The Campbell Connection
All living people have ancestors and approximately
the same number. There are no ' old families'; some have merely
kept better records. Not all prominent people of the past have
had descendants. Many have died unmarried or childless. Others
have had only daughters through whom the ' blood' descended through
other names. Heraldically and genealogically more importance has
been given to the male lines; those who carry on the family name.
But biologically the female is just as important and may be more
reliable. Even the Queen traces her English and Scottish ancestry
In Argyll, Mulmorich Darroch appears to be the first
Darroch of definite record. That may have been because of his
position in the church. Other persons with the same or similar
spelling in the Lowlands mentioned by Dr. Black as having lived
a hundred years earlier probably originated from the place name
' Darroch ' near Sterling. While it is possible that some one
of them found his way to Argyll, even Mulmorich Darroch may
have gone there as minister, the connection is not likely because
of the traditions surrounding the origin of the name. Thus for
present-day Argyllshire Darrochs interested in tracing their ancestry
as far back as possible we must turn to the Campbell women whom
the sons of Mulmorich married. The ordinary citizen of to-day
attempts in his genealogy to include as many prominent ancestors
as possible. Therefore the Campbell line is, in Scotland, a fertile
one for that purpose. While Campbells were prone to marry Campbells
to keep the lands in the family, they also married heiresses of
other Highland clans with a view to securing their property. Then
too, they contracted many political marriages with other members
of the Scottish peerage. Thus a connection with the mainstream
of the Campbell family carries with it the blood of most of the
Highland chiefs and the Lowland peerages.
Mulmorich Darroch's; older son, Dugad, married Aylis,
the daughter of Major Mathew Campbell, ' The Captain of Skipness
'. This latter title indicated that he was a chieftain or the
head of a sept of the clan. Skipness Castle is on the eastern
shore 8 miles south of Tarbert where it overlooks Kilbrennan Sound
and the Island of Arran. It was built about 1247 and, no doubt,
was an important base for the transport of goods across the Firth
of Clyde. ' Skipness ' means ' ship point '. A few miles farther
south lies Saddell Abbey where Somerled, the progenitor of Clan
Donald and the Macdougalls, was buried in 1164. A comprehensive
account of the structure and development of Skipness Castle with
pictures and plans can be found in the book of Kintyre published
by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments
of Scotland. At present only the seven-foot thick walls about
thirty feet in height and the tower house in one corner, about
forty-five feet in height, remain standing. The text of the article
mentions that ' Minor repairs to the tower house were probably
executed in 1642-43, while a few years later the castle successfully
withstood a siege by the Macdonalds during the Colkitto raids
in Kintyre '. This was in Mathew Campbell's time.
For 250 years Skipness Castle was a stronghold of
the Macdonald Lords of the Isles. In 1495 it was granted by King
James iv to Sir Duncan Forestare and then to his son Walter Forestare.
In 1502 it came under the control of Archibald, 2nd Earl of Argyll.
He granted the lands to his 3rd son Archibald who was succeeded
by his son, John, in 1542. The 5th Earl, Archibald Donn, ( brown
haired ) granted the lands to his half brother, Colin Teach (
from Menteith ) who became the 6th Earl of Argyll in 1573. He
died in 1584, and was succeeded, as 7th Earl by his son Archibald
Gruamach ( the Grim ). He died in 1638 and Archibald, the 8th
Earl , became the Marquis of Argyll in 1641. Just when Mathew
Campbell or his family were granted the lands and castle of Skipness
is not quite clear from the records at hand, nor what was their
relationship to the successive Earls but it must have been close.
Andrew McKerral in ' Kintyre in the Seventeenth
Century " and other references give full accounts of the
tragedies, bloodshed and plague, that were the lot of the people
during the Civil Wars and other acts of depredation during that
century. It was probably the armies that brought the plague and
many who were not massacred died of disease and hunger. At Argyll's
trial in 1661, he was accused of transporting 200 men to the uninhabited Isle of Jura where they perished from famine. John Darroch was
minister there in 1632. What happened to his congregation ? Possibly
some of the inhabitants of Jura perished by the sword when Mathew
Campbell was sent over to punish them for harbouring Macdonalds.
( The details and the year are not available just now. ) It depends
on whose history one reads just what views are emphasized.
In May of 1647 Sir Alexander Macdonald, young Colkitto,
and his army were chased down the shore of Loch Fyne by General
Leslie's Covenanting Army which included the Marquis of Argyll
and Mathew Campbell. On Sunday May 23rd, Macdonald was encamped
on Dunskeig Hill near Clachan where Mathew Campbell's son-in-law,
Dugald Darroch was minister. The next day Macdonald was attacked
by Leslie at Rhunahaorine Point, flat land a few miles south.
It was not much of a battle, more of a skirmish, and the Macdonalds
with quite a number of Macdougals were deserted by Sir Alexander
Macdonald who managed to escape to Islay. The remainder, about
300, fled down the peninsula where they took refuge in the Fort
of Dunaverty at the top of Kintyre. The siege and the resulting
slaughter of the Macdonalds and Macdougalls are described in detail
by Sir James Turner, who was there, in his ' Memoirs '. During
the siege Mathew Campbell was one of the six attackers who were
killed. George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll, in his book ' Clan
Campbell ' a hundred years ago, describes Mathew Campbell as
Campbell usually called ' The Captain of Skipness
' according to the spirit of the times, studied the art of war
under that powerful monarch Gustavus Adolphus, the Terror of Austria,
and the bulwark of Protestantism in Europe. Devotedly attached
to the Presbyterian cause, he took a foremost and decided part
in the sanguinary struggle between Charles I and the Covenanters.
His military genius, which was shown in many memorable engagements,
his firmness and decision in the hour of danger, together with
his high sense of honour, soon raised him to the distinction of
a formidable leader. He particulary distinguished himself in arresting
the progress of the forces of Montrose, and was actively engaged
at Philiphaugh when they were cut in pieces. Under the command
of General Leslie he pursued the body of the Macdonalds on their
retreat to Ireland as far as the Castle of Dunaverty, when he
fell on the first day of the siege. This so enraged the besiegers
that they soon afterwards compelled the Macdonalds to surrender
unconditionally, when they were, to a man, put to the sword.
The mother of the Captain of Skipness, who was a
daughter of the chief of the Macfarlanes, hourly expected her
son's arrival and observing a person approaching at a great pace
supposed he might be him and went to meet him. He proved, however,
to be the messenger with the tidings of her son's death. Upon
hearing the mournful intelligence announced she fell into a swoon
from which she never recovered. His body was conveyed to Lochend
( now Campbeltown ) and interred in the old Gaelic Church. The
stone that covers his grave is still to be seen. The inscription,
which of late years is quite obliterated, stood thus:-
|" A Captain much renowned
Whose cause of fight was still Christ's right
For which his sole is crowned.
So briefly then to know the man
This stone tells all the story,
On earth his race he ran with grace,
In Heaven he reigns in glory "
If, as the Lyon Court has declared, 'There is reason
to believe that Archibald Darroch and his family are descended
from the House of Darroch of Mulmorich ', then they must also
have been descended from the sons of Mulmorich Darroch and their
wives. Thus there is a fifty percent chance that the descent is
from either Dugald Darroch or John Darroch.
John Darroch married Margaret, daughter of George
Campbell of Ballachlavan in Islay. George Campbell was the fourth
son, fifth child, of John Campbell of Barrichebean whose first
son, Ronald Roy , succeeded to the estate of Barrichebean and
the castle of Craignish. From Ronald Roy are descended the Campbells
of Craignish who held the lands until the middle of the nineteenth
There are a number of conflicting stories of the
origins of the Campbell of Craignish. One source claims that they
are descended from an illegitimate son of one of the early Campbells.
It was sometimes the custom of the Campbells to force neighbouring
clans to take the Campbell name and to give them a false and illegitimate
relationship to the main line. This kept them from becoming too
ambitious. This source, Dr. Skene in his ' Highlanders of Scotland',
says that the Campbells of Craignish were really MacEacherns who
were coerced into becoming Campbells, and the MacEacherns were
the descendants of the Siol Eachern, one of the early tribes of
the Picts. Another version has it that Sir Archibald Campbell,
fifth knight of Lochow and fourth of the name of Campbell, sent
his third son, Dugold to be fostered by Tossach Ban MacEachern
of Nether Craignish. In those days when life was precarious it
was the custom to spread children around in this way for survival.
The foster son, when he came of age, married Una or Anna the daughter
of Macdonald of Islay. Since his property was too small to support
both MacEachern and the newly married couple, MacEachern left
them the lands of Craignish and travelled to the Mull of Kintyre
where he became the progenitor of the MacEacherns of those parts.
This supposedly happened about 1150.
When one is searching for ancestors, a person finds
himself down many blind alleys and before listing the possible
genealogy of the Campbells of Craignish, it might be interesting
to digress for several paragraphs to consider the MacEacherns
and the puzzle they present.
The MacEacherns, or MacEachrans , are a family much
more numerous than the Darrochs. Like the Darrochs, they do not
appear to have been cohesive nor aggressive . They have no clan
history. Most clan histories are bloody and resulted from over-population
in limited and under-productive clan lands. They are not listed
in ' Scottish Family History ' as having arms or chiefs. The name
stems from the Gaelic, MacEach-thighearna, 'son of the horse lord'.
They were supposed to have been horseman to the Lords of the Isles.
Ptolemy in his Geography circa 140 A.D. describes the Mull of
Kintyre as Epidion Akron and the home of a British tribe, the
Epidii, ' the horse folk'. This name has been traditionally associated
with the MacEacherns.
Ptolemy never visited Britain. His maps are quite
distorted. Kintyre, by any stretch of the imagination, does not
seem likely to be the homeland of the horse folk. It lies like
a great hump-backed whale across the Firth of Clyde, the tail
narrowing at Campbeltown, where coal seams lie, and spreading
and rising again in the Mull of Kintyre. Horses are associated
with plains. Kintyre has steep hills and narrow fog-filled valleys.
Its coasts on both sides are lined with saw-toothed eroded layers
of rock through which the present-day roads wind between boulders
as big as large houses. Hardly handy for horses. Most of the commerce
in ancient days went by sea. Tacksmen paid for their holdings
by providing galleys of so many oars when required in war, which
was most of the time. And the wars in the west were attacks from
The first MacEachern of definite record in Kintyre
appears to be Colin MacEachran of Kilellan, who, in 1499, received
from King James IV a charter of his lands in Kilellan and of his
office of Mair of Fee. He is almost certainly the Colin who, with
his spouse Katherine, is commemorated in the Celtic Cross which
lies in Kilkerran cemetery near Campbletown. He is described by
Dr. Black as chief of the MacEacherns. He must have been a chief
without Indians. Where were the rest of his followers? Was Colin
born in Kintyre or did he come from elsewhere?
The homeland of the MacEacherns was probably Kintyre
and Islay. Durng the last 500 years they could have grown to the
moderate numbers numbers existing to-day. But where were these
Cossacks of Kintyre from the time of Christ to 1500?. Did they
not produce any horsemen whose exploits were worthy of note in
history? If they were the horsemen of the Lords of the Isles they
must have been merely stable-boys for the shaggy ponies used for
baggage carriers when it was necessary to make journeys across
country. Highlanders were not noted for riding horse-back in the
great kilt. Did Ptolemy make a mistake that has been perpetuated
for nearly 2000 years? Possibly he mistook the Mull of Kintyre
for the Mull of Galloway. Possibly the horsemen of the Early Britons
who lived in the western lowlands were the Epidi. They were only
a few miles away from Kintyre, and, as far as Ptomely knew, in
the same general area. The Celtic Kingdom of the Strathclyde extended
in King Arthur's time from Scotland to Wales. King Arthur's knights
certainly had horses, and so did Boadicea. The horses of those
times and places may have developed into the Clydesdales of to-day.
Dr. Black mentions a Gillecrist Mecachin who witnessed a charter
of lands in Carrick in the reign of William the Lion ( about 1200
). Could these southern MacEacherns, as opposed to the northern
MacEacherns ( son of Hector ), be the ancestors of the Kintyre
MacEacherns? Perhaps some MacEachern or a knowledgeable genealogist
could follow up this line of thought and answer the questions
The following line of descent of the house of Craignish
has been published a number of times, most recently by John Tweed
in ' The House of Argyll ' in 1871 to take advantage of the interest
aroused by the marriage of the Marquis of Lorne to Princess Louise,
daughter of Queen Victoria. In 1926, the Scottish History Society
included in their year book with some other papers the original
from which Tweed took his material. The authenticity of the manuscript
is discussed in the latter book.
The generations of the Campbells of Craignish:-
Sir Archibald Campbell, 20th chieftain, 5th Knight
of Lochow and 4th of the name of Campbell, about 1150 A.D.
- Dugald Campbell Craignish, 3rd son of above,
Macdonald of Islay
- Dugald Campbell, died 1221, married Bridget
- Dugald Campbell MacCuil Craignish, died 1250,
married daughter of MacSween of Skipness.
- Dugald Campbell MacCuil Craignish, died 1270,
married Jennet Lamont, daughter of Lamont of Lamont.
- Malcolm Campbell, died 1290.
- Sir Dugald Campbell married Margaret M'Martin.
- Sir Dugold Oig MacCoul Craignish, died 1350,
married the daughter of MacNaughton.
- Christian Campbell ( daughter ) married MacDougall
- Ronald Campbell, 2nd son of Malcolm Campbell,
- John Campbell, 1445
- Archibald Campbell, circa 1497
- Dugald Campbell, circa 1520
- Ronald Campbell. Circa 1537
- Dugald Campbell, circa 1540. This Dugald's
two sons died in the plague that raged in Scotland in the years
1544 and 1545. He had a natural son whose line carried on through
the 24th generation and died out. In 1546 they lost the estate
of Craignish, but the Campbells of Barrichebean managed by the
year 1680 to retrieve by purchase most of the property.
- Donald Campbell, 2nd son of John Campbell,
X above, married Effreta Vic Igheil, daughter of the Baron of
- John Campbell of Barrichebean, anno 1492.
- Donald Campbell of Barrichebean, anno 1532.
- John Campbell of Barrichebean, anno1544.
- Donald Campbell of Barrichebean, anno 1562.
- John Campbell of Barrichebean, anno 1569.
George Campbell of Barrichebean in Islay , 4th son of above.
Margaret Campbell, daughter of George Campbell, above married
John Darroch, son of Mulmorich Darroch, in 1632. They had, among
other children, a son Henry.
George Campbell established the link between the Darroch family
and the Campbells of Craignish. If the Campbell line is carried
on for two more generations, an interesting tale is told in
connection with the Siege and Massacre of Dunaverty.
- Donald Campbell.
- John Campbell, 2nd son of Donald, succeeded
his father in 1623
- Alexander Campbell came to the estate in 1652.
Cuthbert Bede in ' Argyll's Highlands ',
gives an account of the siege and includes the following:-
Many interesting stories have been handed down concerning
this memorable massacre at the " Rock of Blood "':
but, among these stories, there is none more interesting
than that of the escape from the massacre of the garrison
of the faithful nurse, Flora MacCambridge, with the infant
son of Archibald MacDonald. As she fled she met Captain
Campbell of Craigneish ( sic ), who not only spared the
child, saying ( when she alleged that it was her own ) "
It has the eye of the Macdonald; but, no matter! it wants
clothing; " but cut off the tail of his belted plaid
and gave it to her for a covering for the naked infant.
So she fled with it in safety, and concealed herself in
a cave in the Mull of Cantire ( sic ) until the Covenanters's
army had left the country. The child, who was thus so wonderfully
preserved from the massacre, grew up to be Ronald Macdonald,
the husband of Anne Stewart, sister of the first Earl of
Bute. All this is historical, although popular tradition
has filled in the details. I have lately received two Cantire
versions of the story, in which a few fresh points may be
noted. For example, Captain Campbell is said to have warned
the nurse not to continue her path along the beach towards
Kilcolmkill, or she would meet with General Leslie himself,
who probably would not treat her and her little charge with
the same forbearance. He, therefore, directed her to a place
higher up the glen. She took the path, and eventually reached
the cave, now known as " Macdonald's Cave
", where the adherents of the clan attended to her,
and kept her supplied with food, until it was safe to venture
The first name of this Captain Campbell is not
given by Cuthbert Bede in his story, and while
he is named " Captain Campbell of Craigneish ", there
are three Campbells who he might have been. John Campbell, XXII
above, was the Campbell in possession of part of the estate of
Craignish at that time. The descendants of the illegitimate
branch after they lost the property became soldiers of fortune
and one of them might have still claimed to be ' Campbell of
Craignish'. However from the time of the loss of the estate
in 1546, the title was vested in the Earldom of Argyll and granted
along with the estate of Skipness to various members of the
Argyll Campbells. Thus the ' Captain Campbell of Craignish '
in Cuthbert Bede's story may well have been Major Mathew Campbell,
the Captain of Skipness who most certainly was present until
he lost his life.
Andrew McKerral in his little book on
the Clan Campbell says:-
The striking success of the Campbells has few, if any,
parallels among the great families of Scotland. It can
be ascribed to various causes; to their fortunate but
risky decision to support King Robert the Bruce; to their
consistent loyalty to the reigning monarchs; to the Protestant
cause at and after the Reformation of 1560, and to the
carefully arranged marriages with the most inluential
families in the land. There can be no doubt that the long
line of Campbell chiefs exhibited a business acumen and
shrewdness which have all the appearances of having been
Forbes Skene in his " Highlanders of Scotland ',
described the Campbell policy as ' characterised by perfidy
and cunning ', but his editor, the Celtic scholar Alexander
MacBain took him to task for this judgement, and pointed
out that it was unfair and unjust to describe in such
terms the policy of men who nearly always trod the path
of common sense. It was certainly a policy in harmony
with the wishes of the great majority of the people of
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