Alexander Macrae.

History of the clan Macrae with genealogies online

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Fionnla Dubh nan Saighead was a relative of Donald Odhar and
Ian Odhar, and was also of the Macraes of Kintail. Finlay
usually lived at Melvaig. As a marksman, he was on a par with
Donald Odhar. In his day, young Macleod, laird of Assynt, came
to Gairloch in his birlinn to ask for a daughter of John Roy in
marriage. He was refused, and set off northwards on his return
voyage in his birlinn, which was manned with sixteen oars. They
rowed quite close to the land round Rudha Reidh, the furthest out
headland of the north point. Rudha Reidh was then known as
Seann Rudha, a name which is still sometimes given to it. Fionnla
Dubh nan Saighead sat on a rock as the birlinn passed. He called
out, " Whence came the heroes f They replied, " We came from
Gairloch." " What were you doing there V said Finlay. " We
were asking in marriage the daughter of Mackenzie of Gairloch for
this young gentleman." " Did you get her ?" said Finlay. They
replied, " Oh, no." Finlay dismissed them with a contemptuous
gesture and an insulting expression. They passed on their way
without molesting him, because they had no arms with them.
Young Macleod brooded over the insult he had received from
Finlay Macrae, who was well known to him by repute. He soon
returned with his sixteen-oared birlinn, manned by the choicest
warriors of Assynt, to take vengeance on Finlay, who noticed the
galley, and guessed who were its occupants. He called for one,
Chisholm, his brother-in-arms, and the two of them proceeded to
the leac, or flat stone, close to the edge of the low cliff about a mile
north to Melvaig; the leac is still pointed out. They reached this
place before the Macleods could effect a landing. On the way, the
Chisholm said to Finlay, " You must leave all the speaking to
me." As the birlinn drew near, Chisholm called out, " What do
you want?" "We want Fionnla Dubh nan Saighead." "You
won't get him, or thanks," said Chisholm; "Go away in peace,"


The Maclcods began to threaten them. "If that is the way," said
Chisholm, "let every man look out for himself." The contest
began. Finlay and Chisholm were well sheltered at the back of the
leac. A number of the Maclcods were killed by the arrows of the
two heroes on shore, whilst they themselves remained uninjured.
The Maclcods, finding their losses so severe, soon thought that
discretion was the better part of valour, and, turning their birlinn
northwards, departed for their own country. They never again
molested Finlay. — Dixon's Gair/och, pp. 46-47.

Note. — In speaking of the Macrae archers, Mr Dixon says
that the arrow fired at the serving man on the Loch Tollie Island,
by Alastair Loath, must have killed its victim at a distance of
fully five hundred yards. Donald Odhar and Iain Odhar, the
heroes of Leac nan Saighead, slew many Macleods with their
arrows nearly four hundred yards away. Lest any reader should
doubt the authenticity of these performances on account of the
marvellous range attained, Mr Dixon gives several instances of
wonderful shots made by Turks, including one of four hundred
and fifteen yards, against the wind, by Mahmood Effendi, the
Turkish Ambassador's secretary, in a field near Bedford House, in
1791, and one of nine hundred and seventy-two yards by the
Sultan himself, in 1798, in the presence of Sir Robert Ainslie,
British Ambassador to the Sublime forte. — Dixon's Gairloch,p. 20.




The following information has been kindly supplied by Mr P. J.
Anderson, librarian of the University of Aberdeen, from the old
Minute Books of the Macra foundation : —

Alexander Macra, ironmonger in Bristol, who died on 24th
August, 1780, sets forth in his quaintly-worded last will and
testament (dated at Edinburgh, 8th November, 1763), his
desire "that a considerable portion of such share of worldly
substance as I shall at the time of my death be entrusted with
by the providence and bounty of Almighty God, my gracious
Creator and Supporter, may be employed in perpetuity for the
maintenance, education, and instruction of indigent children, with
preference to male children or boys, of the Sirname of Macra,
natives of that part of Great Britain called Scotland." For this
purpose he appoints as his executors the President of the Court of
Session, the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, the Senior Baillie
of Edinburgh, the Senior Manager of the Orphan Asylum in
Edinburgh, the Principal of King's College in Aberdon, the Pro-
fessor of Divinity, the senior Professor of Philosophy, and the
Professor of Humanity there, the Senior Minister, the Senior
Baillie, the Dean of Guild, and the Deacon Convener of Aberdeen :
directing them to allow his estate to accumulate until of the value
of £20,000 Scots. Subject to an annuity of £150 Scots payable
to each of his sisters (Margaret, spouse to John Matheson in
Duiriiiess, and Mary, spouse to John Matheson in Rairaig), and to
a perpetual payment of the interest on 7300 merks Scots to John
Macra, son of the testator's late uncle Mr Roderick, and his heirs
male, whom failing, the interest on 2000 merks Scots to the heir
male of the testator's great grandfather, Alexander Macra of


Inverinet: the yearly produce of the said £20,000 Scots is to be
spent "on the decent cloathing, mantenance, education, and in-
struction of as many indigent boys or male children of the Sirname
of Macra, and all natives of Scotland, as the said nctt yearly pro-
duce can sufficiently support."

The boys arc to be above the age of nine, and under the age
of twelve ; and preference is to be given to descendants of the
testator's said great grandfather. On attaining the ago of thirteen,
each boy, if "he is found to have an extraordinary genius for
Letters," is to come to Aberdeen to attend one of the burgh
schools, " until he be fit for the Humanity class in the King's
College in Aberdon .... and for as long thereafter as is
usually allowed there, for being instructed in the Latin, Greek,
and Hebrew Languages, Mathematics, Philosophy, and Divinity,
if he so inclines." If not found "quite acute for Letters," a boy
may be bound apprentice to some handicraft.

" And I hereby ordain that any boy's father's or other of his
predecessors' using to add the letter e, h, w, or y to his surname
of Macra .... shall not be sustained an objection to the
admission of such boy, but the addition of any of these four
letters to the proper surname of Macra is to be construed an
inattentive complyance with the pronunciation of the word
Macra, which is as various as the accent of the language is different
in the several countrys wherein the father and other predecessors
of such boy resided."

An action in the Court of Session for reduction of the will was
unsuccessful, and the duties of the Trust were undertaken by the
eight last named executors, the others declining to act.

In 1794, by which time the required sum of £20,000 Scots
(£1666 13s id sterling) has been realised, "in consequence of
information sent to Ross-shire, where the relations of the mortifier
reside, sundry applications from them, supported by the clergy-
men of these parishes, arc transmitted to the agent at Aberdeen,
along with certificates of the propinquity of several familys who
had children qualified in terms of the mortification to be admitted
to the benefit of it."

Kenneth, son of Duncan Macra, in Linasce, Kintail, late lieu-
tenant in the 78th Foot, and Alexander, son of Farquhar Macra,
at Fadoch, Kintail, are admitted as "nearest in degree to Alex-


ander Macra of Inverinet," and come to Aberdeen, being entrusted
to the care of Professor Macleod. Alexander, another son of
Lieut. Duncan, accompanies his brother.

In 1796 the testator's sisters and his cousin John are reported
dead, and in 1798 "Captain" Duncan, who visits Aberdeen, is
recognised as heir male of the mortifier's great grandfather, " which
is proved by the genealogys transmitted by the ministers of the
parishes where the several branches of the family reside."

1799. Alexander, son of Farquhar, enters bajan class at King's
College : graduates M.A. in 1803. {Officers and Graduates of
King's Coll., 1893, p. 268.) A fourth boy, Duncan, son of John,
in Morvich, is admitted.

1800. Kenneth, son of Duncan, enters bajan class at King's
Coll.: in 1803 goes to London "to be placed in a mercantile

1804. Alexander, son of Duncan, enters semi-class at King's

1805. Duncan, son of John, in Morvich, "has not much
genius," and is bound apprentice for five years to Mr Littlcjohn,
wright in Aberdeen.

1806. Admitted, and comes to Aberdeen to attend Grammar
School : Alexander, son of John, son of Duncan, son of Donald,
son of Christopher, lawful son of Alexander of Inverinet. Enters
bajan class 1809 ; M.A. 1813.

1813. Admitted : Duncan, son by a second marriage of Captain
Duncan. Enters bajan class in 1820, and attends four sessions,
but does not graduate.

1816. Admitted : Farquhar, son of Farquhar in Camuslivnie.
Enters bajan class in 1819; M.A. 1823; appointed schoolmaster
at Lochcarron ; student of divinty 1823-27; minister of Free
Church, Knockbain.

1824. Admitted : Christopher, whose propinquity is certified
by Archibald Macra of Ardiutoul and many respectable persons
of the clan, " the boy being in a state of absolute nakedness and
starvation " ; proved to be over age.

1826. Admitted: Farquhar, son of Alexander; proved to be
over age. Duncan, son of Murdoch, in Stornoway ; proved to be
over age. John, son of Duncan, in Camuslunie. Donald, son of
John, in Conchra,


1831. A. Mitchell, Headmaster of the Grammar School, Old
Aberdeen, reports, 1st September, that John and Donald "have

attended the Grammar School of Old Aberdeen for the space of
three years and ten months. Their attendance has upon the whole
been sufficiently regular ; but their application has by no means
been such as to ensure success in the study of the Latin language ;
consequently they arc both very deficient. I cannot say that there
is much difference between them, but on the whole I think Donald
the better scholar. Neither the one nor the other appears to have
any ' extraordinary genius for letters.' " To be sent home to their

1832. John and Donald wish to follow some liberal profession,
but this is not sanctioned. The former is apprenticed to Mr
Kennie, shipbuilder ; the latter to Mr Simpson, wright.

Mr Alexander Macrae, only surviving son of late Captain Dun-
cau, authorises payment of the annuity to his mother (? stepmother).

1833. Admitted: Alexander, son of Finlay, Auchtertyre. Dies
of smallpox ; has not been vaccinated ; this to be a sine qua nn in

1834. Applications from John, son of Christopher, Drudaig ;
Donald, son of Finlay, Auchtertyre; Kenneth, son of John, Camus-
lunie ; James, son of Donald, Kintail ; the first is admitted, and is
subsequently apprenticed to Mr William Henderson, builder.

1839. Applications from Colin, son of Christopher, Inchroe ;
Donald, son of Farquhar, Glenshiel ; Donald, son of Finlay, Loch-
alsh ; Donald, son of Farquhar, Glenshiel : the second is admitted,
subsequently apprenticed to Messrs Blaikie & Son.

1843. Finlay Macrae admitted, subsequently apprenticed to
Mr Cook, tailor.

1847. In this year the trustees authorised their agent, Mr
James Nicol, advocate, to uplift the funds from the Northern
Investment Company, in whose hands they then lay, and to lend
them on heritable security, which he reported had been found.
The money, however, Mr Nicol retained in his own hands unsecured,
and in 1850 his firm, Nicol & Munro, became bankrupt.

Mr Alexander Anderson, advocate, who was appointed judicial
factor on the Macra Trust, was able to recover £419 14s 3d from
the sequestrated estate, and £1246 19s Id from the Macra Trustees,
who were held to have been guilty of gross negligence. In 18G2


he reported that the fund had now been restored to its original
amount of £1666 13s 4d; and a body of trustees was constituted
de novo : those accepting office being the Principal, the Professor
of Divinity, the Senior Minister, the Senior Baillie, the Dean of
Guild, and the Deacon Convener.

During the succeeding twenty-six years a considerable number
of applications were received by the Macra Trustees, accompanied
usually by proofs of descent from Alexander Macra of Inverinet ;
but of those admitted to the benefits of the Fund, no one seems
to have proved himself worthy of a University education. Under
the scheme of administration of the Aberdeen Educational Trust,
dated 17th November, 188S, two bursaries at the Grammar School
" shall be known by the name of the Macra bursaries, and these
two bursaries shall be awarded to any candidates properly qualified
in the opinion of the Governors to avail themselves of the educa-
tion given at the Grammar School of Aberdeen, who shall satisfy
the Governors that they are of the lineal descendants of Alexander
Macra of Inverinet, the great grandfather of the said Alexander
Macra, ironmonger, Bristol."

On the death of Mr Alexander Macra, Demerara, son of Captain
Duncan, the right to the perpetual annuity seems to have passed
to Dr John Macrae, H.E.I.C.S., 1 son of Dr John Macrae, younger
brother of Captain Duncan ; but no payments were ever made to
him. On his death in 1864, a claim was put forward by John
Anthony Macrae, 'W.S., son of Colin, younger brother of Dr John,
senior. On 31st March, 1865, the Trustees having considered the
proofs advanced by him, find that he "is now the heir male
lineally descended from the testator's said great grandfather." On
1st October, 1868, Colin George Macrae, W.S., was served heir to
his father, John Anthony ; and he now represents the family.

i Page 103.




Inverness, 20th November, 1721. In presence of Master Robert
Gordon of Haughs, Sheriff-Depute of Inverness,

Compeared Donald McRae, soldier in the Royal Regiment of
North British Fusiliers, who, being solemnly sworn in a precogni-
tion, maketh oath that he was of the detachment of His Majesty's
Forces, appointed to attend the Factors on the Forfeited Estates,
when the insult and murder was committed on the saide Forces
and Factors at Loch Affrick, upon the Second day of October last
by several Bodies of Highlanders, and that he knew and seed the
persons following amongst the saide Bodies of Highlanders, viz. :—
Donald Murchison, Chamberland to the late Earl of Seaforth.
Donald Murchison of Auchtertyre.
John McRae of Inverinat.
John Dow McAlister Vic Gilchrist, in Achyark.
Christopher, Ferquhar and Murdo McRaes, sons to Christopher

McRae, in Arivugan.
Don McRae in Glensheil, nephew to the said Christopher.
John McUrchie Vic Alister Vic Vinister, in Killelan.
John McFinlay Vic Fan, in Killelan.
Duncan McEan Vic Conchie, in Killelan.
Alexander McEan Vic Conchy, in Killelan.
John McEan Vic Conchy, in Killelan.
John McEan Vic Conchy Vic Alister, in Glenelchak.
John Dow McAlister Vic Gilchrist, in Achayouran of Glensheall.
Donald McAlister Vic Gilchrist, in Achyouran-begg.

l Page 358. See also paper on " Donald Murchison and the Factor» on
the Forfeited Estates," by Mr William Mackay, published in "The Trans-
actions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness," Vol. XIX.


Alexander McConchy Vic Gilchrist, in Rategan of Glensheal.
Alexander McRae, son to Master Donald McRae, minister of

John McRae, son to Alexander McFerquhar Vic Rae, in Morvich.
John McKenzie, in Inverinat, son to Kenneth Roy, brother to

the late Aplecross.
Ferquhar Oig McFerquhar Vic Alister, in Inversheile.
Murdo McFerquhar Vic Alister, in Croe of Kintail.
Alexander McFerquhar Vic Alister, in Morvich, in Croe of Kintail.
John McRae Vic Vinister, in Letterfearn.
John McRae, eldest son to Donald McRae of Driudaig, living in

Murdo McAlister Vic Vinister, in Camboslynie.
Alexander McAlister Vic Vinister, in Glenelchak.
Alexander McHuistan Vic Rae, in Meikle Salachy of Lochalsh,

nephew to Aryvogan.
Donald Oig McLennan, in Achnafeam of Lochalsh.
Murdo McRae, in Coriloyne of Glenloyne.
John McRae, son to the said Murdoch McRae, in Coriloyne of

Ferquhar McConchy Voir Nakaime, in Glenloyne.
Alexander McHutchan Vic Rae, in Sallachy More.
Duncan McHutchan Vic Rae, in Sallachy More.
John Dow McLennan, in Achnaguiran.
Colline McEan Vic Iver, in Inversheal.
Murdo McEan Vic Iver, in Inversheal.
Duncan McConchy Vic Gilchrist, in Islandonanbeg.
Evander Murchison, son to John Murchison McEan Vic Conil, in

Donald Roy, son to the ground officer of Glenmoriston.
John McAlister Vic Rae, in Cambouslyne of Glenelchak, one of the

baggage men to the Rebells.

Donald McRae further maketh oath that the said John
McAlister Vic Rae, baggage man, and others of the party who
conducted the troops and factors back through the wood, informed
him that the persons following were amongst the committers of
the said insult and murder, viz. : —

John Dow McAlister Vic Gilchrist, in Achyark
Duncan McConchy Vic Charlich, in Sallachy More.


Alexander McFinlay Vic Ean, in Achnabein.

Duncan McAlistcr Vic Conchy Mathcson, in Achrachen of Loch

Murdo McConchy Vic Ean, in Killelan.
Alexander McConchy Vic Vinister, in Aglachan of Lochalsh.
Christopher McFerquhar Oig, in Letterfearn.
Alexander McAlister Vic Gillichrist Vic Ferquhar Oig, in Mamaig

of Glenelchaig.
Alister McAlister Vic Gilchrist, in Kilarie.
John McEan Vic Conchy, in Ratigan.

Donald McAlister Vic Gilliechrist, in Achyark of Glensheal.
Donald Murchison, in Achachoraran, brother to the deceast

Mnrdo Mui'chison, brother to the deceast Achtertoir.
Alexander Murchison, brother to the deceast Achtertoir.
John McGilchrist McRae, in Comer of Strathglcsh.
Christopher McEan Vic Conil Vic Vinister, in Conchraig of Cam-

Christopher McUrchie Vic Vinister, in Glenelchack.
Alexander and Mylies Murchison, sons to John Murchison McEan

Vic Conil, in Achnabein.
John McDonald Reach Vic Conchy Oig, in Meikle Salachie.
John Dow McEuan Gou, in Meikle Salachy.
John McLennan Vic Conchy Voi, in Mid Ausgett of Kintail.
Donald McEan Doi Brebater, in Mid Ansgett of Kintail.
Finlay McEan Doi Brebater, in Mid Ausgett of Kintail.
Duncan Mac Ean Glas, in Achnason of Lochalsh.
Donald Mathcson, in Conchra of Lochalsh.
Duncan Mathcson, in Achnashcw.
Donald McDonald Oig, in Ardinar.
Finlay McC'oil Reach Vic Conchie Oig, in Letterwhile of Kintail.

Donald Mcllae furthur maketh oath that he seed Patrick Grant,
son to the late Glenmoriston, with the saids companies of High-
landers ; all which he declares to be truth, as he shall answer to
God, and declares he cannot write ; and further maketh oath that
he seed Kenneth McConchy Vic Alister, in Ratigan of Glensheall,
in company with the saids Highlanders.



The following version of the Gaelic poem given on page 388
was sent to the author by Mr William Mackay, Craigmonie, Inver-
ness, but it was too late to be included in Appendix J. It was
written down in 1877 by a well-known Gaelic scholar and poet,
the late Mr Farquhar Macdonell, of Plockton, Lochalsh, and sent
by him to the Rev. Alexander Stewart, LL.D., of Nethet-Lochaber,
by whom it was afterwards sent to Mr Mackay. According to Mr
Macdonell, it was composed immediately after the burial of Mur-
doch Macrae in Kilduich. The author considers this the best, as
it is also the most complete, of several versions of the same poem
that he has come across : —

Deanam na marbhrainn s' as ur
Air miann suilean Chloinn 'ic Rath,
Air Murachadh donna-gheal mo ruin
A bha Ian do chliu gun chleith.

A dheagh mhic Alasdair uir,

Togamaid do chliu an tos,

Sud an laoch fo'n robh a' mhuirn,

'Shliochd Fhearachair nan cuirt 's nan corn.

Si sealg geamhraidh Ghlinne-lic
Chuir greaun oirn gu trie 'us gruaim,
M' an og nach robh teann 's a bha glic,
Bhi 's an teampull fo'n lie 's an uaigh.
Chiad aoine de 'n gheamhradh fhuar,
'S daor a phaigh sinn duais na sealg,
An t-og bo chraobhaiche snuagh
Na aonar bhuainn 'us fhaotainn marbh.
Tional na sgire gu leir
A suibhal sleibh 's a falbh bheaun,
Fad sgios nan coig latha deug,
'S am fear dileas, treun air chall.


'S turseach do clrinneadh mor deas,
Ga d' shireadh an ear 's an iar,
'S an tog a b' ionmholta beachd
Hi slios glinne marbh 'a an t-sliabh.

Claim 'ic Rath nam buailtean bo
Air an siarradh gn mor mu d'eug,
Mu d' thoirt as a blieatha so oim,
Mhic athair nan corn 's nan teud.

'S turseach do dheas bhraithrean graidh
'S am parson ge hard a leugh,
Thug e, go tuigseach a cheaird,
Barr tuirse air each gu leir.

Air tlms dhiubh Donnachadh nam Pios,
Gillecriosd 'us dithis na chleir,
Fearachar agus Ailean Donn
'S Uisdean a tha trom do dheigh.

Bu tusa an t-oclid shlat ghraidh
Dh'ios nam braithrean glana coir,
A' nochd gur dosgach an cradh,
Gu 'n fhroiseadh am blath dhiubh og.

Gur tursach do cheud blican og,
'S flinch frasach na deoir le gruaidh,
I 'spionadh a fuilt d' a deoin,
Sior chumha nach beo do shnuagh.

Bhean uasal a thug dlmt gaol,
Nach bi chaoidh na h-uigneas slan,
'S truagh le mo chluasan a gaoir,
Luaithead 's a sgaoil an t-aog a snaim.

Bu tu 'n t-slat eibhinn, aluinn, ur,
Bu mhiann suil 's bu leanan mna,
A ghnuis an robh am breac seirc,
Bha cho deas air thapadh lamb.
Bu tu marbhaich' a bhalla-bhric bhain,
Le mordha 's le lau chranu geur,
'S le cuilbheir bhristeadh tu cnaimh,
'S bu shilteach 'o d' laimh na feidh.
Do chul buidh' fainneach ri lie,
Bha ruthaidh, 's e gle gheal, dearg,
'Ghnuis an robh 'n gliocas gun cheilg,
Air nach d'fhiosraicheadh riamh fearg.
Chuala mise clarsach theui,
Fiodhall 'us beus a cu-sheinu,


'S cha chuala, 's cha chluinn gu brath,
Ceol a b'fhearr na do bheul binn.
'S math am fear rannsachaidh 'n t-aog,
Gur maor c dh'iarras gu mean,
Bheir e leis an t-og gun ghiamh,
'S fagaidh e fear liath bhios sean.
Bha thu fearail aims gach ceum,
Bu bharant thu 'n deirce bhochd,
'S tha tlm air deas laimh do Righ,
Le lughad 's chuir thu 'm pris an t-olc.
Tha sluagh taght' aig deagh Mhac Dhe,
Gun easbhuidh, gun fheum air ni,
'S tha thus' a nis 'an aoibhneas mor,
'An cathair cheoil aig Righ nam righ.



Page 109.— Surgeon-General Sir William Alexander Mackiunon
died in London on the 28th of October, 1897.

Page 141. — Captain Archibald Macra Chisholm of Glassburn
died on the 19th of October, 1897.

Page 158. — Colin Macrae, Camden, South Carolina, lineal
representative of the Macraes of Conchra, died on the 20th of
September, 1898. He was succeeded as representative of that
family by his brother,

Duncan Macrae of Karnes Castle, who died on the 14th of
December, 1898, and was buried on the 21st at Kilduich, his
clansmen in Kintail making his funeral the occasion for a remark-
able display of clan sentiment and loyalty. His eldest son,

Stewart Macrae (page 158), of Newark -on-Trent, is now lineal
representative of the Macraes of Conchra.

Page 281. — In addition to the marriage of Alexander Macrae
and Agnes Gordon, there appears also to be some record of a
marriage, about the same time, between a William Macrae and
a Thomasine Gordon of Carleton. It is not impossible, however,
that a confusion of names may have occurred with regard to one
and the same marriage.




Page 67 -

line 2

Comma after property.

„ 67 -


Read has.

„ 69 -



„ 84 -

» 17

, untimely.

„ 87 -

„ 25 (last)

, farther.

„ 193 -

„ 1 of footnote 2

, Ghobha.

„ 269 -




, Loudon.

„ 282 -



, Herdman.

„ 283 -


, Dunnay.

„ 284 -

„ 19

, Georgiana.

„ 335 -

>. 12

, Mantuanus.

„ 383 -


, Mr William Mackenzie.

Map. — Achyar'

;, inadverte


left out

m preparation of block foi

map, is at the foot of Glenlic.



Alberoni, Cardinal, 355.

Alva, James Erskine, Lord, 239.

Online LibraryAlexander MacraeHistory of the clan Macrae with genealogies → online text (page 29 of 35)