The Story of the Mac'N Taylor
Once upon a time in Lochaber, in the Western Highlands of Scotland.
It was at a time when the early Chiefs of Clan Cameron ruled in the lands in the tradition of the Lord of the Iles. These years were filled with fights and feuds, murders and strife.
The Camerons of Lochaber – The first Authenticated Chiefs
Donald Dubh c. 1400-1460, was the first authentic chief whose surname was Cameron. He had a large following composed of local tribes which gradually became known of Clan Cameron, taking the name of their Captain as the name of the confederation. The Clan was officially recognized by that name in a Charter of 1472. It was from this Donald Dubh that all the later Chiefs derived their Gaelic patronymic –
MacDhomhnuill Dhuibh - (the son of dark haired or swarthy Donald). Which is the name each succeeding chief has been known in Gaeldom. These years were filled with fights and feuds, murder and strife. Clan Chief and Clansmen were involved together and the whole clan suffered should the Chief be implicated. That is what bound them together.
After the death of Donald Dubh, Allan Nan Creach was Chief (c. 1460 to 1480) and then Ewen Allanson (c. 1480 to 1546) until he was executed. His grandson, Ewen Beag, also called Ewen M’Conill M’Ewen then became Captain of the Clan. In his younger days Ewen was enamored with a young girl who was the daughter of the Laird of MacDonald (M’Dougall), He fathered her child but did not marry her.
Some time after the boy was born the Laird manage to get Ewen to go to the Island Nacloich When he again refused to marry his daughter they locked him up in the Castle of Inch-Connel, in Lochow, a fresh water lake where Ewen’s clansmen would find it difficult to rescue him. Martine M’Connochey of Lattir Finlay, chieftain of the M’Martins and foster father to Ewen, led the party and soon had control of the castle, but the man in charge of guarding Ewen extinguished the light and thrust his dirk into his belly. It wasn’t until they were in the boat leaving the island that Ewen discovered the wound which proved fatal. After taking Ewen home the rescue party returned and took revenge by killing all the men there.
Taillear Dubh na Tuaighe
Donald M’Ewan M’Connell or Donald MacEwen Bhig, known as Taillear Dubh na Tuaighe, was one of the Clan’s most colourful figures. As a young child he was fostered by the wife of a Tailor who lived at Blar na cleireach, near Lundavra and later brought up by MacLachlan of Coruanan, head of a tribe who were followers of Lochiel. He became an expert in the use of the Lochaber axe and grew up to be a brave and prudent man famed for his wit and sarcasm.
As the Taillear was the natural son of Ewen Beag he could never be Clan Chief so the brother of Ewen Bheag, Donald Dubh MacConnell VicEwen, became Chief in 1553 but was murdered in 1569. With his son Allan, being too young to take leadership, the Clan sunk into a state of anarchy which wasn’t completely resolved until Allan became of age and returned to be Captain of the Clan in 1577.
It was turbulent times when Allan’s uncles, mainly Erracht, took possession of the Lochiel Lands and treated them as if they were his own. He succeeded in bringing the wrath of Macintosh upon them after making a deal regarding disputed lands that were so detrimental to the Clan he had to go back on his word.
Erracht was so unsure of any clan support he found it necessary to seek out the Taillear Dubh, the natural son of Ewen Beag of Lochiel and near relative of young Allan.
The Taillear Dubh had grown to be a man of great ability and valour who was trusted and supported by the majority of the Clan.
Taillear and his followers met the Erracht group led by Ewen of Erracht’s son, Donald Dubh M’Ewen, at Inverlochy Castle where some of the Taillear’s men murdered him.
It was about 1569 when Taillear took command of the Clan. The following eight years were filled with stories of the exploits of the Taillear Dubh and his hatred of the Macintosh’s.
In 1577/78 Allan returned to take command of the clan. but it was not until 1585 that the last of the rebel leaders met his death. It is not known whether the Taillear and his followers left willingly or Allan forced him to leave Lochaber because their interests clashed causing a split in the Clan’s loyalty.
Legend is that the Taillear Dubh went to Cowal and settled in Strath Eachaig. His descendants took the name of Macintaillear, later changed to Taylor, and many of that name in Cowal are really Camerons.
“They were known as Clann an Taillear Dhuibh Chamronaich and there seems little doubt Taylor's descended from the Cowal families of Taylor can claim descent from Donald MacEwen Bhig.”
The River Eachaig flows from Loch Eck, a large inland glacial loch down to the sea at the head of the Holy Loch. It meanders through the Strath and has great variety and character as it covers over 5 km before reaching the sea.
Whatever the real reason was for the Taillear Dubh leaving Lochaber, Lochiel bestowed a great honour upon him by having his image on Lochiels Coat of Arms. Taillear would forever be the supporter with his famous Lochaber axes on each side of the Cameron Shield
The March of the Cameron Men
There's many a man of the Cameron clan
That has followed his chief to the field
He has sworn to support him or die by his side
For a Cameron never can yield.
I hear the pibroch sounding, sounding
Deep o'er the mountain and glen
While light springing footsteps
Are trampling the heath
'Tis the march of the Cameron men.
'Tis the march, 'tis the march
'Tis the march of the Cameron men.
Oh, proudly they walk, but each Cameron knows
He may tread on the heather no more
But boldly he follows his chief to the field
Where his laurels were gathered before.
The moon has arisen, it shines on the path
Now trod by the gallant and true
High, high are their hopes, for their chieftain has said
That whatever men dare, they can do.
The hundred years from ca 1600 to ca 1700 is a time when there is no information available. Any knowledge of the Taillear Dubh or his descendants is unknown.
In the early 1700’s, the McIntaylor family is on the Isle of Bute just off the south shore of Cowal, along with McPhee’s and McConnechy, septs of Clan Cameron.