The Official Home of the Clan McLea - the Highland Livingstones
Response - The Barons of Bachuil
NIALL D. CAMPBELL.
The Celtic Review January 15 1910 pp190-192
Having read with great interest the article (Celtic Review, vol. V.) by Dr. Alexander Carmichael on the 'Barons of Bachuill,' in the Isle of Lismore, the writer offers the following observations upon it, and for the reasons given below he thinks it impossible that the Livingstones in any manner descended from the Beatons, who wore the hereditary leeches or physicians to the Lords of the Isles, which position they undoubtedly occupied during a long number of ages.
If Dr. Carmichael will refer to the Thanes of Cawdor, p. 129, he will find a curious bond of manrent, by the terms of which Sir John Campbell of Cawdor received the fealty and homage of the clan McDonleavis (wrongly written McDowleanis). It is dated 16 August 1518, and it is stated that the oaths were taken upon 'Mess buik' (missal), and the relic callit Arwachyll (this was the bachuill of St Moluag) ‘at the Isle of Kilmolrue.'
Until a writer, Rev. Arch. B. Scott, in the Scottish Historical Review for April 1909, p. 264, in the course of an article of high merit on the famous St. Maelrubha, drew attention to the subject, and identified the site of this small island, I had never been able to decide where it lay. It is the island of Eilean-an-t-sagairt in the Locharian Dubh, near the modern farmhouse of Kilvarie, next the large possessions in Muckairn of the Campbells of Calder, Kilvarie being of course a dedication to the aforesaid S. Maelrubha. To this small island repaired the representatives of this clan McDonleavis in order to sign the deed. The signatories are Duncan Brek Mcdunlave on behalf of his kin, viz. Duncan Mcdu[n]lave Mcdonchy Iain m’donlave m’donche his brother, Donald dow m’douil m'conche and Neyll his brother and Lachlan McEwin McLachlen. The other signatory is a certain Ewin McNeill on behalf of his kin, viz. Dunslave McNeill, Iain dow McNeyll, Duncan M,Neyll roy, Niall his brother. All these McNeills seem to The related to the McDunslaves ; vide the use of Dunslave as a Christian name by one of them.
Now whilst Livingstone is said to be the English form of son of the physician, the name ‘Mac-an-Leigh’ appears itself to be merely a corruption of the name McDunsleibhe. For in the vassals and tenants names in the old Argyll Rentals there is evidence of not only the D but also the S dropping out by euphonistic elision, the name becoming- Mconlave and McDunlave and Mcinlay, etc. In one document I have found the name 'Dunslave McDunslave', clearly showing that the origin of the surname lay in a Christian name. The clan name being thus derived from it and having nothing to do with any physician.
Of the use of the name Dunsleibhe, etc., in various forms, both as a Christian and a surname, I append a few examples, and would like to point out that it is quite possible that the eponymic progenitor of all the McDunslaves, Livingstones. etc., may be the one who is known to have been the common ancestor of the Lamonts, the McEwens, the McLachlans, and the McSweens, which latter clan are identical with the supposed lost clan of McEwan of Otter, a fact wholly unnoticed in a brief monograph on the Clan Ewen which appeared four or five years ago.
Now the Barons of Bachuill may in recent years have had some tradition that their predecessors exercised medical powers, but if so I would contend that it was not the leechcraft such as the Beatons exercised for the Lords of the Isles, or the O'conochers of Ardeoran (in Lorne) for the MacDougalls of Dunolly and the Campbells of Lochow. But
22 May, 2008