INFORMATION SHEET No. 11


Clan Battles/Skirmishes


The Munros were involved is several clan fights and forays, but in only one instance were they acting agressively in their own interest. Many other incidents of the Clan fighting as a unit are on record but these are mainly in the service of the Crown or others as part of a larger force.

Bealach nam Broig 1452 A force of Munros and Dingwalls met north-west of BenWyvis with a body of 'rebels' said to be vassals of Alexander Mackenzie of Kintail, who had with them an important Ross hostage. The Munros and their allies rescued the hostage and almost exterminated their foes, but they themselves sustained severe losses. William Dingwall of Kildun and 140 Dingwall supporters were killed, and 11 Munros of the house of Foulis were slain so that succession to the Chieftanship of the Clan fell to a child then lying in his cradle.

Clachnaharry 1454 After a private raid into Perthshire under John Munro Tutor of Foulis, the Munros on their way home with captured cattle had to pass through Mackintosh country and an amount of 'road collop' or passage money was demanded as was the custom. A dispute arose over the amount and the Munros sent their spoils on ahead hotly pursued by the Mackintoshes who overtook them at Clachnaharry. In the ensuing fight one account states that Mackintosh of Mackintosh was killed but it is now known that this was not so, and John Munro was left for dead on the field. He is said to have been found by an old woman after the battle and nursed back to health before being handed over to Lord Lovat who returned him to his own people but having had a hand severed or mutilated in the affray he was ever after known as John Bachlach.

Drumchatt 1501 William Munro of Foulis probably in some judicial capacity led a composite body of Munros, Dingwalls and MacCullochs to attack Hector Mackenzie of Gairloch, probably at Kinnellan near Strathpeffer. On their return his force was ambushed by Mackenzies at Drum a Chaitt and many were killed. It is said that so many heads were cut off over a small area of sloping ground that after tumbling down the hillside they came to rest at a well above Fodderty Churchyard still named to this day Tobar nan Ceann or the 'well of the heads'. No friendly account has survived, and Mackenzie sources say Foulis was pursued to the west end of his own Ferindonald lands. In the next generation Hector Munro of Foulis married a daughter of Mackenzie of Kintail. William was killed by Ewen Cameron of Lochiel in 1505 at Achnashellach whilst on the 'King's business'.

Fortrose 1570/73 A dispute arose between the Munros and the Mackenzies over possession of the Castle and castle lands of the Chanonry of Ross. Bishop Leslie had made over the rights and titles to his cousin Leslie of Balquhain, but the Regent Moray gave custody of the Castle to Andrew Munro of Milton. The Mackenzies were not pleased and with a detachment of Mackintoshes, occupied the steeple of the Cathedral Church and laid siege to Irvine's Tower and the Bishop's Palace. The Munros held out for three years, but an attempted sortie to the Ness of Chanonrie to replenish supplies was foiled and twenty-six Munros were killed. As a result the main garrison capitulated with the Mackenzies taking possession. The Castle was subsequently confirmed to Mackenzie of Kintail by King James VI. This affair was probably part of wider political intrigue and the rival claims of the King's and Queen's parties which ended with the 'pacification' of Perth in 1573.

Logiebride 1597 A disturbance developed at the Logie Candlemas market (near Conan House) between the Mackenzies on the one hand and the Munros and the Baynes on the other. The cause seems to have been a dispute between the Baynes and the brother of MacLeod of Raasay, John MacGhilliechallum, over the lands of Torridon with the Munros and Mackenzies supporting the opposing sides. The Baynes killed John and a Mackenzie relative at the fair. The Munros and the Baynes are said to have then fled (a sensible move when in the heart of Mackenzie country), but were pursued, caught, and most of the Baynes killed along with 50 able-bodied Munros. An agreement between Bayne of Tulloch and Mackenzie of Kintail is said to have been subscribed to soon after but there is again no Munro source available except mention of two casualties in a family tree dated 1734.

 

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