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Collection MS 4 - Macdonald of Macdonald papers

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Reference code

GB 1892 MS 4


Macdonald of Macdonald papers


  • 1847 (Creation)

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1 item

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Name of creator

Macdonald of Macdonald, 12th century- (12th century-)

Biographical history

The Macdonalds of Macdonald descend from Somerled (killed 1164) whose successors were 'kings' or later Lords of the Isles. Somerled was 'king' of the Hebrides south of Skye and Lewis. On his death his lands were divided between his sons Dugall, ancestor of the Macdougalls, lords of Argyll, and Ranald, whose sons Donald and Ruari were the founders of the Macdonalds (whose lands included Islay, South Jura, Colonsay, Oronsay and others), and the family of MacRuari (whose lands included Garmoran - Moidart, Arisaig, Morar and Knoydart - and others). Under the style Lord of the Isles the Macdonald chief and his family frequently caused trouble for the kings of Scotland, and were on the receiving end of expeditions mounted against them and their followers. John, earl of Ross and Lord of the Isles (d 1503), was forfeited in 1475, and although permitted to adopt the style Lord of the Isles again and restored to some of his lands the following year, he finally forfeited his lordship, estate and arms to the king in 1493. The title and estates were deemed to have been annexed to the Crown, and the family was thereafter without a chief. Various Macdonald families existed by then, of whom the Macdonalds of Sleat are the ancestors of the Lords Macdonald. Sleat is the southern peninsular of the Isle of Skye. The family seat was Armadale Castle, Isle of Skye, which in its present form was built by Alexander, 2nd Lord Macdonald (1773-1824). Sir Donald Macdonald of Sleat (d 1643) was created a baronet of Nova Scotia in 1625 and supported King Charles I in the civil wars of the 1640s. His eldest son and heir, James, continued the family support for the crown or the Stewart cause. The estates of Sir Donald Macdonald of Sleat, 4th Bt. (d 1718) were forfeited after his participation in the Jacobite rebellion of 1715. In 1723 the family's estate was sold to Kenneth Mackenzie, advocate, Edinburgh, and by him conveyed to Sir Alexander Macdonald of Sleat, 7th Bt. (1711-1746), nephew of Sir Donald, who in 1727 received a crown charter of his lands erected into the Barony of Macdonald. Two of his sons succeeded him in the baronetcy title. The younger of the two, Sir Alexander Macdonald of Macdonald and Sleat (d 1795), was elevated to the Peerage of Ireland in 1776 under the designation Baron Macdonald of Slate (county Antrim). He raised the Macdonald Highlanders in 1778, and another regiment in 1794-95 for the Government in the Highlands and Islands. Both of his sons succeeded as Lord Macdonald. Godfrey, 3rd Lord Macdonald (1775-1832) succeeded to the Yorkshire estates of his maternal uncle, William Bosville of Thorpe and Gunthwaite, and assumed the name Bosville in place of Macdonald by Royal Licence in 1814. When he succeeded his brother in the family's Scottish estates in 1824, he assumed the name Macdonald by Royal Licence. He had had children before his marriage in 1803, and it was determined that the eldest son born before his marriage should succeed to the Yorkshire estates, and the eldest son after his marriage succeeded to the title Lord Macdonald and the Scottish estates. A private Act of Parliament was secured in 1847 which definitively settled the matter. In 1910, the family holding the Yorkshire estates obtained a decree of the Court of Session which permitted them to hold the baronetcy title, and to matriculate arms as representative of the family of Macdonald of Sleat. In 1947, Alexander Godfrey, 7th Lord Macdonald (1909-1970) was accorded by Lord Lyon the arms of chief of the name and arms of Macdonald of Macdonald. On his death, Godfrey, 8th Lord Macdonald found that he had to sell the family lands to pay the death duties, and the lands were bought by the Clan Donald Lands Trust.
J Munro and R W Munro, 'Acts of the Lords of the Isles 1366-1493' (Edinburgh, 1986); Donald J Macdonald of Castleton, 'Clan Donald' (Loanhead, 1978) [Source: SCAN]

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Private act of parliament (10 & 11 Vict., c.29) vesting certain estates in the county of York (England) in Alexander William Robert Bosville and another, and in Skye and North Uist in Godfrey William Wentworth Lord Macdonald, and enabling Lord Macdonald to sell parts of the Scottish estates for the payment of debts 1847

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

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  • English

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