This history is taken from the
"History of the Scottish Highlands, Highland Clans and Scottish Regiments" mostly compiled around 1830
with some updates done
in the late 1870's. Edited by John S Keltie F.S.A. Scot.
We have added dates to the various sections to give you a kind of time line
so if you are looking for a time period it should help you to identify it. You should also
note that this is a history of the Scottish Highlands and not the whole of Scotland so some famous
Scottish events might not be covered or at best only with passing reference.
B.C. 55 - A.D.
The Romans - BC55, The Caledonians, General Agricola - AD83, The Sixth Campaign, Galgacus - First Chief of the combined Caledonian Tribes, The Battle at Fort Ardoch - AD84, Emperor Domitian & Hadrian - AD121, General Lollius Urbicus - AD138, The Wall of Antonine - AD138, Emperor Severus - AD207, Emperor Constantius Chlorus - AD306, The Picts - AD364, Romans Abandon Britain - AD466, The Roman Influence, The Roman Remains, The Roman Camp at
Early Inhabitants, Roman Writers, Aristotle, Tacitus, Dion Cassius,
Caledonians and Maeatae, Eumenius, Picts, Dicaledones and Vecturiones,
Claudian, Inferences, Ecclesiastical Chroniclers, Their value, Gildas,
Adamnan, Northern and Southern Picts, Columba’s "Interpreter
", Bede’s Account of Picts, Pictish Language, Peanfahel, Northern
and Southern Picts, Welsh Triads, Irish Annals, Evidence from Language,
Cymric and Gaelic Theories, Inver and Aber, Innes’s
An account of Druidism.
St. Columba - 571
An account of St.
Uniting of Scots and Picts -
Conal, the fifth king of the Scots
in Argyle, reign of Brude, first mention of the Vikings through to the
Kings of the Dalriadic Scots who about the middle of the 9th century,
obtained supremacy over at least the Southern Picts, who from that time
forward ceased to be a separate nation.
An explanation of the
life at this time in history with explanations of the law of tanistry,
the office of Breitheamhuin or Brehon and fosterage.
Consolidation of Power through
An account leading
through the death of Kenneth, the stone of destiny, Constantine, the
Pictish king, Donald III, accounts of the Vikings, Grig, Donald IV,
through to the death of Constantine III in 952.
Malcolm I to Malcolm II 1020
An account of Malcolm I,
Indulph, the son of Constantine III, Duff, the son of Malcolm I, Culen,
the son of Indulph, Kenneth III, battle with the Danes, Constantine IV,
Kenneth IV, Malcolm II and the battle with the Danes in 1010 and under
whose reign Scotland appears to have reached its present boundary on the
south, the Tweed, and Strathclyde was incorporated with the rest of the
kingdom. Malcolm was the first who was called Rex Scotia, and might
justly claim the be so designated, seeing that he was the first to hold
sway over nearly the whole of present Scotland.
Macbeth through to Malcolm III
Macbeth and his reign, Malcolm III, better known in history by the name
of Malcolm Ceanmore, battle of hastings, account of Thorfinn, Earl of
Orkney, and mention of the Gael.
Changes in Population and
Language to 1106
Donal-bane, the reign of Edgar, discussion of Saxon
colonization, Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Normans, and Flemings.
Disturbances through to Robert
Reign of Alexander I, David I, Angus the Earl of Moray, the
Murrays, Somerled, thane of Argyle and the Isles, Malcolm IV, William
the Lion, the Saxons, Harold, the powerful Earl of Orkney and Caithness,
Donald Bane or MacWilliam, Alexander II, Earl of Ross, Alexander III,
Haco and the battle of Largs, King Robert Bruce, battle of bannockburn,
foundation of the Stewart dynasty.
David II and Feud between Clan
Chattan and Camerons
David II, Lord of the Isles, Macintosh, the chief of the clan
Chattan, insurection in 1366 by Earl of Ross, Hugh de Ross, John of the
Isles, John of Lorn, and John de Haye, feud between the clan Chattan and
the Camerons involving also the Macphersons and Davidsons and an account
of a set stage battle.
Disturbances in Sutherland and
Battle of Harlaw 1411
Alexander of Badenoch (the Wolf of Badenoch), Alexander Stewart,
afterwards Earl of Mar, Earl of Sutherland, had a feud with Y-Mackay of
Far, conflict took place between the inhabitants of Sutherland and
Strathnaver, and Malcolm Macleod of the Lewis, Donald, Lord of the
Isles, earldom of Ross, Lord of the Isles formed an alliance with
England, Duke of Albany, Earl of Mar, battle of Harlaw.
The reign of James I
James I in 1424, Scoto-Norman barons, Donald Balloch’s insurrection,
Neill Mackay, Keiths, and a general account of various battles and life
style in this reign.
At this point we detail many of the
individual clan feuds that went on in the Highlands to give you an
impression of the general unrest there was during the next two centuries.
Intrigues of Edward IV - Earl
of Ross Rebels 1454-1512
Earl of Douglas, Earl of Ross, Donald Balloch, Lord of Isla
desolates the western coast of Scotland from Innerkip to Bute, the
Cumbraes and the Island of Arran, battles between Macdonald and
Sutherland, administration of James II, Henry VI, Edward IV, Margaret of
Norway, the wife of James III, Earl of Athole, Mackays and the Rosses,
lawless state of society in the Highlands, James IV and various accounts
of feuds and excursions.
Torran-Dubh/Alexander Sutherland the Bastard
John Mackay and his disputes with the Earl of Sutherland,
Torran-Dubh, clans Keith and Gun disputes, extensive details on excursions
between Mackay and Sutherland.
Dissension among the Clan
Chattan in 1526
Lauchian Macintosh of Dunnachtan, Malcolmeson, King James V, and
mainly an account of the problems of Clan Chattan.
Clanranald and Lord Lovat -
Field of Shirts
Earl of Huntly attended by the Macintoshes, Grants, and Frasers,
against the clan Cameron and the clan Ranald. The field of shirts battle
between clanranald and Lord Lovat. Macintosh, chief of the clan Chattan in
dispute with Earl of Huntly. Province of Sutherland again became the scene
of some commotions and plundered by the Mackays and the Queen Regent gets
Doings of Mackay and the Earl
Mackay, Queen Mary, Maormorate of Moray, Roman Catholic party,
Earl of Caithness and Alexander Gordon encounters, house of Sutherland,
but principally the encounters between earl of Caithnes and the earl of
Sutherland and some information on Clan Chattan.
Clan Gunn & Macdonalds and
Troubles of clan Gunn, Earl of Sutherland and Earl of Caithness,
a violent feud arose in the western isles between Angus Macdonald of
Kintyre, and Sir Lauchlan Maclean of Duart, in Mull, which ended in the
almost total destruction of the clan Donald and clan Lean.
Earls of Caithness and
Sutherland through to 1588
More discord between Sutherland and Caithness, and of course the
Strife between the Earls of
Caithness and Sutherland
And yet more discord and feuds between Sutherland and Caithness.
Earl of Huntly Attainted
Earl of Huntly and Macintosh - the chief of the clan Chattan, in
the year 1590, between the Gordons and the Grants. Earl of Bothwell and
the attack upon the palace of Holyroodhouse, attack on the Earl of Murray,
and sundry other goings on.
Continued strife through to
Tumult occurred at Loggiewreid in Ross, Monroes took the side of
the Banes, and the Mackenzies aided John Mac-Gille-Calum, ambition and
avarice of Sir Lauchlan Maclean and clan Donald. More encounters between
Caithness and Sutherland. Great commotions took place in the north-west
isles, in consequence of a quarrel between Donald Gorm Macdonald of Slate,
and Sir Roderick Macleod of Harris.
strife 1601 through to 1608
Renewal of some old quarrels between Colquhoun of Luss, the chief
of that surname, and Alexander Macgregor, chief of the clan Gregor.
Quarrel between the clan Kenzie and the laird of Glengarry. Quarrel
occurred in Sutherland between Iver Mac-Donald-MacAlister, one of the
Siol-Thomais, and Alexander Murray in Auchindough.
More commotions and strife
Quarrel between the Earl of Caithness and the chief of the Mackays,
Commotions in Lewis among the Macleods, Invasion of Lewis by Fife
adventurers, compelled to abandon it, Lord Kintail obtains possession of
Lewis, Expulsion of Neill Macleod, Quarrel between the Laird of Rasay
and Mackenzie of Gairloch, disturbance in Caithness, tumults in
Caithness on the apprehension of Arthur Smith; a false coiner, Earl of
Caithness prosecutes Donald Mackay and others, dissensions among the
1618 - 1623
Continued animosity between the Earls of Caithness and Sutherland, The
latter imprisoned as a suspected Catholic,Formidable Rebellion in the
South Hebrides,Suppressed by the Earl of Argyle, Fresh intrigues of
the Earl of Caithness, His oppressions,Burning of the corn at Sanset, Legal
proceedings against the Guns,Agreement between the Earl of Caithness,
Sir Robert Gordon, and Lord Forbes.
We now return to the more general Highland history of the period from the
time of Charles I through to the time of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite
revolution of 1745.
1636 - 1644
Charles I. attempts to
introduce Episcopacy into Scotland, Meets with opposition, Preparations for
war, Doings in the North, Earl of Montrose, Montrose at Aberdeen, Arrests
the Marquis of Huntly, Covenanters of the North meet at Turriff, The "Trott
of Turray ", Movements of the Gordons, Viscount Aboyne lands at
Aberdeen, " Raid of Stonehaven ", Battle at the Bridge of Dee, Pacification
of Berwick, War again - Earl of Argyle endeavours to secure the West Highlands,
proceedings against the Earl of Airly, Montrose goes over to the king, Marquis
of Huntly rises in the North, Montrose enters Scotland in disguise, Landing
of Irish forces in the West Highlands, Meeting of Montrose and Alexander
Macdonald, Atholemen join Montrose, Montrose advances into Strathearn, Battle
1644 (September) - 1645 (February)
Montrose crosses the Tay to Collace, Marches through Angus and Mearns, Battle of Aberdeen,
Supineness of the Gordons, Movements of Argyle, Montrose retreats through Badenoch,
Second march of Montrose to the north, Battle of Fyvie, Montrose retreats to Strathbogie,
his camp, Montrose enters and wastes Breadalbane and Argyle, Marches
to Lochness, Argyle enters Lochaber, Battle of Inverlochy.
February - September, 1645 (Part 1)
Montroae marches to Inverness and Elgin, wasting the lands of the
Covenanters, Enters and plunders Banff, Deputation from Aberdeen, Death of Donald Farquharson,
Montrose imposes a tax of £10,000 on
Aberdeen, Enters and burns Stonehaven, Defeats Hurry’s horse at
Fettercairn, Marches to Brechin and Dunkeld, Storms and captures
Dundee, Montrose’s retreat from Dundee, Movements of General Baillie, Battle of Auldearn,
Montrose’s after-movements, Battle of Alford.
February - September, 1645 (Part 2)
General Baillie and the Committee of Estates retreat to Stirling, Montrose marches to Aberdeen,
Montrose marches south, Is joined by
more Highlanders, Threatens Perth, Retreats to Dunkeld, Again moves
south, Baillie joined by the men of Fife, Montrose at Alloa, Maclean burns Castle Campbell,
Montrose goes towards Stirling, Differences among the Covenanters, Battle of Kilsyth,
Glasgow, Submission of the nobility and the western counties, Submission of Edinburgh,
Montrose appointed Lieutenant-governor of
Scotland, Desertion of Highlanders, Battle of Philiphaugh.
1645 - 1649 (Part 1)
Huntly refuses to join Montrose, Aboyne joins and shortly deserts him,
Executions by the Covenanters, Montrose has an interview with Huntly, Defeat
of the Campbells at Callander, Meeting of the covenanting Parliament, Trials
and Executions, Movements of Montrose and Huntly, General Middleton’s
movements. The King escapes to the Scots army, Orders Montrose to
disband his army, Montrose corresponds with the King, Interview with
Middleton, Disbands his army, Embarks for the Continent.
1645 - 1649 (Part 2)
The Scotch and the
King, Proceedings of General Leslie, Defeats Sir Alexander Macdonald,
Surrender of Dunaverty Castle, Leslie in the Western Isles, Apprehension of
Huntly, Risings in Scotland in behalf of the King, Movements of royalists
under Hamilton, Rising in the West, Enter Edinburgh. Capture of Stirling and
flight of Argyle, Cromwell arrives in Edinburgh, Trial and Execution of the
King, Also of Hamilton and Huntly.
1649 - 1650
Negotiations with Charles II., Proceedings of Montrose, Pluscardine’s
Insurrection, Landing of Kinnoul and Montrose in Orkney, Montrose’s
Declaration, Montrose advances southwards, Is defeated at Carbisdale,
Montrose captured and sent to Edinburgh, His reception there, Trial and
1650 - 1660
Arrival of Charles II., Cromwell invades Scotland, Attacks the Scotch
army near Edinburgh, His further movements, The Dunfermline Declaration,
Retreat of Cromwell, Battle of Dunbar, Declaration and Warning of the kirk,
Flight of the king from Perth, Insurrections in the Highlands, Proceedings
of Cromwell, Conduct of the western army, Cromwell marches north, Enters
Perth, Scotch army invades England, Battle of Worcester, Operation of
Monk in Scotland, Administration of affairs committed to him, Earl of
Glencairns insurrection in the Highlands, Chiefs of the insurrection submit
to Monk, Cameron of Lochiel, State of the country, Restoration of Charles
1660 - 1689
Trial and Execution of the Marquis of Argyle, His character, Feud between
the Earl of Argyle and the Macleans, The "Highland Host", The Test,
Trial and Condemnation of the Earl of Argyle, Argyle escapes, Argyle and
Monmouth’s invasion, Execution of Argyle, Unconstitutional proceedings of
the King, Designs of the Prince of Orange, Proceedings of King James,
Landing of the Prince of Orange, State of feeling in Scotland, Flight of the
King, The Duke of Gordon, Convention of Estates, Duke of Gordon holds
Edinburgh Castle, Viscount Dundee.
March to July, 1689
Viscount Dundee, Proceedings of the convention, General Hugh Mackay, Attempt
to apprehend Dundee, who retires to the north, Mackay follows Dundee, Dundee
joined by Keppoch, Movements of the two commanders, Movements of Colonel
Ramsay, Disaffection among Mackay’s troops, Ruthven Castle surrenders to
Dundee, Mackay retreats down Strathspey, Followed by Dundee, Retreat of
Dundee, who disbands his forces, Mackay returns to Edinburgh, Probabilities
of success, Dundee solicits aid from Ireland, Preparations of Mackay,
Lord Murray and the Atholemen, Departure of Mackay to Perth, Dundee marches
into Athole, Battle of Killiecrankie, Death and character of Dundee.
1689 - 1691
Mackay’s movements, Advances to Perth, Colonel Cannon marches north and is
joined by several clans, Followed by Mackay, Cannon returns south, Tbe
Cameronians at Dunkeld, Movernents of Mackay, Major-General Buchan arrives
from Ireland and marches north, Skirmish at Cromdale, Mackay marches to
Inverlochy, Erection of Fort William, Movements of Buchan and Cannon, Mackay
marches to the north, Earl of Seaforth imprisoned, Cessation of hostilities,
Departure Dundee’s officers for France.
1691 - 1702
Negotiations with the Highland chiefs, Massacre of Glencoe, Master of Stair,
King William, Subsequent enquiry, State of Highlands during William’s
reign, Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat.
1695 - 1714
The Darien Scheme, Hopes of the Jacobites, Death of James II., Death
of King William, Accession of the Princess Anne, The Scottish Parliament, Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat,
Meeting of Scottish Parliament, Union with England, Ferment in Scotland against it,
Negotiation, Preparations in France to invade Scotland, Unsuccessful
result of the expedition, State of Scotland, Proceedings of the
Jacobites, Death of Queen Anne.
1714 - 1715
Proceedings of the Whigs, Declaration of the Chevalier de St. George,
Arrival of George I. in England, Conduct of the Earl of Mar, Government
measures, Intrigues of the Jacobites, The Earl of Mar, Leaves England for
Scotland, The "Hunting match", The Chevalier de St. George
proclaimed by Mar who raises the standard of revolt in Braemar, Death of
Louis XIV., Manifesto issued by the Jacobites.
Measures of the government, Attempt to surprise Edinburgh Castle, Duke of
Argyle appointed to the command of the government forces, Expedition of
General Gordon into Argyle, Proceedings of the Earl of Mar, Insurrection in
England, Affair at Keith, Rising in the south of Scotland, Expedition of
Brigadier Mackintosh, Marches to Edinburgh and occupies Leith, Duke of
Argyle marches to Leith, Retreat of Mackintosh, Joins the forces under
Forster, Disputes among the insurgents and secession of 500 Highlanders,
Rebels march into England, Battle of Preston.
1715 - 1716
Re-capture of Inverness by the Royalists, Preparations for opening the
campaign, Mar’s departure from Perth, Junction of the western clans,
Advance of Argyle towards Dunblane, Preparations for battle, Battle of
Sheriffmuir, Mar returns to Perth and
Argyle to Stirling, Arrival of the Chevalier, Goes to Perth, Preparations of
Argyle, Jacobites retreat from Perth, Departure of the Chevalier for France,
Dispersion of the insurgents.
1716 - 1737
Trial and execution of the prisoners taken in the rebellion, Bills of
attainder against the Earl of Mar and others, Proceedings of General Cadogan
in the Highlands, Trials of the prisoners in Scotland, Act of grace, Removal
of the Chevalier from France, Duke of Argyle dismissed from office,
Continental affairs, Confederacy to restore the Chevalier, Threatened
Spanish invasion, Disarming of the Highlanders, Means taken to prevent
further disturbances by building forts, making roads, &c., Aversion of
the Highlanders to these innovations, The Chevalier appoints trustees to
manage his affairs in Scotland, Discovery of a new Jacobite conspiracy,
Habeas-corpus act suspended, Bolingbroke, Meeting of Highland chiefs at
Paris, The disarming act, Disgrace of the Earl of Mar, His ambiguous
conduct, Atterbury’s charges against him, The Chevalier’s domestic
affairs, Death of George I., Views of the Chevalier, Prospects of the
1739 - 1745
Foreign intrigues, Edinburgh Association, Maria Theresa, Jacobite intrigues,
Drummond of Bochaldy at Edinburgh and Murray of Broughton at Paris, Plan of
a French invasion, Prince Charles Edward the Chevalier’s son, arrives at
Paris, Preparations for invasion, Embarkation and failure of the expedition,
Murray of Broughton proceeds to Paris, Interview with the Prince who
resolves to proceed to Scotland.
At this point we move to a very detailed account
of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 including the account of Bonnie Price Charlie.
As I have previously published this section you will now be sent to that part of
the site that carries this account.
1745 - 1746
The Jacobite Rebellion
A large and detailed account of this period including details of Bonnie
Prince Charlie, Battle of Falkirk, Battle of Culloden, Bonnie Prince
Charlie's escape, meeting with Flora MacDonald, his escape to France and his
eventual death in Italy.
Now comes an account of the social conditions
both before and after the Rebellion of 1745 in which we discuss living
conditions, the highland clearances and emigration. These pages have been
previously published and links below are to these pages.
Living Conditions in the Highlands Prior to 1745 - Part 1
Social condition of the Highlands, Black Mail, Watch Money, The Law, Power
of the Chiefs, Land Distribution, Tacksmen, Tenants, Rents, Thirlage,
Wretched State of Agriculture, Agricultural Implements, The Caschroim, The
Reestle, Methods of Transportation, Drawbacks to Cultivation, Management
of Crops, Farm Work, Live Stock, Garrons, Sheep, Black Cattle, Arable
Land, Pasturage, Farm Servants, The Bailte Geamhre, Davoch-lands, Milk,
Cattle Drovers, Harvest Work, The Quern.
Living Conditions in the Highlands Prior to 1745- Part 2
Fuel, Food, Social Life in Former Days, Education, Dwellings,
Habits, Gartmore Papers, Wages, Roads, Present State of the Highlands.
Conditions in the Highlands after 1745 - Part 1
Progress of Innovation, First mention of Emigration, Pennant’s
account of the country, Dr Johnson, Emigration fairly commenced in
Conditions in the Highlands after 1745 - Part 2
The Tacksmen the first to suffer and emigrate, Consequences to those
who remained, Wretched condition of the Western Islands, Introduction of
large sheep-farms, Ejection of small tenants, "Mailers",
Hebrides, Real Highland grievance, Title-deeds, The two sides of the
Highland Question, Truth on both sides, Excessive population, Argument of
those who condemn depopulation, The sentimental and military arguments,
Testimony as to wretched condition of Highlanders, Highlands admirably
suited for sheep, Effect of sheep-farming on Highland scenery, Highlands
unsuited to black cattle, Large and small farms, Interference, Fishing and
farming cannot be successfully united, Raising rents, Depopulation, How
far the landlords were to blame, Kelp, Advantages and disadvantages of its
manufacture, Potatoes, Introduction into the Highlands, Their importance,
Failures of Crop, Disease, Amount of progress made during latter part of
The Highlands around
Progress of Highlands during present century (19th), Depopulation and
emigration, Questions between landlords and tenants, Hardships of the ousted
tenants, Sutherland clearings, Compulsory emigration, Famines, Poorer
tenants compelled to take service, Sir John M’Neill’s Report, Changes
complained of inevitable, Emigration the only remedy, Large and small farms,
Experiments, Highlanders succeed when left to themselves, Substitution of
deer for sheep, Recent state of Highlands, Means of improvement,
Increased facilities for intercourse of great value, Population of chief
Highland counties, Highland colonies, Attachment of Highlanders to their old
Concluding our General History of the Highlands
we now present an 1870 text which tries to tell of the Scenery of the Highlands.