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Battle of Harlaw

Scottish Gaelic: Cath Gairbheach

"Red (Reid) Harlaw"

The battle of Harlaw was a Scottish clan battle fought on 24 July 1411. It was one of a series of battles fought during the Middle Ages between the barons of northeast Scotland against those from the west coast.

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Date:

24 July 1411

Location:

Inverurie in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

Result

The casualties on both sides meant that neither side felt it had won the day, but Mar had kept Donald from Aberdeen and for the islanders, the absence of conclusive victory was as bad as defeat.

Belligerents

Aberdonian Gentry (Lowland clans) Loyal to Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany;

  • Strength; several thousands
  • Losses; 600 dead
  • Commanders and leaders

Allies of the Lord of the Isles (Highland clans);

  • Strength; less than 10 000
  • Losses; 900 dead
  • Commanders and leaders

Causes

The battle was fought to resolve competing claims to the Earldom of Ross. Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland, had taken control of the earldom as guardian of his niece Euphemia Leslie. This claim was contested by Donald, Lord of the Isles, who had married Euphemia's aunt Mariota. Donald invaded Ross with the intention of seizing the earldom by force.

Overview

Aftermath

Many of the casualties were buried at Kinkell Church south of Inverurie.

Suspecting that Donald had retreated to rest and reinforce his troops, Albany gathered an army and marched on Dingwall in the autumn, seizing the castle and regaining control of Ross. In the summer of 1412, he followed up with a three-pronged attack on Donald's possessions, forcing Donald to surrender his claim on Ross, become a vassal of the Scottish crown and give up hostages against his future good behaviour. The treaty was signed at Polgilbe/Polgillip (Loch Gilp), an inlet of Loch Fyne in Argyll.

Notable connections

Captives

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