Sons Of Arthur

Dunstaffnage Castle Falls
By James E.M. MacArthur of that Ilk, FSA Scot, Chief of Clan Arthur

Dunstaffnage Castle
Dunstaffnage Castle
Photograph by Hugh DP McArthur

Leaving the battlefield at the Pass of Brander, Bruce and his army marched to Dunstaffnage Castle and camped close by in the area south of the Castle. Three days later, despite being well provisioned, the elderly Alexander MacDougall of Lorne decided to surrender the Castle. But Bruce did not tarry there, for he had other urgent matters to attend to, and so returned east, his initial mission having been accomplished. He left his personal representative in charge of the Castle, with the title of Constable, and the King's appointment was Sir Arthur Campbell. How long Sir Arthur actually remained in that post cannot readily be ascertained. However, over a period of 160 years there were Constables consecutively appointed by the Crown to hold the post, including the employment of a MacDougall, and a member of the Stewart family of Innermeath. (Researchers will not readily find the location of Innermeath because the name has been changed over the years. These Stewarts of Innermeath held property that was just south of Forteviot in Perthshire, with the River Meath running through the area. But some time in most recent, but still ancient, years the name was changed to Invermay, with the river then called May.) [Research can sometimes be a bit trying!]

With such knowledge as I had and research gleaned I cannot find that any MacArthurs ever held any post connected with the Castle of Dunstaffnage between the dates of 1308 and 1470. In that year King James III of Scotland decided that he would hand over for all time the responsibility of looking after the Castle of Dunstaffnage to Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of Argyll. The latter, in turn, appointed a younger son to be the permanent holder of the Captaincy of Dunstaffnage, along with the ground adjacent. It has remained in that family ever since, and today there is a Campbell as 22nd Hereditary Captain of Dunstaffnage. If anyone can find out or happens to possess more detail as to what happened between 1308 and 1470 I am sure that the Editor would be very pleased to receive it, so that all of us might learn more of the past.

First Published in The Round Table 105th Edition March 2001

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