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The MacRaes | Spellings and Septs | The MacKenzies

Clan History: The MacKenzies

Clan MacKenzie allied itself with Clan Fraser through the marriage of Kenneth 7th of Kintail with Agnes, daughter of Hugh Fraser of Lovat, having repudiated his first wife, a MacDonald, and this began the feuds between the MacKenzies and the MacDonalds.

Beginning with Kenneth MacKenzie 11th of Kintail, the Clan MacKenzie shifted its focus from east to west, intentionally displacing other clans, but the MacKenzies continued to be buried at Beauly and Chanonry (Fortrose) in the east and a number of the MacRaes of Clunes remained in the east as documented by their professional capacities.

This shift caused many MacKenzies and MacRaes to settle in Kintail, and in the 17th century the Clan MacKenzie split into two senior clans, known by the names of the Earls of Seaforth & Lords of Kintail in the west and the Earls of Cromartie in the east, plus several junior branches throughout the Counties of Ross and Cromarty. In many of these MacKenzie lines you will find MacRae wives.

The main two western branches of the Clan MacRae are collectively known as the MacRaes of Kintail, being the MacRaes of Inverinate and the MacRaes of Conchra, descended from two sons of the Constable of Eilean Donan Castle. The records do not appear to clarify which is senior and it has in the past been the subject of debate within the clan.

The MacRaes resided mainly in the the present-day counties of Ross and Cromarty. Their close ties with Clan MacKenzie on the west and Clan Fraser on the east meant for good relations wherever they went. In time, the affiliation with Clan MacKenzie grew stronger, and with the rising fortunes of the MacKenzies so too with the MacRaes.

With the brutal execution of Simon Fraser 11th of Lovat who was taken prisoner at the Battle of Culloden, the heiress (his first cousin and stepsister) married Alexander MacKenzie, son of Lord Prestonhall, who changed his name to Fraser and from whom the line continued as the Frasers of Fraserdale. So, the connections between Clan MacKenzie and Clan Fraser remained close, based on blood ties and mutual trust and aided by the constant allegiance of the Clan MacRae.

For more information about the MacKenzies, visit the Clan MacKenzie web site.

Written by:
Cornelia W. Bush

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