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Clan Campbell


As we have already indicated, the ancestor of the Breadalbane family, and first of the house of Glenurchy, was Sir Colin Campbell, the third son of Duncan, first Lord Campbell of Lochow.

In an old manuscript, preserved in Taymouth Castle, names "the Black Book of Taymouth" (printed by Bannatyne Club, 1853), containing a genealogical account of the Glenurchy family, it is stated that "Duncan Campbell, commonly callit Duncan in Aa, knight of Lochow (lineallie descendit of a valiant man, surnamit Campbell, quha cam to Scotland in King Malcolm Kandmoir, his time, about the year of God 1067, of quhom came the house of Lochow), flourisched Duncan in Aa had to wyffe Margarit Stewart, dochter to Duke Murdoch (a mistake evidently for Robert), on whom he begat twa sons, the elder callit Archibald, the other namit Colin, wha was first laird of Glenurchay".  That estate was settled on him by his father. It had come into the Campbell family, in the reign of King David the Second, by marriage of Margaret Glenurchy with John Campbell; and was at one time the property of the warlike clan Macgregor, who were gradually expelled from the territory by the rival clan Campbell.

In 1440 he built the castle of Kilchurn, on a projecting rocky elevation at the east end of Lochawe, under the shadow of the majestic Ben Crusachan, which is now a picturesque ruin - "grey and stern Stands, like a spirit of the past, lone old Kilchurn".


Kilchurn Castle ęGraham MacFarlane

According to tradition, Kilchurn (properly Coalchuirn) Castle was first erected by his lady, and not by himself, he being absent on a crusade at the time, and for seven years the principal portion of the rents of his lands are said to have been expended on its erection. Sir Colin died before June 10, 1478; as on that day the Lords' auditors gave a decree in a civil suit against "Duncan Campbell, son and air of umquhile Sir Colin Campbell of Glenurquha, knight". He was interred in Argyleshire, and not, as Douglas says, at Finlarig at the north-west end of Lochtay, which afterwards became the burial-place of he family. His first wife had no issue. His second wife was Lady Margaret Stewart, the second of the three daughters and co-heiress of John Lord Lorn, with whom he got a third of that lordship, still possessed by the family, and thenceforward quartered the galley of Lorn with his paternal achievement. His third wife was Margaret, daughter of Robert Robertson of Strowan, by whom he had a son and a daughter. Sir Colin's fourth wife was Margaret, daughter of Luke Stirling of Keir, by whom he had a son, John, ancestor of the Earls of Loudon, and a daughter, Mariot, married William Stewart of Baldoran.

Sir Duncan Campbell, the eldest son, obtained the office of bailiary of the king's lands of Disher, Foyer, and Glenlyon, 3rd September 1498, for which office, being a hereditary one, his descendant, the second Earl of Breadalbane, received, on the abolition of the heritable jurisdiction in Scotland, in 1747, the sum of one thousand pounds, in full of his claim for six thousand. Sir Duncan also got charters of the kings's lands of the port of Lochtay, etc. 5th March 1492; also of the lands of Glenlyon, 7th September 1502; of Finlarig, 22nd April 1503; and of other lands in Perthshire in May 1508 and September 1511. He fell at the battle of Flodden. He was twice married. He was succeeded by Sir Colin, the eldest son, who married Lady Marjory Stewart, sixth daughter of John, Earl of Athole, brother uterine of King James the Second, and had three sons, viz, Sir Duncan, Sir John and Sir Colin, who all succeeded to the estate. The last of them, Sir Colin, became laird of Glenurchy in 1550, and, according to the "Black Book of Taymouth", he "conquessit" (that is, acquired) "the superiority of M'Nabb, his haill landis". He was among the first to join the Reformation, and sat in the parliament of 1560, when the Protestant doctrines received the sanction of law. In the "Black Book of Taymouth", he is represented to have been "ane great justiciar all his tyme, throch the quhilk he sustenit the deidly feid of the Clangregor ne lang space; and besides that, he causit execute to the death many notable lymarris, he behiddit the laird of Macgregor himself at Kandmoir, in presence of the Erle of Athol, the justice-clerk, and sundrie other nobilmen". In 1580 he built the castle of Balloch in Perthshire, one wing of which still continues attached to Taymouth Castle, the splendid mansion of the Earl of Breadalbane. He also built Edinample, another seat of the family. Sir Colin died in 1583. By his wife Catherine, second daughter of William, second Lord Ruthven, he had four sons and four daughters.

Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy, his eldest son and successor, was, on the death of Colin, sixth Earl of Argyll, in 1584, nominated by that nobleman's will one of the six guardians of the young earl, then a minor. The disputes which arose among the guardians have been already referred to, as well as the assassination of the Earl of Moray and Campbell of Calder, and the plot to assassinate the young Earl of Argyll. Gregory expressly charges Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy with being the principle mover in the branch of the plot which led to the murder of Calder.

In 1617 Sir Duncan had the offices of heritable keeper of the forest of Mamlorn, Bendaskerlie, etc conferred upon him. He afterwards obtained from King Charles the First the sheriffship of Perthshire for life. He was created a baronet of Nova Scotia by patent, bearing date 30th May 1625. Although represented as an ambitious and grasping character, he is said to have been the first who attempted to civilise the people on his extensive estates. he not only set them the example of planting timber trees, fencing pieces of ground for gardens, and manuring their lands, but assisted and encouraged them in their labours. One of his regulations of police for the estate was "that no man shall in any public-house drink more than a chopin of ale with his neighbour's wife, in the absence of her husband, upon the penalty of ten pounds, and sitting twenty-four hours in the stocks, toties quoties". He died in June 1631. He was twice married; by his first wife, Lady Jean Stewart, second daughter of John, Earl of Athole, Lord High Chancellor of Scotland, by whom he had seven sons and three daughters. Archibald Campbell of Monzie, the fifth son, was ancestor of the Campbells of Monzie, Lochlane and Finnab, in Perthshire.

Sir Colin Campbell, the eldest son of Sir Duncan, born about 1577, succeeded as eighth laird of Glenurchy. Little is know of this Sir Colin save what is highly to his honour, namely, his patronage of George Jamesone, the celebrated portrait painter. Sir Colin married Lady Juliana Campbell, eldest daughter of Hugh, first Lord Loudon, but had no issue. He was succeeded by his brother, Sir Robert, at first styled of Glenfalloch, and afterwards of Glenurchy. Sir Robert married Isabel, daughter of Sir Lauchlan Mackintosh, of Torcastle, captain of the clan Chattan, and had eight sons and nine daughters. William, the sixth son, was ancestor of the Campbells of Glenfalloch, the representatives of whom have succeeded to the Scottish titles of Earl of Breadalbane, etc. Margaret, the eldest daughter, married to John Cameron of Lochiel, was the mother of Sir Ewan Cameron.

The eldest son, Sir John Campbell of Glenurchy, who succeeded, was twice married. His first wife was Lady Mary Graham, eldest daughter of William, Earl of Strathearn, Menteath, and Airth.

Sir John Campbell of Glenurchy, first Earl of Breadalbane, only son of this Sir John, was born about 1635. he gave great assistance to the forces collected in the Highlands for Charles the Second in 1653, under the command of General Middleton. He subsequently used his utmost endeavours with General Monk to declare for a free parliament, as the most effectual way to bring about his Majesty's restoration. Being a principle creditor of George, sixth Earl of Caithness, whose debts are said to have exceeded a million of marks, that nobleman, on 8th October 1672, made a disposition of his whole estates, heritable jurisdictions, and titles of honour, after his death, in favour of Sir John Campbell of Glenurchy, the latter taking on himself the burden of his lordship's debts; and he was in consequence duly infefted in the lands and earldom of Caithness, 27th February 1673. The Earl of Caithness died in May 1676, when Sir John Campbell obtained a patent, creating him Earl of Caithness, dated at Whitehall, 28th June 1677. But George Sinclair of Keiss, the heir-male of the last earl, being found by parliament entitled to that dignity, Sir John Campbell obtained another patent, 13th August 1681, creating him instead Earl of Breadalbane and Holland, Viscount of Tay and Paintland, Lord Glenurchy, Benederaloch, Ormelie and Weik, with the precedency of the former patent, and remainder to whichever of his sons by first wife he might designate in writing, and ultimately to his heirs-male whatsoever. On the accession of James II, the Earl was sworn a privy councillor. At the Revolution, he adhered to the Prince of Orange; and after the battle of Killiecrankie, and the attempted reduction of the Highlands by the forces of the new government, he was empowered to enter into a negotiation with the Jacobite chiefs to induce them to submit to King William, full details of which, as well as of his share in the massacre of Glencoe, have been given in the former part of this work.

When the treaty of Union was under discussion, his Lordship kept aloof, and did not even attend parliament. At the general election of 1713, he was chosen one of the sixteen Scots representative peers, being then seventy eight years old. At the breaking out of the rebellion of 1715, he sent five hundred of his clan to join the standard of the Pretender; and he was one of the suspected persons, with his second son, Lord Glenurchy, summoned to appear at Edinburgh within a certain specified period, to give bail for their allegiance to the government, but no further notice was taken of his conduct. The Earl died in 1716, in his 81st year. He married first, 17th December 1657, Lady Mary Rich, third daughter of Henry, first Earl of Holland, who had been executed for his loyalty to Charles the First, 9th March 1649. By this lady he had two sons - Duncan, styled Lord Ormelie, who survived his father, but was passed over in the succession, and John, in his father's lifetime styled Lord Glenurchy, who became second Earl of Breadalbane. He married, secondly, 7th April 1678, Lady Mary Campbell, third daughter of Archibald, Marquis of Argyll, dowager of George, sixth Earl of Caithness.

John Campbell, Lord Glenurchy, the second son, born 19th November 1662, was by his father nominated to succeed him as second Earl of Breadalbane, in terms of the patent conferring the title. He died at Holyroodhouse, 23rd February 1752, in his ninetieth year. He married, first, Lady Frances Cavendish, second of the five daughters of Henry, second Duke of Newcastle. She died, without issue, 4th February 1690, in her thirtieth year. He married, secondly, 23rd May 1695, Henrietta, second daughter of Sir Edward Villiers, knight, sister of the first Earl of Jersey, and of Elizabeth, Countess of Orkney, the witty but plain looking mistress of King William III. By his second wife he had a son, John, third earl, and two daughters.

John, third earl, born in 1696, was educated at the university of Oxford, and after holding many highly important public offices, died at Holyroodhouse, 26th January 1782, in his 86th year. He was twice married, and had three sons, who all predeceased him.

The male line of the first peer having thus become extinct, the clause in the patent in favour of heirs-general transferred the peerage, and the vast estates belonging to it, to his kinsman, John Campbell, born in 1762, eldest son of Colin Campbell of Carwhin, descended from Colin Campbell of Mochaster (who died in 1678), third son of Sir Robert Campbell of Glenurchy. The mother of the fourth Earl and first Marquis of Breadalbane was Elizabeth, daughter of Archibald Campbell of Stonefield, sheriff or Argyleshire, and sister of John Campbell, judicially styled Lord Stonefield, a lord of session and justiciary. In 1784 he was elected one of the sixteen representative peers of Scotland, and was rechosen at all the subsequent elections, until he was created a peer of the United Kingdom in November 1806, by the title of Baron Breadalbane of Taymouth, in the county of Perth, to himself and the heir-male of his body. In 1831, at the coronation of William the Fourth, he was created a marquis of the United Kingdom, under the title of Marquis of Breadalbane and Earl of Ormelie. In public affairs he did not take a prominent or ostentatious part, his attention being chiefly devoted to the improvement of his extensive estates, great portions of which, being unfitted for cultivation, he laid out in plantations. In the magnificent improvements at Taymouth, his lordship, displayed much taste; and the park has been frequently described as one of the most extensive and beautiful in the kingdom. He married, 2nd September 1793, Mary Turner, eldest daughter and coheiress of David Gavin, Esq of Langton, in the county of Berwick, and by her had two daughters and one son. The elder daughter, Lady Elizabeth Maitland Campbell, married in 1831, Sir John Pringle of Stitchell, baronet, and the younger, Lady Uary Campbell, became in 1819 the wife of Richard, Marquis of Chandos, who in 1839 became the Duke of Buckingham. The marquis died, after a short illness, at Taymouth Castle, on 29th March 1834, aged seventy-two.

The marquis' only son, John Campbell, Earl of Ormeluie, born at Dundee, 26th October 1796, succeeded, on the death of his father, to the titles and estates. He married, 23rd November 1821, Eliza, eldest daughter of George Baillie Esq of Jerviswood, without issue. He died November 8th 1862, when the marquisate, with its secondary titles, in the peerage of the United Kingdom, became extinct, and he was succeeded in the Scots titles by a distant kinsman, John Alexander Gavin Campbell of Glenfalloch, Perthshire, born in 1824. The claim of the latter, however, was disputed by several candidates for the titles and rich estates. As we have already indicated, the title of Glenfalloch to the estates was descended from William, sixth son of Sir Robert Campbell, ninth laird and third baron of Glenurchy. He married, in 1850, Mary Theresa, daughter of J Edwards Esq dublin, and had issue two sons, Lord Glenurchy and the Honourable Ivan Campbell; and one daughter, Lady Eva. This the sixth earl died in London, March 20, 1871, and has been succeeded by his eldest son.

Of the Macarthur Campbells of Strachur, the old statistical account of the parish of Struchur says: "This family is reckoned by some the most ancient of the name of Campbell. The late laird of Macfarlane, who with great genuius and assiduity had studied the ancient history of the Highlands, was of this opinion. The patronymic name of this family was Macarthur (the son of Arthur), which Arthur, the antiquary above mentioned maintains, was brother to Colin, the first of the Argyll family, and that the representatives of the two brothers continued for a long time to be known by the names of Macarthur and Maccaellein, before they took the surname of Campbell. Another account makes Arthur the first laird of Strachur, to have descended of the family of Argyll, at a later period, in which the present laird seems to acquiesce, by taking with a mark of cadetcy, the arms and livery of the family of Argyll, after they had been quartered with those of Lorn. The laird of Strachur has been always accounted, according to the custom of the Highlands, chief of the clan Arthur or Macarthurs". We have already quoted Mr Skene's opinion as the the claims of the Macarthurs to the chiefship of the clan Campbell; we cannot think these claims have been sufficiently made out.

Macarthur adhered to the cause of Robert the Bruce, and received, as his reward, a considerable portion of the forfeited territory of MacDougall of Lorn, Bruce's great enemy. He obtained also the keeping of the castle of Dunstaffnage. After the marriage of Sir Neil Campbell with the king's sister, the power and possessions of the Campbell branch rapidly increased, and in the reign of David II, they appear to have first out forward their claims to the chieftainship, but were successfully resisted by Macarthur, who obtained a charter "Arthuro Campbell quod nulli subjieitur pro terris nisi regi!.

In the reign of James I, the chief's name was John Macarthur, and so great was his following, that he could bring 1,000 men into the field. In 1427 that king, in a progress through the north, held a parliament at Inverness, to which he summoned all the Highland chiefs, and among others who then felt his vengeance, was John Macarthur, who was beheaded, and his whole lands forfeited. From that period the chieftainship, according to Skene, was lost to the Macarthurs; the family subsequently obtained Strachur in Cowal, and portions of Glen falloch and Glendochart in Perthshire. Many of the name of Macarthur are still found about Dunstaffnage, but they have long been merely tenants to the Campbells. The Macarthurs were hereditary pipers to the MacDonalds of the Isles, and the last of the race was piper to the Highland Society.

In the history of the main clan, we noted the origin of most of the offshoots. It may, however, not be out of place to refer to them again explicitly.

The Campbells of Cawdor or Calder, now represented by the Earl of Cawdor, had their origin in the marriage of 1510, of Muriella heiress of the old Thanes of Cawdor, with Sir John Campbell, third son of the second Earl of Argyll. In the general account of the clan, we have already detailed the circumstances connected with the bringing about of this marriage.

The fiest of the Campbells of Aberuchill, in Perthshire, was Colin Campbell, second son of Sir John Campbell of Lawers, and uncle of the first Earl of Loudon. He got from the Crown a charter of the lands of Aberuchill, in 1596. His son, Sir James Campbell, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia in the 17th century.

The Campbells of Ardnamurchan are descended from Sir Donald Campbell, natural son of Sir John Campbell of Calder, who, as already narrated, was assassinated in 1592. For services performed against the Macdonald's, he was in 1625 made heritable proprietor of the district of Ardnamurchan and Sunart, and was created a baronet in 1628.

The Auchinbreck family is descended from Sir Dugald Campbell of Auchinbreck, who was created a baronet of Nova Scotia in 1628.

The Campbells of Ardkinglass were an old branch of the house of Argyll, Sir Colin Campbell, son and heir of James Campbell of Ardkinglass, descended from the Campbells of Lorn, by Mary, his wife, daughter of Sir Robert Campbell of Glenurchy, was made a baronet in 1679. The family ended in an heiress, who married into the Livingstone family; and on the death of Sir Alexander Livingstone Campbell of Ardkinglass, in 1810, the title and estate descended to Colonel James Callander, afterwards Sir James Campbell, his cousin, son of Sir John Callander of Craigforth, Stirlingshire. At his death in 1832, without legitimate issue, the title became extinct.

The family of Barcaldine and Glenure, in Argylshire, whose baronetcy was conferred in 1831, is descended from a younger son of Sir Duncan Campbell, ancestor of the Marquis of Breadalbane.

The Campbells of Dunstaffnage descend from Colin, first Earl of Argyll. The first baronet was Sir Donald, so created in 1836.

The ancient family of Campbell of Monzie, in Perthshire, descend, as above mentioned, from a third son of the family of Glenurchy.

The gentry of the Campbell name are decidedly the most numerous, on the whole, in Scotland, if the clan be not indeed the largest. But, as has been before observed, the great power of the chiefs called into their ranks, nominally, many other families beside the real Campbells. The lords of that line, in short, obtained so much of permanent power in the district of the Dhu Galls, or Irish Celts, as to bring these largely under their sway, giving to them at the same time that general clan-designation, respecting the origin of which enough has already been said.

The force of the clan was in 1427, 1000; in 1715, 4000; and in 1745, 5000.

Although each branch of the Campbells has its own peculiar arms still there runs through all a family likeness, the difference generally being very small. All the families of the Campbell name bear the oared galley in their arms, showing the connection by origin or intermarriage with the Western Gaels, the Island Kings. Breadalbane quarters with the Stewart of Lorn, having for supporters two stags, with the motto Follow Me.


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