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Title: Dastardly deeds in the 15th and 16th Centuries
Posted by: Young Bachuil
Date: 29 November 2006

It was not until 1315 that Robert the Bruce granted to “Sir Colin Cambel, the whole land of Louchaw.”  This is the first significant Campbell landholding in Argyll. 

MacDougal Lords of Lorne
Since Somerled’s death circa 1150 his son Dougal and his heirs had been the Lords of Lorn.  The last MacDougal Lord of Lorne was Ewen who died in 1388. He left two heiresses, who became the wives of John Stewart of Invermeath, now Invermay, near Perth, and his brother Robert.  Between them, the brothers decided that Robert should have Invermeith and John Lorn.

Stewart Lords of Lorne
The Lordship of Lorn passed down for two more generations from John Stewart of Invermeath the first Stewart Lord of Lorn to Sir John Stewart, the third Stewart Lord of Lorn until “what came by a woman left by a woman”. At this time he had three daughters who were his heiresses:  Janet , Isabel and Marion.  Isabel married Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of Argyll and Janet married Sir Colin Campbell of Glenorchy, 2nd son of Duncan Campbell of Lochawe.  In the absence of a male heir these daughters could inherit jointly and the Campbell’s would acquire the Lordship and lands.

However, in 1445 Sir John fell in love with the daughter of MacLaren of Ardvech. Although married, he began an affaire which one year later produced a son, Dugald.  As he was illegitimate this posed no immediate threat to the Campbell’s who were in line to inherit the lands and titles.  However in 1463 John decided to marry his mistress and thereby aim to legitimise Dugald.  The lightly armed wedding party were ambushed just outside Dunstaffnage Castle, but in his dying breath Sir John managed to marry.  Now this really set the cat amongst the pigeons.  The authorities refused to accept this marriage, in my view correctly.  My understanding of the law is that in Scotland, unlike England, a marriage can legitimise existing children of the partners  - but ONLY if the parents were free to marry at the child’s birth.  Dugald was born when John’s first wife was alive so could never become legitimate.

As it happens Sir John Stewart, the third Stewart Lord of Lorn had a brother Walter who was recognised as Lord of Lorn.  He joined forces with the Campbells against Dugald.

Stewart of Appin
Dugald having lost Lorn retained Appin and Lismore by the sword. In 1468 in a bid to finally destroy Dugald's power, Colin Campbell and Walter Stewart, the Lord of Lorn  launched an attack against Appin.  Dugald lost many men but managed to win, thereby strengthening his hold on Appin and the surrounding area which was formally granted to him by King James III on the 14th of April 1470. 

Campbell Lords of Lorne
Colin Campbell had succeeded to the title of 2nd Lord Campbell in 1453. He was created 1st Earl of Argyll in 1457.  He was created 1st Lord Lorne on 17 April 1470, together with a conveyance to him of the lands of and lordship of Lorne, after the resignation of his wife's uncle, Walter Stewart as Lord Lorne (who was then created Lord Innermeath).

The Machinations of April 1470
If anyone has managed to follow this, thus far you will have noticed that there was clearly a deal struck in 1470.  Of interest is that Walter Stewart resigns the Lordship of Lorne to the crown in exchange for Argyll lands in Innermeath and is created Lord Innermeath.  Argyll gets the coveted original MacDougall Lordship of Lorne BUT, and this is a BIG BUT, Dugald retains Lismore and Appin.

It is my hypothesis that the Stewarts having been Lords of Lorne knew that it did not include the abbey lands of Lismore and Appin.  That having lost the Lordship of Lorne, Dugald knew that his uncle had no claim to the abbey lands of Lismore and Appin and that he held them by the sword until the reality was acknowledged with a crown grant.

Nemo dat quod non habet
However, it is Scots law that ‘Nemo dat quod non habet’, literally meaning ‘no one can give what they don't have’.  The King of Scots is so called because he was not the ultimate owner of Scotland – unlike  William the Congqueror who OWNED England.  The Coarbs of St Moluag ruled Lismore and Appin acknowledging no earthly authority or hierarchy.  This is acknowledged by Lyon in 1950.

Colin Campbell 1st Earl of Argyll held the office of Hereditary Justiciary and Sheriff of the lordship of Lorne in 1471. He held the office of Lieutenant and Commissary of Argyll in 1479.  With Campbell judges and Campbell juries it was virtually impossible for anyone apart from a Campbell to obtain justice.

By 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.

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Title:Date:Posted By:
Dastardly deeds in the 15th and 16th Centuries29 November 2006Young Bachuil
   Dastardly deeds in the 15th and 16th Centuries30 November 2006Donald (Livingstone) Clink
   Maclay Migration30 November 2006Young Bachuil
      Maclay Migration30 November 2006Craig McClay Wilson

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