History of Clan Donnachaidh
Abbot Crinan of Dunkeld,
descended from the kindred of St. Columba, was father of Duncan,
King of Scots. He was killed by MacBeth but his descendants held the
throne for two and a half centuries. The king had a younger son
Maelmare who became Earl of Atholl and was the ancestor of the
Chiefs of Clan Donnachaidh.
The chiefs are
numbered from Duncan the Stout who lived in the 1300s. Traditional lore claims he
held lands in Rannoch and around Glen Errochty and took his
followers to fight at Bannockburn in 1314 in support of his friend,
King Robert The Bruce. Recent research seems to indicate Stout Duncan would have been
eight years old at the time of Bannockburn. This same research shows clearly that Stout
Duncan was descended from King Duncan I. The Bannockburn tale which has been part of clan legend for at least 200 years is under reconsideration.
His son Robert
inherited land from his mother and his estate ran from the edge
of the Grampians to the gates of Perth.
In 1437 the chief Robert Riach
(grizzled) captured Sir Robert Graham who, with others, had just
murdered the King James I at Perth. In reward James II gave Robert a
charter in which all of his lands were made into a feudal barony
giving him administrative control over them.
The barony was called Struan and the
chief was henceforth known as Robertson (from this Robert) of
Successive chiefs led the clan
through the intermittent turmoil of 15th and 16th century Atholl.
In the 17th century the Highlands were drawn into British national history in support of the Stuart Kings. In 1644 the Clan fought with Montrose and never lost a battle. The clan regiment was in evidence again in 1653, 1689, 1715, and 1745. The last three dates mark the Jacobite risings, in all of which Alexander Robertson of Struan, the Poet Chief took part.
After the Battle of Culloden, estates
owned by Jacobites were forfeited and run by the government until
1784 when they were returned -- along with the old debts
But the clan system had been destroyed and chiefs found it increasingly difficult to make a living. Our chiefs did not evict clansmen, but in 1853 our chief sold Struan and Dunalastair, leaving only Rannoch. He moved to a new house at Dall but sold that in 1861. In 1926 the last land in Rannoch was sold. By then the chiefship had passed to a branch of the family who, about 1800, had emigrated to make a living in Jamaica.
Now the chief is back, and the clan
once more owns land in Atholl.
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