Clan Macdonald of Sleat

Clan Macdonald of Sleat, sometimes known as Clan Donald North and in GaelicClann Ùisdein[kʰl̪ˠan̪ˠ ˈuːʃtʲɛɲ], is a Scottish clan and a branch of Clan Donald — one of the largest Scottish clans. The founder of the Macdonalds of Sleat was Ùisdean, or Hugh, a 6th great-grandson of Somerled, a 12th-century Lord of the Isles (Rì Innse Gall). The clan is known in Gaelic as Clann Ùisdein (“children of Ùisdein”), and its chief’s Gaelic designation is Mac Ùisdein (“son of Ùisdean”), in reference to the clan’s founder. Both the clan and its clan chief are recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, who is the heraldic authority in Scotland.

Scottish clan

Clan Macdonald of Sleat
Clann Ùisdein
Region Highland and Islands
District Inverness-shire
Plant badge Common heath[1]
Sir Ian Godfrey Bosville Macdonald of Sleat[2]
17th Baronet of Sleat, 25th Chief of Macdonald of Sleat[2] (Mac Ùisdein[3])
Seat Thorpe Hall, Rudston, East Yorkshire, England[4]
Historic seat Dunscaith Castle;[5]Duntulm Castle;[6]Armadale Castle[7]
Allied clans
Rival clans

The Macdonalds of Sleat participated in several feuds with neighbouring clans, most notably the Macleods of Harris & Dunvegan and the Macleans of Duart. The clan also suffered from infighting in the early 16th century, as the leading members of the clan fought and murdered each other.

The clan seems to have grudgingly supported the Royalist cause in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, and suffered grievously in military defeats against Parliamentarian forces. The clan supported the Jacobite cause in the 1715 rebellion, yet refused to come out for Bonnie Prince Charlie and his father a generation later in 1745. In the early 18th century, the clan’s chief was involved in a plan to sell tenants into indentured servitude in the American Colonies. By the late 18th century, the chiefs had alienated themselves from the common clansfolk, when they seated themselves in northern England and rarely visited the old clan lands. The 18th and 19th centuries witnessed the suffering of the common clansfolk, as many were cleared off their lands at the hands of their absentee landlords. Today members and descendants of the clan live all over the world.

. . . Clan Macdonald of Sleat . . .

Much of the history of the Macdonalds of Sleat comes from traditional family histories, and it is often difficult, if not impossible, to tell fact from fiction.[8] The clan histories relevant to the Macdonalds of Sleat were composed by the shenachies (historians or story tellers) MacVuirich – the Clanranald shenachie – and Hugh Macdonald – the Sleat shenachie. Contemporary records that shed light upon the early history of the clan include charters and confirmations of charters granted by kings, and various bonds of manrent entered with other landlords and clan chiefs.

R.R. McIan’sVictorian eraromanticised depiction of a Macdonald, lord of the Isles.
Further information: Clan Donald and Lord of the Isles

The Macdonalds of Sleat are a branch of Clan Donald — one of the largest Scottish clans.[9][10] The eponymous ancestor of Clan Donald is Domhnall, son of Raghnall, son of Somhairle.[11] Traditional Clan Donald genealogies, created in the later Middle Ages, give the clan a descent from various legendary Irish figures. Modern historians, however, distrust these traditional genealogies,[12] and consider Somhairle, son of Gille Brighde to be earliest ancestor for whom there is secure historical evidence.[13] Somhairle, himself, was a 12th-century leader, styled “king of the isles” and “king of Argyll”;[14] yet there is no reliable account for his rise to power.[12]

The Macdonalds of Sleat descend from Domhnall’s son, Aonghas Mór; and then from his son, Aonghas Óg. Angus Óg’s son, Eoin, was the first Lord of the Isles. Eoin I’s first marriage was to Áine, heiress of Clann Ruaidhrí (which was founded by Ruaidhrí, elder brother to Domhnall, founder of Clan Donald).[15] Eoin I later divorced Áine and married Margaret, daughter of Robert II. The children from Eoin I’s first marriage were then passed over in the main succession of the chiefship of Clan Donald and later Macdonald lords of the isles, in favour of those from his second marriage.[16] Eoin I was succeeded by his son, Domhnall of Islay; who was in turn succeeded by his son, Alasdair of Islay. The Macdonalds of Sleat descend from Ùisdean, bastard son of Alasdair of Islay and the daughter of Ó Beólláin (O’Beolan), Abbot of Applecross. From Ùisdean, the Macdonalds of Sleat are also known in Gaelic as Clann Ùisdein (“the children of Ùisdein”).[17]

. . . Clan Macdonald of Sleat . . .

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. . . Clan Macdonald of Sleat . . .