The MacLeods of Lewis

by William Matheson

11th April 1979

(Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, Vol. LI (1978-80), Inverness, Scotland, 1981, pp.320-337)

[NOTE: Click on the Footnote Numbers to read the footnotes; click on the Footnote Numbers again to return to the main body of text.]


The MacLeods of Lewis lost their position among the ruling families of the Isles at the beginning of the seventeenth century. As is will known, the MacKenzies of Kintail gained possession of Lewis, and the MacLeodswere reduced to thelevel of small tenantry, holding their lands on sufferance from an alien ascendancy. The story of their downfall has often been told, mostly as seen by those who encompassed it. Much less is recorded about their previous history, and that is the primary concern of this paper.

In Gaelic, the MacLeods of Lewis were known as Sìol Torcaill, and the MacLeods of Dunvegan and Harris as Sìol Tormoid, [1] that is to say, the progeny of Torquill and Tormod respectively, the latter a name anglicised as Norman. It has been generally supposed, though on no authority whatever, [2] that Norman and Torquil were brothers, and that their father was Leod, eponymous ancestor of the clan. But, if that were so, it should imply the previous occurrence of the name Torquil in the family of father or mother, and its perpetuation among all their descendants -- bearing in mind that names were normally given to commemorate paternal or maternal ancestors. Why, then, does Torquil occur only among the MacLeods of Lewis? The answer could bethat Torquil was not a brother of Norman, andthat the first of the MacLeods to bear the name must have been the issue of a marriage, later than that of Leod, to someone who wished to commemorate a relateve from her own side of the house.

This view accords well with the fact that Torquil, by no means a common name, is found in old genealogies of the Nicolson, [3] and with the tradition that this clan possessed Lewis, as well as Assynt on the opposite mainland coast, before supplanted by the MacLeods, one of whom had married an heiress of their leading family. And here it may be relevant to recall that there was a Hebridean chief called Torquil son of Thormod, who was killed in a fight of the coast of Skye, together with two of his sons, in 1231; while a third son Thormod escaped by jumping into a cask floating by the side of his ship, and survived to turn up later in Lewis. [4] This Torquil may well have been one of the Nicolsons who are said to have lost their lands subsequently to the MacLeods.

The earliest genealogy of the MacLeods of Lewis published hitherto is by the first Earl of Cromartie, [5] who claimed descent from them in virtue of the marriage of his grandfather, Sir Roderick MacKenzie, known as the Tutor of Kintail, to Margaret, daughter of Torquil (Torcall Cononach), reputed son of Roderick MacLeod, last “baron” of Lewis: reputed, because Roderick denied paternity, [6] and thereby set in motion a train of events that was to end in the ruin of his family. The Earl of Cromarty was followed by Sir Robert Douglas of Glenbervie, with a genealogy that appeared in The Baronage of Scotland, published in 1798; [7] and in more recent times the clan historian Alexander MacKenzie has an account of the MacLeods of Lewis in his History of the MacLeods. [8] All three made use of entries in the Scottish public records, but the Earl of Cromartie seems also to have had access to documents from the MacLeod of Lewis charter chest. It is known that Torquil Conanach “conveyed away all the evidents, writs, charters, and old infeftments of the Lewes, which he gave in custodie to Mackeinzie”. [9] The reference may be to the chief of the MacKenzie, but the actual or eventual custodian may have been Torquil’s son-in-law, the Tutor of Kintail.

In view of the resources thus apparently at his command, it is disappointing to find that the Earl of Cromartie’s genealogy is incomplete and in part unconvincing; [10] while the situation is not improved by Sir Robert Douglas [11] and Alexander Mackenzie, [12] each of whom produces a version peculiar to himself:

The three authors all identify the person last named in these columns as Torquil MacLeod, who was granted a charter of Lewis in 1498. [13] It is here proposed to look at the question of his ancestry once more in the light of the more reliable evidence now available.

The public records are still an indispensable source of information, but they have to be used with care. Inthe past the frequent recurrence of the names Torquil and Roderick has proved to be a stumbling-block, giving rise to omissions and errors of identification that require to be corrected. Another source of confusion has been the charter of lands in North Uist granted to Hugh MacDonald of Sleat, and dated 1409. [14] On internal evidence it is clear that this date is erroneous; the Latin word for the decade must have been inadvertently omitted. Alexander Mackenzie, aware of this, adopts the date 1449, [15] in identifying a MacLeod of Lewis who was a witness; but this should be changed to 1469, as has been demonstrated since his book was written. [16]

The best point of departure, however, is a source of a different sort. Torquil MacLeod, recipient of the charter of 1498, married Catherine, daughter of Colin, first Earl of Argyll -- both of whom are named in the charter -- and in the Book of the Dean of Lismore, compiled between 1512 and 1532, is a poem in their praise wherein it is stated that Torquil was a son of Roderick and grandson of Torquil. [17] As will be shown hereafter, son, father and grandfather appear on record as chiefs of the MacLeods of Lewis at various dates from 1498 back to 1432. And the Earl of Cromartie goes a generation still farther back to the great-grandfather Roderick, a name that we shall also find on record, as that of MacLeod of Lewis, in 1405. [18]

But at this point our genealogists become uncertain, besides being mutually at variance. The Earl of Cromartie does not profess to know the name of Roderick’s father, while the remaining names back to Leod do not carry conviction. Douglas of Glenbervie has too few generations to span the length of time envisaged; and Alexander MacKenzie merely adds to Douglas’s list two names taken from public records. There is an obvious need for information from other sources.

One fragment of what must be a genuine tradition comes to our aid. We are told that a sister of MacLeod of Lewis married Angus Mackay of Strathnaver and was the mother of two sons: Angus (Aonghus Dubh), who was murdered, when advanced in years, after the battle of Drumnacoub in 1431; [19] and Roderick (Ruaidhri Gallda), who was slain in battle against the Lord of the Isles at Dingwall in1411. [20] As a widow, she was ill-treated by her brother-in-law Hucheon, or so it was claimed, when the latter was Tutor of Mackay. This led, in 1406, to the battle of Tuiteam Tarbhach between the Mackays and the MacLeods of Lewis, who were defeated with great slaughter. The MacLeods had as lead the lady’s brother, Malcolm MacLeod, “called by a by-name Gilcalm-Beg-McBowen”, [21] and he was among the slain. The meaning of his soubriquet is uncertain, [22] but more useful for the present purpose is the name of his sister. Our two main sources of information are Sir Robert Gordon’s History of the Earldom of Sutherland and the Rev. James Fraser’s Chronicles of the Frasers in the Wardlaw Manuscript. It is obvious that the two sources are here closely related, but Fraser gives some details omitted by Sir Robert in his published History. He tells us that the lady allegedly ill-treated by Hucheon Mackay was “Shivag Mckleud. Torkiloig of the Lewis his daughter”; [23] which means that in Gaelic she would be called Sidheag nighean Torcaill Oig. The dates cited for the battle of Tuiteam Tarbhach and for the deaths of her sons make it reasonable to suppose that she was a sister of Roderick MacLeod of Lewis found on record in 1405, and therefore Roderick’s father was Torquil MacLeod, known in his day and to tradition as Torcall Og.

Farther back than this we could not go with any confidence but for the survival of a manuscript collection of genealogies now preserved in the archives of the Royal Irish Academy. One of the genealogies is headed Ginalach McLeoid sonn (The Genealogy of MacLeod here) and reads: Ruaidhri McTurcaill McMurchadha McTormoit McLeoid McOlbuir McRaoige McOlbuir Snaige McAonghusa. [24] This sequence of names further illustrates what was said in a previous paper on the ancestry of the MacLeods. [25] But of greater moment is the fact that here we have a Gaelic genealogy of the MacLeods, not of Dunvegan and Harris, but of Lewis, which must have been written in the fifteenth century, when they were at the height of their power. [26] That it has to do with the MacLeods of Lewis is shown by the occurrence of the name Torquil, while the number of generations back from Ruaidhri to the eponymous ancestor Leód leads us to identify Ruaidhri as Roderick MacLeod of Lewis on record in 1405; especially in view of the evidence already adduced to show that his father’s name was Torquil.

Here also is confirmation of the doubts earlier expressed with regard to the claim that Torquil, from whom Sìol Torcaill, was a brother of Norman, from whom Sìol Tormoid. What the genealogy reveals is that Torquil was a grandson of Norman. Surprising, but therefore more convincing than the facile and unsubstantiated assumption that the two were brothers. It may seem odd that Sìol Torcaill should turn out to be a branch of Sìol Tormoid, when we might expect the names to denote collective identities that were mutually exclusive. The explanationno doubt is that Torquil was the first of the MacLeods to possess Lewis, and that there was need for a name to designate the dynasty of which he was the founder there -- hence Sìol Torcaill.

Tacked on to this genealogy of the MacLeods of Lewis is one that can be identified as that of the Nicolsons [27] -- a variant of another such already cited. [28] It is a significant juxtaposition, bearing in mind the tradition that the MacLeods succeeded the Nicolsons in Lewis as the result of a dynastic marriage. Which of the MacLeods could be a party to such a marriage? Not Leod or his son Norman, for in that case the name Torquil would be likely to occur, as it does not, among the MacLeods of Duvegan and Harris; and not Norman’s grandson Torquil, because he must have been named, as already shown, after a Nicolson ancestor. Assuming that tradition has a basis in fact, it must have been Torquil’s father Murdoch who became the husband of theNicolson heiress. And this may be the appropriate point at which to discuss certain traditions relating to the marriage and its sequel.

About1680, John Morison of Bragar, in his Description of the Lewis, writes of “Macknaicle whose onlie daughter Torquill . . . did violentlie espouse, and cutte off Immediatlie the whole race of Macknaicle and possessed himself with the whole [of] Lews”. [29] (It has, however, been indicated above that it cannot have been Torquil who was a party to the marriage.)

Next, there is the Lewis shennachie of a century ago, who stated that “the year after Torquil became chief of the Lews, he and the MacNaughtons (recte MacNicols) [30] were proceeding in their birlins, or large boats, to Stornoway, when MacLeod ran the boat of MacNaughton (recte MacNicol) down in the Sound of Jaunt [Shiant], and allowed the whole crew to drown”. [31] (The present writer has heard a tradition on the same subject,32 with the Sound of Shiant called Sruth nam Fear Gorm. But the drowning was represented as the means whereby the MacLeods acquired Lewis; and that makes better sense than to have it happen after they had done so.)

There is a still more dramatic, but historically confused, variant of the story, with the Nicolsons becomeing MacDonalds (who are in possession of Dunvegan Castle!). The original substance of it (making obvious corrections) must have been somewhat asfollows. A daughter of the Nicolson family marries a MacLeod. Her father embarks in his galley to visit his son-in-law in Harris. The latter sees him coming, and goes to meet him with a much larger galley, himself at thehelm and his wife seated beside him. In a patch of fog, MacLeod suddenly finds himself in danger of running his father-in-law and company down, and makes to alter course. But his wife whispers that only that galley stands between their son and succession to all her father’s lands. So he rams and sinks it, and allows all on board to drown. [33]

What could well have happened is that Murdoch, grandson of Leod, residing in Harris, married the daughter of a Nicolson chief, and that their son Torquil fell heir to Lewis, possibly after rivals of his mother’s kin had been eliminated, by drowning or otherwise. Torquil it is with whom the genealogy of the MacLeods of Lewis properly begins; but for convenience we may go back to Leod, eponymous ancestor of the clan.

I -- Leod, who may have married a daughter or sister of Magnus Olafson, king of Man, [34] and had issue:

II -- Norman (from whom Sìol Tormoid), who had at least two sons:

(1) Malcolm (Gille-caluim), ancestor of the MacLeods of Dunvegan and Harris, and recipient (c. 1343) of a charter of lands in Glenelg from David II. [35]

(2) Murdoch, of whom next (as III).

Two other sons have been named, but only on the dubious authority of the Bannatyne MS. [36]

III -- Murdoch (Murchadh). As already indicated, he must have been the MacLeod who married the daughter of Nicolson of Lewis. He had issue:

(1) Torquil (Torcall Og). [37] of whom next (as IV).

(2) Christina, who married Hector Maclean Eachann Reaganach), first of Lochbuie.[38]

IV -- TORQUIL. (from whom Sìol Torcaill), first of the MacLeods of Lewis. The Lewis shennachie already quoted on the drowning ofthe Nicolsons described him as the conciliator between the Morisons and the MacAulays after a battle fought between the two clans near Barvas. [39] Torquil MacLeod received (c. 1343) a charter from David II of four davochs of land in Assynt, together with the castle, for the service of a galley of twenty oars. [40] This must have been to confirm possession of that part of his inheritance situated in the kingdom of Scotland, as opposed to Lewis, which was within the Lordship of the Isles, and therefore not in the gift of the Crown. Torquil had issue:

(1) Roderick, [41] of whom next (as V).

(2) Malcolm (Gille-caluim Beag), killed in 1406. [42]

(3) Sidheag, who married Angus MacKay of Strathnaver. [43]

V -- Roderick (Ruaidhri Mór). [44] According to the Sleat historian, together with his cousin, John MacLeod of Dunvegan, he fought at Harlaw in the main battle, which was under the personal command of Donald of the Isles. [45] Roderick MacLeod, presumable of Lewis, witnesses a charter from thesame Donald of the Isles to Angus Mackay of Strathnaver and his son Neil, dated 8th October 1415. [46] He is also on record in the Vatican archives, where we find that “the nobleman Roderic MacLeord [sic], baron of Leows” is granted an indult, dated 9th June 1405, to have a portable altar.[47] A few years earlier, in a papal document dated 27th May 1403, it is stated that “the nobleman Roderic Macleord had formerly been betrothed to Anna, daughter of the nobleman William Macleord” of Sodor diocese. [48] And it was probably in response to a supplication from him that the Pope granted an indulgence, of the same date in 1403, to visitors to “the church of St Mary in Barwas in the isle of Lewis” on certain feast days and those who should contribute to its reparation. [49] According to one account, Roderick married Margaret, daughter ofthe Lord of the Isles, [50] and to another, a daughter of John MacLeod of Harris, [51] but in both cases documentation seems to be lacking. He had issue:

(1) Torquil, of whom next (as VI). [52]

(2) Norman, first of the MacLeods of Assynt. [53]

(3) Roderick (?). A papal indult, dated 15th May 1403, is granted to “Roderic Roderici Macliord, layman, Sodor diocese, to choose a suitable and discreet priest as his confessor in mortis articulo.”[54] It seems likely that this is a son of Roderick MacLeod, baron of Lewis, already seen in correspondence with the papacy in 1405.

VI -- Torquil (Torcall). According to the Bannatyne MS, he led his forces to Skye to support his cousin of Dunvegan, sorely pressed by the MacDonalds, whom he defeated in a great battle at Feorlig. [55] We read in the same source that he was in command of all the MacLeods at the battle of Inverlochy in 1431, the Skye and Harris contingent being led by Allan MacAskill. [56] He had a charter of his lands, presumably in Lewis, from Alexander, Lord of the Isles, dated at Finlaggan in Islay, 7th January 1432. [57] It would appear that he was knighted, for in a notarial instrument, dated 9th June 1456, he is styled “Sir Torkell McLoyd of Leows”. [58] He is found as a witness to charters in 1437, 1438 and 1447. [59] His last appearance as such would seem to be on 10th October 1461, when he witnesses a charter by John, Lord of the Isles, dated at Ardtornish. [60] Torquil had issue:

(1) Roderick, [61] of whom next (as VII).

(2) Norman (?). According to the Morrison MSS, he flourished at the beginning of the sixteenth century, and was brother to the chief of the MacLeods of Lewis. [62] As his sons were grown men in 1506, [63] it would seem that the chief in question was Roderick (VII), an account of whom follows. Norman and members of his family are said to have occupied the lands of Hacklete in Bernera, Earshader on the mainland opposite, Pabbay and Baile naa Cille. It is also said that his wife belonged to Skye and that he had the following sons:

(a) Norman (Tormod Og) in Baile na Cille,

(b) Torquil

(c) William

(d) Allan

(e) and Ranald. [64]

Two generation later Hacklete had as tenant a MacLeod known as Tormod mac Dhonnchaidh an t-Sròim [65] (Norman son of Duncan of Strome), who may have been a descendant, but material is lacking for a connected genealogy. However, there are many families sitll in Lewis, formerly distinguished as Clann Thormoid, who claim descent from Norman MacLeod. There is reasonto believe that John MacLeod of Colbecks, planter in Jamaica, was a descendant, despite his own account of his ancestry, when matriculating arms as chief of the Lewis MacLeods in 1762. [66] He was a son of Donald, son of John MacLeod (Iain mac Thorcaill), tacksman of Hacklete. [67] Donald had a brother Murcoch (Murchadh mac Iain mhic Thorcaill), born in 1690, [68] and the MacLeods now in Lewis whose ancestry can be trace back to this family are descendants of Murdoch’s son Malcolm, tacksman of Scaliscro, Little Loch Roag. [69] There are other families, particularly in the Carloway area, who are of Clann Thormoid, though not descended from John MacLeod (Iain mac Thorcaill), tacksman of Hacklete. [70]

This branch of the MacLeods, for reasons unknown, seem to have been constantly at variance with the rest of the clan in Lewis. Thre is evidence that, like the Morison of Ness, they sided with the invading army of the Earl of Huntly in 1506, [71] and this patter of behaviour was apprently repeated a century laterwhen the role of invaders was assumed by the MacKenzies. They had their reward in being allowed to retain their status as tacksmen under thenew dispensation, the only MacLeods to do so except the MacLeods of Garrabost, [72] who seem to have been closely related.

(3) Margaret, who married John Ross of Balnagown. [73]

VII -- Roderick (Ruaidhri). He had a precept of clare constat, whereby John, Lord of the Isles, declared him heir to Torquil in the lands of Lewis and Waternish, dated 3rd November 1464.[74] He witnessed the charter of John, Lord of the Isles, to Hugh MacDonald of the lands of North Uist; the charter was granted at Aros, and is now accepted as being properly dated 28th June 1469.[75] He also figures in documents dated in 1478/79, 1492 and 1494;[76] and the list could be extended. Perhaps his last appearance on record is on 2nd June 1496, when he grants a charter of the lands of Assynt to Neil MacLeodand to Angus, his son.[77] It has been stated that Roderick was twice married, first to Margaret, daughter of John MacLeod of Dunvegan,[78] with issue:

(1) A son, who was mortally wounded at thebattle of Bloody Bay (Bàgh na Fala) off the north coast of Mull, dying at Dunvegan when on his way back to Lewis.[79]

Roderick is said (on doubtful authority) to have married, as his second wife, Agnes, daughter of Kenneth MacKenzie of Kintail,[80] with issue:

(2) Torquil,[81]of whom next (as VIII).

(3) Malcolm,[82] of whom after Torquil.

He also had issue:

(4) A daughter, who married Allan MacLeod of Gairloch.[83]

(5) Margaret, who married Lachlan Mackinnon.[84]

(6) Ann, who married MacDougall of Dunollie.[85]

(7) A daughter, apparently, who married James MacDonald of Castle Camus, Skye.[86]

VIII -- Torquil (Torcall). He was the recipient of the charter, already mentioned, which was from James IV, dated at the castle of Kilkerran in Kintyre, 28th June 1498.[87]

This brings us to the point at which we began the present enquiry, the object of which was to trace Torquil’s lineage back to the eponymous ancestor of the MacLeods. It is not intended to follow the subsequent history of the family in detail,a s there is little to add to what has already been written on the subject. Torquil was forfeited in 1505/6 for his part in the rebellion of Domhnall Dubh,[88] claimant to the Lordship of the Isles,[89] and, after defeat of the clan in battle,[90] he disappears from the scene. However, his brother Malcolm had a charter of Lewis and Waternish in 1511.[91] After his death there was an interregnum during which Torquil’s son John took possession of the estate without legal title.[92] He was succeeded by Malcolm’s son Roderick, whose title was established by grants from the Crown in 1538 and 1541.[93] The quarrels of Roderick’s sons, legitimate and otherwise, with one another and with their father, contributed in no small measure to the ruin of the family; and not only its ruin, but its utter extinction. Strange as it may seem, since the seventeenth century, no one has claimed tob e descended from any of Roderick’s numerous brood, so far as known;[94] And the representation of the family devolved upon his brother Malcolm’s descendants, the MacLeods of Raasay.



Roderick MacLeod (V) is said to have had a daughter who married William Mackintosh, Captain of Clan Chattan (Macfarlane’s Genealogical Collections I, 169). But if, as stated, William died in 1368 (ibid., 173), this would appear to be chronologically impossible. It has also been stated that a daughter of Torquil MacLeod of Lewis (presumable VI) had a son Archibald (Gilleasbuig Dubh) by Hugh MacDonald, first of Sleat (Highland Papers I, 63); and that a daughter of Roderick MacLeod of Lewis (presumable VII) married probably as his second wife, Ranald MacDonald, fifth of Clanranald (Clan Donald III, 229).


As mentioned above, Torquil MacLeod (VIII) is heard of no more after his forfeature and the defeat of his clan in battle in 1505-6 (see ante, and notes 88 and 90). Preserved by oral tradition in Skye was the following ex post facto prophecy, with the inevitable ascription to Coinneach Odhar. It refers to a well near Kilchrist in the parish of Strath:

Tobar sin is Tobar Tà
Tobar aig an cuirear blàr
Marbhar Torcall nan trì Torcall
Air là fliuch aig Tobar Tà.
(Lamont, Strath in Isle of Skye, 162-163)
That well, namely, Tobar Tà,
A well at which a battle will be fought;
Torquil of the three Torquils will be slain
On a rainy day at Tobar Tà.

The reference here is probably to the death of Torquil (VIII), who was the thrid Torquil of the Lewis line. That he should meet his end in Strath is not so unlikely as might be supposed. His sister Margaret married Lachlan Mackinnon (see ante, and note 84), apparently chief of the Mackinnons of Strath, who died between 1489 and 1503 (Steer and Bannerman, op. cit., 97, 110), and Neil Mackinnon (Niall Bàn), Lachlan’s successor (D. Mackinnon, The Chiefs and Chiefship of the Clan Mackinnon,12), was probably his nephew, to whom he may have resorted for refuge or aid. For other similar ex post facto so-called prophecies see ante, Vol. XLVI, 76 ff.

[1] Note non-lenition of initial consonants in Torcaill and Tormoid. This is the usage, not only in the literary language, but also in vernacular oral tradition. The MacLeods of Lewis were traditinally designated Sìol Torcaill o ‘n chuan, perhaps because they were located on the far side of Cuan Sgìth (the Minch).

[2] A charter has been cited, purporting to be witnessed by MacLeod of Lewis and MacLeod of Harris (no names given) at Dingwall in 1245, but it is a palpable forgery. See Chisholm Batten, History of Beauly Priory, 31-32. Cf. Macfarlane’s Genealogical Collections II, 88. R.C. MacLeod (The MacLeods of Dunvegan, 20), characteristically accepts it as genuine, and alleges that the original is in the Clanranald charter chest. (He also supplies the names Tormod and Torquil!)

[3] “MS of 1467” (Skene, Celtic Scotland, III, 461-2); RIA MS 23 H 22, p. 48. In the former source Toircill has become Toircinn, an example of the frequent confusion of the lingual consonants; in the latter there is Toirchinn and Turcaill (twice). Cf. post, and notes 24 and 30.

[4] Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History II, 475, 478.

[5] Sir William Fraser, Earls of Cromartie II, 510-511.

[6] Sir Robert Gordon, Earldom of Sutherland, 267.

[7] Op. Cit., 374.

[8] Op. Cit., (1889), 283 ff.

[9] Sir R. Gordon, op. cit., 268.

[10] Sir W. Fraser, op. cit., loc. cit.

[11] Op. cit., loc. cit.

[12] Op. cit., loc. cit.

[13] See post, and note 87.

[14] Register of the Great Seal II, No. 2286.

[15] Op. Cit., 288.

[16] Beveridge, North Uist, 41 n.

[17] Watson, Scottish Verse from the Book of the Dean of Lismore, II, 969, 975-6, 980, 995.

[18] See post, and notes 47, 52 and 53.

[19] See ante, Vol. XLII. 158.

[20] Sir R. Gordon, op. cit., 63.

[21] Ibid., 62.

[22] The Earl of Cromartie calls him “Malcolm ni Bowan” (Sir W. Fraser. op. cit., 511), which looks the more likely form of the epithet. Could it be Gille-caluim (beag) nam Buadhan (Little Malcolm of the Accomplishments -- or Triumphs)?

[23] Rev. Sir James Fraser. op. cit., 87.

[24] RIA MS 23 H 22, p. 48. For a photocopy of this genealogy I am indebted to Mr. W. D. H. Sellar.

[25] Ante, pp. 68 ff. Here is further confirmation that Leods’ father was Olbhar.

[26] The existing MS is in a nineteenth century hand, but the fact that the genealogy begins with Roderick MacLeod, great-great-grandson of Leod, shows that the original must have been written about the first half of the fifteenth century.

[27] RIA MS, ut supra (see note 24).

[28] ante, and note 3.

[29] Macfarlane’s Geographical Collections II, 214.

[30] Another example (cf. note 3) of confusion between the lingual consonants, resulting in Gaelic Mac Neacail (MacNicol, Nicolson) beingmistaken for Mac Neachdain (MacNaughton).

[31] Anderson Smith, Lewisiana (2nd ed.), 193.

[32] So long ago that the identity of the informant has been forgotten.

[33] M. E. M. Donaldson, Wanderings in the the Western Highlands and Islands, 151.

[34] See ante, pp. 71, 77.

[35] The Book of Dunvegan (ed. R. C. MacLeod)I, 275; Robertson, Index of Charters, 48, 99, 100.

[36] For a transcript of the Bannatyne MS I am indebted to Mr. Alick Morrison. Confidence in the MS at this point is not enhanced by the fact that it knows nothing of Murdoch.

[37] The epithet Og was attached to a son because his name was the same as that of his father; but there could also be other reasons.

[38] “MS of 1467”; MacFirbis; Skene, op.cit., III, 481-2; Maclean Sinclair, Clan Gillean,, 44, 254.

[39] Anderson Smith, op. cit., loc. cit. The battle may have been the one fought, as tradition avers, at Cnoc Mór Arnoil.

[39] Robertson, op. cit., loc. cit.

[40] See ante, and note 23.

[41] See ante, and note 21.

[42] See ante, and note 23.

[43] See post, note 53.

[44] Highland Papers I, 29 (Scottish History Society). According to MacVurich, it was his sons Torquil and Norman who took part in the battle Reliquiae Celticae II, 212).

[45] Notarial copy in the Reay papaers (Book of Mackay, 376). The charter was registered in the books of the Lords of Council, 15th February 1506, and the published transcript gives the date as 89th October 1400 (Clan Donald I, 512). But it seems more likely that the words quinto decimo should have been inadvertantly omitted rather than inadvertently inserted.

[46] Calendar of Papal Letters to Scotland of Benedict XIII of Avignon 1394-1409 (ed. McGurk), 139 (Scottish History Society).

[47] Ibid., 103. The last-named is prsumably William MacLeod (wuilleam Cléireach) of Dunvegan.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Douglas, op. cit., loc. cit. (If this is the Roderick intended.)

[50] R. C. MacLeod, The MacLeods of Dunvegan, 67. (Same qualification as in previous note.)

[51] Sir W. Fraser, op. cit., II, 511.

[52] Sir R. Gordon, op. cit., 262; Macfarlane’s Genealogical Collections I, 169, 183. (In these sources we read that Roderick MacLeod was known as Ruaidhri Mór.)

[53] Calendar of Papal Letters ... 1394-1419, 103.

[54] See also ante, Vol. XXII. 60; R.C.MacLeod, op. cit., 62.

[55] See also ante, Vol. XXII. loc. cit.; R.C.MacLeod, op. cit., 65.

[56] MacLeod of Lewis Charter Chest? Sir W. Fraser, op. cit., loc. cit.

[57] Mackintosh Muniments (ed. Paton). No. 3.

[58] Hutton Collections (National Library), Vol. XI, pt. i, No. 12.

[59] Argyll Charters; R. W. Munro, Monro’s Western Isles, 107 n. Fraser-Mackintosh, Invernessiana, 109; Clan Donald I. 531, 535; Mackintosh Muniments, No. 2.

[60] See ante, and note 17.

[61] Morrison MSS (Stornoway Library), Vol. I; W. C. Mackenzie The Western Isles, 87 ff; Traditions of the Western Isles (National Society Daughters of Foundrs and Patriots of America) (1973), I ff; ante, vol. XLVI, 80 ff, 84.

[62] Morrison MSS, loc. cit.; Traditions of the Western Isles, loc. cit.; ante, Vol. XLVI. 82-84.

[63] Morrison MSS, loc. cit.,; Celtic Magazine II, 478; W.C.MacKenzie, op. cit., 89 n.

[64] Morrison MSS, loc. cit.,; Traditions of the Western Isles, 76 (where Aotrom read an t-Sròim).

[65] Clan MacLeod Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 15 (1950), 483; idem. No. 16 (1951), 32; ante, Vol. XLVII, 188. (He claimed that his great-great-grandfather John MacLeod was a brother of Roderick MacLeod, last of Lewis; impossible chronologically, nor is there any trace of such a brother.)

[66] Ante, Vol. XLVII, loc. cit.

[67] Ibid.

[68] Malcolm MacLeod (1724-1829) lived to a great age. He married Margaret MacLeod and had at least two sons: (1) Murdo (1781-1863), a blind Army pensioner, who married Janet Matheson, and left descendatns in Crowlista, parish of Uig; (2) Duncan (Donnchadh Bàn), who migrated to Carloway, where his descendants, including those of his son John (Iain bàn Beat), are numerous, (Gillanders of Highfield Papers; Uig Parish Registers; information from descendants.)

[69] Of these MacLeods were two brothers John and Malcolm in Borrowston, apparently on record as tenants there: John mc Ean vic Gillichalum (1763, 1766) and Malcolm mc Ean (1773, 1780, 1787, 1796). John had a son John (Iain Ruadh Mór), born in 1729, who became tacksman of Seaforth inthe Park district of Lochs in 1766. He married Christina, daughter of Donald Mackay (Domhnall Bàn), tenant in Linshader, and left many descendants, including the Lewis bard, Murdo MacLeod (Murchadh a’ Cheisteir). The other brother Malcolm had a son Malcolm (Calum Og), an Army veteran, whose son Norman (Tormod Saor) was the grandfather of the late Rev. Duncan MacLeod, D.D., Tarbert, Harris. (Gillanders of Highfield Papers; Stornoway Sheriff Court Records; State of the Conjoined Actions. . . Alexander Hume, Esq., of Harris, against the Right Honourable Francis, Lord Seaforth, 51; Genealogical Notes by the Rev. Duncan MacLeod; information from the late Rev. Murdo MacLeod, Barra.)

[70] Ante, Vol. XLVI. 84.

[71] Morrison MSS, Vol. VI; Traditions of the Western Isles, 159 ff; W. C. Mackenzie, op. cit., 147 ff; Forfeited Estates Papers (Seaforth); Gillanders of Highfield Papers; and other unpublished sources.

[72] Ane Breve Cronicle of the Earlis of Ross, 27, 41; MacGill, Old Ross-shire and Scotland I, No. 667. According to another account, she was a daughter of Roderick MacLeod (VII) (MacGill, op. cit., II, No. 1050). But this seems to be ruled out by chronological considerations. Cf. A. M. Ross, The Clan Ross, 24.

[73] MacLeod of Lewis Charter Chest? Sir W. Fraser, op. cit., loc. cit.

[74] See ante, and notes 14 and 16; Register of the Great Seal II, No 2286.

[75] Idem, Nos. 1419, 2221; R. W. Munro, op. cit., 143.

[76] Ante, Vol. XXIV, 380.

[77] Douglas, op. cit., loc. cit.; followed by later writers. But documentation seems to be lacking.

[78] Highland Papers I, 50; where the Sleat historian erroneously call the father Torquil. There is a reference to a poem about the son, preserved in Erray House, Tobermorey, two centuries ago (Maclagan MS No. 122).

[79] Sir W. Fraser, op. cit., II, 282. But it does not inspire confidence to find that here and in other histories of the MacKenzies Roderick’s marriage is confused with that of Roderick, last of Lewis, to Janet, daughter of John MacKenzie of Kintail. Alexander Mackenzie distinguishes between the two Rodericks and theirmarriages, but what his authority is for the name,or even the existence, of Agnes MacKenzie does not appear (Mackenzie, op. cit., 289, 298).

[80] See ante, and note 17.

[81] See post, and note 91; Steer and Bannerman, Late Medieval Monumental Sculpture in the West Highlands, 114.

[82] Warrand, Some MacKenzie Pedigrees, 86; Macfarlane’s Genealogical Collections I, 90.

[83] Tombstone at Eye; Steer and Bannerman, op. cit., 97.

[84] Collectanea de Rebus Albanicis, 90 n.

[85] James’s son John (Iain Og) is called ogha Ruairidh ‘s iarogh’ Thorcaill (grandson of Roderick and great-grandson of Torquil) in a contemporary song (Carmina Gadelica V, 16).

[86] Register of the Great Seal II, No. 2424.

[87] Acts of the Parliament of Scotland II, 264.

[88] Gregory, History of the Western Highlands and Isles,102.

[89] Ante, Vol. XLVI, 82 ff.

[90] Register of the Great Seal II, No. 3578.

[91] Gregory, History of the Western Highlands and Isles, 102.

[92] Register of the Privy Seal II, Nos. 2514, 4371.

[93] See, however, Dr. S. Maclean’s reference to certain MacLeods in Raasay claiming descent from Torcall Dubh a chaidh a chrochadh (Black Torquil who was hanged) (ante, Vol. XLIX, 383). This Torquil was a son of Roderick MacLeod.