Alexander Mackenzie (historian)

Alexander Mackenzie, FSA Scot (1838 – 22 January 1898)[1] was a Scottish historian, author, magazine editor and politician. He was born on a croft, in Gairloch. He had little opportunity for education and initially earned his living as a labourer and ploughman.[2] In 1861 he became apprenticed in the clothes trade selling Scottish cloth in Colchester. In 1869 he settled in Inverness, where he and his brother set up a clothes shop in Clach na Cudainn House. From his business premises he derived his nickname 'Clach na Cudainn' or simply 'Clach'.[3] He later became an editor and publisher of the Celtic Magazine, and the Scottish Highlander. Mackenzie wrote numerous clan histories.[4] He was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. A founder member of the Gaelic Society of Inverness,[5] Mackenzie was elected an 'Honorary Chieftain' in 1894.[6]

The Highland clearances and land reformEdit

In the 1880s Mackenzie became actively involved in the Highland land issue and campaigned for security of tenure for crofters. In Nuair Chaidh na Ceithir Ùr Oirre, Màiri Mhòr nan Òran describes going with him, Charles Fraser-Mackintosh and others to elicit the support of Mrs. MacRae of Stromeferry for their cause and affectionately tells how "the Clach" discouraged 17-stone Màiri from getting into a rowing boat with the others.[7] First published in 1883, MacKenzie's History of the Highland Clearances has remained in print to the present times. John Prebble wrote " has been and will remain a book to be read, an essential part of any study of the clearances".[8]

Works by Mackenzie available on the internetEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Mackenzie, Alexander (1898). History of the Munros of Fowlis with genealogies of the principal families of the name: to which are added those of Lexington and New England. Inverness: A. & W. Mackenzie. p. preface.
  2. ^ Elizabeth Sutherland in Introduction to Alexander Mackenzie, The Prophesies of the Brahan Seer (London : Constable, 2001) 12
  3. ^ Domhnall Eachann Meek, Mairi Mhór nan Oran (Glaschu: Comann Litreachas Gàidhlig na h-Alba, 1998) 188.
  4. ^ Ross and Cromarty. CUP Archive. p. 122.
  5. ^ Introduction to Alexander Mackenzie, The Prophesies of the Brahan Seer (London: Constable, 2001) 12.
  6. ^ Macdonald, Mairi A. "History of the Gaelic Society of Inverness from 1871 to 1971". Archived from the original on 6 January 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  7. ^ Dómhnall Eachann Meek, Mairi Mhór Nan Oran,(Glaschu : Comann Litreachas Gaidhlig na h-Alba,1998) 186-9
  8. ^ John Prebble in the introduction to A. Mackenzie, The Highland Clearances, (Edinburgh: Mercat Press, 1991) xxii

External linksEdit