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Lament For Donald Duaghal MacKay - Part Two


Donald Duaghal MacKay was born, February 1590. In 1609 he married Lady Barbara MacKenzie, daughter to Lord Kintail, and during the protracted illness of his father managed the estates. Throughout his life he seems to have suffered from too liberal and unsuspecting a disposition, which exposed him to the arts of insidious neighbors, and by heedless conduct involved himself in difficulties from which he seems justly to have received the appellation of “Duaghal”. (A man of troubles)


This celebrated individual was son of Hugh, or Aoidh, pronounced Aye, commonly called Hmsteindubhnatuaigh (Black Hugh of the axe. Mac Aoiflh. pr. Mackay.) and designed “of Farr”.


In the spring of 1616 he accompanied his relation Sir Robert Gordon, to London, where he was introduced to the king who received him very graciously, ‘and conferred on him the honour of knighthood’.


In 1625 Donald Duaghal MacKay obtained a warrant from king Charles to raise men for the service of the king of Bohemia, and he accordingly took over upwards of 2000 of his own clan, whose heroism and pious demeanour are faithfully recorded by the worthy chaplain. He was created a Baronet in March 1627, and on the 20th June following, he was advanced to the peerage by the title of Lord Reay, secured to him and his heirs-male bearing the name of MacKay. The supporters to his arms which were then assigned him, and which are still borne by the family, represent two of his regiment dressed and armed as they then were. He afterwards entered the service of the kings of Denmark and Sweden, where he served with great distinction, until recalled by his sovereign who unfortunately himself required the best assistance of his subjects. On the arrival of his Lordship in England in 1644, his ships and stores were seized by the Parliament force, by which he suffered to the estimated loss of 20 000 Scots.


Donald Duaghal MacKay remained some time with the king at Oxford, whence he was dispatched in command of the Scots to the north of England; and being taken prisoner when Newcastle was stormed by General Leslie, he was committed with the Earl of Crawford to Edinburgh Castle, where he remained for sixteen months, until released by the Marquis of Montrose. He shortly afterwards sailed from Thurso for Denmark, where the king, his old master, appointed him colonel of a regiment of foot, and governor of Bergen, both of which situations he retained until his death, which took place February 1649, in the 59th year of his age.


His remains were brought home and deposited beside his ancestors in the family vault at Circabol, where his bones, of great size, are still to be seen.


He introduced the protestant religion into his own country, which he otherwise much improved. By five wives he had a numerous family, and was succeeded by his son John.


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