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McDougall

In 1263 Somerled’s descendant, Ewan McDougall of Argyll, surrendered his island possessions to the King of Norway. He owed fealty to the King of Norway for his island territory and to the King of Scots for his mainland possessions and tried hard to be loyal to both. However, that year King Hakon decided to assert his claim to the islands and arrived at Kerrera with over 200 ships. He summoned Ewan of Argyll and ordered him to join him in an expedition against the king of Scots. It was clear he was going to have to choose sides so, having obtained Hakon's leave, he surrendered his island possessions and gave his allegiance to the kingdom of Scotland. In October that year the Norwegians were beaten at the battle of Largs and withdrew to Norway. Eventually in 1266, at the Treaty of Perth, Norway relinquished its claim to the Hebrides and Man so Lismore became part of Scotland.

In the Memorials of Argyleshire there is a description of the Possessions of the Five Families in Argyle, on Record before the Death of Alexander III, in 1285. “The family of Somerled, as represented by Reginald, possessed all the islands from Islay to Ardnamurchan, including Bute and Arran, and on the mainland the lower half of Kintyre, Craignish, Lorn, Benderloch, Appin, Morvern, and Ardnamurchan, and even to Ross-shire.”

In 1289 Pope Nicholas IV wrote to Laurence, Bishop of Lismore, saying that Iona Abbey is immediately under Rome and outwith the See of Lismore.

In 1292 John Balliol erected Argyll, Kintyre and Ross into shires. Alexander of Argyll ( son of Ewen, also called Alasdair de Ergadia), Lord of Lorn, 4th Chief of McDougall was made Sheriff of Argyll.

The MacDougalls forfeited most of their lands when they were caught up in the blood feud supporting Balliol (to whom they were related through intermarriage with the Comyns) against Robert the Bruce. At the time the family controlled Lorn and Benderloch, the islands of Mull, Lismore, Coll and Tiree.

In 1354 however some of these lands were restored when John McDougall of Lorn married Robert the Bruce's granddaughter. In an agreement between John of Lorn and John of the Isles made in that year it was agreed that until John of Lorn delivered the Castle of Kerneburgh [I suspect this is the fortress of Cairnburgh in the Treshnish Isles to which the Macleans later retired when Duart became untenable] to John of Isla, Lord of the Isles, he should give him three hostages, including a lawful son of John MacMolmari, (Maol Mari means the tonsured of the B.V. Mary) or of another good man of his clan. It is believed that John MacMolmari was the Coarb at the time.

In the early days the Abbots of Lismore were the spiritual leaders of Lorn, acting as an Archbishop to the Ancient Kings. In latter years it appears that Livingstones were always standard bearers to the chiefs of McDougall. We can be seen supporting them against the Campbells at Achnacree in 1557 and again at the massacre of Dunavertie in 1647.

The last McDougall Lord of Lorn was Ewen. He left two heiresses, who became the wives of John Stewart of Invermeath, now Invermay, near Perth, and his brother Robert.

The only part of the MacDougal Lordship of Lorn which did not pass to the Stewarts was Dunolly Castle, with its dependent lands, which belonged to the MacDougals of Dunolly, the next cadet branch, descended from Allan, son of John, brother of Ewen, last of the elder line, already mentioned; and upon these MacDougals of Dunolly the chiefship of the clan devolved.

Last updated 22 May, 2008