• Bean Aonghais Bhig, or How Angus Beag Got his Wife

    by  • 30 June 2008 • Gàidhlig, History, Tales & Traditions • 0 Comments

    Brenish

     

    As told by Rev Donald Macaulay.  English text follows the Gaelic.  Photo of Brenish by Chris Murray.

     

    Bha an cogadh a dol bliadhnaichean agus am màrbhadh eadar Clann ‘ic Leòid, Clann Choinnich agus na Moireasdanaich agus an deidh dha Clann Choinnich an t-eilean fhaiginn mu dheireadh dhaibh b’fhèin agus thàinig siothladh de shìth anns an eilean an uairsin.  Ach cha tugadh fìr Ùig gèill do chlann Choinnich idir gu h-àraidh am fear a bh’air an ceann – Dòmhnall Cam.  Cha b’e Sìthphort a bh’ann ach MacCoinnich eile – bha Sìthphort airson sìth anns an eilean.  Bha Oighreachd mhòr aige air a’mfor-thìr agus ‘s e a’siamarlan a bh’airge air a mhor-thìr duine uasal eile ris an canadh iad Alasdair MacCoinnich, Achilty de theaghlach uasal.  ‘S e daoine de’n seòrsa sin gle thric a bha nan siamarlan, gu h’araidh anns na h-oighreachdan mòra.  Bha Sìthphort agus clan Amhlaigh air a bhith cogadh cho fada agus mu dheireadh thainig e gun cho-dhùnadh nach dèanadh iad rèit a chaoidh.  Thug e a nall Alasdair MacCoinnich gus an tigeadh e gu Dòmhnall Cam airon Cùmhnant sìth a dhèanamh ris.

     

    ‘S e an cumhnant a bha e a’dol a dhèanamh ri Dòmhnall Cam gum faigheadh a h-uile duine a bh’ann an Ùig an talamh mar a bha iad roimhe sea bho Mhacleòid agus nach cuireadh duine dragh orra a chaoidh fhad’s a dheanamh iad síth ri Clann Choinnich.  A thilleadh air a sin, gu’n toireadh Achilty a nighean aige do mhac Dòmhnaill Chaim airson a pòsadh.  ‘S i seo Anna.

     

     A dh’aindeòin ‘s na rinn Alasdair Achilty thionndaidh Dòmhnall Cam sios a h-uile càil agus thubhart e nach deànadh esan rèit ri Clann Choinnich a chaoidh.  ‘Nuair a chuala a mhac Aonghas, gun dhùilt athar a h-uile càil agus gun chaill e-fhèin nighean duine uasal airson a bhith aige ‘na bean, ‘sann a dh’fhalbh e gu fhios dh’a athar, an dèidh Alasdair Achilty sios gu’n a’ Riobh; bha e a’dol a dh’fhaighinn an aiseag an null a Chalanais.  Rug e air Alasdair Achilty shios air a Riobh agus rinn e ris an cùmhnant a bh’air a thairgse d’a athar; bha athair air fàs aosd’, ‘s e Aonghas beag bu shine.

     

    Rinn e cùmhnant ri Alasdair Achilty air a’Riobh agus fhuair muinntìr Ùig agus Clann Amhlaigh an talamh mar a bha iad roimhe sin agus fhuair e an nighean airson a pòsadh.  Tha mi a’smaoineachadh gur e sin a’cheuyd pòsadh a bh’amm an eaglais ann an seo airson ùine mhòr.  Seach gu’r e nighean duine uasal a bh’innte, dh’fheumadh pòsadh cumhbhalach, ceart a bhith ann.  Airson ùine mhòr roimhe seo, cha robh pòsaidhean an eaglais, ach thòisich iad an uair ud.  ‘S i sin a’bheann a bha dligheach a bh’aig Aonghas Beag, bha iad am Brèidhnis.

     

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    The war was running for many years and the killings continued between Clan Macleod, Clan Mackenzie and the Morrisons; after the Mackenzies eventually obtained the Island for themselves there came a smattering of peach upon the Lewis.  But the men of Uig would not submit to the Mackenzies’ authority at all, especially the man who was at their head – Donald Cam Macaulay.  This was not Seaforth but another Mackenzie – Seaforth wanted peace on the Island.  He had a great estate on the mainland and the chamberlain who he had on the mainland was another nobleman called Alasdair Achilty.  It was very often this class of people who were employed as chamberlains, especially on the large estates.  Seaforth and Clan Macaulay had been fighting for so long that eventually he came to the decision that they would never resolve things.  He took Alasdair Achilty over to meet Domhnall Cam to make a peace contract with him.

     

    The contract which he was going to make with Donald was that everybody in Uig would get their land as they previously had had it from the Macleods, and that nobody would bother them again as long as they made peace with the Mackenzies.  Along with that Achilty would give his daughter to Donald Cam’s son to marry.  This was Anna.

     

    Despite all that Alasdair did, Donald turned down all of his proposals and he said that he would never make peace with the Mackenzies.  When his son Angus heard that his father had turned down everything and that he had missed out on having the daughter of a nobleman for his wife, he went without his father knowing after Alasdair down to Reef; he was going to get a ferry across to Callanish.  He met with Alasdair there and made with him the contract that had been offered to his father, saying his father had got old by this point and Angus Beag was the eldest.

     

    He made the contract with Alasdair Achilty down at Reef and the people of Uig and Clan Macaulay were given the land as they previously had it, and he got the girl to his wife.  I think that was the first wedding that took place in a church on this island for a long time.  The wedding had to be done correctly and respectably because she was the daughter of a nobleman.  For a long time before this weddings did not take place in churches, but they began then.  She was the legal wife to Angus Beag [he was previously married to a daughter of the Brieve Morrison in Ness, but divorced her]; they were in Brenish.

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