The Campbells, Part II

Chapter 2 – The Great Houses of Campbell

Peerage Houses of Clan Campbell

Campbell of Argyll: Duke of Argyll (S), Duke of Argyll (UK), Chief of Clan Campbell

Campbell of Breadalbane: Earl of Breadalbane and Holland

Campbell of Cawdor: Earl Cawdor, of Castlemartin in the County of Pembroke

Campbell of Loudoun: Earl of Loudoun

Cadet Houses of Clan Campbell

Campbell of Lochnell (Heirs should Argyll line fail.)

Campbell of Airds

Campbell of Ardkinglas

Campbell of Auchinbreck

Campbell of Caenmore & Melfort

Campbell of Craignish

Campbell of Dunstaffnage

Campbell of Duntroon

Campbell of Inverawe

Campbell of Strachur

Inveraray Castle, the principal family seat of the Dukes of Argyll

House of Argyll

Overview:  Sir Colin Campbell of Lochow was knighted in 1280. In 1445 James II of Scotland raised Sir Colin’s descendant Sir Duncan Campbell to the peerage to become Duncan Campbell of Lochow, Lord of Argyll, Knight, 1st Lord Campbell. Colin Campbell (c. 1433–1493) succeeded his grandfather as the 2nd Lord Campbell in 1453 and was created Earl of Argyll in 1457.

The 8th Earl of Argyll was created a marquess in 1641, when Charles I visited Scotland and attempted to quell the rising political crisis (and the fall-out from the event known as The Incident). With Oliver Cromwell‘s victory in England, the marquess became the effective ruler of Scotland. Upon the restoration, the marquess offered his services to King Charles II but was charged with treason and executed in 1661. His lands and titles were forfeited but in 1663, they were restored to his son, Archibald, who became the 9th Earl of Argyll. In 1685 the 9th Earl was executed for his part in the Monmouth rebellion.


Gille Escoib (or Gilleasbaig of Menstrie)[1] is the earliest member of the Campbell family to be attested in contemporary sources, appearing in royal charters dating to the 1260s. His existence is confirmed by later Campbell pedigrees. According to these genealogies, he was the son of a man named Dubhghall (“Dugald”). However, nothing is known of this man, nor of the 4 or 5 generations of his ancestors who constitute the probable historical section these genealogies preceding Dubhghall.[2] Gilleasbaig’s first historical appearance dates to 1263, when he appeared in a charter of King Alexander III of Scotland, being named as “Gilascoppe Cambell.” He was granted the estates of Menstrie and Sauchie in Clackmannanshire (but then under the supervision of the sheriff of Stirling). His next appearance, and indeed his final appearance, is in 1266, when he witnessed another royal charter at Stirling granting favors to Lindores Abbey.[3] The genealogies, and indeed later 13th century patronymic appellations, tell us that Gilleasbaig was the father of Cailean Mór, probably by marriage to the Carrick noblewoman, Afraig, a daughter of Cailean of Carrick.

Cailean Mór Caimbeul (also known as Sir Colin Campbell; died after 1296) is one of the earliest attested members of Clan Campbell and an important ancestor figure of the later medieval Earls of Argyll. Cailean was the son of Gilleasbaig, a knight and lord of the estates of Menstrie and Sauchie in Clackmannanshire.[4] It was first suggested in the 1970s that Cailean’s mother was Afraig, a daughter of Cailean mac Dhonnchaidh,[5] the probable father of Niall, Earl of Carrick. Although it has also been suggested that this Afraig was the daughter of Niall himself, there is no doubt that Afraig was of the family of the Gaelic Earls of Carrick.[6] This means that Cailean himself was the cousin of the future king, Robert I of Scotland, which explains why the Campbells were so attached to the Bruce cause during the Wars of Scottish Independence.[7] Cailean himself took part in the Great Cause, and was one of the Bruce representative advocates to King Edward I of England in 1291.

He appears as a witness in various documents dating to the 1290s and relating to lordships in southwestern Scotland. He appears in the Newbattle Registrum of around 1293, where he is called the son of “Gylascop Kambel” (“Gilleasbaig Caimbeul”), obtaining from Sir Robert Lindsay the estate of Symington; the document, which has James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland, Lord of Kyle, as one of Cailean’s pledgers, guarantees continued payment of rent to Newbattle Abbey. In 1295, Cailean appears as a witness in a charter of James Stewart granted to Paisley Abbey, and in 1296 appears again in the Paisley Registrum attesting the marriage of James to the sister of Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster. Cailean also witnessed a charter of Maol Choluim, the contemporary Mormaer or Earl of Lennox, and in another Lennox charter in which he is granted lands in Cowal by John Lamont, one of Maol Chaluim’s vassals.

By 1296, and perhaps by 1293, Cailean held the position of “Ballie” of Loch Awe and Ardscotnish, a position he was granted either by King John Balliol or Edward I of England. It was this position that made him the enemy of Iain of Lorn, the MacDougall Lord of Lorne. Sometime after September 1296, Cailean was killed by the MacDougalls at the “Red Ford” on the borders of Loch Awe and Lorne at a place known as the String of Lorne. A cairn called Carn Chailein, located within 2km of Kilmun on Loch Avich, is traditionally said to mark the place where Cailean was killed.[8] The age of the cairn is unknown, although it seems to have been in existence by the seventeenth century.

According to the 17th century compilation Ane Accompt of the Genealogie of the Campbells, Cailean married Janet Sinclair, daughter of Sir John Sinclair of Dunglass.[9] However, by its own admission, this document was not intended to be perfectly accurate, and there are no 13th century documents known to verify such a marriage took place. Ane Accompt states that they had the following children:

  • Domhnall mac Cailein
  • Neil (or Niall) Campbell, died 1315
  • Gillespic (or Archibald) Campbell
  • Dougall (or Dugald) Campbell

Sir Niall mac Cailein (died 1315), also known as Neil Campbell or Nigel Campbell, was a nobleman and warrior who spent his life in the service of King Robert I of Scotland. His Gaelic name means “Niall, Colin’s son” since he was the son of Cailean Mór. His services to the King elevated the Campbells into the higher ranks of the Scottish nobility.

By later Campbell tradition, Niall was the elder son of Cailean Mór; however, contemporary evidence seems to suggest that his brother Domhnall enjoyed this distinction.[10] Niall’s earliest appearance in the sources occurs in 1282 on a witness list to a royal charter in favor of Cambuskenneth Abbey. Niall disappears for 20 years, unless the “Master Niall” active in the service of the then Earl of Carrick, Robert, in the 1290s can be identified with Niall mac Cailein. This seems likely, because one official source styles him Mestre Neel Cambell. Another of the sources for “Master Niall” tells us that he came from the “county of Ayr”; this would tie in with the known background of the Campbells of the era, and with Niall’s later affiliation with King Robert. In 1293, Niall was sent to Norway to deliver personal items to Robert’s sister, Isabella Bruce, Queen of Norway. In 1296, this Master Niall swore fealty to King Edward I of England and was issued with a safe passage through England, on 12 June 1297, to return to Scotland.[11]

The Niall mac Cailein who appears again in the source in 1302 was still in the service of the English crown. Until 1306, he remained on the side of the officially Bruce-backed English regime. Niall served in the war band of Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster and in the “English” army which besieged Stirling Castle in 1305. Niall and his brother Domhnall were rewarded for their services. In 1302, Niall was given lands in Cumberland. In the same year, Niall and his brother Domhnall received the guardianship of the heiresses of Andrew de Crawford, lord of the Baronies of Loudoun, Lochmartnaham and Draffan. However, Niall and Domhnall, like their lord the Earl of Carrick, were drifting towards renewing their war against the English conquest. Niall was at Westminster in 1305, because his rights were being challenged by a knight called Robert Keith. In Spring 1305, Edward decided in favor of Keith, judging “to allow [Keith] to have these children and to distrain Sir Dovenald Chambel and Sir Nel Chambel by their lands and bodies.”[12] In the same year, Edward granted some Campbell lands to an English knight, Sir John Dovedale. Such judgments were both a cause and effect of deteriorating relations with the English crown.

When Robert de Bruce decided to raise the Scottish banner in 1306, it is not surprising that Niall and Domhnall were among the would-be king’s first adherents. Niall was present at Scone in March 1306 when Robert was crowned King of Scots. After the defeats King Robert suffered at the Battle of Methven and Battle of Dalrigh, Niall was one of the men who remained faithful, as John Barbour testified later in the century.[13] All the evidence suggests that Niall remained in King Robert’s war band for the years to come, fighting both the English-side generally and the MacDougalls in the west of Scotland. Niall also acted as a representative of King Robert in negotiations with the English crown, on two occasions, in 1309 and 1314.

Arms of Campbell, Dukes of Argyll: Quarterly, 1st & 4th: Gyronny of eight or and sable (Campbell); 2nd & 3rd: Argent, a lymphad or ancient galley sails furled flags and pennants flying gules and oars in action sable (Lorne).

Niall married Robert de Bruce’s sister, Mary Bruce. The date of their marriage is unknown. Niall and Mary had a son, Iain (John). King Robert granted the couple the lands confiscated from David Strathbogie, almost certainly so that Iain would eventually become the Earl, which is indeed what happened. This was part of a general policy by Robert of redistributing lands and titles to his extended kin. Niall, however, had been married previously to Alyse de Crawford,[14] by whom he had at least two sons, Sir Colin Og Campbell of Lochawe and Dubhghall. In 1315, King Robert granted the baronies of Loch Awe and Ardscotnish to Cailean/Colin for the service of a 40-oared galley for 40 days per annum. This grant, in the view of the most recent historian of the subject, is the real beginning of the Campbell lordship of Lochawe. In 1326, King Robert created the post of sheriff of Argyll, and granted it to Niall’s son, Dougall.

Niall probably died in 1315-16, leaving a strong legacy of heroism and royal favor, from which his offspring would benefit enormously.

Sir Colin Og Campbell of Lochawe (died 1340 at Locale Argyle), also known as Cailean Óg Caimbeul, Sir Colyn Cambel,[15] Colin the Young, and Coline Oig Campbell,[16] was an early member of Clan Campbell and patrilineal ancestor of the Earls of Argyll. He was lord of Lochawe and Ardscotnish from 1316 until his death sometime before 1343.

Colin was the oldest son of Sir Neil Campbell and his first wife, likely Alyse Crawford.[17] His stepmother was Mary Bruce, sister of king Robert the Bruce. It has been theorized that Cailean of Carrick was Colin’s great-great grandfather, which would also make Robert the Bruce his second cousin once removed. Tradition has it that William Wallace’s mother was Margaret Crawford,[18] which if accurate, would make Wallace and Colin first cousins once removed.

In 1316, shortly after his father’s death, Colin was granted the entirety of Lochawe and Ardscotnish (lands along the shore of Loch Awe) as a free barony by Robert the Bruce. In exchange for this, Colin agreed to provide troops for Robert’s army and a single 40-oared ship when requested.[19] He served in Robert’s army during the Irish campaign of 1315-1318. The Brus relates a tale from this campaign in which Colin disobeyed Robert’s orders and charged a pair of English archers. While Colin killed the first archer, the second killed Colin’s horse. Robert himself intervened, riding to Colin and hitting him with a truncheon as punishment. During the reign of Edward Balliol, Colin sided with David II. Amidst the struggle, Dunoon Castle was captured by a force led by members of the Campbell clan, possibly Colin, and has remained held by the family ever since (though mostly in ruins today).

Archibald Campbell of Lochawe (died before 1394),[20] also known as Gillespic Campbell and Gillespig More, was an early member of Clan Campbell and patrilineal ancestor of the Earls of Argyll. Archibald was the son of Sir Colin Og Campbell of Lochawe and his wife Helena, a possible daughter of John de Menteith. He became Lord of Lochawe either through inheritance from his father or the disenfranchisement of his brother, Dougall. In 1342, King David II granted Archibald the forfeited lands of his brother Dougall as well as the barony of Melfort. Melfort was in turn granted to Archibald’s half-brother Neil, from whom the Campbells of Kenmore and Melfort descend. In the 1350s, Archibald was granted numerous properties in Argyll by John, Lord of Menteith and John’s cousin Mary de Menteith, most notably Castle Sween. In 1373, he received the lands of Finnart and Stronewhillen from Paul Glenn. In 1382, he and his son, Colin, were appointed the hereditary position of King’s Lieutenants and Special Commissioners in the Sheriffdom of Argyll, which would provide them income in exchange for performing various bureaucratic duties.

According to Ane Accompt of the Genealogie of the Campbells, Archibald married Isabella, daughter of John Lamont. She is referred to as Mary in other sources. Archibald and Isabella had the following children:

  • Colin ‘Iongantach’ Campbell, father of Duncan (1st Lord Campbell). Born about 1338 – Lochow, Argyllshire, Scotland. Deceased about 1413, aged about 75 years old. King’s LieutenantSpecial Commisioner, Knight, Sir. 
    • Married to MacAlister ?1341- issue: Neal Campbell, Dean of Argyle ?1361-1442/
    • Married in 1362 to Catherine MacDougal, of Lorne ?1343- issue: Duncan Mor Campbell, of Glenshira ?1364-
    • Married to Margaret Drummond ?1362- (Parents : Sir John Drummond, of Stubhall ?1332- &  ? ?)
    • Married before March 1387, Lochow, Argyllshire, Scotland, to sosa Mariota Campbell ca 1354- (Parents : sosa John Campbell, of Menstrie ?1331-1358..1366 &  sosa Mary of Glenorchy ?1352-) with
      • sosa Colin Campbell, of Ardkinglass ?1370-1434
      • sosa Sir Duncan Campbell, Lord Campbell ca 1375-1453
      • John Campbell ?1389-
      • Dugald Campbell, 1st Captain av Dunstaffnage Castle ?1392-
      • Donald Campbell ?1394-1442/
      • Christian Campbell ?1395-
  • Helena Campbell
  • Duncan ‘Skeodanasach’ (or Skeodnish) Campbell

Duncan Campbell abt 1370-1453, 1st Lord Campbell (Classical Gaelic “Donnchadh mac Cailein,” and also called Donnchadh na-Adh (English: Duncan the fortunate) of Loch Awe, was a Scottish nobleman and politician. He was an important figure in Scottish affairs in the first half of the 15th century and Justiciar of Argyll. He was head of the Clan Campbell for 40 years.

Duncan’s date of birth date is uncertain but around 1370 in Lochow, Argyll.[21] He was the son of Colin Campbell of Lochawe and Mariota Campbell. Colin (called Colin Iongantach ‘Wonderful,’ and ‘Colin The Good Knight’) was the eldest son of Archibald Campbell of Lochawe, while Mariota was the daughter of John Campbell, and thus heiress to the lands of Ardscotnish and Glen Orchy. Colin obtained a dispensation by 13 January 1366 permitting the marriage of Mariota to his son John. He evidently changed his plans and married Mariota himself as in 1372 he obtained a second dispensation, this allowing Colin and Mariota to remarry, after a separation, having already married although within the prohibited degree of kinship.[22]

A 16th or 17th century illustration from The Black Book of Taymouth shows Duncan flanked by two of his descendants. On Duncan’s right stands his grandson Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of Argyll and on his left is his son Colin of Glenorchy. (Description after Boardman, The Campbells.) Wikipedia

Duncan may not have been their eldest son: a brother named John Annam, John the Weak, is said to have been passed over. Duncan was seemingly the chosen heir by 6 February 1393 when he was granted the lands of Menstrie by his father. On Colin’s death, sometime before 19 January 1414, Duncan became head of the Campbells of Loch Awe.

Duncan was twice married, his first wife was Marjorie/Marjory Stewart (sometimes identified as Marcellina Stewart), daughter of Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, she died before August 1432, but not before giving Duncan a son, Archibald Campbell, Master of Campbell, also known as Celestin Campbell, and Gillespic or Gillaspy Campbell (d. 1440).

  • Archibald married Elizabeth Somerville, daughter of John Somerville, 3rd Lord Somerville; Archibald and Elizabeth were the parents of Colin Campbell, 2nd Lord Campbell (c. 1433–1493), created Earl of Argyll in 1457, also known as Colin M’Gillespic.

Duncan’s second wife was Margaret Stewart of Ardgowan (d. after August 1442), the daughter of John Stewart of Ardgowan and Blackhall, illegitimate son of King Robert III of Scotland. With Margaret, Duncan gained the following son:

  • Sir Colin Campbell “Black Colin” of Glenurchy, born c. 1395-1406, ancestor of the Breadalbane family. Duncan’s closeness to the Albany Stewarts led to King James I of Scotland viewing him with some suspicion, and James sent Duncan south as a hostage in England. The documentary record calls him Campbell of Argyll, and gives his share of the liability for the king’s ransom as 1500 merks, more than any other hostage save one.[23] In time Duncan and the king were somewhat reconciled and following James’s assassination Duncan was among the supporters of Queen Dowager Joan. (More below)

During the minority of King James II, Duncan professed support and loyalty to the regency, while constantly expanding his power in Argyll, often at the expense of the Crown. He was nevertheless knighted before March 1440 and created a Lord of Parliament as Lord Campbell of Lochawe by James II in 1445.

He died between February 1453 and 21 May 1454, and was buried in the collegiate church at Kilmun, which he and his wife Margaret Stewart had founded in 1442. Their effigies can still be seen in a niche with a wide cusped arch.[24]

His first successor was Archibald, Master of Campbell; also known as Archibald Roy of Kilbride since he was born in Kilbride, two miles from Inverary. Archibald Roy of Kilbride was the 14th Campbell, the Sixth McCailen More, and 16th Knight of Lochow.

  • Duncan’s son Colin, known later as Black Colin, head of the Campbells of Breadalbane, the leading family after the House of Argyll. His grandson Colin, son of Archibald ‘Gillespic,’ (d. 1440) his only child by his first wife, succeeded him as Chief of the Clan Campbell.[25]
  • Neil Campbell of Ormidale (fl. 1442), from whom it is said the houses of Ormidale and Ellengreig descend; father of a son named Colin.
  • Duncan Campbell of Auchinbreck (fl. 1452), said to have been first of the house of Auchinbreck.
  • Archibald Campbell (fl. 1452) ancestor of the old family of Otter, now extinct.

More about Black Colin 1395-1406

Sir Duncan gave his son Glenorchy after throwing the MacGregors off it. With the dispersal of the MacGregors from Glenorchy during the late 15th century, Sir Duncan gifted the lands to Black Colin who, through marriage to the co-heiress of John, Lord of Lorne, also inherited one-third of the lands of Lorne. It was he who built the castle of Kilchurn at the north east end of Loch Awe, to command the gateway to the Western Highlands. By this stage, it was said, the Chief of Glenorchy could travel from the east end of Loch Tay to the coast of Argyll without leaving his own land.

Colin was much travelled, with his visits to Rome providing the by-name Black Colin of Rome (Cailean Dubh na Roimh). When fighting the Turks in Rhodes alongside the Knights Hospitallers, according to tradition, he was protected by the Glenorchy charm stone (now in the National Museum of Scotland). For his bravery during a Crusade to Palestine he became a Knight of Rhodes. He died in 1475 at Strathfillan and was buried at Kilmartin, in Argyll.

His son Duncan (c.1443-1513) had an equally long career, during which he made major territorial acquisitions in the Breadalbane region, in particular securing the strategically vital holdings at the east and west ends of Loch Tay. He was helped by the military power of his allies, the MacGregors, who expanded east alongside the Campbells. That alliance later disintegrated with a bitter feud between the kin groups starting when Grey Colin was laird.

Duncan’s considerable literary and artistic skills placed him at the center of the Gaelic literary circle. He patronized the Fortingall MacGregors who compiled The Book of the Dean of Lismore to which Duncan contributed nine humorous and bawdy poems.

For many years he worked closely with his cousin, the 2nd earl of Argyll, and when both were killed at the battle of Flodden (9 September 1513) they were buried side by side at Kilmun, Argyll. The subsequent family members were exceptional in their procurement of land and property, expanding into the lands of Finlarig, Glenlyon, and areas of Argyll and Perthshire.

Black Colin

As for other descendants of Black Colin, in 1625, ‘Black Duncan,’ 7th of Glenorchy, was created a baronet. Born Aug 7, 1551, at Kilchurn Castle in Glenorchy, he married Lady Jean/Janet Stewart of Atholl. This is the lineage we will pursue in the next chapter.

Another descendant of Black Colin was Sir John, 11th of Glenorchy, who was described in 1681 as “cunning as a fox, wise as a serpent, and slippery as an eel” and created the 1st Earl of Breadalbane. Still another descendant was John Campbell of Glenorchy, 1st Earl of Breadalbane and Holland, who in 1681, having won favor with William of Orange, was given the responsibility of ensuring that Highland Jacobite chiefs came to terms with King William’s invasion, although he is known to have taken a relatively impartial stance. This was totally compromised in 1692 when his cadet clan, Campbell of Glenlyon, implicated him in the massacre of the MacIan Macdonalds on Glencoe. The Campbells already had the slaughter of their neighbors, the Catholic MacDonalds of Glencoe, in mind. Dalrymple of Stair persuaded King William to sign the order, while the 1st Earl of Breadalbane was given a purse of public money to buy off the other Highland chiefs, though a measure of coercion was also required. The Earl skillfully concealed from the courts his part in the slaughter, but the Breadalbane line has suffered ill luck since then.

More about Breadalbane

Colin, 1480-1523, father of Colin the Grey

“Cailean Liath, Grey Colin, the youngest son of Sir Colin [Campbell], the third Laird, came into the family possessions on the death of his brother John. He was born in 1499, and had thus passed middle age at his succession; yet his career as laird extended to thirty-three years, and covered one of the most eventful periods in the history of Scotland. ***

“[He was intent on building a castle and did so at the East end of Loch Tay.] “The castle was built there, and it was called Caisteal Bhealaich, the Castle of Balloch, by the common people, but Taymouth by the gentry.” The Castle of Balloch appears to have been occupied by the Laird of Glenorchy some time before 12th October, 1560…..

“Sir Colin took a leading part in promoting the Reformation. He was a member of the Parliament of 1560 when the Protestant doctrines received the sanction of law….

“He was twice married. His first wife was Margaret, daughter of Alexander Stewart, Bishop of Moray, and widow of Patrick Grahame of Inchbrakie. By her he had two daughters…. Sir Colin’s second wife was Katherine, daughter of William, Lord Ruthven. By her he had a family of four sons and four daughters…. Sir Colin died at Balloch on 11th April, 1583, in the eighty-fourth year of his age….”  (William A. Gillies, In Famed Breadalbane, pp. 120-124 (Perth, Scotland; The Munro Press: 1938)

According to The Black Book of Taymouth, p. 23 (Bannatyne Club, Edinburgh: 1855), Colin was “honorablie burreit in the chapell of Finlarg,” which now is, according to Wm. A. Gillies, supra p. 119, the Breadalbane family mausoleum.

Colin “The Grey” Campbell was the son of Colin Campbell (d. 1523, reckoned 3rd laird of Glenorchy), and Mariota/Margaret Stewart (d. 1524, daughter of John Stewart, 3rd Earl of Atholl). As a child he was fostered with Fearnan MacGregors.As a younger son he was given the lands of Crannich on the north shore of Loch Tay. He married Margaret Stewart, daughter of Andrew Stewart, Bishop of Moray, and widow of Patrick Graham of Inchbrakie.

He became laird of Glenorchy in 1550 upon the death of his older brother John in 1550. He married Katherine Ruthven, a daughter of William Ruthven, 2nd Lord Ruthven and Janet Haliburton, heiress of Patrick Haliburton of Dirleton and sister of Mariotta Haliburton, Countess of Home. In middle-age became known as “Grey Colin” or “Cailean Liath” because of his white hair and long flowing beard.

One of his first actions as laird, was to evict the Clan Gregor from Balloch at the east end of Loch Tay. In 1552 he built a tower house known then as Balloch Castle, and now as Taymouth Castle. Balloch means “house at the narrow pass.” Colin is said to have chosen the site of the castle in a novel manner. He was apparently instructed in a dream to found the castle on the spot where he first heard a blackbird sing, whilst making his way down the strath of the Tay.

On 3 August 1564 Mary, Queen of Scots wrote from Glen Tilt to Colin Campbell of Glenorchy, asking him to demolish a house of strength on an island in Loch Rannoch. The Clan Macdonald of Clanranald were rebuilding the house, which her father James V had previously ordered to be demolished.

There was a feud between the Campbells and the Clan Gregor. In 1569, when Colin captured the clan chief Gregor Roy whilst visiting his wife. On 7 April 1570, after securing the consent of the Regent Morton, Colin personally beheaded Gregor at Balloch, in the presence of the Earl of Atholl, the Justice Clerk. Gregor’s wife, Marion Campbell, who also witnessed her husband’s execution, wrote a bitter lament about the affair, called ‘Griogal Cridhe’. The fighting continued until a settlement was finally reached between the two clans in the winter of 1570.

As a landowner, Colin claimed to have ‘the power of pit and gallows’, which was the right to imprison and execute. In the Black Book of Taymouth, Sir Colin was described as a great ‘justiciar’ of his time who sustained the deadly feud with the Gregor clan and executed many notable lymmars (rogues).

James VI visited Balloch Castle in August 1582, tipping the gardener 40 shillings. However, only a few days later, the king was seized at the Ruthven Raid.

Colin died on 11 April 1583 and was buried at Finlarig.

Grey Colin wrote and kept a large number of letters.

Colin had eleven children from two marriages. Children from his first marriage with Margaret Stewart include Beatrix and Margaret.Children from his second marriage to Katherine Ruthven include:

  • Duncan Campbell “The Black” of Glenorchy, who married Jean Stewart, daughter of John Stewart, 4th Earl of Atholl and Margaret Fleming, on 11 July 1574.
  • Colin Campbell of Glenample
  • Patrick Campbell of Auchinyre
  • Archibald Campbell of Monzie

The member of a junior branch of Clan Campbell, Breadalbane was a descendant of Sir Colin Campbell, 1st of Glenorchy (died 1475), the son of Duncan Campbell, 1st Lord Campbell by his second wife Margaret Stewart and the half-brother of Archibald Campbell, Master of Campbell, ancestor of the Dukes of Argyll. Colin Campbell was granted Glenorchy and other lands by his father and built Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe in Argyll. King James III knighted him and granted him land around Loch Tay in thanks for hunting down the local earls who had assassinated James II, and to end the power vacuum in the surrounding region that had resulted when they were executed. The land around Loch Tay formed Breadalbane, creating the association between the area and Colin Campbell’s descendants.

His son Sir Duncan “The Black” Campbell of Glenorchy was one of the many Scottish nobles killed at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. His great-grandson and namesake Duncan Campbell represented Argyllshire in the Scottish Parliament. He was knighted in 1590 and created a baronet, of Glenorchy in the County of Perth, in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia in 1625. His elder son, Sir Colin, the second Baronet, died childless and was succeeded by his younger brother, Sir Robert, the third Baronet. He represented Argyllshire in the Scottish Parliament. He was succeeded by his son, Sir John, the fourth Baronet. He also represented Argyllshire in Parliament. He was succeeded by his son by his first marriage, the aforementioned Sir John Campbell, the fifth Baronet, who was created Earl of Breadalbane and Holland in 1681.

Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of Argyll (c. 1433 – 10 May 1493) was a medieval Scottish nobleman, peer, and politician.[26] He was the son of Archibald Campbell, successor of Duncan and Master of Campbell and Elizabeth Somerville, daughter of John Somerville, 3rd Lord Somerville. He had the sobriquet Colin Mulle, Bold Earl Colin.[27]

In 1453, young Colin Campbell was placed in the custody of his uncle, Colin Campbell, 1st of Glenorchy, and succeeded his grandfather, Duncan “The Black” Campbell, 1st Lord Campbell, to become 2nd Lord Campbell. In 1457, he was created Earl of Argyll by King James II of Scotland, who was grateful for the loyalty of his father during the troubles early in his reign.[28] In 1460, Campbell had a commission as Bailie of Cowal.[29]

His uncle Colin arranged his marriage with Isabella Stewart, daughter and co-heiress of John Stewart, Lord Lorne (d.1463).[30] Through this marriage, he received Castle Gloom (he would change the name of the castle to “Castle Campbell” in February 1490), and the neighboring estate in the parish of Dollar in Clackmannanshire. Castle Campbell then became the primary seat of the Earls and Dukes of Argyll for the next two centuries.

The exact date of the marriage is unknown, but in 1460, shortly after the boy-king, James III of Scotland, came to the throne, Campbell was called upon to intervene in a feud in his wife’s family. Allan MacDougall (called Allan of Lorne of the Wood), desiring to hold the estates belonging to his elder brother, John Ker of Lorne, seized his brother and imprisoned him in a dungeon on the island of Kerrera, with the intention of starving him to death. Campbell appeared with a fleet of war galleys and completely defeated MacDougall, burning his fleet, killing most of his men, and restoring the elder brother to his rightful inheritance.[31]

Colin Campbell was often sent on diplomatic missions, the first in 1463, when King James III sent him to negotiate a truce with King Edward IV of England.[32] One of the main terms was that neither king would support the enemies of the other.[33]

In 1464, Campbell was made master of the King’s household.[34] In 1465, he was appointed Lord Justiciary of Scotland, south of the Firth of Forth, a position he held in conjunction with Robert Boyd, 1st Lord Boyd, until Boyd fell out with the King and fled to England later in 1469, at which time, Campbell held the position alone. In 1466, he founded a chapel dedicated to St. Ninian at Dunure in Ayrshire.[35]

As a result of his marriage with Isabel Stewart, Campbell acquired the title Lord Lorne in 1469, which had previously been held by his wife’s uncle, John Stewart. In exchange for this title, Campbell gave Stewart other lands, and Stewart received the title Lord Innermeath.[36] Having received the title Lord Lorne, Campbell took the symbol of the galley from the Lorne heraldry as part of his Achievement. In the event that he might never have a male heir, he entailed the lordship of Lorne to his uncle Colin; if his uncle were to die, to his other uncle, Duncan Campbell; then to Colin Campbell of Arduquholm and to the heirs male of his body, which failing, then to his brothers, Archibald and Robert. In 1471, he received the heritable offices of Justiciary and Sheriff of Lorne.

On 15 January 1472, King James III granted Dunoon Castle to Campbell and his heirs, with the power to appoint constables, porters, jailers, watermen, and other necessary offices. At the same time, he granted him the lands of Borland. On 20 February 1473, Campbell was made Justiciar, Chamberlain, Sheriff, and Bailie within the King’s lordship of Cowal. Then on 8 May 1474, he received a charter to erect his town of Inverary into a burgh of barony.

In 1474, Campbell was again sent as a commissioner to treat with King Edward IV, regarding breaches of the truce. In the resulting pact, which was to endure until July 1483, a marriage was arranged between Prince James Stewart of Scotland (King James III’s son) and Princess Cecily of England (King Edward IV’s daughter), a match which did not come to pass due to continued hostilities between the two nations.[37]

In 1475, when King James III was trying to subjugate John of Islay, Earl of Ross, Campbell was given a commission of lieutenancy to execute the forfeiture of the Earl of Ross’ lands.[38] In 1479, he was confirmed in the offices of Lieutenant and Commissary of Argyll, which had been held by his ancestors, Gillespic and Colin Campbell, since 1382.[39]

Further favors came to the Earl of Argyll in 1480, when the King granted him 160 marklands of the lordship of Knapdale, including the keeping of Castle Sween, for one silver penny in blench farm, i.e., nominal rent.[40] This property had formerly belonged to the Earl of Ross. Early in 1483, King James III appointed Campbell as Lord High Chancellor of Scotland and awarded him the lands of Pinkerton in the barony of Dunbar, probably for Campbell’s loyalty to the King during the rebellion of Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, which had led to the murder of some of King’s favorites, after the confrontation at Lauder in 1482.[41] These lands had previously been held by the King’s brother, Prince Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany, who was in league with the Earl of Angus.

In 1484, Campbell was active in diplomatic campaigns. In July, he was sent as a commissioner to Paris to renew the “ancient league” between France and Scotland, a mission completed on 9 July. Then on 21 September, once King James III had gotten the upper hand against the rebels, he was part of the delegation who met with King Richard III of England at Nottingham to conclude peace, a treaty which was to run until September 1487. He was also appointed to periodically meet with the English at Berwick to determine whether or not the stipulations in the treaty were being followed. To strengthen the resolve of the parties and to keep the truce, a second marriage was arranged, between Prince James Stewart and Lady Ann de la Pole (1476–1495), daughter of John de la Pole, 2nd Duke of Suffolk, and a niece of King Richard III. This second marriage negotiation collapsed as a result of King Richard’s defeat at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.[42]

Campbell threw in with the rebels, after Parliament had strengthened King James’s hand against the rebellious nobles in October 1487.[43] At about this time, the King forced Campbell out of the chancellorship in favor of William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen. In 1488, Campbell was not present at the Battle of Sauchieburn on 11 June, or in the days following, because he was in England on an embassy to King Henry VII of England, having been sent there on behalf of Prince James Stewart and the rebels to seek English help against King James III.

After Prince James was crowned as James IV, he restored Campbell to the position of High Chancellor. Furthermore, the new king gave him the lands of Rosneath in Dunbartonshire on 9 January 1490, which remained in the Campbell family until 1939.[44] Campbell continued in favor with King James IV, and on 21 December 1491, he was one of the conservators of the truce between England and Scotland, which was extended to 1496. One author has claimed that, one reason James III of Scotland has long had a sinister reputation is that “such accounts as we have of him are written by the partisans of his unruly nobles, such as the Earls of Argyll, Lennox, and Angus.”[45]

Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of Argyll, died in 1493, and was buried at Kilmun Parish Church on Cowal Peninsula. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Archibald Campbell.[46] By his wife Isabel Stewart, Campbell had two sons and seven daughters. His sons were:

• Archibald Campbell, 2nd Earl of Argyll

• Thomas Campbell, ancestor of the Campbells of Lundie in Forfarshire.

Gillespie Archibald Campbell, 2nd Earl of Argyll (c. 1465 – 9 September 1513) was a Scottish nobleman and politician who was killed at the Battle of Flodden. Archibald was the eldest son of Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of Argyll and Isabel Stewart, daughter of John Stewart, 2nd Lord Lorne.[47] He married Lady Elizabeth Stuart, first daughter of John Stuart, Earl of Lennox.

Their sons were:

  • Hon Colin Campbell, later 3rd Earl of Argyll
  • Hon Archibald Campbell of Skipnish (d. 18 Jul 1537), Married:  bef. 1535 Lady Janet Lyon (widow of John Lyon, 6th Lord Glamis; d. 17 Jul 1537), sister of Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, and 3rd dau. of Hon George Douglas, Master of Angus (by his wife Hon Elizabeth Drummond, 2nd dau. of John Drummond, 1st Lord Drummond), 1st son and heir ap. of Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Angus, by his first wife Elizabeth Boyd, 1st dau. of Robert Boyd, 1st Lord Boyd
  • Hon Sir John Campbell, 1st of Cawdor (d. 1 May 1546), Married:  1510 Muriel Cawdor (b. 13 Feb 1498; d. c. 1575), dau. and hrss. of Sir John Cawdor, 8th Thane of Cawdor, and had issue: Archibald (Campbell) Campbell 10th of Calder and 2nd of Cawdor (1510-1558), John Campbell (1512-1605), Alexander Calder (1518-1572), and daughters.
  • Hon Donald Campbell of Keithock, Abbot of Couper 1526-59 (b. 1492; d. 1562)

Archibald was made Master of the Royal Household of James IV of Scotland on 24 March 1495.[48] After a crisis of law and order in the west of Scotland, Argyll was made governor of Tarbert Castle and Baillie of Knapdale, and this was followed by an appointment as Royal Lieutenant in the former Lordship of the Isles on 22 April 1500.[49] Argyll eventually rose to the position of Lord High Chancellor of Scotland. His clan was rivalled only by Clan Gordon.

The Earls of Argyll were hereditary Sheriffs of Lorne and Argyll. However, a draft record of the 1504 Parliament of Scotland records a move to request Argyll to hold his Sherriff Court at Perth, where the King and his council could more easily oversee proceedings, if the Earl was found at fault. The historian Norman Macdougall suggests this clause may have been provoked by Argyll’s kinship with Torquil MacLeod and MacLean of Duart.[50] These western chiefs supported the suppressed Lordship of the Isles.

The Earl of Argyll was killed at the Battle of Flodden on 9 September 1513, with the king and many others. He is buried at Kilmun Parish Church.

Colin Campbell, known as “Cailen Malloch,” was the son of Archibald Campbell, 2nd Earl of Argyll and Lady Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of John Stewart, 1st Earl of Lennox. In 1506/07, he married Lady Jean Gordon, the eldest daughter of Alexander Gordon, 3rd Earl of Huntly by his first wife, Lady Jean Stewart and granddaughter of King James I by his youngest daughter Annabella. He succeeded as Earl of Argyll upon the death of his father on September 9, 1513.

Campbell led an army against the insurrection of various Highland chieftains; a few years later, he joined the court of King James V of Scotland. He was given the position of Lord Warden of the Marches, and in 1528, Lord Justice General of Scotland. He died on 9 October 1529, and was buried at Kilmun Parish Church in Cowal, ScotlandThe children of Colin Campbell and Jean Gordon were:

  • Archibald Campbell, 4th Earl of Argyll (d. bt 21 August 1558 – 2 December 1558), married three times.
  • John Campbell, 1st of Lochnell (d. 13 May 1568), was killed at the Battle of Langside.[2]
  • Lady Elizabeth Campbell (d. c. 1548), married: firstly, James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, an illegitimate son of King James IV of Scotland; secondly, John Gordon, 11th Earl of Sutherland
  • Lady Agnes Campbell (b. 1526, d. 1601), married: firstly, James MacDonald, 6th of Dunnyveg; secondly, Sir Turlough Luineach O’Neill of Tír Eoghain, Ireland.

Colin was born at Castle Glenurchy, Lorn, Argyllshire, Scotland and died October 9, 1529 at Ardkinglass, Lochgoilhead Parish, West Lothian, Argyll, Scotland. Janet was born August 11, 1479 at Huntly Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and died May 9, 1530, at Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scotland. He was succeeded by his son, Archibald Campbell. The Campbell family resided at Castle Campbell, near Dollar, Clackmannanshire, Scotland.[51]

While we enjoy the many twists and turns of the Campbell clan, since we can’t prove any connections to our lineage, we leave the successive generations in order to more closely examine the most likely progenitor of our own Campbell.

[1] The name Gilleasbaig is a modernization of “Gilla Escoib” (with a variety of related spellings, such as Gille Escoib), and is often rendered as “Archibald” in English or occasionally “Gillespie” or “Gillespic”

[2] David Sellar, “The Earliest Campbells – Norman, Briton, or Gael”, in Scottish Studies, 17 (1973), pp. 116-7.

[3] Stephen Boardman, The Campbells, 1250-1513, (Edinburgh, 2006), pp. 13, 29, n. 24

[4] Stephen Boardman, The Campbells, 1250-1513, (Edinburgh, 2006), pp. 10, 13, 15-7.

[5] David Sellar, “The Earliest Campbells – Norman, Briton, or Gael”, in Scottish Studies, 17 (1973), pp. 116-7.

[6] Stephen Boardman, op. cit., (Edinburgh, 2006), pp. 18, 32, notes 51-2.

[7] Boardman, op. cit., p. 18; for the staunch and unequivocal Campbell adherence to the Bruce cause, see pp. 36-55

[8] Butter (2007) p. 66 n. 100; Argyll: An Inventory of the Monuments (1975) p. 118 § 227.

[9] MacPhail, J. R. N. (Mar 1916). Highland Papers, Volume II (PDF). Publications of the Scottish Historical Society. XII (Second Series ed.). Edinburgh, Scotland: University Press. pp. 72–114. ISBN 978-0788400438.

[10] Stephen Boardman, The Campbells, 1250-1513, (Edinburgh, 2006), p.21

[11] Stevenson, Joseph (1870); Documents Illustrative of the History of Scotland from the Death of King Alexander the Third to the Accession of Robert Bruce. MCCLXXXVI-MCCCVI, Volume 2; p175

[12]  quoted and translated in Boardman, op. cit., p. 24

[13] John Barbour, The Bruce: an edition with translation and notes by A.A.M. Duncan, (Edinburgh, 1997), p. 104.

[14] Campbell of Airds, Alastair (June 15, 2000). A History of Clan Campbell. Volume 1: From Origins to the Battle of Flodden. Edinburgh, Scotland: Polygon. ISBN 978-1902930176.

[15] Barbour, John; Innes, Cosmo (1856). The Brus. (in Early Scots). Aberdeen: The Spalding Club. pp. 364.

[16] MacPhail, J. R. N. (Mar 1916). Highland Papers, Volume II (PDF). Publications of the Scottish Historical Society. XII (Second Series ed.). Edinburgh, Scotland: University Press. pp. 72–114. ISBN 978-0788400438.

[17] Bain, Joseph (1881). Calendar of documents relating to Scotland. V (supplementary). Edinburgh : H.M. General Register House. pp. 223

[18]  Paul, James Balfour (1904). The Scots peerage; founded on Wood’s edition of Sir Robert Douglas’s peerage of Scotland; containing an historical and genealogical account of the nobility of that kingdomV. Edinburgh: David Douglas. pp. 490

[19] Campbell of Airds, Alastair (June 15, 2000). A History of Clan Campbell. Volume 1: From Origins to the Battle of Flodden. Edinburgh, Scotland: Polygon. ISBN 978-1902930176.

[20] Campbell of Airds 2000, p. xviii-xix.

[21] Balfour Paul, Sir James, The Scots’ Peerage, Edinburgh, 1904, vol.1, pp. 328–330.

[22] Boardman, The Campbells, pp. 72–72, 102 & 104; Paul, The Scots Peerage, Vol I, p. 330.

[23] Boardman, The Campbells, p. 291. William Douglas, heir of the Lord of Dalkeith, was also assessed as liable for 1500 merks. See also Paul, The Scots Peerage, vol. I, p. 330, where the amount is described as Duncan’s income. The value of 1500 Scots merks in English Pounds sterling, in then-current gold coin was some 750 English merks or 500 pounds sterling. The Scots demy (108 pence Scots money) was considered to be of equal value to the English half-noble (54 pence English money); Grueber, Handbook, p. 171.

[24] “Kilmun, St Munn’s Parish Church (Church of Scotland) Including Argyll and Douglas Mausolea, Associated Buildings and Graveyard”Historic Environment Scotland. Retrieved 22 August 2016.

[25]  Paul, James Balfour (1904). The Scots Peerage. Edinburgh: Douglas. p. 1:331–32. Retrieved 22 August 2016.

[26] Henderson, Thomas Findlayson, ed. (1886). Dictionary of National Biography. Volume 08. London: Smith. p. 8:345. Retrieved 23 January 2017.

[27]  Bulloch, John (September 1903). Bulloch, John (ed.). “Notable Men and Women of Argyleshire”. Scottish Notes and Queries. 5: 35. Retrieved 23 January 2017.

[28] Kippis, Andrew (1784). Kippis, Andrew (ed.). Biographia Britannica (2nd ed.). London. p. 3:177. Retrieved 23 January 2017

[29] Cokayne, George; Gibbs, Vicary (1910). The Complete Peerage (Rev. ed.). London: St. Catherine. p. 198. Retrieved 23 January 2017.

[30] Bulloch. Scottish Notes. D. Wyllie and Son.

[31] Tytler, Patrick Fraser (1866). The History of Scotland. Edinburgh. p. 158. Retrieved 23 January 2017.

[32] Henderson. DNB.

[33] Wagner, John A. (2001). Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 139. ISBN 9781851093588.

[34] Brydges, Egerton (1812). Collins’s Peerage of England. London. p. 7:423. Retrieved 23 January 2017.

[35] Turpie, Thomas J. M. “Scottish Saints, Cults, and Pilgrimage from the Black Death to the Reformation, c.1349–1560”Edinburgh Research Archive. University of Edinburgh.

[36] Paul, James Balfour, ed. (1904). The Scots Peerage. Edinburgh: David Douglas. p. 1:333.

[37] Brydges. Collins’s Peerage. p. 424.

[38] Oram, Richard (2001). Kings and Queens of Scotland. Stroud, Gloucestershire: History Press. ISBN 978-0752419916.

[39] Cokayne. Complete Peerage. p. 198.

[40]  Fourth Report of the Royal Commission on Historic Manuscripts. London. 1874. p. 1:476.

[41] Taylor, James (1899). The Great Historic Families of Scotland. London. p. 1:111. Retrieved 23 January 2017.

[42] Brydges. Collins’s Peerage. p. 425.

[43] Cannon, John (2009). A Dictionary of British History (Rev. ed.). Oxford: Oxford UP. p. 33. ISBN 9780199550371

[44] Boardman, Stephen J. (2006). The Campbells, 1250–1513. Edinburgh: John Donald. p. 250. ISBN 978-0859766319.

[45] Lang. Encyc. Britannica

[46] “List of Burials”Historic Kilmun. Retrieved 24 January 2017

[47] Yearbook of the American Clan Gregor Society. 1978. “Archibald Campbell, 2nd Earl of Argyll. He was the son of Colin Campbell, second Lord Campbell and 1st Earl of Argyll, … In addition to five daughters, the 2nd Earl of Argyll had four sons: 1. Colin Campbell – who became 3rd Earl of …” A list of his offspring is found at,_2nd_Earl_of_Argyll

[48] Macdougall, Norman, James IV, Tuckwell (1997), 107, citing Register of the Great Seal, vol. 2, no. 2240.

[49] Macdougall, Norman, James IV, Tuckwell (1997), 178, citing Register of the Privy Seal, vol. 1, nos. 413, 513, 520.

[50] MacDougall, Norman, James IV, Tuckwell (1997), 184–5, citing Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol. 2, (1814), 241.

[51],_3rd_Earl_of_Argyll  Accessed Dec 29, 2021

2 thoughts on “The Campbells, Part II

    1. LOL! When I started researching the Campbells, I too wished I had that kind of glorious ancestry. Then I dug into my mom’s ancestry and guess what—Scots! Lots of them.

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