SEPT NAME – MACINROY
by James E. Fargo, FSA Scot
MacInroy (MacInroys of Lude)
The MacInroys were descendants of the Robertsons of Struan and take their name from an ancestor named Ian Ruadh who had forcibly carried off and married a daughter of a Baron Ruadh (Roy or Reid) of Straloch after the baron had refused the suit. Iain, the progenitor of this branch of the family had red hair. MacInroy is a form of MacIain Ruadh. The McInroy families had always lived in the parish of Moulin (one mile east of Pitlochry) and farmed there for generations. They lived near the village of Dowally and near the Pass of Killiecrankie. MacInroys are recorded as owning the Shierglass estate in 1864, which was located just downstream from where the River Garry meets the River Tilt. Legend has it that Robert the Bruce stayed here on his way to Rannoch in the early 1300s.
James MacInroy went to the West Indies in 1780 with his brother Peter to make their fortunes. This was during the period of the 3-cornered West Indian trade with ships leaving England with barter goods to Africa, then taking the middle passage to the West Indies with slaves and completing the triangle by hauling sugar, rum, cotton and coffee back to the American colonies and England. In 1787 James was living in Fredericksburg Virginia.
In 1795 England went to war with Napoleonic France. In April 1796 the British captured what became known as British Guiana on the South American coast. James arrived soon after and opened a trading firm McInroy and Sandbach for the import of "prime Gold Coast Negroes", acquired a coffee grove plantation and made his fortune.
To the east of Blair Castle, separated by the River Tilt, lie the lands of the barony of Lude. The Robertsons of Lude were descendants of Patrick de Atholia, the first of Lude and the second son of Duncan, our first chief. In 1820 on hearing that General Robertson’s trustees were trying to sell the debt-ridden Lude estate to the Duke of Atholl, James was delighted to out-bid the Duke for the Barony. From November 1821 on, James McInroy styled himself as Mr. Robertson McInroy of Lude and the local people called him "McInroy the Pirate". The Lude property was extensive with over 450 people living on the estate. He spent over 5,000 pounds on the property and restoring the baronial house.
After James died in 1825, his son James Patrick McInroy became the laird of Lude. His son, William McInroy of Lude succeeded his father in 1878 and died in 1916. His daughters were able to hold onto the estate until it was sold out of the family in 1939.
Cameron, Nancy Foy, "Robertsons in Atholl", 1993, pp 109-115.
Gordon, T. Crouther, "Beautiful Pitlochry", 1955
Kerr, John, "Church and Social History of Atholl", 2004, pp 129-130.
Reid, Major J. Robertson, "A Short History of the Clan Robertson", 1933, pp 93-98.
Robertson, James A., "The Earldom of Atholl", 1860
Robertson, James, "The Chiefs of Clan Donnachaidh 1275-1745", 1929
Lorenz Books, "Illustrated Encyclopedia of Tartan", 2004, p 208.