Picture of Thomas Pennant

Thomas Pennant

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Appendix VII: Of the Massacre of the Colquhouns

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A P P E N D I X.



IN the Baronage of Scotland , by Sir Robert Douglas , it appears that in the years 1594 and 1595, the clan of M'Gregors with some of their lawless neighbors, came down upon the low country of Dumbartonshire , and committed vast outrages and depredations, especially upon the territories of the Colquhouns .

In 1602 Humphry Colquhoun raised his vassals and followers to oppose them, and was joined by many of the gentlemen in the neighborhood. Both parties met in Glenfrone , where a bloody conflict ensued. They fought with great obstinacy till night parted them, and many brave men were killed on both sides, but the Colquhouns appear to have been worsted. The Laird of Colquhoun escaped, and retired to a strong castle; but was closely pursued by a party of the enemy; they broke into the castle, and found him in a vault, where they instantly put him to death with many circumstances of cruelty. In the month of February it was that this Humphry Colquhoun was slain; at which time the young noblemen and gentlemen who were at school at Dumbarton came as spectators to see the battle of Glenfrone , but were not suffered to approach near the danger, but were shut up in a barn by the Colquhouns for safety. The McGregors prevailing, are said afterwards to have barbarously put them all to death.

This is the account given by the historian of the family of Luss but Mr. Buchanan 1 asserts that the Laird of Luss escaped from the battle, and was afterwards killed in Benachra Castle by the M'Farlanes , thro' influence of a certain nobleman whom Luss had disobliged.

Let these facts stand as related by the partizans of each house, but from the various acts of council, and the great severity of them, and by the frequent confirmation of them by acts of parliament for near sixty years afterwards, under different princes and different influences, the necessity of the suppression of this unhappy clan, for the common good, is fully evinced.

The humanity of the present legislature did the last year repeal these sanguinary acts; alledging, that the causes inductive of them for suppressing the name of GREGOUR or M'GREGOUR, are now little known and have long ceased .

1 Surnames of clans, p. 148.

Thomas Pennant, A Tour in Scotland 1769 (London: Benjamin White, 1776)

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