Clan MacDonald of Keppoch

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Clan MacDonald of Keppoch
Motto Air Muir 'S Air Tir (By land and by sea)[1]
Region Highland
Arms of MacDonald of Keppoch.svg
Ranald Alasdair Macdonald of Keppoch[2]
Historic seat Keppoch Castle[3]

Clan MacDonald of Keppoch, also known as Clan Ranald of Lochaber, is a Scottish clan and a branch of Clan Donald.


The MacDonalds of Keppoch are descended from Alistair Carrach Macdonald who was a younger son of Good John of Islay, Lord of the Isles, 6th chief of Clan Donald and his second wife Margaret Stewart, daughter of King Robert II of Scotland.[4]

For his involvement in the 1431 insurrection of Donald Balloch, Alistair Carrach had a large portion of his lands removed and transferred to the Chief of the Clan Mackintosh.

From The Highland clans of Scotland; their history and traditions (1923) by R.R. McIan. This illustration is titled "MacDonald of Keppoch".

In 1497, some of the Clan MacLaren stole cattle from the Braes of Lochaber from the Clan MacDonald of Keppoch. The MacDonalds followed them and overtook them at a place called Glenurchy where a battle took place. The MacDonalds won and recovered their cattle. However, the MacLarens then looked for assistance from Dugel Stuart of Appin. Another battle then took place where the MacLarens were now joined by the Stuarts against the MacDonalds. During the battle Dugel, the chief of Clan Stuart and the Clan MacDonald of Keppoch chief were both killed.[5]

The 12th Chief of the Clan Macdonald of Keppoch called Alexander along with his brother was slain in 1663 in what is remembered as in gaelic as Tobair-nan-ceann meaning the Well of Heads, not far from Invergarry. This is where the heads of seven murderers were washed before presentation to the Lord MacDonnell of Invergarry.[6]

In 1668, the MacDonalds of Keppoch fought at the Battle of Mulroy.[7]

Noted in the Black-book of Taymouth that in 1681 a bond of manrent was given by Gilleasba, chief of Keppoch, to John Glas, first Earl of Breadalbane; "such as Ceppoch's predecessors gave to the Earl's predecessors." binding Keppoch "to restrain all the inhabitants of Brae-Lochaber, and all of the name of Macdonell, from committing robberies within the Earl's bounds."[8]

During the Jacobite Uprisings, the son of the 16th Chief of Clan MacDonald of Keppoch (Coll), was a young man named Alexanhder, who was among the men who attacked British government soldiers who were preparing a surprise assault on the Glenfinnan gathering at what is now known as the Highbridge Skirmish. This was the first strike on the government during the 1745 to 1746 uprising. The MacDonalds of Keppoch were also involved in the Siege of Fort William in March 1746. Alexander, 17th Chief of Keppoch, later died at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

Alexander was succeeded by his son, Ranald, thew 18th Chief, followed by his son, Richard (19th Chief). The chiefship would be come extinct in 1848 with the death of Chichester, the 21st Chief. The next chief wasn't acknowledged until 13 September 2006 when Ranald Alasdair MacDonald was acknowledged as the lawful chief by the Lyon Court, following a 30 year fight for the right to use the ancient title of Mac Mhic Raonuill.

Clan Castle[edit]

The seat of the chief of the Clan MacDonald of Keppoch was originally at Keppoch Castle which was near to Spean Bridge in Lochaber.[3] However in 1690 it passed to the Mackintoshes and the lands were disputed with the Mackintoshes, with the last clan battle being fought here.[3] However the castle had been demolished in 1663 after the Keppoch murders.[3]

Principal Cadet Families[edit]

Aberarder, Achnancoichean, Bohuntine, Clianaig, Cranachan, Dalchosnie, Fersit, Gellovie, Inch, Inverroy, Killiechonate, Murlagan, Tirnadris, Tulloch, Tullochrom

Principal Septs[edit]

Boyle, Burke, Doyle, Drake, Kelly, Kennedy, MacBride, MacDonell, MacGilp, MacGillivantic, MacGlasrich, MacKerrachar, MacKillop, MacMichie, MacPhilip, MacRaney, MacRonald, Mechie, Meekison, Mekie, Michael, Michie, Michieson, O'Donnell, Philip, Philp, Phillip, Phillips, Philipson, Rainnie, Ranald, Ranaldson, Ranney, Rennie, Reynolds, Reynoldson, Ronald, Ronaldson

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Clan MacDonnell of Keppoch Profile Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  2. ^ Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs - select "MacDonald of Keppoch" from the drop down list and click "view" Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d Coventry, Martin. (2008). Castles of the Clans: The Strongholds and Seats of 750 Scottish Families and Clans. pp. 364. ISBN 978-1-899874-36-1.
  4. ^ The Family Tree of the Lords of the Isles Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  5. ^ Clan MacLaren History Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  6. ^ Clan MacDonald - The MacDonalds of Keppoch Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  7. ^ The Battle of Mulroy Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  8. ^ The Celtic magazine; a monthly periodical devoted to the literature, history, antiquities, folk lore, traditions, and the social and material interests of the Celt at home and abroad (Volume 5) p.99 [1]

External links[edit]