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Amelia Volume 1 Chapter 23


Battle of Glenfruin 1603

[page 279}
FROM the “Baronage,” continued from Chapter XVI. :-

“XVI. Alexander MacGregor of that Ilk, a man of determined and martial spirit. He fought the memorable battle of Glenfroon, against the Colquhouns, Buchannans, Greames, anno 1602.

“We have hereto subjoined a full account of this affair, faithfully translated from a Latin history of the family of Sutherland, written by Mr. Alexander Ross, Professor in the University of Aberdeen, anno 1631 : by which it plainly appears how grossly this unfortunate Clan have been represented and abused.” Although the differences are but slight, it may be better here to give the published version of Sir Robert Gordon’s history, [1]   which is very nearly similar. “Extract from the ‘Genealogical History of the Erldom of Sutherland from its origen to the year of God 1630.’' written by Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun, Baronet with a continuation to the year 1651. published from the Original Manuscript. Edinburgh 1818. Folio pages 244-247 :-

“In lent, the yeir of God 1602., ther happened a great tumult and combustion in the west of Scotland, betuein the Laird of Lus (Chieff of the surname of Colquhoun, and Alexander Mackgregor (Chieftane of the ClanGregar). Ther had ben formerlie some rancour among them, for divers mutuall harships and wrongs done on either syd; first by Luss his freinds, against some of the Clangregar, and then by John Mackgregar (the brother of the forsaid Alexander Mackregar) against the Laird of Luss, his dependers and tennents. And now Alexander McGregar (being accompanied with 200 [page 280} of his kin and friends) came from the Rannoch into the Lennox, to the Laird of Lus his owne bounds, with a resolution to tak away these dissensions and jarrs by the mediation of friends. In this meantyme the Laird of Luss doth assemble all his pertakers and dependers, with the Buchannans and others, to the number of 300 horsemen and 500 foot; intending that iff the issue of their meitting did not answer his expectation, he might inclose the enemies within his cuntrey, and so overthrow them. Bot the Clangregar being vpon their guard, it happened otherwise; for presentlie after that the meitting dissolued, the Laird of Luss, thinking to tak his enemies at vnawars, persued them hastylie and eagerlye at Glen-Freon. Mackgregar had his company pairted in tuo; the most pairt he led himselff, the rest he committed to the charge of and conduct of his brother John, who drew a compas about, and invaded the Laird of Luss his company when they least expected. The combat wes foughten with great courage; In end, the Clangregar prevailed, chased ther enemies, killed divers gentlemen, and some burgesses of the toun of Dumbarton, with 200 others and took divers prisoners. Of the Clangregar (which is almost a wonder) tuo onlie wes slain; John Mackgregar (the brother of Alexander) and another; but divers of them wer hurt.

“The report of this combat and victorie came to the king’s ears at Edinburgh, where elevin score bloodie shirts [2]   (of those that were slain in that skirmish) were presented to his Majesty, who wes therupon exceedingly incensed against the Clangregar, having none about the King to plead their cause, which proved hurtfull to them, almost to the rwyne of thet famelie and surname; for the King afterward caused proclaime them rebells, directed commissions and lettres of intercomuning against them, forbidding any of his leiges to harbor them. At last he, imployed the Earl of Argyle and the Campbells against them, who pursued them divers tymes; and at Bentoik [3]   where Robert Campbell (the Laird of Glen Vrquhie his sone) accompanied with some of the Clanchamron, Clanab, and Clanronald, to the number of tuo hundred chosen men, faught against thriescore of the Clangregar; in which conflict tuo, of the Clangregar wer slain, to witt, Duncan Aberigh (one of the Chieftanes) and his sone Duncan. Seaven gentlemen of the Campbells syd were killed ther, though they seemed to have the victorie. So after much slaughter, many skirmishes, and divers slights vsed against the Clangregar, in end they subdued them, by the death of many of them and ther followers, and no lesse (iff not farr greater) slaughter of the Campbells. Then commissions wer sent thorow the Kingdome, for fyning the recepters and harbourers of the Clangregar, and for punishing such as did intercommoun with them; all which fynes wer given by his Majesty to the Earle of Argyle, [page 281} and converted to his vse and benefit, as a recompense of that service.

“After many severall changes of fortune, Alexander Mackgregar rendered himselff to the Earle of Argyle, vpon condition that he wold suffer him to goe saiftie into England to King James, to let his Majesty know the true state of their bussines from the beginning; and in pledge of his returne agane to the Earle of Argyle, he gave him threttie of the cheifest men, and of best reputation among the Clangregar, to remain in Argyle his custodie till his return from England. Mackgregar wes no sooner at Bervick, vpon his journey to London bot, he wes brought back again to Edinburgh by the Earle of Argyle, and ther, by his meanes, execute, together with the thretty pledges befor mentioned; whereby he thought not onlie to pacefie all these broills, bot also to extinguish vtterlie the name of Clangregar; yit he wes deceaved, for now agane the Clangregar are come almost to their former vigor, and Argyle reaped small credet by this service.”

The notes in the “Baronage” may still serve as a comment on the foregoing.

“Though this account differs greatly from Mr. George Crawfurd’s history of the family of Colquhoun; yet whether that account written by an impartial author, within less than 30 years after the affair happened, when the whole transaction was fresh in everybody’s memory, or that written above 100 years thereafter, when many of the facts must have been forgotten, deserves most to be believed, is submitted to the judgment of our readers.”

Traditional account of one of the incidents which led to the Battle of Glenfruin :-

“Before Marshal Wade paved the way for carriers and stage-coaches, the Highlanders received all their little necessaries and luxuries through the hands of pedlars, who made regular visits to one or other of the large towns, and brought back in their packs the articles chiefly in demand at home. The pedlars as a class, were of great importance to the whole community, and Highland faith and hospitality guaranteed to them security and good reception wherever they went. Two pedlars of the McGregors of Dunan, in the Braes of Rannoch, were benighted while on the way home from Glasgow, on the property of Sir Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss. They asked hospitality which was refused. This churlishness was owing to the quarrels of the Colquhouns with their neighbours, the McGregors of Glengyle; but the Colquhouns in setting limits to the hospitality asked, so far violated the conventional and hereditary code of Highland morality, that the pedlars deemed themselves justified in taking what was refused. They kindled a fire in an unoccupied sheiling-House, and taking a wedder from the fold, killed it and feasted on its carcase.

[page 282}
Unluckily for them, the wedder was the most marked animal in the fold. It was black all but the tail, which was white. In the morning, the shepherds missed at once ‘Mult dubh an earbhail ghil’ - the black wedder with the white tail. The pedlars were at once suspected, pursued, captured, brought back, and hanged without delay. The McGregors could not tamely pass over such an affront. Alastair of Glenstrae Chief of the Clan with about 300 men left Rannoch in the beginning of the year 1602 and encamped on the Colquhoun Marches. He proposed an accommodation, on condition that the Colquhouns acknowledged their fault and made reparation to the friends of the deceased by paying the blood ‘eric.’ Sir Humphrey . . . . . . . scorned the offers of peace.” - From the “Lairds of Glenlyon,” pages 20-21.

The other side of the conflict now claims attention, and it will be easiest found in the “Chiefs of Colquhoun.” [4]  

First in point of chronology it may be well to take the following excerpt:-
“Among the Luss papers there are lists of articles stolen by the MacGregors from the Colquhouns in the year 1594, and in other years previous to 1600 and these lists show how much the Colquhouns had suffered from the MacGregors. But in 1602, the MacGregors made more formidable inroads into the lands of Luss, spreading consternation among the inhabitants. Complaints were made against them by the laird of Luss to King James, upon which his Majesty dispensing with the provisions of an Act of Parliament, forbidding the carrying of arms, granted permission to him and his tenants to wear various kinds of offensive weapons. The royal letter granting him this liberty is in the following terms:-
“‘Rex, “‘We vnderstanding that sindrie of the disorderit thevis and lymmares of the Clangregour, with utheris thair complices, dalie makis incursionis vpon, and within the boundis and landis pertening to Alexander Colquhoun of Luss, steillis, reiffis, and away takis, diuers great heirschippis fra him and his tenentis lykas they tak greater bauldnes to continew in thair said stouth and reaff, becaus they ar enarmit with all kynd of prohibite and forbidden wapynnis. Thairfoir and for the better defence of the Laird of Lus, and his saidis tennentis, guidis, and geir, fra the persute of the saidis thevis and broken men, to have gevin, and granted, and be the tennour heirof gevis, and grantis, licence, and libertie, to the said Alexander Colquhoun of Lus, his houshald men, and seruandis and sic as sall accompany him, not onlie to beir, weir, and schuitt with hagbuttis and pistolettis, in the following and persute of the saidis thevis, and lymmeris, quilk [page 283} is lauchtfull be the Act of Parliament, bot also to beir and weir the same hagbuittis and pistolettis in any pairt abone the water of Leaven, and at the said Lairdis place of Dunglas and lands of Colquhoun and, for the watcheing and keiping of thair awne guidis, without any crime, skaythe, pane, or danger to be incurrit be thame thairthrou, in thair personis, landis, or guidis, be any maner of way, in tyme cuming, notwithstanding any our actis statutis, or proclamationis maid in the contrair thairanent, and painis thairin contenit, we dispense be thir presentis. gevin vnder our signet and subsciuit with our hand, at Hamiltoun the first day of September, and of our reigne the xxxvi. zeir, 1602. JAMES R.”

“The right to carry arms thus granted to the Laird of Luss and his retainers, so far from inspiring the MacGregors with terror seems rather to have inflamed their resentment against the Colquhouns and proved, there is reason to fear, the immediate occasion of the disastrous conflict at Glenfinlas and Glenfruin which followed.

“The Laird of Luss made a complaint in Nov. 1602 if not earlier against the Earl of Argyle, as the King’s lieutenant in the bounds of the Clangregour, for permitting them and others to commit outrages upon him and his tenants. The Lord High Treasurer and the King’s Advocate had before 30. Nov. that year, prosecuted Argyll for certain alleged atrocities of that Clan, of which the only one specified is said to have been committed ‘on the lairds of Luss and Buchannan.’ Argyll and his sureties in the bond which as King’s lieutenant he had given to the government, not having appeared before the Council in obedience to the summons issued against them, were fined in terms of the bond; but he was assoilzied from the charge brought against him by Colquhoun, the latter having failed to prove it.

“The first of the raids referred to between the MacGregors and the Colquhouns took place on the 7. December 1602. at Glenfinlas a glen about two miles to the west of Rossdhu, and three to the north of Glenfruin, to which it runs parallel, namely in a north-westerly or a south-easterly direction.

“The raid was headed by Duncan Makewin Macgregour, tutour of Glenstray. [5]   Accompanied with about eighty persons to quote from a contemporary Luss paper, by way of oppressions and reif, he came to the dwelling houses and steadings of many tenants, broke up their doors, and not only took their whole inside plenishing out of their houses, but also took and reft from them three hundred cows, one hundred horses and mares, four hundred sheep, and four hundred goats. Among the tenants despoiled were John Maccaslane of Caldenoth and John Leich of Cullichippen, besides various tenants in Edintagert, Glenmacairne, Auchintullich, Finlas. Tomboy Midros &a.

[page 284}
The houses plundered amounted to forty-five (another Luss paper states ‘above fourscore’).

“Another of the Luss papers entitled ‘Memorandum for Duncan MacKinturnour, elder in Luss’ records that in the month of Dec. 1602 years, at the herschip of Glenfinlas, two months before the day of Glenfruin, Duncan Mackewin Macgregor and his accomplices to the number of fourscore persons most cruelly reft, spoilzeit and took away from the said Duncane Mackinturnour, forth of his xxs land of Glenmakearne, twenty-five cows, and thirty sheep, the property of the said Duncan.

“Various lists of the names of the accomplices of the Macgregors are preserved among the Luss papers. These accomplices were chiefly persons of the name of MacGregor, under the Earl of Argyll and also under the Lairds of Tullibardin, Strowan Robertson, &a. The resetters of the plundered articles were chiefly about Lochgoylhead, Stachur, Ardkinlas, and Appin.

“At the fray of Glenfinlas, besides the depredations committed two of the Colquhoun people were killed, one of them a household servant of the Laird of Colquhoun and the other a webster. Under the date of 12. Aug. 1603 Neill Macgregor was ‘delated and accused of being airt and pairt of the slauchter of umqle idle Patrik Layng and of vmquile John Reid wobster, servandis to the Laird of Luss committit in Dec. last and also of stealing.’

“Alexander Colquhoun of Luss as we have already seen, before this raid complained to the Privy Council, against the Earl of Argyll, for not repressing the ClanGregor. Having then failed to obtain any redress from the Council, he was advised by some of his friends after the conflict at Glenfinlas, to appear before the King, who was at Striling, to complain of the depradations and cruel murders committed by the MacGregors, and to give the greater effect to his complaint, to take along with him a number of women carrying the bloody shirts of their murdered or wounded husbands and sons. The idea of this tragical demonstration was suggested to him by Semple of Fulwood and William Stewart, Captain of Dumbarton Castle, as we learn from the following letter, written to him by Thomas Fallisdaill, burgess of Dumbarton, only a few days after the conflict :-

“Rycht honorable Sir, my dewtie with service remembrit, plas zour ma(stership) the Lard of Fullewod and the Capitane thinkis best zour ma : adres to zour self, wyth als mony bludie sarks, as ather ar deid, or hurt of zour men, togitter wyth als mony vemen, to present thame to his Maiestie in Stirling, and to zour ma : to be thair vpone Tysday nixt, for thai ar bayth to ryd thair vpone tysday, quha will assist zow at thair power. The meistest tyme is now becauss of the French Imbaissadour that is with his Maistie. The rest of thair opinioun, I sall cum wpe the morne, vpone zour ma: aduertiswent ….. Me Lord Duik is also in Stirling, quhome [page 285} the Laird of Fullvad and the Capitane wald fain zow agreit with presentlie, and lat actionis of law rest ower. Sua I end, committing zour ina : for ewer to the Lord. Dumbartane, this Sunday, the xix of dec. 1602.
“ ‘zour ma(stership) awen for ewer
“ ‘THOMAS FALLUSDAILL, Burges of Dunbertane.

“ ‘To the Rycht honorable Alexander Colquhoun of Luss, in haist, this vretting.’

“Thus advised, Alexander Colquhoun of Luss went on the 21. of the same month, to the King, at Stirling, accompanied by a number of females, the relatives of the parties who had been killed or wounded at Glenfinlas, each carrying the bloody shirt of her killed or wounded relative, to implore his Majesty to avenge the wrongs done to them. The scene produced a strong sensation in the mind of the King, who was extremely susceptible to the impression of tragic spectacles. His sympathy was excited towards the sufferers; and his resentment was roused against the Macgregors, on whom he vowed to take vengeance. As the speediest means of redress, he granted a commission of lieutenancy to Alexander Colquhoun of Luss, investing him with power to repress crimes of the description from which he had suffered, and to apprehend the perpetrators.

“This commission granted to their enemy, appears to have roused the lawless rage of the Macgregors, who rose in strong force to defy the Laird of Luss; and Glenfruin, with its disastrous and sanguinary defeat of the Colquhouns, and its ultimate terrible consequences to the victorious clan themselves was the result. Sir Robert Gordon, in his history of the Earls of Sutherland, mistakes the conflict of Glenfinlas [6]   for the more serious one of Glenfruin which took place shortly after . . . . Sir Walter Scott founding on this (Gordon’s) as his authority improves upon it by the addition of various circumstances which, however, are purely fictitious. ‘The widows of the slain,’ says he, ‘to the number of eleven score, in deep mourning, riding upon white palfreys, and each bearing her husband’s bloody shirt on a spear, appeared at Stirling, in presence of a monarch peculiarly accessible to such sights of fear and sorrow, to demand vengeance for the death of their husbands, upon those by whom they had been made desolate.’ The bloody shirt scene was after the raid at Glenfinlas, and as only a few (two) were killed on that occasion, though a great number might be wounded, Sir Robert Gordon and after him Sir Walter Scott, exaggerates what actually took place. The scene was not repeated after the more sanguinary conflict at Glenfruin, though then it would have been a spectacle much more impressive from the far greater number who were killed and wounded.

“It has been asserted by some writers that, in the beginning of the year 1603, the MacGregors and the Colquhouns made friendly propositions to hold a conference [page 286} with the view of terminating their animosities, while at the same time each determined should the result of a meeting be unsuccessful, to have recourse to instant measures of hostility. Sir Robert Gordon . . . . represents the matter more favourably for the Macgregors. (Here follows a short quotation from Sir Robert Gordon from the departure of Alexander Macgregor of Rannoch, the Laird of Luss persewing them at Glenfruin.) Sir Robert Gordon was contemporary, but he is here incorrect in various of his statements, as can be proved from authentic documents of the period. No evidence whatever exists of the conference referred to having been either held or intended. From the position of the two parties, it is hardly possible that any such conference could have been thought of, far less held. The Macgregors were more in the position of rebels, whilst Colquhoun was invested with a commission from the King to apprehend and punish them for their crimes and the whole circumstances of the case, so far from affording any ground to believe that, at the close of the alleged conference, the Laird of Luss treacherously attacked, the MacGregors, render it far more probable that he himself was entrapped by them while proceeding through the Glen in execution of his commission. [7]  

“That the Macgregors were, in the present instance, the aggressors is the conclusion, to which we are led from the statements made in the indictment of Allaster Macgregor, in which he was accused of having deliberately planned the destruction of the Colquhouns and their allies, the extirpation of their name, the plunder of their lands, and of having for the purpose of carrying out these plans, invaded Alexander Colquhoun’s lands with numerous armed men; all of which was proved against hint by a jury of most respectable gentlemen. [8]   Similar statements are contained in the indictments of others who were tried for the same crime, and in many acts and proclamations against the clan. If the correctness of the statement of the Government may be disputed, it is to be observed that its truthfulness is strongly confirmed by the declaration made by Allaster Macgregor before his execution.

“That some desperate attack upon the Colquhouns was at this time contemplated by the Macgregors appears to have been the feeling prevalent throughout the Lennox. The order issued by the town Council of Dumbarton, that the burgesses should be provided with armour, and be ready to present the same at the muster, plainly indicates the apprehensions entertained in that burgh, that danger was impending, and [page 287} that it was necessary to be prepared for resisting some dreaded foe, who was doubtless the ClanGregor. “1603. Jan. 8. It is ordained that all burgesses within the burgh be sufficientlie furnissit with armor, and that sik persones as the baillies and counsall think fitt sall be furnissit with hagbuttis, that they haif the samyn with the furnitear thaito, utheris quha sall be appointit, to haif jak, speir, and steilbonnat, that thay be furnissit with the samyn, and that the baillies and counsall on the xxi of this instant, mak ane cathelok of the saidis personis namis with thair armor, and thay be chargeit to haif the said armor redey, and to present thame with the samyn at muster and this to remaine in all tymes under the pane of ten pundis, the ane half to the baillie, the uthir to the use of the burgh. Item that ilk merchand or craftisman, keipand baith haif ane halbart within the samyn under the pane of five pundis. Item, that na burgess be maid heirefter without production of his armor at his creatioun, and that he sweir the samyn is his own.

“How well founded these apprehensions were was proved by the event. Allaster Macgregor of Glenstra, at the head of a large body of the ClanGregor, with the addition of a considerable number of confederates from the clans of Cameron and Anverich, armed with hagbuts, pistols, murrions, mailcoats, pow-aixes two-handed swords, bows, darlochs, and other weapons, advanced into the territory of Luss. At that time there was no turnpike on Lochlongside, the present Lochlong road having since been made, it is supposed by the Duke of Argyll, and therefore formerly called ‘The Duke’s road.’ There was however a tract or path of some kind along the side of Lochlong and this may have been the way by which the Macgregors came to Glenfruin. To repel the invader, the Laird of Luss hastily collected a considerable force of men, whom, under a royal commission, he had raised for the protection of the district, and for the punishment of the Macgregors.

“The parties encountered each other on the 7. of Feb. 1603. at Glenfruin, at a spot, according to tradition, situated upon the farm of Strone, or Auchengaich, near the sources of the Fruin. The name Glenfruin which means the ‘glen of sorrow’ well accords with the sanguinary scene which on this occasion it witnessed; but it did not from thence derive its name. In charters of the lands of Luss, of a date previous to the battle, mention is made of Frevne. It forms a verdant valley, of considerable length, some of it under cultivation with a deep loamy soil, nearly half a mile in breadth between hills barren of trees and shrubs, with the exception of here and there a thorn or mountain ash, but whose sides, especially to the north of the glen, are covered with beautiful green pasturage for sheep, instead of the brown heather of the olden times. The spot on which the bloody conflict took place is still pointed out by tradition, which preserves fresh the memory of what has rendered it so memorable, . . . . . What the numbers were on each side has not been exactly ascertained. The Macgregors [page 288} have been estimated by some at 300 foot; by others at 400, and there can be no doubt that this clan could without difficulty, muster at least that number, when they had some great purpose to accomplish such as their taking vengeance on their enemy the Laird of Luss would doubtless be accounted. The forces of Colquhoun of Luss have been also variously estimated, somme probably by exaggeration making them 300 horse and 500 foot. That he would succeed in raising in his own district including the town of Dumbarton, so large an army is extremely doubtful. The ground on which the conflict took place is very unfavourable, both for the horse and foot of the Colquhouns, especially the former. Surprise has been expressed that the Laird of Luss should have risked a conflict with the enemy in such a position, but having been entrapped [9]   he was placed in circumstances which gave him no choice. The Macgregors assembled in Glenfruin in two divisions, one of them at the head of the glen, and the other in ambuscade near the farm of Strone, at a hollow or ravine called the Crate. The Colquhouns came into Glenfruin from the Luss side, through the Glen of Auchengaich, which is opposite Strone, probably by Glen Luss and Glen Mackurin. Alexander Colquhoun pushed on his forces, in order to get through the Glen before encountering the Macgregors; but aware of his approach, Allaster Macgregor, the Captain of the Clan, also pushed forward one division of his forces, and entered at the head of the glen, in time to prevent his enemy from emerging from the upper end of the glen, whilst his brother, John Macgregor, with the division of his clan which lay in ambuscade by a detour, took the rear of the Colquhouns, which prevented their retreat down the glen without fighting their way through that section of the Macgregors who had got in their rear. The success of the stratagem by which the Colquhouns were thus placed between two fires seems to be the only way of accounting for the terrible slaughter of the Colquhouns and the much less loss of the Macgregors.

“Allaster Macgregor, at the head of his division furiously charged the Laird of Luss and his men. For a time the Colquhouns bravely maintained the contest. An old weaver, resident in Strome, who took part with the Colquhouns is said to have been one of the best fighters on that day. He is said to have killed with his own hand a good many of the Macgregors which confutes the story that they suffered so little at Glenfruin that though many of them were wounded, not more than two of them, during the whole battle were killed, which of course was impossible in such a conflict. But in the unfavourable circumstances in which they had to fight, the Colquhouns [page 289} soon became unable to maintain their ground, and falling into a moss at the farm of Auchengaich, they were thrown into disorder, and being now at the mercy of the Macgregors, who taking advantage of the confusion killed many of them, they made a hasty and disorderly retreat, which proved even more disastrous than the conflict; for they had to force their way through the men led by John Macgregor, whilst they were pursued behind by Allaster, who, reuniting the two divisions of his army continued the pursuit. But even in the flight these were instances of intrepidity on the part of the Colquhouns. One of them when pressed hard by some of the Macgregors as he fled from the scene of battle, on reaching the Coinach, a black, deep whirling pool or linn of the water of Finlas in Shantron Glen, with steep, almost perpendicular banks, on both sides, rising to a height of at least 120 feet above the pool at the bottom, where the rays of the sun never penetrate, and where the sky is scarcely ever visible overhead, by a desperate effort at once jumped the frightful chasm. None of the Macgregors ventured to follow him by making the perilous leap. The Colquhoun immediately turned round, drew an arrow from his quiver, and shot the nearest of his pursuers as he stood perplexed and baffled on the opposite brink, and then made his escape without further molestation. Whoever fell into the hands of the victors even defenceless women and children, were remorselessly put to death. The Chief of the Colquhouns was chased to the very door of the Castle of Rossdhu, whose loopholed walls, six feet in thickness, afforded a secure refuge; and his horse, while leaping over a fall or gully not far from Rossdhu, was killed under him by a Macgregor. The ruins of the castle are still to be seen near the present more modern mansion. In the flight the Laird of Bucklyvie was killed by the Macgregors at the farm of Ballemenoch or Middle Kilbride, at the eastern entrance of Glenfruin; and the small rivulet, which is a tributary to the Fruin, is called Buchlyvie’s Burn to this day from the Laird’s having been killed there.”

We deem it unnecessary to quote any passages from Chalmers “Caledonia,” because the same information is to be found elsewhere, and that author evinces throughout, what appears to be a personal spite against the Clan.

“From the Chartulary”:-
“Conflict of Glenfruin.
“1603. Feb. 18. In a summons by Alexander Colquhoun of Luss against Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy as cautioner for certain of the aggressors of Glenfruin, the following narrative of the battle occurs.

“Vpoun the aucht day of Feb. instant (the Clangregor) with thair disorderit complices thevis sornaris and lymnaries of thair clan, friendship and assistance, all bodin in feir of weir with halberchois, powaixis, twa handit suordis bowis and arrowis [page 290} and vtharis waponis invasive, and with hagbuttis and pistoletis prohibite to be worn be the lawis of our realme and actis of parliament come upon fair daylicht within the landis of the barony of Luss Kilbryde and Finnart pertening to the said complenaris freindis and tenantis thair wyfis and bairnis duelland vpon the saidis landis to the nowmer of sevinscoir personis or therby. and brunt and distroyit the said complenaris haill cornis wictuellis barnis and girnellis cattell and guidis being within the saidis houssis and herreit the saidis haill landis and reft and away tuke furth thirof sax hundreth heid of ky pryce of the pice overhead xx merkis ane thousand scheip price of the pice overheid I shillings ane thousand gait price of the pice xl shillings and hundred hors and meiris pryce of the pice our heid xxxlib. - Luss Col.”



[1] A MS. note in the Family Edition of Douglas’s “Baronage,” probably by Mr. MacGregor Stirling, adds Mr. Ross, who seems to have freely, and with some slight variations, translated into Latin Sir Robert Gordon of Gordanstoun’s “History of the Earldom of Sutherland,” written the year before, i.e. 1630.

[2] See further on. It appears to be conclusively shown that there were two conflicts between the MacGregors and Colquhouns, with an interval of two months between them, and it was after the first, called the Raid of Glenfinglas, that this incident took place. - Ed.

[3] See later, in 1611.

[4] Sir William Fraser, K.C.B. and D.C.L., the distinguished author of this valuable work, has given a very cordial assent to the Editor’s wish to take advantage of it for quotations.

[5] Ewin MacGregor, Tutour of Glenstray, died before 1601. After his death, Duncan McEwin, his third son, was sometime later styled the Tutor of Glenstray. - Ed.

[6] Sir William Fraser gives positive proof of the two separate conflicts and of the display of shirts taking place after the first of the two.

[7] The whole of the last paragraph is, of course, only a matter of conjecture on the part of the learned Baronet; but if Luss was proceeding down the Glen on the errand of capturing the MacGregors by armed force, could he be said to be entrapped when his victims turned the tables upon him ? It is very doubtful whether Glenstray was aware that the Laird of Luss had the King’s Commission. The gentlemen of the jury were undoubetdly highly respectable, but not all of them impartial. A list of them will be found in Chapter xxvi.

[8] The gentlemen of the jury were undoubetdly highly respectable, but not all of them impartial. A list of them will be found in Chapter xxvi.

[9] This word does not seem applicable to the conflict. Luss was in his own territory and, we are told, seeking the MacGregors to seize or otherwise punish them. Luss must have known every inch of the ground, and the whole of the country people must have been on his side and could act scouts for him. By a “Ruse de Geurre” and superior tactics, Glenstray’s force was divided into two divisions, and succeeded in hemming in the Colquhouns between them, but Luss can hardly have been taken altogether unawares. - Ed.