McClintock / McClintic Prologue VII

The Battle of Glen Fruin

McClintic Saga
 

On February 7, 1603, the last of the intgerclan battles occurred in Scotland at Glen Furin near Loch Lomond. The Clan MacGregor and the Clan Colquhoun (pronounced Calhoun, like in Monroe and like in Joe Engle's mother's maiden name) fought a desperate battle which resulted in the defeat of the Colquhouns and the outlawing of the unfortunate MacGregors.

Devastation and spoilation of the battle was vast. One hundred and forty Colquhouns, including women and children were slaughtered, a large number of horses, cattle, sheep and goats were carried off and the homes of the tenantry burned to the ground. On April 3, 1603, two days before King James VI left Scotland for England to take possession of the English throne, he visited Dumbarton, which was near Glen Fruin, to meet Alexander Colquhoun, the Clan Chief, and ninety widows of the Colquhouns who held out the bloody shirts of their slaughtered husbands. James expressed great sympathy for them and took instant and severe measures against the unfortunate MacGregors. He decreed that the dreaded name of macGregor be proscribed for all times. All MacGregors would henceforth assume other names or face death. No person was to use the name of MacGregor in the realm of Scotland. A price was put upon the heads of 70 to 80 of the MacGregors by name and their confederates from other Clans. All who took part in the battle, now known as the "Slaughter of Lennox", were prohibited from carrying any weapon other than a knife to eat meat with. Between May 20, 1603 and March 4, 1604 thirty five of the Clan were taken prisoner and executed after trial. Among them was Allaster MacGregor the Chief of the Clan.

This battle occurred because the MacGregors were an outlaw Clan who were in constant conflict with their neighbors and their King. They committed violent acts of murder and thievery upon the most prosperious lowlanders, especially around Dumbartonshire, the territory of the Colquhouns.

The Clan Colquhoun supported the Scottish Crown and had taken part in the "Letters of Fire and Sword" issued by the Crown against the MacGregors years earlier. This added fuel to the feud between the two Clans. Since the King's military men and the sheriffs were unable to protect the law abiding Clans from the ravages by the MacGregors the "Letters and Sword" permitted other Clans to aid the King in punishing the MacGregors for their criminal acts by putting them to the sword and burning their dwellings without fear of punishment from the Crown.

 

The Book of the Dean of Lismore

In the book "Book of the Dean of Lismore" the author of a poem or praise to Malcolm MacGregor, 4th chief of the Clan MacGregor, who died April 20,1440, is Mac Giolla Ghionntog, the Man of Sons. This is the translation into English of the poem: "The hunting of Scotland, without leave, belongs with its spoil to Malcolm. Many in his halls are found together, men who carry well-sharpened swords, red gold glittering on their hilts. Harmonious music among harps, men with dice-boxes in their hands, men who leave the game of tables to go and lead forth the hounds. No hand like his amidst the fight, he tis that ever victory won. Liberal he ever was to bards." The bards were the poets in the early days of Scotland who recorded historical events, usually in poem and song. Each clan had its own bard. Mac Giolla Fhionntog, (McClintock in English) was apparently a clan bard or Man of Songs, as he called himself. He may have even been the Clan Bard of the Clan MacGregor, as the MacGregors were a major clan during this time in history. They claimed land in the District of Lorne north of Loch Awe which was near the territory occupied by the McClintocks.


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