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Celtic Magazine.

Conducted by ALEXANDER MACKENZIE, F.S.A. Scot.
No. LXIX. JULY, 1881. Vou VI.

By The Editor.



This family, the modern representatives of which claim to he Chiefs of the whole Clandonald, was in many respects the most distinguished of the race. It has produced warriors seldom equalled, and never surpassed even in the Highlands. This will be clearly proved as we proceed. We have already expressed an opinion as to the family claim to the Chiefship, and gave some of the reasons which has driven us to the conclusion that the claim is not well founded. Skene, than whom there is no better authority, maintains that Donald, the ancestor of Glengarry, was the eldest son of Eeginald of the Isles, and that Allan, the progenitor of Clanranald, must have been the second sun. "The seniority of Donald," he says, "is distinctly proved by tho fact that on the extinction of the family of Moror" (descended from a younger son), "the family of Moydart succeeded legally to that property; consequently, by the law of Scotland, they must have been descended from a younger son than the family of Knoydart and Glengarry, and it follows of necessity that the latter family must have been that of the Chief."* That the family of Clanranald is descended from

VIII. Eeginald, or Eanald, eighth in descent from Somerled of the Isles and Thane of Argyle, is admitted on all hands, and the only question is, Whether Allan, the immediate progenitor of the Captains of Clanranald was the eldest or the second son? His descendants now stoutly maintain that ho was the eldest, and that his immediate successors were consequently Chiefs of the whole Clandonald. This the reader must be left to judge for himself from what has already appeared in the preceding chapters, and from any additional information forthcoming as we proceed. Eeginald was undoubtedly succeeded in a large portion of his extensive domains by

• For Skene's remarks in cztcnto on this point see pp. 212-216 Celtic Magazint, vol. vi. s

IX, Allan Macdonald Or Macranald, second of Moydart, and other wide territories in the West Highlands and Isles, now impossible to define, as a considerable portion of his father's possessions went to the other sons. Allan fought at the famous battle of Harlaw in 1411, where he greatly distinguished himself, with his brother Donald, first of Glengarry, and Dugald, the latter of whom was slain.

Allan, according to the history of Clanranald,* married "a daughter of John, last Lord of Lorn, and brother of Dugald, Lord of Appin," by whom he had issue—

1. Roderick, his heir.

2. Allan, from whom the Sliochd Alain Mhic Alain of Knoydart, whose lands returned to Glengarry in 1613, and of whose representatives nothing is known.

3. John, issue extinct.

He died at Castletirrim in 1419, a few months after his father, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

X. Roderick Macdoxald, third of Moydart, better known among the Highlanders as "Ruari Mac Alain," He was a man of great courage, and, very early in life, distinguished for his valour and daring. He supported the Earl of Ross in his contentions with the Crown, joined him, in 1429, in his expedition against Inverness, when, according to the MS. History of the Mackintoshes, after the King set him at liberty, "he collected a band of men accustomed to live by rapine, fell upon Inverness, pillaged and burnt the houses." Roderick afterwards fought against the King's troops in Lochaber under Donald Balloch, on which occasion the Earl of Mar, commanding the Royal army, was wounded, while Allan, Earl of Caithness, was slain, and many of their followers put to the sword. The King's army was completely defeated and overthrown.t In 1455 Roderick joined in a Macdonald raid to Sutherland, when they were defeated at Skibo by Neil Murray, and fled back into Ross. They soon, however, returned, and were mot by the Sutherland men, commanded by Robert, brother of the Earl of Sutherland, on the sands of Strathfleet, "when ther followed a sharp and cruell skirmish, foughtin with great courage on either syd. In the end, Mackdonald his men were overthrowen, and most pairt of them killed, either in the conflict or in the chasse. which continued long, even to the Bonagh," J Referring to this raid, the author of the History of Clanranald says, that "A severe engagement followed, the Macdonalds were ultimately defeated; but Roderick succeeded in saving most of his men, with whom he returned to Castletirrim."

He married, Margaret, daughter of the famous Donald Balloch of Isla, Chief of the Clan Ian Mhoir, wilh issue—

1. Allan, his heir.

2. Hector, or Eachaiun, who obtained lands in Morvcra, and bebecame progenitor of the branch of the Macdonalds known as Clann Eachainn, of whom Neil MacEachainn of Flora Macdonald celebrity, father of Marshal JMacdonald, Duke of Tarentum, the famous French general; Lachlan Macdonald now of Skaebost, and many others, of whom hereafter.

* Edinburgh 1819.

t For full particulars of this engagement see vol. v., pp. 212-218, Celtic Magazine.

{ Sir Robert Gordon's Earldom of Sutherland, p. 74.

We are told in the family history that he married, secondly, " More, daughter of William Mackintosh of Mackintosh, by a daughter of the Thane of Calder." In the "History of the Mackintoshes and Clan Chattan," by Alexander Mackintosh Shaw, recently published, page 83, it is said that William Mackintosh, who "died at Connage in 1368," had by his first wife, Florence, daughter of the Thane of Calder, "a daughter married to Euari Mac Alan Mhic Eanald of Moydart," Considering that, by his second wife, this Chief of Mackintosh had five children before his death in 1368, it is scarcely possible that his daughter, by the first marriage, could have been the second wife of Euari MacAllan of Moydart, whose first wife was a daughter of Donald Balloch of Isla—alive in 1475, and whose eldest son, Allan MacEuari, was executed in 1509.

He died about 1481, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

XL Allan Macdonald, fourth of Moydart, commonly called "Allan MacEuari.'' He was one of the principal supporters of Angus, the bastard son of John, last Lord of the Isles, in the battle of the Bloody Bay, between Ardnamurchan and Tobermory, where Angus defeated his father. He also accompanied Alexander of Lochalsh to the Battle of Park, fought with the Mackenzies; and in the invasion of Eoss and Cromarty in 1491, on which occasion they collected a great booty, a large share of which went to ClanranalcL* For this spoil Alexander Urquhart, Sheriff of Cromarty, obtained restitution against Kilravock, who also joined in it, by Act of the Lords of Council, in 1492, for himself and his tenants. + Kilravock, however, soon after raised an action before the Privy Council to bo relieved of the obligation laid upon him. On the 5th of July 1494 the Lords of Council continued the summons till the 3d of August following. On the 19th of May 1496, there appears in the Acts of the Lords of the Privy Council a continuation of all the summonses in the case until the 3d of July, except, inter alia, the one here referred to; and on the second of March 1497, a decreet is recorded ordaining " that the persons underwritten sail relefe and kepe scaithless, llucheon, the Eoss of Kilravick, at the hands of Mr Alexander Urquhart, Sheriff of Cromartie and of ye guids underwritten." Among the names set forth are Allan MacEory of Moydart, Ewin Allansane of Lochiel, and Eonald Allan MacEorysone—Allan's eldest son. In 1496 Maclean of Duart, Macian of Ardnamurchan, Allan MacEory of Moydart, Ewen MacAIlansone of Lochiel, and Donald MacAnguson of Keppoch, becamo pledges and sureties "by ye extension of yair hands," to Archibald, Earl of Argyll, in name and on behalf of the King's Highness, that each of them should be harmless and scaithless of others without fraud or guile, under pain of a penalty of five hundred pounds for each of the said persons. J In 1498 steps were taken to suppress a feud which had long existed between the Clanranald of Moydart and the Macdonalds of Sleat about the lands of Garmoran and Uist.

During the disputes between the Earl of Eoss and Mackenzie, no one was more zealous in the cause of the Island Chief than Allan of Moydart, who made several raids into Kintail, ravaged the country, and carried

* Gregory, p. 66.

+ History of the Mackenzies, p. 74, where the amount of the spoil is given in a footnote.

J AuU of thj Lords of Council, vlL, fo. 39.

away large numbers of cattle. After the forfeiture of the Earldom of Boss, Allan's younger brother, supported by a faction of the tenantry, rebelled against his elder brother, and possessed himself for a time of the Moydart estate. John of the Isles, unwilling to appear so soon in these broils, or, perhaps, favouring the pretensions of the younger brother, 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 aue ile in ane loch," where Alexander (of Kintail) resided at the time, and presented himself personally before his old enemy, who was naturally much surprised to receive a visit from such a quarter, and from one to whom ho had never been reconciled. Allan coolly related how he had been oppressed by his own brother and his nearest friends, and how he had been refused aid from those from whom he had a right to expect it. In these circumstances he thought it best to apply to his greatest enemy, who, perhaps, might in return gain as faithful a friend as he had previously been his "diligent adversary." Alexander, on hearing the story, and moved by the manner in which Allan had been oppressed by his immediate relatives, promised to support him, went in person with a sufficient force to repossess him, and finally accomplished his purpose. The opposing party at once represented to the King that Alexander Mackenzie invaded their territory as a "disturber of the peace, and ane oppressor," whereupon 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, ho 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 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."*

In 1501 Allan was, with several others of the Clan, summoned before the Lords of Council to exhibit the rights by which he held his lands. He refused to attend, and on the 10th of December in the same year a decreet was pronounced against him and the others as follows:—The Lords of Council decreets and delivers, that the said Eweu MacEachainn, does wrong in the occupying of the lands, of Ardtornish, in the Morvern; Allan Kory's son, and Alexander Allan's son in the occupying of the lands of Moydart, &c; Allan Ranald's son Mac Ian's son, in the occupying of the lands of Knoydart, &c; and therefore ordains them to desist and cease therefrom, to be enjoyed, &c, by the King's Highness.

In addition to his other possessions, Allan Mac Ruari claimed the whole of the district of Suinart as tenant under John Cathanach of Isla, Allan never obtained charters for his lands, though ho ultimately became on very good terms with the King, to whose influence in the Highlands ho latterly, in a great degree, contributed. His heir, Ranald, was actually in high favour at court, and succeeded, in 1505, to bring a feud between

• History of the Mackenzies, pp. 61-52, quoting the Earl of Cromartie's MS. ol the Mackenzies.

his family and the Macdonalrls of Sleat to a successful issue, fur in that year, on the 23d of August, he obtained a charter from John Macdonald of Sleat for the lands so long in dispute between them.*

Ho accompanied his father in a raid against Hucheon, the Ross of Kilravoek, and, his father having been in consequence summoned before the King and Council, Ranald the heir had to be given up as a hostage for the father's good behaviour in future. While in Edinburgh in this position he was highly esteemed by ull who knew him, and it was on the same occasion he got so much into Court favour. He is in trouble, however, in 1503, for in the Acts of Parliament for that year appears, under date of 19th March, a memorandum by which it is declared that he and several others named have been "forfaulted" in their persons and goods. On the 23d of August 1505, however, ho received a Precept "Viginto octo mercatis terrarnm de Sleit cum castro et fortalicio de Dunskahay, et sexaginta mercatis terrarum in Capite Boreali de Ewest, cum pertinen," which had belonged to John of Sleat. On the 7th of June 1507, the King addressed a letter to him and Alexander Macleod of Dunvegan, authorising them to let the lands of Lewis and Waternish, which were then under forfeiture—a further proof of the confidence at that time reposed in him by James IV.

Allan Mac Ruari was the dread and terror of all the neighbouring clans. He "had at one time three powerful chiefs as prisoners in his fortification of Castleterrim—Macleod of Macleod, Mackay of Strathnaver, and Mackintosh of Mackintosh. The two first had in all probability quarrelled with him for being in arms against John, Earl of Ross, but the cause of his disagreement with Mackintosh is curious, and strongly descriptive of the manners of the times. Mackintosh had built for himself a castle in an island in Loch Moy (now Moyhall). On the day on which he first took possession of this castle, he summoned all his friends and vassals to partake of a banquet at which an Irish harper (in those days constantly strolling about the country) was present. After carousing for a considerable time, and supporting the ancient hospitality of the country, he rose from the table, and, before retiring to rest, expressed his happiness at being now, for the first day of his life, free of the dread of Allan Mac Rory, of whom he tlten considered himself quite independent. The Irish harper, in the course of his peregrinations, went to Castletirrim, and reported the words of Mackintosh. This was sufficient to rouse the spirit of the chief; he immediately summoned his vassals and travelled by night and rested by day, till he came to Lochmoy; he had carried with him several boats made of hides, and easily transported; these he launched under night and stormed the castle. Mackintosh was seized in bed, conveyed to Castletirrim, and kept in confinement for a year and a day. "When he got his liberty, Allan advised him 'never to be free from the fear of Macdonald] and gave him one of his vassals, named Macswein or Macqueen, as a guide. This man was possessed of great prowess and personal strength, and Mackintosh prevailed on him to remain with him, and gave him a grant of the lands of Coryburgh, which his posterity at this moment enjoy.

"Some time after this, Allan required to visit his possessions in the

* He.,'. Privy Seal, vol. Hi., fo. 15.

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