These were the "Jacobite Rebellions" in Scotland and the English border country in and The Jacobites were Catholics and members of the House of Stuart and had been given that name after the "Glorious Revolution" of when James II was dethroned and exiled. The McKay family is a large Scottish clan with a long and interesting history, including service as mercenaries in several European campaigns. Their badge is the Great Bullrush.
The modern McKay tartan is shown below. William McKay, father of James Neil McKay, was born about in Ireland, and had grown up on an estate near Newtownards or "Ards" as it is known locally , in County Down, Ireland, where the McKay family had worked as tenant farmers or possibly miners for several generations. In any case, it is likely that at least a part of the McKay family had been moved to Ireland from the highlands of Northern Scotland, north of Loch Ness. The names of his parents are unknown at this time. He died in while living on the family farm in Dodge County, Wisconsin.
Margaret Neil l was born about June 16, in Belfast, Ireland, according to her headstone, and probably married William McKay about There are official coats of arms for both family names. The origin of the O'Neill family is believed to be in eastern County Down, Ireland, not far from the Newtownards estate where the McKays immigrated from. Little else is known about her except that it was said that she was "a Scotch-Irish lassie with big blue eyes and a sunny sweet disposition".
According to one account, Margaret's great-grandfather on her mother's side was a well known businessman in Edinboro, Scotland, in the s. He supposedly owned the street railway system of that city.
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Mining of copper and lead was an important industry in the area in the early s. Here is an advertisement for the voyage posted in The Belfast Mercury newspaper in February, , a month prior to departure. Arrived in New York, May 5, Listed under manifest I. Notwithstanding the lack of trust between the predominantly Protestant America-born middle class and the impoverished Catholic immigrants who arrived in the midth century, the main problem for the Irish immigrant was a lack of a skill. On passenger manifests the men claimed to be laborers; women said they were domestic servants.
In most cases, they had little or no previous experience in these roles; these positions were the limit of their aspirations. Being unskilled, uneducated and typically illiterate, they accepted the most menial jobs that other immigrant groups did not want. Society looked down on them, and they were forced to work long hours for minimal pay. Their cheap labor was needed by America's expanding cities for the construction of canals, roads, bridges, railroads and other infrastructure projects, and also found employment in the mining and quarrying industries.
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When the economy was strong, Irish immigrants to America were welcomed. But when boom times turned down, as they did in the mids, social unrest followed and it could be especially difficult for immigrants who were considered to be taking jobs from Americans. Being already low in the pecking order, the Irish suffered great discrimination. The census provides limited information but does indicate that the family had three boys William, James and Robert and two girls Agnes and Sarah at that time.
Sarah was their first child born in the United States and was named after the Sarah who was killed in a train wreck? Another daughter, Mary? The ship's manifest, however, seems to have cast some doubt on this story. Sarah A. McKay was the daughter of J. She married Daniel W. Jones on January 7, in Richland, Wisconsin. Sarah and Daniel are enumerated in Madison, Wisconsin in the , with their two adult sons, Harold and Robert. Sarah apparently died between and In the Federal Census, William is 47 and Margaret is Both of the parents indicated that they were born in Ireland and also that Agnes, William, Robert and James were born in Ireland.
In the Kansas Census, however, James N. McKay said that his parents were born in Scotland. It is more likely that they were born in Northern Ireland and were of Scottish decent. According to an article on William J. It also said that William McKay had been a Presbyterian but had joined the Baptist church later in his life. His son, William John W.
McKay went on to become a prominent Methodist minister in Wisconsin. In stories retold by Dick Barr, and Jack Everhart, one or two children Sarah and Mary were supposed to have been lost or died at sea during the trip to America. James N. McKay also supposedly suffered a broken leg in the same wreck. In a Dane County History account, it was stated that Sarah died in the train wreck about Another child, born in , was named after her. The month old baby in the Census apparently died in infancy without a recorded name.
When not busy with their crops, the men of this community fished and cut cord wood. The most common fish caught were the whitefish. They were salted, then packed between layers of salt, in kegs. The wood was sold to the owners of steamboats to be used in the fire boxes. The McKay family lived here for five years. They had prospered and accumulated stock, but decided to make another move. This time they went to Horican, the town where the Van Brunt Machinery is manufactured. Horican is northeast of Madison, Wisconsin and is in Dodge County.
It was on their farm near Williamstown where the family was enumerated during the Census and where William McKay apparently died. An Plat Map of Williamstown township shows the location of the McKay farm as a long, narrow strip of land having the west property line along the shore of a small lake. He was born in or near the village of Conlig, south of Bangor, in County Down, Ireland on September 27, and was brought by his family to the United States in In , he had three brothers; William John born , Robert born , and an unnamed infant who was born just before the census was taken.
He also had three sisters: Agnes born , Sarah born and Mary born Sarah, Mary and the newborn baby are shown as being born in Wisconsin. William John W. While in the Army, he caught typhoid fever and was severely disabled by it through most of his life. After leaving the Army, he was a farmer and then earned his Doctor of Divinity degree. During his career, he was the minister of 12 Methodist churches in Wisconsin. McKay was born in Ireland, Oct.
His parents were William and Margaret McKay. The family emigrated to the United States in and first settled in Ozankee Co. They afterward moved to Dodge county, where the father died in The mother now resides in Richland county. James, R. McKay was married in to Laura Davis, a daughter of J. Davis, of Vernon County. In he came to Richland Center. He had charge of the county poor farm for two years, and was engaged in a grocery, provision and crockery trade. The McKay family had at least two farms in Wisconsin between and , but have not yet been found in the Wisconsin Census.
In William J. She is shown living there with two of her daughters Mary and Sarah in the Census. The whereabouts and fate of several other children of William and Margaret McKay is uncertain. In the Census, Sarah H. In , she married Daniel W. Jones b. They had two children: Harold M. Robert was killed in an automobile accident on Christmas Day, Sarah died in and Daniel died on August 18, , both in Madison, Wisconsin. Mary Jane McKay was born January 5, In , Mary Jane is 22, unmarried and working as a teacher.
She died on June 30, , at the age of 42, apparently as the result of complications in child birth and is buried between her mother and her sister, Agnes, in the Richland Center Cemetery. He served in Co. February 4, ; she died Feb. Agnes was living with her brother, William J. McKay, in , and with her sister, Sarah, in Born March 28, ; Died April 30, The star beside the headstone indicates that he was a Civil War veteran.
Born December 6, ; Died March 3, At some point during his service, he was reported as wounded. Sara Roxey born on September 7, , also in Richland Center. From her name in two school books in the Everhart family collection, it appears that Sara lived in Retreat, Wisconsin and then lived, at least briefly, near Howard, Kansas.
Both children are mentioned in the Richland County History above. The family Robert and his two daughters reappears in Madison, Wisconsin in the Census. They are living on Washington Avenue and his occupation is listed as grocer. Laura died on August 15, , and Robert apparently did not remarry. After the Wisconsin Census he and his daughters moved to California where he became a prosperous merchant in Los Angeles and Hollywood The and Census indicates that Robert McKay was widowed, but the Census indicates he was divorced?
In the and Census, Robert is the proprietor of a grocery store; Roxie is working as secretary for the Board of Trade in and a stenographer in a bank in , while Alice was not working. Alice died in February, and is buried next to her father. McKay died in Los Angeles on November 15, There is a story that James McKay may have had to leave his home in Wisconsin because of a fight with an abusive teacher in which he broke the man's jaw. If it actually happened, it would have been in the late s and may explain the move of the family from Dodge County to Vernon County in About , James moved to Kansas by train and was among the first settlers to homestead in Phillips County.
At one point in his trip to Kansas, the train was halted for several hours by a herd of buffalo. He was living in this region when the Cheyenne Indians slipped away from their reservation in Oklahoma and returned to their Northern Plains homeland. The Cheyenne Indians reportedly had passed near the McKay home. Two months later, on November 21, , James L. Attebury, age 25, married Agnes Womack, age 22, in the McKay home.
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Shurtz officiated at both weddings. It is unknown at this point what the family relationship was between Nancy and James Attebury. Twenty-one years later, on February 25, , a note in the Logan paper said that a James Attebury had committed suicide by hanging himself from a bridge near his home, fifteen miles north of Logan on Bow Creek. His occupation is listed as "farmer.
Nettie May is 7, Maude is 5, and William is 3. Nancy Jane Attebury was born on November 18, , according to her obituary. Her wedding certificate says she was 21 when she married James McKay in and her age in the Census was given as According to Jack Everhart, she was at least part Indian and her pictures appear to support that contention. Johnnie died on July 1, of measles and was buried near Logan, Kansas. McKay was born in April, Mary Jane McKay was born on October 24, and was the last of their six children. In , the family sold their property and moved into the Oklahoma Territory during the Cherokee Strip land rush where they settled in Pond Creek.
James McKay made the race out of "Outlet No. It was one of five registration booths on the northern border of the Indian Territory and served those persons who were interested in settling in "L" County eventually Grant County. The bill was ratified by Congress on March 3, The lands were opened to settlement by order of President Grover Cleveland signed August 19, Almost 15, people made the race out of Outlet No.
In a letter to her grandson, Mike Everhart, Mary Jane Everhart described what she remembered of the trip into Oklahoma. She would have been two years old at the time and would probably have been re-telling the story as she had heard it from her family:. There he erected one of the first buildings in the new town. It was a livery barn, a few yards north of the Central Hotel which he built soon after.
The family lived in the livery barn while he built the hotel with lumber shipped from Kansas. The Central Hotel was one of the oldest buildings in the Cherokee Outlet until it was torn down in The hotel was used primarily by employees of the Rock Island Railroad.
James McKay operated a blacksmith shop for many years and was also in the dry goods business along with the hotel and boarding house. With his long white beard, James McKay was a common sight in Pond Creek and was always interested in politics. This is followed by genealogical accounts of the principal families of Mackay ; and these again are followed by an appendix of documents taken for the most part from the hitherto unpublished family papers of the Mackays of Strathnaver, later Lords of Reay.
To those who take an interest in our northern history, social development, or place-names, the Reay Papers should prove of no little value. How I stumbled upon them is told at page 2. Although the idea of writing this book was not seriously entertained until after the discovery of the Reay Papers in , I began to accumulate material, genealogical and otherwise, as early as , when a student at St. Andrews University. After my settlement at Westerdale, the distance from a large library was felt, but I generally managed to get a fortnight's holiday to Edinburgh each year, and spent it working at the Advocates' Library ; while kind friends in the south very generously lent rue from time to time books of reference for study at home.
In this fashion the pile of notes continued to grow year by year. James Aberigh Mackay, Chieftain of the Aberach Mackays, for their encouragement generally, and particularly for their influential letters commending this work, which appeared in the prospectus issued soliciting subscribers. The list of subscribers printed at the end of the book owes not a little of its length to these two letters. At the same time, members of the Clan all over the world, as soon as they learned what I was about, vied with one another in backing me up, and did their utmost to secure subscribers to the Book of Mackay.
To one and all I extend my warmest thanks. To the following I am indebted for the loan of reference books and MSS. Macaulay, Esqr. Lunclie, Tongue. Thanks are also due to the following for the use of portraits and illustrations, viz. Norman J. M'Kie, Newton Stewart; Mrs. Webster, Helensburgh; Provost A. Mackay, Grangemouth; James F.
Mackay, Esqr. Geddie, Halkirk ; and Mrs. Brims, Thurso. The portraits facing pages and are from paintings by Reynolds, that facing page is by Raeburn, while that facing is by one of the Dutch masters. I take this opportunity of thanking the officials in charge of the following Edinburgh libraries for their great courtesy to me, viz. I also congratulate Mr. Rae, printer, Wick, on the work which he has turned out for me. And last, but not least, I owe more to my wife than I care to say, for she laboriously corrected all the proof-sheets as they issued from the press.
Notwithstanding our united pains, however, a few errors have crept into the text, but the more important are pointed out and corrected at page As this is my first serious attempt at book writing, and as I had to work in a secluded northern valley, far away from libraries, I venture to crave the indulgence of my readers in view of any defects. If the perusal of these pages gives to some readers a little of the pleasure and the instruction which their preparation gave to me, then the book has not been written in vain. United Fkee Church Manse, Westekdai.
His genealogical account of the various branches of the MacKay family, though somewhat brief and lacking in dates, is wonderfully accurate so far as it goes. When he wrote the field of Highland family history was practically fallow, and he had to pick his way over the ground very much under the guidance of Sir Robert Gordon, whose partisan spirit often roused his ire. Since then things are very much altered. Various valuable books have been compiled, and many important old books in MS.
National documents, which could then be only consulted in MS. AVith the comparatively scanty material at his disposal, Mr. Robert MacKay produced a book which does him credit, and which has often helped us over a difficulty. We brought this theory to the notice of.. Eneas MacKay, LL. Acting upon his advice, we followed up certain clues without discovering anything of importance.
In the spring of , just as we were about to consult the Edinburgh Register House, in order to find out if possible who acted for Lord Reay about the time that he sold the estate, we chanced to discuss the matter with a member of our congregation, at one time a clerk in an Edinburgh lawyer's office.
This gentleman, to our surprise and delight, straightway informed us that in the vaults of the office where he had served there were two large boxes with the painted inscrip- tion, " Lord Reay," containing documents bearing upon the north, as he had verified for himself during an idle hour. With this piece of information we set out for Edinburgh, and reported the matter to Sheriff MacKay, who consulted the firm in question, and discovered that our information was correct. Eventu- ally, through the sheriffs influence, the two boxes were entrusted to us for perusal, and but a little examination served to show that they were the Reay Charter Chests, or at least a portion of them.
The documents include charters and copies of charters, bonds of friendship, records of transfers of lands, marriage settlements, wadsetts, rent-rolls, etc. There are unfortunately very few private letters among them. They are referred to in the following pages as Reay Papers. Thomas Middlemore of Melsetter, in Orkney, and of Hawkes- ley, near Birmingham, very kindly put at our disposal for the purposes of this work an elaborate Search of Sasines, Deeds, Testaments, etc.
Walter Macleod, Edinburgh. To the genealogist this is an invaluable compilation, which we should gladly see published for the benefit of future writers of our northern history. Through the influence of a Sandwood MaeKay — Dr. George MacKay, F. Alexander MacKay, F. In the following pages it is referred to as the Blk. It gives a succinct historical and genealogical account of the Strathnavcr Mackays, together with a genealogical account of its cadet branches.
By far the larger part of the book is taken up with these interesting extracts. Mackay of Blackcastle had also an old family MS. Its chief interest lay in that it gave a very different account of the early genealogy of the MacKays from that given by Sir Robert Gordon. Of this we shall have more to say. MacKay's history appeared in , the very year in which Lord Reay sold his Highland estates ; and as his Lordship was making arrangements some years previous to this for selling the same, all his family papers were in the hands of law agents.
MacKay of Blackcastle, and gave him the Reay Papers to peruse. His papers are also placed at our disposal, but they are for the most part mere scraps, with the exception of his genealogical account of the Mackays of Melness, to which branch he belonged himself. In our account of the said family we follow " Ben Reay " closely, but add a considerable amount of new matter discovered by ourselves in the Reay Papers.
MacKay clan and all things Scottish.
We have also been studying this subject for some years, and, however imperfect the following pages may be, we have made a careful search of the public records and read as widely as our limited opportunities and means permitted. An examination of the public record shows that the name Mac- Kay was spelt in a great variety of ways. The Galloway MacKays, of whom there were various families holding a considerable amount of land in Wigton, Kirkcud- brightshire, etc.
Aodh frequently appears in the literature of the Gael as the name of Picts, Scots, and Irish ; but its present aspirated form indi- cates a harder formation, aed, which indeed is found in earlier Irish writings, and is supposed to mean " the fiery or impetuous one. Some authorities have equated Aodh with Hugh, but we do not accept that view, as Hugh, which stands for the Gaelic Huistean, is generally represented in Latin documents by Hugo, while Aodh is transformed into Odo or Odoneus.
Nay more, there are various instances in which two brothers may be found, the one called Aodh and the other Hugh, as, for example, the family of Donald 1st Lord Reay, whose first and third sons were so named respectively. This shows that they were considered two different names then, just as is the case to-day among Strathnaver people. Probably the best English equivalent of Aodh is lye, if it can be called an equivalent ; and it is a pity that this name, as characteristic of the MacKays once as Rorie is of the Macleods or Ranald of the Macdonalds, is not more com- monly used nowadays.
In the Earldom of Sutherland, written about by Sir 1. Among Strathnaver people at the present day a person addressed as lye, in Gaelic, signs his name and is addressed, in English, as Isaac. The surname Maelsaac, to be found in the West Highlands, may be a corrupt form of Mackay.
Macbain, who edits the second edition of Skene's Highlanders of Scotland, writes at page — " The name Heth is the most ill-used syllable I know of. It appears as Head, Ed, Etli ; the Gaelic form of all these monstrosities can easily be identified. It is the very favour- ite name of Aed or Aodh, later translated as Hugh. Macheth is an old form of MacKay. Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonston, son of Alexander, 11th Earl of Sutherland, and tutor of John, 13th Earl, during his minority, wrote a history of the earldom of Sutherland about , which gives a vast amount of information, not only about the Sutherland family, but about the MacKays, Sinclairs, and many other northern clans.
Sir Robert, however, is notoriously unjust to every family who did not happen to be on friendly terms with his own, and particularly so to the MacKays, whom he bastardizes with great freedom. His hostile sjiirit towards this family is nakedly shown in the Farewell Letter of Advice, of which we give extracts in our 1. Sir Robert says that the MacKays sprang from " one called Walter, reported by some to have been the bastard sone of the Lord Forbese his predicessour, who at that time was not vet Earld.
From the long genealogical account which follows, Walter must have lived about — a period sufficiently remote to preclude any knowledge of his legitimacy or otherwise, we should say. The only fact which interests us presently in this account is the statement that the Mac- Kays and Forbeses were supposed to have had a common origin. In He solemnly tells us that in the 8th century of the Christian era Vocompos, head of the House of Cromarty, " had to his second brother one named Phorbas Urquhart, and Hugh to the third ; of whom, some few hundred years after that, the names of Forbes and Mackay had their beginning.
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In this preface he says Ochonochar, an Irish lord who came over to Scotland, had a son Ochonochar, and that this second Ochonochar had three sons, who became the respective progenitors of the families of Forbes, Urquhart, and MacKay. Walter and the Bishopc's daughter being fled, left behind them their little sone ; and it being told the Bishope that the child was his daughter's, begotten by Walter Forbes, the Bishope caused immediatlie fenss the court in the name of the child, who was called John Forbes, of whom is descendid the house of MacKay who is now Lord Rea This narratione of the originall of the houss of MacKay, the first Lord Reay did relate to credable gentlemen who related the same to the writer hereof, etc.
Sir Robert Gordon and Forbes expressly state that they had had their information from the MacKays themselves. Sir Thomas Urquhart, no doubt, obtained his from the same source, as he was on very intimate terms with the MacKays, who, like himself, were staunch supporters of the two kings Charles. They were associated in the northern campaign of when Inverness was captured by the royalists, and again at the battle of Worcester, in , Captain Mac- Kay of Borley, at the head of some MacKays, fought alongside the Knight of Cromarty.
But what these writers assert is borne out by the warm friendship existing between the , two families for some centuries. As shall be afterwards shown, Donald MacKay of Strath- naver helped the Forbeses in their Aberdeenshire feuds about ; his son lye Du MacKay lived in close amity with them up to his death in , as various documents show, while the sons of lye Du went even the length of calling themselves " MacKay-Forbes.
Fraser, in the Wardlaw MS. He writes : — " It happens unfortunately for the solution of this question, that the Clan MacKay is not contained in the manuscript of [a Gaelic genealogical MS. If this conclusion be a just one, however, we can trace the early generations of the clan in the Sagas, for we are informed by thein that towards the beginning of the twelfth century ' there lived in the Dolum Katanesi or Strathnaver a man named Moddan, a noble and rich man,' and that his sons were Magnus Orfi, and Ottar, the Earl in Thurso.
The absence of all mention of Moddan's father, the infallible mark of a Norwegian in the Sagas, sufficiently points out that he must have been a native ; but this appears still more strongly from his son being called an earl. No Norwegian under the Earl of Orkney could have borne such a title, but they indiscriminately termed all the Scottish maormors and great chiefs earls, and consequently Mocldan and his son Ottar must have been Gaelic Maormors of Caithness, and consequently the MacKays, if a part of the ancient inhabitants of Caithness, were probably descended from them.
Skene identifies as King Duncan, son of Crinan, abbot of Dunkeld, by his wife, a daughter of King Malcolm MacKenneth gifted Caithness to Moddan, his sister's son, conferring upon him at the same time the dignity of an carl. Earl Moddan is reported to have marched north with a large army, and taking up his quarters at Thurso, was there surprised and slain. We hear no more of this Earl Moddan, but it is not at all likely that his family would lightly relinquish their claims to lands which the king gifted, and consequently we think that " Moddan the noble man of Dolum Katanesi," who flourished about , was the son or grandson of Moddan, nephew of Duncan, king of Scots.
Skene, in the extract quoted above, gives substantial reasons for believing that the Moddan family was Celtic, and not Norse. This view is further strengthened by the fact that the name Moddan is purely Celtic. It is a compound of Mo-Aodh-an, and means ''a votary of St. Aidan," while the name Aidan is a Gaelic diminutive of Aodh. From the account given in the Sagas this family appears to have latterly lived on more friendly terms with the Norse Earls of Orkney, who were overlords of Caithness, than with the Scottish kings. But there is nothing surprising in this.
In course of time they may have found it better policy to court the favour of the Norseman, rather than maintain a struggling allegiance to the distant and unstable Scottish throne. Moddan, who lived in the " Dales of Caithness," had two sons, Earl Ottar of Thurso and Magnus " the generous ; " he had also two daughters, Helga and Frakork. Man and the Isles, whose daughter Ragnhild became the wife of Introduction.
Somerled regulus of Argyle. Frakork, the other daughter of Moddan, married Liot, " a great man and chieftain in Sutherland," says Tor- fasus. The two sons of Moddan may be the " da mac Matni " the two sons of Matan , who are said, in the Book of Deer, to have witnessed at Ellon, along with the nobles of Buchan and others, the I. On an island in Loch Hakon, a considerable sheet of water about three miles south of Tongue House, may be seen the ruins of a house called Orianan sunny , which is traditionally reported to ha ve been the summer resort of a Hakon and his lady.
Distant though Caithness be from Buchan, there is nothing unreasonable in this surmise, for there was in ancient times a close ecclesiastical connection between the province of Caithness and the territories of Moray, Buchan, and Aberdeen, as Dr. Stuart, editor of the Book of Deer, observes. The Highlanders of Scotland, in which it is suggested that the MacKays are descended from the Moddan family, was written by Skene when a young man, in ; but before the conclusion of his great work, Celtic Scotland, in , some of his earlier and immature views underwent considerable change.
JEneas Mackay, lately lecturer on Constitutional Law and History in the University of Edinburgh, afterwards Sheriff of Fife, and the author of various learned historical works, informs us that Dr. Skene, in his later years, was inclined to believe that the MacKays, formerly called Clan Morgan, passed over from Moray and Buchan to Strathnaver when King Malcolm cleared that part of Scotland of its rebellious inhabi- tants, about This also seems to have been the view of the well-known Gaelic scholar, the late Rev.
According to the Aberdeen Breviary, St. Fergus, who came from Ireland, after founding three churches in Aberdeenshire, crossed over to Caithness, where he also reared some churches, one of which is at Wick. Drostan, one of the founders of the Deer monastery, has various dedica- tions in Caithness, at Canishay, Wesfcfield, and Westerdale, at which latter place there is a noted holy well, called Tobair Trostan well of Trostan.
Moddan, who also laboured in Aberdeen- shire, as many place-names show, has dedications in Caithness at Bower and Olrig. To the old Highlanders the Danes were Du-Ghalls, " black strangers," and the Norwegians were Fion- Ghalls, " white strangers," for what reason we cannot say. It was because the first Lord Reay served for some time under the King of Denmark that he came to be nicknamed Dughall.
The earliest reference to the Clan Morgan, of which we have any knowledge, is to be found in a Gaelic entry in the Booh of Deer, dated a few years later than ; and in this entry we find the toisheach of the clan, his two sons, and the two sons of Matan, witnessing a legal transaction at Ellon, the old capital of Buchan. We proceed to give a literal translation of the entry, and the entry itself we give in a foot-note : 2 — " Colhain, mormaer of Buchan, and Eva, daughter of Gartnait, his married wife, and Donnachadh son of Sithig, toisheach of Clan Morgan, immolated all the offerings given to God and to Droston and to Columkill and to Peter the Apostle, free from all the burdens for a share of four davachs of what would come on the chief monasteries if Scotland generally and on the chief churches.
Before these witnesses : Broecin, and Cormac abbot of Turbruaid, and Morgan son Donnachadh, and Gilli-Petair son of Donnachadh, and Malaechin, and the two sons of Matan, and all good ones of Buchan in witness hereof in Elon. Robaid Colbain mormaer Buchan 7 Eua ingen Gartnait abenphusta 7 Donnachac mc Sithig toesech clenni Morgain nahuli edbarta ri Dia 7 ri Drostan 7 ri Columcilli 7 ri Petar apstal onahulib dolaidib archuit cetri dabacb do ni thissad ar ardmandaidib Alban cucotchenn 7 ara hardcheliaib.
Shaw's Moray. And just as the inhabitants of Sutherland are called in Gaelic to this day Cattich, and those of Caithness Gallich, so probably did the name Morgan arise to denote Moraymen in general, or a certain section of that people. We are justified in concluding that there was some connec- tion between the names Morgan and Murray, as both sprang from the same old Gaelic root Mor, the sea. The editor of the Book of Deer is perplexed over grants of land by Moraymen, such as Malcolm the son of Maelbrigte and Mael- snechte the son of Lulach, to a monastery in the rival province of Buchan.
We fail to appreciate his difficulty, for the church was not a provincial institution. To us it seems most natural that officials in Moray should help a neighbouring monastery of such standing as that of Deer. As Toisheach, first or leader, is supposed to have been the official next in order after the Ri, petty king, or the Mormaer, over- lord, it may be that Duncan of Clan Morgan appeared at Ellon on this occasion to represent the Moraymen, seeing that they were with- out a Mormaer since Angus fell at Strathcathro in Indeed, this solemn assembly on the moot-hill of Ellon, where representatives from Caithness and Moray, as we believe, were present with the nobles of Buchan, may have been due to the anxiety of the Deer officials to secure their church-lands by as legal.
They also meet us in Moray. These lands were in the neigbourhood of Pluscardine, between Forres and Elgin, and probably became the Crown's property through escheat from the former owners. Not less remarkable than those which Dr. Macbain points out is the fact that, in the early genealogies of the Highland Clans given in the Advocate's Library MS. Let us now see where we stand. We found that, about , King Duncan gave Caithness to his nephew Moddan, who lost his life at Thurso soon thereafter endeavouring to wrest the king's gift from the Norsemen.
About we saw that Moddan, "a noble and rich man," occupied the " Dales of Caithness " or Strathnaver , on friendly terms with the Norsemen, and concluded that he was a son or repre- sentative of the earlier Moddan thus endeavouring to secure the king's gift. As the province of Caithness had been then for about two centuries in the possession of the Norsemen, we presumed that the earlier Moddan was not a native of that part of the country, but a Celt of Moray or Buchan, and for that presumption we got some support from the fact that two sons of a Moddan witnessed a very solemn legal transaction in Buchan about We also found that the Clan Morgan was located in these north-eastern parts about this time, that its toisheach acted in his official capacity along with the mormaer of Buchan, and that the name Morgan in Scotland was peculiar to Moray and Buchan, but reappeared in Sutherland at a Annalia.
The question we have now to face is, how did the Clan Morgan, of whom we got a glimpse in the north-east of Scotland, about , reappear afterwards in distant Strathnaver, and there continue to be known by exactly the same title? We believe the solution of the problem is to be found in the transportation of the Moraymen about , in consequence of their continued rebellion fordun's culminating in that of Malcolm MacHeth, 1st Earl of Ross, their leading representative, of which more anon.
This also is the position taken up in the Bile. And if our surmises be correct, it can easily be understood how the Mac- Kays, who now live in the north of Sutherland, are kindred with the Forbeses of Aberdeenshire, for the MacKays once dwelt in that neighbourhood and formed one of its leading families.
As already stated, the early genealogy of Mackay given by Mr. MacKay of Blackcastle, in the Bile. Table I. Table II. The dates in square brackets are by us. It is well known that Sir Robert gives thanes and early earls to the house of Suther- land who never existed. He also inserted two earls in more modern times, John and Nicolas, the 8th and 9th respectively, who are discarded as non-existent by Sir Wm. Frascr in the Sutherland Boole.
These mistakes, and perhaps they are not to be wondered at, in giving the genealogy of the house whose history he was specially recording, prepare us to expect even greater errors in recording the genealogy of a family which found scant grace in his eyes. See Comparative Genealogies, p. It all depends upon the value of the old MS. That earlier MS. We can say this, however, that we have found the Black- castle account, in as far as it is based on this older MS. Blackcastle states certain facts based upon the earlier MS. It also records that lye Dii of Strathnaver joined the Macintoshes and others in support of Queen Mary in , captured Inverness, and marched with her Majesty to Aberdeen.
Other instances might be given here, and shall be given hereafter, but these will suffice meantime to show that there was something in this old family MS. When MacKay of Blackcastle endeavours to explain certain matters he sometimes, but not often, seriously blunders. He con- founds Malcolm MacEth with Farquhar Macintaggart, who was of quite a different family, and no connection of Malcolm.
This led him into a quagmire at the start. On 31st Mar. Walter m. I III. Magnus died on Strathnaver. Morgan Farquhar a quo Clan Farquhar Mackay. Donald m. Donald k. Ill A III. Angus in. Hutcheon Neil Martin, dr. Leod of Lewis. Angus Du Rorie Gald fought at Ding- k. Morgan of Walter bishop of Caithness. Martin a quo Galloway Mac Kay. Donald Gilchrist. Angus and others. Angus Du Rorie Gald fought at k. He also concluded that as Gilchrist the younger was designated his father's heir in Kintyre, the elder Ymar must have been passed over because he succeeded his supposed uncle, Donald III.
This acknow- ledged theory is utterly wrong. Ymar is a mode of spelling Ivor, without a doubt. It is possible that the said Ivor was a son of lye I. If we blot out this interpolated and acknowledged theory, Donald III. Let us now compare the two tables a little more closely. Sir Robert Gordon, as Table I. Here we have something definite to go upon. That the compiler of the earlier family account knew nothing of de Baltrodi is some confirmation of the accuracy of his genealogy. There is a striking discrepancy between Tables I. In Table I. Farquhar, as placed in Table I.
The dates of these charters correspond with the position assigned to Farquhar in Table II. Donald MacCorriehie, "a descendant of Farquhar," sold these in""- 1 No. The said Win. McCallan had a brother Angus, whose son Wm. The son and heir of the latter William had a precept of clarc constat, on the 23rd Apr. In King James I. Both these facts clearly show that the MacKays of that period had some hold upon lands in Ross.
And Hector Boece records that Angus Duff " tuk an gret prey of gudis 1. Various documents in the Bmy Papers show the facts to be as stated by us above. For the cumulative reasons given above, we consider the genealogy of Table II. On the death of Malcolm II. To secure Duncan's succession, Malcolm before his death passed a special ordinance making heirs in the female line eligible, and at the same time took the precaution of slaying the rightful male heir, a son of his brother Boete. Gruoch, however, a daughter of Boetc was married to Macbeth, the powerful mormaer of Moray ; and King Duncan, Malcolm's grandson, found it necessary or wise to endow Macbeth with a considerable amount of power.
When the arms of Duncan suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Thorfin the Norseman, Macbeth not only deserted his cause, but turned upon him and slew him. The children of King Duncan fled into England, and Macbeth became king of Scots, a position which he occupied for no less than seventeen years. That he reigned so long implies that his right to the throne, through his wife Gruoch, was acknowledged by a consider- able body of the people. They were not the cruel, ambitious couple he represents them ; and if they slew King Duncan, the grandson of Malcolm II.
In the meantime Lulach, 1 a second cousin of Macbeth, and, as some hold, the son of Gruoch by a former husband, became mormaer of Moray. But the supporters of Macbeth were not utterly crushed.
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They now set up as king of Scots, Lulach, Mormaer of Moray, who had a claim to the throne through his mother, a daughter or granddaughter of Boete. Lulach, however, was not able to withstand the victorious Canmore for more than seven months, and fell in battle 17th Mar. In Malcolm Canmore again turned his attention to the Moraymcn, administered some punishment and secured some spoil, but Maels- nectan managed to keep up the fight till he died in The next Earl 2 of Moray was Aed, who married the daughter of Lulach.
Little is known of Aed. Whatever he may have been during the chequered years which immediately followed the death of Canmore, the fact that he witnessed royal charters later on may indicate that he lived at peace with King David. He also appears to have become Earl of Moray in virtue of his marriage with Lulach's daughter, and may have sprung from a collateral noble family of Moray.
He was succeeded 1. Lulach was the sou of Gillicomgan, the son of Maelbridge, the son of Ruadri, the son of Donald, the son of Morgan ; and Macbeth was the son of Finnlaeic, the son of Ruadri, the sou of Donald, the son of Morgan. Macbeth and Lulach were thus first and second cousins. See genea- logies of the Highland Clans in Col. About tliis time the old Gaelic title Mormaer was replaced by the Saxon title Earl. Ailrkd I. The occasion of it was as follows : — David I. A nephew of his, Malcolm, counting on the support of the disaffected, endeavoured to wrest the sceptre from his uncle the king, and found Angus, Earl of Moray, oidy too ready to join.
But with English aid David was enabled to overcome this formidable combination at Strathcathro, Forfar, in , where there "fell of the men of Moray with their King Oengus, son of the daughter of Lulach. After the fall of Angus, his son Malcolm MacEth fled to the western isles, where he was beyond the power of the Scots king among a people who owned allegiance to the Norse crown, and gathered strength to recover his lost province. It is impossible to give a correct account of his doings, as they are inextricably mixed up with those of a cleric of the name of Wymund, Bishop of Man, who about the same time made insurrection and claimed to be a descendent of the house of Moray.
Somerled, regulus of Argyle, espoused the cause of MacEth and gave him his sister in marriage. About he took the field, and seems to have carried on a system of guerilla warfare for a considerable time, retiring to the mountains when hard pressed, but returning again and again to the conflict and appearing in most unexpected places. After giving an immense amount of trouble, he was captured in Galloway with English assist- ance, and imprisoned in Roxburgh tower about Robert de Brus, in his reported speech before the battle of the Standard in , reminds King David how he was supported by the English the previous year, against " Malcolm, heir of his father's hate and persecu- tion.
On the death of David I. Eth, was captured at Witherne in Galloway , and imprisoned cross. The warfare, however, was continued by the MacEths and Somerled until the following year, when the king found it good policy to set Malcolm MacEth at liberty and "gave him a certain province, which suspended the incursion he had instigated," as William of Newburgh informs us. The province bestowed upon Malcolm MacEth was Ross. About this time we find him witnessing a charter by Malcolm IV. In the ensuing tumult MacEth was at last overcome, captured, and blinded, about the year Then King Malcolm IV.
Fordun thus describes the event in his Annalia, of which we give the English translation : — " At this time the rebel nation of the Moraymen, whose former lord, the Earl Angus, had been killed by the Scots, would, for neither prayers nor bribes, neither treaties nor oaths, leave off their disloyal ways, or their ravages among their fellow-countrymen. So having gathered a large army, the king removed them all from the land of their birth, as of old Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had dealt with the Jews, and scattered them throughout the other districts of Scotland, both beyond the hills and this side thereof, so that even not one native of that land abode there, and he instalk-d therein his own peaceful people.
In consequence of this treatment many of the Moray men, and among them the Clan Morgan, fled northward over the hills of Ross into Strathnaver, where the Norsemen gave them shelter; others found a refuge in Argyle and the Isles, beyond the king's power, whence came the Bute, Kintyre, and Islay MacKays ; while sonic fled to the wilds of Galloway, then also under the Norse sway, and founded there a branch of the family. Those who settled in the Strathnaver valleys would receive a kindly welcome from Harold, the Norse earl of Caithness, whose interest it was to befriend the enemies of the Scots king.
And they certainly had a good friend in Harold's wife, Gormlath, blue-eyes, the daughter of Malcolm MacEth, who as might be expected hated the Crown so cordially that King William, chkon. If our theory as to the Moddan family be correct, that they were a people of Moray extraction who found it to their interest to ally themselves with the Norsemen, it is natural to conclude that the Moddans also assisted the MacEths under the influence of Harold, who was himself a great- grandson of Moddan through his daughter Helga.
It is even possible that the Moddan and MacEth families eventually merged into one people through marriage. Fordun's statement, that the royal policy was to plant strangers in Moray, is supported from other sources of information. About this time Berowaldus, a native of Freisland, appears in the Cartulary of Moray as a holder of land in that province, and so does Freskin the c.
Chalmers derives Freskin also from Fresia, and Cosmo Lines in the introduction to the Cartulary of Moray approves of that view. Be that as it may, the application of this policy extended northwards as the king's enemies fell back, and Freskin's son, Hugo, thus came to have landed rights in south Suther- land. It is very evident that the Freskin family obtained its title and possession in Suderland as a reward for helping to curb the turbulence of the northern peoples, both Celtic and Norse.
Again in William pursued his enemies into the province of Caithness, which at that time included the present counties of Caithness and Sutherland. Fordun describes the incident thus : — "In that year there was so grevious a famine that men were starving everywhere.
That same year king William led an army into Caithness. Crossing the river Oikel, he killed some of the disturbers of the peace, and bowed to his will both provinces of the Caithnessmen, Utramque provinciam Catenensium voluntati suae subegit routing Harold the earl thereof, until then a good man and trusty — but at that time goaded on by his wife, the daughter of MacEth.
Near the top of Strathnaver there is an old battle-field strewn with tumuli, called Dall-Harrold, and over- looking the field is a small eminence, Cnoc Ri, king's hill, whence the king is said to have directed operations. Harold fell back down the strath and made his final stand on Fiscary hill, overlooking the township of Farr.
His battle front, as the abounding tumuli show, extended for about a mile and a half east and west, his right wing rested on the spur above Crask, and his left on the rocks above the Swordly valley. His left face was covered by Loch Salchie, and from thence to the right there was a good deal of soft ground over which his assailants had to advance to the attack.
The position was very strong, with Borve Castle on the sea-rocks about two miles to the rear ; but King William was not to be denied. Some of the survivors fled to their boats in Rhivaal bay, about a mile east of Borve, as the gruesome trail of graves, which becomes a perfect cemetery above the landing place, shows. They must have fought desperately there to cover the embarkation of the survivors. Others may have fled to Borve Castle, an impregnable fortress perched upon a high rocky isthmus. We have ourselves seen a sword dug out of the Fiscary moss, with the characteristic Norse hilt, a relic of that bloody battle.
Harold, however, and his followers continued to maintain the struggle for some time longer in Caithness, Ross, and Moray, as Fordun proceeds to show. In Alexander II. It is very probable that the MacEths so designated themselves to perpetuate in this way their claim to the earldom of Moray, as descended of Aed, who married the daughter of Lulach.
In we find the disaffected ones still fighting, and now the scene of conflict is again Strathnaver. The following presents in tabular form the descent of the MacEths from Aed their progenitor : — I. Aed Earl of Moray, m. Angus Earl of Moray, k. Malcolm MacEth, Earl of Ross, m. Lost Ross c. Donald MacEth captured Gormlath m. Harold in Galloway, Earl of Caithness. Kenneth MacEth, son or nephew of Donald, k. I A quo the Mackays of Strathnaver. At present, by Strathnaver is meant the strath along the river Naver from Lochnaver to the sea, but at an earlier period it was the name of an extensive tract of country in the north western quarter of the province of Caithness.
In the tractive situ Albani it is stated, upon the authority of Andrew, Bishop of Caithness, that this province was the seventh in Scotland and was divided in the midst by the range of the Ord mountains. In the Brevis descriptio Regni Scotil , Caithness is described as 24 leagues in length by 40 in breadth. Septima enim pars et Cathanesia citra monteui et ultra ruontem, quia mons Mouud dividit Cathauesiam. Dates and Documents. When Bishop Gilbert divided the diocese of the province into its fourteen parishes about , it consisted practically of what are now known as the counties of Caithness and Sutherland, with the exception of the parish of Assint which pertained to the province of Ross.
In course of time the name Caithness came to be applied to that part now called the county of Caithness ; the parishes of Kiklonan, Loth, Golspie, Rogart, Lairg, Creich, and Dornoch were embraced in the geographical unit Suderland, the south-land ; and Edderachilis, Dur- ness, Kintail of Tongue, and Farr, the old dolum Catkanensi, formed the unit Strathnaver, while Assint formed part of Ross. Cordiner, in his letters of , states that he entered Strathnaver shortly after leaving Sandside, on his way to Bighouse at the foot of the Halladale valley.
It is thus made clear that the eastern boundary of Strathnaver is Drumholstein. The western boundary is the inarch between Assint and Edderachilis. Hector Boece, whose history of Scotland was published in , describes the western boundary thus: — "merchant with Ross lyis Stranavern, the outmaist boundis of Scotland : of quhilk the se cost lyis north-north-west, and crukis in agane sometime fornens Almani 1. Strathnaver is the Nabarus of Ptolmey's map.
Farr, Farrar, and Farr, the two latter in Inverness-shire, come from the same root, which is probably Piutish. Assint derives its name from St. Assin, a Columban, who had dedications in Skye, Easter-Ross, etc. Edderachilis means be- tween the two kyles. Durness, which appears under the forms Diurness, Deerness, etc. Tongue is Norse, a tongue. Kintail is a Gaelic compound, ceann sail, head of the salt water.
Various old maps also show Strathnaver marching on the west coast with Assint, the northmost part of Ross at an early period. Sir Robert had an evident motive in so saying : he sought to lessen the importance of the territorial designation "MacKay of Strath- naver. The boastful supercilious tone of the Earldom of Sutherland is unfortunately adopted in Dates and Documents, etc. James Loch, commissioner to the Duke of Sutherland.
As the only son of this marriage died without issue, the charter of regality to Sutherland, which involved superiority over MacKay, was obtained upon a false statement. Loch, who knew this well, might have fluttered the said charter with a little less air of triumph. In the same book Mr. Loch, after noticing the charter of King James IV. This system of glorifying one family at the expense of another is not only unfair, but is sure to provoke reprisals.
The Book of Sutherland 3 Vols. Fraser, is written in an excellent spirit as might be expected from this well-known author ; and he has often to contradict the partisan statements, as well as to condemn the tone of Sir Robert Gordon, whom Mr. Loch unhappily aspired to emulate. In the king granted in heritage to Donald MacKay the lands of Strathnaver, together with Dirlet, Cattack, and Bioinach all in Caithness, Kilcalumkill of Strabrora, Kinald, and Golspie in Suther- land ; when all these lands were erected into the free barony of Farr.
From that date till the family was dignified, the chiefs of MacKay were sometimes designated of Farr, and sometimes of Strathnaver. Durness was not the property of the bishop of Caithness, but the church owned fifteen davochs of land in the said parish, viz. This is but a mere fraction of the extensive parish of Durness, and any claim which the Earl of Sutherland may have acquired to this portion, he obtained from his brother-in-law, Robert Stewart, Bishop of Caithness, afterwards Earl of Lennox, whose sister Eleanor became the second wife of Sutherland. To legalise this marriage a dispensation from the Pope had to be obtained, as Lady Eleanor had a bastard son some time previously.
The Sutherland family often found Papal dispensations handy, while on the other hand the MacKays neglected to make use of what would have often saved them from a deal of trouble. Of this marriage Sir Win. Fraser says, " the church lands of Caithness were at this time somewhat a ,s UTH k. Clibrig, Ardovyr, Corynafearn, and four other davochs of land in Strathnaver, on the church of Moray. This lady was dead before She married Freskin de Moravia, and bore him a daughter who married Reginald Chein. The said daughter eventually brought these lands to her husband Chein.
These lands are frequently desig- nated in the earlier documents among the Beat Papers as Kerrow na Shein, Chein's quarter. Sir Wm. Fraser shows that this could not be : Matilda was the name of the hostage daughter of the Earl of Caith- ness. Who Joanna was we cannot say ; but there is no doubt that the de Morays tried to get a grip of lands in these quarters by this marriage, and it is clear that for some generations the said lands were a bone of contention between the Moray of Dnffus and MacKay families.
On the north coast of Strathnaver there are three islands in close proximity. Isle Colme lies on the west side of Naver bay, and had once an extensive Columban ecclesiastical establishment. Close by, and further west, lies Rona isle, which also had an ecclesiastical institution dedicated to St. Rona, as its name implies. Still further west, and lying athwart the bay of Tongue, is Elian nan Gall, island of the strangers. It was from these islands that the Columbans endeavoured to christianise Strathnaver in early times, and these institutions lying close by the Naver bay indicate not only the com- parative importance of the place, but may also serve to show how one strath came to give its name to a whole territory.
But why two ecclesiastical institutions so close to one another as those on the islands Colme and Rona? They were rival institutions. Maclauchlan in his Early Scottish Church and Dr. Skene in his Celtic Scotland show that about a. Ronan, diverging Romewards. The division in course of time became so pronounced that rival establishments were set up in close proximity to the older ones by the followers of St.
Thus, close by the mouth of the Naver, the Columbans held forth on one island and the Romish Ronans held forth on the other. On the east bank of the Naver, and about half a mile from the sea, stood once the strongly fortified Tor an Tigh vor, the Bighouse heap. About half a mile further up, and on the opposite side, there was once the flourishing Balmargait, Margaret's town.
On a rock, Ca an Duin, above the town may be seen the ruins of a round-tower ; and in the year , after a severe storm which blew away the sand, the present writer was able to trace at least four similar round-towers placed in various positions around, and presumably for the defence of the said town. The ruins of Balmargait and the institutions on the islands in the neighbourhood already referred to, clearly indicate that there was once upon a time more life along the valley of the Naver than there is now.
We have therefore fixed the date of lye MacEth's birth as about But Kenneth, the leading representative of the MacEth family, fell in , as already shown, so that as far as dates are concerned, lye MacEth may have been his sou or his nephew — from lack of evidence on the point, we cannot be more definite. That he was a descendant of Malcolm, Earl of Ross, and the first of the family to settle permanently in Strathnaver, is all that the old family MS.
In our introductory chapter we briefly showed how Malcolm IV. Strathnaver in The reign of Alexander II. Caithness, Galloway, Argyle, and even the western isles, the quarters in which his sovereignty was disputed, he repeatedly attacked with wisdom and energy.
Of some he took hostages, the lands of others he bestowed upon his own friends. In he made his last effort. With a large army he invaded Argyle, collected ships and prepared to sweep the Norseman from the western isles, vowing " that he would not desist until he had set his standards east on the cliffs of Thurso. During the long minority of Alexander III. The known issue of lye MacEth was three sons. Morgan, of whom nothing further is recorded. Martin, who is said to have settled in Galloway. It is pertinent to observe that years before this date the MacEths are found fighting in Galloway, and that Donald the son of Earl Malcolm was captured there.
Owing to Norse influence in Galloway, the Isles, and Caithness, the adherents of the various rulers in these quarters passed to and fro. In the MS. As evidence of the supposed connection between the Mackays of Strathnaver and the Mackies of Galloway, we may mention that Sir Patrick Mackie of Lairg in Galloway led a company of the regiment commanded by Sir Donald, afterwards Lord Reay, in the service of the King of Denmark.
It is stated in the Housh of Forbes that the bishop's son-in-law possessed himself of twelve davochs of land in Durness, and that eventually the bishop gave legal title over these lands to his grandchild. We have already shown that there is documentary evidence to prove that the church of Caithness owned fifteen davochs of land in Durness. In a document describing the estate of Lord Reay , preserved among the Reay Papers, we read, " Durness is a dry pretty spot ; the soil sandy, well Appendix' peopled for its extent.
It lies upon a bed of limestone which is here no. It is considered the best grass and pasture ground in the north of Scotland, and it was of old the bishop of Caithness' sheiling or pasture farm. The document of confirmation, which is dated June , proceeds :— " Verum quia dictus Walterus de honestate vite, grata mormu decentia, dono scientie littoralis, ac spiritualium et temporalium circumspecta prudentia laudabili testimonio commendatur: nos attendentes, quod ad personam eius vota dictorum Decani et Capituli, quibus unanime fuerat in ipsius ascriptione pvopositum, concorditer congruerant, eonsiderantes etiam eiusdem ecclesie paupertatem, pie in tanta locorum distantia in gravia itinevum et viarum dispendia non posse absque gravi difficultate et onere expensaruin, nee non eupientes, vit,are perictilum, quod ex mora in talibus potest non immerito formidari, dignum duximus, ut circa provisionem ipsius ecclesie, que immediate dicte sedi subesse dinoscitur, faciendo specialem gratiam memorato Waltero, curemus apostolice sollici- tudinis studium adhibere.
If the son was called Mcky to indicate his father, the father's name must have been lye. To this extent the Houss of Forbes bears out the contention of the old family MS. During the minority of Alexander III. Hakon, King of Norway, the nominal overlord of these islands, remonstrated with King Alexander, but in vain. In the summer of Hakon sailed for Scotland with a large fleet, and after various vicissitudes came at last to grief at Largs, more by stress of weather than by the prowess of the opposing Scottish army. With the remnants of his once imposing fleet he sailed away north- wards, called at Alsher on the west coast of Strathnaver, rounded Cape Wrath and came to anchor in Loch Eriboll.
A party who tortus. It is also probable that this incident gave rise to the common tradition, that the Mackays obtained their first footing in Strathnaver in consequence of their prowess in opposing the Norsemen. The MacEths and the Norsemen often fought side by side, but now times were changed and they changed with them. Shortly thereafter, King Alexander for a sum of money purchased from the Norsemen any rights which they may have claimed over the western isles or other lands in Scotland, and thus settled the vexed Norse question.
In Johnston's translation of The Norwegian Account of Haco's expedition , we read that a detachment of the fleet on the outward voyage "sailed into Scotland under Dryness. They going up into the country destroyed a castle, but the garrison had fled. They burned more than twenty hamlets. Next they steered for the Hebrides.
Gruamach means taciturn. It is stated in the Knock MS. He may have been a brother but he cannot have been a son of lye Mor, for according to the Knock MS. Perhaps we should not say that this was impossible, but it is more likely that John Gruamach resided in the neighbourhood of Islay, the seat of Angus Mor.
In our Introductory Chapter we noticed how Mr Mackay of Blackcastle fell into the mistake of making Gilchrist Mac-Ivor Maclye of Kintyre a son of lye Mor of Strathnaver, and we need not enter further into the matter here. The lands which King Robert the Bruce confirmed to Gilchrist and his heirs were the two twopenny lands in Kintyre, viz. He married a daughter of lye, son of Neil of Gigha, an island lying close to the coast of Kintyre, between that and Islay.
The distance to which Donald went in search of a wife, combined with the neighbourhood in which he found her, seem to indicate that there was at this time a close connection between the Mackays of Strathnaver and those of that name on the west coast of Argyle. We have found Mackays holding land in Kintyre at this early period, and there were others in the same quarter. The Knock MS.
See our account of the Argyle Mackays. It would be interesting to know what part if any Donald of Stratlmaver took in the struggle for independence under Wallace and Bruce, when Scotland, Highland and Lowland, was stirred to its depths. We are not aware that they have substantial documentary evidence for this statement ; but there is no doubt that the Mackays of Isla, Mull, etc. Barbour, who is a competent authority, informs us that at Bannock- burn the Earl of Moray commanded the centre, Edward Bruce the right, and Sir James Douglas and Walter the Stewart commanded baeboue's the left on that fateful day.
The same authority states that Bruce and Angus of the Isles commanded the reserve, consisting of the men of Argyle, Carrick, Kantire, the Isles, and Bute. When Donald of Strathnaver's wife's relatives and his kinsmen of the west were ranged under the banner of Scotland's deliverer, it is very likely that the Strathnavermen were not far away although Barbour does not chronicle the fact.
No doubt the original charter, which cannot now be found, made all this clear ; AN OLD CHARTER 43 ] but as in Haddington's day the prominent family of Mackay was the Strathnaver one, he may have concluded that the bald statement "Charter to Makaj " was sufficient for the purpose of identification. The known issue of Donald by the daughter of lye of Gigha was a son, lye, of whom an account now follows.
In the Papal dispensation, which is given at large in Theiner's Monumenta Vetera, p. Sir Robert Gordon committed some mistakes in his account of this incident. But Sir Wm. Eraser shows that there was no Earl Nicholas, and that the immediate predecessor of Earl Robert was Earl William, who flourished Consequently, on Sir Robert's own showing, the author of this deed was Earl Wm. Fraser observes, " in this case it may refer to the disturbed condition of the country or perhaps of Sutherland. If the Mackays are descended from Malcolm MacEth, Earl of Ross, as we contend they are, the family might well be called an " ancient enemy " who gave trouble to the Scots kings and their henchmen iu the far north, the Earls of Sutherland.
And according to Hailes, Cosmo Lines, etc. From the time of this latter Earl William we have authentic evidence that the Sutherlands and Mackays were at daggers drawn ; before his time the mist lies too heavy for us to know much. In the circumstances, we repeat, the family of Mackay might well be called an "ancient enemy" of the house of Sutherland. The Blh. The meeting took place at Dingwall in Ross in , at which were present the. Earl of Sutherland and his brother Nicolas, and MacKay and his son Donald, and other chieftains to act as umpires and decide in the matter submitted.
MacKay was about to succeed in his claim, and the Sutherlands became so irritated and enraged that Nicolas Sutherland rose in the night-time and basely murdered MacKay and his son Donald. Nicolas leaving Dingwall Castle fled and escaped, although pursued by MacKay's attendants. We may also conclude that the Earl of Ross was one of the arbiters of a case tried at his own castle, and it is not unlikely that the Earl of Buchan, justiciar for the north, would likewise be present. IYE We are not told what were the subjects in dispute, but we have not far to go in search of one bone of contention.
On the 10th Oct. This charter gave Earl Wm. Of this marriage between Earl Wm. As King David was childless he intended John of Sutherland to succeed him in the throne, and bestowed lands north, south, east, and west upon the Earl of Sutherland, who in turn gave many of these lands away to Scottish nobles, in order to secure their support when the time came for his son to claim the throne of Scotland. But John of Sutherland died of the plague in London, leaving no issue, shortly before the demise of his uncle the king, and the hopes of both David and the Earl of Sutherland were thus balked.
By the death of his son, Sutherland's regality so far as his descendants were con- cerned went up in smoke — he had now no heir by Margaret to retain these charter rights. King David, the unfortunate and worthless son of the great Bruce, died on the 22ncl Feb. It is notorious that the relations between David and his nephew, Robert, were of a strained character, partly on account of David's partiality for his nephew of Sutherland. As Robert If. About this time the king's physician was Farquhar, the son of lye of Strathnaver, a scion of the house of the " ancient enemy," and one who had a charter from the Earl of Buchan, confirmed by his father, the king, 4th Sep.