart, of which it was the outcome, involved 
him afterwards in the most serious manner witli 
Freuchie and ollieis. Alexander continued to 

^ Keg. of Privy Seal. - Acta Doui. Con. 
'•^ Chiefs of Grant, and Attii D(ini. Con. 


support the pretensions of Sir Doncald Gallda 
throughout the remainder of the stormy career of 
that rebel. On the death of Sir Donald without 
issue in 1519, Alexander of Glengarry laid claim to 
a share of his patrimony through his wife, Margaret 
of Lochalsh, sister and co-heiress of Sir Donald. 
The easier to accom})lisli his object, Glengarry 
entered into negotiations with Colin, Earl of Argyle, 
who had recently been appointed Lieutenant of the 
Isles and adjacent mainland, in room of his father, 
who fell at Flodden. The lands of Morar occupied 
by Alexander of Glengarry, as well as the lands of 
the family of Lochalsh, being within the jurisdiction 
of the Earl, the latter readily accepted from the 
former a bond of manrent in 1519, by which Glen- 
garry binds himself and his heirs to be " leill true 
affald men and servents" to the Earl.' The posses- 
sion of the lands of Glengarry still remained uncertain. 
Though belonging to the King in property, it 
appears these lands were never in his rental, but 
were occupied without any right or title by "the 
inhabitants of the Lsles."" By '' the inhabitants of 
the Isles," perhaps, are meant Allan MacRuarie of 
Clanrauald, Alexander of Glengarry, Angus Mor, 
and their followers, referred to in the Crown Rental 
of 1496. Two years after the termination of the 
lease of the lands of Glengarry, granted to Alex- 
ander, Earl of Huntly, in 1510, Alexander Maclain 
MacAlister of Glengarry, and Donald Ewen Allan- 
sone of Lochiel, enter into a bond of mutual agree- 
ment. This bond, the phraseology of which is both 
curious and instructive, is dated at Banavie, March 
21, 1521 . Tlie parties " ar swarne, athir of tham to 

' Crawfoixl's MS. Collections Advoeate.s' Library. 

- Keg. of the Great Seal, and lleg. of Privy Seal, 

■' Chiefs of Grant, and Glengarry Writs. 


othir, ill affald kyudiies and fieiidschip In wnite 
pache and concord, athir othir to defend in word, 
consale, and deid, and in al gudly accionis." They 
then bind themselves to come to a friendly arrange- 
ment in respect of the 14 merk lands of Invergarrv, 
in the event of either of them acquiring |X)ssession 
of these lands. " Gyfe Gode preuides at the said 
Donald findis or mal cum to oiiy wai, be his uwiue 
industri, helpe, or consal of frendis, that he mai get 
the xiii] merk landis of Inuergarre in tak," then, and 
in that case, Donald Ewinson will agree to lease to 
Alexander Maclain the lands of Lagaiie, Maldelle, 
Dellecharne, and Badiiitawag. ( )n the other hand, 
" gife it hapinis at the said Alexander may gudlyest 
cum to the said land, he dissirand gettand the said 
Donaldis leife to blok with the semyn, and wyand 
it, the said Alexander haldaiid his part abufe writtin 
and giftand to the said Donald tlie laife eftei' the 
tenor of the said Alexandris tak," that is, lavergarry 
and Killeane. The terms of agreement would seem 
to have been adhered to by the parties, neither of 
whom then, nor for some time, obtained the expected 
legal infeftment in these lands. Alexander of Glen- 
garry appears to liave been more successful else- 
where. In 1524 he and Margaret, his wife, raised 
an action before the Lords of Gonncil for allowing 
their claim to the lands of Lochalsh, and though it 
was not then acknowledged, they were allowed to 
remain in ])ossession for the time."^ Meanwhile, 
Alexander of Glengarry became involved in the 
troubles raised by Alasdair Maclain Chathanaich of 
Dunnyveg, and otheis. In the year 15;U, he is with 
several Mac(lon;dd chic^ftains, and other Islesnieii. 
repeatedly summoned for treason, but ibllowing the 

' Acta L)oin. Cdii. 


example of Alexander of Dunnyveg he finally sub- 
mitted to the King, and was pardoned for all past 
offences. ALout this time, the King granted to 
Ewin Allunson of Lochiel the 12 merk lands of 
Invergarry, and others, for the yearly payment of 
40 marks.' Again, in 153(3, the non-entry and 
other dues of the same lands, including the lands of 
Sleisgarrow, are granted to Donald, the son <jf Ewen 
of Lochiel."^ Alexander of Glengarry seems still to 
be in bad grace with the Government, but there is 
every reason to believe that he and Lochiel settled 
the matter of possession of the lands of Glengarr}^ 
-amicably, in terms of their l^ond. At length the 
tide turned, and fortune smiled on the Chief of 
Glengarry. Now had arrived the era of charters, 
and with it the prosperity and power of the family 
of Glengarry. If there was some hesitation on the\ 
part of the Chief to accept Crown charters, it was 
only an expression of a feeling common to all the i 
chiefs of his time, who at length found themselves j 
face to face with that feudal yoke from which High- 1 
landers have striven in vain for centuries to free i 
themselves. Glengarry, after holding out longer! 
than many of them, and suffeiing much from inter- 
loping Gordons and Camerons, had at last to yield 
to the inevitable. The die is now cast. On March 
30th, 1538, there is " ane letter maid to Alexander 
McAlester of Glengarry his airis and assignais of the 
gift of the nonentries of all and haill ye xx penny 
worth of land of Glengarry callit ye Slesmoyne wt 
ye pertinents hand in ye Lordschip of Lochabir ; 
and of all and haill the twelt penny worth of land of 
ye lands of Morour with the pertinents, hand in the 
Lordschip of Garmoran."^' Early in 1539, Alex- 

^ lieg. of Great Seal, and Reg. of Fiivy Seal. 
- Keg. of the Privy Seal. -^ Ibidem, 


ander of Glengan y and his wile, Marg-aret of 
Lochalsh. and others, raised an action hefore the 
Lords of Council against James Grant of Frenchie 
craving tlie reduction of the decree ohtained hy 
John Grant of Freuchie in 1517 against the coui- 
plainers for '• spuilzie."' James Grant "' heing 
lawfully sunnnoned to yis actioun, oft times callit 
and comperit," the Lords of Council continued the 
same to tlie 8th day of March following. Mean- 
while, however, and before the time appointed for 
the further hearing of the case had expired, Alex- 
ander of Gleno-arrv havino; resio'ned his lands of 
Glengarry and Morar into the King's hands, he on 
the ()th of March, 1539, with Margaret his wife, 
and Angus his heir, received a Crown charter of the 
lands of Glengarry and Morar, half the lands of 
Lochalsh, Lochcarron, and Lochbroom, with the 
Castle of Strome.'- The good relationship thus 
established between Alexander of Glengarry and the 
Government was of short duration. Li the niontli 
of May of the same year the flag of rcAolt was 
raised Ijy Donald Gorme Macdonald of Sleat. who 
now put forward a claim to tlie Lordship of the 
Lsles, and Alexander of Glengarry was among the 
first to join him. On the death of Donald and 
conse()uent failure of the enterprise, the King 
hastened to the Lsles to restore order amongst the 
clans. Ilealising tlieir danger, many of the cliiefs 
hastened to pay their respects to the sovereign. 
After cruising for some time amongst the Outer 
Islands, the Scottish fleet anchored in Loch- 
Challuimchille, since kiKnvn as Portree. Here 
Alexander of Glengai-ry and otiiors of " Mac- 
Coneyllis kin" went on board tlie King's ship 

' Acta JJoiii. Con. - JlcK. (if the Cireat Seal. 


expecting to be graciously received by the sovereign,' 
but tliey found themselves prisoners instead. The? 
Kino-, who was dehtdited at this clever stroke of 
detective work, carried the chiefs with him to 
Edinburgh, where they were confined during his 
pleasure. John Mackenzie of Kintail was not among 
the chiefs taken captive by the sovereign. It was 
at the siege of liis Castle of EUandonan that 
Donald Gorme, tlie prime mover in the recent dis- 
turbances, met his death. For his services to 
Government, l)oth in the Isles and elsewhere, the 
King bestowed on Mackenzie the lands of Lagane, 
Killenane, and Invergarry, forfeited by Alexander 
of Glengarry for the part taken by him in the 
insurrection of Donald Gorme. From this time may 
be dated the feud, long and bloody, which existed 
between the families of Glengarry and Kintail, and 
now, too, we have the initiation of that policy of 
playing the Government game for the glorifying of 
the Mackenzies, pursued so persistently and success- 
fully by the Chiefs of Kintail. The King, struck 
perhaps with remorse for his unkingly conduct in 
Skye and elsewhere, liberated some of the less tur- 
bulent chiefs, on their providing hostages for their 
future good behaviour. The rest, among whom was 
Alexander of Glengarry, were meanwhile kept in 
close confinement in Edinburgh, where they remained 
until they ^vere, shortly after the King's death, in 
1542, set at liberty l:)y the Regent Arran. The 
return of the men of the Isles to liberty was followed 
by the ominous signs of a coming storm. Fired \vith 
resentment at the treatment meted out to them by 
the King and his advisers, they only waited the 
opportunity to avenge themselves on their jailers. 
And they had not to wait long. The opportunity 


soon amved. Donald Dubh, the unfortiiiiate heir 
of [nnsegall, after an interval of some forty years, 
auain came forth to contest the honours of his house. 
Everything at first seemed to favour the success of 
his enterprise. The Sovereign was a child, and in 
the hands of a weak Executive ; and tlie vassals of 
the Isles, ever loyal to the House of Macdonald, 
were now% on account of recent events, more eager 
than ever to join the standard of the representative 
of that House. Alexander of Glengarry followed 
the banner of Dr>nald Dubh throughout his campaign, 
and \\'as one of the seventeen chiefs who formed his 
(Council, and in that capacity signed as " Alexr. 
rannoldson of Glengarrie," with his hand on the pen, 
the " Commission of the Lord of tlie Isles of Scot- 
land to treat with the King of England" in 1545.^ 

While the rebellion of Donald Dubh \vas still in 
progress and occupied the serious attention of the 
Government, another event took place which falls 
now to be recorded. In June, 1544, was fought the 
bloody battle of Leine, which for a time diverted 
the attention of all parties from the more serious 
attempt of Donald Dubh. Foremost amongst the 
supporters of the hero of Blar Leine was Alexander 
of Glengarry, who, as a Chieftain of the Clanranald, 
had from the outset remained loyal to the Chiefship 
of John of Moidart. For the pai't taken by the 
Grants of Unpihart and Glenmoristoii against the 
Clanrana;ld, Alexander of Glengarry, with his son, 
Angus, and old and young Lochiel, at the head of 
tht^ir followers, invaded the parish of Urquhart in i 
Octobei', and carried away a large booty from the 
lands of Glenmoriston.- In spring of the following 

• y^ ^ Kxtracted Irom eoiTespondeiuc in the Stale Paper Office. 
• • '^ Keg. of the (Jreat Seal— Ch-irter to ,J.<hu Grant of Glenmoristoii. 


year they returned to Glen -Ur({ub art, took the 
castle, and " swept the land of eveiy lioof and 
article of food or furniture which the}' could find, 
sparing only the Barony of (./orrimony, whose owner 
had taken no part in Blar-nan-Leine.' ' 

()n the 3rd day of August, 1546, summonses were 
issued under the Royal Signet, at the instance of 
James Grant of Freuchie and John Mor Grant of 
Glenmoriston, to whom their tenants had assigned 
their claims, against Glengarry, Angus, his son, and 
3^oung Lochiel for "'spulzie."" On the 22nd of 
October evidence was led at Inverness against the 
defenders, l)efore Alexander Baillie of Dunain, and 
John Cuthljert of Auld Castle, Sheriff-Depute of 
Inverness-shire. No appearance was made for the 
defenders, who were found liable in large sums to 
the pursuers, amounting, in the case of the Laird of 
Grant, to £10,770 13s 4d Scots, and in the case of 
John Grant of Glenmoriston to £718 lid Id Scots.^ 
Paying no heed to these proceedings, the raiding 
Chiefs of Glengarry and Lochiel pursued the even 
tenor of their way, and appeared to be none the 
worse of being denounced at the Market Cross of 
Inverness, or of their lands being " apprised " to the 
Lairds of Grant and Glenmoriston. After all the 
legal steps in the process had been taken, James 
Grant of Freuchie received from the Crown a grant 
in life-rent of all the lands of the family of Glen- 
garry, both in Inverness and Ross.^ Thus a clean 
sweep was made of the heritage of the Macdonalds 
of Glengarry, so far as sheepskin could effect it ; but 
for the men who raided Urquhart and Glenmoriston 
other and very diflterent methods were necessary to 

' Mackay's " Urquhart and Glenmoriston." - Chiefs of Grant. 

•* JIackay's " Urquhart and Glenmoriston.'" ■* Reg. of Great Seal, 


iiillic't due punisbineiit. The charter to Gmnt 
rcniaiiied a dead letter. After making many 
attempts to obtain possession and secure bis pro- 
prietary rio-bts, tb«; ( Jbief utterly failed. Again 
and again be com])lained tbat tbe tenants of Glen- 
garry, Morar, Loclialsb, Locbcarron, and Locbbroom. 
paid him no rent, and tbat without having any right 
or permission from him tliey "daylie fiscbes in bis 
watteris and liscbingis thereof . . . and destroyis 
bis growand treis of his woddis . . . sua tbat the 
samyn woddis are all utterlie failzeit."^ Tbe aid of 
tbe Crown was invoked and granted l)y letters under 
tbe Queen's Signet, ordering tbe Crown otHcers to 
assist Grant, but no success attended their eftbrts.'-' 
Ptoyal letters were also issued ordering Glengarry to 
deliver up the (^astle of Strome to Grant upon six 
days' warning, but tbe whole Clan Donald North 
were now up in arms in defence of their kinsman of 
Glengarry, and tbe threat to take tbe castle by 
force was wisely abandoned. ' To the end of his life, 
James Grant of Freucbie had never received any 
satisfaction from his feudal acquisition of tbe lands 
of Glengarry, nor any compensation whatever for 
tbe raid on bis tenants of Urqubart. Tbe formid- 
able combination against bim appeared too strong, 
even with tbe Government behind him, and his 
successor, taking discretion to be the better part of 
valour, made no serious effort to enforce his rights. 

For the part taken by Alexander of Glengarry in 
the rebellion of Donald Dubli, be and others of the 
('lanranald were summoned for treason in 1545. No 
attempt, however, was made to enforce the summons, 
nor was it likely to succeed, if made, and there M^as 

' Chiefs of Grant, vol. L, p. lli". - Chiefs of Grant. ^ Ibidem, 


much besides for which Alexander of Glengarry 
would not he answerable. When threats failed, the 
Government fell back on the familiar, and, no doubt, 
laudable, expedient of remitting in the slump the 
sins of the Highland rebels, in the vain hope of 
securing their allegiance. In pursuance of this policy, 
the lawless chieftain of Glengarry was in 1548 
pardoned for all liis misdemeanours up to date, 
including his " treasonable remaning and abyding 
at hame fra our Soverane Ladyis oist and army, 
devisit and ordanit to convene upon Falamure " in 
1547, and for "ye slauchter of ye Lord Lovet and 
his complices'' at Kinlochlochy in 1544.^ But grati- 
tude to the Scottish Government is not to be reckoned 
as among the virtues of the Highland chiefs of those 
days, and Alexander of Glengarry was, no doubt, 
much exercised to discover sufficiently good grounds 
to convince him that he owed allegiance, under any 
circumstances, to those who directed the destinies of 
the Scottish State. A wide social gulf separated 
them, and no sincere eifort to bridge it had been 
made by either party. Vain are expeditions to the 
Highlands, royal and other, and vain every measure 
conceived in the spirit manifested towards the Celtic 
population by the Scottish Executive of that day, 
and thrice vain are all efforts to bring them into line 
so long as the instruments employed are the Earls of 
Huntly and Argyle. Matters had come to such a 
pass in 1552 that the Regent Arran organised a 
special expedition to the Highland Capital, in the 
hope of being able to overawe the chiefs by his 
presence, and restore order among the clans. In 
this attempt he entirely failed, so far as the Western 
clans were concerned. Amono- the rest, Alexander 

^ Register i>f Prixv Seal. 



of Glenoarry, and others of the Claurauald, held out, 
and conthiued to hold their own, in spite of the hest 
efforts of Huntly and Aroyle, and the resolution 
of the Regent and his ( /ouncil to utterh^ exterminate 
the race of lieoinald of the Isles. The continued 
i-ebellious attitude of the Clanranald, and the deter- 
mination of the Government to punish them, is shown 
in a letter from the Queen Dowager, who had assumed 
the reins of government, to Rose of Kilravock in the 
summer of 1555. They " perseuerand in thair evill 
and vickit myndis, oppressis oure derrest dochteris 
subjectis, committand slauchteris, reiffiis and vthiris 
odious crymes '" : and therefore the Queen " hes 
ordanit the cuntre to convene for invasioune and 
persute of sic misdoaris."^ Truly the lot of the 
(Jhief of Glengarry had fallen on evil times. Pressed 
on the one hand by the Scottish Government, he was 
on the other hand face to lace with a powerful 
neighbour, who, taking advantage of the straitened 
position of the family, puts forward a claim to their 
inheritance. The old Laird of Freuchie having died 
in 1553, John Grant, his son and heir, lost no time 
in taking the usual steps to have himself infefted in 
the lands of Glengarry, to wdiich he had a legal title. 
The Earl of Hinitly, as Sheriff of Inverness, issued a 
precept infefting Grant in these lands, but the Chief 
of Glengarry, supported by the wMiole body of the 
Clanranald and Clan Cameron, stood in the way, and 
the Laird of Freuchie failed to obtain possession. 
The Laird of Freuchie was no more persistent in 
forcing his legal claim than the Chief of Glengarry 
was in resisting it. And the clans who su])porte(l 
him were noi satisfied merely in acting <>ii the 
defensive, l)ut they carried the war into the enemy s 

' of Kilravock. p. TIO. 


couiitiy. In tliese circumstances, Grant was obliged 
to petition the King, setting forth that he had been 
credibly informed that certain " lymmaris and wikkit 
person is " of the Clanranald and C^lan Cameron 
intended shortly to make incursions upon his lands 
of Urquhart aud Glenmoriston. The King, in 
response to the petition, issued letters on the first 
of March, 1567, charging the neighbouring chiefs, 
Lachlan Macintosh of Dunachton and Kenneth 
Mackenzie of Kintail, with all others of the Clan- 
chattan and Clankenzie, to defend the lands of 
Grant from all incursions, on pain of being art and 
part in them.^ The Grants, Mackintoshes, Mac- 
kenzies, and other Ross-shire clans, had already in 
March, 1545, entered into a league against the 
Clanranald and Clan Cameron, the aim of the com- 
bining chiefs being to drive the families of Glengarry 
and Lochiel out of Ross-shire. The effect produced 
by this combination in raids and reprisals can be 
better imagined than described. Now in reality 
began tlie contest, long and bloody, which for well 
nigh a hundred years bulks so largely in the history 
of the family of Glengarry as to dwarf all else. In 
the midst of all this confusion an olive branch is held 
out to the perturbed Chief of Glengarry, all the more 
welcome because it comes from an unexpected cpiarter. 
On the 3rd of March, 1566, a precept of remission 
is issued in favour of Angus of Glengarry, and many 
others of the Clanranald, for their not joining the 
Royal forces at Fala Muir in 1557.' Alas for the 
Chief ! remissions come in close succession from 
Government, but there is no remission from the 
menaces of his neighbours of Urquhart and Kintail. 
And yet there are not wanting signs of a lull in the 

' Chiefs of Grant, vol. III., p. 1.32. '^ Reg. of the Privy Seal. 


storm. His LukIs in Koss-sliire had proved a trouble- 
some and ex|)ensive ae(jViisition to tlie Laird of Grant, 
and seeing that there was httle hope of his ever 
obtain i no- pencealile possession, he resolved to be 
rid of them in tlie most adviuitageous manner 
possible ill the circumstances. With this in view- 
he entered into a matrimonial contract with Colin 
Mackenzie of Kintail at Elgin on the 26th July, 
1570, in terms of which the 3^oung (Jhief of Kintail 
agreed to marry Barbara Grant, the Laird's daughter, 
with a tocher of 2000 merks and the half lands of 
Lochbroom.^ At the same time Kintail, in a bond 
of manrent to Freuchie, obliges himself to defend 
him acainst the Clanranald.- In pursuance of the 
same policy, the Laird of Grant entered into another 
matrimonial contract with Angus of Glengany at 
Elgin on November 17, 1571. It was provided that 
Donald, the son and lieii- of Angus, sliould marry 
Helen, Freuchie's daughter, "in face of Halie Kirk 
betwixt the daye and dait of yre presents and 3'e 
Fast of Sanct Jhone ye Babtist." The Laird of 
Freuchie, on his part, obliged himself to infeft 
Angus of Glengarry in the lands of Glengarry, and 
others, " apprised " to ( rrant for the raid of 
Ur(|uhart, while the lands of Lundie and others 
were to be given to Allan, Glengarry's brotlier. 
Angus of Glengarry, on his part, binds himself and 
his successors to serve the Laird of Freuchie and 
his successors against all persons, " tlie auctoritie of 
oui' Soverane and his Chieff of (jlenrandall onlie 
l)eand exceptit." .Angus of Glengarry further binds 
himself, in the event of any quarrel between his 
Chief and Freuchie, to take part with the latter and 
give him every assistance in his power in defence 

i Chiefs of Gi-aut, vol. 1., p. M:J. - Ibkl, vol. 111., j,. J42. 


of his lands of Urquhart and Glenmoriston. ' The 
most remarkable part of this contract, in view of 
the claim put forward afterwards by another Mac- 
donald of Glengarry to the Chiefship of Clanranald, 
is the acknowledgment by Angus MacAlister of the 
Chiefship of John of Moidart. The question of the 
marriage of Donald MacAngus of Glengarry to 
Helen Grant, and whether it took ])lace " in face 
of Halie Kirk," falls to be discussed elsewhere and 
in a more appropriate part of this work. Mean- 
while, it Mall suffice to say that by the help of the 
contract with Grant, Angus of Glengarry succeeded 
in obtaining a legal title to his lands. On July 8, 
1574, King James VI. granted to Angus MacAlister 
a charter of the lands of Glengarry, 12 mark lands 
of Morar, 12 mark lands of Lochalsh, and 4 mark 
lands of Lochcarron, all of which had been resigned 
in his favour by John Grant of Freuchie in terms of 
the contract of 1571.- On July lUth, in the same 
year, Angus MacAlister having resigned all his lands 
in favour of Donald, his eldest son, but retaining a 
free tenement, the King granted a charter of these 
lands to Donald.' The Macdonalds of Glengarry 
seem now to be in a fair way to become reconciled 
to their surroundings, and " peciabill gude subjectis." 
It is surely a sign of the times to find Angus of 
Glengarry in Edinburgh, and absolutely within the 
Council Chamber, deliberating with " My Lord 
Regentis Grace and Lordis of Secrete Counsall" 
regarding the maintenance of law and order within 
his Highland territory. A complaint had been made 
" be Issobel Barthilmo relict of umquhile Robert 
Guidlett Maryner in Kinghorn, makand mentioun 
that quhair hir said umquhile spous being at the 

' Chiefe uf Grant. - Reg. of the Privy Seal. ^ Ibidem. 


lischehii;- the last yeir in the north IHs at the loch 
ca.Uit Lochstronie withhi the doiriinioiui of Anguss 
Mc Alexander of Glengarry, wes in the hinderend of 
harvist last bipast crewalHe set nponn and slane 
l)e . . . Panter and iitheris liis conipliceis 
duelland within the said Anguss his doniinionn 
and ar his tennentis as sclie is surely informit." ^ 
From an Act of the Privy Council of the year 156G, 
it appears that there was " ane greit comnioditie 
to the conunoun weill of this realrae throw the 
iischeing of Lochbroume and utheris Lochis of the 
north seyis."' Divers persons outside the kingdom 
had made earnest application for permission to tisli 
in these lochs,, hut the Council ordained that no 
strangers be permitted to fish within these bounds 
" undir the j^ane of conliscatioun of their shippis 
and gudis and punishing of thuir ])ersonis at oure 
Soveranis will." The Regent and Council granted 
to Angus of Glengarry full powei- and commission 
to fix and hold courts within the bounds of his 
" dominioun " as often as there was need, and he 
was enjoined at the same time to put the alleged 
murderers of the mariner of Kingliorn " to the 
knowledge of ane assziss of the marchandis and 
marynaris that first sail hapj)in to arrive at Loch- 
strome or Lochcarron at the next fisclieing.' " How 
Angus of Glengarry behaved during the short tenure 
of his new judicial office, or how it fared with the 
nmrderers of the unfortunate mariner from King- 
horn, we have no means of knowing. As foj- Angus 
himself, he soon appeared at another tribunal t(» 
answer for liis own deeds 

'I'iie Hi'st puhlic ap])earance made by Donald, tlic 
heii- and successor of Angus of Glengarry, is in an 

' Privy Council Records, 1574. '^ Ibidem. 


action raised by hira against Hugh, Lord Fraser of 
Lovat, and deliberated upon by the Privy Council 
sitting at Dalkeith on March 10th, 1575. The 
summoiis set forth that in all times bygone the 
indvvellers of the Highlands and Isles had conveyed 
timber in boats to the adjacent burghs by the nearest 
course open to them, yet Lord Lovat had lately pre- 
vented Donald MacAngus and his tenants from 
carrying wood by the water of Lochness to the town 
of Inverness, " quhairby the commoun weill of 
the countrie and burgh foirsaid is hurt and disad- 
vantageit." T<ord Lovat failing to appear in his 
defence, the Council passed an Act prohibiting him 
from molesting Donald MacAngus and his men in 
their timber trade with Inverness.^ 

Donald MacAngus being now apparently in high 
favour at Court, and a law-abiding subject living at 
peace with his neighbours, it appeared as if at length 
fortune had smiled on the family of Glengarry. But 
this pleasant aspect of affairs was soon changed, and 
the disturber of tlie peace of tlie lieges was no less a 
personage than the Earl of Argyle himself, the here- 
ditary personification of law and order, and all the 
virtues of the Celtic race. Colin, Earl of Argyle, had 
just succeeded his brother, Archibald, in the hereditary 
honours of his house, but not in his public offices, 
and, being burdened with none of the responsibilities 
of office, he yielded to a strong desire to become 
a lawless raider, like some others of the Island 
Gentiles. Immediately aftei his succession to the 
earldom, he signalised his chiefship of the clan by 
puttmg himself at the head of a plundering band of 
Campbells, and, invading the Maclean and Macdonald 
countries, in the Isles, he carried away as much spoil 

^ Reg. Sec. Cou. 


;is he was able to lay bis tbieviiig hands upon. Verily 
the Campbells, after all were but made of common 
clay, like the rest of their neighbours. The Earl 
was not satisfied with merely raiding the Islands. 
Making a pretence of mustering his vassals for the 
pursuit of certain " troublaris of the commoun (juiet- 
nes of the cuntre," he, in the end of the year 
1577, made extensive preparations for invading tiie 
Mainland, and evidently intended making the country 
of Donald MacAngus his principal })oint of attack, 
though the intended invasion of Glengarry Avas but 
a part of his great scheme of plunder on the Main- 
land. Perhaps also Donald MacAngus had made 
himself conspicuous in opposing the Earl in the Isles, 
and I'oused MacCailein's resentment. So formidable 
were the Earl's preparations, that Donald MacAngus 
was obliged, with all haste, to appeal to tlie Privy 
Council for protection. The Council, I'ealising the 
grave nature of the situation, at once issued a ])ro- 
clamation prohibiting the Earl and his followers from 
molesting in any manner Donald MacAngus and his 
friends, who were now "peciabill and gude subjectis." 
Letters were directed at the same time to the Tutor 
of Lovat, Mackenzie of Kintail, (irant of Freuchie, 
Mackintosh, Munro of Fowlis, Iloss of Balnagown, 
Macdonald of Keppoch, and Chisholm of Strathglass, 
charging them " to pass to assist and defend with 
their kin and followers Donald MacAngus and his 
friends and servants."' The Council again, on the 
iiOth of February, ordered letters to be directed, 
charging Maclean of Duart, Mackinnon of Strath, 
and others, by open [)roclamation at the Market 
Cross of Inverness, that none of them convocate 
themselves in arms or invade Donald MacAngus 

' J'livy Council ixecord.-'. 


of Glengarry, under pain of treason. These elaborate 
preparations put a stop effectually to the intended 
invasion by the Campbells, who, making a virtue of 
necessitv, yielded without a struggle ; and the Earl 
himself, finding that he could overreacli his neigh- 
bours in a less hazardous manner, fell back on the 
old Campbell way of doing it in the guise of law and 

Though saved by the timely intervention of tlie 
Privy Council from an invasion l)y the Campbells, 
Donald MacAngus of (Trlengarry almost immediately 
became involved in a serious quarrel with another 
Clan. The relations between himself and Mackenzie 
of Kintail had been for some time anything but 
friendly, and at length their unhappy differences 
resulted in an open rupture between the families. 
The lands of Dingwall of Kildun in Lochalsh and 
Lochcarron, inherited by him through his mother, 
Janet Macdonald of Lochalsh, had been acquired 
by purchase by the family of Kintail. But Colin 
Mackenzie of Kintail, who had also acquired the 
lands of Glengarry in Lochbroom, seems not to 
have been satisfied with this large addition to the 
original little territory of his family in Kintail. 
His great ambition appears to have been to obtain 
[)Ossession, by fair means or foul, of the whole of 
the Lochalsh family lands in Wester Ross. In any 
case, it is quite evident that in the quarrel with 
Glengarry at this time, Mackenzie was the aggressor. 
It suits the Mackenzie clironiclers to put a very 
different complexion upon it. According to them, 
Glengarry had behaved in a very cruel and tyrannical 
manner towards the native tenants of his West 
Coast lands, especially towards the Mathesons and 
the Clan tain Uidhir, supposed to have been the 



original possessors of the lands of Loclialsli. Tl 
native tribes naturally sided with their near iiei^-li- 
bours, the Mackenzies. and thus no doubt brought 
down upon their devoted heads the wrath of the 
Chief of Glengarry. That Chief, who lived at a 
great distance from his West Coast property, was 
oljliged in defence of that possession, and such of 
his tenants as adhered to him, to take up his resi- 
dence at Lochcarron, and place a strong garrison ni 
the Castle of Strome. The })resence of the Mac- 
donald garrison in their midst only tended, as might 
have been expected, to exasperate the men of Wester 
Ross and provoke them to commit yet greater out- 
rages on the adherents of Glengarry. Revolting 
accounts are given in the Mackenzie and other 
manuscripts of the reprisals on both sides, Ijut as 
these are decidedly one-sided and greatly exag- 
gerated, little reliance need be put upon them as 
evidence on either side. There need be no doubt, 
however, that tlie feud between the Chiefs v/as 
carried on in a savage and bloody manner, and 
that little quarter was given on either side. 
Matters at length had assumed so alarming au 
aspect that Glengarry was obliged to invoke the 
interference of the executive Government. At a 
meeting, held at Dalkeith on August 10th, I58".i, 
Glengarry appeared personally belbie tlu^ Privy 
Council with a com})laint containing very .serious 
charges against the Mackenzies. On the last day 
of February of the previous year, he alleges that 
"great slauchters, heirschippis and skaithis "' were 
committed upon him. liis kin, friends, and servants, ^ 
which he estimated at six score thousand pounds 
Scots.^ Again, in tlie beginning of March, he was 

' Privy Cijuucil liecortls. 


visited bv Rory Mackenzie of Redcastle, brotlier of* 
Kiiitail, and Dougal, Ilory's brother, accompanied 
by two hundred persons " bodin with tvva-handit 
swordis, bowes, darlochis, hagbuttis. pistolettis 
prohibite to be worne or nsit, and other wappinis 
invasive." And finally, on the Kith of April, they 
came upon the complainer at Lochcarron, took him 
captive, and detained him a prisoner for forty days 
" in coves, craigis, woddis, and uther desert places 
at thair pleasour,"' where none of his friends had 
access to him. liory Mackenzie and his accomplices 
apprehended also, at the same time, Rory, Glen- 
garry's uncle, three of his sons, and others, his 
friends, and servants, to the numVjer of 33 persons. 
They caused the hands of these j^ersons to be bound 
with their own '" sarkis," cruelly slew them, and 
appointed tliat tliey should not be buried like 
Christian men, but cast forth to be eaten by dogs 
and swine. At the end of the complainer's captivity, 
he was carried to Colin Mackenzie of Kintail, and 
from him to Strome Castle, which the Mackenzies 
besieged, threatening at the same time to hang 
Glengarry in sight of the garrison, unless they 
surrendered it. The Mackenzies are still further 
charged with having violently taken Donald Mak- 
morach Roy, one of Glengarry's chief kinsmen, 
'■ bait thame in his blude and be a strange exemple 
to satisfie their cruell and unnaturall heartis, first 
. cut off" his handis, nixt his feit, and last his heid, 
and having cassin the same in a peitpott, exposit 
and laid out his carcage to be a prey for doggis 
and revenus beistis." ' Having heard this dreadful 
indictment, the Privy Council passed an order 
charging Colin Mackenzie of Kintail, who had 

^ Privy (JouiK-il itecords. 


failed to a])pear, to suri-eiider the (.-astle of Strome 
to Donald MacAngus within twenty-four lionrs, 
under pain of I'ehellion. Mackenzie at the same time 
Mas ordered to tind sufficient caution for the safety of 
Donald MacAnirus and his friends in ])erson and 
^^oods, and if he should fail to do so within tifteen 
days after beino' chari);-ed, he \yas to be denounced 
rebel and put to the horn. On the -Ind day of 
December, David Clapen in Leith, and John Irving 
of Kinnock, become cautioners for (John Mackenzie 
in the sum of 2000 merks, and the Chief of Kintail 
])ledge(l himself to deliver tlie ( 'astle of IStrome to 
Donald MacAngus in the event of the Council 
tinding that lie should do so. Shortly thereafter, 
on January 15th, 158:!, Kintail petitioned the Privy 
Council, the burden of which was a com|)laint against 
Donald MacAngus for having, as he alleged, "upon 
a certain sinister and malicious narration,'' obtained 
a decree charging the petitioner to deliver up the 
Castle of Strome. He ])leaded ignorance of the 
charge brought against him by Donald MacAngus, 
a summons having never been served upon him, 
either at his dwelling-house or elsewhere ; and he 
alleged that he received the (./astle of Strome by 
contract from Glengarry, while formerly he had 
been charged Ijy the Lords of Council to deliver it 
to John Grant of Freuchie, as pertaining to him in 
heritage. Kintail is, therefore, at a loss whether to 
give up the Castle to Glengarry or to Fieuchie. 
Pending further inquiry, and on the ground, that 
he has found surt^ty, the charg-e against Kintail is 
suspended, but on condition that lie should deliver 
the Castle to whomsoever the King might direct. 
By order of (Jouncil, given on Maich Hth, 158:5. the 
Castle of Strome, the great bone ol' contention, was 


ultiiiiately delivered into the Iveepiiig of the Earl of 
Argyle. I'he failure of Kintail to meet the serious 
charges brought against him by Glengarry leaves' 
no room for doubting that these were substantially 
correct. Mackenzie's guilt is clearly proved by the 
fact that he made no attempt to i-efute the damna- 
tory charges preferred against him and his followers, 
his whole defence being that he held the Castle of 
Strome by contract from Donald Mac Angus, and 
the holding of the Castle of Strome was far and 
away the least of Kintaifs offences. There is, 
further, the significant fact that Donald MacAngus 
was confirmed by the Kin.g in all his lands in 
Lochalsh and Lochcarron in loSo, and by a special 
Retour at Inverness in 1584 he is declared heir to 
his grandmother in the same lands.' But all doubt' 
of the guilt of the Mackenzies is removed by the 
remission granted by the Privy Council in 1580 to 
Colin Mackenzie of Kintail, and lloclerick Mackenzie j 
of Redcastle, for being art and part in the cruel I 
murder of Roderick, Glengarry's uncle, and many 
others, his followers, and for many other crimes.-^ 

Donald MacAngus seems now to be again in a 
fair way of being independent of his opponents in 
the West, and, to make his position all the more 
secure East and West, he entered, in October, 1585, 
into a bond of man rent with George, Earl of Huntlv, 
whose bound thrall he agreed to become, as his ^ / 

father, Angus MacAlister, had been before him..^ / 

But the Chief of Glengarry, however, was destined 
not to possess his lands in Wester Ross in peace. 
He was, no doubt, largely himself to blame. The 
marriage contract of 1571 had not secured the end 
which it was hoped it \v()uld accomplish, nor had 

^ Registers of Chancery. - Privy Council Records. ^ / 

r The Gordon Papers, / 


Helen Grant on piuljation healed the breach between 
the two famihes concerned, but, on the contrary, 
widened it ; ;ind Donald MacAngus finds himself 
face to face with a wrathful father. Notwithstanding 
the confirmation by the King to Donald of his West 
( /oast lands in 1583, Grant of Frenchie attempted, 
in 1586, to infeft Mackintosh in the same lands. 
But Mackintosh, exercising great discretion, made 
no effort to possess himself of lands, the acquisition 
of which was certain to bring him more trouble than 
profit, and the storm blew over, leaving Donald 
MacAngus to the tender mercies of the Mackenzies. 
During the next ten years after the attempt to infeft 
Mackintosh in the lands of Lochalsh and Lochcarrt)n, 
there are no authentic references regarding the 
possession of these lands, nor of the relations 
between the Chiefs of Glengarry and Kintail, 
though it is evident from other sources these could 
not have been friendly. The only reference in the 
public records to Donald MacAngus himself during 
this period is in the Acts of the Scottish Parliament 
for the year 1587, in which his name appears on the 
Roll of Landholders and Chiefs of Clans in the High- 
lands, appended to an Act '' for the quieting and 
keeping in obedience of the disordurit subjectis 
inhabitantis of the Borclouris, Hielandis, and His," 
connnonly called from one of its principal provisions 
"The General Bond."' In October, 1592, Glen- 
garry entered into a contract with George, Earl 
of Hiuitly, whereby he obliged himself and his 
friends to assist the Earl and his heirs in lawful 
service. The Earl, on his part, obliged himself to 
assist Donald MacAngus, and to dispone to him and 
his heirs the davoch lands of Stramalan. (^rd. and 
otiiers.- This bond, undei- ordinary circumstances, 

1 Acts jf Pari., vol. III., p. 4()1. X " tJlongairy Charter Chest, 


would mean very little, but. in view of tlje recent 
coiispiraL-ies in whicli tlie Earl became involved, and 
which threatened such serious consequences, some 
importance must be attached to the aoTt^ement with 
Glengarry. Tliere is little reason to doubt that 
Huntly was the prime mover in the j^lot that 
resulted in tlie murder of the Earl of Murray and of 
John Campbell of (Jalder, and it is equally certain 
that with liim several chiefs were deeply imjjlicated. 
To fortify himself against the storm, which he knew 
was brewing, Huntly courted the assistance of many 
of the neighbouring- potentates by entering into 
bonds of friendship with them. To Donald Mac- 
Angus it was a welcome opportunity to fortify 
himself against the Clan Mackenzie. 

A series of rebellions, which kept the country in 
a continual turmoil, prevented the carrying out of 
the reforms contemplated in the "General Bond," 
and the provisions of the Act therefore became a 
dead letter. There was, however, one piece of 
legislation which the King insisted must be carried 
out without delay. There had been recently a 
continual drain on the exchequer of the ever impe- 
cunious James, and the revenues of the Crown 
in the Isles had never hitherto been regularly 
paid. Tlie King was determined to replenish his 
exchequer from this source, but the chiefs were slow 
to respond to his demand. Being resolute to eifect 
his purpose, and compel the chiefs to submit, James 
resolved to visit the Isles in person, and caused a 
proclirimation to be made in May, L59G, summoning 
the chiefs to meet him at Dumbarton.^ Awed by 
the King's presence, many of the principal chiefs 
hastened to give in tlieir submission, but Donald 

^ Privy Council Records and Acts of Pari. 


MacAng'us of Glengarry corjtiiuied contmnacious, as 
a})]jears from an order on the Stli of July to appre- 
hend him, he having been put to the horn for not 
appearing- before the King and Council to answer 
''touching order to be taken with the disorderly 
persons of the clans in the Hisi'hiands.'"' The refusal 
of Angus Macdonald of Dunnyveg to submit to the 
King at Dumbarton rendei'ed it necessary to t^ke 
steps against that rebellious chief, and accordingly 
the expedition to tlie Isles was contiimed under the 
leadership of Sir William Stewart of Houston, the 
King himself meanwhile remaining at a safe distance 
from the base of operations. Fearing a rising of the 
Islesmen in support of the Chief of Dunnyveg, and 
es|)ecially those of his own Wood, Sir William 
Stewart was instructed to obtain possession of and 
garrison the principal strongholds in the Highlands 
and Isles. He is '■ to haif the hoiis of Strome fra 
Glengarry, becaus the samyn is thair resett on 
Maynland, he being of thair bluid."'- The carrying 
out of this project w^as rendered unnecessary by the 
'submission of Angus of Dunnyveg and Donald Mac- 
iAngus, the latter appearing personally before the 
iKing in Edinl)urgli, and binding himself by his great 
oath that he and all for wliom lie was answerable 
would keep the peace, and redeem all heirschips 
connnitted by them.'^ There followed a brief period 
of much-needed peace, though the King's dues, which 
occasioned the commotion, still remained in great 
pait unpaid. It was afterwards recorded tiiat ''the 
inhabitantis of the Helandis and lies . . . hes 
frustrat His Majestic of the yeirlie payment of his 
proper rentis and dew service." "* 

' Cliirt. of Ciaiit. vnl. Iir.. |,. 1S7. '' P.alrrtr'n.« Papers. 
3 I'l-ivv Ci.uiicil liei-oiil.-. •* Aci^ of Tui L, vol. IV., [k 13S. 


The next situation in which we find the Chief of 
Gleng'arry figuring is the old and famihar one in 
which he did not always appear to advantage. The 
relations between his family and the Chiefs of Grant, 
though at intervals more or less friendly, were never 
on the whole quite satisfactory. The time had now 
at length arrived for a final adjustment of their 
differences. On the 28th of April, 1597, the Chiefs 
entered into a mutual bond of mam^ent, in terms of 
which Donald Mac Angus agreed to take part with 
John Grant of Freuchie and his successors against 
all men, except the King and Donald's Chief, and 
even against his Chief, should he invade the lands 
of the Laird of Grant. ^ The old dispute regarding 
the lands of Lochcarron and others was also con- 
sidered and referred to arbitration. In the event 
of the Laird of Grant's title being preferred, Donald 
MacAngus bound himself to pay a rent of three 
merks for every mark land in dispute between them. 
Finally, the matter was disposed of by the Laird of 
Grant conveying the disputed lands in feu farm to 
the Chief of Glengarry. In consideration of this 
disposition the Chiefs solemnly renewed their alliance 
by entering nito another mutual bond of manrent, 
in which they vowed to assist and defend one 

A much more interesting transaction falls next 
to be recorded, to which Donald MacAngus was a 
party. The family of Glengarry had never hitherto 
possessed lands in the Western Isles. King James 
VI. granted in 1596 a charter to Mungo McEachin 
in Collass of the lands of Muck and Unakill, and 
he was infefted in these lands in the same year. 
In the following year, or shortly thereafter, Mungo 

' Chiefs c,f Grant, vol. III., ]>. 189. - Ibid., p. 19G. 



McEacliiri granted a charter of the same lands to 
Donald Mac Angus of Glengarry.^ This interesting 
acquisition to the family inheritance of Glengarry, 
of whicli they retained possession for several genera- 
tions, proved ultimately a source of much trouble 
to them, and involved them in serious feuds with 
the neighbouring Macleans. 

But the solution of a much more difficult problem 
than that of defending his recently acquired lands 
in the Isles now awaits the Chief It seems as if 
his whole life must be devoted to the defence of his 
different possessions from rapacious neighbours, and 
now all the energy of which he is capable is needed 
to avert a trouble the shadow of which is already 
upon him. The old quarrel between him and Mac- 
kenzie of Kintail again broke out with, if possible, 
greater fury than ever, and it would appear as if 
Glengarry himself, or rather his son, Angus, was 
X the aggressor. At all events, in November, IGOl, 
Angus, Younger of Glengarry, accompanied by a 
large following of his father's dependents, and a 
" grit nowmer of brokin and disorderit Hielandmen," 
came down suddenly on the lands of Torridon and 
laid violent hands on life and property. According 
to the Mackenzie seanachies, the men of Glengarry 
committed great outrages, " cruelly slaughtered all 
the aged men with many of the women and children," 
and returned home laden with spoil." On the 22nd 
of July, 1602, a complaint was made to the Privy 
Council at the instance of the widows of the men 
slain at Torridon, and their kin, against Donald 
MacAngus of Glengarry, who is at the same time 
charged with accepting the fruit of the Torridon 
herscliip " with all glaidnes of hairt." Tlie same 

' Charter Chest of Glengarry. - -' Mackenzie MS. of 1650. 


charges are made against Angus, his son, and a long 
roll of Macdonalds. Neither Glengarry, nor any 
of his followers, appearing to answer to the charges 
preferred against then, they were all ordered to be 
denounced and put to the horn. Meanwhile, Glen- 
garry being " unexpert and unskilful in the laws of 
the realm, the Clan-Cheinzie intrapped and insnared 
him within the compass thereof," and Kintail suc- 
ceeded in procuring, through the interest of the 
Earl of Dunfermline, a commission of fire and 
sword against him/ Armed with this commission 
and accompanied by a large body of retainers, and 
some of the neighbouring clans, Kintail invaded 
Glengarry's lands of Morar, which he wasted without 
mercy, and swept of every hoof and article of value 
Avithin his reach. While the Mackenzies were thus 
busily engaged harrying the lands of Morar, the men 
of Glengarry in a similar manner wasted the lands of 
Lochalsh and Applecross, and carried death and 
terror everywhere before them. Matters had at 
length taken so serious a turn from the Mackenzie 
point of view, that Kintail began to be apprehensive 
of a great rising of the Macdonalds, both North 
and South, to assist their kinsman of Glengarry. 
Mackenzie, whosq sister had married Hector Mac- 
lean of Duart, naturally appealed to that chief 
for help ; and, in hope of being able to prevent 
so formidable a combination of forces through 
Maclean's intervention, he in al] haste repaired 
to Duart Castle, where, among other things, 
he discusses genealogy witli Fergus MacRorie, 
the Duart Seanachie.^ If the Mackenzie manu- 
script histories are to be believed, Kintail succeeded 
in the object of his visit to Maclean, who, they 

1 Gordon's Earldom of Sutherland. Y - MS. of 1650. 


assert, invaded Ardiiamurchan and other Macdonald 
territories, and committed such outrages as to com- 
pel the interference of the Earl of Argyle. However 
this may be, it is certain that Glengarry received 
no assistance from his kinsmen in the South Isles. 
Taking advantage of the absence of the Mackenzie 
Chief in Mull, Angus of Glengarry, at the head of a 
considerable body of his followers, invaded Loch- 
carron by sea, and after reducing the houses of the 
inhabitants to ashes, he went off with as much 
j^lunder as his galleys would carry. The Mackenzies 
being taken unawares, were not at first able to offer 
any resistance, l)ut the fiery cross was sent round, 
and getting into their boats they pursued Young 
Glengarry as far as Kyleiea. At this point an 
engagement took place, which resulted, according to 
Sir Kobert Gordon, in the death of Angus Mac- 
donald of Glengarry and forty of his followers, " not 
without slaughter of the Clan-Cheinzie likewise."' 
The details of this and all the other engagements 
l)etween Glengarry and Kintail, which are greatly 
exaggerated, and are anything f)ut edifying, are 
given with much minuteness in the Mackenzie 
manuscripts. There is no account given of the 
struggle between these families from the Macdonald 
])oint of view in any manuscript history of the clan 
known to us, and the Mackenzie manuscripts, which 
are somewhat numerous, are not to be relied upon 
save where they are corroborated by the public 
records. The final stage in this Wester Koss 
struggle was reached when the Mackenzies laid; 
siege to the Castle of Strome, and compelled the ' 
Macdonald garrison to surrender. The Mackenzies 
afterwards caused the castle to l)e demolished, and) 


' (}nnl<ni's Krtvl.L.iii of Sulhcrlaiul. i 


its ruins now stand a picturesque object in the land- 
scape of Lochcarron. While these acts were being 
played on the clan stage in Wester Iloss, the 
Government took steps to bring the actors to a 
sense of their shortcomings. On the 6th of August, 
1G02, the Privy Council fined Sir Thomas Stewart of 
Grantully in 5000 nierks, being the amount of his 
bond of caution for Glengarry, who had neither 
remained in ward himself nor conformed to his bond 
by entering a pledge. On the 9th of September, 
Donald MacAngus, having lately presented a pledge 
for the good conduct of his men, is charged by the 
Privy Council with departing home, leaving His 
Majesty in some doubt as to his dutiful behaviour, 
and taking his pledge witli him. The Council 
further ordered Donald MacAngus of Glengarry and 
Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail, under pain of 
rebellion, to subscribe within three hours after 
being charged such forms of mutual assurance as 
shall be presented to them, to endure till May 1st, 
1603.^ In this unequal contest between one branch 
of the Clan Donald and the whole Mackenzie Clan, 
the latter, as might be expected, prevailed, and as 
there was little hope of holding his lands on the 
Ross-shire coast in peace and safety. Glengarry at 
last surrendered his rights to Kintail. It is some- 
what curious, and indeed not a little inexplicable, to 
find that while he is still under the ban of the law, 
the King granted a commission to his " weil beloved 
Donald MacAngus of Glengarie to pas upoun the 
malefactoris and broken men of the Isles perturbaris 
of the quietnes thairof for thair apprehensioun." It 
is provided " that he be furneist with schipping at 
SIC time as he sail have occasioun to prose(jute and 

' Privy Council Kecords. 


perseii the saidis malefactoris in sic pairtis as they 
haiit and resort." He is further armed with full 
power to take any Scottish vessels that may be 
found in the Western Isles, and to furnish and 
man them for the King's service.' What success 
attended the efforts of tlie Commissioner in his new 
and somewhat invidious position, if he ever, indeed, 
went in pursuit of the " malefactoris and broken 
men " of the Isles, is uncertain. That he was him- 
self an arch-rebel is evident enough, and, except on the 
assumption that it was deemed a wise expedient to 
send a thief to catch a thief, it is otherwise difficult 
to conceive why he sliould have been at such a time 
commissioned to deal with broken men. As if all 
his other quarrels were not enough for his energies, 
the Royal Connnissioner, with several other High- 
land Chiefs, is charged to appear personally on the 
20th Sej)tember, 1603, Ijefore the Privy Council 
" to underly sic ordoure as sail bie prescryvit to him 
anent the persuit of Clangregor," But very soon 
thereafter he is arraigned with the Chief of this 
same Clan, now proscribed, and George, Marquis of 
Huntly, for being art and })art in a great " spuilzie 
and slauchter" of the Clan (Jhattan.- 

While the Chief of Glengarry is being thus 
arraigned for his sins of commission and of omission, 
and is at the King's horn, the scene of the quarrel 
with the Mackenzies is changed from the West 
Coast of Ross-shire, and Allan Macranald of Lundie, 
at the head of a considerable body of his Chiefs 
retainers, perpetrated, in the month of September, 
1603, the Raid of Kilchrist. The lands invaded 
were those of Mr John Mackenzie, Minister ol 

' Ccuuiiissioii dated May lltli, 1602, in Glctigany Cluirtei- Cliest. 
- I'rivy Couucil Kecords. 


Killearnan, who was also proprietor of the lands of 
Kilchrist. He and his tenants appear to have been 
taken unawares. The foray was both sudden and 
thorough. The whole district was laid waste, but 
not, however, without some show of resistance on 
the part of the minister's tenants, five of whom 
perished in the scrimmage. After destroying the 
houses and other property of the minister and his 
tenants, Allan of Lundie returned home, driving 
before him 70 head of cattle and 9 horses. It is 
said that Kintail, being apprised of the affair, sent 
a large party of Mackenzies in pursuit, under Murdo 
Mackenzie of Hedcastle and Alexander Mackenzie of 
Coul. If he did, they were too late, for Allan of 
Lundie undoubtedly reached home in safety with 
the spoil of Kilchrist. No immediate steps were 
taken against the raiders. But ultimately, in the 
summer of 1622, Mr John Mackenzie, the aggrieved 
party, who in the interval had become Archdeacon 
of Ross, raised an action against Allan of Lundie, 
charging him with wilful raising of fire and cruelly 
murdering Alexander, John, and Donald Mackay, 
Alexander Gald, and another, the minister's tenants in 
the town and lands of Kilchrist. Allan of Lundie is 
further charged with destroying 27 dwelling houses, 
with the barns, byres, and kilns, and burning the 
minister's library, with 400 bolls of oats, and 160 
bolls of here, while he theftuously stole 9 horses and 
70 head of cattle.^ Allan, who failed to appear to 
answer to this serious charge, was declared rebel, 
forfeited, and put to the horn. It would no doubt 
have fared ill with the raider of Kilchrist at this 
time, if he had not had a friend at Court whose 
influence was exercised in his behalf In the month 

' Reg. of the Privy Seal, Dec. 7, 1622. 


of December ibllowiiio^ the forfeiture of Lunclie, Sir 
John Grant, who owed him the large sum of 3000 
merks, acquired i'rom the Crown a gift of his Luuls 
and etiects.^ Principally on account of the debt he 
owed him, Sir John Grant allowed x\llan keep 
possession of his lands and goods, while on paper at 
least eternal friendship was sworn between them. 
In this way did Allan of Lundie fare ; but the 
Archdeacon of lioss himself seems to have received 
no compensation for the loss of his goods and gear 
in the burning of Kilchrist. Havmg to all appear- 
ance failed in his action against Lundie, the Arch- 
deacon raised a second process against Donald 
MacAngus of Glengarr}'-, but that chief denied 
responsibility for the conduct of Allan of Lundie 
and his band at Kilchrist, avowed his willingness to 
stand his trial, and ' offered Sir Donald Gorme 
Macdonald of Sleat as cautioner.- In this process 
against the Chief of Glengarry no better success 
attended the eftbrts of the Archdeacon for the resti- 
tution of his property. 

The Raid of Kilchrist might well be considered 
as an ordinary incident in clan life, as indeed it was 
probably on the whole the least important of all the 
recent raids which had been made by the men of 
Glengarry on the lands of tlie Mackenzies. It would 
at least have passed as a common herschip, which 
for the great number of them conmiitted at that 
time was not likely to call for special notice, except 
for the terrible tragedy which tradition has associ- 
ated with it of the burning of the Church of 
Kilchrist, with its whole congregation of Mackenzie 
worshippers. The stoiy of the l)urning of thr 
Church of Kilchrist, with its congregation, while 

' Uhiei's of Grant. - Pilcaiiu'w (Jiimiiuil Trials. 


tlie piper of Allan Macdonald of Luiidie marched 
round the building playing a piobaireachd, has, 
strange to say, been accepted by writers of Highland 
history with as much assurance as if it were based 
on a certified entry in the Privy Council llecords. 
Johnson, in his account of his journey to the 
Western Isles, repeats the story and shifts the scene 
of the tragedy to Oulloden. Gregory, who made 
the first serious attempt to clothe the legend with 
the halo of authenticity, quotes quite an array of 
authorities in support of it, one of whom would have 
been sufficient, and not even one of the number 
makes the remotest reference to the burning of the 
Church ■ of Kilchrist. Others have followed the 
example of the author of " The History of the 
Highlands and Isles." Many have quoted him, and 
no book on the Highlands is oftener quoted than 
that of Donald Gregory. But what are the facts ? 
The Parish of Kilchrist had already ceased to be a' 
separate parish, and had been joined to that of 
Urray in 1574, while all that remained of the church 
were the bare walls. Mr John Mackenzie, the 
principal victim of the Raid of Kilchrist, was 
mducted minister of Killearnan in 1602, and he 
had not yet been advanced to the dignity of Arch- 
deacon of Hoss, as indeed he could not be for some 
years to come, while the Church remained as it then 
was under the form of Presbyterian government. 
The minister of Killearnan was a son of Alexander 
Mackenzie of Kilcln-ist, whether eldest or second 
son matters little so far as our purpose is concerned. 
He certainly succeeded some member of his family 
as proprietor of the lands of Kilchrist, and in the 
process against Allan Macranald of Lundie he 
appears in that capacity, and not as minister of 


Kilchrist. He liad no ecclesiastical coiiuection 
whatever with that district, his sole charge then 
being the parish of Killearnan, where it appears he 
had no residence, while the duties of his cure at 
least on Sunday would almost if not entirely have 
been performed by a reader. At that time the 
houses of the clergy were all situated round the 
cathedral in the town of Chanonry, as any one in 
the least degree acquainted with the ecclesiastical 
history of the Black Isle must know. The house 
occupied by the minister of Killearnan was the 
family residence of Kilchrist. His residence in that 
district is to be accounted for solely by the fact of 
his being the owner of the lands and not because he 
had any ecclesiastical jurisdiction over a parish 
which, with the bare walls of its church, had already 
been joined to the charge of another minister. Had 
Mr John Mackenzie been minister of Kilchrist, it 
would have been all the worse for him, as in that 
case he would have perished to a certainty in the 
congregational conflagration. The tradition-mongers, 
while they emphasise the burning of the whole 
congregation of men, women, and children, have 
forgotten to tell us by what miracle the minister 
escaped ; but perhaps the Mackenzies of those days, 
being probably less liturgical than their descendants 
later in the same century, were in the habit of 
meeting for public worship without a minister. In 
his process against Lundie, the Archdeacon of Ross 
made no charge of church burning, nor did any one, 
because there was no church to burn. 

After the Raid of Kilchrist there is no more 
raiding- of the Mackenzies on record against Glen- 
garry and his followers. By mutual consent they 
ceased from troubling one another, both in Easter 


and Wester Ross, and Glengarry as a man of war 
is not heard of again for some time. In 1608 the 
Isles are in a turmoil. The King, abandoning his 
original idea of solving the Island problem by 
extirpating the Islanders, is now bent on carrying 
out certain salutary reforms as a better mode of 
bringing them into line with the rest of the 
inhabitants of his Northern Kingdom. While 
the consideration of these reforms was in progress, 
much dissatisfaction prevailed in the Isles, arising 
principally from the treacherous conduct of Lord 
Ochiltree, the King's lieutenant, in taking several 
chiefs prisoners at Aros.^ The neighbouring chiefs 
on the mainland naturally sympathised with their 
kinsmen in the Isles, and among others Glengarry. 
On February 6th, 1609, he is charged by the Privy 
Council not to receive disobedient Islesmen within 
his bounds, but to co-operate with the Council in 
the business of the Isles ; while at the same time he 
is warned to appear on March 25th to answer for his 
conduct in the interval. Failing to appear, he is, 
on Lhe 28th of March, denounced rebel. Besides 
resetting Islesmen, Donald MacAngus has also at 
the same time other irons in the fire. While the 
Privy Councillors are busy making laws for the 
better government of the Western Isles, and 
denouncing Donald MacAngus for not exercising 
his gifts as a statesman, the men of Glengarry 
are congenially engaged in a herschip. Raiding 
prospects in Ross-shire not being particularly bright 
at that time, the men of Glengarry sought new 
pastures in the fair and far-off" fields of Strathdee, 
from which they returned to the wilds of Clanranald 

^ Privy Council Reuords, :\[aitlancl Cluh Publications, and Collectanea de 
Rebus Albanicis. 


the happy owners of 28 head of cattle.^ Tn due 
lime Hurry Stewart, the })ro|)rietor of the lands 
raided, complained to the Privy Council, and on 
the 21st of February, IGIO, the raiders are put to 
the horn and declared rebels On the 10th of 
March, Donald MuuAngus is summoned to answer 
for his men, l^ut failing to appear he is denounced 
rebel. After a lapse of five years he complained 
that lie had been wrongfully put to the horn at 
the instance of Harry Stewart, and declared that 
he was not answerable for 'the raiders ; but being 
on his good behaviour at the time, he offered to 
find caution to the extent of a thousand merks." 

it is surely a pleasant relief from raids. Privy 
Council denunciations and horning, to find the Chief 
of Glengarry interested in an industry " which will 
redound to the benefit of the whole kingdome in 
generall and to his own benefit in particular." On 
the 29th of December, IGIO, the King granted at 
Whitehall a commission and license to Sir George 
Hay, one of the gentlemen of his Privy Chamber, to 
make iron and glass within the kingdom of Scotland 
during the space of thirty-one years.^ In a letter 
from Windsor Castle, dated 20th July, 1611, and 
directed to " his trustie and weil beloved the Laird 
of Glengarry," the King informs the Chief that Sir 
George Hay had brought witli him to Scotland " a 
greate number of strangearis" to be employed in 
manufacturing iron and glass in the neighbourhood 
of Glengarry. His Majesty recommends Sir George 
Play and the strangers to the special favour of Glen- 
garry, Mild hopos that he will protect them while 
engaged in a work "so prohtable foi- all the king- 

' Privy Cnuncil litcunls. - Umloui. •• Acts ui I'ailiiuuonl. 


dome."^ It Is not known to what extent the new 
industry Introduced into the Highlands benefited 
either " the whole kingdome in generall or Donald 
MacAngus in particular," but there is every reason 
to believe that the protection so earnestly bespoken 
for the " streangeris" by the King was given by his 
" trustie and weil beloved the Laird of Glengarry," 

About this time the men of Knoydart raided the 

lands of Laggan Achindoun in Glengarry, and 

destroyed houses, and other property of considerable 

value." Glengairy, who seems now to be anxious 

to proceed on legal lines, obtained a commission of 

fire and sword against his kinsmen. Tlie Macdonalds 

of Knoydart had already sufi'ered much from the 

encroachments of the Camerons, and now the final 

blow was to be struck by the Chief of Glengarry, 

whose one aim in the execution of his commission 

appeared to he to exterminate SliocJid Ailein 'ic 

Ailein. This branch of the Clanranald, however, 

were resolved not to go down to extinction as a 

territorial family without making a final effort for 

their rights. The rebellion of the men of Knoydart 

had indeed at length become so serious a matter 

that the Privy Council thought it necessary to grant 

a commission to Korie Mackenzie of Coigach, Mac- 

leod of Dunvegan, and John Grant of Freuchie, to 

proceed against them.^ In the face of so formidable : 

a combination of chiefs, the Clan Allan of Knoydart 

could not hope to stand out long even with the help 

of the Clanranald of Moidart, and Donald MacAngus 

of Glengarry entered into possession of their lands, . 

The King, on the 3rd of July, 1613, confirmed a 

grant of these lands to Donald MacAngus by Allan 

Cameron of Lochiel in 1611, and the Macdonalds ol 

^ Charter Clie.-^t of Gleiigan-y. - Privj- Council Records. ■■ Ibidem. 


Knoydart ceased to be as a territorial family,^ In 
the following year Donald MacAngus, with consent 
of his son and lieii', Alasdair Dearg, wadsets the 
fivepenny lands of Inverguseian in Knoydart to 
Alasdair Og Maclain Vic Allan, apparently one of 
the old family, who, besides paying a rent of 1200 
merks yearly for the same is " bund one all kyndis 
of dew service to ye said Donald MacAngus."" The 
relations between Donald MacAngus and the 
Government appear now, on the whole, to be 
satisfactory, and no more blasts from the King's 
horn are heard at the gates of Invergarry. No 
doubt his advanced years tended to modify the 
Chief's Celtic ardour, but however this may be, 
he evidently now desires to be at peace with all 
men, notwithstanding sinister indications of coming 
trouble with the Clan Fraser. 

In the summer of 1615 Sir James Macdonald of 
Dunnyveg succeeded in efi'ecting his escape from 
Edinburgh Castle, assisted by Keppoch and young 
Clanranald. Sir James, immediately on his obtain- 
ing liberty, raised the standard of rebellion, and 
made a tour of the Macdonald regions with the 
object of raising the whole clan. From Lochaber 
he })assed through the Glengarry country to the 
Isles, but while many clansmen joined his standard, 
Glengarry, though appealed to by Sir James, stood 
aloof His son, Alasdair Dearg, however, was taken 
prisoner by Sir James on his way from Edinburgh 
to the North, and being afterwards released he 
joined in the rebellion, but not with any following 
of the Glengarry men. The campaign of Sir James 
ended in the defeat and flight of that chief and his 
princi|)al supporters. Alasdair Dearg returned to 

' lleg. (if Groat Seal. ^ - Glengarry Cliarter Chest. 


his own country pursued by a party sent by Argyle 
to apprehend him, Ijut in this they were not success- 
ful. Secretary Binning jDrofesses to be at a loss 
what ringleaders to pursue now that Sir James 
and his son, Keppoch and his son, Alasdair Dearg, 
and Somerled MacJames are escaped, and Coll 
MacGillespie pardoned.^ 

It appears as if Donald MacAngus was destined 
never to hold any of his western possessions in peace. 
His recently acquired lands of Knoydart were in 
May, 1616, the scene of a raid by a band of the 
Clanranald of Moidart, led by John and Rory, 
brothers of the Chief of Clanranald. But in a bond 
of friendship and mutual forgiveness of injuries 
entered into by the Chiefs of Glengarry and Clan- 
ranald at Edinburgh on the 18th of July, 1616, 
Donald Macallan Vic Ean is willing to repair the 
injury done to Donald MacAngus in Knoydart, 
" in case it sal be verifieit or provin," and to 
indemnify him in ''all sic guids and geir as wes 
spuilzeit," provided the same be "verifeit" by 
Alester MacEane V*^^ xlllane in Inverguseran, 
Angus MacAllan Boy in Lee, Alaster his brother in 
Crowlin, and Neill McBorie V"^ Ean Roy in Scottos, 
the injured parties. Donald MacAllan Vic Ean 
further jDromises to assist his " tender and loving 
kinsman," Donald MacAngus, in keeping " his 
magestie's peas within all thes bounds." In similar 
terms Donald MacAngus expresses his friendship 
for Clanranald, and promises to make good to him 
any damage sustained at the hands of the men of 
Glengarry, and especially by Alaster McEan V^ 
Allane in Inverguseran, Angus MacAllan Roy in 
Lee, Alaster his brother, Allan Mor in Barrisdale, 

^ Deumylue Papers. 


and lionald Hoy McEan V*^' Allaiie in Ardnasteis- 
neithe. Finally, Donald MacAllan y° Ean binds 
and obliges himself to assist Donald Mac Angus 
against the rebels of Knoydart " that molestis and 
troubillis the cuntrie.'" It is interesting to find 
that one of the witnesses to the agreement between 
the chiefs is John Mackenzie, Archdeacon of Ross, 
the principal victim of the Raid of Kilchrist. 

As proof of the continued good relations between 
Donald MacAngus and the Government, he is now 
found frequently employed in suppressing rebellions, 
and otherwise engaged in restoring order among his 
neighbours. In December, 1()21, he is commissioned 
to assist in pursuing and apj)rehending the unfortu- 
nate (Jlan GreP'or, while ao^ain in June foUowincr he 
is employed in a similar manner against Lochiel for 
rebellion, and against a Thomas Fraser for fire- 
raising in Kirkhill.-^ In March, 1625, a commission 
is granted to him under the Royal Signet to appre- 
liend Malcolm and Donald MacNeill Vic Nicoll, 
followers of Donald Maclain V*^ James, the hero of 
Blar-Charinish and many another fight, for the 
murder of John McNeill V"^ Eane, a merchant in 
Uist.^ The McNicolls had been denounced at the 
instance of Donald McNeill V*^' Eane, brother of the 
murdered man, and also at the instance of Glen- 
garr}^, who claimed to be his Chief. It is worthy of 
notice that the Donald McNeill V*^ Eane referred to 
here, fought, according to the tradition of Uist, 
with great bravery at Carinish in IGOi. Donald 
McNeill V'^ Eane, by which patronymic he is known 
to this day, was a man of gigantic size, and reckoned 
the sti-oMgcst man in Uist in liis day. Many tales 

' Charter of Claiii-aiialil. 
- Privy (Jouncil llecords. " Ibiilcm. 


are told by the seanachies of the Island of Ma ' 
prowess in combat and great feats of strengtn; 
Donald MacAngus is now constantly employed in 
the service of the Government. On the 20th of 
March, 1627, he received a commission under the 
Great Seal of Charles T. ibr holding courts upon 
thieves and roVjbers within the bounds of his own 
lands.' But, singularly enough, royal favours not- 
withstanding, an attempt is made by the Privy 
Council, two days after the date of his commission, 
to hold him responsible for the slaughter of Neill I 
and William Bowyes in Sceane, evidently his own ; 
tenants, and he is threatened with pains and ! 
penalties. - 

The next appearance made by Donald MacAngus of 
Glengarry is in an entirely new light. It is neither 
less nor more than in the role of heir to the Lordship 
of the Isles itself In a case recorded in " Durie's 
Decisions," under date February 4th, 1631, he is the 
pursuer in an action against Lord Lovat and Munro 
of Fowlis craving to be restored to the possession of 
certain lands not specified, but which he claimed as 
heir of the Lord of the Isles through the family of 
Lochalsh. The Lords of Session admitted his right 
as heir of Macdonald of Lochalsh to the disputed 
lands provisionally, and on the production of his 
writs to be discussed m causa.'^ Donald MacAngus 
had been two years previously by a general retour 
at Edinburgh declared heir to Celestine of Lochalsh.* 
While the decision of the Lords of Session, however, 
aflPorded him a plausible pretext for a claim to the 
Earldom of Ross, he had no such ground on which 
to base a claim to the Lordship of the Isles, 

^ Glengarry Charter Chest. - Privy Council Records. 
-yf ■' Durie's Decisions, ij. .')65. * Register of Chancery. 

j^ Vi*.. w^S -Ui^ cxwt c-e^v-t c? r o-f -tir^ 


descended as he was on the female side from 

Now liad come a period of great disorder and 
lawlessness in the Highlands. Bands from all the 
clans joined together, and Itroke loose from all 
anthority, whether Lowland or Highland, and the 
chiefs, wlio were qnite unable for a time to restrain 
them, were yet held answerable for their good 
behaviour by the Executive Government. A great 
invasion of Murray by these " broken men" took 
place in 1034. In September of the same year the 
Lords of the Priv}' Council are informed that " ane 
great nomber of sorners and biokin men dwelling 
under the Laird of Macgregour, the Laird of Glen- 
garrie, Allan M'Eane Dowy, and the Captain of 
Clanranald, have verie heavilie infested and spoyled 
diverse of liis maiesties good subjects dwelling 
within the Shirefdom of Murray." To " represse 
the incursions and depredations of thir lymmaris," a 
commission with full power and authority is given 
to Sir John Grant of Freuchie and others, " to 
convocat his majesteis leiges in armes and to pas 
searche seeke and take all brokin men and lymuiars 
to underly their deserved tryell and punishment." 
The Lords of Council further ordered letters to be 
directed to the Laird of Glengarry and others to 
appear personally before them to answer for the 
"brokin lymmars." On the 13th of January, 1635, 
many of the chiefs appeared personally before the 
Council, while " the Laird of Glengarrie compeirand 
be Johne M'Rannald, his j)rocuratour, who produced 
ane testimoniall vuider the hand of the minister of 
Abirtierfe, Schivim Scheill, Chirurgean, and Robert 
Abraham, Notar, testifeing the said Laird of Glen- 
garrie his inabilitie to travell or keepe this dyet, in 


respect of his decrepit age, being foure score twelfFe I 
yeeres, and that he is lying bedfast as the said ] 
testimonialls beiris." The Council being satisfied 
with Glengarry's "twa testimonialls," nothing further 
is heard of the great raid of Murray so far as he is 
concerned, and the aged Chief is heard of for the 
last time as the responsible head of the Clanranald 
of Glengarry. His grandson, Angus, destined to 
pla}' so prominent a part in the stirring times in 
which he lived, had been for some time the actual 
leader of his clan. r)n the 23rd of Sej^tember, 1635, 
Allan Macranald of Lundie was denounced rebel for 
not appearing before the Lords of Council in 
February 1633, to answer for "reset and assisting 
of James Grant, rebel, in divers depredations com- 
mitted upon John Grant of Ballindalloch." Angus 
Macrannald of Glengarry, as Lundie's Chief, whom 
he accompanies at " ousting, hunting, and generall 
meltings," is ordained to deliver him before the 
Council. Having failed to produce the person of 
Allan of Lundie, Angus of Glengarry is ordered to 
be put to the horn, and now the stormy career of 
the young Chief opens. There is no further 
reference to this incident in the records, nor can any 
light be thrown on the career of the young Chief 
himself for some time, but in the year 1637 an 
event took place which threatened to affect very 
materially his future prospects. In that year, on 
the 1 3th of March, the King granted a charter of 
the lands of Glengarry and Knoydart to John Mac- 
leod of Dun vegan. ^ It appears that these lands had 
been appraised at the instance of John Scougall of 
Humbie for a debt against Glengarry, amounting to 
4770 merks. According to a bond of obligation by 

^ Reg. of the Great Seal. 

f; -^ ; 


Glengarry to John Scougall in 1G32, the former 
borrowed from the latter the sum of 3000 merks, 
John Macleod of Dunvegan being one of the 
cautioners.^ The chartei- to Macleod, it would appear, 
was granted to him as Ijeing Glengarry's principal 
creditor, but being granted ''sub legali reversione," 
no infeftment followed U23on it. How the matter 
was settled between all the parties concerned, and 
by what means the estates were preserved to the 
family, we have no means of knowing. 

The unsettled state of the political atmosphere 
in the south was ]iot without its effect, even on so 
remote a region as Glengarry. In the year 1640, a 
commission of fire and sworcl was given by the 
Estates to the Earl of Argyle to pursue " not only ; 
proven enemies to religion, but also unnatural to 
their country to the utter subduing and rooting 
them out of the country."'^ The Amalekites must 
be smitten hip and thigh, and utterly destroyed. 
For this laudable purpose the jhous Earl raised 4000 
men, and, among others, he invaded the territory 
of Donald MacAngus of Glengarry, which he 
plundered and wasted from end to end. When 
the day of reckoning came at the Restoration, the 
loss sustained by Glengarry was estimated at an 
enormous sum.'' From a plundering Earl of Argyle 
it is a far cry to a vulgar herschip. In December, 
1641, a complaint was made by William Mackintosh 
of Torecastle and others to the Privy Council against 
several of the men of Glengarry who had been put 
to the horn for herschip, and for not appearing to 
answer for the slaughter of Lachlan Mackintosh and 
William Miller at Inverness " upon a Sabbotli day," 

^ Original Bond in Chaiter Cliest of Dunvegau. 
- Acts of Parliament. '' Ibidem. 


and also for gathering together in arms with the 
intention of disturbing the peace of the country.^ 
The complainers demanded the committal to ward 
of " Angus Macdonald, Oy to the Laird of Glen- 
garrie," who was then in town, until his rebellious 
clansmen be presented to answer to the charges 
preferred against them. Sir Donald Macdonald of 
Sleat had already, on the 28th of November, become 
cautioner to the extent of 10,000 merks for the 
appearance of the young Chief of Glengarry before 
the Court. ^ The " Oy," being then a-pparent heir to 
the estate, and leader of the clan, appearing before 
the Council, was found " liable for exhibition of the 
rebels." On this sentence being intimated to him, 
and refusing to find caution for the appearance of 
the rebels in the following June, he was committed 
to ward within the Castle of Edinburgh. After a 
confinement in the Castle of thirteen weeks at his 
own expense. Young Glengarry presented a petition 
to the Privy Council on March 1st, 1642, to be set 
at liberty, on condition of his finding suflficient 
security for the aj)pearance of his rebellious 
followers. " The Lords ordain the said Angus 
Macdonald to be set at liberty because Sir John 
Mackenzie of Tarbett has become cautioner for him 
not to remove from the Burgh of Edinburgh, and to 
appear the first Council day in June next to satisfy 
the said Lords, otherwise to re-enter himself in 
ward in the said Castle." The murderers of William 
Mackintosh and William Miller at Inverness, on 
whose account young Glengarry had sufiered so 
much, were no doubt in due course brought to 
justice, but of Angus himself, to whom they had 

'■ Privy Council Records. -' Ibidem. 


taught the lesson of a chiefs respoiisibihties, no 
more is heard in this connection. 

The young chief, however, is soon heard of else- 
where. The quarrel between the King and the 
Parliament of England on the one hand, and the 
Scottish Covenanters on the other, had at length 
assumed a portentous aspect. The King wanted 
uniformity, Montrose was for moderation, but xlngus 
of Glengarry, as a Catholic, cared little for either. 
He could not be expected to have any sympathy 
with the Covenanters, and recent events had not 
tended to intensify his loyalty to the King. Other 
and more potent influences were at work. As far 
back as June, IG39, the King had appointed the 
Earl of Antrim and Sir Donald Macdonald of Sleat 
" conjunctlie and severallie his Mat'""" lieutenants 
and commissioners within the whole Highlands and 
Isles of Scotland."' At Oxford, on the 28tli of 
January, 1643, Antrhn entered into an agreement 
with Montrose to do his utmost to raise forces in 
the "Eyles" and in Ireland for the purpose of 
establishing the King's authority in Scotland." 
Montrose, armed with the King's commission, 
arrived in Scotland on the 13th of April, 1G44, 
and set up the royal standard at Blair-Athole, while 
on the 5th of July the Irish auxiliaries of Lord 
Antrim, numbering about 1500 men, landed at 
Ardnamurchan under the command of the gallant 
Alexander Macdonald, the "Lion-hearted McColl"— 

" An t-6g iugioiiuach rioghail, 
Chuireadh sgairt fo na milteaii, 
'Nuaiv a tliogte leis piub as breid sroil."'' 

From Ardnamurclian the Irish fleet sailed along the 
coast to Skye, whence Macdonald and his army 

y ' Cliarter Chest of the Earl cf Antrim. - Ibidem. 

•^ John Lom Macdonald. 


crossed to the mainland by Kylerea. Pushing his 
way inland he in due time arrived at Invergarry, 
but, though hospitably received by the Chief, very 
few of his people joined the Irish ranks. After a 
series of successes with Montrose, Alasdair again 
appeared on the West Coast to levy fresh recruits 
for the King's army. At Knoydart he met Angus 
Macdonald of Glengarry, and though pressed by 
Alasdair the young chief did not then join the 
King's forces.^ Donald Gorm Macdonald, his uncle, 
liovvever, joined them at the bead of the greater 
part of the men of Knoydart and Glengarry. On 
their way to the camp at Blair- Athole, they were 
joined by tlie Macdonalds of Keppoch at Brae 
Lochaber. From Blair-Athole Montrose marched 
into Argyle and raided the lands of the Campbells, 
a congenial task to the men of Glengarry and his 
other Macdonald followers. From an account of 
Montrose's campaign by Colonel James Macdonald, 
second in command of the Irish force, the Raid of 
Argyle appears to have been nothing if not 
thorough. " From Blairathol," the gallant Colonel 
writes, '' we marched to Glenurghyes, called 
M'Callan M'Conaghy, all which lands we burned, 
and preyed from tiience to Lares, alias Laufers, 
and burned and preyed all this country from thence 
to Achenbracke's whose laud and country we burned 
and preyed ; and so throughout Argyle we left 
neither house nor hold unburned, nor corn nor 
cattle that belonged to the whole name of Camp- 
bell.'"- From Argyle Montrose marched back to 
Lochaber, and arrived in the last week of January 
at Killiechumin, now known as Fort-Augustus. 

' Book of Clanrauald. 
y - Original among the Carte MSS., Bodleian Library, Oxford. 


Here he was joined liy Angus Macdonald, who as 
" apirend of Glengerry " signed a bond of association 
drawn up by Montrose, to which the signa'utes of 
tifty-three heads of families were adhibited.^ At 
Killchuimein Montrose rec(Mved the intelligence, 
through John Lorn Macdonald, the Keppoch bard, 
that Argyle, " with whom were the whole name of 
Campbell, with all their forces, and a great number 
of Lowland men," was at Inverlochy. He at once 
marched back, and arrived at Inverlochy on the night 
of the 1st of February. On the following morning 
the two armies met, and there was fought one of the 
bloodiest battles on record. Cdengarry, who, with 
his uncles, Donald Gorm, John Mor, and John Beg, 
and their followers, were in the centre of Montrose's 
army, fought with conspicuous bravery, while Mac- 
Cailein, Earl of Argyle, made himself im. mortal by 
witnessing from his galley the defeat of his army, 
and almost the total annihilation of the whole race 
of Diarmid. From Inverlochy Angus of Glengarry 
and his men followed Montrose southwards earl}' in 
Mai'ch. and had their share in the taking of Dundee. 
From Dundee Montrose returned North and fought 
the battle of Auldearn on the 9th of May. Hei'e 
again the men of Glengarry, led by their gallant 
chief, sustained the reputation of the clan. 

"Thug sibh mionnaii a Bhiobuill 
An srath iosal Allt-Eiriuii." 

" Nach rachadh claidhoamh an tniaiU 
(U\'n eightc a bhnaidli le High Scurlas." 

The next engagement was at Alford, where the 
main body was imder the command of Glengarry, 
Drummond of Balloch, and Quartermaster George 

' Cliumujaia liook of ISli), ii. 125. 


Graham. The men of* Glengarry clistiiiguished 
themselves, particularly in meeting and re]julsing 
the cavalry charge on Montrose's right wing. 
When the fight was ultimately converted into a 
headlong rout tliey eagerly followed up the pursuit. 
Perhaps the most interesting incident of the hght, 
if not also the most humorous spectacle witnessed 
that day, was the flight for dear life, now for the 
third time during this campaign, of Gilleasbuig 
Gmamach of Argyle, the hope of the Covenanters, 
pursued by Angus of Glengarry. So accustomed 
was this whining coward to fly before the enemy 
that, previous to the battle, he provided for three 
relays of horses at three different stages, and thus 
escaped fi-om his pursuers. It is said that the Earl 
was great in council, and of that he gave some faint 
proof by the preciseness with which he planned his 
own flight. After the battle of Alford, Montrose 
was largely reinf()rced by the return of Alasdair 
MacCholla from his recruiting tour in the West 
Highlands at the head of, among others, 500 Glen- 
garry Macdonalds. Montrose now fulfilled his 
cherished purpose of carrying the war into the 
Lowlands, and at Kilsyth the Covenanters were 
again defeated with great slaughter, in which the 
men of Glengarry bore no small share. At this 
point about 4000 of his Highlanders left Montrose, 
and returned to protect their homes from the 
violence of the Covenanters. Whether Angus of 
Glengarry followed Montrose to Philiphaugh, or 
Alasdair MacCholla to Argyle, or returned home, 
must, for the present, remain a matter of conjecture. 
The probahility is that he returned home at the 
head of his men, where his presence was much 
required. His lands of Knoydart and Glengarry 


were at this time again harried by the Covenanters 
of Argyle, as appears from the " Keport anent the 
Lord Macdonald's losses" laid before Parliament in 
1661. Early in 1646, he received at Invergarry the 
Marquis of Montrose, vvho had escaped to the High- 
lands, and with him the Chief made every effort for 
another rising of the clans, but without success. 
Though the King conmianded Montrose to lay down 
his arms, and make no further effort meanwhile, 
Glengarry still continued active in his interest, and 
frequently corresponded with him during that year. 
He finally succeeded in laising a regiment for the 
King's service, but being hard pressed by Lesley, 
the Covenanting General, he was obliged to cross 
over to L'eland in the beginning of 1647, accom- 
panied by the Marquis of Antrim.^ 

On arriving in L^eland, Glengarry, at the head of 
his regiment, joined the army of Preston in opposing 
the Ormondists. According to MacVuirich, the 
Higldanders " were esteemed and honoured for 
their taking of great towns from the enemy until 
they broke from the army of Preston."- On their 
way to join the Cavanaghs, they were attacked by 
a superior force under Sir Thomas Esmond, and 
almost annihilated. The Chief of Glengarry was 
taken prisoner, and sent to Kilkenny, where he was 
detained until the Marquis of Antrim found means 
of releasing him. From Ireland Glengarry, accord- 
ing to MacVuirich, " went over the sea to the King." 
He is not again heard of until the arrival of King 
Charles IL in the Moray Firth in June, 1650. 
From the time of the landing of the King, Glen- 
garry was constant in his adlierence to His Majesty 
following him through his brief campaign, and 

^ Hill's Macdouakl-i ot Autrim. - The Book of Clauninald. 


leaving him only when defeat separated them at 
Worcester, But there is no distinct record of the 
special part acted by Glengarry during that period, 
though it can be inferred from several sources that 
it was by no means an unimportant one. After 
Worcester he returned North at the head of his 
men and coiitinued in arms. Monk sent a party of 
English soldiers against him, but they got " hunger 
and strokes" for their pains, and returned to their 
headquarters cursing Glengarry and his clansmen as 
they proceeded. Encouraged by the failure of the 
English garrison at Inverness to dislodge him. Glen- 
garry bestirred himself for another rising among the 
clans. The chief conduct of the King's affairs 
within the Highland line was entrusted to him, and 
he spared no effort in the furthering of the royal 
cause. After his recent defeat, things looked 
desperate enough for the success of any campaign 
undertaken on behalf of the King, but Glengarry, 
nothing daunted, pursued with commendable zeal 
the even tenor of his way among the Macdonalds, 
Camerons, Macleods, and other Western clans. 
According to information supplied by the officers of 
the Commonwealtli in the North, Glengarry began 
his recruiting campaign in the Highlands early in 
the year 1652.^ Sir James Macdonakl of Sleat, 
writing to Colonel Fitch, Governor of Inverness, 
informs him that " the Laird of Glengarry and some 
other Highlanders, are drawne to an head and 
intend to disquiett the peace of the country." ' The 
letter of Sir James at this juncture is of importance, 
not only as showing his own attitude towards 
parties, but also as an indication of the influence his 
conduct was likely to have, and as matter of 

1 Clarke MSS. - Ibid. 


ftict it did have, and iiotabU^ on the Captain 
of Clanranald. But Glengarry, whose wife was a 
sister of Sir James, had heavy odds at stake in this 
game, and he must push on at all hazards, with or 
without the help of his clan. When his efforts to 
stir up his clansmen of Skye and Uist proved 
unavailing, he betook himself to Argyle, and 
Lilburne, writing to Cromwell, informs him that 
Glengarry had sent emissaries to Ireland to stir up 
the Royalists of Antrim, b\it his kinsmen of the 
Emerald Isle, with the remembrance of former 
campaigns in Scotland still fresh in their minds, 
followed the example of those of the Western 
Isles.^ Glengarry's efforts among the other clans 
appear to have been more successful. Colonel 
Lilburne, writing from Dalkeith in February, is 
alarmed at the aspect of affiiirs " amonge the 
mountaines."" The gallant officer indulges in 
phraseology far too strong for so pious a Puritan 
writing to the chief of tlie Puritans. He had 
information that " undoubtedh^ one from young 
Charles has loin with Glengarry with commissions 
from him, wliicli hath putt a great deale of life in 
these kind of cattell." Lilburne's surmisings proved 
true. A great gathering of •' these kind of cattell" 
actually took place at Glengarry in the month of 
February, but for some reason or another they 
dispersed without coming to any definite resolution 
as to immediate action. Lilburne, A\ho affected to 
despise " such rable," appeared to be in great straits 
as to what steps should be taken to prevent a 
general rising among the clans, and in his desper- 
ation urged Gilleasbuig Gruamach of Argyle to try 
his crooked ways with a view to preventing those 

' Clarke MSS. - Ibid. 


" uppon whom his lordshippe had powerfiill influence" 
from eng-aging with Glengarry/ The vigilance of 
the Cromwellian oflicer.s notwithstanding, Glengarry 
abated none of his efforts in behalf of the exiled 
monarch ; and in July the state of affairs appears to 
have been so promising for a rising that the High- 
land ro3^alists despatched a Captain Smith to the 
King in Paris to inform him of their resolution to 
oppose the rebels, and desiring that His Majesty 
might send Middleton to take the command.'^ 
Before the Highland messenger had yet reached the 
Court of King Charles, His Majesty wrote the 
following consoling letter to his " loving friend," 
Glengarry : — 

"St Germains, August 3i-d, 1652. 
" I am prouii.sed this letter shall come safe to your haudes, 
and therefore I am willing that you should know from myself 
that I am still alive, and the same man that I was when I was 
amongst you. I am very much troubled for what you sutler, and 
am usinge all the endeavours 1 can to free you, and before many 
monthsM! hope you will see 1 am not idle. In the meantime, I 
cannot but lett you know that I am in greater straights and 
perplexcityes for your safetyes then you can easily apprehend ; 
and I am thereby compelled to leave many thingis undone which 
would be of advantage to me and you. I could heartylie wish 
therefore that by your interest and negotiatioue with those you 
have trust in, and who you know wish me well, which would be a 
very seasonable obligatione, and would never be forgotten by me : 
I neede say no more to you, but that 1 shall be glad to receive 
any advice or advertisement from you that you think necessary 
for me, and shall alwaies remaine your very loving friend, 

"Charles R."-' 

Captain Smith returned in December with a 
commission from the King in favour of Glengarry, 
his uncle, Donald Gorm Macdonald of Scotus, and 
others, constituting them His Majesty's Commis- 

^ Clarke MSS. - Clarendmi INISS. ■' Charter Chest of Glengarry. 


sionei's, with full power to order, govern, and 
dispose of, any forces drawn together for his service/ 
He informed them at the same time that he had 
appointed Middleton Lieutenant-CTeneral of his 
forces in Scotland, but meanwhile, and until Middle- 
ton's arrival, he authorised them to appoint au 
interim commander. Before the Highland chiefs, 
however, had time to carry out the King's instruc- 
tions, His Majesty had sent a commission, dated 
March 14th, 1653, to the Earl of Glencairn, 
appointing him commander of the royal forces in 
Scotland vuitil the arrival of Middleton. Glencairn, 
who had offered his services to the King,- was 
desired by Charles not to produce his commission 
except in the last resort, for fear of creating jealousy 
among the Highland chiefs. To prevent any possible 
disaffection, the King provided the Earl with a 
letter recommending the chiefs to elect him as 
commander of the lloyalist forces. It was hinted 
that Glengarry, who was the leader of the Royalists 
in the Highlands, would not accept of a command 
under Middleton, and to compromise matters it was 
sucru-ested that the command should l)e divided. 
Rumours of these supposed differences reached the 
Kir.g's ears, who in a letter to Balcarres points out 
with great good sense that it would be suicidal to 
the royal cause in Scotland to have one in connnand 
of the Highland and another in conjmand of the 
Lowland forces. There appears to be no good 
ground for the charge against Glengarry, for as 
pointed out by the King in his letter to Balcarres, 
Glengarry himself desired His Majesty through 
Captain Smith to send Middleton io connnand in 
Scotland." Besides, Glengarry continued to show 

^ Clai-eiidoii J\1SS. '-' Ihideui. 


the same zeal as formerly in His Majesty's service, 
and there are no signs of dissatisfaction in the 
Highlands on acconnt of Middleton's apjjointment, 
even though he had formerly served on the Cove- 
nanting side, and been accused of liaving a hand in 
the burning of Invergarry Castle. The Chief of 
Glengarry, instead of repining, loyally accepted the 
situation, and set about collf^cting the scattered 
fragments of the King's forces in the Highlands 
with new energy, and with the view of effecting an 
early meeting with Glencairn. His movements soon 
excited the suspicion of the Cromwellian Govern- 
ment, and Colonel Lilburne, on the authority of a 
report from Inverness, informs Cromwell that a new 
war was brewing in the Highlands, and that Glen- 
garry, whom he conceives to be acting from necessity, 
had had a meeting with the chiefs at Strathglass.^ 
Several officers of the Commonwealth reported, with 
more or less vagueness, regarding the movements of 
Glengarry, but they at least make it abundantly 
plain that that chief was most active in the prose- 
cution of his task. One officer refers to "the great 
and frequent meetings of Glengarry with the other 
Highlanders and Islanders," while another has 
" worde that he is l)usy and hath seized of the Lord 
Argile's frigott and guns," and a third hopes " that 
he is more northerly among Seaforth's people."" 
At length we find Glengarry at Rannoch in June on 
his way to meet Glencairn, and at the head of a 
considerable following, estimated by Colonel Lilburne 
at between 1500 and 2000 men,^ While encamped 
at this place the Highlanders appear to have spent 
their time in the congenial task of harrying the 
surrounding country, much to the annoyance of the 

^ Clarke MSS. -' Ibid. •' Ibid. 


Earl of Athole, to whose remonstrance Glengarry- 
replied by telling him point blank that as he paid 
" sesse to the Kinges enemies" his lands were fair 
game for His Majesty's army. Glengarry's letter 
to the Earl is in tlie following terms : — 

" My Lord, — I -.xm sorrie your Lolands receive such prejudice 
from those towards their fields, but for restoring of these which 
are taken awaj^, I must freely declare to your Lordshijjpe that 
since your lands pay sesse to the Kinges enemies, and comes 
under contribution to them, these heir will nott thinke themselves 
obliged to any good neighl-ourhood ; sou that qliat is taken from 
your people 3-ou may expect but little mends soe long as they 
continue in that cours(>, soe my opinion is your people looke the 
better to themselves, ([hich is the further advice of, your Lord- 
ship's humble servant, " McDonald Glengarrie. 

" Ranoth, June 7, 1G5'5. 

" For the right lionrable the Earle of Atholl these." ^ 

At a meeting of the RoyaHst leaders, held in 
Lochaber early in July, Glencairn assumed the 
command of the whole army, Lowland and High- 
hind, and unfurled the royal standard. From the 
place of rendezvous he proceeded northwards through 
Badenoch, where he halted for some time, and 
where, among others, Lord Lorn joined him with a 
large following. The presence of Lorn in the royal 
camp was not sufficiently appreciated, at least by 
Glengarr}'-, and it can readily be believed that ways 
and means were found of provoking a quarrel. 
Whoever may have been the aggressor, swords were 
drawn by the hot-headed descendants of Conn and j 
Diarmid, and the young chiefs were prevented from ' 
fighting a blood}^ and probably a fatal, duel 
by their friends. They parted, however, " great 
enemies. ' For some reason or another, Lorn, after 

' (;iarke MSS. 


remaining in Glencairn's camp for about a fortnight, 
withdrew at the head of his men, and went off 
towards Ruthven Castle, then occupied by the 
Enghsh troops. GJencairn being highly incensed at 
Lorn's conduct, sent Glengarry in pursuit. He 
came upon the CamjDbells within half-a-mile of 
Ruthven, and would have attacked them except for 
the timely arrival and intervention of Glencairn 
himself He, however, succeeded in taking twenty 
of Lorn's horse prisoners, but Lorn himself, with 
the remainder of his cavalry, effected their escape. 
His foot surrendered and returned to the royal 
camp. Glencairn continued his march northwards, 
and at Elgin received intimation of the arrival from 
the Continent of Middleton, with instructions from 
that officer to meet him at Dornoch. To Dornoch, 
therefore, Glencairn proceeded with all possible 
haste at the head of his army, and on his arrival 
there, he resigned the command to Middleton, who 
produced the King's commission appointing him 
commander-in-chief of the whole Royalist force. 
Glengarry at the same time received from the King 
a commission of major-general, accompanied by 
a letter from His Majesty, to which reference 
will be made later. Now an incident occurred 
which, but for the timely interference of Glen- 
cairn, might have involved Glengarry in serious 
consequences. At an entertainment given in 
Dornoch in honour of Middleton, Sir George 
Munro, an officer who had come over from France 
with the General, sprang up at the festive board, 
and in the most deliberate and insulting manner 
rated the Highland followers of Glencairn for a set 
of thieves and robbers. It appears that Glencairn 
on his march to Sutherland had taken the Laird of 



Fowlis prisoner, and it was alleged that be had 
allowed him to be ill-treated by his followers. Sir 
George Munro, who was a brother of Fowlis, 
resented the degradation to which he believed that 
chief had been subjected, and being probably heated 
with wine, he drew largely on his vocabulary of 
abuse at the expense of the Highlanders. Glen- 
garry, who felt the insult keenly, rose in a towering 
passion to demand satisfaction, but he was restrained 
by Glencairn, and the unfortunate incident ended in 
a duel between that nobleman and Munro. Quar- 
relling seems to have been the order of the day in 
the royal camp at Dornoch. Lilburne, writing to 
Cromwell in April, 1654, after referring to the duel 
fought by the Earl of Glencairn and Sir George 
Munro, says that " Glengarry and Atholl about 
precedency were alsoe going to the fields, but were 
prevented."^ Athole had evidently not forgotten 
the pointed letter written from Rannoch, and Glen- 
garry, with an Earl's patent in his pocket, could 
afford to discuss precedence. 

Quarrels notwithstanding, the aspect of affairs 
under the new commander appeared more hopeful 
for King Charles. No one was more sanguine than 
Glengarry, who betook himself to the Western Isles 
to beat up his kinsmen of Skye and Uist. On his 
return' from his recruiting expedition in the West, 
Glengarry wrote the following letter to the King : — 

" Most sacred Soverane, — Tho that your Majesty's forces heir 
upon Leuteiiaut Geuerale Midlton's aryvall did not altogoother 
seem so strong or so numerous as possibly ether was rejoorted or 
wished be our frinds, yet I dar say it wanted no indevors wee 
could perform, and now praised be God in som beter condition 
sine, bot now since the Hollanders hes agreed with the Rebells, it 

' Clarke MSS. 


is conceved if wee had the hapiues off your Majesty's person to be 
amongest us (qhich is the humble desyr off most off your Majesty's 
faithfull subjects without prejudice to your Majesty's great afairs 
abroad) that wee suld be shortly in condition to deill equaly with 
anie euemie in this kingdome, without qhich we shall have hard 
governing off our sellfs, as the Lieutenant Generall will mor 
puuctuall inform your Majesty, to qhos relation also (feiring to be 
tedius) I doe referr my own chirfull indevors and concurrent with 
him, and ray willnignes to comply with all humors for the 
advancing off your Majesty's servic, so that as I begunne my 
loyaltie so shall I end and seill it with my blood, otherways alive 
to that my greatest ambition and hapines to see your Majesty 
satled on your glorius and royall thron, qhich is the dayly prayers 
and indevors off him qho is, Sir, your Majesty's most humbell, 
most faithfull, and most obedient servant, 

"A. McDonald Glengarrie. 
"Cathnes, Jun 5, 1654. 

"For His Majestye the King off Great Brittane.''^ 

But the luckless enterprise was doomed to failure. 
After much aimless marching, Middleton, with 
Glengarry and his other Highland followers, were 
defeated by Colonel Morgan, at the head of a 
division of Monk's army, at Lochgarry, on the 19th 
of July, 1654. Colonel Morgan had already burnt 
Invergarry Castle on the 23rd of the same month. 
Monk, in a narrative of his " Proceedings in the 
Hills," records that on " the 24th the armi came to 
Glenmoriston and in the way met with Colonel 
Morgan's Brigade neer Glengaries new house which 
was burnt by that Brigade the day before, and the 
remaining structure I order'd to bee defaced by the 

Shortly after the defeat of the King's army at 
Lochgarry, several of the Highland leaders began to 
sue for terms of peace, and among the rest Glen- 

1 Clarendon MSS. 
- Paper by Mr Wm. Mackay in Inverness Gaelic Soc. Trans., XVIIL, 75. 


garry, if the officers of the Commonwealth are to be 
beheved. Monk, in a letter to Cromwell, M'ishes to 
know the Protector's pleasure with reference to an 
application he had received from Glengarry, but it 
appears that the terms dictated by that Chief were 
not accepted. In December the Chief sent a 
messenger to Colonel Fitch, who informed that 
officer that "Glengarry's wife would faine have come 
in, but he is not willing except uppon good tearmes 
and is still amying to obtain the 5000 markes land 
his Kinge gave in Rosse."^ He also informed Fitch 
that Glengarry and his friends " were resolved to 
keep up a party e in the hills for the reputacion of 
their Kinge, and that it be known to Forraigne 
princes that he had yet footeing here, that soe he 
might gain the more respect from them, and make 
them readier to supply him ; and that they intend 
not to fight untill they have considerable forraigne 
forces." The messenger further informed Fitch that 
the Highlanders had " 7000 new stand of armes in 
the Hills, and a great quantity of ammunition."^ 
" The 5000 markes land which his Kinge gave iu 
Rosse" would not of course be granted by the Pro- 
tector, and the negotiations for peace between 
Glengarry and the English officers, as might have 
been expected, ended in failure. It appears, indeed, 
as if Glengarry's part had been acted for a purpose, 
for while the overtures for peace between the parties 
were yet depending, he is busy rallying the clans 
for another engagement. Middleton, who took his 
leave of Glengarry " about a month after Colonel 
Morgan gave them the Puffle," and had gone on 
board ship on his way to France, returned on his 
receiving fresh instructions from the King. " Hee 

' Clarke iMHS. - Ibid. 


came back to Glengarry to goe on with his master's 
worke."^ The " master's worke," it appears, made 
little progress, in spite of Glengarry's efforts. On 
the 19th of December it is reported that " Middleton 
is yet about Kintail, but hath not with him above 
20 men : Glengarry is at Knodard and all his men 
at home."^ Of Glengarry's relations to the Crom- 
wellian officers no more is heard for some time. 
The following letter from the King, dated at Cohen 
on the 30th of December, 1654, explains perhaps 
better than anything else his attitude towards 
parties on both sides : — 

" Glengany, I have given this honest bearer in charge to say 
so much to you, and have written to Middleton of other par- 
ticulars concerning you, which he will imparte to you, that I shall 
say little more myselfe then to assure you that your so constant 
adhearinge to Middleton in the 'carringe on my service when so 
many (from whom I expected it not) grow weary of it, and your 
so cheai-fully submitting to all these straights and distresses for 
my sake is very acceptable to me, and a greate addicione to your 
former meritts. Be confident, I will not fayle of doing my parte 
as a good master in rewardiuge so good a servant, and that when 
we meete, which I believe will be ere longe, you shall finde as 
much kindnesse as you can expecte from your very affectionate 
frende, "Charles R."^ 

Glengarry continued to hold out in the face of 
much annoyaace from the English garrison at Inver- 
ness. Monk, writing to the Protector in May, 1655, 
informs him that "all things are now very quiett, 
none being out but Glengarry."^ At length the 
gallant cavalier yielded to the inevitable, and 
accepted the terms offered him by the Usurper. 
These terms are contained in articles of agree- 
ment entered into between Colonel Blunt, Deputy 

1 Clarke MSS. = Ibid. 
* Glengarry Charter Chest. ■» Clarke MSS. 


Governor of Inverness, acting tor the Protector, and 
Glengarry, in June, 1G55. It was agreed between 
the parties that " the lard of Glengarry, his clan, 
vassals, tenants, servants, now dwelling, or that 
shall hereafter dwell, upon his lands, shall from time 
to time, and all times hereafter, deport themselves 
peaceably and quietly under the present Govern- 
ment, and give all due obedience to his Highness 
Oliver, &c., and neither directly nor indirectly act 
anything that may be or prove prejudicial to the 
peace or interest thereof." Glengarry further 
promises that he shall not build any " house of 
strength " within his bounds without leave from 
Oliver, &c., nor harbour t.he enemies of the Common- 
wealth. Peace was purchased on these terms at the 
price of £2000 sterling, in whicli Glengarry bound 
himself to the Protector, while for the payment of 
this large sum, if demanded, he was obliged to give 
as sureties Sir James Macdonald cf Sleat, Roderick 
Macleod of Dun vegan, Donald Macdonald of Moidart, 
Allan Macdonald of Morar, Ranald Macdonald of 
Benbecula, and John Macdonald of Stronewacke ' 

The gallant Chief of Glengairy submitted to the 
yoke of the Usurper with the best grace possible in 
the circumstances, though not, it may be surmised, 
without misgiving. Yielding to that necessity which 
knows no law, he prudently abstained from mani- 
festing the spirit that was in him — a severe ordeal 
for a proud-spirited loyalist. When lie comes again 
into the public view he cuts a figure more humorous 
than edifying. The spectacle ot the Royalist Chief 
paying mock homage to Protector Richard Cromwell 
before a "scaffold" at Inverlochy is affecting in the 
last degree. On the 5th of October, 1G58, Richard 

>; ' Original ducumeiit iu tlie ChaiLer Che«L of LuiJ Macdouald. 


was proclaimed Lord Protector at Inverlochy, with 
great shouting and three volleys of small shot. On 
the scaffold erected before the Tolbooth was the 
Governor and the Sheriff, while below, and ranged 
round the scaffold, were the Lairds of Glengarry and 
Lochiel, "and severall others, lairds and principall 
gentlemen of these parts." When the farce was 
ended, the Lairds of Glengarry and Lochiel, and 
several other " principall gentlemen of these partSj" 
were entertained to " a very liberal eolation" by the 

Glengarry did not find it convenient to remain 
long in this peaceable attitude. In the course of 
the following year the relations between himself and 
the English garrison at Liverlochy became some- 
what strained. Li November, 1G59, Major Hill, the 
Governor, " is informed that some of the Laird of 
Glengarie's clan are broken out in armes and have 
rob'd and spoyld divers of the country people who 
have lived peaceable." The Governor sent an order 
to Ewen Cameron of Lochiel " to raise such men of 
his clan as he can gett together in armes for the 
suppressing of the said partie, and to seize and 
apprehend Angus Macdonald of Glengary, in caise 
he shall abett or countenance the said robbers," It 
is needless to add that Lochiel, for several weighty 
reasons, did not rise to the occasion. The days of 
English rale in !:!«cotland were now numbered. 
Events were marching rapidly towards that con- 
summation for which every loyalist heart had long 
and earnestly prayed, and the dawn of the day was 
nigh that was to free the gallant Chief of Glengarry 
for ever from the yoke of English Puritanism. 

' Clai-ke MSS. 




The Restoration. — Glengarry raised to Peerage. — Claim against 
Argyll. — Bond with Macmartin. — Feud with Inverness. — 
Interposition for Macmartin. — Difficulties in Muck. — Exhibits 
Ke2)poch. — Contract with Clun}'.— Co-operation with Lawers. 
— Action of Government against Papists. — Glengarry sides 
with Duart. — Macdonaldof Scotus succeeds to Estates. — 
Alastair Dubh. — The Revolution. — Dundee and the High- 
landers. — Killiccrankie. — Forfeiture. — • Submission. — Suc- 
ceeds to Chiefship. — Complaint re Invergarry Castle. — 
Address of Chiefs to George I. — Sheviffmuir. — Submission to 
Government. — James VIII. 's Peerage. — Rising of 1719. — 
Death of Alastair Dubh. — John succeeds. — Alastair Ruadh 
in the Highlands. — His return to France with Address from 
Chiefs. — His imprisonment. — Prince Charles. — Angus of 
Glengarry. — Battle of Preston. — Angus recruitini:' in the 
North. — Attitude of the Grants. — The Glengarry men at 
Clifton.— Siege of Stirling.— Battle of Falkirk.— Death of 
Angus. — James takes command. — Expedition to Doruocli. — 
CuUoden. — Old Glengarry's imprisonment. — Suspected 
Treachery of Barrisdale. — Release of Alastair Ruadh. — His 
difficulties. — Death of the Glengarry Chief. — Alastair Rimdh's 
succession. — His Will. — His death. — His calumniator. — 
Duncan, son of Angus, succeeds.-- Sale of North Morar. — 
Emigration from Glengarry.— -Death of Duncan. — Succession 
of Alexander Ranaldson. — His characteristics. — His Celtic 
proclivities. — His death — The Modern Chiefs of Glengarry. 

Amid a frantic outburst of loyal enthusiasm, the 
Stewart dynasty in tlie person of Charles 11. was 
restored to the royal honours of the United King- 
dom, and those who had dwelt for years in the cool 
shades of suspected disaffection to the Common- 
wealth, might now expect to bask in the sunshine 



of royal favour. Amon^ the Scottish CavaHers who 
had accorded an unwilHng submission to the iron 
rule of the Lord Protector, none was more devoted 
to, or had fought more strenuously for, the House 
of Stewart than Angus, the Chief of Glengarry. 
During the period of his own exile, Charles had 
granted several warrants under his hand and signet 
creating him Earl of Ross, and bestowing upon him 
the lands and revenues of the Earldom. Yet, when 
the heir of the Stewarts came to his kingdom in 
1660, a less lofty dignity — that of " Lord Macdonell 
and Aros" — was conferred upon the Glengarry 
Chief, and although he made representations in 
1663 requesting that effect should be given to these 
royal warrants, the ancient dignity of the Macdonald 
chiefs was never actually conferred. Why it was 
not done the history of the time affords no clue. 
One of the earliest Acts of the Scots Parliament of 
Charles II. was to appoint a Commission of Enquiry 
into the losses sustained by Lord Macdonald through 
the Argyll raids into his country in 1640 and 1645, 
and the Report having been prepared and presented 
to the Estate of Parliament, was approved and 
recommended to the King's favourable consideration.^ 
In April of the same year — 1661 — an Act was 
passed rescinding the pretended forfeiture of Lord 
Aros, and the patent of nobility which was issued in 
1660 was read, and afterwards received by the Earl 
of Callendar, in name of Lord Macdonald, on his 
knees.^ It does not appear that the Glengarry 
claims for compensation against Argyll received 
immediate satisfaction, for in 1662 Lord Macdonald, 
who had by this time taken his seat in Parliament, 
prayed that his claim might not be prejudiced by 

1 Acta Pari. Scot., Car. II., p. 274. - Ibid., p. 163. 


other creditors on Argyll's estates, and begged His 
Majesty to consider his position and sufferings.^ 
We presume that the claims of the Glenorarry Chief 
against Argyll were satisfied, though we have seen 
no definite record of the fact. In 1662 Lord Mac- 
donald represented to Parliament that his estate had 
been over- valued for the public cess, and an Act 
was passed ordaining the Commissioners of the 
shire of Inverness to rectify the valuation according 
to the old rental.' 

On 23rd January, 1663. Lord Macdonald entered 
into a bond of manrent and protection with Martin 
Macmartin of Letterfinlay in the region of Lochaber, 
an arrangement which was destined to be of signal 
Service to the inembers of that ancient sept of the 
Clan Cameron. From 1660 to 1664 the Chief of 
Glengarry received charters under the Great Seal 
for the lands and baronies in his possession. 

The year 1665 witnessed a serious disturbance 
between Glengarry and his clan and the burgesses 
of Inverness. A party of the town folk having 
encountered a body of the Macdonalds at the 
Dunhill— a hill above the town, now known as 
Yiewmount — a confiict arose, in which the Mac- 
donalds were worsted, and a number of them slain. 
In consequence of this, the Clan Donald threatened 
to visit the burgh with condign vengeance, failing 
the consent of the townsmen to ag-ree to certain 
proposals, which they submitted as a basis for a 
treaty of peace. The proposals were, in brief — 
(1) That a bond lor offensive and defensive leagues 
should pass between them, by wliicli, if the town 
wtMc iii\aded, the Macdonalds should come to assist, 
and, if the Macdonalds were threatened with attack, 

' Acta Pari. Scot., Car. II., [>. 418. - Glengarry Charter Chest. 


the town should send 100 men to assist; (2) th 
town was to become liable to them for 100 merks ; 

(3) the town was to quit their superiority of the 
lands of Drakies, and to require no stent taxation ; 

(4) the Council to swear upon oath wdiat persons 
drew Macdonald blood, and these to be delivered up 
to their mercy ; (5) what arms, money, clothes, 
goods, cattle, &c., were lost should be repaid to the 
Macdonalds, as they should depone upon the worth ; 
(6) when any Inverness men shall meet Lord Mac- 
donald's friends and followers, or any one of them, 
the Inverness men shall immediately lay down arms 
on the ground in token of obedience. The Inverness 
Council demurred against acceding to conditions 
which appeared to them arrogant, as well as 
oppressive. They replied that, upon the Mac- 
donalds disbanding, they were willing to submit 
the jjoints at issue to the arbitration of impartial 
judges, with the view of arriving at a good under- 
standing. The matter came finally before the Privy 
Council, who decerned the town to pay £4800 Scots, 
in name of damages, together with the fees due to 
the surgeon who attended the wounded Macdonalds.^ 

For some petty depredation, not stated, the 
Tutor of Grant, in 1667, seized three Macmartins 
of Letteifinlay, and incarcerated them in Ballach- 
astell. Being under the jurisdiction of Lord Aros, 
he interposed on their behalf in a letter written from 
Invergarry on the 29th June of that year, and which 
was in the following terms : — 

" Honoured Couseii. — I understand that there are some of 
Macmartin of Letterfinlay's friends and followers prisoners at 
Balacastle and I conceive that if they intended any prejudice to 
any of y-jur name that it is justlie desei'ved. But some informes 

' Memorabilia of luveniess, pp. 45-46. 


me there goiii<^ was by (ther men's directiones that ocht not to 
have done it which I would wish yee would examine stricklie as 
also I shall desire the favour that they may be let free upon 
securitie of ther futur behaueviour and I shall contribute to ther 
correction, quherby they may not fall in such unconvenience or 
misbehaviour againc In so doing ye shall nuich oblige your 
loving cousen Macdoxell."^ 

The intercession of Lord Aros proved successful. 
The Chief of Glengarry, in 1006, granted a disposi- 
tion of Keppuch to Donald,^ his brother german, and 
on 4th July of the same year received a charter 
from Ptobert, Bishop of the Isles, with consent of 
the Dean and Chapter, of the Island of Muck. 
Reference was made in the last chapter to the 
grant by James VI. to Mungo MacEachin, of this 
same island, and of the grant thereof by Mungo 
MacEachin to Donald MacAngus of Glengarry. 
Since then the superiority of Muck had apparently 
become the property of the Church ; but this did 
not prevent much litigation and divers other 
troublesome proceedings arising in connection with 
the ownership, after the bestowal of the island by 
charter upon Lord Aros. On the 23rd September, 
1669, Lord Aros gave a tack of Muck for three 
years to Donald Macdonald of Moydart, and with a 
view to the latter's occupancy, he obtained a decree 
of removing against the Macleans of Torloisk, who 
had recently been tenants and possessors. Upon 
this decree, obtained before the Lords of Session, 
decree of horning shortly followed. Meanwhile, the 
monotony of legal proceedings was enlivened by a 
" herschip " connnitted by Maclean of Torloisk and 
the foi'iner tenants of the island against a servitor 
of Lord Macdonald, for which the latter duly 

Chiefs of Giaiil, Vol. JL, )>. 89. -' (ilciigany CI 


obtained a decree of Court. Finally, a decree of 
ejection was obtained by Lord Macdonald and 
Ranald Macdonald of Scotus against the troublesome 
men of Torloisk. Upon this there is a pause in the 
process of molestation for a period of more than 
three years. Early in 1672, however, we find that 
Lauchlan Maclean, the laird of Coll, has come to the 
aid of his kinsmen of Torloisk, and committed a 
spulzie upon the new tenants of Muck, who were 
evidently regarded as interlopers. This was followed 
on 20th April, [672, by a summons of spulzie at the 
instance of Rory Macdonald and Angus Maclan Vic 
Lachlan, tenants of Lord Macdonald, after which 
there is a great calm in the annals of this much- 
coveted little isle.^ By 1672, the three years' tack 
had expired, but it appears that Muck afterwards 
became the property of the Clanranalds, though we 
have no record of the circumstances attending the 
transference of the island. Lord Macdonald held 
the lands of Knoydart under the superiority of the 
Ea.rl of Argyll for 40 merksj^^er annum for the five 
years, 1671-76.' 

Argyll was not the only territorial magnate in 
the Highlands whom Glengarry sought to bring to 
a reckoning, when the Stewart cause was once more 
in the ascendant. In 1650 Glengariy was still 
endeavouring to rally forlorn hopes in support of the 
cause of Charles IL in Scotland, and his estates 
were forfeited by the Cromwell ian Government, 
though the sentence was afterwards annulled before 
the expiry of that regime. The " escheit " was 
bestowed upon Lochiel, who evidently was in favour 
with General Monk, and gave a more timely and 
willing submission than the Glengarry Chief. The 

' Glengarry Charter Chest. - Ibid. 


latter liad to compound for the forfeiture by giving a 
hoiul for a large sum oi' money, while Lochiel drew 
rents from his neighbours' estates amounting to 7500 
merks. In 1661 Glengarry addressed Parliament 
on the subject with a view to redress, and that body, 
by an Act of 25th June of the same year, recommended 
the matter to the Privy Council, with power to 
determine what was just and reasonable. There the 
matter rested till 1672, when Glengarry petitioned 
the Lord Commissioner and the Lords of the 
Articles regarding the same plea. A favourable 
answer appears to have been given to Lord Mac- 
donald's crave, as it was the opinion of the Lord 
Commissioner's Grace and Lords of the Articles 
that the desire of the bill should be granted.^ The 
exact form of relief is not stated. 

This same year Lord Macdonald was ordained by 
the Lord High Commissioner and the Lords of the 
Privy Council to exhibit before that body a 
number of gentlemen of his own clan and of the 
family of Keppoch — for which latter he seems to have 
been feudally responsible — and to find caution for 
their good behaviour." On 20th October, 1673, and 
at Annat, Lord Macdonald for all of his clan, and 
Duncan Macpherson of Cluny as representing all of 
his name, and " some others called old Clan 
Chattan," entered into a contract of friendship with 
one another, in which, after a declaration of chief- 
ship over these clans respectively, they bound 
themselves " to ovvne, aid, love, fortifie, assist, and 
defend " one another-. The calm assumption of 
chiefship in both cases, has given rise to controversies 
which are still unsettled, and capable even now of 
producing much Celtic emotion,^ 

' Act Pari. Scot., 1672. - Vindication of the Clanronald of Glengarry, p. 37. 
» Coll de Reb. Alb., p. 207. 


About the year 1677, Lord Macclonald was 
associated with Sir James Campbell of Lawers in 
using means for apprehending thieves and broken 
men in the Highlands with the view of bringing 
them to justice. This co-operation with the vin- 
dicators of law and order appears to have been 
short-lived on the jDart of the Glengarry Chief, 
thouo'h it is hard to blame him in his conflict with 
the Scottish Executive during his latter years. 
Two sets of circumstances combined to render what 
remained of his life as turbulent and stormy as the 
most troubled of his earlier days. In the first place 
the disclosures by Titus Gates in 1678 of a pre- 
tended plot to establish the Pope in the Government 
of England produced violent alarm among the 
Protestant public. This alarm reacted upon Scot- 
tish politics, and advantage was taken of it to extend 
the enactments against Papists in the Northern 
Kino-dom. This chance of humbhnq; his father's 
most strenuous antagonist was eagerly welcomed by 
Argyll, who, in April, 1679, received a commission 
to disarm and reduce Lord Macdonald and the Chief 
of Keppoch. Glengarry was charged by a pur- 
suivant displaying the royal arms to yield under 
pain of treason, and we are by no means surprised 
to find that the Macdonald Chief contemptuously 
disobeyed, and the officer was deforced in the per- 
formance of his duties. A commission from Charles IL 
calling upon Glengarry the Cavalier, to disarm on the 
authority of Argyll the Roundhead, was in the light 
of history a somewhat large order. Most probably 
the King knew little about it, and Lord Macdonald 
was safe enough in bidding defiance to the Privy 
Council, which in this connection was clearly the 
ressor.^ This strange chapter in national panics 

' Hist. MSS., Commission Report. 


was, as regards Lord Macdonald, complicated by 
matters of purely local interest. Gilleasbuig 
Gruamach, Marquis of Argyll, had by a somewhat 
questionable manoeuvre constituted himself creditor 
for a very large sum on the Duart estates, and 
this was afterwards greatly augmented by similar 
expedients on the part of his son and successor, 
who strove to exact the amount during the minority 
of Sir Allan Maclean by the most vindictive and 
oppressive measures. Lord Macdonald warmly 
espoused the cause of the Duart famil}^, and raids 
by the men of Glengarry, Keppoch, and Mull, kept 
tiie region of Argyll in a pretty lively condition 
during the years 1675-77-79. The Glengarry Chief 
penetrated to Mull, and, during the most critical 
period of the feud, helped greatly to stiffen the 
resistance of young Duart's guardians to the 
demands of his rapacious adversary. He did so not 
only by armed intervention, but by the more 
peaceful methods of diplomacy, for we are told that 
in the very midst of defensive measures in Mull he 
accompanied Maclean and his guardians to London 
to crave the royal protection. The final upshot of 
this most unrighteous prosecution was that Argyll 
became possessed of the Island of Tiree. That the 
Duart family were not at that time utterly and 
irrevocably ruined was largely owing to the 
chivalrous friendship of the Glengarry Chief His 
eventful career closed in 1680. His vigorous and 
enterprising character has been amply disclosed in 
his attitude towards the great constitutional changes 
and convulsions which shook the political system of 
Britain in the middle of the seventeenth century. 
There was no braver, more consistent, or honourable 
supporter of the Stewart cause than Lord Aros, and 


Charles II., with his many faults, does not seem to 
have been ungrateful for his strenuous and devoted 
service. He left no issue, and the estates of the 
family, as well as the Chiefship of Glengarry, 
devolved upon Ranald Macdonald of Scotus, his first 
cousin, who was at the time well advanced in years. 
The peerage, being confined to heirs male of his 
body, became extinct. 

The greater part of the decade succeeding the 
death of Lord Aros was uneventful in the general 
history of the Highlands, and in the particular 
Annals of the House of Glengarry. During these 
years, however, events were brewing in the high 
places of British Government destined to exert a 
dominating influence upon the course of events in 
the Highlands. The c|uarrel between James and 
his Parliament, and his abandonment of the Crown 
without a struggle when the toils of revolution 
were fast gathering around him, are a twice told 
tale. On the coronation of William and Mary at 
Whitehall, Viscount Dundee was in active corres- 
pondence with the Highland chiefs for the purpose 
of rallying them to the Jacobite interest, while the 
Government of William was equally busy in the 
endeavour to secure by fair means or by foul the 
support of the clans. A scheme was formulated at 
the suggestion of Viscount Tarbat for bribing the 
Highland chiefs — who were largely in arrear to 
Argyll for the feu-duties of their estates — into 
loyalty, but the unpopularity of Campbell of Cawdor, 
who was appointed Commissioner, combined with 
the chiefs' own sense of honour, rendered the pro- 
posal nugatory. General Mackay, who commanded 
the Government forces in Scotland, opened com- 
munications with Lochiel without receiving a reply, 



while Glengarry, who was also approached, advised 
Mackay to imitate the conduct of General Monk by 
helping to restore the Kin^;. 

Dundee appointed the 18th Ma}', 1 689, as the date 
on which the friends of King James were to assemble 
in Lochaber, and when the day of rendezvous 
arrived, the first to appear upon the scene was 
Alexander, the heir of Glengarry — Alastair Dubh 
Ghlinn-a-Garaidh, as he was known in Highland 
song and story — at the head of some 300 men. 
Ranald, the Chief, was still living, but an old man 
long past the period of active exertion, and his son 
and heir was to all intents and purposes the chief 
and leader of the Glengarry Clan. Alexander, the 
dark-haired, was one of the most picturesque 
and striking personalities in the whole history 
of his race. Of towering stature and undaunted 
courage, he was one of the most celebrated 
warriors of his age, while his high talents 
and generous disposition commended him to the 
respect and affection of his clan. A contemporary 
writer, who has already been quoted in other con- 
nections, has given us a graphic description of young 
Glengarry as he appeared during the rising of Dundee : 
— *' First from his northern shores the brave Glengarry 
leads 300 illustrious youths in the first flower of 
vigorous manhood, each of whom a tartan garb 
colours, woven with Phryian skill in triple stripe, 
and as a garment clothes their broad chests and 
flanks. . . . The Chief himself, mounted on a 
foaming steed, and towering in glittering arms, 
advances into the plain, claymore in hand, his cloak 
shining with gold, and a broad baldric with buckled 
clasp crossing his left breast."^ A quarrel between 

' The Graiaeid, p. 122. 


young Giengarry and Lochiel at the beginning of the 
campaign almost brought it to a premature close. 
The Clan Grant were in arms on the side of William. 
Their lands were invaded by a party of Camerons, 
and in the course of hostilities several lives were lost, 
among others a Macdonald of the Glengarry branch. 
His kinsmen were wild, and vowed vengeance. 
Glengarry's anger was at red heat, and the circum- 
stance endangered a breach of the peace and the 
disruption of the host. Dundee, however, acted the 
prudent part of non-intervention ; tempers cooled, 
and die incident terminated. On Mackay's retreat 
southward, the chiefs and clans who had assembled 
took a temporary leave of absence, and went home, 
on the understanding that they would be back by 
the end of June, while Dundee, from his head- 
quarters at Moy, in Lochaber, sent expresses to the 
other chiefs who had not yet joined to hasten to the 
appointed muster. 

Once more the fiery cross went through the 
Highlands, and on the 26th July, 1689, 2500 clans- 
men — a smaller muster than was expected — -had 
assembled under the leadership of Dundee, and were 
marching towards Blair-Atholl, while Mackay, with 
4500 men, was advancing from Perth to meet them. 
Next day— the 27th July— the battle of Killie- 
crankie was fought. At the head of the pass, near 
where the railway station stands to-day, there is a 
small level plain, and on this General Mackay drew 
up his men. Early the same morning Dundee had 
arrived at Blair Castle. He did not, however, 
descend right down to meet his opponent, but 
marched up Glentilt, made a detour round the Hill 
of Lude, upon the side of which he took up his 
position. Mackay mai"ched his main body to a 


position half-way between the plain on which he 
first stood and Dundee's army, forming them in line 
of battle three deep, his cavalry being in the rear 
and his baggage in the pass. In this position the 
two armies watched each other till the sun com- 
menced to touch the Eastern hills. At this moment 
Dundee's Highlanders got the word to charge, when, 
dropping their plaids and shoes, with bodies bent 
forward to present the smallest possible surface to 
the opposing fire, the upper part of their bodies being 
protected by their targets, they advanced to meet 
the foe. The Macdonalds of Glengarry were in the 
centre of Dundee's line, and their leader — Alastair 
Dubh Ghlinn-a-Garaidh — the hero of many a poet's 
lay — bore aloft the banner of King James. In the 
coui'se of their advance they lost severely through 
the well-directed fire of Mackay's infantry, and no 
fewer than 16 of the gentlemen of Glengarry fell. 
On coming up close to the enemy they halted a 
moment, discharged and threw away their firearms, 
and rushed, sword in hand, upon the foe. The new 
generation that had come into being since their 
fathers gathered unfading laurels in the campaigns 
of Montrose, now added fresh lustre to the heroic 
story of the clans. Prodigies of valour were per- 
formed ; but none fought with greater prowess than 
the heir of Glengarry, who, at the head of his 
battalion, mowed down two men at every stroke ; or 
his son, Donald Gorm, who killed 18 of the enemy : 
with his own hand. This youth was himself slain 
upon the field of Killiecrankie, and a brother ofj 
Alastair Dubh is also said to have fallen. In two! 
minutes after the first onset the battle was lost and 
won. Mackay accused liis own men of having ^ 
behaved, with few exceptions, in a most cowardly j 


manner ; but, even had their courage been greater, 
it would have been hard for them to resist the 
tremendous strokes of the huge Lochaber axes and 
two-handed swords, which dealt death on every 
hand. The field of Killiecrankie inspired Aytoun 
to pen one of the most stirring passages in his 
" Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers " : — 

" Like a tempesjt down the ridges 
Swept the hurricane of steel, 
Rose the slogan of Macdonald, 
Flashed the broadsword of Lochiel ; 
Vainly sped the withering volley 
'Mongst the foremost of our band, 
On we poured until we met them 
Foot to foot and hand to hand. 
Horse and man went down like di-iftwood 
When the floods are black at Yule ; 
And their carcases are whirling 
In the Garry's deepest pool : 
Horse and man went down before us, 
Living foe there tarried none, 
On the field of Killiecrankie, 
When that stubborn fight was done." 

The battle of Killiecrankie resulted in a brilliant 
victory for the army of King James, but Dundee's 
death entirely neutralised its effects, and left the 
Stewart cause in Scotland without a capable military 
leader. General Cannon succeeded Dundee in com- 
mand of the loyalist army ; but he proved a very 
inefficient substitute, and although the troops under 
his command increased to over 4000 men, the 
defence of Dunkeld House by Colonel Clelland and 
his Cameronian Regiment sealed the fate of the 
campaign. Alexander of Glengarry was one of the 
signatories to the letter of 17th August, written to 
'general Mackay in response to overtures of peace — 


scoiiiiully rejected by the associated chiefs — as well 
as to the Bond of Association of 24th August.^ 
General Biichan, who succeeded Cannon in the 
command of the army of King James, engaged in no 
effective military operations beyond disbanding the 
last remnant of his force in July, 1690. Along with 
Sir George Barclay and other officers he took up his 
abode in Glengarry's hospitable mansion at Inver- 
garry that same month, where they remained a 
considerable time cherishing hopes of a second 
Restoration." On the 14th July, 1690, a Decree of 
Forfeiture against Glengarry passed the Scottish 
Parliament, but Alastair Dubh still continued to bid 
defiance to the Dutch usurper and all his myrmidons. 
In the spring of 1691 news ol' the capitulation of 
Mons temporarily inspired the party of James with 
the hope that help might be expected from France 
and Ireland, and that the disaster to the Protestant 
coalition would prevent William from making a 
successful stand both in Britain and on the Con- 
tinent. Consequently we find Alastair Dubh, as 
late as the 12th May, 1691, fortifying Invergarry 
house with earthworks and palisadoes as if to stand 
a siege. ^ Soon after this, however, Glengarry, with 
the rest of the loyal chiefs, was relieved by James 
from actively supporting his cause, and allowed to 
make the best terms they could with the Govern- 
ment. This resulted in his taking the oath of 
allegiance, and receiving pardon before the end of 

In 1694 lianald, the Chief of Glengarry, died, 
and Alexander, who had been de facto chief and 
leadei- of the clan for }ears, entered into full 

1 Act. Pari. Scot. - Biowiie, vol. IL, p. 195. 

* Leven and Melville Pajiers, p. 612. ■* Act. Scot. Pari. 


possession of the family lionours and estates. From 
this date, to the Rising of 1715, there is an almost 
unbroken silence in the annals of Glengarry. The 
only matter of consequence brought to light by the 
Records is a grievance endured by Alastair Dubh at 
the hands of the Government in connection with the 
family residence. Ever since the Revolution there 
had been a garrison of Government soldiers at 
Invergarry House, and in 1704 the Chief petitioned 
Government to the effect that this occupation 
involved a loss of £150 a year by damages to the 
lands and woods, besides the w^ant of the house, 
which had been reduced to a ruinous condition. He 
asked Government for redress by removal of the 
garrison, " all that country being still peaceable and 
quiet in due obedience to authority without the 
least apprehension of disturbance or commotion." 
The Council ordered Glengarry to be heard in his 
own cause before the Lords of Treasury, in presence 
of Brigadier Ma it land, Governor of Fort- William, 
that a statement might be drawn up and laid before 
the Queen. His circumstances, however, " being 
such that he cannot safely appear before their lord- 
ships without ane personal protection," the Council 
had to grant a writ discharging all macers and 
messengers from putting any captions into execution 
against him up to the l^Oth September. Before the 
time for the conference arrived, the Duke of Argyll 
put in a representation making a claim upon Glen- 
garry's estate, so that it became necessary to call in 
the aid of the Lord Advocate to make up the state- 
ment for the royal consideration.^ It is probable, as 
a result of the application, that Glengarry got 
possession of his house, though the Records are not 

' Chambers' Douiestiy Auuals of Scotland, Vol. III., p. o04 ; Act. Par. Scot, 


explicit on tlie subject. We hear no more about 
the doings of Glengarry and his clan till the eve of 
the Rising of 1715 on behalf of James., the son of 
the deposed James YII. In 1714 the Elector of 
Hanover ascended the throne of Great Britain and 
Ireland under the title of George I., and an address 
of a most cordial and loyal description was presented 
to His Majesty by no fewer than 102 chief heritors 
and heads of clans, the name of Alexander, Chief 
of Glengarry, at the head of the list.^ Whether the 
King's advisers acted in the spirit of the Trojans 
of old, who feared the Greeks wlien they brought 
gifts, or whether some Court intrigue operated 
against the reconciliation of the Highlanders to the 
new dynasty, the address was never presented. 
Great historical movements and events sometimes 
turn on apparently trivial circumstances, and the 
miscarriage of this address vvas probably the occasion 
of the troubles, not only of 1715, but also of 1745. 
The Earl of Mar's declaration on behalf of the 
Chevalier de St George was made at Braemar on 
9th September, 1715, and Glengarry is specially 
mentioned in it as the representative of the clans in 
the attemj^t at restoration which was about to be 
made. Meantime, and piior to the Earl of Mar's 
declaration, suspicions of treason against the Crown 
were entertained in high quarters against a number 
of individuals, who were summoned to appear in 
Edinburgh, within certain specitied periods, under 
pain of a year's imprisonment and othei* formidable 
penalties, to give bail for their allegiance to the 
Government. This was done under authority of 
an Act passed on 30th August, and among the 
suspected persons was Alexander Macdonald of 

' Tlie Viudiciitioii of the Claiiiuiiald of Gluiigany, A])iieiuli.\, j). IT. 


Glengarry.^ We do not intend to tell the story 
of Sheriffmuir in full, a battle in which a wing 
of each army was victorious. It was fought on 
the 13th November, 1715, and, whatever was 
the fate of the left wing, the right and centre, 
consisting largely of the Clan Donald, were com- 
pletely victorious. When they were disconcerted 
by the grievous loss of the beloved Allan of 
Moydart, it was Glengarry who prevented grief 
from endangering success, by raising aloft his 
bonnet and calling aloud in his own expressive 
tongue, "Kevenge! revenge! to-day, and mourning 
to-morrow." Upon this the Highlanders rushed 
forward sword in hand with the utmost fury, and 
put to flight the wing of the Government army 
opposed to them. Though the battle of Sheriifmuir 
was, so far as the Macdonalds were concerned, a 
victory, it proved, like many another victory won for 
the Stewart cause, singularly ineffective. The glory 
of heroic deeds led to no practical results. After 
Sheriffmuir Glengarry retired to his castle, which he 
fortified and garrisoned in the name of James VIII.^ 
In the course of this year, probably before his recon- 
ciliation to the Government, a letter was written on his 
behalf by Sir John Graham to the Minister of His Most 
Gracious Majesty the King of France, asking that 
the Colonelcy of the Royal Scots Regiment in France 
should be bestowed upon him. Once more, however. 
Glengarry submitted to the inevitable. On the 9th 
April, 1716, he came to Inverness, submitted to the 
Government, gave up his sword to General Cadogan, 
and received his parole.^ The following day he 
went to Edinburgh, probably to make terms with 
the representatives of the Government in regard to 

1 Biowue, Vol. II., p. 267. - CuUodeu Papers, p. 47. '^ Ibid. 


his landed possessions, the position of which must 
surely have been affected by his share in the late 
rebellion. We are not ahle to gather whether in 
the case of Glengarry there was any forfeiture after 
1715, or if so on wliat condition the lands v/ere 
restored. Tlie King over the water showed his 
gratitude to Glengarry in a form which, alas ! was 
not destined to prove effective. On the 9th 
December, 17 16, James VIII. issued a warrant for 
a patent in favour of Alexander Macdonald of Glen- 
garry and his heirs male bestowing upon him the 
dignity of Lord Macdonald. It was sealed with the 
Royal Arms and subscribed with his own hand.' 
Alastair Dubh was suspected of complicity in the 
attempted rismg of 1719, but however loyal he was 
to the Stewart cause, he had sufficient prudence to 
avoid entanglement in a movement which ultimately 
proved so abortive. Yet the enterprise, concerted 
in the Court of Spain, by which a fleet of 10 men- 
of-war, -^1 transports, 30,000 muskets, a large 
quantity of ammunition, and a considerable body of 
troops, were to be moved from Cadiz to the shores 
of Britain under command of the Duke of Ormond, 
was the most serious and determined effort ever 
made on the Continent for the restoration of the 
banished dynasty. The elements, as on a former 
historic occasion, frowned on Spain and favoured 
the British authorities. A violent storm off Cape 
Finisterre, which lasted twelve days, dispersed and 
disabled the vessels, so that only two frigates, 
carrying the Lord Marischall and Lords Tullibardine 
and Seaforth, with 300 Spanish soldiers, arrived on 
the west coast of Scotland. On 26th January', I 71!), 
when the descent u])on the Biitisli Isles began to he 

' The VindiciiticHi of the Chiurouiilil of GleiigHiTV. 


seriously contemplated, the Duke of Orniond opened 
communications b}'' letter with the Glengarry Chief, 
who was not known to the writer personally, but 
whose high character and strong Jacobite leanings 
he was well aware of, with the view^ of his co- 
operating with the Lord Marischall in making a 
diversion in Scotland. In the month of April, when 
the skeleton of the Spanish expedition landed in 
Kintail, it was joined by over a thousand High- 
landers, chiefly of the Mackenzies of Seaforth, whose 
chief took a foremost part in the adventure ; but 
there is no evidence that Glengarry, though his 
lands were in the near vicinity of the rendezvous, 
was in the least involved. On the 18th of June, 
the Jacobite forces took possession of the Pass of 
Glenshiel, where they were attacked hy General 
Wightman at the head of over 1000 Government 
soldiers, and diiven, it is said, to the Pass of 
Strachell, which they endeavoured strenuously to 
defend. General Wightman sustained considerable 
losses during the progress of these operations, but 
the conflict ended at nightfall, when the Spaniards 
surrendered as prisoners of war, and the Highlanders 
dispersed through their native hills. 

The reverse at Glenshiel does not appear to have 
led to an entire abandonment of the insurrection, 
and it was during the subsequent months, when 
secret conclaves of the leading Highland Jacobites 
were taking place, that suspicion rested upon the 
Chief of Glengarry. Towards the end of sunmier 
his movements were closely watched by the 
authorities, and both by letter and citation at his 
residence, by threats and flattery combined, he was 
urged to appear in Edinburgh to justify his conduct.^ 
It was even reported at headquarters that he went 

' The Attempt of 1719. 


disguised to a meeting at Knoydart, attended by 
tlie forfeited Lords^ and the chiefs of clans, to devise 
measures for a fresh rebeUion. This rumour was 
afterwards discredited, and Glengarry was able to 
satisfy the Government not only as to his own 
personal abstention from rebellion, but as to his 
having successfully influenced his people to follow 
his example. He certainly appears to have walked 
warily at a critical time for prominent Jacobites, 
and his only apparent indiscretion was one he could 
hardly avoid, sheltering refugees in their flight from 
Glenshiel. Yet it cannot be doubted that if the 
effort of 1719 had not belied its early promise, and 
had afforded any fair prospect of success for the 
cause of James, the sword of Glengarry would have 
been among the first to be unsheathed. That the 
Chevalier was satisfied of his devotion may be 
gathered from tlie fact that when a Secret Com- 
mission of Scotsmen was appointed to safeguard 
his interests in 1720, Glengarry was placed 
upon the list at James's special desire.''^ There 
is nothing further to record of this celebrated 
Chief of Glengarry till his death, which took place 
in 1724 amid the universal lamentation of his clans- 
men, and particularly of the bards, who so often 
eulogised him in life, and now immortalized him in 
many a dolorous lay. His character has already 
been indicated, and we content ourselves with 
quoting the words of Balhaldie, an impartial admirer 
of tlie departed chief — "He was loyal and wonder- 
fully sagacious and long-sighted, and was possessed 
of a great many shining qualities, stained with a 
few vices, whicli, like patches on a beautiful face, 
seemed to give more cchit to his character." 

' Lords Miu-isuhall, Tullibaiaine, ami SealurLli. - Locldiarl Papers. 


Alastair Dubh was succeeded in the estates and 
cbifcfship by bis eldest son John. The new chief 
was very far from being cast in the same heroic 
mould as liis father, and while contemporary 
accounts inform us that it was his foible to listen to 
tales of doughty deeds performed by his clansmen 
in the past and in the present, he does not seem to 
have unsheathed the sword himself at any time save 
in an occasional fencing bout with his henchmen, 
who were of course not expected to be victorious/ 
John obtained a charter to himself and his heirs 
male of the lands of Knoydart from John, Duke 
of Argyll, dated 27th August, 1724. On 1st 
November, 1735, a Bond of Friendship was entered 
into between the Glengarry Chief and John and 
Patrick Grant of Glenmoriston, his kinsmen, in 
which they bind themselves to maintain between 
the families such kindness and friendship as was 
formerly kept by their predecessors. We have it 
on good authority that the Grants of Glenmoriston 
never sided with the Grants of Grant, but, not 
being sufficiently numerous to form a regiment, 
allied themselves to the Macdonalds of Glengarry. 
The Glengarry Chief was on terms of apparent 
friendship with the Chief of Grant in 1740, for 
when the latter stood as a candidate for the Parlia- 
mentary representation of Inverness-shire during 
that year, the former wrote him on 31st June 
professing the kindhest feeling and promising 
political support.- 

John Macdonald of Glengarry did not himself 
take an active part in the Pusing of 1745, though 
circumstances arose in the course of the movement 

^ The YounK Chevalier, p. 21. - Chiefs of Grant. 


wbicli caused him much trouble and discomfort — 
his position in this i-espect beino- precisely analoo-ous 
to that of old Clanranald. In the summer of 1 745, we 
find Alastair Ruadh, Glengarry's oldest son, holding 
a commission as an officer in the French army, and 
raising recruits in the Highlands for service in its 
ranks. On the 24th June, 1745, shortly before 
Prince Charles lirst set foot on Scottish soil, Robert 
Craigie, Lord Advocate for Scotland, writes Mac- 
pherson of Cluny, wdio held a captaincy at the 
time in the Earl of Loudon's regiment, that young 
Glengarry was so engaged, and enclosing a war- 
rant for his apprehension, the tenor of which is as 
follows : — 

" By Robert Craigie Esqr. His Majesty's Advocate for Scotland. 
Whereas I am informed that Alexander Mackdonnell younger of 
Glengarry Is guilty of Treasonable practices and that he is Inlisting 
men and Raising Recruits for the French service in the Highlands 
of Scotland, These are authorizing you to search for, seize and 
secure the Person of the said Alexander Mackdonnel and the 
Persons Inlisted by him and to Deliver him or them to a constable 
or other officer of the Peace, and to send him or them Respectively 
to Edinburgh under a sure guard to be examined by me, and to be 
otherwayes proceeded against according to law. Given under my 
hand and seal at Edinburgh this 24th Day of June 1745."^ 

There is no likelihood that Cluny ever attempted 
to put the warrant into execution. His loyalty to 
the Hanoverian dynasty was luke-warm at the best, 
and it is not long before we find him engaged under 
the banner of Prince Cliarles. Soon after the issue 
of this warrant, young Glengarry is found in Edin- 
burgh, making preparations for his departure to 
France with letters from the Highland chiefs bearing 
upon the position of affairs in Scotland, which he 

* Gleanings from the Cluny Cliarter Chest, by Provost Maoplierson, Kingussie. 


was to submit to the Prince on his arrival. The 
representation contained in the principal document 
pledged the allegiance and support of the clans, on 
the understanding that suitable auxiliaries should at 
the same time be sent from France. This fact 
should be carefully noted, in view of the circum- 
stances wliich afterwards emerged. Young Glengarry 
consigned his papers, during his stay in Edinburgh, 
to the care of Rev. James Leslie, a Roman Catholic 
priest, who appears a good deal in evidence in con- 
nection with the Jacobite intrigues of post-rebellion 
years. At this time Alastair Ruadh narrowly 
escaped arrest. Two hours after leaving Edinburgh 
Lochiel arrived there, and acquainted Leslie with 
the fact that Ross, a Government pursuivant, 
had got orders for his apprehension. His friends, 
however, were able to give him sufficient warning, 
and, although three weeks passed before he embarked, 
he managed to make good his escape.^ Had he found 
Charles before him in France, the message he bore 
from the Chiefs might have made him pause before 
launching on his adventurous and most imprudent 
course. But already tlie die was cast, for Charles 
was by this time on his way to Scotland, and young 
Glengarry adopted the only available course of sub- 
mitting his message to his brother, Duke of York, 
afterwards Cardinal York. The young Chief's move- 
ments during the succeeding months are not easily 
traceable. We know, however, that shortly after 
his interview with Prince Henry, he ajDpears to have 
recrossed to Britain with a detachment of the Royal 
Scots in the French service and a picquet of the Irish 
Brigade, but was taken prisoner on the voyage by 
some vigilant English frigate, after a desperate 

' Stuart Papers, 


resistance, and lodged in the Tower of London. 
This untoward event appears to liave taken place 
towards the end of December, 1745. During his 
imjarisonment in London, the Court of France gave 
him, through the Duke of York, unlimited credit for 
the relief of such needy prisoners " as they could 
neither own nor support."^ 

Meantime Prince Charles had landed in the Clan- 
ranald country, and prevailed upon some of the 
leading Highland Chiefs to embrace his cause. 
On the 25th July John Macdonald of Scotus, 
cousin to old Glengarry, visited the Prince at 
Borrodale, and when Lochiel agreed to join him, it 
was on condition that His Ro3^al Highness should 
give him security for his estates on the attempt 
proving abortive, and also on the further condition 
that Glengarry should give a promise in writing to 
raise the men of his clan.^ It dn es not appear that 
the Glengarry Chief was personally in favour of the 
movement, but he was a man of facile and indolent 
temperament, somewhat lacking in force of char- 
acter, and his influence appears to have been com- 
pletely nullified by that of the absent Alastair 
Ruadh, whose wishes were well known to the clan, 
as well as by that of the younger but equally 
energetic sons, and the overwhelming sentiment of 
his gentlemen and vassals. In any case it is clear 
that, though he seems to have given an unwilling 
consent to the rising of his clan. Glengarry became 
thoroughly alarmed at the turn affairs were about 
to take ; placed himself undor the protection of the 
Duke of Athole at Dunkeld ; waited upon Sir John 
Cope, the commander of the Government forces in 

' Stuait Papers— Tlie Vindication of the Clanronald of Glengarry. 
-' Itinerary of Prince Charles. 


(Scotland, and gave them all the intbrniation in his 
possession concerning the movements of the High- 
land army. He at one time projDOsed to accompany 
Athole to Edinburgh, and even to London, "to 
avoid disaffection," and as he was powerless to stay 
the tide of rebellion in his own domains. On 
advice, however, he decided to return home, and 
there await the progress of events. How his 
Hanoverian loyalty held out, the sequel will disclose.^ 
Meanwhile 500 Glengarry clansmen, along with 
the men of Keppoch and Glenco, assembled under the 
leadership of Angus, Glengarry's second son, with 
Macdonald of Lochgarry as second in command, 
and came to the Prince's standard. At the battle 
of Preston, on 21st September, the Glengarry men 
were in the first line and on the right wing, and 
the brilliant victory won over the army of General 
Cope was in no small degree due to the courage and 
vehemence of their attack. The friends of Prince 
Charles were so much encouraged by this success 
that the}^ resolved to spare no effort to augment the 
forces at his disposal, and Angus of Glengarry was 
despatched to the North Highlands for the purpose 
of obtaining reinforcements. As already mentioned, 
there was friendship between the families of Grant 
and Glengarry, and the tie of fosterage had 
cemented a Glengarry friendship with one of the 
minor families of Grant in that region, Angus 
having been fostered by Archibald Grsint—GiUeas- 
hiiig an 'Tom BheaUaidli — a near relation to the 
Glenmoriston family. In the Rising of '45, the 
Chief of the Grants inclined to the Hanoverian side, 
and on the 30th September, Angus, who held the 
rank of colonel in the Prince's army, on his arrival 

,'-, ' riiimhlisliPil for .lolui Mar-cloiialil of Glengai-ry. 


4()(I '11 IK CF-AN DONAIJ). 

at 1 )al\\liiiim(' wioti' llif rollowiiii;' letter to .Juliii 
Grant of Balliiitoni. Bailie of Unjuhart • — 

•' Delrhaiinie, 30 Sep., 1745. 
" Dear Sir, --'riu'sc serves 1u iiive notice tliat I am tliis farr on 
my Avay to Gleiigavvv. and beinu clail witli tlie I'rincc's orders to 
burn and harass people that does not imediatly joyn the standard, 
and ase I have particullar orders to raise yonr eontrie, I doe by 
these beg the favoiire yon, on receipt of this line to have att lest 
on hundred men readdie in five days after receipt of this, to joyn 
my Standai'd at Invergarrie : and tiio eontrarie to my inclin- 
ations in eaice of not dew observance to this my demand, 1 shall 
niarcli to ytjur eontrie with the gentlemen here in company, 
Keapoch's brother and Tirnadrish, etc., and shall put my orders in 
execution with all rigour; and ase I have the greatest regaird for 
Grant and all his concerns, I beg yon give nether yonr eontrie or 
me any truble I doe not choose to give ; and yonr readdie com 
plyance to this favour will much oblidge liim who is sincerly, deal' 

sir, vour most humble servant, . , , ^ 

"Angus M'Don'ai.i>. ' 

When the foregoing letter was written, the (Jhief 
of Grant was in London. l)ut it was rephecl on 
behalf of Liidovick Grant, younger of Grant, that 
he had ordered all his people in Urquhart to remain 
loyal to His Majesty King George. On receiving 
notice of Colonel Angus Macdonald's letter, the 
Chief of Grant renewed his instructions to his 
tenants hy letter on the Kith October, and com- 
manded them to remain (piietly at home. On the 
16th October Angus arrived at Glen-Unjuhart with 
120 Macdonalds. and threatened that they and tiie 
Erasers — whose Chief at this date was shewing 
Jacobite leanings — would " spreath the country if 
the whole people did not join them." At this point 
the sources of information at our command are far 
from clear, but the following, so far as we can 
gather, was the real se(iuence of events : — -A couple 

' Cliiets u( (Jiatit. 


of days after the arrival of Colonel Angus and his 
men at Glen-Urquhart, and, after a vain endeavour 
to raise the Grants for Prince Charles owing to the 
Bailie's attitude, the latter official informed him 
that, in obedience to orders, he had summoned 
the tenants to march to Strathspey, apparently to 
the support of the Government ; but only 60 or 70 
had obeyed the call. They marched as far as 
Drumbuie in Glen-Urquhart on their way, but at 
this juncture Colonel Macdonald and all the gentle- 
men round about came up with them, and solemnly 
vowed — with the exception of Shewglie and his 
son — that, if they did not return immediately, or at 
the latest two nights thereafter, all their corn would 
be burnt and destroyed, and all their cattle carried 
away. These threats had the desired effect. The 
march to Strathspey was nipped in the bud, and on 
the return of the 60 or 70 to their homes, Colonel 
Macdonald promised the Bailie that the country would 
be safe from hurt. So far the recruiting expedition 
of Colonel Angus among the Grants had met with 
no greater success than to prevent the Glen- 
Urquhart men from rising for King George.^ 

On the 22nd October a meeting was held 
between the Grants of Corrimony and Auchmonie, 
and James Grant, younger of Shewglie, on the 
one hand, and the Master of Lovat and Mac- 
donald of Barrisdale on the other. The meeting- 
took place at Torshee, and the Prince's claims 
were urged so successfully that about 60 of 
the tenants agreed to espouse his cause. The 
factor, however, once more interfered, and the 60 
repented and refused to join. So far as we can 
judge from a mass of somewhat conflicting evidence, 

' Chiefs of Grant, 


there were 40 Gleii-l'r(Hili;irt nicn who, after all, 
marched to (kstle Downic ;i1(iiil; witli the avowed 
supporters of the Prince. In this centre of intrigue 
a large numher of militant Jacobites, including 
Angus of Glengarry and Macdonald of Barrisdale, 
assembled. The number of gentlemen who were 
gathered there may be estimated from the fact that 
twelve tables were s))read for their entertaiiunent. 
while their followers, including 200 Macdonalds, 
numbered about 1000 men. It was intended that 
the Macdonalds and Grants under Barrisdale, and 
200 Frasers under the Master of Lovat, should 
march to Brahan Castle on the 25th October to 
force Seaforth to join in the rebellion. It appears 
that this movement was not carried out. The 
veteran schemer (,)f Castle Downie, foi- political 
reasons jjrobably, prevented the Master of Lovat 
from leading his contingent ; w^e gather from a 
letter written by the Bailie of Urquhart to the 
Laird of Grant that, oAving to the failure of the 
Frasers to muster, the men of Glen-Urquhart did 
not go north, and as we find Colonel Angus leaving 
Glengarry on. the 29th to join the Prince's army, 
we conclude that the ex])edition to Ross-shire was 

Owing to his recruiting expedition to the North. 
Angus of Glengarry was not along with the Prince's 
army during its march to Derby and subsequent 
retreat, but a regiment of his clan formed a part of 
the rear-guard under Lord George Murray during 
the latter operation, and at the skirmish at Clifton 
manifested signal gallantry. Lord George Murray, 
with a bod}^ of horse, and Macdonald of Lochgarry, 
at the head of the Glengariy men, were posted at 

' TIk' CliiclV of (Jniiit. 


Clifton on the 18tb December, while Charles, with 
the rest of the army, had gone on to Penrith. 
While examining, for strategic purposes, the parks 
and enclosures about Lowther Hall, the seat of Lord 
Lonsdale, about a mile from Clifton, Lord George 
Murray made two prisoners, who informed him that 
the Duke of Cumberland, with 4000 horse, was in 
his immediate neighbourhood. The situation was 
critical, and Lord (Jeorge, on receipt of the infor- 
mation, despatched Colonel John Eoy Stewart to 
Penrith with a request for reinforcements. These 
arrived in due time, and the General soon made his 
dispositions. Within the enclosures to the right of 
the highway were the Glengarry men under Loch- 
garry, while the Macphersons and the Stewarts of 
Aj)pin were to the left. Across an intervening moor 
300 of Cumberland's dragoons advanced after sunset, 
anticipating, we suppose, an easy victory, it being a 
fixed Ijelief among the Hanoverian troops that the 
Highlanders had a lioly horror of cavalry, and were 
inca})able of resisting their onset. This delusion 
should have Ijeen dispelled at Clifton. The Stewarts 
and Macphersons rushed to meet the dragoons sword 
in hand, while the Glengarry men, as the}" advanced, 
discharged a well directed and destructive fire. Li 
a few minutes Cumberland's dragoons were in full 
retreat, leaving many slain upon the field. Lnmedi- 
ately after this the attack was renewed with a still 
stronger body of horse ; but the resistance was 
conducted with undiminished valour and ])re- 
cisely similar results. Macdonald of Lochgarry was 
slightly wounded in f he knee.^ After the skirmish 
at C*lift(in, the Prince and his Higiiland host pro- 
ceeded steadily on their northward march until 
they arrived at Glasgow, where they rested for 

' Meiiiurial — Lochgari-y to Gleugany. 


several days. The next move was to Baiiiiockbiirn 
— scene of martial triumphs -and, marching upon 
Stirling- shortly thereafter, the reduction of that 
town was soon and easily accomplished, and its 
gates were opened to the Prince and his army on 
the 8th January. 174(5. Siege was immediately 
laid to the castle, l)ut this had eventually to be 
abandoned. Before the middle of January, Angus 
of Glengarry and his recruits who had joiaed the 
reinforcements under Lord Strathallan and Lord 
John Drunnnond, also Macdonald of Barrisdale at 
the head of 300 men from the north, arrived 
at Stirling while the siege of tlie castle was 
being prosecuted. These Macdonald reinforcements 
brought up the Glengarry battalion to the grand 
total of 1200 men.^ On the evening of the IGtii. 
Charles, hearing that the Goveriunent troops were 
advancing to Falkirk, ordered the various detach- 
ments of his army to concentrate upon Plean Moor, 
while he left about 1000 men under the Duke 
of Perth to carry on the siege of Stirling Castle. 
Next day about noon the Jacobite army marched 
towards Falkirk, and at two oclock in the afternoon 
were less than a mile from that town before General 
Hawley, who occupied it Avith troops, knew that 
they had cjuitted Bannockburn. With great pre- 
cipitation the Government regiments flew to arms, 
and ascended an eminence between the army of 
the Prince and the town. Fawley commenced the 
attack with a body of 1100 cavalry, but after a 
des})erate melee, in which the Highlanders, after 
discharging their niuskets with deadly effect, made 
use of broadsword and dirk just as occasion offered, 
routed the enemy with great slaughter, and com- 
menced the pursuit. The Kings trooj)s would have 

' Meiiioiial — l^itfligai'iy U' ( ik'iif;ariy. 


been aniiihiJated were it not for the spirited etibrts 
of two unbroken regiments and a rall}^ of some 
scattered battalions who checked the onset. The 
town of Falkirk, the tents and baggage of the 
enemy, and 700 prisoners fell into the hands of the 
Highland army. The Macdonalds of Glengarry 
were at the battle of Falkirk in great force, as we 
have seen, and with their clansmen of Keppooh and 
Clanranald contributed materially to the victory. 

The young Glengarry leader did not long survive 
the battle of Falkirk. The Highlanders had picked 
up numerous firearms upon the field, and one of 
the Keppoch men was handling a musket which 
had been twice loaded. Having extracted one of the 
bullets he fired off the })iece through a window in the 
direction of some officers who were standing on the 
street, imagining tliat tlit- charge was blank, and the 
remaining Ijullet entered the body of Angus of 
Glengarry, who was mortally wounded. He lived 
for three days after this most untoward accident, 
and with his dying breath attested the innocence 
of the unwitting liomicide, and begged tliat he 
should not l)e punished. The story of his 
execution is not confirmed by the reliable 
authorities. The Prince attended Angus's funeral as 
chief mourner, but many of his followers, incon- 
solable at the loss of their young and gallant leader, 
could not be prevented from returning to their hills. 
James Macdonald of Glengarry, the Chiefs oldest 
son by a second mari'iage, a youth of 18, took com- 
mand of the regiment, as successor to his brother 
Angus. We have the authority of a contemporary 
Government document for believing that old Glen- 
garry was accessory to this proceeding on the part of 


James. Suoii after this the siege of fStirhiig was 
abandoned, and the Prince ar.d his army marched 
once more to the north. President Forbes and Lord 
Loudon, who commanded the Government forces, 
were at Inverness with 2000 men when the Prince 
and his army drew near. Upon this the two 
Hanoverians with their followers, consisting largely 
of Macdonalds and Macleods from Skye, crossed 
Kessock Ferry, taking with them all the available 
boats, and thus ])reventing ])uisuit, except by the 
head of Beauly Firth, a distance of 20 miles. A 
detachment of the Prince's army was sent in pur- 
suit under Lord Cromarty ; but when they arrived 
at the Ferry of Dornoch, it was found that Loudon 
held again shewn great dexterity in the art of 
flight ; had crossed over from Tain to the county 
town of Sutherland, aiid had taken with him, as 
before, all the boats within easy reach. At this 
juncture the Duke of Perth was sent to join Lord 
Cromarty with a division of the Prince's army. 
Tliis consisted of 1430 men, of whom 8oO were Mac- 
donalds, 530 being of Gleiigarry under connuand 
of Lochgarry, 300 of Clanranald. the rest being 
Frasers, Stewarts, and Macgregors. The Duke of 
Perth marched to Tain witli his following, but had 
to wait for several days until boats were secured in 
sufficient numbers to transport them to the coast ot 
Sutherland. After some difficulties, dangers, and 
vicissitudes, the Jacobite force, much inferior 
numerically to Loudoji's, landed about G miles 
iVom Dornoch, to their own surprise, without the 
slightest opposition. Marching to Dornoch, they 
found that Lord Loudon and (lie President, who hy 
tliis time had devolojx'd a gciiins \\n- rclrogiadc 


movements, had decamped, while they surprised a 
detachment of the Government army, some 60 of 
whom, under the Laird of Mackintosh and a Major 
Mackenzie, surrendered themselves as prisoners cf 
war, and their arms were handed over to Macdonald 
of Lochoarry.^ This detachment was found to con- 
sist largely of Macdonalds from the Sleat country, 
and the Gleugairy and Clanranald men who were 
in pursuit had a difficulty in distinguishing hetween 
their Skye compatriots and their own clansmen, as 
all wore the Highland garb and bore the heather 
badge." On the eve of CuUoden, Glengarry became 
still more involved in the Jacobite movement. He 
is said to have ordered John Macdonald, younger of 
Lundie, to march with a body of clansmen to the 
Duke of Gordon's country, and raise the men of 
Glenlivet and Strathdon. The Chief himself went 
to Glenbucket, with whose laird he was allied by 
marriage, and appointed a rendezvous of the country 
gentlemen to be held at Glenbucket liouse for the 
Prince's cause, on pain of destruction if they refused.^ 
We do not purpose detailing the various strategic 
movements that preceded the battle of CJuUoden, nor 
yet to tell again the story of that fateful tield. 
The Prince seems all at once to have lost the fair 
share of military capacity which he disjjlayed on 
former occasions. He and his staff were at sixes 
and sevens ; tlie best tactician of them all, Lord 
George Murray, was over-ruled ; the resolution to 
ofter battle to Cumberland was taken with an army 
wearied with marching, weak with hunger and want 

Y- ^ ^tenKirial— Locligarry in Gleii^-aviy. 

- Lockhart Papers, Vol. II,, p. 505. 
y "Unpublished Memorial concerning Acts of Treason conmiitted liy Ji'hn 



of sleep, and in a state of partial dispersion, and in 
face of the fact that several thousand Highlanders 
were on the wa}^ to join the army. How could 
victory be looked for under such conditions, and why 
tiy to ex})lain del'eat hy fastenirio' the charge of 
cowardice upon the ( 'Ian Donald, \\ho shed then 
best blood u])on Druniossie Moor, Donald Macdonald 
of Scotus, a Glengarr\- ca[)tain. and one of the 

bravest and worthiest of men, being among the 
slain ? 

Prince ( -harles, after his defeat at (hilloden on 
the IGth April, made for Invergarry Castle, where j 
he ivsled for some days. Not long thereafter | 
old (JlcnojD'iy. who docs not seem lo have been at j 
( 'ullodci:. ImiI w Ii.>. during llio nioic iiopcfiil pliasc j 
ol' Lhc robcllioii iiraNolv conii)roniiscd liiniscn' was 


placed ill difficulties, which proved the futility 
of a Laodicean policy. Coiitident apparently, 
in his relations with the Government, he went 
to Inverness a few days after the battle of 
CuUoden, ^vith the intention of waitii\i,^ upon and 
being presented to the Duke of Cumberland. Upon 
this the Lord President advised him to return to 
Livergarry ; get the tenants on his estate to 
surrender to Government, and having done this, to 
return to Inverness, when he might expect to be all 
the more graciously received. Glengarry willingly 
adopted the suggestion ; prevailed upon the great 
bulk of his tenants to submit, and no doubt felt that 
he was now in a position of security. Yet what was 
the result ? Before he had an opportunity of 
rendering his personal homage at headquarters, 
the King's forces made a descent upon Fort- 
Augustus, burnt every house in the district to. the 
ground — including the Chief's house at Invergarry, 
so that he and his wife and children had to occupy 
a wretched hut — pillaged and destroyed his offices ; 
robbed his people and himself of all their stock ; took 
possession of his furniture, plate, charter chest, and 
wi'its, and committed a variety of outrages too 
numerous to detail. To crown all, he himself was 
taken prisonef in the month of July, and immured 
in Edinburgh Castle.' 
I In order to understand the real cause of this 
I changed attitude of the Government, and Glen- 
I garry's consequent misfortunes, we must now make 
. reference to the undoubtedly treacherous conduct 
': of one of the principal cadets of his house, which 
sheds a flood of light upon the oppressive actions 
, wo havo just recorded. Among those Jaeo'bite 
! leaders who fell into the hands of the Government 

' Unpublished Memorial for .Julin Macdonuld of Gleiigairy. 


were Mucdonald of Barrisdale and his sou, but very 
shortly afterwards they were set at hberty. Colonel 
Warren, who in October, 1746, carried Charles 
safely to France, arrested Barrisdale at Loch- 
iianuagh, on the coast of Moidart, and shipped him 
to lloscotf, in lower Brittany, to answer to the 
charge of treason against King James.^ The reason 
for this arrest was that Barrisdale's release, so yery 
(piickly and without any trial by the Government 
authorities, could only be exjilained by treachery 
to the Jacobite cause. Tiie Prince's friends for- 
mulated seven charges against Barrisdale, and 
history aftbrds no clue to their eyer haying been 
answered. Chief among the accusations was that 
he had engaged to apprehend the j)erson of the 
Prince, and deliver him up to the enemy within a 
limited time." Two of the charges deeply affected 
the safety of the Cliief of Glengarry. The sixth 
was to the effect that Barrisdale had made Glen- 
garry's people believe that that Chief had promised 
to deliver them up to the enemy, and that he was 
to receive £30 sterling of jiremium for each 
gentleman so betrayed. This charge against 
Glengarry — on the surface extremely improbable, 
the Chief being as much at the mercy of hi.s 
vassals as they were at his — was, however, so 
seriously regarded l)y them that they gave 
in an information against him to the Govern- 
ment, with the result which has been related. 
All this series of misfortunes was wrought by 
Barrisdale, the undoubted vilhiin of the story, 
whose action has placcc] a foul stain u])on the page 
of ( IleiigaiTN' his( oi'V. 


111 Julv, 1747, young Glengarry received his 
liberty, having been 20 months in the Tower. 
Even then his rt-lease was conditioned by exile 
from Britain, and consequently the last four- 
teen years of his life were largely spent upon 
the Continent. During many of these years 
his worldly fortunes were at a low ebb, nor does 
it appear that either the old Chevalier or the 
Prince was able to show him the consideration 
which was commensurate v^^ith the sacrifices made 
by himself and his family on their behalf. On the 
24th September, 1748, he applied to "the King 
over the water" for the Colonelcy of the. Royal 
Scots TIegiment in the service of France, vacant by 
the death of the "gentle Lochiel." The reply, 
however, was, })erforce, unfavourable, the commission 
having been |»roiyiised to young Lochiel, for whom, 
beino' a minor, it was held as locwn tencns by 
his uncle, I)r Archibald C-ameron. James was 
I'egretful at Alastair Ruadh's impecuniosity, but 
being hard up himself he could not assist. He sent 
him enclosed with his reply the duplicate of his 
grandfather's warrant for the peerage — an inter- 
esting docmnent — but not being convertible into 
hard cash, it did not in the least relieve the 
embarrassments of the situation. Nor can it be said 
that the French Government used him well. 
Through the Duke of York's influence they had 
given him, while in the Tower, unlimited credit for 
the relief of destitute prisoners in Britain ; but after- 
wards, with unspeakable meanness, they credited 
themselves with four years of his pay as Captain in 
the French army.^ Nor did he ever receive redress. 
The Glengarry estates were also so deeply impover- 
ished by various forms of debt, as well as by the 

^ Stuart Papers, 


(lestniction wrought by the l)nk(' of (Cumberland's 
soldiers in 1746, that little aid was obtained 
from that quarter. He was in such straits 
that while on a |)rivate visit to London he had to 
sell his sword and shoe bnckles, and was beholden 
for further aid to Leslie, a Koman ( 'atholic priest.^ 
After a time, liowever, the King over the water, 
or the Prince, as his representative, appears to 
have come to his assistance by a permit to 
draw from the Chief of Cluny a portion of 
the Treasure which had been buried at Loch 
Arkaig at the close of the campaign of 
1745-6, and of which Cluny was in charge. 
Among the receipts given by Cluny Macpherson 
for money disbursed to Jacobites is the following, 
dated 28th November, 1749: — "I acknowledge 
to have received from Clnnie Macpherson, by 
vertue of his Majesty's credentials, the summe 
of 300 Lnidors value received by me at Drum- 
och(ere 28 Novbre 1749 — Mackdonell." - Old 
Glengarry, who was released from captivity in 
( )ctober, 1749, died in 1754, and his son Alexander 
succeeded to the chiefship and estates. Not till 
the 23rd February, 1758, was he served heir to 
the estates as the nearest male representative, first 
of Donald MacAngus of Glengarry, and second of 
Lord Macdonald of Aros, a formality which took 
place before the Bailies of Inverness.^ He still 
continued to be pursued by financial embarrass- 
ments, his father having left him a legacy of 
personal debts, and the property being much 
encumbered by wadsetts. His latter years were 
clouded, not only by money difficulties, but by the 

' Sluui'l Pai^Ts. - Gleaiiing.s from Cluny Chartei- Cliest. 
•' Vindicatiim of the Clanronald of Glengarry. 


more u'rievons slmdow of* l)i'okeii healtli. ()ii tlie 
'2\)ih April, 1761, he made liis will, leaving his sister 
Isabella his sole executrix. The will contains some 
interesting provisions. He left to his brother, 
Captain James Macdonald of Glenmeadh, his French 
rifle gnn ; to Alexander Macdonald of Aberchalder 
his own fusee : to Duncan Macdonald, his nephew 
and apparent heii-, the arms belonging to him in 
Edinburgh, in the custody of Alexander Orme, 
Writer to the .Signet, being family arms ; requests 
his sister to call for and recover his tiunk at Mrs 
Foster's, in Beaufort Buildings, London, and deliver 
the sword therein and his picture to the heir male 
of the family, and to deal with the rest of the 
contents in the manner he had verbally directed 
her. One direction in the will is peculiar — " I 
further recommend to my said sister, immediately 
on my decease, to seal u[) my cabinet, and take care 
that the same shall not be opened until the friends 
of the family meet, and then I direct Angus 
Macdonnell of Greenfield and Allan Macdonell 
of Cullachy, or tlie survivor of them then 
present, to see all the political and useless letters 
among my papers l)urnt and destroyed, as the 
preservation of them can answer no purpose." As 
Glengarry lived for eight months after his last will 
and testament was drawn up. it is strange that he 
did not himself see to the burning of the papers in 
question, nor did it seem as if he regarded them in 
any sense inciiminating or compromising. He died 
on the 23rd December, 1761, and though evidence is 
lacking as to his age, he must have been a com- 
paratively young man. We cannot accept as proven 
the accusations of villainy made against Alastair 

4S0 THE CLAX I)()XA1,1). 

Ivuadli liv ;i wi'itcr of our tinu/ ^\ho lias heeii playing 
the part of detective amouo- the shades of departed 
Jacobites. As the latter are separated by a great 
o'ulf from the modern re^iler, and are not in a 
position to raise actions for libel, his conduct is 
safe, if not exactly ^'enerous. ( *onld we reform our 
ancestors, such chargres, if true, mi^ht be frauL^ht 
with good : but as this cannot be done, we say cui 
bono? let tlie dead past bury its dead. On the 
other hand, when an elaborate indictment against 
the head of an illustrious family is built up out of 
second and third hand tittle-tattle ; one peculiarity 
of spelling which was, after all, not peculiar to 
Glengarry : expert evidence as to handwriting, 
which, as everyone knows, can be made to prove 
anything, and a few circumstantial and coincidental 
details ; and when the Chief in question is made to 
act the part of betrayer, forger, spy, and bully, on 
evidence of that nature, we decline to accept of the 

In an historical work of this nature we cannot 
afford the space requisite for a full examination of Mr 
Lang's position. One or two samples of his methods 
may be examined. He accepts evidence against 
Glengarry without any questioning of its truthful- 
ness, on the principle that any stick is good enough 
to beat a dog with. As we have already seen, old 
Glengarry died in 1754, and in 1755 Oolonel 
Trapaud, Governor of Fort -Augustus, wrote to 
Dundas of Arniston, Lord Advocate, a letter, 
which Mr Lang quotes, charging Glengarry with 
the most ojipressive conduct towards his tenants 
since his father's death, and stating that among 
other enormities he " took advantage of his poor 
ignorant tenants, to o})lige them to give up their 


wadsetts, and accept of common interest for their 
money, which they all agreed to," ^ with more to 
the same effect. The conchision drawn from the 
foregoing is that, in addition to his other vices, 
Glengarry was a bully. Will it be believed that 
this is all a myth ? In the first place, the Governor 
of Fort-Augustus and Glengarry were not good 
friends,^ and the former's charges may well be 
taken cum grano salis. In the second place, the 
wadsetters of Knoydart were neither poor nor 
ignorant, nor likely to be imposed upon ; but were 
as well educated as and much better off than their 
Chief; and in the third place, after Alastair Ruadh's 
death, and on his nephew's succession, the wadsetts 
on the Knoydart as well as on the Glengarry estates 
were intact and unredeemed. 

The second instance we refer to, as throwing 
grave doubt on Mr Lang's conclusions, is a letter 
written by Pickle the Spy to a correspondent in the 
confidence of the Government in the year 1755.^ 
Pickle, the ^^'riter of that letter, distinctly refers to 
Glengarry in the third person, and there is nothing 
at all in the contents which necessarily points to 
their identity on any other than a priot'i grounds. 
On the assumption that Glengarry was Pickle, the 
fact must have been well known to his corres- 
pondent, and w^here was the need on this one 
occasion of going through the solemn farce of writing 
about Glengarry as if he were a ]3erson separate 
and distinct from himself? 

Only one other instance do w^e refer to, and it is 
that which Mr Lang regards as the copestone of the 

' Pickle the Spy. - Glengariy's Letter -book. 

=* Pickle the Spy. 



damnatory strnctniv, Pickle's last letter written to 
the Duke of Newcastle (February 19, 1760), which 
he signs as Pickle, though lu^ speaks of himself in 
the third person. The writer ])ro])Oses to raise a 
regiment for the King's service if he obtains the 
rank of full ('olonel. As a matter of fact many of 
the Glengarry men were already in the Fraser 
Highlanders, both as privates and otHcers ; hut 
during these latter years of his life the Chief was in 
such miserably broken health —continually ill and 
confined to bed — that for active service in the field 
he was utterly unfit, and such an offer by him was 
extremely improbable. The ])ostscript, however, 
contains the crowning triumph of Mr Lang's 
arraignment, and is in the following terms : — 
" Mack mention of Pickle. His Majesty will 
remember Mr Pelham did upon former affairs of 
great consequence." 

" Direction — To Alexander Macdonell of Glen- 
garry by Foraugustus." 

As to this postscript, it may be remarked : — (1) 
The fact that Pickle's letters were to be addressed 
to the Chief of Glengarry does not necessarily 
involve the identity of the one individual with the 
other, and we assume that Pickle, whoever he was, 
desired his letters to be addressed to Glengarry's 
care. This will appear probable from the following 
consideration : — Assuming that Pickle was Glen- 
garry, his correspondent, the Duke of Newcastle, 
for years had possessed the secret of his identity, 
had often been in communication with him, and 
had known with perfect certainty that he resided 
regularly on his estate of Glengarry since 1754. 
Why should he, in this solitary case, have given a 
name and address so well known to his corres- 


poudent ? Surely an inexplicable superfluity, if 
Mr Lang's conclusions are trustworthy. (2) As 
Mr Lang lays much stress on spelling, we have the 
evidence of Glengarry's letter-book for stating that 
Alastair Ruadh did not spell Mackdonell with a 
small " d," that he did not spell " make " as " mack," 
and that he did not spell " Fort Augustus " as 
" Foraugustus." It is not our business to lift the 
veil from the mystery of the identity of Pickle the 
Spy, which still remains as great a mystery as ever, 
but we demur to the branding of a Glengarry Chief 
with the character given him in the pages to which 
we have been compelled briefly to refer, without 
evidence that is at once direct and overwhelming. 

Alastair Ruadh was succeeded by his nephew 
Duncan, the son of Angus, who was accidentally 
shot at Falkirk. Duncan was a minor at the time 
of liis succession, and his estates, which were 
terribly burdened, were under trustees for the 
l)enefit of his creditors, and with the view of 
relieving the financial tension, the estate of North 
Morar, which was held of the Crown, was sold to 
General Simon Fraser of Lovat in 1768. The large 
price obtained for this property proved a consider- 
able relief In 1772 Glengarry married Maijory, a 
daughter of Sir Ludovick Grant of Dalvey, and as 
he himself appears to have been a man of facile and 
easy temperament, his wife, who was of a resolute 
and imperious nature, has got the credit or discredit 
of all that was objectionable in the management of 
the estates in his time. The rents were raised, the 
wadsetts cleared, notices of removal were served 
upon the wadsetters and their dependants, and 
there commenced that tide of emigration, the suc- 
cessive waves of which in the course of years carried 


the very cream of the Gleiig-any clansmen into the 
heart of the new world. The |)ei'Sonality of this 
chief did not leave a deep impression on his time. 
He is said to have opposed, evidently with some 
success, the adoption of the principal arms of Mac- 
donald by Lord Mac(UMiald of Sleat. Since the 
time of Lord Aros the idea that they were chiefs of 
the whole Clan Donald was tenaciously clung to by 
the House of Glengarry. Duncan of GlengariT 
died at Elgin on the 11th July, 1788- — a com- 
paratively young man — and is said to have been on 
his way to Peterhead to drink the mineral waters 
for which that town once possessed a reputation, 
which it appears largely to have lost. On the 
30th April, before his death, the Chief executed a 
destination of his whole estate in favour of his heirs, 
and appointed trustees for its administration. 

Duncan of Glengarry was succeeded by Alexander 
Ranaldson while the latter was still some years 
short of his majority. This Chief was one of the 
most remarkable Highlanders of his day, on wliom a 
double portion of the spirit of Clann Cholla, the 
perfervidum ingenium Scotorwn, appears to have 
descended. Like his great-great-grandfather, Alas- 
tair Dubh, wliom in many respects he seems to have 
resembled, he had great virtues stained by a few 
vices. That he had grave faults of character, which 
often led him into serious scrapes, must of course be 
admitted. The pride of all the Macdonalds swelled 
within his breast, and was in many respects his 
bane. His insult to Lieutenant Norman Macleod at 
an officer's ball at Fort-George in April, 1798, and 
all because Miss Forbes of Cnlloden, a famous 
beauty, was Macleod's partner in a dance for which 
Glengarry claimed her hand ; — this and the con- 


sequent duel with its tragic sequel would never have 
happened to a man of ordinary prudence and self- 
control. His opponent's wound was not considered 
dangerous, and the combatants shook hands after 
it was over ; but Macleod succumbed in a few days 
to the eflPect of the injury, and Glengarry was 
prosecuted for manslaughter by the criminal 
authorities. He, however, was acquitted, but this 
and other escapades, unnecessary to detail, but 
which cannot be ignored in an estimate of his 
character, are a serious stain on his memory, and 
won for him in his own and after times the name of 
Alastair Fiadhaich. Yet it would be unjust to 
forget that there was another and a noble side to 
his character. Many of his faults were traceable to 
his having been left, like Byron, without a strong 
guiding hand in youth, lacking the discipline so 
greatly needed by a nature so intense and volcanic 
as his. On the other hand, his virtues were all his 
own. He was kind-hearted and generous, and 
dispensed a noble hospitality, so that one of the 
gentlemen of his own clan has truly placed on 
record that Glengarry had " the heart of a prince," 
Still further, he had powers of mind of a high order, 
and could state a case in which he was warmly 
interested with great clearness and force. It was, 
however, as the typical Celt, the Highland chieftain 
and enthusiast, the patron of bards, the reviver and 
upholder of the ancient state and customs and 
language of the Gael, that Glengarry left so deep 
an impress on his day and generation. Wherever 
he went there was a Celtic renaissance, and men 
were transported to the ancient days of Gaelic 
chivalry and song and story. It was this com- 
bination of qualities which led Scott to write of him 


in these glowing terms : — " He seems to have Hved 
a century too late, and to exist in a state of com- 
])]ete law and order like a Glengarry of old, whose 
will was law to his sept. Warm-hearted, generous, 
friendly, he is beloved l)y those who know him. 
To me he is a treasure." When he travelled he 
did so as a Gaelic Prince, with a full retinue of 
kilted attendants, not a single articnlus lacking of 
a Highland Chieftain's tail. When George IV. 
visited Edinburgh in 1822, Glengarry and t\A'elve 
attendant o-entlerneii, includinL'" his brother, Colonel 
James Macdonald of Hougomont fame, " the bravest 
man in Britain," were not the least })ictures(|ue 
feature of the brilliant show. Every fibre of his 
being was instinct Avith Highland sentiment. It 
was through him that the Society of true High- 
landers was formed about 1816, he himself by 
acclamation occupying the place of Ceann-suidhe, or 
Chairsman, at their re-unions in Fort-William. In 
an English poem, composed to this Society in 1816, 
Ewen Tvlaclachlan, the celebrated Gaelic scholar and 
bard, descants in glowing measures on " Clann 
Domhriuill's regal line," and of '' Th' illustrious Chief 
of Garry's woody vales." Glengarry was the idol 
of the bards, not only of his own, but of other clans 
as well — their hearts were completely won by his 
considerate and kindly bearing. Allan Macdougall, 
known as Ailean Dall, sharing as he did the 
infirmity of Homer and of Ossian, was the family 
bard of Glengarry for a number of years, and poured 
forth many a ])anegyric to his patron's praise. 
One instance of the bard's ready wit and real genius 
has been placed on record. On an occasion when 
gymnastic sports were held nt Fort-William, Glen- 
garry told Allan that he would give him tlie best 


COW on his estate if he sang the proceedings of the 
day without mentioning his own name. The bard 
immediately rephed — 

" Dheauaimi latha gun gbriau 
'S muir bliau gun bhi saillt 
Mu 'n gabhaiiin do na Gaidbeil dan 
Gun fbear mo ghraidb air ard mo rainn." 

" I would make a day witbout sun, 
And tbe wide sea witbout salt, 
Ere I would sing to tbe Gael a lay 
Witbout my loved patron as first in my song." 

Glengarry erected a memorial stone at the stream 
in which the ghastly bunch of heads of the decapi- 
tated Keppoch murderers was immersed by Ian 
Lorn, and called since that day tohar nan ceann. 
Ewen Maclachlan celebrated the erection in 
lines of chaste and classic beauty. Glengarry's 
ideas of a Highland Chieftain's state were not in 
keeping with his means, which gradually grew more 
straitened, notwithstanding the fact that rents were 
raised and that an unremitting stream of emigration 
continued to make place for the breeding of sheep. 
He had bought the estate of Scotus, which was 
again incorpoi-ated with the barony of Knoydart ; 
but this and the rest of his property became 
heavily mortgaged, and it was only late in the day 
that he recognised the necessity of limitation and 
retrenchment in his expenditure. Had he been 
spared, it is not unlikely that, with his resolution 
and force of character, he might have done much to 
redeem his estates for the benetit of his descendants, 
as he evidently purposed doing. This, however, 
was not to be. ()n tlie 14th January, 1828, he 
was killed in tlie attempt to get ashore from the 


wrecked steamer Stirling Castle at Corran, near 
Fort-William, at a time of life when he might 
naturally look foi'ward to a goodly term of years. 
He was a genuine undiluted specimen of a Higliland 
Chief, and as the last link in a line of long ago, 
those who survived him might well say " take him 
all in all, we will never see his like again." He 
was buried in the cemetery of Killionan, where 
many of the heads of tlie Glengarry generations 
repose. The bards were loud in their lamentations 
at his violent and tragic end, and one who eulogises 
his memory makes particular reference to a marked 
feature of the Chief, his devotion and success as a 
huntsman — 

" 'S aim iia laidhe u Cill louaiu 
Dh' fhag siun biatacli an fliiona 
Lamh a b' urraiiui a dhioladli 
'S cas a sliuibhal na frithc 
Bu tu sealgair na sithne 
Le d' cuilbheir caol direacli ; 
'S bho 'n a thainig a chrioch ort 
Gheibh na lau daimli an siocliaint, 
Cadal samhach 's cba dirich an naiuhaid." 

After his death the history of Glengarry as a 
territorial family soon came to an end. ^-Eneas 
Ranaldson Macdonald, who succeeded, found the 
estates so heavily mortgaged that Glengarry had 
to be sold. This chief emigrated to Australia with 
his family ; but after some years' sojourn there 
returned to Scotland, and resided at Inverie in 
Knoydart, where he died. He was buried in the 
family place of sepulture at Killionan. ^neas 
Ranaldson was succeeded by Alastair Kanaldson, his | 
oldest son. It was in his time that the remainder i 
of the j)ati'im()nial acres passed out of the family of 


Glengarry by the sale of the estate of Knoydart. 
Alastalr Ranaldson died unmarried in New Zealand 
in 1862, and was succeeded in the chiefship by 
Charles Ranaldson, who died in June, 1868, on his 
way from New Zealand to Scotland, and with whose 
demise the representation of the line of Alastair 
Dubh became extinct. Upon this the succession 
devolved again upon the Scotus family in the 
person of the nearest male descendant of Angus, 
brother of Alastair Dubh, and second son of 
Reginald of Scotus, who succeeded Lord Aros. 
This heir male was admitted by the Lyon King at 
Arms on the 28th June, 1868, to be ^Eneas 
Ranaldson, seventh of Scotus. He had been a 
member of the Madras Civil Service, and at the 
time of his succession to the Glengarry Chiefship 
was resident at Cheltenham. He only survived 
his succession by a few months, as he died on the 
24th October of the same year, and was suc- 
ceeded by ^neas Ranald Westrop Macdonald, the 
present head of the ancient and renowned family 
of Glengarry. 





:iii of the Family. — Alliauei.' with England. — Marriage of John 
Mor. — Acquisition of the Glens in Anttini. — Richard II. in 
Tslay. — Argylo raided by Irish mercliants.— .lohn .Mor and the 
Gaelic Charter of 1 -408,— Battle of Harlaw.— Alleged quarrel 
between John Mor and his brother Donald. —Tragic death of 
.John IMor. — King .James and the Glan Donald. — Imprison- 
ment of the Lord of tiie Isles. — Donald Balloch defeats the 
royal forces at Inverlochy. — He hnds refuge in the Antrim 
Glens. — He leads the Clan during the minoiity of his Chief, 
John, Earl of Ross. — He heads the rebellion in the North. — 
He invades Arran, the Cumbraes, and Lismore.— The Clan 
Iain Mhoir and the Treaty of Ardthornish. — Donald Balloch 
again in rebellion in the North. — Death of Donald Balloch.— 
.lohn (jf Dunnyveg resides in Antrim. — He receives the 
li..iionr ..1 Knighihu,,.!.- Itcvnlt nf tho Clan lain Mhoir.— 
Ivx.TUtion u\- Sir .Inhn and liis mip, .l,.hn ( ';il hanaeh.— 
Strng-le between Alastair Madain Chathanaieh and Maclan 


of Ardnamurchan. — Alexander of Duniiyveg joins the Loch- 
alsh insnrrection. — Lands of the family restored to Alex- 
ander. — Alliance between Alexander and Campbell of 
Cawdor. — Campaign against the Campbells. — Alexander in 
rebellion against the Government. — He is received into 
favour. — He defends himself against Argyle. — Several offices 
and gifts conferred upon him. — Alexander fights for the King 
of Scots in Ulster. — He has troubles in Antrim. — Alexander's 
death at Stirling. — James, his son, brought up and educated 
at the Scottish Court. — Held answerable for his clan. — He 
receives a Crown Charter of the Barony of Bar. — James is 
proclaimed Lord of the Isles. — Dispute with Argyle. — He 
receives from Argyle a grant of Ardnamurchan. — Troubles 
in L'cland. — James receives a grant of lands in Argyle from 
Queen Mary. — -He establishes his authority over the Route. — 
Agreements between him and the Earl of Arran. — Struggle 
in Ireland continued. — Invasion of Kintyre by Sussex. — 
English efforts to expel the Macdonalds from Ulster.— James 
receives further favours from Queen Mary. — Gift of ward 
and marriage of Mary Macleod of Dunvegan bestowed upon 
him. — Feud with Maclean of Duart. — Indenture between 
James and Queen Elizabeth. — Agreement between him and 
Farquhar McAlister of Skirhough. — War with Shane O'Neill. 
— Death of James. 

The founrler of the Family of Dunnyveg, wliicli 
played so prominent and distinguished a part in the 
annals of the Clan ClioUa, both in the Scottish 
Highlands and in Ireland, was John Mor, the 
second son of John, Lord of the Isles, by his 
marriage with the Princess Margaret of Scotland. 
The early history of this renowned branch of the 
House of Somerled has already been dwelt upon 
under the Lordship of the Isles in the first volume 
of this work. It is desirable, however, that the 
history of the family should be traced to its origin 
as an independent branch, and this cannot well be 
done without necessarily trenching more or less on 
the ground taken up already in the first volume. 


'I'he laniily became known in Celtic Scotland as the 
Clan Iain Mhoir, or Clan Donald South. His father 
bestowed on John Mor 120 meiklands in Kintyre, 
with the castles of Saddel and Dunaverty, and 60 
mei'klands in Isla, with the castle of Dunnyveg. 
The possession of so large a territory elevated John 
Mor on the very threshold of his cai'eer into a 
position of prominence in the Highland polity, and 
in due course he became a leading actor in the 
Island drama. The family of the Isles was then in 
the zenith of its ))ower. The relations between 
England and Scotland were anything but friendly 
at the best. A truce was no sooner proclaimed than 
the restless barons of the borders on either side 
broke it by a renewal of hostilities. The greatest 
ambition of either seems to have been the anni- 
hilation of tiie other, and tlie most powerful 
influences that affected this unequal international 
contest were France and the Isles. The one aim of 
the Family of the Isles in forming an alliance with 
England against Scotland was to preserve the inde- 
pendence of the Western ({ael. An alliance with 
Scotland itself, or a neutral policy, would have had 
the opposite effect. In these circumstances, John 
Mor Tanistear entered heartily into the Anglo- 
Scottish quarrel. That quarrel had conte to a crisis 
in the summer of 1388, and onl}^ a few days before 
the sanguinary er.gagement at Otterburn took place 
John Mor and his brothers, Godfrey and Donald, 
were received at the English Court by Richard II. 
On the 14tli of July, the brothers entered into a 
iriendly alliance with the English King, John, 
Bishop of the Isles, being also a party to the 
Whctlier Ihey look any active part 


with the P]nghsh in oj^posijig the Scottish invasion 
is doubtfu], l)nt their Ijeini;- m l^ngland at all at 
such a time favours tlie assumption that they were 
not idle spectators of the defeat of their allies at 
Otterbiirn, The alliance formed between John Mor 
and the English CJoiirt at this time was renewed 
again and again in the course of the follow^ing years. 
The addition of a large territory in Ireland to his 
already extensive possessions in Argyle now elevated 
the Lord of Dunnyveg into the position of a mag- 
nate of the first importance. Not long after his 
reception at the English Court, John Mor married 
Margery Bisset, heiress of the Glens in Antrim. 
The Bissets, who were of Greek extraction, came 
over to England with William the Conqueror, and 
settled after a time in Scotland. Before the close of 
the 13th century, they had acquired the seven lord- 
ships of the Glens in Antrim. Through his marriage 
with Margery, the only daughter of John Bisset, the 
last male head of tliis family, John Mor succeeded 
to the heritage of the Glens-— 77rt seachcl tuathaibh 
Glinneach — extending from the Inver to the Boyse.^ 
From this time onwards he was styled Lord of 
Dunnyveg and the Glens. He is so styled in an 
English writ of the year 1400, being a safe conduct 
from the English King to him and his brother 
Donald,' but in the history and traditions of the 
clan he is always known as John Mor Tanistear, a 
distinction which in the Celtic polity gave him a 
position second only in importance to the Lord of 
the Isles himself There had been a prior connection 
to the one now formed through the Bisset heiress 

^Indenture between James Macdonald of Duimyveg ami tlip Kail of 
Sussex — Cotton MSS., British Museum. 
' Rotuli Scotise, 


l>etween tlie Fauiily of llie Isles and the Province of 
Ulster. John Mor's own grandmother, A^mes, wife 
of Angus, Lord of the Isles, was a daughter of 
O'Cathan, one of the great cliiefs of Ulster, and the 
Antrim Glens often afforded in after years a welcome 
asylum to many a scion of the House of Somerled. 

It may be presumed that John Mor, who con- 
tinued his alliance with the English Court, now^ that 
he had become a potent factor in the sphere of Irish 
politics, would throw the w^eight of his influence in 
favour of the English interest in Ulster. On the 
de230sition of Piichard II., both John and his brother 
Donald transferred their alliance to his successor, 
Henry IV. Twice during the year 1400 they visited 
the Court of the new^ King. It is somewhat remark- 
able that in these circumstances the dethroned King 
Hichard should, after his escape from Pontefract 
Ckstle, have found his way to the distant Island of 
Isla, and, in the guise of a beggar, entered by a back 
door the residence of the Lord of the Isles at Fin- 
laggan. Yet so it w^as. The Lady of Dunnyveg, 
who had formerly seen the deposed monarch in 
Ireland, readily recognised him, though in such 
humble guise. The Lord of the Isles and John 
Mor, who had frequently visited the unfortunate 
monarch's Court in the days of his pi'osperity, 
received him now in the hour of adversity wdtli 
all due respect. Henry of Lancaster himself, 
though in reality much alarmed on hearing that 
his rival had found his way to Scotland, ridiculed 
the idea of the resurrection of an individual at 
whose obsequies he had but recently assisted. But, 
in order to ascertain the actual facts regarding the 
appearance of Richard in Isla, he summoned to a 
secret interview the Loi'd of the Isles and his chap- 


lain. That be was convinced after this interview 
of the truth of the report is shown by his sudden 
change of pohcy towards Scotland, at whose Court 
the fugitiYe King at length found a welcome asvlum. 
There the romantic incident ended. ^ 

As evidence of the continued friendly relations 
between John Mor and Henry IV., the King in the 
year 1405 acted in the capacity of mediator between 
him and certain merchants of Dublin and Drogheda. 
It appears that these commercial men had caused 
much annoyance to the Lord of Dunnyveg and his 
brother, the Lord of the Isles, by their persistent 
raiding visits to Argyle. The King, at Bishops- 
thorp, on the I6tli of September, granted a 
commission to John, Bishop of Down, and others, 
to negotiate a peace between the Islesmen and the 
Irish traders."- The mediator appears to have suc- 
ceeded in bringing about the desired peace, and 
no more raiding Irishmen, either from Dublin or 
Drogheda, are heard of cm the shores of Argyle. 

In the year 1408, John Mor is again found 
visiting the English Court.^ In connection with 
these frequent visits to England in the capacity of 
plenipotentiary from the Isles, the question whether 
the Lord of Dunnyveg was qualified for the duties 
that devolved upon him on these cccasions deserves 
attention. In the same year that John Mor visited 
the English Court, Donald, Lord of the Isles, 
granted a charter, written in the Gaelic language 
and character, to Brian Vicar Mackay of certain 
lands in Isla. One of the witnesses to this charter 
is a " John Macdonald," who signs by a notary 
"with his hand on the pen." Many Gaelic scholars 

' Fordun a Gocjdal, WiiiUni'?; Chronicle, Rotuli Scotia:'. 
-' Rymer's Foodera, -^ Ibid. 


have coiicludt'd tliat this individual could have been 
no other than the Lord of Diinnyveg himself. But 
it is hardly credilile that a person not able to write 
even his name could have been capable of acting 
as ambassador to a regal Court, such as that of 
England, and negotiate treaties, and in this capacity 
John Mor is found frequently acting.^ Apart from 
this, altogether, it is only reasonable to suppose that 
John Mor would have received equal advantages 
with his brother Donald, who, Ave know, received 
an English education. We have, therefore, good 
grounds for assuming that the signature of "John 
Macdonald," who witnessed the Gaelic charter of 
1408 is not that of the Lord of Dunnyveg. 

Li the struggle between the Lord of the Isles 
and the Regent Albany, John Mor had his full 
share. The relations between the brothers and 
their royal cousins had been, indeed, always some- 
what strained, but lately these had developed into 
open enmity, owing to the conduct of the Regent, 
and the quarrel had reached its height when the 
Macdonald banner was unfurled in 1411. On the 
day of Harlaw, which proved so disastrous to the 
Regent's host, John Mor, at the head of the reserve, 
contributed largely to the victory of the men of the 
Isles. And when the Regent afterwards followed 
Macdonald into Argyle, the resolute Tanistear again 
came forward to strike a blow for his race, and 
Albany was repulsed. 

Hitherto John Mor and his brother Donald had 
worked with one aim, but, according to the Sean- 
achie of Sleat, a formidable quarrel sprang up 
between them over some lands in Argyle, claimed 
by John Mor. It may be as well to give the 

' Rymer'a Foedera. 


story of the quarrel between the brothers in the 
Seanachie's own words : — " About this time Hved 
the subtle and wicked councillor, the Green Abbot 
Finnon. . . . Maclean fostered Donald Balloch, 
John More's eldest legitimate son, by the Abbot's 
advice, who told John Mor that he had but a small 
portion of his father's estate, and that he would 
seize upon all that was beyond the Point of Ardna- 
murchan southward. The Abbot, being a subtle, 
elocjuent man, brought over to his side the Chiefs of 
the Macleans and Macleods of Harris, to get the 
Islands for themselves from the Lords of the Isles, who, 
hearing a rumour of the insolence of the new faction, 
raised some powerful forces, viz., the men of Ross, 
Macleod of Lewis, his own brother, Alister Carrick, 
Macintosh, Mackenzie, the Chief of the Camerons, 
the Islanders, the men of Urquhart and Glen- 
moriston, the Glencoe people, and Macneill of Barra. 
Now, John and his party could not withstand the 
forces of his brother ; so, leaving Kintyre, he w^ent 
to Galloway. Macdonald followed them. John 
went from Galloway to Ireland, and remained in 
the Glens. Donald returned to Islay. John More 
and his faction, seeing that both they themselves 
and their interest were like to be lost, unless Mac- 
donald pardoned himself and spared the rest, for his 
sake, thought it their best course to go to Islay, 
whei-e Macdonald resided in Killcummin. Upon 
John More's coming in his brother's presence, 
and prostrating himself on the. ground, his brother 
rose and took him up, and embraced him kindly. 
This sedition was owing to Macfinnon and his 
kinsman, the Green Abbot."^ This is altogether 
a doubtful story, and it is partly, at least, inac- 

1 Hugh Macdonald-* MS. 



curate. The Abbot Mackiiinon, referred to as the 
instigator of the quarrel, whose "stately tomb" in 
lona was to be seen in the time of the Seanachie, 
could hardly have been a contemporary of John Mor. 
The " stately tonil) " is still to be seen, and from the 
inscription upon it the death of the Abbot can be 
seen to have taken place in the year 1500, or nearly 
70 years after that of John Mor. 

Ail that remains now to be told of the history of 
John Mor is the tragic manner in which he met his 
death. The King, on being restored to his country 
after his long captivity in England, found his king- 
dom, both north and south, in a state of lawless 
confusion. James at once began vigorously, and 
with a firm resolution, to restore order and good 
government throughout the realm. In ! 427 he held 
a Parliament in Inverness. One of the problems 
which on that occasion he found himself face to face 
with was the virtual independence of the Family of 
the Isles. He was at a loss how or where to lind 
means to curb its power, or what measures to adopt 
to bring about its ruin, and either was by no means 
an easy task. It required all the firmness and 
decision of character for which he was so remark- 
able, and perhaps more ingenuity than he had yet 
displayed. He decided to take John Mor into his 
confidence. According to the Sleat Seanachie, "the 
King sent John Campbell to know if John More of 
Kintyre, Macdonald's uncle, would send to take all 
his nephew's lands ; but it was a trap laid to weaken 
them, that they might be more easily conquered." 
The Lord of Dunnyveg would not entertain the 
proposal to deprive the Lord of the Isles of his 
possessions, and the King therefore resolved that 
he should pay the penalty. Campbell, the King's 


emissary, sent a message to John Mor, desiring him 
to meet him at a friendly interview at Ard Dubh in 
Islay. In the words of the Sleat Seaiiachie, " John 
came to the place appointed with a small retinue, 
but James Campbell with a very large train, and 
told of the King's intention of granting him all the 
lands possessed by Macdonalds, conditionally he 
would, if he held of him and served him. John 
said he did not know wherein his nephew wronged 
the King, and that his nephew was as deserving of 
his rights as he could be, and that he would not 
accept of these lands, nor serve for them, till his 
nephew would be set at liberty ; and that his 
nephew himself was as nearly related to the King- 
as he could be. James Campbell, hearing the 
answer, said he was his prisoner. John made all 
the resistance he could, till, overpowered by num- 
bers, he was killed." In this treacherous manner 
perished John Mor, the victim of a dastardly plot. 
So great was the indignation caused by the murder 
of the Lord of Dunny veg, both in the Lowlands and 
in the Highlands, and so strong was the suspicion of 
the King's own complicity in the matter, that James 
was at length obliged to make a show of vindicating 
himself He caused Campbell to be arraigned as 
the murderer of John Mor, but that individual 
protested his innocence, and strongly asserted 
that he had only carried out the King's instruc- 
tions. The King denied this, and as Campbell 
could produce no written authority from him, 
his protestations were of no avail. The royal 
honour must he vindicated, and Campbell expi- 
ated his own and the King's crime by paying 
the extreme penalty of law. But the execution of 
Campbell had not tlie desired effect, and instead of 


allaying, it only intensified the strong feeling of 
resentment which pervaded the great body of the 
Clan Donald and their allies. The state of matters 
at length brought the King to Inverness, with the 
determination to make a lasting impression on the 
Clan Cholla. By a mean spider-like trick the 
Highland Chiefs were inveigled into what they 
were led to believe was to be a friendly interview 
\ with the. Sovereign. The result was the execution, 
among others, of Alexander MacGorrie, one of the 
leaders of the Clan Donald, while the Lord of the 
Isles himself and his mother, the Countess of Ross, 
Avere sent to prison, and the King was merry at the 
thought of his own cleverness. Having taught the 
Clan Donald, as he thought, a salutary lesson, the 
King was graciously pleased to release the Lord of 
the Isles, after a detention of a few weeks. The 
Island Lord no sooner regained his liberty than he 
mustered his followers, with the determination to be 
revenged on the King, but owing to the defection of 
some of his vassals, he was obliged to submit, and 
throw himself again on the King's clemency. James 
spared his life, and sent him a prisoner to Tantallon 
Castle. But this only furnished a pretext for 
another Highland revolt, and now had come the 
yoTUig Lord of Dunnyveg's opportunity of avenging 
the death of his father, and striking at the same 
time a blow for his imprisoned Chief Donald 
Balloch, the eldest son and heir of John Mor, was a 
bold warrior, who proved himself, in the absence of 
his Chief, a capable leader of the clan. At his call 
the followers of the Macdonald banner mustered 
from island and mainland, and a contingent also 
from his own Antrim Glens hurried across the sea to 
the place of meeting. The Earl of Mar, lie who 


suffered so signal a defeat at Harlaw, and Allan 
Stewart, Lord Caithness, mustered the King's forces. 
The total defeat of the King's army at Inverlochy 
has already been referred to at length in another 
part of this work.^ In that famous field the 
victorious leader of the Highland host, the gallant 
Lord of Dunnyveg, won his first laurels, and by his 
deeds of heroism added a lustre to the name of Mac- 
donald, the memory of which will never fade. The 
King was paid back for his treacherous conduct at 
Inverness, and the laugh is now turned the other 
way. Donald Balloch brought his campaign in 
Lochaber to an end by paying an unwelcome visit 
to the renegade Camerons and Clan Chattan, who had 
deserted the standard of his Chief in the previous 
campaign. After a successful raid, he proceeded to 
the Isles. When the news of the defeat of the 
royal forces at Inverlochy reached the Court, a 
wrathful man was James, King of Scots. He vowed 
the direst vengeance on the devoted head of the 
Clan Donald leader, but the Lord of Dunnyveg 
found refuge in the Antrim Glens. Even there he 
was not free from the royal vengeance, and except 
for the seasonable wit and ready resource of an Irish 
Chief, it is hard to say what his fate would have 
been. Hugh Buy O'Neill with grim humour pre- 
sented the Scottish King with a human head, and 
the credulous James received it as that of the rebel 
Lord of Dunnyveg. 

In the year 1431, Alexander, Lord of the Isles, 
was released from his imprisonment in Tantallon 
Castle, and restored to the honours of his house. 
The Lord of Dunn3^veg, whom the Scottish Govern- 
ment believed to be dead, continued to cultivate the 

^ Claii Donald, vol. L, p. 183, ct svq. 


privacy of his Irish home among the Antrim Glens, 
nor is it likely that he ventured to cross the channel 
before the death of King James in 1437. The Lord 
of the Isles himself had now become a man of peace, 
and the opportunity of again distinguishing hims^elf 
under his banner never came to the hero of Inver- 
lochy. During the remainder of Alexander's life 
Donald Balloch disappears entirely from the public 
view as a man of war and a maker of Scottish Celtic 
history. But the death of the Earl of Ross in 1449 
was the beginning of a new chapter in the history 
of the Family of the Isles, and the pidse of the body 
politic began again to beat with its wonted vigour. 
The successor of the Earl of Ross was a minor. 
During the period of minority, which extended over 
three years, Donald Balloch acted as chief guardian 
and principal councillor to his young chief, while in 
the field he led the clan. His services as military 
leader were early in requisition under the new order 
of things. John of Isla celebrateci his accession to 
the Earldom of Ross by entering into a league with 
the Earls of Douglas and Crawford against the 
Scottish Government. Acting in concert with the 
Lowland Earls, and no doubt with the advice of his 
principal Councillor, the Lord of Dunnyveg, the 
young Earl of Ross raised the flag of rebellion in 
the North. Though the Earl was the nominal 
leader of the Highland host, the actual command 
devolved on the veteran Donald Balloch. Marching 
to Inverness, the Highlanders took possession of the 
Castle and expelled the garrison. From Inverness 
they proceeded to Urquhart. There also they 
succeeded in expelling the garrison and taking 
possession of the Castle. Not satisfied with taking 
these two loyal strongholds, the men of the Isles 


pushed on throug-h Moray to Badenoch, and gave 
the Castle of Ruthven to the flaraes. Such was the 
state of matters in the South, and so full were the 
hands of those in authority, that no notice was 
taken of the rebellion in the North, and the High- 
landers remained masters of the situation. An 
attempt was made afterwards by the Earl of 
Huntly to deprive them of the fruit of their 
victory, but without success. The Lord of 
Dunnyveg, who was the prime mover in these 
proceedings in the North, continued in his attitude 
of defiance towards the Government. The defeat 
of the Earl of Douglas in Annandale, and his 
subsequent flight to Argyleshire, brought Donald 
Balloch again into the arena of rebellion. The Earl 
was received by Donald in the Castle of Dunstafi- 
nage, in Lorn, where he was afterwards joined by 
the Earl of Ross. The scheme of invasion pro- 
pounded by Douglas commended itself to the Earl 
of Ross and Donald Balloch. Besides an invasion 
of the Crown lands by the followers of the Mac- 
donald Chief, it was intended to encourage the 
adherents of Douglas to draw together in the 
Western counties. The fiery cross was sent round, 
and Donald Balloch soon found himself at the head 
of 5000 clansmen. With a fleet of 100 galleys, 
Donald sailed to Inverkip, whence he proceeded to 
Arran, the Cumbraes, and Bute, all of which he 
invaded in turn, and wasted without mercy. Besides 
burning Brodick Castle to the ground, he carried 
away from Bute and Arran, and the other islands he 
invaded, an immense spoil. So thorough was the 
" spulzie," that he left notliing behind worth carry- 
ing with him.^ But the raiding chieftain did not 

' Auchiuleck (Jlironicle. 


stop here. It appears that Bishop Lauder of 
Lismore had been a party to the forfeiture of the 
Earl of Dou^das. This was enough. The Bishop 
must be punished for his presum})tion. To Lismore, 
therefore, sailed the Lord of Dunnyveg, and laid 
waste the island from end to end, sparing neither 
life nor pro])erty. The Bishop's own life was spaied 
by his taking refuge within the sanctuary of his 
catliedral church. The naval raid by the men of 
the Isles, at the instigation of the rebel Earl of 
Douglas, failed entirely of its purpose. That 
ambitious scliemer had already formulated those 
daring plans for his own aggrandizement, which 
afterwards proved so fatal to the lamily of the Isles. 
As for the Lord of Dunnyveg himself, a special 
immunity from consequences seems to have followed 
the commission of every otlence committed by him 
against the Scottish State. 

In the year 14G0, the King of Scotland opened 
his campaign against England l)y making an assault 
on the frontier Castle of Box burgh. During the 
siege a strange spectacle was witnessed in the 
appearance on the scene of the Macdonald Chief 
at the head of 3000 clansmen, the only instance 
since the day of Bannockburn of a Lord of the Isles 
ajjpearing in the field under the banner of the Scot- 
tish sovereign. It is doubtful whether the veteran 
Lord of Dunnyveg followed hi.s chief into the 
Scottish camp on this occasion, but there is no 
doubt whatever that shortly thereafter lie was 
actively engaged in an insurrection that broke out 
in Argyle, ^^•hich originated in a domestic broil, in 
which several members of the C'lan Dougal were 


The Treaty of Ardthornish and its direful conse- 
quences have already been fully entered into in the 
tirst volume of this work. It is not necessary now 
to make more than a brief reference to the position 
of the Clan Iain Mhoir as parties to that league. 
Not only Donald Balloch himself, who appears to 
have been always ready to enter into every wild 
scheme, but his son John, and his brother, Ranald 
Bane of Largie, were also involved. The writ 
appointing Commissioners to treat with the King's 
" clearest cousin John, Earl of Ross, and his dear 
and faithful Donald Balloch or their ambassadors," 
was issued on the 22nd of June, 1461. In due 
course the English Commissioners and the Earl of 
Iloss and his Council met in solemn concla^^e in the 
hall of Ardthornish Castle in Morven. To complete 
the compact between the parties, the deliberations 
were adjourned to Westminster, where the Com- 
missioners of the Earl of Boss, Ranald Bane of Largie, 
and the Archdeacon of the Isles, met with the Com- 
missioners of the King of England, and the league 
known as the Treaty of Ardthornish was concluded 
on the 13th of February, 1462. The object aimed 
at by the parties to this compact appears to have 
been nothing less than the dismemberment of the 
Northern Kingdom. In terms of the Treaty, the 
portion of the kingdom north of the Forth was to be 
divided equally between the Earls of Ross and 
Douglas and Donald Balloch, while Donald and his 
son John were to be paid respectively the sums 
of £40 and £20 in time of war, and in time 
of peace half these sums. The payment of 
these salaries Avas to cease on the division 
of the kingdom between the parties being 
completed. In the event of a truce with the 


King of Seotlaiul, the Earl of lloss, Donald Balloch, 
and his son John, were to be included in it. The 
conspicuous position given to the Lord of Dunny veg 
as a party to the Treaty of Ardthornish is an evidence 
of his importance as a factor in Highland politics, 
while there is every reason to suppose that none of 
those concerned entered more heartily into the 
alliance with England. To carry out the provisions 
of their wild scheme, the confederate Earls resolved 
on prompt action. In the North the followers of 
the Earl of Ross were assembled under the leader- 
ship of Angus Og, the Earl's son, and Donald 
Balloch. Angus Og being then a minor, the actual 
command devolved on Donald. Taking possession 
of the town of Inverness, they proclaimed the Earl 
of Ross as sovereign of the North, and commanded 
the payment of all taxes due to the Crown to be 
paid to him under pain of death. But this effort, 
the first and last, to carry out the provisions of the 
Treaty of Ardthornish in the North ended in failure. 
The expected English help did not come, nor did 
there appear much hope in the then state of affairs 
in the Southern Kingdom of immediate aid from 
that quarter, and the Northern insurrection col- 
lapsed. It does not appear that any action was 
taken l)y tlie Scottish Executive to punish the 

The Lord of Dunnyveg evidently feared a move- 
ment in that direction, when, after witnessing a 
charter at Dingwall on the r2th of April, 1463, he 
betook himself to that harbour of refuge for all Clan 
Donald rebels — the i\ntriin Gh-ns. Shortly after 
his arrival in Ireland, Donald Balloch and his son 
John took the oath of allegiance to King Edward 
of England, in terms of the Treaty of Ardthornish, 


the King having- empowered Richard, Bishop of 
Down and Connor, to receive the same.^ Growing 
weary of Scottish strife, Donald Balloch resided now 
for some time on his Irish property, and is not heard 
of again for a while. The record of the relations of 
his family with Ireland at this early period is of the 
most meagre description. Little, indeed, can be 
gleaned other than a few references to those times 
of compulsory residence in the Glens during which 
it was not convenient to live too near the Scottish 
Government. The Scottish annals are equally dull, so 
far as the Clan Iain Mhoir are concerned. From the 
Treaty of Ardthornish, or rather from the cessation 
of the hostilities which immediately followed that 
event, to the forfeiture of the Earl of Ross in 1476, 
a period of some 14 years, there appears to have 
been unwonted calm, and the warriors of the Clan 
Donald who came out so boldly in the Highland 
Capital sheathed their blades. The two most out- 
standing of these, Angus Og and Donald Balloch, 
contrary to all expectations, disappeared from the 
arena of clan strife in the most mysterious manner. 
The only references we can find to Donald Balloch 
himself betoken a time of peace. In his position as 
principal councillor of the Earl of Ross, he witnessed 
a charter by that Chief to his brother, Celestine of 
Lochalsh, dated at Aviemore on the 25th of April, 
1467. Again, on the 28th of June, 1469, he 
witnessed at Aros a charter by the Earl to his 
brother, Hugh of Sleat. In the absence of any 
reference in the Scottish Records of the time to the 
contrary, there is reason to believe that Donald 
Balloch was now on his good behaviour, so far as 
his relations to the Government were concerned. 

' Privy Seals (Tower) Edward IV. 


There are not wniitiiig, indeed, ftiint indications of 
loyalty to the Scottish throne itself, and Gregory 
ANOuld have it that the honour of knighthood was 
conferred on the Lord of Uunny veg. It is true that 
in a deed by Donald Balloch, dated at Irvine, in 
Ayrshire, on the 8th of October, 1475, he styles 
himself Do )ird (Jus de Insidis de Glcni/s ct de Dunna- 
ivak mUes ac prirnns et principaUs concUiarius 
'nicuiuifici ct potentis Domini JoJiannis Comitis 
li'o^sir ac Domini Insularum. But several instances 
could be given, from deeds to which we had access, 
of tlie distinction of iiillcs being added to the names 
of men on whom the honour of knighthood had never 
been conferred. Stronger proof than this single deed 
affords is needed l)efore we can Ijelieve that the honour 
of knighthood M-as conferred on one whose relations 
to the Scottish throne were, to say tlie least, alwaj^s 
doubtful. It is, indeed, difficult to imagine a time 
when Donald Balloch was loyal enough to receive so 
conspicuous a mark of royal favour. Whatever 
the exact relations between him and the Scottish 
Government may have been during the decade prior 
to 1475, there is no doubt whatever that towards 
the end of that year they were strained in the 
highest degree, and what seemed an impassable gulf 
was iixecl between him and those in power. It was 
then that the compact between the Earl of Ross and 
the King of England, as embodied in the Treaty of 
Ardtliornish. to which, as luis been already seen, both 
Donald Balloch and his son, John, were parties, 
came under the cognizance of the Scottish Govern- 
ment. In the indictment brought aoainst the Earl 
of Ross, the offences of Donald Balloch weie also 
included. His depredations in Bute and Arran, and 
his siege of Rothesay Castle, were charged against 


the Earl. No separate process seems to have been 
instituted against Donald liimself, the chief, no 
doubt, being held responsible for the treasonable 
conduct of his clansman. The Earl of Ross, appear- 
ing before Parliament in July, 1476, was pardoned 
for all his past transgressions, and restored to all the 
honours and dignities of his House. The Lord of 
Dunnyveg must have come under the same act of 
grace, for instead of cultivating the seclusion of the 
Glens of Antrim, we find him in Isla shortly after 
the restoration of his chief On the 20th of Ausfust, 
1476, he witnessed there a charter by the Lord of 
the Isles of the lands of Grenane, in Ayr, to John 
Davidson. Donald Balloch and his family had 
much reason to congratulate themselves on the 
good escape they made at this critical time in the 
history of the Clan Donald. The lenient course 
pursued by the Government is, in all respects, 
worthy of commendation, and such as one so 
deeply involved as Donald Balloch could never in 
his wildest dreams have hoped for. It has been 
hinted that his lands in Kintyre, held of the Lord 
of the Isles and resigned by that chief, were retained 
in the King's hand ; but for this there is no ground. 
Notwithstanding the treasonable conduct brought to 
light by the Treaty of Ardthornish, the Family of 
Dunnyveg suflPered no change in point of tenitorial 
l^vt'stige. As for the bold Lord of Dunnyveg him- 
self, his sandglass was now well nigh all run out, 
and he was soon called upon to render his account 
before a tribunal from whose unerring decision there 
is no appeal. He apparently never left his native 
Isla again, dying there, on a little island in Loch 
Gruinard, in the end of the year 1476, at an 


advanced a^-e.^ In him died the foremost Clan 
Donald warrior of his time. 

Of John, the son and successor of Donald 
Balloch, little is known beyond the crenealogies of 
the clan. He was a part}^ as we have seen, to the 
Treaty of Ardthornish, but he is not heard of again 
for many years. There is every reason to suppose 
that he resided for the most part on the family 
property of the Glens in Antrim. The only refer- 
ence to him on record which we can find seems to 
point to a closer connection with the Glens than 
with the family territory in Scotland. In 1481, he 
is found, in the fashion of a provincial sovereign, 
surrounded by his Irish Council, in imitation of the 
Island polity. In June of that year, a commission 
under the sign manual of the King of England was 
granted to Patrick Halyburton, the King's Chaplain, 
Henry Pole, Captain of the Fleet, and John Bayn, 
Mayor of Canickfergus, to conclude an alliance with 
the King's cousin, John of the Isles, Lord of the 
Glens, and his Council.^ The agreement arrived at 
between the parties was afterwards delivered for 
confirmation at Westminster, In the revolt which 
followed the surrender of the Earldom of Ross by 
John of Isla, the Clan Iain Mhoir took no part, 
though no doubt they shared the resentment mani- 
fested by the Clan Donald generally at that time. 
Their energies appear to have been devoted entirely 
to the affairs of their Irish territory. In no other 
way can the disappearance from the scene of clan 
warfare of such men as John of Dunnyveg, and his 
son, John Cathanach, be accounted for during the 

\ ' Hugli Maodonald's MS. Mac'Vuiridi MS. Hawkins' and other Geiieal.tgie* 

in British Museum. 

« State Papers in T.nvrr ,,f L.iii.lmi. 


campaigns of Angus Og and Alexander of Locbalsh. 
The upheaval caused by the final forfeiture of the 
Lord of the Isles in 1493, however, brought the 
Clan Iain Mhoir again into prominence in Argyle. 
Holding their lands of the Island Lord, it behoved 
them at so critical a time to be in evidence. When 
King James visited the West Highlands immediately 
after the fall of the Island Lordship, John of 
Dunnyveg was among the first to render him 
homage. The King, besides confirming him in all 
his old possessions under the Lord of the Isles, con- 
ferred the honour of Knighthood on the son of 
Donald Balloch. James, in his conciliatory mood, 
wishes to let bygones be bygones, but on account of 
the opposition to his policy of the Argyleshire chiefs, 
he foimd it necessary to place strong garrisons in the 
castles of Tarbert, Dunaverty, and others. The 
garrisoning of Dunaverty esjDecially, and the putting 
of the district of Kintyre under military discipline, 
seems to have given great offence to the newly - 
dubbed Knight of Dunnyveg. 

The story of the revolt of the Clan Iain Mhoir has 
already been told in the first volume of this work.^ 
It may suffice for the present purpose if the bare 
outlines of it be given. Before the King had yet 
left Kintyre, Sir John of Dunnyveg, his son, John 
Cathanach, and other leaders of the Clan Iain Mhoir, 
stormed Dunaverty, dislodged the Lowland garrison, 
and hanged the governor. On his return to Edin- 
burgh, the King took steps immediately to bring Sir 
John to task. He was declared traitor, and a 
messenger was sent to Kintyre to summon him for 
his treason. The rebel knight found it convenient to 
ignore the summons, and betook himself to Isla as a 

'■ Clan Donald, vol. I., page 284, et seq. 


safer retreat. Here, indeed, he miglit liave defied 
the King's efforts to reach him but for the 
treacherous conduct of liis own clansman, John 
Maclan of Ardnamurchan. In the guise of friend- 
ship, Maclan apprehended " Sir John of the Isles 
and Glens, John Cathanach, his son, and their 
accomplices," and brought them to Edinburgh. 
After a summary trial. Sir John of Dunnyveg and 
his son, John Cathanach, were convicted, and 
hanged on the Boroughmnir. According to Hugh 
Macdonald and MacVuirich, several sons of John 
Cathanach were executed at the same time for 
being art and part in the affair at Dunaverty. 
Alexander and Angus, kno\vn as Aonghas llach, 
and any other son of John C^athanach that may 
have survived, fled to Ireland. Alexander, who suc- 
ceeded as head of the House of Dunnyveg, did not 
venture to appear again in Scotland during the 
reimi of James IV.^ In the interval of well nio;h 
twenty years, during which he remained in Ireland, 
he was not only able to hold his own against the 
neighbouring tribes, the O'Neills, and others, but he, 
besides, increased his hereditary property in that 
country by the acquisition of the neighbouring 
territory of the Iloute. He had been followed to 
the Antrim Glens by a considerable number of men 
from the smaller septs of Argyle, such as the Mac- 
donalds of Largie, of his own clan, the MacAlisters, 
MacNeills, Mackays, and MacEacherns. Alexander 
needed all the help he could get. He had to con- 
tend, not oidy against Irish and English hivasions of 
his territory, but also against his enemies in Argyle. 
His bitterest foes were those of his own kith and 
kin. Maclan of Ardnamurchan, the instrument of 

1 State Papers, voluuje IT., i>age 136. 


Sir John of Duiiiiyveg's death, received as his 
reward a grant of many of the hinds forfeited by 
that chieftain. He was determined to strengthen 
his claim by the utter extiipation of the old family.^ 
To accomplish his purpose, he dispatched a body of 
men to the Glens, under two of his sons, Donald and 
Somerled, with instructions to apprehend and put to 
death Alexander and his brother Angus, sons of 
John Cathanach. Hugh Macdonald gives the fol- 
lowing version of the story of the invasion of the 
Antrim Glens by the Maclans of Ardnamurchan : — 

" When they (the Maclans) landed, Alexander (the son of 
John Cathanach) was at Glensheich with 140 men, and, seeing 
them land, thought it best to encounter them without delay ; so 
immediately he led on to the attack. When Maclan's sons saw 
him and his men advance, they asked their own men (seeing 
Alexander's party so small) whether they believed he had a mind 
to fight. The men answered in the affirmative, and the Smith of 
Islay said that, few as they were in number, they would be a 
venomous thorn in their side that day, and that he, for his own 
part, would rather be on their side than on that of the Maclans. 
Maclan said it was much better for them to want any man who 
thought sc at heart than have him in their company. The 
Smith, singling himself from the rest, asked if any other that 
pleased to follow him should be hindered. MacTan said they 
would not. Upon this 50 men more separated themselves from 
the company, and, following the Smith, made straight for Alex- 
ander. The attack immediately commenced on both sides. The 
Maclans were routed, the most of whom, with Maclan's two sons, 
were killed. That very night Alexander took the enemy's boats, 
with which he had transported over his own men to Isla, and 
went, accompanied by one man, for intelligence ; and, falling in 
with Macniven, the Constable of Duuivaig, who, not knowing 
Alexander, asked him whence he came. Alexander answered 
from Ireland. ^lacniven enquired of him if he knew what was 
become of that unfortunate man, Alexander MacJohn Cathanach 
since the Maclans went to Ireland, antl whether he was alive or 
not. Alexander answered that he was alive, and asked what was 
1 Hugh MacdcMuild'.s MS. (uupublished). 



his concern for that man. Macniven told him he was Constable 
of Dunivaig, and would deliver up the Castle to him, and likewise 
that John Brayach (Maclan of Ardnamurchan) was in the Inch of 
Lochguirm. Without loss of time Alexander surprises the Castle 
of Dunivaig and goes straight forward to Lochguirm, where he 
besieges Maclan in the Island, who at length surrenders on con- 
dition that he should give up Islay and quit all his rights thereof 
to Alexander, and that Alexander should marry John Brayach's 
daughter. This being agreed to, John Brayach left Islay, and 
Alexander married his daughter. Once Alexander was possessed 
of Islay, it was impossible for Glencairn to retain possession of 

Whether Alexander of Dunnyveg returned to 
his native Isla in the manner detailed in the fore- 
going narrative is a matter on which it is not 
necessary to dogmatise. It is certain that when the 
cause of his banishment was removed by the death 
of King James on the field of Flodden, he hastened 
across the channel and naturally assumed the 
position to which he was entitled as head of one of 
the most powerful families in Argyle. The King's 
death brought about a sudden change in the 
relations between the Celtic population and the 
Executive Government, and the kingdom, both 
Highland and Lowland, was thrown into a state of 
confusion. The favourable opportunity was not lost 
on the Knight of Lochalsh. The old claim of his 
family was revived, and Sir Donald was proclaimed 
Lord of the Isles with all the ceremonies. Many of 
the old vassals of the Island Lordship hastened to 
his standard, and among the first to support his 
claim was Alexander of Dunnyveg, with his clan 
and followers. To the Earl of Argyle, with Maclan 
of Ardnamurchan as lieutenant, was committed tlie 
task of suppressing the insurrection, but little 
success attended their efforts, and the Government 


resolved to try diplomacy. A commission was given 
to MacTan to treat with the rebels, with the view^ 
of prevaiHng upon them to submit to the Regent's 
authority, but such was the measure of Alexander 
of Dunnyveg's guilt, that he w^as specially excepted. 
Soon afterwards, however, Alexander and several of 
his friends received a special protection from the 
Regent, apparently at the suit of Maclan, and Sir 
Donald of Lochalsh being obliged to submit, the 
Island commotion subsided.^ 

The Earl of Argyle, " ane i:>uyr baron of the 
realme," now came forward and demanded of the 
Lords of Council something like regal power over 
life and property in the Isles. The Council granted 
him a commission of lieutenandry for three years, 
with very limited powers. Among other instruc- 
tions, the Earl was (30unselled " to ressave all men 
of the His that will be trew liegis to the Kingis 
Grace and will keip gude reule in tyme cumying," 
except the Clan Donald. The Earl, further, is to 
demand pledges of good conduct from " Sir Johnne of 
the His barnis , . . and gif the foirsaids personis, 
sonis to Johnne of the His, will gif sufficient plegis 
for geude i-eule, than and in that cace, becaus thai 
have na heretage the Lordis counsalis my Lord 
Governour for pitie to gif thaim sum support sic as 
was given be the Kingis Grace to Angus of the His. "" 
Alexander of Dunnyveg, who was responsible for the 
rest of " Sir Johnne of the His barnis," took his own 
time to consider the proposals of the Lords of 
Council, and the convenient hour had not yet 
arrived. Before a year had elapsed. Sir Donald of 
Lochalsh broke out again into open rebellion, and, 
still nourishing his deadly feud against Maclan of 

^ Privy Seal. - Acta Dom. Coneilii. 


Ai'dnainurchan, seized his Castle of Mingany, and 
wasted his lands with fire and swonl. In these 
stormy proceedings he had the hearty co-operation 
of the Lord of Dunnyveg, who also owed a debt to 
his kinsman of Ardnamnrchan. While steps were 
being taken to suppress the rebellion, Sir Donald of 
Lochalsh died suddenly at Cairnburgh, in Mull, but 
not, however, until he and Alexander of Dunnyveg 
had well nigh exterminated the whole race of John 
Sprangach. Alexander found it now convenient to 
consider seriously the proposals of the Lords of 
Council, already referred to, and he was obliged to 
accept such terms as in the altered circumstances 
were offered to him. What the precise nature of 
these was we have no means of knowing, but that 
extraordinary leniency was shown in dealing with 
him is quite evident from his subsequent peaceable 
attitude. The family heritage in Kintyre and Isla, 
of which they were deprived by James IV., was 
now restored to the Family of Dunnyveg ; and it 
appears that, at the same time, other lands of the 
Lordship of the Isles, which remained in the Crown 
since 1493, were bestowed upon Alexander by the 
Kegent, but on condition that the Clan Iain Mhoir 
" keip guid reule and mak na extorsioun on the 
Kingis liegis, gevand plegis sufficient."^ 

Many of the lands of the Island Lordship had 
not yet been disposed of, though greatly coveted by 
more than one grasping family in Argyle, and the 
comparative quietness which now prevailed favoured 
theh^ designs. The Earl of Argyle and others of the 
Clan Campbell, who had great expectations, insured 
against disappointment by entering into bonds of 
friendship with several of the neighbouring chiefs. 

' Acta Doni. Concilii. 


Alexander of Duniiyveg was one of those who were 
not uuwilKng to enter into friendly alliance with 
the Campbells on favourable terras, and with certain 
safeguards. In entering into a bond of manrent 
with Sir John Campbell of Calder, Alexander wa« 
fully alive to the gravity of the situation, and was 
not by any means playing into the hands of his 
enemies. " At Glenan in the Taraf," on the 6th of 
May, 1520, "Alexander Konnel de Dunoveg," with 
his hand on the pen, promised that he would be to 
Sir John Campbell of Calder " a cuming man and 
servand hym self and all the brance of the Clan 
Donyll that he is cumying of." For the services to 
be rendered by him Alexander is to receive a lease 
for five years of 45 merklands in Isla, the 15 merk- 
lands of Jura, and the Island of Colonsay.^ What 
title Calder himself had to these lands is not very 
apparent. Before the expiry of the lease, however, 
Sir John Campbell broke his part of the bargain by 
wasting the lands of Colonsay without, so far as can 
be ascertained, any provocation on the part of Alex- 
ander of Dunnyveg. Calder's motive is difficult to 
determine, but his conduct had the eftect at least of 
putting an end to the liollow friendship betwesn 
himself and Alexander of Dunnyveg. Now began 
the tug-of-war between Alexander and the Camp- 
bells. The numerous bonds of manrent by means 
of which the Campbells sought to extend their 
territorial prestige had, as it turned out, the opposite 
effect. The cloven foot was seen, and the Western 
Clans swore eternal enmity against the race of 

This was their attitude when, in 1528, the King, 
who was still a minor, escaped from his captivity 

' Tliaues of Cawdor. 


and took the reigns of Government into his own 
hands. A complete change in the policy of the 
Government was the result. The various grants of 
Crown lands bestowed upon the Western Chiefs 
during tlie Regent's tenure of oflice were revoked. 
This was the signal for an instant outbreak 
amongst the clans of the West Highlands 
and Islands. Alexander of Dunnyveg was one 
of those individuals w^iom the Regent had 
endeavoured to attach to his party by bestowing 
upon them large tracts out of those lands of 
the Lordship of the Isles which remained in the 
Crown. How far the inauguration of the new 
policy and the reversal of the old were directed by 
the Earl of Arg3de will be at once seen. The clans 
were up in arms already against tlie Campbells, and 
the Earl fell back on the familiar trick of turning 
the attack away from himself, and pitting them 
against the Government. The Government had 
often been misled in this way, and made to tight 
the battles of the Campbells, but the clans them- 
selves had never any doubt against whom they were 
fighting. It was well understood ]:)y Alexander of 
Dunnyveg by whom the jjolicy of the Government 
was insjDired, and he accordingly directed his 
energies against the Campbells. Tlie fiery cross 
was sent round, and in a short time tha wliole 
strength of the Clan Donald south and their iol- 
lowers rallied round the standard of the Lord of 
Dunnyveg. The Macleans, who were also eager to 
engage against the Campbells, joined the Mac- 
donalds, and the combined clans burst forth with 
great fury on tlie lands ol' the Earl of Argyle. The 
districts of Iloseneath, Lennox, and Craignish wei'e 
wasted without mercy by the infuriated clansmen. 


So hard pressed were the Campbells, that in the 
autumn of 1529 the Earl of Argyle was obliged to 
appeal for help to the Government. But the Lords 
of Council were not in the humour to comply with 
the Earl's large demands. Instead of the large 
reinforcements from the shires of Renfrew and 
Dumbarton, and the bailiaries of Carrick, Kyle, 
and Cunningham, demanded by Sir John Campbell 
of Calder on behalf of his brother, the Council sent 
the Earl a cannon, two falconets, and three barrels 
of gunpowder. The Lords of Council being suspi- 
cious that the Earl's proceedings rather retarded 
than accelerated the suppression of the disturbances, 
thought it expedient to send an officer of arms 
of the name of Robert Hart to charge Alexander 
of Dunnyveg to desist from all convocations and 
gatherings for the invasion of the lieges, and to give 
his obedience to the King and his lieutenant, under 
the pain of treason. " Gif the said Allestar plesis 
to cum to the Kingis Graice to gif him assuirance to 
pas and repas with ane certane nomer he beand 
content to gif plegis of Lawland men keping of gude 
reule and till obey the King and pay him his malis 
and dewiteis of sic landis as his Graice sail gif to 
the said Allestar."^ For some cause not easily 
determined, the mission of the herald of " Wisdome 
and discretioun" to Alexander of Dunnyveg failed 
utterly in its object, whereupon the Lords of 
Council resolved to send the Earl of Argyle forth- 
with to the Isles to pursue Alexander for his 
disobedience.^ This resolution, however, was not 
carried out immediately, owing probably to the 
magnitude of the preparations necessary for a 
thorough " danting of the Isles," for Alexander of 
Dunnyveg was not the only offending Islesman. 

^ Acta Dom. Concilii. - Ibid. 


The plan of campaign in tlie Highlands was at 
length coniijleted, and in the Spring of 1530 the fight- 
ing men of the South were called out to meet the King 
at A}^!', while the men of Carrick, Kyle, Cunning- 
ham, Kenfrevv, Dumbartonshire, Balquhidder, Bread- 
albane, Rannoch, Apuadill, Athole, Monteith, Bute, 
and Arran, were summoned to join Argyle at such a 
meeting-place as he might appoint. The King at 
the same time being still hopeful of a peaceful 
solution of the Island difficulty, offered protection 
to such chiefs as would repair to the royal presence 
" to commune with his majesty upon good rule in 
the Isles." His conciliatory policy so far proved 
effectual that nine of the Island Chiefs sent in offers 
of submission, but Alexander of Dunnyveg, the 
greatest rebel of them all, still held out. Mean- 
while, owing to the death of the Earl of Argyle, and 
othei causes, proceedings against the Islanders were 
suspended, but in the early months of 1531 they 
were renewed with great energy. The new Earl of 
Argyle, who had succeeded his father in all his 
offices, appeared before the Lords of the Council, 
and demanded large powers to enable him to reduce 
the Islesmen to obedience. These were readily 
granted to the Earl, and the King resolved to lead 
the expedition to the Isles in person. All these 
elaborate preparations, which were meant to frighten 
the Islesmen into submission, came to nought. 
Argyle never came to grips with Alexander of 
Dunnyveg, and the Lords of Council were obliged 
to have recourse to dijDlomacy. At a njeeting of 
Tarliament held on the 28th of April, 1531, Alex- 
ander and others of the Clan Donald were cited to 
the royal presence, but, not ajjpearing, the summons 
was continued to the 2Gth of May following. In 


the interval friendly negotiations were opened up 
between the King and Alexander. The King was 
disposed to deal generously with him, and as a 
guarantee of good faith a respite was passed in his 
favour, with thirty of his followers, to come to the 
King's presence. Alexander accordingly proceeded 
to Stirling, where the King then held Court, and on 
the 7th of June he received His Majesty's pardon. 
An Act of Council was passed in his favour bearing 
that because he had come to Court and offered his 
service to the King in the most humble manner, 
therefore, the King, with advice of his Council, con- 
firmed a lease formerly made to him under the Privy 
Seal by the Kegent Albany of Crown lands in Kin- 
tyre and the Isles. This favour was granted to 
Alexander in anticipation of his future good service 
" in eschewing of trouble and in quietation of the 
Kingis lieges and heirschip of the cuntrie ;" in 
assisting the King's Chamberlain to collect the 
Crown rents in the Isles and in Kintyre ; and in 
prevailing upon the other chiefs to submit them- 
selves to the King, and find surety for the regular 
payment of the Crown rents. Alexander was like- 
wise bound to set at liberty all prisoners taken by 
him from the Earl of Argyle and others, and to 
support the churchmen in their freedom and privi- 
leges, and in the collectnig of their rents. ^ Alex- 
ander at the same time received a gift of £109 from 
the King," along with a remission for all crimes 
committed in the course of his rebellion.^ To ensure 
his fidelity, his eldest son, James, was placed as a 
hostage in the King's hands. The young heir of 
Dunnyveg remained at Court for several years, and 

^ Acta Dom. Coucilii. 
- Compota Thesaur. Scotiae ad annum. '* Privy Seal. 


by the King's express wish received a Hberal educa- 
tion under Dean Henderson of Holy rood, the effects 
of which were apparent in after years. 

The submission of Alexander of Dunnyveg was, 
as we have seen, made directly to the King, and not 
through the medium of the Earl of Argyle, the 
hereditary Lieutenant of the Isles. This and the 
favours conferred ujjon him by His Majesty excited 
great jealousy in the mind of the Earl, who foresaw 
a great diminution of the power of his family if 
the Islesmen should be led in future to follow the 
example given them by Alexander of Dunnyveg. 
He saw plainly, too, that the King was disposed to 
encourage the Highlanders as much as possible to 
communicate fre(|uently and openly with himself, 
and that the generous disposition of James, joined 
to his great popularity, made it highly probable that 
the chiefs would readily meet that monarch's wishes. 
It became, therefore, Argyle's principal object so to 
manage matters as that the King, despairing of 
success, would be glad again to make use of the 
Earl as the most proper person to reduce the rebel- 
lious Islesmen to obedience. The Earl lost no time 
in bringing an accusation against Alexander of 
Dunnyveg, and a long catalogue of crimes, alleged 
as committed for the most, part against the Clan 
Campbell, was laid to his charge. The Earl's com- 
plaint being duly laid before the Council, Alexander 
of Dunnyveg was summoned to answer the charges 
preferred against him. He unhesitatingly answered 
the summons, and, though he waited for thirteen 
days in Edinburgh in the hope of meeting his 
accuser face to face, that individual failed to put 
in an appearance. Alexander then submitted to 
the Council a written statement, in which he not 


only vindicated his own character, but proved to the 
satisfaction of the Council that the Earl's conduct 
towards him was actuated by malice. He assured 
the Council that since the coming in of his " sym- 
pilnes" to His Majesty at Stirling, he had obeyed 
the King's commands in all respects. He offered to 
raise, should the King command him, a larger force 
for His Majesty's service than Argyle, with all his 
influence, could bring into the field. And should 
the Earl continue to pursue his evil courses, and at 
any time resist the King's authority, the Lord of 
Dunuyveg would then compel him " to duell in ane 
uthir parte of Scotland nor in Ergile, quhair the 
Kingis Grace may gett ressoun of him." He lays 
all the recent disturbances in the Isles to the charge 
of the late Earl of Argyle, and his brothers. Sir 
John Campbell of Calder and Archibald Bane of 
Skipnish. " And mairattour," Alexander concludes, 
" quhat the Kingis Grace and your Lordschipis will 
command me to do for his hienes honour and wele of 
his realme the same salbe done with all diligence of 
my powar without ony dissimulation." The King 
was very favourably impressed with the appearance 
made by the Lord of Dunnyveg, and, being fully 
convinced of his honest intentions, and of the truth 
of his statements, he caused Argyle to be summoned 
fo: 111 with before the Council to answer for himself. 
Aftei' a searching inquiry into the Earl's conduct, 
including his intromissions with the royal revenues 
in the Isles, he was convicted, deprived of all his 
offices, and thrown into prison. The tables were 
completely turned, and many of the offices formerly 
held by the Earl were bestowed on Alexander of 
Dunnyveg, who now rose high in the royal favour. 
From this time, till his death, Alexander kept up 


a constant correspondence with the King.^ He 
received from His Majesty on more than one occa- 
sion presents of bows and arrows, in order, doubtless, 
to encourage archery among the Highlanders, which 
was always a favourite object with the House of 
Stuart." Alexander was as good as liis promise to 
the King. In 1532, he raised a body of 7000 men, 
with whom he crossed to Ireland, and, being no 
doubt largely reinforced from his own territory 
of the Antrim Glens, he drove the English from 
Ulster. Alexander's ol)ject was perhaps twofold. 
He apparently in the first place sought to 
divert the attention of England from the Scot- 
tish war in which she was then engaged ; while, 
on the other hand, there was a strong tempta- 
tion to enrich himself by adding to his territorial 
possessions in Ireland. Northumberland, waiting to 
Henry VIII. on the 3rd of September, 1532, informs 
the King that Maka}^! had gone over to Ireland 
with 7000 men, most of whom were foot soldiers, 
and that they had done much mischief " The Kyng 
of Scottes," he goes on, " hath plucked from the Erie 
of Argyle, and from his heires for ever, the rule of 
all the out iles, and gyven the same to Mackayn 
and his heires for ever ; and also hath in like case 
taken f)-om the Erie of Crafford suche lands as he 
had ther, and gyven the same to the said Mackayne, 
the which hath ingendered a greate hatred in the 
said Erles harte against the said Scottes King."* 
Alexander of Dunnyveg appears to have spent most 
of his time during the remainder of his life in 
Ireland, but not evidently in peace. The ongoings 
of the Clan Iain Mhoir in Ulster are the constant 

' Vide Higli Treasurer's Accouutei. - Ibid. ArcliMologia Scotica. 

■"■ State Papers. 


theme of Englisli correspondents in Ireland, In a 
communication from Ulster in 1533, the writer 
refers to them in these terms : — " The Sottes also 
inhabithe now buyselley a greate parte of Ulster, 
which is the Kingis inheritance ; and it is greatlie 
to be feared, oonles that in short tyme they be 
dryven from the same, that they bringinge in more 
nombre daily woll, by lyttle and lyttle so far 
encroche in acquyringe and wynninge the possessions 
there, with the aide of the Kingis disobeysant Irishe 
rebelles, who doo nowe ayde theym therein after 
soche maner, that at lengthe they will put and 
expel the King from his whole seignory there."^ 
There seems to be some confusion between Alex- 
ander of Dunnyveg and his son A lister Ca'-rach in 
the State Papers of this period. But there can be 
no doubt that the Lord of Dunnyveg himself is the 
person referred to in a letter, dated 1538, from 
Archbishop Allen to the English CWncil. "He" 
(the Scottish King), the Archbishop writes, " hath 
aJsoe this yeare twice sent for Alexander Carragh, 
Capetyne of the Scottes of this lande who hath gone 
thider, and by his retorne it is ])erceyvid what 
busynes he had t,her ; but oonlie it appereth bee was 
well enterteyned in the Courte of Scotland, though 
of truth there was no amitie but mortalitie between 
them, the King of Skottes and his antecessors 
having killed and put to death the said Alexander's 
fader, grandfader, and grete-grandfader, and exiled 
himself out of the Isles wherebye he was compelled 
to inhabite here."^ The visit paid by Alexander to 
King James on the occasion referred to appears to 
have been his last. MacVuirich records, without 
giving the year, that while Alexander was on a 

'■ State Papers. - Ibidem. 


visit to the King at Stirlino- he died there, and was 
buried in the High Church of the town — TeampuU 
nm' a hhaile} The most remarkable thing to be 
noticed in the later career of Alexander of Dunnyveg 
is his loya'ty to the Scottish throne, which undoubt- 
edly^was owing in a large measure to the generous 
nature of the Scottish monarch himself A close 
intimacy seems to have sprung up between them, as 
is evident from_tlie frequent visits of Alexander to 
the Scottish Court and the constant correspondence 
kept up between them. From the letter of Arch- 
bishop Allen, already quoted, and the fact that his 
son James appeared at the head of the family in 
1539, there appears to be no doubt that Alexander 
of Dunnyveg died in 1538. 

Alexander was succeeded as head of the Family 
of Dunnyveg and the Glens by his son, James. The 
young chieftain, as we have seen, was kept as a 
hostage at the Scottish Court by the King on the 
submission of his father in 1531. The King had in 
view, besides a guarantee of the good conduct of 
Alexander, the training of the future chieftain. 
The expenses of James's wardrobe are frequently 
referred to in the High Treasurer's Accounts. On 
completing his education at the Scottish Court, 
James Macdonald entered the King's service, as 
appears from a warrant by James V. to the Justice 
Clerk anent disturbances in Kintyre.^ While still 
in the King's household he, in July, 1539, as Chief 
of the Clan Donald South, was obliged to become 
surety for certain of his clansmen who had got into 
trouble in Argyle, " thai nocht having lawland men 
to be souertie for them." Alexander MacAlister of 

}( ^ Unpublislied MS. History by MacVuirich. 

- Loose Papers amoug the liecoids of the Court of Justiciai-y, 


Loup, and John and Archibald Macdonald of the 
Lar^ie family, bad been put to the horn for the 
slaughter of certain MncNeills in Gigha, while 
Donald Balloch MacNeill and his accomplices are 
accused of slaughtering certain followers of James 
Macdonald, and notably " Fynlaw Carrowe Mak- 
Dowsleiy and his sone the crepill with ane fut." ^ 
It appears that in the course of the following year, 
after the trouble with the men of Gigha, James 
Macdonald had left the King's service and assumed 
his hereditary position as Chief of the Clan Iain 
Mhoir. On the return of James V. from his chief- 
hunting expedition to the Isles in 1540, James 
Macdonald came to meet the King in Kintyre.^ 
Notwithstanding the friendship between them, 
James was obliged to give his brother. Coll, as 
a hostage to the King^ Coll was sent in the 
first instance to Craigmillar, and afterwards to 
Edinburgh Castle.* 

James Macdonald succeeded to a great heritage, 
both in Scotland and in Ireland, and his influence 
with the other chiefs of the Isles, if exercised on 
the side of law and order, would undoubtedly have 
prevented many of the troubles which were then 
looming on the horizon.^ But James's loyalty, 
though educated at the Scottish Court, was already 
on the wane, and when Donald Dubh raised the 
standard of rebellion, he held aloof more from 

' Loose Papers among the Records of the Court of Justiciary. 

^ Lesley's History of Scotland. 

^ High Treasurer's Accounts. 

Item given to Coll Canoch at my lord governors command at his passing 
to Cragmelor to mak his expensis vi. li xii. s. Item gevin to David Kincaid 
Constabill of ye Castell of Edinburgh for expensis furnisht be him to Coill 
Canoch and ys persuandis being in ward in ye said Castill be ye space of thre 
months."— High Treasurer's Accounts. 

* Se? Rental of Kintyre and Isla in Appendix, 


reasons of seltish polic}" than from a desire to oppose 
that chiet's pretensions. The presence of his brother, 
Angus, in the rebel camp is a fair indication of the 
secret leanings of his chief From his extensive 
possessions in the North of Ireland, to which the 
scene of the Island drama was finally shifted, he 
could if he wished have been of great service to 
either party, and he merely held the balance between 
them. The death of the King in 1542, which brought 
about many changes, had no doubt much to do with 
James's attitude. Efforts, however, were not want- 
ing on the part of the Regent Arran to win the 
support of the young chief and to keep his loyalty 
w^arm. In July, 1544, Arran was in communication 
with "James Kennochsoun in the Isles." In April, 
1545, the Regent richly rewarded him for the ser- 
vices he was supposed to have rendered during the 
progress of the rebellion of the Islesmen, though in 
reality he had done no more than remain neutral. 
In name of the infant Queen Mary, and for his good, 
faithful, and free service rendered to her during her 
minority, and especially in resisting the " auld 
enemies of Ingland," the Regent bestowed on James 
Macdonald a grant in heritage of the lands he and 
his father formerly held on lease from the Crown, 
and of nearly all that had ever belonged to his 
family. These lands were united into a barony, to 
be called the Barony of Bar, in North Kintyre. 

These i'avours notwithstanding, whenever the 
opportunity arose James Macdonald showed the 
value of his attachment to the Scottish interest, 
and tlie price at which it was to be estimated. 
Donald Dubh died at Drogheda in the end of the 
year 1545, and the Islanders immediately set about 
to select a leader in his room, when their choice fell 


on James of Dunnyveg. It was said that Donald 
Dubh himself had chosen James, and recommended 
him as his legitimate successor in his assimied digni- 
ties.^ The Island vassals, however, who had now 
begun to waver in their adherence to the English 
interest, were not all unanimous in favour of the 
Lord of Dunnyveg. James, nothing daunted, 
accepted the situation with alacrity, and sent 
letters to the Privy Council of Ireland intimating 
his election as Lord of the Isles. James, at the 
same time, despatched a messenger to the King of 
England with a letter, in which he descants largely 
on the measure of support he expects to receive 
in the Highlands and Islands.'^ Meeting with no 
response at the hands of Henry VIII., whose con- 
venience it then suited to play a different card, and 
the Islesmen being divided among themselves, James 
of Dunnyveg dropped his claim, and returned to his 
allegiance to the Scottish throne. 

Soon after the granting of the roj^al charter to 
James Macdonald, to which reference has been made, 
disputes arose between liimself and the Earl of 
Argyle relative to their respective possessions. 
Both parties appeared before the Regent and 
Council at Ardrossan, and exchanged assurances of 
indemnity, after which their quarrel seems to have 
-been adjusted, and, to complete the reconcihation, the 
Lady Agnes Campbell was given in marriage to the 
Lord of Dunnyveg.^ To cement the tie between the 
families yet more firmly, James received from Argyle 
a grant of the four score merklands of Ardnamurchan, 
to be held by him under the Earl and his successors, 
on which seisin followed immediately thereafter. 

' Tytle)-'s of Scotlnnd. 
-' Clan Donald, Vol. I., 388. '■> P.O. Records. 



James, however, paid a price for these lands (the 
superiority of wliich Argyle had acquired by the 
resignation of Mariot Maclan), amounting to 1000 
merks, which, no doubt, was considerably under 
their real value. 

James and his brothers now became deeply 
involved in Irish politics, while they at the same 
time identified themselves with the French interest 
in Scotland and the intrigues of the Queen-mother. 
Certain French noblemen, guided by Angus Uaibh- 
reach, James Macdonald's brother, found their way 
to Ireland with letters from the French King, and 
bestowed many gifts on the Lord of the Glens on 
ffainino- his alliance.^ The extensive territories of 
the family in Ulster had been for years the scene of 
hostile conflict with the neighbouring tribes on the 
one hand and the English invaders on the other. 
The conflict was carried on with great vigour by the 
Macdonalds, and, though they had met with several 
reverses, they succeeded, in 1551, in establishing 
their hold over the whole territory of the Glens and 
the Route. But they were not satisfied with merely 
holding their own. They carried the war into the 
enemy's camp, drove the O'Neills from Clannahoy, 
and banished out of that country their own cousins, 
Alasdair Carrach's sons, who were on the side of the 
English. From the conquered territory the Mac- 
donalds carried away immense spoil, with which 
for safety they betook themselves to the Island of 
Pvathlin, on the Antrim Coast. These proceedings 
were closely watched by the English authorities in 
Dublin, and the Lord Deputy, Sir James Crofts, 
lost no time in fitting out a formidable armament 
wherewith to attack the Macdonalds in their island 

' Irish state Papers. 



stronghold. At the head of a fleet of four large 
ships, he appeared m the North Channel, and forth- 
with landed his army in Rathlin. A fierce struggle 
ensued between the invaders and the Macdonald 
host, and the former were defeated with great 
slaughter.^ Tw^o of the English leaders, Bagnall 
and Cuffe, were taken prisoners by the Macdonalds, 
but they were afterwards exchanged for Sorley Buy 
Macdonald, James's brother, who had fallen into the 
hands of the English, and had been detained a 
prisoner for a year in Dublin Castle. Sorley Buy 
exercised his liberty by driving the English from 
Carrickfergus, and taking the Constable of the 
Castle prisoner, while James Macdonald, leaving 
the management of his Irish aftairs, which were 
now in a satisfactory state, in the hands of his 
brothers, Coll and Sorley Buy, crossed the Channel, 
and took up his residence at Saddel Castle, in 

James's conduct in Ireland had commended itself 
highly to the Scottish Government, and he was now 
in great favour at Court. For " faithful and free 
service" done to the Queen, James Macdonald, in 
April, 1 544, received from Mary a charter of the 
twent}^ pound lands of Gigha, 16 marklands in 
Kintyre, 5 marklands in Islay, and 8 marklands in 
Knapdale, all of which had been sold to James by 
Neil MacNeill of Gighay.^ The acquisition of these 
lands led to a dispute with some of the neighbouring 
Macleans, who pretended rights to some of them, 
but it was settled in favour of James Macdonald.^ 
Early in 1551, a pursuivant was sent from Edin- 

^ Aunals of the Four Masters. 
-' Reg. of Great Seal. Argyle Papers. 
^ General Register of Deed?, ITI., 210. 


burgh with " cloiss wriiiiigis" to James, containing 
State secrets, with reference probably to affairs in 
Ireland, which the Scottish Government watched 
with more than oidinaiy interest.' James, at all 
events, immediately on receipt of the " cloiss 
writingis" took his departure for Ireland. The 
situation in Ulster was critical. Ever since the 
release of Sorley Buy from prison in 1551, he and 
his brother, Coll, had not ceased fighting for the 
heritage of the Clan Iain Mhoir in Ulster. Between 
the English garrison on the one hand, and the native 
tribes on the other, the efforts of the heroic clansmen 
were taxed to the utmost. On the arrival of James 
in Ireland, he threw himself into the conflict with 
great energy, appointed his brother Coll Lord of the 
Route, and in 1556 established his authority ovei- 
that territory, in spite of the best efforts of the 
Macquillans and the English garrison. 

On the 12th of May, 1556, James Macdonald 
is in Edinburgh, where he and the Earl of Arran 
enter into a mutual agreement respecting lands 
claimed by both in Kintyre and Arran. The Earl 
on his part promises to infeft James in the lands of 
Saddel with the Castle, which Arran held of his 
brother, the Bishop of Argyle, in feu farm. Witli 
respect to the Castle, the Earl made it a stipulation 
that James " ressave us and our airis as maisteris, 
sa oft as we being thair in proper persoun sail 
requyre the samyn." James on his part agreed to 
yield to the Earl any right he in reality had or 
pretended to have to the lands of Ceskane, and the 
baliary of other ten pennylands, in the Island of 
Arran.'-' ft is worthy of notice in this unequal 

' High Treasurer's Accounts. 
- General Register of Deeds. 




distribution of lands and privileges that the Castle 
of Saddel had been somehow lost to the Macdonald 
family not long prior to the contract here referred 
to, and that James Macdonald is to be permitted to 
occupy it under the Earl of Arran as " maister." 

When the curtain rises again we find James 
Macdonald in Ireland. In 1557, Sussex made a 
formidable raid into Ulster against the Macdonalds. 
After ravaging the whole territory of the Route, 
the English raiders were at length met in mortal 
combat by James Macdonald, his brothers, Coll and 
Sorley, with a large following estimated at 7000 
men, a considerable proportion of whom were French, 
and after a desperate struggle the English were 
defeated and driven out of the country. The broad 
banner of Macdonald once more waved triumphantly 
over the Route. In IMay of the following year. Coll 
Macdonald, whom his brother, James, had appointed 
Lord of the Ilonte, died in the Castle of Kinbann. 
Coll had been a brave and distinguished leader of 
the Clan Donald in Ulster. He is referred to by 
Sussex as the best of all the Macdonalds in Ireland. 
James Macdonald offered the Lordship of the Route 
in succession to Alexander and Augus, his brothers, 
but they both declined it, and it was then offered 
to and accepted by Sorley Buy. The management 
of all the afiairs of the Macdonald family in Ireland 
was now left in the hands of Sorley, than whom 
none of all the Macdonalds was fitter to discharge 
the trust reposed in him. James still remained in 
Ireland at the head of a large Scoto-French force. 
The followers of the Macdonald family had become 
so numerous in Ulster, and so troublesome to the 
English, that the Archbishop of Armagh, in his 
" Opinion touching Ireland, delivered in July, 1558," 


.strongly urges the expulsion of the Clan lain Mlioir 
by spurring the native Irisli to unite agahist tlieni. 
The Archbishop enlarges so much on the advantage 
of this measure that it is evident it was one both 
important and difficult.^ 

Sussex's next move, having been driven from the 
Route, was to attack the Macdonalds in the Island 
of Rathlin. The islanders, being taken unawares, 
offered but little resistance, and Sussex, after wasting 
the little island from end to end, sailed to Kintyre. 
The Macdonalds of Kintyre not expecting such an 
invasion, James being still in Ireland, saw their 
country fall an easy prey to the ravages of Sussex, 
whose " endeavours " were nothing if not thorough. 
Sussex, in a letter to Queen Elizabeth, dated 
October 6th, 1558, referring to his expedition, 
says: — ''The same daye (Sep. 19.) I landed and 
burned eight myles of leynght, and therewith James 
McConelles chief bowse called Soudell." " The 
wynde being contrarye to goo to Ila," Sussex sailed 
to Arrau instead, which he wasted. He finally 
visited the Cumbraes, "and destroyed all there." 
A great storm having arisen, but not too soon, 
Sussex was obliged to sail back to Ireland. On 
hearing of the harrying of his lands of Kintyre, 
James Macdonald hurried across the channel with 
GOO men, but he was too late to offer any effective 
opposition to Sussex. It appears that the family 
writs preserved in Saddel Castle had perished in 
the burning of that liouse by Sussex. James 
Macdonald being still in great favour at the Scottish 
Court, received from Queen Mary, and Francis her 
husband, in token of their ap^jreciation of his services 
against the English, a charter granting to him and 

' Hailuiaii MSS., iiiilish Muoeuui. 


his successors all the lands specified in the lost 
deeds, with the addition of the sixteen shilHngs and 
eight penny lands of Kilcallumkill, in Isla.^ There 
appears to have been some mistake made in respect 
of the date of James's charter. The date given in 
the Register of the Great Seal is May 5th, 1558, 
whereas the Sussex raid to Kintyre took place in 
September, when James's writs were burnt, which 
rendered necessary the granting of the charter. 

Every other effort to expel the Macdonalds 
from Ulster by force having failed, Sussex tried 
diplomacy. He knew that nothing was to be 
gained by setting the native tribes against them. 
That card had already been played without success. 
What he wished now was, if possible, to win over 
the Clan Donald to his side, and when by their 
help he had subjugated Ulster to the English yoke, 
their own expulsion would be all the more easily 
accomplished. With this object in view, he pre- 
vailed upon Queen Elizabeth to write to James 
Macdonald, strongly expressing her sense of his 
fidelity and the valuable services which he had 
rendered her. But while these negotiations were 
being carried on, James was reported to have " used 
very evil talk against the Queen,'' and to have 
declared that the Queen of Scotland was the 
rightful heir to the English throne. In fighting 
against Shane O'Neill, who was a formidable enemy 
of the English, James Macdonald had not rendered 
any services to Queen Elizabeth, and the conduct 
of Sussex had tended to make him anything but 
favourable to her cause. When war was declared 
between England and Shane, James and Sorley 
Buy resolved to stand aloof, and leave them to 

^ Register of the Great Seal. 


settle their own quarrel. At the very time that 
Sussex was using all the arts of diplomacy to win 
the Macclonalds, the English authorities in Ireland 
were deeply exercised as to the means to be used 
for their expulsion from Ulster. While the wise 
men of Dublin were thus busily formulating what 
they called a " device for the government of 
Ireland," Sussex entered into an indenture with 
Sorley Buy. Sorley, acting in behalf of his brother, 
James, demanded a lease from the Queen of 
England, not only of the lands between the Tnver 
and the Boyse, claimed as the inheritance of James, 
but also the Captainship of the Route. Sorley Buy, 
who offered to be his substitute in these lands, 
agreed to pay certain stipulated duties, with 24 
horse, and GO foot, to all hosts of the Lord- 
Lieutenant. Sussex on his part undertook to bring 
these demands and offers favourably under the 
Queen's notice.^ This friendly agreement notwith- 
standing, the relations between James Macdonald 
and the English in Leland do not appear to have 
been much improved. It appears that both parties 
weighed each other's professions, and took them for 
what they were worth. James's attitude at least 
was supposed to be meantime neutral, yet Queen 
Elizabeth, writing to Queen Mary in December, 
15G1, complains of the " barbarous outrages" of 
James Macdonald. He and his brother Sorley were 
represented as " devouring the country." There 
appears to be no sufiicient ground for these charges. 
Another charge preferred by Elizabeth against 
James, to whom she refers as "one James MacOnell, 
sometyme named the Lorde of the Oute Isles," was 
that of detaining prisoners certain of her subjects 

' Cotton MSS. British Museum. 



whom he had taken at Rathlin. One of these, 
George Butsyde, " a poure gentyllman of Yngland," 
had been a prisoner with " my Lorde Jamys 
Maconell thes ten yere."^ In his appeal to 
Randolphe, the Enghsh ambassador in Scotland, 
Butsyde assures him that his release may be effected 
for £100, or less. James Macdonald, writing from 
Kintyre, offers to let the " poiire gentyllman of 
Yngland " go free for 120 crowns, and Randolphe's 
best horse, which offer was accepted. It is not 
stated who the other prisoners were, but, not long 
before this, Con, Earl of Tyrone, had appealed to 
Elizabeth to procure the liberation of Mary, his 
Countess, Con O'Neill, his son, and Barnaby, the 
son of the Baron of Dungannon, who had been kept 
prisoners by James Macdonald in Scotland. 

If on unfriendly terms with the Queen of 
England, the relations between James Macdonald 
and the Scottish Government were most cordial. 
The services rendered by James in Ireland were 
entirely in defence of his own property there, but 
inasmuch as he had placed himself in opposition 
to the English interest, his conduct commended 
itself to the Scottish Government. There appears 
to have been a constant correspondence kept up 
between them, the purport of which, however, is 
not disclosed. In February, 1562, " ane boy 
passand of Edinburgh" is the bearer of " ane cloiss 
writting" from the Queen to James Macdonald."' 
In September of the same year, there is a Letter of 
Tack by Mary in favour of James of many lands in 
Kintyre and Isla.^ As further evidence of her 
regard, the Queen Regent bestowed upon him a gift 

' Irisli Stale Papers. 
- High Treasuiei's Account. ■* Privy Seal, 


of the ward and marriage of Mary Macleod, the 
heiress of Dun vegan, in 1559.^ The person of this 
young lady had come by accident or by force into 
the hands of Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail, who 
was by no means disposed to give up his prize, but 
upon James Macdonald raising aii action before the 
Lords of Session against him, he, in 1562, delivered 
the heiress into the hands of the Queen." In the 
end, in place of marrying this rich heiress to one of 
his brothers, which was doubtless his original 
intention, James Macdonald transferred his claims 
to Argyle, by whom Mary Macleod was married 
to his kinsman, Campbell of Auchinbreck, 

James Macdonald now became involved in a feud 
with Maclean of Dowart regarding the Rhinns of 
Isla, to which both claimed to have titles direct 
from the Crown. It appears that Maclean had been 
the aggressor. The quarrel between the chiefs rose 
to such a height that at length it was referred to 
the decision of the Privy Council. The Council 
pronounced in favour of James Macdonald in the 
absence of Maclean, who feigned sickness. It was 
suspected by the Council that the sickness of 
Maclean was feigned. The lands were occupied by 
the Macleans, but by the decision of the Council it 
was proved that they were held of James Macdonald 
for personal service, in the same manner as his lands 
were held by his other tenants. The dispute, 
however, was not settled by the Council's award, 
and from this cause Howed that deep-rooted hostility 
between the families which led eventually to the 
ruin of the Clan Donald South. Both Macdonald 
and Maclean were finally detained prisoners in 
Edinburgh, and were not allowed to depart until 

' General UegisLer of Deeds. - P. 0. Records. 


they had found security for their future good 
behaviour, each in £10,000. Nothing further 
regarding this dispute appears in the records for 
many years. 

While the dispute between James Macdonald 
and Maclean remained still unsettled, negotiations 
were carried on between the foimer and the English 
Government in Ireland, with the object of adjust- 
ing their unhappy differences. Elizabeth herself 
appeared desirous of being reconciled to the Lord 

^- jp) 


of the Glens. An indenture was entered into 
between the parties, the purport of which was 
that James offered to serve the Queen against her 
enemies in Ireland, on condition of her confirming to 
him by patent all the lands to which he laid claim 
in the province of Ulster, while the Queen, on her 
part, accepting James's terms, went even further, 
and, through Pers, Constable of Knockfergus, 
Mattered the Chief's vanity by proposing to make 
him "Lord of all the Isles."' 

' State Papofs. 


The last transaction on Scottish soil in which we 
find James of Dunnyveg engaged prior to the final 
scene in his active life is an agreement between 
himself and Farquhar MacAlister of Skirhough, a 
brother of John Moidartach of Clanranald. At 
Glasgow, on the 13th of July, 1563, it was agieed 
between the parties that Farquhar MacAlist(u- shall 
cause James Macdonald to be infefted in the lands 
of Kilfedder, Kerihellie, Askernish, Frobost, Ker- 
veltois, Kildonan, and Upper and Lower Bornish, 
lying in South Uist. James Macdonald, on his part, 
agreed to pay to Farquhar for these lands the sum 
of 2000 nierks Scots.^ This transaction between 
the clansmen is worthy of record, if only to show 
the great extent to which the Avide domains of 
the Lord of Dunnyveg had no\v extended. But 
Farquhar MacAlister had by far tlie better part of 
the bargain, for the Clanranald would permit no 
stranger to possess their ancient patrimony of 

The final act in James Macdonald's life drama is 
now drawing near. The state of the political 
barometer in Ulster indicated a storm in that dis- 
tracted province. Shane O'Neill, \vhose rebellious 
conduct had given so much trouble to the English 
authorities in Ireland, suddenly and unexpectedly 
gave in his submission, and was pardoned for all his 
past offences. Queen Elizabeth not only allowed 
Shane to use the tribal distinction of O'Neill, but 
signified her intention to create him Earl of Tyrone. 
Shane, who aj^pears to have been a man of consum- 
mate ability and great resource, had an ulterior 
object in view in suddenly submitting to the English. 
It was neither less nor more than the Celtic sove- 

' Uecurd.-i of Privy Cuuucil. 


reignty of Ulster. Professing great gratitude for 
the honours bestowed upon him by Ehzabeth, Shane 
represented to the authorities in DubHn that as the 
Macdonalds were the greatest traitors to the Queen's 
cause in Ireland, he was ready to expel them root 
and branch from Ulster. His offer, it is needless to 
say, was accepted by the Council in Dublin. Shane, 
after taking some time to mature his plans, finally 
took the field early in 1565. James Macdonald was 
in Kintyre, and Sorley Buy, who was on the spot, 
appears not to have realised the magnitude of 
Shane's warlike preparations. Shane's aim was to 
strike the blow before the brothers joined their 
forces, but in this he was thwarted by Sorley Buy, 
who caused warning fires to be lit on prominent 
headlands along the Antrim Coast, clearly indicating 
to the men of Kintyre that their kinsmen across the 
channel were in distress. These signals wore so 
interpreted by James Macdonald, who summoned 
his followers together and hastened to the rescue, 
instructing h