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Kinship, Landholding & Crime - Clan Gregor 1583 - 1611
By Peter Lawrie, ©2002

Note - individuals have been given reference numbers in this study. Consult me for more information and genealogies.


Kinship and Clanship - what was a Highland Clan. This chapter describes an origin and genealogy for Clan Gregor to 1603.

Possession of Land by Clan Gregor. Up Until 1603, Clan Gregor had grown into a powerful landholding kindred in Perthshire. This chapter describes the extent of their holdings.

The Crimes of Clan Gregor. The growth of the power of the Scottish State under James VI and the expansion of the Campbells of GlenOrchy and Argyll, created an intolerable situation for Clan Gregor. Their violent reaction led to many mentions of the Clan in the records of the State and their neighbours.

Conclusion. What can we learn of Highland Clanship and its collision with the increasing power of the Scottish State in the late 16th century from this account of Clan Gregor.



This paper is based on a dissertation submitted for the degree of MPhil from the University of Dundee in 2002. In view of the length, it has been divided into four chapters. Please click on the link at the end of each section to continue. Footnotes are given for each section but the Bibliography is only supplied at the end of the final section.


Manuscript Sources

National Archives of Scotland:

The John MacGregor, W.S. Collection, GD50

The Breadalbane Muniments,

GD112/1; - mounted documents

 GD112/17 – Local courts 1498-1823

 GD112/24 – Bonds of manrent, fosterage and respite 1538-1710

Mitchell Library, Glasgow

The Colquhoun Muniments, Bundle XCVI,

Stirling Archives

MacGregor of MacGregor papers, PD60

The ‘Chartulary of Clan Gregor’, bundles 812 and 813

Printed Primary Sources:

MacGregor, A.G.M., History of The Clan Gregor from Public Records and Private Collections, (Edinburgh, 1898, 1901)

The Black Book of Taymouth with Other Papers from the Breadalbane Charter Chest, Cosmo Innes, ed. (Edinburgh, 1855)

Register of the Great Seal of Scotland (Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum), 11 vols. Thomson, J.M., ed.  (Edinburgh, 1984)

The Registers of the Privy Council of Scotland, first series, vols 4-12 (1158-1625) D. Masson, ed. (Edinburgh, 1877-98)



Secondary Sources - books

Adam, F & Innes T, Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands, (Edinburgh, 1954)

Brown, K M., Bloodfeud in Scotland 1573-1625, Violence Justice and Politics in an Early Modern Society, (Edinburgh: 1986)

Buchanan, Wm of Auchmar, An inquiry into the genealogy and present state of Ancient Scottish Surnames with the origin and descent of the Highland Clans and family of Buchanan, (Glasgow, 1820)

Christie, J. The Lairds and Lands of Loch Tayside, (Aberfeldy, 1892)

Dawson, J.E.A., Clan Campbell Letters 1559-1583, (Edinburgh, 1997)

Dodgshon, R A., From Chiefs to Landlords: Social and Economic Change in the Western Highlands and Islands 1493-1820, (Edinburgh, 1998)

 ‘Pretense of blude and place of thair duelling: the nature of Highland clans, 1500-1745’, in R.A.Houston and I.D.Whyte (eds), Scottish Society 1500-1745. (Cambridge, 1989),

Goodare, J., State and Society in Early Modern Scotland, (Oxford, 1999)

Goodare, J & Lynch, M., The Reign of James VI, (East Linton, 1999)

Gregory, D., The History of the Western Highlands & Islands 1483-1625, (Edinburgh 1975)

Hopkins, P., Glencoe and the End of the Highland War, (Edinburgh, 1986)

MacGregor, J.  of Roro, ‘The MacGregors of Roro’, in Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, vol xxiv, (Inverness, 1904)

Mitchison, R., Lordship to Patronage, Scotland 1603-1745 , (London, 1983)

Macinnes, A.I., Clanship Commerce and the House of Stuart, 1603-1788, (East Linton, 1996)

McKean, C. The Scottish Chateau, The Country House of Renaissance Scotland (Stroud, 2001)

MacLaren, M., The MacLarens, A History of Clan Labhran, (Edinburgh, 1984):

MacLauchlan, Rev T. and Skene, W.F., The Dean of Lismore’s Book. A selection of Ancient Gaelic Poetry from a Manuscript Collection made by Sir James McGregor Dean of Lismore in the beginning of the sixteenth century, (Edinburgh, 1862)

McNeill, P.G.B., & MacQueen, H.L., Atlas of Scottish History to 1707, (Edinburgh, 1996)

Newton, M., A Handbook of the Scottish Gaelic World, (Dublin, 2000)

 Bho Chluaidh gu Calasraid: From Clyde to Callander, (Stornoway, 1999)

Pearson, A, ‘The Place of Designation in Scottish History’, unpublished typescript, (Greenock, 1987)

Ramsay, A.A.W., The Arrow of Glenlyon, (London, 1930)

Sanderson, M.H.B., Scottish Rural Society in the 16th Century, (Edinburgh, 1982),

Stewart, J., The Settlements of Western Perthshire: Land and Society North of the  Highland Line 1480-1851, (Haddington, 1990)

Wormald, J., Lords and Men in Scotland: Bonds of Manrent 1442-1603, (Edinburgh, 1985)

Court, Kirk and Community, Scotland 1470-1625, (Edinburgh, 1981)

Secondary Sources - theses

MacGregor, M.D.W., A Political History of the MacGregors before 1571, Unpublished PhD thesis, (Edinburgh 1989)