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Inverness  :  A.  &  W.  MACKENZIE. 



This  volume,  the  second  of  an  intended  series  of  Clan  Histories, 
has  proved  a  stiff  piece  of  work.  At  first  the  leading  Macdonalds 
held  aloof,  thinking  naturally  enough,  perhaps,  that  no  member  of 
another  clan  could  do  justice  to  a  history  of  theirs.  As  the  work 
progressed,  however,  I  received  the  most  ample  and  gratifying 
testimony  that  any  such  feeling  was  rapidly  giving  place  to  one  of 
very  general  confidence  in  my  desire  to  be  impartial. 

It  would  be  difficult  for  a  Macdonald  to  write  with  a  strictly 
unbiassed  mind  of  the  claims  variously  made  to  the  Chiefship  of 
his  clan  by  the  heads  of  at  least  three  of  its  leading  families. 
The  ancient  patriarchal  feeling  would,  it  is  feared,  assert  itself, 
and  influence  the  historic  conscience  of  a  clansman  in  favour  of 
his  own  immediate  Chiefs  claim  to  that  high  and  enviable  honour. 
It  is  just  possible  that  this  feeling  may  influence  the  clan  verdict 
as  to  the  strict  impartiality  of  the  present  performance.  In  that 
case  I  am  willing  to  leave  its  final  determination  with  the  general 

It  is  impossible  that  a  work  of  such  difficulty  can  be  free  from 
errors,  but  they  will  not  be  found  of  any  great  importance. 

I  am  indebted  to  Miss  J.  Macdonald  of  Dalchosnie ;  Lachlan 
Macdonald,  Esq.  of  Skaebost ;  the  Rev.  Donald  Macdonald, 
Glenfinnan ;  and  a  few  others,  for  valuable  Genealogical  notes. 

I  would  like  to  have  added  an  Index,  but  as  each  family  is 
dealt  with  chronologically,  this  is  the  less  necessary.  A  complete 
Index,  where  so  many  names  would  have  to  be  included,  would 
involve  an  amount  of  labour  and  space  which  it  is  impossible  to 
devote  to  it.  There  is,  however,  a  very  full  Table  of  Contents 
given,  which  it  is  hoped  will  satisfy  most  readers. 

A.  M. 
Inverness,  October,  1881. 


Origin  of  the  Macdonalds — Views  of  different  authorities     1-16 

I.  Somerled  of  the  isles — His  father  returns  from  Ireland  to  the 
Highlands — Somerled  appears  at  Morvern — How  he  secured  his 
Wife — Fights  Godred,  King  of  Man — Secures  the  Southern  Isles  for 
his  Sons — Invades  the  Isle  of  Man  with  fifty  galleys — Defeats  King 
Godred — Supports  Malcolm  MacHeth  against  Malcolm  IV.,  for  the 
Earldom  of  Moray — Enters  into  a  Treaty  with  the  King — Supports 
the  "  Boy  of  Egremont" — Sails  up  the  Clyde  with  160  Galleys — Is 
Defeated  hy  the  High  Steward  at  Renfrew — Description  of  the 
Battle — Somerled  Assassinated — His  Character  and  Appearance — 
His  Marriage  and  Children — Various  Accounts  17-29 

II.  Reginald  of  the  Isles— He  and  his  brother  called  Kings  of  the 
Isles — Alexander  II.  leads  an  Army  into  Argyle — Defeats  the 
Islanders — Introduces  Strangers — Surnames  first  appear  among  the 
Highlanders— The  Earl  of  Ross  receives  the  whole  of  North  Argyle — 
The  families  of  Isla  and  Bute — Angus  of  Bute  and  his  three  Sons 
killed — Representation  of  the  Family  falls  to  Donald,  Son  of 
Reginald — The  two  Families  unite  by  Marriage — Great  increase  of 
Territory — Reginald's  liberality  to  the  Church — Marriage  and  issue...       29-34 

III.  Donald  de  Isla  from  whom  the  Macdonalds  derive  their  name — 
The  Clan  attains  great  power  and  eminence — Holds  his  mainland 
possessions  direct  from  the  Crown — The  Isles  from  the  King  of 
Denmark — Visits  Rome  and  does  Penance — Liberality  to  the 
Church — His  issue  and  death  in  1289       ...         ...         ...         ...         ...       35-37 

IV.  Angus  Mor  Macdonald  joins  Haco — Supports  the  Maiden  of 
Norway  as  Heiress  to  the  Crown— Grants  more  Lands  to  the 
Church — Three  great  Chiefs  of  this  Family  rule  in  the  West — The 
Isles  transferred  from  Norway  to  the  Scottish  Crown — Marriage,  issue, 

and  death  in  1300     37-39 

V.  Alexander  Macdonald  marries  the  heiress  of  the  MacDcugalls  of 
Lorn — Receives  Extensive  Territories  in  consequence — Opposes 
Bruce — Surrenders — Imprisoned  at  Dundonald  Castle,  where  he  dies 
without  issue  in  1303  39 

VI.  Angus  Og  Macdonald  supports  Bruce — Shelters  him  at  Saddel 
Castle — At  Bannockburn  commanding  the  Reserve,  composed  of 
5000  Highlanders — Assigned  for  ever  the  Right  of  the  Royal  Army — 
Obtains  the  Lordship  of  Lochaber  and  other  extensive  Possessions — 

viii  Contents. 

These  described — The  Campbells  first  appear  in  the  West — Marriage 
with  an  Irish  Lady,  Peculiar .  tocher — Origin  of  various  Highland 
Families — The  Sleat  Historian's  Account — His  Character — Origin  of 
the  Macleans — Mode  of  Installing  the  Lords  of  the  Isles — Council 
and  Constitution  of  the  Isles — Marriage,  issue,  and  death  in  1329  ...  39-48 
VII.  John,  First  Lord  of  the  Isles — Raised  the  Clan  to  greater 
splendour  than  ever — He  joins  Baliol  against  Bruce — His  Objects- 
Visits  Edward  III.  in  England — David  II.  succeeds — Enters  into 
a  Treaty  with  John  of  the  Isles— The  King  grants  and  confirms  im- 
mense Possessions  to  the  Macdonalds — Jt>hn  assumes  the  Title  of 
Lord  of  the  Isles — Disputes  with  the  Crown — Soon  after  changes 
Sides— Full  Account  by  Skene — Copy  of  Treaty  with  the  King — The 
Steward  succeeds  to  the  Crown — Hits  on  a  Plan  to  break  up  the 
Lordship  of  the  Isles — John  marries  the  King's  daughter — Legiti- 
macy of  his  Marriage  with  Amie  MacRuari  disputed — Disputes  among 
the  Sons  of  the  first  and  second  families — All  the  Ancient  possessions 
of  the  family  confirmed  by  Robert  II. — Edward  III.  issues  a  Com- 
mission to  Treat  with  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  direct — Haughty  bear- 
ing— Legitimacy  of  first  Marriage  discussed  and  sustained — Issue — 
Death  and  Funeral  in  1386  48-60 

VIII.  Donald,  Second  Lorl  of  the  Isles — Enters  into  an  Alliance 
with  the  English  Court  against  the  Scottish  King — Claims  to  be  an 
Independent  Prince — Visits  the  English  Court  repeatedly — Treated 
there  as  an  Independent  Sovereign — Rebels — His  Power,  Capacity, 
and  Influence — Marries  the  Daughter  of  the  Countess  of  Ross — 
Claims  the  Earldom  of  Ross — -Invades  it  with  10,000  Men — Defeats 
Angus  Dubh  Mackay  at  Dingwall — Is  in  Complete  Possession  of  the 
Earldom — Marches  through  Moray  and  Aberdeenshires — Fights  the 
Battle  of  Harlaw — Description  of  the  Battle — The  Duke  of  Albany 
follows  him  to  the  North — Donald  retreats  to  the  Isles — Gives  up  his 
Claim  to  the  Earldom  and  becomes  a  Vassal  of  the  Crown — Hugh 
Macdonald's  Account  of  the  Campaign — Interesting  Details — Opinions 
of  Skene,  Gregory,  and  Burton,  on  the  origin  and  results  of  these 
Proceedings — His  marriage,  family,  and  death  1420-1423       60-72 

IX.  Alexander,  Third  Lord  of  the  Isles — Becomes  Earl  of  Ross 
on  the  Death  of  his  Mother,  and  Acknowledged  by  the  Crown — His 
Character — Character  of  James  I. — The  King  marches  North  to  Inver- 
ness in  1427 — Summonses  the  Barons  and  Chiefs  to  attend  a  Parliament 
there — They  are  all  arrested — Many  of  them  put  to  death — The  Earl 
of  Ross  and  his  mother  imprisoned — Alexander  of  Garmoran  be- 
headed— His  possessions  forfeited — Treacherous  Conduct  of  the 
King — Earldom  of  Ross  forfeited  and  restored — The  Earl  gets  into 
Court  favour — Murder  of  John,  Lord]  of  Isla — Causes  of  new  Dis- 
turbances— James  Macarthur  and  James  Campbell  hanged  for  the 
murder  of  Isla — Details  of  the  Proceedings — The  Lord  of  the  Isles 
sent  to  Edinburgh — Soon  after  liberated — Death  of  the  Countess  of 
Ross — The  Earl  again  in  revolt — Marches  on  Inverness  with  10,000 
Men — Burns  the  Town — Retires  to  Lochaber — Is  there  defeated  by 
the  King's  troops — Sues  for  Peace,  which  is  refused — The  Earl  flees 
and  leaves  his  army  to  take  care  of  itself— He  is  pursued  and  is 
obliged  to  sue  for  mercy — Throws  himself  at  the  feet  of  the  King  in 

Contents,  ix 

a  semi-nude  condition — Is  pitied  and  his  life  spared — Sent  to  Tan- 
tallon  Castle — Donald  Balloch  leads  the  Clan  to  Lochaber  and 
defeats  the  King's  forces — Returns  to  the  Isles  with  a  great  spoil — 
Afterwards,  being  pursued,  flees  to  Ireland — The  Earl  set  at  Liberty — 
Receives  a  Pardon  and  is  Reinstated  in  his  Titles  and  Possessions — 
Skene  mistaken  as  to  Donald  Balloch's  relationship  to  the  Earl- 
Ruse  played  upon  the  King  respecting  Donald  Balloch's  death,  who 
fled  to  Ireland — Description  of  the  Highlanders — Death  of  the  Earl 
of  Caithness,  his  retinue,  and  over  iooo  of  the  King's  troops — Inter- 
esting details  by  the  Sleat  historian — The  Earl  made  Justiciar  of 
Scotland — Is  revenged  on  theCamerons  for  going  over  to  the  Royal 
Standard  in  Lochaber— Cameron  of  Lochiel  forced  to  flee  to  Ireland 
and  his  lands  bestowed, On  John  Garve  Maclean — Marriage — Legi- 
timacy of  Celestine  .of  Lochalsh,  and  Hugh  of  Sleat  discussed — The 
Earl's  marriage  and  issue — His  death  in  1448     ...         ...         ...         ...       73-89 

X.  John,  Fourth  and  Last  Earl  of  Ross  and  Lord  of  the  Isles 
— Rebels  against  tbe  Crown— -Seizes  the  Castles  of  Inverness, 
Urquhart,  and  Ruthven — Declares  his  Independence  of  the  Crown — 
Cause  of  his  Extraordinary  Conduct — The  King  assassinates  Dou- 
glas with  his  own  hand — The  Battle  of  Arkinholme — The  Earl  of 
Ross  sends  an  expedition  of  5,000  under  Donald  Balloch  to  Ayrshire — 
Meets  with  little  Success — But  carries  home  a  large  spoil — -Attacks 
the  Bishop  of  Lismore  and  slaughters  his  attendants — Entreats  for- 
giveness— Refused — Time  granted  him  to  show  his  earnestness — In 
1457  he  is  Warden  of  the  Marches — He  joins  the  King  at  the  Siege 
of  Roxburgh  with  3,000  men — Offers  to  precede  the  King's  Army  in 
the  March  to  England  by  1000  paces — Attends  a  Parliament  in  Edin- 
burgh shortly  after — Soon  in  Rebellion  and  in  League  with  the  Doug- 
lasses and  the  English  King — In  1461  he  grants  a  Commission,  as  an 
Independent  Prince,  to  certain  parties  to  confer  with  the  King  of 
England — They  meet  at  Westminster  and  conclude  a  Treaty  to  con- 
quer Scotland,  for  which  the  Earl  and  his  friends  are  to  get  consider- 
able sums — Burton's  description  of  these  Negotiations — The  Earl 
raises  the  Standard  of  Rebellion — Places  a  large  force  under  the  Com- 
mand of  his  bastard  son,  Angus  Og  and  Donald  Balloch — He  is 
proclaimed  King  of  the  Hebrides — Takes  possession  of  Inverness — 
Invades  Athole — Storms  Blair  Castle — Plunders  the  Sanctuary  of  St. 
Bridget,  and  attempts  to  set  fire  to  it — Takes  the  Earl  and  Countess 
of  Athole  prisoners  to  Isla — His  galleys  sunk  with  the  booty — 
Makes  penance  in  an  ignominious  garb  with  many  of  his  followers- 
Releases  the  Countess — The  Earl  assumes  royal  prerogatives  over  the 
Sheriffdoms  of  Inverness  and  Nairn — He  is  Summoned  before  Parlia- 
ment for  treason — Does  not  appear — Is  ultimately  forfeited  in  his 
titles  and  estates  in  1475,  and  declared  a  traitor — Large  forces  sent 
into  his  territories — He  sues  for  pardon  and  surrenders — Is  again 
pardoned  and  the  Earldom  of  Ross  and  the  Lordship  of  the  Isles  are 
in  1476  restored  to  him — He  immediately  surrenders  all,  and  is 
created  a  Baron  Banrent  and  Peer  of  Parliament  by  the  Title  of  Lord 
of  the  Isles — The  Earldom  of  Ross  inalienably  annexed  to  the 
Crown — The  new  titles  secured  to  his  two  bastard  sons,  Angus  and 
John — Angus  soon  after  Rebels  against  his  father,  and  is  supported 

x  Contents. 

by  the  Clan — Interesting  details  by  the  Sleat  Historian — The  Earl  of 
Athole  sent  North  to  reinstall  the  Earl  of  Ross,  overthrown  by 
Angus  Og,  but  is  defeated  with  great  slaughter — Two  other  expe- 
ditions follow — Angus  completely  established  in  power  by  the  vic- 
tory of  the  Bloody  Bay — Description  of  this  Naval  engagement — 
The  bastardy  of  Angus  proved — But  he  wielded  the  power  of  an 
heir-apparent — Assassinated  at  Inverness  about  1485 — The  Lord  of 
the  Isles  again  in  Rebellion — Enters  into  a  Treaty  with  Edward  IV. — 
Alexander,  Son  of  Celestine  of  Lochalsh,  holding  rank  as  heir  to  the 
Lordship — He  invades  the  Mainland — Attacks  the  Mackenzies— Ori- 
gin and  results  of  the  Quarrel — The  Battle  of  Park — The  Macdon- 
alds  completely  defeated — Full  Account  of  the  Battle — Pursuit  and 
slaughter  of  the  fleeing  Macdonalds — The  Mackenzies  punished  by 
the  Crown  for  their  excesses — This  Insurrection  cost  the  Macdonalds 
the  Lordship  of  the  Isles  forfeited  to  the  Crown  in  1493 — The  Earl 
surrenders  everything  and  becomes  a  Court  pensioner  in  the  King's 
household — Alexander  of  Lochalsh  repeatedly  asserts  his  Claim  to  the 
Earldom  of  Ross — Government  determines  that  no  single  family  shall 
again  possess  it — James  IV.  in  1493  proceeds  to  the  West- — Receives 
the  Homage  of  the  Chiefs — Grants  them  Royal  Charters — Alexander 
of  Lochalsh  and  John  of  Isla  Knighted — The  King  returns  to  the 
Isles  with  a  Military  force  in  1494 — Garrisons  the  Castle  of  Tarbert  and 
Dunaverty — Sir  John  of  Isla  storms  Dunaverty  and  hangs  the  Go- 
vernor from  the  walls  in  sight  of  the  Royal  Fleet — Is  apprehended 
with  four  of  his  Sons — Tried  and  executed  for  treason  in  Edinburgh — 
Two  of  his  Sons  escape  to  Ireland — Macleod  of  Lewis  and  Macian 
of  Ardnamurchan  submit — The  King  returns  to  the  Isles  in  1495 — 
Holds  a  Court  in  Ardnamurchan — Several  Chiefs  submit — Young 
Mackenzie  and  Mackintosh  taken  prisoners  to  Edinburgh — Chiefs  of 
Clans  made  Responsible  for  their  followers — Several  agree  under  heavy 
penalties  to  abstain  from  mutual  injuries — Sir  Alexander  of  Lochalsh 
invades  Ross — Defeated  by  the  Mackenzies  and  Munroes  at  Drum- 
chait — Assassinated  by  Macian  of  Ardnamurchan — Mackenzie  and 
Mackintosh  escape  from  Edinburgh  Castle — Captured,  and  Mac- 
kenzie slain  in  the  Torwood  by  Buchanan — The  King  in  Kintyre  in 
1498 — The  Macleods  of  Harris  and  Lewis  make  Homage— The  King 
returns— He  is  again  back  in  Argyleshire — Severe  policy  resolved 
upon — The  King  violates  his  previous  promises — Revokes  Charters 
previously  granted  by  himself — Most  of  the  Earldom  of  Ross  let  on 
lease  to  Argyll,  who  receives  a  Commission  of  Lieutenancy  over  it — 
The  Macdonald  lands  in  Lochaber,  Duror,  and  Glencoe,  awarded  to 
Strangers — The  Royal  expedition  described  by  Skene — Emporium 
for  Shipping  established  at  Tarbert — Most  of  the  Chiefs  again 
submit — Sir  John  of  Isla  holds  out — His  Possessions  forfeited  to  the 
Crown — The  Earl's  marriage  and  death  in  1498 

Donald  Dubh  of  the  Isles — Son  of  Angus  Og,  a  prisoner  in 
Inchconnel  Castle — Declared  a  bastard  in  various  Acts  of  Parlia- 
ment— Death  of  Earl  John's  Sons — Various  Claimants  to  the  Lord- 
ship on  the  Death  of  the  last  Lord  of  the  Isles — Donald  escapes  from 
Prison — Is  recognised  and  proclaimed  Lord  of  the  Isles  by  the  West- 
ern Chiefs — The  Legitimacy  of  his  birth  considered — Influence  of  his 

Contents.  xi 

escape  on  the  Island  Chiefs — Causes  which  led  to  Donald  Dubh's  In- 
surrection fully  discussed — The  Islanders  advance  into  Badenoch — 
Various  Expeditions  to  the  Isles — The  King  leads  one  in  person — 
Confederacy  of  the  Island  Chiefs  under  Donald  Dubh  broken  up — 
Macleod  of  Lewis  holds  out,  and  is  forfeited — Donald  Dubh  again  a 
prisoner  for  40  years  in  Edinburgh  Castle — The  King  introduces  new 
Laws  into  the  Highlands — Curious  arrangement  for  Educating 
the  People — Great  Reform  in  Consequence — Sheriffdoms  conferred 
throughout  the  North,  and  Courts  of  Law  established — Huntly 
.  appointed  Governor  of  Inverness  and  Inverlochy  Castles — Conditions 
as  to  strengthening  these  Strongholds — Huntly  Supreme  in  the  High- 
lands— Sir  Alexander  of  Lochalsh's  children  fall  into  his  hands — 
Donald  Gallda  a  favourite  at  Court — Is  allowed  to  inherit  his  father's 
estates — Unfortunate  Position  of  the  Macdonalds  generally — The 
Highlanders  take  a  prominent  part  in  the  battle  of  Flodden — Donald 
Gallda  knighted  on  the  field  by  the  King — Description  of  the  Battle — 

t  Effect  of  the  Scottish  Defeat  on  the  Nation  at  large     122-136 

Sir  Donald  Gallda — Leads  the  Islanders  in  another  Rebellion — 
The  Castles  of  Urquhart,  Dunskaich,  and  Cairnburgh  seized,  and  the 
Country  wasted — Sir  Donald  proclaimed  Lord  of  the  Isles — Arrang- 
ments  to  suppress  the  Rebellion — More  peaceful  measures  follow — 
The  Chiefs  come  in,  except  Maclean  of  Duart,  Macleod  of  Lewis, 
Alexander  of  Isla,  Sir  Donald  Gallda  himself,  and  his  more  imme- 
diate personal  adherents — The  others  pardoned  and  restored  to  favour- 
Sir  Donald  obtains  terms  and  appears  at  Court — Is  again  intriguing 
with  the  English — Rushes  into  a  second  Rebellion  in  1517 — Com- 
mits several  depredations — Is  repudiated  by  the  other  Chiefs — Argyll 
and  Maclean  of  Duart  takes  the  lead  against  him— Petitions  the 
Privy  Council  for  Extraordinary  powers — Substance  of  the  Petitions 
— Base  Character  of  Maclean — Sir  Donald's  two  sons  captured  and 
exe'cuted — Grants  to  the  leading  Chiefs — Sir  Donald  continues  at 
large  in  spite  of  every  effort  to  capture  him — John  Macian  rewarded 
for  his  loyalty  to  the  Crown  during  these  proceedings — But  Sir 
Donald  and  Alexander  of  Isla  attack  and  kill  himself  and  his  two 
sons — Detailed  account  by  the  Sleat  Historian — Sir  Donald's  death 
about  1519      ...         136-150 


I.  Hugh,  First  of  Sleat — His  Ancestry — Leads  a  Body  of  the  Island- 

ers to  Orkney — Is  victorious  and  returns  with  a  great  booty — Charter 
in  his  favour  under  the  Great  Seal  in  1449 — Marriage  and  issue — Dies 
about  the  same  time  as  his  father  in  1498  150-154 

II.  John  Huchonson — Instructed  by  two  Charters — Dies  in  1502        ...    154-155 

III.  Donald  Gallach's  legitimacy  questioned — He  is  murdered  by  his 
bastard  brother,  Gillespie — Donald  Dubh's  first  Rebellion  at  this 
period — Marriage  and  issue  I55"I56 

IV.  Donald  Macdonald  known  as  "  Domhnull  Gruamach" — State 
of  the  Isles  during  his.  Rule — Feuds  between  the  Macdonalds  and 
Macleods — Between  the  Campbells  and  Macdonalds,  of  Isla — Full 
details — Nine   of  the  Island  Chiefs  submit  to  Argyll  as  the  King's 

xii  Contents. 

Lieutenant— Macdonald  of  Isla  appointed  leader  of  all  the  Mac- 
donalds — Donald  Gruamach's  marriage,  issue,  and  death  in  1534     ...    157-164 

V.  Donald  Gorm  Macdonald— Claims  the  Lordship  of  the  Isles,  and 

the  Earldom  of  Ross — He  improves  the  fortunes  of  the  family — Is 
supported  by  the  Island  Chiefs — Invades  and  lays  waste  Troter- 
nish — Invades  the  territories  of  Mackenzie  of  Kintail — Full  details  of 
these  expeditions — He  is  killed  at  Islandonain  Castle  in  1539  ...    164-168 

VI.  Donald  Gormeson  Macdonald — A  Minor  under  the  Tutorship 
of  Archibald  the  Clerk — The  King  visits  the  Isles  in  1540,  with  a 
great  fleet — Visits  all  the  Islands  and  the  North  West — The  Chiefs 
submit — Many  of  them  taken  South  prisoners — Full  details — Chiefs 
soon  afterwards  set  at  Liberty  on  giving  hostages — The  Lordship  of 
the  Isles  in  1540  annexed  inalienably  to  the  Crown — Donald  Dubh 
after  an  imprisonment  of  40  years  regains  his  liberty — He  is  received 
with  enthusiasm  by  the  Islanders — Is  again  in  rebellion,  and  with 
an  army  of  1800  invades  Argyll,  killing  and  plundering  his  old 
enemy — He  is  joined  by  all  the  Macdonald  Chiefs — Processes  of 
treason  commenced  against  them — Sends  Plenipotentiaries  to  the  Eng- 
lish King — Curious  Letter  addressed  to  the  English  Privy  Council — ■ 
The  Barons  of  the  Isles  cannot  write  their  names — Donald  Dubh 
leads  a  large  force  into  Ireland  to  help  the  English — He  receives 
a  large  sum  of  money  from  England — A  pension  of  2000  crowns 
per  annum  is  confirmed  to  him — Other  remarkable  arrangements — 
He  returns  to  Scotland  with  his  followers,  who  are  soon  broken 
up — Donald  Dubh  goes  to  Ireland  and  died  there — He  clears  the 
way  for  the  Macdonalds  of  Sleat  as  leaders — But  some  of  the  Chiefs 
preferred  Sir  James  Macdonald  of  Isla — He  is  oppossed  by  others — 
Letter  to  the  English  King  announcing  his  appointment  as  Lord  of 
the  Isles — It  is  not  acknowledged — Sir  James  drops  the  title — Disputes 
about  the  heiress  of  Macleod — Curious  Arrangements — Feuds  between 
the  Macdonalds  and  the  Mackenzies — A  Settlement  by  Decree-Ar- 
bitral— Copy  of  the  Document — Further  attempts  to  re-establish  the 
Lords  of  the  Isles  given  up — Chiefs  become  more  estranged  among 
themselves — Marriage,  issue,  and  death,  in  1585,  of  Donald  Gormeson   168-189 

VII.  Donald  Gorm  Mor  Macdonald — Becomes  involved  in  serious 
Disputes  with  the  Macleans — Conduct  of  "  Uuistean  Mac  Ghilleaspuig 
Chleirich  "—He  gets  his  Chief  into  trouble— He  is  curiously  betrayed 
and  cruelly  put  to  death  — Raid  of  the  Macdonalds  to  Mull— Treachery 
of  Maclean  of  Borreray— His  dream — The  Macdonalds  defeated  at 
Gearna  Dubh— The  Macdonalds  return  with  a  strong  force — Again 
defeated— Donald  Gorm  and  several  other  Chiefs  taken  prisoners  by 
the  Macleans  -  Government  compels  him  to  release  them— The  King 
writes  to  the  Earl  of  Huntly  anent  these  slaughters— The  "  General 
Band"  passed— Macdonald  and  other  Chiefs  receive  remissions  in 
1589—  They  in  consequence  visit  Edinburgh,  where  they  are  treach- 
erously seized  and  imprisoned-  Heavily  fined  and  released — Harsh 
Conditions  -  Harsher  Proceedings— Summonses  of  treason  issued — 
Donald  Gorm  joins  Red  Hugh  O'Donnel  in  Ireland,  against  Queen 
Elizabeth— Returns,  leaving  his  followers  behind  him — In  1596  the 
Island  Chiefs  are  again  obliged  to  submit  to  the  Royal  Authority,  and 
are  pardoned— Remarkable  Act  passed  in   1597— Hard  Conditions— 

Contents.  xiii 

Lands  forfeited  in  absence  of  title-deeds — Mean  motives  of  the  King — 
Lewis,  Harris,  Dunvegan,  and  Glenelg  forfeited  to  the  Crown — Donald 
Gorm  obtains  a  lease  of  Troternish — The  Lowland  Adventurers — 
Donald  makes  advances  to  Queen  Elizabeth — Remarkable  Communi- 
cation— Lennox  and  Huntly  appointed  Lieutenants  of  the  Isles — 
Serious  quarrels  between  the  Macdonalds  and  Macleods— Great 
bloodshed— Cause— The  Macdonalds  invade  Harris — The  Macleods 
waste  North  Uist — Affair  at  Kiltrynad  between  Rory  Glas  Macleod 
and  Donald  Maclan  Mhic  Sheumais — Both  Clans  on  the  verge  of 
Ruin— Battle  at  the  Coolins — The  Macleods  overthrown — Reconcili- 
ation affected — Humiliating  Conditions  agreed  to  by  the  Western 
Chiefs  in  1608 — The  Statutes  of  Icolmkill  in  1609 — Donald  Gorm 
finally  agrees  to  assist  in  keeping  order  in  the  Isles — -Rebellion  of 
Macdonald  of  Isla — More  humiliating  Conditions  for  the  Island 
Lords — Provisions  as  to  Education — Act  against  excessive  drinking — 
Quantity  of  Wine  allowed  to  the  Chiefs — Not  allowed  to  wear  arms — 
The  Macdonalds  and  Mackenzies  on  friendly  terms — Curious  in- 
stance— Donald  Gorm's  Marriage,  and  death  in  1616 189-213 

VIII.  Sir  Donald  MAcdonald  served  heir  to  extensive  possessions  — 
Disputes  between  him  and  Macleod  of  Dunvegan  settled — He,  with 
other  Island  Lords,  agree  to  maintain  the  Parish  Kirks— Impor- 
tation of  Wine  to  the  Isles  prohibited — Reason  for  this — Donald 
continues  loyal  throughout — Created  a  Baronet  in  1625 — Opposes 
the  Covenanters — Receives  a  letter  from  the  King — Marriage,  issue, 

and  death  in  1643     ...         213-215 

IX.  Sir  James  Macdonald  joins  Montrose — Sends  a  body  of  men  to 
assist  Charles  II.  in  England — They  fight  at  the  battle  of  Worcester — 
Sir  James  after  the  wars  of  Montrose  retires  to  the  Isles— His  Char- 
acter—He punishes  the  Keppoch  Murderers — Receives  a  letter  of 
thanks  from  the  Government — He  is  fined  heavily  at  the  Restoration 
— Sir  James  a  Cavalier  of  the  Period — His  Marriage,  and  issue— His 
Illegitmate  son,  the  distinguished  Gaelic  Poet,  An  ' '  Ciaran  Mabach" — 

Sir  James' death  in  1678      215-220 

X.  Sir  Donald  Macdonald  joins  Viscount  Dundee— Taken  ill  in  Loch- 
aber — His  heir  fights  at  Killiecrankie  at  the  head  of  the  Clan— Seve- 
ral leading  Macdonalds  killed — Account  of  the  preliminaries,  the 
battle  itself,  and  what  followed — The  Highlanders  mostly  go  to 
France — Terms  made  with   King  William — Sir  Donald's  residence 

burnt — Marriage,  issue  and  death  in  1695  ...         ...         ...         ...   220-223 

j/Yl.  Sir  Donald  Macdonald  a'  Chogaidh — Attends  the  Gathering  of 
the  Clans  at  Braemar — He  is  captured  and  imprisoned  in  Edinburgh — 
Soon  at  liberty  at  the  head  of  his  followers  in  the  North — Marches 
South  with  the  Earl  of  Seaforth— Lovat's  Account  of  the  Taking  of 
Inverness — The  Macdonalds  at  Sheriffmuir — Sir  Donald  attainted, 
and  his  estates  forfeited— His  Marriage,  issue,  and  death  in  1718    ...    224-230 

XII.  Sir  Donald  Macdonald— Dies  two  years  after  his  father,  un- 
married ...        ...         ...         ...        ...        ...        ...        ...        ...  230 

XIII.  Sir  James  Macdonald  of  Oronsay—  His  Marriage,  issue,  and 

death  in  1723 ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         ...   230-231 

XIV.  Sir  Alexander  Macdonald  during  whose  life  the  estates  are 
repurchased  by  Alexander   Mackenzie  of  Delvine  for  his  behoof — 


Full  Details  of  these  Arrangements— William  the  Tutor — His  share 
in  securing  the  estates — His  death  and  funeral— Extraordinary  turn- 
out— Sir  Alexander  keeps  out  of  the  Rebellion  of  1745—  His  letter  to 
President  Forbes — His  Popularity — General  Character — His  Lady's 
great  beauty,  and  popularity — His  marriage,  issue,  and  death  in  1746.    231-239 

XV.  Sir  James  Macdonald— A  Minor  when  he  Succeeded— He  obtains 
Charters  of  the  forfeited  estates — Grants  an  annuity  to  old  Kings- 
burgh— Visits  North  Uist  on  a  hunting  expedition— Accidentally 
Shot  in  the  leg — Remains  at  Vallay  for  several  weeks  -  He  becomes  a 
distinguished  scholar— General  Character— Epitaph  on  his  Grave — 

His  death  in  1766      ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         ...    239-243 

XVI.  Sir  Alexander  Macdonald,  First  Lord  Macdonald— Created  a 
Peer  of  Parliament — Marriage  Contract — Provision  for  his  Child- 
ren— His  musical  and  other  accomplishments— Offered  Letters  of 
Service  to  raise  a  Highland  Regiment,  with  the  rank  of  Lieutenant- 
Colonel — The  Macdonald  Highlanders — General  Character — Unpo- 
pular with  his  tenants — Conversation  with  Dr.  Johnson — Marriage, 

issue,  and  death  in  1795       ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         ...    243-247 

XVII.  Sir  Alexander,  Second  Lord  Macdonald— Spends  large 
sums  on  Improvements — Erected  Armadale  Castle— Raised  a  High- 
land Regiment — His  death,  unmarried,  in  1824  247-248 

XVIII.  Sir  Godfrey,  Third  Lord  Macdonald  -A  Major-General 
in  the  Army— Assumes  the  name  of  Bosville  —Marriage,  issue,  and 

death  in  1832 248-251 

XIX.  Sir  Godfrey  William,  Fourth  Lord  Macdonald    251 

XX.  Sir  Somerled  James,  Fifth  Lord  Macdonald  252 

XXI.  Sir  Ronald  Archibald  Bosville,  Sixth  Lord  Macdonald         253 


Balranald,  Macdonalds  of 253-261 

Kingsburgh,  Macdonalds  of 262-276 

Castleton,  Macdonalds  of     277-283 

Vallay,  Macdonalds  of  284-286 


Their  Position  in  the  Clan— Claims  to  the  Earldom  of  Ross— Claim 
of  the  Macalesters  to  the  Chiefship  of  the  Macdonalds— Glengarry 
descended  from  the  eldest  surviving  Son  of  John  of  the  Isles  ...    287-290 

I.  Reginald  or   Ranald,   progenitor  of  Glengarry— Division  of  his 

father's  Possessions  among  the  Sons  of  the  Respective  Marriages  — 
The  Chiefship  Considered— Skene's  Arguments  and  Conclusions  at 
length  in  favour  of  Glengarry— Reginald's  Marriage,  issue,  and 
death  in  1419  ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         ...        ...        ...   290-298 

II.  Donald  MacRanald—  During  whose  time  the  Lands  of  Glengarry 
reverts  to  the  Crown,  and  becomes  a  Royal  Residence — Marriage  and 

issue     299 

III.  John  Macdonald— Marriage  and  issue         299 

Contents.  xv 

IV.  Alastair  Macdonald,  from  whom  the  Family  Patronymic— His 

name  first  appears  in  the  Public  Records -Marriage  and  issue  ...    299-300 

V.  John  Macdonald -His  Marriage  and  issue 300 

VI.  Alexander  Macdonald  —Character  of  his  Wife  Discuss  ed— Decree 
against  him  by  Grant  of  Freuchy— Marriage  and  issue  300-302 

VII.  .(Eneas  Macdonald— Obtains  a  Charter  under  the  Great  Seal — 
Authorised  to  hold  Courts  In  Loch carron — Marriage  and  issue  ...    302-303 

VIII.  Donald  Macdonald — Charter  under  Great  Seal — Various  Re- 
tours  in  his  favour — Legitimacy  of  his  mother  through  Celestine  of 
Lochalsh  discussed— Legitimacy  sustained  by  the  Courts  and  other 
Authorities— Agreement  between  Glengarry  and  Grant  that  young 
Macdonald  should  marry  Grant's  daughter— Young  Glengarry 
Refuses— Serious  Results  to  his  family— Alleged  Acknowledgment  of 
Chiefship  in  favour  of  Clanranald— Disposed  of— Feuds  between 
Glengarry  and  Mackenzie  of  Kintail — Various  Expeditions  and 
Slaughter  on  both  sides— Full  Details —Young  Angus  of  Glengarry's 
Death  and  Burial— Angus  Illegitimate — Change  of  name  from  Mac- 
don<z/rf  to  Macdon*?//  for  the  first  time — Glengarry  and  Clanranald 
Controversy— Marriage,  issue,  and  death  in  1645  ...         ...         ...    303-332 

IX.  .Eneas,  Lord  Macdonell  and  Arros— Fights  with  Montrose  at 
Inverlochy — Follows  him  throughout  the  whole  Campaign — Joins  the 
Earl  of  Antrim  in  Ireland  in  1647— Glencairn's  Expedition  with  300  of 
his  followers — Charles  I.  makes  him  a  Major-General—  He  is  forfeited 
by  Cromwell  in  1651 — Raised  to  the  Peerage  in  1660  -  Foists  a  Quarrel 
on  Inverness  in  1665 — Curious  Nature  and  Origin  of  this  Quarrel  — 
Cool  Articles  of  Agreement  proposed  by  Glengarry — Reply  and  De- 
fence of  Town  Council,  before  the  Privy  Council — Case  for  the  Town 
in  extenso — Town  has  to  pay  a  fine  of  ^4800  Scots— Act  of  Privy 
Council  holding  Lord  Macdonell  answerable  as  Chief  of  his  Clan — ■ 
Contract  of  Friendship  between  him  and  Macpherson  of  Cluny — His 
Marriage  without  issue,  and  death  in  1682  332-342 

X.  Ranald  Macdonald   of  Scotus— Succeeds  to   Glengarry — Mac- 

donells  of  Lochgarry — Curious  Note — Marriage  and  issue      ...         ...    342-344 

XI.  Alastair  Dubh  Macdonell  joined  Dundee — Position  of  the  Clan 
at  Killiecrankie — Character  and  Appearance  of  Alastair  Dubh — Cele- 
brated for  distinguished  prowess  and  valour — Standard-bearer  to  King 
James — Movements  after  Killiecrankie — Entertains  Buchan,  Graham, 
and  Sir  George  Barclay  at  Glengarry — He  signs  a  letter  to  Mar  ex- 
pressing loyalty  to  King  George — He  soon  after  joins  the  Earl  at 
Braemar — At  Sheriffmuir  with  500  of  his  followers — Submits  to 
General  Cadogan,  and  pardoned  at  Inverness— Created  a  Peer  of 
Parliament  by  the  Chevalier  St.  George — Marriage,  issue,  and  death 

in  1724 344-349 

XII.  John  Macdonald  keeps  out  of  the  Rebellion  of  1745— His  fol- 
lowers and  younger  son  join — His  eldest  son  chosen  to  carry  an 
Address  from  the  Highland  Chiefs,  signed  by  their  blood,  to  Prince 
Charles — Captured  while  on  his  return  and  Imprisoned  in  the  Tower 
of  London — Conduct  of  the  Glengarry  men  during  the  Campaign — 
They  refuse  to  charge  at  Culloden— Their  excuse  Considered— Prince 
Charles  sleeps  in  Glengarry  Castle  the  night  after  the  Battle— Acci- 

xvi  Contents. 

dental  Death  of  his  son,  Colonel  .Eneas,   in  the  Streets  of  Falkirk— 

John's  Marriage,  issue,  and  death  349-354 

XIII.  Alastair  Macdonell — Kept  in  the  Tower  until  after  Culloden— 
Hisdeathin  1761       354-355 

XIV.  Duncan  Macdonell — His  Marriage,  issue,  and  death     355-356 

XV.  Alastair  Ranaldson  Macdonell — Last  of  the  old  Highland 
Chiefs — Original  for  Scott's  "Fergus  Maclvor  " — His  appearance 
with  his  "tail"  to  meet  George  IV.  on  his  visit  to  Scotland  in  1822 — 
His  general  character — Impetuous  nature — Fights  a  duel  and  kills  his 
opponent — Tried  and  acquitted  by  the  Court  of  Justiciary — His 
Marriage,  issue,  and  accidental  death  in  1828     ...         ...         ...         ...    356-360 

XVI.  ^Eneas  Ranaldson  Macdonell       360-361 

XVII.  Alastair  Ranaldson  Macdonell  361 

XVIII.  Charles  Ranaldson  Macdonell  361-362 

XIX.  .Eneas  Ranaldson  Macdonell     362 

XX.  ^Eneas  Ranald  Westrop  Macdonell       362 


Scotus,  Macdonells  of  363-366 

Leek,  Macdonells  of   ...         5-24-526 

Greenfield,  Macdonells  of 529-530 

Origin  367 

I.  Reginald,  progenitor  of  the  family  367-368 

II.  Allan  Macdonald,  or  MacRanald — Died  in  1419        368 

III.  Roderick  Mac  Allan— Supports  the  Earl  of  Ross— Pillages  and 
burns  Inverness — Fights  with  Donald  Balloch,  in  Lochaber,  in  1431 
— Joins  in   a  raid  to  Sutherland — His  Marriage,  issue,  and  death 

in  1481  368-370 

IV.  Allan  Macdonald— Supports  Angus  of  the  Isles  at  the  battle  of 
the  Bloody  Bay — Accompanies  Alexander  of  Lochalsh  to  the  Battle  of 
Park — Ravages  Kintail— Afterwards  seeks  and  obtains  Mackenzie's 
aid  against  his  own  relations— Claims  Suainart  as  tenant  under  John 
Cathanach  of  Isla— He  has  Mackintosh,  Macleod,  and  Mackay,  pri- 
soners in  Castleterrim — Curious  Capture    of    Mackintosh — Narrow 

'escape  of  Allan  from   the  Macleans — Marriage,  issue,  and  death  in 
1509     370-376 

V.  Ranald  Ban  Allanson  Macdonell — Very  popular— His  Marriage, 

issue,  and  death  in  1513      376-377 

VI.  Donald  MacRanald  Macdonald— Becomes  detested  by  the  Clan 
for  his  extreme  cruelty  and  crimes — Assassinated  and  excluded  from 
the  Succession  in  consequence— Alexander  Allanson  succeeds  to  the 
command  of  the  Clan — Ranald  Gallda's  claim  to  the  Succession— His 
children  legitimatised  by  the  Crown  377-378 

VII.  John  Moydartach  Macdonald — Obtains  a  Crown  Charter  in 
1531 — It  is  recalled — Summons  of  treason  against  him — Reconciled 

Contents.  xvii 

to  the  King — His  Character — Illegitimate  Birth — Taken  prisoner  by- 
James  V. — Ranald  Gallda  obtains  possession — John  escapes — Ranald 
is  deposed — Reasons — The  Clan,  under  John  Moydartach,  over-runs 
Stratherick,  Abertarff,  Urquhart,  and  Glenmoriston — The  Earl  of 
Huntly  sent  against  him — John  retires  to  Moydart — Ranald  Gallda 
re-instated  by  Lovat — Curious  exhibition  of  Ranald's  parsimony— 
The  Clan  offended  in  consequence — They  again  depose  him — The 
Battle  of  Blar-leine — Full  Account — Death  of  Ranald  Gallda — Inter- 
esting details — John  Moydartach  fully  established  at  the  head  of 
Clanranald — Attacks  the  Frasers  and  Mackintoshes — Supported  by 
the  whole  clan — Huntly  sent  against  him — Fails  and  returns — 
Disgraced  and  fined  in  consequence — The  Queen  Regent  visits  Inver- 
ness— Commands  John  to  appear  before  her — He  refuses — The  Earl 
of  Athole  sent  against  him — John  comes  to  Inverness — Fearing 
treachery  he  escapes — Attacked  on  his  way  by  Mackintosh,  whom  he 
beats  off — Becomes  reconciled  to  the  Queen — Becomes  acquainted 
during  a  visit  to  her  Majesty,  with  his  second  wife — John  commanded 
to  attend  at  Fallow-muir — Refuses  and  prevents  his  retainers  and  the 
leading  neighbouring  chiefs  from  going — The  Earl  of  Huntly  again 
comes  north — Apprehends  some  of  the  Chiefs,  two  of  whom  are  tried 
and  executed  at  Elgin — John  takes  shelter  in  the  Isles — He  and 
several  others  are  pardoned  after  the  Battle  of  Pinky — Respite — Is 
again  in  trouble — Commission  of  Fire  and  Sword  issued  against  him 
n  1552 — Various  expeditions  against  him — They  all  fail — Huntly 
imprisoned  and  fined  heavily— In  1555  John  submits  and  is  again 
pardoned — He  again  rebels — The  Queen  revisits  Inverness — John 
Moydartach  again  manages  to  keep  out  of  her  way — He  helps  Queen 
Mary  to  obtain  possession  of  the  Castle  of  Inverness  in  1563 — Accom- 
panies her  on  her  return  journey — Obtains  remission  for  all  his  past 
offences — General  summary — Is  one  of  the  Council  of  Donald  Dubh 
of  the  Isles — His  brilliant  talents  and  consummate  skill  as  a  warrior — 
Alleged  illegitimacy  of  his  second  son,  progenitor  of  Glenaladale — 
Refutation— J  ohn's  Marriage,  issue,  and  death  in  1584  379-42^ 

VIII.  Allan  Macdonald— Kills  Keppoch's  brother— He  is  put  to  the 
Horn — Never  pardoned — His  father's  territories  never  confirmed  to 
him — Ill-treats  his  wife—  Consequent  feud  with  her  family — His  Issue, 

and  death  in  1593      402-403 

IX.  Sir  Donald  Macdonald— Invades  Mull — Taken  prisoner  by  Mac- 
lean—Afterwards joins  Glengarry  in  his  wars  with  Mackenzie — Defeats 
MacNeill  of  Barra  in  South  Uist — Becomes  involved  in  debts  to  the 
Crown— Comes  under  severe  Conditions  in  Consequence— Obtains 
relief  in  1610— Macleod  of  Sleat  obtains  the  superiority  of  a  great 
portion  of  his  lands — Sir  Donald  ultimately  gets  a  Crown  Charter — 
Disputes  with  Allan,  eldest  son  of  Ranald  Gallda,  about  certain  rights  \. 
in    Moydart  and  Arasaig — Sir   Donald   is   reconciled  to  the  King 

and  obtains  remission — Again  in  trouble — Hard  Conditions  as  to  his 
establishment  and  residence — His  use  of  wine  restricted — He  becomes 
finally  reconciled  to,  and  is  knighted  by,  James  VI. — His  Marriage, 
issue,  and  death  in  1619      403-408 

X.  John  Macdonald — Enters  into  a  contract  of  fidelity  with   Glen- 

garry— Resigns  the  superiority  of  Arasaig  and   Moydart — Various 

xviii  Contents. 

Transactions  regarding  his  lands  with  Sir  Donald  Macdonald  of 
Sleat  and  others — Joins  Montrose — Full  Account  of  his  share  in  the 
Campaign — Interesting  Details — Distinguished  bravery  of  Young 
Clanranald — After  the  army  is  disbanded  Clanranald  refuses  to  sub- 
mit on  the  conditions  offered — Retires  to  Castletirrim — Proposes  to 
raise  1300  men  to  fight  for  Charles — Enters  into  a  bond  of  fidelity 
with  the  Laird  of  Morar — Pays  his  respects  to  Charles  II.  on  his 
landing  at  Garmouth  in  1650 — His  Marriage,  issue,  and  death  in 
1670      408-417 

XL  Donald  Macdonald— Joins  the  Earl  of  Antrim — Embarks  to  Ire- 
land with  300  followers — Distinguishes  himself  in  several  engage- 
ments there — Taken  prisoner — Released — Returns  home — Grants  a 
Wadset  of  Moydart  and  Arasaig  to  Sir  James  Macdonald — He 
receives  a  new  Charter — His   Marriage,   issue,   and   death  in   1686  418-419 

XII.  Allan  Macdonald— A  minor  under  the  Tutorship  of  his  uncle, 
Benbecula — Meets  Dundee  and  Keppoch  at  Inverness  in  1689 — 
Fights  under  Dundee  at  Killiecrankie  and  throughout  the  Campaign — 
He  refuses  to  surrender  and  take  the  oath  of  allegiance — Escapes  to 
France — Enters  the  French  Service — Makes  the  acquaintance  of  his 
future  wife — Her  Character — They  returned  to  Uist — His  estates 
preserved  to  him— Makes  up  titles — Joins  in  the  Rebellion  of  1715 — 
Mortally  wounded  at  Sheriffmuir — His  noble  character  419-424 

XIII.  Ranald  Macdonald — In  France  during  the  Rebellion— His 
estates  are  preserved  to  him  by  Mackenzie  of  Delvine — Dies  unmar- 
ried before  a  pardon  is  procured,   in  1725 — The  Succession  falls  to 

his  cousin  of  Benbecula — Shown  how      424-427 

XIV.  Donald  Macdonald— Is  at  Killiecrankie— Keeps  out  of  the 
'Fifteen — Disposition  to  him  of  the  estates — -Mrs.  Penelope  Mac- 
donald's  part  in  the  Transaction— His  Marriage,  issue,  and  death  in 

1730     427-428 

XV.  Ranald  Macdonald— Keeps  out  of  the  'Forty-five— Boisdale's 
interview  with  Prince  Charles  on  his  first  arrival — Ranald's  marriage, 

issue,  and  death        428-430 

XVI.  Ranald  Macdonald — Joins  Prince  Charles— Interview  aboard 
the  Dozitelle — Following  young  Kinloch-moidart's  example,  Clan- 
ranald agrees  to  raise  his  followers — Standard  raised  at  Glenfinnan — 
Takes  part  in  the  whole  Campaign — Narrow  escape  afterwards  from 
capture  by  Cumberland's  troops — Meets  the  Prince  again — His  Mar- 
riage under  difficulties  at  Brahan  Castle — Escapes  to  France — Enters 
the  French  Service — His  wife  returns  to  Scotland  to  give  birth  to  a 
Son — She  dies  a  few  days  after  her  confinement — Ranald  Attainted 
with  other  chiefs  in  1746 — Escapes  through  an  error  in  the  Act  of 
Attainder — His  devotion  to  the  Prince — His  father's  resignation  in 

his  favour — His  Marriages,  and  issue       430-435 

XVII.  John    Macdonald — His    travels    and    education — Makes    up 

titles — His  Marriages,  issue,  and  death  in  1794  435-436 

XVIII.  Reginald  George  Macdonald — His  education — Command- 
ant of  the  Long  Island  Militia — In  Parliament — His  rental — Sale  of 

the  Property — His  marriages,  issue,  and  death  in  1873  436-437 


XIX.  Sir  Reginald  John  James  George,  now  of  Clanranald— His 
Marriage,  and  issue 



Glenaladale,  Macdonalds  of 
klnloch-moidart,  macdonalds  of 
Boisdale,  Macdonalds  of 


Sanda,  Macdonalds  of... 
Keppoch,  Macdonalds  of 
Inch,  Macdonalds  of  ... 
Dalchosnie,  Macdonalds  of 
Glencoe,  Macdonalds  of 
Darroch-Macdonalds    ... 



Buccleuch,  His  Grace  the  Duke  of— (large  paper) 

Bute,  The  Most  Noble  the  Marquis  of— large  paper) 

Glasgow,  The  Right  Hon.  the  Earl  of 

Hopetoun,  The  Right  Hon.  the  Earl  of—  (large  paper) 

Lovat,  Right  Hon.  Lord,  Beaufort  Castle — (large  paper) 

Macdonald,  The  Right  Hon.  Lord,  of  Sleat — (large  paper) 

Tweedmouth,  The  Right  Hon.  Lord— (large  paper) 

Forbes,  Sir  William  Stuart,  Bart.,  of  Monymusk  and  Pitsligo 

D'Oyley,  The  Marchioness,  Paris — (6  copies,  I  large  paper.) 

Eldon,  The  Right  Hon.  the  Countess  of 

Middleton,  The  Dowager  Lady — (large  paper) 

Macdonald,  Sir  Archibald  Keppel,  Bart.,  Woolmer,  Hants— (large  paper) 

Mackenzie,  Sir  Kenneth  S.,  Bart,  of  Gairloch 

Paton,  Sir  Noel,  R.S.A.,  LL.D.,  F.S.A.,  Scot,  Her  Majesty's  Limner  for 

Aitken,  Dr.,  F.S.A.,  Scot.,  Inverness 
Allan,  Wm.,  Esq.,  Sunderland 

Anderson,  James,  Esq.,  Procurator-Fiscal  for  the  County  of  Inverness 
Audsley,  Frank  C,  Esq.,  Invergordon 

Barron,  James,  Esq.,  F.S.A.,  Scot.,  Editor  of  the  Courier,  Inverness 
Batten,  Mrs.  Chisholm,  of  Aigais  and  Thornfalcon 
Beattie,  Walter,  Esq.,  Sunderland 
Blair,  Sheriff,  Inverness 
Brown,  Horatio  S.,  Esq.,  Venezia 
Brown,  Neil,  Esq.,  Dunclutha,  Greenock 
Bryce  &  Son,  David,  Booksellers,  Buchanan  Street,  Glasgow 
Burns,  William,  Esq.,  solicitor,  Inverness 
Cameron,  Donald,  Esq.,  of  Lochiel,  M.P. 
Cameron,  Rev.  Alexander,  Brodick 
Cameron,  Miss  Isabel  Macdonald,  Newcastle-on-Tyne 
Campbell,  George  J.,  Esq.,  solicitor,  Inverness 
Campbell,  George  Murray,  Esq.,  Ceylon 
Campbell,  J.  L.,  Esq.,  Broughty  Ferry 
Carnegy,  Mrs.,  of  Lour,  Forfar 
Chalmers,  P.  H.,  Esq.,  advocate,  Aberdeen 
Chisholm,  Archd.  C,  Esq.,  procurator- fiscal,  Lochmaddy 
Chisholm,  Colin,  Esq.,  Namur  Cottage,  Inverness 
Chisholm,  John  A.,  Esq.,  manufacturer,  Inverness 
Chisholm,  The— (large  paper) 
Cluny  Macpherson  of  Cluny,  C.B.  — (large  paper) 

List  of  Subscribers.  xxi 

Clarke,  Lieutenant-Colonel  J.  dimming,  late  76th  Regiment 

Craigie-Halkett,  Lt.  Duncan,  78th  Highlanders 

Cran,  J.,  Esq.,  F.S.A.,  Scot.,  Bunchrew 

Croal,  Thos.  A.,  Esq.,  F.S.A.,  Scot.,  Edinburgh 

Darroch,  Rev.  Charles  S.  P.,  Medstead  Rectory,  Hants 

Darroch,  Duncan,  Esq.,  of  Torridon 

Davidson,  The  late  Duncan,  Esq.  of  Tulloch,  Lord  Lieutenant  of  the  County 

of  Ross 
Davidson,  D.  H.  C.  R.,  Colonel,  of  Tulloch 
Davidson,  John,  Esq.,  merchant,  Inverness 
Digby,  Mrs.  Sydenham  Villas,  Cheltenham 
Duguid,  George,  Esq.,  Scarboro' 
Finlayson,  Roderick,  Esq.,  Nairn 
Forbes,  Duncan,  Esq.,  of  Culloden 

Forbes,  James  E.  Stuart  Forbes,  Esq.,  Colville  Mansions,  London 
Forbes,  Mrs.  Stuart,  Cheltenham — (2  copies) 
Forsyth,  W.  B.,  Esq.,  Editor  of  the  Advertiser,  Inverness 
Fraser,  Captain  (of  Culbockie),  Nairn 
Fraser,  Provost,  Inverness 

Fraser,  William,  Esq.,  deputy  keeper  of  the  Records,  Edinburgh 
Fraser-Mackintosh,  C,  Esq.,  M.P.,  F.S.A.,  Scot.,  Inverness — (large  paper) 
Gallie,  Lachlan,  Esq.,  Edinburgh 
Gregory,  Alex.  A.,  Esq.,  Westwood,  Inverness 
Henderson,  W.  L.,  Esq.,  manager,  Advertiser  Office,  Inverness 
Hiley,  Mrs.  Walter,  Hyde  Hall,  Sawbridgnorth 
Home,  G.  H.  Monro  Binning,  Esq.,  of  Argaty,  Doune 
Hornsby,  James,  Esq.,  Gairloch 

Jeffrey,  Allan  Ranald  Macdonald,  Esq.,  London — (large  paper) 
Johnston,  Geo.  P.,  Esq.,  Hanover  Street.  Edinburgh — (large  paper) 
Kennedy,  Neil,  Esq.,  Isle  Ornsay,  Skye 
Lawson,  Mrs.,  Everton,  Liverpool 

Livingston,  Mrs.,  25  Saxe  Coburgh  Place,  Edinburgh  (large  paper) 
Love,  William,  Esq.,  Glasgow 

Macandrew,  H.  C,  Esq.,  sheriff-clerk  for  the  County  of  Inverness 
Macdonald,  A.,  Esq.,  commissioner  for  Lord  Macdonald,  Skye— (large  paper) 
Macdonald,  A.  J.,  Esq.,  London— (large  paper) 
Macdonald,  A.  R.,  Esq.,  Ord,  Isle  Ornsay,  Skye 
Macdonald,  Alex.,  Esq.,  of  Lyndale 
Macdonald,  Alex..  Esq.,  of  Millerton,  Inverness 
Macdonald,  Alex.,  Esq.,  of  Edenwood  and  Balranald 
Macdonald,  Alex.,  Esq.,  timber  merchant,  Beauly 

Macdonald,  Alexander,  Esq.,  Chester,  South  Carolina,  U.S.A.  — (large  paper) 
Macdonald,  Andrew,  Esq.,  solicitor,  Inverness  —  (large  paper) 
Macdonald,  Angus,  Esq.,  merchant,  Inverness 
Macdonald,  Angus  R.  (of  Clanranald),  Calcutta 
Macdonald,  Kenneth,  Town-Clerk  of  Inverness — (large  paper) 
Macdonald,  Colonel  John,  A.M.,  C.B.,  Bombay  Staff  Corps  -  (large  paper) 
Macdonald,  Captain  A.,  of  Waternish,  Skye 

xxii  List  of  Subscribers. 

Macdonald,  Captain  D.  P.,  Ben  Nevis  Distillery 

Macdonald,  Councillor  Duncan,  Inverness 

Macdonald,  C.  M.,  Esq.,  Glencraig,  Rothesay 

Macdonald,  "The  Peacock,"  Inverness 

Macdonald,  D.  J.  Kinneir,  Esq.  of  Sanda,  Salisbury 

Macdonald,  Donald,  Esq.  of  Tormore — (5  copies) 

Macdonald,  Dr.  Wm.,  Inverness 

Macdonald,  Donald,  Ex-Bailie,  Inverness 

Macdonald,  Donald,  Esq.,  Culcraggie,  Alness 

Macdonald,  Duncan,  Esq.,  Wishaw 

Macdonald,  Frederick  J.,  Esq.,  Leith 

Macdonald,  Harry,  Esq.,  Portree 

Macdonald,  James,  Esq.,  The  Farm,  Huntly 

Macdonald,  James,  Esq.,  Ordnance  Survey. 

Macdonald,  Major  John  A.,  of  Glenaladale,  Glenfmnan 

Macdonald,  John  James,  Esq.,  Threadneedle  Street,  London 

Macdonald,  J.,  Esq.,  F.S.A.,  Scot.,  London — (1  large  paper,  I  8vo.) 

Macdonald,  John,  Esq.,  Dunphail 

Macdonald,  John,  Esq.,  merchant,  Exchange,  Inverness 

Macdonald,  John,  Esq.,  accountant,  Montreal,  Canada— (large  paper) 

Macdonald,  John,  Esq.,  solicitor,  Dursley 

Macdonald,  John,  Esq.,  superintendent  of  police,  Inverness 

Macdonald,  John,  Esq.,  superintendent  of  police,  Hawick 

Macdonald,  John  Denis,  M.D.,  F.R.S.,  Inspector- General,  R.N. 

Macdonald,  Lachlan,  Esq.  of  Skaebost,  Skye — (1  copy,  1  large  paper) 

Macdonald,  Lieut. -General  James  W. ,  C.B.,  equerry  and   private  secretary  to 

H.  R.  H.  the  Duke  of  Cambridge 
Macdonald,  Miss,  Dunvegan  Cottage,  Dunvegan 
Macdonald.  Mrs.  Douglas  (of  Sanda),  Bath 
Macdonald,  Mrs.  R.  D.  H.  (of  Clanranald) 
Macdonald,  Mrs.,  Croig,  Mull 
Macdonald,  Neil,  Esq.  of  Dunach,  Oban 
Macdonald,  Norman,  Esq.,  banker,  Benbecula 
Macdonald,  P.  T.,  Esq.,  Blair  Athole 
Macdonald,  Rev.  D.,  Glenfmnan — (2  large  paper) 
Macdonald,  Rev.  James  Alex.,  London 
Macdonald,  The  Hon.  James  S.,  Halifax,  Nova  Scotia 
Macdonald,  The  Misses,  of  Dalchosnie,  Barnsfield,  Southampton 
Macdonald,  the  Right  Hon.  W.  J.,  M.P.,  Victoria,  Vancouver  Island 
Macdonald,    Vice-Admiral   Sir    Reginald  J.    G.    of  Clanranald,    K.C.S.I., 

Sheerness — (large  paper) 
Macdonald,  William  Robertson,  Esq.  of  Kinlochmoidart 
Macdonell,  ^Eneas  R. ,  Esq.  of  Morar — (5  copies) 
Macdonell,  ^Eneas  R. ,  Esq.  of  Glengarry,  London 
Macdonell,  Arthur  Anthony,  Esq.  of  Lochgarry,  Oxford 
Macdonell,  Col.  John  L,  of  Leek 
Macdonell,  Donald,  Esq.,  Dicoya,  Ceylon 
Macdonell,  P.,  Esq.,  Kinchyle,  Dores 

List  of  Subscribers.  xxii 

Macdonell,  Mrs.  of  Keppoch,  London 

Macdonell,  Miss  Ronaldson,  of  Glengarry,  Rothesay 

Macgillivray,  Alexander,  Esq.,  Arlington  Road,  London 

Macgregor,  Rev.  Alex.,  M.A.,  Inverness 

Mackay,  D.  J.,  Esq.,  solicitor,  Inverness 

Mackay,  John,  C.E.,  Hereford 

Mackay,  William,  Esq.,  solicitor,  Inverness 

Mackenzie,  A.  C,  Esq.,  Maryburgh 

Mackenzie,  Allan  R.,  Esq.,  yr.  of  Kintail — (large  paper) 

Mackenzie,  Captain  Colin,  F.S.A.,  Scot.,  London — (large  paper) 

Mackenzie,  D.  H.  Esq.,  Auckland,  New  Zealand— (3  copies,  3  large  paper) 

Mackenzie,  Dr  F.  M.,  Inverness 

Mackenzie,  Evan  G.,  Esq.,  solicitor,  Inverness 

Mackenzie,  H.  Munro,  Esq.,  Whitehaven— (large  paper) 

Mackenzie,  John  Whitefoord,  Esq.  of  Lochwards,  Edinburgh — (large  paper) 

Stewart,  Duncan,  Esq.,  Lincoln's  Inn  Field,  London 

Stewart,  James,  Esq.,  Dalkeith  Park,  Dalkeith 

Stodart,  R.  R.,  Esq.,  Register  House,  Edinburgh 

Stuart,  Mrs.  of  Lochcarron 

Sutherland,  Geo.  Miller,  Esq.,  F.S.A.  Scot.,  Wick 

Sutherland- Walker,  Evan  C,  Esq.  of  Skibo 

Tolmie,  Rev.  John  W.,  Contin 

Tomlinson,  Geo.  C.  J.,  Esq.,  London — (large  paper) 

Mackenzie,  John,  Esq.,  Brodick,  Arran 

Mackenzie,  J.  A.,  Esq.,  burgh  surveyor,  Inverness 

Mackenzie,  John,  Auchenstewart,  Wishaw 

Mackenzie,  John  Munro,  Esq.  of  Mornish,  Mull 

Mackenzie,  James  H.,  Esq.,  bookseller,  Inverness — (6  copies) 

Mackenzie,  Major  James  D.,  of  Findon 

Mackenzie,  Malcolm,  Esq.,  Guernsey 

Mackenzie,  M.  T.,  Esq.,  M.D.,  Broadford,  Isle  of  Skye 

Mackenzie,  N.  B.,  Esq.,  banker,  Fort- William 

Mackenzie,  Roderick,  Esq.,  London 

Mackenzie,  William,  Esq.,  Cabarfeidh  Villa,  Inverness 

Mackenzie,  Wm.  Esq.,  Free  Press  Office,  Inverness 

Mackinnon,  John  M.  M.,  Esq.,  Ostaig  House,  Skye 

Mackinnon,  Miss  Flora,  Duisdale  House,  Skye 

Mackintosh  of  Mackintosh— (large  paper) 

Mackintosh,  Hugh,  Esq.,  of  Mactavish  &  Mackintosh,  Inverness 

Machlachlan  &  Stewart,  Messrs.,  Edinburgh— (3  copies) 

Maclauchlan,  Rev.  Thomas,  LL.  D.,  Edinburgh 

Maclean,  Mrs.  (of  Glengarry),  Edinburgh 

Maclean,  Miss  Harriet,  Bridge  of  Allan 

Maclellan,  Alastair  Macdonald,  Esq.  of  Portree  Estate,  Ceylon 

Maclellan,  Keith,  Esq.  of  Melfort 

Macleod,  Norman,  Esq.,  bookseller,  Edinburgh 

Macleod,  Roderick,  Esq.,  Merchant,  Edinburgh 

Macrae,  Alex.  A.,  Esq.,  Glenoze,  Skye 

xxiv  List  of  Subscribers. 

Macrae,  Donald,  Esq.,  Glasgow- 
Macrae,  Fred  D.,  Esq.,  Fowler's  Bay,  Australia 
Macraild,  A.  R.,  Esq.,  Inverness 
Macritchie,  Andrew,  Esq.,  solicitor,  Inverness 
Martin,  Donald  A.,  Esq.,  Kinloch,  Skye 
Matheson,  Alex.,  Esq.  of  Ardross  and  Lochalsh,  M.P. 
Matheson,  Kenneth  J.,  Esq.,  yr.  of  Ardross  and  Lochalsh— (large  paper) 
Masson,  Rev.  Donald,  M.A.,  M.D.,  Edinburgh 

Melven,  James,  Esq.,  bookseller,  Inverness — (4  copies,  2  large  paper) 
Melven,  Joseph  T.,  Esq.,  bookseller,  Elgin 

Milne,  Messrs  A.  &  R.,  booksellers,  Aberdeen — (3  copies,  2  large  paper) 
Mitchell,  Mrs.  Lucy  L.,  Helensburgh 
Munro,  David,  Esq.,  Inverness 
Munro,  Henry,  Esq.,  Ness  Mount,  Inverness 
Munro,  John,  Esq.,  Melbourne,  Australia 

Noble,  John,  Esq.,  bookseller,  Inverness — (2  copies,  2  large  paper) 
North,  C.   N.   Macintyre,    Esq.,    Author  of   "  Leabhar  Comunn  Nam   Fior 

Ghaidheal, "  London 
Pink,  Wm.  D.,  Esq.,  bookseller,  Leigh,  Lancashire 
Reid,  Donald,  Esq.,  solicitor,  Inverness 
Robertson,  D.  Esq.,  Imperial  Hotel,  Inverness 
Robertson,  Mrs.  Greshornish,  Skye— (large  paper) 
Rose,  Hugh,  Esq.,  solicitor,  Inverness 

Ross,  Alex.,  Esq.,  F.S.A.,  Scot.,  architect,  Inverness— (large  paper) 
Ross,  Alex.,  Esq.,  of  the  Chronicle,  Inverness 
Ross,  Alex.,  Esq.,  Alness 
Ross,  Colonel,  of  Cromarty— (large  paper) 
Ross,  James,  Esq.,  solicitor,  Inverness 
Ross,  Councillor  Jonathan,  Inverness 
Sampson,  Lowe,  Marston,  &  Co.,  publishers,  London 
Scott,  Roderick,  Esq.,  solicitor,  Inverness  —  (large  paper) 
Shaw,   Alexander   Mackintosh,    Esq.,    author  of  the   "History  of  the  Clan 

Chattan  " 
Shaw,  Charles,  Esq.,  W.S.,  Ex-Sheriff-Substitute  of  Lochmaddy 
Simpson,  Ex-Provost,  Inverness 
Simpson,  Sheriff,  Fort-William 
Sinclair,  Rev.  Allan,  M.A.,  Kenmore 
Sinton,  Thos.,  Esq.,  Inverton,  Kingussie 
Smart,  P.  H.,  Esq.,  Drawing-master,  Inverness 
Smith,  John  Turnbull,  Esq.,  C.A.,  Edinburgh 
Smith,  Dr.  R.  Angus,  All  Saints',  Manchester 
Traill,  Mrs.  Stanway  Vicarage,  Winchcombe 
Trevor-Roper,  Mrs.,  The  Lodge,  Hoylake,  Cheshire 
Walker,  Charles  A.,  Esq.,  Aberdeen 
Watson,  Rev.  David,  M.A.,  Beaverton,  Ontario,  Canada 
Williamson,  Charles  Macdonald,  Esq.,  Glasgow 
Wilson,  John,  Esq.,  King  William  Street,   London— (4  large  paper) 
Wylde,  Mrs.  (grand-daughter  of  Flora  Macdonald),  Cheltenham 




TO  write  a  full,  authentic,  and,  at  the  same  time, 
popular  history  of  this  ancient  and  illustrious 
family  is  no  easy  task.  Its  earlier  annals  are 
much  obscured,  and  it  is  difficult  to  decide  between  the 
various  contradictory  accounts  given  of  it  by  the  earlier 
chroniclers.  The  researches  of  Skene,  Gregory,  and  others 
have,  however,  made  the  task  much  easier,  and  the 
result  more  trustworthy  than  it  could  otherwise  have  been. 
Gregory's  "  History  of  the  Western  Highlands  and  Isles  of 
Scotland,"  is  an  invaluable  guide,  down  to  1625,  and  will 
be  largely  taken  advantage  of  in  the  following  pages.  The 
object  of  that  work,  to  quote  the  author  himself,  "is  to 
trace  the  history  of  the  territories  once  owned  by  the  great 
Lords  of  the  Isles,  from  the  time  of  the  downfall  of  that 
princely  race,  in  the  reign  of  James  IV.  of  Scotland,  until 
the  accession  of  Charles  I.  to  the  throne  of  Great  Britain  ". 
It  is  not  our  intention  to  speculate  at  any  length  on  the 
different  races  which  are  variously  stated  to  have  originally 
occupied  the  Highlands  and  Islands  of  Scotland.  Those 
who  desire  to  enter  upon  that  subject  will  find  various  and 
divergent  authorities  to  consult,  which  need  not  here  be 
referred  to.  In  this  work  we  shall  get  on  to  solid  and 
authentic  historical  ground  as  soon  as  possible,  and  leave 



speculation  as  to  the  origin  and  prehistoric  annals  of  the 
Clan  to  those  who  delight  in  such  attractive  but  generally 
useless  inquiries.  Skene  holds  that  the  Macdonalds  are  of 
Celtic,  or  at  all  events  of  mixed  Celtic  origin  ;  that  is, 
descended  from  the  Gallgall  Gaelic  pirates,  or  rovers,  who 
are  said  to  be  so  described  to  distinguish  them  from  the 
Norwegian  and  Danish  Fingall  and  Dubh-ghall,  or  white 
and  black  strangers  or  rovers.  He  maintains  that  they 
are  of  a  purely  Pictish  descent,  not  even  mixed  with  the 
Dalriadic  Scots.  Gregory  thinks  that  "  the  earliest  inhabi- 
tants of  the  Western  Isles  or  Ebudes  (corruptly  Hebrides) 
were  probably  a  portion  of  the  Albanich,  Caledonians,  or 
Picts.  In  some  of  the  Southern  Islands,  particularly  in 
Isla,  this  race  must  have  been  displaced  or  overrun  by  the 
Dalriads  on  their  first  settlement ;  so  that,  at  the  date  of 
the  Scottish  conquest  the  Isles,  like  the  adjacent  mainland, 
were  divided  between  the  Picts  and  the  Scots.  The 
change  produced  in  the  original  population  of  the  Isles, 
by  the  influx  of  the  Scots — a  cognate  Celtic  race — was, 
however,  trifling  compared  with  that  which  followed  the 
first  settlement  of  the  Scandinavians  in  the  Isles  towards 
the  end  of  the  ninth  century."  From  880  to  about  1100 
the  Western  Isles  were  under  and  governed  by  Norwegian 
and  Danish  kings.  In  1103  the  Islanders  took  for  their 
king  Lagman,  the  eldest  son  of  Godred  Crovan,  King  of 
Man.  This  Prince,  after  a  reign  of  seven  years,  abdicated, 
when  the  nobility  of  the  Isles  applied  to  Murchad  O'Brien, 
then  King  of  Ireland,  to  send  them  over  a  Prince  of  his 
blood  to  act  as  Regent  during  the  minority  of  Olave, 
surviving  son  of  Godred  Crovan  who  died  at  Jerusalem, 
where  he  went  on  a  pilgrimage,  shortly  after  his  abdication 
of  the  throne.  The  Irish  King  sent  them  Donald  McTade, 
who  ruled  over  the  Islanders  for  two  years  ;  but  he  became 
so  obnoxious,  by  his  tyranny  and  oppression,  that  the 
Island  Chiefs  rose  against  him,  and  expelled  him  ;  where- 
upon he  fled  to  Ireland,  and  never  again  returned  to  the 
Isles.  Olave  succeeded  and  reigned  for  forty  years,  pre- 
serving his  kingdom  from  aggression,  and  securing  a  long 


period  of  peace  within  his  dominions.  This  king  was 
known  among  the  Highlanders  as  Olave  the  Red.  He 
was  succeeded  by  his  son,  Godred  the  Black,  whose 
daughter,  Ragnhildis,  married  Somerled,  Prince  or  Lord  of 
Argyle,  from  whom  sprung  the  dynasty  so  well  known  in 
Scottish  history  and  of  which  we  shall  have  a  good  deal 
to  say  in  the  following  pages  as  Lords  of  the  Isles. 

It  is  impossible  to  decide  as  to  the  elements  of  which 
the  inhabitants  of  the  Western  Isles  were  at  this  period 
composed ;  but  there  appears  to  be  no  doubt  that  a  mixture 
of  Scandinavian  and  Celtic  blood  was  effected  in  very 
early  times  ;  and  the  same  holds  good  of  the  contiguous 
mainland  districts,  which,  being  intersected  by  various  arms 
of  the  sea,  were  also,  like  the  Isles,  overrun  more  or  less 
by  the  Norwegian  and  Danish  sea  rovers ;  but,  in  spite  of 
this,  history  and  topography  prove  beyond  question  that 
the  Celtic  language  ultimately  prevailed,  and  that  it  was 
very  much  the  same  as  is  spoken  in  the  present  day. 
While  there  is  no  doubt  at  all  as  to  the  mixture  of  races, 
it  is  much  more  difficult  to  decide  to  what  extent  the 
mixture  prevailed  ;  but  all  the  best  authorities  hold  that 
the  Celtic  element  predominated.  It  is,  however,  of  much 
more  importance  to  discover  which  of  the  Scandinavian 
tribes  infused  the  largest  portion  of  northern  blood  into  the 
population  of  the  Isles.  Gregory  says  that  the  Irish 
annalists  divided  the  piratical  bands,  "which  in  the  ninth 
and  following  centuries  infested  Ireland,  into  two  great 
tribes,  styled  by  these  writers,  Fiongall,  or  white  foreigners, 
and  Dubhghall,  or  black  foreigners.  These  are  believed 
to  represent — the  former,  the  Norwegians,  the  latter,  the 
Danes  ;  and  the  distinction  in  the  names  given  to  them  is 
supposed  to  have  arisen  from  a  diversity  either  in  their 
clothing  or  in  the  sails  of  their  vessels.  These  tribes  had 
generally  separate  leaders,  but  they  were  occasionally 
united  under  one  king ;  and,  although  both  were  bent,  first 
on  ravaging  the  Irish  shores,  and  afterwards  on  seizing 
portions  of  the  Irish  territories,  they  frequently  turned  their 
arms  against  each  other.     The  Gaelic  title  of  Righ  Fiongall, 


or  King  of  the  Fiongall,  so  frequently  applied  to  the  Lords 
of  the  Isles,  seems  to  prove  that  Olave  the  Red,  from  whom 
they  were  descended  in  the  female  line,  was  so  styled,  and 
that,  consequently,  his  subjects  in  the  Isles,  in  so  far  as 
they  were  not  Celtic,  were  Fiongall  or  Norwegians.  It  has 
been  remarked  by  one  writer,*  whose  opinion  is  entitled 
to  weight,  that  the  names  of  places  in  the  exterior  Hebrides, 
or  the  long  island,  derived  from  the  Scandinavian  tongue, 
resemble  the  names  of  places  in  Orkney,  Shetland,  and 
Caithness.  On  the  other  hand,  the  corresponding  names  in 
the  interior  Hebrides  are  in  a  different  dialect,  resembling 
that  of  which  the  traces  are  to  be  found  in  the  topography 
of  Sutherland,  and  appear  to  have  been  imposed  at  a  later 
period  than  the  first  mentioned  names.  The  probability  is, 
however,  that  the  difference  alluded  to  is  not  greater  than 
might  be  expected  in  the  language  of  two  branches  of  the 
same  race  after  a  certain  interval ;  and  that  the  Scandin- 
avian of  the  Hebrides  was,  therefore,  derived  from  two 
successive  Norwegian  colonies.  This  view  is  further  con- 
firmed by  the  fact,  that  the  Hebrides,  although  long  subject 
to  Norway,  do  not  appear  ever  to  have  formed  part  of  the 
possessions  of  the  Danes."f* 

We  now  come  to  consider  more  especially  the  origin  of 
the  Macdonalds,  at  one  time  by  far  the  most  important, 
numerous,  and  powerful  of  the  Western  Clans.  This  noble 
race  is  undoubtedly  descended  from  Somerled  of  Argyle  ; 
but  his  origin  is  involved  in  obscurity  and  surrounded  with 
considerable  difficulty.  Of  his  father,  Gillebride,  and  of 
his  grandfather,  Gilledomnan,  little  is  known  but  the  names. 
According  to  both  the  Highland  and  Irish  genealogists, 
Gilledomnan  was  sixth  in  descent  from  Godfrey  MacFergus, 
who  in  an  Irish  chronicle  is  called  Toshach  of  the  Isles, 
and  who  lived  in  the  reign  of  Kenneth  MacAlpin.  Tradi- 
tion asserts  that  Godfrey  or  one  of  his  race  was  expelled 
from  the  Isles  by  the  Danes,!  which  assertion  if  correct, 

*  Chalmers'  Caledonia,  vol.  i.,  p.  266. 
f  Highlands  and  Isles,  pp.  8,  9. 

J  Hugh  Macdonald's  MS.  History  of  the  Macdonalds,  written  about  the  end  of 
seventeenth  century. 


may  apply  to  the  conquest  of  Harald  Harfager,  who  in  all 
probability  dispossessed  many  of  the  native  Island  chiefs. 
But  the  Celtic  Seanachies  are  not  satisfied  with  a  descent 
even  so  remote  as  Fergus.  They  trace,  through  a  long  line 
of  ancestors,  the  descent  of  that  chief  from  the  celebrated 
Irish  King,  Conn  nan  Ceud  Cath,  or  Conn  of  the  Hundred 
Battles.  Such  is  the  account  of  Somerled's  origin  accord- 
ing to  those  who  maintain  his  Scoto-Irish  descent.  Others 
have  maintained  that  he  was  undoubtedly  a  Scandinavian 
by  male  descent.  "  His  name,"  says  Gregory,  "  is  certainly 
a  Norse  one*  ;  but  then  on  the  other  hand,  the  names  of 
his  father  and  grandfather  are  purely  Celtic ;  whilst  the 
inter-marriages  that  must  have  taken  place  between  the 
two  races  in  the  Isles  and  adjacent  coasts,  make  it  impos- 
sible to  found  any  argument  on  the  Christian  name  alone. 
Somerled  is  mentioned  more  than  once  in  the  Norse  Sagas, 
but  never  in  such  a  way  as  to  enable  us  to  affirm  with  cer- 
tainty what  the  opinion  of  the  Scandinavian  writers  was  as 
to  his  origin.  He  appears  to  have  been  known  to  them  as 
Sinnarlidi  Haullds,  and  the  impression  produced  by  the 
passages  in  which  he  is  mentioned  is  rather  against  his 
being  considered  a  Norseman.  It  is  possible,  however,  as 
he  was  certainly  descended  from  a  noted  individual  of  the 
name  of  Godfrey,  that  his  ancestor  may  have  been  that 
Gofra  MacArailt,  King  of  the  Isles,  who  died  in  989.  But, 
on  the  whole,  the  uniformity  of  the  Highland  and  Irish 
traditions,  which  can  be  traced  back  at  least  four  hundred 
years,  lead  to  the  conclusion  that  the  account  first  given  of 
the  origin  of  Somerled  is  correct." 

We  are  informed  by  the  Macdonald  genealogists  that 
Gillebride  was  expelled  from  his  possessions,  and  that  he 
and  his  son  Somerled  were  obliged  for  a  long  time  to  con- 
ceal themselves  in  a  cave  in  Morvern,  from  which  circum- 
stance the  father  is  known  in  tradition  as  Gillebride  na 
tiUamh,  or  of  the  Cave.-f*     From   certain  circumstances, 

*  The  Norse  Somerled,  and  the  Gaelic  Somhairle,  are  both  rendered  into 
English,  Samuel. 

f  "  Fragment  of  a  Manuscript  History  of  the  Macdonalds,"  written  in  the  reign 
of  Charles  II.,  by  Hugh  Macdonald,  printed  from  the  Gregory  collection  in  the 


obscurely  hinted  at,  continues  Gregory,  it  would  seem  that 
Gillebride,  after  the  death  of  Malcolm  Ceannmor,  had,  with 
the  other  Celtic  inhabitants  of  Scotland,  supported  Donald 
Bane,  the  brother  of  Malcolm,  in  his  claim  to  the  Scottish 
throne,  to  the  exclusion  of  Edgar,  Malcolm's  son,  and  that, 
consequently,  on  the  final  triumph  of  the  Anglo-Saxon 
party,  Gillebride  would  naturally  be  exposed  to  their 
vengeance  in  exact  proportion  to  his  power,  and  to  the 
assistance  he  had  given  to  the  other  party.  His  possessions 

"  Collectanea  de  Rebus  Albanicis,"  pages  282-324.  It  is  often  referred  to  by  Gregory 
in  his  "Highlands  and  Isles".  It  begins  as  follows: — "  Sommerled,  the  son  of 
Gilbert,  began  to  muse  on  the  low  condition  and  misfortune  to  which  he  and  his 
father  were  reduced,  and  kept  at  first  very  retired.  In  the  meantime,  Allin  Mac 
Vich  Allin  coming  with  some  forces  to  the  land  of  Morverin  for  pillage  and  hersbips, 
intending  to  retire  forthwith  to  Lochaber,  from  whence  he  came.  From  this  Allan 
descended  the  family  of  Lochiel.  Sommerled  thought  now  it  was  high  time  to 
make  himself  known  for  the  defence  of  his  country,  if  he  could,  or  at  least  see  the 
same,  having  no  company  for  the  time.  There  was  a  young  sprout  of  a  tree  near 
the  cave  which  grew  in  his  age  of  infancy.  He  plucked  it  up  by  the  root,  and 
putting  it  on  his  shoulder,  came  near  the  people  of  Morverin,  desired  them  to  be  of 
good  courage  and  do  as  he  did,  and  so  by  this  persuasion,  all  of  them  having 
pulled  a  branch,  and  putting  the  same  on  their  shoulder,  went  on  encouraging  each 
other.  Godfrey  Du  had  possession  of  the  Isles  of  the  north  side  of  Ardnamurchan 
from  the  King  of  Denmark.  Olay  compelled  the  inhabitants  of  some  of  these  Isles 
to  infest  Morverin  by  landing  some  forces  there.  The  principal  surnames  in  the 
country  were  Macinneses  and  Macgillivrays,  who  are  the  same  as  the  Macinneses. 
They,  being  in  sight  of  the  enemy,  could  act  nothing  without  one  to  command 
them.  At  length  they  agreed  to  make  the  first  person  that  should  appear  to  them 
their  general.  Who  came  in  the  meantime  but  Sommerled,  with  his  bow,  quiver, 
and  sword?  Upon  his  appearance  they  raised  a  great  shout  of  laughter.  Sommer- 
led enquiring  the  reason,  they  answered  they  were  rejoiced  at  his  appearance.  They 
told  him  that  they  had  agreed  to  make  the  first  that  would  appear  their  general. 
Sommerled  said  he  would  undertake  to  lead  them,  or  serve  as  a  man  otherwise. 
But  if  they  pitched  upon  him  as  their  commander,  they  should  swear  to  be  obedient 
to  his  commands ;  so,  without  any  delay,  they  gave  him  an  oath  of  obedience. 
There  was  a  great  hill  betwixt  them  and  the  enemy,  and  Sommerled  ordered  his 
men  to  put  off  their  coats,  and  put  their  shirts  and  full  armour  above  their  coats. 
So  making  them  go  three  times  in  a  disguised  manner  about  the  hill  that  they 
might  seem  more  in  number  than  they  really  were,  at  last  he  ordered  them  to 
engage  the  Danes,  saying  that  some  of  them  were  on  shore  and  the  rest  in  their 
ships  ;  that  those  on  shore  would  fight  but  faintly  so  near  their  ships.  Withal  he 
exhorted  his  soldiers  to  be  of  good  courage,  and  to  do  as  they  would  see  him  do. 
The  first  whom  Sommerled  slew  he  ript  up  and  took  out  his  heart,  desiring  the  rest 
to  do  the  same,  because  that  the  Danes  were  no  Christians.  So  the  Danes  were 
put  to  the  flight  ;  many  of  them  were  lost  in  the  sea  endeavouring  to  gain 
their  ships  ;  the  lands  of  Mull  and  Morverin  being  freed  at  that  time  from  their 
yoke  and  slavery.  After  this  defeat  given  to  the  Danes,  Sommerled  thought  to 
recover  Argyle  from  those  who,  contrary  to  right,  had  possessed  it,  it  being  wrung 
out  of  the  hands  of  his  father  unjustly  by  Macbeath,  Donald  Bain,  and  the  Danes." 


are  believed  to  have  been  on  the  mainland  of  Argyle,  but 
this  has  not  been  conclusively  ascertained.  Somerled  when 
young  was  drawn  from  his  obscurity,  and  placed  at  the 
head  of  the  men  of  Morvern,  to  defend  the  district  from  a 
band  of  Norse  pirates  who  threatened  to  ravage  it.  By 
his  courage  and  skill  Somerled  completely  defeated  them  ; 
and,  following  up  his  success,  he  soon  after  recovered  his 
paternal  inheritance  and  made  himself  master  of  a  great 
portion  of  Argyle,  and  henceforth  assumed  the  title  of  Lord, 
Thane,  or  Regulus  of  Argyle,  and  became  one  of  the  most 
powerful  chiefs  in  Scotland. 

Smibert  agrees  generally  with  the  better  known  writers 
already  quoted,  and  considers  it  probable,  from  many  con- 
current circumstances,  that  while  the  Macdonalds  were 
wholly  Celtic  fundamentally,  they  had  the  blood  of  the 
Irish  Celts  commingled  in  their  veins  with  that  of  the 
Pictish  Celts.  The  term  Gall-Gael  applied  to  them  by  early 
writers,  signifying  strangers  or  Piratical  Gaels,  seems  to  him 
to  prove  that  from  the  first  they  dwelt  in  the  Isles  or  sea 
coasts  of  the  west,  and  severed  them  broadly  from  the 
Norse  pirates,  who  at  the  same  time  visited  our  western 
shores.  "  The  Gall-Gael  appear  to  be  clearly  distinguish- 
able from  the  primitive  or  Dalriadic  Scots "  who  issued 
from  Ireland,  and  originally  peopled  a  considerable  portion 
of  Argyle,  then  termed  Dalriada.  "  The  sires  of  the  Mac- 
donalds arrived,  in  all  likelihood,  at  a  somewhat  later  epoch, 
fixing  themselves  more  peculiarly  in  the  Isles  of  the  western 
coasts  ;  though,  when  the  Scots  overturned  the  kingdom  of 
the  southern  and  eastern  Picts  in  the  ninth  century,  and 
shifted  more  or  less  extensively  to  the  richer  territories  then 
acquired,  the  Gall-Gael  seem  to  have  also  become  the  main 
occupants  of  Argyle  and  the  surrounding  mainland.  From 
that  period  they  are  closely  identified  with  the  proper 
northern  and  north-western  Gaelic  Picts,  with  whom  they,  be- 
yond doubt,  formed  connections  freely.  The  interests  of  both 
were  henceforth  nearly  the  same  ;  and  for  many  successive 
centuries  they  struggled  conjointly  against  the  growing  and 
adverse  power  of  the  Scottish  monarchy  of  the  Lowlands." 


Of  this  view  of  "  the  descent  of  the  Siol  Cuinn  (the  special 
name  given  from  an  early  chief,  named  Conn  of  the  Hun- 
dred Battles,  to  the  ancestors  of  the  Macdonalds)  it  may  at 
all  events  be  said  that  there  would  be  some  difficulty  in 
offering  a  more  rational  and  intelligible  one,  and  it  may  be 
justified  by  various  and  strong  arguments.  The  early  and 
long  continued  hostility  which  they  displayed  towards  the 
Scots  will  not  admit  of  their  being  considered  as  a  pure 
Scoto-Dalriadic  tribe.  On  the  other  hand,  their  constant 
community  of  interests  with  the  Gaelic  Picts  of  the  north 
and  north-west  goes  far  to  prove  a  close  connection  with 
these,  and  a  liberal  intermixture  of  blood,  though  it  does 
not  altogether  justify  us  in  ascribing  their  descent  wholly 
and  primarily  to  that  native  and  purely  Celtic  source. 
Other  facts  indeed  point  strongly  to  an  Irish  original. 
Among  such  facts  may  be  reckoned  the  repeated  references 
of  the  Macdonald  race,  to  Ireland  for  aid,  in  all  times  of 
peril  and  difficulty,  for  many  consecutive  centuries.  From 
the  Somerleds  of  the  eleventh,  down  to  Donald  (called  the 
Bastard)  in  the  sixteenth  century,  the  kings  and  chiefs  of 
the  house  are  again  and  again  recorded  as  having  visited 
that  island  and  sought  assistance  as  from  undoubted  rela- 
tives. Nor  did  they  do  so  vainly,  the  Macquarries,  for 
example,  being  almost  certainly  among  such  introduced 
auxiliaries.  Moreover  the  line  and  range  of  their  early 
possessions  lead  us  directly  towards  Ireland.  The  Isle  of 
Man  was  long  one  of  their  chief  holdings,  while  Bute, 
Arran,  and  Islay,  with  Cantire,  were  among  their  first  Scot- 
tish seats,  all  being  in  the  track  of  Irish  rovers  or  emigrants. 
Again  the  heads  of  the  Macdonalds  themselves  seem  to 
have  entertained  opinions  as  to  their  descent  only  expli- 
cable on  the  same  supposition.  Sir  James  Macdonald, 
writing  in  1615,  speaks  of  his  family  as  having  been  'ten 
hundred  years  kindly  Scotsmen  under  the  Kings  of  Scot- 
land.' .  .  .  On  the  whole,  the  conclusion  reasonably 
to  be  drawn  from  these  and  similar  circumstances  is,  that 
the  direct  founders  of  the  Macdonald  race  came  primarily 
from  Ireland  at  some  very  early  period  of  the  annals  of 


the  Dalriad-Scots  ;  and  that  they  were  left  (or  made  them- 
selves) the  successors  of  that  people  in  place  and  power  in 
the  west  of  Scotland,  at  the  precise  time  when  the  over- 
throw of  the  southern  Picts  drew  their  Dalriadic  conquerors 
further  inland.  That  the  Siol  Cuinn,  or  Race  of  Conn, 
then  became  deeply  and  inseparably  blended  in  regard  of 
blood,  as  well  as  of  interests  with  the  native  northern 
Gael,  is  a  farther  conclusion  equally  consistent  with  facts 
and  probability." 

"  The  almost  natural  division  between  the  Highlands  and 
the  Lowlands,  conjoined  with  the  remembrances  which 
must  long  have  existed  of  Pictish  greatness,  ever  urged  the 
inhabitants  of  the  former  region  of  all  sections  and  des- 
criptions to  unite  for  the  maintenance  of  its  independence 
against  the  encroaching  Lowlanders.  Besides,  the  ties 
betwixt  the  Scots  and  the  Gaelic  Picts  were  broken  up  at 
a  very  early  period.  The  former  entirely  lost  their  Pictish 
dialect,  spoken  in  Bede's  time,  and  became  otherwise 
thoroughly  saxonised.  On  the  contrary,  the  Highlanders, 
whether  natives  or  immigrants,  Gaelic  or  Erse,  were  from 
first  to  last,  of  the  same  primary  Celtic  stock  ;  and,  accord- 
ingly it  was  but  natural  that  all  of  them  should  have  com- 
bined against  the  Lowlanders  as  against  a  common  foe, 
and  should,  in  short,  have  been  blended  in  the  course  of 
time  into  one  people,  and  that  people  the  Gael  of  Scot- 
land." The  same  writer  proceeds  to  say  that  various  other 
clans  of  less  note  are  implicated  in  the  question  of  the 
origin  of  the  Macdonalds  as  well  as  themselves  ;  and  he 
candidly  admits,  though  personally  disposed  in  favour  of 
the  Irish  origin,  that  it  is  certainly  enveloped  in  consider- 
able difficulties.  He  then  goes  on  to  point  out  in  reply  to 
those  who  consider  an  Irish  origin  "  degrading,"  that  such 
parties  appear  to  forget  that  whatever  Ireland  may  have 
been  since,  that  to  the  ancient  western  world  it  was  the 
very  cradle  of  religion  and  the  nursery  of  civilisation.  He 
asserts  that  undoubted  evidences  exist  of  the  advanced 
state  of  the  Irish  people  at  a  time  when  the  Celts  of  Britain 
were  comparatively  in  a  state  of  barbarism.     To  belong  to 


a  race  "  which  sent  forth  Columba,  and  through  him  ori- 
ginated an  Iona,  with  all  its  concomitant  blessings,  might 
satisfy  the  pride  of  birth  of  even  the  haughtiest  families  ". 
The  settlement  of  the  Saint  in  Iona  would  appear 
to  confirm  the  supposition  that  the  immigrants  of  the 
sixth  century,  who  he  thinks  were  accompanied  by 
Saint  Columba,  and  with  whom  the  ancestors  of  the 
Macdonalds  came  over  from  Ireland,  only  obtained  posses- 
sion at  first  of  some  of  the  smaller  islands,  and  that  they 
held  little  of  the  mainland  until  the  tenth,  eleventh,  or 
twelth  centuries,  after  the  removal  further  south  of  the 

Summing  up  the  views  of  other  writers  on  this  subject, 
particularly  those  above  quoted,  the  editor  of  Fullarton's 
"  History  of  the  Highland  Clans  "  assumes  that  the  clan 
governed  by  Somerled  formed  part  of  the  Gall-Gael ;  that 
their  independent  kings  must  in  all  probability  have  been 
his  ancestors  ;  and,  therefore,  that  the  names  of  these  kings 
should  be  found  in  the  old  genealogies  of  Somerled's 
family.  "  But  this  appears  scarcely  to  be  the  case.  The 
last  king  of  the  Gall-Gael  was  Suibne,  the  son  of  Ken- 
neth, who  died  in  the  year  1034;  and,  according  to  the 
manuscript  of  1450,  an  ancestor  of  Somerled,  contem- 
porary with  this  petty  monarch,  bore  the  same  name,  from 
which  it  may  be  presumed  that  the  person  referred  to  in 
the  genealogy  and  manuscript  is  one  and  the  same  indivi- 
dual. The  latter,  however,  calls  Suibne's  father  Nialgusa  ; 
and  in  the  genealogy  there  is  no  mention  whatever  of  a 
Kenneth.  But  from  the  old  Scottish  writers  we  learn  that 
at  this  time  there  was  such  a  Kenneth,  whom  they  call 
Thane  of  the  Isles,  and  that  one  of  the  northern  maormors 
also  bore  the  same  name,  although  it  is  not  very  easy  to 
say  what  precise  claim  either  had  to  be  considered  as  the 
father  of  Suibne.  There  is  also  a  further  discrepancy 
observable  in  the  earlier  part  of  the  Macdonald  geneal- 
ogies, as  compared  with  the  manuscript ;  and  besides,  the 
latter,  without  making  any  mention  of  those  supposed 
kings,  deviates  into  the  misty  region  of  Irish  heroic  fable 

ORIGIN.  1 1 

and  romance.  At  this  point,  indeed,  there  is  a  complete 
divergence,  if  not  contrariety,  between  the  history  as  con- 
tained in  the  Irish  annals  and  the  genealogy  developed  in 
the  manuscript ;  for,  whilst  the  latter  mentions  the  Gall- 
Gael  under  their  leaders  as  far  back  as  the  year  856,  the 
former  connect  Suibne  by  a  different  genealogy  with  the 
Kings  of  Ireland.  The  fables  of  the  Highland  and  Irish 
Sennachies  now  become  connected  with  genuine  history. 
The  real  descent  of  the  chiefs  was  obscured  or  perplexed 
by  the  Irish  genealogies  and,  previous  to  the  eleventh 
century,  neither  these  genealogies  nor  even  that  of  the 
manuscript  of  1450  can  be  considered  as  of  any  authority 
whatever.  It  seems  somewhat  rash,  however,  to  conclude, 
as  Mr.  Skene  has  done,  that  the  Siol  Cuinn,  or  descend- 
ants of  Conn,  were  of  native  origin.  This  exceeds  the 
warrant  of  the  premises,  which  merely  carry  the  difficulty 
a  few  removes  backward  into  the  obscurity  of  time,  and 
there  leave  the  question  in  greater  darkness  than  ever." 

Skene,  in  his  "  Highlanders  of  Scotland,"  writing  of  "  Siol 
Cuinn,"  says  : — "  This  tribe  was  one  far  too  distinguished 
to  escape  the  grasping  claims  of  the  Irish  Sennachies, 
it  accordingly  appears  to  have  been  among  the  very  first 
to  whom  an  Irish  origin  was  imputed  ;  but  later  antiquaries, 
misled  by  the  close  connection  which  at  all  times  existed 
between  the  Macdonalds  and  the  Norwegians  of  the  Isles, 
have  been  inclined  rather  to  consider  them  as  of  Norwegian 
origin.  Neither  of  these  theories,  however,  admit  of  being 
borne  out  either  by  argument  or  authority.  The  followers 
of  the  Irish  system  can  only  produce  a  vague  tradition  in 
its  support  against  the  manifest  improbability  of  the  sup- 
position that  a  tribe  possessing  such  extensive  territories  in 
Scotland  should  have  been  of  foreign  origin,  while  history 
is  altogether  silent  as  to  the  arrival  of  any  such  people  in 
the  country."  The  writer  then  points  out  that  it  has  been 
proved  that  the  Irish  traditions  in  Scotland  were  of  a  com- 
paratively modern  origin,  and  that  the  Norwegian  origin  of 
the  race  has  been  assumed  without  solid  reasons,  mainly 
from   the   fact   that   the    Danish   and   Norwegian   pirates 


ravaged  the  western  shores  of  Scotland,  and  brought  its 
inhabitants  under  subjection,  when  the  conquered  Gaels,  to 
some  extent,  adopted  the  piratical  and  predatory  habits  of 
their  conquerors.  The  traditions  of  the  Macdonalds  them- 
selves, he  says,  tend  to  show  that  they  could  not  have  been 
of  foreign  origin.  The  whole  of  the  Highlands,  and  especi- 
ally the  districts  possessed  by  the  Gall-Gael,  were  inhabited 
by  the  Northern  Picts,  at  least  as  late  as  the  eleventh  cen- 
tury. In  the  middle  of  the  twelfth  the  Orkneyinga  Saga 
terms  Somerled  and  his  sons,  who  were  the  chiefs  of  the 
tribe,  the  Dalveria  Aett,  or  Dalverian  family — a  term,  ac- 
cording to  Skene,  "  derived  from  Dala,  the  Norse  name  for 
the  district  of  Argyle,  and  which  implies  that  they  have 
been  for  some  time  indigenous  in  the  district ;  and  this  is 
confirmed  in  still  stronger  terms  by  the  Flatey-book,  con- 
sequently the  Macdonalds  were  either  the  descendants  of 
these  Pictish  inhabitants  of  Argyle,  or  else  they  must  have 
entered  the  county  subsequently  to  that  period.  But  the 
earliest  traditions  of  the  family  uniformly  bear  that  they 
had  been  indigenous  in  Scotland  from  a  much  earlier  period 
than  that.  Thus,  James  Macdonell,  of  Dunluce,  in  a  letter 
written  to  King  James  VI.,  in  1596,  has  this  passage — 
'  Most  mightie  and  potent  prince  recomend  us  unto  your 
hieness  with  our  service  for  ever,  your  grace  shall  under- 
stand that  our  forbears  hath  been  from  time  to  time*  your 
servants  unto  your  own  kingdom  of  Scotland.'  Although 
many  other  passages  of  a  similar  nature  might  be  produced, 
these  instances  may  suffice  to  show  that  there  existed  a 
tradition  in  this  family  of  their  having  been  natives  of  Scot- 
land from  time  immemorial ;  and  it  is  therefore  scarcely 
possible  to  suppose  that  they  could  have  entered  the 
country  subsequently  to  the  ninth  century.  But  besides 
the  strong  presumption  that  the  Macdonalds  are  of  Pictish 
descent,  and  formed  a  part  of  the  great  tribe  of  the  Gall- 
Gael,  we  fortunately  possess  distinct  authority  for  both  of 
these   facts.      For  the   former,   John    Elder   includes    the 

*  The  expression  of  "from  time  to  time,"  when  it  occurs  in  ancient  documents, 
always  signifies  from  time  immemorial. 

ORIGIN.  13 

Macdonalds  among  the  '  ancient  stoke/  who  still  retained 
the  tradition  of  a  Pictish  descent,  in  opposition  to  the  later 
tradition  insisted  on  by  the  Scottish  clergy,  and  this  is 
sufficient  evidence  for  the  fact  that  the  oldest  tradition 
among  the  Macdonalds  must  have  been  one  of  a  Pictish 
origin.  The  latter  appears  equally  clear  from  the  last 
mention  of  the  Gall-Gael  in  which  they  are  described  as  the 
inhabitants  of  Argyle,  Kintyre,  Arran,  and  Man  ;  and  as 
these  were  at  this  period  the  exact  territories  which  Somer- 
led  possessed,  it  follows  of  necessity  that  the  Macdonalds 
were  the  same  people." 

In  another  part  of  this  valuable  and  now  rare  work, 
Skene  holds  that  "  we  are  irresistibly  driven  to  the  conclu- 
sion, that  the  Highland  Clans  are  not  of  a  different  or 
foreign  origin,  but  they  are  a  part  of  the  original  nation 
who  have  inhabited  the  mountains  of  Scotland  as  far  back 
as  the  memory  of  man  or  the  records  of  history  can  reach — 
that  they  were  divided  into  several  great  tribes  possessing 
their  hereditary  chiefs  ;  and  that  it  was  only  when  the  line 
of  these  chiefs  became  extinct,  and  Saxon  nobles  came 
in  their  place,  that  the  Highland  Clans  appeared  in  the 
peculiar  situation  and  character  in  which  they  were  after- 
wards found  ".  And  he  then  proceeds  : — "  This  conclusion 
to  which  we  have  arrived  by  these  general  arguments  is 
strongly  corroborated  by  a  very  remarkable  circumstance  ; 
for,  notwithstanding  that  the  system  of  an  Irish  or 
Dalriadic  origin  of  the  Highland  Clans  had  been  introduced 
as  early  as  the  beginning  of  the  fifteenth  century,  we  can 
still  trace  the  existence  in  the  Highlands,  even  as  late  as 
the  sixteenth  century,  of  a  still  older  tradition  than  that 
contained  in  the  MS.  of  1450  ;  a  tradition  altogether  dis- 
tinct and  different  from  that  one,  and  one  which  not  only 
agrees  in  a  singular  manner  with  the  system  developed  in 
this  work,  but  which  also  stamps  the  Dalriadic  tradition  as 
the  invention  of  the  Scottish  Monks,  and  accounts  for  its 
introduction.  The  first  proof  of  the  existence  of  this  tradi- 
tion, which  I  shall  bring  forward,  is  contained  in  a  letter 
dated  1542,  and  addressed  to  King  Henry  VIII.  of  England 


by  a  person  designating  himself  'John  Elder,  Clerk,  a  Redd- 
shanks '.  It  will  be  necessary  to  premise  that  the  author 
uses  the  word  '  Yrische'  in  the  same  sense  in  which  the 
word  Erse  was  applied  to  the  Highlanders  ;  his  word  for 
Irish  being  differently  spelt.  In  that  letter  he  mentions 
the  'Yrische  lords  of  Scotland  commonly  callit  Redd 
SCHANKES,  and  by  historiagraphouris  PlCTlS'.  He  then 
proceeds  to  give  an  account  of  the  Highlanders  ;  he  des- 
cribes them  as  inhabiting  Scotland  '  befor  the  incummynge 
of  Albanactus  Brutus  second  sonne,'  and  as  having  been 
'gyauntes  and  wylde  people  without  ordour,  civilitie,  or 
maners,  and  spake  none  other  language  but  Yrische ;  that 
they  were  civilized  by  Albanactus,  from  whom  they  were 
'  callit  Albonyghe  '.  And  after  this  account  of  their  origin 
he  adds,  'which  derivacion  the  papistical  curside  spirit- 
ualitie  of  Scotland  will  not  heir,  in  no  maner  of  wyse  nor 
confesse  that  ever  szich  a  kynge,  namede  Albanactus  reagned 
ther,  the  which  derivacion  all  the  Yrische  men  of  Scotland 
which  be  the  auncient  stoke,  cannot,  nor  will  not  denye. 
But  our  said  bussheps  drywithe  Scotland  and  theme  selfes 
from  a  certain  lady  namede  Scota  (as  they  alledge)  came 
out  of  Egipte,  a  maraculous  hote  cuntretti,  to  secreate 
hirself  emonges  theame  in  the  cold  ayre  of  Scotland,  which 
they  can  not  afferme  by  no  probable  aiincient  author!  "  From 
the  extracts  which  have  been  made  from  this  curious 
author,  continues  Skene,  it  will  be  at  once  seen  that  there 
was  at  that  time  in  Scotland  two  conflicting  traditions  re- 
garding the  origin  of  the  Reddschankes  or  Highlanders,  the 
one  supported  by  the  Highlanders  of  the  more  auncient 
stoke,  the  other  by  the  '  curside  spiritualitie  of  Scotland ' ; 
and  from  the  indignation  and  irritation  which  he  displays 
against  the  '  bussheps,'  it  is  plain  that  the  latter  tradition 
was  gaining  ground,  and  must  indeed  have  generally  pre- 
vailed. The  last  tradition  is  easily  identified  with  that 
contained  in  the  MS.  of  1450  and  consequently  there  must 
have  existed  among  the  purer  Highlanders  a  still  older 
tradition  by  which  their  origin  was  derived  from  the 
1  Pictis '.     The  existence  of  such  a  tradition   in  Scotland 


at  the  time  is  still  further  proved  by  Stapleton's  translation 
of. the  venerable  Bede,  which  was  written  in  1550.  In  that 
translation  he  renders  the  following  passage  of  Bede, 
'  Cugus  monasterium  in  cunctis  pene  sept  entrionalium 
Scottorum  et  omnium  Pictorum  monasteriis  non  parvo 
tempore  arcem  tenebat,'  as  follows  : — '  The  house  of  his  reli- 
gion was  no  small  time  the  head  house  of  all  the  monasteries 
of  the  northern  Scottes,  and  of  the  Abbyes  of  all  the  Redd- 
SCHANKES.'  It  would  be  needless  to  multiply  quotations  to 
show  that  the  Highlanders  were  at  that  time  universally 
known  by  the  term  Reddshankes." 

Our  author  further  says  in  regard  to  this — the  oldest  tra- 
dition which  can  be  traced  in  the  country — that  it  accords 
with  the  conclusions  at  which  he  had  arrived  otherwise  by 
a  strict  and  critical  examination  of  all  the  ancient  authori- 
ties on  the  subject,  and  forms  a  body  of  evidence  regarding 
the  true  origin  of  the  Highlanders  of  Scotland  to  which 
the  history  of  no  other  nation  can  exhibit  a  parallel ;  and 
he  points  out  that  while  the  authority  of  John  Elder  proves 
that  the  tradition  of  the  descent  of  the  Highlanders  ex- 
isted before  the  Irish  or  Dalriadic  system  was  introduced, 
we  can  at  the  same  time  learn  from  him  the  origin  of  the 
later  system  and  the  cause  of  its  obtaining  such  universal 
belief.  The  first  trace  of  the  Dalriadic  system  is  to  be 
found  in  the  famous  letter  addressed  to  the  Pope  in  1320 
by  the  party  who  stood  out  for  the  independence  of  Scot- 
land against  the  claims  of  Edward  I.  To  this  party  the 
clergy  belonged,  while  those  who  supported  Edward  I. 
believed  in  the  more  ancient  tradition  on  which  he  founded 
his  claim,  and  which  included  a  belief  in  their  descent  from 
the  Picts.  The  question  of  the  independence  of  Scotland 
was  thus  to  a  great  extent,  unfortunately,  connected  by  the 
two  parties  with  the  truth  of  their  respective  traditions, 
and  "  it  is  plain  that  as  the  one  party  fell,  so  would  the 
tradition  which  they  asserted  ;  and  the  final  supremacy  of 
the  independent  party  in  the  Highlands,  as  well  as  in  the 
rest  of  Scotland,  and  the  total  ruin  of  their  adversaries, 
must  have  established  the  absolute  belief  in  the  descent  of 


the  Highlanders,  as  well  as  the  kings  and  clergy  of  Scot- 
land, from  the  Scots  of  Dalriada  ".  But  in  spite  of  all  this, 
John  Elder's  letter  proves  that,  notwithstanding  the  succes- 
sion of  false  traditions  which  prevailed  in  the  Highlands  at 
different  periods,  traces  of  the  ancient  and  probably  correct 
one  were  to  be  found  as  late  as  the  middle  of  the  sixteenth 

What  is  true  of  the  Highlanders  generally  must  be  more 
or  less  true  of  individual  clans,  and  of  none  more  so  than 
of  the  Macdonalds,  to  whom  we  must  now  return.  From 
all  these  authorities,  though  a  little  conflicting  in  some 
points,  there  seems  to  be  no  difficulty  in  coming  to  the 
conclusion,  that  whether  Somerled,  at  a  remote  period, 
descended  from  some  of  the  Scoto-Irish  immigrants  to  the 
Western  Isles  or  not,  the  date  of  such  descent  is  so  far 
back,  and  his  ancestors,  if  not  of  them,  were  so  mixed  up 
with  the  original  Celtic  Picts,  who,  in  those  remote  ages, 
inhabited  the  Isles  and  North-west  Highlands  that  the 
Macdonalds  and  their  immediate  progenitor,  Somerled  of 
the  Isles,  may  be  fairly  described  as  of  native  Highland 
origin,  with  at  least  as  much  accuracy  as  Her  Majesty  of 
the  United  Kingdom,  notwithstanding  her  continental  con- 
nections, is  justly  described  as  of  native  British  descent. 


FROM  the  death  of  Suibne  to  the  accession  of  Gille- 
bride,  father  of  Somerled,  little  or  nothing  is  known 
of  the  ancestors  of  the  Macdonalds.  Gillebride 
was  expelled  from  his  possessions  in  the  Scottish  Highlands 
by  the  Danes  and  the  Fiongalls,  whereupon  he  took  refuge 
in  Ireland,  and  afterwards  prevailed  upon  the  descendants 
of  Colla,  to  assist  him  in  an  attempt  to  obtain  possession 
of  his  ancient  inheritance  in  Scotland.  Four  or  five  hun- 
dred of  these  joined  him  and  accompanied  him  to  Alban, 
but  he  was  unsuccessful  and  failed  to  secure  his  object.  It 
was  only  after  this  that  Somerled,  for  the  first  time,  comes 
into  notice.  He  appears  to  have  been  of  a  very  different 
temper  to  his  father.  At  first  he  lived  in  retirement, 
musing  in  silent  solitude  over  the  ruined  fortunes  of  his 
family.  When  a  favourable  opportunity  presented  itself, 
he,  as  already  stated,  placed  himself  at  the  head  of  the 
people  of  Morvern  ;  attacked  the  Norwegians,  whom,  after 
a  long  and  desperate  struggle,  he  expelled  from  the  district ; 
and  ultimately  made  himself  master,  in  addition  to  Mor- 
vern, of  Lochaber  and  Argyle.  When  David  the  First,  in 
1 135,  expelled  the  Norwegians  from  Man,  Arran,  and  Bute, 
Somerled  obtained  a  grant  of  those  islands  from  the  king. 
"  But  finding  himself  unable  to  contend  with  the  Norwegians 
of  the  Isles,  whose  power  remained  unbroken,  he  resolved 
to  recover  by  policy  what  he  despaired  of  acquiring  by 
force  of  arms " ;  and,  with  this  view,  he  succeeded  in 
obtaining,  about  1 140,  the  hand  of  Ragnhildis,  daughter 
of  Olave,  surnamed  the  Red,  then  the  Norwegian  King  of 
the  Isles.  The  following  curious  account  relating  how 
Somerled  secured  the  daughter  of  Olave,  is  given  in  the 
Macdonald  MS.: — "  Olay  encamped  at  Loch  Stoma; 
Sommerled  came  to  the  other  side  of  the  loch,  and  cried 



out  if  Olay  was  there,  and  how  he  fared  ?  Olay  replied 
that  he  was  well.  Then  said  Sommerled,  I  come  from 
Sommerled,  Thane  of  Argyle,  who  promises  to  assist  you 
conditionally  in  your  expedition,  provided  you  bestow 
your  daughter  on  him.  Olay  answered  that  he  would  not 
give  him  his  daughter,  and  that  he  knew  he  himself  was 
the  man  ;  but  that  he  and  his  men  should  follow  him  in 
his  expedition.  So  Sommerled  resolved  to  follow  Olay. 
There  was  at  that  time  a  foster-brother  of  Olay's,  one 
Maurice  MacNeill,  in  Olay's  company,  who  was  a  near 
friend  of  Sommerled  ;  and  when  Sommerled  brought  his 
two  galleys  near  the  place  where  Olay's  ship  lay,  this 
Maurice  aforesaid  came  where  he  was,  and  said  that  he 
would  find  means  by  which  he  might  come  to  get  Olay's 
daughter.  So,  in  the  night  time,  he  bored  Olay's  ship 
under  water  with  many  holes,  and  made  a  pin  for  each 
hole,  overlaying  them  with  tallow  and  butter.  When  they 
were  up  in  the  morning  and  set  to  sea,  after  passing  the 
point  of  Ardnamurchan,  Olay's  ship  sprung  a  leak,  casting 
the  tallow  and  butter  out  of  the  holes  by  the  ship  tossing 
on  the  waves,  and  beginning  to  sink,  Olay  and  his  men 
cried  for  help  to  Sommerled.  Maurice  replied  that  Som- 
merled would  not  save  him  unless  he  bestowed  his  daughter 
upon  him.  At  last,  Olay  being  in  danger  of  his  life, 
confirmed  by  an  oath  that  he  would  give  his  daughter  to 
Sommerled,  who  received  him  immediately  into  his  galley. 
Maurice  went  into  Olay's  galley  and  fixed  the  pins  in  the 
holes  which  he  had  formerly  prepared  for  them,  and  by 
these  means  they  landed  in  safety.  From  that  time  the 
posterity  of  Maurice  are  called  Maclntyres  (or  wright's 
sons)  to  this  day.  On  this  expedition  Olay  and  Sommerled 
killed  MacLier,  who  possessed  Strath  within  the  Isle  of 
Skye.  They  killed  Godfrey  Du,  or  the  Black,  by  putting 
out  his  eyes,  which  was  done  by  the  hermit  MacPoke, 
because  Godfrey  Du  had  killed  his  father  formerly.  Olay, 
surnamed  the  Red,  killed  MacNicoll  in  North  Uist  likewise. 
Now  Sommerled  marrying  Olay's  daughter,  and  becoming 
great  after  Olay's  death,  which  death,  with  the  relation  and 


circumstances  thereof,  if  you  be  curious  to  know,  you  may 
get  a  long  account  of  it  in  Camden." 

On  this  point  Gregory  says,  "  It  appears  by  no  means 
improbable,  too,  that  Somerled,  aware  of  his  own  power 
and  resources,  contemplated  the  conquest  of  a  portion,  at 
least,  of  the  Isles,  to  which  he  may  have  laid  claim  through 
his  remote  ancestor,  Godfrey.  On  these  or  similar  grounds, 
Olave  the  Red,  King  of  Man  and  the  Isles,  was  naturally 
desirous  to  disarm  the  enmity,  and  to  secure  the  support 
of  the  powerful  Lord  of  Argyle,  whose  marriage  with 
Ragnhildis,  the  daughter  of  Olave,  about  1140 — the  first 
authentic  event  in  the  life  of  Somerled— seems  to  have 
answered  this  purpose.  Of  this  marriage,  which  is  lamented 
by  the  author  of  the  '  Chronicle  of  Man,'  as  the  cause  of 
the  ruin  of  the  whole  kingdom  of  the  Isles,  the  issue  was 
three  sons — Dugall,  Reginald,  and  Angus."  In  a  foot-note 
Gregory  informs  us  that  in  regard  to  Somerled's  sons,  he 
follows  "  the  Orkneyinga  Saga,  p.  383,  which  is  very 
explicit,  and  is  a  better  authority  than  the  Chronicle  of 
Man,"  which  latter,  adds  a  fourth  son,  Olave.  In  Skene 
and  in  the  "  History  of  the  Highland  Clans,"  he  is  said  to 
have  had  another  son,  Gillecallum,  by  a  previous  marriage. 

Olave  the  Red,  Somerled's  father-in-law,  was,  in  11 54, 
assassinated  by  his  nephews,  the  sons  of  Harald,  who  made 
a  claim  to  the  half  of  the  kingdom  of  the  Isles.  His  son, 
Godred  the  Black,  was  at  the  time  in  Norway,  but,  hearing 
of  his  father's  death,  he  immediately  returned  to  the  Isles, 
where  he  was  received  with  acclamation  and  great  rejoicing 
by  the  inhabitants  as  their  king.  He  apprehended  and 
executed  the  murderers  of  his  father.  He  went  to  Ireland 
to  take  part  in  the  Irish  wars,  early  in  his  reign  ;  but  after- 
wards returned  to  Man,  and  became  so  tyrannical,  thinking 
no  one  could  resist  his  power,  that  he  soon  alienated 
the  insular  nobility — one  of  whom,  Thorfinn,  the  most 
powerful  of  the  Norwegian  nobles,  sent  word  to  Somerled 
requesting  him  to  send  his  son,  Dugall,  then  a  child,  that 
he  might,  being  Godred's  nephew,  be  proposed  King  of  the 
Isles.     The   ambitious  Somerled  readily  entered  into  the 


views  of  Thorfinn,  who,  having  obtained  possession  of 
Dugall,  carried  him  through  all  the  Isles,  except  Man,  and 
compelled  the  inhabitants  to  acknowledge  him  as  their 
king,  at  the  same  time  taking  hostages  for  their  fidelity 
and  allegiance.  One  of  the  Island  Chiefs,  named  Paul 
Balkason,  and  by  some  called  the  Lord  of  Skye,  refused  to 
comply  with  Thorfinn's  demand,  and,  escaping  secretly,  he 
fled  to  the  Court  of  Godred  in  Man,  and  informed  him  of 
what  had  just  taken  place  in  the  Isles,  and  of  the  intended 
revolution.  Hearing  this,  Godred  roused  himself  and 
collected  a  large  fleet,  with  which  he  proceeded  against  the 
rebels,  who,  under  the  command  of  Somerled,  with  a  fleet 
of  eighty  galleys,  met  him,  and  a  bloody  but  indecisive 
battle  ensued.  This  engagement  was  fought  on  the  night 
of  the  Epiphany,  and  though  neither  could  claim  the  victory, 
next  morning  a  treaty  was  entered  into,  by  which  Godred 
ceded  to  the  sons  of  Somerled  what  were  afterwards 
called  the  Southern  Isles,  thus  dividing  the  sovereignty 
of  the  Isles  and  establishing  them  into  two  great  principa- 
lities. By  this  convention  he  retained  for  himself  the  North 
Isles  and  the  Isle  of  Man,  those  south  of  Ardnamurchan 
becoming  nominally  the  possession  of  the  sons  of  Somerled, 
but  in  reality  of  that  warlike  Chief  himself,  his  sons  being 
all  minors,  and  he  being  naturally  their  protector  and 
guardian.  In  spite  of  all  these  insular  proceedings,  and 
the  division  of  their  possessions  between  themselves  and 
among  the  resident  chiefs,  the  allegiance  of  all  the  Isles  to 
Norway  still  continued  intact.  It  is  somewhat  curious 
that  Kintyre,  a  part  of  the  mainland,  should  always  have 
been  included  with  what  was  called  the  South  Isles  ;  but  it 
is  explained  in  a  footnote  by  Gregory  as  follows  : — "  The 
origin  of  this  was  a  stratagem  of  Magnus  Barefoot.  After 
that  Prince  had  invaded  and  conquered  the  Isles,  he  made 
an  agreement  with  Malcolm  Canmor,  by  which  the  latter 
was  to  leave  Magnus  and  his  successors  in  peaceable  pos- 
session of  all  the  Isles  which  could  be  circumnavigated. 
The  King  of  Norway  had  himself  drawn  across  the  narrow 
isthmus  between  Kintyre   and  Knapdale,  in  a  galley,  by 


which  he  added  the  former  district  to  the  Isles."  This 
anecdote  has  been  doubted  by  some,  but  it  appears  in 
Magnus  Berfaet's  Saga,  a  contemporary  work  ;  and  it  is 
certain  that,  as  late  as  the  commencement  of  the  seven- 
teenth century,  Kintyre  was  classed  by  the  Scottish 
Government  as  one  of  the  South  Isles. 

About  two  years  after  this  treaty  was  entered  into,  for 
some  cause  not  clearly  ascertained,  Somerled  invaded  the 
Isle  of  Man  with  a  fleet  of  fifty-three  galleys,  and  after 
routing  Godred,  laid  the  island  waste.  Whether  the 
invasion  was  in  consequence  of  some  infringement  of  the 
convention,  or  in  consequence  of  the  insatiable  ambition  of 
Somerled,  it  is  impossible  to  say,  but  the  power  of  the 
King  of  Man  was  so  much  shattered,  that  he  was  obliged 
to  pay  a  visit  to  his  rival  in  Norway,  and  to  seek  his  assist- 
ance. He,  however,  did  not  return  until  after  the  death 
of  Somerled  in  1164,  a  fact  from  which  Gregory  thinks  it 
may  be  inferred  that  the  latter  had  succeeded  in  extending 
his  sway  over  the  whole  of  the  Isles. 

Meanwhile  Somerled  was  not  idle.  Malcolm  IV.  was 
now  King  of  Scotland,  and  to  him  Somerled  had  early 
made  himself  obnoxious  by  espousing  the  cause  of  his 
nephews,  the  sons  of  Wymund,  or  Malcolm  MacHeth,  to 
whom,  on  his  first  appearance,  Somerled  gave  his  sister  in 
marriage,  a  circumstance  which  unmistakably  shows  the 
opinion  he  held  of  the  justice  of  Malcolm's  claim  to 
the  Earldom  of  Moray,  while  it  suited  the  Government  to 
detain  him  in  prison,  as  an  alleged  impostor,  though  his 
claims  seems  now,  on  minute  and  careful  inquiry,  to  be 
considered  well  founded  by  the  best  authorities.  The 
extensive  power  and  high  position  ultimately  attained  by 
this  Island  Chief  may  be  inferred  from  the  fact  that  he 
was  able  on  one  occasion  to  bring  his  dispute  with  the 
King  to  a  termination  by  a  solemn  treaty,  afterwards 
considered  so  important  as  to  form  an  epoch  from  which 
Royal  Charters  were  regularly  dated.  He  is,  however, 
again  very  soon  in  arms  against  the  King,  having  joined 
the  powerful  party  who  determined  to  depose  His  Majesty, 


and  place  the  Boy  of  Egremont  on  the  throne.  He  first 
infested  various  parts  of  the  coast,  and  afterwards,  for  some 
time,  carried  on  a  vexatious  predatory  war.  The  attempt 
to  depose  Malcolm  soon  failed  ;  but  the  King,  convinced 
that  the  existence  of  an  independent  Chief  like  Somerled, 
was  incompatible  with  the  interests  of  the  central  Govern- 
ment and  the  maintenance  of  public  order,  requested  the 
Island  Chief  to  resign  his  possessions  into  His  Majesty's 
hands,  and  to  hold  them  in  future  as  a  vassal  from  the 
Crown.  This  Somerled  declined  to  do,  and  boldly  declared 
war  against  Malcolm  himself,  who  immediately  prepared  to 
carry  out  his  intention  against  the  Island  King,  by  invading 
his  territories  with  a  powerful  army  called  together  for  the 
purpose.  Emboldened  by  his  previous  successes,  Somerled 
determined  to  meet  the  King  with  a  numerous  army  from 
Argyle,  Ireland,  and  the  Isles  ;  and  having  collected  them 
together,  he  sailed  up  the  Clyde  with  one  hundred  and 
sixty  galleys,  landed  his  followers  near  Renfrew,  threaten- 
ing, as  the  Chroniclers  inform  us,  to  subdue  the  whole  of 
Scotland.  He  there  met  the  Royal  army  under  the  com- 
mand of  the  High  Steward  of  Scotland,  by  whom  his  army 
was  defeated,  and  he  himself  and  one  of  his  sons,  "  Gille- 
colane  "*  (Gillecallum  or  Malcolm)  were  slain.  The 
remaining  portion  of  his  followers  dispersed.  "  Sommerled 
being  envied  by  the  rest  of  the  nobility  of  Scotland  for  his 
fortune  and  valour,  King  Malcolm  being  young,  thought 
by  all  means  his  kingdom  would  suffer  by  the  faction, 
ambition,  and  envy  of  his  leading  men,  if  Sommerled's 
increasing  power  would  not  be  crushed.  Therefore,  they 
convened  and  sent  an  army  to  Argyle,  under  the  command 
of  Gilchrist,  Thane  of  Angus,  who,  harrassing  and  ravaging 
the  country  wherever  he  came,  desired  Sommerled  to  give 
up  his  right  of  Argyle  or  abandon  the  Isles.  But  Som- 
merled, making  all  the  speed  he  could  in  raising  his  vassals 
and  followers,  went  after  them  ;  and,  joining  battle,  they 
fought  fiercely  on  both  sides  with  great  slaughter,  till  night 
parted   them.     Two  thousand  on    Sommerled's   side,  and 

*  Hailes  Annals,  ad  Annum  1164. 


seven  thousand  on  Gilchrist's  side,  were  slain  in  the  field. 
Being  wearied,  they  parted,  and  marched  off  at  the  dawn 
of  day,  turning  their  backs  to  one  another.  After  this 
when  the  King  came  to  manhood,  the  nobles  were  still  in 
his  ears,  desiring  him  to  suppress  the  pride  of  Sommerled, 
hoping,  if  he  should  be  crushed,  they  should  or  might  get 
his  estate  to  be  divided  among  themselves,  and  at  least 
get  him  expelled  the  country.  Sommerled  being  informed 
hereof,  resolved  to  lose  all,  or  possess  all  he  had  in  the 
Highlands  ;  therefore,  gathering  together  all  his  forces  from 
the  Isles  and  the  Continent,  and  shipping  them  for  Clyde, 
he  landed  in  Greenock.  The  King  came  with  his  army  to 
Glasgow  in  order  to  give  battle  to  Sommerled,  who 
marched  up  the  south  side  of  the  Clyde,  leaving  his  galleys 
at  Greenock.  The  King's  party  quartered  at  Renfrew. 
Those  about  him  thought  proper  to  send  a  message  to 
Sommerled,  the  contents  of  which  were,  that  the  King 
would  not  molest  Sommerled  for  the  Isles,  which  were 
properly  his  wife's  right  ;  but  as  for  the  lands  of  Argyle 
and  Kintyre,  he  would  have  them  restored  to  himself. 
Sommerled  replied  that  he  had  as  good  a  right  to  the  lands 
upon  the  Continent  as  he  had  to  the  Isles  ;  yet  those  lands 
were  unjustly  possessed  by  the  King,  MacBeath,  and 
Donald  Bain,  and  that  he  thought  it  did  not  become  His 
Majesty  to  hinder  him  from  the  recovery  of  his  own  rights, 
of  which  his  predecessors  were  deprived  by  MacBeath,  out 
of  revenge  for  standing  in  opposition  to  him  after  the 
murder  of  King  Duncan.  As  to  the  Isles,  he  had  an 
undoubted  right  to  them,  his  predecessors  being  possessed 
of  them  by  the  goodwill  and  consent  of  Eugenius  the 
First,  for  obligations  conferred  upon  him  ;  that  when  his 
forefathers  were  dispossessed  of  them  by  the  invasion  of 
the  Danes,  they  had  no  assistance  to  defend  or  recover  them 
from  the  Scottish  King,  and  that  he  had  his  right  of  them 
from  the  Danes  ;  but,  however,  he  would  be  assisting  to 
the  King  in  any  other  affairs,  and  would  prove  as  loyal  as 
any  of  his  nearest  friends,  but  as  long  as  he  breathed,  he 
would  not  condescend  to  resign   any  of  his  rights  which 


he  possessed  to  any  ;  that  he  was  resolved  to  lose  all,  or 
keep  all,  and  that  he  thought  himself  as  worthy  of  his  own, 
as  any  about  the  King's  Court.  The  messenger  returned 
with  this  answer  to  the  King,  whose  party  was  not  altoge- 
ther bent  upon  joining  battle  with  Sommerled.  Neither 
did  the  King  look  much  after  his  ruin,  but,  as  the  most  of 
kings  are  commonly  led  by  their  councillors,  the  King 
himself  being  young,  they  contrived  Sommerled's  death 
in  another  manner.  There  was  a  nephew  of  Sommerled's, 
Maurice  MacNeill,  his  sister's  son,  who  was  bribed  to 
destroy  him.  Sommerled  lay  encamped  at  the  confluence 
of  the  river  Pasley  into  Clyde.  His  nephew  taking  a  little 
boat,  went  over  the  river,  and  having  got  private  audience 
of  him,  being  suspected  by  none,  stabbed  him,  and  made 
his  escape.  The  rest  of  Sommerled's  men,  hearing  the 
death  and  tragedy  of  their  leader  and  master,  betook 
themselves  to  their  galleys.  The  King  coming  to  view  the 
corpse,  one  of  his  followers,  with  his  foot,  did  hit  it. 
Maurice  being  present,  said,  that  though  he  had  done  the 
first  thing  most  villainously  and  against  his  conscience,  that 
he  was  unworthy  and  base  so  to  do  ;  and  withal  drew  his 
long  Scian,  stabbed  him,  and  escaped  by  swimming  over 
to  the  other  side  of  the  river,  receiving  his  remission  from 
the  King  thereafter,  with  the  lands  which  were  formerly 
promised  him.  The  King  sent  a  boat  with  the  corpse  of 
Sommerled  to  Icollumkill  at  his  own  charges.  This  is  the 
report  of  twenty  writers  in  Icollumkill,  before  Hector 
Boetius  and  Buchanan  were  born.  .  .  .  Sommerled 
was  a  well  tempered  man,  in  body  shapely,  of  a  fair  piercing 
eye,  of  middle  stature,  and  quick  discernment."* 

Gregory  is  disposed  to  believe  in  the  account  which  says 
"  that  he  was  assassinated  in  his  tent  by  an  individual  in 
whom  he  placed  confidence,  and  that  his  troops,  thus 
deprived  of  their  leader,  returned  in  haste  to  the  Isles." 
He  does  not,  however,  adopt  the  conclusion  that  Somer- 
led  was  buried  in  Icolmkill.  "  Modern  enquiries,"  he  says, 
"  rather  lead  to  the  conclusion  that  he  was  interred  at  the 

*  Macdonald  MS.  :  printed  in  the  "  Collectanea  de  Rebus  Albanicis". 


Church  of  Sadale,  in    Kintyre,  where    Reginald,  his  son, 
afterwards  founded  a  monastery." 

A  recent  writer,  who  claims  descent  for  the  Macdonalds 
from  Fergus  Mor,  son  of  Eire,  "  who,  about  the  year  506, 
permanently  laid  the  foundation  of  the  Dalriadic  Kingdom 
of  Scotland,"  sums  up  the  character  of  Somerled  thus — 
The  family  of  Fergus  Mor  continued  to  maintain  a  leading 
position  in  Scotland,  supplying   with  few  exceptions,  the 
line  of  Dalriadic  kings,  and  many  of  the  more  powerful  of 
its    thanes,  or   territorial    lords.     Of  the   latter,  the  most 
historical,  and,  it  may  be  truly  added,  the  most  patriotic, 
was  a  great  thane  of  Argyle,  who  appeared  in  the  twelfth 
century,  called  Somhairle  among  his  Celtic  kinsmen,  but 
better  known  as  Somerled,  which  was  the  Norwegian  form 
of  his  name.     During  the   tenth  and    eleventh   centuries, 
frequent   settlements   were  made  by  Norwegian  colonists 
among  the  Celtic  population  of  the  Highlands  and  Isles  of 
Scotland.        Although,    however,   the    evils    of    Northern 
rapacity  and  oppression  were  keenly  felt,  the  Celtic  element 
continued  to  predominate  even  during  the  most  disastrous 
periods.     At  length,  a  deliverer  arose    in    Somerled,  who 
was  the  son  of  a  Celtic  father,  and  a  fair-haired,  blue-eyed 
Norwegian  mother.     Few,  if  any,  military  leaders  have  left 
their  marks  more  broadly  or  distinctly  in  Scottish  history 
than  he.     This  fact  stands    clearly  out  not  only  from  the 
records  of  his  career,  preserved  in  authentic  chronicles,  but 
perhaps  even  more  strikingly  in  the  circumstantial  traditions 
respecting   him  which    still  exist  in    Argyleshire  and  the 
Isles.      These  traditions    when   compared    with   the  well- 
authenticated  records  of  his  life,  appear  like  the  fragments 
of  some  history  that  had  been  written  of  him,  but  is  now 
lost,  and  hence  they  serve  to  supplement  attractively  the 
curt  and  dry  details  of  the  old  chronicles.     Many  of  these 
traditions  refer   to  the   youthful    days    of   Somerled,  who 
appears  to  have  grown  up  an  indolent  and  handsome  giant. 
His  father,  Gillebride,  regarded  with  contempt  the  seem- 
ingly unwarlike  nature  of  his  youngest  son,  who  occupied 
himself  in  hunting  and  fishing,  whilst  his  brothers  trained 


themselves  to  engage,  as  opportunities  offered,  in  deadly 
conflict  with  their  Norwegian  oppressors.  Somerled's 
indolent  and  pleasant  time,  however,  was  soon  destined  to 
end.  His  father,  being  driven  from  the  hills  and  glens  of 
Argyle,  was  compelled  to  conceal  himself  in  a  cave  in 
Morven,  and  from  that  moment  Somerled  began  to  take 
serious  counsel  regarding  the  position  of  affairs  with  his 
youthful  companions  of  the  chase.  He  found  them  ready, 
and  equally  prepared  to  hunt  the  wild  boar,  or  assault  the 
dreaded  Norsemen.  Somerled's  very  nature  thenceforward 
was  entirely  changed  ;  he  became  a  new  man  ;  the  indolent 
dreamer  was  suddenly  absorbed  in  the  delights  of  stratagem 
and  battle.  He  spoiled  like  the  eagle,  and  had  no  joy  so 
great  as  when  in  the  act  of  rending  the  prey.  His  little 
band  gathered  strength  as  he  went,  and  under  his  eye 
dealt  blow  after  blow  on  the  bewildered  enemy,  until  the 
Norsemen,  whether  soldiers  or  settlers,  quickly  abandoned 
garrisons  and  settlements  in  Argyle.  They  crowded  into 
the  Hebridean  Islands,  whither  Somerled  pursued  them, 
capturing  the  Islands  in  detail,  killing  or  expelling  the 
invaders,  and  firmly  establishing  once  more  the  old  Celtic 
authority.  Thus,  on  the  ruin  of  the  Norwegian  power, 
Somerled  built  up  his  Island  throne,  and  became  not  only 
the  greatest  thane  of  his  family,  but  the  founder  of  that 
second  line  of  Island  rulers,  who,  for  nearly  a  period  of  four 
centuries,  were  occasional  and  formidable  rivals  of  the 
Scottish  kings.* 

We  have  seen  that  Somerled,  by  Elfrica  or  Rachel, 
daughter  of  Olave  the  Red,  King  of  Man,  had  three  sons, 
first,  Dugall,  ancestor  of  the  Macdougalls  of  Lorn  and 
Dunolly  ;  second,  Reginald,  from  whom  all  the  branches  of 
the  Clan  Donald  with  whom  we  shall  specially  deal  in  the 
following  pages  ;  and  third,  Angus,  who  succeeded  to  Bute, 
and  was  killed  in  Skye  with  his  three  sons  in  1210.  One 
of  the  sons  of  the  latter,  James,  had  a  daughter,  Jane,  who 
married  Alexander,  son  of  Walter,  High  Steward  of  Scot- 

*  "  An  Historical  Account  of  the  Macdonells  of  Antrim,"  by  the  Rev.  George 
Hill,  editor  of  the  "  Montgomery  Manuscripts". 


land,  in  right  of  whom  he  claimed  Bute  and  Arran.  Somer- 
led  also  had  a  daughter,  Beatrice.  James  Macdonald,  in  his 
Hebrides,  p.  705,  states  that  in  the  year  181 1,  the  following 
inscription  was  legible  on  a  monumental  slab  in  Iona  : — 
Behag  Nyn  Shorle  Ilvrid  Priorissa :  that  is,  Beatrice, 
daughter  of  Somerled,  Prioress. 

Besides  the  three  sons  of  his  marriage  with  Rachel, 
daughter  of  Olave  the  Red,  Somerled  had  other  sons,  who 
seemed  to  have  shared  with  their  brothers,  according  to  the 
then  prevalent  custom  of  gavel-kind,  the  mainland  posses- 
sions held  by  their  father  ;  whilst  the  sons  descended  of 
the  house  of  Man  divided  amongst  them,  in  addition,  the 
South  Isles,  as  ceded  by  Godred  in  11 56.  He  is  said  by 
some  authorities  to  have  been  twice  married,  and  that 
Gillecallum,  or  Malcolm,  and  other  sons,  were  by  the  first 
marriage.     « 

It  has  never  been  disputed  that  this  Somerled  was  the 
immediate  ancestor  of  the  family  of  Macdonald.  The 
period  immediately  succeeding  his  death  is  historically 
very  obscure.  "  A  second  Somerled  is  found  apparently 
holding  his  place,  and  many  of  his  possessions,  during  the 
first  twenty  years  of  the  succeeding,  or  thirteenth  century. 
This  must  either  have  been  a  son  or  a  grandson  of  the 
other — most  probably  the  latter,  since  Gillecolam,  appa- 
rently the  son  of  the  elder  Somerled  by  a  first  marriage, 
fell  with  him  at  Renfrew,  and  in  all  likelihood  left  the 
offspring,  which  bore  the  grandsire's  name.  This  is  the 
most  feasible  way  in  which  the  existence  and  the  rule  of 
the  second  Somerled  can  well  be  explained.""]*  The  author 
of  the  Macdonald  MS.,  in  the  Transactions  of  the  Iona 
Club,  who,  it  must  be  stated,  cannot  always  be  depended 
upon,  says  that  "  after  Sommerled,  his  son  Sommerled 
succeeded  him  as  Thane  of  Argyle  ;  Reginald  his  brother, 
the  Isles  ;  Dugall,  Lorn  ;  and  Gillies,  had  Kintyre,  by  the 
disposition  of  their  father.  Sommerled  pretended  that  the 
people  of  Cowal  and  Lennox  harrayed  his  lands  of  their 
store    and  cattle,  and  therefore  made  incursions  on  them, 

\  Smibert's  Highlanders. 


of  which  they  complained  to  the  King.  Furthermore,  he 
would  have  the  lands  which  were  left  by  his  father  to  his 
brethren  at  his  own  disposal.  The  King  sent  the  Earl  of 
March  with  a  considerable  body  of  men  against  him,  who 
was  so  favourable  that  he  advised,  at  a  private  conference, 
that  since  he  lost  his  affection  for  his  brethren,  by  seizing 
on  those  lands  which  their  father  left  them,  he  could  not 
stand  out  against  the  King  and  them,  and  therefore  that  it 
was  best  he  should  go  along  with  him,  and  he  would 
procure  for  him  the  King's  pardon  and  favour  ;  so  he  did, 
and  was  pardoned  by  the  King.  Shortly  thereafter  he 
died,  leaving  two  sons,  John  and  Maolmory,  who  were  both 
young.  Of  this  John  are  descended  the  MacEans  of 
Ardnamurchan.  He  was  buried  at  Icollumkill.  Reginald, 
his  brother,  became  tutor  to  John."  Gregory  says  nothing 
about  this  second  Somerled,  but,  at  page  67,  he  correctly 
traces  the  Maclans  of  Ardnamurchan  from  John  Sprangach, 
younger  son  of  Angus  Mor  of  Isla.  The  editor  of  Fullar- 
ton's  "  Highland  Clans  "  considers  the  existence  of  this 
second  Somerled  "  very  doubtful ".  Skene,  however, 
believes  in  his  existence.  At  this  time  of  day  it  is  impos- 
sible to  settle  the  point  ;  but  it  is  of  little  importance 
whether  he  existed  or  not,  as  even  if  he  had  there  is  now 
no  question  as  to  his  successors  having  become  extinct 
soon  after  his  own  death. 

Dougal  (said  by  all  the  best  authorities  to  have  been 
Somerled's  eldest  son  by  the  second  marriage),  succeeded 
to  the  Southern  Isles  and  part  of  Argyle,  if  the  Norse 
Sagas  and  native  writers  are  to  be  credited,  but  his  exact 
position  has  never  been  clearly  denned.  The  records 
of  the  time  are  most  confusing  and  obscure,  but  all  autho- 
rities are  agreed  that  two  or  three  of  his  line  succeeded 
him  ;  and  there  is  no  doubt  whatever  that  his  main  line 
terminated  in  two  heiresses — the  daughters  of  "  King 
Ewin,"  the  eldest  of  whom,  according  to  Skene,  married 
the  Norwegian  King  of  Man  ;  and  the  other,  Alexander 
of  the  Isles,  a  grandson  of  Reginald,  and  ancestor  of  the 
MacAlastairs  of  Kintyre.     Gregory  does  not  enter  at  any 


length  into  this  part  of  the  history  of  the  Island  Chiefs — 
that  of  the  immediate  descendants  of  Somerled  before 
the  great  expedition  of  Haco,  King  of  Norway — beyond 
stating  that  "  from  King  Dugall  sprung  the  great  House  of 
Argyle  and  Lorn,  patronymically  Macdugall,*  which,  at  the 
time  of  Haco's  expedition,  was  represented  by  Dugall's 
grand-son,  Ewin,  commonly  called  King  Ewin,  and  some- 
times erroneously  King  John  "  ;  but  Skene  informs  us,  that 
the  failure  of  the  male  descendants  of  Dugall  in  the  person 
of  Ewin,  had  the  effect  of  dividing  this  great  clan  into  three, 
the  heads  of  each  of  which  held  their  lands  of  the  Crown. 
These  were  the  Clan  Rory,  Clan  Donald,  and  Clan  Dugall, 
"severally  descended  from  three  sons  of  these  names,  of 
Reginald,  the  second  son  of  Somerled  by  his  second  mar- 
riage ".  The  Clan  Dugall  is  generally,  and,  we  believe, 
more  correctly  held  to  be  descended  from  Dugall,  the 
eldest  son  of  Somerled  himself,  but  our  present  purpose 
does  not  require  us  to  go  into  a  discussion  of  that  question, 
as  we  are  only  dealing  with  the  descendants  of  Donald, 
undoubtedly  a  son  of  Reginald,  son  of  Somerled,  Thane  of 

Somerled  was  succeeded  in  his  territories  of  Isla,  Kin- 
tyre,  and  part  of  Lorn,  by  his  son, 


who  assumed  the  title  of  Lord  of  the  Isles,  or  received 
it  from  his  followers  ;  for  at  that  time,  whatever  chief 
led  either  party,  when  the  possessions  of  Somerled  were 
subdivided  among  his  sons,  was  called  by  his  supporters, 
King  of  the  Isles.  We  find  that  both  Dugall  and  Re- 
ginald were  styled  Kings  of  the  Isles  at  the  same  time 
that  Reginald,  the  son  of  Godred  the  Black,  was  called 
King  of  Man  and  the  Isles  ;  and  in  the  next  generation 
mention  is  made  in  a  Norse  chronicle  of  three  Kings  of 

*  This  family  used  generally  the  territorial  surname  of  "  de  Ergadia,"  or  "of 
Argyle  ". 


the  Isles,  all  of  the  race  of  Somerled  existing  at  one  and 
the  same  time.  From  this  Gregory  infers  "  that  the  word 
king  as  used  by  the  Norwegians  and  their  vassals  in  the 
Isles,  was  not  confined,  as  in  Scotland,  to  one  supreme 
ruler,  but  that  it  had  with  them  an  additional  meaning, 
corresponding  either  to  prince  of  the  blood-royal  or  to 
magnate.  Many  Seannachies  or  genealogists  in  later 
times,  being  ignorant  of,  or  having  overlooked  this  dis- 
tinction, have,  by  means  of  the  expression  King  of  the 
Isles,  been  led  to  represent  those  whom  they  style  the 
direct  heirs  or  successors  of  Somerled,  through  his  son 
Reginald,  and  who  alone,  according  to  them,  bore  the 
royal  title,  as  holding  a  rank  very  different  from  what 
they  actually  did." 

A  most  important  change  came  over  the  fortunes  of  this 
family  in  1220,  when  King  Alexander  the  Second  led  an 
army  into  the  district  of  Argyle,  for  the  first  time  annexed 
it  decisively  to  the  Crown,  and,  according  to  Smibert,  ex- 
pelled the  second  Somerled,  who  died  soon  after.  Alexander, 
determined  upon  breaking  up  the  kingdom  of  the  Western 
Isles,  and  to  reduce  the  power  of  its  insular  chiefs,  con- 
firmed in  their  possession  on  the  Western  shores  all  those 
who  agreed  to  submit  to  his  authority  and  consented  to 
hold  their  lands  direct  from  the  Crown  of  Scotland.  In 
place  of  those  who  still  held  out,  he  invited  families  from 
the  adjoining  tribes,  and  planted  and  confirmed  them  in 
the  lands  of  the  ancient  possessors.  It  is  about  this  time 
that  Highland  families  first  began  to  assume  surnames, 
and  it  was  about  the  date  of  this  division  of  the  territories 
of  Argyle,  that  we  find  mentioned  for  the  first  time  such 
names  as  the  Macgregors,  Macnaughtons,  Macneils,  Clan 
Chattan,  and  Lamonts.  At  the  same  time,  Argyle,  which 
extended  much  further  inland  than  the  present  county 
does,  was  formed  into  a  Sheriffship— the  hereditary  ap- 
pointment being  in  favour  of  the  ancestors  of  the  present 
House  of  Argyle.  The  whole  of  Ergadia  Borealis,  or 
North  Argyle,  was  at  the  same  time  granted  to  the  Earl  of 
Ross  for  services  rendered  to  the  King. 


From  Reginald,  King  of  the  Isles,  sprang  two  great 
families,  that  of  Is/a  descended  from  his  son  Donald,  and 
therefore  patronymically  styled  Macdonald  ;  and  that  of 
Bute  descended  from  his  son  Ruari,  and  therefore  patrony- 
mically styled  Macruari.*  It  appears  that  most  of  the 
descendants  of  Somerled  had  for  a  century  after  his  death 
a  divided  allegiance,  holding  part  of  their  lands,  those  in 
the  Isles,  from  the  King  of  Norway,  their  mainland 
domains,  at  the  same  time,  being  held  of  the  King  of 
Scotland.  The  latter,  whose  power  was  now  gradually 
increasing,  could  not  be  expected  to  allow  the  Isles  to  re- 
main dependent  on  Norway  without  his  making  an  effort 
to  conquer  them.  The  first  footing  obtained  by  the  Scots 
in  the  Isles  was,  apparently,  soon  after  the  death  of 
Somerled,  when  the  Steward  of  Scotland  seized  the  Island 
of  Bute.  That  island  seems  after  this  to  have  changed 
masters  several  times,  and,  along  with  Kintyre,  to  have 
been  a  subject  of  dispute  between  the  Scots  and  Nor- 
wegians, whilst  in  the  course  of  these  quarrels  the  family 
of  the  Steward  strengthened  their  claim  by  marriage  in 
the  following  manner  : — We  have  seen  that  Angus  Mac- 
Somerled  (who  is  supposed  to  have  been  Lord  of  Bute) 
and  his  three  sons,  were  killed  in  1210  ;  nor  does  it  appear 
that  Angus  had  any  other  male  issue.  James,  one  of 
these  sons,  left  a  daughter  and  heiress,  Jane,  married  to 
Alexander,  the  son  and  heir  of  Walter  the  High  Steward 
of  Scotland,  who,  in  her  right,  claimed  the  Isle  of  Bute, 
and,  perhaps,  Arran  also.^f-  This  claim  was  naturally  re- 
sisted by  Ruari,  the  son  of  Reginald,  till  the  dispute  was 
settled  for  a  time  by  his  expulsion,  and  the  seizure  of 
Bute  and  Arran  by  the  Scots.     It  has  been  maintained  by 

*  Both  the  Macdonalds  and  Macruaries  used  the  territorial  surnames  of  de 
Yla,  or  "  of  Isla,"  and  "  de  Insulis,"  or  "  of  the  Isles". 

t  "  In  the  traditions  of  the  Stewarts,  this  lady's  grandfather  is  called  Angus 
MacJ?orie,  which,  as  I  conceive,  is  an  error  for  Angus  MacSorlle — the  latter  being 
the  way  in  which  MacSomerled  (spelt  MacSomhairle)  is  pronounced  in  Gaelic. 
That  there  was  about  this  time  a  matrimonial  alliance  between  the  house  of  Stewart 
and  that  of  Isla,  is  probable  from  a  dispensation  in  1342,  for  the  marriage  of  two 
individuals  of  these  families,  as  being  within  the  forbidden  degrees — Andrew 
Stewart's  Hist,  of  the  Stewarts,  p.  433." — Footnote  in  Gregory. 


some  writers,  among  them,  the  editor  of  Fullarton's  Clans, 
that  Ruari  was  the  eldest  son  of  Reginald.  Others  hold 
that  Donald  was  the  eldest  ;  and  it  is  impossible  now  to 
say  which  is  the  correct  view  ;  but  this  is  of  less  conse- 
quence, as  it  has  been  conclusively  established  that  Ruari's 
descendants  terminated  in  the  third  generation  in  a  female, 
Amie,  who  married  John  of  Isla,  great-grandson  of  Donald 
of  Isla,  Ruari's  brother,  and  direct  ancestor  of  all  the 
existing  branches  of  the  Macdonalds.  Thus,  the  succes- 
sion of  the  ancient  House  of  Somerled  fell  indisputably 
to  the  descendants  of  Donald,  son  of  Reginald,  and 
grandson  to  the  illustrious  Somerled,  Lord  of  Argyle,  who 
became  the  most  powerful,  and  whose  territories  were  the 
most  extensive,  of  all  the  Highland  Clans  ;  indeed  at  one 
time  they  were  equal  to  all  the  others  put  together. 

Roderick  followed  the  instincts  of  his  Norwegian  ances- 
tors and  became  a  desperate  pirate,  whose  daring  incursions 
and  predatory  expeditions  fill  the  annals  of  the  period. 
He  had  two  sons,  Allan  and  Dugall,  who  settled  down 
among  their  relatives  of  the  west.  Dugall  joined  Haco  in 
his  expedition  against  the  Isles,  and,  in  return  for  his 
services,  obtained  a  considerable  addition  to  his  previous 
possessions,  including  the  possessions  of  his  brother  Allan, 
called  "  Rex  Hebudem  ".  He  died  in  1268  without  issue. 
Allan  succeeded  his  father,  but  left  no  legitimate  male 
issue,  when  his  possessions  went  to  his  only  daughter 
Christina,  who  resigned  her  lands  to  the  king,  and  had 
them  re-conveyed  to  her  to  strengthen  her  position  against 
the  claims  of  her  natural  brother,  Roderick,  who,  however, 
appears  to  have  come  into  possession  afterwards,  probably 
on  the  death  of  his  sister,  as  we  find  his  lands  forfeited  in 
the  reign  of  Robert  Bruce,  in  consequence  of  the  share  he 
took  in  the  Soulis  conspiracy  of  1320.  His  lands  were, 
however,  restored  to  his  son  Ranald,  who  also  had  lands 
from  William,  Earl  of  Ross,  in  Kintail,f  in  connection 
with  which  he  became  embroiled  with  that  powerful  Chief, 

f  Charter  of  King  David,  4th  July,  1342  ;  and  Robertson's  Index,  p.  48,  David 
II.  ;  also  Origines  Parochiales  Scotias. 


when  a  feud  ensued,  which  resulted  in  Ranald's  death.  In 
1346,  David  II.  summoned  the  Scottish  Barons  to  meet 
him  at  Perth,  when  Ranald  MacRuari  made  his  appearance 
with  a  considerable  retinue  and  took  up  his  quarters  in  the 
monastery  of  Elcho,  a  few  miles  from  the  city  ;  whereupon 
the  Earl  of  Ross,  who  also  attended  in  obedience  to  the 
King's  orders,  determined  to  be  revenged  on  his  vassal, 
and,  entering  the  convent  about  the  middle  of  the  night, 
he  killed  Ranald  and  seven  of  his  principal  followers. 
Leaving  no  succession,  his  lands  fell  to  his  sister  Amie, 
who,  as  already  stated,  married,  and  carried  her  lands  to 
John  of  Isla,  of  whom  hereafter.  These  lands,  according 
to  Gregory,  comprised  also  the  Isles  of  Uist,  Barra,  Eigg, 
Rum,  and  the  Lordship  of  Garmoran  (also  called  Garbh- 
chrioch),  which  "  comprehends  the  districts  of  Moydert, 
Arasaig,  Morar,  and  Knoydart,"  being  the  original  posses- 
sions of  the  family  in  the  North.*  A  charter  was  granted 
to  the  Bishop  of  Lismore,  1st  January,  1507  [Mag.  Sig.  L. 
xiv.  No.  405],  confirming  two  evidents  made  by  Reginald 
in  his  lifetime,  in  which  he  is  described  as  the  son  of 
Somerled,  qui  se  Regem  Insularum  nominavit  Lord  of 
Ergyle  and  of  Kintyre,  founder  of  the  monastery  of 
Sagadull  (Sadell),  of  the  lands  of  Glensagadull,  and 
twelve  marks  of  the  lands  of  Ballebeain,  in  the  Lordship 
of  Kintyre,  and  of  twenty  marks  of  the  lands  of  Cosken 
in  Arran,  to  the  said  Abbey.  He  made  very  ample  dona- 
tions to  the  monastery  of  Paisley,  that  he,  and  Fonia  his 
wife,  might  be  entitled  to  all  the  privileges  of  brotherhood 
in  the  convent.f  Of  the  principal  events  in  the  life  of 
Reginald  very  little  is  known,  and  what  can  be  ascertained 
is  not  free  from  uncertainty,  for  he  was  contemporary  with 
Reginald,  the  Norwegian  King  of  Man  and  the  Isles,  which 
makes  it  impossible  to  distinguish  between  the  recorded 
acts  of  the  two.  Reginald  was,  however,  without  doubt 
designated  "  dominus  insularum,"  and  sometimes  "  Rex 
insularum,"  or  King  of  the  Isles,  as  well  as  "  dominus  de 

*  Highlands  and  Isles,  p.  27. 
*(•  Wood's  Douglas's  Peerage  ;  and  Highlands  and  Isles,  p.  5. 



Ergile  and  Kintyre,"  under  which  title  he  grants  certain 
lands  as  above  to  the  Abbey  of  Saddell  which  he  had 
founded  in  Kintyre.  The  author  of  "  The  Historical 
Account  of  the  Macdonalds  of  Antrim,"  says  [page  10] 
that  Ranald,  "  although  a  younger  son,  became  in  reality 
the  representative  of  the  family,  being  not  only  popular  in 
Scotland  but  respected  on  the  coasts  of  Ulster,  where  he 
appeared  sometimes  as  peace-maker  among  the  Northern 
Irish  chieftains.  If,  however,  he  bore  this  character  on  the 
Irish  coast,  his  sons  occasionally  came  on  a  very  different 
mission.  At  the  year  121 1,  the  Annals  of  the  Four  Masters 
and  the  Annals  of  Loch  Ce,  inform  us  that  Thomas  Mac- 
Uchtry  (of  Galloway)  and  the  sons  of  Raghnall,  son  of 
Somhairle,  came  to  Doire  Chollum-Chille  (Derry)  with 
seventy  ships,  and  the  town  was  greatly  injured  by  them. 
O'Domhnaill  and  they  went  to  Inis  Eoghain,  and  they 
completely  destroyed  the  country." 

He  married  Fonia,  a  sister  of  Thomas  Randolph,  Earl 
of  Moray,  and  by  her  had — 

1.  Donald  of  Isla,  his  heir,  from  whom  the  Macdonalds 
took  their  name,  and 

2.  Roderick,  or  Ruari,  of  Bute,  whose  succession  and 
possessions  we  have  already  described,  and  whose  issue 
terminated  in  Amie,  who  married  John  of  Isla.  According 
to  the  Macdonald  MS.  he  had  two  other  sons,  Angus,* 
who  had  a  son,  Duncan,  of  whom  the  Robertsons,  or  Clann 
Donnachaidh  of  Athol,  "  and  MacLullichs,  who  are  now 
called  in  the  low  country  Pittullichs  ".  He  had  another 
son,  John  Maol,  or  Bald,  who,  according  to  the  same 
authority,  went  to  Ireland,  and  "  of  whom  descended  the 
Macdonalds  of  Tireoin  "  (Land  of  John,  or  Tyrone). 

Reginald  died  in  the  54th  year  of  his  age,  and  was  suc- 
ceeded by  his  eldest  son, 

*  Major  Mackenzie  in  his  Mackenzie  Genealogies,  Supplementary  Sheet,  calls 
this  Angus  a  natural  son. 

DONALD   "DE  ISLA  ".  35 


Or,  of  the  Isles,  from  whom  the  Macdonalds  derive  their 
name.  The  share  of  his  father's  possessions  which  appears 
to  have  fallen  to  him  comprised  South  Kintyre  and  Islay  ; 
but  it  is  certain  that  he  also  came  into  possession,  as  head 
of  the  house,  of  his  brother  Roderick's  lands,  by  themselves 
a  very  extensive  patrimony.  A  period  of  great  importance 
in  the  history  of  the  family  has  now  been  reached,  and  it  is 
disappointing  to  find  how  little  is  recorded  of  the  career  of 
this  chief  who  had  so  prominent  a  share  in  the  most  im- 
portant events  which  took  place  during  the  early  part  of  the 
thirteenth  century.  Though  the  ancient  autocratic  authority 
of  the  Clan  over  others  was  never  recovered  by  the  race 
of  Somerled  after  the  partition  by  Alexander  II.  of  the 
great  district  of  Argyle,  the  ultimate  union  of  all  the  claims 
and  rights  of  this  ancient  and  potent  house  in  the  line  of 
Donald  raised  the  family  and  its  chief  anew,  to  a  pitch 
of  power  and  eminence  in  Scotland  almost  unequalled  by 
any  other  family  in  the  kingdom,  certainly  unequalled  in 
the  Western  Isles.  Donald,  like  all  the  Western  chiefs, 
after  the  treaty  of  succession  agreed  to  as  the  result  of  the 
battle  of  Largs,  held  his  possessions  direct  from  the 
Scottish  King,  and,  ever  since,  his  successors  remained 
subjects  of  the  Scottish  crown,  in  spite  of  many  successive 
attempts  on  their  part,  almost  invariably  instigated  by  the 
English  Government,  to  establish  their  independence  in 
the  Isles,  and  to  embarrass  the  Scots.  Hugh  Macdonald 
informs  us  that  Donald  succeeded  his  father  "  in  the  Lord- 
ship of  the  Isles  and  Thaneship  of  Argyle  "  ;  that  he  went 
to  Denmark,  and  took  with  him  many  of  the  ancient  Danes 
of  the  Isles,  such  as  "  the  Macduffies,  and  Macnagills  "  ; 
that  his  uncle  Dugall  accompanied  him  ;  and  that  his  own 
rights,  and  the  peculiar  rights  he  had  to  the  Isles  through 
his  grandmother,  daughter  of  Olave  the  Red,  were  then 
renewed  to  him  by  Magnus,  King  of  Denmark.  "  After 
this,  he  and  his  uncle  Dugall  became  enemies,  so  that  at  last 
he  was  forced  to  kill  Dug-all.     After  this  King  Alexander 


(of  Scotland)  sent  Sir  William  Rollock  as  messenger  to 
him  to  Kintyre,  desiring  to  hold  the  Isles  of  him,  which 
he  had  now  from  the  King  of  Denmark.  Donald  replied 
that  his  predecessors  had  their  rights  to  the  Isles  from  the 
Crown  of  Denmark,  which  were  renewed  by  the  present 
King  thereof,  and  that  he  held  the  Isles  of  his  Majesty  of 
Denmark,  before  he  renounced  his  claim  to  his  Majesty. 
Sir  William  said  that  the  King  might  grant  the  superiority 
of  the  Isles  to  whom  he  pleased.  Donald  answered  to 
this  that  Olay  the  Red,  and  Godfrey  the  Black's  father, 
from  whom  he  had  the  most  of  the  Isles,  had  the  Isles  by 
their  conquest,  and  not  from  the  King  of  Denmark  or 
Scotland,  so  that  he  and  Sir  William  could  not  end  the 
debate  in  law  or  reasoning.  Donald  being  advised  by 
wicked  councillors,  in  the  dawning  of  the  day  surprised 
Sir  William  and  his  men.  Sir  William,  with  some  of  his 
men,  were  killed.  He  banished  Gillies  (his  wife's  father) 
out  of  the  Isles  to  the  glens  of  Ireland,  where  some  of  his 
offspring  remain  until  this  day.  He  killed  Gillies'  young 
son,  called  Callum  Alin.  He  brought  the  MacNeils  from 
Lennox  to  expel  Gillies  out  of  Kintyre.  After  this  he 
went  to  Rome,  bringing  seven  priests  in  his  company,  to 
be  reconciled  to  the  Pope  and  Church.  These  priests  de- 
claring his  remorse  of  conscience  for  the  evil  deeds  of  his 
former  life,  the  Pope  asked  if  he  was  willing  to  endure  any 
torment  that  the  Church  was  pleased  to  inflict  upon  him  ? 
Donald  replied  that  he  was  willing,  should  they  please  to 
burn  him  in  a  caldron  of  lead.  The  Church,  seeing  him 
so  penitent,  dispensed  him.  Some  writers  assert  that 
he  had  his  rights  from  the  Pope  of  all  the  lands  he  pos- 
sessed in  Argyle,  Kintyre,  and  the  rest  of  the  continent. 
After  he  returned  home,  he  built  (rebuilt  or  enlarged)  the 
monastery  of  Saddell  in  Kintyre,  dedicating  (it)  to  the 
honour  of  the  Virgin  Mary.  He  mortified  48  merks  land 
to  that  monastery,  and  the  Island  of  Heisker  to  the  Nuns 
of  Iona.  He  died  at  Shippinage  in  the  year  1289,  and  was 
buried  at  Icolumkill."  * 

*  Collectanea  de  Rebus  Albanicis,  pp.  288-9.     Donald  must  have  died  long 
before  1289. 


He  imitated  his  father's  liberality  to  the  Church,  particu- 
larly to  the  monks  of  Paisley,  to  whom  he  gave  ample 
testimony  of  his  charity  and  goodwill,  on  condition  that 
"  ille  uxor  sua,  heredes  sui,  et  homines  sui,  participes  sint 
in  perpetuum,  omnium  bonorum  quae  in  domo  de  Paslet,  et 
in  toto  ordine  Cluniascensi  fient,  tarn  in  orationibus,  quam 
in  ceteris  divinis  servitiis ".  In  this  document  he  is 
designated  "Dovenaldus,  filius  Reginaldi  filius  Somerledi".* 
He  left  two  sons. — 

i.  Angus  Mor  MacDonald,  his  heir. 

2.  Alexander,  according  to  Douglas,  ancestor  of  the  Mac- 
Alisters  of  Loup,  and  of  the  Alexanders  of  Menstrie,  Earls 
of  Stirling.  This  is  corroborated  by  an  old  genealogical 
tree  of  the  Macdonalds  in  our  possession. 

Donald  of  the  Isles  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 


Who  was  Chief  at  the  time  of  Haco's  expedition  to  the 
Western  Isles  in  1266,  and  who,  with  his  fleet,  immediately 
joined  Haco  on  his  arrival,  and  assisted  him  throughout  the 
war,  though  it  appears,  in  consequence  of  the  treaty  after- 
wards arranged  between  the  Kings  of  Scotland  and  Norway, 
that  he  did  not  suffer  for  his  conduct,  either  in  person  or 
property.  In  1284  he  appeared  at  the  convention  at  which 
the  Maiden  of  Norway  was  declared  heiress  to  the  Crown  of 
Scotland,  on  which  occasion  his  support  seems  to  have  been 
purchased  by  a  grant  of  Ardnamurchan.  He  confirmed  his 
father's  and  grandfather's  grants  to  the  Abbey  of  Saddell, 
and  granted  it  further  lands  himself  by  four  separate 
charters,  f  He  also  made  a  donation  to  the  convent  of 
Paisley  of  half  a  mark  of  silver  "  de  domo  suo  proprio,  et  de 
singulis  domibus  per  omnes  terras  suas  de  quibus  fumum 
exit  unum  denari,  singulis  annis  in  perpetuum  in  puram 
elemosynam  ".     He  also  gave  the  monastery  of  the  same 

*  Wood's  Douglas's  Peerage,  vol.  ii.,  p.  6. 
>j*  Skene's  Highlanders. 


place  the  patronage  of  the  Church  of  Kilkerran,  in  Kintyre, 
"  pro  salute  animse,  Domini  sui  Alexandri  Regis  Scoticse 
illustris,  et  Alexandri,  filii  ejus,  etiam  pro  salute  sua  propria, 
et  heredum  suorum  ".*  A  letter  is  addressed,  in  1292,  "to 
Anegous,  the  son  of  Dovenald  of  the  Isles,  and  Alexander, 
his  eldest  son,  respecting  their  comporting  themselves  well 
and  faithfully  to  the  King  of  England  ".f 

Writing  of  the  descendants  of  Somerled  about  this  period, 
Gregory  says  that  of  these  "  there  were,  in  1285,  three  great 
noblemen,  all  holding  extensive  possessions  in  the  Isles  as 
well  as  on  the  mainland,  who  attended  in  that  Scottish 
Parliament,  by  which  the  crown  was  settled  on  the  Maiden 
of  Norway.  Their  names  were  Alexander  de  Ergadia  of 
Lorn  (Son  of  Ewin  of  Lorn),  Angus,  the  son  of  Donald, 
and  Allan,  the  son  of  Ruari.  From  the  nature  of  the 
treaty,  in  1266,  it  is  obvious  that  these  individuals  were 
vassals  of  the  King  of  Scotland  for  all  their  possessions, 
and  not  merely  for  what  they  held  on  the  mainland,  as  some 
have  supposed.  It  is  further  clear  that,  at  this  time,  none 
of  the  three  bore  the  title  of  Lord  of  the  Isles,  or  could 
have  been  properly  so  considered  ;  and  it  is  equally  certain 
that  the  first  individual  whom  we  find  assuming  the  style 
of  Lord  of  the  Isles,  in  its  modern  signification,  possessed 
all  those  Isles,  and  very  nearly  all  those  mainland  estates, 
which,  in  1285,  were  divided  among  three  powerful  noble- 
men of  the  same  blood.  But  of  this  hereafter.  From  the 
preceding  remarks,  it  will  readily  be  perceived  that  the 
boasted  independence  of  the  modern  Lords  of  the  Isles  is 
without  historical  foundation.  Prior  to  1266,  the  Isles  were 
subject  to  Norway  ;  at  that  date  the  treaty  of  cession 
transferred  them  to  Scotland  ".  J 

Angus  Mor,  who  according  to  Hugh  Macdonald,  "  was 
of  a  very  amiable  and  cheerful  disposition,  and  more  witty 
than  any  could  take  him  from  his  countenance,"  resided 
for  a  portion  of  his  life  at  the  Castle  of  Ardtornish.     He 

*  Chartulary  Lereuax,  186-187  b. 

•J*  Douglas's  Peerage. 

J  Western  Highlands  and  Isles,  p.  23. 


married  a  daughter  of  Sir  Colin  Campbell  of  Glenurchy, 
with  issue — ■ 

1.  Alexander,  his  heir. 

2.  Angus  Og,  who  succeeded  his  brother  Alexander. 
He  died  in  1 300,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 


Of  the  Isles,  who  married  one  of  the  daughters,  and  co-heir- 
ess, of  Ewen  de  Ergadia,  the  last  of  the  male  descendants  of 
Dugall  of  Lorn,  by  whom  he  received  a  considerable  acquisi- 
tion to  his  already  extensive  territories  ;  but  having  joined 
John  Stewart,  Lord  of  Lorn,  in  his  opposition  to  Robert 
Bruce,  he  naturally  became  a  partner  in  the  consequent 
collapse  and  ruin  of  that  great  family.  After  the  defeat  of 
the  Lord  of  Lorn  at  Lochow,  Bruce  proceeded  against 
Alexander  of  the  Isles  ;  crossed  over  the  isthmus  of  Tarbet, 
and  laid  siege  to  Castle  Sweyn,  where  Alexander  usually 
resided.  The  Island  Chief  proved  as  little  able  to  resist  the 
power  of  Bruce  as  the  Lords  of  Lorn  had  previously  been, 
and  he  was  compelled  to  surrender  to  the  King,  who  im- 
mediately imprisoned  him  in  Dundonald  Castle,  where  he 
ultimately  died.  His  possessions  were  forfeited  to  the 
Crown,  and  afterwards  granted  to  his  brother  Angus  Og. 

He  is  designated  "  Alexander  de  Insulis  Scotiae,  filius 
Angusii,  filius  Dovenaldi,"  in  a  letter  addressed  to  him 
during  the  life  of  his  father,  wherein  he  is  directed  to  keep 
the  peace  within  his  bounds  of  the  Isles,  till  the  meeting  of 
the  Parliament  of  Scotland,  on  the  day  of  St.  Thomas  the 
Martyr,  1292.  He  is  also  designed  in  the  same  style  in  3. 
confirmation  of  a  donation  of  the  Church  of  Kilkerran  to 
the  monastery  of  Paisley,  to  which  Robert,  Earl  of  Carrick, 
and  Robert  Bruce,  his  son  and  heir,  are  witnesses. 

He  died  in  1303,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  brother, 


Who,  fortunately  for  himself  and  his  clan,  sided  with  Bruce 
from  the  outset  of  his  bold  attempt  to  free  his  native  land 


from  the  English  Edwards.  After  the  disastrous  defeat  at 
Methven,  and  the  subsequent  skirmish  with  the  Lord  of 
Lorn  at  Tyndrum,  the  valiant  Bruce  was  obliged  to  fly  with 
his  life,  whereupon  Angus  of  the  Isles  received  and  sheltered 
him  in  his  castle  of  Saddell,  Cantire,  and,  in  August  1306, 
in  his  more  secure  Castle  of  Dunaverty,  until,  with  Mac- 
donald's  aid,  he  retired  some  time  after  for  safer  refuge  to 
the  Island  of  Rathlin,  on  the  north  coast  of  Ireland,  then 
possessed  by  the  family  of  the  Isles.  From  this  period 
Angus  Og  attached  himself  to  the  party  of  Bruce,  and  took 
an  .important  share  in  all  the  subsequent  enterprises,  which 
terminated  in  the  final  defeat  of  the  English  at  Bannock- 
burn,  and  established  for  ever  the  independence  of  Scot- 
land. Here  Angus  commanded  the  reserve,  composed  of 
5000  Highlanders,  led,  under  his  own  chief  command,  by 
sixteen  of  their  own  immediate  chiefs.  On  this  memorable 
occasion  Angus  and  his  Highlanders  performed  such  dis- 
tinguished service  that,  as  a  permanent  mark  of  distinction 
for  the  gallantry  and  effect  with  which  they  plied  their 
battle-axes,  Bruce  assigned  to  Angus,  and  his  descendants 
for  ever,  the  honourable  position  of  the  right  flank  of 
the  Royal  army.  He  first  joined  Bruce  in  1286,  and  his 
loyalty  never  faltered,  even  when  the  fortunes  of  the 
King  appeared  most  hopeless.  He  had  previously  assisted 
him  in  his  attack  on  Carrick,  when  "  the  Bruce  wan  his 
father's  hall,"  and  continued  to  support  him  in  all  his 
toils  and  dangers,  until  these  were  crowned  and  rewarded 
by  the  great  victory  of  Bannockburn.  It  was  thus  natural 
that  the  Chief  of  the  Isles,  having  shared  in  the  mis- 
fortunes of  the  Deliverer  of  his  country,  should,  when 
success  crowned  their  efforts,  also  share  in  the  advantages 
secured  by  the  victors.  The  extensive  possessions  of 
the  Comyns  and  their  allies,  the  Lords  of  Lorn,  having 
been  forfeited,  were  now  at  the  disposal  of  the  King,  and 
he  bestowed  upon  Angus  the  Lordship  of  Lochaber,  which 
had  formerly  belonged  to  the  Comyns,  as  also  the  lands  of 
Duror  and  Glencoe,  and  the  Islands  of  Mull,  Jura,  Coll, 
and  Tiree,  which  had  formed  part  of  the  possessions  of  the 


family  of  Lorn.  Bruce  was  quite  alive  to  the  danger  of 
raising  up  a  powerful  vassal  like  Angus  Og  of  the  Isles  to 
a  position  of  such  power  and  influence  by  adding  so  much 
to  his  already  extensive  territories,  and  thus  adding  to  the 
influence  of  so  powerful  an  opponent  and  possible  rival 
even  to  the  Crown  itself ;  but  the  services  rendered  by  the 
Island  Chief  in  Bruce's  greatest  need,  could  not  be  over- 
looked, and  so,  believing  himself  quite  secure  in  the  attach- 
ment of  Angus  during  his  own  life,  he  made  these  extensive 
grants,  the  only  condition  made  by  him  to  neutralize  in  any 
way  their  effects,  being  the  erection  of  the  Castle  of  Tarbet 
in  Kintyre,  which  was  to  be  occupied  by  the  King's  troops 
as  a  Royal  stronghold,  within  the  territories  of  the  Island 
Chief.  He  obtained  a  charter  from  David  II.  "  of  the  Isle 
of  Isla,  Kintyre,  the  Isle  of  Gythy  (?  Gigha),  Dewae  (Jura)> 
the  Isle  of  Coluynsay,  and  the  twenty-four  mark  land  of 
Moror,  near  the  lands  of  Mule."  He  had  a  daughter  named 
Fyngole,  as  appears  from  a  Papal  dispensation,  dated  19th 
Kal.  Februarii  1342,  permitting  John  Stewart  and  Fyngole, 
"  filia  nobilis  viri  Angusii  de  Insulis,"  to  marry,  notwith- 
standing their  being  within  the  fourth  degree  of  consan- 

According  to  Hugh  Macdonald's  MS.,  Robert  Bruce  was 
entertained  by  Angus  for  a  whole  half-year  at  Saddell  ;  he 
repeatedly  sent  his  galleys  with  men  to  Ireland,  and  sent 
Edward  Bruce  across  on  various  occasions,  furnishing  him 
with  the  necessary  stores  for  his  expedition.  He  brought 
over  1500  men  from  Ireland,  who  fought  with  him  at  a  place 
called  Branch,  near  Lochow.  He  erroneously  states  that  he 
was  still  a  minor  when  his  father  died.  At  the  age  of  22  years 
"  he  was  proclaimed  Lord  of  the  Isles  and  Thane  of  Argyle 
and  Lochaber,"  but  he  was  much  opposed  on  his  first  entry 
into  his  possessions  "  by  Macdougall  of  Lorn,  on  account  of 
the  Island  of  Mull,  to  which  he  pretended  right."  Gregory, 
referring  to  this  period,  sums  up  the  changes  which  took 
place,  and  the  results  which  followed,  thus  : — In  the  series 
of  struggles  for  Scottish  independence,  which  marked  the 
close  of  the  thirteenth  and  the  opening  of  the  fourteenth 


centuries,  the  Lords  of  Lorn,  who  were  closely  connected 
by  marriage  with  the  Comyn  and  Balliol  party,  naturally 
arrayed  themselves  in  opposition  to  the  claims  of  Bruce. 
On  the  other  hand,  the  Houses  of  Isla  and  of  the  North 
Isles  supported  with  all  their  power  the  apparently  des- 
perate fortunes  of  King  Robert  I.,  and  thus,  when  he  came 
to  be  firmly  seated  on  the  throne,  had  earned  the  gratitude 
of  that  Prince,  in  the  same  proportion  as  the  family  of  Lorn, 
by  the  inveteracy  of  their  hostility,  had  provoked  his  resent- 
ment. On  the  forfeiture  of  Alexander,  Lord  of  Lorn,  and 
his  son  and  heir,  John,  their  extensive  territories  were 
granted  by  Bruce  to  various  supporters  ;  and,  amongst 
others,  to  Angus  Og,  i.e.,  Junior,  of  Isla,  and  to  Roderick, 
or  Ruari  MacAlan,  the  bastard  brother  and  leader  of  the 
vassals  of  Christina,  the  daughter  and  heiress  of  Alan 
MacRuari  of  the  North  Isles.  The  Isles  of  Mull  (the 
possession  of  which  had,  for  some  time  past,  been  disputed 
betwixt  the  Lords  of  Isla  and  Lorn),  Jura,  Coll,  and  Tiree, 
with  the  districts  of  Duror  and  Glencoe,  fell,  in  this  way,  to 
the  share  of  Angus  Og.  Lorn  proper,  or  the  greatest 
part  of  it,  was  bestowed  on  Roderick  MacAlan,  to  whom 
his  sister  Christina  gave,  at  the  same  time,  a  large  portion 
of  her  inheritance  in  Garmoran  and  the  North  Isles.  The 
Lordship  of  Lochaber,  forfeited  by  one  of  the  powerful 
family  of  Comyn,  seems  to  have  been  divided  between 
Angus  Og  and  Roderick.  The  former  likewise  obtained 
in  this  reign,  the  lands  of  Morvern  and  Ardnamurchan, 
which  seem  previously  to  have  been  in  the  hands  of  the 
crown.  But  while  Bruce  thus  rewarded  his  faithful  ad- 
herents, he  was  too  sensible  of  the  weakness  of  Scotland 
on  the  side  of  the  Isles,  not  to  take  precautionary  measures 
against  the  possible  defection  of  any  of  the  great  families 
on  that  coast,  who  might  with  ease  admit  an  English  force 
into  the  heart  of  the  kingdom.  He  procured  from  Angus 
Og,  who  was  now  apparently  the  principal  crown  vassal  in 
Kintyre,  the  resignation  of  his  lands  in  that  district,  which 
were  immediately  bestowed  upon  Robert,  the  son  and  heir 
of  Walter  the   High   Steward,  and   the  Princess  Marjory 


Bruce.  At  the  same  time  the  fortifications  of  the  Castle  of 
Tarbet,  between  Kintyre  and  Knapdale,  the  most  important 
position  on  the  coast  of  Argyleshire,  were  greatly  enlarged 
and  strengthened,  and  the  custody  of  this  commanding  post 
was  committed  to  a  Royal  garrison.  Following  out  the 
same  policy  in  other  places,  the  keeping  of  the  Castle  of 
Dunstaffnage,  the  principal  messuage  of  Lorn,  was  given 
by  Bruce,  not  to  Roderick  MacAlan,  the  "  High  Chief  of 
Lorn,"  but  to  an  individual  of  the  name  of  Campbell,  who 
was  placed  there  as  a  royal  constable.  Towards  the  end 
of  Bruce's  reign,  Roderick  MacAlan  of  Lorn  and  the  North 
Isles,  was  forfeited  of  all  his  possessions  for  engaging  in 
some  of  the  plots  which,  at  that  period,  occupied  the  atten- 
and  called  forth  the  energies  of  that  celebrated  king.  On 
this  occasion,  it  is  probable  that  Angus  Og,  whose  loyalty 
never  wavered,  received  further  additions  to  his  already 
extensive  possessions  ;  and  before  King  Robert's  death  the 
house  of  I  slay  was  already  the  most  powerful  in  Argyle  and 
the  Isles.* 

Angus  Og  married  Margaret,  daughter  of  Guy  O'Cathan 
of  Ulster,  the  "  tocher  "  being,  according  to  the  Seannachie 
already  quoted,  "  seven  score  men  out  of  every  surname 
under  O'Kaine  ".  Among  these,  it  is  said,  came  twenty- 
four  chiefs,  who  afterwards  became  the  heads  of  clans  or 
septs.  Of  that  number,  Macdonald  mentions  "  the  Mun- 
roes,  so-called  because  they  came  from  the  Innermost 
Roe-water  in  the  county  of  Derry,  their  names  being 
formerly  O'Millans  ;  the  Roses  of  Kilraack,  the  Fairns, 
Dingwalls,  Glasses,  Beatons,  so  now  called,  but  improperly, 
that  being  a  French  name,  whereas  they  are  Irish,  of  the 
tribe  of  O'Neals,  and  took  the  name  (of  Beaton)  from 
following  the  name  of  Beda.  Our  Highland  Shenakies 
say  that  Balfour  Blebo,  and  these  Beatons  that  came  from 
France,  went  formerly  from  Ireland,  but  for  this  they  have 
no  ground  to  go  upon.  The  MacPhersons  who  are  not 
the  same  with  the  MacPhersons  of  Badenoch,  but  are  of 
the  O'Docharties  in  Ireland  ;  the  Bulikes  in  Caithness,  of 

*  West  Highlands  and  Isles,  pp.  24-26. 


whom  is  the  laird  of  Tolingail ;  and  many  other  surnames, 
which,  for  brevity,  we  pass  over,  many  of  whom  had  no 
succession."  It  is  impossible  to  vouch  for  the  accuracy  of  a 
great  part  of  Hugh  Macdonald's  MS.,  for  the  author  of  it  was 
such  an  out-and-out  partisan,  that  he  scrupled  not  to  write 
anything  calculated  to  glorify  his  own  immediate  chief  and 
name,  apparently  caring  little  whether  it  was  true  or  not. 
Some  of  his  stories,  however,  are  too  interesting  to  be 
passed  over  ;  but  when  not  otherwise  supported  the  reader 
must  just  take  them  for  what  he  considers  them  worth.* 
He  gives  the  following  version  of  the  origin  of  the  Mac- 
leans ;  the  ceremony  of  proclaiming  the  Lords  of  the  Isles; 
and  the  manner  in  which  justice  was  administered  in  those 
days  in  the  Western  Isles  : — "  Now  Angus  Ogg  being  at 
Ardhorinish  in  Morvein,  in  the  time  of  Lent,  Macdougall 
sent  the  two  sons  of  Gillian  in  message  to  him.  To  know 
of  these,  viz.,  the  sons  of  Gillian,  I  will  tell  you  from 
whence  they  came,  viz.,  John  of  Lorn,  commonly  called 
John  Baccach,  who  went  off  to  harry  Carrick  in  Galloway, 
the  property  of  Robert  Bruce,  afterwards  King  Robert, 
and  there  meeting  with  one  Gillian  by  name,  son  of  Gil- 
leusa,  son  of  John,  son  of  Gilleusa-More,  he  came  to  John 

*  The  editor  of  the  Collectanea  de  Rebus  Albanicis  adds  the  following  note  at 
the  end  of  the  Macdonald  MS. — This  MS.  History  of  the  Lords  of  the  Isles,  now 
for  the  first  time  printed,  is  a  very  favourable  specimen  of  the  productions  of  the 
ancient  Sennachies.  Full  of  traditionary  anecdotes,  in  general  wonderfully  ac- 
curate, they  furnish  a  curious  addition  to  the  history  of  the  Scottish  Highlands. 
The  Genealogical  accounts  of  the  various  families  contained  in  these  MSS.  is,  how- 
ever, frequently  full  of  errors,  principally  intentional,  and  arising  from  the  pre- 
judices and  active  partizanship  of  the  Sernachy,  who  being  always  devoted  to  one 
particular  family,  shared  his  patron's  animosity  against  the  Clans  with  whom  he 
was  at  feud,  and  his  jealousy  of  the  other  families  of  his  own  Clan,  between  whom 
there  existed  a  rivalry.  The  Sennachy  seldom  scrupled  to  subserve  his  patron's 
jealousies,  by  perverting  the  history  of  their  families,  and  this,  he,  in  general,  ac- 
complished either  by  actually  perverting  the  Genealogy,  or  by  an  extensive  bastard- 
ising of  the  heads  of  the  family,  probably  proceeding  upon  a  principle  not  unknown 
to  the  present  day,  that  a  fact,  however  notoriously  false,  if  perseveringly  asserted 
for  a  certain  length  of  time,  will  at  length  be  received  as  true.  The  writer  of  this 
MS.  was  a  staunch  adherent  of  the  Slate  family,  and  therefore  his  statements,  with 
regard  to  the  Clans  with  whom  the  Clan  Donald  were  at  feud,  and  to  the  rival 
branches  of  that  great  Clan  must  be  received  with  great  caution.  The  bastardis- 
ing of  Dugall  reputed  to  be  the  progenitor  of  the  MacDougalls,  is  a  good  illus- 
tration of  the  above  remarks,  for  there  is  no  doubt  whatever  that  he  was  the  eldest 
legitimate  son  of  Somerled,  by  his  marriage  with  the  daughter  of  Olave  the  Red. 


Baccach  of  Lorn  in  quest  of  better  fortune.     Macdougall 
gave  him  a  spot  of  land  in  the  Isle  of  Sael,  called  Bealach- 
uain.     He  had  three  sons,  Hector,  of  whom  descended  the 
family  of  Lochbuy,  and  was  the  oldest ;  Lachlin  (of)  whom 
descended  the  family  of  Duairt,  and  the  rest  of  the  name  ; 
and  a  natural  son,  John,  of  whom  others  of  the  name  des- 
cended.    Now  in    the    Scots    language    they    were    called 
Maclean,   from   that   Gillian    that    made    the   first   fortune 
there  ;  but  the  ancient  Scots  called  them  MacGillian.     The 
two  sons  of  Gillian,  as  related  above,  were  sent   ambas- 
sadors to  Macdonald  at  Ardhorinish,  where,  at  the  time, 
he  held  his  Lent,  as  the  custom  of  the  time  then   was. 
They,  after  landing,  had  some  conference  with  Macdonald 
about  the  Isle  of  Mull.     Macdonald,  denying  any  of  his 
proper  right  of  lands  to  Mac,  desired  MacFinnon,  who  was 
master  of  his  household,  to  use  the  gentlemen  kindly,  and 
to  cause  them  dine  alone.     MacFinnon  caused  set  before 
them  bread  and  gruthim,  consisting  of  butter  and   curds 
mixed  together,  which  is  made  in  harvest,  and  preserved 
until   time  of  Lent.     The  gruthim  was  so  brittle,  that  it 
was  not  easily  taken   up   with  their   long  knives.     Mac- 
donald, coming  up  at  the  same  time,  and  perceiving  the 
men  at  meat  in  that  posture,  desired  to  give  them  some 
other  sort  of  meat.     MacFinnon  replied  that  if  they  could 
not  eat  that  meat  as  it  was,  they  should  put  on  the  nabs  of 
hens,  with  which  they  might  gather  it  up  easily  ;    which 
reproachful    answer   touched    the   sons  of  Gillian    nearly. 
Macdonald  being  that  same  day  to  cross   the   Sound   of 
Mull  to  Aros,  to  solemnise  the  festival  of  Pasch  there,  he 
took  a  small  boat  for  himself,  leaving  MacFinnon  behind 
with  his  great  galley  and  carriage,  and  the  rest  of  his  men. 
When  MacFinnon  went  to  the  shore  to  follow  Macdonald, 
the  sons  of  Gillian,  taking  the  opportunity  of  revenge,  and 
calling  MacFinnon  aside,  stabbed  him,  and  straight  with 
his  galley  and  their  own  men  followed  Macdonald  across 
the  Sound,  who  was  not  aware  of  them,  thinking  it  was 
MacFinnon  with  his  own  galley  that  followed  him,  till  they 
leaped  into  the  boat  wherein  he  was,  and  after  apprehend- 


ing  him,  made  him  prisoner,  and  brought  him  to  Dunstaf- 
nage  in  Lorn.  They  remained  without.  Macdougall 
being,  in  the  meantime,  at  dinner,  who  hearing  of  their 
arrival,  and  that  Macdonald  was  a  prisoner  with  them,  said 
he  was  glad  Macdonald  was  safe,  and  was  very  well  pleased 
to  have  him  his  prisoner  ;  but  that  Gillian's  children  were 
very  bold  in  their  attempt,  and  that  he  would,  through 
time,  bridle  their  forwardness  and  insolence.  There  was  a 
young  son  of  MacdougalPs  hearing  what  his  father  had 
said.  This  boy  fostered  by  Gillian  and  his  son,  coming  out 
to  meet  them,  told  what  his  father  said  of  them.  They 
being  perplexed,  and  musing  what  to  do  in  this  so  pre- 
carious an  affair,  thought  best  to  have  recourse  to  Mac- 
donald, and  told  him  that  all  men  knew  that  they  were  of 
no  power  or  capacity  to  apprehend  him,  but  by  accident ; 
as  it  fell  out  ;  and  seeing  it  was  so,  that  he  knew  if  he 
pleased  to  do  them  any  good,  and  forgive  them  their 
former  crime,  he  was  more  in  their  power  than  their  former 
master  ;  that  they  would  join  with  him,  go  along  with  him, 
and  deliver  him  from  the  present  danger.  So  taking 
Macdonald  to  his  own  galley  again,  Macdougall  neither 
seeing  him  or  them  ;  they  went  for  Mull,  taking  the  Lord 
of  the  Isles  upon  his  word,  as  they  might. 

"  For  he  gave  four  score  merks  land  to  Hector  the  oldest 
brother,  and  to  Lachlin  the  youngest  he  gave  the  chamber- 
lainship  of  his  house,  and  made  MacFinnon  thereafter 
marshall  his  army.  Now,  these  made  up  the  surname  of 
Maclean,  for  they  never  had  a  rigg  of  land  but  what  they 
received  from  Macdonald  ;  to  the  contrary  of  which  I  defy 
them,  or  any  other,  to  produce  any  argument;  yet  they  were 
very  thankful  for  the  good  done  them  afterwards.  When 
the  Macdonalds  were  in  adversity,  which  happened  by  their 
own  folly,  they  became  their  mortal  enemies,  as  may  be 
seen  in  the  sequel  of  this  history.  Angus  Ogg  of  the  Isles 
was  a  personable,  modest  man,  affable,  and  not  disaffected 
either  to  king  or  state.  He  created  Macguire,  or  Mac- 
quarry,  a  thane.  He  had  a  natural  son,  John,  by  Dougall 
MacHenry's  daughter,  she   being   her   father's  only  child. 


This  John,  by  his  mother,  enjoyed  the  lands  of  Glencoe,  of 
whom  descended  the  race  of  the  Macdonalds.  He  had  his 
legitimate  son,  John,  who  succeeded  him,  by  O'Kain's 
daughter.  He  had  not  many  children  that  came  to  age- 
He  had  a  daughter  married  to  Maclean,  and  that  by  her 
inclination  of  yielding.  Angus  died  at  Isla,  and  was 
interred  at  Icolumkill.  I  thought  fit  to  annex  the  cere- 
mony of  proclaiming  the  Lord  of  the  Isles.  At  this  the 
Bishop  of  Argyle,  the  Bishop  of  the  Isles,  and  seven  priests, 
were  sometimes  present,  but  a  bishop  was  always  present, 
with  the  chieftians  of  all  the  principal  families,  and  a  Ruler 
of  the  Isles.  There  was  a  square  stone,  seven  or  eight  feet 
long,  and  the  tract  of  a  man's  foot  cut  thereon,  upon  which 
he  stood,  denoting  that  he  should  walk  in  the  footsteps  and 
uprightness  of  his  predecessors,  and  that  he  was  installed 
by  right  in  his  possessions.  He  was  clothed  in  a  white 
habit,  to  show  his  innocence  and  integrity  of  heart,  that  he 
would  be  a  light  to  his  people,  and  maintain  the  true 
religion.  The  white  apparel  did  afterwards  belong  to  the 
poet  by  right.  Then  he  was  to  receive  a  white  rod  in  his 
hand,  intimating  that  he  had  power  to  rule,  not  with 
tyranny  and  partiality,  but  with  discretion  and  sincerity. 
Then  he  received  his  forefathers'  sword,  or  some  other 
sword,  signifying  that  his  duty  was  to  protect  and  defend 
them  from  the  incursions  of  their  enemies  in  peace  or  war, 
as  the  obligations  and  customs  of  his  predecessors  were. 
The  ceremony  being  over,  mass  was  said  after  the  blessing 
of  the  bishop  and  seven  priests,  the  people  pouring  their 
prayer  for  the  success  and  prosperity  of  their  new  created 
lord.  When  they  were  dismissed,  the  Lord  of  the  Isles 
feasted  them  for  a  week  thereafter  ;  gave  liberally  to  the 
monks,  poets,  bards,  and  musicians.  You  may  judge  that 
they  spent  liberally  without  any  exception  of  persons.  The 
constitution  or  government  of  the  Isles  was  thus  : — Mac- 
donald  had  his  council  at  Island  Finlaggan,  in  Isla,  to  the 
number  of  sixteen,  viz.,  four  Thanes,  four  Armins,  that  is  to 
say,  lords  or  sub-thanes,  four  bastards  (i.e.),  squires  or  men 
of  competent  estates,  who  could  not  come  up  with  Armins, 


or  Thanes,  that  is,  freeholders,  or  men  that  had  their  lands 
in  factory,  as  Macgee  of  the  Rinds  of  Isla,  MacNicoll  in 
Portree  in  Sky,  and  MacEachern,  Mackay,  and  MacGille- 
vray,  in  Mull,  Macillemhaoel  or  MacMillan,  &c.  There 
was  a  table  of  stone  where  this  council  sat  in  the  Isle  of 
Finlaggan  ;  the  which  table,  with  the  stone  on  which  Mac- 
donald  sat,  were  carried  away  by  Argyle  with  the  bells  that 
were  at  Icolumkill.  Moreover,  there  was  a  judge  in  every 
Isle  for  the  discussion  of  all  controversies,  who  had  lands 
from  Macdonald  for  their  trouble,  and  likewise  the  eleventh 
part  of  every  action  decided.  But  there  might  still  be  an 
appeal  to  the  Council  of  the  Isles.  MacFinnon  was  obliged 
to  see  weights  and  measures  adjusted  ;  and  MacDuffie,  or 
MacPhie  of  Colonsay,  kept  the  records  of  the  Isles." 

Angus  Og  died  at  Islay  about  1329,  and  was  buried  at 

By  his  wife,  Margaret,  daughter  of  Guy  O'Cathan,  he  had 
an  only  son  and  successor.  He  had  also  a  natural  son, 
John  Fraoch,  by  a  daughter  of  Dougall  MacHenry,  the 
leading  man  in  Glencoe,  progenitor  of  the  Macdonalds  of 

He  was  succeeded  by  his  only  lawful  son, 


Who  played  a  most  important  part  in  the  turbulent  age 
in  which  he  lived.  He  is  admitted  by  all  the  authorities 
to  have  been  one  of  the  most  able  and  sagacious  chiefs 
of  his  time  ;  and,  by  diplomacy  and  alliances,  more 
than  by  the  sword,  he  raised  the  clan  to  a  position  of 
splendour  and  power  which  they  had  not  attained  to  since 
the  days  of  Somerled.  In  his  time  Scotland  was  divided 
and  harrassed  by  various  claimants  to  the  crown,  the 
principal  of  whom  were  David  Bruce  and  Edward  Baliol. 
John  of  the  Isles  supported  the  latter,  more  probably 
with  the  object  of  recovering,  and  maintaining  intact, 
the   ancient  possessions   of  his  house,  than    for  any  pre- 


ference  he  entertained  for  Baliol  and  his  English  sup- 
porters. The  Island  chiefs  had  always  claimed  to  be  inde- 
pendent of  the  Scottish  kings,  and  naturally  enough  it 
seemed  to  John  of  the  Isles  that  to  aid  Baliol  against  Bruce 
would  be  the  most  effective  means  of  strengthening  his  own 
family  pretensions.  He  was  quite  satisfied  that  Bruce 
would  not  admit  the  claim  to  independence  of  any  compe- 
titor within  his  realm  ;  whereas  Baliol,  not  only  entertained 
his  pretensions,  but  actually  confirmed  him  "  as  far  as  in 
him  lay,"  to  the  vast  territories  already  possessed  by  him, 
as  also  to  an  extensive  addition,  granting  him  by  charter, 
in  1355,  the  lands  of  Mull,  Skye,  Islay,  Gigha,  Kintyre, 
Knapdale,  and  other  large  possessions.  For  these  favours 
John  bound  himself  and  his  heirs  to  become  lieges  to 
the  Baliols  ;  for  he  believed  that  even  if  they  succeeded  to 
establish  their  claim  to  the  crown  he  would  be  practically 
independent  in  the  Western  Isles,  and  could  at  any  time 
re-assert  the  old  pretensions  of  his  house.  He  visited 
England  in  1338,  and  was  well  received  by  Edward  III.,  to 
whom,  it  is  said,  he  acknowledged  vassalage.  John  of  the 
Isles  and  the  Regent  disputed  about  the  lands  granted  by 
Bruce  to  Angus  Og  of  the  Isles,  and  this  was  the  principal 
cause  of  the  Island  chief  having  thrown  himself  into  the 
arms  of  the  Baliol  party.  The  latter,  in  addition  to  the  lands 
above-mentioned,  granted  him  the  Wardship  of  Lochaber, 
until  the  heir  of  Athol,  at  the  time  only  three  years  of  age, 
attained  his  majority.  These  territories  had  been  previously 
forfeited  by  the  ancestors  of  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  on  the 
accession  of  Robert  Bruce.  The  new  grant  was  confirmed 
by  Edward  III.  on  the  5th  of  October,  1336.  In  spite  of  all 
this,  however,  and  the  great  advantages  to  the  Baliol  party 
of  securing  the  support  of  a  powerful  chief  like  John  of  the 
Isles,  the  Regent  ultimately  succeeded  in  rescuing  Scotland 
from  the  dominion  and  pretentions  of  Edward  of  England 
and  his  unpatriotic  tool,  Edward  Baliol,  finally  establishing 
the  independence  of  his  native  country. 

In   1 341,  the  Steward  sent  to  France  for  David  II.,  to 
commence  his  personal  reign  in  Scotland  ;  but  the  Island 



chief  was  too  powerful  to  suffer  materially  in  person  or 
property  for  his  recent  disloyalty.  Indeed,  David  on  his 
return  considered  it  the  best  policy  to  attach  as  many  of 
the  Scottish  barons  to  his  party  as  possible ;  and  with  this 
view  he  concluded  a  treaty  with  John  of  the  Isles,  by  which 
a  temporary  peace  was  secured  between  them,  and  in  con- 
sequence of  which  the  Insular  Chief  was,  for  the  first  time 
during  his  whole  rule,  not  in  active  opposition  to  the 
Scottish  king.  Gregory,  referring  to  these  transactions, 
says  that  "on  the  return  of  David  II.  from  France,  after 
the  final  discomfiture  of  Baliol  and  his  supporters,  John  of 
the  Isles  was  naturally  exposed  to  the  hostility  of  the 
Steward  and  the  other  nobles  of  the  Scottish  party,  by  whose 
advice  he  seems  to  have  been  forfeited,  when  many  of  his 
lands  where  granted  to  one  of  his  relations,  Angus  Maclan, 
progenitor  of  the  house  of  Ardnamurchan.  This  grant, 
however,  did  not  take  effect ;  and  such  was  the  resistance 
offered  by  John  and  his  kinsman,  Reginald  or  Ranald,  son 
of  Roderick  MacAlan  (who  had  been  restored,  in  all  pro- 
bability, by  Baliol,  to  the  lands  forfeited  by  his  father),  and 
so  anxious  was  David  at  the  time  to  bring  the  whole  force 
of  his  kingdom  together  in  his  intended  wars  with  England, 
that  he  at  length  pardoned  both  these  powerful  chiefs,  and 
confirmed  to  them  the  following  possessions  : — To  John  he 
gave  the  Isles  of  Isla,  Gigha,  Jura,  Scarba,  Colonsay,  Mull, 
Coll,  Tiree,  and  Lewis,  and  the  districts  of  Morvern,  Loch- 
aber,  Duror,  and  Glenco :  to  Ranald  the  Isles  of  Uist, 
Barra,  Egg,  and  Rum,  and  the  Lordship  of  Garmoran, 
being  the  original  possessions  of  his  family  in  the  North. 
By  this  arrangement,  Kintyre,  Knapdale,  and  Skye  re- 
verted to  their  former  owners,  and  Lorn  remained  in  the 
hands  of  the  crown,  whilst  it  is  probable  that  Ardnamur- 
chan was  given  as  a  compensation  to  Angus  Maclan." 
The  Lordship  of  Garmoran  comprehended  the  districts  of 
Moidart,  Arisaig,  Morar,  and  Knoydart,  on  the  mainland. 
Not  long  after  this,  Ranald,  son  of  Rory  of  the  Isles,  and 
last  male  representative  of  Roderick  of  Bute,  grandson  of 
Somerled  of  the  Isles,  was,  in  1346,  murdered,  as  already 


stated,  at  Perth  by  the  Earl  of  Ross,  from  whom  he  held 
lands  in  Kintail ;  and,  leaving  no  issue,  his  sister  Amie, 
who  married  John  of  the  Isles,  in  terms  of  the  grant  in  his 
favour  by  David  II.,  became  her  brother's  heir,  when  her 
husband,  uniting  her  possessions  to  his  own,  assumed 
henceforth  the  style  of  Dominus  Insularum,  or  Lord  of  the 
Isles.  The  first  recorded  instance  of  the  assumption  of 
this  title  by  John  of  Isla,  is  in  an  indenture  with  the  Lord 
of  Lorn,  in  1354.  "Thus  was  formed,"  continues  Gregory, 
"the  modern  Lordship  of  the  Isles,  comprehending  the 
territories  of  the  Macdonalds  of  Isla,  and  the  Macruaries  of 
the  North  Isles,  and  a  great  part  of  those  of  the  Macdougalls 
of  Lorn  ;  and  although  the  representative  of  the  latter 
family  was  nominally  restored  to  the  estates  of  his  an- 
cestors on  the  occasion  of  his  marriage  with  a  niece  of  the 
king,  yet  he  was  obliged  to  leave  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  in 
possession  of  such  portion  of  the  Lorn  estates  as  had  been 
granted  to  the  latter  by  David  in  1344.  The  daughter  and 
heiress  of  John  de  Ergadia,  or  Macdugall,  the  restored 
Lord  of  Lorn,  carried  Lorn  proper  to  her  husband,  Robert 
Stewart,  founder  of  the  Rosyth  family,  by  whom  the  Lord- 
ship was  sold  to  his  brother,  John  Stewart  of  Innermeath, 
ancestor  of  the  Stewarts,  Lord  of  Lorn." 

This  acquisition  of  territory  added  immensely  to  the 
power  and  influence  of  the  Lord  of  the  Isles,  and  though 
he  was  at  the  time  on  friendly  terms  with  King  David,  the 
Government  became  concerned  as  to  the  consequences  of 
permitting  the  ancient  territories  of  Somerled  to  become 
again  united  in  the  person  of  such  an  able  and  powerful 
chief  as  the  Lord  of  the  Isles.  They  therefore  determined 
to  place  every  obstacle  in  his  way,  and  refused  to  acknow- 
ledge him  as  the  rightful  heir  to  Ranald  MacRuari  of  the 
Isles,  and  his  wife  Amie  dying  soon  after,  advantage  was 
taken  of  her  death  to  refuse  him  a  title  to  her  lands,  while 
the  Government  went  the  length  of  asserting  that  her 
marriage  with  the  Lord  of  the  Isles,  on  which  his  claim  was 
founded,  had  been  irregular,  and  therefore  could  not  be 
recognised.      This  naturally  roused   the   ire   of  the  great 


chief;  he  was  again  in  opposition,  and  in  the  ranks  of  the 
Baliol  party ;  but  the  English  king  having  at  the  same 
time  to  direct  his  attention  to  the  war  with  France,  a 
treaty  was  entered  into  between  the  Scots  and  English 
before  the  opposition  of  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  could 
produce  any  consequences  detrimental  to  the  Government 
of  Scotland. 

Shortly  after  this  a  change  took  place  in  the  character 
and  position  of  the  different  factions  in  Scotland  which 
had  the  effect  once  more  of  detaching  the  Lord  of  the  Isles 
from  the  English  interest,  and  of  inducing  him  to  take  his 
natural  position  among  the  barons  who  stood  out  for  the 
independence  of  Scotland.  Skene  describes  the  state  of 
parties  at  this  period  and  the  ultimate  result  in  a  remark- 
ably clear  and  concise  form,  and  says — Previously  to  the 
return  of  David  II.  from  captivity  in  England  in  1357,  the 
established  Government  and  the  principal  barons  of  the 
kingdom  had,  with  the  exception  of  those  periods  when 
Edward  Baliol  had  gained  a  temporary  success,  been 
invariably  hostile  to  the  English  claims,  while  it  was 
merely  a  faction  of  the  nobility,  who  were  in  opposition 
to  the  Court,  that  supported  the  cause  of  Baliol  and  of 
English  supremacy.  John,  from  the  natural  causes  arising 
from  his  situation,  and  urged  by  the  continued  policy  of 
the  Government  being  directed  towards  the  reduction  of 
his  power  and  influence,  was  alwa)^s  forced  into  opposition 
to  the  administration,  for  the  time,  by  which  this  policy 
was  followed,  and  when  the  opposing  faction  consisted  of 
the  adherents  of  the  English  interest,  the  Island  Lord  was 
naturally  found  among  them,  and  was  thus  induced  to 
enter  into  treaty  with  the  King  of  England.  On  the 
return  of  David,  however,  the  situation  of  parties  became 
materially  altered  ;  the  King  of  Scotland  now  ranked  as 
Edward  of  England's  staunchest  adherent,  and  secretiy 
seconded  all  his  endeavours  to  overturn  the  independence 
of  Scotland,  while  the  party  which  had  throughout  sup- 
ported the  throne  of  Scotland  and  the  cause  of  independ- 
ence were  in  consequence  thrown  into  active  opposition  to 


the  crown.  The  natural  consequence  of  this  change  was  that 
the  Lord  of  the  Isles  left  the  party  to  which  he  had  so  long 
adhered  as  soon  as  it  became  identified  with  the  royal 
faction,  and  was  thus  forced  into  connection  with  those 
with  whom  he  had  been  for  so  many  years  at  enmity. 

The  Steward  of  Scotland,  who  was  at  the  head  of  this 
party,  was  of  course  desirous  of  strengthening  himself  by 
means  of  alliances  with  the  most  powerful  barons  of  the 
country,  and  he  therefore  received  the  accession  of  so 
important  a  person  with  avidity,  and  cemented  their  union 
by  procuring  the  marriage  of  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  with  his 
own  daughter.  John  now  adhered  stedfastly  to  the  party  of 
the  Steward,  and  took  an  active  share  in  all  its  proceedings, 
along  with  the  other  barons  by  whom  they  were  joined,  but 
without  any  open  manifestation  of  force,  until  the  year  1366, 
when  the  country  was  in  a  state  of  irritation  from  the  heavy 
burdens  imposed  upon  the  people  in  order  to  raise  the 
ransom  of  their  king,  and  when  the  jealousy  of  David 
towards  the  Steward  had  at  length  broken  out  so  far  as  to 
cause  the  former  to  throw  his  own  nephew  and  acknow- 
ledged successor  to  his  throne  into  prison.  The  northern 
barons,  who  belonged  to  his  party,  broke  out  into  open 
rebellion,  and  refused  to  pay  their  proportion  of  the  general 
taxation,  or  attend  the  parliament  to  which  they  were 
frequently  summoned.  Matters  appear  to  have  remained 
in  this  state,  and  the  northern  chiefs  to  have  actually 
assumed  independence  for  upwards  of  two  years,  until 
David  had  at  last  brought  himself  to  apply  to  the  Steward 
as  the  only  person  capable  of  restoring  peace  to  the  country, 
and  charged  him  to  put  down  the  rebellion. 

In  consequence  of  this  appeal,  the  Steward,  who  was 
unwilling  to  be  considered  as  the  disturber  of  the  peace  of  the 
kingdom,  and  whose  ends  were  better  forwarded  by  steady 
opposition  to  the  Court  party  than  by  open  rebellion,  took 
every  means  in  his  power  to  reduce  the  insurgent  noble- 
men to  obedience ;  but  although  he  succeeded  in  obtaining 
the  submission  of  John  of  Lorn  and  Gillespie  Campbell, 
and   although   the  earls   of    Mar    and   Ross,   with   other 


northern  barons,  whose  object  was  gained  by  the  restora- 
tion of  the  Steward  to  freedom,  voluntarily  joined  him  in 
his  endeavours,  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  refused  to  submit, 
and,  secure  in  the  distance,  and  in  the  inaccessible  nature 
of  his  territories,  set  the  royal  power  at  defiance.  But  the 
state  of  affars  in  France  soon  after  requiring  the  undivided 
attention  of  the  English  king,  he  was  obliged  to  come  to 
terms  with  the  Scots,  and  a  peace  having  been  concluded 
between  the  two  countries  on  the  most  favourable  terms 
for  the  latter,  the  Scottish  government  was  left  at  liberty 
to  turn  its  attention  wholly  towards  reducing  the  Isles  to 
obedience.  To  accomplish  this,  David  II.,  well  aware  of 
the  cause  of  the  rebellion  of  the  Isles,  and  of  the  danger  of 
permitting  matters  to  remain  in  their  present  position,  at 
length  determined,  and  that  with  a  degree  of  energy  which 
his  character  had  given  little  reason  to  expect,  in  person  to 
proceed  against  the  rebels,  and  for  this  purpose  commanded 
the  attendance  of  the  Steward  with  the  barons  of  the  realm. 
But  the  Steward,  now  perceiving  that  the  continuance  of 
the  rebellion  of  the  Isles  would  prove  fatal  to  his  party,  suc- 
ceeded by  the  great  influence  which  he  possessed  over  his 
son-in-law,  in  persuading  him  to  meet  the  king  at  Inverness, 
and  to  submit  himself  to  his  authority.  The  result  of 
this  meeting  was  a  treaty  entered  into  between  "Johannes 
de  Yla,  dominus  insularum  "  on  the  one  hand,  and  "  David, 
Dei  gratia  rex  Scotorum  "  on  the  other,  in  which  John  not 
only  engaged  to  submit  to  the  royal  authority  and  to  take 
his  share  of  all  public  burdens,  but  also  to  put  down  all 
others  who  dared  to  raise  themselves  in  opposition  to  the 
regal  authority.  For  the  fulfilment  of  this  obligation  the 
Lord  of  the  Isles  not  only  gave  his  oath,  but  offered 
his  father-in-law,  the  High  Steward,  as  security,  and  de- 
livered his  lawful  son,  Donald,  by  the  Steward's  daughter, 
his  grandson,  Angus,  by  his  eldest  lawful  son,  John,  and  a 
natural  son,  also  named  Donald,  into  the  hands  of  the  King 
as  hostages.* 

*  The  following  is  a  copy  of  the  famous  instrument  which  will  be  found  at  pp. 
69-70  of  "  Invernessiana,"  by  Charles  Fraser-Mackintosh,  F.S.A.,  Scot.,  M.P. — 


By  the  accession  of  Robert  Steward  to  the  throne  of 
Scotland,  which  took  place  shortly  after  this  event,  the 

"  To  all  who  may  see  the  present  letters  : — John  de  Yle,  Lord  of  the  Isles,  wishes 
salvation  in  the  Saviour  of  all.  Since  my  most  serene  prince  and  master,  the 
revered  lord  David,  by  the  Grace  of  God,  illustrious  King  of  Scots,  has  been  stirred 
up  against  my  person  because  of  certain  faults  committed  by  me,  for  which  reason, 
coming  humbly  to  the  presence  of  my  said  lord,  at  the  Town  of  Inverness,  on  the 
15th  day  of  the  month  of  November,  in  the  year  of  grace  1369,  in  the  presence  of 
the  prelates,  and  of  very  many  of  the  nobles  of  his  kingdom,  I  offered  and  sub- 
mitted myself  to  the  pleasure  and  favour  of  my  said  master,  by  suppliantly 
entreating  for  favour  and  for  the  remission  of  my  late  faults,  and  since  my  said 
lord,  at  the  instance  of  his  council,  has  graciously  admitted  me  to  his  goodwill  and 
favour,  granting  besides  that  I  may  remain  in  (all)  my  possessions  whatsoever  and 
not  be  removed,  except  according  to  the  process  and  demand  of  law :  Let  it  be 
clearly  patent  to  you  all,  by  the  tenor  of  these  presents,  that  I,  John  de  Yle, 
foresaid,  promise  and  covenant,  in  good  faith,  that  I  shall  give  and  make  reparation 
to  all  good  men  of  this  kingdom  whatsoever,  for  such  injuries,  losses,  and  troubles 
as  have  been  wrought  by  me,  my  sons,  or  others  whose  names  are  more  fully  set 
forth  in  the  royal  letters  of  remission  granted  to  me,  and  to  whomsoever  of  the 
kingdom  as  are  faithful  I  shall  thus  far  make  the  satisfaction  concluded  for,  and  I  shall 
justly  note  purchased  lands  and  superiorities,  and  I  shall  govern  them  according  to 
my  ability  ;  I  shall  promptly  cause  my  sons  and  my  subjects,  and  others  my 
adherents,  to  be  in  peaceable  subjection,  and  that  due  justice  shall  be  done  to  our 
lord  the  King,  and  to  the  laws  and  customs  of  his  kingdom,  and  that  they  shall  be 
obedient  to,  and  shall  appear  before  the  justiciars,  sheriffs,  coroners,  and  other 
royal  servants  in  each  sheriffdom,  even  better  and  more  obediently  than  in  the 
time  of  Robert  of  good  memory,  the  predecessor  of  my  lord  the  King,  and  as  the 
inhabitants  of  the  said  lands  and  superiorities  have  been  accustomed  to  do.  They 
shall  answer,  both  promptly  and  dutifully,  to  the  royal  servants  what  is  imposed 
regarding  contributions  and  other  burdens  and  services  due,  and  also  for  the  time 
past,  and  in  the  event  that  within  the  said  lands  or  superiorities  any  person  or 
persons  shall  offend  against  the  King,  or  one  or  more  of  his  faithful  servants,  and 
if  he  or  they  shall  despise  to  obey  the  law,  or  if  he  or  they  shall  be  unwilling  to 
obey  in  the  premises,  and  in  any  one  of  the  premises,  I  shall  immediately,  entirely 
laying  aside  stratagem  and  deceit,  pursue  that  person  or  those  persons  as  enemies, 
and  as  rebels  of  the  King  and  kingdom,  with  all  my  ability,  until  he  or  they  shall 
be  expelled  from  the  limits  of  the  lands  and  superiorities,  or  I  shall  make  him  or 
them  obey  the  common  law  :  And  for  performing,  implementing,  and  faithfully 
observing  these  things,  all  and  each,  I  personally  have  taken  the  oath  in  presence 
of  the  foresaid  prelates  and  nobles,  and  besides  I  have  given  and  surrendered  the 
under-written  hostages,  viz.,  Donald,  my  son,  begotten  of  the  daughter  of  the  Lord 
Seneschal  of  Scotland,  Angus,  son  of  my  late  son  John,  and  one  Donald,  another 
and  natural  son  of  mine,  whom,  because  at  the  time  of  the  completion  of  this 
present  deed,  I  have  not,  at  present,  ready  and  prepared,  I  shall  cause  them  to  go 
into,  or  to  be  given  up  at  the  Castle  of  Dumbarton,  at  the  feast  of  our  Lord's  birth 
now  next  to  come,  if  I  shall  be  able  otherwise  on  this  side,  or  at  the  feast  of  the 
Purification  of  the  Blessed  Virgin  (or  Candlemas,  2d  February)  next  following 
thereafter,  under  pain  of  the  breach  of  the  oath  given,  and  under  pain  of  the  loss 
of  all  things  which,  with  regard  to  the  lord  our  King,  I  shall  be  liable  to  lose,  in 
whatever  manner.  And  for  securing  the  entrance  of  these  hostages  as  promised,  I 
have  found  my  Lord  Seneschal  of  Scotland,  Earl  of  Strathern,  security,  whose 
seal  for  the  purpose  of  the  present  security,  and  also  for  the  greater  evidence  of 
the  matter  is  appended,  along  with  my  own  proper  seal,  to  these  presents  in  testi- 
mony of  the  premises.     Acted  and  given,  year,  day,  and  place  foresaid." 


Lord  of  the  Isles  was  once  more  brought  into  close  con- 
nection with  the  crown,  and,  as  John  remained  during  the 
whole  of  this  reign  in  a  state  of  as  great  tranquillity  as  his 
father  Angus  had  done  during  that  of  Robert  Bruce,  the 
policy  of  thus  connecting  these  turbulent  chiefs  with  the 
Government  by  the  ties  of  friendship  and  alliance,  rather 
than  that  of  attempting  to  reduce  them  to  obedience  by 
force,  became  very  manifest.  King  Robert,  no  doubt,  saw 
clearly  enough  the  advantages  of  following  the  advice 
left  by  Robert  Bruce,  for  the  guidance  of  his  successors, 
not  to  allow  the  great  territories  and  extensive  influence 
of  these  Island  lords  ever  again  to  be  concentrated  in 
the  person  of  one  individual  ;  but  the  claims  of  John  were 
too  great  to  be  overlooked,  and,  accordingly,  Robert  had 
been  but  one  year  on  the  throne,  when  John  obtained 
from  him  a  feudal  title  to  all  those  lands  which  had  for- 
merly belonged  to  Ranald,  the  son  of  Roderick,  and  which 
had  been  so  long  refused  to  him. 

In  order,  however,  to  neutralise  in  some  degree  the  effect 
of  thus  investing  one  individual  with  a  feudal  title  to  such 
extensive  territories,  and  believing  himself  secure  in  the 
attachment  of  John  during  his  lifetime,  King  Robert, 
since  he  could  not  prevent  the  accumulation  of  so  much 
property  in  one  family,  determined,  by  bringing  about 
division  among  its  different  branches,  to  sow  the  seed  of 
future  discord,  and  eventually  perhaps  the  ruin  of  the  race. 
He  found  little  difficulty  in  persuading  John,  in  addition  to 
the  usual  practice  in  that  family  of  gavelling  the  lands  among 
a  numerous  offspring,  to  render  the  children  of  the  two 
marriages  feudally  independent  of  each  other — a  fatal 
measure,  the  consequences  of  which  John  did  not  apparently 
foresee;  and,  accordingly,  in  the  third  year  of  his  reign,  King 
Robert  confirmed  a  charter  by  John  to  Reginald,  the  second 
surviving  son  of  the  first  marriage,  of  the  lands  of  Gar- 
moran,  which  John  had  acquired  by  his  marriage  with 
Reginald's  mother,  to  be  held  of  John's  heirs;  that  is  to  say, 
of  the  descendants  of  the  eldest  son  of  the  first  marriage, 
of  whom  one  had  been  given  as  a  hostage  in  1369,  and 


who  would,  of  course,  succeed  to  the  whole  of  John's  pos- 
sessions not  feudally  destined  to  other  quarters.  Some 
years  afterwards  John  resigned  a  great  part  of  the  Western 
portion  of  his  territories,  consisting  principally  of  the  lands 
of  Lochaber,  Kintyre,  and  Knapdale,  with  the  Island  of 
Colonsay,  into  the  King's  hands,  and  received  from  him 
charters  of  these  lands  in  favour  of  himself  and  his  heirs 
by  the  marriage  with  the  King's  daughter  ;  thus  rendering 
the  children  of  the  second  marriage  feudally  independent 
of  those  of  the  first,  and  furnishing  a  subject  for  contention 
between  these  families  which  could  not  fail  to  lead  to  their 

The  regularity  of  the  first  marriage  has  been  questioned, 
but  its  perfect  legitimacy  is  now  placed  beyond  question  by 
the  discovery  of  a  dispensation  by  the  Pope,  dated  1337, 
permitting  the  marriage,  as  the  parties  were  within  the  pro- 
hibited degrees  of  consanguinity  allowed  by  the  Church. 
On  this  point  Gregory,  Skene,  Smibert,  and  indeed  all  the 
best  authorities  are  at  one  ;  and  the  first  wife  was  divorced, 
from  anything  that  can  be  ascertained,  without  any  just 
reasons  or  any  real  cause  of  complaint  against  her  good  and 
faithful  conduct.  Gregory  considers  it  highly  probable  that 
a  secret  understanding  had  been  arrived  at  between  the 
Steward  and  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  before  the  latter  divorced 
his  first  wife  and  married  the  daughter  of  the  Steward,  that, 
at  the  death  of  King  David,  the  Steward  would  ascend  the 
throne,  supported  by  the  Island  Lord,  under  the  title  of 
Robert  II.  ;  and  certain  it  is,  he  says,  that  after  that  event 
the  destination  of  the  Lordship  of  the  Isles  was  altered  so 
as  to  cause  it  to  descend  to  the  grandchildren  of  the  King. 
Aware  that  his  rights  to  Garmoran  and  the  North  Isles 
were  annulled  by  the  divorce  of  his  first  wife,  the  Lord  of 
the  Isles,  disregarding  her  claims,  and  trusting  to  the  in- 
fluence of  the  King,  his  father-in-law,  procured  a  royal 
charter  of  the  lands  in  question,  in  which  her  name  was  not 
even  mentioned.  Godfrey  the  eldest  son,  by  the  first  wife, 
resisted  these  unjust  proceedings,  maintaining  his  mother's 

*  Highlanders  of  Scotland,  by  W.  F.  Skene,  pp.  64-70. 


prior  claims,  and  his  own  as  her  heir  ;  but  Ranald,  the 
younger  brother,  being  more  pliant,  was  rewarded  by  a 
grant  of  the  North  Isles,  Garmoran,  and  many  other  lands, 
to  hold  of  John,  Lord  of  the  Isles,  and  J  lis  heirs* 

When  the  Steward  ascended  the  throne  as  Robert  II., 
one  of  his  first  Acts  of  Parliament  was  to  confirm  his 
"beloved  son  John  of  the  Isles,"  in  the  possession  of  the 
Scottish  heritage  of  the  house  of  Somerled,  except  a 
portion  of  Argyle,  Moidart,  Arisaig,  Morar,  and  Knoydart, 
on  the  mainland.  Uist,  Barra,  Rum,  Egg,  and  Harris, 
in  the  Western  Isles,  were  confirmed  or  assigned  to  him 
and  his  heirs  by  royal  charter,  dated  at  Scone,  on  the  9th 
March,  137 1-2.  By  the  charter  granted  in  his  favour  by 
David  II.  on  the  12th  June,  1344,  he,  in  addition  to  securing 
the  lands  already  named,  was  made  keeper  of  the  "  King's 
Castles  of  Kernoburgh,  Iselborogh,  and  Dunchonnal,  with 
the  lands  and  small  Islands  thereto  belonging,  to  be  held 
by  the  said  John,  and  his  heirs,  in  fee  and  heritage."  In 
1354  he  entered  into  an  indenture  with  John  of  Lorn,  Lord 
of  Argyle,  by  which  the  latter  gave  up  his  ancient  claims 
to  these  castles  and  lands,  in  favour  of  John  of  the  Isles, 
as  also  his  rights  to  the  Islands  of  Mull,  Jura,  and  Tiree. 
In  the  same  year  he  was  one  of  the  four  great  barons  of 
Scotland  named  as  securities  for  the  observance  of  the 
Treaty  of  Newcastle,  and  as  the  other  three  barons  named 
were  the  Steward  of  Scotland,  afterwards  Robert  II.,  the 
Lord  of  Douglas,  and  Thomas  of  Moray,  it  is  clear  that  he 
was  selected  on  that  occasion  as  one  of  the  most  powerful 
chiefs  of  his  time  in  all  Scotland.  On  the  31st  of  March, 
1356,  Edward  III.  of  England  issued  a  commission  to  treat 
directly  with  the  Island  chief,  and  in  the  treaty  for  the 
liberation  of  David  II.,  entered  into  on  the  3rd  of  October  in 
the  following  year,  by  which  also  an  "  inviolable  truce  "  for 
ten  years  between  England  and  Scotland  was  agreed  upon, 
the  Lord  of  the  Isles  was  specially  mentioned.  In  1362 
he  obtained  a  confirmation  of  all  donations  and  concessions 

*  Western  Highlands  and  Isles,  pp.  30-31. 


by  whosoever  made  to  him,  and  of  whatsoever  lands,  tene- 
ments, annual  rents,  and  other  possessions  held  by  him. 

The  haughty  temper  of  the  Western  chief  is  well  illus- 
trated by  an  anecdote  told  in  Hugh  Macdonald's  MS. — 
"  When  John  of  the  Isles  was  to  be  married,  some  of  his 
followers  and  familiars  advised  him  to  behave  courteously 
before  the  King,  and  to  uncover  himself  as  others  did. 
He  said  (that)  he  did  not  well  know  how  the  King 
should  be  reverenced,  for  all  the  men  he  ever  saw  should 
reverence  himself"  ;  and  to  get  over  the  difficulty,  he 
"  threw  away  his  cap,  saying  he  would  wear  none,"  and  thus 
there  would  be  no  necessity  to  humiliate  himself  by  taking 
it  off  before  the  King. 

There  is  now  no  doubt  whatever  that  John,  first  Lord  of 
the  Isles,  married  first,  as  his  lawful  wife,  Amie,  sole  repre- 
sentative and  heiress  of  the  MacRuari  branch  of  the  Siol 
Cuinn,  and  that  among  his  descendants  by  this  marriage, 
we  must  look  for  the  representative  of  the  elder  branch, 
and  therefore  for  the  chiefs  of  the  line  of  Somerled  of  the 
Isles;  while  it  is  equally  true  that  the  family  of  Sleat 
represent  the  last  Earls  of  Ross  and  Lords  of  the  Isles. 
There  is,  at  the  same  time,  no  doubt  that  Donald,  the 
eldest  son  of  the  second  marriage,  although  not  the  chief 
of  the  family  by  right  of  blood,  became  the  actual  feudal 
superior  of  his  brothers.  On  this  point  Gregory  is  em- 
phatic, and  says  "  Donald,  the  eldest  son  of  the  second 
marriage,  became  on  his  father's  death,  second  Lord  of  the 
Isles,  and  in  that  capacity  was  most  undoubtedly,  feudal 
superior  and  actual  chief  of  his  brothers,  whether  of  the 
full  or  half  blood."  We  shall  therefore  treat  the  Lords  of 
the  Isles  as  the  first  and  most  important  line,  in  the  follow- 
ing pages. 

By  his  marriage  with  Amie,  heiress  of  the  MacRuaries, 
"the  good  John  of  Isla"  had  issue — 

i.  John,  who  died  before  his  father,  leaving  one  son, 
Angus,  who  died  without  issue. 

2.  Godfrey,  of  Uist  and  Garmoran,  whose  desendants  are 
said  to  be  extinct. 


2.  Ranald,  or  Reginald,  progenitor  of  Glengarry,  and  of 
all  the  Macdonalds  claiming  to  be  ClanRanalds.  These 
shall  be  dealt  with  in  their  order. 

4.  Mary,  said  to  have  married,  first,  one  of  the  Macleans 
of  Duart,  and,  secondly,  Maclean  of  Coll. 

He  married,  secondly,  Lady  Margaret,  daughter  of 
Robert,  High  Steward  of  Scotland,  afterwards  King  Robert 
II.,  and  first  of  the  Stewart  dynasty.    By  this  lady  he  had — 

5.  Donald,  who  succeeded  as  second  Lord  of  the  Isles. 

6.  John  Mor  Tanastair,  of  Isla,  ancestor  of  the  Earls  of 
Antrim,  Macdonalds  of  Sanda,  and  several  other  important 

7.  Alexander,  Lord  of  Lochaber,  known  as  "Alastair 
Carrach,"  progenitor  of  the  family  of  Keppoch,  Dalchoisnie, 
and  others,  of  whom  in  their  order. 

He  had  also  a  natural  son,  Donald,  one  of  the  hostages 
named  in  the  treaty  of  1369  already  quoted. 

Gregory  says  that  John  died  in  1380,  while  Skene  places 
his  death  about  1386.  His  death  took  place  at  his  castle 
of  Ardtornish  in  Morven  ;  and  he  was  buried  in  the  sacred 
precincts  of  Iona,  "  with  great  splendour,"  by  the  ecclesias- 
tics of  the  Isles,  whose  attachment  he  secured  by  liberal 
donations  to  the  Church,  and  who  evinced  their  gratitude 
by  naming  him  "  the  good  John  of  Isla,"  a  designation 
handed  down  by  tradition  to  modern  times. 

He  was  succeeded  in  his  possessions,  and  in  the  Lordship 
of  the  Isles,  by  his  eldest  son  by  the  second  marriage, 


Better  known  in  history  as  "  Donald  of  Harlaw,"  the  eldest 
son  by  his  father's  second  marriage,  who  became  feudal 
superior  of  the  children  by  the  first  marriage,  as  already 
described.  This  chief  possessed  no  small  share  of  his 
father's  spirit.  He  was  a  man  of  distinguished  ability, 
and,  though  so  closely  connected  with  the  throne,  he 
resolved  to  gain  complete  independence,  like  his  ancestors, 


for  the  Island  kingdom.  The  more  easily  to  gain  his 
purpose  he  entered  into  an  alliance  with  the  English 
against  his  own  country  and  king,  a  proceeding  which  can 
only  be  justified  on  the  plea  that,  like  his  predecessors, 
he  considered  himself  an  independent  Prince,  owing  no 
allegiance  to  the  Scottish  king  for  the  territories  held  by 
the  race  of  Somerled  in  the  north-west  Highlands  and  Isles. 
This  contention  was,  however,  clearly  untenable,  for  in 
point  of  fact  he  only  possessed  his  lands,  as  the  eldest  son 
of  the  second  marriage,  by  a  charter  from  the  crown,  in  the 
absence  of  which  these  possessions  would  have  gone  to  the 
children  of  the  first  marriage,  who  only  could,  on  that  plea, 
claim  to  be  independent  princes.  Be  that  as  it  may,  it  is 
undisputed  that  the  second  Lord  of  the  Isles  is  found,  in 
the  year  1388,  shortly  after  the  death  of  his  father,  nego- 
tiating with  Richard  II.  of  England  on  the  footing  of  an 
independent  Prince.  Twelve  years  later  we  find  him 
visiting  England  under  a  safe-conduct  dated  2nd  June, 
1400,  granted  in  his  favour  by  Henry  IV.,  and  treaties 
exist,  entered  into  between  him  and  that  monarch,  dated 
respectively  1405  and  1408.  By  the  first,  dated  June  2nd, 
Donald  de  Insulis,  and  John,  his  brother,  are  allowed  to 
come  into  England  with  100  horse ;  while  on  the  16th 
September,  1405,  Henry  IV.  issued  a  commission  for 
treating  with  Donald  de  Insulis,  Chevalier,  and  John,  his 
brother,  about  a  final  peace,  alliance,  and  friendship 
between  them  and  his  Majesty.  The  same  proceeding  is 
repeated  under  date  of  8th  May,  1408. 

A  few  years  later  Donald  raised  the  flag  of  rebellion,  and 
conducted  himself  in  a  manner,  and  exhibited  a  power  and 
capacity,  which  shook  the  throne  and  the  government 
almost  to  their  very  foundations.  He  had  married  Lady 
Mar)/  Leslie,  only  daughter  of  the  Countess  of  Ross. 
Alexander,  Earl  of  Ross,  her  only  brother,  married 
Isabella  Stewart,  daughter  of  the  Regent,  Robert  Duke  of 
Albany,  by  which  union  he  had  an  only  child,  Euphemia, 
who  became  a  nun,  and  resigned  her  estates  and  dignities 
in  favour  of  her  grandfather  and  her  uncle  John,  Earl  of 


Buchan,  second  son  of  the  Duke  of  Albany,  and  his  heirs 
male,  whom  failing,  to  return  to  the  Crown,  thus  cutting  off 
Lady  Margaret,  the  wife  of  Donald,  who  was  the  heir 
general.  Skene  says  that  Euphemia,  on  taking  the  veil, 
committed  the  government  of  her  earldom  to  the  governor, 
when  Donald  saw  that  if  Albany  was  permitted  to  retain 
actual  possession  of  the  Earldom,  he  would  be  unable  to 
recover  it  in  right  of  his  wife  from  that  crafty  nobleman. 
He  accordingly  proceeded  to  take  possession,  contending 
that  Euphemia,  by  taking  the  veil,  had  become  in  a  legal 
point  of  view,  dead ;  and  that  the  Earldom  belonged  to 
him  in  right  of  his  wife.  His  demand  that  he  should  on 
these  grounds  be  put  in  possession  of  it  was  opposed  by 
the  Governor,  whose  principal  object  appears  to  have  been 
to  prevent  the  accession  of  so  vast  a  district  as  the  ancient 
Earldom  of  Ross  to  the  extensive  territories  of  the  Lord  of 
the  Isles,  already  too  powerful  to  be  kept  in  check  by  the 
Government.  The  Governor  was  actuated  more  by  what 
would  most  conduce  to  the  security  of  the  Government 
than  by  any  question  as  to  whether  the  claims  of  the  Lord 
of  the  Isles  were  in  themselves  just  or  not.  Donald  was 
not  the  man,  however,  who  would  patiently  brook  such 
unjust  refusal  of  his  rights  ;  and  no  sooner  did  he  receive 
an  unfavourable  denial  of  his  demands  than  he  collected  all 
the  forces  he  could  command,  amounting  to  about  ten 
thousand  men,  with  whom  he  invaded  the  Earldom.  He 
appears  to  have  met  with  no  resistance  from  the  people  of 
Ross  ;  and  soon  obtained  possession  of  that  district ;  but  on 
his  arrival  at  Dingwall  he  was  met  by  Angus  Dubh  Mackay, 
in  command  of  a  large  body  of  men  from  Sutherland,  who, 
after  a  fierce  attack,  was  completely  routed  by  the  Lord  of 
the  Isles ;  and  Angus  Dubh  himself  was  taken  prisoner. 
"  Donald  was  now  in  complete  possession  of  the  Earldom, 
but  his  subsequent  proceedings  showed  that  the  nominal 
object  of  his  expedition  was  but  a  cover  to  ulterior  designs  ; 
for,  leaving  the  district  of  Ross,  he  swept  through  Moray, 
and  penetrated  into  Aberdeenshire,  at  the  head  of  his  whole 
army.     Here  he  was  met  at  the  village  of  Harlaw  by  the 


Earl  of  Mar,  at  the  head  of  an  inferior  army  in  point  of 
numbers,  but  composed  of  Lowland  gentlemen,  who  were 
better  armed  and  better  disciplined  than  the  Highland 
followers  of  Donald.  It  was  on  the  24th  July,  141 1,  that 
the  celebrated  battle  of  Harlaw  was  fought,  upon  the  issue 
of  which  seemed  to  depend  the  question  of  whether  the 
Gaelic  or  Teutonic  part  of  the  population  of  Scotland  were 
in  future  to  have  the  supremacy."  * 

The  following  description  of  the  engagement  is  given  in  a 
recent  work  : — Mar  soon  saw  that  he  had  to  contend  with 
tremendous  odds  ;  but,  although  his  forces  were,  it  is  said, 
only  a  tenth  of  those  opposed  to  him,  he  resolved,  from 
the  confidence  he  had  in  his  steel-clad  knights,  to  risk  a 
battle.  Having  placed  a  small  but  select  body  of  knights 
and  men-at-arms  in  front,  under  the  command  of  the 
constable  of  Dundee  and  the  Sheriff  of  Angus,  the  Earl 
drew  up  the  main  strength  of  his  army  in  the  rear, 
including  the  Murrays,  the  Straitons,  the  Maules,  the 
Irvings,  the  Lesleys,  the  Lovels,  the  Stirlings,  headed  by  their 
respective  chiefs.  The  Earl  then  placed  himself  at  the 
head  of  this  body.  At  the  head  of  the  Islemen  and 
Highlanders  was  the  Lord  of  the  Isles,  subordinate  to  whom 
were  Mackintosh  and  Maclean,  and  other  Highland  chiefs, 
all  bearing  the  most  deadly  hatred  to  their  Saxon  foes, 
and  panting  for  revenge. 

On  a  signal  being  given,  the  Highlanders  and  Islemen, 
setting  up  those  terrific  shouts  and  yells  which  they  were 
accustomed  to  raise  on  entering  into  battle,  rushed  forward 
upon  their  opponents  ;  but  they  were  received  with  great 
firmness  and  bravery  by  the  knights,  who  with  their  spears 
levelled,  and  battle-axes  raised,  cut  down  many  of  their 
impetuous  but  badly  armed  adversaries.  After  the 
Lowlanders  had  recovered  themselves  from  the  shock 
which  the  furious  onset  of  the  Highlanders  had  produced, 
Sir  James  Scrymgeour,  at  the  head  of  the  knights  and 
bannerets  who  fought  under  him,  cut  his  way  through  the 
thick  columns  of  the  Islemen,  carrying  death  everywhere 

*  Highlanders  of  Scotland,  vol.  ii. ,  pp.  71-73. 


around  him  ;  but  the  slaughter  of  hundreds  by  this  brave 
party  did  not  intimidate  the  Highlanders,  who  kept 
pouring  in  by  thousands  to  supply  the  places  of  those  who 
had  fallen.  Surrounded  on  all  sides,  no  alternative  re- 
mained for  Sir  James  and  his  valorous  companions  but 
victory  or  death,  and  the  latter  was  their  lot.  The  Con- 
stable of  Dundee  was  amongst  the  first  who  suffered,  and 
his  fall  so  encouraged  the  Highlanders,  that  seizing  and 
stabbing  the  horses,  they  thus  unhorsed  their  riders,  whom 
they  despatched  with  their  daggers.  In  the  meantime 
the  Earl  of  Mar,  who  had  penetrated  with  his  main  army 
into  the  very  heart  of  the  enemy,  kept  up  the  unequal 
contest  with  great  bravery,  and,  although  he  lost  during 
the  action  almost  the  whole  of  his  army,  he  continued  the 
fatal  struggle  with  a  handful  of  men  till  night-fall.  The 
disastrous  result  of  this  battle  was  one  of  the  greatest  mis- 
fortunes which  had  ever  happened  to  the  numerous 
respectable  families  in  Angus  and  the  Mearns.  Many  of 
these  families  lost  not  only  their  head,  but  every  male  in 
the  house.  Lesley  of  Balquhain  is  said  to  have  fallen  with 
six  of  his  sons.  Besides  Sir  James  Scrymgeour,  Sir 
Alexander  Ogilvy,  the  Sheriff  of  Angus,  with  his  eldest 
son,  George  Ogilvy ;  Sir  Thomas  Murray,  Sir  Robert 
Maule  of  Panmure,  Sir  Alexander  Irving  of  Drum,  Sir 
William  Abernethy  of  Salton,  Sir  Alexander  Straiton  of 
Lauriston,  James  Lovel,  Alexander  Stirling,  and  Sir 
Robert  Davidson,  Provost  of  Aberdeen,  with  500  men-at- 
arms,  including  the  principal  gentry  of  Buchan,  and  the 
greater  part  of  the  burgesses  of  Aberdeen,  who  followed 
their  Provost,  were  amongst  the  slain.  The  Highlanders 
left  900  men  dead  on  the  field  of  battle,  including  the 
Chiefs  of  Maclean  and  Mackintosh.*  This  memorable 
battle  was  fought  on  the  eve  of  the  feast  of  St.  James  the 
the  Apostle,  July  25,  141 1.  It  was  the  final  contest  for 
supremacy  between  the  Celt  and  the  Teuton,  and  appears 
to  have  made  at  the  time  an  inconceivably  deep  impression 
on  the  national  mind. 

*  This  is  incorrect,  Mackintosh  lived  for  many  years  after  the  date  of  the  battle 
of  Harlaw. 


The  Lord  of  the  Isles  retreated,  without  molestation 
from  the  enemy,  and  was  allowed  to  recruit  his  exhausted 
strength.  As  soon,  however,  as  the  news  of  the  disaster 
reached  the  ears  of  the  Duke  of  Albany,  then  Regent  of 
Scotland,  he  set  about  collecting  an  army  with  which  he 
marched  in  person  to  the  north  in  the  autumn,  determined 
to  bring  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  to  obedience.  Having 
taken  possession  of  the  Castle  of  Dingwall,  he  appointed 
a  governor,  and  from  thence  proceeded  to  recover  the 
whole  of  Ross.  Donald  retreated  before  him,  and  took 
up  his  winter  quarters  in  the  Islands.  Hostilities  were 
renewed  next  summer,  but  the  contest  was  not  long  or 
doubtful — notwithstanding  some  little  advantages  obtained 
by  the  Lord  of  the  Isles — for  he  was  compelled  to  give 
up  his  claim  to  the  Earldom  of  Ross,  to  become  a  vassal  to 
the  Scottish  crown,  and  to  deliver  hostages  to  secure  his 
future  good  behaviour.* 

Gregory  states  that  the  whole  array  of  the  Lordship  of 
the  Isles  followed  Donald  on  that  occasion,  and  that 
consequently  he  was  not  weakened  by  any  opposition  such 
as  might  be  expected  on  the  part  of  his  elder  brothers  or 
his  descendants,  though  Ranald,  "  the  youngest  but  most 
favoured  son  of  the  first  marriage  of  the  good  John,  was,  as 
the  seannachies  tell  us,  '  old  in  the  government  of  the  Isles, 
at  his  father's  death,' "  and  though  he  also  acted  as  tutor 
or  guardian  to  his  younger  brother  Donald,  now  Lord  of 
the  Isles,  to  whom,  on  attaining  his  majority,  he  delivered 
over  the  Lordship,  in  the  presence  of  the  vassals,  "  contrary 
to  the  opinion  of  the  men  of  the  Isles,"  who  doubtless 
considered  Godfrey,  the  eldest  son  of  the  first  marriage,  as 
their  proper  lord.  If  the  opinion  of  the  Islanders  was 
at  first  in  favour  of  Godfrey,  the  liberality  and  other 
distinguished  characteristics  of  Donald  seem  in  a  very  short 
time  to  have  reconciled  them  to  his  rule,  for  "  there  is  no 
trace  after  this  time  of  any  opposition  among  them  to 
Donald  or  his  descendants  ".  And  "  as  the  claim  of  '  Donald 
of  Harlaw '  to  the  Earldom  of  Ross,  in  right  of  his  wife, 

*  Fullarton's  History  of  the  Highland  Clans. 



was  after  his  death  virtually  admitted  by  King  James  I., 
and  as  Donald  himself  was  actually  in  possession  of  that 
Earldom  and  acknowledged  by  the  vassals  in  141 1,  he  may 
without  impropriety  be  called  the  first  Earl  of  Ross  of  his 

According  to  Buchanan,  "there  fell  so  many  eminent 
and  noble  personages  as  scarce  ever  perished  in  one  battle 
against  a  foreign  enemy  for  many  years  before ".  The 
following  is  from  Hugh  Macdonald  : — "  This  Alexander 
(Earl  of  Ross),  who  was  married  to  the  Duke  of  Albany's 
daughter,  left  no  issue  but  one  daughter,  named  Eupheme. 
She  being  very  young,  the  Governor,  her  grandfather, 
took  her  to  his  own  family,  and  having  brought  her 
up,  they  persuaded  her  by  flattery  and  threats  to  resign 
her  rights  of  the  Earldom  of  Ross  to  John,  his  second  son, 
Earl  of  Buchan,  as  it  was  given  out,  and  that  much  against 
her  will.  But  others  were  of  opinion  she  did  not  resign 
her  rights  ;  but  thereafter  she  was  bereaved  of  her  life,  as 
most  men  thought,  by  the  contrivance  of  the  Governor. 
Donald,  Lord  of  the  Isles,  claimed  right  to  the  Earldom  of 
Ross,  but  could  get  no  other  hearing  from  the  Governor  but 
lofty  menacing  answers,  neither  could  he  get  a  sight  of 
the  rights  which  Lady  Eupheme  gave  to  his  son  John. 
The  Governor  thought  that  his  own  strength  and  sway 
could  carry  everything  according  to  his  pleasure  in  the 
kingdom,  still  hoping  for  the  crown,  the  true  heir  thereof 
(James  I.,  nephew  to  the  Duke  of  Albany)  being  prisoner 
in  England.  He  likewise  was  at  enmity  with  the  Lord  of 
the   Isles,   because    Sir   Adam   Moor's  daughterf*  was  his 

*  Western  Highlands  and  Isles,  pp.  31-32. 

f  The  author  of  the  "  Macdonnells  of  Antrim"  says,  in  a  footnote,  pp.  17-18, 
regarding  this  lady,  who  was  the  grandmother  of  both  the  claimants  : — Elizabeth 
More  or  Muir,  was  a  lady  of  the  well-known  Rowallan  family,  in  the  parish  of 
Kilmarnock,  her  father,  Sir  Adam  Muir,  being  the  fifth  in  descent  from  David 
de  Moore,  the  founder  of  that  house  early  in  the  thirteenth  century.  There  had 
formerly  existed  considerable  doubt  as  to  the  reality  of  the  marriage  between 
Robert  II.  and  Elizabeth  Muir,  and  all  the  earlier  Scottish  historians  down  even  to 
Buchanan,  supposed  that  their  union  had  not  been  legalised  by  marriage.  The 
author  of  the  Historie  of  James  the  sexth,  however,  after  quoting  from  a  pedigree  of 
the  Muirs  of  Rowallan,  says  that  ' '  Robert,  great  Steward  of  Scotland  having  taken 


grandmother,  knowing  full  well  that  he  would  own  the  true 
heir's  cause  against  him.  The  Lord  of  the  Isles  told  the 
Governor  he  would  either  lose  all  he  had  or  gain  the 
Earldom  of  Ross,  to  which  he  had  such  a  good  title. 
The  Duke  replied — he  wished  Donald  would  be  so  forward 
as  to  stick  to  what  he  said.  Donald  immediately  raised  the 
best  of  his  men,  to  the  number  of  10,000,  and  chose  out 
of  them  6600,  turning  the  rest  of  them  to  their  homes. 
They  thought  first  they  would  fight  near  to  Inverness ; 
but,  because  the  Duke  and  his  army  came  not,  Donald's 
army  marched  through  Murray,  and  over  the  Spey.  The 
Governor,  Alexander  Stewart,  Earl  of  Murray,  and  John 
Stewart,  Earl  of  Buchan,  the  Governor's  son,  having 
gathered  an  army  of  9700  men,  desired  the  Lord  of  the  Isles 
tostay,  and  thatthey  would  meethim  near  Inverness  and  give 
him  battle  ;  but  he  would  not  leave  his  own  men  foraging 
in  his  own  county  of  Ross.  Therefore  he  marched  forward, 
resolving  to  take  his  hazard  near  their  doors,  assuring 
himself  of  victory.  Huntly,  who  was  Macdonald's  friend, 
sent  him  a  private  message,  desiring  him  to  commit  no 
hostilities  in  his  country,  by  the  way  of  assuring  him,  he 
would  not  own  the  Governor's  quarrels,  and  wishing  Mac- 

away  the  said  Elizabeth,  drew  to  Sir  Adame,  her  father,  ane  instrument  that  he 
should  take  her  to  his  lawful  wyfe,  which  myself  hath  see?ie,  said  the  collector  (of  the 
pedigree,  Mr  John  Lermouth),  as  also  ane  testimonie,  written  in  Latine  by  Roger 
M'Adame,  priest  of  our  Ladie  Marie's  Chapell."  A  charter  granted  by  Robert  II, , 
in  1364,  proves  that  Elizabeth  Muir  was  the  first  wife  of  that  King,  and  refers  to  a 
dispensation  granted  by  the  Pope  for  the  marriage.  This  charter  was  published  in 
1694,  by  one  Mr  Lewis  Innes,  Principal  of  the  Scot's  College  at  Paris.  The 
dispensation  from  Rome  referred  to  in  the  charter  of  1364,  was  long  sought  for 
after  the  lady's  death,  and  was  not  found  until  the  year  1789,  when  it  and  a 
dispensation  for  the  King's  marriage  with  Euphemia  Ross,  his  last  wife,  were 
discovered  together.  There  exists  also  another  charter  by  David  II.,  "  to  Robert, 
great  Steward  of  Scotland,  of  the  lands  of  Kin  tyre  ;  and  to  John  Stewart  his  son, 
gotten  betwixt  him  and  Elizabeth  Moore,  daughter  of  Adam  Moore,  knight,  and 
failzeing  of  him,  to  Walter,  his  second  brother."  Elizabeth  Muir  is  said  to  have 
been  a  very  beautiful  woman,  and  to  have  captivated  the  High  Steward  during  the 
unquiet  times  of  Edward  Baliol,  when  the  former  was  often  obliged  to  seek  safety 
in  concealment.  It  is  supposed  that  Dundonald  Castle  was  the  "  scene  of  King 
Robert's  early  attachment  and  nuptials  with  the  fair  Elizabeth  ".  From  this  union 
are  descended,  through  their  daughter,  Margaret  Stewart,  the  Macdonnells  of 
Antrim ;  and  through  their  sons,  not  only  the  race  of  our  British  sovereigns,  but 
also  of  several  crowned  heads  in  Europe.  For  an  account  of  the  Muirs  of  Rowallan, 
see  Paterson's  Parishes  and  Families  of  Ayrshire,  vol.  ii.,  pp.  182-194. 


donald  good  success,  and  desiring  him  to  be  of  good 
courage.  The  Lord  of  the  Isles  went  forward  till  both 
armies  met  at  Harlaw,  a  place  in  Garioch  in  the  Braes  of 
Buchan.  There  came  several  in  the  Governor's  army  out 
of  curiosity  to  see  Macdonald  and  his  Highlanders  routed, 
as  they  imagined ;  others  came  to  be  rewarded  by  the 
Governor,  as  they  did  not  expect  to  see  any  other  king,  in 
all  appearance,  but  he  and  his  offspring ;  others  came 
through  fear  of  the  Duke's  great  authority.  Macdonald 
set  his  men  in  order  of  battle  as  follows.  He  commanded 
himself  the  main  battle,  where  he  kept  most  of  the  Islanders, 
and  with  the  Macleods,  John  of  Harris  and  Roderick  of  the 
Lewis.  He  ordered  the  rest  to  the  wings,  the  right  com- 
manded by  Hector  Roy  Maclean,  and  the  left  by  Callum 
Beg  Mackintosh,  who  that  day  received  from  Macdonald 
a  right  of  the  lands  of  Glengarry  in  Lochaber,  by  way  of 
pleasing  him  for  yielding  the  right  wing  to  Maclean,  and 
to  prevent  any  quarrel  between  him  and  Maclean.  Mac- 
kintosh said  he  would  take  the  lands,  and  make  the  left 
behave  as  well  as  the  right.  John  More,  Donald's  brother, 
was  placed  with  a  detachment  of  the  lightest  and  nimblest 
men  as  a  reserve,  either  to  assist  the  wings  or  main  battle, 
as  occasion  required.  To  him  was  joined  Mackenzie  and 
Donald  Cameron  of  Locheill.  Allister  Carrick  was  young, 
and  therefore  was  much  against  his  will  set  apart,  lest  the 
whole  of  his  brothers  should  be  hazarded  at  once.  The 
Earls  of  Mar  and  Buchan  ordered  their  men  in  a  main 
battle  and  two  small  fronts ;  the  right  front  was  com- 
manded by  Lords  Marishall  and  Enroll,  the  left  by  Sir 
Alexander  Ogilvie,  Sheriff  of  Angus.  They  encountered 
one  another ;  their  left  wing  was  forced  by  Maclean,  and 
the  party  on  Macdonald's  right  was  forced  to  give  way. 
There  was  a  great  fold  for  keeping  cattle  behind  them, 
into  which  they  went.  The  Earl  of  Mar  was  forced  to  give 
ground,  and  that  wing  was  quite  defeated.  Mar  and  Erroll 
posted  to  Aberdeen,  the  rest  of  Macdonald's  men  followed 
the  chase.  There  were  killed  on  the  Governor's  side  2550. 
The  Lord  Marishall  was  apprehended  safe,  and  died  in  his 


confinement  of  mere  grief  and  despair.  Sir  Alexander 
Ogilvy,  Sheriff  of  Angus,  was  killed,  with  seven  knights, 
and  several  other  gentlemen.  On  Macdonald's  side  Mac- 
lean fell ;  he  and  Irvin  of  Drum  fought  together  till  the  one 
killed  the  other.  Drum's  two  brothers,  with  the  principal 
men  of  that  surname,  were  killed,  so  that  a  boy  of  that 
name,  who  herded  the  cattle,  succeeded  to  the  estate  of 
Drum.  Two  or  three  gentlemen  of  the  name  of  Munroe 
were  slain,  together  with  the  son  of  Macquarry  of  Ulva, 
and  two  gentlemen  of  the  name  of  Cameron.  On  Mac- 
donald's side  were  lost  in  all  180.  This  battle  was  fought 
anno  141 1.  Macdonald  had  burnt  Aberdeen  had  not 
Huntly  dissuaded  him  from  it,  saying  that  by  his  victory, 
in  all  appearance,  he  gained  his  own,  yet  it  was  ridiculous 
in  him  to  destroy  the  town,  and  that  the  citizens  would 
always  join  with  him  who  had  the  upper  hand.  Now,  to 
prove  these  fabulous  and  partial  writers,  particularly 
Buchanan,  it  is  well  known  to  several  men  of  judgment  and 
knowledge  that  Macdonald  had  the  victory  there,  and 
gained  the  Earldom  of  Ross,  for  four  or  five  generations 
thereafter,  and  that  Mackintosh,  whom  they  say  was 
killed,  lived  twenty  years  thereafter,  and  was  with  the  Earl 
of  Mar  when  Alexander  Macdonald,  Lord  of  the  Isles,  was 
captive  at  Tantallon,  in  the  battle  fought  at  Inverlochy 
against  Donald  Balloch,  Alexander's  cousin-german.  This 
Donald  Balloch  was  son  to  John  More,  brother  to  Donald 
of  the  Isles  and  Earl  of  Ross.  Now,  it  happened  that  this 
same  Callum  Beg  Mackintosh  was  with  King  James  I. 
after  his  releasement  from  his  captivity  in  England,  in  the 
same  place  where  the  battle  was  fought.  The  King  asked 
him  how  far  they  followed  the  chase  ?  Mackintosh  replied 
that  they  followed  it  farther  than  his  Majesty  thought. 
So  the  King  riding  on  a  pretty  pace,  asked  Mackintosh  if 
they  came  that  length  ?  He  answering,  said,  in  his  opinion, 
there  was  a  heap  of  stones  before  them,  and  that  he  left 
there  a  mark  to  show  that  he  followed  the  chase  that  length  ; 
and  with  that  he  brought  a  man's  arm  with  its  gauntlet  out 
of  the  heap.     The  King,  beholding  it,  desired  him  to  be 


with  him  that  night  at  Aberdeen.  The  King  upon  his 
arrival  there,  Mackintosh  going  to  his  lodgings,  said  in 
presence  of  the  bystanders,  that  he  had  performed  his 
word  to  the  King,  and  now  he  would  betake  himself  to  his 
own  lodgings  ;  whereupon  he  immediately  left  the  town, 
for  he  dreaded  the  King  would  apprehend  him.  Patrick, 
Earl  of  Tullibardin,  said  as  other  noblemen  were  talking 
of  the  battle  of  Harlaw,  we  know  that  Macdonald  had  the 
victory,  but  the  Governor  had  the  printer."* 

Summing  up  a  description  and  the  consequences  of  this 
famous  engagement,  Burton,  with  his  characteristic  hatred 
of  the  Highlanders,  must  of  course  call  the  result  of  this 
battle  a  "  defeat  "  for  the  Islanders,  and  says — "  So  ended 
one  of  Scotland's  most  memorable  battles.  The  contest 
between  the  Lowlanders  and  Donald's  host  was  a  contest 
between  foes,  of  whom  their  contemporaries  would  have 
said  that  their  ever  being  in  harmony  with  each  other,  or 
having  a  feeling  of  common  interests  and  common  nation- 
ality was  not  within  the  range  of  rational  expectations. 
.  .  .  It  will  be  difficult  to  make  those  not  familiar  with 
the  tone  of  feeling  in  Lowland  Scotland  at  that  time 
believe  that  the  defeat  of  Donald  of  the  Isles  was  felt  as 
a  more  memorable  deliverance  than  even  that  of  Bannock- 


We  learn  from  the  MS.  History  of  the  Mackintoshes 
quoted  by  Charles  Fraser-Mackintosh  in  "  Invernessiana " 
that :  — In  this  war  Malcolm,  or  Callum  Beg,  Chief  of 
Mackintosh,  "  lost  many  of  his  friends,  particularly  James 
Mackintosh  (Shaw)  of  Rothiemurchus,"  who  must  have 
been  confused  with  the  Chief  himself,  though  the  latter,  in 
point  of  fact,  lived  until  about  1457.J 

*  Collectanea  de  Rebus  Albanicis,  pp.  300-2. 

+  Vol.  iii.,  pp.  101-102. 

X  In  1412,  according  to  the  accounts  of  the  great  chamberlain  of  Scotland  "  pay- 
ment is  made  to  Lord  Alexander,  Earl  of  Mar,  for  various  labours  aud  expenses 
incurred  in  the  war  against  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  for  the  utility  of  the  whole  king- 
dom of  .£122  7s.  4d.  ;  and  also  to  him  for  the  construction  of  a  fortalice  at  Inverness, 
for  the  utility  of  the  kingdom,  against  said  Lord  of  the  Isles,  ^100 ;  and  for  lime 
to  Inverness  for  the  construction  of  said  fortalice,  and  for  food  and  the  carriage  of 


It  has  been  generally  supposed  that  the  resignation  of 
the  Earldom  of  Ross  by  Euphemia  the  nun  in  favour  of 
her  grandfather,  Robert,  Duke  of  Albany,  was  the  sole  and 
immediate  cause  of  the  battle  ;  but  the  actual  date  of  the 
instrument  of  resignation  is  141 5 — four  years  afterwards; 
and  Skene  thinks  that  the  securing  of  the  resignation  of 
the  earldom  in  his  favour  at  that  date  was  rather  an 
attempt  on  the  part  of  Albany  to  give  a  colour  of  justice 
to  his  retention  of  what  he  was,  by  the  result  of  the  battle 
of  Harlaw,  enabled  to  keep  in  his  possession.  There  is  no 
doubt  that  his  claim  on  the  earldom  was  the  ostensible 
cause  of  the  invasion  by  the  Lord  of  the  Isles,  but  the 
readiness  with  which  that  claim  was  given  up  in  the 
following  summer,  by  a  treaty  concluded  with  the  Governor 
at  Port-Gilp,  in  Argyleshire — on  which  occasion  Donald 
not  only  gave  up  the  earldom,  but  agreed  to  become  a 
vassal  of  the  Crown,  and  to  deliver  hostages  for  his  future 
good  behaviour,  while  he  might  easily  have  kept  possession 
of  Ross — clearly  indicate  that  the  invasion  was  but  a  part 
of  a  much  more  extensive  scheme  for  which  the  claim  to 
the  earldom  served  as  a  very  good  excuse,  and  that  upon 
the  failure  of  the  more  extensive  scheme,  the  claim  for  the 
earldom  was,  with  little  ado,  given  up.  This  becomes  the 
more  apparent  if  we  keep  in  mind  the  treaty  between 
Donald  and  Henry  IV.  of  England,  dated  1408,  above 
referred  to  ;  and  that  no  sooner  was  the  civil  war  in 
Scotland  concluded  than  a  truce  was  agreed  upon  between 
England  and  Scotland  for  a  period  of  six  years.  Gregory 
is  of  the  same  opinion,  and  says  (p.  32) — "After  the  death 
of  John,  Lord  of  the  Isles,  we  discover  various  indications  of 
the  intrigues  of  the  English  Court  with  the  Scottish 
Islanders  had  been  assumed  ;  and  it  is  not  altogether  im- 
probable that  it  was  a  suspicion  of  these  treasonable 
practices  which  caused  the  Regent,  Robert  of  Albany,  to 
oppose  the  pretensions  of  Donald,  Lord  of  the  Isles,  to  the 

wood,  £^2  10s.  3d.  In  1414  payment  is  made  to  Lord  Alexander,  Earl  of  Mar,  in 
consideration  of  his  divers  labours  and  expenses  about  the  castle  of  Inverness,  of 
j£52  us.  3d." 


Earldom  of  Ross.  But  although  English  emissaries  were 
on  various  occasions  dispatched,  not  only  to  the  Lord  of 
the  Isles  himself,  but  to  his  brothers  Godfrey  and  John — 
and  two  of  the  brothers  even  appear  to  have  visited  the 
English  Court — we  cannot,  at  this  distance  of  time, 
ascertain  how  far  these  intrigues  were  carried."  The  fatal 
policy  of  taking  part  with  England  against  Scotland  in  the 
quarrels  of  those  kingdoms  was  continued  by  Donald's 
successors  until  the  power  of  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  was 
finally  broken  up  ;  and  his  grandson,  as  will  be  seen,  by  the 
same  unpatriotic  conduct  brought  on  the  downfall  of  his 
house  sooner  than  it  would  otherwise  have  come. 

Donald,  second  Lord  of  the  Isles,  married  Lady  Mary 
Leslie  (daughter  of  Sir  Walter  Leslie,  by  Euphemia, 
Countess  of  Ross,  in  favour  of  whose  marriage  there  is  a 
dispensation  dated  1367),  who  became  Countess  of  Ross  in 
her  own  right  when  her  niece  resigned  the  earldom  and 
adopted  the  veil.  By  this  marriage  the  Lord  of  the  Isles 
had  issue — 

1.  Alexander,  who  succeeded  as  Lord  of  the  Isles  and 
Earl  of  Ross. 

2.  Angus,  Bishop  of  the  Isles. 

3.  Mariot,  who  married  Alexander  Sutherland,  and  to 
whom  "  her  brother  Alexander,  in  1429,  gave  the  lands  of 
Duchall,  to  her  and  her  husband,  Alexander  Sutherland, 
as  appears  from  the  grant  of  the  same  in  the  possesion 
of  Sinclair  of  Roslin  ".* 

He  died,  according  to  Findon,  in  1423  ;  to  Gregory, 
"circa  1420";  while  Hugh  Macdonald  the  Seannachie, 
though  not  mentioning  the  year  of  his  death,  says  that  he 
"  died  at  Ardhorinish,  in  Morvairn,  in  the  forty-fifth  year 
of  his  age,  and  was  buried  at  Icolmkill,  after  the  rites  and 
ceremonies  of  his  predecessors  ".  He  was  succeeded  in  the 
Lordship  of  the  Isles,  and,  a  few  years  later,  in  the  Earl- 
dom of  Ross,  by  his  eldest  son, 

*  Wood's  Douglas's  Peerage. 



After  the  death  of  his  mother,  Countess  of  Ross  in  her 
own  right,  he  became  Earl  of  Ross.  The  title  was  ac- 
knowledged in  1430  by  the  Crown,  though  his  father 
had  given  up  all  claims  to  it  by  the  treaty  of  Port-Gilp 
already  referred  to.  It  is  open  to  question,  whether 
Donald  of  Harlaw  was  really  entitled  to  style  himself 
Earl  of  Ross,  though  he  undoubtedly  possessed,  in  right 
of  his  wife,  the  territory  comprising  the  Earldom,  not- 
withstanding that  Skene  is  of  opinion  that  Donald  may 
fairly  be  considered  the  first  Earl  of  Ross  of  the  race  of 
Somerled.  Be  that  as  it  may,  there  is  no  doubt  that 
Alexander  was  not  only  styled  Earl  of  Ross,  but  acknow- 
ledged as  such  by  the  Crown,  in  right  of  his  mother. 

He  was  a  man  of  great  spirit  and  marked  ability,  and, 
like  his  father  and  grandfather,  became  ambitious  to  found 
a  Celtic  kingdom  of  the  Isles,  the  sovereignty  of  which 
should  be  in  his  family.  At  the  time,  however,  Scotland  was 
ruled  by  James  I.,  exhibiting  kingly  talents  of  a  high  order, 
and  a  resolution  to  bring  his  rebellious  vassals,  however 
powerful,  to  submission.  In  this  he  was  ultimately 
successful,  even  in  the  case  of  the  Lord  of  the  Isles,  though, 
at  first,  more  by  clever  strategy  than  by  actual  force  of 
arms.  The  King,  who  possessed  remarkable  energy, 
decision  of  character,  and  unsurpassed  personal  bravery, 
determined  to  break  down  the  independence  and  power  of 
the  turbulent  Island  and  West  Highland  Lords,  and,  collect- 
ing a  large  force,  he,  in  1427,  marched  to  Inverness  ac- 
companied by  his  principal  nobles,  with  an  army  which 
made  resistance  on  the  part  of  the  Highlanders  quite 
unavailing.  On  his  arrival  he  summoned  his  barons,  in- 
cluding the  Highland  chiefs,  to  attend  a  parliament. 
Even  the  Lord  of  the  Isles,  seeing  the  power  and  splendour 
of  the  King,  thought  it  prudent  to  obey  ;  and,  with  most 
of  the  Northern  barons,  he  proceeded  to  meet  him  in  the 
Highland    Capital.     As    the    chiefs    entered    the    hall    in 


which  parliament  was  assembled,  each  of  the  haughty- 
nobles  was  immediately  arrested,  and  placed  in  irons  in 
different  parts  of  the  building,  not  one  being  permitted  to 
communicate  with  any  of  the  others.  Among  the  prisoners 
were  Alexander  of  the  Isles  ;  his  mother  the  Countess  of 
Ross  ;  Alexander  of  Garmoran,  and  several  of  the  most 
powerful  chiefs  in  the  Highlands.  It  is  recorded  that  the 
King  exhibited  marks  of  great  joy  as  he  saw  those  power- 
ful Highland  Lords  marching  into  the  toils  which  he  had  so 
treacherously  prepared  for  them.  Alexander  of  Garmoran, 
was  tried,  convicted,  and  adjudged  to  be  decapitated  on 
the  spot,  and  his  whole  possessions  forfeited  to  the  crown, 
while  most  of  the  others  were  sent  to  different  castles  and 
strongholds  throughout  the  kingdom,  until  the  majority  of 
them  were  afterwards  condemned  to  different  kinds  of 
death  ;  while  a  few  were  set  at  liberty  after  various  terms  of 
imprisonment.  Among  the  latter  was  Alexander  of  the 
Isles.  It  is  impossible  to  defend  the  mean  and  treacherous 
conduct  of  the  King,  however  brave  or  otherwise  dis- 
tinguished, but  Hill  Burton  makes  the  attempt ;  while 
telling  us  that  "  It  is  useless  to  denounce  such  acts,"  he 
makes  an  admission  which  is  not  altogether  inapplicable  to 
the  present  day: — That  "there  was  no  morenotion  of  keeping 
faith  with  the  '  Irishry,'  whether  of  Ireland  or  Scotland, 
than  with  the  beast  of  prey  lured  to  his  trap  ; "  after  which 
he  proceeds  to  say  that  those  whom  it  was  deemed  fitting 
to  get  rid  of  were  put  to  death,  and  that  nothing  remains 
to  show  that  there  was  even  the  ceremonial  of  a  trial.* 

The  Earldom  of  Ross,  which  had  been  procured  by 
Robert,  Duke  of  Albany,  for  his  son,  John  Stewart,  Earl 
of  Buchan,  on  its  resignation  at  Port-Gilp  by  Donald  of 
Harlaw,  fell  to  the  Crown,  in  1424,  by  the  death  of  the 
Earl  of  Buchan,  killed  in  that  year  at  the  battle  of  Verneuil 
in  France  ;  whereupon  the  King  at  once  restored  it  to  the 
heiress  of  line,  the  mother  of  Alexander  of  the  Isles.  In 
1425,  Alexander  of  the  Isles  and  "  Master  of  the  Earldom 
of  Ross,"  sat  upon  the  jury   which  condemned   to  death 

*  History  of  Scotland,  vol.  ii.,  402;  1876. 


the  enemy  of  his  house,  Murdoch,  Duke  of  Albany,  his  two 
sons,  and  the  Earl  of  Lennox,  for  the  murder  of  Rothesay. 
He  does  not  appear,  however,  to  have  long  continued  in 
favour  at  Court,  and  it  may  be  interesting  to  have  Gregory's 
opinion  of  the  influences  which  led  Alexander  at  that  time 
into  opposition  to  the  King.  It  has  been  mentioned,, 
he  says,  that  Godfrey,  Lord  of  Uist,  on  the  death  of  his 
younger  brother,  Ranald,  asserted  successfully  his  claim  to 
the  North  Isles  and  Garmoran,  from  which  he  had  been 
unjustly  excluded  by  his  father.  Both  Godfrey  and 
Ranald  left  male  issue  who  must  naturally  have  been 
opposed  to  each  other,  like  their  fathers  ;  but  the  meagre 
notices  we  possess  of  the  domestic  feuds  in  the  Highlands 
and  Isles  at  this  period,  do  not  enable  us  to  trace  the 
progress  of  these  dissensions.  It  may  be  readily  conceived, 
however,  that  where  such  a  prize  was  in  dispute,  much 
blood  would  be  shed  and  many  atrocities  committed.  The 
issue  of  Godfrey,  or  the  Siol  Gorrie,  as  they  were  called, 
must  for  a  time  have  acquired  a  superiority  over  the  Clan- 
ranald  or  the  descendants  of  Ranald  ;  for  in  the  year  1427 
we  find  mention  made  by  a  contemporary  writer  of  an 
Alexander  MacGorrie  of  Garmoran,  then  described  as  a 
leader  of  two  thousand  men.  In  addition  to  the  disturb- 
ances sure  to  arise  out  of  the  rival  claims  of  two  such  power- 
ful families,  closely  connected  with  the  Lord  of  the  Isles, 
there  were  other  circumstances,  in  addition  to  these,  which 
tended  to  involve  his  Lordship  in  feuds  which  his  natural 
disposition  inclined  him  to  settle  more  by  the  sword  than 
by  an  appeal  to  the  law.  There  was  a  certain  John  Mac- 
Arthur,  of  the  family  of  Campbell,  and  a  leader  of  some 
note  in  the  Highlands,  who  appears  to  have  revived  about 
this  period  a  claim  which  one  of  his  ancestors  had  acquired 
over  a  portion  of  Garmoran  and  the  North  Isles,  and  it  can 
easily  be  conjectured  what  reception  the  assertions  of  such 
pretensions  would  receive  from  Alexander  of  the  Isles  and 
his  warlike  relatives.  There  is  a  charter  of  the  lands  of 
Moydert,  &c,  by  Christina,  daughter  of  Allan  MacRuari, 
in  favour  of  Arthur,  son  of  Sir  Arthur  Campbell,  knight, 


early  in  the  fourteenth  century,  which  is  found,  quoted  for 
the  names  of  the  witnesses,  in  a  MS.  History  of  the  Mac- 
naughtans,  in  the  Advocates'  Library.  The  event,  how- 
ever, which  appears  to  have  had  most  effect  in  throwing 
the  Highlands  and  Islands  into  confusion  at  this  time  was 
the  murder  of  John,  Lord  of  Isla  and  Kintyre,  uncle  to  the 
Lord  of  the  Isles,  by  a  man,  James  Campbell,  who  is  said 
to  have  received  a  commission  from  the  King  to  apprehend 
John  of  Isla,  but  who  exceeded  his  instructions  by  putting 
him  to  death.  When  it  is  considered  in  what  lawless  state 
even  the  more  accessible  portions  of  the  kingdom  were  found 
on  his  accession  by  James  I.,  owing  to  the  incapacity  and 
the  weakness  of  the  regent,  Murdoch,  Duke  of  Albany,  it 
can  easily  be  conceived  how  the  murder  of  the  uncle  of 
Alexander  of  the  Isles,  and  the  leader  of  a  powerful 
branch  of  the  Macdonalds,  should  have  raised  disturbances 
in  the  Western  Highlands  and  Isles  which  required  all  the 
energy  and  personal  bravery  of  the  King  to  suppress.* 

Among  the  most  prominent  of  those  executed  at 
Inverness  in  1427  were  John  Mac  Arthur  and  James 
Campbell,  hanged  for  the  murder  of  John  of  Isla,  as  if  to 
show  the  supposed  impartiality  of  the  treacherous  proceed- 
ings of  the  King  and  his  parliament  on  that  occasion.  Hugh 
Macdonald  informs  us  that  while  the  Lord  of  the  Isles 
was  confined  in  Tantallon  Castle,  the  King  sent  this  John 
MacArthur  Campbell  to  know  "  if  John  More  of  Kintyre, 
Macdonald's  uncle,  would  take  all  his  nephew's  land;  but  it 
was  a  trap  laid  to  weaken  them  that  they  might  be  the  more 
easily  conquered.  James  Campbell  sent  a  man  with  a 
message  to  John  of  Kintyre,  desiring  him  to  meet  him  at  a 
point  called  Ard-Du,  with  some  prudent  gentleman,  and 
that  he  had  matters  of  consequence  from  the  King  to  be 
imparted  to  him.  John  came  to  the  place  appointed  with 
a  small  retinue,  but  James  Campbell  with  a  very  great 
train,  and  told  (him)  of  the  King's  intention  of  granting 
him  all  the  lands  possessed  by  Macdonald  conditionally  he 
would  hold  of  him  and  serve  him.     John  said  he  did  not  know 

*  Gregory's  Western  Highlands  and  Isles,  pp.  34-35. 


wherein  his  nephew  wronged  the  King,  and  that  his  nephew 
was  as  deserving  of  his  rights  as  he  could  be,  and  that  he 
would  not  accept  of  those  lands,  nor  serve  for  them,  till  his 
nephew  would  be  set  at  liberty ;  and  that  his  nephew 
himself  was  as  nearly  related  to  the  King  as  he  could  be* 
James  Campbell,  hearing  the  answer,  said  that  he  (John  of 
Isla)  was  the  King's  prisoner.  John  made  all  the  resist- 
ance he  could,  till,  overpowered  by  numbers,  he  was  killed. 
His  death  made  a  great  noise  through  the  kingdom, 
particularly  among  the  faction  in  opposition  to  the  King, 
viz.,  the  Hamiltons,  Douglases,  and  Lindsays.  The  King 
at  last  being  ashamed  of  what  had  happened,  he  pursued 
James  Campbell  as  the  murderer  ;  and  although  Campbell 
protested  he  had  the  King's  authority  for  so  doing,  yet  the 
King  denied  having  given  any  other  orders  than  that  of 
apprehending  him,  if  he  would  not  come  into  the  terms 
proposed  to  him  ;  and  because  Campbell  had  no  written 
order  from  the  King  to  produce  in  his  defence,  he  was 
taken  and  beheaded,  which  shows  the  dangerous  conse- 
quences of  undertaking  such  a  service  without  due  circum- 

The  young  Lord  of  the  Isles,  \vas  sent  south,  some  say 
to  Edinburgh,  and  others  to  Perth,  where  he  was  kept  in 
captivity  for  a  short  time,  and  then  liberated.  His  conduct 
immediately  after  his  release  shows  that  he  felt  the  indignity 
of  his  capture  and  imprisonment  very  deeply.  According 
to  Gregory ;  his  mother,  the  Countess  of  Ross,  had  mean- 
while died,  though  Bower  states  that  in  1429  she  was 
charged  with  encouraging  her  son  in  his  violent  pro- 
ceedings, and  was  arrested  and  confined  at  Inchcolm,  in 
the  Firth  of  Forth,  where  she  is  said  to  have  remained 
fourteen  months  after,  a  prisoner.  But  Gregory  points 
out  that  this  is  hardly  reconcilable  with  a  charter, 
dated  24th  October,  1429,  in  which  her  son  styles  himself 
Earl  instead  of  Master  of  Ross.  The  simple  change  from 
the  title  of  Master  to  that  of  Earl  during  her  life,  is  not  at 
all   unlikely,    when    all   the  circumstances   are  taken   into 

*  Collectanea  De  Rebus  Albanicis,  p.  308. 


account — his  mother,  who  quite  possibly  may  have  even 
resigned  in  his  favour,  being  a  state  prisoner ;  and  the 
necessity  that  he  should  use  every  influence,  which  the 
assumption  of  the  title  was  calculated  to  strengthen,  to 
raise  the  vassals  of  the  Earldom  for  his  projected  raid  on 
the  Lowlands. 

He  raised  a  force  of  about  ten  thousand  men  in  Ross 
and  the  Isles,  with  whom  he  marched  to  Inverness,  where 
he  wasted  the  Crown  lands  and  burnt  the  town  to  ashes, 
in  revenge  for  the  treacherous  treatment  there  received  by 
him  two  years  before  from  the  King.  His  followers,  to 
quote  the  MS.  History  of  the  Mackintoshes,  from  "  Inver- 
nessiana,"  "  were  a  band  of  men  accustomed  to  live  by 
rapine,  who  fell  upon  Inverness,  pillaged  and  burnt  the 
houses,  and  then  besieged  the  fort  itself.  But  in  vain,  for 
it  was  gallantly  defended  by  the  bravery  and  vigour  of  the 
Governor,  and  Alexander,  understanding  that  an  assault 
was  meditated  upon  him,  retired  precipitately  towards 
Lochaber."  The  King,  hearing  of  the  burning  of  Inverness, 
prepared  at  once  to  vindicate  his  insulted  authority,  and 
with  great  promptitude  collected  a  large  force,  which  he 
commanded  in  person,  and  marched  them  into  Lochaber, 
where  he  came  upon  the  Island  Chief  quite  unexpectedly. 
On  the  appearance  of  the  Royal  forces  the  Clan  Chattan 
and  the  Camerons,  who  had  hitherto  followed  the  banner 
of  the  Lord  of  the  Isles,  deserted  him  and  went  over  to  the 
King,  who  immediately  attacked  the  Islanders,  routed 
them,  and  pursued  them  so  closely,  that  their  chief  was 
obliged  to  sue  for  peace.  This  the  King  sternly  refused  on 
any  other  terms  than  an  absolute  and  unconditional 
surrender,  which  the  haughty  Lord  of  the  Isles  declined  to 
make,  whereupon  the  King  returned  home,  leaving  strict 
orders  with  his  commanders  to  make  every  effort  to  capture 
the  Earl,  who  found  it  necessary  to  flee  for  shelter,  leaving 
his  army  to  take  care  of  itself  as  best  it  could.  He  was 
ultimately  driven  to  despair  by  the  energy  and  vigilance 
of  his  pursuers,  and  determined  to  throw  himself  upon 
the    mercy   of  the    King,   by   appearing   before   him,   his 


Queen,  and  Court,  while  assembled,  on  Easter  Sunday,  at 
a  solemn  festival  in  the  Church  of  Holyrood,  engaged  in 
their  devotions  before  the  High  Altar,  the  haughty  chief, 
with  bonnet  in  hand,  his  legs  and  arms  quite  bare,  his  body 
covered  only  with  a  plaid,  in  his  shirt  and  drawers,  with  a 
naked  sword  in  his  hand  held  by  the  point,  which,  in  token 
of  submission,  he  offered  to  the  King,  on  bended  knees, 
imploring  his  forgiveness.  "  His  appearance,  with  the 
solicitations  of  the  affected  Queen  and  all  the  nobles,  made 
such  an  impression  on  his  majesty  that  he  completely 
submitted  to  the  promptings  of  his  heart,  against  the  wiser 
and  more  prudent  dictates  of  his  better  judgment.  He 
accepted  the  sword  offered  to  him,  and  spared  the  life  of 
his  captive,  but  immediately  committed  him  to  Tantallon 
Castle,  under  the  charge  of  William  Douglas,  Earl  of 
Angus.  The  spirit  of  his  followers,  however,  could  not 
brook  this  mortal  offence,  and  the  whole  strength  of  the 
clan  was  mustered  under  Donald  Balloch,  a  cousin  of  the 
Lord  of  the  Isles.  They  were  led  to  Lochaber,  where  they 
met  the  King's  forces,  under  the  Earls  of  Mar  and  Caith- 
ness, killed  the  latter,  gained  a  complete  victory  over  the 
Royal  forces,  and  returned  to  the  Isles  in  triumph  with  a 
great  quantity  of  spoil.  James  again  came  north  in  person 
as  far  as  Dunstaffnage  ;  Donald  Balloch  fled  to  Ireland  > 
and  after  several  encounters  with  the  Highlanders,  the 
King  received  the  submission  of  most  of  the  chiefs  who 
were  engaged  in  the  rebellion  ;  others  were  apprehended 
and  executed,  to  the  number  of  about  three  hundred,  after 
which  he  released  the  Earl  from  Tantallon  Castle,  and 
granted  him  a  free  pardon  for  all  his  rebellious  acts  ; 
confirmed  him  in  all  his  titles  and  possessions  ;  and  con- 
ferred upon  him  the  Lordship  of  Lochaber,  which  had 
previously,  on  its  forfeiture,  been  granted  to  the  Earl  of 

Skene  has  been  led  into  the  error  of  stating  that  Donald 
Balloch  was  the  son  of  Reginald,  and  Chief  of  Glengarry. 

*  History  and  Genealogies  of  the  Clan  Mackenzie,  by  the  same  author,  1879, 
pp.  49-50. 


He  was,  undoubtedly,  the  son  of  John  Mor  Tanaistear, 
next  brother  of  Donald  of  Harlaw,  and  ancestor  of  the 
Macdonnells  and  Earls  of  Antrim.  Skene  also  fell  into 
the  mistake  of  crediting  the  ruse  played  upon  the  King 
when  a  head,  said  to  be  that  of  Donald  Balloch,  was  sent 
to  him  by  Conn  O'Neil,  an  Irish  Chief.  He  says  that  King 
James — seeing  that  the  absence  of  their  chief,  so  far  from 
rendering  the  clan  more  disposed  to  become  amenable  to 
his  will,  rather  roused  them  to  acts  of  rebellion  and  revenge, 
and  that  it  was  better  to  have  at  their  head  a  chief  who 
had  become  bound  to  him  from  acts  of  clemency,  than 
to  expose  them  to  the  influences  of  the  other  branches 
of  the  family,  who  were  now  irritated  by  the  indignity 
offered  to  their  legitimate  chief — proceeded  in  person  to 
the  North,  for  the  purpose  of  quelling  the  remains  of  the 
rebellion.  His  expedition  was  attended  with  the  usual 
success  by  the  submission  of  all  the  chiefs  who  had  been 
engaged  in  it.  "  Donald  Balloch  was  soon  after  this 
betrayed,  and  his  head  sent  to  the  King,  upon  which  he  at 
once  restored  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  to  liberty,  granted  him 
a  free  pardon  for  all  the  various  acts  of  rebellion  he  had 
been  guilty  of,  and  also  confirmed  him  not  only  in  all  his 
titles  and  possessions,  but  even  granted  him  the  Lordship 
of  Lochaber,  which  had  been  forfeited  from  his  cousin 
Alexander,  and  given  to  the  Earl  of  Mar."*  The  prudence 
of  this  policy  on  the  part  of  the  King  was  soon  apparent, 
for  although  the  Island  Chief  was  naturally  more  disposed 
to  take  up  an  antagonistic  position  to  the  Crown,  and  went 
even  the  length  of  entering  into  a  treasonable  league  with 
the  Earls  of  Crawford  and  Douglas,  who  at  the  time  led 
the  opposition  to  the  King,  he  did  not  again  disturb  the 
peace  of  the  nation  during  his  life. 

Donald  Balloch  inherited  through  his  mother,  Marjory 
Bisset,  the  district  of  the  Glens  in  Ireland,  whither  he  had 
betaken  himself  after  the  dispersion  of  his  army,  and  after 
he  had  ravaged  and  spoiled  the  territories  of  Clan  Chattan 
and  the  Camerons,  who  had  deserted  him  and  gone  over  to 

*  Highlanders  of  Scotland,  pp.  78-79. 


the  King.  Most  of  the  subordinate  insurgent  leaders 
submitted  to  James,  and  tried  to  avoid  punishment  by 
throwing  the  whole  blame  of  the  insurrection  on  Donald 
Balloch,  whose  power,  they  declared,  they  dared  not  resist. 
As  to  Donald  and  his  reputed  decapitation,  Gregory  says 
that  "  on  the  return  of  James  to  Edinburgh,  a  head,  said  to 
be  that  of  Donald  Balloch,  was  sent  to  him  by  Hugh  Buy 
O'Neill,  an  Irish  chief  of  Ulster  ;  and  it  was  generally 
believed  at  the  Scottish  Court  that  the  ringleader  of  the 
late  insurrection  was  now  no  more.  But  as  Donald  Balloch 
certainly  survived  King  James  many  years,  it  is  obvious 
that  the  sending  of  the  head  to  Edinburgh  was  a  stratagem 
devised  by  the  crafty  Islander  in  order  to  check  further 

The  date  of  this  battle,  according  to  Hill  Burton  and 
Gregory,  was  143 1.  The  former  states  that  an  extra- 
ordinary tax  was  granted  on  the  occasion  of  it  "  for  the 
resistance  of  the  King's  rebellers  of  the  north,"  which  was 
to  be  such  that  "  in  all  lands  of  the  realm  where  the  yield 
of  twa  pennies  was  raiset,  there  be  now  ten  pennies  raiset ". 
[Vol.  ii.,  p.  403].  Describing  the  battle,  the  author  of 
"  The  Macdonnells  of  Antrim  "  informs  us  that  the  Low- 
land knights,  who  were  very  numerous  in  the  Royal  army, 
plumed  themselves  on  the  superior  armour  and  discipline 
of  their  men,  but  soon  found  that  even  this  was  of  no  avail 
against  the  furious  onset  of  their  Highland  foes,  who 
wielded  their  broadswords  and  Lochaber-axes  with  all  the 
ferocity  of  Northern  warfare.  According  to  him,  at  least 
one  thousand  of  the  King's  army  were  slain,  among  whom 
were  the  Earl  of  Caithness,  and  sixteen  of  his  personal 
retinue,  together  with  several  knights  and  barons  from  the 
southern  counties  of  Scotland,  after  which  the  Highland 
host  dispersed  itself  into  marauding  parties,  spoiled  the 
county,  and  then  returned  to  their  native  fastnesses,  having 
only  lost  some  fifty  of  their  comrades  in  arms  on  the 
battlefield.  "  Donald  Balloch,  and  several  other  leaders, 
having  had  their  revenge,  steered  their  galleys  across  the 

*  Highlands  and  Isles,  pp.  38-39. 



channel,  and  sought  rest  and  security,  which  they  very 
much  needed,  in  the  woody  glens  of  Antrim.  They  were 
soon  followed  by  a  despatch  from  the  Scottish  King  to 
O'Neill,  requesting  the  latter  to  seize  and  send  back  Donald 
Balloch  alive  or  dead.  O'Neill,  who  had  previously  entered 
into  a  treaty  with  James  I.  of  mutual  assistance  against 
England,  sent  the  latter  a  human  head,  which  was  joyously 
accepted  as  that  of  Donald  Balloch  by  the  Scottish  Court 
then  at  Perth.  But  Donald  Balloch  retained  possession  of 
his.  own  head,  and  at  the  time  of  this  other  head's  trans- 
mission to  Scotland  he  was  actually  paying  his  addresses 
to  O'Neill's  daughter,  whom  he  soon  afterwards  married, 
and  through  whose  powerful  connections  he  was  restored 
without  much  delay  to  his  estates  in  Isla  and  Cantire." 
This  lady  was  the  daughter  of  Conn  O'Neill  (son  of  Hugh 
Buy  O'Neill),  who  resided  at  a  place  called  Edenduffcarrick, 
and  now  known  as  Shane's  Castle,  in  Ireland,  where  he 
died  in  the  year  1482. 

Following  up  his  account  of  the  execution  of  James 
Campbell  at  Inverness,  in  1427,  for  the  murder  of  John 
Mor  Tanaistear,  father  of  Donald  Balloch,  Hugh  Macdonald 
describes  the  incidents  which  led  up  to  the  battle  of  Inver- 
lochy,  the  battle  itself,  and  the  events  which  followed  upon 
it,  in  so  detailed  and  interesting  a  manner  that,  even  at  the 
risk  of  some  repetition  it  may  be  placed  before  the 
reader,  the  phraseology  being  slightly  modernised.  He 
says  : — All  those  about  the  King  wished  to  impair  Mac- 
donald's  estate  and  diminish  his  grandeur,  to  which  the 
King  himself  was  not  very  averse.  They  now  thought  it 
a  convenient  time  for  their  purpose,  the  Lord  of  the  Isles 
being  in  prison  (in  Tantallon  Castle),  and  his  uncle,  John 
Mor,  dead,  to  seize  on  the  lands  of  Lochaber,  whereupon 
Alexander,  Earl  of  Mar,  who  had  received  a  grant  of  these 
lands  from  the  King,  levied  a  great  army  by  his  Majesty's 
directions,  namely,  the  followers  of  Huntly  ;  Allan,  Lord 
of  Caithness  ;  Fraser  of  Lovat,  Mackintosh,  Mackay  of 
Strathnaver,  Grant,  and  the  Chief  of  the  Camerons,  who 
enticed  some  of  Macdonald's  vassals,  by  making  them  great 


promises,  to  join  with  them,  and  that  the  rights  they 
formerly  held  of  Macdonald  would  be  confirmed  to  them 
by  the  King.  The  vassals  and  the  freeholders,  considering 
that  Macdonald's  power  was  entirely  gone  and  ruined,  and 
believing  they  would  never  again  see  him  installed  in  his 
possessions,  through  greed  and  covetousness  they  joined 
the  King's  party.  So,  coming  to  Lochaber,  they  pitched 
their  tents  near  the  Castle  of  Inverlochy.  Fraser  of  Lovat* 
was  sent  to  harass  Sunart  and  Ardnamurchan  with  3000 
men,  to  secure  provisions  for  the  army  and  the  camp. 
Macdonald,  obtaining  information  of  these  proceedings,  and 
finding  an  opportunity,  sent  a  message  from  his  prison  of 
Tantallon  to  the  Highlands  desiring  those  whom  he  trusted 
most  to  face  the  enemy,  though  they  might  never  again 
get  a  sight  of  him.  So  Donald  Balloch,  his  cousin-german 
(John  Mor's  Son,  at  the  time  only  18  years  of  age,  and 
who  was  fostered  by  Maclean),  gathered  all  those  who 
faithfully  adhered  to  Macdonald's  interest,  and  came  to 
Carna,  an  island  in  Loch  Sunart,  there,  meeting  with  the 
Laird  of  Ardnamurchan,  Allan,  son  of  Allan  of  Moydart, 
and  his  brother,  Ranald  Ban  (for  these  were  the  principal 
men  of  the  name  who  were  with  him).  He  picked  out  the 
best  of  their  men  to  the  number  of  600,  most  of  whom 
were  gentlemen  and  freeholders,  and  all  of  whom  came  in 
their  galleys  to  Inverskippinish,  two1  miles  south  of  Inver- 
lochy. Now  Alastair  Carrach,  Macdonald's  younger  uncle, 
who  held  the  lands  of  Lochaber  east  of  Lochy,  and  whose 
posterity  are  yet  there,  took  possession  of  the  hill  above 
the  enemy  with  220  archers,  being  unable  by  the  smallness 
of  their  number  to  face  the  enemy,  and  expecting  that 
some  of  his  friends  would  at  last  come  to  his  relief.  Upon 
seeing  his  nephew,  Donald  Balloch,  he  was,  however,  much 
animated.  As  Donald  Balloch  drew  near  the  Royal  forces, 
Huntly  stepped  into  the  Earl  of  Mar's  tent,  where  he  and 
Mackintosh  were  playing  at  cards.  Huntly  suggested  to 
them   to  give  up   their  play  as  the  enemy  were  close  at 

*  This  was  Hugh  Fraser,  created  Lord  Lovat  by  James  I.  in  the  same  year, 
1431.     His  second  son,  Hugh,  succeeded  to  the  title. 


hand.  They  (the  card-players)  asked  if  the  enemy  were 
in  great  force,  when  Huntly  replied  that  they  were  not 
very  numerous,  but  he  could  see  that  they  were  determined 
to  fight.  "  Well,"  said  Mackintosh,  '  we'll  play  this  game, 
and  dispute  with  these  fellows  afterwards."  Huntly  again 
looked  out,  when  he  saw  the  enemy  driving  on  furiously 
towards  them  ;  he  goes  a  second  time  to  the  tent,  saying, 
"  Gentlemen,  fight  stoutly,  or  render  yourselves  to  your 
enemies  ".  Mackintosh  replied  that  they  "  would  play  that 
game,  and  would  do  with  the  enemy  what  they  pleased 
afterwards,  and  that  he  knew  very  well  the  doings  of  the 
big-bellied  carles  of  the  Isles ".  "  Whatever  they  be," 
replied  Huntly,  "  they  will  fight  like  men  this  day,"  when 
Mackintosh  retorted  that  "  though  he  himself  (Huntly) 
should  assist  them,  their  (Mackintosh's)  party  would  defeat 
them  both  ".  Whereupon  Huntly  went  out  of  the  tent  in 
a  rage,  saying  that  he  would  fight  none  against  the  High- 
landers that  day.  He  then  drew  his  men  aside,  and  "  was 
more  of  a  spectator  than  of  either  party  ".  "  Then  joining 
battle,  Donald  Balloch  made  a  main  battle,  and  a  front  of 
his  men."  The  front  was  commanded  by  Maclan  of 
Ardnamurchan,  and  John  Maclean  of  Coll  ;  the  main 
battle  by  Ranald  Ban,  son  of  John  Mor,  murdered  by 
James  Campbell  (and  a  natural  brother  of  Donald  Balloch, 
who  became  progenitor  of  the  family  of  Lairgy),  and  Allan, 
son  of  Allan,  Laird  of  Moidart  (of  whom  descended  the 
family  of  Knoydart),  and  MacDuffie  of  Colonsay,  Mac- 
Quarrie  of  Ulva,  and  MacGee  of  the  Rinds  of  Isla.  As  the 
combatants  faced  one  another,  Alastair  Carrach  and  his 
220  archers  poured  down  the  brae  of  the  hill  on  which  they 
had  planted  themselves,  and  shot  their  arrows  so  thick  on 
the  flank  of  the  Royal  army,  as  to  compel  them  to  give 
way.  Allan,  Lord  of  Caithness,  a  son  of  Lovat,  and  990 
were  killed.  Hugh  Mackay  of  Strathnaver  was  taken 
prisoner,  and  he  married  a  daughter  of  Alexander  Mac- 
donald  of  Keppoch,  "  of  whom  descended  the  race  of 
Mackays  called  Slioc  Ean  Abrich  ".  Donald  Balloch  lost 
only  27  men.     The  Earl  of  Mar  was  wounded  in  the  thigh 


by  an  arrow,  and  was  in  the  hills  for  two  nights  accom- 
panied only  by  his  servant,  in  a  starving  condition,  for  they 
had  no  provisions.  At  last  he  fell  in  with  some  women 
tending  their  cattle,  who  happened  to  have  a  little  barley 
meal  for  their  own  use,  and  with  which  they  relieved  the 
Earl  and  his  servant,  mixing  it  with  a  little  water  in  the 
heel  of  the  Earl's  own  shoe.  The  Earl,  after  he  and  his 
servant  had  satisfied  their  hunger,  composed  the  following 
lines  in  Gaelic  : — 

'S  math  an  cocaire  an  t-acras, 
'S  mairg  'ni  tailleas  air  biadh, 
Fuarag  eorn'  a  sail  mo  bhroige 
Biadh  is  fhearr  a  fhuair  mi  riamh. 

The  Earl  left  his  clothes  with  the  woman  that  he  might 
disguise  himself,  and  he  travelled  all  night  until  he  came 
to  a  small  house,  on  a  spot  of  land  called  Beggich,  belong- 
ing to  an  Irishman  named  O'Birrin.  He  told  this  man 
that  he  was  one  of  the  Earl  of  Mar's  followers,  and  that 
necessity  obliged  him  to  disguise  himself  for  fear  of  being 
discovered.  The  man  was  going  to  slaughter  a  cow  as  the 
Earl  came  to  his  place,  and  he  desired  the  stranger  to  hold 
her.  "  The  Earl  was  more  willing  to  obey  his  landlord's 
orders  than  skilful  to  act  as  butcher."  The  Irishman,  dis- 
satisfied with  the  awkward  manner  in  which  he  was  assisted 
by  the  Earl,  "  cursed  those  who  took  such  a  blockhead  abroad 
to  be  a  soldier.  At  last  he  cuts  some  collops  which  he 
gave  to  the  Earl  to  dress  for  himself  which  he  could  not 
very  well  do,  until  his  landlord  did  it  for  him,  by  roasting 
them  upon  the  coals.  At  going  to  bed  he  washed  the  Earl's 
feet  in  warm  water,  cleaned  and  washed  his  wound.  When 
the  Earl  laid  himself  down,  he  could  not  sleep  with  cold, 
being  very  scarce  of  bed  clothes.  O'Birrin  got  up,  took  the 
cow's  hide,  and  warming  it  to  the  fire,  wrapped  it  about  the 
Earl,  which  warmed  him  so  much  that  he  perspired  during 
the  whole  night.  In  the  morning,  after  such  refreshments 
as  they  had,  the  Earl  said  he  would  go  to  Badenoch."  He 
informed  his  host  that  he  did  not  know  the  way  thither, 
but  would  do  his  best  to  find  it,  whereupon  the  Irishman 


made  him  fill  his  pockets  with  the  flesh  of  the  cow,  and 
then  convoyed  him  three  or  four  miles  on  his  way.  When 
they  parted  company  the  stranger  told  him  if  he  should 
ever  find  himself  in  tightened  circumstances,  to  go  to  Kil- 
drummie,  the  seat  of  the  Earl  of  Mar,  and  ask  there  for 
Alexander  Stewart,  who  would  cause  the  Earl  to  reward 
him  for  his  present  kindness  to  himself. 

Some  time  after  the  Irishman  did  as  he  was  told,  and, 
arriving  at  Kildrummie,  asked  for  Alexander  Stewart, 
when  the  porter  told  him  that  "he  was  a  fool,  for  there  was 
no  such  man  there, "  but  the  Irishman  continued  to  knock 
until  the  Earl  himself  at  last  heard  him,  and,  calling  for 
the  porter,  he  asked  him  who  was  knocking  at  the  gate. 
The  latter  replied  that  "  he  was  some  fool  enquiring  for 
Alexander  Stewart  ".  The  Earl  soon  recognised  the  "  fool  " 
as  his  old  friend  the  Irishman,  ordered  the  gate  to  be 
opened  to  him,  and  kindly  embraced  him,  at  the  same  time 
addressing  him  in  the  following  lines  : — 

Oidhche  dhomh  a  bhi  ann  an  tigh  air  moran  bidh  's  air  bheag  aodaich, 
Fhuaras  agh'  mor  do  dh'  fheoil  air  dhroch  bhruich  bho  O'Birrin  's  a  Bhaggach. 

His  Lordship  sent  for  a  tailor,  and  ordered  him  at  once  to 
make  a  suit  of  clothes  for  O'Birrin.  He  requested  the  latter 
to  bring  his  wife  and  son  to  Kildrummie,  but  this  the  Irish- 
man declined,  saying  that  his  wife  was  old,  and  would  not 
leave  her  native  country.  After  entertaining  him  for  some 
time,  the  Earl  sent  O'Birrin  home  with  sixty  milch  cows,  en- 
joining him  to  send  his  son  to  Kildrummie.  The  son  came 
"  some  time  thereafter,  and  was  made  a  laird  of  a  small 
estate,  which  has  since  fallen  to  a  gentleman  of  the  name  of 
Forbes,  whereby  it  may  be  seen  that  a  good  turn  to  a  gener- 
ous or  noble  person  is  not  always  lost."* 

During  the  minority  of  James  II.  the  Earl  of  Ross  and 
Lord  of  the  Isles  held  the  office  of  "Justiciar  of  Scotland 
north  of  the  Forth,"  a  position  which,  Gregory  thinks,  he 
probably  obtained  from  Archibald,  Earl  of  Douglas  and 
Duke  of  Touraine,  then  Lieutenant-General  of  Scotland. 
There  is  no  account  of  the  manner  in  which  the  Earl  exer- 

*  Transactions  of  the  Iona  Club,  308-312. 


cised  the  duties  of  his  high  office,  but  it  is  supposed  that  it 
was  under  colour  of  it  that  he  inflicted  his  vengeance  on  the 
Chief  of  the  Camerons  about  this  time  for  deserting  him 
and  going  over  to  the  Royal  standard  in  Lochaber,  and  in 
consequence  of  which  Lochiel  was  forced  to  flee  to  Ireland, 
where  he  remained  for  several  years  ;  and,  in  his  absence, 
his  lands  were  bestowed  by  the  Earl  of  Ross  upon  John 
Garve  Maclean,  ancestor  and  founder  of  the  family  of  Coll. 
The  Earl  married  Elizabeth,  daughter  of  Alexander 
Seton,  Lord  of  Gordon  and  Huntly,  and  by  her  had  issue — 

1.  John,  his  successor. 

2.  Celestine,  variously  styled  Archibald,  and  its  Gaelic 
equivalent,  Gillespie,  Lord  of  Lochalsh  and  Lochcarron. 
He  married  Finvola,  daughter  of  Lachlan  Maclean  of  Duart, 
with  issue — Sir  Alexander  Macdonald  of  Lochalsh  (Alas- 
tair  MacGillespic)  who  afterwards,  in  1488,  fought  the 
famous  battle  of  Park  against  the  Mackenzies,  near  Strath- 
peffer,  and  of  whom  hereafter. 

3.  Hugh  otherwise  called  "  Austin "  and  "  Augustine," 
corruptions  of  the  Gaelic  equivalent  Hugh,  i.e.,  Hiiistean  or 
Uistean.  He  was  styled  Lord  of  Sleat,  and  married,  first} 
Finvola,  daughter  of  Maclan  of  Ardnamurchan,  by  whom 
he  had  John,  his  heir,  who  died  without  issue.  He  married, 
secondly,  a  lady  of  the  Clan  Gunn  in  Caithness,  by  whom 
he  had  issue,  Donald  Gallach,  who  carried  on  the  succession, 
and  whose  descendants  are  now  held,  by  general  concur- 
rence, to  represent,  as  heirs  male,  Alexander,  third,  and 
John,  last  Earl  of  Ross  and  Lord  of  the  Isles,  forfeited  in 
1475  and  1493. 

A  question  has  been  raised  about  the  legitimacy  of 
Celestine  and  Hugh,  as  well  as  of  Hugh's  descendants, 
especially  Donald  Gallach,  from  whom  descended  the 
present  Lord  Macdonald  of  the  Isles.  Respecting  Hugh, 
after  describing  a  successful  raid  by  him  to  Orkney,  Hugh 
Macdonald,  says  that  "  Having  routed  the  enemy,  Austin 
(Hugh)  and  his  party  began  to  ravage  the  country,  that  being 
the  only  reward  they  had  for  their  pains  and  fatigue,  with 
which,  having  loaded  their  galleys,  they  returned  home. 


Austine  having  halted  at  Caithness,  he  got  a  son  by  the 
Crowner  of  Caithness's  daughter,  of  the  name  of  Gun, 
which  at  that  time  was  a  very  flourishing  name  there, 
descended  of  the  Danes.  This  son  was  called  Donald 
Gallich,  being  brought  up  in  that  county  in  his  younger 
years  ;  for  the  ancient  Scots,  until  this  day,  call  the  county 
of  Caithness  Gallibh."  Referring  to  the  two  families  of 
John,  first  Lord  of  the  Isles,  Skene  says  [vol.  ii.,  p.  95] 
that  the  representation  of  his  children  by  his  second 
marriage,  with  the  daughter  of  Robert  II.  "clearly  devolved 
upon  the  Macdonalds  of  Sleat,  who  were  descended  of 
Hugh,  brother  of  John  the  last  Lord  of  the  Isles,"  and  at 
page  96  he  says  that  "  it  is  fully  admitted  that  the  family  of 
Sleat  are  the  undoubted  representatives  of  the  last  Lord  of 
the  Isles  ".  Smibert  calls  Hugh  of  Sleat  a  "  full  brother  " 
of  John,  Lord  of  the  Isles,  and  says  that  "he  left  a  line 
which  indubitably  had  the  clearest  direct  claims,  as  legiti- 
mate descendants,  to  the  family  honours  and  inheritance  ". 
Gregory,  who  says  that  it  is  uncertain  whether  they  are 
by  the  same  mother  as  John,  is  more  learned,  and  in  a 
footnote,  p.  41,  writes  : — "I  call  these  sons  legitimate  not- 
withstanding that  Celestine  is  called  '  Alius  naturalis''  by 
Earl  Alexander  (charter  in  charter  chest  of  Mackintosh 
1447),  and  'frater  carnalis'  by  Earl  John  (Reg.  of  Great 
Seal,  vi.,  1 16,  1463),  and  that  Hugh  is  likewise  called  'frater 
camalis'  by  Earl  John  (charter  in  Westfield  Writs,  in  the 
possession  of  Alex.  Dunbar,  Esq.  of  Scrabster,  1470).  They 
are,  however,  both  called  '  frater,'  without  any  qualification, 
by  Earl  John  (Reg.  of  Great  Seal,  vi.,  116,  xiii.,  186).  The 
history  of  Celestine  and  Hugh  and  their  descendants,  as 
given  in  the  present  work  [Highlands  and  Isles,]  sufficiently 
shows  that  they  were  considered  legitimate,  and  that,  conse- 
quently, the  words  '  naturalis  '  and  '  carnalis,'  taken  by  them- 
selves, and  without  the  adjunct  '  bastardus,'  do  not  neces- 
sarily imply  bastardy.  It  is  probable  that  they  were  used 
to  designate  the  issue  of  those  handfast,  or  left-handed 
marriages  which  appear  to  have  been  so  common  in  the 
Highlands    and    Isles.      Both    naturalis   and   carnalis  are 

JOHN,   FOURTH   AND   LAST   LORD   OF   THE   ISLES.      89 

occasionally  applied  to  individuals  known  to  be  legiti- 
mate in  the  strictest  sense  of  the  term." 

Alexander  of  the  Isles  had  also  several  daughters,  one 
of  whom 

4.  Margaret,  married  John,  twelth  Earl   of  Sutherland, 
and  another 

5.  Florence,  married  Duncan  Mackintosh,  IX.  of  Mac- 
kintosh, with  issue. 

He  died  at  his  Castle  of  Dingwall,  on  the  8th  of  May, 
1448,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 


Of  the  family  of  Macdonald,  as  strenuous  an  opponent  of 
the  King's  party  as  ever  his  father  had  been.  He  began  to 
rule  at  a  critical  period  in  the  history  of  his  house.  The 
treasonable  league  which  his  father,  Alexander,  had  formed 
with  William,  8th  Earl  of  Douglas,  and  the  Earl  of  Craw- 
ford, has  been  already  referred  to,  and,  though  they 
took  no  action  upon  it  during  the  life  of  the  last  Lord, 
after  his  death  they  broke  out  into  open  rebellion.  John 
of  the  Isles  took  an  active  part  in  the  insurrection,  collected 
a  large  force  of  the  Islanders,  seized  the  royal  castles  of 
Inverness,  Urquhart,  and  Ruthven,  and  declared  his  indepen- 
dence of  the  Scottish  Crown.  He  demolished  the  Castle 
of  Ruthven  to  the  ground.  Urquhart  Castle  was  placed 
under  the  command  of  his  father-in-law,  Sir  James 
Livingstone,  who  on  hearing  of  the  insurrection  of  the 
Lord  of  the  Isles  left  the  Court  and  escaped  to  the  High- 
lands ;  while  the  stronghold  of  Inverness  was  carefully  gar- 
risoned and  supplied  with  a  large  quantity  of  military  stores. 
It  is  asserted  that  the  King  himself  was  the  cause  of  the 
marriage  of  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  to  the  daughter  of  Sir 
James  Livingstone,  promising  with  her  a  grant  of  land  which 
he  never  gave;  and  in  the  Auchinleck  Chronicle  the  fact 
is  recorded  as  a  private  grievance  which,  among  others, 
urged  the  Island  Chief  into  this  rebellion.     On  this  point 


Gregory  supposes  that  he  was  too  much  occupied  in 
securing  himself  against  the  great  power  and  ambition 
of  the  Douglas  party  in  the  southern  counties,  now  ren- 
dered more  confident  by  the  return  of  their  chief  from 
abroad,  to  be  able  to  take  prompt  measures  against  the 
Earl  of  Ross  ;  at  least,  none  such  are  recorded  in  the 
chronicles  which  have  come  down  to  us.  But  there  can  be 
no  doubt  that  James  contemplated  proceeding  to  the 
North  to  chastise  the  rebels  there  ;  for  it  was  upon  the 
refusal  of  Douglas  to  renounce  the  league,  offensive 
and  defensive,  into  which  he  had  entered  with  the 
Earls  of  Ross  and  Crawford,  that  the  king  in  a 
sudden  fit  of  passion  assassinated,  with  his  own 
hand,  that  nobleman,  whose  inordinate  ambition  was  con- 
sidered the  chief  cause  of  all  these  commotions.  William, 
Earl  of  Douglas,  being  thus  cut  off  in  the  height  of  his 
power,  was  succeeded  by  his  brother,  James,  9th  Earl,  who, 
after  repeated  rebellions,  was  finally  encountered  and  de- 
feated by  the  Earl  of  Angus,  leader  of  the  King's  troops, 
at  Arkinholme  in  Annandale.  In  this  battle,  Archibald, 
Earl  of  Moray,  and  Hugh,  Earl  of  Ormond,  brothers  to 
the  Earl  of  Douglas,  were  slain  ;  while  the  Earl  himself, 
with  his  only  remaining  brother,  Sir  John  Douglas  of 
Balvany,  made  his  escape  into  the  West  Highlands.  Here 
he  was  received  by  the  Earl  of  Ross,  who  still  remained 
faithful  to  his  engagements,  having,  it  would  appear, 
hitherto  escaped,  by  reason  of  the  remoteness  and  inacces- 
sibility of  his  territories,  the  vengeance  which  had  fallen 
so  heavily  on  his  confederates,  Douglas  and  Crawford. 
Ross  immediately  collected  a  fleet  of  one  hundred  galleys, 
with  a  force  of  five  thousand  men  on  board,  and  dispatched 
this  expedition,  under  the  command  of  his  kinsman, 
Donald  Ballach  of  Isla,  to  attack  the  coast  of  Ayrshire, 
with  the  intention,  probably,  of  encouraging  the  Douglas 
party  again  to  draw  together,  should  such  a  course  appear 
expedient.  Owing  to  the  able  measures  of  defence  adopted 
by  the  King,  this  enterprise  met  with  little  success.  Donald 
commenced  hostilities  at  Innerkip  in  Ayrshire  ;  but  being 

JOHN,   FOURTH   AND   LAST   LORD   OF   THE   ISLES.      9 1 

unable  to  effect  any  object  of  importance,  he  proceeded  to 
ravage  the  Cumrays  and  the  Island  of  Arran.  Not  above 
twenty  persons,  men,  women,  and  children,  were  slain  by 
the  Islanders,  although  plunder  to  a  considerable  amount 
— including  five  or  six  hundred  horses,  ten  thousand  oxen 
and  kine,  and  more  than  a  thousand  sheep  and  goats — was 
carried  off.  The  Castle  of  Brodick  in  Arran  was  stormed 
and  levelled  to  the  ground  ;  while  one  hundred  bolls  of 
meal,  one  hundred  marts  (cows),  and  one  hundred  marks 
of  silver,  were  exacted  as  tribute  from  the  Isle  of  Bute.* 
The  expedition  was  concluded  by  an  attack  upon  Lauder, 
Bishop  of  Argyle,  or  Lismore,  a  prelate  who  had  made 
himself  obnoxious  by  affixing  his  seal  to  the  instrument 
of  forfeiture  of  the  Douglases,  and  who  was  now  attacked 
by  the  fierce  Admiral  of  the  Isles,  and,  after  the  slaughter 
of  the  greater  part  of  his  attendants,  forced  to  take  refuge 
in  a  sanctuary,  which  seems  scarcely  to  have  protected  him 
from  the  fury  of  his  enemies.*^ 

The  Earl  of  Douglas  returned  to  England  after  the 
failure  of  the  expedition  under  Donald  Balloch  ;  and  Ross, 
finding  himself  alone  in  rebellion,  became  alarmed  for  the 
consequences,  and,  by  a  submissive  message,  entreated  the 
forgiveness  of  the  King  ;  offering,  as  far  as  it  was  still  left 
to  him,  to  repair  the  wrongs  he  had  inflicted.  James  at 
first  refused  to  listen  to  the  application  ;  but,  after  a  time, 
consented  to  extend  to  the  humbled  chief  a  period  of  pro- 
bation, within  which,  if  he  should  evince  the  reality  of  his 
repentance  by  some  notable  exploit,  he  was  to  be  absolved 
from  all  the  consequences  of  his  rebellion,  and  reinstated 
in  the  Royal  favour. j  In  1457,  the  Earl  of  Ross  was  one 
of  the  Wardens  of  the  Marches,  §  an  office  of  great  trust 
and  importance,  but  obviously  intended  to  weaken  his 
influence  in  the  Highlands  and  Isles,  by  forcing  him  fre- 

*  It  would  seem  that  the  Castle  of  Rothesay  was  also  besieged.  Acts  of  Parlia- 
ment, ii.,  109. 

•f-Tytler's  Scotland,  iv. ,  pp.  86-127.  Auchinleck  Chronicle,  pp.  44,  51,  55.  Acts 
of  Parliament,  ii. ,  190. 

J  Tytler's  Scotland  (1879  ed. ),  vol.  ii.,  p.  177. 

§  Rymer's  Foedera,  xi.,  p.  397. 


quently  to  reside  at  a  distance  from  the  seat  of  his  power ; 
and,  as  he  was,  at  the  same  time,  one  of  the  nobles  who 
guaranteed  a  truce  with  England,*  it  would  seem  that  he 
had  lost  no  time  in  effecting  a  reconciliation  with  the 
King.  Previous  to  the  siege  of  Roxburgh,  at  which  [1460] 
James  II.  was  unfortunately  killed,  the  Earl  of  Ross  joined 
the  Royal  Army  with  a  body  of  three  thousand  of  his 
vassals,  well  armed  in  their  own  peculiar  fashion.  To 
prove  his  loyalty,  he  offered,  in  case  of  an  invasion  of 
England,  to  precede  the  rest  of  the  army,  while  in  the 
enemy's  country,  by  a  thousand  paces  distance,  so  as  to 
receive  the  first  shock  of  the  English.  He  was  well  re- 
ceived, and  ordered  to  remain  near  the  King's  person  ;  but, 
as  there  was  at  this  time  no  invasion  of  England,  his 
courage  and  devotion,  and  that  of  his  troops,  were  not  put 
to  the  test  proposed.! 

Hill  Burton  [434-5,  History  of  Scotland,  vol.  ii.],  quoting 
from  Pitscottie,  says  that  the  Earl  of  Ross  got  such 
encouragement  as  made  him  believe  that  it  was  sound 
policy  to  help  the  King  in  his  project,  and  so  he  went  to 
the  siege  with  "  ane  great  army  of  men,  all  armed  in  High- 
land fashion,  with  halbershownes,  bows,  and  axes  ;  and 
promised  to  the  King,  if  he  pleased  to  pass  any  farther 
into  the  bounds  of  England,  that  he  and  his  company 
should  pass  ane  large  mile  before  the  host,  and  take  upon 
them  the  press  and  dint  of  the  battle  "  ;  and  that  he  was 
found  very  serviceable  "  to  spoil  and  herrie  the  country," 
an  occupation  to  which  the  Lowland  forces  were  now  less 
accustomed  than  they  used  to  be. 

Soon  after  the  siege  of  Roxburgh,  and  the  death  of  the 
King,  a  Parliament  met  in  Edinburgh,  which  was  attended 
by  the  Earl  of  Ross  and  Lord  of  the  Isles,  and  other 
Highland  chiefs.  The  Earl  soon  discovered  that  the  new 
Government  was  not  strong  enough  to  keep  him  in  sub- 
jection, and  he  renewed  his  league  with  the  banished 
Douglases,  with  the  view  of  pursuing  his  former  schemes 

*  Rymer's  Foedera,  xi.,  p.  397. 

+  Tytler's  Scotland,  iv. ,  p.  176.     Buchanan,  b.  xi. 

JOHN,    FOURTH   AND   LAST   LORD   OF   THE   ISLES.      93 

of  personal  aggrandisement.  The  Douglases  were  natur- 
ally anxious  to  secure  the  great  power  and  influence  of  the 
Earl  of  Ross  against  the  Government,  and  they  soon  suc- 
ceeded in  inducing  him  to  enter  into  a  treasonable  league 
with  Edward  IV.  of  England.  By  the  advice  of  his 
principal  vassals  and  kinsmen,  on  the  19th  of  October,  1461, 
Ross  met  in  council  at  the  Castle  of  Ardtornish,  and 
granted  a  commission,  as  an  independent  prince,  "  to  his 
trusty  and  well-beloved  cousins,"  Ranald  of  the  Isles, 
and  Duncan,  Archdean  of  the  Isles,  to  confer  with  the 
deputies  of  the  English  King.  These  Commissioners  met 
soon  after  at  Westminster,  and  on  the  13th  of  February, 
1462,  concluded  a  treaty  for  the  conquest  of  Scotland  by 
Edward  IV.,  with  the  assistance  of  the  Earls  of  Ross  and 
Douglas,  both  of  whom  were  to  receive  stipulated  sums  of 
money,  and,  in  case  of  success,  large  grants  of  lands  for 
their  aid  in  subjugating  their  native  land  to  the  English 

Referring  to  these  negotiations,  Hill  Burton  [vol.  iii.,  p. 
3]  says  that  on  the  2d  of  August,  1461,  "a  commission  is 
appointed  by  Edward  IV.  for  peace  '  with  our  beloved  kins- 
man the  King  of  Scots';  yet  just  two  months  earlier  another 
had  been  issued  for  treating  with  '  our  beloved  kinsman, 
the  Earl  of  Ross,  and  our  choice  and  faithful  Donald 
Balagh,  or  their  ambassadors,  commissioners,  or  messen- 
gers '.  The  refugee  Earl  of  Douglas  was  a  party  to  this 
negotiation.  It  was  brought  to  a  conclusion  by  an  elaborate 
treaty  dated  February,  1462.  By  this  document  it  was  cove- 
nanted that  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  should  become  for  all  his 
territory  the  liegeman  of  King  Edward  and  his  heirs  ;  and 
that  if  Scotland  should  be  conquered  through  the  aid  of  the 
Lord  of  the  Isles,  he  should  be  made  Lord  of  the  northern 
part  of  the  Land  to  the  Scots  Water,  or  Firth  of  Forth  ; 
while  Douglas,  should  he  give  proper  aid,  was  to  be  lord  of 
all  the  district  south  of  the  Forth — both  districts  to  be  held 
in  strict  feudal  dependence  on  King  Edward  and  his  heirs. 
Meanwhile,  and  until  he  should  reap  this  brilliant  reward, 
the  Lord  of  the   Isles  was  to  have  (  for  fees  and   wages ' 


yearly,  in  time  of  peace,  a  hundred  merks,  and  in  time  of 
war  two  hundred  pounds  ;  while  his  assistant,  Donald,  was 
to  receive  a  retainer  amounting  to  twenty  per  cent,  of  these 
allowances."  Donald  Balloch's  son,  John,  was  retained  at 
half  the  sum  stipulated  for  his  father  for  carrying  out  his 
part  of  the  treasonable  programme. 

While  the  negotiations  ending  in  this  treaty  were  in  pro- 
gress, the  Earl  of  Ross  raised  the  standard  of  rebellion  in 
the  North.  Having  assembled  a  great  force,  he  placed  them 
under  the  command  of  his  bastard  son,  Angus  Og,  assisted 
by  his  distinguished  and  experienced  relative,  the  veteran 
Donald  Balloch.  This  rebellion,  according  to  Tytler,* 
"  was  accompanied  by  all  those  circumstances  of  atrocity 
and  sacrilege  that  distinguish  the  hostilities  of  these  island 
princes.  Ross  proclaimed  himself  King  of  the  Hebrides, 
whilst  his  son  and  Donald  Balloch,  having  taken  possession 
of  the  Castle  of  Inverness,  invaded  the  county  of  Athole, 
published  a  proclamation  that  no  one  should  dare  to  obey 
the  officers  of  King  James,  commanded  all  taxes  to  be 
henceforth  paid  to  Ross,  and  after  a  cruel  and  wasteful  pro- 
gress, concluded  the  expedition  by  storming  the  Castle  of 
Blair,  dragging  the  Earl  and  Countess  of  Athole  from  the 
chapel  and  sanctuary  of  St  Bridget  to  a  distant  prison  in 
Isla.  Thrice  did  Donald  attempt,  if  we  may  believe  the 
historian,  to  fire  the  holy  pile  which  he  had  plundered — 
thrice  did  the  destructive  element  refuse  its  office,  and  a 
storm  of  thunder  and  lightning,  in  which  the  greater  part 
of  his  war-galleys  were  sunk,  and  the  rich  booty  with  which 
they  were  loaded  consigned  to  the  deep,  was  universally 
ascribed  to  the  wrath  of  heaven,  which  had  armed  the  ele- 
ments against  the  abettor  of  sacrilege  and  murder.  It  is 
certain,  at  least,  that  this  idea  had  fixed  itself  with  all  the 
strength  of  remorse  and  superstition  in  the  mind  of  the  bold 
and  savage  leader  himself ;  and  such  was  the  effect  of  the 
feeling,  that  he  became  moody  and  almost  distracted. 
Commanding  his  principal  leaders  and  soldiers  to  strip 
themselves  to  their  shirt  and  drawers,  and  assuming  himself 

*  Vol.  ii.  (1879  edition),  p.  192. 

JOHN,   FOURTH   AND   LAST   LORD   OF   THE   ISLES.      95 

the  same  ignominious  garb,  he  collected  the  relics  of  his 
plunder,  and  proceeding  with  bare  feet,  and  a  dejected 
aspect,  to  the  chapel  which  he  had  so  lately  stained  with 
blood,  he  and  his  attendants  performed  penance  before  the 
altar.  The  Earl  and  Countess  of  Athole  were  immediately 
set  free  from  their  prison."  The  relief  of  Donald  Dubh  from 
captivity  seems  to  have  been  the  chief  object  of  this  expedi- 
tion, but  Angus  appears  to  have  liberated  his  prisoners 
without  attaining  his  object. 

During  these  turbulent  proceedings  Ross  assumed  royal 
prerogatives  over  the  whole  Sheriffdoms  and  Burghs  of 
Inverness  and  Nairn,  which  at  that  time  included  all  the 
northern  counties.  There  are  no  means  existing  by 
which  it  can  be  ascertained  how  this  civil  broil  was  sup- 
pressed ;  but  it  is  known  that  the  Earl  of  Ross  was  sum- 
moned before  Parliament  for  treason  in  connection  with  it, 
that  he  failed  to  appear,  and  that  the  process  of  forfeiture 
against  him  was  for  a  time  suspended,  though  an  army  was 
actually  in  readiness  to  march  against  him.  His  submission, 
however,  rendered  this  unnecessary,  and  although  he  did 
not  receive  an  unconditional  pardon,  he  was  permitted  to 
remain  in  undisturbed  possession  of  his  estates  for  twelve  or 
thirteen  years  afterwards,  until,  at  length,  in  1475,  the 
treaty  between  him  and  Edward  IV.  in  1462,  came  to  light 
when  it  was  at  once  determined  to  proceed  against  him  as 
an  avowed  traitor  to  the  crown.  He  was  summoned  at  his 
Castle  of  Dingwall  to  appear  before  the  Parliament  to  be 
held  in  Edinburgh,  in  December,  1475,  to  answer  the  various 
charges  of  treason  brought  against  him,  and,  at  the  same 
time,  a  commission  was  granted  in  favour  of  Colin,  Earl  of 
Argyle,  to  prosecute  a  decree  of  forfeiture  against  him.  He 
failed  to  appear  on  the  appointed  day,  and  sentence  was 
pronounced  upon  him.  He  was  declared  a  traitor,  and  his 
estates  were  forfeited  to  the  Crown.  A  formidable  arma- 
ment, under  the  command  of  the  Earls  of  Crawford  and 
Athole,  comprehending  both  a  fleet  and  a  land  force,  was 
made  ready  to  carry  the  sentence  of  Parliament  into  effect. 
These  preparations  induced  him  to  sue  for  pardon  through 


the  medium  of  the  Earl  of  Huntly.  By  means  of  a  grant 
of  lands  in  Knapdale  to  the  Earl  of  Argyle  he  secured  the 
influence  of  that  powerful  nobleman  in  his  favour.  The 
Queen  and  the  States  of  Parliament  were  prevailed  upon  to 
intercede  in  his  behalf,  and  appearing  soon  afterwards  in 
person  at  Edinburgh,  he,  with  much  humility,  and 
many  expressions  of  repentance,  surrendered  himself  un- 
conditionally to  the  Royal  clemency,  when  the  King,  "  with 
wonderful  moderation,"  consented  to  pardon  him  ;  and  in  a 
Parliament  held  on  the  1st  of  July,  1476,  he  was  restored  to 
the  forfeited  estates  of  the  Earldom  of  Ross,  and  the  Lord- 
ship of  the  Isles.  Immediately  afterwards  he  made  a 
voluntary  and  absolute  surrender  to  the  Crown  of  the 
Earldom  of  Ross,  the  lands  of  Kintyre  and  Knapdale, 
and  all  the  Castles  thereto  belonging,  as  well  as  the 
Sheriffdoms  of  Inverness  and  Nairn  ;  whereupon  he 
was  in  return  created  a  Baron  Banrent  and  Peer  of 
Parliament  by  the  title  of  Lord  of  the  Isles.  "  The 
Earldom  of  Ross  was  now  inalienably  annexed  to  the 
Crown,  and  a  great  blow  was  struck  at  the  power  and 
grandeur  of  a  family  which  had  so  repeatedly  disturbed  the 
tranquillity  of  Scotland." 

By  the  favour  of  the  King,  "  the  succession  to  the  new 
title  and  the  estates  connected  with  it,  was  secured  in  favour 
of  Angus  and  John,  the  bastard  sons  of  the  Lord  of  the 
Isles  ;  and  Angus,  the  elder  of  them,  was  soon  afterwards 
married  to  a  daughter  of  the  Earl  of  Argyle.  This  Angus 
was  early  accustomed  to  rebellion,  having  acted  as 
lieutenant  to  his  father  in  the  great  insurrection  of  14.61. 
Neither  the  favour  now  shown  to  him  by  the  King,  nor  his 
alliance  with  the  Earl  of  Argyll,  were  sufficient  to  keep  the 
natural  violence  of  his  temper  within  bounds  ;  and  circum- 
stances soon  enabled  him  to  establish  an  ascendancy  over 
his  father.  The  sacrifices  made  by  the  latter  in  1476,  when 
he  gave  up  the  Earldom  of  Ross,  and  the  lands  of  Kintyre 
and  Knapdale,  were  very  unpopular  among  the  chiefs 
descended  of  the  family  of  the  Isles,  who  further  alleged 
that  he  had  impaired  his  estate  by  improvident  grants  of 

JOHN,   FOURTH   AND   LAST   LORD   OF   THE   ISLES,      gj 

land  to  the  Macleans,  Macleods,  Macneils,  and  other  tribes. 
Thus,  the  vassals  of  the  Lordship  of  the  Isles  became  divided 
into  two  factions — one  comprehending  the  clans  last  men- 
tioned, who  adhered  to  the  old  lord,  the  other  consisting 
of  the  various  branches  of  the  Clandonald  who  made 
common  cause  with  the  turbulent  heir  of  the  Lordship. 
In  these  circumstances  Angus  not  only  behaved  with  great 
violence  to  his  father,  but  involved  himself  in  various 
feuds,  particularly  with  the  Mackenzies."* 

The  Sleat  Seannachie,  Hugh  Macdonald,  gives  the  fol- 
lowing version  of  the  feuds  and  family  quarrels  which 
occurred  between  John,  Lord  of  the  Isles,  and  his  son 
Angus  Og.  The  father  was  "  a  meek,  modest  man,  brought 
up  at  court  in  his  younger  years,  and  a  scholar,  more  fit  to 
be  a  churchman  than  to  command  so  many  irregular  tribes 
of  people.  He  endeavoured,  however,  still  to  keep  them  in 
their  allegiance  by  bestowing  gifts  to  some  and  promoting 
others  with  lands  and  possessions  ;  by  this  he  became  pro- 
digal and  very  expensive.  .  .  .  He  gave  the  lands  of 
Morvairn  to  Maclean,  and  many  of  his  lands  in  the  north  to 
others,  judging  by  these  means  to  make  them  more  faithful 
to  him  than  they  were  to  his  father.  His  son,  Angus  Ogg, 
being  a  bold,  forward  man,  and  high  minded,  observing  that 
his  father  very  much  diminished  his  rents  by  his  prodigality, 
thought  to  deprive  him  of  all  management  and  authority. 
Many  followers  adhered  to  him.  His  father  being  at  Isla, 
he  went  after  him  with  a  great  party,  forced  him  to  change 
seven  rooms  to  lodge  in,  and  at  last  to  take  his  bed,  during 
the  whole  of  the  night,  under  an  old  boat.  When  he  returned 
to  his  house  in  the  morning  he  found  his  son  sitting  with  a 
great  crowd  about  him.  MacFinnon  rising  up,  desired 
Macdonald  to  sit  down  ;  who  answered  that  he  would  not 
sit  till  he  would  execute  his  intention,  which  was  to  curse 
his  son.  So  leaving  Isla  with  only  six  men,  he  went  to 
the  mainland  and  to  Inverary,  and  having  waited  without 
till  one  of  the  Argyll  gentlemen  came  forth  in  the  morning, 
who,  observing  Macdonald,  went  in  immediately  and  told 

*  Gregory's  Western  Highlands  and  Isles,  pp,  51-52. 



Argyll  of  the  matter,  who  could  scarcely  believe  him,  saying, 
if  he  was  there  he  would  certainly  send  some  person  to 
inform  him  before  hand.  With  that  he  started  up,  and 
going  out,  finds  Macdonald,  and,  having  saluted  him  and 
brought  him  in,  he  said,  I  do  not  wonder  at  you  coming 
here  ;  but  I  am  surprised  you  did  not  warn  me  before  your 
arrival,  and  that  your  retinue  is  so  small.  That  is  little, 
said  Macdonald,  to  the  revolutions  of  the  times,  and  thou 
shalt  be  the  better  of  my  coming  ;  and  so,  after  dinner,  he 
bestowed  on  him  the  lands  of  Knapdale,  Rilisleter,  from 
the  river  Add  to  the  Fox-burn  in  Kintyre,  400  merks  lands, 
and  desired  Argyll  to  convey  him  to  Stirling,  where  the 
king  was  at  that  time,  and  for  his  son's  disobedience  he 
would  resign  all  his  estates  to  the  king.  So  they  went 
to  Stirling  together,  and  from  thence  to  Air,  in  company 
with  the  king,  when  John  resigned  all  into  his  hands, 
excepting  the  barony  of  Kinloss  in  Murray,  of  Kinnaird 
in  Buchan,  and  of  Cairndonald  in  the  West,  which  he  re- 
tained to  support  his  own  grandeur  during  his  lifetime. 
Angus  Ogg  Macdonald,  his  son,  followed  his  former  courses, 
came  to  Inverness,  and  demolished  the  castle.  When  his 
brother  Austin  saw  how  matters  went  on,  and  that  John  had 
resigned  all  to  the  king,  he  goes  to  Edinburgh,  and  takes  his 
charters  from  the  king  for  all  his  patrimony  which  his 
father  and  mother  bestowed  on  him  formerly,  in  favour  of 
his  heirs-male,  legitimate  or  illegitimate  ;  which  patrimony 
consisted  of  North  Uist,  the  parish  of  Hough  in  South 
Uist,  Canna,  Benbicula,  Slate,  Trottenish,  and  Lochbroom. 
But  Angus  Ogg,  his  nephew,  continuing  his  former  pre- 
tensions, resolved  not  to  surrender  any  of  his  father's  lands 
to  the  king  or  to  his  father  himself.  The  Earl  of  Athole 
was  ordered  with  a  party  against  him.  He  joined  others 
in  the  north,  who  had  the  same  injunctions  from  the  king, 
viz.,  the  Mackays,  Mackenzies,  the  Brodies,  some  of  the 
Frasers  and  Rosses.  Angus  Ogg  came  from  Isla  and 
Kintyre  to  the  West,  and  raising  some  of  his  own  name 
viz.,  Alexander  Macdonald  of  the  braes  of  Lochaber,  John 
of   Glengarry,  the  Laird  of   Knoydart,  and  some  of  the 

JOHN,    FOURTH   AND   LAST   LORD   OF   THE  ISLES.      99 

Islanders,  he  goes  to  Ross,  where,  meeting  Athole  and  his 
party  near  Lagebread,  he  gave  them  a  defeat,  killing  517 
of  their  army.  Mackay  was  made  prisoner,  Athole  and 
Mackenzie  made  their  escape.  The  Earl  of  Crawford 
afterwards  was  ordered  by  the  king  to  go  by  sea,  and 
Huntly,  with  a  party,  to  go  by  land,  to  harass  and  dis- 
courage Angus  Ogg's  adherents ;  but  neither  of  them 
executed  their  orders.  Argyll  and  Athole  were  sent  to 
the  Islanders,  desiring  them  to  hold  of  the  king,  and 
abandon  Angus  Ogg,  and  that  the  king  would  grant  them 
the  same  rights  they  had  formerly  from  Macdonald.  This 
offer  was  accepted  by  several.  But  when  the  Macdonalds> 
and  heads  of  their  families,  saw  that  their  chief  and  family 
was  to  be  sunk,  they  began  to  look  up  to  Angus  Ogg,  the 
young  lord.  About  this  time  Austin,  his  uncle  died,  and 
was  buried  in  Sand,  North  Uist."  * 

Skene  corroborates  the  family  historian,  and  informs  us 
that  subsequent  to  the  resignation  of  the  Earldom  of  Ross, 
and  after  the  late  Earl  was  created  a  Peer  of  Parliament 
by  the  title  of  Lord  of  the  Isles,  the  Earl  of  Athole  was 
despatched  to  the  north  to  reinstate  Ross  in  his  former 
possessions,  now  re-granted  to  him  by  the  king,  where  he 
was  joined  by  the  Mackenzies,  Mackays,  Frasers,  Rosses, 
and  others  ;  but  being  met  by  Angus  Og  at  a  place  called 
Lag-a-bhraid,  the  Earl  of  Athole  was  defeated  with  great 
slaughter,  and  it  was  with  great  difficulty  that  he  managed 
to  make  his  escape.  Two  expeditions  were  afterwards  sent 
north — the  first  under  the  Earl  of  Crawford  by  sea,  with 
another  body  under  the  Earl  of  Huntly  by  land;  the  second 
under  the  Earls  of  Argyll  and  Athole,  accompanied  by 
the  Lord  of  the  Isles  in  person.  But  these  expeditions 
proved  unsuccessful  against  Angus  Og.  Argyll,  however, 
managed  to  persuade  several  families  of  the  Isles  to  join 
him  ;  but  failing  in  the  object  of  their  mission,  the  two 
Earls  soon  returned.  The  Lord  of  the  Isles,  however,  pro- 
ceeded south,  through  the  Sound  of  Mull,  accompanied  by 
the  Macleans,  Macleods,  Macneils,  and  others,  and  again 

*  Collectanea  de  Rebus  Albanicis,  315-316. 


encountered  his  rebellious  son  in  a  bay  on  the  south  side 
of  Ardnamurchan,  near  Tobermory,  where  a  naval  engage- 
ment immediately  took  place  between  them,  resulting  in 
the  complete  overthrow  of  the  father  and  the  dispersion 
of  his  fleet.  By  this  victory,  at  "  the  battle  of  the  Bloody 
Bay,"  Angus  was  completely  established  in  full  possession 
of  the  powers  and  extensive  territories  of  his  clan. 

There  "  was  one  called  Edmond  More  Obrian  along  with 
Ranald  Bain   (Laird  of  Muidort's  eldest  son),  who  thrust 
the  blade  of  an  oar  in  below  the  stern-post  of  Macleod's 
galley,  between   it  and  the   rudder,  which  prevented  the 
galley   from    being   steered.     The   galley   of    the   heir   of 
Torquil  of  the   Lewis,  with   all  his  men,  was  taken  and 
and  himself  mortally  wounded  with  two  arrows,  whereof 
he  died  soon  after  at  Dunvegan.     .     .     .     After  this  con- 
flict, the  Earl  of   Athole,  being  provided  with  boats  by 
Argyll,  crossed  over  privately  to  Isla,  where  Angus  Ogg's 
lady,  daughter  of   Argyll,  was,  and  apprehended   Donald 
Dhu,  or  '  the  Black,'  a  child  of   three  years  of  age,  and 
committed  him  a  prisoner  to  Inch  Chonuil,  so  called  from 
the  builder,  Conuil,  son  of  the  first  Dougall  of  Lorn,  where 
he  remained  in  custody  until  his  hair  got  grey.    Yet  Angus 
Ogg,  Donald  Du's  father,  was  still  advised  by  the  Earl  of 
Angus  and  Hamilton  to  hold  out  and  maintain  his  rights. 
After  this,  John  of  the  Isles  gave  up  to  the  king  all  these 
lands  which  he  formerly  held  back  for  the  support  of  his 
grandeur.     .     .     .     If  we  search  antiquaries,  we  will  find 
few  names  in  Scotland  that  mortified  more  lands  to  the 
Church   than    the    Macdonalds   did.     However,    I    cannot 
deny  but  his  father's  curse  seems  to  have  lighted  on  this 
man.     He  took  a  journey  south,  where  he  killed  many  of 
the  Macalisters  in  Arran,  and  also  of  his  own  name,  for 
seizing  and  intromitting  with  some  of  his  lands  without  his 
consent.      Returning   through   Argyle   and    Lochaber,   he 
came  to  Inverness.     Mackenzie  was  like  to  be  killed,  or  at 
least   banished,   by   Macdonald,   because   he    was    always 
against  him,  contriving  all  the  mischiefs  he  could,  least, 
upon  recovering  his  own,  he  would  deprive  Mackenzie  of 


these  lands  which  he  held  of  the  king.  There  was  another 
circumstance  which  shortened  Macdonald's  days — viz.,  there 
was  a  lady  of  the  name  of  Macleod,  daughter  of  Rory, 
surnamed  the  Black,  who  was  tutor  to  the  lawful  heir  of 
the  Lewis,  married  to  the  Laird  of  Muidort.  The  tutor, 
her  father,  being  resolved  not  to  acknowledge,  by  any 
means,  the  true  heir  of  the  Lewis,  and  engross  the  whole 
to  himself,  was  displaced  by  Macdonald,  and  the  rightful 
heir  put  in  possession.  This  lady  having  a  spite  at  Mac- 
donald for  dispossessing  her  father,  together  with  John 
Mackenzie,  contrived  his  death  in  the  following  manner 
There  was  an  Irish  harper  of  the  name  of  Art  O'Carby,  of 
the  county  of  Monaghan  in  Ireland,  who  was  often  at 
Macdonald's,  and  falling  in  love  with  Mackenzie's  daughter, 
became  almost  mad  in  his  amours.  Mackenzie  seeing  him 
in  that  mood,  promised  him  his  daughter,  provided  he 
would  put  Macdonald  to  death,  and  made  him  swear  never 
to  reveal  the  secret.  This  fellow,  being  afterwards  in  his 
cups,  and  playing  upon  his  harp,  used  to  sing  the  following 
verse,  composed  by  himself  in  the  Irish  language  : — 

T'  anam  do  dhia  a  mharcaich  an  eich  bhall-a-bhric, 

Gu'm  bheil  t'  anam  an  cunnart  ma  tha  puinnsean  an  Gallfit ; 

meaning,  that  the  rider  of  the  dapple  horse  was  in  danger 
of  his  life  (for  Macdonald  always  rode  such  a  one),  if  there 
was  poison  in  his  long  knife,  which  he  called  Gallfit.  As 
Macdonald  went  to  bed  one  night,  there  was  none  in  the 
room  along  with  him  but  John  Cameron,  brother  to  Ewan5 
laird  of  Locheill,  and  Macmurrich,  the  poet.  This  John 
had  some  rights  from  Macdonald  of  the  lands  of  Mammore 
in  Lochaber,  written  the  day  before,  but  not  signed  by 
Macdonald.  The  harper  rose  in  the  night-time,  when  he 
perceived  Macdonald  was  asleep,  and  cut  his  throat,  for 
which  he  was  apprehended,  but  never  confessed  that  he 
was  employed  by  anybody  so  to  do,  although  there  were 
several  jewels  found  upon  him,  which  were  well  known  to 
have  belonged  formerly  to  Mackenzie  and  the  lady  of 
Muidort.     The  harper  was  drawn  after  horses  till  his  limbs 



were  torn  asunder.  After  the  death  of  Angus,  the  Islanders 
and  the  rest  of  the  Highlanders  were  let  loose,  and  began 
to  shed  one  another's  blood.  Although  Angus  kept  them 
in  obedience  while  he  was  sole  lord  over  them,  yet,  upon 
his  resignation  of  his  rights  to  the  king,  all  families,  his 
own  as  well  as  others,  gave  themselves  up  to  all  sorts  of 
cruelties,  which  continued  for  a  long  time  thereafter." 

Gregory  substantially  corroborates  the  family  historian 
and  says  that  the  rage  of  Angus  knew  no  bounds  when 
he  discovered  by  whom  his  child,  Donald  Dubh,  had  been 
carried  away ;  that  this  was  the  real  cause  of  the  expedition 
to  Athole  and  the  mainland,  and  of  the  sacrilegious  act  of 
violating  the  Chapel  of  St.  Bridget.  After  describing  the 
assassination  of  Angus  at  Inverness,  Gregory  concludes  : — 
Thus  fell  Angus,  the  son  and  heir  of  John,  last  Lord  of  the 
Isles.  With  all  his  violence,  which  appears  to  have  verged 
upon  insanity,  he  was  a  favourite  with  those  of  his  own 
name,  who,  perhaps,  flattered  themselves  that  he  was 
destined  to  regain  all  that  had  been  lost  by  his  father. 

It  has  been  said  by  some  that  Angus  Og  was  a  legiti- 
mate son  of  John,  Earl  of  Ross,  but  all  the  best  authorities 
are  agreed  that  he  was  not.  Gregory  calls  him  a  bastard. 
Smibert,  in  his  "  Clans  of  the  Highlands  of  Scotland," 
referring  to  the  assertions  of  "  ancient  private  annalists," 
and  especially  to  Hugh  Macdonald,  the  Sleat  historian, 
says  that  some  of  these  assert  that  John,  last  Lord  of  the 
Isles,  who  had  no  children  by  his  wife,  Elizabeth  Livingston, 
had  yet,  "  a  natural  son  begotten  of  Macduffle,  Colonsay's 
daughter,  and  Angus  Og,  his  legitimate  son,  by  the  Earl  of 
Angus's  daughter."  Regarding  this  assertion  he  says — 
"  No  mention  of  this  Angus  marriage  occurs  in  any  one 
public  document  relating  to  the  Lords  of  the  Isles,  or  to 
the  Douglases,  then  Earls  of  Angus.  On  the  other  hand, 
the  acknowledged  wife  of  John  of  the  Isles,  Elizabeth 
Livingston,  was  certainly  alive  in  1475,  at  which  date  he, 
among  other  charges,  is  accused  of  making  '  his  bastard 
son  '  a  lieutenant  to  him  in  insurrectionary  convocations  of 
the  lieges  ;  and  Angus  could  therefore  come  of  no  second 

JOHN,   FOURTH   AND   LAST   LORD   OF   THE   ISLES.    103 

marriage.  He  indubitably  is  the  same  party  still  more 
distinctly  named  in  subsequent  Parliamentary  records  as 
'Angus  of  the  Isles,  bastard  son  to  umquhile  John  of  the 
Isles '.  The  attribution  of  noble  and  legitimate  birth  to 
Angus  took  its  origin,  without  doubt,  in  the  circumstance 
of  John's  want  of  children  by  marriage  having  raised  his 
natural  son  to  a  high  degree  of  power  in  the  clan,  which 
the  active  character  of  Angus  well  fitted  him  to  use  as  he 
willed.  That  power  was  still  further  established  by  his 
being  named  in  1476  as  principal  heir  of  entail  to  his 
father,  when  the  latter  submitted  to  the  Crown  and  ob- 
tained a  seat  in  Parliament ;  but  in  that  very  deed  of  entail 
his  illegitimacy  is  stated  once  more  with  equal  clearness, 
and  he  was  only  to  succeed  failing  other  heirs  of  the  body 
of  John.  However,  in  the  absence  of  any  such  legal  issue, 
Angus  wielded  all  the  authority  of  an  heir-apparent,  and 
appears,  by  his  violence,  to  have  involved  the  tribe  in 
perpetual  disturbance."  The  father  and  son  seem  to  have 
become  quite  reconciled  during  the  latter  years  of  the  life 
of  Angus,  who  was  killed  about  1485,  at  Inverness,  while 
his  father  was  yet  alive. 

A  few  years  after  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  is  again  in 
opposition  to  the  Government ;  enters  into  a  treaty  with 
Edward  IV.  of  England,  then  preparing  another  expedition 
against  the  Scots ;  and  for  the  remainder  of  the  reign  of 
James  III.  the  vassals  of  the  Island  Chief  are  found  in  a 
state  of  open  resistance  to  the  Crown. 

Angus  Og  having,  according  to  most  authorities,  died 
without  legitimate  issue,  and  John,  Lord  of  the  Isles,  being 
now  advanced  in  years,  his  nephew,  Alexander  of  Lochalsh, 
son  of  Celestine,  his  Lordship's  brother,  held,  according  to 
Gregory  and  other  good  authorities,  the  rank  of  heir  to  the 
Lordship  of  the  Isles  ;  while  others  maintain  that  Alex- 
ander merely  commanded  the  clan  as  guardian  to  Angus 
Og's  youthful  son,  Donald  Dubh,  still  a  prisoner  at  Inch- 
connell  ;  but  the  latter  view,  is  inconsistent  with  several 
known  facts,  one  of  which  is  an  existing  charter,  dated  in 
1492,  in  favour  of  John  Maclean  of  Lochbuy,  of  the  office 


of  Bailliary  of  the  south  half  of  the  Island  of  Tiree,  granted 
by  John,  Lord  of  the  Isles,  and  Alexander  de  Insulis,  Lord 
of  Lochalsh,  an  office  which  could  not  have  been  given  by 
Alexander  of  Lochalsh  in  any  other  capacity  than  as  his 
father's  heir  to  the  Lordship  of  the  Isles,  for  it  formed  no 
part  of  his  own  patrimony  of  Lochalsh.  In  1488,  Alexander 
invaded  the  mainland  at  the  head  of  his  vassals  with  the 
view  of  wresting  the  ancient  possessions  of  the  Earldom 
of  Ross  from  those  in  possession  of  them  by  charters 
from  the  Crown — especially  the  Mackenzies— apparently 
with  the  full  consent  and  approval  of  his  aged  uncle  of  the 
Isles.  Gregory  describes  the  origin  and  result  of  this  raid 
as  follows  : — "  As  the  districts  of  Lochalsh,  Lochcarron,  and 
Lochbroom,  which  Alexander  inherited  from  his  father,  and 
which  he  now  held  as  a  Crown  fief,  lay  in  the  Earldom  of 
Ross,  his  influence  there  was  greater  than  that  of  Angus  of 
the  Isles  had  been.  Yet  the  only  Crown  vassal  of  the 
Earldom  who  joined  him  was  Hugh  Rose,  younger  of 
Kilravock,  whose  father  at  this  time  was  keeper,  under  the 
Earl  of  Huntly,  of  the  Castle  of  Ardmanach,  in  Ross.  In 
the  year  149 1,*  a  large  body  of  Western  Highlanders) 
composed  of  the  Clanranald  of  Garmoran,  the  Clanranald 
of  Lochaber,  and  the  Clanchameron,  under  Alexander  of 
Lochalsh,  advanced  from  Lochaber  into  Badenoch,  where 
they  were  joined  by  the  Clanchattan.  The  latter  tribe> 
which  possessed  lands  both  under  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  and 
the  Earl  of  Huntly,  was  led  by  Farquhar  Mackintosh,  the 
son  and  heir  of  the  captain  of  the  Clanchattan.  From 
Badenoch  the  confederates  marched  to  Inverness,  where 
Farquhar  Mackintosh  stormed  and  took  the  royal  castle,  in 
which  he  established  a  garrison  ;  and  where  the  forces  of 
the  Highlanders  were  probably  increased  by  the  arrival  of 
the  young  Baron  of  Kilravock  and  his  followers.  Froceeding 
to  the  north-east,  the  fertile  lands  belonging  to  Sir  Alex. 
Urquhart,  the  Sheriff  of  Cromarty,  were  plundered,  and 
a  vast  booty  carried  off  by  the  Islanders  and  their  associates. 

*  There  is  some  confusion  here  as  to  the  dates,  for  there  is  now  no  doubt  that 
the  battle  of  Park  was  fought  as  early  as  1488. 


It  is  probable  that  at  this  time  Lochalsh  had  divided  his 
force  into  two  parts,  one  being  sent  home  with  the  booty 
already  acquired,  whilst  with  the  other  he  proceeded  to 
Strathconan,  for  the  purpose  of  ravaging  the  lands  of  the 
Mackenzies.  The  latter  clan,  under  their  chief,  Kenneth, 
having  assembled  their  forces,  surprised  and  routed  the 
invaders,  who  had  encamped  near  the  river  Conan,  at  a  place 
called  Park,  whence  the  conflict  has  received  the  name  of 
Blairnepark.  Alexander  of  Lochalsh  was  wounded,  and,  as 
some  say,  taken  prisoner  in  this  battle,  and  his  followers  were 
expelled  from  Ross.  Meanwhile,  the  origin  of  these  commo- 
tions did  not  escape  the  investigation  of  the  Government ;  and 
the  result  was  the  final  forfeiture  of  the  Lordship  of  the 
Isles,  and  its  annexation  to  the  Crown.  It  does  not  appear, 
from  the  documents  which  we  posses,  how  far  the  Lord  of 
the  Isles  was  himself  implicated  in  the  rebellious  proceedings 
of  his  nephew.  It  may  be  that  his  inability  to  keep  the 
wild  tribes  of  the  West  Highlands  and  Isles  in  proper 
subjection  was  his  chief  crime,  and  that  the  object  of  the 
Government  in  proceeding  to  his  forfeiture  was,  by  breaking 
up  the  confederacy  of  the  Islanders,  to  strengthen  indirectly 
the  royal  authority  in  these  remote  districts.  The  tenor  of 
all  the  proceedings  of  James  IV.,  connected  with  the  final 
forfeiture  of  the  Lordship  of  the  Isles,  leads  to  this  conclu- 

We  extract  the  following  details  of  the  origin,  progress, 
and  result  of  this  Macdonald  raid  to  the  County  of  Ross, 
from  a  recent  volume  by  the  author  of  this  work.-f-  Kenneth 
Mackenzie  known  as  "  Coinneach  a  Bhlair,"  VII.  of  Kintail, 
married  Margaret,  daughter  of  John,  last  Lord  of  the  Isles, 
hoping  that  by  this  alliance  the  long  continued  family  feud 
might  be  healed  up.  Some  time  after  Alexander  of  Loch- 
alsh, Margaret's  cousin,  came  to  Ross,  and,  feeling  more 
secure  in  consequence  of  this  matrimonial  alliance  between 
the  family  of  Mackenzie  and  his  own,  took  possession  of 

*  Highlands  and  Isles,  pp,  55-58. 

+  History  of  the  Clan  Mackenzie  ;  with  Genealogies  of  the  Principal  Families  of 
the  Name  :  A.  &  W.  Mackenzie,  Inverness,  1879. 


Balcony  House  and  the  adjacent  lands,  where,  at  the  fol- 
lowing Christmas,  he  provided  a  great  feast  for  his  old 
dependants,  inviting  to  it  most  of  the  more  powerful  chiefs 
and  barons  north  of  the  Spey,  and,  among  others,his  cousin's 
lord,  Kenneth  Mackenzie.  The  house  of  Balcony*  was  at 
the  time  very  much  out  of  repair,  so  that  he  could  not  con- 
veniently lodge  all  his  distinguished  guests  within  it.  He  had 
to  arrange  some  of  them  in  the  outhouses  as  best  he  could. 
Kenneth  did  not  arrive  until  Christmas  eve,  accompained 
by  a  train  of  able-bodied  men,  numbering  forty,  according 
to  the  custom  of  the  times,  but  without  his  lady — which 
gave  great  umbrage  to  Macdonald.  One  of  the  Macleans  of 
Duart  had  the  chief  charge  of  the  arrangements  in  the  house. 
Some  days  previously  he  had  a  disagreement  with  Kenneth 
at  some  games,  and  on  his  arrival,  Maclean,  who  had  the 
disposal  of  the  guests,  told  the  heir  of  Kintail  that,  taking 
advantage  of  his  connection  with  the  family,  they  had  taken 
the  liberty  of  providing  him  with  lodgings  in  the  kiln.  Ken- 
neth, who  was  very  powerful,  considered  himself  thus  in- 
sulted, more  especially  as  he  imagined  the  slight  proceeded 
from  Maclean's  ill-will  against  him,  and  he  instantly  struck 
Maclean  a  blow  on  the  ear,  which  threw  him  to  the  ground. 
The  servants  in  the  house  viewed  this  as  a  direct  insult 
to  their  Chief,  Macdonald,  and  at  once  took  to  arms. 
Kenneth,  though  sufficiently  bold,  soon  perceived  that  he 
had  no  chance  to  fight  successfully,  or  even  to  beat  a  re- 
treat, and,  noticing  several  boats  lying  on  the  shore,  which 
had  been  provided  for  the  transport  of  the  guests,  he  took 
as  many  of  them  as  he  required,  sank  the  rest,  and  passed 
with  his  followers  to  the  opposite  shore,  where  he  remained 
during  the  night.  He  took  up  his  quarters  in  the  house  of  a 
tenant  "who  haid  no  syrnam  but  a  patronimick  "  ;  and  Ken- 
neth, boiling  with  passion,  was  sorely  affronted  at  the  per- 
sonal insult  offered  him,  and  at  being  from  his  own  house 
on  Christmas,  staying  with  a  stranger,  and  off  his  own  pro- 

*  Ardintoul  MS.  places  this  feast  at  Balnagown  House.  "In  1455,  Beatrice, 
Countess  of  Ross,  submitted  to  King  James  II.,  who  then  granted  her  the  Barony 
of  Balknie." — Orig.  Par.  Scot.,  vol  ii. ,  p.  480. 

JOHN,   FOURTH   AND   LAST   LORD   OF   THE   ISLES.    10/ 

perty.  He,  in  these  circumstances,  requested  his  host  to 
adopt  the  name  of  Mackenzie,  promising  him  protection  in 
future,  that  he  might  thus  be  able  to  say  he  slept  under  the 
roof  of  one  of  his  own  name.  His  host  at  once  consented, 
and  his  posterity  were  ever  after  known  as  Mackenzies. 
Next  morning  (Christmas  day)  Kenneth  went  to  the  hill 
above  Chanonry,  and  sent  word  to  the  Bishop,  who  was  at 
the  time  enjoying  his  Christmas  with  others  of  his  clergy, 
that  he  desired  to  speak  to  him.  The  Bishop,  knowing  his 
man's  temper,  and  the  turbulent  state  of  the  times,  thought 
it  prudent  to  meet  the  young  chieftain,  though  he  considered 
it  very  strange  to  receive  such  a  message,  on  such  a  day, 
from  such  a  quarter,  and  wondered  what  could  be  the  object 
of  his  visitor.  He  soon  found  that  Mackenzie  simply  wanted 
a  feu  of  a  small  piece  of  land  on  which  was  situated  the 
house  in  which  he  lodged  the  previous  night,  and  stated  his 
reason  to  be,  "  lest  Macdonald  should  brag  that  he  had 
forced  him  on  Christmas  eve  to  lodge  at  another  man's  dis- 
cretion and  not  on  his  own  heritage  ".  The  Bishop,  willing 
to  oblige  him,  probably  afraid  to  do  otherwise,  and  perceiv- 
ing him  in  such  a  rage,  at  once  sent  for  his  clerk,  and  there 
and  then  granted  him  a  charter  of  the  township  of  Culli- 
cudden  ;  whereupon  Kenneth  returned  to  the  place,  and  re- 
mained in  it  all  day,  lording  over  it  as  his  own  property. 
The  place  was  kept  by  him  and  his  successors  until  Colin 
acquired  more  of  the  Bishop's  lands  in  the  neighbourhood, 
and  afterwards  exchanged  the  whole  with  the  Sheriff  of 
Cromarty  for  lands  in  Strathpeffer. 

Next  day  Kenneth  started  for  Kinellan,  where  the  old 
chief,  Alexander,  resided,  and  related  what  had  taken  place. 
His  father  was  much  grieved,  for  he  well  knew  that  the 
smallest  difference  between  the  families  would  revive  their 
old  grievances,  and,  although  there  was  less  danger  since 
Macdonald's  interest  in  Ross  was  less  than  in  the  past, 
yet  he  knew  the  clan  to  be  a  powerful  one  still — more  so 
than  his  own — in  their  number  of  able-bodied  warriors ;  but 
these  considerations,  strongly  impressed  upon  the  son  by 
the  experienced  and  aged  father,  only  added  fuel  to  the  fire 


in  Kenneth's  bosom,  which  was  already  fiercely  burning  to 
revenge  the  insult  offered  him  by  Macdonald's  servants. 
His  natural  impetuosity  could  ill  brook  any  such  insult, 
and  he  considered  himself  wronged  so  much  that  he  felt 
it  his  duty  personally  to  retaliate,  and  revenge  it.  While 
this  was  the  state  of  his  mind,  matters  were  suddenly 
brought  to  a  crisis  by  the  arrival,  on  the  fourth  day,  of  a 
messenger  from  Macdonald  with  a  summons  requesting 
Alexander  and  Kenneth  to  remove  from  Kinellan,  with  all 
their  family,  within  twenty-four  hours,  allowing  only  that 
the  young  Lady  Margaret,  his  own  cousin,  might  remain 
until  she  had  more  leisure  to  remove,  and  threatening  war 
to  the  knife  in  case  of  non-compliance.  Kenneth's  rage 
can  easily  be  imagined,  and  without  consulting  his  father 
or  waiting  for  his  counsel,  he  requested  the  messenger  to 
tell  Macdonald  that  his  father  would  remain  where  he  was 
in  spite  of  him  and  all  his  power.  For  himself  he  was  to 
receive  no  rules  for  his  staying  or  going,  but  he  would  be 
sure  enough  to  hear  of  him  wherever  he  was  ;  and  as  for  his 
(Macdonald's)  cousin,  Lady  Margaret,  since  he  had  no  desire 
to  keep  further  peace  with  his  family,  he  would  no  longer 
keep  his  relative.  Such  was  the  defiant  message  sent  to  young 
Macdonald,  and  immediately  after  receipt  thereof  Kenneth 
despatched  Lady  Margaret  in  the  most  ignominious  manner 
to  Balnagown.  The  lady  was  blind  of  an  eye,  and  to  insult 
her  cousin  to  the  highest  pitch  he  sent  her  mounted  on  a 
one-eyed  horse,  accompanied  by  a  one-eyed  servant,  fol- 
lowed by  a  one-eyed  dog.  She  was  in  a  delicate  state  of 
health,  and  this  inhumanity  grieved  her  so  much  that  she 
never  wholly  recovered.  Her  son,  the  only  issue  of  the  mar- 
riage, was  named  Kenneth,  and  to  distinguish  him  from 
his  father,  was  called  Coinneach  Og,  or  Kenneth  the  younger. 
Macdonald  was  naturally  very  much  exasperated  by 
Kenneth's  defiant  answer  to  himself,  and  the  repeated 
insults  heaped  upon  his  relative,  and,  through  her,  upon  all 
her  family.  He  thereupon  dispatched  his  great  steward, 
Maclean,  to  collect  his  followers  in  the  Isles,  as  also  to 
advise  and  request  the  aid  of  his  nearest  relations  on  the 


mainland — the  Macdonalds  of  Moidart,  and  Clan  Ian  of 
Ardnamurchan.  In  a  short  time  they  mustered  a  force 
between  them  of  about  fifteen  hundred  men — some  say 
three  thousand — and  arranged  with  Macdonald  to  meet  him 
at  Contin.  They  assumed  that  Alexander  Mackenzie,  now 
so  old,  would  not  have  gone  to  Kintail,  but  would  stay  in 
Ross,  judging  that  the  Macdonalds  so  recently  come  under 
obligations  to  their  king  to  keep  the  peace,  would  not 
venture  to  collect  their  forces  and  invade  the  low  country. 
But  Kenneth,  foreseeing  danger  from  the  rebellious  temper 
of  Macdonald,  went  to  Kintail  at  the  commencement  of 
Macdonald's  preparations,  and  placed  a  strong  garrison,  with 
sufficient  provisions,  in  Islandonain  Castle  ;  and  the  cattle 
and  other  goods  in  the  district  he  ordered  to  be  driven  and 
taken  to  the  most  remote  hills  and  secret  places.  He  took 
all  the  remaining  able-bodied  men  along  with  him,  and  on 
his  way  back  to  Kinellan  he  was  joined  by  his  dependants 
in  Strathconan,  Strathgarve,  and  other  glens  in  the  Braes 
of  Ross,  all  fully  determined  to  defend  Kenneth  and  his 
aged  father  at  the  cost  of  their  lives,  small  as  their  united 
forces  were  in  comparison  with  that  against  which  they 
would  soon  have  to  contend. 

Macdonald  had  meanwhile  collected  his  friends,  and  at 
the  head  of  a  large  body  of  Western  Highlanders,  advanced 
through  Lochaber  into  Badenoch,  where  he  was  joined  by 
the  Clan  Chattan  ;  marched  to  Inverness,  where  they  were 
joined  by  the  young  Laird  of  Kilravock  and  some  of  Lovat's 
people  ;  reduced  the  Castle  (then  a  Royal  fortress),  placed  a 
garrison  in  it,  and  proceeded  to  the  north-east,  and  plundered 
the  lands  of  Sir  Alexander  Urquhart,  Sheriff  of  Cromarty. 
They  next  marched  westward  to  the  district  of  Strathconan, 
ravaged  the  lands  of  the  Mackenzies  as  they  proceeded,  and 
put  the  inhabitants  and  more  immediate  retainers  of  the 
family  to  the  sword — resolutely  determined  to  punish  Mac- 
kenzie for  his  ill-treatment  of  Lady  Margaret,  and  recover 
possession  of  that  part  of  the  Earldom  of  Ross  so  long  pos- 
sessed by  the  Earls  of  that  name,  but  now  the  property  of 
Mackenzie  by  Royal  charters  from  the  king.     Macdonald 


wasted  Strathconan,  and  arrived  at  Contin  on  Sunday 
morning,  where  he  found  the  people  in  great  terror  and 
confusion  ;  and,  the  able-bodied  men  having  already  joined 
Mackenzie,  the  aged,  the  women,  and  children  took  refuge 
in  the  church,  thinking  themselves  secure  within  its  pre- 
cincts from  an  enemy  professing  Christianity.  They  soon, 
to  their  horror,  found  themselves  mistaken.  Macdonald, 
having  little  or  no  scruples  on  the  score  of  religion,  ordered 
the  doors  to  be  closed  and  guarded,  and  then  set  fire  to 
the  building.  The  priest,  helpless  and  aged  men,  women 
and  children,  were  all  burnt  to  ashes. 

Some  of  those  who  were  fortunate  enough  not  to  be 
in  the  church  immediately  started  for  Kinellan,  and  in- 
formed Mackenzie  of  the  hideous  and  cruel  conduct  of 
the  advancing  enemy.  Alexander,  sorely  grieved  in  his 
old  age  at  the  cruel  destruction  of  his  people,  expressed  his 
gratitude  that  the  enemy,  whom  he  had  hitherto  considered 
too  numerous  to  contend  with  successfully,  had  now  engaged 
God  against  them,  by  their  impious  and  execrable  conduct. 
Contin  was  not  far  from  Kinellan,  and  Macdonald,  thinking 
that  Mackenzie  would  not  remain  at  the  latter  place  with 
such  a  comparatively  small  force,  ordered  Gillespie  to 
draw  up  his  followers  to  the  large  moor  known  as  "  Blar  na 
Pairc,"  that  he  might  review  them,  and  send  out  a  detach- 
ment to  pursue  the  enemy.  Kenneth  Mackenzie,  who 
commanded,  posted  his  men  in  a  strong  position — on 
ground  where  he  thought  he  could  defend  himself  against 
a  superior  force,  and  conveniently  situated  to  attack  the 
enemy  if  a  favourable  opportunity  occurred.  His  followers 
only  amounted  to  six  hundred,  while  his  opponent  had  at 
least  nearly  three  times  that  number  ;  but  he  had  the  ad- 
vantage in  another  respect,  inasmuch  as  he  had  sufficient 
provisions  for  a  much  longer  period  than  Macdonald  could 
possibly  procure  for  his  larger  force,  the  country  people 
having  driven  their  cattle  and  all  provender  that  might  be 
of  service  to  the  enemy  out  of  his  reach.  About  mid-day 
the  Islesmen  were  drawn  up  on  the  moor,  about  a  quarter 
of  a  mile  distant  from  the  position  occupied  by  the  Mac- 


kenzies,  their  forces  only  separated  from  each  other  by  a 
peat  moss,  full  of  deep  pits  and  deceitful  bogs.      Kenneth, 
fearing  a  siege,  shortly  before  this  prevailed  upon  his  aged 
father  to  retire  to  the  Raven's  Rock,  above  Strathpeffer,  to 
which  place,  strong  and  easily  defended,  he  resolved  to 
follow  him  in  case  he  was  compelled  to  retreat  before  the 
numerically  superior  host  of  his  enemy.     This  the  venerable 
Alexander  did,  recommending  his  son  to  the  assistance  and 
protection  of  a  Higher  Power,  at  the  same  time  assuring 
him  of  success,  notwithstanding  the  superior  forces  of  his 
adversary.     By  the  nature  of  the  ground,  Kenneth  perceived 
that  Macdonald  could  not  bring  all  his  forces  to  the  attack 
at   once.     He   courageously   determined    to    maintain   his 
ground,    and    adopted    a   stratagem    which    he    correctly 
calculated  would  mislead  his  opponent,  and  place  him  at  a 
serious  disadvantage.     He  acquainted  his  brother  Duncan 
with  his  resolution  and  plans,  and  sent  him  off,  before  the 
struggle  commenced,  with  a  body  of  archers  to  be  placed 
in  ambush,  while  he  determined  to  cross  the  peat  bog  him- 
self and  attack  Macdonald  in  front  with  the  main  body, 
intending  to  retreat  as  soon  as  his  adversary  returned  the 
attack,  and  thus  entice  the  Islesmen  to  pursue  him.     He 
informed   Duncan   of  his  intention    to    retreat,  and    com- 
manded him  to  be  in  readiness  with  the  close  body  of  archers 
under  his  command  to  fall  down  and  charge  the  enemy 
whenever  they  got   fairly  into   the  moss,   and    entangled 
among  its  pits  and  bogs.     Having  made  all  these  prelimin- 
ary arrangements,  he  boldly  marched  to  meet  the  foe,  lead- 
ing his  resolute  band  in  the  direction  of  the  intervening 
moss.      Macdonald   seeing   him,   in   derision    called   upon 
Gillespie   to  see   "  Mackenzie's   impudent  madness,  daring 
thus  to  face  him  at  such  disadvantage  ".      Gillespie  being  a 
more  experienced  general  than  the  youthful  but  bold  Alex- 
ander said  "  that  such  extraordinary  boldness  should  be  met 
by  more  extraordinary  wariness  in  us,  lest  we  fall  into  unex- 
pected inconvenience  ".     Macdonald,  in  a  furious  rage,  re- 
plied to  this  wise  counsel,  "  Go  you  also  and  join  with  them, 
and  it  will  not  need  our  care,  nor  move  the  least  fear  in  my 


followers  ;  both  of  you  will  not  be  a  breakfast  to  me  and 
mine  ".  Meanwhile,  Mackenzie  advanced  a  little  beyond 
the  moss,  avoiding,  from  his  intimate  knowledge  of  it,  all 
the  dangerous  pits  and  bogs,  when  Maclean  of  Lochbuy, 
who  led  the  van  of  the  enemy's  army,  advanced  and 
charged  him  with  great  fury.  Mackenzie,  according  to  his 
pre-arranged  plan,  at  once  retreated,  but  so  masterly  that 
in  so  doing  he  inflicted  "  as  much  damage  upon  the  enemy 
as  he  received  ".  The  Islesmen  soon  got  entangled  in  the 
moss,  and  Duncan  observing  this,  rushed  forth  from  his 
ambush  and  furiously  attacked  them  in  flank  and  rear, 
slaughtering  most  of  those  who  entered  the  bog.  He  then 
turned  round  upon  the  main  body,  who  were  taken  unpre- 
pared. Kenneth  seeing  this,  charged  with  his  main  body, 
who  were  all  well  instructed  in  their  chief's  design,  and 
before  the  enemy  were  able  to  form  in  order  of  battle,  he 
fell  on  their  right  flank  with  such  impetuosity,  and  did  such 
execution  amongst  them,  that  they  were  compelled  to  fall 
back  in  confusion  before  the  splendid  onset  of  the  small 
force  which  they  had  so  recently  sneered  at  and  despised- 
Gillespie,  stung  at  Alexander's  taunt  before  the  engage- 
ment commenced,  to  prove  to  him  that  "  though  he  was 
wary  in  council,  he  was  not  fearful  in  action,"  sought  out 
Mackenzie,  that  he  might  engage  him  in  single  combat,  and 
followed  by  some  of  his  bravest  followers,  he,  with  signal 
valour,  did  great  execution  among  his  opponents  as  he  was 
approaching  Kenneth,  who  was  in  the  hottest  of  the  fight ; 
and  who,  seeing  Gillespie  coming  in  his  direction,  advanced 
to  meet  him,  killing,  wounding,  or  scattering  any  of  the 
enemy  that  came  between  them.  He  made  a  signal  to 
Gillespie  to  advance  and  meet  him  in  single  combat ;  but 
finding  him  hesitating,  Kenneth,  who  far  exceeded  him  in 
strength,  while  he  equalled  him  in  courage,  would  "  brook 
no  tedious  debate,  but  pressing  on  with  fearful  eagerness,  he 
at  one  blow  cut  off  Gillespie's  arm  and  passed  very  far  into 
his  body,  so  that  he  fell  down  dead." 

Next  morning,    Kenneth,   fearing  that  those   few   who 
escaped  might  rally  among  the  hills,  and  commit  cruelties 

JOHN,    FOURTH   AND    LAST   LORD   OF   THE   ISLES.    113 

and  robberies  on  those  of  his  people  who  might  lie  in  their 
way,  marched  to  Strathconan,  where  he  found,  as  he  ex- 
pected, that  about  three  hundred  of  the  enemy  had  rallied 
and  were  destroying  everything  which  they  had  passed 
over  in  their  eastward  march  ;  as  soon,  however,  as  they 
noticed  him  in  pursuit  they  instantly  took  to  their  heels, 
but  they  were  all  killed  or  taken  prisoners.  Kenneth  now 
returned  to  Kinellan,  conveying  Alexander,  whom  he  had 
taken  prisoner,  in  triumph.  His  aged  father,  Alastair  Ion- 
raic,  had  now  returned  from  the  Raven's  Rock,  and  warmly 
embraced  his  valiant  son — congratulated  him  upon  his 
splendid  victory  over  such  a  numerically  superior  force  ; 
but,  shrewdly,  and  with  some  complaining  emphasis,  told 
his  son  that  "  he  feared  they  made  two  days'  work  of  one," 
since,  by  sparing  Macdonald,  whom  he  had  also  taken 
prisoner,  and  his  apparent  heir,  Alexander  of  Lochalsh, 
they  preserved  the  lives  of  those  who  might  yet  give  them 
trouble.  But  Kenneth,  though  a  lion  in  the  field,  could  not, 
from  any  such  prudential  consideration,  be  induced  to  com- 
mit such  a  cowardly  and  inhuman  act  as  was  here  inferred. 
He,  however,  had  no  great  faith  in  his  more  immediate  fol- 
lowers if  an  opportunity  occurred  to  them,  and  he  sent  Mac- 
donald, under  strong  guard,  to  Lord  Lovat,  to  be  kept  by 
him  in  safety  until  he  should  advise  him  how  to  dispose  of 
him.  He  kept  Alexander  of  Lochalsh  with  himself,  but 
contrary  to  all  the  expectations  of  their  friends,  he,  on  the 
intercession  of  old  Macdonald,  released  them  both  within 
six  months,  having  first  bound  them  by  oath  and  honour 
never  to  molest  him  or  his,  and  never  again  to  claim  any 
right  to  the  Earldom  of  Ross,  which  Alexander  of  the  Isles 
had  formerly  so  fully  resigned  to  the  king* 

Many  of  the  Macdonalds  and  their  followers  who  escaped 
from  the  field  of  battle  perished  in  the  river  Conon.  Fly- 
ing from  the  close  pursuit  of  the  victorious  Mackenzies,  they 
took  the  river,  which  in  some  parts  was  very  deep,  wherever 
they  came  up  to  it,  and  were  drowned.     Rushing  to  cross 

*  This  account  of  the  Battle  of  Park  is  given  mainly  on  the  authority  of  the 
Earl  of  Cromartie's  MS.  History  of  the  Mackenzies. 



at  Moy,  they  met  an  old  woman — still  smarting  under 
the  insults  and  spoliation  inflicted  on  her  and  her  neigh- 
bours by  the  Macdonalds  on  their  way  north — and  asked 
her,  "  Where  was  the  best  ford  on  the  river  ? "  "  Oh ! 
Ghaolaich,  is  aon  ath  an  abhuinn  ;  ged  tha  i  dubh  cha'n  eil 
i  domhainn  "  (Oh  !  dear,  answered  she,  it  is  all  one  ford  to- 
gether ;  though  it  looks  black  it  is  not  at  all  deep).  In 
their  pitiful  plight,  and  on  the  strength  of  this  misleading 
information,  they  rushed  into  the  water  in  hundreds,  and 
were  immediately  carried  away  by  the  stream,  many  of  them 
clutching  at  the  shrubs  and  bushes  which  overhung  the 
banks  of  the  river,  and  crying  pitifully  for  assistance.  This 
amazon  and  her  lady  friends  had  meanwhile  procured  their 
sickles,  and  now  exerted  themselves  in  cutting  away  the 
bushes  on  which  the  wretched  Macdonalds  hung  with  a 
death  grasp,  the  old  woman  exclaiming,  in  each  case,  as  she 
applied  her  sickle,  "  As  you  have  taken  so  much  already 
which  did  not  belong  to  you,  my  friend,  you  can  take  that 
into  the  bargain  ".  This  instrument  of  the  old  lady's  revenge 
has  been  for  many  generations,  and  still  is,  by  very  old 
people  in  the  district,  called  "  Cailleach  na  Maigh,"  or  the 
old  wife  of  Moy* 

The  victors  then  proceeded  to  ravage  the  lands  of 
Ardmeanach  and  those  belonging  to  William  Munro  of 
Foulis — the  former  because  the  young  Baron  of  Kilravock, 
whose  father  was  governor  of  that  district,  had  assisted  the 
other  party  ;  the  latter  probably  because  Munro,  who  joined 
neither  party,  was  suspected  secretly  of  favouring  Lochalsh. 
So  many  excesses  were  committed  at  this  time  by  the 
Mackenzies  that  the  Earl  of  Huntly,  Lieutenant  of  the  North, 
was  compelled,  notwithstanding  their  services  in  repelling 
the  invasion  of  the  Macdonalds,  to  act  against  them  as 
oppressors  of  the  lieges.f 

This  insurrection  cost  the  Macdonalds  the  Lordship  of 
the  Isles,  as  others  had  previously  cost  them  the  Earldom 
of  Ross.     In  a  Parliament  held  in  Edinburgh  in  1493,  the 

*  Mackenzie's  History  of  the  Mackenzies. 

+  Gregory,  p.  57.     Kilravock  Writs,  p.  170,  and  Acts  of  Council. 

JOHN,   FOURTH  AND   LAST   LORD   OF   THE  ISLES.    1 1 5 

possessions  of  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  were  declared  to  be 
forfeited  to  the  Crown.  In  the  following  January  the  aged 
earl  appeared  before  King  James  IV.,  and  made  a  volun- 
tary surrender  of  everything,  after  which  he  remained  for 
several  years  in  the  king's  household  as  a  court  pensioner. 
By  Act  of  the  Lords  of  Council  in  1492,  Alexander  Urqu- 
hart,  Sheriff  of  Cromarty,  obtained  restitution  for  himself 
and  his  tenants  for  the  depredations  committed  by  Mac- 
donald  and  his  followers.* 

From  the  final  forfeiture  of  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  in  1493, 
to  the  death  of  John  in  1498,  the  country  was  in  a  constant 
state  of  insurrection,  though  many  of  the  leading  heads  of 
families  made  their  submission  to  the  Crown.  Alexander 
of  Lochalsh  lost  no  opportunity  of  asserting  his  claim  to 
the  Earldom  of  Ross  and  the  Lordship  of  the  Isles.  It 
was,  however,  determined  by  the  Government  that  no  single 
family  should  ever  again  be  permitted  to  acquire  the  same 
preponderance  in  the  west.  At  first  the  steps  taken  to 
secure  the  submission  of  the  Islanders  were  not  charac- 
terised by  any  great  severity.  In  1493,  James  IV.  pro- 
ceeded in  person  to  receive  the  submission  and  homage 
of  the  leading  vassals  of  the  Lordship.  In  this  he  acted 
wisely,  as  the  result  proved,  for  even  those  haughty  barons 
had  a  certain  respect  for  royalty,  and  proved  themselves 
willing  to  grant  to  their  king  in  person  what  was  scarcely 
possible  he  could  ever  have  forced  from  them  by  the  sword. 
Among  the  first  who  submitted  to  his  clemency  were  Alex- 
ander de  Insulis  of  Lochalsh,  John  de  Insulis  of  Isla,  John 
Maclean  of  Lochbuy,  and  Duncan  Mackintosh  of  that  ilk, 
formerly  vassals  of  the  forfeited  Lord  of  the  Isles.  In 
return  for  their  submission  they  received  royal  charters  of 
all  or  nearly  all  the  lands  which  they  previously  held  under 
the  Island  Chief,  and  thus  became  freeholders,  independent 
of  any  superior  but  the  Crown.  Alexander  of  Lochalsh 
and  John  of  Isla  received  the  honour  of  knighthood,  while 

*  According  to  the  Kilravock  papers,  p.  162,  the  spoil  amounted  to  "  600  cows 
and  oxen,  each  worth  13s  4d ;  80  horses,  each  worth  26s  8d ;  1000  sheep,  each 
worth  2s ;  200  swine,  each  worth  3s ;  with  plenishing  to  the  value  of  ^300 ;  and 
also  500  bolls  of  victual  and  ^300  of  the  mails  of  the  Sheriffs  lands." 


the  former,  as  presumptive  heir  to  the  Lordship  of  the  Isles 
previous  to  the  forfeiture  of  his  uncle,  received  a  promise 
from  the  king  to  secure  all  the  free  tenants  of  the  Isles  in 
their  holdings,  an  engagement  which  at  first  seems  to  have 
been  strictly  adhered  to.  The  promise  is  distinctly  men- 
tioned in  several  charters  in  the  year  1498.*  Considering 
all  the  circumstances  it  must  be  allowed  that  the  king 
acted  with  great  leniency  towards  the  Island  Chiefs,, 
especially  to  Alexander  of  Lochalsh,  the  leading  spirit  in 
all  the  recent  troubles  ;  particularly  in  the  outbreak  which 
ended  in  the  forfeiture  of  the  Lordship  of  the  Isles. 

His  Majesty  soon  returned  to  his  lowland  court ;  but  some 
of  the  more  powerful  vassals  still  holding  out,  he  decided  that 
another  expedition  should  be  sent,  accompanied  by  such  a 
display  of  military  force  as  should  effectually  secure  their 
submission,  and  command  their  obedience.  So,  in  the  month 
of  April,  1494,  we  find  the  king  again  in  the  West,  making 
preparations  for  a  third  visit  by  preparing  and  garrisoning 
the  Castle  of  Tarbet,  one  of  the  most  important  strongholds 
in  the  West  Highlands.  In  July  following  he  appears  with  a 
powerful  force,  and  proceeds  to  seize  the  castle  of  Dunaverty 
in  South  Kintyre,  where  he  places  a  strong  garrison,  supplied 
like  the  one  at  Tarbet,  with  powerful  artillery  and  experi- 
enced gunners.  The  most  complete  account  of  this  period 
is  that  by  Gregory,  and,  whether  acknowledged  or  not,  it 
has  been  freely  taken  advantage  of  by  all  our  modern 
historians  when  treating  of  this  obscure  portion  of  the 
History  of  the  Highlands. 

It  will  be  recollected,  he  says,  that  the  districts  of  Kintyre 
and  Knapdale  were,  in  1476,  expressly  resigned  by  the  Lord 
of  the  Isles,  along  with  the  Earldom  of  Ross,  to  the  Crown. 
A  great  portion  of  Kintyre  had  been  held,  under  the  Lord  of 
the  Isles,  by  Sir  Donald  de  Insulis,  surnamed  Balloch,  of 
Isla,  prior  to  this  resignation,  which  deprived  Sir  Donald 
and  his  family  of  a  very  valuable  possession.  Whether  Sir 
John  of  Isla,  the  grandson  and  representative  of  Sir^Donald, 

*  Reg.  of  Great  Seal,  xiii. ,  336,  337.     Gregory,  p.  88. 


had,  at  the  time  he  received  knighthood,  on  the  first  visit  of 
James  IV.  to  the  Isles,  any  hopes  of  the  restoration  of 
Kintyre,  cannot  now  be  ascertained.  But  it  is  certain  that 
he  was  deeply  offended  at  the  step  now  taken,  of  placing  a 
garrison  in  the  castle  of  Dunaverty ;  and  he  secretly  collected 
his  followers,  determined  to  take  the  first  opportunity  of 
expelling  the  royal  garrison,  and  taking  possession  of  the 
district  of  Kintyre.  This  opportunity  was  soon  afforded 
him.  The  king,  not  expecting  opposition  from  this  quarter, 
was  preparing  to  quit  Kintyre  by  sea,  with  his  personal 
attendants — the  bulk  of  his  followers  having  previously  been 
sent  away  on  some  other  expedition — when  the  Chief  of 
Isla,  finding  everything  favourable  for  his  attempt,  stormed 
the  castle,  and  hung  the  governor  from  the  walls,  in  sight 
of  the  king  and  his  fleet* 

James,  unable  at  the  time  to  punish  this  daring  rebel} 
took,  nevertheless,  such  prompt  measures  for  the  vindication 
of  his  insulted  authority,  that  ere  long  Sir  John  of  Isla  and 
four  of  his  sons  were  apprehended  in  Isla,  by  Macian  of 
Ardnamurchan,  and  brought  to  Edinburgh.  There  they 
were  found  guilty  of  high  treason,  and  executed  accordingly 
on  the  Burrowmuir  ;  their  bodies  being  interred  in  the  church 
of  St.  Anthony.  Two  surviving  sons,  who  afterwards  re- 
stored the  fortunes  of  this  family,  fled  to  their  Irish  territory 
of  the  Glens,  to  escape  the  pursuit  of  Macian.-f-  In  the 
course  of  this  year,  likewise,  two  powerful  chiefs,  Roderick 
Macleod  of  Lewis,  and  John  Macian  of  Ardnamurchan, 
made  their  submission,  and  the  activity  displayed  by  the 
latter  against  the  rebellious  Islesmen,  soon  procured  him  a 
large  share  of  the  Royal  favour. 

In  149S,  after  making  extensive  preparation  for  another 
expedition    to    the     Isles,   the    king    assembled    an    army 

*  The  Treasurer's  accounts,  under  August  1494,  show  that  Sir  John  of  the  Isles 
was  summoned,  at  that  time,  to  answer  for  treason  "in  Kintyre''.  The  precise  act 
of  treason  is  learned  from  a  tradition  well  known  in  the  Western  Highlands. 

+  These  particulars  regarding  the  punishment  inflicted  on  the  Chief  of  Isla  and 
his  sons  are  derived  from  the  MSS.  of  Macvurich  and  Hugh  Macdonald,  corroborated 
by  a  charter  from  the  King  to  Macian,  dated  24th  March,  1499,  and  preserved 
among  the  Argyll  papers,  rewarding  the  latter  for  his  services  in  apprehending 
Sir  John,  his  sons,  and  acccomplices. 


at  Glasgow;  and,  on  the  18th  of  May,  we  find  him  at 
the  Castle  of  Mingarry,  in  Ardnamurchan,  being  the  second 
time  within  two  years  that  he  had  held  his  court  in  that 
remote  castle.  John  Huchonson,  or  Hughson,  of  Sleat ; 
Donald  Angusson  of  Keppoch  ;  Allan  MacRuari  of  Moy- 
dert,  chief  of  Clanranald  ;  Hector  Maclean  of  Dowart ; 
Ewin  Allanson  of  Lochiel,  captain  of  the  Clan  Chameron, 
and  Gilleonan  Macneill  of  Barra,  seem  to  have  made  their 
submission  in  consequence  of  this  expedition.  In  this 
year,  too,  Kenneth  Og  Mackenzie  of  Kintail  and  Farquhar 
Mackintosh,  son  and  heir  of  the  captain  of  Clan  Chattan, 
were  imprisoned  by  the  king  in  the  Castle  of  Edinburgh. 
This  may  have  been  partly  owing  to  their  lawless  conduct 
in  1 49 1,  but  was  more  probably  caused  by  a  dread 
of  their  influence  among  the  Islanders.  The  measures  now 
taken  by  the  king  were  soon  after  followed  up  by  an  im- 
portant Act  of  the  Lords  of  Council  (1496),  which  merits 
particular  notice.  This  Act  provided,  in  reference  to  civil 
actions  against  the  Islanders — of  which  a  considerable 
number  were  then  in  preparation — that  the  chief  of  every 
clan  should  be  answerable  for  the  due  execution  of  sum- 
monses and  other  writs  against  those  of  his  own  tribe,  under 
the  penalty  of  being  made  liable  himself  to  the  party  bringing 
the  action.  This,  although  undoubtedly  a  strong  measure, 
was  in  all  probability  rendered  necessary  by  the  disturbed 
state  of  the  Isles  after  so  many  rebellions,  and  could  hardly 
fail  to  produce  a  beneficial  effect  ;  for  in  these  wild  and 
remote  districts  the  officers  of  the  law  could  not  perform 
their  necessary  duties  in  safety,  without  the  assistance  of  a 
large  military  force.  At  the  same  time  that  this  important 
regulation  was  made,  five  chiefs  of  rank, — viz.,  Hector 
Maclean  of  Dowart,  John  Macian  of  Ardnamurchan,  Allan 
MacRuari  of  Moydert,  Ewin  Allanson  of  Lochiel,  and 
Donald  Angusson  of  Keppoch — appearing  before  the  Lords 
of  Council,  bound  themselves  "  by  the  extension  of  their 
hands,"  to  the  Earl  of  Argyle,  on  behalf  of  the  king,  to  ab- 
stain from  mutual  injuries  and  molestation  of  each  under  a 
penalty  of  five  hundred  pounds.     Such  were  the  steps  taken 

JOHN,   FOURTH   AND   LAST   LORD   OF   THE   ISLES.    119 

by  the  King  and  Council  to  introduce,  at  this  time,  law  and 
order  into  the  remote  Highlands  and  Isles. 

The  active  share  taken  by  King  James  in  supporting  the 
pretentions  of  Perkin  Warbeck  (1497.)  withdrew  his  atten- 
tion for  a  time  from  the  state  of  the  Western  Isles,  and 
seems  to  have  given  opportunity  for  a  new  insurrection, 
which,  however,  was  suppressed  without  the  necessity  for 
another  Royal  expedition.  Sir  Alexander  of  Lochalsh — 
whether  with  the  intention  of  claiming  the  Earldom  of  Ross, 
or  of  revenging  himself  on  the  Mackenzies,  for  his  former 
defeat  at  Blairnepark,  is  uncertain — invaded  the  more  fertile 
districts  of  Ross  in  a  hostile  manner.  He  was  encountered 
by  the  Mackenzies  and  Munros  at  place  called  Drumchait, 
where,  after  a  sharp  skirmish,  he  and  his  followers  were 
again  routed  and  driven  out  of  Ross.  After  this  event  the 
Knight  of  Lochalsh  proceeded  southward  among  the  Isles, 
endeavouring  to  rouse  the  Islands  to  arms  in  his  behalf,  but 
without  success,  owing  probably  to  the  terror  produced  by  the 
execution  of  Sir  John(Cathanach)of  Islaandhis  sons.  Mean- 
time Macian  of  Ardnamurchan,  judging  this  a  proper  oppor- 
tunity for  doing  an  acceptable  service  to  the  king,  surprised 
Lochalsh  in  the  Island  of  Oronsay,  whither  he  had  retreated, 
and  put  him  to  death.  In  this  Macian  was  assisted,  accord- 
ing to  tradition,  by  Alexander,  the  eldest  surviving  son  of 
John  (Cathanach)  of  Isla,  with  whom  he  had  contrived  to 
effect  a  reconciliation,  and  to  whom  he  had  given  his 
daughter  in  marriage.  Sir  Alexander  of  Lochalsh  left  both 
sons  and  daughters,  who  afterwards  fell  into  the  king's  hands ; 
and  of  whom  we  shall  have  occasion  to  speak  in  the  sequel. 
About  the  same  time  as  the  unsuccessful  insurrection  of 
which  we  have  just  spoken,  the  Chiefs  of  Mackenzie  and 
Mackintosh  made  their  escape  from  Edinburgh  Castle  ;  but 
on  their  way  to  the  Highlands  they  were  treacherously  sur- 
prised at  the  Torwood  by  the  Laird  of  Buchanan.  Mac- 
kenzie having  offered  resistance,  was  slain,  and  his  head, 
along  with  Mackintosh,  who  was  taken  alive,  was  presented 
to  the  king  by  Buchanan.      The  latter  was  rewarded,  and 


Mackintosh  returned  to  the  dungeon,  where  he  remained 
till  after  the  battle  of  Flodden. 

In  the  summer  of  1498  King  James,  still  intent  upon  pre- 
serving and  extending  his  influence  in  the  Isles,  held  his 
court  at  a  new  castle  he  had  caused  to  be  erected  in  South 
Kintyre,  at  the  head  of  Loch  Kilkerran,  now  called  the 
Bay  of  Campbelltown.  Alexander  Macleod  of  Harris,  or 
Dunvegan,  and  Torquil  Macleod,  now  (by  the  death  of  his 
father  Roderick)  Lord  of  Lewis,  paid  their  homage  to  the 
king  on  this  occasion  ;  and  some  steps  were  taken  to  sup- 
press the  feud  between  the  Clanhuistean  of  Sleat  and  the 
Clanranald  of  Moydert,  regarding  the  lands  of  Garmoran 
and  Uist.  The  king  soon  afterwards  returned  to  the 
Lowlands,  leaving  as  he  imagined,  the  Isles  and  West 
Highlands  in  a  state  of  tranquillity  not  likely  soon  to  be 
disturbed.  A  few  months,  however,  sufficed  to  produce  a 
wonderful  change  between  the  king  and  his  subjects  in  the 
Isles.  The  cause  of  this  change  remains  involved  in 
obscurity  ;  but  it  must  have  been  powerful  to  induce  so  sud- 
den and  total  a  departure  from  the  lenient  measures  hitherto 
pursued,  and  to  cause  the  king  to  violate  his  solemn 
promise  by  revoking  all  the  charters  granted  by  him  to  the 
vassals  of  the  Isles  during  the  last  five  years.*  The  new 
line  of  policy  was  no  sooner  determined  on  than  followed 
up  with  the  wonted  vigour  of  the  sovereign.  We  find  him 
at  Tarbet  in  the  month  of  April,  when  he  gave  to  Archi- 
bald, Earl  of  Argyll,  and  others  for  letting  on  lease,  for  the 
term  of  three  years,  the  entire  Lordship  of  the  Isles  as 
possessed  by  the  last  lord,  both  in  the  Isles  and  on  the 
mainland,  excepting  only  the  Island  of  Isla  and  the  lands 
of  North  and  South  Kintyre.  Argyll  received  also  a 
commission  of  Lieutenandry,  with  the  fullest  powers,  over 
the  Lordship  of  the  Isles  ;  and,  some  months  later,  was 
appointed  keeper  of  the  Castle  of  Tarbet,  and  Bailie  and 
Governor  of  the  king's   lands  in   Knapdale.      Argyll  was 

*  The  King's  general  parliamentary  revocation  of  all  charters  granted  in  his 
minority,  could  not  affect  those  of  the  Islanders,  which  seem  all  to  have  been  granted 
after  attaining  his  majority. 

JOHN,   FOURTH   AND   LAST    LORD    OF   THE   ISLES.    121 

not,  however,  the  only  individual  who  benefited  by  this 
change  of  measures.  Alexander,  Lord  Gordon,  eldest  son 
of  the  Earl  of  Huntly,  received  a  grant  of  numerous  lands 
in  Lochaber  (1500)  formerly  belonging  to  the  Lordship 
of  the  Isles.  Upon  Duncan  Stewart  of  Appin,  who  was 
much  employed  in  the  Royal  service,  were  bestowed  the 
lands  of  Duror  and  Glenco  during  the  king's  pleasure. 
The  important  services  of  Macian  of  Ardnamurchan  (who 
alone  of  all  the  Islanders  seems  to  have  retained  the 
favour  of  his  sovereign)  were  likewise  suitably  acknow- 

Skene,f  though  less  clear  in  details,  substantially  cor- 
roborates Gregory,  and  Tytler  sums  up  the  whole  of  the 
various  expeditions  of  the  king  so  concisely  that  we  cannot 
resist  quoting  him.  He  says  : — In  1493,  although  much 
occupied  with  other  cares  and  concerns,  he  found  time  to 
penetrate  twice  into  the  Highlands,  proceeding  as  far  as 
Dunstaffnage  and  Mingarry  in  Ardnamurchan,  and  in  the 
succeeding  year,  such  was  the  indefatigable  activity  with 
which  he  executed  his  public  duties,  that  he  thrice  visited 
the  Isles.  The  first  of  these  voyages,  which  took  place  in 
April  and  May,  was  conducted  with  great  state.  It  afforded 
the  youthful  monarch  an  opportunity  of  combining  business 
and  amusement,  of  gratifying  his  passion  for  sailing  and 
hunting,  of  investigating  the  state  of  the  fisheries,  of  fitting 
out  his  barges  for  defence  as  well  as  pleasure,  and  of  inducing 
his  nobles  to  build  and  furnish,  at  their  own  expense,  vessels 
in  which  they  might  accompany  their  sovereign.  It  had 
the  effect  also  of  impressing  upon  the  inhabitants  of  the 
Isles  a  salutary  idea  of  the  wealth,  grandeur,  and  military 
power  of  the  king.  The  rapidity  with  which  he  travelled  from 
place  to  place,  the  success  and  expedition  with  which  he 
punished  all  who  dared  to  oppose  him,  his  generosity  to  his 
friends  and  attendants,  and  his  gay  and  condescending 
familiarity  with  the  lower  classes  of  his  subjects,  all  com- 
bined  to   increase  his   popularity  and   to  consolidate  and 

*  Highlands  and  Isles,  89-95. 

f  Highlanders  of  Scotland,  vol.  ii. ,  pp,  86-90. 


unite,  by  the  bonds  of  equal  laws  and  affectionate  allegiance, 
the  remotest  parts  of  the  kingdom.* 

At  Tarbet,  in  Cantire,  he  repaired  the  fort  originally 
built  by  Bruce,  and  established  an  emporium  for  his 
shipping,  transporting  thither  his  artillery,  laying  in  a  stock 
of  gunpowder,  and  carrying  along  with  him  his  master- 
gunners,  in  whose  training  and  practice  he  appears,  from 
the  payments  in  the  treasurer's  books,  to  have  busied 
himself  with  much  perseverance  and  enthusiasm.  These 
warlike  measures  were  generally  attended  with  the  best 
effects  ;  most  of  the  chieftains  readily  submitted  to  a  prince 
who  could  carry  hostilities  within  a  few  days  into  the 
heart  of  their  country,  and  attack  them  in  their  island 
fastnesses  with  a  force  which  they  found  it  vain  to  resist ; 
one  only,  Sir  John  of  the  Isles,  had  the  folly  to  defy  the 
royal  vengeance,  ungrateful  for  that  repeated  lenity  with 
which  his  treasons  had  been  already  pardoned.  His  great 
power  in  the  Isles  probably  induced  him  to  believe  that  the 
king  would  not  venture  to  drive  him  to  extremities  ;  but  in 
this  he  was  disappointed.  James  instantly  summoned  him 
to  stand  his  trial  for  treason  ;  and  in  a  Parliament  which 
assembled  at  Edinburgh  soon  after  the  king's  return  from 
the  north,  this  formidable  rebel  was  stripped  of  his  power, 
and  his  lands  and  possessions  forfeited  to  the  crown.f 

The  last  Lord  of  the  Isles  died,  about  1498,  in  the 
Monastery  of  Paisley,  leaving  no  legitimate  issue.  He 
was  interred  at  his  own  request  in  the  tomb  of  his  royal 
ancestor,  King  Robert  II.  He  was  married  to  Elizabeth, 
eldest  daughter  of  James,  Lord  Livingston,  great  Chamber- 
lain of  Scotland.  His  son,  Angus  Og,  died,  as  already 
stated,  about  1485,  leaving  an  only  child,  Donald  Dubh, 
who  was  at  the  time  of  his  father's  death,  and  still  (1498) 
continued,  a  prisoner  in  the  Castle  of  Inchconnel.     Angus 

*  Tytler's  History  of  Scotland,  vol.  ii. ,  pp.  258-259,  Ed.  1879. 

•j-  Treasurer's  Accounts,  August  24th,  1494,  "  Item,  to  summon  Sir  John  of  the 
Isles,  of  treason  in  Kintyre,  and  for  the  expense  of  witnesses,  vi,  lb.  xiii.  sh.  iiii.  d." 
This,  according  to  Mr.  Gregory,  was  Sir  John,  called  "  Cathanach,"  of  Isla 
and  Cantire,  and  Lord  of  the  Glens  in  Ireland — executed  afterwards  at  Edinburgh 
about  the  year  1500. 

JOHN,    FOURTH   AND   LAST   LORD   OF   THE  ISLES.    12$ 

married  Lady  Mary  Campbell,  daughter  of  Colin,  first  Earl 
of  Argyll  ;  and  most  authorities  agree  that  Donald  Dubh 
was  the  legitimate  issue  of  that  marriage,  though,  for  state 
reasons,  he  was  declared  a  bastard  in  various  acts  of  parlia- 
ment, and,  in  consequence,  known  as  "Donald  the  Bastard". 
John  the  second  illegitimate  son  of  the  last  lord,  also  died 
during  his  father's  lifetime — before  the  1 6th  of  December, 
1478,  clearly  proved  by  the  Register  of  the  Great  Seal,  viii., 

Celestine  of  Lochalsh  died  in  1473 — fifteen  years  before 
the  death  of  his  brother,  Earl  John — while  his  son,  Alex- 
ander of  Lochalsh,  the  "  heir  presumptive  "  to  the  Lordship 
of  the  Isles,  was  assassinated  in  the  Island  of  Oronsay  in 
1498 — the  same  year  in  which  Earl  John  himself  died. 

In  the  latter  year  died  also  Hugh  of  Sleat,  the  only 
surviving  son  of  Alexander,  third  Earl,  leaving  by  his  first 
wife,  Finvola,  daughter  of  Alexander,  son  of  John  of 
Ardnamurchan,  one  son — John  MacHuistean,  or  Hughson, 
who  is  above  referred  to  as  having,  in  1495,  made  his  sub- 
mission to  James  IV.  with  several  others  of  the  principal 
vassals  of  the  Isles.  John  Hughson  died,  without  issue,  in 
1502.  He  was  succeeded  in  the  property  by  his  brother, 
Donald  Gallach,  the  issue  of  his  father  by  Mary,  daughter 
of  Gunn,  Crowner  of  Caithness,  from  whom  is  descended 
the  present  Lord  Macdonald  of  Sleat,  and  of  whom  pre- 

Sir  Alexander  of  Lochalsh,  nephew  of  John,  last  Lord 
of  the  Isles,  married  a  daughter  of  Lovat,  by  whom  he  left 
three  sons  and  two  daughters,  the  eldest  of  whom,  Sir 
Donald  of  Lochalsh,  known  as  "  Donald  Gallda,"  was  after- 
wards elected  by  the  Islanders  to  the  Lordship  of  the  Isles. 
He  and  his  brother  took  a  prominent  part  in  the  succeeding 
insurrections  in  the  Isles,  in  connection  with  which  his 
proceedings  will  be  noticed  at  length.  It  may,  however, 
be  stated  that  all  three  died  without  issue,  Donald's  two 
sisters,  Margaret  and  Janet,  succeeding  to  his  property, 
and  carrying  it  to  their  respective  husbands — Alexander 
Macdonald  VI.  of  Glengarry  and  Dingwall  of  Kildun. 


From  these  facts  it  will  be  seen  that  the  vassals  of  the 
Lordship  of  the  Isles,  on  the  death  of  Earl  John,  were 
without  any  recognised  head,  while  there  were  not  less 
than  three  possible  claimants  to  that  high  position.  The 
first  was  Donald  Dubh,  son  of  Angus  Og  of  the  Isles,  the 
latter,  undoubtedly,  heir  of  entail  to  John,  last  Lord  of  the 
Isles  and  Earl  of  Ross.  Donald  Dubh,  therefore,  whether 
legitimate  or  not,  had  powerful  claims  ;  and  he  was  not 
long  in  asserting  them.  The  next  claimant  was  Sir 
Donald,  whose  father,  Sir  Alexander  of  Lochalsh,  had  for 
many  years  acted  as,  and  held  the  rank  of,  heir  to  the 
Lordship.  Finally,  we  have  the  descendants  of  Hugh 
of  Sleat,  son  of  Alexander,  third  Earl,  who  also,  in  their 
turn,  claimed  the  succession.  To  follow  these  through 
their  various  insurrections,  and  to  make  the  various  points 
in  this  obscure  period  of  the  history  of  the  Macdonalds  as 
clear  as  possible,  will  be  now  attempted. 

It  will  be  remembered  that  DONALD  DUBH,  son  of 
Angus  Og,  and  grandson  of  John,  last  Lord  of  the  Isles, 
was  still  a  minor,  and,  at  the  time  of  his  grandfather's 
death,  in  1498,  a  prisoner  in  the  Castle  of  Inchconnell. 
The  Islanders  looked  upon  him  as  the  legitimate  heir  of 
his  grandfather  John,  last  Earl  of  Ross  ;  and,  having  been 
set  at  liberty  by  the  gallantry  and  fidelity  of  his  relatives, 
the  Macdonalds  of  Glencoe,  he  at  once  proceeded  to  the 
Lewis  to  solicit  the  aid  of  Torquil  Macleod,  a  very  power- 
ful chief,  and  married  to  the  aunt  of  Donald  Dubh, 
Katharine,  daughter  of  Colin,  first  Earl  of  Argyll.  Donald's 
cause  was  at  once  warmly  espoused  by  the  Lord  of  Lewis, 
a  fact  which  had  great  influence  with  the  other  Island 
Chiefs  ;  for  they  naturally  concluded  that  Torquil  Macleod, 
so  closely  related  to  him,  must  have  had  ample  proof  of 
Donald's  legitimacy — otherwise  he  would  not  have  had 
anything  to  do  with  him  ;  and  from  his  intimate  relations 
with  the  Argyll  family,  he  was  supposed  to  have  had  every 
facility  for  procuring  accurate  information  regarding  the 
marriage  of  Angus  Og  to  his  own  sister-in-law,  Katherine 
of  Argyll.     At  first  sight  it  would  seem  difficult  to  believe 

JOHN,   FOURTH   AND    LAST    LORD   OF   THE   ISLES.    12$ 

that  the  first  Earl  of  Argyll  should  continue  to  maintain 
the  illegitimacy  of  his  own  grandson,  and  the  second  Earl, 
Archibald,  that  of  his  nephew  ;  but  if  we  keep  in  view  their 
respective  positions — the  latter  being  Lieutenant  of  the 
Isles — as  well  as  the  grasping  character  of  the  race — we  can 
easily  understand  their  conduct  and  its  selfish  object.  They, 
undoubtedly,  had  their  eyes  on  the  extensive  and  valuable 
Island  territories  for  themselves,  and  it  seemed  a  venial 
crime  in  their  eyes  to  sacrifice  the  reputation  of  a  daughter 
or  a  sister  in  comparison  with  the  loss  of  the  grand  prospect 
which  opened  up— now  much  increased  by  the  confusion 
among  the  Islanders  for  want  of  a  leader — of  gaining 
possession  of  the  vast  domains  of  the  Lordship  of  the 
Isles  and  Earldom  of  Ross.  Archibald  would  the  more 
readily  be  induced  to  adopt  this  selfish  view,  when  he 
found  that  the  claims  of  Donald  Dubh,  even  if  admitted 
to  be  legitimate  himself,  were  materially  weakened,  and 
likely  to  be  contested  by  others  of  the  Macdonalds  on  the 
ground  of  the  undoubted,  admitted  bastardy  of  his  father. 

The  news  of  young  Donald's  escape,  as  well  as  its  effect 
upon  the  disaffected  Island  chiefs,  soon  reached  the  king. 
Torquil  was  charged  to  deliver  up  the  person  of  this  rebel, 
described  as  being  at  Macleod's  "  rule  and  governance," 
under  the  penalty  of  treason.  This  he  declined,  where- 
upon he  was  himself  denounced  a  traitor,  and  all  his  pos- 
sessions formally  forfeited  to  the  crown.  The  Earl  of 
Huntly  was  sent  to  Lochaber  and  the  neighbouring  dis- 
tricts to  collect  the  crown  rents,  by  force  if  necessary  ;  and 
soon  afterwards,  in  1 502,  a  commission  was  issued  in  favour 
of  Huntly,  Lord  Lovat,  and  William  Munro  of  Fowlis,  to 
enable  them  to  proceed  to  Lochaber  and  Mamore,  and  to 
let  the  king's  lands  there  for  the  space  of  five  years  to 
"  true  men  ".  They,  at  the  same  time,  received  strict  orders 
to  drive  all  "broken  men"  from  the  district.  This  injunc- 
tion, considering  the  disorganised  state  of  that  part  of  the 
country,  meant  the  expulsion  of  the  entire  population  ;  for 
in  those  days  all  who  were  not  governed  by  a  responsible 
head  or  chief  came  under  this  designation.    Lewis,  forfeited 


by  Torquil  Macleod,  was  treated  in  a  similar  manner  ;  and 
we  find  that  a  grant  of  the  lands  of  Mamore — Duror  and 
Glencoe — was  made  to  Duncan  Stewart  of  Appin,  who  was 
at  the  time  actively  employed  in  carrying  out  the  king's 
orders  in  the  Isles.  Great  efforts  were  made  by  the  king 
to  win  over  some  of  the  most  powerful  of  the  Highland 
chiefs,  especially  Ewen  MacAllan  of  Lochiel  and  Lachlan 
Maclean  of  Duart.  These  gentlemen  were  in  constant 
communication  with  the  Court,  and  finally  proceeded  thither 
with  the  view  of  completing  negotiations  previously  carried 
on  by  correspondence  ;  but  no  sooner  did  they  return  to 
the  north  than  they  seem  to  have  forgotten  everything 
"  except  the  duty  by  which  they  fancied  themselves  bound 
to  support  the  claims  of  the  alleged  heir  of  Innisgall ". 

The  causes  which  led  to  the  rebellion  of  the  Islanders 
under  Donald  Dubh,  and  which  so  embittered  the  feelings 
of  the  Highlanders  against  the  Government  of  the  king 
are  fully  explained  by  various  writers.  Tytler  says  that 
from  1495  to  1499,  in  the  autumn  of  which  latter  year 
the  monarch  held  his  court  in  South  Kintyre,  all  appears  to 
have  remained  in  tranquillity  ;  but  after  his  return,  a  com- 
plete change  took  place  in  the  policy  of  the  king,  from 
causes  which  cannot  now  be  ascertained.  And  the  wise 
and  moderate  measures,  some  time  previously  adopted, 
were  succeeded  by  proceedings  so  severe  as  to  border  on 
injustice.  "The  charters  which  had  been  granted  during 
the  last  six  years  to  the  vassals  of  the  Isles,  were  summarily 
revoked.  Archibald,  Earl  of  Argyll,  was  installed  in  the 
office  of  Lieutenant,  with  the  ample  and  invidious  power 
of  leasing  out  the  entire  lordship  of  the  Isles  (the  Island 
of  Isla  and  the  lands  of  North  and  South  Cantire  alone 
excepted).  The  ancient  proprietors  and  their  vassals 
were  violently  expelled  from  their  hereditary  property ; 
whilst  Argyll  and  other  royal  favourites  appear  to  have 
been  enriched  by  new  grants  of  their  estates  and  lordships. 
We  are  not  to  wonder  that  such  harsh  proceedings  were 
loudly  reprobated  ;  the  inhabitants  saw  with  indignation 
their  rightful  masters  exposed  to  insult  and  indigence,  and 


at  last  broke  out  into  open  rebellion,"  the  object  of  which 
was  to  place  Donald  Dubh  on  the  throne  of  his  ancestors 
of  the  Isles.  Having  described  the  release  of  Donald  from 
the  Castle  of  Inchconnel  by  the  Macdonalds  of  Glencoe, 
and  his  visit  to  Macleod  of  the  Lewis,  Tytler  proceeds — 
"Although  James  received  early  intelligence  of  the  medi- 
tated insurrection,  and  laboured  by  every  method  to  dis- 
solve the  union  amongst  its  confederated  chiefs,  it  now 
burst  forth  with  destructive  fury.  Badenoch  was  wasted 
with  all  the  ferocity  of  Highland  warfare — Inverness  given 
to  the  flames  ;  and  so  widely  and  rapidly  did  the  contagion 
of  independence  spread  throughout  the  Isles  that  it  de- 
manded the  most  prompt  and  decisive  measures  to  arrest 
it.  But  James'  power,  though  shaken,  was  too  deeply  rooted 
to  be  thus  destroyed.  The  whole  array  of  the  kingdom 
was  called  forth.  The  Earls  of  Argyll,  Huntly,  Crawford, 
and  Marshall,  with  Lord  Lovat  and  other  barons,  were 
appointed  to  lead  an  army  against  the  Islanders ;  the 
castles  and  strongholds  in  the  hands  of  the  king  were  forti- 
fied and  garrisoned  ;  letters  were  addressed  to  the  various 
chiefs,  encouraging  the  loyal  by  the  rewards  which  awaited 
them,  whilst  over  the  heads  of  the  wavering  or  disaffected 
were  suspended  the  terrors  of  forfeiture  and  execution. 
But  this  was  not  all :  a  parliament  assembled  at  Edinburgh 
on  the  nth  of  March,  1503,  and  in  addition  to  the  above 
rigorous  resolutions,  the  civilisation  of  the  Highlands,  an 
object  which  had  engrossed  the  attention  of  many  a  suc- 
cessive council,  was  again  taken  into  consideration.  To 
accomplish  this  end  those  districts  whose  inhabitants  had 
hitherto,  from  their  inaccessible  position,  defied  the  res- 
traints of  the  law,  were  divided  into  new  sherriffdoms,  and 
placed  under  the  jurisdiction  of  permanent  judges.  The 
preamble  of  the  Act  complained  in  strong  terms  of  the 
gross  abuse  of  justice  in  the  northern  and  western  divisions 
of  the  realm — more  especially  the  Isles  ;  it  described  the 
people  as  having  become  altogether  savage,  and  provided 
that  the  new  sheriffs  for  the  north  Isles  should  hold  their 
courts  in  Inverness  and  Dingwall,  and  those  for  the  south, 


in  the  Tarbet  of  Lochkilkerran.  The  inhabitants  of 
Dowart,  Glendovvart,  and  the  lordship  of  Lorn,  who,  for  a 
long  period,  had  violently  resisted  the  jurisdiction  of  the 
justice-ayres  or  ambulatory  legal  courts,  were  commanded 
to  come  to  the  justice-ayre  at  Perth,  and  the  districts  of 
Mawmor  and  Lochaber,  which  had  insisted  on  the  same 
exemption,  were  brought  under  the  jurisdiction  of  the 
justice-ayre  of  Inverness.  The  divisions  of  Bute,  Arran, 
Knapdale,  Cantire,  and  the  larger  Cumbrae  were  to  hold 
their  courts  at  Ayr,  whilst  the  deplorable  condition  of 
Argyll  was  marked  by  the  words  of  the  Act,  'that  the 
court  is  to  be  held  wherever  it  is  found  that  each  High- 
lander and  Lowlander  may  come  without  danger,  and  ask 
justice,'  a  problem  of  no  easy  discovery.  The  districts  of 
Ross  and  Caithness,  now  separated  from  the  sheriffdom 
of  Inverness,  were  placed  under  their  own  judges  ;  and  it 
was  directed  that  the  inhabitants  of  these  three  great  divi- 
sions of  the  kingdom  should  as  usual  attend  the  justice- 
ayre  of  Inverness."  * 

In  addition  to  his  commission  of  Lieutenandry,  with  full 
powers  over  the  Lordship  of  the  Isles,  the  Earl  of  Argyll 
a  few  months  later  received  the  appointment  of  Keeper  of 
the  Castle  of  Tarbet,  and  Bailie  and  Governor  of  the  king's 
lands  in  Knapdale  ;  while  at  the  same  time  Alexander,  Lord 
Gordon,  eldest  son  of  the  Earl  of  Huntly,  received  grants 
of  various  lands  in  the  district  of  Lochaber,  which  pre- 
viously formed  part  of  the  Lordship  of  the  Isles.  The 
Islanders,  about  the  same  time,  became  aware  that  steps 
were  being  taken  to  expel  the  vassals  of  the  old  Lordship 
from  their  ancient  possessions,  and  it  was  only  natural  that 
such  high-handed  measures,  and  the  great  danger  in  which 
they  now  found  themselves,  should  have  exasperated  their 
feelings,  and  induced  them  to  form  a  powerful  combination 
under  their  newly  liberated  leader,  Donald  Dubh — whom 
they,  rightly  or  wrongly,  regarded  as  their  hereditary  lord — 
for  the  protection  of  their  mutual  interests.  Without 
waiting  to  be  attacked  they  advanced  into  Badenoch,  the 

*  Tytler's  History  of  Scotland,  vol.  ii.F  pp.  271-3. 

JOHN,    FOURTH   AND    LAST    LORD   OF   THE   ISLES.    120, 

property  of  one  of  their  principal  enemies,  the  Earl  of 
Huntly,  who  afterwards,  when  the  other  lords  already 
named  led  a  large  force  against  the  Isles,  undertook  to 
seize  and  garrison  the  castles  of  Strome  in  Lochcarron, 
and  Islandonain  in  Kintail — then  thought  "  rycht  necessar 
for  the  danting  of  the  His " — provided  the  artillery  and 
ammunition  necessary  for  besieging  these  strongholds  were 
sent  to  him  by  sea  at  the  king's  expense.  From  this 
it  would  appear  that  the  Mackenzies,  under  Hector  Roy  of 
Gairloch,  acting  as  tutor  to  his  nephew  John  Mackenzie, 
IX.  of  Kintail,  then  a  minor,  supported  Donald  Dubh 
against  the  Government.  It  would  also  account  for  certain 
differences  which  took  place  between  Hector  Roy  and  his 
ward  regarding  the  possession  of  the  Kintail  stronghold  a 
few  years  later,  when  Hector  was  ordered  by  the  Privy 
Council  to  give  it  up  to  John,  his  nephew  and  chief. 

In  April,  1504,  the  Royal  army  had  its  rendezvous  at 
Dumbarton,  and  from  that  place  artillery  and  warlike 
stores  of  every  description  available,  including  "gun  stanes," 
were  sent  forward  for  the  siege  of  Cairnburgh,  a  fort  on  an 
isolated  island  on  the  west  coast  of  Mull.  The  Earl  of 
Arran  received  two  commissions  against  the  Islanders, 
and,  at  the  same  time,  the  Earl  of  Argyll,  Macleod  of 
Harris  and  Dunvegan,  and  Maclan  of  Ardnamurchan, 
favoured,  and  were  in  regular  correspondence  with,  the 
king,*  who  did  not  on  this  occasion  proceed  in  person  to 
the  Isles.  The  rebellion  turned  out  a  more  formidable 
affair  than  was  anticipated,  and  very  little  progress  was 
made    to   repress   it  in  this  campaign.     In  the    following 

*  In  1504  great  efforts  had  been  made,  but  with  little  permanent  success,  and 
the  progress  of  the  insurrection  became  alarming.  Macvicar,  an  envoy  from 
Macleod,  who  was  then  in  strict  alliance  with  the  king,  remained  three  weeks  at 
Court.  Maclan  also  had  sent  his  emissaries  to  explain  the  perilous  condition  of 
the  country ;  and  with  characteristic  energy,  the  king,  as  soon  as  the  state  of  the 
year  permitted,  despatched  the  Earl  of  Huntly  to  invade  the  Isles  by  the  north, 
whilst  himself  in  person  led  an  army  against  them  from  the  south  ;  and  John 
Barton  proceeded  with  a  fleet  to  reduce  and  overawe  these  savage  districts.  The 
terror  of  the  Royal  name  ;  the  generosity  with  which  James  rewarded  his  ad- 
herents ;  and  the  vigorous  measures  which  he  adopted  against  the  disaffected,  pro- 
duced a  speedy  and  extensive  effect  in  dissolving  the  confederacy.  —  Ty 'tier's  History 
of  Scotland. 



year,  the  insurrection  becoming  still  more  alarming,  the 
king  determined  to  lead  his  army  in  person.  He  invaded 
the  Isles  with  a  powerful  force  from  the  south,  while  Huntly 
attacked  them  from  the  north,  and  took  several  prisoners, 
none  of  whom,  however,  were  of  distinguished  rank  or 
influence.  At  the  same  time  the  Royal  navy  was  employed 
under  Sir  Andrew  Wood  and  Robert  Barton.  This  ex- 
pedition resulted  in  breaking  up  the  confederacy  of  the 
Island  lords  ;  many  of  them  submitted  to  the  Royal 
authority,  among  the  first  being  the  powerful  Chief  of  the 
Macleans,  Lord  of  Duart,  which  act  on  his  part  also  implied 
the  submission  of  Nacneil  of  Barra,  and  of  Macquarrie  of 
Ulva,  two  chiefs  who,  since  the  forfeiture  of  the  Lordship  of 
the  Isles,  had  followed  the  banner  of  their  powerful  neigh- 
bours, the  Macleans.  Maclean  of  Lochbuy  soon  followed 
the  example  of  his  chief,  while  the  Macdonalds  of  Largie, 
a  powerful  sept  of  the  Macdonalds  of  Isla,  also  came  in. 
Ranald  MacAllan,  heir  to  the  Chief  of  Clanranald,  was 
already  in  high  favour  at  Court ;  so  that  the  power  of  the 
Islanders  was  almost  completely  shattered.  Some  of 
the  great  chiefs,  however,  still  held  out,  the  principal  of 
whom  was  Torquil  Macleod  of  Lewis,  though  his  chief, 
Macleod  of  Harris,  had  all  through  been  loyal  to  the  crown. 
He  had  taken  an  active  and  leading  part  in  the  rebellion 
of  the  Islanders  under  Donald  Dubh  ;  and  it  is  extremely 
probable  that  he  entertained  little  hope  of  obtaining  re- 
mission for  his  offences,  which  probably  determined  him  in 
his  resolution  to  hold  out  after  the  other  leaders  had  made 
their  submission. 

In  1506,  Macleod  was  solemnly  forfeited  in  Parliament 
for  not  appearing  to  take  his  trial  for  high  treason,  and, 
to  execute  this  sentence,  the  Earl  of  Huntly  was  des- 
patched with  a  powerful  force  to  the  North  Isles.  He 
besieged  and  took  the  Castle  of  Stornoway,  and  reduced 
the  whole  Island  of  Lewis  to  obedience  by  the  aid  of 
Mackay  of  Strathnaver,  who  accompanied  him  in  the 
expedition,  and  who  was  afterwards  rewarded  for  his 
services  by  a  life-rent  grant  of  the  lands  of  Assynt  and 

JOHN,    FOURTH   AND    LAST   LORD   OF   THE   ISLES.    131 

Coigeach,  part  of  the  lands  forfeited  by  Macleod  described 
by  Tytler  as  "the  great  head  of  the  rebellion".  Macleod 
himself  does  not,  however,  appear  to  have  been  taken  ;  and 
it  is  uncertain  what  became  of  him  after  ;  but  we  find  a 
charter  under  the  Great  Seal  in  favour  of  his  brother, 
Malcolm  Macleod,  of  the  lands  and  Lordship  of  the  Lewis, 
"de  novo,"  dated  29th  June,  151 1,  under  which  his  nephew 
John,  the  son  of  the  forfeited  Torquil,  was  excluded  from 
the  succession.  Gregory  states  that — "  although  this 
tedious  rebellion  was  at  length  suppressed,  it  does  not 
appear  that  the  projects  of  the  Government  for  expelling 
the  old  inhabitants  from  the  Lordship  of  the  Isles,  and 
substituting  '  true  men '  in  their  room,  had  made  any 
sensible  progress.  On  the  contrary  the  clans  of  the  Isles 
and  adjacent  coasts  continued  to  occupy,  many  of  them 
perhaps  contrary  to  law,  their  ancient  possessions.  Donald 
Dubh,  the  alleged  heir  of  the  Isles,  for  whose  sake  the 
Hebridean  chiefs  had  made  such  sacrifices,  again  became  a 
prisoner,  and  was  committed  to  the  Castle  of  Edinburgh, 
where  he  remained  until  he  made  his  escape  a  second  time, 
nearly  forty  years  after  this  period,  under  the  regency  of 
the  Earl  of  Arran,"  when  the  faithful  Islanders  again 
rallied  round  him,  and  supported  him  in  his  claims  to  the 
Lordship  of  the  Isles  and  the  Earldom  of  Ross,  as  the  last 
male  heir,  in  the  direct  line,  of  John,  the  last  Lord  who 
legitimately  held  the  ancient  honours. 

Meanwhile  we  must  leave  him  in  his  long  and  weary 
captivity  of  forty  years,  and  proceed  to  describe  the  state 
of  the  vassals  of  the  Isles  during  his  imprisonment,  as  also 
the  fortunes  of  another  who,  in  his  absence,  claimed  the 
same  ancient  honours.  During  the  recent  rebellion  of 
Donald  Dubh,  the  lands  of  Clanchattan,  as  vassals  of  the 
Earl  of  Huntly,  and  those  of  the  Stewarts  of  Appin,  as 
followers  of  the  Earl  of  Argyll,  suffered  severely  from  the 
incursions  of  the  Islanders,  who  were  infuriated  against  the 
Mackintoshes;  especially  for  separating  themselves  from  the 
vassals  of  the  ancient  Lordship  of  the  Isles;  for  joining  the 
enemy  ;  and  for  claiming  lands  in  the  heart  of  Lochaber ; 


while  the  Stewarts,  under  the  protection  of  Argyll, 
encroached  upon  the  ancient  lordship  from  the  opposite 
side.  The  Camerons,  since  1497,  forcibly  occupied  the 
lands  of  Glenlui  and  Locharkaig  without  any  acknowledge- 
ment to  the  representatives  of  the  ancient  superiors,  in 
consequence  of  which  they  suffered  severely  from  the 
Islanders  by  the  plunder  and  devastation  of  their  lands  of 
Badenoch.  These  feuds,  which  in  former  times  would  have 
been  settled  by  the  arbitration  of  the  sword  between  the 
injured  parties  and  the  aggressors,  were  on  this  occasion, 
by  the  influence  of  the  king,  Huntly,  and  Argyll,  settled 
by  decisions  of  the  Privy  Council,  or  of  arbitrators  chosen 
mutually  by  the  parties  themselves. 

The  king  was  not  satisfied  with  a  mere  compulsory 
obedience  to  the  statutes  of  the  realm,  but  took  steps  for 
the  introduction  to  the  Highlands  of  a  knowledge  of  the 
laws  by  natives  trained  at  the  expense  of  the  Government. 
A  document  is  still  in  existence  granting  a  piece  of  crown 
lands  in  the  Isle  of  Skye  by  James  IV.  to  Kenneth  William- 
son to  support  him  at  the  schools,  with  a  view  to  his  studying 
and  making  himself  master  of  the  laws  of  Scotland,  and 
of  afterwards  practising  as  a  lawyer  within  the  bounds  of 
the  Isles.  The  document  is  as  follows : — "  A  letter  of  gift 
maid  to  Kanoch  Wilyamson,  induring  the  king's  will,  of  all 
and  hale  the  lands  of  [the]  Ternnga  of  Kilmartine,  and  the 
half  of  [the]  Ternnga  of  Baramosmor  in  Trouternes,  with 
their  pertinentis,  extending  yerely  to  sax  marks  of  old 
extent,  Hand  in  the  Lordschip  of  the  Illys,  to  hald  the  said 
Kanoch  at  the  Skolis,  and  for  to  lere  and  study  the  kingis 
laws  in  Scotland,  and  eftirwart  to  exerce  and  use  the  samin 
within  the  boundis  of  the  His  &ca-  At  Strivelin,  the  xj  of 
Aprile,  the  yere  of  God  im  vc  and  viij  yeris  (1508),  and  of 
the  kingis  regne  the  xxi.  yere."  * 

During  the  remainder  of  this  reign  justice  seems  to  have 
been  administered  throughout  the  kingdom  with  great  im- 
partiality, and,   in    the   Highlands,   in    a  manner  hitherto 

*  Transactions  of  the  Iona  Club,  page  22. 


unknown.     The  king  himself  became  so  popular  among 
the  leading  Islanders,  and  the  royal  authority  was  so  well 
established,  that  "  from  the  suppression  of  the  insurrection 
of  1506  to  the  disastrous  battle  of  Flodden  in   15 13,  the 
West  Highlands   and   Isles  seem  to  have  been  free  from 
any   serious    disturbance."      Various    appointments    were 
confirmed    which    made   the   royal    authority  felt    in    the 
north.      The    heritable    Sheriffdom    of    Inverness,    which 
embraced    the  county   of  that   name  and    those    of  Ross 
and  Caithness,  was  conferred   upon   the  Earl  of  Huntly, 
who  was  empowered  to  appoint  deputies  to  hold    courts 
respectively ;    for   the    district    of    Badenoch,    at    Kingus- 
sie ;    for    Lochaber,  at  Inverlochy  ;    for  Ross,   at  Tain  or 
Dingwall  ;   and  for  Caithness   at  Wick.     Huntly  was   by 
the  same  charter,  dated  16th  January,  1508-9,  "appointed 
governor  of  the  Castle  of  Inverness,  with  a  large  grant  of 
lands  for  the  support  of  a  garrison.     Power  was  given  him 
to  add  to  the  fortifications  ;  and  he  was  at  the  same  time, 
bound,  at  his  own  expense,  to  build  upon  the  Castlehill  of 
Inverness  a  hall  of  stone  and  lime  upon  vaults.     This  hall 
was  to  be  one  hundred  feet  in  length,  thirty  feet  in  breadth, 
and  the  same  in  height  ;  it  was  to  have  a  slated  roof,  and  to 
it  were  to  be  attached  a  kitchen  and  chapel  of  proper  size. 
The  same  nobleman  had  previously  obtained  a  grant  of  the 
site  of  the  Castle  of  Inverlochy,  where  he  was  bound  to 
build   a  '  tower  and  strengthen  it  with  a  barmekyn,'  which, 
however,  had  not  been  done — owing  to  the  Earl's  constant 
employment  in  the  king's  service — so  late  as  the  year  151 1. 
From  this  period,  the  great  power  formerly  enjoyed  by  the 
Earls  of  Ross,  and  Lords  of  the  Isles,  was  transferred  to 
Argyll  and  Huntly  ;  the  former  having  the  chief  rule  in  the 
South  Isles  and  adjacent  coasts,  while  the  influence  of  the 
latter  prevailed  in  the  North  Isles  and  Highlands.     The 
effect  of  the  vigorous  Government  of  James  IV.  was  "  a 
decided  improvement  on  the  state  of  the  Isles  during  the 
latter  part  of  his  reign,  which  was  accompanied,  however, 
by  great  changes  in  the  relative  position  of  many  of  the . 
principal    insular    families In    the   course    of 


James'  frequent  expeditions  to  the  West  Highlands,  the 
children  of  Sir  Alexander  de  insulis  of  Lochalsh,  who  were 
all  young  at  their  father's  death,  had  fallen  into  his  hands. 
It  appears  that  they  were  brought  up  in  the  Royal  house- 
hold, and  we  may  presume  that  their  education  was  carefully 
attended  to.  Donald,  the  eldest  son — called  by  the  High- 
landers Donald  Gailda,  or  the  Foreigner,  from  his  early 
residence  in  the  Lowlands- — speedily  became  a  great 
favourite  with  the  king.  He  was  allowed  to  inherit  his 
father's  estates,  or  a  great  part  of  them,  and  was  frequently 
permitted  to  visit  the  Isles.  This  privilege  he  did  not 
abuse  during  the  life  of  James  IV.  ;  and  but  for  the  untimely 
death  of  that  monarch,  he  would,  no  doubt,  have  received 
still  greater  marks  of  favour."* 

The  position  of  the  various  families  of  Macdonald  were 
now  in  many  cases  more  unfortunate  than  they  had  ever 
been  before.  John,  the  eldest  son  and  heir  of  Hugh  of 
Sleat,  made  over  all  his  estates  to  the  family  of  Clanranald. 
His  followers  were  thus  without  any  legitimate  means  of 
subsistence,  viewed  with  jealousy  by  the  Government,  and 
ultimately  they  became  by  force  of  circumstances  rebels  and 
marauders.  The  Clann  Ian  Mhoir  of  Isla  at  this  period 
possessed  no  heritage  in  Scotland,  but  resided  on  their 
estate  of  the  Glens,  in  the  north  of  Ireland.  The  Macdonalds 
of  Lochaber,  or  Keppoch,  had  local  troubles  on  hand,  which 
terminated  in  the  deposition  of  one  of  their  chiefs  by  the 
elders  of  the  tribe,  while  they  held  their  lands  as  occupants 
merely,  "  without  any  legal  rights  to  the  heritage  ".  The 
family  of  Moydart  appear  hitherto  to  have  been  in  high 
favour  at  court,  but  in  1509  their  chief,  Allan  MacRuari, 
was  tried,  convicted,  and  executed  in  presence  of  the  king, 
at  Blair  Athole,  for  some  unrecorded  crime,  at  which  place, 
according  to  MacVurich,  his  body  lies  interred.  His  suc- 
cessor, Ranald  MacAllan,  in  1513,  met  with  the  same  fate 
as  his  father,  being  executed  under  similar  circumstances  of 
obscurity,  at  Perth,  after  having  been,  like  his  father,  tried 

*  Gregory,  who  quotes  the  Treasurer's  Accounts,  A.D.  1507  to  1512,  and  Acts 
of  the  Lords  of  Council,  xxiv. ,  fo.  186. 

JOHN,    FOURTH   AND   LAST   LORD    OF   THE   ISLES.    1 35 

in  presence  of  the  king.  While  the  other  families  of  the 
West  were  thus  in  misfortune,  in  consequence  of  the  strin- 
gent measures  adopted  by  the  Government  after  1493,  the 
Clann  Ian  of  Ardnamurchan,  from  having  throughout  the 
late  insurrections  sided  with  the  King,  greatly  increased  in 
power,  and  became  proportionately  obnoxious  to  the  other 
Islanders.  The  family  of  Glencoe  shared  in  the  common 
misfortune  ;  while  other  leading  vassals  of  the  old  Lordship 
improved  their  position,  or,  in  the  case  of  those  forfeited, 
were  restored  to  their  estates.  But  it  will  be  more  appro- 
priate to  leave  an  account  of  the  various  Macdonald 
families,  their  doings,  and  vicissitudes,  until  we  come  to  deal 
with  them  separately  in  the  order  of  their  descent  from  the 
main  stem. 

The  events  which  led  up  to  the  fatal  battle  of  Flodden, 
in  which  James  IV.  with  the  flower  of  the  Scottish  nobility 
so  chivalrously  sold  their  lives,  are  so  well  known,  as  well 
as  the  facts  connected  with  the  battle  itself,  as  to  render  it 
quite  unnecessary  to  reproduce  them.  In  this  memorable 
engagement  the  Highlanders  took  a  leading  part.  Sir 
Donald  (Gallda)  Macdonald  of  Lochalsh,  who  had  been 
knighted  under  the  Royal  banner  on  the  field  of  Flodden, 
led  a  large  body  of  the  Islanders  to  that  fatal  and  ever 
memorable  engagement.  Tytler,  describing  the  battle,* 
its  causes,  and  results,  says  :  "  On  the  right  the  divisions 
led  by  the  Earls  of  Lennox  and  Argyll  were  composed 
chiefly  of  the  Highlanders  and  Islesmen  ;  the  Campbells, 
Macleans,  Macleods,  and  other  hardy  clans,  who  were 
dreadfully  galled  by  the  discharge  of  the  English  archers. 
Unable  to  reach  the  enemy  with  their  broadswords  and 
axes,  which  formed  their  only  weapons,  and  at  no  time 
very  amenable  to  discipline,  their  squadrons  began  to  run 
fiercely  forward,  eager  for  closer  fight,  and  thoughtless  of 
the  fearful  consequences  of  breaking  their  array.  It  was 
to  little  purpose  that  La  Motte  and  the  French  officers 
who  were  with  them  attempted  by  entreaties  and  blows  to 
restrain  them  ;  they  neither  understood  their  language  nor 

*  Vol.  ii. ,  pp.  292-294. 


cared  for  their  violence,  but  threw  themselves,  sword  in 
hand,  upon  the  English.  They  found,  however,  an  enemy 
in  Sir  Edward  Stanley,  whose  coolness  was  not  to  be 
surprised  in  this  manner.  The  squares  of  English  pikemen 
stood  to  their  ground  ;  and  although  for  a  moment  the 
shock  from  the  mountaineers  was  terrible,  its  force,  once 
sustained,  became  spent  with  its  own  violence,  and  nothing 
remained  but  a  disorganisation  so  complete  that  to  recover 
their  ranks  was  impossible.  The  consequence  was  a  total 
rout  of  the  right  wing  of  the  Scots,  accompanied  by  a 
dreadful  slaughter,  in  which,  amid  other  brave  men,  the 
Earls  of  Lennox  and  Argyll  were  slain."  Among  those 
who  fell  were  the  Earls  of  Huntly,  Athole,  Caithness,  and 
Glencairn  ;  the  Bishops  of  Caithness  and  of  the  Isles  ;  Sir 
Duncan  Campbell  of  Glenurchy ;  Lachlan  Maclean  of 
Duart ;  Campbell  of  Lawers  ;  and  several  other  High- 
landers of  note.  "  The  names  of  the  gentry  who  fell  are 
too  numerous  for  recapitulation,  since  there  were  few 
families  of  note  in  Scotland  which  did  not  lose  one  relative 
or  another,  while  some  houses  had  to  weep  the  death  of  all. 
It  is  from  this  cause  that  the  sensations  of  sorrow  and 
national  lamentations  occasioned  by  the  defeat  were  pecu- 
liarly poignant  and  lasting  ;  so  that  to  this  day  few  Scots- 
men can  hear  the  name  of  Flodden  without  a  shudder  of 
gloomy  regret.  The  news  of  the  discomfiture  of  the 
Scottish  army  at  Flodden  spread  through  the  land  with  a 
rapidity  of  terror  and  sorrow  proportionate  to  the  greatness 
of  the  defeat,  and  the  alarming  condition  into  which  it 
instantly  brought  the  country.  The  wail  of  private  grief, 
from  the  hall  to  the  cottage,  was  loud  and  universal.  In 
the  Capital  were  to  be  heard  the  shrieks  of  women  who 
ran  distractedly  through  the  streets,  bewailing  the  husbands, 
the  sons,  or  the  brothers,  who  had  fallen,  clasping  their 
infants  to  their  bosoms,  and  anticipating  in  tears  the 
coming  desolation  of  their  country." 

Regardless  of  the  favours  which  had  been  extended 
to  Donald  Gallda  of  Lochalsh,  and  the  honours  which  had 
been  conferred  upon  him  by  the  late  king,  no  sooner  did 

JOHN,    FOURTH   AND   LAST   LORD   OF   THE   ISLES.    1 37 

he  return  to  the  Isles  after  the  battle  of  Flodden,  than  a 
new  plot  was  immediately  organised  to  proclaim  him  Lord 
of  the  Isles,  notwithstanding  that  Donald  Dubh,  the 
recently  elected  holder  of  that  dignity  was  yet  alive, 
though  still  confined  in  the  Castle  of  Edinburgh.  In 
November,  1 5 1 3,  only  two  months  after  his  arrival  in  the 
north,  Sir  Donald  marched  to  Urquhart  with  a  large  body 
of  Highlanders — among  whom  we  find  Alexander  Mac- 
Ranald  of  Glengarry,  and  Wiland  Chisholm  of  Comar — 
expelled  the  garrison  from  the  Castle  of  Urquhart,  seized 
the  stronghold,  plundered  and  laid  waste  the  adjoining 
lands,  then  the  property  of  John  Grant  of  Freuchy.  Almost 
simultaneously  with  these  lawless  proceedings,  Lachlan  Mac- 
lean of  Duart  seized  the  Royal  Castle  of  Cairnburgh,  and 
some  time  after,  with  the  aid  of  Alexander  Macleod  of 
Dunvegan,  he  possessed  himself  of  the  Castle  of  Dunskaich, 
in  Sleat,  shortly  after  which  Sir  Donald  was  formally  pro- 
claimed and  elected  Lord  of  the  Isles. 

On  the  fatal  field  of  Flodden  fell,  surrounded  by  a 
literal  wall  of  the  dead  bodies  of  his  clansmen,  the  brave 
Hector  Odhar,  Chief  of  the  Macleans  ;  whereupon  Lachlan 
Cattanach  succeeded  to  the  chiefship  of  Duart,  and  at  once 
became  the  principal  leader  in  the  movement  to  place  Sir 
Donald  Gallda  on  the  Island  throne.  Colin,  third  Earl  of 
Argyll,  was  at  once  ordered  by  the  Privy  Council  to  proceed 
against  Maclean  and  his  associates,  with  as  many  of  the 
king's  lieges  as  he  thought  necessary,  for  the  purpose  of 
putting  down  the  rebellion. 

By  an  act  of  Council,  dated  15 14,  men  of  influence  were 
placed  in  charge,  as  lieutenants,  of  particular  divisions  of 
the  northern  Highland  counties — Mackenzie  of  Kintail 
and  Munro  of  Fowlis  being  appointed  Lieutenants  of 
Wester  Ross  ;  while  Ewin  Allanson  of  Lochiel,  and  Wil- 
liam Lauchlanson  were  placed  in  charge  of  the  district  of 
Lochaber.  Letters  were  at  the  same  time  sent  to  all  the 
chiefs  whose  properties  on  the  mainland  lay  contiguous  to 
the  Isles,  charging  them,  in  case  any  of  the  Islanders 
landed  on  their  territories,  to  resist  their  hostile  intentions 


to  the  utmost  of  their  power,  and  intimating  that  any  of 
them  who  disobeyed  these  instructions  would  be  held 
equally  guilty  with  the  Islanders  themselves  and  punished 

The  effect  produced  was  neither  great  nor  satisfactory, 
and  it  was  considered  wiser  to  adopt  measures  of  a  more 
conciliatory  character.  John,  Duke  of  Albany,  at  the  time 
Regent,  granted  a  commission  to  John  Macian  of  Ardna- 
murchan,  who  had  throughout  continued  faithful  to  the 
Government,  to  make  terms  with  the  less  prominent  and 
violent  of  the  rebels  ;  promise  them  the  Royal  favour,  and 
remission  for  their  past  crimes,  if  they  agreed  to  become 
obedient  and  loyal  subjects  in  future,  and  made  restitution 
to  those  whom  they  had  injured  in  their  recent  incursions. 
From  these  conditions  the  principal  rebels,  including  the 
Macleans  of  Duart ;  the  Macleods  of  Lewis  and  Harris  ; 
Alexander  of  Isla,  chief  of  the  Clann  Ian  Mhoir,  or  Mac- 
donalds  South,  who  now  resided  on  his  Antrim  estate  of 
the  Glynns,  were  exempted.  There  were  also  excluded  the 
personal  adherents  and  nearer  relations  of  Sir  Donald 
Gallda,  with  several  of  the  smaller  septs  who  dared  not 
refuse  to  take  part  with  the  neighbouring  and  more  power- 
ful clans.  This  plan  so  far  succeeded  that  several  of  the 
insurgents  submitted  and  went  to  Court,  under  assurance 
of  protection,  to  arrange  in  person,  the  terms  upon  which 
they  were  to  be  pardoned  and  restored  to  favour.  The  Isles 
were  thus  brought  for  a  time  to  a  state  of  pacification  pre- 
viously unknown.  The  Earl  of  Argyll  and  Mackenzie  of 
Kintail,  who  had  been  guilty  of  some  irregularities  during 
these  turbulent  years,  obtained  remission  from  the  Regent. 

It  would  appear  that  the  intestine  disorders  so  long 
chronic  in  the  Isles  were  now  coming  to  an  end.  In  15 16 
Sir  Donald  Gallda  and  Macian  of  Ardnamurchan  submitted 
many  of  the  disputes  which  had  risen  between  them  to  the 
decision  of  the  legal  tribunals  of  the  kingdom.  They  came 
under  mutual  obligations  to  redress  injuries  done  to  each 
other's  properties  in  the  past.  At  the  same  time  Sir 
Donald  frequently  appeared  at  Court,  under  a  safe  conduct 

JOHN,   FOURTH   AND    LAST   LORD   OF   THE   ISLES.    1 39 

from  the  Regent,  while  he  carried  on  a  lawsuit  against  his 
old  enemy  the  Earl  of  Argyll.  "  The  reconciliation  of  Sir 
Donald  to  the  Regent  was  apparently  so  cordial,  and  so 
much  power  was  still  left  to  him  in  the  Isles,  that,  on  the 
24th  September,  1 5 16,  a  summons  was  dispatched  to  the 
Earl  of  Argyll  and  to  '  Monsieur  de  Ylis,'  to  join  the  Royal 
Army,  then  about  to  proceed  to  the  borders.  Some  months 
after,  the  latter  appears  to  have  been  in  Inverness,  with  no 
good  intentions,  for  the  Earl  of  Huntly  was  directed  to 
watch  his  motions  ;  and  ere  long  he  was  again  in  open 
rebellion.  Sir  Donald  and  his  followers  had  joined  Alex- 
ander, Lord  Home,  in  the  treasonable  practices  which 
brought  that  nobleman's  head  to  the  block ;  and,  after  his 
death,  had  given  shelter  to  his  proscribed  followers.  This 
fact,  regarding  which  all  our  historians  are  silent,  would 
seem  to  imply  that  Sir  Donald  was  first  excited  to  rebellion 
by  the  intrigue  of  English  agents,  and  serves  to  account 
for  the  inveteracy  of  the  Scottish  Government  against  him 
after  this  period." 

We  soon  find  Sir  Donald  again  in  rebellion.  In  15 17, 
having  given  out  to  the  Islesmen  the  false  intimation  that 
the  Lieutenandry  of  the  Isles  and  other  important  offices 
belonging  to  the  Crown  had  been  bestowed  upon  him  by 
the  Regent  and  Privy  Council,  he  succeeded  in  raising  a 
strong  body  of  men,  at  the  head  of  whom  he  attacked  and 
expelled  his  old  enemy,  Macian  of  Ardnamurchan,  from 
his  lands,  and  took  possession  of  the  castle  of  Mingarry  ; 
and,  although  repeatedly  charged  by  the  Privy  Council  to 
give  up  the  stronghold  and  the  lands  to  their  lawful  owner, 
Sir  Donald  defied  the  Government,  "  razed  the  castle  of 
Mingarry  to  the  ground,  and  ravaged  the  whole  district 
with  fire  and  sword  ".  His  chief  leaders  had  in  the  mean- 
time discovered  that  he  had  deceived  them,  and  that, 
instead  of  protecting  the  lands  of  which  he  pretended  to 
have  received  charge  and  control,  his  real  object  was  to  lay 
them  waste  in  the  most  ruthless  manner.  He  refused  to 
take  their  advice  regarding  his  reckless  and  insane  pro- 
ceedings, and  at  length,  taking  the  matter  boldly  into  their 


hands,  they  determined  to  apprehend  and  deliver  him  up 
to  the  Regent.  He,  however,  discovered  their  meditated 
designs,  and  managed  to  effect  his  escape ;  but  both  his 
brothers  were  made  prisoners  by  Lachlan  Cattanach  Mac- 
lean and  Macleod  of  Lewis,  the  two  leaders  who  had 
hitherto  been  most  conspicuous  in  supporting  Sir  Donald 
in  opposition  to  the  Government.  They  had  now,  how- 
ever, turned  against  him,  became  his  most  inveterate 
enemies  proceeded  to  make  their  submission  to  the  Regent, 
and  to  palliate  their  late  rebellious  proceedings  in  support 
of  the  Island  Chief. 

In  1 5 17,  the  Earl  of  Argyll,  the  Macleans  of  Duart  and 
Lochbuy,  and  Macleod  of  Harris  presented  petitions  to 
the  Privy  Council,  making  certain  offers  and  suggestions 
regarding  the  affairs  of  the  Isles  and  Sir  Donald  Gallda  ; 
and,  although  the  petitions  are  separate  and  distinct,  they 
are  uniform  in  advocating  the  suppression  of  Sir  Donald 
and  his  rebellious  followers.  Argyll  demanded,  first,  that  he 
"  should  be  invested  with  very  high  powers  over  the  men 
of  the  Isles  '  for  the  honour  of  the  realm  and  the  common 
weal  in  time  coming  '.  He  desired  a  commission  of  lieuten- 
andry  over  all  the  Isles  and  the  adjacent  mainland,  on  the 
ground  of  the  vast  expense  he  had  previously  incurred,  of 
his  ability  to  do  good  service  in  the  future,  and  of  his 
having  broken  up  the  confederacy  of  the  Islanders."  His 
request  was  complied  with,  and  the  commission  was  granted 
for  a  period  of  three  years,  with  the  exceptions  that  those 
parts  of  Lochaber  belonging  to  the  Earl  of  Huntly,  the 
Clanchattan,  and  Ewin  Allanson  of  Lochiel,  and  the 
Islands  of  Arran  and  Bute,  were  excluded  from  its  provi- 
sions. Second,  "  He  claimed  and  obtained  authority  to 
receive  into  the  King's  favour  all  the  men  of  the  Isles  who 
would  make  their  submission,  and  become  bound  for  future 
good  behaviour ;  to  promise  them  remission  for  former 
offences,  and  to  engage  for  the  restitution,  not  only  of  their 
heritage,  but  of  such  Crown  lands  as  they  previously  held 
in  lease,  upon  proper  security  being  given  for  payment  of 
the  accustomed  rents  and  duties,  by  the  delivery  of  hostages 

JOHN,   FOURTH   AND    LAST    LORD   OF   THE   ISLES.    141 

and  otherwise ;  the  last  condition  being  imperative,  'because 
the  men  of  the  Isles  are  fickle  of  mind,  and  set  but  little 
value  on  their  oaths  and  written  obligations '.  Sir  Donald 
of  the  Isles,  his  brothers,  and  the  Clan  Donald  were,  how- 
ever, specially  excepted  from  the  benefits  of  this  second 
article.  The  earl  likewise  demanded  and  received  express 
power  to  pursue  and  follow  the  rebels  with  fire  and  sword  ; 
to  expel  them  from  the  Isles  ;  and  to  use  his  best  endea- 
vours to  possess  himself  of  Sir  Donald's  castle  of  Strome, 
in  Lochcarron.  Particular  instructions  were  given  him  to 
demand  hostages  from  the  Clan  Ian  Vor,  or  Clandonald  of 
Isla,  and  their  followers,  who  were  now  the  principal  sup- 
porters of  Sir  Donald  ;  and,  in  the  event  of  their  refusal, 
to  pursue  them  with  the  utmost  severity  ;  while,  on  the 
other  hand,  if  they  should  submit,  their  leaders — the  sur- 
viving sons  of  the  late  Sir  John  Cathanach  of  Isla — were  to 
receive  Crown  lands  in  the  Isles,  to  the  annual  value  of  one 
hundred  merks,  to  enable  them  to  live  without  plundering 
the  king's  lieges,  and  to  keep  rule  in  time  to  come — they 
being  now  without  heritage,  owing  to  their  father's  for- 

Lachlan  Maclean  of  Duart  makes  the  following 
demands  : — first,  "  A  free  remission  of  all  offences  to  him- 
self and  his  associates  ;  and  particularly  to  his  '  kin,  men, 
servants,  and  partakers,  following — viz.,  Donald  Maclean 
(his  uncle),  Gilleonan  Nacneil  of  Barra,  Neill  Mackinnon  of 
Mishnish,  Dunslaf  Macquarrie  of  Ulva,  and  Lachlan  Mac- 
ewin  of  Ardgour  ;  it  being  understood  that  Dowart  was 
ready  to  make  redress  of  all  damages  committed  against 
the  Earl  of  Argyll  and  Macian  of  Ardnamurchan, 
according  to  the  decision  of  certain  mutual  friends.  This 
remission  was  authorised  by  the  Council  to  be  granted  to 
Maclean,  upon  hostages  being  given  for  future  obedience. 
His  next  demands  are  somewhat  startling,. when  his  own 
previous  conduct  and  the  history  of  his  predecessors  are 
taken  into  consideration,  and  might  well  justify  the  charge 
of  fickleness  of  mind  brought  against  the  Islanders  by  the 
Earl  of  Argyll.     He  desired,  in  the  second  place,  that  Sir 


Donald  of  Lochalsh,  with  his  associates,  should  be  proceeded 
against  as  traitors,  and  their  lands  forfeited,  according  to 
law,  for  their  treason  and  perseverance  in  rebellion.  In  the 
third  place,  he  demanded  that  Sir  Donald's  two  brothers, 
then  in  his  custody,  should  be  'justified,'  i.e.,  executed, 
according  to  law,  '  for  pleasure  and  profit  to  the  king  and 
regent,  and  for  stability  of  the  country '  ;  and  further  stated 
that  he  would  act  with  double  zeal  in  the  king's  service,  as 
soon  as  he  should  perceive  that  the  Government  was  serious 
in  '  destroying  the  wicked  blood  of  the  Isles  ;  for  as  long  as 
that  blood  reigns,  the  King  shall  never  have  the  Isles  in  peace, 
whenever  they  find  an  opportunity  to  break  loose,  as  is  evident 
from  daily  experience  '.  For  his  good  service  done  and  to  be 
done — and  particularly  for  collecting,  which  he  now  under- 
took to  do,  the  king's  duties,  in  all  places  '  within  (south  of) 
the  point  of  Ardnamurchan  (except  those  belonging  to  Mac- 
ian,  who  was  to  answer  for  himself),  Maclean  demanded  an 
heritable  grant  of  one  hundred  merk  lands  in  Tiree  and 
Mull,  free  of  all  duties.  This,  however,  the  Council  would 
not  give  for  a  longer  term  than  till  the  majority  of  the  king, 
an  arrangement  with  which  he  was  obliged  to  rest  satisfied 
in  the  meantime.  He  made  various  other  demands,  chiefly 
regarding  his  lands  and  possessions  in  the  Isles  ;  and,  with 
some  trifling  exceptions,  these  were  all  agreed  to."* 

One  cannot  help  being  amazed  at  the  extremely  mean  and 
treacherous  conduct  of  this  Chief  of  the  Macleans — conduct 
which  cannot  possibly  be  stigmatised  too  severely.  The 
author  of  the  "  Historical  and  Genealogical  Account  of  the 
Clan  Maclean,"  naturally  unwilling  to  be  too  severe  in  the 
condemnation  of  a  chief  of  his  own  clan,  says,  "  The  death 
of  the  brave  Hector  Odhar  introduces  us  to  the  name  of  one 
in  writing  of  whom  I  could  wish  the  pen  were  in  other 
hands  than  that  of  a  Maclean ;  but  as  I  have  set  out  avowedly 
with  the  purpose  of  giving  a  faithful  record  of  our  race,  I 
shall  certainly  'nothing  extenuate'.  Lachlan  Cattanach  Mac- 
lean succeeded  his  father  in  the  year  15 13;  this  chief,  whose 
natural  violence  of  temper  and  neglected  education  led  to 

*  Gregory,  pp.  1 15-122. 

JOHN,   FOURTH   AND   LAST   LORD   OF   THE   ISLES.    143 

acts  of  the  most  savage  cruelty,  was  altogether  such  a 
character  as  to  make  one  regret  that  the  noble  line  of 
Duart's  lords  had  ever  been  tarnished  by  his  being  of  their 
number.  In  early  youth  he  had  exhibited  such  symptoms 
of  a  bad  disposition,  and  reckless  indifference  to  the  lives  of 
his  inferiors,  that  while  residing  among  the  Clan-Chattan, 
his  mother's  kindred,  he  twice  narrowly  escaped  falling  by 
the  hand  of  some  injured  vassal.  On  his  returning  to  Mull, 
a  Moid,  or  council  of  chieftains  and  gentlemen  of  the 
Macleans,  was  held,  at  which  the  propriety  of  excluding  him 
altogether  from  the  succession  was  mooted  ;  his  advocates, 
however,  carried  it  in  his  favour,  alleging  his  youth  as 
some  palliative  for  his  present  wicked  and  ungovernable 
conduct,  and  that  at  a  more  mature  age  there  was  hope  of 
his  being  less  objectionable  ;  but  neither  time  nor  circum- 
stances seemed  calculated  to  smooth  the  rugged  nature  of 
Lachlan  Cattanach.  The  first  act  of  his  cheftainship  is  one 
for  which  we  would  grant  him  credit  for  boldness  at  least, 
were  it  a  mattter  of  certainty  that  he  deserved  it.  In  the 
seizure  of  the  royal  castle  of  Cairnburgh,  near  Mull,  and  of 
Dunscaich,  in  the  Isle  of  Skye,  he  was  aided  by  braver 
spirits  than  his  own  ;  in  this  as  well  as  in  other  exploits  in 
which  he  had  embroiled  himself  with  his  sovereign,  he  was 
powerfully  assisted  by  his  uncle  Donald,  and  the  Macleans 
of  Lochbuy  and  Ardgour,  by  Macleod  of  Dunvegan,  and 
others  ;  and  it  is  not  shown  by  anything  the  sennachies 
have  recorded  on  the  subject  that  one  single  act  of  bravery 
(a  quality,  when  at  all  exhibited,  they  were  ever  fond  of 
dwelling  upon)  was  displayed  upon  these  occasions  by 
Lachlan  Cattanach  ;  on  the  contrary,  his  pusillanimity  is 
shown  in  very  glaring  colours  on  one  or  two  occasions,  when 
called  to  account  for  the  rebellious  doings  in  which  he  aided 
some,  and  to  which  he  had  led  others.  His  first  act  of  re- 
bellion was  to  favour  the  establishment  of  Sir  Donald  Mac- 
donald  of  Lochalsh  as  Lord  of  the  Isles  ;  yet,  when  he 
himself  was  obliged  to  crave  indemnity  for  the  share  he  had 
taken  therein,  he  did  so  in  terms  which  it  is  unnecessary 
to  characterize.     Let  his  cowardly  petition  speak  for  itself : 


he  seeks  that  two  brothers  of  Sir  Donald,  who  were 
originally  acting  in  concert  with  him,  but  whom  he  had  de- 
tained prisoners  in  the  hope  of  ingratiating  himself  with  his 
sovereign,  whose  power  he  now  found  to  be  pressing  hard 
upon  him,  'should  be  executed  according  to  law,  for  pleasure 
and  profit  to  the  king  and  regent,  and  for  stability  of  the 
country  '  ;  and  that  he  himself  would  '  aid  the  Government 
in  the  purpose  of  destroying  the  wicked  blood  of  Isles,  for 
as  long  as  that  blood  reigned  the  king  could  never  have 
the  Isles  in  peace  '.  Strange  demands  these  for  a  man  who 
was  himself  a  prime  agent  in  that  very  rebellion  for  which 
he  wished  others  thus  to  suffer.  His  demands  were  numer- 
ous, but  we  find  little  else  than  the  remission  of  offences  to 
himself  and  those  of  his  immediate  followers  conceded  to 
him.  He  was  in  return  obliged  to  promise  restitution  to 
the  Earl  of  Argyll  and  Macdonald  of  Ardnamurchan  for 
injuries  done  to  their  vassals,  to  become  personally  respon- 
sible for  the  chieftains  lately  in  arms  with  him, and  to  give  his 
oath  of  allegiance  to  the  king  and  regent.  Treacherous 
and  pusillanimous  as  his  conduct  in  these  proceedings  was, 
history  might  be  tempted  to  offer  something  in  excuse  for 
him,  were  it  not  that  his  character,  both  public  and  private, 
is  such  as  not  to  admit  of  a  single  palliative.  He  does  not 
appear  to  have  possessed  one  single  redeeming  quality.  I 
do  not  find  that  he  even  possessed  the  negative  virtue  of 
being  a  brave  tyrant." 

The  execution  of  Sir  Donald  Gallda's  two  brothers, 
insisted  upon  by  this  brutal  and  treacherous  chief  of 
Maclean,  was,  it  is  supposed,  ultimately  carried  out,  though 
at  first  the  Council  were  divided  on  the  propriety  of  their 
execution.  The  majority,  however,  were  in  favour  of  the 
extreme  sentence,  while  the  minority  wished  to  leave  the 
ultimate  decision  to  the  regent  ;  but  Gregory  holds  that 
"  although  it  cannot  positively  be  affirmed,  there  is  reason 
to  think  that  the  opinion  of  the  majority  prevailed  ". 

Maclean  of  Lochbuy  and  Alexander  Macleod  of  Harris 
received  remissions  for  themselves  and  for  their  followers 
on  giving  up  hostages,  but  Macleod  demanded  in  addition 


a  heritable  grant  of  the  lands  of  Troternish.  This  was 
refused  ;  but  he  was  continued  a  king's  tenant  as  formerly. 
Mutual  arrangements  were  made  between  the  Earls  of 
Huntly  and  Argyll  as  to  the  expulsion  of  the  Clanchattan 
and  the  Highlanders  of  the  Isles,  in  certain  circumstances. 
Maclean  of  Duart  appeared  before  the  Council,  and  "  gave 
his  solemn  oath  of  allegiance  to  the  king  and  to  the 
Regent  ;  binding  himself  at  the  same  time  to  give  his  best 
assistance  to  Argyll,  as  Lieutenant  of  the  Isles  for  the  good 
government  of  these  districts,  and  as  far  as  lay  in  his  power 
to  observe  the  public  peace  and  administer  justice  to  all 
the  king's  lieges  ".  Sir  Donald  still  continued  at  large,  and  in 
spite  of  the  determined  efforts  made  to  capture  him  he 
managed  to  escape  from  his  pursuers,  and  ultimately,  by 
the  aid  of  some  of  his  old  friends  still  powerful,  to  revenge 
the  death  of  his  father,  Sir  Alexander  of  Lochalsh,  upon  his 
hereditary  enemy,  Macian  of  Ardnamurchan. 

It  will  be  remembered  how  vigorously  John  Macian  sup- 
ported the  Government  of  James  IV.,  and  that  among  his 
other  exploits  are  recorded  the  apprehension  of  his  rela- 
tive, Sir  John  Macdonald  of  Isla,  and  the  assassination  of 
another,  Sir  Alexander  Macdonald  of  Lochalsh.  For  these 
services  he  was  well  rewarded  by  James,  and  the  favours 
then  extended  to  him  were  continued  by  the  regent,  after 
the  king's  death.  He  well  knew  that  his  unnatural  conduct 
would  never  be  forgiven  by  the  children  and  kinsmen  of  the 
murdered  chiefs,  and  that  vengeance  was  only  delayed  until 
a  fitting  opportunity  occurred.  Macian,  knowing  all  this, 
was  naturally  enough  the  first  to  join  the  Earl  of  Argyll  in 
his  expedition  against  the  Islanders,  after  his  return  from 
the  field  of  Flodden,  and  he  uniformly  continued  steadfast 
in  his  opposition  to  Sir  Donald  and  his  party  in  the  Isles. 
His  lands  suffered  in  consequence,  and  his  life  was  eagerly 
sought  for,  not  only  by  Sir  Donald  Gallda  and  his  more 
immediate  followers,  but  also  by  Alexander  of  Isla,  who, 
although  married  to  Macian's  daughter,  determined  to 
revenge  the  assassination  of  his  father  and  brothers  upon 
their  murderer.     Soon  after  the  submission  of  Maclean  of 



Duart  and  Macleod  of  Dunvegan,  Sir  Donald  Gallda,  ably- 
assisted  by  the  Macleods  of  Lewis  and  Raasay,  proceeded 
south  to  Ardnamurchan,  where  they  met  Alexander  of  Isla, 
and,  with  their  united  forces,  they  at  once  attacked  Macian 
at  a  place  called  Creag-an-Airgid,  or  the  Silver  Craig, 
where  he  was  defeated  and  slain,  with  his  two  sons,  John 
Suaineartach  and  Angus,  and  a  great  number  of  their 
followers,  shortly  before  the  1 8th  of  August,  15 19.* 

Hugh  Macdonald,  the  Sleat  historian,  after  describing  the 
assassination  of  Sir  Alexander  at  Isle  Ornsay,  gives  the 
following  account  of  Donald  Gallda's  election  as  leader  of 
the  Islanders,  and  of  the  subsequent  rebellious  proceedings  : 
— "  Now  Donald  Gauld,  Alexander  MacGillespig's  son,  was 
in  a  very  low  condition  ;  he  had  a  dauvich  of  lands  from  his 
uncle  Lovat.  He  gathered  a  great  many  necessaries,  such 
as  seed,  &c,  among  the  best  men  in  Ross,  for  his  being  a 
great  man's  son.  There  was  a  common  fellow  in  his 
company  (named)  Paul  who  gathered  together  his  thigging 
in  Ross.  This  man  asked  Donald  Gauld  what  he  meant 
to  do  with  all  the  trash  he  was  gathering.  Donald  Gauld 
answered,  That  mean  and  low  as  that  was,  he  could  do  no 
better,  and  as  it  was  God's  will  to  reduce  him  to  that  low 
and  despondent  state,  he  ought  to  be  content.  Then,  says 
Paul,  if  you  will  be  advised  by  me,  you  will  sell  all  your 
seed  and  thigging,  for  you  will  never  raise  yourself  to  any 
notice  or  respect  by  continuing  a  farmer  ;  therefore  it  is 
your  interest  to  make  money  of  all  you  have  gathered,  and 
hire  as  many  men  therewith  as  you  can,  to  apprehend,  in 
the  first  place,  the  Laird  of  Raisay,  being  the  weakest  and 
least  powerful  of  all  the  Island  Lairds,  and  after  succeeding 
in  this,  you  can  act  according  to  circumstances.  This 
advice  being  followed,  they  came  to  the  Isles,  apprehending 
Raisay,  to  whom  they  communicated  their  intentions. 
Raisay  goes  along  with  them  to  the  Lewis,  and  remained 
that  night  within  the  castle  of  Macleod  of  the  Lewis.  After 
that,  Raisay  had  a  consultation  with  his  chief,  the  Laird  of 
Lewis.     It  happened  that  night  that  a  great  many  whales 

*  Reg.  of  Privy  Seal,  vol.  v. ,  folio  139. 


ran  ashore  in  the  Bay  of  Stornoway.  Macleod  in  the 
morning  goes  out  to  behold  the  diversion,  and  to  kill  them 
with  broadswords.  Donald  Gauld  and  his  company  go  out 
likewise.  Raisay  advised  Donald  Gauld,  when  Macleod 
began  to  strike  at  the  whales  to  keep  close  at  his  heels  to 
assist  him  :  to  which  advice  Donald  invariably  adhered. 
Macleod  having  gone  home,  asked  what  that  young  man 
was  who  assisted  him  in  killing  the  whales.  Being  informed 
he  was  Donald  Gauld,  Macleod  said  it  was  reasonable  and 
proper  that  he  should  be  assisted  to  some  honour  and 

"  After  this  Macleod  of  the  Lewis  and  some  others  of 
the  Islanders  held  a  meeting  at  Kyleakin.  Alexander  of 
Kintyre  came  there  for  Donald  Gruamach,  son  of  Donald 
Gallich,  to  make  him  Lord  of  the  Isles,  and  imparted  his 
sentiments  on  the  subject  to  Macleod.  Macleod  said  he 
was  willing  that  Donald  Gruamach  should  be  made  Lord 
of  the  Isles,  and  that  he  was  nearer  related  to  him  than 
Donald  Gauld.  Alexander  of  Kintyre  had  a  double  mean- 
ing in  this  offer.  He  well  knew  it  did  not  belong  to  himself 
by  right,  and  had  a  greater  respect  for  Donald  Gruamach, 
who  had  a  greater  right  to  that  title,  than  for  Donald 
Gauld,  who,  according  to  his  opinion,  was  not  so  fit  for  the 
place,  either  by  his  actions  or  friendship  ;  besides,  he  did 
not  wish  to  prefer  Donald  Gauld,  he  himself  having  a  hand 
in  his  father's  murder.  Upon  this,  Macleod  spoke  to  Donald 
Gruamach  upon  this  subject,  who  answered,  that  it  was  a 
cause  not  very  easily  carried  through ;  that  he  doubted 
much  the  loyalty  of  the  Islanders  ;  and  that  he  would 
noways  have  a  hand  in  that  affair  so  long  as  Donald  Du, 
Angus  Ogg's  son  was  alive.  Alexander  of  Kintyre  under- 
took this  journey  to  create  Donald  Gruamach  Lord  of  the 
Isles,  fearing  that  if  Donald  Gauld  succeeded  he  would 
revenge  his  father's  death,  of  which  he  was  a  partaker. 
This  Alexander  of  Kintyre  being  married  to  John  of  Ard- 
namurchan's  daughter,  was  easily  induced  by  his  father-in- 
law  to  stand  as  heir,  and  to  look  for  great  honour  and 
preferment,  if  Alexander  MacGillespig  was  cut  off.     John 


of  Ardnamurchan's  purpose  was  to  set  them  by  the  ears,  in 
case  he  himself  might  get  some  of  their  lands  to  purchase. 
Donald  Gruamach  rejecting  the  offer  made  him  of  being 
created  Lord  of  the  Isles,  the  Macleods  thought  to  make 
Donald  Gauld  Lord  of  them.  With  this  intention,  going  to 
Morvern,  where  they  met  Maclean,  Alexander  of  Kintyre 
being  also  in  company,  comporting  with  the  times,  because 
he  formerly  told  his  mind  to  these  men,  they  proclaimed 
Donald  Gauld  Lord  of  the  Isles.  When  Brayack  of  Ard- 
namurchan  was  desired  to  compear,  Maclean  sent  him  a 
private  message  not  to  come,  to  which  he  paid  no  atten- 
tion, but  appeared,  and  was  paid  the  same  deference  as  any 
of  the  rest.  As  he  sat  in  the  tent,  his  son,  John  Sunoirtich, 
expressed  his  surprise  that  all  the  gentry  of  the  Isles  were 
called  to  Macdonald's  tent,  and  he  not  treated  as  the  rest. 
His  father  observed  it  was  his  own  fault,  by  having  a  hand 
in  Donald's  father's  death.  His  son  said,  if  his  advice  was 
followed,  they  would  attack  Macdonald's  tent ;  but  his 
father  said  they  were  too  weak  against  Donald  Gauld's 
party.  In  the  meantime  he  ordered  one  of  his  men  to  look 
to  the  shore  and  see  if  his  galley  was  afloat ;  upon  this 
there  came  a  black  sheep  into  the  tent,  and  the  person  sent 
to  see  the  galley  came  back  with  a  salmon  fish  wanting  an 
eye,  telling  him  his  boat  was  not  afloat.  John  Brayack 
asked  what  was  the  place's  name  in  which  they  were? 
Being  answered  it  was  called  Ballepaig,  he  said  that  three 
things  had  come  to  pass,  of  which  the  old  woman  who 
nursed  him  desired  him  to  be  aware,  viz.,  the  black  sheep, 
the  salmon  with  one  eye,  and  Ballepaig,  wherein  she  warned 
him  never  to  remain  a  night ;  and  now,  said  he,  the  last 
period  of  my  life  must  certainly  be  at  hand.  At  that  very 
moment  one  rushed  out  of  Donald  Gauld's  tent,  crying  out, 
kill,  and  do  not  spare  the  MacEans  ;  which  commands 
were  instantly  obeyed.  MacEan  fled  for  the  space  of  a 
mile,  but  was  overtaken  by  Mr.  Allan  Morrison,  and  killed 
by  the  Laird  of  Raisay.  His  son  John  was  killed,  together 
with  a  young  son  called  Angus  ;  in  short  all  of  them  that 
could  be  taken.    This  happened  at  a  place  called  Craig-an- 


airgid.  In  the  evening  thereafter,  Alexander  of  Kintyre, 
observing  that  the  death  of  Donald's  father  was  amply- 
revenged,  because  it  was  John  of  Ardnamurchan  that  ap- 
prehended him  ;  but  Donald  Gauld  said  that  his  father's 
death  was  not  yet  fully  revenged  while  Alexander,  who  was 
equally  guilty  with  John  Brayack,  was  in  life.  Alexander, 
hearing  this,  slipt  away  privately  in  the  night  time  and  left 
them.  Donald  Gauld  after  this  went  to  Tyree,  and  died  in 
the  Inch  of  Teinlipeil,  five  weeks  after  he  was  proclaimed 
Lord  of  the  Isles.  Alexander  of  Kintyre  and  his  two 
sons,  one  of  whom  was  called  John  Cathanach,  were  after- 
wards, by  the  King's  orders,  hanged  at  the  Borrowmuir, 
near  Edinburgh,  because,  after  the  resignation  of  John  of 
the  Isles,  they  neither  would  take  their  rights  from  the 
King  nor  deliver  up  to  him  those  lands  which  Macdonald 
had  in  Isla  and  Kintyre."* 

For  some  time  previously  measures  had  been  taken  to 
have  Sir  Donald  forfeited  for  high  treason,  and  when  the 
news  of  the  slaughter  of  Macian  of  Ardnamurchan  reached 
the  Council,  the  Earl  of  Argyll  strongly  urged  that  a 
sentence  of  forfeiture  should  be  pronounced  against  him  as 
soon  as  the  usual  forms  would  admit.  In  this,  however,  he 
did  not  succeed,  whereupon  he  made  a  protest  before 
Parliament  that  neither  he,  as  Lieutenant,  nor  his  heirs 
should  in  future  be  held  responsible  for  any  mischief  that 
might  follow  on  the  refusal  of  his  advice  regarding  the 
territory  which  had  been  committed  to  his  care.  He  at  the 
same  time  complained  of  not  receiving  certain  supplies  of 
men  and  money,  previously  promised  to  him  by  the  regent, 
to  carry  on  the  king's  service  in  the  Isles.  Gregory  thinks 
"  this  last  statement  fully  accounts  for  the  length  of  time 
Sir  Donald  had  been  allowed  to  remain  at  large  after  the 
defection  of  so  many  of  his  adherents  ;  and  it  is  difficult 
to  say  how  much  longer  this  state  of  things  might  have 
continued,  had  not  his  death,  which  took  place  some  weeks 
after  his  success  in  Morvern,  brought  the  rebellion,  which 

*  Coller.tanea  de  Rebus  Albanicis,  pp.  321-324. 


had  lasted  with  little  intermission  during  upwards  of  five 
years,  to  a  sudden  close." 

In  February,  15 17-18,  the  Earls  of  Huntly  and  Argyll 
were  both  directed  to  proceed  against  "  Donald  His,  rebel 
and  traitor,  and  his  complices ".  He  was  the  last  male 
representative  of  the  family  of  Lochalsh,  and  died  without 
issue  before  the  18th  of  August,  15 19.* 

Leaving  Donald  Dubh  still  in  captivity  we  shall  go  back 
some  twenty  years  to  pick  up 


Brother  of  John,  last  Lord  of  the  Isles  and  ancestor  of  the 
present  Lord  Macdonald  of  Sleat,  and  treat  of  the  history 
of  his  house  until  Donald  Dubh  again  emerges  from 
his  long  imprisonment,  and,  in  a  second  rebellion,  com- 
pletely disarranges  the  schemes  of  the  house  of  Sleat,  and 
causes  another  period  of  disorder  and  chaos  in  the  Isles 
which  almost  equalled  in  intensity  those  which  have  been 
already  described. 

Hugh,  First  of  Sleat,  was  the  the  third  son  of  Alex- 
ander, third  Earl,  and  youngest  brother  of  John  fourth 
and   last  Earl,  and  of  Celestine  of  Lochalsh.  "f-     Very  little 

*  Register  Privy  Seal. 

■f-  In  Skene's  "Celtic  Scotland,"  vol.  iii.,  p.  298,  we  are  told  of  Alexander, 
third  Earl  of  Ross,  that,  "  By  his  Countess  Eilzabeth,  he  had  John,  who  succeeded 
him  as  Earl  of  Ross  and  Lord  of  the  Isles.  By  the  daughter  of  Giollapadaraig,  the 
last  of  the  lay  abbots  of  Applecross,  and  known  to  tradition  as  the  Red  Priest,  with 
whom  he  obtained  the  lands  of  Lochalsh,  Lochcarron,  and  others,  he  had  a  son 
Hugh,  to  whom  he  gave  the  lands  of  Sleat  in  Skye  ;  and  by  the  daughter  of  Mac- 
Dubhshithe  or  Macphee,  of  Lochaber,  he  had  Celestine  or  Gillespie,  to  whom  he 
gave  the  lands  of  Lochalsh."  Dr.  Skene  has  not  given  his  authority,  but  we  per- 
sume  it  is  the  following  from  Macdonald,  the  Sleat  Historian,  who,  writing  of 
Alexander,  third  Earl  of  Ross,  says  : — First  he  took  to  him  the  concubine,  daughter 
to  Patrick  Obeolan,  surnamed  the  Red,  who  was  a  very  beautiful  woman.  This 
surname,  Obeolan,  was  the  surnames  of  the  Earls  of  Ross,  till  Farquhar  born  in  Ross, 
was  created  Earl  by  King  Alexander,  and  so  carried  the  name  of  Ross  since  as  best 
answering  the  English  tongue.  Patrick  was  an  abbot,  and  had  Carlbay  in  the  Lewis, 
and  the  church  lands  in  that  country,  with  18  merks  lands  in  Lochbroom.  He  had 
two  sons  and  a  daughter.  Patrick's  daughter  bore  a  son  to  Alexander,  Lord  of  the 
Isles  and  Earl  of  Ross,  who  was  called  Austin,  or,  as  others  say,  Augustine,  (Hugh). 
She  was  twice  brought  before  the  King,  as  MacDonald  could  not  be  induced  to 
part  with  her  on  occasion  of  her  great  beauty.       The  King  said,  that  it  was  no 


is  known  of  Hugh's  history.  In  1460,  he  made  a  raid  into 
Orkney  and  ravaged  the  country,  accompanied  by  William 
Macleod  of  Harris  and  "the  young  gentlemen  of  the  Isles". 
His  father,  Earl  Alexander,  was  for  some  cause  taken 
prisoner  to  Edinburgh,  and  while  there  he  dined  with  the 
Earl  of  Orkney,  when  "some  sort  of  pudding  was  laid 
before  them,"  apparently  containing  suet  or  other  fatty 
substance.  Hugh  Macdonald,  and  the  author  of  the  Mac- 
vurich  MS.,  are  the  only  writers  who  notice  this  expedition, 
which,  will  be  seen,  was  of  considerable  importance, 
though  it  originated  in  a  boasting  frolic  between  the 
two  chiefs  : — "  Macdonald  pressed  the  Earl  of  Orkney  to 
eat  (the  pudding),  who  said  he  would  not  eat  light. 
Macdonald  replied,  that  as  he  himself  was  not  used  to  such 
light,  he  would  eat  of  it.  The  Earl  of  Orkney  asked  what 
sort  of  light  was  wont  to  be  burnt  in  his  presence.  Mac- 
donald turning  about,  and  seeing  Lauchlane  Maclean 
behind  him,  desired  the  earl  to  inquire  at  that  man  stand- 
ing. Maclean  said  there  was  no  other  light  but  wax  burnt 
before  Macdonald.  Upon  this  subject  they  discoursed 
until  such  time  as  the  Earl  of  Orkney  invited  Macdonald 
to  breakfast  with  him  next  morning.  Macdonald  invited 
the  Earl  of  Orkney  rather  to  breakfast  with  him,  who 
answered  that  his  breakfast  would  be  sooner  ready.  Mac- 
donald said,  not  so.  Wagers  being  laid,  and  pledges 
given  on  both  sides,  in  the  night  time  the  Earl  of  Orkney 
sent  twelve  men  through  the  town,  desiring  that  none 
should  dress  or  make  meat  ready  for  Macdonald  that 
night,  and  likewise  should  supply  him  with  no  fuel  for 
firing  early  in  the  morning.  Maclean,  getting  up  by  times 
next  day,  could  get  no  fuel,  and  remembered  what 
happened  the  preceding  night  between  the  Earl  of  Orkney 
and  his  own  master,  whereupon  he  cut  so  many  bows  in 
their  company,  of  which  he  made  fire,  and  prepared  a 
venison  breakfast.  Orkney  being  disappointed  when 
called   to  breakfast  with   Macdonald,  and  much  incensed, 

wonder  that  such  a  fair  damsel  had  enticed  MacDonald.  At  last  by  the  King's  per- 
suasion, he  married  Margaret  Livingston,  daughter  to  Sir  Alexander  Livingston,  the 
Regent,  who  bore  to  him  John,  and  other  two  who  died  in  their  infancy. 


said  to  Macdonald,  Do  you  think  to  equal  or  cope  with 
me  in  power  and  authority  ?  Macdonald  said  he  had  a 
young  son  at  home,  who  would  be  his  equal  and  match  in 
full,  and  would  undertake  to  harass  his  country,  if  he 
himself  would  procure  liberty  from  the  king.  The  Earl  of 
Orkney  said,  if  Macdonald  would  undertake  to  fulfil  his 
engagements,  he  would  procure  the  king's  leave.  These 
promises  being  ratified,  they  went  home.  At  this  time 
Macdonald  gave  the  Isle  of  Tyree  to  Maclean,  and  sent  his 
son  Austine  (Hugh),  with  all  the  young  heritors  of  lands, 
to  harass  the  Orkney  inhabitants,  who  expected  and  waited 
for  their  arrival,  and  had  encamped  in  a  little  promontory 
pointing  out  in  the  sea,  thinking  the  Islanders  would  land 
there,  and  be  defeated  on  their  landing.  But  Austine  took 
another  course ;  for  there  was  another  point  directly 
opposite  to  that  in  which  the  people  of  Orkney  were 
encamped,  separated  by  a  long  arm  of  the  sea  ;  here  he 
landed  his  men.  The  Orcadians  had  to  go  round  the  head 
of  this  bay  before  they  could  come  at  their  enemies.  At 
first  they  came  on  furiously,  but,  being  as  bravely  resisted, 
they  fell  back  in  confusion,  on  which  a  great  slaughter 
ensued,  for  the  common  people  there  are  said  to  be  no 
great  warriors,  whatever  their  gentry  are.  One  of  their 
best  soldiers,  called  Gibbon,  was  killed.  The  Earl  of 
Orkney  himself  was  killed,  single-handed,  by  one  of  William 
Macleod  of  Harris's  men,  called  Murdo  MacCotter,  who 
was  afterwards  Maclean's  ensign-bearer.  Having  routed 
the  enemy,  Austine  and  his  party  began  to  ravage  the 
country,  that  being  the  only  reward  they  had  for  their  pains 
and  fatigue  ;  with  which,  having  loaded  their  galleys  (they) 
returned  home.  Austine  having  halted  at  Caithness,  he 
got  a  son  by  the  Crowner  of  Caithness's  daughter,  of  the 
name  of  Gun,  which  at  that  time  was  a  very  flourishing 
name  there,  descended  of  the  Danes.  The  son  was  called 
Donald  Gallich,  being  brought  up  in  that  county  in  his 
younger  years  ;  for  the  ancient  Scots,  until  this  day,  call 
the  county  of  Caithness  Gallibh."* 

*  Transactions  of  the  Iona  Club,  pp.  306-307. 


Hugh  Macdonald,  the  first  of  the  family  of  Sleat,  has  a 
charter  under  the  Great  Seal,  dated  ioth  November,  1495, 
as  follows  : — "  Hugoni  Alexandri  de  Insulis,  Domino  de 
Slete,  fratri  Joannis  de  Yle,  Comitis  Rossiae,  et  heredibus 
suis  masculis  inter  ipsum  Hugonem  et  Fynvolam,  Alexandri 
Joannis  de  Ardnamurchan,  legitime  seu  illegitime  procreatis 
seu  procreandis,  ac  ipsorum  legitimis  heredibus,  quibus 
omnibus  deficientibus  heredibus  suis  masculis  post  mortem 
praefatae  Fynvolae,  inter  ipsum  Hugonem,  et  quam  cunque 
aliam  mulierem  de  concilio  dicti  Comitis,  viz.  Donaldi  de 
Insulis  Domini  Dunnowaig  et  de  Glynnis,  Celestini  de 
Insulis  de  Lochalche,  Lachlani  Macgilleoni  de  Doward,  et 
Alexandri  Joannis  de  Ardnamurchan,  quibus  deficientibus 
tunc  de  concilio  ipsorum  heredum  vel  ipsius  deficientis 
heredis,  electam  super  cartam  sibi  factam  per  dictum 
Joannem  de  Yle,  Comitem  Rossiae  et  Dominum  Insularum, 
de  data  28  Junii  1449,  testibus  Donaldo  de  Insulis,  Domino 
de  Dunnowaig  et  de  Glynnis,  Celestino  de  Insulis  de  Loch- 
alche, fratre  dicti  Comitis,  Lachlano  Macgilleon,  Domino  de 
Doward,  Joanne  Macgilleon  de  Lochboyg,  Lachlano  juvente 
Magilleon,  Magistro  de  Doward,  Willielmo  Macloyd  de 
Glenelg,  Roderico  Macleod  de  Leoghys,  Alexandro  Joannis 
de  Ardnamurchan,  Joanne  Lachlani  Magilleon  de  Colla,  et 
Thoma  de  Mora,  secretario  dicti  Comitis  ac  rectore  de  Kil- 
manavvik,  terris  triginta  mercarum  de  Skerehowg,  duodecim 
mere  de  Benbecila,  denariatam  de  Gergremyniss  ex  parte 
boreale  de  Uist,  duab.  den.  de  Scolpic,  quatuor  den.  de 
Gremynes,  duab.  den.  de  Talawmartin,  sex  den.  de  Oroin- 
saig,  dim.  den.  de  Wanylis,  et  dim.  den.  de  insula  Gillegerve, 
una  cum  terris  viginti  octo  mercarum  de  Slete,  jacen.  in  domi- 
nio  Insularum,  tenend.  de  dicto  Joanne  de  Yle."*  It  will 
be  observed  that  by  this  charter  the  lands  named  were  to 
go  to  the  descendants  of  Hugh  of  Sleat  and  Finvola  of 
Ardnamurchan,  legitimate  or  illegitimate. 

Having  died  in  1498,  the  same  year  in  which  his  brother 
John,  fourth  and  last  Earl  of  Ross  and  Lord  of  the  Isles, 
died,  Hugh  of  Sleat  cannot  be  reckoned  even  one  of  the 

*  Wood's  Douglas's  Peerage,  vol.  ii.,  pp.  11-12  ;  Reg.  Great  Seal,  xiii.,  150. 


chiefs  of  this  line  of  Macdonald.  He  never  did  succeed  to 
that  honour.  In  addition  to  Sleat,  which  he  occupied  during 
the  life  of  his  father,  we  have  seen  that  by  the  charter  of 
1495,  already  quoted,  he  also  possessed  lands  in  Uist  and 
Benbecula,  but  during  the  rule  of  his  immediate  successor, 
the  latter  are  granted  by  Precept,  dated  23d  of  August 
1505,  to  Ranald  Macdonald  of  Clanranald.* 

Hugh  Macdonald,  progenitor  of  the  family  of  Sleat,  mar- 
ried, first,  Finvola,  daughter  of  Alexander  Macian  of  Ard- 
namurchan,  with  issue,  one  son — 

1.  John,  who  succeeded. 

He  is  said  to  have  married,  secondly,  a  daughter  of  Gunn, 
Crowner  of  Caithness,  by  whom  he  had  a  son — 

2.  Donald  Gallach,  who  succeeded  his  half  brother  John. 
He  had  also  a  son 

3.  Donald  Herrach,  by  a  daughter  of  Macleod  of  Harris, 
progenitor  of  the  Macdonalds  of  Balranald  and  others  in 
the  Western  Isles,  who  is  said  to  have  been  illegitimate. 

4.  Archibald,  or  Gillespie  Dubh,  a  natural  son,  and  a 
most  desperate  character. 

Hugh  died  in  1498,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 


Known  as  "John  Huchonson,"  who  is  instructed  by  two 
charters,  the  one  to  Ranald  MacAllan,  of  Clanranald,  of 
lands  in  Uist,  and  of  some  lands  which  belonged  to  John's 
father,  Hugh  of  Sleat,  held  by  Ranald  of  John,  Lord  of  the 
Isles,  "on  the  resignation  of  John  Huchounson,  of  Sleit,  son 
and  heir  of  the  said  deceased  Hugh,"  dated  5th  of  August, 
1498,  the  same  year  in  which  John  succeeded  to  them  on 
the  death  of  his  father.  The  other  charter  is  in  favour  of 
"Angus  Rewathson  Makranald,  of  the  lands  of  Arrassaik, 
Keppath,"  and  others,  also  on  the  resignation  of  John. 

He  is  among  those  who  submitted  to  the  King  at  Min- 
garry  Castle,  Ardnamurchan,  in  1495,  while  his  father  was 
yet  alive. 

*  Privy  Seal,  vol  iii. ,  folio  15. 


He  died,  in   1502,  without  issue,  and  was  succeeded  as 
representative  of  the  family,  by  his  half  brother, 


Known  as  Donald  "  Gallach  ".  The  strict  legitimacy  of  this 
chief  has  been  considered  doubtful ;  and  no  record  of  any 
formal  marriage  by  his  father,  to  the  daughter  of  Gunn, 
Crowner  of  Caithness,  can  be  found.  Even  the  family 
historian,  Hugh  Macdonald,  who  never  hesitated  to  bas- 
tardise the  descendants  of  other  branches  of  the  Mac- 
donalds  when  necessary  to  glorify  his  own  chief,  does  not 
say  that  there  was  a  formal  marriage  in  this  case,  and 
such  was  hardly  possible  in  the  circumstances  which  he 
describes.  Indeed  his  MS.,  already  quoted  (p.  152), 
is  strong  evidence  the  other  way.  The  fact  that  his  brother 
John  made  over  all  his  possessions  to  Clanranald  past  his 
half-brother,  has  been  held  as  strong  presumptive  evidence 
against  his  father's  marriage.  In  any  case  Donald  appears 
to  have  had  neither  possessions  nor  influence,  whatever  may 
have  been  the  reason.  Gregory  says  that — John,  the  eldest 
son  of  Hugh,  having  no  issue  himself,  and  having  probably 
quarrelled  with  his  brothers,  made  over  all  his  estates  to 
the  Clanranald  ;  as  well  as  those  estates  which  had  been 
claimed  and  forcibly  occupied  by  that  clan  as  those  which 
had  remained  in  his  own  hands.*  The  rest  of  the  Clan- 
huistein,  on  John's  death,  were  thus  left  without  any  legal 
rights  to  any  landed  property  in  the  Isles  ;  and  being, 
moreover,  viewed  with  jealousy  by  the  Government,  owing 
to  their  propinquity  to  the  last  Lord  of  the  Isles,  they  were 
in  a  manner  forced  to  become  rebels.  Donald  Gallach, 
their  leader,  was,  with  another  of  the  brothers,  murdered 
by  their  own  bastard  brother,  Archibald,  or  Gillespick 
Dubh,  an  unprincipled  and  ambitious  man,  whose  atroci- 
ties seem  to  have  been  winked  at  by  the  Government,  on 
the  ground,   probably,   that  his  brothers  were  proclaimed 

*  Reg.  of  Great  Seal,  xiii.,  336-7  ;  xiv.,  141.    John  Huchonson  had  no  brothers- 


rebels  whom  it  was  desirable  to  exterminate.  This 
happened  about  the  year  1506  ;  and  Archibald,  the  fratri- 
cide, having  endeavoured  to  seize  the  lands  of  Sleat,  was 
expelled  from  the  North  Isles  by  Ranald  Allanson,  the  heir 
of  Moydart,  to  whom  Sleat  had  been  made  over  by  John 
Huchonson,  the  last  legal  possessor.  Taking  refuge  in  the 
South  Isles,  where  he  joined  himself  to  a  band  of  pirates, 
Archibald,  after  a  time,  procured  his  own  pardon,  by 
delivering  up  to  justice  some  of  his  lawless  associates.* 
He  then  returned  to  Skye,  and,  being  a  man  of  ability, 
seized  the  command  of  his  tribe,  and  exercised  the  office 
of  Bailie  of  the  extensive  district  of  Trouterness  ;  his  right 
to  which,  however  acquired,  was  recognised  by  Govern- 
ment in  1 5  io.-f- 

It  will  be  in  the  recollection  of  the  reader  that  it  was 
during  the  rule  of  the  two  last  mentioned  chiefs  of  Sleat, 
John  Hughson  and  Donald  Gallach,  1501  to  1506,  that  the 
first  rebellion  of  the  Islanders  under  Donald  Dubh  took 
place,  and  both,  with  all  the  other  vassals  of  the  Lordship 
of  the  Isles,  acknowledged  his  claim,  and  supported  him  in 
his  attempts  to  regain  its  ancient  possessions.  In  1506, 
the  same  year  in  which  Donald  was  captured  and  im- 
prisoned in  Edinburgh  Castle,  Donald  Gallach,  was  mur- 
dered by  his  bastard  brother,  Gillespie  Dubh,|  and  during 
the  whole  of  this  period  there  is  not  a  tittle  of  evidence 
to  show  that  they  ever  claimed  a  right  to  lead  the  vassals 
of  the  Lordship  of  the  Isles.  On  the  contrary  they  fol- 
lowed Donald  Dubh  ;  while  their  lands  were  in  possession 
of  Clanranald. 

Donald  Gallach  married  a  daughter  of  John  (Cathanach) 
Macdonald  of  Isla  and  the  Glynns,  ancestors  of  the  Earls 
of  Antrim,  with  issue. 

I.  Donald,  his  heir. 

*  Hugh  Macdonald's  MS.  ;  Reg.  of  Privy  Seal,  iii.,  fo.  161.  The  pardon  was 
granted  on  the  intercession  of  Argyll. 

•f*  Highlands  and  Isles,  pp.  107-8  ;  Reg.  Great  Seal,  iv.,  fol.  70 ;  Hugh  Mac- 
donald's MS. 

X  For  full  particulars  of  this  murder  and  the  violent  character  of  Gillespie  Dubh, 
see  the  "  Family  of  Balranald  ". 


2.  Archibald,  the  Clerk,  and, 

3.  Alexander.  The  last  two  are  named  In  the  Remission 
for  the  burning  of  Islandonian  Castle  in  1539.*  He  was 
succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 


Known  among  the  Highlanders  as  "  Domhnull  Gruamach 
Mac  Dhomh'uill  Ghallaich  ".  During  the  life  of  this  chief 
the  usual  feuds  and  slaughters  continued  rampant  in  the 
Isles,  but  they  did  not  extend  to  the  rest  of  the  kingdom. 
Donald's  position  appears  all  through  to  have  been  of 
a  very  subordinate  character  among  the  Island  chiefs,  and 
hardly  anything  is  known  of  his  early  history.  King  James 
V.,  had  been  for  several  years  during  his  minority  in  the 
power  and  under  the  influence  of  the  Earl  of  Angus  and 
the  Douglases,  and  it  was  only  in  1528,  in  the  seventeenth 
year  of  his  age,  that  he  was  able  to  extricate  himself  from 
their  control,  when  the  policy  of  the  Government,  especially 
towards  the  Isles,  underwent  a  very  considerable  change. 
For  this  period  we  are  totally  in  the  dark  as  to  the  history 
of  the  family  of  Sleat.  One  of  che  first  Acts  passed  by 
the  Privy  Council  after  the  release  of  the  king  is  one 
dated  12th  November,  1528,  bearing  that  certain  persons 
in  the  Lordship  of  the  Isles,  during  the  supremacy  of  the 
Douglases,  obtained  new  titles  to  land  there  which  might 
"  turn  to  the  great  skaith  of  his  majesty,  both  in  respect  to 
his  own  proper  lands  and  his  casualties,  without  the  same 
be  wisely  considered  and  foreseen  to  be  for  the  good  of  his 
Grace  and  realm  ".  These  grants  were  made  by  the  Earl 
of  Angus,  no  doubt  with  the  view  of  securing  adherents  in 
the  Isles  ;  but  on  the  assumption  of  power  by  the  king, 
they  were  declared  null  and  void,  while  it  was,  at  the  same 
time,  provided  that,  in  future,  no  lands  should  be  bestowed 
in  the  West  Highlands  and  Islands  without  the  advice  of 
the  Privy  Council  and  of  the  Earl  of  Argyll  the  king's 
Lieutenant  in  the  Isles,  "  because  it  is  understood,  by  the 

*  Origines  Parochiales  Scotiae. 


king,  that  the  said  lands,  or  the  most  part  thereof,  are  his 
own  proper  lands,  or  in  his  hands,  through  forfeiture,  escheit, 
or  non-entries."* 

In  the  same  year,  serious  disturbances  again  broke  out 
in  the  North  and  South  Isles.  Those  in  the  North 
originated  in  a  feud  between  the  Macdonalds  and  the 
Macleods  of  Harris  and  Dunvegan  about  the  lands  and 
office  of  Bailliary  of  Troternish  in  the  Isle  of  Skye  : — 
To  understand  this  feud  properly,  says  Gregory,  it  will  be 
necessary  to  trace,  with  some  care,  the  history  of  the 
district  in  question.  By  a  charter  under  the  Great  Seal,  in 
August,  1498,  the  office  of  Bailliary,  with  two  ?inciates  of 
the  lands  of  Trouterness,  was  confirmed  to  Alexander 
Macleod  of  Dunvegan  as  having  been  formerly  held  by 
him  under  the  Lord  of  the  Isles,  and  as  being  then  in  the 
hands  of  the  Crown,  by  the  last  forfeiture  of  that  noble- 
man.-f"  Two  months  later,  another  charter  passed  the 
Great  Seal,  granting  the  same  office,  and  eight  merks  of 
the  lands,  to  Torquil  Macleod  of  the  Lewis,  on  precisely 
similar  grounds.^:  Both  of  these  charters  seemed  to  have 
been  rendered  null  by  the  general  revocation  in  1498,  or 
1499,  already  alluded  to.  In  1505  the  eighty  merk  lands 
of  Trouterness  were  let,  by  the  Commissioners  of  the 
Crown,  for  three  years,  to  Ranald  Bane  Allanson  of 
Moydart ;  the  Earl  of  Huntly  being  surety  for  the  pay- 
ment of  the  rent  by  the  latter.§  In  15 10,  Archibald  Dubh, 
the  bloodstained  captain  of  Clanhuistein,  was  acting  as 
Baillie  of  Trouterness,  and  a  letter  was  directed  under  the 
Privy  Seal  to  the  tenants  of  Trouterness  in  his  favour.  || 
Ranald  Bane  of  Moydart  was  executed  at  Perth  in  15 13  ; 

*  Transactions  of  the  Iona  Club,  p.  155. 

f  Reg.  of  Great  Seal,  xiii. ,  305. 

%  Ibid,  xiii.,  377. 

§  Reg.  of  Crown  Rentals,  ad  tempus. 

|[  Reg.  of  Privy  Seal,  iv.,  fo.  70.  In  the  same  year,  at  the  Justiceaire  held  at 
Inverness,  precept  of  remission,  dated  4th  July,  is  issued  to  Gillespie  Dhu,  Baillzie 
of  Troternish,  and  others,  John  MacGille  Martin,  and  63  others,  for  common 
oppression  of  the  lieges,  and  for  resetting,  supplying,  and  intercommuning  with 
the  king's  rebels,  and  also  for  fire-raising. — Invernessiana,  p.  193. 


and  Archibald  Dubh  soon  afterwards  met  with  the  fate  he 
deserved,  being  killed  by  his  nephews,  the  sons  of  his 
murdered  brothers.*  Macleod  of  Dunvegan,  who  seems  to 
have  been  principal  crown  tenant  of  Trouterness  some 
time  before  1517,  had  his  lease  continued  from  that  year 
until  the  majority  of  James  V.  Under  the  government  of 
the  Earl  of  Angus,  Dunvegan  appears  to  have  obtained 
also  an  heritable  grant  of  the  lands  of  Sleat  and  North 
Uist ;  and  thus  became  additionally  exposed  to  the 
hostility  of  the  Clanhuistein  of  Sleat,  who  were  now  under 
the  command  of  Donald  Gruamach.  The  latter  chief  sought 
the  assistance  of  his  uterine  brother,  John  MacTorquil 
Macleod  (son  of  Torquil  Macleod  of  the  Lews,  forfeited 
in  1506,  and  nephew  of  Malcom,  the  present  Lord  of 
Lewis),  a  man,  like  himself,  without  legal  inheritance  of 
any  kind,  in  order  to  expel  Dunvegan  and  his  clan  from 
Trouterness.  In  this  they  were  successful,  as  well  as  in 
preventing  him  putting  in  force  his  new  charter  to  Sleat 
and  North  Uist.  Trouterness  was  again  occupied  by  the 
Clanhuistein  ;  and  John  MacTorquil,  taking  advantage  of 
the  opportunity  afforded  by  the  death  of  his  uncle,  and 
the  minority  of  the  son  of  the  latter,  and  aided  by  Donald 
Gruamach  and  his  followers,  seized  the  whole  barony  of 
Lewis,  which,  with  the  command  of  the  Siol  Torquil,  he 
held  during  his  life.f 

The  Clandonald  of  Isla  were  among  those  rewarded  by 
the  Earl  of  Angus  with  grants  of  some  of  the  lands  which 
had  reverted  to  the  Crown  after  the  forfeiture  of  the 
Lordship  of  the  Isles.  The  same  policy  had  been  adopted 
towards  Hector  Mor,  chief  of  the  Macleans  of  Duart. 
These  grants  were  now,  however,  declared  null  and  void  ; 
the  Earl  of  Argyll  being  foremost  in  pressing  the  Council 
to  this  act  of  bad  faith,  no  doubt  anticipating  that  the 
result  might  almost  to  a  certainty  lead  to  the  lands  being 
ultimately  conferred  upon  himself.     The  Macleans  panted 

*  Hugh  Macdonald's  MS. 

•(•Acts  of  the  Lords  of  Council,  xxxix.,  fo.  159  ;  xli.,  fo.  79.  Acts  of  Parliament, 
"■  333-     Sir  R.  Gordon's  History  of  the  Family  of  Sutherland,  p.  263. 


for  an  opportunity  to  avenge  the  death  of  their  late  chief, 
Lachlan  Cattanach,  on  the  Campbells  of  Argyll,  and  the 
combined  followers  of  Macdonald  of  Isla  and  Maclean  of 
Duart  made  a  descent  upon  Roseneath,  Craignish,  and 
other  lands  belonging  to  the  Campbells,  ravaging  them 
with  fire  and  sword,  and  putting  many  of  the  inhabitants 
mercilessly  to  death.  The  Campbells  retaliated  by  laying 
waste  a  great  part  of  Mull  and  Tiree,  as  well  as  the  lands 
of  Morvern  on  the  mainland.  The  insurrection  had  pro- 
ceeded to  such  a  height  that  Sir  John  Campbell  of  Calder, 
"on  behalf  of  his  brother,  the  Earl  of  Argyll,  demanded 
from  the  Council  powers  of  an  extraordinary  nature  to 
enable  him  to  restore  the  peace  of  the  country,"  in  which 
was  included,  among  other  demands,  one  to  the  effect  that 
all  the  able-bodied  householders  in  the  shires  of  Dumbarton 
and  Renfrew,  and  in  the  Bailliaries  of  Carrick,  Kyle,  and 
Cunningham,  should  meet  the  Earl  at  Lochranza,  in  Arran, 
with  provisions  for  twenty  days,  to  aid  him  in  the  subjection 
of  the  Islanders.  This  request  was  refused  by  the  Council, 
on  the  plea  that,  being  harvest  time,  it  would  be  most 
injurious  to  those  districts,  "  but  they  gave  directions  for  a 
cannon,  with  two  falconets,  and  three  barrels  of  gun- 
powder, under  the  charge  of  two  gunners,  and  as  many 
carpenters,  to  be  forwarded  to  Dumbarton  for  the  use  of 
the  Earl,  in  case  he  should  find  it  necessary  to  besiege  any 
of  the  'strengths'  of  the  Isles.  At  the  same  time  they 
determined  upon  sending  a  herald  of  'wisdom  and  discre- 
tion '  to  Alexander  of  Isla,  with  directions,  in  the  first 
instance,  to  summon  him  and  his  followers  to  lay  down 
their  arms,  under  pain  of  treason  ;  and,  if  he  found  them 
disposed  to  be  obedient,  the  herald  was  then  authorised 
to  treat  with  that  chief  about  his  coming  under  protection, 
to  wait  upon  the  king  and  state  his  grievances  in  person, 
being  prepared  to  give  hostages  (Lowlanders)  for  his 
obedience,  and  for  his  payment  of  the  rents  and  duties  of 
such  lands  as  might  be  assigned  to  him  by  his  sovereign." 
The  herald  was  a  pursuivant  named  Robert  Hart,  who,  in 
the  course  of  about  a  month,  reported  to  the  Council  that 


Alexander  Macdonald  of  Isla  proved  contumacious,  when 
directions  were  at  once  given  to  Argyll  to  proceed  against 
the  rebels  of  the  Isles  and  reduce  them  to  obedience. 
During  the  first  six  months  little  or  no  success  was 
secured,  but  in  the  spring  of  1538  preparations  were  made 
on  a  more  extensive  scale  to  compel  the  obedience  of 
the  rebel  chiefs.  The  "  tenants  "  of  the  Isles  were  sum- 
moned to  the  king's  presence  upon  the  24th  of  May  "  to 
commune  with  his  Majesty  for  the  good  rule  of  the  Isles," 
and  they  were  at  the  same  time  prohibited  from  giving  any 
assistance  to  the  rebels,  and  from  "  convocating  the  king's 
lieges  in  arms "  under  pain  of  treason.  A  large  force 
from  the  southern  counties  was  to  join  Argyll,  the  king's 
lieutenant,  under  high  penalties,  and  to  continue  their  ser- 
vice under  him  "  for  a  month"  ;  while  the  burghs  of  Ayr, 
Irvine,  Glasgow,  Renfrew,  and  Dumbarton  were  to  send 
their  boats  with  provisions  for  the  army,  for  which,  however, 
they  were  to  receive  payment.  Any  of  the  Islesmen  afraid 
to  trust  themselves  in  the  low  country  on  their  way  to  the 
king  were  offered  protection  while  on  their  way  to  Court, 
and  for  thirty  days  additional,  to  enable  them  to  return 
home  in  safety. 

These  proceedings  had  the  desired  effect  on  some  of  the 
leading  Island  chiefs,  nine  of  whom  sent  in  offers  of  sub- 
mission to  the  king  through  one  of  their  number,  Hector 
Maclean  of  Duart.  Among  them  we  find  Donald  Gruamach 
Macdonald  of  Sleat.  Their  names  are  : — HecfoT"MacIean 
of  Doward,  John  Maclean  of  Lochbuy,  John  Moydartach, 
captain  of  Clanranald;  Alexander  Macian  of  Ardnamur- 
chan,  Alexander  Macleod  of  Harris  (Dunvegan),  the  Laird 
of  Coll  (Maclean),  John  Macleod  of  the  Lewis,  and  Donald 
Gruamach  of  Dunskaich.  These  were  all  promised  protec- 
tion against  Argyll,  and  any  others,  on  condition  that  they 
should  meet  the  king  at  Edinburgh,  or  anywhere  else 
where  he  might  be  holding  his  Court,  before  the  20th  of 
June  following,  and  remain  there  so  long  as  he  should 
require  them  to  do  so.  The  protection  was  to  continue 
for  twenty-one  days  after  their  departure  from  Court,  to 



enable  them  to  reach  their  homes  in  safety.  The  king 
at  the  same  time  agreed  to  procure  from  Argyll  ample 
hostages  to  secure  their  absolute  safety  going  and  return- 
ing. These  were  to  be  Duncan  Campbell  of  Glenurchy, 
Archibald  Campbell  of  Auchinbreck,  Archibald  Campbell 
of  Skipnish,  and  Duncan  Campbell  of  Ilangerig,  all  of  whom 
were  to  be  confined  in  the  Castle  of  Edinburgh.  Owing  to 
the  death  of  the  Earl  of  Argyll  in  this  year  nothing,  how- 
ever, was  done,  but  in  the  following  year  it  was  resolved 
finally  that  the  king  should  proceed  in  person  against  the 
Islanders  on  the  first  of  June.  The  whole  southern  array 
of  Scotland  were  to  meet  him,  with  forty  days'  provisions,  at 
Ayr,  on  that  day,  to  accompany  him  to  the  Isles,  while  the 
whole  array  of  the  northern  counties  were  ordered  to  meet 
James,  Earl  of  Murray,  the  king's  natural  brother  and  lieu- 
tenant of  the  North,  at  Kintail,  or  anywhere  else  he  might 
appoint,  to  proceed  against  the  Islanders  under  his  directions. 
And,  finally,  a  parliament  was  summoned  to  meet  at  Edin- 
burgh on  the  24th  of  April  to  pass  sentence  of  forfeiture 
against  any  Islesmen  who  should  still  continue  disobedient. 
Seeing  the  magnitude  of  the  preparations  made  for  the 
Royal  expedition,  Macdonald  of  Isla,  and  Maclean  of 
Duart,  having  first  received  a  protection  and  safeguard, 
went  to  the  king  at  Stirling,  and  made  their  submission  on 
certain  conditions  which  were  considered  satisfactory,  and 
agreed  to.  These  chiefs  having  been  the  leaders  of  the  in- 
surrection, it  was  now  considered  unnecessary  to  lead  the 
expedition  to  the  Isles  by  the  king  in  person,  and  the 
command  was  handed  over  to  the  Earls  of  Murray  and 
Argyll.  Macdonald  of  Isla  promised  to  enforce  the  collec- 
tion of  the  royal  rents  from  the  crown  lands  of  the  Isles  ; 
to  support  the  dignity  and  respect  of  the  revenues  of  the 
church  ;  and  to  maintain  the  authority  of  the  laws,  and  the 
inviolability  of  private  property.  Under  these  conditions 
he  and  his  vassals  were  reinstated  in  the  lands  which  they 
had  forfeited  by  their  recent  rebellions.*  Macdonald's 
revelations  at  Court  "were  such  that  Argyll  was  deprived  of 

*  Tytler's  Scotland. 


his  lieutenancy,  and  even  for  a  time  imprisoned,  and  the 
crown  took  the  government  of  the  Isles  and  West  High- 
lands into  its  own  hands,  an  arrangement  which  made  it 
necessary  to  take  John  of  Isla  and  other  chiefs  into  confi- 
dential communication  with  the  government  The  lieu- 
tenancy which  had  been  held  by  the  house  of  Argyll  was 
not  transferred  to  another.  Certain  engagements  were 
taken  by  John  of  Isla  and  others  which  seemed  to  render 
such  a  high  officer  unnecessary.  On  the  vital  question 
of  the  money  interests  of  the  crown  in  these  districts,  the 
Council  were  satisfied  with  obligations  by  the  chiefs  to 
collect  and  forward  the  feudal  duties  of  the  crown  and  the 
ecclesiastical  taxes."* 

Macdonald  of  Isla  appears  at  this  period  to  have  been 
leader  of  all  the  Macdonalds  ;  but  Donald  Gruamach  of 
Sleat,  though  not  the  leader,  seems  all  through  to  have 
taken  a  prominent  share  in  the  warlike  proceedings  of  the 
clan.  Like  most  other  chiefs  of  his  time,  he  could  handle 
the  sword  better  than  the  pen.  A  bond  of  offence  and 
defence  between  Sir  John  Campbell  of  Cawdor,  Hector 
Mackintosh,  captain  of  Clan  Chattan ;  Hector  Munro 
of  Fowlis,  Hugh  Ross  of  Kilravock,  and  "  Donald  His  of 
Slate,"  entered  into  at  Inverness,  on  the  30th  of  April,  1527, 
is  given  in  extenso  by  Mr.  Charles  Fraser-Mackintosh,  F.S.A. 
Scot.f  The  last  signature  upon  it  is  "  Donald  lies  of  Slate, 
with  my  hand  at  tJie  pen"  guided  by  Sir  William  Munro, 
notary  public.  "  It  is  after  and  from  him,"  continues  Mr. 
Fraser-Mackintosh,  "  that  the  family  of  Sleat,  now  repre- 
sented by  Lord  Macdonald,  had  the  Patronymic  in  Gaelic 
of '  Macdhomhnuill  nan  Eilean,'  or  Macdonald  of  the  Isles, 
to  distinguish  his  family  from  other  branches.  It  has  been 
alleged  that  neither  this  Donald,  nor  his  contemporary  and 
namesake,  Ian  Muideartach,  were  of  legitimate  descent." 

Donald  Gruamach  married  Margaret,  daughter  of  Mac- 
donald of  Moydart,  by  whom  he  had  issue — 

1.  Donald,  his  heir. 

*  John  Hill  Burton's  History  of  Scotland,  vol.  iii.,  p.  149,  1876  edition. 
+  Invernessiana,  p.  203. 


2.  James,   from   whom    descended    the    Macdonalds   of 

Kingsburgh,  whom  see. 

He  died  in  1534,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 



Who  soon  after  claimed  for  his  family,  and  in  his  own  per- 
son, the  ancient  honours  of  his  ancestors,  the  Lordship  of 
the  Isles,  and  the  Earldom  of  Ross.  In  1535,  we  find  him 
writing  a  letter,  in  Latin,  dated  5th  August,  to  King  Henry 
VIII.,  in  which  he  styles  himself  "  Donaldus  Rossie  Comes 
et  Insularem  Scotie  Dominus ".  Regarding  this  claim 
Gregory  says  that  "  many  of  the  Islanders  still  regarded 
Donald  Dubh,  for  whose  sake  their  fathers  had  risen  in 
rebellion  in  1503,  as  the  proper  heir;  but  the  lengthened 
captivity  of  this  hapless  chief,  joined  to  the  doubts  of  his 
legitimacy,  which  were  countenanced  by  the  government, 
contributed  to  bring  forward  another  claimant.  This  was 
Donald  Gorm  of  Sleat,  the  son  and  successor  of  Donald 
Gruamach.  The  talents  of  the  father  had  done  much  to 
raise  the  Clandonald,  or  Clanhuistein  of  Sleat  from  the 
depressed  state  into  which  they  had  fallen,  owing  to  con- 
fiscations and  internal  dissensions  ;  and  the  power  of  the 
son  was  much  increased  by  his  marriage  with  the  heiress  of 
John  MacTorquil  Macleod.  That  chief,  the  representative 
of  an  elder,  though  forfeited  branch  of  the  family  of  Lewis, 
had,  as  we  have  seen,  obtained  possession  of  the  estates  and 
leading  of  his  tribe ;  and,  although  he  did  not  hold  these  by 
any  legal  title,  the  claims  of  his  daughter,  after  his  death, 
were  far  from  contemptible,  especially  when  supported  by 
the  influence  of  Clandonald.  A  compromise  seems  to  have 
been  entered  into  between  Donald  Gorm  and  Ruari 
Macleod,  the  legal  heir  of  the  Lewis.  Ruari  Macleod  was 
allowed  to  enter  into  possession  of  the  estate  of  Lewis,  as 
formerly  held  by  Malcolm  Macleod,  his  father,  and  the  last 
lawful  possessor.  In  return  for  such  an  important  conces- 
sion on  the  part  of  the  chief  of  Sleat,  the  other  became 


bound  to  assist  in  putting  Donald  Gorm  in  possession  of 
Trouterness,  against  all  the  efforts  of  the  chief  of  Dunvegan 
and  his  tribe,  the  Siol  Tormod,  who  had  again  contrived  to 
seize  that  district.  It  is  probable  too,  that  Macleod  agreed 
to  co-operate  with  him  in  his  endeavours  to  obtain  the 
Earldom  of  Ross  and  Lordship  of  the  Isles,  to  which, 
indeed,  on  the  supposition  of  the  illegitimacy  of  Donald 
Dubh,  and  setting  aside  the  forfeiture,  Donald  Gorm  was 
heir  male.  This  was  the  foundation  of  a  conspiracy  which 
soon  embraced  a  majority  of  the  Island  chiefs,  and  was 
only  extinguished  by  the  death  of  Donald  Gorm,  and  the 
active  measures  adopted  by  the  king.  It  is  probable  that 
Argyll's  loss  of  influence  may  have  led  the  Islanders  to  ex- 
pect that  their  object  was  to  be  obtained  by  favour  of  the 
crown  ;  but,  if  so,  they  were  disappointed,  and  their  disap- 
pointment caused  them  to  attempt  seizing  by  force  what 
they  could  not  compass  by  other  means. 

In  the  month  of  May  this  year  (1539),  Trouterness  was 
invaded  and  laid  waste  by  Donald  Gorm,  and  his  allies  of 
the  Siol  Torquil,  as  we  find  from  a  complaint  laid  against 
them  by  Alexander  Macleod  of  Dunvegan.*  From  Skye, 
taking  advantage  of  the  absence  of  Mackenzie  of  Kin- 
tail,  who  was  opposed  to  his  pretentions,  Donald  Gorm 
passed  over  into  Ross-shire,  where,  after  ravaging  the 
district  of  Kenlochewe,  he  proceeded  to  Kintail  with  the 
intention  of  surprising  Mackenzie's  castle  of  Islandonain. 
This  fortress  was  at  the  time  almost  destitute  of  a  garrison, 
and  had  the  insurgents  succeeded  in  their  attempt,  a  for- 
midable rebellion  in  the  Isles  would  have  been  the  con- 
sequence. But  their  leader  trusting  to  the  weakness  of  the 
castle,  and  exposing  himself  rashly  under  the  walls  of  the 
castle,  received  a  wound  in  the  foot,  from  an  arrow  shot  by 

*  Books  of  Adjournal,  16th  December,  1539.  "  Tradition  relates  that  the  allies 
followed  the  Siol  Tormod  to  Skaebost,  where  a  battle  was  fought  at  a  place  called 
Achnafala  (the  field  of  blood),  and  that  several  heads  that  had  been  cut  off  in  the 
fray  floated  by  the  river  Snizort  into  the  yair  at  the  mouth  of  the  river,  hence  still 
called,  Coirre-nam-ceann,  the  yair  of  the  heads.  The  family  residence  of  the  chiefs 
of  the  Macdonalds  was  shortly  thereafter  transferred  from  the  ancient  castle  of 
Dunskaich  to  the  strong  and  commodious  Castle  of  Duntulm  in  Troternish." — Ca- 
meron's History  and  Traditions  of  the  Isle  of  Skye. 


the  Constable  of  the  Castle,  which  proved  fatal  ;  for,  not 
observing  the  arrow  was  barbed,  the  enraged  chief  pulled  it 
hastily  out  of  the  wound,  by  which  an  artery  was  severed  ; 
and  the  medical  skill  of  his  followers  could  devise  no  means 
of  checking  the  effusion  of  blood  which  necessarily  followed. 
They  conveyed  him  to  an  islet  out  of  reach  of  the  castle, 
where  a  temporary  hut  was  constructed,  in  which  this  ill- 
fated  representative  of  the  Lords  of  the  Isles  closed  his 
short  career.  The  spot  where  he  died  is  still  pointed  out, 
and  receives  from  the  natives  the  name  of  "  Larach  tigh 
Mhic  Dhonuill";  or,  "  the  site  of  Macdonald's  house  ".  Dis- 
couraged by  this  event,  the  insurgents  returned  to  Skye, 
after  burning  all  the  boats  belonging  to  the  Kintail  men 
they  could  find.* 

John  Mackenzie,  IX.  of  Kintail,  it  appears,  supported 
Macleod  in  his  contentions  with  Macdonald,  and  this  was 
the  cause  of  Donald  Gorm's  raid  upon  Kenlochewe  and 
Kintail.  The  following  account  is  taken  from  Macken- 
zie's "  History  and  Genealogies  of  the  Clan  Mackenzie" — 
"  Donald  Gorm  Mor  Macdonald  of  Sleat  laid  waste  the 
country  of  Macleod  of  Dunvegan,  an  ally  of  Mackenzie, 
after  which  he  passed  over,  in  1539,  to  the  mainland  and 
pillaged  the  lands  of  Kenlochewe,  where  he  killed  Miles  or 
Maolmuire,  son  of  Finlay  Dubh  MacGillechriost  MacRath, 
at  the  time  governor  of  Islandonain  Castle.  Finlay  was 
a  very  'pretty  man,'  and  the  writer  of  the  Genealogy  of 
the  Macras  informs  us  that  '  the  remains  of  a  monument 
erected  for  him,  in  the  place  where  he  was  killed,  is  still 
(1704)  to  be  seen '.  Kintail  was  naturally  much  exasper- 
ated at  this  unprovoked  raid  upon  his  territory,  as  also  for 
Macdonald's  attack  upon  his  friend  and  ally,  Macleod  of 
Dunvegan  ;  and  to  punish  Donald  Gorm,  he  despatched 
his  son,  Kenneth,  with  a  force  to  Skye,  who  made  ample 
reprisals  in  Macdonald's  country,  killing  many  of  his  fol- 
lowers and  at  the  same  time  exhibiting  great  intrepidity 
and  sagacity.  Donald  Gorm  almost  immediately  made  an 
incursion  into  Mackenzie's  territories  of  Kintail,  where  he 

*  Highlands  and  Isles,  pp.  143-146. 


killed  Sir  (Rev.)  Dougald  Mackenzie,  '  one  of  the  Pope's 
knights ' ;  whereupon  Kenneth,  younger  of  Kintail,  paid  a 
second  visit  to  the  Island,  wasting  the  country  ;  and  on  his 
return  Macdonald,  learning  that  Islandonain  was  garrisoned 
by  a  very  weak  force  under  the  new  governor,  John  Dubh 
Matheson  of  Fernaig, — who  had  married  Sir  Dugald  Mac- 
kenzie's widow — made  another  raid  upon  it,  with  fifty 
birlinns  or  large  boats  full  of  his  followers,  with  the  inten- 
tion of  surprising  the  small  garrison,  and  taking  the  castle 
by  storm.  The  gallant  defenders  consisted  at  the  time  of 
only  the  governor,  his  watchman,  and  Duncan  Mac- 
Gillechriost  Mac  Fhionnladh  MacRath,  a  nephew  of  Maol- 
muire  killed  in  the  last  incursion  of  the  Island  Chief.  The 
advance  of  the  boats  was,  however,  noticed  in  time  by  the 
sentinel  or  watchman,  who  at  once  gave  the  alarm  to  the 
country  people,  but  they  arrived  too  late  to  prevent  the 
enemy  from  landing.  Duncan  MacGillechriost  was  on  the 
mainlaind  at  the  time ;  but,  flying  back  with  all  speed,  he 
arrived  at  the  postern  of  the  stronghold  in  time  to  kill 
several  of  the  Islesmen  in  the  act  of  landing ;  and  enter- 
ing the  castle,  he  found  no  one  there  but  the  governor  and 
watchman  ;  almost  immediately,  Donald  Gorm  Mor  furi- 
ously attacked  the  gate,  but  without  success  ;  the  brave  trio 
having  strongly  secured  it  by  a  second  barrier  of  iron  with- 
in a  few  steps  of  the  outer  defences.  Unable  to  procure 
access,  the  Islesmen  were  driven  to  the  expedient  of 
shooting  their  arrows  through  the  embrazures,  and  in  this 
way  they  succeeded  in  killing  the  governor. 

"Duncan  now  found  himself,  except  the  watchman,  sole 
defender  of  the  castle  ;  and  worse  still,  he  found  his  am- 
munition reduced  to  a  single  barbed  arrow,  which  he  wisely 
determined  to  husband  until  an  opportunity  occurred  by 
which  he  could  make  good  use  of  it.  Macdonald  at  this 
stage  ordered  his  boats  round  to  the  point  of  the  Airds,  and 
was  personally  reconnoitring  with  the  view  of  discovering 
the  weakest  part  of  the  wall  wherein  to  effect  a  breach. 
Duncan  considered  this  a  favourable  opportunity,  and  aim- 
ing his  arrow  at  Donald  Gorm,  it  struck  him  and  penetrated 


his  foot  through  the  master  vein.  Macdonald,  not  having 
perceived  that  the  arrow  was  a  barbed  one,  instantly 
wrenched  it  out,  and,  in  so  doing,  separated  the  main  artery. 
Notwithstanding  that  every  available  means  were  used,  it 
was  found  impossible  to  stop  the  bleeding,  and  his  men 
conveyed  him  out  of  the  range  of  the  fort  to  a  spot — a  sand 
bank — on  which  he  died,  called  to  this  day,  '  Larach  Tigh 
Mhic  Dhomhnuill,'  or  the  site  of  Macdonald's  house,  where 
the  haughty  Lord  of  Sleat  ended  his  career.  The  Islesmen 
burnt  all  they  could  find  ashore  in  Kintail,  which  is  con- 
firmed by  the  following: — In  1539,  Donald  Gorm  of  Sleat 
and  his  allies,  after  laying  waste  Trouterness  in  Skye  and 
Kenlochew  in  Ross,  attempted  to  take  the  castle  of  Eilean- 
donain,  but  Donald  being  killed  by  an  arrow  shot  from  the 
wall,  the  attempt  failed.*  In  1541,  King  James  V.  granted 
a  remission  to  Donald's  accomplices — namely,  Archibald 
His,  alias  Archibald  the  Clerk,  Alex.  MacConnell  Gallich, 
John  Dow  Donaldsoun,  and  twenty-six  others  whose 
names  will  be  found  in  the  '  Origines  Parochiales,'  p.  394, 
vol.  ii.,  for  their  treasonable  fire-raising  and  burning  of  the 
'  Castle  of  Allanedonnand  '  and  of  the  boats  there,  for  the 
'  Herschip  '  of  Kenlochew  and  Trouterness,  &c."  -f* 

Douglas  says  that  Donald  Gorm  married  Margaret 
daughter  of  Roderick  Macleod  of  Lewis,  while  Gregory,  a 
much  more  reliable  authority,  says  that  he  married  "  the 
heiress  of  John  MacTorquil  Macleod,  the  representative  of 
an  elder,  though  forfeited,  branch  of  the  family  of  Lewis," 
who  "  had  obtained  possession  of  the  estates  and  leading 
of  his  tribe  "  for  a  time,  and  who  was  a  nephew  of  Malcolm 
Macleod,  Lord  of  Lewis,  at  the  period  of  which  we  write. 
By  this  marriage  he  left  a  son, 


Sixth  of  Sleat,  who,  at  the  time  of  his  father's  death,  in  1539, 
was  a  minor  of  tender  years,  under  the  tutorship  or  guar- 

*  Gregory,  pp.  145-146.  Border  Minstrelsy.  Anderson,  p.  283.  Reg.  Sec. 
Sig.,  vol.  xv.,  fol.  46. 

t  History  of  the  Mackenzies,  pp.  106-108. 


dianship  of  his  grand  uncle,  Archibald  His,  or  the  Clerk. 
In  the  following  year,  1540,  the  king  determined  upon  an 
imposing  voyage  with  the  royal  fleet  to  the  Western  Isles, 
the  preparations  for  and  the  progress  of  which  is  thus  des- 
cribed by  Tytler  :— "  He  now  meditated  an  important 
enterprise,  and  only  waited  the  confinement  of  the  queen 
to  carry  it  into  effect.  The  remoter  portions  of  his  kingdom, 
the  northern  counties,  and  the  Western  and  Orkney  Islands, 
had,  as  we  have  already  seen,  been  greviously  neglected 
during  his  minority  ;  they  had  been  torn  by  the  contentions 
of  hostile  clans  ;  and  their  condition,  owing  to  the  incursions 
of  the  petty  chiefs  and  pirate  adventurers  who  infested  these 
seas,  was  deplorable.  This  the  monarch  now  resolved  to 
redress,  by  a  voyage  conducted  in  person,  and  fitted  out 
upon  a  scale  which  had  not  before  been  attempted  by  any  of 
his  predecessors.  A  fleet  of  twelve  ships  was  assembled, 
amply  furnished  with  artillery,  provided  for  a  lengthened 
voyage,  and  commanded  by  the  most  skilful  mariners  in 
his  dominions.  Of  these,  six  ships  were  appropriated  to 
the  king,  three  were  victuallers,  and  the  remaining  three 
carried  separately,  the  cardinal  (Beaton),  the  Earl  of  Huntly, 
and  the  Earl  of  Arran.  Beaton  conducted  a  force  of  five 
hundred  men  from  Eife  and  Angus  ;  Huntly  and  Arran 
brought  with  them  a  thousand,  and  this  little  army  was 
strengthened  by  the  royal  suite,  and  many  barons  and 
gentlemen,  who  swelled  the  train  of  their  prince,  or  followed 
on  this  distant  enterprise  the  banner  of  their  chiefs.  It 
was  one  laudable  object  of  the  king  in  his  voyage,  to  com- 
plete an  accurate  nautical  survey  of  the  northern  coasts  and 
isles,  for  which  purpose  he  carried  with  him  Alexander 
Lindsay,  a  skilful  pilot  and  hydrographer,  whose  charts 
and  observations  remain  to  the  present  day.  But  his 
principal  design  was  to  overawe  the  rebellious  chiefs,  to 
enforce  obedience  to  the  laws,  and  to  reduce  within  the  limits 
of  order  and  good  government  a  portion  of  his  dominions, 
which  for  the  last  thirty  years,  had  repeatedly  refused  to 
acknowledge  their  dependence  upon  the  Scottish  crown. 
"  On  the  22d  of  May,  to  the  great  joy  of  the  monarch 


and  his  people,  the  queen  presented  them  with  a  prince, 
and  James,  whose  preparations  were  complete,  hoisted  the 
royal  flag  on  board  the  admiral's  ship,  and,  favoured  with  a 
serene  heaven  and  a  favourable  breeze,  conducted  his  fleet 
along  the  populous  coasts  of  Fife,  Angus,  and  Buchan,  till 
he  doubled  the  promontory  of  Kennedar.  He  next  visited 
the  wild  shores  of  Caithness,  and,  crossing  the  Pentland 
Firth,  was  gratified  on  reaching  the  Orkneys  by  finding 
these  islands  in  a  state  of  greater  improvement  and  civili- 
sation than  he  had  ventured  to  expect.  Doubling  Cape 
Wrath,  the  royal  squadron  steered  for  the  Lewis,  Harris,  and 
the  isles  of  North  and  South  Uist ;  they  next  crossed  over 
to  Skye,  made  a  descent  upon  Glenelg,  Moidart,  and  Ard- 
namurchan,  circumnavigated  Mull,  visited  Coll  and  Tiree, 
swept  along  the  romantic  coast  of  Argyle,  and  passing  the 
promontory  of  Cantire,  delayed  a  while  on  the  shores  of 
Arran,  and  cast  anchor  beside  the  richer  and  more  verdant 
fields  of  Bute.  Throughout  the  whole  progress  the  voyage 
did  not  exhibit  exclusively  the  stern  aspect  of  a  military 
expedition,  but  mingled  the  delights  of  the  chase,  of  which 
James  was  passionately  fond,  with  the  graver  cares  and 
labours  of  the  monarch  and  the  legislator.  The  rude  natives 
of  these  savage  and  distant  regions  flocked  to  the  shore,  to 
gaze  on  the  unusual  apparition,  as  the  fleet  swept  past  their 
promontories  ;  and  the  mountain  and  island  lords  crowded 
round  the  royal  pavilion,  which  was  pitched  upon  the  beach, 
to  deprecate  resentment  and  proffer  their  allegiance.  The 
force  which  was  aboard  appears  to  have  been  amply  suffi- 
cient to  secure  a  prompt  submission  upon  the  part  of  those 
fierce  chieftains  who  had  hitherto  bid  defiance  to  all  regular 
government;  and  James,  who  dreaded  lest  the  departure 
of  the  fleet  should  be  a  signal  for  a  return  of  their  former 
courses,  insisted  that  many  of  them  should  accompany  him 
to  the  capital  and  remain  there  as  hostages  for  the  peaceable 
deportment  of  their  followers.  Some  of  the  most  refractory 
were  even  thrown  into  irons  and  confined  aboard  the  ships, 
whilst  others  were  treated  with  a  kindness  which  soon  sub- 
stituted   the  ties    of  affectionate    allegiance   for   those   of 


compulsion  and  terror.  On  reaching  Dumbarton,  the  king- 
considered  his  labours  at  an  end,  and  giving  orders  for  the 
fleet  to  proceed  by  their  former  course  to  Leith,  travelled 
to  court  only  to  become  exposed  to  the  renewed  enmity 
of  his  nobles." 

Gregory  is  more  particular  in  the  details  of  the  royal  ex- 
pedition, and  informs  us  that  Donald  Mackay  of  Strathnaver 
was  seized  "without  much  difficulty".  From  Sutherland 
"the  fleet  proceeded  to  the  Isle  of  Lewis,  where  Ruari 
Macleod,  with  his  principal  kinsmen,  met  the  king,  and 
were  made  to  accompany  him  in  his  further  progress.  The 
west  coast  of  the  Isle  of  Skye  was  next  visited  ;  and 
Alexander  Macleod  of  Dunvegan,  lord  of  that  part  of  the 
island,  was  constrained  to  embark  in  the  royal  fleet. 
Coasting  round  by  the  north  of  Skye,  the  king  came  to 
the  district  of  Trouterness,  so  lately  desolated  by  the  Chief 
of  Sleat.  Here  various  chieftains,  claiming  their  descent 
from  the  ancient  Lords  of  the  Isles,  came  to  meet  their 
sovereign — particularly  John  Moydartach,  captain  of  the 
Clanranald,  Alexander  of  Glengarry,  and  other  of  '  Ma 
Coneyllis  kyn '.  These  chieftains  hoped  to  secure  the  royal 
favour  by  coming  to  meet  the  king  before  the  course  of 
his  voyage  led  him  to  their  own  districts.  From  Trouter- 
ness James  proceeded,  by  the  coast  of  Ross,  to  Kintail, 
where  he  was  joined  by  the  Chief  of  the  Mackenzies  ;  and 
then,  sailing  southwards  by  the  Sound  of  Sleat,  he  visited, 
in  succession,  the  Isles  of  Mull  and  Isla,  and  the  districts 
of  Kintyre  and  Knapdale,  taking  with  him,  on  his  depar- 
ture, Hector  Maclean  of  Dowart,  and  James  Macdonald  of 
Isla,  the  two  principal  leaders  in  the  south  Isles.  It  is  not 
the  least  remarkable  circumstance  connected  with  this  im- 
portant expedition,  that  the  Earl  of  Argyll  had  no  pro- 
minent command,  if,  indeed,  he  was  employed  at  all,  which 
is  very  doubtful." 

The  king  inspected  and  expressed  his  admiration  of 
the  fortifications  of  the  Castle  of  Duntulm,  and,  arriving  at 
the  harbour  of  Portree,  then  called  Loch  Choluim  Cille,  the 
ships  dropped   anchor.       Tradition    bears    that    the    army 


landed  on  the  rock  upon  which  the  present  Scorribreck 
House  is  built,  hence  called  Creag-na-mor  Shluagh,  the  rock 
•of  the  multitude  ;  and  that  the  king  and  his  suite  landed 
at  a  small  creek  farther  east,  hence  called  Port-an-righ,  the 
king's  landing  place,  which  thereafter  became  the  name  of 
the  Loch  and  Parish.* 

Some  of  the  Island  lords  were  soon  after  set  at  liberty 
on  giving  hostages  for  their  peaceful  behaviour  ;  while  the 
more  turbulent  were  kept  in  confinement  until  some  time 
after  the  king's  death  in  1542.  The  Lordship  of  the 
Isles,  and  North  and  South  Kintyre  were,  in  1 540,  as  part 
of  the  king's  policy  towards  the  Islanders,  inalienably 
annexed  to  the  crown.  The  long  cherished  hope  of  the 
western  chiefs  to  establish  the  lordship  in  )  its  ancient 
glory  was  thus  for  the  time  blasted,  and  a  long  peace  was 
expected  to  succeed  the  successful  voyage  of  the  king ; 
but  these  expectations  were  soon  dissipated,  for  James  V. 
died  in  the  flower  of  his  age,  two  years  after,  when  he 
was  succeeded  by  his  infant  daughter,  the  unfortunate 
Mary,  during  whose  reign  Scotland  was  so  much  distracted, 
not  only  by  foreign  aggression,  but  by  domestic  feuds 
among  the  powerful  factions  that  contended  so  keenly  for 
power  during  her  minority. 

During  the  rule  of  this  chief,  Donald  Dubh  again  makes 
his  escape  from  prison,  is  proclaimed  Lord  of  the  Isles,  and 
supported  by  all  the  vassals  of  the  ancient  Lordship  in  a 
second  rebellion. 

While  the  Earls  of  Lennox  and  Arran  were  disputing 
about  the  regency,  and  other  members  of  the  aristocracy 
sold  themselves  to  the  English  King,  two  great  chiefs  in 
the  North,  Huntly  and  Argyll,  stood  firm  in  their  loyalty 
to  Scotland,  and  thus  became  objects  of  the  hatred  of 
Henry  VIII.  of  England  and  the  Scottish  nobles  who  had 
so  unpatriotically  joined  him  in  his  anti-Scottish  schemes. 

It  was  in  1 543,  during  this  unsettled  period  of  Scottish 
history,  Donald  Dubh  who  had  been  for  nearly  forty 
years  kept  in  hopeless  captivity,  again  managed  to  effect 

*  History  and  Traditions  of  the  Isle  of  Skye. 


his  escape.  It  will  be  remembered  that  we  parted  with 
him  in  1 506,  a  prisoner  in  the  Castle  of  Edinburgh,  and 
that,  with  the  exception  of  a  few  years  at  that  period,  he 
had  been  a  state  prisoner  from  his  infancy.  Though 
"stigmatised  as  a  bastard,"  says  Gregory,  "  he  seems  really 
to  have  been  legitimate,"  and  it  is  certain  that  he  owed  his 
second  escape  more  "to  the  grace  of  God  than  to  the 
goodwill  of  the  Government".  In  any  case  he  did  manage 
to  free  himself  from  his  enemies,  and  on  his  arrival  shortly 
afterwards  in  the  Isles,  "  he  was  received  with  enthusiasm 
by  the  same  clans  that  had  formerly  supported  his  claims  ; 
and  with  their  assistance,  he  prepared  to  expel  the  Earls  of 
Argyll  and  Huntly  from  their  acquisition  in  the  Lordship 
of  the  Isles "  during  his  long  imprisonment.  He  soon 
managed  to  arrange  a  truce  with  Argyll,  which  was  to  last 
until  May-day  of  1 543,  the  same  year  in  which  he  secured 
his  liberty  ;  but  meanwhile  both  were  engaged  in  making 
preparations  for  the  forthcoming  contest.  In  the  month  of 
June  following,  both  Argyll  and  Huntly  are  found  engaged 
against  the  Islanders.  About  the  same  time  the  other 
Island  Chiefs,  kept  in  prison  since  the  late  king's  voyage 
to  the  Isles,  were  set  at  liberty  by  the  influence  of  the  Eng- 
lish party,  so  as  to  enable  Donald  Dubh  the  more  effectu- 
ally to  cope  with  the  two  Earls,  who  were  violently  hated 
by  the  party  in  power  and  by  those  who  pushed  on  the 
marriage  of  the  young  queen  with  the  son  of  Henry  VIII. 
against  the  interest  and  independence  of  their  own  country. 
Almost  immediately  after  the  liberation  of  the  principal 
Island  vassals  of  the  lordship,  Donald  assembled  an  army 
of  1800  men,  invaded  Argyll's  territories,  slew  many  of 
his  followers,  and  carried  away  a  large  number  of  his  cattle, 
with  a  great  quantity  of  other  plunder.  At  this  period  all 
the  vassals  of  the  Isles,  except  James  Macdonald  of  Isla, 
followed  the  banner  of  Donald  Dubh  against  the  Regent, 
and  even  Isla  soon  after  joined  the  other  Island  lords  and 
fought  for  the  English  faction. 

In  1544,  the  terrible  feud  which  broke  out  between  the 
Macdonalds  of  Clanranald,  under  John  Moydartach,  on  the 


one  hand,  and  their  legitimate  chief,  Ranald  Gallda,  and 
the  Frasers  on  the  other,  took  place  and  culminated  in  the 
sanguinary  battle  of  Blarleine  ;  but  this  will  be  more  appro- 
priately dealt  with  the  under  Clanranald  OF  MOYDART. 

In  the  following  year,  1545,  the  Macdonalds  of  Moydart 
are  found  supporting  the  claims  of  Donald  Dubh  to  the 
Lordship  of  the  Isles,  and  fighting  under  his  banner. 

At  the  battle  of  Ancrum,  in  the  same  year,  Neil  Macneil 
of  Gigha,  one  of  the  vassals  of  the  lordship,  was  present ; 
but  whether  as  an  ambassador  from  Donald  Dubh,  or 
fighting  at  the  head  of  a  body  of  Islanders,  it  is  difficult  to 
determine.  In  June  following  a  proclamation  is  issued  by 
the  Regent,  Arran,  and  his  Privy  Council,  against  "  Donald, 
alleging  himself  of  the  Isles,  and  other  Highlandmen,  his 
part-takers  ".  The  council  had  been  frequently  informed  of 
the  "  invasions "  made  by  them  on  the  queen's  lieges  in 
the  isles  and  on  the  mainland,  assisted  by  the  king  of 
England,  with  whom  "  they  were  leagued,"  and  which  went 
to  show,  it  was  maintained,  that  it  was  their  intention,  if 
they  could,  to  bring  those  parts  of  Scotland  under  the 
government  of  the  king  of  England  in  contempt  of  the 
Scottish  Crown.  If  Donald  and  his  followers  continued 
their  "  rebellious  and  treasonable  proceedings,"  they  were 
threatened  with  utter  ruin  and  destruction  from  an  invasion 
of  their  territories  by  "  the  whole  body  of  the  realm  of  Scot- 
land, with  the  succours  lately  come  from  France  ".  Donald 
and  his  followers  paid  no  attention  whatever  to  this  threat, 
and  the  only  effect  it  had  was  to  throw  the  Islanders  more 
than  ever  into  the  arms  of  the  English.  The  regent  was 
consequently  forced  to  adopt  more  stringent  measures  ; 
processes  of  treason  were  commenced  against  the  more 
prominent  rebels,  and  these  were  followed  up  with  as  much 
dispatch  as  the  forms  of  Parliament  would  allow.  While 
these  proceedings  were  going  on  against  the  Islanders  at 
the  instance  of  the  government  of  Scotland,  Donald  Dubh, 
as  Earl  of  Ross  and  Lord  of  the  Isles,  with  the  advice  and 
consent  of  his  barons  and  council,  granted  a  commission 
to  Rorie  MacAlaster,  dean  of  Morvern,  and  Patrick  Mac- 


lean,  justice-clerk  of  the  South  Isles,  to  treat,  under  direction 
of  the  Earl  of  Lennox,  with  the  English  king,  as  Donald's 
plenipotentiaries.  These  gentlemen  forthwith  addressed  a 
long  letter  to  the  Privy  Council  of  Henry  VIII.,  containing 
the  following  passage,  explanatory  of  their  hostile  policy 
towards  the  Scottish  kingdom.  We  quote  it,  modern- 
ising the  spelling,  from  a  state  paper  given  in  a  foot- 
note (page  20)  of  the  "Macdonnells  of  Antrim": — "Where- 
fore your  lordships  shall  consider  we  have  been  old  enemies 
to  the  Realm  of  Scotland,  and  when  they  had  peace  with 
the  king's  highness  (Henry  VIII.)  they  hanged,  beheaded, 
imprisoned,  and  destroyed  many  of  our  kin,  friends,  and 
forbears,  as  testified  by  our  master,  the  Earl  of  Ross,  who 
has  laid  in  prison  before  he  was  born  of  his  mother,  and  not 
relieved  with  their  will,  but  now,  lately,  by  the  grace  of  God. 
In  likewise  the  Lord  Maclaine's  father  was  cruelly  murdered 
under  '  traist '  in  his  bed  in  Edinburgh,  by  Sir  John 
Campbell  of  Calder,  brother  to  the  Earl  of  Argyll.  The 
Captain  of  Clanranald,  this  last  year  ago,  in  his  defence 
slew  the  Lord  Lovat,  his  son  and  heir,  his  three  brothers, 
with  thirteen  score  of  his  men  ;  and  many  other  cruel 
slaughters,  burnings,  and  herschips,  the  which  were  long  to 

The  barons  and  council  of  the  Isles  who  acted  on  this 
occasion,  not  one  of  whom  could  sign  his  name,  are  given 
in  this  document  in  the  following  order  : — Allan  Maclean 
of  Torloisk,  Gilleonan  Macneil  of  Barra,  Ewin  Mackinnon 
of  Strathardill,  John  Macquarrie  of  Ulva,  Alex.  Ranaldson 
of  Glengarry,  Alexander  Ranaldson  of  Knoydart,  John 
Maclean  of  Ardgour,  Donald  Maclean  of  Kingairloch,  Hect- 
or Maclean,  Lord  of  Dowart  ;  John  Moydartach  MacAlas- 
tair,  captain  of  Clanranald  ;  Roderick  Macleod  of  Lewis, 
Alexander  Macleod  of  Dunvegan,  Murdoch  Maclean  of 
Lochbuy,  Angus  Macdonald,  brother  german  to  James 
Macdonald  ;  Archibald  Macdonald,  captain  of  Clanhuisten  ; 
Alexander  Macian  of  Ardnamurchan,  and  John  Maclean  of 
Coll.  Gregory,  quoting  from  Tytler,  gives  the  same  names, 
but  places  them  in  a  different  order.     The  remainder  of 


Donald  Dubh's  career  cannot  better  be  given  than  in  the 
words  of  Gregory,  by  far  the  best  and  most  complete 
authority  we  have.  He  says — On  the  5th  of  August  the 
lord  and  barons  of  the  Isles  were  at  Knockfergus,  in 
Ireland,  with  a  force  of  four  thousand  men  and  a  hundred 
and  eighty  galleys  ;  when,  in  presence  of  two  commissioners 
sent  by  the  Earl  of  Lennox,  and  of  the  constable,  mayor, 
and  magistrates  of  that  town,  they  took  the  oath  of 
allegiance  to  the  King  of  England,  "at  the  command  of  the 
said  Earl  of  Lennox".  In  all  the  documents  illustrative  of 
these  proceedings,  we  find  that  Lennox  was  acknowledged 
by  the  Islesmen  as  the  true  regent  and  second  person  of 
of  the  realm  of  Scotland  ;  and  while,  at  his  command,  they 
gave  their  allegiance  to  the  English  King,  they,  at  the  same 
time,  bound  themselves  in  particular  to  forward  Henry's 
views  in  regard  to  the  marriage  of  the  Princess  of  Scotland, 
and,  in  all  other  affairs,  to  act  under  the  directions  of 
Lennox.  The  name  of  James  Macdonald  of  Isla,  whose 
lands  of  Kintyre  had  been  so  lately  ravaged  by  Lennox, 
does  not  occur  among  the  Barons  of  the  Isles  who  accom- 
panied their  lord  to  Knockfergus.  It  appears  also  that  in 
the  month  of  April  he  had  even  received  a  reward  from 
Arran  for  his  services  against  the  English.  Yet  now  his 
brother,  Angus  Macdonald,  was  one  of  the  foremost  in 
support  of  Lennox  ;  and  his  own  conduct,  in  the  course  of 
a  few  months,  justifies  the  suspicion  that  already  this  power- 
ful chief  contemplated  joining  the  rest  of  the  Islanders. 

The  troops  that  accompanied  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  to 
Ireland  are  described  in  the  original  despatches  from  the 
Irish  Privy  Council,  giving  Henry  notice  of  their  arrival,  as 
being  "  three  thousand  of  them,  very  tall  men,  clothed,  for 
the  most  part,  in  habergeons  of  mail,  armed  with  long 
swords  and  long  bows,  but  with  few  guns  ;  the  other 
thousand,  tall  maryners  that  rowed  in  the  galleys  ".  An 
equal  number  of  warriors  had  been  left  behind,  to  keep  in 
check  the  Earls  of  Huntly  and  Argyll,  forming  a  total  force 
of  eight  thousand  men  now  in  arms,  under  the  command  of 
a  leader  who  had  passed  the  most  of  his  life  in  prison,  de- 


prived  of  all  power  and  influence.  It  cannot  be  doubted 
that  many  of  the  Islanders  acted  on  this  occasion  from  a 
feeling  of  attachment  to  the  representative  of  the  family  of 
the  Isles,  as  well  as  from  a  deep-rooted  hostility  to  the  house 
of  Argyll.  But  it  is  equally  clear — and  unfortunately 
harmonises  too  well  with  the  venal  conduct  of  many  of  the 
Scottish  nobility  of  the  period  to  admit  of  question — that 
English  gold  must  have  had  a  great  effect  in  producing 
unanimity  among  tribes  so  many  of  which  were  at  deadly 

From  Knockfergus  the  plenipotentiaries  of  the  Island 
Lord  proceeded  to  the  English  court,  bearing  letters  of  re- 
commendation from  their  master,  both  to  the  king  and 
Privy  Council.  By  the  last  of  these  letters  it  appears  that 
the  Lord  of  the  Isles  (Donald  Dubh)  had  already  received 
from  Henry  the  sum  of  one  thousand  crowns,  and  the  pro- 
mise of  an  annual  pension  of  two  thousand.  After  certain 
articles  proposed  by  the  Islesmen,  together  with  their  oath 
of  allegiance,  had  been  given  in  by  the  Commissioners  to 
the  Privy  Council,  and  the  opinion  of  the  Earl  of  Lennox 
had  been  taken  as  to  the  best  mode  of  proceeding,  the  follow- 
ing conditions  were  agreed  to  on  the  4th  of  Septempber  : — 
The  pension  of  the  two  thousand  crowns  was  confirmed  to 
the  Lord  of  the  Isles  by  letters  patent,  and  Henry  engaged 
that  that  nobleman  and  his  followers  should  be  included  in 
any  treaty  made  between  England  and  Scotland.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  became  bound,  with  all 
his  adherents  to  serve  the  King  of  England  truly  and  faith- 
fully, to  the  annoyance  of  the  Regent  of  Scotland  and  his 
partisans.  He  engaged  to  make  no  agreement  with  the 
Earls  of  Huntly  or  Argyll,  or  with  any  of  the  Scots,  to  the 
prejudice  of  the  King  of  England  ;  but,  on  the  contrary,  to 
continue  steadfast  in  his  opposition  to  them  and  in  his 
allegiance  to  Henry.  It  was  arranged  that  the  Earl  of 
Lennox,  with  a  body  of  two  thousand  Irish,  under  the  Earl 

*  Anderson  in  his  MS.  History  of  Scotland,  says  that  the  Islesmen  elected  Donald 
for  their  Lord,  as  being  the  chiefest  and  nearest  of  blood  ;  and  adds,  that,  besides 
a  pension  from  the  King  of  England,  he  was  to  receive  ' '  certaine  rich  apparel  of 
cloth  of  gold  and  silver  from  the  said  Earl  "  of  Lennox. — II.,  p.  47. 



of  Ormond  and  Ossory,  should  lead  an  expedition  against 
Scotland  from  the  west,  in  which  he  was  to  be  assisted 
by  the  Lord  of  the  Isles  with  eight  thousand  men.  As 
long  as  Lennox  should  remain  in  the  country  of  the  Earl 
of  Argyll,  the  whole  eight  thousand  men  were  to  be  placed 
at  his  disposal  ;  but,  in  the  event  of  his  proceeding  to 
another  part  of  Scotland — and  a  march  to  Stirling  was 
seriously  contemplated — it  was  provided  that  only  six 
thousand  of  the  Islanders  should  follow  him,  while  the 
remaining  two  thousand  should  be  employed  in  occupying 
the  attention  of  the  Earl  of  Argyll.  Lastly,  three  thousand 
of  the  Islesmen  were  to  receive  pay  from  the  King  of  Eng- 
land for  two  months. 

In  conformity  with  these  arrangements,  instructions 
were  given  to  the  Earl  of  Ormond  to  levy  two  thousand 
Irish  foot  for  the  expedition  against  Scotland,  and  the  other 
necessary  preparations  for  an  armament  of  such  importance 
were  actively  carried  on  by  the  Irish  Privy  Council.  But 
at  this  moment  the  Earl  of  Hertford,  who  was  about  to 
invade  Scotland  from  the  border,  required  the  presence  of 
Lennox  in  his  camp  ;  and  the  western  invasion  was 
necessarily  postponed  till  the  termination  of  the  campaign- 
This  delay  caused,  in  the  end,  the  total  failure  of  the  expe- 
dition. The  Lord  of  the  Isles,  after  waiting  for  some  time 
in  vain,  expecting  the  arrival  of  Lennox,  and  naturally 
anxious  about  the  safety  of  the  vassals  he  had  left  behind, 
returned  with  his  forces  to  Scotland.  Meantime,  dissen- 
sions had  arisen  among  his  barons  as  to  the  division  of  the 
English  pay  received  for  three  thousand  of  their  men,  and 
their  quarrels  ran  so  high  that  the  army  seems  to  have  been 
broken  up,  whilst  the  chiefs  retired  each  to  his  own  castle.* 

*  Highlands  and  Isles,  p.  170-174.  Donald  Munro,  High  Dean  of  the  Isles,  in 
his  description  of  Skye,  written  in  1549,  says,  in  this  Isle  there  are  "12  paroch 
kirkes,  manurit  and  inhabit,"  fertile  lands  for  oates,  excelling  any  other  ground  for 
grazing  and  pastures,  many  woods,  many  forests,  many  deer,  fair  hunting  games, 
and  ' '  many  grate  hills  ".  There  are  also  six  castles,  to  wit,  the  Castle  of  Dun  vegan, 
belonging  to  Macleod  of  Harris,  "  ane  Starke  Strengthe  biggit  upon  ane  craig  "  ; 
the  castles  of  Dunakyne  and  Dunringill,  belonging  to  Mackinnon  ;  the  Castle  of 
Camus,  in  Sleat,  the  Castle  of  Dunskaich,  and  the  Castle  of  Duntulm,  the  latter 
three  "  perteining  to  Donald  Gormeson  ". 


Donald  Dubh  again  returned  to  Ireland  with  the  Earl  of 
Lennox,  where,  according  to  the  Macvurich  MS.,  he  went 
"  to  raise  men  ;  but  he  died  on  his  way  to  Dublin,  at  Drog- 
heda,  of  a  fever,  without  issue,  either  sons  or  daughters  ". 
Documents  in  the  State  Paper  Office  prove,  however,  that 
he  left  "one  bastard  son,"  whom,  Gregory  informs  us, 
Donald  Dubh  "  in  his  dying  moments  commended  to  the 
care  of  the  King  of  England  ;  but  it  does  not  appear  that 
any  claim  was  made  on  behalf  of  this  individual  to  the 
succession  ".  Thus  ended  the  career  of  this  unfortunate 
Island  Lord,  who,  whether  legitimate  by  birth  or  not,  was 
recognised  by  all  the  vassals  of  the  Lordship  of  the  Isles 
as  their  natural  and  legitimate  leader. 

On  the  death  of  Donald  Dubh,  in  1 545,  no  other  possible 
claimant  (except  his  bastard  son),  legitimate  or  illegitimate, 
remained  between  the  Macdonalds  of  Sleat  and  the  repre- 
sentation of  the  last  line  of  the  Earls  of  Ross  and  Lords  of 
the  Isles  ;  but  they  were,  at  the  time,  almost  deprived  of 
power.  Is  has  been  already  seen  that  their  chief  was  at 
this  period  a  minor,  while  "  the  title  of  the  family  to  their 
estates  was  disputed  by  the  Macleods  of  Harris,"  who  did 
not  fail  to  revive  their  claims  at  a  period  when  they  thought 
their  chance  of  success  in  enforcing  it  had  materially  im- 
proved. The  comparatively  humble  position  of  the  house 
of  Sleat  at  this  period  may  be  inferred  from  the  fact  that 
the  Islanders,  after  the  death  of  Donald  Dubh,  made  choice 
of  James  Macdonald  of  Isla  as  their  leader,  a  chief  whose 
pretentions  to  the  Lordship  of  the  Isles  were  certainly  far 
inferior  to  those  of  Donald  Gorm  of  Sleat ;  but  his  greater 
power  as  an  individual  soon  outweighed  the  higher  and 
more  legitimate  claims  of  the  chief  of  Sleat.  He  was, 
however,  opposed  by  many  of  those  who  were  the  stoutest 
supporters  of  Donald  Dubh — such  as  the  Macleans  (with 
the  exception  of  Allan  Maclean  of  Gigha  and  Torloisk, 
better  known  as  "  Alein  na'n  Sop ")  the  Macleods,  the 
Macneils  of  Barra,  the  Mackinnons,  and  the  Macquarries  ; 
all  of  whom  acted  independently,  and  sought,  with  success, 
to  effect  their  own  reconciliation  with  the  Resrent.     It  is 


certainly  curious  to  find  James  Macdonald  of  Isla,  who 
had  hitherto  opposed  all  the  other  Island  Lords  in  their 
opposition  to  the  Scottish  Regent,  now  becoming  their 
leader,  and  placing  himself  at  their  head  against  the  govern- 
ment which  he  had  all  through,  single-handed,  among  the 
chiefs,  continued  to  support.  Gregory,  however,  naively 
suggests  that  his  patriotism  "  evaporated  on  his  perceiving 
a  possibility  of  obtaining  the  pension  of  two  thousand 
crowns  promised  to  his  predecessor,"  Donald  Dubh,  by  the 
English  ;  while  the  author  of  "  The  Macdonnels  of  Antrim  " 
says  that  the  choice  "was  indeed  remarkable,  as  he  had 
strenuously  opposed  the  whole  movement  of  his  brother 
chieftains  in  favour  of  Donald  Dhu.  They,  nevertheless, 
elected  him  Lord  of  the  Isles,  which  may  have  been  done, 
principally,  to  detach  him  from  the  Regent's  service ;  and 
it  seems  to  have  had  that  effect,  at  least  for  a  time."  The 
same  authority  proceeds  to  say  that  "  on  the  ioth  of 
February,  1546,  a  messenger  appeared  in  Dublin,  bringing 
a  letter  from  James  Macdonnel,  which  announced  his 
appointment,  and  contained  proposals  for  the  consideration 
of  the  Privy  Council ".  The  document,  which  under  the 
circumstances,  must  be  regarded  as  a  curious  and  somewhat 
extraordinary  communication,  is  (modernised  in  spelling) 
as  follows  : — 

At  Ardnamurchan,  the  24th  day  of  January,  the  year  of 
God,  one  thousand  five  hundred  and  forty-six. 
We,  James  Macdonald  of  Dunyveg  and  the  Glens,  and  apparent  heir  of 
the  Isles,  grants  us  to  send  a  special  letter  directed  from  your  Lordship  to  our 
kinsmen  and  allies,  thinking  the  effect  and  form  of  their  promises  to  the  King 
of  the  Inland's  Majesty,  to  fortify  and  supply  our  noble  cousin,  Matthew,  Earl  of 
Lennox.  Wherefore  we  exhort  and  press  your  Lordship,  my  Lord-Depute  of 
Ireland,  with  the  well  advised  Council  of  Dublin,  to  show  in  our  behalf,  and 
explain  to  the  King's  Majesty,  that  we  are  ready,  after  our  extreme  power, 
our  kinsmen  and  allies — namely,  our  cousin,  Allan  Maclean  of  Gigha,  Clan- 
ranald,  Clanchameron,  Clanian,  and  our  own  surname,  both  north  and  south, 
to  take  part  with  the  Earl  of  Lennox,  or  any  whomsoever  the  King's  Majesty 
pleases,  to  have  authorised  or  constituted  by  his  grace,  in  Scotland  ;  loyally 
and  truly  the  foresaid  King's  Majesty  sending  part  of  power  to  us,  in  company 
with  the  said  Earl  of  Lennox,  in  one  honest  army  to  the  Isle  of  Sanda,  beside 
Kintyre,  on  Saint  Patrick's  Day  next  to  come,  or  thereby,  '  athowe '  the  said 
most  excellent  Prince  giveth  to  us  his  Majesty's  reward   and  succour,  bond 


conforming  and  equivalent  to  his  Grace's  bond  made  to  our  '  cheyf  maister, 
Donald  Lord  Yllis,  qhowm  God  asolzeit,'  who  died  in  his  Grace's  service  ; 
this  being  accepted,  promised,  and  admitted,  we  require  two  or  three  ships  to 
be  sent  to  us,  to  be  at  an  'expremit'  place,  with  this  bearer,  Hector  Donald- 
sone,  being  pilot  to  the  same,  twenty  days'  (notice)  before  the  army  comes, 
that  we  might  be  '  fornest '  and  gathered  against  the  coming  of  the  said  army, 
to  whom  please  your  Lordship  will  give  firm  credence  in  our  behalf.  And  for 
keeping  and  observing  of  these  present  promises,  desiring  suchlike  to  be  sent 
to  us  with  the  said  ships,  we  have  affixed  our  proper  seal  to  the  same,  with  our 
subscription  manual,  the  day,  year,  and  place  above  '  expremit '. 

(Signed)  James  McConil  of  Dunnewaik  and  Glenis. 

To  this  document  the  English  king  made  no  reply,  his 
attention  being  now  probably  taken  up  with  the  events 
which  led  up  to  the  Reformation  in  Scotland,  and  the  plots 
for  getting  rid  of  Cardinal  Beaton,  who  opposed  it  as  well 
as  the  English  attempt  to  force  on  a  marriage  between 
Prince  Edward,  son  of  Henry  VIII.,  and  the  young  Queen 
of  Scots,  and  who  soon  fell  a  victim  to  his  efforts,  for  he 
was  assassinated  on  the  28th  of  May,  1546,  in  the  castle  of 
St.  Andrews.  James  Macdonald  soon  dropped  his  newly 
assumed  title  of  Lord  of  the  Isles,  became  once  more  a 
patriotic  Scot,  finally  got  into  favour  with  the  Regent,  and 
remained  a  loyal  subject  of  the  Scottish  crown  as  long  as 
he  lived. 

Various  feuds  were  carried  on  among  the  Islanders  during 
the  next  forty  years,  but  we  find  little  or  no  notice  of  the 
Macdonalds  of  Sleat  and  their  chief.  In  June,  1554,  the 
Earls  of  Huntly  and  Argyll  were  ordered  to  proceed,  by 
land  and  sea,  "  to  the  utter  extermination  of  the  Clanranald, 
of  Donald  Gormeson  (the  heir  of  Sleat),  and  of  Macleod  of 
Lewis,  and  their  associates,  who  had  failed  to  present 
hostages  for  their  good  conduct".*  They,  however,  met 
with  little  success.  In  1565,  the  Earl  of  Argyll  took  part 
in  the  rebellion  of  the  Duke  of  Chatelherault  and  the  Earl 
of  Murray,  which  originated  in  the  opposition  which  arose 
to  the  marriage  of  Queen  Mary  with  Lord  Darnley.  Among 
the  western  chiefs  who  were  summoned  to  meet  the  Earl 
of  Athole  in  Lorn,  on  the  20th  of  September  in  that  year, 
commanding  the  royal  army,  we  find   Ruari  Macleod  of 

*  Gregory,  p.  183.     Reg.  of  Privy  Seal,  xxvi. ,  fo.  57. 


Lewis,  Tormod  Macleod  of  Harris,  Donald  Gormeson  of 
Sleat,  and  Kenneth  Mackenzie  of  Kintail.  The  rebels, 
however,  took  flight  to  the  Lowlands  and  their  leaders  to 
England,  and  it  was  found  unnecessary  to  lead  Athole's 
followers  to  Lorn.  The  grasping  Argyll,  who  had  been 
pardoned  shortly  after,  soon  found  means  to  extend  his 
influence  again  over  the  Macdonalds  of  Skye  and  North 
Uist,  in  the  crafty  manner  characteristic  of  his  house. 

Gregory  says  that  in  this  reign,  the  Earl  of  Argyll  con- 
trived to  extend  his  influence  into  the  North  Isles,  and  over 
two  of  the  most  powerful  tribes  in  that  quarter,  the 
Clandonald  of  Skye  and  North  Uist,  and  the  Clanleod  of 
Harris,  Dunvegan,  and  Glenelg.  The  mode  in  which  this 
object  was  attained  is  so  characteristic  of  the  house  of 
Argyll  that  it  seems  to  merit  some  detail,  in  reference  to 
the  rapid  increase  of  the  power  of  that  noble  family. 

William  Macleod  of  Harris,  chief  of  the  "  Siol  Tormod," 
was  the  undisputed  proprietor  of  the  estates  of  Harris, 
Dunvegan,  and  Glenelg,  under  a  particular  destination, 
which,  on  his  death  in  1553,  caused  these  extensive  posses- 
sions to  descend  to  his  daughter  and  heiress,  Mary*  He 
was,  at  the  same  time,  nominal  proprietor  of  Sleat,  Trouter- 
ness,  and  North  Uist,  the  possession  of  which  we  have  seen, 
the  Siol  Tormod  had  unsuccessfully  disputed  with  the 
Clandonald.  On  the  death  of  William  Macleod,  his  claim  to 
the  last  mentioned  estates  was  inherited  by  his  brother  and 
heir  male,  Donald.f  The  Siol  Tormod  was  now  placed  in 
a  position  which,  though  quite  intelligible  on  the  principles 
of  feudal  war,  was  totally  opposed  to  the  Celtic  customs  that 
prevailed  to  a  great  extent  throughout  the  Highlands  and 
Isles.  A  female  and  a  minor  was  the  legal  proprietrix  of  the 
ancient  possessions  of  the  tribe,  which,  by  her  marriage, 
might  be  conveyed  to  another  and  hostile  family ;  whilst 
her  uncle,  the  natural  leader  of  the  clan,  according  to  ancient 
custom,  was  left  without  any  means  to  keep  up  the  dignity 
of  a  chief,  or  to  support  the  clan  against  its  enemies.     His 

*  Reg.  of  Great  Seal,  xiii.  No.  305  ;  xxvi.  446. 
f  Collectanea  de  rebus  Albanicis,  p.  45. 


claims  on  the  estates  possessed  by  the  Clandonald  were 
worse  than  nugatory,  as  they  threatened  to  involve  him  in 
a  feud  with  that  powerful  and  warlike  tribe,  in  case  he 
should  take  any  steps  to  enforce  them.  In  these  circum- 
stances Donald  Macleod  seized,  apparently  with  the  consent 
of  his  clan,  the  estates  which  legally  belonged  to  his  niece, 
the  heiress  ;  and  thus,  in  practice,  the  feudal  law  was  made 
to  yield  to  ancient  and  inveterate  custom.  Donald  did  not 
enjoy  these  estates  long,  being  murdered  in  Trouterness  by 
a  relation  of  his  own,  John  Og  Macleod,  who,  failing 
Tormod,  the  only  remaining  brother  of  Donald,  would  have 
become  the  heir  male  of  the  family.*  John  Og  next 
plotted  the  destruction  of  Tormod,  who  was  at  the  time  a 
student  in  the  University  of  Glasgow  ;  but  in  this  he  was 
foiled  by  the  interposition  of  the  Earl  of  Argyll.  He  con- 
trived, notwithstanding,  to  retain  possession  of  the  estates 
of  the  heiress,  and  of  the  command  of  the  clan,  till  his 
death  in  1559.*!"  In  the  meantime,  the  feudal  rights  of  the 
wardship,  relief,  and  marriage  of  the  heiress  of  Harris,  were 
eagerly  sought  after  by  various  powerful  individuals.  They 
were  first  bestowed,  in  1553,  by  the  Regent  Arran,  upon  the 
Earl  of  Huntly,  who  afterwards  proposed  to  sell  his  interest 
in  the  heiress  and  her  property,  to  the  fourth  Earl  of  Argyll, 
for  a  large  sum  of  money^  But  Huntly,  having  fallen  into 
disgrace  with  the  Queen  Regent,  as  formerly  mentioned, 
was  compelled  to  relinquish  his  bargain  with  Argyll,  and 
to  resign  into  her  hand  the  claims  he  had  acquired  from 
Arran  to  the  guardianship  of  Mary  Macleod. §  The 
regent,  while  endeavouring,  in  1559,  to  secure  the  assistance 
of  James  Macdonald  of  Isla  against  the  Protestants,  of 
whom  the  fifth  Earl  of  Argyll  was  one  of  the  principal 
leaders,  committed  the  feudal  guardianship  of  the  young 
heiress  to  that  chief.)]     In  1562,  we  find  that  the  person  of 

*  MS.  History  of  the  Macleods. 

+  Ibid. 

J  Collectanea  de  rebus  Albanicis,  i.  137,  138. 

§  Ibid,  141.     Anderson's  History  of  Scotland  MS.  Adv.  Lib.  ii.  174. 

||  Sadler's  State  Papers,  ii.  431. 


the  young  lady  had,  by  some  accident,  come  into  the 
custody  of  Kenneth  Mackenzie  of  Kintail,  who,  having 
refused  to  give  her  up  to  the  lawful  guardian,  James 
Macdonald,  was  at  length  compelled  to  deliver  her  to 
Queen  Mary,  with  whom  she  remained  for  some  years  as  a 
maid  of  honour,  being,  no  doubt,  one  the  Queen's  celebrated 
Maries*  Macdonald  seems  now  to  have  made  over  his 
claims  to  Argyll,  who  finally  exercised  the  right  of  guardian- 
ship, by  giving  Mary  Macleod  in  marriage  to  his  kinsman? 
Duncan  Campbell,  younger  of  Auchinbreck.-f-  But  previous 
to  the  marriage,  the  Earl,  sensible  of  the  difficulty  which 
would  attend  any  attempt  to  put  an  individual  of  his  clan 
in  possession  of  the  territories  of  the  Siol  Tormod,  even 
although  he  had  the  law  in  his  favour,  entered  into  the 
following  arrangements,  the  most  judicious  that  could  be 
devised  for  making  the  most  of  his  position  at  the  time. 
His  first  agreement  at  the  time  was  with  Tormod  Macleod, 
who  had  been  for  some  years  in  actual  possession  of  Harris 
and  the  estates  of  the  heiress,  and  had  already  given  to  the 
Earl  (for  the  good  offices  of  the  latter)  his  bond  of  service 
for  himself  and  his  clan.j  It  was  arranged  that  Macleod 
should  renounce,  in  favour  of  Argyll,  all  claims  he  had  to 
the  lands  of  Clandonald  ;  that  he  should  likewise  pay 
the  sum  of  one  thousand  merks  towards  the  dowry  of  his 
niece.  Argyll,  on  the  other  hand,  engaged  to  procure  from 
Mary  Macleod,  and  any  husband  she  might  marry,  a  com- 
plete surrender  of  her  title  to  the  lands  of  Harris,  Dunvegan, 
and  Glenelg  ;  and  to  obtain  for  Tormod  a  crown  charter  of 
that  estate.§  His  next  agreement  was  with  Donald 
MacDonald  Gorm  of  Sleat  ;  and  in  consideration  of  that 
chief  paying  five  hundred  merks  towards  the  dowry  of 
Mary  Macleod,  and  of  his  likewise  giving  his  bond  of  service 
for  himself  and  his  clan  to  Argyll,  the  latter  engaged  to 

*  Collectanea  de  rebus  Albanicis,  p.  143-4. 

*f*  Ibid,  p.  151,  and  Histories  of  both  families. 

%  A  contract  to  this  effect,  dated  in  1559,  will  be  found  in  the  Collectanea  de 
Rebus  Albancis,  p.  91. 

§  Ibid,  p.  145.     The  contract  is  dated  24th  February,  1566-7. 


make  him  his  vassal  in  the  lands  of  Trouterness,  Sleat,  and 
North  Uist,  to  which  the  Macdonalds  had  at  present  no 
legal  claim.*  Argyll's  agreement  with  Tormod  Macleod 
was  actually  carried  into  effect  ;*f"  but  circumstances  seem 
to  have  interfered  with  the  final  completion  of  his  contract 
with  Macdonald.  It  is  evident,  however,  that,  although  in 
the  case  of  the  Siol  Tormod,  at  this  time,  ancient  custom 
prevented  the  feudal  law  of  succession  from  being  carried 
into  effect  in  its  full  extent,  yet  the  Earl  of  Argyll  did  not 
surrender  his  legal  claims  without  indemnifying  himself 
amply  for  the  sacrifice.^ 

To  those  who  have  perused  the  past  volumes  of  the  "Celtic 
Magazine"  and  "The  History  of  the  Mackenzies,"  we  need 
not  here  detail  the  terrible  feuds  and  battles  which  took 
place  between  the  Macleods  of  Lewis  and  Mackenzies  of 
Kintail  from  about  this  period  until  the  Macleods  were 
almost  exterminated,  and  their  island  principality  acquired 
by  the  Mackenzies.  In  these  struggles  the  Macdonalds  of 
Sleat  at  first  supported  the  Macleods,  the  result  being 
that  their  territories  in  Skye  were  often  ravaged  and 
plundered  by  the  Mackenzies.  The  violent  proceedings  of 
the  two  clans  attained  to  such  a  pitch  that  they  commanded 
the  attention  of  the  government,  and,  on  the  1st  of  August, 
1569,  a  Decree-Arbitral  by  the  Regent  Earl  of  Murray,  was 
entered  into  at  Perth,  between  Donald  Gormeson  Macdonald 
of  Sleat  and  Colin  Mackenzie  of  Kintail,  which  is  couched, 
after  the  usual  preamble,  in  the  following  terms,  the  spelling 
being  modernised  : — 

"  The  variances,  controversies,  debates,  depredations,  in- 
cursions, slaughters,  herschips,  and  all  others  committed, 
and  standing  in  question  betwixt  Donald  Gormesoun  of 
Skye,  his  friends,  servants,  tenants,  and  attendants,  on  the 
one  part  ;  and  Colin  Mackenzie  of  Kintail,  John  Mackenzie 
of  Gairloch,  and  the  remanent,  his  kin,  friends,  servants,  and 

*  Collectanea  de  rebus  Albanicis,  p.  147.  The  contract  is  dated  4th  March, 

*)*  Keg.  of  Great  Seal,  xxxiii.  9.  MS.  History  of  Macleods,  quoting  a  royal 
charter  to  Tormod,  dated  4th  August,  1579. 

X  Highlands  and  Isles,  pp.  203-207, 


dependants,  on  the  other  part ;  being  referred  aud  compro- 
mised in  the  person  of  the  noble  and  mighty  Lord,  James 
Earl  of  Murray,  Lord  Abernethy,  Regent  to  our  Sovereign 
Lord,  his  realm,  and  lieges  personally  accepting  the  same 
in  presence  of  the  said  parties,  his  Grace  having  certain 
of  the  Secret  Council  present  with  him,  and  at  length 
advising  and  consulting  about  the  enormities  and  offences 
committed  by  either  of  them,  and  willing  to  reduce  the  said 
parties  to  their  pristine  amity,  friendship  and  kindness,  both 
for  their  own  weal  and  the  common  weal  and  public  '  com- 
modite'  of  the  country  and  our  Sovereign  Lord's  lieges 
thereabout,  evil-handled  and  oppressed.  Decerns,  decrees, 
delivers,  and  for  final  sentence  and  bond  arbitral  pro- 
nounces :  That  either  of  the  said  parties,  taking  the  burden 
upon  them  for  their  kin,  friends,  servants,  and  partakers, 
shall  forgive,  bury,  extinguish,  and  forget  all  manner  of 
slaughters,  herschips,  spuilzies,  depredations,  fire-raisings, 
damages,  injuries,  and  destructions  committed  by  them  or 
any  of  their  causing  and  command  in  any  times  bygone 
before  the  date  hereof :  Like  as  either  of  the  said  parties  by 
these  presents  consents  thereto,  allows  and  confirms  the 
same,  and  shall  enter  into  reconciliation,  friendship,  and 
amity  each  one  with  the  other,  remain  and  abide  therein  in 
all  time  coming,  according  to  the  duty  of  God's  servants 
and  their  Prince's  dutiful  subjects,  laws  of  God  and  man  : 
And  in  special  decerns  and  ordains  the  said  Donald  to 
cause  Rory  Mac  Allan,  alias  Nimhneach,  and  all  others 
the  said  Donald's  kin,  &c,  to  desist  and  cease  from  all 
troubling,  molesting,  harming,  or  invasion,  of  the  said  Laird 
of  Gairloch's  lands,  '  rowmes,'  possessions,  tenants,  servants, 
and  goods,  in  any  time  coming,  and  suffer  him  and  them 
peaceably  to  'brouke'  and  enjoy  the  same  in  all  time  com- 
ing, as  their  heritage  at  their  pleasure,  and  upon  the  same 
part  in  case  the  said  Rory  Nimhneach  will  not  obey,  stand, 
and  abide  by  this  decreet,  the  said  Donald  shall,  like  as,  in 
that  case  he  by  these  presents  discharges  himself  of  the 
said  Rory,  and  (will)  neither  support,  aid,  nor  give  him  any 
manner  of  maintenance,  nor  suffer  any  of  his  friends,  ser- 


vants,  tenants,  lands  or  bounds,  receive  or  give  him  help  or 
residence  of  any  sort,  but  expel  and  hold  him  off  the  same, 
and  invade  and  pursue  him  to  the  uttermost,  as  they  shall 
answer  to  my  Lord  Regent's  grace,  upon  their  duty  and 
obedience  :  And,  on  the  other  part,  decerns  and  ordains 
Colin  Mackenzie  of  Kintail  to  cause  Torquil  Macleod,  alias 
Connanach,  and  all  others,  his  friends,  servants,  and  part- 
takers,  to  desist  and  cease  from  troubling,  harming,  molest- 
ing, or  invasion  of  the  said  Donald  Gormesoun,  his  lands, 
&c,  in  any  time  coming,  and  suffer  him  peaceably  to 
'  brouke,'  enjoy,  and  use  the  same  in  all  times  coming,  as 
his  heritage  and  kindly  '  rowmes,'  conform  to  his  rights  and 
titles  thereof ;  and  in  case  the  said  Torquil  Macleod  refuse 
[obligation  by  Mackenzie  the  same,  mutatis  mutandis,  as 
that  given  by  Donald  Gormesoun  regarding  Rory  Nimh- 
neach].  And  ATTOUR  in  case  any  slaughters,  murders,  or 
herschips,  be  committed  by  any  of  the  said  parties'  friends, 
tenants,  and  dependants,  without  the  said  parties'  own 
advice  or  command,  in  that  case  the  party  aggrieved  shall 
complain  to  the  other,  and  desire  reformation,  assessment, 
and  amends,  and  if  he  refuses,  shall  not  seek  satisfaction  by 
his  own  force  and  power,  but  seek  the  same  by  the  ordinary 
course  of  justice  and  law  of  this  realm  :  Whereunto  either 
party  by  these  presents,  as  they  are  in  duty  obliged,  restricts 
them,  excluding  and  discharging  all  other  means  and  ways 
of  revenge  and  amends-taking  :  And  in  case,  as  God  forbid, 
any  of  the  said  parties,  their  friends,  servants,  tenants,  and 
dependants  fail  therein,  or  does  anything  contrary  hereof ; 
in  that  case  my  Lord  Regent's  Grace  wills  and  pronounces 
him  to  be  a  plain  and  open  enemy  to  the  party  failing,  and 
will  defend,  assist,  and  maintain  the  party  aggrieved  to  his 
uttermost :  And  also  declares  in  that  case,  all  herschips, 
crimes,  slaughters,  fire-raisings,  and  other  offences  above 
discharged  and  taken  away  by  this  present  compromise, 
shall  be  again  wakened  and  restored  in  the  same  place  they 
were  before  the  making  hereof,  to  be  pursued  and  followed 
by  the  party  offended,  such  like,  and  in  the  same  manner 


and  conditions,  in  all  respects,  as  if  this  present  decreet  Had 
never  been  made  or  given."* 

Though  the  Macdonalds  of  Sleat  seem  to  have  been 
constantly  engaged  in  several  local  broils  with  neighbouring 
families  during  the  reign  of  Donald,  they  do  not  appear  to 
have  got  into  any  serious  trouble  with  the  Government 
while  he  was  at  their  head. 

Referring  to  the  latter  part  of  Donald  Gormeson's  rule — 
the  period  between  the  return  of  Queen  Mary  from  France 
and  the  actual  assumption  of  the  government  by  her  son, 
James  VI.,  in  the  nineteenth  year  of  his  age,  in  1585 — the 
same  year  in  which  this  chief  of  Sleat  died,  Gregory  informs 
us  that  "  the  general  history  of  the  Highlands  and  Isles 
possesses  little  interest.  Repeated  failures  seem  to  have 
made  the  Western  clans  sensible  of  the  impossibility  of  re- 
establishing, in  any  shape,  the  old  Lordship  of  the  Isles  ; 
and  they  gradually  learned  to  prefer  holding  their  lands 
under  the  sovereign  directly,  to  being  vassals  of  any  subject, 
however  powerful.  Having  now  no  longer  a  common 
object,  they  became,  by  degrees,  more  estranged  from  each 
other,  whilst  each  chief  laboured  to  extend  his  own  posses- 
sions, or  to  defend  himself  from  the  aggressions  of  his  more 
powerful  neighbours.  It  thus  happened  that,  without  any 
insurrection  of  a  general  nature,  there  were  yet,  during  the 
interval  of  which  we  speak,  many  serious  disturbances  in 
the  Highlands  and  Isles,  which  called  for  the  interference 
of  the  government."  Such  was  the  state  of  the  country 
during  the  latter  part  of  Donald  Gormeson's  career. 

He  married  Mary,  daughter  of  Hector  Maclean  of  Duart, 
and  by  her  had  issue — 

1.  Donald,  his  heir. 

2.  Archibald,  the  clerk,  who  married  Margaret,  daughter 
of  Angus  Macdonald  of  Isla  and  the  Glynns,  ancestor  of  the 
family  of  Antrim,  and  by  her  had  a  son,  Donald,  who  suc- 
ceeded his  uncle,  as  head  of  the  family  of  Sleat ;  and  a 
daughter,  Maria,  who  married,  as  his  first  wife,  Ranald, 
second  son  of  Allan  Macdonald,  VIII.  of  Clanranald,  whose 

*  Collectanea  de  Rebus  Albanicis,  pp.  92-94. 


descendants,  by  the  second  marriage,  succeeded  to  the  estates, 
and  became  head  of  the  family,  on  the  failure  of  the  direct 
male  heirs  of  Sir  Donald  in  Ranald  XIII.  of  Clanranald. 

He  also  had  a  son  Hugh  or  Uistean,  of  whom  immediately. 

3.  Alexander,  of  whose  issue,  if  any,  nothing  is  known. 

He  died  in  1585,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 


Seventh  baron  of  Sleat.  Immediately  on  his  succession 
this  chief  became  involved  in  serious  disputes  with  his 
neighbours,  the  Macleans,  through  the  treachery  of  his 
nephew,  a  son  of  his  brother  Archibald,  and  a  desperate 
character  known  as  "  Uistean  Mac  Ghilleaspuig  Chleirich," 
Hugh,  son  of  Archibald  the  clerk.  The  chief  of  Sleat 
in  1585,  having  gone  to  pay  a  complimentary  visit  to 
his  relative,  Angus  Macdonald  of  Dunyveg,  in  Isla,  and 
accompanied  by  the  usual  retinue  befitting  his  rank,  was 
forced  by  stress  of  weather  to  take  shelter  in  the  Island  of 
Jura,  on  a  part  of  it  belonging  at  the  time  to  Maclean  of 
Duart.  At  the  same  time  Uistean  Mac  Ghilleaspuig 
Chleirich,  and  a  son  of  Donald  Herrach — already  referred  to 
as  the  ancestor  of  the  Macdonalds  of  Balranald,  were  by 
the  same  cause  driven  into  a  neighbouring  creek  for  shelter. 
Learning  that  their  chief  lay  so  near  them,  these  vassals, 
says  Gregory,  carried  off,  by  night,  a  number  of  cattle 
from  Maclean's  lands  and  took  to  sea,  in  the  expectation 
that  Donald  Gorm  and  his  party  would  be  blamed  by  the 
Macleans  for  the  robbery,  and  suffer  accordingly.  Their 
malicious  design,  unfortunately,  took  effect,  for  in  the  course 
of  the  following  night  the  men  of  Skye  were  attacked  by  a 
superior  body  of  the  Macleans  ;  and,  as  they  apprehended 
no  danger,  fell  an  easy  prey  to  the  assailants.  Sixty  of  the 
Macdonalds  were  slain,  and  their  chief  only  escaped  the 
same  fate  from  the  circumstance  of  his  accidentally  sleeping 
on  board  his  galley  on  the  night  of  the  attack.  He  im- 
mediately returned  to  Skye,  much  exasperated  at  what  he 
had  reason  to  believe  was  such  an  unprovoked  attack,  and 


vowed  vengeance  against  the  Macleans  ;  feelings  which 
quickly  spread  amongst  all  the  Macdonalds  and  their  allies. 
Violent  measures  of  retaliation  were  immediately  resorted 
to,  and  carried  to  such  an  extent,  that,  in  the  month  of 
September,  we  find  the  king  writing  to  Macleod  of  Harris, 
earnestly  requesting  him  to  assist  Maclean  against  Clan- 
donald,  who  had  already  done  much  injury  to  Maclean  and 
his  followers,  and  threatened  to  do  more.*  The  original 
letter,  dated  18th  September,  1585,  is  in  the  Macleod  charter 
chest,  in  Dunvegan  Castle.  All  the  Macdonalds  joined  to 
revenge  the  insult  offered  to  the  chief  of  Sleat,  and  the 
terrible  slaughter  of  his  followers,  for  the  unscrupulous  and 
treacherous  misdeeds  of  a  character  of  whose  conduct  on  the 
present  occasion  they  were  as  ignorant  as  they  were  inno- 
cent. Angus  Macdonald  of  Isla  became  the  principal 
leader  in  the  sanguinary  battles  which  followed,  but  he  was 
well  supported  by  the  chief  of  Sleat. 

From  the  New  Statistical  Account  of  the  Parish  of  Kilmuir, 
Isle  of  Skye,  written,  in  1841,  by  the  Rev.  Alexander  Mac- 
gregor,  M.A.,  then  residing  in  the  parish,  we  extract  the  fol- 
lowing version  of  this  treacherous  act : — "  A  secret  plot 
was  laid  to  deprive  Donald  Gorm  Mor  of  his  property,  which 
was  devised  and  artfully  carried  on  by  his  own  nephew,  Uis- 
tean  Mac  Gilleaspuig  Chleirich  (Hugh,  the  son  of  Archibald 
the  clerk),  a  very  powerful  and  treacherous  man.  Seeing  that 
his  uncle,  Donull  Gorm,  had  no  issue,  and  that  the  property 
would,  in  consequence,  devolve  upon  his  elder  brother,  Donull 
Gorm  Og  Mac  Gilleaspuig  Chleirich,  he  resolved  to  usurp  it 
by  power  and  stratagem.  For  this  purpose  he  secretly 
contrived  to  gain  over  to  his  cause  as  many  of  the  clan  as 
possible,  at  the  same  time  pretending  to  his  uncle  to  be  on 
the  best  possible  terms  with  him.  The  first  preparation  for 
the  accomplishment  of  his  schemes  was  the  building  of  a 
large  tower  or  castle  on  the  farm  of  Peinduin,  in  the  ad- 
joining parish  of  Snizort.  This  tower,  still  called  '  Caisteal 
Uistein '  i.e.,  Hugh's  castle,  was  never  entirely  finished. 
It  was  erected  on  a  rock  by  the  sea-side,  and  had  neither 

*  Highlands  and  Isles,  pp.  230-81. 


doors  nor  windows,  but  was  to  be  entered  on  the  top  by- 
means  of  ladders,  which  could  be  pulled  up  and  let  down 
at  pleasure.  The  ruins  of  this  castle  are  still  several  feet 
in  height.  It  is  said  that  Donull  Gorm  had  but  little 
suspicion  of  his  nephew's  intrigues  until  he  commenced  the 
building  of  this  unique  fortress,  which  he  did  under  other 
pretences,  by  the  permission  of  his  uncle.  A  few  years 
afterwards,  however,  Donull  Gorm  had  more  direct  proof 
of  his  nephew's  intentions.  Having  had  occasion  to 
pay  a  visit  to  his  kinsman  at  Dunyveg,  in  Isla,  he  set  out 
from  his  castle  at  Duntulm."  Mr.  Macgregor  then  gives 
an  account  of  what  occurred  on  the  Island  of  Jura  very 
much  the  same  as  that  already  quoted  from  Gregory,  and 
proceeds — "  Soon  after  Donald  Gorm's  return  at  that  time 
to  his  castle  of  Duntulm,  he  had  a  letter  from  his  treacher- 
ous nephew,  Uistean,  which  was  the  means  of  bringing  his 
plots  clearly  to  light.  Uistean  being  in  Uist,  with  a  view 
to  procure  as  many  adherents  as  possible,  wrote  a  letter  to 
one  of  his  confederates  in  Skye,  revealing  all  his  plans, 
while  at  the  same  time  he  wrote  another  letter,  full  of 
friendly  expressions,  to  his  uncle  at  Duntulm.  It  is  said 
that,  while  both  letters  were  closed  and  sealed,  he  com- 
mitted an  egregious  mistake  for  his  own  unrighteous  cause, 
by  addressing  his  confederate's  letter  to  his  uncle  and  vice 
versa;  by  which  awkward  oversight  Donald  Gorm  was, 
from  Uistean's  own  handwriting,  led  to  a  knowledge  of  all 
his  schemes.  Before  the  usurper  was  aware  of  what  he  had 
done,  Donald  Gorm  despatched  a  messenger  to  his  kinsman 
and  relative,  Donull  Mac  Ian  'ic  Sheumais  in  Uist,  to  seize 
Uistean,  and  bring  him  prisoner  to  Duntulm.  Without 
loss,  of  time  Donull  Mac  Ian  put  his  liege  lord's  instructions 
into  execution.  He  resorted  to  the  house  where  Uistean 
resided,  and  as  he  approached  with  a  strong  retinue,  the 
usurper  dreaded  that  all  was  not  right,  and  seeing  the 
impossibility  of  effecting  his  escape,  had  barely  time  to 
dress  himself  in  female  attire,  and  to  commence  grinding 
with  a  quern,  or  hand-mill,  at  which  the  inmates  had  been 
at  the  time  engaged.     The  size  and  masculine  appearance 


of  the  grinder  soon  attracted  the  notice  of  the  party  when 
they  entered  the  house.  They  laid  hold  of  him,  but  his 
great  agility  and  bodily  strength,  together  with  his  being 
rendered  violent  by  despair,  made  it  doubtful  for  a  time 
whether  or  not  the  party  could  retain  him.  At  length, 
being  encumbered  with  his  dress,  and  unable  any  longer  to 
defend  himself  against  the  men  who  surrounded  him,  he 
was  seized,  fastly  bound,  and  carried  prisoner  to  the  family 
seat  in  this  parish  (Kilmuir).  He  was  cast  into  the  dun- 
geon of  the  castle,  which  was  a  dark,  secluded  vault  on  the 
ground-floor  of  the  edifice,  where  he  was  chained  in  the 
centre  of  the  apartment.  He  was  fed  on  salt  beef,  and 
when  he  stretched  forth  his  hand  to  grasp  a  covered  pitcher 
which  was  placed  near  him,  and  which  he  no  doubt 
supposed  to  contain  water,  he  found  it  empty !  Writhing 
in  agony  with  thirst,  he  found  neither  alleviation  nor  repose 
until  death  put  an  end  to  his  sufferings." 

Lachlan  Mor  Maclean,  was  able  for  a  time  to  get  the 
best  of  the  quarrel  with  the  Macdonalds.  On  one  occasion 
he  put  to  death  no  less  than  five  hundred  and  six  of 
them,  and  to  secure  a  truce  with  him  Macdonald  had 
to  grant  Maclean  one  half  of  his  Isla  territories ;  where- 
upon the  latter  returned  to  Mull.  The  Macdonalds 
were  generally,  on  this  account,  highly  exasperated,  and  a 
powerful  league  was  formed,  under  Donald  Gorm  of  Sleat, 
to  revenge  their  past  misfortunes,  composed  of  the  Mac- 
donalds of  Kintyre,  Skye,  Ardnamurchan,  Clanranald,  and 
the  subordinate  clans  of  Macneil  of  Gigha,  Macalisters  of 
Loup,  and  the  Macphees  of  Colonsay,  with  the  assistance 
of  Maclean  of  Borreray,  who  held  his  lands  of  Donald  Gorm 
of  Sleat  as  his  feudal  superior.  This  powerful  force 
assembled  and  entered  Maclean's  territories  in  Mull,  so 
suddenly  that  he  was  quite  unprepared  to  meet  them, 
having  no  forces  ready  to  take  the  field,  and  he  was  obliged 
to  retreat  with  all  the  inhabitants  of  the  lower  grounds 
along  the  sea  coast  to  the  mountains,  whither  they  carried 
all  their  moveable  property,  under  his  immediate  command, 
and  encamped  at  Lid  id  Li.     The  Macdonalds  meanwhile 


sailed  up  Loch-nan-gall  on  the  west  coast  of  Mull,  and, 
embarking,  marched  and  pushed  forward  their  outposts 
within  three  miles  of  where  the  Macleans  were  encamped- 
The  Macdonalds  of  Sleat  having  taken  a  prominent  part 
in  this  expedition,  we  shall  give  the  following  account  of  it 
from  the  history  of  the  clan  Maclean  :— Lachlan  Mor  Mac- 
lean gave  strict  orders  that  no  one  should  advance  beyond 
a  certain  pass,  at  which  it  was  his  intention  to  dispute  the 
progress  of  his  enemies  when  they  attempted  to  force  it. 
Contrary  to  his  intentions,  however,  a  bold  and  spirited 
youth,  Ian  an  Inner  (or  John  of  Innerscadell),  son  of 
Maclean  of  Ardgour,  who  commanded  the  detached  parties, 
and  whose  bravery  on  this  occasion  overmatched  his 
prudence,  could  not  witness  the  insulting  advance  of  the 
Macdonalds  without  some  attempt  to  check  them ;  he 
advanced  from  the  post  assigned  to  him,  and  with  a  few 
followers  attacked  the  advanced  party  at  Sron-na-Cranalich ; 
the  result  was  the  loss  of  almost  every  individual  of  his 
faithful  band,  one  of  whom  was  Allan,  son  of  Maclean  of 
Treshinish,  a  youth  of  much  promise,  and  whose  death  was 
deeply  lamented. 

Early  the  following  day  the  invaders  moved  forward 
with  the  intention  to  attack  the  Macleans  in  their  position. 
On  the  march,  as  they  were  approaching  the  pass  already 
mentioned,  Maclean  of  Borreray,  while  marching  at  the 
head  of  his  men,  was  observed  to  be  wrapped  in  an  un- 
usual reverie  of  thoughtfulness.  Sir  Donald  Macdonald  of 
Sleat,  the  chief  commander  of  the  invaders,  and  whose 
immediate  follower  Borreray  on  this  occasion  was,  ap- 
proached him,  and  inquired  of  him  if  the  cause  of  his 
particularly  thoughtful  mood  did  not  arise  from  a  reluct- 
ance to  fight  against  his  clan  and  kinsmen  ;  and  if  so,  that 
he  was  welcome  to  fall  back  into  the  rear  and  resign  his 
"  post  to  such  as  might  not  be  deterred  from  doing  their 
duty  by  such  treacherous  scruples."  "  Treacherous  scruples," 
replied  Maclean,  "  I  entertain  not ;  more  care  for  thee,  and 
thy  followers  makes  me  in  mood  melancholy,"  and, 
in   a   half  suppressed   tone,    as    if  addressing  himself,  he 



added,  "  that  horrid  !  and,  I  fear,  ominously  fatal  dream  ! " 
Macdonald,  with  fearful  anxiety,  inquired  what  dream? 
"  Listen,"  said  Borreray,  "  you  shall  hear  :  at  the  middle 
hour  of  the  night,  as  a  peaceful  slumber  came  o'er  me,  a 
voice  distinctly  repeated  the  following  lines  to  me  : — 

An  Lichd-Li  sin,  O  !  Lichd-Li ! 

'S  ann  ort-sa  bheirear  an  dith  ! 

'S  iad  Clann-Ghilleain  a  bheir  buaidh, 

Air  an  t'  shluagh  a  thig  air  tir  ; 

An  Gearna  Dubh  sin,  's  i  'n  Gearna  Dubh, 

'S  ann  innte  dhoirtear  an  fhuil ; 

Marbhar  an  Ridire  ruadh, 

Mu'n  teid  claidheamh  'n  truaill  an  diugh. 
Feared  Lichd  Lee*  Ah  !  dread  Lichd  Lee  ! 
Direful  are  the  deeds  the  fates  have  doomed  on  thee  ? 
Defeated  by  the  sons  of  Gillean  the  invading  multitude  shall  be, 
On  thee  Gearna  Dubhf  streams  of  blood  shall  flow ; 
And  the  bold  Red  Knight  shall  meet  his  death  ere  a  sword  is  sheathed. 

Borreray's  dream  worked  with  the  most  happy  effect  upon 
the  superstitious  credulity  of  the  red  knight  of  Sleat;  for  find- 
ing the  Macleans  in  full  force  and  most  advantageously 
posted  at  the  pass  of  Gearna  Dubh  (the  dreaded  spot  where 
the  fates  had  prophesied  his  downfall),  the  Macdonalds 
instantly  sounded  a  retreat,  and  pursued  as  they  were  by 
the  Macleans,  aided  by  the  artful  but  worthy  Borreray, 
who  now  took  his  opportunity,  accompanied  by  his 
followers,  to  change  sides,  the  best  Macdonald  was  he  that 
could  best  run.  •  They  were,  however,  overtaken  at  the 
very  spot  where  but  the  day  before  they  landed  in  high 
hope  of  making  an  easy  prey  of  those  before  whom  they 
were  now  flying  ;  and  so  panic-struck  and  confused  were 
they  that  hardly  any  resistance  was  made  to  the  merciless 
attack  of  the  Macleans  at  the  place  of  embarkation,  pro- 
digious numbers  being  slain  without  the  loss  of  a  single 
individual  on  the  side  of  their  assailants. 

Soon  after  this  the  Macdonalds  again  returned  to  be  re- 
venged on  the  Macleans,  but  they  were  defeated  severely 

*  Lichd  Lee,  the  spot  where  the  Macleans  were  encamped,  so  named  from  the 
ground  being  partially  covered  with  a  pavement  of  smooth  flat  rocks. 

f  A  projecting  rock  or  precipice,  forming  the  key  of  the  position  occupied  by  the 


at  the  Island  of  Bachca,  a  little  south  of  Kerrera,  with  a 
loss  of  over  three  hundred  Macdonalds,  while  among  a  large 
number  of  prisoners  were  Donald  Gorm  Mor  of  Sleat, 
Macian  of  Ardnamurchan,  Macleod  of  Lewis,  and  Macphee 
of  Colonsay,  while  the  Macleans  are  said  only  to  have  lost 
"  two  common  soldiers  killed,  and  one  gentleman  of  the 
Morvern  Macleans  wounded  ".  The  Macdonalds  are  said  by 
their  enemies  to  have  been  2500  strong  while  the  Macleans 
only  numbered  1 200. 

The  government  now  interfered,  and  Maclean  not  only 
had  to  release  his  prisoners,  but  had  to  give  hostages  to 
Macdonald  for  his  future  good  behaviour.  These  hostages 
were  afterwards,  by  proclamation  from  the  council,  to  be 
given  up  to  the  young  Earl  of  Argyll  or  his  guardians,  and 
to  be  conveyed  by  them  wherever  his  Majesty  might  direct, 
until  a  final  settlement  of  the  matters  in  dispute  between 
the  Macdonalds  and  the  Macleans.  Macdonald  was  pro- 
mised a  pardon  for  his  share  in  the  recent  slaughters  ;  and 
the  heads  of  both  clans,  with  their  principal  supporters  and 
allies,  were  charged  to  remain  quiet  and  abstain  "  from  all 
conventions  or  gathering  in  arms,  and  from  all  attacks  upon 
each  other  ;  so  as  not  to  hinder  or  disturb  his  Majesty  in 
his  attempts  to  bring  about  a  settlement  of  their  various 
disputes  ". 

The  king  wrote  a  letter,  dated  20th  April,  1587,  with  his 
own  hand,  to  the  Earl  of  Huntly,  regarding  the  affairs  of 
the  Isles,  in  which  he  says  : — "  Right-trusty  cousin  and 
councillor,  we  greet  you  heartily  well.  We  doubt  not  but 
the  cruelties  and  disorders  in  the  Isles  these  years  bygone 
have  greatly  moved  you,  whereanent  we  intend,  God  will- 
ing, to  take  some  special  pains  ourself,  as  well  there  as  in 
the  Borders,  where  we  have  been  lately  occupied.  .  .  . 
Always  fearing  that  the  Islesmen  within  the  bounds  of  your 
lieutenancy  shall  press  or  make  some  rising  and  gathering, 
before  conveniently  we  may  put  orders  to  the  matters 
standing  in  controversy  in  the  West  Isles,  we  desire  you 
effectuously  that  with  all  goodly  diligence  you  send  to 
Donald  Gormeson,  M'Cloyd  of  the  Lewis,  M'Cloyd  of  the 


Harrich,  the  Clanrannald,  and  others  being  of  power  in 
these  parts,  willing  and  commanding  them  to  contain 
themselves  in  quietness,  and  that  they  forbear  to  make  any 
manner  of  convention  or  gatherings  to  the  hinder  and  dis- 
turbance of  our  good  deliberations,  for  we  have  written 
effectuously  to  Angus  M'Connell,  and  have  spoken  with 
M'Clane,  being  here  for  the  same  effect.  And  so  not 
doubting  but  you  will  do  what  in  you  lies,  that  all  things 
remain  quiet  and  in  good  order  within  the  bounds  of  your 
charge,  as  ye  will  do  us  special  and  acceptable  service. 
Commit  you  in  the  protection  of  Almighty  God."* 

An  important  Act  of  Parliament,  commonly  known  as 
the  "  General  Band "  or  Bond,  was  passed  at  this  time, 
which  made  it  imperative  on  all  landlords,  baillies,  and 
chiefs  of  clans,  to  find  sureties  to  a  very  large  amount  in 
proportion  to  their  resources  and  the  number  of  their 
vassals,  for  the  peaceable  behaviour  of  their  followers,  and 
provision  was  made  that  if  any  superior,  after  having  pro- 
vided the  necessary  securities,  should  fail  in  making 
immediate  reparation  for  any  injuries  committed  by  any  of 
those  for  whom  he  was  held  responsible,  the  aggrieved 
party  might  proceed  at  law  against  the  sureties  for  the 
damage  done,  and  if  he  failed  in  reimbursing  his  securities, 
he  was  to  forfeit  a  heavy  penalty,  in  addition,  to  the  crown. 

In  1589,  we  find  remissions  granted  to  the  Island  chiefs 
for  all  the  crimes  committed  by  them  "  during  the  late 
feud,"  and  among  those  who  were,  in  consequence,  induced 
to  visit  Edinburgh  to  consult  with  the  king  and  council 
"  for  the  good  rule  of  the  country,"  we  find  Lachlan  Maclean 
of  Duart,  Angus  Macdonald  of  Isla,  and  Donald  Gorm  Mor 
of  Sleat.  By  a  breach  of  faith  which  no  circumstances  can 
palliate,  these  three  chiefs  were,  by  order  of  the  govern- 
ment, seized  and  imprisoned  in  Edinburgh  Castle,  and 
Maclean  of  Isla  was  treacherously  brought  to  trial  for  the 
crimes  previously  pardoned  by  remissions  under  the  Privy 
Seal.  They  were,  however,  afterwards  pardoned,  released, 
and  permitted  to  return  home  on  payment  of  heavy  fines, 

*  Invernessiana,  pp.  245-46. 


amounting,  according  to  one  authority,  to  twenty  thousand 
pounds  each,  under  the  designation  of  arrears  and  crown 
rents,  in  addition  to  other  harsh  conditions.     The  pardons 
were  only  to  remain  in  force  in  the  event  of  their  fulfilling 
these  harsh  conditions  in  every  particular,  the  king  at  the 
same  time  holding  himself  free  to  pronounce  sentence  of 
death   and   forfeiture   upon    them    in    case  of  future   dis- 
obedience.     Isla,  before  he  was  liberated,  had  to  give  in  to 
the  council  his  two  sons  and  one  of  his  nearest  relations  as 
hostages,  for  his  appearance  on  a  fixed  day,  and  even  if  he 
did  appear  as  arranged,  his  hostages  were  to  be  detained 
until  his  relative,  Donald  Gorm  of  Sleat,  who  was  liberated 
at  the  same  time,  should  place  hostages  in  the  hands  of  the 
council    for  implementing   the   conditions   of  his    release, 
which,  in  the  latter  case,  was  four  thousand  pounds,  under  the 
name  of  crown  rents  and   feudal  casualties  for  his  lands. 
John  Campbell,  of  Calder,  guardian  to  the  young  Earl  of 
Argyll,   became    surety    for    implementing    these    condi- 
tions by  the   two  Macdonald  chiefs,  and  having,  on  the 
application    of    Bowes,   the    English    ambassador,    found 
further   sureties    for    their    good    behaviour   towards   the 
government  of  Ireland,  they  were  finally  liberated.     Cir- 
cumstances followed  which  led  them  afterwards  to  abstain 
from  carrying  out  the  conditions  of  their  release,  and  finally 
they  placed  themselves  in  open  and  avowed  opposition  to 
government.      They    were   consequently,  on  the    14th   of 
July,  charged  to  appear  before  the  Privy  Council  to  fulfil 
the  conditions  of  release  imposed  upon  them,  and  failing 
their  appearance  the  pardons  previously  granted  to  them 
were  to  be  declared  null,  and  immediate  steps  to  be  taken 
to  forfeit  their   lands   and   other  possessions,  while   Isla's 
hostages,   including   his  two   sons,   were   to   be   executed. 
These  proceedings  were  afterwards  ratified  by  a  Parliament 
held  in  June,  1592,  when  the  three  estates  agreed  to  assist 
his  Majesty  with  their  "  bodies,  counsel,  and  whole  force  to 
make  his  authority  be  obeyed  by  his  subjects,  and  to  cause 
the  treasonable  and  barbarous  rebels  of  Hielandis  and  His 
to   be   punished    and    repressed,    as   they    have    worthily 


deserved."  To  carry  this  agreement  into  effect  there  were 
produced  in  Parliament,  next  year,  summonses  of  treason, 
duly  executed,  against  Angus  Macdonald  of  Isla,  Donald 
Gorm  of  Sleat,  John  Macian  of  Ardnamurchan,  and  others 
their  associates,  for  certain  crimes  of  treason  and  lese- 
majesty  committed  by  them  ;  but  the  more  important 
proceedings  against  the  Earls  of  Huntly,  Angus,  Errol,  and 
other  Catholic  lords  who  were  at  the  time  plotting  with 
Philip  of  Spain  for  the  restoration  of  the  Catholic  religion 
in  Scotland,  prevented  the  government  from  carrying  out 
for  the  time  their  proceedings  against  the  Island  chiefs.  In 
June,  1594,  however,  they,  with  Maclean  of  Duart,  still 
remaining  contumacious,  were  forfeited  by  Parliament. 
Donald  Gorm,  little  concerned  as  to  this,  with  Ruari  Mor 
Macleod  of  Harris,  led  500  each  of  their  followers  to  Ulster 
to  assist  Red  Hugh  O'Donnel,  chief  of  the  Irish  branch 
of  the  Siol  Cuinn,  at  the  time  in  rebellion  against  the  Eng- 
lish Queen  Elizabeth.  After  meeting  with  Red  Hugh  and 
enjoying  his  hospitality  for  three  days,  Donald  Gorm  bade 
him  farewell  and  returned  home,  leaving  his  followers  in 
Ireland  under  command  of  his  brother.  In  the  following 
year  we  find  Donald  Gorm  and  Macdonald  of  Isla,  on  the 
application  of  the  English  ambassador,  charged  by  the 
Privy  Council  to  desist  from  assisting  the  Irish  rebels. 

The  Island  chiefs  still  continued  contumacious,  and  early 
in  1596,  to  compel  their  submission,  "the  king,  by  advice 
both  of  the  Privy  Council  and  of  the  estates  of  Parliament, 
then  sitting,  resolved  to  proceed  against  the  Islanders  in 
person.  A  proclamation  to  this  effect  was  issued  in  the 
month  of  May,  by  which  all  Earls,  Lords,  Barons,  and  free- 
holders worth  above  three  hundred  merks  of  yearly  rent, 
and  the  whole  burgesses  of  the  realm  were  sum- 
moned to  meet  his  Majesty  at  Dumbarton,  on  the  1st 
day  of  August,  well  armed,  and  with  forty  days'  provisions  ; 
and  likewise  provided  with  vessels  to  carry  them  to  the 
Isles.  Disobedience  to  this  summons  was  to  infer  loss  of 
life,  lands,  and  goods.  The  effect  of  this  proclamation  was 
soon    evident.     Maclean  and   Macdonald  of  Sleat  imme- 


diately  repaired  to  court,  and  upon  making  their  sub- 
mission and  satisfying  the  demands  of  the  exchequer,  by 
agreeing  to  augment  their  rents,  and  to  make  certain  other 
concessions,  were  received  into  favour,  and  restored  against 
the  acts  of  forfeiture  under  which  they  had  been  for  two 
years.  Roderick  Macleod  of  Harris  and  Donald  (Mac 
Angus)  of  Glengarry  made  their  submission  about  the 
same  time."*  The  original  papers  connected  with  Donald 
Gorm's  submission  are  to  be  found  in  the  Register  House, 
from  which  it  will  be  seen  that  he  was  on  this  occasion 
formally  recognised  as  the  heir  of  Hugh  of  Sleat,  brother  of 
John,  last  Earl  of  Ross,  and  as  great-grandson  of  Donald, 
second  Earl  of  Ross,  and  Lord  of  the  Isles. 

In  1597,  an  act  of  Parliament  was  passed  in  reference  to 
the  Highlands  and  Isles.  The  preamble  bears  that  the 
inhabitants  of  the  Highlands  and  Isles  had  not  only 
neglected  to  pay  the  yearly  rents,  and  to  perform  the 
services  due  from  their  lands  to  the  crown,  but  that  they 
had  likewise,  through  their  "barbarous  inhumanity,"  made 
the  Highlands  and  Isles,  naturally  so  valuable  from  the 
fertility  of  the  soil  and  the  richness  of  the  fisheries,  alto- 
gether unprofitable  either  to  themselves  or  to  their  fellow- 
countrymen.  The  natives  are  further  described  as  neither 
cultivating  any  "  civil  or  honest  society "  among  them- 
selves, nor  admitting  others  to  traffic  with  them  in  safety. 
It  is  therefore,  by  this  Act,  made  imperative  upon  all 
landlords,  chieftains,  leader  of  clans,  principal  householders, 
heritors,  and  others  possessing,  or  pretending  right  to,  any 
in  the  Highlands  and  Isles,  to  produce  their  various  title- 
deeds  before  the  Lords  of  the  Exchequer  upon  the  15th  day 
of  May,  1598.  They  were  further  enjoined  at  the  same 
time  to  find  security  for  the  regular  payment  of  their  rents 
to  the  crown,  and  for  the  peaceable  and  orderly  behaviour 
of  themselves,  and  of  those  for  whom,  by  the  law,  they 
were  bound  to  answer ;  particularly  in  regard  to  those 
individuals  desirous  of  trading  in  the  Highlands  and  Isles. 
The  penal  part  of  the  Act  was,  however,   the  most  im- 

*  Gregory's  Highlands  and  Isles,  pp.  263-64. 


portant.  Disobedience  to  any  of  the  injunctions  above 
detailed,  was  made,  by  a  harsh  exercise  of  the  highest 
powers  of  Parliament,  to  infer  absolute  forfeiture  of  all 
titles,  real  or  pretended,  which  any  of  the  recusants  might 
possess  to  lands  in  the  Highlands  and  Isles.*  Taking  into 
consideration  both  the  loss  of  title-deeds,  which,  in  the 
unsettled  state  of  the  country,  must  have  been  a  very 
common  occurrence — and  the  difficulty  which  many  even  of 
the  most  powerful  chiefs  could  not  fail  to  experience,  in 
finding  the  requisite  bail  for  their  peaceable  and  orderly 
behaviour,  as  well  as  that  of  their  vassals  and  tenants — it  is 
evident  this  act  was  prepared  with  a  view  to  place  at  the 
disposal  of  the  crown,  in  a  summary  manner,  many  large 
tracts  of  land  ;  affording  thus  an  opportunity  to  the  king 
to  commence  his  favourite  plans  for  the  improvement  of 
the  Highlands  and  Isles.  It  is  not  much  to  the  credit  of 
James,  that  the  state  papers  relating  to  these  projects  show 
clearly  that  they  sprung,  not  from  the  higher  motives 
which  have  made  some  monarchs  the  benefactors  of  man- 
kind, but  from  the  necessity  of  replenishing  an  exchequer 
which  had  been  drained  chiefly  by  his  private  extravagance 
and  by  his  excessive  liberality  to  unworthy  favourites. 

No  record  has  been  kept  of  those  who  presented  them- 
selves in  terms  of  the  act  on  the  1 5th  of  May,  1 598,  but  it  is 
known  that  the  islands  of  Lewis  and  Harris,  and  the  lands 
of  Dunvegan  and  Glenelg  were  declared  to  be  at  the  dis- 
posal of  the  crown,  though  it  is  undoubted  that  Roderick 
Macleod  of  Harris  held  unexceptionable  titles  to  the  first 
three  named.  He,  however,  managed,  after  many  diffi- 
culties, to  retain  his  properties  ;  but  it  was  different  with 
the  Macleods  of  Lewis.  Donald  Gorm  of  Sleat  had  only 
recently  obtained  a  lease  of  their  lands  of  Troternish,  and 
this  district  as  well  as  their  whole  island  principality  was 
now  forfeited  and  granted  to  a  company  of  Lowland 
adventurers,  the  principal  of  whom  were  the  Duke  of 
Lennox ;  Patrick,  Commendator  of  Lindores ;  William, 
Commendator    of    Pittenweem ;     Sir   James    Anstruther, 

*  This  Act  is  given  in  full  in  the  Transactions  of  the  Iona  Club,  pp.  157-58, 


younger  of  that  Ilk ;  Sir  James  Sandilands  of  Slamanno, 
James  Leirmonth  of  Balcolmly,  James  Spens  of  Wormes- 
toun,  John  Forret  of  Fingask,  David  Home,  younger  of 
Wedderburn ;  and  Captain  William  Murray.  These,  at  the 
same  time,  received  grants  of  the  lands  belonging  to  Macleod 
of  Harris  ;  but  they  were  never  able  even  to  occupy  them  ; 
and  it  is  already  known  to  the  readers  of  "  The  History  of 
the  Mackenzies "  how  the  more  interested  island  lords — 
Macleod  of  Harris,  Donald  Gorm  of  Sleat,  and  Mackenzie 
of  Kintail — ultimately  disposed  of  the  lowland  adventurers 
and  the  Island  of  Lewis. 

Tytler  informs  us,  after  describing  the  doings  at  court, 
that  in  1598  "the  royal  mind,  relapsing  into  sobriety, 
turned  to  the  Isles  and  Donald  Gorm  Macdonald.  This 
potent  Highland  chieftain  had  recently  made  advances  to 
Elizabeth  ;  and  it  is  not  uninteresting  to  remark  the  state- 
liness  with  which  a  prince  among  the  Northern  Vikingr 
approached  the  English  Semiramis.  He  styles  himself 
Lord  of  the  Isles  of  Scotland,  and  chief  of  the  Clan  Donnel 
Irishmen  ;  and  after  a  proud  enumeration  of  the  petty 
island  princes  and  chiefs  who  were  ready  to  follow  him  in 
all  his  enterprises,  he  offered,  upon  certain  'reasonable 
motives  and  considerations,'  to  embrace  the  service  of  the 
Queen  of  England,  and  to  persuade  the  Isles  to  throw  off 
all  allegiance  to  the  Scottish  crown.  He  and  his  asso- 
ciates were  ready,  they  declared,  on  a  brief  warning,  to  stir 
up  rebellion  throughout  all  the  bounds  of  the  mainland,  to 
'fasche'  his  Majesty,  and  weary  the  whole  estates;  to 
create  a  necessity  for  new  taxation,  and  thus  disgust  all 
classes  of  his  subjects.  To  induce  Elizabeth  to  embrace 
these  proposals,  Donald  informed  the  queen  that  he  knew 
the  secret  history  of  the  Scottish  king's  intercourse  with 
her  arch-rebel  Tyrone,  and  could  lay  before  her  the  whole 
intrigues  of  the  Catholic  earls  lately  reconciled  to  the  kirk, 
but  'meaning  nothing  less  in  their  hearts  than  that  which  they 
showed  outwardly  to  the  world'.  He  would  disclose  also,  he 
said,  the  secret  practices  in  Scotland;  and  prove  with  what 
activity  the  Northern  Jesuits  and  seminary  priests  had  been 


weaving  their  meshes,  and  pushing  forward  their '  diabolical, 
pestiferous,  and  anti-Christian  courses  ;  which  he,  Donald 
Gorm  Macdonald,  protested  before  God  and  his  angels  he 
detested  with  his  whole  soul.  All  this  he  was  ready  to  do 
upon  '  good  deservings  and  honest  courtesies,'  to  be  offered 
him  by  the  Queen  of  England  ;  to  whose  presence  he  pro- 
mised to  repair  upon  a  moment's  warning."*  The  same 
writer  continues,  "  What  answer  was  given  by  the  English 
queen  to  these  generous  and  disinterested  proposals  does 
not  appear ;  although  the  letter  of  Donald  Gorm,  who 
made  it,  is  marked  in  many  places  by  Burghley  with  the 
trembling  hand  of  sickness  and  old  age.  It  is  probable 
that  under  the  term  'honest  courtesies,'  more  substantial 
rewards  were  found  to  be  meant  than  Elizabeth  was  willing 
to  bestow ;  and  that  the  perpetual  feuds,  massacres,  and 
conspiracies  which  occurred  amongst  the  Highland  chiefs 
and  their  followers  disgusted  this  princess,  and  shook  her 
confidence  in  any  treaties  or  alliances  proposed  by  such 
savage  auxiliaries."t 

In  1599,  a  commission  of  lieutenandry  over  the  Isles  and 
West  Highlands  was  granted  to  the  Duke  of  Lennox,  who 
had  meanwhile  been  under  a  cloud  and  again  restored  to 
favour.  The  inhabitants  are  described  as  being  guilty  of 
the  grossest  impiety  and  the  most  atrocious  barbarities. 
In  1 60 1,  another  commission  was  granted  to  Lennox  and 
Huntly,  but  they  appear  to  have  taken  no  active  steps  to 
bring  the  Islanders  under  subjection.  The  attention  of  the 
government  was,  at  the  same  time,  occupied — apart  from 
the  civilization  of  the  Lewis  and  Kintyre  and  the  general 
measures  proposed  for  the  improvement  of  the  Isles — by  a 
sudden  quarrel,  followed  by  much  bloodshed  and  various 
desolating  inroads  which  arose  between  the  two  great  chiefs 
in  the  Isle  of  Skye,  Donald  Gorm  Macdonald  of  Sleat  and 
Ruari  Macleod  of  Dunvegan.  Donald  Gorm  had  married 
Macleod's  sister  ;  but  owing  to  some  jealousy  or  other  cause 

*  MS.  in  the  state-paper-office,  endorsed  by  Burghley  ' '  Donald  Gorm  Mac- 
donald, March  1598." 

+  History  of  Scotland,  vol.  iv.,  p.  267. 


of  displeasure  conceived  against  her,  he  repudiated  that 
lady.  Macleod  being  informed  of  this  was  highly  offended, 
and  sent  a  message  to  Donald  Gorm  desiring  him  to  take 
back  his  wife.  This  the  latter  refused  ;  but  on  the  contrary 
set  about  procuring  a  legal  divorce,  in  which  he  succeeded, 
and  immediately  afterwards  married  a  sister  of  Kenneth 
Mackenzie  of  Kintail.  Macleod,  in  the  first  transports  of 
his  resentment  at  this  indignity,  assembled  his  clan  and 
carried  fire  and  sword  through  Macdonald's  district  of 
Troternish,  in  Skye.  The  Clandonald,  in  revenge,  invaded 
Harris,  which  island  they  laid  waste  in  a  similar  manner, 
killing  many  of  the  inhabitants  and  carrying  off  the  cattle. 
This  retaliation  roused  the  Macleods  to  make  a  foray  upon 
Macdonald's  estate  of  North  Uist,  and,  accordingly  they 
sailed  from  Skye  towards  that  Island  ;  and  on  arriving 
there,  the  Chief  sent  his  kinsman,  Donald  Glas  Macleod, 
with  forty  men  to  lay  waste  the  Island,  and  to  bring  off 
from  the  Church  of  Kiltrynad  the  cattle  and  effects  of  the 
country  people,  which,  on  the  alarm  being  given,  had  been 
placed  there  for  safety.  In  the  execution  of  these  orders 
Donald  Glas  was  encountered  by  a  celebrated  warrior  of 
the  Clandonald,  nearly  related  to  their  chief,  called  Donald 
Maclan  Mhic  Sheumais,  who  had  only  twelve  men  with  him. 
The  Macdonalds  behaved  with  so  much  gallantry  on  this 
occasion  that  they  routed  their  opponents  and  rescued  the 
cattle,  Donald  Glas  and  many  of  his  men  being  killed. 
The  Chief  of  Dunvegan,  seeing  the  ill  success  of  this 
detachment,  and  suspecting  that  a  larger  force  was  at  hand, 
returned  home,  meditating  future  vengeance.  These  spolia- 
tions and  incursions  were  carried  on  with  so  much  inveteracy 
that  both  clans  were  carried  to  the  brink  of  ruin  ;  and  many 
of  the  natives  of  the  districts  thus  devastated  were  forced  to 
sustain  themselves  by  killing  and  eating  their  horses,  dogs, 
and  cats.  At  length,  in  the  year  1601,  while  Ruari  Macleod 
was  absent  seeking  assistance  from  the  Earl  of  Argyll 
against  his  enemies,  the  Macdonalds  invaded  Macleod's 
lands  in  Skye  in  considerable  numbers,  wishing  to  force  on 
a  battle.     The  Macleods,  under  Alexander,  the  brother  of 


of  their  chief,  took  post  on  the  shoulder  of  the  Coolins  (a 
very  high  and  rugged  mountain  or  ridge  of  hills  in  Skye), 
and  did  not  decline  the  contest.  After  a  fierce  and  obstin- 
ate combat,  in  which  both  parties  fought  with  great  bravery, 
the  Macleods  were  overthrown.  Their  leader,  with  thirty 
of  their  choicest  warriors  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  victors  ; 
and  two  of  the  chiefs  immediate  relations,  and  many  others, 
were  slain.  The  Privy  Council  now  interfered  to  prevent 
further  mischief.  The  Marquis  of  Huntly  and  the  Earl  of 
Argyll,  and  all  others,  were  prohibited  from  giving  assist- 
ance to  either  of  the  contending  parties  ;  whilst  the  chiefs 
themselves  were  ordered  to  disband  their  forces  and  to  quit 
the  island  in  the  meantime.  Macleod  was  enjoined  to  give 
himself  up  to  the  Earl  of  Argyll,  and  Macdonald  to  sur- 
render to  Huntly,  and  both  were  strictly  charged,  under 
the  penalty  of  treason,  to  remain  with  these  noblemen  till 
the  controversy  between  them  should  be  settled  by  the 
king  and  council.  A  reconciliation  was  at  length  effected 
between  them  by  the  mediation  of  Angus  Macdonald  of 
Isla,  Maclean  of  Coll,  and  other  friends  ;  after  which  the 
prisoners  taken  at  "  the  battle  of  Benquhillin  "  were  re- 
leased ;  and,  ever  after,  these  clans  refrained  from  open 
hostility,  and  submitted  their  disputes  to  the  decision  of  the 

In  1608,  Andrew  Stewart,  Lord  Ochiltree,  and  Sir  James 
Hay  of  Kingask  proceeded  to  the  Isles,  armed  with  powers, 
to  confer  and  come  to  certain  terms  with  the  Island  chiefs. 
At  Maclean's  castle,  Aros,  Mull,  he  met  Angus  Macdonald 
of  Isla,  Maclean  of  Duart,  Lachlan  his  brother,  Donald 
Gorm  Mor  of  Sleat,  Donald  MacAllan,  captain  of  Clan- 
ranald  ;  Ruari  Macleod  of  Harris,  Alastair  his  brother,  and 
several  others.  Here  the  proud  lords  agreed  to  the 
following  humiliating  conditions  : — "That  they  should 
forthwith  give  security  for  the  regular  payment  of  his  ma- 
jesty's rents  ;  deliver  up  their  castles  and  strongholds,  to  be  at 
the  disposal  of  the  king  ;  that  they  should  renounce  all  the 
feudal    privileges    claimed    by    them  ;    submit    themselves 

*  Highlands  and  Isles,  pp.  292-297. 


wholly  to  the  jurisdiction  of  the  laws,  and  be  accountable 
that  others  dependent  on  them  did  the  same ;  that  they 
should  deliver  up  their  birlinns,  galleys,  and  all  vessels  of 
war  to  be  destroyed  ;  that  they  should  send  their  children 
to  the  seats  of  learning  in  the  lowlands  to  be  educated  under 
the  protection  of  his  Majesty's  Privy  Council  as  became  the 
children  of  barons  and  gentlemen  of  the  land."  They 
however,  soon  suspected  that  Ochiltree  was  not  altogether 
to  be  depended  upon  in  his  "  fair  words,  promising  to  be 
their  friend,  and  to  deal  with  the  king  in  their  favour ". 
Angus  Macdonald  of  Isla,  having  agreed  to  everything, 
was  permitted  to  go  home  ;  but  finding  the  others  not  quite 
ready  to  do  Ochiltree's  bidding  in  the  end,  he  invited  them 
on  board  the  King's  ship  Moon,  to  hear  a  sermon  preached 
by  his  chief  counsellor,  Bishop  Knox  of  the  Isles,  after 
which  they  were  to  dine  with  him.  Ruari  Macleod,  shrewdly 
suspecting  some  sinister  design,  refused  to  go  aboard  the 
ship,  and  his  suspicion  proved  only  too  true  ;  for  immedi- 
ately after  dinner  Ochiltree  informed  his  guests  that  they 
were  his  prisoners  by  the  king's  orders  ;  and,  weighing 
anchor,  he  at  once  set  sail  for  Ayr,  and  thence  proceeded, 
taking  his  prisoners  with  him.  to  Edinburgh,  where  they 
were  confined,  by  order  of  the  Privy  Council,  in  the  castles 
of  Dumbarton,  Blackness,  and  Stirling.  The  imprisonment 
of  the  chiefs  induced  many  of  their  followers  to  submit 
to  the  king's  representatives,  and  the  arrangements  after- 
wards made  became  a  starting  point  for  a  gradual  and  per- 
manent improvement  in  the  Highlands  and  Western  Isles. 
In  1609,  the  famous  "statutes  of  Icolmkil"  were  entered 
into  by  the  Island  chiefs,  who  had  meanwhile  been  set  at 
liberty — among  the  rest  Donald  Gorm  Mor — with  the  Bishop 
of  the  Isles.  The  statues  are  thus  summarised  : — The  first 
proceeded  upon  the  narrative  of  the  gross  ignorance  and 
barbarity  of  the  Islanders,  alleged  to  have  arisen  partly 
from  the  small  number  of  their  clergy,  and  partly  from  the 
contempt  in  which  that  small  number  of  pastors  was  held. 
To  remedy  this  state  of  things,  it  was  agreed  that  proper 
obedience  should  be  given  to  the  clergy  (whose  number, 


much  diminished  by  the  Reformation,  it  was  proposed  to 
increase) ;  that  their  stipends  should  be  regularly  paid  ; 
that  ruinous  churches  should  be  re-built ;  that  the  Sabbaths 
should  be  solemnly  kept ;  and  that,  in  all  respects  they 
should  observe  the  discipline  of  the  Reformed  kirk  as  es- 
tablished by  Act  of  Parliament.  By  one  of  the  clauses  of 
this  statute,  marriages  contracted  for  certain  years  were 
declared  illegal  ;  a  proof  that  the  ancient  practice  of 
hand-fasting  still  prevailed  to  some  extent.  The  second 
statute  ordained  the  establishment  of  inns  at  the  most  con- 
venient places  in  the  several  Isles  ;  and  this  not  only  for 
the  convenience  of  travellers,  but  to  relieve  the  tenants  and 
labourers  of  the  ground  from  the  great  burden  and  expense 
caused  to  them  through  the  want  of  houses  of  public  enter- 
tainment. The  third  statute  was  intended  to  diminish  the 
number  of  idle  persons,  whether  masterless  vagabonds,  or  be- 
longing to  the  households  of  chiefs  and  landlords ;  for  experi- 
ence had  shown  that  the  expense  of  supporting  these  idlers 
fell  chiefly  upon  the  tenantry,  in  addition  to  their  usual  rents. 
It  was  therefore  enacted  that  no  man  should  be  allowed  to 
reside  within  the  Isles  who  had  not  a  sufficient  revenue  of 
his  own  ;  or  who  at  least  did  not  follow  some  trade  by 
which  he  might  live.  With  regard  to  the  great  households 
hitherto  kept  by  the  chiefs,  a  limit  was  put  to  the  number 
of  individuals  of  which  each  household  was  to  consist  in 
future,  according  to  the  rank  and  estate  of  the  master  ;  and 
it  was  further  provided  that  each  chief  should  support  his 
household  from  his  own  means — not  by  a  tax  upon  his 
tenantry.  The  fourth  statute  provided  that  all  persons  not 
natives  of  the  Isles,  who  should  be  found  sorning,  or  living 
at  free  quarters  upon  the  poor  inhabitants  (an  evil  which 
seems  to  have  reached  a  great  height),  should  be  tried  and 
punished  by  the  judge  ordinary  as  thieves  and  oppressors. 
The  fifth  statute  proceeded  upon  the  narrative,  that  one  of 
the  chief  causes  of  the  great  poverty  of  the  Isles,  and  of  the 
cruelty  and  inhuman  barbarity  practised  in  their  feuds, 
was  their  inordinate  love  of  strong  wines  and  aquavitae, 
which  they  purchased,  partly  from  dealers  among  them- 


selves,  partly  from  merchants  belonging  to  the  mainland. 
Power  was,  therefore,  given  to  any  person  whatever  to  seize, 
without  payment,  any  wine  or  aquavite  imported  for  sale 
by  a  native  merchant ;  and  if  any  Islander  should  buy  any 
of  the  prohibited  articles  from  a  mainland  trader,  he  was  to 
incur  the  penalty  of  forty  pounds  for  the  first  offence,  one 
hundred  for  the  second,  and  for  the  third,  the  loss  of  his 
whole  possessions  and  moveable  goods.     It  was,  however, 
declared  to   be  lawful  for  an  individual  to  brew   as  much 
aquavitae  as  his  own  family  might  require  ;  and  the  barons 
and  wealthy  gentlemen  were  permitted  to  purchase  in  the 
lowlands   the   wine    and   other  liquors    required    for   their 
private   consumption.      The    sixth    statute  attributed  the 
"  ignorance  and  incivilitee  "  of  the  Islanders  to  the  neglect 
of  good  education  among  the  youth  ;  and,  to  remedy  this 
fault,  enacted  that  every  gentleman  or  yeoman  possessed 
of  sixty  cattle,  should  send  his  eldest  son,  or,  if  he  had  no 
male   children,  his  eldest  daughter,  to  school  in  the  low- 
lands, and  maintain  his  child  there  till  it  learned  to  speak, 
read,  and  write  English.     The  seventh  statute  forbade  the 
use  of  any  description  of  fire-arms,  even  for  the  destruction 
of  game,  under  the  penalties  contained  in  an  Act  of  Par- 
liament passed  in  the  (then)  present  reign,  which  had  never 
yet  received  obedience  from  the  Islanders  "  owing  to  their 
monstrous  deadly  feuds  ".     The  eighth  statute  was  directed 
against   the   bards   and    other   idlers   of  that  class.     The 
gentry  were  forbidden  to  encourage  them  ;  and  the  bards 
themselves  were  threatened,  first  with  the  stocks  and  then 
with   banishment.      The    ninth    statute    contained    some 
necessary  enactments  for  enforcing  obedience  to  the  pre- 
ceding acts.     Such  were  the  statutes  of  Icolmkill ;  for  the 
better  observance  of  which,  and  of  the  laws  of  the  realm 
and  Acts  of  Parliament  in  general,  the  bishop  took  from 
the  assembled  chiefs  a  very  strict  bond.     This  bond,  more- 
over, contained  a  sort  of  confession  of  faith  on  the  part  of 
the  subscribers,  and  an  unconditional  acknowledgment  of 
his  majesty's  supreme  authority  in  all  matters  both  spiritual 


and  temporal,  according  to  his  "  most  loveable  act  of  su- 
premacy ".* 

Shortly  after  this  a  proclamation  was  issued  by  which 
the  inhabitants  of  the  mainland  of  Argyll  were  prohibited 
from  buying  cattle,  horses,  or  other  goods  within  any  of  the 
Western  Isles,  but  the  Island  chiefs  having  complained  of 
this  as  an  oppressive  act  which  made  it  impossible  for  them 
to  pay  his  majesty's  claims,  and  injured  his  revenue  from 
the  Isles,  the  harsh  order  was  immediately  annulled. 

In  1610,  six  of  the  Island  lords,  including  Donald  Gorm 
of  Sleat,  attended  in  Edinburgh  to  hear  his  majesty's  plea- 
sure declared  respecting  the  arrangements  already  set  forth 
as  having  been  agreed  to  between  them  and  the  Bishop  of  the 
Isles.  They  further  agreed  to  concur  with  and  assist  the 
king's  lieutenants,  justices,  and  commissioners  in  all  ques- 
tions connected  with  the  government  of  the  Isles  ;  to  live 
at  peace  among  themselves,  and  to  submit  all  questions  of 
difference  and  dispute  to  the  ordinary  courts  of  law  ;  and 
the  result  was  that  in  the  following  year,  the  Isles  were 
almost  entirely  free  from  all  disorder  and  rebellion. 

By  a  letter,  dated  5th  of  November,  161 1,  King  James 
granted  to  Andrew,  Bishop  of  the  Isles  "  all  and  quhatsum- 
ever  soumes  of  money  sail  he  found  rest  auntentand  to  his 
Majestie  by  Donald  Gorme  of  Slaitte"  and  several  other 
Highland  Chiefs,  "  for  yair  pairties  quhatsumever  taxationes 
grantit  to  his  Majestie,  within  his  said  kingdom,  at  any  time 
preceeding  the  first  day  of  July  1606". 

In  161 3,  we  find  the  chief  of  Sleat  on  record  as  having 
settled  with  the  exchequer,  and  "  continuing  in  his  obedience 
to  the  laws  ".  In  the  following  year  he  is  the  only  one  of 
the  great  chiefs  of  the  Isles  who  supports  the  bishop,  as  his 
majesty's  lieutenant,  in  putting  down  the  rebellion  of  the 
Macdonalds  of  Isla.  Few  of  the  clan,  however,  could  be 
induced  to  follow  him.  In  161 5,  he  is  found  plotting  with 
Sir  James  Macdonald  of  Isla,  who,  with  the  chiefs  of  Kep- 
poch,  Morar,  and   Knoydart,  visited  him  at   Sleat,  where 

*  Highlands  and  Isles. 


they  held  a  lengthened  conference.  Donald  Gorm  did  not, 
however,  join  them  openly,  but  many  of  his  followers  had 
done  so  with  his  full  cognisance  and  consent.  Later  on,  in 
the  same  year,  he  received  instructions  from  the  Privy 
Council  to  defend  his  own  estates  against  the  pirate,  Coll 
MacGillespic,  for  which  purpose  he  was  permitted  to 
employ  two  hundred  men.  It  was  confidently  stated, 
at  this  period  that  neither  Donald  Gorm  nor  any  of  the 
other  leading  Islanders  could  be  depended  upon  to  proceed 
against  their  clansmen  of  Isla  and  the  South  Isles,  had  they 
been  requested  to  do  so.  Indeed  several  of  their  leading 
vassals  were  in  the  ranks  of  the  rebellious  chief  of  Isla. 
This  insurrection  was,  however,  after  considerable  difficulty 
crushed,  and  in  1616  the  leading  Island  chiefs  had  again  to 
appear  in  Edinburgh  and  bind  themselves  mutually,  as 
securities  for  each  other,  to  the  observance  of  very  severe 
and  humiliating  conditions  ;  one  of  these  being  that  they 
would  appear  before  the  Privy  Council  on  the  10th  of  July 
in  each  year  and  oftener  if  required,  and  another,  that  they 
should  annually  exhibit  a  certain  number  of  their  kinsmen 
out  of  a  larger  list  named  by  the  Council.  Their  house- 
holds were  to  be  reduced  to  a  small  number  of  gentlemen 
followers.  They  were  not  allowed  to  carry  pistols  or  hack- 
buts except  on  the  king's  service,  and  none  but  the  chiefs 
and  the  gentlemen  of  their  households  were  to  wear  swords 
or  armour,  or  any  weapons  whatever.  They  were  bound  to 
reside  at  certain  stated  places,  and  had  to  build,  without 
delay,  "  civil  and  comlie  "  houses,  or  repair  their  decayed 
residences,  and  to  have  "  policie  and  planting  "  about  them  ; 
and  to  take  mains  or  home  farms  into  their  own  hands, 
which  they  were  to  cultivate  "  to  the  effect  that  they  might 
be  thereby  exercised  and  eschew  idleness ".  The  rest  of 
their  lands  they  must  let  to  tenants  at  fixed  rents.  No 
single  chief  was  to  have  more  than  one  birlinn  or  galley  of 
sixteen  or  eighteen  oars,  and,  after  providing  for  the  educa- 
tion of  their  children  in  the   Lowlands,*  the  quantity  of 

*  This  provision  regarding  education  was  confirmed  by  an  Act  of  Privy  Council, 
which  bore,  that  ' '  the  chief  and  principall  caus  quilk  hes  procurit  and  procuris  the 


wine  to  be  used  in  their  houses  was  declared  and  very 
much  restricted  from  what  they  had  been  in  the  habit  of 
using,  and  none  of  their  tenants  were  to  be  permitted  by 
them  to  buy  or  drink  any  wine  whatever.  Immediately 
after  and  in  support  of  these  conditions  the  Privy  Council 
passed  a  very  strict  general  Act  against  excessive  drinking, 
because,  it  was  declared  in  the  preamble,  "  the  great  and 
extraordinary  excesse  in  drinking  of  wyne,  commonlie  usit 
among  the  commonis  and  tenantis  of  the  Ylis,  is  not  only 
ane  occasioun  of  the  beastlie  and  barbarous  cruelties  and 
inhumanities  that  fallis  oute  amongis  thame,  to  the  offens 
and  displeasour  of  God,  and  contempt  of  law  and  j  ustice  ;  but 
with  that  it  drawis  nomberis  of  thame  to  miserable  necessitie 
and  povartie,  sua  that  they  are  constraynit  quhen  thay 
want  from  their  awne,  to  tak  from  thair  nichtbours". 

Donald  Gorm  was  very  unwell  and  unable  to  accom- 
pany the  other  Island  chiefs  to  Edinburgh  ;  but  he  ratified 
all  their  proceedings,  agreed  to  the  conditions,  and  furnished 
the  necessary  securities  by  a  bond,  dated  in  August,  1616. 

continuance  of  barbaritie,  impietie,  and  incivilitie  within  the  Yllis  of  this  kingdome, 
hes  proceidit  from  the  small  cair  that  the  chiftanes  and  principall  clannitmen  of  the 
Yllis  hes  haid  of  the  educatioun  and  upbringing  of  thair  childrene  in  vertew  and 
lerning  ;  who,  being  cairles  of  thair  duties  in  that  poynte,  and  keiping  thair  childrene 
still  at  home  with  thame,  whair  they  see  nothing  in  thair  tendir  yeiris  but  the  bar- 
barous and  incivile  formes  of  the  countrie,  thay  ar  thairby  maid  to  apprehend  that 
thair  is  no  uther  formes  of  dewtie  and  civilitie  keept  in  any  uther  pairt  of  the  cuntrie  ; 
sua  that,  when  thay  come  to  the  yeiris  of  maturitie,  hardlie  can  thay  be  reclamed 
from  these  barbarous,  rude,  and  incivile  formes,  quhilk,  for  lack  of  instructioun,  war 
bred  and  satled  in  thame,  in  their  youthe  ;  whairas,  if  they  had  bene  sent  to  the 
inland  (the  low  country)  in  thair  youthe,  and  trainit  up  in  vertew,  lerning,  and  the 
Inglische  tongue,  thay  wald  haif  bene  the  bettir  prepairit  to  reforme  thair  countreyis, 
and  to  reduce  the  same  to  godliness,  obedience,  and  civilitie."  Another  account, 
written  about  the  same  time,  assigns  a  very  different  character  to  the  people.  The 
writer  praises  the  inhabitants  of  Skye  for  their  hospitality  to  strangers,  their  veneration 
for  their  chiefs  and  king,  their  activity  in  field  sports,  and  for  their  taste  for  poetry, 
music,  and  traditional  lore,  while  the  females  are  described  as  ' '  verie  modest, 
temperet  in  their  dyet  and  apparell,  excessively  grieved  at  the  death  of  any  near 
relation";  and  all  honour  "  ther  ministers  in  a  high  degree,  to  whose  care,  under 
God,  they  owe  ther  freedom  from  idolatrie,  and  many  superstitiouse  customes".  The 
Island  itself  is  blest  with  a  good  and  temperate  air,  which,  though  sometimes  foggy 
and  often  surrounded  with  mist,  so  that  they  can  scarce  be  discerned,  yet  the  sum- 
mer, by  reason  of  the  continual  and  gentle  winds,  so  abating  the  heat  and  the 
thickness  of  the  air — yet  frequent  showers  in  the  winter,  so  "  asswageing  the  cold, 
that  neither  the  one  nor  the  other  proves  obnoxious  to  the  inhabitants,  the  summer 
not  scorching  nor  the  winter  benumming  them  ". 


He  named  the  Castle  of  Duntulm  as  his  residence,  and  was 
allowed  six  household  gentlemen,  with  an  annual  consump- 
tion of  four  tuns  of  wine  ;  while  he  had  to  exhibit  three  of 
his  principal  kinsmen  annually  to  the  Privy  Council.     The 
haughty  Lords  having  petitioned  the  king,  were  afterwards, 
with  some  of  their  nearest  relations,  licensed  to  use  fire- 
arms, for  their  own  sport,  within  a  mile  of  their  residences. 
The  families  of  Sleat  and   Kintail  were  on  sufficiently 
friendly  terms  for  several  years  during  the  latter  part  of 
Donald  Gorm's  life.       This  was   mainly  due  to  a   happy 
marriage  alliance.     The  following  incident  will  show  the 
relationship    which    existed    between    the    two    families 
and    their  retainers,   and,  at  the  same  time,  some  of  the 
peculiar   customs    of  the  period,  and    the  social  state   of 
the  country.     We  have  already  made  the  acquaintance  of 
Duncan    Macrae   who    killed    Donald    Gorm  of   Sleat,  at 
Islandonain,  in  1539.     He  had  a  son,  Christopher,  of  whom 
we  are  told  that  "  he  was  prudent  and  solid  in  counsel  and 
advice,  bold,  forward,  and  daring,  when  need  required,  yet 
remarkably  merciful  during  the  bloody  wars  twixt  Mac- 
Kenzie  and  Glengarry  ".     Our  authority  proceeds — "  The 
greatest  fault  his  friends  found  with  Christopher  was  his 
being  too  great  a  comrade  and   companion  ;  for,  when  he 
went  to  Chanery  or  Inverness,  the  first  thing  he  did,  was  to 
call  his  landlord,  the  vintner,  and  with  him,  pitch  upon  and 
agree  for   the  hogshead  of  wine   that  pleased  him  best, 
resolving  to  drink  it  all,  with  his  acquaintances,  before  he 
left  the  town.     It  was  said  of  him,  if  he  was  as  frugal  in 
keeping  as  he  was  industrious  in  acquiring,  he  had  proved 
a  very  rich  man  in  his  own  country ;  for  he  was  the  first 
man  there  who  drove  cows  to  the  south  country  mercates, 
and  to  that  end  bought  cows  yearly,  from  MacKenzie's, 
MacDonald's,    and    Maclean's   estates.      He   was   a   great 
favourite  of  MacDonald  and  did  him  a  piece  of  service  he 
could  not   forget   which  was   thus  : — Donald  Gorm    Mor, 
who  was  married  to  MacKenzie's  daughter,  having,  with  his 
lady,  gone  south,  and  staying  longer  than  he  had  expected, 
was  necessitated  to  borrow  money,  which  he  promised  to 


pay  on  a  certain  day,  and  being  obliged  to  go  home  in  order 
to  get  the  money,  left  his  lady  at  Perth,  till  his  return. 
Meantime,  Christopher  having  sold  his  drove,  and  hearing 
that  his  master's  daughter,  Lady  MacDonald,  was  at  Saint 
Johnstown,  i.e.,  Perth.,  he  went  to  visit  her,  and  being  in- 
formed of  the  cause  of  her  stay,  and  that  of  MacDonald's 
going  home,  told  her  he  had  money  to  answer  all  her  de- 
mands, and  even  sufficient  to  carry  her  home  ;  advised  her 
clear  all  and  set  out  immediately,  not  doubting  but  she 
might  overtake  MacDonald  at  home,  and  prevent  his  having 
the  trouble  and  risque  of  going  south.  And  so  it  hap- 
pened, for  she  gladly  accepting  the  compliment,  they,  early 
next  day,  went  homeward,  and  having  arrived  the  second 
day  after  MacDonald,  he  was  greatly  surprised  till  his  lady 
informed  him  what  Christopher  had  done.  MacDonald 
and  his  lady  insisted  for  his  staying  some  days,  and 
entertained  him  very  kindly  ;  and  on  the  day  they  were  to 
part,  Christopher,  being  still  warm  with  drink,  called  for  a 
large  cup-full  of  strong  waters,  proposing  as  a  compliment, 
to  drink  it  all  to  MacDonald's  good  health.  MacDonald 
supposing  himself  bound  to  return  the  compliment,  by 
drinking  as  much  as  Christopher,  said,  '  I  hope  you  don't 
mean  to  kill  me  by  taking  such  a  quantity  of  this  liquor  ? ' 
to  which  Christopher  answered,  '  Sir,  and  is  it  not  natural, 
since  my  father  killed  your  father  ? '  And  while  MacDonald 
only  smiled  and  said  it  was  true,  some  of  the  bystanders, 
his  attendants,  drew  their  dirks,  threatening  to  be  at  Chris- 
topher, and  would  undoubtedly  have  killed  him,  had  not 
Sir  Donald  interposed,  and  conveyed  him  safe  to  his  boat. 
Christopher  was  afterwards  ashamed  of  what  he  had  said, 
but  MacDonald  and  he  continued  very  fast  friends."* 

Donald  Gorm  Mor  Macdonald  married,  first,  Margaret, 
daughter  of  Tormod  Macleod  of  Harris  and  Dunvegan,  and 
XIIIth  Baron  of  that  Ilk,  whom  he  afterwards  divorced  as 
already  described. 

He  married,   secondly,   Mary,   daughter  of  Colin    Cam 

*  Genealogy  of  the  MacRas,  written  by  the  Rev.  John  MacRa,  minister  of 
Dingwall,  who  died  in  1704. 


Mackenzie,  XIth  Baron,  and  sister  of  Kenneth,  first  Lord 
Mackenzie  of  Kintail ;  but  dying  without  issue,  in  Decem- 
ber, 1616,  he  was  succeeded  by  his  nephew,  (son  of  his 
brother  Archibald,  by  his  wife  Margaret,  daughter  of  Angus 
Macdonald  of  Isla  and  the  Glynns,  ancestor  of  the  Earls 
of  Antrim), 


Eighth  baron  and  first  baronet  of  Sleat,  who,  on  the  6th  of 
May,  1617,  was  served  heir  to  his  uncle,  Donald  Gorm, 
in  the  lands  of  Sleat,  North  Uist,  Skerdhoug,  Benbecula, 
Gergriminish,  Skolpick,  Griminish,  Tallow  Martin,  Orronsay 
Mainlies,  and  the  Island  of  Giligary,  all  in  the  Lordship  of 
the  Isles.  In  July  of  the  same  year  he,  with  Sir  Donald 
Mac  Allan  Mhic  Ian,  Captain  of  Clanranald,  and  other 
chiefs,  appeared  before  the  Privy  Council,  and  he  continued 
to  do  so  regularly,  in  terms  of  his  engagement,  for  some 
time  after.  An  action  at  law  which  was  begun  during  the 
life  of  his  father  against  Sir  Roderick  Mor  Macleod  of 
Dunvegan  about  some  lands  in  Skye,  was  continued  by  Sir 
Donald  Gorm  Og.  In  16 18,  an  agreement  by  arbitration 
was  arrived  at,  in  Edinburgh,  by  which  Sir  Roderick 
Macleod  was  to  receive  a  certain  sum  of  money  for  his 
claims  upon  the  lands  in  question,  and  that  in  order  to  pay 
himself  he  was  to  have  possession  of  them  for  several  years, 
when,  at  the  time  specified  in  the  decree,  they  should  return 
to  Sir  Donald  and  his  heirs.  In  1622,  Donald  Macdonald 
of  Sleat,  Sir  Roderick  Macleod  of  Harris,  John  Macdonald, 
Captain  of  Clanranald,  son  of  Sir  Donald  MacAllan,  among 
others,  appeared  before  the  Privy  Council,  on  which  occasion 
several  acts  of  importance  to  the  Isles  were  enacted.  They 
became  bound  "  to  builde  and  repaire  their  Paroche  Kirkis 
at  the  Sicht  of  the  Bishope  ,of  the  His  ".*  Masters  of  ships 
were  prohibited  from  importing  more  wine  to  the  Isles  than 
the  quantity  allowed  to  the  chiefs  and  their  leading  vassals 

*  This  document,  bearing  date  23rd  July,  1622,  in  given  in  full  at  p.  122,  Col- 
lectanea de  Rebus  Albanicis. 


by  the  Act  of  1617,  alreadly  quoted.  The  reason  given  in 
the  preamble  for  this  protective  measure  is,  that  one  of  the 
causes  which  retarded  the  civilisation  of  the  Isles  was  the 
great  quantity  of  wine  imported  yearly,  "  with  the  insatiable 
desyre  quhairof  the  said  Islanders  are  so  far  possest,  that, 
when  thair  arryvis  any  schip  or  other  veschell  there  with 
wines,  they  spend  both  dayes  and  nights  in  their  excesse 
of  drinking  sa  lang  as  thair  is  anie  of  the  wyne  left  ;  sua 
that,  being  overcome  with  drink,  their  fallis  oute  many 
inconvenientis  amangis  thame,  to  the  breck  of  his  Majesty's 
peace  ".  By  the  same  act  Donald  Gorm,  Clanranald,  and 
Mackinnon,  were  prohibited,  under  heavy  penalties,  from 
interfering,  or  in  any  way  molesting  those  engaged  in  the 
fishings  throughout  the  Isles. 

Donald  Gorm  Og  was  a  steady  loyalist,  and,  according 
to  Douglas's  Baronage,  "a  man  of  singular  integrity  and 
merit,  a  firm  and  steady  friend  of  that  unfortunate  prince," 
King  Charles  the  First,  by  whom  he  was  highly  favoured 
and  esteemed. 

In  1625,  he  was  created  a  Baronet  of  Novia  Scotia,  by 
patent,  dated  14th  July,  which  contained  a  clause  "  that  he 
and  his  heirs  male  and  assigns  should  have  precedency 
before  Sir  William  Douglas  of  Glenbervy,  Sir  Alexander 
Strachan  of  Thorntown,  and  Sir  David  Livingstone  of 
Dunipace,  by  which  he  became  the  next  baronet  to  Sir 
Robert  Gordon  of  Gordonstoun,  and  the  second  of  that 
order  in  the  Kingdom  of  Scotland".  When,  in  1639,  the 
civil  war  broke  out  in  Scotland,  Charles  was  so  anxious  to 
secure  the  assistance  and  influence  of  the  chief  of  Sleat, 
that  he  wrote  him  a  letter  from  his  camp  at  Berwick,  dated 
the  nth  of  June  in  that  year,  in  which  he  promised  him 
"  the  lands  of  Punard,  Ardnamurchan,  and  Strathardill,  the 
Islands  of  Roume,  Muck,  and  Cannay,  which  were  to  accrue 
to  him  by  the  forfeiture  of  the  Earl  of  Argyle,  Sir  Dugald 
Campbell,  and  Mackinnon,  seeing  that  Sir  Donald  at  this 
time  stood  out  for  the  good  of  his  Majesty's  service,  and 
was  resolved  to  undergo  the  hazard  of  his  person  and  his 
estate  for  the  same  ;  all  of  which  he  promises  on  the  word 

SIR  JAMES   MACDONALD,   NINTH   OF   SLEAT.        21 5 

of  a  king,  to  ratify  to  Sir  Donald  and  his  heirs,  in  any 
manner  they  shall  think  proper,  provided  that  he  use  his 
best  endeavours  in  his  service  at  this  time,  according  to  his 
Majesty's  commission."*  He  was  able  to  communicate 
many  of  the  designs  and  plans  of  the  Covenanters  in  the 
North,  which  proved  of  great  service  to  the  king,  and  he  nego- 
tiated with  the  Marquis  of  Antrim,  chief  of  the  Macdonells 
of  Ireland,  for  a  body  of  troops,  who  were  to  cross  into  Scot- 
land and  serve  on  the  king's  side,  against  the  Covenanters, 
but  he  died  before  they  arrived,  and  ere  an  opportunity 
presented  itself  to  him  to  give  his  active  services  in  the  field. 

He  married  Janet,  daughter  of  Kenneth,  first  Lord 
Mackenzie  of  Kintail,  sister  of  Colin  Ruadh  and  of  George, 
first  and  second  Earls  of  Seaforth,  and  by  her  had  issue — 

i.  Sir  James,  who  succeeded. 

2.  Donald  of  Castleton,  who  distinguished  himself  after- 
wards in  the  civil  wars  [See  Macdonalds  of  Castleton]. 

3.  Archibald.     4.  Angus.     5.  Alexander. 

6.  Margaret,  who  married  ^Eneas  Macdonell,  ninth  of 
Glengarry,  raised  to  the  Peerage  by  the  title  of  Lord  Mac- 
donell and  Aros  in  1660,  without  issue. 

7.  Katherine,  who  married  Kenneth  Mackenzie,  VI  of 
Gairloch,  without  issue.  The  contract  is  dated  5th  Septem- 
ber, 1635,  in  which  the  marriage  portion  is  declared  to  be 
6000  merks,  with  an  endowment  of  1000  libs,  scots  yearly.f 

8.  Janet,  who  married  Donald  Macdonald  of  Moydart, 
Captain  of  Clanranald,  with  issue,  and 

9.  Mary,  who,  as  his  first  wife,  married  Sir  Ewen  Cameron 
of  Lochiel,  without  issue. 

Sir  Donald  died  in  October,  1643,  and  was  succeeded  by 
his  eldest  son, 


Ninth  baron  and  second  baronet  of  Sleat,  served  heir  to 
his  father  on  the  20th  February,  1644.     He  joined  Montrose 

*  Wood's  Douglas'  Peerage  of  Scotland. 

•f  History  and  Genealogies  of  the  Clan  Mackenzie,  by  the  same  author,  p.  332. 


in  1645,  and  several  of  his  followers  fought  with  him  at  the 
battle  of  Inverlochy.  He  also  sent  a  considerable  body,  to 
to  the  assistance  of  Charles  II.,  when  he  marched  into 
England  in  165 1,  many  of  whom  fought  with  him  in  the 
battle  of  Worcester.  In  1646,  he  and  the  Earl  of  Seaforth 
were  with  Montrose  when  he  retired  with  his  supporters 
westward  through  the  valley  of  Strathglass,  and  where,  on 
receipt  of  a  communication  from  the  king,  he  disbanded 
his  followers ;  quitted  the  country  shortly  after ;  and  left  Sir 
James  and  Seaforth  to  make  the  best  of  their  way  to  their 
respective  homes. 

In  the  beginning  of  the  same  year,  1646,  Montrose 
came  north  to  recruit  his  army.  Seaforth  raised  his  men 
and  advertised  "  his  foresaid  neighbours  to  come,  but  none 
came  except  Sir  James  Macdonald,  who,  with  Seaforth, 
joined  Montrose  at  Inverness,  which  they  besieged,  but 
Middleton,  who  then  served  in  the  Scots  armies  in  England, 
being  sent  with  nearly  1000  horse  and  600  foot,  coming 
suddenly  the  length  of  Inverness,  stopped  Montrose's  pro- 
gress. Montrose  was  forced  to  raise  the  siege  and  quit  the 
campaign,  and  retired  with  Seaforth  and  Sir  James  Mac- 
donald to  the  hills  of  Strathglass,  to  await  the  arrival  of  the 
rest  of  their  confederates,  Lord  Reay,  Glengarry,  Maclean 
and  several  others,  who,  with  such  as  were  ready  to  join 
him  south  were  likely  to  make  a  formidable  array  for  the 
king  ;  but  in  the  meantime,  the  king  having  come  to  the 
Scots  army,  the  first  thing  they  extorted  from  him  was  to 
send  a  herald  to  Montrose,  commanding  him  to  disband  his 
forces,  and  pass  over  to  France  till  his  Majesty's  further 

When  Charles  II.  marched  into  England  in  165 1,  Sir 
James  sent  several  of  his  vassals  to  his  assistance.  The 
king  and  his  followers  being  defeated  at  the  battle  of 
Worcester,  the  royal  cause  was  for  the  time  ruined,  and  Sir 
James  retired  to  his  residence  in  the  Isle  of  Skye,  where 
"  he  lived  with  great  circumspection."  He  was  a  man  of 
great  intelligence  and  ability,  highly  esteemed  and  trusted 

*  Ardintoul  MS.,  quoted  at  pp.  197-190,  Mackenzie's  History  of  the  Mackenzies. 

SIR  JAMES    MACDONALD,    NINTH   OF    SLEAT.         217 

by  his  dependants,  and,  according  to  Douglas,  "  of  fine  ac- 
complishments, untainted  virtue  and  honour".  The  share 
he  took  in  bringing  the  Keppoch  murderers  to  justice  is 
fully  set  forth  in  the  Celtic  Magazine  by  a  writer  well  ac- 
quainted with  the  facts.  Writing  of  Ian  Lorn  Macdonald, 
the  Keppoch  bard,  the  writer  says  : — "  From  this  retreat 
(Kintail)  he  poured  forth  a  torrent  of  mingled  invective  and 
appeals,  such  as  very  soon  created  a  powerful  public  opinion 
in  favour  of  the  cause  he  espoused.  Taking  prompt  ad- 
vantage of  this,  he  visited  Invergarry  Castle,  the  seat  of 
the  Macdonell  chieftain,  raised  to  the  peerage  by  Charles 
II.,  by  the  title  of  Lord  Macdonell  and  Aros.  His  repre- 
sentations failed,  however,  in  prevailing  upon  this  chief  to 
take  the  initiative  in  his  favour  ;  but  he  advised  him  to 
appeal  to  Sir  James  Macdonald  of  Sleat,  as  Captain  of 
Clandonald.  To  make  his  way  to  the  good  graces  of  Sir 
James,  he  composed  the  song  beginning — 

A  bhean  leasaich  an  stop  dhuinn,  's  lion  an  cupa  le  solas, 

Ma  's  a  branndai  na  beoir  i, 

'N  deoch  's  air  Captain  Chloinn  Domhnuil,  's  air  Sir  Alastair  Og  thig  'o  'n  chaol. 

This  appeal  was  followed  by  a  personal  visit  from  our 
bard  ;  which,  backed  as  he  was  by  the  influence  of  Lord 
Macdonell,  had  the  desired  result.  Sir  James  lost  no 
time  in  representing  the  case  to  government,  who  autho- 
rised him  to  bring  the  perpetrators  of  the  murder  to 
immediate  justice.  The  carrying  out  of  the  enterprise, 
which  needed  both  secrecy  and  skill,  was  entrusted  by 
Sir  James  to  his  son,  Archibald — An  Ciaran  Mabach — a 
soldier  and  a  poet ;  and  in  whose  abilities  and  courage  his 
father  reposed  great  confidence.  In  concert  with  the  poet, 
they  laid  their  plans  so  well  that  the  assassins  were  sur- 
prised in  their  beds,  and  had  summary  justice  inflicted 
upon  them — seven  in  all.  By  dawn  next  day  their  heads 
were  laid  at  the  feet  of  Lord  Macdonell  at  Invergarry 
Castle.  On  their  way  to  Invergarry,  the  heads  were 
washed  at  a  fountain,  a  few  miles  west  from  the  castle, 
which  to  this  day,  in  remembrance  of  the  event,  bears  the 
name  of  '  Tobair-nan-ceann  ' — the  Fountain  of  the  heads  ; 


and  over  which  a  chieftain  representative  of  Lord  Macdonell 
erected  a  monument,  with  a  Gaelic  inscription  by  the  late 
eminent  poet  and  scholar,  Mr.  Ewen  Maclauchlan  of  Aber- 
deen, in  Ossianic  verse."*  Douglas  gives  the  following 
account — "  In  his  time  there  was  a  parcel  of  barbarous 
Highlanders  who  greatly  infested  the  northern  parts,  com- 
mitted vast  outrages,  robberies,  and  even  murders.  They 
attacked  Alexander  Macdonald  of  Keppoch,  with  a  con- 
siderable force  in  his  own  house,  and  most  cruelly  put  him 
to  death,  anno  1663.  The  government  used  all  manner  of 
means  to  bring  them  to  justice,  but  that  was  found  imprac- 
ticable in  a  legal  way  ;  they  therefore  sent  a  most  ample 
commission  of  fire  and  sword  (as  it  was  then  called)  to  Sir 
James  Macdonald,  &c,  signed  by  the  Duke  of  Hamilton, 
Marquis  of  Montrose,  Earl  of  Eglinton,  and  other  six  of 
the  privy  council,  with  orders  and  full  power  to  him  to 
pursue,  apprehend,  and  bring,  in,  dead  or  alive,  all  these 
lawless  robbers,  &c.  This,  in  a  very  short  time,  he  effec- 
tually performed  ;  some  of  them  he  put  to  death,  and 
entirely  dispersed  the  rest,  to  the  satisfaction  of  the  whole 
court,  which  contributed  greatly  to  the  civilising  of  those 
parts.  Immediately  thereafter,  by  order  of  the  Ministry, 
he  got  a  letter  of  thanks  from  the  Earl  of  Rothes,  then  lord 
high  treasurer  and  keeper  of  the  Great  Seal  of  Scotland, 
full  of  acknowledgments  of  the  singular  service  he  had 
done  the  country,  and  assuring  him  that  it  should  not  pass 
unrewarded,  with  many  other  clauses  very  much  to  Sir 
James's  honour,  &c.  This  letter  is  dated  the  15th  day  of 
December,  1665,  signed  Rothes." 

At  the  Restoration  he  was  fined  to  a  large  amount  at 
the  instigation  of  Middleton,  who  is  said  to  have  received 
a  grant  of  the  fine  for  himself.  From  this  it  would  appear 
that  the  loyalty  of  Sir  James  to  the  king  during  the  Com- 
monwealth did  not  continue  so  stedfast  as  that  of  others  of 
the  Highland  chiefs,  and  to  the  extent  which  would  be 
naturally  expected  from   the   representative  of  the  Mac- 

*  The  Rev.  Allan  Sinclair,  M.A.,  in  the  Celtic  Magazine,  Vol.  V.,  pp.  ioo-ioi. 
Article  on  Ian  Lom  Macdonald,  the  Lochaber  Gaelic  Bard. 

SIR    JAMES   MACDONALD,   NINTH   OF   SLEAT.         219 

donalds  of  the  Isles,  who  had  invariably  in  the  past  sup- 
ported the  Stewarts. 

Sir  James  was  quite  a  cavalier  of  the  period.  When  at 
home,  his  mansion  was  enlivened  by  the  presence  of  a  gay 
and  noble  company,  bent  on  mirth  and  music.  Ian  Lorn, 
in  a  song,  gives  an  animated  and  brilliant  description  of 
his  ancestral  hall,  lighted  up  at  night  with  candles  of  the 
purest  wax,  while  young  ladies  of  dazzling  beauty  enter- 
tained the  company  with  melody  and  song.  The  native 
beverage  and  Spanish  wines  flowed  free  as  a  mountain 
tarn.  But  it  was  in  the  field  of  battle  that,  according  to 
the  bard,  Sir  James  specially  distinguished  himself. 

Nuair  a  rachadh  tu'n  strith, 

Ann  an  armailt  an  Righ, 

Bhitheadh  do  dhiollaid  air  rail'  each  gorm. 

Sir  James  married  Margaret,  only  daughter  of  Sir  Rode- 
rick Mackenzie  of  Coigeach,  the  famous  Tutor  of  Kintail, 
and  ancestor  of  the  Earls  of  Cromarty.  By  this  lady  Sir 
James  had  issue — 

1.  Donald,  his  heir  and  successor. 

2.  Roderick,  who  married  Janet  Ritchie,  with  issue,  two 
sons,  James  and  Donald,  twins,  born  on  the  10th  of  June, 

3.  Hugh,  afterwards  of  Glenmore. 

4.  Somerled  of  Sortie. 

5.  Catherine,  who  married  Sir  Norman  Macleod  of 
Bernera,  with  issue. 

6.  Florence,  who  married  John  Macleod,  XVII.  of  Harris 
and  Dunvegan,  with  issue,  three  sons  and  three  daughters. 

He  married,  secondly,  Mary,  eldest  daughter  of  John 
Macleod,  XV.  of  Harris  and  Dunvegan,  with  issue — 

7.  John  of  Backney. 

He  had  also  a  natural  son,  Archibald,  "An  Ciaran 
Mabach,"  a  distinguished  warrior  and  Gaelic  bard.  John 
Mackenzie  in  his  "Beauties  of  Gaelic  Poetry,"  p.  53,  says 
of  him  that  "  In  no  one  could  his  father  more  properly 
have  confided  matters  of  importance,  requiring  sagacity,  zeal, 
and  bravery,  than  in  this  son.  Accordingly  he  made  use  of  his 


services  when  necessary;  and  put  the  greatest  dependence 
in  his  fidelity,  prudence,  and  activity.  Ciaran  M aback  was 
no  doubt  amply  requitted  by  his  father,  who  allotted  him  a 
portion  of  land  in  North  Uist.  Grants  of  land  were  in 
those  times  commonly  given  to  gentleman  of  liberal  educa- 
tion but  of  slender  fortune  ;  where  amid  their  rural  occupa- 
tions they  enjoyed  pleasures  unknown  to  those  who  in 
similar  stations  of  life  were  less  happily  located.  It  does 
not  appear  that  our  poet  was  a  voluminous  writer ;  and  of 
his  compositions  there  are  very  few  extant.  It  is  to  be 
regretted  that  so  few  of  his  poems  have  been  preserved,  as 
his  taste,  education,  and  natural  powers,  entitle  him  to  a 
high  place  among  the  bards  of  his  country.  Gentlemen  of 
a  poetical  genius  could  have  resided  in  no  country  more 
favourable  to  poetry  than  in  the  Highlands  of  Scotland, 
where  they  le?d  the  easy  life  of  the  sportsman  or  the  grazier, 
and  had  leasure  to  cultivate  their  taste  for  poetry  or 

Sir  James  died  on  the  8th  of  December,  1678,  and  was 
succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 


Tenth  baron  and  third  baronet  of  Sleat.  He  joined  Vis- 
count Dundee,  but  was  taken  seriously  ill  in  Lochaber  and 
was  obliged  to  return  home.  His  eldest  son,  however, 
who  accompanied  him,  took  his  place,  and  fought  bravely 
at  the  head  of  his  clan,  forming  part  of  the  left  wing  at  the 
battle  of  Killiecrankie,  on  the  27th  of  July,  1689.  In 
addition  to  many  more  of  his  followers,  five  of  his  cousins- 
german,  one  of  whom  was  Alexander  Macdonald  of  Kings- 
burgh,*  fell  on  that  sanguinary  field,  but  he  escaped  and 
returned,  with  the  remnant  of  his  followers,  to  the  Isles. 

*  Martin  says  that  James  Macdonald  of  Capstil  was  another,  and  that  on  the 
night  of  the  battle  of  Killiecrankie,  where  he  was  slain,  his  cows  in  Skye,  gave 
blood  instead  of  milk,  a  fact  which  his  family  and  friends  considered  a  very  bad 


He  appears  to  have  joined  Dundee  early  ;  for  in  a  letter 
addressed  to  "the  Laird  of  Macleod,"  dated  23rd  of  June, 
1689,  from  his  headquarters  at  Moy,  in  Lochaber,  Dundee 
mentions  Sir  Donald  among  other  leading  Highland  chiefs 
whom  he  immediately  expects  to  join  him. 

Having  joined  Macdonald  of  Keppoch  at  Inverness,  who 
had  laid  siege  to  the  town,  Dundee  retired  to  Lochaber, 
and  "  from  thence  marched  with  one  thousand  five  hundred 
foot  and  two  hundred  horse  to  Badenoch,  against  General 
Mackay  and  the  laird  of  Grant,  who  had  about  six  thousand 
men,  and  chased  them  day  and  night  till  they  passed 
Strathbogie,  where  he  encamped  three  days  at  Edinglassy. 
On  the  fourth  day  he  received  intelligence  that  Sir  John 
Lancer's  regiment  of  horse  and  other  dragoons,  Ramsay's 
regiment,  and  other  two  regiments  of  foot,  had  joined 
General  Mackay,  which  obliged  him  to  return  to  Keppoch, 
where  he  remained  six  weeks,  till  he  was  joined  by  the 
Honourable  Sir  Donald  of  the  Isles,  with  five  hundred  men, 
who,  by  reason  of  indisposition,  was  obliged  to  return  home, 
but  left  his  young  son,  Sir  Donald  with  my  Lord  Dundee. 
Then  his  Lordship  appointed  all  the  clans,  with  their 
friends  and  followers,  to  meet  him  at  the  Blair  of  Athole 
the  next  Tuesday,  and  that  himself,  the  Honourable  Sir 
Alexander  Macdonald  of  Glengarry,  Sir  John  Maclean, 
young  Sir  Donald  of  the  Isles,  the  Captain  of  Clanranald, 
and  Sir  Hugh  Cameron  of  Lochiel,  would  go  and  raise  the 
Badenoch  and  Athole  men  against  that  day."  The  same 
writer,  after  describing  the  engagement,  goes  on  to  say — 
"  In  the  battle  the  Highlanders,  besides  their  unparalleled 
general,  Dundee,  lost  the  brave  Pitcur,  who,  like  a  moving 
castle  in  the  shape  of  a  man,  threw  fire  and  sword  on  all 
sides  against  his  enemy  ;  Colonel  Gilbert  Ramsay,  Mac- 
donald of  Largie,  his  tutor  andall  his  family  ;  Glengarry's 
brother,  and  many  of  his  relations,  and  five  cousins-german 
of  Sir  Donald  of  the  Isles,  with  many  private  Highlanders." 
During  the  following  winter  Major -General  Buchan,  Lord 
Seaforth,  Colonel  Brown,  and  other  officers,  "came  from 
King  James  in   Ireland  to  Sir  Donald  of  the  Isles  ;  and 


Buchan,  by  his  commission,  being  eldest  Major-General, 
commanded  the  army,  and  desired  each  clan  to  give  him 
one  hundred  men,  promising  with  them  to  raise  the  low 
countries.  The  clans  gave  him  one  thousand  five  hundred 
men,  with  whom  he  marched  from  Keppoch  to  Kilwhuimin 
(Fort-Augustus),  at  the  end  of  Loch  Ness."  Some  time 
after  Major-Generals  Buchan  and  Cannin  marched  north, 
first  to  Lochaber  and  then  to  Badenoch,  where,  in  a  few 
days,  they  dispersed  their  forces.  Afterwards  "  Major- 
General  Buchan  and  his  officers  went  to  the  Honourable  Sir 
Alexander  Macdonald  of  Glengarry ;  and  General  Cannin 
and  his  officers  went  to  the  Honourable  Sir  Donald  Mac- 
donald of  the  Isles,  where  they  stayed  about  nine  months, 
till  the  Earl  of  Breadalbane  came  with  a  commission  from 
King  William  to  treat  with  the  clans,  by  offering  them 
^20,000  to  own  his  government  and  live  peaceably.  But 
his  majesty  knew  not  that  the  loyalty  and  honour  of  the 
Scots  Highlanders  was  not  to  be  overcome  by  force,  or  de- 
bauched by  treasure.  For  they  generously  scorned  the  offer 
as  base,  and  unworthy  of  noble  thoughts  ;  and  only  desired 
the  liberty  to  send  two  of  their  officers  to  France  to  ac- 
quaint King  James  with  the  state  of  their  affairs,  and  when 
they  had  received  his  orders  they  would  act  accordingly. 
This  favour,  with  some  difficulty,  was  granted  them."  These 
officers  on  their  arrival  in  France  informed  King  James  of 
"the  dreadful  miseries  and  extremities  his  clans  suffered  and 
were  reduced  to,  and  humbly  desired  to  know  his  will  and 
pleasure  ".  He  received  their  message  "  with  grief  and  con- 
cern," and  thanked  the  Highlanders  for  their  loyalty  and  sup- 
port. He  desired  the  commissioners  on  their  return,  to  inform 
the  chiefs  "  that  if  ever  it  pleased  God  to  restore  him,  he 
would  not  be  unmindful  of  their  loyalty,  who  in  past  ages 
had  always  been  faithful  to  his  ancestors  ;  and  that  if  it 
pleased  God  to  call  for  him,  he  had  a  son,  the  young  Prince, 
who,  he  doubted  not,  by  God's  grace,  if  he  lived,  would  be 
in  a  condition  fully  to  reward  their  fidelity."  The  king 
then  gave  the  Highland  chiefs  full  authority  to  make  the 
best  terms  they  could  with  the  existing  government,  and 


to  live  peaceably  and  quietly,  but  he  desired  the  principal 
officers  to  join  him  at  St.  Germains.* 

Terms  were  agreed  to  soon  after  at  Achallader,  in 
Argyll-shire,  and  such  fair  promises  were  given  as  induced 
many  of  the  Highlanders  to  place  faith  in  King  William 
and  his  government.  The  manner  in  which  these  promises 
were  implemented  and  the  inhuman  proceedings  soon  after 
at  the  massacre  of  Glencoe  are  too  well  known  to  require 
detailed  notice  here.  Sir  Donald's  residence  was  set  on  fire 
by  a  party  of  William's  troops  who  landed  from  a  man-of-war 
ship,  but  they  were  forced  immediately  to  embark.  About 
twenty  of  them,  buried  at  Dun-Flo,  were  killed.  He  seems 
to  have  secured  favourable  terms,  and  he  does  not  appear 
to  have  taken  any  active  part  in  public  affairs  during  the 
remainder  of  his  life. 

He  married  on  the  24th  of  July,  1662,  at  Perth,  Lady 
Mary  Douglas,  second  daughter  of  Robert,  third  Earl  of 
Morton,  with  issue — ■ 

1.  Donald,  his  heir  and  successor. 

2.  James  of  Oronsay,  who  succeeded  his  nephew,  Sir 
Donald  (who  died  unmarried  in  1720),  as  Sir  James  Mac- 
donald,  thirteenth  of  Sleat. 

3.  William,  known  as  Tutor  of  Macdonald,  from  whom 
the  late  Macdonalds  of  Vail  ay.  He  married  Catharine, 
daughter  of  the  famous  Sir  Ewen  Cameron  of  Lochiel 
by  his  second  wife,  a  daughter  of  Sir  Lachlan  Maclean  of 
Duart.  By  this  lady  the  Tutor  "  had  a  numerous  issue ". 
(See  Macdonalds  of  Vallay.)  ' 

4.  Elizabeth,  who  married  Sir  Alexander  Bannerman  of 
Elsick,  Baronet,  with  issue. 

5.  Barbara,  who  married  Coll  Macdonald  of  Keppoch. 

6.  Mary,  who  died  unmarried. 

He  died  on  the  5th  of  February,  1695,  and  was  succeeded 
by  his  eldest  son, 

*  Pamphlet  "by  an  Officer  of  the  Army,  printed  by  Jonas  Brown,  at  the  Black 
Swan,  London,  1714  ". 



Eleventh  baron  and  fourth  baronet  of  Sleat,  known  among 
his  own  countrymen  (from  the  part  he  took,  under  Dundee 
at  Killiecrankie,  and  afterwards  under  the  Earl  of  Mar, 
in  171 5,  during  his  father's  life)  as  "Domhnull  a  Chogaidh," 
or  Donald  of  the  Wars.  He  attended  the  great  gathering 
of  the  chiefs  at  Braemar,  and  was  soon  after  entrapped  by 
the  government,  with  a  few  others  of  the  leading  Jacobites, 
including  Seaforth  who  was  confined  to  his  own  Castle  of 
Brahan,  while  the  chief  of  Sleat  was  sent  to  the  Castle  of 
Edinburgh.  Patten  informs  us  that  upon  the  news  of  the 
Earl  of  Mar's  being  in  arms,  and  of  the  progress  he  was 
making,  reaching  the  government,  "orders  were  despatched 
immediately  to  Edinburgh  to  secure  such  suspected  persons 
as  were  thought  to  be  capable  of  mischief,"  and  among  the 
list  of  such,  given  by  him,  we  find  Seaforth,  Sir  Donald 
Macdonald,  Sir  John  Maclean,  the  Laird  of  Mackinnon, 
Rob  Roy,  alias  Macgregor,  John  Cameron  of  Lochiel,  the 
Laird  of  Clanranald,  the  Laird  of  Glengarry,  the  Laird  of 
Keppoch,  Mackintosh,  younger  of  Borlum,  and  fifty-four 
others,  including  Mar  himself.  It  was,  probably,  on  this 
occasion  that  Sir  Donald  was  captured  and  imprisoned  in 
Edinburgh.  We,  however,  soon  after  meet  him  again  in 
the  North  at  the  head  of  a  body  of  his  followers,  variously 
stated  at  from  six  to  eight  hundred.  The  Earl  of  Seaforth 
collected  his  vassals,  and  having  been  joined  by  Sir 
Donald  and  his  followers  from  the  Isles,  and  a  few  from 
other  Jacobite  chiefs  in  the  Northern  Counties,  Seaforth 
found  himself  at  the  head  of  a  force  of  3000  men.  With 
these  he  attacked  a  large  government  force  at  Alness, 
which  he  soon  dispersed,  the  Earl  of  Sutherland,  who  was 
at  their  head,  retreating  with  his  followers  to  Bonar  Bridge, 
where  they  were  at  once  broken  up.  The  Mackenzies  and 
the  Macdonalds  levied  heavy  fines  on  the  territories  of  the 
Munros,  who  supported  the  government,  which  were  fully 
revenged   in   their  absence  with  the  Jacobite  army  in  the 


South,  for  which  they  at  once  set  out,  accompanied  by  Sir 
Donald  and  his  Island  warriors. 

Lord  Lovat,  in  his  "  Account  of  the  Taking  of  Inver- 
ness," supplies  the  following  version : — "  The  Earl  of 
Seaforth,  who  was  nominated  Lieutenant-General  and 
Commander-in-Chief  of  the  Northern  Counties  to  his 
Majesty  King  James  the  VIII.  (for  so  was  the  designation 
then),  was  not  idle  ;  gathered  his  men  from  the  Lewes,  and 
all  his  inland  country,  to  the  place  of  Brahan,  where  Sir 
Donald  Macdonald  of  Sleat,  with  six  hundred  men,  and 
the  Laird  of  Mackinnon,  with  one  hundred  and  fifty,  joined 
him  ;  Alexander  Mackenzie  of  Frazerdale,  who  assumed 
command  of  the  name  of  Frazer,  and  his  lady,  had  forced 
four  hundred  of  that  name,  which,  with  the  hundred  men 
that  Chisholm  (who  is  vassal  to  that  family)  had,  made  up 
five  hundred  under  Frazerdale's  command,  which  lay  at 
and  about  Castledouny,  five  miles  from  Brahan  and  six 
from  Inverness."  He  further  adds  that  "  being  come 
to  Inverness,  General  Seaforth  called  a  Council  of  War, 
where  were  present  the  Lord  Duffus,  Sir  Donald  Mac- 
donald, Frazerdale,  Mackinnon,  the  Chisholm,  and  several 
other  officers,  besides  Sir  John  Mackenzie  of  Coul,  the 
governor,  where  it  was  resolved  that  Culloden  House  must 
be  reduced  at  any  rate  ;  and  so  commanded  Mr.  George 
Mackenzie  of  Gruinziord  to  go  with  a  trumpet  along  with 
him,  and  summon  the  house  formally  to  surrender ;  com- 
ing to  the  place,  Gruinziord  ordered  the  trumpet  to  sound, 
and  called  to  Mr.  Duncan  who  kept  the  house;  Mr.  Forbes 
not  only  told  him,  but  showed  him  that  the  house  was  not 
in  their  reverence ;  and  so  defiance  was  returned  for 
answer.  But  in  a  second  Council  of  War,  the  Lord  Duffus 
was  sent  in  order  to  reduce  Mr.  Forbes  by  reason ;  or 
otherwise  to  assure  him  of  the  hardest  treatment  if  the 
house  was  taken.  But  my  lord  returned  without  success  ; 
and  so  a  disposition  was  made  for  the  siege,  and  the  party 
for  the  attack  ordered,  but  finding  that  the  house  was 
strong,  and  the  governor  and  garrison  obstinate  and  brave, 
after  twelve  days'  deliberations,  marched   forward  toward 



their  grand  camp  at  Perth.  From  Inverness  they  marched 
to  Strath-Spey,  the  Laird  of  Grant's  country,  where  they 
found  the  Grants  all  in  arms,  in  order  to  secure  their 
country  from  harm  ;  they  only  asked  some  baggage  horses 
to  the  next  country,  and  quartered  their  men  civilly,  and 
returned  the  horses  home  next  day,  and  so  they  joined 
the  Earl  of  Mar  at  Perth,  where  they  continued  till  the 
decisive  stroke  of  Dumblain,  from  whence  they  returned  in 
a  hundred  parties,  to  the  satisfaction  of  many  who  were 
very  careful  of  disarming  them  in  their  retreat.  But  the 
four  hundred  Frazers  that  Mr.  Mackenzie  had  brought 
there  four  days  before  to  Dumblain,  hearing  that  the  Lord 
Lovat  was  come  home,  deserted  that  cause,  and  came 
home  full  armed,  with  their  affection  to  their  natural  chief, 
and  their  love  to  the  Protestant  interest ;  for  which,  that 
name  distinguished  themselves  since  the  Reformation,  as 
was  plainly  seen  in  their  services  thereafter  till  the  Rebellion 
was  extinguished." 

Immediately  on  the  arrival  at  Perth  of  this  large  rein- 
forcement, Mar  determined  to  cross  the  Forth  and  meet 
Argyll,  who  commanded  the  government  forces.  Patten 
says,  that  "  The  Earl  of  Mar  being  joined  by  the  Earl  of 
Seaforth,  Sir  Donald  Macdonald,  and  others,  with  their 
respective  clans,  to  the  number  of  8000  men,  were  prepar- 
ing to  march  from  Perth,  to  join  General  Gordon  with  the 
Western  clans  at  Auchterarder,  in  order  to  attempt  the 
crossing  of  the  Forth,  which  was  indeed  his  main  design. 
This  was  the  12th  of  November.  Upon  intelligence  of  this 
march,  for  the  rebels  advanced  from  Perth  with  their 
whole  army,  the  Duke  of  Argyll  sent  for  a  train  of  field 
artillery  from  Edinburgh ;  and  having  received  all  the 
reinforcement  he  expected  from  Ireland,  his  grace  resolved 
not  to  suffer  them  to  reach  the  Bank  of  Forth,  but  to  fight 
them  wherever  he  could  come  up  with  them.  Accordingly, 
he  passed  the  Forth  at  Stirling  Bridge  with  his  whole 
army,  and  advanced  towards  Dumblain.  This  occasioned 
a  general  engagement,  fought  near  Dumblain,  at  a  place 
called  Sheriff-moor,  on  Sunday,  November  13."* 

*  History  of  the  late  Rebellion,  second  part,  page  35. 


The  details  of  this  memorable  engagement  are  already 
sufficiently  well  known.  In  the  hottest  part  of  the  contest 
the  Macdonalds  exhibited  the  ancient  valour  of  the  race. 
The  historian  of  the  rebellion,  already  named,  and  who 
was  with  the  Jacobite  army,  though  he  afterwards  turn- 
coated,  and  wrote  severely  against  them,*  informs  us  that, 
immediately  the  enemy  was  seen,  "the  Earl  of  Mar 
ordered  the  Earl  Marshall,  Major-General  of  the  horse, 
with  his  own  squadron  and  Sir  Donald  Macdonald's  batta- 
lion, to  march  up  to  the  height  and  dislodge  them,"  where- 
upon "  the  enemy  disappeared,"  and  later  in  the  engage- 
ment, "  all  the  line  to  the  right  being  of  the  clans,  led  on 
by  Sir  Donald  Macdonald's  two  brothers  (James  and 
William),  Glengarry,  Captain  of  Clanranald,  Sir  John  Mac- 
clean,  Glenco,  Campbell  of  Glenlyon  (and  others),  made  a 
most  furious  attack,  so  that  in  seven  or  eight  minutes  we 
could  neither  perceive  the  form  of  a  squadron  or  battalion 
of  the  enemy  before  us.  We  drove  the  main  body  and  left 
of  the  enemy  in  this  manner,  for  about  half  a  mile,  killing 
and  taking  prisoners  all  that  we  could  overtake." 

The  same  authority  in  a  list  of  the  most  considerable 
chiefs  in  Scotland,  and  the  number  of  men  they  could 
raise,  with  an  account  of  their  disposition  for  or  against 

*  Of  this  minister  of  the  Gospel,  Dr.  John  Hill  Burton  writes  : — He  holds  a 
distinguished  place  in  the  annals  of  infamy.  He  betrayed  his  cause,  and  gave 
testimony  against  those  whose  deeds  he  had  beheld  when  acting  as  their  spiritual 
guide  and  exhorter  to  loyalty.  He  boasted  of  this,  his  treachery,  as  a  "duty," 
wherein  he  made  all  the  "  reparation  "  he  could  "  for  the  injury"  he  "had  done 
the  Government ".  He  afterwards  wrote  a  history  of  the  follies  and  misfortunes  of 
those  whom  he  had  helped  to  seduce,  by  his  religious  persuasions,  to  their  fatal 
career— dedicated  to  the  victorious  general  who  had  trampled  them  down.  This 
servant  of  God,  whose  character  has  fortunately  been  but  seldom  exemplified  in  a 
profession  the  characteristic  defects  of  which  are  not  so  much  founded  on  calculat- 
ing selfishness  as  on  indiscriminating  and  self-sacrificing  zeal — preached  to  the 
assembled  army  from  Deut.  xxi.  17.  "  The  right  of  the  first  born  is  his  ;"  and  he 
recorded  the  observation  that  ' '  it  was  very  agreeable  to  see  how  decently  and 
reverently  the  very  common  Highlanders  behaved,  and  answered  the  responses  ac- 
cording to  the  rubric,  to  the  shame  of  many  who  pretended  to  more  polite  breeding." 
It  is  unfortunately  necessary  to  rely  for  many  of  the  events  connected  with  the  ex- 
pedition on  the  narrative  of  this  perfidious  man.  It  is  some  sanction  for  his  accur- 
acy, that  the  events  narrated  by  him  were  seen  by  many  others,  and  his  testimony 
must,  like  that  of  other  approvers,  be  taken  with  suspicion,  and  guardedly  relied 


the  government,  places  Sir  Donald  Macdonald  at  the  head 
of  the  clans  with  a  thousand  men,  all  with  their  chief, 
against  the  government  and  in  the  rebellion.  To  the 
captain  of  Clanranald  he  gives  a  thousand  on  the  same 
side,  while  to  the  Laird  of  Glengarry,  whom  he  describes 
as  "  inferior  to  none  in  bravery,"  he  allots  five  hundred, 
Keppoch  had  three  hundred  men  against  the  goverment. 
and  Patten  is  very  severe  upon  them  for  their  conduct  at 
Killiecrankie,  Cromdale  and  Sheriffmuir,  at  which  latter 
place  "  he  still  showed  his  face,  but  never  drew  his  sword, 
for  his  people  are  expert  at  nothing  more  than  stealing 
and  public  robberies  ;  for  at  Perth  they  made  a  good  hand 
in  this  way  of  business  among  the  country  people  and 
others  of  their  own  party". 

Burton,  who  never  has  a  good  word  for  the  Highlanders 
if  he  can  avoid  it,  is  forced  to  say  that  "  the  impetuous 
rush  of  the  Highlanders  (on  the  right)  carried  Witham, 
with  his  horse  and  foot,  before  them  down  the  steep  de- 
clivity towards  Dunblane,  with  much  slaughter".  The 
Master  of  Sinclair,  who  had  fought  under  the  Duke  of 
Marlborough,  and  a  distinguished  officer  who  fought  at 
Sheriffmuir  in  the  victorious  wing  of  the  Highland  army 
among  the  Macdonalds,  but  who,  generally,  wrote  very 
severely  of  Mar's  army,  describes  the  conduct  of  the  High- 
landers as  follows  : — "  The  order  to  attack  being  given,  the 
two  thousand  Highlandmen,  who  were  then  drawn  up  in 
very  good  order,  ran  towards  the  enemy  in  a  disorderly 
manner,  always  firing  some  dropping  shots,  which  drew 
upon  them  a  general  salvo  from  the  enemy,  which  began 
at  their  left,  opposite  to  us,  and  run  to  their  right.  No 
sooner  did  that  begin  than  the  Highlanders  threw  them- 
selves flat  upon  their  bellies  ;  and,  when  it  slackened,  they 
started  to  their  feet.  Most  threw  away  their  fuzies,  and, 
drawing  their  swords,  pierced  them  everywhere  with  an  in- 
credible vigour  and  rapidity.  In  four  minutes'  time  from 
their  receiving  the  order  to  attack,  not  only  all  in  our  view 
and  before  us  turned  their  backs,  but  the  five  squadrons  on 
their  left,  commanded  by  General  Whitham,  went  to  the 


right  about,  and  never  looked  back  until  they  had  got 
near  Dunblane,  almost  two  miles  from  us."* 

Towards  the  end  of  January  it  was  found  that  neither 
the  Chevalier  nor  the  earl  were  disposed  again  to  meet  the 
government  troops,  notwithstanding  the  pressure  and  en- 
thusiasm of  the  Highlanders,  who  abused  the  principal 
officers  with  insulting  epithets,  and  reproached  them  with 
betraying  the  army  and  their  Prince.  It  was  on  this  oc- 
casion that  a  Highlander  on  being  asked  by  a  friend  of  the 
Earl  of  Mar,  what  he  would  have  their  officers  to  do,  ex- 
claimed— "  Do  !  What  did  you  call  us  to  take  arms  for  ? 
Was  it  to  run  away  ?  What  did  the  king  come  hither  for  ? 
Was  it  to  see  his  people  butchered  by  hangmen,  and  not 
strike  a  blow  for  their  lives  ?  Let  us  die  like  men  and  not 
like  dogs."  Sir  Donald,  seeing  the  state  of  matters,  and 
quite  satisfied  that  the  Chevalier  and  Mar  could  not  be  in- 
duced again  to  meet  the  enemy,  left  them,  and  returned 
with  his  followers,  numbering  about  a  thousand  able- 
bodied  warriors,  to  the  Isle  of  Skye,  where  he  continued 
for  some  time  at  their  head.  Ultimately  a  detachment 
was  sent  against  him  to  the  Island,  under  command  of  a 
Colonel  Clayton.  He  made  no  active  resistance,  but  being 
unable  to  obtain  a  satisfactory  assurance  of  protection  from 
the  government,  he  passed  over  to  Uist,  where  he  remained 
among  his  friends  and  vassals  until  he  found  means  to 
escape  in  a  ship  which  soon  after  carried  him  safely  to 

He  was  afterwards  attainted,  by  Act  of  Parliament,!  for 
his  share  in  the  rebellion,  and  his  estates  were,  like  most 
others  in  the  Highlands,  forfeited  to  the  crown. 

He  married  Mary,  daughter  of  Donald  Macdonald  of 
Castletown,  J  by  whom  he  had  issue — 

1.  Donald,  who  succeeded  him  as  representative  of  the 

*  Master  of  Sinclair's  Memoirs,  pp.  216-217. 
t  George  I.,  cap.  43. 

J  She  married,  secondly,  as  his  first  wife,  Alexander  Macdonald,  first  of  Bois- 
dale,  with  issue. 


2.  Mary,  who  married  John  Martin  of  Flodigarry,  with 
issue — a  daughter,  Kate,  married  Rev.  Donald  Nicholson. 

3.  Margaret,  who  married  Captain  John  Macqueen,  with 
issue,  two  daughters,  who  died  without  issue. 

4.  Isabel,  who  married,  3rd  of  January,  1725,  Alexander 
Munro,  M.D.,  Professor  of  Anatomy  in  the  University  of 
Edinburgh,  with  issue,  now  representod  by  George  Home 
Monro-Binning-Home  of  Argaty  and  Softlaw,  who  claims 
to  be  "  Heir-general  and  Representative  of  the  Earls  of 
Ross  and  Lords  of  Skye,  and  of  the  Lords  of  the  Isles  ". 
She  died  on  the  10th  of  December,  1774. 

5.  Janet,  who  married  Norman  Macleod,  XVIII.  of 
Macleod,  with  issue. 

He  died,  of  paralysis,  in  171 8,  when  he  was  succeeded, 
as  representative  of  the  family,  by  his  only  son,  who, 
although  he  never  possessed  the  property,  we  shall  reckon 


Twelfth  baron  and  fifth  baronet  of  Sleat.  He  is  said  to 
have  been  the  last  of  the  family  born  in  the  ancient  Castle 
of  Duntulm,  and  to  have  been  a  most  amiable  and  pro- 
mising young  man,  beloved  by  all  his  kindred  and  clan. 
On  the  occasion  of  a  visit  to  friends  in  the  Island  of 
Bernera,  in  1720,  he  suddenly  died  shortly  after  his  arrival 
from  the  bursting  of  a  blood  vessel,  to  the  great  grief  of  his 
family  and  all  his  retainers.  Dying  unmarried,  he  was 
succeeded  as  representative  of  the  family  by  his  uncle  of 


Thirteenth  baron  and  sixth  baronet  of  Sleat,  who  married 
Janet,  daughter  of  Alexander  Macleod  of  Grishernish, 
with  issue — 

1.  Alexander,  who  succeeded. 

2.  Margaret,  who  married  Sir  Robert  Douglas  of  Glen- 


bervie,  baronet,  author  of  the  well-known  Peerage  and 
Baronage,  with  issue. 

3.  Isabel,  who  died  young. 

4.  Janet,  who  married  Sir  Alexander  Mackenzie,  baronet, 
V.  of  Coul,  with  issue. 

He  married  secondly,  Margaret,  daughter  of  John  Mac- 
donald  of  Castletown,  with  issue— 

5.  John,  who  died  young. 

He  died  at   Forres  in   1723,  and  was  succeeded  by  his 
eldest  son, 


Fourteenth  baron  and  seventh  baronet  of  Sleat.  Kenneth 
Mackenzie,  an  advocate  in  Edinburgh,  and  an  intimate 
friend  of  the  family  of  Sleat,  purchased  the  estates,  which 
were  at  the  time  affected  by  considerable  debts,  for  behoof 
of  the  family,  from  the  Commissioners  and  Trustees  for 
the  sale  of  Forfeited  Estates  in  Scotland,  and  acquired  a 
disposition  of  them  in  his  own  favour  of  date  14th  of 
October,  1724.  With  the  view  of  preventing  any  after 
forfeiture,  Mr.  Mackenzie  entered  into  a  contract  with  Sir 
Alexander,  as  heir-male  of  the  attainted  Sir  Donald  Mac- 
donald,  by  which  he  disponed  to  him,  and  to  his  heirs  and 
assignees  whomsoever,  under  certain  prohibitory,  irritant, 
and  resolutive  clauses,  the  lands  and  barony  of  Macdonald, 
and  also  assigned  to  him  the  procuratory  of  resignation 
contained  in  the  disposition  which  he  himself  had  obtained 
in  October,  1724,  from  the  Commissioners  and  Trustees  for 
Forfeited  Estates.  Upon  the  procuratory  contained  in  this 
disposition  and  Sir  Alexander's  resignation  thereto  con- 
tained in  the  contract,  a  charter  was  expede  in  his  favour 
of  the  said  lands,  under  the  Great  Seal,  upon  the  13th  of 
February,  1727,  under  the  conditions  of  entail  cited  in  the 
contract,  all  of  which  are  engrossed  in  the  charter  and  in 
the  instrument  of  sasine  in  his  favour  following  thereon, 
dated  12th  of  August,  and  registered  in  the  General 
Register  of  Sasines  on  the  2nd  of  September,  1827.  The 
entail  is  dated  7th  September,  and  8th  November,  1726  ; 


but  it  is  not  recorded  in  the  record  of  Tailzies.  The  des- 
tination is  "to  and  in  favour  of  Sir  Alexander  Macdonald 
and  his  heirs-male,  whom  failing,  to  his  heirs  whatsoever, 
heritably  and  irredeemably "  ;  and  under  it  the  heir  in 
possession  has  power  "  to  provide  for  his  younger  children, 
besides  the  heir,  with  competent  provisions,  agreeably  to 
the  circumstances  of  the  estate  for  the  time,"  subject  to 
certain  special  qualifications  therein  provided.  In  his 
marriage  contract  Sir  Alexander  settled  the  estate  of 
Macdonald  upon  "  the  heirs-male  of  the  marriage  ". 

The  current  tradition  in  the  Isle  of  Skye  respecting  these 
transactions  conveys  a  slightly  different  account  of  the 
manner  in  which  the  estates  were  ultimately  secured  to 
the  family.  The  Tutor,  who  no  doubt  was  left  in  charge 
by  Mr.  Mackenzie  until  the  attainder  was  removed,  is  said 
to  have  been  a  handsome,  well-built  man,  distinguished 
for  great  athletic  powers  and  for  his  amiable  and  gentle 
disposition.  He,  and  his  elder  brother,  Sir  James  of 
Oronsay,  took,  as  we  have  seen,  a  distinguished  part  in  the 
battle  of  Sheriffmuir,  where  he  held  the  rank  of  Major 
under  Mar,  with  their  brother,  Sir  Donald,  who  died  in 
17 1 8.  Being  married  to  one  of  the  twelve  daughters  of 
Sir  Ewen  Cameron  of  Lochiel,  he  was  in  a  position  to 
secure  great  influence  in  his  own  favour  and  that  of  the 
family ;  for  the  other  eleven  were  married  respectively 
to  Alexander  Drummond  of  Bathaldies  ;  Allan  Maclean 
of  Ardgour  ;  Grant  of  Glenmoriston  ;  Allan  Cameron  of 
Glendessary  ;  Macpherson  of  Cluny  ;  Archibald  Cameron 
of  Dungallan  ;  Peter  Campbell  of  Barcaldine  ;  John  Camp- 
bell of  Achallader ;  Robert  Barclay  of  Urie  ;  Macgregor 
of  Bochady  ;  and  Macdonald  of  Morar  ;  while  her  eldest 
brother,  Sir  John  Cameron,  was  married  to  a  daughter  of 
Sir  Duncan  Campbell  of  Lochnell.  The  current  account  * 
in  Skye  is  as  follows  : — During  the  period  of  forfeiture  the 
Barony  of  Troternish  was  managed  by  a  government  fac- 

*  Taken  down  from  old  John  Macdonald,  who  died  in  1835  at  the  extraordinary 
age  of  107  years,  by  the  Rev.  Alexander  Macgregor.  For  a  full  account  of  John 
Macdonald,  see  Celtic  Magazine,  vol.  iii. ,  pp.  462-66. 


tor  of  the  name  of  Macleod,  alias  MacRuairidh  Mhic 
Uilleim,  a  hard,  cruel,  and  merciless  man,  whose  very  ap- 
pearance was  abhorred  and  detested  by  all  the  inhabitants 
of  Troternish.  The  forfeiture  of  the  Macdonald  estates 
for  the  part  taken  by  the  chief  and  his  family  in  the  recent 
rebellion,  was  a  subject  of  deep  interest  to  many  powerful 
persons  in  the  kingdom,  of  whom  several  were  on  friendly 
terms  with  the  government  of  the  day.  Nothing  was  left 
undone  by  these  friends  to  bring  influence  to  bear  upon 
more  influential  persons  at  head-quarters  on  behalf  of  the 
powerful  and  highly  respected  family  which  had  been 
deprived  of  such  a  vast  and  valuable  property.  The 
government  yielded  after  a  time  so  far  as  to  confer  a  right 
to  the  forfeited  estate,  not  directly  on  the  rightful  heirs, 
but  on  some  of  the  gentlemen  who  had  appealed  to 
government  in  behalf  of  the  Clan  Domhnuill.  The  princi- 
pal among  these  was  Mackenzie  of  Delvin,  and  it  is  said 
that  His  Majesty  the  King  and  his  courtiers  agreed  to 
infeft  that  gentleman  in  the  forfeited  estates  under  a  secret 
understanding  that,  in  due  time,  the  property  would  be 
restored  to  the  rightful  owners,  as  the  government  did  not 
deem  it  prudent  to  make  permanent  enemies  of  such  a 
powerful  sept  as  the  Macdonalds  of  the  Isles,  who  might 
induce  other  branches  of  the  clan  as  well  as  powerful  chiefs 
of  other  clans  to  unite  with  them  in  refusing  allegiance  to 
the  reigning  dynasty.  Be  this  as  it  may,  "  it  is  well  known 
that  the  forfeited  estates  were  not  made  over  to  the  rightful 
heir  but  to  his  brother,  William  the  Taightear.  No  sooner, 
however,  did  this  take  place  than  the  Taightear  delivered 
the  estate  over  to  the  proper  heir,  and  did  not  retain  any 
portion  thereof  to  himself,  except  a  free  grant  of  the  farm 
of  Aird  during  his  lifetime,  and  a  perpetual  lease  of  the 
Island  of  Vallay,  on  the  coast  of  North  Uist,  for  his  heirs 
and  successors,  for  a  shilling  a  year  as  feu.  The  Taightear 
lived  and  died  at  Aird,  a  place  about  two  miles  north  of 
Duntulm  Castle,  and  at  the  most  northern  point  of  Skye. 
The  house  he  lived  in  is  to  this  day  called  '  The  Taightear '. 
When  he  died  his  remains  were  interred  in  Reilig  Mhic 


Dhomhnuill,  in  the  parish  burying-ground,  within  seven  or 
eight  yards  of  the  Kingsburgh  mausoleum,  wherein  rest 
the  remains  of  the  celebrated  Flora  Macdonald.  The 
funeral  of  the  Taightear  was  attended  by  many  thousands 
from  all  parts  of  the  Island,  and  of  the  surrounding  Isles. 
An  idea  may  be  formed  of  the  number  present  on  that 
occasion,  when  it  is  stated  that  the  procession  was  two 
miles  in  length,  six  men  walking  abreast.  Seven  pipers 
were  in  attendance,  who,  placed  at  certain  distances  in  the 
procession,  severally  played  the  funeral  coronach.  Upwards 
of  three  hundred  imperial  gallons  of  whisky  were  provided 
for  the  occasion,  with  every  other  description  of  refresh- 
ments in  proportional  abundance.  The  only  other  funeral 
in  Skye  that  ever  resembled  it  was  that  of  Flora  Mac- 
donald, which  was  about  as  numerously  attended.  Ever 
since  the  death  of  the  Taightear,  his  descendants  from  sire 
to  son  lived  at  Vallay  in  comfort  and  happiness,  until  about 
fifty  or  sixty  years  ago  the  property  became  burdened,  and 
had  to  be  left  by  the  only  remaining  heir,  who,  when  a 
young  man,  entered  the  navy." 

Sir  Alexander  kept  out  of  the  Rebellion  of  1745,  more, 
no  doubt,  from  motives  of  prudence  than  from  any  want 
of  sympathy  with  the  Jacobite  cause. 

It  is  quite  true  that  both  Sir  Alexander  and  Macleod 
of  Dunvegan  promised  to  join  Prince  Charles  if  he  brought 
over  a  French  army  with  him,  though  they  afterwards 
joined  the  government  against  him.  Miss  Macleod  of 
Dunvegan  in  a  letter  to  the  author,  says  that  she  recollects 
seeing  in  the  Macleod  charter  chest  a  correspondence 
which  had  taken  place  between  the  Prince,  Sir  Alexander 
Macdonald,  and  her  ancestor  the  Macleod  of  1745,  "in- 
viting Prince  Charlie  to  come  over  several  months  before 
he  arrived  ".  This  "  very  interesting  "  correspondence  is 
now  lost.  In  the  light  of  these  facts  the  following  letter 
addressed  to  President  Forbes  will  be  found  both  instruc- 
tive and  interesting,  as  showing  the  amount  of  caution, 
indeed,  duplicity,  which  some  of  the  chiefs  practised  : — 
"  My  Lord — Probably  you'll  have  heard,  before  this  reaches 


you,  that  some  of  our  neighbours  of  the  main  land  have 
been  mad  enough  to  arm  and  join  the  Young  Adventurer 
mentioned  in  Macleod's  letter  to  you.  Your  lordship  will 
find  our  conduct  with  regard  to  this  unhappy  scrape  such 
as  you'd  wish,  and  such  as  the  friendship  you  have  always 
showed  us  will  prompt  to  direct.  Young  Clanranold  is 
deluded,  notwithstanding  his  assurances  to  us  lately  ;  and 
what  is  more  astonishing,  Lochiel's  prudence  has  quite  for- 
saken him.  You  know  too  much  of  Glengarry  not  to  know 
that  he'll  easily  be  led  to  be  of  the  Party  ;  but,  as  far  as  I 
can  learn,  he  has  not  yet  been  with  them.  Mr.  Maclean  of 
Coll  is  here  with  his  daughter,  lately  married  to  Tallisker  ; 
and  he  assures  us  of  his  own  wisdom  ;  and,  as  he  has 
mostly  the  direction  of  that  Clan,  promises  as  much  as  in 
him  lies  to  prevent  their  being  led  astray.  You  may 
believe,  my  lord,  our  spirits  are  in  a  good  deal  of  agitation,, 
and  that  we  are  much  at  a  loss  how  to  behave  in  so  extra- 
ordinary an  occurrence.  That  we  will  have  no  connection 
with  these  madmen  is  certain,  but  are  bewildered  in  every 
other  respect  till  we  hear  from  you.  Whenever  these  rash 
men  meet  with  a  check,  'tis  more  than  probable  they'll 
endeavour  to  retire  to  their  islands  ;  how  we  ought  to 
behave  in  that  event  we  expect  to  know  from  your  Lord- 
ship. Their  force,  even  in  that  case,  must  be  very  con- 
siderable, to  be  repelled  with  batons  ;  and  we  have  no 
other  arms  in  any  quantity.  I  pledge  Macleod  in  writing 
for  him  and  myself.  I  come  now  to  tell  you,  what  you 
surely  know,  that  I  am  most  faithfully,  my  Lord,  your 
most  obedient  humble  servant, 

(Signed)        Alex.  Macdonald.* 
Tallisker,  nth  Aug.,  1745. 

The  part  which  Sir  Alexander  took  during  the  Rebellion 
of  1745,  and  the  interest  he  and  his  lady  took  in  the  after 
proceedings — the  escape  of  Prince  Charles  and  the  adven- 
tures of  Flora  Macdonald — are  too  well  known  to  require 
recapitulation  here;  especially  as  they  will  appear  at  length, 

*  Culloden  Papers. 


in  another  work  preparing  for  the  press*.  We  may  how- 
ever record  an  incident  which  occurred  during  his  visit, 
after  Culloden,  to  Fort-Augustus,  where  he  went  to  meet  the 
Duke  of  Cumberland.  On  presenting  himself,  the  Duke,  in  a 
half  jocular  way,  exclaimed  "  Oh  !  is  this  the  great  rebel  of 
the  Isles,"  when  Sir  Alexander  immediately  and  tartly  re- 
plied, "My  Lord  Duke,  had  I  been  the  rebel  of  the  Isles,  your 
Royal  Highness  would  never  have  crossed  the  river  Spey". 
Sir  Alexander  was  very  popular  in  the  Isles,  where 
his  hospitality  was  unbounded.  He  constantly  dwelt  among 
his  people,  and,  in  consequence,  wielded  very  great  in- 
fluence over  them.  This  is  proved  in  a  special  manner  by 
his  having  succeeded  in  keeping  them  from  following 
Prince  Charles,  for  they  all  favoured  his  cause.  It  is  said 
that  his  consumption  of  claret  at  table  equalled  a  hogshead 
per  week.  Lady  Margaret  was  equally  popular.  Mrs. 
Mackinnon  Corry  told  Dr.  Johnson  "that  she  was  quite 
adored  in  Skye,"  and  that  "  when  she  travelled  through  the 
Island,  the  people  ran  in  crowds  before  her  and  took  the 
stones  off  the  road  lest  her  horse  should  stumble  and  she 
be  hurt ".  She  was  one  of  the  greatest  beauties  and  most 
accomplished  ladies  of  her  age,  graces  which  she  inherited 
from  her  mother  "  the  greatest  beauty  of  her  day  in  Scot- 
land," whose  eight  daughters  "  were  all  equally  remarkable 
with  herself  for  a  good  mien,"  and  all  "  beautiful  women, 
conspicuous  for  their  stature  and  carriage,  all  dressed  in  the 
splendid  though  formal  fashions  of  that  period,  and  inspired 
at  once  with  dignity  of  birth  and  consciousness  of  beauty,  f 
Johnson  says  that  even  in  her  eighty-fifth  year  the  coun- 
tess had  "  little  reason  to  accuse  time  of  depredations  on 
her  beauty  "  ;  while  Boswell  describes  her  as  "  majestic,  her 
manners  high-bred,  her  reading  extensive,  and  her  conver- 
sation elegant ".  It  is  not  surprising  that  the  good  and 
beautiful  daughter  of  such  a  mother  should  have  been  the 
theme  of  English  and  Gaelic  bards,  and  that  her  memory 

*  The  History  and  Adventures  of  Flora  Macdonald  :    by  the  Rev.  Alexander 
Macgregor,  M.A.  :  A.  &  W.  Mackenzie,  Inverness. 
+  Traditions  of  Edinburgh. 


should  be  revered  among  such  a  warm-hearted  people  as 
her  lord's  retainers  in  the  Isle  of  Skye. 

Sir  Alexander  refused  to  lead  his  men  in  person,  saying, 
in  reply  to  President  Forbes,  that  he  must  remain  in  Skye 
"  to  give  the  people  directions  and  to  keep  the  proper 
countenance  in  that  country  ".  This  indeed  was  absolutely 
necessary,  for  scarcely  any  one  could  be  induced  to  join 
against  the  Prince.  Those  enrolled  were  never  told 
whether  they  were  to  fight  for  or  against  him,  and  they 
were  greatly  disappointed,  on  arriving  at  Inverness,  to  find 
•that  they  had  to  fight  for  the  government  against  their 
Prince,  their  brother  Highlanders  and  Islesmen.  Though 
some  time  previously  Macleod  of  Macleod  wrote  to  Presi- 
dent Forbes  that  he  and  Sir  Alexander  could  raise  from 
fifteen  hundred  to  two  thousand  men  among  their  followers, 
only  two  companies  of  Macdonalds  turned  up  at  Inverness, 
where  they  arrived  on  the  31st  of  December,  under  the 
command,  as  Captains,  of  James  Macdonald,  of  Aird, 
Troternish,  and  John  Macdonald  of  Kirkibost,  both  sons  of 
William  the  Tutor,  and  cousins  of  Sir  Alexander  himself. 

Sir  Alexander  was  in  great  favour  with  President  Forbes 
of  Culloden,  as  well  as  with  the  Duke  of  Cumberland. 
His  Royal  Highness  afterwards  corresponded  with  him, 
and  complimented  him  on  his  loyalty,  at  the  same  time 
assuring  him  of  his  friendly  regard. 

He  married,  first,  on  the  5th  of  April,  1733,  Anne, 
daughter  of  David  Erskine,  of  Dun,  in  the  county  of 
Forfar  (a  Lord  of  Session  and  Justiciary),  and  relict  of 
James,  Lord  Ogilvie,  son  of  David,  third  Earl  of  Airly,  and 
by  her  (who  died  in  Edinburgh  in  the  27th  year  of  her  age) 
had  one  son — 

1.  Donald,  who,  born  10th  Jaurary,  1734,  died  young. 
He  married,  secondly,  on  the  24th  of  April,  1739,  Lady 

Margaret  Montgomery,  daughter  of  Alexander,  ninth  Earl 
of  Eglintoun,  and  by  her  (who  died  in  Welbeck  Street, 
London,  on  the  30th  of  March,  1799)  had  issue — 

2.  James,  who  succeeded  his  father. 

3.  Alexander,  who  succeeded  his  brother,  Sir  James  ;  and 


4.  Archibald,  born,  after  his  father's  death,  in  1747. 
He  studied  for  the  law,  and  was  called  to  the  English 
Bar,  where  he  soon  distinguished  himself;  early  in  his 
career  he  was  made  a  King's  Counsel.  In  1780,  he  was 
appointed  a  Welsh  Judge  ;  Solicitor-General,  7th  of  April, 
1784 ;  Attorney-General,  28th  of  June,  1788,  on  which 
occasion  he  received  the  honour  of  knighthood.  In  1777, 
he  was  elected  Member  of  Parliament  for  Hindon.  At  the 
general  election  in  1780  he  was  returned  for  Newcastle- 
under-Lyne,  and  re-elected  in  1784  and  1 790.  He  was 
appointed  Lord  Chief  Baron  of  the  Exchequer  in  1793  ; 
made  a  Privy  Councillor,  and,  on  the  27th  of  November, 
18 1 3,  he  was  created  a  baronet.  On  the  26th  of  December, 
1777,  he  married  Lady  Louisa  Leveson  Gower,  eldest 
daughter  of  Granville- Leveson,  first  Marquis  of  Stafford, 
K.G.,  with  issue — (1)  James  Macdonald,  who  on  the  death 
of  his  father,  on  the  10th  of  May,  1826,  succeeded  as  second 
baronet.  (2)  Francis  Macdonald,  a  captain  in  the  Royal 
Navy;  born  on  the  22nd  of  May,  1785,  and  died  in  the  West 
Indies,  on  the  28th  of  June,  1804,  in  the  twentieth  year  of 
his  age,  without  issue  ;  (3)  Caroline  Margaret,  who  died 
young;  (4)  Susan,  who  died  young  at  Lisbon  in  1803; 
(5)  Louisa,  who  died  unmarried  on  the  15th  of  April,  1862; 
and  (6)  Caroline-Diana,  who  married  the  Rev.  Thomas 
Randolph,  Prebendary  of  St.  Paul's,  Chaplain  to  the  Queen, 
and  Rector  of  Hadham,  Herts,  son  of  the  Right  Rev.  Dr. 
John  Randolph,  Bishop  of  London.  She  died  on  the  13th 
of  December,  1867.  Sir  J  AMES,  born  on  the  14th  of 
February,  1784,  was,  in  1805,  elected  a  member  of  Parlia- 
ment, for  Newcastle-under-Lyne ;  also  in  1806  and  1807. 
He  afterwards  represented  Calne.  In  1829,  he  was  elected 
M.P.  for  Hampshire,  and  was  one  of  the  clerks  of  the 
Privy  Seal.  He  married,  first,  on  the  5th  of  September, 
1805,  Elizabeth,  second  daughter  of  John  Sparrow  of 
Bishton,  Staffordshire,  without  issue.  He  married,  secondly, 
10th  August,  1810,  Sophia,  eldest  daughter  of  William- 
Charles,  4th  Earl  of  Albemarle,  with  issue  (1),  Archibald 
Keppel,   the    present    Baronet ;    (2),   Granville- Southwell, 


born  1821  ;  died  1831.  He  married,  thirdly,  on  the  20th  of 
April,  1826,  Anne  Charlotte,  daughter  of  the  Rev.  J.  Savile- 
Ogle  of  Kirkley  Hall,  Northumberland.  Sir  James  died 
of  cholera,  in  1832,  in  which  year  he  had  been  appointed, 
in  the  month  of  May,  High  Commissioner  of  the  Ionian 
Islands.  He  was  succeeded  by  Sir  ARCHIBALD  Keppel 
MACDONALD  of  East  Sheen,  the  third  Baronet,  who  was 
born  on  the  15th  of  October,  1820,  educated  at  Harrow, 
and  succeeded  his  father,  Sir  James,  in  June,  1832.  He 
married,  first,  on  the  1st  of  May,  1849,  Lady  Margaret 
Sophia  Coke,  daughter  of  Thomas-William,  first  Earl  of 
Leicester.  She  died,  4th  November,  1868,  without  issue. 
He  married,  secondly,  2  5th  November,  1869,  Catherine  Mary, 
eldest  daughter  of  J.  Coulthurst  of  Gargrave  Hall,  York- 
shire, widow  of  the  Hon.  Thomas-Edward  Stonor,  eldest 
son  of  the  third  Lord  Camoys,  with  issue  (1)  Archibald- 
John,  born  2nd  of  February,  187 1,  and  (2)  Mary-Catherine. 
Sir  Archibald  was  a  captain  in  the  Scots  Fusilier  Guards, 
from  which  he  retired  in  1849,  and  equerry  to  the  late 
Duke  of  Sussex.  He  is  a  Deputy-Lieutenant  and  Magis- 
trate of  Hampshire,  and  was  High  Sheriff  of  the  County 
in  1865. 

Sir  Alexander  Macdonald  of  Sleat  died  of  pleurisy,  in 
the  36th  year  of  his  age,  at  Bernera,  Glenelg,  on  the  23rd 
of  November,  1746,  while  on  his  way  to  London  to  wait 
upon  the  Duke  of  Cumberland.  He  was  succeeded  by  his 
eldest  son, 


Fifteenth  baron,  and  eighth  baronet  of  Sleat.  He  was 
served  heir  to  his  father  on  the  24th  of  January,  175 1, 
when  only  10  years  of  age,  with  the  view  of  taking  up  the 
procuratory  of  resignation  contained  in  his  father's  con- 
tract of  marriage  between  him  and  his  second  wife,  Lady 
Margaret  Montgomery,  dated  23rd  of  April,  1739,  in  which 
the  lands  and  barony  of   Macdonald  were  made  over  to 


the  heirs  male  procreated  of  that  marriage.  Thereafter  a 
charter  under  the  Great  Seal,  dated  ioth  December,  1754, 
was  expede  in  favour  of  Sir  James  of  the  lands  and  barony 
of  Macdonald,  under  the  conditions  of  entail  specified  in 
the  original  contract  and  Sir  Alexander's  charter  which 
followed  thereon.  Sir  James  was  infeft  on  the  12th  of 
August  in  the  same  year,  and  his  instrument  of  sasine  is 
recorded  in  the  General  Register  of  Sasines,  under  date 
of  15th  September,  1756.  In  175 1,  Mackenzie  of  Delvine 
bought  the  estate  of  Strath  from  John  Mackinnon  of  Mac- 
kinnon,  for  behoof  of  Sir  James,  at  the  time  a  minor.  The 
property  of  Strath  remained  in  haereditate  jacente  of 
Delvine,  while  the  fee  of  superiority  was  in  haereditate 
jacente  of  Sir  James.  A  charter  of  abjudication  of  these 
lands  was  afterwards  expede  in  favour  of  Sir  James,  his 
heirs  and  assignees,  upon  certain  debts  paid  out  of  the 
price,  but  the  property  was  not  finally  conveyed  Xo  the 
Macdonald  family  until  1799,  when  Mr.  Kenneth  Mac- 
kenzie, Delvine's  heir,  granted  a  disposition  to  Alexander 
Wentworth,  Lord  Macdonald,  in  which  he  admitted  the 
trust  ab  initio,  and  disponed  the  estate  of  Strath  to  his 
lordship  and  his  heirs  and  asignees  in  fee  simple,  with 
procuratory  and  precept,  upon  which  a  charter  and  infeft- 
ment  followed  in  his  lordship's  favour. 

Old  Kingsburgh,  on  his  liberation  from  imprisonment  in 
Edinburgh  Castle,  for  helping  Prince  Charles  to  escape,  on 
the  4th  of  July,  1747,  was  appointed  tutor  to  Sir  James, 
in  which  capacity  he  acted  with  prudence  and  judgment, 
until  the  latter  came  of  age,  when,  in  consideration  of  his 
long  and  faithful  services  to  the  family,  Sir  James  granted 
him  an  annuity  of  fifty  pounds  a  year,  which  he  continued 
to  receive  until  he  died,  at  the  great  age  of  eighty-three,  on 
the  13th  of  February,  1772. 

In  1764,  Sir  James  went  on  a  shooting  expedition  to  his 
property  of  North  Uist,  accompanied  by  Colonel  John 
Macleod  of  Talisker  and  several  other  Skye  gentlemen. 
While  deer-stalking  at  a  place  called  Airidh-na-Gaoithe, 
Colonel   Macleod's  gun   went  off   accidentally,  a  twig  of 


heather  having  caught  the  trigger.  The  shot  lodged  in  Sir 
James'  leg,  when  he  instantly  fell  to  the  ground.  The 
party  soon  procured  blankets  from  the  nearest  cottages,  on 
which  he  was  carried  over  the  moor,  a  distance  of  five  miles, 
to  Vallay  House,  the  residence  of  his  relative,  Ewen  Mac- 
donald  of  Vallay.  Mr.  Macdonald,  celebrated  locally  as  a 
poet  and  musician,  composed,  on  this  occasion,  the  well- 
known  air,  Cumha  11a  Coise,  "  the  Lament  for  the  Foot,"  to 
words  beginning  : — 

Mo  ghaol,  mo  ghaol,  do  chas  threubhach, 
Dha  'n  tig  an  t-osan  's  am  feileadh  ; 
Bu  leat  toiseach  na'n  ceudan 
'N  am  feidh  'bhi  ga'n  ruith. 

The  inhabitants  of  the  Island,  suspecting  that  Talisker  had 
intentionally  shot  their  chief,  at  once,  on  hearing  of  the 
accident,  flew  to  arms,  surrounded  Vallay  House,  threaten- 
ing to  take  Colonel  Macleod's  life,  and  it  was  only  after 
Macdonald  of  Vallay  and  his  other  friends,  in  whom  they 
had  confidence,  positively  assured  them  that  the  mishap 
was  purely  accidental,  that  they  were  persuaded  with  diffi- 
culty to  disband  and  return  to  their  homes.  Sir  James 
was  confined  to  his  friend's  house  for  several  weeks,  and 
upon  his  recovery,  Vallay  composed  the  well-known  pio- 
baireachd,  "  Sir  James  Macdonald  of  the  Isles'  Salute," 
which  he,  at  the  same  time,  played  with  great  taste  and 
skill  on  his  great  Highland  bag-pipes.* 

Sir  James  Macdonald  was  a  distinguished  scholar.  A 
contemporary  describes  him  : — "  As  one  of  the  most 
extraordinary  young  men  I  ever  knew.  He  studied  very 
hard  ;  was  a  scholar  and  a  mathematician  ;  and  yet,  at 
twenty,  I  have  heard  him  talk  with  a  knowledge  of  the 
world  which  one  would  not  have  expected  to  hear  but 
from  the  experience  of  age.  He  had  great  and  noble 
schemes  for  the  civilisation  and  improvements  of  his  own 
country,  and  appeared,  upon  the  whole,  to  be  one  of  those 
superior  spirits  which  seemed  formed  to  show  how  far  the 

*  Cameron's  History  and  Traditions  of  the  Isle  of  Skye. 


powers  of  humanity  can  extend."*  He  was  undoubtedly 
a  young  man  of  great  natural  parts,  and  these  were  im- 
proved by  a  liberal  education  and  travel.  He  was  "  of  a 
most  sweet  disposition,  and,  for  learning  and  the  liberal 
arts  and  sciences  inferior  to  none  of  his  contemporaries  ". 
Being  of  a  very  delicate  constitution,  it  was  thought  a 
warmer  climate  would  suit  him  better.  He  therefore  went 
to  Italy  in  1765,  where  he  met  and  associated  with  most 
of  the  learned  men  of  that  country.  He  finally  found  his 
way  to  Rome,  where,  after  a  lingering  illness,  he  died  on 
the  26th  of  July,  1766,  greatly  regretted  by  all  who  had 
made  his  acquaintance.  Cardinal  Piccolomini,  governor  of 
Rome  at  the  time,  composed  an  elegant  Latin  poem  in  his 
memory,  and  he  was  commanded  by  Pope  Clement  XIII. 
to  accord  to  Sir  James  the  most  magnificent  public  funeral 
ever  given  to  a  Protestant.  He  was  accompanied  in  his 
travels  on  the  Continent  by  the  Duke  of  Buccleuch  and 
Adam  Smith.  On  his  death,  his  own  countrymen  and 
foreigners — men  of  learning  at  home  and  abroad — "con- 
tended with  each  other  who  should  pay  the  greatest  marks 
of  respect  to  his  merits  and  his  virtues  ".  His  mother,  who 
outlived  him,  erected  a  monument  to  his  memory  in  the 
Parish  Church  of  Sleat,  which  had  been  executed  at  Rome. 
It  has  the  following  inscription,  composed  by  his  personal 
friend,  George,  Lord  Lyttelton  : — 

To  the  memory  of  Sir  James  Macdonald,  Baronet,  who,  in  the  flower  of 
youth,  had  attained  to  so  eminent  a  degree  of  knowledge  in  mathematics, 
philosophy,  languages,  and  in  every  other  branch  of  useful  and  polite  learning, 
as  few  have  acquired  in  a  long  life  wholly  devoted  to  study  ;  yet,  to  his 
erudition,  he  joined  what  can  rarely  be  found  with  it,  great  talents  for  business, 
great  propriety  of  behaviour,  and  great  politeness  of  manners.  His  eloquence 
was  sweet,  correct,  and  flowing  ;  his  memory  vast  and  exact ;  his  judgment 
strong  and  accute  ;  all  which  endowments,  united  with  the  most  amiable 
temper,  and  every  private  virtue,  procured  him,  not  only  in  his  own  country, 
but  also  from  foreign  nations,  the  highest  marks  of  esteem.  In  the  year  of 
our  Lord  1766,  the  25th  of  his  life,  after  a  long  and  painful  illness,  which  he 
supported  with  admirable  prudence  and  fortitude,  he  died  at  Rome,  where, 
notwithstanding  the  differences  of  religion,  such  extraordinary  honours  were 
paid  to  his  memory  as  had  never  graced  that  of  any  other  subject  since  the 

*  Carter's  Memoirs,  vol.  ii.,  p.  168,  quoted  by  Douglas  in  the  Peerage. 


days  of  Sir  Philip  Sydney.  The  fame  he  left  behind  him  is  the  best  consola- 
tion to  his  afflicted  family  and  to  his  countrymen  in  the  Isle,  for  whose  benefit 
he  had  planned  many  useful  improvements,  which  his  fruitful  genius  suggested, 
and  his  active  spirit  promoted,  under  the  sober  direction  of  a  clear  and  en- 
lightened understanding. 

He  was  usually  styled  "  The  Scottish  Marcellus,"  and  it 
is  said  of  him  that  in  extent  of  learning  and  genius  he 
resembled  the  admirable  Crichton.  Gaelic  elegies  were 
composed  upon  him  by  his  natural  brother,  Archibald,  a 
distinguished  warrior  and  poet,  popularly  known  as,  "  An 
Ciaran  Mabach";  and  also  by  John  MacCodrum,  the 
celebrated  Gaelic  bard  of  South  Uist. 

General  Stewart  of  Garth  laments  his  early  death  in  the 
following  terms  : — "  To  a  distant  and  unimproved  region 
like  Skye,  the  loss  of  such  a  man  was  irreparable.  The 
example  of  his  learning  and  virtues,  his  kindly  feelings 
towards  his  people,  and  the  encouragements  and  improve- 
ments he  contemplated  for  them,  would,  no  doubt,  have 
produced  incalculable  advantages.  His  learning  and 
accomplishments  could  have  been  understood  and  appre- 
ciated by  the  gentlemen  farmers,  tacksmen,  and  others  of 
his  people,  who,  as  I  have  already  noticed,  were  so  well 
educated  that  conversations  were  frequently  carried  on 
among  them  in  the  Latin  language."  * 

Sir  James  was  educated  at  Eton,  where  he  had  been 
sent  early  in  life  at  his  own  earnest  solicitation.  Dying 
unmarried,  he  was  succeeded  by  his  next  brother, 


Sixteenth  baron,  and  ninth  baronet  of  Sleat,  who,  on  the 
i  £  ffth.  of  July,  1766,  was,  by  patent,  created  a  Peer  of  Ireland 
by  the  title  of  Baron  Macdonald  of  Sleat,  County  Antrim, 
to  himself  and  the  heirs  male  of  his  body.  In  May,  1761, 
he  obtained  a  commission  as  Ensign  in  the  Coldstream 
Regiment  of  Foot-Guards.     On  the  3d  of  May,  1768,  he 

*  Sketches  of  the  Highlanders,  vol.  ii. ,  p.  419, 


married  Elizabeth  Diana,  eldest  daughter  of  Godfrey 
Bosville  of  Gunthwaite,  county  of  York.  In  the  marriage 
contract,  which  is  dated  28th  of  March,  1768,  provision 
is  made  for  an  annuity  of  ^500  in  favour  of  the  lady 
should  she  survive  him,  and  £5000  to  be  paid  to  his 
younger  children,  whether  sons  or  daughters,  "  at  the  first 
term  of  Whitsunday  or  Martinmas  next  after  their  attain- 
ing the  age  of  21  years  complete,  or  after  their  father's 
death,  whichever  of  these  periods  shall  first  happen  ".  In 
the  case  of  more  daughters  or  younger  children  than  one 
he  reserved  power  to  himself  to  divide  that  sum  between 
them  by  a  deed  of  writing  under  his  hand  at  his  own 
discretion,  but  should  he  fail  to  execute  such  a  deed,  the 
money  was  to  be  divided  equally  between  his  younger 
children.  On  the  24th  of  September,  1794,  he  further  pro- 
vided for  a  sum  of  .£7500  to  each  of  his  four  younger  sons. 
Being  a  keen  politician,  he  made  arrangements  by  which 
Sir  Archibald,  his  brother,  and  William  Macdonald,  his 
agent,  obtained  feu-charters  of  parts  of  the  estate,  while 
other  portions  were  conveyed  to  political  friends  in  liferent 
or  wadset,  to  qualify  them  as  voters  for  the  county. 
Shortly  afterwards  these  "  confidential  friends,"  as  they  are 
described,  re-disposed  the  property  which  they  had  acquired 
in  feu  to  his  lordship,  but  no  infeftment  was  taken  by  him 
on  these  re-conveyances. 

Lord  Macdonald  was  educated  at  Eton,  and  was  a  most 
accomplished  and  able  man.  He  took  a  considerable 
interest  in  literature,  and  was  elected  a  member  of  the 
Society  of  Antiquaries.  He  had  a  great  taste  for  music, 
and  encouraged  those  who  took  an  interest  in  the  art.  A 
celebrated  harper  named  O'Kane,  who  travelled  in  the  High- 
lands in  those  days,  was  often  entertained  by  his  lordship, 
and  he  used  to  be  delighted  and  charmed  with  his  perform- 
ances. "  No  one  was  better  able  to  feel  and  to  estimate  the 
superior  talents  of  O'Kane,  for  I  can  vouch  Lord  Macdonald 
to  have  been  one  of  our  best  amateurs  on  the  violin,  and  one 
of  the  best  judges  of  musical  talents  of  that  period.  There 
had  been  for  a  great  length  of  time  in  the  family  a  valuable 


harp  key  ;  it  was  finely  ornamented  with  gold  and  silver, 
and  with  a  precious  stone.  This  key  was  said  to  have 
been  worth  eighty  or  one  hundred  guineas,  and,  on  this 
occasion,  our  itinerant  harper  had  the  good  fortune  of  being 
presented  by  Lord  Macdonald  with  this  curious  and  valu- 
able implement  of  his  profession."* 

In  December,  1777,  letters  of  service  were  issued  to  his 
lordship  to  raise  a  regiment  in  the  Highlands,  with  an  offer 
of  the  Lieutenant-Colonelcy.  He  however  declined  the 
rank  offered  to  him,  but  recommended  that  it  should  be  given 
to  Major  John  Macdonell  of  Lochgarry,  who  was  in  con- 
sequence at  once  appointed  Lieutenant-Colonel-Command- 
ant. Lochgarry  raised  a  fine  body  of  men,  numbering  1086, 
and  Lord  Macdonald's  influence  was  extensively  and 
successfully  exerted  to  complete  the  fine  regiment  after- 
wards known  as  the  76th  or  "Macdonald's  Highlanders".  A 
dispute  arose  in  1799,  about  the  bounty  money  of  the  men, 
when,  before  the  matter  could  be  arranged,  Lord  Mac- 
donald had,  at  the  request  of  the  men,  to  be  sent  for.  When 
the  question  in  dispute  was  explained  to  his  Lordship  "  he 
advanced  the  money  claimed  by  the  soldiers,  which 
amounted  to  a  considerable  sum,  taking  upon  himself  the 
risk  of  receiving  it  from  those  whose  conduct  had  nearly 
ruined  a  brave  and  honourable  body  of  men,  as  they  after- 
wards proved  themselves  to  be  ".| 

His  lordship  was  distinguished  from  the  other  barons 
of  the  family  by  the  appellation  of  the  "  Morair  Ban,"  or 
the  Fair-haired  Lord.  And  "  being  an  English-bred  chief- 
tain "  and  severe  in  exacting  and  increasing  his  rents,  he 
was  somewhat  unpopular  with  his  principal  tenants,  several 
of  whom  combined  to  keep  the  lands  at  the  old  rents,  and 
many  of  them  feeling  keenly  the  hard  pressure  of  the  times 
were  forced  to  emigrate.^  "  The  harbour  of  Portree,"  says 
Boswell,  describing  his  own  and  Dr.  Johnson's  arrival  there, 

*  Gunn  on  the  Harp. 

f  Stewart's  Sketches  of  the  Highlanders. 

X  History  and  Traditions  of  the  Isle  of  Skye. 


"  is  a  large  and  good  one  ;  there  was  lying  in  it  a  vessel,  to 
carry  off  emigrants,  called  the  Nestor.  It  made  a  short 
settlement  of  the  differences  between  a  chief  and  his  clan." 
Referring  to  his  lordship's  education  in  the  South  of 
England,  "  Dr.  Johnson  observed  of  this  mode  of  educat- 
ing a  young  man,  heir  to  a  great  estate,  at  a  distance  from, 
and  in  ignorance  of  the  country  where  he  has  so  high  a 
stake  ;  that  he  cannot  acquire  a  knowledge  of  the  people  ; 
can  form  no  local  attachment ;  be  a  stranger  to  his  own 
property  ;  and  to  his  tenants  ;  is  often  disgusted  with  both, 
although  the  one  be  valuable  by  its  produce,  and  the  other 
estimable  in  character.  'A  strong-minded  man,  like  Sir 
James  Macdonald,  may  be  improved  by  an  English  educa- 
tion, but  in  general  they  (the  Highland  chieftains)  will 
be  tamed  into  insignificance.'  In  continuation  of  the 
same  subject,  Boswell  says  '  my  endeavours  to  rouse  the 
English-bred  chieftain  in  whose  house  we  were  to  the 
feudal  and  patriarchal  feeling,  proving  ineffectual,  Dr. 
Johnson  this  morning  tried  to  bring  him  to  our  way  of 
thinking.'  Johnson,  'Were  I  in  your  place,  Sir,  in  seven 
years  I  would  make  this  an  independent  Island.  I  would 
roast  oxen  whole,  and  hang  out  a  flag  to  the  Macdonalds,' 
Sir  Alexander  was  still  starting  difficulties.  Johnson,  '  Nay, 
Sir,  if  you  are  born  to  object,  I  have  done  with  you  ;  Sir,  I 
would  have  a  magazine  of  arms.'  Sir  Alexander,  'They 
would  rust'  Johnson,  'Let  there  be  men  to  keep  them 
clean  ;  your  ancestors  did  not  let  their  arms  rust'  Four 
years  after  this  conversation,  Sir  Alexander  found  that 
arms  put  into  the  hands  of  his  people  would  not  be  suffered 
to  rust,  and  that,  when  an  opportunity  offered,  they  were 
ready  to  take  them  up  in  defence  of  their  country."  * 
By  his  lady,  as  above,  he  had  issue — 

1.  Alexander   Wentworth,   who    succeeded    as    second 
Lord  Macdonald. 

2.  Godfrey,   who   afterwards  became   third    Lord   Mac- 

*  General  Stewart's  Sketches  of  the  Highlanders,  vol.  ii.,  pp.  420,  21. 


3.  Archibald,  born  2 1st  May,  1777.  He  was  a  Captain 
in  the  Prince  of  Wales'  Own  Regiment  of  Light  Dragoons  ; 
and  married,  at  Edinburgh,  on  the  29th  of  October,  1802, 
Jane,  eldest  daughter  and  co-heir  of  Duncan  Campbell  of 
Ardneave,  Argyllshire,  with  issue — (1)  Archibald,  born 
17th  of  August,  1803  ;  (2)  Campbell,  born  16th  of  June, 
1808  ;  (3)  James,  born  27th  of  January,  181 1  ;  (4)  Nixon- 
Alexander,  born  5th  of  February,  181 3  ;  and  (5)  Arthur, 
born  in  18 16.  He  had  also  two  daughters — Mary  and 
Elizabeth  Diana. 

4.  James,  born  on  the  29th  of  January,  1783,  who  became 
a  Lieutenant-Colonel  in  the  first  regiment  of  Foot  Guards  ; 
served  in  the  Mediterranean  in  1807-8  ;  in  Spain  under  Sir 
John  Moore ;  and  in  the  expedition  to  the  Scheldt  in 
1809.  He  was  killed,  unmarried,  at  Bergen-op-Zoom,  9th 
of  March,  18 14. 

5.  Dudley  Stewart  Erskine,  born  14th  of  February,  1786, 
a  Fellow  of  Trinity  College,  Cambridge.  He  died,  26th  of 
August,  1840. 

6.  John-Sinclair,  born  nth  March,  1788. 

7.  William,  born  1789. 

8.  Diana,  who  married,  as  his  second  wife,  on  the  5th  of 
March,  1788,  the  Right  Hon.  Sir  John  Sinclair  of  Ulbster, 
in  the  county  of  Caithness,  baronet,  a  member  of  Parlia- 
ment, a  Privy  Councillor,  and  President  of  the  Board  of 
Agriculture,  with  issue.     She  died  22nd  of  April,  1845. 

9.  Elizabeth.      10.  Annabella. 

Sir  Alexander,  first  Lord  Macdonald,  died  on  the  12th 
of  September,  1795,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 


Seventeenth  baron,  tenth  baronet,  and  second  Lord  Mac- 
donald of  Sleat,  who  was  born  on  the  9th  of  December, 
1773.  He  expended  about  £35,000  on  the  improvement 
of  the  property.  Among  others  was  the  erection  of  the  fine 
modern  family  residence,  Armadale  Castle,  in  the  Parish 


of  Sleat.  On  the  21st  of  January,  181 5,  we  find  him 
writing  to  his  brother,  General  Bosville,  as  next  heir  of 
entail,  acquainting  him  that  certain  improvements  had 
been  going  on  since  1800,  "and  are  still  in  progress,  particu- 
larly the  erection  of  a  new  mansion-house  and  offices  at 
Armadale,  for  which  I  am  now  forming  a  contract  with 
tradesmen ".  Armadale  Castle  is  a  fine  Gothic  building. 
The  lobby  and  staircase  are  very  fine,  and,  from  the  correct- 
ness of  design  and  elegance  of  finish,  have  been  very  much 
admired.  A  portrait  of  the  ancestor  of  the  family,  Somer- 
led  of  the  Isles,  in  full  Highland  costume,  in  stained  glass, 
adorns  the  staircase  window,  and,  from  the  lobby,  presents 
a  very  beautiful  appearance. 

In  1798,  his  lordship  requested  permission  of  his  majesty 
to  raise  a  regiment  on  his  estates  in  the  Isles.  This  request 
was  readily  granted  and  a  fine  body  of  men  was  soon  recruited, 
called  the  Regiment  of  the  Isles  ;  inspected  and  embodied 
at  Inverness,  by  Major-General  Leith  Hay  on  the  4th  of 
June,  1799.  It  would  appear,  General  Stewart  says,  from 
the  selection  made  that  there  was  no  want  of  men  on 
Lord  Macdonald's  estate,  as  their  age  averaged  twenty-two 
years,  a  period  of  life  best  calculated  to  enter  upon  military 
service.  They  afterwards  behaved  themselves  exceedingly 
well.  "  The  misunderstandings,  unhappily  too  frequent  in 
Highland  regiments  in  former  times,  were  never  heard  of  in 
the  Regiment  of  the  Isles.  At  the  reduction  of  the  regi- 
ment at  Fort  George,  in  1802,  the  soldiers  ordered  out  all 
carriages  in  the  garrison,  and  putting  the  officers  in  them, 
dragged  them  to  the  village  of  Campbelton,  where  they 
treated  them  with  wine  and  other  delicacies." 

His  Lordship  died  unmarried,  on  the  19th  of  June,  1824, 
when  he  was  succeeded  by  his  next  brother, 


Eighteenth  baron,  eleventh  baronet,  and  third  Lord  Mac- 
donald  of  Sleat,  a  Major-General  in  the  army,  who  assumed 
the  additional  name  of  Bosville  after  that  of  Macdonald, 


but  dropped  it  on  his  accession  to  the  estates  and  titles  of 
Macdonald.  He  was  born  on  the  14th  of  October,  1775, 
and  on  the  15th  of  October,  1803,  he  married  Louisa  Maria, 
daughter  of  Farley  Edsir.  By  her,  who  died  on  the  10th 
of  February,  1835,  he  had  issue — 

1.  Alexander  William  Robert  Bosville,  who  succeeded, 
in  terms  of  a  special  Act  of  Parliament,  to  the  English 
estates  of  Thorpe. 

2.  Godfrey  William  Wentworth,  who  succeeded,  in  terms 
of  the  same  Act,  to  the  titles  of  Macdonald  and  the  Scotch 

3.  James  William,  born  31st  October,  1810.  He  is  a 
Lieutenant-General;  C.B. ;  Knight  of  the  Legion  of  Honour; 
of  the  Medjidie  ;  A.D.C.,  Equerry,  and  Private  Secretary  to 
His  Royal  Highness  the  Duke  of  Cambridge,  the  Field- 
Marshal  Commanding-in-Chief ;  and  Colonel  of  the  21st 
Hussars.  He  served  in  the  Crimea,  on  the  Staff  of  His 
Royal  Highness  the  Duke  of  Cambridge  ;  had  two  horses 
shot  under  him — one  at  Alma,  and  the  other  at  Inkerman. 
He  was  promoted  to  the  rank  of  Lieutenant-Colonel  for 
distinguished  services  in  the  field  ;  became  full  Colonel  in 
i860;  Major-General  in  1868;  and  Lieutenant-General  in 
October,  1877.  He  married,  on  the  26th  September,  1859, 
Elizabeth-Nina,  second  daughter  of  Joseph-Henry,  third 
Lord  Wallscourt,  with  issue — (1),  George  Godfrey,  Page  of 
Honour  to  the  Queen,  born  17th  of  May,  1861  ;  and  (2),  a 
daughter,  Mary  Selina-Honoria. 

4.  William,  born  27th  September,  1 8 17,  an  officer  in  the 
army,  died  unmarried  on  the  nth  of  May,  1847. 

5.  Louisa,  who,  on  the  4th  of  June,  1826,  married  the  Right 
Hon.  John,  5th  Earl  of  Hopetoun,  with  issue — an  only  son, 
John-Alexander,  6th  and  late  Earl.     She  died  in  1854. 

6.  Elizabeth  Diana  Bosville,  who  married,  on  the  20th 
of  June,  1825,  Duncan  Davidson  of  Tulloch,  the  present 
Lord-Lieutenant  of  the  County  of  Ross,  with  issue — (1), 
Duncan  H.  C.  R.  Davidson,  yr.  of  Tulloch,  who  married 
Georgina  Elizabeth,  daughter  of  John  Mackenzie,  M.D.,  of 
Eileanach,  with  issue  —  Duncan ;  John   Francis  Barnard  ; 


Mary  ;  Elizabeth  Diana;  Adelaide  Lucy  ;  Georgiana  Vero- 
nica ;  and  Christina  Isabella.  (2),  Godfrey  Wentworth,  died 
unmarried  ;  (3),  Caroline  Louisa,  who  married  Captain 
George  Wade,  Commissioner  of  the  Sceychelles,  with  issue, 
two  daughters  ;  (4),  Julia  Bosville,  who  married  the  Hon. 
Henry  Chetwynd,  R.N.,  with  issue,  four  sons  and  three 
daughters  ;  (5),  Adelaide  Lucy,  who  married  Colonel 
George  William  Holmes  Ross  of  Cromarty,  late  g2d  High- 
landers, Commanding  the  Highland  Rifle  (Ross-shire) 
Militia,  with  issue — (a),  Duncan  Munro,  R.N.;  (b),  Hugh 
Rose,  R.A.,  died  in  1879  ;  (c),  Walter  Charteris,  lieutenant 
68th  Light  Infantry  ;  (d),  Katherine,  married  Frank  Maud 
Reid,  Captain,  71st  Highland  Light  Infantry  ;  (e),  Louisa 
Jane  Hamilton,  married  the  present  Lord  Macdonald  of 
Sleat  ;  (f),  Ida  Eleanora  Constance,  who  on  the  15th  of 
June,  1 88 1,  married  Captain  the  Hon.  Godfrey  Ernest 
Percival  Willoughby,  born  1 8th  June,  1847,  late  9th 
Lancers,  heir  presumptive  to  the  present  Lord  Middleton  ; 
(6),  Matilda  Justina,  who  married  Lieutenant-Colonel 
Craigie-Halkett  of  Cramond,  with  issue — Duncan,  Lieu- 
tenant, 78th  Highlanders,  and  six  daughters  ;  (7),  Diana 
Bosville,  died  unmarried  ;  (8),  Louisa  Maria,  died  un- 
married ;  (9),  Elizabeth  Diana,  who  married  Patrick  A. 
Watson  Carnegy  of  Lour.  The  Hon.  Elizabeth  Diana 
Bosville  Davidson,  died  in  1839. 

7.  Julia,  who  married,  on  the  nth  of  October,  1838,  the 
Rev.  Charles  Walter  Hudson,  Rector  of  Trowell,  Notting- 
hamshire, grandson  maternally  of  George,  first  Marquis 
Townshend,  with  issue — all  dead. 

8.  Susan  Hussey,  who  married,  9th  of  February,  1832, 
Richard  Beaumont,  Captain,  R.N.  (both  dead),  with  issue, 
— (1),  Godfrey,  captain  in  the  Guards  ;  (2),  Richard  ;  (3), 
Dudley  ;  (4),  Cecil  W.,  R.N.  ;  (5),  Diana,  who  married 
Count  Gourowski  Wichde  ;  (6),  Averil,  who  married  Hussey 
Vivian,  M.P.,  with  issue;  (7),  Gwuidaline.  The  Hon.  Susan 
Hussey  Beaumont,  died  on  the  5th  of  November,  1879. 

9.  Diana,  married,  25th  of  April,  1839,  Colonel  John 
George  Smyth  of  Heath  Hall,  Yorkshire,  late  M.P.,  and 


grandson  maternally  of  George,  fourth  Duke  of  Graf- 
ton. He  died  on  the  10th  of  June,  1869.  She  died  in 
1880,  and  left  issue — (1),  George  John  Fitzroy,  born  13th 
September,  1841  ;  (2),  Henry  Edward,  born  26th  of  March, 
1843  ;  (3),  Diana  Elizabeth,  who,  on  the  21st  of  April,  1858, 
married  the  Earl  of  Harewood  ;  (4),  Louisa  ;  (5),  Mary  ; 
(6),  Eva. 

10.  Jane  Bosville. 

1 1.  Marianne,  who,  on  28th  of  June,  1840,  married  Henry 
Martin  Turnor,  late  Captain,  1st  King's  Dragoon  Guards, 
with  issue — (1),  Archibald  Henry,  late  Lieutenant,  R.N., 
who  died  unmarried  ;  (2),  Charles,  Captain,  Life  Guards  ; 
(3),  Henrietta  Minna,  the  present  Countess  of  Eldon  ;  (4),, 
Florence;  (5),  Mabel.  Captain  Turnor  died  on  the  12th 
of  July,  1876. 

12.  Octavia  Sophia,  who,  on  the  7th  of  December,  1841,, 
married  William  James  Hope  Johnstone  of  Annandale 
(who  died  17th  of  March,  1850),  with  issue — (1),  John 
James,  late  M.P.  for  the  county  of  Dumfries  ;  (2),  Percy 
Alexander  ;  (3),  Wentworth  William  ;  (4)  Alice  Minna. 

His  lordship  died  on  the  18th  of  October,  1832,  and  was 
succeeded  in  the  Scottish  titles  and  estates  by  his  second 


Nineteenth  baron,  twelfth  baronet,  and  fourth  Lord  Mac- 
donald  of  Sleat,  who  was  born  on  the  16th  of  March,  1809, 
and  married  on  the  21st  of  August,  1845,  Maria  Anne, 
daughter  of  Thomas  Wyndham  of  Cromer  Hall,  Norfolk, 
with  issue — 

1.  Somerled  James  Brudenell,  who  succeeded  his  father. 

2.  Ronald  Archibald  Bosville,  the  present  peer. 

3.  Godfrey  Alan,  who  died  in  infancy,  on  the  7th  of  July, 

4.  Eva  Maria  Louisa,  who,  on  the  7th  of  June,  1873, 
married  Captain  Algernon  Langham,  Grenadier  Guards. 
He  died  in  1874. 


5.  Flora  Matilda,  who  died,  unmarried,  on  the  12th  of 
March,  1851. 

6.  Lillian  Janet,  who,  on  the  2nd  of  August,  1876,  married 
Francis,  Viscount  Tarbat,  born  3rd  of  August,  1852,  second 
son  of  the  Duke  of  Sutherland,  and  heir  to  the  Duchess  in 
the  Cromartie  estates  and  titles,  with  issue. 

7.  Alexandrina  Victoria,  a  god-daughter  of  Her  Majesty 
the  Queen. 

Two  other  daughters  died  in  infancy. 
His  Lordship  died  on  the  25th  of  July,  1863,  and  was 
succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 


Twentieth  baron,  thirteenth  baronet,  and  fifth  Lord  Mac- 
donald  of  Sleat.  He  was  born  on  the  2nd  of  October,  1849, 
and  died  unmarried,  on  the  25th  of  December,  1874,  when  he 
was  succeeded  by  his  next  and  only  surviving  brother, 


Twenty-first  baron,  fourteenth  baronet,  and  sixth  and  pre- 
sent Lord  Macdonald  of  Sleat.  He  was  born  on  the  9th 
■of  June,  1853,  and  married,  on  the  1st  of  October,  1875, 
Louisa  Jane  Hamilton,  second  daughter  of  Colonel  George 
William  Holmes  Ross  of  Cromarty,  with  issue — 

1.  Somerled  Godfrey  James,  his  heir,  born  21st  of  July, 

2.  Godfrey  Evan  Hugh,  born  1879. 

3.  Archibald  Ronald  Armadale,  born  20th  of  May,  1880. 


THE  Macdonalds  of  Balranald  are  descended  from 
Donald  Macdonald,  known  among  the  Highlanders 
as  "  Donald  Herrach ".  He  was  a  son  of  Hugh, 
first  of  Sleat  (son  of  Alexander,  third,  and  brother  of  John, 
last  Earl  of  Ross  and  Lord  of  the  Isles)  by  a  daughter  of 
Macleod  of  Harris. 

I.  Donald  Herrach  Macdonald  appears  to  have 
had  possession  of  a  great  portion  of  North  Uist,  with  a  resi- 
dence at  Balranald.  His  natural  brother,  Gillespie  Dubh,  a 
desperate  character,  seems  to  have  had  designs  upon  the 
lands  possessed  by  his  brother  Donald ;  whereupon  he  deter- 
mined upon  his  destruction.  From  an  old  manuscript, 
in  which  Gillespie  is  described  as  of  "  a  designing  and 
ambitious  disposition,"  we  extract  the  following  account  of 
the  means  that  he  used  to  gain  his  object,  and  how  he  in 
consequence  came  to  a  violent  end. 

Being,  as  we  have  said,  most  anxious  to  obtain  possession 
of  his  brother's  lands  in  North  Uist,  he  "  contrived  under 
some  specious  pretence  to  inveigle  Donald  Herrach  to  the 
neighbouring  Dun  of  Loch  Scolpeg,  where  he  had  made 
arrangements  for  his  destruction.  Gillespie  and  his  associ- 
ates being  afraid  of  the  personal  strength  of  Donald 
Herrach,  which,  it  is  said,  was  uncommon  even  in  those 
times,  as  '  his  single  blow  left  seldom  work  for  two,'  were 
consequently  obliged  to  revert  to  stratagem  and  duplicity, 
even  after  they  had  their  victim  in  their  power.  They 
proposed,  after  partaking  of  some  refreshments,  that  they 
should  pass  some  of  their  time  in  some  gymnastic  feats 



(at  which  Donald  was  very  expert),  such  as  who  should 

leap  highest,  they  having  previously  contrived  that  one  of 
the  associates,  named  Paul,  should  place  a  thong,  with  a 
noose,  through,  or  over,  the  wooden  partition  of  the 
apartment  in  which  they  were  assembled,  and  remain 
•concealed  on  the  opposite  side,  ready,  when  Donald  would 
try  the  leap,  to  get  the  noose  over  his  neck  and  strangle, 
or  hold  him,  while  Gillespie  Dubh  and  the  rest  of  his 
associates  could,  with  more  safety  to  themselves,  finish 
him.  This  they  did  by  running  a  red-hot  spit  through  his 
body.  Gillespie  got  the  lands  for  the  time,  as  also  posses- 
sion of  Donald  Herrach's  eldest  son,  Ranald.  The  other  son, 
Angus  Fionn,  escaped  to  his  friends  in  Skye.  Some  time 
afterwards,  Gillespie  visiting  his  eldest  brother,  Donald 
Gallach,  in  Skye,  they  went  where  a  boat  or  galley  had 
been  built  for  him,  and  wishing  to  have  Gillespie's  opinion 
of  her,  he  observed  that  he  thought  there  was  something 
deficient  under  her  bow.  Donald  stooping  down  to  see  it, 
Gillespie  Dubh  drew  his  dirk  and  stabbed  him  to  the  heart. 
He  had  now  got  possession,  not  only  of  the  two  estates, 
but  also  of  the  heirs  of  his  brothers,  whom  he  had  murdered. 
Gillespie  afterwards  resided  in  Uist,  and  what  is  most 
singular  is,  that  he  should  preserve  the  lives  of  his  nephews, 
the  rightful  heirs  to  the  property,  and  that  he  should 
educate  them  with  care  ;  but  it  was  presumed  that  he  was 
satisfied  with  acting  as  guardian,  or,  as  it  was  then  called, 
Tutor  to  the  young  men,  and  I  do  not  believe  he  had  any 
family  of  his  own. 

"These  two  young  men,  Donald  Gruamach,  son  of 
Donald  Gallach,  and  Ranald,  son  of  Donald  Herrach,  grew 
up  to  manhood  under  the  subjection  of  their  unnatural 
uncle,  but  determining  to  take  the  first  opportunity  of 
ridding  themselves  of  his  thraldom  and  injustice,  they 
resolved  to  quarrel  with  him  at  an  early  opportunity,  which 
offering,  as  they  were  in  quest  of  deer,  by  Donald 
Gruamach's  letting  slip  his  own  dogs  at  the  first  deer  they 
saw,  at  which  Gillespie  took  offence,  and  challenged  him 
for  so  doing.     Donald  retorting,  said  that  he  had  a  better 


right  to  the  deer  than  he  had,  and  at  the  same  time  striking 
his  uncle.  Gillespie,  calling  Ranald,  desired  him  to  give 
him  his  sword  as  the  fellow  had  hurt  him.  Donald  said, 
*  Give  it  to  him,  Ranald  as  he  deserves,  and  remember 
your  father's  death  and  my  father's ' ;  upon  which  Ranald 
drew  the  sword  he  carried  for  his  uncle,  and  slew  him 
with  it  on  the  spot.  This  took  place  on  a  small  rising 
ground  in  the  glen  between  North  and  South  Lee  in  Uist 
(called  Crock  Gillespie  Dhuibh  at  Beallach-a-Skail),  and 
Archibald  is  known  to  this  day  by  the  name  of  Gillespie 
dubh  Bheallach-a-Skail.  A  servant  who  attended  them  at 
the  time  observed  to  Ranald,  that  he  should  strike  a  second 
blow,  and  that  all  would  be  clear  before  him,  thereby 
intimating  that  by  killing  his  cousin,  Donald  Gruamach, 
he  would  have  the  property.  Ranald  replied  that  he 
wished  he  had  not  done  what  he  did.  Upon  the  man's 
finding  that  his  advice  was  not  followed,  he  left  them,  and 
fled  to  Harris,  where  his  descendants  are  at  this  day  known 
by  the  name  of  Stalkers,  or  Macdonalds  of  the  second 

"  Paul,  who  assisted  with  the  thong  at  the  murder  of 
Donald  Herrach,  obtained  lands  at  Balmore,  in  North  Uist, 
from  Gillespie  Dubh,  but  he  occasionally  resided  for  his 
better  security  at  Dun  Steingarry  on  Loch  Paible  at  Bal- 
ranald,  he  being  in  terror  of  his  life,  after  the  death  of  his 
patron,  Gillespie  Dubh,  from  Donald  Herrach's  sons, 
Ranald  and  Angus  Fionn,  the  latter  of  whom  came 
expressly  from  Skye  for  the  purpose  of  revenging  his 
father's  death.  He  wounded  Paul  as  he  was  endeavouring 
to  gain  the  sanctuary  of  Kilmuir,  and  an  end  was  put  to 
his  life  by  a  blind  man  that  followed  Angus  Fionn,  on 
hearing  of  the  pursuit,  but  in  a  manner  too  savage  to  be 
mentioned.  There  are  some  of  Paul's  descendants  at 
present  in  Benbecula.  Of  Angus  Fionn  were  descended 
the  Macdonalds  of  Trumisgarry.  He  generally  resided  at 
Dun  Angus,  at  Orinsay. 

"  Ranald  Mac  Dhoil  Herrach  went  afterwards  to  Ireland, 
where  he  distinguished  himself  in  the  wars  carried  on  in 


the  northern  provinces  of  that  country  by  the  Antrim 
family,  at  that  time  very  powerful.  Being  severely  wounded, 
he  returned  to  his  native  country  accompanied  by  a  medical 
attendant  of  the  house  of  Maclean,  whose  posterity  were 
settled  afterwards  at  Cuidrach,  in  Skye,  and  of  whom  is 
descended  Sir  Lachlan  Maclean  of  Sudbury. 

"  Ranald  lived  afterwards  at  Griminish,  and  frequently 
visited  his  cousin  and  chieftain,  Donald  Gruamach,  who 
resided  on  his  estate  in  Skye.  On  one  occasion  he  found, 
on  his  going  to  Dunskaich  in  Sleat,  that  a  party  of  the 
tribe  of  Clanranald-  were  there,  revelling  without  control, 
they  presuming  on  the  protection  of  their  kinswoman,  a 
daughter  of  Clanranald,  the  wife  of  their  host,  Donald 
Gruamach  (who  was  himself  of  an  indolent,  passive  disposi- 
tion). Ranald,  despising  the  pusillanimity  of  his  relation, 
seized  on  twelve  of  them  early  one  morning,  and  hung  them 
up  to  the  walls  of  the  castle  in  front  of  the  lady's  window,  and 
going  immediately  to  his  friend  told  him  that  he  was  just 
setting  off  for  Uist.  He  was  requested  to  remain  and  partake 
of  some  breakfast  previous  to  his  departure.  Ranald  replied 
that  he  was  afraid  when  the  lady  would  look  out  of  her 
window,  the  sight  she  would  see  would  not  incline  her  to 
thank  him  for  his  morning's  work,  and  he  immediately 
departed.  It  is  supposed  that  she  afterwards  instigated  Black 
Finnon  Mackinnon  to  murder  Ranald,  which  took  place 
some  time  thereafter  at  a  spot  marked  by  a  cairn  on 
Druimard  in  Balmore,  as  he  was  on  his  way  to  pass  the 
New  Year  with  Donald  Gruamach  at  Kirkibost,  who  had 
sent  Finnon  to  Griminish  for  Ranald  on  New  Year's  day, 
and  on  coming  to  Druimard,  Mackinnon  produced  Donald 
Gruamach's  dirk  (which  he  had  stolen  for  the  purpose)  as 
a  token  that  it  was  Donald  Gruamach's  orders  that  Ranald 
should  be  killed  by  the  people,  which  was  done  accordingly." 

The  murder  of  Donald  Herrach,  in  the  cruel  man- 
ner here  described,  is  corroborated  by  the  New  Statis- 
tical Account  of  the  Parish  of  North  Uist,  where  it  is 
related,  in  addition  to  what  has  been  said,  that  "  Paul,  at 
the  moment  Donald's  head  was  within  the  loop,  drew  the 


thong  with  savage  determination,  and  strangled  him. 
From  this  circumstance  he  was  called  Paul  na  h-Eille,  or 
Paul  of  the  Thong.  His  life  was  short.  Revenge,  which 
in  barbarous  ages,  takes  a  summary  mode  of  inflicting 
punishment,  soon  overtook  him.  In  a  few  weeks  there- 
after, while  Paul  was  building  a  stack  of  corn,  from  the 
top  of  it  he  observed,  at  some  distance,  a  person  of  large 
stature  rapidly  moving  towards  the  place.  He  hastily 
asked  those  around  him  from  what  airt  the  wind  had 
blown  the  day  before?  On  being  informed  it  was  from 
the  east,  and  a  leading  wind  from  Skye,  he  exclaimed,  the 
person  at  a  distance  must  be  Angus,  commonly  called 
Aonas  Fionn,  or  Fair,  son  of  Donald  Herrach,  who  pos- 
sessed some  part  of  Troternish  in  Skye,  and  that  it  was 
time  for  him  to  look  to  his  own  safety.  At  full  speed  he 
fled  to  the  Church  sanctuary  at  Kilmuir,  a  distance  of 
about  three  miles.  Angus  saw  him  at  a  distance,  and, 
following  him  with  still  greater  speed,  just  as  he  was 
crossing  a  small  rivulet  that  bounded  the  sanctuary  on  the 
south  side,  bent  his  unerring  bow,  and  the  arrow  pierced 
Paul  in  the  heel.  He  fell ;  his  legs  in  the  water  and  the 
rest  of  his  body  on  the  land  within  the  sanctuary,  which 
to  this  day  is  called  Lhead  Phoil,  or  Paul's  Field.  This 
field  forms  part  of  the  glebe  of  the  parish.  It  is  im- 
mediately adjoining  the  church,  and  the  scene  is  pointed 
out  about  100  yards  from  it.  A  blind  man,  a  Comh-alt 
(foster-brother)  of  Donald  Herrach,  is  said  to  have  taken 
a  brutal  and  indescribable  revenge  on  Paul,  which  put  an 
end  to  his  lingering  life.  The  memory  of  Paul  na  h-Eille 
is  still  held  in  universal  detestation,  while  the  descendants 
of  Donald  Herrach  have  since  his  time  possessed  and  still 
possess  large  farms  in  North  Uist.  Loch  Scolpeg,  in  which 
is,  or  rather  was,  the  dun,  where  Donald  Herrach  was  so  bar- 
barously sacrificed  to  the  evil  passion  of  avarice,  was  some 
years  ago  drained  by  a  gentleman  living  in  its  immediate 
neighbourhood  ;  and  on  the  site  of  the  dun  he  has  erected  a 
small  octagonal  building."  This  erection  the  present  writer 
saw  still  standing  while  on  a  recent  visit  to  North  Uist. 



II.  Ranald  Macdonald,  son  of  Donald  Herrach,  des- 
cribed as  of  Griminish  and  Balranald,  was  succeeded  by 
his  son, 

III.  Angus  Macdonald  of  Griminish  and  Balishear, 
who  was  succeeded  by  his  son, 

IV.  HUGH  MACDONALD  of  Griminish,  succeeded  by  his 

V.  John  MACDONALD  of  Griminish,  succeeded  by  his 

VI.  Donald  Macdonald  of  Knocknantoirean  and 
Balranald.  We  are  unable  to  procure  trustworthy  data 
regarding  the  wives  of  the  preceding  heads  of  this  family, 
but  there  is  no  doubt  that  they  succeeded  each  other  from 
father  to  son  in  legitimate  succession.  Donald  Macdonald 
was  succeeded  by  his  son, 

VII.  Alexander  Macdonald,  of  Kirkibost  and  Bal- 
ranald, who  married,  first,  Jessie,  daughter  of  John,  son  of 
Sir  Donald  Macdonald,  Bart,  of  Sleat  (Donald  Gorm  Og) 
with  issue  an  only  son,  Donald,  who  succeeded  him.  He 
married,  secondly,  a  daughter  of  the  Rev.  Donald  Macleod, 
minister  of  Harris,  with  issue — several  sons,  of  whom  the 
Macdonalds  of  Peniniurein  and  Springfield;  and  a  daughter, 
who  married  the  Rev.  John  Macaulay,  minister  of  South 
Uist,  with  issue. 

Alexander  was  succeeded  by  his  only  son  by  the  first 

VIII.  Donald  Macdonald  of  Balranald,  who  married 
Catharine,  daughter  of  Captain  James  Macdonald  of  Aird,* 
by  his  wife,  a  daughter  of  Macdonald  of  Kinloch-Moidart, 
with  issue, 

1.  Alexander,  his  heir. 

2.  James  (afterwards  a  Major  in  the  army),  who  married 

*  This  James  Macdonald  of  Aird,  was  a  son  of  William  the  Tutor  (third  son 
of  Sir  Donald  Macdonald,  third  baronet  of  Sleat,  by  his  wife  Lady  Mary  Douglas, 
second  daughter  of  Robert,  third  Earl  of  Morton),  by  his  wife  Catharine,  daughter 
of  the  famous  Sir  Ewen  Cameron  of  Lochiel.  Through  the  marriage  into  the 
Kinloch-Moidart  family,  as  stated  in  the  text,  it  is  said  that  the  Macdonalds  of 
Balranald  were  the  nearest  heirs  to  Kinloch-Moidart,  but  that  the  late  Colonel 
Macdonald  entailed  the  property  on  his  mother's  relatives,  otherwise  it  would  have 
gone  rightfully  to  the  family  of  Balranald,  in  virtue  of  the  above-named  marriage. 


Elizabeth,  daughter  of  Mr.  Owen,  a  banker  in  Tiverton,  with 
issue — nine  sons,  three  of  whom  attained  distinction  in  the 
Army,  and  all  of  whom  died  unmarried.  He  had  also  one 
daughter,  who  died  in  infancy.  Donald  had  also  two 
daughters,  Jessie  and  Catharine,  both  of  whom  died  un- 

He  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 
,  IX.  Alexander  Macdonald,  designated  of  Lyndale. 
He  was  a  captain  in  the  Bengal  Artillery,  from  which 
he  retired  in  consequence  of  ill  health.  He  afterwards 
raised,  and  became  Lieutenant-Colonel  of,  the  2nd  Isle  of 
Skye  Regiment  of  Volunteers,  numbering  510  men,  most 
of  whom,  when  the  Militia  were  disbanded,  joined  the 
Glengarry  Fencibles,  or  Caledonian  Rangers. 

He  married  Jane  Craigdallie,  a  lady  belonging  to  an 
ancient  Perthshire  family,  whose  original  name  was  Mac- 
gregor,* with  issue — 

1.  Donald,  who  died  at  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope,  un- 

2.  James  Thomas,  of  Balranald,  who  succeeded  his 

3.  Alexander,  a  captain  in  the  16th  Bengal  Native 
Infantry,  who  died  in  India,  unmarried. 

4.  John  Robertson,  who  served  in  the  38th,  39th,  and  16th 
Regiments,  successively.  He  afterwards  lived  at  the  Rodil 
in  Harris,  and  married  Mary,  daughter  of  Captain  Mac- 
Rae  of  the  Inverinate  family,  with  issue — one  daughter, 
now  residing  with  her  mother  at  Dunvegan,  Isle  of  Skye. 

5.  Elizabeth  Anne,  who  died  unmarried. 

6.  Caroline,  who  died  young. 

7.  Alexandrina  Catherine,  who  married  Andrew  Corn- 
fute,  a  manufacturer  in  Perth,  with  issue — all  of  whom  died 
without  issue. 

*  The  name  of  Macgregor  was  changed  into  that  of  Craigdallie,  under  the 
following  circumstances.  The  ancestor  of  this  lady  joined  the  Chevalier  in  1715, 
and  after  Sheriffmuir  he,  with  his  servant,  when  pursued  by  the  government  troops 
took  shelter  under  a  rock,  called  Craigdallie,  in  the  Carse  of  Gowrie,  and  the  name 
of  the  family  was  afterwards  changed  from  Macgregor  to  Craigdallie.  This 
gentleman's  wife  was  Ann  Don,  a  lady  from  Fife,  belonging  to  the  Newton  Don 
family,  now  represented  by  Sir  John  Wauchope,  Bart,  of  Edmonston. 


8.  Isabella  Maria,  who  married  the  Rev.  Finlay  Mac- 
Rae,  minister  of  North  Uist,  with  issue — six  sons  and  one 
daughter — viz.  (i)  Donald,  who  married  Annabella,  daughter 
of  Captain  Miller  of  Pow,  Perthshire,  with  issue  ;  (2)  Alex- 
ander, a  doctor  in  the  army.  He  married  Miss  Maclean, 
Rochester,  with  issue,  and  died  on  his  return  from  India  ; 
(3)  Duncan,  who  married  in  Australia,  with  issue ;  and 
died  there  ;   (4)  John  Alexander,  minister  of  North  Uist  ,* 

(5)  James  Andrew,  Major,  Inverness-shire  Militia  ;  died  un- 
married ;  (6)  Godfrey  Alexander,  a  medical  practitioner, 
North  Uist;  (7)  Jane  Anne  Elizabeth,  who  married  Edward 
William  Hawes,  R.N.,  with  issue — three  daughters. 

He  was  succeeded  by  his  second  son, 

X.  James  Thomas  Macdonald  of  Balranald,  who 
married  Jane,  daughter  of  Captain  Donald  Mackenzie, 
fourth  son  of  Thomas  Mackenzie,  VI.  of  Applecross,  and 
IV.  of  Highfield,  by  his  wife,  Elizabeth,  only  daughter  of 
Donald  Mackenzie,  V.  of  Kilcoy,  with  issue — 

1.  Alexander,  his  heir,  now  of  Balranald. 

2.  Anne  Margaret,  who  married  Charles  Shaw,  W.S., 
late  Sheriff  Substitute  of  Lochmaddy,  with  issue — (1) 
Duncan,  a  W.S.  ;  (2)  James  Thomas,  a  captain  in  the 
Inverness-shire  Militia ;  (3)  Charles,  married  Mary  Hastie 
in  New  Zealand,  with  issue  ;  (4)  Alexander  ;  (5)  Anne, 
married  Capt.  D.  Cameron,  Glenbrittle,  Skye,  with  issue ; 

(6)  Jane ;  (7)  Margaret  Susan  Christina ;  (8)  Elizabeth 
Anne  Macdonald  ;  (9)  Alexandra  ;  (10)  Maggie,  who  died 
in  1879. 

3.  Elizabeth  Flora  Anne,  who  married  the  Rev.  Neil 
Mackinnon,  minister  of  Creich,  Sutherland-shire,  with  issue 
— (1)  Farquhar  ;  (2)  James  Thomas;  (3)  Catharine,  who 
married  Jas.  Ross  Balblair,  with  issue ;  (4)  Jane ;  (5) 
Jemima ;  (6)  Christina. 

4.  Jessie  Catharine,  who  married  Donald  Macdonald, 
now  in  Australia,  with  issue. 

5.  Jane,  who  married  Captain  Donald  C.  Cameron, 
Talisker,  with  issue — (1)  Ewen  ;  (2)  James  Thomas  ;  (3) 
Donald  ;  (4)  Mary  ;  (5)  Jeanie. 


6.  Jamima  Isabella  (died  in  1874),  who  married  Kenneth 
Macleod,  M.D.,  Calcutta,  with  issue — (1)  Julia;  (2)  Jeanie  ; 
(3)  Alice  Maud. 

James  Thomas  was  succeeded  by  his  only  son, 
XI.  Alexander  Macdonald,  now  of  Balranald,  and 
of  Edenwood  in  the  County  of  Fife.  He  married,  first, 
Margaret  Anne  Christina  (died  1864),  daughter  of  Norman 
MacLeod,  Scalpa,  and  his  wife  Jessie,  daughter  of  Mr. 
MacLeod,  Ebost,  Isle  of  Skye,  without  issue.  He  married, 
secondly,  Margaret  Campbell,  daughter  of  the  late  Major 
Colin  Lyon-Mackenzie  of  St.  Martins,  for  many  years 
Provost  of  Inverness,  with  issue— 

1.  James  Alexander  Ranald,  his  heir. 

2.  Annie ;  3.  Jeannie  Alexandra ;  4.  Margaret  Jamima. 


THE  first  of  this  family  was  James  Macdonald,  second 
son  of  Donald  Gruamach  Macdonald,  fourth  baron 
of  Sleat,  and  brother  of  Donald  Gorm  of  Sleat,  who 
claimed  the  Earldom  of  Ross  and  Lordship  of  the  Isles, 
and  was    killed   by   the    Mackenzies   in    1539,   at    Eilean 
Donain  Castle  in  Kintail. 

I.  James  Macdonald,  first  of  Kingsburgh,  lived  in 
very  turbulent  times,  and  took  a  prominent  part  in  the 
various  disputes  between  the  family  of  Sleat  and  the 
Macleods,  during  the  reigns  of  James  V.  and  Queen  Mary. 
He  was  tutor-in-law  for  his  nephew,  Donald,  sixth  baron 
of  Sleat,  during  his  minority  and  "  acquitted  himself  with 
fidelity  and  honour  ".  He  married  a  daughter  of  Macleod 
of  Harris,  by  whom  he  had  issue, 

1.  John,  his  heir, 

2.  Donald. 

He  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 

II.  John  Macdonald.  About  the  year  1578  this  "John, 
son  and  heir  of  James  Macdonald  Gruamach  (i.e.,  James 
son  of  Donald  the  Grim,  fourth  of  Sleat),  of  Castle  Camus, 
in  Sleat,"  who  was  kept  prisoner  in  the  Castle  of  Inch- 
connell,  Lochawe,  made  complaint  against  the  Earl  of 
Aygyll  for  oppressive  and  illegal  conduct  in  detaining  him 
prisoner.  He  was  killed  about  1585,  in  Mull,  during  a  des- 
perate engagement,  already  described  (pp.  192-195). 

He  married  a  daughter  of  Macdonald  of  Knoydart,  with 
issue,  an  only  son, 

III.  DONALD    MACDONALD,    a    distinguished    warrior, 


commonly  known  as  "Domhnull  Mac  Ian  'ic  Sheumais". 
The  manner  in  which  he  secured  Uistean  Mac  Ghillespic 
Chleirich  for  planning  the  assassination  of  his  uncle  and  chief, 
Donald  Gorm  Mor,  and  depriving  him  of  his  property,  has 
already  been  described,  (pp.  189-192).  He  was  a  man  of 
unsurpassed  courage  and  enormous  bodily  strength ;  and  he 
commanded  the  Macdonalds  of  Skye  in  three  set  battles 
against  the  Macleods  and  Macleans.  In  each  case  he  came 
off  victorious,  against  much  larger  forces  than  his  own. 
In  a  quarrel  which  took  place  between  Donald  Gorm  Mor 
Macdonald  of  Sleat,  and  Rory  Mor  Macleod  of  Dunvegan, 
Donald  took  a  very  prominent  and  distinguished  share. 
Macleod  invaded  the  district  of  Troternish  with  fire  and 
sword.  Macdonald  retaliated  by  sending  a  force  to  invade 
Macleod's  lands  in  Harris,  killing  many  of  the  inhabitants, 
and  carrying  away  a  great  booty  of  cattle:  Macleod  sent 
a  body  of  forty  able-bodied  warriors  to  spoil  and  lay  waste 
the  Island  of  North  Uist,  then  the  property  of  Macdonald, 
and,  according  to  Sir  Robert  Gordon,  took  "  a  prey  of 
goods  out  of  the  precincts  of  the  Church  of  Killtrynad,  wher 
the  people  had  put  all  ther  goods  and  cattle  as  in  a 
Sanctuarie ".  Here  they  were  encountered  by  Donald 
Mac  Ian  'ic  Sheumais  of  Kingsburgh,  at  the  head  of  twelve 
men  who  fought  so  valiantly,  that  they  not  only  rescued 
the  cattle  and  goods  but  killed  Donald  Glas,  the  leader  of 
the  Macleods,  with  nearly  the  whole  of  his  followers.  The 
late  Alexander  Cameron  gives  the  following  version  of  this 
and  other  raids  in  which  Donald  was  the  leading  spirit : — 
The  local  tradition  of  the  battle  narrates  that  it  was  the 
Macleods,  after  having  succeeded  in  raising  the  creach  of 
the  Island,  that  had  gathered  their  booty  into  the  church, 
or  monastery  of  the  Trinity  at  Carinish,  and  that  they 
were  feasting  there  on  some  of  the  plunder,  when  Donald 
Mac  Iain  Mhic  Sheumais  arrived  with  his  twelve  warriors, 
who  fought  with  their  bows  and  arrows  and  swords  with 
such  effect,  that  only  two  of  the  Macleods  escaped  to  con- 
vey the  news  of  their  discomfiture  to  their  chief,  who  was 
with  his  galleys  at  Port-na-long.     Donald  Mac  Iain  Mhic 


Sheumais  received  a  severe  arrow  wound  in  the  action, 
from  which  he,  however,  soon  recovered,  and  continued  to 
distinguish  himself  as  a  warrior.  The  leader  of  the  Mac- 
leods  was  slain  by  a  Macdougall  named  Donald  Mor  Mac 
Neil  Mhic  Iain,  at  the  Sands  named  from  that  circumstance, 
Oitir  Mhic-Dhomhnuil  Ghlais.  The  slain  of  the  party 
were  buried  at  the  scene  of  the  action,  known  as  Feithe- 
-na-fola,  or  the  morass  of  blood,  and  their  sculls  were 
placed  in  the  windows  of  the  church  of  the  Trinity,  where 
they  were  to  be  seen  up  to  a  recent  date.  Rory  Mor,  see- 
ing the  bad  success  of  his  clansmen,  and  suspecting  that 
there  were  greater  forces  in  the  Island,  retired  home,  in- 
tending to  return  shortly  with  greater  forces  to  avenge 
his  loss. 

In  about  three  weeks,  Donald  Mac  Iain  Mhic  Sheumais 
was  sufficiently  recovered  to  proceed  to  Skye,  to  report  the 
affair  at  Carinish  personally  to  his  chief,  Donald  Gorm 
Mor.  He  accordingly  set  sail  in  his  galley  with  a  befitting 
retinue,  but  when  about  half-way  across  the  Minch,  which 
separates  North  Uist  and  the  other  islands  of  the  outer 
Hebrides  from  Skye,  a  violent  snow-storm,  with  contrary 
wind  arose,  so  that  Donald  was  driven  back,  and  had  no 
recourse  but  to  make  for  Rodil,  in  Harris,  one  of  the  seats 
of  his  enemy,  Rory  Mor.  It  was  dark  when  Donald  and 
his  company  landed,  and  their  arrival  was  known  to  no  one 
at  Rodil  with  the  exception  of  Macleod's  page,  Maccrimmon, 
a  native  of  Skye,  to  whom  Donald  stood  in  the  relation  of 
goistidh,  or  godfather.  Rory  Mor,  as  usual,  had  a  number 
of  the  gentlemen  of  his  clan  waiting  on  and  feasting  with 
him  at  Rodil  House.  The  severity  of  the  storm  made  the 
chief  uneasy.  He  paced  to  and  fro  in  his  dining-hall,  and, 
removing  the  panel  from  one  of  the  apertures  that  served 
as  windows,  he  peered  into  the  darkness  without,  and, 
shuddered  as  the  blast  blew  in  through  the  window  a 
shower  of  snow.  Hastily  closing  the  aperture,  he  ex- 
claimed, "  I  would  not  refuse  shelter  to  my  greatest  enemy, 
even  Donald  Mac  Iain  Mhic  Sheumais,  on  such  a  night ". 
Maccrimmon  immediately  answered,  "  I  take  you  at  your 



word,  Donald  Mac  Iain  Mhic  Sheumais  is  here".  Rory 
Mor  was  rather  taken  aback  by  the  unexpected  announce- 
ment, but  yielding  to  no  man  in  hospitality,  he  at  once  re- 
quested that  Donald  and  his  company  should  be  shown  in. 
The  Macdonalds  entered,  and  after  a  formal  salutation,  were 
requested  to  sit  down  to  dinner  with  their  host  and  kins- 
men. The  long  table  groaned  under  its  burden  of  beef, 
venison,  and  salmon.  The  Macleods  were  seated  on  one 
side,  and  the  Macdonalds  ranged  themselves  on  the  other 
side  of  the  table,  the  duine-uasals  of  either  clan  being 
seated  above,  and  the  vassals  below,  the  salt.  Abundance 
of  good  old  wine  was  quaffed,  and  as  it  took  effect,  the 
Macleods,  who  did  not  appear  to  relish  the  presence  of  the 
strangers,  cast  furtive  glances  across  the  table.  At  length 
the  murmured  and  listless  conversation  was  interrupted  by 
the  words,  "  Remember !  this  day  three  weeks  was  fought 
the  battle  of  Carinish,"  spoken  by  one  of  the  Macleods  in 
a  loud  and  empathic  tone.  The  chief  gave  a  frowning  look 
to  the  speaker,  but  that  did  not  deter  him  from  repeating 
the  unfortunate  words,  which  acted  as  a  live  spark  on  the 
combustible  nature  of  the  Macleods,  and  in  an  instant  they 
displayed  a  score  of  daggers.  A  bloody  scene  would  have 
inevitably  followed  had  not  the  chief  at  once  interfered, 
and  with  a  voice  of  authority  commanded  his  hasty  clans- 
men to  sheath  their  weapons,  and  not  disgrace  his  hos- 
pitality and  their  own  gallantry  by  such  an  ill-timed  act. 
They  at  once  obeyed,  and  he  apologised  to  Donald  for  his 
clansmen's  rashness,  and  good  humouredly  enquired  of 
him  why  he  had  unsheathed  his  sword.  Donald  replied 
that  he  did  not  mean  to  act  on  the  offensive,  but  that  if 
any  of  his  men  had  been  struck  he  intended  to  have 
secured  first  the  highest  bird  in  the  air,  "an  t-eun  as  airde 
iha  'san  ealtuinn  ".  When  the  hour  for  retiring  came,  the 
Macdonalds  were  shown  to  an  outer  house  to  sleep,  but 
Donald,  as  being  of  higher  rank,  was  about  being  shown  to 
a  bed-room  in  the  house,  when  he  declined  to  go,  preferring 
to  accompany  his  men  ;  which  he  did.  They  retired  to  rest, 
but  had  scarcely  slept,   when   Maccrimmon   came  to  the 


door  and  called  to  Donald  Mac  Iain  Mhic  Sheumais  that 
there  was  now  a  fair  wind  for  Skye.  The  Macdonalds  at 
once  got  up,  and  rinding  that  the  gale  had  subsided  and  that 
the  wind  was  favourable  they  embarked  in  their  galley  for 
Skye.  They  had  scarcely  reached  the  entrance  of  the  bay 
of  Rodil  when,  on  looking  back,  they  observed  the  dormitory 
they  had  left  in  flames,  some  of  the  Macleods  having 
treacherously  set  it  on  fire,  suspecting  that  the  Macdonalds 
were  within.  The  piper  of  the  Macdonalds  struck  up  the 
piobaireachd,  "  Tha  an  dubhthuil  air  Macleod;  i.e.,  the  Mac- 
leods are  disgraced,"  which  galled  the  Macleods  on  per- 
ceiving that  they  were  outwitted.  The  Macdonalds  were 
soon  borne  by  the  breeze  to  their  destination,  Duntulm,  in 

In  the  absence  of  Rory  Mor  in  Argyll,  seeking  the  aid 
and  advice  of  the  Earl  of  Argyll  against  the  Macdonalds, 
in  1601,  Donald  Gorm  Mor  assembled  his  men  and  made 
an  invasion  of  Macleod's  lands,  desiring  to  force  on  a 
battle.  Alexander  Macleod  of  Minginish,  the  brother  of 
Rory  Mor,  collected  all  the  fighting  men  of  the  Siol 
Tormod,  and  some  of  the  Siol  Torquil,  and  encamped  by 
Ben  Chullin.  Next  day  they  and  the  Macdonalds  joined 
battle,  "  which  continued  all  the  day  long,  both  contending 
for  the  victory  with  incredible  obstinacy  ".  The  leader  of 
the  Macleods  (who  was  cased  in  armour)  together  with 
Niel  Mac  Alister  Roy,  and  thirty  of  the  leading  men  of  the 
Macleods  were  wounded  and  taken  prisoners,  and  the  Mac- 
donalds succeeded  in  gaining  the  battle.  John  MacTormod, 
and  Tormod  MacTormod,  two  near  kinsmen  of  Rory  Mor, 
and  several  others  of  the  Macleods,  were  slain.  Donald 
Mac  Iain  Mhic  Sheumais  fought  with  great  bravery  in  the 
action,  under  Donald  Gorm  Mor.  The  ravine  where  the 
battle  was  fought  is  hence  named  Coire  na  creach,  or  the 
ravine  of  the  spoil.  The  Privy  Council  now  interfered,  and 
requested  the  chiefs  to  disband  and  quit  Skye.  Donald 
Gorm  Mor  was  ordered  to  surrender  himself  to  the  Earl 
of  Huntly,  and  Rory  Mor  to  the  Earl  of  Argyll,  and  were 
charged  to  remain  with  these  noblemen  under  the  pain  of 


treason,  until  the  quarrel  between  them  should  be  settled  by 
the  king  and  council.  Through  the  mediation  of  Angus 
Macdonald  of  Kintyre,  the  Laird  of  Coll,  and  other  friends, 
a  reconciliation  was  effected  between  them,  upon  which 
Donald  Gorm  Mor  delivered  up  to  Rory  Mor  the  prisoners 
taken  at  Ben  Chullin,  after  which  they  refrained  from  open 
hostility,  though  they  had  actions  of  law  against  each 
other.  On  the  reconciliation  being  effected,  Donald  Gorm 
Mor  was  invited  by  Rory  Mor  to  a  banquet  in  Dunvegan 
Castle.  When  Donald  Gorm  appeared  in  sight  of  the 
Castle  he  was  met  by  Macleod's  splendid  piper,  Donald 
Mor  Maccrimmon,  who  welcomed  the  chief  of  the  Mac- 
donalds  by  playing  "The  Macdonald's  Salute,"  which 
piobaireacJid  he  composed  for  the  occasion.  It  was  at  the 
same  banquet  that  he  composed  "  Failte  nan  Leodach  ".* 
Donald  Mac  Ian  'ic  Sheumais  is  said  to  have  been  the  first 
who  ventured  to  drive  Highland  cattle  from  the  Western 
Isles  to  the  mainland  and  southern  markets. 

He  married  a  daughter  of  Macdonald  of  Keppoch  with 
issue  (among  several  others,  some  of  whom  died  young). 

IV.  Alexander  Macdonald,  a  great  loyalist.  He 
joined  Montrose  and  was  engaged  in  all  his  battles.  He 
was  one  of  Sir  Donald  Macdonald's  "  five  cousins,"  killed  at 
Killiecrankie.  He  married  a  niece  of  Sir  Donald  Mac- 
donald, eighth  baron  and  first  baronet  of  Sleat,  with 

V.  Donald  Macdonald,  a  distinguished  soldier,  who, 
with  his  father,  joined  Dundee  at  the  Revolution,  and 
fought  afterwards  at  Sheriffmuir.  He  married  Margaret, 
daughter  of  Donald  Nicolson  of  Scorribreck,  with  issue, 

VI.  Alexander  Macdonald.  One  of  his  contempo- 
raries, Douglas,  himself  (connected  with  the  Sleat  family  by 
marriage),  informs  us  in  the  "Baronage"  that  he  "was  a  man 
of  great  integrity,  probity,  and  honour,  and  has  been  long  one 
of  the  principal  managers  of  his  chief's  affairs,  having  been 
first  appointed  into  that  station  by  old  Sir  Donald  [who  died 
in  1 71 8],  was  continued  by  his  son,  young  Sir  Donald,  by  Sir 

*  History  and  Traditions  of  the  Isle  of  Skye. 


James,  whose  son,  Sir  Alexander,  left  him  one  of  the  Tutors 
to  his  sons — the  late  Sir  James  and  the  present  Sir  Alex- 
ander [who  died  in  1795] ;  and  has  always  acquitted  him- 
self with  great  fidelity  and  an  unspotted  character.  In 
1746,  having  entertained  the  young  Chevalier  at  his  house 
in  Skye,  and  assisted  him  in  making  his  escape,  he  was 
apprehended  by  order  of  the  Duke  of  Cumberland,  and 
sent  prisoner  to  the  Castle  of  Edinburgh,  where  he 
remained,  close  confined,  for  about  twelve  months,  and  was 
at  last  liberated  upon  the  general  Act  of  Indemnity."  All 
the  more  important  public  incidents  of  his  life  are  given 
in  the  Rev.  Alexander  Macgregor's  "  Life  of  Flora  Mac- 
donald,"  who  became  the  wife  of  Donald's  son,  Allan. 

He  married  Florence,  daughter  of  John  Macdonald, 
second  of  Castleton,  with  issue — 

1.  Allan,  his  heir. 

2.  James  of  Knockow,  factor  for  Sir  Alexander  Mac- 
donald, eighth  baronet  of  Sleat.  He  married  a  sister  of 
Major  Macleod  of  Balmeanach,  with  issue — three  daughters; 
(1)  Anne,  who  married  Mr.  Mackenzie,  a  joiner,  by  whom 
she  had  a  large  family,  all  of  whom  emigrated,  with  their 
parents  to  America,  except  a  daughter,  Margaret,  who 
married  Mr.  Macdonald,  schoolmaster  and  catechist,  now 
residing  at  Lochbay,  Barra;  (2)  Margaret;  and  (3)  Flora, 
both  of  whom  died  unmarried. 

3.  Anne,  who  married,  first,  Ronald  MacAlister,  of  the 
family  of  Loup,  in  Argyllshire,  with  issue — nine  sons  and 
five  daughters.  She  married,  secondly,  Lauchlan  Mackinnon 
of  Corry,  in  Skye,  without  issue.  Her  children  by  Alex- 
ander MacAlister  were  (1)  Donald,  (2)  Allan,  both  of 
whom  died  at  Kingsburgh  ;  (3)  James,  died  at  Cour  ;  (4) 
Janet,  died  in  infancy  ;  (5)  John,  died  in  India,  and  left  a 
sufficiently  large  sum  of  money  to  enable  his  father, 
Ranald  MacAlister,  to  purchase  the  estate  of  Strath  ;  (6) 
Charles,  died  in  India  ;  (7)  Keith,  who  became  a  General  in 
the  Army  and  died  at  Torisdale,  Argyllshire  ;  (8)  Norman, 
a  Colonel,  and  Governor  of  Prince  of  Wales  Island.  He 
was  lost  in  the  ship  Ocean  ;  leaving  two  daughters,  Frances 


Byng,  who   married  Angus  MacAHster  of  Balnakill ;  and 
Flora,  who  married  Keith  Macdonald  of  Inistrynich  ;  (9) 
Margaret,  who  married  Dr.  Alexander  Macdonald, 
second  son  of  Charles  Mac  Eachainn,  outlawed  for  taking- 
part  in  the  rebellion  of  1746,  with  issue- — five  sons  and  six 
daughters ;    (a)  John,   (b)   Ronald,   both    Captains    in    the 
H.E.I.C.    Service;    (c)   Alexander,    a    Lieutenant    in    the 
same  Service,  all  three  of  whom  died  in  India  ;  (d)  Keith, 
a   Lieutenant    in   the    Indian    Navy,   who    married    Flora, 
daughter  of  Colonel  Norman  MacAHster,  on  which  occa- 
sion he  added  Macalister  to  his  own  name  of  Macdonald 
to  secure  her  property.     By  her  he  had  one  son  and  two 
daughters — Keith  Norman,  who  died  young;  Emily  Birnie, 
who    married    Dr.    Crichton,  with    issue — a   son,    Charles 
Norman,  now   in   India ;  Margaret  Frances,  who   married 
Brownlow  North,  son  of  the  great  revivalist  preacher  of 
the  same  name  ;  (e)  CHARLES  MACDONALD,  a  Lieutenant 
in  the  Glengarry  Fencibles,  who  married  Anne,  daughter  of 
Captain  Neil  Macleod  of  Gesto,  and  died  at  Ord,  in  1867, 
leaving  a  family  of  five  sons  and  three  daughters  ;  Alex- 
ander Macdonald,  Ord,  who  married  Maria  Macdonell,  of  the 
Keppoch  family,  with  issue — three  sons  (one  of  whom  died 
young),  and  two  daughters  ;    Lachlan  Macdonald,  now  of 
Skaebost,  Isle  of  Skye,  who  married  Wilhelmina,  daughter 
of  the  late  John  Mackenzie  of  Bengal,  by  whom  he  has  a 
family  of  five  sons  and  one  daughter ;  Keith,  a  doctor  of 
medicine,  now  at  Cupar,  who  married  Miss  Nisbett,  Edin- 
burgh,   with    issue — two    sons ;    Neil,    now    of    Dunach, 
Argyllshire,  who  married  Madeline,  daughter  of  the  Rev. 
Mr.    Brown   of  the  North   of  England,  with  issue — three 
sons ;  Charles,    now   of  Clayton,    Fifeshire,    who    married 
Anne    Mary,  daughter  of  Thomas  Williamson,   Glasgow, 
with    issue — two    sons    and    two    daughters ;    Flora,    who 
married  Alexander  Smith,  the  Poet,  author  of  "  A  Summer 
in  Skye,"  with  issue — a  son  and  two  daughters  ;  Isabella 
who  married  John  Robertson  of  Grishernish,  Isle  of  Skye, 
with  issue — a  family  of  four  sons  and  seven  daughters  ;  and 
Margaret,  who  married  Godfrey  Mackinnon  of  North  Goon- 


ambil,  Australia,  with  issue — two  sons  and  two  daughters. 
(_/")  Isabella,  daughter  of  Dr.  Alexander,  second  son  of 
Charles  MacEachainn,  married  Captain  Allan  MacLellan  of 
the  Glengarry  Fencibles,  with  issue — six  sons  (of  whom  four 
died  without  issue),  and  four  daughters ;  Keith,  now  of 
Melfort,  the  eldest  son  alive,  who  married  Jessie  Mac- 
donell  of  the  family  of  Keppoch,  with  issue ;  Alister 
Macdonald,  who  married  Bella  Christian,  daughter  of  Alex- 
ander MacRa  of  Hushinish,  Harris  ;  Charles,  drowned  on 
his  way  to  India;  Marcella,  who  married  Horatio  Maculloch, 
the  famous  landscape  painter,  without  issue  ;  Margaret ; 
Flora  ;  and  Anne,  all  three  married  with  issue,  in  Australia. 

From  Anne  of  Kingsburgh,  in  addition  to  those  above 
given  are  descended,  among  hundreds  of  distinguished 
Military,  Professional,  and  Scientific  men,  John  H.  A. 
Macdonald,  late  Solicitor-General  for  Scotland,  and  now 
Sheriff  of  Perthshire  ;  Captain  Allan  Macdonald  of  Water- 
nish  ;  Mrs.  Brown,  Linkwood  ;  Mrs.  Scott  Moncrieff;  the 
Rev.  Donald  MacKinnon,  Sleat;  Lachlan  MacKinnon,  of  the 
"  Melbourne  Argus  "  ;  William  MacKinnon,  a  distinguished 
M.D.  in  the  Army,  who,  when  quite  a  young  man,  was  on 
Lord  Clyde's  staff  in  India,  made  a  C.B.,  and  is  now  De- 
puty Surgeon-General  in  the  Army  ;  the  Rev.  Roderick 
Morrison,  Kintail ;  Keith  Macalister,  now  of  Glenbarr, 
Argyllshire ;  Alexander  MacAlister,  now  of  Strathaird, 
in  Skye  ;  and  a  great  many  others,  all  of  whom  we  have 
traced  step  by  step,  but  not  being  Macdonalds  by  name  we 
cannot  find  the  necessary  space  to  show  their  descent  and 
connexions  in  detail. 

Alexander  of  Kingsburgh  was  liberated  from  the  prison 
of  Edinburgh  on  the  4th  of  July,  1717,  having  "got  a 
whole  year's  safe  lodging  for  affording  that  of  one  night ". 
He  became  one  of  Sir  James's  Tutors,  in  which  capacity 
he  continued  to  act  until  Sir  James  came  of  age  ;  when,  in 
consideration  of  his  long  and  faithful  services  to  the 
family,  he  granted  him  an  annuity  of  fifty  pounds  sterling 
a-year,  for  the  remainder  of  his  life.     He  died  at  the  great 


age  of  eighty-three,  on   the    13th  of  February,  1772,  when 
he  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 

VII.  Allan  Macdonald,  who  on  the  6th  of  November, 
1750,  married  the  celebrated  Flora  Macdonald  of  history. 
On  the  death  of  Old  Kingsburgh,  Allan  and  his  famous 
wife  took  up  their  abode  in  Kingsburgh  House.  In  1773, 
they  had  the  pleasure  of  entertaining  Dr.  Johnson  and 
Boswell.  This  was  the  same  house  in  which,  under  her 
guidance,  Prince  Charles  slept  for  a  night,  on  his  memorable 
passage  through  the  Isle  of  Skye  from  the  Long  Island. 
Allan  became  embarrassed  in  his  business  affairs  in  con- 
sequence of  his  father's  connection  with  Prince  Charles, 
and  the  neglect  of  Old  Kingsburgh's  affairs  during  his 
imprisonment  in  Edinburgh ;  so,  he  determined  to  emig- 
rate with  his  wife  and  family  to  America.  Soon  after  their 
arrival  in  North  Carolina,  in  1755,  the  American  War  of 
Independence  broke  out.  Allan  became  a  Captain  in  the 
newly  raised  84th  or  Royal  Highland  Emigrant  Regi- 
ment, then  raised,  and  consisting  of  about  1500  Highland 
emigrants  or  their  sons  ;  and  his  wife,  the  famous  Flora, 
remained  in  the  camp,  inspiring  them  with  enthusiasm  in 
the  Royal  Cause,  until  the  troops  commenced  their  march. 
Their  five  sons  also  took  part  in  the  war,  as  did  also  Major 
Alexander  Macleod,  who  had  quite  recently  married  their 
eldest  daughter,  Anne.  Allan  took  a  distinguished  part  in 
the  war,  but  he  was  taken  prisoner  and  committed  to  the 
prison  of  Halifax,  Virginia.  Flora,  in  great  distress  of 
mind  and  means,  determined  to  return  to  Scotland,  at  the 
earnest  request  of  her  husband,  he  promising  to  join  her  and 
her  daughter  Frances  as  soon  as  he  obtained  his  liberty. 
Crossing  the  Atlantic,  the  ship  in  which  she  was  coming 
home  was  attacked  by  a  French  privateer,  and,  during  the 
action  which  followed,  while  all  the  other  lady  passengers 
went  below  for  safety,  Flora  remained  on  deck  encouraging 
the  sailors  by  her  voice  and  example,  and  assuring  them  of 
snccess.  The  enemy  was  soon  overcome  and  beaten  off, 
but  the  brave  Flora  was  knocked  down  and  had  her  arm 
broken  in  the  scrimmage.     She  afterwards  used  to  say  that 


she  imperilled  her  life  both  in  the  cause  of  the  Stuarts  and 
the  House  of  Hanover,  and  that  she  received  little  from 
either  for  her  pains.  On  her  arrival  in  the  Highlands  she 
went  to  reside  with  her  brother  at  Milton,  in  Uist,  and 
remained  there  until,  on  the  Treaty  of  Peace  at  the  con- 
clusion of  the  American  War,  in  1783,  her  husband  was 
liberated,  and  he  returned  to  Scotland.  They  went  back  to 
live  at  Kingsburgh  House,  Allan  enjoying  a  captain's  half- 
pay,  which,  with  the  product  of  the  farm,  enabled  them  to 
live  comfortably  for  the  rest  of  their  days.  Flora  died  on 
the  5th  of  March,  1790,  when  her  remains  were  shrouded 
in  one  of  the  sheets  in  which  Prince  Charles  had  lain  in 
Kingsburgh  House,  while  a  fugitive  in  Skye,  and  which 
Flora  had  carried  with  her,  through  all  her  adventures  in 
America,  and  brought  back  to  Skye  on  her  return.  She 
was  buried  in  the  Kingsburgh  family  vault  in  the  Church- 
yard of  Kilmuir,  where  now  stands  a  fine  monument, 
erected  by  public  subscription,  to  mark  her  last  resting- 
place.  For  full  particulars  of  her  life,  death,  and  funeral, 
we  refer  the  reader  to  her  History  by  the  Rev.  Alexander 
Macgregor  in  the  "  Celtic  Magazine,"  and  now  about  to  be 
published  in  book  form.  Allan,  her  husband,  survived  her 
only  for  a  few  years.  He  died  on  the  20th  of  September, 
1795,  when  he  was  buried  by  the  side  of  his  immortal  wife ;  by 
whom  he  had  a  fine  family  of  five  sons  and  four  daughters — 

1.  Charles,  a  Captain  in  the  Queen's  Rangers.  At  his 
funeral,  Lord  Macdonald,  on  seeing  his  body  lowered  into 
the  grave,  remarked,  "  There  lies  the  most  finished  gentle- 
man of  my  family  and  name".  He  married  Isabella, 
daughter  of  Captain  James  Macdonald  of  Aird,  Troternish, 
son  of  William  Macdonald,  Tutor  of  Sleat,  without  issue. 

2.  Alexander,  an  Officer  in  the  Naval  Service,  lost  at 
sea,  unmarried.  He  went  down  in  the  "  Ville  de  Paris,"  a 
French  line  of  battle  ship,  taken  after  a  severe  fight  ;  he 
and  his  brother,  Ranald,  having  been  put  on  board  in  com- 
mand of  the  prize  crew. 

3.  Ranald,  a  Captain  of  Marines,  "  of  high  professional 
character,  and  remarkable  for  the  character  of  his  appear- 


ance ".     He   was  lost  in  the   "  Ville   de    Paris "  with  his 
brother,  Alexander,  unmarried. 

4  James,  a  brave  officer,  who  served  with  distinction  in 
Tarlton's  British  Legion  ;  known  in  Skye  as  Captain  James 
Macdonald  of  Flodigarry.  He  married  Emily,  daughter  of 
James  Macdonald  of  Skaebost,  with  issue,  two  sons  and 
three  daughters — (1)  James  Somerled  Macdonald,  Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel of  the  45th  Madras  Native  Infantry,  who 
died  in  London,  in  January,  1842,  unmarried.  He  was 
buried  at  Kensal  Green  Cemetery.  (2)  Allan  Ranald,  a 
Captain  in  the  4th  Bengal  Native  Infantry,  who  married 
Miss  Smith,  daughter  of  General  Smith,  of  the  Bengal 
Army,  with  issue — a  son  and  two  daughters.  The  son,  Re- 
ginald Somerled  Macdonald,  of  the  Colonial  Office,  died 
four  years  ago.  He  married  a  daughter  of  Sir  William 
Grove,  an  English  judge,  with  issue — two  daughters,  one  of 
whom,  remarkable  for  her  great  beauty,  died  young  in 
Florence ;  the  other,  Zeila  Flora  Macdonald,  married 
Marshal  Canrobert,  of  France,  with  issue — several  children. 

Of  the  three  daughters  of  Captain  James  of  Flodigarry, 
two,  Flora  and  Charlotte,  died  young  and  unmarried  ;  the 
former  in  her  father's  house  at  Flodigarry,  through  an  illness 
brought  on  by  sleeping  in  damp  sheets  ;  the  latter,  at  the 
age  of  seventeen,  while  on  a  visit  to  her  maternal  aunt,  the 
late  Mrs.  Alexander  Mackenzie  of  Letterewe.  Jessie,  then 
only  surviving  daughter  of  Captain  James  Macdonald  of 
Flodigarry,  married  Ninian  Jeffrey,  New  Kelso,  Lochcarron, 
with  issue — eight  sons  and  two  daughters ;  (1)  Captain  James 
(died  in  1875),  who  married  Mary  Irwin,  leaving  issue — one 
daughter,  who  married  Dixon  Irwin,  shipowner,  Liver- 
pool; (2)  Capt  George,  of  H.M.  32nd  Light  Infantry,  whose 
career  as  a  soldier  was  marked  by  the  most  reckless  bravery. 
Before  he  was  seventeen  he  held  a  Lieutenant's  commission 
in  Don  Pedro's  army  in  Portugal.  The  Portuguese  war 
over,  he  was  next  found  fighting  under  General  Sir  de  Lacy 
Evans,  and  greatly  distinguished  himself  at  the  battle  of 
Venta  Hill,  on  the  5th  of  May,  1836,  when  he  had  to  be 
carried  off  the  field  with  three  bullets  in  his  body.     He  sub- 



sequently  obtained  a  commission  in  the  British  army,  and, 
after  serving  in  the  tropics,  fought  through  the  Sikh  war  of 
1848-9 ;  was  present  at  the  siege  and  storming  of  Mooltan, 
and  at  the  closing  battle  of  Goojerat.  He  married  Annie, 
daughterof  Colonel  William  Geddes,  H.E.I.C.S.,with  issue — 
John  Macdonald,  in  the  24th  Regiment,  and  three  daughters, 
one  of  whom,  Flora  Macdonald  Wylde,  died  in  infancy ; 
Jessie,  still  unmarried  ;  and  Georgina  Amelia,  who  married 
John  Abernethy  Rose,  merchant,  Kurrachee,  India.  Captain 
George  Jeffrey  died  in  China  in  1868.  (3)  William  John, 
stipendiary  magistrate  at  Demerara,  married  Sophia,  widow 
of  the  Rev.  William  Hamilton,  Rector  of  the  Episcopal 
Church  at  Leguan,  Essiquibo,  Demerara,  with  issue — two 
children,  a  boy  and  a  girl  ;  died  in  infancy ;  (4)  Allan 
Ranald  Macdonald,  a  well-known  litterateur  in  London, 
who  married,  and  has  issue,  one  son,  Allan  Ninian  Charles 
Macdonald  ;  (5)  Thomas  Mackenzie,  lost  at  sea,  young  and 
unmarried  ;  (6)  Alexander  Lachlan,  in  Edinburgh,  un- 
married ;  (7)  Ninian,  and  (8)  John,  both  of  whom  died  in 
infancy.  The  daughters  were,  Amelia  Macdonald,  who 
died  unmarried  in  1864  ;  and  Agnes  Johanna,  who  married 
Ranald  Livingstone,  of  Drimsynie,  Argyleshire,  with  issue 
— Ranald  J.  Macdonald,  Alexander  William  John,  Emily 
Nina,  Mary  Frances,  and  Flora  Charlotte  Macdonald.  Mr. 
Livingstone  died  on  the  8th  of  October,  1871. 

5.  John,  the  last  survivor  of  Flora  Macdonald's  dis- 
tinguished sons,  became  Lieutenant-Colonel  of  the  Royal 
Clan  Alpine  Regiment,  and  Commandant  of  the  Royal 
Edinburgh  Artillery.  He  wrote  extensively  on  military 
subjects,  and  was  admitted  a  Fellow  of  the  Royal  Society. 
He  married,  first,  in  India,  Mrs  Bogle,  a  widow,  and 
daughter  of  General  Salmon,  with  issue — two  children,  who 
died  young.  He  married,  secondly,  Frances  Maria,  eldest 
daughter  of  Sir  Robert  Chambers,  Chief  Justice  of  the 
Supreme  Court  of  Judicature,  Bengal,  with  issue — seven  sons 
and  two  daughters:  (1)  Robert,  a  Major  in  the  Indian  army, 
married,  leaving  issue — one  son,  Somerled,  who  died  young; 
(2)  John,  a  Captain   in    the   Indian    army,   married,  with 


surviving  issue — a  son  and  a  daughter ;  (3)  Allan,  died 
young  ;  (4)  William  Pitt,  a  Major-General  in  the  Indian 
army,  twice  married,  with  surviving  issue — seven  sons  and  six 
daughters,  most  of  whom  are  married,  with  issue;  (5)  Charles 
Edward,  in  the  Indian  Civil  Service,  married,  with  issue — a 
son  and  daughter,  both  married  ;  (6)  James,  a  Captain  in 
the  Indian  army,  married,  with  issue — a  son  and  daughter, 
both  married  ;  (7)  Reginald,  Lieutenant,  17th  Lancers, 
married  Miss  Morris,  with  issue — one  daughter,  unmarried ; 
(8)  Flora  Frances,  who  married  Edward  Wylde,  of  the 
Royal  Navy,  whom  she  survives — without  issue  ;  she 
resides  at  Cheltenham,  and  is  the  only  living  grandchild 
of  the  famous  Flora  Macdonald.  (9)  Henrietta  Louisa 
Lavinia,  who  married  Benjamin  Cuff  Greenhill,  of  Knowle 
Hall,  Somersetshire,  with  issue — three  daughters,  the  eldest 
of  whom,  Lavinia,  married  Edward  Amphlett,  and  died, 
leaving  issue — a  son  and  daughter.  The  second,  Flora, 
married  Thomas  Hussey,  and  is  left  a  widow,  with  a  son  and 
three  daughters.     The  third,  Clari,  married,  without  issue. 

Colonel  John  Macdonald  died  at  Exeter,  on  the  16th  of 
August,  1 83 1,  aged  72  years. 

6.  Anne,  who  married  Major  Alexander  Macleod  of 
Lochbay,  Isle  of  Skye,  and  of  Glendale,  Moore  County, 
U.S.A.  He  fought  through  the  American  War  of  Inde- 
pendence ;  subsequently  distinguished  himself  in  the  Euro- 
pean wars,  and  rose  to  the  rank  of  Major-General  in  the 
British  army.  His  wife,  Anne,  daughter  of  Flora  Mac- 
donald, survived  him,  and  died  at  the  house  of  their 
daughter,  Mary,  at  the  village  of  Stein,  Isle  of  Skye,  in 
1834.  The  issue  of  this  marriage  was  ;  (1)  Norman,  killed 
by  Glengarry  in  a  duel,  after  a  quarrel  at  a  Northern  Meet- 
ing Ball  at  Inverness  ;  (2  and  3)  sons,  one  of  whom  married 
in  India ;  (4)  Flora,  who  married  Mr.  MacKay,  Forres,  with 
issue ;  (5)  Mary,  who  died  a  few  years  ago,  unmarried,  in 
Stein,  Isle  of  Skye. 

7.  Frances  or  Fanny,  who  married  Lieutenant  Donald 
Macdonald  of  Cuidrach,*  Isle  of  Skye,  with  issue. 

*"Mrs.    Major  Alexander  Macleod,    daughter  of  Flora   Macdonald,    had  a 


8  and  9.  A  boy  and  girl,  who  died  young  of  typhus  fever, 
aged  respectively  eleven  and  thirteen  years,  at  Killiegray, 
their  father's  residence  when  in  America,  on  the  borders  of 
Richmond  and  Montgomery  Counties.  The  present  pro- 
prietor of  the  property  on  which  they  are  buried  has,  much 
to  his  honour,  fenced  in  the  graves  of  these  children,  to 
preserve  the  spot  sacred  to  Flora  Macdonald's  offspring. 

daughter  married  to  Mr.  Macdonald  of  Cuidrach.  A  daughter  named  Janet,  of 
said  parents,  was  married  to  Major  Alexander  Macdonald  of  Monkstadt,  in  the 
parish  of  Kilmuir  in  Skye,  and  proprietor  then  of  the  small  property  of  Courthill, 
parish  of  Lochcarron.  Major  Alexander  Macdonald  of  Monkstadt,  had  two  sons, 
Hugh  and  Alexander,  and  two  daughters,  Elizabeth  and  Alice.  Hugh  was  tacks- 
man of  Monkstadt,  and  was  married  to  a  daughter  of  Donald  Macdonald  of 
Tanera,  afterwards  of  Kingsburgh,  and  was  proprietor  of  Skaebost  and  Stein  until 
sold.  Said  Hugh  Macdonald  of  Monkstadt  had  a  numerous  family  of  sons  and 
daughters  ;  Alexander,  Donald,  John,  Hugh,  James,  and  daughters — Margaret 
Bosville,  who  married  a  Mr.  Todd,  proprietor  of  Underwood,  Dumfriesshire,  by 
whom  she  had  a  numerous  family;  Jessie  Julia;  Johanna,  and  Eliza.  Almost  all 
went  to  Australia.  Alexander,  eldest  son  of  Major  Macdonald  of  Monkstadt,  was 
never  married.  He  became  insane  when  a  young  man  by  an  operation  performed  on 
his  ears  for  deafness,  and  lived  principally  with  his  brother  Hugh,  and  was  quite 
harmless.  Elizabeth,  daughter  of  Major  Alexander  Macdonald,  was  married  to 
Captain  Alexander  Macleod  of  Borlin,  but  had  no  issue,  and  her  sister  Alice  was 
married  to  Dr.  Millar,  of  Stornoway,  with  issue.  Mrs.  Major  Macleod  had  a 
daughter  named  Fanny,  but  I  think  she  was  never  married." — Rev.  Alexander 
Macgregor,  M.A. 


THE  first  of  the  Macdonalds  of  Castleton  was, 
I.  Donald  Macdonald,  second  son  of  Sir 
Donald  Macdonald,  eighth  baron  and  first  baronet 
of  Sleat,  by  his  wife,  Janet,  second  daughter,  by  his  first 
marriage,  of  Kenneth,  created  first  Lord  Mackenzie  of 
Kintail,  on  the  19th  of  November,  1609,  and  sister  to  Colin 
Ruadh,  and  George,  first  and  second  Earls  of  Seaforth 
(creation  1623).  Donald  of  Castleton  took  a  distinguished 
part  in  the  civil  wars  of  the  time  in  which  he  lived. 

He  married  Margaret,  daughter  of  John  Cameron  of 
of  Lochiel — father  of  the  famous  Sir  Ewen  Dubh,  by 
whom  he  had  issue — 

1.  John,  his  heir. 

2.  Mary,  who  married  her  cousin,  Sir  Donald  Macdonald 
"  A  Chogaidh,"  eleventh  baron  and  fourth  baronet  of  Sleat, 
(who  died  in  17 18),  with  issue;  and  secondly,  Alexander 
Macdonald,  first  of  Boisdale,  as  his  first  wife,  also  with  issue. 

Donald  was  succeeded  by  his  only  son, 

II.  John  Macdonald,  second  of  Castleton.  He  fought 
at  Killiecrankie,  and  married  Mary  Maclean  of  the  family 
of  Ardgour  with  issue — 

1.  Donald,  his  heir. 

2.  Roderick  "Mac  Ian,"  of  Camuscross,  who  married, 
first,  Anne,  daughter  of  John  Macleod  of  Drynoch,  com- 
monly called  "  Ian  Mac  Dhomhnuill  Ghlais,"  from  whom 
the  Macdonalds  of  Tormore. 

3.  Margaret,  who  married,  Sir  James  Macdonald  (of 
Oronsay)  sixth  baronet  of  Sleat,  as  his  second  wife,  with 
issue,  John  Macdonald,  who  died  young,  without  issue. 


4.  Florence,  who  married  Alexander  Macdonald  of 
Kingsburgh,  the  entertainer  of  Prince  Charles  in  1746, 
with  issue — Allan,  who  married  the  famous  Flora  Mac- 
donald, and  others  [see  Family  of  KlNGSBURGH]. 

5.  Isabella,  who  married  John  Mackinnon  of  Kinloch,. 
a  cadet  of  the  Mackinnons  of  Strath,  with  issue. 

He  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 

III.  Donald  Macdonald  of  Castleton,  a  captain  in 
one  of  the  Independent  Skye  Companies  in  1745.  He 
afterwards  joined  the  army  and  became  a  Colonel.  It  was 
he  who  wrote  to  President  Forbes  intimating  the  death  of 
Sir  Alexander  Macdonald,  seventh  baronet  of  Sleatin  1746. 
After  stating  how  the  lady  bore  her  afflictions  "  with  that 
patience  and  resignation  which  becomes  a  christian,  and  a 
woman  of  prudence,"  he  proceeds  to  say,  "There  is,  my 
Lord,  one  particular  in  which  she  has  ordered  me  to  solicite 
your  interest,  at  a  time  she  is  not  in  a  condition  to 
write  to  you  ;  and  that  is  in  behalf  of  Mr.  Macdonald  of 
Kingsborrow,  now  a  prisoner  in  the  Castle  of  Edinborough. 
That  gentleman  has  been  a  principal  manager  of  the  affairs 
of  the  family  of  Macdonald,  for  twenty-eight  years,  and 
did  always  discharge  his  trust  with  faithfulness  and  dili- 
gence. And,  as  by  his  long  management,  he  is  best 
acquainted  with  the  affairs  of  the  family,  so  there  cannot 
be  no  greater  service  at  present  done  her  and  her  children, 
than  that  he  should  be  set  at  liberty,  and  reinstated  in  his 
former  office."  He  then  points  out,  by  her  ladyship's 
request,  the  services  rendered  by  her  late  lord  in  suppress- 
ing the  rebellion,  trusting  that  this  will  now  "  be  remem- 
bered to  his  lady  and  children,  and  they  would  take  the 
liberation  of  the  gentleman  in  the  Castle  as  an  earnest  of 
the  regard  of  the  government  for  her." 

He  married  Isabella,  daughter  of  William  Macleod  of 
Hamer,  (author  of  a  most  curious  book  on  Second  Sight, 
under  the  designation  of  "Theophilus  Insulanus,")  with  issue 
— an  only  son, 

IV.  JOHN  MACDONALD  of  Castleton,  Sheriff-substitute 


of  Skye,  who  married  his  cousin  by  his  mother,  Margaret, 
daughter  of  Macleod  of  Arnisdale,  Glenelg,  with  issue — 

1.  Donald,  who  died  in  Skye,  without  issue. 

2.  Norman,  who  died  in  the  West  Indies,  without  issue. 

3.  Alexander,  a  Major  in  the  army ;  died  in  the  East 
Indies,  without  issue. 

4.  Magnus,  died  in  the  East  Indies,  without  issue. 

5.  John,  a  Captain  in  the  army,  died  at  Skirinish  in 
1833,  without  issue. 

6.  William,  a  Captain  in  the  army,  died  in  the  East 
Indies,  without  issue. 

7.  Flora  of  Skirinish,  who  died  there  unmarried. 

8.  Isabella,  died  unmarried. 

The  Sheriff  died,  at  the  great  age  of  eighty-seven,  on  the 
25th  of  December,  1826. 

The  direct  male  representation  of  Donald,  third  of 
Castleton,  having  thus  entirely  failed  we  must  revert  to  his 

Roderick  Mac  Ian  Macdonald  of  Camuscross, 
second  son  of  John  Macdonald,  second  of  Castleton. 
Roderick  married,  first,  Anne,  daughter  of  John  Macleod 
of  Drynoch,  a  cadet  of  the  Macleods  of  Macleod,  with 
issue — 

1.  Alexander,  his  heir. 

2.  James  Macdonald  of  Knock,  who  married  Grace, 
daughter  of  Major  Macdonald  of  Breakish,  with  issue — a 
son,  who  married  Miss  Mackay,  Inverness. 

3.  Donald  Macdonald,  first  of  Tormore,  Isle  of  Skye, 
who  married  Eliza  Macfarlane  of  Garistock,  with  issue — 
Alexander  Macdonald,  second  of  Tormore,  who  married 
Isabella,  daughter  of  Alexander  Chisholm  of  Samalaman 
and  Lochans,  in  Moydart,  with  issue  ;  (1)  Alexander,  born 
1 83 1,  died  1844;  (2)  Donald  now  of  Tormore;  (3)  Mal- 
colm Neil,  for  some  time  an  Indigo  Planter  in  India, 
now  at  Tormore  ;  married  Ethel,  daughter  of  the  Rev.  Mr. 
Wright,  with  issue  three  sons — Donald,  Somerled,  and 
Malcolm.  (4)  John  Macleod  ;  (5)  Eliza,  who  married 
Mr.  Hutchins,  Edinburgh,  with  issue ;  (6)  Penelope,  who 


married  Dr.  Maclean,  Uist,  with  issue — a  daughter  ;  (6) 
Barbara  Diana,  who  married  a  Mr.  Oxley,  with  issue,  and 
emigrated  to  America ;  (8)  Annabella,  who  married  Mr. 
Oxley,  brother  to  her  sister's  husband,  with  issue,  who  also 
emigrated  to  America ;  and  (9)  Johanna,  who  married 
Dr.  Campbell,  Skye,  with  issue — one  son.  Donald,  first  of 
Tormore,  died  in  1799,  and  his  son  Alexander,  second 
of  Tormore,  died  in  1857. 

Ruan  Mac  Ian  was  in  many  respects  a  most  remarkable 
man,  and  a  fine  old  Highland  gentleman — one  of  the  last 
links  in  the  chain  which  connected  the  customs  of  the  past 
with  the  altered  habits  and  civilization  of  the  present. 
His  second  wife,  a  Mrs.  Macqueen,  had  a  daughter  by  a  pre- 
vious marriage,  who  lived  with  her  mother  in  Rory's  house, 
after  his  second  marriage ;  and  there  does  not  appear  to  have 
been  much  love  lost  between  him  and  this  addition  to  his 
establishment  at  Camuscross.  On  a  certain  occasion  he 
paid  a  visit  to  Armadale,  and  called  on  a  namesake  of  his 
own,  afterwards  known  as  "Old  Ord,"  to  borrow  seed  potatoes. 
His  friend  asked  how  he  left  his  wife,  when  he  simply 
replied,  "  Dh'  fhalbh  i,"  or,  she's  away ;  and  being  further 
questioned  about  the  sad  occurence,  he  said,  that  he  did  not 
go  to  see  himself,  but  he  knew  she  was  gone,  "  Dh'  aithnich 
mi  gun  dh'  fhalbh  i  air  scread  ni'c  Cuinn  ".  He  delighted 
in  great  displays  of  hospitality  at  funerals,  and  judged  the 
social  position  of  those  more  immediately  concerned  by 
the  quantity  of  spirits  consumed,  and  the  number  of  fights 
which  took  place  on  such  occasions.  When  he  heard  of 
any  more  than  usually  desperate  and  sanguinary  funeral 
fights,  he  would  exclaim,  "  Yes,  yes,  that  was  to  be  looked 
for  and  expected.  They  came  of  respectable  forbears."  On 
the  other  hand,  when  he  was  informed  that  a  funeral  passed 
off  quietly,  he  would  say,  "  Yes,  yes,  that  is  just  like  the 
mean  lot.  What  else  could  we  expect  from  such  a  mean 
low-bred  set  of  cads."  On  the  occasion  of  the  funeral  of 
one  of  his  sisters,  he  insisted  that  it  must  be  celebrated  by 
the  bringing  home  of  at  least  half-a-dozen  dead  bodies,  as 
evidence  of  such  an  ample  supply  of  whisky  having  been 


supplied  as  became  the  liberality  and  dignity  of  his  house. 
He  had  strong  views  on  the  impropriety  of  the  common 
people  being  allowed  to  mix  too  freely  with  their  betters, 
and  several  curious  stories  are  related  of  how,  even  in  his 
old  age,  he  resented  this  impertinence.  In  his  earlier  days 
the  national  beverage  was  freely  manufactured  without  any 
interference  by  the  Board  of  Excise,  but  in  his  latter  years, 
he  was  much  concerned  and  annoyed  to  hear  that  an  Excise 
officer,  one  of  a  class  then  looked  upon  in  the  Highlands 
as  the  natural  enemies  of  society,  was  on  his  way  to  the 
Isle  of  Skye,  and  had  indeed  actually  crossed  the  Kyle. 
Old  Rory  was  at  the  time  confined  to  his  bed  by  some 
ailment,  and  being  unable  personally  to  give  such  a  wel- 
come as  he  desired  to  the  stranger,  he  sent  for  a  power- 
ful vassal  upon  whom  he  could  fully  depend  to  carry  out 
any  orders  given  him,  if  sufficiently  rewarded.  The  hero 
having  arrived,  he  was  ushered  into  Rory's  presence,  who, 
pointing  to  a  garment  hanging  against  the  wall  of  his 
room,  said,  "  Do  you  see  that  coat  with  the  silver  buttons  ?  " 
"  I  do."  "  Well  then,  it  shall  be  yours,  if  you  go  and  meet 
the  coming  exciseman,  set  upon  him,  and  give  him  such 
a  pounding  as  will  keep  him  from  coming  to  molest  us 
again."  The  order  was  soon  carried  into  effect ;  the  man 
returned  to  tell  his  patron  that  he  had  executed  his  com- 
mission to  the  full,  and  demanding  his  reward,  which,  after 
being  cross-examined,  he  at  once  received  ;  for  Rory  was 
highly  delighted.  The  examiner  proceeded  in  this  strain. 
"  Na  phronn  thu  a'  mionach  beag  aige  ? "  "  Did  you  crush 
his  small  bowels  ?  "  "I  have  "  ;  to  which  Rory  replied,  "  'S 
math  sin,"  telling  him  to  take  the  coat  away  with  him  as 
his  well-earned  reward,  fully  believing  in  his  own  mind 
that  nothing  more  would  be  heard  of  the  common  enemy 
of  Skyemen.  Not  very  long  after  this,  Rory  in  his  walks 
met  a  man  on  the  high-way,  and  asking  him  in  the  usual 
manner  for  his  news,  the  way-farer  informed  him,  among 
other  things,  that  they  were  getting  large  catches  of  herring 
in  Loch  Eishort,  and  that  an  Excise  officer  was  seen  at 
Broadford,  on  his  way  through  the  Island.     Rory  became 


startled,  and  conscience-stricken,  for  he  was,  like  most 
Highlanders,  somewhat  credulous,  and  believing  his  old 
enemy  had  risen  almost  from  the  dead,  he  exclaimed,  "'S 
math  a  bha  fios  aige  fhein  gu  de  dheanadh  feum  dha — a 
sheachd  leor  do  scaddan  ur."  Well  did  he  know  what 
would  do  him  good — his  seven  fulls  of  fresh  herrings  ;  as  if 
this  would  have  cured  him  from  the  effects  of  the  terrible 
pounding  which  otherwise  must  have  proved  fatal. 

Roderick  Mac  Ian  of  Camuscross,  was  succeeded  by  his 
eldest  son, 

Alexander  Macdonald,  who  married  Jane,  eldest 
daughter  of  the  Hon.  Captain  John  Johnstone  of  Staple- 
ton,  second  son  of  James,  second  Earl  of  Hartfell,  who  was 
created  Earl  of  Annandale  in  1661.  Alexander  Macdonald 
was  lost  at  sea  in  1758.     By  his  wife  he  had  issue — 

1.  Donald,  his  heir. 

2.  Alexander,  who  married  Anne  Salterford,  and  had 
issue — an  only  son,  Alexander  John,  who  died  in  infancy. 

3.  Mary,  who  died  young. 

He  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 
Donald  Macdonald,  who  married  Johanna  Manning, 
and  died  in  1804.     By  his  wife  he  left  issue — 

1.  James,  his  heir. 

2.  Donald,  a  Lieutenant  in  the  67th  Regiment,  who 
married  Susan,  daughter  of  Denis  MacCarthy,  and  sister 
to  his  elder  brother's  wife,  with  issue — James  ;  Donald  of 
Desert ;  and  Jane. 

3.  Johanna,  who  married  George  Gwynn. 
He  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 

V.  James  Macdonald,  who,  upon  failure  of  the  elder 
branch,  became  the  representative  of  the  family  of  Castle- 
ton  ;  he  was  also  one  of  the  Claimants  for  the  Annandale 
Peerage,  through  his  grandmother,  Jane,  daughter  of  the 
Hon.  Captain  John  Johnstone  of  Stapleton.  He  married 
Catharine,  daughter  of  Denis  MacCarthy  of  Kilcoleman, 
with  issue, 

1.  Donald,  who  died,  unmarried,  in  1856. 

2.  James  Alexander,  a  Wesleyan  minister  in  England. 


3.  John  Dennis,  M.D.,  F.R.S.,  Inspector-General  of  Hos- 
pitals and  Fleets,  R.N.,  who  was  born  in  1826,  and  married 
first,  Sarah  Phebe,  daughter  of  Ely  Walker  of  Stainland, 
with  issue — James  Alexander  Walker,  who  died  in  infancy ; 
John  Dennis  ;  William  Richard  ;  Elyna  Mary  ;  and  Ca- 
therine Janet.  He  married,  secondly,  Erina  Christiana 
Cunningham,  daughter  of  the  Rev.  William  Archer,  M.A., 
of  Wicklow,  without  issue. 

4.  Jane  Masters,  who  married  William  Richard  Rogers, 
M.D.,  with  issue. 

James  Macdonald  died  in  1865,  when  the  male  represen- 
tation of  the  family  of  Castleton,  devolved  upon  his  son, 

VI.  The  Rev.  James  Alexander  Macdonald,  who 
also  succeeds  his  father  as  Claimant  to  the  Annandale 
Peerage.  He  married  Harriet,  daughter  of  Edward  William 
Mackie,  with  issue — 

1.  Rev.  James  Alexander  Donald  John,  born  in  1855. 

2.  Edward  William  Johnstone,  born  1858. 

3.  Roderick  John  Johnstone,  B.M.  Edin.,  born  1859. 

4.  Somerlet  Hector  Norman,  born  1861,  died  1863. 

5.  Harriet  Flora  Macdonald. 

6.  Catherine  Amelia  Macdonald. 


THE  progenitor  of  the  Macdonalds  of  Vallay,  was 
William  Macdonald,  son  of  Sir  Donald  Mac- 
donald,  third  baronet  of  Sleat,  better  known  as 
"Tutor  of  Macdonald".  We  have  already  seen  (pp.  232-234) 
how  he  obtained  the  farm  of  Aird,  near  Duntulm  in  Skye, 
free  for  life,  and  a  perpetual  feu  of  the  Island  of  Vallay, 
in  North  Uist,  for  one  shilling  a  year,  in  return  for  his 
services  to  the  family  of  Sleat,  during  the  forfeiture,  after 
171 5.  He  was  at  the  battle  of  Sheriffmuir,  and,  with  his 
brother  James,  commanded  the  Macdonalds  of  Sleat,  who 
opened  the  battle.  Sileas  nighean  Mhic  Raonuill,  the 
Gaelic  poet,  refers  to  him  in  her  description  of  the  battle 
as  follows  : — 

Beir  soraidh  gu  Domhnull  o'n  Dun, 

Gu  Uilleam  's  gu  Seumas  nan  triuir. 
By  his  wife,  Catharine,  daughter  of  Sir  Ewen  Cameron  of 
Lochiel,  he  had  a  numerous  issue,  among  whom  were 
Captain  James  Macdonald  of  Aird,  Troternish,  Isle  of 
Skye,  and  Captain  John  Macdonald  of  Kirkibost,  North 
Uist,  each  of  whom  led  a  company  of  100  men  to  Inver- 
ness, in  1745,  against  Prince  Charles.  Captain  James, 
married  Miss  Macdonald  of  Kinlochmoidart,  and  by  her 
had  one  son  and  three  daughters.  The  son  went  to 
Australia,  where  he,  with  his  wife,  was  drowned  while 
crossing  a  river.  Of  the  daughters,  Catherine  married 
Donald  Macdonald,  VIII.  of  Balranald,  with  issue;  Isabella, 
married  Captain  Charles,  eldest  son  of  Allan  Macdonald  of 
Kingsburgh  and  his  wife  Flora  Macdonald,  without  issue. 
The  third,  Mary,  died    unmarried.     The  Tutor  had  also 


two  daughters,  the  eldest  of  whom,  Flora,  was  married, 
with  issue ;  the  second,  Margaret,  died  unmarried.  The 
eldest  son, 

I.  EWEN  MACDONALD,  became  first  of  Vallay,  was  a 
fine  Highland  gentleman,  a  composer  of  Highland  piobair- 
eachds,  and  an  excellent  performer  on  the  national  instru- 
ment, the  great  Highland  bag-pipes  (see  p.  241.)  He 
married  Mary,  daughter  of  the  Rev.  Lachlan  Maclean  of 
Coll.  On  the  old  house  at  Vallay,  the  initials  of  the  pair 
were  carved  thus  "  E.M.D.  &  M.M.L.  1742."  By  this  lady 
he  had  issue, 

II.  William  Macdonald,  second  of  Vallay,  who 
married  his  cousin,  Mary,  daughter  of  Alexander  Mac- 
donald, first  of  Boisdale,  with  issue — 

1.  Alexander,  his  heir  and  successor. 

2.  Ewen  Macdonald  of  Griminish,  who  married  Miss 
Bruce,  a  governess  at  Vallay,  with  issue — Ewen  ;  William  ; 
Harriet,  who  married  Major  Oakes,  H.E.I.C.S.,  with  issue  ; 
and  Mary,  who  married  General  Tod,  H.E.I.C.S.,  with  issue. 

3.  Mary,  who  married  the  Rev.  Allan  Macqueen,  minister 
of  North  Uist,  with  issue — a  son  and  daughter.  The  son 
was  in  the  army,  and  died  abroad.  The  daughter  died 

4.  Susan,  who  married  the  Rev.  James  Macqueen,  also 
minister  of  North  Uist,  with  issue — (1)  William,  who  became 
minister  of  the  quod  sacra  Church  of  Trumisgarry,  and 
married  Miss  Macleod,  Feorleg,  Isle  of  Skye,  without  issue; 
(2)  Alexander,  an  officer  in  the  Macqueen  East  Indiaman. 
He  died,  unmarried,  in  England  ;  (3)  Alice,  who  married 
Captain  Alexander  Maclean,  Hosta,  of  the  79th  Cameron 
Highlanders,  with  issue — several  sons  and  daughters. 

5.  Margaret,  who  first  married  Captain  MacKinnon, 
without  issue.  She  married  secondly,  Captain  Martin  of 
the  Merchant  Service,  with  issue — an  only  daughter,  Mary, 
who  still  survives  in  North  Uist.  Captain  Martin  died 
while  his  daughter  was  yet  an  infant. 

6.  Janet,  who  married  John  Macdonald,  Malaglet,  without 
issue  ;  and, 


7.  Catherine,  who  died  unmarried. 
William  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 

III.  Alexander  Macdonald,  third  of  Vallay,  a  Major 
in  the  army,  who  married  his  cousin,  Harriet,  daughter  of 
Colin  Macdonald,  second  of  Boisdale,  with  issue — 

1.  Alexander,  his  heir,  who  entered  the  Royal  Navy. 

2.  Margaret,  who  married  Neil  Maclean,  C.E.,  Inverness, 
without  issue. 

3.  Mary,  who  died  unmarried,  at  Inverness. 

4.  Isabella,  who  married  the  Rev.  Neil  Maclean,  Minister 
of  Tiree,  with  issue— two  sons  and  four  daughters — (1) 
Donald,  a  Doctor  of  Medicine,  who  married  Jane  Cameron 
of  Glen  Nevis,  without  issue ;  (2)  Alexander,  who  went  to 
Australia ;  (3)  Lilias  Margaret,  who  married  Mr.  Mitchell 
of  Woodlands,  Stirling,  and  died,  without  issue,  in  1877; 
(4)  Mary  Flora,  who  died  young  ;  (5)  Isabella,  who  married 
Mr.  Cameron  of  the  Glen  Nevis  family,  now  a  widow, 
residing  in  the  Isle  of  Skye,  with  issue — two  sons  and  five 
daughters.  Her  eldest  daughter  is  married  to  William  A. 
Macleod,  Scorrybreck.  (6)  Harriet,  residing  at  Bridge  of 
Allan,  unmarried. 

Alexander,  who  died  in  Skye,  was  succeeded  by  his  son, 

IV.  Alexander  Macdonald,  fourth  of  Vallay.  He 
was  born  14th  of  July,  1788  ;  and  married,  on  the  2nd 
Feby.,  1826,  Flora,  daughter  of  Captain  Duncan  Macrae, 
of  the  Inverinate  family,  Royal  York  Rangers,  with  issue — 

1.  Alexander- Ewen,  married  with  issue,  in  Australia. 

2.  William-John,  Senator  for  Victoria,  Vancouvers  Island ; 
married  with  issue — three  sons  and  three  daughters. 

3.  Duncan-Alexander-Macrae,  unmarried,  in  Australia. 

4.  Colin-Hector,  married,  in  Australia,  with  issue. 

5.  Duncan,  unmarried,  in  Australia. 

6.  Christina-Mary,  who  married  the  Rev.  J.  W.  Tolmie, 
Minister  of  Contin,  with  issue — four  sons  and  four  daughters. 

7.  Harriet-Margaret,  who  married  Alexander  A.  Gre- 
gory, Inverness,  with  issue — four  sons  and  four  daughters. 

8.  Mary-Isabella,  who  married  the  Rev.  Kenneth  A.  Mac- 
kenzie, Minister  of  Kingussie,  with  issue — two  daughters. 


IT  has  been  shown  that  the  Macdonalds  of  Sleat  (though 
the  undoubted  male  representatives  of  John,  last 
Lord  of  the  Isles,  as  well  as  of  Donald,  first  Earl 
of  Ross  of  the  name  of  Macdonald,  eldest  son  of  John, 
by  his  second  wife,  Margaret,  daughter  of  King  Robert  II. 
of  Scotland),  are  not  and  cannot  be  the  chiefs  by  right 
of  blood  of  the  whole  Clan  Donald  and  male  representa- 
tives of  Somerled,  Thane  of  Argyll,  while  any  of  the 
representatives  of  John,  first  Lord  of  the  Isles,  by  his  first 
marriage  with  Amie  MacRuari  remains.  This  may  now  be 
accepted  as  a  settled  point,  and  one  on  which  all  unbiassed 
authorities  are  agreed. 

It  is,  however,  much  more  difficult  to  decide  which  of 
the  other  leading  claimants  are  entitled  to  that  high  and 
distinguished  honour. 

There  is  the  further  difficulty  to  dispose  of  as  to  who 
is  the  present  representative  of  the  Old  Earls  of  Ross, 
which  title  was  unquestionably  possessed  by  the  Lords  of 
the  Isles  since  the  marriage  of  Donald  of  Harlaw,  second 
Lord  of  the  Isles,  to  Lady  Mary  Leslie,  daughter  of 
Euphemia,  Countess  of  Ross.  The  Earldom  of  Ross  being 
in  favour  of  heirs-general — a  fact  placed  beyond  question 
by  the  title  having  been  first  brought  into  the  family  of 
Macdonald  by  marriage  with  Lady  Mary  Leslie — it  is  now 
almost,  if  not  quite,  impossible  to  decide  who  the  present 
representative  of  the  ancient  but  long  forfeited  Earldom 
of  Ross  is.  To  have  enabled  this  representation  to  pass 
into  the  family  of  Sleat,  it  was  necessary  not  only  that  all 


the  direct  male  representatives  of  Alexander  and  John, 
third  and  last  Lords  of  the  Isles  and  Earls  of  Ross  of  the 
race  of  Macdonald,  should  have  died  out,  but  the  female 
representatives  also.  This  is  by  no  means  a  settled  point. 
Indeed,  if  Gregory  and  other  leading  authorities  be  correct 
in  holding  that  Celestine  of  Lochalsh  was  a  legitimate  son 
of  Alexander  third  Earl  and  eldest  brother  of  John  last 
Earl  of  Ross  and  Lord  of  the  Isles,  the  representation  of 
the  Earldom  must  have  passed  into  the  family  of  Glengarry 
by  the  marriage  of  Margaret  (eldest  daughter  of  Alexander 
of  Lochalsh  and  heiress  to  her  brother,  Sir  Donald)  to 
Alexander  Macdonald,  VI.  of  Glengarry ;  the  other  sister 
Janet,  having  married  Dingwall  of  Kildun.  This  is  a  point 
which  we  do  not  feel  called  upon  to  decide.  It  may,  how- 
ever, be  stated  that  the  male  representation  of  the  old 
Earldom  of  Ross  has  been  successfully  claimed  by  Mr. 
Munro  Ross  of  Pitcalnie,  whose  claim  as  heir-male  has 
been  sustained  by  the  Court  of  Session  and  by  the  House 
of  Lords.  As  already  stated,  however,  the  honours  of  the 
Earldom  were  not  limited  to  the  heirs-male ;  and,  in  point 
of  fact,  they  were  carried  originally  by  a  female  to  the 
family  of  Macdonald.  The  representation  has  also  been 
claimed  by  the  Frasers  of  Philorth,  progenitors  of  Lord 
Saltoun,  one  of  whom  married  Joanna,  sister  of  Euphemia 
Leslie,  Countess  of  Ross.  Several  other  claimants  might 
be  named,  but  those  already  mentioned  as  heirs-general 
and  heirs-male  must  be  disposed  of  before  any  claims  by 
later  offshots  are  debateable. 

It  is  necessary  before  proceeding  further  to  refer  to  a 
claim  made  to  the  chiefship  of  the  race  of  Somerled  by 
the  MacAlesters  of  Loup,  a  family  of  note  in  Argyllshire, 
now  known  as  Somerville-MacAlesters  of  Loup  and  Ken- 
nox,  the  latter  place  having  been  acquired  by  marriage 
with  an  heiress,  whose  name  of  Somerville  the  MacAlesters 
have  in  consequence  added  to  their  own.  They  claim  to 
be  descended  from  Alexander,  "  eldest  son  of  Angus  Mor, 
Lord  of  the  Isles  and  Kintyre  A.D.  1284,  and  third  in 
descent  from    Somerled,  Thane   of   Argyll,  the  common 


ancestor  of  the  Clan  Donald  and  Clan  Dugall ;  and  there- 
fore, according  to  the  Highland  principle  of  clanship,  they 
possess  that  'jus  sanguinus,'  of  which  no  forfeiture  could 
deprive  them  and  are  the  representatives  of  the  ancient 
Lords  of  the  Isles,  as  heirs  male  of  Donald,  the  grandson 
of  Somerled,  from  whom  came  the  Clan  Donald."  In 
point  of  fact,  however,  Alexander,  the  progenitor  of  the 
MacAlesters,  was  not  the  "  eldest  son  of  Angus  Mor,"  but 
his  younger  brother,  and  uncle  to  "  Angus  Og  "  who  fought 
with  Bruce  at  the  head  of  his  clan  at  Bannockburn,  and 
who,  on  the  forfeiture  of  the  MacAlesters  for  having  taken 
the  opposite  side  under  Macdougall  of  Lorn,  succeeded  to 
the  forfeited  property,  not  as  MacAlester's  "  elder  brother," 
but  as  his  nephew  and  chief  of  the  clan,  and  as  a  reward  in 
part  for  his  loyal  support  of  the  saviour  of  his  country, 
King  Robert  the  Bruce.  The  MacAlesters  have  thus  no 
valid  claim  to  the  chiefship  of  the  great  Clan  Donald,  but 
they  are  undoubtedly  the  senior  cadets  of  the  race. 

John,  first  Lord  of  the  Isles,  married,  first  [see  p.  69], 
Amie,  heiress  of  the  MacRuaries  of  Garmoran  and  Bute, 
and  by  her  had  three  sons  (and  a  daughter,  Mary,  who 
married,  first  Hector  Maclean  of  Duart,  and  secondly, 
Maclean  of  Coll). 

1.  John,  who  died  before  his  father,  leaving  one  son, 
Angus,  who  died  without  issue. 

2.  Godfrey  of  Uist  and  Garmoran,  whose  name  appears 
occasionally  throughout  the  earlier  chapters  of  this  work, 
though  really  very  little  is  known  of  his  history  or  that  of 
his  descendants  ;  for  scarcely  any  authentic  records  remain 
of  the  period  of  Highland  history  in  which  they  flourished. 
Godfrey  (who  was  also  called  Lord  of  Lochaber)  received  a 
charter  under  the  style  of  Lord  of  Garmoran  in  1388, 
dated  at  Ins  castle  of  Ellantirim.  We  have  already  seen 
[p.  74],  that  his  son  Alexander  of  Garmoran,  described  as 
as  a  leader  of  a  thousand  men,  was  beheaded  at  Inverness 
by  order  of  King  James  during  his  visit  to  the  Highland 
capital  in  1427,  when  his  whole  possessions  were  forfeited 
to  the  crown.     His  only  son,  also  named  Alexander,  died 



in  1460.  Macvurich,  who  records  his  death,  describes  him, 
like  his  father,  as  Lord  of  Uist.  The  lands  of  Uist  and 
Garmoran,  however,  were  forfeited,  and,  as  we  have  already 
seen,  were  granted  by  John,  Earl  of  Ross,  to  his  brother, 
Hugh  of  Sleat;  but  the' latter  was  kept  out  of  possession  by 
the  Macdonalds  of  Clanranald,  who,  by  precept,  obtained  a 
grant  of  the  lands  in  Uist  and  Benbecula  in  the  year  1 505, 
[See  p.  1 54].  "  From  this  time,"  Gregory  writes,  "  although 
there  were  several  descendants  of  Godfrey  still  in  existence, 
the  tribe  fell  into  decay."  Skene  says  that  while  Godfrey 
appears  to  have  for  a  time  maintained  his  right  to  his 
mother's  inheritance  against  the  issue  of  the  second 
marriage  of  his  father,  it  "  was  soon  extinguished  by  the 
failure  of  heirs-male  ".*  The  ground  is  now  so  far  clear  as 
to  enable  us  to  deal  with  Reginald,  third  and  only  remain- 
ing son  of  John,  first  Lord  of  the  Isles,  by  his  first  wife, 
Amie  MacRuari  of  Garmoran,  whose  male  issue,  so  far 
as  can  be  traced,  survives.  We  shall  therefore  designate 


Eighth  chief  of  the  race  of  Somerled,  progenitor  of  the 
Macdonalds  of  Glengarry  and  of  all  the  Macdonalds 
known  as  Clanranalds,  or  Clann  Raonuil ;  i.e.,  descendants 
of  Ranald  or  Reginald.  When  the  arrangement  already 
described  (pp.  56-58)  was  made  on  the  marriage  of  the  first 
Lord  of  the  Isles  with  Margaret  Stewart,  Ranald  received  a 
large  grant  of  lands,  including  the  North  Isles,  Garmoran 
and  other  extensive  possessions,  to  hold  of  his  father  John, 
Lord  of  the  Isles,  and  his  heirs  of  the  second  marriage,  as 
a  reward  for  falling  in  with  the  scheme,  while  his  eldest 
brother,  Godfrey,  stoutly  opposed  it.  This  arrangement 
seemed  more  advantageous  to  Ranald  as  a  younger  son  of 
the  first  marriage,  the  offspring  of  which  had  to  fight  for 
their  possessions  against  the  combined  power  of  their 
father  and  of  the  ruling  monarch  in  the  interest  of  the 
sons  of  the  second  marriage.     And  Ranald  proved  himself 

*  Celtic  Scotland,  vol.  iii. ,  p.  295. 


afterwards  a  man  of  great  integrity  and  honour  as  tutor 
or  guardian  to  his  younger  brother  Donald,  second  Lord  of 
the  Isles,  during  his  minority.  He  took  a  leading  part 
in  the  government  of  the  Isles  during  the  life  of  his  father, 
and  was  left  in  charge  of  the  Lordship  after  his  father's 
death,  until  Donald,  the  eldest  son  by  the  second  marriage, 
became  of  age,  when  Ranald  delivered  over  to  him  the 
government  of  the  Lordship  in  presence  of  the  leading 
vassals,  very  much  against  the  wishes  of  the  common 
people  of  the  Isles,  who  still  continued  to  look  upon 
Godfrey,  Ranald's  eldest  brother,  as  the  rightful  heir  and 
head  of  the  family. 

We  have  now  arrived  at  a  stage  where  we  can  no  longer 
avoid  discussing  the  question  of  the  chiefship  of  the  whole 
clan.  From  what  has  been  already  said  it  must  be  clear 
to  the  impartial  reader,  that  the  chiefship  by  right  of 
blood  cannot  be  in  the  family  of  Sleat,  while  any  legiti- 
mate male  descendant  of  the  issue  of  John,  first  Lord  of 
the  Isles,  by  his  first  wife,  Amie  MacRuari  of  Garmoran, 
survives.  There  remains,  however,  still  staring  us  in  the 
face,  the  other  question,  upon  which  so  much  ink  and 
temper  have  been  wasted.  We  sincerely  wish  we  could 
pass  it  over,  but  that,  in  a  work  like  this,  is  quite  impos- 
sible. The  question  is  a  most  difficult  one.  We  have 
carefully  perused  the  whole  controversy  which  has  taken 
place,  sixty  years  ago,  between  the  families  of  Glengarry 
and  Clanranald,  as  well  as  the  respective  genealogies  pub- 
lished by  both  claimants,  and  certain  facts  which  have 
been  proved  appear  to  us,  in  the  absence  of  further  evi- 
dence, quite  insurmountable. 

Skene,  undoubtedly  one  of  the  best  living  authorities  on 
such  a  question,  devotes  considerable  space  to  the  discus- 
sion of  the  point,  and  he  deals  with  it  so  clearly  and 
concisely  that  we  shall  quote  him  at  length.  We  may, 
however,  point  out  that  Skene  is  occasionally  found  tripping 
— and  he  does  so  in  this  very  connection  ;  for  we  find  him 
confusing  the  famous  Donald  Balloch  of  Isla,  son  and 
successor  to  John  Mor  Tanistear  (second  son  of  the  first 


Lord  of  the  Isles  by  Margaret  Stewart),  with  Donald,  first 
of  the  family  of  Glengarry.  Discussing  the  question  of 
the  much  contested  chiefship  of  the  race  of  Somerled  and 
Conn,  he  sums  up  thus  : — ■"  While  it  is  fully  admitted  that 
the  family  of  Sleat  are  the  undoubted  representatives  of 
the  last  Lord  of  the  Isles,  yet  if  the  descendants  of  Donald, 
from  whom  the  clan  took  its  name,  or  even  of  John  of  the 
Isles  in  the  reign  of  David  II.,  are  to  be  held  as  forming 
one  clan,  it  is  plain  that,  according  to  the  Highland 
principles  of  clanship,  the  jus  sanguinis,  or  right  of  blood 
to  the  chiefship,  lay  unquestionably  in  the  male  representa- 
tive of  John,  whose  own  right  was  undoubted.  John  of 
the  Isles  had,  by  Amy,  the  daughter  of  Roderick  of  the 
Isles,  three  sons,  John,  Godfrey,  and  Ranald,  of  whom  the 
last  only  left  descendants,  and  from  whom  the  Clan  Ranald 
unquestionably  derive  their  origin.  By  the  daughter  of 
Robert  II.  John  had  four  sons,  Donald,  Lord  of  the  Isles, 
from  whom  came  the  Macdonalds  of  Sleat ;  John  Mor,  from 
whom  the  Macdonalds  of  Kintyre  ;  Alaster,  the  progenitor 
of  Keppoch  ;  and  Angus. 

"  In  this  question,  therefore,  there  are  involved  two 
subordinate  questions  which  have  given  rise  to  consider- 
able disputes.  First,  was  Amy,  the  daughter  of  Roderic  of 
the  Isles,  John's  legitimate  wife,  and  were  the  sons  of  that 
marriage  John's  legitimate  heirs?  And  secondly,  if  the  sons 
of  the  first  marriage  are  legitimate,  who  is  the  Chief  of  the 
Clan  Ranald,  the  only  clan  descended  from  that  marriage  ? 
With  regard  to  the  first  point,  there  are  two  documents 
which  place  it  beyond  all  doubt  that  Amy  was  John's 
lawful  wife.  The  first  of  these  is  a  dispensation  from  the 
Pope  in  1337  to  John,  son  of  Angus  of  the  Isles,  and  Amy, 
daughter  of  Roderic  of  the  Isles.  The  second  is  the  treaty 
between  John  and  David  II.  in  1369,  in  which  the  hostages 
are  '  Donaldum  filium  meum  ex  filia  domini  senescali 
Scotiae  genitum  Angusium  filium  quondam  Johannis  filii 
mei  et  Donaldum  quemdam  alium  filium  meum  naturalem'" '. 
John  had  by  Amy  three  sons,  John,  Godfrey,  and  Ranald, 
and  the  distinction   made  in  the  above  passage  between 


John  lfilius  meus,'  and  Donald  Alius  meus  naturalis,  proves 
that  this  family  were  legitimate.  But  it  is  equally  clear 
that  the  children  of  this  marriage  were  considered  as 
John's  feudal  heirs.  When  Robert  II.,  in  pursuance  of  the 
policy  which  he  had  adopted,  persuaded  John  to  make  the 
children  of  the  two  marriages  feudally  independant  of  each 
other,  it  was  effected  in  this  manner.  John  received 
charters  of  certain  of  his  lands  containing  a  special  destina- 
tion to  the  heir  of  the  marriage  with  the  King's  daughter, 
while  he  granted  a  charter  of  another  portion  of  his  lands, 
consisting  of  the  lordship  of  Garmoran,  part  of  Lochaber, 
and  some  of  the  Isles,  among  which  was  that  of  Uist,  to 
Reginald,  one  of  the  children  of  the  first  marriage,  to  be 
held  of  John's  lawful  heirs,  and  this  charter  was  confirmed 
by  the  king.  That  a  special  destination  was  necessary  to 
convey  part  of  John's  possessions  to  the  children  of  the 
second  marriage  is  in  itself  a  strong  presumption  that  they 
were  not  his  feudal  heirs,  and  from  the  terms  of  Reginald's 
charter  it  is  manifest  that  he  must,  on  John's  death,  have 
held  his  lands  of  the  person  universally  acknowledged  to 
be  the  feudal  heir  of  the  Lord  of  the  Isles.  This  person, 
however,  was  his  brother  Godfrey,  the  eldest  surviving  son 
of  the  first  marriage,  for  in  a  charter  to  the  Abbey  of 
Inchaffray,  dated  7th  July,  1389,  he  designates  himself 
'  Dominus  de  Uist,'  and  dates  his  charter  '  Apud  Castrum 
meum  de  Ylantirum,'  both  of  which  are  included  in 
Reginald's  charter.  Moreover  it  appears  that  he  was 
succeeded  in  this  by  his  son  Alexander,  for  when  James  II. 
summoned  a  Parliament  at  Inverness,  to  which  those  only 
who  held  their  lands  in  chief  of  the  crown,  were  bound  to 
attend,  and  when,  from  the  state  of  the  country  at  the 
time,  it  is  apparent  that  no  one  would  appear  who  could 
on  any  ground  excuse  his  absence,  we  find  among  those 
who  obeyed  the  summons,  Alexander  Macreury  de  Gar- 
moran. Macreury  and  Macgorry,  or  son  of  Godfrey,  held 
the  lordship  of  Garmoran  in  chief  of  the  crown.  We  find, 
however,  that  the  rest  of  Reginald's  lands  were  equally 
held  of  this  Alexander,  for  Reginald's  charter  included  a 


considerable  part  of  Lochaber,  and  in  the  year  1394  an 
indenture  was  entered  into  between  the  Earl  of  Moray  and 
Alexander  de  Insulis  dominus  de  Lochaber,  for  the  pro- 
tection of  certain  lands  in  Morayshire.  We  thus  see  that 
when  it  was  intended  that  the  eldest  son  of  the  second 
marriage  should  hold  his  lands  of  the  crown,  a  special 
destination  to  him  was  requisite,  that  a  charter  of  certain 
lands  was  given  to  Reginald  to  be  held  of  John's  feudal 
heirs,  and  that  these  very  lands  were  held  in  chief  of  the 
crown  by  Godfrey,  the  eldest  surviving  son  of  the  first 
marriage,  and  by  his  son  Alexander.  It  is  therefore  plain 
that  the  actual  effect  of  Robert  the  Second's  policy  was  to 
divide  the  possessions  of  his  formidable  vassals  into  two 
distinct  and  independent  feudal  lordships,  of  which  the 
Dominium  de  Garmoran  et  Lochaber  was  held  by  the 
eldest  son  of  the  first  marriage,  and  the  Dominium  Insul- 
arum  by  the'  eldest  son  of  the  second  marriage  ;  and  in  this 
state  they  certainly  remained  until  the  fatal  Parliament  of 
1427,  when  the  Lord  of  Garmoran  was  beheaded  and  his 
estates  forfeited  to  the  crown. 

"  The  policy  of  James  I.  induced  him  then  to  reverse  the 
proceedings  of  his  predecessor  Robert,  and  he  accordingly 
concentrated  the  Macdonald  possessions  in  the  person  of 
the  Lord  of  the  Isles,  but  this  arbitrary  proceeding  could 
not  deprive  the  descendants  of  the  first  marriage  of  the 
feudal  representation  of  the  chiefs  of  the  Clan  Donald, 
which  now,  on  the  failure  of  the  issue  of  Godfrey  in  the 
person  of  his  son  Alexander,  unquestionably  devolved  on 
the  feudal  representative  of  Reginald,  the  youngest  son  of 
that  marriage. 

"  Of  the  descent  of  the  Clan  Ranald  there  is  no  doubt 
whatever,  nor  has  it  ever  been  disputed  that  they  derive 
their  origin  from  this  Reginald  or  Ranald,  a  son  of  John, 
Lord  of  the  Isles,  by  Amy  MacRory.  Ranald  obtained, 
as  we  have  seen,  from  his  father  the  lordship  of  Garmoran, 
which  he  held  as  vassal  of  his  brother  Godfrey,  and  these 
were  the  same  territories  which  the  Clan  Ranald  possessed, 
as  appears  from  the  Parliamentary  Records  in  1587,  when 


mention  is  made  of  the  '  Clan  Ranald  of  Knoydart,  Moy- 
dart,  and  Glengarry'.  There  has,  however,  arisen  consider- 
able doubt  which  of  the  various  families  descended  from 
Ranald  anciently  possessed  the  chiefship,  and  without 
entering  in  this  place  into  an  argument  of  any  great 
length  on  the  subject,  we  shall  state  shortly  the  conclusions 
to  which  we  have  been  led  after  a  rigid  examination  of 
that  question. 

"  That  the  present  family  styling  themselves  '  of  Clan- 
ranald '  were  not  the  ancient  chiefs  there  can  be  no  doubt, 
as  it  is  now  a  matter  of  evidence  that  they  are  descended 
from  a  bastard  son  of  a  second  son  of  the  old  family  of 
Moydart,  who  assumed  the  title  of  Captain  of  Clanranald 
in  1531,  and  as  long  as  the  descendants  of  the  elder 
brother  remain,  they  can  have  no  claim  by  right  of  blood. 
The  point  we  are  to  examine  is,  who  was  the  chief  previous 
to  that  assumption  ? 

"  Ranald  had  five  sons,  of  whom  three  only  left  issue, 
viz.,  Donald,  from  whom  descended  the  family  of  Knoydart 
and  Glengarry,  Allan,  the  ancestor  of  the  family  of 
Moydart,  and  Angus,  from  whom  came  the  family  of 
Moror.  That  the  descendants  of  Angus  were  the  youngest 
branch,  and  could  have  no  claim  to  the  chiefship,  has 
never  been  disputed,  and  the  question  accordingly  lies 
between  the  descendants  of  Donald  and  Allan.  The 
seniority  of  Donald,  however,  is  distinctly  proved  by  the 
fact  that  on  the  extinction  of  the  family  of  Moror,  the 
family  of  Moydart  succeeded  legally  to  that  property ; 
consequently  by  the  law  of  Scotland  they  must  have  been 
descended  from  a  younger  son  than  the  family  of  Knoydart 
and  Glengarry,  and  it  follows  of  necessity  that  the  latter 
family  must  have  been  that  of  the  chief. 

"  Donald  had  three  sons,  John,  Alaster,  and  Angus.  On 
the  forfeiture  of  Alexander  Macgorry  of  Garmoran  in 
1427,  that  part  of  Lochaber  possessed  by  him  was  granted 
to  the  Earl  of  Mar,  while  all  those  lands  held  of  him  by 
the  Clan  Ranald  remained  in  the  crown,  and  consequently 
the  chief  of  Clan  Ranald  must  have  held  them  as  crown 


vassal.*  Accordingly  we  find  John,  the  eldest  son  of 
Donald,  holding  his  lands  of  the  crown,  as  appears  from 
a  gift  of  the  non-entries  of  Knoydart  to  Cameron  since 
the  decease  of  Umqbl-  John  MacRanald,-f-  and  this  suffi- 
ciently indicates  his  position  at  the  head  of  the  clan,  as,  if 
he  had  not  been  chief,  he  would  have  held  his  lands  of  the 
Moydart  family.  John  appears  by  another  charter  to  have 
died  in  1467,  and  in  1476  the  lands  of  Garmoran  were  in- 
cluded in  a  crown  charter  to  John,  Lord  of  the  Isles.  The 
Lords  of  the  Isles  had  invariably  manifested  the  most 
inveterate  hostility  to  the  rival  family  of  Garmoran  and 
their  supporters.  On  the  acquisition  of  Lochaber  by 
Alexander,  Lord  of  the  Isles,  after  his  release  from  prison, 
this  animosity  displayed  itself  in  the  proscription  of  the 
Macdonalds  of  Keppoch,  MacMartins  of  Letterfmlay,  and 
others  who  were  always  faithful  adherents  of  the  patri- 
archal chief  of  the  clan.  The  same  animosity  was  now 
directed  against  the  Chief  of  Clan  Ranald  ;  his  lands  of 
Knoydart  appear  to  have  been  given  to  Lochiel,  the  lands 
of  South  Moror,  Arisaig,  and  many  of  the  isles,  were  be- 
stowed on  Hugh  of  Slait,  the  brother  of  the  Lord  of  the 
Isles,  and  in  this  way  the  principal  branch  of  the  Clan 
Ranald  was  reduced  to  a  state  of  depression  from  which 
it  did  not  soon  recover.  To  this  proscription  there  was 
but  one  exception,  viz.,  the  family  of  Moydart,  who  alone 
retained  their  possessions,  and,  in  consequence,  on  the 
forfeiture  of  the  Lord  of  the  Isles,  they  did  not  hesitate 
to  avail  themselves  of  their  situation,  and  place  themselves 
at  the  head  of  the  clan,  a  proceeding  to  which  the  repre- 
sentative of  the  ancient  chiefs  was  not  in  a  situation  to 

*  Not  only  did  the  Chief  of  Clan  Ranald  hold  these  lands  of  the  crown,  as  he 
had  previously  held  them  of  Alexander  MacGorry,  but  it  actually  appears  that  the 
Lord  of  the  Isles  was  his  vassal  in  some  of  them,  for  Alexander,  Lord  of  the  Isles, 
grants  a  charter  to  the  ancestor  of  the  Macneils,  dated  in  1427,  of  the  Island  of 
Barra,  and  of  the  lands  of  Boisdale  in  the  Island  of  Uist,  both  of  which  islands 
are  included  in  Reginald's  charter,  and  one  of  which  was,  as  we  have  seen,  cer- 
tainly held  in  chief  of  the  Crown  by  the  heir  of  the  first  marriage. 

f  That  this  John  MacRanald  was  John,  the  eldest  son  of  Donald,  appears  from 
two  facts  ;  first,  his  lands  adjoin  those  of  Alaster,  the  second  son,  and  are  separated 
by  them  from  those  of  the  other  branches  of  the  clan.  Second,  on  the  failure  of 
his  descendants,  the  descendants  of  Alaster  succeeded  to  them. 


offer  any  resistance.  This  was  principally  effected  by 
John,  surnamed  Mudortach,  a  bastard  son  of  the  brother 
of  the  Laird  of  Moydart ;  but  the  character  of  the  usurpa- 
tion is  sufficiently  marked  by  the  title  of  Captain  of  Clan 
Ranald,  which  alone  he  assumed,  and  which  his  descend- 
ants retained  until  the  latter  part  of  the  last  century,  when 
the  Highland  title  of  Captain  of  Clan  Ranald  was  most 
improperly  converted  into  the  feudal  one  of  Macdonald  of 
Clan  Ranald.  At  the  forfeiture  of  the  Lords  of  the  Isles, 
the  family  of  Knoydart  and  Glengarry  consisted  of  two 
branches  termed  respectively  '  of  Knoydart,'  and  '  of  Glen- 
garry,' of  which  the  former  was  the  senior  ;  and  while  the 
senior  branch  never  recovered  from  the  depressed  state  to 
which  they  had  been  reduced,  the  latter  obtained  a  great 
accession  of  territory,  and  rose  at  once  to  considerable 
power  by  a  fortunate  marriage  with  the  heiress  of  the 
Macdonalds  of  Lochalsh.  During  the  existence  of  the 
senior  branch,  the  latter  acknowledged  its  head  as  their 
chief,  but  on  their  extinction  which  occurred  soon  after 
the  usurpation  by  the  family  of  Moydart,  the  Glengarry 
branch  succeeded  to  their  possessions,  and  as  representing 
Donald,  the  eldest  son  of  Ranald,  the  founder  of  the  clan, 
loudly  asserted  their  right  to  the  chiefship,  which  they 
have  ever  since  maintained. 

"As  the  Moydart  family  were  unwilling  to  resign  the 
position  which  they  had  acquired,  this  produced  a  division 
of  the  clan  into  two  factions,  but  the  right  of  the  descend- 
ants of  Donald  is  strongly  evinced  by  the  above  fact  of 
the  junior  branch  acknowledging  a  chief  during  the  exis- 
tence of  the  senior,  and  only  maintaining  their  right  to 
that  station  on  its  extinction,  and  by  the  acknowledgment 
of  the  chiefship  of  the  Glengarry  family  constantly  made 
by  the  Macdonalds  of  Keppoch  and  other  branches  of  the 
clan,  who  had  invariably  followed  the  patriarchal  chiefs  in 
preference  to  the  rival  family  of  the  Lords  of  the  Isles. 

"  These  few  facts,  which  are  necessarily  given  but  very 
concisely,  are,  however,  sufficient  to  warrant  us  in  conclud- 
ing that  Donald,  the  progenitor  of  the  family  of  Glengarry, 


was  Ranald's  eldest  son  ;  that  from  John,  Donald's  eldest 
son,  proceeded  the  senior  branch  of  this  family,  who  were 
chiefs  of  Clan  Ranald  ;  that  they  were  from  circumstances, 
but  principally  in  consequence  of  the  grant  of  Garmoran 
to  the  Lord  of  the  Isles,  so  completely  reduced  that  the 
oldest  cadet,  as  usual  in  such  cases,  obtained  the  actual 
chiefship,  with  the  title  of  captain,  while  on  the  extinction 
of  this  branch,  in  the  beginning  of  the  seventeenth  century, 
the  family  of  Glengarry,  descended  from  Alaster,  Donald's 
second  son,  became  the  legal  representatives  of  Ranald, 
the  common  ancestor  of  the  clan,  and  consequently  pos- 
sessed that  right  of  blood  to  the  chiefship  of  which  no 
usurpation,  however  successful,  could  deprive  them.  The 
family  of  Glengarry  have  since  then  not  only  claimed  the 
chiefship  of  the  Clan  Ranald,  but  likewise  that  of  the  whole 
Clan  Donald,  as  undoubted  representatives  of  Donald,  the 
common  ancestor  of  the  clan ;  and  when  the  services 
rendered  by  the  family  to  the  house  of  Stuart  were  rewarded 
by  a  peerage  from  Charles  II.,  Glengarry  indicated  his 
rights  by  assuming  the  title  of  Lord  Macdonnell  and 
Arros,  which  on  the  failure  of  male  heirs  of  his  body,  did 
not  descend  to  his  successors,  although  his  lands  formed  in 
consequence  the  barony  of  Macdonell."* 

Reginald  married  a  daughter  of  Walter  Stewart,  Earl  of 
Athol,  brother  of  King  Robert  II.,  and  by  her  had  issue — 

1.  Donald,  immediate  progenitor  of  the  family  of  Glen- 

2.  Allan,  first  of  the  family  of  Clanranald,  of  whom 

3.  John,  known  among  the  Highlanders  as  "  Ian  Dall," 
or  Blind  John,  who  possessed  lands  in  the  Island  of  Eigg, 
and  from  whom  the  Macdonalds  of  Bornish  descended. 

4.  Angus.     5.  Dugall.     6.  A  daughter  Mora. 

He  is  said  to  have  died,  a  very  old  man,  in  1419,  when 
he  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 

*  Highlanders  of  Scotland,  vol.  ii. ,  pp.  96-106. 



Second  of  the  line  of  Glengarry.  Little  or  nothing  is  known 
of  him,  which  may  be  accounted  for  from  the  fact  stated  by 
Gregory,  namely,  that  on  the  death  of  Ranald,  "his  children, 
then  young,  were  dispossessed  by  their  uncle  Godfrey,  who 
assumed  the  title  of  Lord  of  Uist  (which,  with  Garmoran, 
he  actually  possessed),  but  never  questioned  the  claims  of 
Donald  to  the  Lordship  of  the  Isles."*  On  the  execution 
and  forfeiture  of  Alexander,  the  son  and  successor  of 
Godfrey,  in  1427,  at  Inverness,  the  lands  of  Glengarry 
reverted  to  the  crown,  and  were  held  as  a  royal  forest, 
or  appanage  of  Inverlochy  Castle — then  a  royal  residence. 
At  the  same  time  the  Macdonalds  of  Glengarry  were 
crown  tenants,  and  they  ultimately  succeeded  in  obtaining 
a  crown  charter  to  the  lands  of  which  they  were  dispos- 
sessed by  their  feudal  superior,  Godfrey  of  Garmoran. 

Donald  married,  first,  Laleve,  daughter  of  Macivor,  and 
by  her  had  one  son, 

1.  John,  his  successor. 

He    married,    secondly,   "a    daughter   of  Macimmie  "7 
(Lovat),  by  whom  he  had — 

2.  Alastair ;  and  3,  Angus  Og. 

He  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 


Third  of  Glengarry,  who  married  a  daughter  of  Macleod  of 
Lewis,  with  issue — a  son, 


Fourth  of  Glengarry,  from  whom  the  family  take  their 
Gaelic  patronymic  of  "  Mac  'ic  Alastair,"  and  who  is  the 
first  of  the  family  of  Glengarry  whose  name  is  found  in  the 
public  records  ;   and  that  only  as  the  grandfather  of  his. 

*  Highlands  and  Isles,  p.  31. 

+  MS.  of  1450,  printed  in  the  Collectanea  de  Rebus  Albanicis. 


grandson  mentioned  in  a  commission  of  Lieutenancy  by 
the  crown  in  favour  of  Colin,  Earl  of  Argyll,  making  him 
"  Locum  tenentum  omnium  insularum  tarn  australium 
quam  borealium,"  and  of  certain  lands — among  others, 
"  Alterius  MOROR  quam  Alester  Makcane  MakAlester 
habet"  dated  8th  of  March,  1516  ;*  that  is,  Alastair,  son  of 
John,  son  of  Alastair,  the  last  named  being  our  present 
subject.  The  Moror  here  named  is  North  Moror.  On  the 
26th  of  February,  15 17,  he  appears  in  an  action  in  the  Court 
of  Session  as  "  Alexander  J  hone  MacAlisteris  sone  in 
Glengarry.*!*  He  is  repeatedly  mentioned  later,  as  we 
shall  see  further  on. 

He  married  the  only  daughter  of  Hector  Maclean  of 
Duart,  by  whom  he  had  issue — 

1.  John,  his  heir. 

2.  ^Lneas,  of  whom  the  family  of  Sithean. 

3.  John  "  Odhar,"  who  settled  in  Lochcarron,  and  of 
whom  the  Clann  Ian  Uidhir  of  that  district,  Strath- 
glass,  and  elsewhere  in  the  North,  some  of  whom  have 
changed  their  names  to  MacNairs.  Most  of  the  Strath- 
glass  Macdonalds  emigrated  to  Canada,  principally  to 

He  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 


Fifth  of  Glengarry,  who  married  his  cousin,  a  daughter  of 
Donald  Cameron  of  Lochiel,  by  a  daughter  of  Hector 
Mor  Maclean  of  Duart,  with  issue — one  son,  who  suc- 
ceeded as, 


Sixth  of  Glengarry,  whom  we  find  mentioned  as  "  Allastyr 
Mac  Ean  Vic  Allyster  of  Morvern  and  Glengarrie,"  in  a 
bond    of  manrent   to    Colin,  Earl    of  Argyll,  the   King's 

*  Reg.  Sec.  Sig.,  Lib.  5,  fo.  192. 
f  Acts  Dom.  Con. ,  Lib.  12,  fol.  2  b. 


Lieutenant  at  the  time  over  the  district  in  which  Glen- 
garry's property  lay,  dated  5th  of  February,  1 5 19,  with  a 
Notarial  Instrument  thereon,  dated  8th  of  August  in  the 
same  year.  Under  date  of  30th  March,  1538,  there  is 
recorded  in  the  Register  of  the  Privy  Council,  vol.  26,  No. 
426,  a  letter  under  the  Privy  Seal  to  "  Alexander  Mackane 
MacAlester  of  Glengarry,"  of  the  Slysmoyne  of  Glengarry 
and  Moror,  "  wyt  all  malis,  fermes,  profhtis,  and  dewteis  of 
ye  saide  lands  wyt  yare  pertinents  of  all  yeris  and  terms 
bigane  yat  ye  samin  hes  been  in  our  soverane  lordis  handis 
or  his  predecessoris  by  resoune  of  nonentres  sen  ye  deceis 
of  John  MacAlastir,  fader  to  ye  saide  Alexander,  or  his 
predecessoris."  On  the  6th  of  March  in  the  same  year 
there  is  a  charter  under  the  Great  Seal  in  favour  of 
"Alexander  Mackane  MacAlister  et  Margarete  Ylis  ejus 
spouse  "  in  liferent ;  "  et  Angusio  MacAlister  eorum  filio  et 
heredi  apparenti "  in  fee,  and  his  heirs  male,  of  the  lands  of 
Glengarry  and  Moror,  with  the  Castle,  Fortalice,  and 
Manor  of  Strome,  half  of  Lochalsh,  Lochbroom,  &c,  &c.y 
proceeding  on  the  resignation  of  Alexander  and  Margaret 
of  Lochalsh.  In  the  controversy  between  Glengarry  and 
Clanranald  about  the  chiefship  of  the  clan,  the  Clanranald 
champion  made  strong  aspersions  on  the  character  of  this 
lady,  whom  he  erroneously  described  as,  and  confused 
with,  a  daughter  of  Celestine  of  Lochalsh.  For  the  charge 
there  is  not  a  vestige  of  foundation.  She  was  a  grand- 
daughter of  Celestine,  a  daughter  of  his  son  and  successor, 
Alexander,  and  sister  and  co-heiress  of  Sir  Donald  Gallda 
of  Lochalsh,  who  died,  without  issue,  in  1 5 18,  when  she 
succeeded,  as  eldest  daughter  of  Sir  Alexander,  and 
co-heiress  of  his  only  son,  Sir  Donald  Gallda,  to  one-half 
of  his  estates.  These  she  carried  to  her  husband,  Alex- 
ander of  Glengarry,  and  in  consequence,  secured  for  him  a 
position  of  great  influence  and  power. 

On  the  26th  of  February,  1 5 1 5,  Grant  of  Freuchy 
obtained  a  decree  against  Sir  Donald  Gallda  of  Lochalsh, 
Chisholm  of  Comar,  Alexander  John  Ranaldson's  son  in 
Glengarry,  Donald  Mac  Angus  More  in  Achadrom,  and 


others,  "for  the  wrongous  and  violent  spoliation  and 
takand  of  the  fortalice  of  Urquhart,  frae  the  said  John  the 
Grant,  and  for  ^"2000  as  the  value  thereof." 

He  married,  as  already  stated,  Margaret  de  Insulis  and 
Lochalsh,  co-heiress  of  Sir  Donald  (Gallda)  Macdonald  of 
Lochalsh,  and,  according  to  the  best  authorities,  lineal 
representative  and  heiress  to  the  forfeited  Earldom  of  Ross, 
with  issue — an  only  son,  who  succeeded  as, 


Seventh  of  Glengarry.  He  has  a  charter  under  the  Great 
Seal*  confirming  "  Honorabili  viro  Angusio  Mac  Alester 
filio  ac  heredi  apparenti  quondam  Alexandri  Mackane  de 
Glengarie  suisque  heredibus  masculis  de  corpore,  &c, 
omnes  et  singulas  terras  de  Glengarie,  necnon  terras 
Drynathane  insulum  de  Sleichmeine  duodecim  mercatus 
terrarum  antiqui  extentus  de  Morare  duodecim  mercatus 
terrarum  antiqui  extentus  de  Locheache,  viz.,  Inchnarine, 
Andenarra,  Sallachie,  &c,  &c. — quatour  mercatus  terrarum 
de  Lochcarron  " — &c,  &c,  which  had  been  apprised  from 
him  by  John  Grant  of  Freuchy,  dated  19th  July,  1574. 
Complaint  was  made  to  the  Privy  Council  by  the  widow 
of  Robert  Guidlett,  a  mariner  in  Kinghorn,  that  her  "spous 
being  at  the  fischeing  the  last  yeir  in  the  North  His,  at  the 
loch  callit  Lochstrone,  within  the  dominion  of  Anguss 
McAlexander  of  Glengarry,  wes  in  the  hinderend  of  harvist 

last  bipast  crewallie  set  upoun  and  slane  be Panter 

and  utheris  his  complices,"  all  of  whom  were  within  the 
dominions  of  Angus,  and  were  his  tenants.  Angus  was 
ordained  of  his  own  consent  to  affix  and  hold  courts  as 
often  as  need  be  within  his  bounds  and  dominions  in  the 
west,  and  put  the  "  committaris  of  the  said  cryme  to  the 
knawledge  of  ane  assyiss  of  the  merchandis  and  marynaris 
that  first  sail  happin  to  arrive  at  Lochstrone  or  Lochcarron 
at  the  next  fischeing,"  and  he  is  to  minister  justice  upon 

*  Reg.  Sec.  Sig. ,  Lib.  ii. ,  fo.  62  b. 


them,  if  found  culpable  or  innocent,  conform  to  the  laws  of 
the  realm.* 

^Eneas  married,  first,  Janet,  only  daughter  of  Hector  Og 
Maclean  of  Duart,  with  issue — an  only  son, 

1.  Donald,  his  heir. 

He  married,  secondly,  Margaret  Macleod,  daughter  of 
Roderick  Macleod,  "  King's  Baron  of  Herries,"  with 
issue — 

2.  Margaret,  who  married  one  of  the  Cuthberts  of 
Castlehill,  Inverness,  and  became  the  progenitrix  of  the 
famous  Colbert,  Charles,  Marques  of  Seignelay,  Minister  of 
Lewis  XIV.  of  France,  f 

He  married,  thirdly,  Mary,  daughter  of  Kenneth-na- 
Cuirc,  X.  of  Kintail,  with  issue,  a  daughter,  Elizabeth,  who 
married  John  Roy  Mackenzie,  IV.  of  Gairloch,  with  issue 
Mary,  his  third  wife,  survived  Angus,  and  married,  as  her 
second  husband,  Chisholm  of  Comar. 

He  was  succeeded  by  his  only  son, 


Eighth  of  Glengarry,  who  has  a  charter  under  the  Great 
Seal  as  "  Donaldo  MacAngus  MacAlister  filio  et  heredi 
apparenti  Angusii  MacAllester  de  Glengarrie — et  heredi- 
bus  suis  masculis  de  corpore  suo  legitime  procreandis," 
&c.— of  the  lands  of  Glengarry,  "  Drynathane,  insula  de 
Sleuchmeine,"  &c,  proceeding  upon  the  resignation  of 
Angus,  dated  19th  of  July,  1574.+  He  was  known  among 
the  Highlanders  as  Domhnull  Mac  Aonghais  mhic  Alastair 
(Donald,  son  of  Angus,  son  of  Alastair),  and  styled  "of 
Morar,  Knoydart,  and  Glengarry ".  He  has  a  Special 
Retour  before  the  Sheriff-Depute  of  the  County  of  Inver- 
ness, by  a  Respectable  Inquest,  dated  5th  November,  1584, 
in  the  following  terms: — "Qui  Jurati  Dicunt  quod  quondam 

*  This  Commission  is  dated  "At  Holyrood-house,  16th  July,  1574,"  and  is 
given  at  length,  pp.  ioo-ioi,  Collectanea  de  Rebus  Albanicis. 

+  Parliamentary  Warrant  for  the  Bore  Brieve  of  Charles,  Marques  Seignelay, 

X  Reg.  Mag.  Sig.,  Lib.  34,  No.  no. 


Margareta  Ylis  avia  Donaldi  MacAngus  MacAlester  de 
Glengarrie  latoris  presentium  obiit  ultimo  restitus  et  saisitus 
ut  de  feodo  ad  pacem  Matris  supremi  Domini  nostri  de 
omnibus  et  singulis  terris  de  dimidietate  terrarum  de 
Achiult  et  dimidietate  terrarum  de  Torrurdane  cum  pis- 
cariis,  &c.  Et  quod  dictus  Donaldus  de  Glengarrie  est 
Legitimus  et  Propinquior  hares  quondam  Margarete  Ylis 
avie  sue,  &c* 

He  has  a  General  Retour  at  Edinburgh,  under  date  of 
27th  April,  1629,  before  the  Sheriff-Deputes  of  the  county 
and  a  "distinguished"  jury,  among  whom  we  find  the 
names  of  the  direct  male  ancestors  of  the  chiefs  of  Sleat 
and  of  Clanranald  of  Castletirrim  as  "  principal  members," 
expressly  swearing  to  the  legitimacy  of  Celestine  of  the 
Isles  and  Lochalsh,  and  to  the  descent  of  Glengarry  from 
him  and  from  John,  last  Earl  of  Ross  and  Lord  of  the 
Isles,  through  this  Donald,  and,  of  course,  through 
Margaret  of  the  Isles  and  Lochalsh.  Yet  the  modern 
representatives  of  Sleat  and  Clanranald  of  Moydart  main- 
tained, sixty  years  ago,  the  very  opposite  to  this,  and  would 
have  us  believe  that  their  own  ancestors,  who  lived  at  a  time 
when  they  had  far  better  means  of  knowing  the  facts  than 
their  modern  representatives,  committed  perjury  when 
their  own  interests  were  altogether  in  the  opposite  direc- 
tion— against  the  establishment  of  Glengarry's  claim  to 
represent,  through  Margaret  of  the  Isles  and  Celestine  her 
grandfather,  the  Earls  of  Ross  and  Lords  of  the  Isles. 
The  finding  of  this  distinguished  jury  and  of  the  chiefs  of 
Sleat  and  Clanranald  in  1629,!  is  as  follows : — "Qui  Jurati 
Dicunt  quod  quondam  Celestine  de  Ylis  de  Lochelche 
Frater  quondam  Joannis  Comitis  de  Ros  Domini  de  Ylis 
Abavus  Donaldi  MacAngus  de  Glengarrie  obiit,  &c.  Et 
quod  dictus  Donaldus  MacAngus  lator  presentium  est 
Legitimus  et  propinquior  Hseres  ejusdem  quondam  Celes- 

*  Original  in  the  Registers  of  Chancery. 

+  ' '  Dominum  Donaldum  McDonald  de  Slait,  Joannem  McLaud  de  Dunny- 
vagane,  Joannem  McRanald  de  Yllantyrim,"  are  the  first  three  on  the  list  of 


tini  de  Ylis  de  Lochelche  sui  abavi."*  We  have  already- 
referred  to  the  charge  of  licentiousness  made  by  the  Clan- 
ranald  champion,  in  the  controversy  of  sixty  years  ago, 
against  this  Margaret  of  the  Isles.  He  has  clearly  con- 
fused her  with  her  aunt,  another  Margaret  of  the  Isles, 
a  daughter  of  Celestine,  who  behaved  so  badly  as  to  call 
at  the  time  for  the  interposition  of  the  crown.  The  above- 
quoted  documents,  however,  conclusively  prove  to  those 
who  require  proof  that  the  progenitrix  of  Glengarry  was 
quite  a  different  person  and  could  not  be  the  Margaret  of 
doubtful  character  who  is  admitted  by  all  parties — even 
by  the  champion  of  Clanranald — to  have  been  a  daughter 
of  Celestine,  while  the  Margaret  who  married  Glengarry 
was  his  grand-daughter. 

In  "  Also  a  Fiar  Raonuillich's"  third  letter  to  the  editor  of 
the  "Inverness  Journal,"  dated  27th  May,  181 8,  in  defence 
of  Clanranald  of  Castletirrim,  he  says  :— "  I  shall  refer  to 
the  Privy  Seal  Record,  where,  on  the  8th  of  September, 
1507,  there  will  be  found  a  letter  to  the  Earl  of  Huntly, 
stating  that  the  king  had  given  to  Margaret,  the  sister  of 
Alexander  of  the  Isles  of  Lochguelch,  Knight,  certain 
lands  during  pleasure — that  Margaret  had  'applyit  and 
subjectit  her  persone,  lands,  and  gudes,  quhether  in  lauch- 
ful  marriage  or  otherwise,  we  know  not,  to  Donald  Mac 
Arle  MacLauchlane  Dowe '.  Now,  the  designation  of 
Margaret  in  this  deed  points  her  out,  beyond  a  doubt,  to 
be  Celestine's  daughter  and  sister  of  Alexander,  designated 
of  Lochalsh."  After  quoting  other  deeds  to  the  same  effect, 
he  adds — "  On  perusing  the  above  documents,  it  must  strike 
every  person,  1st,  that  Margaret  the  sister  of  Alexander,  was 
not  married  in  September,  1 507,  but  rather  seems  to  have 
lived  in  open  adultery,  so  glaring  as  to  call  the  particular 
attention  of  the  crown  ;  and  that  this  Margaret  was  after- 
wards Glengarry's  wife  cannot  be  doubted,  when  her  desig- 
nation is  attended  to,  which  is  '  sister  of  Alexander  of  the 
Isles  of  Lochguelch,'  &c."  It  has  been  already  proved 
that  this  woman  was  not  afterwards  Glengarry's  wife,  but 

*  Original  in  Registers  of  Chancery. 


her  niece,  a  lady  of  the  same  name,  was,  and  no  reflection 
that  we  can  trace  was  ever  cast  upon  her  character.  In 
another  letter  the  Castletirrim  champion  states  that  the 
lady  "  was  the  grand-neice  of  Celestine  and  the  daughter 
of  Angus,  the  bastard  son  of  John,  last  Earl  of  Ross 
attainted,  .  .  .  and  this  fair  lady  appears,  from  a 
document  dated  8th  September,  1507,  by  King  James  to 
the  Earl  of  Huntly,  '  to  have  subjected  her  person,  land, 
and  gudes,  quhether  in  lauchful  marriage  or  otherwayes 
we  know  not,  to  Donald  Mack  Arle  Mack  Lachlane 
Dowe '."  From  these  two  quotations  it  will  be  seen  that 
the  same  writer  makes  her  at  one  and  the  same  time  the 
daughter  and  grand-niece  of  Celestine  of  Lochalsh  ;  and 
this  is  but  one  specimen  of  many  extraordinary  feats 
which  he  performs  throughout  the  bitter  controversy  in 
which  he  was  so  long  engaged  in  the  interest  of  Clanranald 
against  Glengarry. 

There  is  a  case  recorded  in  Durie's  Decisions,  under 
date  of  26th  February,  1650  (Glengarry  against  Munro  of 
Fowlis),  and  another  dated  4th  of  February,  1531  (Glen- 
garry against  Lord  Lovat),  where  Glengarry's  title,  derived 
through  Celestine  of  the  Isles  and  Lochalsh,  was  sustained 
by  the  Court  of  Session  expressly  as  heir  to  the  Lords  of 
the  Isles,  and  the  title  to  pursue  in  these  two  actions  and 
sustained  by  the  Court  was  a  transumpt  of  three  charters 
in  favour  of  Celestine  by  his  brother  John,  last  Earl  of 
Ross.  In  one  of  these  charters  he  is  called  Carissimus 
Frater,  in  the  second  Frater  Camalis,  and  in  the  third 
Frater  Legitimus  Camalis.  We  have  already  given  Gre- 
gory's opinion  of  these  terms  (pp.  88-89),  and  it  is  held  by 
those  who  maintain  Celestine's  legitimacy  that  "  in  those 
days  of  Papal  influence  camalis  was  contra-distinguished 
to  spiritualis — brother  laymen  and  brother  churchman." 
A  strong  point  is  made  by  the  Glengarry  champion  of  the 
General  Retour  already  referred  to,  by  a  jury  of  which 
Macdonald  of  Sleat  and  Macdonald  of  Clanranald  were 
principal  members,  and  it  is  fairly  argued  that  "  If  Celestine 
had  been  a  bastard,  he  could  not  legally,  or  in  any  formal 


instrument,  be  designated  as  the  brother  of  the  Earl  of 
Ross,  being  the  character  to  be  proved;  and  as  Earl  John 
was  attainted  and  his  estate  forfeited,  no  right  personal 
vested  in  him  could  be  carried  by  service  or  succession. 
It  was  otherwise  with  Celestine  ;  he  possessed  extensive 
estates,  which,  though  violently  usurped  by  others,  were 
not  legally  forfeited,  and  nothing  but  the  plea  of  pro- 
scription and  taciturnity  prevented  the  recovery  of  them, 
as  appears  from  Lord  Durie's  collection  of  adjudged  cases, 
who,  sitting  as  a  judge  on  the  bench  at  a  time  not  very 
distant  from  the  period  of  Celestine's  succession,  could  not 
be  ignorant  of  the  circumstances  of  the  case."  This  is  a 
legal  deduction  with  which  we  do  not  feel  competent  to 
deal,  and  only  state  it  for  the  consideration  of  those  whose 
training  fit  them  to  decide  it. 

There  is  an  agreement  entered  into  between  Angus 
MacAlester  of  Glengarry  and  John  Grant  of  Freuchy, 
dated  at  Elgin  on  the  17th  of  November,  1571,  by  which 
Glengarry  binds  and  obliges  himself  to  cause  Donald 
MacAngus,  his  son  and  apparent  heir,  to  solemnize  and 
complete  the  bond  of  matrimony  in  face  of  holy  kirk  with 
Helen  Grant,  lawful  daughter  to  the  said  John  Grant  of 
Freuchy,  betwixt  the  date  above  named  and  the  fast  of 
Saint  John  the  Baptist  called  Midsummer  next  immediately 
thereafter.  At  the  same  time  he  agrees  to  grant  to  the 
laird  of  Freuchy  a  bond  of  manrent.  Donald  MacAngus, 
however,  failed  to  enter  into  the  agreement  made  in  his 
behalf,  and  he  refused  to  marry  Helen  Grant.  The  conse- 
quences proved  serious  to  Glengarry.  In  1548  his  lands  had 
been  apprised  for  satisfaction  of  a  previous  "  spulzie,"  and 
sold  to  James  Grant  for  the  sum  of  .£10,770  13s.  4d.,  and, 
m  ISS4,  Queen  Mary  granted  to  John  Grant,  Helen's 
father,  and  the  son  and  heir  of  James  Grant  of  Freuchy, 
"the  relief  of  various  lands,  including  Glengarrie,  which 
belonged  to  him  as  heir,  and  the  relief  of  which  belonged 
to  the  Queen  ".*  The  estates  had  not  passed  to  Grant  in 
virtue  of  the  above-named  apprising,  but  they  were  again 

*  Origines  Parochiales,  vol.  ii.,  part  i.,  p.  185. 


apprised  in  consequence  of  Donald's  refusal  to  marry 
Freuchy's  daughter.  They  are,  however,  re-granted  by 
Grant  to  Glengarry  by  a  charter,  already  quoted,  and 
confirmed  by  the  crown  on  the  8th  of  July,  1574.  In  the 
contract  between  himself  and  Grant,  Glengarry,  in  a  bond 
of  manrent,  which  he  agreed  to  give,  makes  an  exception 
in  favour  "  of  ye  auctoritie  of  our  soverane  and  his  Chief 
of  Clanranald  only ".  This  is  held  by  Clanranald  of 
Moydart  as  an  acknowledgment  by  Glengarry  of  the 
Captain  of  Clanranald  as  his  chief.  It  is  impossible  to 
argue  this  away  satisfactorily  in  the  manner  attempted 
by  the  Glengarry  champion  in  the  controversy  already 
referred  to.  John  Moydartach  was  then  at  the  zenith  of 
his  power,  and  was  de  facto  the  most  powerful  and  dis- 
tinguished warrior  of  the  whole  Clandonald.  Glengarry's 
power  was  on  the  wane,  and  at  this  period  very  limited  in 
comparison  with  that  of  his  namesake  of  Clanranald.  The 
necessities  of  his  position  might  therefore  have  compelled 
him — as  at  a  later  period  the  same  cause  obliged  Cluny 
Macpherson  to  acknowledge  Mackintosh — to  own  the 
most  distinguished  and  powerful  of  his  contemporary 
Macdonald  leaders,  the  Captain  of  Clanranald,  as  his  chief. 
In  these  circumstances,  and  knowing  the  man  with  whom 
he  had  to  deal,  we  are  not  disposed  to  attach  much  weight 
to  this  one  isolated  instance  of  alleged  acknowledgment 
on  the  part  of  Glengarry  ;  and  especially  when  it  is  made 
in  favour  of  one  who  could  not  possibly  be  chief  even  of 
the  Clanranalds  of  Castletirrim,  inasmuch  as  he  was 
beyond  question  of  illegitimate  birth.  This  point  is  at 
once  disposed  of  by  an  entry  in  the  original  Record  of  the 
Privy  Seal  in  the  following  terms  : 

"  Preceptum  Legitimations  Johannis  MacAlestar  de  Casteltirrim 
bastardi  filii  naturalis  quondam  Alexandri  MacAlane  de  Casteltir- 
rim in  communi  forma  etc.  Apud  Striveling  xv  Januarrii  anno 
j  m  v°  xxxi  (15  31). — Per  Signetum"* 

On  the  margin  is  an  entry  "  xs  "  showing  that  the  usual 
fee  of  ten  shillings  had  been  paid  by  the  grantee,  and  it  is 

*  Reg.  Sec.  Sig.  lib.  9,  fo.  72  b. 


clear  from  the  docquet,  "  Per  Signetum,"  that  it  passed  the 
Signet  as  well  as  the  Privy  Seal. 

The  reign  of  this  Glengarry  was  an  exceedingly  turbulent 
one.  From  1580  to  1603  incessant  feuds  were  carried  on 
between  the  family  and  the  Mackenzies,  with  the  usual 
depredations  and  slaughters  on  both  sides.  These  originally 
arose  out  of  disputes  between  the  two  families  regarding 
Strome  Castle  and  the  other  property  in  Lochcarron  and 
Lochalsh  brought  to  the  family  of  Glengarry  by  the  mar- 
riage of  Alexander,  sixth  baron,  to  Margaret  of  Lochalsh 
and  the  Isles.  These  lands  adjoined  those  of  the  Mac- 
kenzies in  Kintail,  Lochalsh,  and  Lochcarron,  and  in  the 
then  state  of  society,  and  the  feelings  of  jealousy  which 
almost  invariably  existed  between  the  clans,  it  was  easy  to 
find  means  of  disagreements,  heated  disputes,  and  quarrels. 
Angus  Og  of  Glengarry,  a  desperate  and  brave  warrior, 
made  numerous  incursions  into  the  country  of  the  Mac- 
kenzies, committing,  with  his  followers,  wholesale  outrages 
and  murders,  which  were  in  their  turn  revenged  by  the 
Kintail  men. 

The  following  account  of  these  feuds  is  founded  on 
old  MSS.  and  the  public  records.  Glengarry  and  his 
followers  "  sorned  "  on  Mackenzie's  tenants,  not  only  in 
those  districts  in  the  immediate  vicinity  of  his  own  pro- 
perty, but  also,  during  their  raids  from  Glengarry,  on 
the  outskirts  of  Kintail,  and  thus  Mackenzie's  dependants 
were  continually  harrassed  by  Glengarry's  cruelty  and  ill- 
usage.  His  own  tenants  in  Lochalsh  and  Lochcarron  fared 
little  better,  particularly  the  Mathesons  in  the  former,  and 
the  Clann  Ian  Uidhir  in  the  latter — originally  the  possessors 
of  Glengarry's  lands  in  the  district.  These  tribes,  finding 
themselves  in  such  miserable  slavery,  though  they  regularly 
paid  their  rents  and  other  dues,  and  seeing  how  kindly 
Mackenzie  used  the  neighbouring  tenants,  envied  their 
more  comfortable  state  and  "  abhorred  Glengarry's  rascality, 
who  would  lie  in  their  houses  (yea,  force  their  women  and 
daughters)  so  long  as  there  was  any  good  to  be  given} 
which  made  them  keep  better  amity  and  correspondence 


with  Mackenzie  and  his  tenants  than  with  their  own  master 
and  his  followers.  This  may  partly  teach  how  superiors 
ought  always  to  govern  and  oversee  their  tenantry  and 
followers,  especially  in  the  Highlands,  who  are  ordinarily 
made  up  of  several  clans,  and  will  not  readily  underlie  such 
slavery  as  the  Incountry  Commons  will  do." 

The  first  serious  outbreak  between  the  Glengarry  Mac- 
donalds  and  the  Mackenzies  originated  thus  :  One  Duncan 
Mac  Ian  Uidhir  Mhic  Dhonnachaidh,  known  as  "  a  very 
honest  gentleman,"  who,  in  his  early  days,  lived  under  Glen- 
garry, and  was  a  very  good  deerstalker  and  an  excellent 
shot,  often  resorted  to  the  forest  of  Glasletter,  then  the  pro- 
perty of  the  Mackenzies  of  Gairloch,  where  he  killed  many 
of  the  deer.  Some  time  afterwards,  Duncan  was,  in  con- 
sequence of  certain  troubles  in  his  own  country,  obliged  to 
leave  it,  and  he,  with  all  his  family  and  goods,  took  up  his 
quarters  in  Glen  Affric,  close  to  the  forest.  Soon  after,  he 
went,  accompanied  by  a  friend,  to  the  nearest  hill,  and  com- 
menced his  favourite  pursuit  of  deerstalking.  Mackenzie's 
forester  perceiving  him,  and  knowing  him  as  an  old  poacher, 
cautiously  walked  up  to  him,  came  upon  him  unawares 
and  demanded  that  he  should  at  once  surrender  himself  and 
his  arms.  Duncan,  finding  that  Gairloch's  forester  was 
accompanied  by  only  one  gillie,  "  thought  it  an  irrecover- 
able affront  that  he  and  his  man  should  so  yield,  and  refused 
to  do  so  on  any  terms,  whereupon  the  forester  being  ill-set, 
and  remembering  former  abuses  in  their  passages,"  he  and  his 
companion  instantly  killed  the  poachers,  and  buried  them 
in  the  hill.  Fionnla  Dubh  Mac  Dhomh'uill  Mhoir,  and 
Donald  Mac  Ian  Leith,  a  native  of  Gairloch,  were  suspected 
of  the  crime,  but  it  was  never  proved  against  them,  though 
they  were  both  repeatedly  put  on  their  trial  by  the  barons 
of  Kintail  and  Gairloch. 

About  two  years  after  the  deed  was  committed,  Duncan's 
bones  were  discovered  by  one  of  his  friends  who  continued 
most  diligently  to  search  for  him.  The  Macdonalds  always 
suspected  foul  play,  and  this  being  now  placed  beyond 
question  by  the  discovery  of  the  victims,  a  party  of  them 


started,  determined  to  revenge  the  death  of  their  clansmen ; 
and,  arriving  at  Inchlochell,  in  Glenstrathfarrar,  then  the 
property  of  Rory  Mor  of  Redcastle,  they  found  Duncan 
Mac  Ian  Mhic  Dhomh'uill  Mhoir,  a  brother  of  the  suspected 
Finlay  Dubh,  without  any  fear  of  approaching  danger, 
busily  engaged  ploughing  his  patch  of  land,  whom  they  at 
once  attacked  and  killed.  The  celebrated  Rory  Mor, 
hearing  of  the  murder  of  his  tenant,  at  once  despatched  a 
messenger  to  Glengarry  to  demand  redress  aud  the  punish- 
ment of  the  assassins,  but  Glengarry  refused.  Rory 
determined  to  have  satisfaction,  and  resolved,  against  the 
counsel  of  his  friends,  to  have  retribution  for  this  and 
previous  injuries  as  best  he  could.  Having  thus  determined, 
he  immedietely  sent  for  his  trusted  friend,  Dugall  Mac- 
kenzie of  Applecross,  to  consult  with  him  as  to  the  best 
mode  of  procedure  to  ensure  success. 

Macdonald  at  the  time  lived  in  the  Castle  of  Strome, 
Lochcarron,  and,  after  consultation,  the  two  Mackenzies 
resolved  to  use  every  means  in  their  power  to  capture  him, 
or  some  of  his  nearest  relatives.  For  this  purpose  Dugall 
suggested  a  plan  by  which  he  would,  he  thought,  induce  the 
unsuspecting  Glengarry  to  meet  him  on  a  certain  day  at 
Kishorn.  Rory  Mor,  to  avoid  any  suspicion,  would  start  at 
once  for  Lochbroom,  under  cloak  of  attending  to  his  in- 
terests there  ;  and  if  Glengarry  agreed  to  meet  Dugall  at 
Kishorn,  he  would  immediately  send  notice  of  the  day  to 
Rory.  No  sooner  had  Dugall  arrived  at  home  than  he 
despatched  a  messenger  to  Glengarry  to  inform  him  that 
he  had  matters  of  great  importance  to  communicate  to  him, 
and  that  he  wished,  for  that  purpose,  to  meet  him  on  any 
day  which  he  might  deem  suitable. 

Day  and  place  were  soon  arranged,  and  Dugall  at 
once  sent  a  messenger,  as  arranged,  with  full  particulars  of 
the  proposed  meeting  to  Rory  Mor,  who  instantly  ga- 
thered his  friends,  the  Clann  Allan,  and  marched  along  with 
them  to  Lochcarron.  On  his  arrival,  he  had  a  meeting 
with  Donald  Mac  Ian  Mhic  Ian  Uidhir,  and  Angus  Mac 
Eachainn,  both  of  the  Clann  Ian  Uidhir,  and  closely  allied 


to  Glengarry  by  blood  and  marriage,  and  living  on  his  lands  ; 
"Yet  notwithstanding  this  alliance,  they,  fearing  his,  and 
his  rascality's  further  oppression,  were  content  to  join  Rory 
in  the  plot  ".  The  appointed  day  having  arrived,  Glengarry 
and  his  lady  (a  daughter  of  the  Captain  of  Clan  Ranald,  he 
having  previously,  it  is  said,  sent  away  the  daughter  of 
the  laird  of  Grant)  came  by  sea  to  Kishorn.  He  and  Dugall 
Mackenzie  having  conferred  together  for  a  considerable  time 
discussing  matters  of  importance  to  each  other  as  neigh- 
bours, Glengarry  took  his  leave,  but  while  being  convoyed 
to  his  boat,  Dugall  suggested  the  impropriety  of  his  going 
home  by  sea  in  such  a  clumsy  boat,  when  he  had  only  a 
distance  of  two  miles  to  walk,  and  if  he  did  not  suspect 
his  own  inability  to  make  the  lady  comfortable  for  the 
night,  he  would  be  glad  to  provide  for  her  and  see  her  home 
safely  next  morning.  Macdonald  declined  the  proffered 
hospitality  to  his  lady  ;  sent  her  home  by  the  boat,  accom- 
panied by  four  of  his  followers,  and  told  Dugall  that  he  would 
not  endanger  the  boat  by  overloading,  but  that  he  and  the 
remainder  of  his  gentlemen  and  followers  would  go  home 
on  foot. 

Rory  Mor  had  meanwhile  placed  his  men  in  ambush  in 
a  place  called  Glaic  nan  Gillean.  Glengarry  and  his  train, 
on  their  way  to  Strome  Castle,  came  upon  them  without  the 
slighest  suspicion,  when  they  were  suddenly  surrounded 
by  Rory's  followers,  and  called  upon  to  surrender.  Seeing 
this,  one  of  the  Macdonalds  shot  an  arrow  at  Rory,  which 
fixed  in  the  fringe  of  his  plaid,  when  his  followers,  thinking 
their  leader  had  been  mortally  wounded,  furiously  attacked 
the  Macdonalds  ;  but  Rory  commanded  his  friends,  under 
pain  of  death,  to  save  Glengarry's  life,  who,  seeing  he  had 
no  chance  of  escape,  and  hearing  Rory's  orders  to  his  men, 
threw  away  his  sword,  and  ran  into  Rory's  arms,  begging 
that  his  life  might  be  spared.  This  was  at  once  granted  to 
him,  but  not  a  single  one  of  his  men  escaped  from  the  in- 
furiated followers  of  Rory  Mor,  who  started  the  same  night, 
taking  Glengarry  along  with  him,  to  Lochbroom. 

Even  this  did  not  satisfy  the  cruel  disposition  of  Donald 


Mac  Ian  Mhic  Ian  Uidhir  and  Angus  Mac  Eachainn,  who 
had  an  old  grudge  against  their  chief,  Glengarry,  his  father 
having  some  time  previously  evicted  their  father  from  a 
davoch  of  land  in  Attadale,  Lochcarron,  to  which  they 
claimed  a  right.  They,  under  silence  of  night,  gathered 
all  the  Clann  Ian  Uidhir,  and  proceeded  to  Arinaskaig  and 
Dalmartin,  where  lived  at  the  time  three  uncles  of  Glen- 
garry— Gorrie,  Rory,  and  Ronald — whom  they,  with  all 
their  retainers,  killed  on  the  spot.  "  This  murder  was  un- 
doubtedly unknown  to  Rory  or  any  of  the  Mackenzies, 
though  alleged  otherwise  ;  for  as  soon  as  his  nephew,  Colin 
of  Kintail,  and  his  friends  heard  of  this  accident,  they  were 
much  concerned,  and  would  have  him  (Rory)  set  Glengarry 
at  liberty ;  but  all  their  persuasions  would  not  do  till  he 
was  secured  of  him  by  writ  and  oath,  that  he  and  his  would 
never  pursue  this  accident  either  legally  or  unlegally,  and 
which,  as  was  said,  he  never  intended  to  do,  till  seventeen 
years  thereafter,  when,  in  1597,  the  children  of  these  three 
uncles  of  Glengarry  arrived  at  manhood,"  determined,  (as 
will  be  seen  hereafter),  to  revenge  their  father's  death.* 

Gregory,  however,  says  (p.  219)  that  after  his  liberation 
Glengarry  complained  to  the  Privy  Council,  who,  investi- 
gating the  matter ;  caused  the  Castle  of  Strome  which  Mac- 
donald  yielded  to  Mackenzie  as  one  of  the  conditions  of  his 
release,  to  be  placed  under  the  temporary  custody  of  the 
Earl  of  Argyll ;  and  Mackenzie  of  Kintail  was  detained  at 
Edinburgh,  in  what  was  called  open  ward,  to  answer  such 
charges  as  might  be  brought  against  him.  This  is  con- 
firmed by  the  Records  of  the  Privy  Council.  In  1586,  King 
James  VI.  granted  a  remission  to  "Colin  M'Kainzieof  Kin- 
taill,  and  Rodoric  M'Kainzie  of  Auchterfailie  (Redcastle 
and  Artafeelie),  his  brother,  for  being  art  and  part  in  the 
cruel  murder  of  Rodoric  M'Allester  in  Stroll ;  Gorie  MA1- 
lester,  his  brother,  in  Stromcraig;  Ronnald  M'Gorie,  the  son 
of  the  latter  ;  John  Roy  M  Allane  v'  Allester,  in  Pitnean  ; 
John  Dow  M  Allane  v' Allester,  in  Kirktoun  of  Lochcarroun; 
Alexander  MAllanroy,  servitor  of  the  deceased   Rodoric  ; 

*  Ancient  and  Ardintoul  MSS. 


Sir  John  Monro  in  Lochbrume  ;  John  Monro,  his  son  ; 
John  Monro  Hucheoun,  and  the  rest  of  their  accomplices, 
under  silence  of  night,  upon  the  lands  of  Ardmanichtyke, 
Dalmartene,  Kirktoun  of  Lochcarroun,  Blahat,  and  other 
parts  within  the  baronies  of  Lochcarroun,  Lochbrume,  Ros, 
and  Kessane,  in  the  Sheriffdom  of  Innerness,"  and  for  all 
other  past  crimes. 

In  1597,  Alexander  MacGorrie  and  Ranald  MacRory, 
sons  of  Glengarry's  uncles  murdered  in  Lochcarron  in  1580, 
having  arrived  at  maturity,  and  being  brave  and  intrepid 
fellows,  determined  to  revenge  upon  Mackenzie  the  death 
of  their  parents.  With  this  object  they  went  to  Applecross, 
where  lived  one  of  the  murderers,  John  Og,  son  of  Angus 
MacEachainn,  surrounded  his  house,  and  set  fire  to  it, 
burning  to  death  himself  and  his  whole  family.  Kintail 
sought  redress  from  Glengarry,  who,  while  he  did  not 
absolutely  refuse,  did  not  grant  it,  or  punish  the  wrong- 
doers ;  and  encouraged  by  Glengarry's  son,  Angus,  who 
had  now  attained  his  majority,  the  cousins,  taking  ad- 
vantage of  Mackenzie's  absence,  who  had  gone  on  a  visit  to 
France,  continued  their  depredations  and  insolence  wher- 
ever they  found  opportunity.  Besides,  they  made  a  com- 
plaint against  him  to  the  Privy  Council,  whereupon  he  was 
charged  at  the  pier  of  Leith  to  appear  before  the  Council 
on  an  appointed  day  under  pain  of  forfeiture.  In  this 
emergency,  Mr.  John  Mackenzie,  minister  of  Dingwall, 
went  privately  to  France  in  search  of  his  chief,  whom  he  found 
and  brought  back  in  the  most  secret  manner  to  Edinburgh, 
fortunately  in  time  to  present  himself  next  day  before 
the  Council,  in  terms  of  the  summons  at  Glengarry's  in- 
stance ;  and,  after  consulting  his  legal  adviser  and  other 
friends,  he  appeared  quite  unexpectedly  before  their  Lord- 

Meantime,  while  the  gentlemen  were  on  their  way  from 
France,  Alexander  MacGorrie  and  Alexander  MacRory 
killed  in  his  bed  Donald  Mackenneth  Mhic  Alastair,  a  gen- 
tleman of  the  family  of  Davochmaluag,  who  lived  at 
Kishorn.     The  shirt,  covered  with  his  blood,  had  been  sent 


to  Edinburgh  to  await  Mackenzie's  arrival,  who,  the  same 
day  presented  it  before  the  Privy  Council,  as  evidence  of 
the  foul  crime  committed  by  his  accusers.  Glengarry  was 
quite  unable  to  prove  anything  material  against  Kintail  or 
his  followers  ;  but,  on  the  contrary,  the  Rev.  John  Mac- 
kenzie of  Dingwall  charged  Glengarry  with  being  instru- 
mental in  the  murder  of  John  Og  and  his  family  at  Apple- 
cross,  as  also  in  that  of  Donald  Mackenzie  of  Davochmaluag, 
and  undertook  not  only  to  prove  this,  but  also  that  he  was 
a  sorner,  an  oppressor  of  his  own  and  of  his  neighbours' 
tenants,  an  idolator,  who  had  a  man  in  Lochbroom  mak- 
ing images,  in  testimony  of  which  he  carried  south  the 
image  of  St.  Coan,  which  Glengarry  worshipped,  called  in 
Edinburgh  Glengarry's  God,  and  which  was,  by  public  order, 
burnt  at  the  Town  Cross  ;  that  Glengarry  was  a  man  who 
lived  in  constant  adultery,  that  he  had  put  away  the  laird 
of  Grant's  daughter  ;  whereupon  Glengarry  was  summoned 
to  appear  next  day  before  the  Council,  and  to  lodge 
defences.  He  naturally  became  alarmed,  and  fearing 
the  worst,  fled  from  the  city  during  the  night,  and  gave  up 
further  legal  proceedings  against  Mackenzie.  Being  after- 
wards repeatedly  summoned,  and  failing  to  put  in  an 
appearance,  most  of  the  charges  were  found  proven  against 
him  ;  and  in  1602  *  he  was  declared  outlaw  and  rebel ;  a 
commission  of  fire  and  sword  was  granted  to  Mackenzie 
against  Glengarry  and  all  his  followers,  with  a  decree  of 
ransom  for  the  loss  of  those  who  were  burnt  and  plundered 
by  him,  and  for  Kintail's  charges  and  expenses,  making 
altogether  a  very  large  sum.  But  while  these  legal  questions 
were  being  arranged,  Angus,  younger  of  Glengarry,  who 
was  of  a  restless,  daring  disposition,  went  with  some  of  his 
followers  under  silence  of  night  to  Kintail,  burnt  the  town- 
ship of  Cro,  killed  and  burnt  several  men,  women,  and 
children,  and  carried  away  a  large  spoil. 

Mackenzie,  decided   to   requite  the   quarrel  by  at  once 

*  Record  of  Privy  Council,  gth  September,  1602 ;  Sir  Robert  Gordon's  Earl- 
dom of  Sutherland,  p.  248  ;  Letterfearn,  Ardintoul,  and  other  MS.  Histories  of  the 


executing  his  commission  against  Glengarry,  and  immedi- 
ately set  out  in  pursuit,  leaving  a  sufficient  number  of  men 
at  home  to  secure  the  safety  of  his  property.  He  took 
with  him  a  force  of  seventeen  hundred  men,  at  the 
same  time  taking  three  hundred  cows  from  his  farm 
of  Strathbraan  to  maintain  his  followers.  Ross  of  Balna- 
gowan  sent  a  party  of  a  hundred  and  eighty  men,  under 
command  of  Alexander  Ross  of  Invercharron,  to  aid  his 
neighbour  of  Kintail,  while  John  Gordon  of  Embo  com- 
manded a  hundred  and  twenty  men  sent  to  his  aid  by  the 
Earl  of  Sutherland,  in  virtue  of  the  long  standing  bond  of 
manrent  between  the  two  families ;  but,  according  to  our 
authority,  Sir  John  "retired  at  Monar,  growing  faint-hearted 
before  he  saw  the  enemie  ".  Andrew  Munro  of  Novar  also 
accompanied  Kintail  on  this  expedition.  The  Macdonalds» 
hearing  of  Mackenzie's  approach,  drove  all  their  cattle  to 
Morar,  where  they  gathered  in  strong  force  to  guard  them. 
Kintail,  learning  this,  marched  straight  where  they  were  ; 
harried  and  wasted  all  the  country  through  which  he  had 
to  pass  ;  defeated  and  routed  the  Macdonalds,  and  drove 
into  Kintail  the  largest  booty  ever  heard  of  in  the  High- 
lands of  Scotland,  "both  of  cows,  horses,  small  bestial, 
duin-uasals,  and  plenishing,  which  he  most  generously 
distributed  amongst  his  soldiers,  and  especially  amongst 
such  strangers  as  were  with  him,  so  that  John  Gordon  of 
Embo  was  at  his  repentance  for  his  return  ". 

Before  starting  from  home  on  this  expedition,  Kintail 
drove  every  one  of  Glengarry's  followers  out  of  their  hold- 
ings in  Lochalsh  and  Lochcarron,  except  a  few  of  the 
"  Mathewsons  and  the  Clann  Ian  Uidhir,"  and  any  others 
who  promised  to  submit  to  him  and  to  prove  their  sincerity 
by  "  imbrowing  their  hands  in  the  eneir^'s  blood  ".  The 
Castle  of  Strome,  however,  still  continued  in  possession  of 
the  Macdonalds. 

Mackenzie,  after  his  return  home,  had  not  well  dissolved 
his  camp  when  Alexander  MacGorrie  and  Ranald  MacRory 
made  an  incursion  to  the  district  of  Kenlochewe,  and  there 
meeting  some  women  and  children  who  had  fled  from  Loch- 


carron  with  their  cattle,  he  attacked  them  unexpectedly, 
killed  many  of  the  defenceless  women,  all  the  male  children, 
killed  and  took  away  many  of  the  cattle,  and  "  houghed  " 
all  they  were  not  able  to  carry  along  with  them. 

In  the  following  autumn,  MacGorrie  made  a  voyage  to 
Applecross  in  a  great  galley,  contrary  to  the  advice  of  all 
his  friends,  who  looked  upon  that  place  as  a  sanctuary 
which  all  Highlanders  had  hitherto  respected,  it  being  the 
property  of  the  Church.  Notwithstanding  that  many  took 
refuge  in  it  in  the  past,  he  was  the  first  man  who  ever 
pursued  a  fugitive  to  the  place,  "  but,"  says  our  authority, 
"  it  fared  no  better  with  him  or  he  rested,  but  he  being 
informed  that  some  Kintail  men,  whom  he  thought  no  sin 
to  kill  anywhere,"  had  taken  refuge  there  with  their  cattle, 
he  determined  to  kill  them,  but  on  his  arrival  he  found 
only  two  poor  fellows,  tending  their  cows.  These  he 
murdered,  slaughtered  all  the  cows,  and  took  away  as  many 
of  them  as  his  boat  would  carry. 

A  few  days  after  this  Glengarry  combined  with  the 
Macdonalds  of  Moydart,  the  Clann  Ian  Uidhir,  and  several 
others  of  the  Macdonalds,  who  gathered  together  amongst 
them  thirty-seven  birlinns  with  the  intention  of  sailing  to 
Lochbroom,  and,  on  their  return,  to  burn  and  harry  the 
whole  of  Mackenzie's  territories  on  the  west  coast.  Coming 
to  an  arm  of  the  sea  on  the  east  side  of  Kyleakin,  called 
Loch  na  Beist,  opposite  Lochalsh,  they  sent  Alexander 
MacGorrie  forward  with  eighty  men  in  a  large  galley  to 
examine  the  coast  in  advance  of  the  main  body.  They 
first  landed  in  Applecross,  in  the  same  spot  where  Mac- 
Gorrie had  previously  killed  the  two  Kintail  men.  Kintail 
was  at  the  time  on  a  visit  to  Mackenzie  of  Gairloch,  and 
hearing  of  Glengarry's  approach  and  the  object  of  his  visit, 
he  ordered  all  his  coasts  to  be  placed  in  readiness,  and  sent 
Alexander  Mackenzie  of  Achilty  with  sixteen  men  and 
eight  oarsmen,  in  an  eight  oared  galley  belonging  to  and  in 
charge  of  John  Tolmach  Macleod,  to  watch  the  enemy  and 
examine  the  coast  as  far  as  Kylerhea.  On  their  way  south 
they  landed  by  the  merest  chance  at  Applecross,  on  the 


north  side  of  the  point  where  MacGorrie  landed.  Here  they 
noticed  a  woman  gathering  shellfish  on  the  shore,  and  who 
no  sooner  saw  them  than  she  came  and  informed  them  that 
a  great  galley  had  landed  in  the  morning  on  the  other  side 
of  the  promontory.  They  at  once  suspected  it  to  be  an 
advanced  scout  of  the  enemy,  and,  ordering  their  boat 
round  the  point,  in  charge  of  the  oarsmen,  they  took  the 
shortest  cut  across  the  neck  of  land,  and,  when  half  way 
over,  they  met  one  of  Macdonald's  sentries  lying  sound 
asleep  on  the  ground.  He  was  soon  sent  to  his  long  rest ; 
and  the  Mackenzies,  blowing  up  a  set  of  bagpipes  found 
lying  beside  him,  rushed  towards  the  Macdonalds,  who, 
suddenly  surprised  and  alarmed  by  the  sound  of  the  bag- 
pipes, and  thinking  a  strong  force  was  falling  down  upon 
them,  fled  to  their  boat,  except  MacGorrie,  who,  when  he 
left  it,  swore  a  great  oath  that  he  would  never  return  with 
his  back  to  the  enemy  ;  but  finding  it  impossible  single- 
handed  to  resist  them,  he  retired  a  little,  closely  followed 
by  the  Mackenzies,  who  furiously  attacked  him.  He  was 
now  forced  to  draw  aside  to  a  rock,  against  which  he  placed 
his  back,  and  fought  right  manfully,  defending  himself  with 
extraordinary  intrepidity,  receiving  the  enemy's  arrows  in 
his  targe.  He  was  ultimately  wounded  by  an  arrow  which 
struck  him  under  the  belt,  yet  no  one  dared  to  approach 
him  ;  but  John  Dubh  MacChoinnich  Mhic  Mhurchaidh 
noticing  his  amazing  agility,  seeing  his  party  had  arrived 
with  the  boat,  and  fearing  they  would  lose  Glengarry's 
galley  unless  they  at  once  pursued  it,  went  round  to  the 
back  of  the  rock  against  which  the  brave  Macdonald  stood, 
carrying  a  great  boulder,  which  he  dropped  straight  on  to 
MacGorrie's  head,  instantly  killing  him.  Thus  died  the 
most  skilful  and  best  chieftain — had  he  possessed  equal 
wisdom  and  discretion — then  alive  among  the  Macdonalds 
of  Glengarry. 

The  Mackenzies  immediately  took  to  their  boat,  pursuing 
Macdonald's  galley  to  Loch  na  Beist,  where,  noticing  the 
enemy's  whole  fleet  coming  out  against  them,  John  Tolmach 
recommended  them  to  put  out  to  sea ;  but  finding  the  fleet 


gaining  upon  them,  they  decided  to  land  in  Applecross, 
where  they  were  nearly  overtaken  by  the  enemy.  They 
were  obliged  to  leave  their  boat  and  run  for  their  lives,  hotly 
pursued  by  the  Macdonalds  ;  and  were  it  not  that  one  of 
Mackenzie's  men — John  Mac  Rory  Mhic  Mhurchaidh  Mat- 
thewson — was  so  well  acquainted  with  the  ground,  and  led 
them  to  a  ford  on  the  river  between  two  rocks,  which  the 
Macdonald's  missed,  and  the  night  coming  on,  they  would 
have  been  quite  unable  to  escape.  The  Macdonalds  re- 
traced their  steps  to  their  boats,  and  on  the  way  discovered 
the  body  of  Alexander  MacGorrie,  whose  death  "  put  their 
boasting  to  mourning,"  and  conceiving  his  fate  ominous  of 
additional  misfortunes,  they,  carrying  him  along  with  them, 
prudently  returned  home,  and  disbanded  all  their  followers. 
The  Mackenzies  soon  arrived  at  Gairloch's  house  in  Loch 
Maree,  and  gave  a  full  account  of  their  expedition,  where- 
upon Kintail  immediately  decided  upon  taking  further 
active  measures  against  the  Macdonalds.  In  the  meantime 
he  was  assured  that  they  had  gone  to  their  own  country. 
He  soon  returned  home,  and  found  that  the  people  of 
Kintail  and  Glengarry,  tiring  of  incessant  slaughters  and 
mutual  injuries,  agreed,  in  his  absence,  in  the  month  of 
May,  to  cease  hostilities  until  the  following  Lammas.  Of 
this  agreement  Kintail  knew  nothing  ;  and  young  Glen- 
garry, against  the  earnest  solicitations  of  his  father,  who 
became  a  party  to  the  agreement  between  his  people  and 
those  of  Kintail,  started  with  a  strong  force  to  Glenshiel 
and  Letterfearn,  while  Allan  Macdonald  of  Lundy  with 
another  party  went  to  Glenelchaig  ;  harried  those  places, 
took  away  a  large  number  of  cattle  ;  killed  some  of  the 
aged  men  ;  several  women,  and  all  the  male  children. 
They  found  none  of  the  principal  and  able-bodied  men 
(who  had  withdrawn  some  distance  that  they  might,  with 
greater  advantage,  gather  together  in  a  body  and  defend 
themselves)  except  Duncan  Maclan  Mhic  Ghillechallum  in 
Killichirtorn,  whom  the  Macdonalds  apprehended,  and 
would  have  killed,  had  not  one  of  them,  formerly  his 
friend  and  acquaintance,  prevailed  upon  young  Glengarry 


to  save  his  life,  and  send  him  to  the  Castle   of  Strome, 
where  he  still  had  a  garrison,  rather  than  kill  him. 

The  successful  result  of  this  expedition  encouraged 
Angus  so  much  that  he  began  to  think  fortune  had  at  last 
turned  in  his  favour,  and  he  set  out  and  called  personally 
upon  all  the  chiefs  and  leaders  of  the  various  branches  of 
the  Macdonalds  throughout  the  west,  soliciting  their  assist- 
ance against  the  Mackenzies,  which  they  all  agreed  to  give 
in  the  ensuing  spring. 

This  came  to  Mackenzie's  knowledge.  He  was  at  the 
time  residing  in  Islandonain  Castle,  and,  fearing  the  con- 
sequences of  such  a  powerful  combination  against  him,  he 
went  privately  to  Mull  by  sea  to  consult  his  brother-in-law, 
Maclean  of  Duart,  to  whom  he  told  that  he  had  a  com- 
mission of  fire  and  sword  against  "  the  rebels  of  Glengarry 
and  such  as  would  rise  in  arms  to  assist  them,  and  being 
informed  that  the  Macdonalds  near  him  (Maclean)  had 
combined  to  join  them,  and  to  put  him  to  further  trouble, 
that,  therefore,  he  would  not  only,  as  a  good  subject  but  as 
his  fast  friend,  divert  these  whenever  they  should  rise  in 
arms  against  him  ".*  Maclean  undertook  to  prevent  the 
assistance  of  the  Macdonalds  of  Isla,  Glencoe,  and  Ardna- 
murchan,  by,  if  necessary,  invading  their  territories,  and 
thus  compelling  them  to  protect  their  own  interests  at 
home.  It  appears  that  old  Glengarry  was  still  anxious  to 
arrange  a  permanent  peace  with  Mackenzie  ;  but  young 
Angus,  restless  and  turbulent  as  ever,  would  not  hear  of 
any  peaceful  settlement,  and  determined  to  start  at  once 
upon  an  expedition,  from  which  his  father  told  him,  at  the 
time,  he  had  little  hopes  of  his  ever  returning  alive — a  fore- 
cast which  turned  out  only  too  true. 

Angus,  taking  advantage  of  Mackenzie's  absence  in 
Mull,  gathered,  in  the  latter  end  of  November,  as  secretly 
as  he  could,  all  the  boats  and  great  galleys  within  his 
reach,  and,  with  this  large  fleet,  loaded  with  his  followers, 
passed  through  the  Kyles  under  silence  of  night ;  and, 
coming  to  Lochcarron,  he  sent  his  followers  ashore  in  the 

*  Ardintoul  MS. 


twilight.  The  inhabitants  perceiving  them,  escaped  to  the 
hills,  but  the  Macdonalds  slaughtered  the  aged  men  who 
could  not  escape,  and  many  of  the  women  and  children  ; 
seized  all  the  cattle,  and  drove  them  to  the  Island  of  Slum- 
bay,  where  their  boats  lay,  which  they  filled  with  the  car- 
cases. Before,  however,  they  had  fully  loaded,  the  alarm 
having  gone  through  the  districts  of  Lochalsh  and  Kintail, 
some  of  the  natives  were  seen  coming  in  the  direction  of 
Lochcarron.  The  Macdonalds  deemed  it  prudent  to 
remain  no  longer,  and  set  out  to  sea  pursued  by  a  shower 
of  arrows  by  way  of  a  farewell,  which,  however,  had  but 
very  little  effect,  as  they  were  already  out  of  range. 

The  Kintail  men,  by  the  shortest  route,  now  returned  to 
Islandonain,  sending  twelve  of  the  swiftest  of  their  number 
across  country  to  Inverinate,  where  lay,  newly  built,  a 
twelve-oared  galley,  which  had  never  been  to  sea,  belonging 
to  Gillecriost  MacDhonnachaidh,  one  of  Inverinate's  tenants. 
These  heroes  made  such  rapid  progress  that  they  were  back 
at  the  castle  with  the  boat  before  many  of  their  companions 
arrived  from  Lochcarron.  During  the  night  they  set  to 
work,  superintended  and  encouraged  by  Mackenzie's  lady 
in  person,  to  make  arrangements  for  going  to  meet  the 
enemy.  The  best  men  were  quickly  picked  out.  The  lady 
supplied  them  with  all  the  materials  and  necessaries  within 
her  reach,  handed  them  the  lead  and  powder  with  her  own 
hands,  and  gave  them  two  small  pieces  of  brass  ordnance. 
She  ordered  Duncan  MacGillechriost,  a  powerful  hand- 
some fellow,  to  take  command  of  the  galley  in  his  father's 
absence,  and  in  eloquent  terms  charged  them  all  with  the 
honour  of  her  house  and  her  own  protection  in  her  husband's 
absence.  This  was  hardly  necessary,  for  the  Kintail  men 
had  not  yet  forgotten  the  breach  of  faith  committed  by 
Macdonald  regarding  the  recent  agreement  to  cease 
hostilities  for  a  stated  time,  and  other  recent  sores.  Her 
ladyship  wishing  them  God-speed,  they  started  on  their 
way  rejoicing,  and  in  the  best  of  spirits.  She  mounted  the 
castle  walls,  and  stood  there  encouraging  them  until,  by 
the  darkness  of  the  night,  she  could  no  longer  see  them. 



On  their  way  towards  Kylerhea  they  met  a  boat  from 
Lochalsh  sent  out  to  inform  them  of  the  arrival  of  the 
Macdonalds  at  Kyleakin.  Learning  this,  they  cautiously 
kept  their  course  close  to  the  south  side  of  the  loch.  It 
was  a  calm  moonlight  night,  with  occasional  slight  showers 
of  snow.  The  tide  had  already  began  to  flow,  and,  judging 
that  the  Macdonalds  would  wait  the  next  turning  of  the 
tide,  to  enable  them  to  get  through  Kylerhea,  the  Kintail 
men,  longing  for  their  prey,  resolved  to  advance  and  meet 
the  enemy.  They  had  not  proceeded  far,  rowing  very 
gently,  after  placing  seaweed  in  the  rowlocks  so  as  not  to 
make  a  noise,  when  they  noticed  a  boat  rowing  at  the 
hardest  and  coming  in  their  direction  ;  but  from  its  small 
size  they  thought  it  must  have  been  sent  by  the  Mac- 
donalds in  advance  to  test  the  passage  of  Kylerhea.  They 
therefore  allowed  it  to  pass  unmolested,  and  proceeded 
northward,  looking  for  Macdonald's  own  galley.  When 
they  neared  the  Cailleach,  a  low  rock  midway  between 
both  Kyles,  it  was  seen  in  the  distance  covered  with  snow. 
The  night  also  favoured  them,  the  sea,  calm,  appearing 
black  and  mournful  to  the  enemy.  Here  they  met  the  first 
galley,  and  drawing  up  near  it,  they  soon  discovered  it  to  be 
no  other  than  Macdonald's  own  great  galley,  some  distance 
ahead  of  the  rest  of  the  fleet.  Macdonald,  as  soon  as  he 
noticed  them,  called  out  "Who  is  there"?  twice  in  succes- 
sion, but  received  no  answer,  and  finding  the  Kintail  men 
drawing  nearer  he  called  out  the  third  time,  when,  in  reply, 
he  received  a  full  broadside  from  Mackenzie's  cannon,  which 
disabled  his  galley  and  threw  her  on  the  Cailleach  Rock. 
The  men  on  board  Macdonald's  galley  thought  they  had 
been  driven  on  shore,  and  flocked  to  the  fore  part  of  the 
boat,  striving  to  escape,  thus  capsizing  and  filling  the  galley. 
Discovering  their  position,  and  seeing  a  long  stretch  of  sea 
lying  between  them  and  the  mainland,  they  became  quite 
confused,  and  were  completely  at  the  mercy  of  their  enemies, 
who  sent  some  of  their  men  ashore  to  despatch  any  of  the 
poor  wretches  who  might  swim  to  land,  while  others  re- 
mained in  the  boat  killing"  or  drowning  the  Macdonalds. 


Such  of  them  as  managed  to  reach  the  shore  were  killed  or 
drowned  by  those  of  the  Kintail  men  who  went  ashore,  not 
a  soul  out  of  the  sixty  men  on  board  the  galley  having 
managed  to  escape,  except  Angus  Macdonald  himself,  still 
breathing,  though  he  had  been  wounded  twice  in  the  head 
and  once  in  the  body.  He  was  yet  alive  when  they  took 
him  aboard  their  galley,  but  he  died  before  the  morning. 
Hearing  the  uproar,  several  of  the  Lochalsh  people  went 
out  with  all  speed  in  two  small  boats,  under  the  command 
of  Dugall  MacMhurchaidh  Matthewson,  to  take  part  in  the 
fray  ;  but  by  the  time  they  arrived  few  of  Macdonald's  fol- 
lowers were  alive.  Thus  ended  the  career  of  Angus,  younger 
of  Glengarry,  a  warrior  to  whom  his  followers  looked  up, 
and  whom  they  justly  regarded  as  a  bold  and  intrepid 
leader,  though  greatly  deficient  in  prudence  and  strategy. 

The  remainder  of  Macdonald's  fleet,  to  the  number  of 
twenty-one,  following  behind  his  own  galley,  having  heard 
the  uproar,  returned  to  Kyleakin  in  such  terror  and  con- 
fusion that  each  thought  his  nearest  neighbour  was  pursuing 
him.  Landing  in  Strathardale,  they  left  their  boats  "  and 
their  ill-cooked  beef  to  these  hungry  gentlemen,"  and  before 
they  slept  they  arrived  in  Sleat,  from  whence  they  were  sent 
across  to  the  mainland  in  the  small  boats  of  the  laird. 

The  great  concern  and  anxiety  of  her  ladyship  of  Islan- 
donain  can  be  easily  conceived,  for  all  that  she  had  yet 
learnt  was  the  simple  fact  that  an  engagement  of  some  kind 
had  taken  place,  and  this  she  only  knew  from  having  heard 
the  sound  of  cannon  during  the  night.  Early  in  the  morning 
she  noticed  her  protectors  returning  with  their  birlinn,  ac- 
companied by  another  great  galley.  This  brightened  her 
hopes,  and  going  down  to  the  shore  to  meet  them,  she 
heartily  saluted  them,  and  asked  if  all  had  gone  well  with 
them.  "  Yea,  Madam,"  answered  their  leader,  Duncan 
MacGillechriost,  "  we  have  brought  you  a  new  guest,  with- 
out the  loss  of  a  single  man,  whom  we  hope  is  welcome  to 
your  ladyship  ".  She  looked  into  the  galley,  and  at  once 
recognising  the  body  of  Angus  of  Glengarry,  she  ordered  it 
to  be  carried  ashore  and  properly  attended  to.     The  men 


proposed  that  he  should  be  buried  in  the  tomb  of  his  pre- 
decessors, "  Cnoc  nan  Aingeal,"  in  Lochalsh  ;  but  this  she 
objected  to,  observing  that,  if  he  could,  her  husband  would 
never  allow  a  Macdonald,  dead  or  alive,  any  further  posses- 
sion in  that  locality,  at  the  same  time  ordering  young  Glen- 
garry to  be  buried  with  her  own  children,  and  such  other 
children  of  the  predecessors  of  the  Mackenzies  of  Kintail  as 
were  buried  in  Kilduich,  saying  that  she  considered  it  no 
disparagement  for  him  to  be  buried  with  such  cousins  ;  and 
if  it  were  her  own  fate  to  die  in  Kintail,  she  would  desire  to 
be  buried  amongst  them.  The  proposal  was  agreed  to,  and 
everything  having  been  got  ready  suitable  for  the  funeral  of 
a  gentleman  of  his  rank — such  as  the  place  could  afford  in 
the  circumstances — he  was  buried  next  day  in  Kilduich, 
in  the  same  tomb  as  Mackenzie's  own  children. 

This  is  not  the  generally  received  account  of  Angus  Mac- 
donald's  burial ;  but  we  are  glad,  for  the  credit  of  our 
common  humanity,  to  find  the  following  conclusive  testi- 
mony in  an  imperfect  but  excellently  written  MS.  of  the 
seventeenth  century,  otherwise  remarkably  correct  and  trust- 
worthy :— "  Some  person,  out  of  what  reason  I  cannot  tell, 
will  needs  affirm  he  was  buried  in  the  church  door,  as  men 
go  out  and  in,  which  to  my  certain  knowledge  is  a  malicious 
lie,  for  with  my  very  eyes  I  have  seen  his  head  raised  out 
of  the  same  grave  and  returned  again,  wherein  there  was 
two  small  cuts,  noways  deep."* 

After  the  funeral  of  young  Glengarry,  Mackenzie's  lady 
became  concerned  about  her  husband's  safe  return,  and  was 
most  anxious  that  he  should  be  advised  of  the  state  of  mat- 
ters at  home.  She  therefore  despatched  Robert  Mac 
Dhomh'uill  Uidhir  to  arrange  the  safest  plan  for  bringing 
her  lord  safely  home,  as  the  Macdonalds  were  still  prowl- 
ing among  the  creeks  and  bays  further  south.  He  soon 
after  sailed  in  Maclean's  great  birlinn,  under  command 
of  the  Captain  of  Cairnburgh,  accompanied  by  several 
other  gentlemen  of  the  Macleans. 

In  the  meantime,  the  Macdonalds,  aware  that  Mackenzie 

*  Ancient  MS. 


had  not  yet  returned,  "  convened  all  the  boats  and  galleys 
they  could,  to  a  certain  island  which  lay  in  his  course,  and 
which  he  could  not  avoid  passing.  So,  coming  within  sight 
of  the  island,  having  a  good  prospect  of  a  number  of  boats, 
after  they  had  ebbed  in  a  certain  harbour,  and  men  also, 
making  ready  to  set  out  to  sea.  This  occasioned  the  cap- 
tain to  use  a  strategem,  and  steer  directly  to  the  harbour, 
and  still  as  they  came  forward  he  caused  lower  the  sail, 
which  the  other  party  perceiving  made  them  forbear  putting 
out  their  boats,  persuading  themselves  that  it  was  a  galley 
they  expected  from  Ardnamurchan,  but  they  had  no  sooner 
come  forgainst  the  harbour  but  the  captain  caused  hoist 
sail,  set  oars,  and  steers  aside,  immediately  bangs  up  a  bag- 
piper and  gives  them  shots.  The  rest,  finding  the  cheat 
and  their  own  mistake,  made  such  a  hurly-burly  setting  out 
their  boats,  with  their  haste  they  broke  some  of  them,  and 
some  of  themselves  were  bruised  and  had  broken  shins  also 
for  their  prey,  and  such  as  went  out  whole,  perceiving  the 
galley  so  far  off,  thought  it  was  folly  to  pursue  her  any  fur- 
ther, they  all  returned  wiser  than  they  came  from  home." 

"  This  is,  notwithstanding  other  men's  reports,  the  true 
and  real  narration  of  Glengarrie  Younger  his  progress,  of 
the  Kintail  men  their  meeting  him  in  Kyle  Rhea,  of  my 
lord's  coming  from  Mull,  and  of  the  whole  success,  which 
I  have  heard  verbatim  not  only  from  one  but  from  several 
that  were  present  at  their  actings."* 

Mackenzie  arrived  at  Islandonain  late  at  night,  where  he 
found  his  lady  still  entertaining  her  brave  Kintail  men  after 
their  return  from  Glengarry's  funeral.  While  not  a  little 
concerned  about  the  death  of  his  troublesome  relative,  he 
heartily  congratulated  his  gallant  retainers  on  the  excellent 
manner  in  which  they  had  protected  his  interests  during  his 
absence.  Certain  that  the  Macdonalds  would  never  rest 
satisfied  until  they  had  wiped  out  and  revenged  the  death 

*  Ancient  MS.  The  authors  of  the  Letterfearn  and  Ardintoul  MSS. ,  give 
substantially  the  same  account,  and  say  that  among  those  who  accompanied  Mac- 
kenzie to  Mull,  was  "  Rory  Beg  Mackenzie,  son  to  Rory  M6re,  of  Achiglunichan, 
Fairburn  and  Achilty's  predecessor,  and  who  afterwards  died  parson  of  Contine, 
from  whom  my  author  had  the  full  account  of  Mackenzie's  voyage  to  Mull." 


of  their  leader,  Mackenzie  determined  if  possible  to  drive 
them  out  of  the  district  altogether.  The  castle  of  Strome, 
then  in  possession  of  Glengarry,  was  the  greatest  obstacle  in 
carrying  out  this  resolution,  for  it  was  a  good  and  conveni- 
ent asylum  for  the  Macdonalds  when  pursued  by  Mackenzie 
and  his  followers  ;  but  he  ultimately  succeeded  in  wresting 
it  from  them. 

We  give  the  following  account  of  how  it  was  taken,  from 
the  Ancient  MS.,  slightly  modernising  the  spelling  : — "  In 
the  spring  of  the  following  year,  Lord  Kintail  gathered  to- 
gether considerable  forces  and  besieged  the  castle  of  Strome 
in  Lochcarron,  which  at  first  held  out  very  manfully,  and 
would  not  surrender,  though  several  terms  were  offered, 
which  he  (Mackenzie)  finding,  not  willing  to  lose  his  men, 
resolved  to  raise  the  siege  for  a  time ;  but  the  defenders 
were  so  unfortunate  as  to  have  their  powder  damaged  by 
the  women  they  had  within.  Having  sent  them  out  by 
silence  of  night  to  draw  in  water,  out  of  a  well  that  lay  just 
at  the  entrance  of  the  castle,  the  silly  women  were  in  such 
fear,  and  the  room  they  brought  the  water  into  being  so 
dark  for  want  of  light,  when  they  came  in  they  poured  the 
water  into  a  vat,  missing  the  right  one,  wherein  the  few 
barrels  of  powder  they  had  lay.  And  in  the  morning,  when 
the  men  came  for  more  powder,  having  exhausted  the  sup- 
ply of  the  previous  day,  they  found  the  barrels  of  powder 
floating  in  the  vat ;  so  they  began  to  rail  and  abuse  the  poor 
women,  which  the  fore-mentioned  Duncan  Mac  Ian  Mhic 
Gillechallum,  still  a  prisoner  in  the  castle,  hearing,  as  he 
was  at  liberty  through  the  house,  having  promised  and 
made  solemn  oath  that  he  would  never  come  out  of  the 
door  until  he  was  ransomed  or  otherwise  relieved."  This 
he  was  obliged  to  do  to  save  his  life.  But  having  discovered 
the  accident  which  befell  the  powder,  he  accompanied  his 
keepers  to  the  ramparts  of  the  castle,  when  he  noticed  his 
countrymen  packing  up  their  baggage  as  if  intending  to 
raise  the  siege.  Duncan  instantly  threw  his  plaid  over  the 
head  of  the  man  that  stood  next  him,  and  jumped  over  the 
wall  on  to  a  large  dung  heap  that  stood  immediately  below. 


He  was  a  little  stunned,  but  instantly  recovered  himself, 
flew  with  the  fleetness  of  a  deer  to  Mackenzie's  camp,  and 
informed  his  chief  of  the  state  of  matters  within  the  strong- 
hold. Kintail  renewed  the  siege  and  brought  his  scaling 
ladders  nearer  the  castle.  The  defenders  seeing  this,  and 
knowing  that  their  mishap  and  consequent  plight  had  been 
disclosed  by  Duncan  to  the  enemy,  they  offered  to  yield  up 
the  castle  on  condition  that  their  lives  would  be  spared,  and 
that  they  be  allowed  to  carry  away  their  baggage.  This 
was  readily  granted  them,  and  "  my  lord  caused  presently 
blow  up  the  house  with  powder,  which  remains  there  in 
heaps  to  this  day.  He  lost  only  but  two  Kenlochewe  men 
at  the  siege.  Andrew  Munro  of  Teannouher  (Novar)  was 
wounded,  with  two  or  three  others,  and  so  dissolved  the 
camp."  Another  writer  says  : — "  The  rooms  are  to  be  seen 
yet.  It  stood  on  a  high  rock,  which  extended  into  the  midst 
of  a  little  bay  of  the  sea  westward,  which  made  a  harbour 
or  safe  port  for  great  boats  or  vessels  of  no  great  burden, 
on  either  side  of  the  castle.  It  was  a  very  convenient  place 
for  Alexander  Mac  Gillespick  to  dwell  in  when  he  had  both 
the  countries  of  Lochalsh  and  Lochcarron,  standing  on  the 
very  march  between  both." 

In  1603  the  Macdonalds  of  Glengarry,  under  Allan  Dubh 
MacRanuil  of  Lundy,  made  an  incursion  into  the  country 
of  Mackenzie,  in  Brae  Ross,  plundered  the  lands  of  Cille- 
chriost,  and  ferociously  set  fire  to  the  church  during  divine 
service,  when  full  of  men,  women,  and  children,  while  Glen- 
garry's piper  marched  round  the  building  cruelly  mocking 
the  heartrending  wails  of  the  burning  women  and  infants, 
playing  the  well-known  pibroch,  which  has  been  known 
ever  since  by  the  name  of  "  Cilliechriost,"  as  the  family  tune 
of  the  Macdonells.  Gregory  says,  "  some  of  the  Mac- 
donalds chiefly  concerned  in  this  inhuman  outrage  were 
afterwards  killed  by  the  Mackenzies  ;  but  it  is  somewhat 
startling  to  reflect  that  this  terrible  instance  of  private 
vengance  should  have  occurred  in  the  commencement  of 
the  seventeenth  century,  without,  so  far  as  we  can  trace, 
any  public  notice  being  taken  of  such  an  enormity.     In  the 


end  the  disputes  between  the  chiefs  of  Glengarry  and  Kin- 
tail  were  amicably  settled  by  an  arrangement  which  gave 
the  Ross-shire  lands,  so  long  the  subject  of  dispute,  entirely 
to  Mackenzie  ;  and  the  hard  terms  to  which  Glengarry  was 
obliged  to  submit  in  the  private  quarrel,  seemed  to  have 
formed  the  only  punishment  inflicted  on  this  clan  for  the 
cold-blooded  atrocity  displayed  in  the  memorable  raid  on 
Kilchrist."  After  this  the  two  powerful  families  continued 
on  friendly  terms  much  to  their  mutual  advantage,  and 
that  of  the  wide  district  of  country  over  which  they  held 

Angus,  the  eldest  son,  having  been  killed,  and  his  father, 
Donald  MacAngus,  being  now  very  advanced  in  years,  the 
actual  command  of  the  clan  fell  to  the  second  son,  Alex- 
ander, known  among  the  Highlanders  as  "Alastair  Dearg". 
He  appears  to  have  been  of  a  much  more  peaceable  dis- 
position than  his  brother  Angus.  He  also  predeceased 
his  father,  who  being  very  frail  and  confined  to  his  bed  in 
his  latter  years,  had,  after  the  death  of  Alastair  Dearg 
to  hand  over  the  actual  command  of  the  clan  to  his  grand- 
son Angus,  or  ^Eneas  (son  of  Alastair  Dearg),  who  was,  in 
1660,  created  Lord  Macdonell  and  Arros. 

That  Alexander  predeceased  his  father  is  clearly  proved 
by  an  order  of  the  Privy  Council,  dated  Edinburgh,  3rd 
December,  1641,  at  the  instance  of  William  Mackintosh  of 
Torcastle  and  others,  for  committing  Angus,  Donald's 
grandson,  to  Edinburgh  Castle  for  refusing  to  exhibit 
several  of  his'  clan,  named  in  the  order,  who  had  murdered 
Lachlan  Mackintosh  and  William  Millar  within  the  burgh 
of  Inverness,  upon  a  Sabbath  day  named  in  the  criminal 
letters  issued  against  them.  Angus  was  in  Edinburgh  at 
the  date  of  the  order,  in  which  he  is  designed,  though  his 
father  was  still  alive,  as  "  the  Laird  of  Glengarie,  who  is 
Cheefe  Maister  landslord  to  the  saids  rebells,"  and  who 
"  ought  to  be  answirable  for  thame,  and  exhibite  thame  to 

*  Abridged  from  the  author's  "  History  and  Genealogy  of  the  Clan  Mackenzie," 
where  a  full  account  of  the  burning  and  "  Raid  of  Cillechriost,"  will  be  found  pp. 


justice  conforme  to  the  laws  of  the  countrie  and  severall 
Acts  of  Parliament".  The  applicants  pray  that  the  Laird 
of  Glengarry  be  committed  to  ward  in  Edinburgh  till  the 
said  rebels  be  exhibited  to  answer  for  the  said  slaughter 
committed  by  them,  or  else  to  take  responsible  caution  of 
him  to  exhibit  them  "at  a  certane  day  vnder  great  soumes". 
After  hearing  parties  the  Council  decreed  as  follows : — 

"  Quhereunto  Angus  Macdonald  oy  {ogha,  or  grandson)  to  the  Laird  of 
Glengarie  being  called  to  answyr,  and  he  compeirand  this  day  personally 
before  the  saids  Lords,  together  with  Lauchlane  Macintosh,  brother  to  the 
supplicant.  And  the  saids  Lords  being  well  and  throughlie  advised  with  all 
that  wes  proponned  and  alledged  be  both  the  saids  parteis  in  this  mater.  The 
Lords  of  Secreit  Counseill,  in  regard  of  the  knowne  old  age  and  infirmitie  of 
the  old  Laird  of  Glengarie  being  neir  ane  hundreth  yeers  of  age  ;  and  that  the 
said  Angus  Macdonald  his  oy  {ogha,  or  grandson)  is  appearand  heir  of  the 
estat,  hes  the  management  and  government  yairof,  and  is  followed  and  acknow- 
ledged be  the  haill  tennents  of  the  bounds,  and  such  as  hes  ane  dependence 
on  his  goodshir.  Therefore  they  find  that  he  is  lyable  for  exhibition  of  the 
rebells  foresaids,  men  tennants  and  servants,  to  his  said  guidshir,  as  he  would 
have  beene  if  his  age  did  not  excuse  him.  And  the  said  Angus  being  per- 
sonallie  present  as  said  is,  and  this  sentence  being  intimate  to  him,  and  he 
ordained  to  find  caution  for  exhibition  of  the  saids  rebells,  before  the  saids 
Lords  in  the  moneth  of  Junii  next,  and  to  keepe  the  peace  in  the  meane  time, 
he  refused  to  doe  the  same  ;  and  therefore  the  saids  Lords  ordains  him  to  be 
committed  to  waird  within  the  Castell  of  Edinburgh,  therein  to  remaine  upon 
his  owne  expenss,  ay  and  whyll  he  find  the  said  cautioun,  and  till  he  be  freed 
and  releeved  be  the  said  Lords,  and  siclyke  ordanis  lettres  of  intercommoning 
to  be  direct  aganis  the  rebells  foresaids." 

By  an  order  dated  1st  of  March,  1642,  he  is  set  at  liberty 
"  furthe  of  the  Castle,"  but  to  continue  at  open  ward  within 
"this  Burghe  of  Edinburghe,"  Sir  John  Mackenzie  of 
Tarbat  having  become  cautioner  for  him.  He  was  im- 
prisoned in  the  Castle  for  "  ye  space  of  13  weekis  or  there- 
by," and,  in  the  order,  he  is  again  designed  "Angus 
Macdonald,  oy  {ogha  or  grandson)  to  the  Laird  of  Glen- 
garie ".  This  establishes  beyond  question  that  Alastair 
Dearg  (as  well  as  Angus  Og)  predeceased  his  father, 
Donald  MacAngus  MacAlastair,  and  that,  although  he 
commanded  the  Macdonalds  of  Glengarry  during  his 
father's  life-time,  he  actually  never  was,  and  ought  not  to 
be  reckoned  one  of  the  chiefs. 


Hitherto  we  have  not  met  with  a  single  instance  where 
Macdonell  is  used  as  the  family  name  of  Glengarry.  It 
will  be  observed  that  during  his  grandfather's  life-time  the 
future  Lord  Macdonell  and  Arros  was  designated  Angus 
Macdonald,  and  the  first  instance  of  Macdonell  as  a 
family  name,  in  connection  with  Glengarry,  is  in  the  patent 
of  nobility  granted  to  the  grandson  and  successor  of  Donald 
Mac  Angus,  on  the  20th  of  December,  1660.  The  name 
having  at  that  date  been  assumed,  we  shall  hereafter  adopt 
it  in  connection  with  this  family.* 

We  have  already  seen  that  Donald's  father  entered  into 
an  agreement  with  Grant  of  Freuchy  that  his  son  Donald, 
should  marry  Grant's  daughter,  and  that  Angus  suffered 
seriously  in  consequence  of  Donald's  refusal  to  carry  out 
that  engagement.  She,  however,  appears  to  have  been 
living  and  cohabiting  with  him  in  Strome  Castle,  Loch- 
carron,  probably  in  accordance  with  the  outrageous  custom 
which  then  partly  prevailed  with  some,  of  having  their 
betrothed  living  with  them  on  probation.  The  inhabitants 
of  the  district  looked  upon  her,  erroneously,  however,  as 
his  lawful  wife  ;  and  one  of  the  charges  made  against  him 
before  the  Privy  Council,  in  1602,  was  that  "he  lived  in 
habitual  and  constant  adultery  with  the  Captain  of  Clan- 
ranald's  daughter  after  he  had  put  away  and  repudiated 
Grant's  daughter,  his  married  wife.-f-  The  author  of  the 
oldest  Mackenzie  MS.  extant  \  refers  to  the  same  irregu- 
larity in  the  following  terms  : — "  His  young  lady  Mac- 
Ranald's,  or  Captain  of  Clanranald's,  daughter  whom  he 
had  newly  brought  there  (Strome  Castle),  and  had  sen 
away  Grant's  daughter."  This  would  go  far  to  explain  the 
determination  with  which  Grant  decided  upon  punishing 
the  father,  and  insisting  upon  the  penalties  provided  for  in 
the  agreement  between   Grant  and  old  Glengarry,  failing 

*  Mr.  Fraser-Mackintosh,  F.S.A.  Scot.,  M. P. ,  has,  in  his  possession,  two  docu- 
ments signed  by  Glengarry,  both  in  the  year  1660,  in  one  of  which  he  signs 
"  Angus  McDonald  "  ;  in  the  other,  "  Macdonell". 

f  Letterfearn  MS. 

i  The  "  Ancient"  MS.  of  the  Mackenzies. 


the  due  solemnization  of  the  marriage.  It  is  only  from 
this  position  of  parties  that  any  plausible  foundation  can 
be  found  for  the  charge  made  by  the  Clanranald  champion 
in  his  letters  to  the  Inverness  Journal  in  181 8  and  18 19, 
that  Alastair  Dearg  was  illegitimate,  and  that  therefore 
the  Glengarry  line  was  in  the  same  position  as  that  alleged 
in  the  case  of  John  Moydartach's  descendants.  For  this 
charge,  however,  there  is  no  foundation  whatever,  for  it  is 
admitted  by  all,  including  Clanranald,  that  a  legitimate 
marriage  had  taken  place  between  Donald  of  Glengarry 
and  the  daughter  of  Allan  MacDonald  of  Clanranald. 
The  only  question  which  could  affect  that  union  is  a 
previous  legally  constituted  marriage  with  Helen  Grant  of 
Grant,  and  that  no  such  union  existed  has  been  proved 
beyond  any  possibility  of  doubt.  But  it  is  scarcely  worth 
while  to  discuss  seriously  the  various  charges  made  by  the 
Clanranald  champion ;  for  he  not  only  maintains  that 
Donald,  first  of  Scotus,  was  "  Donald  of  Laggan,"  but  that 
Alastair  Dearg,  the  undoubted  son  of  Donald  MacAngus, 
and  father  of  ^Eneas,  Lord  Macdonell  and  Arros,  was  the 
son  of  Donald  of  Scotus — the  brother  and  the  son  of  the 
same  man  at  the  same  time.  "  Regarding  Allister  Dearg," 
he  says,  in  his  letter  of  1st  of  October,  1 8 19,  "I  admit  he 
was  the  son  of  Donald  of  Laggan  ".  He  has  been  proved 
to  be  the  son  of  Donald  MacAngus  MacAlastair  and  brother 
of  Donald  first  of  Scotus,  whom  Clanranald  calls  "  Donald 
of  Laggan  ".  Contradictory  nonsense  like  this  is  almost 
beneath  notice,  but  it  was  the  only  possible  retreat  that 
the  champion  of  Clanranald  could  find  from  the  false 
position  which  he  had  assumed  ;  for  he  himself  declares, 
when  taken  to  task,  that  he  never  "  attempted  to  insinuate  " 
that  Alastair  Dearg's  father,  the  real  Donald  of  Laggan — 
Donald  MacAngus  MacAlastair — was  not  legitimate. 

Donald  married,  first,  Margaret,  daughter  of  Allan  Mac- 
donald  of  Moydart,  Captain  of  Clanranald,  and  grand- 
daughter of  the  famous  John  Moydartach,  with  issue — 

I.  Alexander,  known  as  "  Alastair  Dearg,"  who  married 
Jean,  daughter  of  Allan  Cameron,  XV.    of  Lochiel,  with 


issue — JEneas  Macdonell,  created  a  Peer  of  Scotland  as 
Lord  Macdonell  and  Arros  in  1660,  and  who  (Alastair 
Dearg  having  died  before  his  father,  Donald  MacAngus), 
succeeded  his  grandfather  as  chief  of  Glengarry. 

2.  Donald,  first  of  Scotus,  or  Scothouse,  who  married 
Mary,  daughter  of  Sir  Donald  Macdonald  of  Sleat,  with 
issue — Reginald,  second  of  Scotus,  who  married  a  daughter 
of  Macleod  of  Macleod,  with  issue — "  Alastair  Dubh  " 
Macdonell  (whose  father  succeeded  to  Glengarry  on  the 
death,  without  lawful  issue,  in  1682,  of  his  cousin,  Lord 
Macdonell  and  Arros),  and  four  other  sons,  of  whom  here- 

3.  John,  known  as  Ian  Mor,  from  whom  the  family  of 
Ard-na-heare,  all  of  whom  emigrated  to  America. 

4.  John,  or  Ian  Og,  whose  descendants  also  went  to 

He  also  had  a  natural  son,  Angus,  by  Helen  Grant, 
Freuchy's  daughter,  killed  at  Kyleakin  by  the  Mackenzies. 
He  was  legitimated  by  the  following  Precept,  and,  had 
he  lived,  would  probably  have  succeeded  to  Glengarry  : 
— "  Preceptum  legittimationis  Angusij  McDonald  Vc 
Angusij  bastardi  filij  naturalis  Donaldi  Mc  Angus  de 
Glengarrie,  Reliqua  in  comuni  forma.  Apud  Halierudhous, 
decime  quinte  die  mensis  Aprilis  anno  dn'i  millessimo 
quingentesimo  octuagesimo  quarto.     Per  Signitum."* 

Glengarry  married,  secondly,  a  daughter  of  Macdonell 
of  Keppoch.  He  died  at  an  extreme  old  age — over  a 
hundred — on  Sunday,  the  2nd  of  February  1645,  the  same 
day  on  which  Montrose  victoriously  fought  the  battle 
of  Inverlochy,  aided  by  the  men  of  Glengarry,  under  Donald 
MacAlastair's  grandson  and  successor, 


Ninth  of  Glengarry,  raised  to  the  Scottish  Peerage,  in  1660, 
by  the  title  of  Lord  Macdonell  and  Arros.  We  have  seen 
that  on  the  very  day  on  which  his  grandfather  died,  the  2d 

*  Reg.  Privy  Seal,  vol.  i.(  p.  119. 


of  February,  1645,  he  had  been  engaged  at  the  head  of 
his  clan  with  Montrose  at  the  Battle  of  Inverlochy,  his 
father,  Donald,  having  died  a  few  years  previously.  On 
this  occasion  he  was  accompanied  by  his  three  uncles — 
Donald,  first  of  Scotus  ;  John  Mor,  and  John  Og,  all  of 
whom  were  distinguished  warriors,  and  steady  supporters 
of  the  Stuarts.  Angus  Macdonell  of  Glengarry  never  left 
Montrose  since  he  joined  him,  a  young  man,  at  the  head  of 
his  followers,  in  1644,  in  an  expedition  to  Argyle,  on  which 
occasion  they  devastated  and  laid  the  whole  of  the  country 
waste,  and  burnt  and  destroyed  everything  that  came  within 
their  reach.  From  the  13th  of  December,  1644,  till  about  the 
middle  of  January,  1645,  they  over-ran  the  country.  The 
slaughter  was  immense,  and  before  the  end  of  January  not 
a  male  person  was  to  be  seen  throughout  the  entire  extent 
of  Argyle  and  Lorn,  "  the  whole  population  having  been 
either  driven  out,  or  taken  refuge  in  dens  and  caves  known 
only  to  themselves  ".  Glengarry  adhered  to  the  great  Mar- 
quis throughout  his  distinguished  career,  Wishart  declaring 
that  he  "  deserves  a  singular  commendation  for  his  bravery 
and  steady  loyalty  to  the  king,  and  his  peculiar  attachment 
to  Montrose  ". 

He  joined  the  Earl  of  Antrim  in  Ireland  in  1647,  where 
his  regiment  suffered  a  serious  defeat.  "  When  Antrim  left 
Scotland,  early  in  1647,  he  brought  with  him  a  regiment 
of  Scotch  Highlanders,  under  the  command  of  Angus 
Macdonald  of  Glengarry,  not  so  much,  perhaps,  to  em- 
ploy them  against  his  Irish  enemies  as  to  take  them  out  of 
harm's  way  in  Scotland,  where  David  Leslie  was  cutting 
off  in  detail  the  various  fragments  into  which  the  Royalist 
forces  had  separated  themselves  after  their  great  victory 
at  Kilsyth.  This  Highland  regiment  under  Glengarry 
soon  got  into  trouble  here  also,  for  on  its  march  to  join 
the  Cavanaghs  in  Wexford,  and  thus  to  assist  in  opposing 
the  Ormondists,  it  was  set  upon  by  a  superior  force  under 
Sir  Thomas  Esmond,  and  entirely  defeated.  Four  hun- 
dred   of  Glengarry's    regiment   were   killed,   with   several 


officers,"*  and    the  remaining   officers,   including   himself, 
were  taken  prisoners. 

He  was  personally  present  at  the  meeting  held  in  August, 
1653,  at  Lochearn,  to  make  the  arrangements  preliminary 
to  Glencairn's  expedition,  and  afterwards  joined  the  Earl 
with  three  hundred  of  his  followers.  Among  those  present 
were  the  Earl  of  Athole,  Lord  Lome,  Lochiel,  and  several 
others.  Lome  brought  1000  foot  and  50  horse,  but,  in 
about  a  fortnight  after,  on  the  1st  of  January,  1654,  he,  on 
some  pretence,  clandestinely  left  with  his  followers,  taking 
the  direction  of  Ruthven  Castle,  then  garisoned  by  English 
soldiers,  from  Cromar,  in  Badenoch,  where  Glencairn's  army 
was  at  the  time  quartered.  Exasperated  at  Lome  for  thus 
deserting  him,  Glencairn  despatched  a  party  of  horse,  under 
Glengarry  and  Lochiel,  to  bring  Lome  and  his  followers 
back,  or,'  in  case  of  refusal,  to  attack  them.  Glengarry 
followed  them  up  so  closely  that  he  overtook  them  within 
half-a-mile  of  Ruthven  Castle.  Lome  escaped  with  some 
of  his  horse,  but  Glengarry  sent  a  party  in  pursuit,  who 
overtook  them,  and  brought  about  twenty  of  them  back 
prisoners.  The  foot  halted  on  a  hill  near  the  castle,  and 
agreed  to  return  to  the  camp  ;  but  Glengarry,  who  had  a 
strong  antipathy  to  the  whole  Campbell  race  since  the  wars 
of  Montrose,  determined,  contrary  to  his  instructions,  to 
attack  them,  and  would  have  done  so,  but  for  the  arrival  of 
Glencairn  himself  in  time  to  prevent  bloodshed,  at  the  same 
time,  however,  directing  that  no  proposals  should  be  re- 
ceived from  them  with  arms  in  their  hands  ;  whereupon 
they  delivered  their  arms,  and  Glencairn  with  some  of  his 
officers  rode  up  and  addressed  them  on  the  impropriety  of 
their  conduct.  The  result  was  that  the  Campbells  declared 
their  willingness  to  serve  the  King  and  obey  Glencairn  as 
commander,  a  declaration  which  both  officers  and  men 
confirmed  by  a  solemn  oath  ;  "  but  they  all  deserted  within 
a  fortnight/'f 

*  Macdonells  of  Antrim.     Foot-note,  p.  334. 

f  Graham  of  Deuchrie's  Account  of  Glencairn's  Expedition  ;  and  Fullarton's 
History  of  the  Highland  Clans,  p.  293. 


In  1653  the  exiled  Charles  granted  Glengarry  the  follow- 
ing commission  as  Major-General : — 

"  Charles,  by  the  grace  of  God,  King  of  Great  Britain,  France,  and  Ireland, 
Defender  of  the  Faith,  &c.,  to  our  trusty  and  well-beloved  Angus  Macdonell  of 
Glengarry,  and  to  all  others  to  whom  these  presentis  shall  come  greeting, 
know  ye  that  we,  reposing  trust  and  confidence  in  the  courage,  conduct, 
and  good  affection  of  you,  the  said  Angus  Macdonell,  doe  by  these  presentis 
constitute  and  appoint  you  to  be  one  of  our  Major-Generals  of  such  forces  of 
foote  as  are  or  shall  be  levied  for  our  service  within  our  Kingdom  of  Scotland, 
giving  you  hereby  power  and  authority  to  conduct,  order,  and  command  them, 
in  all  things  for  our  saide  service,  according  to  the  lawes  and  custome  of  warre, 
and  as  belongeth  to  the  power  and  office  of  one  of  oure  Major- Generals  of  foot ; 
and  with  the  same  to  fight,  kill,  slay,  and  destroy,  or  otherwise  subdue  all  op- 
posers  and  enemies  who  are  in  present  hostility  against  or  not  in  present 
obedience  to  us,"  [with  the  usual  authorities,  privileges,  and  rights  belonging  to 
Major-Generals,  commanding  all  officers  of  inferior  rank  to  obey  him,  while 
he  is  to  obey  all  orders  and  commands  from  General  Middleton,  and  all  others 
his  superior  officers.]  "  Given  at  Chantilly,  the  31st  day  of  October,  1653,  in 
the  fifth  yeare  of  our  reigne." 

In  165 1,  he  was  forfeited  by  Oliver  Cromwell,  for  his 
steady  and  active  support  of  the  Stuarts  ;  but  on  the  Res- 
toration of  Charles  II.  he  was,  as  already  stated,  on  the  20th 
of  December,  1660,  created,  as  a  reward  for  his  faithful 
services,  Lord  Macdonell  and  Arros,  in  the  Peerage  of  Scot- 
land, the  honours  being  limited  to  the  heirs-male  of  his 
body.*  He  subsequently  made  a  formal  claim  to  the 
chiefship,  not  only  of  the  descendants  of  Reginald,  being 
the  whole  Clanranalds,  but  to  that  of  the  whole  Clan- 
donald,  as  male  representative  of  Somerled  and  Donald  de 
Isla,  the  common  ancestors  of  the  clan. 

In  1665,  the  Macdonalds  of  Glengarry  succeeded  in  foisting 
a  serious  quarrel  on  the  town  of  Inverness,  in  which  they 
curiously  enough,  in  the  end,  managed  to  obtain  the  advan- 
tage before  the  Privy  Council.  The  quarrel  originated  in 
a  very  simple  manner  at  a  Fair  in  the  town  on  the  1 8th 
of  August,  1665,  as  follows  : — "  Upon  the  hill  south  of  the 
Castle,  the  horse  market  stands  ;  and  there  being  some 
women  upon  the  edge  of  the  brae,  selling  of  cheese  and 
bread,  ready  for  such  as  could  not  go  far  to  fetch  it.  One 
Finlay  Dhu,  a  townsman,  taking  up  a  cheese  in  his  hand, 

*  For  Diploma  S3--  Reg.  Mag.  Sig.,  Lib.  60,  No.  8. 


asked  what  the  rate  of  it  was  ?      This   being  told   him, 
whether   designedly   or  by  negligence,  he  let  the  cheese 
drop  out  of  his  hand,  and  down  the  hill  it  runs  into  the 
river.     The  woman  told  him  she  would  oblige  him  to  pay  ; 
he  (a  crabbed  fellow)  gave  her  cross  language  of  defiance. 
One  that  stood  bye,  espousing  the  quarrel,  held  him  fast, 
and  took  off  his  bonnet  in  pledge,  until  he  should  pay  the 
woman.     A  relation  of  Finlay's  challenged  this  man,  as  it 
was  none  of  his  concern.     '  Yes,'  said  he,  '  I  am  concerned 
as  a  witness,  to  see  just  things.'     To  threatening  words 
they  go,  and  from  words  to  blows,  till  at  length  most  of  the 
hill  market  is  engaged  in  a  confusion.     This  alarms  the 
whole  town  ;  the  guards  are  called,  who  come  in  arms,  and 
Joe  Reed,  a  pretty  man,  their  captain,  runs  in  betwixt  the 
parties,  to  separate  them.     Several  other  gentlemen  present 
offer  their  mediation  ;  but  no  hearing.     Swords  are  drawn, 
guns  presented,  and  some  wounds  given.     Provost  Alex. 
Cuthbert  is  told  that  his  guards  are  not  regarded  ;  he  puts 
on  a  steel  cap,  sword  and  targe,  causes  ring  the  alarm  bell, 
and  comes  straight  to  the  hill,  and  many  pretty  fellows 
with  him.     The  people  cry  for  justice  ;  the  guards,  being 
oppressed  and  abused,  let  off  some  shot,  and  two  men  are 
killed  outright,  and    above   ten   wounded.      The  noise  is 
hushed,  and  matters  examined  ;  the  guard  is  blamed.     The 
provost,  in  a  fury,  said  he  allowed  and  avowed  what  was 
done  ;  for,  who  durst  disturb  the  king's  free  burgh  at  a 
market  time?      The  highlanders  keep  a-brooding.      Two 
Macdonalds  were  killed  ;  one  Cameron,  and  one  Philan  died 
of  their  wounds.     The  open  rupture  was  closed  on  both 
sides  with  a  punctilio  of  honour  ;  but  a  revenge  was  pro- 
mised and  vowed.      A  great  many   gentlemen, — Frasers, 
Grants  and  Mackintoshes — offered  to  compose  the  matter, 
calling  it  chance-medley,  and  extenuating  him  that  was  the 
cause  of  the  fray.     The  leading  men  of  the  Macdonalds 
present   were   addressed    by   the    Magistrates,  and    civily 
treated,  with  a  promise  of  strict  examination,  and  execution 
for  the  blood  ;  but,  alas  !  it  was  post  nanfragium,  or,  a  par- 
don   after   execution,   as    the    lost   party   thought.      This 


rupture  burst  out  afterwards  ;  but  the  unhappy  fellow  that 
occasions  the  fray  was  shapen  for  mischief,  being  marked 
like  a  stigma,  having  one  half  of  his  beard  white,  the  other 
half  black  !  Meanwhile,  the  wounded  men  and  the  dead 
corpses  were  all  carried  over  to  this  side  the  Bridge  of  Ness 
{i.e.,  the  left  bank  of  the  Ness),  as  an  odium  to  the  town. 
Thomas  Fraser  of  Beaufort  concerned  himself;  the  par- 
ishioners of  Wardlaw  went  into  the  town  and  transported 
the  corpses  to  their  interment  at  Kirkhill,  very  decently, 
and  the  other  wounded  men  also  that  died.  Of  all  which 
I  was  an  assisting  eye-witness." 

In  consequence  of  this  affair  combined  with  the  fact  that 
the  town  was  always  friendly  toward  the  Mackintoshes, 
with  whom  the  Macdonalds  of  Glengarry  were  continually 
at  feud,  the  latter  threatened  to  take  ample  vengance  on 
the  burgh. 

Their  threats  and  boastings  had  been  reported  to  the 
Town  Council,  who  wrote  to  certain  noblemen  and  gentle- 
men in  the  neighbourhood  for  advice  and  concurrence. 
These  gentlemen  promised  assistance,  and  the  inhabitants 
were  ordered  to  provide  for  able-bodied  men,  which  were  to 
be  sent  in  from  the  country,  for  their  defence.  The  Mac- 
donalds, hearing  this,  proposed  the  following  somewhat 
cool  articles,  as  the  basis  of  a  treaty  of  peace  : — 

1.  A  covenant  or  bond  to  pass  for  entertaining  offensive  and  defensive  leagues, 

by  which,  if  the  town  be  invaded,  the   Macdonalds   should   come  to 
assist,  and  e  cojitra,  the  Town  to  send  100  men  to  assist  them. 

2.  The  Town  to  become  liable  presently  in  100,000  merks  Scots  to  them. 

3.  The  town  to  quit  their  Superiority  of  Drakies,    and  to  require  no  stent 


4.  The  Council  to  swear  upon  oath,  what  persons  did  draw  the  Macdonalds' 

blood,  to  be  delivered  up  to  their  mercy. 

5.  What  arms,  money,  clothes,  goods,  cattle,  &c,  were  lost,  should  be  repaid 

to  the  Macdonalds,  as  they  should  depone  upon  the  worth. 

6.  When  any  Inverness  men  shall  meet  Lord  Macdonald's  friends  or  followers, 

or  any  one  of  them,  that  the  Inverness  men  shall  immediately  lay  down 
their  arms  on  the  ground,  in  token  of  obedience. 

7.  The  Town  to  pay  what  sums  the  Macdonalds  and  their  people  shall  have 

spent,  from  the  time  they  became  a  body,  until  they  be  disbanded. 

To  these  articies  the  Council  replied,  "  That  upon  the 



Clandonalds'  disbanding,  they  were  willing  to  give  hearing 
to  indifferent  (neutral)  friends,  being  conscientious  and  in- 
different men, ,  to  speak  of  such  overtures  as  they  found 
necessary,  and  expedient  to  be  made  use  of;  for  removing 
hostilities  and  making  a  right  understanding  betwixt  them". 
The  case  was  afterwards  submitted  to  the  Privy  Council, 
and  Commissioners  were  sent  to  Edinburgh  with  the 
following  instructions  :— 

1.  Ye  are  to  prosecute  that  action  against  the  Clandonald  with  all  vigour, 

before  the  Loi-ds  of  the  Privy  Council. 

2.  Ye  are,  with  all  your  main  and  might,  to  defend  the  whole  inhabitants  of 

this  burgh,  from  that  criminal  action  intended  by  the  said  Macdonalds  ; 
and  are  to  use  all  means  possible,  for  vindication  of  this  burgh,  from 
their  aspersions.  For  the  better  achievement  thereof  carry  along  with, 
you  the  Town's  Great  Charter,  where  ye  will  find  in  the  13th  line  im- 
mediately following  insuper  your  rights  to  the  mill  and  hill  whereon  it 
was  built,  called  Cannak  Hill  ;  together  with  your  contract  passed 
betwixt  your  town  and  Robert  Waus  for  Drumdivan.  Take  along  with 
you  also  the  King's  gift  to  Balquhain  of  Drumdivan,  with  his  Charter 
to  Robert  Waus  thereon,  with  the  two  Sasines  on  both. 

The  documents  referred  to  point  out  the  extent  of  the 
Burgh  boundaries  and  privileges. 

The  case  for  the  Town  laid  before  the  Council  is  as 
follows,  and  shows  that  the  parties  had  old  grievances  to 
redress  and  bitter  memories  to  strengthen  their  present 
differences  : — 

The  Town  of  Inverness  having  always  been  cruelly  oppressed  by  neighbour- 
ing clans,  and  in  contemplation  thereof,  King  James  VI.  by  his 
Charter,  hath  allowed  them  very  large  privileges  in  defending  them- 
selves against  these  oppressions,  and  empowering  their  Magistrates  to 
pursue  and  incarcerate,  judge  and  punish  such  as  shall  make  any  in- 
surrections amongst  them,  amongst  other  clans,  my  Lord  Macdonald's 
(of  Glengarry)  men,  both  in  anno  1641  and  1650,  most  riotously  de- 
forced the  guard  of  the  said  Town  and  rescued  the  prisoners  taken  by 
them  oat  of  their  Tolbooth,  and  lately  in  August  last  the  said  Town 
having  appointed  a  guard  in  the  horse-market,  and  the  said  guard  hav- 
ing apprehended  one  of  the  captains  of  Clan  Ranald's  men  who  had 
committed  a  riot,  whilst  they  were  carrying  him  to  the  Tolbooth,  they 
were  followed  by  three  of  the  Lord  Macdonald's  men,  with  drawn 
swords,  most  injurious  threatening,  whilst,  in  the  meantime,  the  re- 
manent part  of  the  guards  were  invaded  by  others  of  the  Lord  Mac- 
donald's men,  and  by  them  beat,  wounded,  and  disarmed  ;  and  the 
said  guard  being  thereafter  recruited  by  other  two  guards, — one  Gilles- 


pick  Macdonald  did  wound  one  of  the  town's  customers  in  the  very 
middle  of  all  their  guards,  and  having  run  into  his  own  party  and  clan 
who  were  gathered  together,  within  a  musket  shot  to  the  said  guard,  to 
the  number  of  one  hundred  or  thereby,  five  of  the  townsmen  did,  most 
civilly,  go  towards  the  said  company  to  demand  the  said  Gillespick  to 
be  delivered  to  justice  ;  but  such  was  the  fury  of  that  clan,  that  they 
did  most  violently  set  upon  these  five  persons,  and  had  murdered  them, 
if  the  guard  and  townsmen  had  not  immediately  run  for  their  defence, 
and,  notwithstanding  of  that  assistance,  the  said  Macdonalds  did  most 
riotously  invade  the  said  assistance  likewise,  and,  having  loosed  many 
shots,  they  did,  with  one  of  these  shots,  wound  a  townsman, 
and  kill  one  of  their  own  old  men,  both  parties  being  mixed  by 
the  confusion  ;  aud  albeit,  they  wounded  many  of  the  townsmen 
in  the  said  conflict,  yet  did  they  thereafter  convocate  to  the  number 
of  700  men  or  thereby,  and  sent  Angus  and  John  Macdonald  to 
demand  of  the  town,  one  hundred  thousand  merks,  a  league 
offensive  and  defensive,  the  laying  down  of  their  arms  whenever  they 
should  see  my  Lord  Macdonald  or  any  of  his  friends  ;  and  that  in  sign 
of  their  submission,  reparation  of  all  their  expenses,  since  they  were 
convocated  to  a  body ;  and  some  other  tyrannous  propositions  ;  and 
because  these  were  refused,  the  said  ambassadors,  as  they  termed  them- 
selves, did,  in  the  public  market-place,  threaten  the  people  that  their 
army  was  upon  their  march,  and  that  they  would  burn  the  town,  and 
put  the  inhabitants  to  the  sword  ;  whereby  the  said  inhabitants  were  so 
affrighted,  that  most  of  them  removed  themselves  and  goods  ;  and 
albeit  the  Earl  of  Moray,  Sheriff-principal  of  Inverness,  did  twice  com- 
mand them  to  lay  their  arms  down  and  dissipate,  yet  they  most  con- 
temptuously disobeyed  ;  and  when,  by  the  mediation  of  the  Earl  of 
Moray,  77  of  their  number  were  met  with  as  commissioners  for  the 
rest,  the  lowest  article  they  would  accept  of,  was  40,000  merks,  and 
the  delivery  of  such  townsmen  to  their  mercy  as  did  draw  their  blood. 

By  all  which  it  is  clear  that  the  Magistrates  of  Inverness  and  inhabi- 
tants thereof  acted  nothing  in  this  particular,  but  in  defence  of  His 
Majesty's  authority,  and  of  their  own  lives,  and,  if  they  had  done  less, 
they  might  have  been  called  in  question  for  their  negligence  ;  and  the 
peace  can  be  very  ill  secured,  if  Magistrates  must  stand  still,  and  see 
authority  trampled  upon  ;  neither  can  it  be  thought  by  any  rational 
man  than  the  Town  of  Inverness  could  have  any  design  to  meddle  with 
any  such  clan,  except  upon  necessity;  and  all  their  outrages  being 
proven,  as  shall  be  done,  if  it  be  not  done  already,  the  said  Magistrates 
conceive  that  all  the  wrongs,  libelled  by  the  said  Macdonalds  against 
the  said  Town,  are  not  relevant,  seeing,  in  effect,  anything  that  was 
done  by  them,  was  done  in  their  own  defence,  and  in  defence  of  the 
said  authority  ;  and  albeit  the  said  libel  be  raised  merely  to  trouble 
the  said  burgh,  yet  they  are  most  confident  that  most  of  the  particulars 
therein  libelled  cannot  be  proven,  except  most  suspected  witnesses  be 
admitted,  who  are  no  way  comparable  to  the  probation  led,  and  to  be 
led,  by  the  burgh  of  Inverness  ;    the  same  consisting  of  famous  and 


disinterested  gentlemen,  and  the  truth  of  the  said  proceedings,  being 
attested  by  the  Sheriff  of  the  shire,  is  notour  to  all  the  country. 

Whereas  it  is  alleged,  that  the  said  Town  invaded  the  said  Mac- 
donalds,  without  (beyond)  their  privileges,  it  shall  be  proven  that  their 
privileges  extend  two  miles  beyond  that  place  ;  and  it  is  a  most  uncon- 
troverted  principle  in  our  law  that,  Magistrates  having  begun  to  follow 
delinquents  within  their  own  territories,  may  most  justly  pursue  them 
wherever  they  flee. 

In  respect  of  all  which,  it  is  humbly  craved  that  the  great  loss  and 
vexation  of  the  said  Town  may  be  considered,  all  their  trade  being 
hereby  destroyed,  and  the  Town  being  deserted  by  its  inhabitants,  and 
forced  yet  to  keep  continual  watches  ;  and  that  upon  these  accounts  the 
Council  would  be  pleased  to  provide  for  the  security  of  the  said  place, 
for  the  future. 

The  Macdonalds  succeeded  in  their  action,  and  the  Privy 
Council  decerned  that  the  town  of  Inverness  should  pay 
Glengarry  ^"4,800  Scots  in  name  of  damages,  together 
with  the  fees  due  to  the  surgeon  who  attended  the  wounded 

In  1666,  the  same  Commissioners  reported  to  the  Town 
Council,  that  they  were  greatly  prejudiced,  hindered  and 
crossed,  by  supplications  and  cross  petitions  tendered  to 
the  Privy  Council,  by  some  ill-affected  and  malicious 
neighbours,  whereby  they  pretended  and  protested,  to  be 
free  of  all  personal  and  pecuniary  fines,  to  be  imposed  upon 
the  burgh,  for  that  unhappy  tumult  raised  in  August  last,, 
with  the  Macdonalds  ;  whereupon  the  Town  Council 
resolved — "  That  the  persons,  protestors,  and  complainers 
to  the  Privy  Council,  viz.,  John  Forbes  of  Culloden,  Duncan 
Forbes,  his  brother,  William  Robertson  of  Inshes,  T  Wat- 
son, A.  Forbes,  A.  Chisholm,  and  W.  Cumming,  being 
ill-affected  burgesses,  should  not  in  time  to  come,  be 
received  as  Councillors  of  the  Burgh  ". 

There  is  an  Act  of  the  Privy  Council,  dated  at  Edin- 
burgh, iSthof  July,  1672,  ordaining  and  commanding  Glen- 
garry as  chief  of  the  name  and  clan  of  Macdonald,  to  be 
answerable  for  the  peace  of  the  clan,  as  follows  : — 

The  Lords  of  his  Majesty's  Privy  Council,  considering  that  by  the  Laws  and 
Acts  of  Parliament  of  the  realm,  Chieftannes  of  Clannes  are  obliged  to  find 
caution  for  their  whole  name  and  Clan,  that  they  shall  keep  the  peace,  and 
exhibit  and  present  them  to  justice,  whenever  they  shall  be  called.     In  prosecu- 


tion  of  which  lawes  the  saides  Lordes,  ordaines  and  commandes  .Eneas,  Lord 
Macdonald,  as  chief  of  the  name  and  clan  of  Macdonald,  to  exhibit  before  the 
Council,  upon  the  first  Tuesday  of  October  next,  the  persons  under-written, 
viz. — Archibald  Macdonald  of  Keppoch  [and  12  others  whose  names  are  given], 
and  to  find  caution  for  their  men,  tenants,  servants,  and  indellers  upon  their 
lands,  roumes,  and  possessiounes  and  the  hail  persons  descended  of  their 
families,  that  they  shall  commit  no  murder,  deforcement  of  messingers,  reiff 
theifts,  receipt  of  theifts,  depredations,  open  and  avowed  fyre  raisings  and 
deidly  feids,  and  any  other  deeds  contrar  to  the  Acts  of  Parliament  ;  with  this 
provision,  that  the  generality  of  the  said  band  shall  not  infer  against  them  or 
their  cautioners  an  obligement  to  remove  from  their  present  possessiounes  of 
such  lands  possest  by  them  as  belongs  to  the  Laird  of  Mackintosche,  they 
being  willing  to  pay  therefor,  as  the  same  has  been  set  thes  many  yeirs  bigane  ; 
and  until  the  said  day  that  the  said  caution  be  found  ;  the  said  Lords  ordains  the 
Lord  Macdonald  to  be  answerable,  and  give  bonds  for  the  saidis  persones  that 
they  shall  keep  the  King's  peace,  and  not  commit  any  of  the  crimes  foresaid 
under  the  pain  of  five  thousand  merks  Scottes  money.  And  for  the  saids  persons 
their  further  encouragement  to  compear  and  give  obedience  to  the  saids  Lords, 
ordaines  personal  protection  to  be  granted  to  them  for  the  space  of  twentie 
days  before  and  twentie  days  after  the  said  dyet  of  appearance,  not  only  for 
civill  debtes,  but  all  criminal]  causes  whatsomever. 

Those  mentioned  in  the  document,  besides  Archibald 
Macdonald  of  Keppoch,  appear  to  be  the  principal  Keppoch 
tenants,  clearly  showing  that  Lord  Macdonell  was  held  ac- 
countable for  those  of  the  clan  outside  his  own  immediate 
followers  and  vassals  on  the  Glengarry  property. 

On  the  20th  of  October,  1673,  at  Annat,  a  contract  of 
Friendship  is  entered  into  between  Lord  Macdonell  and 
Duncan  Macpherson  of  Cluny,  in  which  they  bind  them- 
selves and  their  successors  to  "  honoure,  owne,  aide,  fortifie, 
concurre  with,  assist  and  defend "  each  other  and  their 
kinsmen,  friends,  defenders,  and  followers.  "  Forasmuch  as 
both  the  saids  parties  doe  seriously  consider  the  ancient 
love,  mutuall  friendship  and  kyndness  that  have  been  ob- 
served and  inviolablie  keiped  betwixt  their  antecessors," 
they  proceed  to  state  that  "  it  is  contracted,  agreed,  and 
condiscendit  upon  betwixt  the  parties  afternamed,  to  witt 
ane  noble  and  potent  Lord  Aneas  Lord  McDonell  for  him- 
self and  takeing  burden  upon  him  for  the  name  and  Clan 
of  McDonalds  as  Cheeffe  and  principall  man  thereof,  and 
for  his  remanent  kinsmen,  wassals,  dependents  and  followers, 
on    the    ane    pairt  ;    and    the   verie    honourable    Duncan 


McPherson  of  Cluny  for  himself  and  takeing  burden  upon 
him  for  the  heall  name  of  Macphersons  and  some  others 
called  old  Clanchatten  as  Cheeffe  and  principall  man  thereof 
on  the  other  pairt."* 

He  married  Margaret,  daughter  of  Sir  Donald  Macdonald, 
first  baronet  of  Sleat,  without  issue.  He  died  in  1682, 
when  the  representation  of  the  family  reverted  to  Ranald 
or  Reginald  Macdonell,  eldest  son  of  Donald  Macdonell, 
second  son  of  Donald  MacAngus  MacAlastair,  eighth 
baron  of  Glengarry,  grandfather  and  predecessor  of  Lord 
Macdonell  and  Arros,  as  follows  : — Donald  Macdonell, 
second  son  of  Donald  MacAngus  MacAlastair,  eighth  of 
Glengarry,  became  first  of  Scotus,  or  Scothouse,  and  mar- 
ried Mary,  daughter  of  Sir  Donald  Macdonald,  whose 
sister,  Margaret,  was  married  to  his  nephew,  Lord  Mac- 
donell.    By  her  he  had  issue — 


Second  of  Scotus  (alive  in  1695),  who  became  tenth  of 
Glengarry,  as  above,  and  married  a  daughter  of  Macleod 
of  Macleod,  with  issue — 

1.  Alastair  Dubh  Macdonell,  his  heir  and  successor. 

2.  Angus  or  ^Eneas,  on  whom  his  father  settled  the 
lands  and  barony  of  Scotus  ;  his  eldest  brother,  Alastair 
Dubh,  succeeding  to  Glengarry  only.  His  descendants, 
since  1868,  claim  to  represent  the  male  line,  and  to  have 
succeeded  to  the  chiefship  of  Glengarry. 

3.  John,  progenitor  of  the  Macdonells  of  Lochgarry,  who 
married  Helen,  daughter  of  Donald  Cameron  of  Lochiel, 
with  issue — Donald  MACDONELL,  II.  of  Lochgarry,  who 
married  Isabella  Gordon  of  Glenlivet,  with  issue — (1)  John, 
died  unmarried ;  (2)  Alexander  MACDONELL,  III.  of 
of  Lochgarry  ;  and  (3)  Peter,  who  died  young.  Alex- 
ander became  a  General  in  the  Portuguese  service,  and 
married  Dona  Maria  Zose  da  Costa,  daughter  of  the  tenth 
Count  of  Soure,  with  issue — Anthony  MACDONELL,  IV. 

*  Collectanea  de  Rebus  Albanicis. 


of  Lochgarry,  who  married  Cassandra  Eliza  Macdonald, 
daughter  of  Major  Ross  Darby,  and  heiress  of  Angus  Mac- 
donald of  the  Grange,  Brompton,  with  issue — Alexander 
ANTHONY  MACDONELL,  V.  of  Lochgany,  a  Colonel  in 
the  Indian  Army,  who  married  Margaret  Jane,  daughter  of 
Lachlan  Maclean,  with  issue — (1)  Arthur  Anthony 
MACDONELL  of  Corpus  Christi  College,  Oxford,  VI.  and 
present  representative  of  the  family  ;  (2)  Harry  Edward  ; 
(3)  Sophia  Adelaide  Hastings  ;  (4)  Flora  Lindsay.* 

*  The  following  curious  note  is  supplied  by  a  member  of  the  family : — Donald 
Macdonald  of  Lochgarry  was  between  50  and  60  when  he  fled  with  Charles  Edward 
to  France.  He  was  followed  shortly  after  by  his  wife,  Isabel  Gordon,  and  her  three 
sons.  She  escaped  in  the  disguise  of  a  clansmen  from  Lochgarry,  as  the  butcher 
Cumberland  and  his  troops  broke  through  the  gates  and  burnt  the  old  castle  to 
the  ground,  afterwards  seizing  and  destroying  all  the  surrounding  lands.  Donald 
placed  his  two  oldest  sons  in  the  Scotch  Guard  (Ogilvie's),  and  the  youngest  in  the 
Swiss  Guard.  He,  himself,  continued  to  live  near  Charles  Edward  in  Paris,  always 
retaining  the  full  Highland  costume,  and,  from  his  beauty  and  martial  bearing, 
was  the  cynosure  of  all  eyes,  even  in  those  days  of  manliness.  On  one  occasion, 
while  dining  in  a  Paris  Cafe\  he  overheard  seven  Frenchman  at  a  distant  table 
deriding  the  young  Chevalier  and  the  half-clad  savages  he  had  brought  with  him. 
In  an  instant  his  glass  was  shattered  at  the  head  of  one,  and  his  dirk  thrown  in  the 
midst  of  all.  He  then  and  there  challenged  the  seven  on  the  spot,  and  fought  them 
one  by  one,  killing  or  wounding  all.  His  eldest  son,  Colonel  John,  after  the  dis- 
banding of  the  Garde  Ecossaise,  began  to  pine  after  his  native  country,  and,  without 
telling  his  father,  made  his  way  to  Calais,  intending  to  embark  for  Great  Britain. 
His  father  discovered  his  departure,  followed  him  to  Calais,  and,  finding  him, 
resolved  to  pronounce  on  him  the  famous  curse  of  Lochgarry,  which  has  clung  to 
the  race  ever  since — "  My  curse  on  any  of  my  race  who  puts  his  foot  again  on 
British  shore  ;  my  double  curse  on  he,  who  of  my  race  may  submit  to  the  Guelph  ; 
and  my  deadliest  curse  on  he  who  may  try  to  regain  Lochgarry".  He  threw  his 
dirk  after  his  son,  and  turned  his  back  for  ever  on  him  he  had  loved  the  best. 
The  old  man  died  shortly  after,  in  Paris,  of  a  broken  heart,  living  long  enough  to 
hear  that  Colonel  John  had  made  his  submission  ;  had  been  given  a  full  Colonelcy 
in  the  British  Army,  and  the  attainder  of  Lochgarry  levied  in  his  favour.  His 
second  brother,  Alexander,  would  never  consent  to  incur  any  of  his  father's  curse, 
so  he  entered  the  Portuguese  service,  where  he  lived  and  died.  The  full  weight  of 
the  curse  fell  on  Colonel  John,  for,  when  he  sought  to  inhabit  Lochgarry,  after  he 
had  built  a  beautiful  modern  mansion  on  the  site  of  the  burnt  castle,  his  fine  health 
began  to  fail,  the  strain  on  his  nerves  by  living,  as  it  were,  amongst  sounds  of 
another  world,  or  signs,  as  the  tenantry  said,  "  of  the  puir  old  laird's  wraith  "  being 
amongst  them.  The  ringing  of  bells,  the  knockings  at  the  Hall  door  by  unseen 
hands,  the  glimpses  of  a  shadowy  figure  so  haunted  him,  that  he  was  forcedto  shut 
it  up,  and  return  to  France,  where  he  died  shortly  after,  leaving  Lochgarry  (being 
himself  unmarried),  to  his  next  brother,  Alexander  (of  Portugal)  and  his  heirs. 
But  Alexander  never  took  possession.  Lochgarry  House  remained  shut  up  till  his 
death,  in  1812,  when  his  only  son,  Anthony,  was  brought  from  Portugal  by  his 
mother  (a  Portuguese),  to  enter  the  British  service,  and  take  possession.  Neither 
he  nor  his  young  wife  were  able  to  continue  to  inhabit  it,  owing  to  the  same  un- 
earthly sounds.  He  also  died,  when  only  31,  after  having,  unfortunately,  sold 
Lochgarry,  the  attainder  having  barred  the  entail. 


4.  Donald ;    married,  and  killed  at  Killiecrankie ;   issue 

5.  Archibald,  progenitor  of  the  Macdonells  of  Barrisdale, 
now  extinct  in  the  male  line. 

Ranald  or  Reginald  Macdonell,  II.  of  Scotus  and  X.  of 
Glengarry,  was  succeeded  in  the  latter  by  his  eldest  son, 


As  eleventh  of  Glengarry.  He  was  one  of  the  most  dis- 
tinguished warriors  of  his  day  in  the  Highlands.  We  find 
him  and  his  father  among  the  very  first  who  joined 
Viscount  Dundee  in  the  attempt  to  restore  James  II. 
General  Mackay,  who  commanded  the  king's  troops,  wrote 
to  several  of  the  chiefs  offering  them  large  bribes  with  the 
view  of  dissociating  them  from  Dundee.  Among  others 
addressed  was  Glengarry,  who,  in  reply,  heartily  despising 
the  bribe,  advised  Mackay  in  return  to  imitate  the  conduct 
of  General  Monk  by  restoring  King  James.  Alastair  (his 
father  being  aged  and  frail,)  joined  Dundee  "on  the 
appointed  day,"  the  1 8th  of  May,  1689,  in  Lochaber,  with 
300  of  his  followers,  soon  followed  by  Clanranald,  Appin, 
and  Glencoe,  with  about  400  men  between  them.  Soon 
after  Lochiel  arrived  at  the  head  of  600,  while  Keppoch 
followed  with  200  more.  From  this  place  Montrose  wrote 
his  famous  letter,  dated  Moy,  June  23,  1689,  to  Macleod  of 
Macleod,  in  which  he  says  "  Glengaire  gave  me  account  of 
the  subject  of  a  letter  he  receaved  from  you  ;  I  shall  only 
tell  yow,  that  if  you  hasten  not  to  land  your  men,  I  am  of 
opinion  you  will  have  litle  occasion  to  do  the  king  great 
service " ;  so  sanguine  was  he  of  the  prospects  of  the 
campaign.  The  particulars  leading  up  to  the  Battle  of 
Killiecrankie  are  sufficiently  well-known.  In  the  centre 
were  placed,  under  Dundee's  own  immediate  command 
the  Macdonells  of  Glengarry  and  Clanranald,  with  the 
Camerons,  an  Irish  regiment,  and  a  troop  of  horse,  under 
the  command  of  Sir  William  Wallace.  In  the  first  charge 
they  were  met  by  a  brisk    fire  from   some   of  Mackay's 


troops,  by  which  no  less  than  sixteen  gentlemen  of  the 
Macdonells  of  Glengarry  fell  to  rise  no  more.  Nothing 
daunted,  however,  the  Highlanders  steadily  advanced  in 
face  of  the  enemy's  fire,  until,  having  come  to  close 
quarters,  they  made  a  momentary  halt,  and  having  levelled 
and  discharged  their  pistols,  with  scarcely  any  effect,  they 
set  up  a  loud  shout  and  rushed  with  their  claymores  right  in 
among  the  enemy  before  they  had  time  to  fix  their 
bayonets.  The  result  is  already  known.  The  enemy  fled 
in  utter  confusion,  thousands  of  them  falling  before  the 
tremendous  strokes  of  the  double-edged  claymores  of  the 
Highlanders,  by  which,  in  several  cases,  their  bodies  were 
literally  cleft  in  twain.  Alastair  Dubh,  still  only  Younger 
of  Glengarry,  performed  feats  of  valour  on  this  occasion, 
for  which  there  are  few,  if  any,  parallels  even  among  the 
Highlanders.  "  At  the  head  of  one  large  battalion  towered 
the  stately  form  of  Glengarry,  who  bore  in  his  hand  the 
royal  standard  of  King  James  VII."*  The  same  writer 
describing  the  gathering  in  Lochaber  on  the  18th  of  May, 
says  that  "  Macdonald  of  Glengarry,  conspicuous  by  his 
dark  brow  and  his  lofty  stature,  came  from  that  great  valley 
where  a  chain  of  lakes  then  unknown  to  fame,  and  scarcely 
set  down  in  maps,  is  now  the  daily  highway  of  steam  vessels 
passing  and  repassing  between  the  Atlantic  and  the  German 
Ocean.  None  of  the  rulers  of  the  mountaineers  had  a 
higher  sense  of  his  personal  dignity,  or  was  more  frequently 
engaged  in  disputes  with  other  chiefs.  He  generally 
affected  in  his  manners  and  house-keeping  a  rudeness 
beyond  that  of  his  rude  neighbours,  and  professed  to  regard 
the  very  few  luxuries  which  had  then  found  their  way  from 
the  civilised  parts  of  the  world  into  the  Highlands  as  signs 
of  the  effeminacy  and  degeneracy  of  the  Gaelic  race.  But 
on  this  occasion  he  chose  to  imitate  the  splendour  of 
Saxon  warriors,  and  rode  on  horseback  before  his  four 
hundred  plaided  clansmen  in  a  steel  cuirass  and  a  coat 
embroidered    with    gold    lace."  f        The    author    of    the 

*  Macaulay's  History  of  England,  vol.  iv.,  p.  374. 
•f*  History  of  England,  vol.  iv. ,  pp.  343-345. 


"  Memoirs  of  Dundee  "  informs  us  that,  at  the  head  of  his 
battalion,  he  "  mowed  down  two  men  at  every  stroke  with 
his  ponderous  two-handed  sword  ".  He  not  only  lost  his 
brother  Donald  and  several  near  relatives,  but  had  also  to 
deplore  the  death  of  his  son  Donald  Gorm,  so  called  from 
his  beautiful  blue  eyes,  a  youth  who  had  given  early  proof 
of  prowess  worthy  of  his  illustrious  ancestors,  having  on 
this  occasion  killed  single-handed  no  less  than  eighteen  of 
the  enemy  with  his  trusty  blade. 

In  August  following,  the  Highlanders  suffered  a  serious 
defeat  at  Dunkeld,  and  losing  all  faith  in  their  commander, 
General  Cannon,  they  retired  to  Blair- Athole,  where  they 
entered  into  a  bond  of  association,  to  support  the  cause  of 
King  James,  and  for  their  own  mutual  protection,  and  then 

returned    to    their   homes.      They    are  to    meet    at in 

"  September  next,"  and  to  bring  with  them  Fencible  men- 
Sir  Donald  Macdonald,  Glengarry,  and  Benbecula,  200 
each,  and  Keppoch  100,  while  others  were  to  bring  more  or 
less  according  to  their  resources.  A  few  days  after  signing 
this  bond  they  sent  a  characteristic  answer  to  a  communi- 
cation from  General  Mackay,  in  which  he  asked  them  to 
address  the  government  for  such  terms  as  would  induce 
them  to  lay  down  their  arms.  In  reply  they  say,  "  that  you 
may  know  the  sentiments  of  men  of  honour,  we  declare  to 
yOu  and  all  the  world,  we  scorn  your  usurper,  and  the 
indemnities  of  his  government ;  and  to  save  you  farther 
trouble  by  your  frequent  invitations,  we  assure  you  that 
we  are  satisfied  our  king  will  take  his  own  time  and  way 
to  manage  his  dominions  and  punish  his  rebels ;  and 
although  he  should  send  us  no  assistance  at  all,  we  will  die 
with  our  swords  in  our  hands  before  we  fail  in  our  loyalty 
and  sworn  allegiance  to  our  sovereign."  * 

General  Buchan  meanwhile  joined  Cannon,  and  the  two, 
finding  themselves  unable  to  oppose  General  Mackay, 
after  wandering  for  a  time  through  the  country,  dismissed 
their  few  remaining  followers.  Buchan,  Lieutenant  Graham, 
Sir  George  Barclay,  and  other  officers,  retired  to  Glengarry's 

*  Parliamentary  Records. 


residence,  where  they  remained  for  a  considerable  time, 
partaking  of  his  hospitality,  and  still  entertaining  some 
hope,  however  frail,  of  the  restoration  of  King  James,  in 
whose  interest  they  were  prepared  to  enter  upon  any 
service,  however  hopeless  and  hazardous.  General  Cannon 
and  his  officers  retired  with  Sir  Donald  Macdonald  of 
Sleat,  receiving  similar  treatment  from  him  as  those  did 
who  went  to  Glengarry,  and  entertaining  the  same  hopes 
of  Stuart  restoration  and  courtly  favour. 

On  the  27th  of  August,  1691,  a  proclamation  was  issued 
by  the  government  promising  an  indemnity  to  all  who 
would  make  their  submission  and  swear  allegiance  to  the 
government  by  the  first  of  January,  1692,  and  all  the  chiefs, 
except  Maclan  of  Glencoe,  gave  in  their  adherence  within 
the  time  prescribed.  By  a  special  agreement,  with  the 
government,  Generals  Buchan  and  Cannon,  were  sent  to 
France,  whither,  as  elsewhere  stated,  they  obtained  per- 
mission from  James  to  retire,  as  they  could  be  of  no  further 
service  to  him  in  their  native  land. 

It  is  unnecessary  to  detail  at  any  length  the  various  in- 
cidents and  the  state  of  feeling  prevailing  among  the 
Highlanders  which,  in  171 5,  culminated  in  the  battle  of 
Sheriffmuir.  Alexander  of  Glengarry  was  one  of  those 
who  signed  a  letter  to  the  Earl  of  Mar,  expressing  loyalty 
to  King  George,  stating  that  "  as  we  were  always  ready  to 
follow  your  directions  in  serving  Queen  Anne,  so  we  will 
now  be  equally  forward  to  concur  with  your  lordship  in 
faithfully  serving  King  George.  The  other  signatures  to 
this  document  are  Maclean,  Lochiel,  Keppoch,  Sleat, 
Mackintosh,  Fraserdale,  Macleod  of  Contulich,  Glen- 
moriston,  Comar,  and  Cluny.  Notwithstanding  these  pro- 
fessions of  loyalty  to  King  George,  Glengarry  was  among 
the  great  chiefs  who  soon  after  met  at  the  pretended  grand 
hunting  match  in  Braemar,  on  the  27th  of  August,  1714,  to 
arrange  with  Mar  as  to  raising  the  standard  of  rebellion  in 
favour  of  the  Chevalier.  A  warrant  for  his  apprehension, 
with  many  others  of  the  Highland  chiefs,  was  issued  by 
the  government,  but  though    Sir    Donald   Macdonald  of 


Sleat,  and  several  others  were  apprehended  and  committed 
prisoners  to  the  Castle  of  Edinburgh,  Glengarry  escaped 
capture.  He  appeared  at  Sheriffmuir  at  the  head  of  500 
Glengarry  Macdonalds,  where  he  greatly  distinguished 
himself,  as  did  indeed  all  the  Macdonalds,  of  whom  there 
were  nearly  3000  in  the  field,  under  the  chief  command  of 
Sir  Donald  Macdonald  of  Sleat.  Patten  informs  us  that 
"  all  the  line  to  the  right,  being  of  the  clans  led  on  by  Sir 
Donald  Macdonald's  brothers.  Glengarry,  captain  of  Clan- 
Ranald,  Sir  John  Maclean,"  and  several  others  whom  he 
names,  "  made  a  most  furious  attack,  so  that  in  seven  or 
eight  minutes  we  could  neither  perceive  the  form  of  a 
squadron  or  battalion  of  the  enemy  before  us  ".*  Refer- 
ring to  Glengarry,  he  says  :  "  this  gentleman  was  inferior 
to  none  in  bravery  ".  After  Sheriffmuir  the  Highlanders 
retired  to  the  North.  On  the  final  suppression  of  the 
rebellion,  Alexander  of  Glengarry  made  his  submission  to 
General  Cadogan  at  Inverness,  and  on  the  15  th  of  Sep- 
tember, 1725,  all  his  followers  peaceably  surrendered  their 
arms  to  General  Wade  at  the  barracks  of  Fort-Augustus, 
and  received  pardon  for  the  part  they  had  taken  in  the 
rebellion  of  17 15. 

After  Sheriffmuir  he  was  created  a  Peer  of  Parliament, 
by  the  Chevalier  St.  George,  styling  himself  James  VIII. 
of  Scotland,  by  patent  dated  9th  of  December,  17 16.  He 
married  first,  Anne,  daughter  of  Hugh,  Lord  Lovat,  with 
issue,  an  only  daughter, 

1.  Anne,  who  married  Roderick  Mackenzie,  IV.  of  Apple- 

He  married  secondly,  Mary,  daughter  of  Kenneth  Mor 
Mackenzie,  third  Earl  of  Seaforth,  with  issue — 

2.  Donald  Gorm  who  so  greatly  distinguished  himself 
at  Killiecrankie,  where  he  fell  gloriously  after  having 
killed  eighteen  of  the  enemy  with  his  broadsword.  He 
died  unmarried. 

3.  John,  who  succeeded  his  father  ; 

4.  Randolph  ;  and  several  others. 

*  History  of  the  Rebellion. 


Alastair  Dubh  Macdonell,  one  of  the  most  distinguished 
Chiefs  of  Glengarry,  died  in  1724,  when  he  was  succeeded 
by  his  eldest  surviving  son, 


Twelfth  of  Glengarry,  who  obtained  a  charter  to  himself 
and  his  heirs-male,  dated  27th  of  August,  1724,  of  the  lands 
of  Knoydart,  from  John,  Duke  of  Argyll,  whose  grand- 
father evicted  these  lands  by  a  legal  process  from  JEneas, 
Lord  Macdonell  and  Arros.  Under  this  destination  the 
lands  of  Knoydart  descended  to  his  son,  Alexander,  and 
on  his  death,  without  issue,  to  his  nephew,  Duncan,  John's 
grandson — son  and  next  heir  of  Colonel  JEneas  Macdonell, 
John's  second  son,  killed  in  the  streets  of  Falkirk  while  in 
command  of  two  battalions  of  his  clan,  who  fought  gal- 
lantly and  with  effect  on  the  right  wing  of  Prince  Charlie's 
army.  Duncan  himself  took  no  part  in  the  rebellion  of 
1745,  but  his  second  son,  Angus,  a  youth  only  nineteen 
years  of  age,  led  two  battalions  of  his  retainers  to  the 
standard  of  the  Prince,  commanded  respectively  by  Lieut- 
Colonel  Macdonell  of  Lochgarry  and  Lieut-Colonel 
Macdonell  of  Barrisdale,  both  holding  rank  under  himself.* 
Alastair,  the  eldest  son,  was  chosen  by  the  other  Highland 
Chiefs  to  carry  an  address  to  the  Prince  in  France,  and 
signed  by  their  blood.  Having  missed  his  Royal  High- 
ness, who  in  the  interval  started  for  Scotland,  he  was  taken 
prisoner,  and  detained  in  the  Tower  of  London  until  after 
Culloden,  though  he  was  at  the  time  an  officer  in  the  French 

*(■  Amongst  many  who  declared  for  the  Chevalier  a  cautious  policy  was  adopted. 
In  cases  where  the  head  of  a  family  and  proprietor  of  an  estate  went  out,  he  would 
previously  make  over  his  property  to  his  eldest  son,  who  remained  at  home  in 
possession.  When  the  father,  on  the  contrary,  was  averse  to  active  partisanship, 
a  son  went  out,  with  all  the  forces,  both  in  the  way  of  men  and  money,  which  the 
house  could  contribute,  assured  that,  although  the  youth  shall  fall  or  be  attainted,  he 
had  still  brothers  to  inherit  the  patrimonial  property  for  behoof  of  the  family. 
Some  of  the  Highland  gentlemen  themselves  saw  fit  to  adopt  this  policy.  The 
Macdonalds  of  Clanranald  and  also  those  of  Glengarry,  were  led  out  by  the  sons 
of  their  respective  chiefs. — Chambers'  History  of  the  Rebellion,  Foot-note,  p.  137. 


Guard.  The  manner  in  which  the  Macdonalds  of  Glen- 
garry distinguished  themselves  on  this  occasion  by  their 
ancient  loyalty  and  valour  is  too  well  known  to  require 
extended  notice. 

We  may  however  be  permitted  to  say  that  the  Glengarry 
Macdonalds  had  a  share  with  Macdonald  of  Tiendrish  in 
the  capture  of  Captain  Scott  and  his  party  of  two  com- 
panies— the  first  taken  by  Prince  Charlie's  army — near  the 
head  of  Loch  Lochy.  In  the  Edinburgh  Mercury  of  28th 
October,  1745,  we  are  informed  that  "Saturday  last,  his 
Royal  Highness  the  Prince  reviewed  the  Macdonells  of 
Glengarry  at  Musselburgh  ;  when  they  made  a  most  noble 
appearance,"  of  whom  about  three  hundred  were  in  the 
Highland  army.  The  rear  guard,  in  the  retreat  from  Eng- 
land, was  partly  composed  of  the  Glengarry  men,  where 
they  performed  special  and  very  valuable  service.  On  one 
occasion,  at  Clifton  Hall,  they  alone  completely  routed, 
with  great  intrepidity,  a  large  body  of  well-mounted  Eng- 
lish dragoons.  At  the  battle  of  Falkirk  they  along  with 
Clanranald  and  Keppoch,  formed  a  portion  of  the  first  line, 
where  they  behaved  with  characteristic  valour.  They  also 
formed  a  part  of  the  front  line  at  Culloden,  but  in  conse- 
quence of  their  removal  to  the  left  wing  on  this  occasion, 
which  they  not  only  resented  as  an  indignity,  but  considered 
an  evil  omen — the  Macdonalds,  it  was  maintained,  never 
having  fought  elsewhere  than  on  the  right  wing,  since  Bruce 
accorded  them  that  honourable  position  at  the  battle  of 
Bannockburn — they,  with  the  other  Macdonalds,  refused  to 
charge  the  enemy.  Chambers  informs  us  that  "  the  Duke 
of  Perth,  who  was  stationed  amongst  them,  endeavoured  to 
appease  their  anger  by  telling  them  that,  if  they  fought 
with  their  characteristic  bravery,  they  would  make  the  left 
wing  a  right,  in  which  case  he  would  assume  for  ever  after 
the  honourable  surname  of  Macdonald.  But  the  insult 
was  not  to  be  expiated  by  this  appeal  to  clanship.  Though 
induced  to  discharge  their  muskets,  and  even  to  advance 
some  way,  they  never  made  an  onset.  They  endured  the 
fire  of  the  English  regiments  without  flinching ;  only  ex- 


pressing  their  rage  by  hewing  up  the  heath  with  their 
swords  ;  but  they  at  last  fled  when  they  saw  the  other 
clans  give  way.  "  From  this  conduct  there  was  a  brilliant 
exception  in  the  Chieftain  of  Keppoch,  a  man  of  chiv- 
alrous character,  and  noted  for  great  private  worth."  *  It 
is  not  the  fact,  however,  that  the  Macdonalds  invariably 
fought  on  the  right  wing  of  the  army,  a  well-informed 
writer  in  the  "  Celtic  Magazine  "  [vol.  ii.,  pp.  472-473],  re 
the  battle  of  Culloden,  says,  "one  element  of  disaster  to 
the  Highland  army  existed  at  Culloden,  which  had  never 
before  previously  occurred  in  modern  times,  and  seems 
almost  of  itself  to  explain  the  discomfiture  of  the  High- 
landers, and  that  was  the  conduct  of  the  Macdonalds,  who 
because  they  were  stationed  upon  the  left  in  place  of  the 
right  of  the  line,  actually  refused  to  charge,  and  left  the 
field  without  striking  a  single  blow  for  the  cause  in  which 
they  were  engaged.  Tactically,  therefore,  the  field  was 
lost  owing  to  a  large  body  of  the  defeated  never  having 
fought  or  attempted  to  do  so,  and  that  not  through  their 
having  been  prevented  from  engaging  by  being  skilfully 
cut  off  from  the  opportunity  of  attacking,  by  the  man- 
oeuvres of  their  antagonists,  as  occurred  at  Blenheim  and 
elsewhere,  but  simply  by  their  own  misdirected  ideas  of 
military  etiquette — an  idea  which  seems  the  more  absurd 
when  it  is  borne  in  mind  that  at  Killiecrankie  the  Mac- 
donalds were  stationed  without  hesitation  or  remonstrance 
upon  the  left  of  the  line,  where  they  did  right  good  ser- 
vice. Be  this,  however,  as  it  may,  there  is  no  doubt  but 
that  the  Macdonalds  who  had,  by  their  past  history  proved 
themselves  upon  the  whole  the  most  brilliant  and  success- 
ful of  all  the  clans,  forfeited  on  this  fatal  day  by  their  un- 
meaning prejudices,  the  prestige  which  their  previous 
exploits  had  so  deservedly  earned.  It  is  also  singular  that 
the  fact  of  the  Macdonalds  having  formed  the  left  at 
Killiecrankie  is  never  once  alluded  to  in  all  the  commen- 
taries and  explanatory  statements  which  have  been  made 

*  See  Keppoch  Family  for  fuller  details  of  this  chief's  magnificent  heroic  devo- 


regarding  Culloden.  The  only  possible  manner  of  allowing 
the  Macdonalds  to  drop  mildly  is  a  lame  one.  It  is,  how- 
ever, nevertheless  true  that  the  defeat,  immediately  after  it 
had  taken  place,  was  not  considered  by  the  bulk  of  the 
army  so  fatal  and  decisive  as  the  Prince's  subsequent 
conduct  rendered  it ;  and  the  Macdonalds  believed  that 
they  would  have  had  an  ample  opportunity  of  rectifying 
matters  at  the  next  fighting  day,  when,  according  to  one 
of  the  clan  {vide  a  letter  printed  at  the  end  of  the  Lock- 
hart  Memoirs),  he  stated  that  the  Athole  men  would  not 
refuse  them  the  right  on  that  occasion.  The  occasion, 
however,  never  arrived,  and  the  stain  upon  the  military 
reputation  of  the  Macdonalds  must  for  ever  remain  un- 
effaced,  and,  looking  to  their  position  on  the  left  at  Killie- 
crankie,  actually  unexplained." 

After  the  irretrievable  battle  of  Culloden,  Prince  Charles 
put  up  for  a  night  in  Glengarry's  Castle,  at  the  time 
deserted  of  its  tenants,  destitute  of  furniture  and  pro- 
visions, and  in  charge  of  a  single  domestic,  entirely  unfit 
for  the  accommodation  and  entertainment  of  a  prince.  The 
family  mansion  was  afterwards,  with  many  others,  plundered 
and  burnt  to  the  ground  by  Cumberland's  troops,  who 
inflicted  the  most  atrocious  cruelties  even  on  the  common 
people  and  on  helpless  women  and  children.  "  In  many 
instances  the  women  and  children  were  stripped  naked,  and 
left  exposed  ;  in  some  the  females  were  subjected  even  to 
more  horrible  treatment.  A  great  number  of  men  unarmed 
and  inoffensive,  including  some  aged  beggars,  were  shot 
in  the  fields  and  on  the  mountain-side,  rather  in  the  spirit 
of  wantonness  than  for  any  definite  object."* 

John  married,  first,  the  only  daughter  of  Colin  Mac- 
kenzie, IX.  of  Hilton,  with  issue — 

1.  Alastair,  his  heir. 

2.  ^Eneas,  a  Colonel  in  the  Prince's  army,  already  re- 
ferred to  as  the  leader  of  the  clan  during  the  campaign  of 
the  'Forty-five.  He  married  Mary  Macdonald,  daughter  of 
Alexander  Robertson  of  Strowan,  with  issue — (i)  Duncan, 

*  Chambers'  Rebellion. 


who  succeeded  his  uncle  as  XIV.  of  Glengarry,  and  of 
whom  presently  ;  (2)  Angusia,  who  married  Mackay  of 
Achamony.  Chambers  describes  the  fall  of  ColonelVEneas 
Macdonell  of  Glengarry  at  Falkirk  as  follows  : — The 
Highland  army  lost  more  this  day  by  an  accident  than 
it  did  on  the  previous  day  (in  the  battle)  by  the  fire 
of  the  enemy.  A  private  soldier  of  the  Clanranald  regi- 
ment had  obtained  a  musket  as  part  of  his  spoil  upon 
the  field  of  battle.  Finding  it  loaded  he  was  engaged 
at  his  lodgings  in  extracting  the  shot ;  the  door  was 
open,  and  nearly  opposite  there  was  a  group  of  officers 
standing  in  the  street.  The  man  extracted  the  ball,  and 
then  fired  off  the  piece,  to  clear  it  in  the  most  expeditious 
manner  of  the  powder ;  but,  unfortunately  it  had  been 
double  loaded,  and  the  remaining  ball  pierced  the  body  of 
young  Glengarry,  who  was  one  of  the  group  of  bystanders. 
He  soon  after  died  in  the  arms  of  his  clansmen,  begging 
with  his  last  breath  that  the  man,  of  whose  innocence  he 
was  satisfied,  might  not  suffer ;  but  nothing  could  restrain 
the  indignation  of  his  friends,  who  immediately  seized  the 
the  man,  and  loudly  demanded  life  for  life.  Young  Clan- 
ranald would  have  gladly  protected  his  clansman  ;  but, 
certain  that  any  attempt  he  could  make  to  that  effect  would 
only  embroil  his  family  in  a  feud  with  that  of  Glengarry, 
and  in  the  first  place,  cause  that  regiment  to  quit  the  Prince's 
army,  he  was  reluctantly  obliged  to  assent  to  their  demand. 
The  man  was  immediately  taken  out  to  the  side  of  a  bank 
wall  near  the  town,  and  pierced  with  a  volley  of  bullets. 
His  own  father  put  a  shot  into  his  body,  from  the  desire  to 
make  his  death  as  instantaneous  as  possible.* 

Glengarry  married,  secondly,  a  daughter  of  John  Gordon 
of  Glenbucket,  with  issue — 

3.  James,  a  Captain  in  the  Army,  whose  daughter,  Amelia, 
married  Major  Simon  Macdonald  of  Morar. 

4.  Charles,  who  joined  the  old  78th  or  Fraser  High- 
landers, as  Lieutenant,  on  the  5th  of  January,  1757,  and 
distinguished  himself  under  Wolfe  in  the  American  War. 

*  History  of  the  Rebellion. 


He  soon  rose  to  the  rank  of  captain  ;  was  wounded  before 
Quebec  on  the  28th  of  April,  1759,  and  afterwards  mortally- 
wounded  at  St  John's,  Newfoundland,  in  1762,  after  having 
attained  the  rank  of  Major  in  the  Army*  If  he  was  ever 
married,  there  is  no  trace  of  any  of  his  descendants. 

5.  Helen,  who  married  Ranald  Macdonell,  fifth  of  Scotus. 
He  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 


Thirteenth  of  Glengarry,  who  in  a  General  Retour,  dated 
2nd  of  February,  1758,  before  the  baillies  of  Inverness  and  a 
Respectable  Jury,  is  described  : — "  Qui  Jurati  Dicunt  magno 
sacramento  interveniente  quod  quondam  Donaldus  Mac- 
Angus  vie  Alister  de  Glengary  Attavus  Alexandri  Mac- 
donell de  Glengary  latoris  de  presentium  filii  quondam 
Joannis  Macdonell  de  Glengary  qui  fuit  filius  demortui 
Alexandri  Macdonell  de  Glengary  qui  fuit  filius  Ronaldi 
Macdonell  de  Glengary  qui  fuit  filius  Donaldi  Macdonell 
de  Scotus,  qui  fuit  filius  natu  secundus  dicti  Donaldi  Mac- 
Angus  vie  Alister  obiit,"  &c.  "  Et  quod  dictus  Alexander 
Macdonell  nunc  de  Glengary  est  Legitimus  et  propinquior 
haeres  masculis  dicti  quondam  Donaldi  MacAngus  vie 
Alister  sui  attavi,"  &c.  There  is  another  Retour,  of  the