The Rental of Kintyre

In July of 1505, the Earl of Argyll came to Kilkerran (now Campbeltown) with the Bishop of Argyll to settle accounts on the Kintyre lands formerly belonging to the Lordship of the Isles. After several partial losses of territory, the Macdonald Lords of the Isles had been finally forfeited in 1493, and Argyll was serving as Crown Chamberlain for the lands they once held. As part of this process, a rental was drawn up of these properties and lists made of the principal families thereon.

This is the earliest such list in existence for Kintyre. Andrew McKerral describes it as “of great historical value and interest in that it gives in detail the names and extents of each holding, the names of their occupants, and the rents paid by each. From this rental we are enabled to obtain a clear picture of the principal Kintyre families in the fifteenth century.”[1]

McKerral names among these principal families the Macallasters of Loup.[2] This family should have been represented by Angus MacAlasdair, who was chief of the clan at this time, but Angus is not mentioned by name. Instead, Alexander Makalexander, Angus’s son, is said to be holding the lands that had been granted to his grandfather, the Steward of Kintyre, in 1481.[3] On the other hand, he is not styled ‘of Loup’, as he is in later lists of the area’s inhabitants, suggesting that his father was indeed still alive. In the lists published by the Kintyre Antiquarian Society (1987), the only name given is ‘the Steward’, and without seeing the original documents, I have no way to determine which Macalister is referred to in this way in 1505. 

Also listed in the 1505 rental is Roderick McAlister, who has a grant of Kilkevan in South Kintyre.[4] This might have been either a brother or an uncle of Angus; there was a Roderick in the primary family, but exactly where he fits is not clear. (This Roderick is often confused with the Roderick MacAllister who became Bishop of the Isles. However that Roderick belonged to the Macdonald of Clanranald family, who for a time also used Macalister as a surname. He would probably not have held land in South Kintyre.)

In any case, the 1505 rental of Kintyre shows that numerous properties in both North and South Kintyre were held at this time by one or another of the Loup family. It certainly appears that this erstwhile branch of Clan Donald was thriving as a separate clan in the early years of the 16th century.

Copyright (c) Lynn McAlister, 2013


[1] McKerral, p. 6

[2]ibid.  

[3] Kintyre Rentals, p. 3; Munro, Acts of the Lords of the Isles, pp. 218-9; Angus was apparently still alive in 1515, when he is said to be named in the records of the Privy Seal. 

[4] Kintyre Rentals, p. 5

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