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Title: McLeas in Kintyre
Posted by: Criag McClay Wilson
Date: 20 September 2007

Hi all,
Kyle's recent thread entitled " Macdonleavie in 1304" piqued my interest in the extent of a McLea presence in Kintyre. Here's what I've found:
1) We know from the 1743 Maunscript that the McLeas were allied with the McDugalds from early times.
2)  Kintyre was a stronghold of the McDugalds.
3)  The book cited by Kyle has two strong references to McLeas in Kintyre. The first indicates that John Macdonleavie(or Maclay) was an "adherent" of John (MacDugald) of Lorn from before 1304. Reg. Mag Sig.,ii, no. 3136(1304 or 1302, cf. Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., xc, 204). If anyone could access these citations, maybe we could find out what the relationship was. Probably some type of landholding.
The second reference says that Robert Bruce confirmed to James Macdonleavie seven and a half  merklands in Kintyre for one twenty-six oared birling. Reg. Mag. Sig.,i, Appendix I, no. 105. A few interesting things about this second reference are apparent. The amount of land is sizable.  Second the Macdonleavies were able to quickly switch allegiances from MacDugals to Bruce(the MacDugalds were opposed to Bruce's bid for the kingdom). Lastly the confirmation was consistent with Bruce's heavy use of granting land for military service(military feudalism).  In other parts of Scotland such service was usually by furnishing armored knights or archers. The new king's dealings with the barons of the west highlands and the islands was different. In the west, given the importance of the sea for transportation, the typical unit of military service given in return for a feudal grant of land was of a sea galley called a birling.
So what emerges is a clear indication that McLeas had holdings in Kintyre under the MacDugalds and that such holdings continued after Bruce became king.
3)  In 1607, the Earl of Argyll is granted Kintyre.  We know from the Manuscipt that the McLeas were friends with Argyll.
4)  The nephew of the last barron of Lindsag, Archie McLea, was a merchant in Campbletown, the chief city in Kintyre, from around 1634.
5)  Castle Dunaverty, on the southern tip of Kintyre, was a MacDugald stronghold.  We know that several McOnleas were killed at the 1647 Dunaverty massacre.
6) In 1676, there was a deed to land in the Saddell area north of Campbeltown.  The deed was witnessed by Dugald Campbell who was named as both a landowner in Lindsag and Saddell and as Baillie of Kyntyre.  The deed was prepared by Donald McOnlea, Archie's son who was also a merchant in Campbeltown. This is the Donald who repurchased Lindsag from Campbell of Saddelll sometime before 1688. He had 1000 mercks for the purchase, a large sum of mony that may have come from the sale of land in Kyntyre. Remember, that the Kintyre area was being "planted" with covenanters about this time.  Maybe the  Kintyre McLeas felt they would be more comfortable in Lindsag than Kyntyre.
7)  The 1688 Valuation Rolls show no McLea property in Kintyre.
In sum, it appears that McLeas had sizable holdings in Kintrye from at least the early 1300s and that a McLeas presence continued in Kyntyre until just before 1688. Based on the above, I think we should add Kintyre to the list of places in the western highlands in which McLeas made a significant appearance.


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Title:Date:Posted By:
McLeas in Kintyre20 September 2007Criag McClay Wilson
   McLeas in Kintyre20 September 2007Kyle MacLea

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