Sons Of Arthur

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

Innischonnel Castle
Innischonnel Castle - Loch Awe
Photograph by Hugh DP McArthur

The MacArthurs could well have been involved in the battle of the Pass of Brander in 1308, for they were rewarded with land in due course. They did, however, hold the Captaincy of a castle later on. There was a Charles MacArthur who was a witness to various major charters locally and in Stirling, Glasgow, and Edinburgh for the 2nd Earl of Argyll, before the latter was killed at Flodden in 1513. Duncan MacArthur succeeded his father, Charles, in about 1525, and in due time became the attorney for the 4th Earl of Argyll, holding an even more enhanced position than his father, so much so that he was appointed as Captain of the Earl's castle of Innischonnel on an island on Loch Awe, along with his other duties. The Earl's ancestors had left Innischonnel Castle by about 1450, when the new castle was built at Inveraray. The Loch Awe castle then became a prison for the use of the Earl, being only approachable by rowing boat, as it is to this day.

But Duncan was not all that popular with the Campbells of Inverawe, who felt that he had taken over many of their duties, and so a happening occurred. Duncan, one day in 1567, was fishing on Loch Awe with some family and friends. They were approached by boat by the Inverawe Campbells and, in the ensuing fight on the water, Duncan, with others of the fishing party, was drowned. The Earl, on hearing of the incident, was not best pleased and ordered reparations to be made, appointing Patrick, a son of Duncan, to be the Captain of Innischonnel Castle. While he was in charge in 1578 he held some important prisoners for the Earl. They were John MacDonald, son and heir to the MacDonald of Castle Camus on Skye, Laughlin MacLean, young chief of Duart on Mull, and John MacLean, his uncle.

Patrick was succeeded in 1579 by his son, Duncan, as the Captain of Innischonnel Castle, but unfortunately, he was not a success, being forfeited for theft in 1613. Nothing further is heard from him, but then having been declared forfeit he would have left the area with his family, if he had any. The Earl appointing a MacLachlan filled the vacant captaincy at the castle.

First Published in The Round Table 106th Edition June 2001

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