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The Rev. ALEXANDER MACRAE, M.A. (Author)

II I S T 0 R Y




IXi; W ALL: n E ORG E S 0 D T 1910.

Fifty Copies of this Volume have been printed on large paper, of which this is No.




The delay which for various unavoidable reasons has occurred in the publication of the large paper edition of this book has afforded an opportunity for making considerable additions to it, as it first appeared. These additions are the work mainly of my fellow-clansman and namesake Mr Alexander Macrae, M.A., Bushey, Hertford- shire, a gentleman who adds ripe scholarship and high literary attainments to an intimate knowledge of the Gaelic language and of the people of Kintail among whom his youth was passed.

In the preface to the original edition. I dealt at some length with the rival claims of the Inverinate, Conchra, and Torlysich families to contain the senior lineal repre- sentation of Fionnla Dubh Mac Gillechriosd, whom I there described as the founder of the Clan. This question was gone into with great fulness during the hearing of the "Macrae Chieftainship" case in the Court of the Lord Lyon King of Arms in 1908-9 ; but it still remains un- settled, while it is claimed on behalf of the Claim Ian Charrich branch, not without valid reason, that they are an older family than Fionnla Dubh's, and that their progenitor, Ian Carrach, and not Fionnla Dubh, was the real founder of the Clan Macrae of Kintail. The decision of the Lord Lyon did not upset the statement contained in the opening paragraph of the first chapter of the book, (a paragraph which was first written as far back as 1893,

Preface to the Large Paper Edition.

and that after long and careful inquiry), to the effect that the Macraes were under the Chieftainship of the Barons Mackenzie of Kintail, as the evidence submitted to the Court did not show that the Macraes ever acknowledged any other Chief.

But although the Lord Lyon's judgment left the question of Chieftainship as it was before, yet the great interest, called forth by this famous case, has brought a " fierce light " to beat upon the history of the Clan, with the result that additional information about its past history is being slowly but surely gleaned from various sources, and it is hoped that, at no distant date, it maybe found possible to bring out a thoroughly revised and re- arranged issue of this book with further additions, and, possibly, corrections also. The number of inquiries con- stantly received, and the fact that there have been many more applications for the large paper edition, than could be supplied, would seem to show that there will soon be room for another issue.

A. M.

Wandsworth Common, London. 19th November, 1910.


1. Barrett, F. T., for the Mitchell Library, Glasgow.

2. Blind. Mrs J. M.. 13 Lower Maze Hill. St Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex. is. Burford, Mrs E. H.. 518 X. Pennsylvania street, Indianapolis,

Indiana, U.S.A. I. Cadell, George, 20 Murrayfield Drive, Murrayfield, Midlothian;

3. Cole, Miss M. Ward, Glanderston, Normanby Street, Brighton.

Victoria, Australia.

6. Finlayson, MissC. M.-, Heathfield, Bridge-of -Weir.

7. Forrester, R., Bookseller, 1 Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow. 0. Matlieson, Sir Kenneth, Bart., of Lochalsh (2 copies).

10. Mackenzie. Colonel J. A. I'. II. Stewart, of Seaforth.

11. Mackenzie, Sir Arthurj Bart., of Coul.

12. Mackenzie, Mrs, 1 Albany Street. Oban.

l.-i. Mackenzie. Mrs. 22 Newbattle Terrace. Edinburgh.

14. Melville & Mollen. Proprietary, Ltd., Booksellers, 12 Ludgate Square,

London. E.C.

15. Melvin Bros., Booksellers. Inverness.

Hi. Macrae. Duncan. Ardintoul House, Kyle.

18. Macrae. Sir Colin George, Edinburgh (2 copies).

l!i. MacKae, Dr Farquhar, 27 Lowndes Street. Belgrave Square, London.

S.W. 2i p. Macrae. The Kev. Donald, B.D., Edderton, Ross shire.

21. Macrae. John, 22 West Nile Street. Glasgow,

22. Macrae, Miss F., High'and Orphan ige, Inverness. 2:>. Macrae, J. M., Chattanooga, Tennessee. U.S.A.

24. Macrae, H. ft., Esq., of Chines. 14 Gloucester Place. Edinburgh

25. Macrae, Colonel I!.. C.S.I., Nairn.

26. Macrae, Wm. S., 700 Cherry Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee. U.S.A.

27. Macrae, Malcolm. Lochluichart, Ross-shire.

28. Macrae. C. C, 93 Onslow Gardens, London, S.W.

.")". Macrae, Hugh. Investment Trust Company, Wilmington, North

( 'arolina (5 copies). S4. Macrae. J. D., M.D., BonarBridge. 35. Macrae. R.. Merchant. Shieldaig, Lochcarron. ■A'.\ Macrae. The Rev. Alex.. M.A.. London (4 copies).

41. Macrae. Alex.. M.A.. Busliey. Herts (2 copies).

42. Maciae. G. W., 700 Cherry Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.A.

43. Macrae, D. J. Borpukhuni Tea Estate. Sooted P.O.. Assam. India.

44. Maciae. Farquhar, Reno. Nevada.

47. Macrae. A. W., Calicut, India (3 copies).

45. Macrae, Miss Jane. Box 208, Glencoe. Ontario. Canada.

4-1. Macrae. Finlay. 902 Ninth Avenue, Helena. Montana, U.S.A. 56. Signet bibrary, Edinburgh (John Minto. Librarian), per <i. P. Jolinstoii. Bookseller.-. S3(icorgc Street. Edinburgh.



History of Clan Macrae - i to 425

Addendum I. to Do. - - 426

Addendum II. to Do. - - 429

Errata Do. - 430

Index Do. - - 431

Errata to Notes and Additions - - - 512

Index to Notes and Additions - 5I3"5I4


The Rev. Alexander Macrae, M.A. (The Author)

Facing Title Page. Macrae Coat-of-Arms - - - Page 1.

Ruins of Ellandonan Castle - - - 33

Facsimile Page of Fernaig MS. - - 90

Sir Colin George Macrae (Inverinate) - - 121 Major John MacRae-Gilstrap of Ballimore (Con-

chra) .... 158

Colonel Roderick Macrae (Torlysich) - - 207

McCrea Coat of-Arms ... - 259

Kilduich Churchyard .... 330

Facsimile of Signatures to Bond of Friendship - 342

Colonel J. A. Stewart-Mackenzie of Seaforth - 373

Map of Macrae Country - - 430

Alexander Macrae, M.A. (Clan Ian Charrich) - 470


The preparation of this History has been prompted by a desire to put on record, before it is too late, the fast diminishing oral and traditional information with which it is still possible, in some degree, to supplement such meagre written records of the Clan Macrae as we happen to possess, and, though it probably contains little which can be of interest to the general reader, yet my purpose will be fulfilled, and my labour amply rewarded, if it proves of interest to the members and connections of the Clan itself.

The work of collecting information was first begun as a recreation during a brief visit to Kintail in August, 1890, when I had the good fortune to make the acquaintance of an excellent folk-lorist and genealogist, the late Mr Alexander Macmillan, Dornie, from whom I received much of the traditional and oral information recorded in this book. By 1893, I had succeeded in collecting sufficient matter for a series of " Notes on the Clan Macrae," which appeared in TJie North Star at intervals between July, 1893, and June, 1896, when the writing of this volume was commenced.


The difficulty of the work was greatly increased by the fact that it was possible to carry it on, only at long intervals during occasional periods of free- dom from the labours of an exceptionally busy life. Another great disadvantage was the fact that a large part of the information received from the Country of the Macraes had to be collected by correspondence. I am, therefore, well aware that, though the greatest care has been taken to obtain correct information, and to verify every statement, yet there are undoubtedly many blemishes and defects in the book which might have been avoided if the work had been of a more continuous nature, and if it had been possible for me to have direct oral communication, more freely, with the genealogists and folk-lorists of the Macrae Country.

The genealogical portion of the book, up to page 224, is based mainly upon the MS. History of the Clan, written by the Rev. John Macrae, of Ding- wall, about two hundred years ago, including the additions made to it by various transcribers down to about the year 1820. In the case of several families the genealogy is continued down to the present time, from family Bibles, family letters, registers, and other sources of information, and where there are continuations from oral sources great care has been taken in selecting the names and particulars to be included, and much matter has been left out because it could not be sufficiently authenticated and con- firmed to warrant its jDublication. The result is that a great many families are incomplete, but there are very few genealogies of which this cannot be said.

In any case, omissions are a less evil than mistakes, and my endeavour throughout the book has been, as far as possible, to be correct in my information, however meagre it might be.

The Roman numerals up to page 234 represent in every case the number of generations from Fionnla Dubli Mac Gillechriosd, the reputed founder of the Clan Macrae of Kintail, and it is hoped that the genealogical portions of the book are otherwise arranged clearly enough to be easily followed.

A controversy has recently arisen as to which family contains the lineal representation of Fionnla Dubh Mac Gillechriosd. Such controversies are far from uncommon in old families, even when for many generations they have possessed estates and titles to which the lineal succession has always been recox*ded with greater care than was ever clone in the case of any family of the Macraes. The lineal succession of Fionnla Dubh Mac Gillechriosd is usually held to be in the Inverinate family, and that is the opinion of the Kintail genealogists whom I have had the opportunity of consulting.

At the same time, the lineal representation of the founder of the Clan is claimed by two other families. The Macraes of Conchra claim, on the strength of family traditions and old family letters, that the founder of their branch of the Clan, the Rev. John Macrae of Dingwall (page 142), and not Alexander of Inverinate (page 69), was the eldest son of the Rev. Farcpihar Macrae of Kintail.

The Torlysich family, again, claim that their progenitor, Farquhar (page 186), was the eldest son


of Christopher (iv.), Constable of Elian donan (page 24), and that the reason why John of Killin refused to give Farquhar the post of Constable (page 28) was, that the appointment of the eldest son to a post formerly held by his father might lead the Mac- raes to regard the office of Constable as hereditary in their own family, and that they might thus become inconveniently powerful for the Mackenzie family, which at that time was small and compar- atively unimportant.

In all the copies of the Rev. John Macrae's his- tory that I have seen, Duncan, the first of the family who settled at Inverinate (page 30), is stated to have been older than his brother Farquhar, and Alexander of Inverinate is stated to have Been the eldest son of the Rev. Farquhar Macrae of Kintail ; ar.d as the Rev. John Macrae's MS. history formed the chief written authority at my disposal, I have felt justified in continuing the genealogy of the Inverinate family as the direct lineal representatives of Fionnla Dubh Mac Gillechriosd.

It might seem hardly worth while recording some of the lists of names given, without dates or any other particulars, in the genealogical portions of the book, but no such list has been given without satisfactory reasons for believing it to be correct, as far as it goes. Some of those lists will probably be recognised, as their own families, by readers in the Colonies and also in the United States, where the descendants of Macrae emigrants from Kintail are both numerous and prosperous, and the interest taken by some of them in the preparation of this

book shows that they have not yet lost the traditions of their Clan or forgotten the home of their fathers.

It is hoped the Appendices will add somewhat to the interest of the book. Very much more might have been written about Kintail did space permit, and for the same reason the collection of poetry is much smaller than was originally intended. The Royal descents in Appendix F are given on the authority of Burke's genealogical publications, and various Mackenzie genealogies. It has not been found possible to identity all the place names in Appendices II and M, probably because of the way they are spelled, but though the spelling of the original documents has been in almost every case retained, most of the names will be easily recognised.

It is needless to say that this book could not have been written without the help of many generous friends, some of whom are no longer within reach of this expression of my gratitude among them Sir William Alexander Mackinnon, K.C.B., Captain Archibald Macra Chisholm, Mr Alexander Mackenzie, the Clan Historian, and Mr Alexander Matheson, shipowner, Dornie, one of the best read and most intelligent of Highland seannachies, whose acquaint- ance it was my misfortune not to have made until only a few weeks before his death, which occurred on the 14th of October, 1897. In addition to the help acknowledged from time to time throughout the book, I am specially indebted to Mrs Mackenzie of Abbots- ford Park, Edinburgh (now of Portobello), for much information and help, and for many interesting recol- lections of more than one Kintail family ; to Mrs


Alister MacLellan (of Ardintoul) ; to Mrs Farquhar Finlayson, Rothesay ; to Major John MacRae-Gilstrap of Ballimore, who was one of the first to take an interest in this work, and who, in addition to old family papers, placed also at my disposal a large quantity of material collected at his own expense in the Register House, Edinburgh ; to Sir James Dixon Mackenzie of Findon, Bart., for the use of old and interesting documents in his possession ; to Mr William Mackay of Craigmonie, Inverness, for much help, given on many occasions, with a readiness and kindness, which to me will always form a pleasant recollection ; to Mr Horatio Ross Macrae of Clunes for the fac-simile of signatures to theMacrae-Campbell Bond of Friendship, as well as for the use of docu- ments bearing on the history of the Inverinate family; to the Rev. Donald Macrae, B.D., minister of Lairg, for much help and many valuable sug- gestions; to Professor Donald Mackinnon, M.A., Edinburgh, for information about the Fernaig MS., and for valuable suggestions about the extracts from it in Appendix J ; to Mr Charles Fraser-Mackintosh, LL.D., of Drummond, for the Kintail Rent Roll of 1756 in Appendix H ; to Mr John H. Dixon of Inveran for Appendix K ; to Mr P. J. Anderson, librarian of Aberdeen University, for Appendix L ; to Mr Alexander Macbain, M.A., Inverness, for the fac-simile page of the Fernaig MS.; to Mr Farquhar Macrae, Dornie ; to Dr Donald Macrae, Beckenham ; to Major Frederick Bradford McCrea, London ; to Lieutenant-Colonel J. H. Carteret Carey of Castle Carey, Guernsey ; to Mr Farquhar Matheson, Dornie,

who prepared the map, which is interesting as recording some old Kintail place-names now no longer in use ; to my brother, Mr John Macrae, for help in the transcription of old documents ; to my mother for help in the translations given in Appendix J ; and to the publisher, Mr A. M. Ross, and his foreman, Mr John Gray, not only for putting up with inconveniences and delays caused by the fact that, in almost every case, the proofs were sent for revision to some members of the families whose histories are here recorded, but more especially for the never-failing courtesy and kindness which have made the passing of the book through the press a work of interest and pleasure.


Wandsworth Common, London, 15th March, 1S99.



Tin* Hadtre of the Miin-.ies was tin.' Fir C'lul.Moss (Li/cr/ioili. iielie G;n-l>li:t.r ;m t-slt*ibh.



Country of the Macraes. Meaning and Probable Origin of the Name. Its First Appearance as a Surname. Traditional Origin of the Clan Macrae. Macraes in the Districts of Chines and Glenurquhart. Migration to Kintail. Campbells of Craignish said to be of Macrae Origin. The Connection of. the Macraes with the House of Kintail. Also with the House of Gairloch. The Macraes were Episcopalians and Jacobites. Macraes in the Seaforth Regiments. The Rev. John Macrae's MS. History of the Clan.

The Macraes were a small but important clan in the district of Kintail, in the south-west of the county of Ross, where they are said to have settled in the fourteenth century, under the chieftainship of the Barons Mackenzie of Kintail.

According to the most competent authorities, the name Macrae or Macrath, as it is written in Gaelic, means " son of Grace or Luck," ] and, so far as at present known, it occurs first in The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters, under

1 Macbain's Gaelic Dictionary.


the year of our Lord 448, a certain " Macraith ] the Wise " being mentioned in that year as a member of the household of St Patrick. "We meet with it occasionally in Ireland from that date onwards, and in the eleventh and twelfth centuries it was fre- quently used in that country as the personal name of lords, poets, and more especially ecclesiastics. The name first appears in Scotland at a some- y what later date. In a Gaelic manuscript of the eleventh century, called The Prophecy of Saint Berchan, we find the term Macrath applied to one of the successors of Kenneth Macalpin, King Gregory who reigned at Scone during the last quarter of the j ninth century, and was one of the greatest of the early Scottish Kings. This seems to be the first instance of the name Macrae or Macrath in Scotland. Gregory the Macrath was not only prosperous in worldly affairs and in his wars against his enemies, but was also a sincere supporter and benefactor of the Scottish Church, which he delivered from the oppression of the Picts, and favoured with his support and protection.2 Considering the meaning of the name, and the connection in which it first appears both in Ireland and in Scotland, it is not unreasonable to suppose that it may have been first given as a distinguishing personal name to men who were supposed to be endowed with more than an ordinary measure of sanctity and grace. The name Macrae had thus in all probability an ecclesiastical origin.

l Raith in Macraith is the old genitive form of Rath. * Appendix B,


In a genealogy of the Mackenzies contained in The Black Book of Clanranald, we find it stated that Gilleoin of the Aird, from whom the old Earls Gillanders of Ross and the Mackenzies of Kintail are traced, was the son of Macrath (McRrath).1 Supposing the genealogy to be correct, this Macrath would have lived not earlier than the tenth century. By that time Christianity was fairly established in the High- lands of Scotland, and as the name Gilleoin means the servant of St John, it is not at all unlikely that Macrath also may have been so named from some family connection with the early Church in the Highlands.2

The name Macrae (McRaa) occurs also in The Dean of Lismore's Book under circumstances which might well have entitled the bearer of it to be called, if not a son of grace, at all events a son of luck.3

In those times there were no family or hereditary surnames in this country. Family surnames ap- pear in England about the twelfth century, but it was not until much later that they became common in the Highlands of Scotland. For instance, the sur- name Mackenzie, which is a comparatively old one, arose in the early part of the fourteenth century. The use of Macrae as a surname is probably of an earlier date than the surname Mackenzie, and that

l Reliquiae Celticae, Vol. II., page 300. 2 In "a Gaelic MS. of 1450, containing genealogies of several Highland families, and published with an English translation in The Transactions of the Iona Club, an ancestor of the Macleans is also mentioued Gilleoin, son of Macrath (Gilleain uic Icrait). This helps to confirm the tradition mentioned below, that the Macraes, Mackenzies, and Macleans were of the same ancestry, but it is not easy to make anything satisfactory out of those old genealogies. 3 Appendix B,


it grew in the first instance out of a personal name is evident from the fact that in Gaelic the Macraes are always spoken of as " Clann Mhicrath," that is the " descendants of Macrath."

So far as at present known, the name Macrae is first mentioned as a surname in the year 1386, in an agreement made, at Inverness, between the Bishop of Moray and Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, better known as the Wolf of Badenoch, with regard to some land in Rothiemurclms, in Inverness-shire, which was formerly occupied by a certain Cristinus M'Crath (Christopher Macrae), who was then dead.1 From that date onwards the name is frequently met with as a surname in various parts of Scotland, not only in the Highlands, but also in Ayrshire and in the south of Perthshire.

Tradition relates that the Macraes came originally from Ireland, and were of common ancestry with the Mackenzies and the Macleans, and it is said that a company of them fought at the battle of Largs in 1263, under the leadership of Colin Fitzgerald, the reputed progenitor of the Mackenzies of Kintail. The Fitzgerald origin of the Mackenzies is now discredited by Scotch historians ; but, whatever their origin may have been, it is extremely probable that the Macraes were in some way connected with the same stock, as a strong friendship and alliance existed between the two clans from early traditional times, and continued without intermission so long as the Mackenzies held the ancestral lands of Kintail. The Macraes who settled in Kintail are said to have

IRcrjislrum Episcoputus Moraricnsis (Bannatyne Club), page 196.


lived originally at Clunes, on the Lordship of Lovat, near the southern shore of the Beauly Firth, where the site on which stood the house of their chief is still pointed out.1 So far as the date to which these traditions refer can be fixed, this would be about the middle of the thirteenth century. It is also said that the name was known in Glenurquhart" in the twelfth century, which is an earlier date than can well be assigned to any traditions that have come down to us with regard to the settlement at Clunes, but there appear to be no existing traditions con- necting the origin of the Macraes of Kintail with the district of Glenurqnhart. There are, however, many traditions connecting them with the district of Clunes, and explaining the cause of the migration to Kintail.3

According to the Rev. John Macrae, the most probable cause of the migration of the Macraes to Kintail, or, at all events, of that branch of them which afterwards became the most important, was that, though they do not appear to have been very numerous, they were becoming too crowded in the old home at Clunes. At the same time Lovat's own kindred and friends were becoming so numerous that the country could not accommodate them all,

IThe site of Macrae's house (Larach tigh Mhicrath) is on the southern slope of the Hill of Clunes, and is marked by a number of large BtoneS, which

are supposed to have formed the foundations of the house. Tradition says that the house was originally built in the course of one night by supernatural agencies, and the place has always been regarded as a favourite haunt of the fairies.

2 Mackay's Urquhart and Gleumoriston, p. 12 ; and also the Rev. John Macrae's Account of the Origin of the Macraes, Appendix A.

3 See chapter on legends and traditions of the clan, and Appendix A.


and this was an additional reason for the Macraes to move to other places, as favourable opportunities arose. Three of the sons of Macrae of Clunes are said to have left home in this way, but the old man himself remained in Clunes all his days, enjoying the esteem and confidence of the Lords of Lovat, four of whom were fostered in his house. Of these three brothers, one settled at Brahan, near Dingwall/ where there was a piece of land in the time of the Bev. John Macrae, called Cnoc Mhicrath (Macrae's Hill), and the well which supplied Brahan Castle with water at that time was called Tobair Mhicrath (Macrae's Well). The descendants of this man were then to be found in Strathgarve, Strathbran, Strathconon, A.rdmeanach, and one of them, John Macrae, was at that time a merchant at Inverness.

Another son went to Argyleshire, where he married the heiress of Craignish. His successors after- wards adopted the name Campbell, and maintained a friendly intercourse with the Macraes of Kintail for many generations. A contract of friendship, drawn up between the Campbells of Craignish and the Macraes of Kintail about two hundred years ago, has been kept in the family of Macrae of Inverinate ever since, and is now in the possession of Horatio Ross Macrae, Esq. of Clunes.1

Another of the sons of Macrae of Clunes is said to have gone to Kintail. This was probably during the first half of the fourteenth century, before the family of Mackenzie was very firmly established there. He might have been attracted to Kintail,

^Appendix C.


perhaps by family connections, but quite as likely by the fact that, as the Chief of Kintail was still struggling to establish his family there, the circum- stances of the country might afford opportunities of distinction and advancement for a man of enterprise. It is a singular fact that each of the first five Barons of Kintail had only one lawful son to succeed him. Mackenzie being thus without any male kindred of his own blood, earnestly urged Macrae to remain with him in Kintail. Mackenzie's proposals were / accepted, and Macrae settled in Kintail, where he married one Macbeolan or Gillanders, a kinswoman of the Earls of Ross, by whom Kintail was held before it came into the possession of the Mackenzies. As the Macraes and Mackenzies were said to be of common ancestry, the Baron of Kintail expected loyal and faithful support from his newly arrived kinsman, and he was not disappointed. The Macraes were ever foremost in the cause of the chiefs of Kintail, and by their prowess in battle, their in- dustry in the arts of peace, and in many instances by their scholarly culture and refinement, they were mainly instrumental in raising the Barony of Kintail, afterwards the Earldom of Seaforth, to the important position it occupies in the annals of Scottish history. There do not appear to have been any Macraes settled in Kintail as landholders before this, but it is more than probable that several of them had already been in the service of Mackenzie. It is said that Ellandonan Castle was garrisoned by Macraes and Maclennans during the latter part of the thirteenth century, when it was first taken possession


of by Kenneth, the founder of the House of Kintail.1 The newly arrived Macrae of Clunes, however, took precedence of the others, and he and his family gradually assumed a position of great importance in the affairs of Kintail. So loyal were the Macraes in the service of Kintail that they became known as Mackenzie's "shirt of mail." This term was generally applied to the chosen body who attended a chief in war and fought around him. It would thus appear that the bodyguard of the Barons of Kintail was usually composed of Macraes. But in addition to the important services they rendered as mere retainers of the House of Kintail, the Macraes were for many generations Chamberlains of Kintail, Con- stables of Ellandonan Castle, and sometimes Vicars of Kintail, so that the leading members of the Clan may be said to have taken, from time to time, a much more prominent part in the affairs of Kintail than the Barons themselves did. This continued to be the case until Kintail passed out of the possession of the Mackenzies in the early part of the present century.

It was always the privilege of the Macraes to bear the dead bodies of the Barons of Kintail to burial. At the funeral, in 1862, of the Honourable Mrs Stewart Mackenzie, daughter and representa- tive of the last Lord Seaforth, the coffin was borne out of Brahan Castle by Macraes only. 2 The scene was not without a pathetic and historic

lAppendix E. 2 On this occasion the coffin was first lifted by Donald John Macrae of Inversheil, Donald Macrae of Achnagart, Peter Macrae of Morvich, and Ewen Macrae of Leachachan.


interest. This lady was the last of Seaforth's race, who was a Mackenzie by birth, and it is a remark- able fact that at the funeral, in 1881, of her son, Colonel Keith William Stewart Mackenzie, in whose case the name Mackenzie was only an adopted one, the Macraes, although they claimed their old privilege, did not muster a sufficient number to bear the coffin, and the vacant places had to be supplied by the Brahan tenantry. With the funeral of Mrs Stewart Mackenzie, then, may be said to have ended for ever the intimate and loyal con- nection which existed for five centuries between the Macraes and the house of Kintail and Seaforth.

But the loyal and valiant support which the Macraes gave the Mackenzies was not limited to the house of Kintail. They were mainly instru- mental also in establishing the family of Gairloch. About 1480 Allan Macleod, laird of Gairloch, with his two young sons, was barbarously murdered by his own two brothers. His wife was a daughter of Alexander Ionraic (Alexander the Just), sixth Baron of Kintail, who died about 1490, and sister of Hector Roy Mackenzie, a younger son, who became progenitor of the lairds of Gairloch. Hector Roy took up the cause of his sister, and obtained from the King a commission of fire and sword for the destruction of the Macleods of Gairloch. In this task, which proved by no means easy, Hector received his main support from the Macraes, one of whom had meanwhile encountered the two murderers and killed them both single-handed in fair fight at a spot in Gairloch, which is still pointed


out.1 In 1494 Hector Roy received a grant of Gairloch by charter from the Crown, but it was not until the time of his grandson, John Roy (1566-1628) that the Macleods were finally ex- pelled, and the supremacy of the Mackenzies fully established.

It was in Gairloch that the Mackenzies obtained their first important footing outside of Kintail. At that time they were only a small clan, and the struggle which led to the conquest of Gairloch taxed all their strength, and was both fierce and prolonged. Hence the great number of legends and traditions connected with it. After the conquest of Gairloch their power and influence rapidly increased, and the other lands which they afterwards held in the counties of Ross and Cromarty came into their possession by easier and more peaceful means. Consequently there are no such stirring traditions in connection with the acquisition of those other lands as we find in the case of Gairloch, but wherever the Mackenzies settled some Macraes accompanied them, and some of the descendants of these Macraes are still to be found on all the old Mackenzie estates. It is in Gairloch, however, next to Kintail and Lochalsh, that we find the best and most interesting Macrae traditions and legends, and it may be mentioned that one of the Gairloch Macraes, called Domhnull Odhar2 (Sallow Donald), who was a contemporary of John Roy, is represented as the crest of the Gairloch coat-of-arms. The Macraes were also very renowned archers, and

1 J. H. Dixon's Gairloch, p. 26. 2 Appendix K.


the scene and range of some of their famous shots are still pointed out, both in Gairloch and Kintail.1

During the long period of religious and civil warfare which preceded and followed the Revolu- tion of 1688, the Macraes supported the Episcopal Church and the House of Stuart, and as a result they suffered much, not only in property, but also in life and limb. In the Rising of 1715 a great many of them* fell at the battle af Sheriffmuir, and tradition relates, as a proof of the loss they then sustained, that in the parish of Kintail alone fifty-eight women were made widows on that fatal day. In 1745, notwithstanding the fact that Seaforth2 remained loyal to the House of Hanover, a number of young and resolute Macraes left Kintail to join the army of Prince Charles, and it is said that many more would have followed if they had not been restrained by force. Of those who went no one ever again returned, and thus ended for ever their connection as a Clan with the fortunes of the ancient Scottish House of Stuart.

During the closing decades of the last century, when the Highland regiments were raised, the Macraes entered loyally and readily into the mili- tary service of their country. Two regiments (in all four battalions) of Highlanders were raised on

1 Appendix K. 2 William, 5th Earl of Seaforth, having joined the Rising of 1715, his estates were forfeited, and his title passed under attainder. The estates were bought from the Crown in 1741 for the bene6t of his son, Kenneth, who was known by the courtesy title of Lord Fortrose, which was the subordinate title of the Earls of Seaforth. Lord Fortroso was the " Seaforth " of the time of Prince Charles, but, notwithstanding his well-known Jacobite sympathies, he considered it more prudent to remain loyal to the House of Hanover.


the Seaforth estates between 1778 and 1804,1 and the Macraes were numerous in both. Many of them served also as officers, and frequently with distinction, in other Highland regiments, and during the Indian wars of that period, and the great European wars which followed the French Revolution, the Macraes, like so many of the other Highland Clans, added their full share of lustre to the honour of British Arms.

The chief written authority for the early history of the Macraes is the MS. genealogy of the Clan, which was written towards the close of the seven- teenth century by the last Episcopalian minister of Dingwall, the Rev. John Macrae, who died in 1704. The original MS., which appears to be now lost, is believed, without any apparent evidence, however, to have been at one time in the posses- sion of the late Dr W. F. Skene. A copy of it, with additions, was made by Farquhar Mac- rae of Inverinate in 1786. This transcript copy appears to have been taken to India by Farquhar's son, Surgeon John Macrae, where a copy of it, which is now in the possession of Captain John MacRae Gilstrap of Ballimore, was made by Colonel Sir John Macra of Ardintoul about 1816. Several copies of Sir John's transcript appear to have been made from time to time in Kintail and Lochalsh, and are still occasionally met with. A copy of it was printed at Camden, South Carolina, in 1874 ; and another copy, which belonged to the late Miss Flora Macra of Ardintoul, was published in The Scottish Highlander- in 1887. The additions made

1 Appendix D.


by Farquhar of Inverinate appear to have been limited to his own family, and there is some reason to believe that the valuable additions now found in some copies of this MS., with regard to other families, were made by one of the Ardintoul family. At all events, Archibald of Ardintoul says, in a letter written in 1817 to his son, Sir John, then in India, that he will endeavour to add to the genealogy down to his own day. The oldest copy now known to exist is in the possession of Horatio Ross Macrae, Esq. of Chines, and bears on the fly- leaf of it the date 1760, but this is probably the transcript which was made by Farquhar of Inver- inate, and which, though said to have been finished only in 1786, may have been commenced much earlier. It is certainly not the original copy. The style of the MS., though somewhat quaint, is clear and forcible, showing considerable literary power and a perfect mastery of the English language, and there is about it a sobriety of tone which gives an impression that the writer was thoroughly ac- quainted with his facts, and that his statements may be accepted with confidence.



I. Fiormla Dubh Mac Gillechriosd. His Family. II. Christopher and His Family. Donnacha Mor na Tuagh.— Battles of Park, Bealach Glasleathaid, and Druim a Chait. III. Finlay Supports John of Killin against Hector Roy. Finlay's son made Constable of Ellandonan Castle. Ian Mor nan Cas.

Miles, son of Finlay, killed at Kinlochewe. IV. Christopher, Constable of Ellandonan. His Family. Alister Dubh Chis- holm. The Macraes of Strathglass. V. Duncan Mac Gille- chriosd.— Donald Gorm Macdonald of Sleat besieges Ellandonan Castle, and is killed. Duncan goes to the Lovat Country. Returns to Kintail and Settles at Inverinate. Duncan's Family. General Monk in Kintail.


According to the Rev. John Macrae, the founder of the Clan Macrae of Kintail was Fionnla Dubh Mac Gillechriosd (Black Finlay, the son of Christopher), ^ who was removed by two or three generations from the man who came from Clunes. Finlay Dubh was a contemporary of Murdo Mackenzie, fifth chief of Kintail, who died in 1416, leaving an only child to succeed him. This child's name was Alexander, and is known as Alister Ionraic (Alexander the Upright). Alexander being a minor at the time of his father's death, was sent as a ward of the King to the High


School in Perth, probably after the Parliament which was held at Inverness by James I. in 1427. During his absence at school, the Constable of Ellandonan Castle, whose name was Macaulay, appears to have been left in charge of affairs, but through the misconduct and oppression of certain illegitimate relatives of the young chief, serious troubles arose in Kintail. The Constable's position becoming now somewhat difficult, he became anxious for the return of his young master, and as he was himself unable to leave his post he proposed Finlay Dubh as the most suitable person to go to Perth to bring the young chief home, " who was then there with the rest of the King's ward children." This choice was approved by the people. Finlay accordingly went to Perth, and prevailed upon Alexander to escape from school without the consent or knowledge of the master. To avoid pursuit they went to Macdougal of Lorn instead of going straight home. Macdougal received them kindly, and Alexander made the acquaintance of his daughter, and afterwards married her. In due time they arrived in Kintail, and by Finlay's counsel and help, the oppressors of the people were soon brought under subjection, and order established throughout Mackenzie's land. The good counsel and judicious guidance of Finlay Dubh was not lost upon Alexander, who became a good, just, and prosperous ruler, and greatly increased the power and the influence of the House of Kintail. Finlay Dubh had two sons—

1. Christopher, of whom below.

2. John, who was educated at Beauly Priory,


took holy orders, and became priest of Kintail,1 in Sutherlandshire. He married, as priests in the Highlands often did in those days, and had a daughter Margaret, who was lady-in-waiting to the Countess of Sutherland, and who appears to have married John Gordon of Drummoy, son of Adam Gordon, Dean of Caithness, son of Alexander, 1st Earl of Huntly.2 From this marriage descended the Gordons of Embo, and for that reason we are told that " there was of old great friendship and correspondence betwixt the Gordons of Sutherland, come of this family, and the Macraes of Kintail."

II. CHKLSTOPHER, eldest son of Finlay Dubh, of whom very little is known, had four sons

1. Finlay, of whom below.

2. Donald, whose descendants lived at Fortrose, where one of them, Alexander Macrae, was a well- known writer whose name appears frequently in legal documents from 1629 to 1673.

3. Duncan, who was the most noted of Chris- topher's sons, is known in the traditions of Kintail as Donnacha Mor na Tuagh (Big Duncan of the Battle-axe). He was a man of great valour and personal strength, and many legends have been preserved of the brave deeds he performed in the

1 Kintail was the old name of a district iu the north- west of Sutherland- shire, which was divided, about the middle of the last century, into the parishes of Tongue and Durness. The name Kintail Gaelic, CintaiUe, or Ceanntaile is said to mean the head of the two seas