Clan Mackintosh

Clan Mackintosh (Clann Mhic an Tòisich) is a Scottish clan from Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.[1] The chiefs of the clan are the Mackintoshes of Mackintosh. Another branch of the clan, the Mackintoshes of Mackintosh-Torcastle, are the chiefs of Clan Chattan, a historic confederation of clans.[1]

Clan Mackintosh
MottoTouch Not The Cat Bot A Glove ("Touch not the cat without a glove") & Loch Moigh - Rallying Cry
War cryLoch Moigh
Plant badgeRed whortleberry, bearberry, or boxwood
John Mackintosh of Mackintosh
(An t-Ailpeanach)
SeatMoy Hall
Historic seatMoy Castle on Loch Moy


Origins of the clan

The Scottish Gaelic word toisiche means leader and can also be translated as chief.[1] The seanachies of the Clan Mackintosh claim that the first chief of the clan was Shaw, second son of Duncan MacDuff, Earl of Fife of the royal house of Dál Riata.[1] In 1160 Shaw MacDuff accompanied Malcolm IV of Scotland on an expedition to suppress a rebellion in Morayshire.[1] In about 1163 he was also made constable of Inverness Castle and was granted land in the Findhorn valley.[1] The heartland of the clan was the lands of Petty which was also the burial place of the chiefs.[1] In 1179 Shaw MacDuff was succeeded by his son who was also called Shaw and was confirmed in his patrimony by William the Lion.[1][2]

Scottish-Norwegian war

In 1263, during the Scottish–Norwegian War, Ferquhar Mackintosh, the fifth chief led his clan at the Battle of Largs against the army of Haakon IV of Norway.[1] However he was killed in a duel in 1265 leaving his infant son, Angus, as heir.[1]

Clan Chattan

Angus Mackintosh was brought up in the court of his uncle, Alexander of Islay, Lord of the Isles, chief of Clan Donald.[1][2] In 1291 a splendid match was arranged for Angus when he married Eva, the only daughter of Dougal Dal, chief of the Clan Chattan, which brought Angus the lands of Glenloy and Loch Arkaig.[1] Angus and Eva lived on the lands of Clan Chattan at Tor Castle but they later withdrew to Rothiemurchus.[1] After this the Clan Chattan developed into a unique confederation of independent Scottish clans that was led by the Mackintosh chiefs.[1] However their leadership was unsuccessfully challenged over the centuries by the Clan Macpherson who were part of the confederation.[1] From this point onwards Clan Mackintosh and Chattan history is inextricably entwined.[1]

Wars of Scottish Independence

During the Wars of Scottish Independence the sixth chief of Clan Mackintosh supported Robert the Bruce.[1]

14th century and clan conflicts

Clan Mackintosh were involved in many clan battles, mostly against Clan Cameron with whom they had an extensive feud which lasted over 350 years:

The Battle of Drumlui was fought in 1337; it was a dispute between the Clan Mackintosh and Clan Cameron over land at Glenlui and Loch Arkaig. The Camerons were defeated but started a 350-year feud.[3] The Battle of Invernahoven was fought in 1370 between the Clan Cameron and the Chattan Confederation of Clan Mackintosh, Clan Macpherson and Clan Davidson.[4] The Battle of the North Inch in 1396 was fought between the Chattan Confederation that was led by the Mackintoshes and the Clan Cameron, and was one of the most important battles between these two clans.[5]

15th century and clan conflicts

The ninth chief of Clan Mackintosh, Ferquhar had to surrender the chiefship in favour of Malcolm Mackintosh, son by the second marriage of William Mackintosh the seventh chief.[1] Malcolm Mackintosh was a strong leader who greatly extended the influence of his clan.[1] He feuded with the Clan Comyn in a dispute that had its origins when the Comyns had feuded with Robert the Bruce.[1] In 1424 the Comyns forcibly took possession of some of the Mackintosh lands at Meikle Geddes and Rait but Malcolm Mackintosh retaliated and put many of the Comyns to the sword.[1] This was in turn retaliated by the Comyns who invaded the Mackintosh homeland of Moy and unsuccessfully tried to drown the Mackintoshes on their island of Moy.[1] A feast of reconciliation was held at the Comyn's castle of Rait however here the Mackintoshes slaughtered their Comyn hosts.[1]

The Mackintoshes fought at the Battle of Lochaber in 1429 which was between forces led by Alexander of Islay, Earl of Ross, 3rd Lord of the Isles and the royalist army of James I of Scotland.[6] The Battle of Palm Sunday, 1429, was fought between the Clan Cameron against the Clan Mackintosh and the Chattan Confederation.[7]

The Battle of Craig Cailloch was fought in 1441: the Clan Mackintosh, at the instigation of Alexander, Lord of the Isles, began to invade and raid the Clan Cameron lands. A battle took place at Craig Cailloch between the Camerons and the Mackintoshes in which Mackintosh's second son, Lachlann "Badenoch" was wounded and Gille Chaluim, his brother, killed.[8]

The Battle of Clachnaharry, was fought in 1454 between the Clan Mackintosh and the Clan Munro led by John Munro of Milntown.[9][10]

The Raid on Ross took place in 1491, in the Scottish Highlands, between the Clan Mackenzie against several other clans, including the Clan MacDonald of Lochalsh, Clan MacDonald of Clanranald the Clan Cameron and the Chattan Confederation of Clan Mackintosh. The victors then proceeded to Inverness where they stormed the Inverness Castle and Mackintosh placed a garrison in it.[11]

16th century and clan conflicts

The Battle of Bun Garbhain was fought in 1570 between the Clan Cameron and Clan Mackintosh. Domhnall Dubh Camshròn, XV Chief of Clan Cameron, had died, leaving an infant son, Ailean, at the head of the clan. During the battle the chief of Mackintosh is believed to have been killed by Donald 'Taillear Dubh na Tuaighe' Cameron, (son of the XIV Chief of Clan Cameron), with a fearsome Lochaber axe.[12]

The Battle of Glenlivet was fought in 1594 where the Clan Mackintosh and Chattan Confederation fought on the side of the Earl of Argyll along with Clan Campbell, Clan Stewart of Atholl and Clan Forbes. They were defeated by the Earl of Huntly's forces which consisted of Clan Gordon, Clan Comyn and Clan Cameron.[13]

17th century and Civil War

During the Scottish Civil War the Mackintoshes fought for James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose throughout his campaign for Charles I of England.[1]

The Stand-off at the Fords of Arkaig took place in 1665 between the Chattan Confederation led by the Clan Mackintosh against the Clan Cameron.[14]

The Battle of Mulroy was fought in 1668. Clan Cameron and Clan Mackintosh were at peace and Cameron Chief Sir Eòbhann was responsible for keeping the peace between his men and their former enemies. However, when the Chief, Sir Eòbhann Camshròn, was away in London a feud broke out between Clan MacDonald of Keppoch and their enemies Clan Mackintosh and Clan Mackenzie. As the Cameron Chief was away he was not able to hold back his clan and the combined forces of Cameron and MacDonald defeated the Mackintoshes and Mackenzies.[15]

18th century and the Jacobite risings

Jacobite rising of 1715

During the Jacobite rising of 1715 the Mackintoshes remained loyal to the Stuart cause.[1] Lachlan Mackintosh led eight hundred clansmen in support of the Jacobites, under his cousin, Mackintosh of Borlum.[1] However they were defeated at the Battle of Preston (1715).[1] After this many clansmen were transported to the Americas.[1]

Jacobite rising of 1745

During the Jacobite rising of 1745, Angus Mackintosh, twenty-second chief of Clan Mackintosh was a captain in the British Black Watch regiment.[1] However, in his absence, his wife, Lady Anne Mackintosh raised men to fight for the Jacobite Charles Edward Stuart.[1] Command was given to MacGillivray of Dunmaglas, of the Clan MacGillivray.[1] They contributed to the Jacobite victory at the Battle of Falkirk Muir in 1746.[1] Following this victory Charles arrived at Moy on 16 February 1746 where he was received by Lady Mackintosh.[1] The prince's bed is still at Moy Hall.[1] An attempt was made by five hundred Government troops to capture Prince Charles at Moy, but they were deceived by just five of the Lady Mackintosh's retainers into believing that they had blundered into the entire Jacobite army and fled.[1] This incident became known as the Rout of Moy.[1] At the Battle of Culloden the Mackintoshes and their allies in the Chattan Confederation suffered heavy losses.[1]


The present Chief is John Lachlan Mackintosh of Mackintosh (born 1969), formally styled as The Mackintosh. He succeeded as Chief in 1995 and currently resides in Singapore. The Mackintosh is an Integrated Humanities(IH) and history teacher in the Humanities Faculty at Nanyang Girls' High School and married to a Language Arts teacher and academic, Miss Vanessa Heng in March 2014, after their engagement in 2013.[16]


Castles held by the Clan Mackintosh have included:

  • Moy Hall is the current seat of the Chief of Clan Mackintosh.
  • Moy Castle on Moy Island, on Loch Moy was the original seat of the chief of Clan Mackintosh. There are now only slight remains of Moy Castle.[17]
  • Borlum Castle, held by the Mackintoshes and later replaced by a mansion, the castle was seat of the Jacobite Mackintosh of Borlum.[17]
  • Castle Stuart was granted to James Stewart, Earl of Moray but was once held by the Mackintoshes after they seized it in a dispute over ownership and an agreement was reached.[17]
  • Culloden House, near Inverness, is a mansion house that incorporates part of a castle, was once held by the Mackintoshes but was sold to the Clan Forbes in 1626.[17]
  • Keppoch Castle, originally the seat of the chiefs of the Clan MacDonald of Keppoch,[18] it was disputed over with the Mackintoshes and eventually passed to them in 1690.[17]
  • Rait Castle,[19] near Nairn, Inverness, passed to the Mackintoshes from the Clan Comyn and then from the Mackintoshes to the Clan Campbell of Cawdor.[17] A feast held at the castle between the Comyns and Mackintoshes ended in the slaughter of most of the Comyns and the laird blamed his daughter who he chased around the castle.[17] She climbed out of a window but he chopped off her hands and she fell to her death.[17] The castle is said to be haunted by her ghost.[17] The Duke of Cumberland is said to have stayed at the castle before his victory at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.[17]
  • Tor Castle, near Fort William, Lochaber, was held by the Mackintoshes but was seized by the Clan Cameron in the fourteenth century.[17]

See also


  1. Way, George and Squire, Romily. (1994). Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. (Foreword by The Rt Hon. The Earl of Elgin KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). pp. 230 - 231.
  2. Mackintosh, Margaret of Mackintosh. (1982). The Clan Mackintosh and the Clan Chattan. (Foreword by Sir Donald Cameron of Lochiel). ISBN 0-904265-73-0.
  3. The Battle of Drumlui Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  4. The Battle of Invernahavon Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  5. Battle at the North Inch of Perth Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  6. The Battle of Split Allegiances Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  7. The Battle of Palm Sunday Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  8. The Battle of Craig Cailloch Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  9. Gordon, Sir Robert (1580–1656), A Genealogical History of the Earl of Sutherland. Written between 1615 and 1630, published in 1813: pp. 46–47.
  10. Fraser, James. Chronicles of the Frasers: the Wardlaw manuscript entitled Polichronicon seu policratica temporum, or, The true genealogy of the Frasers, 916-1674. Originally written in about 1674 re-published in 1905 by William Mackay: pp. 84 - 86.
  11. The Raid on Ross Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  12. The Battle of Bun Garbhain Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  13. The Battle of Glenlivet Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  14. Standoff at the Fords of Arkaig Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  15. The Battle of Mulroy Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  17. Coventry, Martin. (2008). Castles of the Clans: The Strongholds and Seats of 750 Scottish Families and Clans. pp. 382 - 383. ISBN 978-1-899874-36-1.
  18. Coventry, pp. 364.
  19. History of Rait Castle Retrieved 10 May 2014.
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