A snapshot of Clan Ross during the 16th Century.
Whilst researching for a project looking at the Ross Clan, I came across a document from the Munro of Allan Papers, in the book ‘Calendar of Fearn’. The document is a list of people who were expected to contribute to a fund to relieve the almost bankrupt lands of the Chief of Clan Ross, Alexander Ross of Balnagown. All of the place names listed are in the tradition Clan Ross lands north of Balnagown River and many of them can be seen on Pont’s Map of Easter Ross from the NLS. Whilst many of the people named are Rosses there are many family names, from the Easter Ross Peninsula, that are still familiar today. The list gives an interesting snapshot of the main families involved in the clan during the 16th century.
Alexander Ross of Balnagown subscription List, 1565
“Everyone, as it is thought needful and expedient by Alexander Ross of Balnagown and his own surname to take order in relieving of the said Alexanders mortgaged lands that they and their house may be at ease and honour and every one of them to take part in—assistance to the same effect in this present year of three score five years and to stay the same as after follows;
Item firstly; Alexander Ross of Balnagown to provide for himself sixteen chalder and one thousand merks money.
The supply that the laird charges his own friends of as he believes that will do gladly.
Item secondly; Nicholas Commendator of Fearn six chalders victual granted
Wm Ross in Ardgay, one hundred merks money granted
Hutcheon Ross of Tolly, three chalders victual granted
Alex Ross of Little Allan, three chalders victual granted
Hutcheon Ross of Muldearg, one chalder victual granted
Nicholas Ross of Dunskaith, one chalder victual
Wm Ross of Easter Geanies, one chalder victual granted
Donald Ross of Priesthill, one chalder victual granted
Alex. Ross in Pitcalnie one chalder victual granted
Donald Ross in Shandwick one chalder victual granted
Wm Ross in Ballone one chalder victual granted
Donald Ross in Balmuchy one chalder victuals granted
Wm Ross in Balmuchy, eight bolls victual granted
Alex. Ross Hutcheonson in Cadboll, seven bolls victual £10
Alex. Ross in Amat, eight bolls victual granted
Thomas Ross of Meikle Reny, eight bolls victual granted
Thomas Ross in Tarbat, eight bolls victual granted
Donald Ross Williamson in Balblair, eight bolls victual granted
Walter Ross in Kindeace, eight bolls victual
Alex. Ross in Midfearn, eight bolls victual granted
Donald Ross Williamson in Wester Geanies, eight bolls victual granted
Agnes Ross in Pitkery, one chalder victual granted
Agnes Ross Skarde eight bolls victual
Summa xlij chalders victual
Thirdly it is thought expedient that the said Alexander Ross of Balnagown and his own kin desire in health and kindness the supply that may be had from said other gentlemen in this country to the honour and welfare of the house of Balnagown.
James Dunbar of Tarbat, three chalders victual
George Munro of Daucharty, three chalders victual
Alexander Innes of Plaids, three chalders victual denied
John Innes of Inverbreacky, three chalders victual
Jasper Vass of Lochsline, three chalders victual
Walter Innes of Kindeace, three chalders victual
John MacCulloch of Tarrell, one chalder victual granted xx lib.
Andrew Munro of Newmore, one chalder victual
Andrew Munro in Nigg, one chalder victual
Walter Innes in Tarbat, one chalder victual
Andrew Denoon of Cadboll, one chalder victual granted xx marks
Thomas Denoon in Rairachie, one chalder victual
Wm Munro in Meikle Allan, eight bolls victual granted
Alex. Fearn in Pitnellies, one chalder victual
Finlay Manson in Pitnellies, eight bolls victual
James Corbat in Arboll, eight bolls victual
John Denoon in Arboll, eight bolls victual granted
Robert Sunderland in Geanies, eight bolls victual
Gilbert Keyt of Little Allan, eight bolls victual
Donald Munro of Tarlogie, eight bolls victual
Adam Hay in Cambuscurrie, eight bolls victual
Andrew Sunderland in Inschefuir, eight bolls victual granted
John Sunderland & William Sunderland, George and Robert 1 chalder victual
Thomas Forbes in Rosskeen, eight bolls victual
Mangus Angussson in Raraichie, eight bolls victual granted
Summa xv chalders victual”
The payments, not all of them made and one even denied, are mostly in goods using the old Scots measures of chalders and bolls. Sixteen bolls make up one chalder; this would be close to 3,400 litres for barley or oats per chalder.