BADGE: Lus nam braoileag (vaccineum vitis idea) red whortle berry
SLOGAN: Loch Moy, or Dunma'glas
PIBROCH: Spaidsearachd Chlann Mhic Gillebhrath
Mr George Bain, the historian of Nairnshire, in one of his many interesting and valuable brochures, The Last of Her Race, recounts a tradition of the battle of Culloden which was handed down by members of an old family of the district, the Dallases of Cantray. At the time of the last Jacobite rising, it appears, two beautifull girls lived in the valley of the Nairn. At Clunas, a jointure house of Cawdor, high in the hills, lived Elizabeth Campbell, daughter of Duncan Campbell of Clunas. She was a highly accomplished young woman, having been educated in Italy, whither her father had fled after taking part in the Jacobite rising of 1715, and she was engaged to be married to young Alexander MacGillivray, chief of the clan of that name. Anna Dallas of Cantray, on the other hand, was a daughter of the chief of the Dallases, and her home was the old house of Cantray in the valley of the Nairn below. She likewise was engaged to be married, and her fiance was Duncan Mackintosh of Castleledders, a near relative of the Mackintosh chief. These were said to be the two most beautiful women in the Highlands at the time. Old Simon, Lord Lovat, who, with all his wickedness, was well qualified to criticise, is said to have declared that he did not know which was the more dangerous attraction "the Star on the Hilltop", or "the Light in the Valley". There was doubtless something of a rivalry between the two young women. Now, Angus, chief of the Mackintoshes was on the Government side, and in his absence his wife the heroic Lady Mackintosh, then only twenty years of age, had raised her husband's clan for Prince Charles. On the eve of the battle of Culloden it was thought that Mackintosh of Castleledders might lead the clan in the impending battle. That night, however, Elizabeth Campbell told her fiance that unless he led the Mackintosh clan for the Prince on the morrow, he need come to see her no more. The young fellow accordingly hurried off to May Hall, and told "Colonel" Anne, as the pressmen of that time called Lady Mackintosh, that the MacGillivrays would not fight on the morrow unless he was in command of the whole Clan Mackintosh. Now the MacGillivrays were only a sept of the clan, though the mother of Dunmaglass was descended from the sixteenth Mackintosh chief, but they made a considerable part of the strength of Clan Mackintosh. Lady Mackintosh, therefore, became alarmed, sent for Castleledders, and begged him for the sake of the cause which was at stake to forego his right, as nearest relative of its chief, to lead the clan on this occasion. Moved by her entreaty he agreed, with the words, "Madam, at your request, I resign my command, but a Mackintosh chief cannot serve under a MacGillivray"; and accordingly he went home and took no part in the battle. Next day, it is said, the heart of Elizabeth Campbell was filled with pride when she saw her sweetheart, Alexander MacGillivray, yellow haired young giant as he was, marshalling the Mackintoshes 700 strong in the centre of the Prince's army, and it is said she rode on to the field to congratulate him. The Prince noticed her, and asked who she was, and, on being told, remarked that MacGillivray was a lucky fellow to have so beautiful and so spirited a fiancee.
Alas ! a few hours later young MacGillivray lay dying on the field. His last act, it is said, was to help a poor drummer boy, whom he heard moaning for water, to the spring which may still be seen at hand, and which is known to this day from the fact as MacGillivray's or the Dead Men's Well. There he was found next morning, his body stripped by the cruel Hanoverian soldiery, and it was remarked what a beautiful figure of a young fellow he was. His body was buried in the Moss where it lay, and six weeks later, after the English had gone, when it was taken up, to be buried under the doorstep of the kirk of Petty, people marvelled that it was still fresh and beautiful, and that his wounds bled afresh.
Young as he was, Dunmaglass had played his part splendidly in the battle. In the furious attack which he led, the Mackintoshes almost annihilated the left wing of the Duke of Cumberland's army, and before he fell, with four officers of his clan, MacGillivray himself encountered the commander of Barrel's regiment, and struck off some of his fingers with his broadsword. Next day, in the streets of Inverness, this commander met a private soldier wearing MacGillivray's finely embroidered waistcoat, and, recognising it indignantly stopped the man, and ordered him to take it off. "Yesterday", he said, "on the field of battle I met the brave man who wore that waistcoat, and it shall not be thus degraded". The waistcoat, however must afterwards have been lost or again stolen, for it is recorded that it was observed exposed for sale in the window of a tailor in Inverness.
Such was the family tradition of the Dallases accounting for the fact that Dunmaglass led the Mackmtoshes at Culloden. But it must be remembered that he had seen foreign service and had led the clan from the first, meeting the Prince at Stirling with seven hundred men at his back on Charles's return from England, and commanding the regiment at the battle of Falkirk.
Meanwhile poor Elizabeth Campbell, though her ambition had been gratified, was stricken to the heart. Her big beardless boy lover - he was six feet five inches in height - with light yellow hair, and a complexion as fair and delicate as any lady's - was dead, and he would indeed come to see her no more. A few months afterwards she died of a broken heart. On the other hand, Anna Dallas had lost her father. The chief of the Dallases was killed in the battle by a bullet through the left temple. But she married her lover, Duncan Mackintosh of Castleledders, and their son, Angus, by and by, succeeded as chief of the Mackintoshes and the great Clan Chattan.
Of the MacGillivrays it may be said, as was said of the great house of Douglas, that no one can point to their first mean man. A tradition recorded by Browne in his History derives the name from Gillebride, said to have been the father of the great Somerled. But of the origin of the family nothing is known definitely except that so far back as the thirteenth century the ancestor of the race, one Gilbrai, Gillebreac, or Gillebride, placed himself and his posterity under the protection of Ferquhard, the fifth Mackintosh chief. The name MacGillivray probably means either "the son of the freckled lad" or "the son of the servant of St.Bride". In any case, for some five centuries, down to the last heroic onset on the field of Culloden, just referred to, the MacGillivrays faithfully and bravely followed the "yellow brattach", or standard, of the Mackintoshes, to whom they had allied themselves on that far off day. An account of the descent of the race of Gilbrai is given in the history of The Mackintoshes and Clan Chattan by Mr. A.M. Mackintosh - one of the best and most reliable of the Highland clan histories extant.
Mr. Mackintosh quotes the Rev. Lachlan Shaw's History of the Province of Moray, the Kinrara Manuscript of 1679, and various writs and documents in the Mackintosh charter-chest at Moy Hall, and his account is not only the latest but the most authoritative on the subject.
The first of Gilbrai's descendants to attain mention is Duncan, son of Allan. This Duncan married a natural daughter of the sixth Mackintosh chief, and his son Ivor was killed at Drumlui in 1330. A hundred years later, about the middle of the fifteenth century, the chief of the MacGillivrays appears to have been a certain Ian Ciar (Brown). At any rate, when William, fifteenth chief of the Mackintoshes, was infefted in the estate of Moy and other lands held from the Bishop of Moray, the names of a son and two grandsons of this Ian Giar appear in the list of witnesses. Other Mackintosh documents show the race to have been settled by that time on the lands of Dunmaglass (the fort of the grey man's son), belonging to the thanes of Cawdor. Ian Ciar was apparently succeeded by a son, Duncan, and he again by his son Ferquhar, who, in 1549, gave letters of reversion of the lands of Dalmigavie to Robert Dunbar of Durris. Ferquhar's son, again, Alastair, in 1581 paid forty shillings to Thomas Calder, Sheriff-Depute of Nairn, for "two taxations of his £4 lands of Domnaglasche, granted by the nobility to the King". It was in his time, in 1594, that the MacGillivrays fought in the royal army under the young Earl of Argyll at the disastrous battle of Glenlivat, Alastair's son, Ferquhar, appears to have been a minor in 1607 and 1609, for in the former of these years his kinsman Malcolm MacBean was among the leading men of Clan Chattan caned to answer to the Privy Council far the good behaviour of Clan Chattan during the minority of Sir Lachlan Mackintosh its chief; and in the latter year, when a great band of union was made at Termit, near Inverness, between the various septs of Clan Chattan, responsibility for the "haill kin and race of the Clan M'Illivray", was accepted by Malcolm MacBean, Ewen M'Ewen, and Duncan MacFerquhar, the last-named being designated as tenant in Dunrnaglass, and being probably an uncle of young Ferquhar MacGillivray.
This Ferquhar, son of Alastair, was the first to obtain a heritable right to Dumnagtass, though his predecessors had occupied the lands from time immemorial under the old thanes of Cawdor and their later successors, the Campbells. The feu-contract was dated 4th April 1626, and the feu-duty payable was £16 Scots yearly, with attendance on Cawdor at certain courts and on certain occasions.
Ferquhar's eldest son, Alexander, died before his father and in 1671 his three brothers, Donald, William, and Bean MacGillivray, were put to the horn, with a number of other persons, by the Lords of Justiciary for contempt of court; at the same time Donald, who, three years earlier had acquired Dalcrombie and Letterchallen from Alexander Mackintosh of Connage, was designated tutor of Dunmaglass, being probably manager of the family affairs for his father and his brother, Alexander's son.
Alexander MacGillivray had married Agnes, daughter of William Mackintosh of Kyllachy, and his son Farquhar, was in 1698 a member of the Commission against MacDonald of Keppoch. Three years later he married Amelia Stewart. Farquhar, his eldest son and successor, was a Captain in Mackintosh's regiment in the Jacobite rising of 1715, while the second son, William, was a Lieutenant in the same regiment and was known as Captain Ban. Their kinsman, MacGillivray of Da1crombie, was also an officer, and, among the rank and file forced to surrender at Preston, and executed or transported, were thirteen Mackintoshes and sixteen MacGillivrays.
It was Alexander, eldest son of the last-named Farquhar, who, having succeeded his father in 1740, commanded the Mackintosh regiment and fell at Culloden as already related. Among those who fell with him on that occasion was Major John Mor MacGillivray. It was told of him that after the charge he was seen a gunshot past the Hanoverian cannon and killed a dozen men with his broadsword while some of the halberts were run through his body. Another clansman Robert Mor MacGillivray, killed seven of his enemies with the tram of a peat cart before he was himself overpowered and slain.
The young chief, Alexander MacGillivray, was succeeded by his next brother, William, who, in 1759, became a captain in the 89th Regiment, raised by the Duchess of Gordon. He served with that regiment, mostly in India, till it was disbanded to 1765. His next brother, John. was a merchant at Mobile, and a loyalist colonel in the American Revolution. With his help William added to his family estate the lands of Faillie and half of Inverarney, with Wester Lairgs and Easter Gask the two last having previously been held on lease.
His son, John Lachlan MacGillivray, succeeded not only to the family estates but to the property of his uncle, Colonel John, the wealthy Mobile merchant. As a young officer in the 16th Light Dragoons, he had been given to much extravagance, but on inheriting his uncle's money he was able to clear the estate of debt. At his death, however, in 1852, he left no family, and the chiefship devolved on the representative of Donald of Dalcrombie, the tutor of Dunmaglass in the seventeenth century. The tutor's grandson, Donald, was one of those murdered in cold blood by the Hanoverian soldiery after Culloden, but his son Farquhar, also an officer of the Mackintosh regiment, survived the battle. He married Margaret, daughter of AEneas Shaw of Tordarroch, and it was his son John who, in 1852, succeeded to Dunmaglass and the chiefship.
This succession was disputed by a kinsman, the Reverend Lachlan MacGillivray, descended from William MacGillivray of Lairgs, brother of Donald, the tutor, the question being whether Donald, the tutor, or his brother William of Lairgs, had been the elder. In 1857 the court decided in favour of Donald and his descendants. Two years before this, however, John MacGillivray had died. He had been a well-known man in Canada, where he was a member of the Legislative Council. The eldest of his four sons, Neil John, found himself in financial straits, and after selling Wester Lairgs and Easter Gask, took steps to dispose of Dunmaglass itself, and the rest of the property which had been possessed by his family from time immemorial. His eldest son, John William, born in 1864, is the present chief of the MacGillivrays.
The ancient property of this family lies about the sources of the river Farigaig in Stratherrick. When the Thane of Cawdor, in 1405, procured an act incorporating all his lands in Inverness and Forres into the shire of Nairn, Dunmaglass was part of the territory included. It forms an oblique parallelogram about seven miles long and sixteen square miles in extent. In "the forty-five" the chief's own followers numbered about eighty men.
Besides the family of Dunmaglass and its following there was in the Island of Mull a sept of the MacGillivray which took its name from the residence of its head and was known as "Og Beion-na-gall". They were believed to have been descended from the main stem in Lochaber, and to have been dispersed after the discomfiture of Somerled, Lord of the Isles, in 1164. They were also known under the name of MacAngus, or MacInnes.
In the line of ancestors from whom these island clansmen claimed descent was a certain Martin MacGillivray, a parson of about the year 1640. This individual, according to Logan, author of the letterpress of MacIan's Clans of the Scottish Highlands, was in the habit of carrying a sword. Upon one occasion he happened to call on a son of MacLean of Lochbuie for part of his stipend. The latter refused to pay, and asked whether his visitor meant to enforce his demand with his sword. "Rather than lose what is my due", answered MacGillivray, "I shall use my weapon, and I am content to lose the money if you can put my back to the wall!" In the upshot, however, he quickly brought his opponent to his knees, and the latter thereupon gave in, paid the amount due, and declared that he liked well to meet a man who could maintain his living by the sword.
Another anecdote of this house is told by the same writer. At the battle of Sheriffmuir, in 1715, he says, the Laird of Beinn-na-gall happened to stumble, whereupon a friend standing near, thinking he was shot, cried out, "God preserve ye, MacGillivray ! " He was no doubt startled by the reply, "God preserve yourself", exclaimed Beinn-na-gall, "I have at present no need of His aid".
These island MacGillivrays or MacInneses, however, followed, not the chiefs of Clan Chattan, but the MacDougal Campbells of Craignish, as their chiefs. Details regarding them are to be found in Cosmo Innes's Early Scottish History and in Skene's Highlanders of Scotland.
SEPTS OF CLAN MACGILLIVRAY