John MacLeod of MacLeod

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John MacLeod of MacLeod, born as John Wolrige-Gordon, (10 August 1935 – 12 February 2007) was the 29th chief of Clan MacLeod. Faced with the need for expensive repairs to the clan's seat at Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye, his proposed methods to raise funds caused considerable controversy. His twin brother, Patrick Wolridge-Gordon (1935–2002), was MP for East Aberdeenshire.


John MacLeod of MacLeod was born as John Wolrige-Gordon in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, on 10 August 1935. He was the elder of the twin sons of Captain Robert Wolrige-Gordon, MC and his wife Joan Walter. His younger twin brother, Patrick Wolrige-Gordon, would later become a Tory Member of Parliament.[1] The twins had an older brother, Robert Wolrige-Gordon, who would later succeed his father as the 21st laird of Hallhead, 10th feudal baron of Esslemont.[2]

Joan Walter's mother was the daughter of Dame Flora MacLeod of MacLeod, the 28th chief of Clan MacLeod.[1] John Wolrige-Gordon was educated at Eton College, in England; McGill University, in Canada; and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, in England. After National Service in the Black Watch Regiment, he started a career in acting and singing.[3] He was named heir to his grandmother in 1951, changed his surname to MacLeod of MacLeod, and was recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms as John MacLeod of MacLeod, Younger. He matriculated arms at Lyon Office in 1962.[2] He later succeeded as chief of Clan MacLeod in 1976.[1]

In 2000, faced with the high cost of repairs to Dunvegan Castle, his clan's seat for more than 800 years, he put the Black Cuillin range in Skye on the market for £10 million. With the proceeds of the sale, he also planned to build an 80-bedroom hotel on his Skye estate.[1] The planned sale caused outrage at the time and was never completed.[4]


MacLeod of MacLeod married Drusilla Mary Shaw on 25 July 1961. The marriage was dissolved by divorce, without issue, on 31 March 1971. MacLeod of MacLeod also had a natural son, Stephan (born 1971).[5] MacLeod of MacLeod secondly married Azima Melita Kolin 19 March 1973, daughter of Duko Kolin of Sofia. The couple had two children: Hugh Magnus (born 1973); and Elena Mary Nadezhda (born 1977). His second marriage was dissolved by divorce on 28 August 1992.[6] On 27 March 2004, he married for a third time, Ulrika Thram.[7]

Death and successor[edit]

On 12 February 2007, MacLeod of MacLeod died of leukaemia, aged 71, in London, England.[8] His funeral was held at Duirinish Free Church of Scotland, at Dunvegan. He was buried at the ruined stone church at Kilmuir.[9] MacLeod was succeeded by his second son, Hugh Magnus MacLeod, as 30th chief of Clan MacLeod.




  1. ^ a b c d "John MacLeod of MacLeod". 15 February 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Dewar, Peter Beauclerk (2001). Burke's landed gentry of Great Britain: together with members of the titled and non-titled contemporary establishment (19, illustrated ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. pp. 532–533. ISBN 978-0-9711966-0-5. 
  3. ^ Stourton, James (17 March 2007). "John MacLeod Of MacLeod". Retrieved 23 November 2009. 
  4. ^ Ross, John (10 July 2003). "MacLeod 'gifts' Cuillin to public". Retrieved 24 November 2009. 
  5. ^ MacLeod Nicol, Nancy (2002). Tell your Children About the Stones. Keylime Press. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Dewar, Peter Beauclerk (2001). Burke's landed gentry of Great Britain: together with members of the titled and non-titled contemporary establishment (19, illustrated ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. pp. 941–942. ISBN 978-0-9711966-0-5. 
  7. ^ "Clan MacLeod Magazine", p. 73, issue No. 100, April 2005
  8. ^ "Clan MacLeod chief dies aged 71". 14 February 2007. Retrieved 24 November 2009. 
  9. ^ "Hundreds gather to mourn MacLeod chief". 24 February 2007. Retrieved 24 November 2009. 
  10. ^ Fairbairn, James (1883). Royal book of crests of Great Britain and Ireland, Dominion of Canada, India and Australasia : derived from best authorities and family records. 1. London: James MacVeigh. p. 541.