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THE ARGYLE AND WESTERN MACKAYS

The earliest reference to these Mackays which we have found is in a charter [Appendix No 1] by King Robert Bruce, 31 Mar 1329, confirming two shanmarcate of land in Kintyre to Gilchrist macYmar M'Cay and to Gilchrist his younger son in heritage, with remainder to Ymar his elder son and his heirs (Appendix No. I.). Various writers have concluded that this Kintyre family is the Clan Aid whose genealogy is given in the Advocate's Library MSS. of 1450. This conclusion may be correct, but if it be it serves to show how inaccurately the 1450 MSS. recorded the genealogy of that family. Below we give the MS. List for some generations in the left hand column, and parallel to it the genealogy as recorded in the charter of the Bruce.

Farquhar, son of
Ivor, son of Ivor and Gilchrist, sons of
Gilchrist, son of Gilchrist, son of
Gillespie, son of Ivor, son of
Gillananeamh, son of Aidh
Gilchrist, son of
Cormac, son of
Gillamichael, son of
Aidh
In the 1450 List the first three generations may be correctly recorded, but beyond that it does not seem to us of much if any value. Those who argue from this List that the Clan Aid had no connection with the Strathnaver Clan Aoidh have very slender grounds to go upon. It is an undoubted historical fact that the MacEths were closely connected with Somerled of Argyle, that they fought together and intermarried. In the unsettlemcnt prevailing at the time it is quite likely that some of these fugitive MacEths settled in Argyle and the Western Isles, where they took root under the spreading shield of the house of Macdonald. And that Donald of Strathnaver should take a wife from the island of Gigha in the early years of the 14th century is some confirmation of this view.

We have already shown at page 41 that M'Ge of the Rhins of Islay and Mackay in Mull served Angus Og Macdonald in an official capacity, early in the 14th century. On the 11th Aug 1542, King James V gave anew to Ivor M'Cay Mor the office of crowner of North Kintyre hereditarily, with the lands of Ugadale and Arnegill attached thereto "as these pertained to Ivor M'Cay Mor and his ancestors beyond the memory of man, held of the Lord of the Isles" (Ewir M'Cay more et ejus predecessoribus pertinuerunt ultra memoriam hominum, de insularum dominis tente). See the extract in our Appendix No. 16. On the 28th Sep 1615, King James VI gave anew to Donald M'Cay of Arnegill and his son Evir the office of crowner of North Kintyre hereditarily, and the four merk-lands of Arnegill and Ugadale as these were given novodamus by King James V to Donald's grandfather, Evir M'Kay-moir of Arnegill [A Href=Appendix1.htm#31>Appendix No 31]. From these documents it appears that the Mackays held a very prominent position in Kintyre under the Lords of the Isles from an early period. Daniel Mackay was served heir to his father Evir, son of Donald, 20 Aug 1662 (Chancery Record). [What is now known as the Ugadale Brooch was the crowner's official brooch or brauie as it was called in Gaelic.]

"In 1682 Catherine Mackay", says Blackcastle, "was served heir to her father Daniel in the lands of Ugadale, etc. She married Torquil MacNeil of Tirfergus, Kintyre, and had a son Neil Macneil, who was served heir to his father Torquil, 21 Mar 1729 (Chancery Record). This Neil of Ugadale married the Hon. Margaret Crawford, eldest daughter of John, Viscount Garnock, and by her, who died at Losset, Kintyre, 22 Jun 1788, had a son Hector (Scots Magazine). The said Hector Macneal of Ugadale became a major in the Royal Marines and died at Losset, 9 Dec 1818, leaving a son George. George Macneal of Ugadale married his cousin german, Miss Loring, 1821, and had an heir Hector, born 10th Jul 1822. Captain Hector Macneal of Ugadale died in 1905 leaving a son Captain Hector to succeed.

In 1408 Brian Vicar Mackay obtained a charter [Appendix No 4] of lands in Isla from Macdonald of the Isles. In a minute of the Privy Council, 16 Apr 1587, the name of "Neill Mcky, official of of the Rynnis of Islay" appears among others. Again in the Privy Council Register, Vol. VII., 10 Feb 1606, we find "Neil Mcky, crunair of the Ryndis of Illeay", and "Donald McCay, coronell of the Oo and Clergy". From this it appears that Mackay of the Rhins of Islay was crowner of the island about the beginning of the 17th century.

On the 14th Aug., 1506, the following Mackays held lands of the king in Bute: Gilnew Mackaw, the half of the lands of Garachach; John Mackaw, the other half; Patrick Makkcae, half of the lands of Dunguild; and John Makkay, the third part of the lands of Scalpsey and Ard-Scalpsey (Reg. Mag. Sig.). Mr. Mackay of Blackcastle referring to the Bute Mackays says: -

"Several of this family spelt their name M'Kaw or M'Kau. Of this branch is said to be descended the present Barons de MacKau in France, one of whom was the Baron de Makau who represented Louis XV at the Diet at Batisbon and signed the French king's declaration, 14 May 1757 (Scots Magazine). His grandson, the Baron de Makau of the French Navy, sailed from Bochford, 4th May 1825, with an ordonance from Louis XVII declaring the independence of St. Domingo (Moniteur, Aug. 12th; and Edinburgh Courant, 25th, 1825).".

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