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    The Battle Of Blar-Nan-Leine July 15, 1544


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    The Battle of Blar-nan-Leine July 15, 1544
    from Philip A: Cogito, sumere potum alterum (phil) photos on Thu 01/11/12 09:36

    In 1540, John of Moidart, Chief- or Captain- of the Clan MacDonald of Clan Ranald, fell foul of the Scottish Royal Government during King James V's visit to the Hebrides. He was imprisoned, with other Chiefs of the Isles.
    A dispute arose over who would take over the Chiefship of Clan MacDonald of Clan Ranald, and the Clan Fraser and Fraser of Lovat backed Ranald Gallda (the Stranger), son of the fifth Chief of Clanranald by a Fraser wife. Ranald had been fostered by the Frasers. Many of Clan Ranald found Gallda unacceptable.

    For some years after the imprisonment of John, Ranald managed to take control of the affairs of Clanranald. Though he proved himself to be a brave and courageous man, the traces he has left in clan tradition are far from flattering. Highland chiefs were always expected to be lavish with their hospitality. However, when Ranald saw some oxen being prepared to celebrate his inauguration as chief, he is said to remarked that chickens would have done as well, earning him the nickname of Raonuill nan Cearc-'Ranald of the Hens'. When John Moidertach reappeared in the summer of 1543, Ranald, with no local support, was forced to take refuge with his Fraser kinsmen. Lord Lovat, chief of the Frasers, at once prepared to defend his rights. True to his warlike nature, John did not wait to be attacked-he carried his own war eastwards.

    John of Moidart summoned his kin and allies in the early summer of 1544. He was joined by the Clan MacDonnell of Glengarry, the Clan MacDonald of Keppoch and the Clan MacDonald of Ardnamurchan (Macians of Ardnamurchan). Ewen Cameron, XIII Captain and Chief of Clan Cameron, along with his followers also joined the combined force, which then advanced east, carrying out an extensive raid in the districts of Abertarff and Stratherrick-the property of Lord Lovat-and the nearby estates of Urquhart and Glenmoriston, belonging to the Clan Grant. Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness was also taken. This raid was more than a simple family feud; it was a major provocation to the government, and especially to George Gordon, the 4th Earl of Huntly and chief of Clan Gordon.

    The MacDonald and Cameron forces had been plundering the country of Urquhart and Glenmorriston for that entire summer, taking total possession of the area. With a reported 300 men Hugh Fraser, 3rd Lord Lovat, whose forces had been allied with Cameron enemies such as the Grants and Macintoshes, arrived at the northern end, or head of Loch Lochy, where they met approximately 500 MacDonalds and Camerons that awaited them The summer of 1544 was a warm one, and in this battle against the Frasers at Kin-Loch-Lochy, is better known as "Blar-nan-Leine." or "The Battle of the Shirts" or "The Field of the Shirts," since the day being very hot and combatants discarded their plaids, fighting only in their shirts.

    Re: The Battle of Blar-nan-Leine July 15, 1544
    from Philip A: Cogito, sumere potum alterum (phil) photos on Thu 01/11/12 09:37

    The Clanranalds and Camerons descended from a nearby hill and divided into numerous companies, probably based on clan affiliation. The action commenced with sallies from the opposing archers, which lasted for quite some time or until they had depleted the stock of arrows. At that time the Highlanders made their charge and met on a flat plain near Kilfinnan, with great bloodshed on either side. It is said that MacDonald and Cameron archers heroically charged into the fray, recovering spent arrows, which were directed at the Frasers with deadly point-blank accuracy.

    Exactly what the outcome was is unclear. It is said that of the 300 Frasers, only four survived the battle; Lord Lovat was among the casualties. His eldest son wounded and taken prisoner, perishing from his wounds a few days afterwards. According to Cameron and Clan Ranald accounts, the Frasers were soundly defeated, with other records relating that they lost almost their entire able male population. Yet according to the Frasers, only ten men from amongst the Cameron/ Clanranald forces remained alive. Clan Fraser records also include reports that eighty of the deceased Fraser men left pregnant wives at home, each of which delivered a baby boy; exaggerations had a way of entering historical record during these early times. A much more reasonable tale is that each man had "seen to it that his wife was 'with child' before they left for the battle."

    Regardless of the exact casualty count, Clan Cameron and Clan Ranald greatly profiting from their victory, and subsequently carried out most successful raids upon the Grant and Fraser lands, which were incredibly rich and fertile to the Lochaber men. Owing to his role in this conflict Ewen Cameron fell into disfavour with Huntly, then Lieutenant of the North. Ewen would be executed as a result of this battle and other actions at Elgin in 1547.

    Re: The Battle of Blar-nan-Leine July 15, 1544
    from Philip A: Cogito, sumere potum alterum (phil) photos on Thu 01/11/12 09:39

    The battle was fought in mid-July 1544. The better-equipped among the Highland armies at this time were still wearing chain-mail, as we know from a reference by an English observer in Ireland a year after the Battle of Kinloch-Lochy and tomb effigies. This is also supported in tradition by the tale that the armourers of Clanranald and the Frasers laid blows on one another to test the quality of their workmanship. It has also been postulated that it was not until the following century that Highland armies advanced into battle clad only in plaid without body armour.

    However, this would only be true of the wealthier gentlemen and upper class professional soldiers such as the famed Scoto-Irish Gallowglass mercenaries of the period. Most of the lower class of clansmen on both sides would have been far too poor to afford the chain armour of the gentry, so the notion of stripping off plaids (which were already worn in the period) as opposed to armor is not unlikely.

    The lyrics in 'Blar Allt-Eireann' (Moladh Clann Domhnaill), describing Clan Donald at the Battle of Auldearn, mentions Blàr na Léine, ruling out any possibility that the Battle of Kilsyth might be the real Blàr na Léine.

    However, this mention of the name of the field as "Blàr na Léine" in a Gaelic song composed about 100 years after the event also seems to lend credibility to the traditional explanation for the name, as does an old ceol mor ("big music" aka piobaireachd, i.e., classical pipe music) composition which is also named for the battle. It seems rather dubious that Gaelic-speaking Highlanders, with their traditionally strong oral traditional knowledge of song and story (especially among the bardic class), would somehow confuse in their own language the origin of the name of a prominent clan battle which generated songs and stories for over a century after the event. It should also be considered that the word léine (shirt) has an acute accent, whereas the word lèana (meadow or swampy plain) has a short accent, which would affect the pronunciation in Gaelic in such a manner that it is unlikely a native speaker would confuse the two.

    Re: The Battle of Blar-nan-Leine July 15, 1544
    from Barry J: Ex-Member (deleted:saveourforces) on Thu 01/11/12 11:22

    Here i am going to make it easy for you 2, just point out the sectarian wording and i will leave this site for good.
    Verse 1
    The time has scarce gone round boys
    Three hundred years ago
    When Rebels on old Derry's Walls
    Their faces dare not show
    When James and all his rebel band
    Came up to Bishops Gate
    With heart and hand and sword and shield
    We forced them to retreat.
    We'll fight and don't surrender
    But come when duty calls,
    With heart and hand and sword and shield
    We'll guard old Derry's Walls.
    Verse 2
    When blood it flow in crimson streams
    Through many a winter's night
    They knew the Lord was on their side
    To help them in their fight
    They Nobly stood upon the walls
    Determined for to fight,
    To fight and gain the victory
    And raise the Crimson high;
    They'll fight and don't surrender
    But come when duty calls,
    With heart and hand and sword and shield
    We'll guard old Derry's Walls.
    Verse 3
    At last, at last, with one broad side,
    Kind heaven sent their aid,
    The boom that crossed, The Foyle was broke
    And James he was dismayed
    The banner, boys, that floated
    Was run aloft with joy,
    God bless the hands that broke the boom,
    And saved the Apprentice Boys!
    They'll fight and don't surrender
    But come when duty calls,
    With heart and hand and sword and shield
    We'll guard old Derry's Walls.


    Re: The Battle of Blar-nan-Leine July 15, 1544
    from Barry J: Ex-Member (deleted:saveourforces) on Thu 01/11/12 12:05

    this is my stance on this, you either apologise for accusing me of sectarianism which is an offence under scottish law or report me.

    if you choose not to apologise i will report you and this site for allowing
    people to falsely accuse myself on sectarianism. i shall also post all of this conversation on ever rangers site and unionist site, which i will ask them to join this site which is accusing people falsely of sectarianism.

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