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BADGE: Garbhag an t-sleibhe (lycopodium selago) Fir club moss

SLOGAN: Cruacban

PIBROCH: Failte 'Mharcuis, also Baile Ionaraora, and Cumha 'Mharcuis

Behind Torrisdale in Kintyre rises a mountain named Ben an Tuire, the "Hill of the Boar". It takes its name from a famous incident of Celtic legend. There, according to tradition, Diarmid Q'Duibhne slew the fierce boar which had ravaged the district. Diarmid was of the time of the Ossianic heroes. The boar's bristles were poisonous, and a rival for his lady's love induced him to measure the hide with his naked feet. One of the bristles pricked him, and in consequence he died.

Diarmid is said to have been the ancestor of the race of O'Duibhne who owned the shores of Loch Awe, which were the original Oire Gaidheal, or Argyll, the "Land of the Gael". The race is said to have ended in the reign of Alexander III in an heiress, Eva, daughter of Paul O'Duibhne, otherwise Paul of the Sporran, so named because, as the king's treasurer, he was supposed to carry the money-bag. Eva married a certain Archibald or Gillespie Campbell, to whom she carried the possessions of her house. This tradition is supported by a charter of David II in 1368, which secured to the Archibald Campbell of that date certain lands on Loch Awe "as freely as these were enjoyed by his ancestor, Duncan O'Duibhne".

Who the original Archibald Campbell was remains a matter of dispute. By some he is said to have been a Norman knight, by name De Campo Bello. The name Campo Bello is, however, not Norman but Italian. It is out of all reason to suppose that an Italian ever made his way into the Highlands at such a time to secure a footing as a Highland chief; and the theory is too obviously one of the common and easy and nearly always wrong derivations of a name by mere similarity of sound. Much more probable seems a derivation from a personal characteristic in the usual Gaelic fashion. In this case the derivation would be from cam beul, "crooked mouth", in the same way as the name Cameron is derived from cam sron, "crooked nose".

For a century and a half the Macarthurs of Strachur, on the opposite shore of Loch Fyne, appear to have been regarded as the senior branch of the clan. They certainly were the most powerful, and Skene in his Highlanders of Scotland says it is beyond question that they held the chiefship. Their claim may have been derived through marriage with a co-heiress of the O'Duibhnes. But with the execution of the MacArthur chief by James I at Inverness in 1427 the Campbells were left as the chief family at the race of Diarmid.

Colin Mor Campbell of Lochow was knighted by Alexander III in 1380, and it is from him that the succeeding chiefs of the race to the present day have been known as "Mac Cailean Mor". Colin the Great himself lies buried in the little kirkyard of Kilchrenan above the western shore of Loch Awe, where his descendant, a recent Duke of Argyll, placed over his resting-place a stone bearing the inscription, "To the memory of Cailean Mar, slain on the Sraing of Lorne 13-". High on the hill ridge opposite, on the eastern side of the loch, a cairn marks the spot at which the doughty warrior, in the hour of victory, pursuing his enemy, MacDougall of Lorne, too far, was overcome and fell.

It was the son of this chief, Nigel or Neil Campbell, who, espousing the cause of Robert the Bruce, brought his family on to the platform of the great affairs of Scottish history. He befriended the king in his early wanderings, accompanied him in his winter's exile in Rachryn Island, and fought for him at Bannockburn, and as a reward he received in marriage Bruce's sister, the Princess Mary or Marjorie, while the forfeited lands of David de Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl, were settled on their second son. From that hour the fortunes of the Campbells received hardly a check. Having helped, at the Bridge of Awe, to overthrow Bruce's enemies, the powerful Lords of Lorne and of Argyll, they proceeded piecemeal to supplant them and their kinsmen, the MacDonalds, and secure their lands. In some cases they compelled or induced the owners of these lands to assume the Campbell name. Thus the Campbells of Craignish, though stated to be descended from Dougall, an illegitimate son of a Campbell of the twelfth century, are universally understood to have borne the name MacEachern, and to have been a branch of the MacDonalds.

In the reign of Bruce's son, David II, the next Chief of the Campbells, Sir Nigel's son, again played an important part. It was when the entire country was overrun by Edward Baliol and his English supporters. Robert, the young High Stewart, suddenly broke out of concealment in Bute, and stormed the strong castle of Dunoon. In this enterprise, which inspired the whole country to rise and throw off the yoke of the invader, the Stewart was splendidly helped by Colin Campbell of Lochow. As a reward the Campbell Chief was made hereditary governor of the stronghold, with certain lands to support the dignity. This grant brought the Campbells into conflict with the Lamonts, who were owners of the surrounding Cowal district, and in course of time they supplanted them in considerable possessions - the kirk of Kilmun, for instance, where they first begged a burial place for a son whose body could not be carried through the deep snows to Inveraray, and which remains the Argyll burying-place to the present hour; also Strath Echaig at hand, which was obtained from Robert III as a penalty for the sons of the Lamont Chief beating off and slaying some young gallants from the court at Rothesay, who were trying to carry away a number of young women of Cowal.

Colin Campbell's grandson, another Sir Colin, further advanced his family by marrying a sister of Annabella Drummond, the queen of Robert III, and his son, Sir Duncan, married, first a daughter of Robert, Duke of Albany, son of Robert II and Regent of Scotland, and secondly a daughter of Sir Robert Stewart of Blackhall, a natural son of Robert III. He was one of the hostages for the redemption of James I from his English captivity in 1424, and at that time his annual revenue was stated to be fifteen hundred merks, a greater income than that of any of the other hostages. A further sign of his importance, he was made by James I Privy Councillor, the King's Justiciary, and Lieutenant of the county of Argyll, and by James II, in 1445, he was raised to the dignity of a Lord of Parliament by the title of Lord Campbell.

It was Lord Campbell's eldest son, Celestine, for whom a grave was begged for the Lamont Chief at Kilmun. The second son died before his father, leaving a son, Colin, who succeeded as second Lord Campbell, and became first Earl of Argyll, while the third son obtained the lands of Glenurchy, formerly a possession of the MacGregors, and founded the great family of the Campbells of Glenurchy, Earls and Marquesses of Breadalbane.

Hitherto the seat of the Campbells of Lochow had been the stronghold of Inchconnel, which still stands on the island of that name, amid the waters of the loch; but Glenurchy built for his nephew the first castle at Inveraray, which continued to be the headquarters of the family for four centuries. At the same time, during his absence abroad, his wife is said to have built for him, on an islet in the northern part of Loch Awe, the strong castle of Kilchurn, which remains to the present day one of the most picturesque features of the Highlands. Thenceforth the history of the Campbells of Breadalbane forms a separate and highly interesting chapter by itself.

Meanwhile the younger sons of each generation had become the founders of other notable families. The second son of Cailean Mor settling on Loch Tayside had founded the family of Campbell of Lawers, afterwards Earls of Loudoun, while the fourth son had been made by Robert the Bruce, Constable of Dunstaffnage, a post held by his descendant to the present day, and the fifth son, Duncan, is believed to have been' ancestor of the Campbells of Inverurie, from whom sprang the families of Kilmartin, Southall, Lerags, and others. The third son of Sir Nigel Campbell had founded the house of Menstric, near Stirling. The second son of Sir Colin, the hero of Dunoon, had become ancestor of the families of Barbreck and Succoth. The second son of Sir Colin, the fifth laird, and Margaret Drummond, was ancestor of the Campbells of Ardkinglas and their branches, the houses of Ardentinny, Dunoon, Skipnish, Blythswood, Shawfield, Dergachie, and others. And younger sons of Sir Duncan, first Lord Campbell, became ancestors of the Campbells of Auchenbreck, Glen Saddell, Eileangreig, Ormidale, and others.

Colin, second Lord Campbell, in view of his power and importance in the west, was made Earl of Argyll by James II in 1457. He was appointed Master of the Household of James III in 1464. He acted as ambassador to England and France, and finally was made Lord High Chancellor of Scotland. By his marriage also he made conquest of another great lordship. His wife was the daughter and co-heir of John Stewart, Lord of Lorne, and by a forced settlement with the lady's uncle, Walter Stewart, he obtained in 1470 a charter of the lands and title of that lordship. Since that time the Galley of Lorne has by right of descent from the MacDougalis of Lorrie, figured in the Campbell coat of arms. The Earl's second son founded the house of Campbell of Lundie, while his seven daughters made alliances with some of the most powerful nobles and chiefs in the country.

Archibald, second Earl of Argyll, was the leader of the vanguard of James IV's army at the disastrous battle of Flodden. At the head of the Highland clans and Islesmen he made the victorious rush with which the battle opened, but as the clansmen scattered to seize their plunder, the English cavalry charged on their flank, the Earl fell, and they were cut to pieces. Most notable of the families founded by his sons was that of Cawdor, who are Earls of Cawdor at the present time. As Justiciar of Scotland the Earl did a service to Rose of Kilravock, for which he received the custody of Kilravock's granddaughter, the infant Muriel, heiress of the thanedom of Cawdor. The messenger sent to bring the child south had to fight a battle with her seven Cawdor uncles, Some suspicion of Campbell methods seems to have been in the mind of the child's grandmother, old Lady Kilravock, for before handing her over to Campbell of Inverliver she thrust the key of her coffer into the fire and branded her on the thigh. Afterwards, when Inverliver was asked what he would think if the child that had cost him so much trouble should die, 'he is said to have replied, "Muriel of Cawdor will never die, so long as there is a red-haired lassie on the shores of Loch Awe". The Earl married Muriel to his third son, Sir John, who acquired Islay and played a considerable part in the affairs of his time. Among other matters he stabbed in his bed in Edinburgh, Maclean of Duart, who had exposed his wife, Cawdor's sister, on a rock in Loch Linnhe, to be drowned by the tide. From the second Earl descended the families of Ardchattan, Airds, Cluny, and others, and from his brother Donald, Abbot of Cupar, Keeper of the Privy Seal, came the Carnpbells of Keithock in Forfarshire.

Colin, third Earl of Argyll, was by James V appointed Master of the Household, Lieutenant of the Border, Warden of the Marches, Sheriff of Argyll, and Justice General of Scotland. His second son, John Gorm, who was killed at the battle of Langside, was ancestor of the families of Lochnell, Barbreck, Balerno, and Stonefield, and his daughter Elizabeth was the wife of the notorious Regent Earl of Moray, half-brother of Mary Queen of Scots.

Archibald, the fourth Earl, was appointed JusticeGeneral of Scotland by James V, and was the first person of importance in Scotland to embrace the Protestant faith. He commanded the Scottish right wing at the battle of Pinkie in 1547. The fifth Earl, another Archibald, married a natural daughter of James V. His countess was the favourite half-sister of Queen Mary, was one of the Queen's supper-party at Holyrood when Rizzio was murdered, and acted as proxy for Elizabeth of England at the baptism of James VI. She and the Earl entertained the Queen at Dunoon Castle, and the Earl was commander of Mary's army at the battle of Langside. On that occasion, whether by sickness or treachery at the critical moment, he caused the loss of the battle to the Queen. He was afterwards appointed one of her lieutenants in Scotland, was a candidate for the regency, and became Lord High Chancellor.

His half-brother, Sir Colin Campbell of Boquhan, who succeeded as sixth Earl, was also, in 1579, appointed Lord High Chancellor. His son, Archibald, the seventh Earl, had a curious career. In 1594, at the age of eighteen, he was sent by James VI to repress the Roman Catholic Earls of Errol and Huntly, and at the battle of Glenlivat was completely defeated by them. He afterwards engaged in suppressing an insurrection of the MacDonalds, with whom his family had so long been at enmity, and distinguished himself by repressive acts against those other neighbours, the MacGregors, whom his family had for long been ousting, with the result that he nearly exterminated them. He is suspected of having instigated them to attack the Colquhouns, and after the battle of Glenfruin, it was he who secured the MacGregor Chief by first fulfilling his promise to convey him safely out of the country, and then, when he had crossed the Border, arresting and bringing him back to Edinburgh to be tried and executed. In his later years he went to Spain, became a Roman Catholic, and took part in the wars of Philip II against the States of Holland.

His son, Archibald, the eighth Earl and first and last Marquess, for a time held supreme power in Scotland. Known as Gillespie Grumach, and as the Glied or squinting Marquess, he was at the head of the Covenanting Party, and had for his great rival and opponent the Royalist Marquess of Montrose. In 1633 he resigned into the hands of Charles I the whole Justiciarship of Scotland except that over his own lands, and in 1641 was raised to the rank of Marquess of Argyll by that king. Nevertheless he was the chief opponent of Charles in the Civil War in Scotland. In the field he was no match for his brilliant opponent Montrose. At Kilsyth his army was completely defeated, and at Inverlochy, where he took to his barge and watched the battle from a safe distance, he saw the Royalist general cut his army to pieces, and slay fifteen hundred of his clan. Among his acts in the war was the burning of the "Bonnie House 0'Airlie", the home of Montrose's follower, the chief of the Ogilvies; for which act Montrose marched across the hills and gave Argyll's own stronghold, Castle Campbell in the Ochils above Dollar, to the flames. When Montrose was at last defeated at Philiphaugh, the captured Royalists were slain in cold blood in the courtyard of Newark Castle and elsewhere, and when Montrose himself was captured later, Argyll watched from a balcony in the Canongate as his enemy was led in rags up the street to his trial and execution. Then Argyll sent the army of the Covenant to destroy those old enemies of his family, the MacDonalds of Kintyre, and the MacDougalls of Dunolly, slaughtering the three hundred men of the garrison of Dunavertie, and burning the MacDougall strongholds of Dunolly and Gylen, while in Cowal he plundered the lands of the Lamonts, and had over two hundred of the clan butchered at Dunoon. When the young Charles II came to Scotland in 1651 Argyll himself placed the crown on his head, and is said to have planned to get Charles to marry his own daughter, Anne. But after Cromwell's victory at Dunbar he assisted in proclaiming him as Protector, and engaged to support him. It could be no marvel, therefore, that at the Restoration in 1660 Charles II resisted his advances, and that he was presently seized at Carrick Castle on Loch Goil, carried to Edinburgh, and tried and beheaded for his acts.

James Campbell, a younger half-brother of the Marquess, was created Earl of Irvine in 1642, but as he had no family the peerage expired with him.

The Marquess' son, Archibald, was restored to the earldom and estates in 1663, but in 1681, having refused to conform to the Test Act, he was condemned and imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle. He made a romantic escape disguised as a page holding up the train of his stepdaughter, Lady Sophia Lindsay. But four years later, in concert with Monmouth's invasion of England, he landed in Loch Fyne, raised a force, and was marching upon Glasgow when, his force having dispersed, he was seized, disguised, at Inchinnan in Renfrewshire, and carried to execution at Edinburgh. A famous picture of the occasion commemorates "the last sleep of Argyll".

Of the Earl's four sons the second, John Campbell of Mamore, was forfeited for taking part in his father's expedition, but had his forfeiture rescinded at the Revolution in 1689, and represented Argyll in the Scottish Parliament in 1700 and Dunbarton in the first Parliament of the United Kingdom. The third son, Charles, forfeited and reinstated in the same way, represented Campbeltown in the Parliament of 1700. He married Lady Sophia Lindsay, the stepdaughter who had helped his father to escape from his first imprisonment in Edinburgh Castle. The fourth son, James, of Burnbank and Boquhan, in 1690 forcibly carried off Mary Wharton, an heiress of thirteen, and married her. The marriage was annulled by Act of Parliament, and one of Campbell's accomplices, Sir John Johnston, Baronet, of Caskieben, was executed at Tyburn; but the chief perpetrator escaped to Scotland, to become a colonel of dragoons and represent Campbeltown in Parliament. He afterwards married the Hon. Margaret Leslie, daughter of Lord Newark.

Meanwhile the eldest son, Archibald, was one of the commissioners sent to offer the crown to William of Orange. The attainder against his father was reversed at the Revolution, and he was by King William created Duke of Argyll, with remainder to his heirs male whatsoever. He raised a Highland regiment which distinguished itself in King William's continental wars.

His son, John, the second Duke, was one of the greatest men of his time. A rival of Marlborough in the continental wars of Queen Anne, he commanded George I's army at the battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715, and through his energy and ability preserved Scotland for that king. In 1719 he was made Duke of Greenwich, and in 1735 Field-Marshal commanding all the forces of the kingdom. A great statesman as well as a soldier, he is referred to by Pope:

"Argyll, the state's whole thunder born to wield,
And shake alike the senate and the field".

And it is he who figures in Sir Walter Scott's Heart of Midlothian, as the minister to whom Jeanie Deans appeals to secure the pardon of her erring sister, Effie. Among his honours he was a Knight of the Garter and a Knight of the Thistle, and his monument remains in Westminster Abbey.

As the Duke had no son his British titles died with him, and he was succeeded in the Scottish honours by his brother, Archibald, Earl of Islay. The third Duke had served under Marlborough and studied law at Utrecht. He became Lord High Treasurer of Scotland in 1705 and promoted the Union with England. He was made Lord Justice General in 1710, and Lord Register in 1714. He raised Argyllshire for George I and fought under his brother at Sheriffmuir. He became Walpole's chief adviser in Scotland, and keeper successively of the privy seal and the great seal. For long he was the greatest man in Scottish affairs, and it was he who rebuilt Inveraray Castle on its present site. In his time the strength of the clan was estimated at 5000 fighting men, and it sent a contingent to fight against Prince Charles Edward at Culloden.

After him the dukedom went to his cousin, John Campbell of Mamore, son of the second son of the ninth earl. His second son was killed at the battle of Langfeldt in 1747 and his third son became Lord Clerk Register of Scotland. His eldest son, John, the fifth Duke, married Elizabeth Gunning, widow of the sixth Duke of Hamilton, one of the three sisters who were celebrated beauties at the court of George III. She was the wife of two dukes, and the mother of four, and was created Baroness Hamilton in her own right in 1776. Her second and third sons by the Duke of Argyll became successively sixth and seventh Dukes. The latter was a friend of Madame de Stael, who pictured him as Lord Nevil in her famous novel, Corinne. His son, George, the eighth Duke, was the distinguished statesman, orator, scholar, and author of Queen Victoria's time. Three times married, and three times Lord Privy Seal, he also filled the offices of Postmaster-General, Secretary for India, Chancellor of St. Andrew's University, and Trustee of the British Museum. Among his honours he was K.G., K.T., P.C., D.C.L., L.L.D., and F.R.S. , and among his writings were valuable works on science, religion, and politics. He bequeathed Iona Cathedral to the Church of Scotland.

He and his eldest son, John, the ninth Duke, inherited much of the personal beauty of their ancestor, Elizabeth Gunning, and when the latter in 1871 married H.R.H. the Princess Louise, fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, the pair were as distinguished for their fine looks as for their high rank. For ten years, as Marquess of Lorne, he represented Argyllshire in the House of Commons, and for a term he was Governor-General of Canada. He held many honours, and was the author of some interesting literary works.

The present Duke, Niall Diarmid, is the son of his next brother. His Grace is deeply interested in Highland affairs, and faithful to all the traditions of a Highland Chief.

Apart from members of the main Campbell line, members of the race have been famous in many arenas. Thomas Campbell, the poet, was of the Kilmartin family, a Campbell of Stonefield and a Campbell of Succoth have been Presidents of the Court of Session. The Army, the Navy, politics, the Church, and probably most other spheres of national service and distinction, have derived lustre from members of this great clan, and round the world there is no name better known than that of the sons of Diarmid of the Boar.


Bannatyne Burns Caddell Calder Connochie Denoon
Denune Loudon MacConochie MacDermid MacDiarmid MacGibbon
Macglasrich MacIsaac MacIvor MacKellar MacKessock MacKissock
MacNichol MacOran MacOwen MacTause MacTavish MacThomas
MacUre Tawesson Thomas Thomason Thompson Ure

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