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The earls of Cromartie; their kindred, country, and correspondence (Volume 2) online

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Tarbat, and his other lands in Ross, to the sheriffdom of Cromartie. The
sheriffdoms of Ross and Cromartie remained distinct till they were united by the
Jurisdiction Act of 1748. The Act of Reannexation is in the following terms : —

Act in favour of the Viscount of Tarbat, annexing the Barony of Tarbat to the
Shire of Cromartie. 19th July 1690.

Oure Soveraign Lord and Lady, the King and Queen's Maiesties, considering that by Act
of Parliament in anno 1685, the barony of Tarbat, and severall other lands in Rosshire, were
dissolved from it, and annexed to the shire of Cromartie, but in the year 1686 the said Act of
Annexatione was rescinded, on pretence that it included lands not belonging to the Viscount
of Tarbat, in whose favours the annexatione to Cromarty was made ; and now the said
Viscount, desireing that onlj' the said barony of Tarbat, and other lands in Rosshire which
belong to him in property, and are presently possest by him or by his mother and mother-in-
law in liferent, and by some woodsetters of his property, should be annexed to the shire of
Cromartie, their Majesties, in favours of the said Viscoiint and his successors, doe, with consent
of the Three Estates now conveened in Parliament, Rescind the said Act past in anno 1686,
and of new annexes the said baronie of Tarbat, and all other lands in Rosshire belonging in
property to the said Viscount, possest as said is, to the shire of Cromartie in all time comeing,

^ Acts of Parliament, vol. viii. p. 484. On shire of Ross, and annexing them to Cro-

the same date an Act was passed disjoining martie, p. 485.

Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh's lands - Acts of Parliament, 1685, cap. 72, vol.

of Pittonarchie, Benechfield, etc., from the viii. p. 513. ^ Ibid. p. 602.


and to all efifects, and as to any other lands contained in that Act 1685 not being of the
barony of Tarbat, and not being his own proper lands and possest in manner forsaid, they are
to remaine in the shire of Ross as formerly, notwithstanding of this or any other Act past
in the year 1685, but prejudice of the said Viscount his other jurisdictions in these lands,
as accords.^

A succinct account of the annexations is given in a paper contributed by
Mr. Alexander Nimmo, rector of the Academy of Inverness, to the Third Report
of the Commissioners for Highland Eoads and Bridges.

I. The annexations in the Black Isle are : —

In Cullicudden parish —

1 . The farms of Cullicudden, Craighouse, and Torbirchurn, on the Cromartie


2. The farms of Brea, Woodhead, and Easter Culbo, situated towards the

In Rosemarkie parish —
Two small patches, known as " The mortified lands of the town of Fortrose,"
having been bequeathed to the burgh for behoof of their poor. The
extent is not more than forty or fifty acres.

II. The annexations in Easter Ross : —
In Tarbat parish —

1. The barony of Easter Aird and Easter Tarbat, comprehending all the penin-

sula east of the parish church, excepting the small farm of Hilltoun.

2. The barony of Meikle Tarrell, on the eastern shore.
In the parishes of Fearn and Tain —

1. The estate of Cadboll (with Mid Geanies), on the eastern shore.

2. The estate of Loch Slyne, on the northern shore.

3. The farms of Baliacherie, Plaids, and Hilltoun {alias Skardy), and the

mills of ditto, all in the neighbourhood of Tain.

4. Probably some part of the Morrich Mor, an undivided common on the

• shore between Tain and Tarbat.
In Logie and Kilmuir parishes, on the south coast of the peninsula —

1. The estate of New Tarbat.

2. Priesthill, in Kilmuir.

1 Acts of Parliament, vol. ix. p. 194.


In Kincardine parish, ou the river Carron —

1. The farm of Duny.

2. The farm of Amatnatua.

3. The farm of Greenyards, uncertain.

III. The annexations in Wester Ross and on the west coast : —
In Fodderty parish, near Dingwall —

1. The barony of Castle Leod or Strathpeffer, includiug nearly the Avhole

of the valley of Strathpeffer, with great part of the mountain Ben AVy vis,
about twenty- two square miles.

2. The mill of Ousie (between Dingwall and Couan Bridge).

3. The water of Conan, viz., the salmon-fishing on that river.

IV. Annexations in the parish of Lochbroom : —

1. The district of Coigeach, including the isles of Tannera, Rustol, Isle

Martin, and all the Summer Isles. The town of Ullapool is situated in
this district ; extent about one hundred and sixty square miles.

2. Ach ta Skailt, on the south shore of Little Loch Broom.

3. The farm of Meikle Gruinard, and one-third of the Isle Gruinard.

4. Ach'-n-ivie, a shealing on the water of Shallag.

5. Fannich and Nied, a sheep-farm on the north shore of Loch Fannich.

6. Tollimuic, a small farm at the head of Strathvaich.

The whole of these annexed parts come under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff
of Ross, he being Sheriff of Ross and Cromartie. These offices were united by
the Jurisdiction Act of 1748.

In the bills for raising the militia, the districts in Rosemarkie, Fearn and Tain,
Kincardine and Lochbroom parishes fall to Ross-shire ; while not only the parts
annexed in Cullicudden, Tarbat, and Fodderty parishes, but the whole parishes in
which they are situated, are included in Cromarty. The annexations in Logie
and Kilmuir parishes are curious in this respect. The estate of New Tarbat,
being chiefly in Logie, falls to Ross-shire ; while the small spot of Priesthill, as it
includes the church, brings the whole parish of Kilmuir into Cromartie, — the
MiHtia Acts enacting that every parish shall be considered as belonging to the
shire in which the parish church is situated.^

^ Tliird. Report of the Commissioners for in Sir George S. Mackenzie's Survej' of Eoss
HigUand Roads and Bridges, 6tli August and Cromartie, p. IS.
1807, Appendix U. No. 6, head iv., is stated



By Sir George Mackenzie, first Earl of Cromartie.

Sir — I had not delayed so long to have sent ane short accountt of the genealogie
of our family if I haid not bein sollicitous of exact truth, that tho we cannot compett
with some others in fabled antiquitie and romantick acctiones we might appeir yett
without fals vernishes, and so burdin neather our owin consciences nor other men's
beleiff with vntruthes and lyes. Most of our antient families place the fountaines
beyond record, that we most tack them on report, as we doe that of Nile, which, as it
cannot be impugned, neather doth it import whither it wer so or not. All are come of
Noah ; and if antiquitie wer sutficient to import worth any who is suirelie come of him
is come of the oldest and greatest since the flood. But opinion hath placed respect on
thes particular stems who have bein of any contanuauce in greatnes, and blots out of its
matriculationes the greatest when poverty clouds them. Should any of Cezar's or Alex-
ander's successors be now searched for, it 's probable enough they might be found drudges
to the successors of ther meanest slaves. I doe not wreit this to bring any tash on
noble progenies, but to ewince that it is not to be overvalued nor to tack place of per-
sonall qualitie, which makes men more truly glorious. On thing is to be confest by all,
that since we observe qualities to rune much in a blood and lycknes to be consequent of
relation, it is advantagious to be discerned [descended] of good and great prediccessors.

The origine of our familie, or rather its transplantation to Scotland, is not so farr
of, fit caput i7iter mibila condat, for tradition, and evident doe joine to a point with
very litle variatione in that account. Traditione informs that our first wes a sonne of
the Earle of Kildar's, who came to Scotland in King Alexander the 3d's tyme, when
the Danes invaded Scotland, and that our first appeirance wes at the famous battell of
Largs, in which Acho the Norvegian receaved a notable defeat in the yeir 1263, when
Colline Gerald, sone, say they, to the Earl of Kildar, asisting the Scots, acted so valiently
that he wes still therafter justly respected by King Alexander, and imployed to goe with
Alexander and Walter Stewart, and the Earl of March and Argyle, to reduce

the north west Illes, and by Walter left to comand the fort then built at Kintaill, in a
convenient situatione, for supprysing the adjacent Illes and Highlands, from whence the
fort haid its name of the Ille Dantan. The lands of Kintaill wer at that tyme posest for
the most pairt by Mac]\Iahon, and the rest by the family of Obeoland. This MacMahon,


which comonly is Englished Mathesones, and descended of the Vrsines or Fitzursils,
and wer of the antient inhabitants of Irland. He had an only daughter, who maried
to this Colin, comandir of the fort, brought to him and his successors that heritadge of
Kintaill which belonged to the MacMahon ; this our tradition uevir doubted nor con-
traverted, but evir held as a true accountt, from generation to generatione. All the
differance I find in this from what I sould conclud as truth, is, that this Coline Gerald
wes not a sone [of the] Earl of Kildar (for ther wes no Earl of Kildar till the yeir
1290, when John Fitz Thomas, alias Gerald, baron of Offaly, on the discord tuixt him
and the Cheif Justice William , wes receaved Earle by King

of England) : bot that he wes of the cheiff family of the Geralds is not to be doubted,
in respect that his comeing to Scotland wes notticed, for I find in ane old fragment
that I have of the manuscript of Icolmkill, wher they, speaking of the notable persones
who fought at the battell of Largs with the Stewart and the Cummin, they mentione
Walter Stewart, the Earl of Carrick and March, the Thane of Argyle, Robert de
Loudon, Joannes de Strivelin, Walter Comin, Thomas Malliver, peregrinus and Hibernus
ex familia Geraldinorum qui anno precedent! Hibernia pulsus apud regiam benigne
acceptus et hucusque in carta [curia] permansit, hoc in prelio strenue pugnavit. And after-
wards in the expedition made after that battell for reduceiug the Illes, vnder the conduct
of Walter Stewart, wher the said fragment speaks of the persones who accompanied him,
they mention Gerald, with this note, De quo supra in prelio ad Largis, qui postea
fortiter se gessit contra Insulanos et inter eos in presidium relictus. Now this agries
with the traditione, only that the Earl of Kildar being since the cheitf of that
family the tradition hath assumed that litle, but it would appeir that this Gerald wes
Sonne to Johne Fitz Thomas, who, in the first record, is stiled Lord Johne, and cheiff
then of the family of Geralds, who, by the malice and invy of Sir Richard Bochell, alias
Capell, wes slaine, and the who[Ie] family of the Geralds persecutt, Lord Morrine his
eldest sone slaine, and the rest of his childrein Lord Johne to England, when

afterwards he wes restored to the barronie of Offaly, and then created Earl of Kildar.
This abuse and injury (for so all English and Irish records charectir it) fell out anno
1261. The comeing of this Gerald to Scotland, as the word [record] of Icolmkill says,
wes anno precedenti^ speaking of the battell of Largis, which wes anno 1263. So he had
come to Scotland anno 1262, and anno 1263 asisted at Largis, afterwards accompanyed
Walter Stewart to the Illes, and as the record of Icolmkill and our indoubted tradition
agries, wes ther left in , to suppress the tumultuary Highlanders and lUanders

ther newly reduced. Wher marieing the daughter and heritrix of MacMahon, he


accquirit right to the greatest part of Kintaill. How he accquired the rest is not related,
or if it wes by the right of his wyfe that he obteined Kintaill is only asserted by
traditione, and albeit it be probable is not apparent in wreitt, for the chartour by
King Alexander to this Colin deduces no such title. It is of dait three yeires after the
battell of Largis. Since it is short I sail heir give you its full copy.

"Alexander Dei gratia rex Scotorum, omnibus probis hominibus totius terre sue clericis
et laicis, salutem. Sciant presentes et futuri me pro fideli servitio mihi navato per
Colinum Hibernum, tarn in bello quam in pace, ideo dedisse et hac presenti carta mea
concessisse dicto Colino et ejus successoribus totas terras de Kintaill : Tenendas de nobis
et successoribus nostris in liberam barroniam, cum guardia : Reddendo servitium forin-
secum et fidelitatem. Testibus, Andrea episcopo Moraviensi, Waltero Stewart, Hendry
de Balioch camerario, Ardnoldo de Campania, Thoma Hostiario vicecomite de Invernes.
Apud Kincardin, ix die Januarii anno regni domini Regis xvi."

And it wold appeir that the King haid some way satisfied the Obeolands for wfan^t
possessione they haid in Kintaill, since this chartour conteines totas terras de Kintaill,
and indeid befor this a litle Ferquhar Obeoland wes receaved Earl of Ros.

This Kincardin appears to be Kincardin on Dee, for it is vndoubted by inform[ation]
that this Coline, waiting on King Alexander about this time in the forrest of Marr, in
the begining of , at which tyme the harts bell, on of them runeing furiouslie

at the King had put him in danger, had not [he] prevented it by killing the hart with ane
arrow in the forhead : for which cause the King conferred it on him in armory to cary
a deare's head puissant wounded in ane asur feild, which is corrupted by turneing the
wound to a starr, and the blood to a tusk. What the actiones of this Coline wer
therafter wee find not mentioned, for thes remoter actiones are seldome recordit, vnless
they be of very singular concerne ; but, howevir, it appears he served his Prince to
good vse in that remote Government, since we find no stirring in the Tslandirs dureing
this King's reigne ; but, on the contrar, Buchanan insinuats that ther mynds wer drawin
from the Norvegians, and ther inclinationes of obedience to the Scots, which cannot but
leave a good charecter on a persone who haid such autority neir to them as this Coline
haid. His father-in-law retained possession of Lochelsh dureing lyfe, and Coline ac-
claimed it after his death ; and whillist he wes tacking possession of it he was killed by
the neirest of kin of MacMahone, who toock possession of Lochelsh to themselffes. He
wes killed besyd the loch of Auchnaunich, at a place called to this day Glack Chaillin.

The nixt who succeidit to Coline Hibernus or Geraldus, in Kintaill, wes his sonne
Kenneth, so named after his grandfather on the mother's syde, Kenneth M^Mahone.

Aither the constabulary of the fort hath beiu conferred heritably on his father, or els the suc-
ceiding kings have found his successors fitt to serve them in that charge, since we find no
change. He married Morvha, daughter to M^Coull of Lome, and by hir haid Kenneth,
who succeeded to him, and wes named according to the custome of the antient Scots,
M'^Kenneth, after his father, the people binding the patronimick on him from Kenneth,
his father, rather thene from Coline, the grandfather, from ther respect to Kenneth
M^Mahone, ther antient maister, so that all that come from this Kenneth reteined the
patronimick M^'Kenneth, and, euphonic causa, pronunced M^Kenzie, more consonant also
to Irish pronunciatione. It is most probable that this second Kenneth not only sidit
with Robert Bruce in his contest with the Cumins, but that this wes on of those that
sheltred him in his lurking, and assisted him in his restitutione, for, in the Hies, sayes
Boetius, he haid suply from a freind ; and yet Donald of the Hies, who then comandit
them, wes on the Cumin syde, and raised the Hies to ther asistance, and wes beat at
Deir by Edward Bruce anno 1308. The Earl of Argyle, Alexander, wes also with the
Coumius' party, and wer taicken by King Robert, and anno 1309 ; and ^PCoul of
Lome, being Cumine, Earl of Athole's sister's sone, did fight againest the Bruce at Kil-
drummy, and toock him prisoner, who, being intrusted to LPCoull's foster brother, the
Bruce vulosed the broch, and so slipt the mantle, wherby his keiper detained him, which
broach M'^CouU belt to this day, so that upon examinatione we will find none any way
considerable at that tyme to have aither sheltred or asisted the Bruce as this Kenneth,
whos not being mentioned in the rest of southern battells I impute to two causes,
first, the great ignorance of our wreitters without the verge of the shyres neir adjacent
to ther abode, wherby all the northern actors are fallen in oblivion, tho it is most
certaine that they wer the great defenders of the kingdome, as they wer the first ac-
quirers of it.

The nixt is, that all the bordering countries being enimies to the Bruce, viz., the
Earl of Ros, William , did unworthily apprehend his Queen at St. Duthas, now

called Tayne, and delyvered hir to the English, anno 1305. Donald of the Hies and on
Rolholand, I conjectir it should [be] Ranald, with all ther heritores hebred againest him,
and wes beat at Deir. The Earl of Argyle wes enimie, and therfor Alexander the Earl
wes apprehendit by him and his country subdued, anno 1304-, so that the Bruce freinds
in the Highlands of Ros could not be of so great use to him any wher as in that midst
of thes enimies. Amongst so many and so great enimies, it wes a great victory to Ken-
neth not to be overcome, nor his fort tackin from him, which he keiped, bot with great
disadvantadge, for at this tyme, as we have by traditione, begane the wasting of Kintaill

VOL. II. 3 N


by the Earles of Ross and Donald of the Illes, which feud continued (tho the publick
state of the kingdome setled) for severall generationes ; but many of his people being
kild, and possessiones wasted, all he could doe [w]as to maintain his fort, which he did on
the spoile of his eniraies, his owin being totaly wasted. After Banockburn, which fell
out anno 1314, the kingdome returneing to peace, the followers and tennants of Ken-
neth of Kintaill returned to ther wasted country. This Kenneth keipt ane intimat
freendship with Andrew Murray when he wes a privat man, and fidelity to him whilst
he wes governour, and haid the fortoune to be with him at his death anno 1338.

To him succeided Kenneth ni Stroiu, from his nose, as Scipio wes in . He

wes maried to , daughter to M°Leod of Lewis, by whom he had on only sonne

called Murdo, but befor his mariadge he haid three bastards, on called Hector Birrach
or , of Drumnamarge, who accquired that land by marying Hellen Logan or

Loban, daughter to Loban of Drumnamarge, on of the Earl of Rosse fewars. This
superior haveing ane innate enmity with Kennethe's race, was the cause that this
Hector had no peacable possessione of Drumnamarge, but turneing outlaw, retired to
Eddirachilis, wher he left a sonne called Henrye, of whom are descendit a race yett
possessing ther, called Slight-Henrick or Henrye's race. The 2d wes called Sewill,
and agnamed Dearghuilach from his reed eyes, from whom are descendit John M'^Kenzie,
commissar deput of Ross, the Maister of Croy, and John writer in Edinburgh. And of
the 3d bastard, called Alexander, are descendit the clan Murchievor, in Leadgown, and
many of the comons in the Brayes of Ross.

This Kenneth, the Laird of Kintaill, was surprysed be the Earl of Ross, and execut
at Invernes, the dait of this fact I could not be certainlie informed of ; but by David
Bruce's imprisonement at this tyme, law gave place to force, and innocencie wes p[r]eyed
on by insolence, especially in thes northern pairts. The Earl of Ross disposed of M'^Ken-
zie's lands as he thought fitt ; only the castell of Ilandonan did keip out still. The
3 bastard sonnes of Kenneth, Hector, Sewill, and Alexander, possesses themselffes
with what they could of Kintaill, and dismeaned themselftes, according to the custome
of the tyme, in all maner of outrages to the weaker neighbours. Mean while the
righteous aire, Murdo Dow, being a childe, wes convoyed for securitie by some of his
father's faithfull servants to M^^Coul of Lome, wher he wes keipit till he came to
manly age, at wliich tyme one M^Auley, who all this tyme keipt Ilandonan, vent for
him and brought thither saflie, nou shewing themselftes greatter enimies to this aire
then his three bastard breithrein.

Murdo M^Kenzie of Kintaill, succeiding to the lands which he haid by his father,


succeidit also to the feuds of his neighbouring clans, especially the Earl of Ross and
Donald of the Illes ; for they, tacking the advantadge of the troubles dureing David
Bruce imprisonement, confideing in ther owin power and the remotness of the place,
Murdo lyckwayes being a stranger and bot a new established family, and consequently
weak in freindship, they hound out ther sorners with sufficient strengthe to wast his
lands. All he could doe wes to requitt them with spoiling als much of thers as his
force could reach, guarding his persone and choisest men in Ilandonan; but all his estat
being wasted, he haid recours to his brother-in-law, M'^Aula of Lochbroom, who,
asisting him with what force he could, did attaiue no more by so doeing but to have
himselfe ranked in with others, the Earl of Ross enimies, who now wes Lesly, but ledd
to ill practices by asociation with Donald of the Illes, with whom the Earl of Ross
keipt a great freindshipe, tUl, by matching with him, they fell into the title and posses-
sione of the earldome, as shall hearafter appeare.

M°Aula of Lochbroome, shairing now in the feued, they hound out

Leod M'=Gillendris, a depender of the Earl of Ross, and possessor of severall lands in
Strathcarron and some in Strathhokell, to invade Lochbroome, which he did with such
success that he kild IVPAulae, and possest his lands of Lochbroome and Cogiach,

wherby that family endit. M'^Aula leaveing no childrein but the daughter maried

to IVPKenzie (for so the Laird of Kintaill wes and is still designed by the Highlanders),
and the estat holding of the Earl of Ross, the Earl disponed the samen in lyfrent by
tack to Leod, albeit Murdo M'^Kenzie acclamed it in right of his wyfe (and indeid
we find few or no tailyed charters at that tyme). M'^Kenzie distroyed in himself and
his freind, fled to his vnckle M'^Leod of Lewes, leaveing lUandonan weill forti-

fied, and send oftymes wictuall to it by sea from the Lewis, but weariing of so unactive
ane exile and precarious lyvlyhood, he procured a pairty of sex scor men from his
vnckle, and tuo longe boatts, wherwith comeing in to Invereu in Lochbroome, other
say to Kisseran in Lochcarron, and accompanyed with his cossing german,
M'^Leod, he getts intelligence that Leod had appoynted a rendivouz at Kenlochew, tuelf
miles distant the nixt morneing, vvith intention to goe and beseidge Illandonan.
M'^Kenzie seazes all persones he meitts with, and marches all night vp by the syd of
Lochmourii (so called from ane iland in it wher Mouredus lived a hermitt), and comeing
by the dawne in ane harvest day to the place of randivouz, all who were asembleing,
mistaicking him and his people for a pairt of themselftes already rendivouzied, still as
they came he seazed them, and amongest the first Leod himself and his soune Pawll but
carying calmly till he haid seased all. He then off'ered this oppressor to the memory of

his brother-in-law, formerly killed, by Leod, and execut him at Kenlochew, at a place in
Achiluask, called to this day Fe-leod, that is Leod's myre, and possesing himself with
Lochbroome in his wyfe's right, the only child leiving of M^Aula, he disposed

of Cogiach to his cossigne M'^Leod, for his notable asistance in his distress ;

which lauds they both retained, but could obteine no chartours from the Earls of Eoss,
of whom they held, the Earls of Ross pretending that they fell to themselfes in defect
of ane aire-male, the other retaineing possession in right of his wyfe, as aire of lyne.

He wes a young man of a feirce and barbarous nature, loweing warr and action
better then peace and queyt, who, contracting a freindshipe with Pawl, sonne to
Leod, who wes prisoner, he procured his liberty from his brother, on conditione that he
should resigne his tack in ^PKenzie's favours ; on which termes he wes dimitted, and
evir after Murdo Riach and Pawl observed a perfect freindshipe. For Paull
sonne comeing shortly therafter to the age of a man, he desyred to mak spoile on some
neighbouring country, a barbarous custome, but most ordinary in thes dayes, as thinking
therby to accquir the reput of valour, and to become formidable, the greatest security
amidst ther unhappy feuds. This ther prentice sey or first expeditione wes called in

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