Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Battle of Glen Boultachan
David Rorer

 The Battle of Glen Boultachan and the later massacre on Nish Island

The Clan Neish or Macnish of Perthshire, were the great rivals of the Clan MacNab. The territories of the two clans were adjacent, that of the Macnab’s lay along the south shore of Loch Tay while those of the Macnish just to the south in the Glens that ran to Loch Earn. Eventually the two clans fell into feud, over grievances long since lost and forgotten. The feud came to climax at the Battle of Glen Boultachan in 1522 when the Macnab’s defeated and killed the majority of the Macnishes. Then, almost a hundred years later, in the winter of 1612, the remainder of the Macnish’s were wiped out by the Macnab’s at Nish Island in Loch Earn, their final refuge. However, if the story of what lead to that incident is true, the MacNishe gave the Macnab ample provocation. After all, the Macnish did take, for their own, the Macnab’s Christmas dinner.

These accounts of the battle in the wild Glen of Boultachan and of the final massacre on Nish Island, are taken from “The History of the Clan Neish or MacNish of Perthshire and Galloway by DAVID MACNISH, M.A., M. B. and WILLIAM A. TOD, F.S.A. SCOT. published by WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, EDINBURGH AND LONDON MCMXXV.

Note: It is probable that this History of the Clan Neish or MacNish was written by William A. Tod, to the order of David Macnish who wished to have his family and name researched. Mr. Tod gives a number of sources but does not give a definite source for the story of the Battle of Glen Boultachan or for the incident on Nish Island. I here render the text as it was in the book, with only a few minor changes, though the footnotes are mine. The latter are included where it seemed an explanation was in order for those not as familiar with the history of Scotland or of the two clans as the writers. - David Rorer


THE Neishes of Perthshire possessed the upper parts of Strathearn and inhabited an island on Loch Earn, called after them Neish Island. Very little is known of the early history of the clan [Mr. Tod, in his book, suggests that the Macnishes are descended from the ancient kings of Dalrida, as are the Macnab’s. However, he gives no source for his contention.]; they appear to have been almost exterminated or scattered early in the sixteenth century; [Frank Adam and Sir Thomas Innes of Larney in their source book The Clans, Septs, and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands merely lists MacNeish as a sept of the MacGregor and state “This small sept were all but exterminated during a feud with the Macnabs.”] various traditional accounts have been handed down in Strathearn concerning them, and the written records of the county contain only notices of individual members of the clan.

During the fifteenth century the Neishes of Upper Strathearn commenced a struggle with the Clann an Aba [The Clann an Aba, or Macnab, is a rendering of the Gaelic Mac-an-Aba (or Abba), which in English means “the children of the Abbot. In those days there were lay Abbots as well as clerical Abbots and even the latter were allowed to marry. It was the Celtic custom for abbots to be chosen from among the kin of the founder and the old Gaelic manuscript genealogies trace the mediaeval Macnab chiefs through some twenty generations from Saint Fillan’s brother Ferchar mac Feradach. Indeed the chief of the Clan MacNab is still recognized by Scotland’s chief heraldic officer, The Lord Lyon King at Arms, as hereditary Abbot of Glendochart.History of the Clan Macnab by James Charles Macnab of Macnab, Chief of the Clan Macnab.]; many battles were fought with various success, and the culminated fight ended about 1522 in the defeat of the Clan Neish at the battle of Glen Boultachan.

The last battle was fought, by the present farm of Littleport, in the wild Glen of Boultachan. The MacNabs were victorious over the Neishes who lost nearly all their fighting men.

Finlay MacNab of Bovain gathered all his fighting men for one decisive effort for the supremacy of the northern Loch Earn district. The two clans met in battle in the glen between two high and solitary mountains, about two miles north of the lower end of Loch Earn. Each clan was led by its chief as they rushed down the green slope to mingle in close and mortal strife, with wild yells and bitter epithets, while the war-cries rang and the pipers blew with their might. Conspicuous among the struggling throng was the eldest son of the chief of Clan Aba. [Probably John 9th chief married Eleyn Stewart, died 1558] He bent all his energies to capture the Neishes banner, which bore their crest viz., a cupid with his bow in the dexter [Dexter = right hand, Sinister = left hand.], and an arrow in the sinister hand, with the motto "Amicitiam trahit amor." [I have no way to confirm this. No reference that I have seen gives a badge or coat of arms for the Clan Macnish. David Rorer]

On the other side the aged MacNishe chief fought with great strength and activity and unparalleled bravery, but the MacNabs eventually bore all before them, and the aged chief, on beholding three of his sons perish by his side, placed his back to a large rude granite block, which still marks the scene of the conflict, and, poising overhead his mighty claymore, stood like a lion at bay. His vast stature, his known strength and bravery, as he towered above the fray, with his white hair streaming in the wind, the blood streaming from his forehead, which had been wounded by an arrow, and from his huge sword, which had a remarkable accessory in the shape of an iron ball that slid along the back of the blade to give an additional weight to every cut. All this combined made the bravest of the MacNab pause for a moment ere they encountered him; but after a dreadful struggle, in which he slew many of his assailants, the brave old man sank at last under a score of wounds inflicted by swords and daggers; the MacNeishes were swept from the field, and the majority of them were slain.

The red lichens which spot the old grey granite in Glen Boultachan are still believed by the natives to be the encrusted blood of the chief of the MacNeishes. According to tradition, MacCallum- glas, their bard, with about twenty of the tribe, escaped and took refuge on their isle on Loch Earn.


Several accounts have been handed down, including the following in Annals of St Fillans, by A. Porteous, 1912:

"Like all the rest of the Scottish clans, the Neishes had their own particular feud. This was with the Clan MacNab.

The feud was the outcome of a long-continued series of petty jealousies and imagined grievances on both sides, Frequently, isolated parties of the clan met, and a fight ensued.

At last both clans mustered their full force, and meeting in Glen Boultachan, a regular battle was fought.

The chief of the Neishes for long held his own, standing with his back to a large boulder, until at last he was overcome and fell covered with wounds. Tradition says that his blood still stains this boulder, and that the marks cannot be obliterated.

The rest of the Neishes fought equally stubbornly, but finally they were completely over-come, a remnant only making their escape. These settled down on the easter island of Loch Earn under the leadership of a relative of the chief, and became practically freebooters, lying in wait for defenseless travelers, whom they robbed and murdered. Many years elapsed since the battle of Glen Boultachan ere the Neishes thought themselves once more formidable enough to try conclusions with their ancient enemies, the MacNabs.

The Neishes lay in ambush in Glen Lednoch," &c &c. [This account ends here, presumably the rest of it concerns the hijacking and massacre as related below in the Clan Macnab Account. David Rorer]

A short account of the Nish feud is also given in the Statistical Account of Scotland, published in 1838.

THE CLAN MACNAB ACCOUNT, [This account probably comes from “The Clan MacNab, by Jo. MacNab printed in 1907, which is cited, by Mr. Tod, as one of his sources. Another, very colorful and fictionalized account may be found in “Macnab, The Last Laird by Roland Wild, The MacMillan Company, 1938. Long out of print but available in some libraries, I found a one in the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library and made a copy for myself. David Rorer]

In 1487 Finlay (IV.) became chief of the Clan MacNab. At this time the MacNab seem to have set about the recovery of those of their possessions, which had been lost in their struggle with the Bruce. [The MacNab’s backed the Comyn in the struggle for the crown and when Bruce emerged the victor their estates were seized and their writs wer burnt. David Rorer] They became involved in a feud with the Dewars [The Dewars were the hereditary custodians of the relics of St. Fillan, founder of the Abby of Glendochart. The Macnab’s descend from a holder of that Abbacy. David Rorer] concerning certain relies of St Fillan, and at the same time they commenced that struggle with the Neishes which culminated many years afterwards in the defeat of the Clan Neish at the battle of Glen Boultachan, about two miles north of the lower end of Loch Earn.

In 1487 the Dewars obtained a charter confirming them in their possessions, and from that date they had no further trouble with the MacNabs.

Finlay (IV) died (between the years 1502-11), and was succeeded by his son Finlay (V). It was in the time of this chief that the Neishes were at last defeated, and reduced to a small band of reckless outlaws. [The Battle of Boultachan in 1522. David Rorer]

This Finlay MacNab of Bowayne died at Illa Rayne, [According to the official Clan Macnab history Finlay of Bovain who died at Eilean Ran, 12 April 1525 was the 8th chief. He was buried at Killin. The Lord Lyon counts Gilbert of Bovain as the first chief of the Clan Macnab and issued a recognized list of chiefs. The spelling “Bowayne” and “Illa Rayne” presumably follow that of the original source.  David Rorer] and he was buried at Killin, I3th April 1525.

Finlay (VII), chief of the MacNabs, married Catherine Campbell, daughter of the Laird of Glenurchy [Modern Glenorchy. David Rorer], and had a family of twelve stalwart sons, of whom the weakest is said to have been able to drive his dirk through a two-inch board. [In the official Clan Macnab history this Finlay is the 12th chief, and though he did marry Katherine a natural daughter of John Campbell of Glenorchy, these were actually the children of his second wife who’s name is not known. David Rorer]

At Christmas-tide, 1612, MacNab sent some of his clansmen to the neighboring town of Crieff [Crieff may be found south of Loch Tay on the A85. The route to it runs along the shores of Lock Earn. David Rorer] to purchase the necessary stores for the approaching festivities. On their homeward way the MacNabs were ambushed by a party of the Neishes, who sallied from their island fortalice [This had originally been built as a royal castle and then destroyed in an effort to prevent its being used by outlaws, which is what happened. David Rorer] in Loch Earn and captured the supplies.

Dire was the wrath of chief and clansmen when the plundered messengers returned to Eilean Ran and reported their mishap. Enraged as the MacNabs were, they could think of no method by which they could punish the reivers. In the evening the twelve strong sons of MacNab were assembled in the hall of Eilean Ran, and busily engaged in planning some signal vengeance on their foes, when their father entered and said in Gaelic: "Si an nochd an oidhche nam biad na gillean na gillean" (This night is the night if the lads were the lads). In an instant the twelve lads were on their feet and arrayed in their war gear. Then hurrying down to the waterside they crossed the stream and took up the family barge, which they bore on their shoulders across the hills to Loch Earn, by way of Glentarken. Having reached the loch, they launched their boat and rowed to the island, where the robbers were holding their carousal with the stolen supplies. On their arrival at the island the grim avengers sunk all the boats in the little harbor, and then proceeded to the habitation of the Neishes. In the keep was a scene of revelry and confusion, for, holding all the boats on the loch in their own keeping; the Neishes deemed their hold to be impregnable.

Strange, therefore, must have been the thoughts which passed through their minds when, loud above the din of their noisy mirth, they heard a sharp and sudden knocking at the outer door. Immediately their noisy merriment ceased, all became silent, and then in a quavering voice the terrified Neish demanded the name and mission of the one who had thus disturbed their orgy. Swiftly came the answer, "Whom would ye least desire?" The speaker was Iain Min, or "Smooth John," the heir of MacNab, and the strongest and fiercest man in all Braidalbin. [Modern Breadalbane. David Rorer]

With this stern voice sounding in his ears, and with a foreboding of his doom rising before him, the Neish replied, “lain Min."

Sharp through the midnight air came again that grim voice, "Then I am he, but rough enough I’ll be this night." Trusting in the strength of the stout door, the robbers attempted to treat for terms. But spurning all thought of parleying, Iain Min, with one swift blow, sent the door reeling off its hinges, and next instant he and his brothers were dealing death to the hereditary foes of their House. The Neishes, surprised and demoralized by the rapidity and ferocity of their assailants, offered but little resistance. When the fighting, if such it can be called, was over, there remained of the Neishes but two survivors: one was a young lad who had succeeded in concealing himself in time to avoid the vengeance which overtook his family; the other was a female child who escaped the notice of the MacNabs by being under an overturned cradle.

Their task having been accomplished, the young MacNabs secured the gory head of the Neish as a trophy of their victory. They then recovered their boat, and retraced their journey of the previous night.

Ere they left Glentarken they abandoned their boat, as it retarded the news of their triumph. The boat was never removed from the place where the MacNab left it, and men born within the past century [The book this was taken from was printed in 1925 and this account probably comes from “The Clan MacNab, by Jo. MacNab printed in 1907. Therefore, “within the past century” probably means the early portion of the 19th century. David Rorer] have talked with men who have viewed its well-bleached fragments.

Some time early in the past century a portion of the keel was dug out of the moss in which it was embedded. Part of it was given to Mrs. MacNaughton who lived near St Fillans, and she had it made into a walking stick. She was Margaret, daughter of James MacNab, Milmore, near Killin, and was known as "Margaret Innishewen." The bicker is still preserved by her descendants.

In the morning the chief was delighted to find that the mission of vengeance had been successful: the proof was convincing when Iain Min cast Neishs head at his feet, and said in Gaelic,”Na biodh fiamh oirbh," or "dreadnought." [In the official Clan Macnab history “Gun Eagal” or “Dreadnought” was the watchword with which Smooth John answered the lookout and Ian Min told his father that “the night had been the night and the Lads were the Lads.” David Rorer] Moreover, MacNab acknowledged as he received the gruesome trophy that the night had been the night, and the lads were the lads. From this deed are derived the modern arms of the MacNabs. [See second paragraph below]

There is a local tradition to the effect that but three of the sons took part in the enterprise, and that the chief in giving the signal for the attack on the Neishes only acted at the instigation of his wife, who had some real or fancied cause of grievance against the three eldest sons. It is said that she hoped that they would be slain, so that her favorite son should be heir to the estates. Moreover, according to the same tradition, the three were by an early marriage. History, however, makes no mention of a second wife (46). [The official Macnab history also states that the three eldest sons were by a previous wife (name unknown) and speculates that the second wife hoped they might be slain so one of her sons would be heir. David Rorer]

The MacNab arms are: Sable, on a chevron argent three crescents vert, in base an open boat with oars argent, sailing in a sea proper. Crest the head of a savage affronte proper. [Black (shield), on a silver chevron three green crescents, in base (of the shield) an open boat with silver oars sailing on a sea (rendered natural). The head of a savage facing front rendered natural. David Rorer]

Supporters Two Highlanders with shouldered claymores.[The coat of arms as depicted, in The Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands is as described, however, instead of the highlanders as supporters, it has two black dragons, with claws and tongues of gold and erect wings of silver, on which are three green crescents each. David Rorer] Motto "Timor omnis abesto" (“Be all fear absent" [Alternatively “Dreadnaught” as the official clan history would have it. David Rorer]).

John MacNab of MacNab matriculated the modern arms in 1765, but they had been used before that time. The author of The Clan MacNab [This would be the Jo. MacNab who wrote a Clan MacNab history in 1907, quoted by Mr. Tod as one of his sources. David Rorer] informs me [William A. Tod, FSA SCOT. The presumed author of the “History of the Clan Macnish or Nish” from which this is taken. David Rorer] that his account of the Neishes was obtained from the following sources:  Shearers Traditions of Strathearn, Scottish Wars, also from some private histories of the Clan MacNab, and from old natives of Breadalbane.

The Rev. Samuel Ferguson, minister of Fortingall, mentions the feud in his “Queens Visit.”

Malcolm Ferguson also gives the story in his “Rambles in Breadalbane,” published in 1891.

A short account of the Neishes is given in The Beauties of Upper Strathearn, 1870; also in the Scottish Tourist, I825, P. 79.

The Neish tradition was utilized by James Grant in Mary of Lorraine, pp. 261-281. Grants account contains some facts and much fiction. He describes the country of the MacNeishes as: Glentarkin, Dundurn, part of Glenartney, the Pass of Strathearn, and the Hill of St Fillan (Dunfillan Hill).

It is curious that Grant says that one of the Neish survivors in 1522 was Muriel, daughter of the chief, who eventually married the Laird of Torwood.

The Lairds of Torwood were the Forrester family, the ancient hereditary foresters of Torwood Forest. Mariot Forester, spouse to James Campbell of Lawers, obtained a charter of the lands of Glentarkin in 1525.

Campbell of Lawers was granted a charter of Glentarcane in 1540, and James VI gave a confirmation of the grant in 1616.

The Neishes probably held Glentarkin originally by the sword; many of the Gaelic clans in earlier times neglected to obtain charters of their lands from the crown. [Charters, historically, were a relatively recent development. Many families and clans held their lands from before the time when writing and written charters were known and often preserved a relic that had been given to an ancestor as token of their ownership. Only later did it become common to obtain charters from the crown. Many families, of course, did not get charters and were displaced, as also happened to the Macgragors, when rivals purchased or were granted title to the same lands. David Rorer]

We find that the lands of Glentarcai, Morall, and the Fordees were set to John of Murray and his mother before the year 1492.

James IV granted the lands of Glentarkane to the Drummonds. In 1511 (R.M.S.i. 3574)

Glentarken is a glen in Comrie parish, descending from an altitude of 1150 ft., 2 miles south by eastward to Loch Earn (306 ft.), at a point 1 ¾ miles west by north of St Fillans.

It contains a huge monolith, "The great stone of Glentarken." It is not a traveled stone, but a mass detached from the low cliff below, which has rolled but a short distance and is poised in the most singular way upon one of its edges. It measures 70 ft. in circumference at the base, 110 ft. in circumference 10 ft. above the ground, and its solid contents above ground exceed 25,000 cubic ft. The glen probably derives its name from "Tarachin," or "Talargan," an old Pictish personal name.

In the olden days what might be called a clachan existed on the hillside at the entrance to Glentarken, but life on that exposed site was latterly found inconvenient and uncomfortable; accordingly, the families were moved to   more suitable surroundings at the foot of the loch, and the cottages in the glen were allowed to fall into ruins. The remains of these may still be seen in heaps of stones here and there.

Loch Earn is one of the most picturesque of Scottish lakes, and next to Loch Ness, the deepest in Scotland, in one part being about 300 ft. deep. Limited, as are the dimensions of Loch Earn, it is exceeded in beauty by few of our lakes. Its style is that of a lake of far greater dimensions, the mountains that bound it being lofty, bold, and rugged. The mighty Ben Vorlich stands majestically above the loch, which is sometimes calm as a mirror, and other times dark and turbulent, its waves dashing wildly against the shores.

At the east end of the loch is a beautiful small wooded island, known for many centuries by the name of Neish Island. It is an artificial isle, which appears to date back to the era of the lake-dwellers. [The prehistoric peoples, known as lake dwellers, built their villages on artificial islands in shallow waters, just offshore in Scottish lakes. These islets are in lakes all over Scotland. David Rorer]

In after ages, according to tradition, the island became a Royal fortalice of many of the kings or chiefs of Fortrenn.

The island was a residence of the Clan Neish at an early period, probably from circa 1250 to 1420; after that date it was probably only in occupation by the Neishes at periods until 1622, the date of the massacre.

The keep was a stone building, divided into different chambers, which now lies in ruins; the great thickness of the walls testifies to the care, foresight, and energy which was expended in the erection thereof.

A small harbor and landing-place for boats still exists on the east side, and at one time the island was connected with the mainland by a kind of causeway formed of large boulders, the remains of which may still be seen in a line between the isle and the villa called Portmore.

Colin Dewar commented, after reading the story of the Battle of Boultachan between the Macnabs and Macnishes, “It makes the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys look like a picnic!” Indeed we must remember that Law and civilization were latecomers to the Highlands of Scotland and until relatively recently a Scots best defense was his broadsword and the good will of his neighbors. The following story is a good illustration of how wild and violent the Highlands could be. Even in the presence of the King!

The battle described below took place on the banks of the River Tay, not too far from where the Macnab’s and Macnishes lived.

Deadly Clan Combat In Front Of The King.

From the Highlander Web Magazine Copyright 1995/96 Catalyst (Highlands) Ltd.

It is very hard indeed for us, when looking back over the centuries, to understand the depths of the feelings each Highland clan had for its own particular set of traditions. But certainly, this was very much the case, and for one clan - or even a branch of the same clan for that matter - to cast doubt upon, take in vein, or in any way sleight these traditions often led to bloodshed and even to open warfare. To illustrate the point, let's go back some 600 years or so, to 1386 and a feud between Clan Chattan and Clan Cameron. 

First, to make the situation a little clearer, some background on Clan Chattan, which can be traced back to its founder, Gillichattan Mor. However, this ''traditional'' line faltered when Eva, heiress of Clan Chattan married the chief of the Mackintoshes in 1291. A loosely bound confederation of clans developed as a result, with clans ''of the blood'', such as the Macphersons for example, seeing themselves belonging more to the traditional side, while the Shaws, Farquharsons and others looking to the Macintoshes as the line of descent. Underneath all of this sat a number of smaller - but nonetheless independent - clans, such as the Davidsons, who allied themselves with, and sought the protection of, the larger clans of the Mackintosh-led confederacy.   

Now bear all that in mind as we jump ahead again to the feud between Clan Chattan and Clan Cameron. The Mackintoshes owned some lands in Lochaber, which they rented out to the Camerons who, by all accounts, were pretty poor payers. When they didn't stump up the rent owed, which was quite frequently, the Mackintoshes carried off the Cameron's cattle as payment.  

This state of affairs caused more than a little bit of an irritation among the Camerons, so they decided to get their own back. Gathering some 400 clansmen under the command of Charles Macgilony, they marched into Badenoch for a bit of revenge. The Macintosh chief got wind of the raid and called his clansmen together and his friends, the MacPhersons and Davidsons.   

Now there was no argument that Mackintosh should command the centre of the force, this being readily agreed by all. However, a bitter, and as it turned out almost fatal, dispute arose over who should command the right wing, the MacPhersons claiming it should be they because of their links with the ''traditional'' Clan Chattan line. Not so, said the Davidsons, pointing out command of the right was theirs because they were the oldest branch.   

Anyway, there was no settling the row and it was left to the Mackintosh chief to choose. Did he choose wisely? No, it would seem, deciding in favor of the Davidsons. The Macphersons were extremely offended by what they saw as a very biased choice, made all the more difficult to swallow because not only did they outnumber both the Davidsons and Macintoshes that day, but all this had taken place in Macpherson country itself.   

With perfect timing, at the climax of the dispute, along came the Camerons who could hardly believe their luck as the mortally offended Macphersons withdrew their wounded pride, and their men, from the field of battle, becoming merely spectators.   

The Macphersons watched as the deadly broadsword and Lochaber axe sliced easily through bone and muscle in a ferocious encounter that quickly developed into a one-way contest, favoring the Cameron men. However, the Macintoshes and Davidsons, although outnumbered, fought well and of course, wounded pride or not, this was something not lost on the watching MacPhersons. They were also becoming more than a little worried about their friends who were now practically surrounded. At last they could take it no longer and charged into the battle which was over very quickly after that, the exhausted Camerons having suffered a large number of casualties despite their success up until that point.   

However, following the victory, there were recriminations over the Macintosh chief’s choice. Relations between the Macphersons and Davidsons had never ever been cordial at the best of times, principally because of this perception over the line of descent, and now the enmity turned into open strife, with both sides over the next 10 years carrying on a war of extermination.   

King Robert III was on the throne at the time and became more and more disturbed over the effect the constant clashes between the two sides were having on the rest of the country. To put an end to the uproar, he sent two of his leading nobles, the Earl of Moray and the Earl of Crawford to broker an amicable solution. But the two noblemen failed in their royal peace mission and suggested the differences could be settled once and for all by means of open combat, a fight to the death in front of the king.   

The Macphersons and Davidsons agreed and it was decided that 30 clansmen from each side should meet on a beautiful and perfectly level meadow at North Inch on the banks of the River Tay on the Monday before Michaelmas. The rules laid down for the combat allowed only one weapon to be used, the broadsword, although other accounts of the time talk of the clansmen also being armed with bows, battle-axes and daggers, a far more likely scenario.   

At the appointed day and hour, the clansmen of both sides made their appearance on the meadow, which had been cordoned off with barriers to prevent the spectators from straying onto the field. A platform had also been built to allow the king and his queen, along with the nobles, a better view of the contest. The clansmen on both sides eyed each other up with looks of deadly revenge as the crowd of spectators grew into thousands.   

But a hiccup almost threatened the proceedings when one of the Macpherson clansmen had second thoughts and pulled out of the contest panic-struck, escaping by swimming across the Tay and out of danger. The king almost called off the contest because of the unevenness of the sides, but at the last minute the small, crooked but fierce figure of Henry Wynd, a burgher of Perth and an armorer by trade, stepped in to balance the contestants.   

The murderous conflict began and the substitute Henry Wynd immediately loosed off an arrow and killed one of the Davidsons. Both sides took to their bows and after the showers of arrows had subsided charged into each other. The ferocity of the slaughter appalled both spectators and the royal observers alike, as they watched the deadly thrust of daggers driving home and the tremendous gashes inflicted by both broadsword and axe. Heads were split apart, limbs hacked off and the meadow turned crimson with the blood of the dead and wounded men.   

The Macphersons were declared the winners after 29 of the 30 Davidsons had been killed. Only 11 of the Macphersons survived, but not unscathed, all having suffered serious wounds. Henry Wynd, who played a major part in the victory through his excellent swordsmanship, escaped without a scratch, as did the surviving Davidson clansman. The royal combat achieved the desired result and peace returned to the Highlands - at least for a little while.

Return to Articles on Scottish History


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus