A Slaughter under TrustThe recent 318th anniversary of the Glencoe Massacre has come and gone. Good to see that in many eyes there are those among us who remember the evil doing of that fateful morning of February the 13th 1692. The myth makers that came in the days of the empire that gave us Clan names and Clan Tartans were quick to make this into a MacDonald vs. Campbell clan fight. Of course there were many fights between the sons of Donald and the “Na Duibhnich” There have been many other massacres, so why then does the Glencoe massacre evoke such sentiment?
A few points….
Campbell expansion through legal titles to land had brought about deep resentments in the Western Highlands and Islands?
The recent Montrose wars had allowed those resentments to be vented in fire and sword in the mid 1640’s with the Campbell lands wasted by MacColla and his followers in the name of Charles the 1st.
The birth of Jacobitism with those loyal to the deposed James VII in arms in 1689-90 with many from the Highland and Island regions expressing deep loyalty to the Stewart King.
The Gaidhealtachd was the thorn in the side of the Government of Scotland residing in Edinburgh. They, who so recently had offered the crowns of Scotland to William the Prince of Orange and his wife Mary.
The bigger European stage with the wars against the French and the fear of a Jacobite Scotland being used as a stepping stone for the invasion of England.
Personalities like Stair, Argyll, Tweedale, Breadalbane, Livingstone keen to show loyalty to the new King.
The professional soldiers of the Argyll Regiment of the Estates of Scotland and their commanders. Argyll, Glenlyon, Hamilton, Duncanson. Or Colonel John Hill a remnant of the English occupying army of the Commonwealth.
And the words by the “Kings Special Command”
The item of Trust and how that Trust was betrayed by billeting soldiers on those people of their own Nation.
A few myths…..
Some even claimed that the massacre was carried out by those of the name MacDonald.
The muster role of Argyll’s regiment of foot in October 1691 contained 13 companies of 64 men including officers except Argyll’s own company which contained 72. Of that 840 the officers were as follows;
Colonel; the Earl of Argyll
Lieut Colonel; Jackson
Major; Robert Duncanson
Captains (Company Commanders)
Duncan Campbell of Kaimes
James Campbell Younger of Ardkinglass
John Campbell of Airds
Robert Campbell of Glenlyon
Of the whole regiment it was noted that there were 90 men of the name Campbell. There were 3 of the name MacDonald and two MacEacherns.
In the January 1692 muster role of Colonel John Hill’s regiment there were 10 companies of 88 men. Of the soldiers two were of the name Campbell and one MacDonald
The muster role of Glenlyons Company of Argyll’s regiment taken 23rd October 1691 contained 3 sections. Its Captain, Glenlyon and Ensign were of the name Campbell. Of the 60 men of the company 7 were called Campbell. 2 of the name MacKechirn.
The lullaby of the snow “Taladh an t-sneachda”
The night following the massacre soldiers out searching the hills of Glencoe for stray fugitives heard the sound of a bagpipe in the distance which they followed. On reaching the place where they thought it coming from it died away with nothing to be found. Battered by the winds in a rage the soldiers about turned only to hear in the distance the screaming of a child. The officer in command demanded of the nearest soldier that he put an end to screaming. On reaching the spot of the wailing the soldier hear the most beautiful singing he had ever heard as a young mother tried to lull her child to sleep. The soldier said to have remembered her whom he had left at home with a babe in her arms and the blood of Clan Donald in them both pared the women and her child giving her what food he had. On his way back to his comrades he chanced upon a wolf devouring the body of a dead women. He killed the wolf and showed the blood of the wolf on his sword to his officer. Descendents of this spared child are said to be living in Appin and Lochaber today.
There are many more and for a good read on the subject try this book by Donald J MacDonald published in 1965.
Cruel is the snow!