Mackinnon Chiefship – Note


Following the death without issue of John Mackinnon of Mackinnon in 1808, a petition was lodged at the Lyon Court by which the petitioner, William Alexander Mackinnon, M.P., successfully claimed to be in lawful descent from a second son of Sir Lachlan Mackinnon of Mackinnon (died December 1629) named Donald whom, it was said that, being a royalist, had been taken in arms by Cromwell and transported to Antigua where he married and had issue, of which the petitioner was the descendant and heir male.

The following evidence proves that claim to have been in error:

(1) the remainder of Sir Lachlan and his son and heir, John’s charter for Strathordale in 1627 refers to Sir Lachlan’s nephew, Mr Neil Mackinnon, Rector of Kilmuir, (son of Neil Mackinnon) as next heir-male to them in those lands (RMS 1620-1633. No. 1183)

(2) in 1636, John Mackinnon of Mackinnon having been declared insane, Lachlan Mackinnon, his first cousin (filius patrui) son of Charles Mackinnon, was appointed tutor-at-law to him as nearest agnate (NRS C22/15/278.)

(3) On 5 July 1632, Archibald, Lord Lorn, Lachlan Maclean of Coll, Mr Neil Mackinnon and Lachlan Mackinnon, as curators, petitioned the Privy Council to request that their appearance in Edinburgh on his behalf be dispensed with as “the heavie disease quhairwith it hes pleased God to visite the said John McKynnoun by depryving him of his speeche and hearing”  had incapacitated him “from the management of his affairs” and caused their lordships to “dispense with his yearly appearance, they providing cautioners for his otherwise obeying the law” (Reg. Privy Council, 2nd series, vol. 4, p. 677.)

In all of those instances, should Sir Lachlan Mackinnon have had further sons they would have taken precedence before cousins and been called both as next in succession as well as next-of-kin to their eldest brother, John. Their non-appearance in such evidence where, had they existed, they would otherwise have been expected to have been found combined with other writs constitutes sufficient proof that upon John Mackinnon’s death in 1808, Sir Lachlan’s lawful descendants in the male line extinguished. 

Identification of the Heir Male: 

Sir Lachlan Mackinnon’s male line having thus failed in 1808, succession would open to the heirs male of his brother, Neil Mackinnon. Neil’s only son, Mr. Neil Mackinnon, was rector of Kilmuir, then of Strathordale and finally of Sleat. He married and had issue; two sons (1) Lachlan and (2) Mr. Donald both of whom whom are styled sons to their late father in a Discharge by the former dated 15 July 1666 (NRS RD4/17/605-606.) Failing the descendants of Neil Mackinnon, succession would then open up to those of his brother Charles Mackinnon, who was father of Lachlan Mackinnon, tutor of Mackinnon, whose son Lachlan acquired the lands of Ghamboil on 20 July 1675 (RS38/4/f.355) and is the founder of the Corriechattan stirpes, descendants of whom now reside in Australia.