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THE CONFLICTS OF THE CLANS.
TIIE BURNING OF THE DORVOCH CATHEDRAL. JOHN, EARL OF SUTHERLANI), together, with his lady, being poisoned, the year 1567, his son Alexander (being young) succeeded unto him, whose ward and marriage George Earl of Caithness had right to, and withal gets the custody of Earl Alexander during the time of his ward; whereat Alexander's most tender friends (and chiefly the Murrays of Sutherland) being grieved, they lay a plot among themselves to convey Earl Alexander from the Earl of Caithness; which they effect, and deliver him to the Earl of Huntly, with whom he staid until his ward was expired, the year 1573, during which time the Earl of Caithness kept possession of the land; whereupon divers troubles did ensue. The Earl of Caithness removed the Murrays of Sutherland from their possessions; which, nevertheless, they endeavoured to keep. Hutcheon Murray, with divers of his friends, do possess themselves with the town of Dornoch and the adjacent lands, being formerly possessed by them. The Earl of Caithness sent his son John, Master of Caithness, with a number of men to remove the Murrays from Dornoch. Y Mackay did also accompany the Master of Caithness in this journey. Being come to Dornoch, they besiege the Murrays there ; who, for the space of some days, issued forth and skirmished with the enemy. In end, the Master of Caithness burnt the town and the cathedral church, which the inhabitants could not longer defend. Yet, after the town was lost, they kept the Castle, the enemy still assaulting them, but in vain, without any success, for the space of a month. Then, by the mediation of some indifferent friends, they surrendered the Castle, and gave three pledges that, within two months, they should depart from Sutherland; which they did, and retired themselves to the Earl of Huntly, with whom they staid until the expiring of the Earl Alexander's ward ; at
which time they recovered their ancient possessions. Notwithstanding that the Murrays had retired themselves, as they had promised, yet they were no sooner departed, but the pledges were beheaded.
During the time that the Sutherland men staid with the Earl of Huntly, they served him in his wars against the Forbeses, and chiefly at Crabstaine, where they did good service against the foot supply that was sent by the Regent to assist the Forbeses. This burning of Dornoch and of the Cathedral Church happened in the year of God 1570. The next year following (which was 1571), George, Earl of Caithness, became jealous of some plots which his eldest son John, Master of Caithness, and Y Mackay of Strathnaver had contrived against him, and thereupon apprehended his son John, whom he imprisoned closely at Girnigo, where he died, after seven years' captivity. Y Mackay, perceiving that John, Master of Caithness, was imprisoned by his father, he retired home into Strathnaver, and died within six months' thereafter, the same year of God 1571.
THE CONFLICTS OF ALLT-GAMINA AND LECKMELM. The year of God, 1585, George, Earl of Caithness, married the Earl of Huntly's sister ; at which time, by Huntly's mediation, the Earls of Sutherland and Caithness were reconciled. then concluded among them that the Clan Gunn should be pursued and invaded by the Earls of Sutherland and Caithness, because they were judged to be the chief authors of the troubles which were then like to ensue; and to this effect it was resolved that two companies of men should be sent by the Earls of Sutherland and Caithness against such of the Clan Gunn as dwelt in Caithness, thereby to compass them, that no place of retreat might be left unto them, which was done. The Earl of Sutherland's company was conducted by John Gordon of Backies and James Mac Rorie; the Earl of Caithness's company was conducted by his cousin, Henry Sinclair—a resolute gentleman. It happened that Henry Sinclair and his company rencountered first with the Clan Gunn, who were now assembled together at a hill called Bingrime, and with them was William Mackay (brother to Hugh Mackay of Strathnaver, and nephew to this Henry Sinclair, that led the
Caithness men) who was accompanied with some Strathnaver men. Now were the Clan Gunn advertised of this preparation made against them; and no sooner were they in sight of one another but they prepared both for the fight, which was begun without fear or delay on either side. The Clan Gunn, although inferior in number, yet they had the advantage of the hill, by reason of which the Caithness men came short with their first flight of arrows; by the contrary, the Clan Gunn spared their shot until they came hard by the enemy, which then they bestowed among them with great advantage. Then ensued a sharp conflict, at a place called Allt-gamhna, where Henry Sinclair was slain with 120 of his company, and the rest chased and put to flight, who had all been destroyed had not the darkness of the night favoured their flight. Which, coming to the ears of John Gordon, James MacRorie and Neil MacIan-MacWilliam, who had the conduct of the Earl of Sutherland's men, they pursued the Clan Gunn, and followed them to Lochbroom, in the height of Ross, whither they had fled ; and then, meeting with them, they invade them at a place called Leckmelm. After a sharp skirmish, the Clan Gunn were overthrown, and chased, 32 of them slain, and their Captain, George, wounded and taken prisoner, whom they carry along with them unto Dunrobin, and there they deliver him unto Alexander, Earl of Sutherland. This happened in the year of God, 1586.
TROUBLES IN THE WESTERN ISLES IN THE YEAR 1586.
This commotion in the Western Isles of Scotland did arise, at this time, betwixt the Clan-Donald and the Clan-Lean, upon this occasion. Donald Gorme Macdonald of Sleat, travelling from the Isle of Skye, to visit his cousin, Angus Macdonald of Kintyre, landed with his company on an island called Jura or Duray, which partly appertaineth to Maclean, partly to Angus Macdonald ; and by chance he landed in that part of the island which appertaineth to Maclean, being driven thither by contrary winds; where, they were no sooner on shore, but two outlaws, Macdonald Herrach and Hutcheon Macgillespick (who were lately fallen out with Donald Gorme) arrived also with a company of men; and understanding that Donald Gorme was there, they secretly took away, by night, a number of cattle out of that part of the island which appertaineth to Maclean ; and so they retire again to the sea ; thereby thinking to raise a tumult against Donald Gorme, by making the Clan-Lean to believe that this was done by Donald Gorme's men, who, lying at a place called Inverknock-bhric, were suddenly invaded unawares, under silence of the night (neither suspecting nor expecting any such matter) by Sir Lauchlan Maclean and his kin, the Clan-Lean, who had assembled their whole forces against him. Maclean and his people killed, that night, above 60 of the Clan-Donald; Donald Gorme himself, with the residue, escaped, by going to keep in a ship that lay in the harbour. Angus Macdonald of Kintyre hearing of this lamentable accident fallen out betwixt his brotherin-law, Maclean (whose sister he had married), and his cousin, Donald Gorme, he taketh journey into Skye to visit Donald Gorme, and to see by what means he could work a reconciliation betwixt him and Maclean for the slaughter of Donald Gorme's men at Inverknock-bhric. After Angus had remained a while in Skye with his cousin, he taketh journey homeward into Kintyre; and in his return he landed in the Isle of Mull, and went to Duart (Maclean's chief dwelling-place in Mull) against the opinion of his two brothers, Coll and Ronald, and of his cousin, Ronald Macdonald, who all persuaded Angus to the contrary ; desiring him to send for Maclean, and so, to declare unto him how he had sped with his cousin, Donald Gorme, and how far he was inclined to a reconciliation ; but Angus trusted so much in his brother-in-law, Sir Lauchlan Maclean, that he would not hearken unto their counsel ; whereupon his two brothers left him, but his cousin, Ronald Macdonald, accompanied him to Duart, where Angus at first was welcomed with great show of kindness; but he, with all his company, were taken prisoners by Sir Lauchlan Maclean, the next day after their arrival, Ronald Macdonald escaping, and that very hardly. Angus was then detained in captivity, until he did renounce his right and title to the Rhinns of Islay, which properly appertaineth to the Clan-Donald, and had been by them given in possession for their personal service. Angus was forced to yield, or there to end his days; and for performance of what was desired, Angus gave his eldest son, James, and his brother, Ronald, as pledges, to remain at Duart, until Maclean should get the title of the Rhinns of Islay made over to him ; and so, the pledges being delivered, Angus got his liberty.
Angus Macdonald, receiving the wrong at Maclean's hand, besides that which his cousin Donald Gorme had received at Inverknock-bhric, he went about, by all means, to revenge the same ; and the better to bring this purposed revenge to pass, he used a policy by a kind of invitation, which was thus : Maclean having got the two pledges into his possession, he taketh journey into Islay, to get the performance of what was promised unto him, leaving Ronald, one of the pledges, fettered in a prison at his house of Duart, in Mull, and carrying his nephew James (the son of Angus) and the other pledge along with him in his voyage. Being arrived in the Isle of Islay, he encamped at Ellan-lochgorm, a ruinous fort lying upon the Rhinns of Islay. Thereupon Angus Macdonald took occasion to invite Maclean to come to Mullintrae, or Muludrhea (a dwelling place which Angus had well furnished in the Isle of Islay), seeing he was better provided of all kind of provision there than Maclean could be; earnestly intreating him to lie at his house, where he should be as welcome as he could make him ; that they should make merry so long as his provision could last, and when that was done, he would go with him. For this custom the Islanders have, that when one is invited to another's house, they never depart so long as any provision doth last; and when that is done they go to the next, and so from one to one, until they make a round from neighbour to neighbour, still carrying the master of the former family with them to the next house. Moreover, all the Islanders are of nature very suspicious, full of deceit and evil intention against their neighbours, by whatsoever way they may get them destroyed ; besides this, they are so cruel in taking revenge that neither have they regard to person, time, age, nor cause, as you may partly see in this particular. Sir Lachlan Maclean's answer to Angus Macdonald's messenger was that he durst not go to him, for mistrust. Angus then replied that he needed not to mistrust, seeing he had his son and his brothers pledges already, whom his friends might keep in their custody until his return ; and that, for his own part, he did intend nothing against him, but to continue in all