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William, being a natural son, could make no will in the eye of the law, and he has died intestate ; consequently his property, by the will of his father, falls to Alexander alone, so that neither you nor any of William's relations can claim a fraction of William's property. No promises made to you or his mother can in any respect be binding. For, in the eye of the law, he promised before he was in lawful possession, therefore he promised what he could not perform. I conceive it my duty to put you and his relations right on that subject, that you may no longer build on a foundation of sand.
“There will be no further necessity of your corresponding with me on the subject; but, should you think proper, you may write Alexander, and address your letter as follows- Alexander Maclachlan, Esquire, care of Hugh Maclachlan, Esquire, Hume's Vale, St Mary's, Jamaica.
“If you write so, the letter will find Alexander; and, if you gain a farthing's worth by the correspondence, you will have gained more than I have gained from the same thing in my life. With good wishes to your wife and fireside, I remain, dear Donald, yours ever,
“E. M‘LACHLAN.”. In drawing up this paper, I wish to ack:10wledge the assistance rendered me by many kind friends. From the Lochaber side I have had valuable information communicated to me by the Rev. Dr Stewart, “Nether Lochaber,” Miss Cameron, Dornie Ferry, per Mr Duncan Sinclair, Lochalsh, and several others. From the Culblair and Ardnagrask side, I have been assisted by Mr Alexander Mackenzie, Grandtully Station, Mr Campbell, schoolmaster, Beauly, Mr Maclean, schoolmaster, Muir of Ord Public School, and others,
5th MARCH, 1890. On this date, Mr Alexander Macbain, M.A., F.S.A. Scot., Inverness, read a paper entitled, “ Badenoch : Its History, Clans, and Place Names.” It was as follows:
BADENOCH : ITS HISTORY, CLANS, AND PLACE NAMES.
THE LORDSHIF OF BADENOCH. Badenoch is one of the most interior districts of Scotland ; it lies on the northern watershed of the mid Grampians, and the lofty ridge of the Monadhlia range forms its northern boundary, while its western border runs along the centre of the historic
Drum-Alban. Even on its castern side the mountains seem to have threatened to run a barrier across, for Craigellachie thrusts its huge nose forward into a valley already narrowed by the massive form of the Ord Bain and the range of hills behind it. This land of mountains is intersected by the river Spey, which rups midway between the two parallel ranges of the Grampians and the Monadhlia, taking its rise, however, at the ridge of DrumAlban. Badenoch, as a habitable land, is the valley of the Spey and the glens that run off from it. The vast bulk of the district is simply mountain.
In shape, the district of Badenoch is rectangular, with eastnorth-easterly trend, its length averaging about thirty-two miles, and its breadth some seventeen miles. Its length along the line of the Spey is thirty-six miles, the river itself flowing some 35 miles of the first part of its course through Badenoch. The area of Badenoch is, according to the Ordnance Survey, 551 square miles, that is, close on three hundred and fifty-three thousand acres. The lowest level in the district is 700 feet ; Kingussie, the “ capital,” is 740 feet above sea-level, and Loch Spey is 1142 feet. The highest peak is 4149 feet high, a shoulder of the Braeriach ridge, which is itself outside Badenoch by about a mile, and Ben Macdui by two miles. Mountains and rivers, rugged rocks and narrow glens, with one large medial valley fringed with cultivation --that is Badenoch. It is still well wooded, though nothing to what it once must have been. The lower ground at one time must have been completely covered by wood, which spread away into the vales and glens ; for we find on lofty plateaux and hill sides the marks of early cultivation, the ridges and the rigs or feannagan, showing that the lower ground was not very available for crops on account of the forest, which, moreover, was full of wild beasts, notably the wolf and the boar. Cultivation, therefore, ran mostly along the outer fringe of this huge wood, continually encroaching on it as generation succeeded generation.
The bogs yield abundant remains of the once magnificent forest that covered hillside and glen, and the charred logs prove that fire was the chief agent of destruction. The tradition of the country has it that the wicked Queen Mary set fire to the old Badenoch forest. She felt offended at her husband's pride in the great forest—he had asked once on his home return how his forests were before he asked about her. So she came north, took her station on the top of Sron na-Baruinn--the Queen's Nessabove Glenfeshie, and there gave orders to set the woods on fire. And her orders were obeyed. The Badenoch forest was set burning, and the Queen, Nero-like, enjoyed the blaze from her point of vantage. But many glens and nooks escaped, and Rothiemurchus was left practically intact. The Sutherlandshire version of the story is different and more mythic. The King of Lochlain was envious of the great woods of Scotland ; the pine forests especially roused his jealous ire. So he sent his muime--it must have been
a witch and a monster, whose name was Dubh-Ghiubhais, and she set the forests on fire in the north. She kept herself aloft among the clouds, and rained down tire on the woods, which burnt on with alarming rapidity. People tried to get at the witch, but she never showed herself, but kept herself enveloped in a cloud of smoke. When she had burned as far as Badenoch, a clever man of that district devised a plan for compassing her destruction. He gathered together cattle of all kinds and their young; then he separated the lambs from the sheep, the calves from the cows, and the young generally from their dams; then such a noise of bleating, lowing, neighing, and general Babel arose to the heaven that Dubh-Ghiubhais popped her head out of the cloud to see what was wrong. This was the moment for action. The Badenoch man was ready for it ; he had his gun loaded with the orthodox sispence; he fired, and down came the Dubh-Ghiubhais, a lifeless lump! So a part of the great Caledonian forest was saved among the Grampian hills.
Modern Badenoch comprises the parishes of Laggan, Kingussio and Insh, and Alvie ; but the old Lordship of Badenoch was toe aristocratic to do without having a detached portion somewhere else. Consequently we find that Kincardine parish, now part of Abernethy, was part of the Lordship of Badenoch even later than 1606, when Huntly excambed it with John of Freuchie for lands in Glenlivet. Kincardine was always included in the sixty davachs that made up the land of Badenoch. The Barony of Glencarnie in Duthil—from Aviemore to Garten and northward to Inverlaidnan--was seemingly attached to the Lordship of Badenoch for a time, and so were the davachs of Tullochgorum, Curr, and Clurie further down the Spey, excambed by Huntly in 1491 with John of Freuchie. On the other hand, Rothiemurchus was never a part of Badenoch, though some bave maintained that it was. The six davachs of Rothiemurcbus belonged to the Bishops of Moray, and at times they feued the whole of Rothiemurchus to some powerful person, as to the Wolf of Badenoch in 1383, and to Alexander Keyr Mackintosh in 1464, in whose family it was held till 1539, when it passed into the hands of the Gordons, and from them to the Grants.
Badenoch does not appear in early Scottish history ; till the 13th century, we never hear of it by name nor of anything that took place within its confines. True, Skene, in his Celtic Scotland, definitely states that the battle of Monitcarno was fought here in 729. This battle took place between Angris, King of Fortrenn, and Nectan, the ex-king of the Picts, and in it the latter was defeated, and Angus shortly afterwards established himself on the Pictish throne. We are told that the scene of the battle was “ Monitcarno juxta stagnum Loogdae"--Monadh-carnach by the side of Loch Loogdae. Adamnan also mentions Lochdae, which Columba falls in with while going over Drum Alban. Skene says that Loch Insh- the lake of the island is a secondary name, and that it must have originally been called Lochdae, that the hills behind it enclose the valley of Glencarnie, and that Dunachton, by the side of Loch Insh, is named Nectan's fort after King Nectan. Unfortunately this view is wrong, and Badenoch must give up any claim to be the scene of the battle of Monadh-carno; Lochdae is now identified with Lochy, and Glencarnie is in Duthil. But Dunachton is certainly Nectan's fort ; whether the Nectan meant was the celebrated Pictish King may well be doubted. Curiously, local tradition holds strongly that a battle was fought by the side of Loch Insh, but the defeated leader was King Harold, whose grave is on the side of Craig Righ Harailt.
From 729, we jump at once to 1229, exactly five hundred vears, and about that date we find that Walter ('umyn is feudal proprietor of Badenoch, for he makes terms with the Bishop of Moray in regard to the church lands and to the “natives” or bondsmen in the district. It has been supposed that Walter Cumyn came into the possession of Badenoch by the forfeiture an: death of Gillescop, a man who committed some atrocities in 1228
-such as burning the (wooden) forts in the province of Moray, and setting fire to a large part of the town of Inverness. William Cumyn, Earl of Buchan, the justiciar, was intrusted with the protection of Moray, and in 1229 Gillescop and his two sons were slain. Thereafter we find Walter Cumyn in possession of Badenoch and Kincardine, and it is a fair inference that Gillespie was his predecessor in the lordship of Badenoch. The Cummings were a Norman family ; they came over with the Conqueror, and it is asserted that they were nearly related to him by marriage. In 1068, we hear of one of them being governor or earl of Northumberland, and the name is common in English charters of the 12th century, in the early part of wbich they appear in Scotland ; they were in great favour with the Normanising David, and with
William after him, filling offices of chancellors and justiciars under them. William Cumyn, about the year 1210, married Marjory, heiress of the Earldom of Buchan, and thus became the successor of the old Celtic Mormaers of that district under the title of Earl of Buchan. His son Walter obtained the lordship of Badenoch, as we saw, and, a year or two after, he became Earl of Menteith by marrying the heiress, the Countess of Menteith. He still kept the lands of Badenoch, for, in 1234, we find him, as Earl of Menteith, settling a quarrel with the Bishop of Moray over the Church lands of Kincardine. Walter was a potent factor in Scottish politics, and in the minority of Alexander III. acted patriotically as leader against the pro-English party. He died in 1257 without issue. John Comyn, his nephew, son of Richard, succeeded him in Badenoch; he was head of the whole family of Comyn, and possessed much property, though simply entitled Lord of Badenoch. The Comyns at that time were at the height of their power; they could muster at least two earls, the powerful Lord of Badenoch, and thirty belted knights. Comyn of Badenoch was a prince, though not in name, making treaties and kings. John Comyn, called the Red, died in 1274, and was succeeded by his son John Comyn, the Black, and in the troubles about the kingly succession, at the end of the century, he was known as John de Badenoch, senior, to distinguish him from his son John, the Red Comyn, the regent. Baliol's nephew, and claimant to the throne, whom bruce killed under circumstances of treachery at Dumfries, in 1306. Then followed the fall and forfeiture of the Comuns, and the lordship of Badenoch was given, about 1313-included in the Earldom of Moray--to Thomas Randolph, Bruce's right-hand friend.
The Cummings have left an ill name behind them in Badenoch for rapacity and cruelty. Their treachery has passed into a proverb
“Fhad bhitheas craobh 'sa choill
Bithidh foill 'sna Cuiminich.” Which is equally smart in its English form
“While in the wood there is a tree
A Cumming will deceitful be." It is in connection with displacing the old proprietors--the Shaws and Mackintoshes—that the ill repute of the Cummings was really gained. But the particular cases which tradition remenibers are mythical in the extreme ; yet there is something in the traditions. There is a remembrance that these Cummings were the