Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Clan MacNaughton and Dunderave Castle

It was a gesture of gratitude in 1222 when King Alexander II gifted lands round Loch Awe and Loch Fyne to Malcolm MacNachten. Little could the king know then that he was seeding this small clan right by the lion's den.

After breakfast at Thistle House this morning we looked across to that den. Shimmering in the morning mist across Loch Fyne was Inveraray Castle, home to the Duke of Argyll and seat of Clan Campbell, still small in 1222 but destined, by conquest and political astuteness, to become a dominant clan in Scotland and to control the MacNachten lands.

But it was reportedly neither battle nor politics that lost the MacNachtens their ancient seat of Dunderave Castle at the head of Loch Fyne. It was the demon drink. John, the last MacNaughtan laird intended to wed the younger daughter of Sir James Campbell of nearby Ardkinglas, but next day he woke up in bed with, and married to, the wrong daughter. They say Campbell pressed MacNaughtan to an overenjoyment of his Loch Fyne whisky. Anyway, John fled to Ireland with his love, the younger daughter. Dunderave passed bloodlessly to the Campbells and the MacNaughton clan chief still lives in Northern Ireland.

Dunderave is now owned by an American eye surgeon generous enough to allow my clients and me to see round his beautifully furnished castle, despite being there on holiday himself. We saw the famous 'Red Banner Room' and pictures of the castle before and after its restoration by Robert Lorimer in 1911. Afterwards there were stunning views down Loch Fyne.

It was a memorable experience for Grant and Barbara MacNaughton from New Zealand. And more was to come as we headed north to Loch Awe. Under blue Argyll skies, we took a boat out to Fraoch Eilean to investigate the oldest standing castle of the MacNaughtons, then we chugged across to Eilean Innishail, ancient burial place of the clan. Innishail is also the current burial place of the Campbell chiefs; I was interested to see the gravestone of the 12th Duke of Argyll who died in 2001... but didn't trouble to point it out.

47 comments:

irish said...

dear sir. I have recently found that our family in new zealand are direct descendants of the macnaughten clan of dunderave and i wondered if you could advise me of how i may acquire more information as i am looking to move my family back to scotland. Kind regards tasha

irish said...

dear sir. I have recently found that our family in new zealand are direct descendants of the macnaughten clan of dunderave and i wondered if you could advise me of how i may acquire more information as i am looking to move my family back to scotland. Kind regards tasha

Who him? said...

Tasha,
I have written a short article about the MacNaughtons which I can send you if you give me an email address, but moving to Scotland is something I can't advise you on. The Scottish Government website would be a good start

Anonymous said...

Hi --

I'm another "just found out I'm descended from the McNaughtons" relative, and I would love to have a copy of your article, if you don't mind. You can e-mail it to me at

nancy13g (at) yahoo (dot) com

My McNaughton ancestors were the McNitts/McNutts, who came to the US in the 1700s and eventually wound up in Nova Scotia.

I'll be planning a trip to Scotland somewhere in the next ten years or so -- hopefully I'll be as lucky as you were when it comes to getting in to see the castle!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Cunningham,
My son wishes to get married on the castle Dunderave grounds Feb 2010. We are Clan MacNaughton do you have a way we can contact the current owners?
Jim McNitt
captjimmn@yahoo.com

ZombiesRUs said...

Sir, I am planning to travel to Scotland in October and I am of Clan MacNaughton; I have been trying to find contact information for the owner of Dunderave so that I can get in touch about visiting, you should have my email through this but you can also contact me through www (dot) nuradu (dot) com.

chelekell said...

Dear Sir,

I am yet another descendent of this line. In fact my father always thought we were Irish, leading back to this John Macnaughten. Would you mind emailing me a copy of your article also?
Thank you in advance!
Sincerely, Michele McNett Kellenbenz of the USA.

chelekell said...

oops my email address is alonelydragonfly@aol.com thank you again, Michele

Anonymous said...

I am one amoung many descendats to MacNaughten clan. I would greatly appreciate a copy of your article as well. I do know family lineage as far back to 1769. So it would be interesting to see what other information I can pair up.

Thankyou kindly

Kimberly (McNaughton) Chapman
blieu_eyes@yahoo.com

Nuradu said...

Hi, me again, I lost your email, we had been speaking about going to Dunderave at the end of this October, I'd appreciate an email from you again.

tasha said...

please may i have a copy of your article sent to
celticgaelic79@gmail.com
kind regards
tasha

scrapped-ivy said...

hi im a direct desendent of malcolm MacNaughten and i would also like to have a copy of that artical and i have a question since we technically never lost dunderave how come that american has it? my next question is to the macnaughton i would like to know how many of you have the family plack? beacuse i have from sir anthony macnaughten? wat do yours say at the back? my email is scrapped-ivy@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I would also be very glad to receive a copy of your article on the MacNaughtons. Thanks. cherrian100@hotmail.com

MacNaughton in USA said...

Mr. Cunningham,
My husband is of Clan MacNaughton. His grandparents moved to the USA from Dumbarton in the 1930's. We would very much appreciate a copy of your article.
Also we are traveling to the Glasgow/Dumbarton area in June,2010. Could you advise us on how we might be able to view the Castle MacNaughton at that time?
Thank so much in advance for your time and help.
Jan MacNaughton

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your article and the photos are lovely. I visited Dunderave in 1989 and asked the owners, a couple with a young family, if I could take some photos. They asked me to come in and gave me a tour which was incredibly generous of them. I got the impression that they were quite used to random visits from people with links to the MacNachtans. My ancestors immigrated to Invercargill in the early 1800s and my great Aunt and some of her relatives did a lot of work on the family tree...might we be related? I have a copy of this document if it is of interest to you or any of your subscribers. Darlene McNaughton, Cairns Australia.

mjderby said...

I am a McKnight, also of the MacNaughton clan, and I live in California, U.S.A. I have recently realized that our Irish spelling came from the time when the MacNaughton's made their way to Ireland. If anyone has more information on the clan I would truly appreciate it. Thank you. mjderby@sbcglobal.net

Beth Dean said...

FYI MacNaughton Clan;
There are many MacNaughtons who came over to the USA in the 1700's and after who are buried in Caledonia, NY near Avon, NY Monroe County. There graves are behind the Presbyterian Church near the center of town. And dont forget to find the Highway Marker of John MacNaugton Poet & Songwriter as well as the Civil War Monument with the MacNaughton name in the Town Circle.

Anonymous said...

Hi There , im just wondering wither my famiy nam has anything to do with the MacNaughton clan , im a McKnight from the west coast of scotland in ayrshire ?..

Alastair Cunningham said...

Hello Mr or Ms McKnight. Yes, you are quite right. MacKnights, MacNutts and MacNaughtons are al descended from a Nechtan.

Several Nechtans were Kings of the Picts and if anyone challenges your royal bloodline ask them to prove it is not so!

Shawna Gayle said...

Hello. My great, great, great, great, great grandfather was suppose to be the MacNaughten gentleman who ran away with the younger sister having been duped by the father to marry the older sister. This has been folklore in my family as the name changed to McKnight once they came to the Americas. My grandmother was red-haired and my daughter is also a red head. We live in Indiana in the USA and I would love to find some more of our relatives. Anyone interested in learning more of our lineage here in Indiana please email me at sunkistlady57@yahoo.com. Thank you so much!

Chelsea said...

Hi, my mother's maiden name is McNett, and I was wondering if that name is also descended from a Nechtan? ...and is McNett another variation/branch of the MacNaughten Clan?

Alastair Cunningham said...

Hi Chelsea. Yes, McNett and McNutt are both variants of the name MacNaughton. Hope you manage to visit one day.

Iain said...

Re. the photo of "Alastair at an Iron Age Pictish "Broch" "? How many oxymorons can you get into one short sentence? Pretty impressive!

Alastair Cunningham said...

Hi Iain, call me stupid but I cannot see anything oxymoronic about that caption. You will have to spell it out, I'm afraid!

Anonymous said...

My ancestry is through Alexander McNaughton of Argyleshire who immigrated to the US in 1738. Could you also send your article to bhmcnaughton@gmail.com?

nancy g. said...

All my fellow McNaughtons, no matter how you spell it, may be interested in the following site: http://www.clanmacnaughton.net/

nancy g.
of the Nova Scotia McNutts

Thomas Holme said...

Mr Cunningham, I am interested in corresponding with you. There are four major McNaughton history books:
1. Dunderave Castle and the MacNachtans of Argyll by Matthew Cock,
2. The Chiefs of Clan MacNachtan and Their Descendants, by Angus I. Macnaghten,
3. The Clan McNaughton, a history by Duncan McNaughton,
4.The MacNauchtan Saga by V.V. McNitt
All these books are excellent and wonderful to read, but are misleading in various ways. For instance, the story of the last McNaughton chief marrying two daughters of Campbell of Ardkinglas when Campbell got him drunk on whiskey. This was a mixed up tradition. It did not happen to the last chief, John McNaughton. The last chief John McNaughton was a custom's officer in Anstruther. His life history is known. The story of the John McNaughton of Dunderave who married the two daughters of Campbell of Ardkinglas was cousin to the last chief. He was also born in Dunderave castle. His father was John McNauchtan who was brother to Chief Alexander McNauchtan.
Our lineage descends from this John McNauchtan of Dunderave, uncle of the last chief. Descendants today live in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States. The four McNaughton books do not mention our line. Originally information about our line's existance was brought forth by Arnold McNaughton, author of THE BOOK OF KINGS, A ROYAL GENEALOGY who did extensive research about our line. He died in 1979. I have placed all his information on line and continued his research, locating the lines that went to New Zealand and Australia. My website is http://www.trholme.com/mcnaughtonofdunderave/

Thanks,

Thomas Holme

trholme@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I'd very much like a copy of your article. I too am a direct decendent. Thank You.

Bart Ware

MisterBKW@aol.com

Anonymous said...

My family, the McNutts, are coming to Scotland in June to hike the highlands. We are planning a side trip to see Dunderave Castle. Can you tell me how we might make arrangements to visit the castle inside (or at least the grounds)?
thank you in advance. Susie McNutt

Moonstruck Ranch said...

Dear Sir, I descend from the MacNaughton Clan and from Alexander McNitt who had came to America via Antrim, No Ire, arriving in Boston in 1720 with his wife Sarah and youngest son Barnard McNitt and wife Margaret. I would appreciate reading your article if you would please send it me at moonstruckranch@gmail.com. Thank you so much and I hope to see Dundarave someday soon.

Moonstruck Ranch said...

PS from Moonstruck Ranch (Ruth McNitt), wishing records existed for the period when our MacNaughtons settled in Ireland before coming to America. I can not find a record to prove exactly which Scotland MacNaughton took the family to No Ireland, so that generation or two is a mystery - only stated as John MacNaughton in all published family trees I have seen.

Kim said...

Mr. Cunningham,
I recently found a relative who was able to connect me back to Scotland with the McNutt /McKnutt's in my family. I would also be interested in your article so I could see where I fit in. My email is kbarks (at) comcast (dot) net.
Thank you, Kim

Peter said...

Hi if this article is still available then I would be very interested. Thank you Peter peternotails@blueyonder.co.uk

Peter said...

Hi, I would be very interested in any information you have on the family tree that your great aunt and relatives worked on. Thank you peternotails@blueyonder.co.uk

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have found out that I am too a descendant of the McNaughten clan and have been told that either my great or great-great grandmother had actually owned the castle (last name being a McCracken). Would eventually like to visit the castle that once belonged to my family!

Anonymous said...

My family surname is Norton, which is another form/spelling of Nachtan. I have just begun doing geneology on my family. I had my father participate in a genetic research program through Family Tree DNA. Just through this, it shows we are related to McNaughton's but I haven't quite figured out the actual connections. I would love to talk or visit with people who can help fill in blanks and perhaps share the stories I have collected. I can be reached at ms60421@cox.net

kpmdrummer said...

Hello, I realize this post is from 2007, but if this blog is still in use, I'd love some more insight into this castle and my clan's history. I live in the USA.

Best, Kevin McNaughton

Alastair Cunningham said...

Hi Kevin. Send your email address to info@clansandcastles.com and I will send you some further info.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, my name is Peter MacNaughtan, living in England but born in Scotland. I have good information on my immediate ancestors back to about 1800. I have read Angus Macnaghten's book which is very detailed around the Irish based family but runs out of steam in Scotlaand at around 1750. I would love to bridge the gap. Do you have any sources for this? Can one buy a copy of Duncan McNaughton's book. I would also be interested in your articles.
Kind regards, Peter Duncan (of course!) MacNaughtan

Alastair Cunningham said...

Hello Peter living in England! I cannot help you much but if you send me your email address I will send you what I have.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot. My email address is petermacnaughtan@hotmail.com

Thanks, Peter

Gina Lawrence said...

Dear sir- I have been trying to get to the bottom of my lineage for years. I live in the US and my family are McKnights. We are planning a trip to Scotland this summer and would like to visit places relevant to the clan. Can you please advise?

Gina McKnight Lawrence

Alastair Cunningham said...

Dear Gina.

We'd be delighted to arrange your trip to the MacNaughten lands and beyond. Could you please send a brief email to alastair@clansand castles.com

Aubrey Mcknight said...

Hello,

I have finally traced my family line to the MacNaughton's from my surname given to me at birth. I am a McKnight. It is very much easier to spell out. Everyone else aside from my eldest brother, younger sister and I have the name of MacNaughton. I find the history of this family to be interesting. I love history and reading. I have taken many years to trace my family heritage, and both sides of my heritage are intriguing. Cherokee and Scottish. Such a different life style. But, as a normal person. I could have really done with out the extremely fair skin. The history is nothing short of truly amazing.

Aubrey Mcknight said...

Gina McKnight Lawrence,

I know it has been quiet some time since your posting on this website. I am wondering as to what part of the US you live in? My lineage goes only as to the day my family split up on US soil. I have been trying to trace it for years as well. I might only be in my 20's. But it comes in handy to know your lineage. Especially for my curious mind that never stops for anything shy of information.

my email is;

belliijellii@gmail.com

Yes, it a very odd email.

Scott McNorton said...

I am just now wanting to find out what my family history actually is. I believe I am of the MacNaughten clan as my last name is McNorton. I would love to see the article you have written. My email is ftballbuff at gmail dot com. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you! -Anthony

Susan McNutt said...

I would appreciate it if you could email me a copy
of your article. My name is Suzanne McNutt. I believe we might be Ulster Scots. Are the McNutts related to anyone from McNutt Village in Canada? My email address is airforcesue@gmail.com. Anyone with information about the McNutts can contact me.
Thank You.