Ten must-know facts about Clan Ma­cleod of Raasay

SCOTS Heritage Magazine - - Contents -

1 The Ma­cleod of Raasay’s clan motto is: ‘Luceo non uro,’ mean­ing, ‘I shine, not burn,’ when trans­lated from Latin. The clan’s crest por­trays the sun as the cen­tre­piece. Clan Macken­zie share the same motto.

2 The Macleods of Raasay de­scend from Torquil, an an­ces­tor from Lewis, who lived in the 16th cen­tury. The clan be­gan to branch out and in 1571 ac­quired a royal char­ter for the lands of Assynt, Gair­loch and the is­lands of Raasay and Rona.

3 A sig­nif­i­cant part of the clan’s his­tory took place dur­ing the 1745 Ja­co­bite up­ris­ing, in which the Macleods of Raasay made the de­ci­sion to sup­port Bon­nie Prince Char­lie and his Ja­co­bite cause dur­ing the cam­paign. Their cousins, the MacLeods of Dun­ve­gan, did not, in­stead choos­ing to join the Duke of Cum­ber­land’s army. Af­ter the Bat­tle of Cul­lo­den, the venge­ful Hanove­rian army burned down Raasay House and pil­laged the is­land.

4 In 1988, Torquil Rod­er­ick Ma­cleod, 17th Chief of Raasay, was of­fi­cially recog­nised, by Lord Lyon King of Arms as Torquil Rod­er­ick Ma­cleod of the Lewes and Chief of the Ba­ro­nial House of Ma­cleod of the Lewes. Torquil was suc­ceeded by his son, Rod­er­ick John Ma­cleod, in 2001 as the 18th Chief of Macleods of Raasay. His son, Alas­tair Loudoun Ma­cleod, will be his suc­ces­sor.

5 Raasay House, lo­cated on the Isle of Raasay, is a Ge­or­gian man­sion built in the 1750s. How­ever, the Ma­cleod con­nec­tions date back to the early 1500s when the Ma­cleod Chief of Raasay clan house stood on or near the present site. The last chief left Raasay House in 1843 when he em­i­grated to Aus­tralia. In 2007, the Raasay House Com­mu­nity Com­pany pur­chased the prop­erty: cur­rent chief Rod­er­ick John Ma­cleod is a pa­tron. De­spite suf­fer­ing a sec­ond fire in 2009, the house is now a ho­tel, ac­tiv­ity cen­tre and cafe.

6 In 1650, af­ter the Bat­tle of Car­bis­dale, the wife of Neil Ma­cleod of Assynt of­fered shel­ter to the de­feated Mar­quis of Mon­trose at Ard­vreck Cas­tle and then be­trayed him to the Earl of Ar­gyll.

7 Fol­low­ing the be­trayal of Mon­trose, the Macleods of Assynt and Gair­loch be­came in­creas­ingly un­pop­u­lar and even­tu­ally lost their main­land lands to the Macken­zies of Kin­tail in the late 17th cen­tury.

8 The Ma­cleod of Raasay clan tar­tan dates back to 1829. The de­sign is very sim­i­lar to one of those cre­ated by char­la­tan brothers Charles Ed­ward and John So­bieski Stu­art in their fal­si­fied manuscripts, later pub­lished in the Ves­tiar­ium Scoticum. It is a sim­ple red and black de­sign.

9 The Isle of Raasay, which has a tiny pop­u­la­tion of 160, has a new ferry ter­mi­nal which op­er­ates a small car ferry, con­nect­ing the re­mote is­land with the nearby Isle of Skye and, from there, the main­land. Raasay was the home of the Gaelic writer Sor­ley Ma­cLean and, tra­di­tion has it, Clan MacSween.

10 The clan sur­name Ma­cleod and other vari­ants are an Angli­cised ver­sion of the Gaelic patronymic name Mac Leòid mean­ing ‘son of Leòd’. The Gaelic name Leòd it­self is a form of the Old Norse per­sonal name Ljótr which means ‘ugly’. Leòd, born around 1200, is the com­mon an­ces­tor of the MacLeods of Ma­cLeod and the Macleods of Raasay and Lewis.

Clock­wise from right: The ru­ins of Brochel Cas­tle on the Isle of Raasay; the clan sup­ported the Ja­co­bites, fol­low­ing Bon­nie Prince Char­lie in the 1745 up­ris­ing; Ma­cleod of Raasay tar­tan is a sim­ple red and black de­sign.

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