History of the Clan Macrae


District of Clunes

See Macraes in the Districts of Clunes and Glenurquhart

The Macraes who settled in Kintail are said to have lived originally at Clunes, on the Lordship of Lovat, near the southern shore of the Beauly Firth, where the site on which stood the house of their chief is still pointed out.  So far as the date to which these traditions refer can be fixed, this would be about the middle of the thirteenth century.  The site of Macrae's house (Lorach tigh Mhicrath) is on the southern slope of the Hill of Clunes, and is marked by a number of large stones, which are supposed to have formed the foundation of the house.  Tradition says that the house was originally built in the course of one night by supernatural agencies, and the place has always been regarded as a favorite haunt of the fairies.

See Migration to Kintail

According to the Rev. John Macrae, the most probable cause of the migration of the Macraes to Kintail, or, at all events, of that branch of them which afterwards became the most important, was that, though they do not appear to have been very numerous, they were becoming too crowded in the old home at Clunes.   At the same time Lovat's own kindred and friends were becoming so numerous that the country could not accommodate them all, and this was an additional reason for the Macraes to move to other places, as favorable opportunities arose.  Three sons of Macrae of Clunes are said to have left home in this way, but the old man himself remained in Clunes all his days, enjoying the esteem and confidence of the Lords of Lovat, four of whom were fostered in his house.  Of these three brothers, one settled at Brahan, near Dingwall, where there was a piece of land in the time of the Rev. John Macrae, called Cnoc Mhicrath (Macrae's Hill), and the well which supplied Brahan Castle with water at that time was called Tobair Mhicrath (Macrae's Well).  The descendants of this man were then to be found in Strathgarve, Strathbran, Strathconon, Ardmeanach, and one of them, John Macrae, was at that time a merchant at Inverness.

See The Rev. John Macrae's MS. History of the Clan

The oldest copy of the History now known to exist is in the possession of Horatio Ross Macrae, Esq. of Clunes, and bears on the flyleaf of it the date 1760, but this is probably the transcript which was made by Farquhar of Inverinate, and which, though said to have been finished only in 1786, may have been commenced much earlier.