Battle of Harlaw

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Battle of Harlaw
Part of the feud between the Clan Donald and the Stewart royal family
Bennachie from the east.jpg
Bennachie from the east; the battlefield is hidden by the fold of ground in the middle distance
Date24 July 1411 [1]
North of Inverurie, Scotland
grid reference NJ75182422 [2]
Coordinates: 57°18′29″N2°24′43″W / 57.30806°N 2.41194°W / 57.30806; -2.41194
Result Tactical draw
Strategic Crown victory
Flag of Scotland.svg Scottish Crown (Lowland clans loyal to the Duke of Albany) Arms of the the Lord of the Isles.svg Lordship of the Isles (Highland clans)
Commanders and leaders
Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar Donald of Islay, Lord of the Isles
Several thousand Less than 10,000
Casualties and losses
600 dead 900 dead
Designated21 March 2011
Reference no. BTL11
Scotland relief location map.jpg
Red pog.svg
Location within Scotland

The Battle of Harlaw (Scottish Gaelic : Cath Gairbheach) was a Scottish clan battle fought on 24 July 1411 just north of Inverurie in Aberdeenshire. It was one of a series of battles fought during the Middle Ages between the barons of northeast Scotland against those from the west coast.

The battle was fought to resolve competing claims to the Earldom of Ross, a large region of northern Scotland. Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland, had taken control of the earldom as guardian of his niece Euphemia Leslie. This claim was contested by Donald, Lord of the Isles, who had married Euphemia's aunt Mariota. Donald invaded Ross with the intention of seizing the earldom by force.

First he defeated a large force of Mackays at the Battle of Dingwall. He captured Dingwall Castle and then advanced on Aberdeen with 10,000 clansmen. Near Inverurie he was met by 1,000–2,000 of the local gentry, many in armour, hastily assembled by the Earl of Mar. After a day of fierce fighting there was no clear victor; Donald had lost 900 men before retreating to the Western Isles, and Mar had lost 600. The latter could claim a strategic victory in that Aberdeen was saved, and within a year Albany had recaptured Ross and forced Donald to surrender. However Mariota was later awarded the earldom of Ross in 1424 and the Lordship of the Isles would keep the title for much of the 15th century.

The ferocity of the battle gave it the nickname "Red Harlaw". It is commemorated by a 40-foot (12 m) high memorial on the battlefield near Inverurie, supposedly by the church at Chapel of Garioch, and by ballads and music.


Map showing the approximate areas of the kingdom of Fortriu and neighbours c. 800, and the kingdom of Alba c. 900 Early Medieval Scotland areas.png
Map showing the approximate areas of the kingdom of Fortriu and neighbours c. 800, and the kingdom of Alba c. 900

During the Dark Ages, the territory of what later became Scotland was divided between the Gaelic kingdoms of Dál Riata on the western seaboard and Alba in the south-east, and Pictish kingdoms in the northeast of which Fortriu was the most important. [3] In addition were the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Bernicia, later part of Northumbria, and the Brythonic Kingdom of Cumbria. [4] Viking influence increased in the west, with the Norse-Gaels that became Lords of the Isles taking control of much of Dál Riata in 1156. [5] The Gaels of Alba acquired Brythonic elements from the conquest of the Kingdom of Strathclyde in the 11th century and increasingly absorbed Norman-French and Anglo-Saxon culture, influences which also spread to the Pictish areas of the northeast. [6] The lands of Fortriu became part of the Province of Moray, which was conquered by Alba in 1130 and fragmented into territories that were semi-independent of the king in Edinburgh. [7]

There was a long history of conflicts between the Moray gentry and the clans of the West Coast, but some historians present Harlaw as a clash between the Scottish Highlands and Lowlands, or between Celt and Teuton. [8] John Hill Burton (1809–1881) claimed that in Lowland Scotland Harlaw "was felt as a more memorable deliverance even than that of Bannockburn. What it was to be subject to England the country knew and disliked; to be subdued by their savage enemies of the mountains opened to them sources of terror of unknown character and extent". [9] However Sir Robert Rait (1874–1936) detected no racial antipathy in the two contemporary accounts of the Scotichronicon and the Book of Pluscarden, [10] and viewed Harlaw not as a conflict between races, but between two groups of Scots of which one spoke Scots and the other Gaelic. [11] Rait mentions Buchanan's view that it was a raid for plunder. [12]

Claims on the Earldom of Ross

The Earldom of Ross was a vast territory reaching from Skye to Ross and Inverness-shire, with superiority over the outlying lands of Nairn and Aberdeenshire. [13] In 1370 Uilleam (William), Earl of Ross received a charter from King David II, confirming his right to the title and directing that in the absence of male heirs, the entirety of the earldom, titles and lands would fall to "the elder daughter always" without division. [14] Uilleam died in 1372 without a male heir, and the title passed to his daughter Euphemia. [15] By her first husband Sir Walter Leslie, Euphemia had two children – Alexander Leslie and Mariota (anglicised as Margaret or Mary). [16] After Walter's death, Euphemia married Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan (the "Wolf of Badenoch") in 1382, [17] giving the Stewarts control of the earldom. In 1392 the marriage was annulled [18] as Buchan had long been living with Mairead inghean Eachainn with whom he had a number of children, including Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar. [19] Euphemia died in 1394 and her son Alexander Leslie inherited the title. [20]

Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany had taken effective control of mainland Scotland towards the end of the reign of his father Robert II; his power increased during the reign (1390–1406) of his ineffective elder brother Robert III. Albany's daughter Isabel Stewart married Alexander Leslie before 1398 and their only child was a sickly daughter, also called Euphemia. [20] According to the Calendar of Fearn, Leslie died on 8 May 1402, [21] whilst his daughter was still a minor. [20] Albany gained wardship of Euphemia, which gave him control of Ross. [20] After the capture by the English of Robert III's heir James and Robert's death soon afterwards [22] in April 1406, Albany was confirmed as regent; [23] Albany continued to govern Scotland until his death in September 1420. [22]

Meanwhile, Donald (Domhnall), Lord of the Isles claimed the earldom of Ross through his marriage to Euphemia's aunt, Mariota, the oldest living female descendant of Uilleam. [15] He also signed an alliance with Henry IV of England on 16 September 1405, which was renewed on 8 May 1408. [24] Skene believed the treaty of 1408 to be the key to the Harlaw campaign and that the claim on Ross was no more than a pretext for coordinated hostilities by Donald and the English against the Lowlands of Scotland, a plan abandoned after Harlaw. [25]

Invasion and the Battle of Dingwall

It took Donald time to ready his assault, but in 1411 he assembled his forces at Ardtornish Castle [26] on the Sound of Mull and invaded Ross. [27] He met no opposition until "a severe conflict" [28] at Dingwall, seat of the Earls of Ross, where, at the Battle of Dingwall, he fought a large body of men of the Clan Mackay from "Strathnaver". [28] Their leader Angus-Dow (Angus Dubh, Angus Duff) Mackay was captured and his brother Rory-Gald was killed along with "the greater part of his men"; [29] Donald later gave Angus his daughter in marriage. [28] Donald then captured Dingwall Castle. [23]

Donald assembled his army at Inverness, and summoned all the fighting men in Boyne and Enzie (northern Banffshire between the Rivers Deveron and Spey) to join his army. [29] He then swept through Moray meeting little or no resistance. [29] He then turned south-east, following roughly the route of the modern A96 road although the main road ran north of the River Urie, [30] not south as it does today. Donald's men committed "great excesses" [23] in Strathbogie and the Garioch, which belonged to Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar. [31] Finally the Highland horde came to Bennachie, the last hill of the Grampians before the coastal plain between Inverurie and Aberdeen. [32] Donald had often promised to burn Aberdeen, [23] and he was now within 20 miles (32 km) of the burgh. On 23 July 1411, he set up camp just north of Inverurie, on high ground 2 km northwest of the bridge over the River Urie. [30]

The Earl of Mar had plenty of warning of their advance, [30] and had assembled a force from among the gentry of Buchan, Angus and the Mearns (Kincardineshire). [33] The Irvings, Maules, Moray, Straitons, Lesleys, Stirlings and Lovels were led by their respective clan chiefs. [33] Mar gathered his troops at Inverurie, a strategic town on the Inverness-Aberdeen road, and on the morning of 24 July marched northwest to meet the invaders. [30]


According to the Scotichronicon, the two armies joined battle on the eve of the feast of St James [34] – 24 July 1411. [25] [35] The same source puts Donald's army at 10,000 islanders and men of Ross, [34] although it was probably far less. [30] They were armed with swords, bows and axes, short knives, and round targe shields. [33]

Tombstone of Gilbert de Greenlaw in Kinkell Church Gilbert de Greenlaw tombstone.jpg
Tombstone of Gilbert de Greenlaw in Kinkell Church

It is likely that most ordinary highlanders would have worn no armour, if anything, a padded gambeson, known as a cotun. Wealthier highlanders would have been equipped in a similar way to the gallowglasses of Ireland and the Isles, with long padded gambesons, mail hauberks, and sometimes partial plate.

Tradition has it that they faced a force numbering between 1,000 and 2,000 men; [36] it was probably several thousand, [30] with significant numbers of knights. [30] Sir Gilbert de Greenlaw died at Harlaw and his tombstone at Kinkell Church [37] gives an idea of how Mar's knights were equipped. Sir Gilbert carries a hand and a half sword and wears an open-faced bascinet helmet with a mail-reinforced arming doublet beneath plate armour. [38] Mar's men also carried spears, maces, and battle axes. [33] Tradition has it that the black armour in the entrance hall of Aberdeen's Town House belonged to Robert Davidson, Provost of Aberdeen, [39] who died in the battle along with most of the burgesses. [33]

On spotting the islanders, Mar organised his force into battle array, with the main army behind a small advance guard of men-at-arms under Sir James Scrymgeour (Constable of Dundee, the hereditary standard-bearer of Scotland) and Sir Alexander Ogilvie of Auchterhouse (Sheriff of Angus). [33] He probably split the army into three, with the knights as a cavalry reserve and the infantry arranged in schiltrons, close-packed arrays of spearmen. [30] There is no mention of significant numbers of archers. [30] The islanders were arranged in the traditional cuneiform or wedge shape, with Hector MacLean commanding the right wing and the chief of Clan Mackintosh on the left. [33] At first the clansmen launched themselves at Scrymgeour's men, but failed to make much impression on the armoured column and many were slain. [33] However, every wave of islanders that was repulsed, was replaced by fresh men. [33] Meanwhile, Mar led his knights into the main body of Donald's army with similar results. [33] The islanders brought down the knights' horses and then used their dirks to finish off the riders. [33]

By nightfall, the ballads claim that 600 [30] of Mar's men were dead, including Ogilvie and his son, Scrymgeour, Sir Robert Maule, Sir Thomas Morrow, William Abernethy, Alexander Straiton of Lauriston, James Lovel, Alexander Stirling, and Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum; according to Maclean history the latter duelled with Hector Maclean until both were dead. [33] Many families lost every male in their house; Lesley of Balquhain died with six of his sons. [40] Donald lost 900 men, [30] a much smaller proportion of his total force, but including his two seconds-in-command. [35] [41] In the history of the Mackintoshes, chiefs of Clan Chattan, it is recorded that Mackintosh mourned the loss of so many of his friends and people, especially of Clan Vean (Clan MacBean). [42] [43]

Too feeble to retreat, Mar and his surviving men camped on the battlefield, [44] expecting combat to resume in the morning. [23] At dawn they found that Donald had withdrawn during the night, retreating first to Ross and then back to the Isles. [23] The casualties on both sides meant that neither side felt it had won the day, [23] but Mar had kept Donald from Aberdeen and for the islanders, the absence of conclusive victory was as bad as defeat. [25]


James I King James I of Scotland.jpg
James I

Many of those who died were buried at Kinkell Church [45] south of Inverurie. [37] The heirs of the slain Scots were exempt from death duties [46] in the same way as heirs of those who died fighting the English. [9] Suspecting that Donald had merely fallen back to rest and reinforce his troops, Albany collected an army and marched on Dingwall, seizing the castle and regaining control of Ross. [46] In mid-1412 he followed up with a three-pronged attack on Donald's possessions, [23] forcing Donald to surrender his claim on Ross, become a vassal of the Scottish crown and give up hostages against his future good behaviour. [47] The treaty was signed at Polgilbe/Polgillip (Loch Gilp), an inlet of Loch Fyne in Argyll. [47]

It was proposed on 3 June 1415 that Euphemia should marry Thomas Dunbar, 3rd (6th) Earl of Moray [48] but the papal commission would not have arrived [48] before she surrendered her land and titles (possibly under compulsion [48] ) to Albany's son the Earl of Buchan on 12 June 1415, [49] after which she appears to have entered a nunnery. [50] Buchan was killed at the Battle of Verneuil in 1424, [51] and the rest of Albany's heirs were executed or exiled by James I on his return to Scotland. [52] Mariota claimed the earldom of Ross once more, and James I awarded it to her in 1424. [53] Donald's son Alexander succeeded to the title on her death in 1429. [54]

After Harlaw, the Earl of Mar "ruled with acceptance nearly all the north of the country beyond the Mounth" according to the Scotichronicon . [55] He entered into an "uneasy alliance" with his uncle Albany, but the ruin of Albany's heirs left Mar in control of the north. [20] Alexander attempted an invasion of Ross in 1429 which led to his defeat and capture by Mar at the Battle of Lochaber. [56] In turn Mar suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of Donald's nephew Donald Balloch, at the Battle of Inverlochy. [20] The resulting power vacuum allowed Alexander to occupy Inverness and perhaps consider himself Earl of Ross by 1437; the title was officially confirmed by the new regent, the Earl of Douglas, after the death of James I that year. [20]

Commemoration and archaeology

Harlaw Monument Harlaw Monument.jpg
Harlaw Monument

The battle is remembered as "one of the hardest fought that ever took place on Scottish soil"; [57] the fighting was so fierce that the battle went down in history as "Red (Reid) Harlaw". [57] The battle is commemorated in a march, The Battle of Harlaw, [23] and in ballads such as Child ballad 163. [58] [59] Maidment has a different ballad which apparently shares the same tune, but he is sceptical of its antiquity. [60] Sir Walter Scott mentions Harlaw in his 1816 novel The Antiquary , particularly in Elspeth's ballad in Chapter 40. [61]

Tradition has it that Mar founded Chapel of Garioch after the battle, to celebrate masses for the souls of the fallen. [62] In 1911, [2] Aberdeen Town Council erected the Harlaw Monument, located to the north of the town of Inverurie, to the memory of Provost Robert Davidson and the burgesses of Aberdeen who died in the battle. [2] Designed by Dr. William Kelly and located to the south of Harlaw House, the granite monument is hexagonal and 40 feet (12.2 m) tall. [63] There were once several cairns in the area that were traditionally associated with the battle, but little remains of them now – Drum's Cairn, Provost Davidson's Cairn, Donald's Tomb and the Liggars Stane. [30] [64] 12 human skeletons were uncovered northeast of Harlaw House in 1837. [65] Although there have been several discoveries of prehistoric artefacts, such as stone axeheads and a flint core, no artefacts directly attributable to the battle have been recorded. [66] The battlefield has been inventoried and protected by Historic Scotland under the Historic Environment (Amendment) Act 2011. [67]

See also

Notes and references

  1. "Battle of Harlaw". UK Battlefields Resource Centre. The Battlefields Trust. Archived from the original on 12 December 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 Site Record for Harlaw, Battle of Harlaw, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland
  3. Lynch (1992), pp. 39–40
  4. Lynch (1992), p. 45
  5. Keay & Keay (1994) pp. 889–890
  6. Lynch (1992), pp. 47–50
  7. Lynch (1992), pp. 48, 58–68
  8. Douglas Simpson, William (1949), The Earldom of Mar: being a sequel to The Province of Mar 1943, Aberdeen University Press, p. 49
  9. 1 2 Hill Burton, John (1867), The history of Scotland: from Agricola's invasion to the revolution of 1688, W. Blackwood, p. 102
  10. Rait, p. 14 – all references to Rait refer to page numbers in the Echo Library reprint of 2007.
  11. Rait, pp. 20–21
  12. Rait, p. 24 citing George Buchanan's Rerum Scoticarum Historia Lib. x.
  13. Williams (1997) p. 186
  14. Brown; et al. (2007–2009), The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707, St Andrews University, 1370/10/1, retrieved 30 April 2009
  15. 1 2 Maidment, James (1868), Scottish Ballads and Songs, Historical and Traditionary, W. Patterson, pp. 198–200
  16. Tytler (1845), page 27
  17. Roberts (1999) p. 5.
  18. Boardman, Stephen (1996), The Early Stewart Kings: Robert II and Robert III, 1371–1406 (Stewart Dynasty in Scotland), East Linton: Tuckwell Press, p. 179, ISBN   978-1-898410-43-0 reprinted by John Donald Short Run Press (2007, ISBN   978-1-904607-68-7).
  19. Barrow, G W S, (1981) The Sources for the History of the Highlands in the Middle Ages pp.16–17 in The Middle Ages in the Highlands ed Lorraine McLean, Inverness Field Club ISBN   978-0-9502612-1-8
  20. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Roberts (1999) p. 16.
  21. Ross, Earls of; Baillie, WR (1850), Ane breve cronicle of the earlis of Ross: Including Notices of the Abbots of Fearn, and of the Family of Ross of Balnagown., p. 9
  22. 1 2 Fritze, Ronald H.; Baxter Robison, William (2002), Historical dictionary of late medieval England, 1272–1485, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 492, ISBN   978-0-313-29124-1
  23. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Anderson, William (1862), The Scottish nation: or, The surnames, families, literature, honours, and biographical history of the people of Scotland, Fullarton, pp. 37–8
  24. Mackenzie, Alexander (1880), "History of the Macdonalds and Lords of the Isles", The Celtic Magazine, Inverness: A. and W. Mackenzie, V (53): 169
  25. 1 2 3 Skene, William Forbes (1837), The Highlanders of Scotland: Their Origin, History, and Antiquities, J. Murray, pp. 73–4
  26. Lang, Andrew, Scotland, Plain Label Books, pp. 52–3, ISBN   978-1-60303-626-9 Reprint
  27. Sources differ on whether he marched across Ross or sailed in a fleet of galleys around the north of Scotland to Dingwall. The latter would have played to the islanders' strengths, possibly they did both.
  28. 1 2 3 Mackay, Robert (1829), History of the house and clan of Mackay, Edinburgh: Andrew Jack & Co, pp. 53–4 quoting A Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland from Its Origin to the Year 1630 by Sir Robert Gordon
  29. 1 2 3 Tytler (1845), page 28
  30. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Draft report on Harlaw prepared for Historic Scotland by The Battlefields Trust (PDF), Battlefields Trust, 2006
  31. Tytler (1845), page 29
  32. Hill Burton (1867), pp. 100–1
  33. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 MacLean, J. P. (1999), A History of the Clan MacLean: From Its First Settlement at Duard Castle, in the Isle of Mull, to the Present Period, Heritage Books, pp. 41–3, ISBN   978-0-7884-1316-2 Description of the battle is almost word-for-word the same as Tytler p. 31, and draws heavily on the Scotichronicon.
  34. 1 2 Rait (2007), p. 166 quoting the Scotichronicon
  35. 1 2 Tytler (1845), page 32
  36. Roberts, John Lenox (1997), Lost Kingdoms: Celtic Scotland and the Middle Ages, Edinburgh University Press, p. 196, ISBN   978-0-7486-0910-9
  37. 1 2 Site Record for Kinkell, St Michael's Church And Burial-Ground; Commandery of the Knights Hospitaller; Kinkell Church And Burial-Ground; Lower Kinkell; Ardmurdo; Kinkell, Old Parish Church, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland has a drawing of Sir Gilbert's tombstone that is clearer than a photo. Kinkell Church is south of Inverurie, at grid reference NJ78581906
  38. Sadler, John (2006), Border Fury: England and Scotland at War, 1296–1568, Pearson Education, p. 37, ISBN   978-1-4058-4022-4
  39. Kinross, John; Perry, Adrian (1998), Discovering battlefields of England and Scotland, Osprey Publishing, p. 49, ISBN   978-0-7478-0370-6 page 48 has a hand-drawn map of the battle that is very different from the Battlefields Trust map in the external links section.
  40. Tytler, Patrick Fraser (1841), History of Scotland, William Tait, Prince's Street, Edinburgh, p. 151
  41. The Scotichronicon gives the figure of 900 deaths on Donald's side.
  42. Lachlan Mackintosh of Kinrara: A Chronicle of the Family of Mackintosh to 1680 ('The Kinrara Manuscript) – edited by Dr Jean Munro, published by the Clan Chattan Association
  43. Fraser-Mackintosh, Charles. (1898). Minor Septs of Clan Chattan, page 31.
  44. Thomson, Thomas (1849), The history of Scotland, T. & T. Clark, p. 116
  45. Sharp, James A. (1852), A new gazetteer; or topographical dictionary of the British islands and narrow seas, p. 963
  46. 1 2 Tytler (1845), page 33
  47. 1 2 Tytler (1845), page 34
  48. 1 2 3 Balfour Paul, Sir James (1904), The Scots Peerage : founded on Wood's ed. of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, Edinburgh: D. Douglas, p. 303
  49. Maidment (1868) pp. 199 and 200, citing Dalrymple, David (1770), The Additional Case of Elisabeth, Claiming the Title and Dignity of Countess of Sutherland, by Her Guardians
  50. Donaldson, Gordon (1975), The Edinburgh history of Scotland, Oliver & Boyd, p. 235, ISBN   9780050020388
  51. Keen, Maurice Hugh (2003), England in the later Middle Ages: a political history (2nd ed.), Routledge, p. 304, ISBN   978-0-415-27293-3
  52. Thomson (1849), p. 122
  53. Adam, Frank (1934), The Clans, Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands, p. 68, ISBN   978-1-4179-8076-5 republished in 2004 by Kessinger Publishing ( ISBN   978-1-4179-8076-5) with a foreword by Thomas Innes
  54. Smibert, Thomas (1850), The clans of the Highlands of Scotland, p. 22
  55. Bower, Walter; Watt, D. E. R. (1987), Scotichronicon: Books XV and XVI, Aberdeen University Press, ISBN   978-0-08-034527-7
  56. Barrell, Andrew D. M. (2000), Medieval Scotland, Cambridge University Press, p. 217, ISBN   978-0-521-58602-3
  57. 1 2 MacMillan, Donald (1911), A Short History of the Scottish People, Read Books (2008 reprint), pp. 171–2, ISBN   978-1-4086-9231-8
  58. Child, Francis James, ed. (1890). The Battle of Harlaw. English and Scottish Popular Ballads. Vol. III, Part 2. Boston: Houghton Mifflin and Company. pp. 316–320. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  59. "The Battle of Harlaw". The English and Scottish Popular Ballads. Sacred Text Archive. 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  60. Maidment (1868) pages 199–209 discusses the origin of his ballad and some of the tunes. On page 146 he describes it as "infinitely finer" than The Raid of the Reid-Squhair, which may have been written by the same author.
  61. Scott, Sir Walter (1816), "40", The Antiquary "And I will sing of Glenallan's Earl / That fought on the red Harlaw"
  62. Kennedy, William (1818), Annals of Aberdeen: from the reign of King William the Lion, to the end of the year 1818, Aberdeen: A. Brown & Co, p. 324
  63. Site Record for, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland Monument is at grid reference NJ7514324074 .
  64. Canmore Advanced Search – Harlaw, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, archived from the original on 14 March 2012 Lists all the archaeological evidence in the area
  65. Site Record for East Harlaw; Battle of Harlaw, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland Skeletons were found at grid reference NJ75202504
  66. RCAHMS Canmap for Harlaw
  67. "Inventory battlefields". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 12 April 2012.


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Donald, Lord of the Isles, was the son and successor of John of Islay, Lord of the Isles and chief of Clan Donald. The Lordship of the Isles was based in and around the Scottish west-coast island of Islay, but under Donald's father had come to include many of the other islands off the west coast of Scotland, as well as Morvern, Garmoran, Lochaber, Kintyre and Knapdale on the mainland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alexander of Islay, Earl of Ross</span> Scottish nobleman

Alexander of Islay or Alexander MacDonald was a medieval Scottish nobleman, who succeeded his father Domhnall of Islay as Lord of the Isles (1423–1449) and rose to the rank of Earl of Ross (1437–49). His lively career, especially before he attained the earldom of Ross, led Hugh MacDonald, the 17th century author of History of the MacDonalds, to commemorate him as "a man born to much trouble all his lifetime". Alexander allied himself with King James I of Scotland against the power of the Albany Stewarts in 1425 but, once the Albany Stewarts were out of the way, Alexander quickly found himself at odds with the new king. War with King James would initially prove Alexander's undoing, and would see the King's power in Scotland greatly increased, but at the Battle of Inverlochy Alexander's army prevailed against the forces of the King. Alexander died in 1449, having greatly extended his family's landed wealth and power. He was buried, not in the Isles of his ancestors, but at Fortrose Cathedral in his mainland Earldom of Ross.

Alexander Leslie, Earl of Ross was a Scottish nobleman. Born between 1367 and 1382, he was the son of Walter Leslie, Lord of Ross and Euphemia I, Countess of Ross. In around 1394 he became Earl of Ross and sometime before 1398 he married Isabel Stewart, daughter of Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany. They had one child, Euphemia. He died at Dingwall, Scotland on 8 May 1402.

Mariota, Countess of Ross was the daughter of Euphemia I, Countess of Ross and her husband, the crusading war-hero Walter Leslie, Lord of Ross. Upon the death of her brother, Alexander Leslie, Earl of Ross, she became the heir-presumptive of her niece Euphemia II, Countess of Ross although her husband Domhnall of Islay, Lord of the Isles pressed Mariota's superior claim to the earldom.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Battle of Bealach nam Broig</span> Battle in Highland, Scotland, UK

The Battle of Bealach nam Broig was a battle fought between Scottish clans from the lands of north-west Ross, against north-eastern clans of Ross who supported the Earl of Ross. The actual date of the battle is debated, it probably occurred in 1452 but the Conflicts of the Clans suggests a date as early as 1299.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Battle of Tuiteam Tarbhach</span> Scottish clan battle c. 1406

The Battle of Tuiteam Tarbhach was a Scottish clan battle in which the Mackays wiped out raiders from the Clan MacLeod of Lewis who were returning from an attack on Mackay land in Strathnaver. The Mackays caught up with the raiders on the north bank of the River Oykel some three miles west of where the river joins the River Cassley at the head of the Kyle of Sutherland. The battle probably took place in 1406, but the date is uncertain from the manuscripts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Battle of Dingwall</span>

The Battle of Dingwall was a Scottish clan battle said to have taken place in the year 1411, in Dingwall in the Scottish Highlands. It was fought between the Clan Mackay and the Clan Donald.

Hugh Munro, 9th Baron of Foulis was a 14th – 15th century Scottish soldier and said to be 12th chief of the Clan Munro in the Scottish Highlands. Hugh was seated at Foulis Castle in Ross-shire, Scotland. Although Hugh is traditionally the 9th Baron and 12th overall chief of the clan, he is only the 2nd Munro chief that can be proved by contemporary evidence.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Battle of Lochaber</span> 1429 Scottish clan battle

The Battle of Lochaber was a battle fought in 1429, in the Scottish Highlands, between the forces of Alexander of Islay, Earl of Ross, 3rd Lord of the Isles and chief of Clan Donald against the Royalist army of King James I of Scotland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dingwall Castle</span>

Dingwall Castle was a medieval fort and royal castle in the town of Dingwall, eastern Ross-shire, Scotland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clan Munro</span> Highland Scottish clan

Clan Munro is a Highland Scottish clan. Historically the clan was based in Easter Ross in the Scottish Highlands. Traditional origins of the clan give its founder as Donald Munro who came from the north of Ireland and settled in Scotland in the eleventh century, though its true founder may have lived much later. It is also a strong tradition that the Munro chiefs supported Robert the Bruce during the Wars of Scottish Independence. The first proven clan chief on record however is Robert de Munro who died in 1369; his father is mentioned but not named in a number of charters. The clan chiefs originally held land principally at Findon on the Black Isle but exchanged it in 1350 for Estirfowlys. Robert's son Hugh who died in 1425 was the first of the family to be styled "of Foulis", despite which clan genealogies describe him as 9th baron.

Angus Du Mackay, 7th of Strathnaver was the seventh chief of the Clan Mackay, a Highland Scottish clan. He is recorded in the 15th-century Scottish chronicle, Scotichronicon, as Enneas-en-Imprissi meaning Angus the Absolute due to his power of commanding 4000 men.

Malcolm Beg Mackintosh was the tenth chief of the Clan Mackintosh, a Scottish clan of the Scottish Highlands. He was also chief of the confederation of clans known as the Clan Chattan.