Lochaber Summary



Principal Sources


RMS I App I No 31, Robert I’s grant to the Earl of Moray c. 1307-14 suggests Lochaber did not then include Mamore, Loch Arkaig and Glengarry.


RMS II (2281) 1495, (2329) 1496, (3281) 1508-9, (3440) 1510, (3753) 1512

RMS III (534) 1527-8, (1034) 1531, (2065) 1539-40

RMS IV(1240) 1557-8

RMS VII (1628) 1617

RSS II (2994) 1539

AS II (989) 1659, (994) 1660

Inverness Retours(14) 1603


Rental of the Lordship of Huntly 1600, Miscellany of the Spalding Club vol IV pp 292-5, Aberdeen, 1849.

GD44/51/743/1 Rental of Lochaber 1642

GD44/51/743/2 Rental of Lochaber 1648

ER XI p 460

ER XVI p 616 1536

ER XVII p 681 1539


RHP 35981 – rough sketch of position of Duke of Gordon’s farms 6/9/1767

RHP 2494 – 2 Books of plans of the Duke of Gordon’s farms in Lochaber, 1767

RHP 861 – Lordship of Lochaber 1831 (the farms are numbered)


H Paton (ed) The Mackintosh Muniments, Edinburgh, 1903

Somerled Macmillan, Bygone Lochaber, Glasgow, 1971

L MacKinnon, Place-names of Lochaber, 1973


In this section I have placed all those farms which were in Lochaber but which were not part of Gargavache, Dochanassie or Glen Roy. With the possible exception of Claggan they were all lands granted to Maclean in 1496 (RMS II (2329)). I suspect they came to 40m although without a valuation for Drumfour I cannot prove it. Lochaber seems to have been dealt with as a series of 40m units. I think this implies 2 davach units north of the River Spean, 4 davach units to the south of it.


One location whose definition eludes me is Edderayusk or Ederasky. According to ER XI p 460 of c. 1501 the lands called Edarasky were worth £20 6s 8d (30½m). In Mackintosh Muniments No 24 of 1516 the name is Edderayusk but no valuation is given. In neither case are the lands specified in terms of their component farms. However we can work out where the district was likely to have been by excluding all those lands that were listed alongside it. So c. 1501 it was not Mammore, Inverlochy, Glengarry, Invergarry, Tomacharich, Muirshearlich, Clunes, Glas Dhoire or Auchadrom. In 1516 it was not Glen Loy, Loch Arkaig, Glen Roy or Glen Spean. This really only leaves Dochanassie and the area between Loch Lochy and Loch Linnhe. The other constraint is that they should be Mackintosh lands.

The 1466 charter by the Lord of the Isles to Duncan Mackintosh (Munro, ALI No 88 pp 139-141) lists a number of properties in the area of Dochanassie. Unfortunately not all of them can be precisely located today and for some I have no valuations. Nevertheless I think these will be amongst the constituents of Edderayusk. The name itself looks to be a compound of eadar + da + uisge (between + two + water) which implies the land between two rivers. In Assynt there was a davach with the similar name of Edraisk.



The Extent of Lochaber


In the Acts of Parliament of Scotland vol I pp 168-9 for 1367-8 there are two references to Lochaber being in the hands of John of the Isles. The first seems to imply that Lochaber was £200 Old Extent (i.e 300m). The second that it was anciently worth 300m per annum. Originally extent and annual return were probably the same – i.e. a merkland was thought capable of rendering one merk’s worth of rent (whether in cash or kind) each year. So I think we can read these two statements as having the same meaning. Lochaber was 300 merklands, that is, according to the system of Old Extent, it was thought to be worth 300 merks a year.


D Murray Rose (ed.), Revenue of the Scottish Crown by Sir William Purves, Edinburgh, 1897, p 182 gives a Rental of the Isles which, in its original form must date to about 1500. Lochaber is given as ‘300 merk land’.


Macfarlane’s Geographical Collections II p 518 claims the whole of Lochaber is only 160 merkland. This is plainly wrong unless we impose a very restricted definition of Lochaber.


Fraser-Mackintosh : Antiquarian Notes (1913) pp 369-70 gives a rental for Inverness-shire dated 1644. Kilmonivaig then seems to have contained just over 182 merkland, Kilmallie 120 merkland – together making a total of c. 302m.


My summary table finds 295¾m. On the basis of that and the above figures I think Lochaber was originally 300 merklands.


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3 comments on “Lochaber Summary
  1. Noni Brown says:

    Hi, I am interested in this family – John McMaster born about 1762 – 66 at Tomacharrich, a farm in Kilmonivaig, Inverness-shire, Scotland. John married Margaret McPherson (born c1771 at Caol near Fort William, Scotland). Margaret was the daughter of John McPherson, Merchant and Kate Cameron. In the 1841 Census: John McMaster, Agricultural Labourer, age 75, born c1766, Margaret McMaster, his wife, age 70 born c1771, Ewen McMaster, son, age 30 born c1811, Donald McMaster son, age 35 born c1806 – lived at Tomacharrich, Kilmonivaig, Inverness-shire.

    This family may have been a Sept of Clan Cameron and maybe a tenant of the Duke of Gordon’s farm at Tomacharich in Lochaber circa 1767. I would like to find out the parents name of this John McMaster and whether they were involved in the ’45.

  2. Noni Brown says:

    Thank you… it is difficult to sort out the archives from Qld Australia.. I did have a friend in Edinburgh who used to look up things at the Archives there, but I think he may be getting a little too old now…

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