INAUGURATION OF MACDONALD OF KEPPOCH
What was important about this event, was the fact that there was no officially recognised chief of the clan since the demise of the last chief in 1848, although Raonuill's great great-gra\ndfather Raonuill Mor MacDonell was accepted as Chief by his clan in the duthchas, of Lochaber, that is, the clan territory, at that time. However, Raonuill Mor simply accepted his hereditary title, and did not consider it necessary to rematriculate his Arms,or indeed his Letters Patent in Lyon Court.
Raonuill set out to complete the protocol. However, to enable him to do that he had to prove beyond any doubt that he was heir to the his great great-grandfather Raonuill Mor MacDonell 22 Chief of the Honourable Clan Ranald of Lochaber Mac Mhic Raonuill. That involved deep research into primary sources, held by his family and in the State Records in Register House in Edinburgh. He was also given assistance through the archivist in Fort Augustus Abbey, where an earlier Abbot had undertaken personal scholastic research into both the Glengarry line and the Keppoch line of Chiefs. Aeneas MacDonald the Abbot concerned, was a Glengarry clansman but was also connected through the bloodline of the Keppoch MacDonald clan. He had therefore a dual-interest. His complete personal file was put at the disposal of Raonuill, to enable him to substantiate his claim to the Chiefship of Keppoch, not just by the ancient oral tradition, but by written testimony from the family archives. That is what was demanded of him by the Lord Lyon.
32 years of research, he uncovered substantial evidence to fully
back his claim. In achieving that, he had the expert help and guidance
of the leading Gaelic scholars in Scotland. The late Reverend Norman
MacDonald Emeritus Minister of Glenelg /Kintail, Rosshire , Corresponding
Member of the Royal Gustavus Academy Sweden, author of the 3rd Statistical
Account of that district, archived in National Library of Scotland,
George IV Bridge Edinburgh, Life Member of the Clan Donald Society,direct
descendant of the Jacobite Chief of Sleat, Sir James MacDonald.
He was held in high esteem by Clan Donald, because of his Gaelic
expertise, as this was his native language, and his expert knowledge
on Clan Donald History.
Peskett world-famous Genealogist researched Raonuill's pedigree
over an 18 year period, and produced the written proof to substantiate
his claim. And, finally, on the 30 January 2004 the highest court
in Scotland, the Court of Session, Edinburgh, heard the evidence
presented to it by Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw QC.Bt., and the
three senior judges sitting together at that date, unanimously upheld
Raonuill's legal right to the Chiefship of the Honourable Clan Ranald
of Lochaber Mac Mhic Raonuill. As a matter of interest, Mac Mhic
Raonuill is a Gaelic Title, meaning The Son of Ranald's Son, and
is the official title of the Chiefs of the MacDonalds of Keppoch
of the Honourable Clan Ranald of Lochaber. Only such a Chief can
ever use that title. Raonuill's family retained the shortened version
of that title in the family from generation to generation. A Gaelic
Highland Chiefship sloinneachan normally runs to 7 or eight generations.
In some cases, a shortened version is maintained by a family of
the direct line for practical purposes when naming the next in line.
Usually, the important ancestor heads the top of the sloinneadh.
When a shortened version is retained by a family, the first and
the last named are always retained. Raonuill's sloinneachan fulfils
inauguration was hosted by the Highland Council of Lochaber in their
Council Chambers in Fort William in Lochaber the clan duthchas,
where a wonderful warm Highland welcome was given to him, his clansmen,
friends and supporters. It was very well supported by all concerned.
They travelled far and wide to be there on the day, from Reno, Nevada
U.S.A. from Ireland and from various areas of Scotland.
of Highland Council, Lochaber Mrs Olwyn MacDonald JP made a short
welcoming speech to which the Chief replied.
John C Hutchison
JP. Temporary Sheriff Area Manager Lochaber was introduced to the
audience. In honour of the Chief and of the Honourable Clan Ranald
of Lochaber, he sang in Gaelic, the epic poem "Latha Inbhir
Lochaidh" -"The Day of Inverlochy" or Battle of Inverlochy
c1645 composed by the famous Keppoch Bard, Iain Lom MacDonald of
Keppoch, Gaelic Poet Laureate, the title being bestowed by King
Charles 11, and the only Gaelic Poet Laureate ever created in Scotland
by a Scottish and British Monarch.
The ceremony was concluded at 6pm,and the rest of the evening was spent in celebration in the Alexandra Hotel Fort William, where everyone had a great time, meeting family members and friends that they had not seen for many years, and some for the first time ever. Memories were shared and renewed contacts for the future. The Gaelic clan means family "And that is what clan is all about!". This is an exact quotation from the Chief's address to the audience at his inaugural ceremony.
sons left to right, Chieftains, Raonuill Mor, Alasdair Raonuill,
Coinneach Mor Og.
Chief's three bloodline nephews, Chieftains George McNeilage on right talking to John Wilson Laird of Kilwinnet, Ayrshire, left foreground, Chieftain David McGonagle, Behind him, Chieftain John McNeilage.
Highlander in background, Hugh MacDonald Finlaggan, Retired Editor of the Glasgow Herald F.S.A (Scotland) Gaelic Scholar, Member of Clan Donald.
Chieftains, Left to right, Coll Seamus, Alasdair Raonuill.
Welcoming speech by Councillor Olwyn Macdonald JP, Convener, Highland Council Lochaber
The Lochabar Axe
Here is the Dais shot from the inauguration with Mac Mhic Raonuill's caption of who's included in the shot as he makes his speech.
Back row: Archibald MacPherson
Clan Bard, Alasdair Ranald MacDonald Clan Sword-bearer, son of Chief
(hidden) next to him Ranald Mor Master of Ceremonies, son of Chief,
next to him Coll MacDonald Clan Sword-bearer, son of Chief, (hidden)
next to him at end of row, Stanley F Drake, Clan Limner (Heraldic
Artist) brother in law of Chief.
Presentation of Chief's
Ensigns Armorial by Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw QC. Bt.,