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Amelia Volume 1 Chapter 11




Notices of other branches of the Clan

[page 109}
NOTICES of some of the other branches of the Clan have now to be given, as they henceforward become more prominent in the general history.

GRIERSON OF LAG

The family of Grierson of Lag, following the account given in the “Baronage,” trace their descent from Malcolm (XI.) the Lame Lord. It is supposed that they branched off the end of the 14th century, and probably before the death of Ian Cam, who died in 1390. Their immediate ancestor Gilbert, Laird of Ard and Lag, took the name of Grierson in accordance with charters from George Dunbar, Earl of March, of the Netherholme of Dalgarnoch, to him and his heirs male, to be called by the surname of Grierson, before 1400; and another charter, dated at Dunbar 1400, of the lands of Airdes &a lying in the barony of Tyberis and shire of Dumfries, to the said Gilbert for his many good deeds done to the said Earl. The lands of Lag were conveyed by his cousin Henry Sinclair 2nd Earl of Orkney, by charter dated 6th December 1408. Confirmation of lands of Garryhorn and Sandokhill dated 17th May 1410. Charter from Archibald Earl of Douglas to Gilbert Grierson his armour-bearer of the lands of Drumjoan, confirmed by his Relict the Princess Margaret, Duchess of Touraine, dated 9th April 1425. Lag Castle was built circa 1460. [1]  

It is averred that there is no legal proof connecting the Gilbert Grierson of the Charters with MacGregor ancestry. [2]   Granting that the required link is missing, yet most Highlanders will accept the tradition.

MacGregor of Ardinconnell was one of the oldest offshoots of the Clan, and this branch must be noticed as most involved in subsequent disputes with Colquhoun of Luss. Its earliest recorded existence was in 1429, as in a deed of resignation by John MacRoger “of Gleane Mackerne (Mackurn) [page 110} in favour of John Colquhoun of Luss, dated 7th February 1429. One of the witnesses is Johanne MacGregor Dominus de Ardinconwell.”- “Chiefs of Colquhoun,” by William Fraser, 1869, vol. ii. page 28.

Returning to the “Chartulary” :-
“1479. Oct. 27. Before the lords compeired Umphra Colquhoun of that ilk, Patrik Noble, Patrik McGregour and Johnne of Douglas, and protested that because Christian Lady Grahame ‘gert sumond theme that therefore they should be assoilzied &a &a.’ - Acta Dominorum Concilii vol. i. folio 58 in Register House.

“1483. June 20. Before the Lords Auditors compeired Robert Flemyng for himself and as procurator for Vmphra Culquhon, Alex: Ardincapil brief of inquest purchased by Robert Flemyng foresaid upon two merks worth of land of bannory and protested that Umfra Colquhon of Luss, gert summonde them at his instance for certain actions, contained in the summonds and would not follow them. &a.” - Acto Dominorum Auditorum, p. 179.

About 1502, Sir John Colquhoun of Luss, who had lately acquired Porterfield’s Lands, vide page 40, purchased from Patrick MacGregor of Ardinconnell the “Middle third of Ardinconnell” Original Charter, dated February 20th, 1501, and original Instrument of Sasine, dated April 1501, at Rossdhu. Chiefs of the Colquhouns, Patrick MacGregor of Ardinconnell, was afterwards tenant of Sir John Colquhoun, and the following bond in which Patrick calls him his “darast Master” is curious.

“Discharge and Obligation by Patrick MacGregor of Ardyncnwall to Sir John Colquhoun of Luss Knicht for forty merks of the duties of the said lands.

“1513. May 3. Be it kende tyll all men be thir present lettres me, Patrick MacGregar of Ardyneonwall, to be bwndyn and oblest and be the faytht and the trewtht in my body, letely and trewly bindis and oblesis me tyll ane nobyll man and my darast master, and Schir Johne of Luss, Knycht, in the sovme of forty markis of gud and vsual mony of the Kynrik of Scotland. ‘for the runnyne maillis, fermes, and wderis dewuytis of the lands of Ardinconvall, with part of lent mony of the foirsaid forty markis to me be the said Schir Jhone Culquhone, in my mester and neide; off the quhilkis forty markis I halde me weyll content and payt; ande attowr, I the said Patrik byndis and oblesis me my executouris and assingnays, for tyll pay the said sovme of forty merkis, at twa termys, next and immadiat efter the dayt of this vrit, viz at Lammes next to cum xx markis, and at Mertymes next there efter vder xx markis be equayll porcionyss lelely and trewly but fraude or gyill onder the payne of dowbelling of the forsaid sovm, all remeid of law, civyll or canone, in the contrare to be maid or [page 111} ellegit. In vitnes of the theng, I haf set to my seill to thir present lettris, and subscibit the samyne with my hand, at Rosdw, the third day of Maij, in the zeir of God M. V. and thratenys zeris, befoir thir vetnes, Master James Culquhone Vicar of Dunlope, Robart Culquhone, son and aperand ayr to Robart Culquhone of Camstrodane, James Akynros, Wmfra Lang and Schir Georg Fallusdayall, chapyllane, witht overis byueryss (divers) vitht Patrik MacGregar his sone. “ ‘Patik McGregar of Ardynconvall. manu propria.’ ” [3]  

From the “Chartulary” :-
“1527. Notice of a raid by Patrik McGregors Elder and Younger of Lagris upon the lands of Strone, in the barony of Luss.

“1527. September 2. Mention is made in the Record of an Action at the instance of Andrew Lord Auvandale, who had obtained a gift of the ward of the Earldom of Lennox against the Colquhouns &a and among them Patrick Malcolm, and Patrick MacGregor. (Acta Dominorum Concilii xxxvii, M.S. 2369.) These were probably of the Ardinconnell family.

“1527. Nov. Patrick MacGregor younger of Ardinconnal had letters of reversion of 8 merkland of Ardinconnal from Sir John Colquhoun of Luss Kt. and at the same time, the ward of these lands was given by Andrew (3) lord Evandale to Walter Colquhoun brother of the said John. - Records of the Burgh of Dumbarton.

“1541. Patrik MacGregor of Lagris was pursewed by John Colquhoun of Luss oye and successor to Sir John Colquhoun of Luss in the 28th year of King James V (1541) for 8 oxen, price of each 3 lib, and of 12 ‘grete mylk ky’ price of each. . . ‘thiftuilie stowin and cancelit fra the lands of Strone in Glenfruiune 1527 and for the yeirlie profits thereof since that time at 6 firlotts of oatmeal, at 12s per boll, for each ox and 13s 4p. for each cow yeirlie.’ His father Patrik MacGregor also had shared in the said raid and in 1531 found Walter McFerland his son suretie for the damages, at the Justice Assize of Dumbarton.

[page 112}
“1544. Dec. 21. ‘The 4 merkland of Laggarie, belonging in property to Patrick McGregour, and holding of the Earl of Lennox, and the 8 merk land of Ardinconnal,' are thus specified in a charter by Queen Mary 27. July 1545 being one of appreciation of the Earl’s estate for the damage done in his late rebellion to James Stewart of Cardonald 4, Jan. 1543-4. Mag Sig : xxxx 22. By the Laird of Ardinconnal is meant obviously the person to whom it was mortgaged by McGregour of Laggary, formerly of Ardinconnal.

“1544. Dec. 21. John Colquhoun of Luss complains that ‘Duncane McFarlane of Arrochar Andrew McFerlane, Robert Mcferlane and Duncane Mcferlane his fader bray, viz., Campbell of (Strachur) James Stewart sone to Walter Stewart in Buchquhidder and certain uthir grete thevis, lymaris, robaris, qmoun (common) sornaris upaun the liecis, throtcuttaris, murtharis slaaris of men’s wiffis and barnis and yr complices to ye novmer of vj (q score?) men with ye maire come to ye said John’s lands and place of Rossdew and lands and barony of Luss and yare crellie slew and murdrest nyne of his pure tennents in yr beddes ans hereit his hale cuntrie baith his self and his pure men alswele of all insy gude wt, in houss as of nolt and schap and vyir (other) bestiale laitlie in ye monet of December instand dailie (ar) persewaries in plain reif and sorning vpoun ye pure liege of ye realme, and ar gaderand to yaim (them) ma thevis and lymmares, tending to hery ye haill cuntre to Glasgow and Striveling and yai be not resisted in yis temptioun (contemption) of ye : authrite and lawis giff salbe.’ Whereupon the Sheriffs of Argyle Dunbarton Renfrew and Stirling are charged to summon all the lieges within their bounds ‘to ryss and cum togidder for resisting of the saidis thievis and revaris to sik ptis (parties) as yai sal happin to cum uponn and yai tak plane pairt wt ye said Johnne or ony uyer gentilmen yat rysis for resisting of ye saidis theves and lymaris and tak and apprehend yame and bring yame to ye Justice to be punist for yr demeritis qform (conform) to ye lawis. And giff ony of yame beis slane or hurt in ye taking or resisting of yame to cum upoun o (our) privelege yat na cryme salbe impuitt to yame y’throw’ ” - Luss Papers quoted in the “Chartulary.”

The following passage is from “The Chiefs of Colquhoun” [4]  
:- “The first trace of that enmity between the MacGregors and the Colquhouns, which at length became so inveterate, to be found in the Luss family writs, occurs in a document dated in the year 1541. So far back as the year 1527, one of the MacGregor clan, Patrick MacGregor of Laggarie, had despoiled the father of the then Laird of Luss of a considerable number of oxen and cows. To obtain redress for this theft committed on his father’s property, John Colquhoun of Luss summoned him on 27 Dec. 1540, to appear before the Lords of the Privy Council, to hear their decreet, ordaining him, in terms of the summons, to restore to the pursuer eight oxen and twelve milk cows or the price of them with the profits of the same since the year 1527, when he had stolen them from the lands of Strone, in Glenfruin. And on 30th May 1541, Patrick MacGregor of Laggarie was at the instance of John Colquhoun of Luss inhibited from selling any of his lands or heritages until he had satisfied John for the spoil which he had reft from him.

[page 113}
These, proceedings we may not be entitled to consider as evidence of the existence of a formed feud between the MacGregors and the Colquhouns; but they are symptomatic of growing bad feelings between them, and they explain some of the causes which contributed to produce and to intensify the hatred which afterwards proved so disastrous to both.”

MACGREGOR OF RORO

MacGregor of Roro, a very ancient house, from whence sprang also Leragan, Dunan, Balhaldies, &a., falls to be taken next.

The first authentic notices are to be found in the “Obituary of Fortingal,” 1477. [5]   Death of Duncan Beg MacGregor at Roro. There must have been another previous Duncan, probably his father, because there is a notice in 1491 of the death of John Duncanson. Later, in 1503, Gregor Duncanbegson dies at Morinch and Gregor Duncanson, in 1515, at Roro. The “Baronage” and the Roro traditions state that the founder of the family was Gregor, fourth son of Gregor Aulin, who is believed to be identical with Gregor McAne Cham, whose death is recorded in the Obituary in 1415. Another generation is required between Gregor Aulin and Gregor who died at Roro in 1515, and it is clear that the name of the father of the latter was Duncan. It seems, therefore, most probable that the first of the Roro House was grandson of Gregor Aulin instead of his son.

The following is from a MS. Memoir formerly in the possession of the late Colonel Hugh MacGregor of the 63rd Regiment, himself a descendant of the Leragan family, and thus from Roro. Several copies of this Memoir are extant, and it is probable that it embodied all the oral tradition that Colonel Hugh could collect :-
“I. Gregor MacGregor 4th son (more probably Grandson) of Gregor Aulin, and (more probably Great) Grandson of MacGregor of Glenurchy, got possession of Roro (Ruaraidh) in Glenlyon, from his father, about the year 1390. which property remained in the possession of his family by right of occupancy, feu, or wadset, until the 1st of April 1760. Gregor was married to his cousin, by whom he had eleven sons, and several daughters, he was succeeded by his eldest son.

“II. John MacGregor who fought the MacKays in Glenlyon with such personal courage and success as acquired him the proud distinction of ‘Ian dubh-nan-Lann’ ‘Black John of the spears.’ [6]   He and the Laird of Garth afterwards fought the powerful [page 114} Chief of the McIvers at Laggan-a-Chatha, and having obtained a complete victory, they shared their lands between them, by which John was enabled to take possession of Carnban Castle, [7]   where he resided for many years. He married Margaret, daughter to Luke Stirling of Keir and widow of Campbell of Glenurchy, by whom he had six sons, and a daughter, but all of these having died before himself he left the greater part of his lands to a son of his wife by her former Husband. The remaining part he left to his brother Duncan with the superiority of the whole, by which he was enabled to raise the men of Glenlyon, in time of war, by a tune of the bagpipe, a privilege, which in those days was considered a greater honour, than the possession of lands. He died aged ninety nine years.”

Mention is made in the book of the “Stirlings of Keir” that Lukas of Strevelyn, the first acquirer of Keir, who died in 1452, had one daughter, Margaret, married to Sir Colin Campbell, but nothing is said of a second marriage.

Here follows from Colonel Hugh MacGregor’s narrative the traditional account of how Ian-dubh-nan-Lann disposed of his lands to his step-son :-
“Ian Dubh was proprietor of the whole north side of Glenlyon, as well as of Roro, and resided much in the vicinity of the Kirkton of Fortingall, where the ruins of Baile-mor mhic-Gregair, is still pointed out on the east side of the Burn called Aldour below the publick road.

“He is said to have had six sons and a stepson, whose name was Campbell. It seems that while he meditated on getting his right to the lands which he possessed confirmed by a Charter, he had employed his stepson who was considerably older than any of his own sons to get it executed for him. It was no easy matter in those days. Before setting out upon his important embassy Campbell obtained his stepfather’s permission to insert his own name in the Deed, as next heir, failing that of MacGregor. John calculating on the improbability of all his six sons dying without heirs, unhesitatingly gave Campbell his full consent to insert his name as required. Owing to what fatality is not known the said John and his sons died without heirs. The last of the sons while hunting in the Braes of Glenlyon was overnight at a hunting seat called Lub-Sheas-Garnich, where he lay upon a bed of rushes covered with his plaid, and it is said that whilst turning over upon his bed, a stump of rushes penetrated into his stomach, and killed him on the spot. [page 115}
In consequence of which his maternal Brother Campbell succeeded to the whole north side of Glenlyon which his family have enjoyed ever since.” [8]  

A very picturesque account of the same tradition is given in “The Lairds of Glenlyon.” The writer gives the date as the end of the reign of David Bruce and in regard to Ian dubh’s marriage says :-
“From some domestic feud in the family of the Knight of Loch Awe his widowed daughter-in-law and her infant son, were forced to abandon their native Halls and flee for refuge to Glenlyon. Black John [9]   married the widow, and by her had a family of seven sons. The young Campbell his ‘dalta’ was carefully nurtured.

A tale is next told of a victory over the Chisholm who had made a raid into Glenlyon, and a relation of the circumstances under which the “dalta” succeeded to the lands, which agrees with the foregoing, continuing afterwards.

“The name of the first laird of the family of Campbell was Archibald. We have reason to believe he was not John Dubh’s dalta, but the dalta’s heir. He lived during the first part of the 16th century. He was a wise man and fully conciliated the people to whose rule he had succeeded. The MacGregors of Roro, who appear in some way to have been closely connected with the family of Ian Dubh did not dispute his rights, they received him as the heir of the Chieftain, a kindness afterwards well repaid by the Campbells of Glenlyon.”

Colonel Hugh’s Memoir continued :-
“III. Duncan MacGregor of Roro, likewise styled Baron of Glenduibhe now Glenlyon, Brother of ‘Ian-dubh-nan-Lann’ He married Elisabeth daughter to the Laird of McNaughton of Dun-da-ramh, by whom he had seven sons all of whom were married and had children and several daughters.”

Another traditional account appears among Sir John MacGregor Murray’s papers, which at all events gives an interesting view of the adventures of the time.

“Traditional notes taken down from 15. October 1814, from the recital of John MacGregor from Ruadhsruthmore:-
[page 116}
“The first [10]   person of the name of MacGregor who settled in Ruora was John the Tanister, or second son of MacGregor of Breachdsliabh who was a very handsome man. A daughter of MacNaughtan of Strath Tay fell in love with him.

“Macnaughtan is said to have possessed at a remote period the tract of country between the Cross of MacDuff near Perth and Tigh an Druim, excepting some properties which held of him, of which that of MacNab of MacNab is said to have been one.

“MacNaughtan had seven Farms in Glenlyon which he used as grazings in summer. When the young lady declared her partiality for John MacGregor he told her that he had not the means of supporting a Family as he was not his father’s eldest son. In consequence of this remark the Lady proposed that they should take possession of the said lands in Glenlyon which her father used for rearing cattle. They were privately married and proceeded to Glenlyon and settled at Ruarumore one of the said farms. MacNaughtan was highly offended and vowed that he would put his son-in-law to death.

“In the mean time Robert the Bruce came to that country and in consequence of the Battle of Dalrigh MacNaughtan and MacNab lost their Lands. MacNaughtan took refuge at Dundrave near Inverary where he built a place of strength. After the lapse of some years he determined to fulfill his vow against his son-in-law.

“In the interim the son-in-law conciliated the Inhabitants of Glenlyon and its vicinity by his bravery and heading them occasionally in resisting the depredations of various tribes who wished to plunder the country.

“MacNaughtan having assembled threescore chosen men set out on his enterprise to put his son-in-law to death. Some of his party who secretly disapproved of this intention, sent notice of it to MacGregor of Breacdsliabh in Glenurchay, who apprised his son of the circumstance stating the route the MacNaughtans were to take. On receipt of this intelligence Ruara told some of his friends and neighbours what was in agitation, and proposed to abscond till the danger was over. The inhabitants answered that they owed him many a day for the manly protection that he had afforded them by his prowess and guidance. That he must not abscond but allow them to select threescore men to meet MacNaughtan man to man. This advice was adopted and MacGregor with his party set off to Innermheiran at the west end of Glenlyon, where he put his men in ambush at the east side of a rising ground, and went forward himself very much against the inclination of his followers, but he assured them that neither MacNaughtan nor any of his followers could know him as none of them had ever seen him. He had not proceeded far when he met the advance of MacNaughtan’s party, with whom he entered into conversation in the course of which they told him that [page 117} none of them had ever been in that country before. He observed that they appeared like a party bent upon some hostile expedition, and added that if it were not an improper question he would be glad to know to what place they were proceeding. The answer was that as none of them had ever been in these parts before, they did not know how far they were going, but that they knew the object of the expedition and asked if he was of that country, as in that case he might be of great use to them as a guide if he would undertake to be so. He replied that he was perfectly acquainted with the country but that his undertaking to be their guide would depend upon the nature of the service they had in view. They answered that they were accompanying MacNaughtan to put to death a person of the name of MacGregor who had run away with his daughter and that they were sure that MacNaughtan would give him a handsome reward if he would be their guide. John MacGregor acknowledged that he knew this man they were in search of; that he was a fierce and formidable man who would not be easily overcome, and certainly not without bloodshed but they asserted that if they could find him they would accomplish MacNaughtan’s object, He then asked where MacNaughtan was and was informed that he was coming up on horseback. When he came up he was informed that this man (Ruara) was well acquainted with the country and knew his son-in-law and he would guide them to him. Upon hearing this MacNaughtan promised that if he would guide the party to the place where his son-in-law resided he would give him the seven farms possessed by his son-in-law. This induced MacGregor to say that he would certainly show them the man they were in quest of, but that he would not undertake to seize him. MacNaughtan was satisfied and the party proceeded towards the place where Ruara’s men were posted. MacNaughtan having dismounted marched with the guide a little in advance of his party. In their route they came to a broad ditch in a swamp called Stair-caillach over which the guide leaped, but MacNaughtan was obliged, to make a circuit before he could reach the spot where the guide was. When the party came up they were astonished at the leap which the guide had made. Some of them attempted it but fell short and up to the armpits in mire, and so with difficulty got out and not a man of them could clear the ditch. They were under the necessity therefore of going round, but were pleased with the idea, that if they could meet the person they were in search of, the guide was so powerful a man that he alone would master him.

“Whilst the party was separated from MacNaughtan and the guide the latter put his hand into that of MacNaughtan, saying ‘Now Sir you have by the hand the man you seek.’ ‘What are you the man ?’ said MacNaughtan. ‘I am,’ was the answer. MacNaughton then called to his people to come for he had seized the man they wanted. Ruara upon this said, ‘If that is the case Sir I shall make sure of you and my men who are at hand (and started up upon being called by MacGregor) will watch yours and perhaps prevent any of them from returning to tell the news and at all rules you shall fall with me.’ MacNaughtan was pleased at finding that his son-in-law was [page 118} at the head of a body of people, and himself so fine a fellow and solemnly promised perpetual friendship saying that their people should in future be as one. The parties feasted on the ground which they respectively occupied without mixing and MacGregor remained in quiet possession of Ruara and other farms viz Balnacraig, Ruadhrashruth-gearr, Balmeanach, Balchannait, Batlamtull, Ruadhsruthmore and Inverinan now rented at about Ł1200.

“At one period the whole of Glenlyon belonged to Ian dubh nan Lainn, There were nine Lairds of the name of MacGregor in that quarter of the country. Two battles. were fought.

“The Clan vic Iver formerly in Glenlyon quarreled with MacDiarmid, MacIver struck MacDiarmid who complained to Stewart of Gart his foster brother. MacDiarmid was murdered. “IV. Gregor MacGregor of Roro (Duncan’s eldest son) succeeded and married the daughter of the Laird of Weem, by whom he had issue several sons of whom was Patrick who got possession of Dunan in 1480 and Duncan who got Lerigan about the same time.” [11]  

“The Obituary has the following entries, which partly correspond with the traditionary generations :-

“1477. Feb. 17. Death of Duncan Beg MacGregor at Roro.

“1491. March 10. Death of John Duncanson MacGregor at Bellicht (Balloch). He was buried in Inchadin in the north side of the Great Altar.

“1493. August 14. Death of Catherine Cardny, daughter of the Laird of Foss, and widow of the late John Duncanson MacGregor. She was buried in the Church of Dull, before the step of the Great Altar.

“1494. July 24. Death of Terloch Keir [12]   son of Duncan MacGregor. He was buried at Dysart.

“1503. Death of Gregor Duncanbegson at Morinch.

“1510. Nov. 28. Death of Gregor Patrickson at Innerchattan.

“1511. June 5. Death of Gilbert Duncanson at Roro Vicar of Kilmartin.”

[page 119}
The annexed Table [Not included here] has been drawn out to show the earliest authentic notices of MacGregor of Roro. The two recorded sons of Ian Cham are placed at the head, and a third brother, Duncan, is added according to the conjecture of Mr. MacGregor Stirling. But it may be clearly seen that one generation in addition, at least, is required between an ancestor who died about 1415 and one who died in 1515, and this is a sufficient reason for rejecting the conjecture that Roro descended from a brother of Gregor Aulin and of John Dhu. The race were known as the “Slios Dhonche,” or Tribe of Duncan (whence Mac or Vic Condoquhy corrupted into “Vconche”), and a distinction is made in the Obituary between the sons of Duncan and the sons of Duncan Beg. It is very difficult to bring the traditionary account and the persons therein named to correspond with the ascertained facts; tradition is apt to be imperfect as to dates and to skip generations. We may safely conclude that the first named Gregor of Roro in family history was Gregor Duncanson who died in 1515, but the “Baronage,” supposes him to be a son of Gregor Aulin whereas to match the dates he must have been his grandson, if his descendant, or otherwise his nephew. There is a difficulty in tracing Ian dhu nan Lann who, the traditional account states, was son and successor to Gregor. As this account also states that. John Dhu was succeeded by his brother Duncan, and as it is known from the Obituary that there was a Duncan at the time, Father of another generation at Roro, we may suppose that both John Dhu nan lann and this Duncan were brothers of Ewin, son of Gregor Duncanson who is known to have died at Roro in 1515, and who may have been a younger brother of the other two, as it is not stated that he was possessor of Roro.

[page 120}
Insert Roro Table

[page 121}
MACGREGOR OF BALHALDIES

This family are understood to be descended from the House of Roro. Their appellation in Gaelic is “Mac Ian mhallich,” or son of John with the Bushy eyebrows, and a traditional account of the origin of this name is given in a memoir by Lieutenant Alexander MacGregor, Innerhaddon, formerly of the Royal East Middlesex Militia. It is recounted that the daughter of a certain MacGregor of Ardeonaig on Loch Tay, on the murder of her father, by order of one of the Campbell Lairds of Glenurchy, became heiress of the property, and that to protect her rights she resolved to seek a husband. “With this view she set out for Roro to solicit the protection of one of his sons, and the first to whom she had made the proposal refused her suit, but she was not to be easily defeated, and turned to another half-grown lad saying that perhaps this ‘Fear-na-Maileach dubh’ (alluding to his black eyebrows) would take her, to which he consented, and to this circumstance his descendants owe the name of Malloch.”

The Obituary mentions :-
“1523. Feb : 9. Death of John Malloch McHustoune, at Tulliceamin, he was buried in Kilin.”

From this we gather that the immediate ancestor of the Mallochs was named Hugh.
Farther traces of this family will appear later.

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MACGREGOR OF LEARAGAN

The following is from a Memoir by Colonel Hugh MacGregor :-

“I. Duncan MacGregor, younger son of Gregor MacGregor of Roro (No.4) commonly called Donnacha dubh Liomhanach, from his having come from Glenlyon, got possession of Learagan, in Rannoch, from a tribe called Tavish, that resided there about the year 1480. His estate consisted of eleven merks of land, extending from Aldcheardie to the Clachghlas near the east end of Loch Rannoch. His brother Alexander went to Rannoch about the same time, and after a hard fought battle, with [page 122} a tribe called Clann- ‘il bhuidh (Stewart) defeated them and took possession in Dunan. His Estate consisted of the Twelve merks of land, by the west of the river Ericht, the middle division of Slismine, or north side of Loch Rannoch having been then, as well for several generations before the sons of Roro came to Rannoch, possessed by the MacGregors of Ardlaraich. The descendants of Donnacha-dubh liomhanach, occupied Learagan either as proprietors or as tenants, from the above mentioned period till 1792 when the present system of sheep farming caused their removal. Duncan married a daughter of McPherson of Noelmore, in Badenoch by whom he had several children and was succeeded by his eldest son Malcolm MacGregor called Callum Glas or the pale faced Malcolm.”

Different accounts agree that either Duncan or his son Malcolm was noted as a good sportsman, and one notice states that the lands were obtained from the Earl of Atholl, from satisfaction at MacGregor’s activity and address and at the swiftness of his dogs at a hunting which took place in the Glens of Atholl.

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MACGREGOR OF DUNAN

Lieutenant MacGregor, Innerhaddon’s, memoirs, contain the following account of this family :-
“I. Patrick, who first settled in Dunan in Rannoch and was founder of this family was the son of MacGregor of Roro in Glenlyon, who accepted his patrimony, from his father, consisting of a number of cattle, and a few men and set out to seek his fortune, as it was termed, about the year 1480. He happened to set out at a very fortunate time, for having proceeded only the length of the hill of Gar-Dunan, where he lodged all night with his cattle, a messenger, reached him early next morning from the camp of an adventurer who had lodged all night upon the opposite side of Loch Lydon, to try his hospitality : and upon learning where they were, he sent their commander a fat cow. Their commander seemed much astonished at so unusual a gift, and asked who it was that had sent it, they could not tell, and consequently sent back to enquire. The two leaders met and having communicated their views to each other, MacGregor learned that he, who he had entertained, was the son of the Laird of Appin (in Argyleshire) and the head of a party of men intending to take revenge upon the inhabitants of the Braes of Rannoch, called Clann Ian Bhuidhe, and the Clan Ian Maileaich, who had but recently offered an affront to the Laird of Appin’s men who were passing by. They then agreed to join issue, and that when they had rooted out [page 123} the inhabitants, they would divide the conquered lands between them. They proceeded, and succeeded in conquering from the west as far as Errocht on the north side of the Loch, and as far as West Camghouran on the south side. MacGregor took possession of his own part, and returned to his own country. Upon the next succeeding Sabbath, each with his party proceeded to the parish Church of Killiechonnan, which, when they were about to enter, a dispute arose about which should enter first, MacGregor or Stewart’s representative, when both drew their swords and MacGregor slew his opponent. Word was immediately dispatched to Stewart to inform him of what had happened, to which he replied, ‘that if he were there in person, there might be some cause for disputing MacGregor’s precedence, but that he had never authorised his servant to dispute it for him; that the fellow only met with what he deserved, adding that as they could not agree together, MacGregor might enjoy the whole of it for him; which was the case, and MacGregor shortly sent, and settled one of his brothers in Learagan, from whom that family are descended and another at Learan from whom Clann-macGael Callum, are descended.”

Reflections may, of course, be made as to the lawlessness and turbulence of these proceedings, but those were the times when physical courage and strength of arm, with some address in taking advantage of opportunities, were the only qualities much esteemed, and they knew no other means of gaining a livelihood. Traditions of a similar kind were very graphically told by many in the Highlands up until a few years ago, having been transmitted down by word of mouth with the full intention of neither adding nor taking away from them, although some deviations must have been unavoidable.

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MACGREGOR OF ARDLARICH

This family is descended from the House of Glenstrae, of which it is believed to be the next representative, failing the direct heirs, but it is supposed that none of the male line of Ardlarich remain in Scotland, and all trace of those abroad are lost. [13]  

In the Obituary the death is recorded on the 31st July 1526 of Gregor son of John MacGregor, alias McEwine McAllaster of Glenstrae, as has [page 124} been noticed at the end of Chapter V, page 54. Mr. MacGregor Stirling, from a comparison of dates, makes out that this Gregor left a son Allaster, father of Archibald Dhu McCondachie VcAllaster in Ardlarich, mentioned under this name many years later, as will appear in the sequel. A Memoir from Lieutenant Alexander’s papers only begins with a Gillespie (Archibald) Ruadh in the sixteenth century.

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MACGREGOR OF GLENGYLE.

The Ancestor of this House is universally supposed to have been the fifth son of Gregor Aulin named Dougal, and that from some remarkable colouring of hair or eyes he was distinguished as Dougal Ciar, which word in Gaelic means dusky, dark brown, or dark grey, and which name became the designation of a very powerful and stirring tribe.

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Besides these Perthshire Families, others settled in Aberdeenshire and elsewhere. An old MS. relates very circumstantially a settlement of the Clan in Braemar at Little Inverey, giving the date as far back as 1403, which is certainly too early.

The Gregories of Kinairdie trace their descent from a son of Roro who went to the Boyne in 1500, and married a daughter of the Laird of Finlater, by whom he had a son James surnamed Gregor, who became Chamberlain to Finlater at Woodland, in the parish of Udney. He married Agnes More, sister to William More of Ferryhill, and died in 1584.

These brief notices of the origin of the different families are merely given at this place to explain the names which occur in the histories of the subsequent times, and serve as a guide to the identification of some of the individuals mentioned. It is intended to give as full genealogical accounts as possible later on.

Before resuming the general history, an anecdote of one of the ancient Chiefs may be related, which, amidst the sterner features of the times, [page 125} shows that the virtue of hospitality and good faith shone brightly. The following version of this anecdote, which is now well known, was communicated to Sir John MacGregor Murray by the Rev. Dr. Joseph MacIntyre, Minister of Killin in 1800 :-

“The Chief was at that time residing on his freehold in Glenorchy : His son had gone in the shooting season, with a party of young associates, to the Moors in the Braes of the country : they met with a young gentleman, of the name of Lamont from Cowal, who attended by a servant was going to Fort William. They all went to the kind of inn that was in the place, and took a refreshment together; in the course of which at the close of the day a trifling dispute arose betwixt Lamont and young MacGregor. Dirks were drawn, and before Friends could interfere, MacGregor fell wounded, and soon expired beside the table. In the confusion Lamont escaped, and though pursued, under the cover of night got securely to the House of MacGregor, the first habitation that met him by the dawn of the morning. The Chieftain had got up and was standing at the door, ‘Save my life’ said the stranger ‘for Men are in pursuit of me to take it away.’ ‘Who ever you are’ says MacGregor ‘Here you are safe.’ Lamont was but just brought to an inner apartment and introduced to the family, when a loud enquiry was made at the door if any stranger had entered the house. ‘He has’ says MacGregor ‘And what is your business with him?’ ‘In a scuffle'’ cried all the pursuers, ‘He has killed your son, deliver him up, that we may instantly revenge the deed.’ MacGregor’s lady and his two daughters filled the house with their cries and lamentations, ‘Be quiet’ says the Chief, with his eyes streaming with tears, ‘and let no man presume to touch the youth- for he has MacGregor’s word and honour for his safety and as God lives, he shall be safe and secure whilst in my house.’ In a little, after every kind treatment of Lamont he accompanied him with twelve men under arms to Inveraray saw him in safety on the other side of Lochfyne took him by the hand and thus addressed him, ‘Lamont, now you are safe : no longer can I, or will I, protect you; keep out of the way of my Clan. May God forgive and bless you.’ This happened some short time before the severe act of proscription against the Clan in the year 1633 [14]   when to the discredit of Justice a weak government sacrificed a whole people for the atrocities of a few. MacGregor lost his property, and was hunted for his life by this iniquitous act : He took shelter in the house of this very Lamont, noted for his urbanity and his known contrition for the misfortune of his younger years, and by every act of kindness to his venerable guest and some branches of his family in some measure revered the providence that had thus put it in his power to repay to the family in some measure the loss he had occasioned them by the death of a son.”

[1] Genealogical Table of Greirson of Lag - printed for private circulation.

[2] On this ground the Greirsons are not admitted as Members of the ClanGregor Society.

[3] “Chiefs of Colquhoun,” Vol. ii., page 324.

[4] Vol 1., page 110-111. volume 1 chapter 11

[5] See Chapter VI. volume 1 chapter 6

[6] Allusion is made to this “John of the Spears,” “Chief of Glenlyon of the Blades,” in an early poem by Dougal MacGille glas in the Lismore collection - See Chapter VII.

[7] The castle of that name was not, however, built and so called till long afterwards. - Ed.

[8] Till 1806 when by the death of the last laird the property devolved on his great-nephew Francis Gordon of Troup

[9] In another part of the work Mr. Campbell assumes this Ian Dubh to have been identical with a John of Lorn, a MacDougall, and disputes his having been a MacGregor. His identity seems scarcely susceptible of proof.

[10] This does not agree with Colonel Hugh’s tradition, as he makes the third of the Ruora lairds the husband of a MacNaughton lady.

[11] The Memoir of Roro gives as the fifth in line another Gregor, stating that he married a daughter of Sir Colin Campbell by Lady Katherine Ruthven, and that he was beheaded on the stump of an old tree between Taymouth and Kenmore, but although popularly believed, it arises out of a confusion with Gregor nam Bassan Gheal, as will be seen farther on.

[12] It is not clear that Terloch Keir’s father, Duncan, belonged to Roro.

[13] The family claimed to be very ancient, and even to be the Chief. They were certainly early settled in Rannoch.

[14] The period must have been much earlier, if the Chief still lived in Glenurchay, and it must have been one of the earlier persecutions when he was hunted for his life.