INFORMATION SHEET No. 18


The Munros in History - 1


Donald, ancestor of the Munros of Foulis, is said to have received his lands in Ross-shire as a reward for helping King Malcolm II (1005-34) against invaders from Scandinavia; and according to tradition members of the family fell in the armies which fought for Scotland's independence at Bannockburn (1314) and Halidon Hill (1333). (The first chief authenticated by record evidence was killed in defence of the Earl of Ross (1369).

When James I came to Inverness to assert his authority in 1428 he seized many leading Highlanders: some were executed, some imprisoned, while others - including a group of Munros - were granted remission for past offences.

The clan does not seem to have been unduly combative, but two minor skirmishes are remembered (though not firmly dated) - one against the Mackenzies at Bealach nam Broig at the back of Wyvis, when the chief and many of his family were killed, and the other at Clachnaharry near Inverness against the Mackintoshes, when a younger son of chief lost a hand in the fighting. Every laird who held his lands directly from the Crown was obliged to keep order in his own territory, and to raise his men for war when required.

The Munro chiefs also held public office under the Stewart monarchy - Sir William was killed in 1505 on the King's business in Wester Ross, and his son was the royal Lieutenant there ten years later. In 1547 the chief was slain at Pinkie with many of his followers in battle against an English invading force.

Early in her short reign Queen Mary visited Inverness during a northern progress, and when the castle gates were shut against her by a Gordon constable the Munros and the Frasers gave her loyal support; later she spent some time hunting in the neighbourhood. During her son's long minority, Monro of Milntown and then his chief, Robert mor Munro, had charge of the crown lands of Ross and the Black Isle; and as a baron of the realm Robert was also involved in the choice of at least one Regent (Morton). He had attended the 'reformation parliament' in 1560, and his son Hector was Dean of Ross in the reformed church before succeeding as chief in 1588.

 

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