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The Lairds of Glenlyon:  Historical Sketches
Chapter 26

JOHN CAMPBELL of Glenlyon took such a conspicuous part in the rebellion of 1716, that on the collapse thereof he had to leave the country. With Struan and other acquaintances he succeeded in escaping to France. He remained for some years in the neighbourhood of Bordeaux, where he lived under the name of "John Smith." Had he been caught red-handed after the battle of Dunblane, he would, no doubt, have been put to death, as he was the man who first took up arms and invaded the loyal county of Argyle; but when the fear and vindictiveness of the Hanoverian dynasty had time to diminish, influences were brought to bear on the Ministry and on the Court in favour of the escaped rebels, which in most instances proved successful. The Duke of Argyle used all his power to get Glenlyon and his neighbour, the "Elector" of Struan, free pardons. The Breadalbane influence also was now strong, and it was strongly used on Glenlyon's behalf. "Pale John," the first Earl of Breadalbane, was by this time dead. He was succeeded by his second son, John, Lord Glenorchy, who was a strong Hanoverian. His eldest son, Duncan, Lord Ormelie, was set aside because of his imbecility. They were both the sons of the first earl, by his first wife, Mary Rich, daughter of the Earl of Holland, who lost his life for his loyalty to Charles I. Duncan's weakness was so apparent, that when the title of earl was conferred on his father by Charles II., the patent itself contained a clause for setting him aside. He lived for many long years, after his brother's succession to estates and titles, in the care of a man of the name of M'Intyre, at Killin, where he said many sharp things, and did many foolish acts. M'Intyre himself was a character in his way. He was nick-named Curam-an-t-saoghail or " Care-of-the-world." The estate of Breadalbane was at this time under trust to save it from forfeiture, as well as to pay creditors. The new earl was therefore poor enough, but being loyal to the Whig Government, he exercised considerable influence in his own region, and his son, Lord Glenorchy, by his marriage with the heiress of the Duke of Kent, obtained a footing at Court, and among the English nobility, which he kept to the end of his long life, although he quickly lost his heiress wife, who died in giving birth to a daughter, afterwards the Marchioness of Grey. Thanks to the efforts of his powerful clansmen, John Campbell of Glenlyon was allowed, in the course of a few years, to return to his home, as if he had not rebelled at all. During his exile his wife and family were not interfered with. He constituted Duncan M'Gregor of Roro, who called himself "Duncan Campbell," his negotiorum gestor, or factor, during absence. Money was regularly remitted to him, and his wife managed matters so well at home, that he had really on his return great cause to be thankful. It is, however, by quarrels between himself and Duncan M'Gregor his factor, that we can prove he returned home before 1722. On his coming back he proceeded forthwith to build Glenlyon House, for which he got timber from the sawmill at Roro. The estate of Roro is now bare enough of timber. But it had then so much of it that it kept a sawmill going. The superiority of Roro had by this time been acquired by the Earl of Breadalbane, who also had a mortgage upon the lands of the vassal M'Gregors of Roro. The M'Gregors opposed the delivery of the timber to Glenlyon; and so we find the Breadalbane Trustees thus writing "to John Campbell, younger, of Roro," who was of course the younger M'Gregor:—

"Sir—the delivery of the sawmill cut stocks and made deals at Roro to Glenlyon, has been verrie long, and we apprehend, unecessarly delay'd. This is to desire you forthwith to deliver all these things above mentioned to Glenlyon, and let his men of skill be brought to the sawmill who shall make inventory of the mill and its appurtenances and appretiate them all, mentioning the condition in which the mill was and what it now is. The rule, in case of woods, with regard to the grass, is, that what's before the ox belongs to the cutter. We recommend to you to accomodate Glenlyon in that particular as well as the place will allow, without making any difficulties. And we recommend to your father and you to use the best means you can to restrain the tenants of the Wadsett lands from cutting or carreing away any of the fir and timber; for we agree that if any of these are faulty or criminal in that behalf, that Glenlyon use them with the utmost rigour and severity. Again we insist upon it that you make all this matter easy to Glenlyon. We are pretty sure 'twill be doing yourself a service as it shall be agreeable to

Your Humble Servants,


Monzie, 25th May, 1725.

The young M'Gregors resisted Glenlyon's men after this warning, and had to be again sharply threatened by the Breadalbane Trustees, who finally forced them to yield. But Duncan M'Gregor, alias Campbell, their father, hampered Glenlyon on his return from France in another way. Before his exile Glenlyon owed Duncan M'Lean Ardtrasgairt 300 merks, for which Duncan held Glenlyon's bond. M'Gregor bought, or in some way acquired, M'Lean's bond, and no sooner did Glenlyon return than his late factor got a charge of horning against him for the payment of capital, interest and penalties. To say the least of it> this was sharp practice, and Glenlyon, resisting the sort of payment demanded, asked for a suspension of proceedings, as shown by the following minute of what took place before the Court of Session judge, Lord Newhall, on the 29th June, 1723, the agents for the respective parties being Macleod and Fleming:—"Macleod accepts the charge founded upon a bond by the suspender to Duncan M'Lean, and assigned by him to the charger, and craves the letters may be found orderly proceeded. Fleming repeats his reasons of suspension Primo, that the suspender being necessarily abroad, out of the country, that the charger during that time was his negotiorum gestor, and as such concerned in setting his lands, uplifting of his rents, and holding of his courts; therefore any debts of the suspender's transacted by the charger, or to which he acquired right in that period, ought to be subject and liable to the same exceptions and manner of probation that they would have been liable to, had they remained in the person of the cedent; and it is offered to be proven that the debt charged for is paid to the cedent or to others by his orders, scripto veljuramento of the cedent: 2do. It is presumed to have been done with the suspender's own money and effects, at least any cause given to the charger when he acquired the right to the foresaid debt; and further, 3tio. The suspender alleges and offers to instruct compensation of the sums charged for by debts due by M'Lean, the creditor in the bond charged on, and the charger cedent, which were paid by the suspender on his account, and partly assigned to him—which instruction of compensation the suspender shall produce in terminer Macleod objected on technical grounds, but Lord Newhall on the condition that the suspender consigned into the clerk's hands twelve pounds Scot, sustained the reasons of suspension, and when the action came to be decided on its merits, M'Gregor made no profit out of his sharp practices.

On his return from France, as previously mentioned, Glenlyon began to build Glenlyon House. He and his family had hitherto lived at Chesthill with his mother Helen Lindsay. The farm and house of Chesthill had been settled on her at her marriage with Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, to whom she bore a numerous family of daughters, besides Laird John and Robert—the best swordsman of his age, but a wild scamp—who was a lieutenant in Lord Carmichael's Regiment of Horse. The daughters were said to be very good looking, and although poor, were sought in marriage by neighbouring lairds. Robert Campbell of Boreland married Janet, the eldest of the daughters, who thus became grandmother of the first Marquis of Breadalbane. Macnab of Macnab married another of them, and Alexander Campbell of Ardeonaig a third. One was drowned in the Lyon, and her body never recovered. Helen Lindsay's nephew—or perhaps a younger brother—figured badly in the massacre of Glencoe. Popular opinion attributed to Helen's extravagance the loss of the estate, and the misfortunes of her husband. On her death, about 1726, Chesthill fell in to James Menzies of Culdares, who thereupon had a tiff with his neighbour and brother Jacobite about teind sheaves.

Glenlyon was by no means a contentious man, but after his return from France, it seemed as if he never could get free from contentions for the remainder of his life. The boundary of his estate was difficult to settle, for different encroachments had almost become rights, and the Duke of Athole had to intervene, after swords had been drawn and blows given. But after the marches had been "cleared," another hitch took place; for on the 13th August, 1731, His Grace James, Duke of Athole, complained to the Bailie of his own court at Logierait "on Mr. John Menzies son to Captain James Menzies of Comrie, that when in the month of September, 1730, His Grace, on the one part, and John Campbell of Glenlyon, on the other part, having cleared marches betwixt Easter Drumcharry and East-end of Fortingall, they signed articles thereanent, and deposited them in the defender's hands until they should be registered, that each party should have one extract since there was but one double of the principal; therefore the said defender should be descerned to exhibit the said articles in the Clerk of Court's hand to be registered as effeired." The Bailie, Alexander Murray, decerned accordingly, and the defender promptly obeyed.

John, the Laird's eldest son, a dark, stern, honourable, and persevering youth, who had never the slightest sympathy with his father's Jacobite views, and who believed that "the curse of Glencoe" lay heavy upon himself and the family to whom he belonged, after having been attached to an Independent Company, obtained a commission in the Black Watch, or Freiceadan Dubh. The second son, David, became, on the 5th of July, 1738, bound apprentice for three years to "James Smyth, chyrurgeon-apothecary in Perth/ to learn "the art and science of pharmacy and chyrurgery." The Laird paid down 600 merks as apprentice fee, and bound himself to keep the lad in clothes and pay for his washing, while the master bound himself to give him bed and board, on conditions of perfect obedience, and to make him carry himself discreetly and attend divine worship on the Lord's Day. David, after learning all the Perth master could teach him, completed his medical training, I believe, in Edinburgh, and about 1744 went to Jamaica, where he remained nearly thirty years ; and was a credit to his profession and the country of his birth, although from his generous and honourable nature he did not make much of a fortune. Dr. David had much trouble with his next brother, Duncan, who followed him to Jamaica, flourished for a while, took then to irregular ways, and next engaged in the slave trade, if, indeed, he did not go the length of piracy. Duncan finally disappeared on the Spanish coast of South America, where according to. some reports he assumed a Spanish name and married a Spanish lady; but it was the belief of his own family that he came to a violent end, and not in Peru or Chili. Be that as it may, he gave Dr. David trouble at the beginning of his career in Jamaica. Laird John's eldest daughter before her brother left home, married Balneaves of Edradour. She was the only one of her father's children, male or female—and there were eight of them who lived to good age—that ever married. Miss Kitty, Miss Molly, and Miss Jennie, were not indeed so bonnie, nor perhaps so accomplished, as their tocherless aunts, but they were honest, kindly women, who in their small sphere did some good, and were respected by high and low. Archie Roy, the youngest son, and last of the family except Jennie, was the Laird's favourite. With stern John, his able soldier son, who gained his captaincy amidst the thunders of Fontenoy, where the bravery of the Black Watch astonished Europe, the Jacobite Laird had little sympathy. That eldest son of his redeemed his debts, kept him out of wasteful lawsuits, and was the real stay of the family, but his father thought him a hard taskmaster, and the rebellion of 1745 severed them entirely.

"The Elector of Struan" and Glenlyon were too old for active service in the field when Prince Charlie unfurled the White Standard of the Stuarts for the last time on British soil. They were not, however, too old to fan the flames of civil war and send other men to the field. Glenlyon, it is supposed, was the man who caused the fiery cross to be sent round Breadalbane to raise recruits for the" Prince, in spite of Breadalbane's Earl, and of his son Lord Glenorchy, who was actively mustering forces on King George's side, and who, by holding the passes and old Grampian line of defence with three thousand men, forced the Prince and his clans after Falkirk to skirt the hills and follow the east coast route—which proved their ruin—to fatal Culloden. The Laird sent his own darling son, Archie Roy, to fight for the Prince, although Archie was at the time only a sunny-faced lad of fifteen. James Menzies of Culdares sent the Prince secretly a gift horse of dun colour—au t-each odhar of evil fame—to mark his loyalty, by John M'Naughtan, who subsequently was hanged at Carlisle, not as Glenlyon, opinion would have it, because he would not tell who sent the horse, but because he despatched Colonel Gardner with a scythe stroke, when he lay wounded on the field of Prestonpans. Yet, although this was the crime for which John was tried and hanged, it may be true enough that he could save his life by betraying Culdares—which with Highland fidelity he refused to do. As Culdares acted with more prudence than Glenlyon, the Jacobites of Glenlyon and Fortingall looked to Archie Roy as their only local leader, although he was truly too young to lead.

When the rebellion collapsed, old Struan and old Glenlyon deemed it prudent to go into hiding places. Archie Roy, who was in real danger, spent the summer after Culloden in the sheilings at Lochs, passing as the son of Patrick Campbell Roroyare. His father was in no danger whatever, although very much afraid of his own son and of Mr. Fergus Ferguson, the uncompromising minister of Fortingall, who had, by his boldness in speech and action, prevented many wavering people from taking the Prince's side when the sun shone on it, and who now justified the policy of Cumberland and the Government to handle matters in such a way as to make another Stuart rising impossible. The Laird did not go further than the Black Wood of Chesthill, and Patrick M'Arthur his old tenant, for a hiding place and a safe protector. Lieutenant John, his heir, was unfortunately sent by the Government to burn the houses of the Bunrannoch rebels, and this made the old Laird's cup of bitterness run over, although it was admitted that Lieutenant John, and indeed all the officers and men of the Black Watch, carried out their orders with exceeding reluctance, and with all possible consideration for the rebels.

The son, whom the broken-down old Jacobite declared iff his wrath to be no son of his, strained every nerve to get protections for his father and young brother. His own merits and the influence of Argyle and Breadalbane enabled him to succeed. Before the end of the summer after Culloden, Genlyon returned to the bosom of his family once more a free man, but he never recovered health or spirits any more. He must have died at the beginning of the year 1746, for we find his wife, a.sfactrix for her son Lieutenant John, on April 30th, 1747, caused the farm stock belonging to him to be sold by public roup. At the time of his death, Glenlyon had not much land in his own hands. His stock consisted of thirty-three goats which were bought by James Menzies at the Milne of Aberfeldy, for one hundred and sixteen pounds, twelve shillings Scots; forty sheep sold to the said James Menzies for the-very same Sum he paid for the thirty-three goats; seventeen cows bought by Alexander Cameron, forester of Mamlorne, at .£20 Scots, or £1 3s. 4d. Sterling per head; and a black horse which James Campbell, dyer, Killin, bought for £61 4s. Scots. When the old Laird died, the leading Jacobites of the district were still in hiding, or out of the country. Still he had a great funeral. If the gentry were not so numerous as they would have been in other circumstances, the common people gathered from far and near in great numbers to pay their last mark of respect to a man who had always been popular with high and low.

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