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INTRODUCTION

For some time past there have been signs of a reawakening of interest in all matters pertaining to the Highlands, and Mr Eyre-Todd has taken up the task of meeting a wide demand which has arisen for information as to the origins and fortunes of the various clans and their principal families. At present the only book claiming to give a comprehensive view of this subject is McIan's Clans of the Scottish Highlands, but that work, published three-quarters of a century ago, is rarely met with and is valuable mainly on account of its pictures. Since it appeared the horizon of inquiry has been considerably widened by the publication of documents from the national archives and the charter chests of private families, and many of the spurious pedigrees and absurdities of earlier writers, such as Douglas in his Baronage of Scotland, have been swept away, though they will no doubt continue to be quoted by superficial writers. In Celtic Scotland (1880) the late Dr W.F. Skene devoted a chapter and part of the Appendix to the clans and their genealogies, and his conclusions are often accepted as final and authoritative; but he is by no means a safe guide, on account of his fatal propensity for setting up theories on insufficient foundations, and his blind devotion to the Manuscript of 1467. His previous work, The Highlanders of Scotland (1837), is practically thrown overboard in Celtic Scotland, and may be ignored by the modern student (except perhaps with the notes in Dr Macbain's edition of 1902). In the present century several books of more or less authority giving histories of individual clans have appeared, but no serious attempt had been made to deal with the clans generally until Mr Eyre-Todd boldly essayed the gigantic task. He brings to this task an open mind and good judgment, and the readers of his pages, whether agreeing with him or not in every detail - and he may expect considerable disagreement - cannot but feel that he has been animated by a sincere desire to get at the truth of things, and that on the whole he has treated his subject in a fair and sympathetic manner. I wish him every success.

A.M. MACKINTOSH
August 1923.

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