Newsletter: October 2005

Old Duirinish Church, Dunvegan.

Three new marker boards have been erected inside a stone enclosure in front of the old MacLeod Church, of St Mary’s, Duirinish, Dunvegan.

The laminated boards, which give information about the Clan, the church and the local area, were partly funded by the Clan MacLeod Heritage Trust. In addition to the plaques, a new path has been made to link up with the attractive walk across the hill to Dunvegan Castle; the stream has been bridged and a new gate added to the graveyard. In the graveyard many MacLeod families are buried and inside the church the last five MacLeod Chiefs are buried, including Dame Flora MacLeod of MacLeod.

Culloden Battlefield

The National Trust for Scotland has undertaken an ambitious project to return the site of the Battle of Culloden to its 1746 condition. Trees, paths and fences will be removed and the present Visitor Centre demolished. A new Visitor Centre, with a grass roof, will be built below the brow of the ridge, off the site of the battlefield, towards the River Nairn. The £8m project, for which £6m has already been raised, is to open in April 2007 as part of the
Festival of the Highlands.

The MacLeods of Raasay had a contingent at the Battle, attached to the Glengarry Regiment.

The President urged the Trust to consider the size of the battlefield and that the present layout was on far too small a scale. If Clan Societies were to provide funding for Clan Markers on the Jacobite line, then clearly the Clans would wish the markers to be roughly in the correct position.

John
MacLeod, younger of MacLeod, was a captain in Lord Loudoun’s Highland Regiment and guarded the Royal baggage on the day of the battle. He did not march up to the field until the evening after the fighting.

More information on the Culloden Battlefield project may be found on: www.culloden.org.uk

Piping Success.

Euan MacCrimmon, one of the Society’s Honorary Pipers, won the Gold Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering in August. One of the two top awards in the playing of the Great Highland Bagpipe, the winning of the Gold Medal places Euan amongst the top pipers in the world.

Euan, whose father still has a croft at Borreraig, in Skye, will be playing at The Clan MacLeod Parliament in 2006.

This is the first time that a Mac-Crimmon, whose family members were hereditary pipers to MacLeod of MacLeod, has ever won a Gold Medal at Oban or Inverness.

Old Duirinish Church, Dunvegan

Scottish Exodus

In Jim Hunter’s new book Scottish Exodus, the most
intriguing story is that of Moira MacLeod whose father Stuart returned from Australia, to fight in the Great War, and then settled in England. He took an interest in the Polish Machlejds and met Wanda who had taken part in the Warsaw rising of 1944. Wanda’s second cousin, Stefan, who also took part in the rising, eventually got to Britain in 1947. Stuart befriended him and thus Stefan met Moira. They were married in 1948. Stefan changed his name back to MacLeod and so two families who had emigrated 200 and 500 years before were reunited.

Scottish Exodus is an exciting read, full of fascinating personal stories illustrating the history of the emigration of a clan from the Outer Hebrides, Skye and the mainland, to places all over the world. With 750 MacLeods listed in the index, it is going to make a lot of folk happy !

Scottish Exodus is the third and final part of the historical work undertaken by Clan MacLeod; the History of the Clan was written by Dr
I.F.Grant, in 1959, and is now available on CD; the five part Genealogies were published between 1968 and 1976, and now the final Migration of the Clan has been completed. The whole is a remarkable achievement, and Jim Hunter’s book is certainly the most entertaining read.

Jim Hunter travelled extensively around the world, meeting MacLeods, Maclots and Machlejds, and others, and has woven their personal stories of (over) emigration and success into the history of the clan.

Scottish Exodus is arranged chrono-logically, so that the Maclots of France and the Machlejds of Poland are first traced. In the late
1700s the tide of emigration was to North Carolina and by the 1800s to Canada and finally Australia and New Zealand.

It
is good having an outsider viewing the Clan objectively. There are some uncomfortable moments in the Clan’s history; when, for instance Norman, 22nd Chief, attempted to kidnap clansfolk and sell them in North Carolina, in 1739; or when John Norman, 24th Chief, cleared clansfolk for sheep, from Bracadale, in the 1820s; or when Norman, 25th Chief opposed land reform in the 1880s, but Jim Hunter praises this same Norman for his efforts to feed his people during the Potato Famine of 1847/48, an effort which bankrupted the family, and which was not resolved until the sale of much of Bracadale and Minginish to the Government for resettling crofters in the 1920s.

Like many Scots, Jim Hunter was sceptical about writing a book on emigrant MacLeods and Clan Societies, but concluded that “I learned,
among many other things, that it is possible for our emigrant people’s descendants, even when separated from Scotland by thousands of miles and hundreds of years, to feel real and deep affection for places like [Skye]. Long may all the world’s MacLeods remember where they came from.”

TWELVE signed and numbered copies of Scottish Exodus, priced £14.99, will be available for purchase at the Annual Business Meeting of the Society, in Edinburgh, on Friday 18th November.

Or else you can order a copy of Scottish Exodus online, by contacting Bill McLeod, on innkprbill@aol.com giving your name, address, credit card number and expiring date, and
a copy will be mailed to you from England, at the same price, with additional postage of about £3.00.

Society members gathered in August at the home of Donald and Anna Macleod, in Lochmaben.