by James E. Fargo, FSA Scot

In the parish of Auchtergaven in Perthshire, an infamous clan conflict took place between Robert Forrester of Torwood and our 4th chief, Robert of Strowan. The feud between them concerned some church lands at Little Dunkeld that our chief believed were his. Forrester was a nephew of the Bishop of Dunkeld cathedral and rented these particular church lands from his uncle. Robert was well known for being a scourge to the church for having previously plundered other church lands around Little Dunkeld.

In 1460, our chief was riding to Perth and met Forrester at Ardonachy near the parish church of Auchtergaven. They came to blows and Robert was deeply wounded in the head. Fortunately, after having his head wounds dressed, he was able to continue his journey to Perth. Having returned home, he later died from those wounds.

Later in 1460, our clan was called out by the King to join the siege of Roxburgh against the English. Our clan warriors led by Alexander (5th chief), just happened to take the road through Dunkeld on their way to Roxburgh and took the opportunity to plunder the lands of Torwood for provisions and avenge his father’s death. Our clan seems to have escaped punishment for this deed despite the Bishop’s complaints due to Alexander’s fortunate marriage in April 1460 to Elizabeth Lyon, daughter of the influential 3rd Lord Glamis and recognized in a Charter under the Great Seal. Secondly, the unfortunate loss of King James II when a cannon blew up near the King during the Roxburgh siege resulting in his infant son becoming James III.

In June 2001, the founder of the Clan Forrester Society presented our Chief with a Baron-Sergeant’s rod of office ('wand of peace') in Edinburgh, as we were technically still at war with them over this 1460 event. "In presenting it, the hope was expressed that the two clans would have a friendly relationship in the future". The next year at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, the Mid-Atlantic and Carolina branches marched around the field to the Forrester clan tent and shared a few drams to confirm and seal this peace treaty in the U.S.

Marshall, William "Historic Scenes in Perthshire", Edinburgh, 1880, p 138.
Reid, J. Robertson "A Short History of Clan Robertson", 1933, pp 41-43.
Robertson, James "Chiefs of Clan Donnachaidh 1275-1749", 1929, pp 46-47.
2002 Clan Donnachaidh Annual, p 14.