Scant respect for the law was being shown by the region, and it was here that Randolph's "Crownare"- crown officer - beheaded fifty local misdoers and exhibited their heads around the battlements of Eilean Donan Castle as a grim warning to others. The Macraes, who formed the bodyguard of the Chief of Kintail and were known as "MacKenzies Coat of Mail", first became Constables of the Castle in 1509. They took control of the area and the Clan was involved in many raids and sieges. One such epic occasion occurred in 1539 when Donald Gorm, a Lord of the Isles, lead 400 warriors in an attack on the Castle. The Acting Constable, Duncan MacRae, withstood the assault; he successfully defended the Castle and, with his last arrow, fatally wounded Donald Gorm.

Eilean Donan Castle

In 1719, at the time of an unsuccessful Jacobite rising in favour of the Old Pretender, the Spanish, who were assisting the Jacobites, sent an expeditionary force to Scotland and set up their headquarters at Eilean Donan Castle. On 10th May, 1719, three English frigates, Worcester, Enterprise and Flamborough, under the command of Captain Boyle, sailed into Loch Alsh and attacked Eilean Donan. The Castle, defended by only forty-eight Spaniards commanded by a captain and Lieutenant, fell after a short bombardment to the superior artillery fire, and the Spanish soldiers surrendered. Taken aboard the frigates, the Spanish soldiers were shipped back to  Leith and imprisoned there. The rising ended one month later on 10th June with the defeat of the jacobites (poorly provisioned and armed) at the Battle of Shiel.

Pasted Graphic 1

The stark ruins of the once proud Castle were to remain neglected for 200 years until the restoration by a MacRae of the twentieth century. Lt.-Col. John MacRae-Gilstrap, grandfather of the present Constable of Eilean Donan, rebuilt the Castle with the aid of Farquhar MacRae, who had seen a vision of the ruined stronghold restored to its former glory. The dream became a reality for, in the twenty years between 1912 and 1932 and at a cost of a quarter of a million pounds, the Castle was rebuilt. Every detail of the restored structure was faithful to the original which was revealed to Farquhar MacRae in his dream, and later confirmed by old plans of Eilean Donan preserved with other records in Edinburgh Castle.