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.
By the early 17th century Dunvegan was owned by Sir James Elphinstone, 1st Lord Balmerino, however he fell from grace over letters sent to the Pope that he forged in the name of James VI. In 1608 the King granted many of Balmerino’s possessions, including Dunvegan, Balmerino, Restalrig, Over Barnton, Ballumbie and Lewis, to Alexander Drummond of Midhope.
Alternative names for Dunvegan Castle
Began's Dun; Caisteal Dhùn Bheagain