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History Of The Mackenzies by Alexander Mackenzie

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enemy. He objected to John's succession on the ground that he was
the illegitimate son of Lovat's daughter, with whom his father,
Kenneth, at first did "so irregularly and unlawfully cohabit," and
John's youth encouraging him, it is said, [MS. History by the Earl
of Cromartie.] Hector proposed an arrangement to Duncan, whom he
considered the only legitimate obstacle to his own succession, by
which he would transfer his rights as elder brother in Hector's
favour, in return for which he should receive a considerable portion
of the estates for himself and his successors. Duncan declined
to enter into the proposed agreement, principally on the ground
that the Pope, in 1491, the year in which John's father died,
had legitimised Kenneth a Bhlair's marriage with Agnes of Lovat,
and thereby restored the children of that union to the rights of
succession. Finding Duncan unfavourable to his project, Hector
declared John illegitimate, and held possession of the estates for
himself; and the whole clan, with whom he was a great favourite,
submitted to his rule. [Though we have given this account on the
authority of the MS. histories of the family, it is now generally
believed that Duncan was dead at this period, and that his son Allan,
who would have succeeded, failing John of Killin's legitimacy, was
a minor when his father died.]

It can hardly be supposed that Lord Lovat would be a disinterested
spectator of these proceedings, and in the interest of his sister's
children he procured a precept of clare constat from James Stewart,
Duke of Ross, [After the forfeiture of the ancient Earls of Ross,
the district furnished new titles under the old names, to members
of the Royal family. James Stewart, second son of King James the
Third, was created in 1487 Duke of Ross, Marquis of Ormond, Earl
of Ardmanach, and Lord of Brechin and Navar. The Duke did not
long hold the territorial Dukedom of Ross. On the 13th of May
1503, having obtained the rich Abbey of Dunfermline, he resigned
the Dukedom of Ross into the hands of the King. The Duke reserved
for his life the hill of Dingwall beside that town for the style of
Duke, the hill of Ormond (above Avoch) for the style of Marquis,
the Redcastle of Ardmanach for the style of Earl, and the Castle
of Brechin, with the gardens, &c., for the name of Brechin and
Navar. The Duke of Ross died in 1504. It was said of him by
Ariosto, as translated by Hoole - "The title of the Duke of
Ross he bears, No chief like him in dauntless mind compares." The
next creation of the title of the Duke of Ross was in favour of
Alexander Stewart, the posthumous son of King James the Fourth.
The Duke was born on the 30th April 1514, and died on the 18th
December 1515. In the reign of Mary Queen of Scots, John, Earl
of Sutherland, acquired from Mary, the Queen Dowager, a certain
right in the Earldom of Ross, which might ultimately have joined
in one family both Sutherland and Ross. Lord Darnley, on the
prospect of his marriage with Queen Mary, was created Earl of
Ross, a title by which he is little known, as it was only given
to him a short time before he obtained the higher titles of Duke
of Albany and King of Scotland. - Fraser's Earls of Cromartie.] and
Archbishop of St Andrews, in favour of his grandson, John, as heir
to the estates. The document is "daited the last of Apryle 1500
and seasin thereon 16 Mey 1500 be Sir John Barchaw and William
Monro of Foulls, as Baillie to the Duk." [MS. History by the Earl
of Cromartie.] This precept included the Barony of Kintail, as
well as the lands held by Mackenzie off the earldom of Ross, for,
the charter chest being in the possession of Hector Roy, Lovat
was not aware that Kintail was held direct from the Crown; but
notwithstanding all these precautions and legal instruments, Hector
kept possession and treated the entire estates as his own.

Sir William Munro of Fowlis, the Duke's Lieutenant for the
forfeited earldom of Ross, was dissatisfied with Hector's conduct,
and resolved to punish him. Munro was in the habit of doing things
with a high hand, and on this occasion, during Hector's absence
from home, he, accompanied by his Sheriff, Alexander Vass, went to
Kinellan, where Hector usually resided, held a court at the place,
and as a mulct or fine took away the couples of one of Hector's
barns as a token of his power. When Hector discovered what had
taken place in his absence, he became furious, and sent a messenger
to Fowlis telling him that if he were a man of courage and a "good
fellow" he would come and take away the couples of the other barn
when their owner was at home.

Munro, greatly offended at this message, determined to accept the
bold challenge conveyed in it, and promptly collected his vassals,
including the Dingwalls and the MacCullochs, who were then his
dependants, to the number of nine hundred, and with this force
started for Kinellan, where he arrived much sooner than Hector,
who hurriedly collected all the men he could in the neighbourhood,
anticipated. Hector had no time to advise his Kintail men nor those
at a distance from Kinellan, and was consequently unable to bring
together more than one hundred and forty men. With this small
force he wisely deemed it imprudent to venture on a regular battle,
but decided upon a stratagem which if it proved successful, as he
anticipated, would give him an advantage that would more than
counterbalance the enemy's superiority of numbers. Having supplied
his small but resolute band with provisions for twenty-four
hours, Hector led them secretly, during the night, to the top of
Knock-farrel, a place so situated that Munro must needs pass near
its north or south side in his march to and from Kinellan. Early
next morning Fowlis marched past on his way to Kinellan, quite
ignorant of Hector's position, and expecting him to have remained
at home to implement the purport of his message. Sir William was
allowed to pass unmolested, and imagining that Hector had fled,
he proceeded to demolish the barn at Kinellan, ordered its couples
to be carried away. Broke all the utensils about the place, and
drove out all the cattle, as trophies of his visit. In the evening
he returned, as Hector had conjectured, carrying the plunderin
front of his party, accompanied by a strong guard, while he placed
the rest of his picked men in the rear, fearing that Hector might
pursue him, little thinking that he was already between him and his

On his way to Kinellan, Munro bad marched through Strathpeffer round
the north side of Knock-farrel, but for some cause he returned by the
south side where the highway touched the shoulder of the hill on which
Hector's men were posted. He had no fear of attack from that quarter,
and his men feeling themselves quite safe, marched loosely and out of
order. Hector seeing his opportunity, allowed them to pass until the
rear was within musket shot of him. He then ordered his men to charge,
which they did with such furious impetuosity, that most of the enemy
were cut to pieces before they were properly aware from whence they
were attacked, or could make any effectual attempt to resist the
dashing onset of Hector's followers. The groans of the dying in the
gloaming, the uncertainty as well as the unexpectedness of the attack,
frightened them so much that they fled in confusion, in spite of every
attempt on the part of Fowlis, who was in front in charge of the spoil
and its guard, to stop them. Those from the rear flying in disorder
soon confused the men in front, and the result was a complete rout.
Hector's men followed, killing every one they met for it was ordered
that no quarter should be given, the number being so large that they
might again turn round, attack and defeat the victors. In this retreat
almost all the men of the clan Dingwall and MacCullochs capable of
bearing arms were killed, and so many of the Munroes were slain that
for a long time after "there could not be ane secure friendship made
up twixt them and the Mackenzies, till by frequent allyance and
mutuall beneffets at last thes animosities are setled and in ordor
to a reconciliation, Hector, sone to this William of Foulls, wes
maried to John Mackenzie's sister Catherine."

At this conflict, besides that it was notable for its neat contrivance,
the inequality of the forces engaged, and the number of the slain,
there are two minor incidents worth noting. One is that the pursuit
was so hot that the Munroes not only fled in a crowd, but there
were so many of them killed at a place on the edge of the hill
where a descent fell from each shoulder of it to a well; and most
of Hector's men being armed with battle-axes and two-edged swords,
they had cut off so many heads in that small space, that, tumbling
down the slope to the well, nineteen heads were counted in it and
to this day the well is called "Tobar nan Ceann" or the Fountain
of the Heads. The other incident is that Suarachan, better known
as "Donnchadh Mor na Tuaighe," or Big Duncan of the Axe, previously
referred to as one of the heroes of the battle of Park, pursued
one of the enemy into the Church of Dingwall, to which he had fled
for shelter. As he was entering in at the door, Suarachan caught
him by the arm, when the man exclaimed, "My sanctuary saves me!"
"Aye," returned Suarachan, "but what a man puts in the sanctuary
against his will he can take it out again; and so, pushing him back
from the door, he killed him with one stroke of his broadsword.
[MS. History by the Earl or Cromartie.]

Sir William Munro returned that night to Fowlis, where happened
to be, passing the evening, a harper of the name of MacRa, who,
observing Sir William pensive and dispirited, advised him to be
more cheerful and submit patiently to the fortunes of war, since
his defeat was not his own fault, nor from want of personal courage
and bravery, but arose from the timorousness of his followers, who
were unacquainted with such severe service. This led Sir William
to take more particular notice of the harper than he had hitherto
done, and he asked him his name. On hearing it, Munro replied,
"You surely must have been fortunate, as your name imports, and
I am sure that you have been more so than I have been this day;
but it's fit to take your advice, MacRath." This was a play on the
minstrel's name - MacRath literally meaning "Son of Fortune" - and
the harper being, like most of his kind, smart and sagacious, made
the following impromptu answer -

Eachainn le sheachd fichead fear,
Agus thusa le d'ochd clad,
Se Mac Rath a mharbh na daoine
Air bathaois Cnoc faireal,

Which may be rendered in English as follows:

Although MacRath doth "fortunate" import,
It's he deserves that name whose brave effort
Eight hundred men did put to flight
With his seven score at Knockfarrel. [Ardintoul MS.]

In 1499, George, Earl of Huntly, then the King's Lieutenant,
granted warrant to Duncan Mackintosh of Mackintosh, John Grant
of Freuchie, and other leaders, with three thousand men, to pass
against the Clan Mackenzie, "the King's rebels," for the slaughter
of Harold of Chisholm, dwelling in Strathglass, "and for divers
other heirschips, slaughters, spuilzies, committed on the King's
poor lieges and tenants in the Lordship of Ardmeanoch," [Kilravock
Papers, p. 170.] but Hector Roy and his followers gave a good
account of them, and soon defeated and dispersed them. He seems
to have held undisturbed possession until the year 1507, when
John and his brother Roderick were on a visit in the Aird, at the
house of their uncle, Lord Lovat, when a fire broke out at the
castle. According to the Earl of Cromartie, when the house took
fire, no one was found bold enough to approach the burning pile
but John, who rushed boldly through the flames and carried away
the Lovat charter chest "a weight even then thought too much for
the strongest man, and that cheist, yett extant, is a load sufficient
for two. His uncle, bothe obleiged by the actione, and glad to
sie such strength and boldnes in the young man, desyred (him) to
do as much for himself as he haid done for him, and to discover
his (own) charter cheist from his uncle, and that he should have
all the concurrance which he (Lovat) could give to that effect."
Anderson's "History of the Family of Fraser" ascribes this bold
act to Roderick, for which he was "considered amply recompensed
by the gift of a bonnet and a pair of shoes." It matters little
which is the correct version, but it is not unlikely that Lovat's
valuable charter chest was saved by one or other of them, and it
is by no means improbable that his Lordship's suggestion that
they should procure their own charter chest and his offer to aid
them in doing so was made and determined to be acted upon on this

John, who had proved himself most prudent, even in his youth, was
satisfied that his uncle Hector, a man of undoubted valour and
wisdom, in possession of the estates, and highly popular with the
clan, could not be expelled without great difficulty and extreme
danger to himself. Any such attempt would produce feuds and
slaughter among his people, with the certain result of making
himself personally unpopular with the clan, and his uncle more
popular than ever. He therefore decided upon a more prudent course
resolving to strike only at Hector's person, judging that, if his
uncle failed, his claims and the personal respect of his followers
would fall with him. To carry out his resolution, he contrived
a scheme which proved completely successful. Having secured an
interview with Hector, who then resided at Wester Fairburn, he
pleaded that since he had taken his estates from him, and left
him in such reduced circumstances, it was not in accordance with
his feelings and his ambition for fame to remain any longer in his
native country, where he had neither position nor opportunities
of distinguishing himself. He therefore begged that his uncle
should give him a galley or birlinn, and as many of the ablest and
most determined youths in the country as should voluntarily follow
him in his adventures for fame and fortune in a foreign land.
With these he should pass to Ireland, then engaged in war, and
"there purchase a glorious death or a more plentiful fortune than
he was likely to get at home." The idea pleased Hector exceedingly,
and he not only gave him his own galley, then lying at Torridon,
but furnished him with all the necessary provisions for the
voyage, at the same time assuring him that, if he prosecuted his
intentions, he should annually transmit him a sufficient portion
to keep up his position, until his own personal prowess and fortune
should place him above any such necessity whereas, if he otherwise
resolved or attempted to molest him in what he called his rights,
he would bring sudden and certain ruin upon himself.

Thirty brave and resolute young men joined the supposed adventurer,
after having informed them that he would have none except those
who would do so of their own free will, from their affection for
him, and determination to support him in any emergency; for he well
judged that only such were suitable companions in the desperate
aims which he had laid out for himself to accomplish. These he
dispatched to the galley then at Torridon, one of the most secluded
glens on the West Coast, and distant from any populated place;
while he himself remained with his uncle, professedly to arrange
the necessary details of his journey, and the transmission
of his portion, but really to notice "his method and manner of
converse." John soon took farewell of Hector, and departed with
every appearance of simplicity. His uncle sent a retinue to convoy
him with becoming respect, but principally to assure himself of
his departure, and to guard against surprise or design on John's
part. Accompanied by these, he soon arrived at Torridon, where he
found his thirty fellow adventurers and the galley awaiting him.
They at once set sail, and with a fair wind made for the Isles,
in the direction of, and as if intending to make for, Ireland.
The retinue sent by Hector Roy returned home, and informed their
master that they saw John and his companions started before a
fair wind, with sails set, in the direction of Ireland when Hector
exclaimed, referring to Anne of Lovat, "We may now sleep without
fear of Anne's children."

John, sailing down Loch Torridon, and judging that Hector's men had
returned home, made for a sheltered and isolated creek, landed in
a wood, and dispersed his men with instructions to go by the most
private and unfrequented paths in the direction of Alit Corrienarnich,
in the braes of Torridon, where he would meet them. This done,
they followed Hector's men, being quite close up to them by the
time they reached Fairburn. John halted at some little distance
from Hector's house until about midnight, when, calling his men
together, he feelingly addressed them thus: "Now, my good friends,
I perceive that you are indeed affectionate to me, and resolute
men, who have freely forsaken your country and relations to share
in my not very promising fortune but my design in seeking only
such as would voluntarily go along with me was that I might be
certain of your affection and resolution, and since you are they
whom I ought only to rely upon in my present circumstances and
danger, I shall now tell you that I was never so faint-hearted as
to quit my inheritance without attempting what is possible for
any man in my capacity. In order to this I feigned this design
for Ireland for three reasons; first, to put my uncle in security,
whom I have found ever hitherto very circumspect and well guarded;
next, to find out a select, faithful number to whom I might trust
and thirdly, that in case I fail, and that my uncle shall prevail
over my endeavours, that I might have this boat and these provisions
as a safe retreat, both for myself and you, whom I should be loath
to expose to so great a danger without some probability in the
attempt, and some security in the disappointment. I am resolved
this night to fall on my uncle for he being gone, there is none
of his children who dare hope to repose themselves to his place.
The countrymen who now, for fear, depend on him and disown me,
will, no doubt, on the same motives, promoved with my just title,
own me against all other injurious pretenders. One thing I must
require of you, and it is that albeit those on whom we are to
fall are all related both to you and to me, yet since on their
destruction depends the preservation of our lives, and the restitution
of my estate, you must all promise not to give quarter to my uncle
or to any of his company."

To this inhuman resolution they all agreed, disregarding the natural
ties of blood and other obligations, and, marching as quietly as
possible, they arrived at Hector's house, surrounded it, and set
fire to it - guarding it all round so that not a soul could escape.
The house was soon in flames, and the inmates, Hector and his
household, were crying out for mercy. Their pitiful cries made
an impression on those outside, for many of them had relatives
within, and in spite of their previous resolution to give no
quarter, some of them called out to their nearest friends to come
out and surrender, on assurance of their lives being spared. John
seeing so many of his followers moved to this merciful conduct,
and being unable to resist them, exclaimed, "My uncle is as near
in blood to me as any in the house are to you, and therefore I
will be as kind to him as you are to them." He then called upon
Hector to surrender and come forth from the burning pile, assuring
him of his life. This he did; but Donald Dubh MacGillechriost Mhic
Gillereach, a Kenlochewe man, made for the door with his two-edged
sword drawn, whereupon Hector seeing him called out to John that he
would rather be burned where he was than face Donald Dubh. John
called the latter away, and Hector rushed out into his nephew's arms
and embraced him. That same night John and Hector, without "Dysman,"
saving God and such commons as were then present, agreed and
condescended that Hector should have the estate till John was
twenty-one years of age, and that John should live on his own
purchases till then, Hector was to set the whole estate immediately,
as tutor to John, which next day he went about. "I cannot forget
what passed betwixt him and the foresaid Donald at the set of
Kenlochewe, who was one of the first that sought land from him, which
when he sought, Hector says to him: 'I wonder, Donald, how you can
ask land this day, that was so forward to kill me the last day.'
Donald answered that 'if he had such a leader this day as he had that
night he should show him no better quarters, for Kenneth's death
(meaning Kenneth Aack) struck nearer my heart than any prejudice you
can do me in denying me land this day.' Hector said, 'Well Donald, I
doubt ye not if you had such coildghys (coldhaltas - fosterage) to me
as you had to that man but you would act the like for me. Therefore
you shall have your choice of all the land in the country.' Hector
having set the whole estate as tutor, all things seemed fair, only
that Allan and his faction in Kintail, who previously urged John
to possess himself of Ellandonnan Castle, were not satisfied with
the arrangement, as John was still kept out of the stronghold,
'which Hector would not grant, not being condescended on (and as
he alleged) lest John should fail on his part but the factions - the
commons - within that country could not be satisfied herewith,
being, as it was said, moved hereto by an accident that fell out a
year or two before.'" [Ancient MS.] This "accident" is described
further on, and refers to Hector's alleged attempt to get Allan
assassinated at Invershiel.

Donald Dubh was Kenneth Og's foster-brother, and Imagining that
Hector was accessory in an underhand way to Kenneth's captivity in
Edinburgh Castle, and consequently to his death in the Torwood, he
conceived an inveterate hatred for him, and determined to kill him
in revenge the first opportunity that presented itself. Hector,
knowing that his resolution proceeded from fidelity and affection
to his foster-brother and master, not only forgave him, but
ultimately took an opportunity of rewarding him and, as we have
seen, afterwards gave him his choice of all the lands in Kenlochewe.

John immediately sent word of what had taken place to his uncle
of Lovat, and next day marched for Kintail, where all the people
there, as well as in the other parts of his property, recognised
him as their chief. The Castle of Ellandonnan was delivered up to him,
with the charter chest and other evidences of his extensive possessions.

It has been maintained by the family of Gairloch that there is no
truth in the charge against their ancestor, Hector Roy, which we
have just given mainly on the authority of the Earl of Cromartie.
The writer of the Ardintoul MS. of the Mackenzies, [Dr George Mackenzie
gives substantially the same account,] however corroborates his
lordship, and says that John was but young when his father died;
and Hector, his younger uncle (Duncan, Hector's eldest brother,
who should be tutor being dead, and Allan, Duncan's son, not being
able to oppose or grapple with Hector), meddled with the estate.
It is reported that Hector wished Allan out of the way, whom he
thought only to stand in his way from being laird, since he was
resolved not to own my Lord Lovat's daughter's children, being all
bastards and gotten in adultery. The reason why they entertained
such thoughts of him was partly this: Hector going to Ellandonnan
(where he placed Malcolm Mac Eancharrich constable) called such
of the country people to him as he judged fit, under pretence
of setting and settling the country, but asked not for, nor yet
called his nephew Allan, who lived at Invershiel, within a few miles
of Ellandonnan, but went away. Allan, suspecting this to have
proceeded from unkindness, sends to one of his familiar friends
to know the result of the meeting, or if there was any spoken
concerning him. The man, perhaps, not being willing to be an ill
instrument twixt so near relations, sends Allan the following Irish
(Gaelic) lines:

Inversheala na struth bras,
Tar as, 's fear foul ga d' fheitheamh,
Nineag, ga caol a cas,
Tha leannan aice gun thios,
A tighinn ga'm fhaire a shios,
Tha i, gun fhios, fo mo chrios
Tha 'n sar lann ghuilbneach ghlas, -
Bhehion urchair dha le fios.

Allan put his own construction on them, and thought a friend warned
him to have a care of himself, there being some designs on him
from a near relation; and so that very night, in the beginning
thereof, he removed himself and family and anything he valued within
the house to an bill above the town, where he might see and bear
anything that might befall the house; and that same night about
cock crow he saw bis house and biggings in flames, and found
them consumed to ashes on the morrow. The perpetrators could not
be found; yet it was generally thought to be Hector his uncle's

The writer then describes the legitimation of Agnes Fraser's
children by the Pope, and continues - "Hector, notwithstanding of
the legitimation, refused to quit the possession of the estate,"
and he then gives the same account of John's feigned expedition
to Ireland, and the burning of Hector's house at Wester Fairburn,
substantially as already given from another source, but adding -
"That very night they both entered upon terms of agreement without
acquainting or sending for any, or to advise a reconciliation
betwixt them. The sum of their agreement was, that Hector, as a
man able to rule and govern, should have (allowing John an aliment)
the estate for five or six years, till John should be major, and
that thereafter Hector should render it to John as the right and
lawful undoubted heir, and that Hector should ever afterwards
acknowledge and honour him as his chief, and so they parted, all
being well pleased. [John and Hector did condescend that Hector
should have the estate till John were one and twentie years, and
that John should live on his own purchase till then. Letter from
MS.] But Allan and the most of the Kintail men were dissatisfied
that John did not get Ellandonnan, his principal house, in his
own possession, and so desired John to come to them and possess
the castle by fair or foul means wherein they promised to assist
him. John goes to Kintail, desires him to render the place to
him, which he refused, for which cause John ordered bring all his
cattle to those he employed to besiege the castle till Malcolm (the
governor) would be starved out of it. Yet this did not prevail with
the governor, till he got Hector's consent, who, being acquainted,
came to Lochalsh and met with his nephew, and after concerting the
matter, Hector sends word to Malcolm to render the place to John.
But Malcolm would not till he would be paid of his goods that were
destroyed. But Hector sending to him the second time, after
considerable negotiation for several days, telling him he was a fool,
that he might remember how himself was used, and that that might be a
means to take his life also. Whereupon Malcolm renders the house,
but John was so much offended at him that he would not continue him
governor, but gave the charge to Gillechriost Mac Fhionnla Mhic Rath,
making him Constable of the Isle. So after that there was little or
no debate twixt John and Hector during the rest of the six years he
was Tutor.' [Ardintoul and Ancient MSS. of the Mackenzies.]

The MS. Histories of the family are borne out by Gregory, [Highlands
and Isles of Scotland, p. 111] who informs us that "Hector Roy
Mackenzie, progenitor of the House of Gairloch, had, since the
death of Kenneth Og Mackenzie of Kintail, in 1497, and during the
minority of John, the brother and heir of Kenneth, exercised the
command of that clan, nominally as guardian to the young chief.
Under his rule the Clan Mackenzie became involved in feuds with the
Munroes and other clans, and Hector Roy himself became obnoxious
to Government as a disturber of the public peace. His intentions
towards the young Laird of Kintail were considered very dubious;
and the apprehensions of the latter having been roused, Hector
was compelled by law to yield up the estate and the command of the
tribe to the proper heir." Gregory gives the "Acts of the Lords
of Council, xxii., fo. 142," as that upon which, among other
autho-rities, he founds. We give the following extract, except
that the spelling is modernised:

"7th April 1511. - Anent the summons made at the instance of John
Mackenzie of Kintail against Hector Roy Mackenzie for the wrongous
intromitting, uptaking, and withholding from him of the mails
'fermez,' profits, and duties of all and whole the lands of Kintail,
with the pertinents lying in the Sheriffdom of Inverness, for the
space of seven years together, beginning in the year of God 1501,
and also for the space of two years, last bye-past, and for the
masterful withholding from the said John Mackenzie of his house
and Castle of Ellandonnan, and to bring with him his evidence if
(he) any has of the constabulary and keeping thereof, and to hear
the same decerned of none avail, and diverse other points like
as at more length; is contained in the said summons, the said
John Mackenzie being personally present, and the said Hector Roy
being lawfully summoned to this action, oft-times called and not
compearing, the said John's rights, etc. The Lords of Council
decree and deliver, that the said Hector has forfeited the keeping
and constabulary of the said Castle of Ellandonnan, together with
the fees granted therefor, and decern all evidents, if he any has
made to him thereupon, of none avail, force, nor effect, and the
said John Mackenzie to have free ingress and entry to the said
Castle, because he required the said Hector for deliverance thereof
and to thole him to enter thereunto, howbeit the said Hector
refused and would not give him entry to the said Castle, but if
his servants would have delivered their happinnis from them to
his men or their entries, like as one actentit instrument taken
thereupon shown and produced before the said Lords purported and
bore, and therefore ordains our sovereign Lords' letters (to) be
directed to devode and rid the said Castle and to keep the said
John in possession thereof as effeirs and continues to remanent
points contained in the said summons in form, as they are now,
unto the 20th day of July next to come, with continuation of days,
and ordains that letters be written in form of commission to the
Sheriff of Inverness and his deputies to summon witnesses and take
probations thereupon and to summon the party to heir them sworn
and thereafter send their depositions closed to the Lords again,
the said day, under the said Sheriffs or his Deputy's seal, that
thereafter justice may be ministered thereuntill."

Whatever truth there may be in the accounts given by the family
historians, Hector Roy was undoubtedly at this period possessed of
considerable estates of his own; for, we find a "protocol," by John
Vass, "Burges of Dygvayll, and Shireff in this pairt," by which he
makes known that, by the command of his sovereign lord, letters
and process was directed to him as Sheriff granting him to give
Hector Mackenzie heritable state and possession "of all and syndri
the landis off Gerloch with thar pertinens, after the forme and
tenor off our souerane lordis chartyr maide to the forsaide Hector,"
lying between the waters called Inverew and Torridon. The letter
is dated "At Alydyll (?Talladale) the xth of the moneth off
December the zher off Gode ane thousande four hundreth nynte an
four zheris."

It is clear that Hector did not long continue under a cloud; for in
1508 the King directed a mandate to the Chamberlain of Ross
requesting him to enter Hector Roy Mackenzie in the "males and
proffitis of our landis of Braane and Moy, with ariage, cariage and
vther pertinence thareof ... for his gude and thankfull service
done and to be done to us ... and this on na wise ye leif vndone,
as ye will incur our indignatioun and displesour. This our letrez
... efter the forme of our said vther letres past obefor, given
vnder our signet at Edinburgh the fift day of Marche and of Regne
the twenty yere. - (Signed) James R." In 1513 he received a charter
under the great seal of the lands of Gairloch formerly granted
him, with Glasletter and Coruguellen, with their pertinents. [The
original charter; the "protocol" from John Vass; the mandate to
the Chamberlain of Ross, for copies of which we are indebted to
Sir Kenneth S. Mackenzie, Baronet, are in the Gaitloch Charter
Chest, and the latter two will be found in extenso in the account
of the Gairloch family later on.] Hector Roy's conduct towards
John has been unfavourably criticised, but if it is kept in mind
that no regular marriage ever took place between Kenneth a Bhlair
and John's mother, Agnes of Lovat that their union was not recognised
by the Church until 1491, if then, the same year in which Kenneth
died it can easily be understood why Hector should conscientiously
do what he probably held to be his duty-oppose John of Killin in
the interest of those whom he considered the legitimate successors
of Kenneth a Bhlair and his unfortunate son, Kenneth Og, to whom
only, so far as we can discover, Hector Roy was appointed Tutor;
for when his brother, Kenneth a Bhlair, died, there was every
appearance that Hector's ward, Kenneth Og, would succeed when he
came of age. The succession of John of Killin was at most only
a remote possibility when his father died, and therefore no Tutor
to him would have been appointed.

In terms of an Act passed in 1496, anent the education of young
gentlemen of note, John, when young, was sent by Hector Roy to
Edinburgh to complete his education at Court. He thus, in early
life, acquired a knowledge of legal principles and practice of great
service and value to him in after life, not only in the management
of his own affairs, but in aiding his friends and countrymen in
their peculiar difficulties by his counsel and guidance, and thus
he secured such universal esteem and confidence as seldom fell
to the lot of a Highland chief in that rude and unruly age. The
standard of education necessary at Court in those days must have
been very different from that required in ours, for we find that,
with all his opportunities, John of Killin could not write his own
name. To a bond in favour of the Earl of Huntly he subscribes,
"Jhone M'Kenzie of Kyntaill, with my hand on the pen led by Master
William Gordone, Notar."

Referring to the power of the House of Kintail at this period, and
to the rapid advance made by the family under Alexander and his
successors, we quote the following from a modern MS. history of the
family by the late Captain John Matheson of Bennetsfield: "We must
observe here the rapid advance which the family of Kintail made on
every side. The turbulent Macdonalds, crushed by the affair of Park,
Munro, sustained by his own clan, and the neighbouring vassals of
Ross humbled at their own door, when a century had not yet passed
since the name of Mackenzie had become familiar to their ears; and it
is gratifying to trace all this to the wise policy of the first James
and his successors. The judicious education of Alastair Ionraic, and
consequent cultivation of those habits which, by identifying the
people with the monarch through the laws, render a nation securely
great, is equally discernible in John of Killin and his posterity.
The successors of the Earls of Ross were turbulent and tenacious of
their rights, but they were irreclaimable. The youthful Lord of the
Isles, at the instigation of his haughty mother, deserted the Court
of James I., while young Kintail remained, sedulously improving
himself at school in Perth, till he was called to display his
gratitude to his Royal master in counteracting the evil arising from
the opposite conduct of Macdonald. Thus, by one happy circumstance,
the attention of the King was called to a chieftain who gave such
early promise of steady attachment, and his future favour was
secured. The family of Kintail was repeatedly recognised in the
calendar of the Scottish Court, while that of the once proud
Macdonalds frowned in disappointment and barbarous independence
amidst their native wilds, while their territories, extending beyond
the bounds of good government and protection, presented gradually
such defenceless gaps as became inviting and easily penetrable by the
intelligence of Mackenzie, and Alastair Ionraic acquired a great
portion of his estates by this legitimate advantage, afterwards
secured by the intractable arrogance of Macdonald of Lochalsh and the
valour and military capacity of Coinneach a Bhlair."

In 1513 John of Killin is found among those Highland chiefs summoned
to rendezvous with the Royal army at Barrow Moor preparatory to the
fatal advance of James IV. into England, when the Mackenzies, forming
with the Macleans, joined that miserably-arranged and ill-fated
expedition which terminated so fatally to Scotland on the disastrous
field of Flodden, where the killed included the King, with the flower
of his nobility, gentry, and even clergy. There was scarcely a
Scottish family of distinction that did not lose at least one, and
some of them lost all the male members who were capable of bearing
arms. The body of the King was found, much disfigured with wounds,
in the thickest of the slain. Abercromby, on the authority of
Crawford, includes, in a list of those killed at Flodden, "Kenneth
Mackenzie of Kintail, ancestor to the noble family of Seaforth."
This is an undoubted error for it will be seen that John, not Kenneth
was chief at the time of Flodden. It was he who joined the Royal
army, accompanied by his brave and gallant uncle, Hector Roy of
Gairloch and it is established beyond dispute that though almost
all their followers fell, both John and Hector survived and
returned home. They, however, narrowly escaped the charge of Sir
Edward Stanley in rear of the Highlanders during the disorderly
pursuit of Sir Edward Howard, who had given way to the furious and
gallant onset of the mountaineers.

John was made prisoner, but afterwards escaped in a very remarkable
manner. When his captors were carrying him and others of his
followers to the south, they were overtaken by a violent storm
which obliged them to seek shelter in a retired house occupied by
the widow of a shipmaster. After taking up their quarters, and,
as they thought, providing for the safe custody of the prisoners,
the woman noticed that the captives were Highlanders; and, in
reference to the boisterous weather raging outside, she, as if
unconsciously, exclaimed, "The Lord help those who are to-night
travelling on Leathad Leacachan." The prisoners were naturally
astonished to hear an allusion, in such a place, to a mountain so
familiar to them in the North Highlands, and they soon obtained an
opportunity, which their hostess appeared most anxious to afford
them, of questioning her regarding her acquaintance with so
distant a place; when she told them that during a sea voyage she
took with her husband, she had been taken so ill aboard ship that
it was found necessary to send her ashore on the north west coast
of Scotland, where, travelling with only a maid and a single guide,
they were caught in a severe storm, and she was suddenly taken
in labour. In this distressing and trying position a Highlander
passing by took compassion upon her, and seeing her case so
desperate, with no resources at hand, he, with remarkable presence
of mind, killed one of his horses, ripped open his stomach, and
taking out the bowels, placed her and the newly-born infant in
their place, as the only effectual shelter from the storm. By this
means he secured sufficient time to procure female assistance, and
ultimately saved the woman and her child.

But the most remarkable part of the story remains to be told. The
same person to whom she owed her preservation was at that moment one
of the captives under her roof. He was one of Kintail's followers
on the fatal field of Flodden. She, informed of his presence and of
the plight he was in, managed to procure a private interview with him,
when he amply proved to her, by more detailed reference to the
incidents of their meeting on Leathad Leacachan, that he was the man
- "Uisdean Mor Mac 'Ille Phadruig" - and in gratitude, she, at the
serious risk of her own personal safety, successfully planned the
escape of Hugh's master and his whole party. The story is given on
uninterrupted tradition in the country of the Mackenzies; and a
full and independent version in the vernacular of the hero's humane
conduct on Leathad Leacachan will be found in the Celtic Magazine,
vol. ii., pp. 468-9, to which the Gaelic reader is referred.

Gregory, p. 112, says: "Tradition has preserved a curious anecdote
connected with the Mackenzies, whose young chief, John of Kintail,
was taken prisoner at Flodden. It will be recollected that Kenneth
Og Mackenzie of Kintail, while on his way to the Highlands, after
making his escape from Edinburgh Castle, was killed in the Torwood
by the Laird of Buchanan. The foster-brother of Kenneth Og was a
man of the district of Kenlochewe, named Donald Dubh MacGillecrist
vic Gillereoch, who with the rest of the clan was at Flodden with
his chief. In the retreat of the Scottish army this Donald Dubh
heard some one near him exclaiming, 'Alas, Laird! thou hast fallen.'
On enquiry, he was told it was the Laird of Buchanan, who had sunk
from his wounds or exhaustion. The faithful Highlander, eager to
revenge the death of his chief and foster-brother, drew his sword,
and, saying, 'If he has not fallen he shall fall,' made straight
to Buchanan, whom he killed on the spot."

As to the safe return of John of Kintail and Hector Roy to their
Highland home, after this calamitous event, there is now no question
whatever; for we find John among others, afterwards appointed, by
Act of Council, a Lieutenant or Guardian of Wester Ross, [Gregory,
p. 115. Acts of Lords of Council, xxvi., fo. 25.] to protect it
from Sir Donald Gallda Macdonald of Lochalsh, when he proclaimed
himself Lord of the Isles. In 1515, Mackenzie, without legal
warrant, seized the Royal Castle of Dingwall, but professed his
readiness to give it up to any one appointed by the Regent, John,
Duke of Albany. [Acts of Lords of Council, xxvii., fo. 60.] In
1532 he is included in a commission by James V. for suppressing a
disorderly tribe of Mackintoshes. He secured the esteem of this
monarch so much that he appointed him a member of his Privy Council.

To put the question of John's return beyond question, and to show
how the family rose rapidly in influence and power during his
rule, we shall quote the Origines Parochiales Scotia, from which
it will also be seen that Kenneth, John's heir, received considerable
grants for himself during his father's lifetime: "In 1509 King
James IV. granted to John Makkenzie of Keantalle (the brother of
Kenneth Og) the 40 marklands of Keantalle - namely, the davach of
Cumissaig, the davach of Letterfearn, the davach of Gleanselle,
the davach of Glenlik, the davach of Letterchall, the two davachs
of Cro, and three davachs between the water of Keppach and the
water of Lwying, with the castle and fortalice of Eleandonnan, in
the earldom of Ross and sheriffdom of Innernis, with other lands
in Ross, which John had resigned, and which the King then erected
into the barony of Eleandonnan. [Reg. Mag. Sig., lib. xv., No.89.
Gregory, p.83.] In 1530 King James V. granted to James Grant of
Freuchy and Johne Mckinze of Kintale liberty to go to any part of
the realm on their lawful business. [Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. viii.,
fol. 149.] In 1532, 1538, and 1540, the same John M'Kenich
of Kintaill appears on record. [Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. ix, fol. 3;
vol. xii., fol. 21; vol. xiv., fol. 32.] In 1542, King James V.
granted to John Mckenzie of Kintaill the waste lands of Monar,
lying between the water of Gleneak on the north, the top or summit
of Landovir on the south, the torrent of Towmuk and Inchclochill
on the east, and the water of Bernis running into the water of Long
on the west; and also the waste lands of lie Ned lying between Loch
Boyne on the north, Loch Tresk on the south, lie Ballach on the
west, and Dawelach on the east, in the earldom of Ross and sheriffdom
of Innernes - lands which were never in the King's rental, and never
yielded any revenue - for the yearly payment of L4 to the King as
Earl of Ross. [Reg. Mag. Sig., lib. xxviii., No. 417.] In 1543 Queen
Mary granted to Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail, and Isabel Stewart, his
wife, the lands of Auchnaceyric, Lakachane, Strome-ne-mowklach,
Kilkinterne, the two Rateganis, Torlousicht, Auchnashellicht,
Auchnagart, Auchewrane, lic Knokfreith, Aucharskelane, and Malegane,
in the lordship of Kintaill and other lands in Ross, extending in all
to 36 marks, which he had resigned. [Reg. Mag. Sig., lib. xxviii.,
No. 524. Reg. Sec. Sig.,vol. xvii., fol. 56.] In 1551 the same Queen
granted to John M'Kenze of Kintaill, and Kenzeoch M'Kenze, his son
and apparent heir, a remission for the violent taking of John Hectour
M'Kenzesone of Garlouch, Doull Hectoursone, and John Towach
Hectoursone, and for keeping them in prison 'vsurpand thairthrou our
Souerane Ladyis autorite.' [Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. xxiv., fol. 75.] In
1554 there appear on record John Mackenzie of Kintaile and his son
and heir-apparant, Kenneth Mackenzie of Brahan - apparently the same
persons that appear in 1551. [Reg, Mag. Sig., lib. xxxii., No. 211.]

Donald Gorm Mor Macdonald of Sleat laid waste the country of Macleod
of Dunvegan, an ally of Mackenzie, after which he passed over in
1539 to the mainland and pillaged the lands of Kenlochewe, where
he killed Miles or Maolmuire, son of Finlay Dubh MacGillechriost
MacRath, at the time governor of Ellandonnan Castle. Finlay was
a very "pretty man," and the writer of the "Genealogy of the Macras"
informs us that "the remains of a monument erected for him, in the
place where he was killed, is still (1704) to be seen." Kintail
was naturally much exasperated at this unprovoked raid upon his
territory, as also for Macdonald's attack upon his friend and
ally, Macleod of Dunvegan; and to punish Donald Gorm, he dispatched
his son, Kenneth, with a force to Skye, who made ample reprisals
in Macdonald's country, killing many of his followers, and at the
same time exhibiting great intrepidity and sagacity. Donald Gorm
almost immediately afterwards made an incursion into Mackenzie's
territories of Kintail, where he killed Sir (Rev.) Dougald
Mackenzie, "one of the Pope's knights"; whereupon Kenneth, younger
of Kintail, paid a second visit to the Island, wasted the country;
and on his return, Macdonald learning that Ellandonnan was garrisoned
by a very weak force, under the new governor, John Dubh Matheson
of Fernaig - who had married Sir Dugald Mackenzie's widow - he made
another raid upon it, with fifty birlinns or large boats full of
his followers, with the intention of surprising the small garrison,
and taking the castle by storm. Its gallant defenders consisted at
the time of the governor, his watchman, and Duncan MacGillechriost
Mac Fhionnladh Mhic Rath, a nephew of Maolmuire killed in the
last incursion of the Island chief. The advance of the boats was,
however, noticed in time by the sentinel or watchman, who at once
gave the alarm to the country people, but they arrived too late
to prevent the enemy from landing. Duncan MacGillechriost was
on the mainland at the time; but flying back with all speed he
arrived at the postern of the stronghold in time to kill several
of the Islesmen in the act of landing; and, entering the castle,
he found no one there but the governor and watchman; almost
immediately after, Donald Gorm Mor furiously attacked the gate,
but without success, the brave trio having strongly secured it by
a second barrier of iron within a few steps of the outer defences.
Unable to procure access the Islesmen were driven to the expedient
of shooting their arrows through the embrazures, and in this way
they succeeded in killing the governor.

Duncan now found himself sole defender of the castle except the
watchman; and worse still his ammunition was reduced to a single
barbed arrow, which he determined to husband until an opportunity
occurred by which he could make good use of it. Macdonald at this
stage ordered his boats round to the point of the Airds, and was
personally reconnoitring with the view of discovering the weakest
part of the wall for effecting a breach. Duncan considered this
a favourable opportunity, and aiming his arrow at Donald Gorm,
it struck him and penetrated his foot through the master vein.
Macdonald, not having perceived that the arrow was a barbed one,
wrenched it out, and in so doing separated the main artery.
Notwithstanding that all available means were used, it was found
impossible to stop the bleeding, and his men conveyed him out of
the range of the fort to a spot - a sand bank - on which he died,
called to this day, "Larach Tigh Mhic Dhomhnuill," or the site
of Macdonald's house, where the haughty Lord of Sleat ended his
career. ["Genealogy of the Macras" and the Ardintoul MS. "This
Donald Gorme was son to Donald Gruamach, son to Donald Gallach,
son to Hugh, natural son to Alexander, Earl of Ross, for which the
elegy made on his death calls him grandchild and great grandchild
to Rhi-Fingal (King Fingal) -

"A Dhonnchaldh Mhic Gillechriost Mhic Fhionnla,
'S mor um beud a thuit le d'aon laimh,
Ogha 's iar-ogha Mhic Righ Fhinghaill,
`Thuiteam le bramag an aon mhic."

- Letterform MS.] The Islesmen burnt all they could find ashore
in Kintail. "In 1539 Donald Gorm of Sleat and his allies, after
laying waste Trouterness in Sky and Kenlochew in Ross, attempted to
take the Castle of Eileandonan, but Donald being killed by an arrow
shot from the wall, the attempt failed." [Gregory, pp. 145.146.
Border Minstrelsy. Anderson, p. 283. Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. xv.,
fol. 46.] In 1541 King James V. granted a remission to Donald's
accomplices - namely, Archibald Ilis, alias Archibald the Clerk,
Alexander McConnell Gallich, John Dow Donaldsoun, and twenty-six
others whose names are recorded in Origines Parchiales, p. 394,
vol. ii., for their treasonable fire-raising and burning of the
"Castle of Allanedonnand" and of the boats there, for the "Herschip"
of Kenlochew and Trouterness, etc.

Duncan MacGillechriost now naturally felt that he had some claim
to the governorship of the castle, but being considered "a man
more bold and rash than prudent and politick," Mackenzie decided
to pass him over. Duncan then put in a claim for his brother
Farquhar, but it was thought best, to avoid local quarrels and
bitterness between the respective claimants, to supersede them both
and appoint another, John MacMhurchaidh Dhuibh, priest of Kintail,
to the Constableship. Duncan was so much offended at such treatment
in return for his valiant services that he left Kintail in disgust,
and went to the country of Lord Lovat, who received him kindly, and
gave him the lands of Crochel and others in Strathglass, where he
lived for several years, until Lovat's death. Mackenzie, however,
often visited him and finally prevailed upon him to return to
Kintail, and Duncan, who always retained a lingering affection for
his native country, ultimately became reconciled to the chief, who
gave him the quarterland of Little Inverinate and Dorisduan, where
he lived the remainder of his days, and which his descendants
continued to possess for generations after his death.

For this service against the Macdonalds, James V. gave Mackenzie
Kinchullidrum, Achilty, and Comery in feu, with Meikle Scatwell,
under the Great Seal, in 1528. The lands of Laggan Achidrom,
being four merks, the three merks of Killianan, and the four merk
lands of Invergarry, being in the King's hands, were disposed by
him to John Mackenzie, after the King's minority and revocation,
in 1540, with a precept, under the Great Seal, and sasine thereupon
by Sir John Robertson in January 1541. But before this, in 1521, he
acquired the lands of Fodderty and mill thereof from Mr John Cadell,
which James V. confirmed to him at Linlithgow in September, 1522.
In 1541 he feued Brahan from the King to himself and his heirs male,
which failing, to his eldest daughter. In 1542 he obtained the
waste lands and forest of Neid and Monar from James V. for which
sasine is granted in the same year by Sir John Robertson. In
January 1547 he acquired a wadset of the half of Culteleod (Castle
Leod) and Drynie from Denoon of Davidston. In September of the same
year, old as he was, he went in defence of his Sovereign, young Mary
of Scots, to the Battle of Pinkie, where he was taken prisoner; and
the Laird of Kilravock meeting him advised him that they should own
themselves among the commons, Mackenzie passing off as a bowman.
While Kilravock would pass himself off as a miller, which plan
succeeded so well as to secure Kilravock his release; but the
Earl of Huntly, who was also a prisoner, having been conveyed by
the Duke of Somerset to view the prisoners, espying his old friend
Mackenzie among the common prisoners, and ignorant of the plot,
called him by his name, desiring that he might shake hands with
him, which civility two English officers noticed to Mackenzie's
disadvantage; for thenceforward he was placed and guarded along
with the other prisoners of quality, but afterwards released for
a considerable sum, to which all his people contributed without
burdening his own estate with it, ["He was ransomed by cows that
was raised through all his lands." - Letterform MS.] so returning
home to set himself to arrange his private affairs, and in the
year 1556 he acquired the heritage of Culteleod and Drynie from
Denoon, which was confirmed to him by Queen Mary under the Great
Seal, at Inverness 13th July the same year. He had previously, in
1544, acquired the other half of Culteleod and Drynie from Magnus
Mowat, and Patrick Mowat of Bugholly. In 1543 John Mackenzie
acquired Kildins, part of Lochbroom, to himself and Elizabeth
Grant, his wife, holding blench for a penny, and confirmed in the
same year by Queen Mary. [MS. History by the Earl of Cromartie.]

In 1540 Mackenzie with his followers joined King James at Loch Duich,
while on his way with a large fleet to secure the good government
of the West Highlands and Isles, upon which occasion many of the
suspected and refractory leaders were carried south and placed
in confinement. His Majesty died soon after, in 1542. Queen
Mary succeeded, and, being a minor, the country generally, but
particularly the northern parts, was thrown into a state of anarchy
and confusion.

In 1544 the Earl of Huntly, holding a commission as Lieutenant of
the North from the Queen Regent, Mary of Guise, commanded Kenneth
Mackenzie, younger of Kintail (his father, from his advanced age,
being unable to take the field), to raise his vassals and lead an
expedition against the Clan Ranald of Moidart, who, at that time,
held lands from Mackenzie on the West Coast; but Kenneth, in these
circumstances, thought it would be much against his personal
interest to attack Donald Glas of Moidart, and refused to comply
with Huntly's orders. To punish him, the Earl ordered his whole
army, consisting of three thousand men, to proceed against both
Moidart and Mackenzie with fire and sword, but he had not
sufficiently calculated on the constitution of his force, which
was chiefly composed of Grants, Rosses, Mackintoshes, and Chisholms;
and Kenneth's mother being a daughter of John, then laird of Grant,
and three of his daughters having married, respectively, Ross of
Balnagown, Lachlan Mackintosh of Mackintosh, and Alexander Chisholm
of Comar, Huntly found his followers as little disposed to molest
Mackenzie as he had been to attack Donald Glas of Moidart. In
addition to the friendly feelings of the other chiefs towards young
Kintail, fostered by these family alliances, Huntly was not at all
popular with his own followers, or with the Highlanders generally.
He had incurred such odium for having some time before executed the
Laird of Mackintosh, contrary to his solemn pledge, that it required
little excuse on the part of the exasperated kindred tribes to
counteract his plans, and on the slightest pretext to refuse to
follow him. He was therefore obliged to retire from the West
without effecting any substantial service; was ultimately disgraced;
committed to Edinburgh Castle; compelled to renounce the Earldom of
Moray and all his other possessions in the north; and sentenced to
banishment in France for five years.

On the 13th of December 1545, at Dingwall, the Earl of Sutherland
entered into a bond of manrent with John Mackenzie of Kintail for
mutual defence against all enemies, reserving only their allegiance
to their youthful Queen, Mary Stuart. [Sir Robert Gordon, p. 112.]
Two years later the Earl of Arran sent the fiery cross over the
nation calling upon all between the ages of sixteen and sixty to
meet him at Musselburgh for the protection of the infant Queen.
Mackenzie of Kintail, then between sixty and seventy years of age,
when he might fairly consider himself exempt from further military
service, duly appeared with all the followers he could muster,
prudently leaving Kenneth, his only son, at home and when
remonstrated with for taking part in such a perilous journey at
his time of life, especially as he was far past the stipulated
age for active service, the old chief patriotically remarked that
one of his age could not possibly die more decorously than in the
defence of his country. In the same year (1547) he fought bravely,
at the head of his clan, with all the enthusiasm and gallantry of
his younger days, at the battle of Pinkie, where he was wounded
in the head and taken prisoner, but was soon afterwards released,
through the influence of the Earl of Huntly, who had meanwhile
again got into favour received a full pardon, and was appointed
Chancellor for Scotland.

The Earl of Huntly some time after this paid a visit to Ross,
intending, if he were kindly received by the great chiefs, to feu
a part of the earldom of Ross, still in the King's hands, and to
live in the district for some period of the year. Mackenzie,
although friendly disposed towards the Earl, had no desire to
have him residing in his immediate neighbourhood, and he arranged
a plan which had the effect of deciding Huntly to give up any
idea of remaining or feuing any lands in Ross. The Earl, having
obtained a commission from the Regent to hold courts in the county,
came to the castle of Dingwall, where he invited the principal
chiefs to meet him. John of Killin, though very advanced in years,
was the first to arrive, and he was very kindly received by Huntly.
Mackenzie in return made a pretence of heartily welcoming and
congratulating his lordship on his coming to Ross, and trusted that
he would be the means of protecting him and his friends from the
violence of his son, Kenneth, who, taking advantage of his frailty
and advanced years, was behaving most unjustly towards him. John,
indeed, expressed the hope that the Earl would punish Kenneth for
his illegal and unnatural rebellion against him, his aged father.
While they were thus speaking, a message came in that a large
number of armed men, three or four hundred strong, with banners
flying and pipes playing, were just in sight on the hill above
Dingwall. The Earl became alarmed, not knowing whom they might be
or what their object was, whereupon Mackenzie said that it could
be no other than Kenneth and his rebellious followers coming to
punish him for paying his lordship this visit without his consent
and he advised the Earl to leave at once, as he was not strong
enough to resist the enemy, and to take him (the old chief) along
with him in order to protect him from his son's violence, which
would now, in consequence of this visit he directed against him
more than ever. The Earl and his retinue at once withdrew to
Easter Ross. Kenneth ordered his men to pursue them. He overtook
them as they were crossing the bridge of Dingwall and killed
several of them; but having attained his object of frightening
Huntly out of Ross, he ordered his men to desist. This skirmish
is known as the "affair of Dingwall Bridge." [Ardintoul MS.]

In 1556 Y Mackay of Farr, progenitor of the Lords of Reay, refused
to appear before the Queen Regent at Inverness, to answer charges
made against him for depredations committed in Sutherlandshire;
and she issued a commission to John, fifth Earl of Sutherland,
to lay Mackay's country waste. Mackay, satisfied that he could
not successfully oppose the Earl's forces in the field, pillaged
and plundered another district of Sutherland. The Earl conveyed
intelligence of how matters stood to John of Kintail, who, in
terms of the bond of manrent entered into between them in 1545,
despatched his son Kenneth with an able body of the clan to arrest
Mackay's progress, which duty he performed most effectually. Meeting
at Brora, a severe contest ensued, which terminated in the defeat of
Mackay, with the loss of Angus MacIain Mhoir, one of his chief
commanders, and many of his clan. Kenneth was thereupon, conjointly
with his father, appointed by the Earl of Sutherland - then the
Queen's Lieutenant north of the Spey, and Chamberlain of the Earldom
of Ross [Sir Robert Gordon, p. 134.] - his deputies in the management
of this vast property, at the same time placing them in possession of
Ardmeanoch, or Redcastle, which remained ever since, until within a
recent period, in the possession of the family, becoming the property
of Kenneth's third son, Ruairidh Mor, first of the house of Redcastle,
and progenitor of the family of Kincraig and other well-known branches.

After this, Kintail seems to have lived in peace during the
remainder of his long life. He died at his home at Inverchonan,
in 1561, about eighty years of age. He was buried in the family
aisle at Beauly. That he was a man of proved valour is fully
established by the distinguished part he took in the battles of
Flodden and Pinkie. The Earl of Cromarty informs us that, "in
his time he purchased much of the Brae-lands of Ross, and secured
both what he acquired and what his predecessors had, by well
ordered and legal security, so that it is doubtful whether his
predecessors' courage or his prudence contributed most to the rising
of the family."

In illustration of the latter quality, we quote the following
story: John Mackenzie of Kintail "was a very great courtier and
counsellor of Queen Maries. Much of the lands of Brae Ross were
acquired by him, which minds me how he entertained the Queen's
Chamberlain who she sent north to learn the state and condition of
the gentry of Ross, minding to feu her interest of that Earldome.
Sir John, hearing of their coming to his house of Killin, he caused
his servants put on a great fyre of ffresh arn wood newly cutt,
which when they came in (sitting on great jests of wood which he
caused sett there a purpose) made such a reek that they were almost
blinded, and were it not the night was so ill they would rather
goe than byde it. They had not long sitten when his servants came
in with a great bull, which presently they brained on the floor,
and or they well could look about, this fellow with his dirk, and
that fellow with his, were cutting collops of him. Then comes
in another sturdie lusty fellow with a great calderon in his hand,
and ane axe in the other, and with its shaft stroak each of these
that were cutting the collops, and then made Taylzies of it and
put all in the kettle, sett it on the same tire before them all
and helped the tire with more green wood. When all was ready as
he had ordered, a long, large table was covered and the beef sett
on in great scaills of dishes instead of pleats. They had scarcely
sitten to supper when they let loose six or sevin great hounds
to supp the broth, but before they made ane end of it, they made
such a tulzie as made them all start at the table. The supper
being ended, and longing for their bedds (but much more for day),
there comes in 5 or 6 lustie women with windlings of strae (and
white plaids) which they spread on each side of the house, whereon
the gentlemen were forced to lye in their cloaths, thinking they
had come to purgatory before hand; but they had no sooner seen day
light than without stayeing dinner they made to the gett, down to
Ross where they were most noblie entertained be Ffowlis, Belnagowin,
Miltoun, and severall other gentlemen. But when they were come
south the Queen asked who were the ablest men they saw there. They
answered all they did see lived like princes, except Her Majesty's
great courtier and counsellor Mackenzie. So tells her all their
usage in his house, and that he slept with his doggs and sat with
his hounds, wherat the Queen leugh mirrily (whatever her thoughts
was of M'Kenzie) and said 'It were a pity of his poverty, ffor he
is the best and honestest among them all.' The Queen thereafter
having called all the gentry of Ross to hold their lands of the
Crown in feu, Mackenzie got (by her favour and his pretended
poverty) the easiest feu, and for his 1000 merks more than any of
the rest had for three." [Ancient MS.]

John had a natural son named Dugall, who lived in Applecross, and
married a niece of Macleod of Harris, by whom he had a son and
one daughter. The son, also named Dugall, was a schoolmaster
in Chanonry, and died without issue. The daughter was married
to Duncan Mackenzie, Reraig, and after his death to Mackintosh
of Strone. Dugall, the elder, was killed by the Mathesons at
Kishorn. John had also a natural daughter, Janet, who married
first Mackay of Reay, and secondly, Roderick Macleod, X. of Lewis,
with issue - Torquil Cononach; and afterwards "Ian Mor na Tuaighe,"
brother of John MacGillechallum of Raasay, with whom she eloped.

He married Elizabeth, daughter of John, tenth Laird of Grant, and
by her had an only son and successor,


Commonly known as Coinneach na Cuirc, or Kenneth of the Whittle,
so called from his skill in wood carving and general dexterity
with the Highland "sgian dubh." He succeeded his father in 1561.
In the following year he was among the chiefs who, at the head
of their followers, met Queen Mary at Inverness, and helped her
to obtain possession of the Castle after Alexander Gordon, the
governor, refused her admission. In the same year an Act of Privy
Council, dated the 21st of May, bears that he had delivered up
Mary Macleod, the heiress of Harris and Dunvegan, of whom he had
previously by accident obtained the custody, into the hands of
Queen Mary, with whom she afterwards remained for several years
as a maid of honour. The Act is as follows:

"The same day, in presence of the Queen's Majesty and Lords of
Secret Council, compeared Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail, who, being
commanded by letters and also by writings direct from the Queen's
Grace, to exhibit, produce, and present before her Highness Mary
Macleod, daughter and heir of the umquwhile William Macleod of
Harris, conform to the letters and charges direct thereupon: And
declared that James Macdonald had an action depending the Lords of
Session against him for deliverance of the said Mary to him, and
that therefore he could not gudlie (well) deliver her. Notwithstanding
the which the Queen's Majesty ordained the said Kenneth to deliver
the said Mary to her Highness and granted that he should incur 'no
scaith thairthrou' at the hands of the said James or any others,
notwithstanding any title or action they had against him therefor;
and the said Kenneth knowing his dutiful obedience to the Queen's
Majesty, and that the Queen had ordained him to deliver the said
Mary to her Highness in manner foresaid which he in no wise could
disobey - and therefore delivered the said Mary to the Queen's
Majesty conform to her ordinance foresaid." ["Transactions of the
Iona Club," pp. 143-4.]

Prior to this Mackenzie refused to give her up to her lawful guardian,
James Macdonald of Dunyveg and the Glens. In 1563 we find him
on the jury, with James, Earl of Moray, and others, at Inverness,
by whom John Campbell of Cawdor was served heir to the Barony of
Strathnairn. ["Invernessiana," p.229.] Kenneth was advanced in
years before he came into possession, and took, as we have seen,
an active and distinguished part in all the affairs of his clan
during the life of his long-lived father. He seems after his return
from Inverness, on the occasion of meeting Queen Mary there, to
have retired very much into private life, for, on Mary's escape
from Lochleven Castle he sent his son Colin, then quite a youth
attending his studies at Aberdeen, at the head of his vassals, to
join the Earl of Huntly, by whom Colin was sent, according to the
Laird of Applecross, "as one whose prudence he confided, to advise
the Queen's retreat to Stirling, where she might stay in security
till all her friends were convocate, but by an unhappy council
she refused this advice and fought at Langside, where Colin was
present, and when by the Regent's [The Earl of Moray, appointed
to the office after Mary's defeat.] insolence, after that victory,
all the loyal subjects were forced to take remissions for their
duty, as if it were a crime. Amongst the rest Mackenzie takes one,
the only one that ever any of his family had and this is rather
a mark of his fidelity than evidence of failure, and an honour,
not a task of his posterity." It would have been already seen
that another remission had been received at an earlier date, for
the imprisonment and murder of John Glassich, son and successor
to Hector Roy Mackenzie of Gairloch, in Ellandonnan Castle. Dr
George Mackenzie says that Kenneth apprehended John Glassich and
sent him prisoner to the Castle, where he was poisoned by the
constable's lady, [This lady was Nighean Iamhair, and was spouse
to John MacMhurchaidh Dhuibh, the Priest of Kintail, who was then
chosen constable of Ellandonnan for the following reason: A great
debate arose between the Maclennans and the Macraes about this
important and honourable post, and the laird finding them
irreconcilable, lest they should kill one another, and he being a
stranger in the country himself, Mackenzie, on the advice of the
Lord of Fairburn, elected the priest constable of the castle.
This did not suit the Maclennans, and, as soon as Mackenzie left
the country, they, one Sabbath morning, as the priest was coming
home from church, 'e sends a man in ambush in his road who shot
him with an arrow in the buttocks, so that he fell. The ambusher
thinking him killed, and perceiving others coming after the priest
that road, made his escape, and he (the priest) was carried to
his boat alive. Of this priest are all the Murchisons in thise
countries descended." - Ancient MS.] whereupon "ane certain female,
foster-sister of his, composed a Gaelic rhyme to commemorate him."
The Earl of Cromartie gives as the reason for this imprisonment
and murder that, according to rumour John Glassich intended to
prosecute his father's claim to the Kintail estates, and Kenneth
hearing of this sent for him to Brahan, John came suspecting nothing,
accompanied only by his ordinary servants. Kenneth questioned
him regarding the suspicious rumours in circulation, and not being
quite satisfied with the answers, he caused John Glassich to be
at once apprehended. One of John's servants, named John Gearr,
seeing his master thus inveigled, struck at Kenneth of Kintail a
fearful blow with a two-handed sword, but fortunately Kenneth, who
was standing close to the table, nimbly moved aside, and the blow
missed him, else he would have been cloven to pieces. The sword
made a deep cut in the table, "so that you could hide your hand
edgeways in it," and the mark remained in the table until Colin,
first Earl of Seaforth, "caused cut that piece off the table,
saying that he loved no such remembrance of the quarrels of his
relations." Kenneth was a man of good endowments "he carried so
prudently that he had the good-liking of his prince and peace from
his neighbours." He had a peculiar genius for mechanics, and was
seldom found without his corc - "sgian dubh" - or some other such
tool in his hand, with which he produced excellent specimens of
hand-carving on wood.

He married early, during his father's lifetime, Lady Elizabeth
Stewart, daughter of John, second Earl of Athol, by his wife,
Lady Mary Campbell, daughter of Archibald, second, and sister of
Colin, third Earl of Argyll, and by her had three sons and several
daughters -

I. Murdoch, who, being fostered in the house of Bayne of Tulloch,
was presented by that gentleman on his being sent home, with a
goodly stock of milch cows and the grazing of Strathvaich, but he
died before he attained majority.

II. Colin, who succeeded his father.

III. Roderick, who received the lands of Redcastle and became the
progenitor of the family of that name.

IV. Janet, who as his third wife married, first, Aeneas Macdonald,

VII. of Glengarry, with issue - a daughter Elizabeth, who married John
Roy Mackenzie, IV. of Gairloch. She married secondly, Alexander
Chisholm, XIV. of Chisholm, with issue.

V. Catherine, who, as his second wife, married Alexander Ross, IX.
of Balnagown, with issue - one son Nicholas Alexander, who died on the
21st of October, 1592.

VI. Agnes, who married Lachlan Mor Mackintosh of Mackintosh, [The
following anecdote is related of this match: Lachlan Mackintosh,
being only an infant when his father, William Mackintosh of that
ilk, was murdered in 1550, was carried for safety by some of his
humble retainers to the county of Ross. This came to the knowledge
of Colin, younger of Kintail, who took possession of the young
heir of Mackintosh, and carried him to Ellandonnan Castle. The
old chief retained him, and treated him with great care until
the years of pupilarity had expired, and then married him to his
daughter Agnes, by no means an unsuitable match for either, apart
from the time and manner in which it was consummated.] with issue.

VII. A daughter who married Walter Urquhart of Cromarty.

VIII. A daughter who married Robert Munro of Fowlis.

IX. A daughter who married Innes of Inverbreackie.

By Kenneth's marriage to Lady Elizabeth Stewart, the Royal blood
of the Plantaganets was introduced into the Family of Kintail, and
it was afterwards strengthened and the strain further continued
by the marriage of Kenneth's son, Colin Cam, to Barbara Grant of
Grant, daughter of Lady Marjory Stewart, daughter of John, third
Earl of Athol.

By the inter-marriages of his children Kenneth left his house
singularly powerful in family alliances, and as has been already
seen he in 1554 derived very substantial benefits from them himself.
He died at Killin on the 6th of June, 1568, and was burried at
Beauly. He was succeeded by his second and eldest surviving son,


Or COLIN THE ONE-EYED, who very early became a special favourite
at Court, particularly with the King himself; so much, the Earl
of Cromartie says, that "there was none in the North for whom he
hade a greater esteem than for this Colin. He made him one of
his Privie Councillors, and oft tymes invited him to be nobilitate
(ennobled); but Colin always declined it, aiming rather to have
his familie remarkable for power, as it were, above their qualitie
than for titles that equalled their power." We find that "in 1570
King James VI. granted to Coline Makcainze, the son and apparent
heir of the deceased Canzeoch of Kintaill, permission to be served
heir in his minority to all the lands and rents in the Sheriffdom
of Innerness, in which his father died last vest and seised. In
1572 the same King confirmed a grant made by Colin Makcanze of
Kintaill to Barbara Graunt, his affianced spouse, in fulfilment
of a contract between him and John Grant of Freuchie, dated 25th
April 1571, of his lands of Climbo, Keppach, and Ballichon, Mekle
Innerennet, Derisduan Beg, Little Innerennet, Derisduan Moir,
Auchadrein, Kirktoun, Ardtulloch, Rovoch, Quhissil, Tullych,
Derewall and Nuik, Inchchro, Morowoch, Glenlik, Innersell and Nuik,
Ackazarge, Kinlochbeancharan, and Innerchonray, in the Earldom
of Ross, and Sheriffdom of Inverness. In 1574 the same Colin
was served heir to his father Kenneth M'Keinzie in the davach
of Letterfernane, the davach of Glenshall, and other lands in the
barony of Ellendonane of the old extent of five marks." [Origines
Parechiales Scotia, p. 393, vol, ii.]

On the 15th of April, 1569, Colin, along with Alexander Ross
of Balnagown, Lachlan Mackintosh of Mackintosh, Walter Urquhart
of Cromarty, Robert Munro of Fowlis, Hugh Rose of Kilravock, and
several others, signed a bond of allegiance to James VI. and to
James Earl of Murray as Regent. On the 21st of June, in the same
year, before the Lord Regent and the Privy Council, Colin promised
and obliged himself to cause Torquil Macleod of Lewis to obtain
sufficient letters of slams from the master, wife, bairns, and
principal kin and friends of the umquhile John Mac Ian Mhoir, and
on the said letters of slams being obtained Robert Munro of Fowlis
promised and obliged himself to deliver to the said Torquil or
Colin the sum of two hundred merks consigned in Robert Munro's
hands by certain merchants in Edinburgh for the assithment of
slaughters committed at Lochcarron in connection with the fishings
in that Loch. On the 1st of August, 1569, Colin signs a decree
arbitral between himself and Donald Gormeson Macdonald, sixth
of Sleat, the full text of which will be found at pp. 185-88 of
Mackenzie's "History of the Macdonalds and Lords of the Isles."

In 1570 a quarrel broke out between the Mackenzies and the Munros.
Leslie, the celebrated Bishop of Ross, who had been secretary to
Queen Mary, dreading the effect of public feeling against prelacy
in the North, and against himself personally, made over to his
cousin Leslie of Balquhair, his rights and titles to the Chanonry
of Ross, together with the castle lands, in order to divest them
of the character of church property, and so save them to his family
but notwithstanding this grant, the Regent Murray gave the custody
of the castle to Andrew Munro of Milntown, a rigid presbyterian,
and in high favour with Murray, who promised Leslie some of the
lands of the barony of Fintry in Buchan as an equivalent but the
Regent died before this arrangement was carried out - before Munro
obtained titles to the castle and castle lands as he expected. Yet
he ultimately obtained permission from the Earl of Lennox, during
his regency, and afterwards from the Earl of Mar, his successor
in that office, to get possession of the castle.

The Mackenzies were by no means pleased to see the Munros occupying
the stronghold; and, desirous to obtain possession of it themselves,
they purchased Leslie's right, by virtue of which they demanded
delivery of the castle. This was at once refused by the Munros.
Kintail raised his vassals, and, joined by a detachment of the
Mackintoshes, [In the year 1573, Lachlan More, Laird of Mackintosh,
favouring Kintail, his brother-in law, required all the people of
Strathnairn to join him against the Munros. Colin, Lord of Lorn
had at the time the adminstration of that lordship as the jointure
lands of his wife, the Countesa Dowager of Murray, and he wrote to
Hugh Rose of Kilravock: "My Baillie off Strathnarne, for as much
as it is reported to me that Mackintosh has charged all my tenants
west of the water of Naim to pass forward with him to Ross to
enter into this troublous action with Mackenzie against the Laird
of Fowlis, and because I will not that any of mine enter presently
this matter whose service appertains to me, wherefore I will desire
you to make my will known to my tenants at Strathnarne within
your Bailliary, that none of them take upon hand to rise at this
present with Mackintosh to pass to Ross, or at any time hereafter
without my special command and goodwill obtained under such pains,"
etc. (Dated) Darnoway, 28th of June, 1573. - "Kilravock Writs,"
p.263.] garrisoned the steeple of the Cathedral Church, and laid
siege to Irvine's Tower and the Palace. The Munros held out for
three years, but one day the garrison becoming short of provisions,
they attempted a sortie to the Ness of Fortrose, where there was at
the time a salmon stell, the contents of which they attempted to
secure. They were commanded by John Munro, grandson of George,
fourth laird of Fowlis, who was killed at the battle of
"Bealach-nam-Brog." They, were immediately discovered, and
quickly followed by the Mackenzies, under lain Dubh Mac Ruairidh
Mhic Alastair, who fell upon the starving Munros, and, after a
desperate struggle, killed twenty-six of their number, among whom
was their commander, while the victors only sustained a loss of
two men killed and three or four wounded. The remaining defenders
of the castle immediately capitulated, and it was taken possession
of by the Mackenzies. Subsequently it was confirmed to the Baron
of Kintail by King James VI. [Sir Robert Gordon, p. 154, and MS.
Histories of the Family.] Roderick Mor Mackenzie of Redcastle seems
to have been the leading spirit in this affair. The following
document, dated at Holyrood House, the 12th of September 1573,
referring to the matter will prove interesting -

Anent our Sovereign Lord's letters raised at the instance of
Master George Munro, making mention: that whereas he is lawfully
provided to the Chancellory of Ross by his Highness's presentation,
admission to the Kirk, and the Lords' decree thereupon, and has
obtained letters in all the four forms thereupon and therewith has
caused charge the tenants and intromitters with the teind sheaves
thereof, to make him and his factors payment; and in the meantime
Rory Mackenzie, brother to Colin Mackenzie of Kintail, having
continual residence in the steeple of the Chanonry of Ross, which
he caused to be built not only to oppress the country with masterful
theft, sorning, and daily oppression, but also for suppressing of the
word of God which was always preached in the said Kirk preceding
his entry thereto, which is now become a filthy stye and den
of thieves; has masterfully and violently with a great force of
oppression, come to the tenants indebted in payment of the said Mr
George's benefice aforesaid and has masterfully reft them of all
and whole the fruits thereof; and so he having no other refuge
for obtaining of the said benefice, was compelled to denounce the
said whole tenants rebels and put them to the horn, as the said
letters and execution thereof more fully purports; and further is
compelled for fear of the said Mr George's life to remain from his
vocation whereunto God has called him. And anent the charge given
to the said Rory Mackenzie to desist and cease from all intromitting,
uptaking, molesting or troubling of the said Mr George's tenants
of his benefice above-written for any fruits or duties thereof,
otherwise than is ordered by law, or else to have compeared before
my Lord Regent's grace and Lords of Secret Council at a certain
day bypast, and show a reasonable cause why the same should not be
done; under the pain of rebellion and putting him to the horn, with
certification to him, and he failing, letters would be directed
simpliciter to put him to the horn, like as is at more length
contained in the said letters, execution and endorsement thereof.
Which being called, the said Master George compeared personally,
and the said Rory Mackenzie oftimes called and not compearing, my
Lord Regent's grace, with advise of the Lords of Secret Council,
ordained letters to be directed to officers of arms, Sheriffs in
that part, to denounce the said Rory Mackenzie our Sovereign Lord's
rebel and put him to the horn and to escheat and bring in all his
moveable goods to his Highness's use for his contempt. [Records of
the Privy Council.]

In December of the same year Colin has to provide cautioners, for
things laid to his charge, to the amount of ten thousand pounds,
that he shall remain within four miles of Edinburgh, and eastward
as far as the town of Dunbar, and that he shall appear before the
Council on a notice of forty-eight hours. On the 6th of February
following other cautioners bind themselves to enter him in Edinburgh
on the 20th of May, 1574, remaining there until relieved, under
a penalty of ten thousand pounds. He is entered to keep ward in
Edinburgh on the 1st March, 1575, and is bound to appear before
the Council when required under a similar penalty. On the 10th
of April following he signs a bond that Alexander Ross shall appear
before the Lords when required to do so. On the 25th of May, 1575,
at Chanonry, Robert Munro of Fowlis and Walter Urquhart, Sheriff
of Cromarty, bind themselves their heirs, and successors, under
a penalty of five thousand pounds, that they shall on a month's
notice enter and present Roderick Mor Mackenzie of Redcastle
before the King and the Privy Council and that he shall remain
while lawful entry be taken of him, and that he shall keep good
rule in his country in the meantime. On the same day Colin, his
brother, "of his own free motive will" binds himself and his heirs
to relieve and keep these gentlemen scaithless of the amount of
this obligation. He is one of several Highland chiefs charged by
the Regent and the Privy Council on the 19th of February, 1577-78,
to defend Donald Mac Angus of Glengarry from an expected invasion
of his territories by sea and land. [Register of the Privy Council.]

The disturbed state of the country was such, in 1573, that the
Earl of Sutherland petitioned to be served heir to his estates, at
Aberdeen, as he could not get a jury together to sit at Inverness,
"in consequence of the barons, such as Colin Mackenzie of Kintail,
Hugh Lord Lovat, Lachlan Mackintosh of Dunachton, and Robert Munro
of Fowlis, being at deadly feud among themselves." [Antiquarian
Notes, p. 79]

In 1580 a desperate quarrel broke out between the Mackenzies and
Macdonalds of Glengarry. The Chief of Glengarry inherited part of
Lochalsh, Lochcarron, and Lochbroom, from his grandmother, Margaret,
one of the sisters and co-heiresses of Sir Donald Macdonald of
Lochalsh, and grand-daughter of Celestine of the Isles. Kenneth,
during his father's life, had acquired the other part by purchase
from Dingwall of Kildun, son of the other co-heiress of Sir
Donald, on the 24th November, 1554, and Queen Mary confirmed the
grant by Royal charter. Many causes leading to disputes and feuds
can easily be imagined with such men in close proximity. Glengarry
and his followers "sorned" on Mackenzie's tenants, not only in
the immediate vicinity of his own property of Lochcarron, but also
during their raids from Glengarry, on the outskirts of Kintail,
and thus Mackenzie's dependants were continually harrassed by
Glengarry's cruelty and ill-usage. His own tenants in Lochalsh
and Lochcarron fared little better, particularly the Mathesons in
the former, and the Clann Ian Uidhir in the latter, who were the
original possessors of Glengarry's lands in that district. These
tribes, finding themselves in such abject slavery, though they
regularly paid their rents and other dues, and seeing how kindly
Mackenzie used the neighbouring tenantry, envied their more
comfortable state and "abhorred Glengarry's rascality, who would
lie in their houses (yea, force their women and daughters) so long
as there was any good to be given, which made them keep better
amity and correspondence with Mackenzie and his tenants than with
their own master and his followers. This may partly teach how
superiors ought always to govern and oversee their tenantry and
followers, especially in the Highlands, who were ordinarily made
up of several clans, and will not readily underlie such slavery as
the Incountry Commons will do."

The first serious outbreak between the Glengarry Macdonalds and
the Mackenzies originated thus: One Duncan Mac Ian Uidhir Mhic
Dhonnachaidh, known as "a very honest gentleman," who, in his early
days, lived under Glengarry, and was a very good deerstalker and
an excellent shot, often resorted to the forest of Glasletter,
then the property of Mackenzie of Gairloch, where he killed many
of the deer. Some time afterwards, Duncan was, in consequence of
certain troubles in his own country, obliged to leave, and he, with
all his family and goods, took up his quarters in Glen Affrick, close
to the forest. Soon after, he went, accompanied by a friend, to
the nearest hill, and began his favourite pursuit of deerstalking.
Mackenzie's forester perceiving the stranger, and knowing him as
an old poacher, cautiously walked up, came upon him unawares, and
demanded that he should at once surrender himself and his arms.
Duncan, finding that Gairloch's forester was only accompanied by
one gillie, "thought it an irrecoverable affront that he and his
man should so yield, and refused to do so on any terms, whereupon
the forester being ill-set, and remembering former abuses in their
passages," he and his companion killed the poachers, and buried
them in the hill. Fionnla Dubh Mac Dhomh'uill Mhoir and Donald
Mac Ian Leith, the latter a native of Gairloch, were suspected of
the crime, but it was never proved against them, though they were
both several times put on their trial by the barons of Kintail
and Gairloch.

About two years after the murder was committed, Duncan's bones
were discovered by one of his friends, who had continued all the
time diligently to search for him. The Macdonalds always suspected
foul play, and this having now been placed beyond question by the
discovery of the bodies of the victims, a party of them started,
determined to revenge the death of their clansman; and, arriving
at Inchlochell, Glenstrathfarrar, then the property of Rory Mor
Mackenzie of Redcastle, they found Duncan Mac Ian Mhic Dhomh'uill
Mhoir, a brother of the suspected Finlay Dubh, without any fear
of approaching danger, busily engaged ploughing his patch of land,
and they at once attacked and killed him. The renowned Rory Mor,
hearing of the murder of his tenant, at once despatched a messenger
to Glengarry demanding redress and the punishment of the assassins,
but Glengarry refused. Rory was, however, determined to have
satisfaction, and he resolved, against the counsel of his friends,
to have retribution for this and previous injuries at once and as
best he could. Having thus decided, he at once sent for his friend,
Dugall Mackenzie of Applecross, to consult him as to the best mode
of procedure to ensure success.

Glengarry lived at the time in the Castle of Strone, Lochcarron,
and, after consultation, the two Mackenzies resolved to use every
means in their power to capture him, or some of his nearest
relatives. For this purpose Dugall suggested a plan by which he
thought he would induce the unsuspecting Glengarry to meet him on
a certain day at Kishorn. Rory Mor, to avoid any suspicion, was
to start at once for Lochbroom, under cloak of attending to his
interests there; and if Macdonald agreed to meet Dugall at Kishorn,
he would immediately send notice of the day to Rory. No sooner had
Dugall arrived at home than, to carry out this plan, he dispatched a
messenger to Glengarry informing him that he had matters of great
importance to communicate to him, and that he wished, for that
purpose, to meet him on any day which he might deem suitable.

Day and place were soon appointed, and Dugall at once sent
a messenger, as arranged, with full particulars of the proposed
meeting to Rory Mor, who instantly gathered his friends, the Clann
Allan, and marched them to Lochcarron. On his arrival, he had a
meeting with Donald Mac Ian Mhic Ian Uidhir, and Angus Mac Eachainn,
both of the Clann Ian Uidhir, and closely allied to Glengarry by
blood and marriage, and living on his lands. "Yet notwithstanding
this alliance, they, fearing his, and his rascality's further
oppression, were content to join Rory in the plot." The appointed
day having arrived, Glengarry and his lady (a daughter of the
Captain of Clan Ranald, he having previously sent away his lawfull
wife, a daughter of the laird of Grant) came by sea to Kishorn.
He and Dugall Mackenzie having conferred together for some time
discussing matters of importance to each as neighbours, Glengarry
took his leave, but while being convoyed to his boat, Dugall
suggested the impropriety of his going home by sea in such a clumsy
boat, when he had only a distance of two miles to walk, and if
he did not suspect his own inability to make the lady comfortable
for the night, he would be glad to provide for her and see her home
safely next morning. Macdonald declined the proffered hospitality
to his lady. He sent her home by the boat, accompanied by four
of his followers, and told Dugall that he would not endanger the
boat by overloading, but that he and the remainder of his gentlemen
and followers would go home on foot.

Rory Mor had meanwhile placed his men in ambush in a place still
called Glaic nan Gillean. Glengarry and his train, on their way
to Strone Castle, came upon them without the slightest suspicion,
when they were suddenly surrounded by Rory's followers, and called
upon to surrender. Seeing this, one of the Macdonalds shot an
arrow at Redcastle, which fixed in the fringe of his plaid, when
his followers, thinking their leader had been mortally wounded
furiously attacked the Macdonalds; but Rory commanded his friends,
under pain of death, to save the life of Glengarry, who, seeing
he had no chance of escape, and hearing Redcastle's orders to his
men, threw away his sword, and ran into Rory Mor's arms, begging
that his life might be spared. This was at once granted to him,
but not a single one of his men escaped from Redcastle's infuriated
followers, who started the same night, taking Glengarry along with
him, for Lochbroom.

Even this did not satisfy the cruel disposition of Donald Mac Ian
Mhic Ian Uidhir and Angus Mac Eachainn, who had an old grudge against
their chief, Glengarry, his father having some time previously
evicted their father from Attadale, Lochcarron, to which they
claimed a right. They, under silence of night, gathered all the
Clann Ian Uidhir, and proceeded to Arinaskaig and Dalmartin, where
lived at the time three uncles of Glengarry - Gorrie, Rorie, and
Ronald - whom they, with all their retainers, killed on the spot.
"This murder was undoubtedly unknown to Rory or any of the
Mackenzies, though alleged otherwise; for as soon as his nephew,
Colin of Kintail, and his friends heard of this accident, they were
much concerned, and would have him (Rory) set Glengarry at liberty
but all their persuasions would not do tell he was secured of him
by writ and oath, that he and his would never pursue this accident
either legally or unlegally, and which, as was said, he never
intended to do, till seventeen years thereafter, when, in 1597,
the children of these three uncles of Glengarry arrived at manhood,"
determined, as will be seen hereafter, to revenge their father's
death. [Ancient and Ardintoul MSS.]

Gregory, however, says (p. 219) that after his liberation, Glengarry
complained to the Privy Council, who, investigating the matter,
caused the Castle of Strone, which Macdonald yielded to Mackenzie
as one of the conditions of his release, to be placed under the
temporary custody of the Earl of Argyll and Mackenzie of Kintail
was detained at Edinburgh in open ward to answer such charges as
might be brought against him. [Records of Privy Council of date 10th
August and 2d December 1582; 11th January and 8th March 1582-3.]
In 1586 King James VI. granted a remission to "Colin M'Kainzie of
Kintaill and Rodoric M'Kainzie of Auchterfailie" (Redcastle), "his
brother, for being art and part in the cruel murder of Rodoric
M'Allester in Stroll; Gorie M'Allester, his brother, in Stromcraig;
Ronnald M'Gorie, the son of the latter; John Roy M'Allane v'
Allester, in Pitnean; John Dow M'Allane v' Allester, in Kirktoun
of Lochcarroun; Alexander M'Allanroy, servitor of the deceased
Rodoric; Sir John Monro in Lochbrume; John Monro, his son; John
Monro Hucheoun, and the rest of their accomplices, under silence
of night, upon the lands of Ardmanichtyke, Dalmartene, Kirktoun
of Lochcarroun, Blahat, and other parts within the baronies
of Lochcarroun, Lochbrume, Ros, and Kessane, in the Sheriffdom
of Innerness," and for all their other past crimes, ["Origines
Parochiales Scotia" and Retours.]

During Colin's reign Huntly obtained a commission of fire and
sword against Mackintosh of Mackintosh, and reduced him to such a
condition that he had to remove with all his family and friends for
better security to the Island of Moy. Huntly, having determined
to crush him, came to Inverness and prepared a fleet of boats
with which to besiege the island. These preparations having been
completed, and the boats ready to be drawn across the hills from
Inverness to Moy, Mackenzie, who had been advised of Huntly's
intentions, despatched a messenger - John Mackenzie of Kinnock -
to Inverness, to ask his Lordship to be as favourable as possible
to his sister, Mackintosh of Mackintosh's wife, and to treat her as
a gentlewoman ought to be treated when he came to Moy, and that
he (Colin) would consider it as an act of personal courtesy to
himself. The messenger delivered his message, to which Huntly
replied, that if it were his good fortune, as he doubted not it
would be, to apprehend her husband and her, "she would be the worst
used lady in the North; that she was an ill instrument against
his cause, and therefore he would cut her tail above her houghs."
"Well, then," answered Kinnock, "he (Kintail) bade me tell your
Lordship if that were your answer, that perhaps he or his would
be there to have a better care of her." "I do not value his being
there more than herself" Huntly replied, "and tell him so much
from me." The messenger departed, when some of Huntly's principal
officers who heard the conversation remonstrated with his Lordship
for sending the Mackenzie chief so uncivil an answer, as he might
have cause to regret it if that gentleman took it amiss. Kinnock
on his arrival at Brahan, told his master what had occurred,
and delivered Huntly's rude message. Colin, who was at the time
in delicate health, sent for his brother, Rory Mor of Redcastle,
and sent him next day across the ferry of Ardersier with a force
of four hundred warriors. These he marched straight through the
hills; and just as Huntly, on his way from Inverness, was coming
in sight, on the west of Moy, Rory and his followers were marching
along the face of the hill on the east side of the Island, when
his Lordship, perceiving such a large force, asked his officers
who they could be. One of them, present during the interview with
Mackenzie's messenger on the previous day, answered, "Yonder is the
effect of your answer to Mackenzie." "I wonder," replied Huntly,
"how he could have so many men ready almost in an instant." The
officer replied, "Their leader is so active and fortunate that his
men will flock to him from all parts on a moment's notice when he
has any ado. And before you gain Mackintosh or his lady you will
lose more than he is worth, since now, as it seems, her friends
take part in the quarrel;" whereupon the Earl retired with his
forces to Inverness, "so that it seemed fitter to Huntly to agree
their differs friendly than prosecute the laws further against

There is a complaint to the Privy Council by Christian Scrymgeour,
relict of the late Alexander, Bishop of Ross, dated 24th January,
1578-9, in which it is stated that Colin not only stopped and
debarred her late spouse from having fuel and "elding" to his
dwelling house in the Chanonry of Ross, where he made his residence
last summer, but stopped him also from victuals to his house, using
such unhuman and cruel dealings against him that he fell sick and
never recovered "till he departed this life." During the illness
of the bishop in December preceding, Colin and others "of his
special sending" enclosed the house of the Chanonry and debarred
the complainer and her husband of meat and drink and all other
relief of company or comfort of neighbours and friends, and how
soon he had intelligence of the bishop's approaching his death he
laid ambushes of armed men within the town of Chanonry and in the
neighbourhood and apprehended several of the bishop's and dean's
servants, whom he carried "immediately to the said Colin's house
of the Redcastle," and there detained them for twenty-four hours.
Further, on the 22nd of September preceding, the bishop being at
the extreme point of death, Colin with an armed following in great
numbers, came to the castle and house of the Chanonry and by force
and violence entered therein and put the said Christian Scrymgeour,
the bishop's wife, and his servants, children, and household out
of the same, intromitted with their goods and gear and constrained
them to leave the country by sea, not suffering them to get meat,
drink, or lodging, in the town, nor letting them take away with
them of their own gear as much as a plaid or blanket to protect
the children from cold in the boat, "committing thair throw such
cruel and barbarous oppression upon them as the like has not
been heard of in any realm or country subject to justice or the
authority of a Sovereign Prince." Colin did not appear to answer
this complaint, and he and his chief abettors were denounced rebels,
put to the horn and escheated.

On the same day, there is a complaint by Henry Lord Methven, in
which it is stated that although his Lordship "has by gift of His
Highness to him, his heirs and assignees, the gift of all and whole
the temporality of the Bishopric of Ross, and of the castle, house,
and place of the Chanonry of Ross, now vacant in our Sovereign
Lord's hands by the decease of the late Alexander, last Bishop
of Ross, of all years and terms to come, aye and till the lawful
provision of a lawful bishop and pastor to the said bishopric,"
and although it is "specially provided by Act of Parliament that
whatsoever person or persons takes any bishop's places, castles, or
strengths, or enters by their own authority to hold them without
his Highness' command, letters or charges, shall incur the crimes
of treason and lesemajesty," yet, "Colin Mackenzie of Kintail,
in proud and high contempt of his Majesty's said loveable law and
Act of Parliament, and of his Highness now having the administration
of the Government of the realm in his own person, lately, upon the
22nd day of September last bypast, in the very hour of the death
of the said late Alexander, Bishop of Ross, or shortly thereafter
beset and enclosed the said castle, house, and place of the Chanonry
of Ross, took the same by force and as yet detains and holds the
same as a house of war and will not render and deliver the same
to the said Lord Methven.' Mackenzie was duly charged to give up
possession of the castle and place or take the consequences. Lord
Methven appeared personally, but Colin did not, where-upon their
Lordships ordained letters to be directed to him charging him to
give them up, "with the whole munition and ordnance therein" to
Henry Lord Methven or to any other having power to receive them,
within twenty-four hours of the charge under the pain of treason.

The following complaint by Donald Mac Angus of Glengarry laid before
the Privy Council at Dalkeith on 10th of August, 1582, is that
gentleman's version of his apprehension by Roderick Mor Mackenzie
of Redcastle and Dugall Mackenzie of Kishorn, as described from
family MSS. at pp. 156-59. Glengarry's complaint proceeds -

After the great slaughters, herschips, and skaiths, committed upon
him, his kin, friends, and servants upon the last day of February
the year of God 1581 years, estimate worth six score thousand
pounds money of this realm or thereby, and on the first, second,
third, fourth, fifth and sixth days of March last bypast thereafter
by Rory Mackenzie, brother-german to Colin Mackenzie of Kintail,
Dugald Mackenzie, his brother and the remainder of their colleagues
and company, to the number of two hundred persons, armed with
two-handed swords, bows, darlochis, hagbutts, pistols, prohibited
to be worn or used, and other offensive weapons who also upon
the sixteenth day of April last bypast or thereby, came upon the
said complainant he being within his own "rowmes" and country of
Lochcarron having mind of no evil or injury to have been done to
him nor none of his, but thinking to have lived under God's peace
and our Sovereign Lord, and then not only took himself captive,
kept and detained him prisoner in coves, craigs, woods, and other
desert places at their pleasure wherethrough none of his kin
nor friends had access to him for the space of fourteen days or
thereby, but also in the meantime took and apprehended the late
Rory MacAlister, father's brother to the said complainant, and
three of their sons and other of his friends and servants to the
number of 33 persons or thereby, bound their hands with their own
shirts, and cruelly and unmercifully, under promise of safety of
their lives, caused murder and slay them with dirks, appointing
that they should not be buried as Christian men, but cast forth
and eaten by dogs and swine." Further, "at the end of the said
complainant's captivity and detention in the manner aforesaid,
being delivered by the foresaid person, his takers and detainers,
to Colin Mackenzie of Kintail, both he and they, being armed in
warlike manner as said is, upon the 24th day of the said month of
April, came to the said complainant's town and lands of Strome,
where they also carried him captive with them and theirs, by
hostility and way of deed, spoiled and reft the whole goods, gear,
and plenishing therein and besieged his house and Castle of Strome,
threatening his friends and servants therein that if they rendered
not the same to them they would hang the said complainant in their
sight compelling him and his said friends therefor and for safety
of his life to yield to the said persons' tyrranous desires and
appetites, and render to them the said castle, which they not only
wrongfully detained and withheld from him, but also through occasion
thereof still insists in their cruelty and inhumanity against the
said complainant, his kin and friends. Like as lately, about the
end of July last, the said Colin Mackenzie Rory Mackenzie, and
others aforesaid, having violently taken Donald MacMoroch Roy, one
of the said complainant's chief kinsmen, and were not content to put
him to a simple death, but to bait them in his blood, and by a
strange example to satisfy their cruel and unnatural hearts, first
cut off his hands, next his feet, and last his head, and having cast
the same in a "peitpott," exposed and laid out his carcase to be a
prey for dogs and ravenous beasts: Tending by such kind of dealing
to undo as many of the said complainant's friends and servants as
they can apprehend, and to lay waste their lands, "rowmes," and
possessions to the said complainant's heavy hurt and skaith, and
dangerous example of wicked persons to attempt the like, if remedy
be not provided." In consequence of this complaint charges had
gone forth to Colin Mackenzie of Kintail, (1), to have rendered the
said Castle of Strome with the munition and goods therein to the
complainer or his representatives, within twenty-four hours after
being charged, under pain of rebellion, or else to have appeared
and shown cause to the contrary; (2) to have appeared and found
sufficient surety in the Books of the Council for the safety of
the complainer and his dependants in persons and goods, or else
shown cause to the contrary, under the same pain. And now, "the
said Angus Mac Angus compeared personally and the said Colin
Mackenzie of Kintail being oftimes called and not compearing, the
Lords (1) repeat their charge for delivery of the castle within
twenty-four hours, and, failing obedience, order Mackenzie of
Kintail to be denounced rebel and put to the horn and to escheat;
(2) repeat their charge to the said Mackenzie to find sufficient
caution for the safety of the complainer and his dependants in person
and goods, with order that if he fail to do so within fifteen days
after being charged, he shall, for that default also, be denounced
rebel and put to the horn."

On the 2nd of December, 1582, Colin finds caution in the sum of two
thousand merks that he shall deliver up Strome Castle, Lochcarron,
to Donald Mac Angus of Glengarry, in the event of the Privy
Council finding that he should do so.

Shortly after this the aspect of affairs is changed. On the 11th
of January, 1582-83, the decree against Mackenzie for the surrender
of Strome Castle to Donald Macdonald of Glengarry is reversed.
He petitions the Privy Council and gives an entirely different
complexion to the facts of the case against him to those submitted
by Glengarry to the Council. He complains of Donald Mac Angus for
having "upon a certain sinister and malicious narration" obtained
a decree against him charging him upon pain of rebellion to deliver
up the Castle of Strome, and to appear before the Privy Council,
on the 4th of August preceding, to find caution that Glengarry
and his friends should be kept harmless of him in their persons
and goods, and then makes the following statement:

The officer, alleged executor of the said letters (against him),
neither charged thc said Colin personally nor at his dwelling house,
neither yet came any such charge to his knowledge. Yet he hearing
tell somewhat thereof by the "bruit" of the country, he, for
obedience of the same, directed Alexander Mackenzie, his servant
and procurator, to our Burgh of Perth, where his Majesty was
resident for the time, who from the same fourth of August, being
the peremptory day of compearance, as well there as at Ruthven,
attended continually upon the calling of the said letters till
the Council dissolved, and that his Majesty passed to Dunkeld to
the hunting. Like as immediately thereafter the said Alexander
repaired to the Burgh of Edinburgh, where he likewise awaited a
certain space thereafter when Council should have been, and the
said letters should have been called but perceiving no number of
Council neither there nor actually with his Majesty, he looked
for no calling of the said letters nor proceeding thereuntil, but
that the same should have (been), deserted, because the day was
peremptory, at the least till he should have been of new warned and
heard in presence of his Highness and his Council to have shown a
reasonable cause why no such letters should be granted simpliciter
upon the said Colin to the effect above-written. Not-withstanding
for by his expectation, he being resident for the time in Edinburgh,
where he looked that the said matter should have been called,
the said other letters were upon the tenth day of the said month
of August last, by moyen of the said Donald Mac Angus, called at
the Castle of Dalkeith, and there, for the said Colin's alleged
non-compearance, as he is surely informed, decree was pronounced
in the said matter and letters ordained to be directed simpliciter
against him." Had his said servant, then still in Edinburgh, been
made aware of this meeting of Council at Dalkeith, "he would not
have failed to have compeared, and had many good and sufficient
reasons and defences to have staid all giving of the said letters
simpliciter;" such as that "the said Colin received the said castle
and fortalice of Strome by virtue of a contract passed betwixt him
and the said Donald, wherein he was content and consented that the
said castle should remain in the said Colin's hands and keeping
unto the time he had fulfilled certain other articles and clauses
mentioned and contained in the same contract;" also "that the said
Colin was charged, by virtue of letters passed by deliverance of
the Lords of Session, to render and deliver the said castle and
fortalice of Strome to John Grant of Freuchie, as pertaining to
him in heritage, within a certain space after the charge, under
the said pain of horning, so that, he being doubly charged, he
is uncertain to whom to render the said castle." Moreover, for
the satisfaction of the King and the Lords of Council, "the said
Colin has found caution to render and deliver the said castle and
fortalice to the said Donald, if it shall be found by his Highness
and the said Lords that he ought to do the same." For these reasons
it is argued that the said decree and letters issued against him
ought to be suspended.

Charge having been made to the said Donald Mac Angus to appear
to this complaint and demand, "both the said parties compeared
personally," and the Lords after hearing them, "suspended the
foresaid letters purchased by the said Donald Mac Angus, effect
thereof, and process of horning contained therein, and all that
has followed thereupon, upon the said Colin simpliciter in time
coming," the ground for this decision being that "the said Colin
has found security acted in the books of Secret Council that the
said castle and fortalice of Strome, committed to him in keeping by
the King's Majesty and Lords of Secret Council, shall be rendered
and delivered again to such person or persons as shall be appointed
by the King's Majesty to receive the same, as the keepers thereof
shall be required thereto upon six days' warning, under the pain
of ten thousand merks" and meanwhile, under the same pains, that
none of the King's subjects shall be "invaded, troubled, molested,
nor persecuted," by those who keep the castle for him, or by others
resorting thither. There is, however, this proviso -

That, in case the said Colin shall at any time hereafter sue of
the King's Majesty to be disburdened of the keeping of the said
castle, and that some person may be appointed to receive the same
out of his hands and keeping within the space of twenty days next
after his said Suit, which notwithstanding shall happen to be
refused and not done by his Highness within the said space, that
in that case he nor his cautioner be anywise answerable thereafter
for the said house and keeping thereof, but to be free of the same,
and these presents to annul and to have no further force, effect,
nor execution, against them at any time thereafter except that
the same house shall happen to be kept by the said Colin or his
servants in his name thereafter, for the which in that respect the
said Colin shall always be answerable in manner aforesaid and no

A bond of caution by Mackenzie, and Lord Lindsay of the Byres as
security for him, for ten thousand merks, subscribed on the 20th
of January, 1582-83, and registered in the Chanonry of Ross, binds
Colin to surrender the Castle of Strome to any person appointed
by the King for the purpose, on six days' warning and to fulfil
the other duties imposed upon him by the Act of the Privy Council
dated the 11th of the same month, already given, but with the
proviso in his favour contained in that Act, which is repeated at
length in the bond of caution of this date.

In terms of this bond the King and Council at a meeting held
at Holyrood on the 8th of March following "for certain causes
and considerations moving them," order letters to issue charging
Mackenzie and other keepers of the Castle of Strome to deliver the
same to Colin, Earl of Argyll, Chancellor, or to his servants in
his name within six days after charge under the pains of rebellion,
which being done the King "discharges thereafter the sureties
found by the said Colin Mackenzie of before, either acted in the
books of Secret Council, or by contract, bond, or promise between
him and Donald Mac Angus Mac Alastair of Glengarry," the Acts
referring to the same to be deleted from the books of the Privy

Colin's name appears again on the 1st of August as surety for
a bond of three thousand merks by David Dunbar of Kilstarry and
Patrick Dunbar of Blairy.

On the 5th of May, 1585, he is denounced a rebel on a complaint by
Hugh Fraser of Guisachan under the following circumstances. Fraser
says that a certain "John Dow Mac Allan was lawfully denounced his
Highness' rebel and put to the horn at the said Hucheon's instance
for not removing from the half davoch of land of Kilboky pertaining
to him, conform to a decree obtained by the said Hucheon against
the said John Dow Mac Allan." Upon this decree Hugh Fraser
"raised letters of caption by deliverance of the Lords of Session
to charge the Sheriff of Inverness and other judges in the country
where the said John resorts, to take, apprehend him, and keep him
conform to the order observed in such cases." In all this process
to obtain the decree, with "letters in the four forms, executions
and denunciations thereof," and then raising of the said letters
of caption thereupon, the complainer has been put to great travel
and expenses, having his habitation by the space of eight score
miles or thereby distant from the Burgh of Edinburgh." Nevertheless,
Colin Mackenzie, "to whom the said John Dow Mac Allan is tenant,
servant, and special depender," maintains and assists him in his
violent occupation or the complainer's lands, "keeps him in his
company, receives him in his house, and otherwise debates him that
he cannot be apprehended," so that all the proceedings of the
complainer Fraser are frustrated. Colin was thereupon charged to
present Mac Allan before the Privy Council, under pain of rebellion,
and failing to appear, or present John Dow, and the complainer
having appeared personally, an order was pronounced denouncing
Mackenzie a rebel.

On the 11th of December next, John Gordon of Pitlurg becomes
cautioner in one thousand merks that Colin will not injure Andrew,
Lord Dingwall, his tenants, or servants. On the 11th of April,
1586, William Cumming of Inverallochy and others become surety in
L1000 that Mackenzie shall "remove his coble, fishers, and nets,
from the fishing of the water of Canon, and desist and cease
therefrom in time coming, conform to the letters raised at the
instance of Andrew, Lord Dingwall, to the same effect, in case it
shall be found and declared that the said Colin ought to do the
same." On the 4th of May following, Mackenzie binds himself to
keep his sureties scaithless in the matter of this caution. On the
16th of the same month, the King and Council "for certain necessary
and weighty considerations moving his Highness, tending to the
furthering and establishing of his Highness' obedience and the
greatness and safety of his peaceable and good subjects from
burnings, riefs, and oppression," ordain Colin to enter in ward
in Blackness Castle within twenty-four hours after being charged
under pain of treason. Two days later, being then in ward in this
stronghold, he finds caution in ten thousand merks that on being
relieved from ward he will repair to Edinburgh and keep ward there
until set free. This is deleted by a warrant subscribed by the
King and the Secretary at Falkland on the 6th of the following
August. His name appears as one of a long list of Highland chiefs
complained against to the Privy Council on the 30th of November,
1586, by the united burghs of the realm for obstructing the
fisheries in the northern parts and making extortionate exactions
from the fishermen, and again on the 16th of September, 1587, when
an order is made to denounce him for his failure to appear before
the Council to enter John Mackenzie of Gairloch and his accomplices,
for whom Colin is held liable "as master and landlord," to answer a
complaint made against them by James Sinclair, Master of Caithness,
on the 10th of August preceding. On the 5th of March, 1587-88,
John Davidson, burgess of Edinburgh, becomes cautioner in 500
merks that Colin will, if required, enter such of his men before
the Privy Council as "assegeit" James, Master of Caithness,
within the house of William Robson, in the Chanonry of Ross. On
the 27th of July, 1588, he is appointed by a Convention of the
Estates member of a Commission, charged with powers for executing
the laws against Jesuits, Papists, and other delinquents, and with
other extensive powers. On the 24th of May, 1589, he is named
as the Commissioner for the shire of Inverness who is to convene
the freeholders of the county for choosing the Commissioners to
a Parliament to be held at Edinburgh on the 2nd of October in that
year, and to report his diligence in this matter to the Council
before the 15th of August, under pains of rebellion. On the 4th
of June following, he appears in a curious position in connection
with a prosecution for witchcraft against several women, and an
abridgement of the document, as recorded in the Records of the
Privy Council, is of sufficient interest to justify a place here.
It is the complaint of Katherine Ross, relict of Robert Munro of
Fowlis; Margaret Sutherland, spouse of Hector Munro, portioner of

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