Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, 1654

Name: Blaeu, Joan, 1596-1673  
Title: Braid Albin. Lorna  
Pagination: 96-96
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Translation of text:

his two sons and his father-in-law were brought from their prisons to plead their case. The court was constituted in the old-established manner. The manner is this. A man of outstanding prudence and authority is chosen to preside; to him are assigned a minimum of twelve assessors, to hear the charges brought forward and to pronounce under oath on the accused: these are almost of the same rank as the accused, or as close as can be arranged; the accused is allowed rejection of the judges; when the correct number, that is twelve, is achieved, or as very often happens, a larger one, the charges are considered, and according to the majority decision, sentence is fixed. On this occasion the judges were chosen in this way - it is not worth while to list their names; they were certainly all well-known and many closely related to the accused - and the accused were convicted of treason. On that same day the two young men and on the following their father and maternal grandfather sufferred capital punishment, on the hill which rises opposite Stirling Castle. Now there is an invariable tale, though I do not find it in any written authority, that the King sent to Isabella, his cousin’s wife, the heads of her father, husband and sons, in order to see if the fierce woman in the suffering of grief would (as often happens) reveal the secrets of her mind: she however, although disturbed by the unexpected sight, uttered no rash words, but only replied that that if the charges brought forward were true, the King had acted rightly and justly.] The third Duke of Albany was Alexander, the second son of King James II, Regent of the Kingdom, Earl of March, of Mar, and of Garioch, Lord of Annandale and of Man; proscribed by his brother James III and struck by many problems, he finally while present at a tournament in Paris was wounded by a piece of a broken spear and died. His son John, fourth Duke of Albany, Regent likewise, and appointed tutor to James V, was trapped by the pleasures of the French court; he married there the daughter and second heir of Count John of Auvergne and Lauragais, and died there without issue. Out of respect for the royal blood of Scotland Francis I King of France dignified him with the honour of a position in France between the Archbishop of Langres and the Duke of Alençon, peers of France. After his death there was no Duke of Albany until Queen Mary conferred this title on Henry Lord Darnley, whom a few days later she married, as King James VI granted it to his younger infant son Charles [who is now King of Great Britain].

The inhabitants of these parts are a race of men uncivilised, warlike, and utterly wicked. They are called in the vernacular Highlandmen; as true offspring of the early Scots they speak Irish and call themselves Albinnich. They are of powerful and compact body, of great strength, swift-footed, high-spirited, innately good at warlike exercises or rather robberies, and most inclined to revenge with mortal hate. In the manner of the Irish they wear striped cloaks, have their hair thick and quite long, and live by hunting, fishing and plundering. In war they use an iron helmet, a corselet braided with iron rings, bows, hooked arrows, and quite broad swords. They are divided into families which they call Clans. So dreadfully do they riot in plunder and murder that their wild cruelty forced the passing of a law [Parliament of 1581] by which it is permitted, that if anyone has sustained some losses from a family of these people, whoever from that family is captured should either restore the losses or pay with his life.

FROM CAMDEN (Section Note)

The land beyond the Ness that sinks down to the west coast and is beside the loch Aber, is from that called Lochaber, that is in the ancient tongue of the Britons ‘mouth of lochs’; that which goes towards the north coast is called Ross.

Lochaber enjoys pastures and woods, does not lack veins of iron, is not particularly fertile for corn, but yields to scarcely any in fish-bearing lochs and rivers. On Loch Lochy Inverlochy was strengthened with a fort and once had great fame for the number of its merchants. But it was razed in the piratical wars of the Danes and Norwegians and has now for many centuries lain so neglected that scarcely any aspect of it is left entire. This is hinted at by the verses which I have just quoted. (1)

Lochaber had no earls of whom I have read, but about A.D. 1050 it had as Thane the famous Banquo, whom the bastard Macbeth, having seized the throne with slaughter and blood, had in fear and suspicion removed from circulation, because he had learned from the prophecy of some witches that his own line would become extinct and Banquo’s posterity would some day gain the throne and rule with a long series of kings. This certainly did not lack credibility: for Banquo’s son Fleance escaped the ambush unrecognised in the darkness and escaped to Wales, where he hid for some time; he married Nesta, daughter of Griffith ap Llewellyn Prince of North Wales, and had a son Walter. He returned to Scotland, and crushed a rebellion of the islanders with such praise of his bravery and administered the royal revenues in this area with such prudence, that the King appointed him Seneschal or Quaestor (Stewart in the vernacular) of the whole kingdom of Scotland. Hence this name of the office was attached as a surname to his descendants, who spread all over Scotland with a numerous noble line and for long flourished, laden with honours. From them more than three hundred and thirty years ago Robert Stewart ascended the throne of Scotland through his mother Marjory, daughter of King Robert Bruce; and recently James Stewart, sixth King of Scots of that name, to the applause of the whole world ascended the highest summit of the British Monarchy through his great-grandmother Margaret, daughter of Henry VII (as destined by the divine wish of the supreme ruler).

FROM CAMDEN (Section Note)

Lorne, productive of excellent barley, has on a large loch, called Linnhe, a castle Bergonium, in which there was once a court of justice, and not far away Dunstaffnage, that is Stephen’s Mount, formerly a residence of kings; north of it Loch Aber infiltrates so far from the western sea into the land that it would have flowed into Loch Ness, which comes out into the eastern ocean, if the mountains, interposed in a narrow space, had not separated them. Here the most famous place is Tarbert on Loch Kilkerran, where by Parliamentary authority James IV established a Justiciar and Sheriff, to administer the law for the inhabitants of the southern islands. These regions, and those beyond, were in A.D. 605 held by the Picts; Bede calls them the Northern Picts, when he relates that in that year Columba, ‘a priest and abbot notable for his monastic habit and life’, came from Ireland to Britain in order to convert to Christianity those who ‘were separated by high and rough mountain ridges from the southern regions of the Picts’, and that they had ceded to him as a reward the island of Hij, now I-Combkill, which lies off-shore; it will be described in the proper place. The Lords of Lorne in later times were Stewarts, today however through their female heir they are the Earls of Argyll, who always prefer this as their title of honour. ADDITION. And their eldest sons are called Lords of Lorne.

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