Cadets of the House of Argyll

CADETS OF THE HOUSE OF ARGYLL.
Bv Rev. P. J. Campbell, D.D.

It is interesting to observe the assiduity and sagacity with which the House of Lochawe prosecuted for centuries the policy which placed its wise and patriotic Chiefs eventually in the position of local sovereigns of Argyllshire. While with great foresight laying the foundations of their influence in the eye of the Court and of the Law, by securing, through charters—then little valued by Highlanders generally—the feudal superiority of the lands of the ancient proprietors of the soil, they, at the same time, lose no opportunity of basing it, in the meantime, on the Celtic feeling of the country, by allowing currency to theories of remote descent of these proprietors from their own family, and inducing them to adopt the name of Campbell. It was indeed a somewhat difficult task for the Seannachies to affiliate to the House of Lochawe races well-known to have been as long as or longer than itself, independent inhabitants of the country. The method most commonly resorted to was a discovery that a family which it was desirable to affiliate, had sprung from some clandestine and concealed marriage, or some illegitimate connection of a Chief of Lochawe at a remote period—a scheme to which the old Highland custom of hand-fast marriages gave much plausibility and success, especially as the interests of the families in question, and the advantage of securing the protection and favour of the potentates of Lochawe, induced them the more readily to acquiese in such theories of their descent. At the same time, the tradition of the country always preserved the distinction between the families really of Campbell origin and these other ancient races, and continued long to designate the members of the latter by their old patronymics. Thus, while no doubt has ever been entertained of the Campbell descent of Barbreck, Inverliver, or Ardkinglas, any more than of Glenorchy, Auchinbrek, Ellangreig, Ormidale, Calder (Cawdor), and Lochnell, of some of whom the progeny was very numerous, the tradition is different in the case of the following Argyllshire families:

M’DHONNACHIE, OR CAMPBELL, OF INVERAWE, with its offshoots, Ducholly, Kilmartin, Shirvain, Southall, &c. Of this family, which possessed the greater part of the magnificent mountain Ben Cruachan, and which produced many eminent clergymen of the Church of Scotland, and brave officers of the army, the Chief and many members, down to the middle of the seventeenth century, signed themselves M’Dhonnachie, M’Connachie, and Duncanson. In the pedigree of the Maconochies of Meadowbank given in Burke’s Landed Gentry (1847), the Inverawe family is derived from Duncan, a son of Sir Neil Campbell of Lochow, by his second wife, a daughter of Sir John Cameron of Lochiel. This genealogy is not more doubtful than that which represents the progenitor of the Meadowbank family, not merely as a member, but actually as the Head of the old House of Inverawe! The undoubted representative of that ancient race at that time was James A. Campbell, Esq. of New-Inverawe. There may be uncertainty as to the precise origin of the Inverawe family. There is none as to its extreme antiquity and position.

M’INNES (M’ANGUS), OR CAMPBELL, OF DUNSTAFFNAGE, theoretically traced to a natural son of Colin of Lochawe, d. 1390, or, as some say, of Colin, first Earl, d. 1492, but perhaps descended from the old Clan M’Innes of Ardgour or Morven. The constabulary of the Castle of Dunstaffnage was, no doubt, bestowed by Robert I. in 1321-22 on an Arthur, and afterwards on an Archibald Campbell; but neither the seannachies nor the family itself derive the M’Angus Campbells–now and for some centuries of Dunstaffnage—from these persons. The former allege Colin, first Earl, to be the progenitor.

M’NEIL, OR CAMPBELL, OF KENMORE OR MELFORT, deduced from a natural son of Sir Colin of Lochawe, d. 1340. This family, which, in the last generation, furnished several highly distinguished officers to the army and navy, although of very doubtful Campbell origin, seems to have no connection whatever with the Clan-Macneill.

M’IVER, OR CAMPBELL, OF LERGACHONZIE, STONSHIRAY, AND ASKNISH, one of the Barons of 1292, and the M’Ivers of Glassary and Cowal.

M’DUGALL, OR CAMPBELL, OF CRAIGNISH, of which the Chief latterly, after the recovery of the estate by Ronald Mac-Dhonuil-Mhic-Iain of Barchbeyan, was called M’Dhonuil-Vic-Iain. This—one of the most ancient families in Argyllshire, the head of it being one of the eleven Barons of 1292—is well known not to be of Campbell descent.

M’DHONNACHIE-MHOIR, OR CAMPBELL, OF DUNTROON. This family is by some supposed to be really descended from a natural son of Colin of Lochawe, d. 1390, but the tradition of a special brotherly alliance between it and the families of Dunstaffnage and Melfort, in accordance with which, on the death of any one of the three, the two others laid the one the head and the other the feet of the deceased in the grave, seems to argue a very ancient community of interest, if not of descent. Of Duntroon the Campbells of Raschoilly, Oib, Tayness, Knap, and Rudale, were cadets.

THE CLAN-CHEARLAICH, OR PERHAPS PROPERLY THEARLAICH—always reputed to be a branch of the Clan-Dugall of Craignish—whose original seat is uncertain. The Chiefs and a considerable number of this race seem to have accompanied the founders of the Breadalbane family into Perthshire, from Glenorchy, where they had been for some generations. They appear in Perthshire as the Campbells of West-Ardeonaig and Corrycharnaig, and are often mentioned also under the names M’Cairlich and Charliesoun in the Black-book of Taymouth. In Argyllshire, too, they appear of old under the name of M’Kerliche. The probable Chiefs of this old race are the Inverneil family, reestablished in Argyllshire by Sir Archibald and Sir James Campbell.

If to all these we add the number of MacDiarmids who in ancient times, and of MacGregors, MacLarens, and others, who more lately assumed the name of Campbell, it will be seen that many bearing that name in Argyllshire and Perthshire are descended of other races. In fact, prolific as some branches of the Campbells were, it would have been scarcely possible that all the bearers of the name in those counties should have sprung from them.*

A similar aggregation of large numbers from different races took place in many other cases, as in those of the Frasers, Gordons, &c.; but, while in these instances, the persons incorporated seem to have been mainly nativi without property, or members of broken septs, the Argyll family succeeded in attaching to itself and engrafting many old, independent, and well organised small Clans. If there is evidence of good policy here, there is also indubitable proof of the hereditary possession by the Black Knights of Lochawe, of the qualities that attract admiration and confidence.

It will be observed that almost all the families enumerated above are found in occupation of prominent and commanding points of Argyllshire—chiefly on the coast—a proof of early possession and power. It must also be borne in mind that, although not of the Campbell race, they almost all had latterly, through marriage with branches of the Argyll family—zealously promoted by the House of Lochawe—a large infusion, in many cases ultimately a preponderance, of Campbell blood.

* There is a third Argyllshire family of which the Head was styled M’Dhonnachie—Campbell of Glenfeochan. This family may probably have sprung from the House of Lochawe, but the writer has not traced its decent with certainty.

The Celtic Monthly, September 1907.

[Re: other errors of this author, see W. D. H. Sellar, The Earliest Campbells–Norman, Briton, or Gael?, Scottish Studies, vol. xvii., 1973.]

Duncan of the Castles

Sir Duncan Campbell, 1st Baronet Campbell of Glenorchy, co. Perth (in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia), and 7th Laird of Glenorchy, as depicted in the Black Book of Taymouth.
Sir Duncan Campbell, 1st Baronet Campbell of Glenorchy, co. Perth (in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia), and 7th Laird of Glenorchy, as depicted in the Black Book of Taymouth.

Colin Campbell, 6th Laird of Glenorchy

Colin Campbell, 6th Laird of Glenorchy.
Colin Campbell, 6th Laird of Glenorchy.

Interfectio et decapitatio Duncani McGregor et filiorum eius videlicet Gregorii et Malcomi Roy, per Colinum Campbell de Glenurqhay et per Duncanum Roy Campbell de Glenlyon et Alexandrum Menzheis de Rannoch cum suis complicibus. Chronicle of Fortingall.

Colene Campbell, brother germane to the forsaidis Duncane and Jhone, succedit, as said is, sext laird of Glenvrquhay.

The said Colene mareit befoir he succedit laird of Glenvrquhay Margaret Stewart, (dochtir to Bischop Alexander Stewart,) lady coniunct fear off Inchebraky, on quhome he begat tua dochteris: The eldar callit Beatrix Campbell, quha wes mareit on Sir Jhone Campbell of Lawiris: The vther namit Margaret Campbell, quha wes mareit on M’Cowle of Ragray in Lorne.

The said Colene, eftir the deceis of the said Margaret his first wyffe, succeding laird of Glenvrquhay, mareit Katherine Ruthwen, dochtir vntill Williame Lord Ruthuen, on quhome he begatt four sones: The eldest callit Sir Duncane, quha eftir succedit laird: The secund namit Colene: The thrid Maister Patrik, quha deceissit in his flouris: The fourt Archbald: And four dochteris, the eldest callit Margaret Campbell, quha in hir parentis tyme wes mareit on the Erle of Glencarne: The secund Katherine, quha deit in her yowtheid: The thrid Marie: The fourt Annas, bayth mareit be thair eldest brother, as in the awin place salbe schawin.

The said Colene was laird induring the space of threttie thre yeiris, in the quhilk tyme he conquesit the few of the Kingis landis and Chartirhows landis in Braydalbane, the takis quhairoff his predicessouris obtenit as is abone writtin. Item, he conquesit the ten markland of Auchlyne, Easter Ardchyllie, and Dowinche, togidder with the superioritie of M’Nab his haill landis. Item, he conquesit the superioritie of the tuentie markland of Stronmeloquhan in Glenvrquhay. Item, he cost ane auld ludging in Perthe: quhilkis conques and superiorities forsaidis as yit remains with the hows.

Item, he conquesit the tuentie pund land of Edinambill; item, the fyve pund land of Edinkip vnder reuersioun; item, the aucht markland of Kingartt; quhilkis, with the tuelff markland of Ardbeich, and takis of the land of Cranduich foirsaidis tane frome the hows, he bestowit on his secund sone Colene.

Item, he bestwoit on his thrid sone Maister Patrik the tuelff markland of Auchinryre, Condalict, and Drumnavoke, the eight markland of Auchnacroscre, Penniefurt, Tirewin, and Killen, all lyand in Lorne. But, the said Maister Patrik departing this lyfe but lauchfull airis of his awin body, the saidis landis returnit to the hows.

The said Colene in his tyme biggit the castell of Balloch, the castell of Edinambill in Buchquhidder, the haill ludging of Perth within the closs, the four Kirnellis of the castell of Ilankeilquhirne in Glenvrquhay, and the north chalmeris thairoff.

Memorandum. He was ane great justiciar all his tyme, throch the quhilk he sustenit thee deidlie feid of the Clangregour ane lang space. And, besydis that he caused executt to the death mony notable lymmaris, he beheiddit the laird off M’Gregour himselff at Kandmoir in presens of the Erle of Atholl, the justice clerk, and sundrie vther nobillmen.

The said Colene departit this lyffe the ellevint of Apryle anno 1583 in Balloch.

And was honorablie bureit in the chapell off Finlarg foirsaid.

The Black Book of Taymouth.

MacGregor’s Lullaby

The bridge at Kenmore on the River Tay.
The bridge at Kenmore on the River Tay.

EARLY on a Lammas morning,
With my husband was I gay;
But my heart got sorely wounded
Ere the middle of the day.

Ochan, ochan, ochan, uiri,
Though I cry my child with thee–
Ochan, ochan, ochan, uiri,
Now he hears not thee nor me.

Malison on judge and kindred,
They have wrought me mickle woe;
With deceit they came about us,–
Through deceit they laid him low.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

Had they met but twelve Macgregors,
With my Gregor at their head;
Now my child had not been orphaned,
Nor these bitter tears been shed.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

On an oaken block they laid him,
And they spilt his blood around;
I’d have drunk it in a goblet
Largely, ere it reached the ground.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

Would my father then had sickened–
Colin, with the plague been ill;
Though Rory’s daughter in her anguish,
Smote her palms and cried her fill.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

I could Colin shut in prison,
And Black Duncan put in ward,–
Every Campbell now in Bealach,
Bind with handcuffs, close and hard.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

When I reached the plain of Bealach,
I got there nor rest nor calm;
But my hair I tore in pieces,–
Wore the skin from off each palm!
Ochan, ochan, &c.

Oh! could I fly up with the skylark–
Had I Gregor’s strength in hand;
The highest stone that’s in yon castle,
Should lie lowest on the land.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

Would I saw Finlarig blazing,
And the smoke of Bealach smelled,
So that fair, soft-handed Gregor
In these arms once more I held.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

While the rest have all got lovers
Now a lover have I none;
My fair blossom, fresh and fragrant,
Withers on the ground alone.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

While all other wives the night-time
Pass in slumber’s balmy bands,
I, upon my bedside weary,
Never cease to wring my hands.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

Far, far better be with Gregor
Where the heather’s in its prime,
Than with mean and Lowland barons
In a house of stone and lime.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

Greatly better be with Gregor
Where the herds stray o’er the vale,
Than with little Lowland barons
Drinking of their wine and ale.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

Greatly better be with Gregor
In a mantle rude and torn,
Than with little Lowland barons
Where fine silk and lace are worn.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

Though it rained and roared together,
All throughout the stormy day,
Gregor in a crag could find me
A kind shelter where to stay,
Ochan, ochan, &c.

Bahu, bahu, little nursling–
Oh! so tender now and weak;
I fear the day will never brighten
When revenge for him you’ll seek.
Ochan, ochan, ochan, uiri,
Though I cry, my child, with thee–
Ochan, ochan, ochan, uiri,
Yet he hears not thee nor me!

John Campbell, 5th Laird of Glenorchy

John Campbell, 5th Laird of Glenorchy.
John Campbell, 5th Laird of Glenorchy.

Jhone Campbell, brother germane to the foresaid Duncane, succedit fyft laird of Glenvrquhay.

The said Jhone mareit Marion Edmestoun, dochtir to the laird of Dountreith, before he succedit laird of Glenvrqhuay, on quhome he begat tua dochteris: The ane callit Cristiane Campbell, quha wes mareit on the tutour of Lus: And the vther callit Marioun Campbell, quha wes mareit on Alexander Home of Argadie.

The said Jhone levit laird fyftene yeiris, quha, besyde the keping of the auld leving haill, conquesit the twelf markland of Ardbeich, quhilk he left to the hows with great riches and stoir.

He deceissit in the Ile of Lochtay the 5 of Julii anno 1550.

And wes honorablie bureit in the chapell off Finlarg.

The Black Book of Taymouth.

Duncan Campbell, 4th Laird of Glenorchy

Sir Duncan Campbell, 4th Laird of Glenorchy.
Sir Duncan Campbell, 4th Laird of Glenorchy.

Duncane Campbell, eldast and lauchfull sone to the foirsaid Sir Colene, succedit fourt laird of Glenvrqhuay.

The said Duncane mareit Mariory [Elizabeth] Colquhoun, dochtir to the laird of Lus, on quhome he begatt ane sone, quha deit in his minoritie.

The foirsaid Duncane levit laird be the space off threttene yeiris, keping all things left to him be his worthy predicessouris.

He departit this lyffe in the castell of Glenvrquhay the 5 of September 1536.

And was honorablie bureit in the chapell foirsaid of Finlarg.

The Black Book of Taymouth.

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.

How the Galley for Lorne Came to the Campbells

Arms of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clan Campbell; Quarterly, 1st & 4th: Gyronny of eight or and sable (Campbell); 2nd & 3rd: Argent, a lymphad or ancient galley sails furled flags and pennants flying gules and oars in action sable (Lorne).
Arms of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clan Campbell; Quarterly, 1st & 4th: Gyronny of eight or and sable (Campbell); 2nd & 3rd: Argent, a lymphad or ancient galley sails furled flags and pennants flying gules and oars in action sable (Lorne).

(These notes on the Galley for Lorne are based upon letters which appeared in the ‘Scotsman,’ signed “Ergadiensis,” “T.H.I.S.,” and “Mr H.D. Smith,” all of whom wrote in answer to letters from me in the  ‘Scotsman’ or ‘Glasgow Herald.’ — Ed.)

THE charter […] 1470 was no confirmation of the heiresses’ claim to Lorne, for none of the respective husbands ever made any claim through them; it was the sequel of a long tragedy. In 1463, John Stewart, Lord Lorne, was murdered at Dunstaffnage by a MacDougall, to prevent him legitimising his son Dugald; but he lived a sufficiently long time to marry Dugald’s mother.

For six long years there was a bloody struggle for the possession of Lorne, between Dugald and the Lorne Stewarts on the one side, and the MacDougalls, secretly helped by Argyll and Dugald’s, uncle Walter Stewart, on the other. In the year 1469, Dugald Stewart and the MacDougalls, being both exhausted, Mac Cailein Mòr got from Walter Stewart a resignation in his own favour of the claims of Walter, which he alleged he had in Lorne, and interfered actively in the quarrel. Neither Dugald nor his adversaries were able, after six long years of contention, to resist this powerful opponent, and he had to compromise his right to the whole of his father’s lands for Appin, and became the ancestor of the Stewarts of Appin.

After this compromise only, in 1469, Walter took seisin of Lorne, and granted it in pretended exchange for others to Cailein Mòr; and in 1470 this exchange was confirmed by the minor James III., at whose Court Argyll was supreme.

About the year 1388, the Galley, the family cognisance of the MacDougalls — the “Lords of Lorne of Auld,” as Sir David Lyndsay, Lord Lyon King-at-Arms calls them — a branch of the family of the Lords of the Isles, was quartered by Sir John Stewart on his marriage with a daughter and co-heiress of John MacDougall, Lord of Lorne; and three generations later it was assumed by Sir Colin Campbell of Glenorchy, and Sir Colin Campbell of Lochow, afterwards first Earl of Argyll, some time after their marriage with two of the daughters of Sir John Stewart, Lord of Lorne. Glenorchy, who married the eldest, also assumed the fess “checquy” of the Stewarts.

John of Lorne, having no lawful son (Stewart of Appin being a natural son), some years before his death executed a deed of settlement in favour of his own brothers, the Stewarts of Innermeath, as next heirs male.

The deed was confirmed by charter under the Great Seal, 1452; and on the death of the old chief in 1463, his eldest surviving brother, Walter, claimed and succeeded to the estate and dignity.

Argyll’s seal, appended to a charter dated 17th December 1470, granting to his uncle, Sir Colin of Glenorchy, a part of his recent acquisition of Lorne, in exchange for Glenorchy’s share of the Clackmannan lands, is not charged with the Galley (Laing’s ‘Ancient Scottish Seals’).

The three daughters1 were co-heiresses of the lands of Dollar and Gloom, but not of Sir John Stewart’s great baronies of Redcastle, Innermeath, and Lorne. The actual transaction by which these were transferred to Argyll was this: In 1469 the new chief granted an indenture binding himself to resign the lordship of Lorne in favour of Colin, Earl of Argyll, in exchange for the lands of Kildoning, Baldoning, and Innerdoning, in Perthshire; the lands of Culrain, in Fife; and Cutkerry, in Kinross: the Earl on his part binding himself to use his influence (which was very great) to procure for him another title — namely that of Lord Innermeath — which was done, and within a year the patent passed the Great Seal.

It is scarcely correct to say that the co-heiresses of the Clackmannan lands, one-third of which estates were appointed to each of the three heiresses, inherited only these lands; for the eldest, marrying Sir Colin Campbell of Glenorchy, 1448, carried to her husband a small grant of lands adjoining Glenorchy, extending to somewhat less than six2 merks out of the Lorne estates (Orig. Par. Sc.)

Such is the story of the “blazoning” of the Galley “For Lorne” on the shields of the Campbells of Argyle and Breadalbane.

1 The eldest married Glenorchy; the second, Sir Colin Campbell, first Earl of Argyll; the third, Arthur Campbell of Ottar.

2 Or as another authority says, an eighteen-merk land.

— Lord Archibald Campbell’s Records of Argyll (1885).

Description of Kilchurn Castle

Lintel above the entrance doorway of the tower-house of Kilchurn Castle, dated 1693 (when it replaced the original), and displaying the arms of John Campbell, 1st Earl of Breadalbane, along with his initials and those of his second wife, Countess Mary Campbell, daughter of Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess of Argyll and Lady Margaret Douglas.
Lintel above the entrance doorway of the tower-house of Kilchurn Castle, dated 1693 (when it replaced the original), and displaying the arms of John Campbell, 1st Earl of Breadalbane, along with his initials and those of his second wife, Countess Mary Campbell, daughter of Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess of Argyll and Lady Margaret Douglas.

Kilchurn castle is situated on a peninsula at the north end of Loch Awe, and is well protected by water and marsh, while the buildings stand on a rocky platform of irregular shape, but with perpendicular faces, about 15 feet high, on three of its sides.

The plan of this keep has some peculiarities. The entrance door is in the north-east wall on the ground floor, and the stair to the upper floors starts from the opposite corner of that floor. The stair is unusually easy, being a square stair, so arranged that small vaulted rooms are provided on each side of it at the east end of the keep. The exterior is of the usual plain style and is built with granite rubble-work. The corbels carrying the corner bartizans are all cut out of the hardest gneiss or granite.

The additions were built in 1693, this date being carved on the work in two places, viz., the entrance door and the door to the stair turret on the south side of the keep. The first of these inscriptions is rather remarkable, and might be misleading. The original lintel of the entrance door of the keep has been removed, and a new lintel inserted, bearing the date 1693, and the initials and arms of John, first Earl of Breadalbane, and of his second wife, Countess Mary Stewart1 or Campbell.

Plan of Kilchurn Castle from <em>The Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal</em>, Vol. XII, No. 70, February, 1913; reproduced from David MacGibbon and Thomas Ross, <em>Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland</em>, 1887.
Plan of Kilchurn Castle from The Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal, Vol. XII, No. 70, February, 1913; reproduced from David MacGibbon and Thomas Ross, Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland, 1887.

Another curious circumstance connected with this door is, that it is the only entrance to the castle, so that to get into the quadrangle one has to pass through the narrow entrance door and cross the ground floor of the keep.

The additions made in 1693 convert this keep into a castle surrounding an irregular quadrangle.

The additional buildings have been very extensive, and would accommodate a large garrison, but they are not built with a view to resist a siege. The round towers at the angles and the numerous square loopholes on the ground floor would, however, suffice to defend the garrison against a sudden attack by Highlanders, which was probably what was to be chiefly apprehended in that inaccessible situation. Although this castle presents a striking and imposing appearance at a distance, it is somewhat disappointing on closer inspection. The interior walls are much destroyed, and the internal arrangements of the plan can scarcely be made out. The buildings have more the appearance of modern barracks than of an old castle. There are two kitchen fireplaces, and probably there were officers’ quarters and men’s quarters, while the keep and some additional accommodation adjoining would be set apart for the lord and his family.

— David MacGibbon and Thomas Ross, Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland, 1887.

1 The identification with Stewart would appear to be an error. Lady Mary Campbell was born after 1634. She was the daughter of Archibald Campbell1st Marquess of Argyll and Lady Margaret Douglas. She married, firstly, George Sinclair6th Earl of Caithness, son of John SinclairMaster of Berriedale and Lady Jean Mackenzie, on 22 September 1657 at Roseneath, Dunbartonshire, Scotland. She married, secondly, John Campbell of Glenorchy, 1st Earl of Breadalbane and Holland, son of Sir John Campbell of Glenorchy, 4th Bt.and Lady Mary Graham, on 7 April 1678. She died on 4 February 1690/91.

A Story of Taymouth or Balloch

The village of Kenmore, Perth and Kinross, located on Loch Tay and by the emergence of the River Tay, taken from the Black Rock viewpoint.
The village of Kenmore, Perth and Kinross, located on Loch Tay and by the emergence of the River Tay, taken from the Black Rock viewpoint.

IN the reign of James I., an island at the east end of Loch Tay (Loch Tatha) was chosen for the site of a nunnery. The nuns vowed in presence of a priest that they had not and would not have anything to do with a man. It was one of the Stewarts of Atholl who had the superintendence of the island. He was very severe on people, and had the power of sentencing to death any one who should anger him.

There was a hollow called Lag-na-casgairt (Slaughter Hollow), where he was wont to hang or behead those whom he sentenced to death; and there was a pool called the Black Pool, in the river Tay, where he was in the habit of drowning some. It seemed to him that the island of the nuns was too near the land, and that the water between the island and land was so shallow that men might at times walk from land to it. He therefore resolved to build a wall across the river Tay to deepen Loch Tay, and he imposed a tax on the tenantry of the country that every one of them should individually have to come for a certain number of days in the year and carry stones to put a wall across the river; and were a traveller passing the way, Stewart imposed on him a tax to carry a stone to help the erection of the wall.

It happened that a son of the laird of Glenurchy, whose name was Dugald, was passing the way, and he had a servant along with him. Both he and his servant were riding. Dugald was informed that he should have to carry a stone and put it in the wall. Dugald was haughty, and he refused. He was put off his horse; still he refused to carry the stone to the wall. He was consequently taken to Slaughter Hollow, and there beheaded.

The servant returned home after this catastrophe, and told what had been done to Dugald. In about a year thereafter, another son of the knight of Glenurchy, named Duncan, went the way of Taymouth. When he had reached the same place, he was told that he should have to carry a stone and put it in the wall. Duncan stopped and inquired what was the reason that such a tax was imposed on passers-by.

He was told. He said he would put a stone in it; and when he had put the stone in the wall, he said that if Stewart wished he would stay for a space to work at the wall — that it was a very fine thing.

Immediate consent was granted him to stay, and thanks given him. So Black Duncan and his gillie stayed to work at the wall. Duncan was exceedingly good at choosing his speech, and he and the other men who were working at the wall became very much attached to one another. He understood that they were tired of Stewart, on account of his severity. One day a man was to be hanged at Taymouth for no other reason than that Stewart had got angry with him; and the workmen were sorry for this man. Black Duncan said to them, “It is your own fault when you would permit this.”

One of the workmen replied, “What can we do?  It is he who has the power in the country and we cannot stand against him.”

Duncan said, “Are there not so many of you? and were you to be faithful to one another, could you not do to him as he does to those with whom he becomes angry?”

The workmen then asked Duncan, “Would you do that yourself?”

“Yes I would,” answered Black Duncan, “were you to stand true to me.”

They said, “We will stand true to you;” and they made a covenant with each other.

When Stewart had commanded the other men to go with the condemned man to hang him, Duncan Campbell said, “Why should we hang a guiltless man? Let us catch Stewart himself and hang him.”

So Black Duncan Campbell went first and seized Stewart. The rest followed his example, and so Stewart himself was hung; and it was a source of consolation to the people of the country that they had got quit of the bad man.

Black Duncan himself took possession of the land which Stewart had, and he let land to the men. He was not hard on them with the rents. They were therefore true to him, and he was allowed to keep possession of the land. They named the place where Dugald had crossed the river to be hanged, “Dugald’s Crossing.”

The nuns who abode in the island of the Garden (Eilean a’ ghàraidh), which is near Taymouth, got to land once a-year on the 26th of July; and there was a fair, called the “Fair of the Holy Women,” held opposite to the island, and the holy women had permission to go to the fair to sell any work which they had to sell. But it happened at a certain time that a man called Mac-an-Rùsgaich (Mackinrooskich), son of the stripper, got into the island by a boat, and was clad in woman’s clothes. He stayed in the island till he saw his own time for going. The abbot who had the care of the nuns was subsequently harder on them than formerly, and none of them could get to land off the island to attend the fair. They made up with one another (settled or conspired) that they would flee; so they fled.

It was to the upland of Acharn that they fled. When they were at the top precipice, they sat for a while to take the last view of the island in which they had been, and that place was thenceforth named the “Woman’s Watch.” They separated then from one another, and every one went to her own home. So a ditty was composed to them beginning with the words:–

Red-haired Duncan’s a holy women,
They ascended up the hillside.

No nuns were thereafter kept in the island of the Garden. After the nuns had left the island the Campbells made a dwelling-place for themselves in the island.

Killin and Loch Tay, with Ben Lawers on the left, taken from a short distance up Sron a Chlachain.
Killin and Loch Tay, with Ben Lawers on the left, taken from a short distance up Sron a Chlachain.

It was at Kenmore (An Ceannamhor) at Taymouth, that it was customary to hold the Court of the country; but after the Campbells had obtained possession of the land of Taymouth, it was held at Killin (Cillfhinn), which was a more suitable place for the purpose. A great number of gentlemen were wont to come to the Court, and they were short of stables at the inn for their horses.

The land about Killin belonged to MacNab of Kinell (Cinneala) — and also the land at that end of Loch Tay — at that time.

One day that the knight of Glenurchy was at Court at Killin he said to MacNab, “I wish you would sell me a bit of land at Finlarig, that I might have a place where to tie my horse when I come to the Court of Killin.”

MacNab refused at first; but after the knight had for a short time pressed his request, MacNab asked him, “How much land do you seek?”

“Were I to get the length and breadth of a thong,” rejoined the knight, “that would suffice.”

It seemed to MacNab that so much would be but a small bit, and he named the price for which he would sell such a bit of land; and the knight took MacNab at his word. He got a hide as large as could be found in the country. He got a good shoemaker, and made him begin at the border of the hide and cut it in one thong about the thickness of a latchet. He went to Finlarig, got MacNab himself to be present, and he measured the length of the thong in one direction, across which he measured its length again (sic). So he got a large piece of land for a small price. This was the commencement of the Campbells getting into the land of MacNab; but by little and little they got the whole thereof.

— From the Dewar MSS. Given to the Editor by Lord Lorne, for whom and the Duke of Argyll the tales were collected in 1870-1871. Translated by Mr. Hector MacLean, Islay; Lord Archibald Campbell’s Records of Argyll (1885).

Glenorchy Charm-stone of Breadalbane

Charmstone, owned by the Campbells of Glenorchy, Argyllshire; National Museums Scotland.
Charmstone, owned by the Campbells of Glenorchy, Argyllshire; National Museums Scotland.

[A]ne stone of the quantitie of half a hen’s egg sett in silver, being flatt at the ane end and round at the vther end lyke a peir, quhilk Sir Coline Campbell first Laird of Glenvrquhy woir quhen he faught in battell at the Rhodes agaynst the Turks, he being one of the Knychtis of the Rhodes.

From a 1640 “Inventory of Plenissing” of Taymouth Castle, contained in the Black Book of Taymouth.

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According to the National Museums Scotland record of the object, the Glenorchy Charm-stone of Breadalbane (catalogued as “Charmstone, owned by the Campbells of Glenorchy, Argyllshire;” ID 000-100-002-959-C) may date from the 7th or 8th century. The rock crystal, which is damaged on one side, is presently set in a 17th century silver mount (70 mm H x 45 mm W), the rim of which is decorated with four stones of red coral alternating with four silver balls/bosses. It has a bail allowing the charm to be suspended from a chain.

* * *

There are a number of crystal balls held by various Highland families, a surprising number of whom are Campbells. They share common magical properties such as the miraculous cure of humans and animals and the guarantee of safe return from travel or war. None is very large, two inches in diameter at most; some are or have been mounted in metal and some are unadorned. One or two are displayed as the centrepiece in large and complicated silver brooches.

Their origin is a mystery. According to G. F. Black (Letter to Oban Times, 30 April 1938), the crystals date from the Late Iron Age. They originate from China and have always had occult powers; some of the have later been ‘turned’ by the Church to Christian purposes and incorporated into reliquaries. Around twenty examples have been found in graves in England mostly of the Anglo-Saxon period and three or four in Ireland. There have been examples in Denmark, Germany, and France.

How they got here is unknown for certain, and why they should be clustered in the Highlands, particularly the West Highlands, and why so many should be in the Campbell hands is very strange. It is tempting to see the Middle East and the Crusades as a possible way for them to have found their way here, but this would not fit with the statement that the English examples dated from the Anglo-Saxon period, and when I asked Sir Steven Runciman, the great authority on the Crusades, whether he had ever come across anything of the kind, his answer was a decided ‘no’.

In fact, in two cases the stones are said to come from the Middle East. The Ardvorlich stone is said by Simpson to have been brought back by an ancestor from the Crusades — this would have to been one of the early Stewarts of what was to become the Royal Line, unless of course it was through the distaff side — and the Breadalbane stone was said to have been brought back from Rhodes by Sir Colin Campbell, which was after the end of the Crusades as such.

[…]

The Breadalbane charmstone. Claimed to cure ills, protect its devotees and bring them safe home. Some years ago, I was sent a small notebook by Miss Thelma Lewis, lately companion to Armorer, Countess of Breadalbane. It contained an account of material on the family including the sad tale of a young man in the 6th Black Watch during the First World War. On the eve of his departure, he went up to the castle to pay his respects to Lord Breadalbane, who got out the charmstone and, according to ancient custom, dipped it in a glass of water from which they both drank to the young man’s safe return. On this occasion, the charm did not work. Breadalbane had previously taken the stone with him as a good-luck talisman on his tour of South Africa in 1896-7.

— Alastair Lorne Campbell of Airds, A History of Clan Campbell: Volume I: From Origins to Flodden, Edinburgh, 2000, Appendix 5, pp. 299-300.

Cailean Dubh na Roimhe

Colin Campbell, 1st Laird of Glenorchy, Knight of Rhodes, as depicted in the Black Book of Taymouth.
Colin Campbell, 1st Laird of Glenorchy, Knight of Rhodes, as depicted in the Black Book of Taymouth.

Memorandum, the said Sir Colene throch his valiant actis and manheid maid Knicht in the Isle of Rhodos (quhilk standeth in the Carpathiane Sea neir to Caria ane countrie of Asia the les) and wes thre sundrie tymes in Rome.

Black Book of Taymouth.