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McKay Clan - the Aberach McKays - Durness, Kyle of Tongue, Loch Shin
Posted by: Linda McKee (ID *****5772) Date: June 22, 2011 at 06:31:18
  of 985

This information was shared with me recently and I am wondering if any of the descendants are online to communicate with me or the forum from the following:

Lenox McKee was born about 1787 at Athem - probably St. Andrew"s Black Abbey. ( has a grandon named Ambrose). I think It was probably Black Abbey in Ards, County Down,.

South Africa "Donald McKay had contracted ... before his death on 13 Feb 1895 was confined to bed and Ella recalls long discussions with him during this period.


After his death, his widow, Jane, went to live on the family farm "Zwakfontein", some 8 miles from Kokstad, and the children attended school in Kokstad on a weekly basis. They would ride in to school early on Monday mornings, and on Friday afternoons the horses would be sent in to fetch them home for the week-end.

Jane had difficulty in getting enough money from the Estate in Mount Frere, so she returned to live in Mount Frere and arranged for the children's continued education in Kokstad. By this time her parents, the McGREGORS had moved into Kokstad to live, and they boarded the children. After their death, CHRISTINA (Tinnie) BANNANTYNE took over the running of the boarding establishment at "Old Government House". In addition to the Donald McKay children, and the Bannantyne children, David McKay's sons Lennox and Melville, and Hugh McKay's son Robbie, also lived at "Old Government House". GEORDIE BROWN, a brother of David Brown of Cupar, Fife, Scotland, married Sarah Jane Phillips, sister of Annie Phillips who married David Sutherland McKay, the father of Lennox, Melville, Ambrose and Walter and Vida, Lilly, Violet and Daisy.

They are from the Naver Valley, Betty Hill (near Farr), Lairg and Tongue which was the "big house" of our branch of the McKay Clan - the Aberach McKays - Durness, Kyle of Tongue, Loch Shin This is also the home of the Lord of Reay (Rea?)

Clan Mackay takes its name from one Aoidh. This Gaelic name has no exact English equivalent although it is often written in anglicised form in medieval documents as Iye or even as Y. Several clan chiefs bore the name of Aoidh Mhic Aoidh, or Iye Mackay, the most famous of these was killed in a quarrel with the Earl of Sutherland in 1370. The early Mackay chiefs were supposedly descended from the ancient Pictish rulers of Moray, Morair Maghrath. The Mackays were first established in Durness in the 13th century when twelve davachs of land at Balnakeil were acquired although the ancient seat of the Clan Mackay stands on the edge of the Kyle of Tongue, Tongue House. The chiefs of the clan held lands in north and west Sutherland for almost six hundred years. At the height of their power, they held more than half the County. Continual territorial warfare took place between the clansmen of the Earl of Sutherland and the Mackays. Between 1400 and 1550 there were ten major battles. Early in the 15th century the Mackay army at full strength numbered more than four thousand men. The bloodiest battle between the two clans was fought in 1433 on Druin na Coub three kilometers south of Tongue. In addition to local skirmishes of raiding and looting the MacKay's fought in the Scottish armies at Bannockburn, Flodden and Solway Moss. Towards the end of the 16th century, the Mackay chieftains became prominent in the religious struggle then prevailing and especially Donald Mackay of Farr, afterwards the First Lord of Reay. Donald Mackay was born in 1590 and succeeded his father Huistean Dhu as chief of the Mackays in 1614. It is not quite clear whether Huistean was the first of the Mackays to become Protestant and that his heir followed his father's example or whether young Donald took the initiative. In 1616, the honour of Knighthood was conferred upon the young Highland Chief in the presence of the Prince of Wales later Charles I. After the Reformation they were ardent supporters of the Protestant cause and the chief Sir Donald Mackay raised a clan regiment which he took to the continent to fight in the thirty years war. For this service he was raised to the Scottish peerage and took the title of Lord Reay. It was at this point the Mackays suffered the first of a series of financial disasters that led to their downfall. The first Lord Reay had used up most of his resources in the Protestant cause in the service of Charles I. With no compensation he was forced to sell part of his lands to the Earl of Sutherland. This was the first of uncounted sales, the end came in 1829 when the Seventh Lord Reay sold the last of his estates, thus the Sutherland realised an ambition, which they had failed to achieve in warfare. After a few years of the passing of the Reay Country from Mackay into Sutherland family there was an order passed to have all dogs destroyed. However distasteful this was people had to obey. In 1875 the ninth Lord Reay died without an heir and the succession passed to the Dutch branch of the family.


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