Donald MacDonald, of Harlaw, 8th Lord of the Isles

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About Donald MacDonald, of Harlaw, 8th Lord of the Isles

Donald, or properly, Dómhnall Íle (died 1423), was the son and successor of John of Islay, Lord of the Isles and chief of Clan Donald. The Lordship of the Isles was based in and around the Scottish west-coast island of Islay, but under Domhnall's father had come to include many of the other islands off the west coast of Scotland, as well as Morvern, Garmoran, Lochaber, Kintyre and Knapdale on the mainland. Domhnall was the grandson of King Robert II of Scotland and first cousin of King Robert III; he took pride in his royal blood, even adopting the royal tressure to surround his coat of arms.

He married Mary Leslie, Countess of Ross


  • Alexander Macdonald, 10th Earl of Ross who died on 7 May 1449
  • Angus Macdonald
  • Anna Macdonald who married Duncan Maclagmayn

Donald of Harlaw


Lady Margaret Leslie, daughter of Walter Leslie, Earl of Ross, by his wife Euphemia, Countess of Ross, married Donald, Lord of the Isles. When Lady Margaret's niece, Euphemia, Countess of Ross, daughter of her deceased brother, Alexander, Earl of Ross, had declared her intention to take the veil, Donald of the Isles asserted his claim to the earldom of Ross as next heir, in right of his wife, in conformity with the entail made by William, Earl of Ross, her grandfather, in 1370. He disputed the destination made by his wife's niece Euphemia, as being made in prejudice to his wife, who was the lawful heir to the earldom. The Duke of Albany, and his son John Stewart, Earl of Buchan, wishing to keep what they had got, insisted that the resignation of the Countess Euphemia was legal, and they declared that they would maintain it. Whereon Donald resolved to assert his right by force of arms; and he so far took possession that he held the castle of Dingwall, the residence of the Earls of Ross. He raised an army of 10,000 men in the Hebrides and Ross, and marched through Moray into the Garioch, on Mar, intending, it is said, to attack the city of Aberdeen.

Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar and Lord of the Garioch, the king's lieutenant in the North, collected a body of troops in haste, and met the invader at Harlaw, on the river Urie, about eighteen miles north-west of the city of Aberdeen, 24th July 1411. Although Mar's army was inferior in number, the battle was most obstinately contested, with great loss on both sides. It proved indecisive, however. Both parties claimed the victory. On the side of Donald, the chiefs of Macintosh and Maclean fell, with about 900 men ; Mar lost 500 men, besides many persons of rank. Sir Andrew de Leslie, third Baron of Balquhain, who commanded Mar’s horse, lost six sons in the battle.

Donald of the Isles was so much weakened by this sanguinary battle, that he was forced to retire, and the Duke of Albany, Regent of the kingdom, shortly afterwards proceeded with a force to the north, and took the castle of Dingwall; and in the following year, 1412, he invaded Donald's territories, and obliged him to abandon his pretensions to the earldom of Ross, and to give hostages for his future observance of peace.

John Stewart, Earl of Buchan, was now styled Earl of Ross, and he held the title till his death at the battle of Verneil, in Normandy, 17th August 1424; and his brother, Sir Robert Stewart, being also killed in the same battle, and neither of them leaving any male issue, the earldom of Ross, in virtue of the limitation in the charter granted to them by their father, the Regent, in 1415, devolved on the crown.

It would appear that although the Stewarts got forcible possession of the earldom of Ross, yet Lady Margaret Leslie did not forego her just claims, and she retained at least the title of Countess of Ross, as is shown by the following document: —

"John Byschop of Ross, Dame Margaret of the Ile, Lady of the Yles and of Ross, Huchen Fraser, Lord of Lovat, John Urchard, Lord of Crommathy, Donald of Kalder, Thayne of that like, with many others, till all and sundry, &c. We mak knowyn, truche thir presents that in August 16 year 1420, in the kyrk yharde of Rosmarkyn, compeart Willyam the Grame, son and heyr umquhile of Henry the Grame, in presence of us before a nobil Lord and a michty Thomas Erie of Murreff, his ovyr Lord of the barony of Kerdale, resyngnan over of his auyn fre will in til handes of the sayde Lord the Erie the sayde all his lands of the barony of Kerdale Scheradom of Inverness, and all other lands, to be gyffyn to the sayde Willyam the Grame and his heyris-male, and faylzand them, to Willyam the Hay. Upon the quhylkes thyngis the sayde Willyam the Grame and Willyam the Hay requirit us in witnesyng by our letters testimonial and our seals. The quhilk we grawntit at the place and day before sayde."

Lady Margaret Leslie, Countess of Ross, had by her husband, Donald, Lord of the Isles, issue —

     I. Alexander, who succeeded as Lord of the Isles, and assumed the title of Earl of Ross; 
     II. Mariot, married to Alexander Sutherland.  She and her husband, Alexander Sutherland, in 1429, got a grant of the lands of Duchall from her brother, Alexander, Lord of the Isles and Earl of Ross. 

Donald, Lord of the Isles, died before 1427. Margaret, Countess of Ross, and her son, Alexander, Lord of the Isles, were arrested by King James I. when he held a parliament at Inverness, in 1427. The Lord of the Isles was soon released, but his mother, the Countess of Ross, was detained a prisoner, and died about 1429.

  • 'Donald MacDonald, 8th Lord of the Isles1
  • M, d. 1423
  • Father Ian (John) MacAngus Og, 7th Lord of the Isles d. 1387
  • Mother Margaret Bruce
  • 'Donald MacDonald, 8th Lord of the Isles married Mary Leslie, daughter of Walter Leslie, Earl of Ross and Euphemia Ross. Donald MacDonald, 8th Lord of the Isles died in 1423 at Ardtornish in Morven, Scotland.
  • Family Mary Leslie d. c 1435
  • Children
    • ◦Alexander MacDonald, 9th Lord of the Isles, 12th Earl of Ross+ d. 8 May 1449
    • ◦Mariota of the Isles+2 b. c 1404, d. b 20 Jul 1448
  • Citations
  • 1.[S11485] Unknown author, The Complete Peerage, by Cokayne, Vol. VII, p. 76, notes, Vol. XI, p. 149-150.
  • 2.[S11586] The Scots Peerage, Vol. VII, edited by Sir James Balfour Paul, p. 241.

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Born C1364

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Donald MacDonald, of Harlaw, 8th Lord of the Isles's Timeline

The Isles of Scotland
Age 16
Age 34
Tulloch Castle,Dingwall,Ross And Cromarty,Scotland
Age 40
Of The Isles,Scotland
Age 46
Dingwall, Cromarty, Scotland
Age 59
Dingwall Castle, Scotland
Oxford University