List of Important Dates in Clan Mackay History

(From the list compiled in 1911 by the late Rev. Angus Mackay, Westerdale, expanded by the late Dr. George Mackay, F.R.C.S.E.,Edinburgh)


1160 - Expulsion of the MacEths from Moray.

c.1260 - Iye Mor MacEth married a daughter of Bishop Walter of Caithness.

1263 - Fight with King Haco's troops at Loch Eriboll.

1371 - Murder of the Mackay chieftains, father and son, at Dingwall.

c. 1403 - Battle of Tuiteam Tarbach, in which the Macleods were overthrown by the Mackays.

1411 - Battle of Dingwall, where Macdonald overcame Angus Du Mackay.

1425 - Angus Du spoils Moray.

1426 - Angus Du spoils Caithness.

1432 - Angus Du defeats Angus Moray at Drum nan Coup, near Tongue.

1437 - The Caithness men overthrown at Sandside Chase by Neil Mackay.

c. 1486 - Angus Roy Mackay overthrown and slain at Tarbet Church by the Rosses.

1487 - The Mackays defeat the Rosses at Aldicharrish, in revenge for the slaughter of Angus Roy.

1493 - The Mackays invade the Rosses again, and take much spoil.

1513 - The Mackays at Flodden, where John Riavach Mackay fell.

1518 - John Mackay makes a bond of friendship with Adam Gordon.

c. 1528 - The Mackays are associated with the Forbes in the feuds of the latter.

1542 - The Mackays at Solway Moss, where Iye Du Mackay is taken prisoner.

1544 - Mackay joins in the attack of Arran at Glasgow.

1548 - Mackay joins in the attack and capture of Haddington.

1562 - Mackay at the battle of Corrichie, where Huntly fell.

1566 - Mackay and Macleod of Assint burn Dornoch.

1571 - Mackay and the Master of Caithness burn Dornoch again.

1585 - Huistean Du Mackay at the siege of Marle.

1588 - Huistean Du joins the Earl of Sutherland, and marries his daughter the following year.

1612 - His son, Donald Mackay of Farr, captures the coiner Smith at Thurso after some sharp fighting.

1616 -(April) - Donald Mackay goes to London with his uncle, Sir Robert Gordon, and is knighted by James VI. at Theobalds.

1626 - Sir Donald Mackay embarks 3600 men at Cromarty for the Continental War under Count Mansfeld in the service of Christian IV of Denmark and Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden.

1627 - Sir Donald holds the Pass of Oldenburgh, against overwhelming odds, with his regiment, and in the same year, while abroad, is created a Baronet of Nova Scotia by Charles I.

1628 (June 20) - Sir Donald Mackay created Baron Reay of Reay in the Peerage of Scotland by Charles I.

1629 - Christian IV. of Denmark is replaced by Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden as Leader of the Protestant cause, and Lord Reay having raised fresh troops in Scotland takes service under the latter.

1630 - Lord Reay accompanies his Regiment to Germany, and is at the capture of Stettin, Damm and Colberg.

1631 - Reay is empowered by Charles I. to raise another 2000 for service with Gustavus Adolphus. He quarrels with David Ramsay at the English Court, and having challenged him to a duel, both are imprisoned in the Tower of London to preserve the peace.

1632 - Gustavus is killed at the battle of Lutzen and Reay is not repaid large sums of money duc to him by Gustavus and by Charles I. He has also domestic troubles and has to sell some of his estates, especially in Orkney.

1637 - He transfers his estates to his eldest son, John the Master of Reay.

1638 - The Marquis of Montrose, Lords Home, Boyd and Loudoun invite Lord Reay to meet them and others to consider the religious troubles of the time and sign the Covenant, which he does, unwillingly because of his long attachment to Charles I. (click here for more information)

1639 -1641 - Reay stays at home.

1642 - He goes to Denmark and commands the Regiment of his son, Colonel Angus Mackay.

1644 - Like Montrose, Reay espouses again the cause of King Charles I., and brings arms and money by sea to Newcastle. He aids Lord Crawford for several months in the defence of the city against the Scots Army. When the town is captured by General Leslie, Reay and Lord Crawford are sent as prisoners to Edinburgh Castle.

1645 - Following Montrose's victory at Kilsyth, Reay is liberated.

1646 - Montrose, having been instructed by King Charles I, to disband his forces and seek his own safety, writes to Reay advising him to do likewise. Montrose narrowly escapes from Angus to Norway, and Reay from Thurso to Denmark.

1649 - Charles I. executed at Whitehall on January 30th. Reay dies soon after at Bergen in Norway. His remains are sent home in a Danish frigate, and buried in the family vault at Kirkibol, Tongue. Neil Aberach falls at Thurso. John, 2nd Lord Reay, surprised and captured at Balveny Castle ,on the Spey, and imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle. Lady Reay effects his escape.
(Editors note: The place of Lord Reay's death remains uncertain - some have stated that he died in Bergen others have stated he died in Copenhagen. There is no reference in The Danish or Norwegian state papers of 1648-9 and the records of Bergen were destroyed in the fire of 1702. Reference source Dr. Ian Grimble)

1652 - The Mackays at the Battle of Worcester.

1654 - The Mackays spoil Sutherland, in the rising under Middleton.

1680 - George, 3rd Lord Reay, succeeds his grandfather, and has Sir George Munro of Culrain as his guardian.

1689 - General Hugh Mackay of Scourie, who had served with the Scots Brigade in Holland, is made Commander-in-Chief in Scotland by William, Prince of Orange; is defeated at Killiecrankie but wins the campaign against Claverhouse.

1692 - General Hugh Mackay having returned to Holland to aid the Dutch in their conflict with the French under Louis XIV., falls at Steinkirk.

1697 - His nephew, AEneas Mackay, a son of the 2nd Lord Reay, is now Commander of the Mackay Regiment in the Dutch Service. Wounded and worn out with campaigning he dies at Bath at the early age of 30 and is buried in the Chancel of Bath Abbey, where there is a tablet to his memory. His widow, a Dutch lady, returns to Holland with his only son, Donald, who grows up to command his father's regiment and become the founder of the branch of the Clan to which the Reay title passed in 1875.

1715 - The Mackays are anti-Jacobites, and help to restrain Seaforth during the rising.

1745 - The Mackays are actively anti-Jacobite.

1746 - The Mackays capture, at Tongue, gold sent from France to the Prince, and also capture the Earl of Cromarty at Dunrobin.

1778 - Rob Donn, the Mackay poet, dies.

1795 - The Reay Fencibles embodied.

1798 - Reay Fencibles at the Battle of Tara Hill, near Dublin.

1802 - The Reay Fencibles disbanded at Stirling.

1806 - "Mackay's Society" founded in Glasgow.

1815 - 1818 - The Strathnaver Clearances, by which the people were removed to make room for sheep.

1829 - The Reay estate sold to the Countess of Sutherland by Eric, 7th Lord Reay.

1875 - On the death of Eric, 9th Lord Reay, who was unmarried, the title passed to the branch of the family resident in Holland and descended from John, 2nd Lord Reay (see note under 1697). AEneas Mackay, a Baron of the Netherlands, Vice President of the Council of State and holder of the Cross of the Order of the Netherlands, became 10th Lord Reay. He died in 1876. His son, Donald James Mackay, succeeded as 11th Lord Reay, left Holland and was made a Peer of the United Kingdom as Baron Reay of Durness (8th October, 1881) with a seat in the House of Lords. Was appointed Governor of Bombay (1885-90) and Under-Secretary of State for India (1894-95) and was Lord Lieutenant of Roxburghshire.

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