Louis Charles Elson.

The house of Argyll and the collateral branches of the clan Campbell, from the year 420 to the present time online

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Boston Public Library

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In presenting this volume to the public, the Editor
feels that very little need be said by him by way of
preface. The House of Argyll, as the head of the Clan
Campbell, holds such a prominent place in our national
history, its records are so intimately blended with every
struggle for religious and political freedom, the actions
of its chiefs have shed such lustre on our annals, that
any fresh fact connected with their history cannot fail
to be acceptable to the public. Most of the matter
herein contained has never before been published. Of
the extracts from the Argyll papers in the Appendix,
there were only fifty copies printed, while the body of
the work is taken from some old manuscripts, long in
the possession of the family of Archibald MacNab,
Esq. of Penmore, Isle of Mull; these, as well as the
ancient family tree of the Craignish Campbells, he has
most kindly placed at our disposal. We have collated
and compared these old documents with other authentic
records to substantiate their facts and verify their dates,
but the language of the writers we have left untouched.
We are well aware that a few Gaelic scholars would,
in some instances, have used other words, but we have
adhered to the MSS. as giving the old and popular
version of these names, as from the position of Neil


MacEwen, as genealogist to the family, and the here-
ditary connection of his forefathers with the House of
Argyll, he was likely to know the correct meaning
attached to these phrases in that district. These old
MSS., though never before pubhshed, have been
alluded to by other writers. Buchanan, in his ^* Inquiry
into Ancient Scottish Surnames," speaks of his having
seen them, and quotes the opening sentence. J. F.
Campbell, Esq., in his ''West Highland Tales," thus
speaks of them: — '' The following is taken from a MS.
which came from Cawdor Castle, and is at present in
my possession. It is called genealogical abridgment
of the very ancient and noble family of Argyll, 1779 : —

"'In the following account we have had regard to the gene-
alogical tree done by Mel MacEwen, as he received the same
from Eachern MacEwen, his ffather, as he had the same from
Arthur MacEwen, his grandfather, and their ancestors and
predecessors, senachies and pensioners to great ffamilys, who,
for many ages were employed to make up and keep such
Eecords in their accustomed way of Irish Khymes; and the
account left by Mr. Alexander Colvin, who had access to the
papers of the ffamily, and Pedro Mexva, a Spaniard, who wrote
the origin of diverse and sundry nations, in his book entitled
the Treasury of Antiquities.'"

In the continuation of the work, as well as in the notices
of the younger branches of the Clan, we have freely
availed ourselves of those works on the Peerage that
could tend to render this volume authentic, without
making it too voluminous. To the favourable con-
sideration of the public we commend it, as containing,
in a compendious form, the fullest account yet pub-
lished of the whole of the branches of the Clan Camp-
bell. Our difficulty has been, not to find materials


for the work, but to compress them into an ordinary
volume. To justly recount the works of the eminent
men of the name of Campbell who have left their
impress in the pages of the world's history, would take
up far more space than we have devoted to the whole
subject. In the Appendix, we have barely given the
names of a few of the most celebrated of the Clan;
without that list our work would hardly be complete,
appearing, as it does, shortly before the happy event
that is to shed additional lustre on their already bright
escutcheon. When a Royal Princess, endowed with
beauty and accomplishments of the highest rank, is
about to be united to the heir of the House of Argyll,
who inherits the statesmanlike qualities of the most
celebrated of his ancestors; and while he is highly
honoured by having gained the affections of the Prin-
cess, the sanction of the Queen, and the approbation of
the country, his royal bride will not have to blush for
the connexion she is forming; for we make bold to
say, that no other family can show a more numerous
and illustrious roll of names than the Campbells.

If an aristocratic connexion alone had been desired
for the Princess, where could we find a family more
extensively connected with the highest nobility by its
intermarriages than the House of Argyll — and the
Campbells can boast that of their own name, inde-
pendent of collateral branches. They have at present six
members of the British Peerage, and twenty-two Bar-
onets, each of whom have been raised to their respective
rank, like the last, Lord Clyde, for their own conspicu-
ous merit. Of the true nobility, that of mind, we can


point to many bright examples amongst their clans-
men who have been foremost in social, political, edu-
cational, and religious movements. / No race has more
freely offered up their lives in their country's service,
both by sea and land. In the various arts, manufac-
tures, and commerce, they have produced men equal
to any of their compeers. They have been eminent in
the pulpit and the press, the synod and the senate,
distinguished alike at the bar and on the bench, in the
camp and at the court. They have acquired fame as
architects, musicians, and sculptors. They have shone
alike as poets, philosophers, and philanthropists,
doctors, and divines. It is the consideration of these
facts that has caused the well informed portion of the
nation to rejoice at the decision of the Queen to break
through the antiquated state policy that prohibited the
marriage of a scion of the royal house with a subject
of the realm. To promote this feeling of satisfaction
on the part of the public, by diffusing more informa-
tion on this subject; to enable them to obtain at a
glance a comprehensive idea of the antiquity, power,
worth, and extensive ramifications of the great family
of which the Marquis of Lome will be the future head
and chief, is the main object of this history of the
House of Argyll and the Clan Campbell.

Glasgow, Feb., 1871.



Introductory, 1

The House of Argyll, 9

The House of Craignish, 85

The House of Breadalbane, 127

The House of Cawtdor, 143

The House of Loudon, 153

The Campbells of Lochnell, 165

The Campbells of Asknish, 172

The Campbells of Auchinbreck, 179

The Campbells of Aberuchill, 185

Appendlx, . . 192



The curiosity entertained by civilised nations of
inquiring into the characters and achievements of
their ancestors, as well as the vanity inseparable from
human nature, have occasioned researches into the
origin of ancient and illustrious families by genealo-
gists. They may be deemed in some respects laudable
as a tribute due in gratitude to the memory of
amiable characters, whose shining virtues and great
actions have been productive of general good to man-
kind, both in civil and religious matters. They may
afford entertainment to the disinterested spectator, by
the varying passions found naturally to agitate the
bosom of descendants as the pedigree becomes bright
or obscure, and are apt to excite a generous emulation
among them to maintain the honour and dignity of
their ancestors, by imitating their- virtuous and worthy



actions, and may therefore be admitted as justifiable
and useful.

But in general most of the pedigrees that have yet
appeared begin either with a great statesman or a
renowned warrior of dignified rank, and are so blended
with fabulous detail, as scarce to leave room for the
conjecture, that the noble founder of the family ever
had a father.

In matters, however, of remote antiquity in Scotland,
where no authentic histories are extant, owing either
to the late period at which writing was introduced
into it, or to its historical monuments being carried
away or destroyed by the vicious policy of Edward
the First • of England ; the investigation must be
admitted to be extremely difficult, nay, impracticable,
without recourse to the fragments of the Bards or Sana-
chies, who, it is well known, were the ancient heralds
of Britain, and preserved in their songs or lyric odes
the memory of Families, the Chiefs of which had dis-
tinguished themselves in war, and they transmitted an
account of their descents with the most scrupulous

By these, as well as all the biographies which have
hitherto appeared in Britain, the ancient and noble
Family in Scotland, of which his Grace the Duke of
Argyll is Chief, is universally admitted to be of very
great antiquity, of which the difficulty that occurs in


tracing the origin of this illustrious line is a strong
proof. It is not, however, pretended that they were
originally distinguished, as now, by the surname of
Campbell, but, on the contrary, were known to the
world by the name of O'Dwibhn, or rather O'Dwin,
or MacDwine. By other old authorities they are
called the Clan Duihhn Siol, or Sliochd Dhiarmid
MacDhuibhn. In the time of Malcolm Canmore, the
eighty-sixth king of Scotland, who ascended the throne
in the year 1057, the Clan Duibhn assumed the sur-
name of Campbell upon the marriage of Eva, the
heiress of the lands of Argjdl, then called Lochow,
with Giolespic or Gillespie Campusbellus, a Norman
by birth. Surnames were not used before the time of
Malcolm Canmore, and to this da}^, in both the Gaelic
and Irish genealogies, they are called Clan Dhiarmid
'Duibhn or MacDuibhn.

The authority for this appellation does not rest on
tradition alone, but is supported by a charter granted
anno 1370, by King David the Second, to Sir Archibald
Campbell, son and heir of Sir Colin Campbell of
Lochow, which *^ ratifies and confirms all donations
and alienations of the lands of Craignish and others,
executed by whatsomever person to said Sir Colin,
wherever the same lye within any part of Argyll, to
be holden by him and his heirs in as ample manner
as his ancestor Duncan MacDwine held his barony of


Locliow."* And in the Gaelic language the family of
Argyll and their descendants are still known by the
common denomination of Siol, or Sliocht Diakmid,
the posterity and offspring of Diarmid.

Various conjectures have been formed with respect
to the origin of these ancient barons, and the most
probable and prevalent is, that they descended from
Arthur, Prince of Silures,f whose heroic valour sus-
tained the declining state of his country on the inva-
sions of the Saxons, and who is so much celebrated
by the songs of Thaleissin; and' among his other
military achievements is said to have subjected Ireland
to tribute, which was usually paid at the city of Cathar-
Leheon, or West -Chester, and got the name of Arthur
of the Kound Table. | He is said to have married
Elizabeth, daughter of the King of France, which
behoved to be Childobert, the fifth in descent from
Pharamond, of which marriage the Bards give a long
train of descendants down to the great and renowned
DiARMiD O'DwiBHNE, or Mac Dwine, a brave and
warlike man, much celebrated in the poems of the
ancient Irish and Scots, for strength, beauty, courage,

* The original charter is among the papers of Ronald Dunbar, in the
custody of John Moir, Writer to the Signet.

t The Silures were a warlike nation, who inhabited the banks of the
Severn, over whom Arthur reigned. — Robinson, vol. i., p. 7.

X The name Arthur of the Round Table arose from his having a
table made of that form, in order to prevent quarrels for precedency at
it among his nobles.


and conduct, and considered by some to have been the
first of the ancestors of the family of Argyll, who came
to Scotland in the ninth century, as one of the principal
Phylarchiae, or chieftains of the colonies, sent to check
the invasions of the Danes and Norwegians. After
repulsing the enemy, he settled in Argyll and the isles
adjacent, in the reign of King Goranus, and married
Grain, the great granddaughter of Chown-chedchachah,
so called from his having fought an hundred battles,
and ancestor to the present family of O'Neil in Ire-
land. A hardy achievement of this Diarmid O'Dwine
gave rise to the crest of the boar's head erased, carried
in the arms of the family of Argyll since his time.
The circumstance alluded to was a memorable hunting
of the wild boar at Glenshie in Perthshire, where
Diarmid killed a boar of monstrous size, in attempting
the life of which several had perished, and by which he
was so severely wounded that he soon after died, and
was buried near to the hospital of Glenshie, where
there are two places known to this day by the name of
Leab-in-tuirk, or the Boar's Bed, and Uie Diarmid, or
the Grave of Diarmid. By his lady Grain, Diarmid had
two sons : the eldest, Arthur Arm-Dearg, or Arthur
with the red armour, so called either from the artificial
colour, or frequent colouring of his armour with blood ;
the second, called Dwibhne-Deab-gheall, or Dwina
with the white teeth, of whom after mention is made.


During the period of the Roman conquests, three
different sorts of people, or distinct nations, inhabited
Scotland — the ancient Britons, the Picts, and the
Scots, each governed by their own kings. The Eomans
in a great measure subdued them, leaving governors to
secure their conquests. One of these passed over into
France with a colony of Britons, who lived there under
their own particular sovereigns, in Brittania Gallicae,
so called from them. Their brethren at home,
harassed by the Picts and Scots, sent to them for aid,
offering the sovereignty to their king, which he declined,
but sent his son Constantine with an army to their
assistance, in the year 404, in the reign of Fergus the
Second.* This Constantine reigned over the Britons till
about the year 420, and was grandfather to Arthur of
the Round Table, with whom the Campbells commonly
begin their geneaology. Thus it is clear that this
ancient race can trace back from father to son for
fourteen centuries and a half in an unbroken line.

-'' Wood's Peerage, vol. 1, p. 84-85.





The following account commences in the beginning
of the fifth century, and is taken from the genealogical
tree by Neil M'Ewen, handed down to him by his
ancestors, also from the account collected from the
papers of these noble Families, by Alexander Colvin,
author of the '' Treasury of Antiquities."

[Recent researches by several learned Gaelic scholars
into these various traditions of the Bards prove the
remarkable fidelity with which they have been trans-
mitted from father to son. For many generations they
have been sung in the chieftains' halls on all great
occasions, till every word was firmly fixed in the minds
of their hearers ; and in many cases these oral tradi-
tions have reached our time, with fewer emendations
or additions than are to be found in the different pub-
lished editions of our most esteemed old authors. Of
the traditions of the Clan Campbell, the following
epitome relating to the ancestors of the great Diabmid
appears to bear all the marks of authenticity. — Ed.]


I. CoNSTANTiNE, who Came over from France in
404 and died anno domine 420, was succeeded by
his eldest son.

II. AuRELius Ambrose, who was contemporary
with Constantino I., and forty-third king of the Scots,
died anno 460.

III. Uther, the second son, succeeded his brother,
and died anno 520, and leffc the throne to

IV. Arthur of the Round Table, so named from
his causing one of that form to be made to quell dis-
putes for precedency among his nobles. His first wife
died childless. By his second, a daughter of a king of
the Franks, he had a son, Smerviemore, and died in the
twenty-fourth year of his age.

Y. Smerviemore, born at a place called Rea Hall,
in Dumbartonshire ; being a great hunter, he preferred
the pleasures of the chase to the trammels of govern-
ment, and in place of succeeding to his father's throne,
he kept out of the way, hence he was nick-named
Amid-na-Coslidh — i.e., the fool of the forest. After
this, Adrian, king of the Scots, gave him his sister in
marriage; by her he had Ferither Our. Smerviemore
was contemporary with Columba, or Calum-na-Kille,


the founder of the rehgious establishment at lona, one
of the Western Isles, anno 570.

VI. Ferither Our, or Dun, married the Duke
Moray's daughter, by whom he had Duibhn More in
the reign of Ferquhard the First, the fifty- second
king of the Scots, anno 620.

VII. Duibhn More, i.e., Great, from the patronium
of Clan Duibhn. His wife was the daughter of the
Duke of Valentia ; by her he had Arthur Oig
MacDuibhn, and died anno 646.

VIII. Arthur Oig MacDuibhn was contemporary
with Eugene the Fifth, the fifty-fifth king of Scot-
land, anno 684.

IX. Ferither File, his son, was contemporary
with Murdoch, the sixtieth king of the Scots, anno

X. Duibhn Fuilt Derg^ i.e., Eed-haired, was
married to a granddaughter of Neil Nardgallach, one
of Ireland's kings. She was mother to Ferither Finru.
Duibhn Fuilt Derg was contemporary with Achaius,
the sixty-fifth king of Scots who was crowned, anno


XI. Ferither Finruo, i.e., Fairish Eed, contem-
porary with the second Kenneth, sixty-ninth king of
Scots, anno 837.

XII. DuiBHN Derg, or Dark Eed, anno 860.

XIII. DuBHN DouN, Brown-haired, anno 904.*

XIV. DiARMiD MacDuibhn, the grandson of
Duibhn. From him the Campbells are called Sliochd
Dhairmid. He married Grain, niece to the great
O'Neil of Ireland. She was mother to Arthur, his
heir, and a son called Malcolm, who went to Normandy,
where he married the heiress of Beauchamp, or Cam-
bus-bellus, niece to William the Conqueror, Duke of.
Normandy, by which lady he had three sons. Dio-
nysius continued in France ; of him are the Counts de
Tallard. The second, Giolespic, came to Scotland —
of him more below. Of the third the Earls of War-
wick are descended. Diarmid was contemporary with
the seventy-ninth king of Scots, anno 977.

XY. Arthur Armderg, i,e,, Eed Armour, had

* The Bards do not appear to have preserved any distinct traditions
of these two chieftains, further than the dates of their deaths. Proba-
bly they had not done much to render them noteworthy, but from this
period we enter on the realms of certainty, and are no longer dependent
on tradition only. — Ed.


several sons. 1st, Sir Paul MacDuibhn, Knight of
Lochow; 2nd, Arthur Cruachan, so called after his
estate, who was afterwards tutor to his niece, the
heiress of Lochow, and Depute of Lorn, under Malcolm
the Second, the 83rd King of Scots; he died without
issue. 3rd, Arthur Ardrianan, of whom descended the
Mac Arthurs, of Inishtrynish on Lochowside.* Arthur
Armdearg was contemporary with Kenneth, the 84th
king of Scots, 1004.f "^ )

XVI. Paul MacDuibhn, afterwards called Paul-a-
Sporren, i.e., the Treasurer, a title given him from his
being purse-bearer, or treasurer, to King Duncan the
First and his son, Malcolm the Second, both before
' and after Mac Beth's usurpation. This, which was a
place of great trust in those days, he held so

* He was also called Arthur Dreinch, and was the progenitor also of
the MacArthurs of Dalkeith and Lennox. Tradition affirms that his
descendants for a long time considered themselves the head of the
clan, his eldest brother havmg died without male heirs, and the
second without issue. This feud lasted for many years, the Mac-
Arthurs claiming to take precedence at all meetings of the chiefs, or
gatherings of the clans; but in time the Campbells grew so much
stronger, that the MacArthurs were obliged to seek their assistance to
repel the attacks of their inveterate foes, the MacDugals. This Cailen
longataich promised, on condition of their chief calling hmiself
]\IacArthur Campbell. He complied with this request and was
delivered from his enemies ; but at the next assembling of the chiefs he
found the seat of honour occupied by Sir Cailen, who said he claimed
it as the head of the house of Campbell, and MacArthur, having
acknowledged himself a Campbell, was obliged to submit with the best
grace he could. — Ed,


much to the-Koyal satisfaction that he was made
Knight of Lochow. He married Marion, daughter
to Godfrey, King of Maun, by whom he had
one daughter, Eva, heiress of all his estates. Paul
was contemporary with Puncan, the 84th King of
Scots, and with Brian, King of Ireland, anno 1066. *
Eva, or Evah, na-Duibhn being under age at the time
of her father's death, her uncle, Arthur Cruachan, be-
came her tutor and guardian. To prevent her posses-
sions going to another clan, she resolved to marry none
but one of her own race, and it so happened that her
cousin Gillespie, second son to Malcolm MacDuibhn,
who had married the heiress of Cambus-bellus in Nor-
mandy, arrived on a visit to his friends in Scotland,
being an officer in William the Conqueror's army.
Him she married, and their offspring have taken the
name of Campbell.

The second son of Diarmid O'Dwibhne, named, as
formerly mentioned, Dwibhne-Deab-gheall, had a son,
Gillocalltim, or Malcom O'Dwibhne, w^ho was twice
married; first to Dirvaill, daughter to the Laird of
Carrick in Argyllshire, by whom he had three sons.

1st. GiLMOEY of Corearica, who never married, but
had a natural son, ancestor of the MacNaughts,
M'Naughtans, or Naughtans, of Lochaber, and other

" He was buried in the north-west corner of the Church of Icohn-
kill, where his monument is still to be seen.


parts of Argyllshire, the MacNivens, and the Mac-

2nd. CoRCARWA, ancestor of the MacUilins or rather
MacAillins, in Ireland.

3rd. Duncan Drummanich, so called, because he
resided beyond Drum-albin, said to be ancestor of the
Drummonds in Perthshire.*

After the death of his first wife, Gillocallum or
Malcom O'Dwibhne went to France, where, from his
martial achievements in the wars on the continent, he
got married to the heiress Beauchamp, niece to the
Duke of Normandy, and took the coat of arms of the
family of Beauchamp, viz., The Gyronee of Eight, or
a shield cut in eight pieces, as an emblem of his shield
having been hacked and slashed in many engagements.
With this lady he had three sons —
1st. DiONYSius or Duncan.
2nd. GiLLESPicKus, Gillespic, or Archibald.
3rd. Dwine or Gwine.

The eldest, Dionysius, remained in France, and was
ancestor of the family represented there by the Counts
de Tallard, whose arms bear the Gyronee and our
common tinctures, Or and Sable.

The second, Gillespickus, and the third, Gwine or

* Thus it will be seen that all these clans, as well as the MacAillins
in Ireland, and the Beauchamps in England, are all of the same blood
and lineage, descendants of the O'Dwibhn or MacDiarmid, and all half-
brothers to the first Campbell, v/ho died about the year 1090,-^Ed.


DwiNE, came to Britain officers in the army of their
cousin WiUiam, the Norman, at his conquest of Eng.

GiLLESPicus, or Archibald,* having paid a visit to
his friends in Argyllshire, married his cousin Evah,
only daughter to Sir Paul O'Dwibhne, or Paul-a-Spor-
ren. The Latin language being then more prevalent
in Scotland than the French, the surname or title
Beauchamp was translated Campus Bellus, and he
called Gillespicus Campbellus,f from which their pos-

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Online LibraryLouis Charles ElsonThe house of Argyll and the collateral branches of the clan Campbell, from the year 420 to the present time → online text (page 1 of 14)