- Mar 15, 2017
The MacIains of Glencoe - The last recorded crest for the MacIains of Glencoe is a hand holding a sgain dhu, pronounced ske-in gu meaning 'dark dagger', surrounded by an open laurel wreath. This branch of Clan Donald does not currently have a chief registered with the Lord Lyon so there is consequently no official crest & motto for the MacIains of Glencoe. Clan crests are literally determined by the symbol on the 'crest of the helm', which is the top of the helmet, of the chief's matriculated coat of arms. Popular 'unofficial' crests are often depicted with the motto Cuimhnich, pronounced Kooi nich, Gaelic for 'remember'. There is no heraldic justification for this motto, but there is a Clan Donald tradition that explains the use of the Gaelic Cuimhnich.
The MacIains of Glencoe were a small branch of Clan Donald descended from Iain Fraoch or Iain of the heather and those who followed him. Glencoe was among the lands granted Angus Og by Robert the Bruce. Iain Fraoch was a younger son of Angus Og and founder of this small, but scrappy branch. They lived in almost isolation scattered up the glen known for its haunting beauty even before it became the unwilling scene of the Highland's most infamous "Murder Under Trust". They were the victims of the most infamous massacre in Scottish history. Even more than the other branches of Clan Donald, the people of Glencoe were isolated and slower to change than the world around them. While other clan chiefs were converting to the Saxon feudal lord system, the MacIain chiefs presided in the old Celtic sense even into the 17th century, living among their people more like a father than a feudal lord. - Clan Donald Heritage
Súil amháin ar an mbóthar - One eye on the road
Paying very close attention to the ‘Tinker Lady’, one can hear her referring to the Massacre of Glencoe and the Battle of Culloden, as though they were only weeks apart, and as if they happened much more recently than 1692 and 1746 respectively:
'The real tinkers way back, you know, after the battle of Culloden, and after Glencoe. The people, with so many of them being murdered in their houses, by the English, hundreds and hundreds of them fled to the Lowlands of Scotland. They’d no homes, they started to live in dug-outs, they became nomads of the road. Stuart, MacKenzies, McInnes, McPhee, McGregor. The remnants of the Clans of Lochaber and Glencoe.'
Oral history of this nature is extremely important for so many reasons, not least of all because it demonstrates the power of folk memory, and also gives us a glimpse into the mindset and the inner world of Travelers, and the manner with which they remember their history, which simply can not be sourced elsewhere. What were the Jacobite risings and the Battle of Culloden about, if not revenge for the Glencoe Massacre?
When we examine the Battle on Culloden Moor up closely, 54 years after Glencoe, we find that the majority of the foot soldiers, and in particular the front line troops who led the Highland charge, were almost to a man drawn from the ranks of Clan Donald, Clan Mackenzie, Clan Gregor, and the Clans of Glencoe.
Lord John Drummond's Division
Lord Lovat's Regiment: ~ 300 men. Led at Culloden by Charles Fraser of Inverallochie, whose battalion was numbered at about 300. The Master of Lovat's battalion missed the battle by several hours.
Lady Mackintosh's Regiment: ~ 350 men. Sometimes referred to in secondary sources as Clan Chattan Regiment. A composite unit, like the Athole Brigate. Led by Alexander McGillivray of Dunmaglass. Lost most of its officers at Culloden.
Farquharson of Monaltrie's Battalion: ~ 150 men. Consisted of mostly Highlanders but not all. Described by James Logie as "dressed in highland clothes mostly". Included a party of MacGregors.
Maclachlans and Macleans: ~ 200 men. Commanded by Lachlan Maclachlan of Castle Lachlan and Maclean of Drimmin (who served as Lt Col). The unit campaigned as part of the Athole Brigade, though fought at Culloden for the first time as a stand-alone unit.
Chisholms of Strathglass: ~ 80 men. This very small unit was led by Roderick Og Chisholm. Suffered very heavy casualties at Culloden.
Duke of Perth's Division
MacDonald of Keppoch's Regiment: ~ 200 men. Commanded by Alexander MacDonald of Keppoch. This small regiment consisted of MacDonalds of Keppoch, MacDonalds of Glencoe, Mackinnons and MacGregors.
MacDonald of Clanranald's Regiment: ~ 200 men. Commanded by MacDonald of Clanranald, younger, who was wounded during the battle. Disbanded at Fort Augustus about 18 April 1746.
MacDonnell of Glengarry's Regiment: ~ 500 men. Commanded by Donald MacDonnell of Lochgarry. This regiment included a unit of Grants of Glenmoriston and Glen Urquhart.