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Antiquarian Notes, Historical, Genealogical and Social
(Second Series) Inverness-Shire, Parish by Parish
Chapter XXXI. Daviot and Dunlichity

THIS once important and busy parish has long been declining in population, while most of the ancient owners have disappeared. There is a certain fictitious excitement no doubt during the sporting season, followed by stagnation. The fine old possessions of the Mackintoshes of Aberarder, including Brin, and Glenmazeran in Strathdearn, were occupied by an independent and stirring race. The family is descended from Duncan, fifth son of Lachlan Mor Mackintosh of Mackintosh, and it is recorded that no fewer than four sons of William Mackintosh, second of Aberarder, fell at or immediately after the fight at Muiroy in 1688. Among them was Lachlan, the eldest son, viho was succeeded by his son William, bred an advocate, and served heir to his father in 1692. William Mackintosh married Isabella Rickhart, and dying between 1723 and 1729, left two sons; the elder, also Lachlan, dying unmarried very shortly after his father, was succeeded by his brother William. Of this William there are even yet many floating traditions. He it was who built the pleasant and comfortable old house of Aberarder, standing the last time I was in the locality, but whether it has disappeared, like the old house of Duninaglass, I cannot say. Connected with the old house there is this story. When William married in February, 1729, Isabella, daughter of Lachlan Macpherson of Cluny, on their home-coming across the hills of Badenoch to Strathnairn, as the bride was entering the doorway, the mantel stone—a very large one—of the dining-room broke and rent in twain, which either occasioned or revived the old saying that a Mackintosh and a Macpherson could never agree. That they, did not agree in this case will be seen presently. An old chronicler says he saw the rent stone, but good naturedly concludes that it may have arisen from extra heating of the fireplace in welcome of the party after their long and bleak ride across the Monalia in the month of February.

The disputes between the young couple became so violent, that the aid of the law was invoked by the lady. Simon Lord Lovat was then (1735) Sheriff-Depute of Inverness and exerted himself to settle matters extrajudicially, in which he was assisted by that honourable and clear-headed man, Lachlan Macpherson of Cluny, the lady's father. Matters were patched up, but broke out with greater violence, and in the procedure Lady Aberarder depones to very violent acts on the part of her husband, whom she had finally to leave. She had a capital income out of the estate and her treatment, like that of Lady Rothiemurchus, does not seem to have disagreed with her, for she outlived her husband, son, and several of her grandchildren. She executed her last will and testament, declaring herself as sound in judgment, though weak in body, at Catlodge of Laggan, on the 6th of January, 1783, leaving among other bequests, to her sister Christian Macpherson for her very great care of and attention to her for forty-five years, thirty pounds; to defray her funeral expenses, thirty pounds sterling; ten pounds sterling for enclosing the chapel or burying-place at Cluny, in which she decrees her body may be decently interred ; to her nieces, Mrs Colonel Macpherson and Mrs Mackintosh of Borlum, five pounds sterling each, to buy mournings.

John Mackintosh, eldest son of William Mackintosh and Isobel Macpherson, who succeeded in 1735, died unmarried in apparency about 1747, and was succeeded by his brother William, who in 1756 married Mary Falconer of Drakies, and died in 1763. William Mackintosh left issue—one son, Captain William, and one daughter, Mary. William, fourth in succession of this name, entered the army and was killed in Holland, in October, 1799. Being unmarried, and his sister Mary, who had married Provost John Mackintosh, also dead without issue, the succession opened by destination to Miss Jane Mackintosh, only daughter of William Mackintosh who died in 1743. She did not live long after her succession, and there being no relative, male or female, of the family of Lachlan Mackintosh, third of Aberarder, killed as aforesaid at Mulroy in 1688, except herself, she destined the estate by deed executed 3rd March, 1800, to Provost John Mackintosh, of the Kellachie family, who had married her niece Mary. This gave rise to a great legal struggle. Provost John had to defend himself from a claim at the instance of the redoubted Campbell Mackintosh, afterwards of Dalmigavie, Town Clerk of Inverness, who claimed that Aberarder was either entailed or held under limitation to heirs male, and that he as son of Robert, son of William, son of James Mackintosh, wadsetter of Mid Craggie, and second brother of Lachlan killed at Mulroy, was entitled to the estate. After a severe contest Provost John Mackintosh was successful and took the title of Aberarder. By his second wife, daughter of Provost Chisholm of Buntait, he left two sons—William, who died without issue, and Charles Mackintosh, who succeeded and was the last Mackintosh of Aberarder. Old Aberarder, as he was called even in my younger days, was a well- known figure in Inverness for many a year; his easy going disposition led him to neglect his affairs, whereby they fell into hands who cared for nothing but to feather their own nests.

The present position of Aberarder is deplorable. A bank and insurance company are entered in the Valuation Roll as owners or managers, and while nothing is expended the last shilling is extracted from the occupants. These naturally have dwindled to a low figure, twelve in all. The total rental is £1032 18s, whereof £500 is shooting rent, and about £350 in the proprietor's hands, leaving less than £300 for ordinary tenants, the only Mackintosh on the estate paying one shilling of rent, four other tenants paying £1 10s, £1, £2 7s, and £2 respectively.

Let this lamentable state of matters be contrasted with the year 1797, when there were no fewer than forty-three tenancies, as under—


One or two of the above form part of the present estate of Brin, and are thus disjoined from Aberarder proper.

Like Strathdearn, Strathnairn was essentially Clan Chattan On both sides of the river, from head to foot, within the county of Inverness, Macgillivrays, Mackintoshes, Mac phails, Macbeans, Shaws, flourished, reigning supreme as owners. The old lairds, with two exceptions, have disappeared, but many of the people of the good old stock remain waiting for the return of brighter times.

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