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Collection GD221 - Clan Donald Lands Trust (Lord Macdonald papers)

Identity area

Reference code

GB 1892 GD221


Clan Donald Lands Trust (Lord Macdonald papers)


  • 1462-1955 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

45 linear metres

Context area

Name of creator

Clan Donald Lands Trust, 1971- (1971-)

Administrative history

The Clan Donald Lands Trust was founded in 1971, with its aims being: 'To erect and maintain a clan museum on the clan lands on the Isle of Skye for the purpose of fostering clan sentiment and interest and the encouragement of education of members of the clan and the general public in the history of the Highland Clans and the Clan Donald in particular and the collection and preservation of records and traditions and objects of historic interest bearing on the history of Clan Donald.' The Trust bought the Sleat estate of Lord Macdonald, which had to be sold to pay death duties after the death of Alexander Godfrey, 7th Lord Macdonald in 1970. The Trust has restored part of Armadale Castle, Skye, its gardens, created the Museum of the Isles, and established other activities to appeal to visitors to Skye.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Titles of lands in Inverness-shire and Argyllshire 1462-1920, including writs of the land and barony of Macdonald 1542-1920 and barony of Strathordell 1696-1881. Titles to other lands 1463-1881. Great Seal grant of Nova Scotia baronetcy to Sir Donald Macdonald 1625.

Estate Papers 1626-1949. Tacks and leases 1626-1935, chiefly concerning lands in barony of Macdonald. Rentals, 1656-1946 including rentals of North Uist 1656-1826 and Strath 1738-1886. Factors’ and other accounts, including factors’ accounts for Trotternish, Skye, Sleat and North Uist 1656-1927. Accounts, correspondence and other papers concerning kelp 1744-1850. Papers relating to tenants 1783-1906. Surveys, estimates and other papers concerning building of roads and bridges (chiefly on Skye) 1789-1905. Papers concerning timber and plantations 1796-1921. Papers concerning packet boats, ferries and posts 1796-1903. List of inhabitants of North Uist 1799.
Minutes and other papers concerning administration of Macdonald estates by commissioners 1800-1822. Papers concerning emigration 1802-1882. Papers concerning schools and Sleat School Board 1804-1888. Reports and valuations 1811-1830. Papers concerning steamboat, “Maid of Islay” 1826-1842, and steamer, “Lady of the Isles” 1879-1886. Papers concerning repair and maintenance of Portree and Armadale piers 1852-1944. Papers concerning railways 1864-1902. Papers concerning crofters’ agitation 1795, 1880-1889, Crofters’ Holdings (Scotland) Act of 1886, 1885-1888, and Crofters’ Commission 1888-1911. Papers concerning estate curatory 1900-1928. Reports and papers concerning Skye marble 1903-1913. Estate letterbooks 1888-1947; Macdonald rentals and rent ledgers (Skye, N Uist, etc) 1733-1949; game books 1894-1947.

Correspondence, accounts and other papers concerning architecture and building work 1735-1920, including: building of manse and Kirk at Snizort 1799-1817; papers on proposed new town of Kyleakin and other papers concerning James Gillespie’s work on Skye 1800-1818; papers concerning building work on Armadale Castle 1814-1820 and later work under David Bryce 1859-1862; papers concerning Portree Waterworks 1871-1875.

Correspondence 1657-1931 (chiefly on domestic and estate matters with occasional social or other letters), including: letters between Sir James Macdonald and John Ba[y]ne on financial matters 1657-1671; estate and personal correspondence of Sir Donald Macdonald 1688-1716 (including letters from Dr Pitcairne and Duke of Atholl); business and other letters to Edward Callender, writer in Edinburgh 1723-1727; estate correspondence of Sir Alexander Macdonald (father and son) 1725-1770; letters to Lord Macdonald 1776-1795 (correspondents include James Boswell and Sir John Sinclair); business letters to John Campbell WS, chiefly on estate matters 1796-1818; letters between Lady Macdonald and Queen Victoria 1855-1862. Letters concerning Macdonald curatory 1900-1929; letters concerning fisheries 1925-1928, and Clan papers 1931.

Family and personal papers 1587-1955, including: bonds, 1587-1911; marriage contracts, testaments and related papers 1625-1955; inventories of household furniture and other possessions 1709-20th cent. Personal and household accounts 1703-1892, including: Edinburgh and London household receipts and discharges 1703-1817; education of Sir Donald Macdonald’s children 1706-1710; purchase of “a sett of Hyland Pipes 1748”; accounts for purchase and (later) repairs of coach 1781-1783; purchase of pictures and frames 1783-1785. Freeholder’s papers 1667-1931, including: roll of Freeholders for Inverness-shire 1776; extract minutes of Commissioners of Supply and Freeholders of Inverness 1782-1793. Papers concerning militia and regiments 1749-1810; including papers concerning raising of Macdonald Highlanders and Regiment of the Isles 1777-1810.

Legal papers 1475-1930, including: copy of papers concerning forfeiture of John, Earl of Ross, Lord of the Isles 1475; contracts of wadset and heritable bonds 1657-1845; Clanranald papers 1657-1727; inventories of titles 1663-1909; legal accounts 1780-1915; printed papers in action Lord Macdonald v. Hon Archibald and Hon Dudley Macdonald 1840; curator bonis accounts 1900-1927.
Papers concerning Broadford Hotel, Skye, 1888-1930.
Papers in action Bosville v. Macdonald, 1909-1913.

Broadford Harbour Trust papers 1847-1941, including: minute books 1888-1935; accounting records 1888-1940; correspondence, reports and other papers 1847-1941.

Miscellaneous papers 1678-1955, including: commissions and burgess tickets 1689-1900; genealogical papers and biographical notes 1692-1955; papers concerning Presbytery of Skye and Synod of Inveraray 1725-1825, 1876; passports 1782-1896; photographs 1866-1937; papers concerning Skye Gathering 1903-1906; newscuttings and photographs concerning Flora Macdonald College, North Carolina 1937-1947.

Maps and plans 1764-1910, including: plans of Isle of Skye by Mathew Stobie 1764-1766; architectural plans of Snizort Church 1797 and later; papers concerning survey of Skye 1799; plans of Portree, 1830 onwards; plans of piers and harbours at Portree and Broadford 1863-1929; Portree and Broadford feuing plans 1889-1910; architectural plans of alterations and additions to Armadale Lodge 1884; architectural plans of RN Reserve Battery at Portree 1904.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Arranged within series. Within series, records are arranged chronologically.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Restricted. Contact the Archivist, Clan Donald Library, Armadale for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Item-level typescript catalogue available in Clan Donald Library, Armadale Castle

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Notes area

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




Rights area

Accession area