Dunvegan Castle is a large castle which has been occupied by the Chief of Clan MacLeod since the 13th century.
Towards the end of the 16th century an attempt was made to settle the Western Isles with people from Fife loyal to the Crown. The islands were considered to be a wild and untamed part of the Scottish kingdom at this time, an almost lawless fiefdom of the MacLeods of Lewis. In order to reassert the King’s control over the islands an Act of Parliament was passed in 1597 requiring chiefs to present their titles to the Lords of the Exchequer on Whitsunday in 1598 and to provide security for any rents owed to the Crown. When the chiefs of Lewis, Harris, Dunvegan and Glenelg failed to produce their titles their estates were declared forfeited.
Lewis was granted to a company of adventurers from Fife which included Sir James Anstruther, younger, of Anstruther, Sir Patrick Leslie, Commendator of Lindores, Sir William Stewart, Commendator of Pittenweem, James Learmonth, younger, of Balcomie and James Spence of Wormiston, led by Ludovic Stewart, 2nd Duke of Lennox, who was later involved in the Plantation of Ulster and the colonisation of New England. They set out for Lewis in October 1599 on an ill-fated expedition to colonise the island hampered by the weather, disease and conflict with the MacLeods.
Alternative names for Dunvegan Castle
Began's Dun; Caisteal Dhùn Bheagain