Memoirs of the Clan MacKinnon

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 Editor’s Notes

 Title page
 Dedication
 Preface
 The MacKinnons from the Early Ages to A.D 1500
 Civil History
 The MacKinnons from A.D. 1500 to 1745
 The MacKinnons in 1745
 John Daniel MacKinnon
 Henry MacKinnon
 William Alexendar MacKinnon
 Daniel MacKinnon
 Notices of the Various members of the Clan
 Appendix
 List of Authorities Consulted
 Notes
 
 



 

Editor’s Notes to the Memoirs of the Clan MacKinnon

The Memoirs of the Clan MacKinnon was written in the 1880s by the Rev. Donald D. MacKinnon, “Sennachie,” or historian, of the Clan MacKinnon. Since that time, a copy has been in my family and is showing its age. (This copy, if fact, contains a letter from the author dated September 21, 1888 that refers to the Memoirs.) Though it is sometimes dated in the information it presents, it is still invaluable as a historical reference for not just the MacKinnon, but in for the Highland Clans as a whole. Featured prominently, are such families as the MacDonalds, the MacKays, the Stuarts, the MacAlisters, the MacLeans, the Campbells, and the MacLeods, just to name a few; and this is done in the historical context of the campaigns of William the Bruce, the English Civil Wars, the Stuart uprisings, and the seemingly endless squabbles between the clans themselves and the Scottish monarchs.

The process for transcribing this to digital format is laborious and error-prone. The first step was to digitally scan the book on a flatbed scanner to obtain a text facsimile. The second step is to correct the numerous mistakes made in the scanning process. In a typical paragraph, 30% of the text will either be in error or contain an obsolete spelling that has to be verified.

 As I complete the first pass of proofreading each chapter, I present it here (there are twelve chapters and appendixes). I would be grateful of any errors others may find. Also, I am starting to footnote historical and geographical references to place them in the greater context.

 I attempted to keep as much as the original spellings as possible, except where it was obvious in error. In many cases, the spellings of places and names are possibly inconsistent, even in the same sentence. However, unless I knew them to be in error, I retained them as is. For example, in the following 2 paragraphs, MacKinnon appears as “MacKinnon” and “McKynnon” (to say nothing of “Ve Kynnon”). Likewise, three possibly identical place names are spelled differently: “Strathordaill,” and “Strathordill,” and “Strathordell:"
 

 On November 20th, 1634, a complaint is registered as follows: John Charleach, alias McKynnon, Neill McEwin, McConneill bayne, alias MacKinnon, Donald M’Connel Oig, son and others, tenants and servants to John McKynnon of Strathordaill and luin for his interest, and Lauchlan McCharles Ve Kynnon in Torveh, and McNeill, McKynnon Parsen of Slate, against Ross of Auchnacloich. In 1639 (temp. Charles I ) a court was held at Iona and all the former enactments confirmed.
 On February 14, 1642, by a writ under the Great Seal, John McLean of Coll is appointed Tutor Dative to his nephew, Lauchlan McFingon of Strathordill, eldest son and heir apparent of the deceased John MacFingon of Strathordell, being a pupil.

 

Bryan MacKinnon, December 1997.


" Let the Clan of gray Fingon, whose offspring has given Such heroes to earth and such martyrs to Heaven, Unite with the race of renowned Rorri More, To launch the long galley, and stretch to the oar."

 Song–”Gathering of the Clans” (at Glenfinnan, A.D. 1745)



M E M O I R S
 OF
C LAN  F I N G O N.
FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION
BY
REV. DONALD D. MACKINNON, M.A.
Circa 1888
 
 

TUNBRIDGE WELLS :
 PRINTED BY LEWIS HEPWORTH, FRANT ROAD


Dedicated TO
 WILLIAM ALEXANDER MACKINNON
 OF THAT ILK,
THIRTY-FOURTH CHIEF OF THE CLAN




PREFACE TO THE MEMOIRS OF THE CLAN MACKINNON
A FEW words will suffice to introduce these pages to the members of the clan. It seemed unfitting to the Author that, while many of the Highland clans possess printed records of the history and deeds of their ancestors, the clan MacKinnon which traces its descent from the earliest times and can claim precedence in this respect of a large majority of the thirty acknowledged Highland tribes, should remain unchronicled at least in a individual form, especially when its records contain more abundant matters of interest than perhaps those of any other clan in proportion, that is to say, to its uniform numerical diminutiveness.

 In assuming the office of "Sennachie," the Author desires to remind those amongst whom this memoir is about to be privately circulated that the matter with which he has had to deal is gathered to a considerable extent from sources which are often uncertain, meager and in many instances unconfirmed by the parallel history of Scotland. The cause of this is due both to the remoteness of the region whence the family takes its origin, and to the unlettered state of semi-barbarism in which the inhabitants of the Western Isles remained even to a comparatively recent period.

 Later generations have naturally not suffered in this respect, so that in each case where the Author has detailed the life of an individual he is prepared to guarantee that the account is true and faithful.

 No circumstance which can possibly be of interest to any clansman has been omitted, nor have pains been spared in studying works or manuscripts likely to throw light upon the subject.

 It is, however, a matter of regret to the Author that he has been unable to obtain documentary evidence of the identity of Dr. Daniel or Donald MacKinnon of Antigua with the second son of Lachlan Mhore, whose unfortunate quarrel with his father led to a life separation between them.

 This has induced some living members of the clan to doubt the correctness of the present chief's genealogy, but the Author has reason to hope that circumstantial evidence, the unanimous voice of traditions and the universal consent of past generations to whom we of the present must concede a greater knowledge of facts, especially in the absence of documentary proofs, will, when combined, tend to satisfy their minds and possibly remove their objections in this matter.

 With regard to the arrangement of the Genealogical Tree, and subsequent notices concerning the names thereon recorded, the Author is aware that he has laid himself open to charges of inconsistency in treating of the various branches; but in defense he desires to state that where he has been unable to harmonize records, he has printed them as they were delivered to him free from annotations of his own, conceiving it more desirable to leave the decision in the hands of each reader.

 In order to avoid the wearisomeness of quotations, the authorities as a rule are not mentioned; but a list of these will be found at the end of the Appendix.

 The great expense incurred in producing the memoir must be the Author's excuse for pricing the copies at five shillings each. Even if every copy is sold, there will still be a considerable balance on the wrong side.

 Finally, the Author desires to express his appreciation of the kindness of his fellow- clansmen who have shown almost universal readiness to place all documents, private or otherwise, at his disposal.

 I have adopted the descent of the Clan MacKinnon, derived from Alpin, King of Scotland, on account of its general reception in past ages, but an ancient document has in recent times been discovered which traces the origin of the Clan to Fergus the great, who reigned some three hundred and fifty years before the date of Alpin. This record is from the pen of Tighernac, the Irish Annalist, who died in the year of our Lord 1088.

 As being the earliest authentic document known, it is entitled to the greatest attention, while the likelihood of its accuracy is strengthened from the fact that it agrees with two very ancient corresponding documents and with the more trustworthy records of the earliest History of the Kingdom of Scotland.

 Tighernac, it will be remembered, was contemporary with Duncan, MacBeth and Malcolm Canmore. He traces the genealogy of the Clan Fingon as follows:–

 Niall mac. Niall, son of Gillabrighde mhic Gillebride, son of Eogain mhic Ewen, son of Gillabride mhic Gillebride, son of Sean Eogain mhic Old Ewen, son of Finlaeic mhic Finleach, son of Finagainne o fuiled, clan Fingaine mhic Fingaine, from whom the, Clan MacKinnon son of Cormac mhic Cormac, son of Murchertaigh mhic Muirchertach, son of Fearchair oig mhic Ferchar, the young son of Mic Beathaidh mhic Macbeth, son of Finlaeic mhic Finnlaech, son of Fearchar fada mhic Ferchar, the tall son of Fearadaig mhic Feradach, son of Fergusa Fergus II

Tiqhernac further states that Fergus the Second, son of Erc, held a part of Britain with the Dalriadic Kingdom and died A.D. 502; that Lochene, the son of Fingen, King of the Cruithne, or Picts, died A.D. 645; that Fearchar Fada died A.D. 697 (?); that there was a slaughter the Picts and Saxons when Findgaine, son of Deleroitb, was killed A.D. 711; that Ainbceallach, son of Fearchar Fada, was slain by his brother A.D. 719; that Finguine, sone of Drostan, and Ferot, son of Finguine, officers of King Nechtan, were slain in battle A.D. 729; that Kenneth, son of Alpin, King of the Picts, died A.D. 858; that Donald, son of Alpin, King of the Picts, died A.D. 862; that Cell, son of Findgaine, a Mormair (Earl) of Alban (Scotland), was killed in a foray by the King of the Cenell Conall in O’Failge A.D. 976; that Finleach, son of Rory, King of Alban, was slain A.D. 1020; and that Cormac, son of Faelan, successor of the sons of Iona, died A.D. 1033;



 

CHAPTER I.THE MACKINNONS FROM THE EARLY AGES TO A.D. 1500


From original MSS. in the possession of Forbes of Culloden, we learn that “A Highland Clan is a set of men, all bearing the same surname, and believing themselves to be related the one to the other and to be descended from the same common stock. In each clan there are several subaltern tribes, who own their dependence on their own immediate chief; but all agree in owing allegiance to the supreme chief of the clan or kindred, and look upon it to be their duty to support him at all adventures.”

 The system of chanship then, made the people follow their chief as the head of their race, and the representative of the common ancestor of the whole clan, while the feudal system made the people obey their leader as feudal proprietor of the lands to which they were attached, and for their portion of which they were bound to render military service.

 The Highland law of Tanistry provided that the brother should succeed before the son, and that if the lawful heir should not have attained fourteen years, the nearest relation succeeded and held for life only, while the feudal system looked to property, and the nearest relation was naturally the heir.

 The law of Gavel, which was for property, in the Highlands gave certain proportions among the whole of the male branches of the family (females excluded), while the feudal law gave all to the eldest son.

 The Highland law or custom of “Handfasting” allowed that the son of one chief might live with the daughter of another for a year and a day without marriage, and if the lady should become a mother or be proved to be with child at the end of that time, the marriage was held good; but if otherwise, the contract was at an end, and either might “handfast” with another. Therefore the feudal bastard in that case was legitimate in the Highlands.

 A few explanatory notes on technical Highland terms will the author thinks, be with advantage here introduced.

 Until the Forfeiture of A.D. I493, The Macdonald, as Lord of the Isles, held his council at Finlaggan in Isla—it consisted of four thanes, four arnims or sub-thanes, four bastards or free-holders, and four factory-landed men. Besides these there was a judge for every isle—thus the MacFinnon saw weights and measures adjusted, and the Macduffie kept the records of the isles.

 The Maormor was the chief; the Tanist was the next in succession; the Toisich was the oldest cadet among the Ceanntighes or heads of houses; the Duine Uaisle were the gentry of the clan, all cadets of the house of the chief.

 The staff of the chief were—(i.) the Henchman; (ii.) the Bard or poet; (iii.) the Bladier or spokesman; (iv.) the (Gillemore or bearer of the broad sword; (v.) the Gillecasflue, to carry the chief when on foot over the fords; (vi.) the Gillecomstraine, to lead the chief home in dangerous passes; (vii.) the Gilletrusharnish or baggage-man; (viii.) the Piper, who was a gentleman; (ix.) the Piper's Gillie, who carried the bag-pipe.

 With regard to religion, we may note that, in A.D. 431, Palladius was sent from Rome as Primus Episcopus to the “Scotos in Christum credentes;” in A.D. 432, Patrick went to Ireland; in A. D. the British Bishop Ninian converted the Southern Picts; in A.D. 565, the Irish Presbyter, Columbus, converted the Northern Picts, and theirs was called the Culdee Church.

 Beltain (May 1st) and Samhuin (All-hallow Eve) were their principal feasts, which showed the spirit of their ancient idolatry.

 The three great Highland superstitions were—(i.) a belief in Daoine-shith or fairies; (ii.) a belief in the influence of departed spirits over temporal affairs; (iii.) second sight.

 POETRY.—Ossian was a valuable historical poet; in him we possess the oldest record of the history of a very remote age. Kenneah Oaur was the prophet of the Highlands. In predicting the migrations, he said, “Whenever there shall have been successively three MacKinnons of the same Christian name, oppressors will appear in the country and the people will change their own land for strange one.” This is said to have been fulfilled.
 
 

MUSIC-—The style of Highland music was remarkable for its great simplicity, wildness and pathos. The scale differs from the diatonic scale, and is defective, wanting the fourth and the seventh. The most ancient instrument was the harp—perhaps the bag-pipe was as ancient, but until the wars of the 16th and 17th centuries it had not become the popular instrument.

 DRESS.—The most ancient dress was (i.) the Highland shirt stained with saffron (the lower part of this would be the filleadh-beg or kilt); (ii.) the Breacan or belted plaid; (iii.) the short Highland coat; (iv.) the Cuaran or buskins. The shirt of the common people was painted, and they wore the plaid over the shoulders instead of belting it about the body like the gentry. The truis probably came from Ireland about A.D. 1538. Their weapons were (i.) the broad sword; (ii.) the battle-axe; (iii.) the spear; (iv.) the bow and arrow; (v.) the dirk.
 
 

It is time that we turn our attention to the country inhabited by the MacKinnons in past ages in the Island of Skye. To simplify this we will describe it in short sections and commence with its TOPOGRAPHY and NATURAL HISTORY.

 (i.) The name—the country or district was known by the names of Strath Mhic Ionmhuinn, a poetical expression, meaning the Valley of the Son of Love, and of Strath-Swordale, from the Gaelic word “strath,” a valley with a river, and “swordale,” a place in the centre of a parish. (ii.) Extent: 26 miles by 6 miles broad; bounded on the north by the parish of Portree, on the south by the parish of Sleat, on the east by the sea, on the quest by the parish of Bracadale. (iii.) Topographical appearances: a landscape of unparalleled grandeur—Mount Cuillin, 3290 feet, the lake of Coir-Uisge; one of Prince Charlie's caves, south of the bay of Scavaig; north of this bay, the far-famed spar- cave of Strathaird. (iv.) Meteorology: winds S. and S.-V, and generally for rain; N. and E. winds in summer, bringing fine weather, in winter sleet, frost and snow; climate cold, damp and changeable, bringing acute rheumatism, pleuritic affections, consumption and other pulmonary diseases. I he

 The pure atmosphere and sea-air, however, make it, on the whole, salubrious. (v.) Hydrography: it is intersected by arms of the sea, all safe anchorages. There are many fresh-water springs, often chalybeate, and many small lakes full of trout and often of salmon.

 (VI.) Geology.—The mountains consist of trap and syenite, the valleys of limestone. There is a bed of the finest marl from Loch Slappen to the Sound of Scalpay, In some parts brown calcareous sandstone alternates with shale full of organic remains of fish and shell-fish. In Pabbay Isle petrified eels 18 inches long are found, also oysters, mussels, welks and limpets. There is an alluvial deposit from Loch Slappen through the vale of Strathmore to Loch Eynort; near Kyleakin a greater deposit of about a mile, with presence of gneiss, hornblende and schist.(vii.) Zoology.—(i.) Mammalia: red-deer, roe-deer, fox, wild-cat, weasel, otter and seal are common, pole-cat rare. (ii.) Land birds: grouse, black-game, ptarmigan, partridge, eagles, hawks, ravens, hooded-crows, &c. A grouse and a rook were each once seen with white wings. (iii.) Aquatic birds: wild-goose, cormorant scart, teal, mallard, tern and gulls. (iv.) Taders. heron, water-hen, corn-rail, woodcock, snipe, golden-plover, lap-wing, &c. (v.) Fish: salmon, trout, cod, haddock, whiting, ling, lythe, coal-fish, skate, sand-eel, conger-eel, thornback, flounder, sole, some John- Doree, sea-devil, grey and red gurnard, mullet, dog fish, king-fish, cuttle-fish, &c. (iv.) Shell fish: good, small oysters at Scalpay Sound, mussel, cockle, razor-fish, welk, crab, limpet and lobster. (viii.) Botany. the rare Eriocaulon septangulare, peculiartothis, district, also the Dryas octopetala. Planted timber thrives. Ash grows four feet in one season. Ash, birch and hazel are the commonest trees. The apple, pear, cherry, gooseberry and currant thrive. Pine once flourished, as large trunks are found embedded in the moss.



 

CHAPTER II. CIVIL HISTORY. OF THE CLAN MACKINNON

THE country (now parish) of Strath is known to have been the property of the MacKinnons as far back as five hundred and fifty years. when however, the clan took a prominent part in the turbulent Proceedings of 17I5 and 1745 (which will be elsewhere recorded in detail), the chief at the latter period was taken prisoner and confined in the Tower and Tilbury Fort for nearly twelve months, when, in consideration of his advancing years, he was set at liberty. The chief and his clan were, however, impoverished through confiscation and expenditure in the Stuart cause, and in 1765 the little property left to them was purchased by a scion of the house of Macdonald. In 1791 it was purchased from him by Macalister of Loup.

 As to antiquities; there are remains of “cills,” or Culdee paces of worship—one, called Ashig, was evidently dedicated to one of their saints, S. Asaph; one at Kilbride (S. Bride); one at Kilmorie (Cella Marice, S. Mary), and one in the Isle of Pabbay. At Boreraig, there is a Teampull Choain (Temple of S. Coan), and in the Isle of Scalpay, a Teampull Frangaig (Temple of S. Francis). Near the manse there is an obelisk of granite, I0 feet high, called Clach nah-Annait (stone of Annat, a mythological goddess), and near it a well called Tobar nah-Annait (Annat's fountain), and Tobars Ashig and Chliamen (SS. Asaph and Clement). Kilchrist, evidently Cella Christi, a kirkyard consecrated to CHRIST. There are ruins of seven Danish forts or deens, built without mortar and in sight of each other, so that alarm could be raised by the Croistqraidh (fiery cross). A number of tumuli are to be seen with stone coffins containing urns full of ashes or copper coins. Near Broadford, a cairn or barrow, in which is an arched vault with concave roof, covered with a flag.

 (ix.) POPULATION.—In 1755, 943 souls; in 1790, 1579; in 1801, 1748, viz., 827 males and 921 females; of these, 1563 were employed in agriculture, 38 in trade, and 147 are described as "other" persons. In 1811 it rose to 21O7, in 1821 to 2619, in 1831 to 2962, and in 1837 to 3450. (i.) Language: Gaelic, although it is now much corrupted with English words. (ii.) Habits, &c.: dirty, cattle and poultry live under the same roof with the inhabitants. They wear home- made wool and are expert dyers. They live on potatoes, herrings, meal and milk. (iii.) Character: sober, correct, charitable, hospitable, attentive to strangers, obedient and respectful. (iv.) Longevity: The people of this country have always been remarkable for living to a great age.

 (X.) INDUSTRY.—(i.) Agriculture: Out of 70,768 acres, 2100 are arable, 594 woodland, the rest green and hill pasture. (ii.) Husbandry: oats and beans; wheat fails; potatoes planted in April and May, and yield ten returns, turnips, clover. (iii.) Rent of land: arable, 10S. per acre; cow-grazing, £2 10S. per annum; sheepgrazing, 2s. 6d. (iv. ) Live stock: sheep, Cheviot, black cattle splendid. (v.) Quarries: free-stone, marble and lime-kilns. (vi.) Fisheries: cod, ling and salmon. (vii. ) Fuel: peat, and at Strathaird coal unworked.

 Although it is on certain record that the chief of MacKinnon was seised of property in Skye as well as in the Isle of Mull as early as A. D. 880, we have no authentic account of the history of the clan till we reach A. D. 1314, when the clan MacKinnon fought under the great Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn. Before that decisive action was fought, Robert Bruce had retired to Arran, where the MacKinnons at that period possessed some land, and it was here that he met with protection from his faithful vassals, numbers of whom (amongst them the MacKinnons) followed his misfortunes; and, after the battle of Bannockburn, he rewarded several of them, amongst them the chief of MacKinnon, with a new charter of lands in his native Isle of Skye. At that period the family held estates in Mull, Arran, Skye, Tiree, as well as in the shires of Perth and Ross, properties acquired partly by excambion and otherwise from the following circumstance. The heir of the chief of the MacKinnons was sent from Mull to be fostered by Gillies, who then possessed Strath. This person had an only son and a nephew, who, being on a hunting expedition to Pabbay, unfortunately quarreled, and in the contest both were slain, when old Gillies, being without heirs, became attached to young MacKinnon and left him his patrimonial estates. The chief seats were at Earey, on the property in Mull, at Kilmorie, the fine situation of which is described by Pennant, the tourist, and MacKinnon Castle, on the south-eastern coast of Skye. They originally possessed the district of Griban in Mull, but exchanged it for the district of Mishnish, being that part of Mull immediately to the west and north of Tobermory. From an indenture between the Lord of the Isles and the Lord of Lorn, dated A.D. I354 (temp. David II.), the latter stipulates, in surrendering the island of Mull and other lands to the former, that the keeping of the castles in Mull and the castle of Kerneborg, in the Treshinish Isles, is not to be given to any of the clan Fingon. This proves that the family were, up to that period, connected with the island of Mull. It is believed to have reference to the feuds between the MacKinnons and MacLeans. In 1390, the MacLeans had charters from Donald, Lord of the Isles, for the keeping of these very castles.

 In the very ancient description of the western isles, by Donald Monro, Dean of the Isles (1594) he records that the MacKinnon possessions in Skye are as follows:—"The Castill of Dunnakyne, perteining to M'Kynnoun; the Castill Dunringill, perteining to the said M'Kynnoun; the country of Strayts nardill, perteining to M'Kynnoun. At the shore of Skye aforesaid, Iyes ane iyle callit Pabay, neyre ane myle in lenthe, full of woodes, guid for fishing, and a main shelter for thieves and cut throats. It perteins to M'Kynnoun."

 During the government of the Lords of the Isles, which commenced on the abandonment of their conquests by the Norwegians to the King of Scotland, A.D. 1266 and terminated at the forfeiture of the last lord, A.D. 1493 (temp. James III.), but little can be gathered concerning the deeds of the clan, as, in consequence of their connection with the MacDonalds, many a bold enterprise was doubtless attributed to that powerful tribe which held sway over the lesser tribes, and which would naturally include their actions amongst their own. In one event, forever, of considerable importance, we find the MacKinnons taking a share. It could appear that, on the death of John of the Isles, (circa. 1350) MacKinnon, with what object it is impossible now to ascertain, stirred up John's second son, John Mor, to rebel against his eldest brother, apparently with a view to the chiefship, and his faction was joined by the MacLeans and MacLeods. But Donald, the elder brother, was supported by so great a proportion of the tribe, that he drove John Mor and his party out of the isles, pursuing him to Galloway, and from thence to Ireland. The rebellion being thus put down, John Mor threw himself upon his brother's mercy and received his pardon, but MacKinnon was taken and hanged, as being the instigator of the disturbance.

 Soon after these events, Lachlan of Duart and Eachin of Lockbui, Sons of Maqqillimore (MacLean), came to live in Skye in the reign of Robert II., A.D. 1370-90 but the usual consequence of a stranger entering into the country of another clan followed, and a bitter feud took place between them and the chief of the MacKinnons, which led to one of the most daring actions which has ever been recorded of any Highland chief. The Lord of the Isles had set out on some expedition to the mainland in a single galley, or as some think, to return to his castle of Ardtornis from hunting. He desired the MacLeans and MacKinnons to follow him, and the MacLeans resolved upon taking this opportunity of avenging many injuries which they had received from MacKinnon, or, as some suppose, to curb the rising influence of the MacKinnons. they killed the chief while in the act of mounting into his galley. Afraid of the vengeance of the Lord of the Isles for this deed of treachery, they proceeded to follow up their act by one more daring, and accordingly set sail after him. No sooner had they overtaken his galley than they at once boarded it and succeeded in taking the Macdonald himself prisoner in the very centre of his islands, and within sight of many of his castles On November 1st, 1409 we find Lachlan MacFingon Vir nobilis (i.e., a gentleman) 19th chief of the clan, witnessing a charter by Donald, Lord of the Isles, to Hector MacLean of Dowart.

 We must here describe the burial place of the family as it was towards the close of this century that the two finest monuments were erected.

 It was in the far famed Isle of Iona in the Reilig Orain (S. Oran's Chapel), within this sanctuary, says Monro Dean of the Isles, "lye the maist part of the Lords of the Isles, with their lynage; M'Kynnon and M’Quarie with their lynage, with sundry other inhabitants of the haill isles, because this sanctuary was wont to be the sepulture of the best men of the iles, and also of our kinges." Near the south end of this chapel is the tomb of Abbot MacKinnon's father. It consists of a plain black stone, a block of micaceous schistus intermixed with hornblende, and with an inscription in the old British character. On the wall above the tomb the Abbot erected one of those elaborately sculptured crosses still remaining in the Island, and inscribed upon it " Haec est crux Lauchlani Macfingone et ejus filii Johannis Abbatisde Hy[Iona]; facta an. Dom. MCCCCLXXXIX." And beneath it is engraved a lymphad or galley, as some think, in connection with the former occupation of the island by the Norwegians, for the device was a favourite one amongst those people. Far more probably, how ever, it was then, as now, a portion of the chief's coat of arms derived perhaps from the constant association of this clan with a seafaring life. The broken shaft alone remains, of which an engraving is appended.

"Traveler ! " says a quaint writer, " To give you the root of those who enrich the dust of this tomb, I shall require to bespeak your patience. The MacKinnons are of the Alpinian family, who from A.D. 834 till the death of Alexander III. A.D. 1285, swayed the Scottish sceptre. Kenneth the great, the 69th king, took the patronymie of Kenneth MacAlpine from his brave and murdered father. [King Alpin who was killed at Dunkel Bridge 83I-4 by Brudus and the Picts and beheaded, but his body was taken to Icolmkill and buried here.] King Alpin's third son was called Prince Gregor, the head of that clan. Prince Gregor had a son called Donn-gheal, latinized Dongallus, who in his turn had a son called Findan, or Fingon; and this is the root of that princely tribe the MacFingans or MacKinnons."

 The author cannot refrain from inserting here all amusing incident which occurred to him, when with his father he visited this tomb in I867. They were guests on board a government steam yacht, during a tour of inspection undertaken by his uncle, Commodore, afterwards Admiral Sir Walter Tarleton. Having been rowed ashore in the Commodore's six-oared galley, they were intently examining the huge remains of the broken cross, when the coxswain of the boat, a true type of the British tar who sticks at nothing, stepped forward and saluting, said, " I have six hands here, Sir, and if you wished, we can easily shoulder the shaft and heave it on board for you ! "

 The altar slab of the Cathedral itself came from MacKinnon's country of Strath. It was one of the finest pieces of marble ever seen, being granulated and pure white. No trace of it now remains. Close to the altar on the north side of the choir, is a tomb stone of black marble quite entire, on which is a very fine recumbent figure of the Abbot MacFingon, as large as life, in his sacred robes, with a crozier in one hand, and the other lifted up to his chin, elbowing two lions at one end, and spurning two at the other. This elegant tomb stone which has always been considered the stateliest in the island, is supported by four pedestals about one foot high, and round the margin is the inscription, "Hic jacet Johannes Macfingone Abbas de Hy [Iona,] qui obiit anno Domini millessimo quingen tessimo [I500], Cujus animae propitietur DEUS altissimus. Amen."

 From a very interesting charter dated at Oronsay, August 1st, 1492, preserved in the charter chest of Lochbuy, we find that John MacKinnon, Abbot of Y, as one of the council of the Lord of the Isles, affixed his seal to a charter by John, Lord of the Isles, and Alexander de Insulis, Lord of Lochalsh his nephew, in favour of John M'Gilleon, (MacLean) Lord of Lochbuy. The seal of Abbot John is now so much obliterated, that the device cannot be ascertained.

 The argument of a curious poem by James Hogg, written at the commencement of the present century, and styled "the Abbot MacKinnon," will form a fitting conclusion to this chapter of our memoir.

 It contains the history of the miraculous fate by which this ancient master of Icolmkill, expiated the breach of his monastic vow. The author has been unable to obtain a copy, or he would have inserted it in full for the benefit of his readers. He is however glad to be able to state, that it is not considered to have been founded on fact.

 It opens with a view of the embarkation of this worthy Abbot in his gorgeous galley, manned by lay brothers in their cowls and dark garments, and rushing out of the rocky bay on a secret expedition. The revelry that takes place among the inferior monks in the absence of their rigid head, and the whisperings and sayings that are heard echoing in the dark from nuns and friars gliding in pairs through the dim portals and cloisters during the same period of license. [They] are described with something of a satirical animation. At last, however, the Abbot returns and brings with him a stranger youth, in the full habit of the order. Some smothered scandal and surmise are excited on account of the beautiful novice; but the authority of the Abbot hushes all murmurs, and the months glide on in tranquillity until this saintly person is visited one morning in a dream by S. Colomba himself, who directs him to make an immediate pilgrimage to the neighbouring Isle of Staffa with an appointed company, and there to offer certain oblations to the unseen spirit of the ocean. The Abbot, notwithstanding the heathenish nature of the rite thus enjoined on him, feels himself compelled to obey, and accordingly takes the appointed band with him, and embarks with a heavy heart on this ill-omened expedition. The description of the voyage presents a very powerful and original sea prospect. They arrive at last at the magical island, the singular aspect of which is poetically though not very clearly delineated. The hymn in which they invoke the spirit of the mighty deep, is written with considerable force and solemnity. At the close of these oblations, a hoarse and awful voice, re-echoes from the cavern, 'greater yet must the offering be !' At this dreadful response, the holy brotherhood gaze at each other in terror, and descend sadly to their vessel. On their way MacKinnon hears a sweet voice ascending with the dash of the waves from the foot of the precipice on whose ridge they were journeying, and peeping over the giddy edge, descries a beautiful mermaid sporting and singing among the lonely rocks of the shore. Heart-struck with this prophetic strain, he rushes down in silence to the beach, when he finds a venerable old man, with a sad and placid countenance, and a beard as white as snow, sitting in the stern of their deserted galley. The mysterious personage makes no answer to their inquiries, but turns a thoughtful and melancholy eye on their array, as the vessel bounds again from that ill-fated shore. When the waters grow dim with the shades of evening, he rises and slowly lifting up his hand to the sky, exclaims with a sorrowful air, 'Now is the time !' and instantly a sudden blaze of lightning envelopes the horizon and a roar louder than the mingling voices of ocean and air, bursts at once on their senses, in the midst of which the vessel, with all its devoted crew vanishes for ever from the light.


CHAPTER III The MacKinnons from 1500 to 1745

On the forfeiture of the last Lord of the Isles, A.D. 1493, already referred to, the name of the then chief is uncertain, but he became independent, though his clan was so small, that he never attained any great power in consequence. In the disturbances in the Isles, which continued during the 16th century, the name of Sir Lauchlan MacKinnon occurs very frequently and he appears, notwithstanding the comparatively small extent of his possessions, to have been a man of consideration in his time. From this time forth the clan took a part in all the political events in which the Highlanders of Scotland were engaged. On March 19,1503-4, (temp. James IV.) MacKinnon is mentioned among other Chiefs in the Acts of Parliament, to be written to, to act against Lachlan MacLean of Dowart and Ewin Allanson of Lochiel forfeited for treason. The Earl of Huntly undertakes to forward MacKinnon's letters.

In I5I5, (temp. James V.) we find that Neill MacKinnon of Mishnish was at the head of the clan, and in 1517 he, in conjunction with MacLean of Dowart, petitioned the Regent and Council for free remission of all offences, to themselves and their “part-takers.” This remission was granted on March 12th, 1517. It was in the rebellion of Sir Donald Macdonald of Lochalsh that they had taken up arms.

The twenty-third Chief, Ewen Raadh nan Cath, of Straghuordill, was summoned before Parliament and charged with rebellion by acts dated, April 26th, 1531 and September 9th, 1545 (temps. James V. and Mary). The summons was finally deserted, Aug. 4th, 1546. On March 22nd, 1541, Ewen Raadh nan Cath received a remission for being with the MacDonalds of Slate and others at an attack upon the castle of Ellan donan; in the same remission are included, Neill McEwin, M'Lauchlan, Donald M'Ewin, M'Lauchlan and Niell M’Ewin, and M’Kerlich, who from their names may very possibly be MacKinnons, but this is of course uncertain.

 On August 2nd,1542, the same chief upon his own resignation, received from the king a charter of twenty merk lands of Meysnes (Mishnish) in Mull, and the twenty merklands of Strathredole in Skye, to be in free tenantry and sasine, taken at the principal messuage of Strathredole, to suffice for the whole lands. The distinction is to himself and the heirs male of his body, lawfully begotten, who failing, to his nearest and lawful male heirs whomsoever; by which heirs female and assignees seem to be excluded. The same chief, Ewen, is named as one of the Barons of the Council of the Isles, (seventeen in number), who proceeded, on August 5th, 1545 to Knockfergus in Ireland, with 4000 men and 180 galleys to treat with King Henry VIII of England, under the directions of the Earl of Lennox, whom they declared to be the true Regent and second person in the realm of Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots being then three years of age. On Feb. 6th 1546, Ewin, the MacKinnon chief, as one of the special friends of Hector MacLean of Dowart, receives a respite of nineteen years for the treasonable assistance given by him to the Earl of Lennox and the English in 1545. In 1561 the monastery of St. Columba was suppressed and Iona became abbotless and an ruin. We may suppose that from this time forth the “pennie” land of Kilmorie (MacKinnon’s country in Mull) was excepted from the penny rental which it had to pay to the “abbacie of Ecolmkill.” On Dec. 7th, 1562, Donald McKynnyne, Neill Achwayne McKynnyne, and John Dhu Mackynnye are included in a remission to the Macdonalds of Slate and their friends, for the devastation committed in the Isles of Mull, Tiree, and Coll. It must have been about this date that the saguinary conflict of Culivi or Coolin took place, between the MacLeods and the Macdonalds in which John Ong, the second son of the twenty-fourth Chief Lachlan Dubh, is record amongst the slain.

 We now come to the description of a curious kind of bond, into which it was customary in troublous times, for clansmen and friends to enter. This was called a bond of “Marent” and was drawn up and signed for the sake of mutual assistance. and instance of such a bond is preserved to us in the Boronage of Scotland, and dated June 6th, 1571. From the names of the witnesses there can be little doubt that 1571 is a mistake, and 1671 the proper date. It is entered into between Lauchlan MacKinnon of Strathardill, and James MacGregor of MacGregor, "for the special love and amitie between these persons, and condescending that they are descended lawfully fra twa breethern of auld descent, quhairfore, and for certain onerous causes moving, we witt ye, we to be bound and obleisit, like as be the tenor hereof, we faithfully bind and obleise us and our successors, our kin friends and followers, faithfully to serve ane anither in all causes with our men and servants, against all who live or die." This document was witnessed on the one part by Lauchlan and Charles MacKinnon of Gambell, by Hector and Lauchlan MacGregor of Bornig on the other. This further proves what I have before alluded to, that the MacGregors and MacKinnons are of one descent, the other clans who are associated with them in the great Siol Alpine being the Grants, MacNabs, Macphies, Macquarries and Macaulays. Strangely enough they were situated at distance from each other. At all times have they claimed the distinction of being the noblest and most ancient of the Highland Clans. " S'rioghail mo dhream," (my race is royal), was the proud motto of the Macgregors; and the other Highland clans have for centuries acquiesced in it. In A.D. 1578, (temp. James VI.) an order from the Privy Council was sent to Donald MacKinnon of Strathordell, probably a brother of the Chief as well as to MacLean of Duart, forbidding them to assist Colin, sixth Earl of Argyle in an expedition against the Laird of Glengarry. These decided measures seem to have checked the Earl's proceedings. On March 28th, 1579, Fynnoun MacKynnoun of Strathardill, and Lauchlane Oig his son and " appeared aire," are complained upon together with Lochbuy and a number of MacLeans, by John, Bishop of the Isles, for molestations and impediments offered to him in uplifting the rents of his Bishoprick. On Nov. 11th, I586, John MacKinnand of Lock Slahan, is mentioned along with many other Highlanders in a complaint against them for making the South country fishermen pay heavy exactions. On April l6th, 1587, Lauchlane and Neill, sons to Lauchlane McKynnoun of Strathardill are mentioned in the records of the Privy Council.

 Resuming our chronological order, we find that in the year 1587 one of the greatest feuds that ever raged between Highland clans, commenced between the MacLeans and Macdonalds. It is recorded, that at length Macdonald (through mediation) agreed, on receiving a promise of pardon for his crimes, to allow his prisoner MacLean to be set free, but eight hostages of rank had to be given, and among them were Lauchlan and Neill, sons of Lauchlan MacKinnon of Strathordell. MacLean, regardless of the safety of his hostages, wasted Macdonald's lands during his absence in Ireland, whereon Macdonald retaliated, but luckily not on the hostages, who were ultimately demanded and taken by force from Macdonald (who was then outlawed), for he refused to deliver them up to the king and council. On March 20,1589, Lauchlane McKynnoun of Strathardill receives a Remission, along with Dowart, Barra, Ardgour and McQuarrie, for devastations committed in the isles of Rum, Eig, and Canna. On December 16, 1590, Luchlane McKynnon of Strathardill is charged to find Caution for the good behaviour of himself and his clan to the amount of £2000 in terms of the Act of Parliament. On June 22, 1591, the same Lauchlane receives, with Dowart, Barra, MacLeod of Dunvegan, Ardgour and MacQuarrie, a Remission for all slaughter committed against the Macdonalds of Kintyre and Islay.

 In A.D. 1598, the feud of 1587 was resumed. Sir James Macdonald (successor of the outlaw) encountered Sir Lauchlan MacLean in a tremendous battle at Lochgruinart, when MacLean, 80 of his kin and 200 common soldiers were killed. Hector MacLean, his son and successor, obtained a “commission of fire and sword” against Macdonald and invading Islay, accompanied by MacKinnon and his clan, encountered the Macdonalds at a place called Bern Bige, defeated them and ravaged the whole island. On January 8, 1601, Lauchlane McKynnon of Strathardill (the son, it is believed, of the preceding Lauchlane) enters into a bond of friendship with Archibald, seventh Earl of Argyle. On February, 25, 1606, the said Lauchlane appears before the Privy Council and obliges himself to appear personally before them whenever he shall be charged, upon sixty days' warning, under the penalty of 1O,OOO merks.

 Another of these bonds of “man-rent" comes next in historical order. It was entered into between Lachlan MacKinnon of Strathardill and Finlay MacNab of Bowaine, dated at Uir, July 12, 1606, and signed before John McDonnell reached MacKinnon, Ewan MacKinnon and "uthers," thus "Lauchland, mise" (i.e., myself), " MacFingon." It must be conjectured that the MacNab himself could not write, and that his mark has not been noticed in the document. Five MacNabs are named as witnesses. It narrates, that " happening to foregadder togadder with certain of the said Finlay's friends in their rooms, in the Laird of Glenurchay's country, and the said Lachlall and Finqay having come of one house, and being of one surname and lineage; notwithstanding the said Lachlan and Finlay this long time bygone oversaw their awn duties till uders in the respect of the long distance and betwixt their dwelling-places, quhairfore baith the saids now and in all time coming are content to be bound and obleisit, with consent of their kyn and friends, to do all sted, pleasure, assistance, and service that lies in them ilk ane to uthers: the said Finlay acknowledging the said Lachlan as ane kynd chieff, and of ane house: and like the said Lachlan to acknowledge the said Finqay MacNab, his friend, as his special kynsman and friend.” On February 6, 1609, the said Lachlan is charged to appear on this day by virtue of his former obligation. On May 12, in the same year, he attends and renews his obligation of personal appearance when charged upon sixty days' warning, but the penalty is reduced to 5000 merks.

 At the end of July, A.D. 1609, the Bishop of the Isles, as commissioner for King James VI., went to Iona, and there all the chief men of the isles submitted themselves to him in the most unreserved manner as the king's representative. The chiefs were twelve in number, viz., MacDonald of Dunyveg, Lauchlan MacKinnon of that ilk, Gorme of Sleat, Vic Ian Captain of the Clanranald, MacLeod of Harris, the MacLeans of Duart, Coll and Lochbuy, Lauchlan and Allan, cousins of Duart, the MacQuarrie of Ulva, and the MacPhie of Colonsay. The bishop, taking advantage of the unanimity that prevailed, held a court, at which the famous and important Statutes of Icolmkill were enacted, as follows:—

 I. The clergy to be properly obeyed and paid, churches to be rebuilt, sabbaths to be kept, Reformed Kirk discipline to be observed; also, " hand-fasting " to be abolished.

 II. Inns to be established for conveniences of labourers as well as travelers.

 III. To reduce vagabondry, no man to be suffered to reside in the Isles without sufficient income, or following some trade; households of the chiefs to be reduced and kept up at their own expense, not at that of the tenantry.

 IV. "Sorning" or living at free quarters on the poor people, to be punished as thieving.

 V. To stop drunkenness, a man might only brew enough equa vitae for his own family, but the barons might purchase wine &c., in the south.

 VI. Every gentleman or yeoman with sixty cattle to send his eldest son, or, failing sons, his daughter, to be educated at school in the lowlands at his own expense, that they might learn to speak, read, and write English

 VII. The use of fire-arms was forbidden under ally circumstances, the Islanders “owing to their monstrous deadly feuds,” having hitherto alone disobeyed the Act of Parliament passed in the present reign to to-is effect.

 VIII. Bards and other idlers forbidden.

 IX. Enactments for enforcing the above.

 On 24th August, in the same year, the Bishop took from the assembled chiefs a very strict bond for the observance of these. This land moreover containq1 a sort of confession of faith on the part of the subscribers, and an acknowledgment of the King's supreme authority in spiritual as well as te1nporal matters according to his ' most loveable act of supremacy." McKynnon at this same date, witnesses along with Ewin McKynnon his father's brother, a bond of friendship between Donald Gorme of Sleat, and Rorry MacLeod of Harris.

 It is a fact which may appear startling to many, but it is not the less evident on that account, that the first traces of that overflowing loyalty to the house of Stuart, for which the Highlanders have been so justly lauded, are to be found in that generation of their chiefs whose education \vas conducted on the High Church and State principles of the British Solomon. There is no room to doubt that the chiefs who followed Montrose in the great civil war, were actuated by a very different spirit from their fathers; and it is well worthy of notice, that this difference was produced in the course of a single generation, by the operation of measures which first began to take effect after A.D.1609.

 In A.D. 161O, the King signified, through the Privy Council, his approval of the act of the Bishop; and assembled the six principal out of the twelve Islanders in Edinburgh, on 28th June, to hear His Majesty's pleasure declared to them. these were the Macdonald of Dunyveg, the MacKinnon of Strathordel1, the Macdonald of Sleat, (Gorme), Vic Ian Macdonald, captain of Clanrana1d, the MacLean of Dowart, and the MacLeod of Harris, to whom was afterwards added, Cameron of Lochiel. They then gave sureties to a large amount for their reappearance before the Council in May, 1611 and promised to live together in peace, love and amitie, and to assist the commissioners to quell disturbances. On August 3rd, l614, Lauchlan appeared again before the council, comes under several additional obligations, and ratifies the proceedings at Icolmkill in 1609. On April 26th, 16l5, Sir Lauchlan MacKinnon is appointed one of the commissioners of fire and sword against the Macdonalds of Kintyre and Islay. On June 22nd, he is appointed to concur with the MacLeans in keeping the country free from the incursions of the Macdonalds, between the Row of Ardnamurchan and the March of Lorn In the rebellion of Sir James Macdonald in the same year, the King gave orders, that amongst others the Laird of MacKinnon should be provided with 200 men for the defense of his coasts. On October 6th, he is acquitted to not to "rest" any of the fugitive McDonalds. On July 11th, l 616, Sir Lauchlan appears again before the council and receives a license to shoot game within a mile of his own house. Fifteen days later in the same year, the six representative Islanders, including the Laird of MacKinnon, made their appearance before the Privy Council. This formality had been interrupted by the rebellion. They were now required to bind themselves as sureties for each other:—

 I. That they should appear before the council every year on July IO.

 II. That they should each exhibit on these occasions a certain number of their principal kinsmen. MacKinnon was to produce one. He chose either John or Ewin, his uncle.

 III. That they were only to maintain a certain proportion of gentlemen in their household, MacKinnon being limited to three.

 IV. To free the country of “sorners.”

 V. None but the (chiefs to wear any weapon whatever.

 VI. Each chief to reside at a fixed place anl to culltivate there-— MacKinnon at Kilmorie.

 VII. At next Martinmas to let the remainder of their lands at a fixed rate.

 VIII. No one chief to keep more than one birling or galley of sixteen or eighteen oars, and not to oppress the country people in their voyages through the isles.

 IX. To send all their children above nine years of age to school in the Lowlands.

 X. The chiefs not to use more than a certain proportion of wine—MacKinnon one ton per annum; their tenants and vassals to buy and drink none.

 The penalty for infraction of any of these rules was 5000 merks. MacKinnon became caution for MacLeod and Coll, and at the same time named the following members of his clan as being disobedient and rebellious, and for whom he should not answer: viz., Donald reagh M'Ve Teorligh, Eane McTarliche Ve Coneill, Angus McConeill Ve Neill, Donald McNeill gurme, and John Roy McTarliglle. On August 24th, 1616, Sir Lauchlan r-McKynnon of Strathordell, Knight, Sir Rorie MacLeod of Dunvegan, Donald Captain of the Clan Ranald, and Lauchlan MacLean of Coll entered into a mutual bond of friendship at Glasgow.

 On July 17th, 1617, Sir Lauchlan MacKinnon of Strathordell and the rest appeared before the council in July (he with MacLeod, Gorme, and Vic Ian having been knighted A.D. 1613), when the practice of taking “calps " (sort of tithe) of vassalage, was abolished. At this appearance, Sir Lauchlan exhibited his uncle, John MacKinnon. (ancestor of Kyle), and in the following year, on July 23rd, he again appeared before the council with his uncle John.

 On July I9th, 1619, Sir Lauchlan exhibited before the council Lauchlan, his father’s Tearlach son of Tearlach Skeanach, and ancestor of the Corry family, and on February 29th, 1621, he appeared again with the same Lauchlan.

 On July 23rd, 1622, the Laird of MacKinnon, with the rest, appeared before the council, when they were bound to repair their parish churches to the satisfaction of the Bishop of the Isles, and bound not to molest the' traders of fishing in the Isles. On this occasion he exhibited his cousin Lauchlan, and Neill MacKinnon, John's son. On December 12th of the same year, Neill McKynnon, student at Glasgow, has a gift of the life-rent escheat of Sir Lauchlan, forfeited by his being a denounced rebel, and at the horn for not appearing, to stand his trial for the alleged ravishing of Mary, sister to Sir Donald Gorme of Sleat, and spouse to Ronald McConneil of Castle Torrin in Uist, but as Sir Lauchlan appeared personally before the council on 23rd July the following year, and no proceedings were then taken against him for the above offenses, it is presumed that the matter had been privately settled.

 In 1627, Sir Lauchlan grants a provision of some of his lands to Katherine, eldest daughter of Lauchlan MacLean of Coll, and spouse, or intended spouse, to his eldest son, John. MacNeill, Rector of Sleat, acted as Sir Lauchlan’s baillie in giving seisure to the lady.

 On November 20th, 1634, a complaint is registered as follows: John Charleach, alias McKynnon, Neill McEwin, McConneill bayne, alias MacKinnon, Donald M’Connel Oig, son and others, tenants and servants to John McKynnon of Strathordaill and luin for his interest, and Lauchlan McCharles Ve Kynnon in Torveh, and McNeill, McKynnon Parsen of Slate, against Ross of Auchnacloich. In 1639 (temp. Charles I ) a court was held at Iona and all the former enactments confirmed.

 On February 14, 1642, by a writ under the Great Seal, John McLean of Coll is appointed Tutor Dative to his nephew, Lauchlan McFingon of Strathordill, eldest son and heir apparent of the deceased John MacFingon of Strathordell, being a pupil.

 During the civil wars that followed, the MacKinnons declared for the crown and joined the standard of Montrose; under him they fought in the desperate battle of Inverlochy, February 2, 1645, and the victory of Auldearn, May 5, 1645. Concerning the latter field a curious incident has been preserved. A Highland eye witness narrates: " At a critical moment, a hero, named Ranald, the son of Donald, the son of Angus MacKinnon in Mull, was keeping the pikemen at bay with his shield on his left arm, and his gun in his other hand presented at them. Some bowmen ran past him, letting fly their arrows with deadly effect among the Gordon soldiers; and one of these archers who, on looking over his shoulder, saw the pikemen kept at bay by Ranald, suddenly turned his hand and shot him in the face, the arrow penetrating one cheek and appearing out at the other. Ranald's dirk was lost, and his bow useless; so, throwing away his gun and stretching out his shield to save himself from the pikes, the warlike islander attempted to draw his sword, but it would not come; he tried it again and the cross hilt twisted about; a third time he made the attempt, using his shield hand to hold the sheath, and succeeded, but at the expense of five pike wounds in his breast. In this state he reached the entrance to the garden (broken ground consisting of enclosures, rocks and brushwood in front of the village of Auldearne, consigned to the charge of the gallant Alastair Macdonald, with one hundred of his own clan and the MacKinnons, the rest of his command consisting of three hundred half-hearted Gordons; it was to this little band Montrose entrusted the defense of the Royal Standard which he usually carried before himself), closely followed by the enemy's pikemen. As the first of the latter bowed his head under the gate in pursuit, Macdonald, who had been watching his opportunity, with one sweep of his claymore struck it off, which,” says the chronicler, “hit upon Ranald's houghs; the head fell in the enclosure and the body in the door-way; Ranald lifted up the head, and, looking behind him at the door, saw his companion in arms, who cut away the arrow that stuck in his cheek and restored him his speech.”

 It was about this date that a sad disaster befell one branch of the clan. Lauchlan Mor MacKinnon, the chief’s son. was brought up, owing to the bond of friendship entered into between the families in 1601 by the Earl of Argyle at Inverary; but having married a daughter of the MacLean of Duart. Lauchlan was induced to join that chief in a descent on the lands of his former benefactor with- a body of two hundred men. on their approach, being recognised by their badge of pine, the Campbells were so incensed that they would give no quarter, when a sanguinary rout took place, in which the MacKinnons were fairly cut up.

 The fate of the gallant but unfortunate Montrose did not, however, induce the MacKinnons to forsake the royal cause. In 1650, we find Lachlan MacKinnon, chief of the clan, receiving letters of service to raise a regiment of his clan, of which he was, of course, appointed colonel, and, leading them south, he joined the army of Charles II and fought with distinguished bravery at the battle of Worcester, September 3rd, 1651 The only advantage gained by the Royalist troops on this disastrous field, was the successful charge made by Charles himself at the head of his Highland clans. The English militia were driven back behind their guns, the latter captured and had Leslie, with the Scottish cavalry, supported the movement by a vigorous charge, the day might have been won, for Cromwell was at this juncture separated by the Severne from one have of his army, and the rest were in such confusion that they would have been compelled to lay down their arms; Leslie, however, for some unexplained cause, hung back and Cromwell, restoring order amongst his troops, led them in a mass, outnumbering their opponents by two or three to one, upon the unsupported little band of Highlanders; these, however, contested every inch of ground as the retreated in good order towards the walls of the town. It was at this juncture that the life of the King was saved by the chief of MacKinnon, and in recognition of this service, Charles II created him a Knight Banneret on the field of battle. Soon after this, the Royal troops were taken in rear, and being hemmed in between two forces, were almost annihilated. It is uncertain whether MacKinnon was taken prisoner or escaped, but he is known to have eventually returned to his estates in Skye and to have been alive as late at 1688.

 Donald, the chief’s second son, at that time an infant, after the Restoration and between the years of 1678 and 1688, emigrated to Antigua, where, by a common corruption, he was called Daniel, and having perhaps received grants of lands from Charles II, amongst which were the estates of Dropes, Golden Grove, Dickenson’s Bay, and MacKinnon’s, all in the neighborhood of St. John’s, the capital of the island, he married Alice, daughter of William Thomas, Lieutenant-Governor of Antigua, whose nephew, Sir George Thomas, created a baronet, was Governor of the Leeward Islands. Historical accounts of the island describe Donald as Dr. Daniel MacKinnon and founder of the MacKinnon family in Antigua. He was one of the most influential men in his day, was a member of the legislature and was a senior representative of the town of St. John’s in the famous assembly convened on May 22nd, 1710, when he made himself prominent in the his opposition to the tyranny of the execrable Governor Parke, who that same year met with a tragic fate. being torn in pieces by the populace in the streets of St. John's. On this occasion Government House was burned down. and the new Governor, General Hamilton, took up his residence at the house of Dr. MacKinnon. On Hamilton’s recall, General Douglas was appointed, and his conduct nearly produced another rebellion. He persecuted General Hamilton and tried to seize Dr MacKinnon, who however escaped to England, only there to be committed to prison on the instance of Governor Douglas. Receiving the general pardon which H. M. Queen Anne had issued, he was discharged without trial, returned to his estates on the re-appointment of General Hamilton by George I. in 1715, died in Antigua, and was buried in St. John's Cathedral March 27th, 1720.From him descended the present chief of the clan MacKinnon, the intervening generations being noticed in the account of John Daniel MacKinnon.

The clan must have been now so attenuated by the destruction of the greater portion of its men in the bloody struggles in which it took part during those six fatal years from 1645-51, that it is not surprising we can find no record of its doings till A.D.1715. .again was its loyalty to the House of Stuart put to the test, and again was it found ready to shed the last drop of its son’ blood in the good old cause.

 In the secret Stuart Papers of 1709, an account of the state of feeling and capability of each clan is given. The tribes are thus tabulated:—

 The MacKinnons with twelve others are mentioned as " loyal," and able to bring to the field, "very good men."

 The Farquharsons, " loyal."

 The M’Intoshes and M'Phersons, " at present loyal," but very good men."

 The Stuarts and Robertsons of Athol, " loyal " and " good men."

 The MacKenzies, “loyal, but " indifferent good men.”

 The Frasers, only “loyally inclined,” but “very good men.”

 The Sinclairs, “esteemed loyal,” and “indifferent good men.”

 The MacKays and Strathnaver men, “may do good service” and “may make very good men.”

 The Rosses and Grants “may be brought into the field,” but are “none of tile best men.”

 The Campbells of Breadalbin, “pretend to be very loyal” and are “ndifferent good men.”

 It is needless to add, that the flower of the army was, as had long been the case, that little body of Highland Islanders, the MacDonalds, MacKinnons, MacLeans and MacNeills.

 In 1715 Ian dubh the chief of MacKinnon (grandson of Lachlan Mhore, his father Ian having died vita parentis,) was summoned by the Lord Advocate in the Hanoverian interest, to appear at Edinburgh, under the pain of a year's imprisonment, to give bail for his allegiance to George I. and the government. He rushed immediately into insurrection for the Stuart cause, and gathering one hundred and fifty of his clan joined MacKenzie Earl of Seaforth, in time to fight side by side with his neighbor MacDonald of Sleat, at the battle of Sheriffmuir , September, 1715, an obstinate engagement which the Jacobites claimed as a victory. On October 9th of the same year they marched to attack the Earl of Sutherland, who however declined an engagement and retired to Bonar, where his force dispersed. Soon after this the Chevalier appeared amongst his adherents at Perth, but lost heart at seeing the paucity of their numbers. and advising them to seek safety by retreating northwards in a body under General Gordon (which they did in admirable order), fled himself to France on February 4th, 1716, and the Rebellion was at an end. The chief of MacKinnon was attainted for the part he took in the rebellion, but received a pardon on January 4th, 1727.
 
 

See note and end of book The inhabitants of this isle were formerly called Skian-neach (qkiq, a shield or qkian, a dirk, and neach, people). The name is given in evident allusion to the known warlike habits of these islanders, who had to protect a rich and fertile territory from the attacks of the Hebridians on the one side and the mainland tribes on the other Lochgruinart was fought August 5, 1598 [whisky] Dupuy and Dupuy write: Outnumbered, but not outfought, 16,000 Scots struggled hopelessly against 30,000 English, of whom 20,000 were the New Model Army. Few survivors reached Scotland, among them Charles II, who had fought with distinction. But he was soon forced to flee to France. Scattered Royalist strongholds held out until the capitulation of Dunettar Castle in May, 1652. This was the end of the English Civil wars. The Severne, or Serven, is a river flowing though Worcester. Dupuy and Dupuy write: The battles of Preston and Sheriffmuir: While John Erskine, Earl of Mar, fought an inclusive battle at Sheriffmuir with loyal troops under Archibald Campbell, Duke of Argyll, other regular troops recaptured the town of Preston from a Jacobite garrison under James Radcliffe, Earl of Derwentwater.


The processing of the following chapters have not been completed

Chapter IV The MacKinnons in 1745

Chapter V John Daniel MacKinnon

Chapter VI Henry MacKinnon

Chapter VII William Alexendar MacKinnon

Chapter VIII Daniel MacKinnon

Chapter IX Notices of the Various Members of the Clan MacKinnon

Appendix to the Memoirs of the Clan MacKinnon

List of Authorities Consulted for the Memoirs of the Clan MacKinnon

Notes to the Memoirs of the Clan MacKinnon


BACK TO HOMEAuthor: Bryan MacKinnon http://www.mackinnon.org/