Saturday, April 25, 2009

History of Clan MacLeod

MacLeod Clan

MacLeod Clan Crest: A bull's head between two flags.

MacLeod Clan Motto: Hold Fast.

History of Clan MacLeod:
Olaf the Black was the Norse King of Man and the Isles who lived in the early 13th century. Leod was his younger son who, around 1220, married the daughter and heiress of MacRaild on Skye. She brought him Dunvegan Castle, and, when his father died, he inherited the islands of Lewis and Harris. Following the defeat of King Haakon of Norway at the Battle of Largs in 1263, Leod found himself virtually in control of the Hebrides.

Leod had four sons. Tormod, the eldest, inherited Dunvegan and Harris, becoming Chief of these lands and adopting the name MacLeod of Dunvegan (“Siol Tormod”). Torquil, Leod's second son, (“Siol Torquil”) inherited Lewis and Raasay, and in due course came into possession of Assynt, Cogeach and Gareloch on the mainland.

The MacLeods of Dunvegan supported Robert the Bruce during the Wars of Independence and followed the Lords of the Isles at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411. Fortunately, MacLeod managed to remain in favour throughout the Crown's attempts to subdue the Highland Chiefs, largely through the efforts of Alasdair Crotach who, in 1542, after a long dispute with the MacDonalds of Sleat, secured the title to Trotternish in the north of Skye.

After Alasdair's death, the Chiefship passed to his daughter and, after an interlude when it was seized by a kinsman, to Alasdair's brother Norman, whose son Ruaridh Mor became 15th Chief in 1595.

The MacLeods of Dunvegan fought for the Royalist Cause at the Battle of Worcester in 1651 and over 500 MacLeod Clansmen were killed making it impossible for them to participate affectively in either the 1715 or 1745 Jacobite Uprisings. When Prince Charles Edward Stuart arrived in Scotland, the Dunvegan MacLeods, convinced that he was lacking the necessary resources and men to succeed, refused to join him.
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