Roderick "Old_Ruari" MACLEOD (VI of Lewis)

Father: Malcolm MACLEOD
Mother: Christian URQUHART

Family 1: Natural
  1. Donald MACLEOD
  2. Ruairidh Oig (Roderick) MACLEOD
  3. Neil MACLEOD
  4. Tormod Uigach (Norman) MACLEOD
  5. Murdoch MACLEOD
Family 2: Janet MACKENZIE
Family 3: Barbara STEWART
  1. Torquil Olghre MACLEOD
Family 4: Janet MACLEAN
  1. Torquil Dubh MACLEOD
  2. Tormod Norman MACLEOD

                                                                             _Roderick Ruaidhri Mor MACLEOD _
                                                    _Torquil MACLEOD _______|_Margaret MACDONALD ____________
                       _Roderick Ruaidhri MACLEOD _|
                      |                            |                         ________________________________
                      |                            |_Catharine CAMPBELL ____|________________________________
 _Malcolm MACLEOD ____|
|                     |                                                      _Alexander MACKENZIE ___________
|                     |                             _Sir Kenneth MACKENZIE _|_Lady Agnes CAMPBELL ___________
|                     |_Agnes MACKENZIE ___________|
|                                                  |                         _Hugh __________________________
|                                                  |_Agnes LOVAT ___________|________________________________
|--Roderick "Old_Ruari" MACLEOD 
|                                                                            ________________________________
|                                                   ________________________|________________________________
|                      _Thomas URQUHART,_BARON ____|
|                     |                            |                         ________________________________
|                     |                            |________________________|________________________________
|_Christian URQUHART _|
                      |                                                      ________________________________
                      |                             ________________________|________________________________
                                                   |                         ________________________________



!SOURCE: William Matheson, "The MacLeods of Lewis," TRANSACTIONS OF THE GAELIC SOCIETY OF INVERNESS, Vol. LI (1978-1980), Inverness, Scotland, 1981, pp. 320-337 (331).

!SOURCE: Sir Robert Douglas of Glenbervie, THE BARONAGE OF SCOTLAND, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1798, p. 385. "X. Roderick MacLeod of Lewes, a man of great bravery and resolution, who struggled long with the government to preserve his estate, which he thought he was unjustly deprived of, etc. but as it is inconsistent with the brevity of this work to give a particular account of that tedious transaction, which is recorded by many historians, to these we must refer, and shall only here observe, that in the time of Roderick, king James VI. by his proclamation, ordered all the highland chieftains to produce their charters and title-deeds, whereby they held their lands, against a certain day, under the penalty of losing their estates. Old Roderick having refused or neglected to comply, had his estate of Lewes, etc. forfeited, and the family never after recovered possession of it. "He married Barbara Stewart, daughter of Andrew Lord Evandale and Ochiltree, by whom he had one son,.... "We shall only add, that the Macleods of Lewes made a great figure in Scotland for several centuries, and were possessed of an immense estate, viz. The baronies of Lewes, Assynt, Coigach, Castle Leod, Strathpapher, Rasay, Edrachills, Garloch, Ester side of Troterness, Waterness, Strathannan, etc. etc. "The armorial bearing of the Macleods of Lewes, was, "1st. or, a mountain inflamed proper; 2d, gules, the three legs of Man proper, conjoined in the center at the upper end of the thigh, flexed in triangle, and the spurs or; the other two quarters, a galley and a lion. "Supporters; two winged pelicans. "Crest; the sun in its splendor. "Motto; Luceo non uro."

!SOURCE: John Burke, Esq., HISTORY OF THE COMMONERS OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND, Vol. IV, Baltimore, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1977, pp. 584-592. Roderick, eleventh Baron of Lewis, was known in history by the name of Old Rory, having lived to the age of nearly one hundred years. In May, 1539, he, with his clan, accompanied Donald Gorme to Skye, where they laid waste the lands of Macleod of Herries. From Skye they passed over into Ross Shire, where after ravaging the district of Kinlochen, they proceeded to Kintail, with the intention of surprising Mackenzie's Castle of Elandonan. Here, however, Donald Gorme was killed, and the Macleods, discouraged by the event, returned home, after burning all the boats belonging to the Kintail men. In 1540, James V. arrived with a powerful fleet to quiet the highlanders, and subdue the turbulent chiefs. Roderick, with his principal clansmen, were made prisoners in Lewis, and obliged to accompany the other captive chiefs to Edinburgh, where they were all forced to remain until they gave up hostages as a pledge of their future good behaviour. James V. died soon after, and the highland prisoners were all released by the Earl of Arran in 1543. Roderick married first, Janet, daughter of John MacKenzie, of Kintail.... Roderick married secondly, Barbara Stewart, daughter of Andrew, Lord Evandale and Ochiltree. This marriage took place in 1541, and by this lady, Roderick had a son,.... In the year 1571, Roderick was made prisoner by his son, Torquil Connanach, who detained him four years in captivity, at the Castle of Stornoway. Being brought, while a prisoner, before the Earl of Mar, then regent, and his privy council, Roderick was compelled to resign his estate into the hands of the crown, taking a new destination of it to himself in life rent, and, after his death, to Torquil Connanach, as his son and heir apparent. On his liberation, the first act of Roderick was to revoke all that he had done, when he was a captive, on the ground of coercion, and of the undutiful conduct of Torquil Connanach. Fresh dissensions followed this revocation, and, at length, in 1576, both father and son were summoned to Edinburgh, where in the presence of the regent Morton and the privy council, they agreed to forget their mutual animosities. Torquil Connanach was again recognised as heir apparent of the Lewis, and in that character received from his father Coigach, and several other lands, for his support during the life of the latter. In 1585, these quarrels were again renewed with greater violence than ever. Roderick had recently married, for his third wife, a sister of Lauchlan Maclean, of Dowart, and by that lady, was father of two sons; the elder named Torquil Dubh, or "The Black," and the younger, Tormod. He had likewise five natural sons, all come to man's estate, three of whom, Donald, Ruare, Oig, and Niele, joined with their father, when that chief once more disinherited Torquil Connanach, and named Torquil Dubh as his heir. The other natural sons, Tormod Uigach and Murdoch, attached themselves to Torquil Connanach. Tormod Uigach was slain by his brother Donald, who again was seized by Murdoch, and delivered to Torquil Connanach for punishment; Donald, however, contrived to escape, and, in his turn, seized Murdoch, who was then imprisoned by old Roderick in the Castle of Stornoway, in Lewis. Torquil Connanach took up arms to relieve Murdoch, and justified himself for his hostility to his father, by alleging that his own life was in danger from the latter. Having besieged the Castle of Stornoway, and taken it, he not only liberated Murdoch, but again took his father prisoner. He likewise carried off all the charters and papers of the family, which he afterwards delivered to Mackenzie of Kintail. Before leaving Lewis, Torquil Connanach sent for his son, John, a youth who had been brought up by the Earl of Huntly, and made him keeper of the Castle of Stornoway, in which Roderick the old chief was kept prisoner. John continued in possession of the castle and island for some time, when he was attacked by Ruari Oig, his natural uncle, who killed him, and once more restored old Roderick to his estate and liberty, both which he enjoyed during the rest of his turbulent days. On hearing of the death of his son John, Torquil Connanach, by the advice of the Mackenzies, apprehended and executed Donald, his natural brother, whom they supposed knew the designs of Ruari Oig. Thus was the Siol Torquil weakened by private dissensions, exposed to fall a prey, as it did soon afterwards, to the growing power of the Mackenzies. Old Roderick, whose life had been one continued scene of troubles, died about the year 1590. He was succeeded by his son, Torquil Dubh.

!SOURCE: Alick Morrison, THE MACLEODS: THE GENEALOGY OF A CLAN, Section IV, "The MacLeods of Lewis", Edinburgh, Associated Clan MacLeod Societies, 1974, pp. 5-6. On the death of Malcolm X, his son appears to have been a minor. For 4 years, his cousin John MacTorquil the representative of the elder but forfeited branch of the family, recovered his patrimony and leadership of the clan. In 1532 John died, and Roderick, son of Malcolm X became effective Chief of the MacLeods of Lewis. He was also a keen supporter of Clan Donald in their ambition to revive the Lordship of the Isles and also to drive the MacLeods of Harris and Dunvegan out of Trotternish. He took part in a MacDonald raid on that area and also another raid into MacKenzie territory, where Donald Gorm of Sleat was killed at Eilean Donan Castle by an arrow shot from its walls. He was also one of the barons under the Earl of Lennox who were prepared to give their allegiance to England and in 1555 a process of treason was instituted against him. Argyle and Atholl were commissioned to reduce the island of Lewis when Roderick submitted and was pardoned. Roderick's period as Chief, turned out to be disastrous for the MacLeods of Lewis. He married Janet, the illegitimate daughter of John MacKenzie of Killin, IX of Kintail. She had been previously married to MacKay of Reay. Sir George MacKenzie states that "she had come to a greater age than suited well to his youth, whereupon did follow a dislych and from this dislych to loiveing of others, whereby in a short time, he became wicked, licentious and putting away his wife aleidging a falsehood but without process or prooffe". This, of course, referred to Roderick's claim that his wife, Janet MacKenzie was guilty of adultery with Hucheon the Morrison Brieve of Lewis, and chief of the Clan Gillevoir. Janet escaped from the unhappy household and eloped with John MacGillechaluim, a brother of Alexander II of Raasay. Roderick acted quickly, he divorced his wife and disowned his son Torquil Cononach by her. In 1541 he married again, this time no less than Barbara Stewart, of the Royal Stewart family. Barbara was the daughter of Andrew, Lord Avondale, and her brother Lord Methven had actually married Margaret Tudor, the widow of King James IV of Scotland. "

!SOURCE: Alick Morrison, THE MACLEODS: THE GENEALOGY OF A CLAN, Section IV, Revised Edition, "The MacLeods of Lewis", Edinburgh, Associated Clan MacLeod Societies, 1990, pp. 7, 8, 9, 10. Donald Gorm of Sleat, son and successor of Donald Grumach and son-in-law of John Macleod of Lewis, was the prime mover in the troubles which broke out again in 1539. Donald agreed, on John's death, that Roderick should succeed Malcolm on condition that he would help him to expell Alexander MacLeod of Dunvegan from Trotternish and to re-assert his own claim to the Earldom of Ross and the Lordship of the Isles. The campaign ended suddenly when Donald was killed by an arrow while besieging Eilean Donan Castle in 1539. For a better understanding of succeeding events it is preferable to give at once a genealogical scheme of Roderick's many children. He married (1) Janet, illegitimate daughter of John MacKenzie of Kintail and widow of MacKay of Reay. She gave birth to a son: 1. Torquil (Torcall Cononach), Roderick married (2) Barbara Stewart, daughter of Andrew, Lord Avondale, and widow of Sir James Sinclair of Sanday in Orkney, in 1541. They had issue: 2. Torquil (Torcall Oighre), who was drowned at sea off Skye in 1566. Roderick married (3) Janet, daughter of Hector MacLean of Duart, with issue: 3. Torquil (Torcall Dubh), who was executed in July 1597. He married Christina, daughter of Norman MacLeod of Dunvegan, [MGC (I) p. 22.] with issue. 4. Norman, who in the end emigrated to Holland and died there. Roderick had many illegitimate children most of whom were probably born before his lawful offspring. 5. Norman (Tormod Uigeach), whose mother may have been a Morrison, . Killed by his half-brother, Donald, in 1576. 6. Murdo, who perhaps also had a Morrison mother. Executed in Saint Andrews in 1600. 7. Neil, married a daughter of Torquil Blair Macleod and had issue: Neil was hanged in Edinburgh in April 1613. 8. Roderick (Ruaidhri Og), who was consigned by Torquil Dubh to the care of MacLean of Duart, but escaped and died "miserably in a snowstorm". [W. C. MacKenzie (1903/1974), p. 163.] He had issue. With Old Ruari, the last legal baron of Lewis, begins the final chapter of the MacLeod story. He was born about 1500 and lived well beyond his three score and ten years. His historians have showered him with many unflattering epithets, but he was hardly worse than most of his contemporaries and, indeed, might be described as more sinned against than sinning. His chroniclers were biased and needed to justify the MacKenzies' seisure of Lewis by denouncing their Macleod predecessors as irredeemably wicked. "We remark here" says Donald Morrison, [Morrison MSS (III) p. 53.] "the bitter fruits of fornication and adultery, which - as they say - were the predominant vices of this family.......". In Ruari is epitomised all the bad luck of the Siol Torcaill. He received a charter of his barony in 1538, [RSS (II) no. 2514.] but then was soon caught up in Donald Gorm of Sleat's insurrection and the energetic measures which James V took to suppress it and neutralize its consequences. In the summer of 1540 the King arrived in Lewis with his fleet "where Ruari MacLeod, with his principal kinsmen, met the King, and were made to accompany him in his further progress." [D. Gregory (1881/1975) p. 147.] Ruari was taken off to Edinburgh with the other chiefs, but must have been released in the following year, 1541, when he received a new charter. [RSS (KK) no. 4371.] This triumphant assertion of royal authority had far-reaching effects, domestic as well as political, for some of the subdued vassals. Perhaps the downfall of the Macleods of Lewis may be pinpointed to this very year. Ruari had married, as his first wife, Janet, the illegitimate daughter of John MacKenzie of Kintail and widow of MacKay of Reay. Sir George MacKenzie comments that "she had come to a greater age than suited well to his youth" and goes to suggest that Ruari's wicked licentiousness alone was to blame for what was to follow. But Ruari was hardly a youth in 1540, while Janet had already been married and presently was to elope with one of Ruari's vassals to whom she bore a litter of children. The story of her adultery with Hutcheon Morrison, the brieve of Lewis, is not "amazing", but highly probably. [MGC (IV) p. 7.] There is no justification for questioning the authenticity of the statement dated 22nd August 1566 in which Sir Patrick MacMaster Martin, parson of Barvas, recorded Hutcheon's death-bed confession that he had been Janet's lover and that their child was that Torquil whom Ruari was to have repudiated more than once. [D. Macdonald (1967) pp. 46-47; The Book of Dunvegan (I) pp. 33-34.] Ruari was detained in Edinburgh at the material time with small prospect of returning to Lewis, and Janet's behaviour in general does not suggest that she was a Hebridean Penelope. The child wsa brought up by her mother's people in Cromartie and is therefore known to us as Torquil Cononach. Ruari promptly married again in 1541 - Barbara Stewart, daughter of Andrew, Lord Avondale, and widow of Sir James Sinclair of Sanday in Orkney. Their son, Torquil the Heir, was drowned off Skye in 1566, an unlucky turn of events for the Macleods. Ruari had by this time married again - Janet, daughter of Hector MacLean of Duart, by whom he had two sons, Torquil Dubh and Norman. Ruari also had at least five illegitimate sons - probably older than his legal offspring - Tormod Uigeach and Murdo, who, judging by their subsequent behaviour, may have had Morrison mothers, and Neil, Ruari Og and Donald. Ruari appears in various documents for the rest of the century. When the Regent Arran ordered a general levy in 1547, it was duly noted that the Macleods of Lewis did not respond to it, [RSS, MS Vol XXII, folio 27; and RSS (IV) no. 3047.] but they nevertheless escaped retribution. In June 1554 the Earls of Huntly and Argyll were commissioned to exterminate Clanranald, Donald Gorm of Sleat and Macleod of Lewis. [Notes of the Register of the Privy Council in Haddington Collection MS; Treasurer's Accounts. July 1554.] Ruari submitted to the Council in June 1555 when an unspecified charge of treason was started against him in April of that year. [Treasurer's Accounts ad tempus.] He was granted a respite. [Record of the Privy Council, Haddington Collection; RSS (IV) no. 3047.] In 1565 the Earl of Argyll was in disgrace and the Earl of Atholl was commissioned to proceed against him. Atholl summoned a levy which included Ruari, but Argyll quickly made his peace and Ruari's journey was unnecessary. [Record of the Privy Council, July 1565-6; Treasurer's Accounts, 27 August 1565.] On the death of Torquil the Heir, Torquil Cononach made a bid for the inheritance. In this he had the support of the MacKenzies, the Morrisons of Ness and his half-brothers, Tormod Uigeach and Murdo. He seized Stornoway Castle and there imprisoned Ruari the Chief for the next two years. In 1572 Ruari was conveyed to Edinburgh and made to resign his lands to Torquil Cononach as his recognised heir; he himself should enjoy only the life-rent. But, on his return to Lewis, Ruari repudieated this resignation on 2 June 1572 on the grounds of coercion. [The Book of Dunvegan (I) pp. 34-6.] In 1576 the Regent Morton succeeded in reconciling Ruari and Torquil Cononach and Torquil was again recognised as heir. These accommodations were, however, not acceptable to Ruari's bastards who were, moreover, at feud with each other. There was also the added complication that, by his third marriage, Ruari now had two more legitimate offspring, Torquil Dubh and Norman. Tormod Uigeach, of the Morrison faction, was killed by his half-brother, Donald, who in turn was captured by Torquil Cononach with Murdo's help and carried off to Coigeach, but escaped back to Lewis. Old Ruari incited Donald to seize Murdo and hold him in Stornoway Castle. In reply, Torquil Cononach again invaded Lewis from Coigeach, his base, took the Castle, freed Murdo and shut up Ruari for the second time. It was at this date, it seems, that he took away all the Macleod's writs and charters and consigned them to the MacKenzies for safe-keeping. He left his son, John, in charge of Lewis. John seems to have been a lenient jailer; there is a touching tale of Old Ruari's trying to dissuade him from walking into the ambush where he was murdered by Ruari Og, which suggests that the relationship between the old man and the young was perhaps even affectionate. [W. C. MacKenzie (1903/1974) pp. 155-157; Morrison MSS (III) p. 53.] Ruari Og set his father free and restored to him his estates "which ... he did possess during the rest of his troublesome days". [D. Gregory (1881/1975) p. 220.] Old Ruari's remaining days were certainly troublesome enough. In 1585 he was summoned to appear before the Council with Lachlann MacLean of Duart, Donald Gormson of Sleat and Norman MacLeod of Harris to give advice on the "good rule and quietness" of the Isles. [Record of the Privy Council. ad tempus.] Later in the same year, the old chief seems to have actually been in the hands of the law. On 29th September 1585, John Gordon of Petlurg "gave caution in the sum of 5,000 merks to enter Ruari Macleod of Lewis... presently deliverit to the said John, to be transported to George Erll of Huntley" before the Privy Council. [W.C.MacKenzie (1903/1974) p. 158.] It is not known what happened on that occasion. In the following year Ruari's name was included in a list of local persons who interfered with the activities of fishermen and others at sea in the Minch. Documents of 1587, 1590 and 1592 make mention of Old Ruari in connection with the pursuit of good rule and peace in the Isles. [W.C. MacKenzie (1903/1974) p. 158.] It is not known exactly when the old Chief died. [Morrison MSS (I) pp. 37-38. This story has no historical foundation and appears to be no more than a moral lecture.] W. C. MacKenzie quotes, but does not name, "an official statement dated 1595" that "Ruari was alive in that year". [W.C.MacKenzie (1903/1974) p. 163n.] Such a life span is not impossible, even in that age, but is impressive in view of that old man's many tribulations. In any case the real leadership of the clan must have been for many years in the hands of Ruari's son by his third marriage, Torquil Dubh.

Created by Sparrowhawk 1.0 (4/17/1996) on Mon Apr 2 10:50:49 2001