From Loch Awe to Dunderawe

CeltkingIn the year 1222, King Alexander II (1214-1249 ) led an expedition to re-establish 'the authority of the Crown over the semi-regal Lords of the Isles and to reduce Argyll into submission'. For their participation in this venture, a grant of lands was made to Malcolm MacNachtan. Loch Awe looking South, click for larger viewThese extended between the south side of Loch Awe to Loch Fyne including Glen Aray, Glen Shira and Glen Fyne. Their actual territory in upper Lorne, extended from the Head of Loch Awe to the River Fyne and from the Head of Loch Fyne along the shore known as Leter Nhicneachdain (Macnachtan's Waterfall) to the Inverary burying place and it is in this area of Argyll that the Chiefs of the Clan held sway until the eighteenth century.

First on modern record was Malcolm whose son Gillechrist bestowed the Church of St. Nordic of Kellemurthe, now called Kilmorich, to the Abbey of Inchaffray in 1246. He was also witness to a grant by Malise, the Earl of Strathearn of the Church of Cortachy to Inchaffray and his brother Athe granted in 1257 to the same abbey, the Church of St. Findoch, on the Island of Inchalt, now Innishail, in Loch Awe where many of the Clan were buried. This latter grant was witnessed by a third brother, Sir Gilbert.

Largs as it is today, click for larger viewAlexander III (1249-1286) after his annexing of the Western Isles after the Battle of Largs, issued a patent witnessed by the Earls of Strathearn, Buchan and Mar granting to Gillechrist and his heirs, the Hereditary Keepership of the Royal Castle on the Island of Fraoch Eilean ( Innes Fraoch or Frechelan ) at the northern end of Loch Awe, on condition that he would rebuild it and keep it in repair at the King's expense and preserve it in a state well furnished for the occupation of the King, whenever it should please him to pass that way.
Local tradition tells that the rental was a ball of snow whenever the King was in attendance and as the castle was situated at the base of the mountain of Cruachan Ben, this condition was not unattainable in any season. The castle was old when granted and prior to it's rebuilding, may have been one of the earliest stone-built fortifications in Argyll. It's previous occupants were probably the MacDougalls, Lords of Lorn. The patent is still preserved and in 1745, one of the Macnachtan took forcible possession from the Campbells of Inverawe and refurbished it for the use of Charles Edward, Bonny Prince Charlie, in anticipation that he might pass that way after his landing at Glenfinnan. The ruins are still visible today.

These Macnachtans must have been a family of power and substance to have received the grant of the castle and fort sites erected to guard the vital Pass of Brander to the West Coast. pass of brander click for larger view Just where this particular family originated is not specified. The most likely answer is that they were from Perthshire and their dedications to the Inchaffray Abbey and their connection with the Earl of Strathearn shows an affinity to the area, as otherwise the dedications would more logically have been to Dunblane, the premier Diocese of Argyll.
There is a tradition that lands were acquired through marriage to an heiress of Baron MacCorquodale and also that lands came through marriage to Ete, daughter of Gillemichael, Earl of Fife.

Returning to the Island of Fraoch Eilean; this was the traditional Hesperides of Scotland and one story associated with it, concerns the origin of it's name. Fraoch, son of Fiadach, ' whose hair was black, fine and glossy like raven's plumage smoothed on snow ', loved the only daughter of Maeve. It so happened that Maeve also loved Fraoch but as he did not reciprocate her passion her love turned to hatred and she resolved to destroy him. On this island, was a Rowan tree whose fruit restored youth to the aged and satisfied hunger for three days at a time, but had a fierce dragon coiled around it's trunk to prevent anyone's approach. rufffMaeve feigned illness and sent for Fraoch, pleading that she would die unless he alone procured for her a palmful of the fruit of the Cold Lake. ''Fruit I have never stooped to gather" said the manly Fraoch, ''but I will go for thy sake''. He swam to the island and skillfully avoiding the dragon, picked the fruit and returned to Maeve. Her plan having gone astray, she claimed the fruit had not helped her and persuaded him to return and fetch the whole tree, torn from it's roots. Again he accomplished the seemingly impossible but while making for the shore, the disturbed monster overtook him and they fought till the water was red with their blood. He had no weapon with which to defend himself but Maeve's daughter threw him a golden knife. Finally, so great was the struggle, that Fraoch and the dragon both fell dead on the Shore of the Bare Stones. The maiden fell down in a swoon and when she awoke, she wailed Fraoch's lament and sinking to the bosom of her lover, she too died. A cairn was raised over their grave and the Island named after Fraoch. As for Maeve, as her intentions were not pure, the fruit poisoned her!
Fraoch Eilean is the rallying war - cry or Cath Ghairm of the Clan.

armsAs they were also the hereditary Grand Rangers of the Royal Forests of Benbury, they were entitled to display the two Roebucks as Supporters in the Coat of Arms of the Chief.
The Clan continued to preserve as their badge, not withstanding their westward movement, the Azalea procumbans ( Lus Albanach or Trailing Azalea ) a plant obtained from the highest of the northern Scottish hills, to show their ancient origin, so it is said, although the first documented claim to this badge appeared about 1850.

When the Scottish Crown was establishing it's authority more firmly in the Western Highlands, Sir Gilbert Macnachtan was one of the twelve Great Barons whose lands were formed by Act of Parliament in 1292, into the newly constituted Sheriffdom of Argyll. The Clan also had territory in Upper Cowall and were designated Barons of Cowall, with the right of Pit and Gallows, which meant local jurisdiction including powers of life and death over the inhabitants.
Also in this period, a Gilbert Macnachtan is reputed to have been the progenitor of the MacNaughts of Kilquhanity in south-west Scotland.

The Chief, Baron Macnachtan son of Gillechrist, supported the MacDougall cause of the Scottish King John Baliol ( 1292-1296 ) the 'Toom Tabard' or Empty Coat, against Robert Bruce and as a result, forfeited the greater part of their possessions including Fraoch Eilean, which were then granted by Bruce in 1306 after the Battle of Bannockburn, to the Campbells.

His successor, Baron Donald, grandson of Gillechrist, continued the fight against Bruce at the Pass of Brander in 1306 and again at Dalree in 1308 and was so impressed with the bravery shown by Bruce in protecting the retreat of his men at the latter battle, that he switched his allegiance and supported Bruce's interests until his death at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1315.
There is an account of this change of heart in John Barbour's (Archdeacon of Aberdeen ) ''Brus'' wherein he records, "Thar wes a Baroune Maknauchtan, That in his hart gret kep has tane, Unto the Kingis chewalry, And pryst hym in hart gretly and to the Lord of Lorn said he".
Macnachtan expressed his admiration for Bruce to his relative Iain MacDougall who replies, ''It seems to give thee pleasure that he makes such havoc amongst our friends''.
''Not so, by my Faith'', said Macnachtan, " but be he friend or foe who achieves high deeds of chivalry, men should bear faithful witness to his valour and never have I heard of one who, by his knightly feats, hath extricated himself from such dangers as have this day surrounded Bruce".

It seems strange that in spite of this new allegience to Bruce, the Macnachtan were not rewarded as were so many others. This may be because their rival neighhours had supported Bruce from the outset of the Scottish Wars of Independence and the Campbells were never slow to gain at the expense of the Macnachtan.
It is possible that Donald was succeeded as chief by a Duncan and although this is supported by Skene, I cannot find evidence to support this or prove the contrary.
We certainly know that Alexander became Chief and he in turn had a son, also Alexander and to either of these, King David II ( 1329 - 1371) gave a charter in 1343 of lands forfeited by Iain of the Isles.

In 133O he had accompanied Lord Douglas in an attempt to carry the heart of Bruce to the Holy Land and was with Douglas when he was slain by the Saracens in Andalusia. For his part in this expedition, it is said that the Family were given the right to carry the Bleeding Heart in their Coat of Arms but unless this was done by a Cadet branch, it was never added. I feel that the correct Heraldic term would have been Body Heart, which the Douglas family incorporated in their Arms.

Alexander II married in 1360 as his second wife, his cousin Christian Campbell, daughter and heiress of Dougal Campbell of Craignish. Christian was formerly wife of MacDougall of Lorne. He gave her a marriage portion of a third of his lands on Loch Awe and on his death the following year, she granted these lands to her cousin Sir Colin Campbell of Loch Awe, the ancestor of the later Dukes of Argyll and thereby establishing the first of their lands in that area.

Had Alexander outlived her he would have added her inheritance to his own estates and thus prevented or delayed the rise of power of the Campbell in the Macnachtan domain.
Alexander left a son, Duncan who disposed of the remaining lands of the Barony before he died in 1375. His death marked the passing of the last of the Macnachtan of Fraoch Eilean.

The Macnachtan apparently did not agree with the other clans around Loch Awe in Glen Ara, so in due course they moved with their Chief, Alexander son of Duncan, to their newly built Castle on the promontory at the neck of Dubh Loch in Glen Shira. These lands were known as the Barony of Macnachtan and Alexander was the first Chief to be designated 'of Dunderawe' although this title pertained to the locality rather than to the castle which was later so named.

In Glen Shira, there is a Field known as Daell Cuspaireachd or the Field of the Throwing of Darts so named because the Catholic inhabitants who followed Macnachtan, and the Protestants of Argyll, could not refrain from launching darts and arrows at each other on the way to their respective places of worship and only the River Carron which flowed between the two factions, prevented them at times from hand -to -hand fighting. The darts (da sleag) were in fact spears, on the blunt end being attached a hollow ball (cnapstarra) containing objects that produced a rattling sound when shaken, probably intended as physiologically intimidating prior to battle..

Alexander married Mariota Cairdney, daughter of John Cairdney of that Ilk and sister of Robert Cairdney, bishop of Dunkeld from1396.
In 1431, in the time of James I of Scotland (1424-1437 ), Donald Macnachtan, "son of an unmarried nobleman ( Alexander of Dunderawe ) and a Bishop's sister" held office as Dean of Dunblane, Vicar of Logie, Dean of Dunkeld and also endowed the Church of Clunie. In 1436 he was elected to the position of 21st Bishop of Dunkeld to succeed his uncle and elevated to the Canonry of Glasgow. He was elected by the Chapter but King James, notorious for his efforts to lower the powers of the nobility and his frequent intervention into ecclesiastic matters, ''misliking the choice, opposed his entry whereupon he took journey to Rome to obtain his election confirmed and died by the way as he was traveling thither''. So the History of the Church of Scotland tells us, dating his death at 1439 or 1440.
In 1439, his brother Sir Duncan and heir of Alexander, followed as the Dean of Dunkeld.
Regarding Donald's illegitimacy, it would seem that his father may have been guilty of more than one indiscretion, for in 1403, Margaret, daughter of Gillechrist called MacGillegechan, with the consent of her son and heir Fynlay Macawaran, resigned to Colin Campbell the sixth park of the lands of Acharne and Leatwea and of other lands belonging to her in heritage and formerly belonging to Alexander, Lord of the same lands. I can find no other reference to this lady but the name Macawaran in this instance would surely be derived from the Gaelic Mac - a - Bharain or son of the Baron. One assumes that Mariota was indeed the mother of Sir Duncan the heir to Dunderawe.

I have yet to discover any other information on Duncan, other than he possibly had a second brother, nor the date of his death. The enigma of this generation is compounded by there being no record of any heirs, except one source which states that 'Duncan of Dunderawe lived under James I ', as Gilbert his son and successor did in the days of James II and III.
If correct, this would mean Gilbert would have been alive in 1460 at least and as we do know a successor to the Chieftship who died about 1504, there is definitely chronological room for Gilbert.

Some merchants hawking linen are said to have brought a plague into Glen Shira which spread to the castle and caused many deaths. One account was that the only representative left of that branch of the Macnachtan living at the castle, was a young lady and her second cousin.
About this time, the King made a proclamation regarding the Chieftship or Seigniority of lands in Scotland and as this lady lay apparently near to death, it was said that Campbell of Argyll set out on horseback for the Palace at Holyrood, never drawing bridle till he arrived, to put in his claim for the Suzerainty of Glen Shira and Loch Fyne. Whether this be true or not, the survivors of the plague, including the tenants, left the castle after burying their dead nearby in the place known as Bruach -nan - Uaigbean, The Bank of Graves, where two flagstones used to mark this site.
The castle was sealed up and never again inhabited. It was eventually demolished and Castle Dun - da - Ramh or Dunderawe was built on Loch Fyne, It is worth mentioning that this demolition took place before the Campbells had even an acre of land in Glen Shira.

There is reason to believe that after the death of Duncan or Gilbert, there may have been a break in the direct line of the Family and that the next Chief, Alexander, was of another branch, more so if the plague story were indeed fact. It could well be that the young lady would have been the heiress and she married the second cousin
( Alexander ) thereby re - establishing the Dunderawe Family. This leaves us with the question, who was Alexander?
There are two possibilities;
Between 1390 and 1406, a Maurice Macnachtan of Kintyre, succeeded in obtaining from Colin Campbell of Loch awe, in heritage, a charter of various lands in upper Loch Awe, probably some of the old Macnachtan lands. It could be that he was the father of Alexander.
The alternative lies in the Perthshire connection. The Family in that area were not without substance, for during the fifteenth century, the Macnachtan assisted Stewart of Garth in a clan conflict against the MacArthur and MacIvor who were infiltrating Glen Lyon. The Macnachtan in Dull, Weem, Logierait, and Loch Rannoch, tended to support Menzies of Castle Menzies at Weem; those on the opposite side of the Tay, looked to the Stewarts of Grandtully near Balnaguard; those near Fortingall to the Stewarts of Garth; those of Kenmore and Loch Tay, the Campbells and at Glen Lyon , to Menzies of Culdares.

In 1426, when Donald was Dean of Dunkeld, his cousin ( or close relative ) Maurice Macnachtan, the Progenitor of the Kenmore McVicars, became Chaplain to Menzies of Weem and vicar of Inchadney ( the modern Kenmore ) about 1468.
It is from this family I believe Alexander came. In addition, his sister Elizabeth had married Duncan MacGregor of Roro in Glen Lyon and Alexander is on record as a witness to a charter at the Isle of Loch Tay in 1510, at the same time that a Sir Maureis Macnauchtane was the incumbent Vicar of Inchedin and a Donald was Rector of Weem. Perhaps Donald was the same person listed as a Crown Tenant of Edergoll who held lands since called Balmacnaughton on Loch Tayside.
Gilbert, the son of Alexander, obtained a charter from Colin Campbell, first Earl of Argyll, for the lands of Letter and other lands on Loch Fyne in September 1478 and a Malcolm Macnachtan was a witness. Campbell records suggest that the father of Malcolm and Alexander was Maurice.
On the death of his Father in 1504, he became chief and he married Jean Lament daughter of Sir Iain, Chief of the Lamonts of Cowall. He was named in the Treasurer's accounts in 1513 as "Gilbert Macnachtane of Dunderaw, Sheriff in that part".

Sir Alexander, son of Gilbert, having been knighted by James IV, accompanied his Monarch and the Earl of Argyll to the fatal Field of Flodden in September 1513, where he avoided being slain with his Sovereign and the 'Flower of the Scottish Nobility', and according to the Perthshire records of the Chronicle of Fortingall and the Black Book of Falmouth, he died in December 1515 possibly from wounds received in the battle and by pre-deceasing his father who died about 1527, did not hold the position of Chief.
It is believed Sir Alexander was married firstly to Helen Scrimgeour daughter of Scrimgeour of Glastrie ( now Glassary ) traditional Royal Banner Bearers of Scotland, and secondly to Mariota Campbell, daughter of Sir Iain of Ardkinglas. He had six sons, the eldest also named Alexander, who became Chief on the death of his grandfather and in due course was succeeded by his son Gilbert, who died without issue in 1552.
Gilbert's brother Alexander then took the title but being a minor at the time, his interests were guarded by his uncle Iain Alexander.

In the middle ages, an heiress was either married or placed in a convent at the age of fourteen. For an heir, an acting Chief or Chieftain -Wardatour was chosen, who held office or at least title, for life but on the direct Heir attaining full age, they ruled jointly, but by this period, the arrangement terminated at the heir's date of majority.

In 1565, during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, Sir Alexander signed the 5th Earl of Argyll's Letter of Fire and Sword against Clan MacGregor, was a witness at Garvie in 1569 and appears to have acted as Bailie for the Earl on many occasions, being a kinsman through his marriage to Marjory daughter of Campbell of Glen Lyon. He held lands along Loch Fyne between the Head of the Loch and Glenshira and all of Glen Fyne. He died in 1595 and in his lifetime, the building of the Castle of Dunderawe on Loch Fyne was commenced if not completed, some of the stonework from the Castle at Dubh Loch being used in it's construction.

Dunderawe Castle is described as an 'L' planned, 16th century Tower House, five stories high with square and round turrets, steep roofs and walls well supplied with shot holes.
It's name is commonly translated as the Castle of Two Oars and from that it is implied that a Ferry once plied across the Loch from the promontory on which the castle stands.
In my opinion, this is absolute rubbish! There is no evidence that there was any ferry - crossing there and in fact, there is every reason to suppose the castle was erected on an island which has subsequently been joined to the mainland. I believe the derivation was concocted in the late 19th century when Queen Victoria showed her affection for "Things Scottish" and the land and it's people regained their 'respectability' in the eyes of the English for the first time since the '45. There was a great rush to publish books on the clans, tartans etc. and what was not known was invented and some of these errors are being printed to this day!

Anyway, by this time the Macnachtan had left the castle and there was no-one in authority to contradict the assumption. Consider Loch Awe and Glen Ara, both localities being one - time homeland to the Clan. Both these place-names are derived from the Gaelic Aoradh or Deoradhr meaning a worshipper. There was, at the highest point in Glen Ara, a cross overlooking the Holy Isle of Innishail, where pilgrims came to kneel and do penance. Why not Dundeoradh, Hill fort or Castle of the worshipper or believer? A more appropriate name I think in view of the Clan's previous dedications in this area and also the Clan Motto.
The Full inscription of this, was inscribed above the main entrance door to the castle:
I.M. A.N. Behold The End.
Be Nocht ( not ) Wyser ( wiser ) Nor ( than ) the Hiestest ( highest).
I Hoip ( hope ) in God 1596 .

The latter part, I Hope in God or in Gaelic Sha Mo Dhochas an Dia, became our Motto.
Traditionally, the initials preceding the inscription, are those of the first Chief to bring a bride to the castle and those of his wife.

Sir Iain who followed his father Sir Alexander, married Anne daughter of Murdoch ( or Allan ) MacLaine, Laird of Lochbuy in Mull and Anne MacDonnell sister of the First Earl of Antrum. The lady's name would be more correctly given as Anne NhicLaine, Nhic meaning 'the daughter of' as opposed to Mac 'the son of'. Therefore the couple's initials being I.M. A.N.
Iain with three of his brothers seemed to have earned a rather lawless reputation, for Iain, Duncan and Alexander were charged in 1596 with the robbery and violence of Dame Jean Campbell, Lady Ardkinglas near Dunderawe and in 1598 with raiding the MacAuley lands of Ardkincaple in the Lennox. Raiding probably meant the removal of cattle which was not traditionally regarded as theft, as what one gained today may be lost to another raiding party tomorrow! In fact, it was often expected of an heir to show his prowess in this regard before succession.
Sir Iain and another brother, Patrick, also had a difference of opinion with Campbell of Argyll in 16O9 resulting in a 'warning' from the Earl. Iain died in November 1613, leaving three sons and a daughter.

His heir, Sir Alexander, like his grandfather, acted on behalf of the Earl of Argyll as witness to charters and also as Bailie.
The great estates of the day, were districts with their own system of government in which all classes of people participated under a President appointed by the owner and named Bailie. Sir Alexander acquired the lands of Stronshira adjacent to Dunderawe and purchased Tirarthur near Killin in Perthshire. He also leased the Tiends of Kilmorich from the Lord Madertie, Viscount Strathallan in 1618 for a rent of eight pounds, they being valued in 1630 at Pounds 166.13. 4. He was Steward of Glen Shire, Keeper of the Forest of Benbuie and in 1614 had been admitted as a Burgess of Glasgow. He was a firm adherent of King Charles I (1800 - 49) from whom he received a commission in 1627 to raise a company of Bowmen for service in the Relief of La Rochelle during the war against France. He was much favoured by Charles, who retained him at Court where he was knighted and served as one of the Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber and unlike many others, was granted a life pension. He was known as Colonel Macnachtan and on his death in 1630, he was buried in the Chapel Royal at the express wish of King Charles.
Unfortunately, his style of life was such that his mortgaging of his lands, coupled with his standing as guarantor for monies borrowed by Campbell of Argyll and never repaid, contributed much to the beginning of the financial ruin of his family.

His son Iain inherited the estate but on his death in 1635, the direct line came to an end, he having no son and two sisters. This signaled a law suit by Argyll, long envious of the Family possessions, which continued to the end or the century, further reducing the Family's solvency.
The estate of Iain then reverted to his uncles, one of whom, Iain, had been a Page of Honour to James I of Scotland ( 1587 - 1825 ) whom he accompanied on his ascension to the British Throne as James I in 16O3. He acquired considerable wealth and purchased property in Kintyre as well as becoming Sheriff Depute of Argyll.

The second eldest uncle, Malcolm, variously described as of Glenshira, Stronshira or of Killean in Kintyre, succeeded to the Chieftan-ship and the line proceeded, to be ultimately lost by it's devoted adherence to the House of Stuart. He had married in 1622 Elizabeth, daughter of Donald Murray, Provost of Inverary. He served the Marquis of Argyll as Chamberlain and Bailie of Kintyre and was a ruling Elder in the Presbytery of Kilmoir and of the Church of Scotland.
In the Civil Wars of James Graham 5th Earl of Montrose's time, 1644 - 45, the Macnachtan and Argyll were allied and they raised a large number of men that fought at Inverlochy in 1645 under Archibald Campbell the Marquis of Argyll, a convinced Calvinist and Commander on behalf of the Covenanters. Campbell lost forty 'barons' and fifteen hundred Argyll men were slain and all Argyll laid waste, the Macnachtan reported as having lost several near relatives. Even the Campbell castle at Inverary was put to the torch and Argyll, fleeing his dinner table, took refuge in a boat in the middle of Loch Fyne! Malcolm died about 1647, defending the Campbell stronghold of Skipness Castle of which he had been appointed Captain.

Malcolm's eldest son Alexander became Chief. He married Anne Campbell daughter of Sir James of Ardkinglas and they had one son. While originally serving the Marquis of Argyll, he was at heart, a passionate Royalist which earned him the hatred of Argyll. In 1613 there was a meeting at Locheard when Macnachtan of Macnachtan with others, formed an alliance under William, 9th Earl of
Glencairn and rose against the Cromwell Government with four thousand men and before the insurrection was put down by General Monks they had engaged and defeated Captain Kidd of Stirling Castle in an engagement at Aberfoyle.
In fact, it would seem that Alexander even managed to persuade Argyll's son to join the insurrection! A contemporary report gives a regrettably sparse account of an exploit by Alexander and his friend Lochiel.

General Monk had sent three English Colonels to survey the state of the Highland garrisons and they put up for the night at a heavily guarded inn near Loch Fyne. Alexander and Lochiel forced an entry through the roof at the rear of the inn and carried the Colonels off, along with Lieutenant-Colonel Duncan Campbell and rowed them across the Loch to imprisonment in Dunderawe Castle.
For his loyalty to the Crown, Alexander or 'Forester' as he was nick-named, was knighted after the restoration of Charles II in 166O.

The Marquis of Argyll, never one to forgive a slight, sued for the Macnachtan lands and claimed a considerable amount of money, even going so far im 1672 as to denounce Alexander as a rebel! Little good it did Campbell, for he was executed the following year and his head placed on the same pike that Montrose's had recently occupied. As Charles had once remarked, 'There never was trouble brewing in Scotland but that a Dalrymple or a Campbell was at the bottom of it''.
Alexander died in 1685 the same year as Charles II.

His son Iain inherited little else but the title of Chief of the Clan. King James VII (1885 - 98 ) signed a deed in his favour to restore all lands and hereditary rights, thereby freeing him from the Campbell but as it never passed the Seals in Scotland, it was of no value after James was deposed. However, the influence and prestige of the Macnachtan were in no way diminished. In his own right he served as Sheriff Depute of Argyll, Commissioner of Supply and was the Member of Parliament for Inverary in 1685. In 1689 he fought alongside his Uncle Iain under Graham of Claverhouse, 'Bonnie Dundee' in the great victory by the Jacobites over William of Orange's army at the Battle of Killiecrankie.
In the 'Grameid' an heroic poem of the Campaign of Dundee, it says of Iain :
'' From the high rocks of Argyll , there hastens the Flower of young men, Dunderaw, the Bold Son of the Faithful Macnachtan. As he is conspicuous in shining armour, so is he noble in spirit worthy of his great origin……and leads to war his clansmen, retainers and kinsmen, those whom the finny lake nourishes".
In 1689 an account for nearly 3,000 pounds was sent to the Government of William and Mary, as war indemnity against Macnachtan of Dunderawe and others, 'For removing cattle and other bestials'. carried away from Campbell of Loch Goil .
The next year , the following was promulgated : January 3, 1690 by the Privy Council an Act and Order for sequestering the rents of such who are in rebellion against their Majesties.
The following are in Rebellion:
Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel
McNauchton of Dundorow
Major Middleton, Umquille to Laird of McNauchton and his two sons.
John Reid alias McNauchton
Feuar of Finhocken in Lismore

No prizes for guessing who was behind this and the sentence of the loss of their lands for their participation in Dundee's campaign, although the forfeiture was never carried out, probably because the grasping Campbell already controlled most , if not all the lands.

In 1691, all Chiefs were required to swear allegiance to king William.
Iain of Dunderawe, "A merry man with the bottle and an ardent Jacobite", took oath before Ardkinglas.
Iain married twice, firstly to Isobel Campbell daughter of Sir Iain of Glenurchy and sister to Lord Breadalbane, and secondly to Finquel McDonald, daughter of Sir James of Sleat. By the first marriage he had two sons, Alexander and Iain ( John ) and a daughter Christian. He died in 17O7, the year of the Act of Union when Scotland became an integral part of Britain.
Alexander the eldest, pre - deceased his father when he was killed during the Expedition to Vigo in September 1702, while serving as a Captain in Queen Anne's Guards, when an Anglo - Dutch Fleet captured or destroyed seventeen Spanish treasure ships in Vigo Bay and gaining 25 million pounds sterling, of gold bullion.
His brother Iain therefore succeeded him to what was to be the last Chief of Macnachtan of Dunderawe. Sadly, through their support of the Stuarts, the borrowing of money over the previous fifty years and the legal battles for possession, there was precious little left. The final blow fell in 1710 when, due to neglect of legal formalities regarding a document whereby his father had borrowed monies and put up the remainder of his property as security on a loan, the Duke of Argyll granted a charter of the lands to Sir James Campbell the Younger, of Ardkinglas. This included Dunderawe.
We now come to perhaps the most famous and romantic tale of the
Clan. Regrettably, according to my information, it does not appear to be true but why spoil a good story and anyway, it makes a Fitting Farewell to Dunderawe.

It was said that Iain might have salvaged his Fortunes when he became engaged to marry the second daughter of Sir James MacIain Riabhaich Campbell of Ardkinglas, the last of the Campbells in that line. He having only eight daughters.
In those days, it was customary that marriages took place in the evening with the usual Feasting and dancing in which the young couple took part until midnight, at which time, the bridesmaids put the bride to bed and removed the candles which lit the bedchamber. Now it happened that the eldest daughter Jean, was also in love with Iain and with the apparent connivance of her father, saw to it that Iain imbibed freely on the wedding night and she then took the place of her younger sister in the ceremony. Being heavily veiled and then due to the darkness of the bedchamber, he did not notice the deception until morning. Campbell refused to have the marriage annulled, so lain took his wife home to Dunderawe. Shortly after, she found she was expecting a child and as her confinement drew near she sent for her younger sister to attend her. Jean duly presented Iain with a son and heir but it was discovered that the younger sister was now also in an ' interesting way '. Campbell had Iain lodged in the old tower of Inverary Castle. The younger lady visited him there and on one occasion, smuggled ropes hidden under her mantle to enable his escape. She and a lad named MacLean, together with a local fisherman, came into the Bay below the tower in MacNachtan's barge, whereupon he lowered himself down and the set sail to Port Rush in Ireland where they were finally married to each other.
Iain's fortunes prospered, eventually acquiring a knighthood.
They sent their eldest daughter Jean de la Coeur Macnachtan, to Ardkinglas where she remained all her days. Meanwhile, his elder daughter's child by Macnachtan, grew up to be a promising youth but one day while out sailing with his grandfather, he fell overboard and was drowned. Some time afterwards, Ardkinglas was drowned near the same spot and the old women had it that this drowning was a mark of displeasure of providence because it was believed in some quarters that Campbell had deliberately drowned the young lad to remove any possible heir.
Jean in her grief over the departure of her husband and sister, is said to have written the song of ''Macnachtan of the Dun'' a part translation of which says:

Though the night be cold, Alas! Alas! How long it is!
Though the rest be in sound slumbers, Oh! small is my desire to sleep,
It is not the narrowness of my space nor yet the hardness of my bed
But the beauteous youth of the brown clustering hair who has my
heart oppressed, who has brought me to despair;
I dreamed of thee, love, yester'een, that I was happy in thine arms
beneath the shade of the fragrant Birch, in the kindly warmth of thy tartan plaid, so tenderly wrapped in thy tartan plaid.
But on awakening from my dream, afar from me were thou wandering,
Thou brave Macnachtan of the Dun, of the Tower, of the hospitality and of the battlements,
Of the fair beauteous maidens and of the brave men;
Oh! that I but saw thee coming, along the front of the Leacain!

Dunderawe, while presumably occupied by John Campbell till he became the 4th Duke of Argyll, gradually fell into ruin. It features in Neil Munro's book 'Doom Castle' and it is described as :
" beetling against the breakers, very cold, very arrogant upon it's barren promontory….A fortalice, dark and square built, lit by a few windows and these but tiny and suspicious, it was as Scots and arrogant as a thistle…..".
It was restored with additions for Sir Andrew Noble of Ardkinglas under the guidance of Sir Robert Lorimer although it lost it's curious figure above the door, seated with legs crossed playing a chanter formed by it's elongated nose. Also lost was a display of the Macnachtan Arms which were secretly removed and were last seen being rowed across the Loch. By whom? and where do they lie now!
Perhaps the last word on Dunderawe should be from a song entitled "Luinneag Mhic Neachduinn", composed in the time of Alexander during the reign of Charles II and to found in Turner's Collection of Gaelic poetry. Incidentally, this Alexander was known locally as "The Darling of the Women of the Sioradh Clachen"

Dundaramh nan tur's nan tuired
Air chul chraobh ri faobhar buinne;
Dun na muirn, nan curn, 's nan curaidh;
Nam baideal, nam bratch sgarlaid,
Far am tamhaich na suinn.

Dunderawe of the tower, of the turrets
Behind the trees on the edge of the current;
Dun of hospitality, of cups and of brave men;
Dun of the battlements and of the scarlet banners,
where heroes were wont to dwell.

to Mormaers of Moray page to Index page to Later Chiefs page

Guestbooks! by Phaistos Networks
Read My Guestbook! | Please Sign My Guestbook!

to send me email
  • Peter Levarre-Waters