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The Barony of Urquhart Reverts to the Crown.—Is Granted to
the Earl of Sutherland.—Acquired by the Earl of Stratherne.
—Sir Robert Chisholm.—His Urquhart Possessions go to the
Wolf of Badenoch.—Stratherne Lets the Barony to the
Wolf.—The Wolf withholds the Rent.—A Royal Quarrel.—
Appeal to the King.—The Wolf and the Bishop.—The
Burning of Elgin Cathedral.—Thomas Chisholm. — The
Wolf’s Death.—Scramble for His Possessions.—Urquhart
Seized by Donald of the Isles.—Charles Maclean.—Parliament
deals with the Castle.—The Red Harlaw.—The Barony
Possessed by the Earl of Mar.—Claimed by the Duke of
Albany. — A Compromise. — The Castle Repaired by the
King.—Death of Mar.—The Lord of the Isles Seizes the
Barony.—Hector Buie Maclean’s Exploits.—The Tragedy of
Caisteal Spioradan.—Ogilvy of Balfour holds the Castle for
the King.—The Castle Taken by John of the Isles.—No
Rent.—Parliament Annexes the Barony and Castle to the

The succession to the Earldom of Moray was
limited by Brace’s charter to Thomas Randolph
and the heirs male of his body. His sons, who both
fell in battle, left no issue, and accordingly the
province, including Urquhart and Glenmoriston,
reverted to the Crown on the death of John
Randolph in 1346. The other Randolph estates
went to the Regent’s daughter, “ Black Agnes,”
famous in Scottish song and story as the indomit-



able defender of the Castle of Dunbar against the
English. Her husband, the Earl of Dunbar, assumed
the title of Earl of Moray, and, although his right
to the Earldom was never formally acknowledged, he
was probably allowed to reap some of the advantages
that flowed from its possession in the days of the
Randolphs. The Castle and Barony of Urquhart
appear, however, to have been retained in the King’s
hands ; and, when the Earldom was granted by
Robert the Second to Agnes’ son, John Dunbar,
they were excepted from the grant.1

King David had no child to succeed him, and his
nephew, Robert, the Steward of Scotland, was heir
to the throne, in terms of a settlement solemnly
ratified by Parliament. But the relations between
the King and the Steward were not of a friendly
nature, and His Majesty entertained thoughts
of bestowing the crown on another nephew—
John, son of the Earl of Sutherland by Margaret,
daughter of Robert the Bruce. The voice of
the nation was, however, for the Steward, and,
with the view of strengthening the Sutherland
interest, the King bestowed various estates on
the Earl and his son, among them being the
Barony and Castle of Urquhart, which were
conveyed to them by charter dated the last day of

1 Reg. Mag. Sig., 119. The original Barony of Urquhart was erected in
the days of the first Randolph, and included Glenmoriston. It was erected
into a Lordship in the 15th century. In 1509 three new baronies were created,
viz., Urquhart, Glenmoriston, and Corrimony. Achmonie was included in the
ecclesiastical Barony of Spynie, erected in 1451, and subsequently in the
smaller Barony of Kilmylies, in the Regality of Spynie.

40                   URQUHART AND GLENMORISTON.

February, 1359.1 John’s death, of the plague, in
1361, put an end to these schemes, and, on the
Earl’s death, in 1370, the Castle and Barony again
became Crown property.

David, whose reign was not a happy one for Scot­
land, died in February, 1370, and the Steward
ascended the throne as Robert the Second. On
19th June following, he granted the Castle and
Barony to his son, David, Earl of Stratherne, and
the heirs of his body, and, failing such heirs, to
another son, Alexander, Earl of Buchan, and the
heirs of his body.2 Although the Castle was not
expressly reserved from this grant, Sir Robert
Chisholm, who, as we saw in our last chapter,
became Constable in 1359, continued to hold it for
the Crown, and his annual salary of £40 was paid
out of the Royal Exchequer.3

Chisholm early acquired great influence. He was
proprietor of Invermoriston, Blarie, Lochletter, Inch-
brine, and Dulshangie ; he held Achmonie in feu
from the Bishop ; and he had extensive estates in
Morayshire and the neighbourhood of Nairn and
Inverness. He was Sheriff of Inverness, and Justiciar
of the regality of Moray ; and, like his grand­
father, Sir Robert Lauder, he held the still more
important office of Justiciar of the North. Like
Lauder, too, he was liberal to the Church ; and

1  See Gordon’s Earldom of Sutherland, 51-53 ; Additional Case for
Elizabeth claiming the Title and Dignity of Sutherland, p. 11, where Gordon
is corrected on certain points ; Robertson’s Index to Charters, 49.

2 Reg. Mag. Big., 85.

3 Exchequer Rolls, II., 143, 187.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                   41

he it was who first bestowed on it the lands
of Direbught, which are now the property of the
Kirk Session of Inverness. “ Since it is known
to all that all flesh returns into dust,” says he in his
deed of gift, “ and that there is nothing after death
except Him who is the true safety, and who redeemed
the human race on the cross, therefore I make it known
to all by these presents that I have given, granted,
and, by this my present charter, confirmed, for the
salvation of my soul, and of the souls of my suc­
cessors and predecessors, and of all the faithful, six
acres of arable land lying within the territory of the
Old Castle, in the lower plain thereof . . . for
making an increase of divine worship for ever to the
Altar of the Holy Rood of Inverness.”1 But, pious
though he was, he could resist the claims of the
Church when occasion demanded. Among the gifts
of the early kings to the Priory of Pluscardyn was
the mill of Elgin, to which certain lands were
“ thirled,” or attached, to the effect that the owners
of the mill could insist on grinding the corn grown
on them, and exacting the “ multures,” or miller’s
portions of meal and flour, which were then a source
of considerable revenue. Sir Robert’s Morayshire
estate of Quarrelwood was thirled to the mill of Elgin.
When the mill was acquired by the Priory, that

1 Invernessiana, 62. One of the witnesses to this deed, which is dated
1362, and is preserved in the archives of the Burgh of Inverness, is Weland
Shislach—perhaps the first appearance in the Chisholm family of the
Christian name Wiland, or Valentine, or, in Gaelic, Ualain, which subse­
quently became so common in Strathglass. Shislach (Siosalach, or Siosal) is
still the Gaelic name of Chisholm.


property was to a large extent, if not wholly, in a
state of nature. But it was subsequently brought
under cultivation, and thereupon the Prior demanded
the multures. For a time Sir Robert appears to
have paid them, but he ultimately refused, on the
ground that when the gift was made no grain grew
on the estate, and that the thirlage could not
comprehend land subsequently brought under culti­
vation. The Prior, determined to enjoy the disputed
multures without coming into unpleasant personal
contact with the Knight of Quarrelwood, let them
on lease to a certain husbandman of Findrossie ; but
when the man attempted to collect them, he was
seized by Sir Robert, and cast into a private prison.
The matter was now brought into the civil courts,
and Sir Archibald Douglas and John de Hay, Sheriff
of Inverness, decided it in Chisholm’s favour. But
the Bishop of Moray, who took up the cause of the
Prior, addressed a petition to Sir Archibald, craving
a recall of the judgment, arguing that the case did
not come within the jurisdiction of the civil magis­
trates, but fell to be decided in the ecclesiastical
courts, and concluding with a threat to excommuni­
cate the civil judges if they attempted anything
further by which the Prior might be wronged, or
the jurisdiction of the Church encroached on.1 The
threat of excommunication had the desired effect.
At a court held by the Bishop, in January, 1370,
the Prior’s pleas were sustained, and Sir Robert
bound himself to pay the dues for the future.2

1 Reg. Morav., 168.
Macphail’s Religious House of Pluscardyn, 78.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                   43

Sir Robert’s daughter, Joneta, or Janet, became
the wife of Hugh Rose of Kilravock. Their contract
of marriage, which was executed on Thursday, 2nd
January, 1364, within the church of Auldearn, and
in the presence of the Bishops of Moray and Ross,
and William, Earl of Ross and Lord of Skye, is an
interesting document. Kilravock, in the usual
manner, binds himself to solemnise the marriage in
face of Holy Church. Sir Robert, on the other
hand, undertakes to make over to him and the issue
of the marriage, the lands of Cantrabundie, with
their pertinents, within Strathnairn ; and among the
other clauses of the deed, is one providing “ that,
from the day of the celebration of the marriage, the
said Sir Robert shall keep and maintain his said
daughter for three whole years in meat and drink ;
but the said Hugh shall find and keep her in all
necessary garments and ornaments”—a strange com­
pact, when we consider the high degree of the
parties to it.1 The marriage of the young people
duly followed, and their descendants still enjoy the
ancient Barony of Kilravock. Of Sir Robert’s sons,
one, Alexander, married Margaret of the Aird,
heiress of Erchless, and became the founder of the
family of Strathglass.

As the Constable advanced in years he relin­
quished his possessions in Urquhart. The lands of
Invermoriston, Blarie, Inchbrine, Lochletter, and
Dulshangie, which he acquired from John Randolph,
were resigned into the hands of the King, who

1 See the Contract, in Family of Kilravock (Spalding Club), 36.


granted them, about the year 1384, to his son,
Alexander, Earl of Buchan, for an annual duty
of one silver penny, payable within the Castle
of Urquhart.1 And in 1386, he surrendered the
lands of Abriachan, Achmonie, and Kilmichael,
which he held of the Church, to Bishop Bur,2 by
whom they were, in the same year, granted to
Buchan for a yearly feu-duty of four merks
sterling.3 Sir Robert having thus given up all his
lands in the Parish, resigned the post of Keeper
of the Castle before 1390, when we find his grand­
son, Thomas Chisholm, son of Alexander Chisholm
and Margaret of the Aird, holding the office, with a
salary paid out of the Royal Exchequer.4 The old
Constable soon afterwards died, leaving behind him
a reputation for honesty of purpose and upright­
ness in judgment second only to that of the great
Randolph himself.

The Earl of Buchan, being now owner of
Chisholm’s lands in the Parish, obtained from his
brother, the Earl of Stratherne, a lease of the
remainder of the Barony. But he would neither
pay the stipulated rent nor surrender the lease ; and
in April, 1385, Stratherne appeared before the King
in Council, and complained that Buchan retained
violent possession of the Barony. The King advised
the brothers to agree, and the matter was remitted
to His Majesty’s other children for amicable settle-

1 Reg. Mag. Sig., 176.

2 Antiquities of Aberdeen (Spalding Club), IV., 376.

3 Reg. Morav., 196.                    4 Exchequer Rolls, III., 274,

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                   45

ment.1 Buchan, however, continued in possession ;
and, as he had by this time entered on a career of
lawlessness which won for him the name of the
Wolf of Badenoch, the probability is that he also
continued to withhold the rents.

With the view of increasing his territorial
influence in the Highlands, the Wolf married the
widowed Eufamia, Countess of Boss ; but her
place in his heart and household was usurped by
one Mariota, daughter of Athyn, and his cruelty
to the injured wife drove her from under his
roof. For redress she appealed to the Bishops of
Moray and Ross, who, after hearing the statements
of both parties, gave judgment on 2nd November,
1389, within the church of the Preaching Friars in
Inverness, restoring her to her rights and status.
Her husband was ordained to send away Mariota,
and to adhere to his lawful wife, and treat her
honourably and with matrimonial affection, at bed
and board, and in food and raiment, and all other
things to which her high station entitled her, and to
find sureties that she should be properly treated,
“ without the fear of death, and that he should not
in any way surround her with his followers, slaves,
nobles, and others, contrary to common law.”
Buchan, who was present, formally acquiesced in
the decision, and gave as his sureties the Earl
of Sutherland, Alexander Moray of Culbin, and
Thomas Chisholm, Constable of Urquhart Castle ;
and these “great and notable persons,” being also

1 Acts of Parl., I, 189.


in attendance, undertook to pay to the Bishops a
penalty of £200 as often as he contravened the
terms of the judgment.1

But his acquiescence was a mere pretence, and
neither the Bishops’ decree nor the risk of pecuniary
loss to his friends gave him any concern. He not
only failed to dismiss Mariota, and act honourably
towards his wife, but, conceiving a spirit of revenge
against the Bishop of Moray, who had especially
befriended her, he laid violent hands on the
possessions of the Church within the province.
The Bishop retaliated by pronouncing against
him the dread sentence of excommunication. That
step only added fuel to the flame of his fury,
and, in May, 1390—the very month in which
his royal father died — he suddenly swooped
down on Forres with his retainers, and laid
the town and its ecclesiastical buildings in ashes.
Still continuing his sacrilegious progress, he, in the
following month, set fire to “ the whole town of
Elgin, and the church of St Giles therein, and the
House of God, near Elgin, eighteen noble and ornate
mansions belonging to the canons and chaplains,
and”—sadly adds the chronicler of the event—
“what must be more bitterly deplored, the noble
and beautiful Cathedral of Moray, the mirror of our
country, and the honour of our kingdom, with all
the books, charters, and other valuable things of
the country, therein kept for security.”2 These
enormities were greater than even Alasdair Mor

1 Reg. Morav., 353.                  2 Reg. Morav., 381.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                   47

Mac an Righ,1 as his Highlanders delighted to call
him, could perpetrate with impunity. The vigorous
prosecution of the Church, and the temporal
inconveniences that followed the sentence of excom­
munication, soon brought him to his knees ; and,
within the church of the Black Friars in Perth, and
in presence of his brother, Robert the Third, and
many of the nobility, he did abject penance,
and bound himself to make what reparation he
could to the Bishop and See of Moray. He was
thereafter absolved by the Bishop of St Andrews, and
lived a better and more peaceful life till his death,
in July, 1394. He left no lawful issue, and was pre­
deceased by his brother, the Earl of Stratherne, whose
only child was a daughter. During his retention of
the Barony of Urquhart, his friend Thomas Chisholm
held the Castle for the Crown, and for the “ keeping
and munition” of it, he was paid out of the King’s
Exchequer at the rate of £14 Scots a month.2
Thomas succeeded to his mother’s possessions in the
Aird and Strathglass, which, on his death without
issue, fell to his brother Alexander.

The death of the Wolf of Badenoch was the
signal for a great scramble for his extensive pos­
sessions. His natural sons, Alexander and Duncan,
seized some of them, and for a time kept both
Highlands and Lowlands in terror ; while the
Earldom of Ross, which he had enjoyed in right

1  Great Alexander, Son of the King.

2 The following payments to him appear in the Exchequer Rolls :—£56
and £42 in the account for 1390-1, £26 13s 4d in the account for 1391-2, and
£33 6s 8d in the account for 1394-5.

48                   URQUHART AND GLENMORISTON.

of his wife, and the limits of which had by this
time been extended so as to embrace Urquhart
and Glenmoriston, was claimed by Donald, Lord
of the Isles, as in right of his wife, Margaret
Leslie,1 daughter of the late Countess, by her
first husband, Walter Leslie. Donald’s claim was
resisted by the grasping and unscrupulous Duke of
Albany, Regent of Scotland, who obtained a title
to it in favour of his own son, John Stewart,
Earl of Buchan.2 The Island Chief was not
in the humour to argue, and he promptly appealed
to the sword, with the result that, before the
September following the Wolf’s death, Urquhart
and the Valley of the Ness were in the hands of
his brother, Alexander of Keppoch, the renowned
Alasdair Carrach of Gaelic legend and song. This
vigorous action alarmed the Earl of Moray, who
prudently bowed to the might of Keppoch, and,
by formal treaty, entered into on 25th September,
placed the lands and possessions of the Regality of
Moray, and the church lands within the province,
under his protection for a period of seven years.3
Keppoch, true to his character as described by
his Gaelic name—Alexander the Crafty—soon
construed this protectorate into a right of owner­
ship, and proceeded to gift the church lands of

1  Called Mary by Gregory, but Margaret in Family of Leslie, I., 75.

2 Eufamia, the Wolf’s Countess, was succeeded by Alexander, her son by
her first husband. Alexander married Isabel Stewart, daughter of the Regent,
and had by her a daughter, Euphemia. On his death, the child was induced
by her grandfather, the Regent, to resign her rights in favour of her uncle,
the Earl of Buchan. She subsequently took the veil.

3 Reg. Morav., 354.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                   49

Kinmylies to certain of his supporters ;1 while
to his faithful follower from the West, Charles
Maclean, a son of Hector of Lochbuy, he gave the
keeping of the Castle of Urquhart, and the posses­
sion of certain lands in our Parish,2 including
probably the estate of Achmonie, which had reverted
to the Bishop on the Wolf's death, and was now
embraced in his protectorate. These were serious
transactions for the Crown ; and, in 1398, Parliament
made a feeble attempt to put matters right by
passing an Act placing the Castle in the hands of
the King, “ who shall entrust the keeping of it to
worthy captains, until the Kingdom be pacified,
when it shall be restored to its owners.”3 To place
this enactment on the statute-book was easy enough ;
to carry its provisions into immediate effect was
more than the Crown was able to do ; and Charles
continued master of the fortress until the career of the
Lord of the Isles was checked on the field of Harlaw.
By his marriage with a daughter of Cumming of
Dulshangie,4 he acquired influence among her people,
and it was doubtless under his leadership that
a number of the men of Urquhart and Glen-
moriston entered on an expedition to the West Coast,
in support of Donald of the Isles in his war with
his brother, John Mor of Islay. On the approach of
Donald’s forces John fled to Galloway, whither he

1 Reg. Morav., 211.

2 Invernessiana, 97-100 ; Seanachie’s Account of Clan Maclean, 243.

3 Acts of Parl. I. 571.

4 Seanachie’s Account of Clan Maclean, 244.



was followed ; but no serious fighting took place ,
and peace was soon restored between the brothers.1

The Regent Albany still pressed his claim to the
Earldom of Ross, and, in 1411, the exasperated Lord
of the Isles resolved to put an end to his pretensions,
and to bring the whole of Scotland under his own
sway. Gathering an army of ten thousand men at
Inverness—in the ranks of which were Alasdair
Carrach and Maclean of Lochbuy, and, it may be
assumed, his son Charles, with the men of Urquhart
—he led it southward through Moray, bent on
placing the crown of the Stewarts on his own head.
But at Harlaw, in the Highlands of Aberdeenshire,
he was met by a resolute host, under the command
of the Wolf of Badenoch’s son Alexander, who, by
forcibly marrying the widowed Countess of Mar and
obtaining a grant of her title and estates, had now
become a powerful noble. The leaders of the oppos­
ing forces were relations by blood and marriage, but
deadly enemies by circumstances, and their meeting
on the Red Harlaw was one of the bloodiest events
in Scottish history. The fierce stubbornness of the
contending hosts resulted in a drawn battle ; but,
as sometimes happened on similar occasions in
after years, the Highlanders of the West were
discouraged by their failure to carry all before them,
and Donald returned to the Isles, leaving the
disputed territories open to his opponents. Mar
seized Urquhart and Glenmoriston, and refused to
give them up to his uncle Albany, who still per-

1Collectanea de Rebus Albanicis, 303 ; The Macdonells of Antrim,

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARfSH.             “ 51

sisted in his claim. The dispute continued during
the Regent’s lifetime ; but, after his death, his
son Murdoch entered into an indenture with
Mar, giving that nobleman the “ profitis,” or
revenues, of the lands, “till the tyme that thay
may be sett to profitt,” and binding him to
let them to the best advantage with all speed,
and without fraud or guile ; after which Duke
Murdoch was to have one-half of the rents, while
Mar was to get the other half during his lifetime.1
About the same time, Donald of the Isles died,
leaving his possessions and his claims to his son

How far Mar respected the terms of the treaty is
uncertain, but if Albany ever enjoyed his share of
the rents—and it is not probable that he did—it
must have been for a very short period. In 1424
James the First returned from his long cap­
tivity in England, and immediately set himself
to curb the power of his turbulent nobles. Among
the first he took in hand were Duke Murdoch
and his two sons, who were all arrested at
Perth, and, in May, 1425, put on trial before a jury,
on which sat the interested Earl of Mar. What
the charge against them was does not appear quite
clear ; but “guilty” was the verdict, and father and
sons were executed on the Heading Hill of Stirling.3

1 See the Indenture, dated 16th Nov., 1420, in Antiquities of Aberdeen
and Banff (Spalding Club), IV, 181.

2 Gregory’s Western Highlands, 33.

3 Tytler, IL, c. ii. ; Burton, II., 402.


Turning his attention to the North, the King
next convoked a Parliament at Inverness, to which
he summoned Alexander, Lord of the Isles, and
some fifty other Highland chiefs. They obeyed
the call without hesitation or suspicion ; but as soon
as they were within the building in which the
assembly sat, they were seized, and manacled, and
placed in dungeons, while James watched the pro­
ceedings, and exhibited signs of intense joy at the
success of his unkingly trick. Some were at once
handed over to the executioner. Others were
kept in prison. Alexander, on making due sub­
mission, was set at liberty. But the King’s perfidy
rankled in his breast, and, setting at nought the
promise extorted from him in his captivity, he
ravaged the Crown lands about Inverness, and gave
the town itself to the flames. James in person led
a large army against him, and he surrendered, and
was thrown into Tantallon Castle. But his cause
was taken up by Donald Balloch and Alasdair Car-
rach, who encountered at Inverlochy the royal forces
under the Earls of Mar and Caithness, and defeated
them with great slaughter. Caithness died on the
field. Mar, severely wounded, wandered among the
mountains for a time, and was saved from starvation
by a herd-woman, who gave him barley-meal and
water mixed in his shoe. His hunger having thus
been appeased, the Earl turned bard, and gave
expression to his gratitude in poetic Gaelic :—

“ Is math an cocair an t-acras,
'S mairg a ni tarcuis air biadh—

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                   53

Euarag eorn’ a sàil mo bhroige,
Biadh a b’ fhearr a fhuair mi riamh.”1

During these troubles the state of our Parish
must have been miserable indeed. Mar doubtless
claimed the service of the tenantry in the King’s
cause ; while the sympathies of the Macleans, and
probably of the majority of the people, were with
the Lord of the Isles. What actual support was
given to either side it is impossible to say ; but the
Castle appears to have been held for the King, by
whom it was repaired in the year 1428-9, at a cost
of 40s.2

The Earl of Mar died in July, 1435, greatly
lamented throughout Scotland ; and Urquhart and
Glenmoriston again reverted to the Crown. But
the King’s assassination, a few months later, enabled
Alexander of the Isles, who had already succeeded
to the Earldom of Ross,3 to take possession of
them without opposition, and to place them under
the charge of old Charles Maclean’s son, Hector
Buie, as his own seneschal or chamberlain.4

1 Transactions of Iona Club. The lines are thus translated in Sheriff
Nicolson’s Gaelic Proverbs :—

“ Hunger is a cook right good,

Woe to him who sneers at food—

Barley crowdie in my shoe,

The sweetest food I ever knew.”
The lines have also been attributed to Robert the Bruce. (Lord Archibald
Campbell’s Waifs and Strays of Celtic Tradition, I, 77).

2 Exchequer Rolls, IV., 498.

3 Alexander succeeded to the Earldom on the death of his mother, on
whom it was conferred by James I. after the death of John, Earl of Buchan,
in 1424.

4 Family of Kilravock, 131.


Hector, who had thus become all-powerful in
the Parish, was ready to protect his people’s
property when occasion demanded. In his time,
and for centuries thereafter, the large herds
reared on the pasture lands of Urquhart and
Glenmoriston were an irresistible temptation to
the cattle-lifting hordes of Lochaber and the West,
who deemed it fair sport to periodically “ spuilzie”
the Parish. Hector resolved to retaliate. Leading
a band of Urquhart men into Lochiel’s country,
during that chief’s absence in Ireland, he slew and
plundered without mercy. “ Recalled by the groans
of the people,” Lochiel hastened home ; and Mac-
lean, wishing to avoid a pitched battle, retired
along the Great Glen, taking with him Somhairle
Cameron of Glen-Nevis, and many other captives.
Proceeding, probably, along the southern shore of
Loch Ness, he shut himself up within the old Castle
of Bona, which stood at the east end of the Loch,
and the ruins of which were almost entirely removed
during the construction of the Caledonian Canal ;
and there he awaited Lochiel, who was in hot pur­
suit with the Western clans. When the Camerons
approached, Hector welcomed them with a threat to
kill his captives. But, by this time, two of his own
sons, and certain of his followers, had fallen into
Lochiel’s hands ; and that chief, anxious to save the
lives of his kindred, offered to exchange prisoners.
Maclean declined the offer, and carried his threat
into execution—whereupon his sons and the
other Urquhart men were hanged before his eyes



by the exasperated Camerons.1 These atrocious
transactions gave rise to the belief that the restless
spirits of the victims long haunted the old fortress,
which has ever since borne the name of Caisteal

Hector is said to have been killed at Bona, but
whether at this time or on a subsequent occasion is not
clear. He held the lands of Urquhart for behoof of the
Lord of the Isles, but he does not appear ever to
have got possession of the Castle. On the contrary,
after the Red Harlaw, “ worthy captains” continued
to hold it for the King, in terms of the Act of 1398 ;
and it was garrisoned and kept in repair at the
expense of the Crown. The money expended on it
in 1428-9 has already been referred to. In 1448,
and probably for some time previously, Thomas
Ogilvy of Balfour was captain of it, as well as of the
Castle of Inverness, and he continued in that office
until expelled by John of the Isles in 1452.2 With
both fortresses in his care, he sometimes had to
appoint deputies. An account rendered in Exchequer
by Andrew Rede, collector (custumarius) of the
great custom of the burgh of Inverness, shows that
that official kept Urquhart Castle for a time, between
4th July, 1447, and 12th September, 1448, during
which he disbursed £21 12s 4d as the expenses of
himself and of divers others, who were with him in
the Castle for forty days and more, keeping the
same, including the cost of new buildings and of

1 Memoirs of Lochiel.
2 Exchequer Rolls, V., 380, 405, 421, 441.


repairing the old buildings of the Castles of Inver­
ness and Urquhart, “ before the arrival of the King
at Inverness.”1 For his services Ogilvy was paid
by the Crown. Between September, 1448, and
July, 1450, he received the sums of £36 5s 9d and
£7 12s ; and the further sums of £31 18s 7d and
£40 12s between the latter month and July, 1451.2
Between September, 1448, and July, 1450, William,
Thane of Cawdor, supplied him with corn for his

Alexander, Lord of the Isles and Earl of Ross,
died in 1449, leaving Urquhart and Glenmoriston
and his other extensive possessions to his son John,
a high-spirited lad of fifteen. The King—James
the Second—had the right, as his feudal over­
lord, of choosing a wife for the young Earl, and he
selected a daughter of Sir James Livingston, younger
of Callander, promising a suitable fortune with
her. The marriage took place ; but the disgrace
and attainder of Livingston soon followed, and His
Majesty failed to pay the tocher. John thereupon
proceeded to recover it in his own way—he seized
the Castles of Inverness and Urquhart, penetrated
into Badenoch, and gave the old stronghold of
Ruthven to the flames. By this time Livingston
had made his peace with the King ; but on hearing
of these events he escaped from Holyrood to the
Highlands, and joined his son-in-law, who appointed
him Constable of Urquhart Castle. The King,

1 Exchequer Rolls, V., 313.              2 Exchequer Rolls.

3 Thanes of Cawdor (Spalding Club), 15.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                    57

conscious of his own fault, and having his hands
pretty full in connection with the Douglas rebellion
which then raged in the South, quietly condoned
these high­handed proceedings. Not only was
Livingston allowed to keep the Castle, but his
remuneration was paid out of the Royal exchequer ;
and when, in 1454, he resigned his charge, he was
re-appointed Great Chamberlain, an office which he
had held at the time of his forfeiture.1 The young
Earl, too, continued in possession of the Lordship of
Urquhart, including Glenmoriston ; and in an
account rendered by Sir Alexander Young, King’s
Chamberlain benorth the Dee, on 15th July, 1454,
and covering the period from 6th August, 1453, to
that date, it is explained that, although the Lord­
ship is the property of the King, the rents, which
are of the value of £100 per annum, have not been
collected, because the lands are in the hands of the
Earl. From the same account we learn that the
King was to be consulted with reference to the
course to be taken in regard to these lands, and a
similar entry occurs in the account ending 31st July,
1455.2 The question was difficult to solve, but an
attempt was made, and in August 1455, an Act of
Parliament was passed, by which “ forsamekill as
the poverte of the Crowne is oftymis the caus of the
poverte of the Realme and mony other inconvenients
the quhilk war lang to expreyme,” certain “ lord-
schippis and castillys,” including the houses of

1 Exchequer Rolls V, xcii., and VI., cliii. ; Tytler II., c. iii. ; Gregory, 43.
2 Exchequer Rolls V., 655, and VI., 68.


Inverness and Urquhart, and the lordships of them,
and the Barony of Urquhart, were “ annext to the
Crown perpetualy to remane, the quhilk may not be
giffyn away nother in fee nor in franktenement, till
ony persone of quhat estate or degree that ever he
be, but [without] avys, deliverance, and decret of the
haill parliament, ande for gret seande and resonable
caus of the Realme.”1

1 Acts of Parl. II., 42.

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