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The Parish Unsettled.—The Castle Garrisoned by the Whigs.—
They Vacate and Destroy it.—Its Last Record.—Its Cham­
bers of Treasure and Pestilence.—King William’s Measures
to Subdue the Highlands.—Devastation of Urquhart.—The
Losses of the Laird of Grant and his Tenants.—Compensa­
tion recommended by Parliament, but refused by the King.
—Insecurity of Life and Property.—Raids and Dackerings.
—Proceedings against Achmonie.—Raids by Glenmoriston
men on Dalcross, Glencannich, and Dunain.—Colonel Hill
endeavours to stop their Adventures.—Horses Stolen from
Shewglie.—The Track and its Result.—The Macmillans of
Loch-Arkaig-side take a Spoil from Glenmoriston.—The Fight
of Corri-nam-Bronag.—The Raid of Inchbrine.—The Conflict
of Corribuy.—Death of Shewglie.—His Son’s Revenge.—
Death of Gille Dubh nam Mart.

The Revolution Settlement, under which William
and Mary became King and Queen of Great Britain
and Ireland, brought no immediate peace to the
Highlands of Scotland. The friends of the Stewarts
still gave trouble, and for the protection of Urquhart
a detachment of Lord Strathnaver’s men was,
early in 1690, placed in the Castle. This garrison
occupied it for at least two years—the last to which
it gave shelter.1 The written military record of the

1 The garrison probably consisted of 300 or 400 men. Sir James Leslie,
writing to General Mackay from Inverness, on 9th December, 1689, stated
that the Castle could containe three companies very well, and, for a stress,


OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.               211

old fortress closes on 11th January, 1692, with an
order upon the Provost and Magistrates of Inverness
to furnish horses to carry meal for the garrison.1 It
was soon afterwards vacated by these Whig soldiers,
who prevented its occupation by the Jacobites by
blowing up the keep and entrance towers, and
destroying it as a place of strength. It was never
afterwards repaired, and so dilapidated did it
become by 1708, that the people took to carrying
away the lead that covered its roof, and the wooden
partitions that divided its chambers.2 Gunpowder
and decay had done their work ; and henceforth the
Royal Castle, the pride of the North since the days
of the War of Independence, is but a crumbling ruin.
The old Laird of Glenmoriston, and his son, Iain
a’ Chragain, acting in concert with their neighbour,
Glengarry, long refused to take the oath of allegi­
ance to William and Mary. On 11th January,
1692, the King issued instructions to Sir Thomas
Livingston, ordering him to proceed against the
“Highland rebels” who still held out for King

1 The order, which is in the archives of the Burgh of Inverness, is in the
following terms :—

“ You are herby Requird to provide as many horses as may transport ten
bolls of meal from the magazin of Inverness to the nearest end of Lochness,
for the use of the guarison of Urquhart, and that aganst tomorrow morneing,
the twelfte of January Instant. Given at Invernesse, January 11th, 1692.
For Their Maj[esties’] Service.—R. Cuninghame. To the Provost and
Magistrats of the towne of Inverness.”

2 See Appendix F. It is believed in the Parish that there are two secret
chambers underneath the ruins of the Castle—the one filled with gold and the
other with the plague. On account of the risk of letting loose the pestilence,
no attempt has ever been made to discover the treasure. This myth, in
various forms, and associated with various places, is as old as the classic fable
of Pandora.


James, “by fire and sword, and all manner of
hostility, to burn their houses, seize or destroy
their goods or cattle, plenishing or cloaths ; and to
cut off the men. To that end,” adds the King,
“you are to join the troops, and divide them in
parties, as you see cause or opposition. The troops
at Inverness lie most conveniently to be employed
against Glenmoriston and Glengarry.”1 Vigorous
measures, which culminated in the massacre of


Glencoe, followed upon these instructions, and in
the end the Highland chiefs yielded.

During the troubles of the Revolution, the Laird
of Grant and his tenants in Strathspey and Urqu-
hart suffered greatly. Despite the garrison in the
Castle, Urquhart was devastated by the adherents of
the Stewarts. In the hope of obtaining some redress,
the Laird presented a petition to the Scottish Par­
liament praying that a commission should be issued to

1 Papers Illustrative of the Highlands of Scotland (Maitland Club), p. 60.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                213

the sheriffs and commissioners of supply of the shires
of Inverness, Moray, and Banff, to enquire into the
extent of the damage. His prayer was granted,
and early in 1691, Hugh Fraser of Belladrum, and
James Fraser of Reelick, two of the commissioners of
supply for the county of Inverness, opened an enquiry
in Glen-Urquhart and took the sworn evidence of
the tenants and inhabitants. Their report, dated at
Urquhart the 3rd and 4th days of February, bore
that the losses in our Parish of the Laird and his
tenants amounted to £44,333 5s 2d Scots, including
the damage, assessed at £2000, done to the Castle by
King William’s soldiers.1 This report, with another
in reference to Strathspey, was duly submitted to
Parliament ; while the Laird presented a second
petition in 1695, setting forth that in consequence
of the ravages upon his estates “ his tennents were
so impoverished that he got little or no rent for
several years out of his lands in Strathspey ; and he
was necessitat to discharge his tennents in Urqu-
hart the entire rent of that Barony, which is £6000
Scots, and that for the years 1689, 1690, 1691, 1692,
and 1693, their stocks being so entirely carried
away that they could not continow to labour with­
out that abatement.”2 Including the above sum of
£44,333 5s 2d and the rents, the losses in Glen-
Urquhart amounted to £74,333 5s 2d Scots. In
Strathspey the Laird and his tenants suffered to the
extent of £76,152 18s 8d, making between the two
estates the enormous sum of £150,486 3s 10d Scots

1 Acts of Parl., IX., 426.

2 Ibid.


—equal in value to the same amount in money
sterling in our day—as the price paid for the Laird’s
loyalty to King William. The Laird prayed Parlia­
ment to assess and declare the amount of his losses,
and “ either to appoint him a fund for his payment
or at least to grant him a recommendation to His
Majesty for the same.” The Committee for Private
Affairs, to whom the matter was remitted for
enquiry, found that the losses were correctly stated,
and Parliament recommended “ the said Laird of
Grant to His Majesty’s Royal and Gracious consider­
ation for repairing of the damages and losses con­
tained in the foresaid report.”1 The recommendation
was ignored by the “ Royal and Gracious,” but very
ungrateful William ; and, notwithstanding repeated
applications to himself and his successors down to
the time of George the Third, no compensation has
as yet been received for the damages and losses
suffered by the Laird and his tenants.

The troubles which accompanied and followed
the Revolution greatly increased the insecurity
of life and property in the Highlands. During
the last decade of the seventeenth century and
the first few years of the eighteenth, the inha­
bitants of Urquhart and Glenmoriston were freely
plundered ; and they plundered as freely in return.
A few of the raids in which they were implicated
may be mentioned.

In February, 1690, “two red horse” were stolen
from Murdo Mac Coil Vic Curchy, one of The

1 Acts of Parl., IX., 426.



Chisholm’s tenants in Comar, and “tracked” to the
lands of Achmonie, which were then in the posses­
sion of William Grant. Chisholm took up the cause
of his tenant, and instituted proceedings against
Grant before “ The Commissioners of Justiciary,
appointed by His Majesty for securing the peace
of the Highlands,” and on 31st May, 1698, judgment
was given for £40 Scots, being the value of the two
horses, £20 as the amount of loss, damage, and
expense incurred by Murdo in consequence of the
theft, and £6 of expenses. For these sums the
Commissioners at the same time issued a precept of
poinding, authorising their officers to distrain and
sell Grant’s effects. On 3rd February, 1699, the
latter was “charged” by an officer, and he doubtless
found it expedient to pay the amount contained in
the judgment.1

Some time before July, 1693, Archibald Grant,
alias Mac Conchie Vic Phatrick, in Coineachan, son
of Duncan Grant of Duldreggan, carried away
much spoil from James Dunbar of Dalcross, one
of the bailies of Inverness. The bailie, on 4th
July, obtained a decree of spuilzie in the sheriff
court of Inverness, against Archibald and some of
his associates, for the sum of £1224 17s 4d Scots of
principal, with £60 of costs. The sums were, how­
ever, unpaid as late as October, 1703, when Dunbar
obtained “caption,” or warrant of imprisonment,
against the debtors.2

1 Precept of Poinding, at Erchless Castle.
2 Antiquarian Notes, 143 ; and Precept of Poinding, at Erchless Castle.


In May, 1698, the same Archibald Grant, with
Patrick Grant, in Coineachan, his brother, and John
Grant of Glenmoriston, were involved in legal pro­
ceedings in connection with the theft from William
Chisholm, alias Mac Alasdair, tenant in Carrie of
Glencannich, of “ four cows, whereof one white-bellyit
brown cow, two black cows, and the fourth prick-
hornit branderit cow.” The cattle, “ after hot
dackering,”1 were “ straightline tracked to the
bounds and graseings of Coinachan, possest by the
said Patrick and Archibald Grant, or the said John
Grant of Glenmoriston ; and they, being required to
purge their saids bounds and graseings of the said
track, they either refused, or could not doe the
samen.” The Chisholm, as the complainer’s land­
lord, accordingly took the usual steps before the
Commissioners of Justiciary, who gave judgment
against the Grants for £48 Scots as the value of the
four cows, £20 of expenses, loss, and damage, and
£6 15s due to the Commissioners for administration
in the cause.2

At the same court Donald Mac Conachy Vic
Alasdair, in Dulchleichart, was found liable for 40
merks Scots, with £8 for loss and damage, and 10
merks and 2 shillings as the Commissioners’ fees, in
respect of the theft from Alexander Mac Hutcheon
Vic Coil, in Glencannich, of two cows—“ both which
cows prick-hornit and black colour. . . . And
which cows, after diligent search and tryall made

1 Dacker, or daiker, to search.
Precept of Poinding, at Erchless Castle.



therefor, were recently dackerit to the said Donald
Mac Cutcheon, his said portion of Tullichard, or
graseing thereof, called Ardmullen ; and which track,
being by the said Complainer [The Chisholm]
intimate and published to the said Donald, he
absolutely refused to purge his said portion of the
said track.”1

John Grant of Glenmoriston repeatedly found
himself in trouble in connection with the predatory
enterprises of his people. Referring, apparently,
to a raid on the lands of George, Viscount
Tarbat, Colonel John Hill, Governor of Fort-
William, wrote as follows to his Lordship on
1st November, 1697 :—“I sent lately to Glen-
moriston to settle with and satisfy your Lordship,
which he promised to do ; and if he fail, I shall be a
quick remembrancer to him.” And the Commis­
sioners of Justiciary granted a decree on 7th April,
1699, at the instance of Charles Baillie, as executor
of the deceased William Baillie of Dunain, against
Duncan Grant and James Grant, sons of the Tutor of
Glenmoriston, John Riach Mac Finlay vic Coil in Ach-
naconeran, John Dubh Mac Coile, servitor or servant
to Angus Roy Cameron, sometime in Invermoriston,
James Roy Mac Croiter in Coineachan, Alexander Mac
Iain vie Alasdair in Wester Inverwiek, Finlay Mac
Finlay vie Coil, brother of the said John Riach, Alex­
ander Macdonald in Duldregganbeg, Peter Grant,
brother of Glenmoriston and lately in Divach, Donald
Dubh Mac Iain vic Neil, Malcolm Mac Coile vic Sorle,

1 Precept of Poinding, at Erchless Castle.


Alexander Dubh Mac Conachie Vore, Dalcattaig,
William Mac Conachie vic William there, Alexander
Keill Mac Coill vic Coill in Glenmoriston, “and
John Grant of Glenmoriston their Landlord, Master,
Chieftain, for his interest,” for the sum of £2816
Scots, being the value of cattle carried away from
Dunain during the deceased’s lifetime, with the sum
of £281, being the tenth part of the value due to
the Commissioners as their fees. The process upon
which the decree proceeded, and the amounts
therein contained, were assigned by the executor to
William Baillie, then of Dunain, who made several
attempts to recover the money. In these he was
not successful ; and after the lapse of twenty-two
years—on 28th January, 1721—he sold the decree
to John Grant, younger of Glenmoriston, grandson
of the chieftain against whom it was originally

In the month of August, 1701, Thomas Fraser,
in Shewglie, was secretly relieved by some unknown
persons, of “ ane blew horse or gerron,2 seaven-year-
old ; ane dinish whyt-faced gerron, fyve-year-old, or
thereby ; and ane gray mear, about fyve-year-old.”
Fraser tracked the horses across the river Enerick
to Buntait, and thence to Comarkirktown, in Strath-
glass, possessed by John and Thomas Chisholm.
The Chisholms were unable to clear their bounds of
the track, and Fraser at once assigned his claim

1 Translation by Baillie to Grant, recorded in Inverness Commissary
Books on 4th May, 1727.

2 Gerron : Gaelic gearran, a gelding.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.               219

against them to Major James Grant, chamberlain
of Urquhart, who took the usual proceedings before
the Commissioners of Justiciary. The Chisholms,
although apparently innocent, were remiss in their
defence, and were found liable in “ the sum of ane
hundred and nyntie merks, deponed upon by the said
Thomas Fraser to be the value of the saids horses
and mear, together with the sum of ane hundred
and ten merks in lieu of the dammadges and
expenses.” They now, when too late, endeavoured
to push the track beyond their own lands, and
succeeded in bringing it to the bounds of Corin-
draihk, and thence to Guisachan, the property of
William Fraser, to whom they gave the customary
intimation. The latter cleared himself by following
it across the mountains “ to the bounds and grazings
of Lundie in Glenmoriston, possessed by Patrick
Grant of Craskie, and Alexander Grant there, and
Patrick Grant in Coineachan,” whom we have seen
in a similarly suspicious position in 1698. The
Grants received the usual notice, but, “notwith­
standing the trackers stayed and resided upon the
saids bounds the ordinary tyme appointed in such
cases, yet they [the Grants] could not purge the same
track from off their bounds.” The Chisholms accord­
ingly caused a summons to be served on them on
12th May, 1702, for the amounts in which they
themselves had been found liable to the chamberlain
of Urquhart. The case came before the Commis­
sioners, within the tolbooth of Inverness, on the
26th, when the Grants were defended by a lawyer


named John Taylor, who “ gave in certain defences
in wreitt, against the officer, against the citationes
being one fewer than fyfteen dayes, and the
citationes being generall as to the tyme of stealling
of the horses, collours, etc., of them, and craveing
expenses in respect of the said informalities.” Unfor­
tunately for the Chisholms, the lawyer’s pleadings
prevailed. The Commissioners found that the sum­
mons had not been validly served, and ordered the
defenders to be cited of new.1 The subsequent
proceedings, if such there were, have not been pre­

Patrick Dubh Grant of Craskie, whose name
appears in these writs, was at one time, says tradi­
tion, spoiled of a number of cattle by a party of
Macmillans from Loch-Arkaig-side. Pursuing the
reavers, with his brother and his friends, he overtook
them at Corri-nam-Bronag, between Glen-Loyne
and Tomdoun in Glengarry. When he demanded
restitution of the cattle, he got the reply, “You
may take them, if you can.” He tried, and suc­
ceeded ; but in the struggle several fell on both
sides. The Macmillans still lie in the Corrie, where
twelve cairns mark their graves. The Glenmoriston
slain were brought home, and buried with their
kindred in Clachan Mherchaird.

But the most notable event of those stormy
times, connected with our Parish, was the Baid of
Inchbrine, which occurred in 1691 or 1692.2 The

1 Precept of Relief, Chisholms v. Grants, at Erchless Castle.

2 James Grant of Shewglie, who was killed in the raid, was alive on 14th
May, 1691. No reference to him has been found after that date.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.               221

story, as handed down by tradition, is as follows.
Twenty years or more before the Raid, a vagrant
woman from Lochaber arrived at Shewglie, and
was provided with food and shelter for the
night. Before morning she gave birth to a boy,
whom the goodwife of Shewglie offered to keep and
rear. The mother consented, and went her way.
The boy grew up unbaptised, and, as he tended
Shewglie’s cattle, he was known by the name of
Gille Dubh nam Mart—the Black Lad of the Cows.
His young companions taunted him with his origin,
and made his life miserable ; and at last he left
Shewglie, and made his way to Lochaber. The
Lochabermen soon brought his knowledge of Glen-
Urquhart into requisition ; and under his guidance
a party proceeded to the Glen, in search of plunder.
Crossing the mountains, they passed by Shewglie,
and came suddenly to Inchbrine, while the people
were absent in the distant peat moss. Hurriedly
lifting a large number of cattle, they retraced their
steps along the old path leading through Corribuy
and across Glen-Coilty. Summoned from the moss,
the men of the Braes speedily gathered at the
house of James Grant of Shewglie, and requested
that he should lead them against the invaders.
Shewglie, whom we have seen distinguishing him­
self at Killicrankie, had not a drop of coward’s blood
in his veins ; but the followers of the Gille Dubh
were more numerous than the Urquhart men who
had hastily met, and he advised delay until more
were got together. “I will follow the Lochaber-


men,” exclaimed his impulsive wife, Hannah Fraser,
“and you may stay at home, and ply the distaff.”
Smarting under the taunt, he bade his men follow
him, and set out after the raiders, whom he over­
took on a small rocky plateau, lying to the south of
the burn of Corribuy, ever since known as Carn
Mharbh Dhaoine—the Rock of the Dead Men. The
Gille Dubh stepped out to meet his late master. “ I
did not expect,” said the latter, “ that you would be
the one to lift cattle in Glen-Urquhart.” “ Nor I,”
replied the young man, “ that you would be the one
to follow me, seeing I have taken none of yours.”
On Shewglie’s account the spoil was at once given
up, and the men of Urquhart turned their faces
towards their Glen. They had proceeded but a few
paces when a hare started from among the heather,
and ran across the moor between the two parties.
Kenneth Macdonald, from Meiklie-na-h-aitnich,
raised his gun, and fired at it. The shot had no
effect on the hare, which was believed to be a witch,
but it brought disaster on Kenneth and his com­
panions. The Lochabermen thought it was intended
for themselves, and returned the fire. A desperate
fight followed. For a time the Urquhart men kept
their ground, and several of their opponents fell ; but
in the end they were forced to fly, leaving eight
of their number, including Shewglie, dead in the
heather. The Lochabermen not only took posses­
sion of the cattle again, but they also returned to
Shewglie, and took every hoof belonging to that
township. Hannah Fraser, weeping over the result

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH                 223

of her rashness, approached the Gille Dubh, and
appealed for mercy. “Remember,” said she, “that
I long befriended you, and that I am now a widow,
and about to become the mother of a fatherless
child.” There was no mercy in his reply :—“ Ma tha
thu trom, beir searrach !
”—“ If you are with child,
bear a foal !”

The people of Glen-Urquhart removed their dead
from Corribuy, and raised cairns on the spots where
the bodies were found. These still stand, one larger
than the others marking the place where Shewglie

The lady whom Gille Dubh nam Mart so grossly
insulted was in due time delivered of a son, who
early dreamt of avenging her wrongs. At last,
when he had reached manhood, he rode alone to
Lochaber, and came to the Gille Dubh’s house late in
the evening. His request for quarters for the night
was readily granted by that worthy, who, in accord­
ance with the rules of Highland hospitality, refrained
from enquiring who he was or whence he had come.
Finding the young man entertaining, the Gille Dubh
conversed with him on the deeds of former days till
far into the night. Grant alluded to the Raid of
Inchbrine, and induced his host to relate the story.
When the tale was told, the young man sprang to
his feet and exclaimed, “ The hour of vengeance has

1 The Raid of Inchbrine was further commemorated in a lament, the
words of which the Author has been unable to recover, with the exception of
the first two lines :—

’S ann maduinn Diardaoin

Thog iad Creach Innse-Bhraoin.
(It was on a Thursday morning that they took the spoil of Inchbrine.)


now arrived.” “ Who are you ?” angrily demanded
the Gille Dubh. “ I,” replied Grant, “ am the foal
which the goodwife of Shewglie carried on the day
of the Raid of Inchbrine ;” and, with these words,
he plunged his dirk into the man’s heart. Rushing
out of the house, he leapt into his saddle, and was
far on his way to Urquhart ere the morning light
fell on the lifeless body of Gille Dubh nam Mart.1

1 We find frequent references at this time to the unsettled state of the
country. Writing in June, 1691, to Hay of Park, Sir Hugh Campbell of
Cawdor, after giving an account of raids made upon himself and his neighbours
by Lochabermen, concludes :—“ I tell you these things anent the condition
of the country that you may let my good Lord Crawford know the case we
are in, that so the Lords of Counsel may take us under their care and
particular protection, and if their Lordships would please to order the
Governor of Inverness or the Commander-in-Chief to lodge one hundred men
at Dunmaglass, and as many, or more, at Aberarder, with a troop of dragoons
(there is plenty of grass in that country) they would do much to secure us
and all betwixt Spey and Ness, unless the Highlanders would draw to a head
again, which we are boasted—in which case those little garrisons of Aberarder
and Dunmaglass may easily in two hours’ time retire to Inverness without

Cawdor’s suggestion was ignored, and a similar suggestion made eight
years later by Lord Tarbat for the protection of the country lying to the
north of Loch Ness met the same fate. “ When I retired to the North,”
said his Lordship, writing to the Lord Chancellor in May, 1699, “ I saw all
people quiet in great part ; only the Highland robbers were doing hurt to
many of the peaceable subjects, whereof and of a suitable remedy as to the
five northern shires and a part of Nairn I acquainted your lordship. And I
do yet wish that the posting of some 80 or 100 of the forces from April to
December twixt Invermoriston at the East, and the head of Lochourn at the
West Sea, may be ordered, which would save these shires who now repine
that the soldiers, who live in sloth and idleness, are not doing this good office
to a considerable part of the nation, who give their money as frankly as any
do for pay to these forces.” It was left to Simon, Lord Lovat, to carry
Tarbat’s idea into effect. General Wade reported in 1725 that “ the new-raised
companies of Highlanders . . . were sent to their respective stations
with proper orders ; as well to prevent the Highlanders from returning to the
use of arms, as to hinder their committing depredations on the low country.
The Lord Lovat’s company was posted to guard all the passes in the
mountains from the Isle of Skye eastward, as far as Inverness.”

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