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THIS DOCUMENT SAYS IT ALL !!! The Chiefship is Solid.

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Patrick Thompson

Joined: 04 Feb 2006
Posts: 175
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:26 am    Post subject: THIS DOCUMENT SAYS IT ALL !!! The Chiefship is Solid. Reply with quote

The following is a transcription of a letter is found in the National Library and Archives of Canada among the Hargrave/MacTavish papers. This letter is of SIGNIFICANT importance, considering what has been claimed by a few "wishful thinking" persons regarding where the chiefship of MacTavish properly resides, and one of many reasons why Lord Lyon, Sir Malcolm Innes of Edingigh, recognized and matriculated Dugald MacTavish as Chief of the Clan MacTavish in 1997.

The date of the letter is 1845, and fully 48 years after Dunardry was sold to Simon McTavish of Garthbeg. The letter indicates that Sheriff Dugald MacTavish knew himself to be both Chief of the Clan, as he distinguishes his son with the right to wear the distinctions of the Chief of our Clan, and that he is the Lineal Heir to the Thane of Knapdale, Sween the Red.

Some notes of interest are appended following the letter.


Letter addressed on cover To: Jo (John) McTavish
Butler Torrisdale Castle †

Letter from (Sheriff) Dugald MacTavish to John McTavish – Dated Kilchrist 18 Feb. 1845

My eldest son who after an absence of twelve years in America has spent his winter with me at Kilchrist returns next month to his post in Hudson Bay and he wishes to take with him a Highland dress. † †
His height is rather above six feet one inch – he measures round his naked chest three feet seven inches and round the waist two feet ten inches.
He has written to Mrs. Worseley, Gayfield Square, Leith Walk to procure and send him materials for his dress and as I think you must have had some experience in such matters it has occurred to me to request you to give Mrs. Worseley the aid of your suggestions in regard to the articles required-
As my eldest son is entitled to wear the distinctions of the Chief of our Clan being the twenty second in lineal descent from Taus Coor through twenty one generations from father to son without an instance of collateral or female succession - -
I am told the clothiers sell a Tartan they call MacTavish but from what I hear it little resembles the set [sic sett] which my grandmother (who was the eldest daughter of the chief of MacLachlan) considered the Dunardry Tartan & which she said should have as much white as there was yellow in the MacLachlan tartan. If you find however that in point of fact our clan have recognized the tartan sold under their name it will be as well to send my son as much of it as will make his dress – along with the plaid broach and belt buckle – such as will not look gaudy beside his old iron hilted family Ferrara.
I wish his dress to be really handsome without tinsel or glitter & will be obligated to you to point out to Mrs. Worseley the quality & quantity of material to be sent.
The tailor & shoemaker who (I)brought here from Skipness(?) will make up his dress. I will take care they meet attention especially as to the bonnet for notwithstanding the humble fortunes of my family I wish my son to remember that on my death he becomes the undoubted lineal representative of the Thane of Knapdale-
Trusting I shall soon hear from you I remain your friend.
D. M.
Kilchrist 18 Feb. 1845
Notes: The Eldest son spoken of is William MacTavish who became the Hudson Bay Co. Governor of Assiniboia and Rupert’s Land, at the Red River Settlement, Fort Garry, (Manitoba) Canada. He became Chief of the Clan, and lienal heir to the Thane of Knapdale in 1855, when his father Dugald MacTavish of Dunardry, died at Kilchrist Castle, Stewarton, Campbeltown, Argyll. Sheriff Dugald's estate papers record him as MacTavish of Dunardry.
(See the Dugald MacTavish of Dunardry's will at http://mysite.verizon.net/resrz8zf/clanmactavishseannachie/id18.html Click the thumbnail images at the bottom of page.)

† The peculiar thing about the addressing of the letter is that Torrisdale Castle is in Kintyre, not Edinburgh. The letter was passed to the MacAlisters at Torrisdale, then on to John McTavish in Edinburgh, as seen in reply dated 8th March 1845.

† † Highland dress: Refers to a complete Highland Kit, consisting of kilt, jacket, waistcoat (vest), etc…

The “Dunardry Tartan” referred to in the letter as having, as much white as the MacLachlan Tartan has yellow, is presently unknown. Sheriff Dugald MacTavish knows he is Chief of the Clan and Lineal Heir to the Thane of Knapdale, Suibhne Ruadh (Sween the Red), builder of Castle Sween on Loch Sween, and Skipness Castle.

Ferrara Sword: Typically the Basket Hilted swords associated with the Scots. Andrea Ferrara was a celebrated Spanish swordsmith who killed his apprentice when he caught him spying on his secret smithing techniques. He signed the fuller of his swords with his name. He fled to Scotland, after killing his apprentice, where he joined the court of James V and made swords for Royalty, Nobles and Knights.

The issue of "Who is the Rightful Chief of Clan MacTavish" is settled! Lord Lyon, Sir Malcolm Innes of Edingigh placed a 10 year limit (for aught yet seen) on challenging the Chiefship. There are two forms of challenge, 10 and 20 years. Because of the sufficient and overwhelming documentaion supplied to Lyon Court, by the late Dugald MacTavish, the time frame was set to 10 years. The challenge period expired 23 July 2007. Steven MacTavish of Dunardry is the Chief of Clan MacTavish. No challenge can be forthcoming, nor would such a challenge be heard by Lyon Court. Its over folks!

For confirmation of the expired challenge period, feel free to write:
The Court of the Lord Lyon
H.M. New Register House


Patrick Thompson

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