Callum Oag at Amat House


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An interesting letter, written by Miss Kathleen Lyon concerning Malcolm Ross of Pitcalnie hiding at Amat House in a secret room after the Battle of Little Ferry, 15th April 1746.

Malcolm Ross, known to everyone as Callum Og and was the eldest son of Alexander Ross of Pitcalnie and would have become Chief of the Ross Clan had he not joined the Jacobite cause.

Dear Miss Williamson Ross. Sept. 3 1961

Many thanks for your letter and the very interesting article written by your sister. I have made notes of the dates etc. I don’t know who the Master of Ross was… I suppose one of the Balnagown family.

I see in Neville Reid’s book on the Earls of Ross, he says Callum Og married and had an only child Jean who married Alexander MacPherson and died in her 31st year. However, I expect you know all that!!

I don’t know if your sister knew about the secret room at Amat? She says nothing about it in her article. My mother was constantly at Amat from the time she was a small child till she married, and she has often told me that Callum Og was hidden in the house at Amat for some weeks while the Government soldiers hunted for him. The secret room had an entrance in Lady Pitcalnie’s bedroom, at the side of the bed, which would of course be a four-poster.

When the district was clear Callum Og would come out of hiding and sit in the bedroom, when it was dangerous he went into the secret room and could be fed by lifting a loose board in the stair and passing food down to him. My mother remembered the loose board quite well and the secret room was I believe still there when Mr Gervers bought Amat, for I remember she said that if he had known of it, he would not have pulled it down. Mother had a very good memory and was extremely accurate about facts. She would not have invented this story. However, she knew nothing about what became of Callum Og after he got out of the country.

He seems to have been rather a foolish young man! I know I have read somewhere, I think it must have been in the Sutherland Book by Sir William Fraser, that, he took part in Lord Cromarty’s raid on Sutherland. Lord Cromarty gave orders that all the arms of the Independent Companies, who were hiding in Sutherland, were to be given up. I have actually among my papers, if not lost, the safe conduct signed by Lord Cromarty allowing Hugh Gordon of Carrol to come to Dunrobin to arrange about delivery of the arms. But Carrol had no intentions of anything of the sort and was only playing for time. So when the arms were not forthcoming, Lord Cromarty gave the orders that his should be burnt, and also the house of Clunes of Cracaig. The man who carried out this order was Callum Og. SO no wonder he had to bolt home after when the Jacobites were defeated at Culloden. Of course, he could not have been at Culloden, as Lord Cromarty only started to go south the day before the battle and the ‘Battle of Golspie’ when the Sutherland heroes attacked the Jacobite force, was fought the day before the battle of Culloden. A lot of the men got away over the ferry, but a lot were taken prisoner and about 50 were killed, I think. Anyway, Callum Og was not among Lord Cromarty’s officers who were taken prisoner with him in Dunrobin.

Malcolm Ross was said to have been wounded at the battle and was carried to safety by a local lady, whom I can’t find the reference too (help), after hiding out for several months he eventually made his way to Rotterdam but was attainted and a fugitive for the rest of his life.