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Gaelic charter of 1408


In 1408, Donald, Lord of the Isles, the hero of Harlaw, made a grant of lands in Islay to Brian Vicar Mackay, one of the old Mackays of the island. The charter conveying these lands still exists, and is written in the Gaelic language. As it is now published by the Record Commission, it is not necessary to give it here, but it is a document of much interest, written by Fergus M'Beth or Beaton, one of the famous Beatons who were physicians to the Lord of the Isles, and signed with the holograph of the great island chief himself. The lands conveyed are in the eastern part of the island, north of the Mull of Oa, and embrace such well-known places as Baile-Vicar, Cornabus, Tocamol, Cracobus, &c. The style of the charter is that of the usual feudal charters written in Latin, but the remarkable thing is to find a document of the kind written in Gaelic at a time when such a thing was almost unknown in the Saxon dialects of either Scotland or England.