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The MacKenzies of Kintail

Colin, eleventh chief, son of Kenneth, fought on the side of Queen Mary at the battle of Langside. He was twice married. By his first wife, Barbara, a daughter of Grant of Grant, he had, with three daughters, four sons, namely, Kenneth, his successor; Sir Roderick Mackenzie of Kilcoy, and other families of the name. By a second wife, Mary, eldest daughter of Roderick Mackenzie of Davochmaluak, he had a son, Alexander, from whom the Mackenzies of Applecross, Coul, Delvin, Assint, and other families are sprung.

Kenneth, the eldest son, twelfth chief of the Mackenzies, soon after succeeding his father, was engaged in supporting the claims of Torquil Macleod, surnamed Connanach, the disinherited son of Macleod of Lewis, whose mother was the sister of John Mackenzie of Kintail, and whose daughter had married Roderick Mackenzie, Kenneth's brother. The barony of Lewis he conveyed by writings to the Mackenzie chief, who caused the usurper thereof and some of his followers to be beheaded in July 1597. In the following year he joined Macleod of Harris and Macdonald of Sleat in opposing the project of James VI for the colonization of the Lewis, by some Lowland gentlemen,
chiefly belonging to Fife.

The clan Kenneth or Mackenzie has long cherished a traditionary belief in its descent from the Norman family of Fitzgerald settled in Ireland. Its pretensions to such an origin are founded upon a fragment of the records of Icolmkill, and a charter of the lands of Kintail in Wester Ross, said to have been granted by Alexander III to Colin Fitzgerald, their supposed progenitor.

According to the Icolmkill fragment, a personage described as "Peregrinus et Hibernus noblis ex familia Geraldinorum", that is "a noble stranger and Hibernian, of the family of the Geraldines", being driven from Ireland, with a considerable number of followers, about 1261, was received graciously by the king, and remained thenceforward at the court.

The ancestor of the clan Kenzie was Gilleonog, or Colin the younger, a son of Gilleon nahair'de, that is, Colin of Aird, progenitor of the Earls of Ross, and from the MS of 1450 their Gaelic descent may be considered established. Colin of Kintail is said to have married a daughter of Walter, lord high steward of Scotland. He died in 1278, and his son, Kenneth, being, in 1304, succeeded by his son, also called Kenneth, with the addition of Mackenneth, the latter, softened into Mackenny or Mackenzie, became the name of the whole clan. In 1463, Alexander Mackenzie of Kintail received Strathgarve and many other lands from John, Earl of Ross, the same who was forfeited in1476. The Mackenzie chiefs were originally vassals of the Earls of Ross, but after their forfeiture, they became independent of any superior but the crown. They strenuously opposed the Macdonalds in every attempt which they made to regain possession of the earldom.

A crown charter of Highland and Island lands was granted to Kenneth Mackenzie in 1607. The territories of the clan Kenzie at this time were very extensive. "All the Highlands and Isles, from Ardnamurchan to Strathnaver, were either the Mackenzie's property, or under their vassalage, some few excepted", and all about them were bound to them "by very strict bonds of friendship".

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