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Sir Colin "Black Colin" Campbell, of Breadalbane, 1st of Glenorchy[1, 2, 3]

Male Abt 1428 - 1489  (~ 61 years)


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  • Name Colin "Black Colin" Campbell  [4, 5
    Prefix Sir 
    Suffix of Breadalbane, 1st of Glenorchy 
    Nickname Black Colin 
    Born Abt 1428  Lochow, Argyllshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 24 Sep 1489  Tower of Strathfillan, Perthshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Buried 26 Sep 1489  Kilmartin, Knapdale, Argyllshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Person ID I922  Ghillebride
    Last Modified 1 Apr 2020 

    Family 1 Janet (Jonet) Stewart,   b. Abt 1432, Lorn, Argyllshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married Abt 1448  Argyllshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Last Modified 24 Aug 2015 
    Family ID F1530  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Mariot (Mary) Stewart,   b. Bef 1425, Lennox, Dumbarton, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Dsp - Died Without Children. Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married Abt 1446  Argyllshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Last Modified 24 Aug 2015 
    Family ID F1528  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 3 Margaret Robertson,   b. Abt 1433, Struan, Strath Earn, Perthshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married Abt 1454  Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [6, 7
    Last Modified 24 Aug 2015 
    Family ID F1531  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 4 Margaret Stirling,   b. Abt 1432, Keir, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married Bef 27 Oct 1467  Keir, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [6, 8
    Children 
     1. George Campbell,   d. Yes, date unknown
     2. Mariota Campbell,   d. Yes, date unknown
     3. Gyllis (Egidia) Campbell,   d. Yes, date unknown
     4. John Campbell, of Auchreoch, 1st of Lawers,   b. Abt 1458, Glenorchy, Argyllshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Sep 1513, Flodden, Kirknewton, Northumberland, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 55 years)
     5. Helen Campbell,   b. Abt 1463, Glenorchy, Argyllshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
    Last Modified 24 Aug 2015 
    Family ID F1533  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • 1 - Colin of Glenurchy, Baron of Lawers, Knight, ancestor of the Campbells of Glenurchy, of Lawers, of Glenlyon, of Monzie, of Barcaldine, and of Breadalbane.
      Earliest tracable ancestor of the Campbell family of Breadalblane, and first of the house of Glenorchy.
      Recieved the lands of Glenorchy in 1432 from his father, after he had thrown the MacGregors off it and recieved it by royal charter.
      Sir Colin claimed Glenlyon from the Stewarts of Garth, mainly using weapons as his arguments. He became progenitor of the Campbells of Breadalbane and guardian of Colin Earl of Argyll during the latter's minority. Due to his pilgrimage to Rome he was known as Colin dubh na Rhoime. He was married to Margaret, daughter of John Stewart of Lorne. (Sister of Isabella, heiress to the Lordship of Lorne).
      The name Breadalbane refers mainly to the lands owned by the Campbells from Oban to Aberfeldy. The name Breadalbane derives from the old celtic words signifying "high Albane" or "the high part of Scotland in the kingdom of Albany". The area is steeped in history, much of it recorded in ancient records, much recorded in ancient pictish carvings and before that, evidence of early occupation lies in 'cup and ring' markings which are found carved in the rocks all over Breadalbane.
      It was in 1473 that the first of the Campbell's got a footing in Breadalbane, he did so by helping capture the murderer of King James I. As a reward Sir Colin Campbell of Glenorchy got the Barony of Lawers and the estates of Balloch. There were not many Campbell's around Tayside in those days, and they were greatly outnumbered by other clans in the area. So, perhaps wisely, Sir Colin chose an island on Loch Tay for the first Campbell stronghold in this district. "Eilean nam Ban Naomh" (the island of holy women) had earlier been the location for a nunnery, and Queen of Sibylla of Scotland was buried there when she died in 1122. AD
      Colin 'MacCallum More' chieftain was slain in a contest with his powerful neighbour, the Lord of Lome, at a place called the 'String of Cowal,' This event occasioned feuds for a series of years between the neighbouring Lairds of Lochow and Lorne, which were terminated at last by the marriage of Colin, second Lord Campbell of Lochow, and first Earl of Argyll, Lord High Chancellor of Scotland at the close of the fifteenth century, with Isabella Stuart, the eldest daughter and heiress of John, Laird of Lorne. In consequence of this union Colin Campbell added to the arms of his ancestors the 'galley,' which still figures in the Campbell shield, and he assumed the additional title of 'Lord of Lorne.'
      IIn the early 1400's a son was born to Sir Duncan Campbell and his wife Margaret, a granddaughter of King Robert III. His name was Colin, and was known to the Campbells of Glen Orchy as Cailean dubh na Roimhe - Black Colin of Rome. Black Colin was responsible for much of the building of Kilchurn Castle, which sits beneath Cruachan Ben at the northern end of Loch Awe.
      The reference to Rome in his title signifies that he visited there three times. An account from the Black Book of Taymouth refers to a stone that he carried on his journeys: 'Ane stone of the quantity of a hen's eg set in silver, whilk Sir Coline Campbell first Laird of Glenorchy woir when he fought in battel at Rhodes agaynst the Turks, he being one of the knychts of Rhodes.'
      The Scots were fierce Crusaders, and it was not unusual for them to carry charms with them on their journeys to the Holy Land. The stone mentioned above was the one that Black Colin took with him on his journey as a Crusader, which brings us to the story at hand.
      Colin learned of the Crusades and vowed to go. His young wife, Margaret, was not keen to see him leave but Colin was adamant. Before he left, he had a ring made, inscribed with both their names. He broke the ring in two and gave Margaret one half, saying, 'If you come to receive my half of the ring you will know me to be dead.' He then took ship at Leith for Rome where, after an audience with the Pope, he left to join the knights fighting at Rhodes.'
      Seven years passed. Lady Margaret was besieged by suitors during that time, who insisted that Colin must be dead. She replied that she had never received the token that Colin had promised to have sent upon his death, and that he must, therefore, still be alive.
      Unknown to Lady Margaret, one of her suitors, Baron Neil MacCorquodale, had intercepted messages that Coling had sent, killing the messengers. He remained steadfast in his pursuit of her, despite her refusal to marry him, as the lands of Glen Orchy would add nicely to his Barony.
      Despite her refusal to describe the token, MacCorquodale came up with a plan. He arrived to visit her with a raggedly dressed man who said that he bore a letter with news for the Lady of Glen Orchy. When she opened it she found that it described the death of her husband.
      'Is there no token?,' she asked.
      'There is no token,' said the man. 'But I received word in Rome from the only survivor of the Campbells who accompanied your husband. He told me that, as he lay dying, your lord entrusted a token to this man. However, the man was sorely wounded in a battle with the Saracens after that, and the token was taken from him.'
      Lady Margaret was overwhelmed by grief. But, as time went by, MacCorquodale remained attentive, and continued to press for her hand. Finally, she agreed to marry him as soon as the tower of Kilchurn Castle was completed.
      Despite her agreement, she still retained hope that Colin would return. She ordered the workmen to build as slowly as possible.
      Another woman also had doubts about Colin's death; it was his old foster-mother. She disliked and mistrusted MacCorquodale, and hated the idea of him taking her lord's place. She called her eldest son to her and told him to go to Rome, and find out what he could about Colin.
      Colin's foster-brother made his way to Rome, where he came face to face with Colin. He told him what was occuring at home, and they immediately took ship for Scotland.
      When they landed Colin sent his foster-brother home alone, told him to tell his mother that he had been unsuccessful, and said that he, Colin, would follow in disguise. Dressed as a beggar, Colin followed him to the home of his elderly foster-mother. Unrecognized by her, Colin asked for hospitality of the house, which was readily granted. Colin then revealed himself to his foster- mother, and asked for news of the wedding. She told him that it was planned for the following day.
      The next day dawned and found Colin making his way to the castle in his beggar's disguise. He arrived to find that the wedding feast was under way, and entered the hall, seating himself at the lowest table. When wine was brought to the table he announced in a loud voice that he would only accept a drink from the Lady of Glen Orchy, herself.
      While some found this declaration by a beggar offensive, the lady made her way to the apparent beggar and offered him a cup. Colin, took the cup from her hand, drained it in one gulp and handed it back to her. Margaret looked down into the cup, where she saw his half of the token ring. Startled, she looked at the beggar, who raised his eyes to meet hers, and Margaret saw her husband who had left so many years before.
      Their reunion was a time of great joy for the two of them, as it was for Colin's clansmen. Obviously, the wedding was called off, the wedding feast turned into a celebration of Colin's return and the news was spread throughout Glen Orchy.
      MacCorquodale was terrified at Colin's return but, as he had already accepted the hospitality of the house, he was allowed to return to his own lands unharmed. That did not, however, stop Colin's clansmen from later hunting MacCorquodale down and killing him for his duplicity.

      2 - The progenitor of the Breadalbane Campbells was Sir Colin Campbell of Glenorchy, who was instrumental in the capture of two of the murderers of King James I of Scotland (in 1437). He took active measures to bring the assassins to justice, and succeeded in capturing two of them. For this service James III afterwards conferred upon him the barony of Lawers, which land was confiscated from Thomas Chalmers of Lawers, one of the assassins. (Lawers is a substantial estate at the foot of Ben Lawers on the north shore of Loch Tay.)
      [E-mail from John Greig rec: 18 Nov 2019]

  • Sources 
    1. [S521] http://www.baronage.co.uk/bphtm-03/campbe01.html.

    2. [S539] http://www.netmender.net/genelogy/campbell.html.

    3. [S540] http://www.trossachs.fsworld.co.uk/.

    4. [S6] Stirnet Genealogy, Peter Barns-Graham, Napier1.

    5. [S6] Stirnet Genealogy, Peter Barns-Graham, MacGregor01.

    6. [S5] International Genealogical Index - submitted, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Submission Search: 570414-093099155422 LDS Medieval Famil i es Unit.

    7. [S6] Stirnet Genealogy, Peter Barns-Graham, Campbell03: The Scots Peerage (Breadalbane), Burkes Peera g e 1934 (Breadalbane).

    8. [S96] Roro - John Ward, John Ward, (http://www.wardjc.com/roro.htm), p1.