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Antiquarian Notes, Historical, Genealogical and Social
(Second Series) Inverness-Shire, Parish by Parish
Chapter XXXII. Croy


THE family of Dallas long held a good position in the Counties of Inverness and Nairn. Descended of the Dallases of that Ilk in Moray, they finally settled in Cantray in the fifteenth century, William Dallas of Cantray, not the first owner, being on record in 1492.

He was succeeded by his son Henry, and the latter by his son, Alexander Dallas, found in 1522-1566. This Alexander was one of the leading men of his day, and owned the lands of Lopan Durris, with its mill, lying in the parish of Dores, now part of Aldourie. He also possessed the Barony of Lairgs in Strathnairn. In 1567 notice is found of Henry Dallas, nephew to Alexander, and in 1569 of John Dallas of Cantray, brother to Henry. In 1582 Marjory Dallas is served heir to her great-grandfather, Alexander Dallas of Cantray. In the same year Alexander Dallas is served heir in a wadset of Cantray to John Rose, burgess of Nairn, his great-grandfather. From the time of William Dallas, found in 1630, and married to one of the Cawdor ladies, the line is distinct down to William Dallas, a mariner, who, from necessity and the amount of debt on the estate, sold the estate about 1768 to Mr David Davidson, born on the Cantray estate, who made his fortune in London.

James Dallas of Cantray, one of the officers of the Regiment of Clan Chattan, fell at Culloden, much regretted by all who knew. him. He was a man of fine appearance and polished manners, held in much favour by Lady Mackintosh, to whom, while raising the clan for Prince Charles, he offered his services and was appointed a Captain. He married Margaret Hamilton, and had a brother Walter, burgess of Nairn, father of Mr Alexander Dallas, merchant, London, afterwards in Nairn, who married Miss Ophelia Phipps, of the Mulgrave family. A charming miniature of this lady, also her silver cream jug, have come into my possession by bequest of Miss Elizabeth Jane Dallas, who died some years. ago at her house in Church Street, Nairn. Miss Dallas was much esteemed, not only as the last of the Dallases resident in the north, but for her great genealogical acquirements. To Miss Dallas, my relative through a marriage between the Dallases of Cantray and the Macleans of Dochgarroch, I was indebted in early life for much valuable old world story. The present Duchess of Portland is descended of Cantray, and there are others in high positions scattered over the world. One correspondent, Mr Dallas of Exeter, another Mr A. J. Dallas, of Florida, are accomplished genealogists, and take much interest in their family history.

The Dallasses of Budgate long held a good position, their connection with Budgate ceasing 200 years ago. Several of them settled in Ross and occupied a fair position, notably Hugh Dallas, Commissary Clerk of Ross; Dallas of St. Martins, author of a legal work on styles once in great repute.

Miss Anne Dallas, sister of Cantray of the 'Forty-five, married Duncan Mackintosh, being great-grandfather of the present Mackintosh of Mackintosh. The three families of Cawdor, Kilravock, and Cantray were long supreme, and the two former still hold great sway. The Dallas family at Inchyettle have been tenants of the place for about 250 years.

Much of the old barony of Dalcross lay within the parish of Croy. But bit by bit the large possessions of the Lovats passed from them. It is a matter of great interest to those who take up such matters, that the old Castle of Dalcross, erected by Simon Lord Lovat 300 years ago, and long a ruin, is being restored in a reverent and becoming manner. Long may the restorer enjoy the occupancy of a place unrivalled in the north in extent and grandeur of hill and dale, sea and mountain, woods and fields—an extensive and imposing panorama.

Dalcross, once a parish, has, with its church and burial ground, long been in absolute ruin and disuse. The latter is but an insignificant corner of land, which the late Mackintosh planted at my suggestion to prevent its possible incorporation at any future period with the surrounding fields. I certainly never contemplated that anyone could be found so utterly lost to the fitness of the surroundings as to suggest that the crowded state of the Croy church-yard might be met by utilising the few square yards representing the site of old Daicross chapel and burial ground. Within the parish lies the field of Culloden, never more an object of pilgrimage than at the present day. When the new line of railway is opened, with its station near the Cumberland Stone, it will become more and more a place of resort. The ground reserved from plantation, supposed to indicate the place of battle, strikes every visitor as small and contracted, but this is found to be the case with all the sites of ancient and renowned battles. Culloden relics are not uncommon, but I place a high value on two swords, whereof the authenticity is undoubted—one, that of Donald Mackintosh na Brataich who saved the colours of Clan Chattan; and the other, turned up by the workmen of the late Mr John Rose of Kirktown in course of his extensive reclamations, given to me by one of his sons, my late old and valued friend, Mr Hugh Rose, solicitor, Inverness. It will ever be to me a subject of gratification that I paid my first visit to the field in 1846, one hundred years to a day, after the event, and drank to the memory of the immortal dead and a warm corner to the Butcher.

The deil was working in a neuk,
Rieving sticks to roast the Duke."

The three Leys, Easter, Mid, and Wester, were detached from the parish proper, and of old presented, like the famous Maol Bhuie, in spring an extensive show of broom and whins in blossom, extending for miles, as I have been told, in one stretch. Plantations and reclamations have replaced ancient wilds, and it is as well it should be so, and that we see now snug farm-houses, squared fields, and altogether a pleasant landscape. Possibly, however, some may say with regret that like the exile in distant lands—

"They canna see the broom
Wi' its tassels on the lea."

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