- Clan MacDonald of Sleat
The MacDonalds of Sleat are a branch of the
Clan Donaldor MacDonald.
Origins of the clan
The Macdonalds of Sleat are descendants of Hugh MacDonald (d.1498) who was a younger son of
Alexander of Islay, Earl of Ross, 3rd Lord of the Islesand 8th chief of Clan Donald. [ [http://www.finlaggan.com/page/20.asp The Family Tree of the Lords of the Isles - Finlaggan Trust ] ]
Hugh had ability and power and sat on the council of the Isles. During the 1400s attempts were made by various people to reclaim the MacDonald's mainland possessions. However Hugh obtained a charter to retain his lands. His son
John MacDonaldinherited these lands from him.
16th century and clan conflicts
By the 16th century the power of the MacDonalds, Lords of the Isles had warned. The
Clan Mathesonno longer supported the MacDonalds but were now in allegiance with the Clan MacKenzie. Chief Iain Dubh Matheson died whilst defending the Castle on Eilean Donanisland against the Clan MacDonald of Sleat for the Clan MacRaeand Clan MacKenziein 1539.
Battle of the Western Isles, 1586, Fought on the Isle of Jura, between the Clan MacDonald of Sleat and the Clan MacLean.’Conflicts of the Clans’ published in 1764 by the Foulis press, written from a manuscript wrote in the reign of James VI of Scotland. [http://www.electricscotland.com/webclans/conflict/] ]
The Macdonald of Sleat brothers
John had five sons, each to a different woman. These Macdonalds threw the clan into a period of destructive evil. One of these sons called Black Archibald is described as having a soul as dark as his complexion. With two of the other half brothers he conspired to murder the eldest of the half brothers who he strangled.
Black Archibald invited another of the half brothers called Donald Hearach to dinner to see his newly built gallery. During the dinner he stabbed Donald in the back. In the violent reprisals that followed the Black Archibald was the only one of the half brothers to survive.
However Black Archibald was later murderd by his nephews Donald and Ranald Grumach. This Donald then became Chief of the Clan MacDonalds of Sleat in 1518.
17th century and clan conflicts
The Clan MacDonald of Sleat branch became known as Clan Donald North to distinguish themselves from the
Clan MacDonald of Dunnyvegbranch who became known as Clan Donald South.
In 1608 after a century of feuding which included battles against the
Clan MacKenzieand Clan MacLeanall of the relevant MacDonald Chiefs were called to a meeting with Lord Ochiltreewho was the King's representative. Here they discussed the future Royal intentions for governing the Isles. The Chiefs did not agree with the King and were all thrown into prison. Donald the Chief of the MacDonalds of Sleat was incacerated in the Blackness Castle. His release was granted when he at last submitted to the King. Donald died in 1616 and then Sir Donald MacLeod, his nephew succeeded as the chief and became the first Baronet of Sleat.
In 1689 the chief led 500 men of the Clan MacDonald of Sleat at the
Battle of Killiecrankie, in support of John Graham, 1st Viscount of Dundeewhere they were victorious.
18th century and Jacobite uprisings
Unlike other branches of the
Clan Donaldthe Clan MacDonald of Sleat did not take any part in the Jacobite Uprisings. As a result the Sleat possessions remained secure and intact.
The seat of the Chief of the Clan MacDonald of Sleat was at
Dunscaith Castlewhich is now a ruin.
The current chief of the Clan Macdonald of Sleat is Sir Ian Bosville Macdonald, 17th Baronet of Sleat.
*Clan Crest: A hand in armour in fess, holding by the point a cross crosslet fitchy, gules.Bain, R, "The Clans And Tartans Of Scotland", p.158-159]
*Clan Motto: Per mar per terras, (
Latin), "By sea and land".
*Clan Badge: Heath.
*Bain, Robert. (1983). "The Clans And Tartans Of Scotland". Collins Publishers. (
Great Britain). ISBN 0 00 411117 6
* [http://www.clandonald-heritage.com http://www.clandonald-heritage.com]
* [http://www.scotclans.com/clans/MacDonald_of_Sleat/history.html http://www.scotclans.com/clans/MacDonald_of_Sleat/history.html]
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