The MacDonells of Lundie by Norman H MacDonald, Editor

The progenitor of the MacDonells of Lundie was Allan, second son of Alexander, 6th of Glengarry. Allan received in 1571, from his brother, Angus, 7th of Glengarry, a charter of the lands of Lundie in the district of Ardochy.

Lundie, in Gaelic Lunndaidh its diminutive being lunndan, means a smooth grassy place or marshy spot. Lundie proper lies between the burn of Allt Lunndaidh on the one side, and that of Allt Dail a Chuirn (Burn of the Field of Stones) and the parish march on the other, to the north of the present hamlet of Faichem in Glen Garry, Inverness-shire. Lundie therefore was the original duchas or land possession of the family. The MacDonells of Lundie were the second oldest or the Glengarry cadets, the oldest being the MacDonells of Shian.

Allan, 1st of Lundie, the progenitor of the family married Mary, daughter of Donald Cameron of Lochiel by whom he had four sons: Ranald, his successor; John; Angus and Donald, known as Domhnall Beag, from whom are descended the MacDonells of Drynachan.

Ranald, 2nd of Lundie received in I575 a Precept of Clare Constat from Glengarry of the lands of Lundie and others. In his time the family played a leading role in the hostilities which took place between the Glengarry Clan and the MacKenzies and he added considerably to the family patrimony. Ranald, who died in 1624 married Isabel MacDonald by whom he had two sons and a daughter: Allan, his successor; Donald and Mary.

Allan, 3rd of Lundie known Allan MacRanald and Allan of the Red Jacket, was the most renowned of all the Lundies.  He was the celebrated hero of the famous Kilchrist Raid on 1603 in which he led a successful foray to the MacKenzie lands of Kilchrist and carried off a rich spoil. A pipe tune was written to commemorate the event “Cille Chriosd” which then became Glengarry’s March. The story spread in later times of a church burning having been committed by Allan and his followers when the church was full of worshippers has no foundation in fact (see The Clan Ranald of Knoydart and Glengarry p.p. 38-39). For having carried out the raid, Allan was forfeited and put to the horn, and for a long time according to local tradition had his hideout on a little island in Loch Lundie, from which he continued to harry the MacKenzies. Fortunately for him, Allan had a good relationship with Grant of Freuchie and through the influence of that chief the Laird of Lundie was restored to favour. In 1622 there is a notice of the gift to Sir John Grant of Freuchie of the escheat i.e. the forfeited property “of Allan MacRanald of Lundie at the horn for participation in the raid of Gillicriost.” In l623 “a gift is passed to Allan MacRanald apparent of Lundie of the escheat of Donald MacAngus of Glengarry, as Bailie of Knoydart, at the instance of John Abraham, Burgess of Inverness, for the Bailie’s failing to arrest certain of John’s debtors.”

In l624 Allan was “seised” i.e. put in possession of in his father’s lands and in 1631 added considerably to the family inheritance by the acquisition of “the town and lands of Ochteraw (Achteraw), lying within the barony of Abertarff as principal, and Ardnabie in Glengarry, and Frichorie in Glen Quoich as warrandice lands.” i.e. there being an understanding by the granter or seller of property to indemnify the grantee or buyer. Glengarry signed the disposition at Kyles ­Knoydart on 14th June 1631 in presence of Angus, apparent of Glengarry (afterwards Lord MacDonell and Aros); John Reid, servitor to Glengarry and Robert Abraham, notary. Sasine, i.e. right of possession, to Lundie was given by Angus MacRanald of Cullachie as bailie. In addition, Glengarry granted to Lundie a charter of the half davoch of Faichem, extending to 5 merks of land and also the forest of Glen Quoich in the Barony of Glengarry and shire of Inverness. In the Valuation Roll of 1644 he is returned as holding lands in Kilmorack, Glenelg, Knoydart and Kilmarie, the total rental of which amounted to £1,535, a substantial income at that time. Allan married firstly Catherine, daughter of Angus MacDonell, 5th of Shian by whom he had: Ranald, his successor; Donald; Alexander and Mary, and secondly, Marjory, daughter of William MacIntosh of Borlum, without issue. Allan died shortly after 1644.

Ranald, 4th of Lundie married Mary Cameron by whom he had: Donald, his successor; Alexander and Angus.

Donald, 5th of Lundie signed the Address of the Highland Chiefs and Lairds to George I in 1714. He married twice. By his first wife he had: Donald, his successor. By his second wife, Margaret MacDonald, he had: Allan; Ranald; Angus of Kinloch Hourn who married Katherine, daughter of Lieutenant MacDonald of Achlichnaich; Mary; Margaret; Janet and Isabel. Donald died in 1727.

Donald, 6th of Lundie was “out” in the 45 and sent as a Captain of the Glengarry Regiment in the Jacobite Rising of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. He married and had two sons: Donald, his successor and Allan. Donald died in 1761.

Donald. 7th of Lundie was also “out” in the ’45 and served as an Officer in the Glengarry Regiment. After his father’s death, Donald continued for a time to live prosperously on his estates, as did the other cadets of the Clan. Besides enjoying free occupancies of their properties, the interest of the wadset monies was more than covered by their numerous sub-tenants, small-holders and cottars. Duncan MacDonell, 14th of Glengarry, was a weak man but his wife. Marjory, daughter of Sir Ludovick Grant of Dalvey was quite the reverse and she lost no time in taking advantage of her new social position to clear off the family debts and raise the status of the Glengarry family to one of aggrandisement. The first step in the policy which was to earn her the soubriquet of Marsalaidh Bhinneach, i.e. Fanciful Marjory, was to give notice to the wadsetters, all of whom  were MacDonells and connected, if somewhat loosely, with the Chief. Being well educated men of standing in the Highlands, they could not bear the indignity – as they saw it – of subsiding into the new position of tenants burdened with a large increase in rent and most of them emigrated with the cream of their followers to the New England states of North America and ultimately, in the case of many, to what is now Eastern Ontario. Not all the principal cadets decided to leave the Glengarry estates in Scotland at this time. Barrisdale and Lundie in particular determined to make a go of it under the new order.

In the case of Lundie, Glengarry gave him a bond of £250 at 5 per cent, getting the wadset discharged, but his rent was fixed at £62, much above the previous figure. For a time Lundie prospered, but times were unfavourable. Lundie sank into the position of a tenant and unwisely for his own sake and that of his posterity did not emigrate with a substantial sum in his pocket like his fellow cadets of Greenfield, Leek, Cullachie and Aberchalder. Conditions continued to deteriorate until at last Lundie was deprived of house and home and in 1784 is described as late of Lundie, his property at Faichem being taken by Alexander MacPherson, writer, at a rent of £84, instead of that of £38, previously paid. Lundie is “in possession of a stock of 110 goats, 2 horses and 89 sheep, but without land he is pursued by Glengarry for statutory trespass monies on his own holding.” With these animals Lundie wandered about from place to place sorning on old friends who gave him aid out of pity for his misfortunes. When the starving animals got into some plantations and young natural woods he and his goats “were hunted out neck and crop from the bounds of the estate.”

Donald MacDonell, 7th of Lundie, who had been out with his father for Prince Charlie in the ’45, descendant of Allan of the Red Jacket and whose family had possessed Lundie since 157l, had to be assisted by his friends to emigrate to Canada where he died at Chambly, Quebec Province, in l805. His brother Allan was living there in 1814, then aged 90 years.

Happily the descendants of this once famous family still flourish in Canada today.

Sources include:

The Celtic Magazine – December 1900: Alexander Mackenzie.
The Clan Donald: Revs. A. & A. Macdonald.
The Clan Ranald of Knoydart and Glengarry: Norman H. MacDonald.
The Concise Scots Dictionary: The Scottish National Dictionary Association.
The Illustrated Gaelic-English Dictionary: Edward Dwelley