Breadalbane Mausoleum c. 1880

J. V. Royaume-Uni, Breadalbane Mausoleum, Finlarig Castle, c. 1880; albumen print, 19 cm x 29 cm.
Ruins of the Breadalbane Mausoleum, Finlarig Castle.
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Colin Campbell, 8th Laird of Glenorchy

Sir Colin Campbell, 2nd Baronet, 8th Laird of Glenorchy, from the Black Book of Taymouth.
Sir Colin Campbell, 2nd Baronet, 8th Laird of Glenorchy, from the Black Book of Taymouth.

Item, the said Sir Coline Campbell of Glenurchay Knycht barronett of gude memorie depairt this lyfe in Balloch the sext day of September the yeir of God 1640 yeiris, being laird of Glenurchay nyne yeiris, and thriescore thrie yeiris of age.

And wes honourablie buried in the chappell of Finlarg be his nixt brother Sir Robert Campbell nynt laird of Glenurchay, being accompanyit with diveris of his honourabill freinds and neighbouris, his brethreen, and the rest of his freendis of the name Campbell come of his hous.

Black Book of Taymouth.

Sir Colin and Lady Juliana Campbell

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.

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).

Black Duncan of the Cowl

Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy (1545–1631), by unknown artist, 1619; National Galleries of Scotland.
Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy (1545–1631), by unknown artist, 1619; National Galleries of Scotland.

The seventh laird [of Glenorchy], Sir Duncan, our author’s patron [i.e. the author of the The Black Book of Taymouth], is a person on whose history we dwell with more pleasure. Bowie records a glorious list of conquests of lands and church possessions, and the provisions he bestowed on his children, legitimate and illegitimate. But we have interest of another kind in Black Duncan — Donacha dim na curich, as he is called from the cowl in which he is represented in his picture at Taymouth. He was, if not the first of Scotchmen, the very foremost of Highland proprietors, to turn his attention to the rural improvement of his country. His predecessors had indeed built rude dwellings and places of defence, round which time and decay have thrown a picturesqueness little thought of in their erection. But we find no signs of these earlier lords appreciating their beautiful country, or trying to increase its comforts or its productiveness. It cannot be said that Sir Duncan himself had taste for the picturesque, but he knew the profit as well as the beauty that might accrue from clothing the hill-side with timber and securing shelter round his mansion. He had some feeling for art also “with chapel and painterie.” He built the tower of Achalladour, repaired Ilankeilchurn, built the house of Lochdochart, a great house at Barcaldine in Benderloch, (between Loch Etive and Loch Criran,) defended the grounds of Balloch against the river by a great embankment. He built or repaired the Church “of Glenurchy, and built a bridge over the water of Lochy, contentment and weal of the country.” He was enterprising enough to travel abroad and passed to the courts of England and France, and in 1602, thought good to take a view of Flanders and of the wars. He took measures for enforcing an old Scotch law which enjoined the planting of a few trees about every tenant’s and cottar’s dwelling, and on the greater scale which became the landlord, he “caused make parks in Balloch, Finlarg, Glenloquhay, and Glenurquhay, and caused sow acorns and seed of fir therein, and planted in the same young fir and birch.” He seems to have imitated his cousin, William Earl of Gowrie, in introducing trees of foreign growth, and tradition points to him as the planter of the venerable chestnut and walnut trees at Finlarg and Taymouth. He was probably the first of Scotchmen who brought in fallow deer, for our chronicler tells us that in 1614 he took a lease of the Isle of Inchesaile from the Earl of Argyll, and in 1615 “put fallow deir and cunnyngis” therein. In another department of rural policy, it is not so certain that he was first, but it is of him that we have the first evidence, in connexion with the rearing of horses. In one bloody foray the M’Gregors slew forty of Sir Duncan’s brood mares in the Cosche of Glenurchy, and at the same time a blood horse,– “ane fair cursour sent to him from the Prince out of London.” The horse had come to an untimely end even before his royal master was taken away, but the stud went on increasing under the careful eye and vigorous management of Black Duncan.

Duncan Campbell, 7th Laird of Glenorchy, engraving by W. Forrest after original painting (1619) in the Breadalbane Apartments, Holyrood.
Duncan Campbell, 7th Laird of Glenorchy, engraving by W. Forrest after original painting (1619) in the Breadalbane Apartments, Holyrood.

We have abundant evidence that the seventh laird was a man of affairs, and well maintained his place in that age of unscrupulous politicians. In his own territories, castles, and family, he practised a very vigorous personal control and the most methodical administration. The estate books and books of household accounts and inventories kept under his direction give us the earliest picture we have of the life of a great Highland lord. It is not so easy to imagine the rough chieftain cultivating literature: yet grim as he stands in the picture [above] the black Duncan had a taste for books, read history and romance, and is not quite free from the suspicion of having dabbled in verse himself. Several of his books are still preserved at Taymouth, where the frequent inscriptions in his own hand shew he took pleasure in them; and we must remember that book collecting was not yet a fashion. One of his favourites, in which he evidently much delighted, was “The Buike of King Alexander the Conqueroure,” a ponderous romance in MS. Some original verses, mostly moral and religious, written on the blank leaves of his books, would be worth preserving, if it were possible more satisfactorily to establish their authorship. The influence of Sir Duncan Campbell extended over an unusual length of time. He was forty-eight years lord of the family estates, and was eighty-six years old when he died in 1631.

— From the Preface of Cosmo Nelson Innes’ The Black Book of Taymouth, Edinburgh, 1855.