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Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Visit Castle Tioram Scotland


Visit Castle Tioram, Scotland. Castle Tioram was the fortress of the Macdonalds of Clanranald who held the lands of Moidart and the isles of Rum, Canna and Eigg. It sits on a small tidal island and was an ideal location to watch the busy seaways between the southern Hebrides and the Isle of Skye. Clan legend says that the castle was built by Amy MacRuary, the slighted wife of John, seventh Lord of the Isles. Archaeology however suggests that a simple fortress based on an enceinte wall has been on this site since the early 1200s.

On the orders of the Queen Regent Mary of Guise, the Earls of Huntly and Argyll attacked the Clanranalds in Tioram in 1544. Several cannonballs from this siege were found embedded in the castle walls during repair works in 1888. Cromwell also occupied and garrisoned Tioram in the 1650s in an unsuccessful attempt to subdue the wild Papists' of the western Highlands.

Tioram was a castle of pit and gallows. The clan chief had full legal and judicial powers over his land and his people, including the rights to imprison and execute. In the 1660s, the twelfth clan chief, John, was a sadistic man who enjoyed terrifying the local population. In his later years, he sat in the highest turret of Tioram with his favourite gun, nicknamed the Cuckoo, shooting at everything within range. This included several unfortunate clansmen coming to pay the rent to their mad laird. While John lived, Tioram was haunted by an unusual spectre. A large black frog is said to have followed the chief everywhere until the day of his death.

Tioram was destroyed in 1715 on the orders of its last occupant, Allan Mor of Clanranald. The chief was reluctantly setting out in support of the 1715 Rising and a seer had foretold his death at the impending Battle of Sheriffmuir. Allan Mor ordered his men to torch the castle declaring: I shall never come back. It is better that our old family house be given to the flames than forced to give shelter to those who are about to triumph over our ruin. From a nearby hilltop, he watched his ancestral seat
burn and crumble before heading east to fall at Sheriffmuir as prophesied.

Although now a deserted ruin, Tioram served the Jacobite cause once more in 1745 when French artillery for the Rising were hidden there. However the impoverished Clanranald lands could provide few horses to carry these heavy arms on the invasion southwards and twelve of Bonnie Prince Charlie's vital cannon had to be abandoned there. Best Scottish Castle Tours.

1 comment:

amie macruary said...

you spell her Amie MacRury, shes my ancestor my name is taken from hers and it is on my family tree.