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Rob Roy
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The Trossachs
Rob Roy Country


Roby Roy MacGregor

Like many other gentlemen, Rob Roy was a trader in cattle and master drover, and in this capacity he had borrowed several sums of money from the Duke of Montrose, but, becoming insolvent, he absconded. In June 1712 warrants were issued for his apprehension, and
he was involved in prosecutions which nearly ruined him. Some officers of the law having visited his house in his
absence abased his wife in a shameful manner, and she, being a big spirited woman, incited her husband to acts of vengeance, which he soon put in execution.

As the Duke of Montrose bad contrived so get possession of Rob’s lands at Craig-Royston, he was driven to become the ‘‘bold outlaw“ which he is so powerfully represented to be in both song and story.

“Determined,” says Stewart of Garth, in his Sketches of the Highlands, “that his grace should not enjoy his lands with impunity, he collected a band of twenty followers, declared open war against the Duke, and gave up his old course of regular droving, declaring that the estate of
Montrose should in future supply him with cattle, and that he would make the Duke regret the day he had quarrelled with him.

He kept his word; and for nearly thirty years, that is, till the day of his death, regularly levied contributions on the dnke and his tenants, not by nightly depredations, but in broad daylight, and in a systematic manner; on an appointed time making a complete sweep of all the cattle of a district, always passing over those not belonging to the Duke's estate, or the estates of his friends and adherents; and having previously given notice where he was to he on a certain day with his cattle, he was met there by people from all parts of the country, to whom he sold the cattle publicly.

These meetings or trysts were held in different parts of the country. Sometimes the cattle were driven south.
but oftener to the north and west. When the cattle were in this manner driven away, the tenants paid no rent, so that the Duke was always the one who suffered. But he was made to suffer in other ways.

The rents of the lower farms were partly paid in grain and meal, which was generally lodged in a storehouse or granary, called a girnal, near the Lake of Monteith. When Macgregor wanted a supply of meal, he sent notice to a certain number of the Duke's tenants to meet him at the girnal on a certain day, with their horses to carry home
his meal. They met accordingly, when he ordered the horses to be loaded, and, giving a regular receipt to his grace’s storekeeper for the quantity taken, he marched away, always entertaining the people very handsoniely, and careful never to take the meal till it had been lodged in the Duke's storehouse in payment of rent.

On one occasion, when Graham of Killearn, the factor, had collected the tenants to pay their rent, all Rob Roy’s men happened to be absent, except Alexander Stewart. called ‘the bailie.’ With this single attendant, he descended to Chapel Errock, where the factor and the tenants were assembled. He reached the house after
it was dark, and looking in at his window, saw Killearn, surrounded by a number of the tenants, with a bag full of money which he had received, and was in the act of depositing it in a cupboard, at the same time saying that he would cheerfully give all he had in the bag for Rob Roy’s head.

This notification was not lost on the outside visitor, who instantly gave orders to place two men at each window, two at each corner, and four at each of two doors, thus appearing to have twenty men. He immediately opened the door, and walked in with his attendant close behind him, each armed with a sword in his right and a pistol in his left hand, and with dirks and pistols in their belts. The company started up, but he desired them to sit down, as his business was only with Killearn, whom he ordered to
hand down the bag and place it on the table. When this was done, he desired the money to be counted, and
proper receipts to be drawn out, certifying that he had received the money from the Duke of Montrose’s agent,
as the duke’s property, the tenants having paid their rents, so that no after demand could be made on them
on account of this transaction; and finding that some of the people had not obtained receipts, he desired the
factor to grant them immediately, “to show his grace,“ said he, “that it is from him I take the money, and not
from those honest men who have paid him.“

After the whole was concluded, he ordered supper, saying that, as he had got the purse, it was proper he
should pay the bill; and after they had drank heartily together for several hoors, he called his bailie to produce
his dirk, and lay it on the table. Killearn-was then sworn that he would not move, nor direct any one else to move, from that spot for an hour after the departure of Macgregor, who thus cautioned him: “If you break your oath, you know what you are to expect in the next world, and in this one.“ pointing to his dirk. He then walked away, and was beyond pursuit before the hour
expired.”

Rob Roy Grave Balquhidder.
Rob Roy's Grave Balquhidder.



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