Dedicated to

Ewen George Macpherson of Cluny Macpherson,

Chief of the Clan, and

Hon. President of the Clan Association.





All contributions, advertisements, etc.,
should be sent to:
Colin C. I. Murdoch,
Editor, " Creag Dhubh,"
c/o J. & R. Simpson, 52 Kempock Street, Gourock.
Contributors and Advertisers -- See Notices on P. 52.



Office-Bearers    4
Badenoch, 1950    5
Obituary.,    8
News and Notes   9
Lord Macpherson of Drumochter, a short biography   10
Which Badge -- Whortleberry, Boxwood or White Heather?   12
Photograph of Lochan Ovie   13
Photograph of Group at the AGM, 1950   14
Muriach -- Did He Have Papal Dispensation to Marry?   16
Dancing -- A New Scottish Ballet by Massine   17
The Clan Chattan Chiefship -- A Commentary and Criticism   19
Clan Battle on the North Inch   21
Reports from the Branches   26
Balance Sheet of Association Accounts   32
Festival of Britain   34
List of Members, UK   35
Photograph of Group at the AGM, 1950   39
Photograph of Col. ER Rivers-Macpherson, Glengarry Games, Ont, 1950
and Group at Annual Dinner dace, England and Wales Branch, 1949
List of Members, Overseas Branches   47
Membership Summary as of 30 September 1950   51
Notices   52



Hon. President:

Chief of the Clan. Hon. Vice-President:
Lt.-Col. A. K. MACPHERSON of Pitmain. M.V.O., Kingussie

Major NIALL MACPHERSON, M.P., High Larch, Iver Heath, Bucks. COUNCIL.

Chairman :
Rt. Hon. Lord MACPHERSON of Drumochter,
Fairstead, Great Warley, Essex.

Vice-Chairman :
Lt-Col. Allan I. MACPHERSON, Innie, Kilniver, Oban, Argyll.

Hon. Secretary:
A. F. MACPHERSON, W.S., 16 Castle Street, Edinburgh,

Hon. Treasurer :
ALLAN G. MACPHERSON, Tigh-Tiorail, 32 Crown Drive, Inverness

Registrar :
NORMAN L. MACPHERSON, 44 Berridale Avenue, Cathcart, Glasgow, S.4.



EAST OF SCOTLAND- A.I.S. MACPHERSON, M.B., F.R.C.S.26 Learmonth Crescent, Edinburgh, 4.

HUGH MACPHERSON73 Balgreen Road, Edinburgh, 12.

WEST OF SCOTLAND- Rev. ROBERT MACPHERSON, M.A.Craigrownie Manse, Cove, Dumbartonshire.

HAMISH MACPHERSON,1356 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow, S.1,
JOHN MACPHERSON,St. Margarets, Midmills Road.

ALLAN G. MACPHERSON, Tigh-Tiorail, 32 Crown Drive.
Bideford, Devon.

J. GORDON MACPHERSON,Normans, Great Warley, Brentwood, Essex.
CANADA- Hon. EWEN A. McPHERSON, Chief Justice of Manitoba

O.B.E., F.R.S.A., F.R.G.S.,
16 Delaware Avenue, Ottawa.
NEW ZEALAND- ROBERT McPHERSON, C.B.E. P.O. Box 1280, Christchurch.

DANIEL MACPHERSONSec. 7, Otahuti R.D., Southland.

Clan Pipers :

Hon. Auditor .
KENNETH N. McPHERSON, C.A., Edinburgh.

Editor of Clan Annual:
c/o J & R Simpson
52 Kempock Street, Gourock



      THOUGH 1950 was to be a "no Rally" year, the Annual General Meeting and attendant events in August at Newtonmore and Kingussie had the unmistakable air about them of a gathering of Macphersons. A business meeting held on the bracken slopes of Creag Dhubh, on the land belonging to the Clan Association, overlooking the birch-reflecting waters of Lochan Ovie and the woods of Glen Truim, could hardly be otherwise.

      During Saturday morning, August 26th, the Council Meeting was held in the luxurious comfort of the Balavil Arms Hotel, Newtonmore. The rain came down then in heaviest Highland fashion; but by the time members began to make their way along the Laggan road by bus and car to the afternoon meeting place the rain had relented and it was a pleasant afternoon.

      Some sixty members of the Association, colourful in tartan, gathered in the marquee which had been erected on the green slope above the road. To the strain of the pipes, friends from far and near greeted one another. Business was to be transacted in the most delightfully informal setting imaginable.

      The Chairman, Tom Macpherson, opened the proceedings and Niall Macpherson, M.P., officiating for the last time as Secretary, read the minutes of the last meeting. We learned with regret that Niall, a driving force in the Association from its earliest beginnings, found it impossible to continue in office owing to his heavy Parliamentary commitments. The Chairman reported a highly successful year in Clan Association affairs, with a membership now of 750, and a new branch being formed in Auckland to cover the large population of North New Zealand. Tom Macpherson read a letter of greeting from the founder and first chairman of the new branch, H. I. Macpherson, Editor of the Auckland Herald. This meeting was glad, said our Chairman amid applause, to welcome the new members to the Association.

      The next matter dealt with, which had been discussed at considerable length at the Council meeting in the morning, was the responsibility which the Association felt for the upkeep of St. Columba's Old Parish Church burial ground in Kingussie. This, stressed the speaker, was a historic site of particular and very personal interest to the Clan Macpherson. There were three main reasons why this old burial ground should be cared for by us: first, because it was the original site of the old church of St. Columba; secondly, because many members of the Clan were buried there; and thirdly, because it was no longer the responsibility of any local body or authority, being no longer in use. It was agreed in

principle that the Association should accept responsibility for its upkeep, and the Council were empowered to investigate and make arrangements.

      The still more pressing need of the Association for a Clan House, to be a museum and headquarters in Badenoch, was next dealt with. The Chairman said that investigations were still going ahead and he hoped that at last we had a suitable property within our grasp.

      The plans for the 1951 Festival of Britain events in Edinburgh, which are to include a Clan Rally there from August 16th to 19th, were then discussed. The Chairman referred to some criticism that had been much publicised in the press, and assured us that no "ridiculous march along Princes Street " had been planned, but a Rally and Highland Games at Murrayfield which had the enthusiastic support of a large number of Clan Associations. Details of the events are given elsewhere in this issue (see p. 34). The setting up of joint Clan Offices for the use of members of all Clans, in Princes, Street, was arranged, and these offices would be staffed by representatives from the various Associations, during the whole of the Festival period, from May to September.

      Finally the Chairman welcomed all those present and especially those who had travelled far to come to this meeting. We were proud, he said, to have members from India (Mrs D. F. McPherson) and others from as far afield as London! -- and all corners of these Islands.

      The Treasurer, A. F. Macpherson, then presented the finance statement which was approved by the meeting. A copy of the Accounts will be found on pages 32-33. Election of office-bearers followed. "Tom" (as we all know him) was re-elected Chairman; he hinted though, that it would soon be someone else's turn! Niall's decision was accepted with regret, and, on the proposal of the Reverend Robert Macpherson, an enthusiastic vote of thanks was passed for the work done by him as Secretary. Our past Treasurer, A. F. Macpherson, was elected as Secretary, a post which he accepted saying that it would indeed be difficult to fill Niall's place. His task as Treasurer was in turn shouldered by Allan G. Macpherson of the Inverness branch. Niall was elected an Honorary Vice-President in recognition of his services. The other officials of the Association were all reelected.

      Business ended, the rain that had sounded again for a time on the canvas of the marquee, cleared and outside the sun shone, glistening on the grass and tall bracken of the hill side. Tea followed, a liberal spread arranged by ladies of the Badenoch branch. Outside the tent members talked, in the sunlight and looked out on as fine an array of tree-hung crag, calm loch, and distant hill as may be found anywhere. It was good to be so intimately placed on the face of our own hill, among grey rock, and always the beautiful silver birches climbing the heights to the grey crags above.       Against such a setting groups were photographed, the photographer doing his best to compensate for the steepness of the

ground which we had felt too during the meeting inside the marquee. We had taken to our own hills indeed! It was fitting that while we were gathered there two golden eagles should come sailing out from behind the hill top, and circle for a while, long-winged and dark against the white clouds above the rugged crests of Creag Dhubh.

      Back in Newtonmore, the day's proceedings ended with an informal dance held in the Balavil Arms Hotel. A large number of members and their friends enjoyed an excellent dance, acclaimed "the best yet." Once more the management and staff of the Balavil have to be thanked for their very considerable contribution to the success of the evening.

      On Sunday members joined the congregation in the morning service at St. Columba's Parish Church, Kingussie, the service being conducted by the Very Reverend D. Macfarlane, D.D. The service in that beautiful church many have come to look upon as the traditional and proper ending to Macpherson functions in. Badenoch.


      August 26th, 1950, will be a day that, I think, neither my wife nor I shall ever forget, for not only did it bring us into the happy atmosphere of the Annual General Meeting of the Clan Association, but for the first time we were on Clan Land in Badenoch, and really on ancestral ground. It was an experience to stir the blood and set the imagination working-how indeed could it be otherwise when we realised that above us was Cluny's Cave, and a short distance further on, Cluny's Castle?

      While writing this, I have just remembered something I have not thought of for years: a French master at Westminster always used to call me Cluny; and this, long before I knew anything of the Clan Story.

      How rain-sodden that hillside was when our bus deposited us at "the spot," and we climbed up, slipping and almost splashing, to the marquee! But, as our Chairman remarked later: "It takes more than a drop of rain to daunt the Macphersons." How can one describe the welcome that we received from all; it was so warm, so spontaneous, and made us immediately feel that we were among our ain folk, as indeed we were. Shall we ever forget, too, the inexpressible beauty of the scene when, at the dose of the meeting, the clouds lifted and the sun came out and showed us the little loch across the road with the wonderful reflections of mountain and sky? or again the colourful scene as our own hillside became dotted with members of the Clan in kilts and bonnets?

      As a climax to a memorable day came the dance in the evening at the Balavil Arms when we two, who had never taken part in a Scottish dance before, were helped through the Grand March and Eightsome Reel. The warmth of welcome was here just as great, and we came away feeling that we really belong."

                                                            ARTHUR S. MACPHERSON, London,

     We regret to have to record the deaths of the following members and extend to their relatives our sympathy :

      North Scotland -- Duncan Macpherson, 44 Lovat Road, Inverness.

      East Scotland -- Mrs Robert Stewart Lyall Macpherson, Blythehill, Balmyle Road, Broughty Ferry West, Angus.

      West Scotland -- Mrs Catherine Luke Macpherson Maracle, 3 Lime Street, Greenock, Renfrewshire.
            Mrs Margaret Macpherson, Cottage 4, Milncroft, Millerston, Glasgow.
           David Orr Macpherson, 554 Bilsland Drive, Glasgow, N.W.

      England and Wales -- John Macpherson, 363 Park Road, Oldham, Lancs.
           F/O. John Henry Alastair Macpherson, No. 2 A.N.S., R.A.F., Middleton St. George, Co. Durham.
           William Macpherson, M.A., 191 Highgate, Heaton, Bradford, Yorks.
           Mrs Gertrude Helena Masters, 148 Castlenau, Barnes, London, S.W. 13.

Mrs Gertrude Helena Masters.
      Mrs Gertrude Helena Masters (nee Macpherson), a descendant of Cluny of the '45, died on February 8th, 1950, in her 80th year. She was the sister of Donald David Macpherson of Radbrook Hall, Shrewsbury, and of Gaskmore House, Laggan. It was this latter house that Mr Macpherson rebuilt on the site of the old house occupied by his ancestor -- Col. Donald Macpherson, who raised the Cluny Volunteers in 1798.

William Macpherson, M.A., F.E.I.S.
      The late William Macpherson, M.A., F.E.I.S., was the younger son of Major James Farquharson Macpherson, late of Corrachree, Tarland, Aberdeenshire. He was educated at the Royal High School, Edinburgh, and St. Andrews University. During his university course he gained first and second places in every subject taken, these including Greek, Logic and Metaphysics, and Advanced Philosophy. In 1895 he took the degree of M.A. with First Class Honours in Mental and Moral Philosophy and Second Class Honours in Classics. His record of scholarship continued through his career. In 1897 he was appointed Headmaster of St. Andrews Scotch School,


Buenos Aires, a post which he held till the end of 1903, when he decided to continue the work of his profession at home.

      Among his later appointments were, in 1920, that of Chief Inspector of Schools, Bradford, Yorkshire; Lecturer at the London Day Training School; and Inspector of Schools to the London County Council. He retired at the age of 65, while still retaining the former appointment.

      During his career he published a number of books, including A Book of Comparative Verse (1909), and The Psychology of Persuasion (1920). He was also a frequent lecturer on literary and philosophical societies.

      During the first World War he served as a volunteer in the Sportsman's Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, and received a wound which seriously affected his health for the rest of his life.

      In his younger days Mr Macpherson was keen on sport, particularly football and golf, and he was a fine horseman. He loved the country scene and the open air, and throughout his life found great pleasure in long walks, even at the age of sixty managing twenty miles' walking in the day.

      His many friends knew him as a man of great integrity, great learning, and above all absolute justice; and as one whose remarkable scholarship and great gifts as an organiser were blended with kindliness and an unassuming manner.



New Year Honours
      In the New Year Honours List, 1951, three members of our Association won great distinction. That our Chairman, "Tom," has been elevated to the Peerage will by now be well known; but a little more publicity for his many previous achievements and distinctions is overdue, and there could be no better opportunity than this of putting right this omission in our pages. The Editor is indebted to a member of the Association for the biographical note which follows on pages 10 and 11.

      Honours gained were:
           Baron -- Mr Thomas Macpherson, M.P. for Romford, 1945-50.


           Order of St. Michael and St. George. Knights Grand Cross. -- Sir John Stuart Macpherson, K.C.M.G., Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Nigeria.

           Order of the British Empire. Member (M.B.E.) Civil Division -- The Reverend John Roderick Macpherson, minister of St. Andrew's Church, Kirkintilloch; Founder of the Kirkintilloch Junior Choir.

      The late Sir Stewart Macpherson left a legacy to Newtonmore School to provide a Book Prize for the Dux pupil each year.

      The Vice-Chairman of the East of Scotland Branch, D. Stewart Macpherson, of 22 Learmonth Crescent, Edinburgh, has been appointed Manager of the Accident Department of the Scottish Union and National Insurance Company, Limited, Edinburgh, on the retiral of the previous manager. He took up his appointment at the end of July, 1950.

      Lt.-Col. A. K. Macpherson of Pitmain has been appointed Deputy Lieutenant for Inverness-shire.

      In the Aberdeen University pass list of summer 1950, William J. (Iain) Macpherson, son of Mr and Mrs T. J. Macpherson, 57 Kingsmills Road, Inverness, graduated M.A. with First Class Honours in Economic Science. He was also awarded the Stephen Scholarship in Economics, and is now at Peterhouse, Cambridge.

      At the Annual Highland Bonspiel, held at Crossmyloof Ice Rink, Glasgow, the Macpherson Clan Rink has had a good run of successes, having won their matches versus all their opponents for the past two years. Two years ago they won the medal (second prize) for the highest aggregate scores.

     Donald Macpherson, Thornton, Fife; Noble Macpherson, Scone, Perthshire; W. Macpherson and A. Macpherson (skip), both of Auchterarder, Perthshire, was the last season's team.

      It is a matter of great satisfaction and pleasure to members of the Association that our popular and much respected Chairman, Tom Macpherson, has received a well earned recognition of his many public services by elevation to the Peerage in the New Year


Honours List. The following summary of his career will, no doubt, be of interest at this time.      Born on 19th July, 1888, at Glasgow, where he was educated, Tom entered the Food and Produce business in which he has been engaged in Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester, and for the last 32 years in London. He is now Chairman and joint Managing Director of Macpherson, Train & Co., Ltd., Foreign and Colonial Food and Produce Importers and Exporters, London, and subsidiary Companies. A member and office-bearer, in many Trade Associations, Tom was Chairman of the London Provision Exchange in 1941 and took an active part in Food Defence Plans organisation in 1938-39, was Regional Port Director for Scotland for The Ministry of War Transport from 1942 to 1945, a member of the Port of London Authority since 1949, and was responsible for organising the Thames Water Bus Service, being Chairman of the Thames' Passenger Services Committee since. 1947. He is a Freeman, of the City of London.

      Our Chairman has also taken an active part in many charitable and public bodies and in the life of the Free Churches in Romford district. Elected Labour M.P. for Romford in 1945, he was for five years Vice-Chairman of the Food and Agriculture Committee of the Parliamentary Labour Patty until he lost his seat in the 1950 General Election.

      In the 1914-1919 War Tom served with the H.L.I., being awarded the Meritorious Services Medal and twice Mentioned in Dispatches. He has had fifteen years' service with the TA., and he was awarded in the 1939-1945 War the American Medal of Freedom with Silver Palms for services to the U.S. Army and made an Officer of the Order of Orange Nassau for services to the Netherlands shipping.

      Tom and his wife, Mrs Lucy Macpherson who was the eldest daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Arthur Butcher of Maldon, Essex, have one son, James Gordon Macpherson (who is Secretary of the English Branch of the Association) and two daughters, the elder of whom, Mrs Nan Davies, lives in U.S.A., while the younger, Miss Shona Macpherson, lives with her parents. There are four grandchildren.

      A keen sportsman, Tom played Rugby for Headingley and Eccles, and is President of the Romford F.C. One of his principal interests now is his pedigree herd of Ayrshire cattle on his farm at Great Watley, Essex.

      Tom has been Chairman of the Association since its inception and was a prime mover in the acquisition of the Relics from Cluny Castle when exposed to sale in Glasgow, and in the activities which led to the formation of the Association.



      WHEN the world was younger, it was necessary to employ some badge or emblem to distinuish one clan from another and to, know friend from foe in the many skirmishes, frays and forays in which our forefathers took such delight and by which they replenished their granaries and larders. This badge was distinct from the crest (the sitting cat in our own case) which is now generally recognised as belonging to the Clan, but which in earlier days was the prerogative of the Chief, worn only by himself, his family and immediate retainers.

      The badge was usually a plant, bush or tree which grew in some profusion in the district of the clan which chose it, and was worn on the headdress, or fixed in some prominent position to be easily seen and recognised.

      Searching through the authorities from whom, it may be thought, a decisive answer would be got, the enquirer is amazed at the number of such badges or emblems assigned to one clan, and at the frequency with which one badge is apportioned to several different clans.

      In the case of the Macphersons three emblems are given, with the appearance of authority, by those who have evidently taken great pains to assure themselves that they have got the rights of the matter; it is, however, from this multiplicity that the question "Which Badge ?" arises.

      The three badges associated with Clan Macpherson are Red Whortleberry, Boxwood, and White Heather.

      That the Red Whortleberry was the original badge of the Clan there can be little doubt, for as long as Clan Chattan was an entity this plant was the recognised emblem by which that Clan was known, and Clan Macpherson, as the senior member of that confederation, and as the branch from which the Chief was drawn, would have a prescriptive right to use it. Later, when the alliance was broken up or dissolved, the constituent members would also retain it for their own use, so that, to-day, it is found that several of the old Clan Chattan members still took on the Red Whortleberry as their Badge, while others have chosen other emblems.

      That the Red Whortleberry* is a plant indigenous to Badenoch and to other parts of our native land cannot be denied, but this is not so in the case of Boxwood, second on our list. Botanical experts say that Boxwood was introduced to Britain by the Romans, and it cannot, therefore, be said to be native. Additionally it requires lime or chalk for its growth, and as these elements are noticeably absent from the peat of the soil in which the Red Whortleberry flourishes, Boxwood can only be found in very scattered areas

* commonly called "Cranberry" in Scotland, where the true Cranberry is comparatively rare. -- Ed. [Its called "High-bush Cranberry" in eastern Canada -- RM]


Photograph of Lochan Ovie


The Annual General Meeting Took Place on CMA Land
on the Slopes of Creag Dhubh


and in very sparse numbers in the Clan Macpherson country.       Boxwood leaves are nearest in appearance to Red Whortleberry and, doubtless, when a raid took place in a country where Boxwood abounded it would be taken and used as "the next best thing. Some writers, who might be considered as authorities, say that Boxwood is the oldest Badge, but a little consideration of the foregoing statement will prove that this can hardly he so.

      Turning now to the last of the three plants -- White Heather -- what is to be said for and against this choice? It is a native of our Scottish hills and grows in our peaty soil; but its scarcity and the infrequency with which it is found must be argued against it, along with the fact that it is only to be gathered at certain times of the year.

      The story of the adoption of White Heather as the Clan Badge is one of the romantic traditions of Clan Macpherson and will appeal to the Jacobite as well as to the true Clansman. It relates to the events of the '45 or rather to post-Culloden days. The Cluny of the '45 had been sheltering Prince Charlie in the "cage" on Ben Alder. When, after the Prince had made his escape to France, Cluny was being escorted by his clansmen on his return to the neighbourhood of Cluny Castle they were overtaken by one of the darkest nights it had ever been their lot to experience. So dark was it that the clansmen, refusing to go any farther that night, insisted on bivouacking where they were in order to ensure the safety of the Chief. After some discussion, for Cluny was desirous of getting as near home as possible, this course was adopted and Chief and Clansmen slept as and where they were. A watch was set as it was known that Government troops were on the search for Cluny, but, with the exception of one man, all fell sound asleep. During the night that one wakeful man heard the galloping of horses evidently coming towards the bivouac. What was the sentry to do? Should he awaken the others ? Should he let them sleep and trust that the horseman would pass? If he were to awaken the sleeping men would they be sufficiently alert and would they be able to make their preparations without noise which would draw the attention of the Royalists ? Such was his dilemma. His decision was to let the camp remain asleep and trust to the darkness of the night to hide them.

      When Cluny awakened in the morning he was told of his escape. Casting his eyes downwards to where he had lain he saw that he had been sleeping on a clump of White Heather, and in acknowledgment of and thankfulness for his safety he declared that, henceforward, the Badge of the Clan Macpherson would be White Heather.

      This tradition of the Clan, reaching back, as it does, for over two hundred years, tells of only one of the many hairbreadth escapes that Cluny of the '45 had, thanks to the unflinching loyalty of his clansmen and women, and may be accounted a reason, as good as many another in like circumstances, for the adoption as the Clan Badge of Fraoch Geal or White Heather.


MURIACH [Did the Pope Grant Permission to Marry?].

      "THE name Macpherson denoting 'son of the Parson' is traditionally derived from Muriach, Parson of Kingussie, 1173, who married a daughter of the Thane of Cawdor, under an alleged dispensation from the Pope, which in view of the Celtic custom of a married Clergy, was most likely never obtained."

      I have quoted the above from Tartans, Clans and Families of Scotland, by Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, the Lord Lyon King of Arms.

      I have always been intrigued by this statement of "Papal Dispensation" which has been attributed to that versatile, and ingenious Advocate in the reign of Charles II. I refer to Sir Aeneas Macpherson, whose early history of the Clan Macpherson is still accepted to this day as the best authentic account. It is interesting to note that several contemporary writers have challenged this alleged dispensation.

      In 1930 I determined to put Sir Aeneas's statement to the test, and I wrote to a friend in the Vatican, supplying him with all the known relevant details. A year later the reply was received and it may now prove of interest to members of the Clan.

Statement by The Vatican, 1931

      "The series of Pontifical registers which constitutes, in the Vatican Archives, the basis of the Regesti Vaticani is only complete from the Pontificate of Innocent III. In them can he found registered at the. time of publication, all Acts (Bulls?) emanating from the Chancellery. If the privilege accorded to the Vicar of Kingussie was not anterior Innocent III, one could be certain finding it recorded in this register.

      "Besides this series of registers, there is no complete collection of Pontifical Acts (or Papal Bulls). I looked in Garampi's Schedano for the words Kingussie and Macpherson in the Miscellaneous date 1173 (chronological series) but without success. I also consulted the files of the Instrumenta Miscellanea, also the analytical inventory of the Archives of the Castle of St. Angelo, without finding any mention of the privilege in question. If any trace existed in the Vatican Archives it would have been without doubt recorded by Garampi."

      Pope Innocent III held the Office from 1198 to 1216 AM., therefore records anterior to 1198 are considered to be incomplete. In the Catholic Church, celibacy was strictly enforced, with certain reservations, after the Council of Nicea, 325 A.D., and I have tried to trace through various channels, the rules governing the Celtic Clergy of the day, but without result. As the Lyon suggests, it


may have been the custom for the Celtic Clergy to marry at that time. Even to-day the Ukrainian Catholic Clergy are permitted to marry, and several of the latter, together with their families, are now domiciled in Canada.

      However, there would appear to be a loophole owing to the lack of records at the time, so Sir Aeneas may be correct in his statement that the Papal blessing was bestowed on Muriach's marriage. Thus we can breathe freely!

      Be it as it may, the Clan Macpherson to-day are the proud descendants of Muriach, the great and historic Parson of Kingussie, who has given. us our cherished name.


DANCING [Choreographer Tells of Plans For A New Scottish Ballet]

      IT is good news for Highland and Scottish Country dancing enthusiasts that there is to be a new Scottish ballet composed by the greatest living choreographer, Leaned Mason, a Russian. In a press interview given after his Festival Performance in Edinburgh last summer, this dynamic, middle-aged man made several interesting comments on the dance in Scotland:

      He by saying that his new ballet would be based on Scottish traditional steps translated into the classical idiom. On first thoughts one might feel that the result could be appalling! But we need have no fear for has he not already given us "Le Tricorne" which does the same with Spanish steps? His contention is that all ballet, must, draw upon the folk dance, from which it springs. The new ballet, is based on an old legend so there will be a story -- not one of those, abstract affairs.

      Leonide Massine then said that the steps used in Scottish dancing originated from Old French sources and that these steps were brought over to the Scottish Royal Courts from France where the custom was for the King and high-born nobles; to perform in long pageants or "ballets" (often with a political significance -- diplomacy at its peak!). The relations between France and Scotland being what they were, 'tis no wonder that the Highland Chiefs took these "pas" back to Badenoch!

      At the end of his interview the reporters asked Mr Massine if he himself could perform in Scottish Highland dancing. He replied that he had spent months studying the subject, and could dance the Sword Dance and Seann Truhhas with the best of them.

       Apart from revue, the last time a Scottish subject was used in ballet was, over a hundred years ago, when La Taglioni danced in "La Sylphide," a tale of a woodland spirit who so fascinated a Highland gamekeeper (tartan-clad according to the old prints) that he broke off his engagement on the eve of his wedding with tragic results.

      This is now a period piece, not danced nowadays. But there is material enough in Celtic folklore and Highland history for the creation of new ballets, following the lead of Massine. -- A. M.


Macpherson , Train & Co, Ltd Advertisement


THE CLAN CHATTAN CHIEFSHIP.-- A Commentary and a Criticism.

      In the Scots Law Times for 6th May, 1950, appear two Lyon Court Reports dated 18th March and 25th March, 1947, on the Chiefship of Clan Mackintosh and Clan Chattan respectively.

      The reports are too long for any exhaustive commentary or criticism to be made through the columns of Creag Dhubh, but even such a staunch partisan of the Mackintoshes as Evan Barron, in his review of The Mackintoshes of Clan Chattan by Mrs Mackintosh of Mackintosh, in the Inverness Courier, states (referring to the two separate Chiefships) that such views as pronounced by Lyon were not acceptable to historians. But it is the second judgment -- of 25th March, 1947 -- on which the writer wishes to make a few brief comments: "The Lord Lyon King of Arms found in fact inter alia ... that the blue galley historically and technically relates the undifferenced Clan Chattan Arms in Mackintosh's 4th Quarter, etc."

      If the " Blue " galley is now discovered to be the historic galley of Clan Chattan, why, when Cluny Macpherson's Arms were matriculated in March, 1672, to him as representer of the ancient family of Clan Chattan, was he given a gold galley ?

      Also if the "blue" galley is the sign of Clan Chattan, why, when Lord Lyon Erskine, owing to the powerful representations of Mackintosh aided by the Privy Council, reversed his decision and declared in a letter to Cluny, of September, 1672, that he had written to tell Mackintosh that he considered him (Mackintosh) to be Chief "comprehending the Macphersons" -- and at the same time withdrawing Cluny's supporters -- did he, when matriculating Mackintosh's Arms in 1679, give him a black galley in his 4th Quarter -- indicating Clan Chattan ?

      Here the old at arguments for Cluny's case could again be brought up (i.e., why were the March 1672 Arms which were registered to him as representer of Clan Chattan still left to him -- though without supporters -- in his fresh matriculation of September 1672) but as these arguments can never be settled it is useless taking up the matter here again.

      It may, however, be useful to mention that the claim of Cluny to be Chief of Clan Chattan is based on his descent in the male line from the uncle of the heiress who married Angus Mackintosh in the Fourteenth Century, on the ground that the Chiefship passes in the male succession, unless the husband of the heiress adopts the Clan name. Mackintosh claims that since the marriage his


ancestors were accepted by the Clan as a whole for centuries as their "Captain" which according to his view is equivalent to Chief."

      But we now have the extraordinary position of three separate Lyons Kings of Arms granting on three separate occasions three different coloured galleys as indicative of the representation of Clan Chattan :--
            (a) The gold galley registered to Cluny in March, 1672;
            (b) The black galley registered to Mackintosh in September, 1679, also as representer of Clan Chattan
            (c) The blue galley now registered to Mackintosh, nearly three hundred years later, by the present Lord Lyon.

So much for the "historic" blue galley of Clan Chattan. But the most puzzling statement in this judgment of 25th March, 1947, is that which contains the words although the Western part of these lands, including the Chief Seat Of Torcastle, were conveyed to Lochiel under a forced sale in 1664, the designation 'of Torcastle' was specifically reserved in the deed and retained by The Mackintosh as indicative of the Chiefship of Clan Chattan." Accordingly, Lyon now styles Duncan Elliott Mackintosh as Mackintosh-Torcastle."

      It is to the writer's certain knowledge that Torcastle never belonged to the Mackintosh Chiefs, either by title or possession. One Lachlan Mackintosh merely styled himself "of Torcastle" to annoy Lochiel -- Torcastle being at the time Lochiel's family seat. Tor Castle never formed part of the disputed lands of Loch Arkaig and Glen Loy, which dispute was settled by a cash payment made by Lochiel in 1664. Tor Castle is certainly not mentioned in any Deed Of Settlement, so far as the present Lochiel knows.

      Tor Castle formed part of the Barony of Lochiel which was forfeited by Lochiel in early 1660, and bestowed by the Crown on Loch Buie, bought back by Argyle and re-bestowed on Lochiel by Argyle for a nominal Fen Duty of £l 3s 0d or thereabouts, which is still paid to this day. Tor Castle was built by one of Lochiel's ancestors and it was the family seat till about 1690, or a little later, when Sir Ewan Cameron built Achnacarry and destroyed the old Castle at Tor, as it was too near the garrison at Fort William to be comfortable.

      Finally, to revert to the old disputed chiefship of Clan Chattan, Lord Justice-Clerk Aitchison, in Maclean of Ardgour v. Maclean, referring to Lord Lyon Erskine's pronouncement of 16th September, 1672, stated "it will be noticed that this declaration proceeded simply upon a perusal by Lyon of evidents and testimonies from our 'histories, my own Registers, and Bands of Manrent,' and that


it was in no sense a finding pronounced in a lis or contested process" (the italics are the writer's).

      And Lord Mackay, in the same case, and also referring to the September 1672 declarations, added further, "I regard the pledge for the future as outside any legitimate act."

      Anyhow, declarations or not, the Macphersons, under Cluny, have too often acted independently to be considered anything but what they are -- an independent clan, owning allegiance to none but Cluny --
            (a) in the Battle of Invernahavon ,
            (b) in the Wars of Montrose;
            (c) in the Dundee Campaign, when Lord Dunfermline wrote to Cluny on 3rd May, 1689, "imediatlie convein the haill Badenoch men," adding "list the Macintosh men and gett them out as formerlie in the same etent wt yours."
            (d) in the '45, at which time, by the way, Lady Anne Macintosh wrote and told Cluny to enrol any Macintoshes in Badenoch with his men.

      And it must never be forgotten that it was a Macintosh Chief who signed the ever memorable and important document in 1663 [1665?] that Andrew Macpherson of Cluny and his clan were assisting him out of "their meir guid will and pleasure" against Lochiel.



(From Clan Chattan Journal, Vol. It., No. 2, Dec. 19 47, reproduced by permission of the Editor).

      THE encounter at Perth between 30 champions of two rival Highland clans, arranged by the Scottish Government in 1396 to settle a feud which had long disturbed the part of the country in which the participants dwelt, has attracted general interest from its exceptional character and perhaps most of all owing to the vivid description given by Sir Walter Scott in the Fair Maid of Perth. The lack of lack of definite information as to details has also roused the speculative activity of historians and antiquarians, and has resulted in the adoption of conflicting theories as to the identity of the combatants which it is the intention of this article to consider and if possible clarify.

      A preliminary discussion of the sources of information available is necessary. For the purposes of this article the actuality of


the incident need not be proved but it may be worth while mentioning that the evidence of the chroniclers and of tradition is corroborated, by an entry in the Chamberlains Rolls of Perth of the cost of the erection of the lists.

      The battle is mentioned by the following chroniclers, viz.:-- (1) Andrew Wynton, a contemporary historian who calls the Clans Quhele and Ha respectively and gives the names of the chiefs but cannot say which was victorious; (2) Bower in his 15th century continuation of Fordun's Scoticronica who calls the Clans Kay and Quhele; (3) John Major (16th century) who follows Bower's account; (4) Hector Boece, born 1470, and (5), Bishop Lesley, born 1527, who refer to the victorious clan as Quhete and Quhettanis.

      Little reliance can however be placed on the information given by the various chrohiclers. The names in the earlier references are obviously garbled. Variations of Gaelic words, the names of the chiefs do not seem to correspond -- in particular the names es of the leader of Clan Chattan as recorded in Mackintosh tradition are divided by the chroniclers between the rival chiefs. It will be observed that Clan Quhele develops into Clan Quhettan hence Chattan, but although a Clan Quhevil is mentioned in a Scots Act of Parliament in 1391 and a Clan Chewill in an Act of 1594, there is no trace of this Clan or Clan Hay, Ay or Kay in recent clan history. No one has ever suggested that either the Hays or Clan Mackay were involved in the battle.*

      There are however other, sources of information available as the battle is mentioned in the traditions of several clans, and it appears to the writer that these point clearly to the identity of the combatants. Before passing to these sources however, it would be well to mention the various identifications put forward by modern Clan historians. These fall under two heads. The first group regards the encounter as fought between two branches of the Clan Chattan confederacy, either the Macphersons and Davidsons (the former victorious), or Macphersons. and Mackintoshes (the latter victorious). The second view identifies the rivals as the Clan Chattan and the Clan Cameron, the former the victors. The writer hopes to show that the second view has the preponderance of evidence behind it.

      The Macpherson-Davidson theory takes origin from the dispute between these two branches of the Clan Chattan as to which was to have the post of honour at the battle of Invernahavon fought against the Camerons in 1391 [1386 is a more featured date for this battle but others claim the date to be 1370. -- RM] On this, occasion the Mackintosh decided in favour of the Davidsons, whereupon, the Macphersons withdrew with the result that the Mackintoshes and the Davidsons suffered defeat. There is, however, no evidence that the


dispute between the. Macphersons and Davidsons continued, and could not be described as. "an. old feud" such mentioned by Wynton As the cause of the North Inch battle. Further, the Davidsons were a small clan who were supposed to be almost wiped out at Invernahavon five years earlier so that it is difficult to see how any dispute between them and the Macphersons could cause sufficient disturbance to warrant the intervention of the central Government. The name of the Davidsons --" Clan Dhai -- has a superficial resemblance to Clan Hay or Ay but this seems slender ground for identification in face of the difficulties mentioned above. Nevertheless this theory seems most generally favoured by recent authors of works on the Clans.

      The Macpherson-Mackintosh theory, which is also still mentioned by some historians, obtains its origin from the fact that at a more recent date the Macphersons and Mackintoshes disputed the leadership of Clan Chattan and also because both Clan traditions refer to participation in the battle. Some supporters of this theory have combined the Macpherson's and Camerons and attribute the Mackintosh supremacy in Clan Chattan to their having been victorious at the North Inch. The traditions of Macphersons and Mackintoshes, however, represent them as both on the victorious side so that the theory is not supported by tradition, and it obtains no backing from the chroniclers' accounts.

      Dealing again with the available evidence on the North Inch battle we find that the clans whose traditions refer to the event are the Macphersons, Mackintoshes and Shaws (all of whom represent themselves as on the victorious side), and the Camerons who admit to have been defeated. This appears in the M.S. history of the Clan appended to the Memoirs of Sir Ewen Cameron (1629-1719) published-in 1842 and recent Cameron histories by John Cameron and by Alex. Mackenzie. The fact that the Cameron tradition reports this Clan as vanquished seems a strong indication of its being genuine and seems by itself almost conclusive as to that Clan's role. It is further corroborated by the long dispute which was waged between Camerons and Mackintoshes over lands in Lochaber for many years before the North Inch battle, which dispute caused the battle of Invernahavon and which seems to have died down for about 30 years after the Perth incident though later revived. The Clans Chattan and Cameron were powerful confederacies as compared with single clans such as the Macphersons and Davidsons and much more likely to cause- widespread disturbance by their quarrel. The two noblemen who were appointed to deal with the situation, the Earl of Moray and the Earl of Crawford, were connected respectively with Moray (Clan Chattan) and Lochaber (Camerons). The tradition of the Shaws is that their founder Shaw, son of Gilchrist,. son of Ian, led the victorious Clan Chattan in the old age of the Macintosh chief of that time and, this connects with the accounts of Wynton and


Major, and does not harmonise with the theory that the Macpherson alone were the victorious party. The Macpherson tradition, however, is not contradicted by the Clan Chattan-Clan Cameron theory as the Macphersons, a branch of Clan Chattan, would be on the victorious side.

      Dr Skene, the eminent historian of the Clans, who in his earlier works advocated the Macpherson and Mackintosh theory, agreed in his later book (Celtic Scotland) that the Clans Chattan and Cameron were the combatants, which view is also followed by Mitchell and Kelty in their histories of the Highlands. The whole matter is fully and exhaustively discussed in A. M. Mackintosh's book The Mackintoshes and Clan Chattan, to which the writer is indebted for most of the information contained in this article. The arguments and facts brought forward by. A. M. Mackintosh and Skene seem so conclusive at it is surprising to find not only that the Macphersons and Davidsons are still stated in recent popular works on the Clans to have been the combatants at Perth but that the correct identification of the defeated clan as the Camerons is completely ignored.

      In conclusion the points in favour of the identification of the rival Clans as Chattan and Cameron which it is submitted are convincing may be summarised as follows:
            1. There was at the time of the Perth incident, and had been for some years earlier a quarrel between these Clans leading to open hostilities.
            2. Both Clans were powerful bodies whose disputes might cause widespread disturbance as compared with the Macphersons, and Davidsons who were single Clans, and the latter of whom had suffered heavy loss five years before.
            3. There seems to be no evidence of a continuing feud between Macphersons and Davidsons apart from the dispute as to precedence at Invernahavon.
            4. The identification of Clan Dhai with Clan Hay, Ha, Ay or Kay of the Chroniclers, in itself very precarious, seems offset by the link between Clan Cameron and Clan Kay appearing from the Kinrara M.S.*
             5. The traditions of Macphersons, Mackintoshes and Shaws (all Clan Chattan) represent these Clans as on the victorious side. If the combatants were Macphersons and Davidsons, the strong and definite Mackintosh and Shaw traditions must be passed over.
            6. The traditions and histories of the Camerons record this Clan as having been the defeated party, and this seems in itself almost conclusive.


* [Edward Dwelly, author of the Illustrated Gaelic-English Dictionary (the definitive work on the breadth of the Gaelic language) has an interesting comment to make on the subject. On page 304 he begins the discussion of words beginning with D with the following :
      ³dair (darach, oak) the fourth letter of the Gaelic alphabet now in use. D has various sounds:
            (1) Broad - -- more dental, e.g., more explosive than in English, . . .
            (4) Dh, when broad, is very soft and resembles a soft English g. Thus, MacDhonnachaidh, a son of Duncan, usually Englished as Robertson, has also crept into English as MacConachy. MacDhaibhidh, a Davidson, has also been Englished as MacKay, so that some suppose that it was the MacKays who fought at the North Inch of Perth, whereas a little knowledge of Gaelic would have shown that it was the Davidsons.² Unfortunately too many people who write about the Highlands lack a basic understanding of the Gaelic. -- RM]




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Members of the Council (left to right):-- John Macpherson, Inverness and North of Scotland Branch; Norman L. Macpherson, Registrar; Mrs. Alex. Macpherson, Badenoch; Rev. Robert Macpherson, West of Scotland Branch; A. F. Macpherson, W.S., Hon. Secretary; Lt.-Col. Allan I. Macpherson, Vice-Chairman; Lord Macpherson of Drumochter, Chairman; Lt.-Col. Duncan I. Macpherson of Banchor, England and Wales Branch; Lt.-Col. A. K. Macpherson of Pitmain, Hon. Vice-President; Mrs Donald Macpherson, Badenoch; Major Niall Macpherson, M.P., Hon. Vice-President; Allan G. Macpherson, Hon. Treasurer; Hamish I Macpherson, West of Scotland Branch; Sitting -- J. Gordon Macpherson, England and Wales Branch and Colin C. I. Murdoch, Editor Creag Dhubh.


AT THE GLENGARRY HIGHLAND GAMES, held at Maxville, Ontario, Canada, on 5th Aug., 1950. Centre -- Colonel E. R. RIVERS-MACPHERSON, Hon. Secy., C.M.A. of Canada. Left -- Piper Angus MacDonald of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders. Right -- Piper Murdoch Buchanan of the Canadian Legion. Photo: George Manger, N.Y.I.

AT THE ANNUAL DINNER AND DANCE of the English and Wales Branch, January 1949. Left to right -- Sir Alan Herbert, Lady Macpherson, Lady Herbert, and Lord Macpherson, our Chairman. Photo : London New, Agency."


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