Ui Church Past


3 land

7 - Torquil MacLeod VIII



The son has been found like his father,
Above all chiefs whom we have known,
His bearing, countenance, and mind,
And with me he dwells in Lewis.

The knowledge and mind of a chief,
With which he’ll make prosperous times.
I say of this young son we’ve got,
That he is just another Roderick.

Many his gifts whichj we might praise,
Torquil of the famous race;
His are a hero’s strength and vigour,
Which he brings into the fight.

I say of him, and say in truth,
Since I have come so well to know him,
That never was there of his age
Better king who ruled in Lewis.

To him belonged the ‘Cairge mhordha’
The richest jewel sailed the sea,
Given it was to Mac Vic Torquil,
With which to reach his people’s land.

Torquil had many youths
Who never trembled in battle,
Who for his race seized on all lands,
A race that aye the conflict loved.

Beloved though Mac Vic Torcquil is,
I can’t enough his beauty praise;
He who is fair as he is the brave,
The key to every woman’s heart.

There is no son of king or chief
Of whose fame we’ve ever heard,
Though we’ve had much to do with such,
That better are to us than Torquil.

From the Book of the Dean of Lismore


Torquil succeeded his father Roderick as clan chief in 1498. A spirited eulogy written for him by an unknown bard, presumably the family bard of the Siol Torquil, demonstrates the ideal qualities expected of a leader. Torquil went on to support the rebellion of Donald Dubh, claimant to the Lordship of the Isles, against the Crown. Torquil was removed from his position following defeat of the clan at the hands of a royal army which had landed at Portnaguiran. These events weakened the Macleod dynasty and led to their loss of Lewis to the Mackenzies in 1610.


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