Part 1 of CLANS OF SHISKINE PAST AND PRESENT Compiled and read by Mr.

Charles Robertson, Burncliff, Shiskine, to the Natives of Arran in Glasgow, March, 1936. Printed by THE BUTEMAN, LTD., 10 and 12 Castle Street, ROTHESAY - -------------------------------------------------------------------CLANS OF SHISKINE---PAST AND PRESENT. 10th March, 1936 Mr Chairman and friends:- It gives me the greatest pleasure to be here this evening. I invariably read the reports of your meetings, and they seldom fail to strike a sympathetic note, as each and all of us are intensely interested in all that concerns our native Island. I am especially pleased to have in the chair this evening my friend and kinsman, Duncan Thomson. In fixing the title of my address, I had at the back of my mind the feeling than nothing could interest my audience more than to hear something (to use a Scripture phrase) of the rock from whence most of us were hewn. The subject must have a local setting. I therefore, at the outset, crave the indulgence of those from other parts of the Island. Yet I hope my whole survey will make a general appeal. Now, Arran is Scotland in miniature. The various clans throughout the centuries have been associated with separate locations. For instance, Argyllshire is the home of the Campbells, M'Alisters, M'Larens, Stuarts of Appin. Dumbartonshire-M'Farlanes, M'Gregors. Perthshire-Robertsons, M'Nabs and Murrays. Inverness-Frasers, M'Leods. Banffshire-M'Kinnon, M'Intosh, M'Pherson. Buteshire-Stewarts and Bannatynes, and so on. Likewise in Arran the same names have been associated with the same district for centuries. In my own district, including Machrie, we find M'Alisters, Bannatynes, Curries, Robertsons, M'Kenzies and Murchies, and to a lesser extent the M'Masters, M'Gregors, M'Kelvies, etc. In the southend district we get the M'Kinnons, Cooks, Stuarts, M'Donalds, M'Neils. Whiting BayHamiltons, M'Kelvies. Brodick with Davidsons, Fullartons. M'Brides in Lamlash. Corrie-M'Killops and Kelsos, and of course in the north end of the Island, Kerrs. Those are the names that we invariably connect with the districts just named. For instance, you won't find a Robertson or a Bannatyne in any part of the south end of the Island. Likewise, you won't find a M'Neil or Cook in Shiskine at the present day. Many of the Scottish clans never seem to have at any time a representative in Arran, viz., MacLeod, Grant, M'Farlane, M'Dougall, Cameron or M'Lean. My object in compiling this survey is not so much to trace the genealogy of the various clans, but rather to my mind, what is more important, to get the relative positions of different periods, to come up to the present day, and give my opinion of their chance of survival

or otherwise. On the east side of the Island, owing to its closer proximity to the mainland, old honoured names are disappearing much more rapidly than with us on the west side. In the beginning of the last century Lamlash had almost one-third of its population M'Brides. What is the position to-day? There is only one male M'Bride under 50 on the east side of Arran, and that one is a child of nine. Let us hope, in the words of the Scripture, that the little becomes a thousand. The last male Fullerton passed away two years ago. The Davidsons are reduced to a minimum. It makes one sad when reading reports in the public press of the various functions that there is little or no mention of those old names that we so long associated with those districts. A friend of mine, a native of Brodick, for many years an exile from his native Island, returned to visit the scene of his boyhood. He was accompanied by his brother, also for long an exile. They went down to the burn in which they had paddled with their bare feet, looked at the trees they climbed, called to mind many of their boyhood ploys. Then one said to the other, "Let us see if we see any resemblance to those we knew in the children we meet." They met a nice boy, and enquired his name. What was their surprise and disappointment when the boy replied John Kelly. They both felt the same sensations, as if a jug of cold water had been poured down their spine. Fortunately that state of affairs only applies in very small degree to the west side. Some of the families then could trace a pedigree as long as any Peer in the House of Lords. I have endeavoured, as far as possible, to base my findings on documentary evidence. I owe my thanks to Mr Laidler for giving me access to the Estate Rent Roll; to the Rev. Mr M'Leod Wright, Kilmory, for access to the Session Records; and for a like privilege to the Free Church, Shiskine; also to Mr Wm. Robertson, Banlikan. Traditional evidence cannot always be relied on. I have often heard many varied versions of incidences and pedigrees as well that were quite contradictory. I am often tickled when I hear of some folks tracing their genealogy. Their claim would be very amusing if they were not so fantastically inaccurate. I am now coming to the clans of Shiskine. First the M'Alisters, the clan that is no longer associated with Shiskine than any other. They hailed from Kintyre along with the M'Donalds, and for a long time were a thorn in the flesh to the early dwellers in Arran. Many of them may have settled there. Another report says somewhat unkindly that they came to Arran to fill the places left vacant by a great plague that visited to Island in 1666. The writer goes on to say that it was most fitting that such a forerunner should prepare a place for those who were so long a plague in the Island themselves. I do not hold with that theory, for in the Kilmory records we find them all over Shiskine. I was struck with the frequency the christian name Florence appeared in the female section of the clan. We come to a Florence M'Alister in Auchincar, one in Torbeg, one in Birchburn, and another in Ballygown. That lovely name has disappeared from the clan. In fact, there isn't a single female of that name in Shiskine to-day, abbreviated Flora. In 1776 we find a M'Alister, a taxman in Kilpatrick; one in Torbeg, one in Feorline, one in Ballygown, and the best known of them all, Hector M'Alister, taxman of Glaister and Monyquil. This gentleman

is credited with being involved in the '45 which ended disastrously at Culloden, and he had to go into hiding for some time. He was one of the two sent by the people of Shiskine to represent their interests at a meeting called by the factor Burrell, to consider steps to be taken to ensure better communication with the mainland. The descendants of the said Hector have been in the glen till about 27 years ago. The last tenant being also a Hector. In the Arran Rent Roll of 1812, James M'Allister, Monyquill, is the only tenant with Esquire to his name. Provost M'Allister, Troon, and Mr Constable, Rothesay, are descend from the same man (Worthie M'Allister). The first M'Allister we have record of is one Ranald M'Allister, who rented a line of farms on the west side of Arran from Lochranza to Machrie Bay. Unhappily those farms were the most exposed to the raiders from Kintyre. When we first come across his name in 1440, he is 3 1/2 years behind with his rent; 1447 repeats the tale, rent held back by Ranald M'Allister. We now come to 1458, when he departed his life. For 15 years he was tenant of nine farms, for four years he was lessee of the whole Island. It would appear that he never paid rent all those years. Yet he died without property, with those words for his epitaph-" He had nothing to distrain." In my boyhood days the M'Alisters were the most numerous clan in Shiskine. They occupied positions of trust in our public bodies. In fact, they ruled us both temporally and spiritually. A M'Alister would take as naturally to a Kirk Session as a Kerr or Kelso from Lochranza, would take to the water. Now, what is the position today apart from one family, the prospect of having any M'Alisters in either Shiskine or Machrie in the near future is very remote. CURRIES.---The name Currie is alleged to be a reduced form of MacMhurrich. Tradition has it that like some of the old Arran families they had charters of the lands of Feorline. This, I am afraid, is unsupported by evidence. Down to the end of the eighteenth century the name Currie does not appear in Feorline at all. In 1796 they came to Feorline. (Tormore Curries.) One was a taxman in Kilpatrick, one in Feorline, another in Clachan. There were several in Tormore at the same period. Arran in all its long history has never thrown up a poet of any standing, though we have a few rhymers. There were one or two of the Curries who made brave attempts. One of them was called "Gobha Beag" (the wee smith). The other was Donald Currie. Poaching in Arran was always looked upon as a heinous crime. The Gobha Beag (first of these Curries) wrote a very pathetic poem of his eviction from Arran for poaching-the following is a translation from Gaelic of four of the verses:In the calm summer morn, ere the sun with his rays, Would waken in beauty our valleys and braes, With my take in my skiff I so gladly would come, To the shade of the Castle where nestled my home. Dear Beallach nam Mean, how my heartstrings were torn, When banished the spot where my darling was born, 'Tis my fate in the Lowlands to nourish my wrongs, Since fortune once placed too near to the Longs. The factor ordained in the pride of his power, My kin should disown me if e'en for an hour,

They'd shelter or aid me, his ire they would feel, Be stripped of their farms, and crushed by his heels. But those who expelled me from Arran shall be Without sheep on the moorland, or cow on the lea; While I openhanded shall live in Tormore, To drink my cup yet, and eat of my store. There is ample evidence of the survival of this clan. BANNATYNES. The Bannatynes, more than any of the others, are purely a Shiskine clan. They came to Arran from Bute. In an old record of 1400 we find the names of four Bannatynes acting on a jury in Rothesay. Tradition says that the first Bannatyne came to Arran to settle was a Ronald Bannatyne. He landed at Corrie, the place being still known as Rudha Raonal. In the early days there must have been among them men of scholastic attainments. The Kilmory Session records give in 1701 the Rev. Dugald Bannatyne, minister, and a few years later a Hector Bannatyne, schoolmaster. In 1776 one of the clan was taxman in Feorline. I find in the Estate books an entry regarding the building of a steading at Tighenfraoch, and a grant given by the Estate for thatching with heather. Incidentally, the thatcher's name was John Sloss. The Bannatynes were noted horsemen, good judges, expert in the saddle. One of the clan has started a riding school at Blackwaterfoot. The young generation of Bannatynes keep up the family reputation. It is a pure joy to watch them poise in the saddle. At one time they had the reputation of being slick in a horse deal. A woman at Lochranza warned her son as he set out for Shiskine Fair to have no dealings with the "Nazaree." Notwithstanding this advice the poor fellow got badly bitten. In those far-off days slick work in a deal was looked upon rather as a virtue that a vice. In not a few cases they got the worse of the bargain. There was an Ebenezer and a Ronald. It is from the issue of the latter that your chairman and I made contact in the past. My great-grandmother was his grandmother's aunt. There is something unique in this family. There was 29 years between the first and the last birth in the family, the same mother. Now, Mr Chairman, with knowledge such as this before us, whatever misgivings we may have regarding the clan, there can be no doubt whatever regarding the fertility of the breed. Like the Curries, their prospects of survival are excellent. ROBERTSONS. This, as you all know, is my own clan. Nobody seems to know when they came to Arran. At one time they were Clan Duncan. Tradition has them also associated with Robert the Bruce. You can take that for what it is worth. In 1719 I find an ancestor of mine, Wm. M'Rob, severely censured by the Kirk Session for grinding corn on the Fast Day. In the 1830 Rent Roll we get five families in Torbeg, one in Kilpatrick, one in Feorline, and one in Tormore. One of this clan was noted for physical strength, namely Strong Jock. If the reports we hear can be relied on this man's strength in Dominie Sampson's phraseology was "prodigious." Now, you may ask me what the prospects are regarding the survival of this clan. We have at the moment more young men of marriageable age in the district than any of the others. With so many potential progenitors in our midst, the prospect of survival is favourable. M'KENZIES. We do not know exactly when the clan came to the Island. There is a Donald M'Kenzie mentioned in the Session records 200 years

ago. There was a Patrick M'Kenzie taxman in Shedog in 1776. The first M'Kenzie settled in Tormore in 1796. His christian name is Gilbert. Evidently the first Sym settled there the same year. When I was a boy there were eight families of the name in Machrie alone. In the Free Church records of 1845 we find Peter and Alexander M'Kenzie, grandfather and great-grandfather of your secretary, members of Session. Now, the prospect of survival of this old and honoured name is less favourable than any of the others I have mentioned. There is only one M'Kenzie under 40 in the whole district. Unless in the near future (I say this in all seriousness) there is a distinct and definite movement among the drybones of those that remain, that old and honoured clan will have joined the company of the Crawfords, M'Gregors, Cooks, etc., and become only a memory. I trust those blunt and outspoken statements will have the desired effect. End of part 1