Military Service

Men recruited (without choice) for the military were a valuable and necessary currency for the lairds, and estate owners to "pay their due" and curry favour with the Kings, who continuously needed for wars at home, then abroad

Raising the troops (1500s)

Based on a land assessment or tax system, the Campbells and their allies agreed upon an efficient method of raising troops: one man for every merkland to serve for 8-10 or 20 days. This combined the obligations to a clan chief of hosting with those of feudal tenure (egGD112/39/7/3; 8/6).

The troops were organised under the three districts of Lorn, Mid-Argyll and Cowal and 120 men were sent in 1565 from each district on a monthly rotation (GD112/39/4/2). Most soldiers fought on foot, but the earl of Argyll did have some light cavalry which Grey Colin wanted to have ready to call upon in August 1565 (GD112/39/4/19).1

Over the centuries a number of estate owners had more notable military careers, that brought benefits by way of title, of land, the baronial control of local foreshore, money and influence
(Need list of names)

The troops carried different armour and weapons depending upon their function and social status. Padded habergeons (aketons as shown on West Highland graveslabs) or plate armour were worn and great swords carried by the gentlemen and captains (as shown in the illustrations of Grey Colin and his forbears from BBT), whilst ordinary soldiers would be equipped with targes and swords, Lochaber axes or bows and arrows.

Small firearms were also used and were listed in the graith or armour and weapons kept in the Glenorchy's castles c.1600 and muster rolls of 1638 (BBT, 335-41, 391-404).

In June 1570 Grey Colin was upset to discover that the MacGregors were better equipped than Argyll's men, having 'culveringis [small hand gun] haberschonis and uthir armour' (GD112/39/7/8).2

Inscribed Book of Records of the 91st Argyllshire Highlanders by Capt Goff
Pdf of book :

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