William M'Combie Smith.

Memoir of the family of M'Combie, a branch of the Clan M'Intosh; online

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" Hie Gulielmus erat supra communem popularem
staturam procerus robustus sed minima camosus(?);
cratque suae familise primus qui Clan Chattanorum
ducem subscripsit." — From ' De Origine et Incrumento
Makintoshiorum Epitome.' The Latin History of the
MTntoshes, preserved in MS. in the Advocates' Library
at Edinburgh.

NOTE D, page 6.

This was a feu-charter of the four-merk lands of
Finnegand and shealing of Glenbeg, lying in Glenshee,
in the barony of Middle Downie and sheriffdom of Perth,
granted by Thomas Scott de Petgorno in favour of
John M'Comy Moir ; Janet Rattray, his wife ; and their
son and apparent heir, John M'Comy Moir, junior.
Janet Rattray was a daughter of John Rattray of Dal-
rulzion, who was one of the witnesses. The charter also
included " astrictis multuris omnium granorum prefa-
tarum terrarum solitis et consuetis molendino meo de
Innerreddcrtye," together with the long obsolete right
of " miilicnim vierchetisr

Appendix. 1 5 5

NOTE E, page 15.

The following extract from the records of the kirk-
session of Kirkmichael (Perthshire) shows that the re-
moval of M'Comie Mor from Finnegand had not taken
place previous to 165 1, and also throws considerable
light on the Church discipline of the time : " March 2,
165 1. — Ilk day Johne M'Intoishe of ffanneyzeand,
Thomas Keill, and Alexr. M'Intoishe in Derrow, his
tennants, maid public satisfaction in sackcloth, and gave
(due) evidences of yr. repentances for deceiving the
minister be causing him baptize ane chyld gottin in
fornication, under the notione of a lawll. chyld."

NOTE F, page 36.

As still further showing the lawlessness of times com-
paratively not of a very remote date, the following inci-
dent, which took place before the time of M'Comie Mor,
probably in Finla Mor's time, before the granting of the
charter for Finnegand to the M'Comies, is of interest :
" On another occasion, some Highlanders came down
and killed a gentleman in Glenshee, one M'Omie or
M'Homie. The Baron caught two of them, and instantly
caused them to be hanged on birch-trees in the wood of
Enochdhu, Their graves are to be seen there to this
day. Their names were Donald-na-Slogg and Finlay-
a-Baleia." — From ' Memoirs of the Family of Straloch,

156 The Family of M'Coiubie.

in Strathardle, commonly called Barron Reid (Robert-
son), written in 1728.'

NOTE G, page 36.

A most remarkable confirmation of this incident in
M'Comie Mor's life took place not many years ago. A
house was to be built on the part of the field where the
caird was said to have been buried, and to the intense
astonishment of those excavating the foundation, human
bones were turned up which no one to whom the tradi-
tion was known doubted were those of the unfortunate
caird. The event created a good deal of excitement
at the time in Glenshee, and was looked upon as a
most remarkable corroboration of a tradition which
some, in the lapse of time, had begun to look upon
with incredulity.

NOTE H, page 41.

Here, again, we would point out that none of the feats
of strength attributed to M'Comie Mor are incredible,
as so many traditionary feats are. Only a few years
ago a celebrated athlete near Lochabcr, in Inverness-
shire, although at the time past his prime, on a bull
attacking his brother, who was lame and unable to
defend himself, at once rushed forward, seized the bull
by his horns, and dislocated his neck.

Appendix. 157

NOTE I, page 47.

In a letter from the late William Shaw, Esq. of Milton
of Blacklunans, to William M'Combie, Esq. of Easter-
skene and Lynturk, written from Finnegand 26th Feb-
ruary 1855, he says: "I promised to try and find out
who your great forefather took prisoner in the north.
James M'Intosh, one of the oldest men in our country,
says that he has often heard that it was the laird of
Craigievar, and thinks it was at the Kirkton of Alford
the battle was fought. He does not know how he went
there, only that Grahame (Montrose) and M'Comie were
great friends. This was the more likely, as one of the
lairds of Blacklunans, Robertson, Baron of the barony
of Blacklunans, and one of Grahame's vassals, was with
him. It was to this man that M'Comie showed his
prisoner after the battle, asking him what he thought of
him. The Baron said, ' Nae muckle.' M'Comie an-
swered, ' Had you met him as I did, you would have
another tale. Give him his sword, and he would drive
all the lairds of Blackwater east Glack Pool,' ^ or the
watery hollow, a pass between Blacklunans and Alyth."
Now, in support of the above, we have, first, the testi-
mony of "James Ramsay of Ogill," taken on 2Sth
January 1645, and published in vol. ii. p. 167 of the

1 There is reason to believe that what Mr Shaw calls the Glack Pool was
the Glack of Fulzie, which is shown in a map in the possession of Mr
Charles M'Kenzie of Borland, of date 1766, at the depression in the
heights above Blacklunans through which the road to Alyth passed, and
by which the routed lairds would flee in their imagined discomfiture by

1 5 8 The Family of Al' Coiubie.

' Memorials of Montrose and his Times,' printed for the
Maitland Club, 1850, from the original in the Montrose
charter-chest, that among those with Montrose at the
Law of Dundee, immediately after the battle of Tipper-
muir in 1644, was "John M'Colmy." Mr Shaw's infor-
mant was not sure where John M'Comie took his
prisoner, and it was at Aberdeen, not Alford, that
Craigievar was taken prisoner. Second, in ' The History
of the King's Majestie's Affaires in Scotland vnder the
Conduct of the Most Honourable James Marquess of
Montrose, in the years 1644, 1645, ^I'^d 1646,' printed in
the year 1649, p. 49, it is stated: "They [Montrose's
forces] tooke prisoners one Forbes of Kragevar, a knight
of great esteeme with the enemy, and another, Forbes
of Boindle." Sir William, as we shall see, escaped.
Third, the evidence of Sir William Forbes of Craigie-
var, 25th January 1645, on which date "Sir William
Forbes of Craigievar, of the aidge of 32 years or therby,
mareit, being sworne and interrogait anent thoiss whome
he did see with the Erie Montroiss, Depones, that the
day of the conflict at Aberdein, the deponer being in
action and service for the weele of the Estaitts of this
Kingdome, he was taken prisoner upon the feilds be sum
of the Irish rebells and thair associatts, and wes deteand
prisoner be the space of a month, efter whiche tyme the
deponer wes permitted be the rebells to come aff upon
his paroill to returne agane, and that the deponer come
sua aff at Auldbar ; and that a twentie days or tharabout
therefter the deponer, for keeping of his paroll, went in
agane to the rebells at Strabogy ; and having stayed
two dayes or therabout he escaiped, and came aff at

Appendix. 159

Strabogy." — Maitland Club, ' Memorials of Montrose,'
p. 167. We have therefore the fact that John M'Comie
was with Montrose prior to his march and fight at Aber-
deen, the tradition in Glenshee that he took prisoner
the laird of Craigievar while with Montrose in the north,
and the fact that Sir William Forbes of Craigievar was
taken prisoner by some one in Montrose's army at Aber-
deen, and may therefore safely conclude that Sir Wil-
liam Forbes had to succumb to the invincible M'Comie

NOTE J, page 47.

The complete list is as follows: "James, Erie of
Montrose ; Alexr. M'Donald, alias Colkittoches, sone ;
James, Erie of Airlie ; Sr. Thomas and Sr. David Ogil-
vies, his sones ; Jon. Stewart of Auchannachan ; Don-
nald Glass M'Ronnald of Keppoche ; David Graham of
Gorthie ; Patrik Graham, fiar of Inchbrakie ; John
M'Colmie ; Donald Ro[ber]tsone, tutor of Strowan ;
Alexr. Ogilvie of Innerquharitie ; John Stewart of

NOTE K, page 49.

Mr George M'Kenzie, John M'Comie's procurator in
his law process with Lord Airlie, was also his leading
'counsel in the trial of 1673, by which time he was Sir
George M'Kenzie. He was the son of Simon M'Kenzie
of Lochslin, and was born in 1636. He early showed

i6o T/ic Family of M'Combie.

marked talent, and in the same year in which he ap-
peared as counsel for John M'Comie against the Earl of
Airlie, he was one of the counsel for the Marquis of
Argyle. Dryden terms him " that noble wit of Scot-
land, Sir George M'Kenzie." Soon after the Restora-
tion he was appointed a justice-depute. He was knighted
before 1669, in which year he represented Ross in the
Scottish Parliament. In 1677 he was appointed King's
Advocate. One of his most distinguished public acts
was the founding of the Advocates' Library of Edin-
burgh. He died in 1691.

NOTE L, page 54.

" From these proceedings it would appear that, firstly,
John M'Intosh, otherwise M'Comie or M'Combie, held
Forther in virtue of a contract of alienation (probably a
wadset or redeemable right) made several years before
1661 ; secondly, that to the Glen of Glascorie or Cam-
lochan he had acquired an absolute or irredeemable
right, from the Earl having failed to redeem within the
stipulated time ; thirdly, that M'Intosh was a person of
very considerable note, influence, and wealth. Mention
is made of his * great power,' ' his moyen and favour,'
with the English usurpers ; and again he is described
as their partisan, or their 'intelligencer and favourite.'
These expressions show that the person to whom they
were applied was of no little importance ; and another
incidental statement brings out his wealth. It is stated
that in this disputed glen of Glascorie alone he had,

Appendix. 1 6 1

besides divers horses, twenty milch kine and more than
a hundred oxen.^ The justice of the decision may cer-
tainly be suspected ; and it may be safely concluded
that the ' Restoration Parliament,' as it was called,
found little scruple in finding for a nobleman so emi-
nent for his loyalty, and against a person who had been
distinguished like M'Intosh as a 'favourite' of Crom-
well's Government." — From ' Notes on the Family of
Macintosh or M'Combie of Forther,' by Dr Joseph

NOTE M, page 58.

In the Decisions of the Lords of Council and Session
from June 6, 1678, to July 30, 171 2, vol. ii. p. 89,
in a case. Logics against Wiseman, February 14, 1700,
there occurs the following passage : " Transactions do
not redintegrate null invalid deeds — 8th December 1671,
Mackintosh contra Spalden and Farquharson ; and loth
January 1677, Stuart contra Whiteford, where a son's
bond given to liberate his father, unwarrantably de-
tained, was found null." Here, M'Intosh against Spal-
ding and Farquharson undoubtedly refers to the bond
given by John M'Intosh, alias M'Comie's son or sons,
for the liberation of their father in 1669, The Spalding
is in all probability Spalding of AshintuUy, fined in

^ In a marginal nole Dr Robertson adds : "John M'Intosh had in one
glen more than 120 cattle. In 1574, the whole bestial which belonged to
Sir Walter Scott of Branxholm, Knight (the ancestor of the noble house
of Buccleuch), was 114 cattle — viz., 36 ky, 26 stottis, 21 queyis, 26 oxin,
3 bulHs, 2 stirkis — 1397 sheep, and 841 hogs."


1 62 The Family of iVrCouibie.

1673 for not appearing as a witness on behalf of the
Farquharsons. Spalding had evidently received the
bond as an equivalent for money from the Farquhar-
sons, and found it valueless. The Farquharsons, there-
fore, did not profit even in a pecuniary sense by the
abduction of John M'Comie.

NOTE N, page 'jG.

On the same day, "Andrew Spalding of Ashintullie ;
David Spalding, his brother ; John Robertson of Tilli-
murdo ; John M'Gillilvie, in Dalinamer ; and David
Rattray of Rannagullion," for not appearing as wit-
nesses at the instance of the relict and nearest of kin
of the deceased Robert Farquharson, were adjudged " to
be in ane unlawe and amerciament of ane hundred
merks Scotts."

NOTE O, page -jj.

Robert Farquharson of Broughdearg's descent from
Finla Mor is : Finla Mor, Lachlan Farquharson, William
Farquharson, David Farquharson, Robert Farquharson.
Alexander Farquharson, the son of Robert Farquhar-
son who was slain at the Moss of Forfar, wrote what
rs known as the Broughdearg Manuscript, giving the
genealogy of the Farquharsons. He was a surgeon,
and practised about Braemar. It is said that on being
called on one occasion to prescribe for some woman
related to the M'Comies, he said if he gave her any-

Appendix. 163

thing it would be poison. The last male representa-
tive of the Farquharsons of Broughdearg was Thomas
Farquharson of Baldovie, born 1770, died i860. Robert
Farquharson, besides his son Alexander, had a daughter,
Margaret, married to John Smith in " Bredfald at Bal-
gais"; also "a natural daughter, married to William
Baton of Brewlands in Glenylla." — BrongJidearg MS.

NOTE P, page "]-].

While M'Comie Mor lived, the caterans gave the head
of Glenisla a wide berth in their predatory incursions ;
and on his death, the one who brought the news home,
on being asked, " What news ? " joyfully replied in
Gaelic, "News, and good news! Blessed be the Virgin
Mary ! the great M'Comie, in the head of the Low-
lands, is dead, for as big and as strong as he was."

NOTE Q, page 83.

A fact which throws considerable light on the circum-
stances of the M'Comies subsequent to their father's
death has recently come to light. In tracing back the
history of the M'Kenzie family, who bought Finnegand
in 1 71 2, it appears that at one time the family was at
Crandart, and afterwards in Glenbeg, and while in Glen-
beg the head of the family lent money on the land of
Crandart to a M'Intosh in 1687.

164 The Family of M'Combie.

NOTE R, page 85.

Both in the Poll -book and on the gravestone the
family name is spelled so as to pronounce M'Comie. In
the Poll-book it is once M'Komy and once M'Comy.
The ^ is a modern innovation, and was not introduced
until about the end of the eighteenth century. After
the time of Donald we have conformed to the modern
usage, although etymologically it is incorrect.

NOTE S, page 123.

Another reminiscence of Mr M'Combie's youth car-
ries us back to the time of Culloden. In 1818 there
died a well-known man of the name of M'Bean, one of
the class known as gentle beggars, at the great age of
102, whose death was chronicled at some length in the
'Aberdeen Journal' of that time. Mr M'Combie re-
members having often talked with him about Culloden,
where he charged with the MTntoshes, who were fear-
fully cut up. M'Bean would have been about thirty
years of age when he fought at Culloden.

NOTE T, page 136.

The Rev. Dr Taylor, in his account of the parish of
Leochel-Cushnie, in the 'New Statistical Account of
Scotland,' published in 1843, writing of the Linn, says :

Appendix. 165

" It is called the Linn of Lynturk, and has the repu-
tation of being haunted by the apparition of a lady in
green or white ; but the oldest living inhabitant not
having had ocular demonstration, the colour of the
dress remains doubtful. The last instance of her ap-
pearance which tradition has handed down is the fol-
lowing : The laird of Kincraigie had dined with his
neighbour the laird of Tulloch, and as he returned
home late at night, mounted on a spirited horse, and
attended by a faithful dog, he was passing along the
brink of the dell above the Linn, when suddenly the
apparition seized the bridle of his horse, and exclaimed,
' Kincraigie Leslie, I've sought you long, but I've found
you now.' The dog, however, fiercely attacking the
spectre, it quitted the bridle for a moment, and the
horse dashed off at the top of his speed, while his ter-
rified master could see the spectre and the dog tumbling
down in mortal struggle to the very bottom of the dell.
Kincraigie was thus saved, and his generous canine
friend returned next day, showing evident marks of the
perilous strife in which he had been engaged."


In the Dean of Lismore's ' Book of Gaelic Poetry,'
edited by the Rev. Thomas M'Lauchlan, there is a poem
by " The Baron Ewen M'Omie," on sickness. In a note
Mr M'Lauchlan says : "The editor has not been able to
identify the author of this poetical complaint. During
the existence of baronies, with their bailies or local

1 66 The Family of M'Combie.

judges, the number of barons or baron bailies in the
Highlands must have been large. Of this class was
most likely our poet" Taking into consideration, first,
that the M'Omies were established as a separate branch
of the MTntoshes, considerably anterior to the date of
the collection of these poems, and second, that the physi-
cian longed for is a M'Intosh, there is a strong proba-
bility that the writer was an ancestor of the present
M'Combies ; but the information is so indefinite as to
the time when and the place where the poem was com-
posed, that it has been placed here as an interesting
addendum. The following is the English translation of
the poem, with the editor's notes : —

" Long do I feel my lying here.
My health to me is a stranger ;
Fain would I pay my health's full price,
Were mine the numerous spoils.
A spoil of white-haired heavy cows,
A spoil of cows for drink or feasting.
I'd give besides the heavy bull,
If for my cure I had the price.
The herds and flocks of Mannanan,^
The sword and horn of MacCumhail,
The trumpet of Manallan- I'd give,
And the quiver CuchuUin,

^ An ancient Celtic hero, from whom the Isle of Man takes its name,
as well as the district in Scotland called Slamannan.

2 The editor has not been able to obtain any acconnt of this person.
There is a contraction over the second a in tlic MS., which makes the
reading doubtful.

Appendix. 167

Ir, Evir, and Eireamon/

And were I to possess them,

The harp of Curcheoil,^ which hid men's grief,

The shield of the king of Golnor.-

Lomond's^ ship of greatest fame,

Had I it upon the strand,

All I've seen I'd freely give,

Ere as now I'd long remain.

Long to me appears the coming

Of Alexander Macintosh,

That my disease he might drive away,

And then I might no longer lie.


1 The three sons of Milidh of Spain, from whom the Milesian races are
descended, according to Celtic story.

- The editor can give no account of these names. The traditions re-
specting them seem to have perished.

^ A famous Celtic hero, from whom Ben Lomond and Loch Lomond
are said to derive their names.








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Online LibraryWilliam M'Combie SmithMemoir of the family of M'Combie, a branch of the Clan M'Intosh; → online text (page 8 of 8)