Clan Mackay


Clan Mackay
Clan Mackay
Crest badge
Clan member crest badge - Clan Mackay.svg
Crest: A dagger held erect
Motto: Manu Forti (With a strong hand)
War cry: Bratach Bhan Chlann Aoidh
Profile
Region Highland
District Strathnaver
Plant badge Great Bulrush
Pipe music Mackay's March
Gaelic name MacAoidh
Chief

Lord Reay arms.svg
Hugh Mackay, 14th Lord Reay
The Chief of Clan Mackay
Historic seat Varrich Castle

Clan Mackay (Gaelic: Mac Aoidh) is an ancient and once powerful Scottish clan from the far north of the Scottish Highlands, but with roots in the old kingdom of Moray. They were a powerful force in politics beginning in the 14th century, supporting Robert the Bruce. In the centuries that followed they were anti-Jacobite. The Highland Clearances had dire consequences for the clan, but since then they have spread through many parts of the world and have provided it many famous and influential people.[4] The territory of the Clan Mackay consisted of the parishes of Durness, Tongue and Farr in the north of the county of Sutherland, later it would extend and include the parish of Reay in the west of the neighboring county of Caithness. The chief of the clan is Lord Reay.

Contents

History

Origins

The Mackays are believed to descend from the Picts, ancient tribes that lived in Scotland. The name Mackay is also found in Ireland from ancient times, when several tribes from the northern area of Ireland, which was once part of an ancient Scottish kingdom known as Dál Riata, moved across the sea to Scotland. The Mackays in Scotland were based in Strathnaver in modern Sutherland. Although the exact origin of Clan Mackay is unknown, it is generally accepted that they belonged to the early Celtic population of Scotland, although, given their geographical proximity to the Norse immigrants, it is likely that the two races later intermarried.[5]

The most popular and accepted theory as to the origins of the chieftainship of the Clan Mackay is that the chief was descended from the Pictish royal house of MacEth. However, Michael Mackay, author and researcher of the Clan Aedh or Mackay[6] claims that The Chiefs of Clan Aedh or Mackay are a continuation of the Cinel Loarn- a divison of the original Gaelic Scottish royal house which ruled the kingdom of Dal-Riada till 843, then the Kingdom of Scotland till 1058. Michael claims that King Lulach's daughter married her cousin, Aedh, Mormaor of Ross, who was a great-grandson of Domnall mac Ruaridh, King MacBeth's uncle[7]. Michael Mackay further claims that Angus, king of Moray who was killed in battle in 1130 was their son. His brother Mael-Coluim MacAedh, Mormaor of Moray and Ross, was imprisoned and released my King Mael-Coluim IV, blinded, and died in 1168, continued the line. Several generations claimed the Scottish Throne until Mael-Coluim IV drove most of the Moraymen out of Moray. Mael-colum MacAedh's family fled over the mountains and settled in Strathnaver. Mael-Coluim's daughter Gormflaith married the Norse Harold, Earl of Orkney which then also included Caithness. Mael-coluim macAedh's son Domnall, and grandson Cinnaedh, claimed the Scottish Throne. Cinnaedh was killed in battle in 1215[8]. Cinnaedh's son, Aedh was raised to the chiefship of his Clan Mackay in 1250.[5] In 1260 Iye Mor MacHeth married a daughter of Bishop Walter of Caithness.[5] In 1263 the Clan Mackay are said to have fought in the Battle of Largs in support of King Alexander III of Scotland. The forces of King Haakon IV of Norway were defeated[9] . Mael-Coluim Mac Aedh's family is represented in the male line today by Lord Mackay of Reay, 14th Lord, who is Chief of Clan Aedh[10]. Lord Mackay's DNA has not yet been tested, but Y-chromosome DNA taken from Mackays in America show the DNA signature of the Dal-Riada royal clan[11], of which the Cinel Loairn was the senior division.

Wars of Scottish Independence

In 1314 the Clan Mackay fought under Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn where they helped defeat the English.[5] Later in the 14th century, in 1371 two Mackay chieftains were murdered, father and son, at Dingwall Castle by Nicholas Sutherland of Duffus, head of one of the junior branches of Clan Sutherland. Much bloodshed followed, including a retaliatory raid on Dornoch in 1372. The cathedral was once again set on fire and many Sutherland men were hanged in the town square. After this, the feud quietened down as both sides were called away to fight against the English.[12]

15th century and clan conflicts

A Victorian era romantic illustration of a MacKay clansman by R. R. McIan.

In 1403 the Battle of Tuiteam Tarbhach was fought between Clan MacKay and Clan MacLeod of Lewis. This battle was fought at Tuiteam-tarbhach in the south-west Sutherland, where it meets Ross. Angus MacKay of Strathnaver married the sister of the MacLeod of Lewis. MacLeod found that his sister had been mistreated, and on his way home he decided to despoil Strathnaver and Brae-Chat in Sutherland. In the ensuing battle, MacLeod was killed.[13] In 1411 the Battle of Dingwall took place in which Clan Donald defeated Clan MacKay. The two clans afterwards fought together on the same side at the Battle of Harlaw and chief Angus Dubh MacKay married a daughter of Donald of the Isles.[14] In 1425 Angus Dubh MacKay spoils Moray.[15]

In 1426 Battle of Harpsdale took place where Chief Angus Dubh MacKay, with his son Neil, entered Caithness with hostile intent, and lays waste the land. The inhabitants of Caithness assembled and fought Angus Dubh at Harpsdale, where there was great slaughter on both sides. Soon afterwards King James I came to Inverness, intending to pursue Angus Dow MacKay. Angus submitted himself to the King's mercy, and gave his son Neil as a pledge of his future obedience. The King accepted, and sent Neil MacKay to remain in captivity on the Bass Rock, in the Firth of Forth; he was afterwards called Neil Bhasse or Whasse.[16]

In 1431 the Battle of Drumnacoub took place. Angus Dubh MacKay defeated Angus Moray near Tongue in Sutherland. Angus married Elizabeth, sister to Domhnall of Islay, Lord of the Isles. Her dowry was 100 fighting men from Lochaber. Their sons were known as the Abrach MacKays and inherited Elizabeth's coat of arms whose supporters were bears.[17]

In 1438 a conflict known as the Sandside Chase took place: The men of Caithness were overthrown at Sandside Chase by Neil Bhasse MacKay after his release from the Bass Rock. He skirmished with some of the inhabitants of that province at a place called Sanset, where he overthrew them with slaughter on either side. This conflict was called Ruaig-hanset, that is the Chase at Sanset. Neil Bhasse died shortly afterwards.[18] In 1464 the Battle of Tannach took place, fought by Clan Keith, assisted by the MacKays, against Clan Gunn. The inhabitants of Caithness assembled an army and met the MacKays and Keiths at Blair-tannie in Caithness. There ensued a cruel fight, with slaughter on both sides. The Keiths and MacKays were victorious.[19]

In 1486 the Battle of Tarbat took place. The Clan Mackay and Clan Ross had long been at feud, again and again the Rosses had suffered molestation of their lands by their enemies and when at last, driven to desperation and thoroughly infuriated, they gathered their forces and marched against the MacKays, they were in the mood to teach them a severe lesson. The MacKays, with Angus MacKay of Strathnaver at their head, were defeated by the Rosses and sought shelter in the church of Tarbat where many were slain. The church was set on fire and Angus MacKay and many of his clansmen were burnt to ashes.[15] This was followed by the Battle of Auldicharish: To take revenge on Clan Ross, chief Ian MacKay, helped by a force from Clan Sutherland, marched south invading the territory of Clan Ross and began laying waste to it. Chief Alistair Ross gathered his force of 2000 men and engaged in a long and desperate battle with the invading forces. In the end the battle went against the Rosses with the MacKays and Sutherlands gaining the upper hand. The Ross chief was killed along with many of his clan.[20] In 1493 - The MacKays invade the Rosses again, and take much spoil.

16th century and clan conflicts

In 1505 the Battle of Achnashellach is said to have taken place: Little is known of this battle which is often described as an obscure skirmish between Clan Cameron and Clan Mackay. It is said that the Mackays were defeated and William Munro of Foulis, chief of Clan Munro who assisted the Mackays, was killed.[21]

Clanmorgan (MacKay) tartan, as published in 1842 in Vestiarium Scoticum.

In 1513 the Battle of Flodden Field was fought during the Anglo-Scottish Wars. John Riavach Mackay was killed. The clan chief of the Mackays, Aodh (Hugh) Mackay, was named by King James IV of Scotland as Lord of Strathnaver when he was ordered to bring his men to fight at the battle.

In 1517 the Battle of Torran Dubh took place. Clan Sutherland encountered John Mackay and his company at Torran Dubh, beside Rogart, in Strathfleet, where there ensued a fierce and cruel conflict and the Mackays were defeated.[22] In 1522 Alexander Gordon (the Earl of Sutherland's eldest son) overthrew John Mackay of Strathnaver at Lairg, and forced him to submit himself to the Earl of Sutherland, to whom John Mackay gave a bond of manrent and service.[23] In 1528 the Mackays are associated with Clan Forbes in the feuds of the latter.

In 1542 the Battle of Alltan-Beath took place: Chief Donald Mackay of Strathnaver invaded and molested the lands of Clan Sutherland. He burned the village of Knockartoll and stole many goods from Strathbrora. Clan Sutherland and Clan Murray, led by Hutcheon Murray of Abirscors with Gilbert Gordon of Garty, attacked the Mackays at Ailtan-Beath. After the battle the Mackays fled and much of the stolen booty was recovered. Donald Mackay was captured and imprisoned in Foulis Castle, Ross by command of the Queen Regent.[24]

In 1542 Battle of Solway Moss is fought against the English, where Iye Du Mackay was taken prisoner.[4] In 1544 Mackay joins in the attack of Arran at Glasgow.[4] In 1548 Mackay joins in the attack and capture of Haddington.[4]

In 1554 or 1555 the Siege of Borve Castle, Sutherland, Iye Du Mackay imprisoned at Dumbarton Castle.[25] This was followed by the Battle of Garbharry, which was the last battle between the Mackays and forces of the Earl Sutherland.[26]

In 1560 Clan Mackay join Clan MacLean and Clan MacLeod as part of the Gallowglass, a mix of Scots and Vikings that became a ferocious mercenary army which fought for Shane O'Neill in Ireland.[4] In 1562 the Battle of Corrichie took place where the Mackays support Mary, Queen of Scots against George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly.[27] In 1566 - Mackay and Clan Macleod of Assint burn Dornoch.[4] In 1571 the Mackay and the Master of Caithness burn Dornoch again.[4]

In 1576 - Battle of Dail-Riabhach: Chief John Mackay and his brother Donald Mackay defeat their uncle Neil Mackay and take possession of Strathnaver.[28] In 1585 Huistean Du Mackay is at the siege of Marle.[4]

In 1586 the Battle of Allt Camhna and Battle of Leckmelmtake place and the Mackays won both battles.[29] In 1588 Huistean Du joins the Earl of Sutherland, and marries his daughter the following year.[4] In 1590 at Clynetradwell, near Brora: Donald Balloch Mackay heads a group of archers from Assynt, Strathnaver, Caithness and Orkney. They reach the Earl of Caithness in time to save him from defeat. (Balloch is a name for a birthmark or spot on his face).[4]

17th century

Thirty Years' War

In 1612 Donald Mackay of Farr, captures the coiner Smith at Thurso after some sharp fighting.[4] In 1616 -(April) - Donald Mackay goes to London with his uncle, Sir Robert Gordon, and is knighted by James I and VI at Theobalds.[4] In 1626 Sir Donald Mackay embarks 3600 men at Cromarty under Count Mansfeld for the Thirty Years' War in the service of Christian IV of Denmark and Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, alongside their allies, Clan Munro and Robert Munro, 18th Baron of Foulis.[4] The following year in 1627 Sir Donald holds the Pass of Oldenburg against overwhelming odds with his regiment, and in the same year, while abroad, is created a Baronet of Nova Scotia by Charles I.[4] The following year in 1628 (June 20) - Sir Donald Mackay created Baron Reay of Reay in the Peerage of Scotland by Charles I.[4] The following year in 1629 - Christian IV of Denmark is succeeded by Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden as leader of the Protestant cause, and Lord Reay, having raised fresh troops in Scotland, takes service under the latter.[4] The following year in 1630 - Lord Reay accompanies his regiment to Germany, and is present at the capture of Stettin, Damm, and Colberg.[4] The following year in 1631 Lord Reay is empowered by Charles I to raise another force of 2000 men for service with Gustavus Adolphus. He quarrels with David Ramsay at the English Court and, having challenged him to a duel, both are imprisoned in the Tower of London to preserve the peace.[4] During 1632 Gustavus is killed at the Battle of Lützen and Reay is not repaid large sums of money due to him by Gustavus and by Charles I. He also has domestic troubles and has to sell some of his estates, especially in Orkney.[4]

Civil War

In 1637 Mackay, Lord Reay transfers his estates to his eldest son John Mackay, the Master of Reay.[4] The following year in 1638 The Marquis of Montrose and Lords Home, Boyd and Loudoun invite Lord Reay to meet them and others to consider the religious troubles of the time and sign the Covenant, which he does unwillingly, because of his long attachment to Charles I.[4] In 1642 - Lord Reay goes to Denmark and commands the regiment of his son, Colonel Angus Mackay.[4] In 1644, like Montrose, Reay again espouses the cause of King Charles I in the English Civil War, and brings arms and money by sea to Newcastle. He aids Lord Crawford for several months in the defence of the city against the Scots army. When the town is captured by General Leslie, Reay and Lord Crawford are sent as prisoners to Edinburgh Castle.[4]

In 1645 following Montrose's victory at the Battle of Kilsyth, Reay is liberated.[4] During the following year,1646 - Montrose, having been instructed by King Charles I to disband his forces and seek his own safety, writes to Reay advising him to do likewise. Montrose narrowly escapes from Angus to Norway, and Reay from Thurso to Denmark.[4] In 1649 - Charles I executed at Whitehall on January 30. Reay dies soon afterwards at Bergen in Norway. His remains are sent home in a Danish frigate, and buried in the family vault at Kirkibol, Tongue. Neil Aberach falls at Thurso. John, 2nd Lord Reay, surprised and captured at Balveny Castle on the Spey, and imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle. Lady Reay effects his escape. The place of Lord Reay's death remains uncertain - some have stated that he died in Bergen, others have stated that he died in Copenhagen. There is no reference in Danish nor in Norwegian state papers of 1648-9 and the records of Bergen were destroyed in the fire of 1702. Reference source Dr. Ian Grimble.[4]In 1651 the Clan Mackay are at the Battle of Worcester. A company of Mackays was with the Duke of Hamilton at Worcester, England. They were led by Hugh Mackay, a nephew of General Hugh Mackay. They were used as a rear guard to allow the King and Prince Charles to escape. It was at this time that the Duke of Hamilton was mortally wounded.[4] In 1654 - The Mackays spoil Sutherland in the rising under Middleton.[4]

In 1680 George Mackay, 3rd Lord Reay, succeeds his grandfather, and Sir George Munro of Culrain is his guardian.[4] In 1689, 100 men of Clan Mackay occupied Brahan Castle to watch for movements of the Jacobite MacKenzies.[30] During the same year General Hugh Mackay of Scourie, who had served with the Scots Brigade in Holland, is made Commander-in-Chief in Scotland by William, Prince of Orange; he is defeated at Battle of Killiecrankie but wins the campaign against Graham of Claverhouse, who was killed at the battle.[4] In 1692 General Hugh Mackay, having returned to Holland to aid the Dutch in their conflict with the French under Louis XIV, falls at Steinkirk. Gen. Hugh Mackay, on being ordered to hold an untenable position, personally led his men against odds of 5 to 1 and fell at the head of his regiment, but the Mackays were victorious.[4] In 1697 his nephew, Aeneas Mackay, a son of the 2nd Lord Reay, is now Commander of the Mackay Regiment in the Dutch service. Wounded and worn out by campaigning, he dies at Bath at the age of 30 and is buried in the chancel of Bath Abbey, where there is a tablet to his memory. His widow returns to her native Holland with his only son, Donald, who grows up to command his father's regiment and become the founder of the branch of the Clan to which the Reay title passed in 1875.[4]

18th century

Jacobite uprisings

"Mackay country" sign in the Strathnaver area

In 1715 the Clan Mackay are anti-Jacobite, and help to restrain Mackenzie, the Earl of Seaforth during the initial early Jacobite rising. The Mackays take the side of King George I of the United Kingdom and defend Inverness Castle against the Jacobites.[4] In 1719 a detachment of men from Clan Mackay fight under Ensign Mackay alongside men from Clan Munro at the Battle of Glen Shiel, where they defeat the Jacobites.[4]

In 1745 the Clan Mackay again support the British government with a force of over 800, which later became the famous "Mackay Regiment", which went on to success in Ireland later in 1795. Historian Dr. Ian Grimble outlines that the Mackays in Sutherland perceived that Prince Charles was stirring trouble that would bring disaster to the Highlands, and did whatever was in their power to oppose the Prince: for instance they successfully waylaid a vessel taking supplies to the Prince and the Jacobites.[4] In 1746 the Mackays Regiment along with Louden's Regiment help hold Sutherland and Caithness for the British Crown.[4] In the same year the Mackays intercept and capture, at Tongue, gold sent from France to the Jacobite leader Prince Charlie, and also captured George Mackenzie, 3rd Earl of Cromartie at Dunrobin Castle after the Battle of Littleferry.[4]

Colonial Wars

In 1742 at Fort Fredrica, St. Simons Island, Georgia, USA, a group of Highlanders led by Charles Mackay ambush invading Spanish forces. In 1758 - During the French and Indian War: As a member of the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment, "The Black Watch", in 1758, Piper William Mackay led the ill-fated charge on the French Fort Ticonderoga, in present-day New York State. In 1778 - Rob Donn, the Mackay poet, dies. In 1795 the Reay Fencibles are embodied. In 1798 the Reay Fencibles fight at the Battle of Tara Hill, near Dublin.

Later clansmen

In 1802 the Reay Fencibles regiment was disbanded at Stirling. In 1806 the "Mackay's Society" is founded in Glasgow. In 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo, the 79th Foot Seaforth Highlanders formed a square upon being attacked by French Cavalry. Piper Kenneth Mackay, showing no fear, marched out of the square and plays the tune "War or Peace" (Cogadh No Sith). Kenneth was presented with a set of Silver Pipes by the King's own hand for his bravery. In 1815 - 1818 - The Highland Clearances began to take effect on the Mackay lands, by which the people were removed to make room for sheep. This was because in 1829 the Reay estate is sold to the Countess of Sutherland by Eric, 7th Lord Reay.

In 1865 there was an attack on the fortification of Sercunderbah in India. The mutineers were the 2nd Battalion of Punjabis, the only Sikh regiment to mutiny. David Mackay won the Victoria Cross by taking the colours of the Punjabis. Later in the day David was shot while attacking a second fort of Shah Neijeef. He was returned to Britain to recover.

In 1875 on the death of Eric Mackay, 9th Lord Reay, who was unmarried, the title passed to the branch of the family resident in Holland and descended from John Mackay, 2nd Lord Reay. Æneas Mackay, a Baron of the Netherlands, Vice President of the Council of State and holder of the Cross of the Order of the Netherlands, became 10th Lord Reay. He died in 1876. His son, Donald James Mackay, succeeded as 11th Lord Reay, left Holland and was made a Peer of the United Kingdom as Baron Reay of Durness (8 October 1881) with a seat in the House of Lords. He was appointed Governor of Bombay (1885–90) and Under-Secretary of State for India (1894–95) and was Lord Lieutenant of Roxburghshire. In 1900 - South Africa, L/Cpl. John Frederick MacKay serving with the Gordon Highlanders at the battle of Crow’s Nest Hill, North Johannesburg, wins the highest award, the Victoria Cross.

Castles

  • Varrich Castle was the ancient seat of the chief of Clan Mackay but the chief later moved to Tongue House.
  • Borve Castle, Sutherland was used by the Clan Mackay as an outpost for raiding other clans.

Chiefs

See also

References

  1. ^ "Clan Mackay Society U.S.A.". http://www.clanmackayusa.org/septs.htm. 
  2. ^ McKoy, Henry Bacon. "The McKoy family of North Carolina and other ancestors including Ancrum, Berry, Halling, Hasell [and] Usher" Keys Print. Co., 1955
  3. ^ "www.electricscotland.com/webclans/m/mackay.html". http://www.electricscotland.com/webclans/m/mackay.html. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak History of the House and Clan of Mackay by Robert Mackay (1829).
  5. ^ a b c d History of the House and Clan of Mackay by Robert Mackay (1829). p.27 - 49
  6. ^ www.magma.ca/~mmkay/moray.htm
  7. ^ Burke's Guide to the Royal Family, (London: Burke's Peerage Limited, 1973). p. 312.,Rev. Angus MacKay, The Book of MacKay. (Edinburgh: Norman MacLeod, 1906). pp. 21-22.
  8. ^ www.magma.ca/~mmkay/moray.htm
  9. ^ name="MackayBook1
  10. ^ www.magma.ca/~mmkay/moray.htm
  11. ^ www.FamilyTreeDNA.com/MackayDNA Project
  12. ^ History of the House and Clan of Mackay by Robert Mackay (1829). p.47: Quoting "Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland" By Sir Robert Gordon (1580 - 1625).
  13. ^ History of the House and Clan of MacKay by Robert MacKay (1829). p.49 –50: Quoting "Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland" by Sir Robert Gordon (1580 - 1625),
  14. ^ "Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland". p.303. By Sir Robert Gordon (1580 - 1656)
  15. ^ a b History of the House and Clan of MacKay by Robert MacKay (1829).
  16. ^ Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland". p.63 - 64, by Sir Robert Gordon (1580 -1656).
  17. ^ "Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland. p.65 - 66, by Sir Robert Gordon (1580 -1656).
  18. ^ "Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland". p.68, by Sir Robert Gordon
  19. ^ "Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland". p.69. by Sir Robert Gordon
  20. ^ "History of the Clan and House of the Name Mackay" (1829). p.P.86. by Robert MacKay: Quoting from the "Geanealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland" by Sir Robert Gordon (1580 - 1656)
  21. ^ "The Battle of Achnashellach". http://www.clan-cameron.org/battles/1505.html. 
  22. ^ "History of the House and Clan of the Name Mackay" by Robert Mackay (1829). p.100 - 106: Quoting from "Genealogical history of the Earldom of Sutherland" by Sir Robert Gordon (1580 -1656)
  23. ^ The Celtic magazine; a monthly periodical devoted to the literature, history, antiquities, folk lore, traditions, and the social and material interests of the Celt at home and abroad (Volume 10) p.573 [1]
  24. ^ "History of the House and Clan of the Name Mackay" by Robert Mackay (1829). p.114 - 118: Quoting from "Genealogical history of the Earldom of Sutherland" by Sir Robert Gordon (1580 -1656).
  25. ^ "Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, vol. 10 (1913), l-lv.
  26. ^ "History of the House and Clan of the Name Mackay" (1829). p.126 - 127 by Robert Mackay: Quoting "Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland" by Sir Robert Gordon (1580 - 1656)
  27. ^ "History of the House and Clan of the Name Mackay" (1829). p.131 - 133 by Robert Mackay: Quoting 'Scots Acts of Parliament'.
  28. ^ "Battle of Dail-Riabhach@ElectricScotland". http://www.electricscotland.com/webclans/conflict/Dail_Riabhach.html. 
  29. ^ "Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland" .p.183. By Sir Robert Gordon (1580 - 1656).
  30. ^ "CHAPTER 10" (PDF). http://www.electricscotland.com/mackenzie/images/CHAPT.10.pdf. 
  31. ^ "burkes-peerage.net". http://www.burkes-peerage.net/familyhomepage.aspx?FID=0&FN=REAY. 

External links


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