THE name Campbell first appears in 1216, in connection with a proprietor of lands in Stirling; but the first of importance was Neil Campbell, who, in 1296, was made King Edward’s Baillie over lands in Argyll. His great-grandson was created Lord Campbell by James II, and was the first of the family to take the title of Argyll. His grandson, Colin, was made Earl of Argyll in 1457, and Baron of Lorn in 1470. The Marquis of Argyll was the great leader of the Covenanters during the Civil Wars in the reigns of Charles I and Charles II. The 8th Earl was created Duke of Argyll in 1701. The Peerages and estate descended to John, second Duke of Argyll and Earl of Greenwich (died 1743). He was succeeded by his brother, who died without issue, and so the title devolved upon his cousin, General John Campbell of Mamore. Inveraray Castle is the seat of the Campbell Chiefs, whose designation is MacCailein Mhor.
THE Campbells of Breadalbane are the most powerful branch of the house of Argyll; indeed, in the extent and value of their estates they surpass the parent stock. They are descended from Sir Colin Campbell, third son of Duncan, first Lord Campbell of Lochaw, by Marjory Stewart, daughter of Robert, Duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland. In the Black Book of Taymouth, printed by the Bannatyne Club, from an old manuscript preserved in Taymouth Castle, it is stated that Duncan Campbell, commonly called Duncan in Aa, Knight of Lochaw (lineallie descendit of a valiant man surnamit Campbell quha cam to Scotland in King Malcolm Kandmore his time, about the year of God 1067, of quhom came the house of Lochaw) flourished in King David Bruce his dayes. The foresaid Duncan begat twa sons, the elder callit Archibald, the other namit Colin, wha was first laird of Glenurchay.
CAWDOR is indelibly associated with the name of Macbeth, and the tragedy of which, according to local tradition, it was the scene, and which the genius of Shakespeare has woven into the most striking tale of ambition and remorse that ever struck awe into a human bosom. It has been justly remarked that had the gracious Duncan possessed as many lives as a cat, Scottish tradition has local habitations for taking them all. He was undoubtedly murdered at Glamis, certainly at Cawdor, and positively at the Castle of Invernessall by proof irrefragable. The investigations of modern historians, however; have led to the conclusion that Duncan was not murdered at all, but fell in battle against Macbeth, who was the hereditary Mormaor of Ross and, in right of his wife, Graach, Mormaor of Moray. This lady, who herself had a good title to the Crown, had suffered fearful wrongs at the hands of Malcolm, Duncans grandfather and immediate predecessor on the throne. Her grandfather had been dethroned and killed by Malcolm, her brother assassinated, and her first husband, the Mormaor of Moray, burned in his castle along with fifty of his friends. Macbeth, too, had wrongs of his own to avenge, for his father also had been slain by Malcolm. Thus instigated by revenge and ambition, he attacked and slew Duncan, in the year 1039, at a place called Bothgowan, near Elgin. But in spite of all that historians and genealogists can allege or prove, implicit credit is still given to the story told by the great dramatist, and Macbeth continues to be regarded as having undoubtedly been Thane of Cawdor.