From the greed of the Campbells,
From the ire of the Drummonds,
From the pride of the Grahams,
From the wind of the Murrays,
Good Lord, deliver us.
The Cultoquhey Litany,
as prayed daily by Mungo Maxtone (10th of Cultoquhey),
The world abounds with information about clans -- their
histories, septs, allegiances, and so on. But what else should
Who was the most noble, the most loyal? Who left us with an
enduring tale of bravery and self-sacrifice? When a song was
sung, was there any truth behind the lyrics honoring your clan's
Were your ancestors treacherous allies? Were they the best
cattle and sheep thieves? In whose dungeon did they wind up most
often? From whose gallows did they hang? And how were such
"slights" answered by their kin and allies?
Here, then, are tales from the clans, of their heroes and
villains, of bravery, betrayal, sacrifice and slaughter. And
always remember that when bragging about your family tree, you may
find a few kin hanging on it.
Maxwells and Johnstones
For I have killed the laird Johnstone
I care not for the feud
My loyal heart did still incline
He was my father's death.
By day and night I did pursue
And all on him avenged to be
Now I have gotten what I long sought
Trust me, I may not stay with thee.
from Lord Maxwell's Last Goodnight
This very beautiful ballad remains of what was one of lowland
Scotland's feuds. In 1585 John, Lord Maxwell, made the mistake
of angering the Earl of Arran, a favorite of James VI. The King
ordered the Laird Johnstone to arrest Maxwell, but Maxwell's
forces routed Johnstone's. Johnstone raided Maxwell's land and
Maxwell burned Johnstone's house. All pretty typical. Then
Maxwell captured Johnstone (this was supposed to happen the other
way around, if you recall) and the grief of it caused Johnstone's
death shortly after he was freed.
Here endeth the first part. One chief down.
On April 1, 1592, all Scotland was amazed to hear that
Johnstones had made a peace treaty with the Maxwells -- forgive
and forget between Old Maxwell and the young Johnstone. It took
less than a year for a party of Johnstones to go raiding in
neighboring areas, killing 18 men in the process. Maxwell was
the warden for that country and the survivors made complaint to
him, even procuring a commission for him to proceed against the
Johnstones. Johnstone heard about the commission and gathered up
his allies. At Dryfe Sands, the Johnstones defeated the
Maxwells. Old Lord Maxwell lay wounded on the ground and asked
to be taken alive, as he had once taken Johnstone's father alive.
Instead his outstretched hand was cut off, after which he was
That's two chiefs now. Remember to keep count.
Now we have young Laird Johnstone is older than the new young
Lord Maxwell who was only 8 years old when his father died. The
feud continued as the boy grew to manhood, a rebellious dangerous
man, twice arrested (once for popery, once for being seriously
attitudinal). He escaped both times. After the second escape in
1607 Maxwell decided it was time to cool down and make a peace
with the Johnstones. His cousin Sir Robert Maxwell,
brother-in-law to Laird Johnstone, set up a meeting where each
chief would bring only one man with him and each swore to do no
wrong, no matter if they agreed or not.
So, on April 6, 1608 Johnstone arrived with Willie Johnstone as his companion.
Maxwell brought Charlie Maxwell against Sir Robert's wishes.
(You may be guessing where this is going) The two attendants
were ordered to stay away from one another while the two chiefs
and Sir Robert talked. Shortly after Charlie Maxwell moved over
to Willie Johnstone. There were some brief words and then a
pistol fired. Protesting his innocence to his angry cousin,
Maxwell followed Johnstone who had gone to look after his
attendant. Maxwell then shot Johnstone in the back and fled.
Three chiefs so far.
Maxwell left the country, but was tried in absentia and
sentenced to death. For reasons unknown he returned to Scotland
four years later and was betrayed to the Government by one of his own
kinsmen. He was beheaded in Edinburgh on May 21, 1613.
That's four. The forfeited estates were eventually
restored to Sir Robert.
Morey, MacIntosh, and Huntly
Ye hei'lands and ye lawlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl of Morey
and laid him on the green.
He was a braw gallant and he rade at the ring
Ah, the bonnie Earl o' Morey
He might hae been a king.
from The Bonnie Earl of Morey
So goes an old ballad. In February 1592, James VI ordered the
Earl of Huntly to pursue "with fire and sword" the
traitorous Earl of Bothwell for his attack on Holyrood House the
previous year. Huntly seized the chance to continue his
long-standing feud with the popular Earl of Morey from whom
Bothwell had sought aide. Huntly spread the rumor that Morey was
part of Bothwell's treason and secured from the King a warrant
for Morey's arrest as well.
Morey was besieged in the home of his mother, Lady Doune. The
house was set alight, forcing most of the occupants out. But
Morey waited until dark, finally breaking through the smoke and
the besiegers' defenses, to escape into rocks, where he was
discovered by the tip of his headpiece that was still burning
from his rush through the fire. Gordon of Bucky wounded Morey on
the face, and Morey replied defiantly, "'Tis a better face
than thine ain that thou spoilest." Bucky then stabbed the
Earl again. Fearing that Huntly meant for others to take the
blame for Morey's death, Bucky then forced him to pierce the
defenseless Earl's body, saying, "Ye shall be as deep as
Morey's family, quite predictably, did not look kindly upon
this. They created a painting of Morey's naked body with all the
wounds clearly marked and displayed it prominently to arouse
public outcry. Furthermore, they refused to bury his body,
leaving his coffin in a church in Leith for weeks, until the
slaughter was avenged. In the end, the embarrassed King sheltered
Huntly, perhaps because he believed that Morey might have been in
with Bothwell and partly because the Queen had unwisely
commended the virtues of Morey in the King's hearing.
As I came in by Fiddich-side,
On a May morning
I spied Willie Macintosh
An hour before the dawning.
Turn again, turn again,
turn again I bid ye
For if ye burn Auchindoon,
Huntly he will head you;
Head me or hang me,
that'll never fear me,
And I will burn Auchindoon,
ere the life leaves me.
from The Burning of Auchindoon
Well, clearly if the King wasn't going to take care of Huntly,
someone else would have to -- this being the Highlands and all.
Near the end of 1592 the Macintoshes of Clan Chattan arose to
avenge Morey. They invaded Huntley's estates and killed four
gentlemen there. Huntley retaliated by laying waste to Clan
Chattan's lands, killing many. On his way back to his own lands,
Huntly was told that William Macintosh and some 800 of Clan
Chattan were attacking Huntly's lands of Cabrach. He and his
uncle Sir Patrick Gordon of Auchindown with a few others rode
ahead of their main force and overtook the Clan Chattan at
Stapliegate. They overthrew the greater force and killed sixty
of them, while forcing the others to flee.
And the burning of Auchindown? Well, in the ways of the
"folk process" the ballad lyrics have confused the 1592
Willie Macintosh attacking Huntly's lands with the 1550 Willie
Macintosh who was also attacking Huntly's lands. He was formally
convicted of conspiracy against the life of Huntly and was
Where is Clan MacGregor?
In 1602, the Earl of Argyll, with a number of MacGregors,
MacEwens, MacLachlans and MacNeills under his direction, raided
the lands of the Colquhouns of Luss who had arrested and executed
two MacGregors. A year later, in retaliation for the punitive
measures taken by the Crown for the earlier raid, the MacGregors
and their allies staged another raid on the Colquhouns. The
Battle of Glen Fruin resulted in an ambush where 80 Colquhouns,
including their Chief, were killed. After this, King James VI
outlawed the entire Clan MacGregor.
Things You Should Know About Being A Macfarlane
The Macfarlanes were amongst the most expert in the
acquisition of cattle. So much so, that a great number were
hanged in 1624 for armed robbery. Thus, a well-known
Macfarlane pipe-tune is Thogail nam bó, (trans.
'Lifting the Cattle') and the full moon is called Macfarlane's
The Macfarlanes had a very strong sense of honor,
especially when it came to matters of adultery. In 1589, members
of the clan found out that Sir Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss was
having an affair with the Macfarlane chief's wife. The only
proper thing to do was to hunt him down, set fire to his castle,
and bring to his lady love a highly personal portion of her now
former lover, which they served up to her in a wooden dish.
"That is your share," they said, "You will
understand yourself what it is."
The Massacre of the Lamonts
In 1646, the 14th chief, Sir John, who had been knighted by
King Charles I, ended up as part of Argyll's Covenanting army.
This, no doubt, has something to do with the Lamont lands being
surrounded by Campbells. When Argyll's force was defeated at
Inverlochy Sir John and his brother Archibald were taken
prisoner. Sir John then switched sides and joined Montrose, the
It was in Dunoon that the Campbells carried out one of their
most bloody massacres. They attacked the Lamont castles of
Toward and Ascog. The garrisons finally surrendered under a
written guarantee of liberty, but the Campbells ignored the terms
of the agreement. The Lamonts were ferried to Dunoon and in the
church were sentenced to death. About 200, including women and
children, were shot or stabbed to death. Another 36 of 'the
special gentlemen' of the Lamonts were hanged from a tree in the
churchyard and then buried in pits, some not yet dead.
The Lamont chief and his family were taken to Inverary, where
he and his brothers were kept prisoner for five years. After 16
years the ringleaders of the massacre were finally brought to
justice. Sir Colin Campbell was beheaded. A prominent piece of
evidence against them was Campbell's written surrender offer,
smuggled out by the chief's sister. She had hidden the paper in
After 1646, Clan Lamont lived peacefully, managing to not get
involved with anymore grand causes. They fought in neither the
1715 nor the 1745 Jacobite uprisings. Whatever the Lamonts may
have personally believed about the politics of the day they
remained surrounded by Campbells, who don't always make the best
The MacLachlans: Allies of the Moment
From the 11th through the 16th century, Clan MacLachlan made
many ties to Clan Campbell through allegiances and marriages.
There is a legend that the Brounie who watched over Clan
MacLachlan was so angry at the first union between the
MacLachlans and the Campbells that he spirited away the wedding
feast. I suppose they didn't take the hint.
In 1644, the MacLachlans and the Lamonts, both of whom were
Campbell allies, chose to join Alasdair Ciotich Mhic Cholla
MacDonald (Colkitto) and began to harry the lands of the
But two years later, several MacLachlans switched sides again
and joined with the Campbells to massacre the Lamonts. The
Reverend Colin MacLachlan not only took part in the massacre; he
ordered the murder of the women and children. Afterwards, the
Sheriff MacPhail said "the difference between an honest
fanatic and a criminal lunatic is difficult to define and is of
little interest to the victim."
The MacLachlans abandoned their Campbell allies again and were
loyal Jacobites, joining Bonnie Dundee at the Battle of
Killiecrankie in 1689, and in 1715, joined the forces of
Scotland's King James VIII. Lachlan MacLachlan, the 16th chief
served as a Colonel with the Earl of Mar, and for this act of
rebellion, Campbell of Ardkinglas hounded Lachlan MacLachlan for
five years before finally shooting him to death.
The MacLachlans were able to field a band of over 100
highlanders when they joined Prince Charles Edward in 1745 at
Holyrood in Edinburgh. Because of this a garrison of the Argyll
Militia occupied Castle Lachlan and forced the Chief's family to
take refuge with the Stewarts of Appin. The castle was later
destroyed by the garrison.
At the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the 17th chief, Lachlan
MacLachlan led a 115 MacLachlans (not bad considering their lands
were surrounded by Campbells) and 182 MacLeans from Mull (who
chose to be under his command when their Chief failed to show up)
into battle alongside Clan Mackintosh and Clan Chattan. This
front line survived the Hanoverian artillery barrage, and with a
cry of "Life or Death" launched a fierce
offensive against the enemy lines. Although they managed to
break through the Hanoverian defenses, they found themselves
outnumbered and retreated. Few clansmen survived the battle.
Lachlan MacLachlan himself was killed by a cannon ball.
Forgiveness came in 1749, when through the intervention of the
Duke of Argyll, the 18th chief, Robert MacLachlan, age 14, had
his lands restored to him. His successors did much to protect
their people from the Clearances, building the village of Ballure
(or Newton) so that the displaced MacLachlans could become
crofters and fishermen, remaining in Scotland.
"Another For Hector" -- the Massacre of the MacLeans
The same Argyll, who had orchestrated Montrose's death, crowned
Charles II at Scone on New Year's Day 1651. That summer at
Inverkeithing a Scottish force of both Highlanders and Lowlanders
found itself woefully outnumbered by an English army moving
north. Most of the Lowland cavalry fled, but the Highlanders --
800 MacLean clansmen, led by their chief Hector MacLean of Duart
-- stood their ground. 760 died, including Duart himself and two
sons of Maclean of Ardgour. "Another for Hector" the
clansmen cried as they fell beside their chief.
It was rumoured afterwards that Argyll himself withheld the
reinforcements and thus left the way clear for Cromwell's troops
to control the country on either side of the Forth.
The Well of Heads: An Ancient Tradition Continues
One great thing about the Celts is that they're such rugged
traditionalists. Like head-hunting, for instance. In the
ancient times, celtic warriors would take the heads of their
fallen opponents, and preserve them in cedar boxes or use them as
wall decorations. It was considered the highest honor for a
guest to be shown his host's private head collection, presented
with a full history of each head and how it was taken and by
In 1663, Alasdair MacDonald, 12th Chief of Keppoch was
murdered. The clan poet, Iain Lom MacDonald composed a bitter
lament Murt na Ceapaich and appealed to Lord MacDonald and
the Chief of Glengarry for help in avenging the fallen Keppoch's
death. They refused, but Sir James MacDonald of Sleat was happy
to oblige. It was near Invergarry at Tobar nan Ceann
('Well of the Heads') that Iain washed the severed heads of
Keppoch's murderers before presenting them to Glengarry. In the
19th century, Glengarry's descendant erected a monument over the
well, depicting the seven heads bound by their hair to a dirk.
Heads. Such a thoughtful gift, and so practical, too.
A MacDonald's Day At the Beach
When William of Orange thought to capture Donald MacDonald in 1690,
he sent two warships into the Sound of Sleat. William's men burnt the
house of the Clan Chief at Armadale, then came ashore at Camus Castle.
The mission to capture MacDonald was to end there in ignominious failure.
Their quarry instead captured them and right there on the beach he hanged
them all from gibbets made from their own oars.
The Massacre of Glencoe
There never was trouble brewing in Scotland but that
a Dalrymple or a Campbell was at the bottom of it.
Glencoe involved the intimate participation of both Sir John
Dalrymple, Master of Stair and the Campbell Earl of Breadalbane
(a man trusted by Stair and no one else). Glencoe marked the
British government's consent to silence forever the troublesome
clans, breaking whatever taboos necessary to accomplish their
objectives. It is no great leap to start from a position of
total moral, social, economic and religious superiority, and then
to surmise that any group opposing you must be amoral, socially
backward, economically wasteful and condemned to Hell for their
heretical beliefs. Surely God would understand the need to
exterminate such vermin.
It began with a bribe.
The Crown entrusted £12,000 to the Iain Glas Campbell
(Grey John), Earl of Breadalbane, to distribute among the chiefs
in an attempt to purchase their loyalty to William of Orange.
Some took the bribe, some did not. None, however, showed any
I think the Clan Donell must be rooted out and Lochiel. Leave
the McLeans to Argyll. ...God knows whether the £12,000
sterling had been better employed to settle the Highlands or to
ravage them: but since we will make them desperate, I think we
should root them out before they can get the help they depend
Secretary of State, Sir John Dalrymple, the Master of Stair,
in a letter to Breadalbane
Next came the loyalty oath.
All clan chiefs had to take an oath of allegiance to King
William no later than January 1, 1692. If they did not, their
lands would be put to fire and sword. And it was no accident
that the dead of winter was chosen.
The winter time is the only season in which we are sure the
Highlanders cannot escape, and carry their wives, bairns and
cattle to the hills. ... This is the proper time to maul them in
the long dark nights.
Sir John Dalrymple
He was really counting on the Chiefs to refuse the oath and
open themselves to full scale genocide. But at the last moment
the exiled King James in France authorized the Chiefs
to take the oath and by that New Years Day only two had not done
so. One was the powerful MacDonell of Glengarry. The other was
the elderly, but obstreperous MacIan MacDonald of Glencoe. Stair
saw his opportunity. To Glengarry he gave a second chance and
Glengarry pledged his allegiance. Old MacIan also took the oath,
but due to bad weather, a missing official to receive the oath,
and at least one deliberate delay, he was only able to do so on
the 6th of January. Even though he had taken the oath, the fact
of it was suppressed from the Council. Assured that all was
well, MacIan returned to his glen not knowing that Stair had
picked his people for the first example of how to deal with
unruly Jacobite clans.
If MacIan of Glencoe and that tribe can be well separated from
the rest, it will be a proper vindication of public justice to
extirpate that sect of thieves.
Sir John Dalrymple in a letter to his General
Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon commanded a company of the
Argyll's Regiment of Foot billeted with the people of Glencoe.
He was related by marriage to old MacIan, but he also had his own
peculiar ax to grind. Some ten years earlier after the Battle
of Dunkeld Glenlyon's land had been raided and his cattle taken.
It completed the financial ruin that he himself had begun with
years of gambling and drink, and forced him into service in his
kinsman's regiment. He was not a happy camper, but even so, his
commanding officer, Major Duncanson, still wasn't too sure of
The MacDonalds of Glencoe, thinking all was well since their
Chief had taken the oath, made the soldiers welcome. This is
perhaps the Numero Uno Rule of Highland
Etiquette -- killing either a guest or a host is
supremely TACKY, the ultimate in bad taste. This sacred trust
was never to be violated. The stranger might be host's bitterest
foe; the host might be the man the stranger has been hunting for
years, but once the threshold is crossed, hospitality has to be
given and received with good grace. Glenlyon, of course, knew
this. So did Stair and Breadalbane and King William. But they
chose to take advantage of that trust and that is the crime for
which all their names have been vilified for over 300 years.
(We have long memories and short tempers).
For a fortnight the soldiers drank and diced with their hosts.
They ate their food and slept in their homes. No measure of
kindness was denied them. Then on February 12th Glenlyon
received his orders:
You are hereby ordered to fall upon the rebells the McDonalds of
Glencoe and put all to the sword under seventy; you are to have a
special care that the old fox and his sons doe on no account
escape your hands; you are to secure all avenues, that no man
escape. This you are to put in execution at five of the clock
precisely; ... This is by the King's special commands, for the
good and safety of the Countrey, that these miscreants be cut off
root and branch. ...
Major Robert Duncanson's orders to Glenlyon
Government troops, 400 strong, were moving in to block the
pass to the north, and another 400 were to block the south.
Glenlyon was to wait until the stated hour on the 13th and then
carry out his instructions. He and two of his officers had
already accepted an invitation to dine with MacIan the following
evening, and then played cards with MacIain's sons, John and
Alasdair. It was during this card game that the orders arrived
and Glenlyon was clearly taken aback. He brushed off the
MacIains' questions, then withdrew to contemplate the orders. In
the end, he decided to do as commanded.
But the other soldiers were not as comfortable with the
orders. Although there was no open dispute, one officer, Robert
Stewart, is said to have fled rather than take part in the
massacre. Not all the men in the company were Campbells. In
fact, two MacEacherns were related to the MacDonalds of Islay,
which gave rise to the ludicrous Campbell defense that this was a
massacre of MacDonalds by their own clansmen. For the rest of
that day and into the night there were hints of what was to come.
Troops began to move and guards were doubled. Alasdair MacIain
warned his older brother and they went to their father with their
suspicions, but the old mad did not attach much importance to the
On their way home Alasdair and John passed a guardhouse and overheard
remarks to the effect of 'I wouldn't mind fighting these men in a proper battle,
but I don't think we should be asked to do this sort of thing' (i.e. killing people in
their beds is really rude). Alasdair and his family made ready
to run. When a servant rushed in a few hours later with the news
that soldiers were approaching with fixed bayonets, Alasdair and
his wife were on the move, meeting up with brother John and
gathering what kin they could. They narrowly missed capture by
the incoming troops of Major Duncanson and were climbing the
slopes of Meall Mor when they heard the muskets fire in the
At 5:00 a.m. parties of soldiers went from house to house,
shooting or stabbing the inhabitants and setting the thatch
ablaze. Old MacIan was called from his bed and was in the act of
ordering drinks for his "guests" when one of them shot
him in the back. Lady Glencoe was stripped of clothes and
jewelry and ran naked into the night where she died in the cold.
A six year old child, clinging to Glenlyon's knees and begging
for mercy, was stabbed. In the tavern the soldiers bound the
host and eight other men, then shot each one. The bodies were
throw onto the midden and left.
In another house, after his companions had all been killed,
one MacDonald still moved. Sergeant Barbour started to finish
him off, but his victim asked to be killed outside. It seemed
like a reasonable request. Once outside this MacDonald, not so
gravely wounded as he had seemed before, threw his plaid over the
soldiers and escaped clad only in his shirt.
The most beautiful story to come out of the horror of that
night was the sparing of a mother and her baby. As the troops
moved through the glen searching for survivors, a child was heard
crying. The soldier dispatched to "go and put a twist in
the neck of that brat" came upon a mother huddled against
the cold, singing to her baby. In her song he recognized the
same lullaby his wife sang to his baby. The soldier relented and did not kill
them. Instead, he gave her his plaid and some food, then while
returning to his troop he killed a dog and thus brought his
dripping sword as proof that the orders had been fulfilled.
In all, some 38 men, women and children died in the initial
assault. Of the 400 who escaped an unknown number died of
exposure. But the weather, raw as it was, turned for the
MacDonalds' favor. The snow began to fall in thick blowing
clouds and thus prevented the troops from blocking the southern
pass. The people of Glencoe found refuge with the neighboring
Stewarts of Appin and from there the news spread, eliciting
negative reactions even in England.
As massacres go, this one was not particularly successful.
Tactically, the use of muskets was a mistake. When the first
shot was fired, those further away in the glen knew what was
afoot and were long gone before the soldiers reached them. Most
of the clan and both of MacIan's sons escaped and were quick to
make capital on this heinous violation of hospitality. Other
massacres were more cruel and claimed more lives, but Glencoe
exceeds them all for outright brazenness. Although the Crown had
achieved its purpose of making one small clan an example of
Government terrorism, a Commission of Enquiry declared that
Glencoe was "murder under trust," orchestrated and
carried out by the King's servants. Stair was dismissed as
Secretary of State, but was later rewarded with an earldom.
Glenlyon was promoted to colonel, and King William denied knowing
anything at all about the affair.
And to this day the Nine of Diamonds is known as 'the curse of
Scotland' because the Dalrymple coat-of-arms has nine lozenges on
The Appin Murder
The Stewarts of Appin were a hospitable clan, the nice neighbors who took in the shivering survivors of Glencoe and helped them spread abroad news of the atrocity. Half a century later it was the Appins who needed help.
After finishing in second place at Culloden, the Appins, like any clan that sided with the Prince, suffered at the hands of the Hanoverian forces. Their leader in the Rising, Ardsheil, was attainted and escaped to France. His estates fell to the management of his bastard half brother, James of the Glen (Seaumas a' Ghlinne), who was about 50 years old at the time.
In 1749 Colin Campbell of Glenure was appointed as factor on the Ardsheil estates. Obviously (see various preceding history) the choice of a Campbell over Stewart lands was not going to make the natives happy. Colin Campbell had served against the Jacobites, but had not been present at Culloden. James of the Glen's own role in the rebellion had been minor. The two men made the best of an uncomfortable situation and worked together for a time. James served as a sub-factor and for a time there were no drastic changes.
But perhaps things were going a little too well, because Glenure's superiors began to suspect that he might be a closet Jacobite (his mother had been a Cameron, after all), and Campbell was pressured come down harder on the former rebels in his charge. He cracked down on the Stewarts of Appin, demanding rents for their lands for 1745-48, as well as for the current year 1749. Glenure then demanded that James of the Glen yield up the farm of Glenduror and this event, though not protested at the time, gnawed at James, so that when drunk he often made threats against Colin Campbell.
In 1752, Glenure obtained the Sheriff's authority to evict a number of Jacobite tenants on Ardsheil's estates. At this, James took up their cause, but even in the courts of Edinburgh the case fell to the favor of Glenure and on May 14 he set out for Appin to carry out the evictions. Accompanied by his nephew Mungo Campbell, Donald Kennedy, an Inverary Sheriff-officer, and a servant John MacKenzie, Glenure made his way toward the woods of Lettermore. Not far into the woods a shot rang out and Colin Campbell of Glenure fell to the ground, shot through the back by two bullets. He died a half hour later.
The men with Glenure, plus other witnesses abroad at the time, described one or two men fleeing the area. One was said to be Allan Breck Stewart, who won his immortality in the works of R. L. Stevenson (Kidnapped and Catriona). Unable to capture the slippery Allan Breck, the Campbells and their official friends arrested James of the Glen and his son Allan and imprisoned them at Fort William. Allan's alibi won him his life, but James' fate was never in doubt, even though there was scant proof against him. Tried in Inverary with 11 Campbells on a 15 man jury and the Duke of Argyll presiding, he was condemned to be hanged. He protested his innocence right up to the gallows where he died on November 8.
So, who committed the Appin murder? It wasn't as though there weren't plenty of people in the area with a desire to see Glenure die. Frankly, it could have been any of them, but we shall never know.