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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Clan MacMillan Tours of Scotland

Clan MacMillan Tours of Scotland. Macmillans were at one time dependent on the Lords of the Isles, but when Loch Arkaig came into possession of the Camerons, they became dependent on the latter. "Another branch of this clan", says Skene, "possessed the greater part of southern Knapdale, where their chief was known under the title of Macmillan of Knap; and although the family is now extinct, many records of their former power are to be found in that district". We take the liberty of quoting further from Mr Skene as to the history of the Macmillans.

"One of the towers of that fine ancient edifice, Castle Sweyn, bears the name of Macmillan's Tower, and there is a stone cross in the old churchyard of Kilmoray Knap, upwards of twelve feet high, richly sculptured, which has upon one side the representation of an Highland chief engaged in hunting the deer, having the following inscription in ancient Saxon characters underneath the figure - 'Haec est crux Alexandri Macmillan'. Although the Macmillians were at a very early period in Knapdale, they probably obtained the greater part of their possessions there by marriage with the heiress of the chief of the Macneills, in the 16th century. Tradition asserts that these Knapdale Macmillans came originally from Lochtay-side, and they were driven by Chalmers of Lawers, in the reign of David II.

"As there is little reason to doubt the accuracy of the tradition, it would appear that this branch of the Macmillans had been removed by Malcolm IV from North Moray, and placed in the crown lands of Strathay. Macmillan is said to have had the charter of his lands in Knapdale engraved in the Gaelic language and character upon a rock at the extremity of his estate; and tradition reports that the last of the name, in order to prevent the prostitution of his wife, butchered her admirer, and was obliged in consequence to abscond. On the extinction of the family of the chief, the next branch, Macmillan of Dunmore, assumed the title of Macmillan of Macmillan, but that family is now also extinct.

"Although the Macmillans appear at one time to have been a clan of considerable importance, yet as latterly they became mere dependants upon their more powerful neighbours, who possessed the superiority of their lands, and as their principal families are now extinct, no records of their history have come down to us, nor do we know what share they took in the various great events of the Highland history. Their property, upon the extinction of the family of the chief, was contended for by the Campbells and Macneills, the latter of whom were a powerful clan in North Knapdale, but the contest was, by compromise, decided in favour of the former. It continued in the same family till the year 1775, when, after the death of the tenth possessor, the estate was purchased by Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverniel".

There have been a considerable number of Macmillans long settled in Galloway, and the tradition is that they are descendants of an offshoot from the northern Macmillans, that went south about the time the Knapdale branch imigrated from Lochtay side. These Macmillans are famous in the annals of the Covenanters, and are mentioned by Wodrow as having acted a prominent part during the times of the religious persecution in Scotland. Indeed, we believe that formerly, if not indeed even unto this day, the modern representatives of the Covenanters in Galloway are as often called "Macmillans" as "Cameronians".

Septs of Clan: Baxter, Bell, Blue, Brown, Millikin / Mullikin, MacBaxter, MacNamell.

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