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position, and they on their part would not have
accepted him as their chief if he had not been looked
upon as the rightful heir of the family. That the
Clan Uisdein and the Clan Donald generally
regarded the family of Sleat as in the direct line of
succession to the chiefship is shown by their hearty
support of the claim put forward by Donald Gorm
in 1539. Seeing that Donald Dubh was ajDparently
a prisoner for life, and the family of Lochalsh had
become extinct in the male line, the honours of the
House of Isla appeared to devolve upon the family
of Sleat. This was the view taken by the Clan
Donald and the majority of the vassals of the Isles
who supported the claim of Donald Gorm. Donald's
attempt failed with his death at Ellandonan,
Though no effort was made by force of arms to


restore the Island Lordship after the last attempt
in 1545, yet the Sleat family continued to be
acknowledged both in Scotland and in England as
the representatives of the old family and chiefs of
the Clan Donald. Dean Munro of the Isles, who
wrote his well-known Manuscript in 1549, and whose
knowledge of Island history and genealogy seems to
have been both accurate and minute, in enumerating
the branches of the Clan Donald gives the first place
to the family of Sleat. Donald Gorm Sasunnach,
the son of Donald Gorm, who met his death at
Ellandonan, appears to have been regarded not only
as the lineal descendant of the Lords of the Isles,
but as the actual possessor of that dignity. He
joined Sorley Buy Macdonald in his Irish campaigns,
and in the Calendar of State Papers he appears on
more than one occasion as " Lord of the Oute Isles."
In a letter by Donald Gorm Mor to the Lord Deputy
of Ireland, he refers to the old bond between his
predecessors, the Lords of the Isles, and the Crown
of England, and to the hospitality extended to his
father, whom he styles Lord of the Isles, during his
stay at the English Court. If to this affirmation be
added the evidence adduced from other sources, it
will appear that the family of Sleat not only looked
upon themselves as the representatives of the Lords
of the Isles, but that the}^ were regarded as such by
the country generally. Donald Gorm Mor himself
not only claimed to be Lord of the Isles, but he was
actually acknowledged as such by the vassals of the
Lordship, while the Clan Donald at the same time
acknowledged him as their chief In 1575, two
years after the death of his father, they chose him
" as their Lord and ruler of the Isles." In his offers
to Queen Elizabeth in 1598, Donald Gorm refers to


this acknowledgment on the part of the vassals of
the Isles, and styles himself " Lord of ye Illis of
Scotland and Chieff of the haill Clandonald Irische-
men quhairsoeuir." He further declares that the
Captain of Clanranald, Glengarry, Keppoch, Mac-
Iain of Ardnamurchan, and Macdonald of Dunnyveg,
are sworn to follow, serve, and obey him with all
their forces. This decided acknowledgment on the
part of the whole Clan Donald of Donald Goim, is
enough to settle all controversy on the question of
the chiefship, and should satisfy every reasonable
person of the undoubted right of the family of Sleat
to that honour, It may have been to this declar-
ation of chiefship Hugh Macdonald refers when he
says that the family of Sleat " can produce a paper
signed by all the principal men of the name wherein
they acknowledge the head of the family as chief"
Donald Gorm afterwards, in his bond to Mackintosh,
takes burden upon him for Angus Macdonald of
Dunnyveg, with the remainder of " thair haill kyn
of Clan Donald." His successor, Sir Donald, appears
from the records of the time to have been acknow-
ledged all over the Highlands as head of the Clan
Donald, and held responsible for their behaviour by
those in authority, which of itself, however, would
have meant little if his position as chief had not
been otherwise secured by the assent of the clan.
Sir James Macdonald of Sleat was similarly acknow-
ledged as "chief of the whole name and family of
Macdonald " by a written declaration signed by
Donald Macdonald of Moidart, A. Macdonald of
Ardnamurchan, G. Macalister of Loup, Angus Mac-
donald of Largie. Alexander Macdonald of Glencoe,
and John Donaldson. This document, which bears
no date, but must have been written before 167U,


was ] egistered in the Books of Council and Session
in 1726. It will be observed that all the heads of
the branch families of the name signed this declar-
ation except Keppoch and Glengarry. Coll Mac-
donald of Keppoch, however, a few years afterwards,
■ signed a similar declaration in favour of Sir Donald
Macdonald, Sir James's son, which was likewise
registered in 1726. The omission of Glengarry is
easily explained when we remember that the head
of the Glengarry family at that time was Lord Aros,
who, presuming on his peerage and high favour at
Court, claimed to be chief of the whole clan. It
may have been on account of Glengarry's pretensions
that the other heads of families felt called upon to
draw up their written declaration acknowledging
Sir James as chief, a proceeding which, on account
of his well established right to the honour, would
have been otherwise unnecessary. We shall refer
to the Glengarry claim presently. Meanwhile it
remains only to add from the evidence we have
adduced that the right of the family of Sleat to the
chiefship of the Clan Donald is clearly established.
Their hereditary male descent in the direct line of
-the chiefshij^ is undoubted, besides which they have
been from time to time acknowledged as chiefs by
the whole Clan Donald, and from the verdict of the
clan there is no appeal. In documents of the 18th
century the later heads of the family are frequently
to b>e met with styled " of Macdonald " and " of the
Isles," while they are acknowledged as such
repeatedly by the heads of the other branches,
including Glengarry.

After what has been already stated in regard to
the surrender of his claims by Reginald, the son of
John of Fsla, and the acknowleds;ment by the Clan


Donald and the vassals of the Isles of his brother
Donald, it is unnecessary to dwell at an}^ great
length on the claim of yEneas, Lord Macdonald of
Glengarry, to the chiefship. It is not difficult to
conjecture the grounds upon which Glengarry based
his claim, though these are not actually stated.
We have no means of knowing whether he claimed
the Lordship of the Isles as well as the chiefship of
the Clan Donald, Any claim he might put forward
to the Lordship of the Isles through the family of
Lochalsh, from whom he was descended on the
female side, could not be admitted, the Island
dignity not being destined to heirs female. Even
his claim to the Earldom of Ross through this
family, though possibly made with some show of
reasoning, w^as not allowed. Though a warrant was
issued by Charles 11. bestowing the Earldom of Ross
upon him, when the question came to be sifted it
was found that his claim to the Earldom was not
well founded, and the patent never passed the seals.
The only plausible claim he could make to the chief-
ship of the Clan Donald was on the ground of his
descent from Reginald, the founder of the Clan-
ranald, whom the family of Moidart, as the senior
branch, claimed to represent. The real ground,
indeed, on which Glengarry based his claim to the
headship of the Clan Donald, appears to have been
his peerage. His peerage elevated him into a
prominent position in the country, and being evi-
dently a man who had a high opinion of his own
importance, he arrogated to himself the dignity of
chiefship probably without waiting to consider either
his own claims or those of others. Much was made
by a later representative of his family of an order of
the Scottish Privy Council commanding Lord Mac-


donald " as chief of the name and Clan of
Macdonald" to exhibit before the Council Mac-
donald of Keppoch, and a number of others, his own
immediate followers. It was no doubt very grati-
fying to Glengarry to be thus acknowledged as chief
of the Clan Donald, but the object of the members
of Council, who cared little for such dignities, was
to enforce salutary discipline among the neighbours
and adherents of Lord Macdonald, all the easier to
be attained if they flattered his personal vanity.
Needless to say, the clansmen referred to in the
Order of Council represented but a mere fraction of
the Clan Donald, nor would it have deserved any
notice in a discussion on the chiefship except to
show the absurdity of Lord Macdonald's pretensions.
The Privy Council of Scotland was hardly the
tribunal to appeal to to decide a question of chief-
ship, and we are not aware of any other acknow-
ledgment of the chiefship of Glengarry. In the
following year, after the dignity of chief had been
conferred on Glengarry by the Council, he in a bond
with Macpherson of Cluny unwarrantably takes
burden upon him for " the name and Clan of Mac-
donalds as cheefe and principall man thereof." This
assumption of chiefshij^ by Glengarry received no
recognition, it is needless to say, from the great
body of the clan, or in the Highlands generally, nor
is there any evidence of his being acknowledged as
chief of the Clan Donald even by his own tribe of

The Glengarry claim was afterwards revived
with great vehemence, after an interval of a hundred
and fifty years, by Alastair Macdonell of Glengarry,
who, to emphasise his claim, adopted the name of
KanaJdson, as the former Angus Macdonald of Glen-


garry blossomed into ^neas, Lord Macdoiiell. the
first to assume this would-be Gaelic form of the
name with the Anglican pronunciation. Alastair
bassd his claim on his descent from Reginald, the
eldest son of John, Lord of the Tsles, and bastardised
all who awkwardly stood in his way. He in the
first instance challenged the family of Moidart to
prove their claim to be the senior branch of the
Clanranald, asserting at the same time his own
claim on the ground of his descent from the eldest
son of Reginald, the founder of the Clanranald.
But he showed the weakness of his case at the very
outset of the controversy by laying much emphasis
on the illeffitimacv of John of Moidart, one of the
chiefs of Clanranald, thus unwittingly acknowledging
the seniority of the family of Moidart in the attempt
to prove a break in the line of succession. The
Glengarry family had already given away their case
by acknowledging the chiefship of this same John
of Moidart in the bond between Angus MacAlister
of Glengarry and Grant of Freuchy in 1571. Even
though it were admitted that John of Moidart was
feudally illegitimate, the fact that he had been
acknowledged by the Clanranald as their chief, and
that the chiefship had been transmitted in his family
without challenge for centuries, puts the Glengarry
claim out of cou^t entirely, and establishes without
question the chiefship of the Clanranald in the
family of Moidart. If the Glengarry claim to the
chiefship of the Clanranald, based as it is on descent
from Reginald, cannot be entertained, it follow^s that
the chiefship of the Clan Donald cannot be in the
family of Glengarry. The chiefship of the whole
clan Mas the real object of the controversy between
Glengarry and Clanranald. In the advertisement


to the volume, " Vindication of the Clanronald of
Glengarry," published for Glengarry, it is assuiiKjd
that whoever proved to be chief of the ClanranalcL
ipso facto proved his right to the headship of the
Clan Donald. But we have already shown that the
chiefship of the clan cannot be settled upon the
principle of primogeniture, upon which Glengarry
based his claim. On the same ground the claim put
forward to the chiefship on behalf of E-anald George
Macdonald of Clanranald in 1819 cannot be enter-
tained. While the claim of the family of Moidart
to the chiefship of Clanranald is undoubted, the
chiefship of the whole Clan Donald, as already
clearly proved, remains without question in the
family of Sleat.





Few prefatory remarks are needed in coiniecfcion
with this subject. Suffice it to say that the race,
of which Clan Donald are the principal house, was
known, not only in early times, but even under the
later dynasty of the Lords of the Isles, as the
" Clann Cholla." It was well on in the 14th century
when " O'Henna made this on John of Isla —

The Sovereignty of the Gael to the Clann Cholla
It is right to proclaim it."

A genealogy of the Lords of the Isles to be complete
must include the descent from Colla Uathais, or
Uais, from whom the Clann Cholla derive their
name. It may be stated at the outset that an
egregious error has crept into the statements of the
Seanachies in deducing the pedigree of this family,
by which they have sunk nine or ten generations,
namely, all the grades from Fergus Mac Ere, the
founder of the Dalriadic nation in Scotland. The
Annals of Ulster have fallen into the same mistake,
and all with the result of giving an air of unreality
to these genealogies. It is hoped that the system
developed in these pages may remedy this error.

I. Coll, or Colla Uathais, 6th in descent from
Constantino Centimachus, who flourished a.d. 125.^

' Anuals of the Four Masters.


The son of Constantine — or Conn Ceud-chaihach —
was Art Aanfhir, who built the celebrated palace of
Maigh Chuarta. The son of Art was Cormac, the
father of another Arthur whose son was Cor bred or
Cairbre Riada, founder of the Dah-eudini or Dal-
riadic race, and from whom the name Dalriad took
its rise. Corbred was the father of Eothach
Eochaidh, or Ochains, whose son was Colla Uathais.
From him the ancestors of the Macdonalds and
other collateral races were termed Clann Cholla.

II. Ethach or EocHAi, latinized Ochaius, was
the son of Colla Uathais, and succeeded his father.

III. Arthue,, son of Ethach, carried down the
line of succession. In one of the Annals he is called
Criomhthan. Some of them omit him altogether.
But in Munro's MS. of 1549, and the Kilbride MS.
of 1450, he is distinctly traced as the son of Ethach
and the father of

IV. Erc or Eric, the father of the three Dal-
riadic princes that finally established themselves in
Argyll.^ He flourished in the latter part of the 5th
century. He had three sons, Lome, Fergus, and
Angus, who are said to have received the blessings
of Saint Patrick before they left their native shore
for Caledonia. Lome settled in the district which
bears his name, Fergus in Kintyre, and Angus, the
youngest, in Isla.^ The descendants of Lome and
those of Fergus by two grandsons, namely, Comgall
and Gauran, sons of Domangart, claimed each in
turn the Dalriadic sceptre, which caused much
trouble and bloodshed. This state of things con-
tinued from the beginning of the 9th century for
the period of 300 years, until Fergus's offspring by
Gauran in the person of Alpin by his father's

^ Col. de Reb. Alb., p. 60-61. " Ibid.


marriage with the daughter of Urquis, King of the
Picts, united the whole of Scotland to the north of
Strathclyde and Lothian, over which Kenneth his
son ruled as one monarch. From the second Fergus,
uncle to Alpin, sprang, as will be seen, the family
afterwards distinguished as Lords of Argyll and the

V. Fergus, one of the sons of Ere, or, as he is
sometimes called, Fergus Mor. He commanded the
Dalriads that settled in Argyll after the death of
Lome, his elder brother. His grandson acquired
the district of Kintyre first allotted to Angus by his
marriage with the daughter of Murdoch Angus's
son. The three brothers, the sons of Ere, landed in
Argyll in 466, and Ere is said to have died in 502.^

VT. DoMANGART, SOU of Fergus, held the
sovereignty three years only, and died in 505.^ He
was succeeded by Comgall, son of Domangart, who
seems to have been the eldest son, but Gauran or
Godfrey, his brother, succeeded him. Comgall died
in 538.'

VII. Gauran wielded the sceptre over the Dal-
riads for the period of twenty-two years, and died
in 560.^ Conall or Donal, the son of Comgall,
succeeded his uncle, Gauran, and reigned sixteen
years. His death, according to Tighearnac, took
place in 574.

YIII. AiDAN or Hugh, the son of Gauran, next
succeeded. He held the principality for thirty-eight
years, and died in 606. He had a brother named
Ewan, whose son was RiguUan.

IX. Ethach or EocHA of the yellow locks, son of
the above Aodh or Hugh, styled also Aidan of the
golden-hilted sword, assumed the sovereigntv over

' Tighearnac Cdl. de Reb. Alb. - I Lid. ^ Ibid. ■* Ibid.


the Dalriads. He died in 623.^ He had a brother
named Conan, and several sons, viz., Conan Cearr
Bran, Domangart, Eochfinn, Arthur, and Failbhe.

X. Donald Brec, the son of Ethach or Eocha
Buidhe, took the sceptre neither as the immediate
successor of his father, Ethach, nor of his elder
brother, Conan Cearr, who was in power for three
months only, but as immediate successor to Fearchar,
son of Ewen, of the race of Lome, who reigned for
sixteen years. Donald died after reigning five
years according to the Irish Annals, but fourteen
according to the Albanic Duan. He was succeeded
by Conal or Donal, son of Duncan, and grandson of
Conal (already mentioned), son of Comgall, of the
race of Fergus. Domgall, also of the race of Lome,
reigned over that race at the same time. Conal,
surnamed Crandomna, died in 660. Donald Duinn,
his son, succeeded, and Maolduinn, his brother,
succeeded him. The former reigned thirteen and
the latter seventeen years. They had a brother
named Conan. Ferchar Fada reigned over Argyll
after Donald Brec. He was of the Lome race. He
died in 697, after a reign of twenty-one years. ^

XL Domangart, the son of Donald Brec, did
not succeed to the sovereignty. His brother, Cata-
saigh, also died young.

XII. Ethach or Eocha Bineval, the son of
Domangart, succeeded to the throne after the death
of Fearchar Fada for the period of two years only.
The son of Fearchar Fada took up the sceptre after
his death, and Selvach, another son of the same,
succeeded Ainceallach. Duncan, a descendant of
Fergus, by Comgall, next succeeded. He died in

^ Annals of Inuisf alien.
- Irish Annals. Coll, cle Reb. Alb. ^ Ibid.


XIII. Ethaoh, the son of* the above Ethach
assumed the govei'iimeiit in 72G. He died in 733.
During liis son's minority, Muireadach, the son of
Ainceallach, was sovereign prince for a short time,
and was succeeded by Ewen, his son.^

XIV. AiDAN or Hugh, the fair son of Each of
the steeds, above mentioned, succeeded to power.
He held it thirty years, and died in 778.

XV. Fergus, the son of Aidan or Aodhfin (fair-
haired), next succeeded. His reign lasted only
three years, and during his son's minority the
sceptre was taken by Selvach 2nd of the race of
Lorn, who held it for four-and-twenty years.
Eocha Anfhuinn (weak), the son of Aidan, next
succeeded, and reigned thirty years, and after him
Dungal, the son of the above Selvach, swayed the
sceptre for seven years. Eocha or Ochaius estab-
lished the throne by his marriage with Urgusia,
daughter of the Pictish sovereign, an alliance which
enabled his grandson, Kenneth MacAlpin, after-
wards to claim and acquire the Pictish sceptre in
right of his grandmother. The descendants of
Ethach were enabled to keep a firm hold of the
Dalriadic sceptre to the exclusion of the offspring
of Fergus, and also afforded them an opportunity of
extendintr the whole of Caledonia without extir-
l^ating the Picts, as was at one time asserted by
historians. Ethach was succeeded by Alpin, and
Alpin by Kenneth, who removed the seat of his
court from the western Coast of Argyll to the

The descendants of Fergus who still remained in
the West owned the territory of Argayl and some
of the Isles, and there we find them when the

' Irish Annals. Coll de Reb. Alb.



public record.s or other collateral testimony hajDpens
to notice them. We have no means of* doing more
than naming these in the order of their descent, as
shown by the oldest genealogies we have, and the
account joreserved in the Annals of Ulster, The
son of Fergus who represented the Dalriadic power
in the West was

XVI. Maine, or, according to Munro, Eacime.
His son was

XVII. Godfrey, whose daughter was the wife
of Kenneth MacAlpin, and who was known in his
day as Toshach of the Isles. The son and successor
of Godfrey was

XVIII. NiALGUS, or, a,ccording to some, Neill.
His son was

XIX. Suibne, according to Dean Munro
SwYFFiNE. His son was

XX. Mearedha, latinized Marcus, and Hailes
in his Annals states that Kenneth, King of the
Scots ; Malcolm, King of the Cambri ; and Marcus,
King of the Isles, entered into a bond of treaty for
mutual assistance and defence in the year 973.
This shows that Lords of the Isles existed before
Somerled's time. The son of Mearrdha was

XXI. Sol AIM, Solan, or Sella, whose son and
heir in the Lordship of Argyll and the Isles was

XXII. Gilledomnan. It was during the life-
time of this chief that the Western Isles of Scot-
land were completely subjugated by the piratical
Norsemen. His daughter married Harold Gillies,
King of Norway. Gilliedomnan was succeeded by

XXIII. Gillebride or Gilbert, who is men-
tioned by the oldest Highland genealogist as " rig
eilean Shidir," that is, King of the Sudereys or
Southern Isles. His daughter was the wife of


Wymund MacHeth, Earl of Moray. He was called
Gillchride na li-Uamh, from the fact that during a
certain period of his depressed fortunes he lived in
a cave in the district of Morvern. From Gillebride
are said to have descended — besides the Clan
Donald and Clan Dougall, etc. — the Maclachlans,
MacEwin of Otter, and others. His son was
Soraerled rex insularum, or, as he is known in
Hiofhland tradition, Somhairle Mor MacGillehhride.


I. SoMERLED is known to have married Ragn-
hildis, daughter of Olave the Black, King of Man,
and had three sons —

L Reginald, ancestor of the family, particularly designated
"De He."

2. Dugall, who had three sons — (1) Dugall Scrag ; (2)

Duncan ; (3) Uspac Hakon. Dugall Scrag and
Uspak Hacon died withoiit issue, Duncan was suc-
ceeded by his son, King Ewin, or, as he is called in
the Sagas, King John. This King John's line is
said to have terminated in two heiresses, one of whom
m. the King of Norway, and the other — Juliana —
m. Alexander of Isla, son of Angus Mor.

3. Angus, the youngest son of Somerled, had a son, James,

whose daughter, Jane, m. Alexander, eldest son of

Walter -Stew art of Scotland. Walter, son of Ai3xander

and of Jane, of the house of Somerled, nj. Marjory

Bruce, whose son was Robert II. The descendants

of Angus MacSomerled appear to be extinct in the

male line.

He had another son, Gille Galium, killed at Renfrew,

who may have been by a former wife. If this was so,

the seanachies would be right in saying that Reginald

Wcis Somerled's oldest surviving son, while the Manx

chronicle would be right in stating that Reginald was

second in order of birth. Other sons are said to have

been Gall MacSgillin, the progenitor of the Clan Gall of

the Glens, and Olave. He also had a daughter, Beatrice,

who was Prioress of lona.


IT. Reginald, son of Somerled, m. Fonia, grand-
daughter of Fergus, Prince of Galloway. By this
lady he had —

1. Donald, from whom the Clan Donald.

2. Roderick, and, according to some genealogists,

3. Dugall.

4. A daughter said to have married Allan of Galloway.

III. Donald, son of Reginald, and progenitor of
the Clan Donald, carried on the line of the Kings of
Innsegall. He m. a daughter of Walter Stewart of
Scotland, and had two sons, who ap2:)ear on record —

1. Angus Mor.

2. Alexander, known as Alastair Alor.

IV. Angus Mor m. a daughter of Sir Colin
Campbell of Lochow, by whom he had three sons —

1. Alexander, his heir.

2. Angus, called, in contradistinction to his father, Angus


3. John " Sprangach," progenitor of the Macians of Ardna-

murchan, Angus Mor was succeeded by his son

V. Alexander, who espoused the cause of

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