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The Lion Rampant



It was not until 1315 that Robert the Bruce granted to “Sir Colin Cambel, the whole land of Louchaw.. in a free barony .. for the forensic service, of one ship of forty oars for forty days, as often as they shall be forewarned.” This is “Big Colin”. In 1457 that his great-grandson, another Colin, became the first Earl of Argyll. In the mid 1500’s most of the lands of Lorn seem to have been ‘acquired’ by Campbells.

On the 14 March 1540 the 4th Earl of Argyll received from the King a renewed grant of all his lands. In 1541 he resigned the Lordship and Barony of Lorn, of which he received a new grant. In 1542 the same lands were resigned and erected anew in favour of Archibald, his heir. In 1541 he also resigned the lands of Lismore and received a new grant of them. I think that this is significant; Lismore was not included in the resignation of the Lordship of Lorn. These lands were the abbey lands ruled by the Coarbs of St Moluag, who had no superior but God. In 1542 the lands of Lismore were again resigned, followed by a re-grant in favour of Archibald, the Earl’s heir. Now that the 4th Earl’s feudal superiority of the lands of Lorn was secure, he set about making himself superior of all he could.

It was the 4th Earl of Argyll who granted the 1544 charter of confirmation to John McMolmore Vic Kevir, Heritable Keeper of the Bachuil. This charter makes it clear that the office is lost in the midst of antiquity. It is acknowledged that the lands and staff have been in the family for many generations, clearly preceding the creation of the Earldom of Argyll in 1457. It is significant that a witness is McDougall of Dunollie, the male heir of Somerled and the ancient Lords of Lorn and Kings of Dalriada. It is in Argyll’s capacity as Lord of Lorn that the charter is confirmed. I don’t believe he was ever the feudal superior. Of particular significance is the fact that there was no resignation. If Argyll had been feudal superior the lands would have been resigned to him and then re-granted. This is demonstrated above where we see Argyll resigning his lands and obtaining a new grant from the crown. Sir Thomas Innes of Learney thought this a very significant point in his judgement in 1951. As I have already said it is highly doubtful whether he was ever a feudal superior to the Coarb of St Moluag. I can find no justification for the King of Scots laying claim to any of the lands of Lismore and Appin, or any of the other lands of the Coarbs of St Moluag. In Alasdair Campbell of Airds Volume 2 p152 of the History of the Campbells we can see Campbell imposing himself as feudal superior to Cameron of Lochiel in 1611 on the basis that Lochiel had held his lands from the forfeited lordship of the Isles. The lordship of the Isles was annexed by the crown – not “King Campbell”.

However, prior to this Campbell usurpation we can see that the Principal Cadets had extensive lands in Lorne.

Last updated 22 May, 2008