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Flowerdale, Gairloch

This is one of five views from a letter card of Gairloch.

It shows Flowerdale.

This lovely glen, just inland from Gairloch's harbour at Charlestown, is where the Mackenzies of Gairloch have their family seat, Flowerdale House.

In the 1400s the lands of Gairloch were held by Clan Macleod. Allan Macleod married a daughter of Alexander Mackenzie of Kintail and they had three sons. His second wife was a daughter of the Macleod of the Lews. Two brothers of the Macleod of the Lews swore that no one with a drop of Mackenzie blood would inherit the lands of Gairloch. They murdered Allan and two of his sons. His widow, who witnessed the murder of her stepsons, took their bloodied shirts to their grandfather, Alexander Mackenzie. He sent his own son, Hector Roy, to report what had happened to King James IV. The king granted Hector a "commission of fire and sword" against the Macleods and gave him a Crown Charter of the lands of Gairloch dated 1494. The murderers were later slain. Some of the Macleods held out in the small fort or Dun on the nearby shore but were finally killed by Hector Roy thus avenging the deaths of his two little nephews.

Conflict continued between the Macleods and Mackenzies. There is a story that on seeing a Macleod boat coming in to the bay a Mackenzie archer shot the look-out, who was up the mast, from the roof of the house - a distance of half a mile.

The original house at Gairloch was called Tigh Dige or Moat House. It was in a hollow below the present mansion and had a moat and drawbridge.

The present house was built in 1738 for Sir Alexander Mackenzie and was the first in the district to have a slated roof. The house was then named "Tigh Digh nam gorm Leac" - Moat House of the blue slates. It was extended in 1904 by Andrew Maitland & Sons

In 1745 the captain of a man-of-war, searching for Prince Charlie, invited the laird on board. The laird declined as he has was dining with guests on top of a high rock, Creag a Chait, the Cat's Rock, behind Tigh Dige but asked the captain to join them. The reply was a broadside to the house, the canon ball lodging in the gable end.

Fraser of Foyers, fleeing after Culloden, was hidden for some time in a secret recess in the house.

In September 1921 the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, was staying at Flowerdale House when he heard that Ireland had rejected the King and Empire. He called the cabinet at Inverness, the one and only time it met outside London.

Osgood Mackenzie, Hector's descendant, writing in 1922, states that tourists seeing the profusion of wild flowers in the lovely Baile Mor, Big Town or Village, Glen suggested it should be named Flowerdale but that during his life the house was only ever called Tigh Dige and the place Am Baile Mor.

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Flowerdale, Gairloch

ROSS: Gairloch

1920s; 1930s

postcards; glens; Mackenzies; mansions; Macleod; murders; commission of fire and sword; Crown Charter; James IV; Hector Roy; Andrew Maitland; Prince Charlie; Creag a Chait; Fraser of Foyers; Lloyd George; cabinet; Osgood Mackenzie; Baile Mor

Highland Libraries

Highland Libraries' Postcard Collection

This is one of five views from a letter card of Gairloch.<br /> <br /> It shows Flowerdale.<br /> <br /> This lovely glen, just inland from Gairloch's harbour at Charlestown, is where the Mackenzies of Gairloch have their family seat, Flowerdale House.<br /> <br /> In the 1400s the lands of Gairloch were held by Clan Macleod. Allan Macleod married a daughter of Alexander Mackenzie of Kintail and they had three sons. His second wife was a daughter of the Macleod of the Lews. Two brothers of the Macleod of the Lews swore that no one with a drop of Mackenzie blood would inherit the lands of Gairloch. They murdered Allan and two of his sons. His widow, who witnessed the murder of her stepsons, took their bloodied shirts to their grandfather, Alexander Mackenzie. He sent his own son, Hector Roy, to report what had happened to King James IV. The king granted Hector a "commission of fire and sword" against the Macleods and gave him a Crown Charter of the lands of Gairloch dated 1494. The murderers were later slain. Some of the Macleods held out in the small fort or Dun on the nearby shore but were finally killed by Hector Roy thus avenging the deaths of his two little nephews.<br /> <br /> Conflict continued between the Macleods and Mackenzies. There is a story that on seeing a Macleod boat coming in to the bay a Mackenzie archer shot the look-out, who was up the mast, from the roof of the house - a distance of half a mile.<br /> <br /> The original house at Gairloch was called Tigh Dige or Moat House. It was in a hollow below the present mansion and had a moat and drawbridge. <br /> <br /> The present house was built in 1738 for Sir Alexander Mackenzie and was the first in the district to have a slated roof. The house was then named "Tigh Digh nam gorm Leac" - Moat House of the blue slates. It was extended in 1904 by Andrew Maitland & Sons<br /> <br /> In 1745 the captain of a man-of-war, searching for Prince Charlie, invited the laird on board. The laird declined as he has was dining with guests on top of a high rock, Creag a Chait, the Cat's Rock, behind Tigh Dige but asked the captain to join them. The reply was a broadside to the house, the canon ball lodging in the gable end.<br /> <br /> Fraser of Foyers, fleeing after Culloden, was hidden for some time in a secret recess in the house.<br /> <br /> In September 1921 the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, was staying at Flowerdale House when he heard that Ireland had rejected the King and Empire. He called the cabinet at Inverness, the one and only time it met outside London.<br /> <br /> Osgood Mackenzie, Hector's descendant, writing in 1922, states that tourists seeing the profusion of wild flowers in the lovely Baile Mor, Big Town or Village, Glen suggested it should be named Flowerdale but that during his life the house was only ever called Tigh Dige and the place Am Baile Mor.