Campbells of Ardslignish.
(Supplied by Mrs. Lillias Davidson, neé Campbell, Lochnell.)
ALEXANDER CAMPBELL of Ardslignish, son of (Airdslignis)
the sixth Lochnell (Loch-nan-eala), brother to Sir Duncan Campbell of Lochnell, and commonly known as the “Pàpanach Mòr,” either on
account of his great stature, or his zealous adherence to the Church of Rome, was an enthusiastic Jacobite; while his only son John was a Protestant, and in the service of the king.
By an accident characteristic of these unhappy times, when religion and politics superseded the ties of kindred, Ardslignish and his son met on Stirling (Sruileadh) Bridge: the latter leading on his men, though himself disabled—one arm being broken, and the other run through; the father, unwounded, and untouched by pity, exclaiming as he passed, “Would to God, John, that every man on your side was in the same state!”
On another occasion, the father and son were again brought together: in a remarkable manner, when the army of the Prince, amongst whom was the Pàpanach Mòr, were surrounding Edinburgh Castle (Caisteal Dhun-èideann), in which his son John was shut up with the king’s troops. The latter, having volunteered to convey despatches from the garrison to their friends in Stirling, was let down in a basket from a window in the Castle at the dead of night, and passing through the enemy’s camp, unseen by his father and the rest of the Prince’s army, reached Stirling; and returning to Edinburgh (Dun-éideann) before daybreak, re-entered the Castle in the same manner as he had quitted it.
The ill-fortune of Charles Edward did not in any way diminish Ardslignish’s enthusiasm in his cause,—as may be seen from the fact that, when he knew himself to be dying (in 1767), he desired his son to have him arrayed in the dress he wore at Culloden (Cùil-fhodair), and caused the pipers to march round the house playing the “Prince’s Welcome” (“Fàilt a’ Phrionnsa“).
At the funeral of this Ardslignish’s father (in 1714) there were 4000 men, under arms, attending the various chieftains; and before the mourners left the house, Rob Roy, who claimed kindred with the family, stepped up to the bier, declaring that, if he was not allowed to have the first lift of Lochnell’s body, it would not be the only one that would leave the house. This demand was granted,—undoubtedly rather because brawling was considered out of place at such a time than that so great a number of men would be intimidated even by Rob Roy.
On one occasion, when John Campbell of Ardslignish was going to leave home, he went to the kiln where it was customary for the dead to be taken between the time of decease and of interment; and while there, while speaking to the smith of the place, who was supposed to be gifted with secondsight, he was surprised to see the man’s face suddenly change, and his gaze become riveted on one corner. The smith, on being asked the cause of his extraordinary manner, said that he saw either Ardslignish or himself lying dead in the kiln, as the body was covered by a plaid woven in an unusual manner, and of which only two had been made—one being in his possession, and the other in that of Ardslignish. To calm the man’s agitation, the latter said that he would make it impossible that this dream should come to pass, as he would leave orders that, in the event of the smith’s death, his body should not be taken to the kiln, and in his own case such a thing was obviously impossible; thus the dream could have no fulfilment. However, he forgot all about the circumstance, and left without giving the promised order,—to find, on his return, that the smith was dead, and his body lying in the kiln, wrapped in the plaid, as he had predicted.
— Lord Archibald Campbell’s Records of Argyll (1885).