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Amelia Volume 1 Chapter 10


[page 101}
TAKING a retrospective view of the notices of the Clan during the reigns of James IV. and V., and up to the tragic deaths of Duncan Ladosach and his son Gregor in 1552, it may be observed that mention is repeatedly made in 1500-1506 of “MacGregor,” a style which it is well known pertained always to the Chief of a Clan. At this period he appears to have lived in the neighbourhood of Balquhidder, and had rights of forestry and facilities for the pursuit of deer, which James IV. countenanced. It is not possible to affirm with certainty who was at that time the Chief. Following the “Baronage” in point of chronology, it may have been Malcolm No. XIV., or possibly his brother, Gregor, his next heir.

Mr. MacGregor Stirling, in one of his MS. papers, gives the following note :-
“Inchcalloun (see entry, 1st Sept. 1506, regarding the king having been there) was the residence of Gregor Mor, formerly (during his elder brother’s lifetime) styled of Brackly, and now styled ‘Makgregour.’
“Patrick MacGregor died at Auchinchallane, ‘9th July 1518, and was buried in Dysart in Glenurchy (Obituary). This was Gregor Mor’s youngest brother, [1]   the place of whose death shows that Inchcalloun was still in MacGregor’s possession. Gregor Mor, indeed, had most probably been succeeded by his eldest son at this date, 1518.”

The additional note rests, perhaps, on firmer grounds :-
“Inchcalloun or Auchinchialloun, [2]   as it was also called, was soon after, along with Brackly (in Glenurchy), held by a descendant of a younger son of Gregor Mor, as a feu under the Campbells of Glenurquhay, and continued to be held by this line some time after the beginning of the last century.” [3]  

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There is, however, reason to believe that Malcolm XIV. of the “Baronage” survived till about the year 1525-6. The history of the murder of Macintosh in 1524-5, and the help given in the capture of the murderers by the deceased’s brother-in-law, “Dominus MacGregor,” [4]   as quoted from the “Chartulary,” from a private MS. at Moy Hall, may connect this date with the said Malcolm, who the “Baronage” states to have married the sister of Macintosh.

Up to this period we find Johnne McGregour of Glenstray still called by that territorial designation (see an entry as to “Duncan Gromach’s Guids,” in 1527). After his death, 12th April 1528, and already previous to that date - i.e., in 1527 - his cousin, and eventual successor, John Makewin Makalester, is styled Captain of the Clan Gregour. The circumstances which led to the elevation of John Makewin to this important office are unknown. The office became hereditary in the family of Glenstray for at least six generations. If the representative by right of blood of the eldest line, why was he styled Captain? [5]   It has been already remarked that possibly the line of Gregor Aulin was the eldest, and of that line Gregor Mor, his son Duncan Ladasach, and grandson Gregor, were men such as the Clan would have been proud to follow. It has already been observed, chapter v. p. 48, that Sir John MacGregor Murray believed Glenstray, the leader at Glenfruin, to have been the Chief.

The Campbells of Glenurquhay at this time strongly supported the Glenstray family, but that circumstance would not have recommended them to the rest of the Clan.

In the Obituary occur these notices :-
“1518. July 19. Death of Duncan MacGregor, Captain of the Castle of Glenurquhay; he was buried in Dysart.

“1523. August 12th. Death of a venerable man, Sir Robert Menzies, Kt. He was buried in the church of Weyme.

[page 103}
“1523. August 22. Death of Sir Colin Campbell Kt., Laird of Glenurquhay at the Castle of Glenurquhay. he was buried in the Chapel of Finlarig.

“1524. November 9. Death of Neill son of Duncan Macgregor, in Glenurquhay, at the Castle of Glenuraquhay.

“1529. October 9. Death of an honourable man, Colin Campbell, Earl of Argyle, Lord Campbell and Lorn who died at Inverary, and was buried at Kilmun.”

The following “Tak” in connection with the keeping of the Castle of Glenurquhay is interesting. It occurs in the “Black Book of Taymouth”:-
“1550. Tak of Kincrakin and utheris set to Johne McConoquhy VcGregour. Be it kennd be thir present letteris, me Johne Campbell of Glenurquhay to have set and for malis and seruice lattin the keping of my Castell of Glenurquhay to my weil belouit seruand Johne McConoquy, McGregour [6]   the four merkland of Kincrakin for all the termis of fyfe yeris to the said Johne alanerlie, with the Croft of Polgreyich and the Croft of Portbeg, and the Croft that Ewin McEwir wes wont to have, with all the Croftis within Kincrakin, the malt Croft exceptit quhilk Patrik McKeirmoil hes, and the Yarde Croft, and the Turnour exceptit, and the said Johne sall gif gress fre to the yard Croftis for samany sowme as the said Croft wes wont to have, and the auld warde callit the Quosche exceptit in this assedatioun; the said Johne his interest beand at Whitsounday (1550) he pay and thairfor yeirlie fourtie aucht bollis gude victual, the third part quhite meale fre fra all thingis and dewities, the victuale mett with ane inst. firlott brount with the stand of Perth, in the Castell of Glenurquhay in tyme of yeir as us is, and to the Lairdis misteris [7]   quhen it is requirit be him or his seruandis, with his awin trew seruice and keiping of my Castell of Glenurquhay, and he sall haif the merkland of Arrecastellan and the merkland of Arrenabeyne, for the keiping of the Castell foresaid, fre fra all hosting as us was wont to be except the defence of me and the cuntretht quhen misteris beis; and alelyke for the landis of Kyncrakkyn half stenting and hosting to the Quenis grace and Mylord of Argylis quhen mister beis and als requirit; and that and his seruandis sall ansuer me quhen I have ado; and the said Johne sall hald ane suffcient wetchmen on his awin expensis yeirlye indurand his pay yeirlie for his fie sex schillingis aucht penneis and meat when I am in the place, he keipand the tour heid cleyn, and failyiend the tour heid be not cleyn, he sall tyne [page 104} his fie; and I sall gif the said Johne and his wife and tua honest seruandis of thair awin, or his tua sonis meat quhen I am in the place of Glenurquhay, and the wetchman to be their boy; and the said Johne or his wyfe sall find me als oft as I cum to the Castel elding [8]   to the hale chalmer and kitcheine and bakhous for the first nicht and fodder to my chalmer to mak beddis and uther dewities as us is; and I sall giff leif to the said Johne to hald on the Quosche sex new calfrit kye, on his awin expensis and keip it fra all guidis except my guidis, and the guidis specifiet abonewrittin, and gif thair beis ony uther guidis funden upoun the samyn, thai salbe escheatit to me fre but ony process of law, attoure the said Johne sall na guidis pasture in the warde fra Sanct Patrikis day furtht quhill the Lairdis a in gude will cum to it under the pane foirsaid and stop not my wedderis fra Kyncrakkyn and gras thairof, nor yit fra the grass of Portbeg, nor yit the Portarig Kye quhen thay may not be on the Quosche, and the said Johne sall have leiff to sett foure nettis within the Dowloch and not farder, that is to say thrie small nettis and ane greit nett; and attoure the Mylne of Kencrakyn sett to the said Johne for the space of the yeiris above writtin, he payand yeirlie for it, fouretene bollis gude meale, of that the tane halfe quhite meile weill schittit and tua dassoun of pultrie, and gif the Laird bringis ony malt of his awin furth of utheris cunthreis it sall be grundin multer fre be the said Johne, and the said Johne sall laif sawin in the best gudet land of Kyncrakkan fourtie aucht bollis sufficient eattis mett with the firlott abone writtin and failyeand thairof with ane uther firlott of the samyn stand foirsaid; and attoure the said Johne McConochie VcGregour for the getting of the tak abone expremit, hes givin me my airis or assignanaris ane bairnis part of geir of all his kye and hors efter his deceis that may pertene to him be ony maner of way and siclyke the said Johne McConochie VcGregour hes givin ouir in my handis [9]   the markland of Drimleyart, the half markland of Glenkinglas, and the half markland of Corrcoran with the Ile of the samyn, and with the consent of Gregour his sone hes renuncit all rychtis that the said Johne and Gregour his sone micht haiff into the saidis landis but ony revocatioun, and mairower the yaird set to Johne McConochie with the Croft of the samyn for fyve yeiris, he haldand ane sufficient gardner upon his awin expensis to amend and graith baith the yairdis and plant treis in the new yaird of Portbeg, and his; ane sufficient dyk about ilkane of the saidis yairdis, and the said Johne sall saw quhite kaill seid, reid kaill and unzeoun seid, I sending him seid in dew tyme of yeir, and he [page 105} sall find himself to the yairdis sege and heyntoungis, and he sall give yeirlie to me or my deputis the last tua partis, of the proffittis of the yairdis under ane aith, and the third part to himself for his trauell and labouris of the saidis yairdis : and attoure my stabill, peithous, kyill and barne exceptit out of his takis and assedatioun fra the said Johne McConnochie, bot I to us the samyn to my behiuff as I think expedient, quhilkis housis lyis to Portbeg and I have subscriuit this present assedationn with my hand at the Castell of Glenurquhay the xvii day of May (1550) befor thir witness. Alexander Menzies of Rannoch. Johne McNab of Bowane, Johne Reddoch, Johne McDonichie Roy McAllan, Johne Tailyour Moir alias McNachtane, Johne McIllespy McPhatrik officer and Johne Clerk Messinger with uther diueress.

“1544. 17th April. Item the xvij day of Aprile gevin to McFarlane efter the siege of Glasgow in xxx crowns of the sone. Item the samyn day to McGregor in xx crowns of the sone. ( Lord High Treasurers Books Minority of Queen Mary and Regency of the Earl of Arran. )

“Note: The Earl of Glencairn having joined the Earl of Lennox in rebellion against the Government under the Earl of Arran was besieged in Glasgow from whence he made a sally on the besiegers and was defeated by them and forced to fly : the Action being known as the Battle of Glasgow Moor, 16th March I543-4. when the town was recovered by Arran. The Siege according to Pitscottie had lasted from the 8th.”

Shortly after the death of the English Sovereign Henry VIII. in 1546, an attempt was made on the part of the English to compel a marriage between the young King Edward VI. and our Queen Mary, an alliance which was resisted by the patriotic party in Scotland, because of the policy pursued by the English Kings, of trying to subjugate Scotland. The Duke of Somerset led an army over the Border in August 1547, to attain the object desired by force of arms. The Earl of Arran in this moment of peril- “Sent the Fiery Cross throughout the country - a warlike symbol of Celtic origin, constructed of two slender rods of hazel formed into the shape of a cross, the extremities seared on the fire and extinguished when red and blazing, in the blood of a goat slain for the occasion. From this slight description it is evident that the custom may be traced back to Pagan times and it is certain, that throughout the highland districts of the country, it’s summons wherever it was carried was regarded with awe, and obeyed without hesitation. Previous to this we do not hear of it’s being adopted in the lowlands; but on the present emergency, being fastened to the point of a spear, it was transmitted by the heralds and poursuivants through out every part of the realm; [page 106} from town to town, from village to village, from hamlet to hamlet, the ensanguined symbol flew with astonishing rapidity, and such was it’s effect, that in a wonderfully short space of time an army of thirty-six thousand men assembled near Musselborough.” [10]  

But through the fortunes of war this gallant army sustained a severe defeat in the battle of Pinkie, 10th September 1547, followed by the return of the English Protector to England soon afterwards, to attend to matters nearer home, and eventually in August 1548 the young Queen Mary, then in her sixth year, was conveyed to the Court of France, and affianced to the Dauphin, afterwards Francis II. of France. Reinforcements having been sent from France and the invaders repulsed, peace with England was at last concluded in April 1550. [11]  

The “Chartulary” has the following extract :-
“1547. September 10th. Order of the Scottish Army at the Battle of Pinkie ‘To witt the Erll of Angus in the vanguard withe ten thousand mene in guid ordour. The Erll of Huntlie in the rereward witht tuell thousand men of the north pairts of Scotland. The governour himself in the greyt staill oist and withe him all the haill gentilmene of Louthien, Fyf, Angus, Strathern, Stirlingschyr, and the haill borrowis of Scotland to the number of tuentie thowsand mene and upon the richt hand and wing the Erll of Argyll and all the wast hilandmene of Scotland and on the left hand Maklain and Makriggour with all the Illsmene of Scotland.’ M.S. of Pitscottie’s Chronicles in the Library of Innerpaffray of date 23. April -30. July I600. folio 123, a b. [12]  

Mr. MacGregor Stirling has the following remarks in the “Chartulary” :-
“ ‘In connection with the military history of McGregour’ in 1544 and 1547, it is impossible to overlook the circumstance that whatever ‘Slogan’ was used by the Glenstrays during the long period of their Captaincy, originally elective, and ultimately by prescription hereditary (for it lasted from 1552 down to the death of Kilmannan about 1706) the more accepted Slogan of ClanGregor is derived from the estate or ‘roume’ of McGregoure ‘Ardchoill.’ That the Glenstrays used a different Slogan is presumable from the very nature of the case. Nor does it seem irrelevant to [page 107} mention that James Pont a Herald contemporary with the Captaincy of the Glenstrays, and whose Manuscript preserved in the Lyon Office of Scotland is dated 1600, gives the armorial Bearing of MacGregor without suppporter’s and states the motto as being ‘Bad Giubhas’ which is being interpreted ‘clump of Firs.’ [13]   In the atchievement of ‘MacGregoure’ from the Lislebourg M.S. the British Museum date 1589 [14]   there is no motto; a circumstance leading to the inference, that the Slogan of Ardchoill had been first used in 1544 for the obvious reason already stated that there had been previously no established Slogan; and that the Slogan alluding to the Clump of Firs had been substituted by those who did not chuse to adopt the other. It is further remarkable that the Arms of McGregor of Stucknary, the penult representative of the Elective Captains of the Glenstray line, as exhibited on his tombstone in the Island of Inch Caileoch in Loch Lomond, want supporters; a presumption amongst many others that the Glenstrays did not affect to possess the right of Blood as Representative of McGregoure of Old.”

An unfinished MS., by the same writer, may also here be quoted :-
“Duncan Ladosach was during the lifetime of his father or elder brother, styled Ardchoille a small estate in Glendochart which he had obtained from a near kinsman of another Clan [15]   for military service, and which, from being McGregor’s seat during two armed expeditions and the earliest which the Clan made in defence of the Crown, under Duncan’s son and heir became it’s war cry, and is still a scroll in MacGregor’s Armorial Bearing. As the Gregorian Race had now by the severity of the Stewart Dynasty on the one hand, and by it’s bounty to the other families on, the other, become in comparison of their former state, landless; so although the Lineal Chief of a Family that existed towards seven centuries, and was originally royal, must have been tacitly acknowledged, yet from the absence of grand link of Superior and vassal on Land property, subordination to the Chief had been much relaxed. We shall in the sequel find that the conscious tie of blood overcome generally the policy of quiet settlement among strangers; that the ClanGregor had in a turbulent state of society preferred a predatory warfare under an elective Captain, to the obscure industry prescribed by a government, unjust in the first instance and tyrannical in the second. we shall find that ClanGregor’s subsequent efforts to defend the Crown at the expense of it’s best blood were but inadequately rewarded and that when the person possessed of the largest portion of it’s Chief’s ancient territory, had by the slaughter of Ardchoille Elder and by the public decapitation of Ardchoille younger, and by the dispersion of the sons of the latter (which deprived the Clan of a lineal Chief), it [page 108} rallied under a Captain who by his armed excursions for the recovery of the ancient territory (which by a plausible fiction was held to be the right of the Chief whether by blood or election) drew down upon his followers the utmost vengeance of a government trembling for it’s own existence. He was himself put death in the cause and became the first of a line of hereditary Captains under whom the Clan (now most unruly it must be owned) experienced from the Government the greatest severities, in an attempt to root out the names Gregour and McGregour, and to abolish them in all time coming under pain of death. We shall have occasion to witness a general though fruitless revolt of the now nameless Clan for the purpose of bursting the bands of their political death, and those bands which the ‘Secreit Council’ had imposed, rivetted by the Act of Parliament. The next important scene will display the nameless Clan stepping forth in defence of that Throne, whence had emanated the decree for annihilating it, and which was now menaced with annihilation, the Clan earning a reward, (which on the re-establishment of the Throne, it actually received), in the repeal of the obnoxious decrees.” [16]  

From the “Red and White Book of Menzies” :-
“Letter by Mary of Guise Queen Regent of Scotland exempting Alexander Menzies of that Ilk from finding caution for MacGregors his tenants in Rannoch for seven years.
“1559. Feb. 9. Regina. We understanding that it is not within the power of Alexander Menzies of that Ilk to ansuer for the gud reule of the ClanGregoure inhabitantis of the Rannoch and that our chozing the Erle of Ergyle and Coline Campbell of Glenurquhay hes the seruice of that clann and that thai will do thare deligens to caus gud reule kepit be the said clann and for dieuers other resonable causis and considerationis moving us, grantis an gevis licence to the said Alexander to set in tak and assedatioun all and haill his tuentie pund land of Rannock liand within the sherefdome of Perth, to the auld tenentis and inhabitantis thairof of the ClanGregour for the space of seven yeris; and will and grantis that he nor his airis sall nocht be haldyn to our derrest dochter, nor us, to ansuer for thair gud reule during the said sevin yeris, nor to enter them to our lawes, our justice airis nor justice courtis for thair demeritis, notwithstanding the general band maid be the lordis and landit men of the said S- our said derrest dochter and us thereupon &a. Marie R. (Menzies Charter Room).”

This was a kind and gracious concession, and might have conduced to peace under more favourable circumstances.

[1] No evidence is adduced in the “Chartulary” in support of this statement.

[2] From the entry in the Obituary, Auchinchall is shown to have been in Glenurchay, therefore cannot well have been identical with Inchcalloun, mentioned in King James IV.’s visit to Balquhidder.

[3] A very early parchment regarding the lands of Auchinchallane, and papers connected with the sale of it subsequently to the Campbells has found its way into the hands of a private collector, who is understood to be averse to communicating it to this work.

[4] So styled by the Macintosh Historian, probably as a mere recognition of his place of influence in the Clan.

[5] The Captain in this instance may occasionally have been styled MacGregor, but in the history of Highland Clans the acutal Chief rarely was styled Captain.

[6] Probably John McConoquhay or Duncanson, mentioned in the Records, 1531, with his brother, Duncanus, in Moreynch. He appears, however, to have held lands of Loch Fyne.

[7] Musters

[8] Fuel, especially peats.

[9] It is to be observed that John Duncanson MacGregor held previously the half merklands of Drimleyart, Glenkinglas and Corrocoran, with the Isle of the same, which lands, with consent of his son Gregor, he renounced.

[10] Tytler’s History of Scotland - reign of Queen Mary.

[11] Taken from ibid.

[12] In the printed copy, date 1728, the account is much the same, only mentioning - “On the left Macleod, MacGregor and the Islesmen.”

[13] See Note, page 47. volume 1 chapter 5

[14] See pages 16 and 17. In the Harleyan Collection, under the title, the word Lyslebourg is written, for which reason Mr. MacGregor Stirling thus quotes it. volume 1 chapter 2

[15] Campbell of Straquhir. See page 30. volume 1 chapter 3

[16] MS. Sketch of History of the Clan, by Mr. MacGregor Stirling.