Clan MacDonald of Lochalsh

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The Clan MacDonald of Lochalsh was a sub-branch of Clan Donald of MacDonald.


The MacDonald of Lochalsh branch was founded by Celestine MacDonald (d.1476). Celestine MacDonald was the second son of Alexander of Islay, Earl of Ross, 3rd Lord of the Isles and 8th chief of Clan Donald.[1]

Celestine MacDonald of Lochalsh, with the support of the MacDonalds of Glengarry unsuccessfully claimed the right to succeed his father as Chief of Clan Donald and Lord of the Isles. Instead the right remained with his older brother John of Islay, Earl of Ross, 4th Lord of the Isles, 9th chief of Clan Donald. Celestine was succeeded as chief of the Clan MacDonald of Lochalsh by his son Alexander.

Raid on Ross-shire 1491, Ewen Cameron XIII Chief of Clan Cameron and a large body of Camerons, joined by Alexander MacDonald of Lochalsh, Clan Ranald of Garmoran and Lochaber and the Chattan Confederation - who they must have made peace with on a raid into the county of Ross-shire. During the raid they clashed with the Clan MacKenzie of Kintail. They then advanced from Lochaber to Badennoch where they were even joined by the Clan MacKintosh. They then proceeded to Inverness where they stormed Inverness Castle and MacKintosh placed a garrison in it. The Lords of Lochalsh appear at this time to have had strong claims upon the Camerons to follow them in the field. They were superiors under the Lord of the Isles of the lands of Lochiel in Lochaber, in addition to the claims of a close marriage alliance (Ewen married a daughter of Celestine of Lochalsh). This would serve to explain the quite unusual mutual participation under a common banner between the Camerons and Mackintoshes in this raid.[2]

Battle of Drumchatt, 1497, In 1495 King James assembled an army at Glasgow. Then on May 18 many of the Highland Chiefs made their submissions to him, including the MacKenzie and Munro Chiefs. Soon after this Sir Alexander MacDonald of Lochalsh and his clan rebelled against the King. He invaded the fertile lands of Ross-shire where he was defeated in battle by the Clan Munro and Clan MacKenzie at a place called Drumchatt where he was driven out of Ross-shire. He escaped southward amongst the Isles but was caught on the island of Oransay, by MacIian of Ardnamurchan, and put to death.[3]

Urquhart Castle 1513, Sir Donald MacDonald of Lochalsh was returning home from the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513. He was joined by Sir Alexander MacDonnell of Glengarry and Wiland, chief of Clan Chisholm when took Urquhart Castle. Some sources say that MacDonald occupied the castle for three years despite the efforts of Clan Grant to dislodge them.

Sir Donald MacDonald of Lochalsh, whose father had been assassinated by Maclain of Ardnamurchan. Sir Donald, who was then attempting to lay claim to the Lordship of the Isles besieged Mingarry Castle, seat of Ardnamurchan in 1515 and again, more successfully, two years later, when he took possession of the castle, which he burned and laid waste the surrounding lands.

John MacIain of Ardnamurchan was killed at the hands of his avenging kinsmen in 1518. Not only for the assassination of MacDonald of Lochalsh in 1497 but also for the deaths of the chief the Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg and his son.


  1. ^ The Family Tree of the Lords of the Isles - Finlaggan Trust
  2. ^ The Raid on Ross@Clan
  3. ^ Donald Gregory's History of the Western Highlands and Isles of Scotland from A.D. 1493 to A.D. 1625.

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