Well of Seven Heads, Laggan, Loch Oich

Well of Seven Heads, Laggan, Loch Oich

Ten miles below Fort Augustus, by the side of Loch Oich, is a grim monument to summary Highland justice. Inter-clan warfare was commonplace but this was a case of revenge killing within the MacDonald clan which occurred in 1663.

As ever, accounts of such events are varied and often conflicting, but there is no doubt that Alasdair and Ranald MacDonald of Keppoch were murdered by their uncle Alasdair Buidhe of Inverlair, and his sons, in a brawl that got badly out of hand.

Ian Lom, the Keppoch Bard, a kinsman of the victims, swore vengeance and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Under “letters of fire and sword” and leading a force of 50 clansmen provided by MacDonald of Sleat, he marched on the house at Inverlair, which he found barricaded. The house was set afire, forcing out the seven men inside, who were promptly put to the sword and their heads severed from their bodies.

On his way to Invergarry Castle to show the mutilated heads to MacDonnell of Glengarry, High Chief of the Clan Donald, as proof that suitable retribution had been exacted, Ian Lom stopped to clean them in the waters of the roadside spring which has since been known as Tobar-nan-ceann – Well of the Heads. The well is at the head of a cave beneath the monument and extending below the main road. If you should visit it, take a torch as it is quite dark.
Ref:
Date:
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Photographer:
Yvonne Ferguson
Well of Seven Heads, Laggan, Loch Oich

Well of Seven Heads, Laggan, Loch Oich

Ten miles below Fort Augustus, by the side of Loch Oich, is a grim monument to summary Highland justice. Inter-clan warfare was commonplace but this was a case of revenge killing within the MacDonald clan which occurred in 1663.

As ever, accounts of such events are varied and often conflicting, but there is no doubt that Alasdair and Ranald MacDonald of Keppoch were murdered by their uncle Alasdair Buidhe of Inverlair, and his sons, in a brawl that got badly out of hand.

Ian Lom, the Keppoch Bard, a kinsman of the victims, swore vengeance and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Under “letters of fire and sword” and leading a force of 50 clansmen provided by MacDonald of Sleat, he marched on the house at Inverlair, which he found barricaded. The house was set afire, forcing out the seven men inside, who were promptly put to the sword and their heads severed from their bodies.

On his way to Invergarry Castle to show the mutilated heads to MacDonnell of Glengarry, High Chief of the Clan Donald, as proof that suitable retribution had been exacted, Ian Lom stopped to clean them in the waters of the roadside spring which has since been known as Tobar-nan-ceann – Well of the Heads. The well is at the head of a cave beneath the monument and extending below the main road. If you should visit it, take a torch as it is quite dark.
Ref:
Date:
Location:
Photographer:
Yvonne Ferguson