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Landing of Charles II.—He is supported by the Laird of Grant.—
Patrick of Clunemore at Worcester.—The Fate of his
Followers.—Cromwell’s Soldiers in the North.—Glencairn’s
Rising for the King.—Lochiel and Kenmure in Urquhart.—
Middleton supersedes Glencairn.—Middleton pursued by
Monck.—Monck in Glenmoriston and Kintail.—Middleton
Defeated.—Dalziel of Binns and Himself in Glenmoriston
and Strathglass.—The Chisholm tried by Court-martial, and
Fined and Imprisoned.—The English place the First
Ship on Loch Ness.—The Story of the Event.—Peace
and Prosperity.—The Restoration.—The Caterans Let Loose.
—The Hanging of Hector Maclean.—The Burning of Buntait.
—Dispute between Glenmoriston and Inshes.—Glenmoriston
Burns the Barns of Culcabock.—He seizes Inshes and keeps
him Prisoner.—Is Apprehended by the Robertsons of Struan.
—The Dispute Settled.—Donald Donn and Mary Grant.—
Donald’s Career, Capture, and Death.

After the execution of the King, the Scottish
adherents of the Solemn League and Covenant
invited his son, Charles the Second, to come over
from Holland, and reign in his stead. Charles
landed at Speymouth in June, 1650, and was enthu­
siastically received. His adherents were routed by
Oliver Cromwell at Dunbar ; but a new army sprang
up, and followed him into England. The Laird of
Grant sent him a regiment of 1400 men, under the
command of his brother, Patrick Grant of Clunemore

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                167

and Clunebeg, in our Parish, and provided with
victual for forty days. At the battle of Worcester,
fought on 3rd September, 1651, the Scots were
totally defeated. Patrick made his way back to
Urquhart, but few of his men were so fortunate.
Many of them fell in the battle. Some were seized
and sent to the American plantations. Others
perished in the attempt to reach their homes through
an unfriendly country, whose language they neither
spoke nor understood.

After Worcester Cromwell’s soldiers marched into
Scotland, and over­ran the country. At Inverness
they planted a garrison, for the purpose of over­
awing the North. For a time the remote clans held
out for King Charles, Angus Macdonald of Glengarry
being especially zealous. He travelled through the
Cameron and Macdonald countries, and Urquhart
and Strathglass, stirring up the people against the
Usurper. His mission was not without success ; and
when, in September, 1653, the Earl of Glencairn
unfurled the royal standard, he was joined by Lochiel
and many Highlanders. The Earl was a brave
soldier, but an indifferent general, and, instead of
making a rapid rush on the English with his army
of 5000 men, he wasted his time and his energy in
aimless marches. In January, 1654, he sent Lochiel
—the famous Evan Cameron—and Lord Kenmure, to
occupy our Parish and Strathspey.1 In the follow­
ing March, he himself visited Glen-Urquhart and
Strathglass, with 1150 horse and foot.2 He was

1 Military Memoirs of the Great Civil War, 227.
2 Court-martial proceedings against The Chisholm, at Erchless Castle.


soon superseded in the chief command by General
Middleton, whom we last saw fighting against the
Royalists in Glenmoriston, but who was now himself
on the side of the King.

Middleton was not a man to be despised, and
General Monck, whom Cromwell had just appointed
Governor of Scotland, resolved personally to take him
in hand. Having arranged that he should be joined by
Colonel Morgan, who was stationed at Brahan, and
by Colonel Brayne, who had been dispatched to
bring 2000 men from Ireland to Inverlochy, he
marched northward with a force of horse and foot,
which included his own regiment, now the famous
Coldstream Guards. At Ruthven, in Badenoch, he
received the intelligence that the Royalist leader
was “ about Glengarry’s bounds ;“ and he started in
pursuit on 20th June. On the 21st he reached
Glenroy, where he burnt the houses of the people.
Learning that Middleton was in Kintail, he hastened
along the Great Glen, and through Glenmoriston,
into the Seaforth country. He there found that
the Royalists had turned southward in the direction
of Glenelg. He gave up the chase, devastated
Kintail with fire, and then crossed the mountains to
Glenstrathfarrar, where he was met by Colonel
Morgan on 1st July. The fact that he is next found
at Dunain on the 23rd would appear to show that
from Glenstrathfarrar he proceeded up Strathglass
and down Glen-Urquhart. The Chisholm had
been giving trouble, and it was probably thought
that a demonstration at Comar would have had

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                   169

a quieting effect upon him. From Inverness,
Monck proceeded southward by Slochd-Muic,
while Middleton crossed Corriarrack into Badenoch
and Perthshire. On the 19th, however, he
was surprised and defeated by Morgan at
Lochgarry, near Drumuachdar, and he became a
fugitive among the mountains.1 He was in Glen-
moriston in September, along with General Dalziel
of Binns, afterwards of persecuting notoriety, and
three hundred men. From there they went to
Strathglass, where they were hospitably entertained
by The Chisholm. For this offence against the
Commonwealth that chief was, in April, 1655, tried
by court-martial, fined £50, and imprisoned in
Edinburgh.2 He was released on giving bonds for
his future good conduct, and permitted to return to
his own country.3

The Highlanders were slowly but surely brought
to acknowledge Cromwell’s power. The Laird of

1 Unpublished despatch by General Monck to Cromwell, in Library of
Worcester College, Oxford. This despatcha long document of great interest
in connection with the history of the Highlandsis, with other despatches
from Monck, to be published in the volume for 1891-92 of the Transactions of
the Gaelic Society of Inverness.

2 Court-martial proceedings, at Erchless Castle.

3 The Chisholm’s passport, which is still preserved at Erchless, is in the
following terms :

“The Laird of Chissolme beinge discharged his imprisonment by the
General [Monck] his especiall order, and haveinge given bonds remaininge with
mee accordinge to his Honor’s directions, I therefore desire hee with his two
servants and three horses may freely passe to the place of his abode beyounde
Invernes, and returne without let or molestation, they behaveinge them­
selves peaceably and quietly. Given under my hand and seale at Edinburgh,
this 31st May, 1655.
                            Hen. Whalley, Judge-Advocate.

“ To all whom it may concerne.”


Grant gave several bonds for the peaceable behaviour
of himself and his tenants ; and similar undertakings
were given by Glengarry and other Western chiefs.1
But the soldiers of the Commonwealth were not
satisfied with mere pledges. They took means to
open up the country and place it more effectually
under their own influence. Having built the
Citadel, or Sconce, at Inverness, and planted a
garrison at Inverlochy, they to some extent antici­
pated the promoters of the Caledonian Canal by
placing the first ship on Loch Ness, and establishing
regular communication between the eastern and
western seas. The manner in which the vessel was
brought to the loch is recorded by two writers of
the period. Richard Franck, a literary trooper in
Cromwell’s army, who saw the ship, discourses on
the wonderful achievement with amusing extrava­
gance in the following dialogue between himself
(Arnoldus) and his friend Theophilus :—

Theophilus—What new inviting subject have
we now discovered ?

Arnoldus—The famous Lough-Ness, so much
discours’d for the supposed floating island ; for here
it is, if anywhere in Scotland. Nor is it any other
than a natural plantation of segs and bullrushes,
matted and knit so close together by natural
industry, and navigated by winds that blow every
way, floats from one part of the Lough to another,
upon the surface of the solid deeps of this small

1 See Glengarry’s bond for £2000 in the Transactions of the Gaelic
Society of Inverness, Vol. XIV., 74.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.               171

Mediterrane : and here it is, in these slippery streams,
that an English ship, by curious invention, was haled
[hauled] over the mountains to this solitary Lough ;
brought hither on purpose to reclaim the Highlander.

Theoph.—Do you romance or not, to tell me that
an island swims in the midst of the ocean, and a ship
fluctuates in the midst of the Highlands ; where
every rock represents a Charibdis, and every wave
threatens an inundation ; where there’s no harbour
without hazard of life, nor sea enough to promise
security to the mariner when the winds mingle
themselves with the waves that wash the pallid
cheeks of the polished rocks ? Now tell me that
can, where the mariner must have berth (and the
passinger supplies), in this fluctuating ocean, when a
storm arises to eclipse his eye from a land discovery ?

Am.—If eye­sight be good evidence, there’s
enough to convince you ; behold the ship !

Theoph.—How came she here ? Was she not
built in some creek hereabouts ?


Theoph.—By what means, then, was she moved
into this small Mediterrane ? I solicite advice, and
you can solve the doubt.

Arn.—Art was both engin and engineer to
invite this ship into this solitary Lough.

Theoph.—If so, it’s strange that a vessel of her
force should leap out of the ocean, and over the hills,
to float in a gutter surrounded with rocks.

Arn.—Not so strange as true, for here she is.

Theoph.—Was there a possibility of her sailing


from the Citadel to this eminent Lough-Ness, when
a boat of ten tun can’t force her passage half-way
up the river ? This looks romantick beyond the
ingenuity of art, or possibility of invention.

Arn.—Let it look as it will look, I am sure it
was so.

Theoph.—You are sure it was so ; then, pray,
resolve the point.

Arn.—Why, thus it was : In the time of the
war betwixt the King and Parliament, this navigate
invention was consulted by Major-General Dean,
who, to compleat a conquest over the Highlanders
(in regard hitherto the law of a foreign Power had
never bridled them), he accomplished this new
navigation of sailing by land ; who contrived the
transportation of this fair ship (that you now see)
into these torpid and slippery streams.

Theoph.—What, without sails ?

Arn.—Yes, without sail, pilot, card, or compass ;
by dividing only the ambient air, as formerly she
plowed the pondrous ocean. Nor was she compell’d
to encounter sea or land in all her passage. . . .
A motion must be had (that you’l grant), and means
considerable to move by (this you must allow), which
to accomplish, the sailers and souldiers equally con­
tributed. For a regiment (or it may be two) about
that time quartered in Inverness, who, by artifice,
had fastned thick cables to her forecastle, and then
they got levers and rollers of timber, which they
spread at a distance, one before another ; whilst some
are of opinion these robust engineers framed a more

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                173

artificial and politick contrivance ; but thus it was,
and no otherwise, I’le assure you ; save only they
fastned some cheeks and planks to the solid sides
and ribs of the ship, the better to secure her from
crushing upon transportation.

Theoph.—And did she pass in this manner, as
you tell me, to this famous Ness ?

Arn.—Yes ; she relinquished the brinish ocean
to float in the slippery arms of Ness. But to keep
her steddy in her passage, and preserve her from
rocking and rolling by the way, they consulted no
other project than what I tell you : save only some
additional supplies from Inverness, that with ropes
and tackle haled her along to this very place where
you now observe her. For you are to consider she
no sooner got motion, but by industry and art she
was steer’d without a compass to this remarkable
Ness, where now she floats obvious enough to every
curious observer.”1

The other writer who refers to the event is a
Highlander—the Rev. James Fraser, minister of
Wardlaw, or Kirkhill. Even he, Royalist though
he be, warms into enthusiasm over the wonderful
doings of the English. They “ brought such store,”
he writes, “ of all wares and conveniences to Inverness,
that English cloth was sold near as cheap here as in
England. The pint of claret went for a shilling [Scots].
They set up an apothecary shop, with a druggist’s ;
Mr Miller was their chirurgeon [surgeon], and Dr
Andrew Moore their physician. They not only

1 Franck’s Northern Memoirs, 199.


civilised, but enriched, the place. They fixed a
garrison at Inverlochy, and carried a bark, driven
upon rollers, to the Lochend of Ness, and there
enlarged it to a stately frigate, to sail with provision
from one end of the Loch to the other—Mr Church,
governor, and Lieutenant Orton, captain of this
frigate, and sixty men aboard of her, to land upon
expeditions when they pleased. I happened myself,
with the Laird of Streachin, to be invited aboard by
Orton, where we were civilly treated. It were vain
to relate what advantages the country had by this
regiment. Story may yet record it, but I only set
down in the general something of what I was eye-

Indeed, the presence of the English was an
unmixed blessing to the inhabitants of the district
of Loch Ness, who now enjoyed a greater measure
of security and justice than had fallen to the lot of
themselves or their fathers since the days of
Randolph, and Lauder, and Sir Robert Chisholm.
For the first time for three centuries the men of
Urquhart found themselves able to lie down at
night with the assurance that their cattle and
the fruits of their labour would not ere morning
be in the hands of the Western clansmen. The
Laird of Grant and his tenants appreciated the
repose that had thus strangely overtaken them,
and comported themselves so peaceably that
General Monck, on 10th February, 1658, issued
an order permitting them “ to keep their arms

1 Wardlaw MS., quoted in Dr Carruthers’ Highland Note-Book.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                175

for their defence until further order, they doing
nothing prejudicial to his Highness and the Com­
monwealth.” The only person in the Parish who
was not at peace was the minister, the Reverend
Duncan Macculloch ; for the heritors and parishioners
deprived him of his glebe and refused to pay his
legal stipend, with the result that he got into
trouble with his creditors, and neglected the duties
of his holy office. The extreme sectaries who had
brought peace, but not liberty, to others, had no
sympathy for poor Presbyterian Duncan Macculloch ;
and the unchristian conduct of his persecutors pro­
bably met with their hearty approval.

The period of repose which the people enjoyed
came all too soon to an end. Oliver Cromwell
died in September, 1658, and after the short and
troubled government of his son Richard, Monck
marched from Scotland to London and brought about
the Restoration of King Charles the Second. That
event took place in May, 1660, amidst great
rejoicings ; but no sooner did the tidings of the
King’s return reach the Highlands than the “ louss
and ydle men” sprang from the leash which had so
long restrained them, and began their old work of
harrying and cattle-lifting. Reavers from Glengarry,
led by Donald Bain and his son John Mac Donald Vic
Gorrie in Achluachrach, carried away cattle from
the Laird of Grant’s tenants ; for which spoil the
Earl of Glencairn, now Chancellor of Scotland,
ordered Alasdair Macdonald, and his ward, Alas-
dair Mac Angus Mhor in Achluachrach, on whose


lands the Bains lived, to make restitution to the
sufferers. The Government, also, issued a com­
mission to the Laird of Grant authorising him,
and such as he should appoint, “ with their assisters
and followers to search, seik, tak, and apprehend
all such sorners, broken men, thieves, robbers, and
others disturbers of the peace of this Kingdome, at
anytyme comeing, within any place of the bounds
wher the said Laird of Grant hes power or may
command ; and for that effect, in cace of resistance,
with full power to the said Laird of Grant and his
forsaids to convocat ane sufficient and compitent
number of armed men, not exceidmg the number of
fourty, for takeing and apprehending of the forsaids
persones ; and being taken and apprehendit, to put
them in sure waird, firmance, and captivity in any
tolbuith or wairding-place within this kingdom,”
where they were to be kept until they were tried
and punished according to law.1

The salutary effect of these proceedings was to a
large extent counteracted by the King’s desire to
please those chiefs who had been faithful to him in the
day of his adversity. To gratify them, the Citadel of
Inverness was, in 1662, razed to the ground—the
Laird of Grant assisting in the work of demolition.
Crime and disorder immediately followed the disap­
pearance of this last symbol of Cromwell’s power and
protection. The Earl of Moray, Sheriff of Inverness-
shire, made some efforts to restore respect for the law.
At his request, Hector Mac Alasdair, a notorious

1 Chiefs of Grant, II., 21 ; Domestic Annals of Scotland, 3rd Ed., II., 263.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.               177

cateran of the Clan Maclean, and one who had slain
and robbed in various parts of the country, was appre­
hended by The Chisholm, and hanged. Hector, how­
ever, had relatives and friends who resolved to avenge
his death. His sons, John Maol, Allan, and Donald,
with Donald Mac Ewen Vic Kenneth, in Badenoch,
and about sixty others, made a descent on the lands
of Croichal and Mauld, in May, 1663, and in the
dead of night lifted forty cows belonging to Chisholm
and his tenants, and drove them, by Glenmoriston
and Fort-Augustus, into Badenoch. The Chisholms
followed in close pursuit, and tracked the cattle
across Corriarrack. They recovered twenty. The
rest were hamstrung by the raiders, who escaped to
the mountains. In November, they appeared on
The Chisholm’s Glen-Urquhart estate of Buntait,
“ under cloud and fileme of night,” and gave “ four
great barns, full of corn, and two houses,” to the
flames. This was but an earnest of what was yet
to come. On the 24th of March, 1664, the same
resolute avengers again appeared, and filled the poor
people’s cup of suffering to overflowing, by “ treason­
ably burning all the houses and barns that were in
the haill half daach [davach] of Buntait, extending
to the number of twenty-two houses and barns, and
burning both oxen, sheep, and gaits [goats] that
were in the said houses, and cruellie wounding the
people that were within the same.”

The legal writs which give these particulars1 are
silent as to the distress that must have followed

1 The writs are preserved at Erchless Castle.



these visitations. The Chisholm did what he could
to get the poor comforts of the law for the sufferers.
Proceedings were promptly taken at the instance
of the Lord Advocate and himself against the
offenders, who were cited to appear in Edinburgh
on 8th June, 1664. They did not obey, and were
declared rebels ; and on the 16th, a commission was
issued in the King’s name, charging Lord Lovat ;
Lord Duffus ; Alexander Fraser, tutor of Lovat ;
Kenneth Mackenzie of Coul, and his son ; The
Chisholm ; Hugh Fraser of Foyers ; Hugh Fraser of
Belladrum ; John Chisholm of Buntait ; John Grant
of Glenmoriston ; and John Grant of Corrimony,
factor of Urquhart, to convocate the lieges in arms,
and to apprehend the rebels, and pursue them to
the death. “ And,” adds the King, “ if in pursuit of
the said rebels, their assisters or complices, . . .
there shall happen fire-raising, mutilation, slaughter,
destruction of corns or goods, or other inconveniences
to follow, we . . . will and grant, and for us
and our successors decern and declare that the same
shall not be imputed as crime and offence to our
said commissioners, nor to the persons assisting them
in the execution of this our commission.”1

Untoward circumstances impeded the action of
the commissioners at the very outset. The Chisholm,
to whom it naturally fell to lead them against the
outlaws, was, unfortunately, deep in debt ; and,
powerful though he was in his own glens, and among
his own people, he had to confess that he could not

1 Commission at Erchless Castle.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                 179

venture beyond the bounds of his estates without
running the risk of incarceration by his creditors.
He petitioned the King for “ a protection for his
person while he is putting the said commission in
execution.”1 The result is not known, but the
probability is that it was not found expedient to
suspend the debtors’ laws, even in favour of a High­
land chief armed with the King’s mandate, and that
the burners of Buntait escaped through the pecuniary
embarrassment of their principal pursuer.

The Government, in appointing John Grant of
Glenmoriston—the Iain Donn of his contemporaries
—one of the commissioners, acted on the time-
honoured policy of setting a thief to catch a thief.
Ere the ashes of the barns of Buntait were cold, the
barns of Culcabock, near Inverness, were given to
the flames by the fiery Iain Donn. The Lairds of
Glenmoriston had, as we have seen, been proprietors
of Culcabock, including Hilton and Knockintinnel,
from the days of Iain Mor, the first of the family.
Their immediate neighbours were the Robertsons of
Inshes, a wise race who made money, and lent it out
at interest. When Patrick Grant of Glenmoriston
died, in 1642 or 1643, he was owing John Robertson
of Inshes “ great sums of money.” Patrick’s heir,
Iain Donn, was at the time a minor, and he remained
for years under the tutelage of his uncle, Grant of
Coineachan. Inshes, apparently before Patrick’s
death, began legal proceedings for the recovery of
his money ; obtained a decree of apprising of

1 Copy petition at Erchless.


the baronies of Culcabock and Glenmoriston, the
effect of which was to convey the estates to him,
subject to Iain Donn’s right to redeem them by pay­
ment of the debt within a certain fixed time ; and
in January, 1645, was infeft in both baronies.1
He entered into possession of Culcabock, and let the
lands to tenants ; but he was unable to take the
same course with the young debtor’s estates in our
Parish, and, so far as these were concerned, he
rested on his conditional title, until the lapse of time
should make it absolute. He was not allowed to
rest in peace. Grant of Carron and other friends of
Glenmoriston interested themselves in the business,
and devastated the lands of Inshes. Robertson, how­
ever, still adhered to his claims, and on his death,
about 1661, they were taken up by his son William,
who was infeft in the apprised lands in 1662. But
Iain Donn had now reached manhood, and the
loss of his Inverness possessions, and the danger
which threatened the estate of Glenmoriston,
roused him to action. He began in the spirit
of compromise. He proposed to relinquish all
claims to Culcabock if young Inshes would pay

1 Inshes also apprised Balmaeaan (which Glenmoriston held in wadset),
and Glenmoriston’s other Glen-Urquhart possessions of Clunemore and Culna-
kirk. In reference to these he wrote his Edinburgh legal adviser in 1646—
“ You shall consult with your advocates concerning the lands of Urquhart,
belonging to Glenmoriston, for I comprised Bellamaka, the Clune, Culin-kirk,
and the mill. This Bellamaka pays yearly 400 merks, holden of the Laird
of Grant. He is to redeem at Whitsunday for 3000 merks. See what course
you will have me to do thereanent.” The mill was, as it still is, situated at
Lower Milton, which formed part of the lands of Culnakirk.—Mr Fraser-
Mackintosh’s Letters of Two Centuries, 53,

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                   181

him eight or nine thousand merks, and dis­
charge all claims upon Glenmoriston. Robertson,
who had a legal title to both estates, declined the
offer. Grant, finding his peaceful overtures of no
avail, resorted to sterner measures. On the night of
4th January, 1664, the citizens of Inverness, who
had not yet finished the festivities of the New Year,
were attracted towards the south-east by a great
glare in the sky. Two barns at Culcabock, contain­
ing one hundred and sixty bolls of corn belonging
to Inshes’s tenants, and to forty bolls of which he
was himself entitled, as his “ ferme,” or rent,1 were
in flames, and beyond salvation. Night shielded the
incendiaries, and they escaped ; but Iain Donn and
his friends were suspected, and Inshes openly
accused them of the crime. “ I am sorry,” wrote
Forbes of Culloden to him, on 10th February,2 “ for
that miserable loss you have sustained, but cannot
think anywise of what you write concerning the
actors ; and though you seem to wonder at these of
Glenmoriston, always the Lord will discover it in His
own time, and I hope they shall suffer for it.”

Inshes, who was a clerkly young man, and a
Master of Arts, could also write piously when
occasion demanded. He wrote to the Bishop of
Moray, on 21st January,3 that the “ malicious burn­
ing” is an act “so barbarous as all Christian and
honest men will abhorre, and requyres that such course

1 Letter, Inshes to the Bishop of Moray, dated 21st January, 1664, in
possession of Mr Fraser-Mackintosh, M.P.

2 Letter in Mr Fraser-Mackintosh’s possession.
3 Letter in Mr Fraser-Mackintosh’s possession.


be taken thereanent as may rather be ane eyesore than
ane encouragement to the wicked ;“ and he follows
up this reflection by the practical suggestion that
the Bishop should order a collection to be made
in the parish churches within the diocese for
behoof of his injured tenants. “ Honoured and
loving Friend,” replied the Bishop, with becoming
sympathy, “yours I receivit, showing of your great
loiss, which ye have susteinit by the burneing of
your biggings [buildings] and cornes, which trulie
affectes my mynd to heir the lyk insulencie committit
in the land, and in speaciall haveing fallen upon you,
or any of yours, which I most willinglie wold repair
iff ther were any convenient way to doe it. And as
to your desyre in committing the perticular to the
province ”—that is, to have a collection made—“ it
is a thing that is not usuall nor hansome, and there­
fore it cannot be done efter that maner. But once
the nixt week [is past], I purpose, be the Lord’s
mercies, to see you at Inverness myselff, at which we
shall speak of it, and consider iff ther can be any
other way that may doe better. Till which tyme, I
committ you, with the rest of our relationes, to the
protection of the Almightie God.”1

The “ other way,” if devised, was not effectual.
The Laird made no concession to Glenmoriston, and
the latter dealt him another secret blow. On 20th
March, “ the great barn­yards of Culcabock, belong­
ing to Inshes,” writes the contemporary minister of
Kirkhill,2 “and three men, were all set on fire.

1 Letter in Mr Fraser-Mackintosh’s possession.
2 Wardlaw MS., quoted n Dr Carruthers’ Highland Note-Book.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                 183

Eleven stacks, about ten at night, all irrecoverably
burnt. It made such a dreadful flame as put Inver­
ness in a consternation, being so near.”

Robertson, however, still continued to hold out,
and his opponent now resolved to seize his person,
and keep him captive until the terms offered him
were agreed to. Glenmoriston sought the aid of his
relative, Bailie Finlay Fraser of Inverness, to whom
he wrote on 12th August—“ Worthy and much
Respected Cousin,—If you remember, when, as I
sent your messenger to the Goodman of Inshes, you
told me that Inshes could not meet with me upon
our particular till Lammas were past. Now, I request
he would be pleased to be at Castle Spiritual [Caisteal
Spioradan, at the east end of Loch Ness] upon Satur­
day, being 20th instant, when I shall bring three or
four friends, whereby we may take Inshes by way of
ceremony in our particular, and afterwards it may
happen his friends may move some occasion of settle­
ment. Thus, till your positive answer, I remain,
your very loving Cousin,—J. Grant.”1

The Bailie appears to have gone about the delicate
business entrusted to him with the tact and zeal
which his affection to his cousin demanded ; and, with
the innocent assistance of Brodie of Brodie and John
Forbes of Culloden, a meeting of the lairds was
brought about on 23rd August—not at Caisteal
Spioradan, but at Inverness. Inshes was accom­
panied by “three civil gentlemen”—to wit, Alexander
Cuthbert, Provost of Inverness, Robert Ross, ex-

Letter printed in Inverness Courier, 5th March, 1845.


Provost, and Culloden. Glenmoriston had a retinue
of a dozen or sixteen men ; but these he concealed in
an ale-house until their services were required. The
gentlemen passed the afternoon pleasantly enough
in one of the “ closes ” of the Highland Capital ; but
no great progress was made with the work of recon­
ciliation, and, just as they were about to separate,
Iain Donn suddenly called his men, and pulling
Inshes off his horse, galloped off with him to Glen-
moriston. Next morning, Culloden, greatly shocked,
wrote Sir Hugh Campbell of Cawdor, giving an
account of the affair. “ My Lord Brodie,” said he,
“having spoken to me the other day at the burial,
anent the particular of the Laird of Glenmoriston
and Inshes, and wished me to interpose with Inshes
for a settling, to the end that any composition
[compromise] which might have been had should
have come your Honour’s way, I do profess this was
the only cause why, in a manner, I insinuated myself
in that affair ; whereupon a tryst is drawn on, and
having spent the whole afternoon yesterday in the
close, even as we were parting, and some of us come a
pretty way off, without as much as a cross word, or
the least occasion of offence offered, Glenmoriston,
with the number of twelve or sixteen men, whom he
had all the time lying down in an ale-house near the
place, rushed forth upon the young man Inshes, just
as he was taking good­night of the laird, and turned
him off his horse, and carried him prisoner to the
Highlands, as would appear, till they extort that
from him by violence which friends could easily have

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                 185

persuaded him to have given. This wicked and bar­
barous kind of procedure, under pretext of friendship,
and even while friends are travelling betwixt them for
an accommodation, should (I think) be argument
sufficient to persuade all gentlemen to resist it, and
particularly your honourable self. Wherefore I have
thought fit to give you notice, knowing you have
influence upon these men, to the end your Honour
may use your own moyen [influence] with them, and
in your own way, to get the poor man released, who,
I hear say, would have been content to have made
yourself or any honest man judge to what satisfac­
tion he should have given them. The sooner this
be done the better for preventing of their further
barbarity. I need say no more, only the abuse is so
gross, and the preparative of so bad a consequence,
as of itself it calls for the assistance of all good men,
condign punishment inflicted upon the offenders,
even to the terror of others who might offer the like

Cawdor, who was related to Glenmoriston,
interested himself in the matter, and in the end
Robertson undertook to pay his captor seven
thousand merks, and was released. But Iain Donn’s
offence was too heinous to be ignored by the
authorities, and by order of the Privy Council
he was apprehended by the Earl of Moray, Sheriff
of Inverness-shire. He contrived to escape, only
to be captured and taken to Edinburgh by the
Robertsons of Struan, who had, in true High-

1 Thanes of Cawdor, 317 ; Inverness Courier, 5th March, 1845.


land fashion, espoused the cause of their northern
clansmen. The circumstances of his arrest and
subsequent release, are related in a letter addressed
by James Fowler, of Inverness, on 16th October.
1666, to Inshes, who was then in Edinburgh :—“I
doubt not but ye have heard of Glenmoriston, that
he was apprehended by the Robertsons of Athole,
and carried to the Justice-General, who taking pity
on him, and also the gentlemen that apprehended
him taking pity on him, did dismiss him, upon his
bond to appear at Cluny, in Badenoch, against the
2nd of November, with two of his friends, when they
are to meet him with two of their friends, for taking
cognisance in the assault and debate, and for
removing of the same. The forfeit is six thousand
merks. You would do well to advise with your
friends in Athole, and send an express to them ; for
once that people has espoused your quarrel, they
will not see you misused, but will serve you to the
full. Therefore, they should not be met with
ingratitude or forgetfulness.”1

The negotiations for a settlement now proceeded
smoothly, and early in 1666 they were brought to a
successful termination. Iain Donn agreed to relin­
quish whatever right he had to Culcabock, while
Inshes granted to him a bond for seven thousand
merks, undertook to discharge him of the con­
sequences of his illegal conduct, and gave up all
claim to the barony of Glenmoriston.2 The agreement

1 Letter in Mr Fraser-Mackintosh’s possession.
2 Memorandum, holograph of Inshes, in Mr Fraser-Mackintosh’s possession.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                 187

was duly carried into effect. Inshes, on 25th May,
1666, “fully, freely, perfectly, lovingly, and finally”
discharged Glenmoriston, and his tenants and
servants, and promised to “ entertain love, peace,
and amity” towards them ;1 and on 9th March, 1668,
Glenmoriston granted Robertson a formal deed of
corroboration of his right to Culcabock ; and thus
the long­standing quarrel happily came to an end.
Iain Donn lost the Inverness possessions of his
family, but he saved Glenmoriston and his lands in
Glen-Urquhart, which Robertson’s apprising had been
threatening for upwards of twenty years.

Of the many wild adventurers who flourished in
the seventeenth century the most renowned was
Domhnull Donn Mac Fhir Bohuntuinn. Donald,
who was a son of Macdonald of Bohuntin, in Brae-
Lochaber, and a contemporary of Iain Lorn, who
witnessed and sang of the battle of Inverlochy,
looked upon cattle-lifting as legitimate warfare, and
on the reaver’s trade as a gentleman’s calling. He
was the Rob Roy of his generation ; but he had more
poetry in his soul than the famous Macgregor had,
and, although his deeds brought him in the end to
the headsman’s block, he died with the reputation
of never having injured a poor man, or imbued his
hands wantonly in human blood. The scenes of his
adventures extended from Breadalbane to Caithness,
and his custom was to make rapid journeys, with a
few kindred spirits, by the least known mountain
tracks, and to swoop down upon the cattle of the

1 Deed with Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.


lairds and tacksmen where he was least expected.
He was aided and abetted by the smaller tenants
and cottars, to whom he extended his protection and
lavish generosity. An ardent wooer of the High­
land muse, he beguiled the tedium of the march
and the loneliness of the night watch by weaving
delightful Gaelic lyrics—love songs principally,
which, however, give vivid glimpses of the life he

To our Parish, as we learn from tradition and
his songs, he was a frequent and not unfriendly
visitor ; for on one of his journeys he met
and loved Mary, daughter of the Laird of Grant,
who resided at the time in Urquhart Castle. Donald
was a gentleman, and a gentleman’s son, and the
lady reciprocated his tender feelings ; but her father
refused to have him for his son-in-law, and forbade all
intercourse between them. They, however, found
opportunities of meeting secretly on the wooded
banks of Loch Ness. On one of these occasions he
left his companions on the farm of Borlum, with a
herd of cattle which he had lifted in Ross-shire.
During his absence the owners appeared and
claimed the cattle, among which was a white
cow which they readily identified. The Laird of
Grant, called upon to explain how the reavers had
found shelter so near his residence, was very angry,
and swore, “Bheir an Diabhal mise a mo bhrogan
mar teid Domhnull Donn a chrochadh!”—“ The Devil
may take me out of my shoes, if Donald Donn is
not hanged !” Donald, pursued by the soldiers from

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                 189

the Castle, but still anxious to be near Mary Grant,
betook himself to an almost inaccessible cave in Glaic-
Ruidh-Bhacain, on the Ruiskich side of Alt-Saigh,
which is still known as Uamh Dhomhnuill Duinn—
Donald Donn’s Cave. There, safe from his pursuers
and their sleuth-hounds—coin dubh Eadailteach
black dogs of Italy—he passed his time in the
company of Glenmoriston’s herdsmen from across the
burn of Alt-Saigh, or composing songs in praise of
Mary and the wilds that gave him shelter. But his
place of retreat was discovered by his pursuers, who,
unable to approach him in the cave, sent him a
message, as if from Mary, proposing an interview at
the house of a certain individual, who was repre­
sented to be her trusted confidant. Eager to meet
her, he repaired to the house at the appointed hour.
He was hospitably received by the supposed friend,
who promised that the lady would soon appear.
While Donald awaited her arrival, the cuach was
sent speedily round, and in his excitement he drank
deeply. At last, and at a signal from his treacher­
ous host, his enemies, to the number of sixty-three,
as he himself states in one of his songs, rushed in,
and endeavoured to seize him. Starting to his feet,
and grasping his gun, he fired at them ; but the
weapon also played false, and missed fire. Striking
furiously at them with the butt-end of the gun, he
fought his way out of the house, and ran for his
life. But he slipped and fell, and was taken and
lodged in the Castle dungeon. Convicted of the
crime of cattle-stealing, he begged for one favour


before sentence of death was passed upon him—he
asked that he should be beheaded like a gentleman,
and not hanged. His prayer was granted, and
sentence was pronounced accordingly : whereupon
he exclaimed—“The Devil will take the Laird of
Grant out of his shoes, and Donald Donn shall not
be hanged”

The short period which passed between his
sentence and his death was occupied by him in com­
posing songs of exceeding sadness, which tell the
tale of his love and capture. At the place of
execution—Craigmonie—his thoughts were of his
beloved ; and the legend tells that as his severed
head rolled from the block, his tongue uttered the
appeal, “ Tog mo cheann, a Mhairi!”—“ Mary, lift
my head !”1

1 See Appendix E further as to Donald, and his references to Urquhart.

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