Offprint from Scottish Studies Volume 12 1968

An Old Highland Parish Register

Survivals of Clanship and Social Change in Laggan, Inverness-shire, 1773-1854



The first part of this article (Macpherson 1967:149-92) concluded with the statement that proof for the continuance of the agnatic principle as the basis of the social structure of Highland communities after 1775, and perhaps after 18oo, must be sought in something more fundamental than continued association between clan and land. It was suggested that proof that the clan system was still operating socially at the beginning of the nineteenth century could be found in a consideration of marriage patterns. Part II, therefore, is devoted to an analysis of the parochial register of Laggan to reveal the patterns of endogamy within each clan in the community, exogamy between clans and with strangers, farm endogamy, residence after marriage, local migration of families, and illegitimate birth which prevailed between 1775 and 1854.

II   The Community in Laggan: Marriage Patterns
1 Endogamous Marriage
Endogamous marriage is known to have prevailed among the Macphersons during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries-both within the Clann Mhuirich generally and within each of the three major sliochdan or maximal lineages into which it was divided (Macpherson 1966: 16-18). An examination of Sir Aeneas Macpherson of Invereshie's Genealogies of the McPhersons, restricted to those families in which the marriages of both brothers and sisters are recorded, provides the following statistical picture:


These figures suggest that there was a strong tendency for individual clansmen and clanswomen to marry within the clan, with the tendency stronger among women than men and stronger among the men of the Sliochd Iain than among those of the Sliochd Choinnich. The prevalence of endogamy in the Clann Mhuirich in the seventeenth century raises questions as to its incidence in the same clan and in other clans during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Statistical analysis of the data in the Laggan Register provides the answers for one Highland community, as presented in Table II.

      Table Il records the incidence of endogamous marriage in ten of the leading clans and families of the Laggan community during the periods 1775-1800, 1801-25, and 1826-54. The statistical 'population' consists of all recorded marriages, with and without consequent baptisms, and all marital unions appearing only in baptismal entries, but excludes families where only one parent's surname is on record. No illegitimate unions, or those ambiguous cases which are suspected to have been illegitimate unions, were included. Individual husbands and wives were assigned to the period in which the marriage or the first baptism occurred; unlike Table I, therefore, no individual was counted in more than one period. [1] In addition to the percentages of husbands and wives supplied by each clan, the Table presents the number and percentages of husbands from each clan who elected to enter endogamous unions. The number of endogamous wives would, of course, be the same; but the percentage of wives from each clan who married endogamously would differ from the percentage of endogamous husbands: among the Macphersons the figure would drop to 50 per cent, among the Maclntoshes it would rise to 50 per cent, and among the MacIntyres it would rise to 35.7 per cent.

      In any community where one or two surnames are very common a certain number of marriages between individuals of those surnames is bound to occur unless it is expressly forbidden. In a community in which clanship forms the basis of the social structure such marriages can be described as endogamous, but their occurrence is governed by the simple statistical probabilities (and not by any rules of the society) just as in the case of a community without such a basis. If there is a random or free choice of marriage partner, that is, if the aspiring spouse's choice is not affected by socially enforced rules of endogamy or exogamy, and secondly, if each clan or family provides eligible marriage partners, both men and women, in proportions more or less equal to the proportion which each clan forms of the whole community and more or less uniformly so over a sufficient period of time: then the proportion of random endogamous marriages within each clan during that period of time will tend to be the same as the proportion which each clan forms of the community as a whole. The corollary is that if the proportion of endogamous marriages within a particular clan is significantly higher than the proportion which that clan forms of the community, then a socially inspired tendency towards endogamy is indicated. Conversely, if the percentage of endogamous marriages falls well below that expected from the percentage of the community belonging to that clan, then this would point to a cultural preference for exogamy. Table II indicates that there was a marked tendency towards endogamous marriage in



the Laggan community which could only have resulted from social rules or pressures inherent in the clan system as practised in the Highlands.

      Table II demonstrates that most of the clans and families with deep roots in Laggan continued to set a value upon the custom of endogamy until at least the end of the eighteenth century. The percentage of endogamous marriages tended to rise with the size of the stake which each clan had in the community: the Macphersons, with the greatest stake both numerically and politically, far exceeded the other large clans in the rate of endogamous marriage among them, and maintained this exceptionally high rate until 1825, after which the MacDonalds became more numerous and took the lead. It is particularly noteworthy that the rate of endogamous marriage maintained among the Macphersons until 1825 was the same as that which prevailed in the seventeenth century.

      Although the rates of endogamous marriage before 1800, were highest among the Macphersons and MacDonalds, they were less than twice those expected from a purely random choice of marriage partner. Among the less numerous Maclntoshes, MacIntyres and Campbells, on the other hand, the rate were four or five times -- and among the Cattanachs over thirteen times -- the random rate. The precise circumstances in which endogamous marriage was encouraged are not known, and the Register cannot be expected to help from the limited nature of its information. But an endogamous rule or tendency must always be directed towards social or group interests and goals rather than to the fortunes of individual families or persons. Its existence in the Laggan community, therefore, must represent the larger interests of the clann and sliochdan, and provides the most striking proof that these continued as viable entities within the social structure until at least the end of the eighteenth century, and in the case of the Macphersons until about 1825. The exceptionally large disparities between the actual and random rates of endogamous marriage among the smaller clans, consequently, can only be interpreted as indicating an attack upon or, more probably, a defence of a status quo in the distribution of heritable tenure rights.

      It may be argued against this conclusion that the existence of unexpectedly high ratios between the actual and random rates of endogamous marriage among the smaller 'clans (including the MacGregors between 1801 and 1854) was due to the occurrence of single marriages within clans already insignificant numerically. It may be argued, for instance, that one close-cousin marriage in each of these clans would quite adequately account for the unexpectedly high ratios. First- and second-cousin marriage, of course, is usually the result of personal affinity within individual families and has nothing to do with a social rule of endogamy; it is just as likely to occur under exogamous conditions where its incidence will tend to be concealed, at least in data of the sort we are using here. Its occurrence within an agnatic group could not be used to prove the existence of endogamy as a social characteristic. Close-cousin marriage might well account for the percentages and ratios among the Kennedies, and perhaps the MacGregors, who were relatively recent arrivals in Laggan, and it must certainly have been involved in


the single Leslie-Leslie marriage recorded in the Register. It cannot, however, account for the marriage patterns of the Maclntoshes, Cattanachs, MacIntyres and -- between 1801 and 1825 -- the Clerks, all of whom consisted of long-established sliochdan or lineages. Close-cousin marriage, which implies some inbreeding, was fairly frequent in Highland districts during the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But agnatic first- and second-cousin marriages were conspicuous by their absence among the Macphersons during the seventeenth century, and the writer is therefore of the opinion that their general frequency in the later period was, in fact, a symptom of social disintegration. Endogamy, on the other hand, does not necessarily imply close inbreedIng, and it probably had less genetic effect in Laggan than the close-cousin marriages concealed among the exogamous unions. Its real, and intended, effect was social and economic, and is to be sought in the influence which it had upon the destination of heritable tenure rights. Endogamy is a social device for integrating particular strands within a society and for regulating their group interests from generation to generation. These strands, among the Highlanders, were the agnatic clans.

      Although the processed data in Table II provide sufficient evidence of the importance of endogamy among the resident clann of the Laggan community, they show little apparent consistency from clann to clann. In the period 1775-1800 the MacDonalds, Maclntoshes, MacIntyres and Cattanachs all approached 30 per cent, while in the period 180l-25 the MacDonalds, Maclntoshes, MacIntyres and MacGregors all fell between 19 and 25 per cent; in both periods, however, the exceptionally high percentages among the Macphersons set them apart from the others. If, however, the divergence of the actual rate from the theoretical (random) rate is given consideration, a different pattern emerges. In this case the Macphersons, Maclntoshes and MacIntyres -- the larger Clanchattan clann -- all came close to 20 per cent in both periods, and the Cattanachs and MacGregors joined them in the first and second periods respectively; of the old Badenoch clann it was the MacDonalds who, by this criterion, were behaving abnormally. The remarkable decline of endogamy among the MacDonalds in the period 1801-25, and its even more remarkable recrudescence in the period 1826-54 -- measured both by the absolute percentages and by their divergence from the random ratio -- seem to indicate that a peculiar set of conditions existed in this clan. As the pattern is paralleled by their numerical decline and recovery, heavy emigration and a later phase of immigration from western parishes may have been responsible. In other words, it is suggested that a process of replacement occurred among the MacDonalds which did not affect the Clanchattan clans.

      The choice of a partner in the formation of an endogamous marriage was not, of course, confined to the parish of Laggan. The most impressive evidence that endogamous marriage and the associated principle of clan interest continued to transcend the parish boundaries, just as they had done in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, is provided by the Macphersons and MacDonalds. Of twenty-two endogamous marriages recorded among the Macphersons between 1775 and 1800, no fewer than six involved partners


from the parishes of Kingussie and Alvie-Insh in lower Badenoch. The MacDonalds, on the other hand, tended to look toward Lochaber and Rannoch where the lineage structures of their clan were traditionally entrenched. The evidence for both clans throughout the entire period of the Register demonstrates the continued social cohesion of the clans up to about 1800 and its weakening thereafter. The Register only records two endogamous marriages among the MacGregors, both of which involved extraparochial husbands residing in places remote from Laggan: a vintner in Perth in 1819, and a man from Inchnadamph in Assynt in 1849. The evidence is not forthcoming as to whether these men had had earlier associations with Laggan or not. A MacIntosh marriage of 1799 involved a wife from the parish of Kingussie; a Kennedy marriage of 1833 another from Inverroy in the parish of Kilmonivaig.

      Table II demonstrates the waning of the tendency towards endogamy. Of the ten clans or families listed as practising the custom between 1775 and 1825, only four maintained it after the latter date. All four show smaller percentages over one or other of the preceding periods and a convergence between the random (theoretical) and actual rates. Among the Kennedies, in fact, the two rates are almost equal. The primacy assumed after 1825 by the MacDonalds in the community, numerically and in terms of the rate of endogamous marriage, reflects the greater divergence from a random selection of marriage partner in that clan as compared with the Macphersons and suggests that the continued prevalence of the custom among the MacDonalds may have been associated with the late phase of immigration into Laggan by clansmen from the west. In general however, the decline in the custom of endogamy towards the middle of the nineteenth century can be taken as a symptom of the final demise of clanship in the Highland communities at that time. Thereafter, men chose their wives without reference to the agnatic lineage structures to which they and their wives had formerly belonged.

2 Exogamous Marriage

If endogamous marriage was instrumental in protecting the political and economic interests of the clan from internal weakness and in bringing lineages which had been diverging agnatically from the major sliochdan for some generations into closer degrees of kinship, exogamous marriage was responsible for maintaining affinal kinship within the community. It was important to the cohesion of the whole parish and to the maintenance of 'good neighbourhood' in each of the communal or conjoint farms. Farm-endogamy, as distinct from clan-endogamy, corresponds, however, to patri-matrilocal residence whenever a family resulted in the same farm, and this will therefore be left to discussion under that heading. But it should be noted here that, among the Macpherson families, a very high proportion of those that were patri-matrilocal (farm-endogamous) were also clan-endogamous, and will therefore not enter the present discussion.

      Examination of the Register of Laggan over the whole period between 1775 and


1854 reveals a number of features which are significant in understanding the role of exogamy. Stated categorically, these will also help to simplify the presentation of the relevant data in Table III:
(a) The Macphersons, both men and women, intermarried with virtually all the other clans and families in the community, besides marrying individuals from outside the parish.
(b) The MacDonald women, similarly, married men of virtually all the established surnames and extra-parochial strangers.
(c) The MacDonald men married in like fashion, with the exception of the ancient MacAlchynichs or MacKenzies and the newly-established Leslies and Tolmies, all very few in numbers and relatively insecure in their rights as compared with other clans.
(d) No marriages occurred among the MacAlchynichs, Clerks, MacKay/Davidsons, and Gows: that is, the old pre-Clanchattan and smaller Clanchattan clans of Badenoch. One exception, a MacKenzie-Davidson marriage of 1829, produced no offspring and the partners probably left the parish.
(e) No marriages occurred between the MacIntyres and MacGregors, the two 'broken' clans adopted into the Clanchattan of Badenoch, despite the fact that some twentyseven men and twenty-seven women of the MacIntyres and some fourteen men and seventeen women of the MacGregors formed this kind of alliance with others during the period.
(f) No marriages occurred among the Tolmies, Leslies and Andersons, all relatively recent arrivals among the possessors of land in the parish, and all very few in numbers, marrying exogamously: Tolmies, 24; Leslies, 15; Andersons, 6.
(g) There were very few marriages between the smaller Clanchattan clans on the one hand and the MacIntyres and MacGregors on the other: a MacIntyre-Davidson marriage in 1808 (no baptisms); a MacGregor-Clerk marriage about 1779; and a MacGregor-MacKenzie marriage in 1831 (husband from the parish of Dores). None of the men of the Clanchattan married women of the 'broken' clans.
(h) There were few marriages between the smaller clans of the Clanchattan and the incoming Tolmies, Leslies and Andersons: a Tolmie-MacKay marriage just prior to 1777, and a Tolmie-MacAlchynich marriage in 1785, both farm-endogamous in Gergask; an Anderson-MacKenzie marriage about 1810, a MacAlchynich (Gergask)-Tolmie (Pitgown) marriage in 1794, and a Smith-Tolmie marriage in 1840 (husband from parish of Kingussie).
(i) There were no marriages between the MacIntyres and MacGregors on the one hand and the incoming Tolmies and Andersons on the other; and only two MacGregor-Leslie marriages (1776 and 1816), one MacIntyre-Leslie marriage in 1830 (a late second marriage for her), and one Leslie-MacIntyre marriage (1815, no baptisms).


(j) There were very few marriages between the Kennedies and either the smaller Clanchattan clans, the 'broken' clans, or the small incoming families. So far as the Kennedy women were concerned, there was no marriage into any of these groups except an Anderson-Kennedy marriage of 1828 (no baptisms). Among the men the following occurred: Kennedy-Clerk (about 1813), -MacKenzie (1815), -MacIntyre (about 1810, and 1848 without baptisms); there were none with the newcomers.
(k) There were practically no marriages among Laggan members of clans dominant in neighbouring districts: the Camerons, Campbells, Frasers, Grants, Robertsons and Stewarts. Exceptions were a Campbell-Stewart marriage (1781) and three Cameron-Stewart marriages (1780, 1781, 1782).
(1) The 'neighbour' clans married freely with virtually all other families and clans in the community.
From these statements it is clear that, in practice, exogamy was greatly restricted within a Highland community such as that of Laggan. If the various dependent clans and families generally avoided exogamous relationships among themselves, then exogamy must in fact have been directed towards establishing and maintaining relationships of kinship between them and the dominant clans of the community, viz. the Macphersons and MacDonalds. The evidence for this is presented in Table III.       The total number of exogamous alliances in Laggan between 1775 and 1854 amounted to 568. Of this number some 31 (5.4 per cent) were between individuals neither of whom belonged to a clan or family with established rights of possession in the parish; these are excluded from Table III. Another 155 marriages (27.3 per cent) involved one partner, man or woman, who was a stranger; of these, 26.4 per cent (41) were to Macphersons and 27.1 per cent to MacDonalds. Curiously enough, a fairly high proportion of those involving MacDonald men and women and Macpherson men -- particularly after 1825 -- produced no baptisms and may have left the parish, but this did not apply to Macpherson women who tended to remain in the parish with their 'stranger' husbands and raise families. In attempting to determine the role of exogamy within the established part of the community these marriages with strangers will also be ignored, although it should be recognised that the stranger husbands were usually Highlanders from other districts who entered the competition for possession of land by joining the community. The total 'population', therefore, consists of 382 marriages. Bearing in mind that this total includes marriages between Macphersons and MacDonalds, 290 of them included at least one partner from either of these clans; that is, these two clans between them engrossed about 76 per cent of all exogamous interests in rights to possession of land in the parish.

      Table III shows that, over the whole period of the Register, dependence upon the Macphersons exceeded that upon the MacDonalds for all groups except the MacIntoshes, Cattanachs and men of the smaller Clanchattan clans. This in itself would seem to be sufficient indication of the primacy of the Macphersons in Laggan where possession


of land was concerned. It would also seem to indicate that this primacy was inoperative so far as the Maclntoshes were concerned, and that the relationship between the two clans was somewhat abnormal, even after 1775. This is a matter that we shall return to shortly.

      The primacy of the Macphersons (and their abnormal relationship with the Maclntoshes) is made clearer if the dependence coefficients for each group are compared with the prevalence of the Macphersons available in the exogamous 'population': men, 22.8 per cent; women, 27.3 per cent. On this basis, the dependence of the MacDonalds rested far more, and of the 'broken' clans and Kennedies slightly more, upon the Macpherson women than upon their men; whereas the smaller Clanchattan clans, the small group of newcomers and the neighbour clans, particularly the last, depended more upon the Macpherson men than their women. (This situation, incidentally, seems to justify the classification of the clans which has been adopted here.) It would seem that successful acquisition of rights to possession of land by one clan replacing another was

achieved mainly by marriage to the women of the outgoing clan. As we shall see, sons-in-law replaced fathers-in-law, often as a result of matrilocal residence.

      When the data from 1775 to 1800 -- when the Macpherson men formed 22.2 per cent, their women, 33.1 per cent of the exogamous 'population' -- is compared with Table III, it is possible to discover the trend from the first generation to the third. Table IV represents the disparities for each group from the random percentages, that is, from those prevailing if exogamy was not subject to social direction, for the periods 1775-1800 and 1775-1854.

      From this it is clear that, during the first generation, the MacDonalds and especially the Kennedies were less, the men of the 'broken' clans more, their women less, the men of the neighbour clans less, their women more, and the newcomers generally more dependent upon the Macphersons than they were later. This is perfectly consonant with the relative rise to primacy by the MacDonalds after 1800 which was observed in the first part of this article (Macpherson 1967).

      The MacDonald men, on the other hand, formed 21.9 per cent of the exogamous 'population' between 1775 and 1800, and 21.8 per cent between 1775 and 1854, while their women formed 19.1 per cent in the first part of the period, 18.6 per cent during the whole period. Table IV shows very clearly that dependence upon the MacDonalds declined somewhat for Macpherson men, but remained stationary and was always consistently higher for their women; it declined for the Maclntoshes, but was nevertheless always consistently higher for their women than their men; it remained more or less the same for the smaller Clanchattan clans, but was always high for their men and negative for their women; it was always slight for the 'broken' clans, and negative


(though less so after 1800) for the Kennedies, particularly their women; it was always markedly negative for the women of the newcomers; and was always slight for the neighbour clans. Table IV, in fact, confirms the inferences drawn from the perusal of Table III.

      The negative coefficients which were found to characterise the relationship between the Maclntoshes and the Macphersons can only be interpreted as the result of antipathy between the two clans. It betokens a determination on the part of at least one of them to avoid commitments through marriage that might lead to loss of dùthchas within its traditional territory. It is strange, however, considering the superiority in numbers and territory enjoyed by the Macphersons in Laggan, to find the only supporting piece of documentary evidence coming from them. In the larger context of Badenoch or Inverness-shire the strangeness rather disappears. Marriage between these clans was not avoided prior to 1700, as already noted (Macpherson 1967 : 149-92,), but in 1701 Sir Aeneas Macpherson of Invereshie wrote in his Loyall Dissuasive to his chief, Duncan of Clunie:

      For the future make no family allyance with the McIntoshes: that is, give none of your
      daughters to their children . . .. It is likewise no less convenient . . . that your friends avoid
      marrying any of their sons to the daughters of that family. (Murdoch 1902:89).

It would appear that this advice was adopted as a matter of policy, and that it became a custom which was not only still in practice after 1775, but was actually strengthened after 1800 (Table IV).

      It may be surmised that the custom of avoiding marriage ties between Macphersons and Maclntoshes was observed by the latter as well as the former. If so, it goes a long way to explaining how the MacDonalds gained ground in Laggan. The high dependence of the Maclntoshes, particularly their women, on the MacDonalds for marriage partners would seem to indicate the avenue along which the latter moved to acquire possession of land between Crathiemore and Gaskmore prior to 1800 . It is evident, therefore, and despite their smaller numbers, that the Sliochd Iain Léith and Sliochd Dhomhnaill Ghlais Maclntoshes should be regarded as a dominant clan, at least within their own enclave in Laggan.

      As in the case of endogamous marriage, exogamy brought extra-parochial partners into the community. Analysis of the 237 families for which marriage and baptismal entries are recorded shows that 14.3 per cent (34 families) included a spouse who had joined the community by marrying a member of an established clan. Half of these marriages occurred after 1825, indicating once more that a trend away from a more stable pattern took place after that date. There were nine such marriages between 1779 and 1800, six of which included a spouse from the neighbouring parish of Kingussie; the others introduced a MacGlashan girl from the parish of Moulin in Atholl, John Eason, one of a well-known family of masons in Atholl, and Anne Shaw, a younger daughter of William Shaw, last tacksman of his name in DaInavert (Alvie), who married


Capt. Donald Macpherson of Gaskmore on 29 January 1795 (Macpherson 1893:183, 184; Paton 1903: No. 8 82). Two of these marriages, both involving Kingussie men and Macpherson girls, were matrilocal: a MacLean from Glentromie married a Macpherson in Drumgaskinloan in 1784, and a MacIntyre from Glenbanchor married a Macpherson in Crubenbeg in 1783.

      Between 1801 and 1825 eight more extra-parochial spouses married into the Laggan community, only one of whom came from the parish of Kingussie. Two others, however, came from the neighbouring western parish of Kilmonivaig in the Braes of Lochaber: both Camerons marrying Macphersons. The rest were from the distant parishes of Knockando in lower Speyside, Kiltarlity in the Aird of Inverness, Urray in the Black Isle, and Lismore in Loch Linnhe, and from Oban. Four of the eight marriages involved matrilocal residence with Macpherson and MacDonald wives: John Stevenson from Oban, later a storekeeper in Laggan, married a daughter of John Ruadh Macpherson, tacksman of the farm of Lower Clunie, in 1816; William MacKenzie from Kiltarlity married a MacDonald girl in the Glebe of Laggan at Gaskbeg in 1822; John MacKeich from Lismore married a MacDonald in Crathiemore in 1824; and Dougald Cameron from Kilmonivaig married a Macpherson in Muckcoul in the same year.

      Between 1826 and 1854 exogamous marriages with extra-parochial partners rose to seventeen, involving five from Kingussie, five from Alvie and Insh, two from Abernethy in lower Strathspey (both with Tolmie men), and individuals from the distant parishes of Duthil in Strathspey, Cawdor in Nairn, Inverness, Urquhart in the Black Isle, and Snizort in Skye. Matrilocal residence was assumed by a Campbell from Snizort who married a MacDonald in Balgown in 1831, by a Smith (Gow) from Kingussie who married a Tolmie in Croft of Blargie in 1840, and by a Stewart from Newtonmore in Kingussie who married a MacIntyre in Catlaig in 1842.

      Besides the common case where other clans were introduced to the community by the assumption of matrilocal residence, there is also some evidence that extra-parochial wives of leading men often brought kinsmen with them for whom provision had to be made. Donald Macpherson, for instance, mentions the Maclntoshes (Tòisich a' Bhràighe), the Dubh-shuilich Stewarts, and the Irish Boyles and Burkes (Na Burcaich) in the Braes of Lochaber as having joined the Clann Raghnaill in virtue of marriages between their kinswomen and chiefs of the Clann Raghnaill (Macpherson 1879 : 368-75). The Laggan Register records what is possibly a late instance of this at a somewhat lower level of society, comparable perhaps to the circumstances that brought some of the MacGregors to Laggan, namely the arrival of the MacKillops, a minor clann of the Clann Raghnaill of Lochaber.

      Just prior to 1796 William Macpherson in Muckcoul, probably a member of the former wadsetter family of Muckcoul, married Ann MacKillop. It would then appear that she was able to introduce menfolk of her clan into Muckcoul where men and women of this name are recorded as resident between 18 3 3 and 18 5 4, and whence they spread into other farms in Laggan. In 1828 Angus MacKillop in Gaskmore married one


of the MacGregors in Balgown, and in 1833 Alexander MacKillop in Muckcoul married one of the Kennedies in Balgown; as a consequence of either of which marriages a John MacKillop appeared in Balgown in 1848. Others, probably shepherds, were living in Catlaig (Catlodge), Crathie Croy and Drumgask, and on Lochlagganside during the 1840s and 1850s.

3 Farm-endogamy
      So far, in this paper, the term endogamous has been used to refer to clan-endogamy, that is, to marriage between persons of the same clan or agnatic group. Similarly, exogamous has been used to refer to marriage between persons of different clans. The Laggan Register reveals, however, that an appreciable number of marital unions were formed between persons belonging to the same farm, irrespective of their clan affiliations. The following table presents the relative position of firm-endogamy among all those with recorded marriages:

      Just as clan-endogamy maintained the cohesion of the clan, and clan-exogamy the solidarity of the whole community, so farm-endogamy had the effect of making each conjoint farm a tight-knit little community of its own. The necessity for 'good neighbourhood' was even more important within the conjoint farm than it was between adjacent farms, and affinal ties undoubtedly helped to maintain it. They probably also helped to reinforce the tenure rights of relative newcomers to the farm by alliance with old-established families that could claim dùthchas. And where numbers of tenants on a farm were reduced by reason of agrarian reform, emigration, eviction, or the operation of the positive Malthusian checks of famine, epidemic or war (Malthus 1830 : 32 et seq.), farm-endogamy may well have facilitated the amalgamation of holdings in both the traditional runrig system and the glebe-system of the Improvement. The table seems to indicate, particularly in terms of the resident families, that the rate of


farm-endogamous marriages increased in the first quarter of the nineteenth century in response to agrarian reform and emigration, followed by a drastic reduction in the second quarter of the century as the conjoint glebe-system gave way to more general sheep-farming and the farm communities disappeared.

      Examination of the individual cases of farm-endogamy reveals further aspects of the role which this played in Laggan. In the first place, all but one of the forty-two cases involved at least one spouse belonging to one of the established clans of the parish; the exception consisted of two immigrant farm servants who married at Gallovie in 1832. Half of the cases involved a Macpherson, thirteen involved a MacDonald. In fact, thirty-six cases involved spouses both of whom belonged to the established clans. Of the five cases which included an extra-parochial spouse, three were matrilocal: the men were John Anderson, the smith in Tynrich who founded the Anderson family in Laggan (1786), Alexander Dallas, a weaver in Balgown (1791), and Kenneth Logan, the grieve at Breakachie (1842); their respective wives were a MacDonald, a MacGregor, and a Macpherson.

      The last-mentioned cases point to another feature of the role of farm-endogamy: incidence of marriages which involved men who were artisans or professionals. There were four or five occurrences where this was the case in each of the three periods into which we have divided the record:

      1775-1800: miller (MacDonald), smith (Anderson), tailor (Macpherson), wright (Macpherson), and weaver (Dallas);
      1801-1825: miller (MacDonald), farm servant (MacDonald), innkeeper (Macpherson), shepherd (Macpherson, Davidson).
      1826-1854: schoolmaster (Macpherson), grieve (Logan), shepherd (Kennedy), and gamekeeper (MacKay).

For these men it would appear that the value of farm-endogamy remained high, permitting amalgamation of artisan or professional skills with such residence rights and possible land tenure rights as might also accrue to their wives.

      Finally, it should be noted that of the forty-two cases of farm-endogamy twelve were also clan-endogamous. Nine of them occurred prior to 1805; nine of them concerned Macphersons, including two in 1831 and 1834; and other couples concerned were MacDonalds in Gallovie, Leslies in Gaskbeg, and MacIntyres in Presmuckerach.

4   Patrilocal and Matrilocal Residence
Examination of the information available on residence after marriage throws further light on the relationship between dùthchas right and the agnatic principle. Analysis, in this case, must confine itself to those families where a marriage was recorded, where the place of residence of both spouses before marriage is given, and where the place of first baptism is stated. The Register of Laggan records some 220 such marriages, of


which six were constituted by spouses neither of whom had any traditional or historical connection with the parish; several others were deficient in the information required. The statistical 'population' which is available, therefore, consists of 203 families, which are taken to be reasonably representative of the much larger number for whom no marriage entry exists. Examination focuses on the patterns of residence among the various clans of the community, the changing incidence among the various clans of the community, the changing incidence of different kinds of residence with time, and the relationship of matrilocal residence to places traditionally associated with particular clans.

      Table V shows the breakdown of ten of the leading clans in the community into the numbers of individual families in patrilocal, matrilocal, and patri-matrilocal residence,

and those living on farms for which there is no indication of antecedent connection. Patrilocal and matrilocal, in this context, mean that the family was living on the husband's (i.e. the paternal grandfather's) farm or the wife's (i.e. the maternal grandfather's) farm when the first child was baptised; patri-matrilocal means that the first child was baptised on a farm where both parents had been resident before marriage. In these mixed cases we cannot be sure whether the family was in residence in virtue of patrilocality, matrilocality or both, but it is significant that seven of the ten Macpherson families, and one each of the MacDonald, MacIntyre and Leslie families in this category


were endogamous. All the families with non-traditional surnames are included under 'Others', and it should be noted that these were all exogamous, the wife in every instance belonging to one or other of the clans historically associated with the parish. Percentages for each category within each clan have been included for comparison, although slight changes in the numbers would appreciably alter these in such small 'populations'.

      Table V shows that patrilocal residence predominated in all clans except the Leslies (who were patri-matrilocal), while matrilocal residence was the rule among the others. The traditional clans: Macphersons, Maclntoshes, MacKays, MacIntyres and MacGregors, all relied upon patrilocality to the extent of fifty per cent or more of their numbers, while the infiltrating MacDonalds, Kennedies, Leslies and Tolmies relied upon it to a lesser extent. The MacDonalds, Kennedies and Tolmies are also the clans which relied to a greater extent upon residence without prior (known) connections with the farm. If the patri-matrilocal families are added to the purely patrilocal ones percentages among the traditional clans rise to over sixty, and to over fifty among the incoming MacDonalds, Kennedies and Tolmies. On the other hand, inclusion of the patri-matrilocal cases among the 'others' still fails to exceed the percentage of matrilocal families in this group. The preponderance of patrilocal cases among the clans, therefore, seems to be sufficient proof for the contention that agnatic descent was intimately related to possession of land, and that this principle persisted to a relatively late date in the Central Highlands.

      It is equally significant, on the other hand, that the Macphersons -- the clan with the strongest claim to rights of ancient possession -- were the least dependent upon matrilocal residence among the traditional clans, and the least dependent of all groups for residence without direct antecedents. But the matrilocal families which preponderated among the 'others' were founded in every case upon marriages to women belonging to clans known to have had possession of land in the parish prior to 1700, and predominantly to the traditional clans. Everything connected with residence, therefore, seems to point to the continued importance of the agnatic right of ancient possession as vested in the individual clans.

      Table VI indicates that there was a steady increase in matrilocal residence between 1775 and 1850, during a period of shrinking population, and always associated with women belonging to clans historically associated with Laggan. Explanation for this increase would seem to lie with the survival of the smaller traditional clans of the parish and with the advance of the MacDonalds during this period; it occurred mainly at the expense of the Macphersons.

      The overall increase in matrilocal residence was partly offset by decline of patri-matrilocal residence among the Macphersons and the smaller traditional clans, a trend which can be explained to a large extent by the decline in endogamy, particularly in the dominant clan.

      Finally, there is strong evidence among the forty-one matrilocal families in the 'population', representing perhaps one-fifth of the whole population, that residence was


related specifically to those farms where the wife's clan had acquired ancient rights of possession. Macpherson women introduced husbands from other clans to Crubenbeg (MacIntyre, 1783), Breakachy (MacGillivray, 1783), Drumgask (MacLean, 1784, and Tolmie, 1828), Dalchully (MacNab, 1806), Clunie (Stevenson, 1816, and Fraser, 1833), Muckcoul (Cameron, 1824), Pitgown (MacGregor, 1832), and Nessintullich (Kennedy,

1832); a MacIntosh woman brought a Kennedy into Crathiemore (1790); a MacIntyre wife took a Macpherson into Pressmuckerach (1784); and a MacGregor girl introduced a Ross to Uvie (18l3).

      A related feature of matrilocal residence in Laggan is that, before 1800, exogamous marriage was often followed by matrilocal residence in a farm traditionally associated with the husband's clan, indicating perhaps that, under the traditional system, this kind of residence was used as a social device to reintroduce or reinforce the clan with the strongest claim to the dùthchas. Thus Macphersons were reintroduced to Kyllarchill (1782), Clunie (1784), Balmeanach (1804), Shenvall (1826), and Catlaig (1837) by Kennedy, MacDonald, Grant, MacDonald and MacDonald wives respectively; MacIntoshes


from Crathiemore were reintroduced to Gergask (1790) and Coul (1825) by Robertson and MacIntyre women; and a MacGregor resumed residence for his clan in Pitgown (1832) in virtue of a Macpherson wife.

      A third feature, illustrating the importance of the infiltration of the MacDonalds during the eighteenth century into farms beyond the traditional limiits of that clan, is that all cases of matrilocal residence based on exogamous marriage to a MacDonald girl occurred after 1820, with the significant exceptions of one in Clunie in 1784 and another in Tynrich in 1786 -- both places where MacDonalds had acquired a foothold at an exceptionally early date.

5 Local Migration
      Family migration from farm to farm within the parish was a correlative of farm-exogamy and the opportunities which the latter afforded for moving between patrilocal and matrilocal residence. The pattern of movement is discernible in the baptismal data, which have been analysed to provide maps for each decade from 1780 to 1840, and maps to reveal the degree to which clan affiliation circumscribed the area of movement between 1780 and 1840. In addition, for certain selected farms time-charts showing all families with a connection with the farm were drawn up to help detect relationships which are not explicit in the entries in the Register.

      The number of families involved and number of moves undertaken in a decade were highest in the 1780s and assumed a level roughly half of that during the first forty years of the nineteenth century, as shown in the following table:

The small number of families involved is itself an indication of the stability of the system of individual rights in land-holding within the agnatic structure.

      The map showing the pattern of movement during the 1780s has three general characteristics: (1) Most activity was concentrated in the Spey Valley between Crathie Croy and the farms of the lower Truim, much of it involving moves over relatively short distances. The two factors which explain this pattern are (a) the high level of population which permitted close farm-exogamy, and (b) the association of land with particular clans within fairly circumscribed areas. (2) There was no corresponding pattern of intense activity in the Braes of Laggan, that is, in Strath Mashie and Lochlaggan-side, and little movement between the Braes and the Spey-side farms. The

factors here probably included the religious affiliation of the people (unrecorded Catholics), and the stability of the clan-structure on the MacDonald farms. (3) There were only two instances of moves by hired shepherds and their families: a MacCullocb-Elder family from Breakachie to Dalwhinnie, and a Ross-Cameron family from Gaskbeg to Gergask. The prime factor here was the relatively slight importance of the new sheep farming system in Laggan at this time. The first and second of these general characteristics appear on the maps for all later decades, the first in somewhat attenuated form as the

population shrank and showing increasing distances as the prior search for a marriage partner required the young men to visit more distant farms. After 1800, however, distant moves by shepherd families from the Spey-side farms to Dalwhinnie, Locherichtside, the Braes of Laggan, Lochlaggan-side and the Corrieyarick in the headwaters of the Spey became more characteristic of the pattern; the 1830s saw at least nine shepherds among the sixteen heads of families moving within the parish. It is impossible to say how much the pattern of movement in the 1780s was typical of earlier decades, but it is assumed that it was closer to the traditional pattern than any of the decades of the nineteenth century. At any rate, all families migrating during the 178os except the two shepherd families included one parent, and most of them both parents, belonging to a clan or clans established in the parish.

      In the Spey valley intense activity occurred in two areas during the 1780s: the

Sliochd Iain Léith end of the MacIntosh tract between Crathie Croy and Craigcarnet, and a larger area on both sides of the river polarising at Gaskmore and Clunie. These areas deserve closer examination. Four of the families moving in the Sliochd Iain Léith area were headed by Maclntoshes, while a MacIntyre-Cattanach family was undoubtedly matrilocal. Two of the MacIntosh families moved into Crathiemore, the senior farm of the Sliochd Iain Léith, from Coul and Balmishaig, and were probably patrilocal before and after moving; another which moved into Balmishaig and then into Crathie Croy originated at Craigcarnet where it was matrilocal in virtue of a MacDonald wife; the fourth moved into Crathie Croy from the old Sliochd Dhomhnaill Ghlais farm of Gaskmore. This circumscribed pattern, as we shall see later, persisted well into the nineteenth century. The reasons behind the family migrations in the second area of intense activity can best be understood by looking at the foci of the movement in Clunie and Gaskmore.

      So far as local movement was concerned Clunie was a centre of out-migration in the 1780s. Of the six families who left the farm during that period, four were headed by Macphersons, two by Robertsons. Both Robertsons were moving away from patrilocal residence of long standing, one of them to take up a second patrilocal residence of equally long standing in Gaskmore, the other to probable matrilocal residence in Crubenmore. Of the Macphersons two families were clan-endogamous and moved, in the one case, from patrilocal residence to Gaskmore, in the other, from either patri- or matrilocal residence to Catlaig where the other spouse probably had agnatic connections. Of the two exogamous Macpherson families, one moved from matrilocal residence (MacDonald) to Gaskmore. Three of the moves seem to have occurred between March 1780 and August 1781, the other three between May 1786 and February 1787, the latter perhaps in some way associated with the final restoration of the Annexed Estate of Clunie to Col. Duncan Macpherson of Clunie in 1786. It should also be noted that three of the moves from Clunie were to Gaskmore.

      Gaskmore was the old primary farm of the Sliochd Dhomhnaill Ghlais Maclntoshes in Laggan, and it is not surprising therefore to find that two of the out-migrating families were MacIntosh and Cattanach, while a third was MacDonald-Macpherson moving to matrilocal residence at Coraldie. A fourth was a matrilocal family of MacIntyres from Shenval which moved to Crubenbeg, another MacIntyre farm. Of the five in-migrating families three were the Robertson and two Macpherson families from Clunie mentioned above. The other two were a Macpherson family from Gaskbeg and a MacIntyre-Macpherson family from Balgown.. It would appear that Gaskmore was in process of changing hands from MacIntosh to Macpherson during the 1780s, rather as Crathie Croy was changing from Macpherson to MacIntosh at the same time. The colonisation of Gaskmore was probably also connected with its acquisition by Capt. Donald Macpherson, a half-pay officer related in some way to Macpherson of Clunie, who was resident at Clunie in December 1785 but was tacksman of Gaskmore when he married Anne Shaw of Dalnavert in January 1795 .[2]


      Other migrating families confirm the importance of agnatic connections: a KennedyMacpherson family moved from matrilocal residence in Catlaig to patrilocal residence in Gergask; a MacGillivray-Macpherson family in Catlaig took up matrilocal residence in Breakachie; a MacGregor family moved from the MacGregor farm of Uvie to Nessintullich and back to Uvie. It seems clear that, so far as the 1780s were concerned, the agnatic principle and the dùthchas right were of paramount importance in determining the pattern of local family migration.

      Maps showing the total pattern of movement between 1780 and 1840 for Macpherson and MacDonald families are too diffuse to reveal much of the relationship between local

migration and the association of particular farms with certain clans in the community. But the map of MacIntosh migration shows a striking pattern. The addition of data from 1790 to 1840 reinforces the impression that the Sliochd Iain Léith farms contained most of the movement. Every one of the eighteen moves undertaken involved at least one farm within the MacIntosh tract from Crathie Croy to Gaskmore, while only three involved farms outside the tract; of these, two brought families back to patrilocal and matrilocal residence within the Sliochd Iain Léith area, while the third took a Cattanach-Robertson family from the Sliochd Dhomhnaill Ghlais farm of Gaskmore to the old Robertson dùthchas in Clunie. The last recorded move was that of a MacDonald-MacIntosh family migrating from patrilocal residence in Craigcarnet to Crathie


between October 1832 and July 1834; the wife was resident in Balmishaig when she married in 1828, but a cross-reference reveals that her father moved from Balmishaig to Craigcarnet between July 1780 and July 1782, and again from the latter to her birthplace in Crathiemore between July 1782 and June 1784. This would indicate that the MacDonald family was moving a generation later to matrilocal residence in the last named place. Of other clans, there was a case of a MacKay-MacDonald family taking up matrilocal residence in Balgown in 1832/33, and another of a Macpherson-Kennedy family moving into the old Kennedy foothold in Gergask between January 1834 and August 1836.

      Finally, the farm of Drumgaskinloan, part of the Estate of Clunie, has been selected to show the evidence resulting from cross-referencing on time-charts. Prior to 1810 this farm was occupied by seven families, all clan-endogamous and all Macpherson except one Kennedy family. Two of these are worthy of comment. The family of Archibald and Jean Macpherson recorded its first baptism in 1777; the eldest son was in the holding between1802-1841 but his eldest son was resident at Drummin and Mealgarbh in the Corrieyarick in 1838 and 1839; the last, however, was resident once more at Drumgask as a gamekeeper in 1846. The second son was in the holding between 1815 and 1821. The third son of the original couple lived matrilocally for the first five years of his marriage (1814-19), but returned to the patrilocal farm by 1823 and was still there in 1851 with an unmarried daughter. The eldest daughter of the original couple resided elsewhere on her MacDonald husband's farm, but their eldest son, Archibald MacDonald, was living on Drumgask, his maternal grandfather and namesake's farm, when he married in 1843. The family of Alexander and Janet Macpherson appears first with their marriage in 1795; their only son Thomas succeeded in consolidating conjoint holdings between 1828 and 1835 when be left the parish, and this may account for the fact that two of his brothers-in-law (Tolmie and MacIntosh) were residing matrilocally in Drumgask during that period. Only the first of Tolmie's seven children and MacIntosh's only child were born there. Neither family resumed matrilocal residence in the farm after 1835 although the original Macpherson couple were still there in 1841 and their youngest daughter died there, unmarried, in 1870.

6   Illegitimate Birth
Illegitimacy of birth was as much a feature of the community in the Parish of Laggan as it was elsewhere in Britain. In a total of 1750 infants baptised between 1775 and 1854 fifty-four were illegitimate, giving an average of 3.0 per cent which is well within the bounds of normalcy (Laslett 1965: 134). The usual formula for baptismal entry until 1820 was the condemnatory biblical phrase ' . . . got (or born) in fornication . . .' which would appear to represent the simple view of the church in earlier times. After 1820 the forthright term 'illegitimate' was used increasingly. In three instances the formula 'a natural child' was used (1787, 1821 and 1826), and it is significant that this rather more delicate term appears in the entry for the baptism of an illegitimate daughter of


Col. Duncan Macpherson of Clunie and Margaret MacDonald in 1787. In ten instances (eight of them after 1834) a third formula omitted any explicit reference to illegitimacy, but also omitted reference to 'wedlock' , 'wife' or 'spouse' and listed each of the parents involved as resident in different farms or parishes; it is assumed that illegitimacy is implicit in these cases. (There were two entries [1804, 1819] in which none of the parents belonged to the Parish of Laggan; these have not been included in the total mentioned above.)

      Before 1835 all illegitimate births (apart from the two just mentioned in parenthesis) were intra-parochial in parentage, that is, both parents belonged to Laggan. After 1834, however, some 40 per cent of such births involved a parent from outside the parish, and after 1843 -- the year of the socially traumatic Disruption of the Church of Scotland -- this figure rose to 44.5 per cent. Five of the implicit entries after 1834 involved an extra-parochial party. Changes in the illegitimate birth rate itself during the period covered by the Register are shown in the following table, including a breakdown of the third period into pre- and post-Disruption phases:

It would appear that there was a steady increase in the percentage of illegitimate births from generation to generation between 1775 and 1854, and that the rate which had returned to the pre-18oo level between 1826 and 1842 doubled during the last decade of the Register.

      Historical demographers have disputed the theory that an increase in the rate of illegitimate births is an index of social dislocation or disintegration (Goubert 1960 : 51; Laslett 1965 : 129, 136). The statistical picture for Laggan between 1775 and 1854, however, seems to confirm the notion that the very protracted disintegration of the traditional social structure in the Highlands was accompanied by a certain amount of demoralisation. On the other hand, Laslett's postulation in his study of Stuart England, that illegitimacy rates may have 'tended to be highest in times of prosperity', invites examination of evidence from Badenoch for a period earlier than that of the Register.


This evidence exists in the Invereshie MS, The Genealogies of the McPhersones, which frankly records the names of the illegitimate sons born into the dominant clan of Badenoch between 1400 and 1700. In the following table, which covers generations VII to XI of the manuscript genealogy (Macpherson 1966 : 9 and fold-out [page 43 in the web edition, AGM1]), the numbers should be understood to represent sons who survived infancy and probably those who reached adulthood:

Before any interpretation is attempted two observations about these figures should be noted. The first is that they represent minimum rates of illegitimate birth, in that the mortality rates for bastards during infancy and childhood were higher than for legitimate children (Wrigley 1966 : 62). The second is that they show rates consistently higher than those prevailing between 1775 and 1854

      The figures may be interpreted in a number of ways. It is apparent, for instance, that illegitimacy rate among Macpherson clansmen fell as their numbers increased, and rose again as growth slowed and reversed itself. But does increase in numbers for a particular group on the land imply success and prosperity, or does it imply competition for land and frustration? This question will be resolved to some extent when we come to ask who among the clansmen actually fathered bastards. Another interpretation might follow more general historical lines: in the sixteenth century high rates of illegitimate births correlated with a relatively obscure and inferior position for the clan within the existing land-holding social structure; during the pre-Civil War period a low rate accompanied the clan's rise to ascendancy in Badenoch and the development of the horse and cattle trade with England; the extraordinary doubling of the rate towards


the end of the seventeenth century may have reflected the condemnation and public humiliation of the clansmen as 'Malignants', the imposition of a military garrison on Badenoch (Macpherson 1893 : 377-83), and difficulties with superiors such as MacIntosh and the Duke of Gordon. Such an argument for the catastrophe theory, however, must assume that the Clann Mhuirich behaved differently from other components in the Badenoch population, and that Badenoch's experience was different from that of other districts.

      It is obvious that historical correlation of events of the kind discussed among the historical demographers is insufficient to explain the phenomenon of illegitimate birth. It fails to ask who fathered illegitimate children, and under what social circumstances procreation of bastards occurred. It fails to define the terminology in use among a particular social group to describe illegitimate birth. It lacks anthropological insight. In the present case, for instance, it should be noted that illegitimate descent was a fundamental feature of the Laggan social structure. The Sliochd Iain Léith Maclntoshes of Crathiemore and the Sliochd Iain Duibh MacDonalds of Gallovie and Aberarder, as already indicated (Macpherson 1967 : 160), were descended from natural sons of clan chiefs, and there is some possibility that the same was true of the Sliochd Choinnich Macphersons (Macpherson 1966 : 36). It would not be surprising, therefore, to find that the popular view of the procreation of bastards was markedly different from that of the church, and not only in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but also in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. John Dubh MacDonald, progenitor of the Sliochd Iain Dubh, was described as Gille-gun-iarraidh, literally 'a lad without an invitation' -- 'an unbidden lad' (Macpherson 1879 : 370); the term expresses humour and affection: it may also imply that pre-marital sexual experience was socially acceptable. Mrs Grant of Laggan, on the other hand, assures us that 'the conjugal union was held so sacred that infidelity was scarcely heard of ' (Macphail 1896:304).

      The Invereshie MS uses the terms 'bastard' and 'natural son', in one instance applying both to the same individual. It also uses the term 'concubine' in two instances: Donald Dubh Macpherson, progenitor of the legitimate family in Pitchirn, 'took as his concubine' Eveir Cameron of Glennevis from whom the Macphersons of Clune were descended; and Connie, a legitimate daughter of Donald Dubh of Pitchirn, was 'concubine' to John McAllester Og Macpherson of Knappach after the death of her husband, a paternal uncle of John McAllester Og (Macpherson 1966 : 17). In the case of John McAllester Og no legal marriage preceded or succeeded his liaison with Connie of Pitchirn. But Donald Dubh's association with Eveir Cameron followed the death of his legal wife. [3] The term also occurs a number of times in the Kinrara MS, and in each case refers to a liaison which preceded marriage or followed the death of a legal wife (Clark 1900 : 170, 195). The legality of a marriage resided in a written contract rather than in the sanction of the church, and it may be surmised that the term 'concubine' referred to a marriage without contract. The term certainly does not have the biblical connotation when used in the context of Highland custom.


      Gregory, in his discussion of the marital origins of the various clans of the MacDonalds descended from the Lords of the Isles, notes the recognition of two degrees of bastardy to which the terms 'natural' and 'carnal' were applied. 'Natural' offspring were the result of handfast or left-handed marriages, while 'carnal' children were the result of more casual relations (Gregory 1881: 41n). The Latin text of the Kinrara MS, on the other hand, distinguishes spurii, who were the offspring of a 'concubine', from nothi, who were natural children or simple bastards, and from nati, offspring of a second, uncontracted, marriage (Clark 1900:170, 182, 195, 205). Handfasting which has been defined as 'a contract of union for some short term of years only' (Argyll 1887: 171), invariably preceded legal marriage [4] and was terminated by it; that is, the wife of a left-handed marriage was set aside for the legal wife. Martin Martin's description of handfasting in the Western Isles further clarifies the position of the resulting offspring: 'It was an ancient custom in the Islands that a man should take a maid to his wife, and keep her for the space of a year without marrying her; and if she pleased him all the while, he married her at the end of the year and legitimated the children: but if he did not love her, he returned her to her parents, and her portion also; and if there happened to be any children they were kept by the father' (Martin 170 : 114). This implies that the offspring of handfast marriages were acknowledged by the father, who took full responsibility for them; as in the case of legitimate children, they took the clan of their father.

      Martin Martin goes on to assert that 'this unreasonable custom was long ago brought in disuse', but one may express some doubt as to the accuracy of this statement. The Invereshie MS, in fact, lends considerable support to the idea that pre-marital cohabitation or trial marriage prevailed in Badenoch until the end of the seventeenth century, and that such a form of marriage was often terminated by a contracted marriage to another woman, even where children had resulted from the handfast marriage. The manuscript genealogy records thirty-eight men (in generations VI-X) who fathered natural sons or bastards: of these fathers thirty-two had only one bastard son; of the six who had two bastards one had a son of a concubine after the death of his legal wife, and it is likely that another (William of Invereshie) had two 'bastards' from a liaison formed after the deaths of two legal wives; thirty-three of the fathers had legitimate offspring: one (in generation X) is explicitly stated to have had his natural son 'before his first marriage' [5] while the bastard son of another (in generation VIII) is mentioned before two legitimate sons. Furthermore, of the forty-four natural sons recorded twenty-eight were sired by tacksmen, some of whom were wadsetters and feuars; the rest were the sons of younger sons of tacksmen or collaterals. (The writer believes that if natural daughters had been recorded as well, this would simply have added to the list of leading men responsible.) It should also be noted that while the already established dùthchas of Knappach passed to a legitimate collateral line, other illegitimate sons acquired rights in the farms of Ovie and Clune, another became miller of Killihuntly, and still others made marriages with respectable families outside the clan. Finally, it is


unfortunate for our purpose here that only one mother besides the two concubines is named in the genealogy; otherwise it might have been possible to examine the relationship of endogamy to illegitimacy. However, enough has been adduced to show that illegitimacy in the Highlands until 1700 was not a result of casual immorality, but was the result of a socially acceptable practice entertained by many respectable tacksmen and leaders of the community. It was part of the mores of the Highland people, and had nothing to do with success or failure in life.

      In the light of the foregoing, it is now clear that the question as to how to interpret the data on illegitimacy in the Laggan Register must be re-phrased. We must ask rather if there is any evidence for the survival of the pre-1700 pattern of circumstances characterising illegitimacy after 1775. For the period 1775-1840 the evidence is as follows:
(a) in no instance does the baptismal entry lack the name of a putative father, quite unlike English practice (Wrigley 1966:125-27);


(b) in only one case (a farm servant) did any man father two bastards, and only one woman produced two (NOTE: The fathers were brothers; the years 1808 and 1810);

(c) there is no case of a man siring an illegitimate child after the birth of legitimate children;

(d) three couples married subsequently, and twelve men, including Colonel Duncan Macpherson of Clunie, can be identified later as husbands of other women;

(e) Several men can be identified as ancient possessors or principal tenants of farms; and

(f) liaisons were largely confined to the group of long-resident clans to which rights of possession of land adhered, and there were remarkably high percentages of endogamous liaisons among the Macphersons and MacDonalds. (See Table VII)

From this it seems clear that something of the pre-1700 customary practice must have persisted in Laggan well into the nineteenth century, obscured by the unsympathetic definitions of the church, and eventually replaced by the more casual extra-parochial relationships which characterised the years after 1834.

The second part of this paper has attempted to provide evidence for the contention that the agnatic structure of Highland society continued to operate as the basis for landholding till the end of the eighteenth century, and to a diminishing extent through the first and second quarters of the nineteenth century. This evidence, which incidentally provides the basis for a systematic account of the clan system, derives from an analysis of marriage patterns which reveals peculiarities specific to the culture and undoubtedly related to the agnatic principle and the dùthchas right. Marriage tended to be endogamous within the clan or, if exogamous, to be restricted to unions either between members of dominant clans or between members of a dominant clan and individuals belonging to one or other of the minor or dependent clans of the community. Members of dependent clans, therefore, probably laid as much stress upon affinal relationships with families belonging to dominant clans as upon agnatic connection with their fellow clansmen. Farm-endogamy, whether clan-endogamous or clan-exogamous, was simply an expression of one of these tendencies at the level of the small community on the individual conjoint or communal farm.

      Implicit in all this is the notion that women, in virtue of their agnatic relationships, shared some of the rights to residence -- and perhaps to usufruct -- that their brothers enjoyed.[6] On the other hand, there is some indication that women's rights in the clan did not necessarily or ordinarily extend to the acquisition of the dùthchas, the right of ancient possession, which adhered to the agnatic line. While there is evidence that many, perhaps most, families were matrilocal at one time or another, there is little evidence that dùthchas was often secured thereby. On the contrary, it would seem that matrilocal residence was normally a temporary arrangement, requiring eventual


migration elsewhere. That this was a cause of local migration within the parish is abundantly clear, but any attempt to determine to what extent inter-parish movement was promoted by the same factor would require similar analyses for adjacent parishes. Only by some such mechanism as this, however, could the primacy of dominant clans like the Macphersons, Maclntoshes and MacDonalds, and some of the old-established minor clans like the Davidson/MacKays and the MacIntyres, be maintained in the tracts where they held dùthchas.

      In those cases where matrilocality did lead to permanent residence and to acquisition of dùthchas by the families of sons-in-law belonging to other clans, the population of the individual conjoint farm or the tract eventually came to consist of minor sliochdan or agnatic lineages belonging to a number of different clans. The general dùthchas to the farm continued to reside with the head of the leading family which represented the interests of the dominant clan of the tract, that is, the principal tacksman. But as continued farm-endogamy and clan-exogamy reinforced the bonds which had brought the various components of the small community together in the first place, the initial right to matrilocal residence was gradually replaced by a dùthchas attached to an individual share or holding in the farm. We may suppose that such minor dùthchas rights were subsumed under the general dùthchas to the farm, and were an expression of the dependence of the minor sliochdan upon the family of the principal tacksman.

      The foregoing interpretation appears to make sense of the geographical and historical peculiarities of the community in Laggan at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries, described in the first part of this paper: the presence of several clans in the parish, each associated with particular farms and tracts of land, each showing great continuity of tenure, and none having exclusive possession of land in any one farm or tract. It seems appropriate, therefore, to conclude Part II of this paper with a quotation from Evans-Pritchard's classic study of the Nuer which would equally apply to the Scottish Highlanders:

      ". . . local clusters of kin comprise persons of different clans . . . and, moreover, they are not fixed compositions. Their members, individuals and families, move often and freely, going to stay seasonally or for many years, with different kinsmen in other villages . . ., generally, though not always, in the same tribal area. Wherever they go they are easily incorporated into the new community through one or more kinship links . . .. There are no closed communities. Villages . . . are spatially separated, but they merge into one another socially through a multitude of cross-strands of kinship between persons as well as forming parts of a single political structure.

      I suggest that it is the clear, consistent, and deeply rooted lineage structure . . . which permits persons and families to move about and attach themselves so freely, for shorter or longer periods, to whatever community they choose, by whatever cognatic or affinal tie they find it convenient to emphasize; and that it is on account of the firm values of the structure that this flux does not cause confusion or bring about social disintegration. It would seem it may be partly just because the agnatic principle is unchallenged . . . that the tracing of descent through women is so prominent and matrilocality so prevalent. However


much the actual configurations of kinship clusters may vary and change, the lineage structure is invariable and stable." (Evans-Pritchard 1951 : 28, 29).


[1] It is interesting to note, in view of the different methods of counting used in Tables I and II, that the proportions of husbands and wives supplied to the community by each clan are generally very close to the proportion of the community taken up by each clan in terms of numbers of families; their corroboration suggests that the assumptions about the nature of the data in the Register which were made in the introduction to this study (Part I) are essentially correct.

[2] As Lieutenant-Colonel Donald Macpherson (1755-1829) he commanded the 10th Royal Veterans at Kingston, Ontario, during the War Of 1812 (1812-14), and founded prominent families at Napanee and Kingston, Ontario. The Kingston family was closely related to, and involved in the public life of Sir John A. Macdonald, first prime minister of the Canadian Confederation.

[3] According to a genealogy of 1669, Kenneth MacKenzie of Scatwell (d. 166-) 'left two natural sons gotten in his widowhood' after two legal marriages (Clark 1900 : 95).

[4] The 1669 genealogy of the MacKenzies gives two instances of this: Hector Ruadh MacKenzie, first of Gairloch (early 16th c.), took 'to his first wife a daughter to the Laird of Grant; but she died before the solenmizing of their marriage; yet she bare him a son . . .'; and Rorie Mór MacKenzie, first of Achilty (d. 1533), took 'to his first wife a daughter to Ferquhar MacHeachin.. . MacLean, with whom, nevertheless, he was not solemnly married' although they had three sons (Clark 1900:70, 83).

[5] This phrase is a recurring one in Highland genealogies. For instance, the 1669 genealogy of the MacKenzies records that Kenneth, fourth of Kintail (early 14th c.), 'before his marriage to Finguala MacLeod of Lewis had three bastard sons'; a 1716 genealogy of the MacLeans records that Lauchlan Bronnach MacLean of Duart (c. 1400) 'had a son before marriage by MacEachern of Kingerloch's daughter', from whom the MacLeans of Ardgour and of Borera in Uist were descended; and a 1729 genealogy of the Grants strikes the right note when it records that Sir John Grant of Fruichy (c. 1600) 'had.. . a son before marriage, . . . a young man of much sagacity, for whom his father ... possessed much kindness and who was the progenitor of the Grants of Clurie (Clark 1900 : 5 8, 114,126).

[6] This seems to be somewhat akin to the current survival of a system on Tory Island off the coast of Donegal where women virtually have equal right of succession to land with their brothers. The social structure on Tory, however, is quite different from that of Scottish Gaeldom, being based on 'the principle of overlapping of cognatic descent groups', so that every individual belongs to several clann-groups, each descended from a common ancestor through women as well as men (Fox 1966:12).


1887      Scotland as it was and as it is. 2nd edn. Edinburgh.

CLARK, J. T. (ed.)
1900      'De Origine et Incremento Makintoshiorum Epitome.' In: Genealogical Collections concerning families in Scotland, made by Walter Macfarlane, 1730-1751, Vol. I. Scottish History Society 33 : 144-404. Edinburgh.

1951      Kinship and Marriage among the Nuer. Oxford.

FOX, J. R.
1966      'Kinship and Land Tenure on Tory Island,' Ulster Folklife 12 : 1-17.


1960      Beauvais et les Beauvaisis. Paris.

1881      The History of the Western Highlands and Isles of Scotland from A.D. 1493 to A.D. 1625.2nd edn. Edinburgh.

1880      An Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language. Edinburgh.

1965      The World We Have Lost. London.

MACPHAIL, J. R. N. (ed.)
1896      'Letters concerning Highland affairs in the 18th century', by Mrs Grant of Laggan. Scottish History Society 26 : 249-330. Edinburgh.

1966      'An old Highland genealogy and the evolution of a Scottish clan.' Scottish Studies 10 : 1-43
1967      'An Old Highland Parish Register, I.' Scottish Studies11 : 149-92.

1893      Glimpses of Church and Social Life in the Highlands in Olden Times, and other papers. Edinburgh.

1879      'The Clandonald of Keppoch.' Celtic Magazine 4: 368-75.

1830      'A summary view of the principle of population.' In: Three Essays on Population, ed. F. W. Notestein. New York.

1716      A description of the Western Islands of Scotland. London.

1902      'The Loyall Dissuasive and other papers concerning the affairs of Clan Chattan: by Sir Aeneas Macpherson, Knight of Invereshie, 1691-1705.' Scottish History Society 41. Edinburgh.

PATON, H. (ed.)
1900      The Mackintosh Munitnents, 1442-1820. Privately printed.

WRIGLEY, E. A. (ed.)
1966      An introduction to English Historical Demography from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century. London.




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