Clan CrestThe Clan McLea/Livingstone Forum

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Title: MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship
Posted by: David Wyse Livingston
Date: 19 December 2008

I am reading some old threads and found one answered by Rob where he tells a tale of a military bond\connection between the MacDougall’s and the Livingstone.. it also has a name change and it got me questioning and trying to get a new thread going… Do we still have a strong connection with the MacDougall’s?

Rob went on to say:

I have a good account about the MacDougall/Livingstone relationship from a book called "Highland Postbag" by Jean MacDougall.  The book is a collection of correspondence for four MacDougall chiefs from 1715 to 1865. 

From page 37, "After this disappointment there is a gap in the letters until 1725.  Nothing is known of Iain Ciar's movements during this period, but tradition says that he spent part of his time in Irealnd where he had some good friends.  A story has been passed down in the family from generation to generation about his encounter there with the Red Robber.  Iain Ciar and his henchman Livingstone, having landed in the north of Ireland, were making their way to visit the Earl of Antrim, when they were told by a woman in a cottage that the path they were about to take was very dangerous.  Lurking in the forest, she told them, was the Red Robber, on whose head the Earl had put a price of 1000 Pounds.  She had been asked to warn travellers not to go that way."  
"Iain Ciar and Livingstone continued undaunted on their way.  Half way through the forest they met the Robber and immediately seized his whistle so that he could not summon his gang.  Iain Ciar then challenged him to single combat.  The fight was long and desperate but eventually the Robber lay dead on the floor of the forest.  Livingstone cut of his head and his silver buttons and then they made their way to the Earl of Antrim's castle, where they were received with much delight, feasting and rejoicing".  
On page 113, there is a follow-up story.  "There is a family tradition about an incident which took place while Duncan was in Ireland (1798).  It links up with the traditional story about is grandfather Iain Ciar killing the Red Robber and presenting his head to the Earl of Antrim.  A grandson of the Robber, the story goes, asked Duncan to dine with him.  Duncan's bodyguard, a grandson of the Livingstone who had been with Iain Ciar, went to the house with him:

“I cannot locate the reference at this moment, but there is a story that Alexander, who was a tailor by trade after his service in the military, cobbled some exquisite slippers for Lady MacDougall.  The same reference mentions that it was tradition in the Bachuil family that the second son of the Baron would serve at the pleasure of the MacDougall chief in times of war. “

The idea is in that Duncan’s bodyguard was Alexander Livingstone, second son of Baron John MacOnlea (Livingstone) born in 1775. He was a Private in the 3rd Battalion of the Breadalbane Fencibles, which was raised in 1794 by the Earl of Breadalbane, under a Captain Duncan MacDougall. In the muster rolls, Alexander is identifed as "Alexander McLay". (Rob said that it is a good example of how "Livingstone" and "McLay" were readily switched to suit different circumstances.) 
- If this is the case then the “henchman Livingstone” would have to be Duncan MacOnlea, son of the still living Dougal MacOnlea and grandfather of Alexander. BUT then the tradition was that the second son would serve the MacDougall chief.. and that would have been Malcolm MacOnlea. If it was tradition I wonder how long the Bachuil family had been connected with the MacDougall’s during war time prior to that time.. and if they were connected if the MacDougall’s lost in battle would that put a strain on their friends? 

So the main thing is that in some time between 1794 to 1798 when Alexander joined the 3rd Battalion he signed the muster roll as Alexander McLay…. Would that mean he was born Alexander McLay and changed his name later than 1775, or that a local name could be interchanged with a national name? (ie. Born and baptized in Lismore as Alexander Livingstone he could use the McLay in Breadalbane? Was Breadalbane a Gaelic speaking area so they used the old spelling which translated to McLay?

Secondary issue is  our connection with MacDougall…It seems incredibly strong bond as it appears that Duncan MacOnlea took great pains to make sure that Iain Ciar held on to his family honor and history.  Was the MacDougall’s the local Clan Chief that the then MacOnlea swore allegiance to? I know that the MacOnlea were not recognized as it’s own clan in those days… or was it an actual friendship between Duncan and Iain, two leaders of their individual clans (families) against the common foe?

From the MacDougall clan website ( ) Iain Ciar is actually John of Dunollie - 22 Clan Chief of the MacDougalls. On the MacDougalls website they even write:

In November 1715 he and his younger brother Duncan and approximately fifty his clansmen volunteers were on the Jacobite right wing at the Battle of Sheriffmuir. Iain Ciar was wounded. During his absence at war Mary bravely defended Dunollie under the command of his friend Livingstone and a dozen men. After the failure of this rising, lain Ciar was in exile for eleven years in France, Ireland, and at times in hiding in Scotland. During his exile he forfeited his estate and Dunollie castle was garrisoned with government troops and Mary lived with her young children at Slatrach farm on the island of Kerrera…

… Ciar was known for his swordsmanship and bravery. His name is associated with many bold tales such as the encounter in Ireland when he and his friend Livingstone encountered and killed a bandit known as the "Red Robber". In 1727 he was pardoned and allowed to return home. When he returned and the forfeiture was removed he recovered the family muniments which Livingstone had secretly hidden in a small apartment in the old "laigh-bigging" building which later became an early part of Dunollie House (Dunollie House is in Oban). Livingstone had hidden the precious documents for their protection.

For anyone who does not know what family muniments are (like me) I looked it up and I found: : Family muniments were, like the city’s, used to defend family honor,. and also as the foundation for the family’s identity, the family being a community of ... (Google only had that much and I was unable to get into the document, but I got the point) : A Muniment or Muniment of Title is a legal term for a document, or other evidence, that proves ownership of an asset. The word is derived from munimentum, the Latin word for a defensive fortification. In other words, "muniments of title" means the written evidence which a land owner can use to defend title to his estate.

** This Thread has ended - Please do NOT attempt to resurrect it! **


Title:Date:Posted By:
MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship19 December 2008David Wyse Livingston
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      MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship20 December 2008Donald (Livingstone) Clink
         St Moluag's Cross Crosslet Fitchee20 December 2008Bachuil
            St Moluag's Cross Crosslet Fitchee21 December 2008Donald (Livingstone) Clink
      MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship23 December 2008Donald (Livingstone) Clink
         MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship23 December 2008Jill Richmond
            MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship23 December 2008Donald (Livingstone) Clink
               MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship24 December 2008Jill Richmond
                  MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship25 December 2008Donald (Livingstone) Clink
                  MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship25 December 2008Donald (Livingstone) Clink
                     MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship26 December 2008Jill Richmond
                        MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship27 December 2008Donald (Livingstone) Clink
                        MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship27 December 2008Donald (Livingstone) Clink
                           MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship27 December 2008Jill Richmond
                              MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship27 December 2008Donald (Livingstone) Clink
                                 MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship28 December 2008Jill Richmond
                                    MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship28 December 2008Donald (Livingstone) Clink
                                       MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship28 December 2008Jill Richmond
                                          MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship28 December 2008Donald (Livingstone) Clink
                        MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship27 December 2008Donald (Livingstone) Clink
            MacDougall-Livingstone Relationship24 December 2008Donald (Livingstone) Clink

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