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Conflicts of the Clans

The Crowner Slain by the Keiths in the Chapel of St. Tayre

About the year of God 1478, there was some dissention in Caithness betwixt the Keiths and the Clan Gunn. A meeting was appointed for their reconciliation, at the Chaple of St. Tayre, in Caithness, hard by Girnigo, with twelve horse on either side. The Crowner (chieftain of Clan Gunn) with the most part of his sons and chief kinsmen came to the chapel, to the number of twelve; and, as they were within the chapel at their prayers, the Laird of Inverugie and Ackergill arrived there with twelve horse, and two men upon every horse; thinking it no breach of trust to come with twenty-four men, seeing they had but twelve horses as was appointed.

So the twenty-four gentlemen rushed in at the door of the chapel, and invaded the Crowner and his company unawares; who, nevertheless, made great resistance. In the end the Clan Gunn were all slain, with the most of the Keiths. Their blood may be seen to this day [1764] upon the walls within the Chapel at St. Tyre, where they were slain. Afterwards William Mackames (the Crowner's grandchild) in revenge of his grandfather, killed George Keith of Ackergill and his son, with ten of their men, at Drummuie in Sutherland, as they were travelling from Inverugie into Caithness.


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