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24 July, 2011 - 600th Anniversary of the Battle of Harlaw
Aberdeen, Scotland
The Aberdeen District Council are working on plans for a Commemorative Service at the Battlefield.  It is planned to have a Memorial Church Service at 11:00 AM in Aberdeen, then proceed to the Battlefield for a Ceremony to be held at 2:00 PM.

Because the Harlaw Battlefield is a difficult place to get to, and some distance to travel, it will be necessary for Clanfolk to arrive in Aberdeen on July 23rd. 

We are working on arrangements for hotel rooms for any who want to attend.  We are also looking into hiring a mini-bus to transport attendees from the rail station, as there is train service from Edinburgh to Aberdeen, and from Inverness to Aberdeen.

Further details will be forthcoming, as soon as specific Hotel and pricing information are available.

Please contact Rob McDonald Parker at rmparker@btinternet.com
with your desire to attend and any questions you might have. 
It is VERY IMPORTANT that we have some idea of
how many attendees to plan for!
   On the 24th of July, 2011, the 600th Anniversary of the Battle of Harlaw will be celebrated.  The monument to the memory of Lord Provost Davidson and the burgesses of Aberdeen who fell in the battle was erected on the battlefield in 1911.  The architect of the monument was William Kelly (1861-1944).  The battle was fought on the heath to the northwest of the monument.

    Donald, second Lord of The Isles, who led an army estimated at 6,000 to 10,000 men, was prosecuting his claim to the Earldom of Ross in right of his wife, the Lady Margaret Lesley, the only daughter of Sir Walter Lesley by his wife, Euphemia, Countess of Ross against that of Euphemia, daughter of Alexander Lesley, Earl of Ross (died 1402), only son of Sir William Lesley and Euphemia, Countess of Ross.  Alexander Lesley had married Lady Isabella Stewart, a daughter of Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland and therefor the grandfather of the younger Euphemia of Ross.  Albany was well known for his desire to advance the fortunes of his family, and a rumour spread that he intended to obtain the Earldom of Ross for himself by persuading, or pressuring, his granddaughter, whom he induced to enter a convent, to resign her rights to the earldom in his favour.  Donald of The Isles objected to this arrangement and maintained that by entering a convent, Euphemia was legally dead and that as his wife was the next in line as heiress, he had the right to claim the earldom on her behalf.
    In the summer of 1411, the Lord of The Isles raised his vassals in the Isles and West Highlands, and, with this formidable force of several thousand, marched across Ross-shire to Dingwall, the county town, defeating the MacKays en route and took the castle there.  From Dingwall he progressed to Inverness strengthened by many of the Ross-shire clans, and from there across Moray and on towards Aberdeen, which he had threatened to sack. 
    Meanwhile, a Lowland army consisting largely of well-armed and armoured knights and men-at-arms under the command of Alexander Stewart, Ear of Mar, had gathered to defend Aberdeen and, on behalf of the Regent, to oppose the advance of the Lord of The Isles.
    The two armies met at the hamlet of Harlaw, near Inverurie, some 15 miles northwest of Aberdeen, on the eve of the 24th July, 1411.
    The Lord of The Isles commanded the main "battle" of the Highland army while MacLean of Duart and the MacIntosh commanded the right and left wings respectively.  Donald's brother, John Mor of Dunnyveg and the Glens, commanded the reserve.  Mar's army, although greatly outnumbered, was well protected with better claymores, targes and pole axes but with little or no armour.  Mar entrusted the leading of the advance to the constable of Dundee and the Sheriff of Angus, while he himself led the main body.
    Great slaughter was committed on both sides as the conflict raged all day until nightfall.  Among the slain on the Government side were the Constable of Dundee, Sir Robert Davidson, Lord Provost of Aberdeen with most of the city's burgesses who fought around him, the Sheriff of Angus with his eldest son, and above 500 men-at-arms.  The Highlanders were said to have lost around 900 men, the only person among their leaders being MacLean of Duart who fell in mortal combat with Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum who also perished. 
    Both sides claimed victory but the Highland army withdrew during the night...Donald had made his point with the loss of about ten percent of his army, while Mar lost around twenty-five percent of his better-clad force of approximately 2000 men.  Donald withdrew to the Isles where it is said he was pursued by a fresh Government army, this time commanded by the Regent Albany in person, and forced to submit the following year.  Albany therefore gained possession of the Earldom of Ross during his lifetime, but following the return of James I from imprisonment in England and the execution of Albany's son and successor, the Earldom of Ross was finally bestowed on Donald's son and successor, Alexander, third Lord of The Isles.

A History of the Battle of Harlaw
by Norman H. MacDonald