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c,\iY Oj^ 



















^ ''■ 

















OF skye;" etc., etc. 






::<:i:^::^. - ->-.3 






OF Drummond, 

Who has for so many years, inside and outside Parliament, 
rendered incomparably greater services to the Highland 
People in bringing about the amelioration of their social 
condition than any Highlander that ever lived, by 




The original edition of this work appeared in 1879, 
fifteen years ago. It was well received by the press, by the 
clan, and by all interested in the history of the Highlands. 
The best proof of this is the fact that the book has for 
several years been out of print, occasional second-hand copies 
of it coming into the market selling at a high premium 
on the original subscription price. 

Personally, however, I was never satisfied with it. It 
was my first clan history, and to say nothing of inevitable 
defects of style by a comparatively inexperienced hand, 
it was for several other reasons necessarily incomplete, 
and in many respects not what I should wish the history 
of my own clan to be. 

This edition, which extends to close upon two hundred 
pages more than its predecessor, has an accurate and 
well-executed plate of the clan tartan, and a life-like portrait 
of the Author ; has been almost entirely re-written ; con- 
tains several families omitted from the first; has all been 
carefully revised ; and although not even now absolutely 
perfect, I believe it is almost as near being so as it is 
possible for any work which contains such an enormous 
number of dates and other details as this one to be. 

The mythical Fitzgerald origin of the clan, hitherto 
accepted by most of its leading members, is exhaustively 
dealt with, I venture to hope effectively, if not completely 
and finally disposed of. That it is now established 


beyond any reasonable dispute to have been a pure 
invention of the seventeenth century may, I think, be 
safely asserted, while it is, with almost equal conclusiveness, 
shown that the Mackenzies are descended from a native 
Celtic chief of the same stock as the original O'Beolan 
Earls of , Ross, as set forth in the Table printed on page 39. 

My list of subscribers, for a second edition, shows in 
the most gratifying form that the work is still in active 
demand, and I am sanguine enough to expect that as 
soon as it is issued to the public the remaining copies 
will be quickly disposed of. 

I am indebted to a young gentleman, Mr Evan North 
Burton-Mackenzie, Younger of Kilcoy, of whom I venture 
to predict more will be heard in this particular field, for 
valuable genealogical notes about his own and other 
Mackenzie families, while for the copious and well- 
arranged Index at the end of the volume — a new feature 
of this edition — I have again to acknowledge the services 
of my eldest son, Hector Rose Mackenzie, solicitor, 

A. M. 

Park House, Inverness, 
March iSg^. 



Portrait of the 


Fadng Title 


• • • • < 


• • lU 

Dedication . 

• • • • I 

• V 


• • • • I 

• • 

• vu 


• • • • 1 


• IX 

List of Subscribers . . • . 


• Zl 

Plate of Mackenzie Tartan 

• Faciog page i 


























OF THE Family — 

The Fitzgerald Myth Disposed of 

The Real Celtic Origin 

coinneach, or kenneth 

John Mac Kenneth 

Kenneth **Na Sroine" 

Murdoch of the Cave 

Murdoch of the Bridge 

Alexander *< Ionraio " 

Kenneth '^a'Shlair** 

Kenneth •« Og ** . 

John of Killin . 

Kenneth "Na Cuirc" 

Colin ••Cam" 

Kenneth, First Lord Mackenzie of Kintail 

Colin, First Earl of Seaforth 

George, the second Earl 

Kenneth ** Mor," third Earl 

Kenneth " Og," fourth Earl 

William " Dubh," fifth Earl 

Kenneth, Lord Fortrobe 

Kenneth, sixth Earl 

Thomas Frederick Mackenzie-H umber ston . 

Francis Humberston-Mackenzie, Lord Seaforth 

Mary Mackenzie, Lady Hood . 

Keith William Stewart Mackenzie • 










1 12-145 












V XXIV. Jiurs ALU. Francis HumbckstokStewastMackexzik 347 
Thb Chibfshif ...... 348-355 


Allangransk, Mackshziks op 

■ 3SS-36J 

DcNDOMiiEL, Old Mackeszik of 

. 362-3« 

Hilton, Mackbnwes Of . 

. 367-375 

Glack, Mackf.nziesup . 

. 375-381 

LocciB, Mackeszlesof . 

. 38a-3S4 

Gaibloch, Mackxkzics of 

. 385-447 


- 448-453 


. 454-460 


• 461-47" 


. 47a-473 

Dailpaimb, Macmnzies OP 

- 474-477 

SuocHD AlastaisChaimMackenziks . 

. 478-484 

Bklmasuthy MaCKEN'ZIBS OF 

. 48S-487 

Pitlundika!,Mackiiizibsof . 

■ 487-490 

Flowei6Ubn. Mackenziksof 

. 490-491 

G(ouiidwater,Macke.vziesof . 

. 49»-49S 

Datochualdas, Mackbnziis of . 

. 499-504 

AcH ITY Mackenzies of . 

. 50S-S07 

Akdkoss (Now Dundonnu.) Mackbnzies of 

. 508-511 

Faisbukn, MaCkemZies of 

• 5'3-S"< 

Kbrnsarv, Mackenziksof 

■ S'7-Sa' 


. 522-514 

SuDcre, Mackesziesof . 

. 5»4-5»6 


- 526-53* 


■ S33-S35 

Redcastli, Mackbnzies of 

. 536-543 


. S44-S4« 

Cromarty, Mackenziesof 

- S49-56a 

Ardloch, Mackenziesof 

. 563-565 


- 566-57^ 

Bai.loNE, Mackenzfes of . 

. 573-580 

KiLCOY Mackenziesof . 

. 581-59" 

GLEHBBRvrB, Mackenzie-Douclae of . 

• S9»-594 

Applbchoss. Mackbnzies of 

• 595-603 


. 604-608 

ToERiDON, Mackbnzies of 

. 608-612 

DKLVtKi, Mackbnzies of . 

. 613615 

Gruinard, Uackbkzibb OF 

. 616-619 

Fawlbv Court and Farr, Mackbnzibs of 

. 620-625 

. 627-648 



Alexander, A. C. B., Esq., Seaforth Highlanders 

Anderson, William, Esq-, solicitor, Inverness 

Armytage, George J., Esq., F.S.A., Brighouse 

Baillie, James E. B., Esq. of Dochfour 

Barron, James, Esq., Inverness. 

Beith, Gilbert, Esq., M.P. for Inverness Burghs 

Berthon, Raymond Tinne, Esq., Beckenham 

Black, John, Esq., Palace Hotel, Inverness 

Blair, Sheriff, Inverness 

Boyd, Mrs, Particle, Glasgow 

Burton- Mackenzie, Colonel John E., Esq. of Kilcoy 

Bute, The Most Noble the Marquis of 

Cameron, John, Esq., bookseller, Inverness 

Chinn, Captain John H., R.A., Inverness 

Clansman, A (lo copies, lo Large Paper) 

Chisholm, Archibald A., Esq., Procurator- Fiscal, Lochmaddy 

Chisholm, Colin, Esq., Namur Cottage, Inverness 

Chisholm, Duncan, Esq., Colorado, U.S.A. 

Chisholm, The, London (Large Paper) 

Douglas & Foulis, Messrs, Edinburgh (3 copies) 

Finlayson, J. E., Esq., Inverness 

Forbes, Duncan, Esq. of Culloden 

Fraser, Alexander, Esq., Cheltenham 

Fraser, Lieutenant-Colonel, E. L. , of Bunchrew (Large Paper) 

Fraser-Mackintosh, Charles, Esq. of Drummond (Large Paper) 


Frascr, Major Richard A., of Bunch rew (2 copies) 

Grant, Dr Ogilvie, Inverness 

Harrow, James, Esq., bookseller, Inverness 

Iverach, William, Esq., Ballater (2 copies) 

Jackson, Major Randle, of Swordale (Large Paper) 

Kemble, Major, Isle Omsay, Skye 

Kennard, Cecil, Esq., Tormore, Skye 

Kerr, Andrew William, Esq., Edinburgh (Large Paper) 

Kerr, Henry F., Esq., Edinburgh 

Kerr, Miss Jane, Edinburgh 

Largo, Visconde de Terra, Nairn (2 Large Paper) 

Lyon- Mackenzie, Major, of Braelangwell 

Macandrew, Sir Henry Cockbum, Inverness. 

Macbain, Alexander, Esq., M.A., Inverness 

Macbean, William Charles, Esq., solicitor, Inverness (2 copies) 

Macdonald, Allan, M.A., solicitor, Inverness 

Macdonald, Andrew, Esq., solicitor, Inverness 

Macdonald, Donald, Esq., London (I^rge Paper) 

Macdonald, John, Esq., Superintendent of Police, Inverness 

Macdonald, Kenneth, Esq., Town Clerk, Inverness (Large Paper^ 

Macdonald, Lachlan, Esq., of Skaebost (i copy, i Large Paper) 

Macgeachy & Co., Messrs James, booksellers, Glasgow 

Macintyre, John, Esq., Wishaw 

Macintyre, Lieutenant-General John Mackenzie, Fortrose 

Macintyre, Major-General Donald, V.C, Fortrose 

Maciver, Lewis, Esq., London (Large Paper) 

Mackay, William, Esq., bookseller, Inverness 

Mackay, William, Esq., solicitor, Inverness 

Mackenzie, Master Alastair, Inverness 

Mackenzie, Alexander, Esq., banker, Beauly 

Mackenzie, Alexander, Esq., Bristol 

Mackenzie, Alexander, ex-Bailie, of Silverwells, Inverness 

Mackenzie, A. C, Esq., Maryburgh 

Mackenzie, Andrew, Esq. of Dalmore 

Mackenzie, A. W\, Esq., Columbus, U.S.A. 

Mackenzie, Captain A. W., Younger of Ord 

Mackenzie, Captain Kenneth, Younger of Gairloch 

Mackenzie, Charles B., Esq., Bengal, India (Large Paper) 


Mackeiuie, Donald, Esq., Fasnakyle 

Mackenzie, Dr, North Uisl (4 copies) 

Mackeniie, Dr F. M., Inverness 

Mackenzie, Or John Cumming, Inverness Asylum (Large Paper) 

Mackenzie, Dr William, of Culbo 

Mackenzie, Duncan, Esq., Royal Hotel, Stomoway 

Mackenzie, D. W., Esq., South Africa (2 Copies) 

Mackenzie, Edward Philippe, Esq., Suffolk (Large Paper) 

Mackenzie, E. }. L., Esq., London 

Mackenzie, Frances Mary, Edinburgh 

Mackenzie, George, Esq., Seaforth Lodge, Inverness 

Mackenzie, George R., Glasgow 

Mackenzie, Hector Donald Grant, Esq., Inverness (Large Paper) 

Mackenzie, Hector Rose, Esq., solicitor, Inverness 

Mackenzie, James A., Esq., Glasgow 

Mackenzie, John, Esq., Anan 

Mackenzie, John, Esq., Dunvegan 

Mackenzie, John A., Esq., Edinbui^h 

Mackenzie, John, Esq., jeweller, Inverness 

Mackenzie, John Hugh Munro, Esq. of Moraish (Large Paper) 

Mackenzie, John, Esq., Nebraska, U.S.A. 

Mackenzie, John T., Esq., fiictor, Dunvegan 

Mackenzie, Landseer, Esq., Bournemouth (3 Large Paper) 

Mackenzie, Lieu tenant -Colonel Alexander William, London 

Mackenzie, M. A., Esq., Folkstone (Large Paper) 

Mackenue, Major-General Colin, T.S.C., India 

Mackenzie, Major-Ceneral J. R., Chehenham 

Mackenzie, Master Thomas William, Park House, Inverness 

Mackeiuie, Miss Annie Emma, Park House, Inverness 

Mackenzie, Mrs H. R., Heatbficid Villa, Inverness (Lat^ Paper) 

Mackenzie, M., Esq., Supervisor of Inland Revenue, Cairloch 

Mackenzie, Roderick, Esq., London 

Mackenzie, S., Esq., Cheltenham 

Mackenzie, Sheriff, Golspie 

Mackenzie, Simon, Esq., Gairloch 

Mackenzie, Sir Allan R., Bart of Glenmuick 

Mackenzie, Sir Arthur, Bart, of Coul . 

Mackeiuie, Sir Kenneth S., Bart of Gairloch 


Mackenzie, Thomas, Esq. of Dailuaine (i copy, i Large Paper) 

Mackenzie, Thomas, Esq., Glasgow 

Mackenzie, William, Esq., Cabarfeidh House, Inverness (Large Paper) 

Mackenzie, William, Esq., Secretary, Crofters Commission 

Mackenzie, William, Esq., Inverness 

Mackenzie, William Dalziel, Esq. of Fawley Court and Farr (i copy, 

I Large Paper) 
Mackintosh, Alexander, Esq., Forfar 
Mackintosh, Duncan, Esq., Inverness 
Maclaren, Thomas, Esq., bookseller, Inverness (2 copies) 
Maclean, J. P., Esq., Ohio, U.S.A. (3 copies) 
Macleod, Norman, Esq., bookseller, Edinburgh 
Macleod, Norman, Esq. of Dalvey, Forres 
Macniven & Wallace, Messrs, booksellers, Edinburgh 
Macphail, Rev. George R., Dundee 
Macpherson, Provost, of Kingussie 
Macrae, Donald, Esq., Plockton 
Macrae, Rev. Alexander, Esq., B.A., London 
Macritchie, Andrew, Esq., solicitor, Inverness 
Mactavish, W. T., Esq., solicitor. Tain (Large Paper) 
Matheson, Sir Kenneth J., Bart of Lochalsh 
Melven Bros., Messrs, booksellers, Inverness (3 copies) 
Melven, Joseph, Esq., bookseller, Nairn 
Menzies & Co., Messrs John, booksellers, Edinburgh 
Morrison, Alexander, Esq., Stomoway 
Morrison, J. M., Esq., Stomoway 
Muir-Mackenzie, Sir Alexander of Delvine (Large Paper) 
Munro, David, Esq., solicitor, Inverness 
Murray, £. M., Esq., Tirhoot, India 
Murray, Francis, Esq., Portree (3 copies) 
Murray, James, Esq., M.D., Inverness 
Murray, Surgeon- Major, R.D., Calcutta 
Napier and Ettrick, K.T., The Right Hon. Lord 
Noble, John, Esq., bookseller, Inverness (3 copies, 2 Large Paper) 
Phillips, Frederick P., West Lothian (Large Paper) 
Reid, Sir Hugh G., Warley Hall, Birmingham 
Ross, Alexander, Esq., North Star, Dingwall 
Ross, D. Macbean, Esq., banker, London 


Ross, James, Esq., solicitor, Inverness 

Ross, John Macdonald, Esq., Glasgow (Large Paper) 

Scott, James, Esq., Wishaw (Large Paper) 

Shaw, Colonel A. J., Madras Infantry (2 copies) 

Smith, George, Esq., journalist, Inverness 

Stewart, A. G., Esq., merchant, Inverness 

Stewart, Rev. Alexander, LL.D., Nether Lochaber 

Stirling, John, Esq. of Fairbum (Large Paper) 

Strachan, Mrs, Newcastle-on-Tyne 

Thin, James, Esq., bookseller, Edinburgh (3 copies) 

Thomson, James, Esq., Gas Manager, Inverness 

Warrand, Colonel, of Ryefield 

Whamcliffe, The Right Hon. the Earl of (Large Paper) 

Whyte, Henry, Esq., Glasgow 

Wyllie & Son, Messrs D., booksellers, Aberdeen 

Yule, Miss Amy Frances, Tarradale, Ross-shire 





The Clan Mackenzie at one time formed one of the 
most powerful families in the Highlands. It is still one 
of the most numerous and influential, and justly claims 
a very ancient descent. But there has always been a 
difference of opinion regarding it<% original progenitor. 
It has long been maintained and generally accepted that 
the Mackenzies are descended from an Irishman named 
Colin or Cailean Fitzgerald, who is alleged but not proved 
to have been descended from a certain Otho, who accom- 
panied William the Conqueror to England, fought with 
that warrior at the battle of Hastings, and was by him 
created Baron and Castellan of Windsor for his services 
on that occasion. 


According to the supporters of the Fitzgerald-Irish 
origin of the clan, Otho had a son Fitz-Otho, who is 
on record as his father's successor as Castellan of 
Windsor in 1078. Fitz-Otho is said to have had three 
sons. Gerald, the eldest, under the name oi Fitz-Walter, 
is said to have married, in 11 12, Nesta, daughter of a 
Prince of South Wales, by whom he also had three 
sons, Fitz-Walter's eldest son, Maurice, succeeded his 



father, and accompanied Richard Strongbow to Ireland in 
1 170. He was afterwards created Baron of Wicklow 
and Naas Offelim of the territory of the Macleans for 
distinguished services rendered in the subjugation of 
that country, by Henry H., who on his return to 
England in 1172 left Maurice in the joint Government. 

Maurice married Alicia, daughter of Arnulph de 
Montgomery, brother of Robert Earl of Shrewsbury, 
and by that lady had four sons. The eldest was known 
as Gerald Fitz-Maurice, who in due course succeeded 
his father, and was created Lord Offaly. Having married 
Catherine, daughter of Hamo de Valois, Lord Chief 
Justice of Ireland, he had a son, named Maurice after 
his grandfather. This Maurice died in 1257, leaving 
two sons, Thomas and Gerald. Thomas, generally called 
"Tomas Mor," or Great Thomas, on account of his great 
valour and signal services in the battlefield, succeeded 
his father as Lord Offaly. He married the only daughter 
of Thomas Carron. This lady brought him the Seigniory 
of Desmond as a dowry. By her Thomas Lord Offaly 
had an only son, John, who, according to Colin Fitz- 
gerald's supporters, was first Earl of Kildare and 
married first, Marjory, daughter of Sir Thomas Fitz- 
Antony, by whom he had issue — Maurice, progenitor 
of the Dukes of Leinster. John married, secondly, 
Honora, daughter of Hugh O'Connor, by whom 
he had six sons, the eldest of whom, according 
to the Irish -origin theory, was Colin Fitz-Gerald—hut 
who, if the Fitzgerald theory had not been a pure 
invention, really ought to have been called Colin Fitz- 
7o/w, or son of John — the reputed ancestor of the 

This, briefly stated, is the genealogy of the Fitzgeralds 
as given by the supporters of the Irish origin of the 
Mackenzies, and it may be right or wrong for all we 
need care in discussing the origin of the Mackenzies. Its 
accuracy will, however, be proved impossible. 

According to the true genealogy, Thomas, who was 


the third son of Maurice, married Rohesia, heiress of 
Woodstock, near Athy, and daughter of Richard de St 
Michael, Lord of Rheban. By this lady he had an only 
son, John, who succeeded as 6th Baron Offaly, and was 
in 1316 created ist Earl of Kildare. John married 
Blanche, daughter of John Roche, Baron of Fermoy ; 
not the two ladies given him in the Fitzgerald-Mackenzie 

The real authentic genealogy of the Fitzgeralds, from 
whom the Dukes of Leinster and other Fitzgerald 
families are descended, is as follows: — The first, 

I. Otho, known as "Dominus Otho," belonged un- 
doubtedly to the Gherardini family of Florence. He 
passed into Normandy, and in 1057 crossed into Eng- 
land, became a favourite with Edward the Confessor, 
and obtained extensive estates from that monarch. He 
had a son, ' 

II. Walter Fitz Otho, or son of Otho. He is 
mentioned in Domesday Book in 1078 as being then in 
possession of his father's estates. He was Castellan of 
Windsor and Warden of the Forests in Berkshire. He 
married Gladys, daughter of Rhiwallon ap Cynfyn, Prince 
of North Wales, and had three sons, the eldest being 

III. Gerald Fitz Walter, or son of Walter, who 
was appointed by Henry I. to the Constableship of 
Pembroke Castle and other important offices. He married 
Nesta, daughter of Rhys ap Gruffyd, ap Tudor Mawr, 
Prince of South Wales, and had issue by her, three sons, 
the eldest of whom was 

IV. Maurice Fitz Gerald, or son of Gerald. This, 
it will be noticed, was the first Fitzgerald of which we 
have any record, and he was the progenitor of the 
Irish Fitzgeralds. He accompanied Richard de Clare, 
Earl of Pembroke, popularly known as ** Strongbow," to 
Ireland, and there highly distinguished himself, having, 
among other acts of renown, captured the city of 
Dublin. He died at Wexford in 1177. He married 
Alice or Alicia, daughter of Arnulph de Montgomery, 


fourth son of Roger de Montgomery, who led the cen 
of the Norman army at the battle of Hastings, and 
her had issue — five sons, the eldest of whom was Willia 
Baron of Naas, not Gerald as claimed by the support 
of the Colin Fitzgerald theory. 

Thus far the two genealogies may be said to agr 
except in a few of the marriages. 

V. Gerald Fitz Maurice, the second son, in 12 
became first Baron Offaly. The third son, Thomas, v 
progenitor of the original Earls of Desmond, who he 
long been extinct in the male line, the present Earldo 
which is the Irish title of the Earl of Denbigh, havi 
been created in 1622. Gerald Fitz Maurice marri 
Katherine, daughter of Hamo de Valois, who was Lc 
Chief Justice of Ireland in 1197, and by her had a s( 

VI. Maurice Fitz Gerald, second Baron Offa 
one of the Lord Justices of Ireland. Maurice di 
in 1257, having married Juliana, daughter of John 
Cogan, who was Lord Justice of Ireland in 1247, and 
her had three sons, Maurice, Gerald, and Thorn 
Maurice Fitzgerald has no wife given him in t 
Colin Fitzgerald genealogy. Thomas, the youngest s< 
had a son John, who ultimately, on the death 
Maurice, fifth Baron Offaly, without issue, succeed 
as sixth Baron, and was, on the 14th May, 13 16, creal 
the first Earl of Kildare. Maurice Fitz Gerald \ 
succeeded by his eldest son, 

VII. Maurice Fitz Maurice, as third Baron Offa 
He married Emelina, daughter of Sir Stephen 
Longesp<^, a rich heiress, and by her had a son a 
two daughters. He was succeeded by his only son, 

VIII. Gerald Fitz Maurice, 4th Baron Offaly, w 

died without issue in 1287, when he was succeeded 
his cousin Maurice, only son of Gerald, second j 
of Maurice Fitzgerald, second Baron Offaly, as 

IX. Maurice Fitzgerald, 5th Baron Offaly, v 
married Agnes de Valance, daughter of William E 
of Pembroke, without issue, when he was succeec 


by his cousin John, son of Thomas, third son of Maurice 
Fitzgerald, second Baron Offaly, as 

X. John Fitz Thomas Fitz Gerald, sixth Baron 
Offaly, and first Earl of Kildare. From him, by his 
wife Blanche, daughter of John Roche, Baron of Fermoy, 
are descended the present Duke of Leinster and other 
Irish Fitzgeralds. He died on the loth November, 
1 316. 

Several important particulars bearing on the points 
in dispute are noticeable in this genuine Fitzgerald 
genealogy, a few of which may be remarked upon. (i) 
There is no trace of a Colin Fitzgerald, or of any other 
Colin, in the real family genealogy from beginning to 
end, down to the present day. (2) Gerald, the 4th 
Baron Offaly, died in 1287. He was succeeded by his 
cousin Maurice, as 5th Baron, who in turn was succeeded 
by his consin John Fitz Thomas Fitz Gerald, who died 
comparatively young in 13 16. According to the Colin 
Fitzgerald theory, this John, first Earl of Kildare, was 
twice married, and by his second wife had six sons, of 
whom Colin Fitzgerald, who really ought to have been 
described as Colin Fitz John — for it will be observed 
that the Chiefs in the real genealogy are invariably 
described as Fitz or son of their fathers — was the eldest 
This was impossible. How could John Fitz Thomas 
Fitzgerald, who died at a comparatively early age in 
1 3 16, have had a son by his seeond marriage, who must 
have arrived at a mature age before he "was driven" 
from Ireland to Scotland in* 1261, and be able to fight, 
as alleged by his supporters, with great distinction, 
as a warrior who had already an established reputation, 
at the battle of Largs, in 1263? Let us suppose that 
Colin's reputed father was 70 years old when he died. 
He (the father) must thus have been born as early as 
1246. Let us take it that his eldest son, the reputed 
Colin, by his second wife, was born when his father 
was only 24 years of age — say in 1270 — and the result 
of the Fitzgerald origin theory would be that Colin 


must have fought at the battle of Largs 7 years befor 
according to the laws of nature, he could have bee 
born. In other words, he was not born, if born at a 
for seven years after the battle of Largs, four years aft 
the reputed charter of 1266, and 40 years subsequent 
1230, the last year in which either of the witness 
whose names are upon the alleged charter itself was 
life. (3) But take the genealogy as given by tl 
upholders of the Colin Fitzgerald origin themselvc 
Maurice, who died in 1257, had, according to it, tv 
sons — Thomas and Gerald. This Thomas, they sa 
succeeded his father as third Lord Offaly, and had 
son, John, who, by his second wife, had Colin Fit 
gerald. That is, Maurice, who died in 1257, had 
great grandson, Colin, who, as a warrior of mature yea 
and experience, fought at the battle of Largs only s 
years after his great-grandfathers death ! But there w 
in fact no Earl of Kildare at this early date. That tit 
was, as already stated, not created until 1316, twent 
eight years after his son Colin Fitzgerald was, accordii 
to the testimony of his supporters, buried in Icolmki 
It is surely unnecessary to add that such a consummatic 
is absolutely impossible; and these facts alone, though 1 
other shred of evidence was forthcoming, would dispose 
the Colin Fitzgerald origin of the Mackenzies for ever. 
Colins five brothers are given by the upholders 
the Fitzgerald origin as Galen, said to have been tl 
same as Gilleon or Gillean, the ancestor of tl 
Macleans ; Gilbert, ancestor &( the White Knights ; Joh 
ancestor of the Knights of Glynn ; Maurice, ancest 
of the Knights of Kerry; and Thomas, progenitor 
the Fitzgeralds of Limerick. But it is quite unnecessa 
to deal with Colin's brothers, and their descendants hei 
It will be sufficient if we dispose of Colin himself, wh 
according to the genealogy given to him by those wl 
claim him as their progenitor, was really not Colin Fit 
Gerald but Colin Fitz-y^A». He must, however, 1 
dealt with a little more at length ; for, whoever he m. 


have been, and however mythical his personal history, his 
name will always command a certain amount of interest 
for members of the Clan Mackenzie, and those who have 
become allied with them by marriage or association. 

Most of us are acquainted with the turbulent state of 
the West Highlands and Islands in the reign of Alex- 
ander II., when the Highland Chiefs became so powerful, 
and were so remote from the centre of Government, that 
they could not be brought under the King's authority. 
His Majesty determined to make a serious effort to 
reduce these men to obedience, and for this purpose he 
proceeded, at the head of a large force, but died on his 
way in 1249, on the Island of Kerrera, leaving his 
son, Alexander III., then only nine years of age, with 
the full weight and responsibility of government on his 

Shortly after the King attained his majority, Colin 
Fitzgerald, correctly speaking Fitz John^ is said to have 
been driven out of Ireland and to have sought refuge at 
the Scottish Court, where he was heartily welcomed by 
the King, by whom his rank and prowess, well known 
to him by repute, were duly recognised and acknow- 

At this time Alexander was preparing to meet Haco, 
King of Norway, who, on the 2nd of October, 1262, 
landed with a large force on the coast of Ayrshire, >vhere 
he was met by a gallant force of fifteen hundred knights 
splendidly mounted on magnificent chargers — many of 
them of pure Spanish breed — wearing breastplates, while 
their riders, clad in complete armour, with a numerous 
army of foot armed with spears, bows and arrows, and 
other weapons of war, according to the usage in their 
respective provinces, the whole of this valiant force led 
by the King in person. These splendid, well-accoutred 
armies met at Largs two or three days after, and then 
commenced that sanguinary and memorable engagement 
which was the first decisive check to the arrogance of 
the Norsemen who had so long held sway in the West 


Highlands and Isles, and the first opening up of the 
channel which led to the subsequent arrangements 
between Alexander III. of Scotland and Magnus IV. 
of Norway in consequence of which an entirely new 
organisation was introduced into the Hebrides, then 
inhabited by a mixed race composed of the natives and 
largely of the descendants of successive immigrant 
colonists of Norwegians and Danes who had settled in 
the country. 

In this memorable engagement, we are told, the 
Scots commenced the attack. The right wing, composed 
of the men of Argyle, of Lennox, of Athole, and 
Galloway, was commanded by Alexander, Lord High 
Steward, while Patrick Dunbar, Earl of March, com- 
manded the left wing, composed of the men of the 
Lothians, Berwick, Stirling, and Fife. The King placed 
himself in the centre, at the head of the choice men of 
Ross, Perth, Angus, Mearns, Mar, Moray, Inverness, and 
Caithness, where he was confronted by Haco in person, 
who, for tbe purpose of meeting the Scottish King, 
took post in the Norwegian centre. The High Steward, 
by a dexterous movement, made the enemy's left give way, 
and instantly, by another adroit manoeuvre, he wheeled 
back on the rear of Haco's centre, where he found the 
two warrior Kings desperately engaged. This induced 
Haco, after exhibiting all the prowess of a brave King 
and an able commander, to retreat from the field, 
followed by his left wing, leaving, as has been variously 
stated, sixteen to twenty-four thousand of his followers 
on the field, while the loss on the Scottish side is esti- 
mated at about five thousand. The men of Caithness 
and Sutherland were led by the Flemish Freskin, thos' 
of Moray by one of their great chiefs, and there is ever 
reason to believe that the men of Ross rallied round on 
of their native chiefs. Among the most distinguish 
warriors who took part in this great and decisive vicf 
for the Scots, under the immediate eye of their V 
King, was, it is said, Colin Fitzgerald, who is re( 


to in a fragment of the Record of Icolmkill as " Callenus 
peregriniis Hibernus nobilis ex familia Geraldinorum qui 
proximo anno ab Hibernia pulsus apud regni benigne 
accepttis /tine usque in curta permansit et in praefacto 
proelio strenue pugnavity That is, "Colin, an Irish 
stranger and nobleman, of the family of the Geraldines 
who, in the previous year, had been driven from 
Ireland, and had been well received by the King, 
remained up to this time at Court, and fought bravely in 
the aforesaid battle." This extract has often been quoted 
to prove that Colin Fitzgerald was the progenitor of the 
Mackenzies; but it will be noticed that it contains no 
reference whatever to the point It merely says that 
Colin, an Irishman, was present at Largs. 

After the defeat of Haco the King sent detachments 
to secure the West Highlands and Isles, and to check 
the local chiefs. Among the leaders sent in charge of 
the Western garrisons was, according to the supporters 
of the Irish-origin theory, Colin Fitzgerald, who, under 
the patronage of Walter Stewart, Earl of Menteith, was 
settled in the Government of the Castle of Ellan- 
donnan, the well-known stronghold of the Mackenzies, 
in Kintail, situated' on a small rocky island at the junction 
of Lochalsh, Loch Duich and Loch Long. Colin's 
jurisdiction, it is said, extended over a wide district, 
and he is referred to in the fragment of the Record of 
Icolmkill, already quoted, as he "of whom we have 
spoken at the battle of Largs, and who afterwards 
conducted himself with firmness against the Islanders, 
and was left a governor among them." Sir George 
Mackenzie, first Earl of Cromartie, who will be proved 
later on to have been the inventor of the Fitzgerald 
theory, says in a MS. history of the clan, that Colin 
"being left in Kintail, tradition records that he married 
the daughter of Mac Mhathoin, heritor of the half of 
Kintail. This Mhathoin," he continues, "is frequently 
identified with Coinneach Gruamach Mac Mhathoin, 
Cailean's predecessor as Governor of EUandonnan 


Castle. The other half of Kintail belonged to O'Beolai 
one of whose chiefs, Ferchair, was created Earl of Ros 
and his lands were given to Cailean Fitzgerald." It w 
be proved by incontestible public documents still 
existence, that these identical lands were, except that th( 
once for a time exchanged them with a relative for lan< 
in, Buchan, uninterruptedly possessed by the Earls 
Ross, the descendants of this Ferchair, or Farquhar, i 
two centuries after the battle of Largs. 

While the Earl of Cromartie and other clan historia 
accept the Fitzgerald origin by marriage with a daught 
of Kenneth Matheson of Lochalsh, the Mathesons mai 
tain that the first Mackenzie, or Mac Choinnich — t 
actual progenitor of the clan — was a son of their chi 
Coinneach Gruamach, and that the Mackenzies are th 
only a sept, or minor branch of the Mathesons. 
must in fairness be admitted that the latter contents 
is quite as near the truth as the Fitzgerald theor 
and it must have already occurred to the reader, how, 
the Fitzgerald origin of the Mackenzies had been tri 
has it come about that the original patronymic of Fit 
gerald has given way to that of Mackenzie ? It is n 
pretended that it was ever heard of after Colin himself 

This difficulty occurred even to the Earl of Cromart 
and this is how he attempts to dispose of it. Cailea 
he says, had a son by the daughter of Kenneth M 
Mhathoin, or Matheson, whom he named Coinneac 
or Kenneth, after his father-in-law Kenneth Matheso: 
Cailean himself was killed in Glaic Chailein by M 
Mhathoin, who envied him, and was sore displeased 
Colin's succession to Matheson's ancient heritage ; Col 
was succeeded by his son Kenneth, and all his descendar 
were by the Highlanders called **Mac Choinnich," 
Kenneth's son, taking the patronymic from Mac Mhatho 
rather than from Cailean, whom they esteemed a strang< 
Of the two theories the Matheson one is by far tl 
more probable ; but they are both without any re 

ORIGIN. 1 1 

The Fitzgerald theory has, however, until recently, 
been accepted by all the leading Mackenzie families 
and by the clan generally. It has been adopted in all 
the Peerages and Baronetages, and by almost every 
writer on the history and genealogy of the Cabar-feidh 

The main if not the only authority of any consequence 
in favour of this Irish origin is the charter alleged to 
have been granted by Alexander III. to Colin in 1266, 
of which the reputed original runs as follows : — 

^^ Alexander^ Dei Gracia^ Rex Scottorum^ omnibus probis 
hominibus tocius terre sue clericis et laicis, salutem^ sciant presentes 
et futuri me pro fideli seruicio michi ncnfato per Colinum 
Hybemum tarn in bello quam in pace ideo dedisse^ et hac presenti 
carta mea concessisse dicto Colino, et ejus successoribus iotas 
terras de KintaiL Tenendas de nobis et successoribus nostris 
in liberam baroniam cum guardia. Reddendo servicium forinsecum 
et fidelitatem, Testibus Andrea episcopo^ Moraviensi, Waltero 
Stewart, Henrico d^ Balioth Camerario, Amoldo de Campania, 
Thoma HostiariOy vice-comite de Innemess. Apud Kincardine^ IX, 
die Jan, : Anno Regni Domini^ Regis XVI P 

This is a literal translation of the document — 

"Alexander, by the Grace of God, King of Scots, to all honest 
men of his whole dominions, cleric and laic, greeting: Be it 
known to the present and future that I, for the faithful service 
rendered to me by Colin of Ireland, in war as well as peace, 
therefore I have given, and by this my present charter I concede 
to the said Colin and his successors, the lands of Kintail to be 
held of us in free bardny with ward to render foreign service and 
fidelity. Witnesses (as above.) At Kincardine, 9th day of 
January, in the year of the reign of the Lord the King, the 16th.'' 

The Kincardine at which this charter is alleged to 
have been signed is supposed to be the place of that 
name situated on the River Dee ; for about this time 
an incident is reported to have occurred in the Forest 
of Mar in connection with which it is traditionally stated 
that the Mackenzies adopted the stag's head as their coat 
armour. The legend is as follows : — Alexander was 
on a hunting expedition in the forest, near Kincardine, 
when an infuriated stag, closely pursued by the houndsi 


made straight* in the direction of the King, and Cailean 
Fitzgerald, who accompanied the Royal party, gallantly 
interposed his own person between the exasperated 
animal and his Majesty, and shot it with an arrow in 
the forehead. The King in acknowledgment of the 
Royal gratitude at once issued a diploma in favour of 
Colin granting him armorial bearings which were to be, 
a stag's head puissant, bleeding at the forehead where 
the arrow pierced it, to be borne on a field azure, sup- 
ported by two greyhounds. The crest to be a dexter 
arm bearing a naked sword, surrounded by the motto 
** Fide Parta, Fide Acta," which continued to be the distinc- 
tive bearings of the Mackenzies of Seaforth until it was 
considered expedient, as corroborating their claims on 
the extensive possessions of the Macleods of Lewis, to 
substitute for the original the crest of that warlike clan, 
namely, a mountain in flames, surcharged with the 
words, *• Luceo non uro," the ancient shield, supported by 
two savages, naked, and wreathed about the head with 
laurel, armed with clubs issuing fire, which are the 
bearings now used by the representatives of the High 
Chiefs of Kintail. 

The incident of the hunting match and Colin Fitz- 
gerald's gallant rescue of Alexander III. was painted by 
West for " The last of the Seaforths " in one of those 
large pictures with which the old Academician employed 
and gratified his latter years. The artist received ;^8oo 
for the noble painting, which is still preserved in Brahan 
Castle, and in his old age he expressed his willingness 
to give the same sum for it in order to have it exhibited 
in his own collection. 

The first notice of the reputed charter to Colin Fitz- 
gerald is in the manuscript history of the Mackenzies, by 
George, first Earl of Cromartie, already quoted, written 
about the middle of the seventeenth century. All the later 
genealogists appear to have taken its authenticity for 
granted, and quoted it accordingly. Dr Skene, the most 
learned and accurate of all our Highland historians, ex- 


presses his decided opinion that the charter is forged and 
absolutely worthless as evidence in favour of the Fitz- 
gerald origin of the clan. At pages 223-25 of his 
Highlanders of Scotland^ he says — 

"The Mackenzies have long boasted of their descent from the 
great Norman family of Fitzgerald in Ireland, <ind in support 
of this origin they produce a fragment of the Records of Icolmkill, 
and a charter by Alexander III. to Colin Fitzgerald, the supposed 
progenitor of the family, of the lands of KintaiL At first sight 
these documents might appear conclusive, but, independently of 
the somewhat suspicious circumstance that while these pages have 
been most freely and generally quoted, no one has ever seen 
the originals, and the fragment of the Icolmkill Record merely 
says that among the actors in the battle of Largs, fought in 1263, 
was * Peregrinus et Hibemus nobilis ex familia Geraldinorum qui 
proximo anno Hibemia pulsus apud regni benigne acceptus hinc 
usque in curta permansit et in praefacto proelio strenue pugnavit,' 
giving not a hint of his having settled in the Highlands, or of his 
having become the progenitor of any Scottish family whatever ; 
while as to the supposed charter of Alexander III., it is equally 
inconclusive, as it merely grants the lands of Kintail to Colin 
Hibcmo, the word *Hibemo' having at the time come into 
general use as denoting the Highlanders, in the same manner as 
the word * Erse ' is now frequently used to express their language : 
but inconclusive as it is, this charter," he continues, '* cannot be ad- 
mitted at all, as it bears the most palpable marks of having been 
a forgery of a later time, and one by no means happy in its 
execution. How such a tradition of the origin of the Mackenzies 
ever could have arisen, it is difficult to say ; but the fact of their 
native origin and Gaelic descent is completely set at rest by the 
Manuscript of 1450, which has already so often been the means 
of detecting the falsehood of the foreign origins of other clans." 

Cosmo Innes, another high authority, editor of the 
Origines Paroehiales Seotice^ the most valuable work 
ever published dealing with the early history of 
Scotland, and especially of the Highlands, came to a 
similar conclusion, and expresses it even more strongly 
than Dr Skene. At pages 392-3, Vol. II., he says: — 
*• The lands of Kintail are said to have been granted by 
Alexander III. to Colin, an Irishman of the family of 
Fitzgerald, for services done at the battle of Largs. The 
charter is not extant^ and its genuineness has been 


doubted." In a footnote, this learned antiquarian gives 
the text of the document, in the same terms as those in 
which they have been already quoted from another 
source, and which, he says, is "from a copy of the 17th 
century," " If the charter be genuine," he adds, '* it 
is not of Alexander III., or connected with the battle of 
Largs (1263). Two of the witnesses, Andrew, Bishop of 
Moray, and Henry de Baliol, Chamberlain, would corre- 
spond with the i6th year of Alexander II." He further 
says that "the writers of the history of the Mackenzies 
assert also charters of David II. (1360) and of Robert 
II. (1380) to 'Murdo filius Kennethi de Kinteil,' but 
without furnishing any description or means of testing 
their authenticity. No such charters are recorded." 

This is emphatic enough and to every unprejudiced 
mind absolutely conclusive. The sixteenth year of the 
reign of Alexander II. was 1230; for he ascended the 
throne in 12 14. It necessarily follows that the charter, 
if signed at all, must have been signed thirty-three years 
before the battle of Largs, and thirty-six years earlier 
than the actual date written on the document itself. If it 
had any existence before it appeared in the Earl of 
Cromarties manuscript of the seventeenth century, it 
must have been written during the lives of the witnesses 
whose names attest it. That is, according to those who 
maintain that Colin Fitzgerald was the progenitor of 
the Mackenzies, thirty-one years before that adventurer 
ever crossed the Irish Channel, and probably several 
years before he was born, if he ever existed elsewhere 
than in the Earl of Cromartie's fertile imagination. 

But this is not all. It has long been established be- 
yond any possible doubt that the Earls of Ross were the 
superiors of the lands of Kintail during the identical 
period in which the same lands are said to have been 
held by Colin Fitzgerald and his descendants as direct 
vassals of the Crown. Ferchard Mac an t-Sagairt, Earl 
of Ross, received a grant of the lands of Kintail from 
Alexander IL for services rendered to that monarch in 


1222, and he is again on record as their possessor in 
1234, four years after the latest date on which the 
reputed charter to Coh'n Fitzgerald, keeping in view 
the witnesses whose names appear on the face of it, 
could possibly have been a genuine document. Even 
the most prominent of the clan historians who have so 
stoutly maintained the Fitzgerald theory felt bound to 
admit that, " it cannot be disputed that the Earl of Ross 
was the Lord paramount under Alexander II., by whom 
Farquhard Mac an t-Sagairt was recognised in the 
hereditary dignity of his predecessors, and who, by 
another tradition," Dr George Mackenzie says, "was a 
real progenitor of the noble family of Kintail." That 
the Earls of Ross continued lords paramount long after 
the death of Colin Fitzgerald, which event is said to 
have taken place in 1278, will be incontestibly proved. 

But meantime let us return to the Origines Parochiales 
ScoiuB, There we have it stated on authority which 
no one whose opinion is worth anything will for a 
moment call in question. The editor of that remarkable 
work says: — **In 1292 the Sheriffdom of Skye, erected 
by King John Baliol, included the lands of the Earl of 
Ross in North Argyle, a district which comprehended 
Kintail and several other large parishes in Ross (Acts 
of Parliament of Scotland, Vol. I. p. 917). Between 
1306 and 1329 King Robert Bruce confirmed to the 
Earl of Ross all his lands including North Argyle 
(Robertson's Index, p. 16, No. 7; Register of Moray, 
p. 342). In 1342, William, Earl of Ross, the son and 
heir of the deceased Hugh, Earl of Ross, granted to 
Reginald, the son of Roderick (Ranald Rorissoune or 
MacRuaraidh) of the Isles, the ten davochs (or penny- 
lands) of Kintail in North Argyle (Robertsons Index, 
p. 48, No. I ; p. 99 ; p. 100, No. i). The grant was 
afterwards confirmed by King David II. (Robertson's 
Index). About the year 1346 Ranald was succeeded 
by his sister Amie, the wife of John of Isla (Gregory p. 
27). Between the years 1362 and 1372, William, Earl of 


Ross, exchanged with his brother Hugh of Ross, Lord 
of Phylorth, and his heirs, his lands of all Argyle, with 
the Castle of Ellandonnan, for Hugh's lands in Buchan 
(Balnagown Charters). In 1463 the lands of Kintail 
were held by Alexander Mackenzie (Gregory, p, 83)," 
when the Mackenzies obtained the first authentic 
charter on record as direct vassals from the Crown. 

During the whole of this period — for two hundred 
years — there is no trace of Colin Fitzgerald or any of 
his descendants as superiors of the lands of Kintail 
in terms of Alexander HI/s reputed charter of 1266, 
the Mackenzies holding all that time from and as direct 
vassals of their relatives, the Earls of Ross, who really 
held the position of Crown vassals which, according to 
the upholders of the Fitzgerald theory, had that theory 
been true, would have been held by Colin and his 
posterity. But neither he nor any of his reputed 
descendants appear once on recoid in that capacity 
during the whole of these two centuries. On the 
contrary, it has now been proved from unquestionable 
authentic sources that Kintail was in possession of the 
Earls of Ross in, and for at least two generations before, 
1296; that King Robert the Bruce confirmed him in 
these lands in 1306, and again in 1329; that in 1342 
Earl William granted the ten davochs or pennylands of 
Kintail — which is its whole extent — to Reginald of the 
Isles; that this grant was afterwards confirmed by David 
II.; and that between the years 1362 and 1372 the 
Earl of Ross exchanged the lands of Kintail, including 
the Castle of Ellandonnan, with his brother Hugh for 
lands in Buchan. 

These historical events could never have occurred had 
the Mackenzies occupied the position as immediate 
vassals of the Crown contended for by the supporters 
of the Fitzgerald theory of the origin of the clan. It 
is admitted by those who uphold the claims of Colin 
Fitzgerald that the half of Kintail belonged to Farquhar 
O'Beolan, Earl of Ross, after what they describe as the 


Other half had been granted by the King to Colin 
Fitzgerald. But as it is conclusively established that 
the ten pennylands, being the whole extent of Kintail, 
were all the time, before and after, in possession of the 
Earls of Ross, this historical myth must follow the rest. 
Even the Laird of Applecross, in his MS. history of 
the clan, written in 1669, although he adopts the Fitz- 
gerald theory from his friend and contemporary the 
Earl of Cromartie, has his doubts. After quoting the 
statement, that "the other half of Kintail at this time 
belonged to O'BeoIan, whose chief, called Farquhar, was 
created Earl of Ross, and that his lands in Kintail 
were given by the King to Colin Fitzgerald," he says, 
** this tradition carries enough of probability to found 
historical credit, but I find no charter of these lands 
purporting any such grounds for that the first charter 
of Kintail is given by this King Alexander to this Colin, 
anno 1266." That is, Alexander III. 

But enough has been said on this part of the subject 
Let us, however, briefly quote two well-known modern 
writers. The late Robert Carruthers, LL.D., Inverness, 
had occasion several years ago to examine the Seaforth 
family papers for the purpose of reviewing them in the 
North British Quarterly Review, He did not publish all 
that he had written on the subject, and he was good 
enough to present the writer, when preparing the first 
edition of this work, with some valuable MS. notes on 
the clan which had not before appeared in print In one 
of these notes Dr Carruthers says — 

"The chivalrous and romantic origin of the Clan Mackenzie, 
though vouched for by certain charters and local histories, is now 
believed to be fabulous. It seems to have been first advanced in the 
17th century, when there was an absurd desire and ambition in Scot- 
land to fabricate or magnify all ancient and lordly pedigrees. Sir 
George Mackenzie of Tarbat, the Lord Advocate, and Sir George 
Mackenzie, the first Earl of Cromartie, were ready to swear to 
the descent of the Scots nation from Gathelus, son of Cecrops, 
King of Athens, and Scota his wife, daughter of Pharaoh, King 
of Egypt ; and, of course, they were no less eager to claim a 



lofty and illustrious lineage for their own clan. But authentic 
history is silent as to the two wandering Irish Knights, and the 
reputed charter (the elder one being palpably erroneous) cannot 
now be found. For two centuries after the reigns of the Alex- 
anders, the district of Kintail formed part of the lordship of 
the Isles, and was held by the Earls of Ross. The Mackenzies, 
however, can be easily traced to their wild mountainous and 
picturesque country — Ceann-da- Shall — the Head of the two Seas." 

This is from an independent, impartial writer who 
had no interest whatever in supporting either the one 
theory or the other. 

Sir William Fraser, the well-known author of so 
many valuable private family histories, incidentally refers 
to the forged charter in his EarU of Cromartle, written 
specially for the late Duke of Sutherland. He was 
naturally un^yilling to offend the susceptibilities of the 
Mackenzie chiefs, all of whom had hitherto claimed 
Colin Fitzgerald as their progenitor, but he was forced 
to admit the inconclusive character of the disputed 
charter, and that no such charter was granted to Colin 
Fitzgerald by Alexander III. Sir William says: — **In 
the middle of the seventeenth century, when Lord 
Cromartie wrote his history, the means of ascertaining, 
by the names of witnesses and other ways, the true 
granter of a charter and the date were not so accessible 
as at present. The mistake of attributing the Kintail 
charter to King Alexander the Third, instead of King 
Alexander the Second, cannot be regarded as a very 
serious error in the circumstances." Sir William, it will 
be observed, gives up the charter from Alexander III. 
The mere admission that it is not of Alexander III. is 
conclusive against its ever having been granted to Colin 
Fitzgerald at all, for, as already pointed out, that 
adventurer, if he ever existed, did not, even according 
to his stoutest supporters, cross the Irish Channel, nor was 
he ever heard of on this side of it, for more than thirty 
years after the date written on the face of the document 
itself could possibly have been genuine, the witnesses 
whose names appear as attesting it having been in there 


graves for more than a generation before the battle of 
Largs was fought. 

When the ablest upholders of the Colin Fitzgerald 
theory are obliged to make such admissions and ex- 
planations as these, they explain away their whole case, 
and they must be held to have practically given it up; 
for once admit, as Sir William Fraser does, that the 
charter is of the reign of Alexander II. (1230), it cannot 
possibly have any reference to Colin Fitzgerald, who, 
according to those who support the Irish origin of the 
clan, only arrived in Scotland from Ireland in 1262; 
and it is equally absurd and impossible to maintain that 
a charter granted in 1230 could have been a reward for 
services rendered or valour displayed at the battle of 
Largs, which was fought in 1263, to say ftothing of the 
now admittedly impossible date and signatures written 
on the face of the document itself; and Sir William 
Fraser having, by the logic of facts, been forced 
to give up that crucial point, should in consistency 
have at the same time given up Colin Fitzgerald. 
And in reality he practically did so, for having 
stated that the later reputed charters of 1360 and 
1380 are not now known to exist, he adds, ** But the 
terms of them as quoted in the early histories of the 
family are consistent with either theory of the origin of 
the Mackenzies, whether descended from Colin Fitzgerald 
or Colin of the Aird." In this he is quite correct; but 
it is impossible to say the same thing of the earlier 
charter, which all the authorities worth listening to now 
admit to be a palpable forgery of the seventeenth 
century ; and Sir William virtually admits as much. 

There is one other fact which alone would be almost 
conclusive against the Fitzgerald theory. Not a single 
man of the name Colin is found, either among the 
chiefs or members of the clan from their first appear- 
ance in history until we come to Colin Cam Mackenzie, 
XI. of Kintail, who succeeded in June, 1568 — a period 
of three hundred years after the alleged date of the 


reputed charter to Colin Fitzgerald. Colin Cim was a 
second son, his eldest brother, Murdoch, having died 
during his fathers life and before he attained majority, 
when Colin became heir to the estates. It was then, 
as now, a common custom to name the second son 
after some prominent member of his mother's family, 
and this was, no doubt, what was done in the case 
of Colin Cim, the first Colin who appears — as late as 
the middle of the sixteenth century — in the genealogy 
of the Mackenzies. His mother was Lady Elizabeth , 
Stewart, daughter of John, Earl of Atholl, by Lady 
Mary Campbell, daughter of Archibald, second, and sister 
of Colin, third Earl of Argyll. Colin Ckm Mackenzie 
XI. of Kintail, and the first of the name in the family 
genealogy, was thus called Colin by his mother. Lady 
Elizabeth Stewart, after her uncle Colin, third Earl of 

It scarcely needs to be pointed out how very 
improbable it is that, had Colin Fitzgerald been really 
the progenitor of the Mackenzies, his name would have 
been so completely ignored as a family name for more 
than three hundred years in face of the invariable 
custom among all other notable Highland houses of 
honouring their direct ancestors by continuing their , 
names as the leading names in the family genealogy. 

It is believed that no one who brings an inde- 
pendent, unprejudiced mind to bear upon the question 
discussed in the preceding pages can help coming to 
the conclusion that the Colin Fitzgerald theory is com- 
pletely disposed of. It is indeed extremely doubtful 
whether such a person ever existed, but in any case 
it has been conclusively proved by the evidence of those 
who claim him as their ancestor that he never could 
have been what they allege — the progenitor of the 
Mackenzies, whom all the best authorities now maintain 
to be of purely native Celtic origin. And if this be so, 
is it not unpatriotic in the highest degree for the heads 
of our principal Mackenzie families to persist in supplying 

ORIGIN. 1 1 

Burke, Foster, and other authors of Peerages, Baronet- 
ages, and County Families, with the details of an alien 
Irish origin like the impossible Fitzgerald myth upon 
which they have, in entire error, been feeding their vanity 
since its invention by the first Earl of Cromartie little 
more than two hundred years ago. For be it remem- 
bered that all these Norman and Florentine pedigrees 
and descents are supplied to the compilers of such 
genealogical works as those by members of the respective 
families themselves, and that the editors are not per- 
sonally responsible for nor do they in any way guarantee 
their accuracy. It is really difficult to understand the 
feeling that has so long prompted most of our leading 
Highlanders to show such an unnatural and unpatriotic 
preference for alien progenitors — claiming the Norman 
enemies and conquerers of their country, or mythical 
Irish adventurers, as ancestors to be proud of. Writing 
of the clans who claim this alien origin the late Dr 
W. F. Skene, Historiographer Royal for Scotland, says — 

*'As the identity of the false aspect which the true tradition 
assumes in all these cases implies that the case was the same in 
all, we may assume that wherever these two circumstances are 
to be found combined, of a clan claiming a foreign origin and 
asserting a marriage with the heiress of a Highland family whose 
estates they possessed and whose followers they led, they must 
invariably have been the oldest cadet of that family, who, by 
usurpation or otherwise, had become de facto chief of the clan, 
and who covered their defect by right of blood by denying their 
descent from the clan, and asserting' that the founder had married 
the heiress of its chie£" • 

In his later and more important work the same 
learned historian discusses this question at great length. 
He analyses all the doubtful pedigrees and origins 
claimed by the leading clans. Regarding the Fitzgerald 
theory he says, " But the most remarkable of these 
spurious origins is that claimed by the Mackenzies. It 
appears to have been first put forward by Sir George 
Mackenzie, first Earl of Cromarty," who, in his first 

* IlighUnuh and IJighianders, 


manuscript, made Colin a son of the Earl of Kildare, 
but in a later edition, written in 1669, "finding that 
there was no Earl of Kildare until 1290, he corrects it 
by making him son of John Fitz-Thomas, chief of the 
Geraldines in Ireland, and father of John, first Earl of 
Kildare, who was slain in 1261." Dr Skene then 
summarises the story already known at length to the 
reader, quotes the Record of Icolmkill and the forged 
charter, and concludes — 

"The same mistake is here committed as is usual in manu- 
facturing these pedigree charters, by making it a crown charter 
erectmg the lands into a barony. Kintail could not have been a 
barony at that time, and the Earl of Ross and not the king was 
superior, for in 1342 the Earl of Ross grants the ten davochs of 
the lands of Kintail to Reginald, son of Roderick of the Isles, and 
we find that the Mackenzies held their lands of the Earls of Ross, 
and afterwards of the Duke of Ross till 1508, when thev were 
all erected into a barony by King James the Fourth, who gave 
them a crown charter. An examination of the witnesses usually 
detects these spurious charters, and in this case it is conclusive 
against the charter. Andrew was bishop of Moray from 1223 to 
'1 242 and there was no bishop of that name in the reign of 
Alexander the Third. Henry de Baliol was chamberlain in the 
reign of Alexander the Second, and not of Alexander the Third. 
Thomas Hostarius belongs to the same reign, and has been 
succeeded by his son Alan long before the date of this charter." 

Dr Skene adds that if the Earl of Cromarlie was 
not himself the actual inventor of the whole story, it 
must have taken its rise not very long before his day, for, 
he says, "no trace of it is to be found in the Irish MSS., 
the history of the Geraldine family knows nothing of it, 
and MacVureach, who must have been acquainted with 
the popular history of the western clans, was equally 
unacquainted with it." * 

This fully corroborates all that was said in the preced- 
ing pages regarding the Fitzgerald-Irish origin of the 
Mackenzies and which every intelligent clansman, how- 
ever biassed, must now admit in his inner consciousness 
to be fully and finally disposed of. 

* Celtic Scotland^ Vol. III., pp. 351 -354. 


Having, however, quoted Skene's earlier views on the 
general claim by the Highland chiefs for alien pro- 
genitors it may be well to give . here his more mature 
conclusions from his later and greater work, especially 
as some people, who have not taken the trouble to 
read what he writes, have been saying that the great 
Celtic historian had seen cause to change his views on 
these important points in Highland genealogy since he 
wrote his Highlands and Highlanders in 1839. After 
examining them all very closely and exhaustively in a 
long and learned chapter of some forty pages, he says — 

''The conclusion, then, to which this analysis of the clan 
pedij^rees which have been popularly accepted at different times 
has brought us, is that, so far as they profess to show the origin 
of the different clans, they are entirely artificial and untrust- 
worthy, but that the older genealogies may be accepted as showing 
the descent of the clan from its eponymus or founder, and within 
reasonable limits for some generations beyond him, while the later 
spurious pedigrees must be rejected altogether. It may seem 
surprising that such spurious and fabulous origins should be so 
readily credited by the clan families as genuine traditions, and 
receive such prompt acceptance as the true fount from which they 
sprung ; but we must recollect that the fabulous history of Hector 
Boece was as rapidly and universally adopted as the genuine 
annals of the natiomil history, and became rooted in those parts 
of the country to which its fictitious events related as local 
traditions.'' • 

The final decision to which Dr Skene comes in his 
great work is that the clans, properly so called, were of 
native origin, and that the surnames adopted by them were 
partly of native and partly of foreign descent. Among 
these native Highland clans he unhesitatingly classes the 
Mackenzies, the clan Gillie-Andres or Rosses, and the 
Mathesons, all of whom belong, he says, to the tribe of 
Ross. In his first work on the Highlands and Highland 
Clans he draws the general deduction, based on all our 
existing MS. genealogies, that the clans were divided 
into several great tribes, descended from a common 
ancestor, but he at the same time makes a marked 

♦ Ctltic Scotland ^ Vol. III., p. 364. 


distinction between the different tribes which, by indica- 
tions traceable in each, can be identified with the 
earldoms or maormorships into which the North of 
Scotland was originally divided. By the aid of the old 
genealogies he divides the clans into five different tribes 
in the following order : — (i) The descendants of Conn 
of the Hundred Battles; (2) of Ferchar Fata Mac 
Feradaig; (3) of Cormaig Mac Obertaig; (4) of Fergus 
Leith Dearg; and (5) of Krycul. In the third of these 
divisions he includes the old Earls of Ross, the Mac- 
Jcenzies, the Mathesons, and several other clans, and to 
this classification he adheres, after the most mature 
consideration, in his later and greater work, the History 
of Celtic Scotland. 


It is now most interesting to know who the ancient 
Earls of Ross, from whom the Mackenzies are really 
descended, were. The first of these earls .of whom we 
have any record is Malcolm Mac Heth to whom 
Malcolm IV. gave Ross in 11 57, with the title of Earl 
of Ross, but the inhabitants rose against him and drove 
him out of the district. Wyntoun mentions an Earl 
" Gillandrys," a name which we believe is derived from 
the common ancestor of the Mackenzies and Rosses, 
•* Gilleoin-Ard-Rois," as one of the six Celtic earls 
who besieged King Malcolm at Perth in 1160. Skene 
is also of opinion that this Gillandres represented the 
old Celtic earls of Ross, as the clan bearing the name 
of Ross are called in Gaelic Clann Ghilleanrias, or 
descendants of Gillandres, and may, he thinks, have led 
the revolt which drove Malcolm Mac Heth out of the 
earldom. The same King, two years after the incident at 
Perth, gave the earldom of Ross to Florence, Count of 
Holland, on that nobleman's marriage with His Majesty's 
sister Ada, in I162, but the new earl never secured 
practical possession.* He is, however, found claiming 

♦ CMc Scotland, Vol. III., pp. ()(i•(i^, 


it as late as 1179, in the reign of William the Lion. 

The district of Ross is often mentioned in the Norse 
Sagas along with the other parts of the country then 
governed by Maormors or Jarls, and Skene in his earlier 
work says that it was only on the downfall of those 
of Moray that the chiefs of Ross appear prominent in 
historical records, the Maormors of Moray being in such 
close proximity to them and so great in power and 
influence that the less powerful Maormor of Ross held 
only a comparatively subordinate position, and his name 
was in consequence seldom or never associated with any 
of the great events of that early period in Highland 
history. It was only after the disappearance of those 
district potentates that the chiefs appear under the 
appellation of Comites or Earls. That most, if not all, of 
these earls were the descendants of the ancient maormors 
there can be little doubt, and the natural presumption 
in this instance is strengthened by the fact that all the 
old authorities concur in asserting that the Gaelic name 
of the original Earls of Ross was O'Beolan — a corruption 
of Gilleoin, or Gillean, na h'Airde — or the descendants 
of Beolan. **And we actually find," says the same 
authority, "from the oldest Norse Saga connected with 
Scotland that a powerful chief in the North of Scotland 
named O'Beolan, married the daughter of Ganga Rolfe, 
or Rollo, the celebrated pirate who became afterwards 
the celebrated Earl of Normandy." If this view is well- 
founded the ancestor of the Earls of Ross was chief 
in Kintail as early as the beginning of the tenth 

We have seen that the first Earl of Ross recorded 
in history was Malcolm Mac Heth, to whom a precept 
is found, directed by Malcolm IV., requesting him to 
protect the monks of Dunfermline and defend them in 
their lawful privileges and possessions. The document 
is not dated, but judging from the names of the 
witnesses attesting it, the precept must have been issued 
before 1162. It will be remembered that Mac Heth was 


one of the six Celtic earls who besieged the King at Perth 
two years before, in 1160. William the Lion, who seems 
to have kept the earldom in his own hands for several 
years, in 1179 marched into the district at the head of 
his earls and barons, accompanied by a large army, and 
subdued an insurrection fomented by the local chiefs 
against his authority. On this occasion he built two 
castles within its bounds, one called Dunscath on the nor- 
thern Sutor at the entrance to the Cromarty Firth, and 
Redcastle in the Black Isle. In the same year we find 
Florence, Count of Holland, complaining that he had 
been deprived of its nominal ownership by King 
William. There is no trace of any other earl in actual 
possession until we come to Ferquard or ** Ferchair 
Mac an t' Sagairt," Farquhar the son of the Priest, who 
rose rapidly to power on the ruins of the once powerful 
Mac Heth earls of Moray, of which line Kenneth Mac 
Heth, who, with Donald Bin, led a force into Moray 
against Alexander II., son of William the Lion, in 
1215, was the last. Of this raid the following account 
is given in Celtic Scotland, Vol. I. p. 483 : — 

''The younf( king had barely reigned a year when he had 
to encounter the old enemies of the Crown, the families of 
Mac William and Mac £th, who now combined their forces 
under Donald Ban^ the son of that Mac William who had been 
slain at Mamgarvie in 1187, and Kenneth Mac £th, a son or 
grandson of Malcolm Mac £th, with the son of one of the Irish 
provincial kings, and burst into the Province of Moray at the 
head of a large band of malcontents. A very important 
auxiliary, however, now joined the party of the king. This was 
Ferquhard or Fearchar Macintagart, the son of the *Sagart' 
or priest who was the lay possessor of the extensive possessions 
of the old monastery founded by the Irish Saint Maelrubha at 
Applecross in the seventh century. Its possessions lay between 
the district of Ross and the Western Sea and extended from 
Lochcarron to Loch Ewe and Loch Maree, and Ferquhard was 
thus in reality a powerful Highland chief commanding the 
population of an extensive western region. The insurgents were 
assailed by him with great vigour, entirely crushed, and their 
leaders taken, who be at once beheaded and presented their 


heads to the new king as a welcome gift on the 15th of June, 
when he was knighted by the king as a reward for his prompt 

The district then known as North Argyle consisted 
chiefly of the possessions of this ancient monastery of 
Appercrossan or Applecross. Its inhabitants had hitherto 
— along with those of South Argyle, which extended 
from Lochcarron to the Firth of Clyde — maintained a 
kind of semi-independence, but in 1222 they were, by 
their lay possessor, Ferchair Mac an t'Sagairt, who was 
apparently the grandson or great-grandson of Gillandres, 
one of the six earls who besieged Malcolm IV. 
at Perth in 1160, brought into closer connection with 
the crown. The lay Abbots of which Ferquhard was 
the head were the hereditary possessors of all the 
extensive territories which had for centuries been ruled 
and owned by this old and powerful Celtic monastery. 
As a reward for his services against the men of Moray 
in 1215 and for the great services which, in 1222, he 
again rendered to the King in the subjugation of the 
whole district then known as Argyle, extending from 
the Clyde to Lochbroom, he received additional honours. 
In that campaign known as "the Conquest of Argyle," 
Ferquhard led most of the western tribes, and for his 
prowess, the Celtic earldom, which was then finally 
annexed to the Crown and made a feudal appanage, 
was conferred on him with the title of Earl of Ross, 
and he is so designated in a charter dated 1234. He 
is again on record, under the same title, in 1235 and 
1236. Regarding an engagement which took place be- 
tween Alexander II. and the Gallowegians, in 1235, the 
Chronicle of Melrose says, that "at the beginning of 
the battle the Earl of Ross, called Macintagart, came up 
and attacked the enemies (of the King) in the rear, 
and as soon as they perceived this they took to flight 
and retreated into the woods and mountains, but they 
were followed up by the Earl and several others, who 
put many of them to the sword, and harassed them as 


long as daylight lasted." In Celtic Scotland, Vol. II., p. 
412, it is stated that the hereditary lay priests of which 
he was the chief, "according to tradition, bore the name 
of O'Beollan ; " and MacVuirich, in the Black Book of 
Clanranald, says that from Ferquhard was descended 
Gillapatrick the Red, son of Roderick, and known 
traditionally as the Red Priest, whose daughter, at 
a later date, married and carried the monastery lands 
of Lochalsh and Lochcarron to the Macdonalds of the 

In one of the Norse Sagas the progenitor of 
Ferquhard is designated ** King," just the same as the 
great Somerled and some of his descendants had been 
called at a later date. Referring to Helgi, son of Ottar, 
the Landnamabok Saga records that "he made war upon 
Scotland and carried off prisoner Nidbjorga, the 
daughter of King Bjolan, and of Kadliner, daughter 01 
Ganga Rolf," or Rollo, who, as already stated, after- 
wards became the celebrated Earl of Normandy. 

Writing of Alexander, third Earl of Ross and Lord 
of the Isles, Hugh Macdonald, the Sleat historian, says 

'^ He was a man bom to much trouble all his life time. First 
he took to him the concubine daughter of Patrick Obeolan, 
sumamed the Red, who was a very beautiful woman. This 
surname Obeolan was the surname of the Earls of Ross, till 
Farquhar, bom in Ross, was created earl by King Alexander, 
and so carried the name of Ross since, as best answering the 
English tongue. This Obeolan had its descent of the ancient 
tribe of Manapii ; of this tribe is also St. Rice or RufTus. 
Patrick was an Abbot and had Carlebay in the Lewis, and the 
Church lands in that country, with 18 iftark lands in Lochbroom. 
He had two sons and a daughter. The sons were called 
Normand and Austin More, so called from his excessive strength 
and corpulency. This Normand had daughters that were great 
beauties, one of whom was married to Mackay of Strathnavera ; 
one to Dugall MacRanald, Laird of Mudort ; one to MacLeod 
of Assint ; one to MacDuffie ; and another, the first, to Maclean 
of Bororay. Patrick's daughter bore a son to Alexander, Lord 
of the Isles and Earl of Ross, who was called Austin (Uisdean 


or Hugh) or as others say, Augustine. She was twice 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 
wonder that such a fair damsel had enticed Macdonald."* 

It is not intended here to discuss whether Hugh of 
Sleat and his elder brother Celestine of Lochalsh were 
illegitimate or not They were so called by their 
father, Earl Alexander, and by their brother, Earl John. 
The first describes Celestine as "filius naturalis** in 
a charter preserved in the Mackintosh charter chest, 
dated 1447, and Earl John calls his brother Austin or 
Hugh **frater carnalis*' in two charters, dated respectively 
1463 and 1470. This goes far to corroborate the 
Sleat historian, who was not the least likely to intro- 
duce illegitimacy into his own favourite family unless the 
charge was really true. It is instructive to find that 
Celestine succeeded to all the lands of the monastery 
of Applecross in Lochalsh, Lochcarron, and Lochbroom. 
These lay abbots are also said to have held, under the 
old Earls of Ross, the Sleat district of the Isle of Skye, 
which Hugh, first of that family, is alleged to have 
inherited through his mother, daughter of the Red 
Priest and a descendant of Farquhar Mac an t'Sagairt, 
Earl of Ross. It will be observed also that Austin, 
Uisdean, or Hugh, a common name among the 
Applecross and old Earl of Ross dynasty, comes into 
the Macdonald family for the first time at this period, 
after Earl Alexander of the Macdonald line had formed 
a union with the daughter of the last lay Abbot of 
Applecross. Skene distinctly affirms that Hugh Mac- 
donald of Sleat was the son of Earl Alexander by a 
daughter of this Gille-Padruig (Celtic Scotlandy Vol. III. 
p. 298) while Gregory suggests that the words naturalis 
and carnalis used by Hugh's father and brother in the 
charters already quoted "were used to designate the 
issue of those handfast or left-handed marriages which 
appear to have been so common in the Highlands and 

♦ Collectanea de Rebus Albanicis^ pp. 304-305, 


Isles."* Whether the Sleat district of Skye was or was 
not carried for the first time to the Macdonald Earls of 
Ross and Lords of the Isles by this union wnth a 
member of the family of the original O'Beolan Earls, 
it is perfectly clear that the latter had an intimate 
connection with the Sleat district at a much earlier 

Saint Maelrubha, who is first heard of in Britain in 
671, two years later, in 673, founded the original Church 
of Applecross "from which as a centre he evangelised 
the whole of the western districts lying between Loch 
Carron and Loch Broom, as well as the south and west 
parts of the Island of Skye, and planted churches m 
Easter Ross and elsewhere." f It is at least interesting to 
find these lands going to and afterwards remaining in pos- 
session of the two sons of Earl Alexander who are said to 
have been illegitimate, when all their other enormous 
possessions were in 1493 finally forfeited to the Crown. 
Hugh, who possessed Sleat during the life of his father 
and brother, receives a Crown charter of these lands under 
the Great Seal two years after, in 1495, although his 
brother John, fourth and last Lord of the Isles, was stil 
alive, his death not having occurred until 1498, three 
years later. 

Sir Robert Gordon (Earldom of Sutherland, p. 36) 
.shows that the Rosses were originally designated O'Beolan 
and Gillanders indiscriminately, according to the writer's 
or speaker's fancy. He says that — 

" From the second son of the Eirl of Ross the lairds of Balna- 
gowan are descended, and had by inheritance the lands of 
Rariechies and Coulleigh, where you may observe that the laird 
of B.ilnagowan*s surname should not be Ross, seeing that there 
was never any Earl of Ross of that surname ; but the Earls of 
Ross were first of the surname of Heolan, then they were Leslies, 
Jind last of all that earldom fell by inheritance to the Lords of 
the Isles, who resigned the same unto king James the Third's 
hands, in the year of God 1477. So I do think that the lairds of 
Balnagowan, perceiving the Earls of Ross decayed, and that 

♦ Western Highlands and Isles, p. 41 ^Celtic Scotland, Vol. H. p. 166, 

ORIGIN. 3 1 

earldom, fallen into the Lords of the Isles' hands, they called 
themselves Ross thereby to testify their descent from the Earls 
of Ross. Besides, all the Rosses in that province are unto this 
day called in the Irish (Gaelic) language Clan Leandries, which 
race by their own tradition is sprung from another stock." 

In the same work, p. 46, we find that the Earls of 
Ross were called 0*Beolans as late as 1333, for Sir 
Robert informs us, writing of the battle of Halidon Hill, 
that " in this field was Hugh Beolan, Earl of Ross, 

It is established to the satisfaction of all reasonable 
men that the Applecross and O'Beolan Earls of Ross 
were one and the same, and that they were descended 
from Gilleoin na h' Airde, corrupted in the Norse Sagas 
into "Beolan," the general designation by which they 
were known, until Earl William, the last of his line, died 
without surviving male issue on the 9th of February, 
1372, when the title devolved upon his daughter, 
Euphemia, Countess of Ross in her own right, whose 
daughter, Mary, or Margaret, by Sir Walter Leslie, 
carried the earldom to Donald of Harlaw, second I^rd 
of the Isles. That the O'Beolan Earls of Ross, of whom 
Ferquhard Mac an t'Sagairt was the first, descended 
from the same ancestor, Gilleoin na h' Airde, as the 
older "Gillandres" earl of 1160, is equally certain. Earl 
Gillandres was probably forfeited for the part he 'took 
against Malcolm IV. on that occasion, and Ferquhard 
having rendered such important services to Alexander 
II. was restored probably quite as much in virtue of 
his ancient rights as the grandson of Ferquhard 
as on account of his valiant conduct in support of the 
crown in Moray, in Argyle, and in Galloway, in 121 5, 
1222, and 1235. 

The surname Ross has in early times been invariably 
rendered in Gaelic as Gilleanrias, or Gillanders, and the 
Rosses appear under this appellation in all the early 
Acts of Parliament. There is also an unvarying tradition 
that on the death of the last Earl of the O'Beolan line 


a certain Paul Mac Tire was for some years head of 
the Rosses, and this tradition is corroborated by the 
fact that there is a charter on record by Earl William 
of the lands of Gairloch in 1366 in favour of Paul Mac 
Tire and his heirs by Mary Graham, in which the 
Earl styles Mac Tire his cousin. This g^rant was 
confirmed by King Robert II. in 1372. In the 
manuscript of 1467 the genealogy of Clann Gille-Anrias, 
or the descendants of Gillean-Ard-Rois, begins with a 
Paul Mac Tire. The clan whose genealogy is there 
given is undoubtedly that of the Rosses, and in the 
manuscript they are traced upwards from Paul Mac 
Tire in a direct line to Gilleon na h'Airde, the 
** Beolan " of the Norse Sagas, who lived in the tenth 
century, and who will be shown to be also the remote 
progenitor of the Mackenzies. The Aird referred to is 
said to be the Aird of Ross. 

In the manuscript of 1467 the name Gille-Anrias 
appears in the genealogies of both the Mackenzies and 
the Rosses exactly contemporaneous with the generation 
which preceded the original grant to ** Ferchair Mac an 
t'Sagairt" of the Earldom of Ross. The name Gille- 
Anrias has been rendered as the Gaelic equivalent for 
Servant of Andrew, or St. Andrew, and that, according 
to Skene, would seem to indicate that the first of that 
name, if not a priest himself, must have belonged to 
the priestly house of Appercrossan or Applecross, of 
which Earl Farquhar ultimately became the head. The 
dates exactly correspond ; and when, in addition to this, 
it is remembered that of the earls who besieged Malcolm 
IV. at Perth in 1160 one was named "Gillandres" 
it seems fully established that Ferchard Mac an 
t'Sagairt was descended from the original earls and 
that he was entitled to the earldom by ancient right on 
the failure or forfeiture of the direct representative of 
the old line, as well as by a new creation. Although 
there may have been one or two usurpers — a common 
event in those turbulent times — Ferquhard was un- 


doubtedly a near relative and the legitimate successor 
of the Celtic "Gillandres" earl of 1160. He is described 
in the Chronicle of Melrose as "Comes Rossensis 
Machentagard/' and in Dalrymples Annals of Scotland 
as *'Mc Kentagar," a designation which the author 
describes in a footnote as "an unintelligible word," 
though its meaning is perfectly plain to every Gaelic- 
speaking Celt. 

Ferquhard founded the Abbey of Fearn, in Easter 
RosSy about 1230, and died there in 125 1. 

Referring to his position during the first half of 
the thirteenth century even the Earl of Cromartie is 
forced to admit in his MS., a copy of which we possess, 
that "iV cannot be disputed that the Earl of Ross was 
the lard paramount under Alexander IL^ by wlwm 
Farquhard Mae an (Sagairt was recognised in the 
hereditary dignity of his predecessors^ and who^ by another 
tradition^ was a real progenitor of the noble family of 
KintaiV* And this was said and written by an author, 
who, in another part of the same manuscript, stoutly 
maintains that the king granted these identical lands to 
Colin Fitzgerald by a charter which, if it was ever 
signed at all, must have been signed a full generation 
before the date which the forged document bears — thirty 
years after the witnesses whose names attest it had gone 
to their last home. 


It must now be most interesting to every member 
of the Clan Mackenzie to know who these O'Beolan Earls 
of Ross were and all that can be ascertained regarding 
themselves and their family alliances. Leaving out Earl 
Gilianders, of whom so little is known, let us begin with 

I. Ferquhard, or Farquhar O'Beolan, '* Mac an 
t'Sagairt," who, as already stated, founded the Abbey 
of Fcarn, and died there in 125 1. By his wife, whose 
name has not come down to us, he had issue, at least, 

1. William, his heir and successor. 

2. Malcolm, of whose life nothing is known. 



3. Euphemia, who married Walter de Moravia, Ix>rd 
of Duffus from 1224 to 1262. 

4. Christina, who married Olave the Red, King 
of Man, with issue. 

Farquhar was succeeded by his eldest son, 

II. William O'Beolan, Earl of Ross. He ob- 
tained Skye and Lewis from Alexander III. and died 
at Earles Allane in 1274. He married Joan, daughter 
of the first Red Comyn, who died in 1273, and sister 
of John, the Black Comyn, Lord of Badenoch and 
Earl of Buchan, who married Marjory, sister of King 
John Baliol, with issue — the Red Comyn, who was 
killed by Robert the Bruce in the Church of Dumfries 
in 1306. Another sister of the Countess of Ross was 
married to John Macdougall, Lord of Lorn, on record 
in 1251, usually styled ** King Eoin or Ewin." By his 
wife Earl William had issue — 

1. William, his heir and successor. 

2. Dorothea, who married her cousin, Torquil Macleod 
II. of Lewis, with issue. 

He was succeeded by his only son, 

III. William O'Beolan, Earl of Ross, who 

fought alternately with Edward I. and Robert the Bruce, 
and was imprisoned in London 1296-97. In 1306 he 
delivered up to the English King, Robert Bruce's 
Queen, Isabella, his daughter Marjory, his sister Mary, 
the brave Countess of Buchan, and other ladies of 
distinction, who had for a time found shelter and pro- 
tection in the Sanctuary of St. Duthus, at Tain, from 
the English oppressors of their country. In 1309 he 
obtained a new grant of his lands. By his wife, one 
of the Grahams of Montrose, he had issue — 

1. Hugh, his heir and successor. 

2. Sir John, who married his second cousin, Margaret, 
daughter of Alexander, Earl of Buchan. 

3. Isabella, who married Edward Bruce, Earl of 
Carrick, brother of King Robert the Bruce. 

4. A daughter who, as her second husband, married 


Malise, Earl of Stratherne, with issue — four daughters, 
the eldest of whom married Wilham St. Clair, Baron of 
Roslin, whose son Henry afterwards succeeded in right 
of his mother to the earldom of Stratherne. 

He died at Delny, in Easter Ross, in 1323, and was 
succeeded by his eldest son, 

IV. Hugh O'Beolan, Earl of Ross. He received 
charters of Strathglass and of the Isle of Skye. He 
married first, in 1308, Maud or Matilda, sister of King 
Robert the Bruce, with issue — 

1. William, his heir and successor. 

2. Hugh Ross of Rarichies, from whom the Old 
Rosses of Balnagown, of whom the last representative 
in the male line was the late George Ross of Pitcalnie. 
This Hugh obtained the lands of Philorth in Aberdeen- 
shire, and between 1362 and 1372 he exchanged them 
with his brother. Earl Hugh, for the lands of North 
Argyle, including the Castle of Ellandonnan. The 
territories exchanged included Strathglass, Kintail, and 
other lands in Wester Ross. 

3. Janet, who married, first, Monimusk of Monimusk, 
and, secondly. Sir Alexander Murray of Abercairny. 

4. Euphemia or Eupham, who married, first, Ran- 
dolph, Earl of Moray, who was killed at the battle 
of Durham, and secondly, her cousin. King Robert II., 
grandson of Robert the Bruce and first of the Stuart 
dynasty. This marriage being within the prohibited degrees 
of consanguinity a special dispensation was obtained from 
Pope Innocent VI. for its celebration in 1355. She died 
in 1372. 

Earl Hugh married, secondly, also by dispensation 
from the Pope, in 1329, Margaret, daughter of Sir David 
de Graham. 

The Earl was killed at the battle of Halidon Hill 
^^ I333t when he was succeeded by his eldest son, 

V. William O'Beolan, Earl of Ross and Lord 
OF Skye, banished to Norway for some serious offence, 
but in 1336 he is found in c^ctual possession of the earldom. 


He was afterwards Justiciar of Scotland, and in a charter 
of 1374 he is designated "frater Regis," or the King's 
brother, no doubt from the fact that his sister Euphemia 
was the wife of Robert II. He rebuilt the Abbey of 
Fearn, and married his cousin Iso^el, daughter of Malise, 
Earl of Stratherne, Orkney, and Caithness, with issue — 

1. William, who died before his father. 

2. Euphemia, who became Countess of Ross in her 
own right on the death of her father. 

3. Johanna, who, in 1375, married Sir Alexander 
Eraser, Lord of Cowie and Durris, ancestor of the 
Erasers of Philorth and Pitsligo, now represented by 
Lord Saltoun. Johanna first carried the lands of Philorth 
to that family. She has a charter in 1370. 

William died on the 9th of February, 1372, without 
surviving male issue, when he was succeeded by his 
eldest daughter, 

VI. Euphemia O'Beolan, Countess of Ross in 

her own right. She married first, by dispensation, dated 
1367, Sir Walter Leslie, son of Sir Andrew Leslie, who 
in right of his wife became Earl of Ross. They have 
a charter of the earldom of Ross and of the lands of 
Skye dated 1370, two years before Earl William's death, 
in their own favour and that of their heirs male and 
female in reversion. Her first husband predeceased her 
in 1382, whereupon she married, secondly, Alexander, 
Earl of Buchan, better known in history as "The Wolf 
of Badenoch." He died, without issue, in 1394, She 
died Abbess of Elcho in 1398, and was buried in 
Fortrose Cathredral. By Sir Walter Leslie she had issue — 

1. Sir Alexander Leslie, who became Earl of Ross in 
right of his mother. 

2. Margaret Leslie, who married Donald, second Lord 
of the Isles, who in her right, after fighting the battle of 
Harlaw, succeeded to the earldom of Ross, and carried 
it to a new family, the Macdonald Lords of the Isles. 

When the Countess Euphemia died, in 1398, she 
was succeeded by her only son, 


VII. Sir Alexander Leslie, Earl of Ross, who 

married Isabella, daughter of Robert Stewart, Duke ot 
Albany, Governor of Scotland, and by her had issue, 
an only daughter, Lady Euphemia, or Mary, who became 
a nun, and resigned the earldom in favour of her maternal 
uncle, John, Earl of Buchan. Donald, Lord of the Isles, 
who married her father's sister, Margaret, disputed 
Euphemia's right to put the earldom past her aunt, and 
the battle of Harlaw was fought in 141 1 to decide the 
issue, which, as already stated, turned, so far as the 
possession of the great earldom was concerned, in favour 
of the Lord of the Isles, since known as Donald of 
Harlaw. From this point the history of the earldom 
falls properly to be dealt with and is given at length in 
The History of the Maedonalds and Lords of the Isles, 
But thus far it cannot fail to be extremely interesting to 
all the members of the clan Mackenzie, whether they 
believe in the Gillanders and O'Beolans or in the Fitz- 
geralds as the progenitors of the race; for in any case 
the clan was in its earlier annals closely allied with the 
O'Beolan Earls of Ross by descent and marriage. 

It has been established that Gillanders and O'Beolan 
were the names of the ancient and original Earls of Ross, 
and they continued to be represented in the male line 
by the Old Rosses of Balnagowan down to the end of 
the eighteenth century, when the last heir male of that 
family, finding that the entail ended with himself, sold 
the estates to General Ross, brother of Lord Ross of 
Hawkhead, who, although possessing the same name, 
was of a diflferent family and origin. It will, it is 
believed, be now admitted with equal certainty that the 
Rosses and the Mackenzies are descended from the 
same progenitor, Beolan or Gilleoin na h'Airde, the 
undoubted common ancestor of the old Earls of Ross, 
the Gillanders, and the Rosses. The various steps in the 
earliest portion of the genealogy connecting the Mac- 
kenzies with the common ancestor will be given with 
the same detail as that of the Rosses, and it will be stated 


with sufficient accuracy to justify the conclusions at 
which, in common with Dr Skene and all the best 
authorities on the subject, we have arrived. The gene- 
alogy of the Clan Andres or Rosses in the manuscript 
of 1467, is as follows : — 

" Pol ic Tire, ic Eogan, ic Muiredaigh, ic Poll, ic Gilleanrias, 
ic Martain, ic Poil, ic Cainig, ic Cranin, ic Eogan, ic Cainic, ic 
Cranin, Mc Gilleoin na h'Airde, ic Eire, ic Loirn, ic Fearchar, 
Mc Cormac, ic Abertaig, ic Ferad.iig.'* 

Dr Skene's translation — 

" Paul son of Tire, son of Ewen, son of Murdoch, son of Paul, 
son of Gillanrias, son of Martin, son of Paul, son of Kenneth, 
son of Crinan, son of Ewen, son of Kenneth, son of Crinan, son 
of Gilleoin of the Aird, son of Ere, son of Lorn, son of Ferchar, 
son of Cormac, son of Oirbeirtaigh, son of Feradach.*' 

The Mackenzie genealogy in the same MS. is — 

** Muiread ic Cainig, Mc Eoin, ic Cainig, ic Aengusa, ic 
Cristin, ic Agam^ Mc Gilleoin Oig, ic Gilleon na h*Aird." 

Skene's translation follows — 

" Murdoch son of Kenneth, son of John, son of Kenneth, son 
of Angus, son of Cristin, son of Adam^ son of Gilleoin Og, son of 
Gilleoin of the Aird." 

Skene makes an important correction on this genealogy 
in his later work, Celtic Scotland^ Vol. III., p. 485, by 
substituting Cainig — Kenneth, for Agam — Adam, in his 
original reading. In this form the genealogy of 1467 
corresponds exactly, so far as it goes, with that given 
by MacVuirich in the Black Book of Clanranald. In 
1222 ** Gilchrist filius Kinedi," Gillecriosd son of Ken- 
neth, is on record as a follower of MacWilliam. Cristean 
is the ordinary Gaelic form of Christopher, otherwise 
Gilchrist, or Gillecriosd. There is thus no dOubt that 
the '• Cristin " of the Gaelic genealogy is the same name 
as Gillecriosd, Gilchrist, and Christopher. In the Mac- 
Vuirich manuscript, however, several names are given 
between Gilleoin Og and Gilleoin na h'Airde which are 
absent from the manuscript of 1467 ; for while we have 
thirteen generations in the Clan Anrias or Ross genealogy 
in the latter between Paul Mac Tire and Gilleoin of the 



Aird, we have only eight in the Mackenzie genealogy 
between Murdoch of the Cave, who was contemporary 
with Mac Tire, and their common ancestor Gilleoin of 
the Aird, or Beolan. In the MacVuirich manuscript there 
are fifteen generations, translated thus — 

" Murdoch son of Kenneth, son of John, son of Kenneth, son 
of Angus "crom," or the hump-backed, son of Kenneth, son of 
Gilleoin Og, son of Gilleoin Mor, or the Great, son of Murdoch, 
son of Duncan, son of Murdoch, son of Duncan, son of Murdoch, 
son of Kenneth, son of Cristin, or Christopher, son of Gilleoin 
of the Aird." 

The genealogies of the three families as brought out 
by these manuscripts, are shown in the following table : — 

Gilleoin of the Aibd. 
Clan Anrias. | Mackenzies. 









Earls of Ross | 


The Priest— 

I. Ferquhard 

II. William 

III. William 


IV. Hugh 


V. William 

who died in 1372 




Paul Mac Tire 
who has a charter 

of the lands of 
Gairloch from the 

Earl of Ross in 

1366, confirmed 
in 1372. 











Gilleoin Mor 


Gilleoin Og 


Angus Crom 




of the Cave 
who died in 


There would seem to be no doubt that "Tire," or 
Tyre, stands here and elsewhere for "An t'Oighre," or 
the Heir, and Paul " Mac Tire " for Pol " Mac-an-Oighre," 


or Son of the Heir. It will be observed that Colin does 
not appear once in these early genealogies, and it has 
been already pointed out that no trace of it is found 
anywhere as a family name until the middle of the 
sixteenth century, when it was introduced by the marriage 
of one of the Mackenzie chiefs to a daughter of the 
Earl of Atholl, whose mother was Lady Mary Campbell, 
and who, calling her secortd son after her own uncle 
Colin, third Earl of Argyll, for the first time brought 
that name into the family genealogy of Kintail. 

It will also be seen as we proceed, although the 
Earls of Ross were superiors of the lands of Kintail as 
part of the earldom, and that it was therefore impossible 
that Colin Fitzgerald or any other person than those 
earls could have had a gift of it from the Crown, that 
the Mackenzies occupied the lands and the castle, not 
as immediate vassals of the King, but of their own near 
relatives, the O'Beolan Earls of Ross and their successors, 
for at least two hundred years before the Mackenzies 
received a grant of it for themselves direct from the 
Crown. This is proved beyond dispute by genuine 
historical documents. Until within a few years of the 
final forfeiture of the Lords of the Isles in 1476, the 
Mackenzies undoubtedly held their lands, first from the 
O'Beolan Earls and subsequently from the Island Lords 
as Earls of Ross ; for the first direct Crown charter to 
any chief of Kintail of which we have authentic record, is 
one dated the 7th of January, 1463, in favour of Alex- 
ander "lonraic," the sixth Baron. 

To show the intimate relations which existed between 
the original Earls of Ross and the ancestor of the Mac- 
kenzies, a quotation may be given from a manuscript 
history of the clan written by Dr George Mackenzie, 
nephew of Kenneth Mor, third Earl of Seaforth, in the 
seventeenth century. Although he is a supporter of the 
Fitzgerald origin, he is forced to say that, "at the same 
time (1267) William, Earl of Ross, laying a claim of 
superiority over the Western Isles, thought this a fit 


Opportunity to seize the Castle of Ellandonnan. He sent 
a messenger to his Kintail men to send their young 
chieftain to him as being his nearest kinsman by marriage 
with his aunty He then goes on to say, that Kenneth, 
not Colin, was joined by the Maclvers, Macaulays, Mac- 
Beolans, and Clan Tarlichs, ''the ancient inhabitants of 
Kintail," and refused to surrender, when "the Earl of Ross 
attacked them and was beaten." Had there been no 
previous kinship between the two families — and no one 
will now attempt with any show of reason to maintain 
that there was not — this marriage of William, the second 
Earl, to Kenneth's aunt would have made the youthful 
Kenneth, ancestor of the Mackenzies, first cousin, on the 
maternal side, to William O'Beolan, the third Earl of 
that line, whose wife and therefore Kintail's aunt, was 
Joan, sister of John, the Black Comyn, Lord of Bade- 
noch. It has further been proved to a demonstration, 
and it is now admitted by all the best authorities, that 
the O'Beolan Earls of Ross were descended from Gilleoin 
na h'Airde; and so are the Mackenzies, who from the 
first formed an integral and most important part of the 
ancient powerful native Gaelic tribes of which the Earls 
of Ross were the chiefs. 

It has been shown that Kenneth, from whom the 
Mackenzies take their name, was closely allied by 
marriage with William, second Earl of Ross, the latter 
having married Kenneth's maternal aunt This fact by 
itself would be sufficient to establish the high position, 
which even at that early period, was occupied by Ken- 
neth, who was already very closely connected with the 
O'Beolan Earls of Ross by blood and marriage. 

Kenneth himself married Morna or Morba, daughter 
of Alexander Macdougall, styled " De Ergedia," Lord of 
Lorn by a daughter of John, the first Red Comyn, Lord 
of Badenoch, who died in 1273. Kenneth's wife was 
thus a sister of John, the Black Comyn, who died about 
1299, having married Marjory, daughter of John Baliol, 
by whom he had John, the second Red Comyn, one of 


the competitors for the Scottish Crown, killed by Robert 
the Bruce in the Church of Dumfries in 1306. Kenneth's 
issue by Morna or Morba of Lorn was John Mackenzie, 
II. of Kintail, who was thus, through his mother, third 
in descent from John, the first Red Comyn, who died 
in 1273, and sixth from the great Somerled of the Isles, 
Thane of Argyle, progenitor of the Macdougalls of Lorn 
and of all the Macdonalds, who died in 1164. 

John made even a more illustrious alliance than his 
father, by which at that early date he introduced the 
Royal blood of Scotland and England into the family of 
Kintail. He married his relative, Margaret, sister of 
David, twelfth Earl of Atholl, slain in 1335, and daughter 
of David, the eleventh Earl, who died in 1327 (whose 
estates were forfeited by Edward I.), by Joan Comyn 
(died 1323), daughter of the Red Comyn killed by 
Robert the Bruce, and great grand-daughter of John 
Baliol. Margaret's father, David, eleventh Earl of Atholl 
who died in 1327, was the oldest son of John de 
Strathbogie, tenth Earl, hanged by Edward I. Earl 
John's mother was the Countess Isabel de Dover, who 
died at a very old age in 1292, daughter of Richard 
Fitzroy de Chillam (died 12 16), a natural son of King 
John of England. 

Kenneth Mackenzie, III of Kintail, the issue of this 
marriage, was sixth in descent from John Baliol of the 
Royal line of Scotland and sixth from King John of 

The Norwegian blood of the Kings of Man was 
brought into the family by the marriage of this 'Kenneth 
to Finguala, daughter of Torquil Macleod, I. of Lewis, 
who was the grandson of Olave the Black, Norwegian 
King of Man, who died about 1237, by his wife 
Christina, daughter of Ferquhard " Mac an t'Sagairt," 
first O'Beolan Earl of Ross. 

The Royal blood of the Bruce was introduced by 
the marriage of Murdoch Mackenzie, V. of Kintail, to 
Finguala, daughter of Malcolm Macleod, III. of Harris 


(who has a charter in 1343), by Martha, daughter of 
David, twelfth Earl of Mar, son of Gratney, eleventh 
Earl (whose sister Isabel married Robert the Bruce) by 
his wife Christina, daughter of Robert Bruce, Earl of 
Carrick, and sister of King Robert the Bruce. 

The Plantaganet blood-royal of England was intro- 
duced later by the marriage of Kenneth Mackenzie, X. 
of Kintail, to Lady Elizabeth Stewart, daughter of John, 
second Earl of Atholl, fourth in descent from John of 
Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, son of Edward IIL, and 
father of Henry IV. of England, and this strain was 
strengthened and continued by the marriage of Kenneth's 
son, Colin Cam Mackenzie, XI. of Kintail, to his cousin 
Barbara, daughter of John Grant of Grant by Lady 
Marjory Stewart, daughter of John, third Earl of Atholl. 
It scarcely needs to be pointed out that, through these 
inter-marriages, the Mackenzies are also descended from 
the ancient Celtic MacAlpine line of Scottish Kings, 
from the original Anglo-Saxon Kings of England, and 
from the oldest Scandinavian, Charlemagne, and Cape- 
tian lines, as far back as the beginning of the ninth 

The origin of the O'Beolan Earls of Ross and the 
Mackenzies from the same source is strikingly illustrated 
by their inter-marriages into the same families and with 
each other's kindred. Both the O'Beolans and the Mac- 
kenzies made alliances with the Comyns of Badenoch, 
with the MacDougalls of Lorn, and subsequently with 
the Macleods of Lewis and Harris, thus forming a 
network of cousinship which ultimately included all the 
leading families in the Highlands, every one of which, 
through these alliances, have the Royal blood of all the 
English, Scottish, and Scandinavian Kings, and many of 
the earlier foreign monarchs, coursing in their veins. 

Surely this is a sufficiently ancient and illustrious 
origin and much more satisfactory to every patriotic 
clansman than an Irish adventurer like the reputed Colin 
Fitzgerald, who, if he ever existed, had not and never 


could have had any connection with the real origin of 
the Mackenzies, which was as purely native of the High- 
lands as it was possible for any Scoto-Celtic family in 
those days to be. The various genealogical steps and 
marriage alliances already referred to will be confirmed 
in each individual case as we proceed with the succes- 
sion and history of the respective chiefs of the family, 
beginning with the first of the line, 


Who gave his name to the clan. His is the fourth 
ascending name in the manuscript genealogy of 1467, 
which begins with Murdoch of the Cave. Murdoch 
died in 1375, and was thus almost contemporaneous 
with the author of the Gaelic genealogy, which, trans- 
lated, proceeds up to this Kenneth as follows: — Murdoch, 
son of Kenneth, son of John, son of Kenneth, and so 
on, as already given at page 39 to Gilleoin of the Aird. 
At this interesting stage it may be well to explain 
how the name Mackenzie came to be pronounced and 
written as it now is. John, the son of this Kenneth, 
would be called in the original native Gaelic, " Ian Mac 
Choinnich," John, son of Kenneth. In that form it was 
unpronounceable to those unacquainted with the native 
tongue. The nearest approach the foreigner could get 
to its correct enunciation would be Mac Coinni or Mac 
Kenny, which ultimately came to be spelt Mac Kenzie, 
Z in those 3ays having exactly the same value and 
sound as the letter Y; and the name, although spelt 
with a Z instead of a Y would be pronounced Mac 
Kenny, as indeed we pronounce in our own day, in 
Scotland, such names as Menzies, Macfadzean, and several 
others, as if they were still written with the letter Y. 
The two letters being thus of the same value, after a 
time came to be used indiscriminately in the word 
Kenny or Kenzie, and the letter Z having subsequently 
acquired a different value and sound of its own, more 


allied to the letter S than to the original Y, the name 
is pronounced as if it were written Macken^e. 

Kenneth was the son and heir of Angus, the direct 
representative of a long line of ancestors up to Gilleoin 
na h'Airde, the common progenitor of the O'Beolan 
Earls of Ross, the Clann Ghille-Andrais, who about the 
end of the fourteenth century called themselves Rosses, 
and of the Mackenzies. The close connection by blood 
and marriage between the O'Beolan Earls of Ross and 
Kenneth's family before and after this period has been 
already shown, but the ancient ties of friendship had at 
this time become somewhat strained. Kenneth suc- 
ceeded to the government of Ellandonnan Castle, which 
was garrisoned by his friends and supporters, the Macraes 
and the Maclennans, who, even at that early date in 
large numbers occupied Kintail. Kenneth, in fact, was 
Governor of the Castle, and was otherwise becoming so 
powerful that his superior, the Earl, was getting very 
jealous of him. 

At this time the first Earl William laid claim to the 
superiority of the Western Isles, which he and his 
father, Ferchair Mac an t'Sagairt, were chiefly instru- 
mental, among the followers of Alexander III., in 
wresting from the Norwegians, and he was naturally 
desirous to have the government of Ellandonnan Castle 
in his own hands, or under the charge of some one less 
ambitious than Kenneth, and on whom he could impli- 
citly rely. Kenneth was advancing rapidly both in 
power and influence among his more immediate neigh- 
bours, who were mainly composed of the ancient 
inhabitants of the district, the Mac Beolains, who 
occupied Glenshiel and the south side of Loch Duich as 
far as Kylerhea ; the Mac Ivors, who inhabited Glen 
Lichd, the Cro of Kintail, and the north side of Loch 
Duich ; while the Mac Tearlichs, now calling themselves 
Mac Erlichs or Charlesons, occupied Glenelchaig. These 
aboriginal natives naturally supported Kenneth, who was 
one of themselves, against the claims of his superior, the 


Earl, who though a pure Highland Celt was less known 
in Kintail than the Governor of the Castle. This only 
made the Earl more determined than ever to obtain 
possession of the stronghold, and he peremptorily re- 
quested the garrison to surrender it and Kenneth to him 
at once. The demand was promptly refused ; and find- 
ing that the Governor was resolved to hold it at all 
hazards the Earl sent a strong detachment to take it 
by storm. 

Kenneth was readily joined by the surrounding tribes, 
among whom were, along with those whose names have 
been already given, the brave Macaulays of Lochbroom, 
who were distantly related to him. By the aid of these 
reinforcements Kenneth was able to withstand a des- 
perate and gallant onset by the Earl and his followers, 
who were defeated and driven back with great slaughter. 
This exasperated the enemy so much that he soon after 
returned to the charge with a largely increased force, 
at the same time threatening the young governor with 
the utmost vengeance and final extirpation unless he 
immediately capitulated. But before the Earl was able 
to carry his threats into execution, he was overtaken by 
a severe illness of which he very soon after died, in 
1274. His son, the second Earl William, did not 
persevere in his father's policy against Kintail, and it was 
not long before his attention was diverted into another 
channel. On the death of Alexander HI., in 1286, the 
affairs of the nation became confused and distracted. 
This was rather an advantage to Kenneth than otherwise, 
for, in the general disorder which followed he was able 
to strengthen his position among the surrounding tribes. 
Through a combination of native prudence, personal 
popularity, and a growing power and influence heightened 
by the eclat of his having so recently defeated the 
powerful Earl of Ross, he succeeded in maintaining good 
order in his own district, while his increasing influence 
was felt over most of the Western Isles. 

Kenneth married Morna or Morba, daughter of Alex- 


ander Macdougall of Lorn, "de Ergedia," by a daughter 
of John the first Red Comyn, and sister of John the 
Black Comyn, Earl of Badenoch. He died in 1304 and 
was buried in Icolmkill, when he was succeeded by his 
only son, 


The first of the race called Mac Kenny or Mac 
Kenzie. Dr George Mackenzie, already quoted, says that 
"the name Coinneach is common to the Pictish and 
Scottish Gael," and that '* Mackenzie, Baron of Kintail, 
attached himself to the fortunes of the heroic Robert the 
Bruce, notwithstanding MacDougall's (his father-in-law) 
tenacious adherence to the cause of Baliol, as is believed, 
in resentment for the murder of his cousin, the Red 
Comyn, at Dumfries"; while the Earl of Cromartie says 
that he " not only sided with Robert Bruce in his 
contest with the Cumins but that he was one of those 
who sheltered him in his lurking and assisted him in his 
restitution ; * for in the Isles,* says Boethius * he had 
supply from a friend ; and yet Donald of the Isles, who 
then commanded them, was on the Cumin's side, and 
raised the Isles to their assistance, and was beat at Deer 
by Edward Bruce, anno 1308.'" All this is indeed 
highly probable. 

After Bruce left the Island of Rachrin he was for a 
considerable time lost sight of, many believing that he 
had perished during his wanderings, from the great 
hardships which he necessarily endured in his ultimately 
successful attempts to escape the vigilant efforts and 
search of his enemies. That Bruce found shelter in 
Ellandonnan Castle and was there protected for a con- 
siderable time by the Baron of Kintail — until he found 
opportunity again to take the field against his enemies — 
has ever since been the unbroken tradition in the 
Highlands, and it has always been handed down from 
one generation to another as a proud incident in the 
history of the clan. The Laird of Applecross, who wrote 


his manuscript history of the Mackenzies in 1669, follows 
the eariier family historians. He says that this Baron of 
Kintail "did own the other party, and was one of those 
who sheltered the Bruce, and assisted in his recovery. I 
shall not say he was the only one, but this stands for 
that assertion that all who were considerable in the Hills 
and Isles were enemies to the Bruce, and so cannot be 
presumed to be his friends. The Earl of Ross did most 
unhandsomely and unhumanly apprehend his lady at Tain 
and delivered her to the English, anno 1305. Donald 
of the Isles, or Rotholl, or rather Ronald, with all the 
Hebrides, armed against the Bruce and were beat by 
Edward Bruce in Buchan, anno 1308. Alexander of 
Argyll partied (sided with) the Baliol ; his country, there- 
fore, was wasted by Bruce, anno 1304, and himself taken 
by him, 1309. Macdougall of Lorn fought against the 
Bruce, and took him prisoner, from whom he notably 
escaped, so that there is none in the district left so 
considerable as this chief (Mackenzie) who had an 
immediate dependence on the Royal family and had this 
strong fort, which was never commanded by the Bruce's 
enemies, either English or Scots; and that his shelter 
and assistance was from a remote place and friend is 
evident from all our stories. But all their neighbours 
being stated on a different side from the Mackenzies 
engendered a feud betwixt him and them, especially with 
the Earl of Ross and Donald of the Isles, which never 
ended but with the end of the Earl of Ross and 
lowering of the Lord of the Isles." That this is true will 
be placed beyond question as we proceed. 

It may, indeed, be assumed, from subsequent events 
in the history of these powerful families and the united 
testimony of all the genealogists of the Mackenzies, that 
the chief of Kintail did befriend Robert the Bruce 
against his enemies and protected him in his castle of 
Ellandonnan, in spite of the commands of his immediate 
superior, the Earl of Ross, and the united power of all 
the other great families of the Western Isles and Argyle. 


And in his independent stand at this important period 
in the history of Scotland will be found the true grounds 
of the local rancour which afterwards prevailed between 
Mackenzie and the Island Lord, and which only termi- 
nated in the collapse of the Earls of Ross and the Lords 
of the Isles, upon the ruins of which, as a reward for 
proved loyalty to the reigning monarch, and as the result 
of the characteristic prudence of the race of MacKenneth, 
the House of Kintail gradually rose in power, subse- 
quently absorbed the ancient inheritance of all the original 
possessors of the district, and ultimately extended their 
influence more widely over the whole provinces of 
Wester and Central Ross. 

The genealogists further say that this chief waited on 
the King during his visit to Inverness in 1 3 12.* This 
may now be accepted as correct, as also that he 
fought at the head of his followers at the battle of 
Inverury, where Bruce defeated Mowbray and the Comyn 
in 1308. After this important engagement, according 
to Fenton, '*all the nobles, barons, towns, cities, garrisons, 
and castles north of the Grampians submitted to Robert 
the Bruce," when, with good reason, the second chief of 
Clan Kenneth was further confirmed in the favour of his 
sovereign, and in the government of EUandonnan. 

The Lord of the Isles had in the meantime, after his 
capture in Argyle, died while confined in Dundonald 
Castle, when his brother and successor, Angus Og, 
declared for Bruce. Argyll and Lorn left, or were 
driven out of the country, and took up their residence 
in England. With Angus Og of the Isles now on the 
side of Bruce, and the territories of Argyll and Lorn at 
his mercy in the absence of their respective chiefs, it 
was an easy matter for the King, during the varied 

•The MS. histories of the Mackenzies give the date of Robert Bruce*s 
visit to Invernesi as 1307, but from a copy of the •'Annual of Norway,*' 
at the negotiation and arrangement of which * ' the eminent Prince, Lord 
Robert, by the like grace, noble King of Scots (attended) personally on 
the other part," it will be seen that the date of the visit was 1312.— See 
IwverHessiana, by Charles Fraser-Mackintosh, F,S.A. Scot., pp. 36-40. 



fortunes of his heroic struggle, defending Scotland from 
the English, to draw largely upon the resources of the 
West Highlands and Isles, now unmolested, particularly 
after the surprise at Perth in the winter of 13 12, and 
the reduction of all the strongholds in Scotland — except 
Stirling, Berwick, and Dunbar — during the ensuing 
summer. The decisive blow, was, however, yet to be 
struck by which the independence and liberties of 
Scotland were to be for ever established and confirmed, 
and the time was drawing nigh when every nerve would 
have to be strained for a final effort to clear it, once 
for all, of the hated followers of the tyrant Edwards, 
roll them back before an impetuous wave of Scottish 
valour, and for ever put an end to England's claim to 
tyrannise over a free-born people whom it was found 
impossible to crush or cow. Nor, in the words of the 
Bennetsfield manuscript, "will we affect a morbid in- 
difference to the fact that on the 24th of June, 1314, 
Bruce's heroic band of thirty thousand warriors on 
the glorious field of Bannockburn contained above ten 
thousand Western Highlanders and men of the Isles," 
under Angus Og of the Isles, Mackenzie of Kintail (who 
led five hundred of his vassals), and other chiefs of 
the mainland, of whom Major specially says, that "they 
made an incredible slaughter of their enemies, slaying 
heaps of them around wherever they went, and running 
upon them with their broadswords and daggers like wild 
bears without any regard to their own lives." Alluding 
to the same event, Barbour says — 

Angus of the Isles and Bute alsae. 
And of the plain lands he had mae 
Of armed men a noble route, 
His battle stalwart was and stout. 

General Stewart of Garth, in a footnote, Sketches of 
the Highlanders^ says that the eighteen Highland chiefs 
who fought at Bannockburn were — Mackay, Mackintosh, 
Macpherson, Cameron, Sinclair, Campbell, Menzies, Mac- 
lean, Sutherland, Robertson, Grant, Fraser, Macfarlane, 


Ross, Macgregor, Munro, Mackenzie, and Macquarrie ; 
and that ** Gumming, Macdougall of Lorn, Macnab, and 
a few others were unfortunately in opposition to Bruce, 
and suffered accordingly." In due time the Western 
chiefs returned home, where on their arrival, many of 
Them found local feuds still smouldering — encouraged by 
the absence of the natural protectors of the people — 
amidst the surrounding blaze. 

John lived peaceably at home during the remainder 
of his dayp. He married Margaret, daughter of David 
de Strathbogie, Xlth Earl of Atholl, by Joan, daughter 
of John, the Red Comyn, last Earl of Badenoch, killed 
by Robert the Bruce in 1306. He died in 1328, and 
was succeeded by his only son, 


Commonly called Coinneach na Sroine, or Kenneth of 
the Nose, from the size of that organ. Very little is 
known of this chief. But he does not appear to have 
been long in possession when he found himself in serious 
trouble and unable to cope successfully with the Earl of 
Ross, who made determined efforts to re-establish the 
original position of his house over the Barons of Kintail. 
Wyntoun says that in 133 1, Randolph, Earl of Moray, 
nephew of Robert the Bruce, and at that time Warden 
of Scotland, sent his Crowner to EUandonnan, with 
orders to prepare the castle for his reception and to 
arrest all "misdoaris" in the district, fifty of whom the 
Crowner beheaded, and, according to the barbarous 
practice of even much later times, exposed their heads 
for the edification of the surrounding lieges high upon 
the castle walls. Randolph himself soon aftQr arrived and, 
says the same chronicler, was " right blithe " to see the 
goodly show of heads **that flowered so weel that wall" 
— a ghastly warning to all treacherous or plundering 
"misdoaris." From what occurred on this occasion it is 
obvious that Kenneth either did not attempt or was not 


able to govern his people with a firm hand and to keep 
the district free from plunderers and lawlessness. 

It is undoubted that at this time the Earl of Ross 
succeeded in gaining a considerable hold in the district 
over which he had all along claimed superiority ; for in 
1342 William, the fifth and last O'Beolan Earl, is on 
record as granting a charter of the whole ten davochs of 
Kintail to Reginald, son of Roderick of the Isles. The 
charter was granted and dated at the Castle of Urquhart, 
witnessed by the bishops of Ross and Moray, and con- 
firmed by David II. in 1344.* From all this it may 
fairly be assumed that the line of Mac Kenneth was not 
far from the breaking point during the reign of Kenneth 
of the Nose. 

Some followers of the Earl of Ross about this time 
made a raid to the district of Kenlochewe and carried 
away a great herschip. Mackenzie pursued them, re- 
covered a considerable portion of the spoil, and killed 
many of the raiders. The Earl of Ross was greatly 
incensed at Kenneth's conduct in this affair, and 
he determined to have him apprehended and suitably 
punished for the murders and other excesses committed 
by him. In this he ultimately succeeded. Mackenzie 
was captured, chiefly through the instrumentality of Leod 
Mac Gilleandrais — a desperate character, and a vassal and 
relative of the Earl — and executed at Inverness in 1346, 
when the lands of Kenlochewe, previously possessed by 
Kintail, were given to Mac Gilleandrais as a reward for 
Mackenzie's capture. 

On this point the author of the Ardintoul manuscript 
says, that the lands of Kenlochewe were held by 
Kenneth Mackenzie **and his predecessors by tack, but 
not as heritage, for they had no real or heritable right of 
them until Alexander of Kintail got heritable possession 
of them from John, Earl of Ross," at a much later date. 
Ellandonnan Castle, however, held out during the whole 
of this disturbed and distracted period, and until 

*/nverfUssiana, p. 56. 


Kenneth's heir, who at his father's death was a mere 
boy, came of age, when he fully avenged the death of 
his father, and succeeded to the inheritance of his 
ancestors. The garrison meanwhile maintained themselves 
on the spoil of the enemy. The brave defenders of the 
castle were able to hold their own throughout and 
afterwards to hand over the stronghold to their chief 
when he arrived at a proper age and returned home. 

The Earl of Cromarty, who gives a very similar 
account of this period, concludes his notice of Kenneth 
in these terms — " Murdered thus, his estate was possessed 
by the oppressor's followers ; but Island Donain keeped 
still out, maintaining themselves on the spoyle of the 
enemie. All being trod under by insolince and oppres- 
sion, right had no place. This was during David Bruces 
imprisonment in England," when chaos and disorder 
ruled supreme, at least in the Highlands. 

Kenneth married Finguala, or Florence, daughter of 
Torquil Macleod, II. of Lewis, by his wife Dorothea, 
daughter of William, second O'Beolan Earl of Ross, by 
his wife, Joan, daughter of John the first Red Comyn, 
and sister of John the Black Comyn, Lord of Badenoch 
and Earl of Buchan, with issue, an only son, 


Usually called **Murchadh Dubh na h' Uagh," or Black 
Murdoch of the Cave, from his habits of life, which shall 
be described presently. Murdoch was very young when 
his father was executed at Inverness. During Kenneths 
absence on that occasion, and for some time afterwards, 
Duncan Macaulay, a great friend, who then owned the 
district of Lochbroom, had charge of Ellandonnan Castle. 
The Earl of Ross was determined to secure possession 
of Murdoch, as he previously did of his father, and 
Macaulay becoming apprehensive as to his safety sent 
him, then quite young, accompanied by his own son, 
for protection to Mackenzie's relative, Macdougall of 
Lorn. While here the Earl of Ross succeeded in 


capturing young Macaulay, and in revenge for his father's 
gallant defence at Ellandonnan during Kenneth's absence, 
and more recently against his own futile attempts to 
take that stronghold, he put Macaulay to death, where- 
upon Murdoch, who barely escaped with his life, left 
Lorn and sought the protection of his uncle, Macleod of 

The actual murderer of Macaulay was the same 
desperate character, Leod Macgilleandrais, a vassal of the 
Earl of Ross, who had in 1346 been mainly instrumental 
in the capture and consequent death of Mackenzie's 
father at Inverness. The Earl of Cromarty describes 
the assassin as "a depender of the Earl of Ross, and 
possessed of several lands in Strathcarron (of Easter 
Ross) and some in Strathoykell." When he killed 
Macaulay, Leod possessed himself of his lands of 
Lochbroom and Coigach "whereby that family ended." 
Macaulay's estates should have gone to Mackenzie in 
right of his wife, Macaulay's daughter, but "holding of 
the Earl of Ross, the earl disponed the samen in lyfrent 
by tack to Leod, albeit Murdo Mackenzie acclaimed it 
in right of his wyfe." 

Leod kept possession of Kenlochewe, which, lying 
as it did, exactly between Kintail and Lochbroom, he 
found most convenient as a centre of operations against 
both, and he repeatedly took advantage of it, though 
invariably without success so far at least as his main 
object was concerned — to get possession of the strong- 
hold of Ellandonnan. On the other hand, the brave 
garrison of the castle made several desperate reprisals 
under their heroic commander, Macaulay, and held out 
in spite of all the attempts made to subdue them, until 
the restoration of David IL, by which time Murdoch 
Mackenzie had grown up a brave and intrepid youth, 
approaching majority. 

The author of the Ardintoul MS. informs us that he 
was called Murdo of the Cave ; being perhaps not well 
tutored, he preferred sporting and hunting in the hills 


and forests to going to the Ward School, where the 
ward children, or the heirs of those who held their 
lands and wards from the King, were wont or bound to 
go, and he resorted to the dens and caves about Torridon 
and Kenlochewe, hoping to get a hit at Leod Mac- 
gilleandrais, who was instrumental, under the Earl of 
Ross, to apprehend and cut off his father. In the 
meantime Leod hearing of Murdo's resorting to these 
bounds, that he was kindly entertained by some of the 
Inhabitants, and fearing that he would withdraw the 
services and affections of the people from himself, and 
connive some mischief against him for his ill-usage of 
his father, he left no means untried to apprehend him, 
so that Mackenzie was obliged to start privately to 
Lochbroom, from whence, with only one companion, he 
went to his uncle, Macleod of Lewis, by whom, after he 
had revealed himself to him alone, he was well received, 
and both of them resolved to conceal his name until a 
fit opportunity offered to make known his identity. He, 
however, met with a certain man named Gille Riabhach, 
who came to Stornoway with twelve men about the 
same time as himself, and he, in the strictest confidence, 
told Gille Riabhach that he was Mackenzie of Kintail, 
which secret the latter kept strictly inviolate. Macleod 
entertained his nephew, keeping it an absolute secret from 
others who he was, that his enemies might think that 
he was dead, and so feel the greater security till such 
time as they would deem it wise that he should act for 
himself and make an attempt to rescue his possessions 
from Macgilleandrais, who now felt quite secure, thinking 
that Mackenzie had perished, having for so long heard 
nothing concerning him. When a suitable time arrived 
his uncle gave Murdo two of his great galleys, with as 
many men (six score) as he desired, to accompany him, 
his cousin german Macleod, the Gille Riabhach and 
his twelve followers, all of whom determined to seek 
their fortunes with young Kintail. They embarked at 
Stornoway, and securing a favourable wind they soon 


arrived at Sanachan, in Kishorn (some say at Poolewe), 
where they landed, marched straight towards Kenlochewe, 
and arrived at a thick wood near the place where Mac- 
gilleandrais had his residence. Mackenzie commanded 
his followers to lie down and watch, while he and his 
companion, Gille Riabhach, went about in search of 
intelligence. He soon found a woman cutting rushes, 
at the same time lamenting his own supposed death 
and Leod Macgilleandrais' succession to the lands of 
Kenlochewe in consequence. He at once recognised 
her as the woman's sister who nursed or fostered him, 
drew near, spoke to her, sounded her, and discovering 
her unmistakeable affection for him he felt that he could 
with perfect safety make himself known to her. She 
was overjoyed to find that it was really he, whose 
absence and loss she had so intensely and so long 
lamented. He then requested her to go and procure him 
information of Leod s situation and occupation that night. 
This she did with great propriety and discretion. Having 
satisfied herself, she returned at the appointed time and 
assured him that Macgilleandrais felt perfectly secure, 
quite unprepared for an attack, and had just appointed 
to meet the adjacent people next morning at a place 
called Ath-nan-Ceann (the Ford of the Heads), pre- 
paratory to a hunting match, having instructed those who 
might arrive before him to wait his arrival. . Mackenzie 
considered this an excellent opportunity for punishing 
Leod. He in good time went to the ford accompanied 
by his followers. Those invited by Leod soon after 
arrived, and, seeing Mackenzie before them, thought he 
was Macgilleandrais with some of his men, but soon 
discovered their mistake. Mackenzie killed all those 
whom he did not recognise as soon as they appeared. 
The natives of the place, who were personally known to 
him, he pardoned and dismissed. Leod soon turned up, 
and seeing such a gathering awaiting him, naturally 
thought that they were his own friends, and hastened 
towards them, but on approaching nearer he found 


himself " in the fool's hose." Mackenzie and his band fell 
upon them with their swords, and after a slight resistance 
Macgilleandrais and his party fled, but they were soon 
overtaken at a place called to this day " Featha Leoid," 
or Leod's Bog, where they were all slain, except Leod's 
son Paul, who was taken prisoner and kept in captivity 
for some time, but was afterwards released upon plighting 
his faith that he would never again trouble Mackenzie or 
resent against him his father's death. Murdoch Mackenzie 
being thus re-possessed of Kenlochewe, **gave Leod 
Macgilleandrais* widow to Gillereach to wife for his good 
services and fidelity, whose posterity live at Kenlochewe 
and thereabout, and to this day some of them live 
there." According to the Cromarty MS., Mackenzie 
possessed himself of Lochbroom in right of his wife and 
disposed of Coigach to his cousin Macleod, "for his 
notable assistance in his distress; which lands they both 
retained but could obtain no charters from the Earls of 
Ross, of whom they held, the Earls of Ross pretending 
that they fell to themselves in default of male heirs, the 
other retaining possession in right of his wife as heir of 

Paul Macgilleandrais some years after this repaired to 
the confines of Sutherland and Caithness, prevailed upon 
Murdo Riabhach, Kintail's illegitimate son, to join him, 
and, according to one authority, became "a common 
depredator," while according to another, he became what 
was perhaps not inconsistent in those days with the 
character of a desperado — a person of considerable state 
and property. They often "spoiled" Caithness. The 
Earl of Cromarty, referring to this raid, says that 
Paul "desired to make a spoil on some neighbouring 
country, a barbarous custom but most ordinary in those 
days, as thinking thereby to acquire the repute of valour 
and to become formidable as the greatest security amidst 
their unhappy feuds. This, their prentice try or first 
exhibition, was called in Irish (Gaelic) ' Creach mhacain ' 
the young man's herschip." Ultimately Murdo Riabhach 


and Paul's only son were killed by Budge of Toftingall. 
Paul was so mortified at the death of his young 
depredator son that he gave up building the fortress of 
Duncreich, which he was at the time erecting to 
strengthen still more his position in the county. He 
gave his lands of Strathoykel, Strathcarron, and Westray, 
with his daughter and heiress in marriage, to Walter 
Rqss, III. of Balnagown, on which condition he obtained 
pardon from the Earl of Ross, the chief, and superior 
of both. 

Mackenzie, after disposing of Macgilleandrais, returned 
to his own country, where he was received with open 
arms by the whole population of the district He then 
married the ' only daughter of his gallant friend and 
defender, Duncan Macaulay — w^hose only son, Murdoch, 
had been killed by Macgilleandrais — and through her 
his son ultimately succeeded to the lands of Lochbroom 
and Coigeach, granted to Macaulay's predecessor by 
Alexander II. Mackenzie was now engaged principally 
in preserving and improving his possessions, until the 
return of David II. from England, 1357-8, when Murdoch 
laid before the King a complaint against the Earl of 
Ross for the murder of his father, and claimed redress ; 
but the only satisfaction he ever obtained was a con- 
firmation of his rights previously granted by the King 
to ** Murdo filius Kennethi de Kintaill, etc.," dated 
" Edinburg 1362, et Regni Domini Regis VI., Testibus 
Walter^ Senescollo et allis."* 

Of Murdoch Dubh's reign, the Laird of Applecross 
says : — ** During this turbulent age, securities and writs, 
as well as laws, were little regarded ; each man's protec- 
tion lay in his own strength." Kintail regularly attended 
the first Parliament of Robert II., until it was decreed 
by that King and his Privy Council that the services 
of the "lesser barons" should not be required in future 
Parliaments or General Councils. He then returned 
home, and spent most of his time in hunting and wild 

* MS. History of the Mackenzies. 


sports, of which he was devotedly fond, living peaceably 
and undisturbed during the remainder of his days. 

This Baron of Kintail took no share in the recent 
rebellion under the Lord of the Isles, who, backed by 
most of the other West Highland chiefs, attempted^ to 
throw off his independence and have himself proclaimed 
King of the Isles. The feeble and effeminate Government 
of David II., and the evil results consequent thereon 
throughout the country,' encouraged the island lord in 
this desperate enterprise, but, as Tytler says, the King on 
this occasion, ** with an unwonted energy of character, 
commanded the attendance of the Steward, with the 
prelates and barons of the realm, and surrounded by this 
formidable body of vassals and retainers, proceeded 
against the rebels in person." , The expedition proved 
completely successful, and John of the Isles, with a 
numerous train of chieftains who joined him in the 
rebellion, met the King at Inverness, and submitted to 
his authority. He there engaged in the most solemn 
manner, for himself and for his vassals, that they should 
"yield themselves faithful and obedient subjects to David 
their liege lord, and not only give due and prompt 
obedience to the ministers of the King in suit and 
service, as well as in the payment of taxes and public 
burdens, but that they would coerce and put down all 
others, and compel all who dared to rise against the 
King's authority to make, due submission, or pursue them 
from their respective territories." For the fulfilment of 
these obligations, the Lord of the Isles not only gave his 
most solemn oath before the King and his nobles, on 
condition of forfeiting his whole possessions in case of 
failure, but offered his father-in-law, the High Steward, 
in security ; and delivered his son Donald, his grandson 
Angus, and his natural son, also named Donald, as 
hostages for the strict performance of the articles of the 
treaty, which was duly signed, attested and dated, the 
15th November, 1369.* 

* For a full copy of this instrument, see Inverfussiana^ pp. 69*70. 


Fordun says that in order to crush the Highlanders, 
and the more easily, as the King thought, to secure 
obedience to the laws, he used artifice by dividing the 
chiefs and promising high rewards to those who would 
capture or kill their brother lords ; and, that writer con- 
tinues, "this diabolical plan, by implanting the seeds 
of disunion amongst the chiefs, succeeded, and they 
gradually destroyed one another." 

Before his marriage Murdoch had three illegitimate 
sons. One of them was called Hector or Eachainn 
Biorach. He acquired the lands of Drumnamarg by 
marrying Helen, daughter of Loban or Logan of Drum- 
namarg, who, according to the Earl of Cromarty, **was 
one of the Earl of Ross's feuars. This superior having 
an innate enmity with Kenneth's race, was the cause that 
this Hector had no peaceable possession of Drumnamarg, 
but turning outlaw, retired to Eddirachillis, where he left 
a son called Henry, of whom are descended a race yet 
possessing there, called Sliochd lonraic, or Henry's race." 
The second bastard was named Dugald Deargshuileach, 
'•from his red eyes." From him descended John 
Mackenzie, Commissary-Depute of Ross, afterwards in 
Cromarty, Rev. Roderick Mackenzie, minister of Croy, 
John Mackenzie, a writer in Edinburgh, and several 
others of the name. The third bastard was named 
Alexander, and from him descended Clann Mhurchaidh 
Mhoir in Ledgowan, and many of the common people 
who resided in the Braes of Ross. 

Murdoch had another son Murdoch Riach, after his 
wife's death, by a daughter of the Laird of Assynt, also 
illegitimate, although the Laird of Applecross says that 
he was "by another wife." This Murdoch retired to 
Edderachillis and married a Sutherland woman there, 
"where, setting up an independent establishment, he 
became formidable in checking the Earl of Ross in his 
excursions against his clan, till he was killed by a Caith- 
ness man named Budge of Toftingall. His descendants 
are still styled Clann Mhuirich, and among them we 


trace Daniel Mackenzie, who arrived at the rank of 
Colonel in the service of the Statholder, who had a son 
Barnard, who was Major in Seaforth's regiment, and 
killed at the battle of Auldearn. He too left a son, 
Barnard, who taught Greek and Latin for four years at 
Fortrose, was next ordained by the Bishop of Ross and 
presented to the Episcopal Church of Cromarty, where, 
after a variety of fortunes, he died, and was buried in 
the Cathedral Church of Fortrose. Alexander, eldest son 
of this last (Barnard), studied medicine under Boerhave, 
and retired to practice at Fortrose. He married Ann, 
daughter of Alexander Mackenzie of Belmaduthy, pur- 
chased the lands of Kinnock, and left a son, Barnard, 
and two daughters, Catherine and Ann."* 

This was the turbulent and insecure state of affairs 
throughout the Kingdom when the chief of Mackenzie 
was peaceably and quietly enjoying himself in his 
Highland home. He died in I375.t 

By his wife Isabel, only child of Macaulay of Loch- 
broom, Murdoch Dubh had a son and successor, 

Known as "Murchadh na Drochaid," or Murdoch of the 

* Bennetsfield MS. of ihe Mackenzies. 

fMurdo became a great favourite latterly with all those with whom he 
came in contact. ** He fell in company with the Earl of Sutherland, who 
became his very good friend afterwards, as that he still resorted his court 
In end (being comely of perxon and ane active young man) the EarPs lady 
(who was King Robert the Bruce*s young daughter) fell in conceit of him, 
and both forgetting the EarFs kindness, by her persuasion, he got her 
with child, who she caused name Dougall,*' and the earl suspecting nothing 
amiss ''caused bred him at schoolls with the rest of his children; but 
Dougall being as ill-given as gotten, he still injured the rest, and when 
the earl would challenge or offer to beat him, the Ladie still said, 'Dear 
heart, let him alone, it is hard to tell Dougall's father,' which the good 
earle always took in good part. In end, he comeing to years of discre- 
tion, she told her husband that Mackenzie was his father, and shortly 
thereafter, by way of merriment, told the King how his lady cheated him. 
The King, finding him to be his own cousine and of parts of learning, 
with all to pleasure the earle and his lady, he made Dougall prior of 
Beauly."— w4ifW«i/ AfS, 


Bridge. The author of the Ardintoul MS. says that "he 
was called Murdo na Droit by reason of some bad 
treatment bis lady met with at the Bridge of Scatwell, 
which happened on this occasion. He having lived for 
many years with his lady and getting no children, and 
so fearing that the direct line of his family might fail in his 
person, was a little concerned and troubled thereat, which 
being understood by some sycophants and flatterers that 
were about him and would fain curry his favour, they 
thought that they could not ingratiate themselves more 
on him than putting his lady out of the way, whereby he 
might marry another, and they waited an opportunity to 
put their design in execution (some say not without his 
connivance), and so on a certain evening or late at night 
as she was going to Achilty, where her laird lived, these 
wicked flatterers did presumptuously and barbarously cast 
her over the Bridge of Scatwell, and then their conscience 
accusing them for that horrid act they made off with 
themselves. But the wonderful providence of God carried 
the innocent lady (who was then with child) nowithstand- 
ing the impetuousness of the river, safe to the shore, and 
enabled her in the night-time to travel the length of 
Achilty, where her husband did impatiently wait her 
coming, that being the night she promised to be home, 
and entertained her very kindly, being greatly offended 
at the maltreatment she met with. The child she had 
then in the womb was afterwards called Alexander, and 
some say agnamed Inrick because by a miracle oi 
Providence he escaped that danger and afterwards became 
heir to his father and inherited his estate." The . author 
of the Applecross MS. says that this Baron was called 
'* Murchadh no Droit " from ** the circumstances that his 
mother being \yith child of him, had been saved after a 
fearful fall from the Bridge of Scattal into the Water of 
Conon." The writer of the ** Ancient" MS. history of 
the Mackenzies, the oldest in existence, suggests that 
Mackenzie himself may have instigated the ruffians to do 
away with his wife. "They lived," he says, '*a consider- 


able time together childless, but men in those days (of 
whom be reason) preferred succession and manhood to 
wedlock. He caused to throw her under silence of night 
over the Bridge of Scatwell, but by Providence and by 
the course of the river she was cast ashore and escaped, 
went back immediately to his house, then at Achilty, 
and went to his bedside in a fond condition. But 
commiserating her case and repenting over the deed," 
he gave her a hearty reception, learned from her that she 
expected soon to become a mother, and "so afterwards 
they lived together contentedly all their days." 

During his earlier years Murdoch appears to have 
lived a peaceful life, following the example of loyalty to 
the Crown set him by his father, keeping the laws 
himself, and compelling those over whom his jurisdiction 
extended to do the same. Nor, if we believe the MS. 
historians of the family, was this dutiful and loyal 
conduct allowed to go unrewarded. All the successors 
of the Earl of Cromarty follow his lordship in saying 
that a charter was given by King Robert to Murdo, 
"filius Murdoch! de Kintail," of Kintail and Laggan 
Achadrom, dated at Edinburgh, anno 1380, attested by 
"Willielmus de Douglas, et Archibaldo de Galloway, et 
Joanne, Cancellario Scotiae." As already stated, however, 
no such charter as this, or the one previously mentioned 
on the same authority as having been granted to Murdoch 
IV. of Kintail, in 1362, is on record. 

Murdoch was one of the sixteen Highland chiefs who 
accompanied the Scots under James, second Earl of 
Douglas, in his famous march to England and defeated Sir 
Henry Percy, the renowned Hotspur, at the memorable 
battle of Otterburn, or Chevy Chase, in 1388. 

The period immediately following this historical raid 
across the Border was more than usually turbulent even 
for those days in the Scottish Highlands, but Mackenzie 
managed to escape involving himself seriously with either 
party to the many quarrels which culminated in the final 
struggle for the earldom of Ross between the Duke of 


Albany and Donald, Lord of the Isles, in 141 1, at the 
battle of Harlaw. 

As soon as the news of the disaster to the Earl of 
Mar, who commanded at Harlaw, reached the ears of 
the Duke of Albany, at the time Regent for Scotland, 
he set about collecting an army with which, in the 
following autumn, he marched in person to the north 
determined to bring the Lord of the Isles to obedience. 
Having taken possession of the Castle of Dingwall, he 
appointed a governor to it, and from thence proceeded 
to recover the whole of Ross. Donald retreated before 
him, taking up his winter quarters in the Western 
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. He 
was compelled for a time to give up his claim to the 
earldom of Ross, to become a vassal of the Scottish 
Crown, and to deliver hostages for his good behaviour in 
the future. 

Murdoch must have felt secure in his stronghold of 
Ellandonnan, and been a man of great prudence, sagacity, 
and force of character, when, in spite of the commands 
of his nominal superior — the Lord of the Isles — ^to 
support him in these unlawful and rebellious proceedings 
against the King and threats of punishment in case of 
refusal, he resolutely declined to join him in his 
desperate and treasonable adventures. He went the 
length of saying that even if his lordship's claims were 
just in themselves, they would not justify a rebellion 
against the existing Government ; and he further informed 
him that, altogether independently of that important 
consideration, he felt no great • incentive to aid in the 
cause of the representative of his grandfather's murderer. 
Mackenzie was in fact one of those prudent and loyal 
chiefs who kept at home in the Highlands, looking after 
his own affairs, the comfort of his followers, and laying 
a solid foundation for the future prosperity of his house, 
"which was so characteristic of them that they always 


esteemed the authority of the magistrate as an inviolable 

Donald of the Isles never forgave Mackenzie for thus 
refusing to assist him in obtaining the Earldom of Ross, 
and he determined to ruin him if he could. On this 
subject the Earl of Cromartie says that at the battle of 
Harlaw Donald was assisted by almost ''all the northern 
people, Mackenzie excepted, who because of the many 
injuries received by his predecessors from the Earls of 
Ross, and chiefly by the instigation and concurrence of 
Donald's predecessors, he withdrew and refused con- 
currence. Donald resolved to ruin him, but deferred it 
till his return, which falling out more unfortunately than 
he expected, did not allow him power nor opportunity 
to use the vengeance he intended, for on his return to 
Ross he sent Mackenzie a friend with fair speeches 
desiring his friendship, thinking no enemy despicable as 
he then stood." Murdoch, at Donald's request, proceeded 
to Dingwall, where the Island Lord urged him to join 
and promise him to support his interest. This Mackenzie 
firmly refused, " partly out of hatred to his family for old 
feuds, partly dissuaded by Donald's declining fortunes" 
at that particular period ; whereupon the Lord of the 
Isles made Murdoch prisoner in an underground chamber 
in the Castle of Dingwall. He was not long here, 
however, when he found an opportunity of making his 
plight known to some of his friends, and he was soon 
after released in exchange for some of Donald's immediate 
relatives who had been purposely captured by Mackenzie's 
devoted vassals. 

Here it may be appropriate to give the traditionary 
account of the origin of the Macraes and how they first 
found their way to Kintail and other places in the West; 
for their relationship with the Mackenzies has from the 
earliest times been of the closest and most loyal 
character. Indeed, from the aid they invariably afforded 
them they have been aptly described as "Mackenzie's 
shirt of mail." According to the Rev. John Macrae, 



minister of Dingwall, who died in 1704, and wrote the 
only existing trustworthy history and genealogy of his 
own clan, the Macraes came originally from Clunes, in 
the Aird of Lovat, recently acquired from patriotic 
family reasons by Horatio Macrae, W.S., Edinburgh, 
the representative in this country of the Macraes of 
Inverinatc, who were admittedly the chiefs of that brave 
and warlike race. The Rev. John Macrae, who was 
himself a member of the Inverinate family, says that 
the Macraes left the Aird under the following circum- 
stances: — A dispute had arisen in the hunting field 
between Macrae of Clunes and a bastard son of Lovat, 
when a son of Macrae intervened to protect his father, 
and killed Erasers son in the scuffle. The victor 
** immediately ran off, and calling himself John Carrach, 
that he might be less known, settled on the West Coast, 
and of him are descended the branch of the Macraes 
called Clann Ian Charraich. It was some time after this 
that his brethren and other relatives began seriously to 
consider that Lovat's own kindred and friends became too 
numerous, and that the country could not accommodate 
them all, which was a motive for their removing to other 
places according as they had encouragement. One of 
the brothers went to Brae Ross and lived at Brahan, 
where there is a piece of land called Knock Vic Ra, and 
the spring well which affords water to the Castle is called 
Tober Vic Ra. His succession spread westward to 
Strathgarve, Strathbraan, and Strathconan, where several 
of them live at this time. John Macrae, who was a 
merchant in Inverness, and some of his brethren, were 
of them, and some others in Ardmeanach. Other two 
of MacRa's sons, elder than the above, went off from 
Clunes several ways ; one is said to have gone to 
Argyleshire and another lo Kintail. In the meantime 
their father remained at Clunes all his days, and had 
four Lords Eraser of Lovat fostered in his house. He 
that went to Argyle, according to our tradition, married 
the heiress of Craignish, and on that account took the 


surname of Campbell. The other brother who went to 
Kintail, earnestly invited and encouraged by Mackenzie, 
who then had no kindred of his own blood, the first 
six BaronSy or Lords of Kintail^ having but one lawful 
son to succeed the father, hoping that the MacRas, by 
reason of their relation, as being originally descended 
from the same race of people in Ireland would prove 
more faithful than others, wherein he was not disappointed, 
for the MacRas of Kintail served him and his successors 
very faithfully in every quarrel they had with neighbour- 
ing clans, and by their industry, blood, and courage, 
have been instrumental in raising that family." The 
writer adds that he does not know Macrae's christian 
name, but that he married **a daughter or grand-daughter 
of MacBeolan, who possessed a large part of Kintail 
before Mackenzie's predecessors got a right of it from 
Alexander III." This marriage, and their common 
ancestry from a native Celtic source, and not from "the 
same race of people in Ireland" seems a much more 
probable explanation of the early and continued friend- 
ship which existed between the two families than that 
suggested by the rev. author of "The Genealogy of the 
Macraes," above quoted. 

But the curious circumstance to which he directs 
attention regarding the first five Mackenzie chiefs is quite 
true. It is borne out by every genealogy of the House 
of Kintail which we have ever seen. There is not a 
trace of any legitimate male descendant from the first of 
the name down to Alexander, the sixth baron, except 
the immediately succeeding chief, so that their vassals and 
followers in the field and elsewhere must, for nearly two 
hundred years, have been men of different septs and 
tribes and names, except the progeny of their own 
illegitimate sons, such as **Sliochd Mhurchaidh Riabhaich" 
and others of similar base origin. 

Murdoch married Finguala or Florence, daughter of 
Malcolm Macleod, III. of Harris and Dunvegan, by his 
wife, Martha, daughter of Donald Stewart, Earl of Mar, 


nephew of King Robert the Bruce. By this marriage 
the Royal blood of the Bruce was introduced for the first 
time into the family of Kintail, as also that of the ancient 
Kings of Man. Tormod Macleod, II. of Harris, who 
was grandson of Olave the Black, last Norwegian King of 
Man, and who, as we have seen, had married Christina, 
daughter of Ferquhard O'Beolan, Earl of Ross, married 
Finguala Mac Crotan, the daughter of an ancient and 
powerful Irish chief. By this lady Malcolm Macleod, 
III. of Harris and Dun vegan, had issue, among others^ 
Finguala, who now became the wife of Murdoch Mac- 
kenzie and mother of Alexander lonraic, who carried on 
the succession of the ancient line of Kintail. 

Murdoch died in 1 416, when he was succeeded by 
his only son, 


Alastair lonraic, or Alexander the Upright, so called 
"for his righteousness." He was among the Western 
barons summoned in 1427, to meet King James I. at 
Inverness, who, on his return from a long captivity in 
England, in 1424, determined to put down the rebellion 
and oppression which was then and for some time 
previously so rampant in the Highlands. To judge by 
the poceedings of a Parliament held at Perth on the 
30th September 1426, James exhibited a foresight and 
appreciation of the conduct of the lairds in those days, 
and passed laws which might with good effect, and with 
equal propriety, be applied to the state of affairs in our 
own time. In that Parliament an Act was passed 
which, among other things, ordained that, north of the 
Grampians, the fruit of those lands should be expended 
in the country where those lands lie. The Act is as 
follows : — ** It is ordanit be the King ande the Parliament 
that everilk lorde hafande landis bezonde the mownthe 
(the Grampians) in the quhilk landis in auld tymes 
there was castellis, fortalyces and manerplaicis, big, 
reparell, and reforme their castellis and maneris, and 


duell in thame, be thameself, or be ane of thare frendis 
for the gracious gournall of thar landis, be gude polising 
and to txpende ye fruyt of thar landis in the eountree 
where thar landis fyis."* 

James was determined to bring the Highlanders to 
submission, and Fordun relates a characteristic anecdote 
in which the King pointedly declared his resolution. 
When the excesses in the Highlands were first reported 
to him by one of his nobles, on entering Scotland, he 
thus expressed himself: — **Let God but grant me life, 
and there shall not be a spot in my dominions where 
the key shall not keep the castle, and the furze bush the 
cow, though I myself should lead the life of a dog to 
accomplish it"; and it was in this frame of mind that he 
visited Inverness in 1427, determined to establish good 
government and order in the North, then in such a state 
of insubordination that neither life nor property was 
secure. The principal chiefs, on his order or invitation 
met him, from what motives it is impossible to determine 
— whether hoping for a reconciliation by prompt com- 
pliance with the Royal will, or from a dread, in case of 
refusal, to suffer the fate of the Southern barons who 
had already fallen victims to his severity. The order 
was in any case obeyed, and all the leading chiefs 
repaired to meet him at the Castle of Inverness. As 
they entered the hall, however, where the Parliament was 
at the time sitting, they were, one by one, by order of 
the King, arrested, ironed, and imprisoned in different 
apartments, and debarred from having any communica- 
tions with each other, or with their followers. 

Fordun says that James displayed marks of great joy 
as these turbulent and haughty spirits, caught in the toils 
which he had prepared for them, came voluntarily within 
reach of his regal power, and that he "caused to be 
arrested Alexander of the Isles, and his mother, Countess 
of Ross, daughter and heiress of Sir Walter Lesley, as 
well as the more notable men of the north, each of 

^ ImfemeisioHa^ p. 102. 


whom he wisely invited singly to the Castle, and caused 
to be put in strict confinement apart There he also 
arrested Angus Duff (Angus Dubh Mackay) with his 
four sons, the leader of 4000 men from Strathnarven 
(Strathnaver.) Kenneth More, with his son-in-law, leader 
of two thousand men ;* John Ross, William Lesley, 
Angus de Moravia, and Macmaken, leaders of two 
thousand men ; and also other lawless caterans and great 
captains in proportion, to the number of about fifty 
Alexander Makgorric (MacGodfrey) of Garmoran, and 
John Macarthur (of the family of Campbell), a great 
chief among his own clan, and the leader of a thousand 
and more, were convicted, and being adjudged to death 
were beheaded. Then James Cambel was hanged, being 
accused and convicted of the slaughter of John of the 
Isles (John Mor, first of the Macdonalds of Isla.) The 
rest were sent here and there to the different castles 
of the noblemen throughout the kingdom, and were 
afterwards condemned to different kinds of death, and 
some were set at liberty." Among the latter was 
Alexander of Kintail. The King sent him, then a mere 
youth, to the High Sghool at Perth, at that time the 
principal literary seminary in the kingdom, while the city 
itself was frequently the seat of the Court. 

During Kin tail's absence it appears that his three 
bastard uncles ravaged the district of Kinlochewe, for we 
find them insulting and troubling ** Mackenzie's tenants 
in Kenlochewe and Kintail. Macaulay, who was still 
Constable in Ellandonnan, not thinking it proper to leave 
his post, proposed Finlay Dubh Mac Gillechriost as the 
fittest person to be sent to St. Johnston, now Perth, and 
by general consent he accordingly went to inform his 
young master, who was then there with the rest of the 

♦ All writers on the Clan Mackenzie have hitherto claimed this Kenneth 
More as their Chief, and argued from the above that Mackenzie had a 
ioUowing of two thousand fighting men in 1427. It will be seen that 
Alexander was Chief at this time, but Kenneth More may have been 
intended for MacKenneth More, or the Great Mackenzie. He certainly 
could have had no such following of his own fuime. 



King's ward children at school, of his lordship's tenants 
being imposed on as above, which, with Finlay's remon- 
strance on the subject, prevailed on Alexander, his young 
master, to come home, and being backed with all the 
assistance Finlay could command, soon brought his three 
bastard uncles to condign punishment."* 

The writer of the Ardintoul MS. says that Finlay 
** prevailed on him to go home without letting the master 
of the school know of it. Trysting with him at a certaiu 
place and set hour they set off, and, lest any should 
surprise them, they declined the common road and went 
to Macdougall of Lorn, he being acquainted with him at 
St. Johnston. Macdougall entertained him kindly, and 
kept him with him for several days. He at that time 
made his acquaintance with Macdougall's daughter, whom 
afterwards he married, and from thence came to his own 
Kintail, and having his authority and right backed with 
the power of the people, he calls his bastard uncles 
before him, and removes their quarters from Kenlochewe, 
and gave them possessions in Glenelchaig in Kintail, 
prescribing measures and rule for them how to behave, 
assuring them, though he pardoned them at that time, 
they should forfeit favours and be severely punished if 
they transgressed for the future ; but after this, going to 
the county of Ross to their old dwelling at Kenlochewe, 
they turned to practice their old tricks and broke loose, 
so that he was forced to correct their insolency and make 
them shorter by the heads, and thus the people were 
quit of their trouble." 

The young Lord of the Isles was at the same time 
that Mackenzie went to Perth sent to Edinburgh, from 
which he soon afterwards escaped to the North, at the 
instigation of his mother, the Countess, raised his vassals, 
and, joined by all the outlaws and vagabonds in the 
country, numbering a formidable body of about ten 
thousand, he laid waste the country, plundered and 
devastated the crown lands, against which his vengeance 

• Gdiiealo^ical Account of the Macraes, 


was specially directed, razed the Royal burgh of Inver- 
ness to the ground, pillaged and burned the houses, and 
perpetrated every description of cruelty. He then 
besieged the Castle, but without success, after which he 
retired precipitately towards Lochaber, where he was met 
by the Royal forces, commanded by the King in person. 
The Lord of the Isles prepared for battle, but he had the 
mortification to notice the desertion of Clan Chattan and 
Clan Cameron, who had previously joined him, and of 
seeing them going over in a body to the Royal standard. 
The King immediately attacked the island chief and 
completely routed his forces, while their leader sought 
safety in flight. He was vigorously pursued, and finding 
escape or concealment equally impossible, and being 
reduced to the utmost distress, hunted from place to 
place by his vigilant pursuers, the haughty chief resolved 
to throw himself entirely on the mercy of Hi:} Majesty, 
and finding his way to Edinburgh in the most secret 
manner, and on the occasion of a solemn festival on 
Easter Sunday, in 1429, at Holyrood, he suddenly 
appeared in his shirt and drawers before the King and 
Queen, surrounded by all the nobles of the Court, while 
they were engaged in their devotions before the High 
Altar, and implored, on his knees, with a naked sword 
held by the point in his hand, the forgiveness of his 
sovereign. With bonnet in hand, his legs and arms quite 
bare, his body covered only with a plaid, and in token 
of absolute submission, he offered his sword to the King. 
His appearance, strengthened by the solicitations of the 
affected Queen and all the nobles, made such an 
impression on His Majesty that he submitted to the 
promptings of his heart against the wiser and more 
prudent dictates of his judgment He accepted the 
sword offered 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 Alexanders followers, however, could not brook 
this mortal offence, and the whole strength of the clan 


was promptly mustered under his cousin Donald Balloch, 
who led them to Lochaber, where they met the King's 
forces under the Earls of Mar and Caithness, killed the 
latter, gained a complete victory over the Royal army, 
and returned to the Isles in triumph, with an immense 
quantity of spoil. 

James soon after proceeded north in person as far as 
Dunstaffnage ; Donald Balloch fled to Ireland; and, after 
several encounters with the rebels, the King obtained the 
submission of the majority of the chiefs who were 
engaged in the rebellion, while others were promptly 
apprehended and executed to the number of about three 
hundred. The King thereupon released the Lord of the 
Isles from Tantallon Castle, and granted him a free 
pardon for all his rebellious acts, confirmed him in all 
his titles and possessions, and further conferred upon 
him, in addition, the Ix)rdship of Lochaber, which had 
previously, on its forfeiture, been granted to the Earl of 

After his first escape from Edinburgh, the Lord of 
the Isles again in 1429 raised the standard of revolt. He 
for the second time burnt the town of Inverness, while 
Mackenzie was "attending to his duties at Court." Kintail 
was recalled by his followers, who armed for the King, 
and led by their young chief on his return home, they 
materially aided in the overthrow of Alexander of the 
Isles, at the same time securing peace and good govern- 
ment in their own district, and among most of the 
surrounding tribes. Alexander is also found actively 
supporting the King, and with the Royal army, during 
the turbulent rule of John, successor to Alexander, Lord 
of the Isles, who afterwards, in 1447, died at peace with 
his sovereign. 

James I. died in 1460, and was succeeded by James II. 
When, in 1462, the Earl of Douglas, the Lord of the Isles, 
and Donald Balloch of Isla entered into a treaty with the 
King of England for the subjugation of Scotland, on con- 
dition, in the event of success, that the whole of Scotland, 


north of the Firth of Forth, should be divided between 
them, Alexander Mackenzie stood firm in the interest of 
the ruling monarch, and with such success that nothing 
came of this extraordinary compact. We soon after find 
him rewarded by a charter in his favour, dated 7th 
January 1463, confirming him in his lands of Kintail, 
with a further grant of the "5 merk lands of Killin, the 
lands of Garve, and the 2 merk lands of Coryvulzie, with 
the three merk lands of Kinlochluichart, and 2 merk 
lands of Ach-na-Clerich, the 2 merk lands of Garbat, 
the merk lands of Delintan, and the 4 merk lands of 
Tarvie, all lying within the shire and Earldom of Ross, 
to be holden of the said John and his successors, Earls 
of Ross." This is the first Crown charter in favour of 
the Mackenzie chief of which any authentic record 

Alexander continued to use his great influence at 
Court, as well as with John Lord of the Isles, for the 
purpose of bringing about a reconciliation between his 
Majesty and his powerful subject during the unnatural 
rebellion of Angus Og against his father. The King, 
however, proved inexorable, and refused to treat with 
the Earl on any condition other than the absolute and 
unconditional surrender of the earldom of Ross to the 
Crown, of which, however, he would be allowed to hold 
all his other possessions in future. These conditions the 
island chief haughtily refused, again flew to arms, and 
in 1476 invaded Moray, but finding that he could offer 
no effectual resistance to the powerful forces sent against 
him by the King, he, by the seasonable grants of the 
lands of Knapdale and Kintyre, secured the influence of 
Colin, first Earl of Argyll, in his favour, and with the 
additional assistance of Kintail, procured remission of his 
past offences on the conditions previously offered to him ; 
and resigning for ever, in 1476, the Earldom of Ross to 
the King, he "was infeft of new" in the Lordship of 
the Isles and the other possessions which he had not 
been called upon to renounce. The Earldom was in 


the same year, in the 9th Parliament of James III., 
irrevocably annexed to the Crown, where the title and the 
honours still remain, held by the Prince of Wales. 

The great services rendered by the Baron of Kintail 
to the reigning family, especially during these negotiations, 
and generally throughout his long rule at Ellandonnan, 
were recognised by a charter from the Crown, dated 
Edinburgh, November 1476, of some of the lands 
renounced by the Earl of Ross, viz., Strathconan, 
Strathbraan, and Strathgarve ; and after this the Barons 
of Kintail held all their lands quite independently of any 
superior but the Crown. 

During the long continued disputes between the Earl 
of Ross and Kintail no one was more zealous in the 
cause of the island chief than Allan Macdonald of 
Moydart, who, during Mackenzie's absence, made several 
raids into Kintail, ravaged the country, and carried away 
large numbers of cattle. After the forfeiture of the 
Earldom of Ross, Allan s youngest brother, supported by 
a faction of the tenantry, rebelled against his elder brother, 
and possessed himself for a time of the Moydart estates. 
The Lord of the Isles was unwilling to appear so soon 
in these broils ; or perhaps he favoured the pretentions 
of the younger brother, and refused to give any assistance 
to Allan, who, however, hit upon a device as bold as it 
ultimately proved successful. He started for Kinellan, 
"being ane ile in ane loch," where Mackenzie at the 
time resided, and presented himself personally before his 
old enemy, who was naturally surprised beyond measure 
to receive such a visit from one to whom he had never 
been reconciled. Allan, however, related how he had 
been oppressed by his brother and his nearest friends 
and how he had been refused aid from those to whom he 
had a natural right to look for it. In these desperate 
circumstances he resolved to apply to his greatest enemy, 
who, he argued, might for any assistance he could 
give gain in return as faithful a friend as he had 
previously been his ** diligent adversary." Alexander, on 


hearing the story, was moved to pity by the manner in 
which Allan had been oppressed by his own relatives, 
promised him the required support, proceeded in person 
with a sufficient force to repossess him, and finally 
accomplished his purpose. The other Macdonalds, who 
had been dispossessed thereupon represented to the 
King that Alexander Mackenzie had invaded their territory 
as a •* disturber of the peace, and ane oppressor," the 
result being that he was cited before His Majesty at 
Edinburgh, "but here was occasion given to Allan to 
requite Alexander's generosity, for Alexander having 
raised armies to assist him, without commission, he found 
in it a transgression of the law, though just upon the 
matter ; so to prevent Alexander's prejudice, he presently 
went to Holyrood House, where the King was, and 
being of a bold temper, did truly relate how his and 
Alexander's affairs stood, showing withal that he, as being 
the occasion of it, was ready to suffer what law would 
exact rather than to expose so generous a friend to any 
hazard. King James was so taken with their reciprocal 
heroisms, that he not only forgave, but allowed Alexander, 
and of new confirmed Allan in the lands of Moydart."* 
The two were then allowed to return home unmolested. 

Some time before this a desperate skirmish took place 
at a place called Bealach nam Brog, ** betwixt the heights 
of Fearann Donuil and Lochbraon " (Dundonald and Loch- 
broom), which was brought about by some of Kintail's 
vassals, instigated by Donald Garbh M'lver, who attempted 
to seize the Earl of Ross. The plot was, however, 
discovered, and M'lver was seized by the Lord of the 
Isles' followers, and imprisoned in the Castle of Dingwall. 
He was soon released, however, by his undaunted 
countrymen from Kenlochewe, consisting of Macivers, 
Maclennans, Macaulays, and Macleays, who, by way of 
reprisal, pursued and seized the Earl's relative, Alexander 
Ross of Balnagown, and carried him along with them. 
The Earl at once apprised Lord Lovat, who was then His 

* Cromartie MS. of the Mackenzie!. 


Majesty's Lieutenant in the North, of the illegal seizure of 
Balnagown, and his lordship promptly dispatched north- 
ward two hundred men, who, joined by Ross's vassals, the 
Munroes of Fowlis, and the Dingwalls of Kildun, pursued 
and overtook the western tribes at Bealach nam Brog, 
where they were resting themselves. A sanguinary con- 
flict ensued, aggravated and more than usually exasperated 
by a keen and bitter recollection of ancient feuds and 
animosities. The Kenlochewe men seem to have been 
almost extirpated. The race of Dingwall were actually 
extinguished, one hundred and forty of their men having 
been slain, while the family of Fowlis lost eleven members 
of their house alone, with many of the leading men of 
their clan.* 

An interesting account of this skirmish and the cause 
which led to it is given in one of the family manuscripts. 
It says — Euphemia Leslie, Countess Dowager of Ross, 
lived at Dingwall. She would gladly have married 
Alexander of Kintail, he being a proper handsome young 
man, and she signified no less to himself. He refused 
the offer, perhaps, because he plighted his faith to 
Macdougalls daughter, but though he had not had done 
so, he had all the reason imaginable to reject the 
Countess's offer, for besides that she was not able to add 
to his estate, being but a life-rentrix, she was a turbulent 
woman, and therefore, in the year 1426, the King 
committed her to prison in St. Colin's Isle (Dingwall), 
because she had instigated her son, Alexander Earl of 
Ross, to rebellion. She invited Kintail to her Court in 
Dingwall to make a last effort, but finding him obstinate 
she converted her love to hatred and revenge, and made 
him prisoner, and either by torturing or bribing his page, 
she procured the golden ring which was the token 
between Mackenzie and Macaulay, the governor of 

* "Among the rest ther wcr slain eleven Monroes of the House of 
Fonlls, that wer to succeed one after another; so that the succession of 
FouUs fell into a chyld then lying in his cradle.** — ^r Robert Gordon* s IRstory 
of the Earldom of Sutherland^ p. 36. 


Ellandonnan, who had strict orders not to quit the castle 
or suffer any one to enter it until he sent him that token. 
The Countess sent a gentleman to Ellandonnan with the 
ring, who, by her instructions, informed Macaulay that 
his master was, or shortly would be, married to the 
Countess of Ross, desiring the Governor to repair to his 
master and to leave the stronghold with him. Macaulay 
seeing and receiving the ring believed the story, and 
gave up the castle, but in a few days he discovered his 
mistake and found that his chief was a prisoner instead 
of being a bridegroom. He went straight to Dingwall, 
and finding an opportunity to communicate with Mac- 
kenzie, the latter made allegorical remarks by which 
Macaulay understood that nothing would secure his 
release but the apprehension of Ross of Balnagown, who 
was grand uncle, or grand uncle's son to the Countess. 
Macaulay returned to Kintail, made up a company of 
the "prettiest fellows" he could find of Mackenzie's 
family, and went back with them to Easter Ross, and in 
the morning apprehended Balnagown in a little arbour 
near the house, in a little wood to which he usually 
resorted for an airing, and, mounting him on horseback, 
carried him westward among the hills. Balnagown's 
friends were soon in pursuit, but fearing capture, Macaulay 
sent Balnagown away under guard, resolving to fight and 
detain the pursuers at Bealach nam Brog, as already 
described, until Balnagown was safely out of their reach. 
After his success here Macaulay went to Kintail, and at 
Glenluing, five miles from Ellandonnan, he overtook thirty 
men, sent by the Countess, with meal and other 
provisions for the garrison, and the spot, where they 
seized them is to this day called Innis nam Balg. 
Macaulay secured them, and placed his men in their 
upper garments and plaids, who took the sacks of meal 
on their backs, and went straight with them to the 
garrison, whose impoverished condition induced the 
Governor to admit them without any enquiry, not doubt- 
ing but they were his own friends. Once inside they 


threw down their burdens, drew their weapons from under 
their plaids, seized the new Governor and all his men, 
and kept them in captivity until Mackenzie was after- 
wards exchanged for the Governor and Balnagown.* 

There has been considerable difference of opinion as 
to the date of this encounter, but it is finally set at rest 
by the discovery of a positive date in the Fowlis papers, 
where it is said that ** George, the fourth Laird, and his 
son, begotton on Balnagown's daughter, were killed at 
the conflict of Beallach na Brog, in the year 1452, and 
Dingwall of Kildun, with several of their friends and 
followers, in taking back the Earl of Ross's second son 
from Clan Iver, Clan Tarlich or Maclennans, and Clan 
Leod."t The Balnagown of that date was not the Earl 
of Ross's son, but a near relative. 

Angus Og, after many sanguinary conflicts with his 
father, finally overthrew him at the battle of the Bloody 
Bay, between Tobermory and Ardnamurchan, obtained 
possession of all the extensive territories of his clan, 
and was recognised as its legitimate head. He then 
determined to punish Mackenzie for having" taken his 
father's part at Court, and otherwise, during the rebellion, 
and swore that he would recover from him the great 
possessions which originally belonged to his predecessors, 
the Lords of the Isles, but now secured by Royal Charter 
to the Baron of Kintail. With this object he decided to 
attack him. and marched to Inverness, where he expected 
to meet the now aged Mackenzie returning from attend- 
ance at Court. Angus, however, missed his object, and 
instead of killing Mackenzie, he was himself assassinated 
by his harper, an Irishman. This tragic, but well-merited, 

♦Ardintoul MS. 

fThe Earl of Cromarty gives a different version, and says that the 
battle or skirmish took place in the year immediately after the Battle of 
Harlaw. In this he is manifestly in error The Highlanders, to defend 
themselves from the arrows of their enemies, with their belts tied their 
shoes on their breasts, hence the name " Bealach nam Brog,*' or the Pass 
of the Shoes. 


close to such a violent and turbulent career, is recorded 
in the Red Book of Clan Ranald in the following^ 
terms : — ** Donald, the son of Angus that was killed at 
Inverness by his own harper, son of John of the Isles, 
son of Alexander, son of Donald, son of John, son of 
Angus Og;" an event which must have occurred about 


Alexander was the first of the family who lived on the 
island in Loch Kinellan, while at the same time he had 
Brahan as a ** maines," or farm, both of which his successor 
for a time held from the King at a yearly rent, until 
Kenneth feued Brahan, and Colin, his son, feued Kinellan. 
The Earl of Sutherland had been on friendly terms with 
Mackenzie, and appointed him as his deputy in the 
management of the Earldom of Ross, which devolved on 
him after the forfeiture. On one occasion, the Earl of 
Sutherland being in the south at Court, the Strathnaver 
men and the men of the Braes of Caithness took advan- 
tage of his absence and invaded Sutherland. An account 
of their conduct soon spread abroad, and reached the ears 
of the Chief of Kintail, who at once with a party of six 
hundred men, passed into Sutherland, where, the Earls 
followers having joined him, he defeated the invaders, 
killed a large number of them, forced the remainder to 
sue for peace, and compelled them to give substantial 
security for their peaceful behaviour in future. 

Kintail was now a very old man. His prudence and 
sagacity well repaid the judicious patronage of the 
first King James, confirmed and extended by his 
successors on the throne, and, as has been well said by 
his biographer, secured for him "the love and respect of 
three Princes in whose reign he flourished, and as his 
prudent management in the Earldom of Ross showed 
him to be a man of good natural parts, so it very much 
contributed to the advancement of the interest of his 
family by the acquisition of the lands he thereby made ; 
nor was he less commendable for the quiet and peace he 
kept among his Highlanders, putting the laws punctually 


in execution against all delinquents." Such a character 
as this, justly called Alastair lonraic, or the just, was 
certainly well fitted to govern, and deserved to flourish 
in the age in which he lived. Various important events 
occurred during the latter part of his life, but as Kenneth, 
his brave son and successor, was the actual leader of the 
clan for many years before his father's death, and especially 
at the celebrated battle of Park, the leading battles and 
feuds in which the clan was engaged during this period 
will be dealt with in the account of that Baron. 

There has been much difference of opinion among 
the genealogists and family historians regarding Alex- 
ander's two wives. Both Edmonston in his Baronagiiim 
Geuealogicum^ and Douglas in his Peerage say that 
Alexander's first wife was Agnes, sixth daughter of Colin, 
first Earl of Argyll. This we shall prove to be abso- 
lutely impossible within the ordinary course of the laws 
of nature. Colin, first Earl of Argyll, succeeded as a minor 
in 1453. his uncle. Sir Colin Campbell of Glenurchy, 
having been appointed his tutor. Colin of Argyll was 
created Earl in 1457, probably on his coming of age. 
He married Isabel Stewart of Lorn, had two sons, and, 
according to Crawford, five daughters. If he had a 
daughter Agnes she must have been his sixth daughter 
and eighth child. Assuming that Argyll married when 
he became of age, about 1457, Agnes, as his eighth 
surviving child, could not have been born before 1470. 
Her reputed husband, Alexander of Kintail, was then 
close upon 70 years of age, having died in 1488, 
bordering upon 90, when his alleged wife would barely 
have reached a marriageable age, and when her reputed 
son, Kenneth a Bhlair, pretty well advanced in years, 
had already fought the famous battle of Park. John of 
Killin, her alleged grandson, was born about 1480, when 
at most the lady said to have been his grandmother 
could only have been 10 to 15 years of age, and. in 
1 5 13, at the age of 33, he distinguished himself at the 
battle of Flodden, where Archibald second Earl of 



Argyll, the lady's brother, at least ten years older than 
Agnes, was slain. All this is of course impossible. 

A similar difficulty has arisen, from what appears to 
be a very simple cause, about Alexander's second 
marriage. The authors of all the family MS. histories 
are unanimous in stating that his first wife was Anna, 
daughter of John Macdougali of Lorn, or Dunollich, 
known as John Mac Alan Mac Cowle, fourth in descent 
from Alexander de Ergedia and Lord of Lorn (1284), 
and eighth from Somerled, Thane of Argyle, who died 
in 1 164. Though the direct line of the house of Lorn 
ended in two heiresses who, in 1388, carried away the 
property to their husbands, the Macdougalls of Dunollich 
became the male representatives of the ancient and 
illustrious house of Lorn ; and this fully accounts for the 
difference and confusion which has been introduced about 
the families of Lorn and Dunollich in some of the 
Mackenzie family manuscripts. 

The same authorities who affirm that Agnes of Argyll 
was Alexander's first wife assert that Anna Macdougali, 
was his second. There is ample testimony to show that 
the latter was his first, although some confusion has again 
arisen in this case from a similarity of names and 
patronymics. Some of the family MSS. say that 
Alexander's second wife was Margaret, daughter of 
"M'Couil," ''M'Chouile," or "Macdougali" of Morir, or 
Morar, while others, among them the Allangrange 
Ancient MS. have it that she was ** MacRanald's 
daughter." The Ardintoul MS. describes her as 
"Muidort's daughter." One of the Gairloch MSS. says 
that she was "Margarite, the daughter of Macdonald of 
Morar, of the Clan Ranald Race, from the stock of 
Donald, Lord of the iEbudae Islands," while in another 
MS. in Sir Kenneth Mackenzie's possession she is 
designated " Margaret Macdonald, daughter of Macdonald 
of Morar." There is thus an apparent contradiction, but 
it can be conclusively shown that the lady so variously 
described was one and the same person. Gregory in 


his Highlands and Islands of Scotland, p. 158, states 
that "Macdougall" was the patronymic of one of the 
families of Clan Ranald of Moydarc and Morar. Speaking 
of Dugald MacRanald, son and successor to Ranald Ban 
Ranaldson of Moydart, he says, "Allan the eldest son 
of Dougal, and the undoubted male heir of Clan Ranald, 
acquitted the estate of Morar, which he transmitted to 
his descendants. He and his successors were always 
styled, in Gaelic, MacDhughail Mhorair, ;V., MacDougal 
of Morar, from their ancestor, Dougald MacRanald." At 
p. 65 he says that "the Clan Ranald of Garmoran 
comprehended the families of Moydart, Morar, Knoydart, 
and Glengarry." This family was descended from Ranald, 
younger son of John of the Isles, by his marriage with 
the heiress of the MacRorys or MacRuaries of Garmoran, 
whose ancestry, from Somerled of the Isles, is as 
illustrious as that of any family in the kingdom. A 
district north of Arisaig is still known among the 
Western Islanders as ** Mor-thir Mhic Dhughail " or the 
mainland possession of the ^on of Dougall. The MS. 
histories of the Mackenzies having been all written after 
the patronymic of " MacDhughail " was acquired by the 
Macdonalds of Moydart and Morar, they naturally enough 
described Alexander of Kintails second wife as a 
daughter of Macdougall of Morar, of Muidort, and of 
Clan Ranald, indiscriminately. But in point of fact all 
these designations describe one and the same person. 

Alexander married first, Anna, daughter of John 
Macdougall of Dunolly, with issue — 

1. Kenneth, his heir and successor. 

2. Duncan, progenitor of the Mackenzies of Hilton, 
and their branches, and of whom in their order as the 
senior cadet family of the clan. 

He married secondly Margaret, daughter of Macdonald 
of Morar, a cadet of Clanranald, with issue — 

3. Hector Roy or ** Eachainn Ruadh," from whom are 
descended the Mackenzies of Gairloch and their various 
offshoots, of whom in their proper place. 


4. A daughter, who married Allan Macleod, Hector 
Roy's predecessor in Gairloch. 

He is also said to have had a natural son, Dugfal, who 
became a priest and was Superior of the Priory of 
Beauly, which he repaired about 1478, and in which he 
is buried. This ecclesiastic is said by others to have 
been Alexander's brother.* 

Alexander died in 1488 at Kinellan, having attained 
the extreme old age of 90 years, was buried in the 
Priory of Beauly, and was succeeded by his eldest son 
by the first marriage, 


Better known as "Coinneach a* Bhlair," or Kenneth of 
the Battle, from his prowess and success against the 
Macdonalds at the Battle of Park during his father's 
life-time. He was served heir to his predecessor and 
seized in the lands of Kintail at Dingwall on the 2nd of 
September, 1488. He secured the cognomen '*Of the 
Battle" from the distinguished part he took in **Blar-na- 
Pairc" fought at a well-known spot still pointed out near 
Kinellan, above Strathpeffer. His father was advanced in 
life before Kenneth married, and as soon as the latter 
arrived at twenty years of age Alexander thought it 
prudent, with the view of establishing peace between the 
two families, to match Kenneth, his heir and successor, 
with Margaret, daughter of John Lord of the Isles and 
fourth Earl of Ross, and for ever extinguish their 
ancient feuds in that alliance. The Island chief willingly 
consented and the marriage was in due course solemnised. 
About a year after, the Earl's nephew and apparent heir, 
Alexander Macdonald of Lochalsh, came to Ross, and, 
feeling more secure in consequence of this matrimonial 
alliance between the family of Mackenzie and his own, 
took possession of Balcony House and the adjoining 
lands, where, at the following Christmas, he provided a 

* Anderson's Histary of the F^asers^ p. 66; and MS, History of the 


great feast for his old dependants, inviting to it also 
most of the more powerful chiefs and barons north of 
the Spey, and among others, Kenneth Mackenzie, his 
cousin's husband. The house of Balcony being at the 
time very much out of repair, he could not conveniently 
lodge all his distinguished guests within it, and had 
accordingly to arrange for some of them in the outhouses 
as best he could. Kenneth did not arrive until Christmas 
Eve, accompanied by a train of forty able bodied men, 
according to the custom of the times, but without his 
lady, which deeply offended Macdonald. Maclean of 
Duart had chief charge of the arrangements in the house 
and the disposal of the guests. Some days previously 
he had a disagreement with Kenneth at some games, 
and, on his arrival, Maclean 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. Kenneth considered this an insult, and, 
divining that it proceeded from Maclean's illwill to him, 
he instantly struck him a blow on the ear, which 
threw him to the ground. The servants in the houss 
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 to beat a retreat, 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 over night in the house of a 
tenant, who, like a good many more in those days, had 
no surname, but was simply known by a patronymic. 
Kenneth, boiling with passion, was sorely affronted at the 
insult which he had received, and at being from his own 
house at Christmas, staying with a stranger, and off his 
own property. In these circumstances, he requested his 
host to adopt the name of Mackenzie, promising him 
protection in future, so that he might thus be able to 
say that he slept under the roof of one of his own name. 


The man 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 some 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 comply with this request, 
though he considered it very strange to receive such a 
message on such a day, and wondered much what his 
visitor's object could be. He soon found that Kenneth 
simply wanted a feu of the small piece of land on which 
was situated the house in which he had lodged the 
previous night, stating, as his reason, '*lest Macdonald 
should brag that he had forced him on Christmas Day 
to lodge at another man s discretion, and not on his own 
heritage." The Bishop, willing to oblige him, probably 
afraid to do otherwise, and perceiving him in such a 
rage, at once sent for his clerk and there and then 
granted him a charter of the township of Cullicudden, 
whereupon Kenneth returned to the place and remained 
in it all day, lording over it as his own property. The 
place was kept by him and his successors until Colin 
** Cam " 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 his 
father, the old chief Alexander, resided, and related to 
him 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 smaller 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 avenge 


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 avenge 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 his son Kenneth to remove from Kinellan, 
with all their families, within twenty-four hours, allowing 
only that the young Lady Margaret, Macdonald's own 
cousin, might remain until she had more leisure to 
remove, and threatening war to the knife in case of 

Kenneth's rage now became ungovernable, and, 
without consulting his father or waiting his counsel, he 
bade the messenger tell Macdonald that his father would 
remain where he was in spite of him and all his power. 
As for himself, he accepted no rules as to his staying or 
going, but Macdonald would be sure enough to hear 
of him wherever he was. As for Macdonald's cousin, 
I^dy Margaret, since he had no desire to keep further 
peace with his family he would no longer keep his 

Such was the defiant message sent to young Mac- 
donald, and immediately after its despatch, Kenneth sent 
away Lady Margaret, in the most ignominious manner, 
to Balcony House. The lady was blind of an eye, and, to 
insult her cousin to the utmost, he sent her back to 
him mounted on a one-eyed horse, accompanied by a 
one-eyed servant, followed by a one-eyed dog. She 
was in a delicate state of health, and this inhumanity 
grieved her so much that she never after wholly 

Her son, recently born, the only issue of the marriage, 
was named Kenneth, and to distinguish him from his 
father was called "Coinneach Og" or Kenneth the 

It appears that Kenneth had no great affection for 


Lady Margaret, for a few days after he sent her 
away he went to Lord I-,ovat accompanied by two 
hundred of his followers and besieged his house. Lovat 
was naturally surprised at his conduct and demanded an 
explanation, when he was informed by Kenneth that he 
came to demand his daughter Agnes in marriage now 
that he had no wife, having, as he told him, disposed 
of Lady Margaret in the manner already described. He 
insisted upon an immediate and favourable reply to his 
suit on which condition he promised to be on strict 
terms of friendship with the family; but, if his demand 
was refused he would swear mortal enmity against 
Lovat and his house ; and, as evidence of his intention in 
this respect, he pointed out to his lordship that he already 
had a party of his vassals outside gathering together 
the men, women, and goods that were nearest in the 
vicinity, all of whom, he declared, should **be made one 
fyne to evidence his resolution." Lovat, who had no 
particularly friendly feelings towards Macdonald of the 
Isles, was not at all indisposed to procure Mackenzie's 
friendship on the terms proposed, and considering the 
exigencies and danger of his retainers, and knowing full 
well the bold and determined character of the man he had 
to deal with, he consented to the proposed alliance, 
provided the young lady herself was favourable. She 
fortunately proved submissive. Lord Lovat delivered her 
up to her suitor, who- immediately returned home with 
her, and ever after they lived together as husband and 

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 
her family. He therefore 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. Thev assumed that Alexander Mackenzie, 
now so old, would not have gone to Kintail, but would stay 
in Ross, judging that the Maqdonalds, so recently come 
under obligations to the King to keep the peace, would 
not venture to collect their forces and invade the low 
country. But Kenneth, foreseeing the danger from the 
rebellious temper of Macdonald, went to Kintail at the com- 
mencement of his enemy's preparations, and placed a strong 
garrison, with sufficient provisions, in Ellandonnan Castle ; 
and the cattle and other goods in the district he ordered 
to be driven and sent 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, Strath- 
garve, and other glens in the Braes of Ross, all fully 
determined to defend Kenneth and his aged father at 
the expense, if need be, of their lives, small as their 
united forces were in comparison with that against which 
they knew 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 met 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, plundering 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 went, and put the inhabitants and 
more immediate retainers of the family to the sword, 
resolutely determined to punish Mackenzie for his ill- 
treatment of Lady Margaret and recover possession of 
that part of the Earldom of Ross forfeited by the earls of 
that name, and now the property of Mackenzie by Royal 
charter. Having wasted Strathconan, Macdonald arrived 
on Sunday morning at Contin, where he found the 


people in great terror and confusion ; and the able-bodied 
men having already joined Mackenzie, the aged, the 
women, and the children took refuge in the church, 
thinking themselves secure within its precincts from any 
enemy professing Christianity. They soon, to their horror, 
found out their mistake. 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, together with the hapless crowd 
of helpless and aged men, women and children, were 
all burnt to ashes. 

Some of those who were fortunate enough not to have 
been in Contin church immediately started for Kinellan, 
and informed Mackenzie of the hideous massacre. Alex- 
ander, though deeply grieved 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 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 on the 
large moor, now known as ** Blar-na-Pairc," that he 
might review them, and send out a detachment to pursue 
the enemy. Kenneth Mackenzie, who had received the 
command of the clan from the old chief, had meantime 
posted his men in a strong position — on ground where 
he considered 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 
three times that number, but he had the advantage 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 the 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 Mackenzies, the opposing forces being 
only separated from each other by a peat moss, full of 
deep pits and deceitful bogs. Kenneth, fearing a siege, 
had shortly before this prevailed upon his aged father 
to retire to the Ravens Rock, above Strathpeffer, to 
which place, strong and easily defended, he resolved to 
follow him in case he were compelled to retreat before 
the numerically superior force 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 far 
more numerous numbers of his adversary. 

By the nature of the ground, Kenneth perceived that 
Macdonald could not bring all his forces to the attack 
at once, and he accordingly resolved to maintain his 
ground and try the effects of a stratagem which he 
correctly calculated would mislead his opponent and 
place him at a serious disadvantage. He acquainted his 
younger 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 himself 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 own intention to retreat and commanded 
him to be in readiness with his archers to charge the 
enemy whenever they got fairly into the moss and 
entangled among the pits and bogs. 

Having made these preliminary arrangements, he 
boldly advanced to meet the foe, leading his resolute 
band in the direction of the intervening moss. Mac- 
donald, seeing him, cried in derision to Gillespie to see 
** Mackenzie's impudent madness, daring thus to face him 
at such disadvantage." Gillespie, being a more experienced 
leader than the youthful and impetuous Alexander, said 
that ''such extraordinary boldness should be met by more 


extraordinary wariness in us, lest we fall into unexpected 
inconvenience." Macdonald, in a towering passion, replied 
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 in so 
masterly a manner that, in doing so, he inflicted as 
much damage on the enemy as he received. The Isles- 
men speedily got entangled in the moss, and Duncan 
Mackenzie observing this, rushed forth from his ambush 
and furiously attacked them in flank and rear, killing 
most of those who had entered the bog. He then turned 
his attention to the main body of the Islesmen, who 
were quite unprepared for so sudden an onslaught 
.Kenneth, seeing this, charged with his main body, who 
were all well instructed in their leader'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 among 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 by Alexander Macdonald's 
taunt before the engagement began, to prove to him 
that "though he was wary in council he was not fearful 
in action," sought out Kenneth 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 the Mackenzies in course of his approach 
to 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 
Macdonalds that came in his way. He made a signal to 
Gillespie to advance and meet him hand-to-hand, but, 


finding him hesitating, Kenneth, who far exceeded him 
in strength while he equalled . him in courage, would 
"brook no tedious debate but pressed on with fearful 
eagerness, at one blow cut off Gillespics arm and 
passed very far into his body so that he fell down dead " 
on the spot. 

At this moment Kenneth noticed his standard-bearer 
close by, without his colours, and fighting desperately 
to his own hand. He turned round to him, and 
angrily asked what had become of his colours, when he 
was coolly answered — **I left Macdonald's standard-bearer, 
quite unashamed of himself, and without the slightest 
concern for those of his own chief, carefully guarding 
mine." Kenneth naturally demanded an explanation of 
such an extraordinary state of matters, when the man 
informed him that he had met Macdonald's standard- 
bearer in the conflict, and had been fortunate enough to 
slay him ; that he had thrust the staff of his own standard 
through his opponent's body ; and as there appeared to 
be some good work to do among the enemy, he had 
left some of his companions to guard the standard, and 
devoted himself to do what little he could to aid his 
master, and protect him from his adversaries. Maclean 
of Lochbuy (Lachlainn MacThearlaich) was killed by 
** Duncan m6r na Tuaighe," Mackenzie's "great scallag," 
of whom we have the following curious account : — 

Shortly before the battle, a raw, ungainly, but powerful - 
looking youth from Kintail was seen .staring about, as 
the Mackenzies were starting to meet the enemy, in an 
apparently idiotic manner, as if looking for something. 
He ultimately came across an old rusty battle-axe, of 
great size, and, setting off after the others, he arrived at 
the scene of strife just as the combatants were closing 
with each other. Duncan Macrae (for such was his 
name), from his stupid and ungainly appearance, was 
taken little notice of, and was wandering about in 
an aimless, vacant, half-idiotic manner. Hector Roy, 
Alexander's third son, and progenitor of the Gairloch 


Mackenzies, observing him, asked why he was not 
taking part in the fight, and supporting his chief and 
clan. Duncan replied — **Mar a faigh mi miabh duine, 
cha dean mi gniomh duine." (Unless I get a man's 
esteem, I shall not perform a man's work.) This was in 
reference to his not having been provided with a proper 
weapon. Hector answered him — ** Deansa gniomh duine 
's gheibh thu miabh duine." (Perform a man's work and 
you will get a man's esteem.) Duncan at once rushed 
into the strife, exclaiming — "Buille mhor bho chul mo 
laimhe, 's ceum leatha, am fear nach teich romham, 
teicheam roimhe." (A heavy stroke from the back of my 
hand [arm] and a step to [enforce] it He who does 
not get out of my way, let me get out of his.) Duncan 
soon killed a man, and, drawing the body aside, he coolly 
sat upon it. Hector Roy, noticing this peculiar pro- 
ceeding as he was passing by in the heat of the contest, 
accosted Duncan, and asked him why he was not still 
engaged with his comrades. Duncan answered — **Mar 
a faigh mi ach miabh aon duine cha dean mi ach gniomh 
aon duine." (If I only get one man's due I shall only 
do one man's work). Hector told him to perform two 
men's work, and he would get two men's reward. 
Duncan returned again to the field of carnage, killed 
another, pulled his body away, placed it on the top of 
the first, and sat upon the two. The same question was 
again asked, and the answer given : — ** I have killed two 
men, and earned two men's wages." Hector answered — 
" Do your best, and we shall not be reckoning with you." 
Duncan instantly replied — **Am fear nach biodh ag 
cunntadh rium cha bhithinn ag cunntadh ris" — (He that 
would not reckon with me, I would not reckon with him) 
— and rushed into the thickest of the battle, where he 
mowed down the enemy with his rusty battle-axe like 
grass ; so much so that Lachlan Maclean of Lochbuy 
(Lachlainn MacThearlaich), a most redoubtable warrior, 
placed himself in Duncan's way to check him in his 
murderous career. The two met in mortal .«trife, but, 


Maclean being a very powerful man, clad in mail, and 
well versed in arms, Duncan could make no impression 
upon him ; but, being lighter and more active than his 
heavily mailed opponent, he managed to defend himself, 
watching his opportunity, and retreating backwards until 
he arrived at a ditch, where his opponent, thinking he 
had him fixed, made a desperate stroke at him, which 
Duncan parried, at the same time jumping back- 
wards across the ditch. Maclean, to catch his enemy, 
made a furious lunge with his weapon, but, instead of 
entering Duncan's body, it got fixed in the opposite 
bank of the ditch. In withdrawing it, he bent his 
head forward, when the helmet, rising, exposed the 
back of his neck, upon which Duncan's battle-axe 
descended with the velocity of lightning, and with such 
terrific force as to sever Maclean's head from his body. 
This, it is said, was the turning-point of the struggle, 
for the Macdonalds, seeing the brave leader of their van 
fallmg, at once retreated, and gave up all for lost. The 
hero was ever afterwards known as ** Donnchadh Mor 
na Tuaighe," or Big Duncan of the Axe, and many a 
story is told in Kintail and Gairloch of the many other 
prodigies of valour which he performed in the after 
contests of the Mackenzies and the Macraes against 
their common enemies. **Such of Macdonald's men as 
escaped the battle fled together, and as they were going 
homeward began to spulzie Strathconan, which Mac- 
kenzie hearing, followed them with a party, overtakes 
them at Invercorran, kills shoals of them and the rest 
fled divers ways.*' 

That night, as Mackenzie sat at supper, he missed 
Duncan M6r, and said to the company — ** I am more 
vexed for the want of my scaling mor (big servant) 
this night than any satisfaction I had of this day." One 
of those present said, ** I thought, (as the people fled) 
I perceived him following four or five men that ran up 
the burn." He had not well spoken the word when 
Duncan M6r came in with four heads ** bound on a 


woody" and threw them before his master, saying — **Tell 
me now if I have not deserved my supper," to which, it 
is said of him, he fell with great gusto. 

This reminds me, continues the chronicler, "of a cheat 
he once played on an Irishman, being a traveller, withal 
a strong, lusty fellow, well-proportioned, but of an 
extraordinary stomach. He resorted into gentlemen's 
houses, and (was) very oft in Mackenzie's. Having come 
on a time to the same Mackenzie's house in Islandonain 
two or three years after this battle (of Park), he was 
cared for as usual, and when the laird went to dinner, 
he was set aside, at a side-table to himself, and a double 
proportion allowed him, which this Duncan Mor envying, 
went on a day and sat side for side with him, drew his 
skyn or short dagger and eats with him. * How now,' 
says the Irishman, *how comes it that you fall in eating 
in any manner of way.' * I cannot tell,' says Duncan, 
*but I do think I have as good will to eat as you can 
have.' 'Well,' says the other, *we shall try that when 
we have done.' So when the laird had done of his 
dinner, the Irishman went where he was and said, 
* Noble sir, I have travelled now almost among all the 
clans in Scotland, and was resorting their houses, as I 
have been several times here, where I cannot say but 
I was sufficiently cared for, but I never met with such 
an affront as I have this day.' The laird asked what 
he meant. So he tells him what injury Duncan had done 
him in eating a share of his proportion. 'Well,' says 
the laird, *I hope M*ille Chruimb,* for so the Irishman 
was called, *you will take no notice of him that did 
that; for he is but a fool that plays the fool now and 
then.' * I cannot tell,' says he, * but he is no idiot at 
eating, nor will I let my affront pass so ; for I must 
have a turn or two of wrestling with him for it in your 
presence.' Whereupon a stander-by asks Duncan if he 
would wrestle with him. * I will,' says he, * for I think 
I was fit sides with him in eating and might be so with 
this.' They yocks, and Duncan threw him thrice on 


his back. The Irishman was so angry he wist not what 
to say. He invites him to put the stone, and 
at the second cast he worried him four feet, but could 
never reach him. Then he was like to burst himself. 
Finding this, he invites him to lop so that he outlopped 
him as far a length. The Irishman then said, ' I have 
travelled as far as any of my equals, both in Scotland, 
England, and Ireland, and tried many hands, but I 
never met with my equal till this day, but comrade,' 
says he. Met us now go and swim a little in the laird's 
presence.' 'With all my heart,' says Duncan, *for I 
never sought better* (with this Duncan could swim not 
at all), but down to the shore they go to the next rock, 
and being full sea, was at least three fathoms deep, but 
before the Irishman had off half of his clothes 
Duncan was stark naked, lops over the rocks and ducks 
to the bottom and up again. Looking about him he 
calls to a boy that stood by, and said, * Lad, go where 
the Lady is, and bid her send me a butter and four 
cheese.' The Irishman, hearing this, asks 'what 
purpose.' *To what purpose,' says he, *yons the least 
we will need this night and to-morrow wherever we be,' 
*Do you intend a journey,' says the Irishman. *Aye, 
that I do,' answered the other, *and am in hopes to cross 
the Kyle ere night.* Now, this Kyle was 20 leagues 
off with a very ill stream, as the Irishman very well 
knew, so that he said, with a very great oath, he would 
not go with him that length, but if he liked to sport 
the laird with several sorts of swimming, he would give 
a trial. 'Sport here, sport there, wherever I go you 
must go.' With this the cheese and butter come, and 
Duncan desires the Irishman to make ready, but all his 
persuasions (not against his will) would not prevail with 
Mac a Chruimb, whereupon all the company gave over 
with laughter, knowing the other could swim none at all, 
but the fellow thought they jeered him. The laird 
made Duncan forbear him; but Duncan swore a great 
oath he would make him swim or he left the town, 



Otherwise he would want of his will. So it came to pass ; 
for the Irishman got away that same night, was seen on the 
morrow in Lochalsh, but none (was) found that ferried him 
over. But never after resorted Mackenzie's house."* 

What remained of the Macdonalds after the battle 
of Park were completely routed and put to flight, but 
most of them were killed, "quarter being no ordinar 
complement in thos dayes." 

The night before the battle young Brodie of Brodie, 
accompanied by his accustomed retinue, was on a visit 
at Kinellan, and as he was preparing to leave the next 
morning he noticed Mackenzie's men in arms, whereupon 
he asked if the enemy were known to be so near that 
for a certainty they would fight before night. Being 
informed that they were close at hand, he determined 
to wait and take part in the battle, replying to Kenneth's 
persuasions to the contrary, "that he was an ill fellow 
and worse neighbour that would leave his friend at such 
a time." He took a distinguished part in the fight 
and behaved "to the advantage of his friend and 
notable loss of his enemy," and the Earl of Cromarty 
informs us that immediately after the battle he went on 
his journey. But his conduct produced a friendship 
between the Mackenzies and the family of Brodie, which 
continued among their posterity, "and even yet remains 
betwixt them, being more sacredly observed than the 
ties of affinity and consanguinity amongst most others," 
and a bond of manrent was entered into between the 
families. Some authorities assert that young Brodie was 
slain, but of this no early writer makes any mention ; 
and neither in Sir Robert Gordon's Earldom of Sui/ier- 
land, in the Earl of Cromartie or other MS. Histories 
of the Mackenzies, nor in Brown's History of the Highland 
Clans, is there any mention made of his having been 
killed, though they all refer to the distinguished part he 
took in the battle. He was, however, seriously wounded. 

The morning after the battle Kenneth, fearing that the 

* Ancient MS. of the Mackenzies. 


few of the Macdonalds who escaped might rally among 
the hills and commit cruelties and robberies on those 
of his people whom they might come across, marched 
to Strathconan, where he found, as he had expected, 
that about three hundred of the enemy had rallied, and 
were destroying everything they had passed over in their 
eastward march before the battle. As soon, however, as 
they noticed him in pursuit they took to their heels, but 
they were overtaken and all killed or made prisoners. 

Kenneth then returned to Kinellan, carrying with 
him Alexander Macdonald of Lochalsh, whom he had 
taken prisoner, in triumph. His aged father, Alastair 
lonraic, had now returned from the Raven's Rock, and 
warmly congratulated his valiant son upon his splendid 
victory; adding, however, with significant emphasis, that 
"he feared they made two days' work of one," since, by 
sparing Macdonald, who was also a prisoner, and his 
apparent heir, 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 commit such a cowardly and 
inhuman act as was here inferred. He, however, had no 
great faith in the forbearance of his followers if an 
opportunity occurred to them, and he accordingly sent 
Macdonald, under a 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 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 the 
Lord of the Isles had in 1475 forfeited to the Crown. 

Many of the Macdonalds and their followers who 
escaped from the field of battle perished in the River 
Conon. Flying 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 at Moy, they met an old 
woman — still smarting under the insults and spoliations 
inflicted on her and her neighbours by the Macdonalds 
on their way north — and asked her where was the best 
ford on the river. " O ! ghaolaich," she answered, " is aon 
ath an abhuinn ; ged tha i dubh, cha 'n eil i domhain," 
(Oh! dear, the river is all one ford together; though 
it looks black, it is not 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 loudly for assistance. This amazon and 
a number of her sex who were near at hand had 
meanwhile procured their sickles, and now exerted 
themselves in cutting away the bushes to which the 
wretched Macdonalds clung 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." The instrument of the old woman'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 Mackenzies then proceeded to ravage the lands 
of Ardmeanach and those belonging to William Munro 
of Fowlis — the former because the young laird of Kilra- 
vock, whose father was governor of that district, had 
assisted the Macdonalds; 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 proceed against them as oppressors of the lieges.* 

A blacksmith, known as Glaishean Gow or "Gobha," 
one of Lovat's people, in whose father's house Agnes 

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


Fraser, Mackenzie's wife, was fostered, hearing of the 
advance of the Macdonalds to the Mackenzie territory, 
started with a few followers in the direction of Conan, 
but arrived too late to take part in the fight They were, 
however, in time to meet those few who managed to 
ford or swim the river, and killed every one of them, so 
that they found an opportunity "to do more service than 
if they had been at the battle." 

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 possessions of the Lord of the Isles were 
declared forfeited to the Crown. In the following January 
the aged Earl appeared before King James IV., and 
made a voluntary 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 1 492 
Alexander Urquhart, Sheriff of Cromarty, had obtained 
restitution for himself and his tenants for the depredations 
committed by Macdonald and his followers. According 
to the Kilravock Papers^ p. 162, the spoil amounted to 
600 cows and oxen, each worth 1 3s 4d ; 80 horses, each 
worth 26s 8d ; 1000 sheep, each worth 2s ; 200 swine, 
each worth 3s; with plenishing to the value of ;f 300 ; 
and also 500 bolls of victual and ;f 300 of the mails of 
the Sheriff's lands. 

The Earl of Cromarty says of Kenneth, "that he 
raised great fears in his neighbours by his temper and 
power, by which he had overturned so great ane interest 
as that of Macdonald, yet it appearit that he did not 
proceid to such attemptts but on just resentments and 
rationall grounds, for dureing his lyfe he not only 
protected the country by his power, but he caryed so 
that non was esteemed a better neighbour to his friends 
nor a juster maister to his dependers. In that one thing 
of his caryadge to his first wife he is justly reprowable; 
in all things else he merits justly to be numbered amongst 
the best of our Scots patriots," The same writer con- 


tinues — "The fight at Blairnapark put Mackenzie in great 
respect through all the North. The Earl of Huntly, 
George, who was the second Earle, did contract a 
friendship with him, and when he was imployed by 
King James 3d to assist him against the conspirators in 
the South, Kenneth came with 500 men to him in 
summer 1488 ; but erre they came the lengthe of Perth, 
Mackenzie had nottice of his father Alexander's death, 
whereupon Huntly caused him retire to ordor his aflfaires, 
least his old enemies might tack advantage of such a 
change, and Huntly judgeing that they were rather too 
numberous than weak for the conspirators, by which 
occasion he (Kenneth) was absent from that vnfortunat 
battle wher King James 3d wes kild, yet evir after this. Earl 
George, and his son Alexander, the 3d Earl of Huntly, 
keipt a great kyndness to Kenneth and his successors. 
From the yeir 1489 the kingdom vnder King James 4d 
wes at great peace, and thereby Mackenzie toock 
opportunity to setle his privat affaires, which for many 
yeirs befor, yea severall ages, had bein almost still 
disturbed by the Earls of Ross and Lords of the I lies, 
and so he lived in peace and good correspondences with 
his neighbours till the yeir 149 1, for in the moneth of 
February that yeir he died and wes buried at Bewlie. 
All his predecessors wer buried at Icolmkill [except his 
father], as wer most of the considerable chieffs in the 
Highlands. But this Kenneth, after his marriage, keipt 
frequent devotiones with the Convent of Bewlie, and at his 
owin desyre wes buried ther, in the ille on the north syd 
of the alter, which wes built by himselfe in his lyftyme 
or he died ; after that he done pennance for his irregular 
marieing of Lovits daughter. He procured recommenda- 
tiones from Thomas Hay (his lady's uncle). Bishop of Ross> 
to Pope Alexander the 6, from whom he procured a 
legittmatione of all the cheildrein of the mariadge, daited 
apud St Petri, papatus nostri primo, anno Cristiano 1491." 
Bishop Hay strongly impressed upon Mackenzie the 
propriety of getting his marriage with Agnes of Lovat 


legitimized, and to send for a commission to the Pope 
for that purpose. Donald Dubh MacChreggir, priest of 
Kirkhill, was despatched to Rome with that object, and, 
according to several of the family manuscripts, procured 
the legitimation of the marriage. "This priest was a 
native of Kintail, descended from a clan there called Clan 
Chreggir, who, being a hopefull boy in his younger 
days, was educat in Mackenzie's house, and afterwards 
at Beullie be the forementioned Dugall Mackenzie, pryor 
yrof. In end he was made priest of Kirkhill. His 
successors to this day are called Frasers. Of this priest 
is descended Mr William Fraser and Mr Donald Fraser."* 
Another writer describes the messengers sent to Rome as 
" Mr Andreiv Fraser, priest of Kintail, a learned and 
eloquent man, who took in his company Dugal Mac- 
kenzie, natural son to Alexander Inrig, who was a scholar. 
The Pope entertained them kindly and very readily 
granted them what they desired and were both made 
knights to the boot of Pope Clement the VIII., but 
when my knights came home, they neglected the decree 
of Pope Innocent III. against the marriage and 
consentrinate of all the clergy : or otherwise they got a 
dispensation from the then Pope Clement VIII., for both 
of them married — Sir Dugall was piade priest of Kintail 
and married nien (daughter) Dunchy Chaim in Glen- 
morriston. Sir Andrew likewise married, whose son was 
called Donald Du Mac Intagard, and was priest of 
Kirkhill and Chaunter of Ross. His tack of the vicarage 
of Kilmorack to John Chisholm of Comar stands to 
this day. The present Mr William Fraser, minister of 
Kilmorack, is the fifth minister in lineal and uninterrupted 

succession, "t 

Anderson, in his Account of the Family of Fraser^ also 

says that "application was made to the Pope to sanction 

the second marriage, which he did, anno 149 1." Sir 

James D. Mackenzie of Findon (note, p. 19) however says 

that he made a close search in the Vatican and the 

* Ancient MS. f Ardintoul MS. 


Roman libraries but was unable to find trace of any 
document of legitmation. 

Of Roderick, Sir Kenneth's fourth son, who was an 
exceedingly powerful man, the folloT^-ing interesting story 
is told : — He was a man of great strength and stature, 
and in a quarrell which took place between him and 
Dingwall of Kildun, he killed the latter, and "that night 
abode with his wife." Complaint was made to King 
James the Fifth, who commanded the Baron of Kintail 
to give Rory up to justice. His brother, knowing he 
could not do so openly and by force without trouble and 
considerable danger, went to Kintail professedly to settle 
his affairs there, and when he was about returning home 
he requested Rory to meet him at Glassletter, that he 
might privately consult and discourse with him as to his 
present state. Rory duly met him on the appointed day 
with fifty men of his '*coalds," the Macleays, besides 
ordinary servants and some Kintail men. While the two 
brothers went to discourse, they passed between the Kintail 
men and the Macleays, who sat at a good distance from 
one another. When Mackenzie came near the Kintail 
men, he clapped Rory on the shoulder, which was the 
sign between them, and Rory was immediately seized. 
Gillecriost MacFhionnla instantly ran to the Macleays, 
who had taken to their arms to relieve their Coald Rory 
Mor, and desired them in a friendly manner to compose 
themselves, and not be rash, since Rory was seized not 
by his enemies, but was in the hands of his own brother, 
and of those who had as great a kindness for him, and 
interest in him as they had themselves; and further he 
desired them to consider what would be the consequences, 
for if the least drop of blood was shed, Rory would be 
immediately put to death, and so all their pains would be 
lost. He thus prevailed upon them to keep quiet In 
the meantime Rory struggled with the Kintail men, and 
would not be taken or go along with them, until John 
Mor, afterwards agnamed Ian Mor nan Cas, brother to 
Gillecriost MacFhionnla, took Rory by the feet and cast 


him down. They then bound him and carried him on 
their shoulders, until he consented to go along with them 
willingly, and without further objection. They took him 
to Ellandonnan, whence shortly after "he was sent south 
to the King, where he had to take his trial. He, 
however, denied the whole affair, and in the absence of 
positive proof, the judges declined to convict him ; but 
the King, quite persuaded of his guilt, ordered him to be 
sent a prisoner to the Bass Rock, with strict injunctions 
to have him kept in chains. This order was obeyed, 
and Rory's hands and legs were much pained and cut 
with the irons. The governor had unpleasant feuds with 
one of his neighbours, which occasioned several encounters 
and skirmishes between their servants, who came in 
repeatedly with wounds and bruises. Rory, noticing this 
to occur frequently, said to one of them, " Would to 
God that the laird would take me with him, and I 
should then be worth my meat to him and serve for 
better use than I do with these chains." This was 
communicated to the governor, who sent for Rory and 
asked him if he would fight well for him. ** If I do not 
that," said he, "let me hang in these chains." He then 
took his solemn oath that he would not run away, and 
the governor ordered the servants to set about curing 
Rory s wounds with ointments. He soon found himself 
in good condition to fight, and an opportunity was 
not long delayed. The governor met his adversary 
accompanied by his prisoner, who fought to admiration, 
exhibiting great courage and enormous strength. He 
soon routed the enemy, and the governor became so 
enamoured of him that he was never after out of his 
company whenever he could secretly have him unknown 
to the Court About this time an Italian came to 
Edinburgh, who challenged the whole nation to a 
wrestling match for a large sum of money. One or two 
grappled with him, but he disposed of them so easily 
that no one else could be found to engage him. The 
King was much annoyed at this, and expressed himself 


strongly in favour of any one who would defeat the 
Italian, promising to give him a suitable reward. The 
governor of the Rock having heard of this, thought it 
an excellent opportunity for his prisoner to secure his 
freedom, and at the same time redeem the credit of the 
nation, and he informed the King that a prisoner 
committed to the Bass by his Majesty if released of his 
irons would, in his opinion, match the Italian. The King 
immediately answered, *' His liberty, with reward, shall 
he have if he do so." The governor, so as not to 
expose his own intimate relations with and treatment of 
the prisoner, warily asked that time should be allowed 
to cure him of his wounds, lest his own crime and 
Rory's previous liberty should become known. When 
sufficient time had elapsed for this purpose a day was 
appointed, and the governor brought Rory to Holyrood 
House to meet the King, who enquired if he "would 
undertake to cast the Italian for his liberty.?" "Yes, 
sir," answered Rory, "it will be a hard task that I will 
not undertake for that; but, sir, it may be, it will not 
be so easy to perform as to undertake, yet I shall give 
him a fair trial." "Well," said the King, "how many 
days will you have to fit yourself.?" "Not an hour," 
replied Rory. His Majesty was so pleased with his 
resolution that he immediately sent to the Italian to ask 
if he would accept the challenge at once. He who had 
won so many victories so easily already did not hesitate 
to grapple with Rory, having no fear as to the result. 
Five lists were prepared. The Italian was first on the 
ground, and seeing Rory approaching him, dressed in 
his rude habit, without any of the usual dress and 
accoutrements, laughed loudly. But no sooner was he 
in the Highlander's grasp than the Italian was on his 
knee. The King cried with joy; the Italian alleged 
foul play, and made other and frivolous excuses, but 
His Majesty was so glad of the apparent advantage in 
his favour that he was unwilling to expose Rory to a 
second hazard. This did not suit the Highlander at all. 


and he called out, ''No, no, sir; let me try him again, 
for now I think I know his strength." His Majesty 
hearing this, consented, and in the second encounter 
Rory laid firm hold of the foreigner, pulled him towards 
him with all his might, breaking his back, and disjointing 
the back-bone. The poor fellow fell to the ground 
groaning with pain, and died two days after. The King, 
delighted with Rorys prowess, requested him to remain 
at Court, but this he refused, excusing himself on the 
ground that his long imprisonment quite unfitted him for 
Court life, but if it pleased his Majesty he would send 
him his son, who was better fitted to serve him. He 
was provided with money and suitable clothing by Royal 
command. The King requested him to hasten his son 
to Court, which he accordingly did. This son was named 
Murdoch, and His Majesty became so fond of him that 
he always retained him about his person, and granted 
him, as an earnest of greater things to follow, the lands 
of Fairburn, Moy, and others adjoining, also the Ferry 
of Scuideal ; but Murdoch being unfortunately absent 
from the Court when the King died, he missed much 
more which his Majesty had designed for him.* 

The following, told of Roderick and Kenneth, the 
fifth son, is also worth a place: — Kenneth was Chaunter 
of Ross, and perpetual Curate of Coinbents, which 
vicarage he afterwards resigned into the hands of Pope 
Paulus in favour of the Priory of Beauly. Though a 
priest and in holy orders he would not abstain from 
marriage, for which cause the Bishop decided to have 
him deposed. On the appointed day for his trial he had 
his brother Rory at Chanonry, when the trial was to 
take place, with a number of his followers. Kenneth 
presented himself before the Bishop in his long gown, 
but under it he had a two-edged sword, and drawing 
near his Lordship, who sat in his presiding chair, 
whispered in his ear, " It is best that you should let me 
alone, for my brother Rory is in the churchyard with 

* Ardintoul and Cromartie MS. Histories of ihe Mackenzies. 


many ill men, and if you take off my orders he will take 
off your head, and I myself will not be your best friend." 
He then coolly exposed his penknife, as he called his 
great sword, "which sight, with Rory's proximity, and 
being a person whose character was well enough known 
by his Lordship, he was so terrified that he incontinently 
absolved and vindicated the good Chaunter," who ever 
after enjoyed his office (and his wife) unchallenged. 

Sir Kenneth of Kintail, who was knighted by James 
IV. "for being highly instrumental in reducing his fierce 
countrymen to the blessings of a civilized life," was twice 
married ; first, to Lady Margaret, daughter of John, Lord 
of the Isles and Earl of Ross, with issue — 

I. Kenneth Og, his heir and successor. 

He married secondly, Agnes or Anne Fraser, daughter 
of Hugh, third Lord Lovat, with issue — 

II. John, who succeeded his brother Kenneth Og. 

III. Alexander, first of the family of Davochmaluag. 

IV. Roderick, progenitor of the families of Achilty, 
Fairburn, Ardross, etc. 

V. Kenneth, better know as " the Priest of Avoch," from 
whom the families of Suddie, Ord, Corryvulzie, Highfield, 
Inverlaul, Little Findon, and others of lesser note. 

VI. Agnes, who married Roderick Macleod, VII. of 
Lewis, with issue. 

VII. Catherine, who married Hector Munro of Fowlis, 
with issue. 

There has been a considerable difference of opinion 
among the family genealogists as to the date of Sir 
Kenneth's death, but it is now placed beyond doubt that 
he died in 1491, having only ruled as actual chief of the 
clan for the short space of three years. This is clearly 
proved from his tomb in the Priory of Beauly, where 
there is a full length recumbent effigy of him, in full 
armour, with arms folded across his chest as if in prayer, 
and on the arch over it is the following inscription : — 
"Hie Jacet, Kanyans, m. kynch d'us de Kyntayl, q. 
obiit vii. die Februarii, a. di. m.cccc.lxxxxi." Sir William 


Fraser, in his history of the Earls of Cromartie, gives, 
in his genealogy of the Mackenzies of Kintail, the date 
of his death as ^^eirca 1506," and ignores his successor 
Kenneth Og altogether. This is incomprehensible to 
readers of the work ; for in the book itself, in various places, 
it is indubitably established that Sir William's genealogy 
is incorrect in this, as in other important particulars.* 

The following, from the published "Acts of the Lords 
of Council," p. 327, under date 17th June, 1494, 
places the question absolutely beyond dispute. "The 
King's Highness and Lords of Council decree and deliver 
that David Ross of Balnagown shall restore and deliver 
again to Annas Fresale, the spouse of THE LATE Kenneth 
Mackenzie of Kintail, seven score of cows, price of the 
piece (each), 20s ; 30 horses, price of the piece, 2 merks ; 
200 sheep and goats, price of the piece, 2s ; and 14 cows, 
price of the piece, 20s; spuilzied and taken by the said 
David and his complices from the said Annas out of the 
lands of Kynlyn (.? Killin or Kinellan), as was sufficiently 
proved before the Lords ; and ordain that letters be 
written to distrain the said David, his lands and goods 
therefor, and he was present at his action by this pro- 
curators." It is needless to point out that the man who, 
by this undoubted authority, was THE LATE Kenneth 
Mackenzie of Kintail, in 1494 could not have died about 
or ^^ circa 1506," as Sir William Fraser asserts in his Eark 
of Cromartie, Kenneth died in 1491, and was succeeded 
by his only son by his first wife, Margaret of Isla, 


Or Kenneth the Younger, who was also known 
as Sir Kenneth. He was fostered in Taagan, Kenloch- 
ewe.f When, in 1488, King James the IV. succeeded 
to the throne, he determined to attach to his interest the 
principal chiefs in the Highlands. "To overawe and 

* Sir William Fraser appears to have adopted Douglas in his genealogies, 
who, as already shown, in many instances, cannot be depended upon. 

t Ancient MS, 


subdue the petty princes who affected independence, 
to carry into their territories, hitherto too exclusively 
governed by their own capricious or tyrannical institutions, 
the same system of a severe but regular and rapid 
administration of civil and criminal justice which had 
been established in his Lowland dominions, was the 
laudable object of the King; and for this purpose he 
succeeded, with that energy and activity which remarkably 
distinguished him, in opening up an intercourse with 
many of the leading men in the northern counties. 
With the Captain of the Clan Chattan, Duncan Mackintosh ; 
with Ewen, the son of Alan, Captain of the Clan Cameron ; 
with Campbell of Glenurghay ; the Macgilleouns of Duart 
and Lochbuy ; Mackane of Ardnamurchan ; the Lairds of 
Mackenzie and Grant; and the Earl of Huntly, a baron 
of the most extensive power in these northern districts, 
he appears to have been in habits of constant and regular 
communication — rewarding them by presents, in the shape 
either of money or of grants of land, and securing their 
services in reducing to obedience such of their fellow 
chieftains as proved contumacious, or actually rose in 

To carry out this plan he determined to take pledges 
for their good behaviour from some of the most powerful 
clans, and, at the same time, educate the younger lairds 
into a more civilized manner of governing their people. 
Amongst others he took a special interest in Kenneth Og, 
and Farquhar Mackintosh, the young lairds of Mackenzie 
and Mackintosh, who were cousins, their mothers being 
sisters, daughters of John, last Lord of the Isles. They 
were both powerful, the leaders of great clans, and young 
men of great spirit and reckless habits. They were 
accordingly apprehended in i49S.t and sent to Edinburgh, 

♦Tyller, vol. iv., pp. 367-368. 

t '* The King having made a progress to the North, was advised to 
secure these two gentlemen as hostages for securing the peace of the 
Highlands, and accordingly they were apprehended at Inverness and sent 
prisoners to Edinburgh in the year 1495, where they remained two years.** 
— Dr George Mackenm^^ MS, History^ 


where they were kept in custody in the Castle, until a. 
favourable opportunity occurring in 1497, they escaped 
over the ramparts by the aid of ropes secretly conveyed 
to them by some of their friends. This was the more 
easily managed, as they had liberty granted them to roam 
over the whole bounds of the Castle within the outer 
walls; and the young chieftains, getting tired of restraint, 
and ashamed to be idle while they considered themselves 
fit actors for the stage of their Highland domains, resolved 
to attempt an escape by dropping over the walls, when 
Kenneth injured his leg, so as to incapacitate him from 
rapid progress; but Mackintosh manfully resolved to risk 
capture himself rather than leave his fellow-fugitive 
behind him in such circumstances. The result of this 
accident, however, was that after three days' journey they 
were only able to reach the Torwood, where, suspecting 
no danger, they put up for the night in a private house. 
The Laird of Buchanan, who , was at the time an 
outlaw for a murder he had comiiiitted, happened to 
be in the neighbourhood, and meeting the Highlanders, 
entertained them with a show of kindness; by which 
means he induced them to divulge their names and 
quality. A proclamation had recently been issued 
promising remission to any outlaw who would bring in 
another similarly circumstanced, and Buchanan resolved 
to procure his own freedom at the expense of his 
fellow-fugitives; for he knew well that such they were, 
previously knowing of them as his Majesty's pledges from 
their respective clans. In the most deceitful manner, he 
watched until they had retired to rest, when he surrounded 
the house with a band of his followers, and charged 
them to surrender. This they declined ; and Mackenzie, 
being of a violent temper and possessed of more courage 
than prudence, rushed out with a drawn sword "refusing 
delivery and endeavouring to escape," whereupon he was 
shot with an arrow by one of Buchanan's men. His head 
was severed from his body, and forwarded to the King in 
Edinburgh ; while young Mackintosh, who made no 


further resistance, was secured and sent a prisoner to 
the King. Buchanan's outlawry was remitted, and Mac- 
kintosh was confined in Dunbar, where he remained 
until after the death of James the Fourth at the battle 
of Flodden Field.* Buchanan's base conduct was 
universally execrated, while the fate of young Mackenzie 
was lamented throughout the whole Highlands, having 
been accused of no other crime than the natural 
forwardness of youth, and having escaped from his 
confinement in Edinburgh Castle. 

It is admitted on all hands that Kenneth Og was 
killed, as above, in 1497, and he must, therefore — his 
father having died in 149 1 — have ruled as one of the 
Barons of Kintail, though there is no record of his 
having been formally served heir. He was not married, 
but left two bastard sons — one, known as Rory Beag, 
by the daughter of the Baron of Moniack ; and the other 
by the daughter of a gentleman in Cromar, of whom 
are descended the Sliochd Thomais in Cromar and 
Glenshiel, Braemar, the principal families of which were 
those of Dalmore and Renoway.f He was succeeded by 
his eldest brother by his father's second marrriage with 
Agnes or Anne, daughter of Hugh, third Lord Lovat, 


Known by that designation from his having generally 
resided at that place. He was, as we have seen, the first 
son of Kenneth, seventh Baron of Kintail, by his second 
wife Agnes, or Anne of Lovat, and his father being never 

♦ Gregory, p. 93 ; and MS. History by the Earl of Cromariie. 

t ** In his going to Inverness, as I have said, to meet the King, he was 
ihe night before his coming there in ihs Baron of Muniag's house, whose 
daughier he got wiih child, who was called Rory Begg. Of this Rory 
descended the parson of Slate ; and on the same journey going along with 
the King to Edinburgh he got a son wiih a gentleman's daughter, and 
.called him Thomas Mackenzy, of whom descended the Mackenzies—in 
Braemar called Slyghk Homash Vic Choinnich. That is to say Thomas 
Mackenzie's Succession. If he had lived he would be heir to Mackenzie 
and Macdonald (Earl of Kossy'—Ancirnf MS, 


regularly married, the great body of the clan did not 
consider John his legitimate heir. Hector Roy Mackenzie, 
his uncle, progenitor of the House of Gairloch, a man 
of great prudence and courage, was by Kenneth a Bhlair 
appointed tutor to his eldest son Kenneth Og, then 
under age, though Duncan, an elder brother by 
Alexander's first wife, had, according to custom, a prior 
claim to that honourable and important trust. Duncan 
is, however, described as one who was **of better hands 
than head" — more brave than prudent. Hector took 
charge, and on the death of Kenneth Og found himself 
in possession of valuable and extensive estates. He had 
already secured great popularity among the clan, which 
in the past he had often led to victory against the 
common enemy. He objected to John's succession on 
the ground that he was the illegitimate son of Lovats 
daughter, with whom his father, Kenneth, at first did 
" so irregularly and unlawfully cohabit," and John's youth 
encouraging him, it is said,* Hector proposed an arrange- 
ment to Duncan, whom he considered the only legitimate 
obstacle to his own succession, by which he would 
transfer his rights as elder brother in Hector's favour, in 
return for which he should receive a considerable portion 
of the estates for himself and his successors. Duncan 
declined to enter into the proposed agreement, 
principally on the ground that the Pope, in 1491, the 
year in which John's father died, had legitimised Kenneth 
a Bhlair's marriage with Agnes of Lovat, and thereby 
restored the children of that union to the rights of 
succession. Finding Duncan unfavourable to his project, 
Hector declared John illegitimate, and held possession of 
the estates for himself; and the whole clan, with whom 
he was a great favourite, submitted to his rule.f 

♦ MS. History by the Earl of Cromartie. 

t Though we have given ihis account on ihe authority of the MS. histories 
of the family, it is now generally believed that Duncan was dead at this 
periodi and that his son Allan, who would have succeeded, failing John of 
Killin*s legitimacy, was a minor when his father died. 



It can hardly be supposed that Lord Lovat would be 
a disinterested spectator of these proceedings, and in the 
interest of his sister's children he procured a precept of 
clare constat from James Stewart, Duke of Ross,* and 
Archbishop of St Andrews, in favour of his grandson, 
John, as heir to the estates. The document is "daited 
the last of Apryle 1500 and seasin thereon 16 Mey 1500 
be Sir John Barchaw and William Monro of Foulls, as 
Baillie to the Duk."t This precept included the Barony 
of Kintail. as well as the lands held by Mackenzie ofT 
the earldom of Ross, for, the charter chest being in the 
possession of Hector Roy, Lovat was not aware that 
Kintail was held direct from the Crown ; but notwithstand- 
ing all these precautions and legal instruments. Hector 
kept possession and treated the entire estates as his own. 

Sir William Munro of Fowlis, the Dukes Lieutenant 
for the forfeited earldom of Ross, was dissatisfied with 

* After the forfeiture of the ancient Earls of Ross, the district furnished 

new titles under the old names, to members of the Royal family. James 

Stewart, second son of King James the Third, was created in 1487 Duke of 

Ross, Marquis of Ormond, Earl of Ardmanach, and Lord of Brechin and 

Navar. The Duke did not long hold the territorial Dukedom of Ross. On 

the ■13th of May 1503, having obtained the rich Abbey of Dunfermline, he 

resigned the Dukedom of Ross into the hands of the King. The Duke 

reserved for his life the hill of Dingwall beside that town for the style of 

Duke, the hill of Ormond (above Avoch) for the style of Marquis, the 

Redcastle of Ardmanach for the style of Earl, and the Castle of Brechin, 

wiih the gardens, &c., for the name of Brechin and Navar. The Duke 

of Ross died in 1504. It was said of him by Ariosto, as translated by 

Hoole — 

'* The title of the Duke of Ross he bears. 

No chief like him in dauntless mind compares." 

The next creation of the title of the Duke of Ross was in favour of Alexander 
Stewart, the posthumous son of King James the Fourth. The Duke was 
bom on the 30ih April 15 14, and died on the iSth December 15 15. In the 
reign of Mary Queen of Sco»s, John, Earl of Sutherland, acquired from Mary, 
the Queen Dowager, a certain right in the Earldom of Ross, which might 
ultimately have joined in one family both Sutherland and Ross. Lord 
Damley, on the prospect of his marriage with Queen Mary, was created Earl 
of Ross, a title by which he is little known, as it was only given to him a short 
time before he obtained the higher titles of Duke of Albany and King of 
Scotland. — Fraser's Earls of Ctomartie, 
t MS. History by the ^arl of Cromartiet 


Hector's conduct, and resolved to punish him. Munro 

was in the habit of doing" things with a high hand, and 

on this occasion, during Hector's absence from home, he, 

accompanied by his Sheriff, Alexander Vass, went to 

Kinellan, where Hector usually resided, held a court at 

the place, and as a mulct or fine took away the couples 

of one of Hector's barns as a token of his power. When 

Hector discovered what had taken place in his absence, 

he became furious, and sent a messenger to Fwvlis 

telling him that if he were a man of courage and a 

"good fellow" he would come and take away the 

couples of the other barn when their owner was at 


Munro, greatly offended at this message, determined 

to accept the bold challenge conveyed in it, and promptly 

collected his vassals, including the Dingwalls and the 

MacCullochs, who were then his dependants, to the 

number of nine hundred, and with this force started for 

Kinellan, where he arrived much sooner than Hector, 

who hurriedly collected all the men he could in the 

neighbourhood, anticipated. Hector had no time to 

advise his Kintail men nor those at a distance from 

Kinellan, and was consequently unable to bring together 

more than one hundred and forty men. With this small 

force he wisely deemed it imprudent to venture on a 

regular battle, but decided upon a stratagem which, if it 

proved successful, as he anticipated, would give him an 

advantage that would more than counterbalance the 

enemy's superiority of numbers. Having supplied his 

small but resolute band with provisions for twenty-four 

hours. Hector led them secretly, during the night, to 

the top of Knock-farrel, a place so situated that Munro 

must needs pass near its north or south side in his 

march to and from Kinellan. Early next morning Fowlis 

marched past on his way to Kinellan, quite ignorant 

of Hector's position, and expecting him to have remained 

at home to implement the purport of his message. Sir 

William w^*5 allowed to pass unmolested, and imagining 


that Hector had fled, he proceeded to demolish the barn 
at Kinellan, ordered its couples to be carried away, broke 
all the utensils about the place, and drove out all 
the cattle, as trophies of his visit. In the evening he 
returned, as Hector had conjectured, carrying the plunder 
in front of his party, accompanied by a strong guard, 
while he placed the rest of his picked men in the rear, 
fearing that Hector might pursue him, little thinking 
that he was already between him and his destination. 

On his way to Kinellan, Munro had marched through 
Strathpeflfer round the north side of Knock-farrel» but 
for some cause he returned by the south side where the 
highway touched the shoulder of the hill on which 
Hector's men were posted. He had no fear of attack 
from that quarter, and his men feeling themselves quite 
safe, marched loosely and out of order. Hector seeing 
his opportunity, allowed them to pass until the rear was 
within musket shot of him. He then ordered his men 
to charge, which they did with such furious impetuosity, 
that most of the enemy were cut to pieces before they 
were properly aware from whence they were attacked, 
or could make any effectual attempt to resist the dashing 
onset of Hector's followers. The groans of the dying in 
the gloaming, the uncertainty as well as the unexpected- 
ness of the attack, frightened them so much that they 
fled in confusion, in spite of every attempt on the part 
of Fowlis, who was in front in charge of the spoil and 
its guard, to stop them. Those from the rear flying in 
disorder soon confused the men in front, and the result 
was a complete rout. Hectors men followed, killing every 
one they met ; for it was ordered that no quarter should 
be given, the number being so large that they might 
again turn round, attack and defeat the victors. In this 
retreat almost all the men of the clan Dingwall and 
MacCullochs capable of bearing arms were killed, and 
so many of the Munroes were slain that for a long time 
after ** there could not be ane secure friendship made 
up twixt them and the Mackenzies, till by frequent 


allyance and mutuall beneffets at last thes animosities are 
setled ; and in ordor to a reconciliation, Hector, sone to 
this William of Foulls, wes maried to John Mackenzie's 
sister Catherine." 

At this conflict, besides that it was notable for its 
neat contrivance, the inequality of the forces engaged, 
and the number of the slain, there are two minor 
incidents worth noting. One is that the pursuit was so 
hot that the Munroes not only fled in a crowd, but 
there were so many of them killed at a place on the 
edge of the hill where a descent fell from each shoulder 
of it to a well ; and most of Hector's men being armed 
with battle-axes and two-edged swords, they had cut off 
so many heads in that small space, that, tumbling down 
the slope to the well, nineteen heads were counted in it; 
and to this day the well is called **Tobar nan Ceann," 
or the Fountain of the Heads. The other incident is 
that Suarachan, better known as ** Donnchadh Mor 
na Tuaighe," or Big Duncan of the Axe, previously 
referred to as one of the heroes of the battle of Park, 
pursued one of the enemy into the Church of Dingwall, 
to which he had fled for shelter. As he was entering in 
at the door, Suarachan caught him by the arm, when the 
man exclaimed, "My sanctuary saves me!" "Aye," 
returned Suarachan, "but what a man puts in the 
sanctuary against his will he can take it out again ; and 
so, pushing him back from the door, he killed him with 
one stroke of his broadsword.* 

Sir William Munro returned that night to Fowlis, 
where happened to be, passing the evening, a harper of 
the name of MacRa, who, observing Sir William pensive 
and dispirited, advised him to be more cheerful and 
submit patiently to the fortunes of war, since his defeat 
was not his own fault, nor from want of personal courage 
and bravery, but arose from the timorousness of his 
followers, who were unacquainted with such severe service. 
This led Sir William to take more particular notice of 

* MS. History by the Earl of Cromartie. 


the harper than he had hitherto done, and he asked him 
his name. On hearing it, Munro replied, "You surely 
must have been fortunate, as your name imports, and I 
am sure that you have been more so than I have been 
this day; but its fit to take your advice, MacRath." 
This was a play on the minstrel's name — MacRath literally 
meaning "Son of Fortune" — and the harper being, like 
most of his kind, smart and sagacious, made the following 
impromptu answer — 

Eachainn le sheachd fichead fear, 
Agua thusa le d'ochd ciad, 
Se Mac Rath a mharbh na daoine 
Air bathaois Cnoc faireal. 

Which may be rendered in English as follows: — 

Although MacRath doth "fortanale" import, 
It*s he deserves that name whose brave effort 
Eight hundred men did put to flight 
With his seven score at Knock farreU* 

In 1499, George, Earl of Huntly, then the King's 
Lieutenant, granted warrant to Duncan Mackintosh of 
Mackintosh, John Grant of Freuchie, and other leaders, 
with three thousand men, to pass against the Clan 
Mackenzie, ** the King's rebels," for the slaughter of 
Harold of Chisholm, dwelling in Strathglass, "and for 
divers other heirschips, slaughters, spuilzies, committed 
on the King's poor lieges and tenants in the Lordship 
of Ardmeanoch,"t but Hector Roy and his followers gave 
a good account of them, and soon defeated and dispersed 
them. He seems to have held undisturbed possession 
until the year 1507, when John and his brother Roderick 
were on a visit in the Aird, at the house of their uncle, 
Lord Lovat, when a fire broke out at the castle. 
According to the Earl of Cromartie, when the house 
took fire, no one was found bold enough to approach 
the burning pile but John, who rushed boldly tlirough 
the flames and carried away the Lovat charter chest, **a 
weight even then thought too much for the strongest 

*ArdiDtoul MS. fKilravock Papers, p. 170. 


many and that cheist, yett extant, is a load sufficient 
for two. His uncle, bothe obleiged by the actione, and 
glad to sie such strength and boldnes in the young man, 
desyred (him) to do as much for himself as he haid done 
for him, and to discover his (own) charter cheist from 
his uncle, and that he should have all the concurrance 
which he (Lovat) could give to that effect." Anderson's 
History of the Family of Fraser ascribes this bold act 
to Roderick, for which he was "considered amply 
recompensed by the gift of a bonnet and a pair of shoes." 
It matters little which is the correct version, but it is 
not unlikely that Lovat's valuable charter chest was 
saved by one or other of them, and it is by no means 
improbable that his Lordship's suggestion that they 
should procure their own charter chest and his offer to 
aid them in doing so was made and determined to be 
acted upon on this occasion. 

John, who had proved himself most prudent, even in 
his youth, was satisfied that his uncle Hector, a man of 
undoubted valour and wisdom, in possession of the estates, 
and highly popular with the clan, could not be expelled 
without great difficulty and extreme danger to himself. 
Any such attempt would produce feuds and slaughter 
among his people, with the certain result of making 
himself personally unpopular with the clan, and his uncle 
more popular than ever. He therefore decided upon a 
more prudent course ; resolving to strike only at Hector's 
person, judging that, if his uncle failed, his claims and 
the personal respect of his followers would fall with him. 
To carry out his resolution, he contrived a scheme 
which proved completely successful. Having secured an 
interview with Hector, who then resided at Wester 
F^iirburn, he pleaded that since he had taken his 
estates from him, and left him in such reduced circum- 
stanceSy it was not in accordance with his feelings and 
his ambition for fame to remain any longer in his native 
country, where he had neither position nor opportunities 
of distinguishing himself. He therefore begged that his 


uncle should give him a galley or birlinn, and as many 
of the ablest and most determined youths in the country 
as should voluntarily follow him in his adventures for 
fame and fortune in a foreign land. With these he 
should pass to Ireland, then engaged in war, and " there 
purchase a glorious death or a more plentiful fortune 
than he was likely to get at home." The idea pleased 
Hector exceedingly, and he not only gave him his own 
galley, then lying at Torridon, but furnished him with 
all the necessary provisions for the voyage, at the same 
time assuring him that, if he prosecuted his intentions, 
he should annually transmit him a sufficient portion to 
keep up his position, until his own personal prowess and 
fortune should place him above any such necessity; 
whereas, if he otherwise resolved or attempted to molest 
him in what he called his rights, he would bring sudden 
and certain ruin upon himself. 

Thirty brave and resolute young men joined the 
supposed adventurer, after having informed them that he 
would have none except those who would do so of their 
own free will, from their affection for him, and determina- 
tion to support him in any emergency; for he well 
judged that only such were suitable companions in the 
desperate aims which he had laid out for himself to 
accomplish. These he dispatched to the galley then at 
Torridon, one of the most secluded glens on the West 
Coast, and distant from any populated place; while he 
himself remained with his uncle, professedly to arrange 
the necessary details of his journey, and the transmission 
of his portion, but really to notice "his method and 
manner of converse." John soon took farewell of Hector, 
and departed with every appearance of simplicity. His 
uncle sent a retinue to convoy him with becoming 
respect, but principally to assure himself of his departure, 
and to guard against surprise or design on John's part. 
Accompanied by these, he soon arrived at Torridon, 
where he found his thirty fellow adventurers and the 
galley awaiting him. They at once set sail, and with a 


fair wind made for the Isles, in the direction of, and 
as if intending to make for, Ireland. The retinue sent 
by Hector Roy returned home, and informed their master 
that they saw John and his companions started before a 
fair wind, with sails set, in the direction of Ireland, when 
Hector exclaimed, referring to Anne of Lovat, "We may 
now sleep without fear of Anne's children." 

John, sailing down Loch Torridon, and judging that 
Hector's men had returned home, made for a sheltered and 
isolated creek, landed in a wood, and dispersed his men 
with instructions to go by the most private and unfre- 
quented paths in the direction of Allt Corrienarnich, in 
the braes of Torridon, where he would meet them. This 
done, they followed Hectors men, being quite close up 
to them by the time they reached Fairburn. John 
halted at some little distance from Hector's house until 
about midnight, when, calling his men together, he 
feelingly addressed them thus : — ** Now, my good friends, 
I perceive that you are indeed affectionate to me, and 
resolute men, who have freely forsaken your country and 
relations to share in my not very promising fortune ; but 
my design in seeking only such as would voluntarily go 
along with me was that I might be certain of your 
affection and resolution, and since you are they whom 
I ought only to rely upon in my present circumstances 
and danger, I shall now tell you that I was never so 
faint-hearted as to quit my inheritance without attempting 
what is possible for any man in my capacity. In order 
to this I feigned this design for Ireland for three reasons; 
first, to put my uncle in security, whom I have found 
ever hitherto very circumspect and well guarded ; next, 
to find out a select, faithful number to whom I might 
trust; and thirdly, that in case I fail, and that my uncle 
shall prevail over my endeavours, that I might have this 
boat and these provisions as a safe retreat, both for myself 
and you, whom I should be loath to expose to so great 
a danger without some probability in the attempt, and 
some security in the disappointment I am resolved this 


night to fall on my uncle ; for he being gone, there is 
none of his children who dare hope to repone themselves 
to his place. The countrymen who now, for fear, depend 
on him and disown me, will, no doubt, on the same 
motives, promoved with my just title, own me against 
all other injurious pretenders. One thing I must require 
of you, and it is that albeit those on whom we are to 
fall are all related both to you and to me, yet since on 
their destruction depends the preservation of our lives, 
and the restitution of my estate, you must all promise 
not to give quarter to my uncle or to any of his 

To this inhuman resolution they all agreed, disregard- 
ing the natural ties of blood and other obligations, and, 
marching as quietly as possible, they arrived at Hector's 
house, surrounded it, and set fire to it — guarding it all 
round so that not a soul could escape. The house was 
soon in flames, and the inmates. Hector and his house- 
hold, were crying out for mercy. Their pitiful cries 
made an impression on those outside, for many of them 
had relatives within, and in spite of their previous 
resolution to give no quarter, some of them called out 
to their nearest friends to come out and surrender, on 
assurance of their lives being spared. John seeing so 
many of his followers moved to this merciful conduct, 
and being unable to resist them, exclaimed, ** My uncle 
is as near in blood to me as any in the house are to 
you, and therefore I will be as kind to him as you are to 
them." He then called upon Hector to surrender and 
come forth from the burning pile, assuring him of his 
life. This he did ; but Donald Dubh MacGillechriost 
Mhic Gillereach, a Kenlochewe man, made for the door 
with his two-edged sword drawn, whereupon Hector 
seeing him called out to John that he would rather be 
burned where he was than face Donald Dubh. John 
called the latter away, and Hector rushed out into his 
nephew's arms and embraced him. That same night 
John and Hector, without "Dysman," saving God and 


such commons as were then present, agreed and conde- 
scended that Hector should have the estate till John was 
twenty-one years of age, and that John should live on 
his own purchases till then. Hector was to set the 
whole estate immediately, as tutor to John, which next 
day he went about. ** I cannot forget what passed 
betwixt him and the foresaid Donald at the set of 
Kenlochewe, who was one of the first that sought land 
from him, which when he sought. Hector says to him : 
'I wonder, Donald, how you can ask land this day, that 
was so forward to kill me the last day.' Donald 
answered that 'if he had such a leader this day as he 
had that night he should show him no better quarters, 
for Kenneth's death (meaning Kenneth Aack) struck nearer 
my heart than any prejudice you can do me in denying 
me land this day.' Hector said, 'Well Donald, I doubt 
ye not if you had such coildghys (coldhaltas — fosterage) 
to me as you had to that man but you would act the 
like for me. Therefore you shall have your choice of all 
the land in the country.' Hector having set the whole 
estate as tutor, all things seemed fair, only that Allan 
and his faction in Kintail, who previously urged John to 
possess himself of Ellandonnan Castle, were not satisfied 
with the arrangement, as John was still kept out of the 
stronghold, 'which Hector would not grant, not being 
condescended on (and as he alleged) lest John should 
fail on his part; but the factions — the commons — within 
that country could not be satisfied herewith, being, as 
it was said, moved hereto by an accident that fell out 
a year or two before.'"* This "accident" is described 
further on, and refers to Hector's alleged attempt to get 
Allan assassinated at Invershiel. 

Donald Dubh was Kenneth Og's foster-brother, and 
imagining that Hector was accessory in an underhand 
way to Kenneth's captivity in Edinburgh Castle, and 
consequently to his death in the Torwood, he conceived 
an inveterate hatred for him, and determined to kill him 

* Ancient MS. 


in revenge the first opportunity that presented itself. 
Hector, knowing that his resolution proceeded from 
fidelity and affection to his foster-brother and master, 
not only forgave him, but ultimately took an opportunity 
of rewarding him ; and, as we have seen, afterwards gave 
him his choice of all the lands in Kenlochewe. 

John immediately sent word of what had taken place 
to his uncle of Lovat, and next day marched for Kintail, 
where all the people there, as well as in the other parts 
of his property, recognised him as their chief. The 
Castle of Ellandonnan was delivered up to him, with 
the charier chest and other evidences of his extensive 

It has been maintained by the family of Gairloch that 
there is no truth in the charge against their ancestor, 
Hector Roy, which we have just given mainly on the 
authority of the Earl of Cromartie. The writer of the 
Ardintoul MS. of the Mackenzies,* however, corroborates 
his lordship, and says that John " was but young when 
his father died ; and Hector, his younger uncle (Duncan, 
Hectors eldest brother, who should be tutor being dead, 
and Allan, Duncan's son, not being able to oppose or 
grapple with Hector), meddled with the estate. It is 
reported that Hector wished Allan out of the way, whom 
he thought only to stand in his way from being laird, 
since he was resolved not to own my Lord Lovat's 
daughters children, being all bastards and gotten in 
adultery. The reason why they entertained such thoughts 
of him was partly this : Hector going to Ellandonnan 
(where he placed Malcolm Mac Eancharrich constable) 
called such of the country people to him as he judged 
fit, under pretence of setting and settling the country, 
but asked not for, nor yet called his nephew Allan, who 
lived at Invershiel, within a few miles of Ellandonnan, 
but went away. Allan, suspecting this to have proceeded 
from unkindness, sends to one of his familiar friends to 
know the result of the meeting, or if there was any 

* Dr George Mackenzie gives substantially the same account. 


Spoken concerning him. The man, perhaps, not beings 
willing to be an ill instrument twixt so near relations, 
sends Allan the following Irish (Gaelic) lines : — 

Inversheala na struth bras, 

Tar as, *s fear foill ga d* fheitheamh, 

Nineag, ga caol a cas, 

Tha leannan uice gun fhios, 

A tighinn ga'm fhaire a shios, 

Tha i, gun fbios, fo mo chrios 

Tha 'n s^r lann ghuilbneach ghlas, — 

Bheiiinn urchair dha le fios. 

Allan put his own construction on them, and thought a 
friend warned him to have a care of himself, there being 
some designs on him from a near relation ; and so that 
very night, in the beginning thereof, he removed himself 
and family and anything he valued within the house to 
an hill above the town, where he might see and hear 
anything that might befall the house ; and that same 
night about cock crow he saw his house and biggings 
in flames, and found them consumed to ashes on the 
morrow. The perpetrators could not be found ; yet 
it was generally thought to be Hector his uncle's con- 

The writer then describes the legitimation of Agnes 
Eraser's children by the Pope, and continues — ** Hector, 
notwithstanding of the legitimation, refused to quit the 
possession of the estate," and he then gives the same 
account of John's feigned expedition to Ireland, and the 
burning of Hector's house at Wester Fairburn, substan- 
tially as already given from another source, but adding — 
"That very night they both entered upon terms of 
agreement without acquainting or sending for any, or to 
advise a reconciliation betwixt them. The sum of their 
agreement was, that Hector, as a man able to rule and 
govern, should have (allowing John an aliment) the estate 
for five or six years, till John should be major, and that 
thereafter Hector should render it to John as the right 
and lawful undoubted heir, and that Hector should ever 
afterwards acknowledge and honour him as his chief, and 


SO they parted, all being well pissed.* But Allan and 
the most of the Kintail men were dissatisfied that John 
did not get Ellandonnan, his principal house, in his own 
possession, and so desired John to come to them and 
possess the castle by fair or foul means wherein they 
promised to assist him. John goes to Kintail, desires 
him to render the place to him, which he refused, for 
which cause John ordered bring all his cattle to those 
he employed to besiege the castle till Malcolm (the 
governor) would be starved out of it. Yet this did not 
prevail with the governor, till he got Hector's consent, 
who, being acquainted, came to Lochalsh and met with 
his nephew, and after concerting the matter, Hector 
sends word to Malcolm to render the place to John. 
But Malcolm would not till he would be paid of his 
goods that were destroyed. But Hector sending to 
him the second time, after considerable negotiation for 
several days, telling him he was a fool, that he might 
remember how himself was used, and that that might be 
a means to take his life also. Whereupon Malcolm renders 
the house, but John was so much offended at him that he 
would not continue him governor, but gave the charge 
to Gillechriost Mac Fhionnla Mhic Rath, making him 
Constable of the Isle. So after that there was little or 
no debate twixt John and Hector during the rest of the 
six years he was Tutor.'t 

The MS. Histories of the family are borne out by 
Gregory.J who informs us that ** Hector Roy Mackenzie, 
progenitor of the House of Gairloch, had, since the death 
of Kenneth Og Mackenzie of Kintail, in 1497, and during 
the minority of John, the brother and heir of Kenneth, 
exercised the command of that clan, nominally as guardian 
to the young chief. Under his rule the Clan Mackenzie 
became involved in feuds with the Munroes and other 

* John and Hector did condescend that Hector should have the estate till 
John were one and iwentie years, and that John should live on his own 
purchase till then. — iMterfearn MS, 

t Ardintoul and Ancient MSS. of the Mackenzies. | Highlands and 
Isles of Scotland, p. 1 1 1. 


clans, and Hector Roy himself became obnoxious to 
Government as a disturber of the public peace. His inten- 
tions towards the young Laird of Kintail were considered 
very dubious ; and the apprehensions of the latter having 
been roused. Hector was compelled by law to yield up 
the estate and the command of the tribe to the proper 
heir." Gregory gives the ** Acts of the Lords of Council, 
xxii., fo. 142," as that upon which, among other autho- 
rities, be founds. We give the following extract, except 
that the spelling is modernised : — 

"7th April 151 1. — Anent the summons made at the instance of 
John Mackenzie of Kintail against Hector Roy Mackenzie 
for the wrongous intromitting, uptaking, and withholding from 
him of the mails 'fermez,' profits, and duties of all and whole 
the lands of Kintail, with the pertinents lying in the Sheriffdom 
of Inverness, for the space of seven years together, beginning 
in the year of God 1501, and also for the space of two 
years, last bye-past, and for the masterful withholding from the 
said John Mackenzie of his house and Castle of Ellandonnan, and 
to bring with him his evidence if (he) any has of the constabulary 
and keeping thereof, and to hear the same decerned of none 
avail, and diverse other points like as at more length is contained 
in the said summons, the said John Mackenzie being personally 
present, and the said Hector Roy being lawfully summoned to 
this action, oft-times called and not compearing, the said John's 
rights, etc The Lords of Council decree and deliver, that the 
said Hector has forfeited the keeping and constabulary of the said 
Castle of Ellandonnan, together with the fees granted therefor, 
and decern all evidents, if he any has made to him thereupon, of 
none avail, force, nor effect, and the said John Mackenzie to have 
free ingress and entry to the said Castle, because he required 
the said Hector for deliverance thereof and to thole him to 
enter thereunto, howbeit the said Hector refused and would not 
give him entry to the said Castle, but if his servants would have 
delivered their happinnis from them to his men or their entries, 
like as one actentit instrument taken thereupon shown and produced 
before the said Lords purported and bore, and therefore ordains 
our sovereign Lords* letters (to) be directed to devode and rid the 
said Castle and to keep the said John in possession thereof as 
effeirs and continues to remanent points contained in the said 
summons in form, as they are now, unto the 20th day of July 
next to come, with continuation of days, and ordains that letters 
be writteii in form of commission to the Sheriff of Inverness and 


his deputies to summon witnesses and take probations thereupon 
and to summon the party to hear them sworn and thereafter 
send their depositions closed to the Lords again, the said day, 
under the said SherifTs or his Deputy's seal, that thereafter justice 
may be ministered thereuntill." 

Whatever truth there may be in the accounts given 
by the family historians, Hector Roy was undoubtedly 
at this period possessed of considerable estates of his 
own; for, we find a "protocol," by John Vass, ** Burges 
of Dygvayll, and Shireff in this pairt," by which he 
makes known that, by the command of his sovereign 
lord, letters and process was directed to him as Sheriff, 
granting him to give Hector Mackenzie heritable state 
and possession "of all and syndri the landis off Gerloch, 
with thar pertinens, after the forme and tenor off our 
souerane lordis chartyr maide to the forsaide Hector," 
lying between the waters called Inverew and Torridon. 
The letter is dated "At Alydyll (PTalladale) the xth 
of the moneth off December the zher off Gode ane 
thousande four hundreth nynte an four zheris." 

It is clear that Hector did not long continue under a 
cloud; for in 1508 the King directed a mandate to the 
Chamberlain of Ross requesting him to enter Hector 
Roy Mackenzie in the " males and proffitis of our landis 
of Braane and Moy, with ariage, cariage and vther 
pertinence thareof .... for his gude and thankfull 
service done and to be done to us . . . and this on 
na wise ye leif vndone, as yc will incur our indignatioun 
and displesour. This our letrez . . . efter the forme 
of our said vther letres past obefor, given vnder our 
signet at Edinburgh the fift day of Marche and of Regne 
the twenty yere. — (Signed) James R.' In 15 13 he received 
a charter under the great seal of the lands of Gairloch 
formerly granted him, with Glasletter and Coruguellen, 
with their pertinents.* Hector Roys conduct towards 

♦ The original charter ; the " protocol " from John Vass; the mandate to 
the Chamberlain of Ross, for copies of which we are indebted to Sir Kenneth 
S. Mackenzie, Baronet, are in the Gaiiloch Charter Chest, and the latter 
two will be found in extenso in the account of the Gairloch family later oq. 


John has been unfavourably criticised, but if it is kept 
in mind that no regular marriage ever took place between 
Kenneth a Bhlair and John's mother, Agnes of Lovat ; 
that their union was not recognised by the Church until 
1491, if then, the same year in which Kenneth died ; 
it can easily be understood why Hector should con- 
scientiously do what he probably held to be his duty — 
oppose John of Killin in the interest of those whom he 
considered the legitimate successors of Kenneth a Bhlair 
and his unfortunate son, Kenneth Og, to whom only, 
so far as we can discover. Hector Roy was appointed 
Tutor; for when his brother, Kenneth a Bhlair, died, there 
was every appearance that Hector's ward, Kenneth Og, 
would succeed when he came of age. The succession 
of John of Killin was at most only a remote possibility 
when his father died, and therefore no Tutor to him 
would have been appointed. 

In terms of an Act passed in 1496, anent the 
education of young gentlemen of note, John, when young, 
was sent by Hector Roy to Edinburgh to complete his 
education at Court He thus, in early life, acquired a 
knowledge of legal principles and practice of great 
service and value to him in after life, not only in the 
management of his own affairs, but in aiding his friends 
and countrymen in their peculiar difficulties by his 
counsel and guidance, and thus he secured such universal 
esteem and confidence as seldom fell to the lot of a 
Highland chief in that rude and unruly age. The 
standard of education necessary at Court in those days 
must have been very different from that required in ours, 
for we find that, with all his opportunities, John of Killin 
could not write his own name. To a bond in favour 
of the Earl of Huntly he subscribes, "Jhone M'Kenzie 
of Kyntaill, with my hand on the pen led by Master 
William Gordone, Notar." 

Referring to the power of the House of Kintail at 
this period, and to the rapid advance made by the family 
under Alexander and his successors, we quote the follow- 



incT from a modern MS. history of the family by the 
late Captain John Matheson of Bennetsfield : — "We must 
observe here the rapid advance which the family of Kintail 
made on every side. The turbulent Macdonalds, crushed 
by the affair of Park, Munro, sustained by his own clan, 
and the neighbouring vassals of Ross humbled at their 
own door, when a century had not yet passed since 
the name of Mackenzie had become familiar to their 
ears ; and it is gratifying to trace all this to the wise 
policy of the first James and his successors. The 
judicious education of Alastair lonraic, and consequent 
cultivation of those habits which, by identifying the 
people with the monarch through the laws, render a 
nation securely great, is equally discernible in John of 
Killin and his posterity. The successors of the Earls 
of Ross were turbulent and tenacious of their rights, 
but they were irreclaimable. The youthful Lord of 
the Isles, at the instigation of his haughty mother, 
deserted the Court of James I., while young Kintail 
remained, sedulously improving himself at school in 
Perth, till he was called to display his gratitude to 
his Royal master in counteracting the evil arising from 
the opposite conduct of Macdonald. Thus, by one 
happy circumstance, the attention of the King was 
called to a chieftain who gave such early promise of 
steady attachment, and his future favour was secured. 
The family of Kintail was repeatedly recognised in the 
calendar of the Scottish Court, while that of the once 
proud Macdonalds frowned in disappointment and 
barbarous independence amidst their native wilds, while 
their territories, extending beyond the bounds of good 
government and protection, presented gradually such 
defenceless gaps as became inviting and easily penetrable 
by the intelligence of Mackenzie, and Alastair lonraic 
acquired a great portion of his estates by this legitimate 
advantage, afterwards secured by the intractable arrogance 
of Macdonald of Lochalsh and the valour and military 
capacity of Coinneach a Bhlair," 


In 1513 John of Killin is found among those 
Highland chiefs summoned to rendezvous with the Royal 
army at Barrow Moor preparatory to the fatal advance 
of James IV. into England, when the Mackenzies, forming 
with the Macleans, joined that miserably-arranged and 
ill-fated expedition which terminated so fatally to Scot- 
land on the disastrous field of Flodden, where the killed 
included the King, with the flower of his nobility, 
gentry, and even clergy. There was scarcely a Scottish 
family of distinction that did not lose at least one, and 
some of them lost all the male members who were 
capable of bearing arms. The body of the King was 
found, much disfigured with wounds, in the thickest of 
the slain. Abercromby, on the authority of Crawford, 
includes, in a list of those killed at Flodden, ** Kenneth 
Mackenzie of Kintail, ancestor to the noble family of 
Seaforth." This is an undoubted error ; for it will be 
seen that John, not Kenneth, was chief at the time of 
Flodden. It was he who joined the Royal army, 
accompanied by his brave and gallant uncle, Hector 
Roy of Gairloch ; and it is established beyond dispute 
that though almost all their followers fell, both John and 
Hector survived and returned home. They, however, 
narrowly escaped the charge of Sir Edward Stanley in 
rear of the Highlanders during the disorderly pursuit 
of Sir Edward Howard, who had given way to the 
furious and gallant onset of the mountaineers. 

John was made prisoner, but afterwards escaped in a 
very remarkable manner. When his captors were carrying 
him and others of his followers to the south, they 
were overtaken by a violent storm which obliged them 
to seek shelter in a retired house occupied by the widow 
of a shipmaster. After taking up their quarters, and, 
as they thought, providing for the safe custody of the 
prisoners, the woman noticed that the captives were 
Highlanders ; and, in reference to the boisterous weather 
raging outside, she, as if unconsciously, exclaimed, **The 
Lord help those who are to-night travelling on Leathad 


Leacachan." The prisoners were naturally astonished 
to hear an allusion, in such a place, to a mountain so 
familiar to them in the North Highlands, and they soon 
obtained an opportunity, which their hostess appeared 
most anxious to afford them, of questioning her regarding 
her acquaintance with so distant a place ; when she 
told them that during a sea voyage she took with her 
husband, she had been taken so ill aboard ship that it 
was found necessary to send her ashore on the north- 
west coast of Scotland, where, travelling with only a 
maid and a single guide, they were caught in a severe 
storm, and she was suddenly taken in labour. In this 
distressing and trying position a Highlander passing by 
took compassion upon her, and seeing her case so 
desperate, with no resources at hand, he, with remarkable 
presence of mind, killed one of his horses, ripped open 
his stomach, and taking out the bowels, placed her 
and the newly-born infant in their place, as the only 
effectual shelter from the storm. By this means he 
secured sufficient time to procure female assistance, and 
ultimatelv saved the woman and her child. 

But the most remarkable part of the story remains 
to be told. The same person to whom she owed her 
preservation was at that moment one of the captives 
under her roof. He was one of Kintail's followers on 
the fatal field of Flodden. She, informed of his presence 
and of the plight he was in, managed to procure a 
private interview with him, when he amply proved to 
her, by more detailed reference to the incidents of their 
meeting on Leathad Leacachan, that he was the man — 
"Uisdean Mor Mac 'Ille Phadruig" — and in gratitude, 
she, at the serious risk of her own personal safety, 
successfully planned the escape of Hugh's master and his 
whole party. The story is given on uninterrupted tradition 
in the country of the Mackenzies ; and a full and indepen- 
dent version in the vernacular of the hero's humane conduct 
on Leathad Leacachan will be found in the CeUis Magazine^ 
vol. ii., pp. 468-9, to which the Gaelic reader is referred. 


Gregory, p. II2, says: — "Tradition has preserved a 
curious anecdote connected with the Mackenzies, whose 
young* chief, John of Kintail, was taken prisoner at 
Flodden. It will be recollected that Kenneth Og 
Mackenzie of Kintail, while on his way to the Highlands, 
after making his escape from Edinburgh Castle, was 
killed in the Torwood by the Laird of Buchanan. The 
foster-brother of Kenneth Og was a man of the district 
of Kenlochewe, named Donald Dubh MacGillecrist vie 
Gillereoch, who with the rest of the clan was at Flodden 
with his chief. In the retreat of the Scottish army this 
Donald Dubh heard some one near him exclaiming, 
'Alas, Laird! thou hast fallen.* On enquiry, he was 
told it was the Laird of Buchanan, who had sunk from 
his wounds or exhaustion. The faithful Highlander, eager 
to revenge the death of his chief and foster-brother, 
drew his sword, and, saying, * If he has not fallen he 
shall fall,' made straight to Buchanan, whom he killed 
on the spot." 

As to the safe return of John of Kintail and Hector 
Roy to their Highland home, after this calamitous event, 
there is now no question whatever ; for we find John 
among others, afterwards appointed, by Act of Council, 
a Lieutenant or Guardian of Wester Ross,* to protect it 
from Sir Donald Gallda Macdonald of Lochalsh, when 
he proclaimed himself Lord of the Isles. In 1515, 
Mackenzie, without legal warrant, seized the Royal 
Castle of Dingwall, but professed his readiness to give 
it up to any one appointed by the Regent, John, Duke 
of Albany.f In 1532 he is included in a commission 
by James V. for suppressing a disorderly tribe of Mac- 
kintoshes. He secured the esteem of this monarch 
so much that he appointed him a member of his Privy 

To put the question of John's return beyond question, 
and to show how the family rose rapidly in influence 

• Gregory, p. 115. Acts of Lords of Council, xxvi., fci 25. 
t Acts of Lords of Council, xzvii., fo. Oo» 


and power during his rule, we shall quote the Origines 
Parochiaks Scotice, from which it will also be seen that 
Kenneth, John's heir, received considerable grants for 
himself during his fathers lifetime: — ** In 1509 King 
James IV. granted to John Makkenzie of Keantalle 
(the brother of Kenneth Og) the 40 marklands of 
Keantalle — namely, the davach of Cumissaig, the davach 
of Letterfearn, the davach of Gleanselle, the davach 
of Glenlik, the davach of Letterchall, the two davachs of 
Cro, and three davachs between the water of Keppach 
and the water of Lwying, with the castle and fortalice 
of Eleandonnan, in the earldom of Ross and sheriffdom 
of Innernis, with other lands in Ross, which John had 
resigned, and which the King then erected into the 
barony of Eleandonnan.* In 1530 King James V. 
granted to James Grant of Freuchy and Johne Mckinze 
of Kintale liberty to go to any part of the realm on 
their lawful business.f In 1532, 1538, and 1540, the 
same John M*Kenich of Kintaill appears on record. J 
In 1542, King James V. granted to John Mckenzie of 
Kintaill the waste lands of Monar, lying between the 
water of Gleneak on the north, the top or summit of 
Landovir on the south, the torrent of Towmuk and 
Inchclochill on the east, and the water of Bernis 
running into the water of Long on the west; and 
also the waste lands of lie Ned lying between Loch 
Boyne on the north. Loch Tresk on the south, lie 
Ballach on the west, and Dawelach on the east, in the 
earldom of Ross and sheriffdom of Innernes — lands which 
were never in the King's rental, and never yielded any 
revenue — for the yearly payment of £^ to the King as 
Earl of Ross.§ In 1543 Queen Mary granted to 
Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail, and Isabel Stewart, his 
wife, the lands of Auchnaceyric, Lakachane, Strome-ne- 

♦ Reg. Mag. Sig., lib. xv., No. 89. Gregory, p. 83. 

t Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. viii., fol, 149. 

X Reg. Sec. Sig. I vol. ix., fol. 3 ; vol. xii., fol. 21 ; vol. xiv., fol. 32, 

§ Reg. Mag. Sig., lib. xxviii.. No. 417. 


mowklach, Kilkinterne, the two Rateganis, Torlousicht, 
Auchnashellicht, Auchnagart, Auchewrane, lie Knokfreith, 
Aucharskelane, and Malegane, in the lordship of Kintaill ; 
and other lands in Ross, extending in all to 36 marks, 
which he had resigned.* In 1551 the same Queen 
granted to John IvrKenze of Kintaill, and Kenzeoch 
M*Kenze, his son and apparent heir, a remission for 
the violent taking of John Hectour M*Kenzesone of 
Garlouch, Doull Hectoursone, and John Towach Hectour- 
sone, and for keeping them in prison 'vsurpand thairthrou 
our Souerane Ladyis autorite/f In 1554 there appear 
on record John Mackenzie of Kintaile and his son and 
heir-apparant, Kenneth Mackenzie of Brahan — apparently 
the same persons that appear in ISSI.J 

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 Mac- 
Rath, at the time governor of Ellandonnan 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 exasperated 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 dispatched his son, Kenneth, with a force to 
Skye, who made ample reprisals in Macdonald's country, 
killing many of his followers, and at the same time 
exhibiting great intrepidity and sagacity. Donald Gorm 
almost immediately afterwards made an incursion into 
Mackenzie's territories of Kintail, where he killed Sir 
(Rev.) Dougald Mackenzie, **one of the Pope's knights"; 
whereupon Kenneth, younger of Kintail, paid a second 

* Reg. Mag. Sig., lib. zxviii., No. 524. Reg. Sec Sig., vol. xvii.» fo*. 56, 
t Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. xxiv., fo^ 75. 
^Reg, Mag. Sig., lib. xxxii.. No. 211. 


visit to the Island, wasted the country ; and on his return, 
Macdonald learning that Ellandonnan was garrisoned by 
a very weak force, under the new governor, John Dubh 
Matheson of Fernaig — who had married Sir Dugald 
Mackenzie's widow — he made another raid upon it, with 
fifty birlinns or large boats full of his followers, with the 
intention of surprising the small garrison, and taking the 
castle by storm. Its gallant defenders consisted at the 
time of the governor, his watchman, and Duncan Mac- 
Gillechriost Mac Fhionnladh Mhic Rath, a nephew of 
Maolmuire 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 mainland 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, 
entering the castle, he found no one there but the 
governor and watchman ; almost immediately after, Donald 
Gorm Mor furiously attacked the gate, but without success, 
the brave trio having strongly secured it by a second 
barrier of iron within 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 sole defender of the castle 
except the watchman ; and worse still his ammunition 
was reduced to a single barbed arrow, which he deter- 
mined 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 for effecting a 
breach. Duncan considered this a favourable opportunity, 
and aiming his arrow at Donald Gorm, it struck him 
and penetrated his foot through the master vein. Mac- 


donaldy not having perceived that the arrow was a barbed 
one, wrenched it out, and in so doing separated the 
main artery. Notwithstanding that all 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. ''In 1539 Donald Gorm of Sleat 
and his allies, after laying waste Trouterness in Sky and 
Kenlochew in Ross, attempted to take the Castle of 
Eileandonan, but Donald being killed by an arrow shot 
from the wall, the attempt failed."! I" ^541 King 
James V. granted a remission to Donald s accomplices — 
namely, Archibald His, alias Archibald the Clerk, 
Alexander McConnell Gallich, John Dow Donaldsoun, 
and twenty-six others whose names are recorded in 
Origines Parochiales, p. 394, vol. ii., for their treasonable 
fire-raising and burning of the ** Castle of AUanedonnand " 
and of the boats there, for the ** Herschip " of Kenlochew 
and Trouterness, etc. 

Duncan MacGillechriost now naturally felt that he had 
some claim to the governorship of the castle, but being 
considered "a man more bold and rash than prudent 
and politick," Mackenzie decided to pass him over. 
Duncan then put in a claim for his brother Farquhar, 
but it was thought best, to avoid local quarrels and 

* Genealogy of the Macros and ihe Ardintoul MS. "This Donald 

Gorme was son to Donald Gruamach, son to Donald Ga'lach, son to Hugh, 

natural son to Alexander, Earl of Ross, for which the elegy made on his 

death calls him grandchi'd and great grandchild to Rhi-Fingal (King 

Frngal) — 

A Dhonnchaidh Mhic Gillcchriost Mhic Fhionnla, 

'S mor um beud a ihuit le d' aon laimh, 

Ogha 's iar-ogha Mhic Righ Fhinghaill, 

Thaiteam le bramag an aon mhic." 

^Lttterfeam MS, 

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


bitterness between the respective claimants, to supersede 
them both and appoint another, John MacMhurchaidh 
Dhuibh, priest of Kintail, to the Constableship. Duncan 
was so much offended at such treatment in return for 
his valiant services that he left Kintail in disgust, and 
went to the country of Lord Lovat, who received him 
kindly, and gave him the lands of Crochel and others 
in Strathglass, where he lived for several years, until 
Lovats death. Mackenzie, however, often visited him, 
and finally prevailed upon him to return .to Kintail, and 
Duncan, who always retained a lingering affection for 
his native country, ultimately became reconciled to the 
chief, who gave him the quarterland of Little Inverinate 
and Dorisduan, where he lived the remainder of his 
days, and which his descendants continued to possess for 
generations after his death. 

For this service against the Macdonalds, James V. 
gave Mackenzie KinchuUidrum, Achilty, and Comery in 
feu, with Meikle Scatwell, under the Great Seal, in 
1528. The lands of Laggan Achidrom, being four 
merks, the three merks of Killianan, and the four merk 
lands of Invergarry, being in the Kings hands, were 
disposed by him to John Mackenzie, after the King's 
minority and revocation, in 1540, with a precept, under 
the Great Seal, and sasine thereupon by Sir John 
Robertson in January 1541. But before this, in 1521, he 
acquired the lands of Fodderty and mill thereof from Mr 
John Cadell, which James V. confirmed to him at 
Linlithgow in September, 1522. In 1541 he feued Brahan 
from the King to himself and his heirs male, which 
failing, to his eldest daughter. In 1542 he obtained the 
waste lands and forest of Neid and Monar from James V. 
for which sasine is granted in the same year by Sir 
John Robertson. In January 1547 he acquired a wadset 
of the half of Culteleod (Castle Leod) and Drynie from 
Denoon of Davidston. In September of the same year, 
old as he was, he went in defence of his Sovereign, 
young Mary of Scots, to the Battle of Pinkie, where he 


was taken prisoner; and the Laird of Kilravock meeting 
him advised him that they should own themselves 
among the commons, Mackenzie passing off as a bowman, 
while Kilravock would pass himself off as a miller, which 
plan succeeded so well as to secure Kilravock his release; 
but the Earl of Huntly, who was also a prisoner, having 
been conveyed by the Duke of Somerset to view the 
prisoners, espying his old friend Mackenzie among the 
common prisoners, and ignorant of the plot, called him 
by his name, jdesiring that he might shake hands with 
him, which civility two English officers noticed to Mac- 
kenzie's disadvantage ; for thenceforward he was placed 
and guarded along with the other prisoners of quality, 
but afterwards released for a considerable sum, to which 
all his people contributed without burdening his own 
estate with it,* so returning home to set himself to 
arrange his private affairs, and in the year 1556 he 
acquired the heritage of Culteleod and Drynie from 
Denoon, which was confirmed to him by Queen Mary 
under the Great Seal, at Inverness 13th July the same 
year. He had previously, in 1544, acquired the other 
half of Culteleod and Drynie from Magnus Mowat, and 
Patrick Mowat of Bugholly. In 1543 John Mackenzie 
acquired Kildins, part of Lochbroom, to himself and 
Elizabeth Grant, his wife, holding blench for a penny, 
and confirmed in the same year by Queen Mary.t 

In 1540 Mackenzie with his followers joined King 
James at Loch Duich, while on his way with a large fleet 
to secure the good government of the West Highlands 
and Isles, upon which occasion many of the suspected 
and refractory leaders were carried south and placed in 
confinement. His Majesty died soon after, in 1542. 
Queen Mary succeeded, and, being a minor, the country 
generally, but particularly the northern parts, was thrown 
into a state of anarchy and confusion. 

* " He was raDsomed by cows that was raised through all his lands. *'-^ 
Letter/earn MS, 

t MS. History by the Earl of Cromartie. 


In 1544 the Earl of Huntly, holding a commission as 
Lieutenant of the North from the Queen Regent, Mary 
of Guise, commanded Kenneth Mackenzie, younger of 
Kintail (his father, from his advanced age, being unable to 
take the field), to raise his vassals and lead an expedition 
against the Clan Ranald of Moidart, who, at that time, 
held lands from Mackenzie on the West Coast ; but 
Kenneth, in these circumstances, thought it would be 
much against his personal interest to attack Donald Glas 
of Moidart, and refused to comply with Huntly's orders. 
To punish him, the Earl ordered his whole army, consisting 
of three thousand men, to proceed against both Moidart 
and Mackenzie with fire and sword, but he had not 
sufficiently calculated on the constitution of his force, which 
was chiefly composed of Grants, Rosses, Mackintoshes, and 
Chisholms; and Kenneth's mother being a daughter of 
John, then laird of Grant, and three of his daughters 
having married, respectively, Ross of Balnagown, Lachlan 
Mackintosh of Mackintosh, and Alexander Chisholm of 
Comar, Huntly found his followers as little disposed to 
molest Mackenzie as he had been to attack Donald Glas 
of Moidart. In addition to the friendly feelings of the 
other chiefs towards young Kintail, fostered by these 
family alliances, Huntly was not at all popular with his 
own followers, or with the Highlanders generally. He 
had incurred such odium for having some time before 
executed the Laird of Mackintosh, contrary to his solemn 
pledge, that it required little excuse on the part of the 
exasperated kindred tribes to counteract his plans, and 
on the slightest pretext to refuse to follow him. He 
was therefore obliged to retire from the West without 
eflfecting any substantial service ; was ultimately disgraced ; 
committed to Edinburgh Castle; compelled to renounce 
the Earldom of Moray and all his other possessions in 
the north ; and sentenced to banishment in France for 
five years. 

On the 13th of December 1545, at Dingwall, the Earl 
of Sutherland entered into a bond of manrent with John 


Mackenzie of Kintail for mutual defence against all 
enemies, reserving only their allegiance to their youthful 
Queen, Mary Stuart* Two years later the Earl of 
Arran sent the fiery cross over the nation calling upon 
all between the ages of sixteen and sixty to meet him 
at Musselburgh for the protection of the infant Queen. 
Mackenzie of Kintail, then between sixty and seventy 
years of age, when he might fairly consider himself 
exempt from further military service, duly appeared with 
all the followers he could muster, prudently leaving 
Kenneth, his only son, at home ; and when remonstrated 
with for taking part in such a perilous journey at his 
time of life, especially as he was far past the stipulated 
age for active service, the old chief patriotically remarked 
that one of his age could not possibly die more decorously 
than in the defence of his country. In the same year 
(1547) he fought bravely, at the head of his clan, with 
all the enthusiasm and gallantry of his younger days, at 
the battle of Pinkie, where he was wounded in the head 
and taken prisoner, but was soon afterwards released, 
through the influence of the Earl of Huntly, who had 
meanwhile again got into favour, received a full pardon, 
and was appointed Chancellor for Scotland. 

The Earl of Huntly some time after this paid a visit 
to Ross, intending, if he were kindly received by the 
great chiefs, to feu a part of the earldom of Ross, still 
in the King's hands, and to live in the diistrict for 
some period of the year. Mackenzie, although friendly 
disposed towards the Earl, had no desire to have him 
residing in his immediate neighbourhood, and he arranged 
a plan which had the effect of deciding Huntly to give 
up any idea of remaining or feuing any lands in Ross. 
The Earl, having obtained a commission from the Regent 
to hold courts in the county, came to the castle of 
Dingwall, where he invited the principal chiefs to meet 
him. John of Killin, though very advanced in years, 
was the first to arrive, and he was very kindly received by 

* Sir Robert Gordon, p. 11 3. 


Huntly. Mackenzie in return made a pretence of heartily 
welcoming and congratulating his lordship on his coming 
to Ross, and trusted that he would be the means of 
protecting him and his friends from the violence of his 
son, Kenneth, who. taking advantage of his frailty and 
advanced years, was behaving most unjustly towards him. 
John, indeed, expressed the hope that the Earl would 
punish Kenneth for his illegal and unnatural rebellion 
against him, his aged father. While they were thus 
speaking, a message came in that a large number of 
armed men, three or four hundred strong, with banners 
flying and pipes playing, were just in sight on the hill 
above Dingwall. The Earl became alarmed, not knowing 
whom they might be or what their object was, whereupon 
Mackenzie said that it could be no other than Kenneth 
and his rebellious followers coming to punish him for 
paying his lordship this visit without his consent ; 
and he advised the Earl to leave at once, as he was 
not strong enough to resist the enemy, and to take him 
(the old chief) along with him in order to protect him 
from his son s violence, which would now, in consequence 
of this visit he directed against him more than ever. 
The Earl and his retinue at once withdrew to Easter 
Ross. Kenneth ordered his men to pursue them. He 
overtook them as they were crossing the bridge of 
Dingwall and killed several of them ; but having attained 
his object of frightening Huntly out of Ross, he ordered 
his men to desist. This skirmish is known as the "affair 
of Dingwall Bridge."* 

In 1556 Y Mackay of Farr, progenitor of the Lords 
of Reay, refused to appear before the Queen Regent at 
Inverness, to answer charges made against him for 
depredations committed in Sutherlandshire ; and she 
issued a commission to John, fifth Earl of Sutherland, to 
lay Mackays country waste. Mackay, satisfied that he 
could not successfully oppose the Earls forces in the field, 
pillaged and plundered another district of Sutherland. 

•Ardintoul MS. 


The Earl conveyed intelligence of how matters stood to 
John of Kintail, who, in terms of the bond of manrent 
entered into between them in 1545, despatched his son 
Kenneth with an able body of the clan to arrest Mackay s 
prog^ress, which duty he performed most effectually. 
Meeting at Brora, a severe contest ensued, which termi- 
nated in the defeat of Mackay, with the loss of Angus 
Maclain Mhoir, one of his chief commanders, and many 
of his clan. Kenneth was thereupon, conjointly with 
his father, appointed by the Earl of Sutherland — then the 
Queen's Lieutenant north of the Spey, and Chamberlain 
of the Earldom of Ross* — his deputies in the management 
of this vast property, at the same time placing them 
in possession of Ardmeanoch, or Redcastle, which 
remained ever since, until within a recent period, in the 
possession of the family, becoming the property of 
Kenneth's third son, Ruairidh Mor, first of the house of 
Redcastle, and progenitor of the family of Kincraig and 
other well-known branches. 

After this, Kintail seems to have lived in peace during 
the remainder of his long life. He died at hiis house at 
Inverchonan, in 1561, about eighty years of age. He 
was buried in the family aisle at Beauly. That he was 
a man of proved valour is fully established by the dis- 
tinguished part he took in the battles of Flodden and 
Pinkie. The Earl of Cromarty informs us that, ** in his 
time he purchased much of the Brae-lands of Ross, and 
secured both what he acquired and what his predecessors 
had, by well ordered and legal security, so that it is 
doubtful whether his predecessors* courage or his prudence 
contributed most to the rising of the family." 

In illustration of the latter quality, we quote the 
following story : — John Mackenzie of Kintail *' was a 
very great courtier and counsellor of Queen ; Maries. 
Much of the lands of Brae Ross were acquired by 
him, which minds me how he entertained the Queens 
Chamberlain who she sent north to learn the state and 

♦ Sir Robert Gordon, p. 134. 


condition of the gentry of Ross, minding to feu her 
interest of that Earldome. Sir John, hearing of their 
coming to his house of Killin, he caused his servants 
put on a great fyre of ffresh arn wood newly cutt, which 
when they came in (sitting on great jests of wood which 
he caused sett there a purpose) made such a reek that 
they were almost blinded, and were it not the night was 
so ill they would rather goe than byde it. They had not 
long sitten when his servants came in with a great bull, 
which presently they brained on the floor, and or they 
well could look about, this fellow with his dirk, and that 
fellow with his, were cutting collops of him. Then comes 
in another sturdie lusty fellow with a great calderon in 
his hand, and ane axe in the other, and with its shaft 
stroak each of these that were cutting the collops, and 
then made Taylzies of it and put all in the kettle, 
sett it on the same* fire before them all and helped the 
fire with more green wood. When all was ready as he 
had ordered, a long, large table was covered and the 
beef sett on in great scaills of dishes instead of pleats. 
They had scarcely sitten to supper when they let loose 
six or sevin great hounds to supp the broth, but before 
they made ane end of it, they made such a tulzie as 
made them all start at the table. The supper being 
ended, and longing for their bedds (but much more for 
day), there comes in 5 or 6 lustie women with windlings 
of strae (and white plaids) which they spread on each 
side of the house, whereon the gentlemen were forced 
to lye in their cloaths, thinking they had come to 
purgatory before hand; but they had no .sooner seen day 
light than without stayeing dinner they made to the gett, 
down to Ross where they were most noblie entertained 
be Ffowlis, Belnagowin, Miltoun, and severall other 
gentlemen. But when they were come south the Queen 
asked who were the ablest men they saw there. They 
answered all they did see lived like princes, except Her 
Majesty's great courtier and counsellor Mackenzie. So 
tells her all their usage in his house, and that he slept 


with his doggfs and sat with his hounds, wherat the 
Queen laugh mirrily (whatever her thoughts was of 
M'Kenzie) and said * It were a pity of his poverty, ffor he 
is the best and honestest among them all.' The Queen 
thereafter having called all the gentry of Ross to hold 
their lands of the Crown in feu, Mackenzie got (by her 
favour and his pretended poverty) the easiest feu, and 
for his 1000 merks more than any of the rest had for 

John had a natural son named Dugall, who lived in 
Applecross, and married a niece of Macleod of Harris, 
by whom he had a son and one daughter. The son; 
also named Dugall, was a schoolmaster in Chanonry, and 
died without issue. The daughter was married to Duncan 
Mackenzie, Reraig, and after his death to Mackintosh of 
Strone. Dugall, the elder, was killed by the Mathesons 
at Kishorn. John had also a natural daughter, Janet, who 
married first Mackay of Reay, and secondly, Roderick 
Macleod, X. of Lewis, with issue —Torquil Cononach ; and 
afterwards '* Ian Mor na Tuaighe," brother of John 
MacGillechallum of Raasay, with whom she eloped. 

He married Elizabeth, daughter of John, tenth Laird 
of Grant, and by her had an only son and successor, 


Commonly known as Coinneach na Cuirc, or Kenneth 
of the Whittle, so called from his skill in wood 
carving and general dexterity with the Highland 
"sgian dubh." He succeeded his father in 1561. In 
the following year he was among the chiefs who, at the 
head of their followers, met Queen Mary at Inverness, 
and helped her to obtain possession of the Castle after 
Alexander Gordon, the governor, refused her admission. 
In the same year an Act of Privy Council, dated the 21st 
of May, bears that he had delivered up Mary Macleod, 
the heiress of Harris and Dunvegan, of whom he had 

♦Ancient MS. 


previously by accident obtained the custody, into the 
hands of Queen Mary, with whom she afterwards remained 
for several years as a maid of honour. The Act is as 
follows : — 

"The same day, in presence of the Queen's Majesty and Lords 
of Secret Council, compeared Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail, who, 
being commanded by letters and also by writings direct from the 
Queen's Grace, to exhibit, produce, and present before her High- 
ness Mary Macleod, daughter and heir of the umquwhile William 
Macleod of Harris, conform to the letters and charges direct 
thereupon : And declared that James Macdonald had an action 
depending the Lords of Session against him for deliverance of 
the said Mary to him, and that therefore he could not gudlie 
(well) deliver her. Notwithstanding the which the Queen's Majesty 
ordained the said Kenneth to deliver the said Mary to her 
Highness and granted that he should incur 'no scaith thairthrou' 
at the hands of the said James or any others, notwithstanding 
any title or action they had against him therefor ; and the said 
Kenneth knowing his dutiful obedience to the Queen's Majesty, 
and that the Queen had ordained him to deliver the said Mary 
to her Highness in manner foresaid which he in no wise could 
disobey — and therefore delivered the said Mary to the Queen's 
Majesty conform to her ordinance foresaid." * 

Prior to this Mackenzie refused to give her up to 
her lawful guardian, James Macdonald of Dunyveg and 
the Glens. In 1563 we find him on the jury, with 
James, Earl of Moray, and others, at Inverness, by whom 
John Campbell of Cawdor was served heir to the Barony 
of Strathnairn.t Kenneth was advanced in years before 
he came into possession, and took, as we have seen, an 
active and distinguished part in all the affairs of his clan 
during the life of his long-lived father. He seems after 
his return from Inverness, on the occasion of meeting 
Queen Mary there, to have retired very much into 
private life, for, on Mary's escape from Lochleven Castle, 
he sent his son Colin, then quite a youth attending his 
studies at Aberdeen, at the head of his vassals, to join 
the Earl of Huntly, by whom Colin was sent, according 
to the Laird of Applecross, "as one whose prudence he 

♦ Transactions of the lona Club^ pp. 143-4. t Invemessiana, p. 229. 


confided, to advise the Queen's retreat to Stirling, where 
she might stay in security till all her friends were 
convocate, but by an unhappy council she refused this 
advice and fought at Langside, where Colin was present, 
and when by the Regent's* insolence, after that victory, 
all the loyal subjects were forced to take remissions for 
their duty, as if it were a crime. Amongst the rest 
Mackenzie takes one, the only one that ever any of his 
family had ; and this is rather a mark of his fidelity than 
evidence of failure, and an honour, not a task of his 
posterity." It would have been already seen that another 
remission had been received at an earlier date, for the 
imprisonment and murder of John Glassich, son and 
successor to Hector Roy Mackenzie of Gairloch, in 
Ellandonnan Castle. Dr George Mackenzie says that 
Kenneth apprehended John Glassich and sent him 
prisoner to the Castle, where he was poisoned by the 
constable's lady,t whereupon **ane certain female, foster- 
sister of his, composed a Gaelic rhyme to commemorate 
him." The Earl of Cromartie gives as the reason for 
this imprisonment and murder that, according to rumour, 
John Glassich intended to prosecute his father's claim to 
the Kintail estates, and Kenneth hearing of this sent for 
him to Brahan. John came suspecting nothing, accom- 
panied only by his ordinary servants. Kenneth questioned 
him regarding the suspicious rumours in circulation, and 

*The Earl of Moray, appointed to the olHce after Mary*s defeat. 

fThis lady was Nighean lamhair, and was spouse to John Mac- 
Mharchaidh Dhuibh, the Priest of Kintail, who was then chosen constable 
of Ellandonnan for the following reason : — A great debate arose between the 
Madennans and the Macraes about this important and honourable post, and 
the laird finding them irreconcilable, lest they should kill one another, and 
he being a stranger in the country himself, Mackenzie, on the advice of the 
Laird of Fairbam, elected the priest constable of the castle. This did not 
salt the Maclennans, and, as soon as Mackenzie left the country, they, one 
Sabbath morning, as the priest was coming home from church, <* sends a 
man in ambush in his road who shot him with an arrow in the buttocks, 
so that he fell. The ambusher thinking him killed, and perceiving others 
coming after the priest that road, made his escape, and he (the priest) was 
carried to his boat alive. Of this priest are all the Murchisons in these 
conntries descended" — AncietU AfS, 


not being quite satisfied with the answers, he caused John 
Glassich to be at once apprehended. One of John's 
servants, named John Gearr, seeing his master thus 
inveigled, struck at Kenneth of Kintail a fearful blow 
with a two-handed sword, but fortunately Kenneth, who 
was standing close to the table, nimbly moved aside, and 
the blow missed him, else he would have been cloven 
to pieces. The sword made a deep cut in the table, 
"so that you could hide your hand edgeways in it," and 
the mark remained in the table until Colin, first Earl of 
Seaforth, "caused cut that piece off the table, saying that 
he loved no such remembrance of the quarrels of his 
relations." Kenneth was a man of good endowments ; 
"he carried so prudently that he had the good-liking of 
his prince and peace from his neighbours." He had a 
peculiar genius for mechanics, and was seldom found 
without his core — " sgian dubh " — or some other such 
tool in his hand, with which he produced excellent 
specimens of hand-carving on wood. 

He married early, during his father's lifetime, Lady 
Elizabeth Stewart, daughter of John, second Earl of 
Athol, by his wife. Lady Mary Campbell, daughter of 
Archibald, second, and sister of Colin, third Earl of Argyll, 
and by her had three sons and several daughters — 

I. Murdoch, who, being fostered in the house of Bayne 
of Tulloch, was presented by that gentleman on his being 
sent home, with a goodly stock of milch cows and the 
grazing of Strathvaich, but he died before he attained 

n. Colin, who succeeded his father. 

in. Roderick, who received the lands of Redcastle and 
became the progenitor of the family of that name. 

IV. Janet, who as his third wife married, first, -/Eneas 
Macdonald, VH. of Glengarry, with issue — a daughter 
Elizabeth, who married John Roy Mackenzie, IV. of 
Gairloch. She married secondly, Alexander Chisholm, 
XIV. of Chisholm, with issue. 

V. Catherine, who, as his second wife, married Alex- 


ander Ross, IX. of Balnagown, with issue — one son 
Nicholas Alexander, who died on the 21st of October, 1592. 

VI. Agnes, who married Lachlan Mor Mackintosh of 
Mackintosh,* with issue. 

VII. A daughter who married Walter Urquhart of 

VIII. A daughter who married Robert Munro of Fowlis. 

IX. A daughter who married Innes of Inverbreackie. 
By Kenneth's marriage to Lady Elizabeth Stewart, 

the Royal blood of the Plantaganets was introduced into 
the Family of Kintail, and it was afterwards strengthened 
and the strain further continued by the marriage of 
Kenneth's son, Colin Cam, to Barbara Grant of Grant, 
daughter of Lady Marjory Stewart, daughter of John, 
third Earl of Athol. 

By the inter-marriages of his children Kenneth left 
his house singularly powerful in family alliances, and as 
has been already seen he in 1554 derived very substantial 
benefits from them himself. He died at Killin on the 
6th of June, 1568, and was hurried at Beauly. He was 
succeeded by his second and eldest surviving son, 


Or Colin the One-Eyed, who very early became a 
special favourite at Court, particularly with the King 
himself; so much, the Earl of Cromartie says, that "there 
was none in the North for whom he hade a greater 
esteem than for this Colin. He made him one of his 
Privie Councillors, and oft tymes invited him to be 
nobilitate (ennobled) ; but Colin always declined it, aiming 

*The following anecdote is related of this match :— Lachlan Mackin- 
tosh, being only an infant when his father, William Mackintosh of that ilk, 
was murdered in 1550, was carried for safety by some of his humble retainers 
to the county of Ross. This came to the knowledge of Colin, younger of 
Kintail, who took possession of the young heir of Mackintosh, and carried 
him to Ellandonnan Castle. The old chief retained him, and treated him 
with great care until the years of pupilarity had expired, and then married 
htm to his daughter Agnes, by no means an unsuitable match for either, 
apart from the time and manner in which it was consummated. 


rather to have his faniilie remarkable for power, as it 
were, above their qualitie than for titles that equalled 
their power." We find that '*in 1570 King James VI. 
granted to Coline Makcainze, the son and apparent heir 
of the deceased Canzeoch of Kintaill, permission to be 
served heir in his minority to all the lands and rents 
in the Sheriffdom of Innerness, in which his father died 
last vest and seised. In 1572 the same King confirmed 
a grant made by Colin Makcanze of Kintaill to Barbara 
Graunt, his affianced spouse, in fulfilment of a contract 
between him and John Grant of Freuchie, dated 2Sth 
April 1571, of his lands of Climbo, Keppach, and 
Ballichon, Mekle Innerennet, Derisduan Beg, Little Inner- 
ennet, Derisduan Moir, Auchadrein, Kirktoun, Ardtulloch, 
Rovoch, Quhissil, Tullych, Derewall arid Nuik. Inchchro, 
Morowoch, Glenlik, Innersell and Nuik, Ackazarge, Kin- 
lochbeancharan, and Innerchonray, in the Earldom of 
Ross, and Sheriffdom of Inverness. In 1574 the same 
Colin was served heir to his father Kenneth M'Keinzie 
in the davach of Letterfernane, the davach of Glenshall, 
and other lands in the barony of Ellendonane of the old 
extent of five marks."* 

On the 15th of April, 1569, Colin, along with 
Alexander Ross of Balnagown, Lachlan Mackintosh of 
Mackintosh, Walter Urquhart of Cromarty, Robert Munro 
of Fowlis, Hugh Rose of Kilravock, and several others, 
signed a bond of allegiance to James VI. and to James 
Earl of Murray as Regent. On the 21st of June, in the 
same year, before the Lord Regent and the Privy 
Council, Colin promised and obliged himself to cause 
Torquil Macleod of Lewis to obtain sufficient letters of 
slains from the master, wife, bairns, and principal kin and 
friends of the umquhile John Mac Ian Mhoir, and on 
the said letters of slains being obtained Robert Munro 
of Fowlis promised and obliged himself to deliver to 
the said Torquil or Colin the sum of two hundred merks 
consigned in Robert Munro's hands by certain mer- 

♦ Origincs Parochiules Sco/ice, p. 393, vol. ii. 


chants in Edinburgh for the assithment of slaughters 
committed at Lochcarron in connection with the fishings 
in that Loch. On the ist of August, 1569, Colin signs a 
decree arbitral between himself and Donald Gormeson 
Macdonald, sixth of Sleat, the full text of which will be 
found at pp. 185-88 of Mackenzie's History of t/te Mae- 
donalds and Lords of the Isles, 

In 1570 a quarrel broke out between the Mackenzies 
and the Munros. Leslie, the celebrated Bishop of Ross, 
who had been secretary to Queen Mary, dreading the 
effect of public feeling against prelacy in the North, 
and against himself personally, made over to his cousin, 
Leslie of Balquhair, his rights and titles to the Chanonry 
of Ross, together with the castle lands, in order to 
divest them of the character of church property, and so 
save them to his family ; but notwithstanding this grant, 
the Regent Murray gave the custody of the castle to 
Andrew Munro of Milntown, a rigid presbyterian, and 
in high favour with Murray, who promised Leslie some 
of the lands of the barony of Fintry in Buchan as an 
equivalent; but the Regent died before this arrangement 
was carried out — before Munro obtained titles to the 
castle and castle lands as he expected. Yet he ultimately 
obtained permission from the Earl of Lennox, during 
his regency, and afterwards from the Earl of Mar, his 
successor in that office, to get possession of the castle. 

The Mackenzies were by no means pleased to see 
the Munros occupying the stronghold ; and, desirous to 
obtain possession of it themselves, they purchased Leslie s 
right, by virtue of which ihey demanded delivery of the 
castle. This was at once refused by the Munros. Kintail 
raised his vassals, and, joined by a detachment of the 
Mackintoshes,* garrisoned the steeple of the Cathedral 

*In the year 1573, Lachlan More, Laird of Mackintosh, favouring 
Kinlail, his brothcr-in law, required all the people of Stralhnairn to join 
him against the Munros. Colin, Lord of Lorn, had at the time the adminstra* 
tion of that lordship as the jointure lands of his wife, the Countess Dowager of 
Murray, and he wrote to Hugh Rose of Kilravock :— ** My Baillie off 
Straihname, for as much as it is reported to me that Mackintosh has charged 


Church, and laid siege to Irvine's Tower and the Palace. 
The Munros held out for three years, but one day the 
garrison becoming short of provisions, they attempted a 
sortie to the Ness of Fortrose, where there was at the 
time a salmon stell, the contents of which they attempted 
to secure. They were commanded by John Munro, 
grandson of George, fourth laird of Fowlis, who was 
killed at the battle of ** Bealach-nam-Brog." They were 
immediately discovered, and quickly followed by the Mac- 
kenzies, under Iain Dubh Mac Ruairidh Mhic Alastair, 
who fell upon the starving Munros, and, after a desperate 
struggle, killed twenty-six of their number, among whom 
was their commander, while the victors only sustained a 
loss of two men killed and three or four wounded. The 
remaining defenders of the castle immediately capitulated, 
and it was taken possession of by the Mackenzies. Sub- 
sequently it was confirmed to the Baron of Kintail by 
King James VI.* Roderick Mor Mackenzie of Red- 
castle seems to have been the leading spirit in this affair. 
The following document, dated at Holyrood House, the 
1 2th of September 1573, referring to the matter will 
prove interesting — 

Anent our Sovereign Lord's letters raised at the instance of 
Master George Munro, making mention : — that whereas he is 
lawfully provided to the Chancellory of Ross by his Highnesses 
presentation, admission to the Kirk, and the Lords' decree there- 
upon, and has obtained letters in all the four forms thereupon ; 
and therewith has caused charge the tenants and intromitters* with 
the teind sheaves thereof, to make him and his factors payment ; 
and in the meantime Rory Mackenzie, brother to Colin Mackenzie 

all my tenants west of the water of Nairn to pass forward with him to Ross 
to enter into this troublous action with Mackenzie against the Laird of 
Fowlis, and because I will not that any of mine enter presently this matter 
whose service appertains to me, . . . wherefore I will desire you to make 
my will known to my tenants at Strathname within your Bailliary, that none 
of them take upon hand to rise at this present with Mackintosh to pass to 
Ross, or at any time hereafter without my special command and goodwill 
obtained under such pains,'' etc. (Dated) Darnoway, 28th of June, 1573. 
^Kilravock fVrits, p. 263. 

* Sir Robert Gordon, p. 154, and MS. Histories of the Family* 


of Kintail, having continual residence in the steeple of the 
Chanonry of Ross, which he caused to be built not only to oppress 
the country with masterful theft, soming, and daily oppression, 
but also for suppressing of the word of God which was always 
preached in the said Kirk preceding his entry thereto, which is 
now become a filthy stye and den of thieves ; has masterfully and 
violently with a great force of oppression, come to the tenants 
indebted in payment of the said Mr George's benefice aforesaid 
and has masterfully reft them of all and whole the fruits thereof; 
and so he having no other refuge for obtaining of the said benefice, 
was compelled to denounce the said whole tenants rebels and put 
them to the horn, as the said letters and execution thereof more 
fully purports ; and further is compelled for fear of the said Mr 
George's life to remain from his vocation whereunto God has 
called him. And anent the charge given to the said Kory Mac- 
kenzie to desist and cease from all intromitting, uptaking, molesting 
or troubling of the said Mr George's tenants of his benefice 
above-written for any fruits or duties thereof, otherwise than is 
ordered by law, or else to have compeared before my Lord Regent's 
grace and Lords of Secret Council at a certain day bypast, and 
show a reasonable cause why the same should not be done ; under 
the pain of rebellion and putting him to the horn, with certification 
to him, and he failing, letters would be directed simpliciter to put 
him to the horn, like as is at more length contained in the said 
letters, execution and endorsement thereof. Which being called, the 
said Master George compeared personally, and the said Rory Mac- 
kenzie oftimes called and not compearing, my Lord Regent's grace, 
with advise of the Lords of Secret Council, ordained letters to 
be directed to officers of arms. Sheriffs in that part, to denounce 
the said Rory Mackenzie our Sovereign Lord's rebel and put him 
to the horn ; and to escheat and bring in all his moveable goods 
to his Highness's use for his contempt.* 

In December of the same year Colin has to provide 
cautioners, for things laid to his charge, to the amount 
of ten thousand pounds, that he shall remain within four 
miles of Edinburgh, and eastward as far as the town of 
Dunbar, and that he shall appear before the Council 
on a notice of forty-eight hours. On the 6th of February 
following other cautioners bind themselves to enter him 
in Edinburgh on the 20th of May, 1574, remaining there 
until relieved, under a penalty of ten thousand pounds. 

* Records of the Privy Couocil. 


He is entered to keep ward in Edinburgh on the ist 
March, 1575, and is bound to appear before the Council 
when required under a similar penalty. On the lOth 
of April following he signs a bond that Alexander Ross 
shall appear before the Lords when required to do so. 
On the 2Sth of May, iS7Si at Chanonry, Robert Munro 
of Fowlis and Walter Urquhart, Sheriff of Cromarty, 
bind themselves their heirs, and successors, under a 
penalty of five thousand pounds, that they shall on a 
month's notice enter and present Roderick Mor Mac- 
kenzie of Redcastle before the King and the Privy Council 
and that he shall remain while lawful entry be taken 
of him, and that he shall keep good rule in his country 
in the meantime. On the same day Colin, his brother, 
"of his own free motive will" binds himself and his heirs 
to relieve and keep these gentlemen scaithless of the 
amount of this obligation. He is one of several Highland 
chiefs charged by the Regent and the Privy Council on 
the 19th of February, 1577-78, to defend Donald Mac 
Angus of Glengarry from an expected invasion of his 
territories by sea and land.* 

The disturbed state of the country was such, in 1573, 
that the Earl of Sutherland petitioned to be served heir 
to his estates, at Aberdeen, as he could not get a jury 
together to sit at Inverness, "in consequence of the 
barons, such as Colin Mackenzie of Kintail, Hugh Lord 
Lovat, Lachlan Mackintosh of Dunachton, and Robert 
Munro of Fowlis, being at deadly feud among them- 

In 1580 a desperate quarrel broke out between the 
Mackenzies and Macdonalds of Glengarry. The Chief of 
Glengarry inherited part of Lochalsh, Lochcarron, and 
Lochbroom, from his grandmother, Margaret, one of the 
sisters and co-heiresses of Sir Donald Macdonald of 
Lochalsh, and grand-daughter of Celestine of the Isles. 
Kenneth, during his father's life, had acquired the other 
part by purchase from Dingwall of Kildun, son of the other 

♦ Register of ihe Privy Council. f Antiquarian Notes , p. 79. 


co-heiress of Sir Donald, on the 24th November, 1554, 
and Queen Mary confirmed the grant by Royal charter. 
Many causes leading to disputes and feuds can easily 
be imagined with such men in close proximity. Glen- 
garry and his followers "sorned" on Mackenzie's tenants, 
not only in the immediate vicinity of his own property 
of Lochcarron, but also during their raids from Glen- 
garry, on the outskirts of Kin tail, and thus Mackenzie's 
dependants were continually harrassed by Glengarry's 
cruelty and ill-usage. His own tenants in Lochalsh and 
Ix)chcarron fared little better, particularly the Mathesons 
in the former, and the Clann Ian Uidhir in the latter, 
who were the original possessors of Glengarry's lands in 
that district. These tribes, finding themselves in such 
abject slavery, though they regularly paid their rents and 
other dues, and seeing how kindly Mackenzie used the 
neighbouring tenantry, 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 Mac- 
kenzie 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 were 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 
Macdonalds 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 Glengarry, and was a very good deerstalker and 
an excellent shot, often resorted to the forest of Glasletter, 
then the property of Mackenzie of Gairloch, where he 
killed many of the deer. Some time afterwards, Duncan 
was, in consequence of certain troubles in his own country, 
obliged to leave, and he, with all his family and goods, 
took up his quarters in Glen Affrick, close to the forest. 


Soon after, he went, accompanied by a friend, to the 
nearest hill, and began his favourite pursuit of deerstalk- 
ing. Mackenzie's forester perceiving the stranger, and 
knowing him as an old poacher, cautiously walked up, 
came upon him unawares, and demanded that he should 
at once surrender himself and his arms. Duncan, finding 
that Gairloch's forester was only accompanied by one 
gillie, ** thought it an irrecoverable affront that he and 
his man should so yield, and refused to do so on any 
terms, whereupon the forester being ill- set, and remember- 
ing former abuses in their passages," he and his companion 
killed the poachers, and buried them in the hill. 
Fionnla Dubh Mac Dhomh'uill Mhoir and Donald 
Mac Ian Leith, the latter a native of Gairloch, were 
suspected of the crime, but it was never proved against 
them, though they were both several times put on their 
trial by the barons of Kintail and Gairloch. 

About two years after the murder was committed, 
Duncan's bones were discovered by one of his friends, 
who had continued all the time diligently to search for 
him. The Macdonalds always suspected foul play, and 
this having now been placed beyond question by the dis- 
covery of the bodies of the victims, a party of them started, 
determined to revenge the death of their clansman ; and, 
arriving at Inchlochell, Glenstrathfarrar, then the property 
of Rory Mor Mackenzie 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, and 
they at once attacked and killed him. The renowned 
Rory Mor, hearing of the murder of his tenant, at once 
despatched a messenger to Glengarry demanding redress 
and the punishment of the assassins, but Glengarry 
refused, feory was, however, determined to have satisfaction, 
and he resolved, against the counsel of his friends, to 
have retribution for this and previous injuries at once and 
as best he could. Having thus decided, he at once sent 
for his friend, Dugall Mackenzie of Applecross, to 


consult him as to the best mode of procedure to ensure 

Glengarry lived at the time in the Castle of Strone, 
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 thought he would 
induce the unsuspecting Glengarry to meet him on a 
certain day at Kishorn. Rory Mor, to avoid any suspicion, 
was to start at once for Lochbroom, under cloak of 
attending to his interests there ; and if M acdonald agreed 
to meet Dugall at Kishorn, he would immediately send 
notice of the day to Rory. No sooner had Dugall 
arrived at home than, to carry out this plan, he dispatched 
a messenger to Glengarry informing 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 appointed, and Dugall at 
once sent a messenger, as arranged, with full particulars 
of the proposed meeting to Rory Mor, who instantly 
gathered his friends, the Clann Allan, and marched 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 sent 
away his lawfull wife, a daughter of the laird of Grant) 
came by sea to Kishorn. He and Dugall Mackenzie 
having conferred together for some time discussing 
matters of importance to each as neighbours. 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. He sent her home by the boat, 
accompanied 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 still called Glaic nan Gillean. Glengarry and 
his train, on their way to Strone Castle, came upon them 
without the slightest 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 Redcastle, 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 the 
life of Glengarry, who, seeing he had no chance of 
escape, and hearing Redcastle's orders to his men, threw 
away his sword, and ran into Rory Mor'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 
Redcastle's infuriated followers, who started the same 
night, taking Glengarry along with him, for 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 Attadale, Lochcarron, to which they 
claimed a right. They, under silence of night, gathered 
all the Chnn Ian Uidhir, and proceeded to Arinaskaig 
and Dalmartin, where lived at the time three uncles of 
Glengarry — Gorrie, Rorie, and Ronald — whom they, with 
all their retainers, killed on the spot. "This murder was 
undoubtedly 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 Strone, which 
Macdonald 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 open ward to answer such 
charges as might be brought against him.f In 1586 
King James VI. granted a remission to ** Colin M*Kainzie 
of Kintaill and Rodoric M*Kainzie of Auchterfailie " 
(Redcastle), " his brother, for being art and part in the 
cruel murder of Rodoric M'AlIester in Stroll ; Gorie 
M'Allester, his brother, in Stromcraig; Ronnald M 'Gorie, 
the son of the latter; John Roy M'AIlane v' Allester, in 
Pitnean ; John Dow M'AlIane v' Allester, in Kirktoun 
of Lochcarroun ; Alexander M'AIlanroy, servitor of the 
deceased Rodoric ; 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 SherifiTdom of 
Innerness," and for all their other past crimes,J 

During Colin's reign Huntly obtained a commission 

* Ancient and Ardintoul MSS. 

t Records of Privy Council of date loth August and 2d December 1582 ; 
nth January and 8th March 1582-3. 

I Ori^nes JParachiaUs Scotia and Retours. 


of (ire and sword against Mackintosh of Mackintosh, and 
reduced him to such a condition that he had to remove 
with all his family and friends for better security to the 
Island of Moy. Huntly, having determined to crush 
him, came to Inverness and prepared a fleet of boats 
with which to besiege the island. These preparations 
having been completed, and the boats ready to be drawn 
across the hills from Inverness to Moy, Mackenzie, who 
had been advised of Huntlys intentions, despatched a 
messenger — John Mackenzie of Kinnock — to Inverness, 
to ask his Lordship to be as favourable as possible to 
his sister, Mackintosh of Mackintosh's wife, and to treat 
her as a gentlewoman ought to be treated when he came 
to Moy, and that he (Colin) would consider it as an act 
of personal courtesy to himself. The messenger delivered 
his message, to which Huntly replied, that if it were his 
good fortune, as he doubted not it would be, to apprehend 
her husband and her, ** she would be the worst used 
lady in the North ; that she was an ill instrument against 
his cause, and therefore he would cut her tail above her 
houghs." " Well, then," answered Kinnock, " he (Kintail) 
bade me tell your Lordship if that were your answer, 
that perhaps he or his w^ould be there to have a better 
care of her." ** I do not value his being there more 
than herself," Huntly replied, "and tell him so much 
from me." The messenger departed, when some of 
Huntly's principal officers who heard the conversation 
remonstrated with his Lordship for sending the Mackenzie 
chief so uncivil an answer, as he might have cause to 
regret it if that gentleman took it amiss. Kinnock on 
his arrival at Brahan, told his master what had occurred, 
and delivered Huntly's rude message. Colin, who was 
at the time in delicate health, sent for his brother, Rory 
Mor of Redcastle, and sent him next day across the 
ferry of Ardersier with a force of four hundred warriors. 
These he marched straight through the hills; and just 
as Huntly, on his way from Inverness, was coming in 
sight, on the west of Moy, Rory and his followers were 


marching along the face of the hill on the east side of the 
Island, when his Lordship, perceiving such a large force, 
asked his officers who they could be. One of them, 
present during the interview with Mackenzie's messenger 
on the previous day, answered, "Yonder is the effect of 
your answer to Mackenzie." ** I wonder," replied Huntly, 
"how he could have so many men ready almost in an 
instant." The officer replied, "Their leader is so active 
and fortunate that his men will flock to him from all 
parts on a moment's notice when he has any ado. And 
before you gain Mackintosh or his lady you will lose 
more than he is worth, since now, as it seems, her friends 
take part in the quarrel ;" whereupon the Earl retired 
with his forces to Inverness, "so that it seemed fitter to 
Huntly to agree their differs friendly than prosecute the 
laws further against Mackintosh." 

There is a complaint to the Privy Council by Christian 
Scrymgeour, relict of the late Alexander, Bishop of Ross, 
dated 24th January, 1578-79, in which it is stated that 
Colin not only stopped and debarred her late spouse 
from having fuel and ** elding" to his dwelling house in 
the Chanonry of Ross, where he made his residence last 
summer, but stopped him also from victuals to his 
house, using such unhuman and cruel dealings against him 
that he fell sick and never recovered " till he departed this 
life." During the illness of the bishop in December pre- 
ceding, Colin and others "of his special sending" enclosed 
the house of the Chanonry and debarred the complainer 
and her husband of meat and drink and all other relief 
of company or comfort of neighbours and friends, and 
how soon he had intelligence of the bishop's approaching 
his death he laid ambushes of armed men within the 
town of Chanonry and in the neighbourhood and 
apprehended several of the bishop's and dean's servants, 
whom he carried "immediately to the said Colin's house 
of the Redcastle," and there detained them for twenty- 
four hours. Further, on the 22nd of September preceding, 
the bishop being at the extreme point of death, Colin 



with an armed following in great numbers, came to the 
castle and house of the Chanonry and by force and 
violence entered therein and put the said Christian 
Scrvmgeour, the bishop's wife, and his servants, children, 
and household out of the same, intromitted with their 
goods and gear and constrained them to leave the 
country by sea, not suffering them to get meat, drink, 
or lodging, in the town, nor letting them take away with 
them of their own gear as much as a plaid or blanket 
to protect the children from cold in the boat, "committ- 
ing thair throw such cruel and barbarous oppression upon 
them as the like has not been heard of in any realm 
or country subject to justice or the authority of a 
Sovereign Prince." Colin did not appear to answer 
this complaint, and he and his chief abettors were 
denounced rebels, put to the horn and escheated. 

On the same day, there is a complaint by Henry 
Lord Methven, in which it is stated that although his 
Lordship "has by gift of His Highness to him, his heirs 
and assignees, the gift of all and whole the temporality 
of the Bishopric of Ross, and of the castle, house, and 
place of the Chanonry of Ross, now vacant in our 
Sovereign Lord's hands by the decease of the late 
Alexander, last Bishop of Ross, of all years and terms to 
come, aye and till the lawful provision of a lawful 
bishop and pastor to the said bishopric," and although 
it is "specially provided by Act of Parliament that 
whatsoever person or persons takes any bishop's places, 
castles, or strengths, or enters by their own authority 
to hold them without his Highness' command, letters or 
charges, shall incur the crimes of treason and lesemajesty," 
yet, "Colin Mackenzie of Kintail, in proud and high 
contempt of his Majesty's said loveable law and Act of 
Parliament, and of his Highness now having the admini- 
stration of the Government of the realm in his own 
person, lately, upon the 22nd day of September last 
bypast, in the very hour of the death of the said late 
Alexander, Bishop of Ross, or shortly thereafter beset and 


enclosed the said castle, house, and place of the Chanonry 
of Ross, took the same by force and as yet detains and 
holds the same as a house of war and will not render 
and deliver the same to the said Lord Methven.' 
Mackenzie was duly charged to give up possession of 
the castle and place or take the consequences. Lord 
Methven appeared personally, but Colin did not, where- 
upon their Lordships ordained letters to be directed to 
him charging him to give them up, **with the whole 
munition and ordnance therein" to Henry Lord Methven 
or to any other having power to receive them, within 
twenty-four hours of the charge under the pain of 

The following complaint by Donald Mac Angus of 
Glengarry laid before the Privy Council at Dalkeith on 
lOth of August, 1582, is that gentleman's version of his 
apprehension by Roderick Mor Mackenzie of Redcastle 
and Dugall Mackenzie of Kishorn, as described from family 
MSS. at pp. 156-59. Glengarry's complaint proceeds — 

After the great slaughters, herschips, and skaiths, committed 
upon him, his kin, friends, and servants upon the last day of 
February the year of God 1581 years, estimate worth six score 
thousand pounds money of this realm or thereby, and on the first, 
second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth days of March last bypast there- 
after by Rory Mackenzie, brolher-german to Colin Mackenzie of 
Kintail, Dugald Mackenzie, his brother and the remainder of their 
colleagues and company, to the number of two hundred persons, 
armed with two-handed swords, bows, darlochis, hagbutts, pistols, 
prohibited to be worn or used, and other oflfensive weapons ; who 
also upon the sixteenth day of April last bypast or thereby, came 
upon the said complainant he being within his own "rowmes" 
and country of Lochcarron having mind of no evil or injur>' to 
have been done to him nor none of his, but thinking to have 
lived under God's peace and our Sovereign Lord, .and then 
not only took himself captive, kept .and detained him prisoner in 
coves, craigs, woods, and other desert places at their pleasure 
wherethrough none of his kin nor friends had access to him for the 
space of fourteen days or thereby, but also in the meantime took and 
apprehended the late Rory MacAlister, father's brother to the said 
complainant, and three of their sons and other of his friends and 
servants to the number of 33 persons or thereby, bound their hands 


with their own shirts, and cruelly and unmercifully, under promise 

of safety of their lives, caused murder and slay them with dirks, 

appointing that they should not be buried as Christian men, but 

cast forth and eaten by dogs and swine." Further, "at the end 

of the said complainant's captivity and detention in the manner 

aforesaid, being delivered by the foresaid person, his takers and 

detainers, to Colin Mackenzie of Kintail, both he and they, being 

armed in warlike manner as said is, upon the 24th day of the said 

month of April, came to the said complainant's town and lands of 

Strome, where they also carried him captive with them and 

theirs, by hostility and way of deed, spoiled and reft the whole 

goods, gear, and plenishing therein and besieged his house and 

Castle of Strome, threatening his friends and servants therein that 

if they rendered not the same to them they would hang the said 

complainant in their sight ; compelling him and his said friends 

therefor and for safety of his life to yield to the said persons' 

tyrranous desires and appetites, and render to them the said 

castle, which they not only wrongfully detained and withheld from 

him, but also through occasion thereof still insists in their cruelty 

and inhumanity against the said complainant, his kin and friends. 

Like as lately, about the end of July last, the said Colin Mackenzie, 

Rory Mackenzie, and others aforesaid, having violently taken Donald 

MacMoroch Roy, one of the said complainant's chief kinsmen, and 

were not content to put him to a simple death, but to bait them 

in his blood, and by a strange example to satisfy their cruel and 

unnatural hearts, first cut off his hands, next his feet, and last his 

head, and having cast the same in a "peitpott," exposed and 

laid out his carcase to be a prey for dogs and ravenous beasts : 

Tending by such kind of dealing to undo as many of the said 

complainant's friends and servants as they can apprehend, and to 

lay waste their lands, "rowmes," and possessions to the said 

complainant's heavy hurt and skaith, and dangerous example of 

wicked persons to attempt the like, if remedy be not provided." 

In consequence of this complaint charges had gone forth to Colin 

Mackenzie of Kintail, (i), to have rendered the said Castle of 

Strome with the munition iuid goods therein to the complainer 

or his representatives, within twenty-four hours after being charged, 

under pain of rebellion, or else to have appeared and shown cause 

to the contrary ; (2) to have appeared and found sufficient surety 

in the Books of the Council for the safety of the complainer and 

his dependants in persons and goods, or else shown cause to the 

contrary, under the same pain. And now, " the said Angus Mac 

Angus compeared personally and the said Colin Mackenzie of 

Kintail being oftimes called and not compearing, the Lords (i) 

repeat their charge for delivery of the castle within twenty-four 


hours, and, foiling obedience, order Mackenzie of Kintail to be 
denounced rebel and put to the horn and to escheat ; (2) repeat 
their charge to the said Mackenzie to find sufficient caution for 
the safety of the complainer and his dependants in person and 
goods, with order that if he fail to do so within fifteen days after 
being charged, he shall, for that default also, be denounced rebel 
and put to the horn." 

On the 2nd of December, 1582, Colin finds caution 
in the sum of two thousand merks that he shall deliver 
up Strome Castle, Lochcarron, to Donald Mac Angus of 
Glengarry, in the event of the Privy Council finding 
that he should do so. 

Shortly after this the aspect of affairs is changed. On 
the iith of January, 1582-83, the decree against Mac- 
kenzie for the surrender of Strome Castle to Donald 
Macdonald of Glengarry is reversed. He petitions the 
Privy Council and gives an entirely different complexion 
to the facts of the case against him to those submitted 
by Glengarry to the Council. He complains of Donald 
Mac Angus for having "upon a certain sinister and 
malicious narration " obtained a decree against him charg- 
ing him upon pain of rebellion to deliver up the Castle of 
Strome, and to appear before the Privy Council, on the 
4th of August preceding, to find caution that Glengarry 
and his friends should be kept harmless of him in their 
persons and goods, and then makes the following state- 
ment : — 

The officer, alleged executor of the said letters (against him), 
neither charged the said Colin personally nor at bis dwelling house, 
neither yet came any such charge to his knowledge. Yet he 
hearing tell somewhat thereof by the "bruit" of the country, he, 
for obedience of the same, directed Alexander Mackenzie, his 
servant and procurator, to our Burgh of Perth, where his Majesty 
was resident for the time, who from the same fourth of August, 
being the peremptory day of compearance, as well there as at 
Ruthven, attended continually upon the calling of the said letters 
till the Council dissolved, and that his Majesty passed to Dunkeld 
to the hunting. Like as immediately thereafter the said Alexander 
repaired to the Burgh of Edinburgh, where he likewise awaited a 
certain space thereafter when Council should have been, and the 


said letters should have been called ; but perceiving no number 
of Council neither there nor actually with his Majesty, he looked 
for no calling of the said letters nor proceeding thereuntil, but 
that the same should have (been) deserted, because the day was 
peremptory, at the least till he should have been of new warned 
and heard in presence of his Highness and his Council to have 
shown a reasonable cause why no such letters should be granted 
simpliciter upon the said Colin to the effect above-written. Not- 
withstanding, for by his expectation, he being resident for the time 
in Edinburgh, where he looked that the said matter should have 
been called, the said other letters were upon the tenth day of the 
said month of August last, by moyen of the said Donald Mac 
Angus, called at the Castle of Dalkeith, and there, for the said 
Colin's alleged non-compearance, as he is surely informed, decree 
was pronounced in the said matter and letters ordained to be 
directed simpliciter against him." Had his said sen-ant, then 
still in Edinburgh, been made aware of this meeting of Council 
at Dalkeith, "he would not have failed to have compeared, and 
had many good and sufficient reasons and defences to h«ive staid 
all giving of the said letters simpliciter;" such as that "the said 
Colin received the said castle and fortalice of Slrome by 
virtue of a contract passed betwixt him and the said Donald, 
wherein he was content and consented that the said castle 
should remain in the said Colin's hands and keeping unto 
the time he had fulfilled certain other articles and clauses men- 
tioned and contained in the same contract ; " also " that the said 
Colin was charged, by virtue of letters passed by deliverance of 
the Lords of Session, to render and deliver the said castle and 
fortalice of Slrome to John Grant of Freuchie, as pertaining to 
him in heritage, within a certain space after the charge, under 
the said pain of homing, so that, he being doubly charged, he 
is uncertain to whom to render the said castle." Moreover, for the 
satisfaction of the King and the Lords of Council, "the said Colin 
has found caution to render and deliver the said castle and 
fortalice to the said Donald, if it shall be found by his Highness 
and the said Lords that he ought to do the same." For these 
reasons it is argued that the said decree and letters issued against 
him ought to be suspended. 

Charge having been made to the said Donald Mac 
Angus to appear to this complaint and demand, **both 
the said parties compeared personally," and the Lords 
after hearing them, ** suspended the foresaid letters pur- 
chased by the said Donald Mac Angus, effect thereof, 

XI. coLlN CAM Mackenzie:. 167 

and process of horning contained therein, and all that 
has followed thereupon, upon the said Colin simpliciter 
in time coming," the ground for this decision being that 
"the said Colin has found security acted in the books 
of Secret Council that the said castle and fortalice of 
Strome, committed to him in keeping by the King's 
Majesty and Lords of Secret Council, shall be rendered 
and delivered again to such person or persons as shall 
be appointed by the King's Majesty to receive the same, 
as the keepeis thereof shall be required thereto upon six 
days* warning, under the pain of ten thousand merks " and 
meanwhile, under the same pains, that none of the King's 
subjects shall te "invaded, troubled, molested, nor 
persecuted." by those who keep the castle for him, or 
by others resorting thither. There is, however, this 
proviso — 

That, in case the said Colin shall at any time hereafter sue 
of the King's Majesty to be disburdened of the keeping of the 
said castle, and that some person may be appointed to receive the 
same out of his hands and keeping within the space of twenty 
days next after his said suit, which notwithstanding shall happen 
to be refused and not done by his Highness within the said space, 
that in that case he nor his cautioner be anywise answerable 
thereafter for the said house and keeping thereof, but to be free 
of the same, and these presents to annul and to have no further 
force, effect, nor execution, against them at any time thereafter ; 
except that the same house shall happen to be kept by the said 
Colin or his servants in his name thereafter, for the which in that 
respect the said Colin shall always be answerable in manner 
aforesaid and no otherwise. 

A bond of caution by Mackenzie, and Lord Lindsay 
of the Byres as security for him, for ten thousand merks, 
subscribed on the 20th of January, i582»-83, and registered 
in the Chanonry of Ross, binds Colin to surrender the 
Castle of Strome to any person appointed by the King 
for the purpose, on six days' warning and to fulfil the 
other duties imposed upon him by the Act of the Privy 
Council dated the nth of the same month, already given, 
but with the proviso in his favour contained in that Act, 


which is repeated at length in the bond of caution of this 

In terms of this bond the King and Council at a 
meeting held at Holyrood on the 8th of March following 
**for certain causes and considerations moving them," 
order letters to issue charging Mackenzie and other 
keepers of the Castle of Strome to deliver the same to 
Colin, Earl of Argyll, Chancellor, or to his servants in 
his name within six days after charge under the pains 
of rebellion, which being done the King "discharges 
thereafter the sureties found by the said Colin Mackenzie 
of before, either acted in the books of Secret Council, or 
by contract, bond, or promise between him and Donald 
Mac Angus Mac Alastair of Glengarry," the Acts refer- 
ring to the same to be deleted from the books of the 
Privy Council. 

Colin's name appears again on the ist of August as 
surety for a bond of three thousand merks by David 
Dunbar of Kilstarry and Patrick Dunbar of Blairy. 

On the 5th of May, 1585, he is denounced a rebel 
on a complaint by Hugh Fraser of Guisachan under the 
following circumstar.ces. Fraser says that a certain **John 
Dow Mac Allan was lawfully denounced his Highness' 
rebel and put to the horn at the said Hucheon's instance 
for not removing from the half davoch of land of 
Kilboky pertaining to him, conform to a decree 
obtained by the said Hucheon against the said John 
Dow Mac Allan." Upon this decree Hugh Fraser 
" raised letters of caption by deliverance of the Lords of 
Session to charge the Sheriff of Inverness and other 
judges in the country where the said John resorts, to 
take, apprehend him, and keep him conform to the 
order observed in such cases." In all this process to 
obtain the decree, with ** letters in the four forms, 
executions and denunciations thereof," and then raising 
of the said letters of caption thereupon, the complainer 
"has been put to great travel and expenses, having his 
habitation by the space of eight score miles or thereby 


distant from the Burgh of Edinburgh." Nevertheless, 
Colin Mackenzie, "to whom the said John Dow Mac 
Allan is tenant, servant, and special depender," maintains 
and assists him in his violent occupation of the corn- 
plainer s lands, '* keeps him in his company, receives him 
in his house, and otherwise debates him that he cannot 
be apprehended," so that all the proceedings of the 
complainer Fraser are frustrated. Colin was thereupon 
charged to present Mac Allan before the Privy Council, 
under pain of rebellion, and failing to appear, or present 
John Dow, and the complainer having appeared person- 
ally, an order was pronounced denouncing Mackenzie a 

On the nth of December next, John Gordon of 
Pitlurg becomes cautioner in one thousand merks that 
Colin will not injure Andrew, Lord Dingwall, his tenants, 
or servants. On the nth of April, 1586, William 
Cumming of Inverallochy and others become surety in 
£1000 that Mackenzie shall ** remove his coble, fishers, and 
nets, from the fishing of the water of Conon, and desist 
and cease therefrom in time coming, conform to the letters 
raised at the instance of Andrew, Lord Dingwall, to the 
same effect, in case it shall be found and declared that 
the said Colin ought to do the same." On the 4th of May 
following, Mackenzie binds himself to keep his sureties 
scaithless in the matter of this caution. On the 1 6th of 
the same month, the King and Council "for certain 
necessary and weighty considerations moving his High- 
ness, tending to the furthering and establishing of his 
Highness' obedience and the greatness and safety of his 
peaceable and good subjects from burnings, riefs, and 
oppression," ordain Colin to enter in ward in Blackness 
Castle within twenty-four hours after being charged 
under pain of treason. Two days later, being then in ward 
in this stronghold, he finds caution in ten thousand merks 
that on being relieved from ward he will repair to 
Edinburgh and keep ward there until set free. This is 
deleted by a warrant subscribed by the King and the 


Secretary at Falkland on the 6th of the following August. 
His name appears as one of a long list of Highland chiefs 
complained against to the Privy Council on the 30th of 
November, 1586, by the united burghs of the realm for 
obstructing the fisheries in the northern parts and making 
extortionate exactions from the fishermen, and again on 
the 1 6th of September, 1587, when an order is made to 
denounce him for his failure to appear before the Council 
to enter John Mackenzie of Gairloch and his accomplices, 
for whom Colin is held liable ** as master and landlord," to 
answer a complaint made against them by James Sinclair, 
Master of Caithness, on the lOth of August preceding. 
On the 5th of March, 1587-88, John Davidson, burgess 
of Edinburgh, becomes cautioner in 500 merks that 
Colin will, if required, enter such of his men before the 
Privy Council as ** assegeit " James, Master of Caithness, 
within the house of William Robson, in the Chanonry 
of Ross. On the 27th of July, 1588, he is appointed by 
a Convention of the Estates member of a Commission ^ 
charged with powers for executing the laws against 
Jesuits, Papists, and other delinquents, and with other 
extensive powers. On the 24th of May, 1589, he is 
named as the Commissioner for the shire of Inverness 
who is to convene the freeholders of the county for 
choosing the Commissioners to a Parliament to be held 
at Edinburgh on the 2nd of October in that year, and 
to report his diligence in this matter to the Council before 
the 15th of August, under pains of rebellion. On the 
4th of June following, he appears in a curious position 
in connection with a prosecution for witchcraft against 
several women, and an abridgement of the document, as 
recorded in the Records of the Privy Council, is of 
suflScient interest to justify a place here. It is the complaint 
of Katherine Ross, relict of Robert Munro of Fowlis ; 
Margaret Sutherland, spouse of Hector Munro, portioner 
of Kiltearn ; Bessie Innes, spouse of Neil Munro, in 
Swordale ; Margaret Ross, spouse of John Neil Mac 
Donald Roy, in Caull ; and Margaret Mowat, as follows : — 


Mr Hector Munro, now of Fowlis, son-in-law of the 
said Katherine Ross, "seeking all ways and means to 
possess himself in certain her tierce and conjunct fee 
lands of the Barony of Fowlis, and to dispossess her 
therefrom " had first " persued certain of her tenants and 
servants by way of deed for their bodily harm and 
slaughter," and then, ** finding that he could not prevail 
that way, neither by sundry other indirect means sought 
by him," had at last, "upon sinister and wrong informa- 
tion and importunate suit, purchased a commission of the 
same to his Majesty, and to Colin Mackenzie of Kintail. 
Rory Mackenzie, his brother, John Mackenzie of Gair- 
loch, Alexander Bain of Tulloch, Angus Mackintosh of 
Termitt, James Glas of Cask, William Cuthbert, in 
Inverness, and some others specially mentioned therein, 
for apprehending of the said Margaret Sutherland, Bessy 
Innes, Margaret Ross, and Margaret Mowat, and sundry 
others, and putting them to the knowledge of an assize 
for witchcraft, and other forged and feinted crimes 
alleged to be committed by them." Further, "the said 
persons, by virtue of the same commission, intended to 
proceed against them most partially and wilfully, and 
thereby to drive the said complainers to that strait that 
either they shall satisfy his unreasonable desire, or then 
to lose their lives, with the sober portion of goods made 
by them for the sustenance of themselves and their poor 
bairns : howbeit it be of verity that they are honest 
women of repute and holding these many years bygone, 
spotted at no time with any such ungodly practices, 
neither any ways having committed any offence, but by 
all their actions behaved themselves so discreetly and 
hone.stly as none justly could or can have occasion of 
complaint — they being ever ready, like they are yet, to 
underlie the law for all crimes that can be laid to their 
charge," and having to that effect, "presently found 
caution for their compearance before the justice and his 
deputes, or any judge unsuspected, upon fifteen days' 
warning." Their prayer, accordingly, is that the said 


commission be discharged. Mr Hector Munro appearing 
for himself and his colleagues, and the complainers 
by Alexander Morrison, their procurator, the Lords 
ordain Mr Hector and the other commissioners to desist 
from proceeding against the women, and "remit their 
trial to be taken before the Justice-General or his deputes 
in the next justice court appointed to be held after his 
Majesty's repairing to the north parts of this realm in 
the month of July next, at which time, if his Majesty 
shall not repair thither, or being repaired shall not before 
his returning cause the same trial to be taken, "in that 
case commission shall be given to Thomas Fraser of 
Knocky, tutor of Lovat, John Urquhart of Cadboll, tutor 
of Cromarty, and Alexander Bayne of Tulloch, or any two 
of them to administer justice conform to the laws of 
the realm." 

On the 6th of March, 1589-90, Colin is again men- 
tioned as one of the Commissioners for Inverness and 
Cromarty for executing the Acts against the Jesuits and the 
seminary of priests, with reconstitution of the Commission 
of the preceding year for putting the Acts in force 
and the appointment of a new Commission of select 
clergy in the shires to co-operate in the work and 
promote submission to the Confession of Faith and 
Covenant over the whole Kingdom. On the 8th of 
June, 1590, officers of arms are ordered to arrest in 
the hands of David Clapen in Leith, or any other 
person, any money consigned in their hands, or due by 
them to Sir William Keith for Colin Mackenzie of 
Kintail, "or remanent gentlemen and tenants of the 
Earldom of Ross for their feus thereof" or that rests 
yet in the hands of Colin or such tenants, unpaid or not 
consigned by them, and to discharge them from paying 
the same to Sir William or any other in his name until 
the King shall further declare his will, under the penalty 
of paying his Majesty the same sums over again. On 
the 5th of July in the same year, Colin gives caution of 
;t2000 that William Ross of Priesthill, when released out 


of the tolbooth of Edinburgh, shall keep ward in that 
city till he find surety for the entrance of himself and 
his bastard son, John Ross and others, to appear before 
the justice to answer for certain crimes specified in letters 
raised against him by David Munro of Nigg when 
required upon fifteen days' warning, and satisfy the 
Treasurer-depute for his escheat fallen to the King 
through having been put to the horn at the instance of 
the said David Munro. He repeats the same caution for 
the same person on the isth of August following. He 
is again on record in March, 1591-92, and in June, 
1592. He is, along with Simon Lord Lovat, John Grant 
of Grant, Lachlan Mackintosh of Mackintosh, Ross of 
Balnagown, Hector Munro of Fowlis, and others, chosen 
an assistant Commissioner of justiciary for the counties of 
Elgin, Nairn, and Inverness, in March 1592-93. He 
was appointed a member of the Privy Council in June, 
1592, but he appears not to have accepted the office on 
that occasion, for on the i6th of February following 
there is an entry of the admission of Sir William Keith 
of Delny ** in the place appointed by his Majesty, with 
the advise of his Estates in his last Parliament, for Colin 
Mackenzie of Kintail, by reason he, being required, has 
not compeared nor accepted the said place." He, 
however, accepted the position soon after, for it is 
recorded under date of 5th July, 1593, that "Colin 
Mackenzie of Kintail being admitted of the Privy Council 
gave his oath," in common form. 

The great troubles in the Lewis, which ultimately 
ended in that extensive principality coming into the 
possession of the House of Kintail, commenced about 
this time, and although the most important events con- 
nected with and leading up to that great result will 
principally fall to be treated of later on, the quarrel 
having originated in Colin Cams time, it may be more 
convenient to explain its origin under the present. 

Roderick Macleod, X. of the Lewis, married, first, 
Janet, a natural daughter of John Mackenzie of Killin, by 


whom he had a son, Torquil Cononach, so called from 
his having been brought up with his mother's relations 
in Strathconon. Roderick, by all accounts, was not so 
immaculate in his domestic relations as one might wish, 
for we find him having no fewer than five bastard sons, 
named respectively, Tormod Uigeach, Murdoch, Neil, 
Donald, and Rory Og, all of whom arrived at maturity. 
In these circumstances it can hardly be supposed that 
his lady's domestic happiness was of the most felicitous 
and unmixed description. It was alleged by this 
paragon of virtue that she had proved unfaithful to him, 
and that she had criminal intimacy with the Brieve 
(Breit/ieamh), or consistorial judge of the Island. On 
the other hand, it was maintained that the Brieve, in his 
capacity of judge, had been somewhat severe on the 
Island chief for his reckless and immoral habits, and for 
his bad treatment of his lady ; and that the unprincipled 
villain, as throughout his whole career he proved him- 
self to be, boldly, and in revenge, turned upon and 
accused the judge of committing adultery with his wife. 
Be that as it may, the unfortunate woman, attempting 
to escape from his cruel treatment, while passing in a 
large birlinn, from the Lewis to Coigeach, on the 
opposite side of the coast, was pursued and run down 
by some of her husband's followers, when she, with all 
on board, perished. Roderick thereupon disinherited her 
son, Torquil Cononach, grandson of John of Kiliin, 
maintaining that Torquil was not his legitimate son and 
heir, but the fruit of his wife's unfaithfulness.* Roderick 

* Most of the MS. Histories of the family which we have perused state 
that Rory MacIeod*s wife was a daughter of Kenneth a Bhlair, but it is 
impossible that the daughter of a chief who died in 1491 could have 
been the wife of one who lived in the early years of the seventeenth century. 
She must have been Kenneth*s granddaughter^ as above described, a daughter 
of John of Kiliin. This view is corroborated by a decree arbitral in 1554, 
in which Torquil Cononach is called ihe oy {ogha, or grandson) of John 
Mackenzie. — Acts and Decreets of Session, X,, folio 201. The Roderick 
Macleod who married, probably as his second wife, Agnes, daughter ol 
Kenneth a Bhlair, was Roderick Macleod, seventh of Lewis, who died 
some time after his father early in the sixteenth century. 


Macleod married secondly, in 1541, Barbara Stewart, 

daug[hter of Andrew, Lord Avandale, with issue — Torquil 

Oighre or the Heir, who died unmarried before his 

father, having been drowned along with a large number 

of others while on a voyage in his birlinn, between Lewis 

and Skye. Macleod married thirdly a daughter of 

Hector Og, XHL, and sister of Sir Lachlan Maclean, 

XIV., of Duart, by whom he had two sons — Torquil 

Dubh, whom he named as his heir and successor, 

and Tormod, known as Tormod Og. Torquil Cononach, 

now designated " of Coigeach," married Margaret, daughter 

of Angus Macdonald, VH. of Glengarry, and widow of 

Cuthbert of Castlehill, Inverness, who bore him two 

sons — John and Neil — and five daughters; and, raising 

as many men as would accompany him, he, with the 

assistance of two of his natural brothers — Tormod and 

Murdoch — started for the Lewis to vindicate his rights as 

legitimate heir to the island. He defeated his father, and 

confined him in the Castle of Stornoway for four years, 

when he was finally obliged to acknowledge Torquil 

Cononach as his lawful son and successor. The bastards 

now quarrelled among themselves. Donald killed Tormod 

Uigeach. Murdoch, in resentment, seized Donald and 

carried him to Coigeach ; but he afterwards escaped and 

complained to old Rory, who was highly offended at 

Murdoch for seizing and with Torquil Cononach for 

detaining Donald. Roderick ordered Murdoch to be 

apprehended and confined to his own old quarters in the 

Castle of Stornoway. Torquil Cononach again returned 

to the Lewis, reduced . the castle, liberated Murdoch, 

again confined his father, and killed many of his followers, 

at the same time carrying off all the writs and charters, 

and depositing them for safety with his uncle, Mackenzie 

of Kintail. He had meanwhile left his son John (who 

had been in the service of Huntly, and whom he now 

called home) in charge of the castle, and in possession 

of the Lewis. He imprudently banished his natural 

uncles, Donald and Rory Og, out of the island. Rory 


Og soon after returned with a considerable number of 
followers; attacked his nephew, Torquil Cononach's son 
John, in Stornoway, killed him, and released his own 
father, old Roderick, who was allowed after this to 
possess the island in peace during^ the remainder of his 
life. "Thus was the Siol Torquil weakened, by private 
dissensions, and exposed to fall a prey, as it did soon 
afterwards, to the growing power of the Mackenzies." 

^^ 1594 Alexander Bayne, younger of Tulloch, granted 
a charter of the lands of Rhindoun in favour of Colin 
Mackenzie of Kintail and his heirs male, proceeding on 
a contract of sale between them, dated loth of March, 
1574. On the lOth of July in the same year there is 
" a contract of alienation " of these lands by the same 
Colin Mackenzie of Kintail in favour of Roderick Mac- 
kenzie of Ardafillie (Redcastle), his brother-german, and 
his heirs male. A charter implementing this contract is 
dated the 20th of October following, by which the lands 
** are to be holden blench and for relieving Kintail of 
the feu-duty and services payable to his superiors." 
These lands are, in 1625, resigned by Murdoch Mac- 
kenzie of Redcastle into the hands of Colin, second Earl 
of Seaforth, the immediate lawful superior thereof, for 
new infeftments to be granted to Roderick Mackenzie, 
his second lawful son.* 

Colin, in addition to his acquisitions in Lochalsh and 
Lochcarron, ** feued the Lordship of Ardmeanach, and the 
Barony of Delnys, Brae Ross, with the exception of 
Western Achnacherich, Wester Drynie, and Tarradale, 
which Bayne of Tulloch had feued before, but found it 
his interest to hold of him as immediate superior, which, 
with the former possessions of the lands of Chanonry, 
greatly enhanced his influence. Albeit his predecessors 
were active both in war and peace, and precedent in acquir- 
ing their estate ; yet this man acquired more than all that 
went before him, and made such a solid progress in it, 
that what he had acquired was with the goodwill of his 

♦ Writs and Evidenls of Lands of Rhindoun. Antiquarian Noies^ pp. 172-73. 


sovereign, and clear unquestionable purchase." He pro- 
tected his nephew, Torquil Macleod of the Lewis, when 
he was oppressed by his unnatural relations and natural 
brothers, and from this he acquired a right to the lands 
of Assynt* 

Colin, in April, 1572, married Barbara, daughter of 
John Grant of Grant, ancestor of the Earls of Seafield, 
by Lady Marjory Stewart, daughter of John, third Earl 
of Athol (Tocher 2000 merks and the half lands of 
Lochbroom, then the property of her father f), with issue — 

I. Kenneth, who succeeded his father, and was 
afterwards elevated to the Peerage by the title of Lord 
Mackenzie of Kintail. 

II. Roderick, the renowned Sir Roderick Mor Mac- 
kenzie of Coigeach, "Tutor of Kintail" and progenitor of 
the Earls of Cromarty, of the families of Scatwell, Tarvie, 
Ballone, and other minor Mackenzie septs, of whom in 
their proper place. 

III. Alexander, first of Kilcoy, now represented by 
Colonel Burton Mackenzie. 

IV. Colin of Kinnock and Pitlundie. 

V. Murdoch of Kernsary, whose only lawful son, 
John, was killed at the Battle of Auldearn, in 1645, 
without issue. 

VI. Catherine, who married Simon, eighth Lord Lovat, 
with issue — Hugh, his heir and successor, and Elizabeth, 
who married Dunbar of Westfield, Sheriff of Moray. 

VII. Janet, who married Hector Maclean, " Eachainn 
Og," XV. of Duart, with issue — Hector Mor, who 
succeeded his father Lachlan, and Florence, who married 
John Garbh Maclean, VII. of Coll. 

VIII. Mary, who, as his second wife, married Sir Donald 
Gorm Mor Macdonald, VH., of Sleat, without issue. 

He had also a natural son, 

IX. Alexander, by Margaret, daughter of Roderick 
Mackenzie, second of Davochmaluag, who became the 

* Earl of Cromartie and other MS. Histories of the Family. 

t Chiefs of Grant. 



founder of the families of Applecross and Coul, of whom 
in their order. 

Colin " lived beloved by princes and people, and died, 
regretted by all, on the 14th of June, 1594, at Redcastle 
and was buried at Bewlie," He was succeeded by his 
eldest son, 


First Lord Mackenzie of Kintail. who began his 

rule amidst those domestic quarrels and dissensions in 
the Lewis, to which we have already introduced the 
reader, and which may, not inappropriately, be desig- 
nated the Strife of the Bastards. He is on record as 
"of Kintail" on the 31st of July, 1594, within seven 
weeks of his father's death, and again on the ist of 
October in the same year. On the 9th of November 
he made oath in presence of the King and the Privy 
Council that he should "faithfully, loyally, and truly 
concur, fortify, and assist his Majesty's Lieutenant of 
the North with his advice and force at all times and 
occasions as he may be required by proclamations, 
missive letters, or otherwise." The country generally 
was in such a lawless condition in this year that 
an Act of Parliament was passed by which it was 
ordained "that in order that there may be a perfect 
distinction, by names and surnames, betwixt those that 
are and desire to be esteemed honest and true men, 
and those that are and not ashamed to be esteemed 
thieves, sorners, and resetters of them in their wicked 
and odious crimes and deeds ; that therefore a roll and 
catalogue be made of all persons, and the surnames 
therein mentioned, suspected of slaughter, etc." It was 
also enacted "that such evil disposed persons as take upon 
themselves to sell the goods of thieves, and disobedient 
persons and clans that dare not come to public markets 
in the Lowlands themselves, whereby the execution of the 
Acts made against sorners, clans, and thieves, is greatly 
impeded," should be punished in the manner therein 


contained. Another Act provided "that the inbringer 
of every robber and thief, after he is outlawed, and 
denounced fugitive, shall have two hundred pounds Scots 
for every robber and thief so inbrought."* 

On the 5th of February, 1595-96, it is complained 
against him by Alexander Bayne of Tulloch that although 
upon the 7th of March, 1594, John MacGillechallum, 
Raasay, had been put to the horn for non-appearance to a 
complaint by the said Alexander and his son Alexander, 
Fiar of Tulloch, against the Rev. John Mackenzie, minister 
of Urray, touching certain oppressions and depredations 
committed on him and his tenants, he remained not 
onlv unrelaxed from the horn, but continues in "his 
wicked and accustomed trade of rief, theft, sorning, and 
oppression," seeking "all indirect and shameful means 
to wreck and destroy him and his bairns." A short time 
before this, MacGillechallum sent to the complainer 
desiring him to give over to him his (Bayne's) old 
heritage called Torridon, "with assurance if he do not 
the same to burn his whole corn and goods." In these 
insolencies "he is encouraged and set forward by the 
consort, reset, and supply which he receives of Kenneth 
Mackenzie of Kintail and his friends, he being near 
kinsman to the said Kenneth, viz. : — his father's sister's 
son ; who, in that respect, shows him all good offices of 
friendship and courtesy, indirectly assisting him with 
his men and moyen in all his enterprises against the said 
complainer and his bairns, without whose oversight and 
allowance and protection it were not able to him to have 
a reset in any part of the country." The complainer, 
Alexander Bayne, describes himself as "a decrepit 
aged man past eighty years of age ; and being blind 
these years he must submit himself to his Majesty 

for remedy." Kintail appeared personally, and Tulloch by 
his .two sons, Alexander and Ranald, whereupon the 
King and Council remitted the complaint to be decided 
before the ordinary judges. 

♦ Antiquarian AW/*/, 


The following account from family MSS. and Sir Robert 
Gordons Earldom of Sut/ierland, refers no doubt to 
the same incidents — John MacCallum, a brother of 
the Laird of Raasay, annoyed the people of Tor- 
ridon, which place at that time belonged to the 
Baynes of Tulloch. He alleged that Tulloch, in whose 
house he was fostered, had promised him these lands 
as a gift of fosterage ; but Tulloch, whether he had made 
a previous promise to MacGillechallum or not, left the 
lands of Torridon to his own second son, Alexander Mor 
MacDhonnchaidh Mhic Alastair, alias Bayne. He after- 
wards obtained a decree against MacGillechallum for 
interfering with his lands and molesting the people, and, 
on a Candlemas market, with a large following of armed 
men, made up of most of the Baynes, and a considerable 
number of Munros, he came to the market stance, at 
that time held at Logie. John MacGillechallum, ignorant 
of Tulloch "getting the laws against him," and in no 
fear of his life or liberty, came to the market as usual, 
and, while standing buying some article at a chapman's 
stall, Alastair Mor and his followers came up behind him 
unperceived, and, without any warning, struck him on 
the head with a two-edged sword — instantly killing him. 
A gentleman of the Clann Mhurchaidh Riabhaich Mac- 
kenzies, Ian Mac Mhurchaidh Mhic Uilleam, a very 
active and powerful man, was at the time standing beside 
him, and he asked who dared to have spilt Mackenzie 
blood in that dastardly manner. He had no sooner said 
the words than he was run through the body by one 
of the swords of the enemy ; and thus, without an 
opportunity of drawing their weapons, fell two of the 
best swordsmen in the North of Scotland. The alarm 
and the news of their death immediately spread through 
the market. "Tulloch Ard," the war cry of the Mac- 
kenzies, was instantly raised ; whereupon the Baynes and 
the Munros took to their heels — the Munros eastward to 
the Ferry of Fowlis, and the Baynes northward to the hills, 
both followed by a band of the infuriated Mackenzies, 


who slaughtered every one they overtook. Iain 
Dubh Mac Choinnich Mhic Mhurchaidh, of the clan 
Mhurchaidh Riabhaich, and Iain Gallda Mac Fhionnla 
Dhuibh, two gentlemen of the Mackenzies, the latter 
of whom was a Kintail man, were on their way 
from Chanonry to the market, when they met in 
with a batch of the Munros flying in confusion 
and, learning the cause to be the murder of their friends 
at Logic market, they instantly pursued the fugitives, 
killing no less than thirteen of them between Logic and 
the wood of Millechaich. All the townships in the 
neighbourhood of the market joined the Mackenzies in 
the pursuit, and Alastair Mor Bayne of Tulloch only 
saved himself, after all his men were killed, by taking 
shelter and hiding for a time in a kiln- logic. Two of his 
followers, who managed to escape from the market people, 
met with some Lewismen on their way to the fair, who, 
noticing the Baynes flying half naked, immediately stopped 
them, and insisted upon their giving a proper account of 
themselves. This proving unsatisfactory they came to high 
words, and from words to blows, when the Lewismen 
attacked and killed them at Ach-an-eilich, near Contin. 

The Baynes and the Munros had good cause to 
regret the cowardly conduct of their leaders on this 
occasion at Logic market, for they lost no less than fifty 
able-bodied men in return for the two gentlemen of 
the Clan Mackenzie whom they had so basely murdered 
at the fair. One lady of the Clan Munro lost her three 
brothers, on whom she composed a lament, of which the 
following is all we could obtain : — 

*S olc a* fhuair mi tus an Earraich, 
'S na feill Bride *chaidh thairis, 
Chain mi mo thriuir bhraithrean gcala, 
Taobh ri taobh u' silcadh fala. 
*Se *n dithis a rinn mo sharach'. 
Fear beag dubh a chlaidheamh laidir, 
'S mac Fhionnla Dhuibh a Cinntailc 
Deadh mhearlach nan adh *s nan aigcach. 

When night came on, Alastair Mor Bayne escaped from 


the kiln, and went to his uncle Lovat, who at once 
despatched James Fraser of Phopachy south, with all 
speed to prevent information from the other side reaching 
the King before he had an opportunity of relating his 
version of the quarrel. His Majesty was at the time at 
Falkland, and a messenger from Mackenzie reached him 
before Alastair Mor, pursuing for the slaughter of Mac- 
kenzie's kinsman. He got the ear of his Majesty and 
would have been successful had not John Dubh Mac 
Choinnich Mhic Mhurchaidh meanwhile taken the law 
into his own hands by burning, in revenge, all Tulloch's 
cornyards and barns at Lemlair, thus giving Bayne an 
opportunity of presenting another and counter claim ; 
but the matter was ultimately arranged by the King and 
Council obliging Kintail and Tulloch mutually to subscribe 
a contract of agreement and peaceful behaviour towards 
each other. 

Under date of i8th February, 1595-96, there is an 
entry in the Privy Council Records that Kenneth Mac- 
kenzie of Kintail ** being elected and chosen to be one 
of the ordinary members" of the Council, and being 
personally present, makes faith and gives oath in the 
usual manner. In a complaint against him, on the 
5th of August, 1596, by Habbakuk Bisset, he is assoilzied 
in all time coming by a decree of their Lordships in his 

Upon the death of Old Roderick of the Lewis, Torquil 
Dubh succeeded him, excluding Torquil Cononach from 
the succession on the plea of his being a bastard. The 
latter, however, held Coigeach and his other possessions 
on the mainland, with a full recognition by the Govern- 
ment of his rights to the lands of his forefathers in the 
Lewis. His two sons having been killed, and his eldest 
daughter, Margaret, having married Roderick Mackenzie 
of Coigeach, progenitor of the Cromarty family, better 
known as the Tutor of Kintail, Torquil Cononach threw 
himself into the hands of Kintail for aid against the 
bastards. By Roderick Mackenzie's marriage with Torquil 


Cononach's eldest daughter, he became heir of h'ne to the 
ancient family of Macleod, an honour which still remains 
to his descendants, the Cromarty family. Torquil Dubh 
secured considerable support by marriage with a daughter 
of Tormod, XI., and sister of William Macleod, XII. of 
Harris and Dunvegan, and, thus strengthened, made a 
descent on Coigeach and Lochbroom, desolating the 
whole district, aiming at permanent occupation. Kintail, 
following the example of his predecessors — always prudent, 
and careful to keep within the laws of the realm — in 
1596 laid the following complaint before King James VI. : — 

Please your Majesty, — Torquil Dow of the Lews, not con- 
tenting himself with the avowit misknowledging of your Hieness 
authority wherebe he has violat the promises and compromit made 
before your Majesty, now lately the 25th day of December last, 
has ta'n upon him being accompanied w 7 or 800 men, not only 
of his own by ylands neist adjacent, to prosecute with fire and 
sword by all kind of gud order, the hail bounds of the Strath 
Coigach pertaining to M'Leod his eldest brother, likewise my 
Strath of Lochbroom, quhilks Straths, to your Majesty's great 
dishonour, but any fear of God ourselves, hurt and skaith that he 
hath wasted w fire and sword, in such barbarous and cruel 
manner, that neither man, wife, bairn, horse, cattle, corns, nor 
bigging has been spared, but all barbarously slain, burnt, and 
destroyit, quhilk barbarity and cruelty, seeing he was not able 
to perform it but by the assistance and furderance of his 
neighbouring Ylesmen, therefore beseeches your Majesty by advice 
of Council to find some sure remeid wherebe sick cruel tyrannic 
may be resisted in the beginning. Otherway nothing to be 
expectit for but dailly increasing of his malicious forces to our 
utter ruin, quha possesses your Majesty's obedience, the considera- 
tion quharof and inconveniences quhilk may thereon ensue. I 
remit to your Highness guid consideration of whom taking my 
leif with maist humble commendations of service, I commit your 
Majesty to the holy protection of God eternal. At the Canonry 
of Ross, the 3d day, Jany. 1596-97. Your Majesty's most humble 
and obt. subject Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail. 

The complaint came before the Privy Council, at Holy- 
rood, on the nth of February, following, and Torquil 
Dubh, failing lo appear, was denounced a rebel. Kenneth 
thereupon obtained a commission of fire and sword 


against him, as also the forfeiture of the Lewis, 
upon which Torquil Cononach made over his rights to 
Mackenzie, on the plea that he was the next male heir, 
but reserving the lands of Coigeach to his own son-in-law. 
The Mackenzies did all they could to obtain the estste 
for Torquil Cononach, the legitimate heir, but mainly 
through his own want of activity and indolent disposition, 
they failed with their united efforts to secure undisturbed 
possession for him. They succeeded, however, in 
destroying the family of Macleod of the Lewis, and 
most of the Siol-Torquil, and ultimately became complete 
masters of the island. The Brieve by stratagem captured 
Torquil Dubh, with some of his friends, and delivering 
them up to Torquil Cononach, they were, by his 
orders, beheaded in July, 1597. "It fell out that the Breve 
(that is to say, the judge) in the Lewis, who was chief 
of the Clan Illevorie (Morrison), being sailing from the 
Isle of Lewis to Ronay in a great galley, met with a 
Dutch ship loaded with wine, which he took ; and 
advising wuth his friends, who were all with him there, 
what he would do with the ship lest Torquil Du should 
take her from him, they resolved to return to Stornoway 
and call for Torquil Du to receive the wine, and if he 
came to the ship, to sail away with him where Torquil 
Cononach was, and then they might be sure of the ship 
and the wine to be their own, and besides, he would 
grant them tacks in the best parts in the Lewis; which 
accordingly they did, and called for Torquil to come and 
receive the wine. Torquil Du noways mistrusting them 
that were formerly so obedient, entered the ship with 
seven others in company, where he was welcomed, and 
he commended them as good fellows that brought him 
such a prize. They invited him to the quay to take his 
pleasure of the feast of their wine. He goes, but instead 
of wine they brought cords to tie him, telling him he 
had better render himself and his wrongously possessed 
estate to his eldest brother; that they resolved to put 
him in his mercy, which he was forced to yield to. So 


they presently sail for Coigeach, and delivered him to 
his brother, who he had no sooner got but he made him 
short by the head in the month of July, 1597. 
Immediately he was beheaded there arose a great earth- 
quake, which astonished the actors and all the inhabitants 
about them as a sign of God's judgment."* 

In 1598 some gentlemen in Fife, afterwards known as 
the *• Fife Adventurers," obtained a grant of the Lewis 
with the professed object of civilising the inhabitants. 
It is not intended here to detail their proceedings 
or to describe at much length the squabbles and constant 
disorders, murders, and robberies which took place while 
they held possession of the Island. The speculation 
proved ruinous to the Adventurers, who in the end lost 
their estates, and were obliged to leave the islanders to 
their fate. A brief summary of it will suffice, and those 
who desire more information on the subject will find a 
full account of it in the History of tlu Macleods,\ 

On the iSth of June, 1599, Sir William Stewart of 
Houston, Sir James Spence of Wormistoun, and Thomas 
Cunningham appeared personally before the Privy Council 
**to take a day for the pursuit of Kenneth Mackenzie of 
Kintail upon such crimes as criminally they hal to lay 
to his charge for themselves and in the name of the 
gentlemen-ventuaries of their society," and the 26th of 
September was fixed for the purpose. 

On the 14th of September Kenneth enters into 
a bond for a thousand merks that John Dunbar, Fiar of 
Avoch, and James Dunbar of Little Suddie, four sons of 
John of Avoch, and several others, in five hundred merks 
each, that they will not harm Roderick Dingwall of 
Kildin, Duncan Bayne, apparent heir of Tulloch, Alex- 
ander Bayne of Loggie, and other sons and grandsons 
of Bayne of Tulloch. 

Sir James Stewart of Newton enters into a bond, on 
the 6th of October, for six hundred merks that Kenneth 

♦Ancient MS. 
t By the same author. A. & W. Mackenzie, Inverness, 1S89. 


will not harm James Crambie, a burgess of Perth, signed 
at Dunkeld in presence of Murdo Mackenzie, apparent 
heir of Redcastle, John Mackenzie, minister of Dingwall, 
and Alexander Mackenzie, writer. 

On the 1 6th of April, 1600, Tormod Macleod com- 
plains that Kenneth had apprehended him and detained 
him as a prisoner without just cause, and failing^ to appear 
the King and Council, understanding that Tormod *'is 
a chief and special man of that clan (Macleod), and that 
therefore it is necessary that order be taken for his 
dutiful obedience and good behaviour," order Kenneth to 
present him before the Council on a day to be afterwards 

Kenneth, on the nth of December, brings under 
the notice of the Council a case which places the 
unlawful practices of the times in a strong light. He 
says that upon the i6th of October preceding, while 
Duncan MacGillechallum in Kintail, his man, was bringing 
twenty-four cows to the fair of Glammis, three men, whose 
names he gives, violently robbed him of the cattle. 
Upon the tst of November, 1599, the same persons had 
reft Duncan MacGillechriosd in Kintail, his tenant, at 
the fair of Elycht, of twenty-six cows and four hundred 
merks of silver, and robbed Murdo Mac Ian Mhic 
Mhurchaidh, also his tenant in Kintail, of twenty-six cows 
at the same market. On the 30th of October, 1600, he 
sent his servants, John and Dougall MacVanish, in 
Lochalsh, to the fair of Elycht with a hundred and fifty- 
four cows and oxen to be sold, "for outred and certane 
the said complenaris adois in thir pairtis," and his servants 
being at the foot of Drummuir with his said cattle, two of 
the three who robbed his men at Glammis, with Patrick Boll 
in Glenshee, and Alexander Galld Macgregor, took from 
them the whole of the cattle and **hes sparpellit and 
disponit" upon the same at their pleasure. This violence 
and rief at free markets and fairs, he says, is not only 
hurtful to him, but it ** discourages all peaceable and good 
subjects to direct or send any goods to the markets and 


fairs of the incountry." Kenneth Mackenzie of Kilchrist 
appeared for Kintail, and the defenders, in absence, were 
denounced rebels. 

He is ordered on the 31st of January, 1602, as one of 
the leading Highland chiefs, to hold a general muster 
and wapinschaw of his followers each year within his 
bounds, on the lOth of March, as the other chiefs are in 
their respective districts. On the same day he is requested 
to provide a hundred men to aid the Queen of England 
''against the rebels in Ireland;" is authorised to raise this 
number compulsorily, if need be, and appoint the necessary 
officers to command them. On the 28th of July following, 
Alexander Dunbar of Cumnock, Sheriff-Principal of 
Elgin and Forres, and David Brodie of Brodie, become 
cautioners to the amount of three thousand merks that 
Kenneth will appear before the King and Council, when 
charged with some unnamed offence, upon twenty days' 
warning. On the 9th of September Mackenzie com- 
plains to the Council that about St Andrews Day, 1601, 
when he sent eighty cattle to the St. Andrew market 
for sale, Campbell of Glenlyon, with a large number of 
his men, "all thieves and broken Highland men," 
had set upon his servants and spuilzied them of the 
whole ; and that eighty cattle he had sent to the 
Michaelmas market had been reft from him in the same 
way by the said Campbell, for which Duncan Campbell, 
younger of Glenlyon, having failed to produce his father, 
who **was in his custody and keeping," was denounced 
a rebel. 

There being some variance and controversy '* between 
Mackenzie and Donald Mac Angus of Glengarry, they 
were both ordered at the same meeting of Council to sub- 
scribe, within three hours after being charged, such forms 
of mutual assurance as should be presented to them, to 
endure till the ist of May, 1603, under pain of rebellion. 

By warrant of the King, Kenneth is admitted a member 
of the Privy Council and is sworn in, in common form, on 
the 9th of December, 1602. On the following day he 


gives caution for James Dunbar of Little Suddie, and 
John Dunbar, Fiar of Avoch, in two hundred merks, 
for their relaxation by the ist of February next from 
several hornings used against them. 

At a meeting of the Privy Council, held at Edinburgh 
on the 30th of September, i6o5, Kenneth receives a 
commission to act for the King against Neil MacNeill 01 
Barra, the Captain of Clanranald, and several other 
Highland and Island chiefs, who had ''of late amassed 
together a force and company of the barbarous and 
rebellious thieves and limmers of the Isles." and with 
them entered the Lewis, "assailed the camp of his 
Majesty's good subjects," and ** committed barbarous 
and detestable murders and slaughters upon them." 
Mackenzie is in consequence commissioned to convocate 
the lieges in arms and to pursue these offenders with 
fire and sword by se^ or land, "take and slay them," or 
present them to their Lordships for justice, with power 
also to the said Kenneth to pass to the Lewis for the 
relief of the subjects ** distressed and grieved " by the said 
rebellious ** lymmairis," or of prisoners in their hands, 
and to procure their liberty by "force or policy, as he 
may best have it." He is also ordered to charge the 
lieges within the shires of Inverness and Nairn, burgh 
and landward, to rise and assist him in the execution 
of his office, whenever he requires them, "by his pre- 
cepts and proclamations." This was the beginning of 
Kenneth's second conquest of the Lewis. 

Mackenzie is, on the 2nd of June, 1607, appointed 
by the Privy Council, along with the Bishop of Ross, 
a commissioner to the Presbyteries of Tain and Ard- 
meanach, and on the 14th of July following, he is 
summoned before their Lordships to report his diligence 
in that matter, under pain of rebellion. Kenneth does 
not appear, and he is denounced a rebel. On the 30th 
of July he takes the oath of allegiance, along with the 
Earl of Wyntoun and James Bishop of Orkney, in terms 
of a Royal letter issued on the 2nd of June preceding 


imposing* a special oath acknowledging the Royal Supre- 
macy in Church and state on all Scotsmen holding any 
civic or ecclesiastical office. 

He receives another commission on the ist of 
September, 1607. Understanding that " Neil Macleod and 
others, the rebellious thieves and limmers of the Isles, 
have of late surprised and taken the Castle of Stornoway 
in the Lewis, and other houses and biggings, pertaining 
to the gentlemen portioners of the Lewis, and have 
demolished and cast down some of the said houses, and 
keep others of them as houses of war, victualled and 
fortified with men and armour, and in the meantime 
commit barbarous and detestable insolencies and cruelties 
upon so many of the poor inhabitants of that country 
as gave their obedience to his Majesty," the Lords give 
commission to Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail to con- 
vocate the lieges in arms ; pass to the Lewis, and pursue 
the said Neil Macleod with fire and sword, using all 
kinds of "warlike engines" for recovering the houses, and 
having power to keep trysts and intercommune with the 
inhabitants of the Isles. This commission is to con- 
tinue in force for six months. 

Mackenzie is one of the Highland chiefs to whom 
missive letters are ordered to be sent on the 23rd of 
June, 1608, to attend his Majesty's service under Lord 
Ochiltree, at Troternish, in the Isle of Skye, on the 
20th of August following, on which occasion the soldiers 
must "furnish themselves with powder and bullets out of 
their own pay, and not out of the King's charges." It is 
ordered at a meeting of the Privy Council held on the 
6th of February, 1609, that he, along with Simon Lord 
Lovat, Grant of Grant, the Earl of Caithness, Ross of 
Balnagown, John Mackenzie of Gairloch, and others, be 
charged to appear personally before their Lordships on 
the 25th of March following, to come under such order 
as shall be prescribed to them touching the finding of 
surety and caution for the quietness and obedience 
of their bounds, and that no fugitive and disobedient 


Islesmen shall be reset or supplied within the same, 
under pain of rebellion and horning. He appears, 
with some of the others, before the Council on the 28th 
of March, and gives the necessary bond, but the amount in 
his case is not named. On the 7th of April, however, 
it appears that he and Grant become personally bound 
for each other, in ;f 4000 each, that those for whom they 
are answerable shall keep the King s peace and that they 
will not reset or favour any fugitives from the Isles. Ken- 
neth becomes similarly bound in ;^3000 for John Mackenzie 
of Gairloch and Donald Neilsoun Macleod of Assynt. 

He was one of the eight Lesser Barons who constituted 
the Lords of the Articles in the Scottish Parliament 
which met for the first time on the 17th of June, 1609. 

The Privy Council, on the 22nd of the same month, 
committed to the Earl of Glencairn and Kenneth Mac- 
kenzie of Kintail the charge of conveying Hector 
Maclean of Duart from the Castle of Dumbarton to 
Edinburgh and bringing him before their Lordships, "for 
order to be taken with him anent the affairs of the 
Isles, and they became bound in ;f20,ooo to produce him 
on the first Council day after the end of that year's 
Parliament. On the 28th of the same month they enter 
formally into a bond to this amount that Maclean will 
appear on the first Thursday of November, he, in turn, 
binding himself and his heirs for their relief. On the 
22nd of February, 1610, the bond is renewed for Mac- 
lean's appearance on the first Council day after that date. 
He appears on the 28th of June following, and Mackenzie 
and the Earl of Glencairn are released from their 
cautionary obligations. 

On the 30th of June, 1609, Kenneth and Sir George 
become cautioners for Donald Gorm Macdonald of Sleat 
to the amount of ;^io,ooo that he will appear before the 
Lords Commissioners on the 2nd of February next, to 
come under their orders, and Kenneth is charged to 
keep Donald Gorm's brother's son, "who is now in his 
hands," until Macdonald presents himself before the Lords 


Commissioners. On the 22nd of February, 1610, this 
caution is repeated for Donald's appearance on the 8th 
of March. He appears and Mackenzie is finally relieved 
of the bond on the 28th of June following. 

On the Sth of July, 1609, Mackenzie and Sir John 
Home of Coldenknowes, undertake, under a penalty of ten 
thousand merks, that George Earl of Caithness, shall 
make a free, peaceable, and sure passage to all his 
Majesty's lawful subjects through his country of Caithness, 
in their passage to and from Orkney. 

At a meeting of the Council held on the 20th of 
February, 16 10, a commission is granted to Simon 
Lord Lovat, Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail, John Mac- 
kenzie of Gairloch, Hugh Mackay of Farr, and Roderick 
Mackenzie of Redcastle, to apprehend Allan Mac Donald 
Duibh Mhic Rory of Culnacnock, in Troternish, Isle 
of Skye, and several others, including " Murdo Mac 
Gillechallum, brother of Gillecallum Raasay, Laird of 
Raasay, Gillecallum Mac Rory Mhic Leoid, in Lewis, 
Norman Mac Ghillechallum Mhoir, there, and Rory 
Mac Ghillechallum Mhoir, his brother," all of whom 
"remain unrelaxed from a horning of iSth January 
last, raised against them by Christian, Nighean Iain 
Leith, relict of Donald Mac Alastair Roy, in Dibaig," 
Murdo, his son, his other kin and friends, tenant and 
servants, ** for not finding caution to answer before the 
justice for the stealing of forty cows and oxen, with all 
the insight and plenishing of the said late Donald Mac 
Alastair's house in Dibaig, worth ;^iooo, and for 
murdering the said Donald," his tenant, and servants. 
The Commissioners are to convocate the lieges in arms 
for apprehending the said rebels, and to enter them, when 
taken, before the justice to be suitably punished for their 
crimes. Another commission is issued in favour of Simon 
Lord Lovat, Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail, Donald 
Gorm Macdonald of Sleat, and Donald Mac Allan Mhic 
Ian of Eilean Tirrim, Captain of Clanranald, against John 
Mac Allan Mac Ranald, who is described as "having 


this long time been a murderer, common thief, and 
masterful oppressor" of the King's subjects. 

Although Kenneth had been raised to the Peerage on the 
19th of November, 1609, by the title of Lord Mackenzie 
of Kintail, he is not so designated in the Privy Council 
Records until the 31st of May, 1610, when the patent 
of his creation is read and received by their Lordships, 
and he is thereupon acknowledged to be a free baron 
in all time coming. He is one of the Highland chiefs 
charged and made answerable for good rule in the North 
on the 28th of June of that year and to find caution 
within fifteen days, under pain of rebellion, not to reset 
within their bounds any notorious thieves, rievers, 
fugitives, and rebels, for theft and murder, under a 
further penalty, in Mackenzie's case, of five thousand merks. 

At a meeting of the Privy Council held on the 19th 
of July, 1610, the following commission was issued in 
Kenneths favour as justiciary of the Lewis, against Neil 
Macleod : — 

Forasmuch as a number of the chieftains and principal men 
of the Isles and continent next adjacent are come in and presented 
themselves before the Lords of his Majesty's Privy Council, and have 
given satisfaction unto the said Lords anent their obedience and 
conformity in time coming, so as that now there is no part of the 
Isles rebellious and disobedient but the Lewis, which being 
possessed and inhabited by a number of thieves, murderers, and 
an infamous byke of lawless and insolent limmers under the 
charge and command of the traitor Neil Macleod, who has 
usurped upon him the authority and possession of the Lewis, and 
they, concurring altogether in a rebellious society, do commit many 
murders, slaughters, riefs, and villianies, not only among themselves 
but upon his Majesty's peaceable and good subjects who resorted 
among them in their trade of fishing, and by their barbarous and 
savage beh.iviour against his Majesty's good subjects they have 
made the trade of fishing in the Lewis, which was most profitable 
for the whole country, to become always unprofitable, to the great 
hurt of the commonweal. And the Lords t)f Secret Council finding it 
a discredit to the country that such a parcel of ground, possessed by 
a number of miserable caitiffs, shall be suffered to continue 
rebellious, whereas the whole remanent Isles are become peaceable 
and obedient, and the said Lords understand the good affection of 


Kenneth^ Lord Kintail and his willing disposition to undergo all 
pains and trouble in his Majesty's service. Therefore the said 
Lords has made and constituted, and by the tenour hereof makes and 
constitutes, the said Kenneth Lord Kintail, his Majesty's justice and 
commissioner over the whole boundaries of the Lewis, to the effect 
under-written, with full power, commission, and authority to him to 
convocate his Majesty's lieges in arms, to levy and take up men of 
war, to appoint captains and commanders over them, and with 
them to pass to the Lewis, and there, with fire and sword, and all 
kind of hostility, to search, seek, hunt, follow, and pursue the said 
Neil, his accomplices, assistants, and partakers, by sea and land, 
wherever they miy be apprehended, and to mell, confiscate, and 
intromit with their goods and gear, and to dispone thereupon at 
their pleasure, and to keep such of their persons as shall be taken 
in sure firmance till justice be ministered upon them, conform to 
the laws of this realm, courts of justiciary within the said bounds 
to sit, begin, affix, hold, and continue suits to be made called 
''absentis to amerchiat," trespasses to punish, all and sundry 
persons inhabit.ints of the Lewis suspected and delayed of murder, 
slaughter, fire-raising, theft, and reset of theft, and other capital 
crimes, to search, seek, take, apprehend, commit to prison, and to 
enter them upon panel by dittay to accuse them, and to put them 
to the knowledge of an assize, and as they shall happen to be 
found culpable or innocent of the said crimes, or any of them, to 
ciuse justice be administered upon them conform to the laws of 
this realm ; assize needful to this effect, each person under the 
pain of forty pounds, to summon, warn, chase, and cause be sworn, 
clerks, Serjeants, dempsters, and all other officers and members 
of court needful, to make, create, substitute and ordain, for whom 
he shtill be held to answer ; with power likewise to our said justice, 
for the better execution of this commission to take the lymphads, 
galleys, birlinns, and boats, in the next .adjacent Isles, and in the 
I^wis, for the furtherance of them in their service, the said justice 
being always answerable to the owners of the said lymphads, 
galleys, birlinns, and boats for redelivery of the same at the finish- 
ing of his Majesty's service ; with power likewise to the said justice 
and persons assisting him in the execution of this commission to 
bear, wear, and use hagbutis, pistols, and petards. And if in 
pursuit of this commission there shall happen slaughter, mutilation 
fire-raising, or any other inconvenience, to follow, the said Lords 
decern and declare that the same shall not be imputed as crime 
or offence to the said justice nor persons assisting him in the 
exeaition of this Commission, nor that they, nor none of them, 
shall not be called nor accused therefore criminally nor civilly by 
any manner of way in time coming ; exonerating them of all pain, 



crime, and danger, that they may incur therethrough for ever. 
And generally all and sundry other things to do, exercise, and use, 
which for execution of this commission are requisite and necessary, 
firm, and stable, holding and for to hold all and whatsoever things 
shall be lawfully done herein. And that letters of publication be 
directed hereupon charging all his Majesty's lieges within the whole 
boundaries of the North Isles of this Kingdom and within the 
bounds of the said Lord's own lands, heritages, possessions, offices, 
and baillies, excepting always the persons of the name of Fraser, 
Ross, and Munro, their tenants and servants, to reverance, acknow- 
ledge, and obey, rise, concur, pass forward, fortify, and assist the said 
Kenneth, Lord Kintail, in all things tending to the execution of his 
commission, and to convene in arms with him at such times, days, 
and places, as he shall please appoint, as they and each one of 
them will answer upon their obedience at their highest peril. This 
commission for the space of two years after the date hereof, 
without revocation, to endure. 

Soon after this, Neil apprehended a crew of English 

pirates who had been carrying on their nefarious 

traffic among the fishermen from the South and other 

places who frequented the prolific fishing banks, by which, 

then as now, the island was surrounded. This meritorious 

public service secured some consideration for him at 

Court, as appears from the following letter addressed to 

Lord Kintail under date of 29th August, 1610 — 

After our very hearty commendations to your good Lordship : — 
Whereas Neil Macleod in the Lewis has of late done some good 
service to his Majesty and the country by the taking and apprehen- 
sion of certain English pirates upon the coast of the Lewis, common 
enemies to all lawful traffic, whereby he has merited his Majesty's 
grace and pardon in some measure to be shown unto him, and he 
having made promise and condition for delivery of the pirates and 
their ships to such persons as shall be directed by us to receive them 
we have thereupon given an assurance to him to come here to us 
and to remain at his pleasure until Whitsunday next, that some 
good course may be taken for settling him in quietness ; and in 
this meantime we have promised that all hostility and persuit of 
him and his followers shall rest and cease until the said term, and 
also that we shall deal and trouble with your Lordship for some 
reasonable ease and condition to be given to him and his followers, 
all tenants to your Lordship of the lands and possessions claimed 
by them. And, we being careful that our word and promise made 
and given hereupon shall be effectual and valid, we have therefore 


thoufi^ht meet to acquaint your Lordship therewith, requesting your 
Lordship to forbear all persuit, trouble, and invasion of the said 
Neil and his followers until the said term, and that your Lordship 
will take some such course with them as upon reasonable con- 
ditions they may be received and acknowledged by your Lordship 
as tenants of those lands claimed by them. Wherein looking to 
find your Lordship conformable, we commit you to God. 

Neil does not then appear to have gone to Edinburgh, 
but he gave up the pirate, the captain, and ten of her crew 
to Patrick Grieve, a burgess of Burntisland, who, on the 
lOth of September, received a commission "to sail with 
a hired ship" to the Lewis for that purpose. On the 
10th of October, Macleod writes to the Council acknow- 
ledging receipt, "from this bearer, Patrick Grieve," of 
their Lordships' order upon him to deliver up the pirate 
and all her belongings. 

On the 19th of July, the same day on which 
the Commission against Neil Macleod was granted to 
Lord Kintail, the Council "being careful that the present 
peace and quietness in the L«iles shall be fostered, kept, 
and entertained, and all such occasions removed and taken 
away whereby any new disorder, trouble, or misrule may 
be reinstated within the same, has therefore thought meet 
that Rory Macleod, son to the late Torquil Dubh Macleod, 
who has been this long time in the keeping of Donald 
Gorm of Sleat, and [Torquil] Macleod, another of the 
said late Torquil's sons, who has been this long time in 
keeping of Rory Macleod of Harris, shall be delivered 
to Kenneth Lord Kintail, to be kept by him until the 
said Lord take order with them for their obedience." 
Charges are thereupon made upon the chiefs of Sleat 
and Harris "to bring, present, and deliver" Torquil 
Dubh's two sons, "in their keeping," to the Mackenzie 
chief, to be kept by him until such order is taken for 
their good behaviour. They are to be delivered within 
thirty days, under the usual pains of rebellion and horn- 

He is one of the Commissioners of the Peace 
appointed by the King on the 6th of November, in 1610, 


in terms of a newly- passed Act of Parliament, for Inver- 
ness-shire (including Ross) and Cromarty, his colleagues 
from among the clan for these counties being Roderick 
Mackenzie of Redcastle, Roderick Mackenzie of Coigeach, 
and John Mackenzie of Gairloch. He was at the same 
time appointed in a similar capacity for Elgin, Forres, 
and Nairn. 

Mackenzie had for some time kept Tormod Macleod, 
the lawful brother of Torquil Dubh, a prisoner, but he now 
released him, correctly premising that on his appearance 
in the Lewis all the islanders would rise in his favour. 
In the meantime, early in 1600, Murdoch Dubh was taken 
by the Fife Adventurers to St Andrews, and there put to 
death ; but at his execution he revealed, in his confession, 
the designs of Mackenzie, who was in consequence 
apprehended and committed to Edinburgh Castle, from 
which, however, he contrived to escape without trial, 
through his influence with the Lord Chancellor. 

There is an entry in the Records of the Privy Council 
under date of 15th August, 1599, which shows that Kintail 
must at an earlier date have been confined in Edin- 
burgh Castle, for some previous offence, for "it having 
pleased the King to suffer Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail to 
repair furth of the Castle of Edinburgh for four or five 
miles, when he shall think expedient, for repose, health, 
and recreation" on caution being given by himself as 
principal, and Robert Lord Seton as surety, that he shall 
re-enter the Castle every night, under pain of ten 
thousand merks. The bond is signed on the same date, 
and is deleted by warrant signed by the King, and 
the Treasurer, on the 25th of September following. 

After various battles had been fought between 
the brothers, the Adventurers returned in strong force 
to the island, armed with a commission of fire and sword, 
and all the Government power at their back, against 
Tormod. The fight between the combatants continued with 
varied success and failure on either side ; the Adventurers 
again relinquished their settlement, and returned to Fife 


to bewail their losses, having solemnly promised never 
again to return to the Island or molest Mackenzie and 
his friends. 

Kintail now, in virtue of Torquil Cononach s resigna- 
tion in his favour, obtained a gift, under the Great Seal, 
of the Lewis for himself through the influence of the 
Lord Chancellor. This he had, however, ultimately to 
resign into the hands of the King, and his Majesty, in 
16089 vested these rights in the persons of Lord 
Balmerino, Sir George Hay, and Sir James Spence, of 
Wormistoun, who undertook the colonisation of the 
island. For this purpose they made great preparations, 
and, assisted by the neighbouring tribes, invaded the 
Lewis for the double purpose of planting a colony in it 
and of subduing and apprehending Neil Macleod, who 
now alone defended it. Mackenzie dispatched his 
brother Roderick, and Alexander Mackenzie of Coul, 
with a party of followers numbering 400, ostensibly to 
aid the colonists now acting under the King's commission, 
to whom he promised active friendship. At the same 
time he despatched a vessel from Ross loaded with 
provisions, but privately sent word to Neil Macleod to 
intercept her on the way, so that the settlers, being 
disappointed of their supply of the provisions to which 
they trusted for maintenance, should be obliged to 
abandon the island for want of the necessaries of life. 
Matters turned out exactly as Kintail anticipated. Sir 
George Hay and Sir James Spence (Lord Balmerino 
having meanwhile been convicted of high treason, and 
forfeited) abandoned the Lewis, leaving a party behind 
them to hold the garrison, and intending to send a fresh 
supply of men and provisions back to the island on their 
arrival in Fife. But Neil Macleod and his followers 
took and burnt the fort, apprehended its defenders, and 
sent them safely to their homes "on giving their oath 
that they would never come on that pretence again, which 
they never did." Finding this, the Adventurers gave 
up all hope of establishing themselves in the island, 


and sold their acquired rights therein, as also their share 
of the forfeited districts of Troternish and Waternish in 
Skye, to Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail, who at the same 
time obtained a grant from the King of Balmerino's 
forfeited share of the Lewis, thus finally acquiring what 
he had so long and so anxiously desired. In addition 
to a fixed sum of money, Mackenzie granted the 
Adventurers **a lease of the woods of Letterewe, where 
there was an iron mine, which they wrought by English 
miners, casting guns and other implements till their fuel 
was exhausted and their lease expired." The King 
confirmed this agreement, and "to encourage Kintail and 
his brother Roderick in their work of civilizing the 
people of the Lewis," he elevated the former to the 
peerage as Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, on the 19th of 
November, 1609, at the same time conferring the honour 
of knighthood on his brother, Roderick Mor Mackenzie of 

Referring to this period Mr Fraser-Tytler, in his History 
of Scotland^ says — '* So dreadful indeed was now the 
state of those portions of his (the King's) dominions, that, to 
prevent an utter dissevering from the Scottish crown, 
something must be done, and many were the projects 
suggested. At one time the King resolved to proceed 
to the disturbed districts in person, and fix his head- 
quarters in Kentire ; at another, a deputy was to be 
sent, armed with regal powers; and twice the Duke of 
Lennox was nominated to this arduous office. The old 
plan, too, might have been repeated, of granting a Royal 
Commission to one or other of the northern Reguli, who 
were ever prepared, under the plea of loyalty, to 
strengthen their own hands, and exterminate their 
brethren ; but this, as had been often felt before, was to 
abandon the country to utter devastation ; and a more 
pacific and singular policy was now adopted. One 
association of Lowland barons, chiefly from Fife, took 
a lease from the Crown of the Isle of Lewis, for which 
they agreed, after seven years' possession, to give the 


King an annual rent of one hundred and forty chalders 
of victual ; and came under an obligation to conquer their 
farm at their own charges. Another company of noble- 
men and gentlemen in Lothian offered, under a similar 
agreement, to subdue Skye. And this kind of feudal 
joint-stock company actually commenced their operations 
with a force of six hundred soldiers, and a motley 
multitude of farmers, ploughmen, artificers, and pedlars. 
But the Celtic population and their haughty chiefs could 
not consent to be handed over, in this wholesale fashion, 
to the tender mercies and agricultural lectures of a set 
of Saxon adventurers. The Lowland barons arrived, 
only to be attacked with the utmost fury, and to have 
the leases of their farms, in the old Douglas phrase, 
written on their own skins with steel pens and bloody 
ink. For a time, however, they continued the struggle ; 
and having entered into alliance with some of the native 
chiefs, fought the Celts with their own weapons, and 
more than their own ferocity. Instead of agricultural 
and pastoral produce, importations of wool, or samples 
of grain, from the infant colony, there was sent to the 
Scottish Court a ghastly cargo of twelve human heads 
in sacks; and it was hoped that, after such an example 
of severity, matters might succeed better. But the 
settlers were deceived. After a feeble and protracted 
struggle for a few years, sickness and famine, perils by 
land and perils by water, incessant war, and frequent 
assassinations, destroyed the colony ; and the three great 
western chiefs, Macdonald of Sleat, Macleod of Harris, 
and Mackenzie of Kintail, enjoyed the delight of seeing 
the principal gentlemen adventurers made captive by 
Tormod Macleod ; who, after extorting from them a 
renunciation of their titles, and an oath never to 
return to the Lewis, dismissed them to carry to the 
Scottish Court the melancholy reflection that a Celtic 
population, and the islands on which it was scattered, 
were not yet the materials or the field for the further 
operations of the economists of Fife and Mid-Lothian." 


In 1610 his Lordship returned to the Lewis with 700 
men, and finally brought the whole island to submission, 
with the exception of Neil Macleod and a few of his 
followers, who retired to the rock of Berissay, and took 
possession of it. At this period religion must have 
been at a very low ebb — almost extinct among the 
inhabitants; and, to revive Christianity among them, his 
Lordship selected and took along with him the Rev. 
Farquhar Macrae, a native of Kintail and minister of 
Gairloch,* who had been recommended to the latter 
charge by the bishop of Ross. Mr Macrae found quite 
enough to do on his arrival in the island, but he appears 
to have been very successful among the uncivilised 
natives ; for he reports having gained many over to 
Christianity ; baptised a large number in the fortieth year 
of their age ; and, to legitimise their children, marrying 
many others to those women with whom they had been 
for years cohabiting. Leaving the reverend gentleman in 
the prosecution of his mission, his Lordship returned 
home, having established good order in the island, and 
promising to return again the following year, to the great 
satisfaction of the people. 

Some time before this Alexander MacGorrie and Ranald 
MacRory, sons of Glengarry's uncles murdered in 1580 
in Lochcarron, 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 Appelcross, 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 
eldest son, Angus, who had now attained his majority, 

* He brought with him Mr Farquhar Macrae, who was then a young 
man and minister of Gait loch and appointed by the Bishop of Ross (Lesley) 
to stay with Sir George Hay and the Englishmen that were with him in 
Letterewe, being a peaceful and eloquent preAcher,'^ Ardin/oul MS, 


the cousins, taking advantage of the absence of Mackenzie, 
who had gone on a visit to France, continued their 
depredations and insolence wherever they found oppor- 
tunity. Besides, they made a complaint against him to 
the Privy Council, whereupon he was charged at the pier 
of I^ith 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 after his 
arrival before the Council, in terms of the summons at 
Glengarry's instance ; and, after consulting his legal adviser 
and other friends, he appeared quite unexpectedly before 
their Lordships. 

Meantime, while the gentlemen were on their way 
from France, Alexander MacGorrie and Alexander Mac- 
Rory killed in his bed Donald Mackenneth Mhic Alastair, 
a gentleman of the family of Davochmaluag, who lived 
at Kishorn. The shirt, covered with his blood, had been 
sent to Edinburgh to await the arrival of Mackenzie, who 
the same day presented it before the Privy Council, as 
evidence of the foul crime committed by his accusers. 
Glengarry was unable to prove anything material against 
Kintail or his followers. On the contrary, the Rev. John 
Mackenzie, of Dingwall, charged Glengarry with being 
instrumental in the murder of John Og and his family 
at Applecross, 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 idolater, who had a man 
in Lochbroom making 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 
with the Captain of Clan Ranald's daughter, after he had 
put away Grant of Grant's daughter, his lawful wife; 


whereupon Glengarry was summoned there and then to 
appear next day before the Council, and to lodge defences 
to this unexpected charge. He naturally became alarmed, 
and fearing the worst, fled from the city during the night, 
"took to his heels," and gave up further legal proceed- 
ings against Mackenzie. Being afterwards 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 him 
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 matters were being 
arranged, Angus Macdonald, younger of Glengarry, who 
was of a restless, daring disposition, went along with 
some of his followers under silence of night to Kintail, 
burnt the township of Cro, killed and burnt several men, 
women, and children, and carried away a large spoil of 

Mackenzie, hearing of this sudden raid, became much 
concerned about the loss of his Kintail tenants, and 
decided to requite the quarrel by at once executing his 
commission against the Macdonalds of Glengarry, and 
immediately set out in pursuit, leaving a sufficient number 
of men at home to secure the safety of his property. 
He took along 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 Balnagowan 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 commanded a hundred and twenty men sent to 
his aid by the Earl of Sutherland, in virtue of the long 
standing bond of manrent which existed between the 

• Records of Privy Council, Qlh September, 1602 ; Sir Robert Gordon's 
Earldom of Sutherland, p. 248; Letterfeam, Ardintoul, and other MS. 
Histories of the Mackenzies. 


two families; but Sir John "retired at Monar, growing 
faint-hearted before he saw the enemie". Andrew Munro 
of Novar also accompanied Kintail on this, as on several 
previous expeditions. The Macdonalds, hearing of Mac- 
kenzie's approach, drove all their cattle to Monar, 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 
Highlands 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." 
Mackenzie had only two men killed in this expedition, 
though a few of the Kintail men, whom he caused to be 
carried home on litters, were wounded. 

Several instances are recorded of the prowess and 
intrepidity of Alexander of Coul on this occasion. He 
was, excepting John MacMhurchaidh Mhic Gillechriost, the 
fastest runner in the Mackenzie country. On his way to 
Kintail, leading his men and driving the creach before 
them, he met three or four hundred Camerons, who sent 
Mackenzie a message demanding "a bounty of the booty" 
for passing through their territory. This Kenneth was 
about to grant, and ordered thirty cows and a few of 
the younger animals to be given, saying that it "was 
fit that hungry dogs should get a collop;" whereupon 
Alexander of Coul and his brave band of one hundred 
and twenty followers started aside and swore with a great 
oath that if the Camerons dared to take away a single 
head, they would, before night, pay dearly for them, and 
have to fight for their collop ; for he and his men, he 
said, had already nearly lost their lives driving them 
through a wild and narrow pass where eighteen of the 
enemy fell to their swords before they were able to get 
the cattle through ; but he would now let them pass in 


obedience to his chief's commands. The messengers, 
hearing the ominous threat, notwithstanding Kenneth's 
personal persuasion, declined on any account to take the 
cattle, and marched away *' empty as they came." 

Before starting from home on this expedition, Kintail 
drove every one of Glengarry's followers out of their 
holdings 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 engaged to 
prove their sincerity by "imbrowing their hands in the 
enemy's blood." The Castle of Strome. however, still 
continued in possession of the Macdonalds. 

Mackenzie, after his return home, had not well dis- 
solved 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 Lochcarron with their cattle, he attacked them 
unexpectedly, killed several of the defenceless women, all 
the male children, slaughtered and took away many of the 
catde, and ** houghed " all they were not able to carry 
along with them. 

In the following autumn, Alexander 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 
as 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 
Clann Alain of Moydart (whose chief was at the time 
captain of Clan Ranald's men), 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 the Mackenzie 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 MacGorrie had previously killed the two Kintail 
men. Kenneth was at the time on a visit to Mackenzie 
of Gairloch, at his house on Island Ror\' in Loch-Maree, 
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 John Tolmach Macleod, son of Rory, son of 
Allan Macleod, who still possessed a small portion of 
Gairloch, to watch the enemy and examine the coast as 
far as Kylerhea. John Tolmach himself accompanied 
them, in charge of the galley. On their way south they 
landed by the merest chance at Applecross, on the north 
side of the point at which MacGorrie landed, where they 
noticed a woman gathering shellfish on the shore, and 
who no sooner saw them than she came forward and 
informed them that a great galley had landed in the 
morning on the other side of the promontory. This they 
at once suspected to contain 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 along, they met 
one of Macdonalds 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, sud- 
denly surprised and alarmed by the sound of the Piob 
mhor, 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 imposf-ible 
single-handed to resist, 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 Mac 
Choinnich Mhic Mhurchaidh noticing his amazing agility, 
observing that 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 Mac- 
Gorries 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 

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 Macleod recommended his men 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 
Mathewson — was so well acquainted with the ground, and 
led them to a ford on the river between two rocks, which 
the Macdonalds missed, and the night coming on, they 
would have been unable to escape with their lives. The 
Macdonalds retraced 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. In the flight 
of the Mackenzies Alexander of Achilty, being so stout 
that he fainted on the way, was nearly captured. John 
MacChoinnich, who noticed him falling, threw some 
water on him, and, drawing his sword, swore that he 
would kill him on the spot if he did not get up at once 
rather than that the enemy should have the honour of 
killing or capturing him. They soon arrived at Gairloch's 
house in the island on Loch-Maree, and gave a full 
account of their expedition, whereupon Kintail at once 
decided upon taking active measures against the Mac- 
donalds. In the meantime he was assured that they had 
returned to their own country. He soon returned home, 
and found that the people of Kintail and Glengarry, 
tiring of those incessant slaughters and mutual injuries, 
agreed, during his absence, in the month of May, to cease 
hostilities until the following Lammas. Of this agree- 
ment Kintail knew nothing ; and young Glengarry, who 
was of an exceedingly bold and restless disposition, 
against the earnest solicitations of his father, who became 
a party to this 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, and 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 Ghillc- 
challum in Killichirtorn, whom the enemy apprehended, 
and would have killed, had not one of the Macdonalds, 
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 th2 chiefs and leaders of the various 
branches of the Macdonalds in the west, soliciting their 
assistance against the Miclcenzies, which they all agreed 
to give him in the following spring. 

This soon came to Mackenzie's knowledge, who was 
at the time residing in Ellandonnan Castle; and fearing 
the consequences of such a powerful combination against 
him, he went privately to Mull by sea to consult his 
brother-in-law. Hector Og Maclean of Duart, to whom he 
told that he had a commission 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."* Mac- 
lean undertook to prevent the assistance of the Clan 
Ranald of Isla and the Macdonalds of Glencoe and 
Ardnamurchan. 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 his 
son 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 prediction 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 marauders ashore in 
the twilight. The inhabitants perceiving them, escaped 
to the hills, but the Macdonalds cruelly slaughtered all 

*Ardintoul MS. 


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 Slumbay, where their boats which 
they filled with the carcases lay. Before, however, 
they had fully loaded, the alarm having gone through 
the districts of I-ochalsh and Kintail, some of the natives 
of those districts were seen marching 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 farewell, which, however, 
had little effect upon them, as they were already out of 

The Kintail men, by the shortest route, now returned 
to Ellandonnan, 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 MacDhonnchaidh, one of 
Inverinates 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 Lady Mackenzie in person, to make 
arrangements to go out and meet the enemy. The best 
men were quickly picked. The Lady supplied them 
with all the materials and necessaries for the journey 
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 handsome 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 which had been committed by Macdonald 
regarding the recent agreement to cease hostilities for a 
stated time, and other recent sores. Her ladyship having 
wished 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 

On their way towards Kylerhea they met a boat from 
Lochalsh sent out to inform them of the enemy's arrival 
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 begun to flow, and, judging that 
the Macdonalds would await 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 them. 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, 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. 
As they neared the Cailleach, a low rock midway between 
both Kyles, it was observed in the distance covered with 
snow. The night also favoured them, the sea, calm, 
appearing black and mournful to the enemy. Here 
they met Macdonald's first galley, and drawing up near 
it, they soon discovered it to be no other than his own 
great birlinn, some distance ahead of the rest of the fleet. 
Macdonald, as soon as he noticed them, called out **Who 
is there ? " twice in succession, but receiving 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 Macdonalds 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 birlinn. 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 ashore, while others remained in their boat killing 
and drowning the Macdonalds. Such of them as managed 
to reach the land were also 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 escaped 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 morning. Hearing the 
uproar, several of the Lochalsh people went out with all 
speed in two small boats, under command of Dugall 
Mac Mhurchaidh Matthewson, to take part in the fray ; 
but by the time they arrived at the scene of action few 
of Macdonald's followers were alive. Thus ended the 
career of Angus, younger of Glengarry, a chief to whom 
his followers looked up, and whom they justly regarded 
as a bold and intrepid leader, though 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 confusion 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 
Ellandonnan 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, accompanied 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, without 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 predecessors, ** Cnoc nan 
Aingeal," in Lochalsh ; but this she objected to, observing 
that, if he could, her husband would never allow a Mac- 
donald, dead or alive, any further possession in that 
locality, at the same time ordering young Glengarry 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 interred 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 Mackenzies 
own children. This is not the most generally received 
account regarding Angus Macdonald's burial ; but we are 
glad, for the credit of our common humanity, to find the 
following conclusive testimony in an imperfect but 
excellently written MS. of the seventeenth century, 
otherwise remarkably correct and trustworthy : — *' 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."* 

The author of the Ardintoul MS. informs us that 
MacLean had actually invaded Ardnamurchan, and carried 

* Ancient MS, 


fire and sword into that and the adjoining territory of 
the Macdonalds, whereupon the Earl of Argyll, who 
claimed the Macdonalds of those districts as his vassals 
and dependants, obtained criminal letters against MacLean, 
who, finding this, sent for his brother-in-law, Mackenzie 
of Kintail, at whose request he had invaded the country 
of the Macdonalds. Both started for Inveraray. The 
Earl seemed most determined to punish MacLean, but 
Mackenzie informed him that **he should rather be blamed 
for it than MacLean, and the King and Council than 
either of them, for he having obtained, upon good grounds, 
a commission of fire and sword against Glengarry and 
such as would assist him, and against these men s rebellious 
and wicked counties, which frequently his lordship seemed 
to own, that he did charge, as he did several others of 
the kings loyal subjects, MacLean to assist him." So 
that, if Maclean was to be punished for acting as his 
friend and as a loyal subject, he hoped to obtain a 
hearing before the King and Council under whose orders 
he acted. After considerable discussion, they parted 
good friends, Argyll having agreed not to molest Mac- 
Lean any further. Mackenzie and MacLean returned to 
Duart, where his lordship was warmly received and 
sumptuously entertained by MacLeans immediate friends 
and kinsmen for the service which he had just rendered 
to their chief. While thus engaged, a messenger arrived 
at the castle from Mackenzie's lady and the Kintail men. 
After the funeral of young Angus of Glengarry, she 
became concerned about her husbands safe return, and 
was at the same time most anxious that he should be 
advised of the .state of matters 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 prowling among the creeks and 
bays further south. Robert, after the interchange of 
unimportant preliminaries, on his arrival in Mull, informed 
his master of all that had taken place during his absence. 
MacLean, surprised to hear of such gallant conduct by 


the Kintail men in the absence of their chief, asked 
Mackenzie if any of his own kinsmen were amongst 
them, and being informed they were not, Maclean replied, 
"It was a great and audacious deed to be done by 
fellows." *' Truly, MacLean," returned Mackenzie, **they 
were not fellows that were there, but prime gentlemen, 
and such fellows as would act the enterprise better than 
myself and kinsmen." " You have very great reason to 
make the more of them," said Maclean ; ** he is a happy 
superior who has such a following." Both chiefs then 
went outside to consult as to the best and safest means 
for Mackenzie's homeward journey. MacLean offered 
him all his chief and best men to accompany him by 
land, but this he declined, saying that he would not put 
his friend to such inconvenience, and would return home 
in his own boat just as he came; but he was ultimately 
persuaded to take MacLcan's great galley, his own being 
only a small one. He sailed in his friend's great birlinn, 
under the command of the Captain of Cairnburgh, 
accompanied by several other gentlemen of the Mac- 

In the meantime, the Macdonalds, aware that Mac- 
kenzie had not yet returned from Mull, ** 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 captain to use a 
stratagem, 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 bagpiper 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 further, they all returned wiser 
than they came from home. This is, notwithstanding 
other men's reports, the true and real narration of Glen- 
garrie 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 Ellandonnan 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 manner in which they had protected his interests 
during his absence. Certain that the Macdonalds would 
never rest satisfied until they wiped out and revenged 
the death of their leader, Mackenzie determined to drive 
them out of the district altogether. The castle of Strome 
still in possession of Glengarry, was the greatest obstacle 
in carrying out this resolution, for it was a good and 
convenient asylum for the Macdonalds when pursued by 
Mackenzie and his followers; but he ultimately succeeded 
in wresting it from them. 

The following account is given in the Ancient MS. 
of how it was taken from them : — ** In the spring of the 
following year, Lord Kintail gathered together considerable 
forces and besieged the castle ^of Strone in Lochcarron, 
which at first held out very manfully, and would not 
surrender, though several terms were offered, which he 

•Ancient MS. The authors of the Letterfeam and Ardintoul MSS. give 
substantially the same account, and say (hat among those who accompanied 
Mackenzie to Mull, was " Rory Beg Mackenzie, son to Rory More of 
Achiglunichan, Fairbum 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.'' 


(Mackenzie) findinjg^. 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 ihey 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 supply 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 GiDiechallum, still 
a prisoner in the castle, hearing, as he was at liberty 
through the hou^je, 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 befel the powder, he accompanied his keepers to 
the ramparts of the castle, when he noticed his country- 
men 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 to him, and jumped 
over the wall on to a large dung heap that stood 
immediately below. He was a little stunned, but instantly 
recovering himself, flew with the fleetness of a deer to 
Mackenzie's camp, and informed his chief of the state of 
matters within the stronghold. 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 hous^e 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 in 
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 

A considerable portion of the walls is still (1893) 
standing, but no trace of the apartments. The sea must 
have receded many feet since it was in its glory ; for 
now it barely touches the base of the rock on which the 
ruin stands. We have repeatedly examined it, and with 
mixed feelings ruminated upon its past history, and what 
its ruined walls, could they only speak, might bear 
witness to. 

In the following year (1603) the chief of Glengarry 
Donald Gruamach having died, and the heir being still 
under age, the Macdonalds, under Donald's cousin, Allan 
Dubh MacRanuil of Lundy, made an incursion into the 
country of Mackenzie in Brae Ross, plundered the lands 
of Cillechriost, and ferociously set fire to the church during 
divine service, when full of men, women, and children, 
while Glengarry's piper marched round the building cruelly 
mocking the heartrending wails of the burning women and 
children, playing the well-known pibroch, which has 
been known ever since by the name of "Cillechriost," as 
the family tune of the Macdonalds of Glengarry. ** Some 
of the Macdonalds 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 vengeance should have occurred in the com- 
mencement of the seventeenth century, without, so far 

* Ardintoul MS, 


as we can trace, any public notice being taken of such 
an enormity. In the end the disputes between the 
chiefs of Glengarry and Kintail 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 quarr2l seem to have formed 
the only punishment inflicted on this clan for the 
cold-blooded atrocity displayed in the memorable raid on 

Eventually Mackenzie succeeded in obtaining a crown 
charter to the disputed districts of Lochalsh, Lochcarron, 
and others, dated 1607; and the Macdonalds having now 
lost the three ablest of their leaders, Donald's successor, 
his second son, Alexander, considered it prudent to seek 
peace with Mackenzie. This was, after some negotia- 
tion, agreed to, and a day appointed for a final 

In the meantime, Kintail sent for twenty-four of his 
ablest men in Kintail and Lochalsh, and took them, 
along with the best of his own kinsmen, to Baile Chaisteil 
(now Grantown), where his uncle Grant of Grant 
resided, with the view to purchase from him a heavy and 
long-standing claim which he held against Glengarry for 
depredations committed on Grant's neighbouring territories 
in Glenmoriston and Glen-Urquhart. Grant was unwilling 
to sell, but ultimately, on the persuasion of mutual friends, 
he offered to take thirty thousand merks for his claim. 
Mackenzie's kinsmen and friends from the West were 
meanwhile lodged in a great kiln in the neighbourhood, 
amusing themselves with some of Grant's men who went 
to the kiln to keep them company. Kintail sent a 
messenger to the kiln to consult his people as to whether 
he would give such a large amount for Grant's ** com- 
prising" against Glengarry. The messenger was patiently 
listened to until he had finished, when he was told to go 
back and tell Grant and Mackenzie, that had they not 

• Gregory, pp. 302-3. 


entertained great hopes that their chief would *'give that 
paper as a gift to his nephew after all his trouble," he 
would not have been allowed to cross the Ferry of 
Ardersier; for they would like to know where he could 
find such a large sunj, unless he intended to harry them 
and his other friends, who had already suffered quite 
enough in the wars with Glengarry ; and, so saying, they 
took to their arms, and desired the messenger to tell 
Mackenzie that they wished him to leave the paper where 
it was. And if he desired to have it, they would sooner 
venture their own persons and those of the friends they 
had left at home to secure it by force, than give a sum 
which would probably be more difficult to procure than 
to dispossess Glengarry altogether by their doughty arms. 
They then left the kiln, and sent one of their own 
number for their chief, who, on arriving, was strongly 
abused for entertaining such an extravagant proposal and 
requested to leave the place at once. This he consented 
to do, and went to inform Grant that his friends would 
not hear of his giving such a large sum, and that he 
preferred to dispense with the claim against Glengarry 
ahogether rather than lose the goodwill and friendship of 
his retainers, who had so often endangered their lives and 
fortunes in his quarrels. Meanwhile, one of the Grants 
who had been in the kiln communicated to his master 
the nature of the conversation which had there passed 
when the price asked by Grant was mentioned to the 
followers of Mackenzie. This made such an impression 
upon Grant and his advisers, that he prevailed upon 
Mackenzie, who was about starting for home, to remain 
in the castle for another night. To this Kintail consented, 
and before morning he obtained the *' paper" for ten 
thousand merks — a third of the sum originally asked for 
it. •' Such familiar relationship of the chief with his 
people," our authority says, ** may now-a-days be thought 
fabulous ; but whoever considers the unity, correspondence, 
and amity that was so well kept and entertained betwixt 
superiors and their followers and vassals in former ages, 


besides as it is now-a-days, he need not think it so ; and 
I may truly say that there was no clan in the Highlands 
of Scotland that would compete with the Maclcenzies, 
their vassals and followers, as to that ; and it is sure their 
superiors in former times would not grant their daughters 
in marriage without their consent Nor durst the meanest 
of them, on the other hand, give theirs to any stranger 
without the superior s consent ; and I heard in Earl Colin s 
time of a Kintail man that gave, his daughter in marriage 
to a gentleman in a neighbouring country without the 
Earl's consent, who never after had kindness for the 
giver, and, I may say, is yet the blackest marriage for 
that country, and others also, that ever was among their 
commons. But it may be objected that now-a-days their 
commons' advice or consent in any matter of consequence 
is not so requisite, whereas there are many substantial 
friends to advise with; but its an old Scots phrase, *A 
king's advice may fall from a fool's head.' I confess that 
is true where friends are real friends, but we ordinarily 
find, and partly know by experience, that, where friends 
or kinsmen become great and rich in interest, they 
readily become emulous, and will ordinarily advise for 
themselves if in the least it may hinder them from 
becoming a chief or head of a family, and forget their 
former headship, which was one of the greatest faults, as 
also the ruin of Munro of Miltown, whereas a common 
man will never eye to become a chief so long as he is 
in that state, and therefore will advise his chief or 
superior the more freely." What a change in the relation- 
ship between the chiefs and clansmen of to-day! 

Sir William Eraser, who quotes the foregoing narrative 
from the former edition of this work, says that John 
Grant, fifth of Freuchie, in whose time this incident is 
said to have occurred, was not ** uncle" but cousin to 
Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail. But he adds that the 
"story is so far corroborated by the fact that about the 
time the incident is said to have happened, the young 
Chief of Kintail granted a receipt to the laird of Ereuchie 


for the charter of comprisinor, granted on 4th May. 1548, 
to James Grant of Freuchie, which, with relative papers, 
was now handed over to Mackenzie, in terms of a 
disposition by the Laird to him of lands in Kessoryne, 
Lochalsh, Lochcarron, etc." The original discharge, 
dated ist May, 1606, Sir William says, is at Castle 
Grant* A bond of manrent is entered into between 
Grant and Mackenzie on the same date, at Inverness. 

The day appointed for the meeting of Mackenzie and 
Glengarry to arrange terms soon arrived. The former 
had meanwhile brought up several decrees and claims 
against the latter at the instance of neighbouring pro- 
prietors, for "cost, skaith and damage," which altogether 
amounted to a greater sum than the whole of Macdonald's 
lands were worth. The two, however, settled their 
disputes by an arrangement which secured absolutely to 
Mackenzie all Glengarry's lands in the county of Ross, 
and the superiority of all his other possessions, but 
Glengarry was to hold the latter, paying Mackenzie a 
small feu as superior. In consideration of these humili- 
ating concessions by Macdonald, Mackenzie agreed to pay 
twenty thousand merks Scots, and thus ended for ever the 
ancient quarrels which had existed for centuries between 
the powerful families of Glengarry and Kintail. **Thus 
ended the most of Glengarrie's troubles tho' there was 
severall other bloody skirmishes betwixt ym — such as 
the taking of the Stank house in Knoidart, where there 
was severalls burnt and killed by that stratagem ; as also 
young Glengarrie's burning and harrying of Croe in Kintail, 
where there was but few men killed, yet severall women 
and children were both burned and killed. I cannot 
forget ane pretty fellow that was killed there, who went 
himself and three or four women to ane outsett in the 
Croe, where there was a barn (as being more remote), 
where they sleept yt night. But in the morning the 
breaking of the dore was their wakening, whereupon the 
man, (called Patrick McConochy Chyle) started and 

* Chiefs of Grants vol. i. p. 178. 


finding them about the barn, bad them leave of and 
he would open it. So, getting his bow and arrow, he 
opens the door, killed 4 of them there, (before) they 
took nottice of him, which made them all hold off. In 
end they fires the barn and surrounds it, which he 
finding still, started out, and as he did he still killed one . 
of them, till he had killed 1 1. The barn in end almost 
consumed and his arrows spent, he took him to his heels, 
but was killed by them, and two of the women, the third 
having stayed in the reek of the barn, and a rough hide 
about her."* 

On the i8th of July. 1610, Lord Kenneth made over 
to Sir Roderick Mor Macleod, XIII. of Dun vegan, the 
five unciate lands of Waternish, which his lordship had 
previously purchased from Sir George Hay and others, 
who obtained po.^session of them on the forfeiture of the 
Macleods of Lewis, to whom Waternish formerly belonged. 
As part payment, Sir Roderick Mor Macleod disponed 
to Mackenzie two unciates of lands in Troternish, Isle of 
Skye, which belonged to him, along with the Bailliary 
of the old extent of eight merks which had been united 
to the Barony of Lewis, and in which William Macleod, 
XII. of Dunvegan, had been served heir to his father 
in 1585. On the 24th of the same month the Lords of 
the Privy Council ordain that Lord Kintail should pay 
Norman Macleod's expenses in prison in all time 

Kenneth, first Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, to quote 
the Earl of Cromarty, **was truly of an heroic temper, 
but of a spirit too great for his estates, perhaps for his 
country, yet bounded by his station, so as he (his father) 
resolved to seek employment for him abroad ; but no 
sooner had he gone to France, but Glengarry most out- 
rageously, without any cause, and against all equity and 
law convocates multitudes of people and invades his 
estates, sacking, burning, and destroying all. Kenneth's 
friends sent John Mackenzie of Tollie to inform him of 

• Ancient MS. 


these wrongs, whereupon he made a speedy return to an 
affair so urgent, and so suitable to his genius, for as he 
never offered wrong so he never suffered any. His heat 
did not overwhelm his wit, for he took a legal procedure, 
obtained a commission of fire and sword against Glen- 
garry and his complices, which he prosecuted so bravely 
as in a short time by himself and his brother he soon 
forced them to retreat from his lands, and following them 
to their own hills, he soon dissipated and destroyed them, 
that young Glengarry and many others of their boldest 
and most outrageous were killed, and the rest forced to 
shelter themselves amongst the other Macdonalds in the 
islands and remote Highlands, leaving all their estates 
to Kenneth's disposal. This tribe of the Clan Ranald 
seem to have been too barbarous for even those lawless 
times, while by a strange contumacy in latter times, a 
representative of that ancient family pertinaciously con- 
tinued to proclaim its infamy and downfall by the 
adherence to the wild strain of bagpipe music (their 
family pibroch called Cillechriost), at once indicative of 
its shame and submission. Kenneths character and 
policies were of a higher order, and in the result he was 
everywhere the gainer by them." He was supported by 
Murdoch Mackenzie, II. of Redcastle ; and by his own 
brothers — Sir Roderick Mackenzie of Coigeach, Alexander 
of Coul, and Alexander of Kilcoy, all men of more than 
ordinary intelligence and intrepidity. 

Lord Kenneth married, first, Ann, daughter of George 
Ross, IX. of Balnagown, with issue — 

I. Colin Ruadh, his successor, afterwards created first 
Earl of Seaforth. 

II. John of Lochslinn, who married Isobel, eldest 
daughter of Alexander Mackenzie, V. of Gairloch, and 
died without lawful male issue. 

III. Kenneth, who died unmarried. 

IV. Barbara, who married Donald, Lord Reay. 

V. Janet, who married Sir Donald Macdonald, VIII. of 
Sleat, Baronet, with issue, his heir and successor, and others. 


Kenneth married, secondly, Isobel. daughter of Sir 
Gilbert Ogilvie of Powrie, by whom he had — 

VI. Alexander, who died without issue. 

VII. George, who afterwards succeeded Colin as 
second Earl of Seaforth. 

vni. Thomas Mackenzie of Pluscardine, whose male 
line has been proved extinct. 

IX. Simon Mackenzie of Lochslinn. Simon was twice 
married and left a numerous offspring, who will after- 
wards be more particularly referred to, his descendants 
having since the death of **the Last of the Seaforths" in 
1815, without surviving male issue, carried on the male 
representation of the ancient family of Kintail. 

X. Sibella, who married,, first, John Macleod, XIV. of 
Harris; secondly, Alexander Fraser, Tutor of Lovat; and 
thirdly, Patrick Grant, Tutor of Grant, second son of Sir 
John Grant of Freuchie. 

He died in February, 161 1, in the forty-second year of 
his ag^e; was buried **with great triumph" at Chanonry,* 
and was succeeded by his second and eldest surviving 

And Second Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, a minor 

only fourteen years old when his father died. On the 
i6th of July. 161 1, a Royal precept is issued under 
the Signet to the Sheriff" of Inverness directing him 
to have all brieves of inquest obtained by Colin, 
Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, for serving him nearest and 
lawful heir to the late Kenneth Mackenzie, Lord of 
Kintail. his father, in all lands and annual-rents wherein 
his father died, last vested and seased, proclaimed and put 
to the knowledge of an inquest, notwithstanding the 
minority of the said Colin, ** whereupon we have dispensed 

***As is proved by an old MS, record kept by the Kirk Session of 
Inverness, wherein is this entry :— * Upon the penult day of February 161 1 
My Lord Mackenzie died in the Chanonrie of Ross and was buried 28th 
April anno foresaid in the Chanonrie Kirk with great triumph.'"— 
Allangranse Service. 


and by these present dispense " with that objection, pro- 
viding always that the dispensation be not prejudicial to 
the donator of the ward of the said late Kenneth's lands 
in the matter of the mails, fermes, and duties of the same 
during the time of the ward thereof. 

On the i6th of August, 1611, a proclamation is issued 
to the Highland chiefs, following upDn one granted to 
Sir Roderick Mackenzie of Coigeach, as Tutor of Kintail, 
and four other leaders of the clan, on the nth of June 
preceding, against assisting Neil Macleod and the other 
rebels of the Lewis, who had risen in arms against the 
Tutor, in the following terms : — 

Forasmuch as the barbarous and rebellious thieves and limmers 
of the Lewis, who have been suppressed and in some measure 
kept in subjection and obedience these years bygone, taking new 
breath and courage upon occasion of the decease of Kenneth, 
Lord Kintail, who was his Majesty's justice and commissioner in 
these bounds, they have now of late risen in arms in a professed 
and avowed rebellion against the Tutor of Kintail, whom his 
Majesty and his Council have authorised and constituted in that 
place of justiciary possessed by his deceased brother within the 
Lewis, and intend, with their whole power and force, not only to 
withstand and resist the said Tutor of Kintail in the advancement 
of his Majesty's authority and service within the Lewis, but to 
prosecute himself .and his Majesty's good subjects attending upon 
him with all hostility — wherein they presume of farther backing 
and assistance, upon some foolish apprehension that the clansmen 
of the Isles who have given their obedience to his Majesty, and 
now stands under his Majesty's good grace, shall make shipwreck 
of their faith, credit, and promised obedience, and join with them 
in their detestable rebellion. And although his Majesty, in the 
sincerity of his royal heart, cannot apprehend any such disloyalty 
or treachery in the person of the clansmen of the Isles, who have 
had so large a proof of his M«ijesty's clemency, benignity, and 
favour, that now, so unworthily and unnecessarily, they will reject 
his Majesty's favour, and, to the inevitable haz;ird and peril of 
their estates, join with these miserable miscreants in their re- 
bellion ; yet to take away all pretext of excuse from them, and to 
make them the more inexcusable if wilfully, traitorously, and 
maliciously they will suffer themselves to be carried in such an 
imminent danger, the King's Majesty and Lords of Secret Council 
ordain letters to be directed to command, charge, and inhibit all and 



sundry, the inhabitants of the Isles and continent next adjacent, 
namely Donald Macdonald Gorm of Sleat, Roderick Macleod of 
Dunvegan, called Macleod of Harris, Hugh Mackay of Farr, Mackay 
his son and apparent heir, and MacNeill of Barra, that none of them 
presume or take upon hand, under whatsoever colour or pretence, 
to concur, fortify, or assist the said rebellious thieves and limmers 
of the Lewis, nor to intercommune or join with them, supply them 
with men, victual, powder, bullets, or any other thing consortable 
unto them, nor to show them any kind of protection, consort, 
countenance, reset or supply, under the pain to be reputed, held, 
and esteemed as art and partakers with them in their rebellion, and 
to be pursued and punished for the same, as traitors to his Majesty 
and his country, with all vigour. 

On the 28th of May, 161 2, a commission, apparently 
first granted to those named in it on the nth of June, 
161 1, but of which the original is not given in the 
published Records of the Privy Council, *' almost expired " 
at the first-named date, and was renewed to the same 
persons — the Tutor of Kintail, Colin Mackenzie of Killin, 
Murdo Mackenzie of Kernsary, Alexander Mackenzie of 
Coul, and Kenneth Mackenzie of Darochmaluag. It is 
to the same efiect as and in almost identical terms with 
the commission issued in favour of Kenneth, Lord Kintail, 
on the 19th of July, 1610 (given at length at pp. 193-94), 
and it confers full powers on the Tutor and his colleagues 
for the pursuit and apprehension of Neil Macleod and 
his fellow rebels in the Lewis. 

A complaint is made on the 4th of March, 16 13, by 
Sir William Oliphant, the King's Advocate, that all the 
chieftains and principal men of the Isles and mainland 
next adjacent having made their submission to his 
Majesty, "there only resteth Neil Macleod, called the 
Traitor, rebellious and disobedient" His accomplices 
are given as Malcolm Mac Rory MacLeod, William 
Mac Rory Macleod, his brother, John Dubh Mac 
Angus Mac Gillemhichell, Gillecallum Mac Ian Mhic-an- 
t-Sagairt, Murdo and Donald Mac Ian Mhic-an-t-Sagairt, 
Donald and Rory, sons to Neil Macleod, and Donald 
Mac Ian Duibh — the Brieve. They are stated to 
have maintained open rebellion in the Lewis for 


some years past, **but after their strength and starting 
hoill," called Berissay, had been attacked by the Tutor 
of Kintail and others in the King's name they fled to the 
bounds and country of Donald Mac Allan of Ellantirrim, 
where they were received and supplied by him and 
several others, whose names are Riven, "despite the 
proclamation of the commission against the resett of 
rebels made at Inverness," some time before. The 
resetters, to the number of nine, are denounced rebels 
and at the horn. 

At a meeting of the Council held on the 28th of April 
Roderick Macleod of Harris is charged to deliver up to 
the Tutor of Kintail within twenty days after the charge 
five of Neil Macleod's accomplices who had been appre- 
hended by Roderick's brother Alexander. These are 
Malcolm and William, **sons to the late Neil Macleod, 
called the Traitor," Murdo Mac Ian Mhic-an-t-Sagairt, 
Malcolm Mac Ian Mhic-an-t-Sagairt, and Donald Mac 
Angus, ** who were the chief actors and ringleaders in all 
the treasonable and rebellious attempts committed and 
perpetrated upon his Majesty's peaceable and good subjects 
within the Lewis these divers years bygone." 

On the 20th of May a commission is issued in favour 
of the Tutor, Roderick MacLeod of Dunvegan and Harris, 
and John Grant of Grant, for the apprehension of Allan 
Mac Allaster, in Kilchoan, Knoydart, and several others 
of his relatives, for the murder of Ronald Mac Angus 
Gearr, and also, at the instance of Donald Mac Angus 
of Glengarry, for not finding caution to appear before 
the Justice for going by night armed with **daggs and 
pistoUetts" to the lands of Laggan Achadrom in Glen- 
garry, and setting fire to the houses there and destroying 
them with all their plenishing. They are afterwards 
apprehended, and on the 8th of February, 1614, a 
commission to try them is issued in favour of the Sheriff 
of Inverness and his deputies. In the meantime they 
are lodged in the tolbooth of that town. 

The Tutor must have become responsible for Donald 


Gorm Macdonald, for on the 3rd of June, 161 3. there is an 
entry declarinor that "in respect of the personal com- 
pearance of Donald Gorm of Sleat" before the Privy 
Council their Lordships "exoner and relieve Rory 
Mackenzie of Coigeach of the acts" whereby he became 
acted for the entry of Macdonald before them on the 
last Council day of May preceding, and he is declared 
"free of said acts in all time coming." On the 24th 
of the same month a commission is issued to Roderick, 
Mr Colin Mackenzie of Killin, Murdo Mackenzie of 
Kernsar>', Alexander Mackenzie of Coul, and Kenneth 
Mackenzie of Davochmaluag, to pass to the Lewis and 
apprehend Roderick and Donald Macleod, sons of Neil, 
who had been executed at Edinburgh in the preceding 
April ; William and Roderick Macleod, brothers of Malcolm, 
son of Rory Macleod, sometime of the Lewis; Donald 
Mac Ian Duibh — the Brieve, Murdo Mac Angus Mhic- 
an-t-Sagairt, Donald, his brother, Gillecallum Caogach 
Mac-an-t-Sagairt, John Dubh Mac Angus Mac Gille- 
mhichell, Murdo Mac Torquil Blair, John Roy and 
Norman, sons of Torquil Blair, Donald Mac Neill Mhic 
Finlay, Gillecallum Mac Allan Mhic Finlay, and Donald 
Mac Dhomhnuill Mac Gillechallum, "actors in the first 
rebellion in the Lewis against the gentlemen venturers," 
all of whom had been denounced as rebels on the 2nd 
of February the same year. This commission is renewed 
for twelve months on the 21st of June, 1614, and pro- 
clamation is ordered at Inverness and other places, charging 
all the inhabitants of the North Isles, and within the 
bounds of the lands, heritages, possessions, offices and 
bailliaries pertaining to Colin, Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, 
except persons of the name of Fraser, Ross, and Munro, 
and their tenants and servants, to assist the commissioners 
in apprehending those named in the former commission. 
On the 30th of July, 1613, in a long list of 121 persons 
before the Council from the County of Inverness, which 
then included Ross, and fined for the reset of the Clan Mac- 
gregor. Sir Roderick Mackenzie of Coigeach, as Tutor of 


Kintail, has ;f4000 against his name, by far the largest sum 
in the list, the next to him being his own uncle, Roderick 
Mor Mackenzie I. of Redcastle, with 4000 merks. There 
seems to have been some difficulty as to the settlement 
of these heavy fines, for on the 27th of October following, 
there is a missive before the Council from the King 
"anent the continuation granted to the Tutor of Kintail, 
Mr John and Rory Mackenzies, for payment of their fines," 
and directions are given accordingly that no new con- 
tinuation be granted. 

In 1614, while the Tutor was busily engaged in the 
Island of Lewis, discussions broke out between different 
branches of the Camerons, instigated by the rival claims 
of the Marquis of Huntly and the Earl of Argyll. The 
latter had won over the aid of Allan MacDhomhnuill 
Dubh, chief of the clan, while Huntly secured the support 
of Erracht, Kinlochiel, and Glen Nevis, and, by force, 
placed them in possession of all the lands belonging to 
the chief's adherents who supported Argyll, Allan, 
however, managed to deal out severe retribution to his 
enemies, who were commanded by Lord Enzie, and, 
as is quaintly said, "teaching ane lesson to the rest of 
kin that are alqui in what form they shall carry them- 
selves to their chief hereafter." The Marquis obtained 
a commission from the King to suppress these violent 
proceedings, in virtue of which he called out all his 
Majesty's loyal vassals to join him. Kintail and the Tutor 
demurred, and submitted the great difficulties and trials 
they had experienced in reducing the Lewis to good and 
peaceable government as their excuse, and they were 
exempted from joining Huntly's forces by a special 
commission from the King. Closely connected as it is 
with the final possession of the island by the House of 
Kintail, it is here given — 

"James Rex, — James, by the grace of God, King of 
Britain, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, to all and 
sundry our lieges, and subjects whom it effeirs to whose knowledge 
this our letters shall come greeting. For as much as we have 


taken great pains and travails, and bestown great charge and expense 
for reducing the Isles of our kingdom to our obedience : And 
the same Isles being now settled in a reasonable way of quietness, 
and the chieftains thereof having come in and rendered their 
obedience to us ; there rests none of the Isles rebellious, but only 
the Lewis, which being inhabitated by a number of godless and 
lawless people, trained up from their youth in all kinds of ungodli- 
ness : They can hardly be reclaimed from their impurities and 
barbarities, and induced to embrace a quiet and peaceable form of 
living ; so that we have been constrained from time to time to 
employ our cousin, the Lord Kintail, who rests with God, .and 
since his decease the Tutor of Kintail his brother, and other 
friends of that House in our service against the rebels of the 
Lewis, with ample commission and authority to suppress their 
insolence and to reduce that island to our obedience, which 
service has been prosecuted and followed these divers years by 
the power, friendship and proper services of the House of Kintail, 
without any kind of trouble and charge or expense to us, or any 
support or relief from their neighbours ; and in the prosecution of 
that service, they have had such good and happy success, as 
divers of the rebels hive been apprehended and executed by 
justice : But seeing our said service is not yet fully accomplished, 
nor the Isle of the Lewis settled in a solid and perfect obedience, 
we have of late renewed our former commission to our cousin 
Colin, now Lord of Kintail, «and to his Tutor and some other 
friends of his house, and they are to employ their whole power, and 
service in the execution of the said commission, which being a 
ser\'ice importing highly our honour, and being so necessary and 
expedient for the peace and quiet of the whole islands, and for 
the good of our subjects, haunting the trade of fishing in the Isles, 
the same ought not to be interrupted upon any other intervening 
occasion, and our commissioners and their friends ought not to 
be distracted therefrom for giving of their concurrence in our 
services : Therefore, we, with advice of the Lords of our Privy 
Council, have given and granted our licence to our said cousin 
Colin, Lord of Kintail, and to his friends, men, tenants and 
servants, to remain and bide at home from all osts, raids, wars, 
assemblings, and gatherings to be made by George, Marquis of 
Huntly, the Earl of Enzie, his son, or any other our Lieutenants, 
Justices, or Commissioners, by sea or land, either for the pursuit 
of Allan Cameron of Lochiel and his rebellious complices, or for 
any other cause or occasion whatsoever, during or within the time 
of our commission foresaid granted against the Lewis, without pain 
or danger to be incurred by our said cousin the Lord of Kintail 
and his friends in their persons, lands or goods ; notwithstanding 


whatsoever our proclamation made or to be made in the contrary 
whatever, and all pains contained in it, we dispense by these 
presents, discharging hereby our Justices, Justice Clerk, and all 
our Judges and Ministers of law, of all callin^^, accusing, or any 
way proceeding against them, for the cause aforesaid, and of their 
officers in that part. Given under our signet at Edinburgh, the 
14th day of September, 1614, and of our reign the 12th, and 48 
years. Read, passed, and allowed in Council. Alexander, Chancellor. 
Hamilton, Glasgow, Lothian, Binning." 

Having procured this commission, the Mackenzies 
were in a position to devote their undivided attention to 
the Lewis and their other affairs at home ; and from 
this date that island principality remained in the con- 
tinuous possession of the family of Kintail and Seaforth, 
until in 1844, it was sold to the late Sir James Matheson. 
The people ever after adhered most loyally to the illustrious 
house to whom they owed peace and prosperity such as 
was never before experienced in the history of the island. 

The commission proved otherwise of incalculable 
benefit to Kintail ; for it not only placed him in a 
position to pacify and establish good order in the Lewis 
with greater ease, but at the same time provided his 
Lordship with undisturbed security in his extensive 
possessions on the mainland at a time when the most 
violent disorders prevailed over every other district of the 
West Highlands and Isles. 

On the 2nd of February, 1615, a commission is 
signetted in favour of Sir Roderick, Mr Colin Mackenzie 
of Strathgarve, Mr Alexander Mackenzie of Kinnock, and 
Alexander Mackenzie of Coul, to receive Malcolm 
Caogach Mac Ian Mhic-an-t-Sagairt, Galium Dubh Mac 
Allaster, Donald Mac Angus Mac Gillechallum, Gille- 
callum Mac Ian Riabhaich, and James Mac Ian Duibh, 
from the Magistrates of Edinburgh, to carry them north, 
and to keep them in ward until everything is ready for 
trying them for murder, mutilation, theft, reset, and other 

At a meeting of the Council held at Edinburgh on 
the 9th of February, 161 5, Neil Macleods two sons, 


Norman and Roderick, are set at liberty on condition 
that they transport themselves out of the King's dominions 
and never return. They appeared personally "and acted 
and obliged them that within the space of forty days 
after their relief furth of their ward, where thev remain 
within the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, they shall depart and 
pass furth of his Majesty's dominions and never return 
again within the same during their lifetimes, under the 
pain of death ; and in the meantime, till their passing 
furth of his Majesty's dominions, that they shall not go 
benorth the water of Tay, under the said pain, to be 
executed upon them without favour if they fail in the 
premises. And they gave their great oath to perform 
the conditions of this present act ; and further, the said 
Norman declared that he would renounce, like as by the 
tenour of this present act he does renounce, his Majesty's 
remission and pardon granted unto him, and all favour 
and benefit that he could acclaim by the said remission, 
in case he failed in the premises. In respect whereof 
the said Lords ordained the said Norman and Rory to 
be put to liberty and fredom furth of the Tolbooth"; and 
a warrant was issued to the Provost and Bailies of 
Edinburgh to give effect to their Lordships* decision. 
The Tutor appeared personally, and in name of Lord 
Kintail consented to the liberation of the prisoners. He at 
the same time protested that neither he nor his chief 
should be held any longer responsible for the expenses of 
maintaining Norman, now that he was at liberty, and he 
was accordingly relieved from further charge on that 

On the 26th of April following the Tutor receives a 
commission for the puisuit and apprehension of Coll Mac- 
Gillespic Macdonald, Malcolm Mac Rory Macleod, and 
other fugitives, described as *' the Lslay rebels," who had fled 
from justice, should they land in the Lewis or in any 
other of the territories belonging to Lord Mackenzie of 
Kintail. In order that he may the better attend to this 
duty, along with several other heads of clans named in 


the same commission for their respective districts, and 
as "it is necessary that the commissioners foresaid remain 
at home and on nowise come to this burgh (Edinburgh) 
to pursue or defend in any actions or causes concerning 
them," their Lordships continued all actions against them 
until the ist of November next, ordaining the said 
actions **to rest and sleep" till that date. 

On the same day, a second dispensation under the 
signet is addressed to the Sheriff of Inverness and 
his deputes in favour of Lord Colin, requesting that 
despite his minority he be served heir to his father, the 
late Kenneth, Lord Mackenzie of Kintail. On the 25th 
of June following he is ordered to provide twenty-five 
men as part of an expedition for the pursuit of Sir James 
Macdonald and Coll MacGillespick. In June, 1616, he is 
appointed a Commissioner of the Peace for the Sheriffdom 
of Elgin and Forres. 

On the outbreak of a new rebellion in the Lewis 
another commission, dated the 28th of August, 1616, to 
last for twelve months, was issued by the Privy Council, 
in favour of the Tutor and other leading men of the clan, 
couched in the following terms : — 

Forasmuch as the King's Majesty having taken great pains and 
troubles and bestowed great charges and expenses for reducing of 
the Ishinds of this Kingdom and continent next adjacent to his 
Majesty's obedience, and for establishing of religion, peace, justice, 
order, and government, within the same, in the which his Majesty 
by the force and power of his royal authority has had such a 
happy and good success as almost the whole chiefUiins of clans 
and headsmen of the Isles are come in and in all dutiful submis- 
sion doth acknowledge his Majesty's obedience, so that now there 
is no part of the Isles rebellious but the Lewis— the chieftains 
whereof, as from time to time they raise up in credit, power, «ind 
friendship among the barbarous inhabitants thereof, have been 
apprehended and by course of justice have suffered their deserved 
punishment, and at last the traitor Neil, who was last ringleader of 
that rebellious society, being apprehended and executed to the 
death, whereby it was presumed that in him all further trouble, 
misery, and unquietness in the Lewis should have ceased and 
rested ; notwithstanding it is of truth that Malcolm Macleod, son 


to Rory Macleod, sometime of the Lewis, has embraced that 
rebellious and treasonable course wherein his treacherous pre- 
decessors miserably perished, and having associated himself with 
the persons following— Rory and Donald Macleod, sons to the said 
umquhile Neil, and William and Rory Macleod, brothers to the 
said Malcolm, Donald Mac Ian Duibh — the Brieve, Murdo Mac 
Angus Mhic-an-t-Sagairt, Donald Mac Angus Mhic-an-t-Sagairt 
his brother, GillecaUum Caogach Mac-an-t-SagJiirt, John Dubh 
Mac Angus Mac Gillemichell, Murdo Mac Torquil Blair, Norman 
Mac Torquil Blair, John Roy Mac Torquil Blair, Donald Mac 
Neil Mac Finlay, GillecaUum Mac Allan Mac Finlay, and Donald 
Mac Dhomhuill Mac Gillechallum— who were all actors in the 
first rebellion moved and raised in the Lewis against the gentle- 
men venturers who were directed by his Majesty there, and did 
prosecute that rebellion against them with fire and sword and all 
kinds of hostility, for the which and for other thievish and 
treasonable crimes committed by them they and every one of them 
were upon the second day of February, 1612, orderly denounced 
rebels and put to the horn— they have now combined and banded 
themselves in a most treacherous, disloyal, and pernicious course 
and resolution to maintain a public rebellion in the Lewis, and to 
oppose themselves with their whole power and strength against 
all and whatsoever courses shall be further taken by his Majesy's 
direction for repressing of their insolence ; whereby is not only all 
intercourse and trade which by his Majesty's good subjects in the 
Lowlands would be entertained amongst them, made frustrate and 
void, but the preparative of this rebellion in consequence and 
example is most dangerous, and if the same be not substantially 
repressed, may give further boldness to others who are not yet 
well settled in a perfect obedience, to break loose. Accordingly, as 
it is "a discredit to the country that such a parcel of ground 
possessed by a number of miserable caitiffs shall be suffered to 
continue rebellious, whereas the whole remanent Isles are become 
peaceable and obedient ; and whereas the said Lords, for repressing 
of the insolence of the whole of the rebellious thieves and limmers 
of the Lewis and reducmg them to his Majesty's obedience, passed 
and expede a commission to Roderick Mackenzie of Coigeach, 
Tutor of Kintail, Mr Colin Mackenzie of Killin, Murdo Mackenzie, 
their brother, Alexander Mackenzie of Coul, and Kenneth Mac- 
kenzie of Davochmaluag, for reducing of the limmers of the Lewis 
to obedience," which commission "is now expired, and the said 
thieves, taking new courage and breath thereupon, are become 
more insolent than formerly they were, and have lately made a 
very open insurrection and committed slaughter and bloodshed 
within the said bounds, in contempt of God and disregard of his 


Majesty's laws *' ; therefore his Majesty and the Lords of Council, 
understanding of the "good affection '^ of the said persons, now 
reconstitute them commissioners for the reduction of the said 
rebels, with full power and authority, etc. (as in previous commis- 
sions granted them) ; and, " for the better execution of this 
commission, to take the lymphads, galleys, birlinns, and boats in 
the Lewis and in the next adjacent Isles for the furtherance of 
his Majesty's service, — the said justices being always answerable 
lo the owners of the said lymphads, galleys, birlinns, and boats 
for delivery of the same at the finishing of his Majesty's said 
service.** Prochimition was to be made at Inverness and other 
places charging the lieges within the bounds of the North Isles 
and within the lands of Colin, Lord of Kintail (except those of the 
name of Fraser, Ross, and Munro, their tenants and ser\'ants), to 
assist the said commissioners in the execution of their duty. 

By a commission dated the same day, Sir Roderick, 
along with Simon Lord Lovat, and Urquhart of Cromarty, 
is appointed, for the trial in the Burgh of InverneFS of 
all resetters within the Sheriffdom of the county of any 
traitors in the Isles, the commission to last for one year. 

In 1618, along with Grant of Grant, he assisted the 
Mackintosh against the Marquis of Huntly. On the 
i8th of June, 1622, he is one of the chiefs named in 
a commission against .the Camerons, among the others 
being Mackintosh of Mackintosh, Sir Roderick Macleod, 
XIII. of Harris, Grant of Grant, Sir John Campbell of 
Calder, John Grant of Glcnmoriston, Patrick Grant of 
Ballindalloch, and John Macdonald, Captain of Clanranald.* 

At the death of Kenneth, Lord Kintail, the estates were 
very heavily burdened in consequence of the wars with 
Glengarry and various family difficulties and debts. His 
lordship, in these circumstances, acted very prudently, as 
we have seen, in appointing his brother, Sir Roderick Mac- 
kenzie I. of Coigeach — in whose judgment he placed the 
utmost confidence — Tutor to his son and successor. Lord 
Colin. Knowing the state of affairs — the financial and 
numberless other difficulties which stared him in the 
face, at the same time that the family were still much 
involved with the affairs of the Lewis, and other broils 

* See Mackcnzie*s history of the Camerons^ p. 86. 


on the mainland — Sir Roderick hesitated to accept 
the great responsibilities of the position, but, to quote 
one of the family manuscripts, **all others refusing 
to take the charge he set resolutely to the work. The 
first thing he did was to assault the rebels in the Lewis, 
which he did so suddenly, after his brother's death, and 
so unexpectedly to them, that what the Fife Adventurers 
had spent many years and much treasure in without 
success, he, in a few months, accomplished ; for having 
by his youngest brother Alexander, chased Neil, the 
chief commander of all the rest, from the Isle, pursued 
him to Glasgow, where, apprehending him, he delivered 
him to the Council, who executed him immediately. 
He returned to the Lewis, banished those whose deport- 
ment he most doubted, and settled the rest as peaceable 
tenants to his nephew ; which success he had, with the 
more facility, because he had the only title of succession 
to it by his wife, and they looked on him as their just 
master. From thence he invaded Glengarry, who was 
again re-collecting his forces ; but at his coming they 
dissipated and fled. He pursued Glengarry to Blairy in 
Moray, where he took him ; but willing to have his 
nephews estate settled with conventional right rather 
than legal, he took Low-countrymen as sureties for 
Glengarry's peaceable deportment, and then contracted 
with him for the reversion of the former wadsets which 
Colin of Kintail had acquired of him, and for a ratification 
and new disposition of all his lands, formerly sold to 
Colin, and paid him thirty thousand merks in money for 
this, and gave him a title to Lagganachindrom, which, 
till then, he possessed by force, so that Glengarry did 
ever acknowledge it as a favour to be overcome by such 
enemies, who over disobligements did deal both justly 
and generously. Rory employed himself therefore in 
settling his pupil's estate, which he did to that advantage 
that ere his minority passed he freed his estate, leaving 
him master of an opulent fortune and of great superior- 
ities, for he acquired the superiority of Troternish with 


the heritable Stewartry of the Isle of Skye, to his pupil, 
the superiority of Riasay and som3 other Isles. At this 
time, Macleod. partly by law and partly by force, had 
possessed himself of Sleat and Troternish, a great part 
of Macdonalds estate. Rory, now knio^hted by King 
James, owned Macdonald s cause as an injured neighbour, 
and by the same method that Macleod possessed him- 
self of Sleat and Troternish he recovered both from him, 
marrying the heir thereof, Sir Donald Macdonald, to his 
niece, sister to Lord Colin, and caused him to take the 
lands of Troternish holden of his pupil. Shortly after 
that he took the management of Maclean's estate, and 
recovered it from the Earl of Argyll, who had fixed a 
number of debts and pretences on it, so by his means 
all the Isles were composed and accorded in their debates 
and settled in their estates, whence a full peace amongst 
them, Macneill of Barra excepted, who had been an 
hereditary outlaw. Him, by commission, Sir Rory reduced, 
took him in his fort of Kisemull, and carried him prisoner 
to Edinburgh, where he procured his remission. The 
King gifted his estate to Sir Rory, who restored it to 
Macneill for a sum not exceeding his expenses, and 
holding it of himself in feu. This Sir Rory, as he was 
beneficial to all his relations, establishing them in free 
and secure fortunes, purchased considerable lands to 
himself in Ross and Moray, besides the patrimony left 
him by his father, the lands of Coigeach and others, which, 
in lieu of the Lewis, were given him by his brother. 
His death was regretted as a public calamity, which was 
in September, 1626, in the 48th year of his age. To 
Sir Rory succeeded Sir John Mackenzie of Tarbat ; and 
to him Sir George Mackenzie, of whom to write might 
be more honour to him than of safety to the writer as 
matters now stand."* 

We shall now draw to some extent on the family manu- 
scripts. The narrative in this form will add considerable 
interest to the information already given under this head 

* The Applccross Mackenzie MS. 


from official sources. Sir Roderick was a most determined 
man, and extremely fertile in such schemes as might 
enable him to gain any object he had in view. One of 
his plans, connected with Mackenzie's possession of the 
Lewis, in its barbarous and cruel details, almost equalled the 
Raid of Cillechriost. Neil Macleod, accompanied by his 
nephews, Malcolm, William, and Roderick, the three sons 
of Roderick Og ; the four sons of Torquil Blair ; and 
thirty of their more determined and desperate follower?, 
retired, when Kintail obtained possession of the whole 
of the Lewis, to the impregnable rock of Berrissay, at 
the back of the island, to which Neil, as a precautionary 
measure, had been for years previously sending food 
and other necessaries as a provision for future necessity. 
Here they held out for three years, where they were a 
source of great annoyance to the Tutor and his followers. 
On a little rock opposite Berrissay, Neil, by a well-directed 
shot killed one of the Tutor's followers named Donald 
MacDhonnchaidh Mhic Ian Ghlais, and wounded another 
called Tearlach MacDhomhuill Roy Mhic Fhionnlaidh 
Ghlais. This exasperated their leader so much that, all 
other means having failed to oust Neil from his im- 
pregnable position, the Tutor conceived the inhuman 
scheme of gathering together all the wives and children 
of the men who were on Berrissay, and all those in the 
island who were in any way related to them by blood 
or marriage, and, having placed them on a rock exposed 
only during low water, so near Berrissay that Neil and 
his companions could see and hear them, Sir Roderick 
and his men avowed that they would leave them — 
innocent, helpless women and children — on the rock to 
be overwhelmed and drowned on the return of the tide, 
if Neil and his companions did not at once surrender 
the rock. Macleod knew, by stern experience, that even 
to the carrying out such a fiendish crime, the promise of 
the Tutor, once given, was as good as his bond. It is 
due to the greater humanity of Neil that the terrible 
position of the helpless women and children and their 


companions appalled him so much that he decided im- 
mediately upon yielding up the rock on condition that he 
and his followers should be allowed to leave the Lewis 
with their lives. It cannot be doubted that but for 
Macleod s more merciful conduct the ferocious act would 
have been committed by Sir Roderick and his followers ; 
and we have to thank the less barbarous instincts of 
their opponents for saving the clan Mackenzie from the 
commission of a crime which would have secured to its 
perpetrators the execration of posterity. 

After Neil had left the rock he proceeded privately, 
during the night, to his cousin Sir Roderick Mor Macleod, 
XIII. of Harris. The Tutor learning this caused Macleod 
to be charged, under pain of treason and forfeiture, to 
deliver him up to the Council. Realising the danger of 
his position, Macleod prevailed upon Neil and his son 
Donald to accompany him to Edinburgh, and to seek for- 
giveness from the King ; and under pretence of this he 
delivered them both up on arriving in the city, where 
Neil, in April, 161 3, was at once executed and his son 
afterwards banished out of the kingdom. This treacherous 
conduct on the part of Macleod of Harris cannot be 
excused, but it was a fair return for a similar act of 
treachery of which Neil had been guilty against another 
some little time before. 

When on Berrissay, he met with the captain of a 
pirate, with whom he entered into a mutual bond by 
which they were to help each other, both being outlaws. 
The captain agreed to defend the rock from the seaward 
side while Neil made his incursions on shore. They 
promised faithfully to live and die together, and to make 
the agreement more secure, it was arranged that the 
stranger should marry Neil's aunt, a daughter of Torquil 
Blair. The day fixed for the marriage having arrived, 
and Neil and his adherents having discovered that the 
captain had several articles of value aboard his vessel, he, 
when the master of the pirate was naturally off his guard, 
treacherously seized the ship, and sent the captain and 


crew prisoners to Edinburgh, expecting that in this 
way he might secure pardon for himself, in addition to 
possession of all the stores on board. By order of the 
Council the sailors were all hanged at Leith. Much of 
the silver and gold taken from the vessel Neil carried to 
Harris, where probably it helped to tempt Macleod, as 
it previously tempted himself, to break faith with Neil. 
The official account of these incidents has been already 
given at pages 194-95. 

Sir Robert Gordon writing about this period but refer- 
ring to 1477, says — ''From the ruins of the family of 
Clandonald, and some of the neighbouring Highlanders, 
and also by their own virtue, the surname of the Clan- 
kenzie, from small beginnings, began to flourish in these 
bounds ; and by the friendship and favour of the house 
of Sutherland, chiefly of Earl John, fifth of that name. 
Earl of Sutherland (whose Chamberlains they were, in 
receiving the rents of the Earldom of Ross to his use) 
their estate afterwards came to great height, yea above 
divers of their more ancient neighbours. The chief and head 
pf the family at this day is Colin Mackenzie, Lord of 
Kintail, now created Earl of Seaforth".* If the family was 
so powerful in 1477, what must its position have been under 
Lord Colin.? The Earl of Cromarty says that "This Colin 
was a noble person of virtuous endowments, beloved of 
all good men, especially his Prince. He acquired and 
settled the right of the superiority of Moidart and Arisaig, 
the Captain of Clandonald's lands, which his father, Lord 
Kenneth, formerly claimed right to but lived not to 
accomplish it. Thus, all the Highlands and Islands from 
Ardnamurchan to Strathnaver were either Mackenzie's 
property, or under his vassalage, some few excepted, and 
all about him were tied to his family by very strict bonds 
of friendship or vassalage, which, as it did beget respect 
from many it begot envy in others, especially his equals.'' 
It is difficult to discover any substantial aid which the 
Mackenzies ever received from the Earls of Sutherland 

* Gordon's Earldom ofSuthfrland^ p. 77. 


of the kind stated by Sir Robert Gordon. We have 
carefully perused the whole of the work from which the 
above quotation is made, and are unable to discover a 
single instance prior to 1477, where the Sutherlands were 
of any service whatever to the family of Kintail ; and the 
assumption is only another instance of that quality of 
"partiality to his own family," so characteristic of Sir 
Robert, and for which even the publishers of his work 
deemed it necessary to apologise in the Advertisement 
prefaced to his History of the Earldom of Sutherland, 
They "regret the hostile feelings which he expresses 
concerning others who were equally entitled to complain 
of aggression on the part of those whom he defends," 
but "strict fidelity to the letter of the manuscript" would 
not allow them to omit "the instances in which this 
disposition appears." After Mackenzie's signal victory over 
the Macdonalds at Blar-na-Pairc, and Hector Roy s prowess 
at Drumchait, the Earl of Sutherland began to think 
that the family of Mackenzie, rapidly growing in power 
and influence, might be of some service in the prosecu- 
tion of his own plans and in extending his power, and 
he accordingly entered into the bond of manrent with 
him already noticed. It has been seen that, for a 
long time after, the advantages of this arrangement were 
entirely on the side of the Sutherlands, as at the battle 
of Brora and other places previously mentioned. The 
appointment of Kintail as Deputy-Chamberlain of the 
Earldom of Ross was due to and in acknowledgment of 
these signal and repeated services, and the obligations 
and advantages of the office were found to be reciprocal. 
The first and only instance in which the Earls connection 
with Mackenzie is likely to have been of service in the 
field is on the occasion when, in 1605, he sent " six 
score" men to support him against Glengarry, and these, 
it has been seen, had fled before they saw the enemy. So 
much for the favour and friendship of the House of 
Sutherland and its results before and after 1477. 

Lord Colin became involved in legal questions with 



the Earl of Argyll about the superiority of Moidart 
and Arisaig, and thus spent most of the great fortune 
accumulated for him by his uncle the Tutor ; but 
he was ultimately successful against Argyll. He was 
frequently at the Court of James VI., with whom he 
was a great favourite, and in 1623 he was raised to the 
peerage by the title of Earl of Seaforth, and Viscount 
Fortrose. From his influence at Court he was of great 
service to his followers and friends ; while he exerted 
himself powerfully and steadily against those who became 
his enemies from jealousy of his good fortune and high 

He imposed high entries and rents upon his Kintail 
and West Coast tenants, which they considered a most 
"grievous imposition." In Lord Kenneth's time and that 
of his predecessors, the people had their lands at very low 
rates. After the wars with Glengarry the inhabitants of 
the West Coast properties devoted themselves more 
steadily to the improvement of their stock and lands, and 
accumulated considerable means. The Tutor, discovering 
this, took advantage of their prosperity and imposed a 
heavy entry or grassum on their tacks payable every five 
years. "I shall give you one instance thereof. The tack 
of land called Muchd in Letterfearn. as I was told by 
Farquhar Mac Ian Oig, who paid the first entry out of 
it to the Tutor, paid of yearly duty before but 40 merks 
Scots, a cow and some meal, which cow and meal was 
usually converted to 20 merks ; but the Tutor imposed 
1000 merks of entry upon it for a five years' tack. This 
made the rent very little for four years of the tack, but 
very great and considerable for the first year. The same 
method proportionately was taken with the rest of the 
lands, and continued so during the Tutor's and Colin's 
time, but Earl George, being involved in great troubles, 
contracted so much debt that he could not pay his annual 
rents yearly and support his own state, but was forced to 
delay his annual rents to the year of their entry, and he 
divided the entry upon the five years with the people's 


consent and approbation, so that the said land of Muchd 
fell to pay 280 merks yearly and no entry." From this 
account, taken from the contemporary Ardintoul Manu- 
script, it appears that the system of charging rent on the 
tenant's own improvements is an injustice of considerable 

Colin ** lived most of his time at Chanonry in great 
state and very magnificently. He annually imported his 
wines from the Continent, and kept a store for his wines, 
beers, and other liquors, from which he replenished his 
fleet on his voyages round the West Coast and the 
Lewis, when he made a circular voyage every year or 
at least every two years round his own estates. I have 
heard John Beggrie, who then served Earl Colin, give 
an account of his voyages after the bere seed was sown 
at Allan (where his father and grandfather had a great 
mains, which was called Mackenzie's girnel or granary), 
took a journey to the Highlands, taking with him not 
only his domestic servants but several young gentlemen 
of his kin, and stayed several days at Killin, whither he 
called all his people of Strathconan, Strathbran, Strath- 
garve, and Brae Ross, and did keep courts upon, them and 
saw all things rectified. From thence he went to Inverewe, 
where all his Lochbroom tenants and others waited upon 
him, and got all their complaints heard and rectified. It 
is scarcely credible what allowance was made for his 
table of Scotch and French wines during these trips 
amongst his people. From Inverewe he sailed to the 
Lewis, with what might be called a small navy, having as 
many boats, if not more loaded with liquors, especially 
wines and English beer, as he had under men. He 
remained in the Lewis for several days, until he settled 
all the controversies arising among the people in his 
ab.sence, and setting his land. From thence he went to 
Sleat in the Isle of Skye, to Sir Donald Macdonald, who 
was married to his sister Janet, and from that he was 
invited to Harris, to Macleod's house, who was married 
to hjs sister Sybilla. While he tarried in these places 


the lairds, the gentlemen of the Isles, and the inhabitants 
came to pay their respects to him, including Maclean, 
Clanranald, Raasay, Mackinnon, and other great chiefs. 
They then convoyed him to Islandonain. I have heard 
my grandfather, Mr Farquhar MacRa (then Constable of 
the Castle), say that the Earl never came to his house 
with less than 300 and sometimes 500 men. The 
Constable was bound to furnish them victuals for the 
first two meals, till my Lord's officers were acquainted 
to bring in his own customs. There they consumed the 
remains of the wine and other liquors. When all these 
lairds and gentlemen took their leave of him, he called 
the principal men of Kin tail, Lochalsh, and Lochcarron 
together, who accompanied him to his forest of Monar, 
where they had a great and most solemn hunting day, 
and from Monar he would return to Chanonry about the 
latter end of July."* 

He built the Castle of Brahan, which he thought of 
erecting where the old castle of Dingwall stood, or on 
the hill to the west of Dingwall, either of which would 
have been very suitable situations ; but the Tutor who 
had in view to erect a castle where he afterwards erected 
Castle Leod, induced the Lord High Chancellor, Seaforth s 
father-in-law, to prevail upon him to build his castle upon 
his own ancient inheritance, which he subsequently did, 
and which was then one of the most stately houses 
in Scotland. He also added greatly to the Castle of 
Chanonry, and ''as he was diligent in secular affairs, so 
he and his lady were very pious and religious." They 
went yearly to take the Sacraments from the Rev. Thomas 
Campbell, minister of Carmichael, a good and religious 
man, and staid eight days with him ; nor did their religion 
consist in form and outward show. They proved its 
reality by their good works. He had usually more than 
one chaplain in his house. He provided the kirks of the 
Lewis without being obliged to do so, as also the five 
kirks of Kintail, Lochalsh, Lochcarron, Lochbroom, and 

* Ardintoul MS. 


Gairloch, all of which he was patron, with valuable books 
from London, the works of the latest and best authors, 
"whereof many are yet extant." He also laid the founda- 
tion for a church in Strathconan and Strathbran, of which 
the walls are "yet to be seen in Main in Strathconan, 
the walls being built above the height of a man above 
the foundation, and he had a mind to endow it had he 
lived longer." He mortified 4000 merks for the Grammar 
School of Chanonry, and had several works of piety in 
his view to perform if his death had not prevented it. The 
last time he went to Court some malicious person, envying 
his greatness and favour, laboured to give the King a 
bad impression of him, as if he were not thoroughly 
loyal; but the King himself was the first who told him 
what was said about him, which did not a little surprise 
and trouble the Earl, but it made no impression on the 
King, who was conscious and sufficiently convinced of his 
loyalty and fidelity. After his return from Court his only 
son. Lord Alexander, died of smallpox at Chanonry, on 
the 3d of June, 1629, to the great grief of all who knew 
him, but especially his father and mother. His demise 
hastened her death at Edinburgh, on the 20th February, 
163 1. She was buried with her father at Fife on the 
4th of March ; after which the Earl contracted a lingering 
sickness, which, for some time before his death, confined 
him to his chamber, during which "he behaved most 
Christianly, putting his house in order, giving donations 
to his servants, etc." He died at Chanonry on the 15th 
of April, 1633, in the 36th year of his age, and was buried 
there with his father on the i8th of May following, much 
lamented and regretted by all who knew him. The 
King sent a gentleman all the way to Chanonry to 
testify his respect and concern for him, and to attend his 
funeral, which took place, on the date already stated, with 
great pomp and solemnity, "Before his death he called 
his successor, George of Kildene, to his bedside, and 
charged him with the protection of his family ; but above 
all to be kind to his men and followers, for that he 


valued himself while he lived upon their account more 
than upon his great estate and fortune."* On the occa- 
sion of his last visit to London the King complimented 
him on being the best archer in Britain. 

Colin married, first, Lady Margaret Seton, daughter 
of Alexander, Earl of Dunfermline, Lord High Chancellor 
of Scotland, with issue — 

I. Alexander Lord Kintail, who died young. 

II. Anna, who married Alexander, second Lord Lindsay, 
who was created Earl of Balcarres by Charles IL in 165 1. 
By him Lady Anna had two sons, Charles and Colin. 
Charles succeeded his father, and died unmarried. Colin 
then became third Earl, and married Jane, daughter of 
David, Earl of Northesk, by whom he had issue an only 
daughter, who married Alexander Erikine, third Earl of 
Kellie. Secondly, the Earl of Balcarres married Jane, 
daughter of William, second Earl of Roxburgh, by whom he 
had an only daughter, who married John Fleming, sixth 
Earl of Wigton. This Earl of Balcarres married a third time 
Margaret, daughter of James Campbell, Earl of Loudon, 
by whom he had two sons, Alexander and James. Alex- 
ander succeeded his father, but died without issue, and 
was succeeded by James, fifth Earl of Balcarres, from 
whom the present line descends uninterruptedly, carrying 
along with it, in right of the said Anna Mackenzie, 
daughter of Colin, first Earl of Seaforth, first Countess 
of Balcarres, the lineal representation of the ancient 
House of Kintail. Anna married, secondly, Archibald, 
ninth Earl of Argyll, beheaded in 1685, and died in 1706. 

III. Jean, who married John, Master of Berriedale, 
with issue, George, sixth Earl of Caithness, who died 
without issue in 1676. She afterwards married Lord 
Duffus, with issue, and died in 1648. 

His lordship died, as already stated, at Chanonry on 
the 15th of April, 1633, and was buried in the Cathedral 
Church of Fortrose in a spot chosen by himself. His 
son, Lord Alexander, having died before his father, on 

* Ardintoul, Letterfearn, and other Family MSS. 


the 3d of June, 1629, and Colin having had no other issue 
male, he was succeeded by his brother, 


Third Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, eldest son of 
Kenneth, the first Lord, by his second marriage. During 
the life of his father and brother he was known as George 
Mackenzie of Kildun. In 1633 he was "served heir male 
to his brother Colin, Earl of Seaforth, Lord Mackenzie 
of Kintail, in the lands and barony of Ellandonnan, 
including the barony of Lochalsh, in which was included 
the barony of the lands and towns of Lochcarron, 
namely, the towns and lands of Auchnaschelloch, Coullin, 
Edderacharron, Attadill, Ruychichan, Brecklach, Acha- 
chouU, Delmartyne, with fishings in salt water and 
fresh, Dalcharlarie, Arrinachteg, Achintie, Slumba, Doune, 
Stromcarronach, in the Earldom of Ross, of the old 
extent of £ii 6s 8d, and also the towns of Kisserin, 
and lands of Strome, with fishings in salt and fresh 
water, and the towns and lands of Torridan, with the 
pertinents of the Castle of Strome; Lochalsh, Loch- 
carron, and Kisserin, including the davach of Achvanie, 
the davach of Achnatrait, the davach of Stromcastell, 
Ardnagald, Ardneskan, and Blaad, and the half davach 
of Sannachan, Rassoll, Meikle Strome, and Rerag, in 
the Earldom of Ross, together of the old extent of 
£S 13s 4d."* He was served heir male to his father 
Kenneth, Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, in the lands and 
barony of Pluscardine, on the 14th of January, 1620 ; and 
had charters of Balmungie and Avoch, on the i8th of 
July, 1635 ; of Raasay, on the i8th of February, 1637; 
and of Lochalsh, on the 4th of July, 1642. 

His high position in the North, and his intimate 
friendship at this period with the powerful House of 
Sutherland, is proved by the fact that he and Sir John 
Mackenzie of Tarbat, on the 2d of November, 1633, 
stood godfathers to George Gordon, second son of John, 

• Origirus Parochiales Scotiatf p. 40I. 


Earl of Sutherland ; and there cannot be any doubt that 
to the influence of the latter must mainly be attributed 
Seaforths vacillating conduct during the earlier years of 
the great civil wars which became the curse of Scotland 
for so many years after. In 1635 the Privy Council, with 
the view of putting down the irregularities then prevalent 
in the Highlands, demanded securities from the chiefs 
of clans, heads of families, and governors of counties, in 
conformity with a general bond, previously agreed to» 
that they should be responsible for their clans and 
surnames, men-tenants, and servants. The first called 
upon to give this security was the Earl of Huntly; then 
followed the Earls of Sutherland and Seaforth, and after- 
wards Lord Lorn and all the chiefs in the western and 
northern parts of the Kingdom. 

In the following year the slumbering embers of 
religious differences broke out into a general blaze all 
over the country. Then began those contentions about 
ecclesiastical questions, church discipline and liturgies, at 
all times fraught with the seeds of discontent and danger 
to the common weal, and which in this case ultimately 
led to such sad and momentous consequences as only 
religious feuds can. Charles I. was playing the despot 
with his subjects, not only in Scotland, but in England. 
He w^as governing without a Parliament, defying and 
trying to crush the desires and aspirations of a people 
born to govern themselves and to be free. His infatuated 
attempt to introduce the Liturgy of the Church of Eng- 
land into the Calvinistic and Presbyterian pulpits of 
Scotland was as insane as it was unavailing. But his 
English as well as Scottish subjects were at the same time 
almost in open rebellion for their liberties. He tried to 
put down the rising in Scotland by the sword, but his 
means and military skill were unequal to the task. He 
failed to impose the English Liturgy on his Scottish 
subjects, but his attempt to do so proved the deliverance 
of his English subjects from high-handed tyranny. It is 
only natural that in these circumstances Seaforth, though 


personally attached to the King, should be found on 
the side of the Covenant, and that he should have joined 
the Assembly, the clergy, and the nobles in the Protest, 
and in favour of the renewal of the Confession of Faith 
previously accepted and confirmed by James VI. in 1580, 
1581, and 1590, at the same time that these several 
bodies entered into a covenant or bond of mutual 
defence among themselves against all opposition from 
whatever source. 

The principal among the Northern nobles who entered 
into this engagement were the Earls of Seaforth and 
Sutherland, Lord Lovat, the Rosses, Munroes, Grant of 
Grant, Mackintosh of Mackintosh, Innes, the Sheriff of 
Moray, Kilravock, Gumming of Altyre, and the Tutor of 
Duffus. These, with their followers under command of 
the Earl of Seaforth, who was appointed General of the 
Covenanters north of the Spey, marched to Morayshire, 
where they met the Royalists on the northern banks of 
the river ready to oppose their advance.* An arrange- 
ment was here come to between Thomas Mackenzie of 
Pluscardine, Seaforth s brother, on behalf of the Cove- 
nanters, and a representative from the Gordons for their 
opponents, that the latter should recross to the south 
side of the Spey, and that the Highlanders should return 
home. About the same time Seaforth received a despatch 
from Montrose, then at Aberdeen and fighting for the 
Covenant, intimating the pacification entered into on the 
20th of June between the King and his subjects at 
Berwick, and requesting Seaforth to disband his army — ^an 
order which was at once obeyed. Shortly after, however, 

* On May 14, 1639, 4000 men met at Elgin under the command of 
the Earl of Seaforth, and the gentlemen following, viz. :— The Master 
of Lovat, the Master of Ray, George, brother to the Earl of Sutherland, 
Sir James Sinclare of Murkle, Laird of Grant, Young Kilravock, Sheriff 
of Murray, Laird of Innes, Tutor of Duffus, Hugh Rose of Achnacloich, 
John Munro of Lemlare, etc. They encamped at Speyside, to keep the 
Gordons and their friends from entering Murray; and they remained 
encamped till the pacification, which was signed June 18, was proclaimed, 
and intimated to them about June 22. — SAozvm MS, History of Kilravock, 


Montrose dissociated himself from the Covenanters, joined 
the King's side and raised the Royal standard. The Earl 
of Seaforth soon after this was suspected of lukewarmness 
for the Covenant. In 1640 the King arrived at York on 
his way north to reduce the Covenanting Scots, after they 
had resolved to invade England, and, as a precautionary 
measure, to imprison or expel all suspected Royalists from 
the army. Among the suspects are found the Earl of 
Seaforth, Lord Reay, and several others, who were taken 
before the Assembly, kept in ward at Edinburgh for two 
months; and in 1641, on the King's arrival in Scotland, 
the Earl of Traquair, who had been summoned before 
Parliament as an opponent to the Lords of the Covenant, 
succeeded in persuading the Earls of Montrose, Wigton, 
Athole, Hume, and Seaforth (who had meanwhile escaped), 
and several other influential chiefs, to join in a bond 
against the Covenanters. 

Soon after this Montrose leaves Elgin with the main 
body of his army, and marches towards the Bog of Gight, 
accompanied by the Earl of Seaforth, Sir Robert Gordon, 
Grant of Grant, Mackenzie of Pluscardine, and several 
other gentlemen who came to him at Elgin, to support 
the King. After this, however, fearing that depredations 
might be committed upon his followers by a garrison 
of two regiments then stationed at Inverness, and the 
other Covenanters of that district, he permitted Seaforth, 
Grant of Grant, and other Morayshire gentlemen, to 
return home in order to defend their estates, but before 
permitting them to depart he made them swear allegiance 
to the King and promise that they should never again 
under any circumstances take up arms against his 
Majesty or any of his loyal subjects, and to rejoin him 
with all their available forces as soon as they were able 
to do so. Seaforth, however, with unaccountable want 
of decision, disregarded his oath, again joined the Cove- 
nanters, and excused himself in a letter to the Committee 
of Estates, saying that he had joined the Royalists through 
fear of Montrose, at the same time avowing that he would 


abide by " the good cause to his death " — a promise not 
much to be trusted. 

He is soon again in the field, this time against 
Montrose. Wishart says that **the Earl of Seaforth, a 
very powerful man in those parts (and one of whom he 
entertained a better opinion) with the garrison of Inver- 
ness, which were old soldiers, and the whole strength of 
Moray, Ross, Sutherland, and Caithness, and the sept of 
the Erasers, were ready to meet him with a desperate 
army of 5000 horse and foot." Montrose had only 
1500 — the Macdonalds of Glengarry and the Highlanders 
of Athol having previously gone home, against the 
earnest solicitude of Montrose that they should complete 
the campaign, according to their usual custom, to deposit 
the booty obtained in their repeated victories under their 
great chief, but on the plea of repairing their houses and 
other property which had been so much injured by their 
enemies in their absence. The great commander, how- 
ever, although he knew many of the garrison to be old 
soldiers, decided to attack the superior numbers against 
him, correctly surmising that a great many of his oppon- 
ents were newly raised recruits **from among husband- 
men, cowherds, tavern-boys and kitchen-boys," and 
would be raw and unserviceable. Fortunately for Seaforth 
and his forces, matters turned out otherwise. The gallant 
.Marquis, on his way to Inverness, was informed of 
Argyll's descent on Lochaber, and, instantly changing his 
route, he fell down upon him at Inverlochy so unex- 
pectedly, that when Argyll, by an ignominious flight in one 
of his boats, made himself secure, he had the well-merited 
reward of personal cowardice and pusillanimity of witness- 
ing fifteen hundred of his devoted adherents cut down, 
among whom were a great number of the leading 
gentlemen of the clan, who deserved to fight under a 
better and less cowardly commander. Among those 
who fell were Campbell of Auchinbreck, Campbell of 
. I^chnell, his eldest son, and his brother Colin ; Mac- 
dougall of Rara, and his eldest son, Major Menzies, 


brother to the Chief of Achattens Parbreck, and the 
Provost of the Church of Kilmuir. The power of the 
Campbells was thus broken, and so probably would that 
of Seaforth had Montrose attacked him first. 

After this brilliant victory at Inverlochy, on the 
2d Februar\', 1643, Montrose returned to Moray, by 
Badenoch, where on his march to Elgin, he was met by 
Thomas Mackenzie of Pluscardine and others, sent by 
Seaforth and the Covenanters as commissioners to treat 
with him. They received an indig^nant answer. The 
Marquis declined any negotiation, but offered to accept 
the services of such as would join and obey him as 
the King s Lieutenant-General. The Earl of Seaforth was 
then sent by the Committee of Ross and Sutherland, 
in person, and meeting the Marquis between Elgin and 
Forres, he was arrested and for several days detained 
prisoner. He was subsequently released, but all the 
authorities plead ignorance of the terms. 

When the Royalists marched south, the Laird of 
Lawers, who was then Governor of the Castle of Inver- 
ness, cited all those who had communications with 
Montrose in Moray, and compelled them to give bonds 
for their appearance, to answer for their conduct, before 
Parliament, if required to do so. Among them were 
Thomas Mackenzie of Pluscardine ; and, after the affair 
at Fettercairn, and the retreat of Montrose from Dundee, 
the Earls of Seaforth and Sutherland, with the whole of 
the Clan Eraser, and most of the men of Caithness and 
Moray, are found assembled at Inverness, where General 
Hurry, who had retreated before Montrose, joined them 
with a force of Gordons — 1000 foot and 200 horse — the 
whole amounting to about 3500 of the former and 400 
of the latter, which included Sutherlands, Mackenzies, 
Erasers, Roses, and Brodies, while the followers of 
Montrose consisted of Gordons, Macdonalds, Macphersons, 
Mackintoshes, and Irish, to the number of about 3000 
foot and 300 horse.* Montrose halted at the village 

* Shaw*s MS. History. 


of Auldearn, and General Hurry finding such a lar^e 
force waiting for him at Inverness, decided to retrace 
his steps the next morning, and give battle to the 
Marquis at that village. 

The author of the Ardintoul MS. tells how Seaforth 
came to take part in the battle of Auldearn, and gives 
the following interesting account of his reasons and of 
the engagement: — "General Hurry sent for Seaforth to 
Inverness, and during a long conference informed him 
that although he was serving the States himself he 
privately favoured the Kings cause. He advised Seaforth 
to dismiss his men and make a pretence that he had 
only sent for them to give them new leases of their 
lands, and in case it was necessary to make an appear- 
ance to fight Montrose, he could bring, when commanded 
to do so, two or three companies from Chanonry and 
Ardmeanach, which the Marquis would accept. It was, 
however, late before they parted, and Lady Seaforth, who 
was waiting for her lord at Kessock, prepared a sumptuous 
supper for her husband and his friends. The Earl 
and his guests kept up the festivities so long and so well 
that he 'forgot or delayed to advertise his men to dismiss 
till to-morrow,' and going to bed very late, before he 
could stir in the morning all the lairds and gentlemen 
of Moray came to him, most earnestly entreating him 
by all the laws of friendship and good neighbourhood, 
and for the kindness they had for him while he lived 
among them, and which they manifested to his brother 
yet living amongst them, that his lordship would not 
see them ruined and destroyed by Montrose and the 
Irish, when he might easily prevent it without the least 
loss to himself or his men, assuring him that if he should 
join General Hurry with what forces he had then under 
his command, Montrose would go away with his Irish 
and decline to fight them. Seaforth, believing his 
visitors, and thinking, as they said, that Montrose with 
so small a number would not venture to fight, his 
opponents being twice the number, and many of them 


trained soldier?. Hurry told him that he was to march 
immediately against Montrose, and being of an easy and 
compassionate nature, Seaforth yielded to their request, 
and sent immediately in all haste for his Highlanders, 
crossed the ferry of Kessock. and marched straight with 
the rest of his forces to Auldearn, where Montrose had 
his camp ; but the Moray men found themselves mistaken 
in thinking the Marquis would make off, for he was not 
only resolved but glad of the opportunity to fight them 
before Baillie, whom he knew was on his march north 
with considerable forces, could join General Hurry, and 
so drawing up his men with great advantage of ground 
he placed Alexander Macdonald, with the Irish, on the 
right wing beneath the village of Auldearn, and Lord 
Gordon with the horse on the left On the south side 
of Auldearn, he himself (Montrose) biding in town, and 
making a show of a main battle with a few men, which 
Hurry understanding and making it his business that 
Montrose should carry the victory, and that Seaforth 
would come off without great loss, he set his men, who 
were more than double the number of their adversaries, 
to Montrose's advantage, for he placed Sutherland, Lovats 
men, and some others, with the horse under Drum- 
mond's command, on the right wing, opposite to my 
Lord Gordon, and Loudon and Laurie's Regiments, 
with some others on the left wing, opposite Alexander 
Macdonald and the Irish, and placed Seaforth's men for 
the most in the midst, opposite Montrose, where he 
knew they could not get hurt till the wings were 
engaged. Seaforth's men were commanded to retire, 
and make off before they had occasion or command to 
fight ; but the men hovering, and not understanding the 
mystery, were commanded again to make off and follow 
Drummond with the horse, who gave only one charge 
to the enemy and then fled, which they did by leaving 
both the wings and some of their own men to the brunt 
of the enemy, because they stood at a distance from 
them, the right wing being sore put to . by my Lord 


Gordon, and seeing Drummond with the horse and their 
neighbours fly, they began to follow. Sutherland and Lovat 
suffered great loss, while on the left wing, Loudons 
Regiment and Lawrie with his Regiment were both 
totally cut off" betwixt the Irish and the Gordons, who came 
to assist them after Sutherland's and Lovat's men were 
defeated. Seaforth's men got no hurt in the pursuit, nor 
did they lose many men in the fight, the most consider- 
able being John Mackenzie of Kernsary, cousin-german 
to the Earl, and Donald Bain, brother to Tulloch and 
Chamberlain to Seaforth in the Lewis, both being heavy 
and corpulent men not fit to fly, and being partly 
deceived by Seaforth's principal ensign or standard-bearer 
in the field, who stood to it with some others of the 
Lochbroom and Lewis men, till they were killed, and 
likewise Captain Bernard Mackenzie, with the rest of his 
company, which consisted of Chanonry men and some 
others thereabout, being somewhat of a distance from the 
rest of Seaforths men. were killed on the spot. There 
were only four Kintail men who might make their escape 
with the rest if they had looked rightly to themselves, 
namely, the Bannerman of Kintail, called Rory Mac Ian 
Dhomh'uill Bhiin, alias Maclennan, who, out of foolhardi- 
ness and indignation, to see that banner, which was wont 
to be victorious, fly in his hands, fastens the staff" of it in 
the ground, and stands to it with his two-handed sword 
drawn, and would not accept of quarter, though tendered 
to him by my Lord Gordon in person ; nor would he 
suff"er any to approach him to take him alive, as the 
gentlemen beholders wished, so that they were forced to 
shoot him. The other three were Donald the bannerman's 
brother, Malcolm Macrae, and Duncan Mac Ian Oig. 
Seaforth and his men, with Colonel Hurry and the rest, 
came back that night to Inverness, all the men laying 
the blame of the loss of the day upon Drummond, who 
commanded the horse, and fled away with them, for 
which, by a Council of War, he was sentenced to die ; 
but Hurry assured him that be would get him absolved. 


thoug^h at the very time of his execution he made him 
keep silence, but when Drummond was atx>ut to speak, 
he caused him to be shot suddenly, fearing, as was 
thought, that he would reveal that what was acted was by 
Hurry's own directions. This account of the Battle of 
Auldearn I had from an honourable gentleman and 
experienced soldier, as we were riding by Auldearn, 
who was present from first to last at this action, and 
who asked Hurry, Who set the battle with such advan- 
tage to Montrose and to the inevitable loss and overthrow 
of his own side ? to whom Hurry, being confident of the 
gentlemen, said, * I know what I am doing, we shall have 
by-and-bye excellent sport between the Irish and the 
States Regiments, and I shall carry off Seaforth's men 
without loss;* and that Hurry was more for Montrose 
than for the States that day is very probable, because, 
shortly thereafter when he found opportunity, he quitted 
the States service, and is reckoned as first of Montrose's 
friends, who, in August next year, embarked with 
Montrose to get off the nation, and returned with him 
again in his second expedition to Scotland, and was 
taken prisoner at Craigchonachan, and sent south and 
publicly executed with Montrose as guilty of the same 

Montrose gained another engagement at Alford on the 
2nd of July, after which he was joined by a powerful levy 
of West Highlanders under Colla Ciotach Macdonald. 
Clanranald, and Glengarry, the Macnabs, Macgregors, 
and the Stewarts of Appin. In addition to these some 
of the Farquharsons of Braemar and small parties of 
lesser septs from Badenoch rallied round the standard of 
Montrose. Thus, as a contemporary writer says, ** he 
went like a current speat (spate) through this kingdom." 
Seeing all this — the great successes of Montrose and so 
many Highlanders joining — Seaforth, who had never been 
a hearty Covenanter, began to waver. The Estates sent 
a commission to the Earl of Sutherland appointing him 
as their Lieutenant north of the Spey, but he refused to 


accept it. It was then offered to Seaforth, who likewise 
declined it, but instead "contrived and framed ane band, 
under the name of an humble remonstrance, which he 
perswaded manie and threatened others to subscryve. 
This remonstrance gave so great a distast to both the 
Church and State, that the Earl of Seaforth was therefore 
excommunicate by the General Assemblie ; and all such 
as did not disclaime the said remonstrance within some 
days thereafter, were, by the Committee of Estates, 
declared inimies to the publick. Hereupon the Earl of 
Seaforth joined publicly with Montrose in April, 1646, 
at the siege of Inverness, though before that time he had 
only joined in private councils with him."* 

At Inverness, through the action of the Marquis of 
Huntly and the treachery of his son. Lord Lewis Gordon, 
Montrose was surprised by General Middleton, but he 
promptly crossed the river Ness in face of a regiment 
of cavalry, under Major Bromley, who crossed the river by 
a ford above the town, while another detachment crossed 
lower down towards the sea with a view to cut off" his 
retreat. These he succeeded in beating back with a trifling 
loss on either side, whereupon he marched unmolested to 
Kinmylies, and the following morning he went round by 
Beauly and halted at Fairley, where slight marks of field 
works are still to be seen ; and now, for the first time, 
he found himself in the territories of the Mackenzies, 
accompanied by Seaforth in person. Montrose, here 
finding himself in a level country, with an army mainly 
composed of raw levies newly raised by Seaforth among 
his own people, and taught by their chief's vacillating 
conduct and example to have little interest or enthusiasm in 
either cause, did not consider it prudent to engage Middle- 
ton, who pursued him with a disciplined force, including a 
considerable following of cavalry, ready to fight with every 
advantage on his side in a level country. He therefore 
moved' rapidly up through the valley of Strathglass, 
crossed to Loch-Ness, and passed through Stratherrick 

* GordoD*s Earldom of Sutherland^ p. 529. 



in the direction of the river Spey. Meanwhile Middleton 
advanced to Fortrose and laid siege to the castle, which 
was at the time under the charge of Lady Seaforth. She 
surrendered after a siege of four days ; and having 
removed a considerable quantity of stores and ammuni- 
tion, sent by Queen Henrietta for the use of Montrose 
on his arrival there, Middleton gave the Countess, whom 
he treated with the greatest civility and respect, possession 
of the stronghold. 

The Committee on Public Affairs, which, throughout 
the contest, acted in opposition to the Royal authority, 
and held sederunts at Aberdeen and Dundee as well as 
at Edinburgh, gratified their malignity, after Montrose 
gave up the fight in 1646, by fining the loyalists in 
enormous amounts of money, and decerning them to 
"lend" to the committee such sums — in many cases ex- 
orbitant — as they thought proper. Sir Robert Farquhar, 
formerly a Bailie of Aberdeen, was treasurer, and in the 
sederunt held in that city, the committee threw a 
comprehensive net over the clan Mackenzie. Sixteen of 
the name were decerned to lend the large sum of 
£28,666 13s 4d Scots; but from the other side of the 
balance sheet it is found that they declined to lend 
a penny; and Sir Robert credits himself as treasurer 
thus : — *' Item of the loan moneys above set down there 
is yet resting unpaid, and wherefore no payment can be 
gotten, as follows — viz. — Be the name of Mackenzie, 
sixteen persons, the sum of £28,666 13s 4d Scots." The 
following are the names and sums decerned against 
each of them : — Thomas Mackenzie of Pluscardine, ;£'2000 ; 
Alexander Mackenzie of Kilcoy, ;^2000; Roderick 
Mackenzie of Redcastle, ;^2000; Alexander Mackenzie of 
Coul, ;£"6ooo; Kenneth Mackenzie of Gairloch, ;^3333 
6s 8d ; Hector Mackenzie of Scotsburn, ;^2000 ; Roderick 
Mackenzie of Davochmaluag, ;^I333 6s 8d ; John Mac- 
kenzie of Dawach-Cairn, ;^I333 6s 8d; William Mackenzie 
of Multavie, ;^iooo; Kenneth Mackenzie of Scatwell, 
;£'200o; Thomas Mackenzie of Inverlael, ;^I333 6s 8d ; 


Colin Mackenzie of Mullochie, £(^ 13s 4d ; Donald 
Mackenzie of Logie, ;^666 13s 4d ; Kenneth Mackenzie 
of Assint, ;£'iooo; Colin Mackenzie of Kincraig, ;^iooo; 
Alexander Mackenzie of Suddie, ;^iooo. Among the 
other sums decerned is one of £6666 13s 4d against 
"William Robertson in Kindeace, and his son Gilbert 
Robertson," and in Inverness and Ross the loan amounted 
to the respectable sum of ;^44,783 6s 8d, of which the 
treasurer was allowed to retain ;^ 15,000 in his own hands. 
The sum, with large amounts of disbursements by the 
committee, show that they were more fortunate with 
others than with the Clan Mackenzie.* 

The Earl of Seaforth taking advantage of being on 
opposite sides to the Earl of Sutherland, now asserted 
some old claims against Donald Ban M6r Macleod, IX. 
of Assynt, a follower of the house of Sutherland, who 
afterwards became notorious as the captor of the great 
Montrose himself. In May, 1646, Mackenzie laid siege 
to his castle, on the Isle of Assynt. 

A document written by a friend of the family of Assynt, 
in 1738, for Norman Macleod, XIX. of Macleod, who, in 
that year, in virtue of a disposition of all his estates made 
by Neil Macleod of Assynt to John Breac Macleod, XVI. 
of Macleod, dated the 24th of November, 168 1, com- 
menced a process against Mackenzie, gives a most 
interesting account of the proceedings, from the Macleod 
point of view, by which Seaforth obtained possession of 
the lands of Assynt. This document or ** Information " 
came into the possession of Simon Lord Lovat, with 
whose papers it found its way to the Rev. Donald Eraser, 
minister of Killearnan, and is now the property of that 
gentleman's grandson, the Rev. Hector Eraser, Halkirk. 
It was read by Mr William Mackay, solicitor, Inverness, 
before the Gaelic Society there on the 19th of March, 
1890, and is published at length in their Transactions 
for that year, vol. XVI. pp. 197-207. According to the 
writer of this paper, Neil Macleod was in possession of 

• Anti^tarian Notes, pp 307-308-309, 


Assynt from 1650 to 1672, when in the latter year "he 
was violently dispossessed by Seaforth," and was from 
1672 to 1692, when he obtained a "Decree of Spulzie" 
against Seaforth, endeavouring to recover his right, but 
without avail. He says that from the time Seaforth got 
a right, "such as it was," to the Island of Lewis for a 
payment of ten thousand merks, "and afterwards, in lieu 
of that, for a mile of the wood of Letterew," he and his 
family had it in view to make themselves masters of the 
estate of Macleod of Assynt, who, he erroneously state?, 
"was lineal heir to the estates of Lewis." In order to 
give effect to this intention Seaforth purchased several 
old claims, "some of them very unjust," against Assynt, 
which were made over to Thomas Mackenzie of Plus- 
cardine, Seaforth's brother. In 1637 the two Mackenzies, 
in virtue of these claims and the titles founded upon 
them, gave a wadset of the lands of Assynt to Kenneth 
Mackenzie of Scatwell in security for forty thousand merks. 
In 1640 " the Legal of those claims and apprisings being 
expired, Seaforth did, with his friends and clan, to the 
number of 1000 men, invade Assynt, and did there 
commit great outrages. He being for this pursued at 
law, was decerned in 40,000 pounds Scots of damages," 
which paid a great part of his claim upon the estate, 
and it is maintained that the remainder was afterwards 
paid by the means, which are set forth in the same 
document, along with somewhat intricate statements, which 
would occupy too much space here. The " Information " 
proceeds with the following interesting details, which we 
give, with very slight alteration, in his own words. 

He says that in 1646 Seaforth having joined Montrose 
at Inverness, where were likewise lOO men of Assynt 
under his Superiors (Seaforth) command, and Neil of 
Assynt himself, then a minor, being a friend, in Seaforth's 
house at Brahan, Seaforth ordered his men in the 
Highlands to fall upon Assynt's estate, where they made 
fearful havoc, carried away, as Neil represents, 3000 
cows, 2000 horses, 7000 sheep and goats, and burnt the 


habitations of 180 families. When complaint was made 
of this in the South, Seaforth was bought off by the 
interest of General Middleton, and by virtue of a capitula- 
tion which he had with Seaforth when in the North. 

In the year 1654 Seaforth led a body of his own 
men, with a part of the broken army under the com- 
mand of Middleton, to Assynt and made great depredations, 
destroyed a very great quantity of wine and brandy, 
which the Laird of Assynt had bought, besides other 
commodities, in all to the value of 50,000 merks, out of 
a ship then on that coast, carrying off 2400 cows, 
1500 horses, about 6000 sheep and goats, besides burning 
and destroying many families. Assynt was not liable 
in law to any such usage from them, having receipts 
from Seaforth and Lord Reay for his proportion of the 
levy appointed at that lime for the King s service. When 
Middleton came to that country he declared that he had 
given no warrant for what Seaforth had done, and 
that in presence of Lord Macdonald and Sir George 
Munro, etc. When Assynt pursued Seaforth before the 
English judges of the time, Seaforth defeated his process 
by proving that Neil had been in arms against the 
English, and did then allege no cause for the injuries 
done by him to Assynt, except a private quarrel. But 
when Macleod afterwards, at the Restoration, pursued 
Seaforth, he alleged in defence that he had acted by 
a warrant from Middleton, who was then commissioner 
for the Parliament But Neil says, if there was any 
such warrant it was certainly given after the injuries 
had been done to him. However, things stood then 
in such a way that Neil was not likely to procure any 

There was another claim which seems to have brought 
matters to a crisis. Macleod had become a party to a bond 
of caution granted by Ross of Little Tarrel in the sum 
of £iSo sterling, for which, in 1656, an apprising was 
laid upon the estate of Assynt, at the instance of Sinclair of 
M^y, in Caithness, who subsequently assigned his claim 


to Sir George Mackenzie of Tarbat and John Mackenzie, 
second son of Kenneth Mor, third Earl of Seaforth, 
afterwards known as the Hon. John Mackenzie of Assynt. 
The matter was contested for a time, but "in the year 1668 
or 1669 or 1670, the legal apprising being expired, decree 
of mails and duties was obtained upon the claim against the 
estate of Assynt and ejection against himself. Upon 
pursuing this ejection in 167 1, several illegal steps were 
alleged against Assynt, particularly holding out the Castle 
of Ard-Bhreac against the King, and his otherwise violently 
opposing the ejection ; whereupon Neil of Assynt, who 
it seems had been negligent in defending himself against the 
foresaid accusations, was denounced rebel, and a commission 
of fire and sword was obtained in July, 1672, against him 
and his people," granted to Lord Strathnaver, Lord Lovat, 
Munro of Fowlis, and others, who at once invaded his 
territories with a force of 2300 men ** and committed the 
most horrid barbarities," until all the country of Assynt 
was destroyed. 

After this raid Neil, ** under the benefit of a protection," 
went to consult Seaforth, who gave him a certificate of 
having obeyed the King s laws, and fifteen days to cortsider 
a proposition which his lordship made to him to dispose 
of his estates to himself on certain conditions, and so 
settle the dispute between them for ever. But Macleod, 
considering that it was not safe for him to return to his 
own country, resolved to proceed to Edinburgh by 
sea, and to carry his charter chest along with him. 
" Seaforth being apprehensive, it seems, of the con- 
sequences of Assynt's going to Edinburgh, immediately 
entered into correspondence and concert about the matter 
with the Laird of Mey, in Caithness. The consequence 
was : Assynt being driven by unfavourable winds to the 
Orkneys the Laird of Mey, with a body of men, seized 
him there, to be sure under the notion of an outlaw, 
and, by commission from Seaforth, stripped him to his 
shirt, robbed him of everything, particularly of his charter 
chest, and of all the writs and evidents belonging to his 


family and estates, carried them to the castle of Mey, 
where he was kept prisoner in a vault From thence he 
was carried prisoner, under a strong fifuard, to Tain, and 
at last to Brahan, Seaforth's house. In Brahan (to which 
place the charter chest was brought, as was afterwards 
proved in the Process of Spoilzie) Neil was many 
months detained prisoner in a vault, in most miserable 
circumstances, still threatened with worse usage if he 
would not agree to subscribe a blank paper, probably 
designed for a disposition of his estates, which was, 
it seems, the great thing designed to be procured from 
him by all this bad usage. At last Neil was brought 
south to Edinburgh, where he arrived after being in 
thirteen or fourteen prisons, and in the end he obtained 
the remission formerly mentioned," for the offence of 
defending the Castle of Assynt, and all the other crimes 
that were alleged against him. 

His apologist makes out a strong case for him, if 
half his allegations are true. In any case it is but fair 
to state them. Neil was in prison, according to the 
"Information," when the ejection proceedings were 
carried out against him. He was ignorant of the legal 
steps taken against him until it was too late, and, in 
consequence of his great distance from Edinburgh, he 
was unable to correspond with his legal advisers there 
in time for his defence. His messengers, carrying his 
correspondence, were more than once seized, on their 
way south, and imprisoned at Chanonry. When in the 
south, the contributions of his friends towards his support 
and the expenses of his defence were intercepted, and 
his people at home were put to great hardships by their 
new master, the Hon. John Mackenzie, ** for any 
inclination to succour him in his distress." " By all 
these means, the unfortunate gentleman was reduced 
to great poverty and misery, and was disabled from 
procuring the interest or affording the expense needful 
in order to obtain justice against such potent adversaries." 
And **it was easy for them (the Mackenzies), being 


now possessed of his estate, to get in old unjust patched 
claims from such as had them, and being possessed of 
his charter chest and the retired vouchers of debts therein 
contained, by all these means, to make additional titles 
to the estate of Assynt, while he, poor gentleman, 
besides his other misfortunes, was deprived of his writs 
and of all his evidences needful lo be produced in his 
defence against the claims of his adversaries." If a tithe 
of all this is true poor Neil deserves to be pitied indeed. 
But after giving such a long catalogue of charges, involving 
the most cruel and deceitful acts against the Mackcnzies, the 
author of them is himself doubtful about their accuracy, for 
he says that, although the Mackenzie?, after possessing the 
estates, had all the advantages and means for doing the 
unjust things which he alleges against them of inventing new 
claims and additional titles, ** it is not pretended to be now 
told what additional titles they made" — an admission which 
largely discounts and disposes of the other charges made by 
Macleods apologist. And, notwithstanding all his dis- 
advantages and difficulties, Neil made another effort 
*' towards obtaining justice to himself and his family "; 
and to that end, in 1679 and 1680, he commenced a 
new process against Seaforth and all others "whom he 
knew to have or pretended to have" claims against him 
or his estate. It was, however, objected (i) that he had 
no title in his own person to the lands of AssyiU, and 
(2) that he was at the horn and had no personam standi 
in judices, Neil made **very pertinent" answers to 
these objections in 1682, but he was wisely advised to 
stop the proceedings of reduction, and to commence a 
Process of Spulzie against the Earl Sinclair, of Mey, the 
Laird of Dunbeath, and others. Seaforth having died 
while these proceedings were pending, there appears in 
process an Oath by his successor, "who swears that he 
not then nor formerly had the charter chest, nor knew 
what was become of it; and as he was not charged with 
having a hand in the Spulzie he was freed thereof and 
of the consequences of it, by their Lordships. Neil 


having given in an inventory of the writs contained in 
his chest, his oath in h'tem was taken thereanent, and 
he referred his expenses and damages to the judgment 
of the Lords," with the result that, in 1692, they decerned 
in his favour for the sum of two thousand pounds Scots, 
in name of damages and expenses, to be paid to him by 
the defenders, and at the same time superseding his 
further claim until he should give in more particulars 
regarding it. He assigned this decree to his nephew, 
Captain Donald Macleod of Geanies, and it remained as 
the basis of the process which was raised by Norman 
Macleod, XIX. of Macleod, in 1738, already referred 
to "for what thereof is unpaid." But Neil, ** being unable 
by unparalleled bad usage, trouble, and poverty, and at 
length by old age, it does not appear that he went any 
further towards obtaining of justice for himself than what 
is above narrated in relation to the process of reduction 
and Spulzie"; and that his friends failed in their subse- 
quent efforts to punish Mackenzie or re-possess themselves 
of the Assynt estates is sufficiently well-known.* 

In 1648 Seaforth again raised a body of 4000 men 
in the Western Islands and Ross-shire, whom he led 
south, to aid the Kings cause, but after joining 
in a few skirmishes under Lanark, they returned home 
to "cut their corn which was now ready for their sickles." 
During the whole of this period Seaforth s fidelity to the 
Royal cause was open to considerable suspicion, and 
when Charles I. threw himself into the hands of the 
Scots at Newark, and ordered Montrose to disband his 
forces, Earl George, always trying to be on the winning 
side, came in to Middleton, and made terms with the 
Committee of Estates; but the Church, by whom he had 
previously been excommunicated, continued implacable, 
and would only agree to be satisfied by a public penance 
in sackcloth within the High Church of Edinburgh. The 
proud Earl consented, underwent this ignominious and 

*For Neil's conneciion with the Betrayal of Montrose see Mackenzie*8 
IKstory of the MacUods, pp. 410-419. 


degrading ceremonial, and his sentence of excommunica- 
tion was then removed. Notwithstanding this public 
humiliation, after the death of the ill-fated and despotic 
Charles I., Seaforth, in 1649, went over to Holland, and 
joined Charles II.. by whom he was made Principal 
Secretary of State for Scotland, the duties of which, how- 
ever, he never had the opportunity of performing. 

Charles was proclaimed King on the 5th of February, 
1649, in Edinburgh, and it was decided by him and his 
friends in exile that Montrose should make a second 
attempt to recover Scotland ; for, on the advice of his 
friends, Charles declined the humiliating terms offered 
him by the Scottish faction, and, in connection with the 
plans of Montrose, a rising took place in the North, under 
Thomas Mackenzie of Pluscardine, brother to the Earl of 
Seaforth, Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty, Colonel 
John Munro of Lemlair, and Colonel Hugh Eraser. On 
the 22d February they entered Inverness, expelled the 
troops from the garrison, and afterwards demolished the 
walls and fortifications. On the 26th of February a 
Council of War was held, present — Thomas Mackenzie of 
Pluscardine, Preses, Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty, 
H. Eraser of Belladrum, Jo. Cuthbert of Castlehill, R. 
Mackenzie, of Davochmaluak ; Kenneth Mackenzie of 
Gairloch, R. Mackenzie of Redcastle, John Munro of 
Lumlair, Simon Eraser of Craighouse, and Alex. Mac- 
kenzie of Suddie. 

This Committee made certain enactments, by which 
they took the customs and excise of the six northern 
counties entirely into their own hands. The Provost of 
Inverness was made accountable **for all the money 
which, under the name of excise, has been taken up in 
any of the foresaid shires since his intromissions with the 
office of excise taking." Another item is that Duncan 
Forbes be pleased to advance money "upon the security 
which the Committee will grant to him," to be repaid 
out of the readiest of the "maintaince and excise." 
Cromarty House was ordered to be put in a position of 


defence, for which it was "requisite that some faill be 
cast and led," and all Sir James Eraser's tenants within 
the parishes of Cromarty and Cullicudden, together with 
those of the laird of Findrassie. within the parish of 
Rosemarkie, were ordered "to afford from six hours in 
the morning to six hours at night, and one horse out of 
every oxengait daily for the space of four days, to lead 
the same faill to the House of Cromarty." By the tenth 
enactment the Committee find it expedient for their 
safety that the works and forts of Inverness be demolished 
and levelled to the ground, and they ordain that each 
person appointed to this work shall complete his proportion 
thereof before the 4th day of March following " under 
pain of being quartered upon, and until the said task be 
performed." They further enact that a garrison be placed 
in Culloden House, "which the Committee is not desirous 
of for any intention of harm towards the disturbance of 
the owner, but merely because of the security of the 
garrison of Calder, which, if not kept in good order, is 
like to infest all the well-affected of the country circum- 
jacent."* General Leslie having been sent sent against 
them, they retired to the mountains of Ross, when Leslie 
advanced to Fortrose and placed a garrison in the castle. 
He made terms with all the other leaders except Plus- 
cardine, who would not listen to any accommodation, and 
who, immediately on Leslies return south, descended 
from his mountain fastnesses, attacked and re-took the 
Castle of Chanonry. 

Pluscardine was then joined by his nephew, Lord Reay, 
at the head of three hundred men, which increased his 
force to eight or nine hundred. General Middleton and 
Lord Ogilvie, having brought up their forces, Mackenzie 
advanced into Badenoch, with the view of raising the 
people in that and the neighbouring districts, where he 
was joined by the Marquis of Huntly, formerly Lord 
Lewis Gordon, and they at once attacked and took the 
Castle of Ruthven. After this they were pressed closely 

* For ihese minutes see Antiquafian Notes ^ pp. 157-8. 


by Leslie, and fell down from Badenoch to Balvenny 
Castle, whence they sent General Middleton and Mac- 
kenzie to treat with Leslie, but before they reached their 
destination, Carr. Halket, and Strachan, who had been 
in the North, made a rapid march from Fortrose, and on 
the 8th of May surprised Lord Reay with his nine hundred 
followers at Balvenny, with considerable loss on both 
sides. Eighty Royalists fell in the defence of the castle. 
Carr at once dismissed the Highlanders to their homes 
on giving their oath never again to take up arms against 
the Parliament, but he detained Lord Reav and some of 
his kinsmen, Mackenzie of Redcastle, and a few leaders 
of that name, and sent them prisoners to Edinburgh. 
Having there given security to keep the peace in future, 
Lord Reay, Ogilvy, Huntly, and Middleton were forgiven, 
and allowed to return home, Roderick Mackenzie of 
Redcastle, being the only one kept in prison, until he 
was some time after released, through the influence of 
Argyll, on payment of a fine of seven thousand merks 

Carr now returned to Ross and laid siege to Red- 
castle, the only stronghold in the North which still held 
out for the Royal cause. The officer in charge recklessly 
exposed himself on the ramparts, and was pulled down 
by a well-directed shot from the enemy. The castle was 
set on fire by the exasperated soldiers. Leslie then 
placed a garrison in Brahan and Chanonry Castles, and 
returned south. The garrisons were then expelled, some of 
the men hanged, the walls demolished, and the fortifications 
razed to the ground. Thus ended an insurrection which 
probably would have had a very different result had it 
been delayed until the arrival of Montrose. The same 
year General Leslie himself came to Fortrose with 
nine troops of horse, and forwarded detachments to 
Cromarty and " Seaforth's strongest hold " of EUandonnan 

The following account of this period by a contemporary 
writer is very interesting: — "Immediately after the battle of 


Auldearn Seaforth met and communed with Montrose, the 
result of which was that Seaforth should join Montrose, 
for the King against the Parliament and States, whom 
they now discovered not to be for the King as they 
professed ; but in the meantime that Seaforth should not 
appear, till he had called upon and prevailed with his 
neighbours about him, namely, My Lord Reay, Balna- 
gown, Lovat, Sir James Macdonald of Sleat, Macleod of 
Dunvegan, and others, to join him and follow him as 
their leader. Accordingly, Seaforth having called them 
together, pointed out to them the condition the King 
was in, and how it was their interest to rise and join 
together immediately for his Majesty's service and relief. 
All of them consented and approved of the motion, only 
some of them desired that the Parliament who professed 
to be for the King as well as they, and desired to be 
rid of Montrose and his bloody Irish, should first be 
made acquainted with their resolution. Seaforth, being 
unwilling to lose any of them, condescended, and drew 
up a declaration, which was known as Seaforth s Remon- 
strance, as separate from Montrose, whereof a double 
was sent them ; but the Parliament was so far from 
being pleased therewith that they threatened to proclaim 
Seaforth and all who should join him as rebels. Now, 
after the battle of Alford and Kilsyth, wherein Montrose 
was victorious, and all in the south professing to submit 
to him as the Kings Lieutenant, he was by the treachery 
of Traquair and others of the Covenanters, surprised and 
defeated at Philiphaugh. In the beginning^ of the next 
year, 1646, he 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 800 foot, coming suddenly the length of Inverness, 
stopped Montrose's progress. Montrose was forced to 
raise the siege and quit the campaign, and retired with 


Seaforth and Sir James Macdonald to the hills of Strath- 
glass, 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 army 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 to pass over to France till his Majesty's further 
pleasure. The herald came to him in the last of May, 
1646, while he was at Strathglass waiting the rest of the 
King's faithful friends who were to join him. For this 
Montrose was vexed, not only for the King's condition, 
but for those of his faithful subjects who declared them- 
selves for him ; and before he would disband he wrote 
several times to the King, but received no answer, except 
some articles from the Parliament and Covenanters, 
which after much reluctance, he was forced to accept, 
by which he was to depart the Kingdom against the 
first of September following, and the Covenanters were 
obliged to provide a ship for his transportation, but 
finding that they neglected to do so, meeting with a 
Murray ship in the harbour of Montrose, he went aboard 
of her with several of his friends, namely. Sir John 
Hurry, who served the States the year before, John 
Drummond, Henry Brechin, George Wishart, and several 
others, leaving Seaforth and the rest of his friends to the 
mercy of these implacable enemies; for the States and 
Parliament threatened to forfeit him for acting contrary 
to their orders, and the Kirk excommunicated him for 
joining with the excommunicated traitor, as they called 
him, James Graham ; for now the Kirk began to rule 
with a high hand, becoming more guilty than the bishops, 
of that of which they charged him with as great a fault 
for meddling with civil and secular affairs; for they not 
only looked upon them to form the army and to purge it 
of such as whom, in their idiom, they called Malignants, 
but really such as were loyal to the King; and also would 


have no Acts of Parliament to pass without their consent 
and approbation. Their proselytes in the laity were also 
heavy upon and uneasy to such as they found or con- 
ceived to have found with a tincture of Malignancy, 
whereof many instances might be given." But to return to 
Seaforth. ** After he was excommunicated bv the Kirk he 
was obliged to go to Edinburgh, where he was made 
prisoner and detained two years, till in the end he was, 
with much ado, released from the sentence of excora»-« 
munication, and the process of forfeiture against him 
discharged ; for that time he returned home in the end 
of the year 1648, but King Charles I. being before that 
time murdered, and King Charles II. being in France, 
finding that he would not be for any time on fair terms 
with the States and Kirk, he proposed to remove his 
family to the Island of Lewis, and dwell there remote from 
public affairs, and to allocate his rents on the mainland 
to pay his most pressing debts, in order to which, having 
sent his lady in December to Lochcarron, where boats 
were attending to transport himself and children to the 
Lewis by way of Lochbroom, wherein his affairs called 
him, he, without acquainting his kinsmen and friends, 
went aboard a ship which he had provided for that 
purpose, and sailed to France, where the King was, who 
received him most graciously and made him one of his 
secretaries. This did incense the States against him, 
so that they placed a garrison in his principal house at 
Brahan, under the command of Captain Scott, who 
(afterwards) broke his neck from a fall from his horse in 
the Craigwood of Chanonry, as also another garrison in 
the Castle of Ellandonnan, under the command of one 
William Johnston, which remained to the great hurt 
and oppression of the people till, in the year 1650, some 
of the Kintail men. not bearing the insolence of the 
garrison soldiers, discorded with them, and in harvest that 
year killed John Campbell, a leading person among them, 
with others, for having wounded several at little Inver- 
inate, without one drop of blood drawn out of the Kintail 


men, who were only lo in number, while the soldiers 
numbered 30. After this the garrison was very uneasy 
and greatly afraid of the Kintail men, who threatened 
them so, that shortly thereafter they removed to Ross, 
being commanded then by one James Chambers; but 
Argyll, to keep up the face of a garrison there, sent ten 
men under the command of John Muir, who lived there 
civilly without molesting the people, the States were so 
incensed against the Kintail men for this brush and 
their usage of the garrison, that they resolved to send a 
strong party next spring to destroy Kintail and the 
inhabitants thereof. But King Charles II., after the 
defeat of Dunbar, being at Stirling recruiting his army 
against Cromwell, to which Seaforths men were called, 
it proved an act of oblivion and indemnity to them, so 
that the Kintail men were never challenged for their 
usage of the garrison soldiers. Though the Earl of 
Seaforth was out of the kingdom, he gave orders to his 
brother Pluscardine to raise men for the Kings service 
whenever he saw the Kings affairs required it; and so, 
in the year 1649, Pluscardine did raise Seaforth *s men, 
and my Lord Reay joining him with his men, marched 
through Inverness, went through Moray, and crossed the 
Spey, being resolved to join the Gordons, Atholes, and 
several others who were ready to rise, and appeared for 
the King. Lesley, who was sent from the Parliament 
to stop their progress, called Pluscardine to treat with 
him, while Seaforth's and my Lord Reay*s men encamped 
at Balveny, promising a cessation of hostilities. For some 
days Colonel Carr and Strachan, with a strong body of 
horse, surprised them in their camp, when they lay 
secure, and taking my Lord Reay. Rory Mackenzie of 
Redcastle, Rory Mackenzie of Fairburn, John Mackenzie 
of Ord, and others, prisoners, threatening to kill them 
unless the men surrendered and disbanded ; and the 
under officers fearing they would kill them whom they 
had taken prisoners, did their utmost to hinder the 
Highlanders from fighting, cutting their bowstrings, etc., 


SO they were forced to disband and dissipate. Pluscar- 
dine, in the meantime, being absent from them, and 
fearing to fall into their hands, turned back to Spey with 
Kenneth of Coul, WiUiam Mackenzie of Multavie, and 
Captain Alexander Bain, and swam the river, being then 
high by reason of the rainy weather, and so escaped 
from their implacable enemies. My Lord Reay, Red- 
castle, and others were sent to Edinburgh as prisoners, 
as it were to make a triumph, where a solemn day of 
thanksgiving was kept for that glorious victory. My 
Lord Reay and the rest were set at liberty, but Redcastle 
was still kept prisoner, because when he came from home 
he garrisoned his house of Redcastle, giving strict com- 
mands to those he placed in his house not to render or 
give it until they had seen an order under his hand, 
whereupon Colonel Carr and Strachan coming to Ross, 
after the defeat of Balvenny, summoned the garrison to 
come forth, but all in vain ; for they obstinately defended 
the house against the besiegers until, on a certain day, 
a cousin of Carr's advancing in the ruff of his pride, with 
his cocked carbine in his hand, to the very gates of the 
castle, bantering and threatening those within to give up 
the castle under all highest pain and danger, he was shot 
from within and killed outright. This did so grieve and 
incense Colonel Carr. that he began fairly to capitulate 
with them within, and made use of Redcastle's own 
friends to mediate and persuade them, till in the end, 
upon promise and assurance of fair terms, and an indem- 
nity of what passed, they came out, and then Carr and 
his party kept not touches with them, but, apprehending 
several of them, and finding who it was that killed his 
cousin, caused him to be killed, and thereafter, contrary 
to the promise and articles of capitulation, rifled the 
house, taking away what he found useful, and then burnt 
the house and all that was within it. In the meantime 
Redcastle was kept prisoner at Edinburgh, none of his 
friends being in a condition to plead for him, till Ross of 
Bridly, his uncle by his mother, went south, and being 



in great favour with Argyll, obtained Redcastle's liberation 
upon payment of 7000 merks fine."* 

While these proceedings were taking place in the 
Highlands, Seaforth was in Holland at the exiled Court 
of Charles H., and when Montrose arrived there Seaforth 
earnestly supported him in urging on the King the bold 
and desperate policy of throwing himself on the loyalty 
of his Scottish subjects, and in strongly protesting against 
the acceptance by his Majesty and his friends of the 
arrogant and humiliating demand made by the com- 
missioners sent over to treat with him by the Scottish 
faction. It is difficult to say whether Seaforth's zeal 
for his Royal master or the safety of his own person 
influenced him most during the remainder of his life, 
but whatever the cause, he adhered steadfastly to the 
exiled monarch to the end of a life which, in what- 
ever light it may be viewed, cannot be commended 
as a good example to others. Such vacillating and 
time-serving conduct ended in the only manner which it 
deserved. He might have been admired for taking a 
consistent part on either side, but with Earl George self- 
preservation and interest appear to have been the only 
governing principles throughout the whole of this trying 
period of his country's history. The Earl of Cromarty 
thought differently, and says that "this George, being a 
nobleman of excellent qualifications, shared the fortune of 
his Prince, King Charles I., for whom he suffered all the 
calamities in his estate that envious or malicious enemies 
could inflict. He was made secretary to King Charles H. 
in Holland, but died in that banishment before he saw an 
end of his King and his country's calamities or of his 
own injuries." We have seen that his conduct was by 
no means steadfast in support of Charles, and it may 
now be safely asserted that his calamities were due more 
to his own indecision and accommodating character than 
to any other cause. 

Earl George married early in life, Barbara, daughter of 

* Ardinloul MS. 


Arthur Lord Forbes (sasine to her in 1637) with issue — 

I. Kenneth Mor, his heir and successor. 

ir. Colin, who has 'a sasine in 1648, but died young 
and unmarried. 

III. George of Kildun, who married, first, Mary 
daughter of Skene of Skene, with issue — (i) Kenneth, 
who went abroad and was no more heard of ; (2) Isobel ; 
and several others who died young. He married, secondly, 
Margaret, daughter of Urquhart of Craighouse, with issue — 
Colin of Kildun and several other children of whom no trace 
can be found. All his descendants are said to be extinct. 

IV. Colin, who has a sasine of Kinachulladrum in 
1721, as '*only child now in life, and heir of his brother 
Roderick." He married Jean, daughter of Robert Laurie, 
Dean of Edinburgh, with issue — (i) Captain Robert Mac- 
kenzie, killed in Flanders, without issue. Colin married, 
secondly. Lady Herbertshire, with issue, (2) Dr George 
Mackenzie, who, in 1708, wrote a manuscript History of 
t/u Fitzgeralds and Mackenzies, frequently quoted in this 
work, and Lives of Eminent Scotsmen. He, with his father, 
sold the estate of Kinachulladrum to Roderick Mackenzie, 
IV. of Applecross, in 1721, and died without issue. (3) 
Barbara, who married Patrick Oliphant. 

V. Roderick, L of Kinachulladrum, who married, first, 
Anna, daughter of Ogilvie of Glencairn, in 1668 (sasine 
1670), with issue — (i) Alexander, H. of Kinachulladrum, 
who married Anne, daughter of Alexander Mackenzie, HI. 
of Applecross (marriage contract 1707), with issue — Anne, 
his only child alive in 1766; (2) Kenneth, who died 
without issue ; and two daughters. Roderick married, 
secondly, Catherine Scougall, daughter of the Bishop of 
Aberdeen, with issue, all of whom died young. 

VI. Jean, who married, first, John Earl of Mar, with 
issue ; and, secondly. Lord Fraser. 

VII. Margaret, who married Sir William Sinclair of 
Mey, with issue. 

VIII. Barbara, who married Sir John Urquhart of 


IX. John, first of Gruinard, a natural son whose 
illegitimacy is fully established in the chapter dealing 
with the Chiefship of the clan. 

When his Lordship received the news of the disastrous 
defeat of the King's forces at Worcester he fell into a 
profound melancholy and died in 165 1, at Schiedam in 
Holland — where he had lived in exile since the beginning 
of January, 1649 — in the forty-third year of his age. He 
was succeeded by his eldest son, 



Kenneth was born at Brahan Castle in 1635, and 
when he was five or six years old his father placed him 
under the care of the Rev. Farquhar Macrae, minister of 
Kintail, and constable of Ellandonnan Castle, who had a 
seminary in his house which was attended by the sons of 
the neighbouring gentry, who kept young Kintail company. 
One of the manuscript historians of the family, referring 
to this practical early training of his Lordship, says — 
"This might be thought a preposterous and wrong way 
to educate a nobleman, but they who would consider 
where the most of his interest lay, and how he was 
among his people, followers, and dependants, on which 
the family was still valued, perhaps will not think so, for 
by this the young lord had several advantages; first, by 
the wholesome, though not delicate or too palatable diet 
he prescribed to him and used him with, he began to 
have a wholesome complexion, so nimble and strong, that 
he was able to endure stress and fatigue, labour and 
travel, which proved very useful to him in his after life; 
secondly, he did not only learn the language but became 
thoroughly acquainted with and learned the genius of 
his several tribes or clans of his Highlanders, so that 
afterwards he was reputed to be the fittest chief or chieftain 
of all superiors in the Highlands and Isles of Scotland ; and 
thirdly, the early impressions of being among them, and 
acquaint with the bounds, made him delight and take 


pleasure to be often among them and to know their circum- 
stances, which indeed was his interest and part of their 
happiness, so that it was better to give him that first step 
of education than that which would make him a stranger 
at home, both as to his people, estate, and condition ; 
but when he was taken from Mr Farquhar to a public 
school, he gave great evidence of his abilities and inclina- 
tion for learning, and being sent in the year 1651 to the 
King's College at Aberdeen, under the discipline of Mr 
Patrick Sandylands, before he was well settled or made 
any progress in his studies King Charles II., after his 
army had been defeated at Dunbar the year before, being 
then at Stirling recruiting and making up his army, with 
which he was resolved to march into England, the young 
laird was called home in his father's absence, who was 
left in Holland (as already described), to raise his men 
for the King's service, and so went straight to Kintail 
with the particular persons of his name, viz., the Lairds 
of Pluscardine and Lochslinn, his uncles; young Tarbat, 
Rory of Davochmaluag, Kenneth of Coul, Hector of 
Fairburn, and several others, but the Kintail men, when 
called upon, made a demur and declined to rise with 
him, because he was but a child, and that his father, 
their master, was in life, without whom they would not 
move, since the King, if he had use for him and for his 
followers, might easily bring him home."* 

Kenneth, like his father in later years, became identified 
with the fate of Charles II., and devoted himself unre- 
mittingly to the services of that monarch during his 
exile. From his great stature he was known among the 
Highlanders as "Coinneach M6r." On the arrival of the 
King at Garmouth, in June, 1650, his reception through- 
out all Scotland was of a most cheering character, but 
the Highlanders, who always favoured the Stuarts, were 
specially joyous on the return of their exiled king. After 
the defeat by Oliver Cromwell of the Scottish army at 
Dunbar — a defeat brought about by the interference of 

* Ardintoul MS. 


the Committee of Estates and the Kirk with the duties 
of those in charge of the forces, and whose plans, were 
they allowed to carry them out, would have saved 
Scotland from the first great defeat it had ever received 
at the hands of an enemy — the King resolved to come 
north and throw himself upon the patriotism and loyalty 
of his Highland subjects. He was, however, captured and 
taken back to Perth, and afterwards to Edinburgh, by 
the Committee of Estates, on whom, it is said, his 
attempted escape to the Highlands "produced a salutary 
effect ;" and they began to treat him with some respect, 
going the length even of admitting him to their delibera- 
tions. A large number of the Highlanders were already 
in arms to support him ; but the Committee, having the 
King in their power, induced him to write to the High- 
land chiefs requesting them to lay down their arms. 
This they refused, and to enforce the King's orders a 
regiment, under Sir John Brown, was despatched to the 
North, but it was surprised and defeated on the night of 
the 2 1st of October by Sir David Ogiivy of Airley. On 
receiving this intelligence. General Leslie hastened north 
with a force of 3000 cavalry. General Middleton, who 
supported the King's friends in the Highlands, and who 
was then at Forfar, hearing of Leslie's advance, forwarded 
him a letter containing a copy of a bond and oath of 
engagement which had been entered into by Huntly, 
Athole, the Earl of Seaforth, and other leading Highland 
chiefs, by which they had pledged themselves on oath 
to join firmly and faithfully together, and ** neither for 
fear, threatening, allurement, nor advantage, to relinquish 
the cause of religion, of the king, and of the kingdom, 
nor to lay down their arms without a general consent ; 
and as the best undertakings did not escape censure and 
malice, they promised and swore, for the satisfaction of 
all reasonable persons, that they would maintain the true 
religion, as then established in Scotland, the National 
Covenant and the Solemn League and Covenant, and 
defend the person of the King, his prerogative, greatness, 


and authority, and the privileges of parliament, and the 
freedom of the subject." Middleton pointed out that the 
only object of himself and friends was to unite the Scots 
in the defence of their common rights, and that, as 
would be seen from this bond, the grounds on which 
they entered into association were exactly the same as 
those professed by Leslie himself. Considering this, and 
seeing that the independence of Scotland was at stake, 
he urged that all Scot<imen should join for the preserva- 
tion of their common liberties. Middleton proposed to 
join Leslie, to place himself under his command, and 
expressed a hope that he would not shed the blood of 
his countrymen nor force them to shed the blood of their 
brethren in self-defence. These communications ended 
in a treaty between Leslie and the leading Royalists at 
Strathbogie; dated 4th November, by which Middleton 
and his followers received an indemnity, and laid down 
their arms.* 

Immediately after the battle of Worcester, at which 
Charles was defeated by Cromwell in 165 1 — where we 
find among those present Thomas Mackenzie of PIus» 
cardine as one of the Colonels of foot for Inverness and 
Ross, and Alexander Cim Mackenzie, fourth son of 
Alexander, fifth of Gairloch — Charles fled to the Continent, 
and, after many severe hardships and narrow escapes, he 
found refuge in Flanders, where he continued to reside, 
often in great want and distress, until the Restoration, 
when in May, 1660, he returned to England ** indolent, 
selfish, unfeeling, faithless, ungrateful, and insensible to 
shame or reproach." The Earl of Cromarty says that 
subsequent to the treaty agreed upon between Middleton 
and Leslie at Strathbogie, "Seaforth joined the King at 
Stirling. After the fatal battle of Worcester he continued 
a close prisoner until the Restoration of Charles." He 
was excepted from Oliver Cromwells Act of Grace and 
Pardon in 1654, and his estates were forfeited, without 
any provision being allowed out of it for his wife and 

* Balfottr^ vol. iv., p. 129. Highland Clans ^ p. 285. 


family. He supported the King's cause as long as there 
was an opportunity of fighting for it in the field, and 
when forced to submit to the opposing forces of Crom- 
well and the Commonwealth, he was committed to 
prison, where, with **much firmness of mind and nobility 
of soul," he endured a tedious captivity for many years, 
until Charles II. was recalled, when he ordered his old and 
faithful friend Seaforth to be released, after which he became 
a great favourite at his licentious and profligate Court. 

During the remainder of his life little or nothing of 
any importance is known of him, except that he lived 
in the favour and merited smiles of his sovereign, in the 
undisputed possession and enjoyment of the extensive 
estates and honours of his noble ancestors, which, through 
his faithful adherence to the House of Stuart, had been 
nearly lost during the exile of the second Charles and 
his own captivity. Referring to the position of affairs 
at this period, the Laird of Applecross says that the 
"rebels, possessing the authority, oppressed all the loyal 
subjects, and him with the first; his estate was over- 
burthened to its destruction, but nothing could deter him 
so as to bring him to forsake his King or his duty. 
Whenever any was in the field for him, he was one, 
seconding that falling cause with all his power, and when 
he was not in the field against the enemy, he was in 
the prison by him until the restoration of the King." 
Restored to liberty, he, on the 23d of April, 1662, 
received a Commission of the Sheriffship of Ross, which 
was afterwards renewed to him and to his eldest son 
Kenneth, jointly, on 31st of July, 1675; and when he 
had set his affairs in order at Brahan, he re-visited Paris, 
leaving his Countess Isobel, daughter of Sir John Mac- 
kenzie of Tarbat, and sister to the first Earl of Cromarty, 
in charge of his interests in the North. 

Kenneth married early in life Isobel, daughter of Sir 
John Mackenzie of Tarbat, father of George, first Earl 
of Cromarty, with issue — 

I. Kenneth Og, his heir and successor. 


n. John Mackenzie of Assynt, who married Sibella, 
daughter of Alexander Mackenzie, III. of Applecross 
(marriage contract 1697). He has a sasine in 1695 and 
1696. They had issue, an only son, Kenneth, who 
married his cousin Frances, daughter of Alexander Mac- 
kenzie of Assynt and Conansbay, and died in 1723, without 

HI. Hugh, who died young and unmarried. There is 
a sasine to him as third son in 1667. 

IV. Colonel Alexander, also designated of Assynt and 
Conansbay. He has a sasine as ** third lawful son now 
in life" of the lands of Kildin, dated October, 1694. He 
married Elizabeth, daughter of John Paterson, Bishop of 
Ross (marriage contract 1700), with issue — Major William 
Mackenzie, who married Mary, daughter and co-heiress of 
Mathew Humberston, county Lincoln, whose two sons — 
Colonel Thomas Francis Mackenzie, and Francis Hum- 
berston Mackenzie, created Lord Seaforth in 1797, and 
who died without surviving male issue, the last of his 
line in 1815 — succeeded to the family estates. 

V. Margaret, who married James, second Lord Duffus, 
with issue. 

VI. Anne, who died unmarried. 

VH. Isabel, who married, first, in February, 1694, 
Roderick Macleod, XVH. of Macleod, without issue; and, 
secondly. Sir Duncan Campbell of Lochnell, with issue. 

VHI. Mary, who, as his second wife, married Alex- 
ander Macdonald, XL of Glengarry, with issue — John, 
who carried on the succession, and others. She has a 
life-rent sasine in 1696. 

Kenneth Mor died in December, 1678, when he was 
succeeded by his eldest son, 



So described by the Highlanders to distinguish him from 
his father. At an early age he began to reap the benefits 
of his predecessors faithful adherence to the fortunes 


of Charles II. In 1678, before his father died, his name 
is found among the chiefs, who, by a proclamation dated 
lOth of October in that year, were called upon to 
give their bond and caution for the security of the peace 
and quiet of the Highlands, which the leaders were to 
give, not only for themselves but for all the members 
of their respective Clans. In spite of all the enactments 
and orders hitherto passed, the inhabitants and broken 
men in the Highlands were "inured and accustomed to 
liberty and licentiousness" during ' the late troubles, and 
•'still presumed to sorn, steal, oppress, and commit other 
violences and disorders." The great chiefs were com- 
manded to appear in Edinburgh on the last Tuesday of 
February, 1679, and yearly thereafter on the second 
Thursday of July, to give security and receive instructions 
as to the peace of the Highlands. To prevent any 
excuse for non-attendance, they were declared free from 
caption for debt or otherwise while journeying to and 
from Edinburgh, and other means were to be taken, 
which might be thought necessary or expedient until the 
Highlands were finally quieted, and "all these wicked, 
broken, and disorderly men utterly rooted out and ex- 
tirpated." A second proclamation was issued, in which 
the- lesser barons — heads of the branches of clans — 
whose names are given, were to go to Inverlochy by 
the 20th of November following, as they were, **by 
reason of their mean condition," not able to come in to 
Edinburgh and find caution, and there to give in bonds 
and securities for themselves, their men, tenants, servants, 
and indwellers upon their lands, and all of their name 
descended of their families, to the Earl of Caithness, Sir 
James Campbell of Lawers, James Menzies of Culdarers, 
or any two of them. These lists are interesting, showing, 
as they do, those who were considered the greater and 
lesser barons at the time. We find four Mackenzies in 
the former but not one in the latter.* 

On the 1st of March, 168 1, Kenneth was served heir 

* For the full lists see Antiquarian Notes, pp. 184 and 1S7. 


male to his greatg-randfather, Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, 
in his lands in the Lordship of Ardmeanach and in the 
Earldom of Ross ; was made a member of the Privy Council 
by James II. on his accession to the throne in 1685, 
and chosen a Knight Companion of the Thistle, on 
the revival of that ancient Order in 1687. The year 
after the Revolution Seaforth accompanied his Royal master 
to France, but when that Prince returned to Ireland in 
the following year to make a final effort for the recovery 
of his kingdom, he was accompanied thither by the Earl. 
There he took part in the siege of Londonderry and 
in other engagements, and as an expression of gratitude 
James created him Marquis of Seaforth, under which 
title he repeatedly appears in various legal documents. 
This well-meant and deserved honour, however, came too 
late in the falling fortunes and declining powers of the 
ex-King, and does little more than mark his Royal con- 
firmation of the steady adherence of the chiefs of Kintail 
to the cause of the unfortunate Stuarts. 

Viscount Dundee in a letter to the '* Laird of Macleod," 
dated ** Moy, June 23, 1689,"* in which he details his own 
and the King's prospects, gives a list of those who are to 
join him. *' My Lord Seaforth," he says, " will be in a few 
days from Ireland to raise his men for the Kings service;" 
but the fatal shot which closed the career of that brilliant 
star and champion of the Stuart dynasty at Killiecrankie, 
arrested the progress of the family of Seaforth in the fair 
course to all the honours which a grateful dynasty could 
bestow ; nor was the family of Kintail singular in this 
respect — seeing its flattering prospects withered at, perhaps, 
a fortunate moment for the prosperity of the Empire. 

♦ About this lime Viscount Tarbat boasted lo General Nf ackay of his great 
influence with his countrymen, especially the Clan Mackenzie, and assured 
him *' that though Seaforth should come lo his own country and among his 
friends, he (Tarbat) would overturn in eight days more than the Earl could 
advance in six weeks ; yet he proved as backward as Seaforth or any other of 
the Clan. And though Rcdcastlc, Coul, and others of the name of Mackenzie 
came, they fell not on final methods, but protested a great deal of affection for 
the cause.*' — Macknys Memoirs. 


Jealousies have now passed away on that subject, and 
it is not our business to discuss or in any way confound 
the principles of contending loyalties. 

To check the proceedings of the Mackenzies, Mackay 
placed a garrison of a hundred Mackays in Brahan Castle, 
the principal seat of the Earl, and an equal number 
of Rosses in Castle Leod, the mansion of Viscount Tarbat, 
both places of strength, and advantageously situated for 
watching the movements of the Jacobite Mackenzies.* 

Seaforth seems to have left Ireland immediately after 
the battle of the Boyne, and to have returned to the 
Highlands. The greater part of the North was at the 
time hostile to the Government, and General Mackay was 
obliged to march north, with all haste, before a general 
rising could take place under Buchan, who now com- 
manded the Highlanders who stood out for King James. 
Mackay was within four hours* march of Inverness before 
Buchan, who was then at that place ** waiting for the 
Earl of Seaforths and the other Highlanders whom he 
expected to join him in attacking the town," knew of his 
approach. Hearing of the proximity of the enemy, 
Buchan at once retreated, crossed the River Ness, and 
retired along the north side of the Beauly Firth, eastward 
through the Black Isle. In this emergency, Seaforth, 
fearing the personal consequences of the part he had 
acted throughout, sent two of his friends to General 
Mackay, offering terms of submission and whatever 
securities might be required for his future good behaviour, 
informing him at the same time that, although he 
had been forced to appear on the side of James, he 
never entertained any design of molesting the Govern- 
ment forces or of joining Buchan in his attack on the 
town of Inverness. Mackay replied that he could accept no 
security other than the surrender of his Lordships person, 
at the same time conjuring him to comply, as he valued 
his own safety and the preservation of his family and 
people, and assuring him that in the case of surrender he 

♦ Life of General Mackay^ by John Mackay of Rockfield, pp. 36-37. 


should be detained in civil custody in Inverness, and 
treated with the respect due to his rank, until the will of 
the Government should become known. Next day the 
Earl's mother, the Countess Dowager of Seaforth, and 
Sir Alexander Mackenzie of Coul proceeded to Inverness, 
to plead with Mackay for a mitigation of the terms 
proposed, but finding him inflexible, they told him 
that Seaforth would accede to any conditions agreed 
to by them in his behalf. It was thereupon stipulated 
that he should deliver himself up at once and be kept a 
prisoner in Inverness until the Privy Council decided as 
to his ultimate disposal. With the view of concealing 
his voluntary submission from his own clan and his other 
Jacobite friends, it was agreed that the Earl should allow 
himself to be siezed at one of his seats by a party of 
horse under Major Mackay, as if he were taken by 
surprise. He, however, disappointed those sent to take 
him, in excuse of which, his mother and he, in letters 
to General Mackay, pleaded the delicate state of his health, 
which, it was urged, would suffer from imprisonment; 
and indeed few can blame him for any unwillingness 
to place himself absolutely at the disposal of such a body 
as the Privy Council of Scotland then was — many of 
whom would not hesitate in the slightest to sacrifice him, 
if by so doing they could only see any chance of obtain- 
ing a share, however small, of his extensive estates. 

General Mackay became so irritated at the deception 
thus practised upon him that he resolved to treat Seaforth s 
vassals "with all the rigour of military execution," and 
he sent his Lordship a message that if he did not 
surrender forthwith according to his promise, he should 
at once carry out his instructions from the Privy Council 
by entering his country with fire and sword, and seizing 
all the property belonging to himself or to his clan as 
lawful prize ; and, lest the Earl should have any doubt 
as to his intention of executing this terrible treat, he im- 
mediately ordered three Dutch regiments from Aberdeen 
to Inverness, and decided on leading a competent body 


of horse and foot in person from the garrison at the latter 
place, to take possession of Brahan Castle. The General,' 
at the same time wrote instructing- the Earl of Suther- 
land, Lord Reay, and Ross of Balnagown, to send 
a thousand of their men, under Major Wishart, an ex- 
perienced officer acquainted with the country, to take 
up their quarters in the more remote districts of the 
Seaforth estates, should that extreme step, as he much 
feared, become necessary. Having, however, a friendly 
disposition towards the followers of Seaforth, on account 
of their being "all Protestants and none of the most 
dangerous enemies," and being more anxious to get hold of 
his Lordship's person than to ruin his friends, he caused 
information of his intentions to be sent to Seaforth's 
camp by some of his own party, as if from a feeling 
of friendship for him ; the result being that, contrary 
to Mackay's expectations, Seaforth surrendered — thus re- 
lieving him from a most disagreeable duty,* — and he 
was at once committed a prisoner to the Castle of Inver- 

Writing to the Privy Council about the disaffected 
chiefs at the time. General Mackay says — " I believe it 
shall fare so with the Earl of Seaforth, that is, that he 
shall haply submit when his country is ruined and spoyled, 
which is the character of a true Scotsman, uyse behinde the 
handy \ By warrant, dated 7th October, 1690, the Privy 
Council directs Mackay **to transport the person of 
Kenneth, Earl of Seaforth, with safety from Inverness to 
Edinburgh, in such way and manner as he should think 
fit." This done, he was on the 6th November following 
confined within the Castle of Edinburgh, but, little more 

♦ Though ihe General *' was not immediately connected with the Seaforth 
family himself* some of his near relatives were, both by the ties of kindred and 
of ancient friendship. For these, and other reasons, it may be conceived what 
joy and thankfulness to Providence he felt for the result of this affair, which 
at once relieved him from a distressing dilemma, and promised to put a 
speedy period to his labours in Scotland." — Mackay's Life of General Mackay, 

t Letters to the Privy Council, dated ist September, 1690. 


than a year afterwards, he was liberated, on the 7th 
January, 1692, having found caution to appear when 
called upon, and on condition that he should not go ten 
miles beyond the walls of Edinburgh. He appears not 
to have implemented these conditions for any length of 
time, for shortly after he is again in prison ; almost im- 
mediately makes his escape ; is apprehended on the 7th 
of May, the same year, at Pencaitland ; and again kept 
confined in the Castle of Inverness, from which he is 
ultimately and finally liberated on giving sufllicient security 
for his peaceable behaviour, * the following being the 
order for his release : — 

" William R., Right trusty and right- well-bclovcd Councillors &c, 
we greet you well Whereas we are informed thit Kenneth, Earl 
of Seaforth, did surrender himself prisoner to the commander of 
our garrison at Inverness, and has thrown himself on our Royal 
mercy ; it is our will and pleasure, and we hereby authorise and 
require you to set the said Earl of Seaforth at liberty, upon his 
finding bail and security to live peaceably under our Government 
and to compear before you when called. And that you order our 
Advocate not to insist in the process of treason waged against him 
until our further pleasure be known therein. For df>ing whereof 
this shall be your warrant, so we bid you heartily farewell Given 
at oar Court at Kensington, the first day of March, i^i^7, and 
of oar reign the eighth year. By his Majesty's command. 

'Signed, " Tullibardike.* 

During the remaining years of his life, Seaforth appears 
to have lived- mainly in France. Apart from his necessary 
absence from his own country during the long-continu^ 
period of political irritation, the exhausted state of his 
paternal revenues would have rendered his resicenot a'orr/arf 
highly expedient. We accord :ng>/ r.nd ^e'.-eral ci^chari^'ts 
for feu-duties granted by others in his ai>=enot. '.uch 
as the following: — 

of Sealbrth. jirasis tta 'Jj h^ve rtc-rT»d zr-rz I'Jtz, Vr^rl^tyjot. ^^. 
and hail tbe yxzise of seavet: Yk-zr/ir^ kz»t rv*=:iit =itrks Scrxi 

ns rrjrr.z/jefjt ykyzxzz, of z:^ dn*K azd 'j6 tie 

Rgsjri: fft%e Frjzy Cnauru, ^ati Jieckxy': Ut 


l.mds of both the Fernicks and Achnakerich, payable Martiinass 
ninety (1690), dated 22d November, 169*.*' 

There is another by *' Isobel, Countess Dowager of 
Seaforth, in 1696, tested by * Rorie Mackenzie, servitor 
to the Marquis of Seaforth,'" and an original discharge 
by "me, Isobell, Countess Dowager of Seaforth, Lady 
Superior of the grounds, lands, and oyes under-written," 
to Kenneth Mackenzie of Dundonnel, dated at Fortrose, 
iSth November. 1697, signed, "Isobell Seaforth."* It 
may fairly be presumed that, during the whole of this 
period, Earl Kenneth was in retirement, and that he took 
no personal part in the management of his estates for 
the remainder of his life. 

His clansmen, however, seem to have been determined 
to protect his interest as much as they could. A certain 
Sir John Dempster of Pitliver had advanced Seaforth and 
his mother, the Countess Dowager, a large sum of money 
and obtained a decree of Parliament to have the amount 
refunded to him. The cash was not forthcoming, and Sir 
John secured letters of horning and arrestment against 
them, and employed several officers to serve them, but 
they returned the letters unexecuted, not finding notum 
aceessum in the Earls country, and they refused altogether 
to undertake the duty again without the assistance of the 
Kings forces in the district. Sir John petitioned for this 
aid, and humbly craved the Privy Council to allow him 
"a competent assistance of his Majesty's forces at Fort- 
William, Inverness, or where they are lying adjacent to 
the places where the said dilligence is to be put in 
execution, to support and protect the messengers" in the 
due enforcement of the legal dilligence against the Earl 
and his mother, "by horning, poinding, arrestment, or 
otherwavs," and to recommend to the Governor at Fort- 
William, or the commander of the forces at Inverness, 
to grant a suitable force for the purpose. Their Lordships 
having considered the petition, recommended Sir Thomas 
Livingstone, commander-in-chief of his Majesty's forces, 

* AUangrange ServicCi on which occasion the originals were produced. 


to order some of the officers already mentioned to furnisli 
the petitioner ** with competent parties of his Majesty's 
forces" to support and protect the messengers in the due 
execution of the " legal dilligence upon the said decreet 
of Parliament."* 

The Earl married Lady Frances Herbert, second 
daughter of William, Marquis of Powis, an English noble- 
man, by Lady Elizabeth Somerset, daughter of Edward, 
Marquis of Worcester, with issue — 

I. William, his heir and successor. 

II. Mary, who married John Carey 1, with issue. 

He died at Paris, in 1701, and was succeeded by his 
only son, 


Generally known among the Highlanders as ** Uilleam 
Dubh." He succeeded at a most critical period in the 
history of Scotland, just when the country was divided 
on the great question of Union with England, which, in 
spite of the fears of most of the Highland chiefs and 
nobles of Scotland, ultimately turned out so beneficial to 
both. He would, no doubt, have imbibed strong Jacobite 
feelings during his residence with his exiled parents in 
France. But little information of William's proceed- 
ings during the first few years of his rule is obtainable. 
He seems to have continued abroad, for on the 23d of 
May, 1709, an order is found addressed to the forester at 
Letterewe signed by his mother the Dowager, " Frances 
Seaforth." But on the 22d of June, 17 13. she addresses 
a letter to Colin Mackenzie of Kincraig, in which she 
says — ** I find my son William is fully inclined to do 
justice to all. Within fifteen days he will be at Brahan."t 
At this period the great majority of the southern nobles 
were ready to break out into open rebellion, while the 
Highland chiefs were almost to a man prepared to rise 
in favour of the Stuarts. This soon became known to 

•For this document see Antiquarian Notes ^ pp. 11 8- 1 19. f Original 
produced at Allungrange 5>crvice in 1829. 



the Government. Bodies of armed Highlanders were 
seen moving^ about in several districts in the North. A 
party appeared in the neighbourhood of Inverness which 
was, however, soon dispersed by the local garrison. The 
Government became alarmed, and the Lords Justices sent a 
large number of half-pay officers, chiefly from the Scottish 
regiments, to officer the militia, under command of Major- 
General Whitham, commander-in-chief at the time in 
Scotland. These proceedings alarmed the Jacobites, most 
of whom re^turned to their homes. The Duke of Gordon 
was confined in Edinburgh Castle, and the Marquis of 
Huntly and Lord Drummond in their respective residences. 
The latter fled to the Highlands and offered bail for his 
good behaviour. Captain Campbell of Glendaruel, who 
had obtained a commission from the late Administration 
to raise an independent company of Highlanders, was 
apprehended at Inverlochy and sent prisoner to Edin- 
burgh. Sir Donald Macdonald, XL of Sleat, was also seized 
and committed to the same place, and a proclamation 
was issued offering a reward of ;^ 100,000 sterling for the 
apprehension of the Chevalier, should he land or attempt 
to land in Great Britain. King George, on his arrival, 
threw himself entirely into the arms of the Whigs, who 
alone shared his favours. A spirit of the most violent 
discontent was excited throughout the whole kingdom, 
and the populace, led on by the Jacobite leaders, raised 
tumults in different parts of the King's dominions. The 
Chevalier, taking advantage of this excitement, issued a 
manifesto to the chief nobility, especially to the Dukes 
of Shrewsbury, Marlborough, and Argyll, who at once 
handed them to the Secretaries of State. 

The King dissolved Parliament in January, 1715, and 
issued an extraordinary proclamation calling together a 
new one. The Whigs were successful both in England 
and Scotland, but particularly in the latter, where a 
majority of the peers, and forty out of the forty- 
five members then returned to the Commons, were in 
favour of his Majesty's Government, The principal Parlia- 


mentary struggle was in the county of Inverness, between 
Mackenzie of Prestonhall, strongly supported by Glengarry 
and the other Jacobite chiefs, and Forbes of Culloden, 
brother of the celebrated President, who carried the 
election through the influence of Brigadier-General Grant 
and the friends of Lord Lovat. 

The Earl of Mar, who had rendered himself extremely 
unpopular among the Jacobite chiefs, afterwards rewarded 
some of his former favourites by advocating the repeal of 
the Union. He was again made Secretary of State 
for Scotland in 1713, but was unceremoniously dismissed 
from office by George I., and he vowed revenge. He 
afterwards found his way to Fife, and subsequently to 
the Braes of Mar. On the 19th of August, 1715. he 
despatched letters to the principal Jacobites, among whom 
was Lord Seaforth, inviting them to attend a grand 
hunting match at Braemar on the 27th of the same 
month. This was a ruse meant to cover his intention 
to raise the standard of rebellion ; and that the Jacobites 
were let into the secret is evident from the fact that as earlv 
as the 6th of August those of them in Edinburgh and its 
neighbourhood were aware of his intentions to come to 
Scotland. Under pretence of attending this grand match, 
a considerable number of noblemen and gentlemen arrived 
at Aboyne at the appointed time. Among them were 
the Marquis of Huntly, eldest son of the Duke of Gordon ; 
the Marquis of Tullibardine, eldest son of the Duke of 
Athole ; the Earls of Nithsdale, Marischal, Traquair, Errol, 
Southesk, Carnwarth, Seaforth, and Linlithgow; the Vis- 
counts Kilsyth, Kenmure, Kingston, and Stormont ; Lords 
Rollo, DufiTus, Drummond, Strathallan, Ogilvie, and 
Nairne ; and about twenty-six other gentlemen of influence 
in the Highlands, among whom were Generals Hamilton 
and Gordon, Glengarry, Campbell of Glendaruel, and the 
lairds of Aucterhouse and Auldbar.* Mar delivered a 
stirring address, in which he expressed regret for his past 
conduct in favouring the Union, and, now that his eyes 

Raff p 189; Annuls of King Georgia pp. 15-16. 


were opened, promising to do all in his power to retrieve 
the past and help to make his countrymen again a free 
people. He produced a commission from James appoint- 
ing him Lieutenant-General and Commander of all the 
Jacobite forces in Scotland, and at the same time informed 
the meeting that he was supplied with money, and that 
an arrangement had been made by which he would be 
able to pay regularly any forces that might be raised, so 
that no gentleman who with his followers should join his 
standard would be put to any expense, and that the 
country would be entirely relieved of the cost of 
conducting the war; after which the meeting unanimously 
resolved to take up arms for the purpose of establishing 
the Chevalier on the Scottish throne. They then took the 
oatH of fidelity to Mar as the representative of James VIII. 
and to each other, and separated, each going home 
after promising to raise his vassals and to be in readi- 
ness to join the Earl whenever summoned to do so. 
They had scarcely arrived at their respective destinations 
when they were called upon to meet him at Aboyne on 
the 3d of September following, where, with only sixty 
followers. Mar proclaimed the Chevalier at Castletown in 
Braeriiar, after which he proceeded to Kirkmichael, and 
on the 6th of September, raised his standard in presence 
of a force of 2000, mostly consisting of cavalry. When 
in course of erection, the ball on the top of the flag-staff 
fell off. This was regarded by the Highlanders as a 
bad omen, and it cast a gloom over the proceedings of 
the day. 

Meanwhile Colonel Sir Hector Munro, who had served 
as Captain in the Earl of Orkney's Regiment with reputa- 
tion in the wars of Queen Anne, raised his followers, who, 
along with a body of Rosses, numbered about 600 men. 
With these, in November, 171 5. he encamped at Alness, 
and on the 6th of October following he was joined by 
the Earl of Sutherland, accompanied by his son, Lord 
Strathnaver, and by Lord Reay, with an additional force 
of 600, in the interest of the Whig Government, and to 


cover their own districts and check the movements of the 
Western clans in effecting a junction with the Earl of 
Mar, whom Earl William and Sir Donald Macdonald had 
publicly espoused, as already stated, at the pretended 
hunting match in Braemar. The meeting at Alness 
was instrumental in keeping Seaforth in the North. If 
the Earl and his mother's clans had advanced a month 
earlier the Duke of Argyll would not have dared to 
advance against Mar's united forces, who might have 
pushed an army across the Forth sufficient to have 
paralyzed any exertion that might have been made to 
preserve a shadow of the Government. It may be said 
that if Dundee had lived to hold the commission of Mar, 
such a junction would not have been necessary, which 
amounts to no more than saying that the life of Dundee 
would have been tantamount to a restoration of the 
Stuarts. Mar was not trained in camp, nor did he 
possess the military genius of Dundee. Had Montrose 
a moiety of his force things would have been otherwise. 
Mar, trusting to Seaforth's reinforcement, was inactive, 
and Seaforth was for a time kept in by the collocation 
of Sutherland's levies, till he was joined by 700 
Macdonalds and detachments from other clans, amount- 
ing, with his own followers, to 3000 men, with which 
he promptly attacked the Earl of Sutherland, who fled 
with his mixed army precipitately to Bonar-Bridge, where 
they dispersed. A party of Grants on their way to join 
them, on being informed of Sutherland's retreat, thought 
it prudent to retrace their steps. Seaforth, thus relieved, 
levied considerable fines on Munro's territories, which 
were fully retaliated for during his absence with the 
Jacobite army, to join which he now set out ; and Sir 
John Mackenzie of Coul, whom he had ordered to occupy 
Inverness, was, after a gallant resistance, forced by Lord 
Lovat, at the head of a mixed body of Erasers and Grants, 
to retire with his garrison to Ross-shire. "Whether he 
followed his chief to Perth does not appear; but on 
Seaforth's arrival that Mar seems for the first time to 


have resolved on the passage of the Firth — a movement 
which led to the Battle of Sheriffmuir — is evident and 
conclusive as to the different features given to the whole 
campaign by the Whig camp at Alness, however credit- 
able to the noble Earl and his mother's confederates. 
But it is not our present province to enter on a military 
review of the conduct of either army preceding this 
consequential conflict, or to decide to which party the 
victory, claimed by both parties, properly belonged ; suffice 
it to say that above 3000 of Seaforths men formed a 
considerable part of the second line, and seem from the 
general account on that subject to have done their duty."* 
A great many of Seaforth's followers were slain, among 
whom were four Highlanders who appear to have signally 
distinguished themselves. They were John Mackenzie of 
Hilton, who commanded a company of the Mackenzies, 
John Mackenzie of Applecross, John Mac Rae of Conchra, 
and John Murchison of Achtertyre. Their prowess on 
the field has been commemorated by one of their 
followers, John MacRae, who escaped and returned home, 
in an excellent Gaelie poem, known as *' Latha Blir an 
t-Siorra," the " Day of Sheriffmuir." The fate of these 
renowned warriors was keenly regretted .by their High- 
land countrymen, and they are still remembered and dis- 
tinguished amongst them as "Ceithear lanan na h-Alba," 
or The four Johns of Scotland. 

During the preceding troubles Ellandonnan Castle got 
into the hands of the King's troops, but shortly 
before Sheriffmuir it was again secured by the following 
clever stratagem:— A neighbouring tenant applied to the 
Governor for some of the garrison to cut his corn, as he 
feared from the appearance of the sky and the croaking 
of ravens that a heavy storm was impending, and 
that nothing but a sudden separation of his crop from 
the ground could save his family from starvation. The 
Governor readily yielded to his solicitations, and sent the 
garrison of Government soldiers then in the castle to his 

* Bennetsfield MS. 


aid, who, on their return, discovered the ruse too late ; 
for the Kintail men were by this time reaping the spoils, 
and had possession of the castle. "The oldest inhabitant 
of the parish remembers to have seen the Kintail men 
under arms, dancing on the leaden roof, just as they were 
setting^ out for the Battle of Sheriffmuir, where this 
resolute band was cut to pieces."* 

Inverness continued meanwhile in possession of the 
Mackenzies, under command of the Governor, Sir John 
Mackenzie of Coul, and George Mackenzie of Gruinard. 
Macdonald of Keppoch was on the march to support Sir 
John at Inverness, and Lord Lovat, learning this, gathered 
his men tog[ether, and on the 7th of November decided to 
throw himself across the river Ness and place his forces 
directly between Keppoch and the Governor. Sir John, 
on discovering Lovat's movement, resolved to make a 
sally out of the garrison and place the enemy between 
him and the advancing Keppoch, where he could attack 
him with advantage, but Macdonald became alarmed and 
returned home through Glen-Urquhart, whereupon Lord 
Lovat marched straight upon Inverness, and took up a 
position about a mile to the west of the town. The 
authorities were summoned to send out the garrison and 
the Governor, or the town would be burnt and the 
inhabitants put to the sword. Preparations were made 
for the attack, but Sir John Mackenzie, considering that 
any further defence was hopeless, on the lOth of November 
collected together all the boats he could find and at high 
water safely effected his escape from the town, when 
Lovat marched in without opposition. His Lordship 
advised the Earl of Sutherland that he had secured 
possession of Inverness, and on the 15th of November the 
latter, leaving Colonel Robert Munro of Fowlis as Governor 
of Inverness, went with his followers, accompanied by 
Lord Lovat with some of his men, to Brahan Castle, and 
compelled the responsible men of the Clan Mackenzie 
who were not in the South with the Earl of Seaforth to 

* Old Staiistical Account 0/ Alntail^ 1 792. 


come under an obligation for their peaceable behaviour, 
and to return the arms previously taken from the Munros 
by Lord Seaforth at Alness; to release the prisoners in 
their possession, and promise not to assist Lord Seaforth 
directly or indirectly in his efforts against the Government ; 
that they would grant to the Earl of Sutherland any sum 
of money he might require from them upon due notice 
for the use of the Government; and, finally, that Brahan 
Castle, the principal residence of the Earl of Seaforth, 
should be turned into a garrison for King George. 

Seaforth returned from Sheriffmuir, and again collected 
his men near Brahan, but the Earl of Sutherland with a 
large number of his own men, Lord Reay s, the Munros, 
Rosses, Culloden's men, and the Erasers, marched to 
meet him and encamped at Beauly, within a few miles 
of Mackenzie's camp, and prepared to give him battle, 
•* which, when my Lord Seaforth saw, he thought it con- 
venient to capitulate, own the King's authority, disperse 
his men, and propose the mediation of these Government 
friends for his pardon. Upon his submission the King 
was graciously pleased to send down orders that upon 
giving up his arms and coming into Inverness, he might 
expect his pardon ; yet upon the Pretender s Anvil at 
Perth and my Lord Huntly's suggestions to him that 
now was the time for them to appear for their King and 
country, and that what honour they lost at Dunblane 
might yet be regained ; but while he thus insinuated to 
my Lord Seaforth, he privately found that my Lord 
Seaforth had by being an early suitor for the King's 
pardon, by promising to lay down his arms, and owning 
the King's authority, claimed in a great measure to 
an assurance of his life and fortune, which he thought 
proper for himself to purchase at the rate of disappoint- 
ing Seaforth, with hopes of standing by the good old 
cause, till Seaforth, with that vain hope, lost the King's 
favour that was promised him ; which Huntly embraced by 
taking the very first opportunity of deserting the Chevalier's 
cause, and surrendering himself upon terms made with 


him of safety to his h'fe and fortune. This sounded 
so sweet to him that he sleeped so secure as never to 
dream of any preservation for a great many good gentle- 
men that made choice to stand by him and serve under 
him that many other worthy nobles who would die or 
banish rather that not show their personal bravery, and 
all other friendly offices to their adherents/'* 

In February, 17 16, hopeless of attaining his object, the 
unfortunate son of James II. left Scotland, the land of 
his forefathers, never to visit it again, and Earl William 
followed him to the common resort of the exiled Jacobites 
of the time. ' On the 7th of the following May an Act of 
attainder was passed against the Earl and the other chiefs 
of the Jacobite party. Their estates were forfeited, though 
practically in many cases, and especially in that of 
Seaforth, it was found extremely difficult to carry the 
forfeiture into effect. The Master of Sinclair is re- 
sponsible for the base and unfounded allegation that the 
Earl of Seaforth, the Marquis of Huntly, and other 
Jacobites, were in treaty with the Government to deliver 
up the Chevalier to the Duke of Argyll, that they might 
procure better terms for themselves than they could 
otherwise expect. **This odious charge, which is not 
corroborated by any other writer, must be looked upon 
as highly improbable." f If any proof of the untruthful- 
ness of this charge be required it will be found in the fact 
that the Earl returned afterwards to the Island of Lewis, 
and re-embodied his vassals there under an experienced 
officer, Campbell of Ormundel, who had served with 
distinction in the Russian army ; and it was not until a 
large Government force was sent over against him, 
which he found it impossible successfully to oppose, that 
he recrossed to the mainland and escaped to France. 

Among the "gentlemen prisoners" taken to the Castle 
of Stirling on the day following the Battle of Sheriffmuir 
the following are found in a list published in Pattefis 

* Lord LavaCs Account of the taking of Inverness, Patten's Rebellion, 

t FullartoD*s Highland Clans ^ p. 47*» 


Rebellion — Kenneth Mackenzie, nephew to Sir Alex- 
ander Mackenzie of Coul ; John Maclean, adjutant to 
Colonel Mackenzie's Regiment; Colonel Mackenzie of 
Kildin, Captain of Fairburn's Regiment ; Hugh MacRae, 
Donald MacRae, and Christopher MacRae. 

The war declared against Spain in December, 17 18, 
again revived the hopes of the Jacobites, who, in accord- 
ance with a stipulation between the British Government 
and the Duke of Orleans, then Regent of France, had 
previously, with the Chevalier and the Duke of Ormont 
at their head, been ordered out of France. They repaired 
to Madrid, where they held conferences with Cardinal 
Alberoni, and concerted an invasion of Great Britain. 
On the loth of March, 17 19, a fleet, consisting of ten 
men-of-war and twenty-one transports, having on board 
five thousand men, a large quantity of ammunition, and 
thirty thousand muskets, sailed from Cadiz under the 
command of the Duke of Ormond, with instructions to 
join the rest of the expedition at Corunna, and to make 
a descent at once upon England, Scotland, and Ireland. 
The sorry fate of this expedition is well known. Only 
two frigates reached their destination, the rest having 
been dispersed and disabled off Cape Finisterre by a 
violent storm which lasted about twelve days. The two 
ships which survived the storm and reached Scotland had 
on board the Earl of Seaforth and Earl Marischal, the 
Marquis of Tullibardine, some field officers, three hundred 
Spaniards, and arms and ammunition for two thousand men. 
They entered Lochalsh about the middle of May ; effected 
a landing in Kintail and were there joined by a body of 
Seaforth's vassals, and a party of Macgregors under com- 
mand of the famous Rob Roy ; but the other Jacobite 
chiefs, remembering their previous disappointments and 
misfortunes, stood aloof until the whole of Ormond's forces 
should arrive. General Wightman, who was stationed at 
Inverness, hearing of their arrival, marched to meet them 
with 2000 Dutch troops and a detachment of the garrison 
at Inverness. Seaforth's forces and their allies took 


possession of the pass of Glenshiel, but on the approach 
of the Government forces they retired to the pass of 
Strachell, which they decided to defend at all hazards. 
They were there engaged by General Wightman, who, 
after a smart skirmish of about three hours' duration, and 
after inflicting some loss upon the Jacobites, drove 
them from one eminence to another, till night came on, 
when the Highlanders, their chief having been seriously 
wounded, and giving up all hopes of a successful resist- 
ance, retired during the night to the mountains, carrying 
Seaforth along with them ; and the Spaniards next morn- 
ing surrendered themselves prisoners of war.* Seaforth, 
Marischal, and Tullibardine, with the other principal 
officers, managed to effect their escape to the Western 
Isles, from which they afterwards found their way to the 
Continent. Rob Roy was placed in ambush with the view of 
attacking the Royal troops in the rear and it is said of him 
that having more zeal than prudence he attacked the rear 
of the enemy's column before they had become engaged 
in front ; his small party was routed, and the intention 
of placing the King's troops between two fires was thus 
defeated, t General Wightman sent a detachment to 
Ellandonnan Castle, which he ordered to be blown up and 

General Wightman advanced from the Highland Capital 
by Loch-Ness and a recent writer pertinently asks, ** Why 
he was allowed to pass by such a route without op- 
position } It is alleged that Marischal and Tullibardine 

* The Spaniards kept their powder magazine and balls behind the manse, 
but after the battle of Glenshiel they set fire to it lest it should fall into the 
hands of the King's troops. These balls are still gathered up by sportsmen, 
and are found in great abundance upon the g\ebe,^0/J SXattsfical Account of 

t Neit) Statistical Account of GUnshicl, by the Rev, John Macrae, who 
gives a minute description of the scenes of the battle, and informs us that 
in constructing the parliamentary road which runs through the Glen a few 
years before he wrote, several bullets and pieces of musket barrels were 
found; and the green mounds which covered the graves of the slain, and 
the ruins of a rude breast-work which the Highlanders constructed on the 
crest of the hill to cover their position still marked the scene of the conflict. 


had interrupted the movements of the invaders by ill- 
timed altercations about command, but we are provoked 
to observe that some extraordinary inter(X)sition seems 
evident to frustrate every scheme towards forwarding 
the cause of the ill-fated house of Stuart Had the 
Chevalier St George arrived earlier, as he might have 
done ; had William . Earl of Seaforth joined the Earl of 
Mar some time before, as he ought to have done ; and 
strengthened as Mar would then have been, had he 
boldly advanced on Stirling, as it appears he would have 
done, Argyll's force would have been annihilated, and 
James VIII. proclaimed at the Cross of Edinburgh. 
Well did the brave Highlanders indignantly demand, 
* What did you call us to arms for ? Was it to run 
away ? What did our own King come for ? Was it to 
see us butchered by hangmen ?* There was a fatuity 
that accompanied all their undertakings which neutralised 
intrepidity, devotedness, and bravery ; which the annals of 
no other people can exhibit, and paltry jealousies which 
stultified exertions, which, independently of political results, 
astonished Europe at large."* 

An Act of Parliament for disarming the Highlanders 
was passed in 17 16, but in some cases to very little 
purpose ; for some of the most disaffected . clans were 
better armed than ever, although by the Act the collectors 
of taxes were allowed to pay for the arms given in, in no 
case were any delivered except those which were broken, 
old, and unfit for use, and these were valued at prices 
far above what they were really worth. Not only so, but 
a lively trade in old arms was carried on with Holland 
and other Continental countries, and these arms were sold 
to the commissioners as Highland weapons, at exorbitant 
prices. General Wade afterwards found in the possession 
of the Highlanders a large quantity of arms which they 
obtained from the Spaniards who took part in the battle 
ef Glenshiel, and he computed that the Highlanders 
opposed to the Government possessed at this time no 

* Bennetsfield MS. 


less than five or six thousand arms of various kinds. 

Wade arrived in Inverness on the loth of August, 1725, 
and in virtue of another Act passed the same year, he 
was empowered to proceed to the Highlands and to 
summon the clans to deliver up their arms, and to carry 
several other recommendations of his own into effect. 
On his arrival he immediately proceeded to business, 
went to Brahan Castle, and called on the Mackenzies to 
deliver up their weapons. He took those presented to 
him on the word of Murchison, factor on the estate ; and 
by the representation of Sir John Mackenzie Lord Tarbat, 
Sir Kenneth Mackenzie of Cromarty, and Sir Colin 
Mackenzie of Coul, at the head of a large deputation 
of the clan, he compromised his more rigid instructions 
and accepted a selection of worn-out and worthless arms, 
and at the same time promised that if the clan exhibited 
a willing disposition to comply with the orders of the 
Government he would use his influence in the next 
Parliament to procure a remission for their chief and his 
followers; and we find, that "through his means, and the 
action of other minions of Court (Tarbat was then in 
power), Seaforth received a simple pardon by letters 
patent in. 1726, for himself and his clan, whose submission 
was recognised in the sham form of delivering their arms, 
a matter of the less consequence as few of that genera- 
tion were to have an opportunity of wielding them again 
in the same cause." 

General Wade made a report to the Government, from 
which we take the following extract: — *'The Laird of the 
Mackenzies, and other chiefs of the clans and tribes, 
tenants to the late Earl of Seaforth, came to me in a 
body, to the number of about fifty, and assured me that 
both they and their followers were ready to pay a dutiful 
obedience to your Majesty's commands, by a peaceable 
surrender of their arms ; and if your Majesty would be 
graciously pleased to procure them an indemnity for the 
.rents that had been misplaced for the time past, they 
•would for the future become faithful subjects to your 


Majesty, and pay them to your Majesty's receiver for the 
use of the public. I assured them of your Majesty's 
gracious intentions towards them, and that they might 
rely on your Majesty's bounty and clemency, provided 
they would merit it by their future good conduct and 
peaceable behaviour ; that I had your Majesty's com- 
mands to send the first summons to the country they 
inhabited ; which would soon give them an opportunity 
of showing the sincerity of their promises, and of having 
the merit to set the example to the rest of the High- 
lands, who in their turns were to be summoned to deliver 
up their arms, pursuant to the Disarming Act ; that they 
might choose the place they themselves thought most 
convenient to surrender their arms ; and that I would 
answer that neither their persons nor their property 
should be molested by your Majesty's troops. They 
desired they might be permitted to deliver up their 
arms at the Castle of Brahan, the principal seat of their 
late superior, who, they said, had promoted and en- 
couraged them to this their submission ; but begged that 
none of the Highland companies might be present; for, 
as they had always been reputed the bravest, as well as 
the most numerous of the northern clans, they thought 
it more consistent with their honour to resign their arms 
to your Majesty's veteran troops; to which I readily con- 
sented. Summonses were accordingly sent to the several 
clans and tribes, the inhabitants of i8 parishes, who were 
vassah or tenants of the late Earl of Seaforth, to bring 
or send in all their arms and warlike weapons to the 
Castle of Brahan, on or before the 28th of August On 
the 25th of August I went to the Castle of Brahan with 
a detachment of 200 of the regular troops, and was met 
there by the chiefs of the several clans and tribes, who 
assured me they had used their utmost diligence in 
collecting all the arms they were possessed of, which 
should be brought thither on the Saturday following, 
pursuant to the summons they had received ; and telling 
me they were apprehensive of insults or depredations from 


the neighbouring clans of the Camerons and others, who 
still continued in possession of their arms. Parties of the 
Highland companies were ordered to guard the passes 
leading to their country ; which parties continued there 
for their protection, till the clans in that neighbourhood 
were summoned and had surrendered their arms. On 
the day appointed the several clans and tribes assembled 
in the adjacent villages, and marched in good order 
through the great avenue that leads to the Castle; and 
one after the other laid down their arms in the court- 
yard in great quiet and decency, amounting to 784 of 
the several species mentioned in the Act of Parliament. 
The solemnity with which this was performed had un- 
doubtedly a great influence over the rest of the Highland 
clans; and disposed them to pay that obedience to your 
Majesty's commands, by a peaceable surrender of their 
arms, which they had never done to any of your Royal 
predecessors, or in compliance with any law either before 
or since the Union." 

The following account of Donald Murchison's pro- 
ceedings and of Seaforth's vassals during his exile in 
France is abridged from an interesting and valuable 
work.* It brings out in a prominent light the state of 
the Highlands and the futility of the power of the 
Government during that period in the North. As regards 
several of the forfeited estates which lay in inaccessible 
situations in the Highlands, the commissioners had up to 
this time been entirely baffled, never having been able 
even to get them surveyed. This was so in a very 
special manner in the case of the immense territory of 
the Earl of Seaforth, extending from Brahan Castle, near 
Dingwall in the east, across to Kintail in the west, as 
well as in the large island of the Lewis. The districts of 
Lochalsh and Kintail, on the west coast, the scene of the 
Spanish invasion of 17 19, were peculiarly difficult of 
access, there being no approach from the south, east, or 
north, except by narrow and difficult paths, while the 

* Chambers's Domestic Annais of Scotland. 



i^r—iTrii "ne rrntrr:* :r ire sir rmnnxx^aDoes 

sbrr-s of 

■T'r iTtt iitfTti!!!: :f rre :f:i:iti'r Elar. acnf -^ ii^frvy tries- 
TncKrr 1: zim. J-Ji rre "rnni t ^a::?; fonr in? 5cr::t to 
run ir Scarr. Tie rr.itr a^^srr it rie rusnrtfcg was 
Ziizsitt MirmsciT. fiiscsTn^rr: n""" i lne re ^cc~l ad- 
TrtT'^t^ :f rre * Hlirr ITr.ef rf SjiraL' Srcac of the 

rrrnt ici-^tr::^ :c EUsriDinmHT Tjifce. i ^wTGS£^iruf oear to 
rr»t mioirr amg it? i. nirrLT'sciie rxxn^ t«r i3c:3ec5v of 
-"■^•-riimr!f 2= rnTrrniHTiinT'^' x rsicriL poet frocn 

cc rre liEsc Tsirt re rre Xarrer^e r:rcntrrr. 
a tSE^ -vcctrr re x =irr? rt-rcrnn-rtr riais iz ir? CDQStnr's 
ar-*^"'^ tfrj;:! re hss t— : iztEref : te acsed mrvirr a sense 
of n^rt -m^zE:^ tr^rae^ ^n-frmnarsix n rriift of Acts of 

a T-TT rcTT serse cc i^trt; and in 

fae looked 
1:5? vSoca fae had a 

he was 

Wtj^^ Lori Sexfixtr: broc^t hi? c5i3 to fi^ht for 
Kirj^ Jzrre? r= 1715, I>rc2^ Mzrc^ifcc and an elder 
bn>L-.*r. T >!::!, arrc>-t:aa:r3*i riia a> Ssii cfficets of the 
re^irT'^t:: — !>>:rili as liecteciint-CoGocdL aad John as 
MiT>r. Tr.t laie Sir Rxierick i:i::>ry Murchison, the 
distin^jifhe-d Gex^^ist. ^rejit-^ri'"-^^^* ^" John, poifsessed 
a lar^c hory and 5£rYer "n!:ill,* whSch ooce contained the 
commisrion sect from Fraco? t3 I>joaid« as Colonel, 
bearing the inscription : — ** James Rex : fbnraid and spare 
not" John fell at Sheriffmuir, in the prime of life; 


Donald returning with the remains of the clan, was 
entrusted by the banished Earl with the management of 
estates no longer legally but still virtually his. And for 
this task Donald was in various respects well qualified, for, 
strange to say, the son of the castellan of Ellandonnan — 
the Sheriffmuir Colonel — had been **bred a writer" in 
Edinburgh, and was as expert at the business of a factor 
or estate-agent as in wielding the claymore.* 

In bold and avowed insubordination to the Govern- 
ment of George the First, Mackenzie's tenants continued 
for ten years to pay their rents to Donald Murchison, 
setting at nought all fear of ever being compelled to 
repeat the payment to the commissioners. 

In 1720 his Majesty's representatives made a move- 
ment for asserting their claims upon the property. In 
William Ross of Easterfearn and Robert Ross, a bailie 
of Tain, they found two men bold enough to undertake 
the duty of stewardship in their behalf over the Seaforth 
property, the estates of Grant of Glenmoriston, and of 
Chisholm of Strathglass. Little, however, was done that 
year beyond sending out notices to the tenants, and 
preparing for more strenuous measures for next year. 
The stir they made only produced excitement, not dismay. 
Some of the duine-uasals from about Lochcarron, coming 
down with their cattle to the south-country fairs, were 
heard to declare that the two factors would never get 
anything but leaden coin from the Seaforth tenantry. 
Donald went over the whole country showing a letter 
he had got from the Earl, encouraging the people to 
stand out; at the same time telling them that the old 
Countess was about to come north with a factory for the 
estate, when she would allow as paid for any rents which 
they might hand to him. The very first use to be made 
of this money was to bring both the old and the young 
Countesses home immediately to Brahan Castle, where 

* For a short time before the insurrection, he had acted as factor to Sir 
John Preston of Preston Hall, in Mid- Lothian, then also a forfeited estate, 
but of minor value. 



they were to live as they used to do. Part of the funds 
thus acquired, Murchison used in keeping on foot a 
party of some sixty armed Highlanders, who, in virtue 
of his commission as colonel, he proposed to employ in 
resisting any troops of George the First which might 
be sent to Kintail. Nor did he wait to be attacked, but 
in June, 1720, hearing of a party of excisemen passing 
near Dingwall with a large quantity of aqiM vita, he fell 
upon them and rescued their prize. The collector of the 
district reported this transaction to the Board of Excise, 
but no notice was taken of it 

In February, 1 721, the two factors sent officers of 
their own into the western districts, to assure the tenants 
of good usage, if they would make a peaceable submission ; 
but the men were seized, robbed of their papers, money, 
and arms, and quietly sent across the Frith of Attadale, 
though only after giving their solemn assurance that they 
would never attempt to renew their mission. Resenting 
this procedure, the two factors caused a constable to take 
a military party from Bernera Barracks, Glenelg, into 
Lochalsh, and, if (X)ssible, capture those who had been 
guilty. They made a stealthy night-march, and took two 
men ; but the alarm was given, the two men escaped, 
and began to fire down upon their captors from a hill- 
side ; then they set fire to the bothy as a signal, and 
such a coronach went over all Kintail and Lochalsh as 
made the soldiers glad to beat a quick retreat 

After some further proceedings, all ineffectual, the 
two factors were enabled, on the 13th day of September, 
to set forth from Inverness with a party of thirty soldiers 
and some armed servants of their own, with the design 
of enforcing submission to their claims. Let it be re- 
membered that in those days there were no roads in 
the Highlands, nothing but a few horse-tracks along 
the principal lines in the country, where not the slightest 
effort had ever been made to smooth away the natural 
difficulties of the ground. In two days the factors reached 
Invermoriston ; but here they were stopped for three days, 


waiting for their heavy luggage, which was storm-stayed 
in Castle Urquhart, and there nearly taken in a night 
attack by a partisan warrior bearing the name of Evan 
Roy Macgillivray. The tenantry of Glenmoriston at first 
fled with their cattle ; but afterwards a number of them 
came in and made the appearance of submission. The 
party then moved on towards Strathglass, while Evan 
Roy respectfully followed, to pick up any man or piece 
of baggage that might be left behind. At Erchless Castle, 
and at Invercannich, seats of the Chisholm, they held 
courts, and received the submission of a number of the 
tenants, whom, however, they subsequently found to be 
"very deceitful." 

There were now forty or fifty miles of the wildest 
Highland country before them, where they had reason to 
believe they should meet groups of murderous Camerons 
and Glengarry Macdonalds, and also encounter the re- 
doubtable Donald Murchison himself, with his guard of 
Mackenzies, unless their military force should be suffici- 
ently strong to render all such opposition hopeless. An 
arrangement having been made that they should receive 
an addition of fifty soldiers from Bernera, with whom to 
pass through the most difficult part of their journey, it 
seemed likely that they would appear too strong for 
resistance ; and, indeed, intelligence was already coming 
to them, that "the people of Kintail, being a judicious 
opulent people, would not expose themselves to the 
punishments of law," and that the Camerons were ab- 
solutely determined to give no further provocation to 
the Government. Thus assured, they set out in cheerful 
mood along the valley of Strathglass, and, soon after 
passing a place called Knockfin, they were reinforced by 
Lieutenant Brymer with the expected fifty men from 
Bernera. There were now about a hundred well armed 
men in the invading body. They spent the next day 
(Sunday) together in rest, to gather strength for the 
ensuing day's march of about thirty arduous miles, by 
which they hoped to reach Kintail. 


At four in the morning of Monday, the 2d of October, 
the party went forward, the Bemera men first, and the 
factors in the rear. They were as yet far from the height 
of the country, and from its more difficult passes; but 
they soon found that all the flattering tales of non- 
resistance were groundless, and that the Kintail men had 
come a good way out from that district in order to 
defend it The truth was, that Donald Murchison had 
assembled not only his stated band of Mackenzies, but a 
levy of the Lewis men under Seaforth's cousin, Mac- 
kenzie of Kildun ; also an auxiliary corps of Camerons, 
Glengarry and Glenmoriston men, and some of those very 
Strathglass men who had been making appearances of 
submission. Altogether he had, if the factors were rightly 
informed, three hundred and fifty men with long Spanish 
firelocks, under his command, and all posted in the way 
most likely to give them an advantage over the invading 

The rear-guard, with the factors, had scarcely gone a 
mile when they received a platoon of seven shots from a 
rising ground near them to the right, which, however, 
had only the efiect of piercing a soldier's hat The 
Bernera company left the party at eight o'clock, as they 
were passing Lx>chanachlee, and from this time is heard 
of no more ; how it made its way out of the country 
does not appear. The remainder still advancing, Easter- 
fearn, as he rode a little before his men, had eight shots 
levelled at him from a rude breast-work near by, and was 
wounded in two places, but was able to appear as if he 
had not been touched. Then calling out some High- 
landers in his service, he desired them to go before the 
soldiers and do their best, according to their own mode 
of warfare, to clear the ground of such lurking parties, so 
that the troops might advance in safety. They performed 
this service pretty effectually, skirmishing as they went 
on, and the main body advanced safely about six miles. 
They were here arrived at a place called Ath-na-Mullach, 
where the waters, descending^ from the Cralich and the 


lofty mountains of Kintail, issue eastwards through a 
narrow gorge into Loch Aflric. It was a place remark- 
ably well adapted for the purpose of a resisting party. 
A rocky boss, called Torr-a-Bheathaich, then densely 
covered with birch, closes up the glen as with a gate. 
The black mountain stream, "spear-deep," sweeps round 
it A narrow path wound up the rock, admitting of 
passengers in single file. Here lay Murchison with the 
best of his people, while inferior adherents were ready 
to make demonstrations at a little distance. As the 
invading party approached, they received a platoon from 
a wood on the left, but nevertheless went on. When, 
however, they were all engaged in toiling up the pass, 
forty men concealed in the heather close by fired with 
deadly effect, inflicting a mortal wound on Walter Ross, 
Easterfearn's son, while Bailie Ross's son was wounded 
by a bullet which swept across his breast. The Bailie 
called to his son to retire, and the order was obeyed ; 
but the two wounded youths and Bailie Ross's servant 
were taken prisoners, and carried up the hill, where they 
were quickly divested of clothes, arms, money, and 
papers. Easterfearn's son died next morning. The troops 
faced the ambuscade manfully and are said to have given 
their fire thrice, and to have beaten the Highlanders from 
the bushes near them ; but, observing at this juncture 
several parties of the enemy on the neighbouring heights, 
and being informed of a party of sixty in their rear, 
Easterfearn deemed it best to temporise. 

He thereupon sent forward a messenger to ask who 
they were that opposed the King's troops, and what they 
wanted. The answer was that, in the first place, they 
required to have Ross of Easterfearn delivered up to 
them. This was pointedly refused ; but it was at length 
arranged that Easterfearn should go forward and converse 
with the leader of the opposing party. The meeting 
took place at Beul«ath-na-MuIlach, and Easterfearn found 
himself confronted with Donald Murchison. It ended 
with Easterfearn giving up his papers, and covenanting, 


under a penalty of five hundred pounds, not to officiate 
in his factory any more ; after which he gladly departed 
homewards with his associates, under favour of a guard 
of Donalds men to conduct them safely past the sixty 
men who were lurking in the rear. It was alleged after- 
wards that the commander was much blamed by his own 
people for letting the factors off with their lives and 
baggage, particularly by the Camerons, who had been 
five days at their post with hardly anything to eat; and 
Murchison only pacified them by sending them a good 
supply of meat and drink. He had in reality given a 
very effective check to the two gentlemen-factors, to one 
of whom he imparted in conversation that any scheme 
of Government stewartship in Kintail was hopeless, for 
he and sixteen others had sworn that, if any person 
calling himself a factor came there, they would take his 
life, whether at kirk or at market, and deem it a merit- 
orious action, though they should be cut to pieces for 
it the next minute. 

A bloody grave for young Easterfearn in Beauly 
Cathedral concluded this abortive attempt to take the 
Seaforth estates within the scope of a law sanctioned by 
statesmen, but against which the natural feelings of nearly 
a whole people revolted. 

A second attempt was then made to obtain possession 
of the forfeited Seaforth estates for the Government. It 
was calculated that what the two factors and their attend- 
ants with a small military force had failed to accomplish 
in the preceding October, when they were beaten back 
with fatal loss at Ath-na-Mullach, might now be effected by 
a military party alone, if they should make their approach 
through a less critical passage. A hundred and sixty of 
Colonel Kirk's regiment left Inverness under Captain 
M'Neill, who had at one time been Commander of the 
Highland Watch. They proceeded by Dingwall, Strath- 
garve, and Loch Carron, an easier, though a longer way. 
Donald Murchison, nothing daunted, got together his 
followers, and advanced to the top of Mam Attadale, by 


a high pass from Loch Carron to the head of Loch 
Long, separating Lochaish from Kintail. Here a gallant 
relative, Kenneth Murchison, and a few others, volun- 
teered to go forward and plant themselves in ambush in 
the defiles of the Coille Bh^n (White Wood), while the 
bulk of the party should remain where they were. It 
would appear that this ambush party consisted of thirteen 
men, all peculiarly well armed. 

On approaching this dangerous place the Captain of 
the invading party went forward with a sergeant and 
eighteen men to clear the wood, while the main body 
came on slowly in the rear. At a place called Altanba- 
dubh, in the Coille Bh^n, he encountered Kenneth and 
his associates, whose fire wounded himself severely, killed 
one of his grenadiers, and wounded several others of 
the party. He persisted in advancing, and attacking the 
handful • of natives with sufficient resolution they slowly 
withdrew, as unable to resist; but the Captain now 
obtained intelligence that a large body of Mackenzies was 
posted in the mountain pass of Attadale. It seemed to 
him as if there was a design to draw him into a fatal 
ambuscade. His own wounded condition probably warned 
him that a better opportunity might occur afterwards. He 
turned his forces about, and made the best of his 
way back to Inverness. Kenneth Murchison quickly 
rejoined Colonel Donald on M4m Attadale, with the 
cheering intelligence that one salvo of thirteen guns had 
repelled the hundred and sixty red-coats. After this 
we hear of no more attempts to comprise the Seaforth 

Strange as it may seem, Donald Murchison, two years 
after this, a second time resisting the Government troops, 
came down to Edinburgh with eight hundred pounds of 
the Earls rents, that he might get the money sent 
abroad for Seaforth's use. He remained a fortnight in 
the city unmolested. He on this occasion appeared in 
the garb of a Lowland gentleman ; he mingled with old 
acquaintances, *' doers" and writers; and appeared at the 


Cross amongst the crowd of gentlemen who assembled 
there every day at noon. Scores knew all about his 
doings at Ath-na-MuIIach and the Coille Bh^n ; but 
thousands might have known without the chance of one 
of them betraying him to the Government. 

General Wade, in his report to the King in 1725, 
stated that the Seaforth tenants, formerly reputed the 
richest of any in the Highlands, were now become poor, 
by neglecting their business, and applying themselves to 
the use of arms. "The rents," he says, "continue to be 
collected by one Donald Murchison, a servant of the late 
Earl's, who annually remits or carries the same to his 
master in France. The tenants, when in a condition, 
are said to have sent him free gifts in proportion to their 
circumstances, but are now a year and a-half in arrear 
of rent. The receipts he gives to the tenants are as 
deputy-factor to the Commissioners of the Forfeited 
Estates, which pretended power he extorted from the 
factor (appointed by the said Commissioners to collect 
those rents for the use of the public), whom he attacked 
with above four hundred armed men, as he was going to 
enter upon the said estate, having with him a party of 
thirty of your Majesty's troops. The last year this 
Murchison marched in a public manner to Edinburgh, 
to remit eight hundred pounds to France for his 
master's use, and remained fourteen days there unmolested. 
I cannot omit observing to your Majesty that this 
national tenderness the subjects of North Britain have 
one for the other is a great encouragement for rebels 
and attainted persons to return home from their banish- 

Donald went again to Edinburgh about the end of 
August, 1725. On the 2d of September, George Lock- 
hart of Carnwath, writing from that city to the Chevalier 
St George, states, amongst other information regarding 
his party in Scotland, that Daniel Murchison (as he calls 
him) **is come to Edinburgh, on his way to France" — 
doubtless charged with a sum of rents for Seaforth. 


" He's been in quest of me, and I of him," says Lockhart, 
"these two days, and missed each other; but in a day 
or two he's to be at my country house, where Til get 
time to talk fully with him. In the meantime, I know 
from one that saw him that he has taken up and secured 
all the arms of value on Seaforth's estate, which he 
thought better than to trust them to the care and 
prudence of the several owners; and the other chieftains, 
I hear, have done the same." 

The Commissioners on the forfeited estates concluded 
their final report in 1725, by stating that they had 
not sold the estate of William, Earl of Seaforth, **not 
having been able to obtain possession and consequently 
to give the same to a purchaser."* 

The end of Donald's career can scarcely now be 

*In a Whig poem on the Highland Roads, wrillcn in 1737, Donald is 
characteris:ically spoken of as a sort of cateran, while, in reality, as every 
generous person can now well understand, he was a high-mindtd gentleman. 
The verses, nevertheless, as well as the appended note, are curious— 

Keppoch, Rob Roy, and Daniel Murchison, 
Cadets are servants to some chief of clan, 
From theft and robberies scarce did ever cease, 
Yet 'scaped the halter each, and died in peace. 
This last his exiled master*s rents collected. 
Nor unto king or law would be subjected. 
Though veteran troops upon the confines lay, 
Sufficient to make lord and tribe a prey, 
Vet passes strong through which no roads were cut. 
Safe-guarded Seaforlh*s clan, each in his hu^ 
Thus in strongholds the rogue securely lay, 
Neither could they by force be driven away. 
Till his attainted lord and chief of late 
By ways and means repurchased his estate. 

*' Donald Murchison, a kinsman and servant to the Earl of Seaforth, 
bred a writer, a man of small stature, but full of spirit and resolution, fought 
at Dunblane against the Government, anno 171 5. but continued thereafter 
to collect Seaforth's rents for his lord's use, and had some bickerings with 
the King's forces on that account, till, about five years ago, the Government 
was so tender as to allow Seaforih to re-purchase his estate, when the said 
Murchison had a prindpal hand in strjking the bargain for his master. 
How he fell under Seafonh's displeasure, and died thereafter, \% not to the 
purpose here to mention. "* 


passed over in a slighting manner. The story is most 
painful. The Seaforth of that day — very unlike some of 
his successors — proved unworthy of the devotion which 
this heroic man had shown to him. When his lordship 
took possession of the estates which Donald had in a 
manner preserved for him, he discountenanced and 
neglected him. Murchison's noble spirit pined away 
under this treatment, and he died in the very prime of 
his days of a broken heart. He lies in a remote little 
church-yard in the parish of Urray, where his worthy 
relative, the late Sir Roderick Impey Murchison, raised a 
suitable monument over his grave. The traditional account 
of Donald Murchison, communicated to Chambers by the 
late Finlay Macdonald, Druidaig, states that the heroic 
commissioner had been promised a handsome reward for 
his services ; but Seaforth proved ungrateful. ** He was 
ofTered only a small farm called Bun-Da-Loch, which 
pays at this day to Mr Matheson, the proprietor, no 
more than £60 a year; or another place opposite to 
Inverinate House, of about the same value. It is no 
wonder he refused these paltry offers. He shortly after- 
wards left this country, and died in the prime of life 
near Conon. On his death-bed, Seaforth went to 'see 
him, and asked how he was, when he said, 'Just as you 
will be in a short time,' and then turned his back. 
They never met again." 

The death of George I., in 1726, suggested to the 
Chevalier a favourable opportunity for attempting a second 
Rising, and of again stirring up his adherents in Scotland, 
whither he was actually on his way, until strongly re- 
monstrated with on the folly and hoplessness of such an 
undertaking. It was pointed out to him that it could 
only end in the ruin of his family pretentions, and in 
that of many of his friends who might be tempted to 
enter on the rash scheme more through personal attach- 
ment to himself than from any reasonable prospect they 
might see of success. He therefore retraced his steps to 
Boulogne ; and the Earl of Seaforth having been pardoned 


in the same year,* felt free once more to return to his 
native land, where, according to Captain Matheson, he 
spent the remainder of his life in retirement, and **with 
fev objects to occupy him or .to interest us beyond the 
due regard of his personal friends and the uninterrupted 
loyalty of his old vassals." He must, however, have been 
in tightened circumstances, for, on the 27th of June, 1728, 
he writes a letter to the Lord Advocate, in which he 
refers to a request he had made to Sir Robert Walpole, 
who advised him to put his claim in writing that it might 
be submitted to the King. This was done, but "the 
King would neither allow anything of the kind or give 
orders to be granted what his Royal father had granted 
before. Orf hearing this, I could not forbear making 
appear how ill I was used. The Government in posses- 
sion of the estate, and I in the interim allowed to starve, 
though they were conscious of my complying with 
whatever I promised to see put in execution." He 
makes a strong appeal to his friend to contribute to an 
arrangement that would tend to the mutual satisfaction 
of all concerned, "for the way I am now in is most 
disagreeable, consequently, if not rectified, will choose 
ratRer to seek my bread elsewhere than continue longer 
in so unworthy a situation."! 

Notwithstanding the personal remission granted in his 
favour for the part he had taken in the Rising of 17 15, 
the title of Earl of Seaforth, under which alone he was 
proscribed, passed under attainder, while the older and 
original dignity of Kintail, which only became subordi- 

* By letters dated 12th July, 1726, King George L was pleased to dis- 
charge him from imprisonment or the execution of his person on his attainder, 
and King George II. made him a grant of the arrears of feu-duties due to 
the Crown out of his forfeited estate. An Act of Parliament was passed 
in 1733, to enable William Mackenzie, la!c Earl of Seaforth, to sue or 
maintain any action or suit notwithstanding his attainder, and to remove 
any disability in him, by reason of his said attainder, to take or inherit 
any real or pergonal estate that may or shall hereafter descend to him.— 
Wood's Dottglas^ Peerage. 

t Cullodcn Papers, pp. 103-4 


nate by a future elevation, remained unnoticed, and, 
consequently unvitiated in the male descent of Kenneth, 
first Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, granted by patent on 
the 19th of November, 1609, and it has accordingly been 

Earl William married in early life, Mary, the only 
daughter and co-heir of Nicholas Kenet of Coxhow, 
Northumberland, with issue, three sons — 

I. Kenneth, who succeeded his father. 

II. Ronald, who died unmarried. 

III. Nicholas, who was drowned at Douay, without 

IV. Frances, who married the Hon. John Gordon of 
Kenmure, whose father was beheaded in 1715. 

He died in 1740 in the Island of Lewis, was buried 
there in the Chapel of Ui, and was succeeded by his 
eldest son, 


Which courtesy title he continued to bear as the sub- 
ordinate title of his father; and under this designation he 
is named as a freeholder of Ross in 1741. In the same 
year he was elected as member of Parliament for the 
Burgh of Inverness, for his own County of Ross in 1747, 
and again in 1754. In 1741, the year after Earl 
William's death, the Crown sold the Seaforth estates, 
including the lands of Kintail, the barony of Ellandonnan, 

*This Act (of Attainder) omits all meniion of the subordinate though 
older title of " Lord Kintail,** which he and all the collateral branches 
descended of George, the second Earl, had taken up and assumed in all 
their deeds and transactions, though there was no occasion to use it in 
Parliament, as they appeared there as Earls ofStaforiK It is questionable 
therefore, if the Act of Attainder of William ^ Earl of Seaforth^ by that desig- 
nation only could affect the barony of Kintail; and as the designation to the 
patentee of it, *'Suisque heredibus maxulis,'* seems to render the grant 
an entailed fee agreeable to the 7th of Queen Anne, c. 21, and the protecting 
clause of 26th Henry VIII. c. 13, the claimant George Falconer Mackenzie, 
is entitled to the benefit cf such remainder, and in fact such remainder was 
given effect to by the succession of Earl George to his brother Colin's 
titles as his heir male collateral.— ^//(7/i^a/i^^ Service. 


and others, for ;£'25.i09 8s 3jd, under burden of an 
annuity of ;£iooo to Frances, Countess Dowager of 
Seaforth. The purchase was for the benefit of Kenneth, 
Lord Fortrose.* He does not appear to have passed 
much of his time in the Highlands, but about a year 
after his succession, he seems, from a warrant issued by 
his authority to have been in the North. It is signed by 
"Colin Mackenzie, Baillie," and addressed to Roderick 
Mackenzie, officer of Locks, commanding him to summon 
and warn Donald Mackenzie, tacksman of Lainbest, and 
others, to compear before •* Kenneth, Lord Fortrose, 
heritable proprietor of the Estate of Seaforth, at Braan 
Castle, or before his Lordships Baron Baillies, or other 
judges appointed by him there, upon the loth day of 
October next, to come to answer several unwarrantable 
and illegal things to be laid to their charge:" Dated at 
"Stornoway, 29th September, 1741." There is no doubt 
that in early life I-ord Fortrose, during the exile of his 
father, held communications with the representative of 
the Stuarts. It is a common tradition in Kintail to this 
day that he and Sir Alexander Macdonald of Sleat were 
school companions of the Prince in France, and were 
among those who first imbued his mind with the idea 
of attempting to regain possession of his ancient Kingdom 
of Scotland, promising him that they would use their 
influence with the other northern chiefs to rise in his 
favour, although when the time for action came neither 
of them joined him. 

The unfortunate position in which Kenneth found 
himself by the Jacobite proclivities of his ancestors, and 
especially those of his father, appears to have made a 
deep impression upon his mind, and to have induced 
him to be more cautious in supporting a cause which 
seemed certain to land him in final and utter ruin. But 
though he personally held aloof, several of the clan joined 
the Prince, mostly under George, third Earl of Cromarty, 
and a few under John Mackenzie, III. of Torridon. 

• Eraser's Earls of Cromartie, 


Several young and powerful Macraes, who strongly sym- 
pathised with the Prince, though unaccompanied by any 
of their natural leaders, left Kintail never again to return ; 
and, it is said, that several others had to be bound with 
ropes by their friends, to keep them at home. The 
influence of Lord President Forbes weighed strongly with 
Mackenzie in deciding him to support the Government, 
and, in return for his loyalty, the honours of the house 
of Seaforth were, in part, afterwards restored to his son. 
In 1744 an exciting incident occurred in Inverness 
in which his Lordship played a conspicuous part, and 
which exemplifies the impetuous character of the Highland 
chiefs of the day. A court of the Freeholders of the county 
was being held there at Michaelmas to elect a collector 
of the land tax, at which were present, among others. 
Lord President Forbes, Norman Macleod of Macleod, 
Lord Fortrose, Lord Lovat, and many leading members 
of the Clan Fraser. A warm debate upon some burning 
business arose between Lords Lovat and Fortrose, when 
the former gave the latter the lie direct. To this Mac- 
kenzie replied by giving Lovat a smart blow in the face. 
Mutual friends at one intervened between the fiery an- 
tagonists. But the Fraser blood was up, and Fraser of 
Foyers, who was present, interfered in the interest of the 
chief of his clan, but more, however, it is said, in that 
capacity than from any personal esteem in which he 
held him. He felt that in his chief's person the 
whole clan had been insulted as if it had actually been 
a personal blow to every man of the name, and he 
instantly sprung down from the gallery and presented 
a loaded and cocked pistol at Mackenzie's head, to whom 
it would undoubtedly have proved fatal had not one of 
the gentlemen present, with great presence of mind, 
thrown his plaid over the muzzle, and thus arrested and 
diverted its contents. In another moment swords and 
dirks were drawn on both sides, but the Lord President 
and Macleod laid hold of Mackenzie and hurried him 
from the Court. Yet he no sooner gained the outside 


than one of the Erasers levelled him to the ground 
with a blow from a heavy bludgeon, notwithstanding 
the efforts of his friends to protect him. The matter 
was, however, afterwards, with great difficulty, arranged 
by mutual friends, between the great clans and their 
respective chiefs, otherwise the social jealousies and 
personal irritations which then prevailed throughout the 
whole Highlands, fanned by this incident, would have 
produced a lasting and bloody feud between the Erasers 
and the Mackenzies. 

In the following year, shortly after the Lord President 
arrived at Culloden from the south, he wrote a letter to 
Mackenzie dated the i ith of October 1745, in which he tells 
him that the Earl of Loudon had come the day before to 
Cromarty, and brought some **credit" with him, which "will 
enable us to put the Independent Companies together for the 
service of the Government and for our mutual protection." 
He requested Eortrose to give immediate orders to pick 
out those who are first to form one of the companies, 
that they might receive their commissions and arms. 
Alexander Mackenzie of Eairburn was to command. 
There was, the President said, a report that Barrisdale 
had gone to Assynt to raise the men of that country, 
to be joined to those of Coigeach, who were said to have 
orders to be in readiness to join Macdonald, and with 
instructions to march through Mackenzie's territories in 
order to find out how many of his Lordship's vassals 
could be persuaded, by fair means or foul, to join the 
standard of the Prince. ** I hope this is not true," writes 
the President; "if it is, it is of the greatest consequence 
to prevent it. I wish Eairburn were at home ; your 
Lordship will let me know when he arrives, as the Lord 
Cromarty has refused the company I intended for his 
son. Your Lordship will deliberate to whom you would 
have it given."* 

Exasperated at this time by the exertions made by 
President Eorbes to obstruct the designs of the disaffected, 

* Culloden Pafers, pp. 421-2. 


a plan was formed to seize him by some of the Frasers, 
a party of whom, amounting to about 200, attacked 
Culloden House during the night of the isth of October, 
but the President being on his guard they were repulsed.* 
On the 13th of October Mackenzie had written to 
Forbes that he surmised some young fellows of his name 
attempted to raise men for the Prince, but that he sent 
expresses to the suspected parts, with orders to the 
tenants not to stir under pain of death without his 
leave, though their respective masters should be imprudent 
enough to desire them to do so. The messengers returned 
with the peoples blessings for his protection, and with 
assurances that they would do nothing without his orders, 
**so that henceforward your Lordship need not be con- 
cerned about any idle report from benorth Kessock." 
In a letter dated '* Brahan Castle, 19th October 1745," 
Lord Fortrose refers to the attempt on the President's 
house, which, he says, surprised him extremely, and 
**is as dirty an action as I ever heard of," and he did 
not think any gentleman would be capable of doing such 
a thing. He adds, **as I understand your cattle are 
taken away, I beg you will order your steward to write 
to Colin, or anybody else here, for provisions, as I can 
be supplied from the Highlands. I am preparing to act 
upon the defensive, and I suppose will soon be provoked 
to act on the offensive. I have sent for a strong party 
to protect my house and overawe the country. None of 
my Kintail men will be down till Tuesday, but as the 
river is high, and I have parties at all boats, nothing can 
be attempted. Besides, I shall have reinforcements every 
day. I have ordered my servants to get, at Inverness, 
twelve or twenty pounds of powder with a proportionable 
quantity of shot. If that cannot be bought at Inverness, 
I must beg you will write a line to Governor Grant to 
give my servant the powder, as I can do without the 
shot . . . Barrisdale has come down from Assynt, 
and was collared by one of the Maclauchlans there for 

♦ Fraser's Earls of Crtmartie, 


offering to force the people to rise, and he has met with 
no success there. I had a message from the Mackenzies 
in Argyllshire to know what they should do. Thirty are 
gone from Lochiel ; the rest, being about sixty, are at 
home. I advised them to stay at home and mind their 
own business." 

On the 28th of the same month his Lordship writes 
to inform the President that the Earl of Cromarty and 
his son, Macculloch of Glastullich, and Ardloch's brother, 
came to Brahan Castle on the previous Friday ; that it 
was the most unexpected visit he had received for some 
time, that he did not like to turn them out, that Cromarty 
was pensive and dull ; but that if he had known what he 
knew at the date of writing he would have made them 
prisoners, for Lord Macleod went since to Lochbroom 
and Assynt to raise men. He enclosed for the President's 
use the names of the officers appointed to the two Mac- 
kenzie companies, and intimated that he offered the 
commission to both Coul and Redcastle, but that both 
refused it It was from Coul's house, he says, that Lord 
Macleod started for the North, and that vexed him. On 
the same day Forbes acknowledges receipt of this letter, 
and requests that the officers in the two companies 
should be appointed according to Mackenzie's recom- 
mcdations, " without any further consideration than that you 
judge it right," and he desires to see Sir Alexander of 
Fairburn for an hour next day to carry a proposal to his 
Lordship for future operations. *' I think," he adds, *' it 
would be right to assemble still more men about Brahan 
than you now have ; the expense shall be made good ; 
and it will tend to make Caberfey respectable, and to 
discourage folly among your neighbours." In a letter of 
6th November the President says, ** I supposed that your 
Lordship was to have marched Hilton's company into 
town (Inverness) on Monday or Tuesday ; but 1 dare say 
there is a good reason why it has not been done." 

On the 8th of November Mackenzie informs the Lord 
President that the Earl of Cromarty had crossed the river 



at Contin, with about a hundred men, on his way to 
Beauly, "owing to the neglect of my spies, as there's 
rogues of all professions." Lord Macleod, Cromarty's 
son, came from Assynt and Lochbroom the same day, 
and followed his father to the rendezvous, but after 
traversing the whole of that northern district he did not 
get a single volunteer. **Not a man started from Ross- 
shire, except William, Kilcoy's brother, with seven men, 
and a tenant of Redcastle with a few more ; and if 
Lentran and Torridon did go off last night, they did 
not carry between them a score of men. I took a ride 
yesterday to the westward with two hundred men, but 
find the bounds so rugged that it's impossible to keep a 
single man from going by if he has a mind. However, 
I threatened to burn their cornyards if anybody was from 
home this day, and I turned one house into the river 
for not finding its master at home. It's hard the Gov- 
ernment gives nobody in the North power to keep 
people in order. I don't choose to send a company to 
Inverness until I hear what they are determined to do 
at Lx>rd Lovat's." 

The Earl of Loudon writes to Marshal Wade, then 
Commander-in-Chief in the North, under date of i6th 
November, saying that 150 or 160 Mackenzies, seduced 
by the Earl of Cromarty, marched in the beginning of 
that week up the north side of Loch-Ness, expecting to 
be followed by 500 or 600 Erasers, under command of 
the Master of Lovat, but the Mackenzies had not on that 
date passed the mountains. On the i6th of December 
Eortrose writes asking for ;fi^400 expended by him during 
two months on his men going to and coming from the 
Highlands, for which he would not trouble him only that 
he had a very "melancholy appearance" of getting his 
Martinmas rent, as the people would be glad of any 
excuse for non-payment, and the last severe winter, and 
their having to leave home, would afford them a very 
good one. He was told by the President in reply, that 
his letter had been submitted to Lord Loudon, that both 


of them ag^reed that his Lordship's expenses must have 
been far greater than what he claimed, "but as cash is 
very low with us at present, all we can possibly do is to 
let your Lordship have the pay of the two companies 
from the date of the letter signifying that they were 
ordered to remain at Brahan for the service of the 
Government. The further expense, which we are both 
satisfied it must have cost your Lordship, shall be made 
'good as soon as any money to be applied to contingencies, 
which we expect, shall come to hand, and if it should 
not come so soon as we wish, the account shall be made 
up and solicited, in the same manner with what we lay 
out of our own purses, which is no inconsiderable sums." 
This correspondence will show the confidence which then 
existed between the Government and Lord Fortrose. 

On the 9th of December the two Mackenzie companies 
were marched into Inverness. Next day, accompanied 
by a detachment from Fort-Augustus, they proceeded to 
Castle Dounie for the purpose of bringing Lord Lovat 
to account. The crafty old Simon agreed to come in to 
Inverness and to deliver up his arms on the 14th of the 
month, but instead of doing so he of course made good 
his escape. 

After the battle of Prestonpans, the Government, on 
the recommendation of the Earl of Stair, forwarded twenty 
blank commissions to President Forbes, with orders to 
raise as many companies of 100 men each, among the 
Highlanders. Eighteen of the twenty were sent to the 
Earls of Sutherland and Cromarty, Lords Fortrose and 
Reay, the Lairds of Grant and Macleod, and Sir Alex- 
ander Macdonald of Sleat, with instructions to raise the 
Highland companies in their respective districts. The 
Earl of Cromarty, while pretending to comply with the 
instructions of the Lord President, offered the command 
of one of the companies to a neighbouring gentleman, 
whom he well knew to be a strong Jacobite, and at the 
same time made some plausible excuse for his son's 
refusal of another of the commissions. 


When Lord John Drummor.d lance-i with a body of 
Iri^h and Scotch troops, in the service of the French, 
to aid Prince Charles, he wrote to Mackenzie announcing 
his arrival and earnestly requesting him to declare at 
once for the Stuart cau5e, as the onlv means bv which 
he could "now expect to retrieve his character.' All the 
means at Drummonds disposal proved futile, and the 
Mackenzies were thus kept out of the Rising of 1745. 

That Prince Charles fully appreciated the importance 
of having the Mackenzies led by their natural chief, for 
or against him, will be seen from Lord Macleod*s Narra- 
tive of the Rebellion.* '* We set out," his Lordship says, 
''from Dunblain on the 12th of Januar>-, and arrived the 
same evening at Glasgow. I immediately went to pay 
my respects to the Prince, and found that he was already 
set down to supper. Dr Cameron told Lord George 
Murray, who sat by the Prince, who I was, on which 
the Lord Murray introduced me to the Prince, whose 
hand I had the honour to kiss, after which the Prince 
ordered me to take my place at the table. After supper 
I followed the Prince to his apartment to give him an 
account of his affairs in the North, and of what had 
passed in these parts during the time of his expedition 
to England. I found that nothing surprised the Prince 
so much as to hear that the Earl of Seaforth had 
declared against him, for he heard without emotion the 
names of the other people who had joined the Earl of 
Loudon at Inverness; but when I told him that Seaforth 
had likewise sent two hundred men to Inverness for the 
service of the Government, and that he had likewise 
hindered many gentlemen of his clan from joining my 
father (the Earl of Cromarty) for the service of the 
Stuarts, he turned to the French Minister and said to 
him, with some warmth, Hd! inon Dieu! ei Seaforth est 
aussi contre inoiT 

At this stage a hero named Mackenzie, who had done 
good service to the Prince in his wanderings through the 

• Printed at length in Eraser's Earls of Crcm^rtic* 


Highlands after the battle of Culloden, may be mentioned. 
Such a small tribute is due to the gallant Roderick Mac- 
kenzie, whose intrepidity and presence of mind in the 
last agonies of death, saved his Prince from pursuit at 
the time, and was consequently the means of his ultimate 
escape in safety to France. Charles had been pursued 
with the most persevering assiduity, but Rodericks ruse 
proved so successful on this occasion that further search 
was for a time considered unnecessary. Mackenzie was a 
young man, of respectable family, who joined the Prince 
at Edinburgh, and served as one of his life-guards. 
Being about the same age as his Royal Highness, and, 
like him, tall, somewhat slender, and with features in 
some degree resembling his, he might, by ordinary 
observers not accustomed to see the two together, have 
passed for the Prince himself. As Roderick could not 
venture with safety to return to Edinburgh, where still 
lived his two maiden sisters, he after the battle of Culloden 
fled to the Highlands and lurked among the hills of 
Glenmoriston, where, about the middle of July, he was 
surprised by a party of Government soldiers. Mackenzie 
endeavoured to escape, but, being overtaken, he turned 
on his pursuers, and, drawing his sword, bravely defended 
himself. He was ultimately shot by one of the red-coats, 
but as he fell, mortally wounded, he exclaimed, ''You 
have killed your Prince ! You have killed your Prince I " 
whereupon he immediately expired. The soldiers, over- 
joyed at their supposed good fortune, cut off his head, 
^nd hurried off to Fort-Augustus with their prize. The 
Duke of Cumberland, quite convinced that he had now 
obtained the head of his Royal relative, packed it up 
carefully, ordered a post-chaise, and at once went off 
to London, taking the head along with him. After his 
arrival the deception was discovered, but meanwhile it 
proved of great assistance to Prince Charles in his ulti- 
mately successful efforts to escape. 

Shortly after the battle of Culloden a fleet of ships 
appeared ofT the coast of Lochbroom, under the command 


of Captain Fergusson. They dropped anchor at Loch- 
Ceannard, when a large party went ashore and proceeded 
up the Strath to the residence of Mr Mackenzie of 
Langwell, connected by marriage with the Earl of 
Cromarty. Langwell having supported the Prince, fled 
out of the hated Fergusson 's way ; but his lady was 
obliged to remain at home to attend to a large family of 
young children, who were at the time laid up with 
smallpox. The house was ransacked. A large chest 
containing the family and other valuable papers, in- 
cluding a wadset of Langwell and Inchvannie from her 
relative, George, Earl of Cromarty, was burnt before her 
eyes ; and about fifty head of fine Highland cattle were 
mangled by the swords and driven to the ships of the 
spoilers. Nor did this satisfy them. They committed 
similar depredations, without any discrimination between 
friend or foe, for eight days during which they remained 
in the neighbourhood.* 

It is well known that Mackenzie had strong Jacobite 
feelings although his own prudence and the influence of 
Lord President Forbes secured his support for the 
Government ** Though many respectable individuals of 
the Clan Mackenzie had warmly espoused the cause of 
Charles, Lord Fortrose seems at no time to have pro- 
claimed openly for him, whatever hopes he might have 
countenanced when in personal communication with the 
expatriated Sovereign, as indeed there is cause to infer 
something of the kind from a letter which, towards the 
end of November, 1745, was addressed by Lord John 
Drummond to Kenneth, pressing him instantly to join 
the Prince, then successfully penetrating the West of 
England, and qualifying the invitation by observing that 
it was the only mode for his Lordship to retrieve his 
character. Yet so little did Fortrose or his immediate fol- 
lowers affect the cause, that when Lord Lovat blockaded 
Fort- Augustus, two companies of Mackenzies, which had 
been stationed at Brahan, were withdrawn, and posted 

* Neio Statistical Account of Lochbroottu 


by Lord Loudon, the commander-in-chief of the Govern- 
ment forces, at Castle Dounie, the strongfhold of Fraser, 
and, with the exception of these, the Royal party 
received no other support from the family of Seaforth, 
though many gentlemen of the clan served in the King's 
army. Yet it appears that a still greater number, with 
others whose ancestors identified themselves with the 
fortunes of the House of Kintail, were inclined to espouse 
the more venturous steps of the last of the Stuarts. 
George, the last Earl of Cromarty, being then para- 
mount in power, and, probably so, in influence, even 
to the chief himself, having been, for certain reasons, 
liable to suspicions as to their disinterested nature, declared 
for Charles, and under his standard his own levy, with 
all the Jacobite adherents of the clan, ranged them- 
selves, and were mainly instrumental in neutralizing Lord 
Loudon's and the Laird of Macleods forces in the 
subsequent operations of 1746, driving them with the 
Lord President Forbes, to take shelter in the Isle of 

Kenneth married on the nth of September, 1741, 
Lady Mary, eldest daughter of Alexander Stewart, sixth 
Earl of Galloway, with issue — 

I. Kenneth, his heir and successor. 

II. Margaret, who on the 4th of June, married William 

III. Mary, who married Henry Howard, of Effingham, 
with issue. 

IV. Agnes, who married J. Douglas. 

V. Catherine, who on the ist of March, 1773, married 
Thomas Griffin Tarpley, student of medicine. 

VI. Frances, who married General Joseph Wald. 

VII. Euphemia, who. on the 2nd of April, 1771, married 
William Stewart of Castle Stewart, M.P. for the County 
of Wigton. 

His wife died in London on the i8th of April, 175 1, 
and was buried at Kensington, where a monument was 

* Bennetsiield MS. 


raised to her memory. Kenneth died, also in London, on 
the 19th of October, 1761, and was buried in Westminster 
Abbey, when he was succeeded by his only son, 


Viscount Fortrose, and Baron Ardelve, in the Peerage 
of Ireland. From his small stature, he was generally 
known among the Highlanders as the ** Little Lord." 
He was born in Edinburgh on the iSth of January. 1744, 
and at an early age entered the army. As a return for 
his father's loyalty to the House of Hanovar in 1745, and 
his own steady support of the reigning family, George III., 
in 1764, raised him to the peerage by the title of Baron 
Ardelve. He was created Viscount Fortrose in 1766, and 
in 1771, Earl of Seaforth, all in the peerage of Ireland. 
To evince his gratitude for this magnanimous act, he, in 
1778, offered to raise a regiment for general service. 
The offer was accepted by his Majesty, and a fine body 
of 1 1 30 men were in a very short time raised by his 
Lordship, principally on his own estates in the north, 
and by gentlemen of his own name. Of these, five 
hundred were enlisted among his immediate vassals, and 
about four hundred from the estates of the Mackenzies 
of Scatwell, Kilcoy, Redcastle, and Applecross. The 
officers from the south to whom he gave commissions 
in the regiment brought about two hundred men, of 
whom forty-three were English and Irish. The Macraes 
of Kintail, always such faithful followers and able sup- 
porters of the House of Seaforth, were so numerous in 
the new regiment that it was known more by their name 
than by that of Seaforths own kinsmen, and so much 
was this the case that the well-known mutiny which took 
place in Edinburgh, on the arrival of the regiment there, 
is still known as "the affair of the Macraes."* The regi- 

*The Seaforth Highlanders were marched to Leith, where they were 
quartered for a short interval, though long enough to produce complaints 
about the infringement of their engagements, and some pay and bounty 
which they said were due them. Their disaffeciion was greatly increased by 


ment was embodied at Elgin in May, 1778, and inspected 
there by General Skene, when it was so effective that 
not a single man was rejected. Seaforth, appointed 
Colonel on the 29th of December, 1777, was now pro- 
moted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel-Commandant, 
and the regiment was called the 78th (afterwards the 
72nd), or Ross-shire Regiment of Highlanders. 

The grievances complained of at Leith being removed, 
the regiment embarked at that port, accompanied by 
their Colonel, and the intention of sending them to India 
having been abandoned, one half of the corps was sent 
to Guernsey and the other half to Jersey. Towards the 
end of April, 178 1, the two divisions assembled at Ports- 
mouth, whence they embarked for India on the 12th of 
June following, being then 973 strong, rank and file. 
Though in excellent health, the men suffered so much 
from scurvy, in consequence of the change of food, that 
before their arrival at Madras, on the 2d of April, 1782, 
no fewer than 247 of them died, and out of those who 
landed alive only 369 were fit for service. Their Chief 
and Colonel died in August, 1 781, before they arrived 
at St Helena, to the great grief and dismay of his faith- 
ful followers, who looked up to him as their principal 
source of encouragement and support. His loss was 
naturally associated in their minds with recollections of 
home, with melancholy remembrances of their absent 

the activity of emissaries from Edinburgh, like those just mentioned as 
having gone down from Ix)ndon to Portsmouth. The regiment refused to 
embark, and marching out of Leith, with pipes playing and two plaids fixed 
on poles instead of colours, took a position on Arihur*s Seat, of which 
they kept possession for several days, during which time the inhabitants of 
Edinburgh amply supplied them with provisions and ammunition. After 
much negotiation, a proper understanding respecting the cause of their 
complaint was brought about, and they marched down the hill in the same 
manner in which they had gone up, with pipes playing; and "with the 
Earls of Seaforth and Dunmorc, and General Skene, at their head, they 
entered Leith, and went on board the transports with the greatest readiness, 
and cheerfulness.'' In this case, as in that of the Athole Highlanders, 
none of 'he men were brought to trial, or even put into confinement for 
these acts of open resistance. ^StmuirCs Sketches — Appendix p. Ixitzir, 


kindred, and with forebodings of their own future destiny ; 
and so strong was this feeling impressed upon them that 
it materially contributed to that prostration of mind which 
made them all the more readily become the victims of 
disease. They well knew that it was on their account 
alone that he had determined to forego the comforts of a 
splendid fortune and high rank to encounter the privations 
and inconveniences of a long voyage, and the dangers and 
other fatigues, of military service in a tropical climate.* 

His Lordship married on the 7th of October, 1765, 
Lady Caroline Stanhope, eldest daughter of William, 
second Earl of Harrington, and by her — who died in 
London from consumption, from which she suffered for 
nearly two years, on the 9th of February, 1767, at the 
early age of twenty,t and was buried at Kensington — 
he had issue, an only daughter, Lady Caroline, who was 
born in London on the 7th of July, 1766. She formed 
an irregular union with Lewis Malcolm Drummond, Count 
Melfort, a nobleman of the Kingdom of France, originally 
of Scottish extraction, and died in 1847. She is buried 
under a flat stone inscribed with her name in the 
St Pancras (Old) Burial Ground, London. 

Thus the line of George, second Earl of Seaforth, 
who died in 1633, became extinct; and the reader must 
therefore now accompany us back to Kenneth Mor, the 
third Earl, to pick up the chain of legitimate succession. 
It has been already shown that the lineal descent of the 
original line of Kintail was diverted from heirs male in 
the person of Anna, Countess of Balcarres, daughter of 
Colin, first Earl of Seaforth. 

Kenneth M6r, the third Earl, had four sons — (i) 
Kenneth Og, his heir and successor, whose line terminated 
in Lady Caroline, as above; (2) John of Assynt,^hose 
only son, Alexander^ had an only son Kenneth, who 
died in 1723 without issue; (3) Hugh, who died young; 

♦ StruHirt^s Sketches^ and Fullarton*8 History of the Highland Clans and 
Highland Regiments, 

t Scots' Magazine for 1767, p. 538. 


and (4) Colonel Alexander, afterwards designated of 
Assynt and Conansbay, who, as his second wife, married 
Elizabeth, daughter of John Paterson, Bishop of Ross, 
and sister of John Paterson, Archbishop of Glasgow. 
Colonel Alexander had no issue by his first wife, but by 
the second he had an only son and six daughters. The 
daughters were (i) Isabella, who married Basil Hamilton 
of Baldoon, became the mother of Dunbar, fourth Earl 
of Selkirk, and died in 1725 ; (2) Frances, who married 
her cousin, Kenneth Mackenzie of Assynt, without issue ; 

(3) Jane, who married Dr Mackenzie, a cadet of Coul, 
and died at New Tarbat, on the i8th of September, 1776; 

(4) Mary, who married Captain Dougall Stuart of Blair- 
hall, a Lord of Session and Justiciary, and brother 
of the first Earl of Bute, with issue ; (5) Elizabeth, who 
died unmarried at Kirkcudbright, on the 12th of March, 
1796, aged 81 ; and (6) Maria, who married Nicholas 
Price of Saintfield, County Down, Ireland, with issue. 
She was maid of honour to Queen Caroline, and died 
in 1732. Colonel Alexander's only son was 

Major William Mackenzie, who died on the 12th of 
March, 1770. He married Mary, daughter and co-heir of 
Matthew Humberston, Lincoln, with issue, two sons — (1) 
Thomas Frederick Mackenzie, Colonel of the looth 
Regiment of foot, who assumed the name of Humber- 
ston in addition to his own on succeeding to his mothers 
property; and (2) Francis Humberston Mackenzie. Both of 
Major William s sons ultimately succeeded to the Seaforth 
estates. He had also four daughters — (i) Frances Cerjat, 
who married Sir Vicary Gibbs, M.P., his Majesty's 
Attorney-General, with issue ; (2) Maria Rebecca, who 
married Alexander Mackenzie of Breda, younger son of 
James Mackenzie, III. of Highfield, with issue, six sons — 
William, a Lieutenant in the 78th Highlanders, who died 
at Breda, in Holland, from a wound which he received on 
the previous day at the taking of Merxem, in 18 14; 
Thomas, a Midshipman, R.N., drowned at sea; Frederick, 
R.N., murdered at Calcutta in 1820; Francis, R.N., drowned 


at sea in 1828 ; and Colin, all without issue ; also Captain 
Alexander, of the 25th Regiment, subsequently Adjutant 
of the Ross-shire Militia, who married Lilias Dunbar, 
daughter of James Fowler of Raddery, with issue — James 
Evan Fowler, who died unmarried ; Alexander, now 
residing at Fortrose, and three daughters who died un- 
married ; (3) Elizabeth, who died without issue ; and (4) 
Helen, who married Major-General Alexander Mackenzie- 
Eraser of Inverallochy, fourth son of Colin Mackenzie, 
VI. of Kilcoy, Colonel of the 78th Regiment, and M.P. 
for the County of Ross, with issue. 

Major William died on the I2th of March, 1770, at 
Stafford, Lincolnshire. His wife died on the 19th of Feb- 
ruary, 1813, at Hartley, Herts. His eldest son. 

Colonel Thomas Frederick Mackenzie-Humberston, it 
will be seen, thus became male heir to his cousin. Earl 
Kenneth, who died, without male issue,- in 178 1. The 
Earl, finding his property heavily encumbered with debts 
from which he could not extricate himself, conveyed the 
estates to his cousin and heir male, Colonel Thomas, in 
1779, on payment of ;^ioo,ooo. Earl Kenneth died, as 
already stated, in 178 1, and was succeeded by his cousin, 


In all his estates, and in the command of the 78th 
Ross-shire Highland Regiment, but not in the titles and 
dignities, which terminated with his predecessor. When 
the 78th was raised, in 1778, Thomas Frederick Mac- 
kenzie-Humberston was a captain in the ist Regiment 
of Dragoon Guards, but he gave this up and accepted 
a captaincy in Seaforth's regiment of Ross-shire High- 
landers. He was afterwards quartered with the latter in 
Jersey, and took a prominent share in repelling the 
attack made on that island by the French. On the 2nd 
of September, 1780, he was appointed from the 78th as 
Lieutenant-Colonel-Commandant of the looth Foot. 

In 1781 he embarked with this regiment to the East 


Indies, and was at Port Preya when the outward bound 
East India fleet under Commodore Johnston was attacked 
by the French. He happened at the time to be ashore, 
but such was his ardour to share in the action that he 
swam to one of the ships engaged with the enemy. 
Immediately on his arrival in India he obtained a separate 
command on the Malabar Coast, but in its exercise he 
met with every possible discouragement from the Council 
of Bombay. This, however, only gave a man of his spirit 
greater opportunity of distinguishing himself, for, under 
all the disadvantages of having funds, stores, and rein- 
forcements withheld from him, he undertook, with 1000 
Europeans and 2500 Sepoys to wage an offensive war 
against Calicut. He was conscious of great personal re- 
sources, and harmony, confidence, and attachment on the 
part of his officers and men. He finally drove the enemy 
out of the country, defeated them in three different en- 
gagements, took the city of Calicut, and every other 
place of strength in the kingdom. He concluded a treaty 
with the King of Travancore, who was reinforced by 
a body of 1200 men. Tippoo then proceeded against 
him with an army of 30,000, more than one-third of them 
cavalry; Colonel Mackenzie- Humberston repelled their 
attack, and by a rapid march regained the Fort of 
Panami, which the enemy attempted to carry, but he de- 
feated them with great loss. He served under General 
Matthews against Hyder Ali in 1782; but during the 
operations of that campaign, Matthews gave such proofs 
of incapacity and injustice, that Colonels Macleod and 
Humberston carried their complaints to the Council of 
Bombay, where they arrived on the 26th of February, 
1783. The Council ordered General Matthews to be 
superseded, appointed Colonel Macleod to succeed him 
in command of the army, and desired Colonel Humber- 
ston to join him. They both sailed from Bombay on 
the 5th of April, 1783, in the Ranger sloop of war; but, 
notwithstanding that peace had been concluded with the 
Mahrattas, their ship was attacked on the 8th of that 


month by the Mahratta fleet, and after a desperate resis- 
tance of four hours, captured. All the officers on board 
were either killed or wounded, among them the young 
and gallant Colonel Mackenzie -Humberston, who was 
shot through the body with a four pound ball, and he 
died of the wound at Geriah, on the 30th April, 1783, 
3othJ in the (28tn) year of his age. A fine monument is erected 
to his memory in Fortrose Cathedral. He had only 
been Chief of the Clan for two years, and, dying un- 
married, he was succeeded as head of the house and in 
the family estates by his next and only lawful brother,* 


Raised to the peerage of the United Kingdom as Lord 
Seaforth and Baron Mackenzie of Kintail, in 1797. This 
nobleman was in many respects an able and remarkable 
man, was born in 1754, in full possession of all his 
faculties ; but a severe attack of scarlet fever, from which 
he suffered when about twelve years of age, deprived him 
of hearing and almost of speech. As he advanced in 
years he again nearly recovered the use of his tongue, but 
during the last two years of his life, grieving over the 
loss of his four (promising sons, all of whom predeceased 
him, he became unable, or rather never made the attempt 
to articulate. In his youth he was intended to follow 
the naval profession, but his physical misfortunes made 
such a career impossible. 

Little or nothing is known of the history of his early 
life. In 1784, and again in 1790, he was elected M.P. 
for the County of Ross. In 1787, in the thirty-third 
year of his age, he offered to raise a regiment on his 
own estates for the King's service, to be commanded by 
himself. In the same year the 74th, 7Sth, 76th, and 
77th Regiments were raised, and the Government declined 
his patriotic offer, but agreed to accept his services in 

* Douglas* Peerage, He had a natural son, Captain Humberston Mac- 
kenzie, of the 78th, killed at the storming of Ahmadnugger, on the 8th 
of August, 1803. 


procuring recruits for the 74th and 7Sth. This did not 
satisfy him, and he did not then come prominently to the 
front. On the 19th of May. 1790, he renewed his offer, 
but the Government informed him that the strength of 
the army had been finally fixed at JJ Regiments, and 
his services were again declined. He was still anxious 
to be of service to his country, and when the war broke 
out in 1793, he for the third time renewed his offer, 
and placed his great influence at the service of the 
Crown. On this occasion a letter of service is granted 
in his favour, dated the 7th of March, 1793, empowering 
him, as Lieutenant-Colonel-Commandant, to raise a High- 
land battalion, which, being the first embodied during 
the war, was to be numbered the 78th, the original 
Mackenzie regiment having had its number previously 
reduced to the 72d. The battalion was to consist of one 
company of grenadiers, one of light infantry, and eight 
battalion companies. The Mackenzie chief at once ap- 
pointed as his Major his own brother-in-law, Alexander 
Mackenzie, at that time of Belmaduthy but afterwards of 
Inverallochy and Castle Fraser, fourth and younger son of 
Colin Mackenzie, VI. of Kilcoy, then a captain in the 73d 
Regiment, and a man who proved himself on all future 
occasions well fitted for the post. The following notice, 
headed by the Royal arms, was immediately posted 
throughout the counties of Ross and Cromarty, on the 
mainland, and in the Island of Lewis: — 

"Seaforth's Highlanders to be forthwith raised for the defence 
of his Glorious Majesty, King George the Third, and the preservation 
of our happy constitution in Church and State. 

"All lads of true Highland blood willing to show their loyalty 
and spirit, may repair to Seaforth, or the Major, Alexander Mac- 
kenzie of Belmaduthy ; or the other commanding officers at 
headquarters at , where they will receive high bounties 

find soldier-like entertainment. 

" The lads of this regiment will live and die together, as they 
cannot be draughted into other regiments, and must be reduced 
in a body, in their own country. 

** Now for a stroke at the Monsieurs, my boys ! King George 
for ever ! Huzza ! ^ 


The machinery once set agoinjj, applications poured 
in upon Seaforth for commissions in the corps from among 
his more immediate relatives, and from others who were 
but slightly acquainted with him.* 

The martial spirit of the people soon became thoroughly 
roused, and recruits came in so rapidly that on the lOth 
of July, 1793, only four months after the letter of service 
to Seaforth, the Regiment was marched to Fort-George, 
inspected and passed by Lieutenant-General Sir Hector 
Munro, when five companies were immediately embarked 
for Guernsey ; and the other five companies were landed 
in Jersey in September, 1793. and afterwards sent to 

On the 13th of October, the same year, Mackenzie 
offered to raise a second battalion for the 78th, and on 
the 30th of the same month the King gave him permission 
to raise five hundred additional men on the original letters 
of service. But this was not what he wanted, and on 
the 28th of December following he submitted to the 
Government three alternative proposals for raising a second 
battalion. On the 7th of February, 1794, one of these 
was agreed to. The battalion was to be formed of eight 
battalion and two flank companies, each to consist of 
100 men, with the usual number of officers and non- 
commissioned officers. He was, however, disappointed 
by the Government; for while he intended to have raised 
a second battalion for his own regiment, an order was 
issued signed by Lord Amherst, that it was to be 

* Besides Seaforth himself, and his Major mentioned in the text, the 
following, of the name of Mackenzie, appear among the first list of 
officers : — 

Major. — Alexander Mackenzie of Fairbum, General in 1809. 

Captains.— John Mackenzie of Gairloch, ''Fighting Jack,*' Major in 
1794. Lieutenant-Colonel the same year and Lieutenant-General 
in 1814 ; died the father of the British Army in 1S60 ; and John 
Randoll Mackenzie of Suddie, Major-General in 1804, killed at 
Talavera in 1S09. 

Lieutenant. —Colin Mackenzie, Lieutenant-Colonel 91st Regiment. 

Ensigns. — Charles Mackenzie, Kilcoy; and J. Mackenzie Scott, Captain 
57th Regiment; killed at Albuera. 


considered a separate corps, whereupon the Lieutenant- 
Colonel-Commandant addressed the followino^ protest to 
Mr Dundas, one of the Secretaries of State : — 

St Alban Street, 8th February, 1794. 

Sir, — I had sincerely hoped I should not be obliged to trouble 

you again ; but on my going to-day to the War Office about my 

letter of service (hiiving yesterday, as I thought, finally agreed with 

Lord Amherst), I was, to my amazement, told that Lord Amherst 

had ordered that the 1000 men I am to raise were not to be a second 

battalion of the 78th, but a separate corps. It will, I am sure, occur 

to you that should I undertake such a thing, it would destroy my 

influence among the people of my country entirely ; and instead of 

appearing as a loyal honest chieftain calling out his friends to support 

their King and country, I should be gibbeted as a jobber of the 

attachment my neighbours bear to me. Recollecting what passed 

between you and me, I barely state the circumstance ; and I am, 

with great respect and attachment, sir, your most obliged and 

obedient servant, F. H. Mackenzie. 

This had the desired effect; the order for a separate 
corps was rescinded, and a letter of service was issued 
in his favour on the lOth of February, 1794, authorising 
him, as Lieutenant-Colonel-Commandant, to add the new 
battalion, the strength of which was to be one company 
of grenadiers, one of light infantry, and eight battalion 
companies, to his own regiment. The regiment was 
soon raised, inspected and passed at Fort-George in 
June ot the same year by Lieutenant-General Sir Hector 
Munro; and in July following the King gave permission 
to have it named, as a distinctive title, "The Ross-shire 
Buffs." The two battalions were amalgamated in June, 
1796. Another battalion was raised in 1804 — letter of 
service, dated 17th April. These were again amalgamated 
in July, 1 8 17. 

Although the regiment was not accompanied abroad 
by its Lieutenant-Colonel -Commandant, he continued most 
solicitous for its reputation and welfare, as we find from 
the various communications addressed to him regarding 
it and the conduct of the men by Lieutenant-Colonel 
Alexander Mackenzie of Fairburn, appointed its Lieu- 



tenant-Colonel from the first battalion,* and then in 
actual command ; but as the history of the 78th High- 
landers is not our present object, we must here part 
company with it and follow the future career of Francis 
Humberston Mackenzie. 

As a reward for his eminent services to the Govern- 
ment he was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of the County 
of Ross, and, on the 26th of October, 1797, raised to the 
dignity of a peer of the United Kingdom, by the titles of 
Lord Seaforth and Baron Mackenzie of Kintail, the 
ancient dignities of his house, with limitation to the heirs 
male of his body. His Lordship, having resigned the 
command of the 78th, was, in 1798, appointed Colonel 
of the Ross-shire Regiment of Militia. In 1800 he was 
appointed Governor of Barbadoes, an office which he 
retained for six years, after which he held high office 
in Demerara and Berbice. While Governor of Barbadoes 
he was for a time extremely popular, and was distinguished 
for his firmness and even-handed justice. He succeeded 
in putting an end to slavery, and to the practice of slave- 
killing in the island, which at that time was of very 
common occurrence, and deemed by the planters a 
venal offence punishable only by a small fine of ;6i5. In 
consequence of his humane proceedings in this matter 
he became obnoxious to many of the colonists, and, in 
1806, he finally left the island. In 1808 he was made a 

These were singular incidents in the life of a man who 
may be said to have been deaf and dumb from his youth ; 
but who, in spite of these physical defects —sufficient to 
crush any ordinary man — had been able, by the force 
of his natural abilities and the favour of fortune, to 
overcome them sufficiently to raise himself to such a 
high and important position in the world. He took a 
lively interest in all questions of art and science, especially 
in natural history, and displayed at once his liberality 

*John Randoll Mackenzie, also from the first battalion, was appointed 
senior Major. 



and his love of art by his munificence to Sir Thomas 
Lawrence, in the youth and struggles of that great 
artist and famous painter, and by his patronage of others. 
On this point a recent writer says — **The last baron of 
Kintail, Francis. Lord Seaforth. was, as Sir Walter Scott 
has said, *a nobleman of extraordinary talents, who must 
have made for himself a lasting reputation had not his 
political exertions been checked by painful natural in- 
firmities.' Though deaf from his sixteenth year and 
though labouring under a partial impediment of speech, 
he held high and important appointments, and was 
distinguished for his intellectual activities and attain- 
ments. . . . His case seems to contradict the opinion 
held by Kitto and others, that in all that relates to the 
culture of the mind, and the cheerful exercise of the mental 
faculties, the blind have the advantage of the deaf. The 
loss of the ear, that 'vestibule of the soul,' was to him 
compensated by gifts and endowments rarely united in 
the same individual. One instance of the chiefs liberality 
and love of art may be mentioned. In 1796 he advanced 
a sum of ;£^iooo to Sir Thomas Lawrence to relieve him 
from pecuniary difficulties. Lawrence was then a young 
man of twenty-seven. His career from a boy upwards 
was one of brilliant success, b«t he was careless and 
generous as to money matters, and some speculations by 
his father embarassed and distressed the young artist. In 
his trouble he applied to the Chief of Kintail. * Will you,' 
he said in that theatrical style common to Lawrence, 'will 
you be the Antonio to a Bassanio.^' He promised to 
pay the ;£^iOOO in four years, but the money was given 
on terms the most agreeable to the feelings and com- 
plimentary to the talents of the artist. He was to repay 
it with his pencil, and the chief sat to him for his portrait. 
Lord Seaforth also commissioned from West one of 
those immense sheets of canvas on which the old 
Academician delighted to work in his latter years. The 
subject of the picture was the traditionary story of the 
Royal hunt, in which Alexander the Third was saved 

340 HifrroRY of the mackenzies. 

from the assault of a fierce stag by Colin Fitzgerald, a 
wandering knight unknown to authentic history. West 
considered it one of his best productions, charged ;£^8oo 
for it, and was willing some years afterwards, with a view 
to the exhibition of his works, to purchase back the picture 
at its original cost In one instance Lord Seaforth did 
not evince artistic taste. He dismantled Brahan Castle, 
removing its castellated features and completely modern- 
ising its general appearance. The house, with its large 
modern additions, is a tall, massive pile of building, the 
older portion covered to the roof with ivy. It occupies 
a commanding site on a bank midway between the river 
Conon and a range of picturesque rocks. This bank ex- 
tends for miles, sloping in successive terraces, all richly 
wooded or cultivated, and commanding a magnificent 
view that terminates with the Moray Firth."* 

The remarkable prediction of the extinction of this 
highly distinguished and ancient family is so well known 
that it need not be recapitulated here, and its literal 
fulfilment is one of the most curious instances of the 
kind on record. There is no doubt that the "prophecy" 
was widely known throughout the Highlands generations 
before it was fulfilled. Lockhart, in his Life of Sir Walter 
Scott, says that "it connected the fall of the house of 
Seaforth not only with the appearance of a deaf 
' Cabarfeidh,' but with the contemporaneous appearance 
of various different physical misfortunes in several of the 
other Highland chiefs, all of which are said to have 
actually occurred within the memory of the generation 
that has not yet passed away. Mr Morrit can testify thus 
far, that he heard the prophecy quoted in the Highlands 
at a time when Lord Seaforth had two sons alive, and in 
good health, and that it certainly was not made after the 
event," and then he proceeds to say that Scott and Sir 
Humphrey Davy were most certainly convinced of its 
truth, as also many others who had watched the latter 

* Th€ Seaforth Papers, in the N<trth British Review, 1863, by Robert 
Carrathers, LL.D. 


days of Seaforth in the light of those wonderful predic- 

His Lordship outlived all his four sons, as predicted 
by the Brahan Seer. His name became extinct, and his 
vast possessions were inherited by a stranger, James Alex- 
ander Stewart, who married his eldest daughter, Lady Hood. 
The sign by which it would be known that the prediction 
was about to be fulfilled was also foretold in the same 
remarkable manner, namely, that in the days of the last 
Seaforth there should be four great contemporary lairds, 
distinguished by certain physical defects described by the 
Seer. Sir Hector Mackenzie, Bart of Gairloch, was 
buck-toothed, and is to this day spoken of among the 
Gairloch tenantry as *'An Tighearna st6rach," or the 
buck-toothed laird. Chisholm of Chisholm was hair- 
lipped, Grant of Grant half-witted, and Macleod of Raasay 
a stammerer, t 

* " Every Highland family has its store of traditionary and romantic 
bdiefs. Centuries ago a seer of the Clan Mackenzie, known as Kenneth 
Oag (Odhar), predicted that when there should be a deaf Caberfae the 
gift land of the estate would be sold, and tbe male line become extinct. 
The prophecy was well known in the North, and it was not, like many 
similar vaticinations, made after the event. At least three unimpeachable 
Sassenach writers, Sir Humphrey Davy, Sir Walter Scott, and Mr Morritt 
of Rokeby, had all heard the prediction when Lord Seaforth had two 
SODS alive, both in good health. The tenantry were, of course, strongly 
impressed with the truth of the prophecy, and when their Chief proposed 
to sell part of Kintail, they offered to buy in the land for him, that it 
might not pass from the family. One son was then living,, and there was 
DO immediate prospect of the succession expiring ; but, in deference to their 
claDDish prejudice or affection, the sale of any portion of the esta'e was 
deferred for about two years. The blow came at last. Lord 5>eaforth 
was involved in West India plantations, which were mismanaged, and he 
was forced to dispose of part of the *' gift land." About the same time 
the last of his four sons, a young man of talent and eloquence, and then 
representing his native county in Parliament, died suddenly, and thus the 
prophecy of Kenneth Oag was fulfilled. — 

Of the name of Fitzgerald remained not a male 
To bear the proud name of the Chief of Kintail." 

-^Robert Carruihers, LL,D., in the North BritUk Review, 

fPor full details of this remarkable instance of family fate, see The 
Prophecies of the Brahan Seer. — A. & W, Mackenzie, Inverness. 


To the testimony of those whose names have been 
already given we shall add the evidence of a living 
witness when the first edition of this work was in pre- 
paration. Duncan Davidson of Tulloch, Lord-Lieutenant 
of the county of Ross, in a letter addressed to the author, 
dated May 21, 1878, says — "Many of these prophecies 
I heard of upwards of 70 years ago, and when many of 
them were not fulfilled, such as the late Lord Seaforth 
surviving his sons, and Mrs Stewart Mackenzie's accident, 
near Brahan, by which Miss Caroline Mackenzie was 

It is impossible not to sympathise with the magnifi- 
cent old Chief as he mourned over the premature death 
of his four promising sons, and saw the honours of his 
house for ever extinguished in his own person. Many 
instances are related of his magnificent extravagance at 
home, while sailing round the West Coast, visiting the great 
principality of the Lewis, and calling on his way hither 
and thither on the other great chiefs of the West and 
Western Islands. Sir Walter Scott, in his ** Lament for 
the Last of the Seaforths," adds his tribute — 

In vain the bright course of thy talents to wrong. 

Fate deadened thine ear and imprisoned thy tongue, 

For brighter o'er all her obstructions arose 

The glow of thy genius they could not oppose ; 

And who, in the land of the Saxon or Gael 

Could match with Mackenzie, High Chief of Kintail ? 

Thy sons rose around thee in light and in love. 
All a father could hope, all a friend couM approve ; 
What 'vails it the tale of thy sorrows to tell ? 
In the spring time of youth and of promise they fell ! 
Of the line of MacKenneth remains not a male, 
To bear the proud name of the Chief of Kintail. 

This sketch of the great chief cannot better be closed 
than in the words of one already repeatedly quoted : — ** It 
was said of him by an acute observer and a leading wit of 
the age, the late Honourable Henry Erskine, the Scotch 
Dean of Faculty, that * Lord Seaforth's deafness was a 
merciful interposition to lower him to the ordinary rate 


of capacity in society,' insinuating that otherwise his 
perception and inteHigence would have been oppressive. 
And the aptness of the remark was duly appreciated by 
all those who had the good fortune to be able to form 
an estimate from personal observation, while, as a man 
of the world, none was more capable of generalizing. 
Yet, as a countryman, he never affected to disregard 
those local predilections which identified him with the 
County of Ross, as the genuine representative of Kintail, 
possessing an influence which, being freely ceded and 
supported, became paramount and permanent in the 
county which he represented in the Commons House of 
Parliament, till he was called to the peerage on the 26th 
October, 1797, by the title of Lord Seaforth and Baron 
of Kintail, with limitation to heirs male of his body, and 
which he presided over as his Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant 
He was commissioned, in 1793, to reorganise the 78th 
or Ross-shire Regiment of Highlanders, which, for so 
many years, continued to be almost exclusively composed 
of his countrymen. Nor did his extraordinary qualifica- 
tions and varied exertions escape the wide ranging eye 
of the master genius of the age, who has also contributed, 
by a tributary effusion, to transmit the unqualified venera- 
tion of our age to many that are to follow. He has been 
duly recognised by Sir Walter Scott, nor was he passed 
over in the earlier buddings of Mr Colin Mackenzie ; but 
while the annalist is indebted to their just encomiums, 
he may be allowed to respond to praise worthy of en- 
thusiasm by a splendid fact which at once exhibits a 
specimen of reckless imprudence joined to those qualities 
which, by their popularity, attest their genuineness. Lord 
Seaforth for a time became emulous of the society of the 
most accomplished Prince of his age. The recreation of 
the Court was play; the springs of this indulgence then 
were not of the most delicate texture; his faculties, 
penetrating as they were, had not the facility of detection 
which qualified him for cautious circumspection ; he heed- 
lessly ventured and lost It was then to cover his 

}44 nvrr^xr gf the itACXEvz3s. 

Locfaalsh : ar>d it 
wh«i his peopi* 
Lordship this pithv re^^r.strasce — "Rcsi« amongst us 
a-.d wt shall rxav vyjr debts.' A rsri-tT of feeliaes ar.d 
facts, ur.cor.r.ected '»T:h a crnerenc-, mi^ht hare inter- 
pos^rd to cour.teract this display of devotedness besides 
ingratftuce, but these habits, or his Lordship's reluctance, 
rendered this expedient so hopeless that certain of the 
descendants of the ori^nal proprietors of that valuable 
locality were comb'nir.e their resoective nnarxes to buv 
it in, when a sudden anncur.cement that it was sold under 
value, smothered their amiable endeavours. Kintail fol- 
lowed, lA-ith the fairest portion of GlenshieL and the 
Barony of Callan Fitzgerald ceased to exist, to the 
mortification, though not to the unpopularity- of this still 
patriarchal nobleman among his faithful tenantry* and the 
old friends of his family."* 

He married on the 22d of April, 1782, Mar\% daughter 
of the Rev. Baptist Proby, D.D., Dean of Lichfield, and 
brother of John, first Lord Carj-sfort, by whom he had 
issue — 

I. William Frederick, who died young, at Killearnan. 

II. George Leveson Boucherat, who died young at 

in. William Frederick, who represented the County 
of Ross in Parliament, in 18 12, and died unmarried at 
Warriston, near Edinburgh, in 18 14. 

IV. Francis John, a midshipman in the Royal Navy, 
who died unmarried at Brahan, in 1813. 

V. Mary Frcderica Elizabeth, who succeeded her 
father and of whom presently. 

VI. Frances Catherine, who died without issue. 

VII. Caroline, who was accidentally killed at Brahan, 

VIII. Charlotte Elizabeth, who died unmarried. 

IX. Augusta Anne, who died unmarried. 

* Bennctsfield MS. 


X. Helen Ann, who married the Right Hon. Joshua 
Henry Mackenzie of the Inverlael family, anciently 
descended from the Barons of Kintail, a Lord of Session 
and Justiciary by the title of Lord Mackenzie, with 
issue — two daughters, Frances Mary and Penuel Augusta. 

Lord Seaforth, having survived all his male issue, 
died on the nth of January, 1815, at Warriston, near 
Edinburgh, the last male representative of his race. His 
lady outlived him, and died at Edinburgh on the 27th 
of February, 1829. The estates, in virtue of an entail 
executed by Lord Seaforth, with all their honours, duties, 
and embarrassments, devolved upon his eldest daughter, 
then a young widowed lady, 


Whom Scott commemorated in the well-known lines — 

And thou, gentle dame, who must bear to thy grief, 
For thy clan and thy country the cares of a Chief, 
Whom brief rolling moons in six changes have left 
Of thy husband, and father, and brethren bereft ; 
To thine ear of affection how sad is the hail 
That salutes thee the heir of the line of Kintail. 

She was born at Tarradale, Ross-shire, on the 27th of 
March, 1783, and married, first, at Barbadoes on the 6th 
of November, 1804, Sir Samuel Hood, K.B., Vice- 
Admiral of the White, and afterwards, in 1806, M.P. for 
Westminster. Sir Samuel died at Madras, on the 24th 
of December, 18 14, without issue. Lady Hood then 
returned home, and, in 1815, entered into possession of 
the family estates, which had devolved upon her by the 
death of her father without male issue, when the titles 
became extinct She married secondly, on the 21st of 
May, 1 8 17, the Right Hon. James Alexander Stewart 
of Glasserton, nephew of the seventh Earl of Galloway, 
who assumed the name of Mackenzie, was returned M.P. 
for the County of Ross, held office under Earl Grey, and 
was successively Governor of Ceylon, and Lord High 


Commissioner to the Ionian Islands. He died on the 
24th of September, 1843. Mrs Sewart-Mackenzie died 
at Brahan Castle on the 28th of November. 1862, and 
was buried in the family vault in the Cathedral of Fortrose. 
Her funeral was one of the largest ever witnessed in the 
Highlands, many thousands being present on foot, while 
the vehicles that followed numbered more than 150. By 
her second marriage she had issue — 

I. Keith William Stewart, her heir and successor. 

n. Francis Pelham Proby, Lieutenant 71st Highlanders. 
He died unmarried in 1844. 

III. George Augustus Frederick Wellington, who, born 
in 1824, married in November, 1850, Maria Louisa, daughter 
of General Thomas Marriot, H.E.I.C.S., and died, without 
issue, in 1852. 

IV. Mary Frances, who married, in 1838, the Hon. 
Philip Anstruther, Colonial Secretary of Ceylon, with issue. 

V. Caroline Susan, who, in 1844, married John Berney 
Petre, and died in 1867. 

VI. Louisa Caroline, who, on the 17th of November, 
1858, married, as his second wife, William Bingham 
second Lord Ashburton, who died on the 23rd of March, 
1864, with issue, an only daughter, Mary Florence, who, 
in 1884, married the Hon. William George Spencer Scott, 
Earl Compton, M.P., eldest surviving son and heir of 
William Douglas Compton, fourth Marquis of Northamp- 
ton, born in 1851, with issue — William Bingham Lord 
Wilmington, born in 1885 ; and Lady Margaret Louisa 

Mrs Stewart Mackenzie and her husband, on her death 
on the 28th of November, 1862, were succeeded in the 
estates by their eldest son, 



Born on the 9th of May, 18 18. He was an officer in 
the 90th Regiment and subsequently Colonel-Comman- 
dant of the Ross-shire Highland Rifle Volunteers. He 


sold what remained of Kintail in 1869. He married first, 
on the 17th of May, 1844, Hannah Charlotte, daughter 
of James Joseph Hope Vere of Craigie Hall and Black- 
wood, Midlothian, with issue — 

I. James Alexander Francis Humberston, his heir. 

II. Susan Mary Elizabeth, who on the isth of August, 
1871, married, first, the Hon. John Constantine Stanley, 
Colonel Grenadier Guards, second son of the Right Hon. 
Edward Lord Stanley of Alderley. He was born on the 
30th of September, 1837, and died on the 27th of April, 
1878, leaving issue — two daughters. She married, secondly, 
the Right Hon. Sir Francis Henry Jeune, Q.C., President 
of the Probate, Divorce, and Admiralty Division of the 
High Court of Justice, with issue — one son. 

III. Julia Charlotte Sophia, who on the 8th of October, 
1873, married, as his second wife, the Right Hon. Arthur, 
ninth Marquis of Tweeddale, who died in 1878, without 
issue. In 1887 she married, secondly, as his second 
wife, the Right Hon. Sir John Rose, Baronet, G.C.M.G., 
of Queensgate, London, who died in 1888, without issue. 
In 1892 she married, thirdly. Captain William Evans 
Gordon, without issue. 

IV. Georgina Henrietta, who died young, on the 15th 
of October, 1868. 

His first wife died in June, 1868. He married, secondly, 
on the 2nd of June, 1871, Alicia Almeira Bell, with 
issue — one daughter. 

Keith Stewart Mackenzie died in June, 1881, when 
he was succeeded by his only son, 


Who was born on the 9th of October, 1847, Lieutenant- 
Colonel Commanding the 9th Lancers, and now of Sea- 
forth. He is still unmarried. 


It has been sliown at p. 345 that the male line of Colonel 
Alexander Mackenzie of Assynt, fourth son of Kenneth 
Mor, third Earl of Seaforth, became extinct on the 
death, in 1815, of Francis Humberston Mackenzie, who 
survived all his male issue. It has also been proved that 
the male line of George, second Earl of Seaforth, who 
died in 165 1, terminated in Kenneth, XIX. of Kintail 
and sixth Earl of Seaforth, whose only child, Lady 
Caroline Mackenzie, formed an irregular union with 
Lewis Drummond, Count Melfort, a French nobleman. 
It was shown earlier, at p. 246, that the lineal representa- 
tion of the original line of Kintail was diverted from 
heirs male in the person of Anna, Countess of Balcarres, 
eldest daughter of Colin, first Earl of Seaforth, who had 
no surviving male issue ; and the male line of Colonel 
Mackenzie of Assynt having terminated in "The Last of 
the Seaforths," who died in 18 1 5, we must go back 
beyond all these to an earlier collateral branch to pick 
up the legitimate male succession, and for ever dispose 
of the various unfounded claims hitherto made to the 
Chiefship of the clan. 

Before the appearance of the former edition of this 
work there had been several claimants to this highly 
honourable position ; and this is not to be wondered at, 
for whoever proves his right to the Chiefship of the 
Mackenzies establishes at the same time his right to the 
ancient honours of the house and Barons of Kintail. In 
an earlier part of the work, at p. 316, it is shown that 
the original title of Lord Mackenzie of Kintail did not 
come under the attainder of William, the fifth Earl, for 
the part which he took in the Rising of 1715, and there- 
fore the Chief of the Mackenzies, as heir male of the 


first Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, is, in virtue of that 
position, we believe, entitled to assume that ancient title. 
The first formal claim to the Chiefship is one by a 
Captain Murdoch Mackenzie. **of London," who claimed 
"the titles, honours, and dignities of Earl of Seaforth 
and Baron Mackenzie of Kintail,** in virtue of a pretended 
descent and pedigree from the Hon. John Mackenzie of 
Assynt, second son of Kenneth Mor, third Earl of Sea- 
forth. This pedigree and claim is before us. According 
to that document the Hon. John Mackenzie of Assynt 
had a son ** Murdoch Mackenzie of Lochbroom, who, 
having shown a disposition of enterprise like his kinsman 
Earl William, left his native parish in 1729 or 1730, first 
for Aberdeen and afterwards for Northumberland, where, 
in consequence of the unsettled state of Scotland, he 
resided with his family." This Murdoch had a son, John 
Mackenzie, "born in Beadnall, parish of Bamborough, 
county of Northumberland, in 1738, who married Miss 
Isabella Davidson in 1762, and died in 1780, in his 
forty-second year." John had a son, ** Captain Murdoch 
Mackenzie, the claimant, who was born at Beadnall, 
county of Nrothumberland, in 1763, and married in 178 1, 
Miss Eleanor Brown of the same place, and has issue. 
He commanded the ship Essex, transport 81, of London, 
during the late war. Being desirous to see his clan in 
the North, in 1790 he visited the late Francis Lord 
Seaforth, who in the true spirit of Scotch sincerity, 
hospitality, and nobility received him with demonstrations 
of pleasure. After talking over family matters his Lord- 
ship candidly said that Captain Murdoch ought to have 
been the peer in point of primogeniture." A short 
account of the family accompanies the pedigree and 
claim, which concludes in these terms — **In consequence 
of the death of the last peer it has been discovered in 
Scotland that the titles and family estates have devolved 
upon Captain Murdoch Mackenzie of London. This 
gentleman is naturally anxious to establish his rights, 
but being unable to prosecute so important a claim 


without the aid of sufficient funds he has been advised to 
solicit the aid of some individuals whose public spirit and 
liberal feelings may prompt them to assist him on the 
principle that such timely assistance and support will be 
gratefully and liberally rewarded. Captain Mackenzie 
hereby offers to give his bond for ;£^300 (or more if 
required) for every ;£'ioo that may be lent him to pro- 
secute his claim — the same to become due and payable 
within three months after he shall have recovered his 
titles and estates." The result of this appeal has not 
been ascertained, but it is certain that Captain Murdoch 
Mackenzie did not succeed in establishing any claim either 
to the titles or estates of the House of Kintail and 

It was, on the contrary, placed absolutely beyond dispute 
by the evidence produced at the Allangrange Service in 
1829 that the eldest and only surviving son of the Hon. 
John Mackenzie of Assynt was not Murdoch but Kenneth, 
and there is no trace whatever of his having had any 
son but Kenneth. In an original Precept issued by the 
Provost and Magistrates of Fortrose on the 30th of 
October, 17 16, the son of the then late John Mackenzie 
of Assynt is designated ** Kenneth Mackenzie, now of 
Assynt, grandchild and apparent heir to the deceased 
Isobel, Countess Dowager of Seaforth, his grandmother 
on the father's side." In the same document Kenneth 
is described as her Ladyship's ^* nearest and lawful heir," 
conclusively showing that he was her son John's eldest 
son. It is thus fully established that Captain Murdoch 
Mackenzie's genealogical chain fails at the very outset — 
is broken in its initial link. The Hon. John Mackenzie 
of Assynt had only one son. His name was Kenneth, 
not Murdoch, and he died without issue. If any ad- 
ditional proof be required to show that the male line of 
the Hon. John Mackenzie of Assynt has long been 
extinct, it will be found in the fact that on the death 
of Earl Kenneth, known as "the Little Lord," in 1781, 
the succession to the representation and ancient honours 


of the family of Kintail and Seaforth, devolved upon the 
heir male of Colonel Alexander Mackenzie of Assynt, 
who was the fourth son of Kenneth Mor, third earl, and 
a younger brother of the Hon. John Mackenzie of Assynt, 
apart altogether from the conclusive parole evidence given 
by very old people at the Allangrange Service in 1829. 
This effectually disposes of Captain Murdo Mackenzie. 

Now as to the more plausible but equally baseless claim 
of Captain William Mackenzie of Gruinard, and his cousin, 
the late Major-General Alexander Mackay Mackenzie of 
the Indian Army. Captain Murdoch Mackenzie's claim 
having failed, we must go back another step in the chain 
to pick up the legitimate succession to the honours of 
Kintail and Seaforth. Here we are met on the way by 
another claim, put forward by the late Captain William 
Mackenzie of Gruinard, in the following letter addressed 
to George F. Mackenzie, then of Allangrange : — 

1 1 Margaret Street, Cavendish Square, 
London, 24th October, 1829. 

My Dear Allangrange, — Having observed in the Courier of , the 
2ist inst., at a meeting at Tain, that you were proceeding with the 
Seaforth Claims, I take the earliest opportunity of communicating 
to you a circumstance which I am sure my agent, Mr Roy, would 
have informed you of sooner, did he know that you were proceed- 
ing in this affair ; and which, I think probable, he has done ere 
this ; but lest it might have escaped his notice, I deem it proper 
to acquaint you that on Mr Roy having discovered, by authenticated 
documents, that I was the lineal descendant of George, Earl of 
Seaforth, he authorised an English counsellor to make application 
to the Secretary of State to that effect, who made a reference to 
the Court of Exchequer in Scotland to examine the evidence — Mr 
Roy having satisfied them with having all which he required to 
establish my claim. I therefore am inclined to address you in 
order that you may be saved the trouble and expense attending 
this affair. Indeed, had I known you were taking any steps in 
this business, be assured I would have written to you sooner. 

I had not the pleasure of communicating with you since your 
marriage, upon which event I beg leave to congratulate you, and 
hope I shall soon have the pleasure of learning of your adding a 
member to the Clan Kenneth. Believe me, my dear Mac, yours 
most sincerely, Wm. Mackenzie. 



This claim is founded on a Genealogical Tree in posses- 
sion of the present representatives of the Gruinard family, 
by which John Mackenzie, their progenitor, is incorrectly 
described as the son of George Mackenzie of Kildun, 
second son of George, second Earl of Seaforth. It is 
believed that the descendants of this George, who was 
the second George designated of Kildun, are long ago 
extinct ; but whether they are or not, it will be conclusively 
shown, by reference to dates, that John, I. of Gruinard, 
could not possibly have been a son of his. And to the 
indisputable evidence of dates may be added the testimony 
of all the Mackenzie MSS. in existence which make any 
reference to John of Gruinard. In every instance where 
his name appears in these he is described as a natural 
son of George, second Earl of Seaforth. 

Before this Earl succeeded he also was known as 
George Mackenzie of Kildun, hence the error in the 
Gruinard Genealogical Tree. The author of the Ancient 
MS., so often quoted in the course of this work, was a 
contemporary of John, I. of Gruinard, and he states that 
Earl George ** had also ane naturall son, called John 
Mackenzy, who married Loggies daughter." The author 
of the Ardintoul MS., who was the grandson, as mentioned 
by himself, of the Rev. Farquhar Macrae, Constable of 
Ellandonnan Castle in Earl Colin's time, and who died 
advanced in years as far back as 1704 — consequently a 
contemporary of John of Gruinard — describing the effects 
of the disastrous battle of Worcester, says that Earl 
George, who was then in Holland, was informed of the 
result of the battle '*by John of Gruinard, his natural son, 
and Captain Hector Mackenzie, who made their escape 
from the battle," that the tidings "unraised his melan- 
choly, and so died in the latter end of September, 165 1." 
The Letterfearn MS. is also contemporary, for the author 
of it speaks of Earl Kenneth as ^' now Earl of Seaforth," 
and of George of Kildun in the present tense, while he 
speaks of his father in the past tense, and he says that 
"He (Earl George) left ane natural son, who is called 


John, who is married with Logic's daughter." That John 
of Gruinard was married to Christina, daughter of Donald 
Mackenzie, III. of Loggie, is proved by a sasine dated 
1655, in which that lady is described as his wife. 

It may be objected to these MSS. that, however 
probable it may be that they are correct, they are not 
necessarily authentic. But there is ample evidence of an 
official and incontestible character on the point. A sasine, 
dated 6th of February, 1658, is recorded in the Parti- 
cular Register of Sasines of Inverness, vol. 7, fol. 316, 
from which the following is an extract — ''Compearit per- 
sonally John Mackenzie, naturall broyr to ane noble Erie 
Kenneth Erie of Seaforth Lord of Kintail, etc., as bailzie 
in that part," on behalf of ** the noble Lady, Dame Isobell 
Mackenzie, Countess of Seaforth, sister german to Sir 
George Mackenzie of Tarbat, Knight, future ladie to the 
said noble Erie." Another authentic document having a 
most important bearing on this question was recently 
discovered in the office of the Sheriff-Clerk of Tain. It 
is a discharge by Patrick Smith of Braco, dated and 
registered in the Commissary Books at Fortrose, on the 
4th of December, 1668, in which the parties are described 
as "Kenneth Erie of Seafort, Lord Kintail, as principal, 
and John Mackenzie of Gruinyard, designit in the obliga- 
tione vnder-wrytten his naturall brother, as cautioner." 
Further, George of Kildun married, first, Mary Skene, 
daughter of Skene of Skene, in 1661. This is proved 
by a charter to her of her jointure lands of Kincardine, 
etc. (see Particular Register of Sasines Invss., vol. ix. 
fol 9). He married, secondly, Margaret, daughter 
of Urquhart of Craighouse. The absolute impossibility 
is at once obvious of George of Kildun — who only 
married his first wife in 1661 — having had a son, John 
Mackenzie of Gruinard, in a position to have obtained 
a charter in his favour of the lands of Little Gruinard, 
etc., in 1669 — within eight years of his reputed father's 
marriage to his first wife — and who was himself desig- 
nated in that charter as of "Meikle Gruinard," while 



it is proved by undoubted official documents that John 
of Gruinard s wife had lands disponed to her as his wife 
in 1655 ; that is, six years before the marriage of George 
of Kildun, John's alleged father. And further, how could 
John of Gruinard's second son, Kenneth, have married, 
as he is known to have done, the widow of Kenneth 
Og, fourth Earl of Seaforth, who died in 1701, if 
John, his father, had been the son by a second marriage 
of George of Kildun, who married his first wife in 1661 ? 
The thing is absolutely impossible. 

Kenneth Mor, third Earl of Seaforth, who, according 
to the Gruinard Genealogy, was John of Gruinard's uncle, 
was born at Brahan Castle in 1635. In 165 1 he is 
described as "a child" by a contemporary writer, who 
says that the Kintail people declined to rise with him in 
that year during his father's absence on the Continent, 
because ''he was but a child, and his father, their master, 
was in life." Colin, first Earl of Seaforth, died in 1633, 
and the author of the Ancient MS. says that '' Earl 
George, being then the Laird of Kildun, married before 
his brother's death, the Lord Forbes's daughter." Thus, 
George of Kildun could not have been born before 1636 
or 1637 at the very earliest; and the date of his first 
marriage, twenty four years later, strongly corroborates 
this. How then could he have had a married son, John 
Mackenzie of Gruinard, whose wife undoubtedly obtained 
lands in 1655 ; that is, when Kildun himself was only 
18 years of age, and when John, already designated of 
Gruinard, was, in 1656, old enough to be cautioner for 
Kenneth, Earl of Seaforth } Proof of the same conclusive 
character could be adduced to any extent, but in face of 
the documents already quoted, it is obviously superfluous 
to do so. 

John Mackenzie, I. of Gruinard, could not in the nature 
of things have been a son of the second George Mackenzie 
of Kildun. He was, on the other hand, undoubtedly, the 
natural son of the first George, who succeeded his 
brother Colin as second Earl of Seaforth, and it neces- 


sarily follows that his representatives can have no claim 
whatever to the Chiefship of the Clan, or to the ancient 
honours of the family of Kintail and Seaforth. We shall 
now proceed to show that these distinctions belong to 
and are at present possessed by the male representative of 


Having disposed of the only two serious claims made 
to the Chiefship' of the Clan in later times our next 
step is to show who the present Chief is. To do this 
we must go back to Kenneth, created Lord Mackenzie 
of Kintail in 1609; for there is no male representative 
of any later head of the House in existence, so far as 
can be ascertained, between that date and this. Lord 
Kenneth had seven sons — 

1. Colin Ruadh or **the Red Earl," his heir and suc- 
cessor, who died, in 1633, without surviving male issue. 

2. John Mackenzie of Lochslinn, who married Isabel, 
daughter of Alexander Mackenzie, V. of Gairloch, and 
died in 163 1, having been poisoned at Tain, without issue 
male. His only daughter, Margaret, married Sir Norman 
Macleod, I. of Bernera, with issue. 

3. Kenneth, who died unmarried. 

Lord Kenneth, XII. of- Kintail, married secondly, Isabel, 
daughter of Sir Gilbert Ogilvie of Powrie, with issue — 

4. Alexander, who died unmarried. 

5. George, who succeeded his brother Colin, as second 
Earl of Seaforth, and whose line terminated in Lady 
Caroline Mackenzie, who died without issue in 1847, her 
father Kenneth, Baron Ardelve and Earl of Seaforth in 
the peerage of Ireland, the last male of his line, having 
died at the Cape of Good Hope in 178 1. 

6. Thomas Mackenzie of Pluscardine, whose male issue 
was proved extinct at the Allangrange Service in 1829. 

7. Simon Mackenzie, who, after the death of his 
brother John, was designated of Lochslinn, and whose 


representative will be shown to be the present head and 
heir male of the ancient family of Kintail and Seaforth, 
and Chief of the Clan. This SiMON married, first, Eliza- 
beth, daughter of the Rev. Peter Bruce of Ferrar, D.D., 
Principal of St. Leonard's College, St Andrews, and son 
of Bruce of Fingask, by Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander 
Wedderburn of Blackness, with issue — five sons and one 
daughter, Jane, who married Robert Douglas of Katewell, 
in the parish of Kiltearn, Ross-shire, and secondly, Sir 
James Grant of Moyness. 

The eldest of Simon's five sons was the famous 
Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh, Lord Ad 
vocate for Scotland, whose history is so well known that 
it would serve no good purpose to give only such a brief 
account of it as could be given in the space here available. 
He wrote several works of admitted literary merit, his 
Institutes being to this day considered a standard legal 
authority. He left an autobiography in MS. which was 
published by his widow in 17 16. The estate of Rose- 
haugh, where he always took up his residence while in the 
Highlands, was, in his time, profusely covered with the 
Dog Rose, a fact which first suggested to the famous 
lawyer the idea of designating that property by the name 
of "Vallis Rosarum," or Rosehaugh. Sir George married 
first, Elizabeth, daughter of John Dickson of Hartree, 
with issue — (i) John ; (2) Simon ; (3) George, all of whom 
died young and unmarried ; (4) Agnes, who in 1705 
married Sir James Stuart Mackenzie, first Earl of Bute, 
with issue, whose descendants, now represented by the Earl 
of Wharncliffe, succeeded to his Ross-shire estates, but since 
sold by them, though still retaining the name and arms of 
the family. (For the succession see Retour of James Mar- 
quis of Bute, January, 1721); (5) Elizabeth, who married, 
first. Sir Archibald Cockburn of Langton, with issue, and, 
secondly, the Hon. Sir James Mackenzie of Royston, 
Baronet, with issue — George (who married but died before 
his father, without male issue), and two daughters — Anne, 
who married Sir William Dick of Prestonfield ; and Eliza- 


beth, who married Sir John Stuart of Grandtully, with 

Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh married, secondly, 
Margaret, daughter of Haliburton of Pitcur, with issue, 
(6) James, who died young; (7) George, who succeeded 
his father as II. of Rosehaugh, and married — with issue, 
an only daughter, who died without issue; (8) Jean, and 
(9) Margaret, both of whom died without issue. From 
this it will be seen that the male representation of Sir 
George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh, eldest son of the Hon. 
Simon Mackenzie of Lochslinn, terminated at the death 
of his only son. We must therefore revert to 

Simon Mackenzie, the immediate younger brother 
of Sir George Mackenzie, and second son of the Hon. 
Simon Mackenzie of Lochslinn, from whom James Fowler 
Mackenzie of Allangrange, present Chief of the 
Clan, is descended as follows: — 

Simon, who died at Lochbroom in 1664, married 
Jane, daughter of Alexander Mackenzie, I. of Ballone, 
brother of Sir John Mackenzie of Tarbat and uncle to 
George, first Earl of Cromarty (marriage contract 1663) 
with issue — ^an only and posthumous son, 

I. Simon Mackenzie, first of Allangrange, an Ad- 
vocate at the Scottish Bar. This property he acquired 
through his wife in the following manner. Alexander 
Mackenzie, I. of Kilcoy, third son of Colin, XI. of 
Kintail, had four sons, of whom the youngest, Roderick, 
obtained the lands of Kilmuir, in the Black Isle. He 
became a successful lawyer, Sheriff-Depute, and Member 
of Parliament, and was knighted by Charles II. Sir 
Roderick, at the same time proprietor of Findon, acquired 
several other properties by purchase. He died in 1692, 
and on the death of his only son in the following year, 
without issue, his unentailed estates, which were not 
included in the Barony, and which had become very 
considerable, and all his moveable property, were divided 
equally among his four daughters, as heirs portioners. 
Isobel, the third of these ladies, on the 22nd of August, 


1693, married, as his first wife, Simon Mackenzie, the 
Advocate, and carried to him in 1699 as her portion, the 
estate of Allan — formerly the property and residence of 
the Earl of Seaforth — which has ever since been known 
as Allangrange. By Isobel Mackenzie, daughter of Sir 
Roderick Mackenzie of Findon, Simon had issue — 

1. Roderick, who died unmarried. 

2. George, who succeeded his father as II. of Allan- 

3. Kenneth, of whom there is no trace. 

4. William, a Captain in the Dutch army. He married 
a Miss Innes, with issue, since proved extinct. 

5. Simon, who died, without issue, in the West Indies. 

6. Lilias, who died unmarried. 

7. Elizabeth, who in 1745 married, as his third wife, 
John Matheson, V. of Fernaig, ancestor of Sir Kenneth 
James Matheson, Baronet of Lochalsh, with issue — one 
son. Captain Alexander Matheson, of the 78th High- 
landers, who died in India in 1809, without issue. 

8. Eliza, who married Ludovic, son of Roderick Mac- 
kenzie, V. of Redcastle. 

9. Isobel, who married Murdoch Cameron, with issue, 
at Allangrange. 

Simon married, secondly, on the 28th of August, 17 18, 
Susanna, daughter of Colonel Alexander Eraser of Kin- 
neries, generally known as ** the Coroner," with issue — 

ID. Colin, who married a Miss Macdonald in Loch- 
aber, with issue — William, who died unmarried in the West 
Indies; Susanna, who married a Mr Cameron, with issue; 
and a daughter, who died unmarried. 

11. Alexander, a Doctor of Medicine, who died without 
issue, in Jamaica, in 1780. 

12. Margaret, married Dr John Mackenzie of Newton, 
who died in 1759, with issue — Dr Simon of Mullet Hall, 
Jamaica, who there married Catherine, daughter of Samuel 
Gregory from Nairn; George; Roderick; Kenneth; and 

13. Frances, who married Lieutenant James Cumming 


of the Marines (marriage contract 1752), without issue. 

I4« Susanna, and 

15. Janet, both of whom died unmarried. 

Simon was drowned in the River Orrin, in February, 
1730, while returning home from a visit to a friend in Fair- 
burn, when he was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, 
II. George Mackenzie, second of Allangrange, who 
in May, 173 1, married Margaret, daughter of John 
and grand-daughter of Sir Donald Bayne of Tulloch. 
They have a retour in 1732. The male heirs of the 
Baynes of Tulloch — originally a sept of Mackays from 
Sutherlandshire, who settled down in the vicinity of 
Dingwall early in the sixteenth century — having terminated 
in John, this lady's father, she carried the lineal repre- 
sentation of that old and respectable house to the family 
of Allangrange. By Margarel Bayne, George Mackenzie 
had issue — 

1. Simon, who died young in 173 1. 

2. William, a Captain in the 2Sth Regiment He died 
before his father, unmarried, in 1764. 

3. George, who died young. 

4. Alexander, who died unmarried before his father, 
in 1765. 

5. John, who succeeded his father in Allangrange. 

6. Margaret, who, as his second wife, married Alex- 
ander Chisholm, XXII. of Chisholm, with issue, and 
carried on the succession of that family. 

7. Isobell, who married Simon Mackenzie of Langwell, 
a Captain in the 4th Regiment (marriage contract 1767), 
with issue. 

8. Mary, who married Kenneth Chisholm, Fasnakyle, 
a cadet of Knockfin, with issue — Margaret, who married 
John Chisholm, Comar. 

George had six other daughters — Anne, Janet, Susanna, 
Lilias, Ann, Barbara, and Elizabeth, all of whom died 
young or unmarried. 

He died in 1773, when he was succeeded by his eldest 
surviving son, 


III. John Mackenzie, third of Allangrange, who at 
an early age was appointed Examiner of Customs in 
Edinburgh. He married, first, Catherine, eldest daughter 
and co-heiress of James Falconer of Monkton (marriage 
contract 1781), and grand-daughter of the Right Hon. 
Lord Halkerton and the Hon. Jane Falconer. By the 
acquisition of his wife's fortune John was able to devote 
himself to his favourite agricultural pursuits, in which he 
was eminently successful in his day. By his wife, who 
died in 1790, he left issue — 

1. George Falconer, his heir and successor. 

2. Jane Falconer, who married John Gillanders of 
Highfield, with issue — (i) Captain George Gillanders, who 
died without issue ; (2) Captain John Mackenzie Bowman 
Gillanders, H.E.I.C.S., of Highfield, who died, without 
issue, in 1852; (3) Alexander Gillanders; (4) James 
Falconer Gillanders, of Highfield, who in 1852 married 
Amy, daughter of the late Major Charles Robertson of 
Kindeace, with issue — George Francis Gillanders, late of 
Highfield, who, on the 21st of December, 1876, married 
Geraldine Anne Isabella Mary Jane, daughter of Major 
James Wardlaw, Belmaduthy, with issue — an only daughter, 
Frances Geraldine ; (5) Frances Williamina Gillanders, 
who died without issue ; (6) Margaret Mackenzie Gil- 
landers; (7) Catherine, who married William Inglis, of 
the H.E.I.C.S. 

3. Margaret Bayne, who died young. 

4. Margaret Bayne, who also died young. 

John married, secondly, Barbara, daughter of George 
Gillanders, first of Highfield, widow of John Bowman, an 
East India merchant in London, without issue. She died 
in 1823. He died in 181 2, when he was succeeded by 
his eldest son, 

IV. George Falconer Mackenzie, fourth of Allan- 
grange, who was in 1829 served heir male to his ancestor, 
the Hon. Simon Mackenzie of Lochslinn, and heir male in 
general to Simon's father, Kenneth, created first Lord 
Mackenzie of Kintail in 1609, and to Lord Kenneth's 


brother, Colin, created first Earl of Seaforth in 1623. 
He matriculated arms accordingly in the Lyon Office 
of Scotland. On the 9th of January, 1828, be married 
Isabella Reid, daughter of James Fowler of Raddery and 
Fairburn, in the county of Ross, and The Grange, Jamaica, 
with issue — 

1. John Falconer, who succeeded his father, and died 
unmarried in 1849. 

2. James Fowler, who succeeded his brother John. 

3. George Thomas, who married Ethel Newman, 
London, without issue male. 

4. Catherine Sophia, who died young. 

5. Anna Watson. 

George Falconer Mackenzie died in 1841, and was 
succeeded by his eldest son, 

V. John Falconer Mackenzie, fifth of Allangrange, 
who died unmarried in 1849, when he was succeeded by 
his next brother, 

VL James Fowler Mackenzie, now of Allangrange, 
Chief of the Mackenzies, and heir male to the dormant 
honours and ancient titles of the historic family of Kintail 
and Seaforth. He is still unmarried, and it is much to 
be feared that after his death and that of his brother, 
George, who is without issue male, the Chiefship of this 
great Clan may go a-begging. The only member of the 
family whose male representation has not been proved 
extinct is Kenneth, third son of Simon, I. of Allangrange, 
born about two hundred years ago, and of whom or of 
his descendants, if any, nothing is known for two centuries. 
And trace of them is now scarcely within the region of 
possibility, even if in existence, which is extremely im- 

The Hon. Simon Mackenzie of Lochslinn, seventh 
son of Kenneth, first Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, had by 
his first wife, three other sons — Thomas Mackenzie, I. of 
Loggie; John Mackenzie, I. of Inchcoulter or Balcony* 
and Colin Mackenzie, Clerk to the Privy Council, but 


the male issue of all three has been proved extinct. He, 
however, married again; and it is among the descendants 
of the second marriage that the Chiefship of the Clan 
must be sought for should the heirs male of Allangrange 
at any time fail. 


The Hon. Simon Mackenzie of Lochslinn married, 
secondly, in 1650 (marriage contract dated at Kingiliie 
on the 1 2th of January), Agnes, daughter of William Fraser, 

V. of Culbokie, and widow of Alexander Mackenzie, I. 
of Ballone, brother of Sir John Mackenzie of Tarbat, 
with issue — 

1. Kenneth Mor Mackenzie, first of Glenmarkassie 
and Dundonnel. 

2. Isobel, who, in 1673, married Murdoch Mackenzie, 

VI. of Fairburn, with issue. 

3. Elizabeth, who married the Rev. Roderick Mac- 
kenzie, minister and laird of Avoch — the land of which 
he had purchased — son of John, Archdean of Ross, natural 
son of Sir Roderick Mackenzie, Tutor of Kintail, with 
issue. This 

I. Kenneth Mor Mackenzie, first of Glenmarkassie, 
acquired the lands of Dundonnel, or ** Achadh-Tigh- 
Domhnuill," from Roderick Mackenzie, HI. of Redcastie, 
in 1690, by excambion for Meikle Scatwell. In 1681 he 
is described as Chamberlain of Assynt, and in 1690 he 
receives a discharge from the Hon. John Mackenzie, 
then designed **of Assynt," for 2448 merks, being the 
full rent for the estate crop of 1689. He married 
Annabella, daughter of John Mackenzie, I. of Gruinard, 
natural son of George, second Earl of Seaforth, with 
issue — 

1. Kenneth, his heir and successor. 

2. Alexander, of whom nothing is known. 


3. Colin Riabhach of Ardinglash, who married Anna- 
bella, daughter of Simon Mackenzie of Loggie, without 
surviving issue. 

4. Simon, of whom there is. no trace. 

5. Barbara, who married Alexander Mackenzie III. of 
Ballone (sasine 1727), with issue. 

6. Sibella, who married John Mackenzie, II. of Ardloch, 
with issue. 

7. Annabella, who married James Mackenzie of Kep- 
poch, Lochbroom, brother of John Mackenzie, II. of 
Ardloch, with issue. 

Kenneth Mor was succeeded by his eldest son, 

II. Kenneth Mackenzie, second of Dundonnel, 
who married Jean, daughter of John Chisholm, XX. of 
Chisholm, with issue — 

1. Kenneth, his heir and successor. 

2. Captain Alexander, of the 73rd Regiment, who 
died in 1783, and whose issue, if any, is unknown. 

3. John, who married Barbara, daughter of Alexander 
Mackenzie, I. of Ardloch, with issue, several sons, all of 
whom died young, and two daughters — Annabella, who 
married Alexander Mackenzie, Rivochan, Kishorn, with 
issue, twenty-five children ; and Isabella. John's widow 
married, as her second husband, Roderick, sixth son of 
George Mackenzie, II. of Gruinard, with issue. 

Kenneth was succeeded by his eldest son, 

III. Kenneth Mackenzie, third of Dundonnel, who 
in 1737, married Jean, daughter of Sir Kenneth Mac- 
kenzie, IV. and first Baronet of Scatwell, with issue — 

1. George, his heir and successor. 

2. Kenneth, a W.S., who died in 1790, and whose 
issue, if any, is unknown. 

3. William, an Episcopalian minister, who married, 
with issue. If any male descendants of his exist and can 
be traced one of them may, at no distant date, become 
Chief of the Clan. 

4. Roderick, who was also married, with issue, but of 
whose descendants, if any, nothing is known. 


5. Captain Alexander, who died in India, without issue. 

6. Captain Simon, who was married, and died in Nairn 
in 18 1 2, whether with or without issue, at present unknown. 

7. Captain Lewis, who died in India, without issue. 

8. Janet, who married Colin Mackenzie, Jamaica, 
brother of George Mackenzie, Kildonan of Lochbroom 
without issue. She died in 1783. 

9. Isabella, who died unmarried. 

Kenneth, whose wife predeceased him in 1786, died 
in 1789, when he was succeeded by his eldest son, 

IV. George Mackenzie, fourth of Dundonnel, who 
married Abigail, daughter of Thomas Mackenzie, V. of 
Ord, with issue — 

1. Alexander, who died young. 

2. Kenneth, who succeeded his father in the estates. 

3. Thomas, who succeeded his brother Kenneth. 

4. Jane, who married the Rev. Dr Ross, minister of 
Lochbroom. with issue. 

George was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, 

V. Kenneth Mackenzie, fifth of Dundonnel, who, 
in 18 17, married Isabella, daughter of Donald Roy of 
Treeton, without issue. He left the estate by will to his 
brother-in-law, Robert Roy, W.S., who, however, lost it 
after a long and costly litigation with Kenneth's brother, 

VI. Thomas Mackenzie, sixth of Dundonnel, who 
was financially ruined by the litigation in the case, and 
the property had to be sold in 1835, to meet the 
costs of the trial. It was bought by Murdo Munro-Mac- 
kenzie of Ardrdss, grandfather of the present owner, Hugh 
Mackenzie of Dundonnel, and of Bundanon, Shoulhaven, 
New South Wales. Thomas married his cousin, Anne, 
eldest daughter of Alexander, VI. of Ord, with issue — 

1. George Alexander, who became the representative 
of the family on the death of his father. 

2. Thomas, who emigrated to California, and of whose 
issue, if any, nothing is known. 

• 3. John Hope, who for some time resided at Tarradale 
House, Ross-shire. 


4. Helen, who married the Hon. Justice Charles 
Henry Stewart of Ceylon, without issue. 

5. Isabella, who resided in Elgin, unmarried. 
Thomas was succeeded as representative of the family 

by his. eldest son, 

Vn. George Alexander Mackenzie, who, on the 
death of his father, became head of the original Mackenzies 
of Dundonnel, although the estates had been sold to 
another family. He married Louisa, daughter of Captain 
Stewart of the Celyon Rifles, without issue. If his next 
brother, who went to California, survived George Alex- 
ander, then, on his death, he — 

VIII. Thomas Mackenzie, would have succeeded 
as head of his house, and failing him and his descendants, 
if any, the representation of the old Mackenzies of Dun- 
donnel would have fallen to 

John Hope Mackenzie, third son of Thomas, VI. 
of Dundonnel and last proprietor of the family estates. 
He married Louisa, daughter of Captain Stewart of the 
Ceylon Rifles, widow of his deceased brother, George 
Alexander, without issue, and died in London in 1892. 

The only members of this family whose descendants 
can ever now by any possibility succeed to the Chiefship 
should it pass from the Mackenzies of Allangrange are 
(i) Alexander, second son of Kenneth Mor, first of Dun- 
donnel, but of him there is no trace for more than two 
hundred years, and never likely to be. (2) Simon, 
Alexander's youngest brother, of whom nothing has been 
heard during the same period. (3) Captain Alexander, 
of the 73rd Regiment, second son of Kenneth Mackenzie, 

II. of Dundonnel, who died, probably unmarried, in 1783, 
In any case there is nothing known of any descendants. 
(4) Kenneth, W.S., second son of Kenneth Mackenzie, 

III. of Dundonnel, who died in 1790, and is not known 
to have been married. (5) William, third son of the 
same Kenneth, an Episcopalian minister, who was married, 
and left issue, of whom, however, we know nothing. 
(6) Roderick, William's immediate younger brother, and 


third son of the same Kenneth Mackenzie, III. of Dun- 
donnel, who was also married, with issue, but whether 
extinct or not we cannot say. (7) Captain Simon, who 
was married and died in . Nairn in 18 12, but of his 
descendants, if any, we at present know nothing. (8) 
Captain Lewis, who died in India, probably unmarried, 
but this has not been conclusively established ; and (9) 
Thomas, second son of Thomas, VI. of Dundonnel, who 
in early life emigrated to California, and regarding whom 
nothing has since been heard. If he is still alive or has 
left any surviving male issue the late John Hope Mac- 
kenzie could not have succeeded as head of the family, 
and Thomas, or his male heir, if now in life, occupies 
that position ; and on the failure of the Mackenzies of 
Allangrange, he or his representative will become Chief 
of the Mackenzies. Failing Thomas, or his male heirs, 
that honour would fall to the heirs male, if any, of each 
of the eight others mentioned, in the inverse order in 
which their names are here set forth. 


The Mackenzies of Hilton are descended from 
Alexander Mackenzie, VI. of Kintail, known among the 
Highlanders as ''Alastair lonraic," by his first wife, Anna, 
daughter of John Macdougall of Dunolly. The first of 
the family was 

I. Duncan Mackenzie, designated of Hilton, a barony 
situated in Strathbraan, bounded on the north by Loch 
Fannich, on the south by the ridge of the hills on the 
north side of Strathconan, on the east by Achnault, and 
on the west by Ledgowan. Duncan married a daughter 
of Ewen Cameron, XIII. of Lochiel, with issue — an only 
son, his heir and successor — 

II. Allan Mackenzie, second of Hilton, Loggie or 
Brea, from whom the family is known in Gaelic as 
"Clann Alain." He married a daughter of Alexander 
Dunbar of Conzie and Kilbuyack, third son of the Sheriflf 
of Moray, with issue — 

1. Murdoch, his heir and successor. 

2. John, progenitor of the Mackenzies of Loggie. 

3. Roderick, who married, with issue, an only daughter, 
Agnes, who married Alexander Mackenzie, II. of Killi- 
christ, with issue. 

4. Alastair, who married, with issue — a daughter, who 
married Roderick, son of Murdoch Mackenzie, III. of 
Achilty, with issue — the Rev. Murdo Mackenzie, Bishop 
of Ranfoe, in Ireland. 

Allan's wife survived him, and married, as her second 
husband, Kenneth Mackenzie of Meikle Allan, now 
Allangrange, second son of Hector Roy Mackenzie, I. of 

He was succeeded by his eldest son, 

III. Murdoch Mackenzie, third of Hilton, who 
married a daughter of Innes of Innerbreakie, now Inver- 
gordon, with issue — an only son, 


IV. John Mackenzie, fourth of Hilton, who married 
Margaret, daughter of Dunbar of Inchbrook, with issue — 

1. Murdoch, his heir. 

2. Alexander, who, in 1640, married Margaret, natural 
daughter of John Roy Mackenzie, IV. of Gairloch, ap- 
parently without issue. The marriage contract is in the 
Gairloch charter chest. 

3. Colin, M.A. of Aberdeen University, and minister 
of Kilearnan, where he died. He married Miss Dundas, 
with issue — Kenneth, well known in his day as Deacon 
of the Edinburgh Goldsmiths, who left no issue. 

4. A daughter who married John Sinclair, Caithness. 

5. A daughter, who married John Matheson, ** Ian 
Og," in Lochalsh, whose eldest son, Alexander, became 
the progenitor of the Mathesons of Lochalsh, Attadale. 
and Ardross, represented in this country by Sir Kenneth 
James Matheson, Baronet, and others. 

John was succeeded by his eldest son, 

V. Murdoch Mackenzie, fifth of Hilton, who married 
Mary, eldest daughter of the Rev. Murdoch Murchison, 
Auchtertyre, minister of Kintail, with issue — 

1. Alexander, his heir. 

2. Roderick, who married the eldest daughter of Alex- 
ander, third son of Murdoch Mackenzie, II. of Redcastle, 
with issue — a son, Colin, who died without issue, in 1682. 

3. Colin, who married Isobel, daughter of Donald Simp- 
son, Chamberlain of Ferintosh, with issue — (i) Alexander, 
locally called "Sanders," who succeeded his grandfather, 
Donald Simpson, as Chamberlain of Ferintosh. He 
married Helen, daughter of William Munro, Ardullie, with 
issue — two sons and two daughters — (a) Colin, who died 
unmarried, but left a natural son, of whom are descended 
several respectable families in Ferintosh ; (d) Donald, who 
married Jean, daughter of Thomas Forbes of Raddery 
and of the lands of Fortrose as far as Ethie, with issue — 
an only son, Alexander, who was drowned along with 
his father, while fording the Conon, opposite Dingwall, 
in 17S9, when, the son being unmarried, perished the 


legitimate male succession of his paternal grandfather, 
Alexander, eldest son of Colin, third son of Murdoch 
Mackenzie, V. of Hilton. Donald had several daughters; 
first Mary, who was along with her father and brother 
when they were drowned, but she was saved, and married, 
as his second wife, the Rev. Colin Mackenzie, minister of 
Fodderty, first of the family of Glack, of whom presently ; 
second, Jean, who married Colin Murchison ; third, Isabel, 
who married David Ross ; fourth, a daughter, who married 
Mackenzie of Ussie, with issue — two sons, Donald and 
Frank; fifth, Anne, who married Lewis Grant; and sixth, 
Helen, who married Alexander Mackenzie of Ardna- 
grask, afterwards at Loggie-side, from whom was 
descended Bailie John Mackenzie, of Inverness. Alex- 
ander's ("Sanders") eldest daughter, Mary, in 1723, 
married Donald, son of John Murchison, Achtertyre ; the 
second, Elizabeth, married William Martin of Inchfure, 
with issue — a daughter, Ann, celebrated for her beauty, 
who, as his second wife, married Norman Macleod, XIX. 
of Macleod, with issue — three daughters, Elizabeth, Anne, 
and Rich Mary, for whose marriage and descendants see 
Mackenzie's History of the Maekods^ pp. 154-155. (2) 
Roderick, Colin's second son, whose male heir carried on 
the representation of the family on the death, without 
legitimate male issue, of Alexander Mackenzie, X. of Hilton, 
when he was succeeded by Roderick's grandson, Alex- 
ander, as XI. of Hilton, whose descent will be shown* 
presently. John, a third son of Colin, is on record in 
1730, but nothing more is known of him. 

4. Murdoch, fourth son of Murdoch, V. of Hilton, 
married Agnes Helen, daughter of Donald Taylor, a Bailie 
of Inverness (1665), with issue — an only son, Alexander, 
who in early life entered the service of Kenneth, Earl 
of Seaforth, and who, in 1709, became Chamberlain of 
the Lewis for Earl William. In the same year Alexander 
married Katherine, daughter of Andrew Duncan, factor 
for Viscount Stormont, with issue, whose descendants are 
unknown. Murdoch had also a daughter, Jean, who 



married Hector Mackenzie, by whom she had a son, 
Kenneth, a Jesuit Priest in Spain, and several daughters. 
5. Isobel, who married the Rev. Donald Macrae, 
minister of Kintail, with issue. 

Murdoch was succeeded by his eldest son, 
VI. Alexander Mackenzie, sixth of Hilton, who, 
in 1650, married, first, Annabella, second daughter of 
John Mackenzie, I. of Ord, without issue, and secondly, 
Sibella, eldest daughter of Roderick Mackenzie, I. of 
Applecross, widow in succession of Alexander Macleod, 
V. of Raasay, and Thomas Graham of Drynie, with issue — 
an only son, 

VII. EwEN Mackenzie, who succeeded as seventh of 
Hilton. He married, in 1685, Elizabeth, third daughter 
of Colin Mackenzie, IV. of Redcastle, with issue — 

1. John, his heir and successor. 

2. Colin, who succeeded his brother John as IX. of 

3. Florence, who married her cousin, Alexander Macrae, 
son of the Rev. Donald Macrae, minister of Kintail. 

He was succeeded by his eldest son, 

VIII. John Mackenzie, eighth of Hilton, who married 
Margaret, daughter of Kenneth Mackenzie of Alduinny 
(marriage contract 17 10), without issue. He joined the 
Earl of Mar, and was one of ''The four Johns of Scot- 
land," — Ceitfuar lanan na h-Alba — killed at the battle of 
Sheriff-Muir in November, 1715, where he commanded 
a Company of the Mackenzies. He was succeeded by his 

IX. Colin Mackenzie, ninth of Hilton, who married 
Catherine, daughter of Christopher Mackenzie, Arinhugair, 
with issue — 

1. John, who married Helen, daughter of Roderick 
Mackenzie, VII. of Fairburn, and died without issue, 
before his father, in 1751. 

2. Alexander, who succeeded to the estate. 

3. A daughter, who, as his first wife, married John 
Macdonell, XII. of Glengarry, with issue — ^Alastair, who 


carried on the representation of that family, and another 

He died in 1756, aged 65, and was succeeded by his 
only surviving son, 

X. Alexander Mackenzie, tenth of Hilton, who 
married Mary, daughter of George Mackenzie, H. of 
Gruinard, without issue, when the direct male line of 
Murdoch, V. of Hilton, came to an end. He, however, 
had a natural son — Alexander, well known in his day and 
yet affectionately spoken of by very old people as ** Alastair 
Mor mac Fhir Bhaile Chnuic," Seaforth's principal and 
most successful recruiting serjeant when originally raising 
the 78th Highland Regiment. And many a curious story 
is still told of Alastair's successful efforts to procure willing 
and sometimes hesitating recruits for the Regiment of 
his Chief. He married Annabella Mackenzie, of the 
Gruinard family, by whom he had a numerous offspring ; 
and many of his descendants, one of whom is Major 
Alexander Colin Mackenzie, of the ist V.B. Seaforth 
Highlanders, Maryburgh, occupy responsible positions in 
several parts of the country. 

We must now revert, in order to pick up the legiti- 
mate male line of succession, to 

Roderick Mackenzie, I. of Brea, Chamberiain of 
Ferintosh, second son of Colin, by his wife Mary Simpson, 
third son of Murdoch, V. of Hilton, all the intermediate 
male heirs having, as has been shown, become extinct. 
He acquired Brea in Ferintosh, in wadset and it re- 
mained in his family for two generations. By marriage 
he became possessed of the ruined Castle of Dingwall, 
and the lands adjoining, the ancient residence of the Earls 
of Ross ; also the lands of Longcroft Roderick married 
Una, or Winifred, daughter of John Cameron, Town 
Clerk of Dingwall, with issue — 

I. John of Brea, commonly known as "John the 
Laird." He resided at Tarradale and married, in 1759, 
Beatrice, second daughter of Alexander Mackenzie, VI H. 
of Davochmaluag, by Magdalen, daughter of Hugh Rose, 


XIII. of Kilravoclc, with issue — (i) Roderick, who died 
unmarried ; (2) Alexander, who succeeded as XI. of 
Hilton, and of whom presently ; (3) Kenneth of Inverinate, 
who married Anne, daughter of Thomas Mackenzie, IV. 
of Highfield and VI. of Applecross, with issue — {a) 
Thomas, who succeeded as X. of Applecross, in right of 
his mother, and whose male heirs have died out (see 
Applecross genealogy) ; (b) Alexander, who married Harriet, 
daughter of Newton of Curriehill, with issue — Kenneth, 
who died unmarried ; Alexander, a Lieutenant in the 
Royal Engineers, who died unmarried ; Marion, who 
married Charles Holmes, barrister, without issue ; and 
Harriet, unmarried ; {c) Jean, who died unmarried ; {d) 
Elizabeth, who married her cousin. Major John Mackenzie, 
XII. of Hilton, with issue, whose descendants, in Australia, 
now represent the male line of the family ; {e) Flora, who 
married the Rev. Charles Downie, minister of Contin, 
who died in 1852, leaving issue — Kenneth Mackenzie 
Downie, a surgeon in Australia, and five daughters, all 
dead; (/) Catherine, {£) Mary, and {h) Johanna, all three 
of whom died unmarried. The other sons and daughters 
of John Mackenzie of Brea, "the Laird," were (4) Colin, 
called ** the Baron," born at Tarradale, on the 3rd of 
December, 1759, and died unmarried; (5) Peter, who 
also died unmarried ; (6) Duncan, who married Jessie, 
daughter of Mackenzie of Strathgarve, without issue ; (7) 
Arthur, who died unmarried ; (8) Magdalen, who died 
unmarried ; (9) Marcella or Medley, who married the 
Rev. Dr Downie, in the Lewis; (10) Mary, who in 1790, 
married her cousin, the Rev. Donald Mackenzie, minister 
of Fodderty, with issue — Major Colin, Royal Engineers, 
who married Anne, daughter of John Pendrill, of Bath, 
without issue ; and (i i) Elizabeth, who died unmarried. 

2. Colin Mackenzie, minister of Fodderty, who purchased 
an estate in Aberdeenshire, and was the first of the Mac- 
kenzies of Glack, in that county, of whom later on. 

3. Sir Peter, M.D., a knight of Nova Scotia, Surgeon- 
General in the army, who died unmarried. 


Roderick Mackenzie was succeeded in Brea by his 
eldest son, 

John Mackenzie, II. of Brea, with surviving issue, 
among several others already mentioned, Alexander, who 
as nearest male heir collateral, succeeded to the lands and 
barony of the family as 

XI. Alexander Mackenzie, eleventh of Hilton and 
Brea, who was, as has just been shown, the great-grandson 
of Colin, third son of Murdoch, V. of Hilton, and his 
heir of line. Alexander was born at Tigh-a-phris of 
Ferintosh, on the 3rd of July, 1756. He was educated 
at the University of Aberdeen, but was afterwards bred 
a millwright to qualify him for the supervision of family 
estates and business connections in Jamaica, where he 
subsequently became a Colonel of Militia. On the death 
of his maternal uncle, Alexander Mackenzie, VIII. of 
Davochmaluag, in 1776, and of that gentleman's grandson. 
Lieutenant Kenneth Mackenzie, who was killed at Saratoga 
in 1777, Alexander of Hilton succeeded also to the 
Davochmaluag estate. The adjoining properties of Davoch- 
poUo and Davochcairn having been previously acquired 
by his father, John Mackenzie, second of Brea, Alexander 
combined the three properties into one, and gave it the 
name of Brea, after the former possession of the family 
in Ferintosh. He greatly improved this estate and laid 
it out in its present beautiful form. His land improvements, 
however, turned out unremunerative. His Hilton property 
was heavily encumbered in consequence of the part taken 
by members of the family in the Risings of 1696, 1715, 
and 1745, and great losses having been incurred in 
connection with his West Indian estates, Alexander got 
into pecuniary difficulties, and all his possessions, at home 
and abroad, had to be sold either by himself or by his 
trustees to meet the demands of his creditors. He was 
a distinguished agriculturist for his time, and was the 
first, along with Sir George Mackenzie, VII. of Coul, 
and his own cousin, Major Forbes Mackenzie, to introduce 
Cheviot sheep to the Highlands for hill grazings. 


He married Mary James, in Jamaica, with issue — 

1. John, his heir. 

2. Alexander, who married his cousin Charlotte, daughter 
of the Rev. Dr Downie, with issue — (i) Alexander, who 
died unmarried ; (2) Downie, who died unmarried ; (3) 
John ; (4) Kenneth, who married Flora, daughter of the 
Rev. John Macdonald, a native of Inverness, who emi- 
grated to and was a minister in Australia, by his wife 
Mary (who died in 1878), third daughter of Neil Macleod, 
XL of Gesto, Isle of Skye ; (5) Charles, who died 
unmarried ; (6) William, who died unmarried ; (7) Mary 
James, who married her cousin, Kenneth Mackenzie, 
XIV. of Hilton, in Australia; and (8) Jessie, who died 
unmarried. Alexander emigrated to Australia, where he 

3. Kenneth, W.S., who married Anne Urquhart, Aber- 
deen, with issue — an only daughter, who died unmarried. 
He married, secondly, Elizabeth Jones, with issue, and 
died in Canada, where his widow and children continued 
to reside, in the city of Toronto. 

4. Mary, who died unmarried in Australia a few years 

Alexander died at Lass wade in 1840, and was succeeded 
as representative of the family by his eldest son, 

XII. John Mackenzie, Colonel of the 7th Regiment 
of Bengal Cavalry, and for many years Superintendent of 
the Government breeding stud at Buxar, India. He 
married, in 18 13, his cousin, Elizabeth, daughter of 
Kenneth Mackenzie of Inverinate, W.S., with issue — 

1. Alexander, who succeeded him as representative of 
the family. 

2. Kenneth, who succeeded his brother Alexander. 

3. Mary, who married Dr James of the 30th Regi- 
ment, without issue. 

4. Anne, who married General Arthur Hall of the Sth 
Bengal Cavalry, with issue. 

5. Elizabeth Jane, who died unmarried. 

Colonel John died at Simla in 1856, when he was 


succeeded as representative of the family by his eldest 

XIII. Alexander Mackenzie, who emigrated to 
Australia, and died unmarried in New South Wales in 
1862, when he was succeeded as representative of the 
family by his younger brother, 

XIV. Kenneth Mackenzie, who recently resided 
at Tyrl-Tyrl. Taralga, near Sydney, New South Wales. 
He married his cousin, Mary James, daughter of Captain 
Alexander Mackenzie of Brea, second son of Alexander, 
XI. of Hilton, with issue— 

I. John, his heir; (2) Kenneth ; (3) Downie ; (4) Flora; 
(5) Jessie, all in Australia. 


This family is descended from Roderick, second son of 
Colin, third son of Murdoch Mackenzie, V. of Hilton. 
The issue of Roderick, Hilton's second son, by the 
daughter of Alexander Mackenzie of Redcastle, and Rod- 
erick's eldest brother, has already been proved extinct. 
Colin, Murdoch of Hilton's third son, had— (i) a son, 
Alexander, whose male issue died out in 1759; and (2) 
Roderick, Chamberlain of the Lewis. This Roderick had 
three sons — (i) John Mackenzie, I. of Brea, who carried 
on the male line of Hilton, and whose representative, 
now in Australia, is head of that family ; (2) Colin ; and 
(3) Sir Peter, a Surgeon-General in the army, who died 
unmarried. Roderick's second son, 

I. The Rev. Colin Mackenzie, minister of Fodderty, 
purchased the estate of Glack in Aberdeenshire, and 
became the first of this family. He was born in 1707, 
educated at the University of Aberdeen, and in 1734 
appointed parish minister of Fodderty. Subsequently, 
for services rendered to the family of the forfeited E^l 


of Cromarty, he was appointed by the Earl's eldest son, 
Lord Macleod, Chaplain to Macleod's Highlanders, after- 
wards the 71st Highland Light Infantry, an office which 
proved more honorary than lucrative, for he had to find 
a substitute, at his own expense, to perform the duties 
of the office. Colin inherited a considerable fortune in 
gold from his father, while in right of his mother he 
succeeded to the ruined Castle of Dingwall, one of the 
ancients seats of the old Earls of Ross, and its lands, as also 
the lands of Longcroft. He gave the site of the Castle, 
at the time valued at ;f 300, to Henry Davidson of Tulloch 
as a contribution towards the erection of a manufactory 
which that gentleman proposed to erect for the employ- 
ment of the surplus male and female labour in Dingwall 
and its vicinity, but which was never begun. He sold 
the remaining portion of the Castle lands and those of 
Longcroft to his nephew, Alexander Mackenzie, XI. of 
Hilton, and afterwards bought Glack in Aberdeenshire, 
of which he and his descendants have since been desig- 
nated. Colin was on intimate terms with the Lord 
President Forbes of Culloden, and maintained a constant 
correspondence with his lordship, the result of which was, 
along with the demands and influence of his clerical 
calling, to keep him out of the Rising of 1745, although 
all his sympathies were with the Jacobites. He is said to 
have been the first who, in his own district, received 
intelligence of the landing of Prince Charles in Scotland. 
It reached him during the night, whereupon he at once 
crossed Knockfarrel to Brahan Castle, where, finding his 
Chief in bed, he without awakening her ladyship, com- 
municated to his lordship what had occurred. Seaforth, 
having had his estate recently restored to him, was easily 
prevailed upon by his clansmen to keep out of the way 
in the meantime, and both of them started for the West 
Coast of Ross-shire at the same time that the army of 
the Prince began its march eastwards. The two were in 
retirement at Poolewe, when two ships laden with his 
lordship's retainers from the Lewis sailed into Lochewe. 


They were at once signalled to return to Stornoway, 


Seaforth waving them back with the jawbone of a sheep, 
which he was in the act of picking for his dinner, and 
in this way, it is said, was fulfilled one of the prophecies 
of the Brahan Seer, by which it was predicted "That 
next time the men of Lewis should go forth to battle, 
they would be turned back by a weapon smaller than 
the jawbone of an ass." Meanwhile Seaforth's lady (we 
shall for greater convenience continue to call him by his 
former title, although it was at this time under attainder), 
not knowing what had become of her lord or what his 
real intentions were, is said to have entertained the Prince 
at Brahan Castle, and to have urged upon the Earl of 
Cromarty and his eldest son, Lord Macleod, to call out 
the clan in her husbands absence. Subsequently, when 
that Earl and his son were confined in the Tower of 
London for the part which they took on her advice, 
and when the Countess with ten children, and bearing 
another, were suffering the severest hardships and penury, 
the Rev. Colin, at great risk to himself and the interests 
of his family, collected the rents from the Cromarty 
tenants, giving his own receipt against their being required 
to pay again to the Forfeited Estates Commissioners, and 
personally carried the money to her ladyship in London. 
It was in acknowledgment of this service that Lord 
Macleod afterwards appointed him Chaplain to his newly- 
raised regiment, Macleods Highlanders. 

It was this Colin who first fully recognised the health- 
giving properties of the Strathpeffer mineral springs, and 
who, by erecting a covered shed over one of them, placed it, 
for the first time, in a condition to benefit the suffering 
thousands who have since derived so much advantage from 
it. Shortly before his death, in 1801, at the very 
old age of ninety-five years, he conducted the opening 
services of the parish church of Ferintosh, and contributed 
largely to the funds for its erection, to commemorate the 
saving of his wife's life, when she was washed ashore on 
her horse's back, near the site of the church, when her 


father and brother perished by drowning while crossing 
the River Conon, opposite Dingwall, in 1759. 

The Rev. Colin married first, Margaret, daughter of 
Hugh Rose, IV. of Clava, with issue, an only daughter, 
Margaret, who died young on the 22nd of September, 
1746. He married, secondly, in 1754, his cousin, Mary, 
eldest daughter of Donald Mackenzie, Balnabeen, who, 
as has been already shown, carried on, in the female line, 
the succession of Alexander (Sanders), eldest son of Colin, 
third son of Murdoch, V. of Hilton. By her, who died 
in 1828, the Rev. Colin of Fodderty and Glack had 
issue — 

1. Roderick, his heir and successor. 

2. Donald, who was educated at the University of 
Edinburgh, and afterwards appointed parish minister of 
Fodderty and Chaplain to the 71st Highlanders, his father 
having resigned both offices in his favour. He was a noted 
humorist and said by those who knew him best to be 
much more at heart a soldier than a minister. He 
married first, his cousin, Mary, daughter of John Mac- 
kenzie of Brea, " the Laird," and sister of Alexander, XI. 
of Hilton, with issue — (i) Colin, a Colonel of Royal 
Engineers, who, born in 1793, married in 1838 Ann 
Petgrave, daughter of John Pendrill, M.D., Bath, and died 
without issue, in 1869; (2) John, who ultimately succeeded 
as IV. of Glack, and of whom presently; (3) Elizabeth, 
who married Lieutenant Stewart, R.N., with issue; and 
(4) Mary, who died unmarried. Colin married, secondly, 
Mary, daughter of the Rev. Mr Fyers, Fort-George, without 

3. Forbes Mackenzie, a Captain in the North British 
(Ross-shire) Militia, afterwards Major in the East of Ross 
Militia, and for thirty-seven years a Deputy Lieutenant 
for the county. He reclaimed and laid out the greater 
part of the valley of the Peffery, where, on the estate 
of Fodderty, he was the first to apply lime to the land 
and to grow wheat north of the Moray Firth. He was 
also the first to introduce Clydesdale horses and shorthorn 


cattle to the Highlands, and was, as has been already 
said, along with Sir George Mackenzie of Coul and his 
own cousin, Alexander Mackenzie, XI. of Hilton, the 
first to import Cheviot sheep to the northern counties. 
He married Catherine, daughter of Angus Nicolson, 
Stornoway, and grand-daughter of the gentleman of the 
same name who commanded and brought to Poole we, 
with the intention of joining the standard of Prince Charles, 
the three hundred men ordered back to the Lewis, as 
already mentioned, by Seaforth, in 1745. By her Major 
Forbes Mackenzie had issue — (i) Nicolson, a surgeon in 
the army, who was wrecked near Pictou, Nova Scotia, 
and there drowned in his noble attempts to save the 
lives of others, in 1853, unmarried ; (2) Roderick, heir 
of entail to the estate of Foveran, and a Colonel in the 
Royal Artillery, who, in 1878, married Caroline Sophia, 
daughter of J. A. Beamont of Wimblfedon Park ; (3) 
Thomas, a Major in the 78th Highlanders, Ross-shire 
Buffs, now retired, and still unmarried ; (4) Mary, who 
married the late Rev. John Kennedy, D.D., Free Church 
minister of Dingwall, with issue — ^Jessie,- unmarried, and 
Mary, who married John Matheson, banker, Madras, only 
surviving son of the late Rev. Duncan Matheson, late 
Free Church minister of Gairloch, with issue. Mrs 
Kennedy died at StrathpefTer in 1892. (5) Dorothy 
Blair, who died unmarried ; and (6) Catherine Eunice, who 
married the late Adam Alexander Duncan of Naughton, 
county of Fife, with issue — Catherine Henrietta Adamina, 

4. Anne, who married Hector Mackenzie, a Bailie of 
Dingwall (Baillidli Eachainn), to whom Alexander Camp- 
bell, the Gaelic bard, composed the beautiful elegy published 
in 1893 in the Scottish Highlander. He was the second 
son of Alexander Mackenzie of ToUie, Provost of Dingwall 
(third son of Charles Mackenzie, I. of Letterewe), by his 
second wife, Catherine, daughter of Bayne of Delny, and 
younger half brother of Alexander Mackenzie, I. of 
Portmore. By his wife. Bailie Hector had issue, Alexander, 
whose daughter, Katherine, in 1836, married Major 


Roderick Mackenzie, H.E.I.C.S., and VII. of Kincraig, 
with issue. 

5. Mary, who married Captain John Mackenzie, VI. 
of Kincraig, whose descendants, from her, now represent 
the Mackenzies of Redcastle. 

6. Johanna, who married Dr Millar, Stornoway. 

7. Una, who died unmarried. 

8. Beatrice, who married Peter Hay, a Bailie of 

9. Isabella, who died unmarried, and 

ID. Jean, who married the Rev. Colin Mackenzie, 

Rev. Colin Mackenzie was succeeded by his eldest son, 

II. Roderick Mackenzie, second of Glack. He 
married first, Margaret, daughter of Sir Alexander Mac- 
kenzie, X. of Gairloch, Baronet, without issue, and secondly, 
Christina, daughter of John Niven, Peebles, with issue — 

1. Harry, who died unmarried, in 1828. 

2. John, who succeeded as III. of Glack. 

3. Roderick of ThorntMi, Aberdeenshire, who died 
unmarried, in 1858. 

4. James, a Major in the 72nd Highlanders, who died 
unmarried in India, in 1857. 

5. Mary, who married the late General Sir Alexander 
Leith, K.C.B., of Freefield and Glenkindie, without issue. 

6. Rachael, who died unmarried. 

7. Christina of Foveran, who died unmarried. 

8. Jane Forbes Unice, who also died unmarried. 
Roderick was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, 

III. John Mackenzie, third of Glack. He was 
born in 1810, succeeded his father in 1842, inherited his 
brother Roderick's estate in 1857, and Foveran, on her 
death, from his sister Christina. He acquired Inveramsay 
by purchase. He died, unmarried, in 1877, when he 
was succeeded by his cousin, the second son of his uncle, 
the Rev. Donald, minister of Fodderty, 

IV. John Mackenzie, fourth of Glack. He was 
born on the 2ist of March, 1795, and married first, in 


1817, at Malta, Anne, daughter of Thomas MacGill, without 
issue; and secondly, on the 21st of October, 1822, Margaret 
Campbell, daughter of John Pendrill, M.D., Bath, with 
issue — 

1. The Rev. Duncan Campbell, rector of Shephall, 
Hertfordshire, his heir. 

2. John Pendrill, M.A. of Oxford, who was born on the 
7th of February, 1825, and married first, on the 20th of 
October, 1859, Lucy Adelaide, daughter of Henry Thorn- 
ton, with issue — Lucy Eleanor and Margaret Pendrill. 
She died in 1870, and he married, secondly, on the 25th 
of July, 1878, Caroline Maria, daughter of J. H. Wottur 
of Hamburg. 

3. The Rev. Roderick Bain, M.A. of Exeter College, 
Oxford, Rector of Ludbrooke, county of Lincoln. He 
was born on the 14th of September, 1834, and married 
on the lOth of November, 1868, Josepha Peyton, eldest 
daughter of Colonel Richard Ignatius Robertson of Portland 
Place, London, without issue. 

4. Margaret Campbell Pendrill, and 

5. Mary, both unmarried. 

His second wife died at Sorrento, Naples, on the 7th 
of June, 1855. He is succeeded as representative of 
the family by his eldest son, 

V. The Rev. Duncan Campbell Mackenzie, Vicar 
of Shephall, Herts, who was born on the 6th of January, 
1824, and married on the 31st of January, 1854, Louisa, 
daughter of the late Lieutenant-Colonel Nicolls, of 
Chichester, with issue — 

1. Donald, an officer in the Marines. 

2. Allan, an officer in the Ross-shire Militia. 

3. Malcolm; 4, Helen; 5, Edith; 6, Lilian; and 7, Amy. 


The representative of this family, if alive, would succeed 
to the Chiefship after the male representative of the family 
of Glack, but there is no trace of any heir male of 
Loggie for two centuries. Before the Chiefship could 
come into this family, the descendants of Kenneth of 
Inverinate, third son of John Mackenzie of Brea, and 
immediate younger brother of Alexander, XI. of Hilton, 
would have to be disposed of. Thomas, the eldest son 
of Inverinate, succeeded in terms of a disposition by John 
Mackenzie, VII. of Applecross, and in right of his mother, 
to the Applecross estates, but not to the male representa- 
tion of that family. But the last male representative of 
this family failed, a few years ago, in the person of his 
third and last surviving son, Thomas Mackenzie, W.S., 
Edinburgh, who died unmarried. 

It will be remembered that Allan Mackenzie, II. of 
Hilton and Loggie, married a daughter of Alexander 
Dunbar of Conzie and Kilbuyack, third son of the 
Sheriff of Moray, with issue — (i) Murdoch, who succeeded 
as III. of Hilton, and (2) John, who was served heir to 
and afterwards designated, 

I. John Mackenzie, first of Loggie, a barony situated 
in the old parish of that name, but now forming the 
western portion of the modern parish of Urquhart. John 
married a daughter of John Glassich Mackenzie, II. of 
Gairloch, with issue, one son, who succeeded him as 

II. Allan Mackenzie, second of Loggie. He married 
a daughter of Hector, sixth son of Murdoch Mackenzie, 
III. of Achilty, with issue — 

1. Donald, his heir and successor. 

2. Murdoch, who was married and left one daughter, 
Margaret, who in 1634 married Murdoch Mackenzie, I. of 
Little Findon, third son of Alexander Mackenzie, II. of 


Killichrist, with issue — a son, John, who succeeded his father. 

Allan was succeeded by his eldest son, 

III. Donald Mackenzie, third of Loggie, who 
married first, in 1636, Catherine, daughter of Murdoch 
Mackenzie, II. of Redcastle, with issue — 

1. Colin, a doctor of medicine, educated at the 
University of Aberdeen, and afterwards under the most 
celebrated professors of the day at Leyden, Paris, and 
Rheims, at the last-named of which he took his degree 
of M.D. He adopted extravagant theological views, in 
consequence of which "and his immoral conduct in his 
youth" he was disinherited by his father, whereupon he 
re-visited the Continent and remained there for several 
years. He subsequently returned to Inverness, where he 
practised his profession with considerable success, and had 
a yearly pension settled upon him by his father, until 
his death there, unmarried, in 1708. 

Donald married, secondly, Annabella, eldest daughter 
of Alexander Mackenzie, V. of Gairloch, with issue — 

2. Alexander, who succeeded his father. 

3. John, who was educated for the ministry at the Uni- 
versity of Aberdeen, and was for several years Chaplain to 
Major-General Mackay's Regiment After the Revolution 
he was appointed minister of Kirkliston, near Edinburgh, 
but soon removed to London, where he died unmarried, 
before his brother Alexander, and was buried in St 
Martin's Church, Westminster. 

4. Murdoch, who succeeded as V. of Loggie. 

5. Margaret, who married first, in 1663, Roderick 
Mackenzie, V. of Fairburn, with issue, and secondly, the 
Rev. Hector Mackenzie of Bishop-Kinkell, second son 
of Kenneth Mackenzie, VI. of Gairloch, with issue. 

6. Christian, who married John Mackenzie, I. of 
Gruinard, with issue, and 

7. Annabella, who married Mackenzie of Loggie in 
Lochbroom, with issue. 

He married, thirdly, Anne, daughter of the Rev. 
Donald Morison, minister in the Lewis (sasine to her in 


1666), with issue — an only daughter, Anne, who married 
the Rev. Angus Morison, minister of Contin. 

Donald had also a natural son, Roderick, a Captain 
in the Confederate army under King William, who died 
in Holland, unmarried. 

He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, 

IV. Alexander Mackenzie, fourth of Loggie, who 
married first, in 1667, Jane, daughter of Alexander Mac- 
kenzie, I. of Ballone, widow of Simon, second son of 
the Hon. Simon Mackenzie of Lochslinn, without issue. 
He married, secondly, Catherine, second daughter of 
William Mackenzie, I. of Belmaduthy, also without issue. 

He was succeeded by his youngest brother, 

V. Murdoch Mackenzie, fifth of Loggie, who was 

educated at the University of Aberdeen. He afterwards 
joined the Earl of Dumbarton's Regiment, and by his 
merit and valour soon raised himself to the rank of Captain. 
It is said of him that, at the battle of Sedgmoor, fought 
on the 6th of February, 1685, during Monmouth's rebellion, 
"the valiant Colonel Murdoch Mackenzie, under the com- 
mand of Lord Feversham, signally distinguished himself." 
He at the head of his Company attacked the enemy 
on that occasion with such bravery and resolution that, 
excepting the officers, there were only nine men who 
were not either killed or wounded. Personally he had 
the distinguished honour of taking the Duke of Monmouth's 
standard, twisting it out of the standard-bearer's hand, 
and afterwards presenting it to James H. at Whitehall. 
For this gallant exploit he was promoted at once to the 
rank of Colonel. He married an English lady, with issue — 

1. Murdoch, his heir. 

2. George, a young man of promising parts, who was 
killed in a duel, unmarried ; and three daughters of whom 
nothing has been ascertained. 

Murdoch died in London, was buried in St. Martin's 
Church, Westminster, and succeeded by his eldest son, 

VL Murdoch Mackenzie, who settled in London, 
and of whose representatives nothing whatever is known. 


This family is descended from Alexander Mackenzie, VI. 
of Kintail, by his second wife Margaret, daughter of 
Roderick Macdonald, III. of Moydart and Clanranald, 
the famous "Ruairidh MacAlain," by Margaret, daughter 
of Donald Balloch of Islay, son of John Mor Tanastair 
(by his wife Marjory Bisset, heiress of the Seven Lord- 
ships of the Glens in Antrim), second son of John, first 
Lord of the Isles, by his wife Lady Margaret Stewart, 
daughter of King Robert II. and brother of Donald, 
second Lord of the Isles and first Earl of Ross.* By 
this lady the sixth Baron of Kintail had one son — 

I. Hector Roy Mackenzie, better known among 
his countrymen as *' Eachainn Ruadh." He has been 
already noticed at considerable length at pp. 113 to 132 
in his capacity as Tutor or Guardian to his nephew, John 
of Killin, IX. of Kintail, but he played such a prominent 
part in the history of his time that it will be necessary to 
give his history at much greater length under this head. 
It has been conclusively shown that Kenneth a' Bhlair, 

VII. of Kintail, died in 1491, and that his only son by 
his first wife, Kenneth Og, killed in the Torwood by the 
Laird of Buchanan in 1497, outlived his father and 
became one of the Barons of Kintail, although there is 
no record of his having been served heir to the family 
estates. It has been said that Duncan of Hilton, Kenneth 
a' Bhiairs eldest brother, predeceased him, and that con- 
sequently Hector Roy succeeded, as a matter of course, 
to the legal guardianship of his nephew, Kenneth Og, 

VIII. of Kintail, he being the eldest surviving brother 
of the late Chief, who died in 149 1. But this has not 
been sufficiently established, although it is quite true that 

*For Alexander, VI. of Kintairs first and second wives see pp. 81-83. 



Duncan s name does not appear after his brothers death 
in 1491, in any of the manuscript histories of the clan, 
or in any known official document. The author of the 
Ardintoul MS. states distinctly that Duncan was dead, 
and that Hector, John of Killings younger uncle, "med- 
dled with the estate." The Earl of Cromarty says that 
** Hector Roy, being a man of courage and prudence, 
was left Tutor by his brother to Sir Kenneth, his own 
brother-uterine, Duncan being of better hands than head. 
This Hector, hearing of Sir Kenneth's death, and finding 
himself in possession of an estate, to which those only 
now had title whose birthright was debateable, namely, 
the children begot by Kenneth the third, on the Lord 
Lovats daughter, with whom he did at first so irregularly 
and unlawfully cohabit." The objection of illegitimacy 
could not apply to Duncan, or to his son Allan, and it is 
difficult to understand on what ground Hector attempted 
to obtain personal possession of the estates, unless it 
be true, as confirmed to some extent hereafter, that he 
was himself joint-heir of Kintail ; for it is undoubted that 
Allan, Duncan's eldest son, who was entitled to succeed 
before Hector, was then alive. There is no official 
evidence that Hector Roy was at any time appointed 
Tutor to John of Killin until an arrangement was made 
between themselves, in terms of which Hector was to act 
as such, and to keep the estates in his own hands until 
his nephew came of age. 

There is no doubt that Hector was in possession of 
extensive estates of his own at this period. When the 
Lords of the Association, a factious party of the nobility, 
took up arms against James HL, Alexander of Kintail 
despatched his sons, Kenneth and Hector, with a retinue 
of 500, to join the Royal standard ; but Kenneth, hearing 
of the death of his father on his arrival at Perth, returned 
home at the request of the Earl of Huntly ; and the clan 
was led by Hector Roy to the battle of Sauchieburn, 
near Stirling; but after the defeat of the Royal forces, 
and the death there in 1488 of the King himself, Hector, 


who narrowly escaped, returned to Ross-shire and took 
the stronghold of Redcastle, then held for the rebels by 
Rose of Kilravock, and placed a garrison in it. He then 
joined the Earl of Huntly and the clans in the north 
who were rising to avenge the death of His Majesty; 
but meanwhile orders came from the youthful King 
James IV., who had been at the head of the conspirators, 
ordering the Northern chiefs to lay down their arms, and 
to submit to the powers that be. Thereupon Hector, 
yielding to necessity, submitted with the rest, and he was 
" not only received with favour, but to reward his previous 
fidelity and also to engage him for the future the 
young King, who at last saw his error, and wanted to 
reconcile to him those who had been the friends of his 
father, made him a present of the Barony of Gairloch 
in the western circuit of Ross-shire by knight-service after 
the manner of that age. He likewise gave him Brahan 
in the Low Country, now a seat of the family of Seaforth, 
the lands of Moy in that neighbourhood, Glassletter (of 
Kintail), a Royal forest which was made a part of the 
Barony of Gairloch. In the pleasant valley of Strathpeffer, 
Castle Leod, part of Hector's paternal estate, afterwards a 
seat of the Earl of Cromarty ; Achterneed near adjacent, 
also Kinellan, were likewise his, and so was the Barony 
of AlUn, now Allangrange, a few miles southwards. 
In the Chops of the Highlands he had Fairburn the 
Wester, and both the Scatwells, the great and the lesser. 
Westward in the height of that country he had Ken- 
lochewe, a district adjoining Gairloch on the east, and 
southward on the same track he had the half of Kintail, 
of which he was left joint-heir with his brother Kenneth, 
chief of the family."* 

The original Gairloch charters are lost, but a " protocol " 
from John de Vaux, or Vass, Sheriff of Inverness, whose 
jurisdiction at that time extended to Ross and the other 

* Manuscript history of the Gairloch family. Another MS. says that 
Hector's possessions in Kintail were *' bounded by the rivers Kilillan and 


Northern counties, is conclusive as to their having existed. 
This document, its orthography modernised, is in the 
following terms: — 

To all and sundry to whom it efTeirs to whose knowledge these 
present letters shall come, John de Vaux, burgess of Dingwall and 
Sheriff in this part, sends greeting in God everlasting, to you uni- 
versally I make it known that by the commands of our Sovereign 
Lord's Letters and ** precess " under his white wax directed to me as 
Sheriff in that part, and grants me to have given to Hector Mac- 
Kennich heritable state and possession of all and sundry the lands 
of Gairloch, with their pertinents, after the form and tenour of our 
Sovereign Lord's charter made to the foresaid Hector thereupon, 
the which lands with their pertinents extends yearly to twelve merks 
of old extent, lying between the waters called Inverewe and Torridon 
within the Sheriffdom of Inverness, and I grant me to have given 
to the foresaid Hector heritable state and possession of all and 
sundry the foresaid lands with their pertinents, saving other 
men's rights as use and custom is, and charge in our Sovereign 
Lord's name, and mine as Sheriff, that no man vex, unquiet, or 
trouble the said Hector nor his heirs m the peaceable brooking 
and enjoyment of the lands foresaid under all pain and charges 
that after may follow: In witness of the which I have appended 
to these my letters of sasine my seal at ^*Allydyll" (? Talladale) 
in Gairloch, the loth day of the month of December, the year of 
God, 1494, before these witnesses — Sir Dougall Ruryson, Vicar of 
Urquhart, Murchy Beg Mac Murchy, John Thomasson, Kenneth 
Mac-anleyson, Donald Mac-anleyson, Dugald Ruryson, and Duncan 
Lachlanson servant, with others divers. 

The next authentic document in Hector's favour is a 
precept by the King to the Chamberlain of Ross com- 
manding that functionary to obey a former precept granted 
to Hector of the mails, etc., of Brahan and Moy, in the 
following terms: — 

Chamberlain of Ross we grttt you well — Forasmuch as we 
directed our special letters of before, making mention that we have 
given to our lovite Hector Roy Mackenzie the mails and profits 
of our lands of Brahan and Moy, with arriage, carriage, and other 
pertinents thereof, lying within our lordship of Ross for his good 
and thankful ser\Mce done and to be done to us, enduring our will, 
and that it was our will that he should brook and enjoy the said lands 
with all the profits thereof enduring our will, and so the tenants 
now inhabitants thereof brook their tacks and not remove therefrom, 


the which letters, as we are surely informed, you disobeyed in 
great contemption and littling of our authority Royal ; Herefor we 
charge you now as of before that ye suffer the said Hector to 
brook and enjoy the same lands and take up and have all mails, 
fermes, profits, arriage, carriage, and due service of the said lands, 
and that the tenants and inhabitants thereof to answer and obey 
to him and to none others till we give command by our special 
letters in the contrary, and this on no wise you leave undone, as you 
will incur our indignation and displeasure. These our letters seen 
and understood, deliver them again to the bearer to be kept and 
shown by the said Hector upon account of your warrant before 
our Comptroller and auditors of our Exchequer at your next ac- 
counting, and after the form of our said letters past of before given 
under our Signet, at Edinburgh, the 5th day of March, 1508, and 
of our reign the twentieth year. James R. 

It will be seen from these documents that Hector had 
at this time large possessions of his own ; and the dispute 
between him and his nephew, John of Killin, already 
fully described, probably arose in respect of Hector's 
rights to the half of Kintail, which his father is said to 
have left him jointly with his eldest brother, Kenneth, 
VH. of Kintail. Hector kept possession of EUandon- 
nan Castle until compelled by an order from the Privy 
Council to give it up in 151 1 to John of Killin, and 
it appears from the records of the Privy Council 
that from 1501 to 1508 Hector continued to collect the 
rents of Kintail without giving any account of them ; that 
he again in 1509 accounted for them for twelve months, 
and for the two succeeding years for the second time 
retained them, while he seems to have had undisturbed 
possession of the stronghold of Ellandonnan throughout 
No record can be found of his answer to the summons 
commanding him to appear before the Privy Council, if 
he ever did put in an appearance, but in all probability 
he merely kept his hold of that Castle in order to compel 
his nephew to come to terms with him regarding his joint 
rights to Kintail, without any intention of ultimately 
keeping him out of possession. This view is strengthened 
by the fact that John obtained a charter under the Great 
Seal granting him Kintail anew on the 25th of February, 


1508-9* — the same year in which Hector received a 
grant of Brahan and Moy — probably following on an 
arrangement of their respective rights in those districts; 
also from the fact that Hector does not appear to have 
fallen into any disfavour with the Crown on account of 
his conduct towards John of Kintail ; for only two years 
after Killin raised the action against Hector before the 
Privy Council, the latter receives a new charter, dated 
the 8th April, iSi3,t under the Great Seal, of Gairloch, 
Glasletter, and Coirre-nan-Cuilean "in feu and heritage 
for ever," and he and his nephew appear ever after to 
have lived on the most friendly terms. 

Gairloch, originally the possession of the Earls of Ross, 
and confirmed to them by Robert Bruce in 1306 and 
1329, was subsequently granted by Earl William to Paul 
MacTire and his heirs by Mary Graham, for a yearly 
payment of a penny of silver in the name of blench 
ferme in lieu of every other service except the foreign 
service of the King when required. In 1372 Robert the 
H. confirmed the grant. In 1430 James I. granted to 
Nele Nelesoun (Neil son of Neil Macleod) for his homage 
and service in the capture of his deceased brother, Thomas 
Nelesoun, a rebel, the lands of Gairloch. { 

Although Hector was in possession of Crown charters 
to at least two-thirds of the lands of Gairloch he found 
it very difficult to secure possession of them from the 
Macleods and their chief, Allan MacRory, the former 
proprietors. This Allan had married, as his first wife, 
a daughter of Alexander, VI. of Kintail, and sister of 
Hector Roy, with issue — three sons. He married, secondly, 
a daughter of Roderick Macleod, VII. of Lewis, with 
issue — one son, Roderick, subsequently known as Ruairidh 
Mac Alain, author of an atrocious massacre of the Mac- 
leods of Raasay and Gairloch at Island Isay, Waternish, 
Isle of Skye, erroneously attributed in the first edition 

* Reg. of the Great Seal, vol. zv. fol. 89. 

tXhe original charter is in the Gairloch Charter Chest. 

{ Origines ParochiaUs ScoHae^ vol. ii., p. 406. 


of this work to his grandfather, the above-named Roderick 
Macleod of Lewis. Allan of Gairloch was himself related 
to the Macleods of Lewis, but it is impossible to 
trace the exact connection. Two brothers of Macleod 
of Lewis are said, traditionally, to have resolved that 
no Mackenzie blood should flow in the veins of the 
future head of the Gairloch Macleods, and determined to 
put Allan's children by Hector Roy's sister to death, so 
that his son by their own niece should succeed to Gairloch, 
and they proceeded across the Minch to the mainland 
to put their murderous intent into execution 

Allan MacRuairidh, the then Macleod laird of Gairloch, 
was personally a peacefully disposed man, and lived at 
the ** Crannag," of which traces are still to be found on 
Loch Tolly Island, along with his second wife, two of 
his sons by the first marriage, and a daughter. The 
brothers, having reached Gairloch, took up their abode 
at the old Tigh Dige^ a wattled house, surrounded by a 
ditch, whose site is still pointed out in one of the 
Flowerdale parks, a few hundred yards above the stone 
bridge which crosses the Ceann-an-t-Sail river at the head 
of Gairloch Bay. Next day the murderous barbarians 
crossed over to Loch Tolly. On the way they learnt 
that Allan was not then on the island, he having gone 
a-fishing on the Ewe. They at once proceeded in that 
ji^KCtion, found him sound asleep on the banks of the 
river, at " Cnoc na Mi-chomhairle," and without any warn- 
ing "made him short by the head." Then retracing 
their steps, and ferrying across to the island 'where Allan's 
wife, with two of her three step-children were enjoying 
themselves, they, in the most cold-blooded manner, in- 
formed her of her husband's fate, tore the two boys — 
the third being fortunately absent — from her knees, took 
them ashore, and carried them along to a small glen 
through which the Poolewe Road now passes, about a 
mile to the south of the loch, and there, at a spot still 
called "Creag Bhadain an Aisc," the Rock at the place 
of Burial, stabbed them to the heart with their daggers. 


and carried their bloodstained shirts along with them 
to the Tigh Dige. These shirts the stepmother ulti- 
mately secured through the strategy of one of her 
husbands retainers, who at once proceeded with them 
to the boys' grandfather, Alexander Mackenzie, VI. of 
Kintail, at Kinellan or Brahan. Hector Roy started 
immediately, carrying the bloodstained shirts along with 
him as evidence of the atrocious deed, to report the murder 
to the King at Edinburgh. His Majesty on hearing of 
the. crime granted Hector a commission of fire and sword 
against the murderers of his nephews, and gave him a 
Crown charter to the lands of Gairloch in his own favour, 
dated 1494. The assassins were soon afterwards slain at a 
hollow still pointed out between Porthenderson and South 
Erradale, nearly opposite the northern end of the Island 
of Raasay, where their graves are yet to be seen, quite 
fresh and green, among the surrounding heather.* 

One of the family historians says that this was the 
first step that Hector Roy got to Gairloch. ** His brother- 
in-law, Allan Macleod, gave him the custody of their 
rights, but when he found his nephews were murdered, 
he took a new gift of it to himself, and going to Gairloch 
with a number of Kintail men and others, he took a 
heirschip with him, but such as were alive of the Siol 
'ille Challum of Gairlbch, followed him and fought him 
at a place called Glasleoid, but they being beat Hector 
carried away the heirschip. After this and several other 
skirmishes they were content to allow him the two-thirds 
of Gairloch, providing he would let themselves possess 
the other third in peace, which he did, and they kept 
possession till Hector's great-grandchild put them from it"t 

The Earl of Cromarty, and other MS. historians of 
the family fully corroborate this. The Earl says that 
Hector, incited to revenge by the foul murder of his 
nephews, made some attempts to oust the Macleods from 
Gairloch during John of Killin's minority, but was not 
willing to engage in war with such a powerful chief as 

* Mackenzie's History of the Macleods^ pp. 342, 343. t Ancient MS. 


Macleod of Lewis, while he felt himself insecure in his 
other possessions, but after arranging matters amicably 
with his nephew of Kintail, and now being master of a 
fortune and possessions suitable to his mind and quality, 
he resolved to avenge the murder and to "make it pro- 
ductive of his own advantage." He summoned all those 
who were accessory to the assassination of his sister's 
children before the Chief Justice. Their well grounded 
fears made them absent themselves from Court. Hector 
produced the bloody shirts of the murdered boys, whereupon 
the murderers were declared fugitives and outlaws, and 
a commission granted in his favour for their pursuit, 
'* which he did so resolutely manage that in a short time 
he killed many, preserved some to justice, and forced 
the remainder to a composition advantageous to himself. 
His successors, who were both active and prudent men, 
did thereafter acquire the rest from their unthrifty 
neighbours." The greatest defeat that Hector ever gave 
to the Macleods '* was at Bealach Glasleoid, near Kintail, 
where most of them were taken or killed." At this fight 
Duncan M6r na Tuaighe, who so signally distinguished 
himself at Blar-na-Pairc, was present with Hector, and 
on being told that four men were together attacking his 
son Dugal, he indifferently replied, **Well, if he be my 
son there is no hazard for that," a remark which turned 
out quite true, for the hero killed the four Macleods, and 
came off himself without any serious wounds.* 

The massacre of Island Isay followed a considerable 
time after this, and its object was very much the same 
as the murder of Loch Tolly, although carried out by a 
different assassin. Ruairidh ** Nimhneach " Macleod, son 

* " Dancan in his old days was very assisting to Hector, Gairloch*s 
predecessor, against the Macleods of Gairloch, for he, with his son Dogal, 
who was a strong, prudent, and courageous man, with ten or twelve other 
Kintailmen, were alwise, upon the least advertisement, ready to go and 
assist Hector, whenever, wherever, and in whatever he had to do, for 
which cause there has been a friendly correspondence betwixt the family 
of Gairloch and the MacRas of Kintail, which still continues."— CVwAiAi^gy 


of Allan •* Mac Ruairdh ** of Gairloch, and nephew of the 
Loch Tolly assassins, determined not only to remove the 
children of John Mor na Tuaighe, brother of Alexander 
Macleod, II. of Raasay, by Janet Mackenzie of Kin tail, but 
also to destroy the direct line of the Macleods of Raas^, 
and thus open up the succession to John na Tuaighe's 
son by his second wife, Roderick Nimhneach's sister, and 
failing him, to Roderick's own son Allan. By this con- 
nection it would, he thought, be easier for him to attain 
repossession of the lands of Gairloch, from which his 
family was driven by the Mackenzies. 

Roderick's name appears as ''Rory Mac Allan, alias 
Nevymnauch," in a decree-arbitral by the Regent Earl 
of Murray between Donald Macdonald, V. of Sleat, and 
Colin Mackenzie, XI. of Kintail, dated at Perth, the ist 
of August, 1569, in terms of which Macdonald becomes 
responsible for Roderick and undertakes that he and his 
kin shall ''desist and cease troubling, molesting, harming 
or invasion of the said Laird of Gairloch's lands and 
rowmes, possessions, tenants, servants, and goods, while 
on the other hand Kintail shall see to it that Torquil 
Cononach shall cease to do the same in all respects to 
Macdonald's lands." In 1586 Roderick is described as "of 
Lochgair," but another person is named in the same 
document as " Macleud, lieritor of the lands of Gairloch," 
which proves that Roderick Nimhneach was not the 
actual proprietor of even the small portion of that 
district which was still left to his family. He was the 
second son, and one of the objects of the massacre .on 
Island Isay was to cut off his father's only surviving 
son and heir by his first wife — a daughter of Mackenzie 
of Kintail — who escaped the previous massacre on the 
Island of Loch Tolly. 

With the view of cutting ofT the legitimate male repre- 
sentation of his own Macleod relatives of Gairloch and of 
Raasay, he invited all the members of both families, and most 
of them accepted the invitation. Roderick on their arrival 
feasted them sumptuously at a great banquet In the 


middle of the festivities he informed them of his desire to 
have each man's advice separately, and that he would after- 
wards make known to them the important business which 
had to be considered, and which closely concerned each of 
them. He then retired into a separate apartment, and 
called them in one by one, when they were each, as they 
entered, stabbed with dirks through the body by a set 
of murderous savages whom he had engaged and posted 
inside the room for the purpose. Not one of the family 
of Raasay was left alive, except a boy nine years of age, 
who was being fostered from home, and who had been 
sent privately by his foster-father, when the news of the 
massacre became known, to the laird of Calder, who kept 
him in safety during his minority. He afterwards obtained 
possession of Raasay, and became known as Gillecallum 
Garbh MacGillechallum. Macleod of Gairloch's sons, by 
Hector Roy's sister, were all murdered. Roderick took his 
own nephew to the room where, walking with his brutal 
relative, he heard one of his half-brothers cry on being 
stabbed by the assassin's dirk, and saying **Yon's my 
brother's cry." ** Hold your peace," Rory replied, "yonder 
cry is to make you laird of Gairloch ; he is the son of 
one of Mackenzie's daughters." The boy, fearing that 
his own life might be sacrificed, held his tongue, **but 
afterwards he did what in him lay in revenging the cruel 
death of his brothers and kinsmen on the murtherers."* 

In acknowledgment of the King's favour, Hector 
gathered his followers in the west, joined his nephew, 
John of Killin, with his vassals, and fought, in command 
of the clan, at the disastrous battle of Flodden, from 
which both narrowly escaped ; but most of their followers 
were slain. Some time after his return home he success- 
fully fought the desperate skirmish at Druim-a-chait, 
already referred to, pp. 114-118, with 140 men against 700 
of the Munros, Dingwalls, MacCullochs, and other clans 
under the command of William Munro of Fowlis, on which 
occasion SherifT Vass of Lochslinn was killed at a bush 

* Ancient MS. 



near Dingwall, "called to this day Preas Sandy Vass," 
or Alex. Vass's bush, a name assigned to it for that very 

Hector, during his life, granted to his nephew, John 
of Killin, his own half of Kintail, the lands of Kinellan, 
Fairburn, Wester Brahan, and other possessions situated in 
the Low Country, which brought his son John Glassich 
afterwards into trouble, f 

Hector Roy was betrothed to a daughter of the Laird 
of Grant — probably Sir Duncan, who flourished from 1434 
to 1485 — but she died before the marriage was solemnised. 
He, however, had a son by her called Hector Cam, he 
being blind of an eye, to whom he gave Achterneed 
and Culte Leod, now Castle Leod, as his patrimony. 
Hector Cam married a daughter of Mackay of Farr, an- 
cestor of Lord Reay, by whom he had two sons Alexander 
Roy and Murdo.f Alexander married a daughter of John 
M6r na Tuaighe MacGillechallum, a brother of Macleod 
of Raasay, by whom she had a son. Hector, who lived 
at Kinellan, and was nicknamed the Bishop. This Hector 
married a daughter of Macleod of Raasay, and left a large 
family, one of the daughters being afterwards married 
to Murdo Mackenzie, V. of Achilty, without issue. Hector 
Cam's second son, Murdo, married a daughter of Murdoch 
Buy Matheson of Lochalsh, with issue — I^chlan, known 

• Gairloch MS. f Ibid. 

{'* These were both succeeded by the son of Alexander, a slothful 
man, who dotingly bestowed his estate on his foster child^ Sir Roderick 
Mackenzie of Coigeach, in detriment to his own children, though very 
deserving of them, Captain Hector Mackenzie, late of Dumbarton's Regi- 
ment, and also a tribe in the Eastern circuit of Ross« sumamed, from one of 
their progenitors, Mac Eanin, t.^., the descendants of John the Fair." — 
Gairloch MS* Another MS. gives the additional names of— "Richard 
Mackenzie, vintner in Edinbuigh, grandson of Alexander Mackenzie of Calder, 
Midlothian; Duncan Mackenzie, an eminent gunsmith in London; 
and James Mackenzie, gunsmith in Dundee.*' It also adds that 
of the successors of the Mac Eanins in Easter Ross, were *' Master 
Alexander Mackenzie, an Episcopal minister in Edinburgh ; and preceptor 
to the children of the present noble family of Cromarty, whose son is Charles 
Mackenzie, clerk to Mr David Munro of Mdkle Allan." 


as "Lachlainn Mac Mhurchaidh Mhic Eachainn," who 
married a daughter of Murdoch Mackenzie, III. of Achilty, 
with issue — Murdoch, who married a daughter of Alexander 
Ross of Cuilich ; and Alastair, who married a daughter of 
WiHiam MacCulloch of Park. 

Hector Roy, after the death of Grant of Grant's 
daughter, married his cousin Anne, daughter of Ranald 
MacRanald, generally known as Ranald Ban Macdonald, 
V. of Moydart and Clanranald. Her brother Dougal 
was assassinated and his sons formally excluded from the 
succession, when the estate and command of the clan were 
given to his nephew Alexander, "portioner," of Moydart, 
whose son, John Moydartach afterwards succeeded and 
became the famous Captain of Clanranald. Gregory says, 
however, that "Allan, the eldest son of Dougal, and the 
undoubted heir male of Clanranald, acquired the estate 
of Morar, which he transmitted to his descendants. He 
and his successors were always styled ' MacDhughail 
Mhorair,' that is MacDougal of Morar, from their ancestor 
Dougal MacRanald." This quite explains the various 
designations by which these Moydart and Clanranald 
ladies who had married into the Gairloch family have 
been handed down to us. Anne was the widow of William 
Dubh Macleod, VH. of Harris, Dunvegan, and Glenelg, 
by whom she had an only daughter, who, by Hector Roy s 
influence at Court, was married to Rory Mor of Achaghlui- 
neachan, ancestor of the Mackenzies of Fairburn and 
Achilty, after she had by her future husband a natural 
son, Murdoch, who became progenitor of the family of 
Fairburn. By this marriage with Anne of Moydart and 
Clanranald Hector Roy had issue — 

1. John Glassich, his heir and successor. 

2. Kenneth of Meikle Allan, now Allangrange, who 
married a daughter of Alexander Dunbar of Kilbuyack, 
and widow of Allan Mackenzie, H. of Hilton, with issue — 
(i) Hector, who married an Assynt lady, with issue — Hector 
Og, who was killed at Raasay, in 161 1, unmarried; and 
three daughters, the eldest of whom married, as her second 


husband, John, son of Alastair Roy, natural son of John 
Glassich, with issue — Bishop Murdoch Mackenzie of 
Moray and Orkney, and several other sons. Hector's 
second daughter married **Tormod Mac Ean Lleaye" — 
Norman, son of John Liath Macrae — who, according to 
the traditions of the country,' took such a prominent part 
against the Macleods at that period — and a brother of 
the celebrated archers DomhCkil Odhar and Iain Odhar mic 
Ian Leith, of whose prowess the reader will learn more 
presently. The third daughter married Duncan, son of John, 
son of Alastair Roy. son of John Glassich, II. of Gairloch. 
(2) Angus, who married, with issue — Kenneth, who left 
an only daughter, who married her cousin, Murdo Mac 
Ian, son of Alastair Roy. 

3. John Tuach of DavochpoUo, who married with 
issue — ^a son, John, who died without lawful issue. 

4* Dougal Roy, who inherited Scatwell, and was killed 
in a family feud in 1550, and 

Three daughters, who married respectively, Bayne of 
Tulloch, John Aberach Mackay, and Hugh Bayne Fraser 
of Bunch rew, a natural son of Thomas, fourth Lord Lovat, 
killed at Blar-na-Leine, ancestor of the Erasers of Reelick. 

He had also a son, John Beg, who was according to 
some authorities illegitimate, from whom descended several 
Mackenzies who settled in Berwick and Alloa. 

Hector Roy died in 1528. On the 8th of September 
in that year, a grant is recorded to Sir John Dingwall, 
** Provost of Trinity College, beside Edinburgh, of the 
ward of the lands of Gairloch, which pertained to the 
umquhile Achinroy Mackenzie." He was succeeded by 
his eldest lawful son, 

II. John Glassich Mackenzie, who, from the 

above quoted document, appears to have been a minor 
at his fathers death. His retour of service cannot be 
found, but an instrument of sasine, dated the 24th of 
June, 1536, in his favour, is in the Gairloch charter chest, 
wherein he is designated "John Hector-son," and in 
which he is said to be the heir, served and retoured, of 


his father, Hector Roy Mackenzie, in the lands of Gairloch, 
and the grazings of Glasletter and Coirre-nan-Cuilean. 
He is said to have objected to his father's liberah'ty during 
his life in granting, at the expense of his successors, to 
his nephew, John of Killin, so much of his patrimonial 
possessions. According to the Gairloch MS. already 
quoted Hector gave him his own half of Kintail, as well 
as Kinellan, Fairburn, Wester Brahan, and "other posses- 
sions in the Low Country besides." John thought these 
donations far too exorbitant, and he ''sought to retrench 
them by recovering in part what with so much profusion 
his father had given away, and for that, a feud having 
ensued betwixt him and his Chief, he was surprised in his 
house by night, according to the barbarous manner of the 
times, and sent prisoner to Hand Downan, and there taken 
away by poison in A.D. 1550. His brother Dugal, who 
sided with him, and John (Beg), his natural brother, were 
both slain in the same quarrel.*'* 

A bond, dated 1544, has been preserved, to which 
John Glassich's name, along with others, is adhibited, 
undertaking to keep the peace, and promising obedience 
to Kenneth, younger of Kintail (Kenneth na Cuirc), as 
the Queen's Lieutenantf John's obedience does not 
appear, however, to have been very complete. Kintail 
having, according to another authority, received informa- 
tion of John Glassich's intention to recover if possible 
part of the property given away by his father, sent for 
him to Brahan, where he went, accompanied by a single 
attendant, John Gearr. The chief charged him with 
these designs against him, and John's denials proving 
unsatisfactory, Kintail caused him to be apprehended. 
John Gearr, seeing this, and feeling that his master had 
been treacherously dealt with, drew his two handed sword 
and made a fierce onslaught on the chief who sat at the 
head of the table, but smartly bowed his head under it, 

* Gairloch MS. Another MS. says that his other brother, John Tuach, 
was assassinated the same night 

t Spalding Clab Miscellany, vol. iv. p. 213. 


or It would have been cloven asunder. John Gearr was 
instantly seized by Mackenzie's ^ards, who threatened 
to tear him to pieces, but the chief, admiring his fidelity, 
charged them not to touch him. John Gearr, on being 
questioned why he had struck at Mackenzie and took no 
notice of those who apprehended his master, boldly 
replied that he ''saw no one else present whose life was 
a worthy exchange for that of his own chief." John's 
sword made a deep gash in the table, and the mark, 
which was deep enough to admit of a hand being placed 
edgeways in it, remained until Colin, first Earl of Sea- 
forth, caused the piece to be cut off, saying that " he loved 
no such remembrance of the quarrels of his relations." 

John Glassich, it would appear, was not unduly 
circumspect at home, or a very dutiful and loyal 
subject to his King. In 1547 his estate was forfeited for 
refusing to join the Royal Standard, and the escheat 
thereof granted to the Earl of Sutherland, as will be 
seen by the following letter in favour of that nobleman : — 

*'A letter made to John, Earl of Sutherland, his heirs, assigns, 
one or more, the gift of all goods moveable and unmoveable, debts, 
tacks, steadings, corns, and obligations, sums of money, gold, 
silver, coined and uncoined, and other goods whatsoever which 
pertained to John Hectors-son of Gairloch, and now pertaining to 
our Sovereign Lady by reason of escheat through the said John's 
remaining and biding at home from the 'oist' and army devised 
to convene at Peebles, the loth day of July instant, for recovering 
of the house of Langholm furth of our enemies' hands of England, 
in contrary to the tenour of the letters and proclamations made 
thereupon, incurred therethrough the pains contained thereuntil, or 
any otherwise shall happen to pertain to us our Sovereign by reason 
foresaid with power, etc. At Saint Andrews the 23rd day of July, 
the year of God, 1547 years."* 

There is no trace of the reversal of this forfeiture. It 
does not, however, appear to have affected the succession. 
Indeed it is not likely that it even affected the actual 
possession, for it was not easy even for the Earl of 
Sutherland, though supported by the Royal authority, to 

* Reg. Sec Sig., ni. fol. 31^. 


wield any real power in such an out-of-the-way region 
in those days as John Glassich*s possessions in the west 
It has been already stated that, in 155 1, the Queen 
granted to John Mackenzie, IX. of Kintail, and his heir, 
Kenneth na Cuirc, a remission for the violent taking of 
John Glassich, Dougal, and John Tuach, his brothers, and 
for keeping them in prison, thus usurping "therethrough 
our Sovereign Lady's authority." None of them is spoken 
of in this remission as being then deceased, though 
tradition and the family MS. history have it that John 
Glassich was poisoned or starved to death at Ellandonnan 
Castle in iSS^.* It is, however, probable that Kintail 
considered it wise to conceal John's death until the 
remission had been already secured. Only six weeks after 
the date of the "respitt" John Glassich is referred to in 
the Privy Council Records, under date of 2Sth July, 
1551, as the "omquhile (or late) John McCanze of 
Gairlocht," his lands having then been given in ward to 
the Earl of Athole, "Ay and till the lawful entry of the 
righteous heir or heirs thereto, being of lawful age.^f 

Although Hector obtained a charter of the lands of 
Gairloch in 1494, the Macleods continued for a time to 
hold possession of a considerable part of it According 
to the traditions of the district they had all to the east 
and south-east of the Crasg, a hill situated on the west 
side of the churchyard of Gairloch, between the present 

* One of the family MSS. says that by his marriage " he got the lands 
of Kinkell, Kilbokie, Badinearb, Pitlandie, Davochcairn, Davochpollo, and 
Foynish, with others in the Low Country, for which the fiunily has 
been in the use to quarter the arms of Eraser with their own. 
This John, becoming condderably rich and powerful by those different 
acquisitions, became too odious to and envied by John, Laird of Mackenzie, 
and his son Kenneth then married to Stewart, Earl of AthoIe*s daughter, that 
they set upon him, having previously invited him to a Christmas dinner, 
having got no other pretence than a fit of jealousy on account of the said 
Earl's daughter, bound him with ropes and carried him a prisoner to Islan- 
downan, where his death was occasioned by poison administered to him in a 
mess of milk soup by one MacCalman, a cleigyman and Deputy-Constable of 
the Fort" 

t Reg. Sec Con«, vol. xziv., fol. 84. 



Free and Established Churches. At the east end of the 
Big Sand, on a high and easily defended rock, stood the 
last stronghold occupied by the Macleods in Gairloch — 
to this day known as the " Diin " or Fort. The foundation 
is still easily traced. It must have been a place of consider- 
able importance, for it is over 200 feet in circumference. 
Various localities are still pointed out in Gairloch where 
desperate skirmishes were fought between the Macleods 
and the Mackenzies. Several of these spots, where the 
slain were buried, look quite green to this day. The 
" Fraoch Eilean," opposite Leac-na-Saighid, where a naval 
engagement was fought, is a veritable cemetery of Mac- 
leods, ample evidence of which is yet to be seen. Of 
this engagement, and of those at Glasleoid, Lochan-an- 
Fheidh, Leac-na-Saighid, Kirkton, and many others, thril- 
ling accounts are still recited by a few old men in the 
district; especially of the prowess of Domh'uU Odhar 
Mac Ian Leith, and the other Kintail heroes who were 
mainly instrumental in establishing the Mackenzies of 
Gairloch permanently and in undisputed possession of 
their beautiful and romantic inheritance. 

John Glassich married Janet Agnes, daughter of James 
Fraser of Phoineas, brother of Hugh, sixth Lord Lovat 
(with whom he got the Barony of Inchlag, etc.), with issue — 

1. Hector, his heir and successor. 

2. Alexander, who succeeded his brother Hector. 

3. John, who succeeded Alexander. 

4. A daughter, who married John Mackenzie, |I. of 
Loggie, with issue. 

John Glassich's widow married, secondly, Thomas 
Chisholm, XV. of Chisholm, without issue malfe. 

He had also two natural sons before his marriage, 
Alexander Roy and Hector Caol. 

Alexander Roy had a son John, who lived at Coirre 
Mhic Cromaill in Torridon, and who had a son, the Rev. 
Murdoch Mackenzie, Chaplain to Lord Reay's Regiment 
in the Bohemian and Swedish service, under Gustavus 
Adolphus. He was afterwards minister of Contin, Inver- 


ness, and Elgin, and subsequently Bishop of Moray and 
of Orkney in succession. His family and descendants 
are dealt with under a separate heading — MACKENZIES 

OF Groundwater. 

Hector Caol left a numerous tribe in Gairloch, still 
known as Clann Eachainn Chaoil, and said to be dis- 
tinguished by their long and slender legs. 

John Glassich, who was assassinated in 15 50, as already 
stated, at Ellandonnan Castle, was buried in the Priory 
of Beauty, and succeeded by his eldest lawful son, 

HI. Hector Mackenzie. He has a sasine, dated 
the 6th May, 1563,* in which he is described as "Achyne 
Johannis MacAchyne," and bearing that the lands had 
been in non-entry for 12 years, thus carrying back the 
date of his succession to 155 1, when the estate was given 
in ward to John, fourth of the Stewart Earls of Athole. 
Hector died — probably killed, like his brother — ^without 
issue, on the 3rd of September, 1566, and was buried at 
Beauly, when he was succeeded by his next lawful brother, 

Alexander Mackenzie, who has a retour, dated the 
2nd of December, is66,t as heir to "Hector his brother- 
german," in the lands of Gairloch, namely, *'Gairloch, 
Kirktoun, Syldage, Hamgildail, Malefage, Innerasfidill, 
Sandecorran, Cryf, Baddichro, Bein-Sanderis, Meall, 
Allawdall, with the pasturage of Glaslettir and Corna- 
gullan, in the Earldom of Ross, of the old extent of £8;" 
but not to any of the other lands which Hector Roy 
left to his descendants. Alexander did not long possess 
the estates, for he died — to all appearance assassinated — a 
few weeks after he succeeded, without making up titles. 
It is, therefore, not thought necessary to count him as 
one' of the Barons of Gairloch. 

It is probable that the brothers. Hector and Alex- 
ander, met with the same violent death as their father 
and uncles, John Glassich, John Tuach, and John Beg, 
and by the same authors. This is according to tradition, 

« Gairloch Charter Chest, 
ting. Retoar Reg., vol. i., foL 22, and Origints ParocMaUs ScoHae. 


and an old MS., which says that their mother Agnes 
Fraser fled with John Roy "to Lovat and her Fraser 
relatives," adds as to the fate of his brothers that "In 
those days many acts of oppression were committed that 
could not be brought to fair tryales befor the Legislator." 
"She was afterwards married to Chisholm of Comar, 
and heired his family; here she kept him in as concealed 
a manner as possible, and, as is reported, every night 
under a brewing kettle, those who, through the barbarity 
of the times, destroyed his father and uncles, being in 
search of the son, and in possession of his all excepting 
his mother's dower. He was afterwards concealed by the 
Lairds of Moydart and of Farr, till he became a handsome 
man and could put on his weapon, when he had the 
resolution to wait on Colin Cam Mackenzie, Laird of 
Kintail, a most worthy gentleman, who established him 
in all his lands, excepting those parts of the family estate 
for which Hector and his successors had an undoubted 
right by writs." Hector was succeeded by his next 

IV. John Roy Mackenzie, John Glassich's third son, 
who was at the time a minor, although his father had 
been dead for 15 or 1 6 years; and the estate was given in 
ward by Queen Mary in 1567. She "granted in heritage 
to John Bannerman of Cardeyne, the ward of the lands 
and rents belonging to the deceased Hector Makkenych, 
of Gairloch, with the relief of the same when it should 
occur and the marriage of John Roy Makkenych, 
the brother and apparent heir of Hector."* In 1569, 
John, being then of " lauchful age," is served and retoured 
heir to his brother-german, Hector, in the lands of Gair- 
loch, f as specified in the service of 1566, passing over 
Alexander, no doubt because he never made up titles. 
This retour of 1569 gives the date of Hector's death as 
30th September, 1566. In 1574 John has a sasine 
which bears that the lands had been seven and a half 

* Origifus ParochiaUs ScoHae p. 406, and Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. zzzvL fol. 6. 
flng. Retoar Reg., vol. i., foK 22, and Ori^ines Parochialis Scotiae, 


years in non-entry, taking^ it back to the date of Hector's 
death, three months before the gift of the ward to John 
Bannerman. He, in the same year, acquired half the 
lands of Ardnagrask from Lx>rd Lovat, partly in exchange 
for the rights he inherited in Phoineas from his mother, 
and he is described by his Lordship in the disposition as 
"the son, by her first husband, of his kinswoman Agnes 
Fraser." From this it may be assumed that John Glassich's 
widow had during her life made over her own rights to 
her son, or that she had in the meantime died. 

It is found from the old inventory, already quoted, 
that there was a charter of alienation by Hugh Fraser 
of Guisachan, dated the 29th of May, 1582, from which 
it appears that John Roy in 1574, acquired Davochcairn 
and Davochpollo, in Strathpeffer, from this Hugh Fraser, 
and that in the first-named year he obtained from him 
also the lands of Kinkell-Clarsach and Pitlundie, in terms 
of a contract of sale dated the 26th of January, 1581. 
The charter is confirmed by James VI. in 1583. It 
appears from his daughter's retour of service* that Gair- 
loch's eldest son, John, died in 1601. He had been 
infeft by his father in Davochpollo and Pitlundie, and 
married Isabel, daughter of Alexander Mackenzie II. of 
Fairburn, by whom he had a daughter, also named Isabel, 
who married Colin Mackenzie of Strathgarve, brother to 
Kenneth, first Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, and first of 
the Mackenzies of Kinnock and Pitlundie. Colin of 
Strathgarve entered into a lawsuit with Alexander V. of 
Gairloch, probably in connection with this marriage, "to 
cut him out of his Low Country estate." f In 1657 she 
mortgaged Davochpollo and Pitlundie to her cousin, 
Kenneth VI. of Gairloch ; and her successor, John Mac- 
kenzie of Pitlundie, completed the sale to him, which 

* Ing. Retoars Reg., vol. viii., fol. 284^. 
t '* Colin of Kionock, who entered a lawsuit against Alexander Mackenzie 
of Gairloch, meaning to cut him oat of his low country estates, and being 
powerfully supported by Mackenzie of Fairbum and Mr John Mac- 
kenzie of Tolly, minister of Dingwall, a plodding clergyman, kept 
him nxteen sessions at Edinboigh ; the last year of which Gairloch and his 


brought the property back again to the Gairloch family.* 
Under date of nth August, 1587, the following com- 
plaint by James Sinclair, Master of Caithness, and James 
Paxtoun, his servant, against John Mackenzie of Gairloch 
appears in the Records of the Privy Council — While they 
'' were in a peaceable and quiet manner," in March last, in 
the Chanonry of Ross, within the house of William 
Robson, the following persons, viz. : — ^John Mackenzie of 
Gairloch, Hector Mackenzie in Fairburn, Meikle John 
Mackenzie, his son, Thomas MacThomais Mac Keanoch's 
son, Donald Macintagairt, Mr John Mackenzie, son of 
Murdo Mackenzie of Fairburn, Mr Murdo Mackenzie, 
parson of Lochcarron, Duncan Mackenzie, John Beg 
Mackenzie's son, Duncan MacCulloch of Achanault, David 
Aytoun, master stabler to Colin Mackenzie of Kintail, 
Finlay Roy, Stewart to the said Colin, William Barbour, 
burgess in the Chanonry, with convocation of the lieges, 
to the number of 300, **bodin in feir of weir," and 
hounded on by the said John Mackenzie of Gairloch, 
"had come to the said William Robson's house, wherein 
the said complainers were, and had without any occasion 
of offence, assegeit the said house and used all means 
and engines for apprehending of the said James Sinclair 
and his said servant." Further, "seeing they could not 
goodly recover the said house," they "cried for fire, and 
had not failed most treasonably to have risen fire within 
the same had not the said complainer delivered the said 
James Paxton in their hands, whom they immediately con- 
veyed and led to the castle of Chanonry pertaining to 
the said Colin, and kept and detained him captive therein 
for the space of two hours or thereby." After such 

brother Kenneth seeing Lord Kintail insulted by the Earl of Glencaim, who 
was supported by most of those on the street, put on their armour and came 
directly to his assistance, and rescuing him from immineni danger brought 
him to their lodging. No sooner was the tumult over than they embraced 
very cordially, and the whole matter in debate was instantly taken away, aad 
Gairloch got a present of 600 merks to finish the Tower of Kinkell, of which 
his father (John Roy) only built three aioreya.*^ ^GairiocA AfS» 

* Papers in the Gairloch Charter Chest. 


detention of the said James "they granted liberty to him 
to pass home, and the better to cloak their cruel and 
unmerciful decree, which openly they durst not put to 
execution, they secretly hounded out a great number of 
cut-throats to have beset the same James's way and to 
have bereft him of his life, which they not failed to have 
done had not God otherwise prevented their doings." 
Moreover, "at that same time they reft and took away 
from the said complainers their horses, saddles, and other 
gear worth five hundred merks." John Mackenzie of 
Gairloch, master and landlord of the foresaid persons, 
having been charged to appear personally and enter 
them this day "to have answered and underlaid punish- 
ment for the premises," according to the general band, 
but making no such appearance or entry, while the 
complainers appear personally, the Lords order the said 
Mackenzie of Gairloch to be denounced rebel. 

In 1606 John Roy received a charter of resignation 
in favour of himself in life-rent, and of his son, Alex- 
ander in fee, erecting Gairloch into a free barony; and 
in 1619 he obtained another charter,* under the Great 
Seal, by which Kinkell is included in the barony and 
constituted its chief messuage. He built the first three 
stories of the Tower of Kinkell, "where his arms and 
those of his first wife are parted per pale above the 
mantelpiece of the great hall."t 

The son of Roderick MacAllan "Nimhneach" of 
Gairloch, in the absence of young MacGillechallum Garbh 
of Raasay, who, under the care of the Laird of Calder 
escaped the massacre of Island Isay, possessed himself of 
Raasay and took up his quarters in Castle Brochail, the 
ancient residence of the Chiefs of Macleod, of which 
the ruins are still to be seen on the east side of the 
island. Seeing this, Donald Mac Neill, who previously 
sent young Macleod of Raasay to the protection of Calder 
brought back the rightful heir, and kept him, in private, 
until an opportunity occurred by which he could obtain 

* These charters are in the Gairloch Charter Chest t Gairloch MS. 


possession of the castle. This he soon managed by 
coming to terms with the commander of the stronghold, 
who preferred the native heir to his relative of the 
Gairloch Macleods. It was arranged that when Mac Neill 
should arrive at the castle with his charge, access should 
be given to young Raasay. The commander kept his 
word, and MacGillechallum Garbh was soon after pro- 
claimed laird. 

In 1610 a severe skirmish was fought at Lochan-an- 
Fheidh, in Glen Torridon, between the Mackenzies — 
led by Alexander, since his brother's death in 1601, the 
apparent heir of Gairloch — and the Macleods under John 
MacAIlan Mhic Rory, then the only surviving direct male 
representative of Allan Macleod of Gairloch and grandson 
probably of Rory Nimhneach. John Tolmach, John's 
uncle was also present, but he succeeded in effecting his 
escape, while John MacAIlan and seventeen or eighteen 
of his followers were taken prisoners. Many more were 
killed and a few who escaped alive with John Tolmach 
were pursued out of the district. The slain were buried 
where they fell, and the graves can still be seen, the 
nettles which continue to grow over them at the present 
day indicating the position of the last resting-place on 
the field of battle of these Macleod warriors, on the west 
side of the Sgura Dubh, above Glen Torridon, a little 
beyond the Gairloch estate march. 

Shortly after this engagement another attempt was 
made by the Macleods to regain the lands of Gairloch, 
the history of which is still a prominent and interesting 
feature in the local traditions of the parish. The affair is 
called "Latha Leac-na-Saighead." Mr John H. Dixon 
gives a good version of it, as related to him by Roderick 
Mackenzie, locally known as Ruairidh an Torra — an 
intelligent man of about ninety who only died two years 
ago — in his interesting book on the history and traditions 
of the parish of Gairloch. According to Roderick's version, 
as given by Mr Dixon, many of the Macleods, after they 
had been driven from Gairloch, settled in Skye. A con- 


siderablc number of the younger men were invited by 
their chief to pass Hogmanay night in the Castle of 
Dun vegan. In the kitchen there was an old woman, 
known as Mor Bh^n, who was usually occupied in carding 
wool, and generally supposed to be a witch. After dinner 
the men began to drink, and when they had passed some 
time in this occupation, they sent to the kitchen for 
Mor Bh^n. She at once joined them in the hall, and 
having drunk one or two glasses along with them, she 
remarked that it was a very poor thing for the Macleods 
to be deprived of their own lands in Gairloch, and to 
have to live in comparative poverty in Raasay and the 
Isle of Skye. ** But," she said to them, ** prepare your- 
selves and start to-morrow for Gairloch, sail in the black 
birlinn, and you shall regain it I shall be a witness of 
your success when you return." 

The men trusted her, believing she had the power 
of divination. In the morning they set sail for Gairloch 
— the black galley was full of the Macleods. It was 
evening when they entered the loch. They were afraid 
to land on the mainland, for they remembered that the 
descendants of Domhnull Greannach (a celebrated Macrae) 
were still there, and they knew the prowess of these men 
only too well. The Macleods therefore turned to the 
south side of the loch, and fastened their birlinn to the 
Fraoch Eilean, in the well-sheltered bay opposite Leac- 
nan-Saighead, between Shieldaig and Badachro. Here 
they decided to wait until morning, then disembark, and 
walk round the head of the loch. 

But all their movements had been well and care- 
fully watched. Domhnull Odhar Mac Iain Leith and his 
brother Ian, the celebrated Macrae archers, recognised 
the birlinn of the Macleods, and determined to oppose 
their landing. They walked round the head of the loch 
by Shieldaig and posted themselves before daylight 
behind the Leac, a projecting rock overlooking the 
Fraoch Eilean. The steps on which they stood at the 
back of the rock are still pointed out. Donald Odhar, 


being of small stature, took the higher of the two ledges, 
and Ian took the lower. Standing on these they crouched 
down behind the rock, completely sheltered from the 
enemy, but commanding a full view of the island, while 
they were quite invisible to the Macleods, who lay down 
on the island. As soon as the day dawned the two 
Macraes directed their arrows on the strangers, of whom 
a number were killed before their comrades were even 
aware of the direction from which the messengers 
of death came. The Macleods endeavoured to answer 
their arrows, but not being able to see the foe, their 
efforts were of no effect. In the heat of the fight one 
of the Macleods climbed up the mast of the birlinn to 
discover the position of the enemy. Ian Odhar observing 
this, took deadly aim at him when near the top of the 
mast **0h," says Donald, addressing John, "you have sent 
a pin through his broth.*' The slaughter continued, and 
the remnant of the Macleods hurried aboard their birlinn. 
Cutting the rope, they turned her head seawards. By this 
time only two of their number were left alive. In their 
hurry to escape they left all the bodies of their slain 
companions unburied on the island. A rumour of the 
arrival of the Macleods had during the night spread 
through the district, and other warriors, such as Fionnla 
Dubh na Saighead, and Fear Shieldaig, were soon at the 
scene of action, but all they had to do on their arrival 
was to assist in the burial of the dead Macleods. Pits 
were dug, into each of which a number of the bodies 
were thrown, and mounds were raised over them which 
remain to this day, as any one landing on the island 
may observe. 

In 1611, Murdoch Mackenzie, second surviving son 
of John Roy Mackenze, IV. of Gairloch, accompanied 
by Alexander Bayne, heir apparent of Tulloch, and several 
brave men from Gairloch, sailed to the Isle of Skye in 
a vessel loaded with wine and provisions. It is said by 
some that Murdoch's intention was to apprehend John 
Tolmach, while others maintain that his object was to 


secure in marriage the daughter and heir of line of 
Donald Dubh MacRory. The latter theory is far the 
more probable, and it is the unbroken tradition in Gairloch. 
John Macleod was a prisoner in Gairloch, was unmarried, 
and easily secured where he was, in the event of this 
marriage taking place. By such a union, failing issue 
by John, then in the power of John Roy, the ancient 
rights of the Macleods would revert to the Gairloch family, 
and a troublesome dispute would be for ever settled, if 
John Tolmach were at the same time captured or put 
to death. 

It may easily be conceived how both objects would 
become combined ; but whatever the real object of 
the trip to Skye, it proved disastrous. The ship found 
its way — intentionally on the part of the crew, or forced 
by a great storm — to the sheltered bay of Kirkton of 
Raasay, opposite the present mansion house, where young 
MacGillechallum at the time resided. Anchor was cast, 
and young Raasay, hearing that Murdoch Mackenzie 
was on board, discussed the situation with his friend 
MacGillechallum M6r MacDhomhnuill Mhic Neill, who 
persuaded him to visit the ship as a friend, and secure 
Mackenzie's person by stratagem, with the view of getting 
him afterwards exchanged for his own relative, John 
MacAllan Mhic Rory, then a prisoner in Gairloch. Acting 
on this advice, young Raasay, with Gillecallum M6r and 
twelve of their men, started for the ship, leaving word 
with his bastard brother, Murdoch, to get ready all the 
men he could, to go to their assistance in small boats as 
soon as the alarm was given. 

Mackenzie received his visitors in the most hospitable 
and unsuspecting manner, and supplied them with as much 
wine and other viands as they could consume. Four of 
his men, however, feeling somewhat suspicious, and fearing 
the worst, abstained from drinking. Alexander Bayne of 
Tulloch, and the remainder of Murdoch's men partook 
of the good cheer to excess, and ultimately became so 
drunk that they had to retire below deck. Mackenzie, 


who sat between Raasay and MacGillechallum Mor, had 
not the slightest suspicion, when Macleod, seeing Murdoch 
alone, jumped up, turned suddenly round and told 
him that he must become his prisoner. Mackenzie 
instantly started to his feet, in a violent passion, laid hold 
of Raasay by the waist, and threw him down, exclaiming, 
" I would scorn to be your prisoner." One of Raasay's 
followers, seeing his young chief treated thus, stabbed 
Murdoch through the body with his dirk. Mackenzie, 
finding himself wounded, stepped back to draw his sword, 
and, his foot coming against some obstruction, he 
stumbled over it and fell into the sea. 

Those on shore observing the row, came out in their 
small boats and seeing Mackenzie, who was a dexterous 
swimmer, manfully making for Sconsar, on the opposite 
shore, in Skye, they pelted him with stones, smashed in 
his brains and drowned him. The few of his men who 
kept sober, seeing their leader thus perish, resolved to 
sell their lives dearly; and fighting like heroes, they 
killed the young laird of Raasay, along with MacGille- 
challum M6r, author of all the mischief, and his two 
sons. Young Bayne of Tulloch and his six inebriated 
companions who had followed him below, hearing the 
uproar overhead, attempted to come on deck, but they 
were all killed by the Macleods as they presented 
themselves through the hold. Not a soul of the Raasay 
men escaped alive from the swords of the four who had 
kept sober, ably supported by the ship's crew. 

The small boats now began to gather round the 
vessel and the Raasay men attempted to get on board ; 
but they were thrown back, slain, and pitched into the 
sea without mercy. The shot and ammunition having 
become exhausted, all the pots and pans, and other 
articles of furniture on board were hurled at the Mac- 
leods, while the four abstainers plied their weapons of war 
with deadly eflfect Having procured a lull from the 
attempts of the enemy, they commenced to pull in their 
anchor, when a shot from one of the boats killed one of them 


— Hector MacKenneth, " a pretty young gentleman." The 
other three seeing him slain, and being themselves more 
or less seriously wounded, cut their cable, hoisted sail, 
and proceeded before a fresh breeze, with all the dead 
bodies still lying about the deck. As soon as they got 
out of danger, they threw the bodies of young Raasay 
and his men into the sea, that they might have the 
same interment which their own leader had received, and 
whose body they were not able to search for. 

It is said that none of the bodies were ever found, 
except that of MacGillechallum M6r, which afterwards 
came ashore, and was buried, in Raasay. The Gairloch 
men carried the bodies of Bayne of Tulloch and his 
companions to Lochcarron, where they were decently 

The only survivors of the Raasay affair were John Mac- 
Eachainn Chaoil, John MacKenneth Mhic Eachainn, and 
Kenneth MacSheumais. The first named lived for thirty 
years after, dying in 1641 ; the second died in 1662 ; and 
the third in 1663 — all very old men. Amongst the slain 
was a son of Mackenzie of Badachro, who is said to have 
signally distinguished himself. The conduct of the Mac- 
kenzies of Gairloch was such on this and previous occasions 
that they deemed it wise to secure a remission from the 
Crown, which was duly granted to them in 1614, by 
James VI.* The document, modernised in spelling, is as 
follows : — 

James R. — Our Sovereign Lord understanding the manifold 
cruel and barbarous tyrannies and oppressions so frequent within 

he Highlands and Isles, of that (part of) his Highnesses Kingdom 
of Scotland, before his Majesty's departure furth of the same, that 
one part of the inhabitants thereof being altogether void of the true 
ear of God, and not regarding that true and loyal obedience they 
ought to his Majesty in massing and drawing themselves together 
n troops and companies, and after a most savage and insolent form 
committing depredations, rieves, **slouthis," and cruel slaughters 

gainst the most honest, godly, and industrious sort of people 
dwelling within and bewest the said bounds, who were a ready 

* Mackenzie's HisUtry of the MacUods^ pp. 361-366. 


prey to the said oppressors, so that the said honest and peaceable 
subjects were oft and sundry times, for defence of their own lives, 
their wives *and children, forced to enter into actions of hostility 
against the said limmers and broken men who oft and diverse 
times invaded and pursued them with fire and sword, reft and 
spuilzied their whole goods, among whom his Majesty, understanding 
that his Highness's lovites and true and obedient subjects, John 
Mackenzie of Gairloch, Alexander, Kenneth, Duncan, and William 
Mackenzie, his sons, dwelling within the Highlands most 'ewest' 
the Isles of Skye and Lewis, who many and sundry times before 
his Majesty's going to England, has been most cruelly invaded and 
pursued with fire and sword by sundry of the said vagabonds and 
broken men dwelling and resorting in the Skye and Lewis and 
other bounds of the Highlands where they dwell, and has there- 
through sustained many and great slaughters, depredations and 
heirschips, so that in the very action of the said invasions and 
hostilities pursued against them, the said persons in defence of 
their own lives, their wives' and child ren*s, and of their goods, have 
slain sundry of the said invaders and limmers, taken others of them 
and thereafter put them to death, to the great comfort of his Majesty's 
good, honest, and true subjects who were subject to the like inroads, 
invasions and tyrannies of the said vagabonds and fugitives, and 
settling of his Majesty's peace within the bounds ; and his Majesty 
being noways willing that the said John Mackenzie of Gairloch 
and his said sons' forwardness in their own defence, and withstand- 
ing of the foresaid open and violent hostilities and tyrannies of the 
said broken men which has produced so much and good benefit 
to his Majesty's distressed subjects, shall suffer any hurt, prejudice, 
or inconvenience against the said John Mackenzie of Gairloch and 
his said sons, which his Highness by these letters decrees and 
declares to have been good and acceptable service done to bis 
Highness and the country: Therefore, his Majesty, of his special 
grace, mercy, and favour, ordains a letter to be made under his 
Highness's Great Seal in due form to the said John Mackenzie of 
Gairloch, Alexander, Kenneth, Duncan, and William Mackenzie, 
his sons, remitting and forgiving them and ever>'one of them all 
rancour, hatred, action, and crime whatsoever that his Majesty 
had, has, or anywise may lay to the charge of the said John Mac- 
kenzie or his said sons, or any of them, for the alleged taking and 
apprehending, slaying or mutilating of the said vagabonds and 
broken men, or any of them, or for art and part thereof, or for 
raising of fire against them, in the taking and apprehending of them, 
or any of them, at any time preceding his Majesty's going to England, 
and of all that has passed or that may pass thereupon, and of 
every circumstance thereanent and suchlike. His Majesty, of 


his especial grace, taking knowledge and proper motive, remits 
and forgives the said persons, and everyone of them, all slaughters, 
mutilations, and other capital crimes whatsoever, art and part 
thereof committed by them, or any of them, preceding the day and 
date hereof (treason in our said Sovereign Lord's own most noble 
person only excepted), with all pains and executions that ought 
and should be executed against them, or any of them for the same, 
exonerating, absolving, and relieving the said John and his said 
sons, and all of them of all action and challenge criminal and civil 
that may be moved thereupon to their prejudice for ever: Dis- 
charging hereby all judges, officers, magistrates, administrators 
of his Majesty's laws, from granting of any proofs, criminal or 
civil, in any action or causes to be moved or pursued against the 
said John Mackenzie or his sons foresaid for anything concerning 
the execution of the premises : Discharging them thereof and 
their officers in that employed by them, and that the said letter 
be extended in the best form with all clauses needful and the precepts 
be directed orderly thereupon in form as eflfeirs. Given at Theobald's, 
the second day of April, the year of God, 1614 years.** 

John Roy purchased or rented the tithes of his lands, 
which appear to have led him into no end of disputes. 
The Rev. Alexander Mackenzie was appointed minister 
at Gairloch — the first after the Reformation— and in 1583 
he obtained a decree from the Lords of the Privy Council 
and Session ordaining the teind revenue to be paid to 
him. At the Reformation Sir John Broik was rector of 
the parish; after which it was vacant until, in 1583, 
James VI. presented this Alexander Mackenzie to "the 
parsonaf^e and vicarage of Garloch vacand in our Souerane 
Lordis handis contenuallie sen the reformatioun of the 
religioun within this realme by the decease of Sir John 
Broik." t In 1584 the Rev. Alexander Mackenzie let the 
teinds to John Roy for three lives and nineteen years 
more, for an annual payment of ;^I2 Scots. In 1588 
the Crown granted a similar tack for a like payment. In 
161 2 the Rev. Farquhar MacGillechriost Macrae raised an 
action against John Roy and his eldest surviving son 
Alexander for payment of the teind. A certain Robert 
Boyd became cautioner for the teind of 1610; but the 

* Original in the Gairloch Charter Chest f R^. Sec. Sig., vol. xlix., fol. 62. 


action went on for several years, and was apparently won 
by the Rev. Farquhar Macrae, who, in 1616, lets the 
teind of Gairloch for nineteen years to Alexander Mac- 
kenzie, Fiar of Gairloch, for ;£'8o Scots yearly. Alexander 
thereupon surrenders the tithes of the lands of Letterewe, 
Inverewe, Drumchorc, and others to Colin Lord Mac- 
kenzie of Kintail, who on his part, as patron of the 
parish, binds himself not to sanction the set of these tithes 
to any other than the said Alexander and his heirs.* 

John Roy married, first, Elizabeth, daughter of Angus 
Macdonald, VII. of Glengarry, by his wife, Janet, daughter 
of Kenneth Mackenzie, X. of Kintail, by Lady Elizabeth, 
daughter of John, second Earl of Athole, with issue — 

1. John, who married, as already stated, Isabel, 
daughter of Alexander Mackenzie, II. of Fairburn, with 
issue — an only daughter, also named Isabel, who, as his 
second wife, married Colin Mackenzie of Kinnock, with 
issue — an only son, who sold back his mother's jointure 
lands of Davochpollo and Pitlundie in 1666. John died 
before his father, in 1601, at Kinkell, and was buried at 

2. Alexander, who succeeded to the estates. 

3. Murdoch, killed, unmarried, at Raasay in 161 1. 

4. Kenneth, I. of Davochcairn, who married, first, 
Margaret, daughter of James Cuthbert of Alterlies and 
Drakies, Inverness, with issue, whose male representation 
IS extinct. He married, secondly, a daughter of Hector 
Mackenzie, IV. of Fairburn, also with issue, of whose 
present representation nothing is known. Kenneth died 
at Davochcairn in 1643, and was buried at Beauly. 

5. Duncan of Sand, who married a daughter of Hugh 
Eraser of Belladrum, with issue — (i) Alexander, who 
succeeded him at Sand ; (2) John, who married a daughter 
of the Rev. George Munro, minister of Urquhart, and 
resided at Ardnagrask ; (3) Katharine, who married, first, 
a son of Allan Macranald Macdonald, heir male of Moy- 
dart, at the time residing at Baile Chnuic, or Hiltown 

* Papers in the Gairloch Charter Chest 


of Beauly, and secondly, William Fraser of Boblanie, 
witlf issue. (4) A daugfhter, who married Thomas Mac- 
kenzie, son of Murdoch Mackenzie, IV. of Achilty; 
and (5) a daughter, who married Duncan Maclan vie 
Eachainn Chaoil. Duncan died at Sand, from the bite 
of a cat at Inverasdale, in 1635, and is buried at Gairloch. 
Alexander, who succeeded his father at Sand (retour 
1647), married a daughter of Murdo Mackenzie of Kernsary, 
fifth son of Colin Cam, XI. of Kin tail, by his wife, 
Barbara, daughter of John Grant, XII. of Grant. Murdoch 
married the eldest daughter of John Mackenzie, I IT. of 
Fairburn, by whom he had, in addition to the daughter who 
became the wife of Alexander Mackenzie of Sand, an 
only lawful son, John, killed in 1645 at the battle of 
Auldearn in command of the Lewis Mackenzie Regiment, 
whereupon the lineal and sole representation of the 
Kernsary family reverted to the descendants of Alexander 
Mackenzie of Sand, through Mary, his wife, by whom he 
had issue — ^two sons and two daughters. He was succeeded, 
in 1656, by the eldest son, Hector, who also succeeded 
his uncle John in Ardnagrask. He married Janet Fraser, 
with issue — ^John Mackenzie, who died in 1759, and left a 
son Alexander, who got a new tack of Ardnagrask for 
forty years, commencing in May, 1760;* and married 
Helen Mackenzie, daughter of Donald, great-grandson of 
Murdo Mackenzie, V. of Hilton (by his wife, Jean Forbes 
of Raddery), by whom he had a large family of five sons 
and six daughters. The eldest son, John Mackenzie, a 
merchant and Bailie of Inverness, was born at Ardnagrask 
in 1762, and married Prudence, daughter of Richard Ord, 
Merkinch, Inverness, by his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of 
John, third son of Alexander, VII. of Davochmaluag, 
with issue — five sons and two daughters. Three of 
the .sons died without issue, one of whom was John, a 
merchant in Madras. Another, Alexander, married Maria 
Lascelles of Blackwood, Dumfries, with issue — John Fraset 
Mackenzie, who married Julia Linton, with issue ; Alex- 

* Gairloch Papers. 




ander, who married Adelaide Brett, Madras, with issue; 
and four daug^hters, Margaret, Jane, Frances, and Maria, 
of whom two married, with issue. 

Bailie John's second surviving son, the Rev. William 
Mackenzie, married Elizabeth Maclaren, with issue — ^John 
Ord, who married, without issue ; James, who married, 
with issue ; Richard, who married Lousia Lyall, with issue ; 
Henry, of the Oriental Bank Corporation ; Gordon, of 
the Indian Civil Service ; and Alfred, of Townsville, 
Queensland ; also Louisa, Isabella, Maria, and Williamina, 
all married, the first three with issue. 

Bailie Mackenzie's daughters were — Elizabeth, who 
married Montgomery Young, with issue; and Jane, who 
married Provost Ferguson, of Inverness, with issue — 
John Alexander, who married, with issue ; Mary, who 
married the late Walter Carruthers of the Inverness 
Courier^ with issue ; and Agnes Prudence, who married 
the Rev. G. T. Carruthers, one of Her Majesty's Chap- 
lains in India. 

6. William Mackenzie of Shieldaig, who married a 
daughter of the Rev. Murdo Mackenzie, minister of Kin- 
tail, with issue — (i) Murdoch, who married Mary, daughter 
of Roderick Mackenzie, I. of Applecross, with issue — 
Roderick, who, in 1727, married Margaret Mackenzie, 
with issue — William Mackenzie, on record in 1736; (2) 
Duncan, who married a daughter, by his second marriage, 
of Hector Mackenzie, IV. of Fairburn ; (3) John, who 
married a daughter of Murdo Mackenzie in Sand ; (4) 
Kenneth, who married a daughter of Hector Maclan vie 
Eachainn Mackenzie; (5) Hector; (6) Roderick; (7) Alex- 
ander, the last-named three unmarried in 1669 ; (8) a 
daughter, who married Alexander Eraser of Reelick, with 
issue ; (9) a daughter, who married Hector " Mac Mhic 
Alastair Roy"; (10) a daughter, who married Murdo "Mac 
Ian Mhic Eachainn Chaoil," a son of one of the Raasay 
heroes; (11) a daughter, who married Hector Mackenzie, 
Chamberlain in Lochcarron ; (12) a daughter, who married 
the Rev. Donald Macrae, minister of Lochalsh ; and (13) a 


daughter, unmarried in 1669. He had also a natural son, 
John Mor " Mac Uilleam," who married a natural daughter 
of Murdoch Mackenzie, II. of Redcastle. 

7. A daughter, who married Fraser of Foyers. 

8. Katherine, who married Hugh Fraser of Culbokie 
and Guisachan. 

9. Another Katherine, who married Fraser of Struy. 

10. Janet, who married, first, George Cuthbert of Castle- 
hill, Inverness (marriage contract 29th June, 161 1); and 
secondly Neil Munro of Findon (marriage contract dated 
5th of February, 1627). * 

11. A daughter, who married Alastair Mor, brother 
of Chisholm of Comar. 

John Roy married, secondly, Isabel, daughter of 
Murdoch Mackenzie, I. of Fairburn, with issue — 

12. Captain Roderick of Pitglassie, who served in the 
army of the Prince of Orange, and died, unmarried, in 
Holland, in 1624. 

13. Hector of Mellan, who married, first, the widow 
of the Rev. John Mackenzie of Lochbroom, without issue ; 
and secondly, a daughter of Alexander Mackenzie, IV. 
of Achilty, with issue, five sons — Alexander, who married 
a daughter of " Murdo Mc Cowil vie Ean Oig " ; Murdo, 
who married a daughter of Murdo Mackenzie of Sand ; 
and three others unmarried in 1669. 

14. John, a clergyman, who married a natural daughter 
of Alexander Mackenzie, I. of Kilcoy, with issue — four 
sons and two daughters. He died at Rhynduin in 1666, 
and is buried at Beauly. 

15. Katherine Og, who married Fraser of Belladrum, 
with issue — from whom the Frasers of Achnagairn and 

16. Isabel, who married first, Alastair Og Macdonaldf 
of Cuidreach, brother-german to Sir Donald Macdonald of 

* Both marriage contracts are in the Gairloch Charter Chest. 

t The marriage contract is in the Gairloch Charter Chest, dated 23rd 
Jan. 1629. This gentleman, in the month of November, 1625, killed a man 
in Uist named Alexander Mac Ian Mhic Alastair, for which he received a 


Sleat, and ancestor of the Macdonalds of Cuidreach and 
Kingsburgh, Isle of Skye. She married, secondly, Hugh 
Macdonald of Skirinish. 

John had also a natural son, Kenneth Buy Mac- 
kenzie, by a woman named Eraser, who married a 
daughter of Alexander Mackenzie, IV. of Achilty ; and 
two natural daughters, one of whom married Donald 
Bain, Seaforth's Chamberlain in the Lewis, killed in the 
battle of Auldearn in 1645 ; the other, Margaret, in 1640, 
married Alexander, " second lawful son " of John Mac- 
kenzie, IV. of Hilton. 

He died at Talladale in 1628, in the 8oth year of his 
age ; was buried in the old churchyard of Gairloch, and 
succeeded by his eldest surviving son, 

V. Alexander Mackenzie, who was advanced in 
years at his father's death. He was most active in the 
duties pertaining to the head of his house during the life 
of his father, for it was he who led the Mackenzies of 
Gairloch against the Macleods in their repeated incursions 
to repossess themselves of their estates. " He was a 
valiant worthy gentleman. It was he who made an end 
of all the troubles his predecessors were in in the 
conquering of Gairloch from the Shiel Vic Gille 
Challum."* Very little is known of him personally, his 
career having been so much mixed up with that of his 
father. By the charter of 1619 he was infeft in the 
barony as fiar, and he immediately succeeded on his 
father's decease. In 1627, while still fiar or feuer of 
Gairloch, he obtained from his son-in-law, John Mac- 
kenzie of Applecross (afterwards of Lochslinn), who 
married his daughter Isobel, a disclamation of part of 
the lands of Diobaig, previously in dispute between the 
Lairds of Gairloch and Applecross. In the Gairloch 
Charter Chest there is a feu charter of endowment by 

remission from Charles I., dated at Holyrood, the first of August, 1627, and 
which Macdonald appears to have deposited in the Gairloch Charter 
Chest on his marriage with Isabel of Gairloch. 

^ Applecross MS. 


John Mackenzie of Applecross, in implement of the con- 
tract of marriage with his betrothed spouse, Isobel, 
daughter of Alexander Mackenzie, younger of Gairloch, 
dated 6th of June, 1622. After John of Lochslinn's 
death, she married, secondly, Colin Mackenzie of Tarvie ; 
and there is a sasine in favour of Margaret, second 
lawful daughter of this Colin of Tarvie by Isobel of 
Gairloch and spouse of Matthew Robertson of Davoch- 
carty, in implement of a marriage contract. 

A little piece of scandal seems, from an extract of 
the Presbytery Records of Dingwall, of date 3rd of 
March, 1666, to have arisen in connection with this pair 
— Matthew Robertson and Margaret Mackenzie. ** Rorie 
McKenzie of Dochmaluak, compearing desyred ane 
answer to his former supplication requiring that Matthew 
Robertson of Dochgarty should be ordained to make 
satisfaction for slandering the said Rorie with alleged 
miscarriage with Matthew Robertson's wife. The brethren 
considering that by the witness led in the said matter 
there was nothing but suspicion and jealousies, and said 
Matthew Robertson being called and inquired concerning 
the said particular, did openly profess that he was in no 
wayes jealous of the said Rorie Mackenzie and his wife, 
and if any word did escape him upon which others 
might put such a construction, he was heartily sorry for 
it, and was content to acknowledge so much to Rorie 
Mackenzie of Dochmaluak, and crave pardon for the 
same, which the brethren taking into their consideration, 
and the Bishop referring it to them (as the Moderator 
reported), they have, according to the Bishop's appoint- 
menty ordered the said Matthew Robertson to acknow- 
ledge so much before the Presbytery to the party, and 
to crave his pardon in anything he has given him 
offence. The which being done by the said Matthew 
Robertson, Rory Mackenzie of Dochmaluak did acquiesce 
in it without any furder prosecution of it," and we hear 
no more of the subject 

In 1637 Alexander proceeded to acquire part of 


Logfgie-Wester from Duncan Bayne, but the matter was 
not arranged until 1640, during the reign of his 

Alexander married, first, Margaret, third daughter of 
Roderick M6r Mackenzie, I. of Redcastle, by his wife, 
Finguala or Florence, daughter of Robert Munro, XVth 
Baron of Fowlis, with issue — 

1. Kenneth, his heir and successor. 

2. Murdo of Sand, "predecessor to Sand and Mun- 
gastle,"* who married the eldest daughter of John 
Mackenzie, III. of Fairburn, with issue — a daughter, 
Margaret, who married Colin Mackenzie, I. of Sanachan, 
brother to John Mackenzie, II. of Applecross. 

3. Hector, ** portioner of Mellan," and a Cornet in Sir 
George Munro's regiment, who married a daughter of 
Donald Maciver, with issue — three sons and a daughter, 
Mary— of whom under Mackenzies OF Dailuaine. 

4. Alexander, from whom the author of this History, and 
of whose descendants under " Sliochd Alastair Chaim." 

5. Isobel, who married John Mackenzie of Applecross 
(afterwards of Lochslinn), brother-german to Colin, first 
Earl of Seaforth. By him she had issue, a daughter, 
who married Sir Norman Macleod, I. of Bernera, with 
issue — John Macleod of Muiravenside and Bernera, 
Advocate. Isobel, on the death of her husband, who 

* There is great confusion about the families of the various Sands which 
we have not been able to clear up. The following is from the public records : 
— In 1 71 8 on the forfeiture of the Fairburn estate, Alexander Mackenzie of 
Sand appeared and deponed that Murdoch Mackenzie of Sand, his father, had 
a wadset of Mungastle and certain other lands from Fairburn. In May 1730 
Alexander Mackenzie of Sand purchased Mungastle for 3000 merks from 
Dundonell, who had meantime become proprietor of it. In January 1744 
Alexander Mackenzie of Sand, son of the preceding Alexander, was infeft in 
Mungastle in place of his father. In 1741 the above Alexander (the younger) 
being then a minor, and John Mackenzie of Lochend being his curator, got a 
wadset of Glenarigolach and Ridorch, and in 1 745 Alexander being then of 
full age, apparently purchased these lands irredeemably. In March 1765 
Alexander Mackenzie of Sand, with consent of Janet Mackenzie, his wife, 
sold Mungastle, Glenarigolach, etc. One of the witnesses to this deed of 
disposition is Alexander Mackenzie, eldest son to Alexander Mackenzie, 
the granter of the deed. 


was poisoned at Tain, married secondly, Colin Mac- 
kenzie of Tarvie, third son of Sir Roderick Mackenzie, 
I. of Coigach, Tutor of Kintail, with issue. She married, 
thirdly, Murdoch Mackenzie, V. of Achilty, without issue. 

6. Margaret, who, as his third wife, married Alexander 
Ross of Cuilich, from whom the family of Achnacloich. 

7. A daughter, who married Robert Gray of Skibo, 
with issue. 

Alexander married, secondly, Isabel, eldest daughter 
of Alexander Mackenzie, progenitor of Coul and Applecross, 
with issue — 

8. William of Multafy and I. of Belmaduthy, of whom 
in their order. 

9. Roderick, who married Agnes, second daughter of 
Alexander Mackenzie, I. of Suddie, without issue. 

10. Angus, who married the eldest daughter of Hector 
Mackenzie, IV. of Fairburn, without issue. Angus "was 
a brave soldier, and commanded a considerable body of 
Highlanders under King Charles the second at the 
Torwood. He, with Scrymgeour of Dudhope and other 
Loyalists, marched at a great rate to assist the Macleans, 
who were cut to pieces by Cromwell's dragoons at Inver- 
keithing, but to their great grief were recalled by the 
Earl of Argyll, General of the army."* 

11. Annabella, who. as his second wife, married 
Donald Mackenzie, III. of Loggie, with issue — his heir 
and successor, and others. 

12. Janet, who married Alexander Mackenzie, I. of 
Ardross and Pitglassie, progenitor of the present Mac- 
kenzies of Dundonnel, with issue — his heir and successor. 

Alexander had also a natural daughter, who, as his 
first wife, married George, fourth son of John Mac- 
kenzie, I. of Ord, without issue. 

He died, as appears from his successor's retour ot 
service, on the 4th of January, 1638,1 in the 6ist year 

* Gairloch Manuscript. 

t In this service we have " Kirktoon with the manor and gardens of the 
tame," and after a long list of the townships, the fishings of half the water of 


of his age, at Island Suthain, in Loch Maree, where 
traces of his house still remain. He was buried with 
his wife "in a chapel he caused built near the Church 
of Gairloch," during his father's lifetime, and was suc- 
ceeded by his eldest son, 

VI. Kenneth Mackenzie, a strong Loyalist during 
the wars of Montrose and the Covenanters. He was 
fined by the Committee of Estates for his adherence to 
the King, under the Act of 3rd February, 1646, entitled 
** Commission for the moneys of Excise and Process 
against delinquents," in a forced loan of $00 merks, for 
which the receipt, dated iSth March, 1647, signed by 
Kennedy, Earl of Cassilis, and Sir William Cochrane, 
two of the Commissioners named in the Act, and by 
two or three others, is still extant. Seaforth was, at 
the time, one of the Committee of Estates, and his 
influence was probably exercised in favour of leniency 
to the Baron of Gairloch ; especially as he was himself 
privately imbued with strong predilections in favour 
of the Royalists. Kenneth commanded a body of 
Highlanders at Balvenny under Thomas Mackenzie of 
Pluscardine, and his own brother-in-law, the Earl of 
Huntly ; but when the Royalist army was surprised 
and disarmed, he was on a visit to Castle Grant and 
managed to effect his escape. 

In 1640 he completed the purchase of Loggie- 
VVester, commenced by his predecessor, but in order to 
do so he had to have recourse to the money market 
He granted a bond, dated 20th of October, 1644, for 
1000 merks, to Hector Mackenzie, alias Maclan Mac- 
Alastair Mhic Alastair, indweller in Eadill-fuill or South 
Erradale. On the 14th of January, 1649, at Kirkton, 
he granted to the same person a bond for 500 merks ; 

Ewe and the rivers Kerry and Badachro followsi " the loch of Loch Maroy, 
with the islands of the same, and the manor place apui gardens in the Island of 
Illinrory^ the loch of Garloch, with the fishings of the same,'* from which 
it appears that the residence on Island Rory Beg, the walls of which and 
of the large garden are yet distinctly traceab!e, was quite as early as that on 
Island Suthain in which Alexander died. 



but at this date Hector was described as ** indweller in 
Androry/' and again, another dated at Stankhouse of 
Gairloch (Tigh Dige), 24th of November, 1662 ; but 
the lender of the nioney is on this occasion described 
as living in Diobaig. For the two first of these sums 
Murdo Mackenzie of Sand, Kenneth's brother-german, 
became security. 

In 1657 Kenneth is collateral security to a bond 
granted by the same Murdoch Mackenzie of Sand to 
Colin Mackenzie, I. of Sanachan, brother-german to 
John Mackenzie, II. of Applecross, for 2000 merks, 
borrowed on the 20th of March in that year ; the one- 
half of which was to be paid by the delivery at the 
feast of Beltane or ^ Whitsunday, 1658, of 50 cows in 
milk by calves of that year, and the other half, with 
legal interest, at Whitsunday, 1659. Colin Mackenzie, 
I. of Sanachan, married Murdoch's daughter ; the con- 
tract of marriage is dated the same day as the bond, 
and is subscribed at Dingwall by the same witnesses. 

By letters of Tutorie Dative from Oliver Cromwell, 
he was, in 1658, appointed Tutor to Hector Mackenzie, 
lawful son of Alexander Mackenzie, lawful son of 
Duncan Mackenzie of Sand, Gairloch. There is nothing 
further to show what became of the pupil. Hector, but 
it is highly probable that on the death of Alexander, 
son of Duncan of Sand, the farm was given by Ken- 
neth to his own brother, Murdoch, and that the 2000 
merks, borrowed from Colin Mackenzie of Sanachan, 
who married Murdoch's only daughter, Margaret, may 
have been borrowed for the purpose of stocking the 
farm. The dates of the marriage, of the bond, and of 
the Tutorie Dative, so near each other, strongly support 
this view. 

Kenneth married, first, Katharine, daughter of Sir 
Donald Macdonald, IX. of Sleat, without issue. The 
contract of marriage is dated 5 th September, 1635, the 
marriage portion being the handsome sum of "6000 
merks, and her endowment 1000 libs Scots yearly." 


He married, secondly, Ann, daughter of Sir John 
Grant of Grant, by Ann Ogilvy, daughter of the Earl 
of Findlater (marriage contract dated 17th October, 
1640). There is a charter by Kenneth in her favour 
of the lands of Loggie- Wester, the miln and pertinents 
thereof, with the grazings of Tolly, in implement of the 
marriage contract, dated 4th of December, 1 640, with 
a sasine of the same date, and another charter of the 
lands and manor-place of Kinkell and Ardnagrask, 
dated the isth of August, 1655, with sasine thereon, 
dated 5th September following. By her Kenneth had 
issue — 

1. Alexander, his heir and successor. 

2. Hector, of Bishop-Kinkell, who married Margaret, 
eldest daughter of Donald Mackenzie, HI. of Loggie, 
and widow of Roderick Mackenzie, V. of Fairburn, and 
with her obtained the lands of Bishop-Kinkell, to which 
his son John succeeded. 

3. John, who died unmarried. 

4. Mary, who, in 1656, married Alexander Mackenzie, at 
the time Younger and afterwards III. of Kilcoy, with issue. 

5. Barbara, who married, first, Eraser of Kinneries, 
and secondly, Alexander Mackenzie, I. of Ardloch, with 
issue by both. 

6. Lilias, who married, as his first wife, Alexander 
Mackenzie, H. of Ballone, with issue. 

He married, thirdly, Janet, daughter of John Cuthbert 
of Castlehill (marriage contract dated 17th December, 
1658, the marriage portion being 3000 merks, and her 
endowment 5 chalders victual yearly), with issue — 

7. Charles, I. of Letterewe, who, by his father's marriage 
contract, got Loggie-Wester, which had been purchased 
by Kenneth in 1640. In 1696 Charles exchanged it 
with his eldest half-brother, Alexander, VH. of Gairloch, 
for Letterewe. Charles married Ann, daughter of John 
Mackenzie, H. of Applecross, with issue — See Mac- 

KENZiES OF Letterewe. 

8. Kenneth, who died unmarried. 


9. Colin, I. of Mountgerald, who married Margaret, 
second daughter of Alexander Mackenzie, I. of Ballone, 
and widow of Sir Roderick Mackenzie of Findon, with- 
out issue ; and secondly, Katharine, daughter of James 
Fraser of Achnagairn, with issue — See Mackenzies OF 


10. Isabella, who married Roderick Mackenzie, second 
son of John Mackenzie, II. of Applecross, with issue, 
whose descendants now represent the original Mac- 
kenzies of Applecross. 

11. Annabella, who married George, third son of 
Roderick Mackenzie, V. of Davochmaluag, with issue. 

According to the retour of service of his successor, 
Kenneth died in 1669, was buried in Beauly Priory, and 
was succeeded by his eldest son, 

VII. Alexander Mackenzie, who, by a charter 
of resignation, got Loggie-Wester included in the barony 
of Gairloch. It had, however, been settled on his step- 
mother, Janet Cuthbert, in life-rent, and after her on 
her eldest son, Charles of Mellan and subsequently of 
Letterewe, to whom, after her death, Alexander formally 
disponed it. They afterwards entered into an excambion 
by which Alexander re-acquired Loggie-Wester in ex- 
change for Letterewe, which then became the patrimony 
of the successors of Charles. 

A tradition is current in the Gairloch family that 
when Alexander sought the hand of his future lady, 
Barbara, daughter of Sir John Mackenzie of Tarbat, 
and sister-german to the first Earl of Cromarty and to 
Isobel Countess of Seaforth, he endeavoured to make 
himself appear much wealthier than he really was, by 
returning a higher rental than he actually received at 
the time of making up the Scots valued rent in 1670, 
in which year he married. This tradition is corro- 
borated by a comparison of the valuation of the shire 
of Inverness for 1644, published by Charles Fraser- 
Mackintosh in Antiquarian Notes, and the rental of 
1670, on which the ecclesiastical assessments are still 


based. In the former year the rental of the parish of 
Gairloch was ;^3I34 13s 4d, of which ;^io8i 6s 8d was 
from the lands of the Barony, equal to 34^ per cent, 
while in the latter year the valued rental of the parish 
is put down at ;f3400. of which £iS4g is from the 
barony lands, or 45^ per cent. It is impossible that 
such a rise in the rental could have taken place in the 
short space of twenty-six years ; and the presumption 
is in favour of the accuracy of the tradition which 
imports that the rental was over-valued for the special 
purpose of making the Baron of Gairloch appear more 
important in the eyes of his future relatives-in-law than he 
really was. In 1681 he had his rights and titles ratified by 
Act of Parliament, printed at length in the Folio edition. 
He married, first, in 1 670, Barbara, daughter of Sir 
John Mackenzie, Baronet of Tarbat, with issue — 

1. Kenneth, his heir and successor. 

2. Isobel, who married John Macdonald of Balcony, 
son of Sir James Macdonald, IX. of Sleat 

He married, secondly, Janet, daughter of William 
Mackenzie, I. of Belmaduthy (marriage contract 30th 
of January 1679), on which occasion Davochcairn and 
Ardnagrask were settled upon her in life-rent, and on 
her eldest son at her death, as appears from a precept 
of c/are constat, by Colin Mackenzie of Davochpollo, in 
favour of William, his eldest surviving son. By her 
he had issue — 

3. Alexander, who died unmarried. 

4. William, who acquired the lands of Davochcairn, 
and married, in 1712, Jean, daughter of Roderick Mac- 
kenzie, V. of Redcastle, with issue — a son, Alexander, 
of the Stamp OfHce, London, and several daughters. 
Alexander has a clare constat as only son in 1732. 
He died in 1772, leaving a son, Alexander Kenneth, 
who emigrated to New South Wales, where several 
of his descendants now reside ; the representative of 
the family, in 1878, being Alexander Kenneth Mac- 
kenzie, Boonara, Bondi, Sydney. 


5. John, who purchased the lands of Lochend (now 
Inverewe), with issue — Alexander Mackenzie, afterwards 
of Lochend ; and George, an officer in Colonel Murray 
Keith's Highland Regiment; also two daughters, Lilias, 
who married William Mackenzie, IV. of Gruinard, and 
Christy, who married William Maciver of Tournaig, 
both with issue — See Mackenzies of Lochend. 

6. Ann, who, in 1703, married Kenneth Mackenzie, 
II. of Torridon, with issue. She married, secondly, 
Kenneth Mackenzie, a solicitor in London. 

He died in December 1694, at the age of 42, 
which appears from his general retour of sasine, dated 
25th February, 1673, in which he is said to be then 
of lawful age. He was buried in Gairloch, and was 
succeeded by his only son by his first marriage, 

VIII. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie, created a Baronet 
of Nova Scotia, by Queen Anne, on the 2nd of Feb- 
ruary, 1703. He was educated at Oxford, and afterwards 
represented his native county of Ross in the Scottish 
Parliament. He strongly opposed the Union, con- 
sidering that if it should take place, it would be "the 
funeral of his country." After the succession of Queen 
Anne he received from her, in December 1702, a gift 
of the taxed ward, feu-duties, non-entry, and marriage 
dues, and other casualties payable to the Crown, from 
the date of his father's death, which, up to 1702, do 
not appear to have been paid. Early in the same 
year he seems to have been taken seriously ill, where- 
upon he executed a holograph will and testament at 
Stankhouse, dated the 23rd of May, 1702, which was 
witnessed by his uncle, Colin Mackenzie of Findon, and 
by his brother-in-law, Simon Mackenzie, I. of Allangrange. 
He appoints as trustees his " dear friends *' John, Master 
of Tarbat, Kenneth Mackenzie of Cromarty, Kenneth 
Mackenzie of Scatwell, Hector Mackenzie, and Colin 
Mackenzie, his uncles, and George Mackenzie, II. of 
Allangrange. He appointed Colin Mackenzie, then of 
Fiodon, and afterwards of Davochpollo and Mountgerald, 


as his tutor and factor at a salary of 200 merks Scots. 
In May, 1 703, having apparently to some extent re- 
covered his health, he appears in his place in Parliament. 
In September of the same year he returned to Stank- 
house, Gairloch, where he executed two bonds of 
provision, one for his second son George, and the 
other for his younger daughters. 

He married, in 1696, Margaret, youngest daughter, 
and, as is commonly said, co-heiress of Sir Roderick 
Mackenzie of Findon, but the Barony of Findon went 
wholly to Lilias, the eldest daughter, who married Sir 
Kenneth Mackenzie, ist Baronet and IV. of Scatwell; 
another of the daughters, Isobel, married Simon Mac- 
kenzie, I. of Allangrange. There was a fourth daughter, 
unmarried at the date of Margaret's contract of marriage ; 
and the four took a fourth part each of Sir Roderick's 
moveables and of certain lands not included in the 
Barony. At the date of his marriage Kenneth had 
not made up titles to his estates; but by his marriage 
contract he is taken bound to do so as soon as he 
can. His retour of service was taken out in the 
following year. 

By Margaret Mackenzie of Findon Kenneth had 
issue — 

1. Alexander, his heir and successor. 

2. George, who became a merchant in Glasgow, and 
died unmarried in 1739. 

3. Barbara, who, in 1729, married George Beattie, 
a merchant in Montrose, without issue. 

4. Margaret, who died young in 1704. 

5. Anne, who, in 1728, married, during his father's 
life-time, Murdo Mackenzie, VII. of Achilty, without 

6. Katharine, who died young. 

Sir Kenneth had also a natural daughter, Margaret, 
who married, in 1723, Donald Macdonald, younger of 
Cuidreach. Sir Kenneth's widow, about a year after 
his decease, married Bayne of Tulloch. Notwithstanding 


the money that Sir Kenneth received with her, he died 
deeply in debt, and left his children insufficiently pro- 
vided for. George and Barbara were at first maintained 
by their mother, and afterwards by Colin of Findon, 
who had married their grandmother, widow of Sir 
Roderick Mackenzie of Findon, while Alexander and 
Anne were in even a worse plight. 

He died in December 1703, at the early age of 32 ; 
was buried in Gairloch, and succeeded by his eldest son, 
IX. Sir Alexander Mackenzie, the second Baronet, 
a child only three and a half years old. His prospects 
were certainly not enviable, he and his sister Anne, 
having had for a time, for actual want of means, to be 
"settled in tenants' houses." The rental of Gairloch 
and Glasletter at his father's death only amounted to 
5954 merks, and his other estates in the Low Country 
were settled on his mother. Sir Kenneth's widow, for 
life ; while he was left with debts due amounting to 
66,67^ merks, equal to eleven years' rental of the 
whole estates. During his minority, however, the large 
sum of 51,200 merks was paid off, in addition to 27,635 
in name of interest on the original debt ; and conse- 
quently very little was left for his education. In 1708 
he, along with his brother and sisters, were taken to 
the factor's house — Colin Mackenzie of Findon — where 
they remained for four years, and received the rudi- 
ments of their education from a young man, Simon 
Urquhart. In 1712 they were all sent to school at 
Chanonry, under Urquhart's charge, where Sir Alex- 
ander remained for six years, after which, having arrived 
at 18 years of age, he went to complete his education 
in Edinburgh. He afterwards made a tour of travel, 
and returning home in 1730 married his cousin, Janet 
Mackenzie of Scatwell, on which occasion a fine Gaelic 
poem was composed in her praise by John Mackay, 
the famous blind piper and poet of Gairloch, whose 
daughter became the mother of William Ross, a Gaelic 
bard even more celebrated than the blind piper himself. 


If we believe her eulog^ist the lady possessed all the 
virtues of mind and body ; but in spite of all these 
graces the marriage did not turn out a happy one ; for, 
in 1758, she separated from her husband on the grounds 
of incompatibility of temper, after which she lived alone 
at Kinkell. 

When, in 1721, Sir Alexander came of age, he was 
obliged to find means to pay the provision payable to 
his brother George and to his sisters, amounting alto- 
gether to 16,000 merles, while about the same amount 
of his father's debts was still unpaid. In 1729 he 
purchased Cruive House and the Ferry of Skudale. In 
1735 he bought Bishop-Kinkell ; in 1742 Loggie-Riach ; 
and, in 1743, Kenlochewe, which latter property was 
considered equal in value to Glasletter of Kintail, sold 
about the same time. About 1730 he redeemed Davoch- 
cairn and Ardnagrask from the widow of his uncle 
William, and Davochpollo from the widow and son 
James of his grand-uncle, Colin, I. of Mountgerald. In 
1752 he executed an entail of all his estates ; but leaving 
debts at his death, amounting to £26yg 13s lod more 
than his personal estate could meet, Davochcairn, Davoch- 
pollo, and Ardnagrask, had eventually to be sold to 
make up the deficieney. 

In 1738 he pulled down the old family residence of 
Stankhouse, or " Tigh Dige," at Gairloch, which stood 
in a low, marshy, damp situation, surrounded by the 
moat from which it derived its name, and built the 
present house on an elevated plateau, surrounded by 
magnificent woods and towering hills, with a southern 
front elevation — altogether one of the most beautiful 
and best sheltered situations in the Highlands ; and he 
very appropriately called it Flowerdale. He greatly 
improved his property, and was in all respects a careful 
and good man of business. He kept out of the Rising 
of I745» and afterwards when John Mackenzie of Meddat 
applied to him for aid in favour of Lord Macleod, son 
of the Earl of Cromarty, who took so prominent a 


part in it, and was afterwards in very tightened circum- 
stances. Sir Alexander replied in a letter dated at 
Gairloch, 17th May, 1749, in the following somewhat 
unsympathetic terms : — 

Sir, — I am favoured with your letter, and am extreamly sory 
Lord Cromartie's circumstances should obliege him to sollicit the 
aide of small gentlemen. I much raither he hade dyed sword in 
hand even where he was ingag'd then be necessitate to act such 
a pairt I have the honour to be nearly related to him, and to 
have been his companion, but will not supply him at this time, 
for which I believe I can give you the best reason in the world, 
and the only one possible for me to give, and that is that I 

The reason stated in this letter may possibly be the 
true one ; but it is more likely that Sir Alexander had 
no sympathy whatever with the cause which brought 
his kinsman into such an unfortunate position, and that 
he would not, on that account, lend him any assistance. 

Some of his leases, preserved in the Gairloch charter 
chest, contain some very curious clauses, many of which 
would now be described as tyrannical and cruel, but 
the Laird and his tenants understood each other, and 
they got on remarkably well. The tenants were bound 
to sell him all their marketable cattle ''at reasonable 
rates," and to deliver to him at current prices all the 
cod and ling caught by them ; and, in some cases, 
were bound to keep one or more boats, with a sufficient 
number of men as sub-tenants, for the prosecution of 
the cod and ling fishings. He kept his own curer, 
cured the fish, and sold it at 12s 6d per cwt delivered 
in June at Gairloch, with credit until the following 
Martinmas, to Mr Dunbar, merchant, with whom he 
made a contract binding himself, for several years, 
to deliver, at the price named, all the cod caught in 
Gairloch. t 

• Fraser's Earls of Crotfiortie, voL ii., p. 230, 

t See copy of lease granted by him, in 1760, of the half of North 
Erradale, to one of the author's ancestors, printed at length under the 
family of <* Alastair Ckau'' 



Sir Alexander married, in 1730, Janet, daughter of 
Sir Roderick Mackenzie, second Baronet and V. of 
Scatwell, with issue — 

1. Alexander, his heir and successor, 

2. Kenneth, who died in infancy. 

3. Roderick, a captain in the army, who was killed 
at Quebec before he attained majority. 

4. William, a writer, who died unmarried. 

5. James, who died in infancy. 

6. Kenneth of Millbank, factor and Tutor to Sir 
Hector, the fourth Baronet of Gairloch, during the last 
few years of his minority. He married Anne, daughter 
of Alexander Mackenzie of Tolly, with issue — (i) Alex- 
ander, County Clerk of Ross-shire, who married, and 
had issue — ^Alexander, in New Zealand ; Kenneth, who 
married twice, in India, and died in 1877 ; and Catherine, 
who married Murdo Cameron, Leanaig, with surviving 
issue — one son, Alexander ; (2) Janet, who married the 
Rev. Dr John Macdonald, of Ferintosh, the famous 
'•Apostle of the North," with issue; (3) Catherine, who 
married Alexander Mackenzie, a merchant in London, 
and grandson of Alexander Mackenzie of Tolly, with 
issue — an only daughter, Catherine, who married Major 
Roderick Mackenzie, VII. of Kincraig, with issue ; (4) 
Jane, who, in 1808, married the Rev. Hector Bethune, 
minister of Dingwall, with issue — Colonel Bethune, who 
died without issue ; the Rev. Angus Bethune, Rector of 
Seaham ; Alexander Mackenzie Bethune, Secretary of 
the Peninsular and Oriental Navigation Company, married, 
without issue ; and a daughter, Jane, who married the 
late Francis Harper, Torgorm. Mrs Bethune died in 
1878, aged 91 years. 

7 and 8. Margaret and Janet, both of whom died 

9. Janet, who married Colin, eldest son of David, 
brother of Murdo Mackenzie, VII. of Achilty. Murdo 
leaving no issue, Colin ultimately succeeded to Acbilty, 
but he seems afterwards to have parted with it, for 


in 1784, he has a tack of Kinkell, and dies there, in 
18 1 3, with his affairs seriously involved, leaving a son 
John, who died without issue. 

Sir Alexander had also a natural son, Charles Mac- 
kenzie, ancestor of the later Mackenzies of Sand, and 
two natural daughters, one of whom, Annabella, by a 
daughter of Maolmuire, or Miles Macrae, of the family 
of Inverinate, married John Bi^n Mackenzie, by whom 
she had a daughter, Marsali or Marjory, who married 
John M6r Og Mackenzie (Ian M6r Aireach), son of 
John M6r Mackenzie, grandson of Alexander Ci^m Mac- 
kenzie, fourth son of Alexander, V. of Gairloch, in whose 
favour Sir Alexander granted the lease ef North Erradale, 
already referred to. The other daughter, known as 
'* Kate Gairloch,'' who lived to a very old age, unmarried, 
was provided for in comfortable lodgings and with a 
suitable allowance by the heads of the family. 

He died in 1766, in the 66th year of his age, was 
buried with his ancestors in Gairloch,* and succeeded 
by his eldest son, 

X. Sir Alexander Mackenzie, third Baronet, de- 
signated "An Tighearna Ruadh," or the Red-haired 
Laird. He built Conon House between 1758 and 1760, 
during his father's lifetime. Lady Mackenzie, who 
continued to reside at Kinkell, where she lived separated 
from her husband, on Sir Alexander's decease claimed 
the new mansion at Conon built by her son eight 
years before on the ground that it was situated on 
her jointure lands ; but Sir Alexander resisted her pre- 
tensions, and ultimately the matter was arranged by 
the award of John Forbes of New, Government factor 
on the forfeited estates of Lovat, who then resided at 
Beaufort, and to whom the question in dispute was 
submitted as arbitrator. Forbes compromised it by 

* The old chapel and the burying place of the Lairds of Gairloch 
appear to have been roofed almost up to this date; for in the Tutorial 
accounts of 1704 there is an item of 30 merks for <*harKng, pinning, and 
thatching Gairloch's burial place.** 


requiring Sir Alexander to expend ;^300 in making 
Kinkell Castle more comfortable, by taking off the 
top storey, re-roofing it, rebuilding an addition at the 
side, and re-flooring, plastering, and papering all the 

Sir Alexander, in addition to the debts of the entailed 
estates, contracted other liabilities on his own account, 
and finding himself much hampered in consequence, 
he tried, but failed, to break the entail, although a flaw 
has been discovered in it since, and Sir Kenneth, the 
present Baronet, having called the attention of the 
Court to it, the entail was judicially declared invalid. 
Sir Alexander had entered into an agreement to sell the 
Strathpefler and Ardnagrask lands, in anticipation of 
which Henry Davidson of Tulloch bought the greater 
part of the debts of the entailed estates, with the view 
of securing the consent of the Court to the sale of 
Davochcairn and Davochpollo afterwards to himself. But 
on the isth of April, 1770, before the transaction could 
be completed. Sir Alexander died suddenly from the 
eflects of a fall from his horse. His financial aflairs 
were seriously involved, but having been placed in the 
hands of an Edinburgh accountant, his creditors ulti- 
mately received nineteen shillings in the pound. 

He married, first, on the 29th of November, 1755, 
Margaret, eldest daughter of Roderick Mackenzie, VH. 
of Redcastle, with issue — 

1. Hector, bis heir and successor. 

She died on the ist of December, 1759. 

He married, secondly, in 1760, Jean, daughter of 
John Gorry of Balblair, and Commissary of Ross, with 
issue — 

2. John, who raised a company, almost wholly in 
Gairloch, for the 78th Regiment of Ross-shire High- 
landers when first embodied, of which he himself 
obtained the Captaincy. He rose rapidly in rank. On 
the 3rd of May, 1794, he attained to his majority ; in 
the following year he is Lieutenant-Colonel of the 


Regiment; Major-General in the army in 181 3; and 
full General in 1837. He served with distinction and 
without cessation from 1779 ^^ 18 14. So marked was 
his daring and personal valour that he was popularly 
known among his companions in arms as " Fighting 
Jack." He was at the Walcheren expedition ; at the 
Cape ; in India ; in Sicily ; Malta ; and the Peninsula ; 
and though constantly exhibiting numberless instances 
of personal daring, he was only once wounded, when on 
a certain occasion he was struck with a spent ball on 
the knee, which made any walking somewhat trouble- 
some to him in after life. At Tarragona he was so 
mortified with Sir John Murray's conduct, that he 
almost forgot that he himself was only second in com- 
mand, and charged Sir John with incapacity and 
cowardice, for which the latter was tried by Court 
Martial — General Mackenzie being one of the principal 
witnesses against him. Full of vigour of mind and 
body, he took a lively interest in everything in which 
he engaged, from fishing and shooting to farming, 
gardening, politics, and fighting. He never forgot his 
Gaelic, which he spoke with fluency and read with 
ease. Though a severe disciplinarian, his men adored 
him. He was in the habit of saying that it gave him 
more pleasure to meet a dog from Gairloch than a 
gentleman from any other place. When the 78th re- 
turned from the Indian Mutiny the officers and men 
were feted to a grand banquet by the town of Inverness, 
and as the regiment marched through Academy Street, 
where the General resided, they halted opposite his 
residence, next door above the Station Hotel; and 
though so frail that he had to be carried, he was taken 
out and his chair placed on the steps at the door, where 
the regiment saluted and warmly cheered their old and 
distinguished veteran commander, who had so often 
led their predecessors to victory ; and at the time the 
oldest ofllicer in and '' father " of the British army. He 
was much affected, and wept with joy at again meeting 


his beloved 78th — the only tears he was known to have 
shed since the days of his childhood. He married Lilias, 
youngest daughter of Alexander Chisholm, XXII. of 
Chisholm, with issue — (i) Alastair, an officer in the 90th 
Light Infantry, who afterwards settled down and became 
a magistrate in the Bahamas, where, in 1839, he married 
an American lady, Wade Ellen, daughter of George 
Huyler, Consul General of the United States, and 
French Consul in the Bahama Islands, with issue — ^a son, 
the Rev. George William Russel Mackenzie, an Episco- 
palian minister, who on the 2nd of August, 1876, 
married Annie Constance, second daughter of Richard, 
son of William Congreve of Congreve and Burton, with 
issue — Dorothy Lilias ; (2) a daughter, Lilias Mary 
Chisholm, unmarried. Alastair subsequently left the 
Bahamas, went to Melbourne, and became Treasurer for 
the Government of Victoria, where he died in 1852. 
General Mackenzie died on the 14th of June, i860, aged 
96 years, and was buried in the Gairloch aisle in Beauly 

3. Kenneth, who was born on the 14th of February, 
1765, was a Captain in the army, and served in India, 
where he was at the siege of Seringapatam. He soon 
after retired from the service, and settled down as a 
gentleman farmer at Kerrisdale, Gairloch. He married 
Flora, daughter of Farquhar Macrae of Inverinate, with 
issue, three sons and four daughters — (i) Alexander, a 
Captain in the 58th Regiment, who married a daughter 
of William Beibly, M.D., Edinburgh, with issue ; (2) 
Hector, a merchant in Java, where he died, unmarried ; 
(3) Farquhar, a settler in Victoria, where he married and 
left issue — Hector, John, Violet, Mary, and Flora; (4) 
Jean, who married William H. Garrett, of the Indian 
Civil Service, with issue — two sons, Edward and William, 
and four daughters, Eleanor (now Mrs Gourlay, The 
Gows, Dundee) ; Flora, Emily, and Elizabeth ; (5) Mary, 
who married, first, Dr Macleod, Dingwall, without issue ; 
and, secondly, Murdo Mackenzie, a Calcutta merchant. 


also without issue ; (6) Christian Henderson, who married 
John Mackenzie, solicitor, Tain, a son of George Mac- 
kenzie, III. of Pitlundie, with issue — two sons, both 
dead, one of whom left a son, Charles ; (7) Jessie, who 
married Dr Kenneth Mackinnon, of the Corry family, 
H.E.I.C.S., Calcutta. 

4. Jean, who died young. 

5. Margaret, who married Roderick Mackenzie, II. of 
Glack, with issue. 

6. Janet, who married Captain John Mackenzie, 
Woodlands, son of George Mackenzie, II. of Gruinard, 
without issue. 

Sir Alexander had also a natural daughter, Janet, who 
married John Macpherson, Gairloch, with issue. 

The second Lady Mackenzie of Gairloch, Jean Gorry, 
died in 1766, probably at the birth of her last daughter, 
Janet, who was born on the 14th of October in that 
year, and Sir Alexander himself died on the 15th of 
April, 1770. He was buried in Gairloch, and was suc- 
ceeded by his eldest son, 

XI. Sir Hector Mackenzie, the fourth Baronet, 
generally spoken of among Highlanders as ''An Tighearna 
Storach," or the Buck-toothed Laird. Being a minor, 
only twelve years of age when he succeeded, his affairs 
were managed by the following trustees appointed by 
his father : — John Gorry ; Provost Mackenzie of Dingwall, 
and Alexander Mackenzie, W.S., son and grandson re- 
spectively of Charles Mackenzie, I. of Letterewe ; and 
Alexander Mackenzie, of the Stamp Office, London, son 
of William Mackenzie of Davochcairn. These gentlemen 
did not get on so harmoniously as could be wished in 
the management of the estate. The first three opposed 
the last-named, who was supported by Sir Hector and 
by his grandfather and his uncle of Redcastle. In the 
month of March, 1772, in a petition in which Sir Hector 
craves the Court for authority to appoint his own factor, 
he is described as ''being now arrived at the age of 
fourteen years." The differences which existed between 


the trustees finally landed them in Court, the question 
specially in dispute being whether the agreement of the 
late Sir Alexander to sell the Ardnagrask and Strath- 
peffer lands should be carried out ? In opposition to 
the majority, the Court decided in favour of Sir Hector 
that they should not be sold until he arrived at an age 
to judge for himself. Having secured this decision. Sir 
Hector, thinking that Mr Gorry had been acting too 
much in the interest of his own grandchildren — Sir Alex- 
ander's children by the second marriage — now appointed 
a factor of his own, Kenneth Mackenzie, his half uncle, 
the first " Millbank." 

In 1789 he obtained authority from the Court to sell 
the lands which his father had previously arranged to 
dispose of to enable him to pay the debts of the entailed 
estates. He sold the lands of Davochcairn and Davoch- 
pollo to Henry Davidson of Tulloch, and Ardnagrask to 
Captain Rose, Beauly, who afterwards sold it to Mac- 
kenzie of Ord, 

In 1815 he was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of his 
native county. He lived generally at home among a 
devoted tenantry ; and only visited London once during 
his life. He regularly dispensed justice among his Gair- 
loch retainers without any expense to the county, and 
to their entire satisfaction. He was adored by the 
people, to whom he acted as a father and friend, and 
his memory is still green among the older inhabitants, 
who never speak of him but in the warmest terms for 
his generosity, urbanity, and frankness, and for the kind 
and free manner in which he always mixed with and 
addressed his tenants. He was considered by all who 
knew him the most sagacious and intelligent man in 
the county. He employed no factor after he came of 
age, but dealt directly and entirely with his people, ulti- 
mately knowing every man on his estates, so that he 
knew from personal knowledge how to treat each case 
of hardship and inability to pay that came before him, 
and to distinguish feigned from real poverty. When he 


grew frail from old age he employed a clerk to assist 
him in the management, but he wisely continued landlord 
and factor himself to his dying day. When Sir Francis, 
his eldest son, reached a suitable age, instead of adopting 
the usual folly of sending elder sons to the army that 
they might afterwards succeed to the property entirely 
ignorant of everything connected with it, he gave him, 
instead of a yearly allowance, several of the farms, with 
a rental of about ;£^500 a year, over which he acted as 
landlord or tenant, until his father's death, telling him 
"if you can make more of them, all the better for you." 
Sir Francis thus grew up interested in and thoroughly 
acquainted with all property and county business, and 
with his future tenants, very much to his own ultimate 
advantage and those who afterwards depended upon him. 

Sir Hector also patronised the Gaelic poets, and 
appointed one of them, Alexander Campbell, better 
known as " Alastair Buidhe Mac lomhair," to be his 
ground'Officer and family bard, and allowed him to hold 
his land in Strath all his life rent free.* He gave a 
great impetus to the Gairloch cod fishing, which he con- 
tinued to encourage as long as he lived. 

Sir Hector married, in August, 1778, Cochrane, 
daughter of James Chalmers of Fingtand, without issue ; 
and the marriage was dissolved by arrangement between 
the parties on the 22nd of April, 1796. In the same 
year, the marriage contract being dated the " 9th May, 
1796," within a month of his separation from his first 

* The Itie Dt John M*ckeDiie of Eileanach, Sii Hector^ Tonngeit 
■on, nukca the follovisg rcTereiicc, and«r dale of Aagutt 30, 187S, to 
the old bard : — " 1 tee honest AUitui Buidhe, with hia broid bonnet and 
Une gretu-coai (aiunmet and winier) dearl]' before roe now, lining in the 
tUning room at Flowerdale qni[e ■ raised '-like while rediing Onian't 
poenu, such aj ' The Brown Boar of Diarmad,' and others (though he 
had never heard of Maqibeison's collection) to v<ay ioieresied visiton, 
though aa unaiKjuainted with Gaelic as Alastair was with English. This 
niut have been as early ai 1813 or so, when I used to come into ihe room 
aTier dinner abont nine yean old." Alastair Bnidhe, the bard, waa the 
atuhor's great-gtaudAoher on the maternal side, and he was hinuetf, on 
hi* mother's nde, descended from Ihe Macbenzies of ^ieldaig. 


wife, Sir Hector married, secondly, Christian, daughter 
and only child of William Henderson, Inverness, a lady 
who became very popular with the Gairloch people, 
and is still aflectionately remembered amongst them as 
" A Bhantighearna Ruadh,"* with issue — 

1. Francis Alexander, his heir and successor. 

2. William, a merchant in Java, and afterwards in 
Australia. He died, unmarried, in i860, at St. Omer, 

3. Hector, who married Lydia, eldest daughter of 
General Sir Hugh Fraser of Braelangwell ; was Captain 
in H.E.I.C.S., and died in India, without surviving issue. 

4. Dr John, of Eileanach. He studied for the medical 
profession, and took his degree of M.D. He was factor 
for the trustees of Sir Kenneth, the present Baronet, 
during his minority, and afterwards for several years, 
Provost of Inverness. He married, on the 28th of Sep- 
tember, 1826, Mary Jane, only daughter of the Rev. Dr 
Inglis of Logan Bank and old Greyfriars, Edinburgh, Dean 
of the Chapel Royal, and sister of the late distinguished 
Lord Justice-General Inglis, President of the Court of 
Session, with issue — (i) Colonel Hector, who was born 
on the 24th of August, 1828, and went to India in his 
twentieth year, fought at Chilianwallah and Goojerat, and 
was afterwards, until he retired in 1877, in the Civil 
Service, chiefly as Judicial Commissioner for Central India 
at Nagpore. He married on the 9th of May, 1855, 
Eliza Ann Theophila, eldest daughter of General Jamieson, 
of the H.E.I.C.S., without issue ; (2) John Inglis, who 

* Dr John, late of Eileanach, writes of her and her father as follows : — 
" His second wife was only child of William Henderson, from Aberdeen- 
shire (cousin of Mr Coutts, the London banker, with whom, in consequence 
of the relationship, my elder brothers, Francis and William, were on 
intimate terms in Stratton Street, Piccadilly, where Lady Burdett Coutts 
now lives), who set up a Bleachfield at the Bught, Inverness, by a 
daughter of Fraser of Bught. • . . Henderson followed his daughter 
to Conon, as tenant of Riverford, where, till very old, he lived, and then 
moved to Conon House, till he died about 181 6, loved by all, ngpd 97. 
I think he is buried in the Chapel- Yard, Inverness.** 


died in 1843, in the 6th year of his age; (3) Harry 
Maxwell, w