The MacDonells of Scotus by Norman H. MacDonald FSA Scot

The family of Scotus or Scothouse form one of the most celebrated cadet houses of Glengarry and its representatives have twice succeeded to the Chiefship of that clan.

The progenitor of the family was Domhnall Gorm, i.e. Donald the blue-eyed, second son of Donald Mac Angus, 8th Chief of Glengarry, to whom his father granted a feu charter of the 12½ penny lands of Scotus, being part of the 60 penny lands of Knoydart. These lands were held in feu of Glengarry by the Laird of Scotus for £3.0.6d and extended some 15 miles in length and from 4 to 5 miles in breadth, being situated along the south side of Loch Nevis, one of the best anchorage lochs in the British Isles, and within a mile of Loch Hourn, to the north. There was “a substantial good Mansion House with offices and garden”, described in 1800 as “a double-house, thoroughly furnished, of two stories high, with office houses, and a garden equal for vegetables to any to the north of Edinburgh.” Some fine furniture, old china, etc, still remained in the house in 1806, long after the property had been sold. The family birlinn, or galley, which was utilised for journeys up and down the West Coast and to the Hebrides, lay at anchor in Scotus Bay.

Donald Gorm, 1st of Scotus, led the Knoydart and Glengarry men to join the force commanded by Alasdair Mac Colla Chiotach (Alexander MacDonald, son of Colkitto) in 1644 during the campaign of the Marquis of Montrose in support of Charles I in his struggle with the English Parliamentarians and the Scottish Covenanters. He was  present, with his nephew Angus, later Lord MacDonell and Aros, 9th Chief of Glengarry, and his brothers Iain Mor of Ardnabie and Iain Og of Leek, at the Battle of Inverlochy, fought on Sunday 2nd February 1645, where they all distinguished themselves in this great Royalist victory of Montrose and Alasdair Colkitto over the military might of the Clan Campbell and their Lowland allies of the Covenant. Gilleasbuig Gruamach (Grim Archibald), Marquis of Argyle, having excused himself from taking the field with his men on account of an injury due to a fall from his horse the day before one of several incidents during the campaign which more than hinted at cowardice on his part, had the humiliation of witnessing the virtual annihilation of his clan-army as a fighting force, from the safety of his galley, well out of reach on Loch Linnhe. Donald Gorm is said to have married a daughter of Sir Donald MacDonald of Sleat, by whom he had a son Ranald, who succeeded him as 2nd of Scotus and who, on the death of his cousin Lord MacDonell and Aros in 1680, became the 10th Chief of Glengarry.

Ranald bestowed the lands of Scotus on one of his sons, Angus, or Aeneas, his eldest son, Alexander (Alasdair Dubh), succeeding him as 11th Chief of Glengarry.

Angus, or Aeneas, 3rd of Scotus, is said to have been “out” in 1689 with Viscount Dundee and again in 1715. He married, firstly, Katherine, daughter of Sir Norman MacLeod of Bernera, by whom he had four sons: Donald, of whom later; John of Crowlin, father of Spanish John, whose descendants are in Canada; Allan of Ardnaslisnish; and Ranald. By a second marriage he had one son, Alexander, a priest, known as Maighstir Alasdair Mor. He also had at least one daughter, Ann. He died in 1746, having previously made over his estate to his eldest son.

Donald, the fourth of the family to possess Scotus, although he predeceased his father, was known as Domhnall nan Gleann (Donald of the Glen) and, according to tradition, was the most handsome of his race and name, well bred, romantic, brave and highly esteemed by Prince Charles Edward Stuart, in support of whom he was among the very first to rise. Glengarry, Keppoch and Lochiel, in an attempt to prevent theft and depredations in their territories, appointed a list of deputies in 1744, among whom was Donald, Younger of Scotus, who was, along with his cousin german, Coll Ban MacDonell, Younger of Barrisdale, made responsible for the district of Knoydart. He was, according to Alasdair Ruadh, Younger (and later 13th Chief) of Glengarry, appointed by him in 1744 as his Factor and drew up a rental of the estate which was destroyed with the family papers in 1746.

Shortly after his arrival on the Scottish mainland, Prince Charles sent Donald to inform Cameron of Lochiel of his arrival and request that Lochiel come and see him at once. Donald’s mission was successful and the result was that Lochiel was won over by the Prince and soon hastened to raise his clan. Donald of Scotus was given a captaincy in the Prince’s army and served with his company throughout the entire campaign of 1745-46.

The Chevalier Johnstone, a young Edinburgh Jacobite, who had formed a close friendship with Donald during the Forty-Five, wrote of him in his memoirs:

“Mr Macdonald of Scothouse was about 40 years of age, had a fine countenance, and to his agreeable exterior he added a noble and commanding figure. He had all the qualities which usually distinguish a worthy and gallant man: brave, polished and obliging, he possessed at the same time a cultivated mind and sound judgement. Although our acquaintance bad only commenced with the Prince’s expedition I soon learned to appreciate his merit and the charms of his society, and notwithstanding the disproportion of our ages, we were united together in the closest friendship. He entertained for me all the affection of a father,”

and relating to the period prior to Culloden when the Jacobites pursued the Hanoverian Earl of Loudon’s regiment, in which Donald’s eldest son Ranald, held a commission, into Sutherland, Johnstone says:

“Scotus came to pass the day with me. As he was naturally of a gay disposition, I perceived his melancholy on his entering my dwelling. On asking him the cause, this worthy man looked at me, his eyes bathed In tears ‘Ah, my friend, you do not know what it is to be a father. I am of this detachment which must depart this evening to attack Lord Loudon. You do not know that a son whom I adore is with him as an officer in his regiment. I believed myself fortunate In obtaining that rank for this dear boy, not being able to foresee the descent of Prince Charles Edward into Scotland. Perhaps tomorrow I shall have the grief to kill my son with my own hand, and that the same ball that I shall fire off in my defence may occasion from myself a death most cruel! In going with the detachment I may be able to save his life; if I do not march, some other may kill him.’ The recital of poor Scothouse rent my heart. I retained him the whole day at my home, endeavouring to dissipate his fears as much as I possibly could, and making him promise on parting to come straight to my home on leaving the boat. The next day, at evening, I heard a great knock at my door. I ran thither and perceived the good father holding a young man by the hand, of a jolly figure, who cried to me, his eyes sparkling with joy. ‘Behold my friend, the one who yesterday caused all the alarms. I have taken him prisoner myself, and when I had hold of him he embraced me fervently, not regarding the others who were present.’ I then saw him shed tears of joy, very different from those of the night before.”

The following anecdote regarding Donald is recorded in the Atholl Papers:

“On the return march from Derby when the Prince’s army was billeted in Dumfries that: ‘a poor old, and very infirm man, living in the suburbs’ of the town was ‘attacked by five or six Highlanders in arms and robbed of a silver cup, two gold rings, about three pounds sterling, a greatcoat, a pair of new blankets, a pair of new stockings, silk handkerchief and several other items. His wife, having by accident, discovered two of the offenders in the street, were, by order of John Hay, brought before him in the Prince’s lodgings and examined by him and Captain MacDonell of Scotus, to whose company they belonged. Part of the stolen goods were found about them, particularly the cup and rings, and restored by the justice of Captain Macdonell. The petitioner claimed that the remainder of the stolen goods had been taken by men of the Duke of Atholl’s Regiment (on the oath of the two culprits)’.”

The Prince is said to have thought highly of Scotus and prior to Culloden to have presented him with an inscribed snuff box bearing the Royal Arms, which is now a cherished possession of his direct descendant, the present Chief of Glengarry. According to family tradition, on the morning of the battle, a French officer, after observing the positions of both armies, remarked to Scotus that, from the disadvantageous position of Charles’ army and the smallness of their number, defeat was inevitable, to which Donald replied that they could only act in the manner in which they were ordered.

The Clan Donald regiments of Clanranald, Glengarry and Keppoch were, that day, placed on the extreme left of the front line, and Scotus took his place at the head of his 50-strong company with the Glengarry Regiment. When the Jacobite right and centre could no longer withstand the cannonade which was decimating their ranks and charged before the order was given, the left, consisting of the Clan Donald regiments, which, due to the angle of the line, had much more ground to cover, advanced and, according to the Chevalier Johnstone, were “not more than twenty paces from the enemy, who let fly their discharge at the moment when the right began to retreat and my unfortunate friend Scotus was killed by my side,” along with his Lieutenant, Ensign, Sergeant, Corporal and 18 Private men, “but I was not deeply affected at the moment of his fall as I have been ever since. It would almost seem as if the Power that presides over the lives of men in battles marks out the most deserving for destruction and spares those who are most unworthy.” It is said that Scotus, while severely wounded, was led from the field by two of his men, but finding their pursuers coming too close, he asked the men to leave him as his wound was mortal, and save themselves, giving them his watch, dirk, purse, etc, including, presumably, the snuff box given him by the Prince, to take back to his wife, and requested that they “turn his face to the enemy that they might not think he was running away.” Having got to a safe distance the men looked back and perceived the dragoons despatch him.

Donald of the Glen married firstly, Helen Meldrum of Meldrum, by whom he had a daughter Margaret, who married Alexander MacDonald of Glenaladale. He married secondly, Elizabeth Cumming of Couter, by whom he had: Ranald, who succeeded to Scotus; Angus, who died young, and Flora, who married Ranald MacDonald of Gerinish. He married thirdly, Mary Cameron of Glennevis, without issue.

Ranald, the fifth proprietor of Scotus, as already stated, served with Loudon’s Regiment on the Hanoverian side during the Forty-Five. In 1796, when an old man, he applied to George III for a pension, and the petition, so far as it relates to the Forty-Five, runs as follows:

“That the representer is one of the immediate cadets of the family of Glengarry, and at a very early period of his life saw the blessings which all your Majesty’s subjects acquired by the Revolution, and the accession of your Majesty’s predecessors to the throne of Great Britain, which induced him, at the breaking out of the Rebellion of 1745, contrary to the ideas of that clan at that time, to join his Majesty’s forces as a volunteer in the regiment of Highlanders commanded by Lord Loudon. The memorialist was with the regiment in all the service they were engaged in 1745-46, and in particular, he was one of those 50 who exerted themselves and made their escape when the regiment were made prisoners near Dornoch in Sutherland. That the memorialist served in this small party, then commanded by Sir Harry Munro … when a French sloop, the ‘Hazard’, came to Lord Reay’s country with money and ammunition to supply the rebel army. Here she was attacked and taken by the ‘Sheerness’, when 250 of the men, among whom were 26 Irish officers, commanded by Colonel Brown, having made their escape, were attacked by the above 50 men, several of them killed, and the remainder all made prisoners. That the memorialist and the said party joined the Duke of Cumberland at Aberdeen when the officers and men received the thanks of His Royal Highness for the essential service they had performed. That the memorialist remained in the regiment until 1747 and was well-known to the officers of the regiment, etc, etc.”

In 1747 he obtained a commission as second lieutenant in Lord Drumlanrig’s regiment raised for the service of the States General from which he retired on half-pay when the regiment was reduced, In 1757 he joined Halkett’s regiment and again served the States General, retiring with the rank of captain.

Ranald, finding that there were many Roman Catholics on his property willing to serve in the army, made a direct application to the Government to raise a body of 500 Catholic Highlanders, or to go to America to raise the Catholics there whom he knew to be attached to the King and Government, but his proposals were declined. Disgusted with these refusals, Scotus gave up, for the time being, his military aspirations, and lived the life of a country gentleman, diversified by several visits to France, where two of his sons were partly educated. His easy, though honourable disposition, led him into various obligations which, through legal mismanagement, ultimately brought about the loss of the estate. The rental of Scotus in 1773 was only 1008 merks Scots, equal to £56 sterling. In 1784, the tenants, apart from the numerous cottars, numbered twenty-seven. By 1786, whether threatened with removal or desirous to leave themselves, almost all had gone. Charles MacDonell, one of Ranald’s sons, writing from Inverie on 1 April in that year, says:

“This country is all in a ferment with emigration. Most of the tenants of this country go to America, so that Glengarry, it’s thought, will soon come to this country. Angus, my brother, is now away, and Donald is in Sleat with Mr Martin MacPherson.”

This large emigration was led by the Rev. Alexander MacDonell (Maighstir Alasdair Mor), youngest son of Aeneas, 3rd of Scotus, and uncle of Ranald of Scotus, of whom J. H. MacDonell of Greenfield, in his Sketches of Glengarry in Canada, says:

“Shortly after the Revolutionary War in 1786, a large emigration of Highlanders numbering, I believe, some five hundred souls, took place, principally from that part of the Glengarry estates known as Knoydart, under the leadership of the Rev. Alexander MacDonell, who settled with their clansmen and kinfolk in Glengarry. The following extract, taken from Neilson’s ‘Quebec Gazette’ relates to the immigration: Quebec, 7th September, 1786.

‘Arrived ship, MacDonald, Captain Robert Stevenson, from Greenock, with emigrants, nearly the whole of a parish in the North of Scotland, who emigrated with their priest (the Rev. Alexander MacDonell, Scotus), and nineteen cabin passengers, together with five hundred and twenty steerage passengers, to better their case, up to Cataraqui (Kingston)’.

“Their priest was one of the earliest Catholic priests or missionaries, other than French, in Upper Canada. He was the founder of St Raphael’s, the pioneer parish not only of Glengarry, but of all Upper Canada, where he built the first church, known in its day as the Blue Chapel.”

On the marriage of his eldest son, Aeneas (or Angus), in 1788, Ranald had the estate transferred to him under burden of an annuity of £150 per annum, of his debts, and moderate provisions in favour of his younger children. By 1795 the tenants were reduced to three and the rent had risen six fold to £385. The family affairs became considerably embarrassed and Ranald’s annuity not being met, he was obliged, though now an old man, to embark on another military career. In the memorial of 1796, already referred to, he states:

 “That he had obtained a Lieutenant’s Commission in the Regiment of Fencibles commanded by Colonel MacDonell of Glengarry” and would “now humbly implore of your Majesty. That on account of his former services, he would be raised to the rank of Captain, even with the pay of a Subaltern, till a vacancy should happen in the Regiment  … or that such other relief be given on account of these services as your Majesty, in your great wisdom, shall see proper.”

Scotus’ petition was granted and he served with the Glengarry Fencibles in Guernsey, Ireland and elsewhere. In a letter from him, dated Galway, 3rd November 1800, he wishes the reply to be addressed to “Captain MacDonell of Scothouse, Glengarry Regiment, here.” When the regiment was disbanded in 1802, old Scotus again became a wanderer. He died in the month of June 1811, probably about the age of 87. Mrs Donald MacEachen, Kinsadel of Morar, who was in his employment at the time of his death, was full of anecdotes of Ranald, describing him as a tall, fine-looking old man, spare, but strongly built, who attributed the good health he had enjoyed during his chequered career to his having invariably adhered, as his favourite food, to Scotia’s staple diet of porridge and milk.

Ranald married firstly, Helen Grant of Glenmoriston, by whom he had Aeneas or Angus, his heir of whom hereunder. He married secondly, Anne, youngest daughter of John MacDonell of Glengarry, by whom he had: Charles, educated in France, who became a major in the 72nd Foot, and left a daughter; and Donald, also educated in France, who became a Lieutenant Colonel in the East India Company Service, and married Anne, eldest daughter of Archibald MacDonald of Rhu and Lochshiel, by whom he had a large family, the eldest of whom was Eneas Ronald MacDonell, WS, and advocate at the Scottish Bar. He was a JP and DL of Inverness-shire and purchased the estate of South Morar in 1855 after which he assumed the designation “of Morar”. He was a founder member in 1891 of the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh, of which he became Vice-President. He married, had a family and died at Camusdarroch in 1898.

Aeneas Ranald, to whom his father Ranald had the estate transferred in 1788, obtained a commission in the 76th MacDonald’s Highlanders with which he served in the Light Company in the American War of Independence. The light companies of the various regiments, having been detached and brigaded as a single unit, were put under the command of Colonel Abercromby. After the untimely death of Aeneas in 1792, his former company commander, Colonel James Fraser of Culduthel, wrote to his widow in the following terms:

“Madam -Your late husband, Mr MacDonell of Scotus, served in my Company (Light Company) in the 76th Regiment, the last four years of the American War, as lieutenant. He, on several occasions, distinguished himself as an officer possessed of great courage and ability. When Lord Cornwallis, with the army under his command, crossed the James River in Virginia, Lieutenant MacDonell (who had been left at New York to bring forward the convalescents of the Light Infantry), arrived at the place of debarkation some days after the army had left it, and, being ordered to follow, he conducted his detachment through our enemy’s country so ably that although attacked by a superior force, he brought them in with only one man wounded and made several of the enemy prisoners. He, on that occasion, had the satisfaction of Lord Cornwallis’s approbation of his conduct. During the siege of Yorktown in Virginia, Lieutenant MacDonell was in a very poor state of health, but could not be prevailed on to quit his post, by which his constitution was very much impaired. Mr MacDonell was on all occasions a good and active duty officer, and ready to volunteer for every service of danger that offered. – I am, etc, James Fraser, Lieut. Col. 2nd BR & CF Regt.”

At the close of the war, Aeneas, in a very tender state of health, returned to Scotland as a half-pay lieutenant and settled down on the family estate where he led a carefree and extravagant lifestyle; frequently to be seen with a boisterous and merry band of followers, together with his deer and slow hounds, mongrels and terriers roaming the hills of Knoydart eagerly engaged in fox hunting. His good nature and generosity merely served to increase the already heavy burdens on the estate during the brief period of his possession of it. On 11th November 1788, he married Anne Fraser of Culbockie, upon which occasion his father turned over the estate to him. Aeneas and his wife at first lived with their young family at Inverie on the Scotus Estate but later, on account of his health, at Beaulyside, now known as Dunballoch, where, on 9th December 1792, he died, leaving two sons, Aeneas Ranald,who succeeded to Scotus, and William, who became a surgeon in the 19th Foot; and a daughter, Helen, who married Colonel Kyle of Binghill, Aberdeenshire, with issue. Aeneas nominated, in 1790, as guardians to his children, his wife; his half brother Charles, described as of the 72nd Regiment; Patrick Grant of Glenmoriston; Captain Allan Grant of Innerwick; Captain Alpin Grant of the Citadel, Inverness; Coll MacDonell of Barrisdale, and a number of others. His elder son, Aeneas Ranald, born at Scotus House on 19th December 1789, succeeded as the last landed laird of Scotus.

Aeneas Ranald, the last landed laird of Scotus was, in 1794, when he was five years of age, infeft in the estate On a precept by Glengarry, with the consent of his curators, dated 9th April of that year. When the Glengarry Fencible Regiment was raised in that same year the five-year-old Aeneas Ranald was given an ensign’s commission and drew pay. The boy ultimately did join the regiment as appears from a letter written by his grandfather, Ranald (Old Scotus) in 1800 from Galway, in which he says: “Angus (i.e. Aeneas) poor fellow, behaves well” and he continued in the service of the regiment until it was disbanded in 1802, by which time he was thirteen years of age. The estate being so heavily burdened, the trustees decided to dispose of it and at the public sale in Edinurgh on 6th July 1803, it realised over £16,000. The purchaser was Grant of Glenmoriston who, a few years later, sold the estate to Colonel Alasdair Ranaldson MacDonell of Glengarry. By Whitsun 1804, the connection between Aeneas Ranald MacDonell and his family with their ancestral lands of Scotus was severed forever.

After their acquisition by Glengarry, the lands of Scotus were, about 1818, reincorporated with Knoydart. Aeneas Ranald had the desire and ability to recover the estate at an early period of his career, and applied to Glengarry, but apparently received no answer to his proposal. He was educated at Marischal College, Aberdeen, and entering the Civil Service became First Member of the Board of Revenue, Madras. On retiring from service in India he settled at Pitville House, Cheltenham. On the death of his remote cousin, Charles Ranaldson MacDonell, 18th Chief of Glengarry, on 28th June, 1868, without issue, Scotus petitioned the Lord Lyon for the Arms and Representation of MacDonell of Glengarry, to which he succeeded posthumously, as 19th Chief of Glengarry, having died at Cheltenham on 24th October the same year. Thus did the family of Scotus succeed a second time to the representation of the renowned house of Glengarry. Aeneas Ranald married Juliana Charlotte, daughter of Archdeacon Wade of Bombay, by whom he had four sons and two daughters.  His eldest son, also named Aeneas Ranald, having predeceased him, be was succeeded by his grandson, Aeneas Ranald Westrop MacDonell, eldest son of the younger Aeneas Ranald.

Aeneas Ranald Westrop MacDonell, 20th Chief of Glengarry and representative of Scotus, was born on 5th December 1847, and educated at Eton. Choosing a career in commerce, he was latterly connected with a well-known firm of oil producers and refiners, of London, Baku and Moscow. While visiting Moscow in connection with the business of his firm in 1900, he contracted typhoid fever, from the effects of which he died. He married in 1874, Catherine Frances, only daughter of Henry Herries Creed who was descended through the Herries family from Red Gauntlet, by whom he had, Aeneas Ranald, his successor; Alastair Somerled, and Marion Lindsay. He died at Elm Park Road, Chelsea, on 2nd January 1901, in his fifty-third year.

Aeneas Ranald, 21st Chief of Glengarry and representative of Scotus, was born on 8th August, 1875, and educated at St Paul’s School, London. On leaving school he began his career in banking, but resigned in 1896 to take up a post on his uncle’s tea plantation in Ceylon where he spent five pleasant years, afterwhich the sudden death of his father necessitated his returning home. In 1902 he was in the employ of Schebauffe & Co., in Baku, where he became Bntish Vice-Consul during the First World War and had many daring adventures, narrowly escaping death and avoiding capture by the Bolsheviks. He served with the British forces in Southern Russia and Northern Persia until 1920, being mentioned in dispatches, and being made an honorary major and a CBE. He served as British Consul at Tiflis, Georgia, in Transcaucasia, from 1920 till 1923. He wrote a lively autobiography: “… And Nothing Long,” published in 1938, in which he relates an amusing anecdote concerning his application in response to a newspaper advertisement for a King for Albania. On 10th September 1911, at Taupse, South Russia, he added his signature to a “treaty” already bearing the signatures of the Chiefs of Sleat and Clanranald, whereby each respected the claims the other two thought they had to the High Chiefship of Clan Donald, and agreed that on any occasion when more than one of them was present and the question of “pre-eminence and precedency” arose, the matter should be “decided for the occasion by lot without prejudice to the position and claims of any of us.” The claims of the 6th Lord MacDonald of Slate were either ignored or overlooked, but on succeeding to that title in 1947, his grandson, Alexander Godfrey MacDonald, 7th Lord MacDonald, successfully petitioned for and was granted by the Lord Lyon, the undifferenced arms of “MacDonald of MacDonald”, as Chief of the Narne and Arms of MacDonald (Lyon Register, Vol.36, Folio 44). Aeneas Ranald MacDonell of Glengarry and Scotus, married on 7th August, 1909, Dorah Edith, second daughter of Dr H.W. Hartford, Christchurch, Hampshire, by whom he had: Aeneas Ranald Donald, his successor, and Peter Alexander, now of Fortrose, Black Isle, Ross-shire. He died on 10th May 1941.

Aeneas Ranald Donald MacDonell, who succeeded his father as 22nd Chief of Glengarry, was born at Baku, Russia, on 15th November 1913. He entered the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell, and served in the Royal Air Force as a fighter pilot and flying instructor. In 1940, he became Squadron Leader of No.64 Spitfire Fighter Squadron, which he commanded during the Battle of Britain, until 1941 when his aircraft was shot down over enemy territory and he was made a prisoner of war. After the war he became Chief Flying Instructor at the RAF College, Cranwell, following service with the Ministry of Defence, to which he returned in 1952 and became Senior RAF Instructor Joint Services Staff College. In 1956 he was appointed British Air Attache in Moscow with the rank of Air Commodore a post for which he was well qualified, both professionally and on account of his family connections with, and personal knowledge of, Russia and its language, and in which post he remained until 1958. In 1960 he was appointed Director of Management and Work Study at the Ministry of Detence, Air Force Department, which appointment he held until his retirement from the Royal Air Force with the rank of Air Commodore in 1964. He received the DFC in 1940 and was made a Commander of the Bath (CB) in 1964. Since his retirement, he has been very active in his capacity as a Highland Clan Chief, having had a long and close association with the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh, of which, with the other Chiefs of the Clan, he is an Honorary President. He has attended Highland gatherings representing his Clan, not only in Scotland and other parts of the United Kingdom, but in Canada, the United States of America and Australia. In these duties he has been ably supported by his wife Lois. He is a Trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Clan Donald Lands Trust and a Trustee and Executive Committee Chairman of the recently formed Finlaggan Trust.

It was with much pleasure that Glengarry announced for the first time in public at the annual gathering of the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh on 29th October, 1983, that the Arms of MacDonell of Scotus had, with his concurrence, been matriculated in the name and person of his youngest son, James Donald MacDonell, born on 15th June 1974.

For a full history of the MacDonells of Glengarry see “The Clanranald of Knoydart and Glengarry” by Norman H. MacDonald, FSA Scot.

Some passages from:


JAMES DONALD MacDONELL OF SCOTUS with the consent of his father Aeneas Ranald Donald MacDonell of Glengarry … having by Petition unto the Lord Lyon King of Arms date 10 November 1982 SHEWN; that he, the Petitioner (born Lambeth, London 15 June 1974) is the third son of Aeneas Ranald Donald MacDonell, 22nd Chief of Glengarry … and also Representer of the House of MacDonell of Scotus… And the Petitioner having prayed that the foresaid Ensigns Armorial might be matriculated In his own name with a suitable difference as Representer and Hereditary Head of the House of MacDonell of Scotus, the Lord Lyon King of Arms by Interlocutor of date 10 May 1983, Granted Warrant to the Lyon Clerk to matriculate in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland in name of the Petitioner and the heirs male of his body, whom failing to the then Chief of Glengarry for such re-settlement as he or his successors may see fit, the following Ensigns Armorial, VIDELICET:- Or, an eagle displayed Gules surmounted of a lymphad sable her sails furled up and rigging Proper, in dexter chief point a dexter hand couped in fess of the second and in sinister chief point a cross crosslet fitchee of the third, all within a bordure Azure charged of three castles triple towered Argent. Above the shield is placed an Helmet befitting his degree, with a Mantling Gules doubled Or, and on a Wreath of the Liveries is set for Crest a raven Proper on a rock per pale Azure and Argent, and in an Escrol over the same this Motto “CRAGAN AN FHITHICH” and in an Escrol below the shield this Motto “PER MARE.

Matriculated the 10th day of October1983. Extracted furth of the 88th page of the 66th Volume of the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland this 12th day of October 1983.

(signed) J.I.D. Pottinger

Lyon Clerk and Keeper of the Records.


WE, Malcolm Rognvald Innes of Edingight, Baron of Yeochrie, Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, Writer to Her Majesty’s Signet, Lord Lyon King of Arms, Send Greeting:

Whereas, JAMES DONALD MacDONELL OF SCOTUS, with the consent of his father Aeneas Ranald Donald MacDonell of Glengarry, both residing at Elonbank, Castle Street, Fortrose, in the County of Ross, having by Petition unto Us of date 10 November 1982, SHEWN; that the Petitioner’s said father as 10th Representer and Hereditary Head of the family of MacDonell of Scotus, being desirous that the House of MacDonell of Scotus should be continued armorially as a separate cadet of Glengarry, has accordingly resigned the Representation and Hereditary Headship of the said House of MacDonell of Scotus to the Petitioner; And the Petitioner having prayed that there might be granted unto him such Guidon as might be found suitable to him as 11th Representer and Hereditary Head of the House of MacDonell of Scotus, Know Ye therefore that We have Devised, and Do by these Presents Assign, Ratify and Confirm unto the Petitioner and the heirs male of his body, whom failing to the then Chief of Glengarry for such re-settlement as he or his successors may see fit, the following Guidon, as depicted upon the margin hereof, and matriculated of even date with these Presents upon the 91st page of the 66th Volume of Our Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland VIDELICET:- eight feet in length with rounded end, having the St. Andrew’s Cross in the hoist, of five tracts of these Liveries Or and Gules thereon his crest (videlicet:-a raven Proper on a rock per pale Azure and Argent) and in the fly in letters Sable his Motto “CRAGAN AN FHITHICH”; In Testimony Whereof We have subscribed these Presents and the Seal of our Office is affixed hereto at Edinburgh, this 23rd day of November in the 32nd Year of the Reign of Our Sovereign Lady Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her Other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, and in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Nine Hundred and Eighty Three.

(signed) Malcolm R. Innes of Edingight,