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Feudal Tenure




During  the Norse occupation the natives of Lismore would have survived as best they could.  However, under Somerled ancient rights and lands will have been restored.  As Somerled was kin to the coarbs he will have been well disposed towards them.  

The Abbey lands over which the Coarb presided were at one time  extensive including not only Lismore and Appin but as far as Loch Etive and Glencoe. (In latter times the Macdonalds of Glencoe were tenants of Stewart of Appin.)

This period was probably the zenith for our family and the extent of 'our' land holdings fell thereafter.  The Norse were pagan but Somerled was a Christian, and a supporter of the old Celtic Church. During this period the old church flourished.

 Margaret Aetheling introduced English (Roman) Clergy at the beginning of the eleventh century and thereafter they grew in strength as the old church weakened.  

On Somerled's death his kingdom was divided following the Norse custom of the time.  His son Dougall became King of the Isles, Lord of Argyll and Lorn based on Dunollie.  It is likely that on the death of a coarb the lands will have been divided in a similar fashion and that some will have reverted back to main branch of the family, the lords of Lorn.

The Celtic Church did not have the power and organisation that the Roman Church wielded. In 1128 Eth or Aethelred, Son of Malcolm III and last Abbot of Dunkeld died and in 1200 John the Scot, Roman Catholic Bishop of Dunkeld, sent his chaplain, Harold, to Pope Innocent the III to persuade him to disjoin Argyll.  The Pope agreed and Harold was appointed first Bishop of Argyll who created his seat at Muckairn on Lochetive.  When John disjoined Argyll from Dunkeld he omitted to provide the new See with any revenues, keeping them all to himself.  The Roman Catholic See of Lismore was greatly impoverished having an income of only 25 merks.

In 1266 Lismore became part of Scotland.  By this time David I had introduced the Norman English concept that the crown held all land and that this was parcelled out according to feudal tenure.  In 1263 Ewen of Argyll, King in the Isles and Lord of Lorn, acknowledged the authority of the Kings of Scots and in 1292 Argyll was created a shire. Alasdair of Argyll, Lord of Lorn, Ewen's son and 4th Chief of McDougall was made sheriff.   


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