William Fraser.

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

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Kiuellan and his returne. The nixt morneing Foulls marched by, nevir getting the
least nottice of Hector, but supossing him about Kinnellan to owin his bragge.
Foulls keipt the strenth of his party in the vann, litle regarding the rest. That day
he did not hold court nor cary as baillie, but, deeming that below him to shelter his
violence with pretence of law, he demolished the barne, and caused cary its couples ;
and not content therwith, he spoiled the vtensils, such as they wer, and drow the
cattell as a trophee to his promeis. In the evening late he returned, as Hector con-
jectored, carying his trophic in the front of his pairty, with a strong guard, and the
rest of his choise men he placed in his reer, least Hector should persew, litle imagining
that he wes tuixt him and home. Foulls haid marched west to Kinellan by the north-
syd of the hill, thorrow Strathpepher : and on what ground T know not, but ledd by his
fate, he returned by the south syde, wher the highway toutched on the shoulder of
the hill wher Hector wes, who, finding his desyre and hop meitt in the enimies' march,
whilst they triumphingly advert litle to ther safty, and arre far dissipat in a long
and negligent ordor of march, he letts them all pass till they of the reer ar within a
muskett shott of him. He fells doune with violence on them, cutting betuixt them
and the rest of the people. His power wes too stronge for the guard, so that or they
could Weill fitt themselfes to resistance they wer cutt off, whose dying groans in the
glowmiug of the evin, and the uncertainty, as weel as vnexpectednes of Hector's attaque,
did so fright the rest that they presently rune away in confusione. Albeit Foulls, who
wes in the vann uith the trophee and its guard, did all he could to stope them ; yet it
ues to no purpose, for fear persuadit more strongly then aither his threats or intreats.
The flieing croud disordor that for pairty also, all wer necessitat to flie. Hector and
his pairty meane[while] persewing ther victory with all possible violence, since in prudence
they [could] not give quarter to such a number, as if tacken might tack ther victors,
they choisit to kUl all by Hector's ordor on that consideration. In this retreat almost the
whol fensible men of the clann of Dinguall and M'CuUoches wer killed, and so many of
the iMonroes, that for a long tyme therafter ther could not be ane secure freindshipe
made vp tuixt them and the M'^Kenzies, till by frequent allyan[c]e and mutuall beneffeits
at last thes animosities are setled ; and, in ordor to a reconciliation, Hector, sone to
this William of Foulls, wes maried to John M'^Kenzie's sister, on whom wes begott
Ptobert, who wes kild at Halydoun. All this conflict, besyd that it wes notable for its
handsome contrivance, inequalitie of force, and number of the slaine, ther were tao litle


circumstance worth the noting : on wes that the persuit wes so hott as that they not
only fledd in a croud, but they wer kild so att a place on the hill edge wher a desent
fell into a hollow from each shoulder of the hill to a well, most of Hector's men being
armed with axes and tuo handed suords, they cutt of in that litle space so many heads
as toumbling doune to the well ther wer accompted 19 heads in itt, whenc[e] to
this day it is named Tober ni Kean, or the fountaine of heads. Another wes that on
agnamed Sunrachan, a servant of Hector's, persewed on of the enimie into the church
of Dinguall, to which many had rune for shelter. As the persone wes goeing in to the
church, Sunrachan apprehendit him by the arme ; the man cryed, " My sanctuary safes
me." " I, but," sayes Sunrachan, " what a man puts in the sanctuary againest his will,
if he can he may tack it out againe," and so, puting him back from the doore, he kild
him at on stroak. This William, who Sir William haid evir desyrs and dcsigne the
revenge this afront, and many thought that he intendit it, in that voyadge made by him
to the Highlands as baillie to the Duke alongs the Highlands, anno ; but in

his goeing he ues kild by the Camerons at Auchanschellach, in Lochcarron, for which
Ewon Cameron wes a long tyme therafter execut at Elgine, being 82 yeires of
adge till the yeir 1507, at which tyme Johne, being in his vnckle's house, and about
18 yeires of adge, the house of Lovat tack fyre. When non dard approach to it
for the flames, he boldly entred it and caryed out Lovit's chartor cheist, a weight even
then thought much for the strongest man, and that cheist, yett extant, is a load sufli-
cient for tuo. His vnckle, both obleidgd by the actione, and glad to sie such strength
and boldnes in the young man, desyred to doe as much for himself as he haid done for
him, and to recover his chartor cheist from his vnckle, and that he should have all the
conccurance which he could give to that effect. John (whos prudence evin in youth-
head went abow many men, as it did afterwards, almost beyond all of his country) did
very sagaciously consider that his vnckle, a man of valour and wisdome, being in
possession, could not without deficulty be expeled, in which atempts slaughter and
depredationes could not be evited, and if once he did comitt any such things on thos who
wer his natives, he should therby disobleidge them altogither to himself and ingadge
them to his vncle. Therfor he resolved to assay a more prudent course, and to strick
only at Hector's persone, with whom he weill judgit all the pretence and the country
people's respects would fall. In prosecutione of this he addrest himself to his vnckle,
and required that since he haid tackin his estait he would give hime a galley and
as many of the ablest youthes of the country as should voluntarly follow him, with
whom he would pass into Irland, a kingdom then in warr, and ther aither to purchase


a glorious death or a mor plentiful! fortune then he wes lyck to have at home. The
motione pleasd his vnckle exceidingly, who therupon not only gave him his owin birline
(so they call a galley), but furnish him with all necessar provisione, asuireing him withall
that if he should prosecut that designe he would yeirly send him a portione till his
fortune should [be] abow necessity, wheras if he hade otherwayes resolved and endeavor
to have molested him in his right (as he callit it) he should have brought a suddaine mine
on himself. Of all the youth in the country non voluntarly offered themselfes to his
adventor with John but threitty ; nor would he have any who offered not themselffes
freily, on good grounds judging such, and only such, fitt companions for him in his
conditione, as resolvit and aff"ectionat. He appoynts them, with the boat, to attend him
at Corristone, on of the privatest glens in all the west coast, and most distant from all
other people, whilst he stayed with his vnckle, to be suplyed with some necessars, but
indeid to observe his method and maner of converse. At last he toock leave, with all
seemeing alacrity and simplicitie. His vnckl sent some servants to convoy him, but
rather to ascertaine him of his departur, and as watching him to prevent any designe.
Accompanyed with thes, he came to Corristone, wher the boat and his company waited.
With thes he toock boat and sett sail, with a fair wind, for the Hies, as intending thence
to Irland. Hector's servants imediatly returned to tlier raaister, who leived then
at Wester Farburne, 24 miles distant from Corristone. At ther returne he asked
wher they had left Johne. They told they saw him boated and gone. " Weill, then,"
said he, "we may now sleep without fear of Anne's childrein," for so Lovat's daughter,
ther mother, wes named. But John, sailling doune the Loch of Corristone to a privat
creick, he imediatly landit in a wood, dispersed his company, and desyred them in the
most indescerned pathes to meitt him at Aid Corrinarnich, in the bray of Corristone,
which accordinglie done, he followed Hector's men, and albeit he wes neir them err
they came to Farburne, yett he buir oft' and lingered till about midnight. Then calling
his company togither, he said : " Now, good freinds, I perceave you are indeid aff'ec-
tionat to me and resolit men, who have frielie forsaikin ther countiy and relationes to
share in my no promising fortune, but my designe in seeking only such as voluntarly
would goe alonge wes that I might have certainty of the aff'ectione and resolution of
my people ; and since you are they whom I ought only to rely upon in and

danger, I shall now tell you that I wes nevir so fanthearted as to quitt my inherittance
without atempting what is probable for any man in my capacity. In ordor to this
I feigned this designe for Irland for three reasones, first, to put my vnckle in securitie,
whom I found evir hitherto very circumspect and weill guarded, nixt, by this to find out


a select faithful! number to whom I might trust, and, thirdly, that in case I faill, and
that my vnckle sail prewaill over my indeavors, that T might have this boat and
provisiones as a saife retreat, both for myselfe and yow, whom I should be loath to
expose to so great a danger without some probability in the atempt and some securitie
in the disappoyntment. I am resolved this night to fall on my vnckl, for he being
gone ther is non of his childrein who dare hope to repone themselffes to his place.
The country men who nowe, for fear, depend on him and disowiu me, will, no doubt,
on the same motives, promo ved with my just title, owin me againest all other injurious
pretenders. On thing I most require of you, and it is, that albeit thos on whom we
are to fall are all related both to you and me, yett since on ther destructione depends
the preservatione of our lyfe and restitutione of my estate, ye most all promeise not to
give quarter to my vnckle or any of his company." To this they all agrie, without
considering of ther naturall obleidgments to most of them, so on they goe, and about
midnight, with great queitnes, tliey fyred all the quarters of the house wher Hector and
his servants lay, they standing in armes without to prevent the escape of any ; but
some of them, provocked to more pity by the present danger of ther relationes then they
wer when they resolved to give no quarters, called on the neirest freinds to come out
and render on assurrance. John sieing so many of them desyre this, that he wes not
able to resist them, " Weill," said he, " ray vnckle is as neir in blood to me as any in
the house are to you, and therfor I will be as kynd to him as you are to them ;" ther-
upon he calls him furth and asuired his lyfe, who therwpon rendered himself to his
nephew. Nixt day then vent a gait towards Kintaill (haveing sent on to informe his
vnckle Lovat of what passed), wher all the people, both ther and in the rest of his herit-
adge, recognised him as ther maister. The house of Illandonan wes furthwith delyvered
to him, with the chartor-cheist and evidents of his estate, and all the lands sett by him,
as vse is ther at entry of aires, in which affaire his vncle Hector gave him all possible
asistance, and wes very helpfull to him, both by his prudence and experience in thos
affaires ; and John, following his advyse, he gave the choise of all Keanlochew to Donald
Dow IVFGillechrist w^Gillinach, who at Farburne haid endeavoured to kil Hector
when John wes giving him quarter. This Donald wes foster brother to Sir Kenneth,
and imagineing that Hector, who keipt John from the inheritance, haid vnderhand bein
accessory to Sir Kenneth's captivity at Edinburgh, and consequently to his death, he
haid therupon conceaved ane inveterat hatred againest Hector ; but Hector, judgeing
all this to proceid from fidelity and aflfectionat to his maister, he toock this oportunity
generously not only to forgive, but to reward him. This Donald Dow afterwards kild


Buchanan at the batle of Flowden in reveng of Sir Kenneth, so myndfuU wes he of
revenge even in that comou mine. John containued evir after in good termes with
his vnckle, and in peacable possession of his estate. He voluntarly gave a portion of
the estate to his vnckle for mantaineance dureing lyfe, but which wes more to Hector's
advantadge he affoorded both men and money to him for prosecutting his designs on
Garloch, which had his rise this : The Laird of Garloch, of the syruame of ]\PLeod,
and of the family of the Lewis or Shelltorkill, maried M'^Kenzie, daughter to

Alexander of Kintaill, and sister to this Hector. On what ground I know not, but
M'^Leod of Lewis, whois sister wes second wyfe to Garloch, did kile M'^Kenzie's sister's
sone, who should succeid to Garloch, and so his owin sister s sone succeedit. Hector,
justly incited to revenge this, made some atempts in prosecutione therof dureing John's
minority, but not willing to ingadge in a warr with so potent a neighbour as IVPLeod
of Lewis, whilst he wes not secure in his vnjust possessione of his nephewe's estate, he
did not prosecut it so ardently all the whill, but now being frie of that fear, and venting
a fortune suitable to his mynd and quality, he resolved at once to revenge the murdir,
and, if he could, to make it productive of his owin advantadge. In ordor to this, he
suits such as wer accessory to the murdir befor the Cheiffe Justice. Ther weell-groundit
feares made them to absent themselflfes, wherwpon they wer declared fugitives, and
comissione granted to Hector for ther persuit, which he did so resolitly manadge, that
in a short tyme he kild many, preserved some to justice, and forced the remainder to a
compositione advantagious to himselfe, which wes to dispone to him and his aires the
half or 3d pairt of Garloch (I know not whither, the charter not being besyd me). His
successors, who wer both active and provident men, did therafter accquire the rest from
ther unthrifty neighbours. The greatest defeat that Hector gave to the Shelillichalum
wes at Balach Glasleod, near Kintaill, wher most of them wer kild or tackin. At this
fight old Duncane Moir, who fought so weill with Kenneth at Blairnapark, wes with
Hector, and hearing that four men wer dailling at once with his sone ; " Weill," said
[he,] " if he be my sone, ther is no hazard for that," which succeidit accordingly. This
Hector maried M'^Ranalds of iloydart's daughter ; John Glas, his sone, maried Glengarie's
daughter ; and Alexander, his oye, maried Eeadcastell's daughter. This Alexander wes
the man who, both by sword and law, accomplished the accquest of Garloch from
the Shelillichalum, procuireing at last from [them] a voluntar resignatione of thes four
davoches and Glaslettir to him and his aires. The great relatione that the branch
of M'^Kenzie's family had to the Clanranald made a litle unforward in M^Kenzie's
warr with Glengarrie, and therwpon some jealousies wer intertained, which this
VOL. II. 3 Q


Alexander and all tlier descendants since have obliterat by all kynd of freindship and

But to returne to Johne of Kintaill, who all this whill asisted his vnckle, but evited
to medle in matters of blood on privat quarells, tho' non wes mor forward in his prince's
service. He finding his vnckle Lovat's mistaik, who had tacken a precept of clare constat
from James Duk of Ross, albeit the barronie of Kintaill held imediatly of the King, so
soone as he accquired possessione of his estate, anno 1507, the nixt yeir vent to Edinburgh
and obteined from King James the 4 a chartor, with a novodamus of all his lands (the
Earldonie of Ross being thene in the King's hands by the death of James Stewart, Duk
of Ross). This chartor, vnder the Great Seall, is dated at Edinburgh, 1 6 February
1508. In this chartor all his lands, viz., the 40 merks land of Kintaill, 4 merk of
Killin, 4 merk of Garrive, 3 merk land of Keanlochlychart and Corrievunlie, the merk
land of Garbet, the merk land of Delnatua, 4 merk land of Auchnluisk, 3 merk land
of Taage, 2 merk of Keanloch Beandachar, 3 merk of Inverchoran, 3 merk of Inver-
meine, 4 merk of Mein, 4 merk of Escadell, are all vnited to the barrony of Kintaill,
and designed the barrony of Illandonan, wher seasin is to be tackin for all.

Therafter he imployed himselfe in manadging his privat estate, which he did with
prudenc[e] and success, neather doeing nor receaveing wrong from any till the yeir 1513,
at which tyme, with a competent number of men, he accompany ed the Earl oti' Huntly,
then Lord Leivtennent of the north, to the vnhappie feild of Flowden vnder King
James the 4, as did many others of the northern geutlmen, amongst whom wes Monro
of FouUs, sister sone to this Johne, who wes kild in the feild. Johne escaped, being of
the vanguard who fought with Huntly, and haid, by ther victory over the enimies van-
guard, more honor and mor safty then the rest of that vnfortunat army. Hathorndenn
wreitts wpon misinformatione that BPKenzie wes kild ther, but he returned home and
wes therafter at Pynky feild in his old age. King James the 4 being kild at Flowden,
M'^Donald, imagiueing that he might at such a tyme have advantadge off Ross, gathered
a number of Illanders and marched towards that province, but M^Kenzie gathered a
number sufficient to have fought him. M'^Donald had advanced the leng[t]h of Keanloch-
beandachar, in Strathconan, wher, hearing of M<^Kenzie's preparatione, he burned and
wasted the land ther about, and heareing that Illandonan wes neather provydit of men
nor amunitione, he resolved to quitt all other designes and aime at that place, which so
oft haid defeated his predicessors intentiones againest the M'^Kenzies, and indeid it Aves
so that at that tyme the said house wes very ill provydit, the peace that Johne M'^Kenzie
had with all neighbours putting him in more security then his predicessors wer accquainted


with, or he had reasone for. Ther \res in the house as constable on Gillichrist
M^Cray, greatgrandfather to Mr. John IM^Cray, parsone of Dinguall, whois brother,
Milmoir, wes kild by M'^Donald at Keanlochbeandachar. At ther approach McDonald
did insolently demand the house to be rendered. Gillichrist answered that he had no
intentione to give it vpe to his maister's enimy and his owin brother's murderer. But,
in place of surrendering it he and his servants, being provj'dit of no other amunitione
but bowes and arrowes, they shott from furth of the windowes, kild some, and wounded
severalls. At last, all ther arrowes being spent, they perceaved ]\PDonald draweing
doune his men to come over at a litle place, wher the sea ebbs, to the Ille. Gillichrist, tho
resolut to defend with defensible weapons, relying on the strength of the place ; yett he
wes vext that he could not offend, and by accident he spyed vnder the table ane arrow
which haid a brocken head. " I wish," said he, " that this on shott be weill bestowed."
He haid his desyre, for, aimeing at McDonald, who wes at his boatsyd, walking and
giveing orders for ane approach to the house, and hitt hira in the ankle, and cutting
ane artery, the blood issued out with such violence, and the skill of his chyrurgions
not being able to stop it, in ane hour's space therafter he died, which so discouradged
his people that imediatly they lanched ther boats, sett saill, and directed ther course
homeward. Nixt day M-^Kenzie came ther in persuit of McDonald, but finding them
gone, and informed of McDonald's death, he persewed no further, as neather willing to
venter beyond defence with a convocatione of people, nor desyrous so much to invaid as
to defend. This McDonald, called , wes of that branch which now possess Sleat,

with many other lands, of whom Sir James M' Donald is descendit, and wes grandchild
to the Earl of Ross by his second sone, Hugh, who, since the failling of the prime root,
the Earl of Ross, in the persone of John of Ilia and his sone Donald, is no doubt the
cheiffe of the clann, and wes ever esteemed so by neighbours, and acckuowleidged by all the
other branches of that name till of late some, as foolishly as groundlesly, contraverted
it. This family tho at that tyme reteined the old hatred at M'Kenzie, yett shortly after
they came to allyance and freindshipe togither, and evir since none of all the neighbouring
cheiffes have caryed so fairly and faithfully with M^Kenzie as they have done, both in
peace and warr. For this service King James the 5 gave to him Kinchuldrum, Achilty,
and Comery in few, with Meikle Scatuall, vnder the Great Seall, anno 1528. The lands of
Laggan Achidrom being 4 merk, the 3 merk of Killianan,and the 4 nierk lands of Inver-
garry, being in the King's hand, wcr disponed by him to Johne M'^^Kenzie, after the
King's minoritie and revocatione, anno 1540, vnder the Great Seall, a Precept, vnder
the quarter Seall, and a Seasin therwpon by Sir Johne Rubertsoue, in Januar 1541.

But befor this, anno 1521, he accquired the lands of Fotterty and myln therof
from Mr. John Cadell, which King James the 5 confermed to John M''Kenzie, at
Linlithgow, anno 1522, in September.

In the yeir 1541 he fewed Brahan from King James 5 to himself, and his aires-
maill, which failling, to his eldest daughter, but divisione, and all that he accquired
after this wes so tacken, whither by his owin inclination or by King James 5 will,
who scrupled to give any tailyes.

Anno 1542 he obtained the wast lands and forrest of Neid and Monar from
King James 5, and is seased that yeir by Sir John Robertsone. In Januar 1547
he accquired a wodsett of the half of Culteleod and Drynie from on Denoone of
Davidstoune. In September that yeir, old as he wes, he vent in defence of his sover-
aigne, young Queen Mary, to the unfortunat batle of Pinky, being then towards
yeires of adge, wher he wes tacken prisoner ; and the Laird of Kilravock falling with
him, he advised Kilravock that they should owin themself amongst the comons, that he
should cary the quality of a yeaman, and Kilravock of a miller, which succeidit weill to
Killravock, who therby wes released ; but Huntly, who wes also prisoner, being convoyed
by the Diike of Sommervell [Somerset] to veiw the prisoners, esjjying his old freind
M''Kenzie amidst the comon prisoners, and ignorant of M'Kenzie's plott, called him by
his name, and desyred he might have him by the hand, which civility the English
officers notticed to M'Kenzie's disadvantage, for thence forward he wes guarded uith
the other prisoners of qualitie, and released for a considerable sowme, to which all his
country did frilie contribut without burdineing his owin estait with it. So, returneing
home, he sett himself to his privat affaires, and the year 1556 he accquired the herit-
able right of Cultealeod and Drynie from Denoone, which wes confirmed to him be
Queen Mary, vnder the Great Seall, at Invernes, 13 July 1556. In the yeir 1544 he
accquired the other half of Coultealeod and Drynie from Magnus Mowat, and therafter
from Patrick Mouat of Bugholly.

Anno 1543 John M'Kenzie acquired Kildins, part of Lochbroom, to himself, and
Elizebeth Grant, his wyfe, holdin blench for a peunie, and confirmed that yeir be Queen
Mary. All this wes in the Queen regens tyme, who haid a speciall kyndnes to this
Johne, he being on hir husband King James the 5 privy counsell, and contanued
so dureing hir government and lyfe, for he died in the same yeir, viz., 1561, at luver-
choran, in Strathchonan, and wes buried with his father at Bewlie. One passadge I
ommitted, which wes that the Queen Regent sent some courtiers to examine the stat of
the Earldome of Ross, in ordor to a few or constant rentalling therof. When thes



came to Fouls and Balnagowin, and to otter gentlmen in the country, all possible good
iutertainment, according to tymes and custome of the country, wes made for them, but
M^Kenzie, in leiu therof, vse no other fyring then green wood, which smoaked then
execrably in thes chimnyes, which, as the custome wes, were placed in the midst of ther
halls. Ther best fare wes great cutts of beeffe, towards half or quarters of kowes, ill
rosted and mor vncleanly served, and for musick they had ten or tuelf lace of great
dogs jangling and fighting, whilk doggs did also eat and ly with ther maister. The
strangers wer ill pleased, evin to afrightment, at such rudues. At ther returne, when
they gave accompt to the Queen, they praised all the gentlmen of Eoss, except hir
favorite, LPKenzie, whom they represented as a miserable persone, giving accompt of
ther cheare, and telling that he and his dogs did both eat and ly togither. The Queen