Clan Campbell of Cawdor History

Cawdor Castle, near Nairn, was initially built in the 1400s by Clan Calder, but passed into the hands of the Campbells in the 16th century, and is now home to the step mother of the present Earl of Cawdor.

Cawdor Castle, near Nairn, was initially built in the 1400s by Clan Calder, but passed into the hands of the Campbells in the 16th century, and is now home to the step mother of the present Earl of Cawdor.

In 1492, John, 7th Thane of Cawdor, married the daughter of Kilravock, Isabel Rose. He died in 1494 while Isabel was pregnant. Kilravock decided that his new born grand-daughter should marry his own grandson, her first cousin, thereby keeping her inheritance in the Kilravock family.

He had, however, charges of theft pending at the time regarding crimes undertaken with MacKintosh upon the lands of Urquhart of Cromarty.

The Justice-General was Archibald, 2nd Earl of Argyll, and by 1495, having given Kilravock a cushioned time through the courts, obtained the wardship of Muriel, the infant heiress of Cawdor, from King James IV. She was taken to live in Inveraray in 1499, but not before, it is said, her mother scarred her with the brand of a glowing hot key, and her nursemaid had bitten off half a little finger, in case the Campells should attempt to install a surrogate heiress.

In the Autumn of that year, Campbell of Inverliver came to Inveraray with sixty men, claiming he was to convey little Muriel to school in the South. He took her and was then pursued by her uncles Alexander and Hugh Calder, who challenged him at Daltulich, in Strathnairn. In the fight that broke out, seven of Inverliver’s sons were killed.

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Inverliver was asked if this was not a price too great, especially as the child might die. He is remembered for replying, ‘The lassie can never die sae lang as there is a red-headed lass on the shores of Loch Awe.

In 1510 Muriel married Sir John Campbell, third son of Argyll. They lived in Cawdor from 1524 until he died in 1546. She relinquished her Thanedom to her grandson John and died in 1573.

The first Lord Cawdor was John, son of Pryce Campbell, the Member of Parliament, in 1796.

In 1797 1200 French troops attempted what would be the last ever invasion of Britain. They landed at Fishguard where Lord Cawdor, with only a few soldiers supported by a force of peasants, managed to capture the invaders.

His son John became the Cawdor’s 1st Earl.

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