Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Macleod, Norman (fl.1650)

MACLEOD, Sir NORMAN (fl. 1650), royalist soldier and founder of the Macleods of Bernera and Muiravonside, was born about 1600 in the island of Bernera, Inverness-shire. He was third son of Sir Roderick Macleod, chief of the clan, and Isabel, daughter of Donald MacDonald, chief of Glengarry. In December 1660 Macleod joined with seven hundred men the forces of Charles II, who had lately landed in Moray Firth. He subsequently returned again to the highlands, where he raised three hundred more followers, and, accompanied by bis brother, marched with the Scottish army into England in 1651. He was present at the battle of Worcester, 3 Sept., from which few of his followers escaped. So great was the slaughter of the Macleods on this occasion, that the neighbouring clans agreed to leave them unmolested until they had time to recover their losses. Norman was taken prisoner and tried for high treason in London. An error in the indictment saved his life, and he was sent back to prison. He petitioned for his freedom, and was offered it on condition that he took an oath of allegiance to Cromwell. This he refused and remained in confinement for eighteen months, when be managed to escape and returned to the highlands.

He joined William Cunningham, ninth earl of Glencairn [q. v.], in the highlands in the autumn of 1653, and the chiefs who met at Glenelg in August in that year, to devise means for advancing the interests of the Stuarts, entrusted Macleod with a message to Charles, then in Paris, promising support. Macleod successfully completed his mission. Charles made him lieutenant-colonel, and gave him a letter to the highland chiefs, dated 31 Oct. 1653. On his way home to Scotland, Charles requested him to call at the Hague and to acquaint General Middleton with the condition of affairs in the highlands. This he did, and brought with him to Scotland a supply of arms and ammunition from the Dutch government. During the winter Macleod was busy with the insurrection in the highlands, and according to the 'Mercurius Politicus,' No. 193, he led an unsuccessful attack upon Stornoway, then held by the friends of Cromwell. After the defeat at Lochgarry, 26 July 1654, had scattered the royalists, General Middleton and other fugitives spent some time under the protection of Macleod at Dunvegan and Bernera before escaping to the continent. When the young chief of the clan reached his majority and induced Cromwell to restore the forfeited estates, Norman and Roderick were specially excluded from the deed of restoration and pardon. Norman then seems to have joined Charles on the continent. In 1659 he was sent by Charles to the king of Denmark to negotiate for help to the royalist cause in England. He succeeded in getting a promise of ten thousand men, and preparations were being made for their equipment when news of the Restoration came. Shortly after Charles returned, the brothers Macleod were knighted, Roderick being the founder of the Macleods of Talisker. Sir Norman then retired to Bernera, but the wars had ruined him, and he appeared at court in 1662 to present a petition in which he narrated his services and losses. Charles readily granted him the estate of Macleod of Assynt, who had betrayed Montrose and had otherwise assisted the king's enemies; but when Assynt subsequently claimed pardon under the Act of Indemnity, the Scottish courts decided that his estates had not been forfeited, and Sir Norman had to remain in his straitened circumstances. He died at an advanced age, Mary Macleod [q. v.], the family bard, says on 8 March, but does not mention the year.

He was twice married: first, to Margaret, daughter of John Mackenzie of Lochslin, and granddaughter of Kenneth, first lord of Kintail, by whom he had one son, John, who succeeded to the title; secondly, to Catherine, eldest daughter of Sir James Macdonald of Sleat, by whom he had two sons — one, Alexander, who became lord advocate and was knighted — and three daughters.

[Mackenzie's History of the Macleods, p. 240, &c.; Douglas's Baronage of Scotland, ii. 381; Clarendon Papers, ii. 254, 259; Cal. of State Papers, 1652.]

J. R. M.