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The Proscribed Macgregors seek Shelter in Urquhart and Glen-
moriston.—Their Harbourers Fined.—Their Evil Influence on
the Men of Urquhart.—Doule Shee’s Raid.—Commission of
Fire and Sword.—Housebreaking at Balmacaan.—The Carron
and Ballindalloch Feud.—Career of Seumas an Tuim. —His
Supporters in Urquhart and Glenmoriston.—The Castle
Repaired.—The Clan Chattan in Urquhart.—Their Friends
Prosecuted.—The Earl of Moray Persecutes Grant of Glen-
moriston.—Grant visits the King, and His Majesty Intervenes.
—Death of Glenmoriston and the Laird of Grant.—The Story
of the Covenant.—The Covenant adhered to by the Lairds
of Grant and Glenmoriston.—Opposed by the Parish Minister
and Lady Mary Ogilvy, Liferentrix of Urquhart.—A Short
Conflict.—The Minister Yields.—Attempts to stent Urquhart
for the Army of the Covenant.—Lady Mary’s Concessions.

During the early years of the seventeenth century,

the Laird of Grant and his tenants and clansmen

fell into trouble in connection with the proscribed

Clan Gregor, whose wrongs and sufferings are still

the theme of many a plaintive Gaelic song. Before

the beginning of that century the Macgregors had

for generations held possessions in the Southern

Highlands in virtue of the unwritten right of

duchas. With their neighbours, the Campbells,

the Colquhouns, and the Grahams, they had been

in constant strife. Many enormities were laid

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                 137

to their charge, and the long list reached its height
in 1603, when, in the dark pass of Glenfruin, they
swooped down on Colquhoun of Luss, and slew two
hundred of his vassals and tenants, besides many
gentlemen and burgesses of the burgh of Dumbarton.
Tidings of the carnage, evidenced by the production
of eleven score blood-stained shirts taken off the
bodies of the slain, soon reached the King ; and the
utter destruction of the offending race was resolved
on. They were prohibited from meeting together,
or using their name. To harbour or shelter them
was made a crime. The Earl of Argyll, armed with
a royal commission to extirpate them, scoured their
glens and hill­sides with his vassals and allies, and
hunted them down like deer. For a time they
defended themselves and their families and flocks
with surpassing valour. But in the end the superior
numbers of their foes prevailed, and the wretched
remnant who survived adopted other names, and
sought refuge in distant parts of the Highlands.
With the Grants the unfortunate people had from
early times been united by the ties of clanship—
both races were branches of the ancient Clan Alpin
—and to the territories of the Grants they now
flocked. Although the relationship rested even
then on the haziest of traditions, it was sacredly
respected, and the inhabitants of Strathspey and
Urquhart and Glenmoriston gave willing shelter to
the homeless strangers. They suffered for their
hospitality. Commissioners were appointed to dis­
cover and punish the harbourers of the dispersed Mac-


gregors ; and among those who were found guilty
and heavily fined were the Laird of Grant ; Archibald
Grant, brother of the Laird of Glenmoriston ; James
Grant in Pitkerrald ; Patrick Grant, son of the
Laird of “Breyis” (the Braes, or Corrimony) ; Alas-
dair Roy Grant in Shewglie ; John Mac Iain Mullich,
Officer in Urquhart ; Donald Og Mac Iain Mullich
in Polmaily ; and John Cearr Mac Donald Mac-
Douachie Mac Gillespick, Hucheon Mac Iain
Donachie, Duncan Mac Iain Mullich, and Duncan
Mac Iain Glas, all described as “ in Urquhart ;” as
well as many in Strathspey.1

Taking advantage of the law which in those
times made chiefs responsible for the conduct of
their people, Argyll called upon the Laird of Grant
to pay not only his own fine but also those inflicted
on his clansmen and dependants. The Laird
admitted his liability, but disputed the amount.
Recourse was had to arbitration, and on 3rd
February, 1615, the total amount to be paid by the
Laird for himself and his friends and tenants was
fixed at 16,000 merks,2 and that enormous sum was
paid before the end of the month.3

The evil habits of the Macgregors, on whose
account this heavy fine was incurred, had a baneful
influence on their protectors in our Parish. During
their many years of strife and struggle as the

1 Chiefs of Grant, III., 315.

2 A merk was equal to 13s 4d Scots.

3 See receipt therefor in Chiefs of Grant, III., 316. The Laird doubtless
collected their shares of the amount from the other harbourers of the Mac-

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                139

Ishmaelites of the Highlands, they became expert
and daring in the appropriation and destruction
of their neighbours’ property ; and the men of
Urquhart soon began to follow their example. On
13th July, 1614, a Glen-Urquhart man, of the
name of Dugald Grant, but better known as Doule
Shee—Dugald of Peace—in sarcastic allusion, pro­
bably, to his character as a man of strife, made a
raid along with Thomas Calder in Delnie, Alasdair
Cain Mac Robbie in Urchine, and Lachlan Mac
Lachlan Vic Donald Vic Iain Duy, on Colin
Campbell of Clunes, near Nairn—burning his cham­
bers, barns, and sheep-cot, houghing and slaying
three mares and a horse, and committing other
barbarities.1 For these crimes Dugald and his asso­
ciates were summoned to appear for trial, and, failing
to do so, were put to the horn. A royal commission
was issued to Robert Dunbar of Burgie, John Dunbar
of Moynes, and George Munro of Tarrell, requiring
them to bring the outlaws to justice, not only for their
attack on Clunes, but also on the charge of doing
“ what in them lies to associate unto themselves all
such of the disordered thieves and limmars and
fugitives of the Highlands as they can foregather
with, intending thereby, how soon their number
shall increase to any reasonable company, then to
maintain an open and avowed rebellion.” The com­
missioners were authorised to raise the lieges, and
pursue the accused with fire and sword, and to
detain as many as should be apprehended “ in sure

1 Thanes of Cawdor (Spalding Club), 227.


firmance and captivite,” until justice should “ be
ministrat upon them.”1 Their operations are not
recorded ; but, so far at least as Doule Shee
was concerned, they had no result. That worthy
remained at large, and we find him years afterwards
in the train of the famous outlaw, James Grant of

The men of Urquhart made their own Glen the
scene of their next thieving adventure. In April,
1615, Balmacaan House, which at that time was
occupied by the stalwart Iain Mor a’ Chaisteil, Cham­
berlain and Baron-Bailie of Urquhart, was broken
into, and fourteen locked chests forcibly opened, and
their contents stolen. Patrick Grant of Divach-
more, Duncan Grant, in Wester Bunloit, James
Mac Alasdair Vic Iain Oig, in Inchbrine, and Ewen
Mac Neil Vic Uian, “in Little Clune, or Clunebeg—
one of the brave race who so strenuously opposed
the Grants a century earlier—were accused of the
crime, and cited by Glenmoriston to appear in Edin­
burgh to answer the charge. The case was called on
21st July, 1620, when Glenmoriston withdrew the
complaint against Mac Uian, and declared him
innocent. The others were ordered to be tried on
the third day of the next justice-air, or circuit
court, at Inverness ; and John Grant, younger of
Ballindalloch, who, bearing no love to Glenmoriston,
interested himself in their defence, became bound
for their due appearance.2 At this stage we unfortu­
nately lose sight of the proceedings, and whether the

1 Thanes of Cawdor, 227.         2 Pitcairn’s Criminal Trials.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                141

accused were convicted, and hanged, as house-
breakers were then wont to be, or whether they
were acquitted, and restored to their friends, will
probably never be ascertained.

We have seen how on the death of John Grant,
first of Glenmoriston, an attempt was made by
Grant of Ballindalloch to rob his young heir of his
inheritance ; how the boy’s part was taken by his
natural brother, John Roy of Carron ; and how
Ballindalloch lost his life in the quarrel. The feud
thus begun between the families of Ballindalloch
and Carron increased in fierceness as time passed,
and at the period at which we have now arrived, it
raged with murderous fury. In the year 1615,
Thomas, son of Grant of Carron, was met at an
Elgin fair by one of the Grants of Ballindalloch, and
savagely assaulted. James Grant, another son of
Carron, rushed to his brother’s aid, and slew the
assailant. Summoned before a court on the charge
of murder, James refused to appear, and was out­
lawed. Placing himself at the head of a band of
desperate men, he bade defiance to the authorities,
and became the scourge of the Central Highlands.
Ballindalloch and his possessions were the special
objects of his attention ; but he did not scruple to
find other victims when opportunity offered, or
occasion required. John Grant of Glenmoriston,
remembering how much his father and himself owed
to the house of Carron, sheltered and befriended the
outlaw and his band—“ ane infamous byke of law-
lesse lymmars,” among whom were the son—aye,


and the wife, too—of Robert Finlay Mac Iain Roy
in Glenmoriston, and the Urquhart veteran Doule
Shee, with his sons Donald, John, and Ewen.1

James Grant, or Seumas an Tuim—James of the
Hill—as he was commonly called, was at last seized
by the Mackintoshes, who had themselves been
released from outlawry on undertaking to effect his
capture. Carried south, he was lodged in Edin­
burgh Castle to await his trial, but by means of a
rope which his wife secretly sent him in a keg of
butter, he got over the Castle wall and descended
the rock ; and escaping into the Highlands,
wandered for a time among his kinsmen in Glen-
moriston, Glen-Urquhart, and Strathspey.2 Return­
ing to his old courses he, in November, 1634,
seized young Ballindalloch near his own house,
and kept him prisoner in a filthy kiln. This piece
of good fortune he endeavoured to turn, not to his
own advantage, but to that of the friends who had
sheltered him in his fugitive days. He offered to
set his captive free on condition that he would
procure a pardon for Glenmoriston and his sons, and
old Allan Mac Ranald of Lundie, who had all
befriended him, and for all those who had harboured
him on the estates of Grant, Glenmoriston, Lundie,
Carron, and Huntly ; that he would discharge a
debt of 4000 merks due to him by Glenmoriston ;
and that he would obtain from the Earl of Moray a

1 Proclamation by the Privy Council, quoted in Spalding’s Memorialls of
the Trubles in Scotland (Spalding Club) L, 430.

2 See Memorialls of the Trubles in Scotland, Vol. I., and Gordon’s
Earldom of Sutherland, 414 et seq., and 459, for the career of Carron.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                143

discharge of 5000 merks due by Allan Mac Ranald to
the Earl.1 The prisoner declined the terms, and
was detained ; but in a few weeks he escaped
through the treachery of one of his guards, with
whom he is said to have conversed in Latin, and
immediately lodged with the Government a com­
plaint against the Lairds of Grant and Glenmoriston,
in which he stated that the dreaded freebooter was
then living among their tenants with their own
connivance. The Laird of Grant was ordered to
apprehend the outlaw, and he made a show of
obedience. His heart was, however, not in the
work, and James remained a free man until 1639,
when he was pardoned by Charles the First. He
was subsequently employed by the Marquis of
Huntly in hunting down fugitive Macgregors, and
thereafter, in similar services against the Cove­
nanters. In the end he is supposed to have died a
natural death, after having for many years led a
wild and lawless life, charmed, apparently, against
all dangers.

The Laird of Grant entered, on 26th March,
1623, into a contract with James Moray, master
mason, for the repair of the Castle of Urquhart.2
The troubles of the times demanded that the old
fortress should be put in order, for pillage and outrage

1  Chiefs of Grant, III., 448.

2 Contract at Castle Grant. Moray’s tombstone was unearthed at Kil-
more, Glen-Urquhart, some twenty years ago. It bears the inscription—“ Heir
lyis aen onest man caled James Muray, wha departed this lyf . . . day
of May, 1636—Mento Mori.” It is the oldest stone with an inscription found
in the churchyard, with the exception of one other, bearing the date 2nd
March, 1621, but the inscription on which is not further legible.


flourished in the North, and Urquhart was soon to
suffer. Quarrelling with the Earl of Moray, the
Clan Chattan invaded and raided his estates ; and,
having thus acquired a taste for the work, they
in 1624 extended the field of their operations,
visiting Glen-Urquhart in their progress, and
“ taking thair mete and food perforce quher they
culd not get it willingly, fra freindis allsweill as
fra their faes.” The Earl hastened to the King,
and got himself appointed Lieutenant of the North,
with authority to subdue the unruly clan, and to
fine and otherwise punish such as had harboured or
aided them. Letters of intercommuning, prohibiting
all persons from receiving, supplying, or entertaining
them, under heavy penalties, were proclaimed at
Inverness and other burghs. In a short time they
surrendered and were offered pardon, on condition,
as we have seen, that they should bring James of
Carron to justice,1 and on the further condition that
they should furnish the Earl with the names of such
as had sheltered or entertained themselves after the
publication of the letters of intercommuning.2 To
these terms the ungrateful clan agreed, and Moray
proceeded to enrich himself by exacting heavy fines
from the benefactors they had betrayed. Among his
victims was John Grant of Glenmoriston, on whose
lands in Urquhart the Mackintoshes sorned in 1620.
Glenmoriston refused to pay the heavy sums in
which he was mulcted, and so persistent was Moray’s

1 Mackintosh Shaw’s Mackintoshes and Clan Chattan, 316.
Memorialls of the Trubles, I., 7.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH                  145

persecution of him that at last he journeyed to
London to lay his case before the King.1 All he
demanded was a fair trial. The King listened to
his complaint, and addressed a letter to the Scottish
Privy Council, ordering them to take him bound to
appear before themselves or any court they might
consider competent, to answer the charges against

The effect of the royal intervention was to put
an end to the persecution to which Glenmoriston
had so long been subjected ; and he was soon able
to come to an agreement with the Earl “quyetlie
efter he had maide gryt travell and expenssis for
his just defenss.”3 The trial which he had demanded
never took place, and he was allowed to pass the
few remaining years of his life in peace. He died
before 31st March, 1637. His Chief, Sir John
Grant, died on 1st April ; and they thus both
escaped the troubles that were about to overtake
their country.

1  Memorialls of the Trubles, L, 9.

2 The King’s letter is in the following terms :—“ Charles R.—Right
trustie and right welbeloved cousin and councellour, right trusty and wel-
beloved cousins and councellours, and right trustie and welbeloved
councellors, wee greete yow well. Whereas John Grant of Glenmoriston
hath long attended our Court, humblie craving of us that wee
wold be pleased to give order that a course might be taken for his tryall,
touching some imputationes wherewith wee were informed against him, who
being willing to underly the law, and to that effect to be tryed either before
the Justice Generall, or any other judicatorie yow shall think competent :
Our pleasure is that yow tak sufficient suretie of him for his, his sonnes,
brothers, and servants appearance before yow, or any judicatorie thought
competent by yow, at such a day as you shall think fitt to prescribe, that
he may enjoy the benefite of our lawes as is ordinarie in the like cases. Wee
bid yow farewell. From our Court at Whitehall, the 21 of Aprile, 1632.”

3 Memorialls of the Trubles, I., 9.                                              10


The story of Charles the First’s unfortunate
attempt to impose an obnoxious liturgy on the
Scottish Church is well known. The tumult which
Jennie Geddes’ stool raised within the church of
St Giles gradually developed into the great Civil
War which brought about the fall of the Bishops,
the execution of the King, and the subjugation of
Scotland by Oliver Cromwell. James Grant, who
had succeeded Sir John Grant, his father, as Laird
of Grant, took the popular side against Charles—a
side that at the outset was supported by almost all
the nobles and landowners in Scotland.

In April, 1638, the Earl of Sutherland, Lord
Lovat, Lord Reay, and Mr Andrew Cant, of noted
memory, appeared at Inverness, and got the famous
National Covenant, which had already been sub­
scribed by thousands in the Lowlands, signed by
“ the haill toune except Mr Williame Clogie, minister
at Innerniss, and sum few otheris”1—the town’s
crier proclaiming the obligation of signing, with the
alternative of heavy penalties against all who were
obstinate or hesitating.2 The Laird of Grant and
young Patrick Grant, who had now succeeded to
Glenmoriston, threw their influence into the scale
of the Covenant ; but the people of our Parish were
slow to follow their example, and the minister—Mr
Alexander Grant—resented, and for a time resisted,
the coercion exercised to procure his adhesion. But
after the Glasgow General Assembly had abolished

1 Memorialls of the Trubles, I., 88.
Hill Burton’s History of Scotland, VI., 205.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH                 147

the Episcopal office, to which he was so much
attached, he yielded to the pressure brought to bear
on him, and signed the Covenant on 14th May,
1639. The cause which it represented was, how­
ever, without his sympathy, and it did not prosper
among his people.

That cause had a sincere opponent in the Laird
of Grant’s mother, Dame Mary Ogilvy, who, since
her husband’s death, possessed Urquhart as liferent
proprietrix,1 and, with her younger children, resided
in the Castle. Dame Mary—or Lady Ogilvy, as she
was better known2—was strongly attached to the
King and the Bishops. On the other hand, there
was no great attachment between herself and her
son ; and she did what she could to counteract and
render fruitless his efforts for the Covenant. In this
course she doubtless had the approval of the
minister of the Parish.

In 1640 a great Covenanting army entered Eng­
land under General Leslie ; and Major-General
Munro, a fierce Ross-shire soldier, who had been

1  She possessed under contract, dated 21st June, 1634, between her husband
and herself. He reserved to himself and his heirs the liberty to draw dams and
passages to the ironworks in Urquhart, with liberty to put and build the said
ironworks on the lands, provided he and his foresaids upheld the rental of the
lands wherethrough and whereon the said dams, passages, and ironworks
should be drawn and built. He also reserved the use of the whole woods of
Urquhart for the use of the ironworks, except to serve the use of the country
from the woods of Lochletter, Inchbrine, Cartaly, and Dulshangie, at the
will and pleasure of the tenants and inhabitants.—Chiefs of Grant, III., 445.

2 She was a daughter of Sir Walter Ogilvy of Findlater, afterwards Lord
Deskford. It was customary in those times for ladies to retain their maiden
surnames after marriage. At a subsequent period they used both surnames—a
custom still adhered to by Scottish lawyers.


trained in the Continental wars, was left in command
of the forces of the Covenant in Scotland. Munro
rode with a small escort through the northern
counties, getting the chiefs and landowners to raise
their fighting men, and forward them to Leslie.1
He forced Lady Ogilvy to give him written authority
to send men from Urquhart, and to tax her lands
and tenants for their support. But the people
understood that the authority was not freely given,
and they refrained from actively responding to it.
In these circumstances the Laird took his mother in
hand, with the result that on 8th September she
made a formal declaration within the Castle, in
presence of James Leslie, notary-public, Patrick
Grant of Glenmoriston, Alexander Baillie of
Dunain, and John Grant of Lurg, to the effect
that her son might, “by word and not by
writ,” do all things requisite and lawful for the
furtherance of the cause of the Covenant in
Urquhart.2 Glenmoriston, who acted as her son’s
agent, pressed her to stent her lands for the main­
tenance of the men sent south, or to give her son
her concurrence and assistance in doing so, “ or at
least to give power or warrant in writing to the
said James Grant [her son], or to her own bailies
and officers, for stenting her lands of Urquhart and
people for maintenance of those men whom she
should send south.” The lady replied that she was
unable to grant the written warrant demanded, for

1 Memorials of the Trubles, I., 320.
2 See the Permission, in Chiefs of Grant, III., 231.

OLDEN TIMES IN THE PARISH.                 149

the reason that she had already given a similar
warrant to General Munro ; but she offered not to
resist her son in any steps he might deem it proper
to take, in the event of his coming to the Parish
with the full acquiescence of the General, or of the
“ Tables ” which now governed Scotland. She
absolutely refused, however, to give any active aid
to her son, whom she accused of having unnaturally
done her great harms, injuries, and oppressions ; but,
she adds—having the fear of the Covenanters before
her eyes—that should he decline to undertake the
work of stenting her lands and collecting the tax
without her concurrence, she is willing to do so her­
self, on receiving proper power and warrant from the
Tables. Glenmoriston’s demands and the lady’s
answers were, on 9th September, carefully committed
to writing, and solemnly certified by the notary.1
The limited concessions which she made were pro­
bably of no value to her son ; and, so far as she
herself was concerned, they failed to save her from
the vengeance of the Covenanters.

1 See notarial instrument, in Chiefs of Grant, III., 232.

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