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Amelia Volume 1 Chapter 19

Proclamation against the Clan Gregor

From the Register of the Privy Council:-

[page 221}
“1590. July 13th.
“The King & Councill understanding that the ClanGregor being for the maist pairt denunceit his Hienes rebellis and at the Horne for divers horribill crymes and offensis have of late ‘convocate tham selffis togidder in greit cumpanyis, and associat and drawin onto thame the broken men of sindry cuntreis, quha at thair pleasour hes maist cruellie and treassonablie raist fyre, brynt, slayne, and hereit his hienes gude subjectis, reft and takin thair gudis, and utherwayis opprest thame in sic sort as thair landis and boundis ar altogedder laid waist, and sindry baronis, gentilmen and utheris compellit to leif thar housis, to thair utter wrak, and greit contempt of his Majestie, and his authoritie and hurt of the commonweil of theis realme, uttering herewithall a disdayne as it wer to his Majestie and all that professis his obediance, be countefaitting of his princelie power, making of unlauchfull vowes, gevand proude and disdainfull specheis, and using of sindry uther tressonabill and extraordinar deidis in maist barbarous and ethnick manner, as thair wer nayther God nor man to controll and repres this thair contemptuous and insolent forme of doeing ;’ and his Majestie having ‘eftir consultation and theiranent with certain nobil men, baronis and utheris inhabitants of the cuntreis maist ewest to the saidis rebellis,’ and with advice of his council ‘thocht meit and concludit that the same rebellis, thair resettaries, assistaris and partakeris salbe persewit with fyre and sword and all kind of extremitie, ay and Quhill they be reduceit’ to that effect full power and commissioun of justiciary has been given to Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy ‘to do exerce and use that in the premississand for executioun thairof is necessarilie requirit to be dune’ with full indemnity for him and his auxilliaries in such proceedings. But ‘because it is understood to his Majestie that thair is sum bandis of mantenance and freindschip standing betuix the said Sir Duncane Campbell and sum of the principallas of the said [page 222} Clangregour, as alsua betuix thame and sindry utheris nobilmen baronis and gentilmen of the cuntre, quhilkis gif thay salbe sufferit to stane and have effect may grietlie hurt and prejudidige the execution of this present commission,’ the present act discharges all the said bandis, and ordains the said Sir Duncane not to band with the said rebellis in time cuming. Proclamation hereof is to be made at the market crosses and all the lieges within the said boundis and especiallie Johne Earl of Montrois Johne Earl of Menteith, Johne Murray of Tullibardin, George Buchannan of that Ilk Andro McFarlane of Arrochair, and the barons and gentilmen of sic pairtis of Ergyle as are maist ewest thar unto ‘are to assist the said Duncane in the execution of this present commission, under the penalty of being held as art and part with the rebels. Further George Earl of Huntly, Arch: Earl of Ergyle, Johne Campbell of Cadder, James Campbell of Ardkinglas his curators, Johne Earl of Atholl, Lauchlane McIntoshe of Dunnaughtane, and Johne Grant of Freuchie are commanded to find sureties within 15 days after being charged, that they and each of them ‘sall concur, and fortifie and assist the said Sir Duncane’ also under the pain of being reputed art and part with the said Clan.”

From the “Chartulary” :-
“1590. Aug. 1. Decreet Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurquhay in virtue of his infeftment and Sasine against Alexander Roy MacGregor (Allester MacGregor of Glenstray) Donald MacIntyre and John Mcapersone (MacPherson) occupiers of Stronmelochan, Patrick MacGregor VcDonald occupier of Tullich, John dhu MacGregor and Neill MacGregor his brother, occupiers of Dowletter, Patrick MacGregor occupier of Castellan, and Patrick Oure MacGregor occupier of Derdoniche : Defenders decerned in absence to flit and remove.” - Gen. Reg. Decreets of the Court of Session. Vol. cxxv. fol. 216.

Allaster Roy MacGregor (VII.), eldest son of Gregor Roy nam Bassan Geal, by his wife a daughter of Campbell of Glenlyon, must have been very young at the time of his father’s death in 1570. Ewin MacGregor, “Tutour of Glenstray,” is frequently mentioned in public documents, and as late as 1581 he was given first place on the list; the distinctive title of Tutour was afterwards always attached to his name. Another surviving brother of Gregor Roy’s, often in the Records, was Duncan na Glen. Allaster McGregor VcDonache VcAllaster (who had one brother, John [1]   [page 223} dhu na Luarach, coat of mail,) appears to have been one of the best and most capable leaders the Clan ever had; brave in action and generously willing to share every peril of his people, he was truly an ideal Chief. the action he felt compelled to take in accepting the responsibility for the Drummondernoch murder proved, however, very unfortunate for the Clan, raising the whole power of even the least vindictive landlords against the MacGregors, and forming the ground of very severe enactments which speedily followed.

From the Register of the Privy Council :-
“1590. August 24. “Caution by Johne Grant of Freuchy as principal, and Patrik of Rothiemurchus, as surety for him, that he will fortify and assist Sir Duncane Campbell of Glenurquhy in the execution of his commission for the pursuit of the ClanGregor rising with his whole force for pursuit.

“1590. August 29th. “ Duncan McPhatrick Mculcheir [2]   in Innerand, John Mculcheir there, relaxed from the horn for being art and part in the above crime on finding caution to appear before the Justice Clerk and his deputes. - Register of Hornings. Perth.

“1590. August 31st. “James Commendator of Inchaffray called to produce letters at the instance of the kin and friends of umqle : John Drummond of Drummanerinoch to take surety of Patrik Duncansoun MacGregor,
Gregor, Duncan, Donald, and Finla his sons,
Malcum MacCoulcheir,
Dougal his brother in Glengyle,
Gregor and Duncan McPhatrick MacCoulcheir,
William oure MacGregor,
William McEane MacConneil,
Alex : McPhatrik Roy Gregor McConnochie voir,
Duncan slaich MacGregor,
Gregor son to Allaster Scorach MacGregor,
Mcincoll alias Conoch Ion no MacGregor,
Gregor McEan VcConnochie,
John Dow MacGregor in Callander,
[page 224}
Gregor Cam MacGregor in Mavie, [3]  
Patrik his brother there,
Duncan MacGregor there
Duncan MacGregor under James Chisholm,
John Macgregor his brother there,
Patrik Murray,
Gregor McEan MacGregor capitan of Glenurquhar, and
John MacGregor VcNeill,
For the slaughter of said John Drummond.” - Record of High Court of Justiciary.

“1590. 2. Nov : Holyroodhouse.
“Complaint by Sir Duncane Campbell of Glenurquhy as follows : The execution of the commission granted to him for pursuit and punishment of the ClanGregor is greatly retarded by the reset of the said rebels at all times within the countries of Ergylle & Atholl ‘be the ouersicht allowance and permissioun of the curatoris of the Erll of Ergyle and of the speciall baronis and gentilmen of the cuntrey of Atholl quhairupoun the saidis Clangregor ar encourageit to committ all kynd of mischeiff and slachter upoun the said complainar and his friendis, assistaries, with him in the executioun of the said commissioun.’ There had been such reset of them in the country of Ergyle, where the were pursued by the complainer in July last ‘and now laitlie in the moneth of August they have shamfullee murdreist and slane ane man of the Laird of Laweris, three men of the Laird of Glenlyon, and ane boy of the said complenaries awne, besydis the barbarous hocheing of ky and oxen, soirning and wraking of the landis of Auchnafree, pertaining to the said Laird of Laweris. Eftir the quhilk murthour the said complenair haveing directit ane cumpany of his speciall friendis and utheris in the begynning of August last to the boundis of Rannoch, for apprehensioun of ane noumer of the said Clangregor denunceit rebellis and at the Horne the said ClanGregor being advertissit of thair cuming fled with thair wyffis, bairnis and guidis to the cuntrey of Athoill and to the place of Blair, being the said Erllis principal duelling quhair they wer noucht onlie reset by the baronis and gentilmen of the cuntry, bot the same baronis and gentilmen, assisted with 23 personis of the said ClanGregor maist cruellie invadit and persuit the said complaneris saidis friendis with all kynd of extremitie and assayit fortifeis, interteinis and sufferis the said ClanGregor to remane within the said cuntrey, quhairthrow the executioun of the said commissioun is altogidder frustrate.’ Charge had been duly given to underlie pain of Rebellion to Johne Stewart Neillsoun in the Foss, Johne Stewart McAndro there, George Leslie Bailie of Athole, Stewart of Bonscuid, Robert Stewart in Fascastell, [page 225} (Fincastle?), Alexander McIntoshe in Terreney, Duncan Robertson in Strowan, Robert Stewart McAndrew in Foss, Johne Stewart and Neil Stewart, Johne Stewart, McAndrewois son. Alexander Robertson apparent of Fascalyie, Johnne and Alexander Menziessis his brothers to appear personally and also to present the following rebels before the Council, that order may be taken with them according to the general band. viz Allaster Pudrach McGregor, Donald Dow McConoquhy McAllaster, Gregour McGregor in Roro, Johnne Dow his brother, Johnne Dow McConnaquhy VcAllaster, Malcallum McGillechallum VcWilliam, Johnne Dow McCallum VcWilliam alias MacGregouris and now not appearing ordained to be denounced.”

But a change came over the state of matters, and the astute Sir Duncan got apparently a hint to underlie the law himself.

On the 14th December of the same year, James Stewart of Stikkis became cautioner and surety for the Atholl barons to compeir before the King’s Majesty and Lords of Secret Council. Accordingly :-
“1590. Dec. 17. “The which day Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy Knight as Principal and James Commendator of Inchaffray and John Campbell of Caddell as cautioners and sureties for him became acted and obliged conjunctly and severally that the said Sir Duncan for himself and all that he is bound to answer for by the laws and general Band shall keep the King’s peace; and in no ways invade pursue or oppress any of his Highness subjectis otherwise than by order of law and justice under the pain of 20,000 merks; and also that the said Sir Duncan shall make his men tenants and servants answerable to justice.”

“1590. Dec. 18th. “The which day the King’s Majesty with advice of the Lords of Secret Council grants and gives licence to Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy Knight to contract, Bond, enter in friendship and reconciliation of all bypast quarrels, deadly feuds controversies and debates standing between him and his friends, assisters and depeneders on the one part, and the surname of Clangregor their friends assisters and dependers on the other part, and to the effect that the said friendship and reconciliation may be the more perfect Grants and consents also that such persons as the said Sir Duncan has presently in his custody, retention or keeping being friends, assisters, and dependers uon the said ClanGregor be put to liberty and freedom and suffered to pass where they please &a &a, Dispensation to Glenurchy from any acts of Parliament or Secret Council in the contrary.”

[page 226}
“1590-1. Feb. 1st. & 2nd. “Contract betwixt Johne Erll of Montroise, Erll of Menteith, Lords Drummond and Livingstone, Campbells &a. on the one part and Allaster Roy McGregour of Glenstray &a, (among others Duncane Aberoche in Corroquharnick) on the other part registered in the commissary Books of Dunblane 12 Oct : 159- Parties are bound not to commit slaughter upon forthocht felony, upon others nor yet upon suddantie, nor theft &a to renounce their own jurisdictions and submit them to the jurisdiction of the said Commissariat.” - Register of Hornings, Perth.

“1591-2. Jan. 4th “James &a. Of our special grace and favour We have remitted to our lovites Allaster of Glenstray
John Dhu McGregor his brother
Duncan McGregor na Glen (his uncle vide page )
Allaster Pudrach MacGregor (from Balquhidder)
Allaster Galt MacGregor
Dougal Chay MacGregor (Chaithe ?)
Duncan his brother
Gregor Macconochy in Rora,
John dhu Macconnachy VcAllaster in Rannoch
Donald dhu his brother
John dhu McWilliam
Duncan MacAllaster VcAllaster in ferrye (Fernan)
Duncan bane McRob.
Gregor MacGregor in Craiginschathe
Patrick McGregor in Cadderling.
and all their friends kinsmen, servants, dependers, and partakers the cruel slaghter of umqle : John Drummond of Drummonderinoch committed by them in the month of 1589 and any other criminal actions committed by them against John Earl of Montrose, Patrick Lord Drummond, Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy Knight and James Commendator of Inchaffray, and their friends &a from the date of the said murder.”

It seems a curious illustration of the times that so dreadful a murder should have been so easily passed over within about fifteen months from the date of its committal, unless a doubt existed as to the real perpetrators of it.

All seemed now peaceable, but there could be no room for the old and new inhabitants of the land. A small dispute in the meantime, illustrates this.
[page 227}
“1591. May 10th. “Anent the actioun persewit be Colene Campbell Arbeyth againis Patrik Johnstoun alias McGreigor Patrik Amenocht and John Mcewin Anent the removing of them from the four merk land of Kingarth (The first and third of the defenders no appearing are decerned to remove). Patrik Amenocht appearing personally denied the competency of the Sheriff of Perth & depute Because that Duncan Paterson alias McGregor his guidsir Deit heritably Rentalit in the landis libellit to our souerane lord And the said Patrik as Air, at the leist aperand Air, to his said umquhile guidsir, as succeeding to him hes brukit the saidis landis thir diverss zeiris bygane And payit the few malles & Dewties to the comptrollers his collectouris, And therfour be the prevelege of the said rentall and daylie practis observit in faouris of all kyndlie possessouris of landis haulden of his Majestie & therefore newayis aucht to be removed, protesting the former being discussit to sy forder As he may of the laes and therupon askit actis.
“The pursuer answered that the first part of the pretended allegation ought to be repelled, as not specifying that the said Patrik Amenocht is dewlie infeft, and sesit, be rantale or otherwayes in the landis libellit nor of any part thereof nor that he is air to any of his predecessors, or hes geissin rycht proceeding from them, quha ver dewlie infeft & sesit, in the saidis landis nor any other sufficient titill to bruik the samyn. And as to the alledgit pretendit rentale gif ony wes grantit to his umqyhill guisir the samyn expyrit be his deceaiss. Attour the saidis landis wer lawfullie set in few ferme be our Souerane lordis Darest mother to umquhill Colin Campbell of Glenurquhie the said perseweris father fra quham the perseweris rycht proceidis, quha during his lyftime and sensyne the persewer be him self, his tenentis, and seruandis hes been in possessioun of the landis, to be setting and reseting therof. At the leist vptaking and ressauing of the mailles & dewties of the samyn fra the said Patrik Amenocht thir dierss & sundrie zeiris bygane quha throw is acknowledgit and allowit the persewer to be undoublet proprietor of the landis libellit. &a &a &a.
“After various continuations of the diet, the defender (Patrik Amenocht) is decerned to remove.” - Sheriff Books of Perth.

-------------------------------

MACGREGOR OF ARDINCONNALL.

We have alluded in Chapter XI. to MacGregor of Ardinconnal in Dumbartonshire, where the family were settled as early as 1429. But after bringing its history down to 1544, all subsequent notices about this house have been omitted, both to avoid still further complicating the [page 228} tangled thread of the General History, and also, with a view of now presenting the family in a consecutive manner, to serve as an introduction to the future troubles with the Colquhouns, which it has been stated had probably their origin in this outlying branch of the MacGregors, whose quarrels the Clan was of course bound to support.

From the “Chartulary” :-
“1545. July 27. The four merk land of Laggarie belonging in property to Patrik McGregour, and holding of the Earl of Lennox, and the 6 merk land of Ardinconnell, belonging to the Laird of Ardinconnell, are thus mentioned in a Charter of Queen Mary of the above, apprysing the Earl’s estates for the damage done in his late rebellion, to James Stewart of Cardonald.” “4. Jan. 1543-4. Reg. Mag. Sig. xxx 22. (By the laird of Ardinconnell is obviously meant the person to whom that property was assigned under redemption by MacGregor of Ardinconnell.)

“1559-60. Jan. 17. At Rossdhu ‘instrumentum pro Johanne procuratore et de nomine Patricii McGregor de Laggarie sui patris.’ Present Colin Campbell of Ardkinglass, James Colquhoun of Garscube ‘magistro’ John Wood, Robert Campbell of Craignow ‘domino’ Ninian Galt ‘capellano’ and Robert Colquhoun son of Malcolm. The said day Johnne procurator treulie constitute to Patrik McGregour of Laggarie his fader, past to the presence of Johnne Colquhoun of Luss, Patrik Colquhoun of Ardinconnel and of Umfra Colquhoun sonne and apparent air to ye said Patrik and wernit them all thre personallie apprehendit, to compeir at the parishe kirk of Dunbertane and yer upon the Altr: of Sanct Sebastiansis situat within ye same to reseiff fra ye said Patrik McGregor or his lawful procurator ye soume of 500 merks upon Whitsundaye next coming for lauchful redemption of ye VIII merk land of Ardinconnell in forme and tenor of ye reversion made yrupon.” - Record of the Burgh of Dunbarton.

“1561-2. Jan : 2 &. Summons before the Court of Session at the instance of Patrik McGregor of Legery for himself, and as sone and air to umquhill Patrik MacGregor of Legerie his fader againis Johnne Colquhoun of Luss and others, pretendit possessors of the VIII merk land of Erdinconnall, for resignation of the said lands in Makgregour’s favour as now redeemed by him. Delayed till 1. March.” - Reg. of Decreets of Court of Session.

“1563. March 16. John Colquhoun of Luss alleged that his father John Colquhoun of Luss, had had of Patrik MacGregor of Legerie and infeftment in the lands of Ardinconnel ‘lang befor the dait of the said reversion’ New Term viz 10 May next assigned to MacGregor.

“1563. July 6. Colquhoun of Luss decerned to warrand, acquyet, and defend to [page 229} Patrik McGregour of Legarie the lands of Ardinconnell, in which Colquhoun’s Grandfather had been infeft by umqule Patrik McGregour under reversion of 400 merks. Nov. 29. Said Decreet suspendit by Colquhoun until principal action and cause of redemption depending before the Lords be first discussit and ane Decreet comdampnator or absolvitor given.

“1564. June 22. The lands of Ardinconnell decerned to be lawfully redeemed by Patrik McGregor of Lagary who had consigned 500 merks in the Church of Dumbarton, Colquhouns, Buchanan, and Donaldstoun having refusit the ressait thereof and culd not aggre yrupon.” - Decreets, Court of Session.

“1564. Sep. 8. Patrik Colquhoun of Ardinconnell, grants a receipt to Patrick McGregor of Lagarie for 500 merks in redemption of Ardinconnell, at the same time resigning these lands into the hands of John Colquhoun of Luss in favour of the said Patrik McGregor. Of the same date. Patrik Colquhoun protests that this resignation was made ‘be compulsion’ in obedience to a Decreet of the Lords of Council and it should not prejudice his claim of warrandice against John Colquhoun of Luss. Accordingly infeftment was given in Ardinconnal, on 6. Nov. following, to Patrik McGregor in liferent and to his son John in fee. Another son Archibald is witness.” - Record of the Burgh of Dumbarton.

“1573. Oct. 6. John, son of Patrik McGregour was retoured heir of his father Patrik McGregor in Ardinconnal.” - Retours in general Register House, Edinburgh.

“From the records of the Burgh of Dumbarton it appears that John MacGregor of Ardinconnall married Christian Denzelstoun and that he had three sons Alexander his sons and heir who appears in Record 1612. as Alexander Stewart of Lagary John, and Gregor. [4]  

“1575. June 25 John McGregor of ‘Ardounconzie’ (Ardinconnall) against Omphra Colquhoun of Ballermye. John McGregor is infeft in said lands lying in the parochin of Roseneth. Colquhun and other though warned, refused to leave ther 2 merk land of the wester half of the said lands of Ardincaonnall. Decerned to remove.” - Decreets of Court of Session.

“1578. John MacGregor of Ardinconnell entered into a contract with Humphrey Colquhoun of Ballermickmore, That his son and heir shall marry Marion daughter of the said Humphrey and that the said Humphrey’s eldest son John shall marry Janet daughter of the said John.” - Record of Dumbarton.

“1578. May 7. Decreet in favour of John MacGregor of Ardinconnal 25 June 1575. is suspended, Colquhoun of Ballermick and John Schearer having found security to remove.

[page 230}
“1580. Several Infeftments of annual rents this year to which John MacGregor, Christian Danzelstoun his spouse, and John ‘puer’ are parties.” - Dumbarton.

“1581. April 11. Mald Neikgregour, sister of John MacGregor of Laggarie married John Denzelstoun brother of Robert Denzelstoun in Tullichewin Her tocher was 100 lib. and 100 merks.” - Paper in possession of Dennistoune of Colgrain.

“1585. May 1. The double contract of intended marriages between the children of John MacGregor and Ballermickmore discharged by consent of parties.” - Record of the Burgh of Dumbarton.

“1590. Sep : 29. ‘Denunce Buquhannanis’
“Anent our Sovereign Lord’s Letters raised at the instance of Allan Macaulay of Durlyne, the Father, with the remnant kin and friends of umqle: Walter MacAulay, Duncan MacAulay son also to the said Allan, John dhu MacGregor in Ardinconnell, James Colquhoun son to Robert Colquhoun in Port, _______ MacAulay Servitor to Robert Colquhoun of Ballernie, John Miller younger in Drumfeing and ______ MacGibbon son to Malcolm MacGibbon in Port complaining of Thos : Buchannans in Blairlosk Sheriff depute of Dunbarton and a number of Buchanans &a &a for attacking the complainers on the 1st of August last in the Highway and Street of Dumbarton where they struck, hurt, and wounded the said Duncan MacAulay in his head through the harn (brain) pan therof, the said John dhu MacGregor behind his shoulderblade, wherethro his lights and entrails might be seen, the said James Colquhoun in his wamb, the said ______MacAulay in his shoulder, the said John Miller in his right (?) and has mutilated him thereof, and the said ______ MacGibbon in his head and slew the said Walter MacAulay. Defenders not appearing are put to the Horn.” - Record of Secret Council.

“1590. Oct : 6th At Edinburgh.
“Intran Thos : Buchanan of Blairlosk, John Buchanan his son, John Buchanan Burgess of Dumbartan, Duncan Buchanan of Bracherne, Will : Buchanan in Boccurish, Walter Buchanan his brother, Walter Buchanan in Bollatt, Mungo Buchanan in Tullichewen, Andro McArthoure in Kirkmichell, John Buchanan in Drumfad. John Buchanan in Auchmedin, & James Buchanan in Fenqick, charged with the slaughter of umqle Walter MacAulay sone to Allane MacAulay of Dowarlin. Sir George Buchanan of that ilk, Thos : Buchanan of Drummakill and John Stirling of Gloratt became caution for the accused that they shall appear before the Justice or his deputes at Edinburgh the 21st of Dec : next to underlie the law for the said slaughter.” - Record of High Court of Justiciary.

“1590-1. March 1st. (To which day the case had been deferred.)
[page 231}
“Trial in the High Court of Justiciary of the alleged slayers of Walter McAllay sone to Allane Mccaley of Dowarlin and certain Buchanans beforenamed. The cautioners are fined for not having produced Blairlosk and Bracherne, The pursuers asserted that the deceased was killed by a shot; and that a pistol was fired by Bracherne.”

“1591. May 27. Band of manrent. MacGregor and MacAulay.

“Be it known to all men by these present letters, Us Alexander MacGregor of Glenstray on the one part and Aulay MacAulay of Ardincaple on the other part, understanding ourselves and our name to be MacAlpins of Old and to be our just and true surname whereof we are all come, and the said Alexander to be the eldest brother and his predecessors for the which cause I the said Alexander, taking burden upon me for my surname and friends, to fortify maintain and assist the said Aulay MacAulay his kin and friends in all their honest actions against whatsoever person or persons the Kings Majesty being only excepted. And siclike I the said Aulay MacAulay of Ardincaple taking burden upon me my kin and friends to fortify assist and partake with the said Alexander and his friends, as come of his house, to the utmost of our power against whatsoever person or persons the Kings Majesty being only excepted. And further when or what time it shall happen the said Alexander to have a wighty or hinest cause requisite to have the advice of his kinsmen, and special friends, come of his house, I the said Aulay as branch of his house shall be ready to come where it shall happen him to have to do, to give counsel and assistance after my power and silike I the said Alexander Bind and oblige myself when it shall happen the said Aulay to have to do, if it is reuisite to have the counsell and assistance of the said Alexander and his friends, that he shall be ready to assist the said Aulay and come to him where it shall happen him to have to do, as coming of his house; Providing always that the said Alexander and his predecessors be the eldest brother, the said Aulay is to have his own liberty of the name of MacAulay as Chief, and to uplift his Calpe as before, And the said Aulay grants him to give to the said Alexander a Calpe at his decease in sign and token, he doing therefore as becomes the principal of his house. And we the said parties Bind and oblige ourselves each to the other by the faith and truth in our bodies and under the pain of perjury and defamation, at Ardincaple the 27. day of May the year of Godd 1591. before these witnesses
Duncan Campbell of Ardentinny
Alexander MacGregour of Ballemenoch
Duncan Tosach of Pittenne
Matthew MacAulay of Stuck
[page 232}
Aulay MacAulay in Durlyne
Alexander McAulay sone to the said Aulay
Duncan Bayne McRob (McGregour in Stuknaroy)
with utheris
Signed
Awlay McAwlay of Ardincapill
Alexander McGregour of Glenstre
Duncan Tosach of Pittene Witness
Matthew McAwley of Stuk witness
Alexander McAulay witness.”
Transumpt of Bond in General Register House

Abridged from the “Chartulary” :-
“1591. July 21st. Edinburgh. “Suspension William Buchanane in Bucreuch Makend mention That quhair throw occasioun of the late troubles, and variance which fell out betwix certain of the name of Buchanane and the Laird of Ardincaple his kyn and friends qyhair sum slaghter and spoilatioun of gudis hes chancit The said Laird hes consauit ane deidlie hatrend and malice aganis the said complenar, and hes sutit (sought?) and daylie seikis all indirect meanis to troubill him. And first the complainer having been found innocent before the Justice ‘the said Laird finding himself disappointit at that tyme of his intentioun he intendis now under the pretext and cullour of justice and of his Majesties powar and authoritie To sorne herey, and wrak the said complenars haill landis and possessiouns, And to mell and intromet with his gudis and geir’ &a ‘proceeding on this point by ane act of parliament (Nov 1581,) For executioun of the quhilk act the said Laird of Ardincapill’ &a ‘Bot alsua hes associat unto himself and brocht within the cuntrie the Lard Makgregour and ane greit noumer of his Clan all thevis broken men & soirnaris Be quhais assistance he intends now to put to executioun his preconsauet hatred and malice aganis the said complenar’ &a &a Thairfore it is naways equitable that he because he is of the name of Buchannane sould be burdynet or troublit for the misbehaviour of the broken me of the cuntrie &a.” (McAulay’s letters suspended till he shall produce them to the Council.)

1592. July. Sir Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss was besieged in his castle of Bunachrea by the Macfarlanes, when the castle was burning Sir Humphrey perished in the flames as it would seem. No mentioned is made in the “Chartulary” that any MacGregors were concerned in this [page 233} affair of which the facts are traced by two entries in the Records of the Privy Council several years later charging certain Macfarlanes with the crime. In the work, “ The Chiefs of Colquhoun,” to which reference has already been made [5]   , the following account of the event is given from traditions current in the Colquhoun country. But it must be remembered that amidst the complaints so freely made against the ClanGregor none on this subject are to be found in public Records.

After alluding to the recent band with Ardincaple Sir William Fraser continues :-
“From these connexions and alliances with the ClanGregor, it is easy to see how they might be brought into collision with the Colquhouns, and how the growing hatred between them might ripen into a standing feud. The Colquhouns were at enmity with the Earl of Argyll, as well as with the ClanGregor; and it was the uniform polity of the Earls of Argyll to have the MacGregors always about them in such force as to enable them at will to annoy their neighbours, and to take summary vengeance on their personal enemies. ‘That the Colquhouns and the MacGregors were in a manner constituted enemies to each other from the position in which the MacGregors were placed by these bonds and alliances, is confirmed by actual fact; for in the very next year after the bond is made between MacAulay of Ardincaple and the MacGregors the latter [6]   strengthened by the Macfarlanes, came into collision with the Colquhouns. In July 1592, a body of the Macfarlanes and the MacGregors descending from the mountains, committed extensive depredations upon the fertile lands of Luss, which were now ripening for the harvest. To repel the aggressors, Sir Humphrey collected together a number of his vassals, and was joined by several neighbouring landed proprietors. The hostile parties met, and a sanguinary conflict which lasted till nightfall ensued. Sir Humphrey’s assailants were more than a match for him and he was forced to retreat. He betook himself to his castle of Bannachra, a stronghold which had been erected by the Colquhouns at the foot of the northside of the hill of Bennibuie, at the south end of the parish of Luss. But here the Knight did not find the shelter he expected. A party of the Macfarlanes and Macgregors pursued him and laid siege to his castle. One of the servants who attended the Knight was of the same surname as himself. He had been tampered with by the assailants of his master and he treacherously made him their victim. The servant, while conducting his master to his room up a winding stair of the castle made him, by preconcert, a mark for the arrow of the clan who pursued him, by throwing the glare of a paper torch upon his person when opposite a loophole. This afforded a ready aim to the besiegers [page 234} whose best bowmen watched for the opportunity. A winged arrow from its string with a steady aim pierced the unhappy knight to the heart, and he fell dead on the spot. The fatal loophole is still pointed out but the stair, like its unfortunate Lord, has crumbled to dust.’ [7]  

“Traditions regarding these lawless proceedings still linger in the district around the ruins of Bannachra. The memory of the traitor servant is still held in odium, and his descendants are known to this day as the ‘Traitor Colquhouns.’ While it is plain how Sir Humphrey was assassinated, it is unknown by whose hand the deadly arrow was actually shot.

A contemporary chronicler in a work “Diary of Robert Birrell Burgess of Edinburgh” charges a younger brother with having been executed for murdering “the Laird of Lusse,” but there is no other evidence in support of it. Sir Humphrey was only 27 at the time of his death. He was himself “at the Horn” for non-appearance to answer for the slaughter of William Brisbane of Barnishill.

From the “Chartulary” :-
“1593 May 3. Exemption to the Lairds of Luss and Ardincaple, Anent our Sovereign Lords letters raised at the instance of Alexander Colquhound of Luss, and Alan (Aulay McAulay of Ardincaple evidently reconciled to Luss) making mentioned that where Robert Galbraith of Culcreugh by the special devise and Counsell of George Buchanan of that Ilk has lately purchased a commission of Justiciary from his Majesty for pursuit of the ClanGregor their resetters and assisters, with fire and sword . . . . which commission the said Robert has not purchased upon an intention to attempt anything against the ClanGregor but under collour thereof to extent their hatred against the said complainers, with all extremit and under pretence of searching and seeking of the MacGregors, to assiege their houses, &a. In consequence of this complaint Culcreuchs commission is taken from him.

“1593. May 8. Alexander Colquhoun of Luss besides finding caution conforme to the General Bond (i.e. Act of Parliament 1587) Binds himself and others not to intercommune with any of the name of Buchanan, MacGregor, or MacFarlane. Robert Galbraith eventually comes under a similar Bond on the 20 May.”

Without direct evidence against the Luss Tradition that the MacGregors were art and part with the Macfarlanes in the Raid of Bentoig, the above excerpts do not agree with the tone of rancour that might have been expected had there been a Blood Feud.



[1] From the traditional account of Gregor Roy’s wife having only one child at the time of her husband’s murder (see song believed to have been composed by her, page 161), it is supposed that the second son was posthumous.

[2] MacDougal Ciar

[3] “Mewie,” Duneira.

[4] See 1602 and 1619

[5] By the friendly permission of the author.

[6] No proof of this statement that the MacGregors were in this raid is adduced.

[7] Chief of Colquhoun, Vol. i., pages 157 and 158.