MacIntyres And Glencoe Massacre

with thanks to Jonathan Tucker on the involvement of the MacIntyres in the aftermath of the Glencoe Massacre in 1692

There are the accepted histories, and then there is the story the MacIntyres tell. Several accepted histories have it that Lady Glencoe died during the massacre, as a result of having her fingers cut from her hand in order to steal her rings.. That version is repeated in several sources, but is scant on verification.

The MacIntyres' story is that the Campbell troops who were supposed to kill Lady Glencoe could not from shame bring themselves to do so, though at least one of them tore the rings from her fingers with his teeth (rather than cutting them off with a knife or dirk). As a result, and because of delays in the arrival of supporting government troops, Lady Glencoe, two of her sons, and several dozen other MacDonald household retainers were able to flee. Lady Glencoe and her group fled southeast from Glencoe for at least 12 miles through a bitter snowstorm, up and over the pass of the Devil's Staircase, "across the hill passes, through snow wreaths and swirling drift" to Dalness near the head of Glen Etive. They were found and rescued in a burn valley west of Dalness by a mixed party of about 20 MacIntyres and Appin Stewarts.

The rescue party was able to help about 30 of those who had survived the trek, including "an infant who was found on a big stone near the burnside on the only part free from snow." Lady Glencoe's torn fingers had started to become infected and septic from the less-than-hygenic toothy removal of her rings, and she was healed by application of the Clach Nodha, a Viking healing stone possessed by the MacIntyres of Glen Noe further down Loch Etive.

The rescued MacDonald men were sheltered in a cave near Dalness, and the old men, women, and children were taken into the homes of local MacIntyres and Stewarts and cared for. The baby found on the stone (a boy) was adopted by Lady Glencoe and was thereafter known as Donald MacIntyre MacDonald. The MacDonald survivors were either taken into local households and adopted as MacIntyres and Stewarts, or were aided in safely travelling on to shelter with more distant kin.

One of the MacIntyres in the rescue party was later captured by Campbell troops in Glen Etive, while serving as a sentry to give advance warning. He was taken to Inverary, where he was imprisoned and tortured for weeks to make him divulge where the MacDonalds were being hidden, and who was sheltering them. He would not even give his Campbell torturers his name, but seemed to delight in telling them how sad and pathetic and abused the farmyard animals must have been upon whom their depraved Campbell fathers had forced unholy attentions, with the result being such twisted and perverse offspring as themselves. His insults were so inventive and his response to abuse so defiant that they finally hung him in exasperation, "on what charges nobody knows."


"Clan MacIntyre: A Journey to the Past," L.D. MacIntyre, Silver Spring, MD, 1977.
Unpublished manuscript, Alexander James MacIntyre, Inverary, Scotland, 1936.

We are creating the skeleton of this wiki for the community, near and far, to work together to develop an encyclopedia of the natural, family and social history of Ardchattan.
Please bear with us as we develop this site, and please join in to contribute any images, information, or questions you have on any location or topic. Email images / records / documents to ku.gro.nattahcdra|evihcra#ku.gro.nattahcdra|evihcra

you can add questions and information for this page here

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License