History Of The Mackenzies
Alexander Mackenzie

Part 2 out of 12


Usually called "Murchadh Dubh na h' Uagh," or Black Murdoch of the
Cave, from his habits of life, which shall be described presently.

Murdoch was very young when his father was executed at Inverness.
During Kenneth's absence on that occasion, and for some time
afterwards, Duncan Macaulay, a great friend, who then owned the
district of Lochbroom, had charge of Ellandonnan Castle. The
Earl of Ross was determined to secure possession of Murdoch, as he
previously did of his father, and Macaulay becoming apprehensive
as to his safety sent him, then quite young, accompanied by his
own son, for protection to Mackenzie's relative, Macdougall of
Lorn. While here the Earl of Ross succeeded in capturing young
Macaulay, and in revenge for his father's gallant defence at
Ellandonnan during Kenneth's absence, and more recently against
his own futile attempts to take that stronghold, he put Macaulay
to death, whereupon Murdoch, who barely escaped with his life,
left Lorn and sought the protection of his uncle, Macleod of Lewis.

The actual murderer of Macaulay was the same desperate character,
Leod Macgilleandrais, a vassal of the Earl of Ross, who had in
1346 been mainly instrumental in the capture and consequent death
of Mackenzie's father at Inverness. The Earl of Cromarty describes
the assassin as "a depender of the Earl of Ross, and possessed
of several lands in Strathcarron (of Easter Ross) and some in
Strathoykell." When he killed Macaulay, Leod possessed himself
of his lands of Lochbroom and Coigach "whereby that family ended."
Macaulay's estates should have gone to Mackenzie in right of his
wife, Macaulay's daughter, but "holding of the Earl of Ross, the
earl disponed the samen in lyfrent by tack to Leod, albeit Murdo
Mackenzie acclaimed it in right of his wyfe."

Leod kept possession of Kenlochewe, which, lying as it did, exactly
between Kintail and Lochbroom, he found most convenient as a centre
of operations against both, and he repeatedly took advantage of it,
though invariably without success so far at least as his main object
was concerned - to get possession of the stronghold of Ellandonnan.
On the other hand, the brave garrison of the castle made several
desperate reprisals under their heroic commander, Macaulay, and
held out in spite of all the attempts made to subdue them, until
the restoration of David II., by which time Murdoch Mackenzie had
grown up a brave and intrepid youth, approaching majority.

The author of the Ardintoul MS. informs us that he was called Murdo
of the Cave; being perhaps not well tutored, he preferred sporting
and hunting in the hills and forests to going to the Ward School,
where the ward children, or the heirs of those who held their lands
and wards from the King, were wont or bound to go, and he resorted
to the dens and caves about Torridon and Kenlochewe, hoping to
get a hit at Leod Macgilleandrais, who was instrumental, under
the Earl of Ross, to apprehend and cut off his father. In the
meantime Leod hearing of Murdo's resorting to these bounds, that
he was kindly entertained by some of the inhabitants, and fearing
that he would withdraw the services and affections of the people
from himself, and connive some mischief against him for his ill-usage
of his father, he left no means untried to apprehend him, so that
Mackenzie was obliged to start privately to Lochbroom, from whence,
with only one companion, he went to his uncle, Macleod of Lewis,
by whom, after he had revealed himself to him alone, he was well
received, and both of them resolved to conceal his name until a
fit opportunity offered to make known his identity. He, however,
met with a certain man named Gille Riabhach who came to Stornoway
with twelve men, about the same time as himself, and he, in the
strictest confidence, told Gille Riabhach that he was Mackenzie of
Kintail, which secret the latter kept strictly inviolate. Macleod
entertained his nephew, keeping it an absolute secret from others
who he was, that his enemies might think that he was dead, and
so feel the greater security till such time as they would deem it
wise that he should act for himself and make an attempt to rescue
his possessions from Macgilleandrais, who now felt quite secure,
thinking that Mackenzie had perished, having for so long heard
nothing concerning him. When a suitable time arrived his uncle
gave Murdo two of his great galleys, with as many men (six score)
as he desired, to accompany him, his cousin german Macleod, the
Gille Riabhach and his twelve followers, all of whom determined
to seek their fortunes with young Kintail. They embarked at
Stornoway, and securing a favourable wind they soon arrived at
Sanachan, in Kishorn (some say at Poolewe), where they landed,
marched straight towards Kenlochewe, and arrived at a thick wood
near the place where Macgilleandrais had his residence. Mackenzie
commanded his followers to lie down and watch, while he and his
companion, Gille Riabhach, went about in search of intelligence.
He soon found a woman cutting rushes, at the same time lamenting
his own supposed death and Leod Macgillearidrais' succession to
the lands of Kenlochewe in consequence. He at once recognised
her as the woman's sister who nursed or fostered him, drew near,
spoke to her, sounded her, and discovering her unmistakeable
affection for him he felt that he could with perfect safety make
himself known to her. She was overjoyed to find that it was really
he, whose absence and loss she had so intensely and so long
lamented. He then requested her to go and procure him information
of Leod's situation and occupation that night. This she did with
great propriety and discretion. Having satisfied herself, she
returned at the appointed time and assured him that Macgilleandrais
felt perfectly secure, quite unprepared for an attack, and
bad just appointed to meet the adjacent people next morning at a
place called Ath-nan-Ceann (the Ford of the Heads), preparatory
to a hunting match, having instructed those who might arrive before
him to wait his arrival. Mackenzie considered this an excellent
opportunity for punishing Leod. He in good time went to the
ford accompanied by his followers. Those invited by Leod soon
after arrived, and, seeing Mackenzie before them, thought he was
Macgilleandrais with some of his men, but soon discovered their
mistake. Mackenzie killed all those whom he did not recognise as
soon as they appeared. The natives of the place, who were personally
known to him, he pardoned and dismissed. Leod soon turned up, and
seeing such a gathering awaiting him, naturally thought that they
were his own friends, and hastened towards them, but on approaching
nearer he found himself "in the fool's hose." Mackenzie and his
band fell upon them with their swords, and after a slight resistance
Macgilleandrais and his party fled, but they were soon overtaken
at a place called to this day Featha Leoid or Leod's Bog, where
they were all slain, except Leod's son Paul, who was taken prisoner
and kept in captivity for some time, but was afterwards released
upon plighting his faith that he would never again trouble Mackenzie
or resent against him his father's death. Murdoch Mackenzie being
thus re-possessed of Kenlochewe, "gave Leod Macgilleandrais' widow
to Gillereach to wife for his good services and fidelity, whose
posterity live at Kenlochewe and thereabout, and to this day some
of them live there." According to the Cromarty MS., Mackenzie
possessed himself of Lochbroom in right of his wife and disposed
of Coigach to his cousin Macleod, "for his notable assistance in
his distress; which lands they both retained but could obtain no
charters from the Earls of Ross, of whom they held, the Earls of
Ross pretending that they fell to themselves in default of male
heirs, the other retaining possession in right of his wife as heir
of line."

Paul Macgilleandrais some years after this repaired to the confines
of Sutherland and Caithness, prevailed upon Murdo Riabhach, Kintail's
illegitimate son, to join him, and, according to one authority,
became "a common depredator," while according to another, he became
what was perhaps not inconsistent in those days with the character
of a desperado - a person of considerable state and property.
They often "spoiled" Caithness. The Earl of Cromarty, referring
to this raid, says that Paul "desired to make a spoil on some
neighbouring country, a barbarous custom but most ordinary in those
days, as thinking thereby to acquire the repute of valour and to
become formidable as the greatest security amidst their unhappy
feuds. This, their prentice try or first exhibition, was called
in Irish (Gaelic) `Creach mhacain' the young man's herschip."
Ultimately Murdo Riabhach and Paul's only son were killed by Budge
of Toftingall. Paul was so mortified at the death of his young
depredator son that he gave up building the fortress of Duncreich,
which he was at the time erecting to strengthen still more
his position in the county. He gave his lands of Strathoykel,
Strathcarron, and Westray, with his daughter and heiress in marriage,
to Walter Ross, III. of Balnagown, on which condition he obtained
pardon from the Earl of Ross, the chief and superior of both.

Mackenzie, after disposing of Macgilleandrais, returned to his
own country, where he was received with open arms by the whole
population of the district. He then married the only daughter of
his gallant friend and defender, Duncan Macaulay - whose only son,
Murdoch, had been killed by Macgilleandrais - and through her his
son ultimately succeeded to the lands of Lochbroom and Coigeach
granted to Macaulay's predecessor by Alexander II. Mackenzie was
now engaged principally in preserving and improving his possessions,
until the return of David II. from England, 1357-8, when Murdoch
laid before the King a complaint against the Earl of Ross for the
murder of his father, and claimed redress but the only satisfaction he
ever obtained was a confirmation of his rights previously granted
by the King to "Murdo filius Kennethi de Kintaill, etc.," dated
"Edinburg 1362, et Regni Domini Regis VI., Testibus Waltero Senescollo
et allis." [MS. History of the Mackenzies.]

Of Murdoch Dubh's reign, the Laird of Applecross says: "During
this turbulent age, securities and writs, as well as laws, were
little regarded; each man's protection lay in his own strength."
Kintail regularly attended the first Parliament of Robert II.,
until it was decreed by that King and his Privy Council that the
services of the "lesser barons" should not be required in future
Parliaments or General Councils. He then returned home, and
spent most of his time in hunting and wild sports, of which he
was devotedly fond, living peaceably and undisturbed during the
remainder of his days.

This Baron of Kintail took no share in the recent rebellion under the
Lord of the Isles, who, backed by most of the other West Highland
chiefs, attempted to throw off his independence and have himself
proclaimed King of the Isles. The feeble and effeminate Government of
David II., and the evil results consequent thereon throughout the
country, encouraged the island lord in this desperate enterprise, but,
as Tytler says, the King on this occasion, with an unwonted energy of
character, commanded the attendance of the Steward, with the prelates
and barons of the realm, and surrounded by this formidable body of
vassals and retainers, proceeded against the rebels in person." The
expedition proved completely successful, and John of the Isles, with a
numerous train of chieftains who joined him in the rebellion, met the
King at Inverness, and submitted to his authority. He there engaged
in the most solemn manner, for himself and for his vassals, that
they should yield themselves faithful and obedient subjects to
David their liege lord, and not only give due and prompt obedience
to the ministers of the King in suit and service, as well as in
the payment of taxes and public burdens, but that they would coerce
and put down all others, and compel all who dared to rise against
the King's authority to make due submission, or pursue them
from their respective territories." For the fulfilment of these
obligations, the Lord of the Isles not only gave his most solemn
oath before the King and his nobles, on condition of forfeiting his
whole possessions in case of failure, but offered his father-in-law,
the High Steward, in security and delivered his son Donald, his
grandson Angus, and his natural son, also named Donald, as hostages
for the strict performance of the articles of the treaty, which
was duly signed, attested and dated, the 15th November, 1369. [For
a full copy of this instrument, see 'Invernessiana,' pp. 69-70.]

Fordun says that in order to crush the Highlanders, and the more
easily, as the King thought, to secure obedience to the laws, he
used artifice by dividing the chiefs and promising high rewards
to those who would capture or kill their brother lords; and, that
writer continues "this diabolical plan, by implanting the seeds
of disunion amongst the chiefs, succeeded, and they gradually
destroyed one another."

Before his marriage Murdoch had three illegitimate sons. One of
them was called Hector or Eachainn Biorach. He acquired the lands
of Drumnamarg by marrying Helen, daughter of Loban or Logan of
Drum-namarg, who, according to the Earl of Cromarty, "was one of the
Earl of Ross's feuars. This superior having an innate enmity with
Kenneth's race, was the cause that this Hector had no peaceable
possession of Drumnamarg, but turning outlaw, retired to Eddirachillis,
where he left a son called Henry, of whom are descended a race yet
possessing there, called Sliochd Ionraic, or Henry's race." The
second bastard was named Dugald Deargshuileach, "from his red
eyes." From him descended John Mackenzie, Commissary-Depute of
Ross, afterwards in Cromarty, Rev. Roderick Mackenzie, minister of
Croy, John Mackenzie, a writer in Edinburgh, and several others
of the name. The third bastard was named Alexander, and from
him descended Clann Mhurchaidh Mhoir in Ledgowan, and many of the
common people who resided in the Braes of Ross.

Murdoch had another son Murdoch Riach, after his wife's death,
by a daughter of the Laird of Assynt, also illegitimate, although
the Laird of Applecross says that he was "by another wife." This
Murdoch retired to Edderachillis and married a Sutherland woman
there, "where, setting up an independent establishment, he became
formidable in checking the Earl of Ross in his excursions against
his clan, till he was killed by a Caithness man named Budge of
Toftingall. His descendants are still styled Clann Mhuirich, and
among them we trace Daniel Mackenzie, who arrived at the rank of
Colonel in the service of the Statholder, who had a son Barnard,
who was Major in Seaforth's regiment, and killed at the battle of
Auldearn. He too left a son, Barnard, who taught Greek and Latin
for four years at Fortrose, was next ordained by the Bishop of Ross
and presented to the Episcopal Church of Cromarty, where, after
a variety of fortunes, he died, and was buried in the Cathedral
Church of Fortrose. Alexander, eldest son of this last (Barnard),
studied medicine under Boerhave, and retired to practice at Fortrose.
He married Ann, daughter of Alexander Mackenzie of Belmaduthy,
purchased the lands of Kinnock, and left a son, Barnard, and two
daughters, Catherine and Ann." [Bennetsfield MS. of the Mackenzies.]

This was the turbulent and insecure state of affairs throughout the
Kingdom when the chief of Mackenzie was peaceably and quietly
enjoying himself in his Highland home. He died in 1375. [Murdo
became a great favourite latterly with all those with whom he came
in contact. "He fell in company with the Earl of Sutherland, who
became his very good friend afterwards, as that he still resorted
his court. In end (being comely of person and one active young man)
the Earl's lady (who was King Robert the Bruce's young daughter)
fell in conceit of him, and both forgetting the Earl's kindness,
by her persuasion, he got her with child, who she caused name
Dougall," and the earl suspecting nothing amiss "caused bred him
at schools with the rest of his children but Dougall being as
ill-given as gotten, he still injured the rest, and when the earl
would challenge or offer to beat him, the Ladie still said, 'Dear
heart, let him alone, it is hard to tell Dougall's father,' which
the good earle always took in good part. In end, he comeing to
years of discretion, she told her husband that Mackenzie was his
father, and shortly thereafter, by way of merriment, told the
King how his lady cheated him. The King, finding him to be his own
cousine and of parts of learning, with all to pleasure the earle
and his lady, he made Dougall prior of Beauly." - Ancient MS.]

By his wife Isabel, only child of Macaulay of Lochbroom, Murdoch
Dubh had a son and successor,


Known as "Murchadh na Drochaid," or Murdoch of the Bridge. The
author of the Ardintoul MS. say's that "he was called Murdo na Droit
by reason of some bad treatment his lady met with at the Bridge
of Scatwell, which happened on this occasion. He having lived for
many years with his lady and getting no children, and so fearing
that the direct line of his family might fail in his person, was
a little concerned and troubled thereat, which being understood
by some sycophants and flatterers that were about him and would
fain curry his favour, they thought that they could not ingratiate
themselves more on him than putting his lady out of the way,
whereby he might marry another, and they waited an opportunity to
put their design in execution (some say not without his connivance),
and so on a certain evening or late at night as she was going
to Achilty, where her laird lived, these wicked flatterers did
presumptuously and barbarously cast her over the Bridge of Scatwell,
and then their conscience accusing them for that horrid act they
made off with themselves. But the wonderful providence of God
carried the innocent lady (who was then with child) nowithstanding
the impetuousness of the river, safe to the shore, and enabled
her in the night-time to travel the length of Achilty, where her
husband did impatiently wait her coming, that being the night she
promised to be home, and entertained her very kindly, being greatly
offended at the maltreatment she met with. The child she had then
in the womb was afterwards called Alexander, and some say agnamed
Inrick because by a miracle of Providence he escaped that danger
and afterwards became heir to his father and inherited his estate."
The author of the Applecross MS. says that this Baron was called
"Murchadh no Droit" from "the circumstances that his mother being
with child of him, had been saved after a fearful fall from the
Bridge of Scattal into the Water of Conon." The writer of the
"Ancient" MS. history of the Mackenzies, the oldest in existence,
suggests that Mackenzie himself may have instigated the ruffians
to do away with his wife. "They lived," he says, "a considerable
time together childless, but men in those days (of whom be reason)
preferred succession and manhood to wedlock. He caused to throw
her under silence of night over the Bridge of Scatwell, but by
Providence and by the course of the river she was cast ashore and
escaped, went back immediately to his house, then at Achilty, and
went to his bedside in a fond condition. But commiserating her
case and repenting over the deed he gave her a hearty reception,
learned from her that she expected soon to become a mother, and
"so afterwards they lived together contentedly all their days."

During his earlier years Murdoch appears to have lived a peaceful
life, following the example of loyalty to the Crown set him by his
father, keeping the laws himself, and compelling those over whom
his jurisdiction extended to do the same. Nor, if we believe the
MS. historians of the family, was this dutiful and loyal conduct
allowed to go unrewarded. All the successors of the Earl of
Cromarty follow his lordship in saying that a charter was given
by King Robert to Murdo, "filius Murdochi de Kintail," of Kintail
and Laggan Achadrom, dated at Edinburgh, anno 1380, attested
by "Willielmus de Douglas, et Archibaldo de Galloway, et Joanne,
Cancellario Scotiae." As already stated, however, no such charter
as this, or the one previously mentioned on the same authority
as having been granted to Murdoch IV. of Kintail, in 1362, is on

Murdoch was one of the sixteen Highland chiefs who accompanied the
Scots under James, second Earl of Douglas, in his famous march to
England and defeated Sir Henry Percy, the renowned Hotspur, at the
memorable battle of Otterburn, or Chevy Chase, in 1388.

The period immediately following this historical raid across the
Border was more than usually turbulent even for those days in the
Scottish Highlands, but Mackenzie managed to escape involving
himself seriously with either party to the many quarrels which
culminated in the final struggle for the earldom of Ross between
the Duke of Albany and Donald, Lord of the Isles, in 1411, at the
battle of Harlaw.

As soon as the news of the disaster to the Earl of Mar, who commanded
at Harlaw, reached the ears of the Duke of Albany, at the time
Regent for Scotland, he set about collecting an army with which, in
the following autumn, he marched in person to the north determined to
bring the Lord of the Isles to obedience. Having taken possession
of the Castle of Dingwall, he appointed a governor to it, and from
thence proceeded to recover the whole of Ross. Donald retreated
before him, taking up his winter quarters in the Western Islands.
Hostilities were renewed next summer, but the contest was not long
or doubtful, notwithstanding some little advantages obtained by
the Lord of the Isles. He was compelled for a time to give up his
claim to the earldom of Ross, to become a vassal of the Scottish
Crown, arid to deliver hostages for his good behaviour in the

Murdoch must have felt secure in his stronghold of Ellandonnan,
and been a man of great prudence, sagacity, and force of character,
when, in spite of the commands of his nominal superior - the Lord
of the Isles - to support him in these unlawful and rebellious
proceedings against the King and threats of punishment in case of
refusal, he resolutely declined to join him in his desperate and
treasonable adventures. He went the length of saying that even
if his lordship's claims were just in themselves, they would not
justify a rebellion against the existing Government; and he further
informed him that, altogether independently of that important
consideration, he felt no great incentive to aid in the cause of
the representative of his grandfather's murderer. Mackenzie was
in fact one of those prudent and loyal chiefs who kept at home in
the Highlands, looking after his own affairs, the comfort of his
followers, and laying a solid foundation for the future prosperity
of his house, "which was so characteristic of them that they always
esteemed the authority of the magistrate as an inviolable

Donald of the Isles never forgave Mackenzie for thus refusing to
assist him in obtaining the Earldom of Ross, and he determined to
ruin him if he could. On this subject the Earl of Cromartie says
that at the battle of Harlaw Donald was assisted by almost "all
the northern people, Mackenzie excepted, who because of the many
injuries received by his predecessors from the Earls of Ross, and
chiefly by the instigation and concurrence of Donald's predecessors,
he withdrew and refused concurrence. Donald resolved to ruin him,
but deferred it till his return, which falling out more unfortunately
than he expected, did not allow him power nor opportunity to
use the vengeance he intended, for on his return to Ross he sent
Mackenzie a friend with fair speeches desiring his friendship,
thinking no enemy despicable as he then stood." Murdoch, at Donald's
request, proceeded to Dingwall, where the Island Lord urged him
to join and promise him to support his interest. This Mackenzie
firmly refused, "partly out of hatred to his family for old feuds,
partly dissuaded by Donald's declining fortunes" at that particular
period; whereupon the Lord of the Isles made Murdoch prisoner
in an underground chamber in the Castle of Dingwall. He was not
long here, however, when he found an opportunity of making his
plight known to some of his friends, and he was soon after released
in exchange for some of Donald's immediate relatives who had been
purposely captured by Mackenzie's devoted vassals.

Here it may be appropriate to give the traditionary account of the
origin of the Macraes and how they first found their way to Kintail
and other places in the West; for their relationship with the
Mackenzies has from the earliest times been of the closest and most
loyal character. Indeed, from the aid they invariably afforded
them they have been aptly described as "Mackenzie's shirt of
mail." According to the Rev. John Macrae, minister of Dingwall,
who died in 1704, and wrote the only existing trustworthy history
and genealogy of his own clan, the Macraes came originally from
Clunes, in the Aird of Lovat, recently acquired from patriotic family
reasons by Horatio Macrae, W.S., Edinburgh, the representative
in this country of the Macraes of Inverinate, who were admittedly
the chiefs of that brave and warlike race. The Rev. John Macrae,
who was himself a member of the Inverinate family, says that the
Macraes left the Aird under the following circumstances: A dispute
had arisen in the hunting field between Macrae of Clunes and a
bastard son of Lovat, when a son of Macrae intervened to protect
his father, and killed Fraser's son in the scuffle. The victor
"immediately ran oft; and calling himself John Carrach, that he
might be less known, settled on the West Coast, and of him are
descended the branch of the Macraes called Clann Ian Charraich.
It was some time after this that his brethren and other relatives
began seriously to consider that Lovat's own kindred and friends
became too numerous, and that the country could not accommodate
them all, which was a motive for their removing to other places
according as they had encouragement. One of the brothers went
to Brae Ross and lived at Brahan, where there is a piece of land
called Knock Vic Ra, and the spring well which affords water to
the Castle is called Tober Vic Ra. His succession spread westward
to Strathgarve, Strathbraan, and Strathconan, where several of them
live at this time. John Macrae, who was a merchant in Inverness,
and some of his brethren, were of them, and some others in
Ardmeanach. Other two of MacRa's sons, elder than the above, went
off from Clunes several ways; one is said to have gone to
Argyleshire and another to Kintail. In the meantime their father
remained at Clunes all his days, and bad four Lords Fraser of Lovat
fostered in his house. He that went to Argyle, according to our
tradition, married the heiress of Craignish, and on that account
took the surname of Campbell. The other brother who went to Kintail,
earnestly invited and encouraged by Mackenzie, who then had no
kindred of his own blood, the first six Barons, or Lords of Kintail,
having but one lawful son to succeed the father, hoping that the
MacRas, by reason of their relation, as being originally descended
from the same race of people in Ireland would prove more faithful
than others, wherein he was not disappointed, for the MacRas of
Kintail served him and his successors very faithfully in every
quarrel they had with neighbouring clans, and by their industry,
blood, and courage, have been instrumental in raising that family."
The writer adds that he does not know Macrae's christian name, but
that he married "a daughter or grand-daughter of MacBeolan, who
possessed a large part of Kintail before Mackenzie's predecessors
got a right of it from Alexander III." This marriage, and their
common ancestry from a native Celtic source, and not from "the same
race of people in Ireland" seems a much more probable explanation of
the early and continued friendship which existed between the two
families than that suggested by the rev. author of "The Genealogy of
the Macraes," above quoted.

But the curious circumstance to which he directs attention regarding
the first five Mackenzie chiefs is quite true. It is borne out by
every genealogy of the House of Kintail which we have ever seen.
There is not a trace of any legitimate male descendant from the
first of the name down to Alexander, the sixth baron, except the
immediately succeeding chief, so that their vassals and followers
in the field and elsewhere must, for nearly two hundred years,
have been men of different septs and tribes and names, except the
progeny of their own illegitimate sons, such as "Sliochd Mhurcbaidh
Riabhaich" and others of similar base origin.

Murdoch married Finguala or Florence, daughter of Malcolm
Macleod, III. of Harris and Dunvegan, by his wife, Martha, daughter
of Donald Stewart, Earl of Mar, nephew of King Robert the Bruce. By
this marriage the Royal blood of the Bruce was introduced for the
first time into the family of Kintail, as also that of the ancient
Kings of Man. Tormod Macleod, II. of Harris, who was grandson of
Olave the Black, last Norwegian King of Man, and who, as we have seen,
had married Christina, daughter of Ferquhard O'Beolan, Earl of Ross,
married Finguala Mac Crotan, the daughter of an ancient and powerful
Irish chief. By this lady Malcolm Macleod, III. of Harris and
Dunvegan, had issue, among others, Finguala, who now became the wife
of Murdoch Mackenzie and mother of Alexander Ionraic, who carried on
the succession of the ancient line of Kintail.

Murdoch died in 1416 when he was succeeded by his only son,


Alastair Ionraic, or Alexander the Upright, so called "for his
righteousness." He was among the Western barons summoned in 1427,
to meet King James I. at Inverness, who, on his return from a long
captivity in England, in 1424, determined to put down the rebellion
and oppression which was then and for some time previously so
rampant in the Highlands. To judge by the poceedings of a
Parliament held at Perth on the 30th September 1426, James
exhibited a foresight and appreciation of the conduct of the lairds
in those days, and passed laws which might with good effect, and
with equal propriety, be applied to the state of affairs in our own
time. In that Parliament an Act was passed which, among other
things, ordained that, north of the Grampians, the fruit of those
lands should be expended in the country where those lands lie. The
Act is as follows: "It is ordanit be the King ande the Parliament
that everilk lorde hafande landis bezonde the mownthe (the Grampians)
in the quhilk landis in auld tymes there was castellis, fortalyces
and manerplaicis, big, reparell and reforme their castellis and
maneris, and duell in thame, be thameself, or be ane of thare
frendis for the gracious gournall of thar landis, be gude polising
and to expende ye fruyt of thar landis in the countree where thar
landis lyis." [Invernessiana, p.102.]

James was determined to bring the Highlanders to submission, and
Fordun relates a characteristic anecdote in which the King pointedly
declared his resolution. When the excesses in the Highlands were
first reported to him by one of his nobles, on entering Scotland,
he thus expressed himself: "Let God but grant me life, and there
shall not be a spot in my dominions where the key shall riot keep
the castle, and the furze bush the cow, though I myself should lead
the life of a dog to accomplish it"; and it was in this frame of
mind that he visited Inverness in 1427, determined to establish
good government and order in the North, then in such a state of
insubordination that neither life nor property was secure. The
principal chiefs, on his order or invitation met him, from what
motives it is impossible to determine - whether hoping for a
reconciliation by prompt compliance with the Royal will, or from
a dread, in case of refusal, to suffer the fate of the Southern
barons who had already fallen victims to his severity. The order
was in any case obeyed, and all the leading chiefs repaired to
meet him at the Castle of Inverness. As they entered the hall,
however, where the Parliament was at the time sitting, they were,
one by one, by order of the King, arrested, ironed, and imprisoned
in different apartments, and debarred from having any communications
with each other, or with their followers.

Fordun says that James displayed marks of great joy as these
turbulent and haughty spirits, caught in the toils which he had
prepared for them, came voluntarily within reach of his regal
power, and that he "caused to be arrested Alexander of the Isles,
and his mother, Countess of Ross, daughter and heiress of Sir
Walter Lesley, as well as the more notable men of the north, each
of whom he wisely invited singly to the Castle, and caused to be
put in strict confinement apart. There he also arrested Angus Duff
(Angus Dubh Mackay) with his four sons, the leader of 4000 men from
Strathnarven (Strathnaver.) Kenneth More, with his son-in-law,
leader of two thousand men; [All writers on the Clan Mackenzie
have hitherto claimed this Kenneth More as their Chief, and argued
from the above that Mackenzie had a following of two thousand
fighting men in 1427. It will be seen that Alexander was Chief at
this time, but Kenneth More may have been intended for MacKenneth
More, or the Great Mackenzie. He certainly could have had no
such following of his own name.] John Ross, William Lesley, Angus
de Moravia, and Macmaken, leaders of two thousand men; and also
other lawless caterans and great captains in proportion, to the
number of about fifty Alexander Makgorrie (MacGodfrey) of Garmoran,
and John Macarthur (of the family of Campbell), a great chief
among his own clan, and the leader of a thousand and more, were
convicted, and being adjudged to death were beheaded. Then James
Cambel was hanged, being accused and convicted of the slaughter
of John of the Isles (John Mor, first of the Macdonalds of Isla.)
The rest were sent here and there to the different castles of the
noblemen throughout the kingdom, and were afterwards condemned to
different kinds of death, and some were set at liberty." Among the
latter was Alexander of Kintail. The King sent him, then a mere
youth, to the High School at Perth, at that time the principal
literary seminary in the kingdom, while the city itself was frequently
the seat of the Court.

During Kintail's absence it appears that his three bastard uncles
ravaged the district of Kinlochewe, for we find them insulting and
troubling "Mackenzie's tenants in Kenlochewe and Kintail Macaulay,
who was still Constable in Ellandonnan, not thinking it proper
to leave his post, proposed Finlay Dubh Mac Gillechriost as
the fittest person to be sent to St. Johnston, now Perth, and by
general consent he accordingly went to inform his young master,
who was then there with the rest of the King's ward children at
school, of his lordship's tenants being imposed on as above, which,
with Finlay's remonstrance on the subject, prevailed on Alexander,
his young master, to come home, and being backed with all the
assistance Finlay could command, soon brought his three bastard
uncles to condign punishment." [Genealogical Account of the Macraes.]

The writer of the Ardintoul MS. says that Finlay "prevailed on him
to go home without letting the master of the school know of it.
Trysting with him at a certaiu place and set hour they set off,
and, lest any should surprise them, they declined the common road
and went to Macdougall of Lorn, he being acquainted with him at
St. Johnston. Macdougall entertained him kindly, and kept him
with him for several days. He at that time made his acquaintance
with Macdougall's daughter, whom afterwards he married, and from
thence came to his own Kintail, and having his authority and right
backed with the power of the people, he calls his bastard uncles
before him, and removes their quarters from Kenlochewe, and gave
them possessions in Glenelchaig in Kintail prescribing measures
and rule for them how to behave, assuring them, though he pardoned
them at that time, they should forfeit favours and be severely
punished if they transgressed for the future; but after this,
going to the county of Ross to their old dwelling at Kenlochewe,
they turned to practice their old tricks and broke loose, so that
he was forced to correct their insolency and make them shorter by
the heads, and thus the people were quit of their trouble."

The young Lord of the Isles was at the same time that Mackenzie went
to Perth sent to Edinburgh, from which he soon afterwards escaped
to the North, at the instigation of his mother, the Countess, raised
his vassals, and, joined by all the outlaws and vagabonds in the
country, numbering a formidable body of about ten thousand, he
laid waste the country, plundered and devastated the crown lands,
against which his vengeance was specially directed, razed the
Royal burgh of Inverness to the ground, pillaged and burned the
houses, and perpetrated every description of cruelty. He then
besieged the Castle, but without success, after which he retired
precipitately towards Lochaber, where he was met by the Royal
forces, commanded by the King in person. The Lord of the Isles
prepared for battle, but he had the mortification to notice the
desertion of Clan Chattan and Clan Cameron, who had previously
joined him, and of seeing them going over in a body to the Royal
standard. The King immediately attacked the island chief and
completely routed his forces, while their leader sought safety
in flight. He was vigorously pursued, and finding escape or
concealment equally impossible, and being reduced to the utmost
distress, hunted from place to place by his vigilant pursuers, the
haughty chief resolved to throw himself entirely on the mercy of
His Majesty, and finding his way to Edinburgh in the most secret
manner, and on the occasion of a solemn festival on Easter Sunday,
in 429, at Holyrood, he suddenly appeared in his shirt and drawers
before the King and Queen, surrounded by all the nobles of the
Court, while they were engaged in their devotions before the High
Altar, and implored, on his knees, with a naked sword held by the
point in his hand, the forgiveness of his sovereign. With bonnet
in hand, his legs and arms quite bare, his body covered only with
a plaid, and in token of absolute submission, he offered his sword
to the King. His appearance, strengthened by the solicitations
of the affected Queen and all the nobles, made such an impression
on His Majesty that he submitted to the promptings of his heart
against the wiser and more prudent dictates of his judgment. He
accepted the sword offered him, and spared the life of his captive,
but immediately committed him to Tantallon Castle, under the charge
of William Douglas, Earl of Angus. The spirit of Alexander's
followers, however, could not brook this mortal offence, and the
whole strength of the clan was promptly mustered under his cousin
Donald Balloch, who led them to Lochaber, where they met the King's
forces under the Earls of Mar and Caithness, killed the latter,
gained a complete victory over the Royal army, and returned to
the Isles in triumph, with an immense quantity of spoil.

James soon after proceeded north in person as far as Dunstaffnage;
Donald Balloch fled to Ireland; and, after several encounters with
the rebels, the King obtained the submission of the majority of
the chiefs who were engaged in the rebellion, while others were
promptly apprehended and executed to the number of about three
hundred. The King thereupon released the Lord of the Isles
from Tantallon Castle, and granted him a free pardon for all his
rebellious acts, confirmed him in all his titles and possessions,
and further conferred upon him, in addition, the Lordship of
Lochaber, which had previously, on its forfeiture, been granted to
the Earl of Mar.

After his first escape from Edinburgh, the Lord of the Isles again
in 1429 raised the standard of revolt. He for the second time burnt
the town of Inverness, while Mackenzie was "attending to his duties
at Court." Kintail was recalled by his followers, who armed for the
King, and led by their young chief on his return home, they
materially aided in the overthrow of Alexander of the Isles at the
same time securing peace and good government in their own district,
and among most of the surrounding tribes. Alexander is also found
actively supporting the King, and with the Royal army, during the
turbulent rule of John, successor to Alexander, Lord of the Isles,
who afterwards, in 1447, died at peace with his sovereign.

James I. died in 1460, and was succeeded by James II. When, in
1462, the Earl of Douglas, the Lord of the Isles, and Donald Balloch
of Isla entered into a treaty with the King of England for the
subjugation of Scotland, on condition, in the event of success,
that the whole of Scotland, north of the Firth of Forth, should
be divided between them, Alexander Mackenzie stood firm in the
interest of the ruling monarch, and with such success that nothing
came of this extraordinary compact. We soon after find him rewarded
by a charter in his favour, dated 7th January 1463, confirming
him in his lands of Kintail, with a further grant of the "5 merk
lands of Killin, the lands of Garve, and the 2 merk lands of
Coryvulzie, with the three merk lands of Kinlochluichart, and 2
merk lands of Ach-na-Clerich, the 2 merk lands of Garbat, the merk
lands of Delintan, and the 4 merk lands of Tarvie, all lying within
the shire and Earldom of Ross, to be holden of the said John and
his successors, Earls of Ross." This is the first Crown charter
in favour of the Mackenzie chief of which any authentic record

Alexander continued to use his great influence at Court, as well
as with John Lord of the Isles, for the purpose of bringing about
a reconciliation between his Majesty and his powerful subject
during the unnatural rebellion of Angus Og against his father.
The King, however, proved inexorable, and refused to treat with
the Earl on any condition other than the absolute and unconditional
surrender of the earldom of Ross to the Crown, of which, however,
he would be allowed to hold all his other possessions in future.
These conditions the island chief haughtily refused, again flew to
arms, and in 1476 invaded Moray, but finding that he could offer
no effectual resistance to the powerful forces sent against him
by the King, he, by the seasonable grants of the lands of Knapdale
and Kintyre, secured the influence of Colin, first Earl of Argyll,
in his favour, and with the additional assistance of Kintail,
procured remission of his past offences on the conditions previously
offered to him and resigning for ever, in 1476, the Earldom of
Ross to the King, he "was infeft of new" in the Lordship of the
Isles and the other possessions which he had not been called upon
to renounce. The Earldom was in the same year, in the 9th Parliament
of James III., irrevocably annexed to the Crown, where the title
and the honours still remain, held by the Prince of Wales.

The great services rendered by the Baron of Kintail to the reigning
family, especially during these negotiations, and generally throughout
his long rule at Ellandonnan, were recognised by a charter from
the Crown, dated Edinburgh, November 1476, of some of the lands
renounced by the Earl of Ross, viz., Strathconan, Strathbraan, and
Strathgarve; and after this the Barons of Kintail held all their
lands quite independently of any superior but the Crown.

During the long continued disputes between the Earl of Ross and
Kintail no one was more zealous in the cause of the island chief than
Allan Macdonald of Moydart, who, during Mackenzie's absence, made
several raids into Kintail, ravaged the country, and carried away
large numbers of cattle. After the forfeiture of the Earldom of Ross,
Allan's youngest brother, supported by a faction of the tenantry,
rebelled against his elder brother, and possessed himself for a
time of the Moydart estates. The Lord of the Isles was unwilling to
appear so soon in these broils; or perhaps he favoured the pretentions
of the younger brother, and refused to give any assistance to Allan,
who, however, hit upon a device as bold as it ultimately proved
successful. He started for Kinellan, "being ane ile in ane loch,"
where Mackenzie at the time resided, and presented himself personally
before his old enemy, who was naturally surprised beyond measure to
receive such a visit from one to whom he had never been reconciled.
Allan, however, related how he had been oppressed by his brother and
his nearest friends and how he had been refused aid from those to
whom he had a natural right to look for it. In these desperate
circumstances he resolved to apply to his greatest enemy, who, he
argued, might for any assistance he could give gain in return as
faithful a friend as he bad previously been his "diligent adversary."
Alexander, on hearing the story, was moved to pity by the manner
in which Allan had been oppressed by his own relatives, promised
him the required support, proceeded in person with a sufficient
force to repossess him, and finally accomplished his purpose. The
other Macdonalds, who had been dispossessed thereupon represented
to the King that Alexander Mackenzie had invaded their territory
as a "disturber of the peace, and ane oppressor," the result being
that he was cited before His Majesty at Edinburgh, "but here was
occasion given to Allan to requite Alexander's generosity, for
Alexander having raised armies to assist him, without commission,
he found in it a transgression of the law, though just upon the
matter; so to prevent Alexander's prejudice, he presently went to
Holyrood house, where the King was, and being of a bold temper,
did truly relate how his and Alexander's affairs stood, showing
withal that he, as being the occasion of it, was ready to suffer
what law would exact rather than to expose so generous a friend
to any hazard. King James was so taken with their reciprocal
heroisms, that he not only forgave, but allowed Alexander, and
of new confirmed Allan in the lands of Moydart." [Cromartie MS.
of the Mackenzies.] The two were then allowed to return home

Some time before this a desperate skirmish took place at a place
called Bealach nam Brog, "betwixt the heights of Fearann Donuil
and Lochbraon" (Dundonald and Lochbroom), which was brought about
by some of Kintail's vassals, instigated by Donald Garbh M'Iver,
who attempted to seize the Earl of Ross. The plot was, however,
discovered, and M'Iver was seized by the Lord of the Isles'
followers, and imprisoned in the Castle of Dingwall. He was soon
released, however, by his undaunted countrymen from Kenlochewe,
consisting of Macivers, Maclennans, Macaulays, and Macleays,
who, by way of reprisal, pursued and seized the Earl's relative,
Alexander Ross of Balnagown, and carried him along with them.
The Earl at once apprised Lord Lovat, who was then His Majesty's
Lieutenant in the North, of the illegal seizure of Balnagown, and
his lordship promptly dispatched northward two hundred men, who,
joined by Ross's vassals, the Munroes of Fowlis, and the Dingwalls
of Kildun, pursued and overtook the western tribes at Bealach nam
Brog, where they were resting themselves. A sanguinary conflict
ensued, aggravated and more than usually exasperated by a keen and
bitter recollection of ancient feuds and animosities. The Kenlochewe
men seem to have been almost extirpated. The race of Dingwall were
actually extinguished, one hundred and forty of their men having
been slain, while the family of Fowlis lost eleven members of their
house alone, with many of the leading men of their clan. ["Among
the rest ther wer slain eleven Monroes or the House or Foulls,
that wer to succeed one after another; so that the succession of
Foulls fell into a chyld then lying in his cradle." - Sir Robert
Gordon's History 0f the Earldom of Sutherland, p. 36.]

An interesting account of this skirmish and the cause which led to
it is given in one of the family manuscripts. It says Euphemia
Leslie, Countess Dowager of Ross, lived at Dingwall. She would
gladly have married Alexander of Kintail, he being a proper handsome
young man, and she signified no less to himself. He refused the
offer, perhaps, because he plighted his faith to Macdougall's
daughter, but though he had not had done so, he had all the reason
imaginable to reject the Countess's offer, for besides that she
was not able to add to his estate, being but a life-rentrix, she
was a turbulent woman, and therefore, in the year 1426, the King
committed her to prison in St. Colin's Isle (Dingwall), because
she had instigated her son, Alexander Earl of Ross, to rebellion.
She invited Kintail to her Court in Dingwall to make a last effort,
but finding him obstinate she converted her love to hatred and
revenge, and made him prisoner, and either by torturing or bribing
his page, he procured the golden ring which was the token between
Mackenzie and Macaulay, the governor of Ellandonnan, who had strict
orders not to quit the castle or suffer any one to enter it until
he sent him that token. The Countess sent a gentleman to Ellandonnan
with the ring, who, by her instructions, informed Macaulay that his
master was, or shortly would be, married to the Countess of Ross,
desiring the Governor to repair to his master and to leave the
stronghold with him. Macaulay seeing and receiving the ring believed
the story, and gave up the castle, but in a few days he discovered
his mistake and found that his chief was a prisoner instead of being
a bridegroom. He went straight to Dingwall, and finding an
opportunity to communicate with Mackenzie, the latter made
allegorical remarks by which Macaulay understood that nothing would
secure his release but the apprehension of Ross of Balnagown, who was
grand uncle, or grand uncle's son to the Countess. Macaulay returned
to Kintail, made up a company of the "prettiest fellows" he could
find of Mackenzie's family, and went back with them to Easter Ross,
and in the morning apprehended Balnagown in a little arbour near the
house, in a little wood to which he usually resorted for an airing,
and, mounting him on horseback, carried him westward among the hills.
Balnagown's friends were soon in pursuit, but fearing capture,
Macaulay sent Balnagown away under guard, resolving to fight and
detain the pursuers at Bealach nam Brog, as already described,
until Balnagown was safely out of their reach. After his success
here Macaulay went to Kintail, and at Glenluing, five miles from
Ellandonnan, he overtook thirty men, sent by the Countess, with meal
and other provisions for the garrison, and the spot, where they
seized them is to this day called Innis nam Balg. Macaulay secured
them, and placed his men in their upper garments and plaids, who
took the sacks of meal on their backs, and went straight with them
to the garrison, whose impoverished condition induced the Governor
to admit them without any enquiry, not doubting but they were his
own friends. Once inside they threw down their burdens, drew their
weapons from under their plaids, seized the new Governor and all his
men and kept them in captivity until Mackenzie was afterwards
exchanged for the Governor and Balnagown. [Ardintoul MS.]

There has been considerable difference of opinion as to the date
of this encounter, but it is finally set at rest by the discovery
of a positive date in the Fowlis papers, where it is said that
"George, the fourth Laird, and his son, begotton on Balnagown's
daughter, were killed at the conflict of Beallach na Brog, in the
year 1452, and Dingwall of Kildun, with several of their friends
and followers, in taking back the Earl of Ross's second son from
Clan Iver, Clan Tarlich or Maclennans, and Clan Leod." [The Earl
of Cromarty gives a different version, and says that the battle
or skirmish took place in the year immediately after the Battle
of Harlaw. In this he is manifestly in error. The Highlanders, to
defend themselves from the arrows of their enemies, with their
belts tied their shoes on their breasts, hence the name "Bealach
nam Brog," or the Pass of the Shoes.] The Balnagown of that date
was not the Earl of Ross's son, but a near relative.

Angus Og, after many sanguinary conflicts with his father, finally
overthrew him at the battle of the Bloody Bay, between Tobermory and
Ardnamurchan, obtained possession of all the extensive territories
of his clan, and was recognised as its legitimate head. He then
determined to punish Mackenzie for having taken his father's part
at Court, and otherwise, during the rebellion, and swore that
he would recover from him the great possessions which originally
belonged to his predecessors, the Lords of the Isles, but
now secured by Royal Charter to the Baron of Kintail. With this
object he decided to attack him, and marched to Inverness, where
he expected to meet the now aged Mackenzie returning from attendance
at Court. Angus, however, missed his object, and instead of killing
Mackenzie, he was himself assassinated by his harper, an Irishman.
This tragic, but well-merited, close to such a violent and turbulent
career, is recorded in the Red Book of Clan Ranald in the following
terms: "Donald, the son of Angus that was killed at Inverness by
his own harper, son of John of the Isles, son of Alexander, son of
Donald, son of John, son of Angus Og;" an event which must have
occurred about 1485.

Alexander was the first of the family who lived on the island In
Loch Kinellan, while at the same time he had Brahan as a "maines,"
or farm, both of which his successor for a time held from the King
at a yearly rent, until Kenneth feued Brahan, and Colin, his son,
feued Kinellan.

The Earl of Sutherland had been on friendly terms with Mackenzie,
and appointed him as his deputy in the management of the Earldom
of Ross, which devolved on him after the forfeiture. On one
occasion, the Earl of Sutherland being in the south at Court, the
Strathnaver men and the men of the Braes of Caithness took advantage
of his absence and invaded Sutherland. An account of their conduct
soon spread abroad, and reached the ears of the Chief of Kintail,
who at once with a party of six hundred men, passed into Sutherland,
where, the Earl's followers having joined him, he defeated the
invaders, killed a large number of them, forced the remainder to
sue for peace, and compelled them to give substantial security
for their peaceful behaviour in future.

Kintail was now a very old man. His prudence and sagacity well
repaid the judicious patronage of the first King James, confirmed
and extended by his successors on the throne, and, as has been well
said by his biographer, secured for him "the love and respect of
three Princes in whose reign be flourished, and as his prudent
management in the Earldom of Ross showed him to be a man of good
natural parts, so it very much contributed to the advancement of
the interest of his family by the acquisition of the lands he thereby
made; nor was he less commendable for the quiet and peace he kept
among his Highlanders, putting the laws punctually in execution
against all delinquents." Such a character as this, justly called
Alastair Ionraic, or the just, was certainly well fitted to govern,
and deserved to flourish in the age in which he lived. Various
important events occurred during the latter part of his life, but
as Kenneth, his brave son and successor, was the actual leader of
the clan for many years before his father's death, and especially
at the celebrated battle of Park, the leading battles and feuds in
which the clan was engaged during this period will be dealt with
in the account of that Baron.

There has been much difference of opinion among the genealogists and
family historians regarding Alexander's two wives. Both Edmonston in
his Baronagium Genealogicum, and Douglas in his Peerage say that
Alexander's first wife was Agnes, sixth daughter of Colin, first Earl
of Argyll. This we shall prove to be absolutely impossible within
the ordinary course of the laws of nature. Colin, first Earl of
Argyll, succeeded as a minor in 1453, his uncle, Sir Colin Campbell
of Glenurchy, having been appointed his tutor. Colin of Argyll was
created Earl in 1457, probably on his coming of age. He married
Isabel Stewart of Lorn, had two sons, and, according to Crawford,
five daughters. If he had a daughter Agnes she must have been his
sixth daughter and eighth child. Assuming that Argyll married when
he became of age, about 1457, Agnes, as his eighth surviving child,
could not have been born before 1470. Her reputed husband, Alexander
of Kintail, was then close upon 70 years of age, having died in
1488, bordering upon 90, when his alleged wife would barely have
reached a marriageable age, and when her reputed son, Kenneth
a Bhlair, pretty well advanced in years, had already fought the
famous battle of Park. John of Killin, her alleged grandson,
was born about 1480, when at most the lady said to have been his
grandmother could only have been 10 to 15 years of age, and, in
1513, at the age of 33, he distinguished himself at the battle
of Flodden, where Archibald second Earl of Argyll, the lady's
brother, at least ten years older than Agnes, was slain. All this
is of course impossible.

A similar difficulty has arisen, from what appears to be a very
simple cause, about Alexander's second marriage. The authors of
all the family MS. histories are unanimous in stating that his first
wife was Anna, daughter of John Macdougall of Lorn, or Dunollich,
known as John Mac Alan Mac Cowle, fourth in descent from Alexander
de Ergedia and Lord of Lorn (1284), and eighth from Somerled,
Thane of Argyle, who died in 1164. Though the direct line of the
house of Lorn ended in two heiresses who, in 1388, carried away the
property to their husbands, the Macdougalls of Dunollich became
the male representatives of the ancient and illustrious house of
Lorn; and this fully accounts for the difference and confusion
which has been introduced about the families of Lorn and Dunollich
in some of the Mackenzie family manuscripts.

The same authorities who affirm that Agnes of Argyll was Alexander's
first wife assert that Anna Macdougall, was his second. There
is ample testimony to show that the latter was his first, although
some confusion has again arisen in this case from a similarity of
names and patronymics. Some of the family MSS. say that Alexander's
second wife was Margaret, daughter of "M'Couil," "M'Chouile,"
or "Macdougall" of Morir, or Morar, while others, among them the
Allangrange Ancient MS. have it that she was "MacRanald's daughter."
The Ardintoul MS. describes her as "Muidort's daughter." One
of the Gairloch MSS. says that she was "Margarite, the daughter
of Macdonald of Morar, of the Clan Ranald Race, from the stock
of Donald, Lord of the Aebudae Islands," while in another MS. in
Sir Kenneth Mackenzie's possession she is designated "Margaret
Macdonald, daughter of Macdonald of Morar." There is thus an
apparent contradiction, but it can be conclusively shown that the
lady so variously described was one and the same person. Gregory
in his Highlands and Islands of Scotland, p.158, states that
"Macdougall" was the patronymic of one of the families of Clan
Ranald of Moydart and Morar. Speaking of Dugald MacRanald, son
and successor to Ranald Ban Ranaldson of Moydart, he says, "Allan
the eldest son of Dougal, and the undoubted male heir of Clan
Ranald, acquired the estate of Morar, which he transmitted to his
descendants. He and his successors were always styled, in Gaelic,
MacDhughail Mhorair, ie., MacDougal of Morar, from their ancestor,
Dougald MacRanald." At p.65 he says that "the Clan Ranald of Garmoran
comprehended the families of Moydart, Morar, Knoydart, and
Glengarry." This family was descended from Ranald, younger son
of John of the Isles, by his marriage with the heiress of the
MacRorys or MacRuaries of Garmoran whose ancestry, from Somerled
of the Isles, is as illustrious as that of any family in the
kingdom. A district north of Arisaig is still known among the
Western Islanders as "Mor-thir Mhic Dhughail" or the mainland
possession of the son of Dougall. The MS. histories of the Mackenzies
having been all written after the patronymic of "MacDhughail" was
acquired by the Macdonalds of Moydart and Morar, they naturally
enough described Alexander of Kintail's second wife as a
daughter of Macdougall of Morar, of Muidort, and of Clan Ranald,
indiscriminately. But in point of fact all these designations
describe one and the same person.

Alexander married first, Anna, daughter of John Macdougall of
Dunolly, with issue -

1. Kenneth, his heir and successor.

2. Duncan, progenitor of the Mackenzies of Hilton, and their
branches, and of whom in their order as the senior cadet family of
the clan.

He married secondly Margaret, daughter of Macdonald of Morar, a
cadet of Clanranald, with issue -

3. Hector Roy or "Eachainn Ruadh," from whom are descended the
Mackenzies of Gairloch and their various offshoots, of whom in
their proper place.

4. A daughter, who married Allan Macleod, Hector Roy's predecessor
in Gairloch.

He is also said to have had a natural son, Dugal, who became a
priest and was Superior of the Priory of Beauly, which he repaired
about 1478, and in which he is buried. This ecclesiastic is said
by others to have been Alexander's brother. [Anderson's 'History
of the Frasers,' p.66; and MS. History of the Mackenzies.]

Alexander died in 1488 at Kinellan, having attained the extreme
old age of 90 years, was buried in the Priory of Beauly, and was
succeeded by his eldest son by the first marriage,


Better known as "Coinneach a' Bhlair," or Kenneth of the Battle,
from his prowess and success against the Macdonalds at the Battle
of Park during his father's life-time. He was served heir to his
predecessor and seized in the lands of Kintail at Dingwall on the
2nd of September, 1488. He secured the cognomen "Of the Battle"
from the distinguished part he took in "Blar-na-Pairc" fought at
a well-known spot still pointed out near Kinellan, above Strathpeffer.
His father was advanced in life before Kenneth married, and as
soon as the latter arrived at twenty years of age Alexander thought
it prudent, with the view of establishing peace between the two
families, to match Kenneth, his heir and successor, with Margaret,
daughter of John Lord of the Isles and fourth Earl of Ross, and
for ever extinguish their ancient feuds in that alliance. The
Island chief willingly consented and the marriage was in due course
solemnised. About a year after, the Earl's nephew and apparent
heir, Alexander Macdonald of Lochalsh, came to Ross, and, feeling
more secure in consequence of this matrimonial alliance between
the family of Mackenzie and his own, took possession of Balcony
House and the adjoining lands, where, at the following Christmas,
he provided a great feast for his old dependants, inviting to
it also most of the more powerful chiefs and barons north of the
Spey, and among others, Kenneth Mackenzie, his cousin's husband.
The house of Balcony being at the time very much out of repair, he
could not conveniently lodge all his distinguished guests within
it, and had accordingly to arrange for some of them in the outhouses
as best he could. Kenneth did not arrive until Christmas Eve,
accompanied by a train of forty able bodied men, according to the
custom of the times, but without his lady, which deeply offended
Macdonald. Maclean of Duart had chief charge of the arrangements in
the house and the disposal of the guests. Some days previously he
had a disagreement with Kenneth at some games, and, on his arrival,
Maclean told the heir of Kintail that, taking advantage of his
connection with the family, they had taken the liberty of providing
him with lodgings in the kiln. Kenneth considered this an insult,
and, divining that it proceeded from Maclean's illwill to him, he
instantly struck him a blow on the ear, which threw him to the
ground. The servants in the house viewed this as a direct insult
to their chief, Macdonald, and at once took to arms. Kenneth,
though sufficiently bold, soon perceived that he had no chance to
light successfully or to beat a retreat, and, noticing several
boats lying on the shore, which had been provided for the transport
of the guests, he took as many of them as he required, sank the
rest, and passed with his followers to the opposite shore, where he
remained over night in the house of a tenant, who, like a good many
more in those days, had no surname, but was simply known by a
patronymic. Kenneth, boiling with passion, was sorely affronted at
the insult which he had received, and at being from his own house
at Christmas, staying with a stranger, and off his own property.
In these circumstances, he requested his host to adopt the name of
Mackenzie, promising him protection in future, so that be might
thus be able to say that he slept under the roof of one of his
own name. The man at once consented, and his posterity were ever
after known as Mackenzies.

Next morning (Christmas Day) Kenneth went to the hill above
Chanonry, and sent word to the Bishop, who was at the time enjoying
his Christmas with some of his clergy, that he desired to speak
to him. The Bishop knowing his man's temper and the turbulent
state of the times thought it prudent to comply with this request,
though be considered it very strange to receive such a message on
such a day, and wondered much what his visitors object could be.
He soon found that Kenneth simply wanted a feu of the small piece
of land on which was situated the house in which he had lodged
the previous night, stating, as his reason, "lest Macdonald should
brag that he had forced him on Christmas Day to lodge at another
man's discretion, and not on own heritage." The Bishop, willing to
oblige him probably afraid to do otherwise, and perceiving him in
such a rage, at once sent for his clerk and there and then granted
him a charter of the township of Cullicudden, whereupon Kenneth
returned to the place and remained in it all day, lording over it
as his own property. The place was kept by him and his successors
until Colin "Cam" acquired more of the Bishop's lands in the
neighbourhood, and afterwards exchanged the whole with the Sheriff
of Cromarty for lands in Strathpeffer.

Next day Kenneth started for Kinellan, where his father, the old
chief Alexander, resided, and related to him what had taken place.
His father was much grieved, for he well knew that the smallest
difference between the families would revive their old grievances,
and, although there was less danger since Macdonald's interest
in Ross was smaller than in the past, yet he knew the clan to be
a powerful one still, more so than his own, in their number of
able-bodied warriors; but these considerations, strongly impressed
upon the son by the experienced and aged father, only added fuel
to the fire in Kenneth's bosom, which was already fiercely burning
to avenge the insult offered him by Macdonald's servants. His
natural impetuosity could ill brook any such insult and he considered
himself wronged so much that he felt it his duty personally to
retaliate and avenge it. While this was the state of his mind
matters were suddenly brought to a crisis by the arrival on the
fourth day of a messenger from Macdonald with a summons requesting
Alexander and his son Kenneth to remove from Kinellan, with all
their families, within twenty-four hours, allowing only that the
young Lady Margaret, Macdonald's own cousin, might remain until
she had more leisure to remove, and threatening war to the knife
in case of noncompliance.

Kenneth's rage now became ungovernable, and, without consulting his
father or waiting his counsel, he bade the messenger tell Macdonald
that his father would remain where he was in spite of him and all
his power. As for himself, he accepted no rules as to his staying
or going, but Macdonald would be sure enough to hear of him wherever
he was. As for Macdonald's cousin, Lady Margaret, since he had
no desire to keep further peace with his family he would no longer
keep his relative.

Such was the defiant message sent to young Macdonald, and immediately
after its despatch, Kenneth sent away Lady Margaret, in the most
ignominious manner, to Balcony House. The lady was blind of an
eye, and, to insult her cousin to the utmost, he sent her back to
him mounted on a one-eyed horse, accompanied by a one-eyed servant,
followed by a one-eyed dog. She was in a delicate state of health,
and this inhumanity grieved her so much that she never after
wholly recovered. Her son, recently born, the only issue of the
marriage, was named Kenneth, and to distinguish him from his father
was called "Coinneach Og" or Kenneth the younger.

It appears that Kenneth had no great affection for Lady Margaret,
for a few days after he sent her away he went to Lord Lovat accompanie
by two hundred of his followers and besieged his house. Lovat was
naturally surprised at his conduct and demanded an explanation,
when he was informed by Kenneth that he came to demand his daughter
Agnes in marriage now that he had no wife, having, as he told
him, disposed of Lady Margaret in the manner already described.
He insisted upon an immediate and favourable reply to his suit on
which condition he promised to be on strict terms of friendship
with the family; but, if his demand was refused he would swear
mortal enmity against Lovat and his house; and, as evidence of his
intention in this respect, he pointed out to his lordship that he
already bad a party of his vassals outside gathering together the
men, women, and goods that were nearest in the vicinity, all of whom,
be declared, should "be made one fyne to evidence his resolution."
Lovat, who had no particularly friendly feelings towards Macdonald
of the Isles, was not at all indisposed to procure Mackenzie's
friendship on the terms proposed, and considering the exigencies
and danger of his retainers, and knowing full well the bold and
determined character of the man he had to deal with, he consented
to the proposed alliance, provided the voting lady herself
was favourable. She fortunately proved submissive. Lord Lovat
delivered her up to her suitor, who immediately returned borne
with her, and ever after they lived together as husband and wife.

Macdonald was naturally very much exasperated by Kenneth's defiant
answer to himself and the repeated insults heaped upon his relative,
and through her upon her family. He therefore dispatched his
great steward, Maclean, to collect his followers in the Isles, as
also to advise and request the aid of his nearest relations on the
mainland - the Macdonalds of Moidart and Clan Jan of Ardnamurchan.
In a short time they mustered a force between them of about fifteen
hundred men - some say three thousand - and arranged with Macdonald
to meet him at Contin. They assumed that Alexander Mackenzie, now
so old, would not have gone to Kintail, but would stay in Ross,
judging that the Macdonalds, so recently come under obligations
to the King to keep the peace would not venture to collect their
forces and invade the low country. But Kenneth, foreseeing the
danger from the rebellious temper of Macdonald, went to Kintail at
the commencement of his enemy's preparations, and placed a strong
garrison, with sufficient provisions, in Ellandonnan Castle; and
the cattle and other goods in the district he ordered to be driven
and sent to the most remote hills and secret places. He took
all the remaining able-bodied men along with him, and on his way
back to Kinellan he was joined by his dependants in Strathconan,
Strathgarve, and other glens in the Braes of Ross, all fully
determined to defend Kenneth and his aged father at the expense,
if need be, of their lives, small as their united forces were in
comparison with that against which they knew they would soon have
to contend.

Macdonald had meanwhile collected his friends, and, at the head
of a large body of Western Highlanders, advanced through Lochaber
into Badenoch, where he was joined by the Clan Chattan; marched
to Inverness, where they were met by the young laird of Kilravock
and some of Lovat's people; reduced the Castle (then a royal
fortress), placed a garrison in it, and proceeded to the north-east,
plundering the lands of Sir Alexander Urquhart, Sheriff of Cromarty.
They next marched westward to the district of Strathconan, ravaged
the lands of the Mackenzies as they went, and put the inhabitants
and more immediate retainers of the family to the sword, resolutely
determined to punish Mackenzie for his ill-treatment of Lady
Margaret and recover possession of that part of the Earldom of
Ross forfeited by the earls of that name, and now the property of
Mackenzie by Royal charter. Having wasted Strathconan, Macdonald
arrived on Sunday morning at Contin, where he found the people in
great terror and confusion; and the able-bodied men having already
joined Mackenzie, the aged, the women, and the children took refuge
in the church, thinking themselves secure within its precincts from
any enemy professing Christianity. They soon, to their horror,
found out their mistake. Macdonald, having little or no scruples
on the score of religion, ordered the doors to be closed and
guarded, and then set fire to the building. The priest, together
with the hapless crowd of helpless and aged men, women and children,
were all burnt to ashes.

Some of those who were fortunate enough not to have been in Contin
church immediately started for Kinellan, and informed Mackenzie
of the hideous massacre. Alexander, though deeply grieved at the
cruel destruction of his people, expressed his gratitude that the
enemy, whom he had hitherto considered too numerous to contend with
successfully, had now engaged God against them by their impious
conduct. Contin was not far from Kinellan, and Macdonald, thinking
that Mackenzie would not remain at the latter place with such
a comparatively small force, ordered Gillespic to draw up his
followers on the large moor, now known as "Blar-na-Pairc," that he
might review them, and send out a detachment to pursue the enemy.
Kenneth Mackenzie, who had received the command of the clan from
the old chief, had meantime posted his men in a strong position
- on ground where he considered he could defend himself against a
superior force, and conveniently situated to attack the enemy if
a favourable opportunity occurred. His followers only amounted
to six hundred, while his opponent had at least three times that
number, but he had the advantage in another respect inasmuch as he
had sufficient provisions for a much longer period than Macdonald
could possibly procure for his larger force, the country people
having driven their cattle and all the provender that might be of
service to the enemy out of his reach. About mid-day the Islesmen
were drawn up on the moor, about a quarter of a mile distant from
the position occupied by the Mackenzies, the opposing forces being
only separated from each other by a peat moss, full of deep pits
and deceitful bogs. Kenneth, fearing a siege, had shortly before
this prevailed upon his aged father to retire to the Raven's Rock,
above Strathpeffer, to which place, strong and easily defended, he
resolved to follow him in case he were compelled to retreat before
the numerically superior force of his enemy. This the venerable
Alexander did, recommending his son to the assistance and protection
of a Higher Power, at the same time assuring him of success,
notwithstanding the far more numerous numbers of his adversary.

By the nature of the ground, Kenneth perceived that Macdonald could
not bring all his forces to the attack at once, and he accordingly
resolved to maintain his ground and try the effects of a stratagem
which he correctly calculated would mislead his opponent and
place him at a serious disadvantage. He acquainted his younger
brother, Duncan, with his resolution and plans, and sent him off,
before the struggle commenced, with a body of archers to be placed
in ambush, while he determined to cross the peat-bog himself and
attack Macdonald in front with the main body, intending to retreat
as soon as his adversary returned the attack, and thus entice the
Islesmen to pursue him. He informed Duncan of his own intention
to retreat and commanded him to be in readiness with his archers
to charge the enemy whenever they got fairly into the moss and
entangled among the pits and bogs.

Having made these preliminary arrangements, he boldly advanced to
meet the foe, leading his resolute band in the direction of the
intervening moss. Macdonald, seeing him, cried in derision to
Gillespic to see "Mackenzie's impudent madness, daring thus to
face him at such disadvantage." Gillespic, being a more experienced
leader than the youthful and impetuous Alexander, said that "such
extraordinary boldness should be met by more extraordinary wariness
in us, lest we fall into unexpected inconvenience." Macdonald,
in a towering passion, replied to this wise counsel - "Go you also
and join with them, and it will not need our care nor move the
least fear in my followers; both of you will not be a breakfast
to me and mine." Meanwhile Mackenzie advanced a little beyond
the moss, avoiding, from his intimate knowledge of it, all the
dangerous pits and bogs, when Maclean of Lochbuy, who led the van
of the enemy's army, advanced and charged him with great fury.
Mackenzie, according to his pre-arranged plan, at once retreated,
but in so masterly a manner that, in doing so, he inflicted as
much damage on the enemy as he received. The Islesmen speedily
got entangled in the moss, and Duncan Mackenzie observing this,
rushed forth from his ambush and furiously attacked them in flank
and rear, killing most of those who had entered the bog. He then
turned his attention to the main body of the Islesmen, who were
quite unprepared for so sudden an onslaught. Kenneth, setting
this, charged with his main body, who were all well instructed in
their leader's design, and, before the enemy were able to form in
order of battle, he fell on their right flank with such impetuosity
and did such execution among them that they were compelled to fall
back in confusion before the splendid onset of the small force
which they had so recently sneered at and despised. Gillespic,
stung by Alexander Macdonald's taunt before the engagement began,
to prove to him that "though he was wary in council he was not
fearful in action," sought out Kenneth Mackenzie, that he might
engage him in single combat, and followed by some of his bravest
followers he, with signal valour, did great execution among the
Mackenzies in course of his approach to Kenneth, who was in the
hottest of the fight, and who, seeing Gillespic coming in his
direction, advanced to meet him, killing, wounding, or scattering
any of the Macdonalds that came in his way. He made a signal to
Gillespic to advance and meet him hand-to-hand, but, finding him
hesitating, Kenneth, who far exceeded him in strength while he
equalled him in courage, would brook no tedious debate but pressed
on with fearful eagerness, at one blow cut off Gillespic's arm
and passed very far into his body so that he fell down dead on
the spot.

At this moment Kenneth noticed his standard-bearer close by, without
his colours, and fighting desperately to his own hand. He turned
round to him, and angrily asked what had become of his colours,
when he was coolly answered - "I left Macdonald's standard-bearer,
quite unashamed of himself, and without the slightest concern for
those of his own chief, carefully guarding mine." Kenneth naturally
demanded an explanation of such an extraordinary state of matters,
when the man informed him that he had met Macdonald's standard-bearer
in the conflict, and had been fortunate enough to slay him; that
he had thrust the staff of his own standard through his opponent's
body and as there appeared to be some good work to do among the
enemy, he had left some of his companions to guard the standard,
and devoted himself to do what little he could to aid his master,
and protect him from his adversaries. Maclean of Lochbuy (Lachlainn
MacThearlaich) was killed by "Duncan mor na Tuaighe," Mackenzie's
"great scallag," of whom we have the following curious account:

Shortly before the battle, a raw, ungainly, but powerful looking
youth from Kintail was seen staring about, as the Mackenzies were
starting to meet the enemy, in an apparently idiotic manner, as
if looking for something. He ultimately came across an old rusty
battle-axe, of great size, and, setting off after the others, he
arrived at the scene of strife just as the combatants were closing
with each other. Duncan Macrae (for such was his name), from his
stupid and ungainly appearance, was taken little notice of, and
was wandering about in an aimless, vacant, half-idiotic manner.
Hector Roy, Alexander's third son, and progenitor of the Gairloch
Mackenzies, observing him, asked why he was not taking part in the
fight, and supporting his chief and clan. Duncan replied - "Mar a
faigh mi miabh duine, cha dean mi gniomh duine." (Unless I get
a man's esteem, I shall not perform a man's work.) This was in
reference to his not having been provided with a proper weapon.
Hector answered him - "Deansa gniomh duine 's gheibh thu miabh
duine." (Perform a man's work and you will get a man's esteem.)
Duncan at once rushed into the strife, exclaiming - "Buille mhor
bho chul mo laimhe, 's ceum leatha, am fear nach teich rombam,
teicheam roimhe." (A heavy stroke from the back of my hand [arm]
and a step to [enforce] it. He who does not get out of my way,
let me get out of his.) Duncan soon killed a man, and, drawing
the body aside, he coolly sat upon it. Hector Roy, noticing this
peculiar proceeding as be was passing by in the heat of the contest,
accosted Duncan, and asked him why he was not still engaged with
his comrades. Duncan answered - "Mar a faigh mi ach miabh aon duine
cha dean mi ach gniomh aon duine." (If I only get one man's due
I shall only do one man's work). Hector told him to perform two
men's work, and be would get two men's reward. Duncan returned
again to the field of carnage, killed another, pulled his body
away, placed it on the top of the first, and sat upon the two. The
same question was again asked, and the answer given: "I have
killed two men, and earned two men's wages." Hector answered
- "Do your best, and we shall not be reckoning with you." Duncan
instantly replied - "Am fear nach biodh ag cunntadh rium cha
bhithinn ag cunntadh ris" - (He that would not reckon with me, I
would not reckon with him) - and rushed into the thickest of the
battle, where he mowed down the enemy with his rusty battle-axe
like grass; so much so that Lachlan Maclean of Lochbuy (Lachlainn
MacThearlaich), a most redoubtable warrior, placed himself in
Duncan's way to check him in his murderous career. The two met
in mortal strife, but, Maclean being a very powerful man, clad
in mail, and well versed in arms, Duncan could make no impression
upon him but, being lighter and more active than his heavily mailed
opponent, he managed to defend himself, watching his opportunity,
and retreating backwards until he arrived at a ditch, where
his opponent, thinking he had him fixed, made a desperate stroke
at him, which Duncan parried, at the same time jumping backwards
across the ditch. Maclean, to catch his enemy, made a furious
lunge with his weapon, but, instead of entering Duncan's body, it
got fixed in the opposite bank of the ditch. In withdrawing it,
he bent his head forward, when the helmet, rising, exposed the
back of his neck, upon which Duncan's battle-axe descended with
the velocity of lightning, and with such terrific force as to sever
Maclean's head from his body. This, it is said, was the turning-point
of the struggle, for the Macdonalds, seeing the brave leader of
their van falling, at once retreated, and gave up all for lost.
The hero was ever afterwards known as "Donnchadh Mor na Tuaighe,"
or Big Duncan of the Axe, and many a story is told in Kintail and
Gairloch of the many other prodigies of valour which he performed
in the after contests of the Mackenzies and the Macraes against
their common enemies. "Such of Macdonald's men as escaped the
battle fled together, and as they were going homeward began to
spulzie Strathconan, which Mackenzie hearing, followed them with
a party, overtakes them at Invercorran, kills shoals of them and
the rest fled divers ways."

That night, as Mackenzie sat at supper, he missed Duncan Mor, and
said to the company - "I am more vexed for the want of my scallag
mar (big servant) this night than any satisfaction I had of this
day." One of those present said, "I thought, (as the people fled)
I perceived him following four or five men that ran up the burn."
He had not well spoken the word when Duncan Mor came in with
four heads "bound on a woody" and threw them before his master,
saying - "Tell me now if I have not deserved my supper," to which,
it is said of him, he fell with great gusto.

This reminds me, continues the chronicler, "of a cheat he once
played on an Irishman, being a traveller, withal a strong, lusty
fellow, well-proportioned, but of an extraordinary stomach. He
resorted into gentlemen's houses, and (was) very oft in Mackenzie's.
Having come on a time to the same Mackenzie's house in Islandonain
two or three years after this battle (of Park), he was cared for
as usual, and when the laird went to dinner, he was set aside,
at a side-table to himself, and a double proportion allowed him,
which this Duncan Mor envying, went on a day and sat side for side
with him, drew his skyn or short dagger and eats with him. 'How
now,' says the Irishman, 'how comes it that you fall in eating
in any manner of way.' 'I cannot tell,' says Duncan, 'but I do
think I have as good will to eat as you can have.' 'Well,' says
the other, 'we shall try that when we have done.' So when the
laird had done of his dinner, the Irishman went where he was
and said, 'Noble sir, I have travelled now almost among all the
clans in Scotland, and was resorting their houses, as I have been
several times here, where I cannot say but I was sufficiently cared
for, but I never met with such an affront as I have this day.' The
laird asked what he meant. So he tells him what injury Duncan had
done him in eating a share of his proportion. 'Well,' says the
laird, 'I hope M'ille Chruimb,' for so the Irishman was called,
'you will take no notice of him that did that; for he is but a fool
that plays the fool now and then.' 'I cannot tell,' says he, 'but he
is no idiot at eating, nor will I let my affront pass so; for I must
have a turn or two of wrestling with him for it in your presence.'
Whereupon a stander-by asks Duncan if he would wrestle with him. 'I
will,' says he, 'for I think I was fit sides with him in eating and
might be so with this.' They yocks, and Duncan threw him thrice on
his back. The Irishman was so angry he wist not what to say. He
invites him to put the stone, and at the second cast he worried him
four feet, but could never reach him. Then he was like to burst
himself. Finding this, he invites him to lop so that he outlopped
him as far a length. The Irishman then said, 'I have travelled as
far as any of my equals, both in Scotland, England, and Ireland, and
tried many hands, but I never met with my equal till this day,
but comrade,' say's he 'let us now go and swim a little in the
laird's presence.' 'With all my heart,' say's Duncan, 'for I never
sought better' (with this Duncan could swim not at all), but down
to the shore they go to the next rock, and being full sea, was at
least three fathoms deep, but before the Irishman had off half of
his clothes Duncan was stark naked, lops over the rocks and ducks
to the bottom and up again. Looking about him he calls to a boy
that stood by, and said, 'Lad, go where the Lady is, and bid her
send me a butter and four cheese.' The Irishman, hearing this,
asks `what purpose.' 'To what purpose,' says he, 'yons the least we
will need this night and to-morrow wherever we be,' 'Do you intend a
journey,' say's the Irishman. 'Aye, that I do,' answered the other,
'and am in hopes to cross the Kyle ere night.' Now, this Kyle was
20 leagues off with a very ill stream, as the Irishman very well
knew, so that he said, with a very great oath, lie would not go with
him that length, but if he liked to sport the laird with several
sorts of swimming, he would give a trial. 'Sport here, sport there,
wherever I go you must go.' With this the cheese and butter come,
and Duncan desires the Irishman to make ready, but all his
persuasions (not against his will) would not prevail with
Mac a Chruimb, whereupon all the company gave over with laughter,
knowing the other could swim none at all, but the fellow thought
they jeered him. The laird made Duncan forbear him; but Duncan
swore a great oath he would make him swim or he left the town,
otherwise he would want of his will. So it came to pass for the
Irishman got away that same night, was seen on the morrow in
Lochalsh, but none (was) found that ferried him over. But never
after resorted Mackenzie's house." [Ancient MS. of the Mackenzies.]

What remained of the Macdonalds after the battle of Park were
completely routed and put to flight, but most of them were killed,
"quarter being no ordinar complement in thos dayes."

The night before the battle young Brodie of Brodie, accompanied by
his accustomed retinue, was on a visit at Kinellan, and as be was
preparing to leave the next morning be noticed Mackenzie's men in
arms, whereupon he asked if the enemy were known to be so near
that for a certainty they would fight before night. Being informed
that they were close at hand, he determined to wait and take part
in the battle, replying to Kenneth's persuasions to the contrary,
"that be was an ill fellow and worse neighbour that would leave
his friend at such a time," He took a distinguished part in the
fight and behaved "to the advantage of his friend and notable loss
of his enemy," and the Earl of Cromarty informs us that immediately
after the battle be went on his journey. But his conduct produced
a friendship between the Mackenzies and the family of Brodie, which
continued among their posterity, "and even yet remains betwixt
them, being more sacredly observed than the ties of affinity and
consanguinity amongst most others," and a bond of manrent was
entered into between the families. Some authorities assert that
young Brodie was slain, but of this no early writer makes any mention
and neither in Sir Robert Gordon's 'Earldom of Sutherland,' in the
'Earl of Cromartie' or other MS. 'Histories of the Mackenzies,' nor in
Brown's 'History of the Highland Clans,' is there any mention made
of his having been killed, though they all refer to the distinguished
part be took in the battle. He was, however, seriously wounded.

The morning after the battle Kenneth, fearing that the few of the
Macdonalds who escaped might rally among the hills and commit
cruelties and robberies on those of his people whom they might come
across, marched to Strathconan, where he found, as he had expected,
that about three hundred of the enemy had rallied, and were
destroying everything they had passed over in their eastward march
before the battle. As soon, however, as they noticed him in pursuit
they took to their heels, but they were overtaken and all killed or
made prisoners.

Kenneth then returned to Kinellan, carrying with him Alexander
Macdonald of Lochalsh, whom he had taken prisoner, in triumph. His
aged father, Alastair Ionraic, had now returned from the Raven's
Rock, and warmly congratulated his valiant son upon his splendid
victory; adding, however, with significant emphasis, that he feared
they made two days work of one," since, by sparing Macdonald,
who was also a prisoner, and his apparent heir, they preserved
the lives of those who might yet give them trouble. But Kenneth,
though a lion in the field, could not, from any such prudential
consideration, be induced to commit such a cowardly and inhuman
act as was here inferred. He, however, had no great faith in the
forbearance of his followers if an opportunity occurred to them,
and he accordingly sent Macdonald, under a strong guard, to Lord
Lovat, to be kept by him in safety until he should advise him how
to dispose of him. He kept Alexander of Lochalsh with himself, but,
contrary to the expectations of their friends, he, on the
intercession of old Macdonald, released them both within six months,
having first bound them by oath and honour never to molest him or
his, and never again to claim any right to the Earldom of Ross,
which the Lord of the Isles had in 1475 forfeited to the Crown.

Many of the Macdonalds and their followers who escaped from the
field of battle perished in the River Conon. Flying from the close
pursuit of the victorious Mackenzies, they took the river, which
in some parts was very deep, wherever they came up to it, and were
drowned. Rushing to cross at Moy, they met an old woman - still
smarting under the insults and spoliations inflicted on her and
her neighbours by the Macdonalds on their way north - and asked her
where was the best ford on the river. "O! ghaolaich," she answered,
"is aon ath an abhuinn; ged tha i dubh, cha 'n eil i domhain," (Oh!
dear, the river is all one ford together; though it looks black,
it is not deep). In their pitiful plight, and on the strength of
this misleading information, they rushed into the water in hundreds,
and were immediately carried away by the stream, many of them
clutching at the shrubs and bushes which overhung the banks of
the river, and crying loudly for assistance. This amazon and a
number of her sex who were near at hand had meanwhile procured
their sickles, and now exerted themselves in cutting away the
bushes to which the wretched Macdonalds clung with a death grasp,
the old woman exclaiming in each case, as she applied her sickle,
"As you have taken so much already which did not belong to you,
my friend, you can take that into the bargain. The instrument
of the old woman's revenge has been for many generations, and
still is by very old people in the district, called "Cailleach na
Maigb," or the Old Wife of Moy.

The Mackenzies then proceeded to ravage the lands of Ardmeanach
and those belonging to William Munro of Fowlis - the former because
the young laird of Kilravock, whose father was governor of that
district, had assisted the Macdonalds; the latter probably because
Munro, who joined neither party, was suspected secretly of favouring
Lochalsh. So many excesses were committed at this time by the
Mackenzies that the Earl of Huntly, Lieutenant of the North, was
compelled, notwithstanding their services in repelling the invasion
of the Macdonalds, to proceed against them as oppressors of the
lieges. [Gregory, p.57. Kilravock Writs, p.170, and Acts of

A blacksmith, known as Glaishean Gow or "Gobha," one of Lovat's
people, in whose father's house Agnes Fraser, Mackenzie's wife, was
fostered, hearing of the advance of the Macdonalds to the Mackenzie
territory, started with a few followers in the direction of Conan,
but arrived too late to take part in the fight. They were, however,
in time to meet those few who managed to ford or swim the river,
and killed every one of them so that they found an opportunity
"to do more service than if they had been at the battle."

This insurrection cost the Macdonalds the Lordship of the Isles,
as others had previously cost them the Earldom of Ross. In
a Parliament held in Edinburgh in 1493, the possessions of the
Lord of the Isles were declared forfeited to the Crown. In the
following January the aged Earl appeared before King James IV., and
made a voluntary surrender of everything, after which he remained
for several years in the King's household as a Court pensioner.
By Act of the Lords of Council in 1492 Alexander Urquhart, Sheriff
of Cromarty, had obtained restitution for himself and his tenants
for the depredations committed by Macdonald and his followers.
According to the Kilravock Papers, p.162, the spoil amounted to
600 cows and oxen, each worth 13s 4d, 80 horses, each worth 26s
8d; 1000 sheep, each worth 2s; 200 swine, each worth 3s; with
plenishing to the value of L300 and also 500 bolls of victual and
L300 of the mails of the Sheriff's lands.

The Earl of Cromarty says of Kenneth, "that he raised great
fears in his neighbours by his temper and power, by which he had
overturned so great ane interest as that of Macdonald, yet it
appearit that he did not proceid to such attemptts but on just
resentments and rationall grounds, for dureing his lyfe he not
only protected the country by his power, but he caryed so that
non was esteemed a better neighbour to his friends nor a juster
maister to his dependers. In that one thing of his caryadge to his
first wife he is justly reprowable; in all things else he merits
justly to be numbered amongst the best of our Scots patriots."
The same writer continues - "The fight at Blairnapark put Mackenzie
in great respect through all the North. The Earl of Huntly,
George, who was the second Earle, did contract a friendship with
him, and when he was imployed by King James 3d to assist him
against the conspirators in the South, Kenneth came with 500 men
to him in summer 1488; but erre they came the lengthe of Perth,
Mackenzie had nottice of his father Alexander's death, whereupon
Huntly caused him retire to ordor his affaires, least his old
enemies might tack advantage of such a change, and Huntly judgeing
that they were rather too numberous than weak for the conspirators,
by which occasion he (Kenneth) was absent from that vnfortunat
battle wher King James 3d wes kild, yet evir after this, Earl
George, and his son Alexander, the 3d Earl of Huntly, keipt a
great kyndness to Kenneth and his successors. From the yeir 1489
the kingdom vnder King James 4d wes at great peace, and thereby
Mackenzie toock opportunity to setle his privat affaires, which
for many yeirs befor, yea severall ages, had bein almost still
disturbed by the Earls of Ross and Lords of the Illes, and so he
lived in peace and good correspondences with his neighbours till
the yeir 1491, for in the moneth of February that yeir he died and
wes buried at Bewlie. All his predecessors wer buried at Icolmkill
(except his father), as wer most of the considerable chieffs in the
Highlands. But this Kenneth, after his marriage, keipt frequent
devotiones with the Convent of Bewlie, and at his owin desyre wes
buried ther, in the ille on the north syd of the alter, which wes
built by himselfe in his lyftyme or he died; after that he done
pennance for his irregular marieing or Lovit's daughter. He procured
recommendationes from Thomas Hay (his lady's uncle), Bishop of Ross,
to Pope Alexander the 6, from whom he procured a legittmatione of
all the cheildrein of the mariadge, daited apud St Petri, papatus
nostri primo, anno Cristiano 1491."

Bishop Hay strongly impressed upon Mackenzie the propriety of getting
his marriage with Agnes of Lovat legitimized, and to send for a
commission to the Pope for that purpose. Donald Dubh MacChreggir,
priest of Kirkhill, was despatched to Rome with that object, and,
according to several of the family manuscripts, procured the
legitimation of the marriage. "This priest was a native of Kintail,
descended from a clan there called Clan Chreggir, who, being a
hopefull boy in his younger days, was educat in Mackenzie's house,
and afterwards at Beullie be the forementioned Dugall Mackenzie,
pryor yrof. In end he was made priest of Kirkhill. His successors
to this day are called Frasers. Of this priest is descended Mr
William Fraser and Mr Donald Fraser." [Ancient MS.] Another writer
describes the messengers sent to Rome as Mr Andrew Fraser, priest of
Kintail, a learned and eloquent man, who took in his company Dugal
Mackenzie, natural son to Alexander Inrig, who was a scholar. The
Pope entertained them kindly and very readily granted them what they
desired and were both made knights to the boot of Pope Clement the
VIII., but when my knights came home, they neglected the decree of
Pope Innocent III. against the marriage and consentrinate of all the
clergy or otherwise they got a dispensation from the then Pope
Clement VIII., for both of them married - Sir Dugall was made priest
of Kintail and married nien (daughter) Dunchy Chaim in Glenmorriston.
Sir Andrew likewise married, whose son was called Donald Du Mac
Intagard, and was priest of Kirkhill and Chaunter of Ross. His tack
of the vicarage of Kilmorack to John Chisholm of Comar stands to this
day. The present Mr William Fraser, minister of Kilmorack, is the
fifth minister in lineal and uninterrupted succession."
[Ardintoul MS.]

Anderson, in his 'Account of the Family of Fraser,' also says that
"application was made to the Pope to sanction the second marriage,
which he did, anno 1491." Sir James D. Mackenzie of Findon (note,
p. 19) however says that he made a close search in the Vatican and
the Roman libraries but was unable to find trace of any document
of legitmation.

Of Roderick, Sir Kenneth's fourth son, who was an exceedingly
powerful man, the following interesting story is told: - He was a
man of great strength and stature, and in a quarrell which took
place between him and Dingwall of Kildun, he killed the latter, and
"that night abode with his wife." Complaint was made to King James
the Fifth, who commanded the Baron of Kintail to give Rory up to
justice. His brother, knowing he could not do so openly and by
force without trouble and considerable danger, went to Kintail
professedly to settle his affairs there, and when he was about
returning home he requested Rory to meet him at Glassletter, that
he might privately consult and discourse with him as to his
present state. Rory duly met him on the appointed day with fifty
men of his "coalds," the Macleays, besides ordinary servants and
some Kintail men. While the two brothers went to discourse, they
passed between the Kintail men and the Macleays, who sat at a good
distance from one another. When Mackenzie came near the Kintail
men, he clapped Rory on the shoulder, which was the sign between
them, and Rory was immediately seized. Gillecriost MacFhionnla
instantly ran to the Macleays, who had taken to their arms to
relieve their Coald Rory Mor, and desired them in a friendly manner
to compose themselves, and not be rash, since Rory was seized not
by his enemies, but was in the hands of his own brother, and of
those who had as great a kindness for him, and interest in him as
they had themselves; and further he desired them to consider what
would be the consequences, for if the least drop of blood was
shed, Rory would be immediately put to death, and so all their
pains would be lost. He thus prevailed upon them to keep quiet.
In the meantime Rory struggled with the Kintail men, and would not
be taken or go along with them, until John Mor, afterwards agnamed
Ian Mor nan Cas, brother to Gillecriost MacFhionnla, took Rory
by the feet and cast him down. They then bound him and carried
him on their shoulders, until he consented to go along with
them willingly, and without further objection. They took him to
Ellandonnan, whence shortly after he was sent south to the King,
where he had to take his trial. He, however, denied the whole
affair, and in the absence of positive proof, the judges declined to
convict him; but the King, quite persuaded of his guilt, ordered
him to be sent a prisoner to the Bass Rock, with strict injunctions
to have him kept in chains. This order was obeyed, and Rory's hands
and legs were much pained and cut with the irons. The governor
had unpleasant feuds with one of his neighbours, which occasioned
several encounters and skirmishes between their servants, who
came in repeatedly with wounds and bruises. Rory, noticing this
to occur frequently, said to one of them, "Would to God that the
laird would take me with him, and I should then be worth my meat to
him and serve for better use than I do with these chains." This
was communicated to the governor, who sent for Rory and asked him
if he would fight well for him. "If I do not that," said he, "let
me hang in these chains." He then took his solemn oath that he
would not run away, and the governor ordered the servants to set
about curing Rory's wounds with ointments. He soon found himself
in good condition to fight, and an opportunity was not long delayed.
The governor met his adversary accompanied by his prisoner,
who fought to admiration, exhibiting great courage and enormous
strength. He soon routed the enemy, and the governor became so
enamoured of him that he was never after out of his company whenever
he could secretly have him unknown to the Court. About this time an
Italian came to Edinburgh, who challenged the whole nation to a
wrestling match for a large sum of money. One or two grappled with
him, but he disposed of them so easily that no one else could be
found to engage him. The King was much annoyed at this, and
expressed himself strongly in favour of any one who would defeat the
Italian, promising to give him a suitable reward. The governor of
the Rock having heard of this, thought it an excellent opportunity
for his prisoner to secure his freedom, and at the same time redeem
the credit of the nation, and he informed the King that a prisoner
committed to the Bass by his Majesty if released of his irons would,
in his opinion, match the Italian. The King immediately answered,
"His liberty, with reward, shall he have if he do so." The governor,
so as not to expose his own intimate relations with and treatment of
the prisoner, warily asked that time should be allowed to cure him of
his wounds, lest his own crime and Rory's previous liberty should
become known. When sufficient time had elapsed for this purpose a
day was appointed, and the governor brought Rory to Holyrood House to
meet the King, who enquired if he "would undertake to cast the
Italian for his liberty?" "Yes, sir," answered Rory "it will be a
hard task that I will not undertake for that; but, sir, it may be,
it will not be so easy to perform as to undertake, yet I shall give
him a fair trial." "Well" said the King, "how many days will you
have to fit yourself?" "Not an hour" replied Rory. His Majesty was
so pleased with his resolution that he immediately sent to the
Italian to ask if he would accept the challenge at once. He who had
won so many victories so easily already did not hesitate to grapple
with Rory, having no fear as to the result. Five lists were
prepared. The Italian was first on the ground, and seeing Rory
approaching him, dressed in his rude habit, without any of the
usual dress and accoutrements, laughed loudly. But no sooner was
he in the Highlander's grasp than the Italian was on his knee.
The King cried with joy; the Italian alleged foul play, and made
other and frivolous excuses, but His Majesty was so glad of the
apparent advantage in his favour that he was unwilling to expose
Rory to a second hazard. This did not suit the Highlander at all,
and he called out, "No, no, sir; let me try him again, for now I
think I know his strength." His Majesty hearing this, consented,
and in the second encounter Rory laid firm hold of the foreigner,
pulled him towards him with all his might, breaking his back, and
disjointing the back-bone. The poor fellow fell to the ground
groaning with pain, and died two day's after. The King, delighted
with Rory's prowess, requested him to remain at Court, but this he
refused, excusing himself on the ground that his long imprisonment
quite unfitted him for Court life, but if it pleased his Majesty
he would send him his son, who was better fitted to serve him. He
was provided with money and suitable clothing by Royal command. The
King requested him to hasten his son to Court, which he accordingly
did. This son was named Murdoch, and His Majesty became so fond
of him that he always retained him about his person, and granted
him, as an earnest of greater things to follow, the lands of
Fairburn, Moy, and others adjoining, also the Ferry of Scuideal;
but Murdoch being unfortunately absent from the Court when the
King died, he missed much more which his Majesty had designed for
him. [Ardintoul and Cromartie MS. Histories of the Mackenzies.]

The following, told of Roderick and Kenneth, the fifth son, is also
worth a place: - Kenneth was Chaunter of Ross, and perpetual Curate
of Coinbents, which vicarage he afterwards resigned into the hands
of Pope Paulus in favour of the Priory of Beauly. Though a priest
and in holy orders he would not abstain from marriage, for which
cause the Bishop decided to have him deposed. On the appointed
day for his trial he had his brother Rory at Chanonry, when the
trial was to take place, with a number of his followers. Kenneth
presented himself before the Bishop in his long gown, but under
it he had a two-edged sword, and drawing near his Lordship,
who sat in his presiding chair, whispered in his ear, "It is
best that you should let me alone, for my brother Rory is in the
churchyard with many ill men, and if you take off my orders he will
take off your head, and I myself will not be your best friend."
He then coolly exposed his penknife, as he called his great sword,
"which sight, with Rory's proximity, and being a person whose
character was well enough known by his Lordship, he was so terrified
that he incontinently absolved and vindicated the good Chaunter,"
who ever after enjoyed his office (and his wife) unchallenged.

Sir Kenneth of Kintail, who was knighted by James IV. "for being
highly instrumental in reducing his fierce countrymen to the
blessings of a civilized life," was twice married; first, to Lady
Margaret, daughter of John, Lord of the Isles and Earl of Ross,
with issue -

I. Kenneth Og, his heir and successor.

He married secondly, Agnes or Anne Fraser, daughter of Hugh, third
Lord Lovat, with issue -

II. John, who succeeded his brother Kenneth Og.

III. Alexander, first of the family of Davochmaluag.

IV. Roderick, progenitor of the families of Achilty, Fairburn,
Ardross, etc.

V. Kenneth, better know as "the Priest of Avoch," from whom the
families of Suddie, Ord, Corryvulzie, Highfield, Inverlaul, Little
Findon, and others of lesser note.

VI. Agnes, who married Roderick Macleod, VII. of Lewis, with issue.

VII. Catherine, who married Hector Munro of Fowlis, with issue.

There has been a considerable difference of opinion among the
family genealogists as to the date of Sir Kenneth's death, but it
is now placed beyond doubt that he died in 1491, having only ruled
as actual chief of the clan for the short space of three years.
This is clearly proved from his tomb in the Priory of Beauly,
where there is a full length recumbent effigy of him, in full
armour, with arms folded across his chest as if in prayer, and on
the arch over it is the following inscription "Hic Jacet, Kanyans,
m. kynch d'us de Kyntayl, q. obiit vii. die Februarii, a. di.
m.cccc.lxxxxi." Sir William Fraser, in his history of the Earls of
Cromartie, gives, in his genealogy of the Mackenzies of Kintail,
the date of his death as "circa 1506," and ignores his successor
Kenneth Og altogether. This is incomprehensible to readers of the
work; for in the book itself, in various places, it is indubitably
established that Sir William's genealogy is incorrect in this, as
in other important particulars." [Sir William Fraser appears to
have adopted Douglas in his genealogies, who, as already shown,
in many instances, cannot be depended upon.]

The following, from the published "Acts of the Lords of Council,"
p. 327, under date 17th June, 1494, places the question absolutely
beyond dispute. "The King's Highness and Lords of Council decree
and deliver that David Ross of Balnagown shall restore and deliver
again to Annas Fresale, the spouse of THE LATE Kenneth Mackenzie
of Kintail, seven score of cows, price of the piece (each), 20s;
30 horses, price of the piece, 2 merks; 200 sheep and goats, price
of the piece, 2s; and 14 cows, price of the piece, 20s; spuilzied
and taken by the said David and his complices from the said Annas
out of the lands of Kynlyn (? Killin or Kinellan), as was sufficiently
proved before the Lords; and ordain that letters be written to
distrain the said David, his lands and goods therefor, and he was
present at his action by this procurators." It is needless to
point out that the man who, by this undoubted authority, was THE
LATE Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail, in 1494 could not have died
about or "circa 1506," as Sir William Fraser asserts in his Earls
of Cromartie. Kenneth died in 1491, and was succeeded by his only
son by his first wife, Margaret of Isla,


Or KENNETH THE YOUNGER, who was also known as Sir Kenneth. He
was fostered in Taagan, Kenlochewe. [Ancient MS.] When, in 1488,
King James the IV. succeeded to the throne, he determined to attach
to his interest the principal chiefs in the Highlands. "To overawe
and subdue the petty princes who affected independence, to carry
into their territories, hitherto too exclusively governed by their
own capricious or tyrannical institutions, the same system of a
severe but regular and rapid administration of civil and criminal
justice which had been established in his Lowland dominions was the
laudable object of the King; and for this purpose he succeeded, with
that energy and activity which remarkably distinguished him, in
opening up an intercourse with many of the leading men in the northern
counties. With the Captain of the Clan Chattan, Duncan Mackintosh
with Ewen, the son of Alan, Captain of the Clan Cameron with Campbell
of Glenurghay; the Macgilleouns of Duart and Lochbuy; Mackane
of Ardnamurchan the Lairds of Mackenzie and Grant; and the Earl
of Huntly, a baron of the most extensive power in these northern
districts, he appears to have been in habits of constant and regular
communication - rewarding them by presents, in the shape either of
money or of grants or land, and securing their services in reducing to
obedience such of their fellow chieftains as proved contumacious,
or actually rose in rebellion." [Tytler, vol. iv., pp. 367-368.]

To carry out this plan he determined to take pledges for their
good behaviour from some of the most powerful clans, and, at the
same time, educate the younger lairds into a more civilized manner
of governing their people. Amongst others he took a special
interest in Kenneth Og, and Farquhar Mackintosh, the young lairds
of Mackenzie and Mackintosh, who were cousins, their mothers being
sisters, daughters of John, last Lord of the Isles. They were
both powerful, the leaders of great clans, and young men of great
spirit and reckless habits. They were accordingly apprehended in
1495 ["The King having made a progress to the North, was advised
to secure these two gentlemen as hostages for securing the peace of
the Highlands, and accordingly they were apprehended at Inverness
and sent prisoners to Edinburgh in the year 1495, where they
remained two years." - Dr George Mackenzie's MS. History,] and sent
to Edinburgh, where they were kept in custody in the Castle, until
a favourable opportunity occurring in 1497, they escaped over the
ramparts by the aid of ropes secretly conveyed to them by some of
their friends. This was the more easily managed, as they had
liberty granted them to roam over the whole bounds of the Castle
within the outer walls; and the young chieftains, getting tired of
restraint, and ashamed to be idle while they considered themselves
fit actors for the stage of their Highland domains, resolved to
attempt an escape by dropping over the walls, when Kenneth injured
his leg, so as to incapacitate him from rapid progress; but
Mackintosh manfully resolved to risk capture himself rather than
leave his fellow-fugitive behind him in such circumstances. The
result of this accident, however, was that after three days journey
they were only able to reach the Torwood, where, suspecting no
danger, they put up for the night in a private house.

The Laird of Buchanan, who was at the time an outlaw for a murder
he had committed, happened to be in the neighbourhood, and meeting
the Highlanders, entertained them with a show of kindness; by
which means he induced them to divulge their names and quality. A
proclamation had recently been issued promising remission to any
outlaw who would bring in another similarly circumstanced, and
Buchanan resolved to procure his own freedom at the expense of his
fellow-fugitives; for he knew well that such they were, previously
knowing of them as his Majesty's pledges from their respective
clans. In the most deceitful manner, he watched until they had
retired to rest, when he surrounded the house with a band of his
followers, and charged them to surrender. This they declined;
and Mackenzie, being of a violent temper and possessed of more
courage than prudence, rushed out with a drawn sword "refusing
delivery and endeavouring to escape," whereupon he was shot with
an arrow by one of Buchanan's men. His head was severed from
his body, and forwarded to the King in Edinburgh; while young
Mackintosh, who made no further resistance, was secured and sent
a prisoner to the King. Buchanan's outlawry was remitted, and
Mackintosh was confined in Dunbar, where he remained until after the
death of James the Fourth at the battle of Flodden Field. [Gregory,
p.93; and MS. History by the Earl of Cromartie.] Buchanan's base
conduct was universally execrated, while the fate of young Mackenzie
was lamented throughout the whole Highlands, having been accused of
no other crime than the natural forwardness of youth, and having
escaped from his confinement in Edinburgh Castle.

It is admitted on all hands that Kenneth Og was killed, as above, in
1497, and he must, therefore - his father having died in 1491 - have
ruled as one of the Barons of Kintail, though there is no record
of his having been formally served heir. He was not married, but
left two bastard sons - one, known as Rory Beag, by the daughter of
the Baron of Moniack; and the other by the daughter of a gentleman
in Cromar, of whom are descended the Sliochd Thomais in Cromar and
Glenshiel, Braemar, the principal families of which were those of
Dalmore and Renoway. ["In his going to Inverness, as I have said,
to meet the King, he was the night before his coming there in the
Baron of Muniag's house, whose daughter he got with child, who
was called Rory Begg. Of this Rory descended the parson of Slate;
and on the same journey going along with the King to Edinburgh
he got a son with a gentleman's daughter, and called him Thomas
Mackenzy, of whom descended the Mackenzies - in Braemar called
Slyghk Homash Vic Choinnich. That is to say Thomas Mackenzie's
Succession. If he had lived he would be heir to Mackenzie and
Macdonald (Earl of Ross)." - Ancient MS.] He was succeeded by his
eldest brother by his father's second marriage with Agnes or Anne,
daughter of Hugh, third Lord Lovat,


Known by that designation from his having generally resided at that
place. He was, as we have seen, the first son of Kenneth, seventh
Baron of Kintail, by his second wife Agnes, or Anne of Lovat, and
his father being never regularly married, the great body of the clan
did not consider John his legitimate heir. Hector Roy Mackenzie,
his uncle, progenitor of the House of Gairloch, a man of great
prudence and courage, was by Kenneth a Bhlair appointed tutor
to his eldest son Kenneth Og, then under age, though Duncan, an
elder brother by Alexander's first wife, had, according to custom,
a prior claim to that honourable and important trust. Duncan is,
however, described as one who was "of better hands than head" -
more brave than prudent. Hector took charge, and on the death of
Kenneth Og found himself in possession of valuable and extensive
estates. He had already secured great popularity among the clan,
which in the past he had often led to victory against the common


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