Saturday, April 18, 2009

Torquil MacLeod

Torquil Connanach held the lands claimed by his family on the mainland, but another Torquil, called Torquil Dubh claimed the island lands. The government recognized Torquil Connanach's right to all of the lands. However, he lost both of his sons. His eldest, named John, was killed at Stornoway. His second son, Neill, died of a fever. Torquil Connanach's daughter was married to Sir Roderick MacKenzie of Tarbat.

He now through himself entirely into the hands of the MacKenzie's, and in the end, even conveyed the barony of Lewis to them. He had previously given Sir Roderick, Lochbroom and
many other Lewis properties as a dowry for Margaret.

Torquil Dubh announced that he intended to keep the Island estates which had been his by force. He had 700-800 men who aided him in keeping his land for some time. The MacKenzies complained against him to the privy council, which Sir Roderick was a member of. Torquil Dubh was summoned before the council, but did not go and was denounced as a rebel, and was seized by the judge of Leis and delivered to Roderick MacKenzie, who had him beheaded in July, 1597.

Torquil Dubh MacLeod was Torquil Connanach's half brother. Their father, Roderick MacLeod married Torquil Connanach's mother and then accused her of adultery and said that he was not his father. Roderick then remarried Barbara Stewart, sister of Andrew Stewart, Lord Avandale. They had a son named Torquil Oighre, which means the heir. This second Torquil drowned sailing from Lewis to Skye in about 1566. Torquil Connanach immediately gathered arms in order to take what he believed to be his rightful inheritance. During this fighting , his father Roderick was captured and held prisoner for four years in Stornoway Castle.

Donald Gorm MacDonald put forth a claim that he should be the heir, by getting Hugh MacLeod the Breve of the Island to swear that Torquil Connanach was his son and not Roderick's.

At that time the Earl of Mar was the Regent ruling Scotland. He had Roderick brought before him and the Privy Council. They compelled Roderick to resign his lands to the crown, being then allowed to hold them in liferent, with Torquil Connanach designated as his heir. When he was released, he recanted his agreement saying that he had given it under duress.

In 1576, Roderick and Torquil Connanach were summoned to Edinburgh and reconciled. Torquil was once again claimed and designated as Roderick's heir.

Roderick later remarried a third time, to the sister of Lachlan MacLean. They had two sons named Torquil Dubh and Tormod. He disinherited Torquil Connanach again, which resulted in him taking up arms again. During this fighting Torquil Connanach took Stornoway Caste and captured his father, Roderick.

Torquil Connanach took all the deeds and titles of his father away and gave them to the MacKenzies, who his daughter had married into. He gave Stornoway and the keeping of his prisoner Roderick to his son John MacLeod. The castle was attacked again and Roderick was released and John was killed. Roderick kept possession of the island in peace for the remainder of his life.

When Roderick died, he was succeeded by his son Torquil Dubh. Torquil Connanach still possessed the mainland lands and since he had given them over into the hands of the MacKenzies, they decided to try and buy the Island of Lewis from Torquil Dubh and have him assassinated.

Torquil Dubh ravaged the mainland land of Cogeach and Lochbroom possessed by his brother and having a large force of men at his command, was able to keep them from taking his land for some time. They complained to the privy council, reminding them that Torquil Connanach had been the designated heir and saying that Torquil Dubh was usurping his lands. The Privy Council summoned Torquil Dubh to appear before them. he refused and was declared a rebel.

The breve of Lewis was promised a great reward if he would execute Torquil Dubh. He took a ship with an armed force toward Lewis. They encountered a Dutch ship full of a cargo of wine. They forced this ship to go with them to Lewis. When they arrived, the invited Torquil Dubh to a banquet. When he arrived on the ship with a number of his men and sat down at the table, they were tied up. They were then taken to the MacKenzies. There in July of 1597, they were beheaded.

Torquil Dubh's sons then took control of the Isle of Lewis. As a consequence of the trouble over the Island of Lewis, the king took possession of it and gave it to some Lowlanders


Sources:

A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and ...‎ - Page 588
by John Burke - Heraldry - 1838

The Scottish Nation; or. the surnames, families, literature, honours, and... Page 49
by William Anderson - Biography & Autobiography - 1867
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