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Claim nan 

al ri (Umaiileaii a' (hriie 






THE volume now published, the Twenty-ninth of the Society's 
Transactions, covers the period from December, 1914, to 
July, 1919. It extends to 354 pages, and a glance at the 
table of contents shows that, notwithstanding the difficulties 
under which the work of the Society was carried on during 
the Great War, these are worthy of the reputation and tradi- 
tions associated with the Society's Transactions. 

The Society has to record the loss since the publication of 
its last volume in 1918 of a large number of its members, 
among these many who* had a long-standing and influential 
connection with it. In Major Ian M^ackay the Great War 
deprived the Society of one of its most prominent younger 
members. The Society mourned his loss as a valuable 
member, and one who*, had he been spared, was certain to 
worthily uphold the ideals and sentiments for which the 
Society stands. His death was also mourned by the Society 
as a worthy son of his distinguished father, to whom the 
Society owes, in great measure, its inception and its influence. 
Major Mackay'a career in the Army was followed with great 
interest by Highlanders and others ; and while there is sorrow 
for his death, there is also pride in that he died as a true 
Gael fighting nobly for his King and country. Major 
Mackay was killed in action near Arras on 28th March, 1918. 

During this same year (1918) death claimed two other 
members of the Society, to whose memory special refer- 
ence is due. These were Mr 1 James Grant, Glasgow, 
and Miss Kate Fraser, Inverness, both of them natives 
of Glen-Urquhart, who laboured diligently and success- 
fully to promote, among other patriotic works, the 
objects for which the Society exists. Mr James Grant 


exhibited in an unusual degree the true Highland kindliness 
of spirit and gentlemanliness of manner, and his demise 
created a gap in the ranks of the Society and the wider Gaelic 
field which it will be difficult to fill. Miss Eraser's name was 
a household word in Inverness and among Highlanders all 
over the world. Her work in the direction of interesting the 
young people of the North in Gaelic music and song, and the 
success which attended the Children's Annual Mods held in 
recent years in Inverness the inauguration and progress of 
which were due to her devoted efforts would of themselves 
serve tc make hers a cherished memory for years to come. 
Account has also to be taken of her unceasing labours during 
the Great War, as Treasurer of the Inverness Citizens' 
Committee, in raising funds for .procuring comforts for 
Highland soldiers and sailors at home and abroad. By these 
efforts she earned for herself the name of " The Soldiers' and 
Sailors' Friend." The death of Miss Fraser, after a very 
short illness, caused widespread sorrow, which the members 
of the Gaelic Society shared to the full. The death of 
another valued and outstanding member of the Society calls 
for individual mention. This was Mr William Mackenzie, of 
the Crofters' Commission. Mr Mackenzie was one of the 
original founders of the Society, and for many years its 
much appreciated Secretary and Treasurer. In the early 
years of the Society's existence he also contributed valuable 
papers to the Transactions, and after severing his official 
connection with the Society he continued to take a living 
interest in its work, as a reference to the Transactions will 
show. In truth, seldom has the sad toll been so heavy as on 
this occasion falls to be recorded. In Dr F. M. Mackenzie 
and Mr Kenneth Macdonald, both of Inverness, the Society 
lost two of its oldest and most valued members., whose warm 
interest in its work was always in evidence, as also in ex- 
Provost Gossip, Inverness; while in Mr Donald Mackay, 
Hereford ; Dr MacLagan, Edinburgh ; "Monsignor Mac- 
kintosh, Fort- William ; Mr Eneas Mackay, Stirling; Dr 


Hugh E. Fraser, Dundee; and Mr D. Butter, Inverness, the 
Society has to deplore the loss of enthusiastic, sincere, and 
active supporters. 

" 'S trom na 's fheudar a ghiulan, 
'S goirt gach creuchd mar is uire ; 
Ged 's e 'n t-eug is ceann-iuil do shliochd Adhaimh." 

It will interest the members and friends of the Society 
to learn that its Executive took an active interest in the 
return of the Cadboll Stone, removed from Invergordon to 
London, to the National Museum, Edinburgh, in 1921, and 
also approached the Aberdeen Town Council with a view to 
having a. Gaelic inscription on the Harlaw Memorial Tower ; 
while recently a Committee of the Society's members has 
been formed for the purpose of taking steps to restore the 
Memorial Cairn and other historic landmarks at Culloden 
Moor, including the " King's Stables " there. 

In connection with the Society's Library there falls to 
be mentioned that the Society has been graciously honoured 
by the receipt from His Majesty King George of a copy of 
the Rev. Mr St. Glair's Gaelic Translation of Queen Victoria's 
: ' Leaves from the Journal of our Life in the Highlands from 

Since the year 1919 the Society's Annual Dinner and 
Assembly, which had been in abeyance during the war 
period, have been resuscitated, and have in all instances 
passed with every indication of their former popularity. 

1921 was the jubilee year of the Society, and in view of 
the long connection of Dr William Mackay with the Society, 
as one of its now few surviving founders, its Secretary for 
the first two years of its history, and one of its Honorary 
Secretaries since 1876, he was unanimously elected Chief for 
that year, in recognition of his important services to the 
Society throughout its- whole life-time and to the various 
objects for which the Society labours. 

Towards the close of 1921 an important appointment 
to the Society's Executive was made in the person of Mr 


Alex. N. Nicolson, as Secretary and Treasurer. Mr Nicolson 
continues not only to maintain but to extend the usefulness 
and efficiency of the office. It is now pleasing to> note that 
the membership has increased from 260, to which it fell during 
the war, to 390 in 1922, while the finances are in an encourag- 
ing condition ; though, at the same time, the continuing high 
cost of printing the volumes, and other expenses, necessitate 
that we again, on this occasion, appeal to our members' and 
friends for further support. 

At last none too soon the teaching of Gaelic in schools 
has been made compulsory throughout the Gaelic area by 
the Education Act of 1918, introduced by the Secretary for 
Scotland, Mr Robert Munro, now Lord Alness. The old 
policy of ignoring Gaelic except as a means toward learning 
English flouted the axiom that all education must from the 
beginning be in and through the mother tongue. The 
lamentable result has been that many of our people havfr 
grown up practically illiterate in both Gaelic and English. 
Let us hope that there is an end of this. Wherever Gaelic is 
the mother tongue, the teaching of it is essential ; in bi-lingual 
districts, or districts that are in the main English-speaking, 
Gaelic has a claim on us superior to any other language, 
both because it is in itself an instrument of culture and 
because it is the key to so' much of our national history. 
As regards the administration of the Act, something has 
been done; much remains to do. The most clamant need at 
present is the training of teachers. Vacation Classes for 
existing teachers have been held for three years in August in 
Inverness and Glasgow. In Inverness the first year was far 
the most successful ; thereafter the classes were hampered by 
financial difficulties. We understand that the same applies 
to Glasgow. This is not as it should be: the language and 
the people deserve generous treatment. We look for improve- 
ment in this respect, so that teachers may attend the classes 
without financial sacrifice, and that the best available 
instructors may be secured for them. 1000 a year would 


go far to solve the whole problem. The classes held in Inver- 
ness have all along had the countenance and warm support 
of the Gaelic Society. 

Notwithstanding the greatly increased cost of production, 
a fair number of additions have been made to Gaelic literature 
and cognate subjects. 

1. Gaelic Texts. In 1918 there was published through An 
Comunn Gaidhealach a. volume of selections from Gaelic 
Poetry, edited by Professor W. J. Watson, with introduction, 
notes, and vocabulary, under the title of Bardachd Ghdidhlig. 
This book makes a considerable: body of our best poetry 
accessible and intelligible. to ordinary readers. Two fresh 
volumes of An Eosarnach (1918, 1921) have appeared, under 
the editorship of the Hon. K. Erskine, containing original 
essays and sketches by competent writers, and handsomely 
produced. The 19th and last of the series of booklets prepared 
by the Rev. M. Maclerman, D.D., and the Rev. Professor 
D. Maclean, D.D., for the special use of soldiers and sailors 
in the Great War, is entitled A' Chruit Oir a choice collec- 
tion of religious poetry. Da/in agus Orain (1918) is the title 
of a little book of original poetry by the late John MacLeod, 
Culkein, Storr, in Sutherland, showing the well-known talent 
and fine feeling of the author. Messrs Blackie & Son are 
publishing, in collaboration with An Comunn Gaidhealach, a 
series of Gaelic school books intended to meet the requirements 
of the Education Act of 1918. The books have been prepared on 
a plan drawn up by Professor W. J. Watson, and carried out 
under his general editorship by Mr D. Macphie, F.E.I.S. 
Most of the matter has been written specially for the series, 
and the subjects bear largely on the life and environment of 
the children, and on the history, traditions, and lore of the 
Gaelic people. Five books have appeared: the publication of 
the sixth, which is in preparation, has been delayed by Mr 
Macphie 's lamented death. 

2. History, &c. The Pictiah Nation: its People and its 
Church (1918) is by the Rev. Archibald Black Scott, B.D., 


whose hagiological contributions to cur Transactions are 
known to members. In his latest work, The Bool- of the J^-ira 
(1919), Mr W. C. Mackenzie, author of a History of the 
Hebrides, has made a considerable contribution to the history 
of his native island, involving original research. Miss M. E. 
M. Donaldson has given a brightly written account of her 
Wfiii-flrrittf/x hi f/ir Western H)<f1il<inds and Islands (1920), 
in a handsome volume which contains much and varied 
information, illustrated by numerous original photographs 
and plans. Since then Miss Donaldson has produced another 
book dealing with the West, entitled Islesmen of Bride (1922). 
The late Mr Osgcod H. Mackenzie's bock, A Hundred Tears 
in the Highlands, is one of the most charming that have been 
written on the subject, and full of interesting and valuable 
observations by .a man who had the eye and the soul to 
observe. The death of the venerable author has removed, we 
believe, the last member cf the old Gaelic ruling families who 
spoke Gaelic as his mother tongue. 

3. Philology. The late Dr Alexander Macbain, as is 
well known, did much valuable work in connection with 
names of places in the North, including the names of , Norse 
origin, partly in the form of contributions to the Society's 
Transactions, partly in articles in the Inverness newspapers. 
These were collected by Mr Eneas Maekay, Stirling, and 
printed together in a volume, with Introduction by Professor 
W. J. Watson. Mr Mackay 's sudden death has delayed 
publication, but the book, we understand, is ready, and 
cannot fail to receive an eager welcome. Mr F. C. Diack, of 
Aberdeen, who has been giving attention to our scattered 
Ogam inscriptions*, has published some of the results of his 
studies in a booklet, entitled The Newton Stone and other 
PictJsh Inscriptions (1922), a scholarly work on an exception- 
ally difficult subject. Some who may admit Mr Diack 's 
premises, o<r most of them, may not, however, be disposed to 
admit the validity of all his conclusions. The Scottish Macs: 



1hcir Derivation "nd Or'njin (1922), is a little book by Rev. 
J. B. Johnston, .author of works on the Place-Names of Scot- 
land and cf England. It gives in tabular form useful 
information as to the place of origin and early forms of the 
names, as well as explanations not always successful of 
their meaning. 

4. J'eriodicnh, d'C. Our periodical literature has received 
an unfortunate' set-back by the cessation of Guth na Bliadhna, 
the only magazine conducted entirely in Gaelic. The Celtic 
Review has not yet recommenced publication, though we 
understand that there is good hope of reviving it. At the 
present time the want of this scholarly quarterly is being felt 
rather severely, both as a medium for original work and as a 
source of reliable information. An Deo Greine, the monthly 
organ of An Comuiin Gaidhealach, continues to print a good 
deal cf Gaelic. It has sustained a sore loss by the death of 
its editor, Mr Donald Macphie, himself one of our most 
capable Gaelic writers. Gaelic articles appear in several 
newspapers, including the Northern Chronicle, the Stornoway 
Gazette, and the People'* Journal, and in the first mentioned 
there has been appearing a valuable series of articles in 
English on the Literature of the Gael, by the Rev. Archibald 
Macdonald, Kiltarlity. In Ireland, Eriu, the organ of Irish 
learning, continues, but we regret to note the ceasing of that 
excellent magazine Gtidelica. 

5. Bibliography. Under this head we note the complete 
and mcst careful account by Mr P. J. Anderson, Librarian 
of Aberdeen University, of the works, and also of much of 
the history, of his distinguished predecessor, Ewen Mac- 
Lachlan, contained in the Literary Bulletin of Aberdeen 
University for May, 1918. Inter alia, Mr Anderson has 
discovered that Ewen MacLachlan was baptized on 15th 
March, 1773, whereas all previous accounts, including the two 
monumental inscriptions, give 1775 as the date of his birth. 


6. Art and Music. The sadly neglected subject of Celtic 
Art is clearly treated in an excellently illustrated and printed 
booklet, entitled Elements of Celtic Art, by Captain E. JtC. 
Carmichael, M.C., published by An Comunn Gaidhealach. 
The illustrations should be very helpful. Mrs Marjorie 
Kennedy-Fraser, in collaboration with the Rev. Kenneth 
Macleod of Colonsay, has issued ai third volume of the Songs 
of the Hebrides. 

7. Volumes in the Press. We learn that The Fernaig 
Manuscript , as prepared under the hand of Mr Malcolm 
MacFarlane, announced some time ago, is now in the printers' 
hands, and may be looked for in due course. This, when 
issued, will close a gap of long standing in the series of 
representative examples of Gaelic Literature. The text of 
Mr MacFarlane's book was completed in 1914, and but for 
the very high costs which have ruled since then would have 
been published before now. 

Dr Calder has in the press a Student's Gaelic Grammar, 
the printing of which is well advanced. Similarly advanced 
is his Thebaid, an old Gaelic Text which the late Professor 
Mackinnon began some years ago and carried on in the Celtic 

8. Dictionary. We welcome the new revised and enlarged 
edition of MacEachan's Gaelic-English Dictionary recently 
issued from the Chronicle Office, Inverness. It is unnecessary, 
here, to refer to the original author of this popular work or 
to those who. have been responsible for its several editions : it 
is enough to say that the work now completed is one which 
should be in the^ hands of all students of Gaelic ; especially is 
it suited for advanced classes in schools. The, price, 3/-, 
places it within the reach of all. It is well printed and 
bound. We anticipate a ready sale and an early demand for 
another edition. 

It is to be hoped that the Publishers of this volume, or 
some one else, will soon provide a companion volume in the 


shape of an English- Gaelic Dictionary : a much felt want on 
the part of many who are endeavouring to master Gaelic 

We congratulate the late Celtic Lecturer in Aberdeen, 
Mr John Fraser, on his election to the Chair of Celtic in 
Oxford . We venture to congratulate Aberdeen on the choice 
of his successor, Mr John MacDonald, a native of Kirkhill, 
a distinguished pupil of Inverness Royal Academy, and a 
graduate with highest honours of Aberdeen and Cambridge .- 

INVERNESS, 16th November, 1922. 



1. 'S e ainm a' Chomuinn " COMUNN GAIDHLIG INBHIR-NIS." 

2. 'S e tha an run a' Chomuinn : Na buill a dheanamh 
iomlan r s a' Ghaidhlig ; cinneas Canaine, Bardachd agus Ciuil na 
'Gaidhealtachd ; Bardachd, Seanachas, Sgeulachd, Leabhraichean 
agus Sgriobhanna 's a' chanain sin a thearnadh o dhearmad ; 
Leabhar-lann a chur suas ami am baile Tnbhir-Nis de leabhraichibh 
agus sgriobhannaibh aim an canain sam bith a bhuiueas do 
Chaileachd, lonnsachadh, Eachdraidheachd agus Sheanachasaibh 
nan Gaidheal, no do thairbhe na Gaidhealtachd ; coir agus cliu nan 
Gaidhea! a dhion ; agus na Gaidheil a shoirbheachadh a ghna ge 
b'e ait' am bi iad. 

3. 'S iad a bhitheas 'nam bull], cuideachd a tha gabhail suim 
do runtaibh a' Chomuinn ; a-?us so mar gheibh iad a staigh : 
Tairgidh aon bhall an t-iarradair, daingnichidh ball eile an tairgse, 
agus, aig an ath choinneamh, ma roghnaicheas a' mhor-chuid le 
crannchur, nithear ball dhith-se no dheth-san cho luath 's a 
phaidhear an comh-thoirt ; cuirear craimi le ponair dhubh agus 
gheal, ach, gu so.bhi dligheach, feumaidh tri buill dheug an crainn 
a chur. Feudaidh an Comumi Urrarn Cheannardan a thoirt do 
urrad 'us seachd daoiiie cliuiteach. 

4. Paidhidh Ball Urramach, 's a' bhliadhna . 010 6 

Ball Cumanta 050 

Foghlainte 010 

Agus ni Ball-beatha aon chomh-thoirt de . 770 

5. 'S a' cheud-mhios, gach bliadhna, roghnaichear, le crainn, 
Co-chomhairle a riaghlas gnothuichean a' Chomuinn, 's e sin aon 



1. The Society shall be called the 



2. The objects of the Society are the perfecting of the Mem- 
bers in the use of the Gaelic language ; the cultivation- of the 

language, poetry, and music of the Scottish Highlands ; the res- 
cuing from oblivion of Celtic Poetry, traditions, legends, books, 
<ind manuscripts ; the establishing in Inverness of a library, to 
consist of books and manuscripts, in whatever language, bearing 
upon the genius, the literature, the history, the antiquities, and 
the material interests of the Highlands and Highland people ; the 
vindication of the rights and character of the Gaelic people ; and, 
generally, the furtherance of their interests whether at home or 

3. The Society shall consist of persons who take a lively in- 
terest in its objects. Admission to be as follows : -The candidate 
shall be proposed by one member, seconded by another, balloted 
for at the next meeting, and, if he or she have a majority of votes 
and have paid the subscription, be declared a member. The ballot 
shall be taken with black beans and white ; and no election shall 
be valid unless thirteen members vote. The Society has power to 
elect distinguished men as Honorary Chieftains to the number of 

4. The Annual Subscription shall be, for 
Honorary Members . . . . 10 6 
Ordinary Members . . . . .050 
Apprentices . . . . 1 
A Life Member shall make one payment of . 770 

5. The management of the affairs of the Society shall be en- 
trusted to a Council, chosen annually, by ballot, in the month of 


Cheann, tri lar-chinn, Cleireach Urramach, Runaire, lonmhasair, 
agus coig buill eile feumaidh iad uile Gaidhlig a thuigsinn 's a 
bhruidhinn ; agus ni coigear dhiubh coinneamh. 

6. Cumar coinnearnhan a' Chonminn gach seachduin o thois- 
each an Deicheamh mios gu deireadh Mhairt, agus gach ceithir- 
la-deug o thoiseach a' Ghiblein gu deireadh an Naothamh-mios. 'S 
i a' Ghaidhlig a labhrar gach oidhche mu'n seach aig a' chuid a'& 

7. Cuiridh a' Cho-chomhairle la air leth amis an t-Seachdamh- 
mios air-son Coinneamh Bhliadhnail aig an cumar Co-dheuchainn 
agus air an toirear duaisean air-son Piobaireachd 'us ciuil Ghaidh- 
ealach eile ; anns an fheasgar bithidh co-dheuchainn air Leughadh 
agus aithris Bardachd agus Rosg nuadh agus taghta ; an deigh sin 
cumar Cuirm chuideachdail aig am faigh nithe Gaidhealach rogh- 
ainn 'san uirghioll, ach gun roinn a dhiultadh dhaibh-san nach tuig 
Gaidhlig. Giulainear cosdas na co-dheuchainne le trusadh 
sonraichte a dheanamh agus cuideachadh iarraidh o 'n t-sluagh. 

8. Cha deanar atharrachadh sam bith air coimh-dhealbhadh 
a' Chomuinn gun aontachadh dha thrian de na'm bheil de luchd- 
bruidhinn Gaidhlig air a' chlar-ainm. Ma 's miann atharrachadh a 
dheanamh is eiginn sin i chur an ceill do gach ball, mios, aig a' 
chuid a's lugha, roimh'n choinneamh a dh'fheudas an t-atharrachadh 
a dheanamh. Feudaidh I. all nach bi a lathair roghnachadh le 

9. Taghaidh an Comunn Bard, Piobaire, agus Fear-leabhar- 

Ullaichear gach Paipear agus Leughadh, agus giulainear gach 
Deasboireachd le run fosgailte, duineil, durachdach air-son na 
firinn, agus cuirear gach ni air aghaidh ann an spiorad caomh, glan, 
agus a reir riaghailtean dearbhta. 


January, to consist of a Chief, three Chieftains, an Honorary 
Secretary, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and five other Members of the 
Society, all of whom shall understand and speak Gaelic ; five to 
form a quorum. 

6. The Society shall hold its meetings weekly from the 
beginning of October to the end of March, and fortnightly from 
the beginning of April to the end of September. The business 
shall be carried on in Gaelic on every alternate night at least. 

7. There shall be an Annual Meeting in the month of July, 
the day to be named by the Committee for the time being, when 
Competitions for Prizes shall take place in Pipe and other High- 
land Music. In the evening there shall be Competitions in Read- 
ing and Reciting Gaelic Poetry and Prose, both original and select. 
After which there will be a Social Meeting, at which Gaelic sub- 
jects shall have the preference, but not to such an extent as 
entirely to preclude participation by persons who do not undei- 
stand Gaelic. The expenses of the competitions shall be defrayed 
out of a special fund, to which the general public shall be invited 
to subscribe. 

8. It is a fundamental rule of the Society that no part of the 
Constitution shall be altered without the assent of two- thirds of 
the Gaelic-speaking Members on the roll ; but if any alterations 
be required, due notice of the same must be given to each member, 
at least one month before the meeting takes place at which the 
alteration is proposed to be made. Absent Members may vote by 

9. The Society shall elect a Bard, a Piper, uiid a Librarian. 

All Papers and Lectures shall be prepared, and all Discussions 
carried on, with an honest, earnest, and manful desire for truth ; 
and all proceedings shall be conducted in a pure and gentle spirit, 
and according to the usually recognised rules. 




The Right Hon. the Earl of 
Sean eld. 


Lieut. -Colonel Gunn. 
Mr Roderick MacLeod. 
Mr Alexander MiacDonald . 


Mr William Mackay, LL.D. 
Prof. W. J. Watson, LL.D. 


Mr D. F. Mackenzie, 42 Union 
Street, Inverness. 

Mr W. Charles Macbean, act- 
ing Interim. 

Mr David Ross. 
Mr D. Butter. 
Rev. D. Connell, M.A. 
Mr Donald Davidson. 
Mr John Mackenzie. 
Mr Andrew Mackintosh. 


Mr D. J. MacDonald. 


Rev. D. MacEchern, B.D. 


Pipe-Major Ronald Mackenzie. 





Lieut. -Colonel Gunn. 
Mr Roderick MacLeod. 
Mr Alexander MacDonald. 


Mr William Mackay, LL.D. 
Prof. W. J. Watson, LL.D. 


Messrs Davidson, Scott, & 
Coy., Solicitors, 42 Union 
Street, Inverness. 


Mr David Ross. 

Mr D. Butter. 

Rev. D. Connell, M.A. 

Mr Donald Davidson. 

Mr John Mackenzie. 

Mr Andrew Mackintosh. 


Mr D. J. MacDonald. 


Rev. Dugald MacEchern, B.D. 









Lieut. -Colonel Gunn. 
Mi Roderick MacLeod. 
Mr Alexander MacDonald. 


Mr William Mackay, LL.D. 
Prof. W, J. Watson, LL.D. 


Miss M. J. Munro, 19 Union 
Street, Inverness. 


Mr David Ross. 

Mr D. Butter. 

Rev. D. Connell, M.A. 

Mr Donald Davidson. 

Mr John Mackenzie. 

Mr Andrew Mackintosh. 


Mr D. J. MacDonald. 







Lieut. -Colonel Gunn. 
Mr Roderick MacLeod. 
Mr Alexander MacDonald. 


Mr William Mackay, LL.D. 
Prof. W. J. Watson, LL.D. 


Miss M. J. Munro, 19 Union 
Street, Inverness. 


Mr David Ross. 

Mr D. Butter. 

Rev. D. Connell, M.A. 

Mr Donald Davidson. 

Mr John Mackenzie. 

Mr Andrew Mackintosh. 


Mr D. J. MacDomald. 


Rev. D. MacEchern, B.D. 






Col. D. W. Cameron, C.M.G., 
A.D.C., of Lochiel. 


Colonel Gilbert Gunn. 
Mr Roderick MacLeod. 
Mr Alexander Mac-Donald. 


Mr William Mackay, LL.D. 
Prof. W. J. Watson, LL.D. 


(Interim) Miss M. J. Munro', 
19 Union Street, Inverness. 

Captain R McErlich, 6 Queen's 
Gate, Inverness. 


Major David Ross. 
Rev. D. Co-nnell, M.A. 
Mr John Mackenzie. 
Mr D. Butter. 
Mr Donald Davidson. 
Mr Andrew Mackintosh. 


Mr D. J. MacDomald. 


Rev. D. MacEchem, B.D. 


Pipe-M,ajor John MacDonald. 


Introduction . . . . . . . v. 

Constitution of the Society . . . . . xiv. 

Office-Bearers, 1915-1919 . . ..:... xviii. 

Life in the Highlands in the Olden Times as illustrated 

by Old Writings. By William Mackay, LL.D. ! 1 
Sgeulachdaii bho Shiorramachd Pheairt. By James 

MacDiarmid . . . v . . 19 

Some Rare Gaelic Words and Phrases, By Alexander 

MacDonald . . . . . . . . 30 

The Celtic Missionaries on the Continent of Europe, 

No. I. S. Columbanus. By the Rev. Archibald 

B. Scott, B.D. . . . . . . . 47 

Clan Wars in the Old Highlands, By David N. Mackay 67 
Gaelic and English Words for Old Highland Marches, 

Strathspeys and Reels. By Andrew Mackintosh . 81 
Fragments of Gaelic Song and Lilt. By Alexander 

MacDonald 94 

Domhnull nan Oran, am Bard Sgitheanach. By John 

N. MacLeod 119 

Donald Matheson and other Gaelic Poets in Kildonan 

and Reay. By Hugh F. Campbell . . . .134 

Further Notes, on the Dunvegan Family. By Fred. T. ' 

MacLeod . 143- 

Fast Day and Friday Fellowship Meeting Controversy 

in the Synod of Sutherland and Caithness (1737- 

1758). By the Rev. D. Beaton . . . 159 

Celtic Art. By Dr J. J. Galbraith . .. . .182 
Classic Gaelic Poetry of Panegyric in Scotland. By 

Professor William J. Watson, LL.D. 194 



Mythological Beings in Gaelic Folklore. By the Rev. 

Cyril H. Dieehkoff, O.S.B. . . .235 

Social Life in Skye from Legend and Story Part I. 

By J. G. Mackay, O.B.E. . .260 

Highland Second Sight. By the Rev. Dugald Mac-. 

Echern, M.A., B.D 290 

Place Names of Coll. By the Rev. Dugald MacEchern, 

M.A., B.D. . ... . 314 

Social Life in Skye from Legend and Story Part II. 

By J. G. Mackay, O.B.E 335 

Annual Assembly, 1919 351 

Boll of Members of the Society, November, 1922 : 

Honorary Chieftains . . . . . . 355 

Life Members ... . . . . 355 

Honorary Members ">* . . . . .356 

Ordinary Members . . . . . . 359 

Subscribing Libraries, &c. . . . 367 

Societies exchanging Publications . . . 367 

Members Deceased, 1918-1922 . . ... 367 

List of Books in the Society's Library . . . 369 
Index 389 


17th DECEMBER, 2914. 

The following paper by Mr William Mack-ay, LL.D., 
Inverness, was read at a meeting held on this. date. 


My intention this evening is to endeavour to place before 
you certain (aspects of life in the Highlands in the past, as 
illustrated by old documents. The subject is a dry one, for 
old writings are not so fascinating as old tales. They are, 
however, far more reliable; for while traditions change and 
disappear, writings, as Ovid said, survive the lapse of years 
scripta ferunt annos. The subject is also a wide one, and 
I shall only be able to give you sop as gach seid a wisp out 
of this sheaf and a wisp o*ut of that. Moreover, I shall have 
to confine myself to certain customs connected with the 
principal events of life Birth, Fosterage', Marriage, Death 
and with the possession of the Land and the state of War 
a chronic state with the old Highlander. 


There was, in the old days 1 , no great stir on the actual 
event of birth. The public rejoicings were postponed until 
the mother was strong enough to join in the festivities. 

* This paper was first written for the Gaelic Society of Glasgow 
in 1902, and printed by that Society. It has now been somewhat 


Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Then her kirking took place. On that occasion, the parents 
and a large party of their friends attended church for the 
purpose of giving public thanks for a safe mother >and a 
living child. After divine service the -party adjourned to 
the parents' home, or, more commonly, to the ale-houso, 
which usually nestled snugly near the church; and much 
feasting and dancing took place. The clergy tried to stop 
excesses, and the first document I shall refer to is a minute 
passed in 1656 by the Synod of Moray, within whose bounds 
a great part of Inverness-shire and the Eastern Highlands 
lie: ' The Synod ordains that Presbyteries be carefull to 
remove superstitione and profaneness in kirking of women 
after child birth, and admonish them that as their first 
voyage is to give thanks to God for their deliverie, that it be 
to a meeting of the congregatione for public worship, and 
that they go not thence with their fellowship to> the ailhouse 
to sit too long, but behave themselves gravelie and modestlie, 
as these who are truly thankful ought to be." The minute, 
you_will observe, does not object to> the adj'Ournment to the 
ale-house, but only to> too long a sitting there. 

The next event was the baptism of the infant. Before 
the Reformation that invariably took place in the church 
"in face of the congregation " and Knox's Liturgy and 
the Book of Discipline ordained that the custom should be 
continued in the Reformed Church. Many friends 1 accom- 
panied the parents and the child, and after service the 
festivities of the kirking were repeated. Knox ordained 
that the father, or, in his absence', the god-father, should 
at the baptism rehearse the Apostles' Creed, and it was also 
customiairy to recite the Lord's Prayer and sing the Doxology. 
These practices were discontinued in Cromwell's time, for 
the Puritans ob/jected to every semblance of liturgy or set 
prayer. After thei Restoration an attempt was made to 
restore them, and in Mlay, 1688, the following resolution was 
recorded by the Presbytery of Inverness : ' ' That at 
Baptiseing of Infants the parents make confession of yr 
Faith by owning and acknowledging the Apostles Creed, as 
also that after prayer the Lord's Prayer be subjoyned, and 
after praises the Doxologie be sung ; and all the Brethern to 
be particularly enquired thereanent at the prbie censure." 
Puritanism, however, prevailed ; these religious require- 
ments dropped out of use; and for generations few Presby- 
terian baptisms took place in church. 

Life in the Highlands in the Olden Times 


Fosterage was common to the Celts of Scotland, Ireland,, 
and Wales. By it the child of one person was 
adopted by another person, who gave Kim bed and board 
and sometimes education, and treated him in every respect 
as his own child. Sometimes men exchanged children. The 
custom probably originated in the troubles! of the olden 
times, the constant danger to life and property, and the 
consequent desire to form alliances for mutual protection, 
not only by marriages 1 and bands of manrent, but also> by 
fosterage of children. Numerous instances are recorded of 
extraordinary love iand fidelity between foster parents and 
foster brothers the best known in literature being that told 
by Sir Walter Scott in " The Fair Maid of Perth," where 
Torquil and all his sons sacrificed their lives for his foster 
child, Eachin Maclan. 

The contract of fosterage was, commonly, by word of 
mo<uth, but it was sometimes committed to writing. The 
first specimen I shall submit is a contract entered into in 
1580 between Duncan Campbell of Glenurquhay (the laird 
of Breadalbane) and his " native servant " that is, his 
slave Gillecreist Makdonchy Duff Vc Nokerd (Christopher 
son of Black Duncan, son of the Mechanic) and his wife 
Catherine Neyil Donill Vekconchy (Catherine daughter of 
Donald son of Duncan), by which these two humble persons 
bound themselves " to take in fostering Duncan Campbell, 
son to the said Duncane, to> be sustained by them in meat 
and drink and nourishment till he be sent to the school with 
the advice of friends, and toi sustain him at the schools with 
reasonable support, the said father and foster father giving 
between them of makhelve guddis in donation to< the said 
bairn at Beltane thereafter the value of two hundred merks 
of ky, and two horses or two mares worth forty merks ; these 
goods with their increase to pertain to the said bairn as his 
own chance Bears him to, but their milk to pertain to the 
said foster father and mother so long as they sustain the said 
bairn and until he be sent to the schools, except soi much of 
the said milk as will pay the mails of pasture lands for the 
said cattle .... and in case the said bairn shall die before 
he be sent to the schools, his father shall send another of his 
children, lass or lad, to be fostered in his stead, who shall 
succeed to the first bairn's goods ; and the said foster father 

4 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

and mother being bound to leave at their decease a bairn's 
pairt of gear to their said foster son or to the bairn that 
enters on his place, as much as they shall leave to their own 

There is extant a contract of fosterage written in Gaelic 
between Macleod of Macleod and John, son of the son of 
Kenneth, dated 1614: " Ag so an tachd agus an cengal 
ar affuil Macleod ag tabhairt a mhac, iodhon Tormoid, d'eoin 
mac mic Cainnigh, agus ase so an tachd ar affuil se aig Eoin 
iodhon an leanamh," and so on. " This is the condition 
and agreement on which Macleod is giving hie, son, namely, 
Norman, to John the son of the son of Kenneth, and this 
is the condition on which he [the child] is with John, namely, 
if so be that John die first the child to be with his wife until 
she get another husband for herself, but the guardianship 
of the child to. belong to Angus, eon of the son of Kenneth, 
so long as she is without a husband." . . . The foster father 
puts the following stock in possession of the foster child : 7 
mares ; these and their increase to be kept by Macleod for the 
foster child. 


Marriage was regular or irregular, for life or for a more 
limited period. The contract an leabhrachwdh, or " the 
booking ' ' was signed or otherwise concluded a short time 
before the date fixed for the marriage. Its common form 
ran thus: ' We, Donald Mac Homish, and Mary daughter 
of Ronald Mac Rory, bind ourselves to marry each other 
within the space of 40 days hence under the penalty of 
40 Scots payable by the party failing to fulfil this engage- 
ment to the party willing to perform the same." The 
money (equal to 3 6s 8d sterling) was placed in neutral 
hands, usually in those of the Session Clerk, who> entered 
the contract in a book which he kept for the purpose. The 
document was, however, more elaborate with people of con- 
sequence, and! it sometimes contained strange provisions. 
The contract of Hugh Rose of Kilravock and Joneta, 
daughter of Sir Roibert Chisholm, Governor of Urquhart 
Castle, on Loch Ness, dated 1364, after binding the parties to 
marry each other in face of Holy Church, provides : 
" From the date of the marriage the said Sir Robert shall 
keep and maintain his said daughter [the bride] for three 
whole years in meat and drink ; but the said Hugh [the 

Life in the Highlands in the Olden Times 5 

bridegroom] shall find and keep her in all necessary garments 
and ornaments." 

In 1482 a treaty was entered into by Lachlan Mackintosh 
of Gallovie, in Badenoch (brother of The Mackintosh) and 
Donald, son of Angus Mackintosh, in connection with the 
estate of Kilravock, which he tried to capture from Rose. 
It contains the provision that, " FOOT the mare kyndnees, 
traistnes, and securitie," Donald shall marry Margaret 
daughter of Lachlan; and, as they are within the forbidden 
degrees, Lachlan shall bring a dispensation from the Pope. 
Until the dispensation arrives,' the young people are to be 
handfast, and the lady's father binds himself to make 
thankful payment of 40 merks of tooher to Donald; to 
clothe hie daughter honestly, and to* hold and sustain her 
in his own house " twa years giff it please the said Donald 
that she shall remaine so long with her father." 

A similar treaty between Donald, eon of Cameron of 
Lochiel, .and Agnes, daughter of the Laird of Grant, 
entered into at Urquhart Castle in 1520, in presence- of Lord 
Lovat, Grant of Glenmoriston, the Prior of Beauly, and the 
Vicar of Kilmonivaig, binde Donald to marry Agnes as soon 
as a dispensation rendered necessary by some canonical 
impediment is obtained from Rome. Mieantime, as in the 
case of Gallovie, the rules of the Church yield to the worldly 
interests of the parties, and until the dispensation arrives 
the young couple are to live together without the sanction 
of religion an arrangement calmly acquiesced in by the 
pious prior and vicar. " And if it shall happen that the 
said dispensation come not home within fifteen days after 
Martinmas the said John the Grant is bound and obliged 
to cause them to be handfast and put together, his said 
daughter and the said Donald, fo>r marriage to be com- 
pleted, in the default of the dispensation not oominp- home 
at the said time." There is danger that after the handfast 
period of probation, Donald may decline to> tie himself 
indissolubly to the young lady. To meet this risik, Lord 
Lovat and other two gentlemen become sureties that the 
mairriage will be completed, under the penalty of 1000 
to be paid to Agnes in the event of Donald refusing. It 
is satisfactory to state that the dispensation came, and that 
the regular marriage was solemnised. From the union lias 
come the present race of Lochiel. 

I show you, as a specimen, a post-nuptial contract, dated 
1592, between my own ancestor, Duncan Mack ay of 

Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Achmoniei, in Glen-Urquhart, and Margaret, daughter of 
The Ohieholm. It is. a business-like Latin document, six 
inches long, and it provides that in the event of Duncan 
predeceasing his sponise, she will have the revenue of the 
estate of Achmonie during her life. As a contrast to. it in 
length, I also show you the contract, dated 1710, between 
my great-great-granduncle, Alexander Grant of Shewglie, 
in Glen-Urquhart, and Margaret Chisholm, also a daughter 
of The Chisholm of the day, consisting of a roll of paper 
four feet long. The deed of 1592 was written by a priest ; 
that of 1710 by a professional lawyer! One of the witnesses 
to the deed of 1710 was Donald Murchison, the famous 
factor of Kintail, who defeated Government troops at 
Ath-nam-Muileach, in Glen-Affaric, in 1721, and whose 
signature I give. 

There was as a rule excessive conviviality at marriages, 
the rejoicings extending sometimes over a wetek. Until 
comparatively recently a wedding thait did not last three 
days was a poor wedding indeed. Among the humbler 
classes the guests subscribed towards the cost of the enter- 
tainment; hence the mame " perinfy wedding." The 
marriage usually took place- on a Thursday, and the 
festivities lasted until the bride was kirked on the following 
Sunday. The Sunday afternoon was devoted to feasting 
and dancing. The clergy did their best to stop these 
extravagances. In February, 1640, the Synod of Moray 
record : ' ' In respect of ye gryt disorders yat haw fallen 
out in dyverse parts o<ff ye land by drunkenness and 
tuilzieing [fighting] at penniei brydalls, therefore it is 
ordiained that thair be no pennie brydalls maid on ye 
Sabbathe." This ordinance was ignored by the Reverend 
John Marshall of Dundorcias, <as appears from the following 
minute of October, 1640: "Mr Johne Marshall being 
founde to have maid a marriage on the thursday, and wt 
ye same personesi keiped a pennie brydall on ye nixt Sabbath 
day, hawing a minstrell playing to ye churche and from ye 
same befoir them, is sharplie and grawlie rebucked in y 

Life in the Highlands in the Olden Times 7 

faoel of ye. Synod." In 1675 the Bishop of Moray made 
an effort to regulate penny weddings. The following are 
his rules : 

" 1. That the usual excessive number be limited to and 
restrained to eight persons allenarlie [only] on tfach 
side of the married persons. 

"2. That all piping, fiddling, and dancing without doors 
of all whomsoever resorting these meetings be re- 
strained and discharged [prohibited.] 

"3. That all obscene, lascivious, and promiscuous 
dancing within doors be discharged. 

"4. That the two> dollars consignee^ at the contract of 
the married persons (which is also ordained to be 
deposited not only as pledges of performing their 
intended purposes of marriage, but also of the 
civil and sober deportment of all those that shall 
countenance their marriage feast) remaine in the 
Sessione Clerk's hands until the Lord's Day after 
the marriage, that in case of contravening one or 
other of the foresaid articles by any whomsoever, 
then and in that case' the foresaid two- dollars shall 
be confiscated to the common good of the parish 
church, and this by and attour the: public censure 
to be imposed upon the transgressors of the fore- 
said articles." 

These rules, however, were not respected, and in 1709 
and 1710 the excesses!, which still prevail, are again alludeoT 
to. In time the entertainment was gradually modified, but 
penny weddings still continued, and as late as 1870 I myself 
attended tone w!ith|in two miles from Inverness and con- 
tributed my mite towards the expense. 


Even death could not suppress the native mirth of the 
old Highlander. Ihiring the likewake the chamber in 
which the body lay was filled day after day and night after 
night with the coronach, and with jests, songs, and tales, 
the music of the fiddle and the pipe, and the shout aoid 
clatter of the Highland reel. The entertainment was 

Gaelic Society of Inverness 

liberal. This is the bill for the wakei of Sir Donald Campbell 
of Ardnamurchan in 1651, the money being Scots: 

52 gallons of ale at 20s per gallon 52 

5 gallons and one quart whisky at 16 per 



8 wethers .at 3 each . .. 


2 pecks salt 


2 stones cheese . ... 


Hlb. tobacco* 


1 cow 

23 6 8 

Total cost of the feast 189 17 8 

As in the case of kirkings, baptisms, and marriages, 
the Church exerted itself to stop irregularities in connection 
with likewakes. On 8th June, 1675, the Synod of Moray, 
being " deeplie weighted with the superstitione 'and 
heathenish customs prevailed at lykewakes in many places 
within this diocese, at which time sin and scandal does 
greatly abound, to the dishonour of the great Lord and 
offense of sober Christians, for redressing whereof, and that 
the deportment and carriage of such who resort these lyke- 
wakes may be as becometh Christianitie, the Lord Bishop 
and Brethren foresaid ordains that the ordinary crowding 
multitude of profane and idle persons be debarred, and that 
none frequent or countenance these meetings but those of 
the defunct's nearest relatives, or those that may be useful 
for Christian counsel and comfort to the mourners and 
afflicted, discharging strictlie all light and lascivious 
exercises, sports, lyksongs, fiddling, and dancing, and that 
any present at stuch 'occasions behave themselves gravely, 
Christianly, civily, and soberly, spending the time in read- 
ing the scriptures and conferences upon mortality; ordain- 
ing this Act to> be publicly read throughout the diocese." 
In 1675 the Presbytery of Inverness ordered the Minister of 
Moy " to prohibit dancing and piping and fiddling at 
likewakee, and to punish the guiltie with church censures " ; 
and similar references appear later. The wake, however, 
continued for many a day. It has, in certain districts, not 
yet quite disappeared; but now the nights -are passed in 
reading the Scriptures, and in prayer and praise and quiet 

Life in the Highlands in the Olden Times 9 

The deceased was usually buried on the Sabbath, and 
the minister frequently deserted the pulpit to attend the 
funeral. In 1640 the Synod of Moray ordained " that 
ministers exhort from burying on the Sabbath, and that 
hereafter no minister leave his own flock to> go to burials 
on the Sabbath unless the necessity be approven by the 
Presbytery." The invitation was a general on|e to the 
whole country side. Special letters were addressed to lairds 
and men of importance. I show you the funeral letter of 
the Rev. John Mackenzie of Killearnan, who died in 1635. 
There was, as a rule, a great concourse of people, and much 
drink was consumed, witih sometimes unfortunate tfesults. 
At the funeral of one of the lairds of Culloden the mourners 
were entertained so liberally before leaving Culloden House 
that when they did start for the Churchyard of Inverness 
they left the coffin behind ! At another funeral -a similar 
mistake occurred, and was only discovered when the party 
arrived at the churchyard and the sexton remarked, " It's .a 
grand funeral, but whaur's Jean?" It is told of an old 
woman iti Gienmorijston, who lived half-way between St 
Columba's Churchyard at the lower end of the glen and 
Clachan Mheircheird at the upper, that when her funeral 
came to the point at which the roiads to those burial grounds 
parted, a discussion arose as to whether she should be buried 
in the upper or in the lower. The dispute led to a fight, 
in which several persons were killed. The survivors then 
solved the question in dispute by burying the old lady where 
they had fought. 

Many people were, in the old days, buried within the 
church. This led to a very insanitary state of matters. 
In 1684 the Presbytery of Inverness has the following: 
' The said day Mr Thomas Houston, minister of Boleskine, 
regretted by his letter to- the Brethren of the Exercise that 
all persons of all ranks indifferently buried their dead within 
his church, not only his own parishioners but some others 
of the neighbouring parodies, so that several coffins were 
hardly under ground, which was like to be very dangerous, 
and noisome to the hearers of the Word within the said 
church, 'and therefore earnestlie intreated the advice of his 
brethren how to carry thereaneint; which the brethren re- 
ferred to my Lord Bishop and the ensuing Synod." The 
General Assembly, at an early period, passed an Act pro- 
hibiting burial in churches, but the Highland Presbyteries 

10 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

found it impossible to carry it into effect. In 1642 the 
Synod of Mioray endeavoured to modify the custom by 
making a charge. The fee at Kingussie was 10' merks, or 
about 13s sterling. The custom, however, continued, and some- 
times gave rise to disturbances. In 1650 Murdo Maciver, 
one of the elders 1 of Lochbroom, was deposed " for avowing 
hie resolution toi bury in' the Kirk in spite of the Act of 
Assembly ' ' ; and at a later period a man in Petty burst 
open the door of the church in order to bury his wife within 
the sacred fabric. 

There is a, popular impression that in the old days people 
lived to a greater age than they do in our own degenerate 
time. The contrary was, however, the case, and neces- 
sarily so, for in the past people were not so well housed or 
clothed or fed as we are, and smallpox and deadly fevers 
were not so much under the control of medical and sanitary 
science as they are to-day. The Rev. Master James Fraser, 
minister of Kirkhill near Inverness the author of the 
Wardlaw Manuscript kept a " Bill of Mortality " from 
1663 to 1709, in which he recorded the deaths that occurred 
in his parish, and remarks and reflections thereon. At the 
end of the year 1674 he writes: " The Bill of Mortality 
reached this yeere to above 70 persons. No such sudden 
deaths and malignant fevers ever known. Most of young 
and old, especially children, died of smallpox, which raged 
here as a plague for two yeeres." At the close of 1677 he 
records: " A malignant fever raged, of which men die^ 
in three days' time"; and, in 1697, "This was the yeare 
of the greatest mortality that I ever remember in this 
corner of all Scotland over a running contagion off plague, 
Fluxes of all sorts, of which most persons died. Our Bill 
this yeare extended to. 112." The population of the parish, 
according to the last census (1911), ie 1237. The pro- 
bability is that it was not higher in Master James's time. 
If that was. so, the death rate in 1674 was 56 per thousand, 
and in 1697 95 per thousand. In 1709 Mr James remarks: 
" It is worth noticing how long people live in our latter 
age, and our ancestors short lived." He then gives a list 
of the oldest, mem known to him in the Highlands. The 
most aged was John Mac Phail Duin in Abertarf, who was 
stated to be 90 years old. Then follow the names of one who 
wias 89, another 88(, five 87, three 86, one 85, one 84, two 
82, three 80, one 78, one 77, and one 76. No register of 

Life in the Highlands in the Olden Times 11 

birth was kept, and, if we allow for the tendency to 
exaggerate the years of aged persons, wei may assume that 
the above ages were somewhait overstated. In lany case, 
the meni weore BO exceptionally old as to cause as much 
wonder as we feel to-day wheni a man reaches 100 years. 
The fittest only survived, and even they did not reach agea 
which are in our day comparatively common. 


Individual right of property in land was known in Scot- 
land at an early period. The oldest grant of which we 
have record is that by King Brude, whose seat was at Inver- 
ness, to St Columba in the sixth century. After it come 
tne grants recorded in ancient Gaelic in the Book of Deer. 
These were probably verbal grants, publicly declared . 
Written grants, however, sooo became common. I show 
you an original charter by King William the Lion, bearing 
no date, but granted about the year 1170. It is a short 
Latin document so short that I shall give you a. complete 
translation of it : ' ' William King of Scots to all good 
men of his whole realm, greeting. Know ye both present 
and to come that we have granted and given, and by this 
my present charter have confirmed to Orm, son of Hugh, 
Glenduogin and Balemadethiii by their right meiths, to be 
held by him and his heirs o>f me and my heirs freely quietly 
and honourably from all service saving my service which 
belongs to that land, as Earl Duncan quit-claimed the same 
in exchange for Balebrevin; Witnesses, Andrew, Bishop of 
Caithness ; Nicholas, Chancellor ; Matthew, Archdeacon ; 
Richard of Morville, Constable; David Olifard, Justiciary 
Walter Son of Alan the Steward: at Perth." I also show 
you am original charter by King Alexander the Second of 
the same lands dated 5th April, 1222. It is somewhat 
longer than William, the Lion's writ, consisting of 115 words 
as against the older deed's 92. The legal verbosity went 
on developing until the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, 
when deeds attained to enormous lengths. I hold in my 
hand a translation of a charter granted in 1568 by the 
Earl of Huntly to The Mackintosh, which extends 1 to about 
1700 words. In the two early charters the lands are 
simply described as Glenduogin and Balemadethin by their 
right meiths (boundaries). The conveyancer of 1568 was 

12 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

not satisfied with so meagre a description', and he gives the 
following, which! I think beats the title to the lands of 
Bradwardme, as given in " Waverley " : "All and 
Sundry our lands of Bandachar [Banchor in Badenoch] with 
the Mill of the same and their multures and fishings of 
salmon on the water of Spey .... in fee and heritage- 
forever, by all their right measures old and divided, as 
they lie in length and breadth, limits .and bounds, on 3very 
side, in woods, plainsi, muirs, mosses, ways, paths, waters v 
pools, streams, meadows, grassings,, pastures, mills, 
multures, and their sequels, fowlings, huntings, fishings, 
peatbogs, turfgrounds, coal, coalheughs-, rabbits, warrens,, 
pigeons-, pigeon-cots, smithies, maltkilns, brooms, plantings, 
woods, groves, nurseries, dykes, woodcuttings, quarries, 
mountains, hills, valleys, with power of digging, labouring, 
and cultivating niew lands not yet cultivated within the 
bounds and limits of all and sundry the aforesaid lands, so 
far as they may bear, stone and lime, with courts and their 
issues, fines, herezelds, and merchets of women;, with culture 
and all pasture, with free entry and ish, and with .all other 
and sundry freedoms, commodities, profits and easements, 
and their just pertinents whatsoever, as well not named ,as 
named, under the earth as upon the earth, far and near, 
belonging, or that may in any, way whatever justly belong 
in future to the foresaid lands, all and sundry, with their 
parts, pendicles, and whole other pertinents, freely, quietly, 
fully, wholly, honourably, well, and in peace, without any 
impediment, revocation, contradiction, or obstacle what- 
soever;, forever." The deeds to which I have referred are 
all in Latin, but Gaelic writs were not unknown. witness 
the Gaelic charter by the Lord of the Isles to> Brian Vicar 
Mackay of land in Islay in 1408. Ultimately, English came 
into general use'. 

In the old days the owner of a landed estate frequently 
borrowed money on a wadset a contract under which the 
lender got actual possession of certain lands, and continued 
to occupy them, virtually as proprietor, until the money 
was repaid, sometimes after generations had passed. I show 
you a contract of wadset of 1692, which consists of a closely- 
written roll one foot wide and nine feet four inches) long, 
and containing about 10,400 words, and another deed of 
land near Inverness, part of which I now own, dated 1702 y 
and 35 feet in length. 

Life in the Highlands in the Olden Times 13 

One result of private ownership was that the owners 
came to let their lands to tenants. Leases appeared early. 
One of the earliest I know is a lease granted by the Bishop 
of Moray to nay ancestor, Johni Mackay of Achmonie in 
Glen-Urquhart, ia 1554. The period was 19 years, which 
is still the common period in Scotland. The annual rent 
was <3 in money, two firlots of dry multure, and, two kids. 
The tenant bound himself to give the usual military and 
civil service to the proprietor. 

The most interesting institution in connection with the 
land was the Baron Court. The baron that is, the owner 
of land which had been erected into a barony had almost 
unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters. He 
himself did not usually preside over his court. That duty 
he devolved on his factor or baron-bailie. I shall refer to 
the minutes of certain courts, which will give you some idea 
of the various questions which came before them. 

At a court held in Strathglass in February, 1691, 77 
persons were fined for killing deer, roe, and muirfowl, and 
for cutting greenwood and sward or green turf. The fines 
ranged from 5 Scots for cutting sward to 50 Scots for 
killing a deer, and amounted in all to 885 Scots equal to 
74 sterling. 

At a court held in Strathglass in May, 1692^ the follow- 
ing is recorded : ' ' The said day anent the grievance given 
in against Hugh Me Hutcheon Vic Onill in Glencannich 
for and anent his exorbitant drinking o<ff aqua vytie, and 
yrby dilapidating his means by his intemperance, qrby he 
is rendered unable* to pay his duty [rent] to his Master 
[proprietor], the bailyie having considered the said 
grievance, heirby statuts and ordains that whatever aqua 
vytie merchandsi shall sell or give above ane half mutchkin 
aqua vytie to the said Hugh, the said aqua, vytie shall be 
oonfiscat, and iff the said Hugh force any more yn yt allowed 
from ym he shall be fined in 10 Scots toties quoties as he 
transgresses." The minute does not explain how the aqua 
vitce is to be confiscated after Hugh Me Hutcheoii Vic Onill 
(Hugh son of Hugh son of Donald) has drunk it ; nor does 
it staite how often in the twenty-four hours he is permitted 
to purchase his half mutchkin>. 

The following rule w-as promulgated at a baron court 
held in Glen -tJrquh art in 1736: "In respect that a 

H Gaelic Society of Inverness 

universal hardship is imposed on the Gentlemen and 
Tenant of this Countrie [i.e., Glen-Urquhart] by the hired 
men and servants both mail and women, and this is repre- 
sented to the Judge; the same is to be enacted in the manner 
following : That any servant who> can properly provide' his 
master in all the materials necessary for a labouring man 
is to have ten merks [equal to lls IJd sterling] of wages 
once in the half-year, and two> pairs of shoes, the next best 
to have eight merks and two pairs of shoes, and the rest 
to have wage according as they are thought deserving. 
And as to the women servants, such ae are not otherwise 
had than within the Cbuntriei, and are not capable but to 
serve a Gentleman's house exactly, are only to have three 
merks and two* pairs of shoes and one apron in the half- 
year. And although if any servant in the Countrie who 
can get service' at Whitsunday and suspends his engagement 
until the shearing time, then and in that case they are to 
receive only half fees. As also if any servant naturalised 
in the Countrie, who is getting service within it, desert the 
Countrie without the special consent of the Baillie, and the 
testification of the' Minister and Elders, the said Girls and 
Women to return to the Countrie so as to> have habitual 
residence within it. Also any man being within the 
Countrie who asks for day's wages is onlie to' have one:- third 
of a peck of meal and his dinner for every day's work 
betwixt the! 1st of November and the 1st of March, and all 
the rest of the year over to have one-half peck and his 
dinner onlie ; As also all the Meialanders [that is, cottars 
paying mail or rent to' proprietors or tacksmen] within the 
Countrie to be required to give two days a week to his 
master [proprietor] for his dinner and supper, and also to 
give him the time preferable toi any, if required. And all 
the above rules to be observed forthwith both by the master 
and servants, under the penalty of Ten Pounds Scots by 
the master and Five Pounds Scots by the servant; upon all 
which the Judge' promises to give the Sentence upon all 
persons complained upon, and if the complaint is instructed 
fyve pounds Scots Money to be to the informer ; and in the 
case of the master being complained upon by their servants 
who> make not paymt. within half a, year after the fee is 
gained, he is to be decerned against .and in favour of the 
servant, who' is to get double of his claim, and that no 

Life in the Highlands in the Olden Times 15 

servant is forced without asking the question ,at his present 
master under the within written penalty. 

M John Grant, Baillie." 

" July the last, 1736. 
" Court, Pitkerald More. 

" Considering that Customary Swearing and Cursing is 
offensive to God .and scandalous among men, especially be- 
fore any sitting in judgment : wherefore did and hereby does 
enact that any person) or persons guilty of the said sins from 
the time the Judge enters the Court House untill he leaves 
the siame shall pay one shilling sterg. to ties quo ties, and his 
person apprehended and keeped in Custody untill he pay 
the same. 

"J. GRANT." 

I now refer to ,ai more solemn record that of a court 
held by John Grant of Corrimony, as baron bailie for The 
Chisholm, on 18th January, 1699. At that court James 
Fraser, in Mayne, Strathglass, prosecuted Donald Mac 
Alister Vic Oill Dui (Donald son of Alexander son of Black 
Donald), then prisoner in Wester Invercannichi, for theft. 
Christopher MaKra was procurator fiscal. The charges 
against Donald were: (1) Stealing two sheep; (2) stealing 
a ' ' red prick horned bull ' ' ; (3) stealing another sheep ; 
(4) " Yee are further .accused for breaking up ane chist 
belonging to> Marie Roy [Red Mary] your mother-in-law, 
in the year 1689, and takeing furth thereof ane certain 
quantity of yarn and other commodity"; (5) stealing more 
yarn and plaiding ; and (6) stealing kadi from William 
Mcinduie [William son of Black John]. The court was 
fenced, the case called, and a jury chosen. The names of 
some of the jurymen may interest you James Mac Ean Og, 
John Mac Alister Rioch, Donald Mac Ean Mhic Quiene, 
Ferquhar Mac Oill Vic Ferquhar. The witnesses were 
examined, and the verdict of the jury given in writing. The 
unfortunate' Donald was unanimously found guilty ; and the 
following sentence was 1 pronounced: "The Bailly having 
re-entered in Court, and the verdict of the- said assize being 
Returned, and under the signe and subscription of yr said 
Chancellor and Clerk, and haveinig considered that they have 
found the within written articles of the Indytement proven, 
the said Bailly decernes and ordaines the person of the said 

16 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Donald Me Alister Vick Oill Duy to be brought furth of 
the prison qrin which he now lyes in Iiiverehaiinich, to the 
Muire of Oomar, Friday nixt the 20th day of January 
instant, twixt the houres off an and two in the afternoon 
yt day, and yr to be hanged on ane gallows set up on the 
said muire, be the hand off the hangman, to death, and 
yrafter to be outt doune, and his corpse to be carried away 
and buried at the back syde off the Kirkyaird off Comar 
Kirktowne; and ordaines his haill moveables to b escheat 
to His Mjajesty's use; And this the said Bailly pronounces 
for doome. 



Between national wars and tribal feuds, the old High- 
lander seldom wanted fighting. In a. feaid between clans 
the men were hastily summoned by the crois-tara the fiery 
cross. When the war was national, such as those of Queen 
Mary, Montrose, Dundee', the Fifteen, and the Forty-five, 
the preparation was more' elaborate. Committees were 
appointed, and a regular system of recruiting was carried 
out. In thei case of the invasion of England by the Scots in 
the time of Cromwell the proceedings had a religious element 
in them, and a fast was held in the Highlands, at which 
the clergy were ordered to> pray, as is recorded in the minutes 
of the Presbytery of Dingwall : "That the Lord wald 
provyde for the neceesarie preservation of the lives of his 
people from sword and feared famine, yt the' Lord wald 
mercifullie lead out o<ur armie, inable everie on yrin to 
keipe themselves from everiei wicked thing, covere there 
head in the day of battell, teach their hands to warore and 
there fingers to fight, and make them have' guid successe yt 
the enemie may flie and fall before them." The High- 
landers and Lowlanders fought like lions at the! battle of 
Worcester), but they failed to make the Ironsides flee or fall 
before them, and many of them never saw Scotland again. 
Many were sent to the Carolina, where their descendants 
were joined by Highlanders; who> were transported after 
Culloden, and who were horrified to find black slaves speak- 
ing Gaelic. 

At the beginning of the Rising of the Fifteen, a meeting 
of the gentlemen of Argyll was held at Inveraray, at which 

Life in the Highlands in the Olden Times 17 

they formally resolved (I show you a> fac-simile of the 
minute): "To stand by and Defend His Sacred Majesty 
King George>, His Person and Government, and the Pro- 
testant Succession in his family, with their Lives and 
fortunes, And for that end be in readiness with all their 
fensible men in arms to obey such orders as they shall 
happen to receive from his Gra.. The- Duke of Argyll, their 
hereto Lord Lieutenant, And in the mean time they 
humblie think it reasonable that (in case there* be occasion 
for it) before: they have particular Orders from His Grace 
that an sufficient man upon each five merk land in the Sbire 
be in readiness, ,as well appointed with arms as their circum- 
stances will allow. And the forenamed Gentlemen now 
present Doe hereby frankly engage for their respective pro- 
portions .accordingly. And they Doe Recommend to the 
Justice Deput to transmitt ane Account of this their 
Resolution to his Gra. the Duke of Argyll." 

Again, when Prince* Charles landed in 1745, leading 
Jacobites travelled through the Highland glens urging men 
to join his standard ; and on Sunday afternoons the people 
met in the churchyards and discussed the great question at 
issue. The result was C'ulloden and the enormities that 
followed it. I am able to' show you the original written 
instructions given by the Duke of Cumberland to David 
Bruce, his Judge Advocate, on 5th July, 1746, for the trial 
of the men who had fought against King George. They 
are too long to read, but I may quote the following : " You 
shall send to His Royal Highness an alphabetical List of all 
prisoners taken into> custody, with a distinct account of the 
accusations against them and of the evidence upon which those 

accusations are: supported You will take special care 

that the evidence taken against every person be clear and 
distinct, and be particularly attentive in such a multiplicity 
of things that each witness shall know by name, as well as 
sight, the person he deposes against." I also show you 
the original lists of the people of Urquhart and Glen- 
moriston who had been out, but. had surrendered on the 
promise of protection. The promise was not kept, and the 
men were first imprisoned within the Gaelic Church, Inver- 
ness', then sent by sea to> London,, and then transported to 
Barbados and the Carolinas without trial. One of those 
transported to Barbados was my great-grandfather, Donald 


18 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Mackay of Achmonie, who soon escaped to Jamaica, ,and 
ultimately returned to his native glen, where he rests. A 
beautiful mahogany chest which he brought home is in my 


.1 have now endeavoured to clothe the dry bones of 
certain old writings with some semblance of living flesh. 
My t attempt, I am afraid, has not been too successful. I 
trust, however, that I have helped a little to give you a 
truer conception than you before had of olden times in the 
Highlands. In the lives of our forefathers there were many 
pleasant features to which I have not been able to allude, 
s\ich as their pastoral and agricultural customs, their fire- 
side amusements, their poetry and romance, their bravery 
and fidelity, their kindliness and unbounded hospitality. 
But, while that is the case, we' must confess that we have 
reason to be thankful that we did not live in their days. 
We are prone to look back on the past ages through fairy 
spectacles whch conceal the evil and only show the good and 
the beautiful, and to sing with the bard : 

" The good old times have passed away, 
And weary are the new." 

That is a pleasant exercise, and may not be altogether 
harmful ; but it is well for us to occasionally lay aside the 
enchanting glasses and to look at the evil and the good of 
the dead centuries with the naked eye of truth. Thus 
shall we be able the better to appreciate' the blessings which 
we enjoy, but to which our fathers were strangers. Thus 
also shall we escape a very old rebuke. " Say not thou,"* 
said the Preacher of Ecclesiastes to the discontented 
Israelites who looked back to a golden age which had never 
existed, " Say not thou, what is the cause that the former 
days were better than these ? for thou dost not enquire wisely 
concerning this." 

Sgeulachdan bho Shlorramachd Pheairt 19 

14th JANUARY. 1915. 

At the meeting held on thi? date, Mr* Alexander E. 
Forbes, Keornoch\, was elected an ordinary member of the 
Society. Thereafter a second instalment of his interesting 
series of papers on " Gaelic and English Words to Strath- 
speys and Reels " was read by Mr Andrew Mackintosh,, 
Inverness. This pa^er has been published in Volume 28. 

21st JANUARY, 1915. 

At a meeting, held on, this date, the following paper, 
entitled " Sgeulaohdan bho Shiorramachd Pheairt," con- 
tributed by Mr James MacDiarmaid, Muthill, Perthshire^ 
was read : 


O am Eubha sios na linntean tha drooh mhnathan air 
a bhi brosnachadh am fir chum uilc; agus is truagh r'a 
innseadh, gu trie dh' aontaich na baoghlain dhaoine aca 
an drochbheart a chur an gniomh. 

'S e sin mar a thachair an Gleann-lio<bhunn o shean. 

Bha da thuathanach an Creig-sheilg nach robh cordadh 
ro mhath, is thainig an eas-aonachd gu crich mhuladaich. 
Air la grinn fogharaidh chaidh crodh fir dhiubh ann an 
co ire an fhir eiJe, ie ma chaidh cha b' e an oomain, oir bha 
coin fhiadhaich, theumach air an stuigeadh orra. Ruith 
an crodh, is iad a' beucail, dhachaidh, is na coin aoi sas 
'nan luirgneari. Thog sin corruich an tuathanaich d' am 
buineadh an orodh, ach cha robh e 'na bheachd am fear 
eile a mharbhadh a thaiobh an drooh charaimh a fhuair a 
ohrodh. Bha a' bhean na bu mhiosai na esan, is thuirt a* 
bhaobh ris an cainnt sgaitich " Cha 'n 'eil annad ach 
burraidh mor, is cladhair gun mhisneiach; na 'm bithinn-ea 
cho luath, laidir riut cha deanadh an t-ablach grod sin cron 
tuilleadh air a' chrodh againn." Chuir na facail sin an 
dearg chuthach air a' bhurraidh bhochd, is thug e leis fore 
f ebir 'na laimh, is rufth e air toir a' choimhearBnaich. Thuig 
an duine sin mar a bha a' chuis, is thug e na buinn as, a* 

20 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

cumail aghaidb ris a' bhruthiach. 'S ann aoi sin a bha an 
reis f hada ; fear a' teicheadh a* chum a bheatha shabhaladh, 
is am fear eile gu dian 'na dheidh. 

Thar talamh Baile-na-creig is Ruadh-shruth-ghearr 
chaidh iad, ach uidh air n-uidh bha featr an fhuirc a' 
oosnadh, is a' dluthachadh air an fbear eile. Thairis adr 
Allt-dia-eug leum iad, is cha robh stad air an reis gus an do 
rainig iad a' ohlach mhoor d' an ainm " Clach-na- 
h-Innse." Aig an aite sin fhuair an dioighaltair fuil teach 
euas riei .an truaghan bhochd, is gun bhaigh sam bith sparr 
e am foro 'na chridhe. Thuit esan m.arbh ri taobh na 

Dh' fholaich am murtair e fein nuair a thraogh a 
bhuaireas, is a fhuair a reusian oibrieiachadh, odr thuig e cho 
deistinneach 's a bha an gniomh a rinn e. C'hiaradh am 
feasgar, is cha do phill na daoinei, is bha iomaguin nach 
bu bhaag an tighean Chr'eig-sheilg. Dh' eirich na h-uile 
duine is* giollan a b' urrainn am maoh a dheanamh sireadh 
mairbh air an da fhear a bha air chall. 

Fhuair iad oo<rp fir dhiubh ri taobh Cloiche-na-h- 
Innse, ach am fear eile cha 'n fhac iad sealladh dheth. 

Grhiulain iad an oorp gu mul,aclach gu seann tigh moine 
Ruadh-shruth-gheaar, far an deachaidh fhagail re na 
hi-oidhche sin. An ath mhaduinn; chruinnich an sluagh 
a chum .a' chuirp a chur dhachaidh. De chfunnaic iad ach 
fuil air an lar, a bha air sruthadh as a' chorp air feadh na 
h-oidhche, is le sin thuig iad is bha iad oinnteach gu 'n d' 
tnainig am murtair 'san oidhche a dh' amharc a' chuirp is 
chum e fein a, dheanamh tearuinte o'n lagh gu 'n d' thug 
e ceum thairis air a' chorp. 'Se sin a b' aobhar do 'n 
fhuil >a bhi air an lar .a reir barail an t-sluaigh aig an am sin. 

Co dhiubh, cha d' fhuair iad greim .air a' mhurtair, is 
cha deachaidh aogas fhaicinn tuilleadh an Glea.nn-liobhunn. 


Am measg nan sgerulaohdaoi a dh' innis an deagh 
Ghaidheal, Domhnull MacLabhruinn dhomh tha an sgeul 
a leanas a sior thighiiun 'nam aire is cha ghabh i diultadh. 

Bha Domhnull iao<n uair 'na thuathanach an Aird-bheich, 
Taobh-loch-Eire, is bha e 'na sgoilear m;ath Gaidhlig is 
Beurla, is 'na bhard ro chiatach : thuilleadh, bha 'chuimhne 

Sgeulachdan bho Shiorramachd Pheairt 21 

laidir, is bha e 'na sheanachaidh ro chomasach, oir bha e 
dearr Ian eolais air eachdraidh, is air sgeulachdan. na duth- 
cha. Bu dual dha sin, oir dh' aradcheadh e air Taobh-loch- 
Eire nuair a bha a' Ghaidhlig 'na neart, is nuair a bha 
ceilidhean air an cleachdadh mu 'n ouairt de aite breth 
Dhughaill Bhochannain. Bha e mar aoi ceudna 'na dhluth 
chompanach aig Gilleasbuig Caimbeul am bard aig Ceann- 
loch-Eire. Aig an am sin bha moran de 'n t-sluagh saobh- 
chrabhach, is bha iad ,a' creidsinn ann am buidseachd, ann 
an giseagan, is ann an iomad ni neonach eilo. B' i an 
dearbh bheachd gu 'n robh e an ooni'as buidsich dol an 
riochd maighioh, an riochd caiti, an riochd ciroe, is an 
rioohd bheathaicheian nach 'eil feum an aiiimeaichadh an 
drasda, Ach gu deimhinn tha roinn saobh-chrabhaidh 'isan 
duthaich fhathast. 

B' abhaist do> mhaighichean tighinn aoi diibhlachd a' 
gheamhraidh a stigh do gharaidihe'an oail nan oroitearan 
nuair a bhiodh an t-a-cras 'gan claioidheadh gu goirt. Bha 
an tuath a' gnathachadh innleachd no dha chum na 
madghicheian a ghlacadh. 

Smuainich an Gobhainn Gallda gu 'm b' fheairrd' a 1 
phoit a lionadh le feoil d sheorsa eigin, is anmooh air 
oidhche araidh, nuair a bha 'ghealach aig a h-airde, thug 
e leis a ghunna bharr mullach na leapaoh. Ghlan e an 
snith, is an stur dheth, chalc e an gunna le fudar is le 
luaidhie, is air thurus chaidh e. C'huir e leine gheal thar 
aodach, is ourrac gheal a mhnatha air a cheann chum 
is nach biodh e ro fhaicsinneach 'san t-sneachd. Mar a.n 
ceudna tharruin^r e seann stooainnean thar a bhrogan a chum 
nach cluinneadh na maighicheian tartar a choiseachd. Bha 
nor choltas tannaisg dheth, is b' aobhar eagail e do dhaoine 
nai'n coinnicheadh aon dhiubh air. Bha deagh fhios aige 
c'aite am b' fhearr a bhiodh cothrom aige air cur ,as do 
mhaigh. Gu ciuin, is 'ga chromadh fein, shnag e chum 
balla-garaidh a bha, a,n sin. Tho^g e a cheann beagan OiS 
cionn a' bhalla, is chunnadc e maigheiach mhor shultmhor 
'na suidhe gu stolda ian deidh a siath itheadh de 'n chal 
ghlae. Gu h-oallamhi, ach gun fhuaim sam bith, chaidh a.n 
gunna thogail, is a stiuireadh rithe le laimh gun chrith, is 
le suil gheur. Bhaj an Gobhainn air ti an t-iarrunn leigidh 
a tharruing nuair a chunnaic e s^alladh uamhasach. 
Mhiuthadh a' mhaighieach gu riochd boirioimaich . Leig e 
sios barr a' ghunna, is thug e suath air a shuilean le laimh. 

22 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Thuirt e ris fein " Gu cinnteach tha mo> shuilean a' toirt 
an dubh asam." Dh' amhairc e rithist air an ni ana- 
cneasda, is de bh' ann ach maigheach mhbr. 

Thiog an gunna ri shuil an dara uair, ach ma thog cha 
robh f eum ann, oir thionndadh a' mhaigheach cho luath ri 
plath dealanaich gu riochd boirionnaich. Thainig fallus 
fuar an eagail air aghaidh, is thiormaich e i lois an leine 
ghil a bha idme. Mu 'n d' fhag o taobh a' bhalla thug 
e siuil do 'n ghajnadh., is bha coslas maighich fathast far an 
robh i an toi&each. Bu leoir sin; theich e dhachaidh cho 
luath is a bheireadh a chiasan ann e, is thilg an gunna air 
mullach nia leapafch. Cha deachaidh e tuilleiadh a 
shealgaireaichd air maighichean an deidh bheul na h-oidhche, 
oir gu la >a bhais bha e 'san Ian bheachd gur i buidseiach a 
chunnaio e 'sa gharadh. 


B'i a' cheardach an t-aite da rireadh, ged tha ceardach 
Aird-eonaig air a bhi nisi 'na laraich fad ioma linn. An sin 
bha gnothuiohean caidtroniiaoh na rioghachd air an 
oeartachadh gu oothromach, is bha deagh chomhairle .air 
a toirt do Ard-sheaniaidh na h-eaglais ciamar bu choir 
dhoibh gluaead anns an t-slighe cheart. Dh' fheuchadh 
gach fear tapaidh max bu choir do mhinistearan an 
searmoinean a chnuasachadh, is a liubhairt chum fium do 'n 
luchd-eisdeachd. A thaobh sgeulachdan mu thaibhseaii, mu 
shithichean, mu iiruisgean, is mu bhuideichean c'ait' .aan 
f aigheadh tu uiread diubh is a gheibhoadh tu 'ea cheardaich ? 
Thuilleadh air sin, cha robh posadh, breith, no bas a' 
tadbairt '.san sgireachd air nach robh iomradh aig luchd 
tathaich na oeardaich. 

Bha gobhainn Aird-eonaig 'na dhuine tuigseiach, coir is 
foighidinneach gu leoir, ach thainig crioch air fhoighidinn 
thaobh Phara Mhoir Mhic-Labhruinn. Thigoadh, Paruig 
do 'n cheardaich le ledsgeul no gun leisgeul, is 'na 
shuidhe air sean innean fagus ' do 'n toine chuireadh e 
seiacliad an uine ag innseadh, no ag eisdeachd ri naidh- 
eachdan. Cha robh seana, chailleach 'san duthaich air fad, 
ni bu deidheil air tuaileas is goileam na bha esan, is^cha^'n 
fhalbhadh dhachaidh gus an rachadh dorus na ceardaich 
dhuniadh mu choinnimh na oidhche, de ar bith cho anmoch is 
a dh' fhaodadlii sin a bhi. 

Sgeulachdan bho Shiorramachd Pheairt . 23 

Air faasgar araidh thainig figheadair 6g a Tullach-can 
do 'n cheardaich le slabhruidh bhriste chum gu 'n caraich- 
eadh an gobhainn i. 

Co thainig mar an ceudna ach Para Mor ged nach robh 
gnothuch saoghalta aige an sin. Fhuair an gobhainn 
cothrom air beagan bruidhne a dheanamh ris an fhigheadair 
gun fhios do Pharuig. 

Thuirt e ris " Bithidh mi moran ad' chomain, is bheir 
mi rud-eigin dhuit, ma chuireas tu deagh eagal air an 
lunndair mhor sin; oir tha mi air mo sharuchadh leis, is e 
'na shuidhe fa m' ohomhair ri glagaireachd gun bhrigh." 
" Is bargan e," thuirt an t-6ganach. Cho luath is a bha 
an t-slabhruidh caraichte, is mu bheul na h-oidhche ghabh 
am figheadair an rathad dhachaidh. 

Bha craobh dharaich ri taobh an rathaid, is suas streap 
e gu sgiobalta, is shuidh e casi-gobhlach air meur laidir de 'n 
chraoibh ai bha agaoileadh thairis air pairt de 'n rathad. 

- Bha obair a' ghobhainn criochnaichte car latha, 's dh' 
fheum Para. Mor neo'r-thaing dha imeachd. Gu socrach 
dh' eirich e bharr an innein, 'ga shineadh fein, is a 
meunanaich. Thuirt Mac an gobhainn ris : ' An 
droch fhas ort, a Phacruig ; 's ann tha thu mar gu 'n robh 
thu ri obair ghodrt re an la." Sgrog Paruig a bhoineid 
mhan thar a chnuaic is gun tuilleadh dail thog e air. Bha 
an oidhohe dorcha gu leoir, is cha robh e idir cinnteach nach 
faodadh sithichean, uruisgean, is taibhsean a bhi tuin 
eachadh 'sna ooilltean a bha roimhe. Chuir na sgeulachdan 
uamhasach a chual e 'sa cheardaich iomaguin nach bu bheag 
air inntinn. 

'San staid sin rainig e a' chraobh dharaich. 

Gu grad thuit an slabhruidh le gleadhraich oillteil aig 
a chasan, is chual e guth eagallach ag radh' " Is mise an 
Ciabhul; is fhad o'n tha mi an toir ort, ach bithidli tu 
agam an nochd ! ' ' Cha mhor nachi deachaidh Paruig a 
oochull a chridhe leis an eagal. Ruith e cho luath ri fiadh 
gus an do rainig e aon de thigh ean Thulaioh-chain. 'Stigh 
air an dorus leum e, is thuit e an comhair a chinn 'na 
phaisean air an lar. Thoisich fear is beian >an tighe r'a 
cheartachadh mar a b' fhearr b' urrainn daibh, ach re 
uine fhada 's gann a bha plosg am Para Mor. Mu 
dneireadh chaidh iad a. dh' iaiiruidh comhnadh o mhuinntir 
an ath thighe far an robh am figheadair 6g ag oibreachadh, 
is a' deanamh comhnuidh. Dh' innis iad do 'n t-sean 

24 Gaelic Society of /nuerness 

fhigheadair is do mhnaoi mar a bha cuisean thaobh Pharuig. 
An deidh sacithair mhoir leis a' cheathrar aca thainig e air 
ais gu roinn de thoinisg, is chuid is chuid thuig iad mar a 
thachair dha. Bha bean an t-sean fhigheadair ainharusach 
mu thimohioll a' ghille odg, is thug i oirre do '11 t-seomar far 
am b' abhaist da luidh, a dh' fhaicinn an ro*bh e 'iia chadal. 
Gu samhach dh' fhosgail i an dorus , is ag imeachd air a 
corragan rainig i an leabaidh. Bha eaan a reir coslais 'na 
chadal ro throm, is srann aig chuireadh na h-edch ris a' 
mhonadh! Ged a ghlaodh i ris, is ged a chra,th i e cha 
ghabhadih an gille bochd a Shusgadh a shuain ! B' fheoidar 
dhi leigeil leis is pilltinn dh' ionnsaigh na cuideachd a dh' 
fhag i. 

Bha Para Mior 'nis air dol boagan am feabhas, ach bha 
e cho gealtach, is cho> anmhunn, is gu 'n d' fheum na fir eile 
chomhnadh dhachaidh do Chamue-na-curaich. 

Fhad is bu bheo e cha rohh ni saoghalta bheireadh air 
Para Mor fuireach anm^och 'sa cheardaich an deidh bheul na 

Mar sin fhuair gobhainn Aird-eonaig a mhiann, is cha 
robh am figheadair 6g air a dhi-chuimhn^achadh leis. 


Anns na laithean a dh/ fhalbh nuair a bha na sithichean 
lionmhcr gu leoir 'sa Ghaidhealtachd, is a bha each no 
tarbh uisge aims gach loch, b' abhaist do fhear d^ na seann 
tighearnan a bhi gabhail comhnuidh an tigh mor Chomh- 
ruith, is b' e nos a bhi spaidsearachd 'sna coilltean gach 
feasgar blath samhraidh. Ma^ ta. air feasgar araidh air dha 
bhi mach 's na coilltean dh' fhairich e e fein ro sgith is shuidh 
e sios aig bun craobh mhor dharaich, a ghabhail analach. 
Dhuin a shuilean, is ann an tiota bha e 'na shuain. Thainig 
an dorchadais ; gidheadh cha do dhuisg an duine a chadal 
trom. Mu inheadhon oidhche dh' fhosgail e a shuilean, 
ach ma dh' fhosgail chuir an sealladh a chunnaic e ioghnadh 
mor air. Bha e an talla fo thalamh, is lochrain bheaga 
'ga lionadh le solus dealrach. Mu 'n cuairt da bha, ficheadan 
de dhaoine is de mhnathan beaga gu cuimir, siibailte a' cur 
nan car dhiubh 'san dannsa, is " ho'-ro-gheallaidh " mhor 
aca. Bhat na piobairean, is na fidhleirean a' seideadh, is a' 
cluicheadh air an innealean ciuil gu ro thogarrach, ged bha 
am fuaim is iam fonn ni bu sgalanta na bha e cleachdadh 
a chluinntinn o phioban is o fhidhlean dhaoine. Thaitinn 

Sgeulachdan bho Shiorramachd Pheairt 25 

an ni a chunnaic is a chual e ris, is bha e gle shuiindach 
car seal, ach iiuair a chaidli iiinseadh dha gu 'm feumadh 
e an corr de bheatha chaitheadh maille ris na sithichean, chuir 
an iiaidheachd sin droch ghruaim ,air aghaidh, is thog i 
buaireas 'nai inntinn. 

Bha tacan measg nan sithichean gle thaitiiieach laie, aoh 
cha robh iarrtus aige comh-luadar nan sithichean mhealadh 
gu siorruidh; b' fheairr leds gu mcr a. bhi air ais an Tigh- 
Chomh-ruith far am faigheadh e comhradh a dheanamh r a 
chompanaich thalmhaidh. C'ia. mar gheibheadh e saorsa o 
thigh na daorsa aige ? Is i sin a/ cheisd a bha & ro thoileiaoh 
a dh' fhuiaegladh, is somiainich e air iomad doigh chum sin a 
dheanaanh, ach car uine fhada cha robh am doigh, no an 
rathad soilleir dha. Oidhche an deidh oidhch bha na sith- 
ichean ri sugradh is feala-dha measg nian coilltean is nan 
cnoc, is bha eean 'nan cuideachd. 

tTair de na h-uairean thachair gu 'n robh aon de shean 
shedrbheisich '&& choille aig a' chart am ris na eithichean. 
Chunnaic an tighearn' e is rinn esan oidhirp dhiomhair air 
faigEinn fagus do ''11 t-eairbheiseach gun fhio'S do na sith- 
ichoan. Chaidh aige> air sin, is fhuair e cothrom air ciagaradh 
an cluais a' .sheiirbheisich , is dh' iniiis e do 'n duine mu 'n 
staid 's an do thuit dha bhi, is de an seun a bha feumail do 'n 
t-seirbheiseach a ghiiathachadh chum is gu 'n rachadh a 
mhaighstir a chur fa sgaoil. Goirid an deidh sin fhuair an 
seirbheiseach an cothrom a bha dhith air, is ghnathadch e an 
seun guh-eifeachdach, is bhris.ea,dh cuibhrichean an tigheama, 
is chaidh fhuasgladh o gheasaibh nan sithichean. 

Fhuair e dihachaidh ; ach coma co dhiubh cha robh moran 
saimhe aige 'na thigh:. Cha bu luaithei thigeadh sgail na 
h-oidhche J na thoisicheadh an tararaiich is an upraid a 
& oillteir ann an aoni de na seomair, is leanadh an fhuaiim 
neoi- thalmhaidh sin gu maduinn. Bha an duine bochd gun 
fhois, gun chadal re na h-oidhche, is dh' fheum e cadal a 
dheanamh 'san la. Is math a thuig e car son a bha an 
fhfuaim, is de a b' ao-bhair dhi. 

Uime sin dh' orduich e do gach neach a bha 'na thigh iad 
a dh' fhuireach mach as a^n t-seomar fhuaimneach, chunnart- 
ach sin ma bha curam. idir aca do am beatha. Chual iad 
uile an earail aige, is ghluais iad da reir sin, aich aon a mhain. 
Chuir banacharaid fir an tighe a dheagh chomhairle an neo- 
shuim. Chai do chreid i gu 'n tachradh ni sam bith olc dhi 
ged rachadh i etigh do sheomar nan sithichean . Thainig an 
oidhche is thoisich an straighlich mar a b' abhaist. 

26 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

'Nuair niach robh fear am tighe lathair shnag i chun doruis 
an t-seomair is steach a ohaidh i gu dan a measg nan eith- 
ichean, ach ma chaidh cha- do phill i tuilleadh, is cha deach- 
aidh faicinn an deidh sin air aghaidh na talmhainn. 

Dh' fhag na sithichean an tigh gu tur, is bha ciuineas 
'san t-seomar fhuaimneach. 


Fagus do thigh Ohomh-rnith, is air an taobh an ear dheth 
tha an t-Allt Liadnaig a' rnith sea-chad do 'n abhainn Eire, 
no mar their na Groill " Earni." 

A reir aithris nan seann d'aoine bha beistean deistinneach, 
is olc, is cronail a' tuineachadh 'san allt' 'sna laithean o 
chian. Bha aon dhiubh a' deanamh a dhachaidh aig taobh, 
no 'san, linne ris an abair iad " Cbire an Diabhuill." 'S e 
ainm do 'n sput " Eas-Dhonnaidh." Tha an t-eas mu dha 
mhile air astar o bhaile Chomh-ruith. Bhai an uile-bheist 
eilei gabhail cbmhinuidh mu cheithir mile o Eas-Dhonnaidh, 
ach na 's airde air an allt. Feuniiaidh gnr iad eich uisge a 
bha 'sna beistean anarcneasda is full teach, oir dh' itheadh iad 
daoine is mnathan cho math ri crodh is oaoraich. 

'S e b' adnm do 'n da dhrocihi bheist Donnadh is Roladh ; 
is tha eadhon luchd labhairt na Beurla aig an la an diugh ag 
radh : " Spo-ut Rolaidh " ris an steallair a tha fada 'n airde 
an Gleanin-Liadnaig. 

Cha 'n fhios dhomh cia aoa bha no nach robh gille-solar- 
aidh aig Rolaidh, ach bha fear aig Donnaidh a reir teisteas na 
diithcha, is tha sin a' deanamh an gnothuch cinnteaich gu 
ledir. Ma bha ainm aig an fhear-solaraidh ohaidh e air di- 
chuimhne, ach ma bheachdaicheas einn air a dheanadais, is 
air de thachair dha aig laimh sean mhnatha thig sinn gun 
teagamh gus a' bhairail gur e seors de uruisg a bh' ann. A 
reir cunntais rinn e a dhichioll chum Ion a chumail ri Bonn- 
aidh, is gu dearbh cha b' i sin an obair fhurasdai. Bha 
faobhar an uilc air an tbir air daoinei, air corodh no caoraich a 
ghabhadh greasadh no taladh chun an eas, is chun an linne 
dhomhain, uamhasaich far an robh Donnadh gu acrach a* 
feitheamh orra. Tha bruiaohan na linne ro chas, is tha 
i fein mar choire mor Ian uisge is e air ghoileadh. Cluinnear 
fuaim an spuit fad air astar. 

Bha coire mor aig Donnaidh is Rolaidh, a, chum bruicheadh 
a' chobhartaidh aca lann. Aig amanna 'nuair a bha an coire 
shuas aig Rolaidh is a bha feum aig Donnaidh air chum a 

kSgeulaohdan bho Shiorramaehd Pheairt 27 

dhinneir no a shuipeir a dheasachadh raoiceadh e ri Rolaidh 
-an gutb oillteil, coltach ri ulartaich mhadaidh-alluidh 

' ' Ouir sio an ooire gu grad ; tha f eum agam air. ' ' 

Thachair gu 'n deachaidh an uruisg no am fear-solaraidh 
air la fuar geamhraidh car air faondradh as a' choimh- 
earanachd far an robh e eolach. Air dha bhi ga fhair- 
eachduinn fein ro fhuar, is ro mhi-shuairnhneiach, chaidh e 
dh' ionnsaigh tigh a bha 'n sin, is air do 'n dorus a bhi 
foegailte dh' imich a stigh gu dana. Cha robh neach 'san 
tigh ach sean chailleiach liath le euilean ro^ gheur 'na ceann. 
Grbjabh i iongantasi 'nuair a chunnaic i an loiriste nior romach 
luirgneach dol chun an fceinei, aoh tbug i aon sealladh air, is 
bu leoir e, thuig i 'sa cheart am co e an diulanach bb' aic, 
oir bha iomradh a' bheist air sgaoileadh feadh na duthcha air 
fad, ged na-ch fhac ise ria^mh roimh e. Gu modhail thairg i 
oathair dhia, is thuirt i " Dean sfuidhc fagus do ; n teine 
chum gu 'm faigh thu do gharadh fein gu oeart." Rinm e 
sin gun umhail, is bhoir a' cha-illoach air a chlobha mar gu 'm 
biodh i dol a cheartacbadb an teine. An aite sin a dheanamh, 
ann sgap i na h-eibhleagan dearga, loisgeach air luirgnean 
an uruisg. Leum esian miach as an tigh, is & a sgreuchail 
gu fuathasach. Dh' fhag e choimhearsnachd sin gu buileach, 
is cha robh neach duilich uime. Ma chreideaa sinn beul- 
\aithris nan Gaidheal, is car-son nach creideadh ? is ann le 
teine, no> uisge teth a' chur air gluintean 1101 air caan nan 
iiruiagean a fhuair mniathan tapaidh buaidh-laraich air na 
h-uruisgean a bha cur dragh orra. 

Ged naoh 'eil each-uisge air an la an diugh aig Eas- 
Dhonnaidh, cha 'n 'eil teagamh ssa.m bith nach 'eil caoraach 
fHathast dol thar an spuit do 'n linne dhombain tha foidhe. 

Thall 's a stigh do dha fhichead bliadhna chaidh nighean 
og a bhathadh 'san linne. Bha i a' gabhail seallaidh de 'n eas, 
ach gu tubaisteach epeil i sios a' bhruaich shleamhuinn do 'n 
uisge. Mu 'n deachaidh drochaideian a thogail thiairis air an 
allt, chaj 'n 'eil teagamh nach do chaill iomad neach a bheatha 
'sna h-athan 'nuair a bhiodh tuil 'san allt', is faodaidh gur 
ann mar sin a dh' eirich sgeulachdan mu dhroch dheanadais 
nan each-uisge. 


'Nuair a bha Domhnull Ban Stiubbart 'na ghille 6g bha 
Gleann-cuiaich Ian siluaigh ; bha oiadan ann mu choinneamh 
aiam ficheadan th' ann air an la an diugh. Aig an am sin bha 

28 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

moran sluaigh a' gabhail comhnuidh 'san da Shithean, ach, 
mo thruaigh ! tha tighaii Shithein Shios gu leir 'nan lar- 
aichtean, is cha'n 'eil ach da thigh air ian aiteachadh an 
Sithean Shua^, tigh croiteir, is tigh a bhana-rnhaighstir sgoile. 
De air bith a bha dh' uireiasbhuidh air sluagh Ghlinne-cuaich 
an tim Dhomlmuill cha robh dith air cairdeas, air comhal- 
achd, is air coibhneas 'nam measg. 

'Sna h-oidhchean fad a geamhraidh raciha/dh iad air 
cheilidh do thighean a. cheilo. 'S ann an sin a bha an 
t-aighear, is an sugnadh, ceol, sgeulachdan mu na Feinne, 
mu thannasgan, mu iiruisgean, mu shithichean, is mu 
sholusan. Faodaidh sinn a thuigsinn nach biodh an oigridh 
cruinn na h-uil h-oidhche gun iad a bhi toirt taoain air 
dannsia. Mur biodh fidhlear, no piobair' 'sa chuideachd, 
gu cinnte'ach bhiodh fear ann aig an robh triQ'mb, is chuireadh 
na casan aca gu clis ris a checl a ice. Ach mur biodh aon de 
na h-innealaii ciuil sin f'a. fhaotainn dh' fhe-umadh iad an 
gnoithuoh a dheanamh le feadail, no le poo*t-a-beul, is coma 
co-dhiubh, is iomad ruidhil gasda chaidh dhannsa riutha sin 

Cha robh e ach gle nadura ged bheireadh na gillean is 
na nigheanan oidhirp air a bhi suiridh 'nuair a gheibheiaidh 
iad an cothrom aig a,' cheilidh, no air an rathaid dhachaidh. 

Thiaohair gu 'n robh Domhnull aig shuilbhir 
de> 'n t-seorsia sin air oidhch fhadai gheamhrtaidh, ach thainig 
an t-am dealachaadh, is gu mor an aghaidh a thoil dh 7 fheuxn 
e togail air dhachaidh do Bhaile-iian-sum far an robh e 
'gabhail comhnuidh aig an am sin. 

Bha an oidhcho dubh dorch.', is bha e air a sharuchadh 
gle mhor am frith-rathad troimh Chroit-ma-Sheioc a chum ail. 
Chai robh duin maille ris, is 'iiUiair rainig e preas a bha 'sa 
chroit dh' eirich solus, no taibhsei as a' phreas, is roimh 
Dhomhnuill bhiodh e 'ga bhacadh neo 'r thaing dha. Thuig 
Do*mhnull gur ni mi-nadurra bh' ann, ach bha mhisneachd 
cho laidir is nach do thuit 'na phaiseani ged a bha a' chuis 
mar a bha i. Thainig 'na inntinn mach robh an taibhe 
ann gun ao'bhar soniruicht a,' cur amhladh air, is thuirt e 
ris an ni ana-cneasda, " Thig mi iadr ais air fasgar mairach 
a rannsachadh na cuis ma leigeas tu as mi an drasda." 

Dh' aontaich an taibhse, is chaidh i as an t-salladh 'sa 
phras. Ghreas Domhnull air dhiachaidh, ach bha inntinn 
neo-fhoisnach, is cha robh moran aig an co'ir d 'n 
oidhch, oir bha smuain an didh smuain a' cur dragh air 

Sgeu/achdan bho Shiorramachd Pheairt 29 

inntinn. An ath mbaduinn chunnaic a chairdoan gu 'n robh 
& ghnuis glas, is fein gu luaineach dol null is nail gun fhois. 
Mu dheireadh thuirt aon dhiubh ris ' ' Air thalamh bhos ! 
de tha cur ort 'nuair nach 'il agad fe no fois ?" 

Dh' innis Domhnull de thachair air, is gu 'n do gheall e 
dol air ais aig oidhch thoirt ooinnimh do> 'n tannasg. 'Nuair 
a thainig beul na h-oidhcbe bha buidheami d ghillean deas 
gu dol comhla ris a dh' fhaicinn an gnoitnuch crioh- 
naichte. Chuir Domhnull Biobul fo a<?hlais, is air falbh 
ghabh na laoioh, aoh cha robh aon dhiubh b' urrainn cumail 
suas ri Domhnull 'na ehiubhal. Thar a' Chuaich leum e 
cho subailt-e ri miolchu, is ruith e gu luath gus an robh mu 
choinnimh Croit-ma-Sheoc, an sin thairis air a-n allt ghabh 
rithist, is rinn e direach air a' phreias as an d' thainig an 
tannasg. Bhruidhinn latm taibhs ri Domhiiull, is thug i dha 
r'a thuigsinn gur 1 isi spiorad leinibh ohaidh a inhurtadh is 
adhlacadh aig bun a' phris, ach na'n rachadh na cnamhan a 
thogail is a thiodhlacadh! an talamh coisrigte an cladh, nach 
biodh solus no taibhise r'a fbaicdnn na 'si mo aig a' phreas. 
Dh' aontaich Dornhnull sin a. dheanamh, is chuir e fear de 
na h-6ganaich a dh' ia,rraidh oaibe. 

Bhuraioh iad aig bun a' phris, is fhuair iad cnamham 
leinibh. Dh' adhlaic iad na cnamhan an Cladh Shithein, is 
cha do ohuir an taibhse dragh tuilleadh air nach sam bith. 

An deidh sin bha Domhnull aithnichte an Glean n-cuaich 
fo 'n fhar-ainm " Dcmhnull Ban nan-taibhse." Faodaidh 
sinn a radh gu 'n robh oair n6nach 'na dhoighean, is 'na 
naidheachdan fhad 's bu bheo . Bha 'sa bheachd gu 'm 
fac sithichean iomad uair. Tha te d na sgeulachdan aige 
air tighinn sios chun na linn so. A reir aithris fein bha e aon 
oidhche aig a' Bhailo-N-odha tba aig cann tuath Cnaoil- 
Ghlinn-amain. Chunnaic e aireamh mhor d shithichean dol 
thairis air an rathad is piobairean ag imeachd rompa. Lean 
'nan deidh, is chaidh iad uile 1 cum aotrom uallach thairis 
air san dhrochaid a bha fag us do 1 'n choille. Threoirich 
na pio'baireian iad stigh do 'n cboille gus an do rainig iad 
ait boidheach uain far nach robh craobhan. An sin ghleus 
nai piobairan an inn'alan-ciuil, is thoisich an dannsa b' fbearr 
a cbunnaic Domhnull riamh 'na bheatha. 'Nuair a fhuair 
iad uil an sath de dhannsia chaidhi iad uile gu leir stigh air 
fosgladh a bha an cliatbaich cnuic, is na piobairean cluich- 
adh air an ceann. Mar sin chaidh iad a-s a shealladh gu 

30 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

BEa Domhnull firinneach an gnothuichean cumanta na- 
beathai so, is bha e clio dian 'sa bheachd gu 'm fac e na 
sithichean iomad uair, is mu dheireadh gu 'n do chreid roinn 
de shluagh Ghlinne-cuaich gur i an fhirinn bha e labhairt mu 
na sithichean. Na'n cuireadh duine sam bith a sgeul an 
teagamh cha robh fearg Dhomhnuill furasd a chiosachadh. 

'Nuair a bha e 'na sheann duine 's amn an Achadh-nam- 
fad a bha thigh. 

La de na laithean thainig fear ao>trom, neomach chun an 
doniis. 'S e b' ainm dha Iain MacNeachdain, ach chaidh e 
fo 'n fhar-ainm, " Taillear-an-Rois." Tha ian Bos an 
Gleann-liobhunn. Thug an tailletar gleiang cruaidh air an 
dorua, is gu h-eialamh thainig Ealasaid, nighean Dhomhnuill, 
a dh' amharc co bh' aim. Thuirt an taillear rithe gun dail 
"Am bheil am foar-seallaidh stigh?" Fhroagiair Ealasaid 
gu crosda " Cha 'n 'eil no fear-seallaidh." Dh' fheoraich 
an taillear a rithist gun sgath no sgaoim " Am bheil am 
faidhe' stigh?" Fhreagair Ealasaid ann am boile dearg 
" Cha 'n 'eil no faidhe." Chrath am taillear a cheann, is 
thuirt e an guth tiamhaidh mar gu 'm biodh e ro dhuilich 
jn' a h-aineolais " A ghalad ! a ghalad ! 's e sin na bheil 
fhios agad ; aon uair chaidh t' athair is mise thar Lairig-ia.n- 
lochain o Thaobh-Locha-Tatha do Ghleann-liobhunn, is bha 
eean marcaichd air muic ! is bha mise m,aroachd iair ooileach ! ' r 

De b' urrainn Ealasaid a dhetanamh ;ach .a h-athair a chur 
a mach dh' ionnsaigh an tailleir chum gu 'm bruidhneadh 
iad air nithean bheireadh solas is toil-inntinn do gach fear 

Ilth FEBRUARY, 1915. 

At a meeting held on this date, a paper, entitled " Some 
Rare Gaelic Words .and Phrases," contributed by Mr Alex- 
ander Maodonald, Inverness, was read by the author. 


While the Gaelic language as a whole may not be dis- 
appearing so fast now as it would seem to be, nothing is more 
certain than that a considerable number of Gaelic words and 
phrases are becoming more and more obsolete. This is so for 
two conspicuous reasons: first, that many good Gaelic words 
and phrases do> not appear to have ever found their way into* 

Some Rare Gaelic Words and Phrases 31 

dictionaries ; and, second, that the essentially narrowing oom- 
pa&s of Gaelic speech, on account of the almost universal use 
of English now by the people of all Gaelic-speaking districts, 
is directly hurrying the disappearance of any Gaelic words 
and phrases not in common use from day to day. Such being 
the case, is it not the obvious duty of every Highlander to 
record all Gaelic words, phrases, and combinations that may 
strike him as likely to be falling out of use, with a view to 
rescuing them from becoming irrecoverable? For this pur- 
pose it is not by any means necessary that one should be a 
philologist. What is required is that the Gaelic-speaking 
people should be got to take some interest in their mother- 
tongue as still a living language, which would go farther 
towards its reconstruction iand preservation than all the books 
ever written on the subject of etymological science. 

We now give such of these as we have not been able to 
trace in the Gaelic dictionaries which we possess, along with 
such explanatory remarks as we hope will make the list 
sufficiently interesting and intelligible to readers. It is not 
presumed that the list is by any means exhaustive, or that 
some of the words may not be found in dictionaries not at my 
disposal ; as a matter of f act, I recently noticed that some of 
these words and phrases do appear in at least some of the 
dictionaries now in the hands of the public. This paper was 
first compiled a considerable time ago. 

I may be allowed to mention that the late Dr Macbain, 
after .a perusal of most of these words, desired me earnestly 
to print them in permanent form, and I do not think I can 
do better in that direction than to> hand the list over to the 
Inverness Gaelic Society, with ai view to their being included 
in the " Transactions," if considered worthy of the honour. 
The list could be continued to a very great length, but the 
following may be found at least suggestive : 

A ghaolaich A term used in addressing a man. 

A theannaith As much as bargained for at least. A way of 

expressing as much as fit for. 
Air m' fhoradh fhein At my own sweet will " Bheirinn 

ho! airm' fhorradh, ho!" ' 
Air mi oiream fhein Not unlikely from Air Moire fhein 

By the Virgin Mary herself ; or simply, On my own 

word and honour. 
Air an fharradh The idea, seems to> point to being at the- 

extremity of one's means. " Bidh iad air an fharradh 

32 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

ambliadhna" "They shall be reduced to poor fare 
this year " ; often said with regard to cattle when a long 
winter leaves little for spring requirements. 

Air a/ bhun-de The day before yesterday ; also bhon. 

Air a' bhun-raoir The night before last night ; also bhon. 

Air faireadh Coming in sight afar off as if it were on the 
sky-line. No doubt related to " faire." 

An galair-suileiach Eye-disease. 

Anada The best equivalent for this, perhaps, is the word 
" healy." " Chuir e anadas mor orm it gave me a 
great healy " remorseful vexation. 

Arraidh Suspicion. " Chuir mi arraidh air " ' I sus- 
pected him." Sometimes pronounced " f arraidh," and 
possibly derived from " aire." 

Bachull As applied to a slovenly, uncouth, country f ellow- - 
" Bachull gille." 

Bagaisd A ' ' lumber ' ' of a person ; often applied to one 
said to be in the way- " Biagaisde bodaich" " a lumber 
of a carle." (Baggage). 

Bab A reproach. " Cha bhiodh e na bhab air mo chinn- 
eadh " such would not be ai reproach to> my clan. 

Baitidh Having the appearance- of deadly whiteness, as if 
drowned deadly pale; related to " bathadh," " drown- 

Bale Misdeed ; an act of wickedness or- folly. " Rinn e bale 
agus theich e" " He oo^mmitted a misdeed, and fled." 

Baiiabachadh The first signs of wear. " Cha d' thaiiiig 
banabachadh air" "It does not show the slightest 
appearance of wear"; possibly ban-abachadh. 

Barran A bandage round the head when sorei commonly a 
handkerchief round the head and tied at the back. 

Bara-cobai A coup barrow. 

Bara-da-lamh A two-handed barrow. 

Bara-moine A peat barrow. 

Baruisge A half-witted man ; probably a dialectic adapta- 
tion of the word " baoghaire." 

Batar Batter, as in new cotton, etc. 

Beag-seadh Witless , senseless . 

Beid A nest; beid luch a mouse's nest. (Bed). 

Biorag-an Well-known diminutive of " bior," a stick. 
" Bioragan an flira^ch "" Little sticks of strong 
grown heather " 

Some Rare Gaelic Words and Phrases 33 

Bonnan Foot-marks deep in the ground from persons stand- 
ing restlessly for a. time in the same place. " Rinn iad 
bonnan ann" ' They made deep foot-marks in it." 

Bot Given in Ma.cBain's dictionary as Gaelic for a 
" mound," or " river-bank " ; is also used in our district) 
as Gaelic for "bog," from which or from "bught," 
perhaps, derived. " Chaidh an t-each ann am bot orm " 
"My horse went into a 'bog.'' (See also under 

Botadh, or bothaigeadh Said of a horse when rolling itself 
on the grass. " Tha 'n t-each ga bhothaigeadh (bhotadh) 
fhein air an fhaich " " the horse is rolling itself on the 

Breachd In some districts a very common form of the word 
" breitheachd," seizing. " 'S e a' breachd (breith- 
eachd, beirsinn) air a' bhata " -" And seizing his staff." 
The word is exactly sounded as here spelt. 

Bringleisean Usually applied to mean ornaments of an 
inferior kind. 

Brolam-as The state of being reduced to a liquid mixture. 
" Tha 'n fheoil air a bruith gus am beil i 'na brolamae^ 
" the meat is so much boiled as to be reduced to a 
mixture 1 " (mess); sometimes spoken " strulamus," or 
" srulamus," which not improbably comes from 
" sruth," a stream. 

Broineach The sta>te of being ragged, ill-put-on-looking ; 
fro>m " broineag," a rag: also* " broineiagan," rags, 

Bu chara^ More likely. Bu chara dhomh it were more 
likely, more seemly, for me; probably from " car," 
friendly, suggesting relationship. 

Bughailteain Bo wels . 

Buille-treot- A hard, steady trot. 

Buiseaman A bandage round the top -head and chin, as 
against " barran " (which see). 

Bunga-id The meaning seems to be a somewhat wickedly 
inclined female. " A bhungaid a thai thu ann " " You 
wicked hussie tha-t you are"; said often of a restless, 
mischievous young girl. 

Burgadh Bubbling. 

Busag A slap on the mouth. 

34 Gaelic Society of /nuerness 

Caban An instrument used for breaking up hardened 
ground or dung; from " cab/' to make gaps, to notch; 
" a' cabadh an otraich " " breaking up the dung-heap 
with the caban." 

Caglachan The state of being ground into a loose mass, as if 
by the grinding of teeth; or perforated, as if by shot 
at a short distance. " Bha e na ghlan chaglachan " 
" It was smashed nearly to dust." The word is clearly 
from " cagnadh," to masticate, 

Gaigeann In the dictionaries this word is given as the Gaelic 
equivalent for couple (as of horses) " Carbad an da 
ohaigeann " "A coach and four ' ' ; but the word is 
frequently applied to' a feature of the game of shinty, 
and even of football, known as " scrimmage." " Seach- 
ainn an caigeann " ' ' Avoid the scrimmage. ' ' The 
original idea would seem to> be what in English is gener- 
ally understood by the word " group." 

Cailleagu Calico ; from the latter clearly. 

Caiteas As used for English " sawdust," in which sense it 
is more generally in vogue now than for ' ' shavings ' ' or 
" filings," the older meaning; also scrapings of linen 
and refuse of carded wool. 

Oamastrang Quarrelsome disputation. " 'Cumail suas 
camastrang ri 'cheile " " Disputing quarrelsomely with 
each other " (wrangling). There is a word " oamhach," 

Caol-druim The small of the back. 

Cas-bheag A few peats lifted on ends together in the process 
of drying. 

Ceann-an-aidh Sometimes applied derisively to one who 
makes himself notorious or undesirably prominent. 

Ceapag A wheelbarrow wheel made from the stump of a 
tree. MacBain has the word under " ceapaire." It 
has unmistakably >an individual substantival meaning in 
the language, and is a derivative of " ceap," a block. 

Cearrachas Skill in playing games. 

Ceolar Not to be confounded with cebl-mhor (musical). The 
best equivalent is the word "peculiar." " 'S e duine 
ceblar a th' ann " " he is a peculiar ma.n." 

Cha b' e 'monar e A phrase used to denote comparison, 
frequently derisively. " Cha b' e 'monar e" " He is 
not to be despised not a nobody." 

Seme Rare Gaelic Words and Phrases 35 

Cha bu ghiomh A phtraee expressive of regret. " Cha bu 
ghiomh learn air na chunnaic mi riamh na thachair " 
' ' I should prefer to iall that I have ever seen that such 
bad not happened." 

Cha b' uilear A phrase indicating quantity, quality, time, 

etc., in comparisons. " Cha b' uilear learn sin co-dhiu " 

' That would be little enough," or " I should require 

all that at anyrate." Likely an adaptation of " Cha 

bu leor." 

Cha bu tioc, Cha bu teio A phrase indicative of disappoint 
ment, frequently used in connection with misfortunes. 
' ' Cha bu tioc an darna ni ged nach tachnadh an ni eile ' * 
" One misfortune at a time would be enough, to say 
nothing of two." Sometimes " Cha tioc," when in the 
present case. 

Cha lamh Cannot. It would be interesting to know how 
general this phrase is. In numerous districts the mean- 
ing is expressed by " cha 'n 'urra." " Cha lamh mi " 
is quite common along Lochness-side at any rate. ' ' Cha 
lamh mi 'dhol " " I cannot go," etc. In Welsh, " a 
allaw " " who. is able " (Y. Gododin). 

Cir-mar-cha/r Another way of expressing " Car-mar-char " 
heels over head, literally. 

deas As for " Coltach ri" "Like unto," or " like."^ 
" Tha ; n darna neaoh cleas an neach eile " " The one 
is like the other." 

Clioba Manger (prasiaich). " Ann. an clioba 'n eich in the 
horse's manger." Macleod and Dewar give "cliobag," 
a filly, a. young mare ; and MacBiain gives " clip," a oolt, 
under " cHob." 

Clobhdach Awkward, as in handling or walking ; sometimes 
pronounced ." cleabhdach." 

Cluain As for wit, wisdom. " Cha 'n 'eil cluain anm " 
there is no wit (no practical wisdom) in him. Said fre- 
quently of a dreamy, irresolute person. I find in Mac- 
Leod and Dewar's dictionary the word " cluainteir " for 
a flatterer, etc. MacBain has " cluain " for deceit, etc. 

Cnaimh-posaidh The miarriage bone. 

Cnaiseadb Grinding, as with teeth. A companion word to 
Cnuaiseadh, chewing " Cnuaiseadih is cnaiseadh." 

Caol-duim The wrist. 

Codha A gully. " CraigV-Chodha " the craig of the 
gully ; probably the same as " oadha." 

36 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Cothaidh Semi-frothy, pulpy ; generally applied to turnips 
getting into a state of softness. " Neip chothaidh." 
The dictionaries give " cothan " for froth, etc. 
" Spongy " would be a good equivalent, 

Clobhsaire Applied to sun. ungainly, ugly-looking person. 

Cracaire A conversationalist, a story-teller. " Cracker " 
(Gaelicised) ; sometimes Chacaire. 

Cramhaiche, or cnamhaiche Applied generally to persons 
well ripened in life. " Oramhaiche duine," a matured 
man. / 

Cratach Side. " C'hiurr e 'ah.ra.tach " he hurt his side. 

Criathrachan A small sieve; from " criathradh," 
" criathrachan tholl." 

Cornag A small horn (for drinking purposes). 

Carsaid Corset (Gaelicised) . 

Crannachan Beiaten f oream a treiat in certain districts 
closely associaited with Hallowe'en festivities. 

Cruibhean Applied to the hand when partly closed ; from 
" crubha," a hoof. 

Cadbe-fad An instrument used in cutting divots'; also> pro- 
nounced " coibe-fad." 

Cuil Backs, slabs. 

Cuiseil Much caring for; a derivative of " cuisi." ( Tha e 
cuiseil aisde " " He is very careful abo'ut her." 

Cular Colour, as of a person's countenance. 

Daidseach A "hit." "Thug mi daidseach air" I ga<ve 

him a " hit." 
Dai Frequently used to> represent " when." Apparently an 

adaptation of " an uair." 
Deananaich Working away. " Deiananaich air rud-eigin " 

" Working a-way ait something." 
Deoch-cadail A sleeping draught. 

Deoch-gheal A drink of water and meal, usrually for animals. 
Deoch-stallain A very strong drink, as if for >an entire 


Dideag A peep; a diminutive of " did." 
Dipeardian The airy waiviness that seems to fle before one's 

sight when looking to the groiund on a very warm sum- 
mer's day. 
Don-maithais Applied to an ill-rewarded effort. ' 'S ann 

agamsa 'bha 'ni doin-mathais " "It was I that had 

Some Rare Gaelic Words and Phrases 3T 

little to do (disappointingly or regretf ully) . " A com- 
pound of " dona," bad, and " mathas," service or effort. 

Dobhas Bad treatment, as from cold, hunger, hard work, 

Domharaidh Dark-looking, ,as before a storm. Probably a 
dialectic adaptation of Dubharach, shady or dark (some- 
times dombharaidh) . 

Dreasair Dresser; from the English. 

Driceachan Tricks 1 ; from the English. 

Dromlais The chain across the saddle on which the cart- 
trams hang. 

Druim/lagan A kind of cramp, such as sometimes one feels 
in the wrist, or other joints. An equivalent for lumbago. 
(Greim-loin) . 

Drunngair A drunkard. The transition is obvious. 

Druinneadh Nestling, as it were in a manner more or less 
aggressive or unwelcome. 

Duisdean A small quantity in grains; from " dusd," 
" dust." 

Dunnsag Applied to a pretty large stone " dunnsag 
chloiche. ' ' 

Durc Frequently applied to< a raw, rough, pachydermatous 
person. "Durc duine " "A callous (absolutely un- 
impressionable) man." There is ia> word " durga " in 
the dictionaries, meaning " surly," " sour." 

Dusdadh A beating. " Fhuair e a dhusdadh " "he got 
his beating." From the English " Dusting." 

Eabaisde A very dirty person, as if covered over with mud ; 
fro'm " eiabar/' mud, slime, filth, etc. 

Eallachd The carcase of a dead sheep found outside; pro- 
nounced " lallachd " or " alchd." 

Eolais-adhair ELnowledge by acquaintance; such as wher 
one can find hisi wa-y with his eyes closed. 

Fabhcaideach Given to jokes. Duine fabhcaideach a 
funny, joky man (sometimes abhcaideach) . 

Faiceallach 1 , Faiceantat Obsie'rvaot, good looking, of go>o<i 

Fannan-feoir A phrase used to denote extreme weakness. 
" Cho lag ris an fhannan-fheoir." The woxd " fannan" 
alone stands for a soft, gentle breeze. A corruption of 
" fionnan-feoir," grasshoipper. 

38 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Farbhas Much smashing, much noisy clamouring. : ' Einn 
e farbhas mbr " " He made a great smashing " or 
uproar. The better spelling might perhaps be 
" fearrabhas." 

Farsan From home, in a strange place, wandering about. 
" Bho 'n is farsan learn gach la " (William Ross). 

Fathamail Reverent, respectful; a derivative of " fathamas." 

Feoidhrean A little movement as of air or breath. " Na 'n 
robh feoidhrean a b' fhiach aige?" " Had he any con- 
siderable strength (breath-strength) in him?" MacBain 
has " feothachan," a little breeze. 

Figear-an Figure, figures. 

Fireas A certain sharpness of countenance under anger, or 
disappointment, or displeasure. 

Fiugha. Even, as when associated with .numbers. " Gun 
fiugha aon " " Without even one." 

Foicheannan Applied to> the feet of stockings as when used 
for protection or warmth to the feet, with or without 

Forrafhios^ When a person or thing is being asked for or 
traced. " Am beil forrafhios agad air?" "Have you 
any trace of it?" 

Frog -an Frock, a little frock; quite common. " Frog ur J> 
-"A new fro'ck" ; from the English. 

Gabag A clattering, chattering woman; female of " Gab- 

Gailo Hurry, excitement. " Chaidh e na ghailc " "It 
put him about." 

Gallanta Tall and well-formed, as in " Pearsa ghallanta, 
dhireach " "A tall, well-formed, straight figure." 
Compare gallan, a branch. 

Garraiceil Gluttonous; probably from garr, garbh fhiacaill. 

Garrag Applied to the ruffled appearance of the back of a 
dog or cat when threatening fight ; also to ruffled waters 
as in a storm " Tha droch gharrag air," etc. 

Geard Guard, protection, chain (as of a watch) ; Gaelicised 

Gearrta Sarcastic, sarcastically. 

Geoiread Sharpness; a dialectic form of " geurad," mean- 
ing the same. 

Glaomaire A silly-looking fellow. 

Some Rare Gaelic Words and Phrases 39 

Gliobhaid A somewhat continuous storm of sleet; a deriva- 
tive of gliob, sleet. 
Glomhadh A voracious bite. ' ' Thug an cu glomhadh air ' ' 

" the dog made a gulp at it." The dictionaries give 

' ' glamhadh " and " glamadh." 
Glung A hollow noise, as made when anything strikes 

against the bottom of an empty vessel. 
Gnothaidh The chilly, cheerless feeling from frost, more 

particularly at the back of the sun. Not unlikely to be 

an adaptation of gniuth, a frown. 
Godsiag-ani A tit-bit, or tit-bits of food. 
Gogadaich Like the cackling of a hen; from " Gog." 
Gorag A sly look. " Gorag thar an dige" " a sly (careful) 

look over the dyke or wall." 
Groideal Thei gridiron not the brander. 
Groidleachan A small bannock on the gridiron.. 
Guileagan The custom of boiling eggs 'Outside on Easter 

Sunday; hence " Latha Guileaigain," a name by which 

Easter Sunday is in the district commonly known. 
Gu-ma-h-anamoch (dhuit) Literally, " May you be late "; 

in other words, " Bad luck to you." 

lobalag A despised woimam; & female oppressed by bad 
conditions. " Tha i na h-iobalag bhochd " " She is a 
despised (badly-treated) woman." 

Ichd-achd A phrase denoting a certain measure' of defiance. 
" Ni mi e, ichd achd " " I will doi it, nolens volens " 
" Come what may." (Sometimes " ic : ac "). 

Lair-mhaide Literally " A wooden mare," applied to a 

wooden construction used sometimes for penalising. (See 

Note v. to " Old Mortality "). 
Lamhag -A small hand-axe; probably froan " lamh," the 


Laoigh-f hebil Veal . 
Leileag A term some time ago generally used as Gaelic for 

dress prints "Frog leileag " "a print frock." 

Clearly from Lilac. 

Leith-chiallach A half-witted person, a " daftie." 
Leog A slap on the cheek, as with the palm of the hand. 

The word may be a dialectic form of " sgleog," meaning 

a siudden knock. 
Leois Open sores. 

40 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Liathanach As denoting iai greyish covering, as of snow 
sometimes. " Liathanach sneachda" " A thin greyish 
covering of snow"; from "liath," grey. 

Liobag A flap, as of a pocket. Probably from Lip. 

Lomag Pretty much the same meaning as faicheag a 
clean, small, grassy green. 

Lon-chraois A water-glutton. Believed to suck the blood 
of drowning people, and to have seven holes on its body 
the physical embodiment of insatiableness, and trace- 
able to aaioient myth. 

Loirganach As meaning (1) such a depth of snow ae one 
could track another's steps by " Lorganach sneachda ; 
(2) a, child at the heel " Lorganach paisde." 

Luinns A lunge, as of a boat on the' water. ' ' Thug i luinns 
gus an dama taobh " ' ' She lunged to the one side. ' ' 

Lurcadh, Luroach Greasing, a in cloth. 

Lurga As applied to* a strip of ground 

" A' buachailleachd a' chruith ho-ri, 
Air an Lurgainn-Duibh ho-rb." 

Maide-coire The spirtle. 

Maide-mullaich The great log at top of house 'joining the 
two gable ends. f Sometimes applied to a masterful, 
over-bearing person. 

Meag Movement or sign of life. " Cha 'n 'eil meag ann " 
" There is no movement (or sign) of life in him." 

Meanachdair Vinegar (Gaelicised) . 

MeiFeaii A word which seems to bo in ;a meaerure figuratively 
used to express intention. " Ciod a tha na do mheirean 
a nise?" " What do yooi mean (intend) now?" (Meil- 

Mi-chuantai Untidy, inelegant, bedraggled (mi plus cuanta 
aspirated) . 

Miolchais Flirtation. The dictionaries have " miolasg," 
flattery, fawning as by a dog. 

Mi-oileanach Rough, uncouth, boorish, irgnorant, un- 
tutored . 

Miotagan Mittens, or woollen gloves. 

Monaid- This word is commonly used as meaning " atten- 
tion." (( Cha d' thug mi monaid air " " I gave it no 
attention (heed)." There is a word " monais " which 
means " inattention." 

Mod Turf when used as bottom for dung-heaps. 

Some Ran Gaelic Words and Phrases 41 

MoghachPoorish looking, ill-favoured looking. Mogh = 

Mo iiiarachd A phrase used to suggest fear. " Cha b' e mo 
niarachd a rachadh a nochd an sin " " I should rather 
not go theT to-night." ''Si mo nearac a gheibh tbu, 
a laoich laidir long-phoitaich " (Suiridh Oisein, in 
Gillies' Collection, 1786). 

Mu'n t-iomaogan From time to time unexpectedly. " Thig 
e 'n rathad mu'n t-iomasgan " "He comes the way 
from time to time, when least expected . ' ' This is a very 
difficult phrase, but it would seem as if ' ' am ' ' were the* 
root word. It may, however, be from the Gaelic word 
" seamasan," for hesitation, delay, and dialectically 
altered . 

Muit Asking a favour, as from one not willing to oblige 
One often hears " Cha bhithinn g;a 'mhuit airson an 
t-saogliail " " I should not be asking him for the 
world." Probably from Moit, sulkiness. 

Neo'r uisgidh Courageous, bold -hearted. 
Na dubha.ii air na daithean Making white look black, as in 
argument, etc. 

Pajindaidh Pandy (G^aelicised) . 

Pasaid- A passage (Gaelicised) . 

Pioc-an-co'imheach -Applied to one who is known to be dis- 
liked generally. Sometimes .applied to> .a hen which gets 
more than a fair share of plucking from its kind. 

Piorna A pirn, a reel. 

Pipheanaich Giggling. " A' gaireachdaich 's ai' piphean- 
aich " " Laughing and giggling." Seems to me to< be 
at least related to " peasanachd," in some districts pro- 
nounced " piosanachd." 

Plodadh The word used to describe the taking of wood 
from the higher to the lower grounds by floating it in 
rafts on the rivers at one time a small industry in the 
Highlands. The origin of the word is obvious. 

Plotadh Bad boiling, as in cooking. Plout in Scots English. 

Poireag-an Rag, rags. c 'Poireagan aodaich " " Rags of 
cloth." The original word is " paidreag," but I do not 
think it is much used in speech now-a-days. 

Pullaid A heavy weight. 

42 Gaelic Society oj Inverness 

Raidh Bombastic prating. The word is pronounced like 

Raidseachd Means perhaps "enchantment," a companion 
word to " buidseachd," witchcraft. " Ni iad buid- 
seach dhomh." " Cha dean no raidseachd " "They 
will bewitch me." " No, nor enchant you." (See Mac- 
Alpine) . 

Ramaghall Blethering. " R/amaghall bhruidhne " ^rub- 
bishy (noisy) speech ; ' ' ramaghall bhardachd ' ' un- 
poetic (vaporous) verse. 

Rap, Rapadh Rap, rapping (Gaelicised) . 

Rapaiche Nastiness, filth; a derivative of rapach. 

Rajspars -Ignorant boasting, pride, loud -silliness, as of a 

Robht A stout piece of anything. " Robht maide," a 
stout piece of stick. 

Roideil Applied to a good provider; one who* likes good 
things in hie house, such as a gO'od diet, etc. 

Roiseag-an A very small potato, ocr very small potatoes. 
Sometime pronounced " froiseag, froiseagan," a>nd 
would seem to be from " froiseadh," to switch the seed 
off the sheaves. The original idea probably is " fraeadh/' 
" showering." 

Roisgean^ Gutters on thei hem of a dress ocr trousers. 

Rop A sale; from roup. 

Hothall Flattery , sycophancy . 

Ruiceach^ Showing undesirable fondness, or attention ; from 
" rucas," the nominatival word. But there is also 1 the 
word "rule" " Gabh bhuani le do ruic " "Get 
away from me with your unwelcome attention." 

Ruileag A rag. " Cha 'n 'eil ruileag aodaich agam " "I 
have not a stitch of clothesi. ' ' 

Ru-ra Disorder, hurly-burly. Ri-ra, Ir. Gaelic. 

Rutas Greed . ' ' Riitas bodaichi ' ' a greedy carle. 

Sad As frequently used for "dad,," "aught," "nothing." 
One of the meanings of the word is " dust," and as ex- 
pressive of "nothing" is thus applicable enough. 
" Cha 'n 'eil aon sad agam. " " I have not as much as 

'S an amaduich A phrase commonly used to denote the 
staggering movements of a person, as with drink. 

Some Rare Gaelic Words and Phrases 43 

'S an damartachd; A phrase of somewhat similar meaning, 

very probably a dialectic adaptation of the former. 
Sealftaobh Here, this way, look here. 
Seit The nearest equivalent to which is the word. " pech." 

Applied to the strained breathing experienced alter a 

heavy meal. 

Seotal The shottle of a trunk. 
Seithean The quick breathing that results from running, 

hurried walking, or climbing. 
Seansa A chance (Graelicdaed). 
Sgalacraich Howling, bawling, screaming, peching ; an 

adaptation of " Sgalairtaich " (McL. & D.). 
Sgathaich Mouthing, senseless talk, much blethering. 
Sgianadh A shy, as of one animal after another. " Thug i 

sgianadh as a deidh ' ' She shied after her ' ' ; fre- 
quently said of cows. 
Sglaocail Looking about in a silly, objectless manner. I 

find in the dictionaries ' ( sgleocach " f or large, ill- 
sighted eyes. 

Sgleobht ai rough piece, as of bread ' ' sgleobht arain. ' ' 
Sgliobhag A light blow ; profoajbly from ' ' sgiobag, ' ' for 

Sgliuc Dejected aspect, as of one ill, or under a cloud. 

" Cha mhor nach 'eil sgliuc a' bhais air " '' He almost 

looks like death." 
Sgoilleag A drive, as to a ball. Cluich sgoilleag ^a form of 

shinty for practising long hitting (driving) of ball. A 

form of " sgiailleag/' from " sgaila" 
Sgollaigeadh Washing hard. A companion word to- Sguradh 

"A' sguradh 's a' Sgollaigeadh" "Scrubbing and 

washing." A dialectic 'application of "sgoladh," from 

Sgol. (Scalding). 
Sgonsair A well-known word used in Gaelic to mean a 

"rascal" of the money-grabbing type. "Sgonsair 

duine " 'A mam of no business honesty." 
Sgop Foam, froth. The word must be the same a.s " cop " 

of the dictionaries, with the prosthetic " s," which plays 

so many similar trick in Gaelic. 
Sgri'Osatn The trousseau. 
Sgrod A considerable number, as of children " sgrod 

chloinne. ' ' 
Sguad A squad. Undoubtedly an adaptaton of the latter 


44 Gaelic Society oj Inverness 

Sgug A dejected, unhappy appearance. See Sglmchd 

(supra) . 
Sguirean A complaint ; frequently applied to a story of sup- 

posed injustice. 
Similedr-ctDchaidh A hanging chimney a form of chimney 

common in the Highlands. 
Siorcuinn A stays, corset. (Jerkin). 
Siuga A jug (Gaelicised) . 
Sladhaigeadh A kind of custard spread over bread ; no 

doubt from the word ' ' sladhag " " a sheaf of straw 

prepared for thatching " (McL. & D.). 
Sliopartan Loose-fitting, old bootsi or shoes. Probably from 

" slippers." 

Sluidseach -Ungainly, clumsy. (Slouch). 
Smbgan " All -fours." "Air a smbgan " "Creeping on 

all-fours. ' ' (See ' ' smagaon ") . 
Smuisleachadh Would appear to mean movement on a very 

small scale. " Chaidil mi gun smuisleachadh " "I 

slept without the slightest movement." 
Smut A puff from his nose 1 " Smut a shrbin." 
Sopachan A small bundle of heather, used for cleaning pot - t 

from " sop," a wisp. 
Sosraich^ A coarse mixture of food " Sosraich agus rap- 

Spal Aei applied to the foot. ' ' Spal mhbr ' ' & big foot. 

Apparently a> poetic application, or a formation of 

Speilg Applied most frequently to mean the leg. " Cha 'n 

'eil a' speilg ach caol " " The leg is but thin." Not 

unlikely to be from Spealg, a splinter. 
Speireaig A ^hrewish, sharpish female. " An speireag 

mhusach "The nasty thing." Speireag 1 Sparrow- 

Speadh^ The length of the field taken in one direction by the 

reaper. What the scythe cuts a,t one swing is called 

"bota." (See " Bot "). 
Spleadhadaich ^Beaiting wildly with the feet as if in the air; 

from " spleadh," a very large foot. 
Spidean A pinnacle, the highest point. " Spidean a^ 

chreaigain"- " The highest point of the crag." (Bidean). 
Spliuiinseag A snap of the fingers, often indulged in by 

Highlanders when dancing. 
Spoithear Applied to a playful fellow, a flirt. 

Some Rare Gaelic Words and Phrases 45 

Sporbhan A rustling movement, as of a bird or reptile 

amidst fallen leaves. 
Sporradh A space of time. 

Spruidhean A claw, as the eagle's; not unlikely to be re- 
lated to ' ' cruibhean ' ' (see Armstrong) . 

Spursaigeadh The .muscular weariness and pain that result 
from a violent fit of coughing, or any such distressing 

Sputaireachd Spouting; from "'sput," to spout. 

Srulag A small drop of water; a diminutive of sruth, a 

Stailoean A short piece of stick " Stailcean niaide." 

Steallag A weed that grows sometimes too plentifully 
among the corn. 

Steoram A big drink; from jorum "jorums of steaming 

Sticeadh Sticking close to ; from stic, to stick. 

Stileachd The meaning seems to be that of the English word 
" mischief." There is the phrase " Droch stileachd," 
meaning " misconduct," as of youths misbehaving. There 
is: another word, deil or dil, which Mac Alpine renders as 
for " diligent," " persevering," etc. There is frequently 
the sentence, " Cha tig e gu dil mhath." 

Stiongan, Stionganach For most applied to a thin, lanky, 
poorly -clad, bad looking person. 

Stiorlach Applied to very thin liquid, such as tea, or gruel; 
" Stiorlach bhrochain," "very thin gruel": from 
" stiorlag," a very thin person. 

Stiorpais Restlessness and jumping about, as of children 
when climbing up on chairs, tables, etc. 

Stocadh/ Statgnating, as in the case of clotted blood. " Tha 
'n fhuil air stocadh 'san lot." 

Storach Rugged unevennesst, as of teeth " Fiaclan storach" 
" irregular teeth." 

Storaidh A story, or storey. 

Stra-bhaillidh A huge blow, such as with the hand or a stick. 

Stroineiseach, Sroineiseach Huffy, sensitive. 

gt, u <j Applied when one's head inclines to the one side; 
sometimes to> a wry-neck. 

Stucach Shy, more particularly in the way of taking food 
among strangers; sullen. 

Sunndag A light-heartedness, as when happy, or as some- 
times characterises a certain measure of conviviality. 

46 Gaelic Society oj Inverness 

" Sunndag dhaoraich " "Just the 'we drap ' that 
makes merry/' 
Surram-sTiain Dead sleep. 

Tamhladh A gulphing-like movement " Thug e tamhladh 

air " " He made ai gulp at it." 
Tanidh Tan colour. 

Tar-asad Hurry on, as whent being sent on an errand. 
Tein ' -aigheir Bonfire. 
Thar-leam I thought, I imagined. 
Tighinn-am-mach Responsiveness, as when one is sociable or 


Tiomsgaradh A parting for time. 
Tiobaid Tippet (Gaelicised) . 
Togsaid A hogshead ; frequently applied to< a big unshapely 

Tobhtag- Another word for " culag " a turf for the back 

of the fire. 
Tomadach Bulky; " Duine tomadach " "A bulky but 

rather well-formed man " ; from " tomad," " bulk " ; 

al&o " tomadas." 

Torraagian Peat-knife, the ins.trument for cutting the peats. 
Traodadh In the way of giving up as by laughing, choking. 
Troma-taibhsean The state of being in a mild delirium, as 

from fear, anxiety, expectation, doubt, etc., etc. ; often 

pronounced " troma-taisean." 
Tii (dii) losgadh Flatulence 1 , heartburn. 
Tulan A vessel used for keeping water or any other liquid ; 

a kettle (Armstrong). 
Tulg As for a " cloor." " Tha tulg nad' 'ad " " There is 

a cloor in your hat." 

Uchd-laraich There and then; on the spur of the moment. 

Sometimes pronounced " ochd-laraioh," with a strong 

nasal sound to the " o." 
Uchdach Good breathing capacity, as for running, walking, 

playing pipes, etc. 
Urrad Sometimes used for " as much as," and probably ant 

adaptation of uibhear; also' used for up, above, and 

beyond . 
Urras Down, below, under. 

The Celtic Missionaries on the Continent 4T 

The spelling in some oases, few instance whore words found 
to be out of relation with any others known, is very difficult, 
and must be uncertain; but I wish it to be understood that 
in such there ia little or nothing to guide but the dialectic 
phonetics of the woirds, which in many cases .-ire t/nlv mis- 

25th FEBRUARY, 1915. 

At a well-attended meeting, held on this date, the Rev. 
Archibald B. Scott, B.D., Helmsdale, read the following 
paper on ' ' The Celtic Missionaries on the Continent of 
Europe " : 



(All Rights Reserved). 

S. Columbanusi, who, like S. Moluag, was a pupil of S. 
Comgall at Bangor, is an attractive and powerful personality 
as we see him, towards the end of the sixth century, standing 
out among the Teutonic barbarians who had established them- 
selves in Eastern France at that time. 

Before the end of the fourth century Christianity had 
already been firmly rooted in Gaul. Let us see how the con- 
ditions arose amid which S. Columbanusi settled, 200 years or so 
later. S. Martin, first of Poictiers, then of Tours, the master 
of S. Ninian, died A.D. 399. He had popularised moniasticism 
in the West of Europe by organising his disciples like the 
Celtic clans . Martin had one big community , and many branch 
communities under their own chiefs ; and he was Ab of the 
big community, but superior or over-chief of the others. 
The tribes ;among whom S. Martin laboured were Gaulish 
Oelta, penetrated by colonists and garrisons of Imperial Rome. 
The Roman settlements had the Imperial forms of govern- 
ment, but the Celts had their own tribal organisation, which 
we apeak of as the Clan system; and S. Martin's religious 
olans not only fitted into this system, but were more appre- 
ciated by the Celts than a monarchic religious organisation, 
like the episcopal, which was really modelled on the institu- 
tions of Imperial Rome. 

48 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Before S. Martin's death, at the close of the fourth cen- 
tury, Gaoil was in full enjoyment of the civilisation of the 
Roman Empire. The land was rich, and though not fully, 
was profitably cultivated. The leading Colonists and native 
Celts lived in excellent houses, sometimes luxuriously fitted. 
There were centres of literature and learning at such places as 
Bordeaux, Aries, Vienne, and Lyons. At the schools and 
universities the very latest works of the Latin poets were read 
wdth enthusiasm. There were numerous market-towns in 
which trade was encouraged by the Roman officials. Courts 
were held in at least fifty different towns, and 
order enforced by the army of the Empire. The 
dominant note of this civilisation was pagan. Even 
after the Emperors extended their favour to the Christian 
Church, in the early fourth century, this was so. The 
" official" Christians were frequently insincere, temporising, 
and more careful about the interests of the Emperor than the 
cause of Christ. The Christians themselves were not united, 
and were divided into orthodox and unorthodox parties. 
Paganism among both Colonists) and Celts profited by this 
division. Not until the fourth century was well advanced 
did Christianity take an effective position. This was due 
largely to the courageous work of S. Hilary of Poictiers and 
S. Martin of Tours. Neither had been intended for the 
Church. The former was a landowner and the latter a soldier. 
These Gallican leaders became the champions of the orthodox 
faith. They showed a nobler conception of duty to Christ 
than the Italian Church and its bishops at thia time; and 
S. Martin frequently differed from the Bishop of Rome. 
After the barbarians had settled in Europe, the Roman 
Church appropriated S. Martin's life and memory, when even 
Rome knew little more about him than that he had been 
orthodox when some of her bishops temporised. 

S. Martin's little religious clans spread into many of the 
pagan districts of Gaul; and, before his death in 399 A.D. the 
Gospel was widely and earnestly taught. North-Eastern and 
North-Western Gaul seemed destined to possess a Church 
deeply influenced by the genius of the Celts. How- 
ever, S. Martin was scarcely seven years in hie grave 
when the Teutonic barbarians east of the Rhine began to 
move westward. Vandals, Alans, Suevi, poured into Gaul 
like an inundation. Roman Colonist and Gallic Celt went 
under ; Christianity was eclipsed, and civilisation disappeared 
for a time. Again, in A.D. 451 Attila and his Huns surged 

The Celtic Missionaries on th? Continent 49 

into Gaul as far as Orleans, and were only driven to retrace 
their steps across the Rhine by the indecisive battle of 

Towards the end of the fifth century the barbarians began 
to organise themselves. In 470 A.D. the Burgundians became 
united under their king Guiidioc, and sixteen years later 
Chlodo'vech, the founder of the Frankisli kingdom, consoli- 
dated his power in the region between Soissons and 
Paris. In A.D. 496 Chlodovech was baptised at Rheims by 
S. Remigius. Gregory of Tours tells us that as he reaohed 
the font Remigius ordered him to stoop, in , the haughty 
words, " Bow thy neck in humility, Sicambrian ; worship 
what you one destroyed; burn what you once worshipped." 
Chlodovech 's religion was very superficial, but he became the 
champion of the orthodox barbarians. The other barbarian 
chiefs and people were mostly Arians. The rise of Chlodo- 
vecb is marked by struggles between the divisions of the 
barbarians. The support of the Roman Christian part}?- was 
given to Chlodovech and his family, and they, in turn, sup- 
ported the Churchmen with their ruthless swords. 

When S. Columbanus entered Gaul he found three king- 
doms ruled by different descendants of Chlodovech. The 
kingdom of Neustria lay between the Loire and the Mouse ; 
Austrasia between the Meuse and the Rhine; Burgundia, 
mostly east of the Saon-e and the Rhone. Neustria a-nd 
Austrasia were frequently fighting or threatening to fight. 
During the stay of Co-lumbanus in Gaul the strife 
between Neustria and Austrasia was fomented by 
two immoral and bloodthirsty queens, the paiideress 
Brunchilde, and the promoted concubine Fredigundia. 
It is humiliating to read in Jonas's biography of Colum- 
banus that Brunchilde led the bishops and nobles of the 
Roman Church among the Franks against S. Columbanus ? and 
tEat her licentious grandson king Theodoric, whom she had 
corrupted, went to S. as the mouthpiece of the 
Church to demand conformity to Roman ecclesiastical 'law. 
This alliance between the Roman clergy and these Teutonic 
savages is neither a clean nor a comforting memory to Christen- 
dom. The bishops, with the aid of warriors who- were crime- 
stained ruffians, were abl-e to drive Co-lumbar us out of Gaul, 
and they did with the Frankish Church what they could ^qt 
do with the Celtic Church moulded it to the Roman model. 

50 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

This model, as we see it at this time, was in sorry contrast to 
the Church of the Apostles; in purity, fidelity, courage, and 
Christlikeness, it did not even bear to be mentioned in the 
same breath with the Church of the Celts which S . Mar tin had 
so conspicuously led in that very country about two centuries 

Colum, or, as he is better known by his Latin; name, Colum- 
banus, was born in the west of Leinster. His early life was 
apparently affected by the influence in this district of the 
great Pictish Ab, S. Comgall of Bangor. South-Eastern 
Ireland was the country of the MJanapian Picts. Before he 
began his work at Bangor S. Comgall had been attracted to 
them, and had made a prolonged visit to his junior, S. Fin tan 
of Clonenagh, whose community was 'among them. One of the 
princes of Leinster, Cormac, 1 became a monk at Bangor under 
S. Comgall, and gifted three Leinster forts 2 to God which 
S- Comgall turned into churches, and he staffed them from 
Bangor. In this district, so closely -attached to Bangor, 
the religious centre of the 'north-eastern Picts, Columbanus 
first saw the light A.D. 543. His father was a chief. 
He was sent to be educated at Cluan Inis*, 3 an Island in 
Loch Erne, where S. Sinell 4 had founded a school 5 and where 
he ruled a community. The hard, clean, life of the scholar 
clerics of Cluan-Inis attracted the youth, and he determined 
to adopt their life. 

No incident better indicates the strong character and iron 
will of Columbanus than his attitude in carrying out this 
resolve. He had made the acquaintance of a holy woman who 
lived a secluded ascetic life, and she encouraged him to become 
a cleric. 6 The mother of Columbanus on the other hand was 
violently opposed to such a step. She pleaded and reasoned 
with her son until objections were exhausted. At last, as 1 ha 
was a.bout to depart, she threw herself down, in the doorway 
to block his exit ; but, unflinchingly, he strode over the pro&- 
trate form, saying firmly, " Whosoever loveth his father and 
his mother more than Me is not worthy of Me." The poor 
mother was left overwhelmed with grief, but Columbanus went 
stedfastly on, steeled in eye and heart for a life that required 
lion-like courage and endurance'. 

When Columbanus had turned his back on home, he set 
his face northwards towards the kingdom of the North-Eaetern 
Picts of Ireland. There he arrived and at once joined the 
Community of S. Comgall at Bangor, in the Ards of Ulster. 

The Celtic Missionaries on the Continent 51 

He was at Bangor before S. Moluag had left it. He 
would, therefore, be able to> watch S. Comgall with interest as 
he organised his important mission to Pictland (Scotland), and 
sent it forth under S Moluag's leadership. This and S. Com- 
gall's general teaching quickened the missionary ambition that 
burned in his heart'. Incessantly, he heard an inner voice 
calling " Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, 
and from thy father's house into a land that I will show thee. ' ' 
The traiiling which S. Columbanus received at Bangor did 
credit to this great Pictish centre of education and. religion. 
One of his biographers points out that he was a good Latin 
scholar, and was learned in Greek and Hebrew literature. He 
had studied the Scriptures in the original tongues carefully, 
and was well acquainted with Continental writings. TTifs apt- 
ness of quotation from what he read made him a disconcerting 
opponent in controversy. 7 He was a practised copyist of 
manuscripts in the Celtic artistic stylo. Surviving manu- 
scripts show that at> the monasteries which he founded in later 
life there were considerable libraries, indicating a love of 

Bangor was one of the chief centres outside the territory of 
the Britons where the " Laus perennis" was maintained. The 
Lord's Song continued throughout the twenty-four hours, and 
from day to day throughout the year. About three thousand 
monks, according to S. Bernard, were in residence at Bangor 
at this time. A proportion of them formed a trained choir 
which was divided into sections. These* sections, in turn, kept 
the praise of God in constant celebration. In the British 
communities and at Ba.ngor the praise was expressed at first 
in the Psalms. At a later time, as we discern from the sur- 
viving manuscript of the " Antiphonary" of Bangor and the 
Rules of the Gallica.n Communities, other poetical portions of 
the Scriptures, and what the later Celt calls " human hymns" 
came into use. The strain of praise was never silent. It wa 
a beautiful idea, and could only be adequately carried into 
effect by the great numbers composing the " muinntirs" of 
the Piotsi and Britons. The worshippers in Celtic Churches 
were aided by refined and impressive music when the congre- 
gations of the Teutonic barbarians were accomplished in 
nothing but the harsh battler-song of the savage: victor. The 
divine praise which was a feature of Bangor became also a> 
feature of the daughter-houses which S. Columbanus estab- 
lished on the Continent. 

52 Gaelic Society of Inuerness 

When S. Columbanusi reached his thirtieth year, S. Com- 
gall gratified the; longing of his disciple, and sent him out from 
Banger to lead the second great mission that had passed 
through its gates. In imitation of the Lord, twelve 8 disciples 
were sent with him. They left the shores of Ireland in A.Q. 
573. It is common among a certain school of writers who have 
made no attempt to understand the Celtic Church to state 
that S. Columbanus and other Celtic missionaries were aim- 
less wanderers. While it is true that certain Celtic clerics, 
who preferred to live as hermits in lonely meditation, wandered 
aimlessly 9 hither and thither, on sea and land, seeking lonely 
islands or uninhabited localities where they might seclude 
themselves, it is also true that other clerics who preferred to 1 
live and work as heads of Communities, devoted to missionary 
work, set out with their work well-planned and their journey 
well sketched out. S. Comgall, as the Rules on which 
Columbatmis founded hisi practice demonstrate, was one of the 
most thorough organisers of monastic and mission work in 
Celtic Christendom ; and he was not the type of leader to 
permit any disciple to go> on " aimless" journeys. 

From the " Life of Cblumbanus" we learn incidentally 
that the Church of the Britons had already established mis- 
sions 10 among the barbarians who had overrun Gaul. Prob- 
ably the chief desire of the Britons was to keep alive 
the Faith among the Celtic Gauls whom the Teutons 
had conquered ; but the work would in course of 
time take in the Teutons as well as the Celts. 
Columbanus did not enter Gaul at once. To gain infor- 
mation from those who> already had experience there, he visited 
certain religious communities of the Britons whose names have 
not come down to us. He was able to attach to his disciples 
a Briton called Gurgan, 11 who> entered Gaul with him, and 
became one of his prominent workers. 

From S. ComgalFs example^ 2 it was evidently the practice 
of the missionaries from Bangor not to settle in any district 
without the consent of the civil ruler. Therefore S. Colum- 
banus, after landing in Gaoil, went direct to Sigebert, the 
barbarian king of Austrasia, 13 whose capital was Metz. 
The meeting of S. Columbanus with Sigebert must have 
been as striking to the onlookers as it was impressive 
to the king. On the one hand the Saint with his 
little band of Pictish and British Celts, wearing 
long cucullae 14 of natural wool with ample hoods, 
carrying skin wallets for their food and manuscripts, 

The Celtic Missionaries on the Continent 53 

and leaning on their pilgrim staves 15 ; on the other hand, 
Sigebert, with his Teutonic warriors in fierce war-garb, the 
notorio'Us queen Brunchilde and her women, with, perhaps, 
some of the Roman clerics who waited on her orders. Although 
there were missionaries from the Church of the Britons work- 
ing in Neustria and Austrasia, Sigebert had hitherto only been 
in close conta,ct with the servile clerics of the Italian Church 
who flattered him and his family as the champions of ortho- 
doxy. If he had known anything about the old prophets, he 
might have regarded Columbanus as Elijah come to earth 
again. The Saint had all the easy manners of the Celt along 
with the Celt's dignity, self-respect, and power of assertion. 
Sigebert was deeply impressed by him. 

" What seekest thou?" asked the King. " Permission to 
pass through thy dominions in search of a ' desert' where we 
may lead simple lives and do> Grod's work," answered the 

" Do not pass through," pleaded Sigebert, " but settle 
among us and pray for us, and we will provide for. the wants 
of you all." 

" I seek neither alms nor gifts," replied Columbanus, " for 
it is written, ' Whosoever will follow Me, let him deny him- 
self and take up his cross and come after Me.' ' 

Columbanus represented a new type of Christian leader to 
Sigebert, although he represented the oldest type of all. The 
king at once declared that he would not stand in the way of 
the life which he wished to lead, but he would be pleased if 
the " desert" could be found within the bounds of his king- 
dom, go that he could have the benefit of his prayers. In the 
end Columbanus, with Sigebert' s sanction, settled at 
Anagrates, 16 among the "Vosges Mountains, amid the ruins of 
a former hill-fort of the Roman Empire. We learn 
that at Anagrates there had been one of S. Martin's 
Churches. It had originally been established amid the 
ruins of a> temple set up by the Roman garrison. S. Colum- 
banua knew well that S. Martin had been 'the chief founder 
of the Celtic Church; and we can, understand that he was 
djelighted to revive worship in his ruined Church. The 
account of this Church hasi been glossed to make it appear that 
S. Columbanus! dedicated it to St Martin. But the Celts, at 
this time, did not dedicate^ 7 Churches. Even, the Roman 
Churchmen did not practice dedication in all oases, and thoee 
dedications that they did make at this period were not to such 

54 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

aa S. Martin, but to martyrs, 18 (and one or two august names 
in the Kalendar. 19 The fact that the temple- church at Ana- 
grates bore S. Martin's name shows that it was one which had 
been founded from Marmoutier by S. Martin's direct agency, 
and probably one covered by the statement of Sulpicius that 
there was hardly a district in this part of Gaul which did not 
desire a " bishop," 20 that is, a chief pastor, from Marmoutier. 
At Aniagrates life was hard enough to satisfy the most' rigid 
disciple of S. Comgall. The community often, ran sihort of 
food. A certain brother Ethernan (Autiernus) found the 
hardship of the place beyond endurance, and he longed to* be 
back in Ireland. 21 In hearing of the Saint's destitution we 
learn of his communion with the missionaries from the Britons. 
Garantocus, 22 the head of >a mission community from the 
Britons, dreams of the need of Columbanus and his muinntir. 
He thereupon bids Marcnlf his steward to load the ox-cart with 
provisions and hasten to Anagratesi, which he does with the 
help of the sagacious oxen who knew the way better than he. 

The state of Gaul at this time is clearly shown by Jonas. 23 
The country was frequently devastated by marauding tribes. 
The bishops neglected their work, and both religion and morals 
suffered. Such a state of things one can well understand when 
Brunchilde is found dominating the Churchmen. The clergy 
were more concerned about formal adherence to orthodox doo- 
trine, and to fitting everyone into a place in the Roman 
ecclesiastical machine than abo'ut purity of life or the pro- 
tection of the people. They did not compare well with snich 
Galilean champions as S. Hilary 24 and S. Martin, who while 
maintaining the orthodox faith did not forget the moral ideals 
of Christ or the ministry to the poor; and, on occasion, took 
guidance from the example! of Christ and their own consciences 
rather than from a foreign bishopric. 

In spite of the hard C'omgallian discipline at. Anagratee, 
large numbers crowded thither for the spiritual instruction 
and training of Columbanus. The popularity of this stern 
school was itself an indication of the laxity of morals, and the 
insincerity of religion outside. Man does not live by, bread 
alone. Men were prepared to starve with Columbanus, at 
times, if only their eouls were fed. The Saint was compelled 
to seek a site where he might collect the many who were turned 
from Anagratesi. 

Childebert II. (Sigebert's successor) and the Regent Gun- 
thram, king in Burgundy, gave Columbanus a new home 

The Celtic Missionaries on the Continent 55 

among the ruined baths of the ancient Roman town of 
Lexovium, better known as Luxeuil. 25 Luxeuil attracted 
greater numbers than even Anagrates. Within a few years 
from ite foundation Columbanus was compelled to establish 
an additional Community at Fontanas 26 (Fontaines), about 
nine miles from Luxeuil. 

S. Columbanus and his Community were not alone in seek- 
ing by their teaching and examples to convert the barbarians, 
and to recall the Christians to pure faith and undenled life. 
In many parts of Gaul the Gallic Communities founded by 
S. Martin survived, and, like Columbanus, they kept alive 
S. Martin's ideals, although the Roman bishops had asserted 
an ascendency over them, making them, less Galilean and more 
Roman in character. South from Luxeuil, among the Jura 
solitudes, was the now forgotten community of Condatieco, 
which had been organised on the model of Lerins, which iteelf 
had been organised according to S. Martin's teaching and 
example. Besides, there were the mission Communities 
from the Church of the Britons already mentioned. 
These Continental Communities differed little from 
the Community of Columbanus in constitution, organ- 
isation, or aims, because' all alike had the same origin 
from, or through S. Martin. Columbanus was observant 
enough to note that though the Gallic Communities approxi- 
mated to his in organisation and method, one original feature 
wa,s being taken from them. They were no longer allowed to 
exist as independent religious clans, but were required to 
come under the control of the Roman Church, through the 
jurisdiction of the bishops, who had the civil power behind 
them. Columbanus had no desire whatever to give his neck to 
the yoke of Rome. With characteristic Celtic diplomacy he 
was respectful to the local bishops, but would not attend their 
Courts, he was, up to a point, deferential to the Bishop of 
Rome; but he would have been fully as deferential to the 
holder of any other ancient bishopric. He had no hesitation 
in setting the usage and authority of Bangor against the usage 
and authority of Rome. In a. direct, letter to the Bishop of 
Rome he set the name and authority of Anatolius against 
him. The religious position of Columbanus has been curiously 
misapprehended. The early writers were fain to make him a 
Roman Catholic, and even glossed his biography and forged 
documents to this end. 27 Continental writers frequently class 
him among Roman abbots. A recent Anglican writer puts 

56 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

him. down as a " schismatic." 28 There was a great 
gulf separating Golumbaiius from the Roman bishops 
of the* Merovingian barbarians. Columbanus repre- 
sented the genius' of the Celtic people with its love of 
freedom even in religious matters. The bishops represented 
the passion for order and regulation which the Churchmen 
had caught from the Roman Empire. Columbanusi wished 
to be limited by nothing except the life and example of Christ, 
and his conscience enlightened by Holy Scripture, the teach- 
ing and examples of his spiritual fathers* SS. Binell and Corn- 
gall, and the writings and examples of authorities like SS. 
Jerome and Martin. The bishops wished to make him a 
wheel in ai gigantic ecclesiastical machine, that he might 
turn in unison with the other wheels. Columbanus wisibed 
to keep his soul ; the bishops wished him to give it into the 
keeping of Rome. Columbanus laboured for the cultivation 
of spiritual life that self-denial, love, mercy, holiness, and 
brotherly helpfulness might be perfected in every man along 
with an -educated mind and trained hand. The bishops pro- 
fessed to labour for similar ends, but they sought first the 
sovereignty of the Church system, conformity to prescribed 
order and ceremonies, and many of them went no* further. 
Columbanus believed stoutly that the> shepherd of the Lord's 
flock should have no fellowship with evil, not even in high 
places. The bishops fell in behind the wicked Brunchilde as 
if they had been sheep instead of shepherds, caring only that 
Columbanusi should be removed or made to conform. The mania 
for uniformity, and the sacrifice of reality in religion to mere 
form, are seen in the curious plea of the Romanized monk 
Agrestin aib the Synod of Macon, 29 that Columbanus had 
used more prayers in his service than Rome had prescribed. 
Apart from the censures of Columbanus, the high Christian 
ideals of himself and his Community, .and the simple, un- 
affected, clean life of his clerics reflected unfavourably upon 
many of the Roman clergy. 

To keep his " family " unspotted from the world, and to 
regulate the communal life and tasks, S. Columbanus 
enforced the Rules 30 under which he had been trained at 
Pictish 31 Bangor. They have been referred to by Continental 
writers as excessively hard; but there were high-thinking, 
plain-living Celts who found delight in them. From 
the Rules- we learn the terms of life in the Com- 
munity. Poverty, chastity, and obedience were imperative. 

The Celtic Missionaries on the Continent ST 

The Ab was supreme. He was not only spiritual Father of 
the little family or clan, but as the brethren were " soldiers 
of Christ," he was commander-in-chief, and possessed the 
same absolute control that a Celtic chief exercised in 
active service on the field. Th pride of the Celt was 
struck at by a> rule against vanity ; and the impulsive nature 
of the Celt was to be cured by a rule enforcing wisdom 
in choice, and caution before action (di&cretio) . Thus early 
did the Celtic teachers lay emphasis on " canniness." 
Another rule shows that the educational ' ' Rule of Silence ' ' 
was enjoined. The brethren were to learn, and to work with- 
out unnecessary exercise of the Celtic gifts of conversation and 
eloquence. The body with its appetites and cravings was to 
be disciplined into control by the purified and sanctified 
mind. This was mortificatio. An erring brother was not 
to content himself with an expression of sorrow for his fault ; 
he was to go farther and punish himself by withdrawal into 
solitary confinement, and even to> apply the scourge to his 
own flesh. Columbanus thought that the sermon on the 
Lord's Day was most important, and no> member of the Com- 
munity, the cook and gatekeeper exoeipted, might be absent 
from it. The choirs of Luxeuil, according to Doiiatus, a 
disciple of Columbanus, were a feature of the establishment. 
In one of his rules^, Columbanus prescribes the order and 
number of the Psalms and Hymns. 32 At Bangor, as we have 
seen, Columbanus had been brought up to the oelebation. of 
perpetual Divine praise. Each hour of every day and every 
night without break the praise of the Lord was maintained 
by choirs that succeeded one another in constant rotation. 
He made this " perpetual praise " a part of the 
work of all his monasteries in Gaul. 33 . The brethren 
were never allowed to be idle. When not engaged 
in the sanctuary, or in works of mercy, or in reading 
or copying mauscripts, they were required to plough, sow, 
reap, thresh,, or cut timber. Neither education nor rank 
gave a brother any privilege. At Luxeuil the monks WOTO 
gloves, less, perhaps, for cold than .to save their fingers from 
being rendered rough and hard in view of their delicate pen- 
work. Food wasi of the simplest kind. Cakes, porridge, 
beans, and green herbs. A light kind of beer was used. At 
Bangor milk was reserved for aged and weak brethren, and 
only one meal in the day was allowed. The same practice 
was continued by Columbanus. Sunday was a festival. On 

58 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

that day S. Com gall had allowed himself an ample meal, and 
fish and meat .were frequently added on that day. So 
particular were they to take away all austerity from 
the Lord's Day thait one of the Galilean rules 
declares, " He who fasts on Sunday sins." Once 
at Anagratesi the brethren were very hungry and short 
of supplies. Ethernan suffered specially. Columbanus 
took him and Sonichar into the hills, and taught them 
how to live for over a week on one loaf of bread. He then 
sent them down to the river in the valley, where they caught 
a stotre of fish. Another time Columbanus sent Gallus 34 to 
the river Bruscam (Breuchin), but he took the wrong road 
and arrived at the stream 1'Ognon, where be caught nothing, 
although he used a net. Gallus returned with the story of 
his luck to Columbanus, who sent him again to the Bruscam, 
which he found, and brought back more fish than he could 
carry comfortably. 

The Roman bishops refused to leave Columbanus alone. 
He was Ab-hi-Chief of more than one Community, which wae 
a breach of Roman rules, although it had not been in S. 
Martin's time. Columbanus celebrated Easter when it came 
round according to the old reckoning used by Rome up till 
A.D. 343. Rome had changed her methods of reckoning, but 
the Celts had not changed. The Celt has never been ready 
to accept an innovation in religion, and Columbanus 
preferred to reckon as he had been taught in Ireland. 
The bishops summoned Columbanus to a Council. He 
did not go, and his letter of apology survives. It 
is a characteristic oommuni cation. He prefers not to 
go' to their Synod lest he should have to< argue against 
them. He is thankful that so many holy men should interest 
themselves in him. He would be glad if they assembled 
ofteneri, and considered not only the Pascal date, but matters 
of Church discipline, sadly neglected. He trusts that they 
will not foment strife among Christians which would please 
the Jews, the heathen, and their foes-. He declares that they 
are all members of one Communion, whether they be Gauls, 
Britons, or Iberians. Be states that he came to Gaul for 
the oause of Jesus Christ. He prays that Gaul may be wide 
enough to hold them all. He asks to- be left in the lonely 
silence of the mountains and forests, to do> his own work ae 
he had been taught. He affirms that he and his companions 
will follow the teaching and example of the Lord and the 

The Celtic Missionaries on the Continent 59 

Apostles. He prays for the bishops, and invites them to 
pray for him. 

We find Columbanus writing to Gregory, bishop of Rome, 
a few years after this letter to the bishops. He had read a 
book by Gregory, and wrote praising it. He then goes on 
to argue the, question of Easter with him. He 1 shows 
that Anatolius, whom S. Jerome praised, sanctioned the 
method of calculating Easter which the Celts followed. He 
points out to Gregory that to condemn Anatolius is to 
condemn S. Jerome. He hints to Gregory that he is not in 
his reply simply to quote his predecessors, especially Leo. 
He adds that & living dog is better than a dead lion- and, 
therefore, he, a living bishop, should correct the mistakes of 
his predecessors. The letter shows that thi& presbyter Ab 
was writing to the Bishop of Rome a his equal, and that 
there is very little thought in the mind of Columbanus of 
the supremacy or finality of decisions made by the Roman 
bishop. Columbanusi will examine whatever Gregory may 
write, and), if he approves, will commend it. One of the 
Astern touches in the letter tells Pope Gregory that he has not 
yet visited Rome, but would like to do' so, and to* confer with 
him about the sins of the clergy and bishops in France. 

Gregory had ventured to discourse on the prophet 
Ezekiel, and Columbanusi begsi the bishop to send 
him a copy of his discourses. Gregory did not 
enter upon the correspondence into 1 which Colum- 
T>anus sought to lead him. He wrote other letters to 
Gregory ; but, as no answer came, he charitably supposed 
that Gregory never received them. There is no< doubt that 
Gregory and the bishops in Gaul perceived that this 1 scholar 
from the islands of the sea, with his subtle Celtic intellect, 
and power of expression, was an ill subject to meddle with. 

If S. Columbanus dealt faithfully with the Fratnkish 
bishops and the Bishop of Rome, he dealt no less faithfully 
with the king. The king at this time was Theodoric of 
Burgundy, son of Childebert II., who had given Luxeuil to 
Columbanus. Theodoric was encouraged in immorality by 
Brunchilde, the former queen, his grandmother. Colum- 
banus had tried to> lead the king to a regular life, and urged 
him to marry, but his influence was neutralized by 

One day Brunchilde appeared before Columbanus with 
three of the king's illegitimate sons. 

60 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

" Bless them," demanded Brunchilde. 

' ' Who are they ? ' ' demanded Colunibanus. 

" The king's sons," replied Brunchilde. 

" Offspring of improper life, they shall never come to 
inherit," commented Columbainus. 

Brunchilde wa furious, and took the children away. 
She roused the Court against Columbanus, and he and his 
communities were confined to the bounds of their settlements, 
Columbanus now went to the king. The latter, on hearing 
of his arrival, ordered that food should be served to him. 
Columbanus dashed the food to the ground, overturned the 
wine, and smashed the' vessels, declaring that the 
servant of the Highest spurned the gifts of the wicked. 
Theodoric could not help respecting this stern censor. 
He! had despised the regular clergy, but this Celt bore himself 
like a king and spoke like a prophet. He promised to 
amend his life a promise- that was not kept, and S. 
Columbanus wrote to him declaring that he would excom- 
municate him if he did not turn from his licentious ways. 
It is magnificent to see this Pictish cleric, unsupported 
by Rome or its clergy, by the authority of his own blameless 
life and his Divine commission, upholding the law of God 
and life to the' face of one of the most powerful of the 
barbarian kings. 

Meanwhile Brunchilde was not idle. She organised the 
Frankish bishops and the Burgimdian nobles against Colum- 
banus, and also prompted the king to act. She emphasised 
the independence of Luxeuil and its clergy, and the fact that 
the services differed from, the services in the Roman churches. 
Theodoric was moved himself to deal with Columbanus, 
and went to Luxeuil. He found the Saint reading a book 
in the gateway. The bishops, knowing that Columbanus 
asserted independence in spiritual matters, had evidently 
urged the king to insist on having the monasteries inspected 
by the king's nominees. 

' Why do you not adopt the usages and ceremonies of 
the bishops ? and why do you not allow the inner parts of the 
monastery to be visited?" the king demanded. 

" I do not need the assistance oif the bishops," replied 
Columbanus proudly; " and none but my monks may enter 
the private parts of my house." 

The king then reminded him that he had been kind to 
him and to his Community. 

The Celtic Missionaries on the Continent 61 

' If, O king," thundered Columbanus, " you have come 
here to make your way into our most private plaices, and to 
pas judgment on the ways and discipline of this Community, 
I would have you to consider that your kingdom is nearing 
its end, and that your progeny will soon be destroyed." 

Theodocric was somewhat shaken. He explained to the 
Saint that he was not aiming to- send him to a martyr's 
crown; and laid the blame on his advisers for wishing to pry 
into the inner life of the Community. Columbanu6> merely 
warned the king that force only would make him leave Luxeuil. 
The king departed, and in his heart he had determined, 
in the fashion of the Merovingians, to* gratify the Roman 
clergy. Bardulf, a captain, was told off to watch Luxeuil, 
to secure Columbanus on the first opportunity, and to lead 
him away; to leave the other monks undisturbed, and then 
the ho'Uise was to> be brought under the discipline and govern- 
ment of Rome. 

The life of Columbanus now became filled with adventure. 
Bardulf seized him and locked him up in the prison of the 
Castle of Besancon. 35 Domaol, his attendant, followed him 
and shared his captivity. Columbanus immediately set to 
work in the prison to convert his fellow-prisoners, and 
Domaol set to' work to strike off their fetters. The change 
which the Saint wrought upon the prisoners) was so' great that 
the Governor allowed Columbanus to march them to< the 
church, where they confessed their sins. One day 
Columbanusi made his way out of the prison, and 
he and Domaol took the high road back to Luxeuil. 
At the news, Brunchilde and Theodoric sent a detachment 
of soldiers to re-arrest him. They came upon him sitting in 
the doorway of the church calmly reading. The majestic 
presence of the man cowed the soldiers, and they hesitated 
to lay hands on him. At last, when Columbanus saw, by 
the king's renewed orders, 36 that continued obstruction 
would involve the wrecking of the monastery, Ee surrendered 
himself to Ragamund. 

After ruling Luxeuil for about twenty years, lie. was now 
driven from it for the last time. His guards had orders to 
take him to the west coast and to put him on board the first 
ship bound for Ireland. They led him through Besanpoiij 
Autun, Avallon, and via Auxerre to Nevers on ths Loire. 
Here he entered a boat which floated down stream by stages. 
At Orleans a Syrian woman offered him food. The guard 

62 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

did not tosh to stop at Marmoutieir (Tours), which was holy 
ground to a Colt), being the cradle of his Church, but the 
boat became fast in a mud-bank. Her Bishop Luparius 
showed hospitality to the Saint, and at his table he met a 
noble who was a friend of Theodoric. ' ' Gro tell Theodoric, ' ' 
said Columbanus in the course of conversation, " that in 
three years he and all his will utterly perish." At 
Nantes, Suffronius, the bishop, and Count Theobald, acting 
under orders, were ready to see that Columbanus took pas- 
sage in a ship sailing for Ireland. After the ship had sailed, 
she ran 1 aground at the mouth >of the Loire, where she^ 
remained three days. The master had to lighten the ship, 
and Oolumbaiius and hia four companions were put on sho>re. 
They simply walked away inland, and, once more, were free. 

He now visited Chloitachar II., King of Neustria, son of 
Brunchilde's enemy, Fredigundia. He passed through Paris 
to Meaux, and from the latter place, under the guardianship 
of Chagneric, an Australian official, he went to Metz, to 
Theudebert, King of Austrasia, brother of his enemy, Theo- 
doric. He was within communicating distance with Luxeuil,. 
and several members of his Community came to see 1 him. 
His thoughts turned towards a mission to the Allemani 
and Slavic Wends ; but after working for a time at the ruined 
town of Bregenz, 37 on the Upper Rhine, he gave up the; idea. 
S. Gall, however, remained to carry on the mission 
that he had begun by the Lake of Constance, and 
by which he is still remembered in Switzerland. Inter- 
national strife now made the Rhine province a perilous 
place for Columbanus. His friend Theudebert went 
to war with his brother Theodoric. Columbanus, who evi- 
dently saw how things would go, advised Theudebert to 
become a cleric. The. king refused, and the courtiers jeered 
: ' Who ever heard of a Merovingian laying down his crown 
and sword for a tonsure and a pilgrim's staff?" : ' Well," 
replied Columbanus, " he will do it soon against his will." 
At the battle of l*olbiac 38 Theudebert was defeated and 
fled. When captured and taken to Theodoric, Bmnchilde, his 
grandmother, who had so often before led the Roman clergy 
against Columbanus, ordered them to ordain Theudebert to 
the holy ministry by force. Soon after the ordination had 
been carried out she sent him to< a cruel death. 3 ^ 

Theodoric and his grandmother now ruled Austrasia as 
well as Burgundy. Consequently Columbanus found it to 

The Geltic Missionaries on the Continent 63 

his safety to bid farewell to the Rhine. The triumph of 
Theodoric and Brunchilde lasted only a year. Theodoric was 
on his way to attack Chlotaiohar II. of Neustria when he took 
ill at Metz, and died. In 613 A.D. Chlotachar became Ruler 
of all France. 40 All the sons of Theodoric were, a& Colum- 
banus had foretold, slain. Brunchilde was tied to the tails 
of fresh horses, and dragged by them where they galloped, 
and died as the result. 

Columbanus, meanwhile, had gone to Milan, the capital 
of LooQibardy, to Aigilulf, the Lombard king. Aigilulf 
was an Arian, but his queen Theudelinda was orthodox. 
The Saint asked Aigilulf for a< place to whicb he could 
gather a new Community. He told him of Luxeuil, its 
situation amid the ruins of a Roman city, and explained the 
oharm that it possessed for him. A gentleman, of the 
Court, 41 who was a listener, said that there was a place such 
as was described in the Apennines 1 . This was Bobbio, on the 
Trebbia. It was <a. ruined town with a ruined church. 
Aigilulf, the heretic, resolved to treat the victim of the 
orthodox clergy of the Teutonic barbarians with generous 
kindness, and he offered Bobbio to Columbanus. The 
Saint visited the place and found it aiccording to his 
heart. He made Bobbio a second Luxeuil. The contents of 
its library show that it kept up its connection with the parent 
house of Bangor after S. Columbanus died. The best known 
member of the Community of Bobbio is Jonas-, whoi wrote the 
Life of Columbanus. The monastery became famous, 
and its library would have been priceless had all 
the books survived. At some stage of its history 
the monastery conformed to the discipline' of Rome. 
A catalogue of the library, with notes, is ascribed to one 
of its tenth century (967-972) Abbots, Gerbert, who became 
Pope Sylvester II. There are catalogued 479 manuscript 
books which had come from various sources, and 220 pre- 
sentation MS. books; 43 were bequeathed by " Dungal, Prin- 
cipal of the Scots ' ' (Irish) , 32 by ' ' presbyter Theodore, ' ' 
and 4 by Adalbert, "a brother." There were copies of the 
classical authors, and theological writings. A copy of the 
Gospels bore an inscription^ indicating that it was the same 
book which the Abbot, blessed Columbanus, was wont to 
carry in his wallet. We still possess the contents of the 
famous Fragment known as the Muratorian, which 
was found at Milan in 1740, and which came from 

64 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Bobbio. It deals with the Canon of the New 
Testament, and supplements the Canon of Laodioea. 
Through carelessness, pilfering, and want of appreciation 
alter the invention of printing, the library of Bobbio 
dwindled. From 700 manuscripts in the tenth century it 
had fallen to 240 in the fifteenth, namely, 170 Theological 
and Clascal works), and 67 Antiphonaries and service-books. 
In the seventeenth: century, when Pope Paul V. made his 
inventory, only a few manuscripts remained at Bobbio ; now 
they are scattered throughout the libraries of Italy, Austria, 
and Germany. 

Columbanus died at Bobbio on the 23rd November, A.D. 
615, when he was about seventy-two- years old. He had aeon 
his royal foes brought to ruin and shameful death. He saw 
His beloved Luxeuil blessed once more with prosperity as at 
the beginning. Eustatius, one of its community, returned 
from Bobbio, while S. Columbanus was alive, to be second 
Ab of Luxeuil. Donatusi, another disciple, became Ab at 
Beeangon ; Ado- became the founder of the Celtic Community 
of Jouarre ; Dado the founder of the Celtic monastery at La 
Brie; and, as we have seen, S. Grail presided over the Com- 
munity at the place which still bears his name in Switzer- 

The name and work of Columbanus, the pupil of the 
Pictish Community at Bangor, ought to call forth the admir- 
ation and veneration of every Celt. As a missionary few 
can compare with him. As a disciple of Jesus Christ, his 
personal life and example were blameless. His moral courage 
wae apostolic. His ecclesiastical ways, are sometimes ignor- 
antly designated as irregular. There wasi no- irregularity ; he 
simply remained by what he had been taught in a Church 
that by its isolation had beard nothing of the< innovations of 
the Roman Catholics. His ideal of Christianity was more 
apostolic than the ideals' of the- Church that persecuted him 
in Luxeuil. His championship of ordinary moral decency 
may have: forced him to strong utterance ; but the record of 
it is less a reproach to Columbanus than an abiding shame to 
the Roman Church, which advanced its control with the aid 
of the swords of the' most ferocious Teutonic savages that, till 
then, had launched themselves on the Celtic tribes within the 
civilization of the Roman Empire. 

The heart and ways of Columbanus were pitiful and 
gentle in spite of the stern discipline which he enforced for 

The Celtic Missionaries on the Continent 65 

Christ's sake'. He was very piatient witli the common people ; 
and pity for the Celts, trampled under foot by the Teuton, 
drew him from his home in Ireland to Graul. When he 
wished to teach his disciples a lesson that they would not 
forget, he carefully went through it all with them himself, 
whether it was a hard task, or a long spell of endurance. 
Like all the Celts, he loved Nature. Often one feels that 
his long retreats in the deep forests and rocky solitudes, for 
meditation and prayer, came in some measure from the 
Celtic craving to be alone with Nature. He had no fear in 
the wilds any more than before savage men. The wolf-pack 
sniffed at him as they went by. The bear gave up its lair to 
him at his command. The squirrel came down from the tree- 
tops to curl itself up in his bosom ; .and the little birds perched 
on his hands and allowed him to stroke and caress them. 

How often, when intolerant and narrow-minded ecclesi- 
astics have set uniformity before liberty, persecution before 
tolerance, and hate before charity, might we not have remem- 
bered the appeal of Columbanus to* the bishops of the bar- 
barians^ " Oh that Gaul might be found wide enough to hold 
all of us whom the Kingdom of Heaven will receive, if as 
good men we deserve such a reward." 

1 V. S. Comg-. (S.), cap. iii., pp. 586-588. 

2 Catharlach (Car low), Foibran, Ardarema. 

3 Also written " Cleenish.." 

4 S. Sinell had, like S. Cornwall, studied under Finnian of Clonard, 

who had been educated among- the Britons. 

5 Certain modern writers who try to explain the Celtic Church by 

modern Roman institutions actually refer to S. Smell's estab- 
lishment as if it were a sort of elementary school. 

6 Cf. V. S. Columb. (Jonas), cap. iii. 

7 See Patrologice (Migne), Vol. Ixxx., and Ann. Bened. (Mabillon), 

ix. 35, p. 257. 

8 So often was this number repeated that it indicates a systematic 

desire to keep close to Christ's example. 

9 S. Columcille's friend Cormac is the classical example. 

10 Carantoc, a Briton, was Ab of a muinntir at Saulix, Haute- 

Saone (Salicio). It is to be noted that the Pictish pupil of S. 
Com gall and the Britons were in the most thorough com- 

11 Cf. Ann. Bened., viii. 51. 

12 It was S. Comgall who introduced S. Columba, the Gaidheal, and 

S. Cainnech, the Pict, to Brude at Inverness before they began 
their respective missions in tfoe dominions, over which Brude 
was Sovereign. Doubtless also S. Comg-all opened the way 
with Brude for S. Moluag, his own lieutenant, who entered 
Pictland at the same time. 


66 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

13 Roughly, the country between the Meuse and the Rhine. 

14 Called also casula and capa. 

15 The Bachul. 

16 Annegray in the Woevre, Haute Saone. 

17 Churches were called after their founders until about the begin- 

ning of the 8th century. 

18 The chapel built at S. Martin's grave by Bishop Brioc, his suc- 

cessor, had to be dedicated to the pro-martyr, S 1 . Stephen. 

19 Dedications even to the Virgin were unpopular when introduced ; 

and it was necessary to add All the Martyrs to her name when 
the Pantheon was dedicated, A.D. 610. 

20 The bishops referred to were really missionary chief -pastors, not 

diocesan bishops. 

21 V. S. Columb., Jonas, cap. ii. 

22 His Community was at a place called "The Willows," Salicio, 

now Saulix, Haute-Saone. 

23 V. S. Columb., Jonas, cap. 5. 

24 Of Poictiers. 

25 About 8 miles from Anagrates. 

26 On the Roge. 

27 There is the notorious forgery alleged to have been addressed by 

Columbanus to Gregory I., placing his monastery under the 
latter 's protection. 

28 This is characteristically Anglican. The truth is that Oolum- 

banus followed no divisive courses, and did not divide himself 
from Rome. He was the son of a Church that knew little or 
nothing of Rome. If the Celtic Church and Columbanus 
differed from Rome which they did it was due to Rome 
developing away from the usage and practice of the early 
Church. Not only did the Celtic Church follow the early 
Church, but the type of monasticism founded in the West by 
S. Martin was a deliberate effort to recall the Church to the 
simpler and sincerer apostolic ways. If Columbanus was a 
schismatic, so was S. Martin whom he followed; and indeed 
some of S. Martin's contemporaries treated him as if he were 
a schismatic. The bishops who followed him in Gaul never 
rested until they brought S. Martin's monasteries under the 
control of the* diocesan bishops, beginning with Lerins and 
such monasteries as had not a bishop-abbot. 

29 " Masticon." Held 624 or 625 A.D. 

30 Anglican writers frequently refer to the Rules as " Benedictine." 

S. Benedict had nothing to do with them. His rule was 

31 The Rules are sometimes called " Scotic," because Continental 

writers so designated them as coming from Scotia (Ireland). 
They are Pictish. 

32 One is the Sancti Venite, known through Dr Neale's translation. 

33 It was an Eastern practice. Doubtless it came to the British 

Communities, where it was carried on to great perfection, 
from S. Martin's Community at Marmoutier, before the bar- 
badian invasions. S. Finnian taught the practice to S. Corn- 
gall, and S. Comgall to S. Columbanus. 

34 Afterwards to become famous as S. Gall. 

Clan Wars in the Old Highlands 6T 

35 This was an old city of the Celtic Sequani. 

36 Count Bertechar and Badulf were sent to insist on his surrender. 

37 Bricantias. 

38 Theudebert first seized Alsace and the northern territory of the 

Sequani. Theodoric defeated him at Toul, A.D. 612, and the- 
.same year completely at Tolbiac. 

39 V. S. Columban, Jonas, i. 28. 

40. He favoured the Celtic monks in Gaul. 
41 Jocundus. 

29th NOVEMBER, 1916. 

Owing to the Great War, a considerable time had elapsed 
during which the meetings of the Society were practically 
suspended. On this date a largely attended meeting was 
held in the Waverley Hotel, at which Mr David N. Mackay, 
solicitor, Glasgow, read the following paper on " Clan Wars 
in the Highlands.' 1 


It has long been the custom of historian to speak of 
Highlanders as " men of a fighting race/' During the 
present war the valour and endurance of our Highland 
regiments, and of the thousands of North and West-country 
fishermen serving in H.M. Navyi, have earned the admiration 
of friend and foe alike. It may be asserted, without fear of 
contradiction, that no part of the British Empire has sur- 
passed in practical patriotism, in eager recruitment, or in 
sacrifice, the record of the Highland Counties of Scotland. 
It is natural to enquire why the men of Gaeldom have 
exhibited so keen and noble a spirit, surpassing even 
the deeds of their forefathers in the anti-Napoleonic cam- 
paigns. It is certainly not because they have been the 
pampered children of the Empire. Equally certainly, their 
gallantry has not been inspired by self-interest. They are 
among the poorest citizens of the United Kingdom, so* far as 
worldly possessions are concerned. Nor have they been 
enthused by Imperialistic dreams. Their interests are 
domestic. The pageantry of Empire, as exhibited from time 
to time in the great cities of tihe the homeland, has never 
been displayed near their villages and islands. Whence, 
then, came this impulse to risk all, and to suffer the untold 
horrors of war, so voluntarily and heroically? Why was it 

68 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

that the Military Service Acte found so few eligible men 
remaining in the Highland districts? 

The ill-informed observer will content himself by quoting 
the opinion of the historians that the Highlanders are a 
fighting race. By doing so he will do> less than justice to the 
Gael, for his suggestion can only mean that Highlanders love 
fighting for its own stake, that they are by nature a, combative 
people, and therefore a people with more bravery than sense. 
This idea, though commonly held, has no basis in, fact. 
Highlanders have exercised a fairly sound discrimination in 
their military enthusiasms during the nineteenth century. 
They have not shown any inclination to serve as soldiers of 
fortune, such as might have been expected from men of a 
merely pugnacious breed. Accordingly, while it is true that 
Highlanders have always given at good account of themselves 
in support of any cause for which they drew the sword, one 
may claim, and every true Highlander will claim, that their 
valour in the European Wiatr has not arisen from mere love 
of fighting, but from a sense of duty and responsibility. 

At a time like this, however, when everything is organised 
on a war basis, we naturally enquire into the military records 
of our race, and it is my task to-night to discuss with 
you the days when clan wars were fought among our native 
hills, and to describe briefly the war organisation of those 
clans, and the reasons which produced strife. 

Let me say at the outset that I cannot accept the view 
that the clan wasi primarily a war organisation. No doubt 
it is true that there was a time in the Highlands when men's 
first and last thoughts were of defenqe and offence ; but in 
the clan period proper from the thirteenth century to the 
seventeenth century war was far from being the main occupa- 
tion of the clansmen. They had a well -developed com- 
munal life. They were not nomadic. They had definite 
systems of law. They had a, literature of their own. They 
were as religious as their neighbours, and they had musical 
tastes of a high order. Unquestionably, they also had their 
ware, their hatreds, and their diplomacies. They were 
probably more prompt to resent an atfront than were the 
Southern Scots, and they had long memories for records of 
injuries, but they were not a race' of ignorant savages, living 
for war and by war, as most writers of history have imagined 
them to have been. Writers of fiction have found in the 
Highland warrior a romantic personage, and have described 

Clan Wars in the Old Highlands 69 

his qualities with dramatic skill rather than with accuracy. 
Historians have mainly failed even to attempt to ascertain 
the facts concerning Highland civilisation. They were 
familiar with South-country records of Highland incursions, 
and they then assumed that they knew all about the High- 
land character. It would be just as reasonable if a French- 
man professed to understand Indian civilisation after serving 
alongside Indian troops in France. As the result of my 
reading of Highland history, I am prepared to assert that 
while the Highlander of the clan period was a fearless and 
determined soldier when there was fighting to be done, he 
did not fight more often, or more ruthlesislv. than the men of 
other European races. If the records of the individual clans 
are examined,, it will be found that their battles were not 
nearly so numerous as ignorant people imagine, and, as I 
shall show later on, that in matters of chivalry and observ- 
ance of what are popularly known ae " the laws of war " 
they had nothing to learn from English or Continental 

In war the fighting forces of a clan were led by the chief 
or captain. The term captain is frequently used in ancient 
writings, and is generally accepted ias being at least as old 
as the title of chief .* Usually the captain was the chief, but 
if the latter were' too old or too* infirm to lead the clan in 
battle, he appointed a captain to act as his deputy. For all 
practical purposes we may regard the terms as synonymous. 
In the case of Clan 1 Chattan the term captain is still generally 
used instead of the name chief. In war, as in peace, the 
authority of the chief was very great, but naturally he had to 
secure the consent of the clan, to whose goodwill he ^) wed his 
recognition as chief, and by whose tacit consent he 
could alone' maintain his authority. There is an old Gaelic 
proverb, " Stronger than the chief are his clansmen." A 
chief had to provide for the social well-being of his clan, and 
" maintain such who by accident are fallen to total decay " 
(Burt's Letters). If he failed conspicuously in either his 
civil or military capacity, hi tenure of office was insecure. 
There are records of depositions, or clan revolutions, which 
show that the clan believed itself entitled to withdraw the 
rights of their chiefs, though of course there were fam- 
ilies, such as the Colquhouns and the Campbells, who 
were able at an earlier date than the other leading 

* DT MacBain (Trans, of Gaelic Socy. of Invss., Vol. xvi.). 

70 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

families to substitute the feudal for the tribal system of 
government. Among clan chiefs proper there were several 
well-known instances of depositions. About 1460 Stewart 
of Giarth was imprisoned by his followers because of his fero- 
cious temper. In 1498 Iain Aluinn MacDo<nald of Keppoch 
was deposed because he gave up a clansman to the Mackin- 
tosh Chief contrary to the will of his own clansmen generally. 
Though he had sons, they were ignored, and he was succeeded 
by his uncle, and that uncle's descendants. Ferquhard, 9th 
Chief of the Mackintoshes, found it convenient to renounce 
his position, because " his friends of the name of Clan 
Chattan were altogether dissatisfied with his way of managing 
affairs." His sons were not considered when a successor was 
chosen."* Dugald MacRanald of Island Tirrim was killed 
by his own men because " he made himself obnoxious, and his 
fo>ur sons were declared ineligible for the succession to the 
chief ship of Canranald,"f It is clear that the lot of a High- 
land clansman was very different from that of the retainer 
of one of the Lowland " Families " of the same period. The 
former was a free member of an independent social organisa- 
tion, while the latter lived in practical serfdom. The former 
had a share in the recognition of each new chief (though in 
practice the succession, by ancient Celtic law, was limited 
to those within three degrees of relationship to the 
last chief), while the latter was bound to feudal 
service under a legally appointed superior. It is true 
that the powers of a chief, when installed, were very far- 
reaching, but anything like tyranny wa sure to end in 
disaster to the tyrant. Ins most clans there was a council, 
composed of experienced men), who> advised the chief on. ques- 
tions of importance. 

When on active service, the men of a clan, if too numer- 
ous to act as one body, were divided into two or more regi- 
ments. Each regiment was composed of various companies, 
each representing a certain district, and commanded, as a 
rule, by the chieftain) of the cadet branch of the clan who 
administered the district in question. These cadet families 
enjoyed a considerable amount of independence. Thus the 
Aberach branch of the Clan Mackay was latterlv in many 
ways ai separate organisation from the branch which followed 
the chief of the senior Mackay family, though they usually 

* Dr MacBain (Trans, of Gaelic Socy. of Invss., Vol. xvi.). 
t Book of Clan Donald, Vol. iii., p. 175. 

Clan Wars in the Old Highlands 


took their place in the clan's councils and forces when great 
issues were at stake. 

Prior to the introduction of fire-arms about the close of 
the sixteenth century the Highlanders used the bow with 
very considerable skill, but their main confidence was founded 
on the use' of the axe (as at Bannockburn) , and later of the 
sword a broad-bladed cutting weapon, sometimes made for 
use with both hands. 

Wyntour wrote in his " Chronicle," about 1400, an 
account of the famous combat on the North Inch at Perth, in 
which he says : 

" At Sanct Johnstone beside the Freris 
All thai entrit in' Barrens 
With Bow and Ax, Knyf and Swerd, 
To deil amang thaim thar last werd." 

John Major (1512) says the clansmen " use a bow and quiver, 
and a halbert (a combination of spear and battle-axe) well 
sharpened, ,as they possess good veins of native iron. They 
carry large daggers placed under the belt." An Act of the 
Scottish Parliament, passed in 1574, dealing with weapon- 
shows, prescribed different war gear for Highlanders as com- 
pared with Lo'wlanders. The former were expected to have 
" ihabirschonis" (short sleeveless coats of mail), "steilbonettis" 
(steel caps), " swerdis" (swords), " bo>wis and dorlochis (bows 
and quivers), or ''culveringis'' (a long slender piece of hand 
artillery). It must not be assumed, however, that the ordinary 
warriors in a clan array were so well equipped. In addition to 
the sword or battle-axe on which they mainly relied, they usually 
carried a dirk or a smaller battle-axe on their right thighs. 
The Lochaber axe (a kind of pike) was not in general use 
throughout the Highlands, so far as I can ascertain. The 
shield was commonly used. It was made of bronze or leather- 
covered wood, and it was carried on the left arm, being some- 
times provided with an arm-strap as well as a handle. Great 
skill was displayed in the use of the shield. The combatant's 
most valuable characteristic was coolness in action, so that he 
might defend himself with his shield and await the opening 
in his opponent's defence which gave an opportunity for a 
coup-de- grace with the claymore. A blustering horse-soldier 
in the army of Montrose once offered to fight, with sword 
alone, any Highlander who> would face him with sword and 
shield. A clansman (afterwards known as " Ranald of the 

72 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Shield") at o-nce accepted the challenge, but came forward 
with a. dirk only, so confident was he in his prowess with his 
shield. The fate of the challenger is not recorded, but the 
wielder of the dirk came safely out of the fight, and lived to 
enjoy the new name which his self-confidence and skill had 
so well earned for him. The use of coats of mail was common 
among the chiefs and company officers, and occasionally 
among the men also. Pitscottie tolls us that in 1460 i.he 
forces of James II. were joined by the Earl of Ross with 
" ane great army of men, all armed in the Highland fashion, 
with halbershownes (short sleeveless coats of mail) , bowes and 
axes." The Highlanders were slow in adopting fire-arms as 
part of their equipment. This was partly due, no doubt, to 
difficulties o>f supply, but was due also to the peculiarity of 
the Highland method of attack. The clansmen advanced 
towards an enemy at a fast walking-pace, released a flight of 
arrows, threw away their bows, and then began a fierce rush 
to close quarters with swords or axes. If the charge did not 
settle the matter (as it did at Glenfruin), a. general melee 
took place (as at The Park, Blar-na-leine, and Mulroy), and 
the issue was seldom long in doubt. In warfare of this kind 
a musiket did not offer any very distinct advantage as com- 
pared with the bow. A musket was a heavy weapon, with a 
short range, and was cumbersome to> reload. A bow and arrows 
were of negligible weight on the march, were of no great 
value, and could be replaced very easily. It is noteworthy 
that even in the early years of the nineteenth century it wae 
suggested that one of the Scottish regiments should carry the 
bow instead of the musket. In various historic encounters 
Highlanders armed with the ancient weapons of the Gael 
overcame regular soldiers equipped with fire-arms and 
bayonet. When the fight was going on, the chiefs and other 
leaders took their risks as freely as their men. One of the 
reasons for the contempt and hatred which Highlanders 
lavished on " the Butcher " Cumberland was probably his 
distant location during the fight at Culloden. 

What, one may well ask. was the size of a clan array on 
the field of battle? In accounts of clan battles we seldom 
get any reliable estimate of the numbers engaged, but the 
number of old castles, and the other signs, show that in the 
old days the Highland population was large. * 

In J. A. Robertson's ' Concise Historical Proofs" one finds 
some interesting figures, quoted from various sources. The 

Clan Wars in the Old Highlands 7 a 

strength of the clans which could have been raised for the Jr co- 
bite cause in 1704 is stated thus : MacDonalds 1800, Macph-ar- 
sons 700, Mackenzies of Seaforth 1200, MacLeods 700, Frasers 
1000, Roses of Kilravock 500, Rosses of Balnagowii 300, 
Grants of Balindalich 300, Stewarts of Appin 200, Farquhar- 
sons 700, Chisholms200, and so forth; total, 10,700. General 
Wade's statement of the Highland forces who> were out for 
,the Pretender in 1715 was as follows: Seaforth clans 3000, 
Macdonalds of Sleat 1000 ; Glengarry 800, Moidart 800, Kep- 
poch 220, Camerons 800, MacLeods 1000, Gordons 1000, Stew- 
arts of Appin 400, Robertsons of Struan 400, Mackintoshes and 
Farquharsons 800, &c. in all, 14,140 men. The Campbells, 
Frasers, Grants, &c., " believed to be well affected to the 
Government," totalled 8000 making 22,140 in all. These 
figures jwere mere estimates, of course, and need not be taken 
as representing the total possible man-power of the Highland 

The official estimate (usually credited to Lord President 
Forbes) of the number of men whoi could be brought out by 
Highland chiefs at the time of Prince Charles' Xising is 
interesting in this connection. The total number of n\ n was 
given at 31,930, including 800 Mackintoshes, 400 
pheraons, 500 MacLeans, 200 MiacLachlans, 600 
700 Macgregors (surely an over-estimate), 3000 Athol clan\ 
men, 1300 Grants, 900 Frasers, 200 Chisholms, 2500 Mao> 
kenzies, 800 Mackays, 2330 MacDonalds 1 , 800 Camerons, and 
700 MacLeods. The " Stuart papers" state that about 
12,000 properly armed Highlanders actually took the field 
for Prince Charles, and that those on the Hanoverian side were 
nearly equal in number. It seems clear that from the earliest 
times until the Highlands became the prey of land exploiters 
who* were' permitted to regard money-making a& the chief end 
of man, the Northern Counties were inhabited by a large 
population who found a sufficient, though not a luxurious, 
living in regions which aire now to a great extent desolate'. 

The physical endurance of the clan warriors was remark- 
able. Montrose's' men, though ill-supplied with food, 
marched nearly 40 miles through by-paths among the snow* 
laden mountains on' the night prior to their victory at Inver- 
lochy, and made a continuous march of 90 miles in their 
retreat from the city of Dundee. Parts of the retreat of 
Prince Charles from Derby, pursued by several armies and by 
cavalry, provided a test of stamina which few armies could 

74 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

successfully sustain to-day. Highland armies marched three 

The use of horses for military purposes was practically 
unknown. Each clansman carried his own food, or found it 
when on the march, The purely inter-clan campaigns were 
short. A feud like that between the Macgregors and the 
Colquhouns, or between the MacLeans and the MacDonalds 
of Dunnyveg might go on for years, but it consisted of a 
series of short, energetic campaigns of a few days duration. 
Consequently the Highland soldiers who fought under 
Montrose and Dundee soon grew impatient when the cam- 
paigns showed signs of lasting for months. They were 
not above talking an unauthorised departure from the banner 
of a cause! in which they had no direct or immediate concern, 
except that their chiefs had persuaded them to fight for it. 

Discipline was very lax, according to modern standards.. 
What held the men together in their tribal expeditions was 
their " claptfishness, " as we now call it, rather than a hard 
and fast dominiationi. Each revered his chief as the repre- 
sentatp-e and upholder of the old traditions, and as the man 
to wK>fti the clan's destiny had been committed. They knew 
algir that he was, during his lifetime, the divider of the clan 
Irnds. When they found themselves serving under a merely 
military leader they chafed at all restraints. Montrose and 
Dundee were able, with some success, to realise the clansman's 
point of view. They adopted the methods of the clan leaders, 
and ruled their Highland retainers through the men's own 
clan officers. When Colonel Cannon, after Dundee's death, 
thought he could enforce ordinary military discipline, he very 
speedily learned that he could not do so. Many Highland 
companies revolted and went home: they were not prepared 
to accept orders from a mere Colonel. 

What was the attitude of the clan warriors to the people 
of a conquered area? They certainly believed in the old 
war- ad age, " The spoils to the victors." When the Munros 
went south to Strathardle, about 1454, to avenge an insult to 
the Tutor of Foulis, they brought north with them he cattle 
of their conquered enemies, and incidentally had to 'fight a. 
battle with the Mackintoshes near the modern village of 
Clachnaharry, as the result of disagreement concerning the 
" road collop " or share of the spoil which the latter clan 
should get for permitting the captured bestial to traverse 
their country. The MacDonalds of Clanranald raided the 

Clan Wars in the Old Highlands 75 

oountry of the Grants during the quarrel that culminated at 
JBlar-na-leine in 1544. The Mac-Donalds made a clean sweep 
in the lands of Urquhart of Cronnarty prior to* the Battle of 
The Park about 1489. " Coll of the Cows" was the well- 
justified name of the Keppoch chief who carried on a bitter 
feud with the Mackintoshes prior to Mulroy in 1688. The 
names of other raids and raiders, will <occur to any student of 
Highland history. It does not necessarily follow, however, 
tnat the clansmen were fonder of other people's cattle than 
were th men of armies generally, or that cattle-lifting was 
one of their chief sources of livelihood, as certain conscious 
and unconscious romancers 1 would have us believe. Prob- 
ably the rounding up of cattle belonging to hostile 
clans was considered a very reasonable, and even commend- 
able, employment, just a privateering was deemed a fair 
enough profession when directed against Spain and France 
not so very long ago. Doubtless the Highlands produced 
outlaws and robbers in as natural a manner as did other 
regions, but there is no authority for the view that any of the 
well-known clans subsisted, even to a limited extent, on 
organised pillage in time of peace. Many of the Macgregors 
may have taken to criminal methods when they were denied 
the ordinary rights of citizenship after Glenfruin, but one 
cannot regard their position as normal. The Lowland con- 
ception of Highland character was 1 based largely on the con- 
duct of the Highlanders who were exploited by ambitious 
southern leaders like Montrose, Dundee, and Prince Charles, 
and who had the lax regard for 1 the rights of property which 
prevails in some invading armies, even in our own time. 

When we come to consider the conduct of clan armies 
towards the lives and liberties of non-combatants, we find, 
on the whole, that they did not practice a policy of " fright- 
fulness." In some cases we have records of crime which can- 
not be condoned even on military grounds. The smothering of 
men, women, and children in the cave> of Eigg towards the 
end of the 16th century was an outrage which cannot be 
forgiven. There are at least three traditions concerning 
church -burnings, when congregations are said to have been 
burned to death or massacred by suddenly-arriving enemies. 
If these traditions are based on fact, the perpetrators must 
be regarded as murderers 1 , not warriors. It is impossible to 
say whether such events took place, but if a judicial attitude 
is to be maintained in dealing with Highland history, as I 

76 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

hope it will be maintained,, one is bound to refer to the exist- 
ence of these traditions . Let us bear in mind, however, that 
the traditional basis of the best known of them the alleged 
church-burning at Kilchrist or Cillecriosd (near Beauly)-- 
has been to> .a large extent destroyed by the researches of Mr 
Kenneth MacDonald (Trs. of Gaelic Society of Inverness, 
Vol. xv.). Let us also remember that brutal atrocities wera 
perpetrated by most armies in those days, and that even the 
wars of the Covenanters were disgraced by unnecessary and 
wholesale massacres of non-combatants and surrendered 
troops. Nor should we forget that the man who< killed some 
non-combatant onlookers after the battle of Glenfruin was* 
so execrated by his Macgregor clansmen that ever after he 
was treated as a pariah (see Sir Wm. Fraser's " Chiefs, of 
Colquhoun," pp. 198-9). As regards outrages upon women, 
I rejoice to say that I know of no single instance of that typo 
of crime in the war annals of the North. Nor do I know of 
any record of maiming or ill-using a child. Thecre may have 
been criminals in Highland armies, but I assert, without fear 
of question, that the general ideas of chilvalry which prevailed 
among fighting clansmen were at least as high as those h$ld 
in contemporary armies in Britain or the Continent. If any 
one should think of reminding me of the treachery associated 
with the massacres at Duiiaverty and G-lencoe, I disclaim these 
events as not- having occurred in clan wars, and as strength- 
ening, by contrast, the claims I make concerning the soldierly 
qualities of Highland warriors among the clans. 

It is on record that the Irvines of Drum and the Mac- 
Leans of Duart were wont to* exchange courtesies from time 
to time during the fifteenth century. Why did they do so? 
The reason was that the heads of these, families met in. per- 
sonal combat at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411, and fought so 
desperately that each killed the other. Among barbarians 
this might have caused a blood-feud, but the families of the 
two men only saw reason for honouring the memory of the 
two victims, and for generations their sucoessoTS in the chief- 
ship met on the anniversary of the fight and exchanged swords 
in token of their strangely-found friendship. We read that 
the Chief of the MacDonalds of Moidart interceded for the 
life of MacLean of Ardgour, when taken captive at the naval 
fight in The Bloody Bay near Tbbermory, and put forward 
the strange but chivalrous plea that if Ardgour were 
dead " there would be no one left to bicker with," thus 

Clan Wars in the Old Highlands 11 

showing that he would have appreciated the behest of a poet 
of our own day (Sir Henry Newbolt) 

' To honour, while you strike him down, 
The foe that comes with fearless eyes." 

On one occasion one of the Lamonts killed a son of a Mac- 
gregor chief in a wayside quarrel. The wrongdoer was pur- 
sued by some Macgregors, and, when nearly caught, sought 
help from an old gentleman, and received a promise of 
sanctuary. Soon it was ascertained that this benefactor was 
the father of the dead lad. But he had given his word, and 
he kept it, according to the honourable tradition of the North. 
Next day he conducted his guest to the borders of his domain 
and informed him that he could go in safety, but that for 
the future his life must be protected by his own sword alone. 
In later days the Lamonts more than repaid the debt of 
gratitude they owed to the Maogregor chief. (See " Statis- 
tical Account," 1845: Parish of Dunoon). Were these the 
methods of a barbarous race ? In 'Highland story there are 
few more bitter pages than those that record the events of 
the feud between the MacLeans of Duatrt and the Mac- 
Donalds of lalay ; yet when the latter clan was beset by the 
Campbells, the MacLeansi came to the rescue. When the 
army of Prince Charles was passing near the Lothian resi- 
dence of the Earl of Stair, the Prince became apprehensive 
lest the MacDonalds of Glencoe who were in hie> army might 
wreak upon the person or property of the family of Stair a 
belated vengeance for the Glencoe massacre of 1692. The 
Glencoe men became aware of the Prince's fears, and were 
so enraged that he should think them capable of such conduct 
that only special appeals and apologies prevented their imme- 
diate repudiation of the Jacobite cause. From an unex- 
pected quarter we find a high compliment to the Gaelsi : ' ' The 
Highlanders, whom more savage nations called savage, carried 
in the outward expression of their manners the politeness of 
Courts, without their vice, and, in their bosoms, the high 
points of honour without its follies " (Dalrymple's Memoirs). 
As a matter of fact, the Kings and Courtiers of Edinburgh 
were about the last persons to whom Highlanders 1 would have 
gone for instruction in the meaning of the phrase Noblesse 
oblige. In 1427 James I. summoned the Highland chiefs to 
Inverness, where he was holding a Parliament. They obeved 
the summons in good faith, but many of them were arrested 

78 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

on arrival. Two were beheaded .and the resit were imprisoned. 
In 1540 King James V. performed a similar feat, inviting 
many chiefs (including the chief of my own clan) to go to the 
fleet in which he was visiting the* Western Isles, and then 
clapping them under hatches until they giaive hostages for 
future subservience, or chose to> languish in southern jails. 
The men of the North did not readily forget these events and 
others of .a similar character, though' not attempted on so 
largo a scalei. These facts should not be forgotten when 
ignorant people represent our ancestors <as a lawless race. 
They had, too often, the best of reasons for regarding the 
law ,as iai mere instrument of tyranny. One of the chief 
causes of dispeace in the North was the Government's 
attempts 1 to (enforce the feudal systemi, which int so many districts 
was regarded as an alien and hateful regime. Thus a line, of 
conduct which was patriotic in the glens looked rebellious and 
lawless in the capital. Seen in hiis own. home country, the 
clansman was usually a more impressive figure than when 
described in the literature of Edinburgh. In 1688 William 
Sachaverell, Governor of the Isle of Man, who presumably 
was a man of affairs, visited Mull on one of the many 
treasure-hunts for the Armada ship " Florida." In 1702 he 
published an account of his experiences . " During my stay," 
he says, " I generally observed the men to be large-bodied, 
stout, subtle, .active, patient of cold and hunger. There 
appeared in all their actions a certain generous air of free- 
dom, and contempt of those trifles, luxury and ambition, 
which we so servilely creep* .after. They bound their appe- 
tites by their necessities, and their happiness consists, not in 
having much, but in coveting little. The women- seem to 
have the same sentiments with the men ; though their habits 
(dresses) were mean, and they had not our sort of breeding, 
yet in many of them there was a natural beauty and a grace- 
ful modesty which never fails of attracting. . . . Perhaps no 
nation goes better armed, and I assure you they will handle 
them with bravery and dexterity, especially the sword and 
target, as our veterane regiments found to their cost at Gille- 

These observations deal with the last days of the clan 
period, but I believe' that in the main they are not inappli- 
cable to the whole of it. Yet the clans had their wars, in 
which blood was freely spilt. How did these wars originate ? 
Let me give a few facts, and then proceed to draw som 

Clan Wars in the Old Highlands 79 

reasonable inference. The famous fight at The Park, near 
Strathpeffer, about 1489, aroso out of the circumstances fol- 
lowing the forfeiture of the Earldom of Ross in 1476, and is 
said by one .account to have had its immediate cause in a 
gross insult by the Mackenzies to a MacDonald lady who 
had married a* Mackenzie . Thei MacLean-Cameron feud 
at the end of the fifteenth century had its origin in an earlier 
grant to the MacLeans of Coll by Alexander, Lord of the 
Isles, of certain Cameron lands (Hugh MacDonald 's MS., and 
" History of the Gamer ons "). The MacDonalds of Sleat 
had a bitter feud with the MacLeods of Harris in the* 16th 
century and in the first years of the 17th, arising out of the 
disputed possession of the lands, of Trouterness (Trotternish), 
of which the former claimed immemorial possession, but to 
which the MacLeods procured a Charter under the Great Seal 
in 1498 (Reg. of Great Seal, xiii., 305). The battle of Blar- 
na-leine, between the MacDonalds of Clan Ranald and the 
Frasere, Grants, &c., had its origin in the kidnapping of the 
Clan- Ranald Chief by King James V. in 1540. The Frasers 
supported a man whom the MacDonalds regarded as a usurp- 
ing chief, and when the real one (John Moidartach) returned, 
a series of campaigns resulted, culminating in the bloody con- 
flict at Blar-na-leine (Kinlochlochy) in 1544 (Gordon's 
"Family of Sutherland^," p. 109; MS. "History of the 
Frasers " in Advocates' Library, &c.). The civil war among 
the MiacLeans in 1561, with its aftermath in 1596, arose from 
the claim of the MacLeans of Coll to independence as regards 
their former allegiance to MacLean of Duart, in respect that 
Coll now held his lands direct from the Crown under a 
feudal title. The long and bloody feud between the Mac- 
Donalds of Islay and the MacLeans of Duart originated in 
rival claims to the Rhinns of Islay, founded on disputed 
feudal claims. The Stewart-Oaanpbell feud which lasted in 
one foon or another for 200 years originated in the murder 
of Campbell of Oalder, as the result of a political conspiracy 
in which John Stewart of Appin and other Highland chiefs 
were implicated. The bitter quarrel between the Colquhouns 
and Clan G-regor, which preceded the latter 'si victory at 
Grlenfruin, near Loch Lomondside, in 1603, is said to have 
had its origin in reprisals by the Macgre^ors for the hanging 
by the Colquhouns of two> Macgregors who, through hunger-, 
became sheep-stealers nearly a hundred years before that 
date. The dispute between the MacDonalds of Glengarry 

SO Gaelic Society of Inverness 

and the Mackenzies of Kintail, which lasted into the 17th 
century, was a territorial one, connected with the disputed 
ownership of certain lands in Wester Ross. The alleged 
Church -burning at Cillecriosd, if it did take place, was an 
episode of this contest. The Mackintoshes and Macdonaids 
of Keppoch were at einmity, and on various occasions at war, 
in connection with the disputed ownership of certain lands in 
Lochaber which had always been inhabited by Keppoch ; e 
men, but to which the Mackintoshes had feudal title-deeds. 
As recently as the year 1688 this quarrel was fought out in the 
battle at Mulroy, when Coll of the. Cows defeated the Mac- 
kintoshes and fought the last of all clan battles. 

Such were the causes of some of the chief clan wars on 
record. I have taken these instances at random. To what 
conclusion do these records lead us? Can anyone seriously 
suggest that these wars were less justifiable, or less explicable, 
according to the ordinary standards of human conduct, than, 
let us say, the various wars waged by Great Britain in the 
nineteenth century ? No doubt wiser men tnan our High- 
land ancestors could have settled all these quarrels without 
hacking each other with claymores. But can admirers of 
modern forms of Imperialism and militarism afford to point the 
finger of scorn at the warring Gaels, and call them barbarians? 
On the contrary, the clans, who at times hated each other as 
heartily, .as blindly, and as " patriotically " as the nations 
of Europe have been accustomed to do, have been much more 
expeditious than the great nations in substituting legal and 
social arbitraments for those of the sword. It is interesting 
to observe how frequently the cause of clan quarrels is found 
in the fact that an area which belonged -to one clan by racial 
possession had become the feudal property of another by mere 
legal convention. In this respect, and in many respects, the 
history of the Highland clans might form a. very important 
branch of study for those who some day will have to settle 
the problems raised by the present European War. The 
lesson of clan history, and also of European history, is shortly 
this 'that every social unit which does not own its own soil, 
and choose its own destiny, is, and must always be, a con- 
tinuing source of danger to the general peace. 

Such is a brief survey of the clan period in the Highlands 
a period of which, with all its tragedies, we have no reason 
to feel ashamed. 

Old Highland Marches, Strathspeys, and Reels 81 

20th DECEMBER, 1916. 

On this date a further contribution of his papers, entitled 
"' Gaelic and English Words for Old Marches, Strathspeys, 
and Reels," wias read, by Mr Andrew Mackintosh, Inverness. 


This isi my third paper to the Inverness Gaelic Society on 
this subject, and I have dealt with about forty old Highland 
melodies, and a. great number of verses, which seem to me 
worth preserving. In many cases I have given the history 
of the tunes, so far as that can now be known, and only in 
one or two instances have I re-introduced a melody. 

These verses possess little or no poetic value', but they 
have compensating qualities. Though fragmentary, they 
fteem, more than any class of Gaelic literature, to carry with 
them a breath of the atmosphere of olden times, and give us 
vivid glimpses of customs and habits Ions; since forgotten. 
They deal chiefly with simple social incidents, mainly humor- 
ous, which writers of old Highland history might excusably 
regard as outside their domain. 

I have rejected verses which seemed to me to possess no 
interest or value, such as meaningless words and phrases which 
doubtless. ;served their primary purpose, but had no other 
value in their own day, and have none in ours. 

The melodies are all simple, and may be played by any 
amateur on fiddle, piano, or bagpipe: 

" C" arson a bhiodh sinn muladach, 
'S c' arson a bhiodh sinn broiiach?" 

I have not been able to collect much reliable information 
regarding this fine old pipe march. I have tried, without 
success, in many quarters to get the old name, for the follow- 
ing verse suggest that it had a name older than any known 
to me: 

82 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

1 ' Aig bun a' chruidh cha chaidil mi, 
Aig bun a' chruidh cha bhi mi ; 
Aig bun a' chruidh cha chaidil mi, 
'S mo leabaidh anns an t-sithean." 

The legend associated with this verae i& as follows: A wife 
wae captured by the fairies iand carried to> their home. Some 
occasion arose which enabled her to escape, and she made 
with all apeed for her husband's house. Alas ! the door was 
barred, and, having failed to- awaken the inmates) in time, 
she took refuge in the cattle fold, but this did not afford the 
protection which the crossing of a Christian's threshold would, 
and she was recaptured and taken back to the fadriee' 

The tune was closely associaited with the Jacobites. Dr 
Sinton says it was the march of the Badenoch men on their 
way to join Prince Charlie. It is known in some places * 
" Boyne Water," and its playing used to be fiercely resented 
by Irifih Ribbonmen\, which suggests that it may have been 
the march of the Jacobites at the Battle of the Boyne, which 
ended so disastrously for them, and it is the air to which the 
"Wee, wee German Lairdie " is set. There are several 
rather good Gaelic verses toi it. I give the following : 

' ' C'iairson a bhiodh sinn muladach ? 
C'arson a bhiodh sinn bronach? 
C 'arson a bhiodh sinn muladach, 
'S gu'm falbh sinn uile comhla? 

" 'S ioma mathair bhios gun mhac, 
Is piuthair bhios gun bhrathair, 
la m-aighdean bg gun leamnan aic, 
Mai lean as so mar tha e. 

" Tha na caileagan fo mhulad, 
Is tha iad uile bronach ; 
Bho 'n 's ioima saighdear 1 boidheach dearg 
Tha 'n diugh an arm High Deorsa. 

" Cha 'n ith mi biadh 's cha 'n 61 mi deoch, 
Cha, chluich mi port 's cha dhanns mi ; 
Cha 'n ith mi biadh 's cha 'n 61 mi deoch, 
Gu'n ruig mi Port-na-Ban-Righ." 

Old Highland Marches, Strathspeys, and Reels 83 

These verses are tinged with despondency bordering on 
despair. Numbers two and three are specially interesting, 
for although they were composed nearly two hundred years 
ago, they apply with much greater force and pathos to our 
day than to their own. If we substitute the word " khaki " 
for " red," the composition might have reference to the 
present war (1916). At the sacrifice of the pathos and 
poetry, they may be rendered thus: 

Many :a mother will be without a son, 
And sister without a brother, 
And a young maiden without a lover, 
If the present state of things continues. 

The girls are sorrowful and said, 
And very melancholy ; 
For many a bonnie red-clad soldier 
Is now in King George's army. 

The last verse looks like the production of an exiled High- 
lander who is eager to' reach the Forth. He says he will 
neither eat, drink, play a tune, nor dance, till he reaches 


The history of this pipe march,, like most old Highland 
tunes, is unknown. Stenhouse says of the song: ' In the 
index to the third volume of the ' Museum ' this song is said 
to' have been composed on the imprisonment of Queen Mary 
in the Castle of Lochleven, in 1567. The Earl of Argyle was 
with the Queen's party at the battle of Langside, in 1568, 
and perhaps the tune may have been the Campbells' quick- 
march for twoi centuries past." 

Another authority says " the great Argyll " of the fol- 
lowing song is supposed to be John Campbell, Duke of 
Argyll, Commander of the Royal Forces in Scotland during 
the Rebellion of 1.715. As an enlightened statesman and 
thoroughly patriotic Scotsman he was universally respected. 
The well-known martial air of " The Campbells are coming " 
is very old : 

84 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

11 The Campbells are coming, O ho, O ho, 
The Campbells are coming, O ho, O ho; 
The Campbells are coming to bonnie Lochleven, 
The Campbells are coming, O ho, O ho. 

" Up on the Lomonds I lay, I lay, 
Up on the Lomondsi I lay, I lay ; 
I looked down on bonnie Lochleven, 
And I saw three perches play. 

' The great Argyll he goes before, 
He makes the cannons and guns to roar ; 
Wi' sound 01' trumpet, pipe, and drum, 
The Campbells are coming, O ho, O ho<. 

' ' The Campbells they are ai' in arms., 
Their loyal faith and truth to show ; 
Wi' banners flying in the wind, 
The Campbells are coming, O ho, O ho. 

The old and well-known Gaelic words to this air are 
descriptive of a wedding at Inveraray. A disappointed 
guest tells how he fared, and gives his opinion in forcible 
language of the event. Although an invited guest, he got 
no dinner, and with much difficulty obtained any supper. 
When the wedding party returned to- the house they were 
surly and morose, and when all had gathered round the fire 
no one noticed the stranger guest, and, he adds, it wore 
bootless to wish well to the man who> was to pass the night 
with these people : 

" Bha mi air banais am baile lonbhair-aora, 
Blia mi air banais am baile lonbhair-aora; 
Bha mi air banais am baile lonbhair-aora, 
Banais bu mhiosa bha riamh air an t-saoghal. 

" Fhuair mi cuiraadh, 's cha d' fhuair mi mot dhinneir, 
Fhuair mi cuireadh, 's cha d' fhuair mi mo' dhinneir; 
Fhuair mi cuireadh, 's cha d' fhuair mi mo dhinneir, 
'S cha b' 'i mo shuipeir a b' fhasa dhomh' fhaotainn. 

" 'Nuair thainig iad dhachaidh 's a shuidh sinn mu'n 


CEa chluinntei guth bruidhinn ri strainnsear ; 
Bha iad cho> greannach ri craicionn na dalladg, 
'S cha toirinns' mo bheannachd do 'n fhear a bhiodh 

oidhch' ann." 

Old Highland Marches, Strathspeys, and Reels 85 


There are several good Gaelic verses to this sprightly old 
pipe inarch, which, I am sorry to say, I never hear played 
now. I gave some of these verses in my former paper to this 
Society, and need not repeat them now; but I got recently 
from Dr William, Mackay another verse and an anecdote 
which are well worth preserving; for not only have they 
somewhat of a- local interest, but they give us a glimpse of an 
interesting stage in the social and economic evolution of the 
Highlands. We have the old order and the new clashing. 

In the time of the Chief of the Grants known as " the 
good Sir James," who, like his predecessors, kept a piper at 
Balmacaan, Glen-Urquhart, as well as one at Castle Grant, 
Strathspey, the factor, a. Macgregor, and the piper, a Mac- 
donald), at Balmacaan, quarrelled, and the former forbade 
the latter going to Balmacaan House " an Tigh Mor." 
The piper disregarded the interdict, and, metaphorically, 
snapped his fingers at the factor, protesting that he would go 
to the big house in defiance' of him, and adding that the time 
was coming when the tables would be turned, and the piper 
would be shown into the room of " an Tigh Mor " and the 
factor led into the kitchen : 

te Ge b' oil le Mac Griogair theid mise 'n Tigh Mhor, 
Ge b' oil le Mac Griogair theid mise 'n Tigh Mhor; 
Ge b' oil le Mac Griogair bidh mise 'gam shireadh, 
'S bidh esa 'sa chitsean, 's bidh mise 'san rum." 

Macgregor met his match on another occasion, and in an 
unexpected quarter. On iai rent day one of the crofters 
pleaded poverty, saying that he could not get money where- 
with to pay hie rent. The factor stormed and scolded, and 
told the old man that he must get the money. The crofter 
meekly replied, ll Where can I get money, Mr Macgregor?" 
" You must get it," said the factor, " if you go to hell for 
it." The crofter departed, and next rent day appeared and 
paid down the money due, much to the surprise of the factor, 
who asked, " Where did ou get the money?" " I got it," 
replied the crofter, " where you told me to go for it." 
" And what," queried Macgregor, " did the devil say to 
you?" "He asked me," replied the crofter, "what I 
wanted the money for, and when I told him it was for you, 
he said, ' If it is for my friend, Macgregor, you'll get it at 

86 Gaelic Society of Inverness 


This is a well-known iaaid popular Strathspey, but I have 
not been able to trace: its history. It is not in the list of 
tunes printed before 1784. It is a favourite with some pro- 
fessional dancers. 

I may remark here, what perhaps I should have noticed 
before, that Strathspeys ;and reels. as puirt a beul are sung in 
their simplest foam- possibly in their original form. Elabor- 
ations and variations, such as are found in most old tunes 
as they are printed, are unsuitable for rapid articulation. 

The following words are simple and pretty, and suggest 
the atmosphere of the sheiling. The writer of the verses 
complains that he is unfairly treated in the matter of food, 
or, rather, drink. A black-haired MOT gets cow's milk to 
drink, while he gets nothing but water, and bad, peaty water 
at that: 

1 Bithidh mis' air uisg' an lonain duibh, 

Bithidh mis-' air uisg' an Ic-nain ; 
Bithidh mis' air uisg' an lonain duibh, 

Is bainn' a' chruidh aig Mbraig. 

" Bithidh bainn' a' chruidh aig Mcraig dhuibh, 
Bithidh baiiin' a' chruidh aig Moraig ; 
Bithidh bainn' a' chruidh aig Moraig dhuibh, 
Is mis' air uisg' an lonain." 


This is a popular and widely known Strathspey. It wa 
first published about the year 1746, but as nothing is said in 
that publication about its history, we have no means of 
tracing it further back, but 1 have no doubt it must be older. 
Although the time is the same, it differs widely in character 
and composition from " Jessie Smith," and it does not lend 
itself to pathetic or sentimental expression. There should 
be some good and clever verses for it. There are clever 
verses, but they have so little else to recommend them that 
we ishall pass them over. 

I am indebted to Mr Alister MacDonald for the following 
verse, or rather for the second half of it, for the first couplet 
I remembered from my youth. The words do not suggest 

Old Highland Marches, Strathspeys, and Reels 87 

much. They merely enumerate the descendants of an old 
man hailing from Braemar, but there may be more in them 
than appears on the surface. 

In the not very distant past, when communication and 
intercourse between the different parts of Scotland were 
limited, the inhabitants of some districts were credited with 
characteristics mental, physical, or social which earned for 
them a reputation, favourable: or otherwise, outside their own 
borders, and this reputation, once acquired, passed down to 
tucceeding generations. 

The teirm " Bodaich a Braigh Mharr " does not connote 
eeteeim or regard for this patriarch or his descendant*, 
Although I have never heard iany unfavourable traite of 
character attributed to the inhabitants of Braemar : 

" A mhic a' bhodaich a Braigh Mharr, 
A mhic ia' bhodaich <a Braigh Mharr; 
A mhic a' bhodaioh, ogha bhodaich, 
'S iar ogha bhodaich a Braigh Mharr." 

There are several Scottish songs to this tune, but I think 
" Heather Jock " suits the melody best; although possessing 
little or no poetic merit, it is exceedingly clever. " Heather 
Jock " represents), in an 1 exaggerated form, a type of man 
not uncommon in Scotland a generation or two ago, when 
policemen in rural districts were fewer, less vigilant and 
exacting than they are to-day. And, probably, some of u 
who 'are country-bred, and can look back over two or three 
scores of years, may have known, or known about, some indi- 
vidual who possessed one or more of " Heather Jock'i " 
natural talents, and who yet with cunning, boldness, and 
activity, contrived for years to evade the arm of the law : 

" Heather Jock 'a noo awa', 
Heather Jock 'a noo awa' ; 
The muircock noo may crousely craw 
Since Heather Jock 's noo awa'. 

" Heaither Jock was stark and grim, 
Fought wi' a' wad fecht wi' him; 
Swank and supple, sharp and thin, 
Fine for gaun against the win'. 

88 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

" Tawnie face .and towsie hair, 
In his cleadin' unco bare; 
Cursed and swore* whene'er he spoke 
Nane could equal Heather Jock. 

Jock kent ilka bore and bole, 
Could creep through a wee bit hole; 
Quietly pilfer eggs and cheese, 
Dunts of bacon, skeps o' bees ; 

Sup the kirn and steal the butter, 
Nail the hens without a flutter; 
Na! the watchfu', wily cock 
Durstna craw for Heather Jock. 

Jock was nae religious: youth, 

For at the priest he thrawed his mouth ; 

He wadna say a grace nor pray, 

But played his pipes on Sabbath day. 

Rob't the kirk o' ban and book, 
Everything would lift he took ; 
He didna leave the weather-cock, 
Sic a thief was Heather Jock. 

Nane wi' Jock could draw a trick er, 
'Mang the muirf owl he was sicker ; 
He watched the wild ducks at the springs, 
And hanged the hares in hempen strings ; 

Blaz'd the burns and spear 'd the fish, 
Jock had mony a dainty dish, 
The best o' muirfowl and black-cock 
Aye graced the board o' Heather Jock. 

Nane wi' Jock had ony say 
At the> neive or cudgel play ; 
Jock for bolt nor bar e'er staid 

Till ance the jail his courage laid. 


Then the judge without delay 
Sent him aff to Botany Bay, 
And bade him mind the laws he broke, 
And never mair play Heather Jock." 

Old Highland Marches, Strathspeys, and Reels 89 


This Strathspey was known by five names " Carrick'* 
Reel/' " Glume's Heel," " Carriok's Rant," " Dinna think, 
Bonnie Laes," aJid " The Smith's a, Gallant Fireman." It 
was first printed about 1750, and I have not been able to 
trace it further back than that date. It ie said to have got 
the last name from a wandering fiddler who obtained warmth 
and shelter on a stormy day in a smithy where a brawny 
blacksmith was hard at work. The fiddler probably knew no 
name for the tune he played. 

The following Gaelic verses suit the tune very well as it 
would have been sung, and they are quite in the spirit of it, 
and have' the genuine ring of the simple and pretty old port 
a beul. A man is announcing his approaching marriage, and 
naturally dwells on the charms of his betrothed. He tells us 
that she is pretty and kindly;, and over and above this, she 
wears buckle in her shoes : 

" Tha mi dol a dheamamh banais, 

Tha mi dol a phosadh; 
Tha mi dol a dheanamh banais, 
Ris a' chailinn bhbidhich. 

" Ris a' chailinn bhoidhich, luraich, 

Ris a' chailinn bhoidhich ; 
Ris a' chailinn bhoidhich, luraich, 
Buoaillean 'na brcgan." 


This is a sprightly pipe reel, and the words are good and 
undoubtedly very old. They cleverly pourtray a- scene which 
was not uncommon a century or two- ago, when it was the 
custom of those who> could afford it to kill a fatted cow in the 
autumn for the winter supply of meat. The killing and 
dressing of the cow involved a, good deal of labour, as all the 
wholesome and edible parts received careful attention. 

The slaughter of the animal was usually something of an 
event, and willing hands from the neighbourhood attended 
and assisted. Not the least important of the purtenances of 
the cow were the puddings, black and white. These would 
be cooked on the occasion, as immediate cooking wae necessary 
for their preservation, and they would be available for ihe 
evening ' a entertainment . 

90 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

The words suit the music admirably. We are told that 
where fiddlers .are girls will be, and where black puddings 
(" luban dubh ") are there will be white ones (" maragan"). 
The house now gets filled with fiddlers, girls, black and white 
puddings, and finally, all, including the puddings, set to 
dancing in earnest: 

" Far an bi na fidhleireain 

'S ann a bhios na caileagan, 
Far am bi na fidhleirean 
' S ann ai bhios na, caileagan ; 
Far am bi na fidhleirean 
' S ann a bhios na caileagan ; 
'S far am bi na luban dubha 
'S ann a bhios na maragan. 

" Lan tighe dh' fhidhleirean, 
Lan tighe chailea.gan, 
Lan tighe dh' fhidhleirean, 
Lan tighe chaileagan; 
Lan tighe dh 7 fhidhleirean, 
Lan tighe chaileagan ; 
Lan tighe luban dubha, 
'S Ian tighe mharagari. 

" Dhanneiadh na fidhleirean, 
'S dhannQadh na caileagan, 
DhannsaHh na fidhleirean, 
'S dhannsadh nai caileagan; 
Dhannsadh na fidhleirean, 
' S dhannsadh na caileagan ; 
Dhannsadh na luban dubha, 
'S dhannsadh na maragan." 


The following words are pretty good, and suit the tun 
well. " Maighdeanan a' Choire Dhuibh " are the still-pot* 
in the Black C'orrie, and the verses express the wish, and 
imply the longing, of some involuntary exile to be again 
beside them : 

" Mhaighdeanani a' Choire Dhuibh, 
Bu mhaith an diugh bhi cuide ribh ; 
Mhaighdeainan a' Choire Dhuibh 
Bu mhaith an diugh bhi laimh ribh. 

. Old Highland Marches, Strathspeys, and Reels 91 

' Bu mhaith an diugh, an de 's an diugh, 
Bu mhaith an diugh bhi cuidei ribh ; 
Bu mhaith an diugh, an de 's an diugh, 
Bu mhaith an diugh bhi laimh ribh." 

At a wedding in the Braes of Kilmorack, in the olden 
times, the company found it impossible to dance to the music 
provided, for the fiddler 1 had neither time nor tune, and they 
repaired to a smuggling bothy in the neighbourhood to enjoy 
themselves!. After a time they returned to the barn, where 
the forlorn fiddler still remained, and made another attempt 
at dancing this time with complete success ; and the com- 
ment on the fiddler passed round by the joyful dancers was, 
" Nach e thog air?" " Has he not improved?" 


We have two interesting and, I think, suggestive verses 
to this well-known Strathspey. The bridge itself seems to 
Jbave aroused much interest. To people, however intelligent, 
unfamiliar witlii the principle of the arch (and the first stone 
bridge of Perth was built in 1329), a stone bridge where the 
greater number of the stones appear to hang in mid-air would 
be regarded as a risky means of crossing a wide and deep 
river, and the verses seem to suggest this concern. The first 
tells of some Finlay, with his speckled dog, who reeled and 
danced hither and thither on the bridge of Perth. An obvi- 
ous inference, that Finlay was unduly joyful, is not sufficient 
to explain the incident, for this would be too simple an 
occurrence to be commemorated in verse, and a very old verse 
"at that, for it is quoted by Mr Forbes, in his book on Gaelic 
names of animals, to> show that there were dancing dogs in 
olden times. In view of the second verse, which makes it 
plain that its author was much alarmed at the prospect of 
the bridge^ of Perth collapsing, it looks as if Finlay's perform- 
ance wae meant either to show his own bravery and contempt 
of danger, or inspire confidence in others who had less faith 
in the stability of the bridge : 

" Ruidhleadh Fionnladh, dhannsadh Fionnladh, 
Ruidhleadh Fionnladh 's an cu breac ; 
Ruidhleadh Fionnladh, dhannsadh Fionnladh, 
Null 's a nail air Drochaid Pheairt. 

92 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

' ' Ho ! ma thuiteas, Hi ! ma tbuiteas, 
Ho ! ma thuiteas Drochaid Pheairt ; 
Ho ! ma thuiteas, Hi ! ma thuiteas, 
Ho! ma thuiteas bheir i glag." 


This is an old and very popular reel, but I have never 
been able to trace its history or composer. 

The purport of the following Gaelic verse is not quite 
clear, but it looks like the production, of a. care-free and 
appreciative spectator of a case of church discipline rigor- 
ously enforced. He tells us that Malcolm (presumably the 
delinquent) is not permitted even to stir from his seat, let 
alone rise up or go out : 

11 Cha 'n fhaod Calum carachadh), 
Cha 'n fhaod Calum eirigh ; 
Cha 'n fhaod Calum dhol a mach 
Bho Mhac 'ic-Iain chleirich." 

There is a. flippant old Scottish verse to the same tune : - 

11 Some siay the deil is dead, 
And buried in Kirkcaldy ; 
Some say he rose again, 
And danced the Hieland Liaddie." 

Another version gives the equally insecure burial-place of the 
deil as Strathbogie, and he celebrates his recovery of freedom 
here by dancing the " Killioogie." 

The following verse, I think, refers to one of those wan- 
dering naturals common in rural districts in Scotland in olden 
times, who received, often with little gratitude, the hospi- 
tality of kindly and warm-hearted people. Malcolm was 
blind of an eye, very unsociable, and difficult to please with 
food. Gruel that is, oatmeal made into soup a- wholesome 
and nutritious dish, he would not accept unless some appetis- 
ing ingredient was added. The last couplet of the verse was 
missing. I never heard it, and never had the good fortune 
to meet with anyone who' had ; and on expressing my regret 
to a friend, who is both iai poet and a distinguished Gaelic 
scholar, he, in a moment of inspiration, com posed a couple of 
lines which are quite in the spirit and character of the older 

Old Highland Marches, Strathspeys, and Reels 93 

Cha 'n 
Cha 'n 
'S mor 

cam croicheannach, 

61 e brochan gun; rud ann, 

cam croicheannach, 

61 e brochan gun rud ann ; 

cam croicheiannach, 

61 e brochaoti gun rud ann; 

& gheibheadh e im 's bainne, 

bu docha leis an dram." 

The lines were sung to- the first measure of " Lady Mary 
Ramsay," eomewhat different, of course, from the printed 


I have not been able to trace the history of this good old 
tune. The name affords one little guidance. Neil Gow was 
born in 1727, and died in 1807. Whether the tune was 
dedicated to him during his lifetime, or afterwards,' or 
whether it may not be an older tune to 1 which his name had 
been given, I cannot say. The Gaelic verse to the tune is a 
first-class port-a-beul: 

" Mur b' e an crodh cha ghabhainn thu, 
Mur b' e an crodh cha 'n fhiii thu; 
Mur b' e an crodh 's na laoigh 'nan cois 
Cha luighinn air do chulthaobh." 

A free translation of which might run thus 

" It's for your cows I marry you, 
But for them worthless are you ; 
Had you no cows and sucking calves, 
I'd never lie beside you." 

I was told of a piper in Gairloch, many years ago, who 
had a penchant for playing thisi tune, for the words were well 
known in the district. He was a good piper, and much in 
demand at weddings, and when he knew OT suspected that 
meroenairy considerations had influenced the bride or bride- 
groom, he was sure to find opportunities for striking the tune 
up, although he well knew that the playing of it would entail 
on him a curtain lecture. 

I shall conclude with three old Gaelic riddles (Toimh- 
, and leave you to solve them : 

94 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

" Tha bodachan an tigh m' athar, 
'S bithidh e trie a' dranndan; 
Currac air 's e dol a laighe, 
'S cota fada, Frangach." 

" A little carl is in father's house, 
And. often is he scolding ; 
A long French coat and nightcap is 
His dress when he is sleeping." 

" Bean bheag 'tighinn do 'n bhaile so, 
' S math a ni i dr anndan ; 
Ourrac de 'n chochallainn oirre, 
'S cota buidhe plangaid," 

" A little wife's coining to this town, 
And good is she at scolding ; 
Her bonnet is made of barley beard, 
Her coat of yellow plaiding." 

" Each dubh, dubh, a mire ris an t-smth, 
'S cha 'n 'eil an Eirinn no 'n Albainn 
Na leumas >air a mhuin." 

" A very black horse, sporting with the stream, 
But neither in Ireland nor in Scotland 
Is there one who will mount him." 

These old riddles are suggestive. Were the little people 
and the black horse novelties when the riddles were current ? 
If so, when was that? And why is England left out of the 
last riddle ? 

2nd FEBRUARY, 1917. 

Mr Andrew Mackintosh presided over this evening's meet- 
ing. The office-bearers elected at last lannual meeting were 
re-elected, and the filling up of the vacancies caused by the 
death of the' Chief and the Secretary was deferred. Mr D. 
Butter submitted abstracts of the accounts for the years 1915 
and 1916, which had been aaidited by himself and Mr D. J. 
MiacDonald. The reports were adopted. Mr Alexander 
Macdonald, Inverness, then read the underacted paper, 
which was illustrated by selections on the piob-mhor, rendered 
by Pipe-Major MacDonald. 

Fragments of Gaelic Song and Lilt 


To any one having the time and the inclination, I can 
fancy that few pastimes should be more agreeable, than the 
collection and arrangement of old Gaelic tunes and the vari- 
ous words associated with them, together with as much as 
possible of the history local or general that attaches 
thereto. Not that the words convey much of historical 
importance; but while that is so, they reveal interesting 
glimpses of old-world life in Gaeldom, which, I am tempted 
to> say, unfortunately will probably be in evidence never 
again. Only in free and easy, largely .artistic, conditions of 
life could such spontaneity of joy, wit and humour find 
expression. Conceived in innocent light-hear tedness, those 
compositions were fashioned, even when, as in many cases, 
pungently satiric^ on the anvil of a kindly understanding 
between man and man at common brotherhood, in the sun- 
shine of which one would not condescend to take advantage of 
another, unless in very rare circumstances. 

Already the late Dr K. N. MacDonald, Edinburgh; the 
late Mr Henry Whyte, Glasgow ; Mr Andrew Mackintosh, 
Inverness!, and others have done excellent work in this im- 
portant field, and have gathered altogether a rich harvest. 
But there can be no doubt that there must still be floating 
about in the Highlands a large volume of music and words - 
particularly the latter more or less ready for the collector 
and the editor. 

There can be no question as to the importance of the 
material. Many things still difficult to explain satisfactorily 
in regard to the origin and growth of Gaelic music are vitally 
involved. A close and sympathetic study of the whole 
subject on broad lines would probably go to> throw some 
interesting light on the evolution of wordsi and melodies. The 
doubling of couplets, quatrains, and even more pretentious 
measures and compositions may very probably be ascribed to 
the influence of instrumental music. Then there is the 
matter of the accurate' allocation of the correct words to their 
proper tunes. The old artists never made a mistake in this 
particular. But modern editors are not always happy or 
successful in their efforts in this field. 

There are many compositions that meantime occur to me 
as not yet published, or not well enough known, or to some 
extent at least variants of versions, all worth preserving, 

96 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

They are fragmentary, aind it may be stated that it is 
increasingly difficult to obtain words for the second turn of a 
good few of the melodies. I hope some person or persons 
interested, and having opportunities, may complete these. In 
any case, the words and the melodies are most interesting, 
and demand careful attention at our hands. I am not to 
dip deeply into the history of these fragments simply in 
light vein, as occurs to me to do in the passing, my principal 
object being to preserve the words, and invite attention on 
the part of any able to assist in completing as many as 
possible. I fear there are a good few that are still imper- 
fectly known' very few, if any indeed, whole. 


To the tune generally known' by the name of " Stumpie," 
which seems to- be the dance setting of the melody called 
" The Highland Wedding," we have f 

(1) Dar a. theid thu thar' a' mhonaidh. 

Thoir do ghunna Guide riut, 

(Same again twice"). 
'S dar a theid thu Choir e Mhonaidh, 
Thoir Cloinn Domhnuill cuide riut. 
The reason for this command is not given. 

(2) Cha tugaimi taing air fuachd a' gheamhraidh 

Na 'm biodh manndull fad' orm, 

(Same again twice). 

'S aim bu shamhradh learn an geamhradh 
Na 'm biodh manndull fad' orm. 

In which would seem to be conveyed an expression of great 
thankfulness or possibly a wish for the possession of a 
warm coat for winter use. 

To the tune known under the name of " The Bridge of 
Perth," we^ have: 

(1) He ma thuiteas, he ma thuiteas, 

Ho ma thuiteas Drochaid Pheairt. 

(Same again twice). 
Ho ma thuiteias, he ma thuiteas, 
Ho ma thuiteas bheir i glag 

which most likely are the words of the first stanza of the 
o rigin al comp osi tion . 

Fragments of Gaelic Song and Lilt 97 

(2) An oidhche bha mi 'n tigh an leanna, 

Gheibhinn beam air bo-nn-a-sia, 

(Same again twice). 
Gheibhinn bean ann gun dad idir, 
'S fichead air a' bhonn-a-sia. 

A purely frolicsome, fun-provoking expression. 

(3) An cluinn thu mis' a nighean dubh, 

An teid an orodh an diugh na ghleann? 

(Same again twice}. 

Ach ma theid an crodh an leth-ghleann, 
Bidh na geamarani 's a*' mheall 

local lines evidently indicating the. time when game- 
keepers first were on the look-out for cattle trespassing on 
forbidden ground. 

And to> old melodies which the wordsi will suggest: 

(1) Chaidh mi sios, chaidh mi suas, 

'S cha. robh ball de Ruaraidh agam, 
Chaidh mi sios, chaidh mi suiae, 

'S cha rcbh agam Ruaraidh;. 
An uair a chaidh mi 'n raoir >a ohadal, 

Chuir mi Ruaraidh anns an leabaidh, 
'S an uair a dh' eirich mi 's a' mhaduinn, 

Cha robh agam Ruaraidh. 

And whether Rory was discovered or not, we have never 

(2) Tha fortan oirnn, tha deoch againn, 

Cha 'n 'eil am brochan gann duinn, 
Tha pailteas anns nai poitean deth, 

An crochadh air an t-slabhraidh ; 
'S aon fear a rinn an toiseach e, 

'S i bhochdainoi bha cur ann da, 
'S gur truagh nach deach' a bhathadh, 

Mu 'n do thar e ae an allt' e. 

in which we have^ what seems to be an expression of ill-will 
against gruel, somewhat in parody fashion, after the style 
of Duncan Ban Maolntyre'a " Ora,n ia' Bhranndaidh "- 
11 Di-halum, Di-halum," etc. 

98 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

(3) Na'm biodh agam trusdair bodaich, 

Bhogainn anns an allt e, 
Na 'm biodh. agam trusdair bodaich, 

Bhogainn anns an allt e; 
Gu 'm bogainn e, gu 'm bogiainn e, 

'S gu 'm bogainn anns an allt e, 
'S mur biodh e bog 'nuair bheirinn as e, 

Chiiirinn ai rithisd ann e. 

Sung to the tun whioht Dr K. N. MacDonald names " Pease 

To' a- tune of the jig order, known in Gaelic by the name 
of " Long a' Mharaiche " : 

(1) Thia long a' mbairaiche 'tighinn na bhaile-sa, 

Tha long a' mharaich 'seoladh; 

(Same again twice). 

Tha- long a' mharaiche 'tighinn na bhaile-sa, 
H-uile latha Di-dbmhnaich. 

(2) Tha mo bhean-sa, bithidh mo bhean-sa, 

Tha mo bhean-sa diaonnan ; 
Tha mo bhean-sa, bithidh mo bhean-sa, 

'Laighei air an daoraich ; 
Tha mo bhean-sa leth-chiad bliadhna, 

'S i cho' liath ri caora, 
'S tha mi 'n duil ged bhiodh i 'n ciad, 

Gu 'm biodh i 'g iarruidh 'n diajoraich. 

Also words oo'mmencing : 

(3) Air 1 cul a' phris, air beul a' phris, 

Air cul a' phris 's a' gharadh, etc., etc. 

Sung to the well-known tune called " Cailleach Liath 
Baarsaidh," the following words, so far as I can trace, have 
not yet been printed : 

Hum-di-hiuro>-bhi , 

Sabhall beag a { BhailUdh, 

(Repeat twic*) 
'S io^madh rud a chunna mi 

Ar? ^abhall beag a' Bhaillidn. 

Fragments of Gaelic Song and Lilt 99 

E, ho ro b' aighearach e, 

Sabhall beag a' Bhaillidh, 

(Repeat twice} 
; S iomadli! rud <a> b' aithne dhomh 

An sabhall beag ia' Bhaillidh. 

'S iomiadh rud a chunna mi 
An sabhall beag <&' Bhaillidh, 
(Repeait twice) 

Cupaicheani is glaineachan 

An sabhall beag a* Bhaillidh. 

And there is a version commencing with the words : 

Calum min Moireasdan, 

'S a bhean aig air a ghualainn, etc. 

Then, to the good old 'air known in some districts ae 
" Ardnamurchan Lads " : 

Dom dom doichean, 

Do'm do'm deilohean; 
Dom doom doicheian, 

Gilleain Airde-Mlnur ! chain j 
Dughall is Domhull, 

Fionnladh is Iseabal ; 
Diighall is Domhull, 

Gillean Airde-Mhurchain. 
Dom dom doichean, etc. 

Still, to a somewhat similar tune, known by the name of 
" Domhull na Biodiaige " : 

Hu-oro, fear dubh tha mi 'g iarruidh, 

Hii-oro, fear liath cha> ghabh mi e ; 
Hii-oro, fear dubh tha mi 'g iarruidh, 

Hu-oro, fear liath cha ghabh mi e 
Domhrull na biodaige, Domhull nai biodaige, 

Domhull na biodaige, sireadh na caileige ; 
Domhull na biodaige ; s Uilleani an ciobair, 

'Sior a/ strith air thi na- caileige. 

The last two lines occasionally rendered^ 
Hu-o-hi air thi na banaraicb 

The following lare sung to the excellent old melody known 
among pipers as ' ' The Lads of Mull " : 

100 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Ho tha 'n tombaoa daor, 

He tha 'n tombaca ginidh ; 

(Repeat twice) 
Ginidh air a h-uile punnd, 

Punnd >air a h-uile ginidh. 


Ginidh air a h-uile punnd, 

Punnd air a* h-uile ginidh ; 
Ginidh air a h-uile punnd, 

'S unns' air an t-sia sgillinn. 

And to the same : 

Suid an rud a thogadh m' fhonn, 

Crbnan iai' ghille Mhuilich, 
Sud an rud a thogadh m' fhonn, 

Cronan a' ghille Mhuilich ; 
Cronaoai a' ghille mhaoil, 
Cronain a' ghille Mhuilich; 
Amaideais a' ghille mhaoil, 
'S faoineis a' ghille Mhuilich. 

'S aighearaoh an gille maol, 
' S aoidheil an gille Muileach ; 
Caileagan a h-uile tiaiobh ' 
An gaol air 3.' ghille Mhuileach. 
Sud an rud a thogadh m' fhonn, 
' Cronan a' ghille Mlnuilich, 
Crbnan a' ghille mhaoil, 
Crbnan a' ghille Mhuilich. 

To- the tune " Cawdor Fair," associated usually with the 

Ruidhle Cheit leis a' ghun mhbr, 
Agus Seatadh Secnaid, etc. 

Other words not well known are: 

Chi mi 'm bodach 's a dha chu, 
'Siubhal dliith le chrbcan, etc. 

Suil dhai '11 d' thug mi thar a' chneagain, 

Chunna mi ami coltas famhair; 
J S dh' fhaighnichd mi dheth ann an cabhaig, 

C" ait' an robh e 'chbmhnuidh. 

Fragments of Gaelic Song and Lilt 101 

Agus f hreagair am fear eile : 

Tha mi chomhnuidh air an Tom, 

Mar bha Noah air an long ; 
'S bho 'n a chuir thu 'cheist oho trom, 

'S mise Goll Mac Mhoirni. 

'S an sin thubhairt am fear a bhai ris an dibhearsan : 

Cha 'n 'eil caileag anns an ait' 

Nach d' thug uile dhuit an gradh . 

'S laithne dhomhsa te no dha 

Tha 'tairgse 'n lamh dhuit ccinhla. 

'Direadh a mach Torra-Chluain, 

Lo do ghunn' agus crios gnaiir, 
'Nuair a lasadh t' fhudaa: cluais, 

Bhiodh damh ruadh is leon air. 

To the melody called " The Maid of Islay " a favourite 
<me for short, local compositions the West country wordi 
run somewhat thus: 

Thugaibh dram do Bhaldi C'oillein, 

Thugaibh dram do Bhaldi mbr ; 
Thugaibh drain do> Bhaldi Ciobair, 

'S thugaibh tri do Bhaldi mor. 

In some other districts of the Highlands words sung to the 
air are : 

Tha gaoth mhor air Loch-an-t-Seilich, 
'S tha gaoth bheag air Loch-an-Duin ; 

'S ruigidh mise Loch-a'-Bhradain, 
Mu'n teid cadal air mo shuil. 

The Lochness-side version, beginning with 
Tha mi 'n duil gu 'n tig an clachair, 

will be found om referring to Vol. XXV. of our Society's 
" Transactions." 

The Lochness-side version of " Bealach a' Mhorbheinn,' 1 
or " Bealach a' Mhorbhaioh," so far as as I could gather ite 
parts, runs somewhat a follows : 

102 Gaelic Society of Inuernew 

; S fhada bhuam fhin Gleann-a'-Bheadaraidh, 
'S fhada bhuam fhin Bealach a' Mhorbhaich, 
'S fhadai bhuam fhin Gleamn-a'-Bheadaraidh, 
Thugam is agam air Bealach a' Mhorbhaich; 
Bho ghleann gu gleann, Gleann-a'-Bheadaraidh, 
Bho ghleann gu gleann, Bealach a' Mhorbhaich; 
'S fhada bhuam fhin Gleann-a'-Bheadaraidh, 
Thugam; is agam air Bealach a' Mhoirbhaich. 

Bho chul naan beann, bonn naan bealaiohean, 
Bho' chul niaim beann Bealach a' Mhorbhaichi; 
Bho chul nam beann, bonn nam bealaiohean, 
Thugaan is agam air Bealach a' Mhbrbhaich. 

Cul nan tulaichean, bial nam bealaichean, 
Cul nan tulaichean, Bealach a' Mhorbhaich ; 
Cul nan tulaichean, bial nam beallaicEean, 
Thugam is agam air B^eadach a/ Mhorbhaich. 

Of the same order 1 of melody, more or less, is the one to 
which the following words were chanted, sometimes as an 
exercise in Gaelic pronunciation and articulation: 

Chunna mi, chfunna mi, 

Chunina mi 'n t-iomlan ; 
(Repeated twice). 

Chunna mi 'n t-Ionbhar, 

'S chunna mi 'n t-Sron. 

Mullach Ruidh' Spidein, 

Is bealach Ruidh' Chjaomhaidh, 

Bealach Ruidh' Spidein, 

Is mullach Ruidh' Ghaomhaidh; 

Mullach Ruidh' Spidein, 

Is bealach Ruidh' Chaomhaidh, 

Mullach ,ai' Chaol-doire 

'S Goirtean-a'-Chois. 

Tiugainn an fhireach 

A thilleadh nan caorach, 

(Repeated twice). 
Tiugainn a laochain, 

'Shiubhal nam beann. 
Buachaille ghobhar, 

Is buachaille chaorach, 

(Repeated twice). 
Buachaille laogh, 

Is buachaille mheann. 

Fragments of Gat lie Song and Lilt 103 

This melody is usually known under the Gaelic title of 
" Cailleach a' Ghobhainn is Cailleach a' Mhuilleir," the local 
words for which were somewhat as follows : 

'S ann a bha 'n othail air cailleach a' ghobhainn, 
'S ann a bha 'n othail air cailleacth a' mhuilleir; 
'S ann a bha 'n othail air oailleach a' ghobhainn, 
'N uair chunnaic i 'n t-ogha aig oailleach a' mhuilleir. 

Haoi, ho, air cailleach <a' ghobhainn, 

Haoi, ho, air cailleach a' mhuilleir; 

Haoi, he, air cailleach ai' ghobhainn, 

'S a>nn bhuail i an clobha air cailleach a' mhuilleir. 

May not the following be the oldest words to the air of 
" Tullochgorm " ? 

Theid mi null gu Taobh Loch-gorm, 
Theid mi null, gu 'n teid mi null ; 
O ! theid mi null gu Taobh Loch-gorm, 
'S thig mi nail a maireach. 

'S boidheach, lurach Taobh Loch-gorm, 
'S tuim is tulaich, glinn is mullaich; 
Mill i mulain Taobh Loch-gorm 
Thig mi nail a maireach. 

Diridh mi ri Taobh Loch-gorm, 
Diridh mi ris, tearnaidh mi leis; 
Fagaidh mi sin Taobh Loch-gorm, 
'S thig mi nail a maireach. 

The last line of each verse on Lochness-side is 
'S thig mi nail am. Bana. 

The air known in Gaelic as *' Oairistiona Chaimbeul " 
(" The Miller of Drone ") has more than one set of words 
associated with it. The late Dr MacdonaJd has two in his 
very excellent work on " Puirt-a-Beul," a.nd another ia 
known in the Western districts in which " Cairistiona " is 
the subject of ;a sort of rhyming dialogue the one party 
praising her good parts, and the other as eloquently pointing 
out her numerous faults and failings. It is a somewhat 
lengthy production: 

Tha mo leannan air an fhaighir, 
Oairistiona Chaimbeul. 

S bi'dh 'n t-anmoch laoun mu 'n tig i dhachaidh, 
Gairistio>nia Chaimbeul. 

104 Gaelic Society oj /nuerness 

Tha i busach 's tha i banadl, 
Cairistionia Chaimbeul. 

'S bi'dh i mireag ris na balaich, 
Cairistioma Chaimbeul. 

Thug i gealladh dhomhsa. 'm bliadhma, 
Cairistioma Cliaiinbeiil. 

'S ioimadh fear dba 'n d' thug i riamh e, 
Cairistio'ina Cliaimbeul. 

Thig mo ghaol-s' an cois a geallaidh, 
Cairistionia Cliaiiiibeail. 

Mur tig fear is fearr 'na rathad, 
Caaristioinia Cnaimboul. 

Gur i banarachi na buaile, 
Oairis tioma Chaimboul . 

Doirtidh i na ni i bhleoghann, 
Caaristionia Chaimbeul. 

Gur i banarach a' bLainne, 
Cairistionia Chaimbeul. 

Olaidh i na bheir i dhachaidh, 
Cairistiona, Chaimbeul. 

Tha i math air fuaghal faitheam, 
Cairistio'nja Chaimbeul. 

Gu 'm b' fhearr i chartadh na ba-thigh, 
Cairistionia Chaimbeul. 

Te choi m,ath' 's dha 'n tig an currac, 
Cairistionia Chaimbeul. 

'S mor gu 'm b' fhearr dha 'n tigeadh sumag, 
Cadristio'nia Chaimbeul. 

Tha i aoidheil, 's tha i siobhalt, 
Cairistionia Chaimbeul. 

Mar tha mo sheanmhair ann am miothlachd, 
Cairistiooiia Chaimbe-ul. 

'S aotrom -a. ceum air a' mhointich, 
Cadristicmia Chaimbeul. 

frag meats of Gaelic Song and Lilt 105 

'S cilia dean seiche tairbh dhi brogan, 
Oairistiona Chaimbeul. 

Gur a math, -air fuaghal sioda, 
Gairistionia Chaimbeul. 

'S mor gu, 'm b' fhearr i dheanamh sioman, 
Cairistioma Chaimbeul. 

Tha i dhomhsa daonnan dileas, 
Cairis tioana Chaimbeul . 

J S do gach oigear anns an sgire, 
Gairistioma Chaimboul. 

I am indeibted for these words to the columns of the 
" Highland News Home Journal," where they appeared 
some years ago. 

The late Dr Macdonald's versions are as follow : 

" Posaidh mi thu air an t-Samhuinn, 
'Chairistiona Chaimbeul ? 
(Repeated twice). 
'S ged a tha do chasan oaola, 
'S e mo ghaol gun taing thu. 

Dh' ith thu 'n rac 's an tunriag odhar, 

' Chairistiona Chaimbeul . 
(Repeated twice). 
'Chairistioina, 'Chursti Anna, 

'Chairistiona Chaimbeul. 

Gailleachi is mios-' air an t-saoghal, 

' Chairistioina Chaimbeul . 
(Repeated twice). 
'Charistiona, 'Chursti Anna, 

'Chairistiona Chaimbeul." 

He gives the following as the Lochaber version : 

" Thog thu tigh aig ceann an rathaid, 
'Ch^airistionia Chaimb'eul. 
(Repeated twice). 

'S bidhi na h-uaislean art a' tathaich 
Fad' na h-oddhche gheamhraidh. 

106 Gaelic Society of Inuernesf 

'S laghach thu aig ceann an rathaid, 
'Chairistiona Chaimbeul. 
(Repeated twice). 

'S ri do charaid tha thu faoilteach, 
'S faodaidh e dol teann ort." 

Th Lochness-side, version is substantially on the lines of 
these, more particularly of the -first, and there is absence of 

An air well-known at one time, but now almost forgotten, 
has associated with, it the words : 

Domhnull a' ruith nan gobhar, 

Saoil sibh fhein nach fhoghainteach e; 
Domhnull a' ruith nan gobhar, 

A' mireadh ria an nighean donn. 
Air an deidh, air an deidh, 

Saoil eibh fhein nach fhoghainteach e; 
Air an deidh, air an deidh, 

Air an deidh feadh nan gleann. 

To the music known by the name of " A null thar nan 
Eileanan Dh' America gu ; n teid sinn " I find allocated 
the words, " Mo Ghealaichasach nan Caorach," in Dr Mac- 
Donald'e " Puirt-a-Beul " ; but there are different tunes to 
these respective words on Lochness-side, and a slightly 
different version of the worde, which are: 

Mo ghealachasach, mo ghealachasach, 

Moi ghealachasach nan ca orach, 

(So/me again twice). 
Cha leiginni a shiubhal mhointich thu, 

Air thoir nan caorach mhaiola. 

But I must not exclude a very good old melody known in 
Gaelic as " Gillean nan Caorach," the words to which' com- 
mence with a raither pungent reference to thin legs the 
horror of the Highlanders of old : 

Fear nan oasan caola, 

Oha leiginn na mo leabaidh e, etc., etc., 

the more commonly known words to this melody being the 
well-known words : 

Lan tighe dh' fhidhlearan, 

'S Ian tighe chaileagaii, etc., etc. ; 

Lan tighe luban dubba, 

'S Ian tighe mharagan. 

Fragments of Gaelic Song ana Lilt 197 

Tbe words usually lilted to the tune, " The Braes of 
Mar," are:- 

Feumaidh mi mo ghun a dheanamh, 
Air a chulthaobh, 's air a bhialthaobh ; 
Feumaidh mi mo ghun a dheanamh, 
Mar bhios gun nam baintigheiarnan, etc. 

The version on Lochness-side ran : 

Ho, ro, 'nighean dubh, bheag a' chiteinn, 
Hi, ri, 'nighean dubh, bheag a' chitsinn ; 
Ho, ro, 'nighean dubh, bheag a' chitsinn, 
Bi'dh na fir 'gad fhoighneachd, etc., etc. 

To the tune known as " Cul an Tig.h-osda " ' ' The Back 
of the Change-House ' ' we have : 

'S anm chuir am bodach feagal O'rm, 
'S ann chuir am bodach fearg orm; 
'S ann chuir am bodach feagal orm, 
'S e 'cleasachd ris an t-seana bhean. 
Am buachaille 's a' bhanarach, 
An sgalag is an t-searbhatnt ; 
Fear an tighe 's bean an tighe, 
'S mo sheanair is mo sheanmhair. 

And to the famous " Jenny Dang the Weaver " : 

'S com,ai learn buntata carrach, 

Bho nach biodh an t-im leo. 

(Repeated twice) 
'S coma leam >a rithisd iad, 

Dar nach biodh iad sgriobte. 

and ai few words which furnish an interesting, glimpse of old- 
world life in the Highlands also local words that ar* 
interesting : 

Am mart a bh' aca 'n lonar-gharradh, 

Sgarradh oirre, dh' fhalbh i; 
Am mart a bh' aca 'n lomar-gharradh, 

Sgarradh oirre, dh' fhalbh i; 
Ach cha d' fhag an t-Earrach dhi 

Ach ladhar ague earball, 
'S bha cuideachd arm a thainig trath, 

Is dh' ith iad Ian am balg dhi. 

108 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Other interesting old-world words to the same air are: 

Briogais air ma luirgean loma, 

'S boineid air na maoileanaich, etc., etc. ; 

Brogan biorach 's sailtean doraich 
Air na casan caola. 

There is a distant variant of " The Marquis of Huntly's 
Highland Fling," known in Gaelic under the title of 
" Maighdeannani a' Choir e Dhuibh," to which numerous sets 
of words* used to be lilted. Among the oldest of those is the 
following : 

Tha feiair am Beinn an t-Slocain duibh 

A bhios a' ruith nani boirionnach, 
Tha feiair am Beinn an t-Slooain duibh 

A bhios a' ruith nan gruagach ; 
Firionnach is boineid air, 

A bhios ,a' ruith nam boirionnach ; 
Firionnach is boineid air, 

A bhios a' ruith nan gruagach. 

(See Vol. XXV. of the Society's "Transactions"; also 
" Story and Song from Lochn ess-side "). 

This melody appears to have been a special favourite with 
composers generally. I submit the following song as indi- 
cating the popularity of the tune and the refrain : 

Fonn " A nigheau og a' chcta dhuibh, 

Bu mhath an diugh bhi 'n cuideachd 's tu, 
A nighean 6g a chota dhuibh, 

Bu mhath an diugh bhi lamh riut. 

" Naile 's i mo ghaol a' mhaighdean, 
Gorm shuil a mhealladh saighdeair ; 
Grid-he soilleir a ni soillse; 
Cha 'n 'eil foill 'a d' nadur. 

" 'S gile thu sneachd air mhunadh, 
'S gile thu no eaT air tuinne; 
Ciochan corrach air a' chruinneig ; 
Bean is grinne nadur. 

" Cas is d-eise theid air urlar, 

An uair a bhios an fhiodhal sunndach; 
Cha 'n 'eil gille og 's an diithaich, 
Nach bi 'n duil ri Mairi. 

Fragments of Gaelic Song and Lilt 109 

" A High. ! gur misei thai fo mhulad, 
Is mi HI' shuidhe taobh na h-uinneig' ; 
A sior choimhead air a/ chruinneig, 
Agus currac ard oirr'. 

' A High ! gur misie th' air mo ghreadadh, 
Mo leaoman an diugh aig fear eile ; 
'S maarg a bheireadh gaol am feasda 
Do the na/ch seasadh raithe. 

"A High ! gur mise tha fo smalan, 
A' fuireach an so aig a' bhaile; 
'S nach fhaigh mi maighdean no leannan, 
Rie an dean mi manran." 

After a long interval of time, Archibald Grant, the Glen- 
moriston bard, composed a song to the same strain, which 
will be found in his published works. The chorus sings : 

" Na maighdeannan is boidhche cruth, 
' S ann air an Rudhai chunna, mi ; 
Na maighdeannan is boidhche cruth, 
Bha fuireach ris a' bhata." 

I think I shall be excused for including in these selections 
a very interesting production known for long among lovers of 
Gaelic music and song as " Ruidhle Mhor Shrath-Spe." I 
am indebted for my copy to the paiges of that interesting 
little history popularly kno>wn by the name of " Glenmore," 
now, I believe, fast falling into the literary rarities among 
us. The words are : 

" O Phadruig Bhaimi,* seid suas gu bras, 
' S o do shiuiinsair gra-d chuir sinn air chas ; 
Srann suas gach crann ' thoir dhuinn le bias 
Ruidhle mhor Shrath-Spe. 

" Cluich Tulach-gorm, righ nam port, 
Na Tulaichean, is Drochaid Pheairt ; 
Is daiinsaidh sinn le 'r n-uile neart 
Ruidhle mhor Shrath-Spe. 

" Droch shiubhal air jigs, quadrilles, is bhals, 
Tha peasanan 'toirt nail a ' France ' ; 
God save the Queen she likes to dance 
Ruidhle mhor Shrath-Spe. 

* A famous piper and violinist. 

110 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

" Faic an sud air feur no- faich', 
Daodne 's mnatham coir gun spraic, 
A' lenini 's a' clabadaich nam bas, 
An Ruidhle mhc>r Shrath-Spe. 

" Faic na gillean cridheil og, 

'Strith ri caileagan mu 'm pog; 
'S le aighear leumraich as am brog 
Gu Ruidhle mhor Shrath-Spe. 

" 'S na oaileagan tha aoidheil tlath, 
'Mireadh, 'manran 's fealai-dha; 
'S a' mealladh cridhe fear no dha 
An Ruidhle mhor Shrath-Spe. 

" Ach a Phadruig Bhain 's math rinn sibhso, 
'S tha sinn gle sgith, fhir dh' orduich mise, 
Cuir ouach gu luath mu '11 coiairt a nise 
De dheirgean glan Shrath-Spe. 

' ( And let us break up with a toast, 
' S a Phadruig cuir-siai phiob gu clos ; 
Hip ! hip, ho-re ! our noble host 
larla mor Shrath-Spe." 

What a surge of life ; what a thrill of joy ; and what a vibra- 
tion of aoul are conveyed in those vigorous lines ! 

The famous " Reel of Tulloch " has been written about 
by moore than one collector. The story of the dance is fully 
related in " Glenmore," and there^ is also an excellent copy 
of the ancient words, while Sinclair's " Oraaiaiche " contains 
a lengthy copy of the verses. The words usually associated 
with the tune hereabouts within recent times are : 

Tha ruidhr aig na tunnagaii, 
Tha ruidhl' aig na tunnagan ; 
Tha ruidhl' aig na coilich dhubha, 
Am bun a' bhruthaich urad ud. 

Bho thulaichean gu bealaichean. 
Bho thulaichean gu bealaichean; 
Bho' thulaichean gu bealaichean, 
Gu 'n d' ith na coin nai ceannaichean. 

The reference to the gruesome end of the packmen is o<bscure, 
but it may not be without interest to mention that an ancient 
legend associated some rough usage of human heads with the 

Fragments of Gaelic Song and Lilt 111 

title of this tune. (See Dr K. N. MacDonald's " Puirt-a- 
Beul "). A few of the Gaelic words aire to the tune of 
" Lady Mary Ramsay." 

" An oidhche bha na gobhair againn, 
Na gobhair mhaol, odhar againn; 
An oddhche bha na gobhair againn ,- 

Ann an sabhall Ruaraidh," etc. 

I shall conclude this section of my paper by quoting : 

'S e mhisg a chuir an Nollaig oirnn, 
'S oha chuir i tuilleadh comain oirnn; 
'S e mhisg a chuir an Nollaig oirnn, 
J S cha chuir ai' Challuinn dinn i, etc., eitc. 

The tune is entitled " Christmas Carousal." 


Of these there would seem to be a great many not yet 
collected. But I must content myself with a few examples on 
this occasion such as I think ought to be put into per- 
manent form. These that I submit are all bagpipe melodies, 
and the words will, in many cases at anyrate, suggest the 
music : 

1 " Gillean an Fheilidh " " The Kilted Lads." 

Ho-ri-oi slan, '& ho'-ro gum a fallain doibh, 
Ho-ri-o elan do ghillean an f heilidh ; 

Ho-ri-o slan, 'a ho'-ro gum a fallain doibh, 
Ho-ri-o slan do ghillean an fheilidh. 

Gum a slan do na gillean 

A dhireas am fireach, 
'S a bheir am boc biorach 

A innis na geige. 

Ho'-ri-o slan, etc. 

Luchd nan dos donna, 
'S nan claidheamhna troma, 
A dheanadh am pronnadh, 
'N am cromadh na greine. 
Ho-ri-o slan, etc. 

112 Gaelic Society oj Inverness 

2 Tha bean again, 's i bhios a-gam; 

Tha bean agam fhin tha coibhneil ; 
Tha bean again, 's i bhios agam ; 
Tha bean agam fhin tha coibhneil ; 
Tha bean dhileas, dhileae, dhileas, 
Tha bean dhileas, dhileas, ohoibhneil ; 
Tha bean agam fhin tha dileas, 
Tha bean agam fhin tha coibhneil. 

The following words usually accompany the well-known 
tune known in Gaelic as " C'ar son a bhiodh sinn 
muladach?" : 

Seisd C'ar son a bhiodh sinn muladach ? 

' S c' ar son a bhiodh, sinn bronach ? 
C'ar son a bhiodh sinn muladach ? 
'S gum falbh sinn uile comhla. 

Tha na h-ighneagan fo mhmlad, 

' S tha iad uile bronach ; 
'S a liughad saighdear boidheach dearg 

A dh' fhalbh gu arm Righ Deorsa. 

'S ioma, mathair bhio gun mhac, 

'S piuthair bhios gun bhraithair, 
'S maighdeann 6g guru leannan aic' 

Mia mhaireas so mar tha e. 

How tragically true, unfortunately, in our own time ! 

The tune to which we heard these words usually sung is 
a very well-known bagpipe march, one of the two-measure 
melodies of which the " Cool Meadhonach " of the past sub- 
stantially consisted. Like many more tunes, however, this 
one would seem to carry a relationship with a few others, 
though it is not impossible that a question as to variants may 
be involved. Let us take the well-known melody of the 
world-known song, " A Mian's a Man for a' that." We find 
sung to this in Gaelic, at anyrate in certain localities, the 
words : 

Am bun a' chruidh cha chaidil mij 

Am bun a' chruidh cha bhi mi ; 
Am bun a' chruidh cha chaidil mi. 

'S mo leabaidh anns an t-sithean. 

Fragments of Gaelic Song and Lilt 113 

The next four lines we have not as yet been able to recover ; 
but one almost hears a voice gently whispering from behind 
a green, grassy mound : 

Am bun a' chruidh cha chaidil mi, 

Am bun a' chruidh cha bhi mi ; 
Cha chaidil mi am bun a/ chruidh, 

'S mo leabaidh stigh '& an t-sithmn. 

Close on the heels of the foregoing, and sung to a melody 
very similar, come the words : 

A h-uile latha 'buain na rainich ; 

A h-uile latha 'm onar 
A h-uile la^tha 'buain na rainich, 

Anns a' ghleannan bhcidheach. 
Tha mi sgith '& mi learn fhin, 

A h-uile latha 'buain na rainich ; 
Tha mi sgith 's mi learn fhim, 

A h-uile latha 'm, onar. 
Cul an tomain, beul an tomain, 

Cul an tomain bhoidhich ; 
C'iil an tomain, beul <an tomain, 

A h-uile latha 'm onar. 

Sometimes varied by : 

Cul a' chmnein, beul a' chinnein, 

Cul a/ chinnein bhoidhich, etc., etc., 

Cul a' phriseiri, beul a' phrisein, 

Cul a-' phrisein bhoidhich. 
Tha mi sgith 's mi learn fhin, 

A h-uile latha 'buain nai rainich ; 
Tha mi sgith 's mi learn fhin, 

A chuideachd air an smeorach, 

of which last line there would appear to be various differenr 

Still another air claims kinship in this connection 
to which are sung the words : 

O ! '& f heudar dhomh fhin 

A bhi tarruing dachaidh direach, 

O ! 's fheoidair dhomh fhin 
A bhi 'seoladb : 

114 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

O ! 's fheudar dhoomh fhin 

A bhi tarruing dachaidh direach, 

A dh' ionnisuidh na tir 
'S am beil m' eel as. 

Also rendered 

O ! 's fheudar dhomh fhin a bhi tarruing dachaidh direach y 
O ! 's fheudar dhomh fhin ia bhi falbhan ; 

O ! 's fheudar dhom'h fhin a bhi tarruing dachaidh direach, 
Mu 's tig an t-uisge min gu bhi gairbh dhomh, 

the last line in some districts being; 

A dh' ionnsuidh na tir as an d' fhalbh mi, 
varied in 'the second bar sometimes! to read : 

Mile ague mile 

Ceud soraidh leis a' phiobaire, 
Mile agus mile gu decnach ; 
Mile agus milei 

Ceud soraidh leis a' phiobaire, 
'Shiubhladh na miltean le ceol dhuinn. 

Occasionally otherwise rendered : 

Mile agus mile 

Ceud soraidh leis a' phiobaire, 
Mile agus mile le bhoidhchead ; 
Mile agus mile 

Ceud soraidh leis a' phiobaire, 
'S trie a thug e fidhleireachd 's ceol dhuinn. 

The melody in this case, while suggestive of " Macpherson s 
Lament," is also' well-known as that associated with the good 
old song beginning : 

Theid sinn, theid sinn, 

Le suigeart agus aoidh, 
Theid sinn, theid ainn, 

Gu deoiiach ; 
Theid sinn, theid sinn, 

Thairisi air a' chaol, 
A dh' ionnsuidh an taobh 

'M beil ar n-eolas. 

To me it seems that there is at least a suggestion of kinship 
running through all those tunes one 00* other, of which will 
probably be the lost melody in any case, they are each 

Fragments of Gaelic Song and Lilt 115 

and all good bagpipe melodies, that in their sweetness, when 
well rendered, leave many more modern creations far behind. 
The following should not be forgotten : 

C' ait' an robhi thu 'n diugh 's an de, 
A mhicein ghasda, 'mhioein ghasda? 
(Repeated twice) 

Anns a' choille ris an spreidh, 

'S a' buain nan dearcag, buain nan dearcag. 

Known generally as " Highland Laddie," the melody has long 
been in great favour, and the few simple words we possess 
have created beautiful and interesting associations around 

The Gaelic words for " The Highland Wedding " are, so 
far as seem toi be known : 

Nach truagh leat mi ma 's droch bhean i, 
Nach truagh leat mi thug dhachaiidh i, 
(Repeated tivice) 

Ithidh i 'm biadh 's cha dean i 'n gniomh, 
'S nach truagh leat mi thug dhachaidh i ! 

To the tune " The Hills (or Braes) of Glenorchy " we 
used to hear: 

Loisg- a' chailleach a casan, air eibhleig, 
Loisg a ' c hail leach a casan air eibhleig ; 
Loisg a' chailleach a, casan air eibhleig, 
'S chuireadh i feum air ola nan ron. 

And this reminds me of the words sung to " A Cold Wind 
over Wyvis " : 

'S toigh leis an duin' agam 

Bileagan ; s duilleagan, 
'S toigh leis an duin' agam 

Duilleagan cail ; 
'S toigh leis an duin' agam 

Bileagan 's duilleagan, 
'S toigh leis an duin' agam 

Duilleagan, cail. 

De ni mi ma dh' fhalbhas an duin' aga.m ? 
De ni mi ma gheibh e am bas ? 
De ni mi ma dh' fhalbhas an duin' aga.m ? 
Bidh mi foi mhulad 's e tuilleadh gu brath. 

116 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Another set of words commenced : 

Ho ro na 'n tigeadh, 

Hi ri nan 'n tigeadh ; 
Ho ro nai 'n tigeadh, 

N,a gillean a dh' fhalbh, etc. 

The well-known march, " Gabhaidh sinn an Rathad 
Mor " (" We will take the high- way ") has at least two 
sets of words associated with it. The older of these is : 

Gabhaidh sinn an rathad mc-r, 
Gabhaidh sinn an rathad mbr; 
Gabhaidh sinn an rathad mcr, 
Olo air mhath le each e. 

Olc air mhath le luchd nam braoisg, 
Olc air mhath le! luchd nam braoisg ; 
Olc air mhath le luchd nam braoisg, 
'S bodaich chaol an lagain. 

Mar ri cuideachda mo ghaoil, 
Mar ri cuideachda mo ghaoil ; 
Mar ri cuideachda mo' ghaoil, 
Clann an t-Saoir a Cladaich. 

While found under various names in different collections, 
this march is originally, it is believed, one associated with the 
Clan Macintyre. 

There is a much longer version, composed during the 
Wiars of Montrose, about the middle of the seventeenth 
century, and yet another 1 one from the pen of the famous Dr 
John MaicLeod, " the High Priest of Morven," which at the 
present time acquires! renewed interest, and deserves in many 
respects to be placed oni permanent record in our Society's 
" Transactions." It is not nearly well enough known: 

Fown " Gabhamaid an rathiad-rnor, 
Gabhamaid an rathad-mor, 
Gabhamaid an rathad-mor, 
Olc no math le each e. 

" Gleius a' phiob is luthmhor fuaam, 
Duisg Mac-talla as a shuain ; 
T'Ogaibh iomal tir isi cuain, 
Caithreain-bhuaidh nan Gaidheal. 

Fragments of Gaelic Song and Lilt 117 

" Sgaoilibhi brartach ard nam buadh, 
Tairneamaid na lannan cruaidh; 
Dheodn no 1 dh' aindeoin gheibh sinn buaidh 
Mar bu dual do Ghaidheil. 

" 'N eideadh-cogaidh ri uchd blair, 
'S trio a thog na laoich iai' ghair; 
'S bliiodh le 'n lannaibh anns gach ar, 
Toisoach aig na Gaidheil. 

" Ged tha tir naim, beann fo spreidh, 
Is fo chaoraich is fo fheidli, 
Cuiridh sinne 'n cath gu treun' 
Chiaoidh cha gheiU na Gaidheil. 

" 'S ged a tha ar larach lorn, 

'S ged tha sinn gun or gun fhonn, 
Seasaidh sinne bonn ri bonn, 
Gual ri gual mar Ghaidheil. 

" Eiribh fheara Chlann nan treun, 
Tairneaniaid na lannan geur, 
Tairnibh 's dearbhaibh leis gach beum, 
Gur gaisgich ghleusd na Gaidheil." 

The following was well-known on Lochness-side : 

Leiginn mo bhalachan, 

'Shiubhal main garbhlach, 
Leigimi mo' bhalachan, 

Dh' fhalbh nam fi-richean ; 
Leiginn mo' bhalachan, 

'Shiubhal nan garbhlach, 
'Chumail an t-sionnaich 

Bho 'n mheanbh-chrodh. 

Bheirinn mo chu dhuit, 

Luaidhe is fudar, 
Bheirinn mo chu dhuit 

Cu is gille dhuit; 
Bheirinn mo chu dhuit, 

Gunnia nach diultadh, 
'Shiubhal nan situc, 

'S main garbhlach. 

One version probably the oldest of the Gaelic words for 
The Campbells are Coming " runs: 

118 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

" Bha mi air banaie am Bail' lonar-aora, 
Bha mi air banais am Baal' lonar-aora; 
Bha mi air banais am Bail' lonar-aora, 
Banais bu mhiosa blia riamh air an t-saoghal. 

" Mo dhith, mo dhith, is mi gun mo dhinneir, 
Mo dhith, mo dhith, is mi gun a, faotainn ; 
Mo dhithi, moi dhith, isi mi gun mo dhinneir, 
'S nach d' fhuair mi de bhraiceas ach partain is 

" Mo dhith, mo dhith, is mi gun mo dhinnedr, 
MJo dhith, 'si e 'n dolaidh a, chuir mi aoi taobh so ; 
Mo> dhith, mo dhith, is mi gun mo dhinneir, 
'S cha 'm i mo shuipeir is fhasa, dhomh fhaotuinn. 

" Bha mi air banais am BiaiF lonar-aora, 
Bha mi air banais am Bail' lonar-aora; 
Bha mi air banais am Bail' lonar-aora, 

na boehdainn 's gun oirr' ach am maorach." 

The theme of this composition and variants seems to have 
spirung from some circumstance with which a certain story 
wouIH appeax to> have been associated not impossibly con- 
tributory to the inspiration which Burns derived from his visit 
to Inveraray. In any case, these words are not sufficiently 
well known, and I take opportunity to include them in this 
collection, though I am awai-e that Mr And. Mackintosh 
also is dealing with them in his interesting excursion into 
this field. 

I have now arrived at the close of my paper. My selec- 
tions might be on a much more extensive scale ; but it may, 
perhaps, be remarked that I incladed a number of the more 
commonly known fragments in ' ' Story and Song from Loch- 
ness-side," and in previous volumes of our Society's " Trans- 
actionsi "(see specially Vols. XXI., XXIII., and XV.) ; 
while I always counted it a pleasure and an honour to give 
some pieces away, here and there, to interested friends. 
Perhaps, however, at some future time I may dip into those 
old-world treasures of song which a people, blessed in their 
time with the possession of much that reflected the artistic 
side of life, threw off in their heartiness as the birds in the 
morning sunlight their tuneful lays. When ! oh ! when, shall 
there be efuch a happy time again ? 

Domhnull nan Oran 


2nd MARCH, 1917. 

On this date Mr William Mackay, LL.D., presided, and 
Mr John N. MacLeod, Teacher, Strath errick, read a paper 
entitled " Domhnull nan Oran, am Bard Sgitheanach, " which 
is as follows : 


Tha cuid againn aig ,aoi robh beagan eolais air an Urr. 
Niall Grannd, a Gleann-dail 's an eilean Sgitheanach, agus 
tha e air aithris airsan gun do thaehair e uair ann an cearn- 
aidh araidh de ; n Ghaidhealtachd anns nach robh moran 
eolaia air fhein no air an aite> 's an d' thainig e. Dh' 
fhoighnich neach araidh dheth co as a bha e. " Tha mi," 
,ars' esan, ' * a aite ris an can iad Gleann-dail gleann a chuir 
an deagh bharr dheth, agus is mi fhein pairt de 'n toradh 
sin." Chan 'eil teagaimh aig Sgitheanach sam bith nach 
d' araicheadh iomadh laoch agusi curaidh le cridhe treun agusi 
inntinn mhor fharsuinn anns a' ohearnaidh so, agus aig an 
latha 'n diugh tha mic a' ghlinnei shios. is shoias, thall 's a 
bhos, air fad agus air leud na talmhuinn, agus tha iad a' 
sealltuinn do ghnath, gum b' fhirinn da rireamh briathran 
Neill gun do chuir an gleann ud barr mor dheth. Am 
measg nan Daileach so air am bi deagh chuimhne tha cuspair 
ar n-oraid Domhnull MacLeoid, no " Domhnull nan Oran," 
mar as fhearr a thuigeas niuinntir an eilein. 

Rugadh Dcmhnull MacLeoid anns a' bhliadhna 1787. 
B' e aon mhac Neill MhicLeoid, a on de chroitearan a' 
ghlinne, agus duine air an robh deagh sgeul an comhnuidh 
aig a choimhearenaich. Nam biodh eias-,aonachd sam bith 
am measg nan nabuidhnean airson chriochan, no feamainn, 
no meas na cramhaig, b' e Niall aon de na ciroiteirean a bha 
an comhnuidh air a ghairm airson an t-sith a dheanamh. 
a.gus ooir gach neach fhaicinn suidhichte. Bha mathair 
Dhomhnuill, Seonaid Nic a' Phearsoin, no Nic Mhuirich, 
'na boirionmaoh sitheil suilbhire, agus 'n a deagh bhan- 
chosanach a chumiadh a taobh fhein de 'n tigh cho> math ri 
bean 's a' Ghleann, agusi mar sin faodaidh sinn co-dhunadh 
gun d' fhuair Domhnull an deaghu thogail, aigus nach leigeadh 
e a leas cromadh-cinn a bhi air airson a pharantan ge b' e 

120 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

taobh a bheireadh e 'aghaddh. Tha Mac-Coinnich, deasaiche 
" Sar Obair nam Bard Gaidhealaich," ag inns gun robh 
parantan Dhbmhnuill bochd, ach cha leig sinn a leas moran 
creidis a thodrt dha sin. B'ha pailteas bainne is ina is 
cais aioa, bha sgadan ur '& an trosg 's an langa saoibhreas 
na doimhn an comhnuidh fo 'laimh, bhiodh buntata 's 
bonmach math ooroa aca, agus co ris a b' urrainn a radh gun 
robh iad bochd. Is fhada uatha ghabh e. 

Cha d' fhuair Domhnull moran sgodle. Cha robh sgoil J s 
an fhasan aig an am, agus is ioimadh duine bochd a chum sin 
air an spaid agus a' phiociaid fhad 's bu bheo e. A dh' 
aindeoin sin uile tha e coltachi ^>un d' rinn f^eum cubha.idh 
de an bheagan a fhuair e, oir tha air inns gun sgriobhadh 
agus gun leughadh e> Burla Shasunnach mu 'n d' fhag 
an sgoil. " Cha dean foghlum ministir;" m,ar a thuirt a' 
chailleach rodmhe, is; cha mho ni foghlum bard, ach air a 
shon sin uile, rinn iam beagan ionnsachaidh a fhuair 
Domhnull, fum mor dha an uair ,a ghleus a chlarsaoh, a 
chionn gun tug dha farsruinga<chd inntinn agus gur 
bhreithneachadh anni an cur a smuainteian an agaibh a> cheil 
gu ceart. 

Bhiodh na Daileieh a' dol air cheilidh air a cheil 'e na 
laithibh sin, agus bu toil le Domhnull at bhi 's an tigh 's am 
biodh aireamh bhodach is chailleachan a' ghlinn a' san- 
achas mu Fhionn is mu Oisean 's mu Chu-chulainn, agus a* 
seinn nan sann luinneiagan a dh' aithrisadh bho bheul gu 
beul a nuas bho aimsdr chian. Bha cuimhne ro laidir aig, 
Agus ge b' sgeul noi 6ra.n a chluinneadh e, cha robh di- 
chuimhne gu bhi air. Bha an tigh-ceilidh mar sin 'na 
cEuideiachadh mor dha ann a bhi faighinn eolais air bardachd 
agus bial-aithris a shinnsir, agus an uair a leughas sinn 
'orain, chi sinn an ouidachadh mor a thug an t-olas sin dha. 

Cha robh e ach coig bliadhna diag an uair a rinn a' 
chiad oran, " Aitreabh Ruairidh," do Ruairidh Miac-Neill, 
ceannaiche ann an Stinn. Tha sinn duilich nach d' fhuair 
sinn gredm air facal idir d 'n orain so, ach shaoilamaid 
gum biodh cuid an Glann-dail aig am biodh cuimhn air. 
Cha do chuir e facal dheth 's an leabbar oran a chuir e fhein 
ri cheil. Is docha an uair a dh' fhaa na bu shin, 's a 
thainig piseach air buadhan 'inntinn gun do emaoinich 
nach b' fhiach duanagan a leanabais luiaidh a dhanamh orra. 

An uair a bha mu fhichead bliadhna dh' aois, bha a' 
Ghaidhealtaohd air a tonn-luasgadh 1 oogadh fuilteach 

DomhnuJI nan Oran 121 

Napoleon. Bha na h-uachdarain gu trang a' togail shaigh- 
deirean, agus is iomadh fcirneart is bruidealachd a bha 
timchioll air an am sin. Tha, eachdraidh aig ar seiann daoine 
gus an latha 'n diugh air an doigh anns an robh balaich 
thapaidh air an goid 'a air am feall-ghlacadh le oifigeirean 
an airm, is bu thrio balach tapaidh a' falbh " fo 'n choill " 
iomadh latha ainsion car m,u chnoc a thoirt an diiil ri saorsa. 
Bha NiaJl agus Seonaid f o iomnaidh gach latha airson an aon 
mhac, is . eagal orra gach mionaid gum biodh Domhnull an 
laimh a lucbd-torachd . G-u miorbhuilleiach, thearnadh e bho 
luchd an airm, agus an iiine ghoirid fhuair e a.' cheart obair 
a bhai a reir inntinn agus a mhiann. Thai e coltach gun 
cuala MacLeoid Dun-Bheagain deagh iomradh air troimh 
charaid coir a bha 's a' chuirt, aigus le sin fhuair e a bhi 'n a 
fnear-ticnal chisean an rathaid-mhoir airson an eilein gu leir. 
Chuir so e saor bho 'n arm, agus ged nach 'eil sinn a' creid- 
sinn gun robh am paigheadh mor, bha cead a choiset aig bho 
Rudhia Hunais gu Rudha Shleite, agus oha robh oran no 
sgiala, no> " eolas " no " leigheas " a chluinneadh e eadar 
da cheann an eilein nach robh e taisgeiaidh suas 'n a chuimhne 
iongantaich, le Ian run gach ni dhiubh sin >a thodrt do 'luchd- 
duthcha an dubh 's an geal an deidh laimh. Chualai sinn air 
dheagh urras, iomadh uair nach robh duine bee r'a linn aig 
an robh am barrachd fiosrachaidh air bardachd, beul-aithris, 
eachdraidh, agus cleachdaidhean an eilein agus .a bha aige- 
san. B' e a run eachdraidh: an >eilein a chlo-bhualadh, ach 
ged a dh' ullaich o chuid bu mho de 'n leabhar, cha d' thainig 
an ni riamh gu ire. Tha cuid a' smaoineiachaidh gur h-e dith 
airgid a bu choireach, >agus gabhaidh e creidsinn gun robh clo- 
bhualadh Gaidhlig gle chosgail an uair sin; ach ce b' e de 'n 
camadh a thainig 's a' chuis cha do chuir e an leabhar r'a 
cheile, agus b' e sin a' bhochdainn. Is iomadh oran agus 
sgiala agus fiosrachadh luachmhor a chailleadh gu siorruidh 
do bhrigh sin. 

Ged a chaidh so 'n a aghaidh, oha do^ sguir e a chur 
cruinn bardachd a dhuthcha, agus anns a' bhliadhna 1811, 
an uair nach robh e ach ceithir bliadhna fichead ia dh' aois, 
chuir e r'a cheile leabhar-oran Gaidhlig, anns an robh cuid 
de bhardachd fhein, comhla ri, sean orain eile. Rinn mi 
mor rannsiaichadh thall 's a bhos airson sealladh de 'n leabhar 
so fhaighinn, agus mu dheireadh thall, fhuair mi aon diubh 
bho bhantrach a mhic iighdar Clarxacli an Doire, ar sean 
charaid coir Niall MacLeoid, neach nam bu bheo dha an 

122 Gaelic Society of Inuernets 

diugh a bheireadh dhuinn bho thus gu eis eachdraidh athar 
ann an rogha na Gaidhlig. 

Tha sia duilleagan deug ar sia fichead 's an leabhar so, 
ach tha na coig duilleagan an toiseach an leabhair air chall. 
Chan 'eil fhios agam mar sin ciod e an t-ainm a thug e air an 
leabhar, ach tha fiar bheachd again gun d' thuirt Niall, a 
mhac, rium uair-eigin gur h-e " Co-chruinneachadh de brain 
Ghaidhlig," leas an do bhaist e e. Tha mu fhichead bran, leis 
fhein amis an leabhar, aigus ochd no naoi air a "bheil an 
sgrioibhadh " Le E. M." ann an laimh sgriobhaidh Neill 
fhein, ach chaoi 'oil fhios againn an drasda co tha sin a 
ciallachadh. Tha aon oran le Uilleani Ros ann " Ho ro 
ladie dhuibh, ho ro eile," " Mort Ghlinne Oomhann " leis a' 
bhard Mhuanach, " Marbhrann do Sheumas Do'mhnullach, 
Fear Soeaboist," " Oran do Shir Seumas, Triath Chloinn 
Domhnuill, a dh' eug 's an Roimh, 1766," agus " Oiamar 
dh' fhaodas mi bhi beo " le Ailean Ball, agus moran eile. 
Tha an leabhar a' ciriochnachadh le " Mordubh," a* chiad 
oran ann an < Sar Obair naim Bard," air an d' rinii sinn 
iomradh cheana. Chan 'eil litreachadh nam faclan ro 
eagnuidh ann an cuid, agus tha '11 clo-bhualadh bochd ann 
an coimeias ri grinneas agus snas leabhraichean an latha 'n 
diugh, ach a dh' aindeoin sin 'a e co-chruinneachadh luach- 
mhor a th' ann, oir cho fada 's is aithne dhomh-sa 's e an 
dilleachdan mu dheireadh de leabhraichean " Dhomhnuill nan 

Bho chionn corr agus ceithir bliadhna diag, fhuair mi 
bloigh de leabhran beag bho> 'n U-rr. Do^rnhnull MiacArtair, 
Sgitheanach coir, a tha nis 'n a mhinisteir 's an Eaglais 
Aonaichte an sgir nan Loch an Leodhas. Tha 's aai iarmad 
de 'n leabhar so sia braiian le " Domhniull nan Oran/' 
*' Oran do dh' eildeirean an Loin Mhoir," air a bheil cuimhn 
mhath fhathast 's an eilean ; " Dan do 'n ghrein ": " Dan 
do 'n ghealaich " ; "Dan a' bhreitheanais "; " Dan do 'n 
uaigh " ; " Oran do thulaich ghlads ris an abrar Tungag," 
agus da cheathramh de " Oran an uillt-mhoir." Tha naoi 
duilleaga.n de 'n leabhran -a lathair, ach chan 'eil sgiala air 
an aiiim no cuin' a chaidh a chlb-bhualadh, Tha a h.-uile 
coltas air gur h-anii an deidh dha a' chiad cho-chruinneaichadh 
a chuir an clo a rinn e na h-6rain a th' aims am Leabhar bheag, 
oir chan 'eil aon diubh 's a' chiad leaibhar. Tha Mac- 
Coinnich ann am Sar Obair nam Bard, ag radh gun deach- 
aidh Domhnull timchioll na Gaidhealtachd anns a' bhliadhna 

DomhnuH nan Or an 123 

1829 ag iarraidh cuideachaidli airson leabhar iir a chur an 
clo anns an robh e> gealltuinn nor eachdraidh Chaluim Cnille, 
Choinnich Uidhir, agusi cunntas mionaideach air a Bhreith- 
eamh Leodhasach agus an Taoitear Saileach bho am breith 
gu am bas. Clia deachaidh an obair so leis ce b' e de an 
cnap-starra thainig 's an rathad, ach faodaidh e bhi gun do 
ohuir e an leabhran beag so r'a cheile an uair a chaidh an 
obair mhor eile air an robh e meonachadh 'n a aghaidh. Cha 
d' fhuair mi lorg sam bith air aon eile de na leabhraichean 
beaga so, is mar sin chan 'oil mi comasach air beachd saon 
bith a thoirt air. meud aii leabhair no suspainn nan oran a 
chaidh air chall, iach tha mi an dochas gum bi mi oomasaoh ri 
tide air an iarmad so 1 a dh' fhagadh a thoirt do mo luchd- 
duthcha ann an dubh 's an/ geal. 

'N uair a bha Domhnull naoi bliadhna diag a dh' aois, 
theann e ri suirghe air nighoan Stiubhartach Bhorghodail. 
Chan 'eil eachdraidh sam bith air de cho fada 's a bha iad a' 
suirghe, ach bha an gaol ann air gach taobb agus ciod e 
tuilleadh a dh' iarradh iad? Cha robh Stiubhartach a reir 
coltais ro' dheidheil air am bard og so, mac croiteir, a bhi ann 
an daimh cho dluth dha ri fear-posda 'nighinn. 'S dccha 
mar a tha 'n t-6ran ag radh, gun robh an Stiubhartach ag 
cantuinn, " g^n robh is o shliochd nan uaisleaii 's gun robh 
esan (Domhnull) o shliochd na tuatha," is mar sin gun robh 
doimhne ro mhor ann an inbhe eatorra airson gum b' urrainn 
am posadh a bhi ann, ach cha deialaicheadh am barcj ri 'luaidh 
fhad-a' a, bhiodh an t-anam ann, agus bu thric e tighinii gu 
Borghodail 'n uair >a ghabhadh an luchd faire mu thamh 
airson conaltradli a bhi aige ris a' mhaighdinn a b' aille 
leis-san air thalamh. Bhai gille 6g, Coiiineach Stiubhart, 
mac brathar an Stiubhartaich am Borghodail aig an am so, 
agus cha robh uair a thigeadh Domhnull a shuirghe nach 
biodh esan a feall-fholach agus ag innse d'a mhathair ciod e 
bha dol. Chuala am bard so, agus chuir e roimhe gum 
biodh a latha fhein aige air Coinneach 6g. Mar a thuirt sinn 
cheana, bha na maoir-thrusaidh air gach bealach a' togail 
shaighdeirean airson an arm-dheirg. Bha fhios gle 
aig Domhnull ciod e an cearnaidh de 'n eilean 's an robh iad 
gach latha, oir bha e fhein fhathast a^ siubhal an eilein 
airson cisean an rathaid mhoir. Oidhche de na h-oidhch- 
anan nach ann a thainig e gu dorus a,n Stiubhartaich, anail 
'n a uchd agus a shuileani 'n an seasamh 'n a cheann. Thainig 
bean an Stiubhartaich a dh' ionnsuigh an doruis, agus thuirt 

124 Gaelic Society of Inuerness 

Domhnull rithe gu tiirsach. " A bhana-charaid, tha mi 
duilich innse dhuibh gum bi na miaoir-thrusaidh an so an 
nochd ag iarraidh Choinnich. Thainig an crann, mo 
thruadghe, air Coinneach a nis." Sud Coinneach ri bruth- 
aich cho luath 'e a rinn a chasan dha, agus dh' fholaich e o 
fhein an uamha fad thri miosan, agus bha slighe reidh aig 
Domhnull agus a ghaol re na h-uine sin. Cha robh an dan 
dhoibh pbsadh an deidh 's gu leir : chaochail ise an uair nach 
ro'bh i ach bliadhna ar fhichead, agus chuir sin lionn-dubh 
air a' bhard fad iomadh latha,. ' S ann dhi >a rinn e am t-oran 
caomh milis at tha 's a' chiad leabhar aigo air fonn, " O 's tu 
's gur a tu th' air m' airo," agus 's e 'n t-ainm a tha e toirt 
air, " Oran le Domhnull MacLooid da leannan, air dhith 
bhi ro bheairtach, 's na faicte an coir a' bhail' e, bhiodh am 
bas cinnteach aige." Tha bran gaoil eile dhi, a' leantuinn 
an fhir so, agus tha roimh-radh an brain so a' cur an ceill na 
h-apn eachdraidh an cunnart a bh' a^n dha 'bhi dol faisg 
air a.n tigh annsi an. ro'bh a ghaol, ach mar bu mho na 
duiligheadasan 's ann bu mhilse an coinneachadh agus bu 
doirbhe an dealachadh. 

Dh' fhas e sigith de bhi siubhal an eilein iairson nan ciseian, 
agus air dha an obair so leigeil dheth, rinn MacLeoid Dhun- 
Bheagain ' ' iasgair ' ' dheth, ach cha ro'bh so cho cailmhor 
leis 's a bha duil aige, is cha b' fhada gus an do ghabh e 
dubh-ghrain dheth, agus chuir e ro>imhe seoladh do' America, 
far an d' fhuirich e coig bliadhna diag. Chuir e a lamh ri 
iomadh obair 1 's an duthaich sin, agus thia e coltach nach 
b' aim an aon chearnaidh a chaith e 'uine na bu mho. Dh' 
fhairtlich orm cunntas fhaighinn air a' chuaart 's a' chearn- 
aidh so, agus cha mho tha fhios agam ciod, i an o>bair a bha 
aige re na h-uine sin. Bha e greis ia<nn am muileann mhine 
co dhiu, agus faodaidh sinn a chreidsinn gum biodh, e thall 's 
a bhos feadh na tire far am biodh obair a' dol aig a-n am. 
Chan 'eil -e colta-ch gun d' rinn e moran bardachd air aineol, 
oir chan fhaic mi aon lideadh air America anns na tha air 
sgiala de 'brain no adr na fiosraichea^n a thachair ris air a' 
chuairt. Bha e nisi fas car aosda, agus coltach r'a mha coir, 
Niall, an uair a bha 'fheasgar a' ciaradh, b' e mhiann tilleadh 
do '11 ghleann sin 's an d' fhuair e 'arach eg. Thainig e mar 
sin a nail air a' Chuan Siar laguei rinn e a dhachiaddh an 
Gleaiin-dail. Chan 'eil teagamh againn nach d' rinn e 
beagan airgid \a chrur ma seiach an America, oir tha sinn a* 
leughadh gun do chuir e suas ceannachd an uair a thainig e 

Domhnull nan Oran 125 

dhachaidh. Phbs e caileag 6g lurach, tha iad ag radh, aois 
naoi bliadhna diag, 'n uair a bha e fhein tri fichead. 

Is breagha an taaghlach .a thog iad, oeathrar ghillean 
agus sianar nighean. Chan 'eil Gaidheal nach cuaJa iomradh 
air a mhac coir, Niall, ughdar Clarsach an Doire, aims a 
bheil co-chruinneachadh do brain Ghaidhlig cho binn blasda 
tomadach 's a chaidh riamh an clb. Tha aon bhuaidh air 
Niall nach 'eil air moran de bhaird na Gaidhlig, agus '& e sin, 
nach d' rinn e aon rann riaonh a bheireadh fiamh ruthaidh an 
gruaidh an neach bu mheasarra chaidh riamh a' chruth- 
achadh. Chi sinn cho nor 's a tha sin 'n uair a loughas sinn, 
" Oram na seana. mhaighdinn," '.' Oran an t-seana ghille," 
" Turus Dhbmhnuill do Ghlaschu," " Dughall na Sroine," 
a-gus gach lideadh eile rinn e. 'S e bha ann an Niall nor 
Chriosduidh deanadach feumail a bha airson a shealltuinn 
dhuinn gu'm fagd sinn leasain chudthromach fhbghlum bho 
nithean faoine na beatha s>o, agus nach 'eil suidheachadh 's 
am faighear sinn anns nach 'eil feum againn air trecrachadh 
bho 'n Ti is airde. 

Bha Iain, brat/hair Neill, " Iain Dubh," mar a chanadh 
iad, 'n a dheagh bhard cuideachd, ged nach roibh e cho 
stuama bainnte 'n a bhardachd '& a bha Niall. Saoilidh mi 
gu bheil cuid de brain Iain, aig muinntir a' Ghlinne fhathast. 
Tha fhios agam gu bheil beachd math aig an Urr. Aonghas 
MacPharlain, ministear na h-Eaglads Aonaichte an Dubhras 
ague a' Bhanath, air bardachd Iain, oir chuala mi e luaidh 
orra bho chionn ghoirid. 

Cliaochail " Dbmhjiull nan Oran " anns a' bhliadhna 
1873, aig aois ceithir fichead 's a sia, agus chaireadh e cbmhla 
ri duslach a shinnsir ann an cladh Chille Chomhghain an 
Gleann-dail, faisg air an " allt mhor " air am b' eolach e 's 
air an do sheinn e gu trie 'n a latha. 

Tha moran beb 's an eilean fhathast a chunnaic Dbmhnull 
agus a bha eolach air agus bithidh cuimhne mhath aca-san 
air a chruth 's a dhealbh. Bha e 'n a dhuine tomadach 
meadhonach ard, agus bha croit mhor air 'n a shean aois. 
Tha mo charaid coir, Mgr. Dbmhnull Mac- a- Phi, fear 
deasaiche An Deo-greine, ag innse gu bheil deagh chuimhne 
aig'e-san air a>n ad ard mholach dhubh agus an cbta, mor a 
bhiodh air. Tha e a,g radh gun robh e riamh aithnichte 
airson cho sgiobaJta grinn 's -a bhiodh e a, Shabaid 's a 
sheachduin. Bha eblas farsuinn mor aige air a' Bhiobull, 
agus chan 'eil duine leugh pairt de bhardachd nach fhaic sin 

126 Gatlic Society of Inuerness 

air a shon fhein. Chan 'eil teagamh sani bith nach robh na 
Gaidheil a bh' ann ri linii-san a' deanamh am barrachd 
rannsachaddh air na Sgriobtuirean Naomha na muinntir an 
la an diugh. Bha sin soilleir leis choi spioradail 's a bha. an 
inntinn, is cho durachdach 'e a bha moran acai fiachainn ris 
an Fhirinn a chur an ceill 'n an oaithe-beatha, a reir an 
t-soluis a bh' aica air na nithean sin. Bha e Ian cridhealais is 
eibhinneachd, agus cha robh moran 'n a latha chumadh a' 
choinneal ris ann an gearradh-cainnte. 'N uair a bha e 
siubhal an eilein airson cisean an rathaid-mhoir, bha e aon 
latha fliuch a' dol seachad troimhi bhaile araidh, far an robh 
na croiteirean trang a' glanadh a' bhuntata. Arsa 
Domhnull 's an dol seachad ri fear dhiubh, " Tha sibh a' 
togail 'ime " (uime) (sin a their smn 'si an eilean ri bhi 'cur 
iiir ris a' bhuntata). " Chan 'eil no caise," ars' an duine, 's 
duil aige gum faigheadh e cothrom air glas-ghuib a chur air 
geiread a' bhaird. " Chan 'eil sdnn, a' togaal ime no caise 
ach uir mu 'n bhuntata," ars' an duine. " Seadh, direach," 
arsa Domhnull, " ach nach faodadh sibh latha na bu tiorma 
na an diugh fhaotainn gus a dheanamh." " O cha'n ann do 
shiol a' phocai-shalainn a tha sinni," ars' an duine. " Ma ta, 
mur a th' ann," arsa Domhnull, 's e 'cumail roimhe, " 's ann 
isi luaithe ghrodas. sibh." Kainig e Port-righ gle ananioch 
aon oidhche 's rinn direach air aon de thighean osda a' 
bhaile, far an ro'bh moran dhrbbhairean lei 'n cuid chon a' 
feitheamh ri feill Phort-righ a bhiodh ann an ath, latha. 'N 
uair a chaidh e steach thoisich na coin ri comhartaich, 'e co 
chunnaic e 's an t-seoniar-cil ach drobhair nach robh ro 
mhiadhail aige. " An do chuir thu mach na coin uile, 
Dhcmhiiuill ?" ars' an drobhair. " Cha do chuir buileach," 
arsa Domhnull, " tha thu fhein a stigh fhathast." 

'S ann airson a bhardachd a bhios cuimhne air Domhnull 
nan Oran. Bha o 'n a bhard bho 'n chich, 's: co dhiu thug e 
bho dhualachas e no nach d' thug, tha sinn cinnteach gun 
do thuit an fhalluinn aige air a dhithis mhac. Tha geiread 
inntinn agusi saoibhreas mac-meanmna air am buileachadh gu 
mor air na baird, aigus bha sin da rireabh nrinneach mu 
thimchicll-san. A bharrachd air sin bha cuimhne neo- 
chumanta laidir iaige, agusi eachdraidh no sgeula no sean 
oran sam bith a chluinneadh e aon uair bha inntinn 'g an 
greimeachadh air a leithid de dhoigh 'si nach robh iad am 
feasda air an di-chuimhneachadh. Mar sin gach ni a dh' 
fhoghlum e ann an sgoil na ceilidh, aig casan nan seann 

Domhnull nan Oran 127 

Daileach coir, chuir an deidh laimh iann an cmth brain. 
Cha robh ciiil no cial d 'n eilean nach do> shiubhail e, agus 
mar sin bha colas mionaideaoh aig air sean eachdiraidh gach 
sgire agus tha sin' gu trie a/ tighinn gu follais 'n a bhardachd. 
Bha 'm Biobull aige cha mh6r air a theangaidh agusi 's trie e 
deanamli feum de shamhlaidhean Sgriobtuireil ann a bhi cur 
suspainn agus tabhachd 'n a bhriathran. Bha e ro fhileianta 
ann an labhairt na Gaidhlig, agus dea ann a sgriobhadli 
cuideaclid, agus tha sin feumail an diugh oir mur a bhiodh e 
fhein oomasachi air a bhardachd a chur air paipear mar a 
rinn , 's cinnteach sinn; nach biodh a dhileab do '11 Cheolraidh 
air ar bialaibh an clo aig an la 'n diugh. 

Chan 'eil e idir furasda dhuinn bachd eagnuidh a thoirt 
air a bhardachd a chionn nach 'il <againn ach bagan d na 
rinn . Is trio a fhiuair sinn a mach, ann an ramnsachadh 
thall 's a bhos, iairson sean 6ra,n, gur h-iad gach aon a 
b' fhearr na cheil a chailleadh, agus gur h-iad na plaosgan 
a bha air am fagail. Chan 'eil so nor, 's a' choitcheantas, 
mu orain Dhomhnuill, oir tha deagh bhardachd, rogha 
cainnte agus smuaintean cudthromach anns na th/ againn 
air sgiala dh obair. Tha MacCoinnich, ann an Sdr Ob air 
nam Bard a' faighinn oo>ir dha airson 'orain a chur an clo 
cho og ri ceithir bliadhnai fichead. B' bhachd-san gum 
bu choir dha bhi air dail a dheanamh gus am biodh e air 
suidfi air a cheill, gus am biodh buadhan inntinn agus 
anchuinn air fas na b' abuich. Faotdaidh sin a bhi nor, 
ague is cinnt&ach leiiin uile bho ar fein-fhiosrachadh gur mor 
>an t-atharrachadh a tha dian-ruith nan linn a' toirt air ar 
n-inntinn, ach mar a thuirt an Sgriobtur, " Is e an diugh an 
t-am taitneach," agusi mur do ghabh Domhnuli 'cothrom air 
a' chothrom 'n uair a ghabh e e, 's docha nach robh lideadh 
de bhardachd an clo an diugh. 

Am ineasg na th' againn d orain, tha mi am ba,chd nach 
'eil aon a. tha cho bed cuireideach fhathast 's an, eilean ri 
" Rann clo Eildeirean an Loin Mhoir." Chaidh dh' 
iarraidh baistidh air seisean an Lean Mhoir." Dhiult iad sin, 
's ma dhiult cha b' fhada gus an cuala an saoghal an 
caithream air a chluais bu bhuidhr. Tha e losgadh orra 
leis an Sgriobtur, aguei a' tilgeadh O'rra gum bhil iad coltach 
ris na h-6ighean aanaidach ai thainig gu sporsail an 
an fhir nuadh-phbsda 1<& cl6cannan aluinn ach Ibchrain a jbha 
dolum agus traighte. Tha e ris 'g a shaimhlachadh fhein ri 
Rahab, 's ged a b' i b' fheblmhoir ann an lericho fhuair i 

128 Gaelic Society of Inuernes* 

sealladh air trocair. Dhe nach d' fhuair na slbigh a' bh-a 'g a 
caineadh. An deidh dha na h-eildeirean< a ris a shamhlachadh 
ris na Phariseich a bha glanadh taobh a muigh na meise agus 
na spainne; ri Hainan a shuidhich croich airson bas aognaidh 
a thoirt air Mordecad, ach a< chrochadh air sgornan 'n a aite; 
ri lob air an d' iarraidh le chair dean an fhirinn aicheadh 
agus striochdadh do Shatan, tha e 'g innse nan aobharan 
airson an do chumadh am baisteadh uaidhe: 

" Ma gheibh thu drama bho dhuin' uasa,l, 
Tha thu 'n uair sin air do mhabadh : 
Mia chuir thu oar na dd' ghiiallainn, 
A' sealltuinn bhuait le feithe gaire, 
Bheir Iain MacAlasdair auas thu, 
Leugh thu 'n Cuairtear air an t-Sabaid, 
Fuiling a nis do bhinn, 
Bho Chalum Seang 's bho Eoghann Taillear." 

Tha eadhon an rann so fhein a' toirt dhuinn beachd air 
farsuingeachd inntinn agus tur a' bhaird. 

Rinn mi iomradh chieana air an da oran gaoil a rinn e do 
nighean fir Bhorghodail, agus chunnadc sinn gur h-e <l O 's tu 
's gur a tu th' air m' awe," oran gaoil cho taitneach 's a. rinn 
e. Cha b' esan a rinn a-m fonn idir is iomadh linn bho '11 
a bha e air blar mu'n d' rugadh e; ach bha o 'n a chleachdadh 
glo chumanta ria^mh am mea^sg na.m bard Gaidhealach a 
bhi cur ri cheilo oran air fonn a bha cumanta air bial an 
t-sluaigh agus sin mar a tha e cho< duilich an diugh rainn 
fhuadain a sgaradh bho chuid do na h-6rain Ghaidhlig. 
Chaidh narainn am nieasg a cheile leis gach aithris a rinneadh 
orra, 's an tigh-cheilidh, agus cha robh sgriobhadh air a' 
chuid bu mho dhiubh airson an ath linn a chumail ceart. 

Bha deidh mhor aige air cuimhno nam fiuran a b' aithne 
dha 's an eilean, ghleidheadh a<nn am " marbhrann." Rinn 
e> marbhrann ciatach do Dhbmhnull Domhnullach an Griser- 
nis a chaochail 's a' bhliadhna 1808. Tha e 'deanamh 
iomraidh air ionndrainn an aite an duine so a bha 'n a 
reul-iuil agus 'n a chomhairliche do gach neach a bha an cas 
no an uireasbhuidh, agus tha mi smuaineachadh gu bheil an 
rann so a/ nochdadh gu cuimir cliu MhicDhomhnuill : 

" 'S g;oirt ri chluinntinn do mhuinntir, 
'Bhi gun righ air cheann coinneimh, 
'S trie 'n an cuimhn gach puince, 
A bha 'n ad bhuill air am faiacn, 

Domhnull nan Or an 129 

Lamb gun mheang air chul peannta, 
Bu mhath oeann 's gach; giiiomh soilleir, 
An cainnt a reiticheadh aimhreit, 
Cha'n fhaiceacr ann ac' thu. tuilleadh." 

Rinn e niarbhrann eile do Chaiptein Alasdair MacLeoid ann 
a' Bhatuinn, am briathraibh molaidh tlachdmhor nach 'eil 
lideadb air dheireadh air a' mharbhrann edle dh' ainmich 
ainn. Tha fhios againn gum b' airidh moran de shean 
uaislean an eilein air moladh a,gus dan; oir bu daoine iad a 
bha deidbeil air at bhi ; g iomchar uallaicbean an iochdarain 
agus a' dol gu uchd an dichill air son an cranncbur a dbean- 
amh na bu sbona na bha e. 

Tha oumba grinn aige do tbeaghlach Ois, air dhoibh 
coignear bbain-tighearnan agus aon mbac a cball. Tba a' 
ohuid is mo de 'n chumha 'g ardachadh cliu oigbre.Ois, agus 
tba bron nan eolacb air a chur gu snasail sios anns an rann 

" Tbainig sguabadh an tein' oirnn, 

Far an d' fhuair sinn ar bioradh, 

Cbuireiadhi Ruairidb na gile, 

Ann am fuarachd am filleadb nam marbh. 

Mur b-i 'n luatbaidh rinn ra-thad, 

Cba robb buaidh aig mac mnatha, 

Air do bhuannachd le claidheamh, 

Fbir a b' uabharaich amharc, 

Le ro-sbluagb ann an aighear a' falbh." 

Anns an leabhran bheag a tba fa ; r cxDmhair tba dain do 'n 
ghrein agus do 'n ghealaicn. Tha na dain ,air an our ri cheile 
ann an cumadh comhraidh eadar am bard agus na cuspaineaii 
sin. Ged nach fhaodadh moran fiosrachaidh ann an Reul- 
eolas a bhi aig a' bhard, gidheadh tha na dain so a' seaJltuinn 
gun robh an cumhachd diomhair a tha stiuradh na cruinne 
,a' toirt emuaintean troma bho 'inntinn, aigus gun robh e mu 
dheireadh a' tighinn gu beiachdan araidh a bhi aige mu churs- 
aichean nan saogbal sin, ged a dh' fhaodadh nach seasadh 
fheallsanachd ri solus foghluim an latha 'n diugh. Ars' san 
mu 'n ghrein: 

' ' Cbig mile bliadhna is ciada.n corr, 
O fhuaJr thiu eclas air do churs, 
Chan ebl do neach air bith do Ion, 
Ach Iiornta4>ed fa chomhair gach sul. 

130 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

O 's cian bho chuireadh umad cot', 

; S cha b' aim de chloimh no sbeora' a buth, 

Ach finealt, inealt' ann an gloir, 

'S an fhion-lios posd' lo crdugh triuir." 

Tha a' ghrian a' f reagairt, ag radh : 

" Ciad mil muillion mile uair, 
Chuir misie cuairt os ur cinn, 
'S aithne dhomh iosal is ard, 
O'n fhuair mi 'n talann bho 'n High. 
'N uair diuireadh an snaoim air Adhamh, 
Bha mi 's a' gharaidh 'n an cainnt, 
Bha e niiar misa air an la sin, 
Gu'n d' thug -e bas air ,ai chloinn." 

Ann an " dan na gealaich " tha 'm bard a' cur failte mar 
so air a' chuapair sin : 

" A gheala<ch tha siubhal nan speur, 
'S truagh nach robh do cheum ,air lar, 
Gum boachdaiohinn le mo shuil, 
Mar tha do chursa gun ta-mh. 
Theid thu 'n a do dha bhloigh dhiag, 
'S an coann gach mios bidh tu slan, 
Am bheil thu pbsda ris a' chuan, 
Is sibh a' gluasad 's an aon ghna-ths?" 

Tha a' gbeialaoh a' f reagairt, agus an deidh innse do 'n 
bhard gu bheil ise gach uair a' cur an ceill morachd >a cruith- 
fheir, an uair nach 'eil de dhilsieachd an sluagh an t-saoghail 
ach a bhi a' losgadh iobairtean graineil, tha i ag innse a 
chliu fhein do 'n bhard anns na briathran so: 

" Innsidh tu le teanga leomaich, 
A' choir a. th' agad air Parras, 
'S do chridhei nimheil an Sodom, 
Solar ghoisnichean do d' bhrathair. 
Dhiiineadh tu dorus na trocair, 
Nam faigheadh t' orduchadh aite: 
O, miorbhull fhollaiseach lehobhah, 
Mur h-e Tophat do thorn tamha." 

Coltach ris gach Gaidhea-1 coir eile, bha a mheas a.gus a 
mhiann air duthaich araich, agus cha robh aite air an 
t-saoghal cho boidheach leia-ean ris " -a' ghleann 's an robh e 

Domhnull nan Oran 131 

bg." Bha gaeh tulach aigus cnoc, gach allt agus 6s, a labh- 
airt ris-san an dbigh nach robh iad a/ deanamh ri muinntir 
eile, agus tha sinn a' creidsinn gur h-iomadh rann aims an do 
chuir e ri 'cheile mbrachdan a' Ghlinne, iiam biodh iad uile 
againn air clar leabhair. Tha bran againn a rinn e do 
thulaich ghlais ris an abrar " Tungag," agus aims iia rainn 
sin tha siealltuinn gu soilleir dhuinn an comas scnruichte 
bh' aige ann a bhi tarruing deilbh nithean cumanta- ann an 
, rogha na Gaidhlig, agus a' cur grinnis agus loinn orra nach 
fhaiceadh an t-suil choitchiooin gu brath. A ; ,tighinn air a' 
choileiach tha e ag radh : 

" Tha 'n coileach air a chomhdach, 
Le cota iomadh dath, 
Le choileirean air oradh, 
Gu rbinneagach, ruinnoagach ; 
A' tighinn a maoh bho bhun a' stac, 
Gu suchdach, frachdach, furachair, 
Lo chirean dearg tha rosach, 
'S le bhotainean fionna-gheal. 
Bha 'leannan bamail posda, 
Gu oomhraideach, furanach, 
Ri mealladh gean a ghogain, 
Gu h-bisleinach, binn-fhaclach ; 
A' falach fead mu ghur a nid 
'S a' cogar eadar fhille-inoan,, 
Le spiorad mire! is bige, 
Gu sblasach suilleanach." 

So dealbh an daimh dhuinn : 

" Cha aalaich feiar na croice, 
A bhrbg air a bhioraichead, 
'S an fhalluinn chainnaich, mhbgaich, 
An rbidean a h-innisean. 
Do 1 fhallas culaidh, bainiijeaich, cuilidh, 
Meallach, duilleaeh, binneagach, 
Gu bearrach, daileach, oebthach, 
Gu Ibinneagach, slinneanach." 

Chan 'eil rann na gealaig dad air dheireadh : 

" Tha a' ghealaig leumniach earrchaol 
Gu balbh anns na glumagan ; 
'S a. lainnir air a ghainmhean, 
Gu h-airgiodach, oulagach. 

132 Gaelic Society of fnuerness 

'S i 'snapadh guib 's a' snapadh chuip, 
A' oeapadh thuice ohuileagan, 
Gu geimeach, sailleach, mealgaob, 
Gu garbhanach, cularach." 

Chan 'eil air sgial agam ach da rann de " Oran an Uillt 
Mhoir," an t-allt sin a tha. faisg u-ir an aite anus am bheil a 
dhuslach an caradh. Bheir an da rann sin fhein beagan de 
bheachd dhuinn air an spiorad anns an d' rinneadh a chuid a 
chailleadh dheth: 

' ' An deicheainh la de tbe-asi a,' Mhaigh, 

Theich uam mo nadur broin, 
'S mi 'm sheasamh lainh ri easan gakeach, 

'Deiaroadh blath 'n Uillt Mhoir. 
Mar thaisbean nadur dreach is blaths, 

Bha inealt aillidh 's oeol, 
Gun teach gun bharr gun todc air lar, 

Ach feartan grais mar Ion. 

'N uair las a' ghrian 's a sgap a fiamh, 

Air dealta liath an fheoir, 
Chan f hacas gniomih le stailoeadh mhiar, 

A aheasadh iall nan coir. 
Gach aon a mach air elataig uaine, 

'S mab dbe duail 'n a dhorn, 
Bu sgaoilteach, taitneach, blasd' 'am fuaim, 

'S an gaisd air ghluasad fodh." 

Tha mi deimhin gun d' rinn bard cho eirmseach geur- 
fhaclach ri Domhnull, mora,n orain eibhinn, ach a measg an 
iarmaid a th' againn de bhardachd 's e aon oran abhaohdach 
adar fhirinn is mhagadh a tha againn. 'S e sin (< Oran 
Mhurchaidh Bhig." Bha Murchadh 'n a bhuachadlle feoir 
aig aon de eildeirean na h-eaglais, agus air do brduighean a 
bhi 's &' choimhearsnachd, iiach ann a fhuair Murchadh aon 
de eich a' mhaighstir airaoii a marcachd dhachaidh air. Bha 
cumaii mor fo achlaisi air muin an eich: thuislich ,an t-each 
'& bhriseadh an cuman 'n a chiad clar is leonadh Murchadh 
gu dona. Tha am bard a' cur as leith Mhurchaidh gur h-e 
a' phrois a. thug air tighinn dhachaidh air diolaid, 'a gum 
b' e an fhearas-mhor a chum e gun an cuman a chur air a 
dhruim ann an gadaig mar a dheamadh na Daileich bhochda. 
Tha oran ann an riochd comhraidh eadar Murchadh 's an 

Do mh null nan Oran 133 

t-each : Murchadh ag iomchair an eich, 's an t-each ag 
iomchair Mhurchaidh. An deidh doi Mhurehadh an t-each a 
chaineadh gu a bhrogan, tha an t-each a' freagairt air a 
ehocair mar so : 

" A Mhurchaidh, na bi gorach, 
'S na toisich '& na. ceannaibh sin, 
Mu 'n toir m,i tuilleadh spoirs ort, 
Do oigridh an fhearainn so. 

Gur math mo' cheithir bhrogan, 
^S moi dhorn giur .a smiorail i, 
'S ma gheibh thu mu na chluais i, 
Bi' cruaidh ort gun cairich thu. 

A Mhurchaidh Bhig, nam. biodh tu glio, 
Cha b' ann ri siod a dh' fhanadh tu, 
Ach a dhol dhachaidh gun ,aon each, 
O, chleachd thu bhi t' fhear cairiste. 

Bha m ; eolas ort da bhliadhna, 
'S tri mioisaii a bharrachd air, 
'S chan fhaca mi each dialta, 
Dol riamh gu do dhorusi leat." 

Tha Murchadh a' freagairt : 

"A bheathaich dhonna phriobail, 

06 dh' innseadh mar eachdraidh dhuit, 

Gun robh mi gun each dialta, 

'S nach b' fhiach dha dol dachaidh learn. 

Gu faodainn-sa dha dhiag, 

Chur fo shrianan 's fo shrapaichean, 

Gun thusa bhi 'n ani fhianuie, 

'S glas shiomain mu d' chasan-sa. 

Mar 's trie bha thu air chul garaidh, 

Ann an aite drabhasach, 

Airson na meirle ge do tha thu, 

Tighinn an drasd>a ceannasach ; 

Gu faca mi glafi-lamh ort, 

Is caine mur teannaicht' i, 

Gur trie a rinn mi caradh, 

'S an drasda chan aithreach learn." 

134 Gaelic Society of /nuerness 

16th MARCH, 1917. 

At a meeting on this date Angus Cameron, Esq., Sean eld 
Estates Office, Elgin, and Mr Win. MacLeod, Curator, 
Inverness Museum, were elected ordinary members of the 
Society. Thereafter a paper, entitled " Donald Matheson 
.and other Gaelic: Poets in Kildonan and Reay," contributed 
by H. F. Campbell, Esq., Advocate, Aberdeen, was read. 
The paper isi as follows : 


There was no literary efflorescence) in the two' northern 
counties until the mididle of the 18th century. Gilbert, 
Bishop of Caithness, early in the 13th century, is credited with 
a Gaelic translation of the Psalms, but no part of this work 
is now extant. For five centuries after the time of Bishop 
Gilbert the literary records of Caithness and Sutherland are 
singularly sterile. In the 17th century Alexander Munro 
gave religious instruction in the Reay Country by means of 
Gaelic hymns, of which a specimen is preserved in Cameron's 
" Reliquiae Celticae," but another century elapses before the 
waters are again stirred. 

The earliest literary efforts of the Highland people in the 
middle of the 18th century are marked by two leading influ- 
ences, one racial, the other historical. On the one hand the 
poetry of the period possesses that spirit of sadness 1 which 
critics trace throughout all Celtic literature, while on the other 
hand it is permeated with the Puritan influence which was so 
marked in England and the south of Scotland in the 17th 
century, and only penetrated into the northern counties in 
the years following the Union of 1707. 

The Shorter Catechism, though mainly the work of Cam- 
bridge Presbyterian divines, had never received a hearty wel- 
come in the land of it origin (where it soon lost all influence), 
but took a singular hold of the minds of the people in the far 
north as soon as it wais introduced among them. Throughout 
the latter part of the 18th century, and a considerable portion 
of the 19th, the catechist and his Puritan theology were the 
dominating religious influences in most Highland parishes 
and the backbone of what literary activity there was. 

Donald Matheson and other Gaelic Poets 135 

Fugitive pieces of Ossianic poetry recited in Halkirk, 
Reay, and Kildonan have been brought thither probably by 
the Maclvers or Iverachs who had migrated into Caithness 
from Argyllshire in the 16th century, and who maintained 
their acquaintance with Ossianic poems by oral tradition for 
five or six generations. In the Reay Country also the verses 
of Rob Bonn (1711-1744) took a great hold among the people, 
by whom they were committed to memory and orally trans- 
mitted. His songs were first published in 1829, more than 
half a century after the author's death. Ossian and Rob 
Donn were the only rivals to the powerful influence of the 

One of the favourite forms of the " I>ain Spiotradail" or 
religious poems of the oatechists was the " Marbhrann" or 
elegy, which afforded scope for the expression of sympathetic 
sorrow as well as of religious emotion. 

Writing of the G-aelic race Renan siaysi, " Its history is in 
itself one long lament. It still 'recalls its exiles, its flights 
across the seas. If at times it seems to be cheerful, a tear is 
not slow to glisten behind its smile. It does not know that 
strange forgetfulness of human conditions and destinies which 
is called gaiety. Its songs of joy end as elegies." Along 
with the saddening racial land theological influences which 
affected the poetry of the catechists 1 , account has toi be taken 
of their manner of life and their scenic surroundings. Almost 
the only books then known to the people besides the Bible and 
the Shorter Catechism were one or two of the standard writ- 
ings of the English Puritans, such as Baxter's Call and the 
Sum of Saving Knowledge. Nor could it be said that the 
magnificent scenery of Kildonan, made the same appeal to the 
minds of the people of that time as it did at a later period 
to their children. Religion had become the most powerful 
civilizing influence! in the Highlands. The pastoral life 
depicted in the Old Testament, resembling as it did in many 
of its leading features their own life, appealed to them with 
greater force than New Testament doctrine. Their outlook 
upon life resembled 'that! of a small secluded nation like the 
people of Judea rather than that of the cosmopolitan peoples 
of the New Testament period. In the 18th century the people 
of the North Highlands were in culture and civilization like 
the Waldenses, the Dutch and German pietists of the 17th 
century, and the South African Boers of the 19th century. 
This accounts for the manner in which they were influenced 

136 'Gaelic Society of Inverness 

by the doctrine of Grace. The religious man endowed with 
Grace was to them comparable to the " Man of God" in the 
Old Testament who had received of the Divine afflatus. The 
marks of the German Protestantism of the age of Gustavus 
Adolphus was also to be traced in the descendants of those 
who had served in the Thirty Years War. 

Among those people there nourished for fully a century 
(from about 1750 to 1850) a succession of Gaelic poets, hymn 
writers, and elegisits, in the parishes of Kildonan and Reay. 
The earliest in date and the most famous of these Kildonan 
poets was Donald Matheson (1719-1782), who spent his early 
manhood at Kinbrace <and whose family afterwards moved to 
Badanloch in the upper part of Kildonan, where his descend- 
ants are still to be found. His. poems were first published a.t 
Tain in the year 1816 (Celtic Review, Volume VIII., page 56). 
They appear to have been issued if .not edited by his son 
Samuel Matheson, who was himself also a poet, and published 
elegies several years before his father's writings were printed. 
There was a second issue of Donald Matheson's poems in 1825, 
mainly a reprint of the Tain edition of 1816, with a brief 
advertisement or preface signed by two of the' best known and 
most influential ministers of the day, Dr John Macdonald, 
Ferintosh, and the Rev. John, Kennedy, Killearnan. A third 
edition was issued at Aberdeen in 1849, a fourth by Mr D. 
Fraser, Bookseller, Inverness, in 1868. There were also 
subsequent editions at fringwall and Glasgow, where the latest 
issue of his poems appeared in 1899. 

It does not appear that Donald Matheson's poems were 
printed during his lifetime, and the eminent ministers who 
gave the publication their sanction in 1825 stated in their 
preface that the work necessarily laboured under the disad- 
vantage of a posthumous one. They explained that " the 
dialect in which it was written, but which it was not thought 
proper to alter, may not be quite intelligible to those in the 
more southern districts of the Highlands." It will be remem- 
bered that Dr Macintosh Mackay, in his edition of the works 
of Matheson's contemporary Rob Donn, which appeared 
three or four years after the second edition of Matheson's 
po-ems, took a different course from that here indicated. Dr 
Mackay endeavoured to modify the Reay Country bard's lan- 
guage so as to render it more intelligible to readers in the 
southern districts of the Highlands, with the result that the 
poetry was in some instances rather spoiled. Matheson'e 

Donald Matheson and other Gaelic Poets 


contemporaries, the Rev. Alexander Pope of Reay and the 
Rev. John Mackenzie of Assynt, the most noted men of learn- 
ing then in the northern counties, wrote G-aielic phonetically, 
so that the imperfect literary knowledge of Gaelic in his time 
was an obstacle to the dissemination in writing of Matheson's 
poems as well as the difficulties of rtialect. It may be added 
that some editions, such as those of 1868, are replete with 
typographical errors*. 

The Matheson family was fortunate in escaping the great 
Kildonan " clearance" of 1819, and as we have said there are 
still Mathesons at Badanloch. According to> the biographer 
of Donald Matheson, his memory was in 1816 much and justly 
revelred in Kildonan. At that time his sons Hugh and 
Samuel (who will be afterwards referred to) both resided at 
Badanloch. Dr Macdonald and the Rev. John, Kennedy had 
referred to Donald Matheson as " a. Christian poet and that 
in no ordinary degree," pointing to his poems and his personal 
reputation in support of their testimony. It was as a Christian 
and a poet that the Rev. Donald Sage introduces Donald 
Matheson's name in his " Memorabilia." Mr Sage's account 
of the Mathesonsi when he wast missionary at Achness about 
1816 is as follows: 

" Samuel Matheson lived at Badanloch. He was second 
son of Donald Matheson of Kinbrace, catechist of the upper 
part of the parish of Kildonan during the ministry of Mr 
Hugh Ross, predecessor of Mr John Ross. Donald Matheson 
was a very distinguished Christian in his day. He was also* 
a poet, and composed a number of spiritual songs, which his 
son Samuel printed and circulated. Donald Matheson was 
the contemporary of Rob D'onn , and the character of 
Donald's poetry may best be understood by Rob Donn's 
remark upon it. They met, it is said, at a friend's house, 
and each sang one of his own songs. When they concluded, 
Donald submitted his song to the judgment of the Reay 
Country bard. ' Donald/ answered Rob, ' there is more 
poetry in my song, and more of piety in yours.' Matheson 
lived to an advanced age. He was a man of much piety, but 
was also diligent in his calling of cattle-dealing. He had two 
sons, Hugh and Samuel. The former lived at Badanloch, and 
was a deeply exercised Christian. Samuel was also a man of 
reputed piety, but he associated with the separatists. His 
wife was the daughter of a pio'US widow who resided at Rhim- 
isdale in Kildonan, and afterwards at Ceann-na-coille in 

138 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Strathna.ver. Samuel Matheson was also a self-taught 
inediciner and surgeon, and in many cases was most mirac- 
ulously successful. He died at Griiamachdary in 1829." 

According to the biography of Donald Mathceon, prefixed 
to his poems, he was born in 1719, and died in 1782. His 
productive period as a poet dates from about the time of 
Prince Charlie's Rising, and continued for nearly 40 years. 
The Jacobite Rising proved to be a fruitful source of inspira- 
tion for the Highland muse., but it Lad little or no influence 
upon Donald Matheson. His muse was of a different type. 
His poems consisted chiefly of meditations upon hisi spiritual 
condition or upon the great dogmas of Calvinistic theology, 
interspersed with several satirical strictures upon the men of 
this world who neglected the means of graoe. The spectacle 
of water rushing over the mill-wheel suggested to his mind 
the drought of his soul for lack of grace. In illness and mis- 
fortune he consoled himself by relying on the divine help. If 
earthly things did not prosper with him he looked for compen- 
sation in the world to come. The whole scheme of salvation 
as set forth in the Catechism was to him a subject for " dan 
apioradail." The frequent recurrence in his time of scarcity 
and famine provided a congenial topic for his -muse. He 
could then contrast the earthly " gainne " with the heavenly 
" pailteas" available to all who sought for it. The con- 
temporary poet to whom he most approximated in spirit was 
Dugald Buchanan, though Buchanan's literary power and 
command of Gaelic were not his. Matheson, also delighted in 
the> composition, of elegies upon the men of noted piety in his 
own part of the country. These elegies afforded scope for the 
expression of his somewhat sombre theological views, but are 
redeemed by the softened tone in which he writes of the worthy 
Christians of his day. 

Some of his songs were inspired by notable events which at 
times caused a, ripple of excitement in the peaceful glen of 
Kildonan. Such an event, for example, was the emigration 
to South Carolina which occurred about the beginning of the 
reign of George III. There was at that time a pretty exten- 
sive emigration from various parts of the Highlands to the 
plantations, and many of the Kildbnan, people joined the 
throng. A good deal of what is contained in Matheson's 
poem might be applicable enough to> some of the migration 
-which goes on from Scotland to Canada to-day. It alarmed 
him that pious and sinful were huddled together in the same 

Donald Matheson and ether Gaelic Poets 


ship during the lengthy voyages of those times. Many were 
eager to go to those distant lands, but his eye wandered to 
another city. 

'S arm tha, mo shuil ri baile 

Is fearainn nach bi gann 
Far nach caochail maighstir 

'S nach iomair cliath no crann. 

Occasionally reference to< local events enables one to fix the 
dates of Matheson 'a poems. For example, in the song men- 
tioned above, the poet calls attention to the fact that the chief 
magnates of the county, Lord Reay and the Earl of Suther- 
land, had both recently died leaving an infant heir. This 
reference fixe the date of the poem, about 1766. The: Rev. 
Hugh Ross, minister of Kildonan, who died in 1761, .was the 
subject of one of Matheson's most admired elegies. Sage pays 
a tribute to this minister's reputation for piety, and leaves 
his readers to infer that the minister of Kildonan was just 
such a subject as was most congenial to> his catediist'si muse. 
Indeed, the aim of the " marbhrann" is to express admiration 
for all the' minister's good qualities, and it presents a pleasant 
picture of a faithful and beloved pastor, the guide, philosopher, 
and friend of his people. Much of the popularity of Donald 
Matheson's poetry is to be ascribed to the fact that it appealed 
to the peculiar religious instincts) of +he people of that period. 
Presbyterianism had never really penetrated into the North 
Highlands until the years when the poet was an, impressionable 
young man, and this elegy upon the life of the Rev. Hugh 
Ross bears testimony to the rapidity with which the Calvin- 
istic doctrine secured a firm hold upon the minds of the 
people. Soon after the introduction of Presbyterianism into 
the wide stretching and roadless Highland parishes, the need 
arose for providing aid to parish ministers in the task of 
teaching the people the great doctrines of the faith. And so 
there arose the important class of men known asi catechists. 
In due time Donald Matheson was appointed! to this office in 
his native parish, so that next to< the minister he became the 
chief religious and intellectual influence in Kildonan. This 
explains how it is that several of his " dain spioradaiF' were 
really composed to enforce the lessons of the Shorter Cate- 
chism. The people of the parish, as it were, sang themselves 
into the knowledge: of the great doctrines of the Church. 
Scottish Prssbyterianism was at that time still under the spell 

140 Gallic Society of Inverness 

of the great controversies of the preceding 1 century, with. 
Rome on the one hand and with Episcopacy on the other. 
Naturally the catechists soon became a notable order of men. 
Under their influence the Shorter Catechism -acquired an 
authority scarcely to be distinguished from that of the Bible 
it-self. In almost every parish the catechistsi were noted for 
their piety and religious zeal. In some instances, where the 
minister might happen to be of the " moderate'* persuasion or 
of an easy going disposition, the zeal of the ciatechists became 
more pronounced. Towards! the end of the century Peter 
Stuart began in the parishes of Halkirk and Reay the religious 
movement known as " separatism," which spread to Kildonan 
and other northern parishes. People were taught to distrust 
the ordinances of the Church and the services of the regular 
ministry and to follow rather the teaching of the " men" and 
the catechista. After Peter Stuart was appointed catechist 
near Inverness, the movement which he began was maintained 
by others such as Samuel Matheson, Joseph Mackay, and Neil 
Macpherson. In Kildonan and the adjoining parishes of 
Caithness this Separatist movement continued for generations 
to leave its mark upon the' religious life of the Highlands, 
where indeed its spirit is not yet extinct. 

After his death Donald Matheson's name and his spiritual 
songs remained a powerful influence among these; Separatists 
at whose gatherings his " D'ain" were frequently sung. To 
appreciate the influence which his poetry exerted upon the 
people, it has: to be remembered that not until near the close 
of his life did the Gaelic version of the New Testament get into 
general circulation, while the translation of the Old Testament 
was not completed till many years after his death. The pre- 
vailing means in his time of conveying religious instruction 
were the Psalter and the Catechism, seeing that few of the 
people possessed a complete copy of the Scriptures in a lan- 
guage which, they could understand. The repetition of 
Matrheson's poems served in many a cottage to balance as it 
were the recitations of the Ossianic tales or of the satirical 
songs of the Reay country bard. After the publication of 
Macpherson's Ossian in 1762, Matheson 's neighbour, the Rev. 
Alexander Pope of Reay, acting on the suggestion of Sir John 
Sinclair, began to collect and preserve specimens of the Ossianic 
poetry then circulating by oral repetition among the people 
of the glens in Halkirk, Reay, and Kildonan,. This was 
really the first attempt in the north to commit to writing the 

Donald Matheson and other Gaelic Poets 


literary flotsam and jetsam of the countryside, ,and it was not 
until a generation later that Matheson's songs or those of 
Rob Bonn were collected for publication. 

When Donald Matheson was oatechist ui Kildonan,, the 
same office wais filled in the neighbouring parish of Reay by 
James Macdonald, whose noted piety was afterwards commem- 
orated by his more celebrated son, Dr John Macdonald of 
Ferintosh. James Macdonald died at Reay in 1830 at the age 
of ninety-five, and in 1838 his son published the well-known 
" Uisgeachan lordain," a pious elegy in three parts 1 , in honour 
of his father's 1 eminence as a devotedly religious man, This 
poem is also- entitled a, spiritual hymn made on a. noted Chris- 
tian (" Dan .Spioradail a rinneadh air Criosdaidh Araidh"), 
the noted Christian here referred to being the catechist of 
Reay. It may be recalled that this elegy has recently been 
translated into English by the Rev. John Macleod of the 
Free North Church, Inverness. 

In the adjoining parish of Halkirk the catechist was Neil 
Macpherson, whose memory has been kept green in a well- 
known " marbhrann," sometimes published in, editions of 
Matheson' s poems. The> most not 3d catechist in the early 
part of last century was Joseph Mackay, author of numerous 
elegies, A native of Strath Hialladale, he married a daughter 
of Adam Gordon, tacksman of Griamachdary, the father of 
several sons who 1 rose to eminence in the army. Joseph 
Mackay, with the help of his wife's 1 brothers, procured a com- 
mission and served as a lieutenant at Waterloo. On his 
return, having settled in the parish of Reay, he became a 
leader of the Separatists. His elegies were published in the 
collection of spiritual songs (" Dain Spioradail "), issued at 
Forres in 1852. It is significant that the place of honour in 
this publication is given to the Oran na Clear, by Peter Stuart, 
the founder of the " Separatist, " while the other poems are 
mainly from the pen of one or other of Stuart's; leading fol- 
lowers. Most of the elegies in the volume were the work of 
Joseph Mackay, who honours with a " marbhrann" Peter 
Stuart, catechist; Hugh Matheson, Badanloch; and Charles 
Gordon, Merchant, Thurso. In due course " marbhrainn " 
were composed upon Joseph Mackay himself by kindred spirits 
named Robert Gunn and George Mackay. 

Among the elegies of that time was Samuel Matheson's 
" marbhrann" to> Sheriff Hugh McC'ulloch, who was drowned 
at Meikle Ferry in 1809. Of small merit from a literary 

142 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

paint of view, it secured a good deal of vogue on account of 
the eminence of the worthy Sheriff. The Rev. Donald Sage, 
who as a schoolboy resided with Sheriff McCulloch at Dornoch, 
has left a memorable picture of the man. " Sheriff 
McCulloch," says he, " shone as a man of ardent and enlight- 
ened piety. Saving impressions by divine truth and divine 
agency had been made upon his mjnd at an early age, and he 
advanced in the Christian life under the training and in the 
fellowship of the most eminent Christians and evangelic min- 
isters in the four northern counties." The Sheriff left Dor- 
noch to go to Tain on a market day. On his; return from Tain 
to Meikle Ferry he found that a large crowd of people had 
assembled eager to 1 return home to Sutherland from the 
market. Too* many people crowded into* the boat, and 
although it was a dead calm, the ferry-boat capsized when 
about half- way across 1 the Ferry, with the result that over 
seventy persons were drowned. The death of so> many people, 
including a man of such eminence as the Sheriff, caused a pro- 
found impression. The .Sheriff's body, which had not been 
recovered for some time', was at length discovered, owing, as 
was reported, to> a revelation made in a. dream to one of his 
friends. The virtues of this godly man iand the tragic circum- 
stances of his death, are laboriously summed up in Samuel 
Matheson's elegy. The Sheriff had been wont to hold religious 
services at Proncy, which were faithfully attended by the 
people of the neighbourhood, to which the elegist refers in the 
following passage: 

'S ami learn gur cinnt' gur iad bhitheas tinn 

Aig am na geinn a' criochnachadh ; 
Bhiodh cheols' dol suas gu High nan sluagh 

'S bhiodh leontaieh. thruagh gle inntinneach. 

But the Separatists were not allowed to have it ail their 
own way. Some of the " Moderates " engaged in satirical 
attacks upon them. One of these, the Rev. John, Macdonald, 
Alvie, of whose work as parochial schoolmaster of Dornoch 
Sage furnished a most detailed account, singled out Peter 
Stuart for severe castigation in his " Imcheisd Eaglais na 
h-Alba." Angus Macaskill, Eddrachillis, wrote satirical 
songs of which he afterwards repented. 

It remains to> notice one or two of those who, towards 1 the 
middle of the last century, maintained the literary traditions 
of the catechists. William Gunn, Proncy (near Dornoch), a- 

Further Notes on the Dunuegan Family U3 

native of Kildonan, who died a,bout 1840, and who, as well 
as his wife, Janet Mackintosh, was noted for piety, composed 
several " marbhraimi." In 1850 the Rev. William Findlater 
of Durness, grandfather of Misses Jane> and Mary Findlater, 
published at Edinburgh elegies on Dr Macdonald of Ferintosh, 
the Rev. Alexander Stewart, Cromarty, and Mrs Mackay, 
Sheggira, known throughout the north as " Bean a' chreidimh 
mhoir." Robert Macdonald, Gaelic teacher in Inverness, a 
native of Loth, published Gaelic hymns at Inverness: in 1836, 
and rendered several of John Bunyan's writings intoi Gaelic. 
He survived until 1868,, thus bringing the Kildonan tradition 
down to a comparatively recent date. The hymns of Donald 
Mackenzie, catechist of Assynt, appeared in 1827, but a new 
issue edited by the R,ev. J. R. Mackay, Inverness, in 1909, 
shows that there is still a Highland public prepared to welcome 
the spiritual songs of the catechists. 

13th APRI , 1917. 

Mr William Mackay, LL.D., presided over the meeting 
held on this evening. Formal business transacted included 
the election of Mr John Mackintosh, 28 Telford Street, 
Inverness, and Mr Duncan Matheson, Old Edinburgh Road, 
Inverness, as Ordinary Members of the Society. Mr Fred. 
T. MacLeod, Edinburgh, thereafter contributed the following 
paper : 


In a paper read by me to this Society last year, I dealt 
in detail with hitherto unpublished incidents in the life of 
Sir Roderick MacLeod of Dlinvegan, better known as Sir 
Rory Mor. Toi- night I propose) to consider Roderick Mac- 
Leod of Dunvegan;, grandson of Sir Rory Mor, who at the 
date of his father's death in 1649 was a minor, and also 
Norman MacLeod of Dunvegan, who was born in 1706. 
Each of these men lived in critical times, the first throughout 
the period of the Commonwealth, and the second during the 
stirring events of the '45. 

The years of Roderick MacLeod's minority were destined 
to be year's fra>ught with great danger to the House of Dun- 
vegan and to the clan. Charles the Second wias about to 

144 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

engage upon a campaign against the Commonwealth of 
England, the result of which the most gifted Highland seer 
could not possibly have foretold. In the light of subsequent 
history, it was well for the young" chief and the future 
members of his family that in Roderick MacLeod of Talisker 
and Norman MacLeod of Bernera, young Roderick's uncles 
on his father's side, he had at hand two< relatives capable of 
taking an intelligent grasp of the situation and of guiding 
him safely through the stormy years that were to follow. 
Both of these men, seem to have inherited those qualities of 
head and heart the exercise of which had gained for their 
father the title " Mor," or great. Talisker at once assumed 
the office of tutor to the young chief, and immediately 
declared for Charles. He was a.bly assisted by his brother, 
Norman MacLeod of Bernera. Never was fiery cross more 
enthusiastically responded to. One thousand men of the 
young chief's clan, led by Talisker and Bernera, took the 
field. The name " Worcester " should be emblazoned, in 
bloodkred letters upon Dunvegian's banner. Of that fine 
body of men few returned to their native glens. Decimation 
is the only word that, adequately describes the fate of the 
MacLeods at Worcester. That the clan displayed conspicuous 
bravery is admitted on all hands. The sympathy evoked by the 
loss of so many brave clansmen was fittingly expressed in, the 
resolution said to have been come to by the other clans that 
the MacLeods should be allowed sufficient time to multiply 
and recoup their shattered ranks before again being called 
upon to engage in warfare. Talisker was able, with difficulty, 
to return to Skye, but Bernera was taken prisoner, and, 
after being confined for eighteen months, was brought to trial 
for treason. During the period that elapsed, consequent 
upon a point of legal procedure, he managed to effect his 

Dunyegan Castle has been the temporary shelter of many 

distinguished men men of war a.nd men, of Lettera A most 

important gathering assembled in the Castle to discuss the 

situation of affairs consequent upon the defeat of General 

Middleton's army at Lochgarry. The latter attended, in 

person, accompanied by several of his officers, including 

iziel and Drummond. The leaders resolved that it was 

inexpedient to continue the war, and it was considered 

advisable to trust to the clemency of the English Government 

e disbanding, the eminent services of Talisker were put 

Further Notes on the Dunuegan Family 

on record in the form of a memorial addressed to> Charles, 
the tenour of which throws ^n interesting light upon 
Talisker's character and the esteem in which he was held 
by his brother officers. On the restoration of Charles the 
Second in 1660 both Talisker and Bernera received the 
honour of Knighthood at the hands of the King. We may 
look in vain among the cold documents of official history for 
an accurate delineation of the character of Sir Norman Mac- 
Leod of Bernera ; but the memory of his life . has been 
immortalised by our own sweet singer, Mary MacLeod, and 
by the great contemporary bard, Niall MacMhuirich. In 
view of the criticism which has often been passed on, any 
attempt to translate Gaelic poetry into the English language, 
I give the following translation by Dr Magnus MaoLean, in 
his "' Literature of the Celts," of one of Mary MacLeod's 
poems addressed to> Sir Norman MacLeod. I append but 
f o<ur out of many stanza : 

" I sit on a knoll 

All sorrowful and sad ; 

And I look on the grey sea 

In mistiness clad : 

And I brood on strange chances 

That drifted me here ; 

Where Scarba and Jura 

And Islay are near. 

' Where Scarba and Jura 
And Islay are near : 
Grand land of rough mountains 
I wish thee good cheer. 
I wish young Sir Norman 
On mainland and islands 
To be named with, proud honour 
First chief of the Highlands, 

"To be praised with proud honour 
First chief of the Highlands; 
In wisdom and valour 
In far and Highlands. 
jr.H- inctt .3 and manhood 
There's none may compare 
With the handsome MacLeod 
Of the Princeliest air. 


146 Gaelic Society oj Itwerness 

" And the blood through his veins 
That so proudly doth fare 
From the old Kings of Lochlain 
Flows richly and rare. 
Each proud earl in Alba 
Is knit with his line ; 
And Erin shakes hands with him 
Over the brine." 

Every student of West Highland history owes a. deep debt 
of gratitude to the late Dr Cameron of Brodick, whose 
indefatigable labours are reflected in " Reliquiae Celticae," 
a work of incalculable importance. To decipher seventeenth 
century manuscripts is in itself a task attended with much 
difficulty, but when added to that there are the additional 
difficulties of, first, transliteration from ancient phonetic 
Gaelic into modern Gaelic, and, second, translation into 
English, we can understand why the works of our old Celtic 
chroniclers and poets are practically unknown,. In forty -seven 
quatrains Niall MacMhuirich, in the Book of Clan Ranald, 
sings the praises of Sir Norman MacLeod. This long poem 
Dr Cameron has transliterated, and a translation of it appears 
in " Reliquiae Celticae," vol II., p. 265, opposite the text. 

I return to young Roderick of Dun vegan, whose years of 
minority have called forth the above' introduction of two 
members of the Dunvegan family who- were truly chiefs in 
deed if not in name. Roderick, on attaining majority, was 
successful in obtaining the protection of Cromwell through, 
it is stated, the influence of General Monk, upon finding 
security for his future peaceable behaviour to the amount of 
6000 and paying a fine of 2500. The influence must have 
been great, otherwise the terms of reconciliation would have 
been much more severe. Doubtless the fact that the events, 
necessitating a reconciliation, occurred during the years of 
his minority, before his mind had fully matured, weighed 
largely in balancing the amount of money to be paid. It was 
during Roderick's tenure of office that the incident which 
gave rise to the composition of the famous pipe tune, " I gave 
a kiss to the hand of the King," occurred. 

The following order appears among the Dunvegan papers, 
which I insert as evidently beajing upon Roderick MacLeod's 
visit to London after the Restoration : 

Further Notes on the Dunuegan Family H7 

" These are to require you on sight hereof to furnish 
the Bearer McCleoid with three able and sufficient Post 
Horses and a, Guide from Stage to Stage between London 
and Edinburgh and back (if he have occasion) he paying 
the usual rates for the same. Given under my hand and 
seal at the Cock-pit the 17th day of March 1663 


" To all Postmasters, Constables and others His Majesty's 
Officers whom it may concern." 

If we leave o-ut of consideration Sir Bory Mor, there can 
be no question that Norman MacLeod, the 19th Chief, who 
was born in 1706, after his father's death, stands out pre- 
eminently as the most illustrious member of the Dunvegan 
family. The Rev. R. C. MacLeod's inference, from 
correspondence he has perused, is that Norman spent his 
boyhood with his mother, his two sets of half-brothers and 
half-sisters, the Fotheringhams of Pownie, and the children 
of Lord Cromarty. In 1726 he married the sister of his 
friend, Sir Alexander Macdonald. He separated from her 
in 1733 and rejoined her in 1739. This domestic incident is 
referred to in letters written by him. I do* not think much 
importance should be attached to the reference by others to 
him as " the wicked ma,n." To-day, in a glen a few miles 
from the Castle, if a man use his razor on the Sabbath morn- 
ing he quickly earns for himself a title no less objectionable. 
We know that MacLeod had mixed freely in the best society 
in the South and probablv shared in the amusements of his 
time, then regarded as the hall-mark of a gentleman, but 
now ranked among the vices. His simple, unsophisticated 
tenants, hearing rumours of such things,, probably coined the 
phrase which is associated with his name to this day. He 
inspired very warm affection in many people. He was very 
good natured, often seriously embarrassing himself in order 
to help others, but he was incurably careless 1 about money 
matters. MacLeod married as his second wife Ann, daughter 
of William Martin of Inchfure. He represented Inverness- 
shire in Parliament from 1741 to 1753, and during this period 
of his life he lived a good deal in London. He then bought 
White House in Edinburgh, where he lived until he went to 
St Andrews about 1768, For a short time he held a Com- 
missionership of Police worth 400 a, year. During the latter 
part of his life he was very much embarrassed by pecuniary 

148 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

difficulties. His letters shew that he formed many schemes 
fc_- retrenchment and economy, the most important of which 
was to put his estate in the hands, of trustees, a scheme 
which was never carried out. Towards the close' of his life 
he suffered severely from gout and other troubles. He died 
in July, 1772, and was buried in St Andrews, where there is 
a. monument to his memory erected by his widow. 

I have thus, shortly, sketched the history of MacLeod, 
leaving, so far, untouched two important chapters in his life, 
viz., the part played by him in the abduction of the unfor- 
tunate Lady Grange, and his association with, the affairs of 
the 'Forty-five. That MacLeod was deeply involved in the 
scheme to isolate Lady Grange where her tongue could work 
no mischief is abundantly clear from extant documents and 
other trustworthy evidence which I do not think requires 
recapitulation. The questions, however, how far he was 
involved in inducing Prince Charles Edward to< come to Scot- 
land, the exact time when he changed from being a supporter 
of the Stuarts to a supporter of the reigning House, and what 
truth, if any, there is in the oft-repeated allegation that he 
acted the part of a traitor against the Prince, are con- 
troversial. I propose in what follows to state in plain 
language the charges made against MacLeod at the time and 
my reasons for believing that MacLeod was not entirely guilt- 
less. MacLeod has left behind him many interesting letters 
written in a most distinct hand and characterised by as clear 
a style. Most of these letters refer to the period of the 
'Forty -five, and all are carefully preserved in the Advocates' 
Library. These letters formed the subject of a. paper read 
by Dr William Mackay to this Society, and they are published 
in full in. our Transactions. 

There are two standpoints from which the position may be 
reviewed. One is, What was the impression MacLeod' si actings 
conveyed to the supporters of Charles Edward, who had hoped 
for the' assistance of so powerful and influential a chief , always 
bearing in mind that the only so'urces of information avail- 
able at the time were MacLeod's overt acts and the repetition 
of conversations, and alleged 1 promises given, at meetings 
where, necessarily, few we're present 1 ? The other is, What is 
the impression conveyed to our minds to-day in the light of 
available extant documentary evidence? 

The charge made against MacLeod is that he was guilty 
of treacherous conduct against Prince Charles, in that, having- 

Further Notes on the Dunuegan Family H9. 

promised his aid and that of his clan in the vent of the 
Prince raising his standard in Scotland, he not only refused 
to implement his pledge, but was one of the first, if not the 
first, to inform the Government of the Prince's arrival, and 
that he thereafter remained a steadfast supporter of the 
Government, actively hostile to the Stuart cause. As regards 
the latter portions of the charge there cannot be two opinions. 
The exact date when MacLeod threw himself whole-heartedly 
into the service of the Government may be a matter of doubt, 
but that he did so there can be no question. We may go 
further and say truly that but for his individual services and 
the influence he exerted on others who were inclined to 
vacillate, the difficulties of the Government would, to say the 
least of it, have been considerably increased. 

I take first the correspondence' of Simon, Lord Lovat. 
A letter addressed to Lochiel was used against Lovat at his 
trial. When produced, this letter bore no date and was not 
subscribed, but the date was proved to be about November, 
1745, and the writer Lovat. I excerpt the following: 

" The base and treacherous behaviour of o>ur wretched 
cousin, the Laird of MacLeod, has almost cost me my life 
already. The night before he took his journey to the Isle 
of Skye from this house, sitting before me, he looked up 
seriously and swore to< me that as he should answer to God 
and wished that God might never have mercy on him and 
that he might never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven but 
that his bone might rott on earth, be burnt and his ashes 
blown up in the air if he did not come with all speed 
imaginable and with all his men that was already prepared, 
and come and join my son and the clan Fraiser and march 
south with them to the Prince's service wherever he was. 
He swore the same terrible oaths and imprecations next day 
to my son, and to your faithful servant Gortuleg. And if he 
had keept his oaths and word, I had so managed that about 
6,000 men (had marched south to* the Prince's assistance, 
which I thought wou'd much encourage his own loyal party 
and frighten the English to his obedience. But when I got 
MacLeod's letter twelve days after, in which he told me that, 
after deliberating fully with his neighbour, Sir Alexander, 
and weighing the arguments on both sides, he and his neigh- 
bour had resolved to stay at home and not to trouble the 

150 Gaelic Society of /nuerness 

" In reading this line I had almost fainted and my body 
swelled with >angr and vexation, so that I would not sleep 
nor eat for several days; and I am yet far from being 
recovered, for I have a severe stitch and pains in my left side, 
which keeps me from my nights rest and has entirely taken 
away my appetite, so that I believe the treachery of that 
unnatural, ungrateful and wicked man will be the occasion 
of my death very soon. . . . 

" The treacherous behaviour of the monstrous Laird of 
MacLeod sihould put all relations ;and intimate friends O'tt 
their guard not to fail one another, for he has by his 
treachery and unnatural behaviour fixed upon himself the 
moist infamous character of any man on, earth. That traitor, 
instead of coming to this house, where he was always to join 
my son, according to his promise, has marched the other side 
of Kissock this day with 400 of his chosen men and gentle- 
men. I believe that hearing that my son regiment was in 
arms in this country, he was afraid to pass through it, though 
its the best way to Inverness. His fears was groundless, for 
I would not hurt my mother's kin, though it was in my 
power. But if my son saw the Laird, I believe he would 
shoot him, or bring him prisoner to the Prince, because of 
his abominable breach of oath and promises to him. 

' When he sent a little sneaking gentleman here with his 
treacherous letters, my son and G-ortuleg made two bitter 
answers to them. When the little gentleman sought my 
answer, I told him to tell his Chief that he was a traitor to 
the King, and a, murderer of my son .and me, which he might 
be sure I would resent if I was able; but that I would never 
black paper to a man that had so basely betrayed me: that 
since he went to the Devill, I would leave him there and 
have no more to do with him/' 

It is necessary to keep in mind that the alleged incidents 
narrated in the above passages refer to> a. time three months 
after the arrival of the Prince in Scotland. There are other 
passages in Lovat's letters of like tenour, but I have 
extracted the above because' of the specification as to time 
and place, without which the statement would, as evidence, 
be valueless. 

It is necessary next to face the evidence of John Murray 
of Broughton, Secretary to the Prince 1 , aa contained in his- 
Memorials published by the Scottish History Society. 

Further Notes on the Dunuegan family 151 

Murray states in clear and unambiguous language that at a 
meeting between the Laird of MacLeod, Appin and Lorn 
(Macdougall), at which he was present, a, letter was delivered 
to MacLeod from the Prince. This meeting occurred in 
1744 subsequent to the month of July and probably towards 
the end of the year. Murray .states that, after reading it 
and appearing extremely well pleased, MacLeod expressed a 
strong desire to hear a description of the Prince's person and 
character, which he (Murray) having attempted very candidly 
and without reserve, MacLeod declared in a kind of rapture 
that he would make it his business to advance the Prince's 
interest as much as was in his power and would join him, let 
him come when he would. Murray further states that 
" Having sat a, considerable time, which was all spent upon 
the same topic and MacLeod having again and again repeated 
his resolution to promote the Prince's interest and join him 
when he came, we broke up but went to another company in 
the same house, where were Lord Traquair, Mr Stewart of 
Appin and young Glengarry, where MacLeod was no sooner 
seated, than as much affected with what had passed, he called 
for a large glass and drank a bumper to Prince Charles." 
Murray was not satisfied with MacLeod's verbal statements 
and promises, and was " resolved to have if possible every 
man's opinion and (under) his own hand," and ultimately 
succeeded, through the instrumentality of Lochiel, in pro- 
curing MacLeod's consent in writing. Murray states that 
MacLeod's written opinion, as far as he could recollect it, 
was : ' ' That having maturely considered his Royal High- 
ness' resolution, he was of opinion that to land in Scotland 
without assistance' from abroad might prove an unsuccessful 
attempt, but as he was entirely devoted to the interest of 
the Royal Family, if he should land, he would join him at 
the head of his clan." I pass over mere expressions of 
opinion by Murray in which MacLeod's subsequent conduct 
is referred to in most forcible language, and deal only with 
matters which Murray puts forward as statements of fact. 

Passing over a period of several months, in May, 1745, 
Murray states that a letter arrived from the Prince stating 
that he was to set out from France in a. short time with some 
money and arms and expected to be in Scotland in the month 
of July ; that he proposed to come to the Island of Uist, and 
would make certain signals. After a lapsie of some little 
time Murray's narrative proceeds " Doctor Cameron 

152 Gaelic Society oj Inverness 

returned and informed us that he had taken an opportunity 
to shew this letter to Lord Lovat and MacLeod together: 
that Lovat before he had made an end of reading it said in 
a passion, that he (the Prince) should not be allowed to land, 
and that if he did by God no man should join him : that upon 
this MacLeod stopped him, desiring he would not be in such 
a hurry, saying he did not look upon these things to be so 
bad, nor was he to* be used in that manner, and that they 
ought seriously to consider it; and that* after much con- 
versation, they proposed a letter should be written, dissuad- 
ing him from landing." Murray states that Lochiel gave it 
as his opinion thiat as to MacLeod, " He did not at all 
hesitate or in the least doubt of his journey, both from his 
behaviour at Lovats and his voluntary engagements at 
Edinburgh, when there was neither force nor obligation upon 
him, nor any great pains taken to persuade or entice him." 
After several futile attempts on the part of Murray to meet 
MacLeod, the former succeeded in getting a messenger 
through to- the Laird, who brought back the answer that 
" MacLeod desired him to acquaint me that he thought it 
would be proper I should write and inform his Royal Highness 
that some of his friends were of opinion he ought to return, 
but at the same time desired him to assure me that did His 
Royal Highness persist in his resolution, to land, he would 
join him as he had promised, and if the letter was sent lie 
would take care to have it delivered; he likewise promised 
to appoint a proper person to observe the signals, and con- 
cluded by saving that though he was hopeful his neighbour 
Sir Alexander McDonald might be prevailed upon to come 
to the same resolution, yet he could not take it upon him to 
answer in his name." Still following Murray's narrative, 
after the Chevalier had been a- few days in Arisaig, he set 
out for McDonald of Kinlochmoidart, from where he dis- 
patched young Clanranald with letters and instructions to 
Sir Alexander McDonald and MacLeod to acquaint them 
with his designs and desire them to raise their followers with 
all diligence, and to know what number of arms they would 
require and desiring their opinion in regard to his future 
motions. A meeting was held between MacLeod, McDonald 
and Clanranald, and Sir Alexander " declared once and for 
all that he would not join." Murray's statement of the 
position taken up by MacLeod is that he " conscious to him- 
self how solemnly he was engaged by frequent promises did 

Further Notes on the Dunuegan Family 


not then care to resile, but took occasion, upon Sir Alexander 
leaving the room to tell Clanranald that he was heartily sorry 
his friend could not be prevailed upon, and tho' he dis- 
approved of the Enterprise in the manner it was now under- 
taken and could wish that the Chevalier could be persuaded 
to return, yett never the less, if he continued firm in his 
resolution to stay, that he would join him, tho' it would be 
impassible for him to get his people together in so short a 
time as was purposed, many of them being in the Isles at a 
considerable distance, and begd to hear from him as soon as 
he had returned to the Chevalier with his fixed resolution." 
The last statement by Murray I propose to cite out of many 
is that about the middle of September, 1745, there being 
nothing from MacLeod " but oaths and curses that so soon 
as he went to Skye he would raise his men and march south, 
att the same time that he had had no sooner made his solemn 
promises and consulted of how he was to march and where to 
meet the other clans than he went directly to Mr Forbes of 
Culloden, the President and told what had passed." 

The next testimony I adduce is " The Lyon in Mourning 
or a collection of speeches, letters journals etc. relative to 
the affairs of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, by the Rev. 
Robert Forbes Hi.M. Bishop of Ross and Caithness 1746- 

Under date Tuesday, May 17th, 1748, Bishop Forbes 
states that when in the Advocates' Library a document, from 
which I have excerpted the following, was put into his hands, 
the writer being Mr James Mackenzie (an Orkney man), 
writer in Edinburgh, who knew the facts of which he wrote 
well: " Next to Lovat's irresolution and the general dis- 
trust entertained of him on that account, the machinations 
of the Laird of MacLeod, that great engine of Duncan's plots, 
were of unhappy consequence. When the commonalty were 
everywhere gathering, and in small parties marching away 
to the place of rendezvous, this deceiver, disguised like a 
friend wrought on their leaders from time to< time to halt 
for him and the Knight of MacDonald, under the pretence 
that the Mackenzies and they, by marching in one body, 
would bring a credit to the young man's affairs which would 
be lost by repairing to him in divided companies. And when 
men at last began to suspect him, both by reason of his studied 
delays, and of his frequent consultations with Duncan," he 
sent them a letter in answer to a remonstrance made to him 

154 Gaelic Society of /nuerness 

on these grounds, wherein he makes profession of his con- 
firmed of arming for his country, and concluded with 
these words: " For my own part, I am either at the height 
of my ambition, or at the foot of the gibbet " a profession, 
it must be owned, but too easily trusted, and so' much the 
more that his fidelity had at first been vouched for by a 
messenger sent into these parts by the young man in order 
to quicken the motion of his friends. In a consultation being 
then held at Castle Dounie, the traitor so dissembled his duty 
that he outwitted them all, in as much as that afterwards 
when men expressed a distrust of him, by reason of his con- 
trivance to keep things back, the messenger (Barrisdal by 
name) still gave assurances as if his master had not a truer 
friend upon earth. And as the notoriety of his accession to 
the call for the young man had gained him a credit with his 
neighbours from the beginning, so these assurances of the 
messenger, together with his own protestations, both by word 
and writ, served as arguments; to increase the stock of it, 
till at length certain leaders submitted themselves to his 
direction, and then their eyes never open'd till they saw him 
with his men at Inverness." 

Further, this contemporary note appears in volume 29 
of " The Lyon in Mourning " : "In this rising it would 
appear that the Grants had been imposed upon and made 
believe that they were to have joined the Prince'si adherents. 
It is well known that the Laird of MacLeod used this deceit- 
ful dissembling art to rouse his own following, insomuch that 
the MacLeods had white cockades in their bonnets at their 
rising, and in passing from the Isle of Skye to the continent, 
which I Robert Forbes have had affirmed to me by several 
persons of the Isle of Skye, who had access to know this 
affair well." 

The Lyon also 1 contains many interesting notes concerning 
an alleged letter siaid to have been sent by MacLeod to Mac- 
Donald of Kingsburgh after the flight of .the Prince, to Skye, 
which letter it is stated was widely circulated in London at 
the time. Though interesting, if genuine, as throwing light 
upon MacLeod's actions when the Prince was a fugitive, it is 
outwith the scope of the present enquiry, and as 1 the ecxjact 
terms of the letter are not extant, I think it better to leave- 
it alone. 

I now refer to "A G-enuine and True Journal of tjia 
most miraculous Escape of the Young Chevalier from the- 

Further Notes on the Dunuegan Family 

Battle of Culloden, to his landing in Franc taken from the 
mouths and Journals of the very persons who assisted aim 
therein Partly wrote in London and partly in Scotland 
I could have used instead of this journal statements sub- 
stantially the same in the Lyon in Mourning, but I think r 
better to gather the evidence from sources as varied as 
possible. The following is a conversation between the Prince 
and his devoted follower, Donald MacLeod of G-altrigal, 
Skye: " The Prince I desire you'll go with letters from me 
to Sir Alexander Macdonald and the Laird of MacLeod, for 
I am persuaded that those gentlemen, notwithstanding what 
they have done will yet endeavour to protect me." This last 
declaration of the Prince struck Donald with surprise, and he 
immediately told the Prince " He would do anything for him 
except that: Because says Donald, Your Highness knows 
they have played the Rogue already; and you must not trust 
them again. For at this very time they are in search for you, 
with their forces, within ten or twelve miles of you, if they 
come by sea, though it be more by land, and therefore the 
sooner you remove from the place the better." And again, 
" One day as the Prince was sailing up and down Loch Bois- 
dale, Donald MacLeod asked the Prince, ' If he once got the 
Crown what would he do with Sir Alexander Macdonald and 
the Laird of Madeod,' ' Oh Donald ' (said the Prince) ' are 
they not o<ur own people still, let them ck> whatever they will. 
It is not to be imputed as their fault what they have done; 
but it is altogether owing to the Power President Forbes has 
over their judgments in these matters. Besides (continued he) 
if ever the Kins: was returned, we should be as sure of them 
for friends as any other whomsoever, they being for those in 
power. I blame indeed (says the Prince) young MaciLeod 
much more than, his father; for he was introduced to me in 
France, and solemnly promised me all the service in his 
Power ; but when put to the Trial, did not perform the least 
tittle of it.' : And again, when the Prince and Kings- 
burgh were going from Mugstot to Kingshurgh the Prince 
said he proposed going to the Laird of MacLeod's as being 
a. place the Government people would not suspect. But 
Kingsburgh would not agree, to that, and gave some of his 
rea,sons to support his opinion," " What (say the Prince) 
do you think that MacLeod, to his former doings, would add 
that of thirsting after my blood." " I am not certain of 
that (replied Kingsburgh) but I have received a letter from 

156 Gaelic Society of Inuerness 

The Laird of MacLeod, wherein he desires me to deliver you 
up, if yo<u should fall into my way ;. and said I should thereby 
do a great service to my country." . . . Sometime after 
this the Laird of MacLeod asked Kingsborough for this letter 
again; but Kingsburgh refused to give it to him, and said, 
"He would keep that .to shew what part MacLeod acted, 
under MacLeod's own hand." This is the letter I have 
referred to, discussed in the Lyon in Mourning. 

Lastly, I refer to the statements of two of MacLeod's 
relatives, his grandson and the late Miss MacLeod of Mac- 
Leod, to the latter of whom Mr Alexander Mackenzie acknow- 
ledges his indebtedness for information given. Dealing first 
with MacLeod's grandson, Norman, the 20th Chief, the 
following statement appears in a manuscript under his. hand 
dated in 1785 : "It would be neither pleasing nor useful to 
enquire how deeply he was concerned in the preludes to the 
Rebellion, nor indeed have I been able to learn." Miss Mac- 
Leod of MacLeod's, statement (on the authority of Mr Mac- 
kenzie) is that: " She remembers having seen in the family 
charter-chest an interesting correspondence between His Royal 
Highness and MacLeod, in which the latter invited the Prince 
to come over several months before he arrived," but the 
letters have since disappeared. 

There is no answer, so< far as I know, to the statement 
that MacLeod was a party to inviting the Prince to come 
over. I know of no contemporaneous document to support 
the statement that such an invitation was conditional upon 
the Prince bringing with him adequate support from France. 
MacLeod did not, at the time, so far as I have been able to 
learn, contradict in writing the specific charges which have 
been made against him of acting a double part for some time 
after the Prince landed. Fortunately, several letters that 
passed between MacLeod, President Forbes, and Lord Lovat 
have been preserved, from which we may fairly draw certain 
inferences. Throughout that correspondence MacLeod's 
position is absolutely clear. He avows himself a staunch 
supporter of the Government. I attach considerable 
importance to this correspondence. A material piece of 
evidence in favour of MacLeod is contained in a letter written 
T>y the President to Gluny dated 20th August, 1745. Cluny 
in a previous letter had expressed the view that most of all 
the Highland Chieftains were with the Prince, including in 
all probability MacLeod. President Forbes writes: " There 

Further Notes on the Durwegan Family 157 

is only one thing which I wish you had not expressed so strong, 
and that is when you say that most of all the Highland Chiefs 
are with the Young Invader. For, contrary to what you have 
been informed of concerning Sir Alexander MacDonald and 
MacLeod I do assure you that they are both in the same dis- 
position that you and I are ; that they have absolutely refused 
to join, and have prevented the stirring of every man of their 
dependants; and my authority for saying so is no less than 
a letter which I received this day about one o'clock ; it is dated 
the 17th instant 2 o'clock afternoon, and written by Mac- 
Leod in answer to one that was sent him by express from this 
place after my arrival. I mention this to you for your 
private satisfaction, that you may not be imposed on by 
reports which will be purposely raised to intimidate some and 
delude others; but I would not have their correspondence 
with me spoken of, except to friends, because it is unnecessary 
it should yet be publick." Again, as shewing that it was 
known at least in Skye that MacLeod was supporting the 
Government (and this I produce also 1 as evidence against the 
statement that MacLeod's own men marched from Dtinvegan 
under a delusion wearing " the white cockade ") we have 
MacLeod's written statement to the President on 23rd 
October, 1745 : " Sandy MiacLeod is still here waiting to see 
his uncle ; he has made some attempts to raise rebellion 
against the Knight and me here, but with very bad success." 
And again, in the same connection, I quote the words of 
Donald MacLeod of Bernera, who, when required by Mac- 
Leod to attend with his men at D'unvegan to take up arms 
against the Prince, wrote: " I place at your disposal the 
twenty men of your tribe who are under my immediate com- 
mand, and in any other quarrel would not fail to be at their 
head, but in the present I must go where a more imperious 
duty calls me." Lastly (and this goes to meet the point that 
about the middle of October, 1745, MacLeod was promising 
support to the Prince), there is an entire absence of any 
incriminating document, correspondence or otherwise, under 
his hand. Nay, more, we find MacLeod writing to Lovat on 
the 23rd of that month deploring an attack that 'had been 
made on the President, and advising Lovat that he owed 
himself and the world a public vindication from any sug- 
gested association of himself (Lovat) therewith,. In the same 
letter MacLeod iadds : ' ' My son is in great agony about six 
of hia men that have deserted, and I own it gives me much 

153 Gaelic Society of Inuernisf 

pain to see ingratitude so strong even in common fellows. 
But can I believ-e the rest of it, that they were entertained 
in an outhouse of yours and then sent to make part of the 
Master's rendezvous!. I cannot, and so there I leave it till 
I hear more." 

In an enquiry of this nature necessarily a great deal 
depends upon the credibility of the witnesses whose testimony 
has been adduced. Fortunately, for the partial vindication 
of MacLeod's character, the two Leading witnesses who speak 
to alleged treachery Simon Fraser of Lovat and Murray of 
Broughton are to> a large extent discredited persons. Mr 
D. N. Mackay, in his introduction to the latest published 
Trial of Lord Lovat, emphasises Lovat's tendency to round 
on his old friends, and instances several pungent phrases 
attributing the blackest qualities to men " whose conduct was 
clean and whose career was honourable." We may possibly 
not go far wrong if we discount entirely statements made by 
Lovat which are unsupported by others. But, unfortunately 
for MacLeod, Lovat 's statements are corroborated largely by 
statements made by Lovat's greatest enemy, Murray of 
Broughton, Wherever there is smoke there must be some 
fire. There is no room for the suggestion that Murray and 
Lovat concocted a. lying plot, and therefore a certain amount 
of credibility attaches itself to> the corroborated statements 
of even a past master in duplicity, and one who was willing 
to save his neck at the expense of others. At one stage of 
Lovat's trial it was contemplated to call MacLeod as a 
witness for Lovat, and an order was obtained for MacLeod 
to attend and give evidence. In the end, however, it was 
resolved not to call him. It may be argued that the 
resolution on the part of Lovat not to call MacLeod points 
to MacLeod's innocence of the charges brought against him 
at the trial. On the other hand, notwithstanding the grave 
accusations against MacLeod contained in the letter referred 
to, produced at the trial, why did MacLeod, if he had the 
power, not tender himself as a witness, in contradiction of 
these accusations? 

The charges in the Lyon in Mourning against MacLeod 
are grave, and, though doubtless exaggerated, were made at 
the time and not contradicted. Bip.hop Forbes was possibly 
a zealous compiler of interesting information, but at the same 
time careful to a degree. Aq-ain, many of the statements 
therein are to be found in the journal from which I have also 

Fast-Day and Friday Fellowship Meetings 159 

quoted, against which, so far as I know, there- is no charge 
of fabrication. On the whole matter, I incline to the view 
that MacLeod, when a comparatively young man, following 
the early traditions of his family, warmly espoused the Stuart 
cause; that thereafter o>n reflection, realising the futility of 
another attempt to restore the Stuarts to the throne, and 
having come under the influence of Lord President Forbes, 
resolved gradually to dissociate himself from so forlorn a hope ; 
that while still corresponding 1 with President' Forbes, and 
known by him to be a staunch supporter of the Government, 
he had not disclosed to others that he had entirely thrown 
off his old allegiance; and that to allay any suspicion of 
adherence to the Prince, he finally deemed it necessarv to 
become an active agent for the Government. Had it been 
possible for him to consult his own inclinations, I doubt not 
he would have preferred to remain neutral. Although 
perhaps 1 late in the day, he lent his active support to the 
Government. The Highlands to-day are enjoying the fruits 
of that decision. There can be little doubt that had MacLeod 
throughout the 'Forty-five supported the House of Stuart, the 
Government would have been confronted with a much more 
^difficult and complex situation, 

26th APRIL, 1917. 

The meeting on this evening was presided over by the 
Rev. Donald Connell, M.A., and formal business transacted 
included the election, as Apprentice Members, of Mr Allan 
MacLeod Armstrong and Mr Donald Henry MacDonald. 
Thereafter the Chairman introduced the Rev. D. Beaton, 
Wick, who read the following paper: 

LAND AND CAITHNESS (1737-1758). 

The controversy of which an account is given in this paper 
disturbed the peace of the Presbyteries within the bounds of 
the Synod of Sutherland and Caithness for many years, and 
was ultimately brought to an end in 1758 by the decision of 
the Commission of the General Assembly. For reasons that 
shall be hereafter mentioned an attempt was made to curtail 

160 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

the number of days usually observed in connection with the 
administration of the Lord's Supper. Friday was the day 
around which the battle raged most fiercely. The effort to 
do away with the Fellowship or " Men's " Meeting met with 
strenuous opposition. This, though the most, prolonged, was 
not the first controversy affecting Fellowship Meetings in the 
Church of Scotland. As early as 1640 we find that the Aber- 
deen Assembly had its attention directed by Mr (afterwards 
Bishop) Henry G-uthrie, Stirling, to certain " private 
exercises " conducted by the Laird of Leckie. These 
" exercises " had been resorted to in the time of persecution 
in Ireland, when, according to Baillie, " our countrymen in 
Ireland, being pressed there by the bishops to countenance 
the liturgy and all the ceremonies, did abstain from the 
publick worship, and in private', among themselves, their 
ministers being all banished, did, in that time and place of 
persecution, comfort themselves with prayer and reading, and 
other exercises of religion, whiles in the night, whiles in the 
day, as they had occasion " (Letters). There were keen 
debates on the matter, and some of the most outstanding 
evangelical ministers of the day defended the right of the 
people to have such meetings. When Lord Seaforth and 
Guthrie were busily engaged wrangling over a paper brought 
in by a committee to regulate such meetings, Mr Rutherford, 
who, according to Baillie, was all the while dumb, " cast in 
a syllogism, and required them all to answer it, ' What 
Scripture does warrant, an assembly may not discharge ; but 
privy meetings for exercise of religion, Scripture warrants, 
James v. 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray 
one for another; Mai. iii. 16 Then they that feared the Lord 
spake often one to another, etc. : Ergo, thir things could not 
be clone in a publick meeting.' ; While a number " greedily 
haunsht ' at the argument, both Seaforth and Guthrie 
entered a protest against " Mr Samuel " troubling them with 
his : ' logick syllogisms." The " Irish novations "! did not 
end here. At neixt Assembly (1641) the subject was again 
discussed, and the Laird of Leckie gave in a bill against 
G-uthrie for slander. The outcome of all these discussions 
abcut private meetings was the passing, in 1647, of an Act by 
the General Assembly virtually prohibiting such meetings " ,is 
tending to the hindrance of the religious exercise of each 
fpmilie by itself, to the prejudice of the publike ministery, 
to the renting of the families of particular congregations, and 
in progresse of time of the whole Kirk." Yet, notwith- 

Fast-Day and Friday fellowship Meetings 161 

standing this decision, Baillie, writing seven years before, 
says: " Mr Rutherford, I know, in a treatise, defended the 
lawfulness of those meetings in greater numbers, and for moe 
purposes than, yet we have heard practised ; also> Mr Dickson 
had written, and practised, and countenanced some things in 
these meetings, that now both of them finding the incon- 
veniences, and seeing the great opposition they got from many 
good men, and especially Mr Hendierson, were content to 
pass from, at least to be silent of " (Letters). Whether 
these meetings in any way suggested those which became such 
a feature in the religious life of the north, it would, with our 
present information, be difficult to say. But when it is 
borne in mind that the rise of " the Men " 2 is usually 
associated with the name of John Munro (Caird), 3 a convert 
of Rev. Thomas Hog, who was minister of Kiltearn from 
1654 to 1661, and again from 1690 to 1692. Hog's 
sympathies would naturally lie in the direction of those 
ministers who favoured the private meetings, though dis- 
approving of some things connected with them, and it is quite 
within the range of probability that such meetings suggested 
those which began in Kiltearn, 4 and afterwards became a 
feature of the religious life of the Highlands. There is an 
interesting reference in >a newsletter from Dundee dated 8th 
January, 1651, in which the writer, in recounting the doings 
of the Commonwealth troops in the north, says: " I perceive 
by Captain Simpson and others that came from thence, that 
there is a very precious people who' seeke the face of God in 
Sutherland and divers other parts beyond Invemesse, which, 
but that I had itt from so good hands, I should have much 
questioned, considering how few all the Southern parts have 
afforded; but the Spiritt bloweth where Itt listeth, and 
though there were very few in any part of this Nation where 
ever wee came that would bee present att any private meet- 
ings, yet the people in those parts will rather leave their own 
Ministers and com to- private houses where our officers and. 
souldiers meete together." 5 From this it would appear that 
those who sought " the face of God in Sutherland and divers 
other parts beyond Invemesse " were not averse to meeting 
with Cromwell's Independent officers and soldiers in their 
private gatherings. 

Intimately associated with the Fellowship Meetings were 
" the Men." Their origin, tho<ugh generally traced to John 


162 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Munro (Caird), 6 cannot definitely be fixed. The -early Church 
records of the north, asi far as is known, have no references 
to them until the 18th century. 7 In a brief introductory 
notice like this it is not necessary to enter into a detailed 
description of the order of " the Men." The institution, at 
one time such a powerful factor in the religious life of the 
north, though now far from what it once was, is still so widely 
known as to* be quite familiar to all who are in anyway 
interested in the religious, affairs of the Highlands. " The 
Men " have had warm admirers, 8 who have carefully 
chronicled their sayings, and, on the other hand, they have 
bad critics, who neither pitied nor spared. 9 

In estimating the position taken up by " the Mem " in 
relation to the Church and the ministry, it is to be carefully 
borne in mind that there was a. distinct class among them 
who went under the name of Separatists). 10 These adopted an 
extreme attitude to the Church and the ministry, and even 
the most ardent admirers of " the Men/' such as Df Kennedy 
and Mr Auld, are careful too make a distinction between " the 
Men " generally and the Separatists. 11 Sage, in describing 
the Separatists, says that this sect " while professing to 
remain within the pale of the Church of Scotland, at the same 
time separated itself from its communion and other public 
ordinances/' The founder of the Separatists, he affirms, was 
Peter Stewart, & native of Strathmore, Caithness, a noted 
catechist and a, poet of some ability. Among the northern 
Separatists were men of outstanding ability and piety, and 
one has only to mention such names as Peter Stewart, Joseph 
Mackay, John Grant, and Alexander Gair 12 to be made con- 
scious: of the' fact that some of them, at least, were mem of 
no ordinary stamp. But while giving the Separatists all 
their due, it is but fair in estimating the position of " the 
Men " to carefully bear in mind that they did not all hold 
the views of the Separatists. 

With these introductory remarks the way is now clear for 
the discussion of the controversy on the Fellowship Meetings, 
which began in 1737, and was not really settled until 1758. 
The great numbers who attended the services in connection 
with the administration of the Lord's Supper, instead of 
being gladly welcomed by the ministers, became a. source of 
embarrassment to many of them. A movement, accordingly, 
was set on foot, whose purpose was to curtail the number of 
days observed on such occasions. The day which was to be 

Fast-Day and Friday Fellowship Meetings 163 

cut out was Friday, which " the Men " looked upon as their 
special day. The opposition to the Friday Meetings was not 
confined to the more worldly of the ministers, for it was 
backed up by such men as Kev. John Mackay, Lairg; Rev. 
Alexander Pope, Reay ; Rev. John Sutherland, Halkirk, etc. 
These ministers, if they did not actively oppose the meetings, 
at least fell in with the Synod's attitude towartb them. An 
interesting development of the controversy about to be 
described is thus referred to by Sage: '' In, the North of 
Scotland," he says, " a distinction prevailed in the annual 
administration of that ordinance [the Lord's Supper] which 
in the south was utterly unknown. That distinction was 
made between the public and the private or parochial 
administration of the Lord's Supper in any parish. The 
ordinance was considered as administered publicly when com- 
municants from other parishes joined with those of the parish 
in its observance, and, when, on that account, there were 
two distinct services, one in Gaelic and the other in English, 
and two different congregations, the one without, the other 
within doors." 13 Sage - tells of a rather painful division 
between his father, the Rev. Alexander .Sage, minister of 
Kildonan (1787-1824), and his elders in connection with the 
administration of the Lord's Supper. The minister wished 
to have the ordinance administered privately, or parochially, 
about the middle of spring. The elders wished it deferred to 
the middle of summer and to have it public as usual. Mr 
Sage would not yield, and feeling ran so high that the elders 
refused to .assist him. The Rev. William Mackenzie, Tongue, 
who assisted at the preaching, drew large congregations, 
larger, indeed, tha.n could be accommodated within the build- 
ing. Notwithstanding repeated requests to have the preach- 
ing outside, Mr Sage stubbornly refused, with the following 
result as narrated by his son : " On the Sabbath during the 
fencing of the tables and the table services, I remember seeing 
about two hundred persons assembled on the north side of 
Torr-an-Niachaidh, whilst Donald Macleod, the schoolmaster, 
read a few chapters of the Scripture^ to them, accompanied 
by prayer and praise. The elders, with the exception of 
Rory Bain, kept stoutly to their resolution to take no part. 
Although good old Rory was just as much opposed as any of 
them to< the parochial sacrament, yet he attended every day 
and officiated, from his sincere regard and attachment to his 
minister." 14 

164 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Prior to Mr Sage's settlement at Kildonan, the Dornoch 
Presbytery was agitated by a. controversy on the same subject. 
In 1782 it would appear that there was great scarcity in the 
north, and the Presbytery appointed, at ite meeting held on 
22nd August, a Day of Humiliation for the famine. The 
following year, at a meeting held at Golspie, 25th March, 
the Presbytery resolved " that the state of their several 
parishes with respect to; bread renders it altogether 
impracticable to administer that ordinance in the ordinary 
way of assembling several congregations into one and 
admitting indiscriminately all that come from whatever parish 
or county but notwithstanding this difficulty they wish to do 
their duty, they wish to do what is in their power to give 
their people an opportunity of partaking of that ordinance. 
The only possible method that occurs to> them of doing this 
is to propose to their people to receive that Sacrament in a 
private way i.e. every congregation by themselves, and assure 
them at the same time that, if circumstances admit of it the 
next year, they will take no advantage of this but on the 
contrary be the more ready to gratify them with dispensing 
the ordinance in the publick wiay now in use " (Dornooh 
Pres. Reg.). This course suggested by the Presbytery met 
with serious opposition, and to get over the difficulty they hit 
on the plan of having the communion on the same day in the 
different parishes within the bounds of the Presbytery (Ibid,, 
4th May, 1784). 

The first step in the Fellowship Meeting controversy was 
the passing by the Synod of Sutherland and Caithness, which 
met at Dornoch, 1st July, 1737, of an Act abolishing Friday 
Fellowship Meetings. The Act is in the following terms: 
That because the Communicants in each Presbytery in our 
bounds are by the blessing of God become so numerous that 
their meeting all in one Parish to partake in the Sacrament 
of the Lord's Supper is attended with several inconveniences, 
particularly that the Communicants are often straitned for 
want of room in the churches, and that the work is render' d 
tedious, therefore, the Synod should appoint that, at least, 
in the Presbytery s of Caithness and Dornoch where, a 
sufficient number of assistants can be got, the foresaid 
ordinance shall for hereafter be as often as may be adminis- 
trated in two parishes on the same Lord's Day. As also, 
that because the meetings; ordinarily kept on Frydays before 
the administration of the Sacrament are often inconvenient 

Fast-Day and Friday Fellowship Meetings 165 

to the ministers who join in the ministration by diverting 
them from what they should be principally employed about, 
and to the communicants insomuch as their coming from their 
apartments and attending these meetings takes up a good 
part of that day, which ought to be rather spent as much as 
may be in meditation and other private devotions, and that 
the main design of these Meetings may be obtained without" 
these inconveniencys by the people's communicating their 
cases of conscience to their ministers at home. Therefore, 
that the Synod appoint these Meetings on Frydays before the 
Sacrament to be foreborn for the future in all the bounds of 
this Synod ; and appoint the ministers before they come from 
home to> assist at that ordinance to give the Communicants 
of their respective parishes opportunity^ of consulting them 
about such questions or cases relative to that work as may 
happen to be straitning to< them. But that these conferences 
be as private as may be." 

The Synod ordered this Act, which was passed unani- 
mously, to be read from all the pulpits within their bounds. 
The members of Synod present were : Revs. Walter Ross, 
Tongue; John Munro, Halkirk; James Ferine, Wick; James 
Brodie, Latheron; David Dunbar, Olrig; John Mackay, 
L>airg; Robert Kirk, Dornoch; Francis Robertson, dyne; 
James Smith, Creich ; James Gilchrist, Loth; William Rose, 
Kildonan; John Munro, Rogart ; William Scobie, Assynt; 
John Sutherland, Grolspie, and William Henderson, itinerant 
minister in the Presbyteries of Dornoch and Tongue, and 
afterwards minister of Eddrachillis. At next meeting of 
Synod (Thurso, 29th June, 1738) it was " found that Pres- 
byterys have had regard as, far as they could to said recom- 
mendation, and are 1 resolved to continue to observe it and 
that said Meetings are foreborn." When the Synod met at 
Dornoch next year (27th June, 1739) the following request 
from the Presbytery of Tongue wa.s presented and agreed to' : 
' The Presbytery of Tongue represented that as their bounds 
are very discontiguous, and as the summer is the only season 
in which they can conveniently administrate the Sacrament 
of the Supper and as victual is then very scarce in their bounds 
and supplies of victual at a great distance from them and as, 
on these accounts, the people who meet to attend said Sacra- 
ment their coming to the parish where the Sacrament is given 
on Wednesday of the week before to attend and keep the 
Fast on Thursday and their continuing there till Munday 

166 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

evening thereafter, is burdensome to the poorer people of the 
Pai-ish where they ccnveen, and other ways inconvenient. 
Therefore, said Presbytery design that in their bounds, as 
most of their communicants, and a great many else, oonveen 
to every sacramental occasion they shall observe the Fast, 
us'd to be observ'd on Thursday, before the Sacrament in all 
their parishes on such day of the week as the ministers and 
their sessions shall see most convenient for their parishes 
respectively; so* as the people of other parishes may have no 
reason for meeting in the parish where the Sacrament is given 
sooner than Saturday's morning and that they the said Presr 
bytery want to* haive the Synod's approbation of this design. 
The Synod having heard and considered said representation 
did approve of said Presbytery's design." 15 The Presbytery 
were not only determined to abolish public, but also private, 
fellowship meetings. At a meeting held on 2nd March, 1749, 
it was decided to> prohibit these private meetings, as the 
following minute shows: " The Presbytery being well 
apprised that there are in the several parishes' some who take 
upon themselves to read the Scriptures and other books in the 
Irish language to the people and to solve doubts and cases of 
conscience at such meetings, and that siome o^ them are 
without the authority or allowance of the minister of the 
parish, and that it isi to be feared that such as so officiate are 
not weel qualified for it, and the Presbytery remembering a 
melancholy scene that happened several years ago in one of 
these unauthorised meetings at Halmadary, 16 did and do 
hereby prohibit any to convene the people to reading or con- 
ferences except the advice and consent of the parish minister 
be obtained." Two years later (13th March, 1751) a resolu- 
tion changing the Fast-day from Thursday to Friday was 
come to. " The Presbytery," so runs the minute, " declare* 
their resolution of keeping the Fast-day before the Sacrament 
on Friday, and not on Thursday as it was last year at Dur- 
ness : only, Mr Skeldodh. [Farr] craved some time to converse 
with his people there anent " (Register of Presbytery of 
Tongue) . 

When the matter comes up again before the Church 
Courts in 1750 it is ,as a petition from two elders 1 in the 
parish of Dornoch, and has reference to certain happenings 
at Lairg. The petitioners plead " That whereas upon inti- 
mation given us of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper its 
being to be given at Lairg upon the twenty fourth of June, 

Fast-Day and Friday Fellowship Meetings 167 

there was also an intimation that there would be no sermon 
upon the Thursday which was the ordinary day appointed by 
the Church of Scotland for solemn fasting and prayer at 
such an occasion since the hiaippie Reformation : the people 
having conveened and being disappointed of sermon that day, 
it cannot be express 'd what murmuring and confusion it 
occasioned among the people (a very unbecoming frame for 
the great and solemn work that was to be gone about). We 
must also beg leave to lay before you that if this or the like 
is practised any further it will not only occasion a coolness 
betwixt private Christians themselves but also a coolness 
betwixt several congregations and their ministers the conse- 
quences of which may in time prove dangerous. Therefore 
it is ho'ped and earnestly expected that you will take the 
afoove to your serious consideration and use the power lodged 
in your hands for preventing such practises for the future, 
and your petitioners shall ever pray. Sic subscribitur, Adam 
McKy, elder; John Sutherland, elder." 

The Synod dismissed the petition, and charged the peti- 
tioners and those who were likeminded with them as " highly 
to blame not only in refusing to submit to regulation thought 
necessary by their ministers, but also in the noise and 
clamour they had raised and the disturbance they gave to 1 the 
administration of that holy ordinance) and the insults by 
some of them offered to their ministers." The Synod's 
sentence was ordered to be> read from the sieveral pulpits in 
the Presbytery of Dornoch. Mr John Sutherland, 17 Golspie; 
Mr James Smith, 18 Creich ; and Mr John Munro, 19 Rogart, 
appealed against this decision*. In the (( Reasons* of Appeal " 
it is pointed out that a- letter " directed to Messrs George 
Sinclair and John Donaldson, merchants in Thurso, sub- 
scribed by one Thomas Munro, a well known Christian in 
their bounds, and that in his own name, and in the name of 
the other communicants in the Presbytery of Dornoch for- 
siaid, but as this letter and another letter written by com- 
municants of the parish of Far concurring with the' Dornoch 
petitioners were of great importance in this question, so* by 
certain ways and means the gentlemen to whom they were 
directed made no use of them, deserted the cause and thereby 
suppressed the evidences the people gave of their dislike to 
the change complained of." The charge of " noise and 
clamour " is rebutted. It had been said that Mr Mackay, 
Lairg, had been insulted by the people who came from the 

168 Gaelic Society of Inuerness 

parish of Dornoch on Thursday, but there was no proof of 
th?s. The Synod are reminded that " the truly serious and 
godly are justly complaining of the withdrawings of the Holy 
Spirit's gracious influences, and are in hazard by this to fall 
in with the wild and extravagant notions o<f the Secession." 
The Appellants express the fear that since the Friday meet- 
ings have been abolished and the " want of them supplyed by 
the parish ministers preaching & chatechetic discourse," 20 
that further encroachments may be made on the number of 
days observed at Communion seasons. 

In reply to the Reasons, of Appeal the Synod point out 
that " in June, seventeen hundred and fifty, and so before 
the next annual meeting of the Synod, a minister of the 
Presbyter}'- of Tongue being to .administer the Sacrament, 
that Presbytery agreed unanimously to> have the Fast on the 
Fryday, and their people oame peaceably into the change, 
excepting some in one parish adjacent to the Presbytery of 
Dornoch, two* ministers of Dornoch Presbytery, viz., Mr John 
Mackay 21 at Lairg, an aged and worthy minister, and Mr 
Hugh Sutherland 22 at Kildonnan, being to administer the 
Sacrament at the same time, resolved not to have the Fast 
till Fryday as judging it most convenient for themselves and 
their parishes, and having intimated their resolution at a 
preceding meeting of Presbytery, four judged the change 
proposed very reasonable on sundry accounts." The Synod 
further point out that Mr Hugh Sutherland, minister of 
Kildonan, when asked by communicants from the parish of 
Dornooh to have services on Thursday, advised them " to 
retire to their quarters and employ that day in private, seeing 
no publick worship was intended on it." These communi- 
cants, however, persisting in their request, found a spokes- 
man in Thomas Munro, a leading man among them, who 
said: " For my part I'll not advise any to follow me who has 
not the same clearance with myself, but I'm resolved to 
leave this place as I have no< freedom ; for my conscience does 
not allow me to join ini communion where such alteration is 
made." With these wordsi delivered Munro set out on his 
journey to Dornoch, followed by the people from that parish.. 
The minister sent a messenger after them, informing them 
that services would be held on Thursday ; on receiving this 
information they returned. The Synod also charge the 
Dornoch parishioners who went to Lairg as being "as 

Fast-Day and Friday Fellowship Meetings 169 

clamorous and indecent in their behaviour" as they who went 
to Kildonan. 

In one of the Answers to the Reasons advanced by Mr 
Sutherland, the Synod say that their action in changing the 
Fast-day to Friday was in the " interests of religion and the 
conveniency of all concerned in their parishes, in regard that 
a multitude of people are wont to throng to these occasions 
who, having nothing to do on the Fryday, saunter about the 
neighbourhood, and being idle themselves keep the rest of the 
parish unemployed also, when it's well known that people 
who must live by the labour of their hands can have few 
vacation days without real prejudice to their families. Be- 
sides the multitude of people who frequent these occasions, 
and of whom many are servants, when they continue many 
days together cannot but be burdensome both to the ministers 
and parishioners, especially in hard seasons, which considera- 
tion itself makes it prudent in the ministers to keep the people 
no longer together than is necessary. Man}'- come from the 
distance^ of four and twenty or thirty miles who>, therefore, 
cannot be fewer than seven or eight days absent from their 
families and service, which inconveniency will be somewhat 
remedied by keeping the Fast on Fryday." 

When the Synod met at Dornochi the following year (10th 
July, 1751), it enquired what the Committee which had been 
appointed to look after the Synod's interests on the above 
matter had done, and also whether Mr Francis Robertson, 
Clyne, whose name was used in Mr Sutherland's Memorial to 
the General Assembly, had acceded to the Appeal. The 
Sentence of the General Assembly in the matter was then 
read , arid was as follows) : 

' The General Assembly judge thait this affair is not ripe 
for a decision, and in the meantime declare that they cannot 
approve of the judgment of the Synod of Sutherland and 
Caithness censuring the elders and other petitioners request- 
ing the Synod to continue the Fast Day before the Sacrament 
on Thursday as formerly, and, therefore, discharge the 
intimation of that censure, and recommend it to all the 
ministers in the bounds of the Synod to show all tenderness 
to the sentiments of the elders and other well disposed people 
under their charge., and study to preserve unity and brotherly 
love with one .another, and further recommend it to all the 
people to behave regularly and quietly and shew all regard 

170 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

to their ministers, and judge it inexpedient for that Synod 
or the Presbyteries within their bounds to approve any 
general alteration of the diets of publick worship at such 
solemn occasions till that matter is taken under the considera- 
tion of the General Assembly." 

In answer to the Synod's enquiry as to what the Com- 
mittee and several Presbyteries had done to support the 
Synod's sentence, the Presbytery of Dornoch reported that 
they had intended one of their number with Mr Sutherland 
to attend the General Assembly so that both sides might be 
represented. Mr Sutherland and his adherents made choice 
of Mr Francis Robertson, 23 " who at the time he was named," 
the minutes got on to say, ' ' declared that he was not to go to 
the Assembly, they [Mr Sutherland and his supporters] by 
the help of some ruling elders from their parishes, who were 
not wont to attend the Presbytery, and whereof some by 
their attendng only a meeting or two at that time appeared 
to have been brought in chiefly, if not only, for the purpose 
of casting the ballance> against them in the election of their 
Commissioners, got the votes for Mr Robertson, foresaid, and. 
Mr Rose, 24 one of the Respondents, to be equal ; and then, 
that Mr Sutherland, the Appellant, gave hisi casting vote to 
Mr Robertson and against Mr Rose, tho' Mr Rose had voted 
for Mr Sutherland's being one of the Preebyterie's Commis- 

Mr Robertson, when questioned, denied having signed 
Mr Sutherland's Appeal ; all he did being merely to- subscribe 
a " declaration on the foot of their Petition importing that 
he knew the generality of communicants of the: Presbytery 
were disposed to have the Fast Day continued on Thursday." 
The matter of Mr Robertson's subscription did not readily 
end, a,nd the pros and cons were threshed out between himself 
and Mr Sutherland. When the Committee of Synod gave in 
their report they found Mr Sutherland " was to blame for 
hindering Mr Rose, one of the Respondents of that Presby- 
tery, to be elected by giving his casting vote to* Mr Robert- 
son, who remonstrated against his being leeted, and declared 
he could not go to the Assembly should the election fall upon 
him, and whom the Appellant then considered as being on 
his own side." 

In regard to the Assembly's Sentence, the Committee say 
in their Report: " The Synod appointed no general altera- 

Fast-Day and Friday Fellowship Meetings 171 

tion. The Presbytery of Dornoch, where all the noise is 
made, appointed no general alteration of the diets of publick 
worship, and therefore if the above recited part of the 
Assembly's Sentence was intended as a Censure on the Synod 
or Presibyteiry of Dornoch it can affect none but the Appellant, 
who induced them, in absence of the Respondents, to appre- 
hend that the Synod and the Presbytery of Dornoch had 
appointed what they never appointed as will appear from 

their books For there is in truth nothing in the 

Assembly's Sentence hindering any parish in the bounds of 
this Synod to> observe the Fast Day on the Fryday before the 
administration of the Supper. The Sentence only forbids 
the Synod or Presbyteries to appoint a general alteration, 
which is a very different thing from permitting an alteration 
where it may be quietly and peaceably effected, which was 
what the Synod permitted, and all that the ministers who had 
begun, or joined in, the alteration of the Fast Day contended 

Mr Sutherland dissented from this finding. The Synod's 
decision concerning the Assembly's Sentence is characterised 
as " evidently inconsistent with the plain meaning and sense 
of the words of the forsiaid Act." He further adds : C( The 
Synod have ventured to fix a meaning upon the Assembly's 
Act asi if it would patronize the change of the Fast Day from 
Thursday to Frydary, or at least, left every member of this 
Synod at liberty to hold the Fast Day on Fryday if he pleased. 
And yet nothing is more remote from the spirit and words of 
the Act'. For does it not expressly discharge the intimation 
of the Censure the Synod appointed last year for Communi- 
cants in the Presibytery of Dornoch for their asking only the 
continuation of the Fast Day before the Sacrament of the 
Supper on the Thursday ? Doe it not recommend all tender- 
ness to> the sentiments of the elders and communicants of 
their bounds, and judge it inexpedient to make any general 
alteration in the diets of publick worship, and, therefore, the 
Synod have, at least, adventured to cavil at their Superior's 
Sentence because it affected their Sentence last year?" 

In their Reply the Synod say: " Mr Sutherland com- 
plains of the Synod's having fixed a wrong meaning on the 
Assembly's Sentence . . . the Assembly seem to have been 
incluced to apprehend that the Synod had appointed and 
meant to enforce a general alteration of the days and diets 
above mentioned in their bounds. The Assembly, however, 

172 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

only judged it inexpedient for the Synod to appoint a< general 
alteration till the Assembly should consider the matter." 

When the Synod met in 1752 at Thurso it appointed a 
Committee to enquire how the Assembly Act of 1751 25 enjoin- 
ing the more frequent observance of the Lord's Supper should 
be carried out. Several members cf Presbyteries of Tongue 
and Dornoch represented the peculiarity of their circum- 
stances, such as* " the extent of their parishes, the number of 
communicants and other hearers that ordinarly gather to- 
gether and attend, worship upon sacramental occasions, the 
difficulty of procuring a sufficient number of assistant minis- 
ters where the discourses .are very numerous on account of the 
languages that are necessary to use on these occasions, all 
which render it impracticable for them to obey the Act of 
Assembly, 1751, requiring the administration of the Sacra- 
ment at least once a year in every parish." 

The above Committee asked the Synod to make this known 
to the ensuring General Assembly, and to ask it " to dispense 
with the Past Day on Thursday and to begin the public 
worship on Saturday before the celebration of the Sacrament 
as a measure that will render the celebration of that ordinance 
more frequent and more orderly, and if the Assembly should 
judge it inexpedient to make such a general alteration 
throughout the whole Church, to appoint the Thursday to be 
laid aside in the bounds of this Synod, where nothing but the 
authority of the Church is iieedfull to procure obedience to 
their regulations a.nd laws." Instructions to this effect are 
asked by the Committee to be given to the Commissioners to 
the General Assembly from their respective Presbyteries ; the 
enactment of such a law will in their opinion " ease the 
ministers with respect to the number of sermons, and a load 
of expencesi, which they, nor their people, are well able to 
bear by the vast confluence of people that meet together on 
such occasions." This request of the Committee was not 
adopted, however, for the Synod resolved " peremptorie to 
appoint to all members of this Synod to obey the Act of 
Assembly, 1751." 

When the members of Dornoch Presbytery were asked at 
the Synod if they had given " obedience to the Act of Synod 
discharging ministers to hold or countenance Fellowship Meet- 
ings upon FridayB before the celebration of the Sacrament of 
the Lord's Supper," Mr John Munro, Rogart, confessed that 
he had not obeyed the Act. The Synod " find him faulty 

Fast-Day and Friday Fellowship Meetings 173 

therein, and require him and all the other members of the 
Synod to observe said Act in all time coming, resolving that 
the contraveeners thereof shall hereafter be liable to severer 
censure. ' ' 

The other ministers of the several Presbyteries within the 
bounds of the Synod were enquired by the Synod of 1753 if 
they obeyed the Act discharging the ministers to hold or 
countenance Fellowship Meetings on Fridays. The ministers 
of the Presbytery of Caithness report that they give obedi- 
ence to the Act. Mir 1 Alexander Nicolson, Thurso, however, 
acknowledges that through ignorance he had not done so, but 
promises to obey in future. The members of Dornoch Pres- 
bytery confess that they have mot obeyed said Act " some 
of them by holding Fellowship Meetings on Friday before the 
celebration of the Sacrament in their bounds, and others by 
preaching or lecturing on that day." Many of the ministers 
of the Presbytery expressed their intention of obeying the 
Act in the future, " but expected that the Synod would at 
the same time secure the obedience of all their brethren, with- 
out which their submission would rather be a detriment to 
the interests of religion than of any benefit." The Synod find 
all the members of the Presbytery censurable, and appoint 
them to be rebuked by the Moderator, and they are warned 
i( that if they, or any of them, are found in time coming to 
have refused obedience to this Act of Synod, they will be 
proceeded against for contumacy, agreeably to the rules of 
the Church." Mr Kirk 26 requested that he might be per- 
mitted to meet with his parishioners en Friday before the 
celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper to explain 
to them the importance of the Synod's Act. His request was 
granted, and Mr Kirk's own willingness to submit to the said 
Act was to' be testified by his signature to the minutes of 

In 1754, when the Synod met at Thurso (14th August), 
it 'war. reported that " at celebrating the Sacrament in Creech, 
in the Presbytery of Dornoch, in the month of April last, 
there was held a, large meeting in the Church there upon 
Friday, and two ministers in the bounds of the Synod of 
Ross preceeded [? presided] at said meeting." Mr Robert 
Kirk is also* charged with disobeying the Synod's Act " by 
holding a meeting with a. great body of hie communicants, 
and of the communicants of other parishes, tho' not in the 
church, and this notwithstanding of his voluntary engage- 

174 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

merits to the Synod to the contrary at their last meeting. It 
also appeared to the Synod that the said Mr Robert Kirk had 
behaved indecently and unbecoming the character of a clergy- 
man in denying and endeavouring to evade the charge against 
him in the manner he did." Mr Kirk acknowledged his 
offenc2i, which acknowledgment the Synod accepted. The 
Creich Friday Meeting then came under review, when it is 
stated the twoi ministers referred to above were Messrs Gilbert 
Robertson, Kincardine, and John Sutherland, 27 Tain, the 
latter of whom it is said " was a member of this Synod at 
passing of said Act." The Friday Meeting, it is 
said, " is irregular and disorderly, and tends to 
propagate the animosities of the people in these bounds 
against their ministers, who have judg'd these Meetings to 
be hurtfull to the interests of true and solid religion, and that 
this Synod may prevent such disorderly practices in time 
coming ' ' a letter is written to the Synod of Rossi complaining 
of trie conduct of these ministers. When the ministers of the 
Presbytery of Caithness were enquired if they had obeyed the 
Synod's Act against Friday Meetings, Mr John Sutherland, 
Halkirk, acknowledged he had transgressed by lecturing .on 
Friday before the celebration of the Sacrament in April last, 
but promised obedience in time coming. He is sentenced to 
be rebuked and admonished by the Moderator. 

In the Synod of 1755, which met at Dornoch, the whole 
subject of the Fellowship Meetings was again opened up by a 
petition presented by William Innes, in the name of elders 
and communicants in the Presbytery of Dornoch, asking for 
the restoration of the Fellowship Meetings. At next meeting 
of Synod, held at Thurso, 18th August, 1756, another peti- 
tion is presented, in which the petitioners say : " It is with 
regrete that the forsaid Petitioners find themselves under a 
necessity to apply so often to> the reverend Synod for the 

return of a privilege so long enjoyed by them The 

General Assembly of 1751 have expressly recommended that 
the Synod show all tenderness to> the elders and well disposed 
people under their charge, and the Presbytery of Dornoch 
have by their deliverance to the Petitioners' request on the 
7th July last past expressly acknowledged that your Peti- 
tioners were wont to' have such Fellowship Meetings- on the 
Fridays proceeding the elebration of the Lord's Supper, and 
therefore it will be accounted reasonable and a proof of the 
Synod's sympathy that the forsaid meetings be still allowed 

Fast-Day and Friday Fellowship Meetings 175 

to continue, having ever been means of edification and com- 
fort when observed in their bounds .... Sic subscribitur : 
Parish of Golspic Thomas Munro, elder; John Campbell, 
Jiobert Innes; Parish of Clyne David Ross, John McKay, 
Alexr. Ross; Parish of Kildonan Robert McKay, elder; 
John Mackay ; Parish of Lairg Patrick Gray, George Mac- 
Donald, William Munro, I. MK., his mark; William Mathe- 
son, John McKay, John McKay, older; Wm. Mathesoii, 
elder; Parish of Far Willm. McKain, elder.; John Gordon, 
elder ; Angus McKay , John McKay, elder ; Angus McKay, 
elder; James Mathesoii, Lieut. Donald Mackay; Parish of 
Creech William Ross, elder ; John Martin, Eneas Mathesoii, 
elder; John Munro, A. M. [Alexander Munro], Alexr. Bain, 
Alexr. Ross, John McKay ; Parish of Eogart John Mathe- 
.so'ii, John Sutherland, elder ; Kenneth Mackenzie, elder ; 
James Gordon, I. S. [John Sutherland], elder; Parish of Loth 
John Murray, elder; I. M., his mark; Dornoch Parish 
William Gray, elder; John Duncan, Alexr. McKay, John 
Sutherland, John Hendry, Wm. McBeath, William Innes, 
elder." The Synod refused to receive these Petitions, and 
William Innes, while intimating, as far as he was personally 
concerned, his indention of submitting to the judgment of the 
Synod, appealed in the name of his constituents to the 
ensuing General Assembly against the Synod's decision, and 
promised to give in Reasons of Appeal. These Reasons set 
forth that the Synod " have evidently counteracted the 
authority of the Assembly, expressly requiring the forsaid 
Synod to show all tenderness to the sentiments of the elders 
and well dispose'd people under their charge." It is further 
stated that " no good reason has ever been given why the 
forsaid Meetings should be disus'd, but have ever been coun- 
tenanced by God as a blessed mean to edify, revive, and 
comfort the people of God." 

The Synod, in its reply to these Reasons, points out that 
the Petition is only signed by forty-six persons ' ' out of nine 
parishes, many of whose names are mark'd by their initial 
letters!." It isi further stated that " about twenty years ago 
a practice [holding Fellowship Meetings] had creept in and 
prevailed in their bounds, which was then found and would 
still be detrimental to* the interest of true religion and a 
hindrance: to the frequent and regular administration of the 
Lord 'si Supper, which practice the Appellants! would have 
reviv'd, and the Synod cannot agree to the reviving of. ' 

17( Gaelic Society of Inuerness 

"The Fellowship Meetings," it is said, " never answered 
any good purpose but what may be better answered in the 
way proposed by that very Act [1737], and besides the reasons 
already adduc'd against these Meetings where they haive pre- 
vail' d, they have been accompanied with very considerable 
hurt and dammage, they foster pride, and vanity, they divert 
attention from things of the greatest importance, and as a 
great concourse of people meet together at such times, reli- 
gion is very often discredited by the discourses of persona 
who, however well qualified to 1 live and act like Christians, 
are ill qualified." 

The General Assembly referred the matter to their Com- 
mission, which met on 6th June, 1758, and passed a sentence 
setting aside the Act of Synod of Sutherland and Caithness 
(1737) abolishing Fellowship Meetings. So ended a long and 
bitter controversy, in which the advocates of the Fellowship 
Meetings triumphed over their opponents. 

Near the end of the 18th century the Fellowship Meetings 
took a new development, and were not only held during Com- 
munion occasions, but frequently. The Dornoch Presbytery 
took the matter in hand, as the following extracts will show : 
" Thereafter the Presbytery taking into consideration cer- 
tain facts relative to the conduct of some Christians under 
their charge, found that their conduct has of late began to 
be more glaringly offensive as to private 1 meetings for the 
purposes of devotion and religious conversation than formerly 
in regard that some males and females stroll about from one 
parish and from one village to another under pretence of 
devotion and mutual edification, when they talk upon difficult 
passages of Scripture pretending to divine illumination 
though hardly acquainted with the first principles of the 
Christian religion." (Dornoch Pres, Reg., 7th April, 1789). 
The Presbytery asked each minister to enquire in his own 
parish who presided at these meetings and what questions 
were discusised. They express their determination " to dis- 
courage all religious meetings where, questions of conscience 
are handled without the presence of a minister, and even to 
discourage all meetings merely for the purpose of devotion 
except where the numbers are few and the people contiguous." 
It is to these meetings) which the Presbytery were determined 
to suppress that James Haldane makes reference in his 
Journal . " Came on to Dornoch, the county town," he 
writes. " Heard a melancholy account of the state of reli- 

Fast-Day and Friday Fellowship Meetings 177 

gicn, and of the doctrines generally taught; at the same time 
were comforted to hear of the good that was done at prayer- 
meetings, which were instituted at a period when much of the 
power of godliness was experienced, and are still maintained 
in many parts of this country. In the neighbourhood of 
Dornoch they have a house built purposely for holding their 
meetings, which are held once every one or two weeks, and 
are very -numerously attended. In other parts of the country 

they meet monthly in the parish church The 

parochial fello>wship meetings are now all so numerous that 
they meet in church. The minister acts as moderator. . . . 
Occasions of this nature are highly and deservedly popular 
and valued by the people. In many places we understand 
they are the chief means of maintaining and carrying forward 
the work of Christ." (Journal of a Tour through the 
Northern Counties of Scotland and the Orkney Isles, pp. 78, 

Among the laymen who took a prominent part in the 
controversy as to> the abolition of the Fellowship Meetings 
was John Martin, parish schoolmaster of Creich. The Synod 
singled him out for discipline, and ordered the Domoch Pres- 
bytery "to make a visitation of the parochial school of 
Creich," and to make enquiry into " the conduct and attend- 
ance of John Martin, master of that school, who> still appears 
to Se an idle, strolling, ill-employed person, in fomenting 
differences betwixt ministers and their people, and betwixt 
private Christians." The Presbytery reported " that it 
seemed to them, that there was no school keeped there, that 
there was a good number of boys mustered together on the 
visitation, day, a considerable number of whom they found, 
upon enquiry, had not attended the school, some for two, 
some for three years past; that they were conveened on said 
day to save appearances ; that they found none of them learn- 
ing Latin or Arithmetick, and two only Writing, who did not 
attend regularly, and were not served with/tollerable cop pies 
to write' after. That in the general, those of every class read 
so inacurately that it was impossible for one not present to 
believe such shocking pronunciation and accenting." His 
case was referred by the Presbytery to the Synod, which, 
after hearing a petition from the heritors of Creich seeking 
his dismissal, and another from the people in his favour, 
declared that he* was' " absolutely unfitt for acting in the 


178 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

station of a publick teacher." The Synod tempered judg- 
ment with mercy in recommending the Presbytery of Dornoch 
to use their influence with the heritors of Creich " to settle 
upon this poor man, 28 John Martine, for life, which in appear- 
ance cannot be long, fifty merksi of the established sallary for 
a schoolmaster," and in case this is not sufficient, that he be 
appointed session-clerk when ai minister is settled in the 
parish ; the session-clerk's salary being reckoned at twenty 
pounds yearly with " the emoluments of baptisms- and mar-* 
riages," amounting to' " about forty pounds Scots, which, 
with the generosity of the well-disposed people in the parish 
and neighbourhood, may afford him something of a subsist- 
ence." When either of these schemes was carried out, John 
Martin was to resign, but if he " out of weakness and vanity 
should decline to> accept either of the above settlements," then 
the Presbytery was to' dismiss him. 


1. It would appear from what Baillie says that a number of the 

people in Ireland in the absence of their ministers had adopted 
some of the Brownists' views, and when they came over to 
Scotland " their private meetings were overlooked/' and 
" some of their conceits " were let alone until the Laird of 
Leckie was charged with " using his Irish form of private 
exercises in Stirling, and in his prayers some expressions 
which were prejudicial to Mr Harry Guthrie." (Letters). 

2. Kennedy's Days of the Fathers in Ross-shire, p. 91, 4th Edit. 

3. There is an inter esing account of this noted Christian in 

Memorials of Rev. C. Munro, Strathy, pp. 298-300. 

4. The Rev. G. R. MacPhail, after quoting from a letter of Rev. 

Robert Bruce, the famous Presbyterian preacher, who had 
been banished to Inverness, first in 1605 and again in 1622, 
says : " The ' lingering death ' which Bruce deplored resulted 
in the establishment in Inverness of meetings for prayer and 
fellowship, and in the gathering together of bands of godly 
men whose influence continued to mould the religious life of 
the Highlands for many generations." Hasting's Encyclo- 
paedia of Religion and Ethics, VIII., 543). As far as Caith- 
ness and Sutherland are concerned, the Synod, in its reply to 
the Reasons of Appeal to the General Assembly of 1757, says, 
in reference to the origin of Fellowship Meetings in those 
parts, " that about twenty years ago a practice had creept in 
and prevailed in their bounds, which was then found and 
would still be detrimental to the interest of true religion and 
a hinderance to the frequent and regnlar administration of 
the Lord's Supper." 

5. Firth's Scotland and the Commonwealth, pt 31. 

Fast-Day and Friday Fellowship Meetings 179 

6. " We think we can gather from Mr Hog's Memoir how this Order 

[" the Men "] arose. When it pleased the Lord to bless Mr 
Hog's labours, and when a gracious change had been wrought 
upon a considerable number of his people, he thought it would 
be for their spiritual edification and growth to form the most 
judicious among them into a society for prayer and conference; 
these he kept under his own special inspection, and heartily 
assisted them in edifying one another." (Memorials of Rev. 
C. Munro, Strathy, p. 298). 

7. Dr Mackay, in his introduction to the Inverness and Dingwall 

Presbytery Records, says : " It was long after the period 
[1643-1688] to which these Records refer that ' the Men ' who 
have for the last century and a half been so noted as catechists 
and expounders and men of prayer, first appeared within the 
bounds of our Presbyteries." (Records of the Presbyteries of 
Inverness and Dingwall, 1643-1688, p. xxv.). In regard to 
Urquhart and Glenmoriston, he says : " The Men na Daoine 
are a comparatively modern institution. They appear in 
Sutherland and Easter Ross about the beginning of the 
eighteenth century, but there were none in our Parish before 
Culloden." (Urquhart and Glenmoriston, p. 382, 2nd Edit.). 
As far as the extant Church records of Sutherland and Caith- 
ness are concerned, I find no references to " the Men " or 
Fellowship Meetings earlier than the eighteenth century. 
This, of course, does not necessarily prove that the order of 
" the Men " did not exist prior to this, as Church records do 
not generally refer to such matters unless certain disorders 
arise in connection with them. 

8. Among those may be mentioned Dr Kennedy, whose Days of the 

Fathers in Ross-shire has passed through many editions, and 
also Rev. Alexander Auld, whose Ministers and Men of the 
Far North is worthy of a high place as a record of the sayings 
and doings of " the Men " in the Far North. Other books 
that deal with this subject are Rev. John Noble's Religious 
Life in Ross; Rev. Roderick MacCowan's The Men of Skye. 
Sage's Memorabilia Domestica and MacGillivray's Sketches of 
Religion and Revivals in the North Highlands during the 
Eighteenth Century (pamphlet) contain interesting notices of 
" the Men," especially those of Kildonan and Strathnaver. 
George Beaton, a Lewis schoolnmster, in his Dioghluimean 's 
na h-Achaibh, has noted down in Gaelic the remarks made by 
speakers at the Friday Meetings in different parts of the 
Highlands. There is also an interesting chapter on " The 
Men " in Brown's Annals of the Disruption (1884 Edit.), pp. 

9. Perhaps the most powerful and rabid critic " the Men " has was 

the Rev. Kenneth Phin, D.D., Galashiels. Under the nom-de- 
guerre, " Investigator," he unsparingly attacked them, especi- 
ally those of Caithness and Sutherland, in his pamphlets, TV 
Church and her Accuser in the Far North and Fanfiticijiw in 
the North. In his account of the narish of Golspie, the Rev. 
Alexander Macpherson is scarcely less severe, for ne says : 
*' A set of illiterate, fanatical, and disorderly self-appointed 

180 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

teachers of religion have, by their wild and mystical rhap- 
sodies, acquired a baneful ascendant over the ignorant minds 
of the lower orders of the people, not only in this county, but 
in other parts of the Highlands/' (New Stat. Account 
Sutherland, p. 36). The Kev. Gilbert MacMillan, Loth, for- 
merly of Berriedale, in his Reminiscences of the North (1905), 
has a chapter on " The Men," which, to say the least, is a 
mere caricature. Over against these attacks made by minis- 
ters of the Establishment may be set the generous tribute paid 
to " the Men " by the Rev. Lewis Rose, Tain, which is 
quoted from his MS. by Prof. John S. Blackie in Altavona, 
p. 333. 

10. Sage's Memorabilia Domestica, p. 270, 1st Edit.). 

11. In addition to Sage, Brown's Annals of the Disruption, pp. 675- 

682 (1884 Edit.), gives an account of the Separatists from the 
pen of the Rev. Dr MacLauchlan, Edinburgh. Rev. D. Mac- 
Lean's Duthil: Past and Present (1910) has a chapter refer- 
ring to the Duthil Separatists. The Gaelic poems of Peter 
Stewart and Joseph Mackay are included in the collection 
Dain Spioradail le Ughdaraibh Eug-samhail (Forres, 1852). 
The Letters of Joseph Mackay, John Grant, and Alexander 
Gair were printed and published a number of years ago by Mr 
(now Rev.) Cameron Mackay, School-house of Insoh, Kingussie. 

12. " Alexander Gair, a joiner, and a native of Tain, perhaps the 

most talented of ' the Men/ in addition to extraordinary 
eloquence, possessed powers of irony and scathing sarcasm, 
which might have made him a rival of Lord Beaconsneld in 
the House of Commons, or an effective writer in the Saturday 
Review." (Prof. J. S. Blackie's Altavona, p. 334). 

13. Memorabilia Domestica, pi. 129, 1st Edit.). 

14. Tbid., pp. 131, 132. 

15. In the MS. Diary of the Rev. Murdo MacDonald, Durness, men- 

tion is made of a pamphlet written by Rev. Walter Ross, 
Tongue (1730-1761), in which he advocates the abridgment of 
the number of days at the Communion, limiting them to 
Saturday and Sabbath. (Trans, of the Gael. Soc., Inverness, 
XI., 302). His successor, the Rev. John Mackay, formerly of 
Eddrachillis, was also " a strenuous advocate for abridging 
the services at the ministration of the Sacrament, and kept 
himself and others in a strange agitation for a course of 
years." (Scott's Fasti}. 

16. For an account of this affair, in which legend has evidently a 

prominent place, and which is known as Tuiteam Halmadairigh 
(The Fall of Halmadary), see paper by Rev. Neil Mackay, 
entitled " The Influence of the Norse Invasion " (Trans. Gael. 
Soc., Inverness, XX., 100). Dr Henderson makes reference to 
Tuiteam Halmadairigh in his Norse Influence in Celtic Scot- 
land, p. 70, and connects it, like Mr Mackay, with Norse 
superstition. A gross form of the legend is given by Prof. J. 
S. Blackie in his Altavona, pp. 334, 335, from the MS. of the 
Rev Lewis Rose, Tain. 

17. Rev. John Sutherland, son of Rev. Arthur Sutherland, Edderton, 

minister of Golspie from 1731 to 1752, and afterwards of Tain. 
A notable revival of religion took place during his ministry 
at Golspie. 

Fast-Day and Friday Fellowship Meetings 181 

18. Rev. James Smith, minister of Creich from 1731 to 1758. Scott's 

Fasti says : " He is mentioned for his piety, zeal, and 

19. Rev. John Munro was minister of Rogart from 1725 to 1753. 

During his ministry there was a revival of religion in the 
parish, notably in 1740 and 1743-4. 

20. Rev. Murdo MacDonald, Durness, writing a number of years 

after this (3rd July, 1762), ha"s the following entry in his 
Diary : " Yesterday we had a sort of meeting, long in desue- 
tude at such occasions, till of late by the ignorant zeal of the 
populace supported by some clergymen who affect patriotism. 
I, yesterday, after consulting my few brethren, offered to 
read a piece of Henry on the Sacrament, and ask about in the 
congregation who had best understood and remembered what 
was read." Quoted by Dr Hew Morrison in Trans. Gaelic 
Soc., Inverness, XL, 303, 304. 

21. Rev. John Mackay, minister of Lairg from 1714 to 1753. For- 

merly minister of Durness. " He possessed a herculean bodily 
frame, and corresponding- vigour of mind, with an enlightened 
zeal for the forwarding of the Redeemer's cause. His labours 
among his rude and uncultivated flock met with a remarkable 
measure of success under the divine blessing. He was a man 
of outstanding individuality." For further account see Sage's 
Memorabilia Domestica, pp. 9, 10, 1st Edit. 

22. Rev. Hugh Sutherland, minister of Kildonan from 1740 to 1753, 

and of Rogart from 1753 to 1773. 

23. Rev. Francis Robertson, minister of Clyne from 1719 to 1763. 

24. Rev. William Rose, minister of Loth from 1739 to 1755. For- 

merly of Kildonan. 

25. This question was asked annually at the Synod for many years, 

and some of the answers are of interest. In 1756 Mr Scobie 
Assynt, offers as an excuse of his neglect " the bad harvest 
last year." Three years later, Mr Hugh Ross, minister of 
Kildonan, " represented the very great and unsupportable 
expence, which the annual celebration of that holy ordinance 
subjected him, on account of the great confluence of people 
that attended on these occasions, many of whom he was under 
necessity of lodging and supporting in, and about, his own 
house, as they could not find accommodation in the neigh- 
bourhood, and hoped the Synod would not, for the above 
reasons, peremptorily enjoin and require obedience to the 
forsaid Act." The Synod suggested that brethren in Mr 
Ross's circumstances should " make a prudent supplication to 
such of their well-disposed and best circumstanced people, for 
their kind assistance once in the two years to be att some 
part of the expence of purchasing the elements, which it's 
hoped they will not grudge." In 1772 the Presbytery of 
Tongue reported that the Sacrament had been administered in 
the parish of Farr, " and that the scarcity of bread in that 
country prevented its being administrated in the other 
parishes." The ill-health of the minister was not an uncom- 
mon excuse, and in 1753 the Rev. James Smith, Creich, offered 
as a reason for not administering the Sacrament of the Lord's 

182 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Supper " the valetudinary state of his family : his wife having 
been in a languishing- condition all that time." 

26. Eev. Eobert Kirk, son of Rev. Robert Kirk, minister of Aber- 

foyle, was minister of Dornoch from 1713 to 1758. " He was 
noted/' says the Fasti, " for his piety, diligence, and zeal, 
x and is stated to have been ' a Nathanael indeed, in whom was 
no guile/ '' 

27. The Rev. John Sutherland, formerly of Golspie, who had taken 

such an active part in the controversy. 

28. In the Synod's Memorial to the General Assembly John Martin is 

referred to as " a poor, light headed lad who has both the lan- 
guages [Gaelic and English] and can write/' He is credited 
with being particularly active in getting signatures to the 
petition that 'led to the abolition of the Synod's Act prohibit- 
ing Fellowship Meetings. This " light headed lad " was an 
old man; " lad " being here used as Scotice for bachelor. 

20th DECEMBER, 1917. 

Mr William Mackay, LL.D., presided over the meeting 
held this evening, and, after formal business had been trans- 
acted, Dr J. J. Galbraith, Dingwall, delivered a paper on 
Celtic Art, with lime-light illustrations. The text of the 
lecture was as follows: 


To define Celtic art is comparatively easy. It is a con- 
ventional decorative art, consisting of three distinct motives, 
the spiral, the interlace, and the fret. None of these three 
ornamental styles is peculiar to C'eltic art. 

The spiral is met with in Polynesia, the interlace is 
practically universal, and the fret occurs in many regions, 
including China. The characteristic of Celtic art which 
distinguishes it is the simultaneous use of all three. 

The art began to become distinctive when the bronze age 
gave place to the early iron age. The oldest of the three 
styles is the spiral. It links the art with that of the bronze 
age, and with the decadence of the art it is the first to dis- 
appear. It may have originated in the Chinese divided 
circle. The fret I believe to be a derivative of the spiral. 
The idea of substituting a spiral, consisting of short straight 
segments with intervening angles, instead of a single curve, 
may have been derived from the Greek key position, but I 

Celtic Art 183 

have seen no Celtic pattern of this type, which particularly 
resembled the Greek key. 

I believe the fret pattern arose from the difficulty of 
filling in rectilinear spaces in a design with curvilinear or 
approximately circular figures, like the spiral and interlace. 

Perhaps one might further qualify the definition of the 
art by saying that it is the native, and the only native art of 
the British Islands. Perhaps nowhere else have each of the 
types of ornament been 1 so highly developed both in intricacy 
and in artistic effect, while they are specialised along certain 
lines, which give each of them a distinctive appearance. 

Why the airt should be called Celtic is a* question not so 
easily answered. From the point of view of ethnology, 
perhaps no term ever invented has been so unfortunate as 
the term Celtic. No two people use the term in precisely the 
same sense, and many use it with only the vaguest idea of 
what even they themselves mean by it. The difficulty has 
arisen from the fact that there are different usages of the 
term. The Greeks; described the Keltoi as a tall, fair-haired 
type with blue eyes, essentially different from the pre- 
dominant brown-haired race, inhabiting the Celtic districts 
of Western Europe at the present day, and varying in depth 
of pigmentation according to locality. The third, is the 
linguistic Celt, a member of one or other of some six tribes 
speaking a so-called Celtic language. These people, with the 
exception of the Bretons, are, if we exclude modern, emigrar- 
tion, now limited in distribution to the British Islands. 

The period covered by the art extends from the commence- 
ment of the early iron age, and closes with the Reformation. 
Needless to say, during that time it became much modified by 
the introduction of extraneous types of ornament, Grecian, 
Norman, and Gothic, until it finally disappears as a separate 
art. A closely allied type of interlaced ornament is found 
in Scandinavia, but I do not propose to enter into the rela- 
tions of the two, though it may prove that, as the Scan- 
dinavian Sagas and mythology have had their origin in a 
Celtic basis, the relation of the arts may be similar. The 
art is found in one form or another from Shetland to the 
Channel, and is identical in spirit throughout, though of 
course modified in certain characteristics in various localities 1 . 

The Celt of the Greeks and the Celt of Caesar are perfectly 
intelligible types, though obviously different in origin. The 
modern Celt is not, and the view which would make the art 

184 Gaelic Society of Inuerness 

tEe heritage of all the British people necessitates the exploding 
of the " Anglo-Saxon " myth. The modern Celt, using the 
term in the popular sense, is the product of the Aryan or 
linguistic school of ethnologists. Language is 110 test of 
nationality. The modern Celt calls himself Celtic, because 
at the date of the introduction of surnames his ancestors 
happened to speak a Celtic tongue, and he now calls himself 
Mac o<r O' or Ap, and has nothing else to differentiate him 
from his neighbour, who is called Smith or Robinson. He calls 
himself Celtic, at anyrate in Scotland, because the glamour of 
tha '45, and the almost Successful bid which four or five Celtic 
families made for the conquest of the entire kingdom, have 
cast a halo* of romance round him, which has not yet faded. 
The idea that a man is classified ethnologically by the 
language he speaks is, or ought to be, as dead as the Dodo. 
I myself speak Gaelic, and am therefore a Gaelic Celt ; I 
speak English, so should be an Anglos-Saxon, while my name 
indicates: that I have some connection with the Brython or 

If I am all three, I obviously cannot be classified. The 
only ethnological classification which is logical is the anthro- 
pometric, that is by the Cephalic Index, average stature, 
proportion, and pigmentation. In regard to ancient peoples 
it is easy to dogmatise, but dangerous, especially when all 
that is to be known can be reduced to writing on the back of 
a postage stamp. The Laird of Mcnkbams was neither the 
first nor the last victim of the antiquarian propensity for 
dogmatising. Looking at the question broadly, I would ask, 
Is there anything to> indicate that the population of the 
British Isles is substantially different from that found here 
by Cbsar ? 

The backbone of the nation, especially intellectually, has 
ever since been a medium-sized, brown-haired man. The 
Teutonic immigrant is a, tall, fair-haired, blue-eyed man; 
not one in a thousand conforms to this description, more 
especially in the intellectual section of the population. 

The idea: of describing the civilization of the British 
Islands as Anglo-Saxon appears to me ludicrous. The 
Briton of Caesar's time was, I believe, not the barbarian he 
was represented to be. His religion was highly scientific, 
and though in some respects he was; behind the Roman, I 
hope to show you that his art,, and craftsmanship in bronze 
and enamel, show that he was not a savage. 

Celtic Aft 185 

Under the Pax Rom ana he became, from the martial 
point of view, degenerate ; therefore, no army in the modern 
sense of the term would be necessary to subjugate the Island, 
having regard to the relatively small population. In these 
days there were no Atlantic liners in the Baltic and Bight of 
Heligoland. The crew of the Dreadnought of the period 
might be 60-100 men at a very liberal computation. The 
Saxon marauder was indistinguishable from his cultured 
brother of to-day. He had no national art or literature, and 
his sole characteristic was an insatiable appetite for rapine 
and slaughter. The people whom he invaded had been 
romanised ; they had, partially, at any rate, given up their 
language and adopted that of the Roman conquerors. They once 
more did the same, and emerge as Anglo-Saxons again because 
of their language. The small number of immigrants did 
not, in .my view, affect the general ethnography of the nation, 
though it may have dene so locally. Perhaps no section of 
the British Islands has been so deeply, and for such ai long 
period, exposed to Teutonic influence as the Shetland 
Islands. They were right in the stream of the Norwegian 
invasion, and they were under Norse dominion till the 15th 
century; their language till the 17th century was Norse. 
Their personal and place names are pure Norse, except, 
perhaps, a few Celtic ecclesiastical namesi which have sur- 
vived, and yet, during six weeks which I passed there last 
year as Recruiting Officer, at least half of the men passing 
through my hands, and coming under my observation, would 
have passed for natives, of Ross-shire, although they would 
have been mortally insulted had I suggested that they were 
the modern descendants, true' to type, of the ancient Picts 
of Ultima Thule. The remainder were distinctly Teutonic. 
The same remarks apply to the population of the whole ridge 
of Britain, and the Yorkshire man of the Ridings; is probably 
more Celtic than the native of Rosa or Lochaiber. While 
language and traditions 1 are the mainstay of nationality, 
they are no evidence of origin or race. Herr Schmeide may 
learn to speak English., may pay for his naturalisation papers 
and become a British citizen, but, on his own admission, he 
is still an alien until he has lost the sentimental attachment 
which his language maintains 1 with happy Deutschland. The 
worst aspects of national character in England, wrongly, I 
think, termed insularity, which make the Englishman dis- 
liked abroad, are derived from the Teutonic taint implied in 

186 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

the term Anglo- Saxon, and due to an admixture of the same 
blood which would now like to impose a culture on the world. 
The Highlander has only to look back to the '45 to see a 
German general with English and Hessian troops meting out 
kultur on a small scale to the native population, which in 
quality yields nothing to Wilhelm and his Junkers. He 
might, with profit, reflect that it is not well that he should 
divest himself of his native language, which is the only bar 
which prevents his submergence in the tide of Anglo-Saxon 
civilisation so-called. This may seem a long and far-fetched 
and perhaps wearisome digression, but only the other day I 
came across a drawing of a font of the Celtic Church, that 
might have been found at Nigg or Rosema*rkie, described as 
a font of the Saxon period, with interlace ornaments, because 
it happened to be in an English Parish Church. This, I 
think, proves the necessity of pointing out that everything 
that is best in the cultural sense of England is not Anglo- 
Saxon, but rather the reverse, and that the art is the only 
atrt which is the product of the native population, and is the 
same in substance as they themselves are racially, from 
Land's End to John o' Groats. 

In this relation I would point out that it is the art of a 
race, perhaps in many respects primitive, but none the less a 
cultured people, and that in history their Christianisa/tion 
was only accompanied by the m.artyrdoon of one man, so far 
as we know, St. Donnan of Eigg, and in his case there may 
have been contributory causes. This is not the picture the 
Anglo-Saxon school of educationists would- like to have pre- 
sented, and the feeling hasi not yet died down. Dr William 
Mackay will find it hard to convince' the Anglo-- Saxon, in 
spite of the early Inverness merchants, and the trading ven- 
tures of the Highland gentlemen up to the 19th century, 
that the Highlander wae not a savage barbarian, and that 
Inverness was not an oasis in a, desert of savagery, simply 
from the Saxon element in its population. 

The art was ait its zenith when Ton a was the light of the 
Irish Church, when the Irish Church was the centre of 
civilisation and learning in Western Europe, when the cor- 
ruption of the Christian Church at its source, the decadence 
of the Western European civilisation under the flood of 
invasion of the ancient Hun, led to the re-Christianising of 
England, where the' primitive Roman Church had succumbed 
to the pagan Anglo-Saxons, and the extension of the move- 

Celtic Art 187 

ment across the Continent to the gates of Rome. Columbanus, 
a Celtic missionary, who shortly after A.D. 600 evangelised 
large parts of France, the Rhineland, Switzerland, and 
Northern Italy, addressed a letter to the occupant of the 
Chair of St. Peter which, for scathing rebuke, cultured tone, 
and irreproachable taste, still occupies ,a high place in that 
class of literature. These are the people who> are represented 
to us as savages. 

The remains of their literature are scanty, and their art 
is limited to three groups let. The remains in bronze and 
enamel from, the early iron age; 2nd. The illuminated MSS. y 
dating at their best from A.D. 600-900; of these the book of 
Kells, which may conceivably have come direct from the pen of 
Columba, has perhaps never been surpassed as an example 
of artistic illumination. 

The book of Durrow, which is almost as fine, and which is 
even more likely to be contemporary with Cblumba, if not 
his own handicraft, and the gospels of MacDurnaoi, are among 
the best kfiown. Toi the same period and style of art may be 
referred metal objects, such as brooches, reliquaries, and 
crosses in metal and enamel ; and, 3rd and finally, the most 
familiar of all, the sculptured stones. 

I propose showing examples of each of these styles, and 
I woiuld limit myself practically to the regions covered by 
the direct missions of the lonan Church and its Pictish pre- 
decessor, that is, from Northumbria and Cambria north- 
wards, although I shall show examples for comparison from 
elsewhere. I would not to-night be tempted to> do> much in 
the way of laying down exact dates of examples, as that can 
only be done with profit after going into the subject much 
more deeply than I can in the time. What I shall endeavour 
to show you is, that under the heading Celtic art are really 
several schools, each, curiously enough, identified with a 
definite tribe or kingdom. 

I shall enumerate them now, demonstrate the differences 
later, and, I hope, lead you to the study of the art by tenta- 
tive suggestions as to its use in throwing light on ecclesiastical 
and national history. Thus (1) the area, immediately round 
lona, roughly, Dalriada or Argyllshire, has an art of its own, 
which survived till the Reformation, or to the close of the 
15th century : (2) the area called Pictland, including the 
Lothian?, or land of the Picts of Mannan, north wards to 
Shetland, has a special type of its own, with characteristics 

188 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

which raise various problems; (3) Strathclvde had a separate 
type ; (4) Galloway had another ; (5) Cumbria another ; and 
(6) still another is found in the territory evangelised by the 
lonan Church in Northumbria. 

This latter, and the lonan, are most closely related, but 
present essential differences. These I will now show, and 
explain, and if time permits I will give a few short notes on 
certain examples which can be dated, and some conjectures 
regarding the light which the art throws on the history and 
the vexed question as to the extent, period of influence, and 
dates of the Christianising of the various kingdoms, beginning 
with the Pictish Church of Ninian, say A.D. 400 ; the Strath- 
clyde mission of Kentigern, say A.D. 600 ; the Irish mission of 
Columba, and its later 1 offshoot in Northumbria. 

The dating of examples depends on (1) the style of the 
art, (2) the execution or craftsmanship. Here we meet a 
difficulty, that a primitive example of poor craftsmanship 
may be either early or late that is, may be an attempt to 
imitate an almost forgotten stylo. These are: difficult to 
differentiate. If we consider the pagan art in enamel and 
bronze, we see a high standard of craftsmanship in these 
materials, and, artistically, the sweet curves of the spiral 
ornament are behind nothing in the whole art. 

The art of the iron age is termed late Celtic, a misleading 
term, and tending towards the post-dating of relics. The 
late Celtic period extended into the Roman occupation; 
though called late Celtic, it is the earliest in date. 

Of course, although the bronze o>bjects are definitely 
ascribed to this era,, it does not exclude the possibility of some, 
at anyrate, of the stones which bear symbols only being also 
pre-Christian. The next series of relics which can be dated 
with any degree of certainty are the MSS. the books of 
Burrow, Lindisfame, Kells, MacDurnan, and the Cathacdi 
Mor of St Columba; these may be said to cover the period 
A.D. 650-900. The Cathach is said to be the psalter which 
the battle of Cul-dreibhne was fought over. St Finnian of 
Moville, with whom St Columba was a, student, possessed a 
psalter, which was copied in hi spare time by Columba, It 
was claimed by St Finnian, and the dispute was referred to 
King- Diarmid, who delivered himself of this oracular decision . 
' To every cow her own calf, to every book its copy." It 
shows little illumination or decoration, as we should expect, 
from its being the work of a student in his spare hours, work- 

Celtic Art 189 

ing secretly. That it differs from the other MSS. attributed 
to Columba is not to be wondered at. 

The Book of Burrow was always regarded by tradition as 
the work of Columba, and the Colophon contains the name 
Columba: "I pray Thy Blessedness and holy presbyter St 
Patrick, that whosoever shall take this book into his hands, 
may remember the writer, Columba, who have myself written 
this gospel in the space of twelve days by the grace of God." 

Practically the consensus of opinion is, that this copy of 
the Vulgate was the personal possession of, and written by, 
Columba himself, and it was preserved in a jewelled shrine 
at Doiremagh, or Durrow, the chief foundation of Columba 
in Ireland before he left for lona. The book of Kells may 
be of the same date, and is traditionally referred to- as the 
work of Columba. The only objection to this, which is, I 
think, final, if correct, is the statement of Miss Stokes that 
the version of the Vulgate is one not in use in the 6th century. 
Apart from that, the art is quite conceivably that of the 
period of the saint, or shortly afterwards. 

Giraldus Cambrensis refers to it in the history of his visit 
to Ireland in the 12th century thus: " The more frequently 
I behold it, the more delightfully I examine it, the more 
numerous are the beauties 1 I discover in it, and the more I am 
lost in renewed admiration of it, neither could Apelles him- 
self execute the like, they *sieem to have been designed and 
painted by a hand not mortal." Professor Westwood says: 
I have examined the papers with a magnifying glass for 
houjs together without detecting a false line or irregular 
interlacement. Many of the details consist of spiral lines 
which are so minute as to be impossible to have been executed 
by a pair of compasses; it seems a problem, not only with 
what eyes, but also with what instruments they could have 
been executed." 

The book of Lindisfarne is as typically Celtic and almost 
as fine, but written, by men with Saxon names, showing- the 
absence of native culture, art, or literature in the Saxon 
civilisation of the period. This leaves the stones, the third 
survival of the art, still to be dated. References are found 
in literature to. the erection of crosses. Columba is said to 
have erected two in lona,, and Jocelyn states that Kentigern 
erected an enormous cross in the cemetery of Glasgow, which 
shows that it was a custom prior to the year 600. The 
present argument regarding dates may shortly be summarised : 

190 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

(1) The MSS. date from A.D. 600-900; (2) the art of the stones 
is derived from the MSS. art, and is subsequent ; (3) it would 
not be fair to expect a, complete sequence of styles from the 
earliest to the latest types of stones, because the art is borrowed 

Now in regard to this I would like to point out one or two 
lines of reasoning, which appear to me to invalidate the 
whole conclusions: (1) Because we have only survivals of 
this art in relatively imperishable materials, stone and metal, 
we are not justified in concluding that it was not applied 
to perishable materials, such as wood and textiles. 

The MSS. are certainly perishable, but have been pre- 
served by a combination of veneration, care, and chance, 
which has preserved and recovered numbers in libraries and 
charter chests which were unknown before the Celtic 
Renaissance; (2) we have no< proof that the only MSS. were 
sacred and venerated ones; (3) practically all the MSS. which 
are illuminated, with the exception of the latest and most 
decadent, rank high as artistic productions. Assuming that 
the art developed in MSS., i.e., in drawing and painting 
as opposed to sculpture, carving, and weaving, where are its 
beginnings? Does this not lead u to the conclusion, that 
the earlier stages are missing, and that the MSS. and art did 
not first appear in a burst of splendour in the era of Columba? 
It may be conceded that the existing MSS. can be. referred 
to tlie period A.D. 650-900. Weire there none before? 

I think we are perfectly safe in concluding that all that 
remains of any of the branches uf the art is a very spall, 
perhaps infinitesimally small, fraction of the total, having 
regard to the frequency of the Norse raids, and the ever- 
present Iconoclast, from the time that the Norman builders 
of St Vigeans in the llth century used the sculptured stones 
as building material, to the present day, when fragments are 
now and again rescued from the clutches of the mason, build- 
ing dykes and barns as well as churches. 

Taking next the stones, I can see no insuperable objection 
to the theory that the art may have developed a,s a, whole, and 
been applied simultaneously to all the various media. 
Elaborate designs on stone and wood pre-suppose even now a 
previous draft in some medium, such as paper, which is 
capable of alteration, and from which the design can be 
drafted on to the stone or wood. The fact that in bronze 
and vellum, as well >as in stone, the existing examples have 

Celtic Art 191 

been preserved, more or less by chance, seems to' me to explain 
why no sequence can be traced, and there are missing links. 

Given a certain style of art, it may survive with little 
change for centuries., a,nd the fact that a single instance' from 
a series of similar specimens can be approximately dated, does/ 
not make it impossible that any of the others can be earlier 
or later. 

The various schools:, of which I think I have sufficiently 
demonstrated the existence, may therefore be, many of them, 
contemporaneous. The date of certain examples I have 
indicated. We may now take a few other examples ; the 
fragment at Abercorn is in this respect particularly interesting. 

Egfrid, King of Northumbria, one of the Napoleons of 
his day, extended his authority over the country south of the 
Forth, or what was then known as Southern Pictland. 

In A.D. 678, Theodore, Archbishop of York, appointed 
Trumwine, bishop of the province of the Picts, with his 
church at Abercurnig or Abercorn. Egfrid was defeated by 
Brude, King of the Picts, at Dunnichen, and the Anglican 
influence was banished from Scotland in A.D. 685. I think it 
possible that this stone dates between these periods. It is 
unfortunately only a fragment, but its art suggests a fairly 
early example of the Northumbrian school. 

Another stone, the date of which may also 1 be discussed, 
is that at St Vigeans, bearing an inscription in the British 
language,' held by Sir James Simpson to commemorate Drost, 
King of the Picts, about the time of Kenneth McAlpine, A.D. 
850. His name has been rejected by Skene as not historical, 
on the ground that it doee not occur in some of the Pictish 
lists. I would only remark that the Pictish throne was 
usurped by Kenneth, and we know there were rival claimants. 
King James VII. might equally well be said to have dis- 
appeared in 1688, while a Jacobite chronicler would still 
mention his name as alive at a later date. " If the 
history of the time depended on fragmentary lists 
like the Pictish Chronicle, or the Annals of Ulster, a similar 
seeming discrepancy might occur. This stone is of a style 
not unlike that at Abercorn. If in this way it is possible 
provisionally to date certain specimens, it would tend to fix 
the dates of the whole class. Other stones might similarly 
be discussed, but I shall limit myself to a class bearing a cross 
of a Roman -British- type found at Whitho<rn, the centre of 
the Ninian Mission, and conjectured to belong to a period 

192 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

not far distant from his. The fact of it bearing the Chi Rho 
shows its connection with Roman Christianity of the day, 
and, if anywhere near the time cf Ninian, is another proof 
of the connection of Ninian with Rome. This type dates 
from the time when Roman Christianity flourished in Britain, 
This mission; was only a, few years after the withdrawal of 
the Roman legions, and the swamping of the native Church 
by the Saxon barbarian pagans. 

Ninian visited Rome, and studied under St Martin of 
Tours, which may explain, the presence of the early Roman 
cross forms at Whithorn. It is noteworthy and exceedingly 
interesting that a. stone in the island of Raasay exhibits a 
cress of similar type, with Pictish symbols the only instance; 4 
I know of on the West Coast.. Does it indicate that the 
influence of the Church of Ninian extended so far north ? 
Nearly opposite, at Applecross, is another, which, un- 
fortunately a. fragment, shows, from its style, design almost 
certainlv Pictish also. 

I would conclude by saying a few words on the relation- 
ship of the various types of art, especially as regards the 
Pictish and lonan. The symbols are limited to Pictland, 
and are unique, and I have no time to go further 1 into the 
question of their origin and meaning than I have done in 
describing the slides, but other points require mention. The 
art of the stones is more like that of the MSS., which came 
from Ulster, than any intervening art. The lonan is 
different, less Celtic, shows foreign influence, and is therefore 
presumably later. This, I would suggest, shows that the 
Ionian art is subsequent to the existing MSS., but that the 
Pictish is contemporary or perhaps earlier. The Pictish is 
the- most pronounced type, quite apart from the symbols. 
It is the most Celtic, and it differs entirely from the lonan. 
The lonan art was the product of the lonan Church; was 
the Pictish of the Pictish Church, seeing the very similar 
MSS. art was certainly ecclesiastical? If it was, the extent 
and influence of the Pictish Church was co-extensive with 
the north of Scotland. We have indications that the artists 
of the Pictish area did not see eye to eye with those of lona. 

At one period, A.D. 717, the lonan clergy were evicted from 
Pictland. During this period there is distinct evidence of a 
Saxon influence emanating from the Northumbrian Church, 
and penetrating into Scotland. King Naitan is advised by 
Northumbrian olerics with tendencies to conformity with: 

Celtic Art 193 

Rome, on the subject of Easter and the tonsure. Will this 
influence explain the seemingly Northumbrian traits found 
in the monuments of Tarbat and Hilton? Do these con- 
siderations not point to the same conclusion as the art, that 
the mission of St Ninian was not limited to the Southern 
Picts ? We know that Roman Christianity penetrated be- 
yond the wall before the time of Ninian. Is it not likely 
that the mission of Ninian extended in the same way ? 
Columba goes 011 a mission to Inverness ; on the way he visits 
a dying man in Glen-Urquhart and baptises him. Had that 
man no previous knowledge of Christianity ? Did he send 
for Columba when in a state of total ignorance of Christian 
tenets, or is the temple of Ninian in Gleii-Urquhart mere 
than a name ? He goes to> Inverness, and converts the whole 
court and kingdom. Now no one believes Adamnan's 
account of the conversion of a people by one missionary 
joiurney due to> one man. Such pentecostal occurrences are 
impossible. Was not the seed already sown, and Columba 
merely the waterer or the reaper ? Columba goes to Inver- 
ness without danger. His companion, St Cormac, goes to 
Orkney, and escapes martyrdom through the influence of 
King Brude at the court of the local kinglet. Does not this 
indicate that Inverness, as opposed to Orkney, was already, 
in a sense, familiar with Christianity ? This would appear to 
support the view of Dr Mackay, that the saints of the church 
of Ninian were not restricted to Southern Pictland. The 
only other explanation that I can offer is, that the native art 
of this district showed a vitality, a depth, and a culture of 
sufficient stability to counteract the powerful influence of 
lona. This would indicate that the Picts were more deeply 
cultured than even I am prepared to admit, and it does not 
explain the exact similarity of the Irish manuscript art. I 
woiuld commend the point to your attention, as I think this 
particular way of looking at the problems is new, and may 
lead to a reconsideration of many of the problems and diffi- 
culties connected with the ancient civil and ecclesiastical 
history of our country. The accepted date of these relics 
bears no relation to history, and explains none of the vexed 
questions on which light is so scanty. . 

I may say that my remarks are practically the skeleton of 
the subject, and I have had to pass over the details and the 
numerous points of interest that must have suggested thorn 


194 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

selves to you, but I thought that the best introduction of the 
art was by a general survey, rather than as a dry argument 
regarding points of detail, however interesting in themselves. 

1st FEBRUARY, 1918. 

This evening the Annual General- Meeting of the Society 
was held. Mr William Mackay, LL.D., presided. .Agreed 
that the present acting office-bearers be re-elected, and that 
the filling of the vacancies, caused by the deaths of the Chief, 
the Secretary, and the Piper, be deferred. An abstract of 
the Society's accounts was submitted and approved. There- 
after Mr John N. MacLeod, Errogie, read a Gaelic paper 
entitled " A Ghaidhlig ag-us na Parantan," which was fol- 
lowed by a discussion relative to the duty of Gaelic-speaking 
parents towards the teaching of Gaelic to< their children. 

14th FEBRUARY, 1918. 

Dr William Mackay presided over the meeting held this 
evening. Mr James Jack, Commission Agent, Inverness., and 
Sergeant John Mackiiinon, Inverness, who were duly nomin- 
ated at the previous meeting, were unanimously elected Ordi- 
nary Members of the Society. 

Thereafter Mr Alexander MacD'onald read the undernoted 
paper by Professor William J. Watson, LL.D., of Edinburgh 
"University : 


We have in Scotland, as in Ireland, two great divisions of 
Gaelic poetry. There :s on the one hand the poetry of the 
trained -prof essional bards, and on the ether hand the poetry 
produced by those who received no special training in the poetic 
art. It is to this second division that our modern Gaelic poetry 
belongs, and it will be as well .for the sake of clearness to 
indicate shortly the main characteristics of this modern poetry 
in respect of language, metre, and general tone. The language 
of modern poetry is the current Gaelic of the poet's day, the 

Classic Gaelic Poetry 195 

language of the people. The metre are regulated by stress, 
like the metres of modern English poetry. In addition there 
is a system of vowel rhyme or assonance, which in skilled hands 
produces an effect of remarkable melody. Lastly, the poetry 
ii in the full sense popular. It was composed by men and 
women who>, having the poetic gift, sang because they must 
sing, and it was addressed to a popular, not an aristocratic 
audience. The subjects were as varied as the interests of the 
life of the people, and the poetry expresses that life and its 
ideals. This poetry was widely circulated orally and also in 
printed form, and undoubtedly exercised a strong influence. 
It is not necessary here to attempt a discussion of the exact 
period of its introduction and the history of its earlier develop- 
ment; it is sufficient to say that we find this modern poetry 
with its characteristics of language', metre, and style, in full 
swing during the first half of the 17th century, and that it 
goes on still. The modern school is rich in really great names, 
Mary Macleod of Harris, John Macdonald of Lochaber, Alex- 
ander Macdonald, Duncan Macintyre, Rob Donn of the Reay 
country, and many others whose poetry still lives in the hearts 
of the people. 

I now proceed with my subject proper, and in the first 
place it is necessary to give some' account of the' professional 
poets themselves. In Ireland the poets formed an important 
and influential class from the earliest times of which we have 
record or tradition. They were of two kinds, the " fili " and 
the " bard," and of these the " fili" was by far the' superior 
in training and status, and was entitled to much greater 
remuneration. In later times the distinction is less marked, 
but, as we shall see, the difference in station between bard and 
fili was still felt. It was customary for each ruling family 
from the High-king and kings of provinces down to the so- 
called kings of petty districts, to support a bard.* The 
function of the bard was by no means exclusively poetical. 
He was the repository and chronicler of the genealogy and 
history of the family in particular, and also of the history a-nd 
traditions of the- race. He acted often as political adviser, 
and he might and did exercise a. restraining influence when 
his chief was inclined to go too far, or, like the Gaulish bards 
of old, in cases of quarrels 1 . On due occasion he composed 
poems in honour of his chief or of other members of the ruling 

* Here and elsewhere the term " bard " is used in the non- 
technical sense as equivalent to " poet." 

196 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

aristocracy. It was also his. duty to act as preceptor and 
instructor to the young men who- aspired to become bards. 
Such was the Irish bard, a man of learning, a man of affairs 
and of high position in the sept or tribe or kingdom, and in 
Gaelic Scotland, whose culture was essentially the same as that 
of Ireland, the same applies. 

In Scotland, as in Ireland, the office of bard was often or 
usually hereditary in a. family who were attached to the court 
of a lord or chieftain, resembling in this respect the office of 
Abbot of a Celtic monastery. The best known example is 
the family of MacMhuirich, the bardsi of the great house of 
Clanranald, whose territory extended from Shiel to Loch 
Hourn' on the western sea-board, and included the islands of 
Eigg, Rum, Canna, and the two Uists. The MacMhuirichs 
were of Irish descent. About the year 1213 Muireadhach Ua 
Dalaigh, a well-known Irish bard, had to flee to Scotland, 
where' he stayed for some years, entertained in various great 
houses, one of which was that of Lennox, where lie composed 
a poem in honour of Alun or Alwyn, son of Muireadhach, Earl 
of Lennox, which is extant and is printed by Skene in " Celtic 
Scotland," vol. iii. In consequence of this sojourn in Alba, 
he was called Muireadhach Albannach, and it is from him that 
the MacMhuirichs claim and trace descent. In the year 1800, 
Lachlan MacMhuirich stated that he was the 18th in direct 
line from this Irish ancestor, giving right off the first nine 
steps in his genealogy. He stated also that it was an obli- 
gation on each bard to train, his son, or in default of his son, 
to train his brother's son or his heir in the knowledge neces- 
sary. The last of the MacMhuirichs to exercise the bardic a,rt 
was Donald, specimens of whose handwriting, and excellent 
writing it is, in the cursive Irish hand, are preserved in the 
Advocates' Library. This Donald was witness to a deed in 
Benbecula in 1722. 

To the great house of Argyll, whose chief is styled in Gaelic 
MacCailin and Mac Mhic-Cailin, there was attached the family 
of MacEwen, hereditary poets and historians (seanchaidh). A 
MS. in the Advocates' Library (34, 5, 22) containing a gene- 
alogy of MacCailin states that the account is given as " done 
by Neil MacEwen as he received the same from Eachern Mao- 
Ewen his father, as he had the same from Artt MacEwen, his 
grandfather and his predecessors." The last of the MacEwens 
is stated to have been minister of Kilchoan on Loch Melfort, 
where the MacEwen patrimony was situated. There are some 

Classic Gaelic Poetry 197 

indications that the barde of MacLeod of Dunvegan belonged 
to a family called O'Muirgheasan. In 1614 Toirdelbhach O 
Murgeasa witnesses the contract of fosterage whereby MacLeod 
gives his son Norman in fosterage to MacKenzie . This Norman 
was Sir 'Norman MacLeod of Bernera, who died in 1705, and 
his elegy was composed by Donnchadh O Murghesan. Mac- 
Donald of Sleat supported hereditary bards, whose family were 
known as Clann a' Bhaird; the last of these bards appears to 
have been Donnchadh MacRuairidh. It is, unfortunate that 
our knowledge of the bardic families attached to other great 
houses is but fragmentary; there must have been many such 
among the various branches of Clan Donald, the MacLeods, 
the MacGregors, and other clans. 

As befitted men of their status,' the court bards were men of 
substance. For their maintenance they had, in the first place, 
a grant of land. The MaeEwens, as already noticed, held the 
lands of Kilchoan from MacCailiii. The MacMhuirich bards 
held the lands of Staoiligearraidh, and the four pennylands of 
Driomasdail in Uist. I do not know the extent of the lands 
of Staoiligeairraddh, but four pennylands were equal to 1 the fifth 
part of a dabhaeh, that is, about 80 acres, including pasture. 
John MacCbdrum, an excellent poet of the modern school, who 
was bard to Sir James MacDonald of Sleat in the middle of the 
18th century, had a croft rent-free for life, together with five 
bolls of meal, five stones of cheese, and 2 5s of money. His 
predecessors, Claim a' Bhaird, held land in Trotternish, named 
Achadh nasm Bard, from MacDonald of Sleat. I think the 
last Highland chief who kept a bard was Glengarry, who in 
the first quarter of the 18th century maintained AJlan Mac- 
Doug'al on a scale somewhat similar to that on which Sir 
James MacDonald maintained MacCbdrum. Details of land 
assigned to bards elsewhere are lacking, but we may suspect 
that some of the place-names involving " bard " indicate such 
assignment. One instance is Monzievaird, near Crieff, which 
is rendered Campus Bardorum, The Bards' Plain, in the Latin 
Chronicon Elegiacum, of late 13th century date, and is still 
called in Gaelic " Magh Bhard." Another may be Balbardie 
in Linlithgow. The land, however, was a retaining fee, and 
the bards had other perquisites. They received substantial 
presents 1 from the subjects of their panegyric, and some were 
by no means bashful in demanding recompense. In an unpub- 
lished poem by one of the latter bards of the house of Mac- 
Leod, the poet freely though courteously remonstrates with 

198 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

the chief John MacLeod of Duiivegan on a certain amount of 
unwillingness to come up to expectation. His predecessors 
had been readier to part with their treasure : 

Ruairidh budh deine deabhtlm, 

ean goile ag Gaoidhealaibh : 
do fhead an duine re dam 

a thread uile do iomain. 

Tormod do* choiseonadh creach 

ar mhile lann is luireach, 
is ollamh ag buain a ba. 

uaidh go h-ullamh gan aon-ghath. 

Roderick in conflict keenest 

eagle of prowess among the Gael : 
the man whose craft wais song 

might unhindered drive all his kine. 

Norman would win a spoil 

in spite of a thousand blades and mail corselets 
yet a poet would take his kine 

from him readily without a single spear. 

In addition there were other perquisites such as those which 
Niall MacMhuirich (late 17th century and early 18th century) 
enumerates, in an unpublished poem : 

Dlighidh onoir na, n-ollamh 

a> bheith a. ccomhaidh re h-iarla, 

agus cuairt gacha tuaithe 
ceithre uaire 'sa bhliadhna. 

The honour of chief poets is entitled 

to sit at table with an earl, 
and to a circuit of each tribe 

four times every year. 

' These privileges from the time of Cbrmac (i.e., third 
century) are cause of envy of filidh (poets)." 

These statements by MacMhuirich may be illustrated to 
some extent. The claim to sit at table with an earl recalls the 
statement made by a Greek writer that the Gaulish bards 
enjoyed the right of " sussitia" or co-messing with the nobles. 
At a great feast at Aros in Mull in the 15th century, where 
the order of precedence gave rise to anxious deliberation 

Classic Gaelic Poetry ' 199 

beforehand, John MacDonald, Tutor to Clanranald, took on 
himself the onerous office of Master of Ceremonies. He made 
Maclan of Ardnamurchaii sit down first, then in order Mac- 
kinnon, MacQuarry of Ulva, and the men of learning, Beaton 
the physician and MacMhuirich the poet. He then sat down 
himself, remarking, " As to the resit of you, you can sit in, any 
order you like." As the rest included Maclean of Duart, 
MacNeill of Barra, and MacLeod, it is not surprising that John 
MacDonald's haughty decision was the cause of strife then and 
afterwards. It is known that the Lord of the Isles had a 
regular council, and it is practically certain that the chief poet 
of the Isles was a member of it. A charter of Angus, Master 
of the Isle and Lord of Trotternish, granted in 1485 by con- 
sent of his father and Council to the Abbot of lona, is wit- 
nessed by Lachlan McMurghaich Archipoeta, Hullialmus, 
Archi-iudex, Colinus Fergus!! (i.e. MacFhearghuis) domini 
cancellarius all evidently of the Council of the Isles. 

The tribal circuit, which MacMhuirich asserts to have been 
due four times 1 a year or once a quarter, implied free mainten- 
ance for the poet and, his retinue of bards and scholars. How 
far it was actually carried out in Scotland we do not know, 
but these circuits might easily become oppressive, and in 
Ireland obey were oppressive. A poet was not confined to 
his own tribe. Niall Mor MacMhuirich, in the early 17th 
century, celebrates the hospitality of Dunvegan, where he 
stayed six nights and (ould get drunk, it' he liked, twenty 
times a day. Scottish bards went on tour in Ireland and Irish 
bards visited Scotland. One of the finest and most pathetic 
poems in the language, the lament of Maoil-Chiarain for his 
son Fearehar, was composed on the slaying of Fearchar, who 
as a young bard desirous of winning fame and reward had gone 
to Ireland " on poetic foray." A fine poem in praise of 
Tomaltach MacDermott, Lord of Moylurg (d. 1458), by a 
Scottish bard who visited Ireland, is preserved in the Book 
of the Dean of Lismorei and in one of the Turner MSS. 
Again, an Irish poet came to the court of Archibald, Earl of 
Argyll, on an embassy, probably in 1555, when Calbhaoh 
O'Donnell, son of the Earl of Tircbnnel, came to seek Mac- 
Cailin's help in a dispute with his father. He sets forth 
at length the joys of MacCailin's household. When Fionn 
and his men weire in the Bruighean Caorthainn (Rowan 
Dwelling) their feet clave to thei floor because it was spread 

. 200 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

with the* enchanted soil of Innis Tile : * that same soil of 
Innis Tile, the poet avers, forms the floor of MacCailin's 
house; none who once: stands thereon may leave it. Even as 
the raven sent forth by Noah, son of Lamech, on his mission 
from the ark, returned to the ark no more, so will he return 
no more to Ireland. Poems composed by bards on circuit or 
" on poetic foray, " were usually panegyrical, naturally: the 
warmer the panegyric the better the reward. The relations 
between the poet and his subject are well expressed in a poem 
in MS. xlii. 23, a, 

Deocha seirci uadh oirni, 

da ria me mac Somairle ; 
deocha, molta airsioii uaim : 

an baisgeal corcra on Chraobhruaidh . 

Draughts of love from him to us, 

when I reach the son of Somerled ; 
draughts of praise from me to him, 

that white palmed crimson-cheeked scion of the 
Red -branch. 

To this rule there was one notorious exception in the 
person of Angus Ruadh O'Daly, otherwise known as Aonghus 
nan Aor, Angus of the Satires, who flourished in the time of 
Elizabeth. In the course of an extensive tour in Scotland, 
Angus satirisied every single house in which he was enter- 
tained, with two exceptions of a; sort. When he was leaving 
the house of Duncan Campbell of Glenlyon, proverbial for 
his hospitality, Angus had the impudence to say: 

Ma's tii Donnchadh Ruadh na feile 

Is f ada bheir mi f ein do* chlii : 
An am tionndaidh ar da chul r'a cheile 

Isi mise tha gun leine is cha tii. 

If then, art Red Duncan the hospitable 

far will I bear thy fame : 
as we turn our two> backs on each other 

it is I am shirtless and not thou. 

Duncan Campbell at once threw off his leine and handed 
it to Angus, who said : 

* Thule, called Thile by Dicuil ; for the magical properties of 
its soil, see Trans! of the Ossianic Society, III., 188; of. Plummer, 
Latin Lives of the Irish Saints, I., clviii. Monach Mor, son of 
Balbuadh Innse Tile, appears in a pedigree of MacLeod, quoted by 
Beeves in his edition of Adamnan's Life of Columba, p. 437. 

6Vflss/c Gaelic Poetry 201 

Molfar Ua Neill 'na theach 

Is gach aoii neach 'na icnad fein : 
Ach na coimeasar duine de '11 t-sluagh 

Ri Dcnncliadh Ruadh ach e fein. 

O'Neil shall be lauded in his house, 

and each man in his proper place ; 
but let no man of the host 

be likened to Duncan save himself. 

Angus was, however, by his own confession, a. misan- 
thrope, and by no means a type of the Gaelic bard. 

1 may here say a little about the legislation which wae 
enacted from time to time in Scotland to check wanderers 
who made a practice of quartering themselves 011 the people. 
In 1407 the Scottish Parliament enacted " that in all justice 
ayres the kingis justice tak inquisicione of sornaris, bardis, 
maisterfull beggars or fenzeit fulys, and other banysh them 
the cuiitry or send them to the kingis presone." By an Aa 
of 1567 no Irish or Highland beggars or bards are to be 
admitted to the Lowlands. In 1579 " all menstrallis, sang- 
stares and tailtellaris [sgeulaiche] not avouit in special service 
ba some of the lordis of parliament or great barronis, or be 
the heid burrowis for their common menstralis ' ' are liable to 
be scourged and burned 011 the cheek or even hanged. Lastly, 
in the court holdeii at Icolmkill, on the 23rd August, 1609, 
by Andrew, Bishop of the Isles, it was enacted of common 
consent that " no vagabond, bard, nor profest pleisant pre- 
tending liberty to bard and natter be received within the 
bounds of the said Isles by any of the said special barons and 
gentlemen or any other inhabitants thereof, or be entertained 
by them, but in case any vagabonds, bardsi, jugglers or such 
like be apprehended by them, such are to be put in sure 
seizement and kept in the stocks, and thereafter to be 
debarred forth of the country with all goodly expedition." 

It is just possible that these enactments, o'f which the last 
was the most important, would interfere' to some extent with 
the progresses or circuits of the higher class bards, but, as I 
have shown elsewhere,* they were primarily directed against 
the bands of wandering bards known from of old as Cliar 
Sheaiichain or Seanchan's Band, who had no fixed residence, 
but went about quartering themselves on the people and 
often behaving in most insolent fashion. That the family 

* Celtic Review, iv., 80. 

202 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

or court bards were not meant is sufficiently clear from the 
names of the chiefs subscribed to the statutes, several of 
whom we know to have kept a bard then and long after- 

An important general statement about the bards is made 
by Martin Martin in his Description of the Western Islands, 
published in 1703, at a time when the bards were not yet 
extinct. Mairtin, as a Skyeman, was of course in a position 
to* know, and his remarks deserve quotation : 

' The orators, in their language called ' Is-Dane ; (Aois- 
dana), were in high esteem both in these Islands and in the 
Continent, until within these forty years. They sate always 
among the Nobles and Chiefs of Families in the ' Streah ' or 
Circle. Their houses and little villages were Sanctuaries, as 
well as Churches, and they took place before Doctors of 
Physick. The Orators, after the Druids were extinct, were 
brought to preserve the genealogy of Families, and upon the 
occasion of Marriages and Births they made Epithalamiums 
and Panegyricks which the Poet or Bard pronounced. The 
Orators by the force of their eloquence had ai powerful 
ascendant over the greatest men in their time, for if any 
Orator did but ask the Habit, Arms, Horse, or any other 
being belonging to the greatest Man in these Islands, it was 
readily granted them, sometimes out of respect, and some- 
times for fear of being exclaimed against by a Satyr, which 
in those days was reckoned a great dishonour, but these 
Gentlemen becoming insolent, lost ever since both the Profit 
and the Esteem which was formerly due to their character ; 
for neither their Panegyricks nor Satyrs are regarded to what 
they have been, and they are now allowed but ai small salary. 
I must not omit to relate their way of Study, which is very 
singular. They shut their Doors and Windows for a day's 
time, and lie on their Backs, with a Stone upon their Belly, 
and Plaids about their heads, and their eyes being covered, 
they pump their Brains [for] Rhetorical Encomium or Pane- 
gerick ; and indeed they furnish such a Stile from this dark 
Cell, as is understood by very few, and if they purchase a 
couple^ of Horses as the Reward for their Meditation, they 
think they have done .a great matter. The Poet, or Bard, 
had a title to the Bridegroom's upper Garb, that is, the Plaid 
and Bonnet, but now he is satisfied with what the Bride- 
groom pleases to give him on such occasions." 

Classic Gallic Poetry 203 

Those statements of Martin are, I believe, in the main 
-correct. His translation of " Aois-dana " by orators is 
curious, for the term is a well-known generic term foir men 
of skill, men of science, and specially poets. It is to be 
observed that, according to Martin, it was not the author of 
the poem who pronounced the Epithalamium, <fec., but 
another whom he calls the poet ocr bard. This was in accord- 
ance with the Irish custom, but in Ireland the man who 
recited the panegyric was called " reaeaire." Thomas 
Smyth, a Dublin apothecary, who wrote in 1561, says: 
" Now comes the Rymer that made the Ryme, with his 
Rakry. The rakry is he that shall utter the ryme ; and tlje 
Rymer himself sits with the Captain verie> proudlye. He 
brings 1 with him also his Harper, who plays all the while 
that the rakry sings the rhyme. Also he hath his Bard, 
which is a kind of folise fellow, who also must have a horse 
give him ; the harper must have a new saf ern shurte, and a 
mantell and a hacnaye ; and the rakry must have xx. or xxx. 
kine, and the Rymer himself horse and harness with a nag 
to ride on, a silver goblett, a pair of bedes of cor all, with 
buttons of silver." It is clear that both Martin and Smyth 
use the term bard or poet loosely to- denote a certain person 
in the train of the Aois dana, Ollamh, o*r Chief Bard. By 
Martin's time the reward of the reciter was at the pleasure 
of the bridegroom ; Niall MacMhuirich, who was a contem- 
porary of Martin's, in an unpublished poem, indicates th-^t 
the reciter was entitled to the upper robe or covering of the 
bride and a guinea and other gifts besides, to enrich his store. 

T' aire riut, a Ghiolla-easbuig, 

deana freasdal ar th' inmhe, 
o's leat an t-eadach nuachair, 

bias ar uachtar gach rioghna. 

Mas srol e no sioda, 

a fhir chriona na caill si : 
maith do chairt ar an culaidh 

bias fa bhuiiaidh na bainnsi. 

Aon bhonn ai* bharr na bhfichead 

dlighidh sibhse, a fhir dhana, 
's a luach oile do ghibhdibh 

do-ni do' chiste saidhbhir. 

Martin's quaint description of the poet at work, with 
his aids to' concentration and a good supply of blood to the 

204 Gaelic Society of /nuerness 

brain, is like the' description given by Reid of the methods of 
the great 18th century poet Alexander Macdonald, whose 
" manner of composition was to lie on his back in winter, or 
on the grass in summer, with a large stone on his breast, 
muttering to himself in a low whisper his poetical aspira- 
tions." We know also that silence, solitude, and darkness. 
were the conditions of composition in the Irish bardic schools ; 
light was supplied for the purpose of writing down the 
finished compositions. There, too, the attitude was lying on 
the back, and the expression for becoming a poet was " luighe 
i leabaidh sgol," lying in the bed of the schools. 

The Scottish! bardic schools are often referred to in the 
panegyrics on chiefs. MacGregor, in a poem in the Book of 
the Dean of Lismore, is referred to as the head of the schools. 
Niall MaicMhuirich, in praising Sir James MacDonald of 
Sleat, begins: 

Fuarasi cara ar sgath na sgoile. 

I have found a friend to protect the school. 

A note in the Maclagan MS., 122, says " there were 
poetical schools or academies in Skye and at Inverness," but 
the MacMhuirichs in Uist and the MacEwens in Argyll must 
have had schools, and there were doubtless others, just as in 
later tmes there were' schools for pipers in Skye, Mull, 
Fortingal, and elsewhere. Unfortunately we have no special 
information as to the course of. instruction in the Scottish 
bardic schools, We may, however, safely assume that it was 
very similar to that of the Irish schools : the language, style, 
treatment of subjects, and mental background of the alumni 
or graduates of Irish and Scottish schools are almost if not 
quitet identical. In the Irish; schools the course* of instruc- 
tion extended over seven years, later twelve years, at the end 
*of which the student, if he acquitted himself satisfactorily, 
became an Ollamh or Doctor. By this time he had been 
well trained in language, metre, and history, and especially 
in the great traditionary heroic tales, which were so essential 
a part of his equipment that we have on record the dictum 
' ' 111 filidh gan scela ' ' he is no fully equipped poet without 
tales. The details of the course were arranged with that 
precision and exactness which are characteristic of Gaelic 
literature, law, a!nd art, but for these I must refer to 
O'Curry's " Manners and Customs," Professor Douglas 
Hyde's " History of Irish Literature," or Dr Joyce's " Social 

Classic Gaelic Poetry 205 

History of Ancient Ireland." On the various degrees of 
poets useful information is contained in the treatise, 
" Auraicept na. n-Eces," recently edited by Dr George 
C alder. One may say in a word that to anyone who studies 
the work of the poets whoi received their training in these 
schools, it is evident that they were in reality men of great 
learning in their own way and of marvellous, technical skill. 

Before dealing more closely with the nature of the poetry 
itself, I will say a word about the habitat, so to speak, of our 
Gaelic professional bards. So far as wo know it now, their 
home was the west coast from Argyll northwards and the 
Isles. Red Angus of the Satires, who nourished in the time 
of Elizabeth, has left his impression of 23 or 24 Highland 
magnate >amd localities, and of these all belong to the west 
except the Chisholm of Strathglass, Stewart of Garth, and 
Duncan Campbell of Glen Lyon. His furthest north on the 
mainland was Lochcarron. The probability is, though we 
cannot prove it, that every chief or chieftain on the west who 
reckoned himself of any consequence maintained a bard up 
till the middle part of the 17th century. For the east, apart 
from North Perthshire, we have no data, nor have we any 
data for the great Gaelic-speaking district of Galloway and 
Ayrshire, to say nothing of Lanark and Lcthia.n. It is hard 
to suppose that the great families of the eastern Highlands 
and of the south-west had no bards, but if they had, no' trace 
of their poetry has come down to us. It is indeed fairly cer- 
tain that Kennedy, the Carrick poet of the 16th century, who 
had the " flyting " with Dunbar, knew and spoke Gaelic, 
but the only specimens of his poetry that have come down to 
us are in English. 

Our knowledge of the bardic poetry is entirely from, 
written sources, which I will mention briefly. Apart from 
some poems contained in the Irish MSS. preserved in Dublin 
and in the British Museum, the chief sources are three. The 
first is the Book of the Dean of Lismore, written between 
1512 and 1529 by Duncan MacGregor, and probably in part 
by his brother, James MacGregor, Dean of Lismoire, natives 
of Fortingal. It contains twenty- two poems of a panegyrical 
type, of which eight are in praise of MacGregor, two of Mac- 
Donald, two of MacCailin (Argyll), two of of 
Dunolly, and one each in praise of MacLeod of Lewis, MacLeod 
of Harris and Dun vegan, Stewart of Rainnoch, MacSween of 
Castle Sween, in Knapdale, and MacNeil of Gigha. Most of 

206 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

these poems deal with men of the Dean's own time or near it. 
The poem to MacSween, however, was written in 1310, and 
one of the MacGregors addressed died in 1440. Here, then 
we have <a> rough idea of the output in the Dean's immediate 
neighbourhood. Keeping in view that his taste was naturally 
in favour of MacGregor poetry^ and that he seems; to have 
collected most of it that was composed during his own time, 
we may assume that if he had cared he might have collected 
an equal number of poems in honour of any of the great 
families in his neighbourhood, and we can infer how large a 
quantity of such poetry must have perished before and after 
his time. 

Our next source is the Red Book of Clanranald, which 
contains twelve eulogies and elegies, most of them fairly long, 
written by MacMhuirich ba^rds and others between circa 1460 
amd 1720. This of course must represent only a very small 
part of the 'activity of these poets. All these are printed in 
" Reliquiae Celticse," with a translation of which the best 
that can be said is that it is correct occasionally. 

Thirdly, we have the MSS. in the Advocates' Library, 
xxxvi., xxxix., xlii., xlviii., Hi., and Box 3 No. 3. Three 
eulogistic poems from xlviii. are printed in " Reliquiae 
Celticae," one of them a very fine poeon by Cathal MacMhuirich 
on the death of a poet friend, John MacBrian, another by 
Niall MacMhuirich to Sir James MacDonald of Sleat, and a. 
short poem by Cathal MacMhuirich on the Clanranald in Uist. 
The Edinburgh MSS. contain besides about twenty poems of 
this class 1 , some of them fragmentary, dating from about th^ 
middle of the 16th century to about 1730. These include 
some very fine poems presumably by the MacEwen barons in 
honour of MacCailin, and also poems to representatives of 
the great families of MacLeod, Clanranald, Glengarry, Mac- 
kinnoii, MacDonald of Dun Naomhaig in May, and Mac- 
Kenzie of Gairlcch. All these I transcribed, and some of 
them are added to this paper. I may add the fine elegy on 
Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy, the MS. of which is in 
the General Register House, Edinburgh, and which I re- 
edited . 

These MSS. are, with one exception, written in the old 
character which had been used in Ireland since the intro- 
duction of letters, and is. derived from the old Latin script. 
In Scotland the last to use this character to any large extent 
was Alexander MacDonald (died c. 1770), aom-e of whose 

Classic Gaelic Poetry 207 

MSS. are in the Advocates' Library. The single exception 
is the Book of the Dean of Lismore, written in the Roman 
character of the day on a sort of phonetic system which makes 
it very hard to understand. The writing of the MSS., especi- 
ally of MS. lii., varies considerably, but to one who is 
familiar with the style presents no difficulty apart from 
dimness which is quite enough by itself. 

I have mentioned that the language used by the poets of 
the modern school is the current Gaelic of their own. time. 
With the professional bards this isi not the case. They used 
the classic literary language common to Ireland and Scotland, 
a language which in grammatical form and in vocabulary 
was much more conservative and fixed than the common 
speech, and was therefore not easily understood except by 
the learned. It was in fact a special diction, based upon a 
long tradition) of many centuries. I do not mean that the 
language of the poets was stereotyped, but it changed slowly, 
and it was always more archaic than the spoken language. 
The bards wrote' not for the common people, but for the com- 
paratively small audience that consisted of the aristocracy 
by birth and the aristocracy of training and learning. A 
good example is found in the elegies on Sir Norman MacLeod 
of Bern era, who' died on 3rd March, 1705. Three of these 
have been preseirved. One is by the great but self -trained 
poetess Mary MacLeod, and it is readily understood by any- 
one who has a good knowledge of t the Gaelic of th present 
day. The other two are by professional bards, and they are 
so difficult, even for scholars conversant with the older 
language and the bardic style, that it is impossible to suppose 
them to have been understood by the people then. This is 
what Martin means when in 1703 he says that the " bards 
furnish such a style as is understood by but very few." The 
long tradition that lay behind this class of poetry has its 
disadvantage as well as its advantages. The language is 
perfect in its way, copious, dignified, sonorous, splendid, 
completely satisfying the ear and gratifying the sentiment. 
It is only when one has studied a quantity of it that one 
realises how much of this is merely " the flowers belonging 
to the art," and is in a position to assess the claims of the 
poet to* originality of style or of treatment. 

The metres of the older Gaelic poetry were exceedingly 
numerous. In the good old times an accomplished Qllamh 
or Doctor would know, in addition to all his other knowledge, 

208 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

over 300 different kinds of versification, and examples of 
between 200 and 300' of these have been preserved in MSS. 
In later times comparatively few metres were in common use, 
though a pcet might on occasion experiment with an unusual 
metre. Most of the bardic poems relating to Scotland are 
composed in some variation of the standard seven-syllable line 
metre, which was by far the meet popular among the later 
poets, and which was originally modelled on the Latin hymns. 
These syllabic metres can be shown to bo of considerable 
antiquity, going back well into the Old Irish period, i.e., 
before 1000 A.D. For their effect they do not depend on 
stress or beat, nor is there any such thing as feet, trochee, 
iambus, or such like. The poetry is to be read with the 
ordinary emphasis, and each syllable receives its due value. 
Hiatus is rarely allowed ; final vowels are written, but when 
the next word in the line begins with a vowel, elision takes 
place. The unit of poetry is the rann or quatrain, made up 
of two " lethrainn " or couplets, and the two couplets are 
similar in construction. Custom demanded that each line 
should give nearly complete sense. In the couplet the 
approach to independent sens;e is nearer. The quatrain is 
always complete in itself : no part of the sense is ever allowed 
to be completed in the following quatrain. It might be 
supposed that- the effect of this would be stilted and mono- 
tonous, but it is not so: the art of the poet is sufficient to 
avoid that impression. But the quatrain has to be embel- 
lished, and as the Gaelic sculptor left not a square inch of 
the stone without its ornament, so the Gaelic poet embellishes 
each line of his quatrain, by no means at haphazard or 
according to his own will, but according to very definite, 
precise rules. The embellishments used were two, allitera- 
tion of initial consonants or vowels, and rhyme terminal and 
internal. The> method and effect can be best appreciated 
from examples. 

That the poets, composing under conditions so numerous 
and complex, should succeed as they usually do, in expressing 
their thought not only without appearance of effort, but with 
fine melody and simplicity of structure, shows an admirable 
mastery of language and technique. The achievement, how- 
ever, took time. In illustration, I have come across this 
couplet at the end of a poem of 18 quatrains of exquisite 
workmanship : 

Classic Gaelic Poetry 209 

da raithe dhamh risin duain 

ga huaim do snaithe ghlan ghloir. 

two quarters I took to the poem 

knitting it from the thread of pure speech. 

1 com now to the poetry itself and its content. The 
poetry of panegyric was practised among the Celts at an 
early period. Athenaeus relates after Posidonius how, early 
in the second century B.C., Lovernios, prince of the Averni, 
proclaimed a feast. A certain poet had the misfortune to 
arrive too late, and, meeting the prince as he drove away in 
his chariot, proceeded to chant the prince's praises and his 
own ill-luck. Lovernios threw him a purse of gold, which 
he picked up, exclaiming, " the tracks on the ground over 
which you drive your car bring gold and benefits to men." 
EJiodoirus, too, relates that among the Gauls there are bards 
who compose praises fo<r some and satires on others. In 
Ireland this sort of poetry appears at every stage of the 
literature, but it was specially cultivated from iabout 1200 
A.B., to the comparative neglect of other forms of poetry. 
The' reason for the large output was doubtless, that to produce 
this kind of poetry was a special function of the numerous 
court bards, and that the poetry was well paid for ; though 
the bards composed religious poetry and poetry on the old 
heroic subjects, the stimulus for such was less. 

Poems of the panegyrical class have' inevitably a good 
deal in common, and in the case of the poems we are con- 
sidering there is in addition to be reckoned with, as I pointed 
out already, a long tradition of treatment and of language. 
It is only fair, however, to say that there is a considerable 
amount of variety, and each poem has usually features of 
freshness and individuality. In this sketch of the content, I 
shall bring out the more important characteristics that are 
more or less common. 

There is laudation, naturally, of the chief's person. He 
is blue-eyed (nan rosg gorm) ; his eye is like the sheen of gold 
on ice-flag ; it is like the clear blue blade of steel. His hair 
is smooth tressed (ciil slim) with curling ringlets (a chiil fiar 
na fainnedh cruinn) ; it is coiled like tips of heath (bachlach 
mar bhair f raoich) ; MacCailin has wondrous locks of golden 
curls (oiabh iongantach na n-6rdhual). It is to be noted 
that with the Gaelic ruling race as with the Celts of Gaul, 


210 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

the standard colour of hair was yellow and of the eyes blue, 
Vergil, who* was himself a. Gaul, describes the Gauls as having 
golden hair (aurea oaesaries) and milk-white necks (lactea 
oolla), Aen. 8, 659. The chief's countenance is passionless 
(gan fhioch) and declines not combat. His> cheeks aore ruddy 
(dearg, coircra), smooth (min), sometimes freckled (breac, 
ballbhreac). A not uncommon epithet is deidgheal, white- 
tootHied : MacGregor is " seabhag deidgheal na dtri ghleann," 
the white- toothed hawk of the three glens (Glen Lyon, Glen 
Orchy, and Glen Strae). His palms are. slender (seang, bhas- 
sheang), his fingers taper (mearchorr) ; his feet are white-soled 
and smooth (boinngheal blaith). Reference is often made to, 
mental qualities, especially wisdom (glic, gliocas), sense (ciall). 
With regard to MacCailin the poet says : 

Do fhogluim tii as do thosach 

na tri treidhe is. ferr ag fiaith : 
iomchar goimhe go< h-uair feadhma, 

croidhe cruaidh is meanma maith. 

Tho-u has learned from thy first outset 

the three qualities that are best in a prince : 

to> thole malice to the hour of action, 
a firm heart, and a high spirit. 

The chief end of a lord is to win renown, reputation, fame 
(do bheith ag cosnadh clii) ; it is a reputation for great deeds 
that ennobles a man (clu oirbhirt uaislighes neach). 

A poem on Allan of Clannaaiald (died 1509) expresses a 
well-known Gaelic sentiment : 

Fame lives after death, O Allan who' wast not slack in 
fray ; though true thy death, thou hast not died ; behold 
thy nenown behind thee evermore. 

The two 1 ways to win renown were cooirage and dexterity 
in the field, and open-handed generosity,, to poets especially. 
The foray (creach) is often alluded to as a la,udable method of 
displaying enterprise. " Woe to them on whom MacCailin's 
host make the Hallowe'en foray." Of Angus MacDonald 
of Dun-Naomhaig the poet says : 

Thou didst waste at the outset of thy activity 
Innis-Eoighain, thou fair-haired. . . . Thou didst take 
the Route with one day's chase from the blood of Mac- 
Wheelan, though it was the blood of kings. . . . Tiree, 

Classic Gaelic Poetry 211 

despite the men of Mull, thou didst ravage from pert to 
port. . . . The Airds of Ulster from Oilean Leamlma 
to Strangford Lough thou didst harry. 

The bard, however, tells Angus plainly that in certain 
of his doings in Mull and elsewhere he has gone too far ; and 
adds that he would have been all the better for the presence 
of his bard and counsellor to check him and protect the people 
from his fury. 

6 chuan Leodhuis go Loch Eirus 

eagla romhad, a rose gorm ; 
is t' eagla ar chach um Boinn braonghlais 

gun. sgath roimhe, a Aonghuis, orm. 

From the sea of Lewis to Loch Erris, 
fear goes before thee, thou blue-eyed, 

and thy fear is on all axound Boyne's wan water ; 
no dread of it, O Angus, have I. 

The regular term for high-hearted generosity is " einech," 
which means primarily ' ' face. ' ' A man is ready to *do 
almost anything for the sake of his " einech," and the chief's 
generosity to the bards and their schools is a regularly recur- 
ring topic. MJacGregor is " head of the schools." Torquil 
MacLeod of Lewis (fl. 1500) rivals in hospitality the Irish king 
Guaire of Connaught. " The slender-fingered son of 
Roderick would give the ancient magic sword of Fionn, if he 
had it. Had he the Gray of Macha or the Black of 
Sainglenn, Cuchullin's magic steeds, he would bestow them 
on him who went to ask them." That the consumption of 
wine at the chief's courts was large might be inferred from 
the poetry ; the records of the kingdom bear this out, and we 
know from them also that an attempt at least was made to 
restrict it. It was- said of Oisin son of Fionn that he never 
refused a man, if only the man had a head to eat withal and 
legs to carry it away. As to Oisin 's father Fionn 

" Were but the brown leaf which the wood sheds from it 
gold, were but the white billow silver, Fionn would have 
given it all away." This was the ideal held up by the poets 
to the chiefs. 

The bards are masters of magnificent epithets and titles. 
MacLeod is Lion of Skye (leoghan Sgf) ; Warrior of Minginish 
(miledh Minginis) ; Angus MacDonald of Dun Naomhaig is 

212 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

King of the Fingall ; King of Islay ; Leopard of Lewis (Onchu 
Leodhuis) : Prince of Ross, though the title of Earl of Rosa 
had been forfeited by the Lord of the Isles about a hundred 
years before. The chief of Clanranald is King- Salmon of 
Shiel ; Glengarry, too, is Salmon of Shiel, and, to indicate the 
MacDonald connection with Ireland, -and with Ulster in 
particular, ho is Salmon of Shannon, from Bush from Bann. 
Mackinnon is addressed 

A choinnle Chill Mo-ruibhe, 

a mhic ionmhuin Fhionghuine, 
a thalc tuir cat ha do choir, 

a Mharcuigh Sratha Suardail. 

Thou torch of Kilmaree, 

thou loved son of Fingon ; 
thou strong tower to wage battle, 

tho'U Knight of Strathswordale. 

MacDo'Ugall of Dunolly is " the traverser of Cruachan " ; 
" the draigon of the Cbnnel." MacNeill of Gigha is the slim 
clean hawk of Sliabh Gaoil ; dragon of Lewis : Salmon of 
Sanas (i.e. Machriehanish) ; '/Lion cf white-ramparted Mull; 
hawk of smooth- plained Islay " (Leoghan Muile na miir 
ngeal, Seabhag He iia magh mm). MacGregor is 
' White- toothed hawk of the three glens " (Seabhag 
deidgheal na dtri ghleann) ; " Lion of Loch Awe." Mac- 
Cailin is Lion of Loch Fyne ; Lion's Whelp of Loch Long; 
Head of the hosts from Inverawe ; topmost nut of the cluster ; 
Champion of the Gael ; heir of Arthur. He is described 
also as Hector of the land of Alba ; Pompey of the plain of 
the sons of Duibhne ; Cato as regards his kingly memory ; 
Caesar in his good fortune in battle ; for learning Aristotle. 
Visible signs of heaven's favour attend the reign of a good 
chief. This is a commonplace of the older Gaelic literature, 
and is one of many points in which it illustratets or is illus- 
trated by ancient Greek poetry. In the Odyssey Penelope 
says to Odysseus : 

Thy fame goes up to the wide heaven, as doth the fame of 
a, blameless king, one that fears the gods, and reigne 
among men mighty and maintaining right ; and the 
black earth bears wheat and barley, and the trees are 
laden with fruit, and the sheep bring forth and fail 
not, and the sea gives stores of fish and all out of his 
good guidance, and the people prosper under him. 

Classic Gaelic Poetry 213 

So of MacCailin's sway: 

' In the time of the Lion of Loch Fyne, trees bend with 
their branches' fruit ; from the heat, such the onset of 
its visitation, it comes that there is no waterfall on 

' From the multitude of fish in the estuaries, no man 
takes thought for making nets ; sufficient for his 
praisei, omen of his righteous rule, the produce of the 
sea comes on shore. 

" Herds of deer by bees molested are at each hill foot, 
cause of envy ; the slopes, omen of productiveness, are 
covered with coils of ripe new corn." 

On the death of Clanranald : 

The soil is without corn after his death ; our nut-trees 
are without produce ; the woods decay ; every tree is 

In an early 16th century poem on Allan and Ranald of 
Clanranald : 

Since the earth covered them, flocks have noi expecta- 
tion of increase; so also tEe tall trees are fruitless, the 
produce does not bend the forked branches. 

' ' Owing to their death the strand yields not its produce ; 
the strain of storm comes with bitter notes; small is 
the profit of the feast of sorrow that has chanced in 
our land. 

' There is sound of wailing in the mountain streams, a 
voice of lamentation in the notes of birds ; the net 
gets no profit from the pool ; storm has ruined 
sprouting corn and grass*. 

" Cessation of rain is not known in our land; the lament- 
ing for them is putting me out of my mind ; the grief 
of the schools has passed concealment, since the poets 
have put on their garb of mourning." 

Here I may s.ay in passing that the spirit of many of the 
elegies may be well compared with that of the short lament 
for King Alexander III. given by Wynton : 

Quhen Alysander cure King was dede 
That Scotland led in luwe and le, 

Away was sons off ale and brede, 

Off wine and war, off gaymn and gle. 

214 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Our gold was chamgyd into lede. 

Cryst, borne into Virgynyte, 
Succoure Scotland and remede 

That stad is in perplexyte. 

The poems have occasionally political interest wider than 
the tribe or clan. A spirited poem addressed to Archibald 
of Argyll exhorts the Earl and the clan to battle against the 
English, who desired to have Scotland under tribute." " So of 
old the Fomorians had Banbha under their sway, till Lugh 
of the Long Arm cam across the sea and slew the Fomorian 
chief Balor, grandson of the war-god Net. Thou Gillespick, 
Earl of Argyll, art the Lugh of this present time. Arise 
and smite them, slay and burn! Remember your ancestors! 
Awake, MacCailin ! Not good is too much sleep." The 
vigorous quatrains which I have summarised may well have 
been composed just before the battle of Flodden (1513), in 
which the Earl of Argyll was slain. 

It is interesting also to observe the claims made in certain 
poems to the headship, " ceannas," or hegemony of the Gael. 
While the Lordship of the Isles lasted, the " oeannas " lay 
of course with the MacDonald dynasty, whose bards were not 
slow to claim it. 

The headship of the Gael to the children of Coll ! it is 
meet to proclaim it. 

The last Lord of the Isles and Earl of Ross was forfeited 
finally in 1494. The downfall of this great house was the 
rise of the Campbells, and their claims are duly urged in 
several poems of merit, hitherto unpublished, composed in 
the 16th century. One begins: 

A good charter is the headship of the Gael 
and claims it for MacCailin : 

Maith an chairt ceannas na nGaoidheal, 

greiiTi uirthe geb e 'ga mbi ; 
neart sloigh san uair-si do arduigh ; 

coir is uaisle a n-Albuin i 

Giolla-easbuig iarla Ghaoidheal 

glacuis cairt ceannais/ an t-sluaigh ; 

do bhi riamh 6 choir 'na chartaigh 
riar an t-sloigh gan ant oil uaidh. 

Classic Gaelic Poetry '215 

A good charter is the headship of the Gael, 
whoever it be that has a grip of it; 

a people's might at this time it has exalted; 
it is the noblest title in Alba. 

Giolla-easbuig, earl of the Gael, 

has grasped the charter of the headship of the 

people ; 
in hisi charter it has ever been of right to rule 

a willing people without self-seeking. 

Another begins frankly : 

Triath na iiGaoddheal Giolla-easbuig. 

urraim gach duine dho is dual : 
cuiridh iarla Gall is Gaoidheal 

riaighail ar gach aoinfhear uadh. 

Lord of the Gael is Giolla-easbuig ; 

reverence from all men is his ancestral due ; 
the earl over Galls and over Gaels 

sets his rule on each and every man. 

It is also interesting to note that while the MacDonalds 
vaunted descent from Conn Cetchathaeh (died c. 157 A.D.) 
and Colla Uais (fl. 350 A.D.), MacCailin's bards disclaimed 
Irish connection, and traced the line of MacCailin up to 
Arthur of the Round Table, emphasising the British origin. 

Do fhreimh ghlan, a Ghiolla-easbuig, 

go h-Artur airmhinn gach glun : 
orm 'na chruas ni bhfuil an t-aradh 

suas o shoiii go h-Adhamh ur. 

Deich ngliiin uaibhsi 'sail fhein curadh 
Cailin longnadh na n-eacht : 

ubhal oumhra chrioch na nGaoidheal : 
ni frith umhla d' einfhear uadh. 

En glun deg 6 Chailin longnadh 

d'Artur bhreaghlan an bhuird chruinn : 

ri do b ' f heairr ar f ud an domhain ; 
do rug geall an toraidh thruimm. 

Thy pure descent, Giolla-easbuig, 

I could recount to Arthur every step ; 

not hard for me is the ladder 

thence upwards to goodly Adam. 

216 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Ten generations from thee in the heroic warrior-host 
comes wondrous Cailin of lasting feats, 

fragrant apple of the bounds of the Gael : 
submission was found from him to none. 

Eleven steps from wondrous Cailin 

to Arthur comely and pure of the Round Table, 
the best king throughout the world, 

who took pledge of their weighty produce. 

I have not exhausted my subject, but I have probably 
said enough to give an idea of the sort of men and the sort of 
poetry we have to> deal with. In the Homeric poems the 
bards of the Achaeans, and the heroes too, when they have 
put from them the desire of meat and drink, are stirred to 
sing the glories of men " klea andron," there amongst the 
chiefs encamped or at the court. So the' Gaelic bard 
rehearsed and magnified his lord's " cliu " : the two are com- 
pletely parallel, and the parallel is no< accident, for the old 
Gaelic society was. in many ways a replica of Achaean con- 
dition. The Gaelic bards after their period of nearly 2000 
years, during most of which they were powerful, honoured, 
feared, finally died out in the person of Donald MiacMhuirich 
about 1740, long after the last of the Irish bards had gone. 
The Celtic bardic poetry that had its roots in Gaul long 
before the Christian era, ends, so far as the Gael are con- 
cerned, in a humble home in South Uist. When Martin 
says that the influence of the bards was decayed about forty 
years before his day, he is doubtless right. It is a significant 
fact that though the Clanranald took a leading part in the 
campaign of Mont rose, and though at that time they 
possessed distinguished poets of the old school in the Mac- 
Mhuirichs, the poet selected to be honoured by Charlesi II. at 
his Restoration in 1660 as his Gaelic poet laureate was not 
MacMhuirich nor any trained professional bard, but the self- 
trained poet John MacDonald. Their decay, however, was 
really due' to the decay of the society, the position of the 
aristocratic ruling race, of which they were part and parcel, 
and apart from which they could not exist, for their raison 
d'etre wasi gone. Their connection with this society is one 
of the reasons that gives the study of their works a, peculiar 
interest. The other reason is that this study forms a 
corrective to the ignorant ideas that have been prevalent as 
to Gaelic civilisation. It discloses a continuous polished 

Classic Gaelic Poetry 217 

literature, the heir of a long and learned tradition main- 
tained by this bardic caste right up to the very end of the 
conditions in which it originated. 

Note. Since the above was written I have been informed 
that the land of Staoiligearraidh is reckoned at present to keep 
between 20 and 25 cows. In further illustration of the term 
pennyland, it may be mentioned that the island of Boreray, 
North Uist, comprised eight pennylands, and that its area 
above high- water mark is 562 acres, including fresh-water 
loche. Isle of Oransay, North Uist, comprised six penny- 
lands; it measures 224 acres above high-water mark. The 
Monach Isle comprised either nine or ten pennylands ; their 
area is 806 acres. These statistics indicate that the penny land 
varied in size according to the capacity of the land for 
supporting stock. For the measurements I am indebted to 
Mr John Mathieson, of His Majesty's Ordnance Survey. 


Adv. Lib. MS. LII., 3a, and 29a. 

Maith an chairt ceannas na nGaoidheal, 

greim uirthe geb e 'ga mbi ; 
neairt sloigh san uair-si do> arduigh ; 

coir is uaisle a n-Albuiii i. 

Ceannas Ghaoidheal mhoighe Monuidh 

maith an chairt chuirther le ; 
cios 6 shluagh goirm-grea.nta Gaoidheal 

tuar oirbhearta d'aoinfhear e. 

Ceannas Ghaoidheal maicne Miledh 

mana ratha,, ni reim mion ; 
lucht coiiigleaca 6s each do chongbhail 

tuar oirbhearta d' fhoghbhail d' fior. 

Cuirfead ceisd ar fhear a n-eaglais 
.fa fhuil Ghaoidheal na ii-iodh n-6ir : 

cia 'ga bfuil 6 choir a gceaimas, 
na sloigh 6 thoil theannas toir ? 

Fuaisgheolad fein fath na ceasda 
chuirther orm, cruaidh .an chios: 

ceannae Ghaoidheal 'na cheim cleachtuidh 
ag aoinfhear d' fhein Breatuin bhios. 

218 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Gio'llareasbuig iarla Ghaoidheal 

glacoiis cairt oeannais an t-sluaigh ; 

do bhi rianih 6 choir 'na chartaigh 
riar an t-sloigh gan autoil uaidh. 

Do ceangladh a gcairt a shinns'ear 

sealbh na. iiGaoidheal do dhul do ; 
leis buaidh an duluinn 'siia daoine, 

urruim shluaigh : ca maoine is mo ? MS. maine. 

Ceaunas G-atoidheal oilein Albaoo. 

aige aris, bu rioghdha an chair t ; 
do dhearbh grios a ghruadh a ttachar 

cios a shluagh ar achadh Airt. 

Damhna meaiima do Mac Gailin 

codhnach Gaoidheal ris do radh ; 
annamh toir no 1 raon nach reidhigh 

an chaor shloigh nar fheimigh agh. 

Leis 6 choir, budh cheannas rioghdha, 

rogha a- seabhac sealg a sliabh ; 
rogha a ccolg is a iigreagh ngoile 

ar loTg a sean roimhe riamh. 

Rogha an luireach 'sa^ larin leabhair 
leis 'na choir, budh cheannas buan : 

oongna*mh sluaigh is each is eididh : 
buain a chreach ni fheidir liadh. 

Leisi rogha a sed 'sa ccorn ccurnhduigh, 

cios a n-inbher, iasg a loch ; 
baird a miir tar ghairbhe a nglaistren, 

daingne a> ndun 'sa gcaistel chloch. 

Se 'na airdbreithoamh 6s Albain, 

onoir oil 'ga thaobh taisi; 
a ttigh an riogh gur bean braighe : 

fear dhiobh gacha laimhe leis. MS. lamiia. 

Aireomhad fos cuid d'a cheaainas, 
cosg fedlli is snadhmadh siodh ; 
is beg do chrothuibh nach ceartuigh 
oet crochuidh fa reachtuibh riogh. 

Ciir dligheadh fa dhortadh fola, 

f uasgladh braighdeadh 6 chuing chruaidh ; 

dligheadh caingne is dion daoine 

daingne an riogh an tacibhe tuadth. 

Classic Gaelic Poetry 2'1't 

An uair ghoirthear a ghairm thinoil 

teguid uime gaeruidh ghall ; 
gairg fhir 6 chrich ghairbh na nGaoddheal, 

gan dioth airm ar aoiiifhea.r ann. 

Coir ar tus ag cur san chaithreim 

claim Domhnuill chuige 611 tir thuaith ; 

na fearchoin as dana an doghruinn, 

ealchuing agha an chomhluinn chruaidh. 

Aireomhad fein, feirde a eachtra, 

armuinn uaisle Innsi Gall, 
tig don nos sin deabhtha is doghruinn : 

cethra toisigh fhoghbhuim ann. 

Clann Ghiolla-Eoin na n-echt n-aigmheil 

iadhuidh uime crosfhal colg ; 
aiad 'na cheanii 6 mhionmhuigh Muil : 

rioghruidh teann na,. mbuille mborb. 

Sirthe sloigh fan gced ghairm chuige 

6 Chenn-tiri na bhf'edh bhf lar ; 
tig a h-Ile d' uaim ai h-eachtra 

line sluaigh rer dhea<iria diall. 

Clann Raghnuill uime ar dhoigh deabhtha, 

diorma roimhear leitmheach laoch ; 
ni reidh a n-eachtra ar uair bf eidhme : MS. bfeadhma. 

ealta sluaigh na meirgeadh math. 

Fine Leoid na m.bra,tach mbodhbha 

bid 'na ttionol, ni thriall mall ; 
raon da n-eolus soin fa anbhuain, 

Leodhasuigh caor armshluaigh ann. 

Go Mac Cailin ceann an tionoil 

tig a Barraidh 'na mbroiii bhuirb 
ealta sluaigh gan fhuireach n-uaire ; 

drong fhuileach is cruaidhe cuilg. 

Clann Fhionguine ar inneal troda 

teaguid go laoch Locha Long ; 
feirde a eachtra d' uaim, na n-oirear 

ealta sluaigh na ocloidheamh coorr. I 

ladhar uime duimhneach d' ogbhuidh 

an dail deabhtha ar diultadh siodh ; 
fal tuagh is lamha gan loige 

don t-sluagh dhana is groide gniomh. 

220 Gaelic Society of /nuerness 

Tigi le meanma go Mac Cailin 

cuirt deaghlaoch nach seachnann sioc; 

cod lie chuir a fadchluimh feile 

d' fhuil Artuir is Beine Briot. MS. Beinn. 

Teaghlach garbh fa Ghiolla-easbuig 
da fhuil fein, budh feirde a briogh ; 

a gclii ar cuimhne ni cheileabhi : 

cru Duibhxie gach deighfhear diobh. 

(A) fhpirneadh a measg a mhileadh 

do' mac Cailin is tus teinn ; 
.... a reacht 'ga miaoidheamh maraidb, MS. mairidh. 

do' neairt Ghaoidheal gabhuidh greim. 

Gabhthar leis a lar na nGaoidheal 

go grinneal ghliadh mur as dii, 
mana ratha da dbeirc dhosoiigh, 

beirt chaitha le chosain clu. 

Le sen buaidhe fan mbeirt gliaisgedh 

gabhuisi leinidh sheghuinn sihroil, 
d' uadm ghrinn budh dheacra do dhenamh, 

goi sgim eialta,n eanuigh oir. 

Triobhusi donnsroil gan chlaon ocumtha 

cruirther uime, moide a mhuirn ; 
ceann an t-sluaigh 6 Inbher Abha, 

do sduaim ingean bhrogha Buidhbh. 

Gabhuis trath fan troightheach mboinngeal 

da bhroig chumtha uachtair oir, 
nach bacami leim luith no lamhaigh : 

>a cheim ciiil ni tharuidh toir. 

Cuirther cctiin choileir ordha, 

do h-innledh do ghreis 6 'n Ghreig, 

fa leoghan lonn Locha Fine : 
sonn catha gach tire a tteid. 

Gabhuis luirigh leabhuir lonnruigh 

lochlannuigh nguirm ttaobhghil dtrein ; 

cru.aidh sgeine ni mhill a mhaille, 
rinn sleighe 116 gainne gheir. 

Gabhuisi sgaball beannchor bodhbha 
do bhi ag Eachtair nior mac Primh ; 

ai sgel 6 'n Traoi Horn a linibh, 

do bhi ag Fionn 'aiiior mhilidh min. 

Classic Gaelic Poetry 221 

Duinter uime re h-uchd catha 

crios cathbuadhach nach taobh toir, 
do dhearbh butaidh gach taobh 'na tioxnchall, 

go sgin chruaidh go n-iomchur oir. 

Cloidheamh re thao>bh, moide a meanma, 

mur mac an Luin an ghleo gill, 
no oolg cruaidh Osgair no- Fhearguis: 
, buaidh chosgair ar ghealbhois ghrimi. 

Gabhfuis go gliaidh Giollareasbuig 

a n-aioei ain chuilg sgath an sgeith ; 
budh relta sluaigh go sen bf oghla 

bixaidri a h-en d'a oo'mhdha a ccleith. 

Teagar chuige a bfreasdal feinneadh 

f edlrn. chatha go sela sroil ; 
'ga mbi cinnte an eoil san iorghuil, 

a h-eoin impe ar iomdhing oir. 

Ar ndul do 'na dheisi catha 

budh ceim curadh dul 'na dhail, 
ar mbuain tuinne a chraoisich comhluinn 

's taoisich uime ar fhoghluim aigh. 

Mar sin teid a cceann a churadh 

cuilen leoghuin Locha Long ; 
da,mhna teithidh re gleo Gaoidheal, 

beithir bheo na coaoilshleagh ccorr. 

Ar tt&aoht do 'na dheisi chatha 

iii chcugbhuidh each a ghort ghliadh ; 

ni eir 6 shin aon 'na aghaidh 

do bheir taobh re oabhair chliar. 

Ar ngabhail ceannais gach cinnidh 

ceangluidh siothchain ; na sath bhuain ; 

congbhuidh 6 shin neacht is riaghuil, 
do bhir ceart gan^ iarraidh uaidh. 

Ceangluidh se gan cheilg da cheile 

ouraidh-uaisl Innsi Gall ; 
leigther 'do thoil geill a geimhlibh : 

ni fhuil dreim ri eigHribh ann. 

Gloir na n-en fa oighre Artuir, 

an enf hoghair is oeol crot ; 
gan ghaoth re bun & fuacht earraigh 

ag cur cuart fa cheannuibh cnoc. 

221 Gaelic Society of /nuerntss 

Re linn leomhuin Locha Fine 

fiodhbhuidh liibtha 6 chnuas na ccrann : MS. lupa. 
tig do- '11 teas ar thi ai tadhaill 

nach bi eas ar abhainn ann. 

Tainig d'iomad iasg na n-inbher 

gan uidh duine ar denamh lin ; 
lor d'a mholadh, mana. reachta, 

toradh mara ag teacht a ttir. 

Ealbha fhiadh is beich dam buaidhreadh 
fo bhun gaeh beinne, is tuar tniiidh ; 

learga tuar o tharbha taguidh 
fa dhual arbha abaigh uir. 

Cloidheamh cruaidh cosnamh an lagha 

nacb kibann 1 cealgadh caich, 
d'& ngoirther iarrla 6 Earr-Ghaoidheal, 

ar cceann riaghla ar n-aoinfhoar aigh. 

Do ni iarrlai aicmi Duibhne 

diobira feille is f ogra an uilc ; 
oroidhe mear gan oungach ceille, 

fear do chumhdach cleire ar chuilt. 

Do fhoghluim tu as do thosach 

na tri treidhe is f err ag flaith : 
iomchar goimhe gu h-uair fedhm^a, 

oroidhe cruaidh is meianmnai mhaith. 


Adv. Lib. MS. LIL, 34a. 

Nior ghlac cliath colg no gunna 

sgiath re linn no lann tana 
oothrom cruais do ghleo an ghiolla, 

eo Sionna 6'n Bhuais 6'n Bhanna, 
Buaidh a biodhbhadh go^ mbeireadh MS. mbeire. 

do nos a rioghruidh roimhe ; 
uair eigni do iarr d' eire, 

eigne Seal grian goile. 

A n-uaigh le galax greisi 

do chuaidh baramhla ar mbraisi ; 
go leir ar ttoirm sar ttreisi, 

ler seisi ar muirn sar maisi. 

Classic Gaelic Poetry 223- 

Eg mic Alasdair airmigh 

do bhreg toradh 6'r ttiribh, 
's do bheir ar ccrioch fa chanuigh, 

's dioth lamhuigh mhir ar mhilidh. 

Do reic na renna a ruma 

do cheilt ceiangail ar ocora ; 
tug diiinn reabhadh an realla : 

deiredh tenaa i Chuinn chrodha. 

Cnoideord go doirbh 6'n dedhal, 

ni doibh nach garbh an galar : 
mairg ni a gcenn a cumhadh, 

ealbha. airgni is pudhar ( ?) 

Morron an fonn 'ga foisge 

morchumha go lonn loisge ; 
6 ta each gan ceill coisge, 

leim aisda trath dod toisge. 

Bualadh bos le caoi cleire 

do' clos suae taobb gach tire, 
ge dp chuir ben sa mbraighe 

raitho guil ma fhear n-Ile. MS. raidhe. 

Inbhir-nisi fa chradh cumha 

do bhaidh sdo cheisd i Cholla ; 
6 bheith fa bhr'on do 'n bhaile 

gan aire ar 61 a.g urra. 

Ni h-iongnaidh caoi do chluinsin 

6 Mhaoil He go h-Asain, 
(is mar) sin um fhonn Uisnech, 

(is) trom tuirseach soir Sagsain. do MS. 

Teasda ruir glic G-aoidheal, 

ni thig tuile gan traghadh ; 
cas truagh an seal san saoghal : 

mo' miar baoghal fhear n-Alban. 

Albain gan chaomh re cheile, 

argan ar taobh gach tire 
och, ca bed duinn is doilghe, 

tre eg oighre fuinn He. 

Do thuit go brath an balla 

do'n bhas-sa . . . chloinn Cholla. ; MS. dom basa, 
tug a chall oeim tar chumha, &c. 

nach leir urra a n-am orra. 

224 Gaelic Society oj Inuerness 

Claim Domhnuill uadh gan inbhe, 
gaii chomhla gan chruas laimhe ; 

san gniomh do chur tar chuimhne 
a mbrugh riogh duilghe a .... 

Cadhus san chill ni fhoghbhuim 
tareis riogh f reimhe' Raghiiaill ; 

do dhith morbhair Mi.c Domhnuill 
trie doghruinn 's argan anbhail. 

O Nis go criochuibh Colla 

gus> a noisi riaanh ni rabha 
gan triath an trath na tagha: 

sgiath lagha ag gach sca(radh). 

An Morbhairiii is magh Muile, 
ar morbhair-iie, a bfer fair, 

cenn an sluaigh 's a n-gniomh ii-goile : 
diol toile is buaidh gach baile. 

Triath do cuirfedh re cheile 
fir Uibhisd, lath moighe lie ; 

gos a thriall go h-uir n-uaighe, 
siiil uainne ria 1 mh re si(re). 

A n-urradh dhuinn gan doghra 

far seisi cubhuidh calma? 
a De, fa deas mur ia,rla, 

me ;a,m bliadhna ag meas a mh(arbhna), 

Fer caidreabha ag cing Serins 
111 fhuil aige mur Acnghus, 

sheasas a chul is choiigmhas, 

foghnas d'a chrun no chaomhhas. 


Adv. Lib. MS. LIL, 27a, 28b. 

Leasg linn gabhail go Geairrloch 

d ' eagla ar meas go mi-mheanmach ; 

do-bhi trath nach saoilte sin, 
gion go fath faoilte a faicsin. 

Classic Gaelic Poetry 225 

Gion go bhfuilngim a faicsin, 

an tir aluiim oirdheirc-sin : 
mo gaii chleith bhudh cinnt linn 

ar mbeith innte go h-aoibhinn. 

Beag do shaoileas san mhi Mhaidh, 

an tir-sin 'ga tta ar n-urghrain, 
gion go ndiongnuim go 1 suairc sin, 

nach tio'bhruinn cuairt san chrich-sin. 

D'a fics dc-theidhinn le toil, 

da madh i an uair-si an uraidh : 
ni sodh d' ar gcabhair far gooim 

an broil 'na aghaidh aguinn. 

Gan bheith beo 'na beathaidh, 

inghean Domhnaill doiniicleathaigh : 
ag sin ar bhfath do'n tir thall 

iiach bhiiin gach trath 'ga tadhall. 

D' eag iiigine i Cliollai 

'gar shaodl me nior n-urrama, 
tug doimheaaima giodh luath linn : 

fuath nai h-oilsamhna am inntinn. 

Do clos um Ghearrloch gair ghuil 

tar f huairn tuinne a n-am I uidh ; 

tig tre Chaitirfhiona fhinn 
nach braiter siona a soiiiinn. 

Ni theid cridbe linn tar loch 

d' fhechain fheinedh fhuinn Ghearrloch: 
bosghlaic shlim ro-m-sni a surma, 

's nach faiciiiin i eatorra. 

Bom ham 6 nach faicfinn fein 

sa.n bhanntracht a gniiis ghlainreidh : 

suil ar mhnaoi oile d' fhechain * 

caoi dom chroidhe cuimhneachadh.^ * Sic. 

Na curuidh-si chlann Choinnigh 

'siad d'a h-ea,g ni h-ionchoinnibh : 
gach dearc is a bron d'a brath, 

gaii teacht ar 61 no ar aonach. 

Tig d'a cumhaidh fan taoibh tuaith 

nach fuil eintir gan anbhuain, 
gan dath ban ar bhois bhfinnghil 

fa chlar Rois mum righinghin. 

226 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

An trath do sgaoileadh an sgeal 

dob iomdha a ndianihraibh droibheal : 

a ttus laoi fa Ghleann Garadh 
caoi go> teaiin 'ga tiomsughadh. 

Do leathnadh fa Loch Abacr 

d'a bas mur do bhiodhgadar : ' 
tuilleadh ag mnaoi ar theann guil, 

's caoi ar gach ceann do'n chonair. 

Fa bhord Sleite na sreabh seang 

? na diaidh ni sirthe soineann : 
aidhbhle i ngaeh leas ag cumadh : MS. 

maighre a h-eas ni iarramar. 

An t-ionadh ar eag sisi 

tig dobhron an bhaili-si : 
gach file ar cclodh a chnimhne, 

gan 61 tighe tabhairne. 

Is iomdha a cciiirt 6 cCblla 

ar n-eag don fhinn eatorra, 
meanma bhroin fa mhnaoi go moch 

leis nar dhoigh caoi gan chompach. 

Fa tuireadh mar do-bhi an banntracht 
d'a chaidribh 's d'a chomhalltacht, 

is snuadh dorcha. ar gach dreich ghil : 
cleith a n-orchra niorbh eidir. 

A nDun-tuilm, cuirt na ccuradh, 

fir is mna ar mearughadh ; 
a ttusi laoi nach cunnail cruth, 

's iad gan urruini d'a ccomthach. 

Teid an chumha tar sial siar 

ar fheadh Uibhisd go h-imchian ; 

ni h-iad sloigh as f hearr eagar : 
fa gheall broin do bhuaileadar. 

Gan a h-altrom aguimi fein, 

truagh nach raibhe a gmiis glilainreidh : 

is moide doimheanma ar ar ndruim, 
oigo a h-oileamhna eadruinn. 

Annamh bean d'a nos a nois ; 

mairg file fuair a h-eolus ; 
bhudh raibhthe leoin a labhra 

aithne a h-eoil no a h-ealadhna. 

Classic Gaelic Poetry 227 

Ar ghloine, ar dhrecht diamhra, 

si mar do bheith bainiarla ; 
ni fuighthe mar bheidheadh ann 

bean budh cuirthe 'na, eonchlann. 

Fios a. h-aigne misde me, 

annamh bean tra. d'ar ttuigse; 
nior chuir an saoghal laimh linn : 

ao'nar ataim ; na timchill. 

Mairg buime 'ga mbi dalta 

nach f aghann seal saoghalta ; 
mairg as oide 'na deoidh dhi : 

gr'oide 'na dheoir do dlighfidh. 

Mi thigh aire ar oighre De, 

an fear 'ga bhfuil a,r bhfine ; 
fath aoibhnis triall a thoaghe: 

grian taoibhshlis na trocaire. 

A breith uainn d' airdri nimhe, 

cred nah budh e ar n-impidhe? 
oighre De nior dhearmuid dhi, 

an te do dearrluig dhuinno. 

A measg bhanntracht fp'uirt fparrthals, 

djong gam uabhar n-iomarbhuis, 
's i roinn ag rochtain do nimh 

i n-a h-6igh d' fhochladh aingil. 

A beith a ndunadh De athar, 

Mac De dhi do dheonachadh ; 
gach laoi ag ar gcur chuige : 

sgur d'ar gcaoi is cornicle. 

Fath oile do chosg cumhadh 

cubhuidh dhuinn a chuimhniughadh, 

tre luadh ar cheinnbhile 6g Chuinn, 
sduagh do deirbhfine Domhnaill. 

Damhna d' ar gcosg d'ar gcumhaidh, 

fath meanman do mheadughadh, 
bheith d'a iomradh 6s cionn ccaigh : 

Horn niorbh iomnair an onair. 

Ordog a n-aghaidh glaioe 

mur ta is tuar tiodhlaice, 
go faobhar ngliadh mar do ghabh 

'n a aonar tre fhiadh n-Alban. 

228 Gaelic Society of Inve.t.ess 

Is fath dar ccur 6 chumhaidh 

breith a bhuaidhe 6s bhiodhbliadiimbh ; 
tug sinn d'a chaol abhra cion : 

aon damhna gill na nGaoidhiol. 

Domhnall Gorm na gcleae ccuradh 
's e do' n righ a.g riarughadh ; 

61 a shlainte dhuinn dleaghair : 
diiil ,re & bhfailte ag fileadhuibh. 

Treig orclira., a inghean Choinnigh ; 

bi go h-aoibhinn ionchoinnimh ; 
sgair do chumhaidh red chuimhne : 

gabh go cubhuidh comhairle. 

An fhuil do dhoirt Criost san gcranii 
dom dhion a,r uamhaii if reann : 

'n a eideadh linn ar ar leas : 
iia leigeadh inn ar aimhleas. 



The references are to< the pages of the MS., to Reliquiae 
Celtics, I. (C) ; and to Dr Thomas MacLauchlaii's edition of 
part of the Dean's Book (M). 

A chinii Diarmaid Ui Chairbre, MS. 55 ; M. 72 ; by the Dean 
of Knoydart, on Diarmaid Ua Chairbre, who murdered 
Angus, son of John, Lord of the Isles, in or about 1490, 
and was executed therefor ; 7 quatrains (Deo Greine, 
May, 1922). 

A Mhic Dhubhghaill, tua,r acain, MS. 129; C. 98; M. 90; 
by Donnchadh mac C'aibe, to Donnchadh mac Ailin, 
MacDo'Ugall of Dunollie. 

A phaidrin do dhuisg mo dhear, MS. 148; C. 99 (part); M. 
96; by Aithbhreac inghean Corcodail, on the death of 
MacNeill of Gigha and Castle Sween (her husband ?) ; 
about 1470; 16 quatrains (Deo Greine, Jan., 1922). 

Classic Gaelic Poetry 229 

Aithris fhreimhe ruanaidh Eoin, MS. 208; M. 104; by 
Donuchadh mac Dhubhghaill Mhaoil, in praise of Eoin 
mac Phadruig, chief of Clan Gregor, who died in 1519; 
17 quatrainsu 

Ar sliocht Gaoidheal 6 ghort Ghreag, MS. 204; M. 102; 
incomplete at the beginning, and anonymous; a 
!< brosnachadh catha " to MacCailin Giolla-easbuig, 
son of Cailin, who fell at Flodden in 1513 ; 20 quatrains . 

Buaidh thighearnai ar thoiseachaibh, MS. 209; M. 108; by 
Mac Ghiolla-Fhionntaig, to Maol-Coluim, son of Eoin 
Dubh, chief of Clan Gregor, who died in 1440; 22 

Coir feitheamh ar uaislibh Alban, MS. 6; anonymous, to 
" Eoin Stiubhart a crich Raineach," son of Sir Robert 
Stewart; 19 quatrains. 

Da urra i n-iath Eireann, MS. 244; by Giolla Criosd 
Bruilingeach (a Scottish barTi) in praise of Tomaltach 
mac Diarmada, so>n of Conchobhar (Tomaltach ,an Einigh, 
" rogha Gaoidheal Erenn "), who died in 1458, and in 
dispraise' of an Ulster chief, whose name is Thomas, and 
whose style is spelled " maa. gwil, ma. gwil, ma, guile, 
mak gwil " ; 24 quatrains. 

Dal chabhlaigh ar chaisteal Suibhne, MS. 263 ; C. 102 (part) ; 
M. 116; by Artur Dall mac Gurcaigh, to Eoin mac 
Suibhne on his setting out from Ireland to recover his 
ancestral lands in Knapdale, about 1310; see Orig. 
Paroch. II., pairt I., p. 40; 28 quatrains. 

D ; atharraigh sean ar siol Chuinn, MS. 130; M. 92 ; by Eoin 
miac Eoghain mhic Eachthighearna, elegy on Eoin mac 
Eoin, styled " Ua Gofraigh," i.e., MacDougall of 
Dunollie ; 33 quatrains. 

Dicmbach me d 'n ghaioith a deas, MS. 39 ; M. 106 ; author's 
name uncertain ; to Eoin, som of William MacLeod of 
Dunvegan, chief of the MacLeods of Harris and Skye ; 
7 quatrains (Deo Greine, August, 1921). 

Fad a ataim gan bhogha, MS. 104; M. 86; by Fionnlagh 
Ruadh an Bard, in praise of MacGregor ; 13 quatrains. 

230 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Fhuaras mac mar an t-atbair, MS. 217; C. 100; M. 112; 
anonymous, to Torcul mac Ruairidh, chief of the Mac- 
Leods of Lewis; about 1500; 17 quatrains (Deo Greine, 
July, 1921). 

Fhuaras mo' rogha theach mhor, MS. 304 ; by Fionnlagh an 
Bard Ruadh, in compliment of MacGregor; 19 quatrains. 

Fhuaras rogha na n-6g mbrioghmhor, MS. 158; by Giolla 
Padruig mac Lachlainn, a high-flown panegyric on 
Seumas mac Eoin, James Campbell, son of John Camp- 
bell of Lawers, whose wife Margaret, grand-daughter of 
Sir Duncan Forester (geal ua glan Sir Donnchaidh 
Forsair), died at For dew in Strath earn, and was buried 
in the parish church of Stirling in the aisle of St Andrew, 
on the last day of October, 1527 ; 34 quatrain ; difficult. 

Gabh rem chomraigh, a Mhic Ghriogoir, MS. 281 ; by Fionn- 
lagh Ruadh an Bard maith, who has been absent from 
MacGregor's court owing to some difference between 
himself and his patron ; 13 quatrains. 

Gealladh gach saoi do'n each odhar, MS. 103; M. 84; by 
Fionnlagh an Bard Ruadh, in praise of MacGregor's 
steed; 13 quatrains. 

Lamh an fhir fhoirfeas i n-Eirinn, MS. 153 ; by 
Giolla Criost Bruilingeach (a Scottish bard), in lauda- 
tion of Tomaltach Mac Diarmada, son of Cbnchobhar, 
Lord of Moylurg in Connacht, who died in 1458. A 
version is preserved in the Turner MSS. ; see Rel. Celt., 
II., 326; 26 quatrains. 

Mor an feidhm freagairt na bfaighdheadh/thig fa seach, 
MS. 177; by G(iolla) Co(luim), probably Giolla Coluim 
mac an Ollaimh, 011 the impudence and exactions of 
" fir na faighdhe," or " thiggers," ending with a 
" ruaig molta" to Eoin MacDomhnaill, the last Lord 
of the Isles; a humorous and very interesting poem, 
somewhat in the style of a " crosanacht" ; imperfect 
transcription in the MacDonald Collection, p. 385 ; 36 
stanzas (several of six lines) of Setrad ilGairit. 

Ni h-eibhneas gan Chlainn Domhnaill, MS. 28; C. 91; M. 
70 ; by Giolla C'aluim mac an Ollaimh, on the downfall 
of the MacDonald power about 1490 ; 17 quatrains (Deo 
Grtine, March, 1922). 

Classic Gaelic Poetry 231 

Parrthas torraimh an Diseart, MS. 278 ; C. 107 ; by an Giolla 
Glas mac an Tailleoir; an elegy on Donnchadh mac 
Griogoir, probably hei whose death is recorded in 1518; 
24 quatrains. 

Rioghacht ghaisgeadh oighreacht Eoin, MS. 155; M. 98; by 
Dubhghall mac an Ghiolla Ghlais, in praise of Eoin mac 
Phadruig; 23 quatrains (Deo Greine, June, 1922). 

Thainig adhbhar mo< thuirse, MS. 240; C. 101; M.I 12; by 
Giolla Caluim mac an Ollaimh, o>n the murdeir of Angus, 
son of John. The " uirsgeal " on p. 58 of C. and p. 34 
of M. is really part of this poem ; 23 quatrains, exclusive 
of the "uirsgeal " (Deo Greine, April, 1922). 

Theasta aon diabhall na nGaoidheal, MS. 216 ; C. 99 ; M. 
110; by Fionnlagh an Bard Ruadh : a bitter satire on 
Ailin mac Ruairidh, chief of Clan Ranald, who died in 
1505; 17 quatrains. 


Mostly from the " Black Book " and the so-called " Red 
Book " of Clan Ranald. The references a,re to the pages of 
Vol. XL, except where otherwise stated. 

Alba gan dion a ndiaidh Ailin, 216; Mac Mhuirich, on Ailin 
(ob. 1505) and Raghnall his son (ob. 1509), chiefs of 
Clan Ranald. 

Cennus Gaoidheal do chlainn Cholla, 208 ; to Eoin a h-Ile 
(ob. 1386), by O Henna. 

Cioniias mhaireas me am aonar, Adv. Lib. MS. xlvii. ; Rel. 
Celt., I., 129; by Cathal Mac Mhuirich on the death of 
his friend, Eoin mac Briaiii. 

Clanii Raghnaill fa Eoin, 127 ; by Cathal Mac Mhuirich, 

Coir failte re fear do sgeil, 240 ; Cathal Mac Mhuirich to 
Domhnall mac Eoin Mhuideortaigh ; about 1650. 

Cum ha oeathrair do mheasg me, 232 ; Cathal Mac Mhuirich, 
on Raghnall mac Ailin, Raghnall mac Dhomhnaill, 
Domhnall Gorm mac Aonghuis, and Eoin mac Ailin, all 
ob. 1636. 

Cumha Sheimis ag lot laoch, 274 ; anonymous, on Seimeas 
Domhnaill, ob. 1738. 

232 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Da chiiis ag milleadh ar meanma, 280 ; anonymous, on the 
exile of Raghnall, chief of Clan Ranald, 1715-1725; 
incomplete copy in MS. Hi., 32, begins at rann 3 and 
lacks the three final quatrains. 

Deireadh d'aoibhnes Innsi Grail, 244; by Niall Mac Mhuirich, 
on the death of Domhnall mac Eoin Mhuideortaigh, 
chief of Clan Ranald, in 1686. 

Do thuirlinii seasuimh sioll Cuinii, 248; by Niall Mac 
Mhuirich, on Ailin of Clan Ranald, who fell at Sheriff- 
muir in 1715. 

Do thuirn aoibhneas Innsi Gall, 264 ; Niall Mac Mhuirich, 
on the death of Sir Norman MacLeod of Bernera in 
1705. Another (and better) copy ascribes it to 
Donnchadh O Muirgheasan (Mackinnon's Catalogue, 
p. 280). 

Failte d'ar n-Ailin righ nan Raghiiallach, 286 ; Niall mac 
Mhuirich, to Ailin, chief of Clan Ranald, 1686-1715. 

Fior mo mholadh ar Mhac Domhnaill, 264 ; anonymous, to 
Eoin a h-Ile (ob. 1386). 

Foraois eigeas Innsi Gail, 224 ; by Cathal Mac Mhuirich, to 
Domhnall mac Ailin, who married Mary, daughter of 
Angus of Dun Naomhaig, and died in 1617. (It is a 

eulogy, not an elegy ;asi stated on p. 172). 

Fuaras ca.ra ar sgath na sgoile, II., 132; by Niall Mac 
Mhuirich, to Sir Seamus MacDomhnaill of Sleat, some- 
time after his marriage to the daughter of MacLeoid of 
DnnvegaJi in 1661. 

Is truagh m' imtheachd 6 chuirt Mhic Cailin, Turner MS. ; 
Rel. Celt., II., 321; anonymous eulogy of the Earl of 
Argyll not " marbhrainn " (elegy), as the title has it. 

O 's uaigiieach a nochd Clar Ghiorra, Tuirner MS. ; Rel. Celt., 
II., 322; anonymous elegy on Dubhghall 6g, Tighearna 
Achaidh na mBreac. 

Tuirseach an diugh criocha Gaoidhiol, Turner M.S. ; Rel. 
Celt., II., 311; anonymous elegy on John, Duke of 
Argyll, who died in 1743. The poet records his famous 
. answer to George II. : 

Classic Gaelic Poetry 23$ 

'S dh'innis do'ii righ le colg, 

'n trath bhagair 'iia fheirg a sgrios, 

iiach suidheadh a chlann gu callda 
ri faicainn a. tair leis. 

'N trath mhaoidh e Alba a phairceadh, 

'9 ai lionadh Ian fhiadh is arb, 
thigeadh mo righ ghleusadh choii 

chum bhith reidh air son an sealg. 

The poem is defective metrically. 

Se h-oidhche dhamhsa san Diiii, I., 121; II., 284; by Niall 
mor Mac Mhuirich, to Sir Ruairidh Mac Leoid of Dim- 
vegan (Ruairidh Mor). 

To> the above may be added : 

A Mhic Pharlaiu an Arthair, printed in Leabhar na Feinne, 
p. xvii., and ascribed to " Bard Loimonach," i.e., a 
Loch Lomond-aide bard. It is addressed to MacFarlane 
of Arrcchar, chief of Clann Pharlain, the name of whose 
heir wasi Donnchadh, and it seems to belong to the 16th 

Mor an broinsgel bas i Dhuibhne ; elegy on Sir Duncan 
Campbell of Glen Orchy, who died in 1631 ; anonymous, 
on a sheet of parchment in the Register House, Edin- 
burgh ; fac-simile in National MSS. of Scotland, III., 
96; 23 quatrains (Deo Greine, 1917). 


The references are to manuscripts in the Advocates;' 
Library, Edinburgh. (For unpublished poems of this type 
in the Dean's Book, see (A) above). 

Adhbhuar tuirsi ag fuil Fhionghuiii, LII., 33, a; ^anonymous ; 
c^n the death of Eoin, son of Lachlann Mac Fhioiighuin 
of Strath-suardail in Skye ; 31 quatrains, incomplete at 
end, and partly illegible about the middle. 

An sith do rcga, a rig Fioiinghall ? XLII., 23, ai ; anonymous; 
to Angus of Duii-Naoaiihaig ; probably about 1590 : 24 

Ar ttriall bhus esguigh go Uilleam ; anonymous ; to William 
MacLeod, son of Sir Norman MacLeod of Bernera ; in or 
soon after 1705 ; 26 quatrains. 

234 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Dia bheatha ar ar los, a leinbh, XL VIII., 9, b; by Niall 
MacMhuirich, on the birth of Allan of Clan Ranald in 
1673; 11 quatrains. 

Dual freasdal ar feirg flatha, XXXIX., 31, a; anonymous; 
a remonstrance and threat to Eoin, styled " Ua Olbhuir/' 
chief of the MacLeods of Harris and Skye ; 22 quatrains. 

Is maith mo leaba, is olc mo shuaiii, XXXVI., 114, a; 
on the imprisonment of the Marquis of Argyll in 1661 ? ; 
14 quatrains. 

Leasg linn gabhail go Gearrloch, LII., 27, a; by Cathal 
MacMhuirich, on the death of Caitirfhiona, daughter of 
Dcmhnall Gorm of Sleat and wife of MacKeiizie of Gair- 
loch, who died between 1635 and 1640 ; printed above. 

Maith an chairt ceannas iia nGaoidheal, LII., 3, a; 
quatrains 11-22 inclusive: occur also in LII., 29, in 
beautiful writing; anonymous; to MacCailin; printed 

Maith an sgeal do sgaoil 'nar measg, LII., 12, a; " A n-ainm 
an Atha.r agas an Mhic agasi an Sbiorad Naomh. Amen. 
Niall MacMhuiradhuigh cc7 ' ' ; on the home-coming of 
the chief of Clan Ranald; 14 quatrains. 

Mor an aiiiimh a, n-iath Eilge, Adv. Lib. MS. LII., 43, b; 
elegy on " ua agus iarbhua Ruaidhri," the grandson 
and great-grandson of Sir Roderick MacLeod of Dun- 
vegan i.e., Eoin Breac and his son Ruairidh, who died 
in 1693 and 1699 respectively; both are named ;< frag- 
ments 9 quatrains. 

Nior ghlac cliath colg no gunna, LII., 34, a ; anonymous, and 
incomplete at the beginning and end : on Angus of Glen- 
garry (Lord MacDonnell and Arcs), who died about 
1680 : printed above. 

Rug an fiieibe a terme a steach, Adv. Lib., Box 3 ; anonymous 
elegy on Sir Norman MacLeod of Bernera, who died in 
1705 ; 19 quatrains, with additional addressed to Sir 
Norman's widow. (Maokinnon's Catalogue, p. 280). 

Rug eadrain ar iath n-Alban, XXXVI., 81, a; anonymous; 
the prayer of a bard to MacCailin for restoration to the 
position of his fathers ; 26 quatrains. 

Triath na n-Gaoidheal Giolla-easbuig, XXXVI., 79, b; 
anonymous panegyric on MacCailin ; 37 quatrains. 

Mythological Beings in Gaelic Folklore 235 

Tugadh oirne easbadh mor, LIL, 47, a; -a fragment contain- 
ing 6 quatrains of the beginning of Maol-Chiarain's 
lament for his son ; compare the corrupt fragment in 
Eel. Celt., II., 332. 

Tuar doimheanma dul Eaghnaill, LII., 14, a; anonymous 
elegy on Eaghnall of Glengarry, who died in 1705 ; 
incomplete at the end ; 21 quatrains. 

To these may be added : 

Dual ollamh do triall le toisg, LII., 8, b, and LII., 10, a; 
by an Irish bard to MacCailin, to> whose court he has 
come on an embassy; about 1560; 45 quatrains in 
plaices illegible. 

13th MARCH, 1918. 

Mr William Mackay, LL.D., presided over this evening's 
meeting, when the Rev. Cyril H. Dieckhoff, O.S.B., Fort- 
Augustus, read the undemoted paper : 


Owing to the .advance of ethnology and similar sciences 
in recent years, we know that only very few of the fabulous 
creatures of folklore all over the world are merely the outcome 
of direct invention through the exercise of poetical imagina- 
tion. In most cases several causes have been at work in 
slowly creating them, e.g., exaggerated traditions concerning 
the existence in remote ages, of animals now extinct of races 
differing much in appearance and customs from later 1 genera- 
tions of survivals of ancient pagan beliefs in gods and god- 
desses of symbolical personifications of the great forces of 
nature of crude speculations by the mind of primitive man 
about certain elementary psychological and religious facts, &c. 

Guided by this consideration, I propose to go through the 
list of the more prominent fabulous beings in Gaelic folklore, 
and to point out some of the chief influences that seem to have 
been at work in creating traditions concerning them. 

It will be useful in this connection to compare the beliefs 
of the Gaidhealtachd with certain aspects of Russian folklore, 
much of which is of very remote origin, and has been carefully 

236 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

collected by the various learned members of, e.g., the ethno- 
logical section of the* Society of Naturalists at the University 
of Moscow. 

It will be convenient to divide my subject-matter as 
follows : In the first place I would like to deal with a group 
of beings of a generally benevolent character; secondly, with 
those of a generally malevolent or mischievous character ; and 
thirdly, with certain aspects of the Fairy problem, which 
occupies an important place by itself in Gaelic folklore. 


These are: The Caoineag, the Nigheag, the Gruagach and 
Brand. Of these the first two* seem to represent the type of 
ancient Celtic goddesses, who> used toi preside over certain 
localities, and who* were in many ways similar 1 to the nymphs 
and naiads of the ancient Greeks and Romans. It seems the 
Caoineag and Nigheag are fading :aiway from the Gaelic 
mind. I have never been able to hear a description of them, 
and have to borrow my remarks! concerning them from Dr 
.CarmichaeFs valuable notes to the Carmina Gadelica,. 

(1) The Nigheag or Bean-nighe (i.e., the little washer- 
woman) " isi the naiad or water-nymph who presides over 
those about to die, and washes their shroud on the edge of a 
lake, the bank of a stream, or the stepping-stones of a* ford. 
While washing the shrouds the water-nymph sings the dirge 
and bewails the fate of the doomed. The nigheag is so 
absorbed in her washing and singing, like the blackcock in 
his gyrations and serenading, that she is sometimes captured. 
When this occurs she will grant the captor three requests." 

(2) The Caoineag (i.e., the lamenting nymph). " This is 
a naiad who foretells the death of and weeps for those slain 
in combat. Unlike the Nigheag, the Caoineag cannot be 
(approached nor questioned. She is seldom seen, but often 
heard on the hills, in the glen, and in the oorrie, by the lake, 
by the stream, and by the waterfall. ... It is said that she 
wae heard several successive nights before the massacre of 

(3) The Gruagach (i.e., the one with abundant hair) is a 
kindly spirit who lives about human dwellings. It used to 
be well known everywhere in the Highlands, although in 
many cases a name borrowed from a Lowland cousin, viz., 
the Brownie, Gaelicised Bruni, is applied to it. Thesie two 
have much in common with the domestic tutelar spirits of 

Mythological Beings in Gaelic Folklore 237 

the old Romans, called Lares, and also with the corresponding 
Russian domestic spirit, the Domovoi. 

It is a strange coincidence that both the Gruagach, alias 
Bruni, and the Doimovoi are associated on the one hand with 
abundance of hair, and on the other with fondness of work 
among the cattle. From certain particulars in Russian 
beliefs it is clear that some symbolical meaning is attached to 
this hairiness or shagginess, to which I shall refer presently. 
In the case of the Gruagach, who is represented as a 
female helping people to milk the cows and to mind the 
cattle, especially at the time of their stay in the summer 
eheilings, abundance of hair may indicate merely the idea of 
the handsome appearance of that lady. This seems to> be 
clear from the following remarks of Dr Carmichael : ' ' There 
is probably no district in the Highlands where the Gruagach 
could not be fully described. A woman living in the remote 
island of Heisgeir described her so graphically and pictur- 
esquely that her interested listeners could almost see moving 
about in the silvery light of the kindly moon the Gruagach 
with her tall conical hat, her rich golden hair falling about 
her like a mantle of shimmering gold, while with a slight 
swish of her wand she gracefully turned on her heel to 
admonish an unseen cow." 

There are, however, also male Gruagachs mentioned in 
old Highland tales, e.g., in Mir Campbell of Islay's collection. 

In trying to explain the meaning of the shaggy appearance 
o? these beings, I find that certain beliefs prevalent among 
Russian peasants about the Domovoi throw some light on 
this question. I have gleaned these and other beliefs which 
I am going to mention from the valuable! material contained 
in the Transactions of the Ethnological Section of the Society 
of Naturalists at the University of Moscow. 

In some districts the Domovoi is believed to look after 
tlie farm-yard as well as after the house, while in others his 
son is entrusted with the care of thisi department and Mrs 
Domovoi looks after the bathroom, unless that important 
part of the peasants' home is under the care of a special 
spirit, the Bainushko. 

The Domovoi is described as hairy. When he is specially 
fond of an animal or ai human being he will get hold of its 
mane or the hair during the night, the result of it being that 
in the mooiing the hair is so much twisted together in tufts 
or knots that it is scarcely possible to disentangle it. When 

238 Gaelic Society of Inverntss 

the peasant has bought a cow or horse, and is taking it to the 
farm-yard, he recite the following words: " A shaggy beast 
for a rich farm-yard ; give it drink, give it food, dear little 
. master of the house (khozyainushko) , and make it smooth 
with your little mitten." If the animal does not look smooth 
by that time it is a sign that the khozyainushko will not be 
pleased with it, and the owner will try to sell the beast again 
even at a loss. All this seems to show that the idea of the 
ahagginess of domestic tutelar spirits has something to do 
with the car of cattle and other domestic animals. 

I have an idea that possibly at a very early stage of 
primitive man's history, when human souls were believed to 
be able to enter into animal bodies for a while, this may have 
been believed about ancestral spirits as well ; hence these 
would be thought of as living, e.g., in the shaggy, wolf -like 
dogs of the hunters' and shepherds' home:, or in the cattle. 

Or the association of shagginess may have been brought 
about by the fact that in northern climates shaggy hair is a 
valuable protection against the inclemency of the weather; 
hence it was 1 natural to endow the tutelar domestic spirit with 
this particular attribute. 

The long hair mentioned in the case of certain deities 
presiding over rivers and lakes requires a different explana- 
tion, which I shall mention later on. 

To return to> the Gruagach. This spirit possesses another 
feature in common with the other representatives of the same 
group, viz., it is apt easily to get offended at people's negli- 
gence or want of respect, and in that case will revenge itself 
by causing material damage to the guilty parties. A libation 
of milk used to be made to the Gruagach in a hollow on the 
surface of a boulder when the women were milking the cows 
in the evening. In case of neglect of this act of gratitude, 
the cows, notwithstanding all precautions, were found broken 
loose in the morning and enjoying a good feed in the corn ; 
and if the libation was still omitted, the best cow was found 
dead in the field. 

(4) The Bruni exhibits practically the same character as 
the Gruagach, as can be seen, e.g., from the description 
given me by one of the old people at Invergarry of how the 
Bruni looks after the comfort of those under his care. 

Bha 'm Bruni aims a Chaisteal dubh ann lonbhargaradh. 
Ach se rud cairdeil a bhiodh e dianamh. Bachadh e a stigh 

Mythological Beings in Gaelic Folklore 239 

a dli' oidhche agusi chuireadh e 'n t-aodach orrasan air nach 
robh e." 

Concerning the Glenmoriston sept of the Bruni class, MX 
Alexander Macdonald remarks in his interesting book, 
" Story and Song from Lochness-side" : "Of all these (viz., 
various uncanny beings) the Brownie was the best known. 
Their peculiar trait was an extraordinary capacity for work, 
a circumstance of which farmers were always willing to take 
advantage. Any quantity of corn put out for them at night 
was thrashed by morning. It seems sometimes they expected 
remuneration for their services. It is said of one of them 
that, after having long served a certain farmer, he left 
because no kind of reward had been offered him. He, how- 
ever, occasionally returned at night and disturbed the far- 
mer's rest by exclaiming at his window : 

' ' Mur f haigh Bruni ' ' If Brownie won't get 
Mir 'us currachd, bread and a hood, 

Cha dean Bruni Brownie will do no 

Obair tuillidh. more work." 

The impression one gets from the various stories, vis;., 
that the Bruni is a domestic tutelar spirit whose cult may 
have survived from the days of ancestral worship, seems to 
be confirmed by the fact that he is practically always asso- 
ciated with some ancient taigh mor or castle. 

Besides the Bruni inhabiting the old castle of Invergarry, 
I might mention that of Inchnacardoch House, near Fort- 
Augustus, and old Culachy House, the residence of the 
Fraeers of Abertarff, which has disappeared, together with 
its Brownie, to> give place to the present building. The 
Brownie there manifested his displeasure at one time by 
noisily moving furniture about during the night, everything, 
however, being in its usual place each time the inhabitants 
made an inspection, as I was told a. few days ago by an old 
native of Fort- Augustus who, with her father, was present 
i*t the time, and who believes that the Brownie objected to 
their coming' to the house. I understand there lived a 
Brownie at Taigh-an-aigh, near Moniack Castle, the ruins 
of which are still visible. 

It is strange how closely the Russian Domovoi resembles 
the Brownie in every way, not only on account of the noise 
he makes in certain circumstances, but also with regard to 
the willingness to help in domestic work, and also by being 

240 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

most particular as to respectful treatment. When a peasant 
is going to' live in a new house, he has to go through a 
formal ceremony. Food is placed on the table, and the new- 
comer bows towards each corner of the* room, saying at the 
same time : ' ' Dear little lord and master of the house 
(khozyainushko gospodin) receive us and let us have a rich 
farm-yard, substance, livelihood, and wealth." 

When the peasant takes a bath he carefully avoids loud 
noise and talking in order not to irritate the Bainushko. 
Having finished, he leaves hot water and other necessaries 
for that worthy, and going out of the room expresses his 
thanks for the pleasant bath he was allowed to enjoy. 

When the Domovoi for one reason or another takes a 
dislike to people, he begins to bang and knook about in every 
part of the house' to> such an extent that the unfortunate 
family at last can stand it no> longer and has to leave. But 
as a rule he makes' himself useful, e.g., by prophesying future 
events and by giving a hand in the farm-yard. All the 
animals of which he is fond are healthy, smooth, and clean. 
When he takes a dislike to a. cow or horse, he will take away 
its fodder and give it to a favourite animal, and v/ill chase 
the other poor beast about all night. When the peasant 
notices in the morning that an animal looks thin and worn, 
he at once suspects the cause, and sets to> work to set matters 
right. He makes ;a bunch of a plant called the "devil- 
chaser " (tshertogon), and runs * about the farm-yard dealing 
vigorous blows with it in all directions, and calling on the 
mischievous sprite to behave himself and keep the law of 
God. In the case of special obstinacy a more powerful means 
of punishment is used, viz., incantation. 

People tell you of little incidents like the following : 
" At such and such a farm there used to 1 be a khozyainushko 
who was wont to look after the cattle at night, giving them 
water and carrying it himself to> the animals ; but on one occa- 
sion he got angry with the farmer and strangled them all." 
These fits of temper on the part of the Domovoi are, how- 
ever, not always due to mere irritability, but, to his honour 
let it be said, they occasionally proceed from a profound 
sense of retributive justice, as in the following incident: 

" There lived in a certain house a spiteful old hag who 
did nothing but scold the children and tell them to go to the 
devil. What happened ? One day when she went to have 
a bath the Bainushko tore off her skin from head to foot." 

Mythological Beings in Gaelic Folklore 241 


While the group of creatures we have been considering 
so far may be said to have as its common characteristics a 
close and sympathetic association with the affair's of human 
life, interrupted only now and then by a pardonable irrita- 
bility of temper, the group I am going to describe now 
belongs to an entirely different type. Its characteristic 
feature is hostility to man, visible in a greater cr lesser 
degree in the various representatives of that group. I think 
it will become clear from the sketch I am going to draw of 
them that their hostility is founded on the fact that 
they represent certain forces of nature which at times 
come into conflict with the human race, e.g., storm, light- 
ning, frost, &c. 


A large section of this group is represented by creatures 
which haunt the water and places near the water. The fact 
that the ancient Celts had a remarkably large number of 
tutelar deities connected with water may account for the 
more recent belief concerning spirits presiding over that 
element, while the large number of those deities may be due 
to the fact that Celts, in any case in Britain, attached great 
importance to water as a natural defence of their settlements. 

(1) The Glaistifi. 

This creature was once a familiar figure in Gaelic beliefs, 
as can be seen from the fact that its name occurs in a number 
of variations, e.g., as glaisnig and glaisrig. Dr Carmichael 
derives the word from glae, an ancient Gaelic word for water, 
and stic, an imp. 

The appearance of the Glaistig 1 was partly that of a woman 
and partly that of a: goat. She lived near lonely lakes and 
rivers, and was much feared. This description calls to one's 
mind certain deities with which the imagination of the ancient 
Greeks and Romans peopled their woods and valleys, viz., the 
Satyrs., Pansi, and Fauni, who were represented with the feet 
of goats and with horns on their heads, these evidently being 
the emblems of their office of owners and protectors of the 
flocks or wild goat and other animals of the forest. 


242 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Many .stories used to be told of the Glaistig. The best 
known is perhaps that of the Glaistig of Lianachan in Loch- 
aber, who was caught by big Eoghaii Kennedy of the Mac 
Uaraig branch of that clan. He made her swear on the colter 
of his plough, which he had heated for the purpose, not to 
harm either man or beast in the future, whereupon she in her 
fury uttered the famous curse over the Kennedys : 

Fas mar an luachair daibh, 

Orion mar an raineach daibh, 

'S diombuan mar cheo nam beann. 

Growing like the rushes to them, 
Withering like the fern to them, 
And passing like the mist of the hills. 

It is interesting to note that iron seems always to play a 
part when it is a matter of man asserting his power over hostile 
spiritual influences 1 , the best known instance being the case of 
a mortal entering a fairy knoll. If he sticks a dagger or other 
bit of iron into the ground at the entrance, the fairies have no 
power to keep him, apparently a. vague reminiscence of the 
superiority given to the Celt over the aborigines of the stone 
age in consequence of the use of iron weapons, or else, as I 
believe is the case concerning certain points of Russian folk- 
lore, iron may here be one of the emblems of the benevolent 
deities of warmth, day and summer. 

A dagger plays a part in a curious little story about a 
Glaistig which I got some years ago from a very interesting 
old man in, Moidart, Mr Iain MacGregor, at the Mointeach, 
who died since at a great age. 

'' Bha Mac an Diar (he was a famo<us robber' in those parts) 
agus Raoll a bhrathair aims a Ghortan ann Aird-na-Murchan. 
Thainig glaistig a stigh is lliuirt i: ' nach b' airidh air bior 
mi de 'n ffoeoil ; bha mi anns a Chuilfhionn Sgitheanach nuair 
a leum sradag as a-' chlcich.' ' Gheobh thu sin/ thuirt e, 
agus thug dhi bior de 'n fheoil a bha bruich. Bha Raoll 
gabhail snaoisein. Dh' iarr a ghlaistig air snaoisean a chur 
air barr na h-uilne ;aig le barr na bioda-i^e gus a chur air an 
uilinn aice. Thug ise ionnsaigh air cois na biodaige agus 
bhuail esan ise leis a bhiodaig agus thuirt ise: ' '8 faisge dorn 
na, uileann, " dar nach d' fhuair i greim air cas na biodaige 
sin . ' ' 

While the Glaistig has a prominently human appearance, 
the other two unearthly guardians of rivers and lakes are 

Mythological Beings in Gaelic Folklore 243 

described as having altogether the appearance of animals, 
although they are credited with jjaving the power of assuming 
the shape of a human being as well as that of various animaLi. 

These two creatures are the' Each-uisge, or Water-kelpie, 
and the Tarbh-uisge or Water-bull. 

(2) The Each-uisge or Water-kelpie. 

The belief that the Each-uisge really exists, or existed, is 
expressed with so much unshakable conviction (just like the 
belief in Fairies) that I feel inclined to regard this conviction 
as a faint inherited consciousness that certain very large or 
very fierce animals were' contemporary with the ancestors of 
the Celtic race in very remote ages, though not necessarily 
after the immigration of that raco into Britain, a view which, 
as far as I can see, would be quits in harmony with geological 
science. Stories a to how on 3 of thesei prehistoric monsters 
was successfully hunted in some district must have made a 
profound impression on succeeding generations, and must have 
had a good chance of preservation, at least aa the nucleus of a 
highly embellished and greatly amplified tradition. 

The Each-uisge is described as having the appearance 1 of an 
ordinary horse, but possessing a particularly fine shape and 
bearing. Its uncanny character, however, betrays itself occas- 
ionally by the sparks which are' seen coming out of its nostrils. 

Mr Campbell of May (" Tales of the Western Highlands") 
obtained a description of its appearance when it paid a noc- 
turnal visit to some lonely house on that island as an 
" unearthly creature, very tall and large, rough and hairy, 
with no skin upon his face, but a dark livid covering." 
Accounts of the snorting of the water-horse may be simply 
explained by the similar noise otters make. Very common is 
the idea that when once on the back of the water-horsa you 
cannot get off any more, and will infallibly be drowned when 
it gallops off into the lake where it lives. However, as there 
are exceptions to every rule, it is not wonderful that a plucky 
Glengarry boy managed to save his brother's life in the follow- 
ing way, according to an Invergarry tradition : 

'' Bha> each-uisge an Eilean-na-cloinne (in the river Garry 
between Torr-na-carraidh and Innis-an-lagain near Tomdonn). 
Bha e fo riochd eich. Nan cuireadh duine lamh air, leanadh 
i ris an each . Bha brogach ann agus a. bhrathair air muin an 
eich, agus ghearr e chorrag dheth, agus chaidh am fear sin a 

244 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

(3) The Ttwbh-uisge or Water-bull. 

Mr Campbell of lalay ("Tales of the Western Highlands") 
makes the following remarks about this specie : " The water - 
bull is like a common bull, though he is amphibious and super- 
natural, and has the power of assuming other shapes. He may 
have- been a buffalo or bison or bos-primogenius long ago or^ 
even a, walrus, though mythology may have furnished his attri- 
butes. There were human-headed bulls at Nineveh, and sacred 
bull's in Egypt which had to do with inundations. Bulls are 
sculptured on ancient Scottish stones, and there is a waiter- 
bull in nearly every .Scottish loch of any note. Loch Ness is 
full of them, but they never go up to the Fall of Foyers." 

There can be no doubt that bulls occupied a prominent 
place in the ritual observances of the ancient Celts. Prof. 
Henderson quotes a passage from the old Irish tale, " The Sick- 
bed of Cuchulainn," in which <a bull-feast is described: A 
white bull was killed, whereupon a man ate of it to satiety. 
During the sleep which would easily follow this performance, 
four Druids chanted a spell over him, expecting as a result a 
vision in his dreams of the shape of him who was going to be 

The connection of the bull with religious worship is likewise 
indicated by the fact that an, ancient Celtic altar is preserved 
at Paris a similar one having been discovered at Treves, on 
which a bull is represented with three 'birds of the crane type 
over him. It is quite possible that these cranes represent the 
bittern, a bird which used to be common, in the marshy dis- 
tricts of Great Britain, but which now is almost completely 
extinct. It is very probable that its weird cry, which is 
described as something between the sound of a drum and the 
bellowing of a bull, had a good deal to do with the origin of 
the tales about water-bulls. 

It seems the bull was a symbolic expression of the attri- 
bute of strength and fertility. In; this connection it is inter- 
esting to note that the bull was associated with the rites of the 
very ancient festival kept by the Gaels in common with other 
ancient European races at the time of the winter solstice. It 
was the custom still in recent years for one of the partakers of 
the feast to put on a bull's hide and then to run as fast as he 
could, while young fellows were dealing vigorous blows at the 
hide with their shinty clubs. A graphic and entertaining 
description of this feast is given by Dr Norman Macleod in 

Mythological Beings in Gaelic Folhlore 245 

his " Caraid nan Gaidheal." While boating the skin the 
following verses were said, according to Dr Macleod's version : 

' ' A Challuinn, a bhuilg bhuidhe bhoicinn. 
Buailibh an craicionn, 
A Challuinn so." 

The fact that we are dealing here with a very ancient 
custom will become more clear when we compare this festivity 
with the corresponding one still kept in some remote districts 
of Northern Russia.. The Russian form of the feast corres- 
ponds in many ways to the Gaelic one. It is remarkable, e.g., 
that in the first place the sacrifice of a goat is still remembered, 
and forms a part of the rite analogous to that played by the 
bull in the Gaelic countries. 

Secondly, in both countries the feast is kept on New Year's 
eve. In some districts of Russia so much importance is 
attached to this point that the old people wont allow you to 
begin the feast before the twilight is over and night has com- 
menced, excepting the children, who go about during the day 
singing appropriate little songs at different houses, where they 
receive cakes and other little presents as a reward. Special 
cakes are baked for them, and others for the inmates of the 
house. Some of the cakes have the shape of fantastic animals. 

Thirdly, the name of the feast itself tells a tale when com- 
pared with the Gaelic name. They are strikingly similar as 
far as their roots are concerned, and I believe there is no doubt 
that the Gaelic name collainn or callainn enables us to explain 
the Russian word kolyada, which has puzzled Russian scholars 
in the past to such an extent that about a dozen different 
explanations have been offered. 

As regards the sacrifice of the goat, there exists; an old 
Russian tale called Tsarevitsh kozlyonotshek, which in English 
may be rendered, " The King's son who was turned into a 
little kid." From the context of the tale (mentioned by 
L. W. Losievski in the Transactions of the Society of Natu- 
ralists, etc., at the University of Moscow, Vol. IV., 1874-1877) 
it appears that the kid represents the moon, while his sister, 
who leads him by the string, is the sun. Just at the time 
when she is being freed from the spell of witchcraft which kept 
her under the sea, people: get ready to kill the kid in the 
palace. This tale is interesting also in so< far as it confirms 
Prof. D. Airbois de Jubainville's theory that mythological 
creatures to whom horns are attributed often represent 

246 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

ancient deities of the night whose horns, originated in a typical 
representation of the moon, viz., as crescent. 

Considering the important part the moon plays in northern 
countries during the autumn and winter months, may we not 
consider both the Gaelic and the Russian form of Jbhis festivity 
to contain, as it were, a solemn leave-taking of the deity of 
night and winter, connected with a. sacrificial feast at which 
an animal is slain which represents that deity symbolically. 
The Gaelic rite of driving off' the man in the bull's hide looks 
uncommonly like such a farewell in the boisterous way natural 
to occasions of that sort, and corresponds well to the send-off 
given to the sun in various countries on the Continent not so 
very long ago by letting burning wheels run down a hill -side 
on midsummer's eve. 

Before concluding my rather lengthy remarks about this 
ancient celebration of the winter solstice, I would like to give 
a few more specimens of the verses recited by the children or 
young people in both countries on, that occasion., as they 
resemble each other a good deal. To start with the Gaelic 
part. Mr Alexander Macdonald gives the Glenmoriston 
version as follows : 

" A Chullainn, Challuinn, Chaisg, 
Buail am boiceann air an sparr, 
Mur toir thu dhomhsa mo bhannag 
Na biodh bliadhn' ur agad gu brath. 
Eirich a chaillich 
Is thoir a nuas a' mhulchag chais." 

The lather impolite and bold language adopted by the 
youngsters in both countries when speaking to the old people 
in some of these rhymed addresses is very likely the outcome 
of the general idea of this feast, viz., that of giving the first 
place 1 of importance to the young and growing generation, 
while the old ones have to take a back seat together with the 
declining winter. 

The following variation I got from the late Mr Angus 
Mackintosh, tenant of Lord Howard's farm Cliff, near Dorlin. 
According to him young fellows us-ed to> beat a skin on the 
feast called oidhche Coinnle or latha Challuinn; they also 
went round reciting the following verses -at each house they 
went to : 

Mythological Beings in Gaelic Folklore 247 

1. Duan, duan ghille dhuibh 

'G ioman a chruidh air an traigh. 
An te nach toir dhomhsa. an t-im, 
Is ciunteach gum faigh i am baa 
Chan 'oil gaol agam air im, 
Is chaii 'eil pradh agam air cais, 
An rudan beag as a> bhuideal : 
Tha mo shlugan air a thi. 

It is inte'resting to notice her the reference to cattle by 
the seashore, which looks like a link with the water-bull and 
with the Russian idea of having the kid sacrificed at the time 
of the return of the sun from the sea. 

2. Cholluinn so, Chaluinn so, 
Bhuilg bhuidhe bhoicinn 
Buailibh an craicionn. 
Cailleach sa chuil, 
Cailleach sa. chill ; 
Cailleach eile 
An ceann an teine; 
Stob na goile 
'S i 'na teine dearg. 

Here are some specimens of the verses recited by Russian 
children. One of the song's (given by Mr Losievski as quoted 
above) runs like this : 

Urodilas kolyada 
Nakanunye Rozhdyestva 
Za rekoyu za bistroyu, 
Oi kolyadka, oi kolyadka, etc. 
of which I oifer the following translation : 

The kolyada has been brought forth 

On the eve of Christmas 

Beyond the river, beyond the swift one 

O little kolyada., O little kolyada. 

There are standing the wild forests, 

In those forests fires are burning, 

Great fires are burning, 

Round about these, fires benches are standing, 

Benches of oakwood are standing. 

Good young fellows on those benches, 

Good young fellows, beautiful girls. 

They sing the songs of the dear little kolyada. 

248 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

O little kolyada, O little kolyada, 

In the midst of thorn an old man is standing, 

He sharpens his knife of steel. 

The hot kettle is boiling; 

Beside the kettle a goat is standing, 

They intend to kill the goat ; 

O little kolyada., O little kolyada,. 

This last verse reminds us of the corresponding refrain in 
the Gaelic rite of that feast : 

A Cholluinn so, a Ghalluinn s,o. 

In some districts kolyadki are called the fancy animals 
made of paste. After breakfast the children start on their 
journey through the village, while the older members of the 
community begin the feast at night. Just like the young 
fellows in the Highlands the children in: Russia, demand con- 
tributions of food from the owners of the houses where they 
recite their verses. This is seen, e.g., in the following words : 

" Kolyada, kolyada, 
Give thou us a cake 
Or a piece of bread, 
Or half a rouble in money." 

Perhaps it may be of interest to make a few remarks about 
the Russian counterpart of the Gaelic group of malevolent 
water spirits, viz., the Vodyanoi, since in his case it can be 
seen with special clearness how the attributes of mythological 
being's are frequently simply the 1 characteristic qualities of that 
part of nature over which these beings preside. 

The Vodyanoi enjoys a bad reputation. His very appear- 
ance is repulsive, for he is black and shaggy. He is dark, 
like the water over the deep holes in which he lives. He aima 
at the destruction of man, because the element in which he 
lives does so. The places where' he lives are recognisable by 
the fact that there the water whirls* round. No wonder then 
that he is fond of drawing people down by the feet, and then 
of whirling them round and round till they are dead, The 
bluish spots visible on the bodies of drowned people are the 
marks of his fingers. Sometimes he takes it into his head to 
stick his victims into fish-baskets or under stones, or he twists 
their head round till it comes off the body. At last, when he 
has amused himself enough, he throw the body out of the 
water. Occasionally you see him swimming about in company 

Mythological ^Beings in Gaelic Folklore 249 

of his wife, the Vodyanikha, and his children. The Vodyan- 
ikha, like her cousins in, many other countries, is seen occasion- 
ally sitting on a rock and combing her long hair. Long flowing 
hair, when ascribed to water deities, is without doubt meant 
to represent the flowing waves and the hairlike floating vege- 
tation of river and sea. 

There is a curious, custom kept up in some villages which is 
evidently a remnant of human sacrifices made in remote age 
to the water deity. When a dangerous storm rises all the 1 
bald-heads of the village community are counted, and for each 
a mark is cut 011 a pieo of wood. This piece is then thrown 
into the water with an accompanying refrain. This custom 
conveys to one's mind the painful impression that prehistoric 
man was not very enthusiaistic concerning this business, but 
was shabby enough to pick out 'the " bald-heads," i.e., the 
oldest and most useless, members 1 of the tribe as a present for 
the god of the water! We hav-e now to deal with another 
group of disa.greea.ble beings in Gaelic folklore, viz., the 


These are represented mainly by the Uraisg, who corres- 
ponds to the Russian Lyeshi. The attributes of the latter 
can be more clearly traced back to< the character of that part 
of nature over which he presides., while the Uraisg is far more 
a thing of the past, and consequently has lost somewhat its 
definite outlines which no doubt he had in the traditions of 
the Gaels a century or two ago. 

The Uraisg haunts wild and remote spots. Dr Carmichajel 
gives the> follo<wing description of it: " Uraisg, a monster, 
half human, half goat, with abnormally long hair, long teeth, 
and long claws, frequenting glens, corries, reedy lakes and 
sylvan streams." Although this creature is [rapidly dis- 
appearing from the horizon of the Gaelic mind, yet it has 
impressed itself so vividly on the imagination of former gener- 
ations' that the word has become an opprobrious epithet applied 
to an unkempt man. 

Accidentally I came across a little piece of information con- 
cerning the' Uraisg through a. conversation with a. gentleman 
who remembered having read an old book on Scottish tradi- 
tions in the library of Fetternear House, near Aberdeen. 
The story was to the effect that a certain man of great bodily 
strength happened to go through a. forest. There he met an 
Uraisg, a hairy being with long nails, called also the " wild 

250 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

man of the woods." He led the stranger to* a cave where a 
lot of.Uraisgs were assembled. They jeered at' him and told 
him that he had no chance of getting away alive, but he, look- 
ing the danger squarely in the face, seized his treacherous 
guide by the feet and used him a a club, with which he most 
successfully smashed the heads of the whole company. 

According to Canon Macculloch, the Uraisg is not alto- 
gether a malevolent being, but it depends on, his mood whether 
he will harm thei wayfarer or help him. Dr C'armichael 
informs us that the Uraisg may even condescend to tell terri- 
fying stories of the things! of this world and the world below 
and above to those who^ treat him respectfully, but all the same 
even strong men would avoid hisi vicinity at night. 

To complete this portrait of a spirit of -the Forest it will not 
be o>ut of place to say something about the counterpart of the 
Uraisg in Russian popular beliefs, the Lyeshi (connected witli 
the word lyes wood). This spirit, is more tricky and mis- 
chievous than vicious, although occasionally he does not mind 
killing people: e.g., he will guide a peasant who late at night 
comes from a jollification in a neighbouring village, and who 
omits to protect himself by prayer, to the nearest hole in the 
river ioe ir order to push him through as a welcome present 
for his friend the water spirit, whose business is rather slack 
during the winter season, as there are very few cases of drown- 
ing then. 

Just as the attributes of the Vodyanoi reflect things con- 
nected with rivers a.nd lakes., so those of the Lyeshi are taken 
from things belonging to the forest. 

The Lyeshi is the lord of the forest, and lives in the thickest 
and most inaccessible parts of it. He is black like the depth 
of the forest and shaggy like the wild animals over which he 
rules, but often he assumes the appearance of an ordinary man. 
The echo is his cry. He tries to confuse people and lead them 
astray in the wilds of the forest, and when be succeeds he 
enjoys the joke so much that he claps his hands a.nd breaks out 
into, loud Daughter. 

The reason for his. being associated so much with noise may 
lie in the fact that sounds of any kind make a great impression 
on anybody who has lost his way, and who with the prospect 
of starvation or death through the teeth of wolves or bears is 
wandering about in the silent forest. 

When the peasant is in the forest he deems it improper to 
break out into loud laughter, or, worse than that, to whistle, 

Mytholoqical Beings in Gallic folklore 251 

-evidently because these things are reserved as a privilege for 
the lord of the forest in whose kingdom he happens to be at 
the time. Woe to him if he does not observe this law, unless 
he succeeds in protecting himself by adopting the measure 
recommended by wise old men, viz., to* turni his coat inside 
cut for that mighty ruler has got the attributes of the storm 
too, and when offended will step across rivers and lakes with 
the speed of lightning, and in his rage will smash everything 
on the way. 

When a storm rages the people say : " Lyeshi idyot," i.e., 
the spirit of the forest is walking. With this agrees his fond- 
ness for chasing and dispersing animals, just a the storm 
scatters and drives the leaves in all directions. When an 
unusually large number of wolves are roaming about, the 
people say: " volk idyot v voinu u lyeshi potyeshaetsa," i.e., 
the wolf go>es to the war a,nd the Spirit of the Foreist is enjoying 

Some of the attributes I have mentioned are shared by an 
important group of mythological creatures in Gaelic folklore, 
about which I have to make a> few remarks too, viz., Giants 
and Hags, in Gaelic, Famhairean and Cailleachan. 


The majority of these represent the great forces of nature, 
as a rule, in their destructive aspect. It seems that in many 
instances the long" contact with the Scandinavian invaders gave 
an increased prominence to this part of the Gaelic Olympus, 
since the whole of Scandinavian folklore is pervaded with these 

Hags- of this type who accidentally built up Little Ben 
Wyvis by dropping earth and stones out of their creels might 
figure in any Scandinavian tale. 

Dr. Carmichael mentions a rough- weather-hag who tries to 
keep the vegetation down in the early spring, and when unsuc- 
cessful gets into a fearful rage and disappears in a whirling 

The Cailleach a' Cbrathaich mentioned by D'r Mackay in 
' Urquhart and Glenmoriston," and by Mr Alex. Macdonald 
in " Story and Song from Loehness-side," who lies in wait for 
wayfarers in order to kill them, seems to> belong to the Glaistig 
type. Her method of getting hold of the bonnet of the victim 
and. then of rubbing it till a hole appears in it which causes the 
death of its owner, is an interesting example of beliefs assooi- 

252 Gaelic Society of Inuerness 

a.ted with the idea, of what ethnologists call " the external 
soul/' a well-known instance of which is 1 the attempt to do 
harm to your enemy by dissolving a " oo'rp-criadh," i.e., a 
clay figure representing him, in a river. 

As "regards giants (Gaelic famhairean, a> word identical with 
the ancient Irish Fomor), it is interesting to learn from an 
article in the " Celtic Review" by Mr Donald Mackenzie, that 
there is a difference between Scottish and Irish folklore con- 
cerning them. The giants of Scottish tales represent not merely 
monsters ;and deities of night and winter, but occasionally also 
deities of light and summer, ai function reserved in Ireland 
to the Tuatha De Danaan. Passing over other items of 
interest, I would like to single out one problem for considera- 
tion, as it has a bearing on the third and last part of my 
lecture, viz., the question whether possibly some of the stories 
about giants: may be due to> the nursery tales of representatives 
of a small race conquered by and amalgamating with the taller 

Is it possible to regard the great antagonist of giants in 
Gaelic folklore, Fionn and his band of warriors, apart from 
their mythological attributes, as idealised representatives of 
an ancient race prior to and smaller in stature than that of 
the more recent Celtic invaders'? I think there are quite 
sufficient reasons* for formulating a theory concerning this 

It seems to be certain that definite historical facts which 
might serve as a foundation for the deeds of Fionn and his 
followers are very scanty. On the other hand, the wide circu- 
lation and the firm hold on the popular mind which the latter 
have or had among' the Gaels surpasses that of any other group 
of tales. According to Canon Maeeulloch (" the Religion of 
the Ancient Celts"), " It is among the folk that the Fionn 
saga has always been popular, and for every peasant who could 
tell a story of Cuchullainn a thousand could tell one of Fionn." 
The Cuchulainn saga flourished more among the aristocratic 
and lettered classes. These were more purely Celtic in Great 
Britain as well as on the Continent, where the common people 
were a mixed race with a large percentage of non-Celtic blood. 
Professor Watson happens to make the following remark in 
connection with this question in his article on " Classic Gaelic 
Poetry of Panegyric" in the " Northern Chronicle," March 
13th, 1918: " It is to be noted that with the Gaelic ruling 

Mythological Beings in Gaelic Folklore 253 

race as with the Celts of Gaul the standard colour of hair was 
yellow and of the eye blue." 

On the Continent the bulk of the population in the Western 
Celtic area was formed chiefly by Iberians, in Britain partly 
by Iberians, partly by other pre-Celtic races. 

When we consider on the one hand that the common people 
would be more in touch with the traditions of their own past, 
and on the other the fact that weighty reasons suggest the 
existence in pre-Celtic times of a dwarfish population in Scot- 
land and in Ireland which appears, to have been akin to the 
Laplanders of the present day who are merely a stunted branch 
of the Finnish race is it altogether impossible to believe that 
the name Finn or Fionn may be a. reminiscence of descent from 
the northern race of that name'? 

An objection which may be raised apropos of this matter, 
viz., that the name Finn is not used either by Finlanders or 
Laplanders themselves, but is applied to them by Aryan out- 
siders, admits; of an easy explanation, if it is assumed that the 
Aborigines in Britain! were gradually incorporated in the Celtic 
nationality, and must have substituted Celtic names for their 
own as easily as Ga^Ko names have been replaced in numerous 
instances by English ones 

To show that the theory I have mentioned is more than a 
mere playing with namesi I would like to point out a number 
of facts which, when taken together, appear to be sufficient 
to concede the rank of a possible hypothesis pending further 
investigation to this view 

1. According to an old Flemish chronicler, quoted by Mr 
MacRitchie in the " Celtic Review," the dwarfish Aborigines 
of Belgium were called Fenlanders. 

2. Mr Campbell of Islay was. so struck with the similarity 
between Finnish dwellings and certain prehistoric buildings 
in Scotland, that he felt certain that there must have been 
a Finnish population in Scotland. It is to be remembered 
here that the ancient Finns in Eastern Europe are described 
as leading the same life as Laplanders nowadays, who, owing 
to unfavourable circumstances, havei not progressed as the 
other Finns did. 

3. There occurs in Gaelic tales a p-erson called Fionnlaidh, 
who rules over the Fairies, the " Daoine-beaga," i.e., the 
little men. 

4. The name Fionn in Welsh dress 1 , viz., Gwyn*, occurs 
in Welsh stories as that of the King of the Fairies. 

254 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

5. There exists an ancient story, entitled, " Fionn in the 
land of the big men." 

6. Finnish tribes in very early times formed the aboriginal 
population of Russia, having spread over Eastern Europe from 
Northern, Asia. At the present day certain tribes in Siberia, 
the Finns in Finland, the Esthonians along part of the Baltic 
Sea,, and the Magyars of Hungary, are scattered remnants of 
the original race which was gradually pushed back or absorbed 
by the ancient Slavs who spread from the Danube in an 
easterly direction. 

Is it impossible to assume that waves of immigration took 
place in neolithic times from the Baltic shore towards the 
warmer districts of North-Western Europe? It has been sug- 
gested by geologists that Great Britain was still connected with 
the Continent across the Channel in paleolithic times. Even 
if this assertion should happen to be incorrect, it is probable 
enough that the distance between Britain and the Continent 
wa:9 less in neolithic times than it is now. In a,ny case it is 
quite conceivable that an immigration across the sea as it is 
at present should have taken place even in that early age. 
I would like to go as far as to suggest that the word Fin may 
have been a. collective name applied to people of a mongoloid 
or northern type, just as the word Welsh in Teutonic language 
is used as a vague collective term referring to people of Celtic 
or Latin nationality. 

When suggesting as a possible theory that the ancient 
mixed Celtic population of Scotland thus idealised its own 
past through the name of a hero who represents their original 
race, I am of course in no' way trying to deny that other influ- 
ences, mythological ones in the first place and historic ones 
too, have likewise been at work in building up and shaping the 
Fionn Saga. 


It remains for me now only to define my opinion as to the 
question which of the theories concerning the Fairies or 
' Daoine beaga" is. the more! plausible one the one which 
assumes the existence of a, prehistoric dwarf race', or the one 
which sees in the little men merely ancestral spirits haunting 
the tumuli in which their bodies were laid to rest, or considers 
them to be survivals of the deities called Tuatha De D-anaan. 

It seems to me that the harmony between the traditional 
Gaelic Tales and certain facts disclosed by modern archaeology, 

Mythological Beings in Gaelic Folklore 255 

ethnology, and anthropology leaves no doubt about the- real 
existence in remote ages of a dwarfish race in Scotland and 
other parts of the British Isles. 

As this line of argument has been admirably set forth by 
Mr MaeKitcliie in the " Celtic Review," I will confine myself 
to selecting certain points of special interest and to offering 
some suggestions in connection with them. 

Here again I fully admit that a great amount of mytho- 
logical belief has overgrown the foundation of historic fact, but 
all the same I would like to emphasise the existence of that 
fact, which is made clear through the accumulative force of 
various mutually independent arguments. 

To start with a> point connected with philology. The 
Fairies are known to Gaelic speakers under the name of daoine- 
beaga, also of daoine-sidh and sithichean (sith is the modern 
form of the ancient sid). 

Mr M,acRitchie shows that these last two words are the 
Gaelic equivalent of " mound-dwellers," corresponding, e.g., 
to the Danish word for dwarfs, " berg folk." Even where on 
the Continent stories about the dwarfs are confused and devoid 
of detail, they invariably give as a characteristic of the. little 
men that they live inside mountains. 

The traditional Gaelic tales make the little men live in 
green mounds, describing them consistently in a way which 
corresponds strikingly with the appearance of the grass-covered 
conical mounds in which little men still exist at the present 
day, e.g., in the far north of Europe, a detailed account of 
which has been given by Mr Campbell of Islay in the notes to 
hig " Tales of the' Western Highlands," since he saw a good 
deal of the life of the Laplanders. Now what I would like to 
point out in this connection is that the! Gaelic word for a fairy 
knoll, sithea.n, mea.ns a conical mound. Sith-ean is the diminu- 
tive form of a word sith, which means a hill, in particular a 
conical hill, a pyramid, as I have seen it expressed by an 
. authority whom I cannot remember. In any c3. M e there exists 
a striking illustration of what this word means in the case of 
a conspicuous landmark within the sight of which I live, viz., 
the very symmetrical conical hill near Invergarry of a height 
of almost 3000 feet. ' '*This hill is called on maps Beinn 
" Tee," also Beinn, " Tigh," and often in conversation Binn 
" Shee," not, however, by the natives of the district, who 
pronounce the word " beinn an t-sith," exactly as it ought to 
be pronounced if the meaning is " a conical hill." 

256 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Therefore the daoine sith or sithicheaii are people who live 
in little " beinn an t-siths," or " sitheans," i.e., conical 
mounds, exactly like the Laplanders whom Mr Campbell of 
Islay visited. 

I would like to add that as a, rule conspicuous features of 
the landscape are clearly described as such by the names' given 
them in the Gaelic language. There are several other inter- 
esting examples of this kind near Fort-Augustus, of which I 
might mention Beinn a' bhacaidh, or " the hill of the shelf" 
the latter being very conspicuous when seen west of Fort- 
Augustus- and Leek, the name of a, once well -populated 
village, the remnants of which are situated near a hill-side 
which is covered in a conspicuous way with flat, slab-like parts 
of rocks that are exposed there on the surface (viz., lie is the 
plural of leac, a slab). 

Concerning the archaeological aspect of the Fairy problem, 
I would like to say that the custom of living in subterraneous 
dwellings is not so extraordinary as some objectors to this 
theory seem to imagine. At the present day the custom exists 
even among Southerners like Georgians, Tartars, Kurds, and 
Armenians of using places of that sort in the upper glens of 
their hills during the winter months, where they live even in 
company of their cattle. Many of these dwellings consist of 
a perfect labyrinth of passages aaid chambers (see Zhivopisnaya 
Rossia," IX. ". and X.). 

There is a tradition lingering in some parts of Northern 
Russia, e.g.. at Nikolsk in the government of Vologda, that 
the first Russian immigrants there found a " pcganyi," i.e., 
uncanny pagan, non-Russian people there 1 who hid themselves 
away out of the sight of the new-comers in pits which were on 
the top covered with earth. The immigrants, however, broke 
these earthen roofs, which fell on the top of the aborigines 
hiding below and suffocated them. 

Apropos of the very small dimensions of doors and passages 
in Scottish and Irish Taighean-larach or Earth-houses, the 
measurements of which are given, e.g., by Mr MacRitchie and 
other authors as ranging between 15 ingfaes and 4 fest for the 
height of the passage, and 3 feet te^jB? feet for that of the 
chambers, it will be instructive to give a list of the sizes of 
some of the various dwarf races existing at the present day. 

According to Mr Scott-Elliott (" Prehistoric: Man and his 
Story"): The Tapiros (a tribe in Dutch New Guinea), have 
an average height of 4 feet 9 inches. Another tribe 

Mythological Beings in Gaelic Folklore 257 

discovered a few years ago in the then German part 
of New Guinea showed the following figures : men 
average 4 feet 10 inches; women 4 feet 8J inches. The abor- 
igines on the Island of Zambales in the Philippines, 4 feet 
9 inches. According to RatzeFs Ethnology, the Samoyedes 
(North- Western Siberia), 4 ft. 8 inches; Laplanders: men are 
4 ft. 9 inches ; women 4 feet 7 inches ; Greenland Esquimos : 
men 4 feet 9 inches ; women 4 feet 7 inches. 

In connection with the anthropological side of this subject 
it is interesting to note how well the description given of 
certain features of the dwarf races agrees in the following 
three instances: 

1. Mr Scott-Elliott describes living dwarf races in general 
as. having: " Broad cheek-bones, a blunt nose, and wide- 
spread nostrils." 

2. The Swissi anatomist, Professor Kollmann, found that 
the skulls of the' South-European prehistoric dwarf race have 
" flat broad faces, flat broad low noses and large nose-roots." 

3. An 18th century account quoted by Mr MacRitchie 
saysi of the inhabitants of certain districts of the northern 
and eastern coasts of Ireland : ' ' They are of a squat-set 
stature, have short broad faces, thick lips, hollow eyes, and 
noses cocked up, and seem to be a distinct people from the 
Western Irish." 

People of a dwarfish stature are mentioned in another 
18th century account as living in a certain part of Caithness. 
It seems, therefore, very likely that remnants of the daoine- 
sidhe lingered on almost down to our own time. 

There is another point I would like to mention in con- 
nection with the Fairies as a real race. It is remarkable 
with what consistency the Fairy Tales, not only of the Gael, 
but qf other nations too, mention the caps worn by the little 
people. Why did this headgear make so profound an 
impression on all who came into contact with them ? I think 
it is very probable that the little men lived under semi-arctic 
conditions, and that they would very probably continue by 
force of habit to wear a specially ample headgear which had 
once been necessary to keep off the cold. The herds of deer 
(i.e., reindeer) kept by the " Fairies," and probably also the 
long entrance passages in the Taighean-lairach point to a 
severe climate, the latter because it is the custom not only 
with the Esquimaux, but also with some tribes in Siberia, to 


258 Gaelic Society oj Inverness 

protect the entrance to the home against the blasts of arctic 
blizzards by building a passage in front of it which at least 
in the case of the Siberians is of a bent shape. 

The colour of the cap is frequently mentioned, e.y. t green. 
in the casie of the Fairies of Gaeldom, and red in the case of 
the little men found by the Frisians on the Isle of Sylt. It 
has occurred to me that the little men were possibly guided 
in their choice of colours by the exigencies of protective 
colouring. They were keen hunters (as the pygmies of 
Africa and Asia istill are), and besides this there exists an 
ancient quatrain in which this appreciation of protective 
colouring is explicitly mentioned. A sithiche in North Uist, 
when presenting :a friendly huntsman with his grey dog, 
said : 

"'Soilleir fuil air cu ban, 
Soilleir cu dubh air liana ; 
'S nam bithinn ris an fhiadhach 
B' e 'n cu riabhach mo roghainn." 

" Celtic Review," Vol. V. 

Before concluding, I must touch in passing on the 
mythological aspect of the Fairy Tales. Canon Macculloch 
explains how the ancient deities called the Tuatha De Danaan 
in course of time began to be associated with the mounds. 
They were gods of light and summer ; music and the fine 
arts flourished under their care. 

Hence it is. natural that we should find a great deal of 
the brighter 1 superhuman element represented in the life of 
the Fairies. The chief of the Tuatha De Danaan himself, 
the Dagda, is called the king of the ' side ' (the ancient form 
of the word sidh). As he is an ancient sun god (curiously 
similar in name to* the ancient Russian sun god Dazh-bogh, 
Gaelic Da and Russian bogh meaning god), we need not be 
astonished to find glowing accounts in the traditional Gaelic 
stories of the brilliant light which floods the rich sub- 
terranean palaces and 'attracts the fortunate mortal who 
happens to pas a fairy knoll at an hour when it is kept 
open by the gay dancing little folk. 

The Gael in the Lothians 259 

19th DECEMBER, 1918. 

Mr William Mackay, LL.D., presided over a meeting held 
on this date. A gift of ten volumes to the Society's Library 
from Mr P. J. Anderson, The University, Aberdeen, was inti- 
mated and an appreciation of the donor's kindness was 

The following were elected members of the Society on the 
motion, of the Chairman, seconded by Mr Alex. Macdonald : 
Messrs Angus Henderson, Stirling; J. S. Mackay, Stirling; 
George Mackay, M.D 1 ., Edinburgh; J. G. Mackay, Portres ; 
and Mr James Macdonald Stuart, Perth. 

16th JANUARY, 1919. 

The Annual General Meeting of the Society was held this 
evening in the Waverley Hotel. The Reverend Donald 
Connell, M.A., presided over a good attendance of members. 

After discussion, it wasi unanimously agreed that the office 
of Chief and that of permanent Secretary be left vacant for 
the present. The other office-bearers were re-elected, and 
Pipe-Major John Macdonald was appointed Honorary Piper. 

On the motion of Dr Miackay, seconded by ex-Bailie John 
Mackenzie, the undernoted were unanimously elected mem- 
bers of the Society : The Reverend Lauchlan Maclean Watt, 
M.A., B.D., Edinburgh; Mr J. G. Mackay, London; Captain 
J. H. Mackay-Scobie, Edinburgh; the Reverend Thomas 
Fenton Fyife, West Cornforth, Co. Durham ; the Reverend 
Duncan. Macrae, Grantully, Perthshire; Mr J. P. MacLean, 
Ohio, U.S.A.; Mr M. C. MacLeod, Dundee; and Mr Alex- 
ander Dugald Cumming, Callender. 

In the unavoidable absence of the author, Mr Alexander 
Macdonald, Inverness, read a paper by Professor William J. 
Watson, LL.D., Edinburgh, entitled, " The Gael in the 
Lothians. " This paper having been published elsewhere is 
not included in the published Transactions of this Society. 

260 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

30th JANUARY, 1919. 

Mr William Mackay, LL.D., presided over a meeting of 
the Society held this -evening, at which the following paper 
was read by Mr J. G. Mackay, Portree : 



In studying the social life of any place, there i$ no' subject 
more interesting than the story of Place-Names. Many of 
them have something interesting to tell, if we can only trace 
their history. In a district like Skye where there have been 
such ^changes in language and people it is rendered more 
difficult both by the Gaelicising of Norse names and the Angli- 
cising of Gaelic ones. Naturally, after the long occupation of 
the island by the Norsemen they have left their mark upon the 
place-names, but not nearly to> the extent that is generally 

The late Dr MacBain was of the opinion that Norse names 
were about 50 per cent, of the names in Skye, but that is 
giving far too liberal a share. He took his particulars from 
the Valuation Roll and from Black's one inch tourist map. 
As everyone knows, the Valuation Roll is only a list of home- 
steads, and these are the very places where the Norsemen 
made their settlements. Black's map, on the other hand, 
gives very few names of any description. Besides my own 
local knowledge, I have carefully gone over the largest size 
Ordnance Survey map, and counted the names, and make 
them out as follows: 1500 Gaelic, 300 Norse, and 200 
Hybrid, or names made up of both languages, and both mean- 
ing the same thing, such as Glendale, Glenhinisdale, Strath- 
Suaradale, Sronuirinish, Ardnish, Ardtresornish. The Norse 
names are for the most part along the coast: those places 
which would be special landmarks for seafaring men. Of the 
lochs and anchorages, twelve have distinctly Norse names, 
while only eight have Gaelic. The larger headlands', sue a : .3 
Mmginish, Trodernish, Duiriness, Waterman, Idrigill, 
and some others are Norse, but a shoal of smaller 
ones are unmistakably Gaelic. Almost all the higher hills 
and most of the glens are Gaelic. A very outstanding name 
in Skye is that with thei termination ' bost,' from the 
Norse Bolstadr, a dwelling place; of these there are seven- 

Social Life in Shye 261 

teen, such as Skeabost, Husabost, etc.; another is "Shadder, 
from the Norse Setr, a residence, a mountain pasture. Of 
these there are the same number, such a Marrishadder, 
Airmishadder, etc. The former are all in MacLeod's country, 
while the latter are in Trotternish. But more numerous are 
those denoting land-measurement, or value, such as Peighinn 
an Fhidhleir, Peighinn a' Ghobhainn, Peighinn an Lighich, 
etc. Another numerous class is that beginning with Camus, 
such as Camus-Mallaig, Camus- tianavaig, Camus-ban, etc. 
The Church, however, claims by far the greater proportionate 
number of place-names ; between Cills, Clachans, Holy-wells, 
etc., I have counted eighty-two. Another series which occu- 
pies a prominent place both in the names and landscape of 
Skye, is the Dims ; I believe there are at least fifty of them. 
A number of writers on Skye claim these Duns to be Danish, 
but that idea is exploded. Two prominent forts, Dun- 
Scathaich in Sleat and Dun an Deirg, near Staffin, are both 
regarded as residences of ancient warriors ; the former that of 
the mighty Cuchullin, and the other of the less celebrated 
Dearg mac Druibheil. 

Dun an Deirg is built on the edge of the well-known preci- 
pice Creag an Fheilidh, three hundred feet sheer down to the 
beach. There is a flight of stairs on the landward side, the 
steps of which would weigh from one to three tons each . They 
are of white granite, taken from the beach below. In no other 
plaoe in the island is that stone to be found; but how were 
these huge stones raised? They had to be taken up the cliff, 
they could not be carried round ; it would be a distance! of 
several mile over impossible ground. The work was not that 
of barbarians. 

These Duns are placed; in such positions that the one can 
be seen from another all over the island ; some of them were 
merely watch towers from which fire signals could be sent on 
the approach of an invader, and it is possible that they were 
built by the natives when the Norsemen first began to> make 
raids into the island. Others were built for defence, and had 
accommodation for sheltering the cattle as well as the inhabi- 
tants. There are also three prominent hill-tops called after 
Fionni, from which a view can be had round the whole coast 
as far north as the Butt of Lewis on the one hand, and to Tiree 
on the other* Fire-signals were' common in the Highlands 
as late as the " '45." Some of these erections were styled bv 

* These are known as " Aite Suidhe Fhinn." 

262 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

the Norsemen Burgs (borg), such as. Scudaburg, Re&aburg, 
and in another form Borve; these usually had a village about 
them. Notwithstanding the long occupation of the island by 
the Norsemen, th-ey left little mark on the language of the 

Now for a few specimens of Place Names in Story. " Caol- 
Reath" the narrow strait between Sky and mainland at 
' G-lenelg so called from the drowning of one of the Fenian 
warriors, Mac Heath, on the occasion of the burning of Halls 
of Tatira,, losgadh Tigh Formail no Teamhra, as it is variously 
called. Several places, claim to be the scene of this tragic 
event, but from the place names and the local surrounding's 
Skye seems to< have the best right to it. The Feinne were 
hunting in Skye; the place must have been Bealach Udail, 
opposite Glenelg : their dwellings were on the opposite shore 
of Glenelg ; the ruiiisi are still to be seen, and are called 
locally " Na Fiannaichean." To tourists and to strangers 
they are " Pict's houses." Suffice it to 1 say that when the 
flare of the burning was seen by Fionn, he immediately sum- 
moned his warriors. They rushed to the narrowest part of 
the Kyle, and, not waiting to get to their boats, each man 
vaulted across on his spear, and Mac Reath slipped and was 
drowned in the Kylei the tide runs at a. terrible force at that 
spot. As the tale has it 

Do bhrigh an dcchais bh' aig na laoich 
A liith an cos 's cha bhreith chlaon 
Leum gach fear air bharr a shleagh 
Is chailleadh Mac Reaith 's a chaol. 

Because of the faith which the wiarriors had 
In their power of foot not wrong the judgment 
Every man leapt on the point of his spear ; 
And Mac Reath was lost in the Kyle. 

On the Glenelg side, right opposite, there is a bank or 
mound known by the name of " lomair nam fear mora," or 
the ridge of the giants. About the beginning of last century, 
some retired military officers, of whom there were many in the 
district at the time, took it into their heads to open the 
mound. They came upon a. cist containing a skeleton of 
immense size. They were in the act of measuring the jaw- 
bone to the face of a. very big man of the party (which reached 
over the top of his head), when suddenly a. terrific thunder- 

Social Life in Shye 


storm arose. They hurriedly threw everything back in its 
place, covered it up, <aiid went home fully convinced that it 
was a. warning for desecrating the tomb of the mighty dead. 
It is quite believed locally that this is^the tomb of Mac Heath. 
There are many Fenian place-names in Skye, and the presence 
of the Feinne in the island must have been very frequent 
during their time. Jhree places are called Suidhe Fhinn ; 
then there are Duii-Scathaich and Dun an Deirg,. Leac iiam 
Fiann, So-much co-ire Fhinn, two standing- stones where they 
were said to boil their cauldron when cooking their food. 
Beinn-iaiiabhaig, opposite Portree, is said to be the place where 
Diarmaid killed the wild boar, and at Peisfhinnrmhor, near 
by, is Tobar an Tuirc, from which Diarmaid besought Fionn 
to get him a drink. There is a. Dun Diarmaid at Totardor ; 
the crabbed Conan is well remembered: there are two* lochs, 
a hill, a river, and a glen dedicated to him; and there are 
Beinn-thobhta, Gorm Shuill, and Loch Ghorm- Shuill. 

To- come to more recent times Torran nan Gillean, near 
Portree. On a Hogmanay many years ago, a, party of young 
men from the parish of Portree went for their Hogmanay to 
MacLeod's country. It was the habit then for grown up lads 
to go long distances on such errands; they dressed in fantastic 
fashion, and managed to get a. good deal of fun out of the 
expedition, besides profit, which was usually spent in a jolli- 
fication after their return. On the occasion mentioned, a 
similar party from MacLeod's country came to Portree on the 
;same errand. Among the other donations received by the* 
MacLeod party was an old bull from Nicolson of Scorrybreac. 
After finishing their rounds the MacLeod party started for 
home, laden with their booty, and driving the bull before 
them, when, as the fates would have it, they met the Portree 
lads returning empty-handed, just where the U.F. Manse now 
stands. When the latter saw the others going home laden 
and they returning empty, some one' instantly proposed that 
the MacLeods, should be made to disgorge, to which there was 
a willing assent. A row soon got up ; from words they quickly 
came to blows. The poor bull came in for a good deal of the 
fight, each party driving him their own way, so that very early 
in the battle he became a casualty. Whichever side claimed 
the victory, there were a number killed, and the bodies of the 
strangers were buried on the knoll which I have mentioned, 
which is known as " Torran nan Gillean" to this day. 

264 Gaelic Society oj Inverness 



In the old clan days a> Highland chief had a. band of the 
most valiant men of his clan as a, body-guard, who always, went 
about with him wherever he went. They were selected for 
their prowess and swordsmanship, and were frequently the 
cause of many of the disturbances which took place in the 
country. These were called Luchd-taic or Buannachan. 
When a chief went about in his own clan district they were 
billeted out among 1 the tenantry, and there were grievous 
complaints 1 sometimes of the oppressive demands of these 

By an Act of Privy Council in January, 1616, the number 
of these followers was restricted as follows, viz.: "It is 
therefore decreed and enacted with uniform consent of the 
foresiaid persons, barons and gentlemen within named, that 
they and each of them shall sustain and entertain the par- 
ticular number of gentlemen in household underwritten, to 
wit, Angus MacDonald of Dunneveig 6 gentlemen, Hector 
MacCleane of Dowart 8 gentlemen, Donald Gorm MacDonald 
of Slate, Horie McCloyde of Dunvegan, and Donald McOallum 
Mhic-Ian of Ardnamurchan each one of them 6 gentlemen, 
Lachlan MacClean of Coll, and Rorie McKynnoun of Strath 
each one of them 3 gentlemen, Lachlan McCleane brother to 
the said Hector, 3 servants, and the said gentlemen to be sus- 
tained and entertained by the fore-named persons each one 
for their own parts, as is above rehearsed upon their own 
expenses and charges, without any supply of their country." 
Before the passing of this Act McDonald had a retinue of 16. 
who were called " Se buannachan-diag Mhic-Dhomhmiill " 
the 16 henchmen of McDonald) ; M-acLeod was content with 
12. It is with these twelve that my tale is concerned. When 
these men had nothing special to do they went about either 
fishing or hunting as they fancied, and billeted themselves on 
any tacksman by the way for their food. On such an occasion 
the party happened to be in G-lendale, and when they felt 
hungry they called at the house of Finlay MacLeod of Galtragil 
and demanded food. Finlay's wife placed before them a 
plentiful supply of bread and butter, cheese and milk. This, 
however, did not satisfy the taste of the gentlemen. They 

Social Life in Skye 265 

demanded butcher-meat ; the good woman protested that she 
had none, but on of the gentlemen seeing a, good-looking stirk 
grazing in front of the house, went o<ut and stuck his dirk 
into it, and they soon skinned it and brought a piece in, and 
told Finlay 's wife to oook that for them. Mrs MacLeod quietly 
sent one of her little boys to tell his father, who was doing 
something on the hill not far away. Finlay came back, and 
going into the barn took with him the flail. On passing the 
window he noticed that the visitors were seated round the 
table, and immediately decided on a course of action. Enter- 
ing quietly into the room, he twirled the flail round their 
heads and ordered them to throw their claymores on the floor ; 
any man refusing immediately had the flail uncomfortably 
circling round his head, and all had to accept the situation as 
best he could. After he had in this way disarmed them all, 
he cried to his* wife to bring in a number of gadagaii, or ropes 
made of rushes, and throw them into the room. He now 
ordered each man to tie his neighbour's hands behind his 
back, .and he took good care that it was properly done; the 
last man he tied himself. Then with the assistance of his 
wife he tied them in pairs, ordered them out, and marched 
them in file to D'unvegan. With the flail constantly circling 
round their heads he had no difficulty in keeping his unique 
band in marching order. When drawing near to Dunvegan 
they saw MacLeod of MacLeod coming to meet them. Mac- 
Leod was much amused at the procession, and on their coming 
up to him he asked Finlay what was the meaning of the 
thing? Finlay answered, " There are your champions for 

C., and if you have' no use for them you better send them 
le and be not having them going about oppressing people as 
they are in the habit of doing." When MacLeod heard the 
story of what they had done he was very wroth, and compli- 
mented Finlay on what he had done, and told the men that 
this kind of thing must happen no more. 

When a Chief went on a journey or visited his friends he 
was always accompanied by the Luchd-taic or Tail as they 
were called in the Lowlands, and it must have been a matter 
of serious consideration for those who were called upon to 
entertain such a. goodly number. These following^ were 
frequently the cause of serious disturbances, especially in 
Edinburgh, when chiefs who were at feud met on the street 
with so many of their friends, It was no uncommon thing 
for the citizens to be disturbed from their first sleep with the 

236 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

clang of the Highland claymore and targe and the peal of the 
Highland slogan, as each party insisted on " having the crown 
of the causie." On the occasion of a> plea before the Privy 
Council, by the Earl of Caithness against Sir Donald Mackay, 
first Lord Reay, for the slaughter of several of his friends at 
the arrest of the coiner, as stated in the tal of Paclruig Og 
MacCruimein, the Earl was accompanied by his son Lord 
Berriedale, Lord Gray, Sinclair^ of Hoslin, the Laird of 
Cowdenknows, and his two brothers, Sir John Sinclair of 
Greenland, and James Sinclair of Murkle. Sir Donald 
Mackay was accompanied by Lord Gordon, son of the Marquis 
of Huntly, Sir Robert Gordon, the Earls of Winton, Eglinton 
and Liniithgow, Lords Elphinston and Forbes, Munro of 
Foulis and the Laird of Dufftts. They met between the 
Tron Church and the Cross, and began by jostling each other 
for the " crown of the causie." High words were used, and 
from \^ords they soon came to blows; swords were drawn and 
a, general fight ensued, which for a, time threatened to become 
serious. ' At length the Earl of Caithness and his party, 
finding that they were likely to> be overpowered by superior 
numbers, made a precipitate retreat down one of the adjoin- 
ing closes where they lodged. The other party paraded up 
and down before the Earl's lodgings for some time provoking 
them to come out, but they prudently remained inside. This 
melee, though such scenes were of frequent occurrence in the 
High Street, created more than usual sensation in the city, 
and the next day the two parties were called before the 
Council, when a, reconciliation was brought about. 


Not the least of the. changes brought about by the break- 
ing up of the clan system was that of the abolition of the 
Hereditary Jurisdiction. In the old days every chief acted 
as judge in his own district ; courts! were held in stated places 
where cases were decided by the chief with the assistance of 
some of the principal men of the district as councillors. Some 
of these places are known in Skye as " Tbrran," one in the 
parish of Strath, and one in Raasay, and " Cnoc an Eirig"* 

" Near it (Duntulm) Chock [Cnoc] an eirick, or, the hill of 
pleas : such eminences are frequently near the houses of all the great 
men, for on these, with the assistance of their friends, they deter- 
mined all differences between the people. Pennant's Tour (1772) p 
304. He means eireachd [ED.]. 

Social Life in Shye 


in Kilmuir, near Duntulm. The Rev. Donald MacQueen, of 
Kilmuir, writing in 1774, says " that the local customs, and 
such new statutes as occasion required, enacted by the pro- 
prietor, his bailey, and some of the better sort of people, were 
reduced to writing, not above a century ago, in the Isle of 
Skye, and proclaimed annually at the church-doors. Some 
of these regulations are surprisingly regular and distinct, and 
under the administration of a humane master and judicious 
bailey, the people found themselves happy enough." 

Occasionally, when some difficult caise arose which the 
chief and his councillors could not decide, it was referred to- 
the judgment of some local man of more than usual shrewd- 
ness. Such a man was Tague MacQueen of G-lenvaragil .; the 
site of whose house is still pointed out, and known as 
' Tobhta Thaoig, ' ' or the ruins of Tague's house. He was 
frequently consulted by the Skye chiefs for the settlement of 
some knotty points in, disputes a.mong the tenants. On one 
occasion two old men at Portree were fishing on the rocks at 
Meall; one used a rod, the other a " tabh," a, large species 
of landing net, which is let down into the water, and bait 
thrown in, and when the fish are seen to go> in after the bait, 
the net is lifted and the fish landed. 

The day was wet and stormy, and when the man with the 
" tabh" reached round to get some bait out of his. basket, he 
accidentally slipped into the sea and was being carried out 
by the tide and wind. The other man attempted to reach 
him with his rod, but he was being carried out beyond him. 
Seeing there was no time to lose he made a whip at him with 
the rod thinking to catch on to his clothing, but unfortu- 
nately the hook caught into his eye, so he had to make the 
best of the hold he had got. He, however, managed to land 
his fish, but destroyed thei eye. The other man now thought 
that he had .a claim against him for the loss of his eye, and 
went to MacDonald to make his daim. MacDonald con- 
sidered the case with the assistance of his councillors, but 
they could not come to any decision, in the matter. As a last 
resource they went to Tague, and MacDonald stated the case 
and asked his judgment upon it. Tague turned to the 
plaintiff and said, " The first day of the same kind, a storm 
from the west, with heavy showers, you come to> me, and we 
will throw you out, and if you can come ashore without assist- 
ance, you will have a claim against the other man; if not, 
you have none." Naturally the plaintiff gave up his claim. 

26S Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Another case from MacLeod's country. A cow belonging 
to a man in Glendale went over a rock at Vaterstein. She 
unfortunately fell into* a boa,t drawn up under the cliff, with 
the result that the boat was broken and the cow killed. The 
owner of the boat made a. claim for the loss of the boat, and 
the owner of the cow made a claim for the cow. MacLeod 
could make nothing of the dispute; at length they went to 
Tague. When Tague heard the story he asked " Which of 
the men did the boat belong to?" MacLeod pointed to the 
man. " And the cow to the other?" MacLeod assented. 
Tague then asked, " And to whom does the rock belong?" 
" To me," says M,acleod. " Then," said Tague, " you will 
have to pay for both the boat and the cow, for if it was not 
for your rock the cow would not have fallen, and the boat 
would not have been broken." 


Not so happy was the experience of two men from Loargil ; 
they had a quarrel, which the good council of the neighbours 
failed to settle. At last said the one to the other, " tiugainn, 
a choin"; the other answered, " c'aite a choin. ?" " gu 
Hamaira, a choin" ; " c'ar son, a choin?" " air son ceartais, 
a. choin." MacLeod of Hamara was one of MacLeod's coun- 
cillors, and settled minor disputes. The two> then made up 
their minds to submit the case to Fear Hamara, but the whole 
nine tenants determined to accompany them to> see fair play. 
Next morning they all went to> the mod, but they did not go 
far on their way when they fell out, and from argument they 
came to blowsi. Night came on and there was no sign of their 
returning, and their friends got anxious about them. A 
search party was organised, and with ' aithinnean teiiie ' (fire^ 
brands) they proceeded to Hamara. They did not go more 
than half-way when they found the nine men in nine different 
bog-holes, badly mauled. In commemoration of the event, 
the neighbours raised a cairn of stones where each man lay, 
which went under the name of " Daoine Glice Loargail." 

But to return to Tague. Besides being a shrewd and 
sagacious man, he was a wealthy mian as wealth went in those 
days; but better still, he had what then counted for wealth, 
four stalwart sons and three strapping daughters, so that he 
was a very desirable tenant. He had not been getting on 
well with MacDonald, and this coming to the knowledge of 
Mackinnon, he offered him a suitable farm in Strath, which 

Social Life in Skye 26* 

Tague gladly accepted. MacDonald was very much displeased 
at this, and on the term day he sent three ground-officers to 
put a stop to> the flitting. A good part of the effects were 
removed when the officers arrived, and the young men were 
away with loads at the boat which was to convey the furni- 
ture, etc., to Broadford, and nobody about but the' father and 
the daughters, who' were busy packing. The officers immedi- 
ately proceeded to> put their warrant into execution; the old 
man advised them to let things alone, which they ignored; 
the daughters looked at each other at a given signal, they 
seized a man a piece, knocked him over, and with the assist- 
ance of some boys who had arrived on the scene, tied them as 
round as a wedder (cho cruinn ri molt), and went on with the 
flitting as if nothing had happened. When all was finished, 
they loosed them and said, " they hoped that they had not 
been put to much inconvenience, and that they might give 
their best respects to MacDonald, and say that he was too 
late in thinking of making his peace with Tague." 


There is very little superstition left in Skye to-day ; at all 
vents one hears nothing of ghosts, fairies > brownies, or second 
sight. Even as far back asi the year 1842, both ministers of 
Dunvegan and Kilmuir, writing in the Statistical Account, 
say that superstition has almost entirely disappeared. Up to 
the beginning of last century, however, it entered largely into 
the life of the people. 


After the Reformation, an Episcopal minister was settled at 
Kilmuir and another at Stenchcl. It appears that their know- 
ledge of theology was not very profound; at all events it is 
related that they entered into an agreement, that whichever 
of them should die first, should com back to tell the other 
what the regions beyond were like. It so happened that the 
minister of Stenchol was the first to be called to his account. 
On the day of the funeral, some young men from Kilmuir 
were returning home, and on climbing the hill at Bealach- 
Chualasgairt, near Quirang, they saw the figure of a man on 
the sky-line before them, and standing on the pathway. He 
stood in front of them, and accosted them thus: " Tell the 
minister of Kilmuir that I am waiting him hene according to 
appointment." The young men recognised the figure as that 

270 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

of the man they had assisted in burying a few hours before. 
They hurried hom>e and delivered the message. The minister of 
Kilmuir had just returned and had sat down to supper; lie 
immediately got up to obey the command, but his wife pleaded 
with him not to go out that night. He, however, said that 
he must go, and immediately got up and wrapped his plaid 
about him, and started to do the long and weary tramp to 
the Bealach. The young men determined to follow him. 
They noticed that he went round to the back of the house 
and lifted a stone with which he knocked the coulter out of 
the .plough, which he hid under his plaid. The lads kept a 
distance from him, but sufficiently near to wiatch the pro- 
ceedings. When they came in sight of the Bealach, there was 
the late minister of Stenchol waiting. When the two met the 
Stenchol man held out his hand, but they noticed that the 
other held out the coulter, which the Stenchol man gripped. 
They stood in earnest conversation for some time, till a cock 
crew down at Sartil. Immediately they shook hands, the 
Kilmuir man; presenting the coulter as before. The Stenchol 
man now disappeared in smoke, and the other made his way 
home as fast as his legs would carry him. On arriving at his 
own house he threw the coulter towards the plough. After 
he went in the: lads examined the coulter, and to their horror 
it was burnt to a cinder, which left no doubt in their minds 
a;s to the road the minister of Stenchol went. 


Iain Garbh Mac Ghille-Chaluim of Raasay was universally 
admitted to be the strongest and beat built Highlander of his 
time, and the gallantry of his exploits are household words in 
Raasay to this day. He perished in a storm in the Minch in 
returning from Stornoway, where he had been visiting his rela- 
tive the Earl of Seaforth. He was much esteemed, and his un- 
timely fate was deeply felt by all who knew him. The famous 
Skye poetess, Mairi nighean Alasdair Ruaidh, composed 
a touching lament to his memory, as did also his own sister, 
and the celebrated Padruig Mor MacCruimein commemorated 
the sad event by composing the famous piobaireachd ' ' Cumha 
Iain G-hairbh Mhic Ghille-Chaluim," which is one of the most 
popular piobaireachds to the present day. So much for 
history. The Raasay family owned a, portion of land on the 
mainland of Skye, which drove a wedge into that of the 

Social Life in Skye 271 

MacDoiialds in the parish of Snizort. This was very irritating 
to MacDonald, and he could not hide his annoyance at it, 
and what added to his feelings in the matter was, that he was 
told that Iain Garbh was reported to have said " that he 
would yet possess as far as Clach ard Uig." Iain Garbh was, 
however, too formidable a man to quarrel lightly with, for be- 
sides being a valiant man himself, he was connected with some 
of the most powerful clans in the Highlands. He was son-in- 
law to Ruaraidh Mor MacLeod o<f Dun vegan, and nephew 
to the Earl of Seaforth. What therefore MacDonald did not 
care to do by fair means, he determined to do by foul. His 
foster-mother, who also happened to stand in the same 
relationship to Iain Garbh, lived in Trotternish, and was 
reputed to have the gift of witchcraft. She was very 
anxious to get a piece of land known by the name 
of " Falach Taine," and frequently pled with Mac- 
Donald to give it to her. When MacDonald heard that 
Iain Garbh had gone to Lewis, he sent for the woman, 
and told her that if she would sink the Raaisay birlinn on the 
return journey she should get the land. The woman 
went home and set to work to carry out her nefarious scheme. 
She got a tub which she filled with water ; into this she placed 
an egg shell, and then set to watch for the galley. In a few 
days the galley was seen approaching the Skye coast under 
easy sail, with a gentle breeze from the south. The woman 
now set her implements in order. She climbed up the 
slabhruidh (the chain for hanging the pots). She gave her 
daughter a stick with which she was told to stir the water in 
the tub, slowly at first, then quicker, then to the right, then 
to the left, which raised a commotion in the tub. It was 
noticed by people watching on the shore that the galley was 
suddenly in distress. All at once a most extraordinary thing 
took place: the wind, which all day had been blowing from 
the south, now at one and the siame time blew also from the 
north, and the valley was thus caught in the eddy between 
the two. Some of the onlookers declared that they saw a 
black cat ascend the mast,, and that Iain Garbh was seen aim- 
ing a blow at it with his battle axe. In any case, the galley 
laboured heavily, and suddenly plunged down head foremost ; 
and thus perished miserably the brave and fearless Iain Garbh, 
with his stalwart crew, on a beautifully fine day, within sight 
of numbers of people lining the shore, who were struck dumb 
ai the sight. Immediately after, an immense wave rushed on 
to the shore, carrying with it a huge body of sa.ncl, which 

272 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

formed a great bank called to this day " Mol Steiseal," and 
the natives declare that, on the anniversary of the loss of Iain 
Garbh, the incoming tide makes a terrific roar on the Mol, 
which can, be heard for miles around. 

The woman lost no time in applying for the reward, and 
reporting the success of the undertaking, but MacDonald 
refused to perform his part of the bargain. When she pressed 
him he turned on her and said, " TJist, bi samhach; cha'n 
fhuilear do MhacDhomhnuill falach toine bhi aige dha fhein" 
(whist, be quiet; MacDonald requires " hide buttocks" to 
himself), which saying has become a* proverb on the West 
Coast to this day. The woman got indignant and vowed 
vengeance, but MacDonald threatened to get her burnt as a 

This was not the end of her, however. She was one day 
fishing on a- rock at B/udha nam Braithrean (Brothers' Point), 
when it so happened that her sister by profession over at 
Harris was similarly engaged on a. rock a little to> the south of 
the island of Scalpay. Their hooks got entangled in the 
middle of the Minch, and each pulled and better pulled. 
The one was a stubborn as the other, and both had faith in 
their own prestige. It was a battle of the mighty, and for 
some time the decision was doubtful, but at last with supreme 
effort she of Harris proved the stronger, and she pulled the 
other into the sea, where she was drowned, not far from the 
spot where she herself had drowned Iain Garbh. 

Tlis spot where the Ha.rris witch sat is still pointed out. 
There is a deep impression in the reck like to< the seat of an 
easy chair where she is said to have pressed down the stone 
with the strain of the pull. 

There is another story that Iain Garbh was drowned 
through the instrumentality of the witch of Badenoch, but the 
local people point out that such would be absurd, for they 
say, What knowledge could a Badenoch witch have of the 
winds and tides in the Minch? 


The belief in fairies continued to a much later date than 
in witches. There are many Fairy Knolls, Sithean or Duin- 
Sith, all over the island, and each has its own tales of the little 
men and their wonderful doings), their dances and their child 
stealing. The following may be given as characteristic 
instances: Long ago, when the clan system was in full 

Social Life in Shye 


swing, two men from Sleat went to Ferintosh for a supply of 
whisky for the New Year. Skye-men were not well up in the 
art of making whisky (though they could drink it occasion- 
ally). They had a pony apiece with a, small keg on each aide 
of the pack-saddle-, with a smaller keg on. top, in which .liey 
carried some for their own refreshment, and also to treat 
people who might befriend them by the way. This small keg 
was called "'buideal cul sra,thair.' ; All went well with them 
on the way o-ut, and they duly started on the return, journey. 
Nothing of consequence happened till they reached Gknsliiel. 
It was a fine moonlight night ; they travelled at night sc as 
not to attract attention for fear of being relieved of their 
charge. They hid in some corrie during the day, and fet- 
tered the horses near by, where they would not be seen. On 
this night they had not well started when they heard the 
most delightful music that could be imagined, and steed 
listening for some time, wondering what it. was ; at length 
they drew near, and the sight that met their eyes fairly 
staggered them. Here was a company of the most beautiful 
young men and maidens that ever they saw, dancing in and 
out, out and in. They stood fairly bewitched for some time ; 
at last the younger of the two threw his rein to the other, 
saying, " So, cum an t-srian gus an teid mi a dhannsa " 
(Here, keep my rein till I have ,a dance). The other urged 
him not to go, but he took no heed, so into the dance he went, 
and entered into it with all his might. His companion stcod 
for some time waiting till he got weary ; he went a?- near as 
he could venture and cried to him to come away, but the only 
answer he got was b.coching and snapping of fingers. It was 
now getting daylight, so he had to go to a corrie' to hide for 
the day ; when it got dark again he< went to the same place 
to look for his friend, and there sure enough he was dancing 
like mad. He went right up to him, and this time ordered 
him peremptorily to> come away, but no us ; next night he 
went through the same performance with the same result. 
There was now nothing for it but to start for home next 
night, alone, in a very disconsolate mood. He knew quite 
well that his story would not be believed, and such was the 
case : the friends of the missing man would not credit his 
story. They charged him with doing away with the man. 
It so happened that Donald Gorm MacDonald (the chief) was 
at D'untnlm in the other end of the island at the tiiv<?. and 


274 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

nothing could be dome till his return, so the poor 1 man had to 
remain on pa-role till he came back. At long last MacDonald 
came and the case was duly put before him ; the usual mod was 
held, and Angus, for that was his name, stated his case a<s 
clearly as he could; but notwithstanding the superstition of 
the time, he was not believed, and sentence was about to be 
passed on him. At this stage one of the councillors suggested 
that he should be allowed to go again to look for the missing 
mtan, accompanied by two others, and if he was not found he 
would have to suffer the penalty. This was agreed to, and 
he took the road for Glenshiel again, accompanied by two 
men fully armed for fear of his trying to escape. In the 
course of a few days they arrived at the glen, and searched 
high and low, but no sign of the missing man could they find. 
One day they met an old man, to whom they told the object 
of their search. He told them that it was a very likely story, 
and recommended them to go home in the meantime, and to 
return on the anniversary of the night on which he was lest, 
and to bring with them a stick of fiodha\gach (bird-cherry). 
They were to approach the fairy knoll at the very hour of the 
night on which the man was lost, and, when the music and 
dancing began, Angus was to go boldly up and call upon the 
man by name and ask him, in the name of the Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost, to come out of that. 

Acting on the old man's advice, the three went back home 
a,nd made their report ; the case was still not considered satis- 
factory, but as they had gone so far it was decided to give 
him another chance. Accordingly, on the last day of 
December following the three proceeded up Glenshiel, and in 
the gloaming arrived at the knoll. They waited patiently 
for some time, and at length they heard the moot beautiful 
music as if it came from the bowels of the earth, and imme- 
diately the face of the knoll opened and there appeared the 
Sleat man in the middle of a throng of young men and 
TP aid. ens, dancing and hooching and* snapping his fingers as 
before. Angus now took his courage in his hands, went for- 
ward, pushed the stick into the face of the knoll, and 
reioe^ted the formula given by the old man. Immediately 
the lights went out, the music and dancing stopped, and the 
dancers disappeared, and the Sleat man was left alone. 
Turning to Angus, he said, " Man, its you that's in the 
hurrv ; why did you stop the fun ? I never enjoyed myself so 
in 11 eh in my life." The upshot of it was that thev all went 

Social Life in Skye 


home together, and Angus was soothed with what remained 
of the whisky of last year and got his liberty. 


There is nothing in which the changes which have taken 
place in the country are more noticeable than in the relation- 
ship between master and servant, and landlord and tenant. 
In olden times a considerable portion of the rental of the 
smaller tenants) was paid by services. The churchee, mills, 
boundary dykes and all other public institutions were kept 
up by the labour of the smaller tenants. The tacksmen, on 
the other hand, had to feed the labourers each in turn while 
at the work. The tacksman let a portion of his land on a 
kind of share system to men who were called " mealers " 
i.e., labourers who gave in return for the use 1 of the land 
three-quarters of the meal produced. The tacksman supplied 
one-half of the horse labour, the labourer having alsoi the 
grazing of one or two horses and a few sheep. 

Theore was) a second class who worked on a system called 
' Lethcoise " or one foot, who' received the one quarter or 
half of the crop, according to agreement, the tacksman pro- 
viding the horses and feeding of same. These men also' had 
grazing for a stipulated number of cows and a few sheep. 
The buachaille or cattleman attended the cattle on the low 
ground, and frequently did all the marketing in connection 
with them . He was considered a superior servant ; he 
received a house and land for tillage and two cows' grass. 
The buachaille-fasaich, or moor-herd, attended the younger 
cattle on the hills, and had similar wages to the buachaille. 
Men-servants living in the' house had from <2 to 2 10s in 
the half-year, with two 1 pair brogues ; maid-servants;, 18s to 
21s in the half-year, with two pair brogues ; labourers, 6d 
per day with food ; brogue-makers, 6d per pair with food, or 
8d without food ; tailors, joiners, and masons, Is per day. 

Martin, a native Skyeman, writing in 1702, says: " The 
Diet used by the Natives consists of fresh Food, for they 
seldom taste any that is sialted, except butter. The gener- 
ality eat little flesh ; only persons of distinction eat it every 
day, and make three meals, for all the rest eat only two, and 
they eat more boiled than roasted. The ordinary diet is 
butter, cheese, milk, potatoes, col worts, brochan, i.e., oat- 
meal and water boiled. The latter taken with bread is the 
constant food of thousands in this and other Mes during the 

276 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

spring and winter. They undergo many fatigues both by sea 
and land, and aire very healthful." 

The servants' wages mentioned above were the current 
rates up to the beginning of last century and pretty well on 
into* the century. 


In the olden time the township of Breakish in the parish 
of Strath was occupied by a tacksman who was known as 
Fear-Bhreacais, or the goodman of Breakish; his memory is 
still unsavoury in the district. On one occasion the mill at 
Broadford was undergoing repair, and according to the 
system of " Cairbhist "a kind of feu-duty the feeding of 
the work-people was; upon him at the time. 

The food sent out to the workers consisted of barley ban- 
nocks and brochan. The brochan was- sent out in a small 
keg, which was usually covered on the open end with a 
dressed skin used for the purpose, and called " iomiadal." 
On this occasion the iomadal was mislaid and oo-uld not be 
found ; Fear-Bhreacais, however, was not particular, he took 
an ordinary sheepskin and tied it over the mouth of the keg. 
Some person called his attention to the fact that the woolly 
side was next the keg. " Coma leat," says he, " is ann is 
tighe a bhios am brochan " (" Never mind," says he, " so 
much the thicker will the gruel be." The keg was carried 
on a horse's back to the mill, and of course was well shaken 
on the way, and got the full benefit of the woolly skin. It 
arrived in such a condition) that no one could use it : the 
consequence was the men struck work and went home. Word 
was sent to Mackinnon, the chief, who immediately got 
another tacksman to take up the cairbhist, for which Fear- 
Bhreacais had to pay, and incurred the strong disapproval of 
his chief. 


The first Protestant minister of Strath was a very mean 
man; his greed is still proverbial in the parish. On week- 
days he gave his work-people two meals a day, but on 
Sunday, as they were idle, they only got one. 

He lived at a place called Suishnish, and kept two ser- 
vant lads ; the poor fellows dreaded when Sunday oame as 
they were always so hungry. One Sunday after the minister 

Social Life in Skye 277 

had gone to Cille-Chriosd to preach on " Good -will to men," 
the lads, a& they sat on a sunny knoll tightening their belts 
to keep the wind out of their hungry stomachs, discussed the 
situation, and they came to the conclusion that it would be 
better for them not to have a. Sunday at all than to starve 
like this, and they arranged that when they saw the minister 
returning from the church they should betake themselves to 
the ca.s-chrom and work as if it were an ordinary week-day. 

By-and-by they saw the people returning from the church ; 
they then stripped their coats and started with the cas-chrom 
as if they had been at it all day. The minister was accom- 
panied by some friends, and was shocked to see his lada 
working in the field. When he got within hail he cried to 
them did they not know what da.y it was ? One of them 
answered their bellies knew it, if they didn't. It was all very 
well for him tci have a> Sunday who could get a meal when he 
was hungry, but they would prefer to have no Sunday than 
to starve. Needless to say they got a second meal on Sunday 
in future. 


Possibly at an earlier period than that of the previous two 
anecdotes the following took place. 

The brother of a Highland chief usually acted as tutor 
to the heir, and was responsible for his education and all the 
training necessary to fit him for hi future position. He 
invariably had a special farm allcted to him neaor the chiefe 
residence. The MacDonald tutor had the farm of Aird, near 
Duiitulm, as his portion, and on the occasion of the following 
story had nine young men engaged at the spring work. The 
breakfast provided for the men consisted of barley bread and 
oatmeal brochan, or gruel. The brochan was contained in 
a cuman or ccgie with one of the staves prolonged eight or 
nine inches higher than the others, which formed ai handle. 
The men sat round the table; the bread was placed on a large 
wooden platter on the middle of the table, from which every 
man helped himself. Each man in turn took the cogie, took 
a sup, and passed it to> the next, and so on round the table 
time after time till they were done. On this occasion one of 
the men happened to be a. stranger, and when the cogie came 
to him he kept it and finished its contents. The other men 
had to finish the remainder of their bread dry, and when 
they went out they began to grumble and refused to> work, 

278 Gaelic Society of Inuerness 

and lay on the sheltered side of the byre and fell asleep. The 
work for the day was mucking the byre ; aind putting the 
manure into the fields by means of sledges (carn-slaoid). In 
those days the winter's manure was left in the byre: each 
morning a. layer of heather or bracken was scattered over it, 
and it was left till spring, when it was wanted for the field. 

The men slept on till near dinner time, and when they 
awoke they s^aw the tutor coming, and were in a flurry ae to 
how to explain the state of matters. When he came up he 
noticed that there; was nothing done, and asked the reason. 
The grieve told him the whole circumstances, and said that 
the men could not work without food. " Go you," said the 
tutor, " and take the best farrow cow in the fold a<nd kill it, 
and let the men have meat every day while they aire at the 
spring work," and thus was the first trade dispute in Skye 

It w ! as said that Donald Gorm MacDonald would have no 
man in his body-guard unless he could lift the cogie of 
brochan for twelve men in the one hand and drink out of it 
without spilling any of its contents. 


No paper on Skye would be complete without some refer- 
ence to this subject, for in some quarters there are very 
vague ideas as to social life in the Highlands in those days. 
Some people affect to doubt the existence in the Highlands of 
the substantial tenants of former times, but the uniform 
traditions of times not so far distant are not to be so lightly 
cast aside. We have many well authenticated instances to 
show in support of the fact, one or two> of which I may 
mention. Writing in the year 1774, the Rev. Donald Mac- 
Queen, of Kilmuir, Skye, says: " On the side of the chief, 
no art of affability, generosity or friendship which could 
inspire love oir esteem was left untried, to secure a full and 
willing obedience which strengthened the impression of 
education), while they were not yet abused by the chief at 
the instigation of luxury, and the ambition of cutting a,n 
unmeaning figure in the low-country. . . . All the while, 
the people preserved a< good deal of their liberty and inde- 
pendence'." In the year 1829, the Rev. Dr Mackintosh 
Mackay, in the memoir of Rob Donn, the Mackay Country 

Social Life in Skye 279 

bard, gives the following anecdote: -" At the wonted season 
of making provision for the winter according to the country's 
custom, by slaughtering of beeves, o<ur bard's father on one 
occasion happened to slaughter two-. One was found inferior 
in quality to the other. The smallpox was at the time com- 
mitting mournful devastations among the youth, of the neigh- 
bourhood. While busy in the necessary avocation of curing 
the winter's beef, the father says, ' Now, the best of this 
beef is not to be touched till we see who survives the email- 
pox.' The youthful bard, scarcely yet able to articulate or 
walk, on hearing this, exclaimed, ' He who departs will have 
a> poor share of it.' ' The story is authentic; it was pre- 
served in the country, not as evidence of the father's means, 
but of the son's wit, and Dr Mack ay, himself a native of the 
district, sees nothing uncommon in a Durness crofter killing 
two cows for the use of the family. 

Writing in the year 1836, the Rev. John MacRae, Glen- 
ahiel, says: '' The period which preceded the last era. (1745), 
so important in the history of the Highlands, seems to have 
been one during which the inhabitants of this parish enjoyed 
a, large measure of prosperity. It is still referred to- as a 
species of golden age, and after making every allowance for 
the fondness with which it is natural that, the memory of 
better times should be cherished, under the pressure of 
present misery, it is likely that the people during the period 
in question possessed in a high degree the substantial com- 
forts of life." 

In the year 1886, the late Mr Lachlan MacDonald of 
Skeabost published a pamphlet giving the rent roll of the 
three 'estates in Skye as they stood in the old clan days The 
MacLeod for the year 1664, the MacDonald for 1733, and 
the Miackinnon for 1757. The different farms and townships 
with the names of the tenants are given in detail, with the 
amount of the rent opposite each name in Scots money. The 
rents are made up partly in money and partly in kind, and it 
is interesting to notice that the prices did not vary from the 
year 1664 to 1733. A wedder was worth 2* in 1664 and it 
was worth the same in' 1733, hens were 3s a dozen, and butter 
Is a stone. What makes Mr MacDonald's pamphlet specially 
interesting, however, is the lierht it throws, on the distribution 
of land in Skye in the old clan days. The late Professor 
Mackinnoii, of the Celtic Chair, reviewed this pamphlet in 
the columns of the Scotsman at the time, and made a most 

280 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

interesting analysis of it, from which I propose to make a 
lengthened quotation . He says : 

" When the rental of 200 years ago is computed and 
summed up under its various items, and transferred into 
sterling money, and compared with the rental of the present 
time, it is found that the present rental of the Isle of Skye 
is ten times what it was 200 years ago. The land in Skye at 
that time was occupied by 3 proprietors and 139 tacksmen iajt 
a rental of 2008, and 517 joint-tenants paying a total rent 
of 900, sums which represent to-day a rental of 20,080 
land 9000 respectively. Mr MacDonald makes out that there 
were 1031 sub-tenants who> held of the tacksmeii ; ho states 
only the amounts paid by the sub-tenants in the parish of 
Sleat, which he gives a,s 19s 2d, or 9 12s of the present 
money. If therefore we take somewhat less than the average 
of Sleat, and say 9 instead of 9 12s as the average paid by 
sub- tenants, the distribution of land under the clan system 
in Skye would work out as follows : 142 chiefs and tacksnien 
holding la,nd rented at 10,801, or an average of 76 each; 
517 joint-tenants holding direct from the chief, 9000, or 17 
8s each ; 1031 sub- ten ants holding from the tacksmen with an 
estimated valued rental of 9279, or an average of 9 each. 
The same lands are occupied at the present time as follows : 
7 proprietors rated at 3652 Is, or 521 14s 5d each; 29 
tacksmen rented at 14,951 6s 2d, or 515 4s 4d each ; 44 
farmers and others paying 1460 19s, or 33 4s each ; 2043 
crofters paying 9367 9s, or 4 11s 7d each. 

" In 1750 the population of Skye. was 10,671, and Mr 
MacDonald is of opinion that it wias pretty station airy during 
the previous one hundred years. In 1881 it was 17,797. 
Allowing five persons for each family, there were, 200 yeare 
ago, 2134 families, of whom 142, or 6.6 per cent., were 
resident gentlemen with lands averaging 76 : 517, or 24.2 
per cent., were substantial crofters with lands averaging 17; 
1031, or 48.3 per cent., were sub-tenants with lands averaging 
9 : leaving 444, or 20.8 per cent., landless. Since that time 
villages have increased at perhaps a greater ratio than the 
population ; but against the 2134 families of the past we may 
not be far wrong in taking 3350 families as living on the same 
lands to-day. They are distributed as follows: 36, or 1 per 
cent., are proprietors and tacksmen with lands at 516 e^ch ; 
44, or 1.8 per cent., are hotelkeepers and others (merchants 
and others) with lands at 33: 2043, or 61 per cent., are 

Social Life in Skye 281 

crofters with lands at 4 11s; while 1227, or 36.6 per cent., 
are landless. 

' These are sweeping changes. No one can say that they 
are for the better, either for Scotland or fox Skye. Probably 
never again will 142 families of proprietors and proprietors' 
relatives be found residing in Skye, but the loss, socially and 
educationally, to the rest of the community, consequent upon 
the disappearance of this class, is simply incalculable. The 
517 substantial tenantry composing one- fourth of the entire 
population have vanished and left not even a trace behind. 
The 1031 sub-tenante have been transformed into 2043 
modern crofters who hold from the proprietors miserable sub- 
divided crofts of half the surface which a tacksman allowed 
to a cottar 200 years .ago. The landless, after their fashion, 
have multiplied threefold. The population of Skye has in 
the interval multiplied some 70 per cent., but the number of 
the high and wealthy has shrunk from 6 per cent, to 1 per 
cent, of the population. The well-to-do croftsr, the principal 
eleirent, which secured the stability of the social system and 
bridged the ever-widening gulf, has entirely disappeared, 
while the ranks of poverty and discontent haive been doubled 
and trebled. A in Skye so everywhere else in* these parts. 
In no parish in the north-west Highlands is there to be found 
to-day a vigorous and healthy community composed of all 
ranks and classes with an easy gradation from one to the 
other, such as flourished in Skye two centuries ago. Tc get 
matters put upon a permanent footing in the north various 
measures are necessary all which require time and trouble 
and patience for their full development. Immigration, emi- 
gration, education, .development of the fishing, extension of 
the means of communication all must contribute their 
quota- The consolidation of the present wretched crofts into 
larger holdings, the breaking up of unwieldy farms into 
reasonable dimensions, form an essential part of the changes 
that must be made. It will add little to our self-esteem to 
have to confess that, so far as the distribution of land is con- 
cerned, things were infinitely better 200 years ago than they 
are now. The tacksmen of those' days held their lands upon 
lease. Being in many cases near relations of the chief, the 
conditions of the lease were determined aei much by personal 
as by commercial considerations. Often the rent was easy 
and the lease was long. The sub-tenant held from the tacks- 
man by yearly tenure. His security and generally his com- 

282 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

fort depended upon the character of the person from whom 
he held, just as the comfort of the modern crofter depends 
upon the factor whoi represents the absentee landlord. In 
Skye, 200 years ago, the proprietors were resident and the 
tacksmen were numerous. There every security that the 
cottar would be treated with indulgence. Accordingly we 
find a- sub-tenant in 1733 declaring that ' he and his neigh- 
bours held their lands at the same rate as Glenhalton held 
the lands from Sir Alexander MacDonald, only that some of 
them who possess 1 a farthing of land give an acknowledgment 
to the Liady Glenhal ton of two marks and a half of kitchen (i.e., 
butter and cheese) for being continued from year to year in 
their possessions.' Subsequently, in Skye as elsewhere, when 
proprietors resided less frequently on their estates, when the 
number of tacksmen became fewer, when their holdings be- 
came larger, and the cottars more numerous, the hardship of 
this class of tenant increased. Towards the end of last 
century the whole literature of the subject is filled with the 
privations to which the sub-tenants were subjected by exact- 
ing masters who> lived and waxed fat upon the labour and 
industry of their poor dependents." 

As evidence of the treatment of sub-tenants after the 
introduction of eh. eep-f arming, I may give the following from 
the statement by Rev. J. L. Buchanan, who was employed 
for several years as missionary minister by the Church of 
Scotland in the Outer Isles during the latter end of the 
eighteenth century. He constantly travelled over the dis- 
trict from the Butt of Lewis to Barra Head, and was inti- 
mately acquainted with the condition of the people, and the 
changes consequent on the breaking up of the clan system. 
He was a Gaelic-speaking Highlander, and mixed freely with 
people of every class. He says: " But I must here observe 
that there is a great difference between the mild treatment 
which is shown to sub-tenant and even sgalags by the old 
lessees descended of ancient and honourable families, and the 
outrageous rapacity of those necessitous strangers who have 
obtained leases from absent proprietors, who* treat the natives 
as if they were a conquered and inferior race of mortals. 
Formerly a Highlander would draw his dirk even against a 
laird if he had subjected him to the indignity of a blow: _at 
present any tyrannical tacksman, in the absence of the laird 
or lord, whose presence alone can enforce good order and 
Justice, may strike a sgalag or even a sub-tenant with im- 

Social Life in Shye 283 

puiiity In short, they treat them like beasts of 

burden, and in all respects like slaves attached to the soil, as 
they cannot obtain new habitations, on account of the com- 
binations already mentioned, and are entirely at the mercy 
of laird or tacksman/' 

I must now notice the distinctive character of the old 
social life in the Highlands before the advent of sheep- 
f aimers and strangers in our midst. The. " upper " and 
lower classes; ' ' were not then separated by any wide gap 
as at present. The chiefs and lairds then lived .among their 
people, and went in and o<ut among them, and were in daily 
intercourse with them. They knew every one by name, and 
were familiar with all their circumstances; they spoke their 
language, entered into all their joys and sorrows, and treated 
them with sympathy and kindness, and, except in outward 
circumstance, were in all respects like one of themselves. The 
poorest man in the country could converse in the frankest 
manner with his laird, as with a friend he could trust, and 
by doing so he honoured his chief and respected himself. 
The old Highland tacksmen of later yearis were men of educa- 
tion .and culture;; large numbers of them served in the army 
abroad, or perhaps the armies of foreign countries, and were 
able to converse in several foreign languages. Dr Johnson 
on several occasions expressed his astonishment at the educa- 
tion and high breeding he found among ladies and gentlemen 
" occupying habitations raised not very far above the ground, 
but furnished with unexpected neatness and convenience, and 
where they practiced all the kindness of hospitality and 
refinement of courtesy." Rev. Dr Mackintosh Mackay, in 
his memoir of Rob Donn, already mentioned, in commenting 
on the extraordinary intelligence displayed by the bard (who 
was quite illiterate) of the world ad its affairs, says that 
" it was the custom of gentlemen in those days regularly to 
assemble their servants and tenants in the kitchen and read 
to them the newspapers and whatever periodicals came to 
their hands, and it is incredible the propriety and acuteness 
with which they made r'emarksi and drew conclusions on the 
politics of the day. . . . Such was the effect of this inter- 
course- that iniquity was ashamed and obliged to hide its face, 
a dishonourable action excluded the guilty person from the 
privileges enjoyed by his equals." The poorest born High- 
lander was taught to believe that be was cf as good blood as 
the best of his race, and that he was bound to conduct him- 

2&4 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

self sc that he would bring no disgrace on his people and 
country. Look how we find this running down through the 
ages. " Lean gu dluth ri cliu do ahinnsir," says Ossdan. 
" Ged tha mi bochd, tha mi nasal, buidheachas do- Dhia 'se 
Leathanach a th'aiinain," said poor Maclean. " If any one 
flinches, I will get his name posted on the door of his parish 
kirk at home," says Sir Colin Campbell to* the Highland 
' Rories " at Balaclava, and the " Thin Red Line " stood 
like a " Gaelic rock tipped with steel." 

There is one thing of melancholy interest to be seen from 
Skeaibost's pamphlet, and that iei the almost total disappear- 
ance of the native clan names from the Skye rent-rolls. Two 
hundred years ago the clan names on the' MacLeod lands were 
54 per cent of the tenantry : to-day they are under ten on 
the same lands. There is a prophecy attributed to Cbinneach 
Odhar, " that in the days of Norman, son of the third 
Norman, there would not be as many gentlemen of his name 
as would row a four-oared galley round the Maidens." Alas, 
it has come too true : to-day there is only one clansman above 
the rank of a crofter, a tenant on these lands. Two hundred 
years ago. on the MacDonald lands clansmen numbered 32 
per cent, of the tenants: they have also dwindled down to 
under 10 per cent., while there is not one aboriginal tenant 
of the name above the rank of a crofter. The Mackinnons 
have held their ground somewhat better. While two hun- 
years ago they numbered 66 per cent, of the tenants, in the 
western half of the parish (Strath) they are still the same, 
and taking the whole parish, which include the villages of 
Broad ford and Kyle akin, they are yet 34 per cent. To 
pursue this subject still further, and taking other lands which 
formerly were owned by the MacDoiialds and MacLeods 
Harris and Uist in both these islands the clan names are 
still in a, good majority. And even to go further afield, in 
the island of Lewi, which has been out of the hands of the 
MacLeods for nearly two hundred years, the clan name still 
holds its own ; and to> go farther north, to 1 the district of 
Assynt, though the lands have been alienated for very many 
years the MacLeods are still the predominant name. Con- 
tinuing in the same direction, in Edrachaolais the Morrisons, 
at one time the owners, are still the most numerous name in 
the parish ; and to take my own clan country, though in the* 
hands of strangers for nearly a century, the Mackays are- 

Social Life in Skye 285 

still in Durness 30 per cent., Tongue 50 per cent., Farr 41 
per cent., Strathy 47 per cent. 

Hew to account for these facts I know not, but to me 
they bring a very melancholy thought, that it is in these 
districts where the native chiefs have remained that the 
clansmen have disappeared, and that they have held their 
own in the places where the chiefs have gone. I confess to a 
very keen feeling of clannishness, and, notwithstanding . all 
that has come and gone,- to a great love for the old chiefs, 
and I wish I could find a satisfactory solution for this state 
of matters. 


No sooner was the Rising of the " '45 " put down than 
shoials of land speculators from the south turned their atten- 
tion to 1 the Highlands as a field for enterprise ; it was found 
that the Highland hills afforded most excellent pasture for 
grazing sheep on a large scale. The native Highlanders 
depended more on the grazing of black cattle than on the 
rearing of sheep. Each family reared a number of the small 
native Highland breed for their own use, but there was no 
attempt at sheep-farming on a large scale. The native sheep 
was a small and hardy animal with extremely fine wool, much 
finer thiam anything raised in this country at the' present day. 
Specimens of tartan cloth made from this wool are still to* be 
seen, which are marvels of finenesis as well as of manufacture. 

In a report to the Lords of the Treasury on the Fishing 
Industry in the West Highlands in the year 1782, by James 
Anderson, LL.D., F.R.S., R.S.A., he says, inter al-ifi. :- 
" Among the animial productions, these islands possess two 
articles singularly precious, which have scarcely yet been con- 
sidered as of any value by the inhabitants," one of which is 
"' wool of a kind extremely valuable, being not only fine in 
quality but possessing a peculiarly silky softness and elas- 
ticity that is not to be equalled by any other wool known in 
Europe ; of the finest of this wool some ladies here (in Skye) 
have made shawls nearly if not equal in fineness and softness 
to tnose of India. Should the coarser parts of these fine 
fleeces be employed in the manufacture of flannels, it would 
give them such a superiority over others in respect of warmth 
and softness as would ensure a ready sale in every part of the 
world where that useful stuff is known. Yet, on account of 
the laws that, under the severest penalty, prohibit the car- 

S86 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

riage of wool by sea but under regulations that cannot be 
complied with in those countries, the natives have in general 
hitherto been obliged to rely on cattle as their principal 
stock, and thus to forego one of the chief advantages that 
nature had conferred upon them. These fine-wool' d sheep 
are suffered to stroll about neglected in small numbers, and 
no national benefit has been felt from the wool. At present 
the natives, from never being able to derive much advantage 
from that wool, .scarcely knew anything of its value in a com- 
mercial light. And should they come to discover its value, 
if the present laws remain in force, there is reason to believe 
that it may be converted to* the benefit of rival nations, by 
improving their manufactures rather than our own. For as 
the risk is really smaller to smuggle wool at present to France 
and Holland, by means of the smuggling vessels which 
frequent those coasts with spirits, it is natural to think that 
they would embrace that as their surest and best, market for 
this commodity. That the foreigners begin to know the value 
of this wool appears probable from the following story the 
reporter heard in many places in his late tour. That some 
person in the islands, finding his wool at present in little 
request among themselves, had been tempted to' try if it 
could be sold to advantage in France, and that it had far 
exceeded his expectations, as he had there received an anker 
of brandy (worth at his own home from fifty shillings to 
three pounds) for each stone of wool ; and this at a. time when 
the wool on the mainland, which isi indeed of a much coarser 
quality (the produce of south country sheep), could not be 
sold at more than four shillings, and even not at that price/' 
The following is from the Old Statistical Account, by 
the Rev. Archd. Campbell, of North Knapdale: "Much 
industry and expense has been incurred in introducing a 
breed of larger sheep to this part of the country. There 
cannot be a more capital mistake; the natives of the soil, of 
whatever species, answer best. The true Highland sheep, if 
the experiment was fairly tried, would produce finer wool 
and more delicate flesh ; the native wool now sells at 2s a 
stone more than the Galloway wool, but it is contended that 
the country breed does not arrive at such a size, or to such a 
weight of flesh. The fact is admitted, but let one pasture 
the native sheep in the place of the foreign breed, and balance 
the profit and loss as follows : Native sheep are not ias liable 
to braxy and other maladies as the foreign ; the wool is of 

Social Life in Shye 287 

superior quality ; the flesh is of superior delicacy ; and upon 
the same pasture that eight foreign sheep require, nineteen of 
the native breed may be fed : the argument is unanswerable. 
Besides, no experiment has yet been tried to what size the 
native sheep could be brought." 

Rev. Donald Maclean, of Small Isles, says (Old Statis- 
tical Account) : '' ' In Ruin there is a considerable number 
of small native sheep : their flesh is delicious and their wool 
valuable. A quantity of it is sent yearly to the Redcastle 
market near Inverness, where it often sells at 14s the stone, 
while other wool sells at about half that price." He adds 
the touching information that " this island seems best calcu- 
lated for rearing sheep, but the proprietor (Maclean of Coll) 
has such an attachment to the inhabitants that it has hitherto 
prevented its being stocked with sheep." When sheep- 
farming was introduced, farmers and shepherds from the 
Borders looked with contempt on everything native ; the 
sheep were cleared off as useless, and in Skye even the very 
collie dogs were cast aside, and it is interesting to know how 
these dogs were preserved, though under a different name. 
Some of the Border shepherds, in returning home, took some 
of them with them as a curiosity. After a time they found 
thiat, when trained, they were the- better dog of the two, and 
they eventually found their way back to their own country 
under the name of v " beardies." 

The Highland chiefs were so fascinated with the prospect 
of a large and immediate increase of rent that they took no 
time to consider as to how they could make use of the wealth 
at their doors, or of the animals which Nature had bestowed 
upon the country. Had they only thought of delevoping and 
improving the native sheep, and taking means to instruct the 
native tenants: in proper modes of management and in a 
knowledge of agriculture', what an amount of bitter experi- 
ences might have been saved to the country. 

As an. illustration of the farming stock in the country 
prior to the introduction of Lowland sheep, the following 
from the Old Statistical Account is interesting: In 1792 
there were in the parish of Strath Black cattle, 2213 : 
horses, 501 ; sheep, 2486 ; goats, 180. In the parish of 
SnizoTt there were 597 horses, against 130 to-day ; Portree. 
362, against 103 at the present day. These horses were used 
entirely for the tilling of the land and carrying home the 
' peats. Such has been the course of civilisation that men 

288 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

and women have to drag the harrows and act the beast of 
burden in carrying home the peats, &c., which in less civilised 
times was done by the horse. I may here refer to the frequent 
notice taken by strangers of this unfortunate part of our 
social economy. They overlook the fact that such labour is 
inseparable from the small croft system . Wherever land is 
divided into minute particles as it is unfortunately at present 
in Skye, siuch labour is inevitable, both in tilling their patches 
of land and carrying home the peats, and, of course, in the 
case of the landless there is no other alternative. But after 
all, the back is 1 made for the burden. I never heard a Skye- 
woman grumble at carrying home the peats, but I have 
frequently heard them make sarcastic remarks at the expense 
of fine ladies " Nach aim alee tha, an druim air son a 
chleibh ?"- " Isn't it herself that has the back for the creel ?" 
But why should so much be made of 'this? It is not the 
fault of Skyemen that their wives and daughters have to 
carry the creel: it is their misfortune. If strangers, how- 
ever, would look at their own doors they would not need to 
go far afield with their commiseration.. I remember the first 
time I went to Glasgow, en landing en the Broom ielaw I was 
much astonished at seeing a number of women meeting the 
steamer and taking delivery of boxes of herring, which they 
loaded on to hurley barrows and hauled along the streets, 
and them as hoarse as crows, crying, " Lochfyne fresh heir- 
ring, new come in, new come in !" herring that I saw my- 
self shipped at Loch-Hourn. On another occasion, on land- 
ing in the Waverley Station, Edmburgh, there I saw a string 
of Newhaven fishwives with creels on their backs. I listened 
to their conversation, thinking surely they must be- frrm 
Skye; but no, the cry of " Caller herrin' " had not a sound 
of Skye accent in it. But surely, I thought to myself, these 
women must be from Skye, or how else could they be carry- 
ing creels and drawing barrows like beasts o.f burden 1 

Shortly after this the crofter agitation began, and the 
Scotsman, which usually takes upon itself the task of putting 
everybody and everything right, at once enlightened the 
public as" to the cause of the trouble. One day it was the 
climate ; next day it was the Highlander's love for whiskv : 
but at last, one wiseacre smarter than the rest made the 
interesting discovery that it was the Gaelic. He had been in 
Skye, " where Gaelic is perseverin^ly and perversely main- 

Social Life in Skye 


fained, where people lived in houses built of stones and turf, 
as their ancestors did in the days of Saint Columbia. ' ' 

On the other hand, on enquiry by another source, it was 
found that at Charleston, six miles south of Aberdeen, the 
same remarkable phenomenon existed : the people lived in 
houses built of stones and turf, burnt peats, and drank 
whisky, but there has been no> Gaelic spoken in the place for 
a hundred years. Ignorant people thought it was the 
isolated nature of the locality that was the cause of it; 
but they were wrong, it was the echo of the Gaelic cadence 
that still lingered among the hills. Again it was found that 
there was a place between Settle and Carlisle where the people 
lived in even more primitive houses wooden huta covered 
with skins. It could not be traced that the oldest inhabitant 
had ever heard Gaelic or the bagpipes, or even seen a kilt. 
This was a puzzler, until it was discovered that the station- 
master at Salkeld had a copy of Ossian's poems in the Gaelic 

A great deal has been made of the fact that in the islands 
cattlei were housed under the same roof as the tenants. It is 
not, however, generally known; that the custom was prevalent 
in the Lowlands of Scotland till after the '45, and till very 
recently in the county of Fife. The parish minister of 
Meigle, in the lowlands of Perthshire, writing in the Old 
Statistical Account, says: "'Since the year 1745, a for- 
tunate epoch for Scotland in general, improvements have 
been carried on with great .ardour and success. At that time 

the state of the country was rude beyond conception 

The education, dress, manners, furniture, and table of the 
gentry were not so liberal, decent, and sumptuous as that of 
the ordinary farmers at preeent. The common people, 
clothed in the coarsest garb, and starving on the meanest 
fare, lived in despicable huts with their cattle." 

These people were up to that time without leases, a fact 
which also had the same effect in the' West Highlands, which 
can be seen from the fact that within twenty years of the 
passing of the Crofters Act the crofters of Skye had built 
over 900 comfortable new houses, entirely at their own 
expense, and at an average cost of 120. There is another 
thing that must be taken into account in considering the 
housing question in the Western Isles, and that is the scarcity 
of timber. Till within very recent years there was very 


290 Gaelic Society of Inverness 


little growing timber in Skye, and none at all in the Outer 
Isles. I knew a man myself who had the misfortune to be 
removed three times, and on each occasion he had to- carry 
with him the timber of his house the last time for a distance 
of thirty miles. 

6th FEBRUARY, 1919. 

Mr William Mack ay, LL.D., presided over the meeting 
held this evening, when the Reverend Dugald MacEchern, 
M.A., B.D., Minister of Bower, Bard to the Society, read the 
following paper : 


War and Death have broken; and crushed the flower of the 
youth of Europe. Men therefore with new interest ask, 
" Does the- spirit survive?" Is the spirit different from the 
body and independent of it, even as the music is something 
distinct from the violin, the instrument of its manifestation? 
The study of the second sight of the Scottish Highlanders here 
obviously has a value. It contributes to 'an answer to the 
supreme questions which religion and philosophy try to answer. 
Forty years ago a Society of Science would have scoffed at this 
statement. Men were then in the dreary wiaste of Material- 
ism. The witchcraft and other superstitions of the Middle 
Ages had led to a reaction against all spiritism. At the same 
time the splendid discoveries 1 of physical science 1 of a Galileo 
aaid a Sir Isaac Newton, culminating in the theories of Darwin 
had attracted many able minds to> the pursuit of the study 
of outward physical nature with its revelation of law and order 
and development, with all their wonder and beauty. We do 
these noble scholars justice. Yet it is the fact that many of 
their followers exaggerated the claims of physical science. 
Nothing was to be believed that could not be accounted for 
by a material philosophy. The splendid House of Life; none 
of its rooms were to< be tenanted but the one chamber of the 
physical. Herein they " shut themselves in," as Mr Stead 
justly said. " from the unseen world, fearing lest they should 
see or hear or scent anything inconsistent with their snailsli-cll 

Now there is once more a reaction : now there is a more 
truly scientific attitude among thinking men, and some of ch& 

Highland Second Sight 291 

most distinguished physicists themselves now seek to open the 
doors of the other rooms of the House of Life, and they join 
us in saying " Let us explore life's magic and mystery." 

Of this magic and mystery the Celtic races have ever been 
apostles. To the Celt the ideal is the only reality, and out- 
ward things are but the vesture or the shadow of the unseen 
realities that surro'und us. Professor Campbell Sharp once 
said of the logical faculty that " it cannot break into the 
unseen world, and falls back paralysed whem it tries to enter 
it." The Celt has never allowed the claim of the so-called 
logical faculty to be the sole avenue of knowledge. Logic 
itself depends on intuitions whose truth it cannot demonstrate, 
and it has no right to- deny the validity of other intuitions. 
The word " reason" has been unduly limited. We may not 
divide our consciousness into' compartments. We must take 
our consciousness in its totality ; and our consciousness of the 
spiritual is as much a fact as our consciousness of a physical 
external world. Validity belongs to' the spiritual conscious-- 
ness as much as to the consciousness of the physical. 

Flammarioni, the great astronomer, said that' observation 
prove the psychic world is as real as the material world. The 
Gaels, and the Celts in general, seem to be endowed in larger 
measure than any other race with the psychic faculty. 

The Celts of Brittany in France are strong believers* in the 
second sight. At C'arnac, the centre of the Celtic world, 
visitors like Dr William Mackay, Inverness, tell us that mysti- 
cism envelopes the whole district. Beside the immemorial 
gigantic ruins 1 of Carnac, Mr Reginald Span tells us, lives 
Eugenie Le Port, about fifty years of age, now a seeress of 
visions, of fairies, ghosts, and spirits. According to M. Jean 
Couton, all the natives of that region believe that the spirits 
of the dead live amongst them. Most of their other beliefs 
are paralleled by the beliefs, as 1 to second sight in the High- 
lands. We must not dismiss the subject by saying that second 
sight is a violation of the laws of mature, a subverting of the 
order of nature. We do not know the laws of nature except 
in part. If these things happen, they happen as part of the 
totality of existence, that " Natura, Rerum," that general 
order, of which the material order may only be a small part. 
Miracle itself, then, whilst happening not according to' any 
known law, yet happens according to unknown laws and from 
unknown forces ; nor does miracle violate, suspend, or subvert 
known laws and forces, but only co-operates with them, or 
conquers their effect. Miracle itself is part of the general 

292 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

order of the universe, and happens according to higher laws 
and higher forces. Thus the appearance of a spirit would 
really happen as recorded, as the result of some beautiful law 
and force in a higher order perhaps not a physical order, but 
of a sphere which yet impinges on and affects the physical 

Darwin's rival, Alfred Russell Wallace, and Sir William 
Crookes, brilliant physicists, both took such a view: spirit 
phenomena themselves are part of the general order of the 
Universe of Being. The' laws and forces of a, higher order or 
sphere may neutralise those with which we are familiar in the 
everyday physical world. As Dr Andrew Tait wrote: "If 
men admit creation to be the result of the action of an 
Almighty Being, they must be ready to 1 admit miracle; for 
what isi creation but an innovation upon the ordinary course 
of providence, and the neutralising of a lower law by the 
superimposing of a. higher." 


We must approach the subject not with the intellectual 
conceit that boldly asserts what is, and what is not, possible. 
We have to remember, for one thing, that o>ur five senses are 
limited in range, e.g., we only hear those sounds which are 
within the range of eleven octaves. The vibrations of notes 
above or below that range are imperceptible. The sounds 
occur: we cannot hear them. So with light. Rays whose 
vibrations exceed or come short of a certain number are not 
able to* give> us the sensation of sight. 

Again, the number of our senses is limited. Five senses 
give us cognition of five kinds of phenomena. It is, however, 
conceivable that there may be five thousand kinds of phe- 
nomena, five thousand worlds, of which we have no cognition, 
not having the' senses or faculties needed for perceiving their 
existence. The physical sphere may be only one of many 

Again,, the physical world itself I mean the material 
world daily shows itself to be somewhat different from our 
eld conceptions of it, e.g., we cannot affirm the solidity of 
matter ; we scarcely can affirm that it is in the ordinary sense 
of the word substantial. Sir G. G-. Thomson and other savants 
tell us that the atom is so small that the human eye' even with 
the microscope will probably never be able' to see it, and that 
each yet. consists of little electrons spinning round in orbits, 

Highland Second Sight 293* 

as the ea-rtb moves round the sun. But what axe these elec- 
trons in themselves? Each again may itself be a. Cosmos! 

The beautiful philosophy of Berkeley (in O'Ur own day re- 
expounded by my old teacher Professor Campbell Eraser) has 
lately had an enormous influence in combating materialism. 
Berkeley has often been misunderstood. He did not deny the 
reality of matter, but gave a theory of what is meant by its. 
existence. He said that the reality of matter consisted in its 
being an idea (or a combination of ideas), apprehended by some 
mind. To the objection that every man would have a different 
world he answers that it has a permanent, universal character 
independent of any individual human mind, since it is the 
idea conceived by a universal and eternal mind. The eternal 
mind imposes the idea, upon the individual human mind. Thus 
there is a universal or absolute: element in matter. And may 
I not add that this seems very near the glorious and sublime 
doctrine of the Bible that God spoke and the world stood fast. 
The world is a word of God, i.e., the expression of God's 
thought. The world is the eternal idea expressed. In the 
ideal philosophy of Berkeley, e.g., an apple is known to us as 
a bundle of ideas in o<ur minds about it, viz., roundness and 
smoothness and redness, and so on : we have these' ideas, but 
cannot demonstrate that there is any substantial reality out- 
side of our mind, as we only know the reality by these ideas. 
What it is in itself we cannot say : it may not correspond to 
our supposition about it. So with all the so-called external 
physical world we know it \as> associations of ideas in our 
minds, but we have never been, nor can we get outside of our 
minds to it. We know it by ideas alone. 

In the great storm of 1832 in N. Shetland, fishing 
boats, including one hundred men with their crews, 
were lost. Dr Edward Charlton, who was at Shetland 
at the time, wroJte in his " Journal," ' I was 
solemnly assured by an old white-haired fisherman of Fetlar 
that he and his companions saw a white boat ! with six men 
in white dresses, the same, except in colour, as they them- 
selves wore, running broadside to the stormy sea and upsetting 
two boats alongside." 

The Rev. Dr Dodd, late of Caithness, now of Dundee, told 
me that Mrs Faed, the wife of the artist, told him as follows : 
Mr and Mrs Faed and their child were in the' Highlands one 
autumn or summer and got surrounded by mist on a rocky 
mountain. Suddenly a figure like a Highland chief stood 
before them on the path and warned them not to advance 

294 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

another step; and then the spectre vanished. When the mist 
cleared away they found themselves on the verge of a precipice. 
Mrs Faed was convinced that the spectre had saved their lives ; 
and to her London friends she used to say that it had been 
the most striking experience of her life. 

I wa.s for ten years minister of the' parish of Coll, an island 
which, along with its neighbour, Tiree, has long had Sdoond- 
sighted men, Mr Fraser, once minister of Tiree and Coll, 
wrote one of the first accounts of the faculty. In my present 
parish of Bower, Caithness, there are some, yet fewer, tradi- 
tions. In Coll are still to be found men with " an taibhsear- 
achd." " D. S.," lately writing in the Viking Club 
Miscellany, tells of a, seer in Bower, named E.wan McLeod, a 
servant on his fathei's farm. " Ewen was always seeing 
strange sights. He would predict a funeral a w-eek or so 
beforehand, and could see a coffin had just gone past to such 
a*nd such a house, even where there was no person ill or dead. 
He would look into the fire and poke it up ; it was a, study to 
aee his face when doling so, as the consternation depicted plainly 
showed his state of mind. There was one sight or vision that 
he often mentioned, viz., a boat labouring in a heavy aea; 
he would mention the names of the men in the boat with the 
exception of one whom he did not know, as, he said, his back 
wa always toward him. Ho would give a graphic description 
of the loss of the boat and the struggle of the men as they 
were being drowned. Strange to say, this, same Ewen McLeod 
was lost at sea in the above manner, and the person whose 
back was always towards him was evidently himself/' I may 
add that the prophetic nature of the sight is the more remark- 
able that Bower is an inland parish where few of the inhabi- 
tants ever deal with boats. 

The late Rev. Mr Sinclair, the poet minister of Rannoch, 
wrote in 1905 a chapter on the second sight. " Rannoch," 
he wrote, " was famous from olden times for the number of 
persons connected with the district who' were supposed to 
possess the gift of second sight. The mysterious gift is said 
to have been originally confined to one family ; but as it would 
appear that it was more or less transmissible to posterity, it 

gradually came to be considerably extended A very 

worthy and intelligent old lady who> was a member of the 
deuteroscopian family seemed to have had this faculty ab- 
normally developed in her." She saw apparitions of those 
who w-ere soon to be buried ; sometimes contests between good 
and bad angels for the soul about to depart ; she by her skill 

Highland Second Sight 295 

discovered drowned persons. When interviewed by the Com- 
missioner of the late Marquis of Bute in June, 1895, she 
agreed with him that the prophets of old and other inspired 
writers of the BibLe had been endowed with the gift of second 

When wo speak of the unseen, materialism may scoff and 
seek to identify spirit and brain its instrument ; but material- 
ism is contradicted 

(1) By Identity: I am not the same body I was ten years 
ago but I am the same person. 

(2) Materialism is contradicted by moral responsibility, 
which implies freedom of will, which could not be if thought 
and will were determined, necessitated, by the motions of 
molecules of matter impinging on nerves and brain. 

(3) Movement of matter could not produce sensation, and 
sensation produce thought, without presupposing a person 
who feels. The verb " sentio," I feel, presupposes a subject. 
Without that, " sensation" is but an abstraction an empty 

John Aubrey, Fellow of the Eoyal Society at Gresham 
College^, Liondon, in Aubrey's Miscellaniesi, 1696, gives an 
account of second-sighted men in Scotland, in which are two 
letters from " a, learned friend in Scotland who had got his* 
information from different hands in the northern parts of Scot- 
land, including ' a minister living near Inverness.' : Aubrey 
also gives a letter he received from " a gentleman's son in 
Strathspey, being a student in Divinity, concerning the second 
eight." He tells how ' Makphetrson' of Clunie in Badenoch was 
wooing Lady Garelooh's daughter, and how one that had the 
second sight told Lady G-areloch that " unless he marry within 
six months he will never marry" ....-" for I see him all 
enclosed in his winding sheet, except his nostrils and his 
mouth, which will also close up within six months," which 
happened even as he foresaid : within the said space he died 
and his brother Duncan Makpherson, this present Clunie, suc- 

James Grant in Glenburn had the sight. " He used ordi- 
narily, by looking to the fire, to foretell what strangers would 
come to his house the next day or shortly thereafter, by their 
habit and arms and sometimes by their names; and if any 
of his goods or ' cattel' were missing, he would direct his 
servants to the very place where' to find them." 

296 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Note the gazing in the fire : compare the' gazing a.t a crystal, 
or at <a mirror or bright light, which has an effect on the brain 
perhaps chemical putting the seer into a trance-like state. 

Rev. Robert Kirk, minister of Aberfoylei in the 17th 
century, wrote a treatise, probably published by him, and re* 
printed later in 1815 from a MS. in the Advocates' Library, 
Edinburgh. His book wias called the " Secret Commonwealth 
of Elves, Faunes, and Fairies." He deals with the second 
sight. He was a scholar, and translated the Psialms into 

Martin Martin, of Skye, graduated at the University of 
Edinburgh in 1682; and in 1705 published his " Description 
of the Western Isles. Be tells of the " taish" (taibhse). 
" The sight is a singular faculty of seeing an otherwise invisible 
object without any previous means used by the person that 
sees it for that end." . . . " They neither see nor think of 
anything else except the vision as long as it continues. At 
the sight of the vision the eyelids of the person are erected, 
and the eyes continue staring until the object vanishes." 
Sometimes " the inner part of his eyelids turn so* far upwards 
that after the object disappears be must draw them down with 
his fingers, and sometimes employs others to draw them 
down." " The faculty of the second, sight does not lineally 
descend in a family," be says. I may state, however, that 
some families do seem to have it handed down: through several 
generations, e.g., a Rannoch family well known as having the 
second sight. Martin says that the faculty is not, so far as 
he can learn, communicable: others, however, say that the 
faculty can be communicated from a seer to one who has not 
the .gift, by placing his foot- on the other's foot, or by some 
other personal contact. Martin gives rules by which they 
calculate the time of the fulfilment of the forecast, e.g., a 
shroud seen on, a living person prognosticates his death, death 
being near or far away by the height to which the shroud 
oomeis on the person : if towards the head, within a few days. 
A woman seen staging at a man's hand forecasted their 
marriage. The apparition of several women: standing at a 
man's hand meant that he would marry them in succession. 

Seers were of both sexes. The building of houses and 
planting of trees and of gardens could be foretold. A spark 
of fire on the breast or arm was the forerunner of a dead child 
to be seen in the arms of those persons. An empty seat where 
a man was really sitting meant his early death. The seer 
would sometimes fall into a swoon. The seer, after the vision. 

Highland Second Sight 


would sometimes come in sweating. A funeral in which the 
parties attending it might be recognised or might not, was a 
common sight. The corpse itself was not recognised (indeed, 
in the vision it would, of course, seem covered). A seer 
beholding a vision, and his companion seer not seeing it, the 
one would communicate it to the other : he would designedly 
touch his fellow seer at the instant of a vision's appearing. 
The fore-telling of death might be by a cry resembling the 
voice of the particular person about to die. Smelling also 
foretold events, e.g., the coming of fish and flesh. Songs and 
other sounds musical, like harp or pipe, like crowing of the 
cock and the grinding of querns, were also heard. Children, 
horses, and cows could see the second sight as well as men, 
and women ' advanced in years. The seers are very tem- 
perate. Both sexes are free from hysteric fits, convulsions, 
and several other distempers of that sort: no madmen are 
among them nor any instance of self-murder. (This seems to 
differentiate the state of the .seer from catalepsy, epilepsy, etc.). 
A man drunk never sees the second sight, nor is he a visionary 
in other affairs of life. They are not impostors. Although 
illiterate, they are altogether devoid of design. They have 
nothing to gain by it. The people are not credulous: but 
believe because of the fulfilment of the prediction. If the 
seers were deceivers, can it be reasonable to suppose that all 
the Islanders should combine together and offer violence to 
their understandings and senses to force themselves to believe 
a lie from age to age. Some seers are persons of birth and 
education. Some visions are fulfilled in the lifetime of the 
seer ; other visions not till after his life-time. It is less 
common now than twenty years ago. It is also found in Hol- 
land, Wales, and Isle of Man. It is not enviable, as it is not 
a very reputable gift. A preventive was to wear a plant called 
" fuga demonum," sewed in the neck of the coat. John Mor- 
ison, Bernera, a seer of Harris, never saw visions again after 
doing so. 

Such is a summary of the account given by Martin Martin. 
Other authorities! add that it is not necessarily hereditary. 
Yet it sometimes descends in a family as, e.g., in Skye, and 
in the case of the Mansons in the Mackay country, and the 
MacGregors in Rannoch. Some thought it was due to> a. compact 
with the devil. " They foresee murders, drownings, wed- 
dings, burials, combats, manslaughters . ' ' Visions are seen 
" sometimes within and sometimes out-doors as in a glass." 
Godly persons may have it : vicious may have it. The impres- 

2 ( J8 Gaelic Society of Inuerness 

sioii is often sudden and painful : it is involuntary. The 
sights are pleasant sometimes, more often painful. The mean- 
ing of the sight is not always understood till after the event. 

The Rev. John Fraser, minister of Tiree and Coll in the 
Inner Hebrides, wrote a Treatise on Deuteroscopia (second 
sight), published after his death, in Edinburgh in 1707. Born 
in 1647, he was educated at Glasgow University. His 
instances of second sight are all got direct. One instance is, : 
John Macdonald, a servant of Maclean, the Laird of Coll, 
meets his master on a fair day, and " seeth his cloathe shineing 
like the skins of fishes and his periwig all wet through, indeed, 
the day was very fair, whereupon he told me privately, even, 
then to one of Coil's gentlemen, that he feared he should be 
drowned. . . . The event followed about a year, thereafter, 
for the Laird of Coll was drowned in the water of Lochy in 
Lochaber." Rev. Mr Eraser's theory of the second sight was 
that " images are printed on the brain and then revived 
laid up in the brain, will be reversed back to the retiform 
coat a,nd crystalline humour," the result being " a. lively see- 
ing as if ' de novo' the object had been placed before the 
eye." * 

So far, this is similar to the modern theory that the mind 
simply draws from its stores of remembered past visual experi- 
ences. But Mr Fraser, recognising that the mind and imagin- 
ation of the seer, although the agent or instrument, could not 
be its prime origin where the prophecy of improbable events 
was concerned, asked, " Who revives the impressions?" His 
answer was that good or bad angels for their own, purposes 
revive these images that had been stored in the memory. 

Here is the principle that although the vision is not 
objective, but subjective, yet the origin of the subjective vision 
is outside the seer's personality, in spirits! or angels. Since 
he that has the second sight generally sees what his companions 
do not see, it is probable that the vision ha no corresponding 
outward objective material reality. But and here is the 
crux of the matter that is not to say that it. is the product 
of the seer's imagination, or that the apparition is originated 
in his own personality. All we can say is that his imagination 
is the instrument of the vision ; but the question still remains : 
Is the cause or origin of the vision in the seer's own person- 
ality or is it from without, perhaps from some other person.- 
ality ? If the vision should show a knowledge of the distant 
or of the future beyond what the seer's own consciciisr.-ess or 
sub-conscic>ujness could account for, it is evident that the 

Highland Second Sight 299 

vision, even if subjective, must have its source in something 
foreign to the seer's own personality. If, for example, I see 
my far-distant brother in the article of death, or I have to-day 
a vision of what takes place to-morrow, of siuch a nature that 
no sub-conscious " balancing of probabilities" could lead my 
mind to* the forecast, then the vision of sight, although sub- 
jective, without a present material object being present to be 
Been, must have an origin outside of the seer's mind, and bg 
explained by some foreign cause, such, as telepathy from a 
human being or telepathy from a higher spirit, 
or telepathy from the highest spirit or some other 
cause foreign to the seer's personality, which would possess 
that knowledge or fore-knowledge which the steer himself lacks. 
It is not, then;, ^enough to dismiss, the subject with the words 
!c hallucination" and " subjective." The hallucination can- 
not result from auto-suggestion, but must have a foreign 

Why sho-uld some men have the second sight and not 
all men have the faculty ? We answer : 

1 . Perhaps, all men have got it, but in a small degree , only 
a few having it in an effective degree. 

2. All men may have otioe had it, though most have now 
lost it, the contact with modern life having blunted or 
atrophied the faculty, life now being a struggle for the 
material food, clothes, housing, and pleasure. 

3. Or perhaps in the development of the human race we 
are developing this faculty, some being ahead of the rest where 
conditions are favourable. All may yet have it. 

Thus, highly gifted men like Hugh Miller of Cronmrty, 
author of " My Schools and Schoolmasters," or, in England, 
the poet .Shelley, may have retained powers that other men 
have lost ; or they may have in a higher degree powers that 
all men have in an ineffective degree ; or they may be in the 
vanguard of the human race and developing a power of appre- 
hending the unseen, when we read of their seeing apparitions. 
Their visions might be attributed to their imaginations, were it 
not for the correspondence of the event. Highly endowed in 
many respects, it is not improbable that they should have 
spiritual powers that many men have not at least in the same 

Domhnull Ruadh was a. pious Highland seer, and from him 
Hugh Miller, who tells the following experience of his own, 
.seems to have inherited some of the seer's faculty. On the 

300 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

evening of October 10th, 1807, his father being then at sea y 
and the night stormy, Hugh Miller tells us, " My mother was 
sitting beside the household fire, plying the cheerful needle, 
when the house-door, which had been left unfastened, fell 
open, and I was despatched from her side to shut it. What 
followed must be regarded as simply the recollection, though 
a very vivid one, of a boy who had completed his fifth year 
only a month before. Day had not wholly disappeared, but 
it was fast passing on to night, and a grey haze spread a neutral 
tint of dimness over every more distant object, but left the 
nearer ones comparatively distinct, when I saw at the' open 
door, within less than a yard from my breast, as 
plainly as ever I saw anything, a dissevered hand 
and arm stretched towards me. Hand and arm were 
apparently those of .a female : they bore a livid and 
sodden appearance; and, directly fronting me, where the- 
body ought to have been, there was only blind, transparent 
space, through which I could see the forms of the dim objects 
beyond. I was. fearfully startled, and ran shrieking to my 
mother, telling her what I had seen ; and the house-girl, whom 
she next sent to shut the door, also returned frightened, and 
said that she too had seen the woman's hand, which, how- 
ever, did not seem to be the case. And, finally, my mother 
going to the door, saw nothing, though she appeared much 
impressed by the extremeness of my terror and the minuteness 
of my description. I communicate the story as it has fixed 
in my memory, without attempting to explain it. The sup- 
posed apparition may have been only a momentary affection 
of the -eye of the nature described by Sir Walter Scott in, his 
' Demonology,' and Sir Walter Bre water in his ' Natural 
Magic.' I experienced 110 after return, and the coincidence 
in the case with the probable time of my father's death, 
seems at least curious." 

His father's ship had left Peter head' that day in a storm. 
She was last seen tacking out to sea, and is supposed to have 
gone down with all on board, never being heard of again. 

Hugh Miller tells this other experience of his. As a boy, 
playing at the foot of the staircase of his; father's house, he 
suddenly felt a presence on the landing above him, and looking 1 
up saw the form of a, large, tall, very old man, attired in a 
light-blue greatcoat, regarding him steadfastly. He was 
frightened, but divined the figure to be his buccaneering great- 

Highland Second Sight 


grandfather, who had built the house, and had been dead 
some sixty years. 

Captain Williams in his Diary speaks of a vision seen by 
Shelley during the last days of his residence at Lerici : 

" Monday, May 6th, after tea, walking with Shelley on 
the terrace, and observing the effect of moonshine on the 
waters, he complained of being unusually nervous, and, stop- 
ping short, he grasped me violently by the arm and stared 
steadfastly at the white surf which broke upon the beach under 
our feet. Observing him sensibly affected, I demanded of him 
if he were in pain, but he only answered by saying ' There it 
is again ! there ! He recovered after some time and declared 
that he saw, as plain as he then, saw me, a naked child rise 
from the sea, and clap its hands as in joy, smiling at him." 
This happened on May 6th, 1822. Two months later he was 
drowned in the sea. For some years his death was considered 
to have been due to the storm ; but many years afterwards a 
dying sailor confessed that his boat had attacked the boat in 
which Shelley was, with a view of robbing Lord Byron, whom 
they thought to- be on board. They sank it. 

Dr Samuel Johnson and his friend Boswell visited the 
Hebrides! in 1773; and the Doctor, while not convinced, still 
admitted that the evidence raised a presumption in favour of 
the reality of the 1 second sight. He at least treated the sub- 
ject fairly, and as we might expect from a philosopher. Dr 
Johnson had read with great interest Martin Martin's book 
and its account of the second sight. When in Skye, in Mac- 
kinnon's Stratn, he deprecated the attitude of so many 
thinkers that whatever does not conform to what they call 
common; sense, or to what they call " principles," is to be set 
aside. Rev. Mr Macpherson of Sleat had said that he was 
resolved not to believe in the second sight because it was 
founded on no principle. But Dr Johnson said, " There are 
many things), then, which we are sure are true that you will 
not believe. What principle is there why a loadstone attracts 
iron ; why an egg produces a chicken by heat ; why a tree grows 
upwards when the natural tendency of all things is downwards ? 
Sir, it depends upon the amount of evidence that you have." 

MacQuarrie -of Ulva, told Johnson and Boswell a strong 
instance of the second sight. He had gone to Edinburgh and 
taken a man-servant along with him. An old woman who was 
in the house said one day, " MacQuarrie will be at home to- 
morrow and will bring two gentlemen with him" : and she 

302 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

said she saw his servant return to him in red and green, He 
did come home- next day. He had two> gentlemen with him, 
and his servant had a new red and green livery, which Mac- 
quarrie had bought for him at Edinburgh on a sudden thought, 
not having the least intention when he left home to put his 
servant in livery ; so that the old woman could not have heard 
any previous mention of it. This, he assured us, was a true 
story j" 

I myself had -experience of a similar occurrence. At 
Christmas, 1902, in the Isle of Coll, I was at a children's party 
in the Castle, and in the same room where Dr Samuel Johnson 
and Bos well had passed much of their time on their visit to 
Coll in 1773. I was leaning against the piano when a candle 
set fire to my jacket sleeve. Next day I started for Rochester, 
Kent ; and at Glasgow, en route, I bought a ready-made jacket 
for travelling use in lieu of the one destroyed. I could get 
nothing to fit except an indigo blue suit the blue brighter 
than ordinary Navy. In the train I also wore my Royal blue 
University cricket cap. When I arrived in Rochester next 
afternoon Miss B., my host's daughter, exclaimed, " Oh! 
last night I dreamt that you came dressed in blue." Now, I 
had never worn a blue suit in my life since a child in a sailor's 
suit, grey being my favourite colour, and black the colour of 
my ministerial dress. It was the accident of the burning 
an accident improbable and wholly unforeseen that led me 
to buy a, suit otherwise not. required and of a colour not 
desired. In ten thousand clays I had only worn a blue suit 
once, and it was the only day on which anybody dreamed of 
me in that colour. This incident, along with MacQuarrie's 
story, gives a presumption, in favour of the theory of " a,ura" 
and human radiation which I discus further on. 

Another old writer or second sight called himself 
Theophilus Insulanus." He was, as Dr William Mackay, 
the distinguished Gaelic scholar, has told me, William Mac- 
lecd of Hamar, Skye. (See " Letter-Book of Bailie John 
Stuart, of Inverness Scottish History Society," p. 53). His 
bock, published in 1763, was called " A Treatise on the 
Second Sight, Dreams and Apparitions." His book was re- 
published with others under one cover by " W." in the year 
1818, and we must be careful not to- confound the views of the 
Editor " W." with those of Theophilus himself, an error apt 
to be made. The editor's theory was that the apparitions 
have an atmospherical origin, on the analogy of the Spectre of 
the Brocken, or the Fata! Morgana, in Sicily. Theophilus, on 

Highland Second Sight 


the contrary, looks upon second sight as a revelation from the 
spiritual world, his o-bject in writing being to cast light on the 
immortality of the soul and the existence of a Divine Provi- 
dence, and so to assert the dignity of human nature. 

Theophilus says: " Lucretius himself, though, by the 
course of his philosophy, he was obliged to maintain that the 
soul did not exist separate from the body, makes no doubt of 
the reality of apparitions, &nd that men have often appeared 
after their death. This I think very remarkable; he was so 
pressed with the matter of fact, which he could not have the 
confidence to deny, that he was forced to account for it by 
one of the most absurd unphilosophical notions that ever was 
started. He tells us that the surfaces of all bodies are per- 
petually flying off from their respective bodies, one after 
another; and that these surfaces, or thin cases that included 
each other, whilst they were joined in the body, like the coats 
of an onion, are 1 sometimes seen entire, when they are separ- 
ated from it; by which means we ofteni behold the shapes or 
shadows of persons who are either dead or absent." 

This argument of Lucretius, the famous author of the 
Atomic theory, strangely forecasts the modern doctrine of the 
radio-activity of certain bodies., and jbhe doctrine of the move- 
ment of the particles of seemingly solid matters and also the 
doctrine of telepathy or thought-tiranisference by rladiation 
between minds at a distance from each other. 

Of modern books, " Highland Second Sight," by Norman 
Macrae, with introduction by Rev. William Morison, M.A., 
F.S.A., is one of the best, giving a.n excellent outline of the 
subject. I do not, however, agree with Mr Mbrisop/s opinion 
as to the nature of second sight. He does not flatter our race 
when he says, " It is but the simple truth to say that in the 
Highlands of .Scotland to'-day many are in a state of pupil- 
arity as regards their mental attitude' to this question of the- 
second sight.." He seems to believe that the seers are subject 
to 1 gross delusions; and the: chief conclusion he comes to is 
that the second sight is founded on :e Lord Bacon's second 
principle that probable conjectures or obscure traditions many 
times turn themselves into prophecies," the idea being that 
the mind swiftly and perhaps sub-consciously draws from its 
store-house in the memory, and, from the experiences of the 
past rapidly balancing probabilities, so forecasts the future. 
Mr Morison says: "This analysis of second sight is sug- 
gested by all the observed facts of this peculiar mental phe- 
nomenon." It seems to me, on the contrary, that few of the 1 

304 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

observed facts are solved by this theory. How, e.g., can. any 
" balancing of probabilities" lead the seer to foresee an acci- 
dent which in itself is; most improbable? How could such 
balancing of probabilities lead the Harris seer always to see 
a certain Harrisi gentleman with an arrow in his thigh so that 
many were certain that he should die through an arrow-shot? 
He died without such an accident ; yet at his burial there was 
a fight between two funeral parties struggling for precedence, 
and an arrow let fly transfixed the dead man's thigh. The 
story is well authenticated. It was told to Lord Tarbat by 
Sir Norman MacLeod, who had been 'present. Again, at 
the manse: of Moy one morning I told my brother that I had 
just dreamed that my upper lip was swollen to< an enormous 
extent. We had risen early, and at 6 a.m. were launching 
our boat on the Loch when I was suddenly stung, and my lip 
rapidly swelled as in my dream. How could the memory, 
drawing from its store of experiences and balancing proba- 
bilities predict this a thing most unlikely to occur in the 
cold mountain air at six o'clock in the morning ? 

Andrew Lang's bock, " Cock-Lane and Common Sense," 
is valuable a,s a reservoir of interesting facts, but is valueless 
otherwise, owing* to his flippant treatment of the subject. 
Evidently infected by the materialism of the seventies, he^ is 
pr-cletermined against any fact that does not seem to fit in 
with his philosophy. He gives a theory that, we admit, 
applies to some cases of second sight, but he ignores hundreds 
of ether well-authenticated cases to which his theory does not 
apply the very cases whose explanation is in question. This 
is to trifle with the subject. His theory is that our savage 
ancestors were subject to sfreat mental confusion : that they 
did not distinguish between dreams and waking : that their 
condition of life and scanty supplies of food were favourable 
to trances and hallucinations, and that they practised a kind 
of elementary hypnotism. From all these would arise a set 
of unfounded beliefs. These beliefs, like myths ajid customs, 
would, endure among thei peasant class. The folk would 
inherit the traditions as to what hallucinatory phenomena 
they might expect, and as; a. result of self-suggestion and of 
expectant attention these phenomena they would actually 
behold. This would account for the continuity of phenomena., 
which again are fraudulently imitated by mediums. 

This theory of Lang's might account for the vision but not 
for its fulfilment. How could " self-suggestion" or expectancy 
give an insight into a future act in itself improbable? e.g., 

Highland Second Sight 305 

how could it prophesy an. unforeseeable accident ? Or how, 
e.g.., could the Rannoch woman with the second sight, who 
had never been in England, know that the missing Rannoch 
boy had been murdered in England, that his body had been 
first hidden in a quarry, and then, taken out and flung into a 
pool near by? To account for the fulfilment of a vision Lang 
ever takes refuge in the blessed word ' ' coincidence, ' ' by which 
he means chance coincidence. But hisi age looked upon matter 
or dust as the origin and end of existence : hisi age could not 
understand that Celtic race tc whom the material world'is but 
a shadow, or a symbol and expression of a spiritual world. 
Thank God the. dreamers in, the Highland glens have a. lesson 
to teach : there is a Horeb in the wilderness of materialism : 
every bush is afire 1 with spirit, and Sinai is aflame with God. 

Greater men than Lang made the same mistake. Kant 
gratuitously assumed that the Infinite God would not com- 
municate with men's spirits. 

Lang and others seem to think that if these phenomena 
can be paralleled in other countries they therefore have less 
value! E.g., because crystal gazing has been practised in all 
ages and in every part of the world, and because other prac- 
tices and beliefs 1 are co-extensive with the human race, there- 
fore, he concludes, there is nothing in them. Is it not more 
likely that experiences that are common to> all nations, ages, 
and climes, have something in them ? Spiritual instincts deep 
seated in the human race, and supported by occurrences that 
are reported, not only by the Bible writers, but by the records 
of all nations, are not to be 1 lightly scoffed at or dismissed as 

Belief in the faculty of second sight is still strong in the 
Highlands, in spite of what travellers like McCulloch may say 
to the contrary. But in a, sceptical age the sensitive High- 
lander will not speak of his belief nor of his experiences to the 
stranger nor to the: unsympathetic. The second-sight is a 
faculty still possessed by many, however 1 it may be accounted 
for. It is a fact which science must admit, however it may 
explain it; e.g., my colleague, Rev. A. Macrae, U.F.C., 
Bower, told me yesterday that when he was playing as a boy 
with a young brother, an elder brother wasi told by a seer that 
he saw the young brother in hisi grave-clothes. " Oh, no: it 
will be his pinafore you see," was the reply. " No," said the 
seer, "it is his grave-clothes." That day, Tuesday, the boy 
seemed in perfect health, but died suddenly on the Friday. 


306 Gaelic Society of Inverness 


The Gaels believe in teir>e-sith or the* fairy flame. The 
soul has often been, regarded aa a name'. Mysterious lights 
were seen on the Black Islands in the Kyle and taken as a, 
presage of disaster. That night three men were drowned 
there, the empty upturned boat being found' next day. I 
officiated at the funeral of one of the victims. 

Mr Young, Barrock, Bower, tells me that his mother, 
a well-reiad lady, belonging to the parish of Latheroii, was 
sitting near the bed where slept her two children, then in- 
perfect health, when she saw a light brighter than her candle 
ascend right over one of the children. Within a few days this 
child sickened, and died within six days of the vision. This 
is practically the corpse-candle. Compare the fire seen at 
Roslin before the death of St Glair. Mr Young himself one 
night dreamed that some strange beast like an adder bit his 
hand. Within a week his little child, who had been quite 
well, suddenly sickened and died. This is an example of the 
symbolic dream, where the symbol suggests some sinister or 
some happy event about to take place. 

Mr B., a friend of mine, schoolmaster at Achnacarry in 
Lochiel's country, walking one night with a pupil, suddenly 
grasped his arm and said, '' Look at these four men carrying 
a little coffin/' The boy -saw nothing. That night, fifty 
miles away, his brother's only child was born and died, and 
next day was buried at Inverness, the coffin being borne by 
four mourners the whole company on of whom was my 
father, Rev Charles MacEchern of Inverness. The mother, 
Mrs B., at Inverness, can also vouch for the story. 

Again, my brother, Victor MacEchern, was assistant min- 
ister in Edinburgh. Rev. L. W. was preaching* as a. candidate 
for a church. Victor, who that Sunday morning was on holi- 
day at Kinloss, Moray, dreamed that W. was preaching, and 
that he walked down from the pulpit, up the aisle, and back, 
leaning on a crutch, whilst all the congregation were weeping. 
My brother told, his 1 dream in the- morning to his brother John, 
asking what he thought of it. " It seems to mean," answered 
John, "that L. W. will be elected to St - , and will 
begin with eclat, but soon something disastrous! will occur 
forcing him to> lean on the staff of the church, i.e., the other 
clergy of the church." This dream was fulfilled by W.'s elec- 
tion, and his early illness enduring for three years, during 

Highland Second Sight 


which he officiated only a, few times and his death in August, 
1914. There had been nothing to suggest such a dream. 

Hibbert, writing to Sir Walter Scott, gave a. theory of 
apparitions, viz., that the apparition is seen when the seer is 
on the borderland between sleep and waking, i.e., when one 
is falling asleep or just waking. Say that you air dreaming 
of a friend : you awake and see the real surroundings of your 
bedroom ; but the dream overlaps the waking moment, and 
for a moment the dream is superimposed on the reality ; and 
the vision of the absent friend is seen in the real surroundings 
the dream persists for a moment into the waking moment 
with its reality; and vision and reality thus appear together. 

I myself have had, in the town of Thurso, such a waking 
vision. Also my brother Charles, in Texas, U.S.A., on watch 
amid great danger from floods, and probably on the borderland 
between waking and sleep, three times in the real surround- 
ing's, awake, saw the vision of his mother, yet knowing it to> be 
a vision, hisi mother being, he knew, thousands of miles away. 
But Hibbert's theory, while it explains some, does not explain 
all apparitions. 

Miss Frances Power Cobbe explained dreams and pre- 
sentiments as being the sub-conscious revelation of the 
diseased body to the brain. Thist of course might explain 
certain premonitions of death a man's disease, perhaps 
hidden, subconsciously suggesting its natural issue, death, 
especially as death is often a process, a gradual progress of 
decay. But this theory explains only a few cases. But a 
death by accident' accident that could not be foreseen is 
often preceded by a presentiment that cannot thus be ex- 
plained. No " sub-conscious cerebration " could suggest it. 

That the mind can act on another mind without the^ 
medium of words is now generally admitted. The theory of 
the German Mesmer, that there is a fluid of magnetic 
character between brain and brain, is discredited ; yet the 
theories of 

(1) Suggestion from without, and 

(2) Hypnotism, are now finding favour; and Emile 

Boirac holds that 

(3) Human Radiation, by means of vibrations like those 

of light and electricity, send thought from one 
brain to another at a distance. 

The theories of Suggestion and Hypnotism depend on the 
principle of Spinoza and Dugald Stewart, that " every idea 

308 Gaelic Society 0} /nuerness 

tends to affirm and realise itself, at least when, it is not pre- 
vented by a contradictory idea of equal power." In certain 
states of the nervous system the field of consciousness is 
contracted (or at least the field, of attention) to perhaps one 
idea, which, imposed upon the patient by the hypnotiser, 
controls and dominates the mind of the patient. The patient 
has, perhaps, previously been sent to sleep o<r into a trance 
by physical means, such as gazing at a bright light, or at a 
rotating mirror, or at a crystal : this trance state is peculiarly 
favourable to the receiving of suggestions; but all men, even 
when awake, are the subjects of suggestion, human language 
being the medium by which one mind imposes its idea on 
another. But why should there not be other mediums of 
communication besides 1 language' secret hidden processes, at 
present unknown to us ? 

In passing, note that the crystal or bright light, at which 
so many seers gaze before they are able to receive their visions, 
probably has some chemical or other effect. Kenneth, the 
Brahan Seer, the most famous of Highland seers, who, 
although many of the prophecies! attributed to him may never 
have been made by him, is certainly mentioned in civil 
records, used a Divining or Magic Stone. 

The Magic Stone, or Divining Stone, of the seer is not 
necessarily merely a symbol or badge of the seer's profession. 
It may have, and probably has, properties that affect hie 
highly sensitive organism. The Divining Stone of tne Brahan 
Seer, whether it was a small round stone, perhaps flat with a 
hole in the middle, and beautiful and smooth as a pearl, or 
not, probably was at once a symbol and a means of concen- 
trating the seer's attention and of withdrawing the attention 
from the external surroundings, so putting the seer into a 
kind of trance, during which he saw the visions. But, more 
than this, the crystal or magic stone had probably in itself 
chemical or other powers which conduce to the trance state 
powers, perhaps, such as radio-active bodies like radium 
possess, these probably affecting the seer's nervous- organism. 
E.ff., we are told that the Seer of Brahan, while he looked at 
the magic stone, found the new faculty of second sight ; but 
he paid for it at the same time by losing the natural sight of 
one eye. This suggests that the stone probably has peculiar 
properties. Keichenbach and others have experimented to 
show, and claim to have proved, that quartz, limestone, 
metals, and other materials, affect the body and therefore 

Highland Second Sight 309 

the nervous system, which again is the organ of the mind. 
Charcot, the French biologist, has shown, as " Sepharial " 
points cut in his " Second Sight," " the rapport existing 
between the sensitive subject and foreign bodies in proximity" 
e.g., a bottle of poison touching the neck. The quartz or 
beryl, crystal or rock crystal, has been found by experience 
of the ages to have a power of stimulating the faculty of 
ecstatic vision. The visions of, say, the Brahan Seeir are not 
in the glass ; but the glass conduces to the seer's ecstatic state. 
In this connection ' ' Sepharial ' ' siaysi : " It has been observed 
that the inhabitants of basaltic localities are more generally 
natural clairvoyants than others. Basalt is an igneous rock, 
composed largely of a.ugite and felspar, which are silicate 
crystals of calcium, potassium, alumina, etc., of which the 
moonstone is a variety. The connecting link is that clair- 
voyance is found toi be unusually active during, and by means 
of moonlight. What psycho'-physical effect either basalt or 
moonlight has upon the nervous system of impressible sub- 
jects appears to be somewhat obscure, but there is little differ- 
ence between calcium light and moonlight, except that the 
latter is moderated by the greater atmosphere through which 
it comes to* us. It is only when we come to know the psycho- 
logical value of various chemical bodies that we can hope for 
the solution of many strange phenomena connected with the 
clairvoyant faculty. I recollect that the Seeress of Prevost 
experienced positive pain from the near presence of water 
during her abnormal phasis." Compare Kelly, the wonderful 
sensitive water-diviner of the British Army. Along with the 
power of the crystal, the seer sometimes uses, although not in 
the Highlands', the mirror, sometimes a rotating mirror, some- 
times of polished copper or of black japanned surface. The 
mirror probably acts on the nervous system by focussing the 
light; and we have to remember that, judging by the speed 
of electricity and light, they are probably varieties of the one 
force ; and chemical force is probably a third variety of the 
same force. 

Is Telepathy, or Thought Transference from one human 
mind to another at iai distance, an adequate explanation of 
second-sight ? I answer that there' are many cases of second- 
aight which may be so explained, viz., the cases in which the 
aeer beholds an event distant in respect of place but which 
13 happening at the same time. Other cases are not to be so 
explained. The case of the two* Highland clergymen, father 

310 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

and son, might be so explained. The one Rev. Mr Cunnison 
was minister in Kintyre, and his son, Rev. Mr Cuiinison, 
minister in the island of Mull. The son in Mull, " being 
visited late' at night by & neighbouring gentleman , who was 
followed by a, largo greyhound, they took supper ; but after 
they had gone to bed, the greyhound quarrelled with the 
house-oat, and soon dispatched it; he then attacked a maid- 
servant, who giving the cry, the minister came to rescue her, 
but unfortunately was wounded in several parts in the fray 
which his wife observing, both she and his sister (a young 
maid in the house) came to the minister's assistance, and, in 
the scuffle, received wounds, having with much ado turned 
out the maid dog : he entered a cottage or two hard by, where 
he destroyed three persons : all that he bit died in the greatest 
disorder ; only Mr Ounnison caused himself to be bled to 
death. Mr John Cunnison, his father, being also' a minister 
and living in Kintyre, had a revelation of the above melan- 
choly scene, and told his wife and family that, upon that very 
night, his son, with his wife and several of his family, had 
suffered a violent death." 

In the above case there was nothing of the prophetic 
element. The vision and the tragedy weirie contemporaneous ; 
and a theory of telepathy or thought transference might 
.answer here. 

Scottish Highlanders seem to be well endowed with tele- 
pathic powers e.g., my own mother, Christina Cameron, of 
the- Camerons of Rannoch, a district noted for its female seers. 
On two occasions my mother woke from a dream just in time 
to save my life, she having dreamed that I was in great 
danger. Again in Perthshire she dreamed that her eldest 
boy, then in the United States of America, had written home 
to say that he had got work at the wage of twelve shillings 
a week. A fortnight afterwards; she received from him a 
letter saying that he had got work, at a wage of twelve dollars 
a month. She was so struck with the identity of the figures 
and the identity of the values that she wrote enquiring when 
had h written the letter. On making the equation of time 
it was found that he was writing the letter at the same hour 
as she was receiving the revelation in her dream. 

Mr M., Inverness, awoke one night vividly impressed 
with the appearance of his brother to him in a dream, his 
brother being then in Australia. He noted the date in his 

Highland Second Sight 311 

diary. Three months later he received word of his brother 
having died that night of the dream. 

Human Radiation is one theory of telepathy. Emil 
Boirac, Rector of Dijon Academy in France, expounds this 
theory viz., that the human brain constantly radiates by 
means of vibrations similar to> those of light and electricity. 
Thought thus radiates in all directions. If we ask how only 
some persons would receive the thought the radiations the 
answer would be that the radiations are only received by 
minds in tune with the sender, just as the wireless message, 
passing all installations whose wave lengths are not in tune 
with the wave length of the transmitter, is received by the 
installations that are tuned to the same wave-length. Simi- 
larly, my piano, harp, and 'cello are all tuned to one another ; 
I strike D on the piano : the harp and 'cello D strings at once 
vibrate, .and will not respond to any other note. 

If there be such a thing as this human radiation, we can 
well believe that it might often be so weak as to be imper- 
ceptible in its effects, but that in times of a great concentra- 
tion of nervous energy its effect would be appreciable. We 
knew that intense emotion can concentrate nervous energy, 
as when a man in a passion ha,s the " strength of ten," as 
in the case of .men in battle, or as in the case of the man 
stronger than Sandow, yet with no' abnormal muscular 
development, his strength being in his extra, concentration 
of nervous energy. So the human mind in a moment of 
supreme emotion!, e.g., in the article of death, say, going 
down in the Titanic, with an intensified nervous energy, 
radiates thought in a supreme degree, so that the distant 
friend is affected. Indeed, we know that distance is no 
objection in radiations: what matters is the being in tune 
transmitter and receiver. 

Mr Fraser, Australia, was affected by his mother's death 
in Scotland. He knew of it although he had no reason to 
expect it. I had this from his sister the other day. For I wish 
you to note that all the old phenomena of second sight are 
still common among Highlanders. 

In regard to " Human Radiation " we might point out, 
in passing, that belief in an " aura " or " halo " is as old as 
civilization ; and some claim to have observed it especially in 

We used to see the pictures of the angels, with haloes 
round their heads. (Of. the shining ones at the Transfigura- 

312 Gaelic Society oj Inverness 

tion). A well-known London physician claimed to have 
rendered visible the haloes by which every human being is 
surrounded, just as flowers have invisible odours and other 
bodies exhale* perfume. Mr Herbert Slater thus defines 
aura: " Not only human beings, but all animals, are sur- 
rounded by what is generally called an ' aura/ a sort of mist 
extending to a foot or a foot and a half from the body. This 
is seen by those who have the faculty of vision, to be radiating 
from the body as the air shimmers in the sunlight. It is 
generally bluish in colour, but liable to frequent changes. 
Other colours are red, brown, purple tinged with gold a 
very high order of aura, and many shades of grey or blue- 
grey. When the subject is ill, the aura, whatever its colour, 
does not radiate freely. Children can often see it, especially 
in the dark, but after the age of ten or twelve the faculty is 
generally lost. The reason of this is that the usual modes of 
living, and more particularly unsuitable diet, blunt thei psychic 
facultie& to such an extent that they become practically non- 

Vegetables and minerals have an aura. This radiation of 
all matter finds corroboration in the discovery of radiation 
from radium, and in the theory of the moving particles of 
apparently solid matter. (See " Problems of the Border- 
land," by Herbert Slater). 

Can Mind move articles at a distance? Sir Wm. Crookes 
claimed to have demonstrated that it can. Certainly 
magnetic radiations, and gravitation itself, are examples of 
one body moving another body ;at a distance without contact, 
although do-ubtless there is the physical medium between in 
the ether or whatever the medium be. Should the theory of 
' ' Human Radiation ' ' be true, would it also account for these 
phenomena which are yet common in the Highlands, as, I 
believe, they are in Brittany, viz., divining by falling picture, 
ringing of bell, etc. Mind, or thought, certainly moves 
muscles a few feet distant: why not object more distant, 
seeing that, in radiation, distance is no objection ? My own 
father has often told us that events like births and deaths in 
our family were announced by the mysterious ringing of a 
bell. I know of three such cases in my own experience. My 
father's mother belonged to Tiree, an island famous for 
centuries for its second-sight. In the neighbouring island 
of Coll, also noted for its seers, and of which I was parish 

Highland Second Sight 313 

minister, I saw in the schoolhouse Sir Hector Macdonald's 
picture fall from the wall the day he died in Paris. 

The theory of human radiation, however, is not of 
itself adequate to explain those instances in which the 
element of fore>-casting or prophecy comes in. And, indeed, 
in tEe majority of the cases of Highland second-sight the 
prophetic element comes in, and the theory of " human 
radiation " is inadequate. Wherever second-sight forecasts 
improbabilities, if we attribute it to telepathy, it must be 
telepathy from higher spirits that have fore-knowledge, oir 
from that Highest Spirit whose name is God. In sliort, we 
must postulate communication with the unseen spiritual 
world. And here there are two views. " Occultists," 
Theosophists, and Pantheists in general believe that the 
humani soul is part of the world-soul or universal soul, which 
is a mirror in which past and present events are all seen at 
the one moment. 

Theists, again, like myself, have another view, viz., that 
the Divine Spirit or other spirits! reveals the distant or th 
future to us, and that all second-sight that forecasts impro- 
babilities must be thus explained. 

Both of these views, the Pantheist's ;and the Theiet's, 
teach Inspiration and Mysticism direct converse with the 
Divine. Indeed the Christian doctrine of Immanence (as in 
St John) is close to the best forms of Pantheism if the 
Divine Spirit is not " the All," he is at least in " the All." 
" Every bush is afire with God." 

The only alternative, if we reject these two theories of 
second -sight, is to attribute it to chance coincidence. But 
the well-accredited facts are against this. 

Are there higher spirits that may make such revelation* 
to us? Christianity says Yes. Science itself must own it 
probable. For at the very first step Science takes through 
the universe it finds on this planet " Tellus," or the Earth, 
the spirits of men and the lower spirits of the lower animals, 
in innumerable legions. How probable then that in the 
myriad constellations there are other races of spiritsi ! Then, 
in the etherial worlds worlds that may interpenetrate our 
own visible world, including the earth what legions of 
spirits there may be of whom we have no cognisiance except 
dim intimations ! And then there may be other, non- 
physical, spheres which yet may affect us. For as Mrs 
Beeant has well said : ' ' All these things are looked upon ai 

314 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

superstitious by the ordinary, modern man of the world. 
Yet, since the visible world is interpenetrated and surrounded 
by the invisible, it is not irrational that the influence of the 
latter should play on the former." It is, indeed (since the 
universe of being is a> unity), a certainty that every part and 
every person near or far, human, angelic, or divine must 
play upon each other. How ? The complete answer depends 
partly on the nature of Matter, about whose ultimate secret 
we yet are ignorant. Therefore, of 'visions we must say with 
the Apostle, " Whether in the body or out of the body, T 
cannot tell." The untutored babe has an instinct to seek its 
mother's breast : its instinct does not deceive it. So with our 
other deep-seated instincts : they do> not lie ; they are 
Nature's voice, and Nature is true. So with our instinct 
spiritual : it ha,s its real, if mystic, correspondence. And as 
I have said in my " Angels of Mons " 

And who shall say that never 

There's a lifting of the veil, 
When spirit walks with spirit 

And wanders on the gale? 
Around us may be many a world 

Our senses never find, 
Where loveliest radiant beings roam 

With God and the mountain wind ! 

To the Hebrew seer, cradled on the Nile, it was given in 
Horeb to behold the Burning Bush. To the Celt, cradled 
beside the Atlantic wave and nursed on the breasts of the 
mountains, it is given to apprehend that ever-living spirit 
world that penetrates the world of matter " This muddy 
vesture of decay." 

The following paper on " The Place-Names of Coll," by 
the Rev. Dugald MacEchern, M.A., B.D., was read on let 
February, 1906, and was subsequently mislaid, thus falling 
out of its place in proper sequence. 


If we take up Blaeu's Map of Coll, 1662, out of about 
thirty names given, only five or six are Gaelic, the rest being 
evidently Norse. To-day all the chief names (with one 
exception, Arinagour) are Norse, although most of the 

Place-Names of Coil 315 

smaller names are Gaelic. Coil's history is in general that 
of the Hebrides, and its more particular history may be 
found in Dr Erskine' Beveridge's valuable book on the 
Antiquities of Tiree and Coll. I may, however, in a> few 
words outline that history, so* far as it boars on the place- 

As will appear later in this paper, Coll is just mentioned 
in Adanman's Life of St Columba, but little is known of it, 
and little reference made to it, in comparison with Tiree. 
The two islands were, however, so intimately related to one 
another, especially ecclesiastically, that I aim inclined to 
think that the name Tiree (Terra Ethica, Regio Heth, etc.) 
was often used to embrace tho two< islands e.g., Kilchainie 
of Tiree is paralleled with Kilchainie of Coll ; the former is 
known to have been founded by St Kenneth of Kilkenny in 
Ireland, who resided some time in Tiree. It is not impro- 
bable that Kilchainie in Coll was also part of his cure. 

In 798, 802, and 806 the Norsemen were ravaging the 
Hebrides. Ketil Flat-nef is the first prominent Norse settler 
mentioned in records of the Hebrides, having either been 
sent by Harold Fair-hair, King of the Hebrides, to the 
Hebrides, or been an emigrant not in favour with the King. 
Harold was born .about 853, and Ketil's daughter Aud 
married King Olaf the White, who ruled then the coasts of 
Dublin over the Finghaill and the Dubhghaill, the Nor 
wegians and Danes, who were so called probably not, as has 
been suggested, because of the colour of their ships or of 
their sails, but because Danes were then, as they are to-day, 
a little darker than Norwegians. Ketil's father was named 
Grim, and his grandfather was named Bjorn. One of 
Ketil's sons was disgusted that the rest of the family 
accepted Christianity. Ketil died in the Sudereys before 
884. The Norse settlers seemed gradually to* be Christianised, 
although Norway did not nationally adopt Christianity till 
the year 1000. Thorstein the Red was Ketil's grandson. 
Thorstein's daughter married Kol, who was fostered in the 
Sudereys, and who from Iceland later on kept up his con- 
nection with the Hebrides. About the year 1000 we find 
Earl Gilli, a chief tributary to Earl Sigurd of Orkney, and 
evidently having his residence in Coll (Kola). Gilli married 
Sigurd's daughter and took her to the Hebrides, probably to 
Coll. According to Munch, Gilli was ancestor to Somerled 
Holdr, the descent evidently being: Gilli, Gille Brighde, 

316 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Somerled, Gilla Adomnan, Gilla Brigde, Somerled Holdr, 
If so, Gilli 's son being Gilla Brigde, and his great-grandson 
again being a Gilla Brigde, it seems not unlikely that Earl 
Gilli of Coll had his name shortened from Gille Brigde. One 
of the three saints to whom shrines have been dedicated in 
Coll was St. Bride we have still Kilbride in Coll. Earl 
Gilli, if his name be Gaelic, may have been more of a Gael 
than of a Norseman, and the same may be said of Somerled's 
other ancestors who' bore Gaelic names. The first Somerled, 
called " son of Gilla Brigde, King of Innse Gall " the Irish 
name for the Sudreys seems) to have been born just about 
thirty year's after Gilli 's marriage, and if Gilli was .his 
grandfather as the above table set fortTi, the dates work out 
suitably enough. The great Somerled Holdr married 
Ragnhildis, daughter of Olaf Bitling, his four 1 sons being 
Dugald, Rognvald, Angus, and Olaf. Till the battle of 
Largs (1263) the island kings acknowledged the supremacy of 
Norway; but King Haco's defeat ended the Norse rule. 
Norsemen were then either to leave the Hebrides, or remain 
provided they were loyal to the Scottish throne'. Many 
Norsemen evidently stayed. 

Coll. which had been Earl Gilli's seat in 983 and succeed- 
ing years, is found again, between 1187 and 1229, as the 
chief residence (according to Skene's " Celtic Scotland, " 
"Vol. III.) of Reginald, King of the> Isles, being addressed 
as " King cf Coll " in an Irish poem. So Mr Beveridge 
points out. This brings us to the thirteenth century. In 
the next century, according to Coll tradition, Maclean of 
Duart, on his way to Tiree calling at Coll for provisions, was 
told by a woman that he was unworthy of them so long as 
he allowed Lochluinnich or Norsiemen to possess Coll. He 
thereupon attacked the three brothers from Lochlinn who 
held Coll then, viz., Amlamh Mor on the island fort Duri 
Anlaimh in Loch nan Cinneachan, another in Dun Bithig 
in Totroiia.ld, and another at Dun Dubh in Grisbol hill. 
The fight took place at Grimsary. 

Maclean of Dua,rt had Tiree- by charter, 1390. The Mac- 
leans of Coll held Coll for 472 years, ending with 1856. 
This would make 1384 the year of their possession of Coll. 
Maclean of Duart is known to have received a charter for 
Feall in Coll in 1409, and his grandson, John Garve' gener- 
ally counted the first Maclean of Coll seems to have had an 
inherited right to Coll when he slew his mother's second 

Place-Names of Coll 317 

husband, Mac-Neil of Barra, as being a usurper ot his 
(John's) inheritance of Coll. His mother was a MacLeod. 

Coll was sold in 1856. Daughters of the last Maclean who 
possessed Coll are still living, having been born in Coll Castle 
when it was their father's. Their brother, the last chief of 
the Coll Macleans, died, I think, about 1882. Col. Stewart 
of Coll, the present proprietor of the estate', bears the surname 
of him who overthrew the Norsemen at Largs; that Stewart 
who commanded the Scottish army that day. 

The two> ends! of the: island are the property of Campbells 
sisters one of them Mrs Buchanan of Tiree. These parts of 
Coll formerly belonged to the Dtike of Argyll. 

The etymology of the name Coll itself is interesting. The 
word is pronounced really in two< syllables in Gaelic Colla, 
the second being a very short indefinite a. As the name 
is pre- Norse, derivation from Norse is out of the question. 
Dr MaicBain suggested that the derivation of the word was 
Call, old Irish Gaelic Coll = modern Calltuinri, " hazel," 
" Hazel Island" being the meaning. Unlikely as that seemed 
in an island so destitute of trees and bushes, I found that the 
hazel had once been plentiful. Hazel nuts are found in " any 
amount/' 'as the crofter will tell you, in the peat. Branches 
of trees and roots of various kinds are met with in the peat 
often with difficulty cut by the axe, and a hard black wood 
is found that is difficult to saw. That trees were once common 
is proved by these remains, and that large trees are actually 
grown to-day, although in sheltered spots, viz., at the Castle 
garden and Grisbol. There is a bay called Bagh na Coille in 
the N.E. end of Coll which used to be a chief harbour for dis- 
charging building material for the island. And that bay 
being the nearest port to the channel between Coll and Ardjiar 
murohan would naturally be often frequented by boats and 
ships voyaging north and south. The wooded character of the 
bay might be so striking as to suggest a. name for the whole 
island. In this connection we note- that Adamnan's life of 
St Columba uses the term " in saltibus" in reference to the 
lona of that day. As late as the years 1580 or 1590 a report 
on Coll says that Coll is " very fertile alsweill of corns as of 
all kind of catell. Thair is gium little birken woodis within 
the said He." 

We have the name Col in the records of the Norsemen, 
" Thadan heldu their nordr til Kola," where all authorities 
identify Kola with Coll (except Munch, who makes it to mean 

318 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Colonsiay). The Life of St Columba, written by his successor 
Adamnan, Abbot of lona, has hitherto been supposed to make 
no reference to> Coll. 

The late Mr E. W. B. Nicholson, indeed, thought that 
he had discovered it in the last syllable of Adam nan's Artdain- 
uirchol," which he proposed to explain as " Heights of the 
Sea of Coll," and Dlr MacBain did not repudiate the idea. 
But, as Professor W. J. Watson has pointed out to me, Mr 
Nicholson's explanation, is untenable, and that for two* reasons. 
" ArtdainuircnoP ' is represented by the modern Ardna- 
murchain, which is. stressed on the last syllable but one, but if 
the name meant originally what Nicholson says it meant, the 
stress should be on the laat syllable'. Even when names get 
modified for one reason or another, the position of the Eitress 
remains. Also, the grammar is impossible for Old Irish, 
tho'Ugh it might pass in Gaelic of to-day. The second reason 
is the very interesting one that Adamna,n does mention Coll 
twice, though the reference has not been generally recognised. 
In chapter 23 of his. second book, he relates Columba's en- 
counter with a certain marauder in, who sailed 
away with his booty in defiance of the Saint-. Columba, being 
at the time" in Ardnamurchan, spoke to his companions in 
that hour these terrible words, saying, " This miserable wretch 
. . . will never return to the port from which you have seen* 
him set sail (Aitchambas in Ardnamurcban), neither shall he 
nor his wicked associate reach the land for which they are 
bound." As the Saint and his followers sat there on the 
higher ground, " after the lapse of a few moments, a cloud 
arose from the sea., and caused a> great hurricane, which over- 
took the' plunderer between the Malean and Colosus islands 
(inter Maleam et Colosum insulas), and overwhelmed him in 
the midst of the sea" (Malea insula. is Mull). Bearing in 
mind the words " after the lapse of a few moments," we can 
infer that by Colosus, Adamnan means Coll. Skene identified 
Colosus with the. larger Colonsay, which would demand not 
a few moments," but many hours of sailing. Professor 
Watson informs me also that Colonsay means undoubtedly 
:c Kolbein's Isle," a name of Norse origin. The other refer- 
ence to Colosus, which we may now safely identify with Coll, 
is in Book I., c. 33, where Adamnan tells how Columba 
instructed two> of the brethren to sail over to Mull and look 
for Ere, " a, robber who came along last night in secret from 
the island of Colosus" to steal seals, from a small island " where 

PI ace-Names oj Coll 

our young- seals are brought forth and nurtured." Adainnan 
does not say that Ere was a native, or even a regular inhabi- 
tant, of Colosus, nor need we be anxious to claim him as such, 
but hi is certainly the first petrsonal name to be connected 
with Coll. How the identification of Colosus with Coll affects 
Dr MacBaiii's derivation from " coll," hazel, I do not pre- 
tend to say. 

A note on the Personal Name of Coll may be of interest. 

There are four prominent names Maclean, pronounced 
in Coll exactly as Mac'IU'eathain, McFadyen, Mac- 
Kinnon, and MacDonald. There' are also Campbells, Mao 
Inneses, Kennedys, MacDougalls, and Johnstons. In the 
Kirk Session records of 1735 in general there are patronymics 
but no surnames, except in the case of the members of Session. 
By 1776, when a census of the island was taken, the 938 of a 
population all have surnames. Amongst the names found 
then and later in these; records, in addition to those already 
mentioned, iare Beaton, Mathison, Daroch, Bet-hune, 
McMillan, Ferguson, McQuarrie, McCasgi, McCasgie, and 
McCasgail; McLugais and Lucas now McDougall and 
Marion McKillipatrick. Una. occurs several times, sometimes 
as tinny, and we find also Abram, Clementina, Julian, and 
Condulli. MacFadyen is spelt generally McPhaiden. Neil 
Rankin (1800) and Quin Rankin represent the family of 
Rankin, hereditary pipers to Maclean of Coll. The Condulli 
mentioned above I forget his surname -I suppose is a son 
of Neil Rankin, and the same as the Major Condulli Ranldii, 
Neil's son, who distinguished himself in the American War of 
1812-14, and in the land agitation in Prince Edward Island 
in 1837. Dr MacBain, in his '" Early Highland Names," has 
an interesting note on this family who- were known as Claim 
Duilidh, and amongst themselves as Con-duiligh (Cu-duiligh), 
which seems to mean the " ea^er hound." Raingce, father 
of Conduiligh, is given in 1450 MS. as great-great-grandfather 
to Gilleoin, the first of the Clan Maclean so named. Close to 
the Coll Castles, old and new, there was a hut in 1773 called 
Tigh an Fhrangaich, visited by Bo'swell and understood to be 
" the Frenchman's Hut." I suggest it may have been the 
cottage of one of the Rankins, one of whom must have been 
rmarbered near the castle in the times when the piper had to 
be within call of the chief's house. To-day a> descendant of 
the Rankins has the Christian name Quin or Queen. 

3-20 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

The name Sween MacSween found in the old census was 
not a Coll name, he and his wife, Una MacDoiiald, being 
newcomers to Coll from Skye. They are also mentioned in 
the records of Dr Johnson's tour. Mrs MacSween, dressed 
in tartan, and able to converse only in Gaelic, made tea for 
the great lexicographer and his companion, Boswell. The 
Atlantic surged almost up to the door of Grisbol House. It 
was there that John Garve had slain the usurper MaoNeill. 
A few steps away was the spot where the Gille Riabhach had 
made> his wonderful leap over the stream, and a few hundred 
yards away was the hillock where, till eight years before, 
had lain the bones of the son of the King of Lochliii. What 
a contrast the scene presented to Dr Johnson's Fleet Street 
tavern, or to the home of thei Thrales ! 

Another Christian name found in the census record is 
Gornmill, or " Blue-eye." Oighrig is still in use and Eng- 
lished as Euphemia,. We also have Raol or Raonull, Note. 
Quin (of the Quin Rankin mentioned above) may be from 
Con, and a short form of Con-duiligh. We have also Sheel 
(G. Sil) for Julia. Sil Fheall = Julia of Ben Fell. 

Of the personal names mentioned in this sketch of the 
island's history the following appear in the place-names of 
Coll: Kenneth, Bridget, Olaf or Amlaimh, Grim, Bjorn, 
Thorstein (?), Kol (?), Rognald (Raonuill), Leod, viz., in 
Kil-Chainie, Cill Bhride, Dun Anlaimh, Loch Anlaimh or 
Loch nan Cinneachan, Grimsary, Bernary (not Bern era), 
Toristaiii, Tot-Raonuill or Tobhta-Raouill, and Airigh- 
Leoid. The name Aud I have seen equated with Uniiy. 
In any case, Unny and Una appear frequently in the per- 
sonal names of Coll of a century ago. 


Sodisdale, pronounced now Sorisdale (o very long) ; Sodisdel 
1662. Evidently the Terra de Sotesdal of Pope Inno- 
cent's charter, 1203. Sedustill 1558. The meaning is 
probably Soti's Dale ; Soti, '' Sooty," was a man's name, 
or rather nicknaone. 

Soa Norse saudr, a sheep, and ey, an ialand Sheep- isle. 

Bousd Bolstig and Port Bolstig in Blaeu's Map, 1662, also 
as Pollis, 1558; now called Bousda. Nor&e bolstadr, a 
stead, and vik, a bay. Bousd is also found in Arina- 
bost, and in 

Place-Names of Coll :*21 

Mibcst Norse injo, narrow, and bolstadr, a stead Narrow- 
stead . 

Gri&hipoll G. Gris'bol (Grisbol, Blaeu, 1662; Crecepoldo 
1528) ; Norse griss, boar, and bolstadr, ai stead Wild- 
boar stead. (Griss may be a man's name' Ed.). Bos- 
well, in " Johnson's Tour," says, " We then proceeded 
to Grissipol or the rough pool," but his etymology seems 
defective hero. Grishipoll is interesting not only as 
having seen Sween MacSween entertadn Boswell and 
Johnson, but as having been the scene of that encounter 
between John Ga,rve Maclean and MacNeil of Barra 
Maicleain's step-father, his mother's second husband. 
John Garve killed MacNeil at Grishipoll. Maclean's 
servant, " an Gille Riabhach," who also was in the 
encounter, on being pressed by his opponent leapt back- 
wards over the brook at a spot now called after him 
" Leum a' Ghille Riafohaich." The Macleans of Gar- 
many are of the Grishipoll family. They went to Ger- 
many about 1750 I think. One of them holds the 
Prussian Bjronze Cross for his audacious riding into 
Versailles with Fes than a dozen men during the Franco- 
Prussian War. He threatened to destroy the town if 
it did not immediately surrender. Imagining that the 
Prussian Force was at hand, Versailles and 30,000 troops 
surrendered. He is called the Conqueror of Versailles. 
Hisi son and his brother have visited Coll lately. 

Fiskary (Fiskarg), pron. Fioscara Perhaps Fish shieling ; 
from Norse fisk. The district is near that shore of Coll 
beside which most of the fishing is done. 

Calgary Dr MacBain suggests kaldr, cold, and gerdhi. Cf. 
Calgarry Point in Mull, its position being, like Calgary 
in Coll, a point in the furthest weat and most exposed 
part of the island. 

Ben Feall G. Beinn and Norse Fjall, a fell. The hill is one 
of the two highest hills in Coll, Ben Hogh being the 
other; Ben Feall is therefore a tautology. Maclean of 
Dowart, slain at Harlaw 1411, held at least Feall in Coll 
by charter of date 1409, Tyrvnghafeal Tirunga Feall 
being mentioned, Tirunga being a measurement of 
land, like davach. Blaeu, 1662, has Ben Faill and 
Faill. Langlands, 1794, Feaul. Feall isi also given to 
the district round the hill. 


322 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Cornaig : CoTnaigmhor and Cornaigbheag (Konnaig, Blaeu, 
1662) Norse Corn and vik, Corn-bay; mor and beag 
of course being later Gaelic additions to the name. 

Crossipol Norse Kross, a ross, and bol-, a, stead or 
" toun " town of the Cross. It has a, burying-ground, 
still used, and site of a chapel, and forty years ago it 
had the abaft of a fine sculptured cross, which has now 

Grims-ary Norse Grim, a- proper name (from adj. grim, ugly); 
and erg, a, sheiling, Grim's abetting. Dr MacBain points 
out that the Norsemen borrowed erg from the Gaelic 
airigh . 

Claich Chrosamul Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish r and 
1 in the Coll pronunciation. R in " mart" gives way to 
s, mast. Again, " thairis" becomes " fairis," as it does 
in some other districts, and " their" (fut. of verb " to 
say ") is " feir." Sometimes like Chrosamur. 

Chrosamul Norse' cross, and muli, end of a, ridge. 

Uig Norse vik, Wig (1528), a, bay. It is the district above 
Breaoacha Bay, one of the largest bays in Coll. 

Feairnis is a promontory south-west of Hogh Bay. Probably 
from Norse fjar, ebb-tide, and nes, a. nose or promontory. 
But compare Norse for-nes, a promontory. 

Sgolinus Norse, probably from skolli, ai fox, and nes, nose 
or point Fox-promontory. 

Ornsay, pronounoed Orasa, or rather Ora-asia. Norse Orfrist-ey, 
Ebb-tide Isle, a common island name in the Hebrides. 

Caolas (Kelis) The narrow between, Cbll and Tiree the Kyle. 

Freslan, Friesland, Fresland (Langlands), pronounced Freaslan 
as a in English " faoe"). Dr MacBain suggests Threelan 
or Thraslan, Thrasi's Land, from Thrasi, a proper name, 
as in Freswick in Caithness, which was originally Tras- 

Loch Urishaig, of Langland's map, 1794, is evidently a mis- 
print for Loch Urbhaig (which see). 

Coille Chainasigaig Chanasgaig seems Norse .= wood of 1' 


Eagamul Eag na. maoile of the ma.p should be written Eaga- 
mul according to the pronunciation, accent on first syllable 
only. Probably Norse egg, a notch, and holmr, islet, or 
else muli, a ridge. I have not visited it. Beside it is 

Suilghorm on map, but it too may be Norse, sul, a pillar. Cf . 

Place-Names of Coll 


Ben Hogh, Baile-Hogh, Traigh Hogh "How" in Blaeu 1662, 
from Nora haugr, a. burial mound or cairn. Beinn Hogh. 
is also pronounced Beinn T'ogh (t being often prefixed to 
Norse h), both ways bein? frequent. It is the highest 
hill in Coll, and has traces of a. cairn or dun on tl\e top. 
A few yards from the summit is a, heavy mass of rock 
weighing many tons, flat like a table or altar, and resting 
on three little stones a feet a.n inch, or two> high, the rock 
being about six feet deep. Boswell in 1733 went up the 
hill to examine it, whilst Dv Johnson remained at the foot 
reading a book. Rider Haggard in his book " A Farmer's 
Year," which records one of his visits to Coll, argues that 
although the rock is native to the spot, the little stones 
which might have supported it for a few centuries could 
not have borne the weight for long cycles of time, and that 
therefore it was so> set on its supports by human hands. 
There is a similar boulder similarly set not far away, and 
they have been found elsewhere. The tradition that the 
stone on Ben Hogh was an ancient " Sacramental table" 
may have come down from pagan times. The endurance 
of ancient tradition and custom is marvellous when I 
remember that even in the Modem Athens I used as a 
boy to form part of the company which ascended to the 
top of Arthur's Seat to see the sun rise on the first of 
May. Unconsciously I was, I suppose, keeping up a 
pagan form of sun worship. 

Clach a Log Log or Lok also comes into the name 

Traigh Logabhaig (or Logavick, which is further north on the 
same shore. Logabhaig seems to represent Norse " lauga- 
vik," Leek Bay; compare lauka-gardhr, a, leek garden. 
Clach a Log is a, great boulder on the shore which is flat 
but rocky, and has other boulders, but this one is bigger 
than the rest. It is only a few hundred yards along the 
shore from another curiosity called 

The Queen's Stair, where a. volcanic disturbance has left the 
rocks as if great steps, about seven feet long and two feet 
deep and wide, had been roughly thrown down parallel to 
one another to form a stairway sloping gradually from the 
grass above the high tide mark two or three hundred yards 
right out to sea. At one of these steps is another curi- 

Tobair Nighean, an High, or the Well of the King's Daughter. 
The well is circular, about two feet in diameter, an. inch 
or two deeper than a man's bare arm can fathom, and it 

324 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

is chiselled smooth in the rock with mathematical accu- 
racy, possibly the tide working little stones inside it has 
so The stone beside it has the appearance of 
a chair, and probably in pagan, times the Stairway and 
the well in combination have had some sacred character. 
Cla,ch a log is inside a few hundred yards along the shore. 
North Trelvick and South Trelvick, pr. Treal'vaig Pro- 
bably from Norse troll, a. troll or elf, and vik, a bay 
Haunted-bay. The bays are> in a desolate part of Coll, 
and have the character of being haunted. 

Traigh nan Acan, Tobar Traigh nan Acan In Skye we have 
Kyleakin, C'aol-Acan, called after King Haco, of La-rgs 
fame, according to tradition. The shore might have 
been called after the Hacos by their Norse subjects in 

Island Vigastill Island of Castle Bay : Eilean Biagh a 
Chaisteil, beside the Breacacha Castles. The bay is 
now called Breacacha Bay. 
Ardnis Ardnis is Gaelic " ard-innis," High Mead, or Cape 


Lech Urbhaig There is an Urvaig on north shore of 
Tiree. In Coll it is not an arm of the sea, but 
is near the sea-shore, from which the; name may have 
got transferred. It is also near the haunted Trelviks. 
Probably Norse urdhar-vik (shortened) ; from Urdh, a 
heap of stones on the sea, beach. In Arran there is the 
rocky ridge called Ceum na C'aillich Urd, meaning Leap 
of the Witch Urd (according to the oldest men in Arran, 
although now shortened to Ceum na Caillich), suggesting 
one of the three Norns or Weird Sisters. 

Tobar nan Clach Uaine Well of the Green Stones. This 
is near the site of the old chapel, near what is now Mac- 
lean's tomb. The custom was for every visitor to it 
to leave a, little stone beside it. .It was said that if yo>u 
carried dulse from Soa in one hand and, with a stone 
in your hand from the shore, drink from the well, -you 
would never die in Coll. 

Cuith Mhic Dhomhnuill Bhaiii, Cuith Dhughaill, etc. Na 
Cuithean, the enclosures or folds. Norse kvi, a fold for 
sheep or cattle. This word is common in Coll. It is 
found in Cuith nan Druineach, Fold of the Craftsmen, 
or artificers. 

Plaoe-Names oj Coil 325 

Acha, and Dun Acba, but its full name is Dun Acha Bhcr- 
rclam ; also Dun Bhorlum Mhic Anlaimh righ Loch- 
lainn. The tradition is that on this height or short 
ridge, which itself is a natural castle, there was a fort 
the stronghold of a Norseman, son of Olaf or Anlamh, 
and that it was set fire to. There are, it is said, still 
traces of its having been destroyed by fire. Borlum is 
" board-land, " the home farm of a residence or mansion, 
and the name as it stands means " the Board-land of 
the son of Anlaf, king of Lochlann." The people, how- 
ever take Borlum to- be a proper name. 

Eileaii Bhoramuil seems to be the Voialum of Blaeu's Map, 
1662 ; perhaps a misprint for Eilean Voralum : the 1 
and the m transpose very readily. This would make it 
Fort Island, from Norse borg, a dun, and holmr, an. 
island. Many of the islands on north of Tiree shore 
have this ending, -lum or -lam, evidently for holmr 
e.g., Vadelum and Mhealum of Blaeu's Map. 

Rubh' a Bhaile of the maps is wrong, as the pronunciation is 
Rubha Val (long a). Cf. Vaul in Tiree. Valla, gen. 
pi. of Norse vellir, fields. 

Poll Fadhain 

A Mhealaach The sands overgrown with bent grass. From 
Norse melr, bent grass. Cf. Melvaig and Cnoean 
Mealbhain in Tain. Melr itself is not used in Coll, the 
word for bent-grass being muran, which gives usi Port a* 
Mhurain, at the end of a mile's stretch of sandhills cove'red 
with bent. Blaeiu's map 1622 has Mealum as name of an 
island in Tiree* proba.bly Norse melr, grass, and holmr, 
an islet. 

Fi-islum (accent on first syllable), (wrongly Feshim in modern 

Fiosdlum Last syllable may be Norse holmr, an islet. I have 
not visited Fioslum, but was told therei is an, islet there. 
It is at the S.E. shore. 

Toristan Torristry, Blaeu 1662; Toressa, Mag. Sig. 1528 
(Balleraig is about the same place 1 , accent on first syllable) ; 
probably Norse Thori's Stein, Thor's Stone, or Thorstein, 
^roper name (cf. English name Thurston). Thor or Thori 
is common in Norse place-names in Highlands. 

Cliad, with Loch Cliad and Traigh Gliad. Claid (1528. Mag. 
Sig. liber 22). Cf. Cliadal in Egg. The Gaelic dictionary 
has cliata., a, meadow. And on the analogy of Norse setr 

326 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

which in Orkney is often settr, e.g., in Folsetter), which 
become siadaor in Lewis, one might expect cliad from 
klettr. But klettr elsewhere becomes cleit. In Tiree it 
is common, and is used there for a sea-rock. Blaeu's map 
of Coll and Tiree, 1662, has kliad for Coll, whereas the 
Tiree rocks .are named *' clet." On Loch Cliad are two 
island duns with causeway under the water. Blaeu's 
map, 1662, shows a house or fort pictured on the Eilean 
Loch dead or Claad, .and C. Kliad beside it, and Kliad 
east of the Loch. C. may be for Caisteil. The farm is 
now north of the Loch, and the name is used more for the 
district on the north- west side of the farm. 

Eilean Ascaoineach and Askeren of the modern maps are 
geographer's mistakes for Eilean Askanis. The island is 
evidently called after the point of land which is near it, 
which has probably once been called Askanis, pronounced 
in Gaelic Ascnis (a long). The long a forbids a derivation 
from Norse " askr," ash, but the name may be contracted 
from Asgrim's Ness or Cape; compare Askarry in Caith- 
ness, which is known to. have been originally Asgrims- 
ergin, Asgrim's; Shiel. 

Cnoc Choirbidh and Cnoc Orbidh Of the maps I have not 
heard. It looks like Cnoc Shoroby. Cf. Soroby, one of 
the two old parishes of Tiree. Norse probably "saudr," 
a sheep, and the termination " by" (as in Grimsby), a 
town, from boer or it may be the same as Eoroby in 
Ness, Lewis, from Norse Eyrr and boer, town on the 

Cnoo a Bhadain Knoll of the Clump. So pronounced now, 
but Mr Johnston,, Coll, tells me that old people maintained 
it should be pronounced C'nocaibh Aidinn, being so called 
after a King Aden. There are remains of a burying 
place pre-Christian, according to Beveridge (Antiquities 
of Coll). Stones of stone cist still visible. The knowe 
is above the innermost point of Arinagour Bay, where a 
small boat might have landed with royalty. Or a king 
or petty island-king may have been buried them Mr 
Johnston did not know what Aden was referred to, nor 
would he or his informants be likely to think of the plural 
locative caise, so his idea is interesting. 

Cnoc Cam Mhic an Eigh, beside Grisbol, where according to 
tradition Norsemen men of Lochlinn were buried. Just 
before the time of Dr Samuel Johnson's visit to Coll, three 

Place-Names of Coll 


men from " Lochlinii" came to Coll (about 1765), opened 
the grave, and took iaway the remains found, as being 
their kin. 

Cantray Fad, so pronounced, seems to be' " Ceann na h-airigh 
fada." We have in the map " Druim an airigh fhad," 
evidently referring to the same place. 

Achamor (Big Field) Herei Dr Johnson and Bo-swell stayed a 
night. It is near Loch Arinabost, a loch that was drained 
and that has now become a field. 

Gallanach, with article always " a' Ghallanach" or " a 
Ghallanaich." (Galdanach, Mag. Sig. 1528). This name 
occurs several times in the Highlands. There is Gallanach 
of the MacDo'Ugalls, and there are one or two Goldanacha 
or Galdanachs about Stranraer, I think. They may not, 
however, all be the same word. " A' Ghallanach" in Coll 
is probably " The place of g-allana," the gallan being a 
rhubarb-like plant which grows all along the marshy side 
of a, ditch-like burn which flows through the middle of 
Gallanach. This plant used to- be very plentiful there 
about thirty years ago, and also at Clabhach. It has now 
disappeared from Clabhach, and is less plentiful at Gall- 
anach than when the men of to-day were boys hiding 
themselves amongst it at hide-and-seek. Gallan .also 
means a branch or sapling, and also ai " fine able-bodied 
looking man," of whom they say, " Nach e 'n gallan e?" 
There is also a similar word for " a standing stone." The 
idea in all these' seems ro be a straight stalk-like thing. 

Dun Borbaidh should be Dun Borbh (bh like v.) ; so pro- 
nounced in Coll. Probably borg, a f ort ; cf. Borvo. 
There are remains of an old fort here, the rock being 
most suitable for defence, with cave beneath entering 
from shore, about which there is a tradition of a 
massacre . 

Eilean Borbaidh and Traigh Borbaidh should also be cor- 
rected as above. Tiree has a Dun Boraige. 

Breachacha, to-day pr. Breacacha, spotted field. In Martin 
it is Braki. We also find Bnakalli, Brakauch. But Mr 
Johnston, Coll, says the old people maintained it waa 
originally Brochacha or the like, referring to a broch or 
borg, or fort. Breacacha is the site of the old castle of 
Coll, whose walls are still almost intact, and of the 
modern castle of Coll, built a century and a half ago. 
It was here' that Dr Samuel Johnson and Boswell stayed 

328 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

during their ten days' visit to Coll. Dr Macbain sug- 
gests that- it is from brekka, a slope. 

Baliaraig is at Toristan ; perhaps Norse, " Field-bay," vellir- 
vik. Baliaraig has the accent on first syllable, about 
which there is a rhyme 

Baliaraig, Baliaraig, Bealach na gaoithe, 
Eadar 1 Craig Amusgaig 's Stalla na Maoile. 
A stalla in Coll is a rock or rock- hill, not necessarily at 
the sea. The Maoile is the high rocky promontory 
which you round as you enter the bay, and is called in 
Coll The Moyle. Amusgaig probably contains the 
Norse skiki, a strip. 

Bernera: Not so pronounced, but Bernary or Bearnairidh. 
It is between the hillsi & shieling. Bearn-airigh may be 
" Cleft-shieling," or Biorn-airigh, for Norse Bjarnar- 
erg, Bjorn's shieling or Bear shieling. 

Bealach Dubh, near Cliad the Dark Pass. 

Bruthach na Rubha Duibhe Brae of the Dark Promontory. 

Bodha a' Phiobair The Piper's Rock. A rock that reaches 
just about the surface of the water is a bodha. 

Balmeanach Baile-meadhonach, Middle-town. 

Clabbach, always with the article A' Chlabach and A' Chlab- 
aich Clappachi, where present Established Church and 
manse are, above Traigh Ghrianaig. It is at the old centre 
of the isla.nd, near Beinn-mheadhonach, and the root 
may be dab, a wide mouth, referring to the bay with 
the noisy ocean which is always breaking on the cliffs 
there. It is the only part of Coll where the old road 
comes near to the open ocean on the west side of the 
island. The burn is also called the Clabbach burn. All 
the maps copy one another in writing Clabhach, which 
is wrong. 

Feadan is also always used with the article, Am Feadan, 

' The Whistle" ; beside the Clabbach burn where it 

narrows amongst the heather. Feada.n is, I believe, 

used elsewhere for a narrow burn half hid in the heather. 

Fasachd The Wilds: an appropriate name. Beside it are 
Ceann Fasachd and Rubha Fasachd. 

Sgeir Pharspaig G. Sgeir Farspaich ; from farspach, a 
sea-gull, bigger and blacker than the ordinary sea-gull. 
, " Sea-gull's Skerry." 

Bacan Seileach, near the place from which one ferries to 
Tiree. According to an old inhabitant, it should bt 

Place-Names oj Coil 

Bacaii an t-Sealla,idh, or View-bank, being a bank from 
which they get the view of Tiree. Norse bakki, a. bank. 
Bacaii is so used in Cell \ never used for a hollow as 
sometimes" it is elsewhere. 

Hyne : 

AGiida.raidh : 

Ccrr Eilean (O.S. map) Taper or Pointed Isle. Cbrrllen, 
in Laiiglaiid's map, 1794, is pronounced like the latter, 
with accent on Corr. It is an island in Breacacha Bay, 
and is also called Coral Island). 

Skennaraig of the O.S. map should be Sgeir a Mhurain, 
being so pronounced Skerry of the Bent Grass being 
in the end of the bay at Grossipol, where a mile of sands 
are overgrown with the bent called " muran " in Coll. 

Port Aoir, or Port Aor (Port an t-Saor in a map (modern), 
and another Port Aoir, called Port Aoir Ardnis, the 
latter at Ardnis (ard cr airde, Gaelic, a height, and 
Norse nes, ;a headland). Port Aoir is considered a very 
noisy place. Although on the west of Coll, the sound of 
the s^a at Port Aoir is said to be often heard as far a 
Mull. N. eyrr, gravel beach. 

Kilbride Gill Brighde, or the Shrine of St Bridget. There 
was a> St Brighde of Magh Luinge, near Hylipol in Tiree. 
There were at least thirteen saints of this name. One 
legend makes the first St Bride to have been the servant 
maid at the Inn at Bethlehem, who-, ordered by her 
master not to admit strangers in his absence, could not 
admit Mary and Joseph, but in her compassion for them 
gaive them the grotto or the stable. The site of Kil- 
bride in Coll is still known. 

Lochgualabrick of Lang-land's, map is pronounced Loch 
airigh Meall(a) bhride, and is not very far from Kil- 
bride. Loch of the shieling of Bridget's Hill. 

Cnoc Ghille Breidhe of Beveridge's map, near Gallanach 
farm, is pronounced Cnoc Eilebrig (accent en first 
syllable ; last syllable from brekka, a slope. The rocky 
kncwe has a fairy legend attached to it. The story is 
this : Two young men, hunting after their stock in the 
pagan times before Cclumba's day, heard strange voice* 
singing in this knoll. They sang a verse or verses of 
which all I can get is this 

330 Gaelic Society of /nuerness 

' Breugach bradach 

b' am aid each d sud." 
" Lying and stealing, 

that were foolishness." 

Each of the youths took a piece of the verses away. 
What was considered strange about the verses was that 
their morality was in advance of the times, lying and 
stealing being rather virtues than vices then. Such is 
the story and the comment on it. It is a coincidence 
that near this rock of the elves or fairies, about a hundred 
yards distant in the field of Gallanach, are the 
Fairy Rings. There are four rings, two large and two small 
ones. Each ring is a band of grass darker than the rest 
of the grass, the band being about a foot broad and 
running round in a circle of about eight yards diameter 
in the case of the large' rings, and of six feet diameter in 
the case of the smaller. The grass is neither longer 
nor shorter than the rest, the ground being all perfectly 
smooth, but the difference in the colour perfectly marks 
out the circles which almost touch one another. White 
mushrooms in their season grow on the rings, but neither 
outside them nor inside, but merely on the circumfer- 
ence ; henoe the rings are white. These are, I suppose, 
the fairy circles of the children's songs 

" Merrily, merrily let us sing, 
Dancing in a Fairy Ring." 

Mr Clement, the farmer at Gallanach, tells me there 
are similar circles on Ben Feall. He is not superstitious, 
but he has seen the hares scampering round the circles, 
and it is well known that hares have dealings with the 
fairy world. 

Fairy Rings are now explained by scientists as being 
caused by the growth of fungi, which spread outwards 
from ia common centre. 

Kilchainie is in Blaeu's map, 1662, and another map. He 
has also Kilchainio in his map of Tiree. Tiree's Kil- 
keniieth is still to the fore, part of its walls standing, 
but Coil's Kilkenneth is hardly known of. An old man 
told me it was somewhere between Ballyhough and 
Grishibol. The present Established Church, mid-way 
between these farms, at Clabbach, may be on or near the 
site of St Kenneth's Chapel. There i& a place between 

Place-sanies of Coll 331 

it and the shore which looks like an ancient chapel site. 
The Cainneach who founded Tiree 's Kilkenneth was the 
Cainneach whose name we have in the Irish Kilkenny. 
Cainneach, the founder of the Aghaboe Monastery, 
came to Hinba, visited St C'olumba, and then resided 
some time in Heth (Tiree). He was Columba's com- 
panion on that famous journey to Inverness which 
resulted in the conversion of King Brude. Coll has at 
least fourteen sites of chapel, but no Cadbeal as in Tiree, 
where we have Tir-a-Chaibeil, beside the glebe, and 
Caibeil Thomais. Nor has Coll any teampuU as Tiree 
has at Hylipol. 

Kil-fhionnaig is so pronounced by some natives of Coll, and 
Kil-fhionnaich by others (the -ch after a narrow vowel 
is more guttural in Coll than on the mainland). Blaeu's 
map, 1662, has Kilynaig. In 1528 it was evidently also 
called Kirktown. The chapel walls are still standing, 
and the burial ground is one of the two still used in Coll. 
Reeves calls it Kilfinnaig. There was a St Fiiidchan in 
Tiree, and more than one Irish saint was called Finnian. 
" Origines Parochiales " suggests that it was dedicated 
to St Senaic. One of the Morven churches was of old 
called Killindykt, Kilfynnyc, Kyllyntag, Killintag (see 
" Origines Parochiales," II., p. 189). Reeves says 

that that church was probably dedicated to St Findoc 
the Virgin. This may be the saint to which Kilynaig 
in Coll is dedicated. Here rest generations of Mac- 
leans. Hector Maclean, minister of Coll and Tiree, who 
had the hardihood to disagree with the great Samuel 
Johnson, who paid him a visit at his manse in Coll, is 
buried here. Dr Johnson said of him that he was not 
surpassed in dignity by any one he had ever seen. Near 
it among the sand-hills I saw this month two open stone 
cists. The lair has always contained bones, which of 
recent years have gradually disappeared, and a piece of 
bone an inch long was the only fragment left when I 
visited it last. 

Trialn (Treela Mag. Sig. lib. 122, No. 40) Trealan (Blaeu's 
map 1662) ; pronounced Tri-alun (accent on Tri) ; also 
Traigh Trialn. 

Eilean Eithearna, in Loch Eithearna, now the chief bay and 
port in Coll. Blaue's ma,p 1662 has Loch Yurrn, Loch 
Yern; Grin 1786 (Knox's Highland Tour). The natives 

332 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

understood it to refer to the eithear, a small boat. Port- 
narh-eith-eir (Port na Eatha. of the map and Port an 
Eathar) is not far distant from the mouth of this bay. 
Coll men do not use eithear, but understand it and say 
that the Uist people use it. An eithear was, according 
to Mr Johnston, Coll, originally a coracle built of hides 
and a, wooden frame ; but through time it was built larger 
and solely of wood. In Loch Eithearna, Dr Johnson and 
Bos well slept on board their boat on the night prior to 
their departure from Coil. Lately, in a cove beside Loch 
Eithearna,, the ferry-boat took shelter awaiting tho 
steamer " Fingal" on a cold stormy morning, Rider 
Haggard and a friend and rryself being passengers, the 
novelist passing the time for us by giving us. vivid sketches 
of the Zulus and tales of their great warrior Chaka. 

Airigh is a common, term % in Coll, meaning the hill pasture 
around the shieling. The Nona term erg borrowed from 
the Gaelic is always at the end of a word, as -ary. 

Arinagour Airigh-nan-gobhar Shieling of the Goats.. Now 
the village and port of Coll, with a fourth of the popu- 
lation resident there, but in 18th century, when Call 
population was much, larger, Arinagour had only eleven 
souls. Its site was then between the loch a,nd the Car nan. 

Arinabost G. Airigh and Norse Bost = Bolstadr, a stead, a 
hybrid (also Arnabust, Amapoldo 1528). 

A : ; righ Chracarai Cracary shieling. Cracaraidh may be 
Norse kraku, a crow, and aerg or erg, a, shieling. Of late 
thene were trees there. 

Airigh bhuidhe, near Gallanach. The .yellow shieling. 

Ariiitluichd Airigh 'n t-Sluic, Shieling of the Slough or 
Gully. Once the site of a chapel and cemetery according 
to Reeves. 

An Airigh Bhoidheach The beautiful shieling. 

Airigh-Leoid Leod's Shieling; Norse Ljotr. (The mother 
of John Garve Maclean, 1st of Coll, was a daughter of 
MacLeod of Harris). 

Arimhaorach Shieling of the limpets, is beside the shore of 
Arinagour Bay, with plenty limpets on the rocks at hand 
where fishermen get bait. This appears Arivirig m 
modern maps, but is pronounced Arimhaorach and Arimli- 

Loch Airigh Sitheachaidh Loch of the Fairy Shieling. 

Cncc na h-iolaire The eagle's knowe. 

dice a ( n duin Knoll of the fort. 

Place Names of Coll 333 

Cnoc na h-osnaiche Knowe of the groaning. 

Cnoc an tuir Tower knowe. 

Ciiocan nam ban Little know of the women. 

Cnocan. leithach slighe Half-way knowe. 

Carnan Cnoc nam beannan Little earn of the knowe of the 
points or corners. 

Coille Buidheag Wood of the yellow birds. 

Clach ard The high stone. 

A Chorairidh Probably " odd shieling," i.e., standing by 
itself; " corr " also means " taper," and hence un- 
steady, steep. 

Creag Mhor The big rock. 

Clachan is used for " causeway," but Tobair a C'hlaohaiii at 
Mibost was a " namely well," probably therefore a sacred 
well of healing, and probably near the ancient church. 

Ceum Creagach The rocky stride. 

Ciioc na Slainte Hill of Health. 

Cnoc Leathaim, now called Broad hill. 

A Chroic of the Highlands and Islands map is a mistake for 
Cnoc, knock, knowe, cnoc being the local pronunciation. 

Carnan Mora and Carnan Dubh Cam is so common that it 
evidently means a natural cairn or rocky point. Cf. 
Ptolemy's Carnonacae. 

Changehouse, or " Tigh-Seinnse," was once an inn, but is 
now Arileod Farm. 

An Carnaii The little cairn. 

Tobair 1 a Charnain Well of the little cairn. 

An Caisteal Site of old fort near Hogh Bay. 

Cam a Bhraighe Cairn of the Brae. 

Craig Fheuran Crag of the feuran, a plant of the onion 
species, which grows there. 

Lochnasguir : 

Loch Rathilt (Loch Railt, Langland's miap) : 

Loch-na-bust Hybrid, Norse bolstadr Loch of the stead. 

Loch Ronard Theire are two lochs of this name, one in the 
east end and one in the cenre of the island. The pro- 
nunciation is as above, but an O.S. map gives the stream 
that flows from one of them as " Allt na roinn ard." 

Loch 'Hie Chaluim, or Loch Airidh 'ille Chaluim, may be 
connected with some Malcolm whose airigh or shieling 
was there. Malcolm was the name of the old chief of 
the Macleans. 

A Mhuclaich The place of pigs : locative case. 

334 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Meall nan Uan Hill of the lambs. 

Meiall na h-Iolaire Meall is very common in Coll for a hill. 
It is to be distinguished from Maol, Englished in Coll 
as The Moyle. 

Crannaig or Crannag (in middle of island) From Crannag, a 
pulpit or a cFaunok. It is used with the article a,' 
Chrannag. I do not know why it is so called. 

" Rubha an Crannaig" of the maps, S.W. shore of Coll, accord- 
ing to a, crofter in Coll, is. wrong, and should be Rudha a ,' 
Chrannaich, the idea being the; " Promontory of the 
desolate or forlorn looking place." 

Bagh Craimneach and Ighremoch of the maps (modern) are 
evidently attempts 1 at what is pronounced as Traigh 
Ghrianaig, the Shore of the Green Bay. Norse gronn, 
green, and vik, bay. 

Machair Mor The great Plain of Coll. Beside it is 

Lon ban The White Marsh. 

Fruchlan Cf. " Island of Freuch or Fruchlan in the Sound 
of Islay " (" Orig. Parobb.")- 

Crossapol Bay, with remains of what looks likely to> have 
been ia lake dwelling 

A Chairidh Mhor and A Chairidh Bheag The stepping- 
stones across the estuary ; also the: causeway or dry built 
dykes of stones that form the approach to the island 
duns. These causeways generally barely reach the 
surface of the water, are about three feet broad, and 
flat on top. They follow a curved course so as to be 
safe only for those who were familiar with them. 

A Chairidh, the northmost islet north of Crossipol peninsula., 
is, according to- Mr Johnston, Coll, pronounced with 
accent on second syllable (ethere), and he said it might 
mean a place with its head to the sea, i.e., very exposed 
ceann ris a mhuir. I give this as I got it. 

A Chachaileith Mhor Big gate. 

A Chachaileith Bheag Little gate. 

A Chachaileith Dhearg Red gate. 

Cachaileith na Spagaich Club-foot gate. 

Cnoc na Croich, or Cnoc a Chrochadair Hangman's Hill. 
Four skeletons were recently unearthed, one being that 
of a child. 

A Chinnt-ear The east end (of the island). 

A Chinnt-iar The west end. 

Social Life in Shye 335 

California and Caonadia are recent names given because of 
returned emigrants. 

Caolas " Tirunga do Killia " (Retours, Argyll) The Nar- 

Eilean Tumala Isle of the Tumulus or Burying Mound, 
according to a native of Coll, with traditions of priests 
having been there and of tumula being a priest-word for 
burying place, and of its having been a burying place. 
When Caolas was Church land burials were made in Eilean 
Tumala. Theire are cists there belonging probably to' very 
old times, Eilea,n Tuinn-lan in map but pronounced 
Tumala.. I also heard Eilean an Tumha. Dr MacBaiu 
suggest " hummel," as in, Scotch a hummel cow, a hornr 
less cow. Beside it is the modern mausoleum called 
Maclean's Tomb. A mausoleum built in 1730 by Maclean 
of Coll to 1 receive the remains of hisi wife, as the sand-drift 
was threatening to> overwhelm the former burying place 
Kilynaig, I suppose. The inscription is quaint, a !t 
remarks on the physical beauty o>f the dead wife: 
" Catharina Cameron, wife of Alexr. Maclean of Coll, 
died at Clifton 10 Feb. aged 46 : The beauty of whose 
person was only surpassed by the virtues and amiable dis- 
position of her mind." 

6th MARCH, 1919. 

Mr Alex. MacDonald presided over a meeting of the 
Societ^held this evening, at which Mr J. G. Mackay, O.B.E., 
J.P., Portree, read the second of his papers on " Life in 
Skye, ' ' which was as follows : 



Skye, in the clan days, was partly inhabited by >a branch of 
the Clan Donald (Clann-Uisdein) . They occupied the parish 
of Sleat and the district of Trotternish comprising the 
parishes of Portree, Kilmuir, and one-half of Snizort. The 
MacLeods of the Siol Thormaid branch occupied the parishes 
of Duirinish, Bracadale, Minginish, and the other half of 

336 Gaelic Society oi Inuerness 

Snizort. The Mackinnons occupied the parish of Strath, and 
Claim Mhic Ghille-Chaluim (a branch of the Siol Thorcuil, 
or MacLeods of Lewis), the adjacent island of Raasay. 

One of the usual ways which the Scottish kings had for 
civilising the Highlanders was to> grant to one clan the lands 
of another, which of course provoked a quarrel, created blood- 
shed, and reduced the population. Following this principle, 
the MacLeods were granted the district of Trotternish over 
the heads of the MacDonalds. The MacLeods, however, 
though their territory was larger, were not numerous enough 
to oust the MacDonalds, but very bitter enmity and many 
severe battles* were fought over it. The Mackinnons, on the 
other hand, had only a small territory in Skye, their lands 
being divided between Mull and Skye, which perhaps saved 
them from interfering in the other clan fights. 

To shew the enmity existing between the MacDonalds and 
the MacLeods, I may quote the following old wish: 

Gaoth an iar air rubh' na Feiste, 

Oidhche dhorcha, ceo' is uisge, 

Claim Domhnuill air bhbrdaibh briste 

Learn cha mhisde 

Birlinn chaol chorrach, 

Siuil ard-bhinneach, 

Sgioba fhann fheargach, 

Gun urnain aon d'a cheile. 

(West wind on the point of Feiste, 

A dark night with mist and rain, 

The Clan Donald on broken boards 

I don't object 

A slender crank galley, 

High peaked sails, 

The crew weak and angry, 

None respecting his fellow). 

The different districts had their local nicknames. The 
MacLeod country (locally Duthaich MhicLeoid) was called 
: ' Duthaich nam mogan," or the country of the footles stock- 
ings. For many years after the making of the roads, people 
preferred to walk on the moors, alleging that the roads hurt 
their feet. Trotternish is " Duthaich na stapaig '" (cold 
water and oatmeal. Another saying is, " Bruthaiste, brcchan 
is brofii, Trondarnais mo chreach " (pottage, gruel and brose, 
Trotternish my woe). Trotternish in the old days produced 

Social Life in Shye 337 

much corn, and the people lived greatly upon it. The author 
of the saying did not relish a cereal diet. Nioolsons were 
numerous in Trotteriiish ; hence ' ' Mac Neacail a' bhrochain 
's an droch arain eorna, nam potagan mine 's nan craigeanan 
feola, " (Nicolson of the gruel, the bad barley scones, the 
lumps of dough and the junks of beef). " Brochan Chloinn 
Mhic Neacail, tog air sop e; lite Chloinn Mhic Neacail, tog 
'nad uchd i " (Nieolson's gruel, lift it on a straw; Nicolson's 
porridge, lift it en your lap). On account of their great 
plenty of meal they made these article thick. 

An Srath Fhicnghaineach geal, 
'San grinne beus gun smal ; 
An Srath 'san cruaidhe clach, 
'S an sgaitiche cu is bean ! 

(White Strath of the Mackinnons, 

Of the most unsullied virtue ; 

The Strath of the hardest stones, 

Of the most railing women and the snarliest dogs). 

Clanii Mhic Fhionghain nam faochag (Mackinnons of the 
wilks). Sleite riabhach nam ban boidheach (russet Sleat of 
pretty women). Na coilich Shleiteach (the cockerels of Sleat). 
Mo chuidoachd fhein coin Tnrondarnais (my oiwn folk, the 
dogs of Trotternish). This saying arose in this way: when 
the people of Skye were in the habit of going to> the Lothiaiis 
to the shearing, before the days of mowers or even scythes, 
they went in batches. Those from a district always went 
together, and frequently got employment from the same 
farmer. On one occasion there happened to be in one of the 
companies an old man and his wife ; the man wasi very crusty 
and short-tempered, and was constantly grumbling at some- 
thing or other. He was employed binding the sheaves after 
a squad of young men from his own district, who, in order to 
torment him, made the sheaves so large that he could not get 
the ends of the bands to meet. This made him set up a, con- 
stant grumbling, until at last his wife asked him, " Clod a* 
tha cur dragh ort a nis ? Co tha riut ?" To this he answered, 
" Co ach mo chuideachd fhin, coin Throiiclarnais." (What 
is troubling you now ? Who's at you ? Who but by own 
people, the dogs of Trotternish) which has lasted as a saying 
in Skye to this day. Ol mor Thobhtardair : 61 a' bhrochain 


33 s Gaelic Society of Inverness 

air an tea (the great drinking of Toftardor : drinking the 
gruel atop of the tea). 

The following descriptions of potatoes got in different dis~ 
tricts show a wonderful similarity of badness and expression : 
Skye. Buntatai beaga, boga, carrach, aiiimig, mi-lion- 
mhor, nan tolla dubha, agus milleadh bhiasd agus moran de 
mhiileadh greine orra (Potatoes small, soft, sca.DDed, few 
and not plentiful, of black holes, spoiled by beasts, and much 
destroyed by the sun). 

Rintail. Tha iad. beag, bog ; tha iad carrach aiiimig ; tha 
iad 'nam mill dhubha ; tha iad 'nam meallan gonna; 's cha 
mho iad na suilean nan oodleach (They are small, soft ; they 
are scabbed iand scarce ; they are black lumps ; they are in 
blue knobs, and they are> no bigger than a cockerel's eyes). 

The Reay Country. Tha iad beag, bog, tearc, gun bhi idir 
licnmbor ; mhill a' chlach dhubh iad, agus loisg & ghrian iad : 
cha bhruich teine iad, 's cha. phronn iarunn iad ; tha iad Ian 
de 'n a sgreab, 's cha'n fhiach iad (They are small, soft, 
scarce a,nd not at all numerous ; the black stone has spoiled 
them, and the sun has burnt them ; fire won't boil them, and 
iron won't masih them,; they are full of thte scab and are 
worthless) . 


So called from the fact that the horse stabled next the 
door was frequently the best, as he always got the first and 
best of the provender. 

There was ai custom prevalent in the olden time, when a 
tenant died, which gave the chief, or laird, a title to the best 
horse, or cow, whichever he chose, belonging to the deceased. 
This was known as An t-Each Ursaimi in the north, and in 
the Lowlands and in England as the Heriot Horse. I have 
been unable to discover when this barbarous and cruel custom 
was introduced into the Highlands ; but there is no doubt it 
is one of the relics of feudalism, and was introduced from the 
south with that system. It was practised in England to 
within a very recent date, though for a long time it has been 
changed in form from what it was to that of doubling the 
rent for the year after the death of a tenant : surely a cruel 
increase of the burden when the back is weakest. In any 
case, it was finally discontinued in Skye some time before tne 
" '45 " owing to the following occurrence: A man of the 

Social Life in Skye 339 

Clan Mackinnon, in the parish of Strath, having died, the 
ground-officer, as usual, presented himself the day after the 
funeral and demanded the best horse. The poor widow 
resisted the execution of the cruel order with such persistence 
that the ground-officer lost his temper so far as to beat her 
to the effusion of blood. At length all the poor woman could 
do was to utter the hope that the little boy, hex son who was 
at her side, would yet be revenged on him for that day's 
work. Years after, the same ground-officer was engaged on 
a. similar errand, when whom should he happen to meet but 
young Lachlan, the widow's son, then grown to be the 
strongest man in the parish. Lachlan demanded to know 
what poor widow he had robbed of the horse, and ordered 
him at once to return it to its rightful owner. This inter- 
ference the ground-officer challenged in the strongest terms. 
'It is," said Lachlan, " eighteen years to-day since yooi 
robbed my mother in the same way, and you will never rob 
another," and, drawing his claymore, he told him to defend 
himself. The ground-officer was a powerful man, and well 
up in the use of the broad-sword ; but he soon found that he 
was no match for young Lachlan, who was in no humour to 
play with him. After a pass or two he ran him through the 
body. He then cut off his head and washed it in a well near 
by, which to this day is called " Tobar a' Chinn," or " The 
Well of the Head." He then mounted the horse and rode to 
the chief's house with the head hanging by the hair to the 
saddle. When Lachlan reached the house the servants rushed 
to their master and told him that big Lachlan was present 
with a man's head hanging to his saddle. The old chief came 
out and was horrified to find that it was quite true, and also 
that it was the head of his own ground-officer. Lachlan gave 
him an account of the whole transaction, and of the inhuman 
treatment to which his own mother was subjected eighteen years 
before, and ialsoi that the whole clan very much resented the im- 
position of such a cruel burden upon them, and he assured the 
chief that they were in no> humour to stand it any longer. 
The chief granted a free pardon to Lachlan, and assured him 
that no widow of his clan should again be deprived of her 
property ; and, further, he offered him the post of ground- 
officer, which Lachlan accepted. That was the last occasion 
on which the custom was practised in Skye. 

34:0 Gaelic Society of Inverness 


An equally tragic incident happened in Argyllshire. In 
the Cowal district, on the death of a tenant, the laird went 
himself, and, instead, of talking an ox, as was the custom in 
the district, took the beet cow in the fold. The widow did 
all she could to> dissuade him from taking this cow, as she 
could ill afford to part with her at the time, and offered him 
any other animal in the fold. The laird had long coveted 
this cow, and thought this a good opportunity of getting her 
without having to* pay for her. AT, length the poor widow, 
driven to desperation, expressed the hope that the cow 
would be a curse to him, and that she would yet be revenged 
upon him through the progeny of that cow for his cruelty to 
her that day. The laird only laughed, -and got the coveted 
prize driven to his own fold. Some; time after this event the 
cow dropped a fine bull calf, which the laird reared with 
great care: It grew into a. very fine animal, was the pride of 
the glen, and was as gentle aa it was handsome. One day 
the laird ran out of snuff, and, every person about being 
busily engaged at the harvest, he despatched the herd-boy 
to the nearest dealer for .a quantity, telling him that he would 
mind the cattle until his return. No sooner had the lad 
gone than the laird took a walk towards the field where the 
cattle were grazing, to have a look at the young bull. There 
standing, at such a distance that he could admire the bull's 
fine points, he looked over his shoulder and saw the widow 
passing down the road. She stood looking over the dyke, but 
said not a word. The laird, ,as if to vex her, drew nearer to 
bull, and the animal, which up to the present had been noted 
for its gentleness, suddenly, without any warning, rushed at 
the laird, and, before anyone could come to his assistance, 
goired him to death. So ended the heriot in the district of 


The custom was put an end to in a much less tragic 
manner in the Mackay country. In the yzar 1626 Sir Donald 
Mackay raised a regiment of his clansmen, and took part in 
the Thirty Years' War under the great Gustavus Adolphus. 
For many years after, young men of the clan went in large 
numbers to the Continent and served in the cause of liberty 
under the leaders of the Protestant cause. One of these, on 

Social Life in Shye 341 

returning home, arrived in the early morning at his brother's 
(Mackay of Mudale) house, and noticing two men leading a 
young horse each from a, neighbouring township, he at once 
suspected that they were heriot. Like many of his country- 
men who served in these Continental wars, Iain mac Iain 
mhic Raibeirt mhic Mhurchaidh had. come under the influence 
of religion, and was very much shocked to see an instance of 
this barbarous custom as a first incident on arrival at his 
home. He waited till the horses were stabled, and then, to 
satisfy himself, asked the ground-officer what they were. On 
his surmise being found correct, he w<ent toi the house and 
rapped at the door. After being admitted he asked if Donald 
Mackay was at home. He was told that he was not yet out 
of bed. " Tell him," said he, " that there is a man here 
wanting to see him." The brother, after getting up, barely 
recognised his 1 visitor; but when he discovered whom he had, 
he received him with hearty welcome, told him to be seated, 
and ordered the servants to hurry 001 with the breakfast. 
" Before I sit or eat a bite in your house," answered John, 
" I want to know what are those horses that I saw taken 
dcwn the glen and put into your stable?" * " O !" answered 
the brother, " you would not have heard that Uilleam Mac 
Alasdair Mhoir and Iain Domhnuill Ruaidh are both dead, 
and these are the heriot horses that were taken home." Iain 
asked who their wives were ; and, on being told, he turned to 
his brother and said: " Well, Donald, little did I think that 
this would be the sight that would first meet my eyes when I 
came home. I will neither sit nor eat in your house, nor will 
I stay a day in the country wherein my own brother would 
rob poor people in such a heartless manner : boys and girls 
that "we played with when we were innocent children! To 
think that we would, in their darkest hour of trial, turn on 
them in suoh an inhuman manner." Having delivered this 
impassioned speech, he turned to the door and walked out. 
His brother followed him and cried: " Here, Iain, before I 
can allow my brother to turn from my door, not only will I 
send back those horses, but I will promise you that no widow 
shall be< deprived of a horse or any other thing which belongs 
to her as heriot by me while I own a clod of land in the 
country." John Mackay remained in his brother's house for 
some times, during which his influence for good in the country 
was very great. He was a fearless man, and being a poet of 
considerable merit, and with a scathing tongue like his 

342 Gaelic Society of Inuerness 

countryman Rob Donn, he did not spare evil doers wherever 
he found them. The story of the Mudale heriot hor&es got 
noised abroad, with the result that the practice was shamed 
out of existence in the county of Sutherland. 

Before parting with Iain mac Iain mhic Raibeirt mhic 
Mhurchaidh, it may be mentioned that he composed a good 
deal of sacred poetry which was popular in his native country 
for many years. It is related that it was through hearing 
one of John Mackay's poems that Dugald Buchanan was 
moved to compose the first instalment of his beautiful sacred 
poetry. It happened in this way. A party of Sutherland- 
shire Militia,, during the Jacobite risings, were stationed at 
Dunkeld. A party cf twelve men were sent to Rannoch, and 
on the Sabbath they enquired if there was any one in the 
district who' preached or read the Scriptures en the Sabbath. 
They were told that there was a schoolmaster, named Dugald 
Buchanan, who addressed all those who chose to go to hear 
him. The party went to hear him, and were so much taken 
with him that they remained after the service and spent the 
evening with him. It was in the course of that acquaintance 
that one of the men sang some of John Mackay's poems. 
Dugald Buchanan was much taken with them, and there 
was 110 doubt of his own dormant muse awakening to such 
good purpose. 


That the heoot is not dead yet will be seen from a recent 
issue of the Dundee Advertiser, of which the following is a 
cutting : 

' The announcement that the executors of a Tonbridge 
Wells gentleman have been called upon to pay ' the best horse 
on the estate or a piece of plate ' to the Lord of the Manor 
comes as a, reminder that the ' Heriot ' still lingers in our 
midst. This vexatious incident of copyhold tenure is, says 
the Manchester Guardian, of great antiquity. In Saxon 
times even the King's thegns were subject to a very consider- 
able heriot, while the humbler tenants of the manor were 
often called upon to surrender a large proportion of their 
chattels by way of Succession Duty. The payment of a 
heriot by the heir of a deceased tenant seems to have implied 
a personal connection as of patron and dependent between 
the lord and the tenant, which might or might not be renewed 

Social Life in Skye 34$ 

with the tenant's successor. The heriot is to be distinguished 
from the ' relief,' which was a money payment by the heir by 
way of recognition that his succession depended on the favour 
of the lord, and not on any claim of hereditary right. 

!< In the modern law -the old customary money payments 
have become fixed, but the heriot of the best beast or some- 
times the best chattel may still in many cases be demanded. 
The insistence upon this right may lead to considerable hard- 
ship, as, for example, if a famous picture or a valuable race- 
horse were to be seized in respect of an almost worthless copy- 
hold tenure. Lord Cranworth, in his speech upon the 
Enfranchisement of Copyholds Bill, showed that even in 
modern time the law of heriot has been enforced in such a 
way as to become a very grievous practical hardship. He 
mentioned, in particular, the case of Sir C. Bunbury, whose 
famous racehorse Smolensko, worth some 3000, was seized 
for a heriot. Then there was the case of the Pitt diamond, 
which, being pledged to a pawnbroker who occupied a small 
copyhold tenement in Westmoreland, passed on his death 
into the possession of the lord of the manor. Lord Cran- 
wo'rth also related how Lord Abinger was reported dead while 
on circuit, and how the' agent of the lord of the manor 
hastened to secure three of his horses in London, without 
enquiring too closely into the truth of the rumour. This 
must have been a particularly annoying experience more 
annoying even than the discovery of one's obituary in print." 



(The Knock-kneed Mackimion and the Big Southerner). 

Not for many years after the Rising of 1745 did the 
people of the Western Isles take in any great degree to 
fishing as an occupation. The inaccessability of the country 
and the difficulty of procuring nets to fish with, and also the 
want of convenient markets, but, beyond all, the impossible 
restrictions to their obtaining salt, made it almost hopeless 
for anyone in those bounds to> engage in the industry. It is 
almost impossible at this time of day to imagine anything so 
oppressive as the salt laws of those days. If, for instance, a 
man from Portree meant to prosecute- the fishing, he had first 
to go to the Custom House, which was situated at 

344 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Oba.n. He had there to discharge his cargo of duty free 
salt which he had brought from, say, Leith or Liverpool, and 
get it weighed ; then to provide two sureties to enter into a 
bond with him, under very severe penalties, that the salt 
would be used for nothing else but for the salting of herring. 
If he caught or bought herring, he was not at liberty to sell 
a single barrel of them not even to> us them in his own 
family till they had been carried to the* Custom House and 
entered there. If iany of the salt remained over after the 
season's fishing, it had to be carried to the Custom House 
and entered there, and a new bond granted for it. This is 
not an imaginary case. The exact thing happened in the 
year 1782 to a man from Portree who got a cargo of bonded 
salt, used the whole in curing herring save five bushels; but, 
before he could recover his bond, he had to hire a boat and 
send these five bushels to Oban, which cost him 5 of 
expenses. In the year 1783, James MacDonald, of Portree, 
purchased in Leith a cargo of duty-paid salt and shipped it 
by permit to Portree. It was there regularly landed and a 
Custom House certificate returned for the same. With this 
salt he intended to cure fish, but, there being no fishing on 
the coast that year, he did not get an opportunity of using' 
it. Next year, 1784, he fitted out a small sloop to prosecut 
the fishing, on board of which he put this salt and the permit 
along with it. The vessel then proceeded to Loch Broom, 
where a fishing had started, and when she was off Rona-head 
she was intercepted by a Revenue cutter, who seized sloo-p 
and cargo, provisions and all. She was then taken back to 
Portree loch, .and anchored at Camus-ban, and a prize crew 
put on board. Soon after, a storm of north wind arose and 
tne vessel was driven ashore, and both herself and the cargo 
were lost. After a very, protracted and costly litigation, 
MacDonald recovered the value of both vessel and cargo, but 
lost several seasons' fishing besides a large sum for extra- 
judicial expenses. 

Such were the hardships to which people on these coasts 
were put in those' days, and this accounts for the fact that 
the natives of the West Highlands were slow to make use of 
the wealth with which the sea on their coasts abounded at the 
time. The herring fishing was prosecuted in the western 
lochs for many years prior to the dates mentioned , by men 
from the East Coast and Loch Fyne, by Dutchmen and 
Frenchmen. They came in what were called herring busses 
sloops* of from 50 to 80 tons, each buss accompanied by 

Social Life in Skye 345 

four or five skiffs, and carrying altogether 18 or 20 men. The 
fishing was done with the small boats, and the anew lived on. 
the sloop, which also carried the salt, barrels, and other 

This brings me now to my tale of ' ' An Glagan-gluiii agus 
an Deasach Mor." I take it that the'Deasa-ch was a Loch- 
fyne man; for, if he had been a Lowlander, he woiiild have 
been called a Gall. But being a south Highlander he would be 
called Deasach, in the same way as a north-country man 
would be called Tuathach. The Deasach Mor was a very 
strong man, and, like many a strong man, he was very proud 
of his strength, and took a very peculiar way of showing it. 
His catch of fish was usually placed in a heap on the beach 
above high-water mark while it was being gutted and salted. 
It was customary for some of the natives to> come looking 
aro'und ; and, if the Deasach saw a strong man standing near 
the bing of herring, nothing delighted him more than to 
come on him unawares and pitch him head first into the heap.- 
He then enjoyed the fun of seeing the discomfited man emerge 
from the heap all covered with the slime and oil of the fish, 
As often happened to others, he played this prank once too 
often. On this occasion he was fishing in Loch Slappin, and, 
as usual, played hi senseless joke upon a number of men. 
The news soon spread over the district and came to the ears 
of Glagan-gluin, who lived at Suishnish. He was a very 
powerful man, and resented very much such an indignity 
being oast upon the people of the place. When he heard of 
it he said, ." He won't throw me into his heap of herring." 
Next morning he went down to the beach where the Deasach 
had his station, and walked in an indifferent . sort of way 
round the bing, but at the same time keeping his eyes about 
him.' Immediately the Deasach saw him, his heart beat with 
delight. This was the chance of his life: to throw such a 
man as that head first into the fish would be a record ^er- 
formance. He must, however, " gang warily," as he recog- 
nised it would not be child's play to throw Gla.gan-gluin. He 
therefore proceeded to stalk his quarry with great care till he 
got sufficiently near to make a spring upon him. To his 
astonishment, therefore, in place of getting Glagan-gluin by 
the back, as he intended, he went right into his embrace, and 
he realised then that they were not the arms of a maiden 
that were thrown about him. Now began a tussle with a 
vengeance, for they were pretty well matched. They wrestled 
and tugged at each other, making the shingle on the beach 

*46 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

scatter in every direction with their feet, till at last they were 
up to their waists in the water. Glagan-gluin then made a* 
supreme effort, giving his opponent one powerful swing and 
throwing him on his back on a big boulder of stone, where he 
lay moaning for some time till he was carried on board his 
sloop. Next morning the Deasach Mor sent word to Glagan- 
gluin that he wished to see him. But the neighbours pressed 
him not to go, as they feared that the invitation was a trap 
.to do* him an injury. Glagan-gluin, however, would go. " Is it 
that he should be afraid !" A number of young men, anxious 
for his safety, insisted on accompanying him on board, and 
were ready to rush to his assistance on the least sign of foul 
play. He found the Deasach Mor lying in his berth sorely 
bruised. He said that he wished to> see him very specially, 
because he was the first man that had put his back under 
him, and he new recognised what a. foolish and cruel prank 
he had been following. As he lay in pain all night he 
thought of the many men he must have hurt during all those 
years he had indulged in it. He now wished to shew his 
respect for Glagan-gluin by making him the following offer : 
that he was toi accompany his men to the fishing every night 
until he had learned how to manage herring nets, and after 
they had filled their stock of barrels and left for the season, 
he would leave a boat and a complement of nets with him, he 
being often astonished that the natives of Skye did not take 
up the herring fishing and "so get the benefit of the wealth 
that came annually to their shores. He hoped Glagan-gluin 
would agree to his proposal. This he was not slow in doing, 
and Glaga.n-gluin was the first man in Skye to own herring 
nets and to prosecutei the fishing. 

There is a stone across the burn between Boreraig and 
Suishnish, forming a bridge for foot passengers, and this 
Glagan-gluin carried a quarter of a mile and placed across 
the stream. The stone is so large that no man in the parish 
of Strath today cculd lift one end off the ground ; it still 
goes under the name of " Drochaid Glagain-ghluine." 

It may be of interest to narrate the proceedings' necessary 
to engage in the fishing business in those days. The Govern- 
ment, with the view of encouraging the fishing industry, 
intended to exempt salt that was to be employed in curing 
fish, from Excise duty, which at that time amounted to ten 
shillings per bushel. But no salt for any other purpose could 
be used without paying the duty. It was therefore an intri- 

Social Lije in Skye 347 

cate task to devise plans to prevent fraud. Any one wishing 
to engage in the fishing had fiirst, after importing ,a, cargo of 
salt, to land it at a custom -house, where it was weighed, and 
the importer had either to pay the duty, or to enter it for the 
purpose cf curing fish, in which case it was duty-free. But, 
in that event, he had to give bond with two sureties of 100 
each that it should be used for no other purpose than the 
curing cf fish. In consequence of that bond he had either 
to produce that salt at the custom-house by the 5th of April 
following, or fish in sufficient quantity to prove it having been 
used, which fish he had to declare' upon oath was cured with 
the salt for which he had given bond. If any of the salt 
remained unused, a new bond had to be procured for it in the 
same way. It could not be removed from one vessel to 
another although both vessels belonged to the same man, nor 
could any cf it be sold to another party, even for the curing 
of fish, without procuring a new bond. It can therefore be 
seen how hopeless it was for anyone on the West Coast to 
attempt to take up the business of fish-curing in those days 
when there were no postal, travelling, nor transport facilities. 

In the year 1782 the Lords of the Treasury appointed 
Professor Anderson, cf Aberdeen, to visit the West High- 
lands and report on the cause of the people on these coasts 
not engaging in the fishing industry. The Professor made a 
long and interesting report, in which he made many far- 
seeing suggestions for the development of the< -country, some 
of which have materialised and have been cf benefit. He 
strongly advocated the repeal of the salt duties and the har- 
assing regulations connected with them. Among other 
schemes he advocated the founding of villages in certain 
localities, viz., Lochinver, Ullapool, Stornoway, Kyleakin, 
Plocktcn, Portree, Stein, Dunvegan, Tarbert-Harris, Loch- 
maddy, Loch Boisdale, Tobermory, and Bunessan ; also the 
making cf reads and the establishment of a postal service, and 
a sailing packet service between the islands and the Clyde. 
One instance which he gives shows the difficulties under which 
the inhabitants laboured. A man in Ullapool wrote to 
another in Gairloch a distance of only a few miles. The 
letter had to travel all the way to Edinburgh and then back 
to Gairlcch, taking three months on the way. 

The natives caught their fish usually with rods or spoon- 
nets. The spoon-net was an instrument like a large landing- 
net, and could be used either from a. rock or a boat. It was 

348 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

gently let down into the water, and bait thrown in, and when 
fish were seen to go into the net it was lifted and emptied of 
its contents. Herring were largely caught in yairs 
(oairidhean), which were dykes built in semi-circular form 
at the estuary of rivers or the side of a loch. The fish, after 
coming in with the tide, were unable to go out, and were left 
high and dry when the tide receded. These yairs belonged 
to stated districts, and there were regulations for the use of 

The most important " cairidh " in Skye was that on Loch 
Snizort; it was demolished only a few years ago. Many 
salmon were caught by it every year, and the late Mr Mac- 
Donald of Skeabost got the people to agree to take down the 
wall of this yair in return for their rents being reduced. It was 
reduced ; and there has been many a sore heart over it since'. 
In the old days, Mac Ghille-Chaluim of Ramsay, on account 
of his possessing land in the parish of Snizort, had the right 
to <ai day's fishing in each week by means of the cairidh. 
Thursday was the Raasay day. One week there was a heavy 
herring fishing in the cairidhi; but when Thursday came 
round, in place of herring the cairidh was full of saith, or 
sacidhean. Next Thursday the same occurred, and the next 
again. All the time that the fishing lasted the saith came 
for the Raasiay-men, and owing to the occurrence the nick- 
name of " Saoidhean " has stuck to the Raa&ay-men till this 
day. Until recent times it would not be canny to cry 
" Saoidhean " after a Raasay or Rona man. 


Writing of R,aasay in 1549, Sir Donald Munro, High 
Dean of the Isles, says: " Twa myles off sea fra the ile of 
Scalpay forsiaid, lyes ane ile calit Raarsay, seiven myle lange 
from the southe to the northe, bet ane myle of sea from 
Trcnternesse, and twia myle of breid, with pairt of birkin 
woodis, maney deires, pairt of profitable landes, inhabit and 
manurit, with twa castles, to witt, the castle of Kilmer ocht 
and the castle of Brolokit, with twa fair orchards at the 
eaids twa castles, with ane paroehe kirk, callit Eillmo- 
lowoicke, ane ronghe countrey, bot all full of free-stanes and 
guid qua,relles. It is excellent for fishing, perteining to 
McGyllychallan of Raarsay be the sword, and to the bishope 
of the iles by heritage. ' This same McGyllychallan shuld 
obey McCloyd of the Lewisi. 

Social Life in Skye 349 

' Boaay. At the northe end of Raarsay, be half myle 
of sea frae it, layes ane ile oalit Ronay, mair than a myle in 
leiihe, full of wood and heddir, with ane havin for heilaiid 
galeys in the middis of it, and the same havein is guyed for 
fostering of thieves, ruggairs, and reivairs, till a nail, upon 
the peilling and spulzedng of poure pepill. This ile perteins 
to McGillychallan of Raarsay by force, and to the bishope of 
the iles be heritage. ' ' 

It will be seen from the above that Mac-Ghille-Chaluim 
held his- lands by ' coir a' chlaidhimh," or the " right of 
the sword," and as he very rarely paid any dues to; his 
superior, the bishop, he was a kind of chronic' outlaw. At 
one time one of the Macleans of Dochgarroch was the holder 
of the bishopric, and he determined to collect his dues by 
force. He sent a strong party of armed men to Raasay for 
that purpose. They landed on the east side of the island in 
the gloaming ; and, with the intention of arriving at Brochil 
Castle unawares and taking the' Raasay people by surprise, 
they made for the castle in the dark. It so happened that 
the Gille-Mor was out hunting, and was making his way 
home. It was a fine evening in the late autumn, and the 
light was lingering ,as if it was loth to gc to rest. He thought 
he heard footsteps on the heather behind him, and, turning 
round, he saw the figure of a man following in his wake. 
Standing at attention, he accosted the man, and at once 
recognised by his accent that he was from the eastern High- 
lands, and knowing the relations which existed between his 
master and the bishop he was at once on his guard. The 
stranger asked the way tc Brochil Castle. The Gille Mor 
replied that he was going in that direction and would point 
it out to him. The Gille Mor endeavoured to find out the ' 
business of the stranger, but he would tell him nothing. This 
roused his suspicions, and, looking ever his shoulder, he saw 
that they were being followed by a considerable body of men. 
He therefore reasoned that their errand boded no good, and 
he immediately madei up his mind what to do. He knew that 
there was in front of them a rent in the hill-side, the work of 
volcanic action in the bygone ages : the hill-face is cut in 
two-, leaving a chasm about four feet wide and of great 
depth. Knowing the exact position of the chasm, he turned 
a little to the left and leaped over it, but his companion 
dropped over without a word, the others following one by one 
as they came up. The Gille Mor then proceeded home as if 

350 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

nothing happened, and reported what had taken place. Next 
morning a muster was called, and men went with ropes and 
rescued those that were alive of the invaders, and they were 
tended in Raasay until they were able to go home." The 
progeny of those who* were not able to do that are in Raasay 
until this day. 


It was quite a common thing for Highland chiefs to get 
into trouble with the Government, and outlawry was their 
punishment as often as otherwise. Mac Ghille-Chaluim of 
Raasay was no exception among Highland chiefs. He was 
on one occasion under sentence of outlawry, and things were 
getting rather black for him ; the net was gradually being 
got round him. The King was making preparations to 
reduce him to order j but the wily old fellow managed to get 
the sentence removed by the following subterfuge. There is 
a cave on the east of the island which is quite flat on the top 
where there is a fine green sward. MacLeod and his son one 
moirning went to the cave, the old man going inside and the 
son standing on the turf above. After this ceremony the son 
proceeded to Edinburgh and arranged with a friend, who was 
in favour at court, to walk together past Holyrood. The 
friend's part in the function was to call at the palace and 
obtain audience of the .King, while young MacLeod was to 
shew himself in front of the palace. The ruse succeeded as 
desired. When the King saw the handsome young High- 
lander dressed in his war paint, he asked, " Who is that 
fine-looking young Highlander?" On being told it was 
young Raasay, he ordered him to be brought into his 
presence. After being introduced, the King asked him, 
" How is that arch-rebel your father?" The young man 
answered : " Your Majesty, I left him under the sod on the 
morning on which I left home." ' " O, indeed," &aid the 
King; "so he is dead! Then, as death endeth all things, 
and as yon have wisely come to make your submission, we 
will have the sentence of outlawry recalled, and I hope yo<u 
will be a better subject than your father." The young man 
said nothing, and bowed his, acknowledgments. The sentence 
was recalled, and old Mac Gille-Chalum lived many a day 
after being under the sod. The cave has since been called 
*' Uamh Chaluim," or " Malcolm's Cave." 

Annual Assembly 351 

20th MARCH, 1919 

Mr William Mackay, LL.D., presided over a meeting held 
this evening, when, the Rev. William A. MacLeod, Austin, 
Texas, U.S.A., and Mr Murdo Mackenzie, J.P., 25 Old 
Edinburgh Road, Inverness, were unanimously elected 
Ordinary Members of the Society. On behalf of Mr J R. 
MacPhail, K.C., Edinburgh, Mr Alex. MacDonald read a 
paper by the former, entitled " Memorial for Fassifern." 
This /paper has been published elsewhere, and is not, there- 
fore, included in the published Transactions of the Society. 

3rd APRIL, 1919. 

Mr Roderick MacLeod presided over the meeting held this 
evening, when Mr Murdo Mackenzie, M.A., 1 Southside 
Road, Inverness, was unanimously elected an Ordinary 
Member of the Society. Thereafter the Chairman read a 
paper by Mr Fred. T. MacLeod, Edinburgh, entitled " Tir 
nan Og," which is meantime held over. 

llth JULY, 1919. 

After an interval of several years during the war, the 
Society held its annual assembly in the La Scala Picture 
House on Friday. From every point of view the concert was 
a complete success. The house was crowded in every part, 
and late^ comers had to> be content with standing in the 
passages. The chair was occupied by Lochiel, who was 
accompanied by Lady Hermicne, Dr William Mackay, Rev. 
Mr Connell, M.A., Dr F. M. Mackenzie, Mr D. Davidson, 
Mr Alexander Macdonald, and Mr Murdo Mackenzie, J.P. 

The concert was sustained by artistes of established 
reputation. Chief among them were Mr Roderick MacLeod 
and Mr Scott Skinner, whose eighty years have not lessened 
his technical skill with the violin. The other artistes were 
Mr W. Campbell, Contin ; Miss Phemie Marquis, Mrs C. 
MacLeod, and Miss Rhoda MacLeod, all Mod prize-winners; 

Gaelic Society of Inverness 

and a party contributed Highland dances. The. Inverness 
Strathspey and Keel Society gave violin selections, while 
Pipe-Marjor John Macdonald, piper to< the Society, played 
some selections of Highland music. The artistes acquitted 
themselves in a manner worthy of their reputation, and the 
evening's entertainment was altogether delightful. 

Lochiel, in course of his speech, said that they were 
resuscitating the time-honouired custom of the Gaelic Society, 
which had been to give their annual concert on the week of 
the Wool Fair. He hoped that the concert might continue 
for years to come without further interruption. Within the 
next few days they were to take part in peace celebrations, 
and hei hoped that in these celebrations the soldiers would 
take .a leading part. One of the dreams he used to have was 
of the Cameron Highlanders coming back after their victori- 
ous march down the Under Der Linden and passing along the 
streets of the Capital of the Highlands and forming such a 
sight as we never saw before. Unfortunately such had not 
been the case. We had seen the men of our home battalions 
coming back in twos and threes instead of a victorious march 
and an enthusiastic welcome, and he was certain that no city 
in the kingdom could give such a welcome as Inverness to 
the returning heroes. He had noticed accounts of the return 
of the men of the 6th and 7th Battalions of the Cameron 
Highlanders battalions in which he took a very great 
interest and which he helped to- raise and that they returned 
without anybody knowing anything about it. That was not 
giving the soldiers the welcome home they deserved. The 
treatment accorded to the 4th Battalion the Inverness-shire 
Territorial Battalion was worse 1 than the treatment accorded 
to any other battalion in the British Army. The battalion 
was disbanded in ths middle of the war without just cause, 
as many of them thought. They had been given a promise 
that the nucleus would be retained, and that the battalion 
would be re-formed in France so as to come back to Inverness 
as a complete unit. That promise had not been kept, and 
to this day the 4th Battalion had not been resuscitated. Con- 
sidering what the men had suffered, he thought it was a great 
shame that our Territorial Battalion had been treated in that 
way. It was, however, no use to dwell on the past. It was 
for us to see now that the pledges given to the soldiers during 
the war were amply fulfilled by the Government. Referring 
to Lord Roberts Memorial Workshops, for which the proceeds 

Social Life in Shye 353 

of that concert were to be devoted, Lochiel expressed the 
conviction that the necessary 10,000 would be raised in 
Inverness as one way of paying a small portion of the debt 
we owe to our soldiers. 

MT John N. MacLeod, Errogie, delivered the customary 
Gaelic address in the following terms: 

Fhir na Cathrach agus a chairdeian, Is ion gu 'm bithinii 
mor as a' cbuireadh a thug Comhairl Gomuinn Ghaidhlig 
loiibhair-nis domh a sheasamh air an ard-urlar so an nochd 
agus beagan fhacal a labhairt an canain Tir nam beann. Is 
beachd learn gur beag an earrann de 'n chuideachd mhoir so 
tha cruinn an nochd, a thuigeas mo chomhradh ; ach biodh 
sin mar a dh' fhaodas e, is iomchuidh gu 'nl biodh sealan 
de 'n uine aig a' chuirm-chiuil so air a chaitheamli air 
labhairt na Gaidhlig. 

Is cliuiteach an obair a rinn Comunn Gaidhlig lonbhair- 
nis, re iomadh bliadhna, a chum bratach na Gaidhlig a 
chumail an airde. Bho am gu am chlo-bhuail iad oraidean 
air iomadh aobhar Gaidhealach mar chaidh iad a leughadh 
aig an coinneaonha,n agus is dileab luachmhor sin fein do 'n 
al a thig 'nan deidh ; oir gheibh an t-al sin aunt a eolas a 
bhios soan do chuid agus nuadh do mhoran. Tha. iomadh 
Co^munn eile 'nar tir a tha feuchaiim air aoii doigh 110 doigh 
eile air cuis na Gaidhlig a bhrosnachadh '9 a dh' ardachadh ; 
agus bu qhoir dhuinn a> bhi buidheach de gach neacli a bha 
oidhirpeach as leth math ar canain. 

Ach ciod e a tha sinn fein a' deaiiamh as a leth ? Am bi 
sinn a' cleachdadh a labhairt ri cheile mu 'n teallaich, air an 
t-sraid, no air feill is margadh. Am bi sinn 'ga teagasg do 
ar cloinn ? No an e ar beachd gu 'm bheil a' chanain a 
dh' cl sinn fein le bainne na ciche, oho guarach 's nach ion a 
teagasg d' ar mic 's d' ar nigheanan ? An giiath leinn 
leabhraichean Gaidhlig a cheannach a reir mar cheadaicheas 
ar spoirrain ? An e ar cleachdadh an leughadh le durachd le 
suil ri tlachd a dh' fhaotainn duinn fein >asda, 110^ ri misneach 
a thoirt do 'n dream dhileas sin a tha, dh' aindeoin gach di- 
mhisneachadh agus anntlachd a bhios 'gan coinneachadh, a' 
our ri litreachas na Gaidhlig. 

Is fior gun amhaxus -an sean-fhacal so: " Nithear earn 
mor de chlachan beaga " ; agus leanaidh e bho 'n fhirinn a 
th' ann, na 'n deanadh gach neach againn am beagan beag 
a tha 'na chomas a chum sineadh saoghail a thoirt do 'n 


354 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

jhaidhlig, gu 'n tigeadh piseach oirre fos agus gu 'm " bith- 
eadh an dithreabh ait agus gu 'n tigeadh e fo bhlath mar 
an ros. 

At the close of the concert, the Chairman proposed a vote 
of thanks to> the artistes, to Mr Frank Fraser, and Mrs David 
Logan, who played the accompaniments, and to Mr Roderick 
MacLeod, who did much in organising the entertainment. 

Dr William Mackay moved a vote of thanks to Lochiel. 
He expressed approval of what Lochiel had said about the 
shameless treatment accorded to o-ur Highland regiments. 


Roll of Members-November, 1922. 


Mackay, William, LL.D., Solicitor, Craigmonie, Inverness 
Watson, William J., M.A., LL.D., Professor of Celtic Languages, 

Literature and Antiquities, University of Edinburgh, 8 

Spence Street, Edinburgh 


Atholl, His Grace The Duke of, K.T., C.B., M.V.O., D.S.O., 
LL.D., Blair Castle, Blair Atholl 

Baillie, James Evan Bruce, of Dochfour, Dochfour House, Inver- 

Brodie, W. A. G., Edinburgh 

Burgess, Peter, Will an hall House, near Coventry 

Cameron, Colonel Donald Walter, of Lochiel, C.M.G., A.D.C., 
Achnacarry, Inverness-shire 

Cromartie, The Right Hon. The Countess of, Tarbat House, 

Finlay, The Right Hon. The Viscount, P.C., G.C.M.G., Phillimore 
Gardens, London 

Fletcher, James Douglas, J.P., of Rosehaugh, Ross-shire 

Forteviot, The Right Hon. Lord, Dupplin Castle, Perthshire 

Eraser, Edward D., The Elms, Peebles 

Fraser-Tytler, Major Neil, D.S.O., of Aldourie, Aldourie Castle, 

Grant, Ian R. J. M., J.P., of Glenmoriston, Inverness-shire 

Grant, John Peter, J.P., of Rothiemurchus, Aviemore, Inverness- 

Littlejohn, Alexander, of Invercharron, Bonar- Bridge, Sutherland- 

Lovat, The Right Hon. Lord, K.T., K.C.M.G., K.C.V.O., C.B., 
D.S.O., Beaufort Castle, Inverness-shire 

356 Gaelic Society oj Inverness 

MacColl, J.G., Box 1134 G.P.O., Sydney, New South Wales, 

Macdonald, Sir Alexander W. M. Bosville, Bart., Thorpe Hall, 

Bridlington, Yorks 
Macfarlane, Donald, New Zealand 

Mackenzie, Major Louis H.L., Tomich House, Beauly, Inverness- 

Mackenzie, W. Dalziel, of Farr, Daviot, Inverness-shire 
Mackinnon, W.A., Gollanfield House, Inverness-shire 
Maclean, Hugh, Elmhurst, Greeiiock 
Maclean, Lachlan, Cape Town, South Africa 
Macleod, Duncan, of Skeabost, Skye 
Macleod, Sir Reginald, K.C.B., Vintners, Maidstone 
Macleod, The Rev. William Houldsworth, M.A., B.D., Fuinary, 

Shandon, Dumbartonshire 
Mason-Macfarlane, Colonel David, C.M.G., C.B.E., T.D., M.D., 

Turin, Forfarshire 

Munro, Colonel Sir Hector, Bart., A.D.C., of Fowlis, Ross-shire 
Novar, The Right Hon. The Viscount, P.C., G.C.M.G., Secretary 

of State for Scotland, Novar, Ross-shire 
Russell, The Very Rev. James Curdie, D.D., V.D , 9 Coates 

Gardens, Edinburgh 
Seaforth. The Right Hon. Lord, Brahan Castle, Conon-Bridge, 

Watts, Mrs Mary Seton, Lunnerlease, Guild ford, Surrey 


Anderson, P. J., The University Library, Aberdeen 
Bartholomew, John, Glenorchard, Torrance, near Glasgow 
Beaton, Alexander, Gleannbreac, Saskatchewan, Canada 
Bentinck, The Rev. Charles D., B.D., The Manse, Dornoch, 

Black, George F., Ph.D., New York Public Library, New York, 


Cameron, Duncan, J P., Dunellan, Muir of Ord, Ross shire 
Campbell, Captain George Hay, Yr., of Succoth, Garscube, 

Cameron, Lieut. -Colonel George Sorel, Cameron Highlanders, 

Campbell, John Macleod, The Captain of Saddell Castle, Saddell, 


Cassillis, The Right Hon. The Earl of, Culzean Castle, Ayrshire 
Chisholm, John A., Mayor of Cornwall, Ontario, Canada 

Members 357 

Dallas, James, Brae of Cantray, Gollanfield, Inverness-shire 
Davidson, Donald, Waverley Hotel, Inverness 
Davidson, Malcolm 0., M.A., Mus.B. (Cantab ), Tarland, N-iirn 
Duff-Dunbar, Mrs L., of Ackergill, Ackergill Tower, Wick, 


Farquharson, J. A,, Holly mount, Radcliffe, Lanes. 
Fowler, Alice Lady, Royal Hotel, Inverness 
Fraser, George M., Summerlea, Portree, Skye 
Fraser, John, HA Ballifeary Road, Inverness 
Fraser Mackenzie, Mrs Beatrice A., O.B.E., Bunchrew House, 


Gardner, Alexander, J.P., Publisher, Paisley 
Gibson, John, 25 Academy Street, Inverness 
Grant, R. M., Manager, " Chronicle " Office, Inverness 
Grant, Vice-Admiral Sir Heathcoat, K.C.M.G., C.B., Boath, 

Auldearn, Nairn 

Gunn, Colonel Gilbert, 15 Learmouth Gardens, Edinburgh 
Henderson, Thomas, B.Sc., 47 Moray Place, Edinburgh 
Lauchlan, James Allan, Boulevard Victor Hugo 23, Neuilly-sur- 

Seine, France 

Lindsay, Professor W. M., 3 Howard Place, St Andrews 
Livingstone, Lieut. Neil St Clair, 927 Edgemount Blod, Los 

Angelos, California, U.S.A. 
Macalister, Sir Donald, K.C.B., M.D., LL.D., D.Sc., D.C.L , Ph.D., 

Principal, Glasgow University, Glasgow 
Macau lay, Angus, Berryburn, Greenock 
MacDhomhnuill, F. S. R., Box 1068 G.P 0.. Johannesburg, South 


Macdonald, Alex. Robert Dawson, F.A.A., Hubert Place, Lancaster 
Macdonald, Dr D., Glen-Urquhart, Inverness-shire 
Macdonald, The Rev. James Duff, M.A., 3 Warrander Park 

Terrace, Edinburgh 

Macdonald, John, Sutherland Arms Hotel, Golspie, Sutherland- 
Macdonald, Sir Murdoch, K.C.M.G, C.B., M.P., C.E., 26 Half 

Moon Street, London 
Macdonald, Ranald, O.B.E., Provincial Commissioner, Blantyre, 

Nyassaland, Africa 
MacEchern, The Rev. Dugald, B.D., Bard to the Society, The 

Manse of Bower, Caithness 
Macgillivray, The Rev. Donald Cameron, M.C., Box 125, 

Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada 
Macgillivray, William L., J.P., Eoligarry, Barra 

358 Gaelic Society of Inverness 


Macllraith, Dr W. N., Duntulm, 2 White's Terrace, Manningham, 


Mackay, Andrew, 20 Carrington Street, Kettering 
Mackay, George, M.D., F.R.C.S.E., 26 Drumsheugh Gardens, 


Mackay, John Charles, A.M.Inst.C.E., J.P., Hatterall, Hereford 
Mackfiy, J. G., India Office, Bank of England, London 
Mackay, J. G., O.B.E., Beaumont House, Portree, Skye 
Mackay, Mrs William, Craigmonie. Inverness 
Mackenzie, Miss Kathleen H., of Fan-, Daviot, Inven ess-shire 
Mackenzie, Dr M. Tolmie, Scolpaig, Lochmaddy, N. Uist 
Mackenzie, Dr Ridley, 42 Gloucester Square, Hyde Park, London 
Mackenzie, Theodore Charles, M.D., F.R.C.R., Ruigh Ard, 

Mackenzie, William C., 94 Church Road, Richmond-on-Thames, 

Mackinnon, A. D., C.M.C., O.B.E., M.D., Dunringell, Kyleakin, 


Mackinnon, Neil, Royal British Hotel, Perth 
Mackintosh, A. M., The Hermitage, Nairn 
Mackintosh, The Mackintosh of, Moyhall, Inverness-shire 
Maclachlan, The Rev. John, The Manse of Lochcarron, Ross-shire 
Maclean, The Rev. Donald, D.D., Professor of Church History, 

Free Church College, Edinburgh 

Maclean, Roderick, C.A., 1 Lombard Street, Inverness 
Maclean, William James, 9 Academy Street, Inverness 
Maclellan, The Rev. Neil, Hill House, Inverness 
Macleod, The Rev. Donald, B.D., M.C., Broomhill, Inverness 
Macpherson, A. C.. D.L., of Cluny, Cluny Castle, Kingussie 
Macpherson, Charles J. B., of Balavil, Kingussie 
Macpherson-Grant, A., Gorseland, Hurley, Hants 
Macrae, Donald, Browns, Southland, New Zealand 
Macrae, The Rev. Donald, B.D., The Manse of Edderton, Ross shire 
Macrae, Horatio R., of Climes, 57 Castle Street, Kdinourgh 
Macrae-Gil strap, Lieut. -Colonel John, of Kilean Donan, Ballimore, 

Otter Ferry, Argyll 

Macritchie, David, C.A., 4 Archibald Place, Edinburgh 
Matheson, Hugh, M.A., 922 Pollokshaws Road, Shawlands, 

Morrison, Murdo, M.A., Director of Education for Inverness-shire, 

13 Lovat Road, Inverness 
Morrison, W. Murray, M.Inst.C.E., 137 Whitehall Court, London, 

S.W. 1 
Munro, Donald, Morven, Inverness 

Members 359 

Munro, Neil, LL.D., Cromalt, Helensburgh 

Napier, Theodore, Magdala, Woodland Street, Essendon, 
Melbourne, Australia 

Neil, James L., F.E.I. S., The Schoolhouse, Abriachan, Inverness- 

Powers, Francis, 32 Albany Avenue, Hartford, Conn., U.S.A. 

R >bertson, Angus, Dunholme, Hamilton Drive, Pollokshields, 

Ross, Finlay M., 136 Bath Street, Glasgow 

Ross, General Sir Walter, of (Jromarty, Ross-shire 

Somerville, The Rev. James Ewing, D.D., Castellar, Crieff 

Stewart, Provost Andrew, Palace Hotel, Fort-William 

Tait, Arthur, Altonsyde, Nairn 

Townsend, E. R., Paymaster Sub. Lieut., R. N., Boundary Oak, 
Waterlooville, Hants 

V.irdell, The Rev. Charles G., D.D., Flora Macdonald College, 
Red Springs, N.C., U.S.A. 

Warr, The Rev. Charles L., M.A., St Paul's Manse, Greenock 

Watt, The Rev. Lachlan Maclean, D.D., 7 Royal Circus, Edinburgh 

Young, John, J.P., Drumnamarag, Crown Drive, Inverness 


Alexander, William M,, c/o "The Free Press," Aberdeen 

Anderson, John N., Solicitor, Stornoway 

J^aillie, Miss May, Lochloy, Nairn 

Bain, George, Rosebank, Nairn 

Barren, Evan Macleod, M.A., Editor, " Inverness Courier," 


Barron, Roderick, M.A., H.M.I.S., Glen Oran, Inverness 
Beaton, Major M., Myrtle Bank, Drummond Road, Inverness 
Black, Miss Elizabeth Jane, Secretary, Arraii Society, ivanhoe, N.C., 

Black, Captain J. D. M., M.A., J.P., The Schoolhouse, Culcabock, 


Boyd, The Rev. Alexander, M.A., The Manse of Glencoe, Argyll 
Boyd, The Rev. Angus, M.A., The Manse of Glen- Urqu hart, 


Brown, John, 34 Baron Taylor's Street, Inverness 
Brown, Mrs J., 48 Kenneth Street, Inverness 
Buchanan, F. C., Clarinish, Row, Helensburgh 
Burn, The Rev. Ronald, B.A., The University, Glasgow 
Burn-Murdoch, William Gordon, J.P., Artist, Arthur Lodge, 60 

Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh 
Cameron, Angus, Seafield Estates Office, Elgin 

360 Gaelic Society oj Inverness 

Cameron, Major E. D. C., 23 Wellington Square, Chelsea, London, 

S.W. 3 

Cameron, Donald, Ardlarich, Ctilduthel Koad, Inverness 
Cameron, Duncan, Stationer, 3 Drummond Street, Inverness 
Cameron, James, Pembroke, Beaufort Koad, Inverness 
Cameron, James A., M.D., Firhill, Nairn 
Cameron, Kenneth, Factor, Ullapool, Koss-shire 
Cameron, William M., 10 St Colme Street, Edinburgh 
Cameron Swan, Captain Donald, 78 Park Lane, Croydon, Surrey 
Campbell, Hugh F., Advocate, 25 Union Terrace, Aberdeen 
Campbell, Sheriff, St Gilbert's, Abertarff Road, Inverness 
Carmichael, Eoghan K., C.E. 
Cheape, General R., of Tiroran, Mull 
Clarke, Miss, Achareidh, Nairn 
Connell, The Rev. Donald, M.A., West U.F. Church Manse, 49 

Fairfield Road, Inverness 

Cook, John, J.P., 21 Southside Road, Inverness 
Corrie, John, J.P., Burnbank, Momiaive, Dumfries-shire 
Cox, E.G., University of Washington, Seattle, U.S.A. 
Gumming, Alexander D., Headmaster, Public School, Callander 
Currie, Miss Jenny M. B., The Hotel, Ford, by Kilmartin, Argyll 
Davidson, James, 24 Queen's Gate, Inverness 
Dingwall, Alexander, M.A., M.B., C.M , 9 Lynedoch Street, 

Glasgow . 

Doak, James K R., B.A. (Cantab.), c/o Messrs Butchard & 

Bennett, 17 E. Craibstone Street, Aberdeen 
Donald, William, 8 Drummond Street, Inverness 
Duff, Miss Rachel Ainslie Grant, Delgaty Castle, Turriff 
Elder, William Nicol, M.D., F.R.S.M.L., 6 Torphichen Street, 


Fergusson, Dr, Lylestone House, Alloa 
Finlay, Miss Margaret, Reay House, Inverness 
Forbes, Alexander R., 31 Kilmaurs Road, Edinburgh 
Fraser, Alexander, 7 Union Street, Inverness 
Fraser, Alexander, 23 Tomnahurich Street, Inverness 
Fraser, Donald, 14 Young Street, Inverness 
Fraser, D. Munro, H.M.I.S., 40 Kelburn Avenue, Dumbreck, 


Fraser, Lieut. Frank W., Solicitor, 28 Queen's Gate, Invernefcs 
Fraser, Hugh A., M.A., The Schoolhouse, Glen-Urquhart, Inver- 

Fraser, James, C.E., 19 Old Edinburgh Road, Inverness 
Fraser, John, 25 Railway Terrace. Inverness 
Fraser, John Smith, Solicitor, 28 Queen's Gate, Inverness 

Members 361 

Fraser, William, 40 High Street, Inverness 

Fyffe, The Rev. Thomas Fenton, The Vicarage, West Cornforth,. 

County Durham 

Gall, Mrs H. L., 13 Lombard Street, Inverness 
Galloway, Mrs Lindsay, Kilchrist Castle,' Campbeltown, Argyll 
Gill, William Walter, of Ballaguare, Dalby, Isle of Man 
Gillies, Kenneth, M.A., M.B., C.M., 14 Ardross Street, Inverness 
Gilmour, Mrs Allan, Invernauld, by Invershin, Sutherlandshire 
Gilmour, Miss Isobel Buchanan, Rosehall, Sutherlandshire 
Graham, Donald, Teacher of Gaelic, Higher Grade School, Inver- 

Graham, Hugh M., Solicitor, 51 Church Street, Inverness 
Grant, Francis James, W.S., 20 George Square, Edinburgh 
Grant, James Alexander, M.A., Royal High School, Edinburgh 
Grant, Thomas, Creag Mbor Hotel, Newtonmore 
Grant, William, Gresham Insurance Office, London 
Grant, William, Kildary Villa, Kingsmills Road, Inverness 
Henderson, Angus, 9 King Street, Stirling 
Henderson, James T., 2 Porterfield Road, Inverness 
Henderson, John, Town Clerk, Fortrose 
Hunter, J. Murdoch, Banker, 35 Queensgate, Inverness 
Jack, Evan C., The Exchange, Inverness 
Jack, James, Dempster Gardens, Inverness 
Kerr, George England, M.B., C.M , Ardkeen Tower, Culdutljel 

Road, Inverness 
Lamont, The Rev. Donald, M.A., The Manse of Blair-Atholl, 


Lucas, Miss Robina C., 7 Argyll Street, Ullapool, Ross-shire 
Macadam, The Very Rev. Donald M., V.F., P.P., Sydney, Nova 

Scotia, Canada 

MacAlister, Alexander, 373 Bath Street, Glasgow 
Macbeau, Lachlan, Editor of " Fifeshire Advertiser," etc., Kirk- 

caldy, Fife 

MacColl, Angus, 20 Eastgate, Inverness 

MacCowan, The Rev. R., F.C. Manse, Kiltarlity, Inverness-shire 
MacDhughaill, Eachann MacGill-Eathain, 62 Elderslie Street, 


MacDiarmid, James, Oakleigh, Comrie, Perthshire 
Macdonald, Alexander, Accountant, Highland Railway, Inverness 
Macdonald, Alexander, H.M.I.S., 73 Beasonsfield Place, Aberdeen 
Macdonald, The Rev. A. J., The Manse of Killearnan, Ross-shire 
Macdonald, Andrew E., Solicitor, 51 Church Street, Inverness 
Macdonald. Angus, Han Yang Estate, c/o Selitar P.O. Singa- 
pore, S.S. 

362 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Macdonald, The Rev. Archibald, The Manse of Kiltarlity, Inver- 
Macionald, C. M., M.A., D.Litt., Director of Education for Argyll, 

Education Office, Dunoon 

Macdonald, Donald, 33 Union Street, Inverness 
Macdonald, . D. F., Solicitor, 42 Union Street, Inverness 
Macdonald, D. J., Librarian to the Society, 22 Harrowden Road, 


Macdonald, The Rev. D. J., Killean Manse, Musdale, Kintyre 
Macdonald, H., Accountant's Office, H.R., Inverness 
Macdonald, Hugh, 2 Glendale Place, Inverness 
Macdonald, Hugh, 25 Railway Terrace, Inverness 
Macdonald, John, M.B., C.M., D.P.H., 26 Old Edinburgh Road, 

Macdonald, Pipe-Major John, Piper to the Society, 5 Perceval 

Road, Inverness 

Macdonald, Murdo, 22 Bridge Street, Inverness 
Macdonald, Thomas, 28 Castle Street, Inverness 
Macdonald, William, Scourie, by Lairg, Sutherlandshire 
Macdonald, William, 18 Sinclair Street, Thurso 
Macdonell, The Rev. Father, O.S.B., M.C., Box 277, Leamington, 

Ontario, Canada 

MacErlich, Captain Roderick,' 112 Polwarth Gardens, Edinburgh 
Macfadyen, Duncan, Jr., M.B., Ch.B., 1 Ardross Terrace, Inverness 
Macfarlane, The Rev. A. M., U.F.C Manse, Lochend, Inverness- 
MacGilchrist, The Rev. John, D D., B.A. (Oxon), The Manse of 

Go van, Glasgow 
MacGillivray, Angus, C.M., M.D., D.Sc., J.P., 23 South Tay Street, 


Macgillivray, John, Old Ground, Invergarry, Inverness-shire 
Macgregor, Donald, Inverchaggernie, Crianlarich 
Macgregor, John, W.S., 3 Coates Crescent, Edinburgh 
Macgregor, The Rev. P., B. I >., The Manse of Duthil, Inverness- 

Macgregor, Robert J., Kessock Lodge, Inverness 
Macgrtier, Alexander, Park Cottage, Glen-Urquhart Road, Inverness 
Macintosh, Andrew, J.P., Balfriseal House, Fort- Augustus 
Macintosh, William, Fife Estates Office, Banff 
Macintyre, Peter, 1 Grosvenor Terrace, Edinburgh 
Mackay, Alexander, of Glencruitten, Ob;tn 
Mackay, Alexander, '2 Reay Street, Inverness 
Mackay, Miss Alexandrina, High School, Inverness 

Members 363 

Mackay, Lieut. David N., Writer, 93 West Regent Street, 


Mackay, Donald, J.P., Braemore, Dunbeath, Caithness 
Mackay, Donald, London 
Mackay, Mrs Donald, London 

Mackay, Donald M., Bookseller, 27 High Street, Inverness 
Mackay, The Rev. George W., M.A., The Manse of Killin, Perth- 

Mackay, J. S., 11 Bellfield Road, Stirling 

Mackay, Captain William, Solicitor, 19 Union Street, Inverness 
Mackay- Scobie, Captain J. H., Seaforth Highlanders, Fort-George 
Mackenzie, Sir A. G. R., Bart., of Coul, Ross-shire 
Mackenzie, Alexander, The Schoolhouse, Elphin, Sutherlandshire, 

by Lairg 

Mackenzie, Alexander J., Solicitor, 62 Academy Street, Inverness 
Mackenzie, Duncan, The Royal Hotel, Stornoway 
Mackenzie, George, Editor, " Northern Chronicle," Inverness 
Mackenzie, Hector H , J.P., Balelone, Lochmaddy, North Uist 
Mackenzie, Miss Jessie E., Merkinch School, Inverness 
Mackenzie, John, 22 Castle Street, Inverness 
Mackenzie, John, 29 Kenneth Street, Inverness 
Mackenzie, J. W., M.D., O.B.E., 4 Ardross Terrace, Inverness 
Mackenzie, Captain Murdo, 37 Union Road, Inverness 
Mackenzie, Murdo, 42 Castlehlll Road, Ayr- 
Mackenzie, William Mackay, M A., Secretary, Ryal Commission 
Ancient and Historical Monuments (Scotland), 33 Howard 
Place, Edinburgh 

Mackillop, Ian W., 14 Ballifeary Road, Inverness 
Mackinnori, Sergeant John, The Castle, Inverness 
Mackintosh, Angus, 14 Westhall Gardens, Edinburgh 
Mackintosh, Duncan H., Drumalin, Drummond Road, Inverness 
Mackintosh, James, Invercargill, New Zealand 
Mackintosh, Mrs J., Loch Maree Cottage, 14 Southside Road. 


Mackintosh, John, Loch Maree Cottage, 14 Southside Road, Inver- 

Mackintosh, John, Solicitor, 15 Queensgate, Inverness' 
Mackintosh, Neil D., of Raigmore, Inverness 
Mackintosh, R. L., J.P., of Inshes, Inverness 
Maclaren, George, 3 Beaufort Road, Inverness 
Maclean,, Donald, M.A., 12 Mardale Crescent, Edinburgh 
Maclean,' Dugald, M.A., LL.B., 8 Bank Street, Edinburgh 
Maclean, James, Merchant, Beauly 

364 Gaelic Society of /nuerness 

Maclean, J. P., Ph.D., 218 Euclid Avenue, Grenville, Darke Co., 

Ohio, U.S.A. 
Maclellan, Angus Y., Margaree Island, Inverness Co., Nova Scotia, 


Maclennan, Duncan, 29 Tomnahurich Street, Inverness 
Maclennan, The Rev. Duncan, M.A., The Manse of Kintail, Inver- 

Maclennan, The Rev. D. S., The Manse of Laggan, -Kingussie 
Maclennan, John, M.A., Rector, High School, Dundee 
Maclennan, The Rev. Malcolm, D.D., Sfc Columba U.F. Church, 

Edinburgh, 6 Polwarth Terrace, Edinburgh 
Macleod, Angus, Seaforth Mansions, Inverness 
Macleod, The Rev. Donald, The Manse of Gairloch, Ross-shire 
Macleod, D. J., M.A, H.M.I.S , Porterfield House, Inverness 
Macleod, Frederick T., Solicitor, 123 George Street, Edinburgh 
Macleod, John, Printer, 20 Hamilton Street, Inverness 
Macleod, John, 7 Beaufort Gardens. Beauly 
Macleod, The Rev. Professor John, Free North Church, Inverness, 

Aden, Annfield Road, Inverness 
Macleod, Sir John Lome, C.B.E., LL.D., 72 Great King Street, 


Macleod, John N., The Schoolhouse, Knockbain, Kirkhill, Inver- 

Macleod, Kenneth, M.A., Rector, The Academy, Fortrose 
Macleod, Malcolm, 5 Church Road, Ibrox, Glasgow 
Macleod, The Rev. Malcolm, M.A., The U.F.C. Manse, Lochgilp- 

head, Argyll 

Macleod, Malcolm C., Publisher, 183 Blackness Road, Dundee 
Maclt- od, Norman, M.A., 35 Park Drive, South Whiteinch, Glasgow 
Macleod, Norman A., 22 Beaufort Road, Inverness 
Macleod, Roderick, 10 Drummond Street, Inverness 
Macleod, The Rev. William A. 
Macleod, William C. 
Macmaster, The Very Rev. Canon W., Catholic Church. Taynuilt, 


Macmillan, The. Rev. Father 
Macnab, John, F.E.I.S., Peinora, Kilmuir, Skye 
Macnaught, The Rev. John C., B.D., The Manse of Kilmuir-Eastcr, 


Macnaughton, W. A., M.D., County Buildings, Stonehaven 
Macniven, Angus, 13 Great George Street, Billhead, Glasgow 
Macphail, J. R, N., K.C., Sheriff of Stirling, Dumbarton, and 

Clackmannan, 17 Royal Circus, Edinburgh 
Macphail, S. Rutherford, M.D., Linden Lodge, Loanhead, Midlothian 

Members 365 

MacPharlain, Calum, 139 Main Street, Elderslie 

Macphee, John J., Box 32 P.O., New Waterford, Cape Rreton, 

N.S., Canada 

Macpberson, D., 3 St John's Road, Pollokshields, Glasgow 
Macpherson, Duncan, Bernera, Glenelg, Inverness-shire 
Ma'cpherson, John, 6 Inglis Street, Inverness 
Macpherson-Grant, G. B., D.L., O.B.E., F.R.G.S., of Craigo, 


Macrae, The Rev. A. 
Macrae, Donald, 26 Eastgate, Inverness 
Macrae, The Rev. Duncan, 26 Douglas Crescent, Edinburgh 
Mactavish, P. D., Solicitor, 21 Church Street, Inverness 
Matheson, Roderick, Lech-a-bhraoin, Braemore, Ross-shire 
Mathieson, Duncan, 1 Muirneld Road, Inverness 
Miller, Alexander Cameron, M.D., Lieut.-Col., R.A.M.C., T.F., 

Craig-Linnhie, Fort-William 
Morgan, Arthur, 1 Glengyle Terrace, Edinburgh 
Morrison, J. Coutts, M.A., Headmaster, Merkinch School, Inverness 
Morrison, William Mackenzie, L.R.C.P., D.P.H., Inaclete House, 

Annfield Plain, Co. Durham 

Munro, The Rev. Donald, Free Church Manse, Ferintosh, Ross-shire 
Munro, John Farquhar, 13 High Street, Invergordon 
Munro, Thomas, Architect, 62 Academy Street, Inverness 
Murcheson, Alexander M., Caledonian Hotel, Portree, Skye 
Murray, The Rev. Alexander, U.F. Church Manse, Beauly, Inver- 
Murray, Captain Keith R., B.A. Cantab., Graitney Hall, Gretna, 

Newlands, Alexander, C.E., Chief Engineer, Highland Railway, 

Oakdale, Broadstone P?rk, Inverness 
Nicolson, Alexander Neil, Secretary to the Society, 6 Queensgate, 


Nicolson, Mrs Jean, LL.A., 23 Abban Street, Inverness 
Noble, John M., 42 Midmills Road, Inverness 
Paterson, Major J., 12 Glencairn Crescent", Edinburgh 
Paul, Miss Emily L., The Hill, Hampstead Heath, London, N.W 3 
Petrie, Alexander F., 43 Argyll Street, Inverness 
Poison, Alexander, 7 Ardconnel Street, Inverness 
Reid, James, " Dumfries Courier," Dumfries 

Ritchie, The Rev. Robert L., The Manse of Creich, Sutherlandshire 
Roberts, Major William, C.E., County Buildings, Golspie, Suther- 
Robertson, The Rev. Charles M., U.F. Manse, Port Charlotte, Islay, 

Robertson, John L., LL.D., C.B., Maybank, Inverness] 

366 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Rose, Alexander, 28 'High Street, Nairn 

Ross, Alexander, LL.D., Architect, 28 Queensgate, Inverness 

Ross, Major David, Solicitor, 63 Church Street, Inverness 

Ross, G. A., Rhynie, Ross-shire 

Ross, Captain H. D., Solicitor, 63 Church Street, Inverness 

Ross, The Rev. Neil, B.D., 12 Mentone Terrace, Edinburgh 

Ross, William A., Solicitor, 32 Harrington Place, Edinburgh 

Scott, The Rev. Archibald B., B.D., The Manse of Helmsdale, 


Shaw, William, Broadford, Skye 

Shaw, Captain W. J., Headmaster, Central School, Inverness 
Sinclair, The Rev. A. Maclean, Hopewell, Pictou County, Nova 

Scotia, Canada 

Sinton, The Rev. Thomas, D.D., The Manse of Dores. Inverness- 

Smith, John, Dores, Inverness-shire 
Smith, J. Grant, D.S.O., Inverallan, Grantown-on-Spey 
Sprott, John Chappell, 11 Gray Street, Sandyford, Glasgow 
Steven, Frank, Caledonian Hotel, Inverness 
Stewart John, 3 Duff Street, Inverness 
Stewart, Mrs J. M., Punjab, India 
Stewart, Dr William, Invercargill, New Zealand 
Stuart, James Macdonald 

Sutherland, W. G , 4s Old Edinburgh Road, Inverness 
Tolmie, D. J., Clerk, Education Authority for Inverness-shire, 11 

High Street, Inverness 

Urquhart, Andrew, M.A., Rosehall, Invershin, Sutherlandshire 
Urquhart, David, M. A.., L.C.P., The Schoolbouse, Ferintosh, Ross- 

Urquhart, Miss Euphemia J. M., 1 Hillside Villas, Inverness 
Wallace, H. Frank, Authors' Club, St James, London, S.W. 1 
Ward, Harry Hull, The Station Hotel, Inverness 
Watson, Mrs E. C., 8 Spence Street, Edinburgh 
Watson, John Lachlan Macgillivray, Invercargill, New Zealand 
Wilson, H. F., M.C., M.B., B.C., F.R.G.S., Clachbheo, Nethy- 

Bridge, Inverness-shire 

Wolfenden, William, Duke of Gordon Hotel, Kingussie 
Wotherspoon, Robert, Solicitor, 63 Church Street, Inverness. 
Young, David, J.P., 1 Ardross Street, Inverness 

Members 36T 


Dublin University, per Messrs Hodges, Figgis, & Co., Booksellers, 

20 Nassau Street, Dublin. 

Edinburgh Public Library, per Ernest A. Savage, Chief Librarian 
John Rylands Library, Manchester, per T. T. Shann, Treasurer 
National Library of Wales, per John Ballmger, M.A., Aberystwyth 
University of New York and Chicago, per Messrs B. F. Stevens & 

Brown, 4 Trafalgar Square, London, W.C. 2 
West Highland Museum, Fort- William, per The Hon. Secretary, 

Victor T. Hodgson, F.I.Archts. (Scot), Cuilcheanna, Onich, 



Caledonian Medical Society, per Lieut.-Colonel D. Rorie, D.S.O., 

M.D., D.P.H., Cults, Aberdeenshire 
Royal Scottish Geographical Society, per Geo. G. Chisholm, 

Secretary, Synod Hall, Edinburgh 
Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, per the Director, National 

Museum of Antiquities, Queen Street, Edinburgh 


Armstrong, Adam, 19 Church Street, Stornoway 

Barron, James, Editor, " Inverness Courier" 

Beveridge, Erskine, LL.D., St. Leonard's Hill, Dunfermline 

Burnett, J. Russell, Architect, Inverness 

Butter, D., Glenlyon, Inverness 

Fraser, Hugh Ernest, M.A , M.D., The Royal Infirmary, Dundee 

Fraser, Miss Kate, Inverness 

Gossip, James A., Knowsley, Inverness 

Grant, James, 21 Kelvingrove Street, Glasgow 

MacCormick, Rev. F., Wellington, Salop 

Macdonald, The Rev. A., The Manse, Waternish, Skye 

Macdonald, Kenneth, Town-Clerk, Inverness 

Macdonald, Lieut.-Col. T. R.. The Haven, Inverness 

Mackay, Donald, Reay House, Hereford 

Mackay, Eneas, Bookseller, Stirling 

Mackay, Major Ian, 19 Union Street, Inverness 

Mackenzie, Dr F. M., Glenoran, Inverness 

Mackenzie, William. Secretary, Crofters' Commission, Edinburgh 

Mackintosh, Canon, Chapel House, Fort-William 

368 Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Maclagan, R. C., M.D., 5 Coates Crescent, Edinburgh 

Macleod, Alexander, Millmount, Crown Drive, Inverness 

Macleod, William, Curator, The Museum, Inverness 

Macphie, Donald, F.E.I.S., 5 Victoria Terrace. Dullatur 

Macqueen, Rev. Monsignor, Chapel House, Inverness 

Matheson, Sir Kenneth, of Lochalsh, Ross-shire 

Maxwell, T. E, Hall, of Dargarvel, 15 Queen's Terrace, St Andrews 





Adhamh agus Eubh, by Lachlaii Macbean Mr L. Macbean 
Agriculture, First Report of the Secretary 

of (1889) Mr J. P. Maclean 

Agriculture, Chemistry of. C. A. Cameron, 

M.D. (1857) Mr John Murdoch 

Agricultural Class- Book. Rev. Mr Hickey 

(1862) ditto 

Aig Tigh Na Beinne. K. W. Grant . P. J. Anderson 
Annals, Ritson's, volumes I. and II. (1828) Sir Kenneth J. Mac 

kenzie of Gairloch 
Antiquaries of Scotland, Society of (vols. 

42, 43, 44, 45. 46, 47, 48, 49, 51, 53, 

54, and 55) ..... The Society 
Antiquities, Ancient Caledonian. Rev. J. 

Macpherson, D.D.. Skye (1768) . Mr J. Craigie, Dundee 
Apocrypha in Gaelic (tr.). Rev. A. Mac- 

gregor (1860) The Translator 

Avesbury, The Winged Sons of. Owen 

Morgan (Morien) (1901) (two copies) Mr J.Mackay, Hereford 


Badenoch, The Poetry of. Rev. Thos. 

Sinton, D.D. . ' .. . . . The Author 
Banking, The Elements of. H. D. Macleod, 

M.A. (1891) ... . The Author 

Bardic Stories, The, of Ireland. Patrick 

Kennedy (1871) / Mr John Murdoch 



Gaelic Society of Inverness 


Bibliotheca Scoto-Celtica. John Reid) 
(1832) (two copies) . . f 

Bible, English and Irish, from Genesis to 
Joshua. Rev. John MacHale (1868) 

Beatha na Banrighinn anns a Ghaidheal- 
tachd ...... 

Biobla Noamtha (Irish), partly MS. . 



Hereford, and Mr 
J. Craigie, Dundee 

Canon Bourke 

H.M. King George V. 
J. Mackenzie, M.D., of 

Mr L. Mac bean. 

Mr J. Craigie, Dundee 

Mr A. R. MacRaild 
Mr L. Mackintosh 

The Author 

Mr J. Mackay, Hereford 

Biobul, Old (1823) . . ; . 

Biobla Noamhtha (Bedel) (1817) . 

Biobull Noamhtha (1855) 

Biobla Naomhtha (Bedel) (1685) . 

Biobla Noamhtha (Bedel) (Irish) (1830) , 

Bible (Welsh) (1859) . 

Bishop MacDonell. J. A. MacDonell of 

Greenfield ... 

BliadhnaThearlaich. JohnMackenzie(1844) Mr Alex. Mackenzie 
Boyds of Penkill and Trochrig. Major 

Seymour Clarke . 
Bride of Lammermoor, Illustrations from 


Brigade, The Highland. Jas. Cromb (1886) 
Britannia, The Light of. Owen Morgan 

(Morien) ...... ditto 

Bruce of Bannockburn, The. M. Mac-\ Mr ^Eneas Mackay, 

Millan, D.Litt. . ./ Stirling 

Bull " Ineffabilis," The, in Latin, English, 

Gaelic, and French. Rev. U. J. 

Burke (1868) Canon Bourke 

Boston agus na Mairtirich. Aonghas 

Macdhomhnuill (1863) . . . Mr J. Craigie, Dundee 
Burke, Edmund, The Works of (8 vols.) \ Mr Colin Chisholm, 

(1808) J Inverness 

Burt's Letters from the North of Scotland) L. Macdonald of 

(Jamieson edition) (1876). . ./ Skeabost 
Bute Docks, The. John M'Connachie, 

C.E. (1876) The Author. 



Mr J . Mackay, Hereford 
Dr Maclauchlau 

The Author 

Mr J. Craigie, Dundee 
vi., vii., ^ The Publishers and 

. j Purchased 

Dr Alex- [ Mr yEneas Mackay, 


Caledonian Medical Journal (incomplete) 

(April 1896 to date). 
Carmina Gadelica (2 vols.). Alex. Car- 

michael (1900) . ; ' ; 
Celtic Gleanings. Rev. Thos. Maclauch- 

lan (1857) ..... 
Celtic Language, Affinity between the 

Hebrew and the. Thos. Stratton, 

M.D. (third edition) (1872) 
Celtic Language, The History of. L. 

Maclean. F.O.S (1840) . 
Celtic Magazine, vol. in., iv., v., 

viii., ix., x., xi., xii., and xiii 
Celtic Mythology and Religion. 

ander Macbain .... 

Celtic Origin of Greek and Latin. Thos. 

Stratton (1870) 
Celtic Race and Language, The Aryan 

Origin of. Rev. U. J. Bourke, 

M.R.l.A. (1875) .... 
Celts, The Literature of. M. Maclean, 

M.A., D.S.C Messrs Blackie & Son 

Chronicles of Eri, Fragments from (Ger-"\ Mr John Mackay, 

man). O'Connor (1838) . . ,j Ben Reay 
Church of Scotland, The Ancient. Mac-) Mr A. Burgess, Gair- 

Church, The Early Scottish. Rev. Thos. 

Maclachlan, D.D. (1865) . 
Clan Battle at Perth. A. Mackintosh 

Shaw (1874) ...... 

Clan Donald. Vols. i. and ii. Revs. A. 

J. and A. Macdonald (1899-1900) . 
Celtic Tradition, Waifs and Strays of. 

Rev. J. G. Campbell (1895) . 
Clan Maclean, History of. J. P. Maclean, 

Cincinnati (1889) .... 
Clan Maclean, Renaissance of the. J. P. 

Maclean, Ph.D 

Ctarsach an Doire. Neil Macleod (editions 

1883 and 1893) . The Author 

Rev. Alex. Macgregor 

Mr J. Mackay, Hereford 


Rev. Dr Maclauchlan 
The Author 
The Authors 
Miss Yule, Tarradale 

The Author 


Gaelic Society of /nuerness 


Clarsach nan Beann. Eobhann Maccolla 

(second edition, 1838) 
Clearances, The Highland. A. Mackenzie, \ 

F.S.A. Scot / 

Club of True Highlanders, The Book of, 

C. N. Macintyre North (1881) . 
Coinneach 'us Coille, Songs and Poems in 

Gaelic. A. Macdonald, Inverness (1895) 
Comhraidhean 'an Gaidhlig 's 'am Beurla. 

Rev. D. Machines (1892) . 
Common Order, The Book of (Carsewell). 

(Maclachlan's edition, 1873) (Gaelic). 
Corso di Lingua Italiana. (1819) . 
Cuchullinn Saga, The, in Irish Literature. 

E. Hull (1898) 

Culdees, The History of. Rev. Duncan 

M'Callum (1855) .... 
Culloden, The '45. Major-General Sir 

Alex. B. Tulloch, K.C.B., C.M.G. 

Preface by K. Macdonald, Inverness 
Culloden Moor and Story of the Battle. 

Peter Anderson. 


Mr J. Craigie, Dundee 
Mr ^Eneas Mackay, 

The Author 
The Author 


Mr Chas. Fergusson 

Miss Yule, Tarradale 

Rev. A. Macgregor 

Mr J^neas Mackay, 

P. J. Anderson 

Daiii agus Grain, Gilleasbuig Grannda 

Gleannamoraisdain (two copies) 
Dain Spioradail. Rev. Jas. Macgregor , 
Dain Spioradail. Iain MacGilleain. 
Dain Spiovadail, Laoidhean agus. Rev. G. \ 

K. MacCallum, M.A., LL.D. (1894) ./ 
Dan an Deirg, etc. C. S. Jerram, M.A. 

(1874) (two copies) .... 
Dan Uile-Lathaireachd Dhe (tr.) Rev. 

John Lees, A.M. (1837) (two copies) . 
Dean of Lismore, The Book of. Rev. T. 

Maclachlan (1862) 
Dictionary, Gaelic, Armstrong's (1825) . 

Dictionary, Gaelic and English. Alex. 

Macdonald (1741) .... 
Dictionary, Gaelic. A. Macbain, M.A., 

LL.D. (1896) . * .';*.*. 

Mr Charles Mackay 

P J. Anderson 
Mr A. R. Forbes, 

The Author 

J. Craigie, Dundee 

Rev. Dr Maclauchlan 
Mr A. R. Forbes, 

Rev. Alex. Macgregor 
The Author 




Dictionary, Gaelic, Highland Society's 

Macdonald's (vols. i. 

M' Alpine 
Macleod and Dewar's 

Dictionary, Gaelic. 

to xi.) 

Dictionary, Gaelic. 
Dictionary, Gaelic. 

(1830) . 

Dictionary, Gaelic. Shaw (1780) . 
Disruption, The, Dialogues in Gaelic (tr.) 

Rev. Alex. Clark (1843) . 
Doctrine, The Christian. Archbishop of 

Tuam . . '. 
Druids, Toland's History of the. R. 

Huddleston (1814) . 

Duain Ghaelig. MacDhuinn-leibhe (1858) . 
Duain agus Grain. Uilleam MacDhumn- 

leibhe . . . . , 


Sir Ken. S. Mackenzie 
of Gairloch, Bart. 

The Publisher 
Maclachlan <fc Stewart 

Rev. Dr Maclachlan 
Rev. A. Macgregor. 

Mr J. Craigie, Dundee 
MrC. GrantjBaltimore 

Mr J. Craigie, Dundee 
Mr John Murdoch 

P. J. Anderson 

The Author 

The Author. 


Eachdraidh Beatha Chriosd. Iain Mac- 

ruairidh (1893) 

Eachdraidh na h-Alba. Rev. A. Mac- 
kenzie (1867) (2 copies) . 
Earail Dhurachdach. J. Alliene (R. 

Baxter) . 
Eisemplier Shoilleir. Ceasnuighe air 

Leabhar aithghearr nan Ceist (tr.) 

Leis an UrramachEoinWillison(1799) Mr J. Craigie, Dundet 
Eminent Scotsmen, Chambers's Biography 

of. Vols. 1 to 9 (1859) . 
English Language, Gaelic Etymolcgy of. 

Charles Mackay, LL.D. (1877). . Mr J.Mackay, Hereford 
Epistles and Gospels, The Catholic, in 

various Celtic Languages . 

Mr A. R. Macraild 



FairMaid of Perth, Illustrations from. (1878) Miss Fraser,N. Berwick 
Fians, Fairies, and Picts. D. Macritchie 

(1893) .... .The Author. 


Gaelic Society of Inverness 


Fingal, The, of Ossian. Ewen Cameron \ A. H. F. Cameron, 
(1777) / Esq. of Lakefield 

Fingal, an Epic Poem. Archibald Mac- 
donald (1808) 

Fingal, Macpherson's (1762) (2 copies) 


L. Macbean and 
C. Eraser-Mackintosh, 

Fingal's Cave. J. P. Maclean, Cincinnatti 

(1890) ... . . Purchased 

Fulangais Chriosd. Duncan Macfarlane . Mr J. Craigie, Dundee 


Gael, Thoughts on the Origin and Descent 

of the. Jas. Grant (lo 14) . , . " 
Gaelic Antiquities. Rev. John Smith, \ Col. 



Kilbrandon (1780) . 
Gaelic Astronomy. D. M. Connell . 
Gaelic Charter, Photograph of. 1408 

Gaelic Journal (Irish), 1891 to date . 
Gaelic Language, Antiquity of. Rev. D. 

Macintyre (1865) . 

Gaelic Poetry, The Beauties of. J. Mac- 
kenzie (1872) 

Gaelic Primer (new). James Munro, 

H.M.E.L, L(5. andO.S.G., etc. (1873) 
Gaelic Society of Glasgow, Transactions. 

Vol i., 1887-1891 .... 
Gaelic Society of Inverness, Transactions 

of. Vols. i. to xxix. 
Gaelic Songs, Collection of. Pat Turner 

(1813) (2 copies) .... 
Gaelic Songs, Collection of (old) 
Gaelic Songs and Poems (" An Duanaire"). 

Donald Macpherson (1868) 
Gaidheal "AnGaidheal" (1873) . 
Grammar, Gaelic, Elements of. Rev. Alex. 

Stewart (1801) 

Grammar, Gaelic. James Munro (1843) . 
Grammar, Gaelic (Irish). (1808) (2 copies) 
Gu'n d'thug i speis do'n Armunn. 

MacCormaig . 

j Parkmount 
Mr Chas. Mack ay 
Rev. Wm. Ross, Glas- 
The Publishers 

Mr John Murdoch 
Rev. W.Ross, Glasgow 
Maclachlan tk Stewart 
The Society 

Mr A.Mackintosh Shaw 

Maclachlan & Stewart 
The Publishers 

Mr Duncan Mackintosh 
Canon Bourke 

Iain ( Mr JEneas Mackay, 
. ( Stirling 




Gypsies, Scottish, under the Stewarts. 
Macritchie (1894) . 



The Author 

Harp Music, Collection of (French) . 
Heart of Midlothian, Illustrations from 


Hebrides and Highlands of Scotland, 

History of. J. Walker, D.D. (1812) 

(2 vols.) . . " . 
Hermit, The, in Edinburgh (1824) . 
Highland Clans, Language, Poetry, and 

Music of. Lieut. D. Campbell (1862) 

Highlanders, Home Life of the (1400-1740) 

Highlander, The. May 1873 to May 1874 

Highlander, The. May 1874 to June 1877 

Do. June 1877 to NOT. 1878 

Do. Nov. 1878 to May 1881 

Highlanders, Sketches of. Stuart of 

Garth (1822) (2 vols.) 

Highlanders, The, of Scotland. W. F. 
Sl^ene, D.C.L., LL.D. (1902) . 

Highlands, The Old (1908) . 
Highlands, Letters from the. Robert 

Somers (1848) 

Historia Scotiae. Buchanan (1762). 
Historic de Gil Bias, De Santillane (French) 


Hymns, Spiritual (Gaelic). D.Dewar (1806) 

Mr C. Fergusson 
Miss Fraser, North 

I Sir Kenneth S. Mao 
j kenzie of Gairloch 

Dr Cameron, Liverpool 

Mr J. Murdoch 

R. Dey, M.A. 

Dr Cameron, Liverpool 

I Mr Wm. Mackay 

Col. Mackenzie of 

The Editor 
Alex. Macbain, M.A., 

Glasgow Gaelic Society 

Mr John Murdoch 
Mr William Mackay 

Mr Chas. Fergusson 

Inscriptions The Vernacular, of the 

Ancient Kingdom of Alban. W. B. 

Nicolson, M.A. (1896) . . . The Author 
Inverness Bibliography. P. J. Anderson. The Compiler 
lona, The Family of, and other Poems 

Ireland, Ecclesiastical History of Right 

Rev. P. J. Carew (1838) ... Mr Win. Mackay 
Ireland, The History of. G. Keating, 

D.D. (1902) 


Gaelic Society of Inverness 


Irish Texts Society. Volumes I., II., III. 

and IV. (1899-1902) . . 
Iron Smelting in Sutherland, Notes on. 


The Society 
The Author 

D. W. Kemp (1887). 
Islay, Sketches of. William Macdonald, 

A.M., M.D., and John Murdoch (1850) Mr John Murdoch 

Leabhar nan Sgoilean Gaidhealach an Dara 
(1826) . ... 

Leabhar nan Sgoilean Gaidhealach an 
Treas (1837) . ...',. 

Leabhar nan Sonn. Alex. Fraser, Toronto 
(1897) ..... 

Legend of Montrose, Illustrations from 


Lexicon, Greek and English (1831) . 

Lighting, Artificial, Address on. 

Bruce, Peebles, F.R.S.C. (1888) 

The Author 

Miss Fraser, N. Berwick 
Mr Chas. Fergusson 

W. Kemp, Esq. 

The Publishers 

& Son, 

The Author 

Literature of the Celts (Dr Magnus I A/r 

-\/r -i \ \ iviessrs 

1 Edinburgh 
Loch and River. Rev. T. Sinton, 

D.D. The Author 

Luinneagan Luaineach. Sur.-Col. Mac- 

gregor . 


Mackay, The Book of. Rev. A. Mackay . Mr Win. Mackay 

Mackay 's Regiment, History of. J. Mac- 
kay, late of Herrisdale . . . J. Mackay, Hereford 

Mackenzies, History and Genealogies of. 
A. Mackenzie (2nd edition) (1894) . 

Mackintoshes, The. A. M. Shaw 

Man, Manual of the Antiquity of. J. P. 
Maclean, Cincinnati (1887) . 

Mastodon, Mammoth and Man. J. P. 
Maclean, Cincinnatti (1880) 

Melodies and Original Poems, etc. Donald 
Macpherson (1824) .... 

Moore's Melodies, Irish (Tr.) Rev. John 
MacHale (1871) .... 

The Author 
The Author 



Mr J. Craigie, Dundtt 
Canon Bourke 




Mound. Builders, The. J. P. Maclean, 

Cincinnatti (1887) .... The Author 

Mountain Heath, The. Poems and Songs, f A. H. F. Cameron, 
David Macdonald, Inverness (1838) ,\ Esq. of Lakefield 

Music, Collection of. J. Anderson, Inver- 
ness (1808) (MS.) .... Dr Cameron, Worcester 

Music, Highland, Collection of. Capt. S. ( Mr Mackenzie, 'Bank 
Fraser of Knockie's (newedition, 1874) | Lane, Inverness 


North Uist, Its Archaeology and Topog- 
raphy, <fec. Erskine Beveridge, 


The Author 

Obscure Words in Shakespeare, Glossary of. 

Dr C. Mackay (1887) . 
Oireachtas, The Proceedings of (1897) 

Oiteagan o'n lar. lain MacCormaig . | 

Grain Nuadh Ghaeleach. Dombnul Mac- 

Leoid (1811) . ... 

Grain Ghaidhealach. Donnachadh Mac-au- 

t-Saoir (1804) . ... 

Grain Ghaidhealach. Raonall MacDhomh- \ 

nuill (Turner's Edition) (1809) j. 

(2 copies) . . . . . ) 
Granaiche, " An t-Oranaiche ." (Collection) 

(1879). A. Sinclair. . . 
Granaiche Nuadh Ghaidhealach. Alasdair 

MacDhonihnuill (1799) 
Oratio Dominica, in various Ian guages( 1715) 
Qssian, Dain Osiein Mhic Fhinn (1818) f 

(2 copies) . . . . . 1 
Gssian, Dain Gisein Mhic Fhinn (1807) 

(Maclachlan's Edition) (3 vols.) 
Ossian, Dain Osiein Mhic Fhinn 

Do. do. do. (Maclachlan) 

(1902 Edition) .... 

Ossian 's Poerns. 

J. Smith, D.D., Camp- 
belton (2 copies) (1787) 

Mr J . Mackay, Hereford 

Mr ^Eneas Mackay, 

Rev. D. Macleod, B.D. 

Maclachlan & Stewart 
F. C. Buchanan, 
Helensburgh, and 
A. M. Mackintosh 

The Compiler 

Mr J. Mackay, Here ford 
Col. Mackenzie of 

Maclachlan & Stewart 

P. J. Anderson 
Colonel Mackenzie of 

Parkmount and 
Mr L. Macbean 


Gaelic Society of Inverness 


Ossian's Poems (Macpherson's). Mr L. 

Do. 1 Volume, with Dissertations by 

Dr Blair (1809). 
Do. Report on, Highland Society | Col. Mackenzie 

Committee (1805) . . j Parkmount 
Do. Illustrations from, Paolo Priolo, 

(1873) .... Purchased 


Pedigrees, Irish. John O'Hart (1876) . The Author 
Pentateuch, The first two books of (Irish). 


Piobaireachd, MacCrimmon's (Collection), 

Macleod of Gesto (1828) . . . Rev. Alex. Macgregor 

/Sir K. S. Mackenzie 

Rev. A. Macgregor 

Piets and Scots, Chronicles of. Skeiie 

Pococke's Tour in Scotland. Scottish 
History Society . . . . 

Poems, Collection of. Vols. ii. <k iii. (1763) 

Poems, Death of Cuchullin, etc. (Wod- 
row) (1769) 

Poems, Gaelic (Collection). P. Macfarlane 

Poems, Gaelic (Collection) 

Poems, Gaelic and English. Mary Mac- 
kellar (1880) (3 copies) . 

Poems. A. Macgregor Rose (Gordon) 

Poems, Struan's . . . . . 

Poetical Works. Alex. Macdonald (1839) 

Prayer Book, English Church, Gaelic (18 19) 

Presbytery Records, Inverness and Ding- 
wall (1643-1688). Edited by Wm. 
Mackay, Esq., LL.D., Inverness 

Poems. W. J Cameron (1909) 

Printed Broadsides. Catalogue of a Col- 
Collection of 

Prints of the Past around Inverness. 
Prof. W. J. Watson. 

Prophecies of the Brahan Seer. Alex.^ 
Mackenzie . . . . . j 

Psalm Book, The, and Shorter Catechism, 
Gaelic (old) (1783) .... 

I of Gairloch 

D. W. Kemp, Esq. 
Mr D. Mackintosh 

Mr A. Kennedy 

Miss Hood 
R. Dey, M.A. 

The Authoress. 
Robert Dey, M.A. 
Mr A. Kennedy 
Mr J. Craigie, Dundee 
Rev. A. Macgregor 

The Editor 
The Author 

R. Dey, M.A. 

Mr JEneas 






Psalms, The, and Shorter Catechism, 

Gaelic (old) ..... Mr J. Craigie, Dundee 
Psalms of David, Gaelic (edition 1659) 
Psalms of David in Irish (1836) (2 copies) Rev. A. Macgregor 

(1 copy) 
Psalms, Scottish Metrical. J. W. Mac- 

meeken (1872). .... Mr J. Fraser, Glasgow 


Rathad Dhe gu Sith (tr.). H. Bonar, 
D.D. (1865) 

ReayFencibles, The. John Mackay (1890) 
Do. do. Capt. J. H. Mackay 

Scobie, F.S.A. (Scot ) (2 copies) 

Red-Gauntlet, Illustrations from. (1875-6) 

Reliquiae Celticse. Dr Cameron. Edited 
by Dr A. Macbain, M.A., and Rev. J. 
Kennedy a 894) . 

Royal Dublin Society, Economic Proceed- 
ings of. November 1899 to April 
1908 (incomplete) .... 

Royal Dublin Society, The Scientific Pro- 
ceedings of. Jan. 1886 to June 
1908 (incomplete) . 

Royal Dublin Society, The Scientific 
Transactions of. April 1888 to 
February 1906 (incomplete) 

Royal Irish Academy, Proceedings of. 
Volumes i. to No. 4 of Volume v. 

Royal Irish Academy (Todd Lecture 
Series). Vols. i. to vii., 1882 to 1900 
(incomplete) ..... 

Royal Society of Antiquaries and Historical 
and Archaeological Association of Ire- 
land. 1884 to 1891 (incomplete) . 

Saints, Everlasting Rest. 

R. Baxter 

Mr J . Mackay, Hereford 

The Author 

Miss Fraser, N.Berwick 

The Editors 

The Society 
The Society 

The Society 
The Publishers 

The Publishers 
The Publisher* 

Mr A. R. 


Scotland, History of. Vols. i. to viii. (with) L. Macdonald 
Index). John Hill Burton (1876) .} Skeabost 




Gaelic Society of Inverness 


Scotland's Mark on America. G. F. Black, 

Ph D. (1921) . . 
Scotland, Place Names of. J. B. Johnston 


Scots Magazine, The. Vol. xix. (1767) . 
Scottish Geographical Magazine. From 

Jan. 1889 to date . ... 
Scottish Story, The Book of. (1884) 
Seafield, In Memoriam of Ian Charles, ) 

VIII. Earl of. (1884). .J 

Seanchaidh Na Traghad. Iain Mac 

Cormaig .... 

Searmoiia Eobhann. 
(2 copies) 

'MacDiarmid (1804) 

Searrnoinean Gaelig. Arch. Cook . 
Sermons, Gaelic (M.S.) H. MacDiarmid. 

Volume i. (1772-1773) . 

Sermons in Gaelic (tr.) Dr Blair (1812) . 

Sermons, O'Gallagher's, (Irish Gaelic), etc. 

Rev Canon U. J. Bourke (tr.) (1877) 

Session Records, Inverness. A. Mitchell 


Sgeulaiche, An (3 vols.) . . 
Sgeulaiche nan Gaol. J. MacFadyen 
Shaw, Highland Families of. A. Mackin- 
tosh Shaw (1877) .... 
Skye Crofters, The Past and Present) 
Condition of. L. Macdonald (1886). / 
Skye, Historv and. Traditions of. Cameron 

(1871) " 

Smuggling in the Highlands. Ian Mac-"l 

donald, I S.O ' 

Songs of the Highlands, Gaelic, with 
English translation set to music, with 
piano accompaniment 
Songs and Poems, Gaelic. William Ross. 

(Second Edition) (1834) . 
Songs and Poems. Robert Mackay (Rob 
Bonn) (1829). (Dr Mackintosh's 
Edition) (two copies) 

Songs, Spiritual. Gaelic and English. 
D. Grant (1862) . . . . 


The Author 

MrW. A. G. b-.odie 
Mr A. Macbean 
The Royal Scottish 
Geographical Society 
Mr A. Burgess, Gairloch 
The Dowager-Count- 
ess of Seafield 
Mr vEneas Mackay, 

Mr J. Craigie, Dundee 
and Mr Colin Mac- 
P. J. Anderson 

Rev. A. Macgregor 
Mr J. Craigie, Dundee 

Mr J. Mackay, Hereford 

The Editor 
Alex, N. Nicolson 
P. J. Anderson 

The Author 
L. Macdonald of Skea- 

Mr John Murdoch 
Mr ./Eneas Mackay, 

Messrs Logan & Coy., 
Church St., Inverness 

Maclachlan & Stewart 

Mr J. Craigie, Dundee 



St Columba, Life of. 
St James's Magazine. 

Dr Smith (1798) . 
(April to July, 1861) 

St John, The Gospel of (Latin). Hamil- 

tonian System (1824) 
Statistics, Lands of Inverness, Ross, and 

Cromarty. H. C. Eraser (1871) 
Steuart's Letter Book (1715-1752). 

William Mackay, LL.D. . 
Story and Song from Loch Ness-side. A. 

Macdonald ' . 

Stuart Papers, Correspondence. Vol. i. 

(1847) . . . ;'. - . 

Stuart, Relics of the Royal House of. 

Gibb & Skelton (1890) . 
Sushtal Scruit liorifh yn Noo Mian . 
Sutherland Papers, The. Edited by 

Donald Macleod, M.A. (1888) . 


Mr J, Craigie, Dundee 
MrWm. Mackay, book- 
seller, Inverness 

Mr Chas. Fergusson 
The Author 
The Editor 


Mr A. Burgess, Gairloch 
Mr J. Mackay, Hereford 

D. W. Kemp 

Tain, The. Mary A. Hutton . 
Teachdaire, "AnTeachdaire Gaidhealach" 

(2 copies). Dr Norman Macleod 

(1830) . 

Testament, Greek 

Testament Gaelic (1800) 
Testament Old Irish 1685) (Bedel). 

Testament, Irish (1828) . 

Tradition * The Testimony of. David 

Macritchie (1890) . 
Tour through Great Britain, Diary of. 

Wm. Macritchie (1897) . 
Tour in the Highlands (Dr Johnson's 

Remarks on). Rev.'D. Macnicol (1852) 

The Author 
| Col. Mackenzie 


^> Parkmount and Mr 

J. Murdoch 
Mr Chas. Fergusson 
Mr L. Macbean 
Mr Paul Cameron, 

Dr Cameron, Wor- 

The Author 
The Editor 
Mr John Murdoch 

UiBt, " The Uist Collection.' 
Songs (Gaelic). Rev. 
donald (1894) . 


Poems and 
Arch. Mac- 

The Editor 


Gaelic Society of Inverness 


Unconverted, Call to the, (Gaelic). Bunyan 
Urnuigh an Tighearna. Rev. A. Mac- 

Diarmid ...... 

Urquhart and Glenmoriston. William 

Mackay, LL.D. (1893) . 

Do. do. (2nd Edition, 1914) 


Alex. N. Nicolson 

The Author 

Valuation Roll of Counties of Inverness and 

Ross (2 volumes) (1869-70, 1871-72) Mr Chas. Fergusson 
Vocabulary, English and Welsh. Thos. 

Evans (1804) 


Wales, The Proverbs of. T. R. Roberts 
(1885) (2 volumes) .... 

Wardlaw MSS., Eraser Chronicles. Edited 
by William Mackay, Esq., LL.D., 
Inverness . 

Waverley, Illustrations from (1865) 

West Highlands, Popular Tales of. J. F. 
Campbell (3 volumes) (1860-1862) . 

Mr J. Mackay, Hereford 

The Editor 
Miss Eraser, 


Mr Alex. Mackenzie 

List of Books bequeathed to the Society by the late 
John Mackay. Esq., C.E., Hereford. 

Abercrombie's Achievements. (2 vols.) 

Chalmer's Caledonia. (2 vols.) 

Molls's Atlas of Scotland. (1 vol.) 

Great Historical Families of Scotland. Taylor (2 vols.) 

History of the Macdonalds. Mackenzie (1 vol.) 









(1 vol.) 
(1 vol.) 
(1 vol.) 
(' vol.) 
(1 vol.) 
(1 vol.) 
(1 vol.) 

Library 383- 

Antiquarian Notes. Fraser-Mackintosh (1 vol.) 

Letters of Two Centuries. (1 vol.) 

Minor Septs of Clan Chattan. (1 vol.) 

Macdonalds of Isla. (1 vol.) 

History of the Macleans. Maclean (1 vol.) 

Clan Macdonald. Macdonald (3 vols.) 

Clan Gillean. Maclean Sinclair (1 vol.) 

Garnet's Tour in Scotland (1 vol.) 

Origines Parochiales Scotise (1 vol.) 

History of Ross. Bain (1 vol.) 

Red Book of Menzies. Menzies (1 vol.) 

Brave Sons of Skye. Macinnes (1 vol.) 

Loyal Lochaber. Drummond Norie (1 vol.) 

Literature of the Cymru. Stephens (1 vol.) 

National Eisteddfodd, 1883. (1 vol.) 

In the Shadow of Cairngorm. Forsyth (1 vol.) 

Language, Poetry, and Music of the Highland Clans. Campbell 

(1 vol.) 

Authenticity of Ossian. Graham (1 vol.) 
Topography of Galloway. Maxwell (1 vol.) 
Names of -Places. Edmund (1 vol.) 

Do. Johnston (1 vol.) 

Celtic Researches. Davies (1 vol.) 
Celtic Nations. Pritchard (1 vol.) 
Poems of Ossian. Clark (2 vols.) 
Gaelic Antiquities. Smith (1 vol.) 
Gaelic Proverbs. Nicolson (1 vol.) 
Sean Dana. Smith (1 vol.) 

Place Names of Strathbogie. Macdonald (1 vol.) 
Irish Names of Places. Joyce (vols. i. and ii.) 
Thoughts on the Gael. Grant (1 vol.) 
Orkneyinga Saga. Anderson (1 vol.) 
Cornish-English Dictionary. Williams (1 vol.) 
English-Cornish Dictionary. Jago (1 vol.) 
Manx Dictionary. Cregeen (1 vol.) 
Highlands of Scotland, 1750. Lang (I vol.) 
Rebellion of 1745. Chambers (2 vols.^ 
Letters from the Mountains. Mrs Grant (2 vols.) 
Celtic Gleanings. Maclauchlan (1 vol.) 
Moray Floods. Dick Lauder (1 vol ) 
Tour in Scotland. Pennant (3 vols.) 

Do. Knox (1 vol.) 

Journey in Scotland. Heron (2 vols.) 
Tales and Legends of the Highlands. Mackenzie (1 vol.) 


Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Clarsach nam Beann. Maccoll (1 vol.) 
Proverbs of Wales. Roberts (1 vol.) 
Last Monarch of Tara. Bourke (1 vol.) 
Antiquities of Greece. Potter (1 vol.) 
Antiquities of Constantinople. Ball (1 vol.) 
Zenophon De Cyri Institutions 

LIST OF PAMPHLETS, fife., fife. 



Abstinence Defended. Dr F. R. Lees, 
F.S.A.,and John Fordyce, M.A. (1879) 

Abstract of Accounts, Parochial Board of 
Boleskine and Abertarff (1880) . 

Amadain agus Oinsichean. Mr D. Macleod, 
M.D. (1901) 

Answer, Form of Libel before Presbytery 
of Aberdeen. Professor Robertson 
Smith (1878) (several copies) . 

Apocalypse, The, Unveiled. Mr Wm. Gow 
(1888) . 


Bodleian Library, Donations to the, year 
ending Nov., 1873 .... 


The Author 

Caledona Anthologie. The Eight Cale- 
donian Dialects (1862) . . 

Caraid a' Ghaidheil Discourse on Life of 
Rev. N. Macleod, D.D. (1863) . 

Celtic Language and Dialects. An English- 
man, B D. (1867) . . . . 

Celtic Race, Historical Characteristics of. 
Prof. Geddes (1885) (several copies) . 

Celtic Tongue, Philological uses of. Prof. 
W. D. Geddes (1872-1874) 

Celtic Trews. D. Macritchie . 

Mr John Muivoch 

(/anon Bourke 

Mr D. Maciver and 
the Author 

Library 385 


Church of Scotland Assembly Papers 

(The Poolewe Case) (1880) . Mr W. Mackenzie 

Clan Chattan. Notes on the Names of. 

John Macpherson, Esq., MD. (1874). The Author 

Clan Maclean, Renaissance of, and History 
of Dubhaird Caisteal. J. P. Maclean, 
Cincinnati ..... The Author 

Climate of Oregon and Washington Terri- 
tory, Letter of the Chief Signal 
Officer on the (1889) 

Co-Operative Farming in Ireland. James 

Hayes, Esq., C.E. (1872) . . Mr John Murdoch 


Dain Spioradail. C. MacNeacail . . R. Dey, M.A. 
Dotair Ban, An. Mr D. Macleod, M.B., of 

Beverley (1899) .... The Author 
Duan Gaidhilg le " Ughdair Tagraidh nan 

Gaidheal " (1859) .... 
Dun-Aiiunn. Iain MacCormaic. Fo 

Laimh Chaluim Mhic Pharlain . R. Dy, M.A. 

Eaglais Shoar, An, 1843 (Poem) . . R. Dey, M.A. 
Earail do dh' Oigridh na Gaidhealtachd 


Flora Macdonald in America. J. P. 

Maclean, Cincinnatti . . . The Author 


Gaelic Songs (Old). Mr Colin Chisholm, 

Inverness ..... The Collector 
Game Laws, The. R. G. Tolmie, Esq. (1871) Mr W. Mackay 


Hebrew Language, Gaelic Elements of. 
J. P. Maclean, Cincinnatti 


386 Qatlic Society of Inuerncss 


Highland Echo, The. March 10th, 1877, 

to Feb. 2nd, 1878 (2 Sets) . . Purchased 
Highland Garb, The. J. G. Mackay (1878) 
Highlander, The. August, 1881, to 

January, 1882 (incomplete) . . Purchased 
Historical Characteristics of the Celtic ( 

race (Sir William Geddes, Aberdeen^ Lady Geddes, Aberdeen 

University) . . . . \ 
Highlanders The, Home Life of (1400- 

1746) ... . 

Inscriptiones Latines de L'lrelande. M. H. 

Gaidoz (1878) ... 
Irish Language, The. Patrick Lynch 

(1815) . . . . ' . R. Dey, M.A 

Islay, Review of Eight Days in. The 

Islay Association .... Mr John Murdoch 

Kelto-Saxon. J. P. Maclean, Cincinnatti 

(1887) Mr John Murdoch 

Kentucky Revival and its Influence on 

the Maimi Valley. J. P. Maclean . The Author 
Kilchonan People Vindicated. Islay 

Association (1867) .... ditto 

Language of Ireland, Review of. M. E. 

Murtagh (1870) . . . Mr John Murdoch 

Leabhar Cheist Protastanach. R. P. 

Blakeney, LL D R. Dey, M.A. 

Lecture, Highland History. Mr W. 

Livingston (1860) .... Mr John Murdoch 

Literary and Scientific Societies, Trans- 
actions of the Northern Association 
of (vol. ii., parts i., iii., iv., and v.) . 

Loohran, An. Rev. J. Forbes. . . R. Dey, M.A. 



MacLean, Lachlan, of Arnabost. J. P. 

Maclean, Cincinnatti 
MacLean, M.S. (Arnabost). J. P. Maclean, 

Cincinnatti (1716) . 
MacLean, The Family of. J. P. Maclean, 

Cincinnatti . 
Mac Talla, 1896 to 1899 (incomplete) . 



The Author 


Mr W. Mackay, Inver- 

Philological Society, Action and Time in 

the Irish Verb. Professor Strachan . The Author 
Do. Deponent Verb in Irish. Professor 

Strachan .... ditto 

Do. History of Middle Irish Declen- 
sions. Prof. Strachan . . ditto 
Do. Sigmatic Future and Subjunctive 

in Irinh. Professor Strachan ditto 

Do. Substantive Verb in Old Irish 

Glosses. Prof. Strachan . ditto 

Phonetics of the Gaelic Language and a 
System of Phoi ography. Malcolm 
Macfarlane . . R. Dey, M.A, 

Pioneer, May 1875 to May 1876 (in- 
complete) ..... 
Primitive Christianity in Scotland. Mr 

W. Livingston (1859) 
Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries 
of Scotland (3 issues) 

Regalia, The Scottish, Essay . 

Religion des Gaulios. H. Gaidoz (1879) . 


Scoto-Celtic Philology, Some Helps in. 

Lord Neaves, LL.D., F.R.S.E. (1872) 

Scots Charitable Society of Boston (1878) 

Mr John Murdoch 

The Author 
Mr John Mackay (Ben 

388 Gaelic Society of Inverness 


Searmoinaibh leis an Urramach. Or 

De6rach, Glasco .... Maclachlan & Stewart 
Sermon, by C. H. Spurgeon (Sept. 1883) . 
Do. by Edmund Kell, M.A., F.S.A. 


Do. (Gaelic). Dr Candlish . . R. Dey, M.A. 
Do. (Highland Clearances). Rev. E. 
J. Findlater, M.A. (1855) . 

Trees, Shrubs, Plants, (fee., Gaelic Names 

of. Mr C. Fergusson (1878) . . The Author 


Urquhart, The Glen and Royal Castle of. 

W. Mackay, Esq., LL.D. (187S) , The Author 


Vestigia Celtica Celtic Footprints in 
Philology Ethics and Religion. Rev. 
D. Masson R. Dey, M,A. 


Woicester Diocesan, Architectural and } Dr Cameron 
Archaelogical Society . . . } Worcester 


Annual Assembly, 1919, 351. 

Art, Celtic. By Dr J. J. Gal- 

braith, 182. 

Assembly, Annual, 1919, 351. 
Beaton, The Eev. D. Fast Day 

and Friday Fellowship Meeting 

Controversy in the Synod of 

Sutherland and Caithness (1737- 

1738), 169. 
Campbell, Hugh F. Donald Mathe- 

son and other Gaelic Poets of 

Kildonan and Reay, 134. 
Celtic Art. By Dr J. J. Galbraith, 


Celtic Missionaries on the Con- 
tinent of Europe, The. No. I. 

S. Oolumbanus. By the Rev. 

Archibald B. Scott, B.D., 47. 
Clan Wars in the Old Highlands. 

By David N. Mackay, 67. 
Classic Gaelic Poetry of Panegyric 

in Scotland. By Professor W. 

J. Watson, LL.D., 194. 
Coll Place Names. By the Eev. 

Dugald MacEchern, B.D., 314. 
Constitution of the Gaelic Society 

of Inverness, xiv. 
Contents, Table of, Vol. XXIX.. 

Deceased Members of the Gaelic 

Society of Inverness, 1918-1922, 

Diechkoff, The Rev. Cyril H., 

O.S.B. Mythological Beings in 

Gaelic Folklore, 235. 
Domhnull nan Oran, am Bard 

Sgitheanach. By John N. Mac- 
Leod, 119. 
Dunvegan Family, Further Notes 

on the.* By Fred. T. MacLeod, 


Fast Day and Friday Fellowship 
Meeting Controversy in the 
Synod of Sutherland and Caith- 
ness (1737-1738). By the Rev. 
D. Beaton, 159. 

Fragments of Gaelic Song and 
Lilt. By Alex. MacDonald, 94. 
Further Notes on the Dunvegan 
Family.* By Fred. T. Mac- 
Leod, 143. 

Gaelic and English Words for Old 
Highland Marches, Strathspeys, 
and Reels.* By Andrew Mackin- 
tosh, 81. 

Gaelic Folklore, Mythological 
Beings in. By the Rev. Cyril 
H. Diechkoff, O.S.B. , 235. 
Gaelic Poetry of Panegyric, 
Classic. By Professor W. J. 
Watson, LL.D., 194. 
Gaelic Society of Inverness 
Constitution of, xiv. 
Office-Bearers of, 1915-1919, 

Libraries, &c., Subscribing to, 

List of Books in the Society's 

Library, 369. 
Members of, 1922, 355. 
Members of, Deceased, 1918- 

1922, 367. 

Gaelic Song and Lilt, Fragments 
of. By Alexander MacDonald, 

Gaelic Words and Phrases, Some 

Rare. By Alex. MacDonald, 30. 

Galbraith, Dr J. J. Celtic Art, 


Highland Second Sight. By the 
Rev. Dugald MacEchern, B.D., 

* See also Volume XXVIII. 


Gaelic Society of Inverness 

Introduction to Volume XXIX., v. 
Library, List of Books in the 

Society's, 369. 
Libraries, &c., Subscribing to the 

Gaelic Society of Inverness, 1922, 

Life in the Highlands in the Oldeu 

Times as illustrated by Old 

Writings. By William Mackay, 

LL.D., 1. 
List of Books in the Society's 

Library, 369. 
MacDiarmid, James. Sgeulachdan 

bho Shiorramachd Pheairt, 19. 
MacDonald, Alexander 

Fragments of Gaelic Song and 
Lilt, 94. 

Some Rare Gaelic Words and 

Phrases, 30. 
MacEchern, The Rev. Dugald, 


Coll Place Names, 314. 
Highland Second Sight, 290. 
Mackintosh, Andrew. Gaelic and 

English Words for Old Highland 

Marches, Strathspeys, and 

Reels,* 81. 
Mackay, David N. Clan Wars in 

the Old Highlands, 67. 
Mackay, J. G., O.B.E. Social 

Life in Skye from Legend and 

Part I., 260. 
Part II., 335. 
Mackay, William, LL.D. Life in 

the Highlands in the Olden 

Times as illustrated by Old 

Writings, 1. 
MacLeod, Fred. T. Further Notes 

on the Dunvegan Family,* 143. 
MacLeod, John N. Domhnull nan 

Oran, am Bard Sgitheanach, 119. 
Marches, Strathspeys, and Reels, 

Gaelic and English Words for 

Old Highland.* By Andrew Mac- 
kintosh, 81. 
Matheson, Donald, and other Gaelic 

Poets in Kildonan and Reay. 

By Hugh F. Campbell, 134. 
Members, Deceased, 1918 - 1922, 

Gaelic Society of Inverness, 367. 

Members, Roll of, Gaelic Society 
of Inverness, 1922, 355. 

Missionaries, Celtic, on the Con- 
tinent of Europe. No. I. S. 
Columbanus. By the Rev. Archi- 
bald B. Scott, B.D., 47. 

Mythological Beings in Gaelic 
Folklore. By the Rev. Cyril H. 
Diechkoff, O.S.B. 

I. Beings of a Benevolent 


(1) Nigheag, 236. 

(2) Caoineag, 236. 

(3) Gruagach, 236. 

(4) Bruni, 238. 

II. Beings of a Malevolent 

(a) Water Spirits 

(1) Glaistig, 241. 

(2) Each-uisge, 243. 

(3) Tarbh-uisge, 244. 

(b) Spirits of the Forest, 

(c) Famhairean and Caill- 
eachan, 251. 

III. The Fairy Problem, 254. 
Omce-Bearers of the Gaelic Society 

Society of Inverness, 1915-1919, 
Old Highlands, Clan W^ars in. By 

David N. Mackay, 61. 
Olden Times, Life in the High- 
lands in the. By William Mac- 
kay, LL.D. 
Birth, 1. 
Death, 7. 
Fosterage, 3. 
Land, The, 11. 
Marriage, 4. 
War, 16. 
Place Names, Coll. By the Rev. 

Dugald MacEchern, B.D., 314. 
Publications, Societies Exchanging, 
with the Gaelic Society of Inver- 
ness, 367. 

Roll of Members of the Gaelic 
Society of Inverness, November, 
1922, 355. 

S. Columbanus. By the Rev. 
Archibald Scott, B.D., 47. 

See also Volume XXVIII. 


Scott, The Rev. Archibald B., 
B.D. The Celtic Missionaries 
on the Continent of Europe. No. 
I. S. Columbamis, 47. 
Sgeulachdan bho Shiorramachd 
Pheairt. By James MaeDiarmid 
An Gobhainn Galda, is a' 
Mhaigheaeh, Ceann - Loch- 
Eire, 20. 

Cuis Bag-ail Phara Mhoir, 22. 
Domhnull Ban nan Taibhse, 27. 
Murtadh Cloiche na h-Innse, 

Na h-Eich-Uisge Donnadh is 

Roladh, 26. 
Tighearna Chomh-Ruith is na 

Sithichean, 24. 

Siorramachd Pheairt, Sg-eulachdan 
bho. By James MacDiarmd, 19. 
Social Life in Skye from Legend 
and Story. By J. G. Mackay, 
Part I., 260. 
Part II., 335. 

Societies Exchanging Publications 
with the Gaelic Society of Inver- 
ness, 1922, 367. 

Second Sight, Highland. By the 
Rev. Dug-aid MacEchern, B.D., 

Skye, Social Life in, from Legend 
and Story. By J. G. Mackay, 
Part I. 

Cairbhist, 276. 
Daoine Glice Loargail, 268. 
Fairies, 272. 

Hereditary Jurisdiction, 266. 
Na Buanna'chan, 264. 
Old Highland Sheep, 285. 
Place Names in Story, 260. 
Social Customs, 275. 
Superstition, 269. 
Tacksmen, &c., 278. 
Witchcraft, 270. 
Part II. 
An t-Each Ursainn (The 

Heriot), 338. 
Fishing Industry, 343. 
Traditions of the Isle of 

Raasay, 348. 

Some Rare' Gaelic Words and 
Phrases. By Alexander Mac- 
Donald, 30. 
Table of Contents of Vol. XXIX., 

Volume XXIX., Introduction to, 


Watson, Professor W. J., LL.D. 
Classic Gaelic Poetry of Pane- 
gyric in Scotland, 194. 


Gaelic Society of Inverness