Chiefs of Clan MacDougall in Argyll
I – Dougall MacSomairle, King in the (Hebrides) Isles (1164 – d. 1207) : Eponymous founder of Clan MacDougall born circa the year 1140. He was the son of the Royal House of Somerled, King of the Hebrides and Regulus of Argyll. His mother was Raghnild the daughter of Olaf King of Man and she was the second wife of Somerled. Dougal or Dugall or Dougall derived from the Gaelic word Dubh meaning Black or Dark, the Gaelic word Gall meaning Stranger or Foreigner. Hence Dougal would translate as “Black Foreigner” or “Black Stranger” which was the early Gaelic nickname for a Dane, later extended to Norsemen. By the mid 12th century the name implied that the bearer likely had Norse connections in his ancestry. Dougall’s mother Ragnhild and great grandmother were both of Norse descent. The Chronicle of Man made the first recorded mention of Dougall when some of the island’s chieftains in 1155 invited him to become their King in place of his uncle Godfrey of Man, his mother’s half-brother. This led to a sea battle in January 1156 which resulted in an agreement to partition the Isle of Man’s territories between Somerled’s family and Godfrey.
Upon the death of his father and elder step brother at the Battle of Renfrew in 1164, Dougal inherited Somerled’s mainland kingdom from Morvern in the north to part of Knapdale in the south, along with the islands of Jura, Coll, Mull, Tiree, Kerrera, and the surrounding smaller isles. This included the winter residence at Ardtornish, and the ancient forts at Dunstaffnage and Dunollie which would later be rebuilt or updated by the clan. This became the territory of Ergadia which Dougall’s successor chiefs would hold for another hundred and fifty years until 1308. At the time most of the Hebrides Isles belonged to Norway and the mainland belonged to Scotland. Thus the MacDougall Chiefs were then feudal vassals of two overlord Kings who did not always remain at peace with one another. Dougall inherited these two kingships. The remainder of Somerled’s territories were divided amongst Dougall’s younger brothers. Reginald b. circa 1143, whose son founded Clan Donald, received the Isle of Islay, Kintyre, and possibly Gamoran. Angus, the youngest, inherited the Isle of Bute.
During his lifetime Dougall was a supporter of the Abbey on the Isle of Iona, and of its daughter monasteries at Elachnave on Holy Isle north west of Jura, and the monastery on the Isle of Lismore which was later to become the seat of the Bishopric of the Isles. Dougall died in 1207.
II – Duncan de Ergadia (of Argyll), and King in the (Hebrides) Isles (d. 1207 – d. 1247) : Second Chief of the clan and son of Dougall. Duncan entered historical record when he, his father Dougall, and Duncan’s brothers Olaf and Ranald were recorded in its Liber Vitae book at the Church of St. Cuthbert’s during their trip to Durham in northern England in 1175. He was called King Duncan in the Norse sagas. Duncan was ruler of Argyll (Ergadia) which he held under the King of Scots, in feudal tenure after Alexander II’s invasion of Argyll in 1222. At the same time Duncan was King of the Isles which he held as a vassal under the King of Norway, except for a brief period of 1230 to 1232 when this kingship was taken from him and granted to his brother Uspak. In 1225 Duncan witnessed a charter in which he signed his name as Duncan de Ergadia which seems to be the first record of this de Ergadia style which would be used by several future generations. This title “de Ergadia” was granted him circa 1225 by the Alexander II King of Scots in place of the previously used terms of King or Prince of Argyll.
By 1228 there was much turmoil amongst factions in the isle of Man and the Hebrides so the King of Norway appointed Duncan’s younger brother Uspak to be overlord of the isles and act for him. Uspak was replacing Duncan and the other quarrelling rulers of the Hebrides. In 1230 Uspak sailed with a fleet to the Hebrides and met up with his brothers Duncan and Dougal in the Sound of Islay (Hakonar Saga). In 1231 Duncan accompanied his younger brother Uspak on a Norwegian attack on the Scottish Isle of Bute to storm and loot its castle at Rothesay. Afterwards the raiders sailed to Kintyre where Uspak fell ill. He died in 1231 or 1232 (Hakon Hakonson’s Saga) and was buried on the holy isle of Iona. Duncan then seems to have regained his previous rule of the isles for Norway. In 1230-31 Duncan founded Ardchattan Priory on Loch Etive for the Valliscaulian religious Order, and he is believed to have built many of the MacDougall castles of that era. His major stronghold seems to have been Dunstaffnage castle but he probably had fortified Dunollie’s promontory as well. Duncan died in 1247.
III – Ewan de Ergadia (of Argyll), King in the (Hebrides) Isles, and Lord of Lorn (1247 – d. 1265 or 1266) : Third Chief of the clan and son of our Second Chief, Duncan. Ewan was known in Norse sagas such as the Icelandic saga as King John. There is evidence that Ewan had assumed the eponymic title of MacDhughaill (MacDougall). In the winter of 1247-1248 he went to the Norwegian Court to compete with his first cousin to be granted the feudal vassal kingship previously held by his father. In the summer of 1248 King Hakon, the High King of Norway, made Ewan King of the Isles. At the same time Ewan held his mainland possessions as a feudal vassal under Alexander II the King of Scots. At this time Ewan had control of Dunstaffnage, Dunollie, Aros, Cairnburg, Dunchonnel, Coeffin and Duntrune castles and his influence was widespread. His sister Gill of Argyll was married to Brian O’Neill the last High King of Ireland k. 1260, then remarried three more times.
When Norway and Scotland were headed to war each side pressured him to support them against the other. Because of his feudal oaths of fealty to King Hakon of Norway for his island lands held of Norway, and oaths of fealty to the Alexander II King of Scots for his mainland lands held of Scotland, Ewan could not take up arms against either King despite being strongly pressured by both. In the spring of 1249 Alexander II brought an invasion fleet to conquer the Hebrides and to bring Ewan to heel. Alexander II became sick and landed at Horseshoe Bay on the eastern side of the island of Kerrera which as an island was legally a Norwegian territory. He demanded that Ewan surrender to him Cairnburgh Castle in the Treshnish Isles, and three other castles in his keeping all four of which belonged to Norway. Ewan refused saying that in only the previous year of 1248 he had done feudal homage to the King of Norway for his island possessions. “No man can serve two masters!” exclaimed the angry King Alexander II. “One can quite well serve two masters provided the masters are not enemies” was Ewan’s quiet rejoinder. Soon afterwards Alexander II died at Horseshoe Bay on July 8, 1249 and so the invasion was cancelled. He was succeeded by his nearly eight year old son, Alexander III.
Ewan remained away from Argyll until restored to his Argyll lands in 1255. Records show him in the Isle of Man in 1250, and in 1253 at the Norwegian King’s court at Bergen then on a Norwegian expedition against Denmark. In 1263 King Hakon brought a large invasion fleet to the Hebrides in response to Scottish raids on his territory. During this offensive he anchored twice at Kerrera and at one point he detained Ewan as a “guest” to pressure him for support in attacking Scotland. Ewan refused and gave up his vassal Kingship of the Iles. After being released, Ewan joined the side of Scotland in the fighting by quickly attacking the Norse on the Isle of Mull. The ensuing Treaty of Perth in 1266 transferred the Hebrides islands from Norway to Scotland and Ewan’s island possessions were thus restored to him. Ewan acknowledged King Alexander III of Scots as his suzerain for the whole of the MacDougall Lordship, mainland and island. Ewan died in 1265 or 1266.
IV – Sir Alexander de Ergadia (of Argyll), Lord of Lorn (1266- d. 1309) : Fourth Chief of the clan and son of our Third Chief, Ewan. Sir Alexander was also called Alasdair de Ergadia in charter Latin. He was overlord of a large part of the western Highlands and under him MacDougall power was at its zenith. In 1267 he married Julienne Comyn the third daughter of John Comyn of Badenoch and Marian, daughter of Alan of Galloway. This marriage allied the MacDougalls with powerful Comyn and Balliol families. Alliances also extended through Alexander’s sister Mary who was married firstly to Magnus the King of the Isle of Man, then later to the powerful Earl of Strathearn, and then to Lord Abernethy of Clan Macduff. Alexander operated a trading business with Ireland under a licence from Edward I of England and their correspondence is on record in 1275 and 1292. In 1275 Alexander was one of the leaders in charge of putting down the revolt of Godfrey of the Isle of Man against Alexander III, the King of Scots. From then on the records show him taking an important role in the political affairs of Scotland. Alexander was a strong supporter of John Baliol, both before and after he was made King of Scots in August 1292. In 1293 King John created Argyll into a shire to be governed by the crown, Alexander was made its Sheriff, the King’s powerful representative there to govern the shire of Argyll for the crown. As Sheriff Sir Alexander was the senior of twelve Argyll great barons whose estates formed Argyllshire. As a very powerful official representative of the king he had authority over a very large territory on the mainland and the islands and his authority as sheriff extended even to the Isle of Islay, the home of clan Donald. It is believed that the Campbells challenged his authority. In 1294 (some records say 1296) the Battle of Allt Dearg (the Red Ford) was fought between the MacDougalls and the Campbells of Lochawe in Nether Lorn in a boundary dispute regarding the exact location of their shared border at the String of Lorn. The MacDougalls suffered severe losses and an arrow killed Sir Colin Campbell, the Campbell Chief known as Cailein Mor. It was on the way to this encounter that a clansman in the band of MacDougalls led by Alexander’s son John of Lorn dropped and broke a rock crystal used in those days to divine the future.
Sir Alexander was always a strong supporter of the Baliols and their royal cause. In early 1296 King John refused to obey Edward I of England who then retaliated by invading Scotland and defeating the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar in April 1296. After Edward I stripped King John Baliol of his kingship Edward I required the Scots nobility to do homage to him. Alexander did so, but later in 1296 Alexander fell out with him and Edward I instructed the Earl of Menteith to take possession of the lands of Alexander and those of his son John of Lorn. Alexander was imprisoned in Berwick Castle until released in May 1297 but their relations remained strained. During this time clan Donald supported Edward I. In 1297 Alexander was involved in raiding the clan Donald Isle of Islay and in 1299 the Annals of Ulster record that he killed the clan Donald Chief, Alexander of Islay. In 1301 Edward I instructed his Admiral of the Cinque Ports to take Alexander, his son John of Lorn, and other relatives into his peace. In 1305 Edward I created a Council of twenty to advise Edward’s Lieutenant ruling Scotland. Amongst these twenty were Alexander and Robert The Bruce.
Up until this time Sir Alexander had fought on the Scottish side in the Wars of Independence. Then in February 1306 when Robert the Bruce a contender for the throne killed his rival John the Red Comyn. The murdered man was Sir Alexander’s wife’s nephew. Bruce had stabbed him at a private meeting of the two men inside the Greyfriars Kirk at Dumfries. By so doing Bruce eliminated John the Red Comyn as his rival for the crown of Scotland but this crime inside a church was sacrilege. After this murder it became a blood feud with the families of the murdered man seeking vengeance against Bruce. Then six weeks later Bruce had himself crowned King Robert I. Sir Alexander no longer supported the Scottish side once Bruce was crowned King of Scots. Sir Alexander had sworn no oath to Bruce and in feudal law Alexander had no obligations to support Bruce in his new role as King. Alexander now supported King Edward I of England against Bruce. However Sir Alexander’s own brother Duncan (later our Sixth Chief) fought on Bruce’s side. Sir Alexander was ill and did not take part in later battles against Robert the Bruce. It was during one of these battles, the Battle of Dalrigh in August 1306, that the MacDougall warriors led by his son John de Ergadia (often called John of Lorn), ambushed Bruce’s force and stripped the Brooch of Lorn from his cloak. Bruce fled safely after killing three pursuers but had lost his cloak Brooch which was found grasped in the dead hand of one of them. Bruce later returned to take vengeance on the clan which had opposed him so steadfastly. After the MacDougall forces led by his son John of Lorn lost the Battle of Brander on the slopes of Ben Cruachan beside Loch Awe in the summer of 1308. In March 1309 Alexander attended Bruce’s Parliament at St. Andrews. Sir Alexander was forfeited of the Lordship of Lorn by Bruce and most of his vast lands of Ergadia and the isles were distributed to Bruce’s allies, the MacRuairies, Campbells and MacDonalds. In June 1310 Alexander and his son Sir John of Lorn are recorded attending Edward II’s Council at Westminster after Alexander fled from Scotland in late 1309 to join his son Sir John of Lorn who was continuing the clan’s fight against Bruce from abroad. In January 1311 Edward II sent a letter to Dublin. That letter has a note indicating that Sir Alexander had already died in late 1310, likely in Ireland.bbEwan was the last of the MacDougall Lords of Lorn.
V – Eoin de Ergadia (John of Argyll) known as Sir John of Lorn (1310 – d. 1317) : Fifth Chief of the clan and son of our Fourth Chief, Sir Alexander. He is often referred to as “Iain Bacach” meaning Lame John but there is no authority in contemporary records to indicate that he was called that until that by-name for him appeared in writings made centuries later. He first appears in the record swearing fealty to Edward I in 1291. In 1294 (or 1296) he led the band of MacDougalls who battled the Campbells of Lochawe at Allt Dearg (The Red Ford) in Nether Lorn during which the Campbell Chief Cailein Mor was killed by an arrow. He defeated Robert Bruce at Dalrigh near Tyndrum in Strathfillan on August 11, 1306 where the fleeing Bruce was forced to abandon his cloak and its cloak brooch in the dying grasp of one of his attackers. Thus clan MacDougall came into possession of the Brooch of Lorn which it still possesses. Barbour, the Bard, in his epic history poem “The Brus” (The Bruce) seventy years later recounted Sir John’s comments comparing Bruce’s miraculous escape to Goll mac Morna’s escape from Finn mac Cumhail, a famous event in Gaelic literature.
In 1307 Edward II appointed Sir John to his father Alexander’s former office of Sheriff of Argyll and the Isles. In 1307 Sir John and his Galloway ally Sir Dougal MacDoual of Logan hunted Bruce in Carrick and Galloway and very nearly captured him. Then Sir John returned to Lorn with an illness. In August 1308 Sir John of Lorn was himself defeated by Bruce in the Battle of Brander on the slope of Ben Cruachan beside Loch Awe. His warriors had blocked the pass while he directed from a galley in the loch. After the defeat he sailed to Inchconnel castle and made his way to the coast where he drew some of the MacDougall galleys from his island possessions and sailed to England. Sir John of Lorn continued his fight against Bruce under King Edward II who made him the Admiral of the Western Seas in 1311. From the English Exchequer Rolls, John of Argyll resided mainly in Dublin, Newcastle, Carlisle, and Ramsay on the Isle of Man during the period 1310 to 1315. From these bases prosecuted the war against Bruce and his administration. The importance of his role in the western seas is shown by the fact that the English ships only operated on the east coast of Scotland where they did not have to face the superior Hebridean and Scots galleys. For several years he harassed the Scottish garrisons of the West Highland coasts, fought Bruce’s adherents the MacDonalds of Islay who had gained MacDougall island territories, and also operated against the Bruces in Ireland.
As Admiral of the Western Seas Sir John of Lorn continued fighting Bruce’s forces and even recaptured the strategic Isle of Man in 1315 which had been lost in 1313. Later his forces were driven from it in 1317 by The Bruce’s nephew, the Earl of Moray. Later in the year 1315 he was in Ireland opposing the forces of King Robert and his brother Edward Bruce. After his return from campaigning in Ireland, Robert I (The Bruce) hauled his fleet overland from Tarbet into west Loch Tarbert and the Sound of Jura. He then used his fleet on the west coast in combination with the fleet of Angus Og of Islay. The two fleets attacked and defeated Sir John’s fleet of English and Scottish ships. Sir John’s fleet appears to have included Galloway ships of the MacDowalls which had been deployed off the Ulster coast. Some literary sources, such as John Barbour’s poem The Bruce, incorrectly state that Sir John of Lorn was captured in 1315 in a sea battle fighting against the combined fleet of Angus Og of Islay and Robert I King of Scots and that he had been in poor health for years and died a prisoner of King Robert I in Dumbarton castle in 1318.
The accurate version, according to the English records (CDS vol. iii), is that in May 1316 Sir John had “returned to London, from serving in Ireland, being impotent in body, and his lands in Scotland totally destroyed” with an annual pension of 200 marks granted him by Edward II, and died in September 1317 at Ospring in Kent, England while on a religious pilgrimage to Canterbury. Since he had collected only 100 marks of the pension his estate 10 years later successfully petitioned the king for the remaining 100 marks to pay for his debts because “though he lived a year and a half afterwards, he only drew 100 marks”.
Sir John had never sworn allegiance to Robert the Bruce so he was not a traitor in medieval law. Sir John of Lorn’s son Ewan was well treated as a temporary prisoner of King Robert I and went on to become our seventh Chief. Ewan was later restored the Lordship of Lorn title with some of the mainland possessions.
VI – Duncan of Dunollie (circa 1310 – d. circa 1320) : Sixth Chief of the clan. Son of Ewan the Third Chief of the clan, brother of Alexander the Fourth Chief of the clan, and uncle of John the Fifth Chief of the clan. According to the bard Blind Harry, Duncan was a boyhood friend of William Wallace. When Wallace was leading a rising in Lanarkshire in 1297-1298 Duncan was with him. In 1300 at Loch Awe at the Pass of Brander, Duncan and Wallace with Campbell allies defeated an invading Irish mercenary force in the pay of Edward I. Though Blind Harry did make errors in historical reporting in his epic poem it does contain ample references which confirm the family tradition of this friendship. Later Duncan was pro Bruce, a fact which assisted the family greatly in preserving some of its territories in the peace after the 1309 defeat at the Pass of Brander. In 1310 Duncan was recognized as Chief by the crown and by his crippled clan perhaps at the parliament held at Ardchattan Priory in Lorn. This made Duncan successor to our forfeited Fourth Chief Alexander and to Alexander’s son, our fifth Chief Sir John of Lorn who was also forfeited for fighting tirelessly against Bruce. However even Dunollie castle was held by the victors until it was regained from Arthur Campbell at some time between 1310 and 1320. Duncan died circa 1320.
VII – Ewan de Ergadia (of Argyll) (circa 1325 – d. 1375) Also known as John Lord of Lorn but may be confused with his relative John Gallda (John The Foreigner) : He was the Seventh Chief of the clan, and was the son of our Fifth Chief, Sir John of Lorn (Iain Bacach). Ewan enters the records in 1306 as a member of the household in the royal service of the English Prince of Wales, the future King Edward II. He and his family may have spent even more time there as an exile from Scotland during the Wars of Independence and after while Robert the Bruce was alive. In September 1334 “Ewin lord of Lorn” made a grant of lands on the isle of Lismore to the Bishop of Argyll. The old family title of de Ergadia was now lost or forfeited. This time away seems to have earned one of his or his Brother Alan’s family the By-name of John Gallda (John the Foreigner). Ewan or his nephew John Gallda regained the previously forfeited title of Lord of Lorn in 1344 along with some of its former lands. However the clan had forever lost most of its island possessions except for part of the island of Kerrera. In 1346 David II King of Scots granted “John of Lorne” all the lands within Lorn once held by his grandfather Alexander, the 4th Chief of the clan. In September 1354 Ewan de Ergadia 7th (John of Lorn) Chief of Clan MacDougall resigned his family claim to John (MacDonald) of the Isles for Mull, the north part of Jura, Tiree, and the former MacDougall Treshnish Isles fortresses of Cairnaburg and Dunchonnell. In return John of Lorn was also given the right to build eight ships of twelve or sixteen oars. Also John of the Isles regranted to him three unciates of Tiree nearest to Coll, and the churchlands of Duror and Glencoe. Ewan married Joan (also spelled Jonet or Janet) who was the daughter of Sir Thomas Isaac and Princess Matilda. Thus she was the grand-daughter of the clan’s old foe, King Robert I, i.e. Robert the Bruce. Through this marriage he reacquired much of Lorn which had been held by the MacRuairies and regained control of the now royal Dunstaffnage castle from the Campbells.
In 1368 King David II made the lands of Glenlyon in Perthshire a present to his niece Joan and her husband Ewan. Thereafter in Glenlyon tradition Ewan was remembered as John of Lorne and by the By-name of Iain Dubh nan Lann (Black John of the Spears). These Perthshire lands had been devastated by the Black Plague which reached Scotland in 1350 so Ewan repopulated Glenlyon and the dale of Fortingall with MacDougalls from Argyll after its population had been decimated by plague. He laid out the Glenlyon estate regulations for land usage which remained in use there until about 1780. Ewan’s son Eoghan predeceased him but he had two daughters, Janet (Jonette) and her younger sister Isabella. Ewan was the last MacDougall Chief to use Dunstaffnage castle as his main seat. Upon his death Dunstaffnage castle and the Lordship of Lorn passed to the Stewarts through Ewan’s daughters’ inheritance. Dunstaffnage remained as the main seat of the Stewart Lordship of Lorn.
Around 1386 both of Ewan’s daughters married Stewarts of Innermeath from Perthshire. Janet and Isabella inherited Lorn equally as females under the laws of primogeniture. Then Janet and her husband Sir Robert Stewart traded their half of Lorn to her younger sister Isabella and her husband Sir John Stewart in exchange for Sir John Stewart’s inherited estate of Durrisdeer in Perthshire. Through Isabella the Lordship of Lorn then passed to her Stewart husband. These Stewarts of Innermeath became the Lords of Lorn and retained the Lordship until around 1468 when the Lordship of Lorn transferred to the Chief of the Campbells. Ewan died around 1375 and the King quickly had his widow remarried. Upon Ewan’s death the Chiefship of Clan MacDougall permanently separated from the Lordship of Lorn. Iain of Dunollie became the next and Eighth Chief with his clan duthus at Dunollie castle.
VIII – Iain of Dunollie (1375 – d. circa 1400) : Eighth Chief of the clan and the son of Allan, who was the son of our Sixth Chief, Duncan of Dunollie. Dunollie castle was his main seat and the clan duthus. Traditions say that Iain of Dunollie, the 8th Chief, had a second son Allan who founded the MacDougalls of Raera (Raray) and Ardmaddy, However before then there appears to have been an earlier line of MacDougall of Raray as told in the story of the Battle of Allt Dreacy in Netherlorn in 1294 or 1296. Raera was the senior cadet family of the MacDougalls of Lorn. There is a story, but it may be incorrect, that the 8th Chief’s second son Allan of Reyran (Raera or Raray) himself had a son in Kilninver parish called Comham (Gobhainn) Mor (the big blacksmith) from whom descended some of the McCowan families (MacComhain) of Netherlorn. Iain of Dunollie died around 1400.
IX – Dougal of Dunollie (1400 – d. circa 1428) : Ninth Chief of the clan and the son of our Eighth Chief, Iain of Dunollie. Dougal of Dunollie married a daughter of MacDonnell of Isla.
X – Alan of Dunollie (circa 1428 – d. circa 1455) : He was also called John Alanson in some records. Tenth Chief of the clan and son of our Ninth Chief, Dougal of Dunollie. Alan of Dunollie married a daughter of Robert Stewart, the second Stewart Lord of Lorn, and sister of the third Lord of Lorn, John Stewart. She was also a descendant of Ewan de Ergadia, the third Chief of Clan MacDougall. Thus the marriage reunited branches of the clan into the Chief`s line. In 1451 his brother-in-law John Stewart gave him a generous grant as described below for his son John the Eleventh Chief of the clan, the joint benefactor of the grant.
XI – Sir John of Dunollie : circa 1455 – d. 1480 He was also called John Keir (from the word Cearr meaning left). In a 1451 record in Origines Parochiales Scotiae he and his father were mentioned as receiving a grant of form John Stewart Lord of Lorn. The records names him and his father thus:
In 1451 John Stewart lord of Lorn granted to John Alani de lorn nominato Mak Dowil, and to John Keir his eldest son and heir, and to the heirs male of the latter, eight marks of Ardnohow, and eight marks of Dowanchowe.
Sir John was the Eleventh Chief of the clan and eldest son of our Tenth Chief, Alan of Dunollie. Married Gyllis (Egidia) who was the daughter of Sir Colin Campbell of Glenorchy and his 3rd wife Janet Stewart the eldest daughter of the last MacDougall Lord of Lorne. In January 1451 Sir John’s uncle, John Stewart the third and last Stewart Lord of Lorn, granted Sir John and his father a legal Charter conveying to him wide lands extending southwards to Loch Feochan in Inner Lorn. These lands had previously belonged to the MacDougall Lords of Lorn before it was inherited by the Stewarts through marriage to MacDougall heiresses. The granted lands were on the Isle of Kerrera and at Dunollie, then southwards at Glen Shelleach, Gallanach, Colagin, and Moleigh at the foot of Loch Nell. In addition they were confirmed in the offices of Bailiary of all of the Lord of Lorn’s lands in the Lordship, and the fosterage of the Lord of Lorn’s heir. In return the MacDougalls were to support the Lord of Lorn by land and sea against all mortal men, the King excepted. In addition Sir John agreed to support the claim for the Lordship of Lorn for John Stewart’s son Dugald who was illegitimate with a MacLaren mother, after that son was made legitimate.
He seems to be the John of Lorn who in 1447 supplicated the Pope to allow his marriage to Fingula, sister of the powerful clan Donald chief, Donald Ballock of Islay. He also sought the Pope to legitimize their children retroactively. If so, this made Alan of Dunollie the father of Alan MacCoul who was also called Allan of the Wood in some records. The Auchinleck Chronicle records that in 1460 Sir John was captured and held in chains “in festynans” as a starving prisoner on the Isle of Kerrera by his illegitimate very close relative Alan McCoul, a renegade also known as Allan of the Wood. Alan McCoul was also a nephew of the powerful Clan Donald Chief, Donald Balloch of Islay. Alan possibly planned to starve Sir John to death and to succeed him as Chief of clan MacDougall himself. As a renegade soldier and adventurer with a wild and reckless spirit he led a faction of our clansmen in rebellion against their Chief. He had already been involved in a failed conspiracy with the Earls of Douglas and Ross against James III King of Scots. When the Earl of Argyll, Sir John’s feudal superior, heard that he had been taken prisoner and was likely to be killed, the Earl attacked Kerrera, burned Alan McCoul’s ships, and killed nearly one hundred of Alan McCoul’s men. Alan McCoul escaped with four or five followers and Sir John was released but Alan McCoul would cause much trouble in years to come.
In 1463 John Stewart was attacked and killed while walking with his wedding party to his wedding at the chapel outside Dunstaffnage castle where he was marrying Dugald’s MacLaren mother. If the attackers could prevent the wedding ceremony from legitimizing son Dugald, the Lordship of Lorn would go to the Campbells to whom John Stewart’s three daughters were already married but he died only after going through the ceremony. The attackers were led by Alan McCoul. After stabbing John Stewart the Lord of Lorn and leaving him for dead at his wedding, Alan McCoul and his band ran inside the open castle of Dunstaffnage and held it until dislodged the following year by royal troops sent by the Estates of Parliament. After years of intermittent fighting, including the fierce battle at Leac-a-dotha on the slopes of Bendoran in Lochawe, Alan McCoul was eventually killed in 1468 at the Battle of An Stalc (the Ridge) at Portnacroish in Appin by a Stewart and MacLaren coalition force which included MacDougalls. In northern Lorn Dugald Stewart went on to found the Stewarts of Appin, a clan with which we have always had a close relationship, but he lost the Lordship of Lorn to the Campbells. Dugald Stewart married a daughter of Sir John of Dunollie and they had three sons of whom Duncan and Alan became the 2nd and 3rd Chiefs of the Stewarts of Appin. Sir John of Dunollie died in 1480.
XII – Alexander of Dunollie (1480 – d. circa 1493) : Twelfth Chief of the clan and son of our Eleventh Chief, Sir John of Dunollie. The Book of the Dean of Lismore records that Alexander’s eldest son Duncan was killed in a battle or raid at Dunollie castle in August 1512. He was buried at Ardchattan Priory in Benderloch, a traditional place of burial for many of our clan Chiefs until the death of Ian Ciar in 1737 whose burial place was Kilbride. Alexander of Dunollie died around 1493.
XIII – John of Dunollie (1493 – d. 1535) : Thirteenth Chief of the clan and a younger son of our Twelfth Chief, Alexander of Dunollie. Mentioned in charters dated in 1518 and 1535. Died around 1535.
XIV – John of Dunollie (1535 – d. 1563) : Fourteenth Chief of the clan and son of our Thirteenth Chief, John of Dunollie and Anne Macleod. John quarreled with his feudal superior Archibald Campbell 4th Earl of Argyll who then imprisoned him. It is probable that John was suspected of supporting MacLeods of Lewis who were in rebellion in 1554 or 1555. On 18 March 1556 he was released from imprisonment for one year upon signing a contract of good behaviour between himself (spelled as Johne McCoull of Dunollycht) and the Earl of Argyll Lord of Lorn: “Whereas John is allowed freedom outwith Argyll and Lorne until Martinmas next and is to keep castle of Dunollych free of all traitors and rebels. To be faithful and obedient to the Queen’s grace and her mother and if no further agreement by Martinmas John is to re-enter ward in Castle Campbell, Stirling” The Queen mentioned was Mary Queen of Scots. In 1557 John of Dunollie was again imprisoned by his Campbell Lord in Dollar Castle. During this time period the Protestant Reformation led by John Knox was sweeping through Scotland and causing great unrest and conflict. John of Dunollie died in 1563. His son Duncan may have built Gylen Castle.
XV – Dougall of Dunollie (1563 – d. 1590) : Fifteenth Chief of the clan and the son of our Fourteenth Chief, John of Dunollie. Known as something as a tyrant. Mentioned in charters dates 1563 and 1567. In 1571 he was accused of “intermitting with certain cattle” on the Benderloch lands of Campbell of Glenorchy. On February 27, 1572 he made a bond with Donald Gorm of Sleat and Hector MacLean of Duart in which they promised to keep their “lovet tender cousing” Rory MacLeod of Lewis obedient to the King and to the Campbell Earl of Argyll and they became sureties that Rory Macleod would not trouble his own son. In 1576 certain of his tenants obtained a decree discharging him from exceeding his powers as the heritable Baillie of Lorn by ill-treating and oppressing his tenants and their holdings. In 1577 he began the building of Gylen castle on the south end of the island of Kerrera. In May 1587 he renewed a “Bond of friendship and manrent” pledging to support and to protect Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy. In 1589 a complaint to the Privy Council stated that he had seized two of his own clansmen on the Isle of Kerrera and imprisoned them in Dunollie castle although they had “committed no offense” and he was ordered to release the captives “on pain of rebellion”. Dougall of Dunollie died around 1590.
XVI – Duncan of Dunollie (1591 – d. 1616) : Sixteenth Chief of the clan and the son of our Fifteenth Chief, Dougall of Dunollie. He had become Chief by 1591. Married (1st) Margaret the sister of Sir Lauchlan MacLean of Dowart. His second son was Allan of Torsay. Married (2nd) Sibylla the daughter of Drummond of Cochyle. He was accused in evidence but never charged for holding a murder plot meeting in 1591 in his Speckled Room chambers on the top floor of Dunollie castle. The meeting was initiated by his brother in law Sir Lauchlan MacLean of Duart and Duncan’s feudal superior, Campbell of Ardkinglas to seek Duncan’s aid in the murder plot to kill Sir John Campbell the Thane of Cawdor who was subsequently shot in February 1592. One of the murderers later confessed and accused Duncan of aiding the murder plot. Duncan and Ardkinglas were eventually sent to trial in Edinburgh in 1596. They were never convicted and the prosecution of the main plotters was abandoned though the actual shooter and one of the minor plotters were executed after a trial in Argyll.
Duncan was a fervent Protestant. He engaged in correspondence with Cunningham the English ambassador to Scotland in an effort to obtain his support for the cause of James VI of Scotland to become a Protestant successor to the crown of England upon the approaching death of the ageing Elizabeth I. Records kept in the English Public Record office show that the ambassador visited Dunollie castle in 1596 and that Duncan of Dunollie kept him informed of anti-English activity in Ireland. He obtained a charter from King James VI in 1596. Duncan may have been a builder of Gylen Castle at the south end of the Isle of Kerrera. He died on August 31, 1616 in his bed in the Speckled Room in the top floor of Dunollie castle. His second son Allan of Torsay married Katherine Campbell of Dunstaffnage in 1615 and their son John was the ancestor of the MacDougalls of Gallanach.
XVII – Sir John of Dunollie (1617 – d. 1634) : Seventeenth Chief of the clan and the eldest son of our Sixteenth Chief, Duncan of Dunollie and his first wife Margaret. In a wadset (mortgage) loan taken out by Sir John, his brother, and his father in 1608, his full name was spelled as John Keir Mcdougall yet in the same document his father’s name was spelled Duncan Makdougall, and the younger brother was spelled as Alexander McDougall. In 1610 Sir John married Katherine the daughter of Clan Chief Hector MacLean of Duart. In 1622 was involved in complaints and counter complaints dealing with the cattle raids involving his father-in-law. A further complaint to the Privy Counsel by Sir Rory McKenzie of Cogache dated 28 March 1622 accused him of levying illegal toll charges upon the cattle ferried from the Isle of Mull to the nearby landing points on the mainland of Lorn, and upon merchants and their goods, and of using force to collect payment and seize their livestock and goods. In 1623 Sir John lodged a complaint to the Privy Council that twenty men of Donald Campbell of Barbreck in Glen Dornhain had raided his farm buildings at Dunollie castle, bound up his servants and stolen his cattle. In 1631 a similar complaint to the Privy Council accused the MacLeans of Kigaulish of raiding the home farm of Dunollie, assaulting the tenants in their homes, and carrying off goods. John was severely troubled by the 8th Earl of Argyll who wanted his wealth and properties. Details are provided in the July 1661 Act of the Old Scottish Parliament describing the extortions and crimes by the Earl who was eventually executed in 1661 for treason against the King. The Earl trumped up false charges against Sir John and held him prisoner in various locations during 1631 – 1634 while extorting “fines” of money and lands from him. Sir John of Dunollie died around 1634.
XVIII – Alexander of Dunollie (1634 – d. 1644) : Eighteenth chief of the clan and the son of our Seventeenth Chief, Sir John of Dunollie. He was Chief during a period of trouble and civil strife between the Scottish Covenanters and King Charles I. In 1628 he married Katherine who was the third daughter of Sir Duncan Campbell, 7th laird of Glenorchy. They had three sons who became Chiefs of the Clan.
XIX – Iain of Dunollie (1644 – d. 1669) : (Iain) Nineteenth Chief of the clan and the son of our Eighteenth Chief, Alexander of Dunollie. Iain became Chief as “a young boy” of about age 15 about 1644. Iain of Dunollie married a daughter of Sir Roderick Mor MacLeod but had no children. In the early part of the War of the Three Kingdoms Civil War in Scotland MacDougalls fought as a vassals for their clan lands held under the overlordship of the 8th Earl of Argyll. Some such as the son of John Maol MacDougall of the cadet of Raera were killed on 2 February 1645 at the bloody Battle of Inverlochy while fighting on the side of the Campbells and the Lowland Covenanters. By September 1645 and onward the clan fought wholeheartedly on the side of the Royal House of Stewart and endured significant losses and hardships for its loyalty to the Crown. Iain of Dunollie was Chief during the troubled times of the massacre of an estimated 300 to 500 MacDougalls and MacDonalds and their followers and allies. In early June 1647 General David Leslie’s Covenanter army massacred almot every one of their Royalist prisoners after their surrender at Dunaverty castle on the southern tip of Kintyre. (There is a list of 49 MacDougalls and 41 names from Associated families but there is no list of the many others massacred with them. Some accounts say that the MacDougall Chief was the young MacDougall who alone was spared at Dunaverty, but this is probably a case of mistaken identity). A few weeks later in the summer of 1647 he endured the burning of Gylen castle where the Brooch of Lorn was looted, and the siege of Dunollie castle by Colonel Robert Montgomery and his Covenanter force. From 1652 to 1654 Dunollie was garrisoned by Cromwell’s roundhead soldiers after their invasion of Scotland. During this time period a MacKichan clansman saved the Chief’s charter chest with its valuable muniments from Dunollie castle and kept it safely hidden until the return of peace. The Chief was so grateful for MacKichan’s faithfulness, that he declared that as long as there was a MacDougall at Dunolly, there would be a MacKichan on the estate. Upon the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 Iain of Dunollie’s estates and Dunollie and Gylen castles were promptly returned to him after his case was heard and parliament issued a decree recording the sufferings endured by him and his clan. He died on April 14, 1669.
XX – Duncan of Dunollie (1669 – d. 1686) : Twentieth chief of the clan and the second son of our Eighteenth Chief, Alexander of Dunollie, and brother to our nineteenth Chief. In the summer of 1675 during the course of the Earl of Argyll’s operations against the MacLeans Dunollie castle was one of the strong places where the Privy Council allowed the Earl to maintain a garrison. In 1676 an armed party of MacLeans raided a tenant on the Isle of Kerrera and took away his cattle. This was part of a series of events which caused the 9th Earl of Argyll to two years later obtain a commission of “fire and sword” against them. In 1677 the Privy Council again ordered Duncan of Dunollie to quarter one hundred soldiers at Dunollie until the Fort at Inverlochy could be repaired for their use. Again in October 1678 the Privy Council ordered that another garrison be quartered at Dunollie “…for the security of the peace of the Highlands …”. In 1685 he raised the clan in support of the Stewart King James VII (James II of England) to defend the west of Scotland against invasion by Argyll. Duncan died early in 1686. Duncan of Dunollie had a daughter who married Ian MacLean of Lochbuie in 1707.
XXI – Alan of Dunollie (1686 – d. 1695) : Twenty-first Chief of the clan and the third son of our Eighteenth Chief, Alexander of Dunollie, and brother to our nineteenth and twentieth Chiefs. Grateful for the clan’s support and loyalty against Argyll’s failed invasion of 1685, in 1686 King James VII granted Alan a charter returning the lands recently forfeited from Argyll back to the MacDougalls three hundred years after their loss. The charter covered a greater part of Lorn but these lands were soon lost afterwards for Alan’s continuing loyal support of James VII who was driven from the throne in 1688. Alan married Mary, the daughter of Ian MacLachlan of Kilbride. Through her the Kilbride estate came into possession of the Macdougalls of Dunollie. In 1689 he supported the Jacobite rising led by Viscount Dundee in support of the Stewart James VII. A small contingent of his MacDougalls were led by the Chief’s cousin Sir Alexander MacLean on July 27, 1689 on the right flank during the resounding Jacobite victory at the Battle of Killiecrankie. The Treaty of Achallader of June 1691 ended the fighting and allowed the Jacobites to keep their weapons. The exiled James VII gave dispensation to his followers to take the oath of allegiance to the new royal family of Britain, William of Orange and his wife Mary the daughter of James VII. Alan of Dunollie died in 1695.
XXII – John of Dunollie (Iain Ciar) (1695 – d. 1737) : Twenty-second Chief of the clan and son of our Twenty-first Chief, Alan of Dunollie. About 1712 he married Mary the daughter of William MacDonald of Sleat. He sent a fleet of fourteen galleys manned by MacDougall clansmen to bring her from the Isle of Skye to Dunollie. In late September 1715 he left Dunollie leading a group of clan volunteers to join the Rising of 1715 in support of the Stewart “Old Pretender”, the father of Bonnie Prince Charlie. On 13 November 1715 he and his younger brother Duncan and approximately fifty his clansmen volunteers were on the Jacobite right wing at the Battle of Sheriffmuir. Iain Ciar was wounded through the thigh by a musket ball. During his absence at war Mary bravely defended Dunollie under the command of his friend Livingstone and a dozen men. By 17 February 1716 he was writing to his wife Mary that the Rising had failed and that he and many others were fleeing to exile. He advised her to give up her defence of Dunollie and surrender to Campbell of Stonefield. After the failure of this rising, lain Ciar was in exile for eleven years in France, Ireland, and at times in hiding in Scotland. During his exile he forfeited his estate and Dunollie castle was garrisoned with government troops. From 1716 Mary lived with her young children at Slatrach farm on the island of Kerrera. During his exile he participated in the Rising of 1719 which was supported by Spain. He fought in the Battle of Glenshiel in which the invading Jacobites and Spanish forces were defeated on June 10, 1719. Iain Ciar escaped back into exile. In November 1719 Mary was allowed to return as a “tenant” to Dunollie castle from whence she had been banished since 1716.
Iain Ciar was known for his swordsmanship and bravery. His name is associated with many bold tales such as the encounter in Ireland when he and his friend Livingstone encountered and killed a bandit known as the “Red Robber”. In 1727 he was pardoned and allowed to return home to Dunollie castle after being absent for twelve years. When he returned and the forfeiture was removed he recovered the family muniments which Livingstone had secretly hidden in a small apartment in the old “laigh-bigging” building which later became an early part of Dunollie House. Livingstone had hidden the precious documents for their protection. Iain Ciar was succeeded by his eldest son Alexander. His second son, Allan, went to the East Indies. His third son Duncan joined the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Iain Ciar died in 1737. A fierce storm prevented the burial party from crossing the waters to reach the Ardchattan Priory. They returned southward and he was buried at the church at Kilbride with his arms engraved on his gravestone along with part of his mother’s MacLachlan arms. His wife Mary died in 1779 and was buried beside him.
XXIII – Alexander of Dunollie (Alastair Dubh) (1737 – d. 1801) : Twenty-third Chief of the clan known as Alastair Dubh and he was Chief for sixty four years. He was the son of our Twenty-second Chief, John of Dunollie (Iain Ciar). He married Mary the third daughter of Patrick Campbell of Barcaldine in 1737. They had no less than fifteen children. Alexander did not join the Jacobite Rising of 1745 in support of Charles Edward Stuart “Bonnie Prince Charlie” but his younger brother Duncan and a few clansmen fought with the Jacobite army at Prestonpans and Culloden. After the 45′ was over Alexander built the pleasant manor house below the castle and he and Mary raised their large family. His first son, John, married the daughter of Lord Ruthven and died in 1775 at Bombay without issue. Unlike many other Highland Chiefs of the day Alexander did not encourage his clansmen to join the many Highland Regiments being formed by Pitt the Elder during the Seven Years War. In fact, he encouraged them not to volunteer. Alexander of Dunollie died in 1801 after being our clan Chief for 64 years.
XXIV – Patrick of Dunollie (1801 – d. 1825) : Twenty-fourth Chief of the clan and the second son of our Twenty-third Chief, Alexander of Dunollie. Patrick was born in 1742 and was nearly sixty when he became Chief. As a boy Patrick was fostered for several years with the MacCulloch family, who were at one time tenant millers of Gylen farm on the island of Kerrera and of the Oban Glenshellach mill, when they moved to Morvern. It was a traditional Highland custom for Highland Lairds to send at least some of their sons to be fostered by certain of their tenants to build up a lifelong connection and friendship between the two families. During this time he would hear no language but Gaelic nor see any manners other than those of the Highland peasantry. It was usual for the father to send a certain number of cattle with his child, to which the fosterer added an equal number. Then these cattle and their increase would return home with the child. He returned with a herd of thirteen fine cattle. Patrick’s generation was the last of the family to be fostered out in this way under the ancient highland custom. He had a reputation of being frugal which is small considering the size of the family he raised. Married Louisa Maxwell who was the daughter of Campbells of Achalader. His first son Captain Alexander was killed fighting under Wellington in Spain at the Battle of Ciudad Rodrigo in 1812 and died without issue. His second son became the Twenty-fifth Chief. In 1822, at eighty years of age, Patrick was persuaded by his friend Sir Walter Scott to act as Captain in an honour guard welcoming King George IV on the first visit by a British monarch to Scotland in 200 years. Sir Walter Scott said that Patrick was a most suitable choice to greet the King upon his arrival at Edinburgh because Patrick had been “in six battles and thirty times under fire”. His death is commemorated in the piping song “Cumha Chaiptein MacDhughaill” (Lament for Captain MacDougall). Patrick of Dunollie died in 1825.
XXV – Sir John of Dunollie (1825 – d. 1865) : Twenty-fifth Chief of the clan and the second son of our Twenty-fourth Chief, Patrick of Dunollie. Sir John was born in 1789. At age thirteen in 1802 he went to sea as a midshipman in the Royal Navy where he fought in many engagements during the Napoleonic wars and afterwards. Sir John rose from a midshipman to the rank of Vice Admiral, R.N., K.C.B. He was known for his courageous seamanship and for his consideration to his tenants as Chief of the clan. In October 1824 the Brooch of Lorn was restored to him after being lost for 177 years since being looted by Covenanter forces in the sack and burning of Gylen castle on the island of Kerrera in 1647 . Since that time its whereabouts were unknown to the clan. General Duncan Campbell of Lochnell had recently obtained the Brooch from its Campbell of Bragleen possessor and arranged for a public ceremony in which the Duke of Argyll returned the Brooch to Sir John who was representing his father, Patrick of Dunollie, in the ceremony. He married in 1826 Elizabeth Sophia Timins who was the daughter of Captain Charles Timmins of the East India Company. Beginning in 1828 he extended Dunollie House, planted many trees, and improved the grounds. After a long and distinguished naval career in which he rose to the rank of Admiral in 1863 after fifty years in the navy. He died on 12 April 1865.
XXVI – Captain Alexander John of Dunollie (1865 – d. 1867) : Twenty-sixth Chief of the clan and the eldest son of our Twenty-fifth Chief, Sir John of Dunollie. As a Captain of Artillery he served in India and fought with distinction in the Crimean war. He married Anna, the daughter of Thomas Barclay. He had been engaged for seven years and died of pneumonia seven weeks after his marriage. Born on August 3, 1827 and died in on August 26, 1867. There is a plaque dedicated to him at the school built in 1872 on the island of Kerrera near the Ferry house which overlooks the Sound of Kerrera.
XXVII – Lt. Colonel Charles Allan of Dunollie (1867 – d. 1896) : Twenty-seventh Chief of the clan and the third son of our Twenty-fifth Chief, Sir John of Dunollie. Member of the Bengal Staff Corps. He was active in the local government of Argyll and encouraged the formation of a Clan MacDougall Society. He married Harriet Elizabeth, the daughter of Charles Munro of Ingsdon. He was born in 1831 and died without issue in 1896.
XXVIII – Deputy Surgeon General Henry Robert Lawrence of Dunollie (1896 – d. 1899) : Twenty-eighth Chief of the clan and the fifth son of our Twenty-fifth Chief, Sir John of Dunollie. Received an M.D. From the University of Edinburgh and made a career in India where he was a member of the Bombay Medical Service. He married Caroline Harriette who was the daughter of James Forsyth of Glengorm on the island of Mull. He was born in 1835 and died in 1899.
XXIX – Colonel Alexander James of Dunollie (1899 – d. 1953) : Twenty-ninth Chief of the clan and the son of our Twenty-eighth Chief, Henry Robert Lawrence of Dunollie. Received an M.B. And Ch. B. from the university of Edinburgh and became a colonel in the Royal army Medical Corps. He was a member of the first British expeditionary force to Europe in 1914 in World War I. He became a colonel in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was twice mentioned in dispatches, and was made a Commander of Saint Michael and Saint George. He served in the Home Guard and as a welfare officer in the Second World War. He was a supporter of youth organizations and greatly interested in the heritage of the clan. He married Colina Edith who was the daughter of Alexander MacDougall of Sorba. He was born in 1872 and died in 1953. He had three daughters: Coline Helen Elizabeth who succeeded him as Chief of the clan: Jean Louisa Morag, who married Dr. Stephen Hadfield: and Margaret Hope Garnons.
XXX – Coline Helen Elizabeth MacDougall of MacDougall and Dunollie (1953 – d. 1990) : Thirtieth Chief of the clan and daughter of our Twenty-ninth Chief, Alexander of Dunollie. Married in 1949 Leslie Grahame-Thomson, a member of Royal Society of Architects. He assumed the name of Grahame MacDougall when his wife became Chief. Madam MacDougall of MacDougall served in the armed forces during the Second World War and was actively interested in preserving the heritage of the Clan. She was born in 1904 and died in May 1990.
XXXI – Morag Morley MacDougall of MacDougall and Dunollie (1990) : Thirty-first Chief of the clan and daughter of Jean Louisa Morag Hadfield, the sister of our Thirtieth Chief, Coline Helen Elizabeth. Born 1939. She and her husband Richard Morely, whom she married at St. Columba’s Church at Argyll Square in Oban in 1966, have a son and a daughter.
Researched from the books: An Official Short History of Clan MacDougall by Michael Starforth; Dunollie, Oban, Argyll by W. Douglas Simpson O.B.E., M.A., F.S.A., SCOT., HON. F.R.I.A.S.; “Dunstaffnage Castle and the Stone of Destiny” by W. Douglas Simpson O.B.E., M.A., F.S.A., SCOT., HON. F.R.I.A.S.; Island of Kerrera: Mirror of History by Hope Macdougall of MacDougall; Journeying in MacDougall Country by Walter M. MacDougall; The Heirs of Somerled: The Historical Origins of the MacDougalls and MacDonalds 1100-1500 by Stephen M. Millett, Ph.D., FSA Scot; The Lordship of the Isles by I. F. Grant;Use this link to the BOOKS pages of this HERITAGE section to view more information concerning the publications relating to Clan MacDougall http://macdougall.org/category/heritage/books/ .