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Clan Gregor Chiefs

By Peter Lawrie, ©2018


Unlike some accounts of the chiefs of Clan Gregor, I do not intend to go back to the dark-age King Giric, identified by Hector Boece as Gregory the Great, Nor do I give any credit to the Baronage claims of Gregor Aluin - Gregor of the Golden bridles - quoted in "The History of Clan Gregor". [1]

As Martin MacGregor explained, the most credible genealogy of the chiefs of Clan Gregor can be found in the Book of the Dean of Lismore. It is probable that the 'Alpin' who featured at the start of that genealogy was in fact an early 12th century eponym of a tribe centred around Loch Awe and not the 9th century King Alpin. For reasons which are not documented but are most likely connected with the Wars of Independence, that tribe fractured. [2]

We do know that the rise of Clan Campbell dated from the charters bestowed by King Robert I on the Campbell Lord of Innis Chonnall for his support, particularly against the Clann Dubhgall of Lorn, based at Dunstaffnage. Despite the nonsense in the Baronage account, which had "the 11th chief, Malcolm, Dominus de MacGregor" fighting on the side of Bruce, it seems likely that the lineage from which Clan Gregor arose had supported the regional power of Clann Dubhgall rather than Bruce and hence were punished by being made subordinate to the Campbell lords.

According to Martin, the ordinance of 1293 mentioned Terra Johannis de Glenurwy - the land of John of Glenorchy, who was presumably the last of the Clann Ailpein. On 5 April 1358 David II granted totam terram de Glenwrquhay to Mariota of Glen Orchy, daughter of umquhile Johannes of Glen Orchy, and spouse of Eoin Campbell, to be held with all the liberties her predecessors enjoyed. Therefore the lineage which became Clan Gregor were explicitly made vassals of the Campbells. [3]

The chiefs of Clan Gregor

First. The earliest chiefs can be identified from the obits in the Book of the Dean of Lismore. The first chief was Griogair, son of Donnchadh Beag and father of Eoin cam. Since Eoin cam died in 1390 Griogair himself must have flourished in the first half of the fourteenth century.

Second.. Eoin cam. 'One Eyed' John. Obit: 1390 April 19. Death of John MacGregor of Glenurquhay.

Third. Eoin dubh. Obit: 1415. Death of John dhu McAnecham VcGregor at Stronmelochane;

Fourth. Maol coluim. Obit: 1440. April 20. Death of Malcolm son of John dhu MacGregor, at Glenurquhay,

Fifth. Padraig. Obit: 1461. Death of Patrick MacGregor of Glenstray at Stronmelochane Padraig, (b.circa 1405, d 28th.April 1461), son of Gille Coluim he obtained a Papal dispensation to marry Mariota Campbell.

Sixth. Eoin dubh. Obit: 1519, May 24-26. Death of John dhu Macgregor of Glenstray,* son of Patrick, at Stronmelochane, he was buried in Dysart, north of the Great Altar, in a stone coffin, upon the 26th of May, on which day a great meteor was seen in Glenurquhay.

Maol coluim. Obit: 1498, June 22. Death of Malcolm Macgregor, son and heir of John Macgregor of Glenstray, at Glenlyon. he was buried in Dysart, south of the Altar, in a stone coffin. As Malcolm pre-deceased his father who had no other heirs, there may have been a succession crisis.

First break in patrilinear succession.

A charter of 16 October 1434 (AT) refers to Alasdair mac Eoin mhic Ghriogair w. resignation by Ẹghan mac Ẹghain MacCorquodale, lord of Phantelan, to his overlord Donnchadh Campbell of Loch Awe. This suggests that Alasdair, was the second son of Eoin dubh, the third chief.

Seventh. Eoin ~1455 to his Obit: 1528, April 12 Death of John .Macgregor McEwine, Captain of the Clan Gregor of Glenstray, who died of good memory, at Achallader in Glenurquhay, he was buried in Dysart, as others of his name used to be.

1527. August 14th at Edinburgh. Quo die Johannes, Comes Atholie plegins devenit ad intrandum Donaldem Campbell nominatum ad Abbacium de Cowper & &. ....., John Makewin Makalester Captain of the Clangregour, Duncan Bayne his cousin, Duncan Brek his cousin, Donald Patricksone, Duncan Donaldsone, Gregor Patricksone, Patrik Duncansoun in Dundwrne, James his brother,....... ad subcundum leges pro arte et parte convocationes ligeorum Domini Regis ad magnum numerum vemendi super, Patricium Charteris Prepositum de Perth die festi Corporis Christi ultimo elapso, ipsum invadendo et pergarte et parte mutilationis. Duncan Cameron et Patricii Rutherford Servitorum dicte Patricus. Record of Justiciary.

John Makewin Makalester Captain of Clangregour is the chief of clan Gregor, his actual name is John MacGregor VcAne VcEwin VcAllaster (d April 12th 1528). He was the father of Griogair (d July 1526) and Alasdair ruadh (d 1547). His father was Eoghan (Ewan) and grandfather Alasdair, presumed to be the second son of Eoin dubh, the third chief.

Eighth. Alasdair ruadh / Alastair roy ~1523 to 1547.

Ninth. Eoin ruadh / John roy ~1543 to 1550. son of Alasdair ruadh
John MacGregor of Glenstray, in which property he never was never infeoffed. He died of the hurt of an arrow, without issue, and was succeeded by his brother. (probably 1549 or 1550

Tenth. Griogair ruadh / Gregor roy ~1544 to 1570. Second son of Alasdair ruadh
BBT death: 1570-04-07 Gregor McGregor of Glenstra heddit at Balloch by Grey Colin

Eleventh. Alasdair ruadh / Alastair roy ~1567 to 1604.
1604. January 20 Five persons executed - 1. Allaster Roy MacGregour of Glenstray, Captain and Chief of the ClanGregor.

Twelth. Griogair / Gregor alias Murray b.~1599 died ~1639
eldest son of Eoin dubh {the brother of Alasdair ruadh who died at Glenfruin feb 1693),

Thirteenth. Padraig ruadh / Patrick roy alias Murray b.~1600 died ~1649
Second son of Eoin dubh (died at Glenfruin feb 1693), the brother of Alasdair ruadh

Fourteenth. James MacGregor of that ilk b.~1645 died 1679
son of Padraig ruadh, thirteenth chief

Second break in patrilinear succession.

Fifteenth. Gregor of Stukinroy b.~1660 d.1693, succeeded in 1679, buried at Inchcailleach
Gregor was a great grandson of Ewin the tutor (d.1589), the brother of Griogair ruadh, the tenth chief; and great great grandson of Alasdair ruadh the eighth chief.

Sixteenth. Archibald, 2nd of Kilmanan b.~before Jan 11 1659. mar. Anna Cochrane, May 1679
went to Ireland, ~1706 and had no more to do with the clan; he died. 24 Oct 1726 Archibald appears to have had a son, Hugh, and grandsons but they did not succeed as chiefs.
Archibald was another great grandson of Ewin the tutor, through Eoghan, 1st of Kilmanan who was listed in 1649, and still alive in 1662. Eoghan was a younger brother of Malcolm in Stukinroy, the father of Gregor the 15th chief.

Third break in patrilinear succession.

Seventeenth. Alexander Drummond of Balhaldies b.~1663 and died.1749
He was elected 17th chief in 1714 by a number of gentlemen of the clan, in order to share in the Government bounty by the Hanoverian George I.
He married in 1686 Margaret dtr. of Ewen Cameron of Lochiel

The Duke of Atholl had attempted to introduce John Dow (b.1670 d.1737), a tenant of his in Glen Almond. John dow descended from Alasdair galt, third son of Alasdair ruadh the eighth chief. When John dow refused, the Duke was said to be incandescent with rage.

Eighteenth. William Drummond of Balhaldies, b.~1698 died.1765, Jacobite plotter, "Mr Malloch" m. dtr of Oliphant of Gask

Nineteenth. Alexander Drummond of Balhaldies, b.~1760 Capt. 65th Regt, died 1794 in West Indies

Fourth break in patrilinear succession.

Twentieth. John Murray (MacGregor) of Lanrick ~1750 d.1822
First Baronet 1795 - elected 20th chief in 1775
John Murray was a son of Evan in Glencarnaig, younger brother of Robert, both of whom were out in the '45. They descended from Donnchadh Ladasach
As William, the son of Alexander of Balhaldies, the 19th chief, seemed to have no interest, the way was opened for John Murray who had become wealthy in India to find 800 MacGregors to elect him as chief.

Twenty first. Sir Evan Murray MacGregor, ~1785 d.1841
Second Baronet - elected 21st chief in 1822 by 2200 of the clan

Twenty second. Sir John Athole Bannatyne ~1810 d.1851
Third Baronet

Twenty third. Sir Malcolm ~1834 d.1879
Fourth Baronet

Twenty fourth. Captain, Sir Malcolm, RN ~1873
Fifth Baronet

Twenty fifth. Brigadier, Sir Gregor ~1925 d.2003
Sixth Baronet

Twenty sixth. Sir Malcolm b.1959
Seventh Baronet

[1] A.G.M. MacGregor, History of Clan Gregor, vol i, 407, pages 5-6
And on page 394 of volume ii:
A great deal of the family history in the Article in Douglas's Baronage was communicated by Duncan MacGregor Murray to his nephew Sir John, by him. In one letter Duncan alluding to some reproduction by a Mr Auld, remarks that there is no harm in it.- but that he is entirely averse to "republishing what relates to the Clan in the Baronage –
“for several reasons, First because all the subscribers are served with their numbers already and who are only gentlemen who mind very little any errors that may happen to be therein, which almost every publication is liable to in less or more degree, being furnished with materials from a variety of people who may through inadvertency or willfully mislead an Author without any sinister design of his." Duncan adds "it is well known that I am always ready to serve any of the name without distinction on every occasion in a lawful way." "Dun. MacGregor."
see R. Douglas, The Baronage of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1798), 493; (ed.), S. Lee, Dictionary of National Biography (London, 1909), xii, 869-72.

[2] MacGregor, Martin, 1989, unpublished thesis, page 18 at click here for link

[3] MacGregor M, op cit. page 19