Traditional MacGregor lands lay along
west Perthshire and across to Loch Awe. By supporting Robert the Bruce, Campbells
were given huge tracts of land in Argyll and Perthshire which had previously
been MacGregor. MacGregors were forced to live in the poorest remoter areas
of what became Campbell land. There was never really peace between the Campbells
and MacGregors. During the 16thC the Campbells even tried to establish a
'tame' line of MacGregor chiefs under their control!
James VI was married in 1598. A Royal
Forrester, John Drummond, was to provide venison for the feast. While hunting
he was set upon and killed by MacDonalds from Glencoe. They later arrived
at the Stewarts of Ardvorlich beside Loch Earn on their way home demanding
refreshments. To her horror the lady of the house saw the head of her dead
brother John and never recovered from the shock. Further on their journey,
they met with MacGregors of Balquhidder who sided with and swore to support
the MacDonalds; MacGregors had been hanged by Drummond for poaching. This
act and other 'offenses' around the beginning of the 17thC resulted in more
than a century of slaughter and persecution of MacGregors.
MacGregors fought in support of Montrose
in his rebellion for Charles I. In gratitude Charles II later repealed the
proscription on the surname MacGregor. However, with the denise of the Stuart
monarchs it was re-proscribed when William IV became king.
Robert 'Roy' MacGregor (1671-1734)
was given the nickname 'Ruadh' / 'Roy' because of his wild red hair. At 18
he took part in the battle of Killiecrankie where Jacobites under the command
of Viscount Dundee opposed the replacement of their Stuart King with William
Rob Roy visited the town of
Crieff on many occasions, often to sell cattle.
In the second week of October 1714 the Highlanders gathered in Crieff for
the annual market. Civil war was expected at any time. By day Crieff was
also full of soldiers and government spies! Just after midnight, Rob Roy
and his men marched to Crieff Town Square and rang the Town bell. In front
of the gathering crowd sang Jacobite songs and drank a good many loyal toasts
to their uncrowned King James VIII.
Rob Roy unually used the surname Campbell.
His wife was a Campbell and he enjoyed, to some extent, the protection of
that Clan. In the 1715 he initially fought on the Jacobite side and
his MacGregors raided the lands around Loch Lomond. However his benefactor
the Duke of Argyll had chosen the Government side and Rob Roy with mixed
allegiances was forced to miss the Battle of Sheriffmuir. Even so he became
a marked man and was hunted for almost 10 years escaping capture on several
In 1725 he surrendered to General
Wade, the great builder of roads in the Highlands, narrowly missed transportation
to the colonies and was pardoned to end his days at Balquhidder.
The proscription of the surname was
finally repealed in 1774.