Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]

to the north-east is the no less huge and picturesque range of the Ardnamurchan hills. Many ruinous castles, situated generally upon cliffs,overhanging the ocean, add interest to the scene. Those of Dunolly and Dunstaffnage are first passed, then that of Duart, formerly belonging to the chief of the warlike and powerful sept of Macleans, and the scene of Miss Baillie's beautiful tragedy, entitled the Family Legend. Still passing on to the northward, Artornish and Aros become visible upon the opposite shores, and lastly, Mingarry, and other ruins of less distinguished note. In fine weather, a grander and more impressive scene, both from its natural beauties, and associations with ancient history and tradition, can hardly be imagined. When the weather is rough, the passage is both difficult and dangerous, from the narrowness of the channel, and in part from the number of inlahd lakes, out of which sally forth a number of conflicting and thwarting tides, making the navigation perilous to open boats. The sudden flaws and gusts of wind which issue without a moment's warning from the mountain glens, are equally formidable. So that in unsettled weather, a stranger, if not much accustomed to the sea, may sometimes add to the other sublime sensations excited by the scene, that feeling of dignity which arises from a sense of danger.

Note IV. From Hirt To the green Ilay's fertile shore.—St. VIII. p. 16. The number of the western isles of Scotland exceeds twe hundred, of which St. Kilda is the most northerly, anciently called Hirth, or Hirt, probably from “earth,” being in fact the whole globe to its inhabitants. Ilay, which now belongs almost entirely to Walter Campbell, Esq., of Shawfield, is by far the most fertile of the Hebrides, and has been greatly improved under the spirited and sagacious management of the present proprietor. This was in ancient times the principal abode of the Lords of the Isles, being, if not the largest, the

most important island of their archipelago. In Martin's time"

some reliques of their grandeur were yet extant. “Loch-Finlagan, about three miles in circumference, affords salmon, trouts, and eels: this lake lies in the centre of the isle. The isle Finlagan, from which this lake hath its name, is in it. It's famous for being once the court in which the great Mack-Donald, King of the Isles, had his residence; his houses, chapel, &c. are now ruinous. His guards de corps, called Lucht-tach, kept guard on the lake side nearest to the isle; the walls of their houses are still to be seen there. The high court of judicature, consisting of fourteen, sat always here; and there was an appeal to them from all the courts in the isles; the eleventh share of the sum in debate was due to the principal judge. There was a big stone of seven foot square in which there was a deep impression made to receive the feet of Mack-Donald; for he was crowned King of the Isles standing in this stone, and swore that he would continue his vassals in the possession of their lands, and do exact justice to all his subjects; and then his father's sword was put into his hand. The Bishop of Argyle and seven priests anointed him king, in presence of all the heads of the tribes in the isles and continent, and were his vassals; at which time the orator rehearsed a catalogue of his ancestors, &c.—Martin's Account of the Western Isles, octavo, London, 1716, p. 240, 1. -

Note V.
Mingarry, sternly placed,
O'erawes the woodland and the waste.—St. VIII. p. 16.

The castle of Mingarry is situated on the seacoast of the dist trict of Ardnamurchan. The ruins, which are tolerably entire, are surrounded by a very high wall, forming a kind of polygon, for the purpose of adapting itself to the projecting angles of a precipice overhanging the sea, on which the castle stands. It was anciently the residence of the Mac-Ians, a clan of Mac-Donalds, descended from Ian, or John, a grandson of Angus Og, Lord of the Isles. The last time that Mingarry was of military importance, occurs in the celebrated Leabhar dearg, or Red-book of Clanronald, a MS. renowned in the ess


[merged small][ocr errors]


sianic controversy. Allaster Mac-Donald, commonly called
Colquitto, who commanded the Irish auxiliaries, sent over by
the Earl of Antrim during the great civil war to the assistance
of Montrose, began his enterprise in 1644, by taking the cas-
tles of Kinloch-Alline, and Mingarry, the last of which made
considerable resistance, as might, from the strength of the situ-
ation, be expected. In the meanwhile, Allaster Mac-Donald's
ships which had brought him over, were attacked in Loch
Eisord, in Skye, by an armament sent round by the covenant-
ing parliament, and his own vessel was taken. This circum-
stance is said chiefly to have induced him to continue in Scot-
land, where there seemed little prospect of raising an army in
behalf of the king. He had no sooner moved eastward to join
Montrose, a junction which he effected in the braes of Athole,
than the Marquis of Argyle besieged the castle of Mingarry,
but without success. Among other warriors and chiefs whom
Argyle summoned to his camp to assist upon this occasion, was
John of Moidart, the Captain of Clanronald. Clanronald ap-
peared; but, far from yielding effectual assistance to Argyle,
he took the opportunity of being in arms to lay waste the dis-
trict of Sunart, then belonging to the adherents of Argyle, and
sent part of the spoil to relieve the castle of Mingarry. Thus
the castle was maintained until relieved by Allaster Mac-Do-
mald (Colquitto) who had been detached for the purpose by
Montrose. These particulars are hardly worth mentioning,
were they not connected with the memorable successes of
Montrose, related by an eye-witness, and hitherto unknown te.
Scottish historians.
Note vi.
The Heir of mighty Somerled.—St. VIII, p. 16.

Somerled was thane of Argyle and Lord of the Isles, about the middle of the twelfth century. He seems to have exercised his authority in both capacities, independent of t"e crown of Scotland, against which he often stood in hostility. He made various incursions upon the western lowlands during the reign of Malcolm IV., and seems to have made peace with him upon the terms of an independent prince, about the year 1157. In 1164, he resumed the war against Malcolm, and invaded Scotland with a large, but probably a tumultuary army, collected in the isles, in the mainland of Argyleshire, and in the neighbouring provinces of Ireland. He was defeated and slain in an engagement with a very inferior force, near Renfrew. His son Gillicolame fell in the same battle. This mighty chieftain married a daughter of Olaus, King of Man. From him our genealogists deduce two dynasties, distinguished in the stormy history of the middle ages; the Lords of the Isles descended from his elder son Ronald, and the Lords of Lorn, who took their surname of M'Dougal, as descended of his second son Dougal. That Somerled’s territories upon the mainland, and upon the islands, should have been thus divided between his two sons, instead of passing to the elder exclusively, may illustrate the uncertainty of descent among the great Highland families, which we shall presently notice. Note VII. Lord of the Isles.—St. VIII, p. 16.

The representative of this independent principality, for such it seems to have been, though acknowledging occasionally the pre-eminence of the Scottish crown, was, at the period of the poem, Angus, called Angus Og; but the name has been, euphonia gratia, exchanged for that of Ronald, which frequently occurs in the genealogy. Angus was a protector of Robert Bruce, whom he received in his castle of Dunnaverty, during the time of his greatest distress. As I shall be equally liable to censure for attempting to decide a controversy which has long existed between three distinguished chieftains of this family, who have long disputed the representation of the Lord of the Isles, or for leaving a question of such importance altogether untouched, I choose in the first place to give such information as I have been able to derive from Highland genealogists, and which, for those who have patience to investigate such subjects, really contains some curious information concerning the history of the Isles. In the second place, I shall offer a

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

few remarks upon the rules of succession at that period, without pretending to decide their bearing upon the question at issue, which must depend upon evidence which I have had no opportunity to examine. “Angus Og,” says an ancient manuscript translated from the Gaelic, “son of Angus Mor, son of Donald, son of Ronald, son of Sometled, high chief and superior Lord of Innisgall, (or the Isles of the Gael, the general name given to the Hebrides) he married a daughter of Cumbui, namely, Cathan; she was mother to John, son of Angus, and with her came an unusual portion from Ireland, viz. twenty-four clans, of whom twenty-four families in Seotland are descended. Angus had another son, namely, young John Fraoch, whose descendants are called Clan-Ean of Glencoe, and the M*Donalds of Fraoch. This Angus Og died in Isla, where his body was interred, his son John succeeded to the inheritance’ of Inisgall. He had good descendants, namely, three sons procreate of Ann, daughter of Rodric, high chief of Lorn, and one daughter, Mary, married to John Maclean, Laird of Duart, and Lauchlan, his brother, Laird of Coll; she was interred in the church of the Black Nuns. The eldest sons of John were Ronald, Godfrey, and Angus. . . . . . . . . . . . He gave Ronald a great inheritance. These were the lands which he gave him, viz. from Kilcumin in Abertarf to the river Seil, and from thence to Beilli, north of Eig and Rum, and the two Uists, and from thence to the foot of the river Glaichan, and threescore long ships. John married afterwards Margaret Stewart, daughter to Robert Stewart, King of Scotland, called John Fernyear; she bore to him three good sons, Donald of the Isles, the heir, John the Tainister, (i. e. Thame) the second son, and Alexander Carrach. John had another son called Marcos, of whom the clan Macdonald of Cnoc, in Tirowen, are descended. This John lived long, and made donations to Icolumkill, he covered the chapel of Eorsey-Elan, the chapel of Finlagam, and the chapel of the Isle of Tsuibhne, and gave the proper furniture for the service of God, upholding the clergy and monks; he

built or repaired the church of the Holy Cross immediately be18” * - .

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »