Sall Neuir Vex nor Molest

Heraldic plaque over the entrance to Carnasserie Castle, bearing the arms of Archibald Campbell, 5th Earl of Argyll, and his first wife, Jean Stewart, illegitimate daughter of King James V (divorced 1573), along with a Gàidhlig inscription interpreted "God [be] with O'Duibhne (Argyll)."
Heraldic plaque over the entrance to Carnasserie Castle, bearing the arms of Archibald Campbell, 5th Earl of Argyll, and his first wife, Jean Stewart, illegitimate daughter of King James V (divorced 1573), along with a Gàidhlig inscription interpreted “God [be] with O’Duibhne (Argyll).”

Apud Edinburgh, xxj May, anno 1m vc lxvij.

The quhilk day, in presens of the lordis of secreit counsale, comperit Maistir Lauchlane Macklane, and made fayth, that he neuer obtenit licence of oure souerane ladie to pas to Rome for purchessing and impetratioun of the Bischoprick of the Ilis, nor na vther benefices pertening to Maister Johnne Carswell, bischope of the Ilis, nor neuir purchest the said bischoprick, nor the abbacie of Ycolmkill, or vtheris benefices in ony tyme bigane. Alwayes, for the mair aboundance, he renunces, ouergevis, and dischargeis, simpliciter, all rycht, titill, intres, and clame of rycht quhilk he hes, or can ony wayes pretend or clame, to the said bischoprick or vtheris the said Maister Johnnes benefices. Ratifeand and apprevand the rychtis and titillis maid to the said Maister Johnne of the samyn, be thir presentis, and sall neuir vex nor molest the said Maister Johnne in the peciabill broukinig and posseding of the said bischoprick and vtheris his benefices, move nor intent actioun, pley, nor questioun aganis him for the samyn during his liftyme. Quhairfoir the quenis maiestie, with adviss of the lordis of hir secreit counsale, suspendis, simpliciter, the lettres purchest of the aduocattis instance aganis the said Maister Lauchlane Makclane, denunceing him rebell and putting him to the horne, in defalt of finding of souerte to vnderly the law in the tolbuyth of Edinburgh vponn the xvij day of Aprile last bipast, for his passing furth of this realme, nocht intimatand the caus of his passing to his ordinar, nor how he maid his fynance, and als be ressoun of his noncomperance the said xvij day; and ordanis ane masser or vther officiar to relax the said Maister Lauchlane fra the proces of horning led vpouu him in the said mater, and to gif him the wand of peace, and that lettres be direct heirvpoun in deu forme, as effeirs.

Registrum Secreti Concilii, acta, vol. from March 1563 to June 1567, fo. 274.

Slane at the Feild of Flowdane

Sir Duncan Campbell, 2nd Laird of Glenorchy (1455-1513), as depicted in the <em>Black Book of Taymouth</em>. Sir Duncan was buried not at Kilmartin, as the caption indicates, but alongside his kinsman, Archibald Campbell, 2nd Earl of Argyll, at Kilmun, as in the text below.
Sir Duncan Campbell, 2nd Laird of Glenorchy (1455-1513), as depicted in the Black Book of Taymouth. Sir Duncan was buried not at Kilmartin, as the caption indicates, but alongside his kinsman, Archibald Campbell, 2nd Earl of Argyll, at Kilmun, as in the text below.

Sir Duncane Campbell, eldast and lauchfull sone to the foirsaid Sir Colene, succedit secund laird of Glenvrquhay, as said is.

The said Sir Duncane mareit Margaret Dowglas dochtir lauchfull to the Erle of Angus, on quhome he begat thre sones: The eldast callit Sir Colene: The second namit Archbald: The thrid Patrik, quha deit being ane young man in the Ile Badchelich: And ane dochtir callit Elizabeth Campbell, quha wes mareit on the laird of Monivaird.

The said Sir Duncane eftir the deceis of his said first wyffe he mareit Margaret Moncreiff, dochtir to the laird of Moncreiff, on quhome he begat ane sone callit Maister Jhone Campbell (quha wes secund bischope of the Iles of the hows of Glenvrquhay), and tua dochtiris: The eldar callit Katherine Campbell, quha wes mareit on the laird of Tullibardin: The other nameit Annabill Campbell, quha wes mareit on the laird of Merchistoun.

The said Sir Duncane levit laird threttie thre yeiris, induring the quhilk tyme he obtenit tackis of the Kingis landis in Braidalbane, and of the thee Chartirhows landis lyand within the same, the takis of the tuelf markland of Cranduich.

Item, he conquesit the heretable tytill of the baronie of Finlarg: Quhilkis takis and heretabill conques for said, togidder with the bailyerie of Discheoir, Toyer, and Glenlyoun, tane of the King, he annexit to the hows.

Item, he conquesit the threscoir markland of the baronie of Glenlyoun, quhilk he gaiff to his secund sone Archbald Campbell forsaid, togidder with the twenty-four markland of the thrid of Lorne, quhilk he tuke fra the hows.

Item, he conquesit the eight markland of Scheane in Glenquoich, quhilkis he gaiff to his brother Jhone Campbell of Lawiris, to be haldin of the hows.

Item, the said Sir Duncane excambit the thrid of the landis of Dolour and Aucharnsyde, etc., with the landis of Kilbryde lyand on the side of Lochfyne.

The said Sir Duncane biggit the laich hall of Glenvrquhay; the great hall, chapell, and chalmeris, in the Ile of Lochtay.

The said Sir Duncane was slane at the feild of Flowdane, with King James the ferd, the 9 of September anno 1513.

And wes bureit with his chief Archbald Campbell then Erle of Ergyle in Kilmown, because in the forsaid field that deit valiantlie togidder.

Black Book of Taymouth.

Band and Statues of Icolmkill

Iona Abbey.
Iona Abbey.

[T]he first of a succession of measures taken by the Scottish government specifically aimed at the extirpation of the Gaelic language, the destruction of its traditional culture and the suppression of its bearers.

Gaelic: A Past and Future Prospect. MacKinnon, Kenneth. The Saltire Society 1991, Edinburgh.

Whoever would understand one of the most important transactions in the History of the Scottish Highlands must read those six printed pages, containing the actual text of ‘THE BAND AND STATUTES OF ICOLMKILL.’ The purport of the BAND is that, at a Court held by Bishop [Andrew] Knox [of the Isles] in the sacred Island of Iona on the 24th of August 1609, nine of the Highland and Island chiefs, — viz., Angus Macdonald of Dunivaig in Islay, Hector Maclean of Duart in Mull, Donald Gorm Macdonald of Sleat in Skye, Rory Macleod of Harris, Rory MacKinnon of Strathordaill in Skye, Lauchlan MacLean of Coll, Donald Macdonald of Ylanterim in Moydart (Captain of Clanranald), Lauchlan Maclean of Lochbuy in Mull, and Gillespie MacQuharrie of Ulva, — had bound themselves by the most solemn oaths to future obedience to his Majesty and to the laws of Scotland.

The Statutes of Icolmkill.

They are nine in number as follows :–

  1. The ruinous kirks to be repaired, and a regular parochial ministry to be established and maintained, with the same discipline as in other parts of the realm, the same observance of the Sabbath and of other moralities, and the suppression in particular of the inveterate Celtic practice of marriages for a term of years.
  2. Inns to be set up in convenient places in all the Islands for the accommodation of travellers, so as to put an end to mere idle wandering and to the burden on the resources of poor tenants and crofters by the habit of promiscuous quartering.
  3. To the same purpose, all idle vagabonds without visible and honest means of living to be cleared out of the Isles; and the chiefs themselves to cease from capricious exactions upon their clansmen, and be content each with a household retinue of as many gentlemen and servants as his means will support, — e.g. MacLean of Duart with eight gentlemen, Angus Macdonald, Donald Gorm, Rory MacLeod, and the Captain of Clanranald, with six gentlemen each, and so proportionally with the rest.
  4. Still to the same purpose, all sorning and begging, and the custom of “conzie,” to be put down. [Sorning is the practice of extorting free quarters & provision. Conzie is the practice of billeting the lord’s soldiers upon the tenantry.]
  5. A main cause of the poverty and barbarity of the Islanders being “thair extraordinair drinking of strong wynis and acquavitie, brocht in amangis thame pairtlie be merchandis of the maneland and pairtlie be sum trafficquaris indwellaris amangis thameselffis,” all general importation or sale of wine or aquavitae to be stopped by penalties, with reserve of liberty, however, to all persons in the Islands to “brew aquavitie and uthir drink to serve thair awne housis,” and to the chiefs and other substantial gentlemen to send to the Lowlands for the purchase of as much wine and aquavitae as they may require for their households.
  6. Every gentleman or yeoman in the Islands possessing “thriescore kye,” and having children, to send at least his eldest son, or, failing sons, his eldest daughter, to some school in the Lowlands, there to be kept and brought up “quhill they may be found able sufficientlie to speik, reid, and wryte Inglische.”
  7. The Act of Parliament prohibiting all subjects of his Majesty from carrying hagbuts or pistols out of their own houses, or shooting with such firearms at deer, hares, or fowls, to be strictly enforced within the Islands.
  8. The chiefs not to entertain wandering bards, or other vagabonds of the sort “pretending libertie to baird and flattir,” and all such “vagaboundis, bairdis, juglouris, or suche lyke” to be apprehended, put in the stocks, and expelled the Islands.
  9. For the better keeping of these Statutes, and in conformity with the rule that the principal man of every clan is answerable for all his kinsmen and dependents, this present agreement to be a sufficient warrant to all chiefs and sub-chiefs to apprehend and try malefactors within their bounds, seize their goods for the King’s use, and deliver over their persons to the judge competent to be farther dealt with; the chiefs becoming bound not to reset or maintain within their bounds any malefactors that may be fugitive from the bounds of his own natural superior.

— Register of Privy Council of Scotland, Vol. IX, 1610-1613 (1889).

With regard to the “inveterate Celtic practice of marriages for a term of years,” Màrtainn MacGilleMhàrtainn observed eight-five years later:

It was an antient Custom in the Islands, that a Man should take Maid to his Wife, and keep her the space of a Year without marrying her; and if she pleased him all the while, he marry’d her at the end of the Year, and legitimated the Children: but if he did not love her, he return’d her to her Parents, and her Portion also, and if there happen’d to be any Children, they were kept by the Father: but this unreasonable Custom was long ago brought in disuse.

A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, by Martin Martin, 1693.

The Whole Illand is Church Land

Aerial view of Iona Abbey.
Aerial view of Iona Abbey.

Icollumkill, antiently called Iona, lays from Colle to the south and south-east about thirty-six myils of sea, and is distant from the south end of Mulle about one myil of sea. It is two myills in lenth, and almost from east to west, and one mile in bredth. It is very fertill; commodious for fishing and fowling. It hes two fresh water lochs, goud springs, and medicinall herbs.

Port-a-Churaich (St. Columba's Bay), Iona.
Port-a-Churaich (St. Columba’s Bay), Iona.

Here the sea casteth up in one place a number of small stones of divers collours, and transparente, very fair to looke upon; they are really peculiar to the place, for the longer they lay upon the shoar, they reapen and turn more lively in their coulors, yield to the feil, and admits of gouid polishing and engraving. Marble also, of divers colours, and with beautyful vains, is found in this Illand. It hes been counted renound pairtly for the goud discipline of Columbus, who is buried in it, and partly for the monuments of the place; for it has two monastryes, one of monks, another of nuns; a church of considerable dimensions dedicated to Columbus.

Iona Abbey.
Iona Abbey.

This hes been the Cathedrall of the Bishops of the Illes since Sodora in the Ill of Man came into the Englishes hands. In this Illand are many other small chapells; the vestiges of a citie is yet visible in it, which, as some old manuscripts testifie, was called Sodora.

Rèilig Odhrain and St. Oran’s Chapel, Iona.
Rèilig Odhrain and St. Oran’s Chapel, Iona.

Many of the Kings of Scotland, some of the Kings of Ireland and Noraway, were buryet heer. Many tombs appropriat to the families of the Illanders, as ther inscriptions, though now allmost obliterate, do testify; heer the famous Columbus himself was also interred. The coast round about Iona is very bade, full of rocks and violent tides. The whole Illand is Church land, so is also a goud pairt of Tyrie, the Ill of Gonna wholly, and the two ends of Colle. It is remarkable that there is in Iona a few people called to this day Ostiarii, from their office about the Church in Columbus’ tyme; this people never exceed the number of eight persons in perfyte age; this is found to had true, and there is a tradition that for some miscarriage in ther predecessors in Columbus’ tyme this malediction was left them. The inhabitants of all the said Illands are naturally civill and bountiful, right capable of all goud instructions. All thir Illands have been possossed by M’Leane and the cadette of his family.

— Description of Iona by Rev. John Fraser, an Episcopal clergyman in the Highlands, who was the author of a “Treatise on Second Sight,” printed at Edinburgh, 1707; from the collections of MacFarlane of MacFarlane and published in The Spottiswoode Miscellany: A Collection of Original Papers and Tracts, Illustrative Chiefly of the Civil and Ecclesiastical History of Scotland, Spottiswoode Society, 1845.

Fertill, Fruitfull, and Full of Natural Grassing

Kildalton Cross, a monolithic high cross in Celtic cross form, in the churchyard of the former parish church of Kildalton (from Scottish Gaelic Cill Daltain, "Church of the Foster Son" (i.e. St John the Evangelist)) on the island of Islay in the Inner Hebrides, Scotland.
Kildalton Cross, a monolithic high cross in Celtic cross form, in the churchyard of the former parish church of Kildalton (from Scottish Gaelic Cill Daltain, “Church of the Foster Son” (i.e. St John the Evangelist)) on the island of Islay.

Nar this forsaid iyle on the west syde of it layes Ila, ane ile of twentie myle lenthe from the north to the south, and sixteen myle in breadth from the eist to the west, fertill, fruitfull, and full of natural grassing, with maney grate Diere, maney woods, faire games of hunting beside everey toune, with ane watter callit Laxay, wherupon maney salmon are slaine, with ane salt water Loch, callit Lochegunord, quherin runs the water of Gyinord, with high sandey bankes, upon the quhilk bankes upon the sea lyes infinit Selccheis, whilkis are slayne with doges learnt to the same effect. In Ila is meikle lead ure in Moychills. In this iyle there is ane guid raid for schipps, callit in Erische Polmoir, and in English the Mechell-puill, this layes at ane toune callit Lanlay Vanych, ane uther raid layes within Ellan Grynard, callit in English the isle at the poynt of the nesse, the raid is callit Leodannis. Within this iyle ther is sundrie-freshe water Lochis, sic as Lochmoyburge wherin ther layes ane iyle perteining to the Bishopes of the Isles. The loch of Ellan Charrin, quherin ther is ane iyle pertyning to M’Gillane of Doward. Loch Cherossa with ane iyle perteining to the Abbot of Colmkill. In this iyle there is strenths castells, the first is callit Dunowaik the biggest on ane Craig at the sea side, on the southeist pairt of the countery pertaining to the Clandonald of Kintyre; second is callit the castle of Lochgurne, quhilk is biggit in ane iyle within the said fresche water Loche far fra land, pertaining of auld to the Clandonald of Kintyre, now usurped be M’Gillayne of Doward. Ellan Forlagan in the midle of Ila, ane faire iyle in fresche water.

— Description of the Western Isles of Scotland, called Hybrides; by Mr Donald Monro High Dean of the Isles who travelled through the most of them in the year 1549.

Carnasserie Castle

The approach to Carnasserie Castle from the south-east. The castle is a ruined XVI century tower house, noted for its unusual plan and renaissance detailing. It is located around 2km to the north of Kilmartin, in Argyll and Bute, western Scotland.

The castle was built by reforming churchman John Carswell, who was Rector of Kilmartin, Chancellor of the Chapel Royal at Stirling, and later titular Bishop of the Isles. Carswell published the first book to be printed in Scottish Gaelic, a translation of John Knox’s Book of Common Order. Construction began in 1565 using masons brought from Stirling. Although the castle was notionally built for Carswell’s patron, the Earl of Argyll, he intended it as a personal residence for himself.

On Carswell’s death in 1572, the castle passed to his patron, the Earl of Argyll. Later, in 1643, the 8th Earl of Argyll sold Carnasserie to Sir Dugald Campbell, 3rd Baronet of Auchinbreck. Following the 9th Earl’s failed uprising in support of the Monmouth Rebellion, against James VII in 1685, the castle was blown up by Royalist forces. Although the outer walls remain largely undamaged, the ruins were never repaired. In the XIX century the estate was sold to the Malcolms of Poltalloch, who also own nearby Duntrune Castle. Today it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument in the care of Historic Scotland (no entrance fee; open in summer).

Carnasserie Castle grounds.

Carnasserie has only ever been slightly altered, in the late XVII century, and so presents an accurate picture of XVI century architecture. Although sited on raised ground close to a strategic pass at the head of Kilmartin Glen, it was designed more for domestic rather than military purposes.

The castle comprises a 5 storey tower house, with a longer three storey hall house, providing a substantial range of accommodation. At basement level are the remains of cellars and a kitchen with a large fireplace and water inlet. Above this is the large hall. This is connected to a large drawing room in the tower house, which retains its stone floor and large fireplace with carved stone decoration. A broad stair rises from the entrance to the hall, contained in a small tower to the north-west. A second smaller stair leads up from the hall to the parapet walk on three sides of the tower house. Upper rooms would have contained bedrooms.

Parapet staircase, Carnasserie Castle.

The exterior displays numerous “double keyhole” gunloops, as well as decorative string courses and corbelling. Over the entrance are blank panels framed by carved supports, as well as the arms of the 5th Earl of Argyll with the motto DIA LE UA NDUIBHNE, “God be with O’Duine,” referring to the semi-legendary ancestors of Clan Campbell. At the top of the tower are the remains of open rounds along the parapet, and a caphouse above the stair. Fragments of carved drain spouts have been found, and are on display in the cellars.

To the south and west is a partially walled courtyard garden. An archway bears the inscription SDC LHL 1681, for Sir Duncan Campbell, 4th Baronet and Lady Henrietta Lindsay, whose support for Argyll’s uprising led to the castle’s destruction.