Alexander MacDonald, 10. Earl of Ross

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Alexander MacDonald (b. c. 1390; † 8 May 1449 at Dingwall), 10th Earl of Ross, Lord of the Isles, was a Scottish nobleman.


His father was Donald MacDonald, Lord of the Isles, his mother was Mary Leslie, 9th Countess of Ross. On his father’s death in 1423, he succeeded to his inheritance and thus assumed his title as Lord of the Isles. And although his mother was still alive and de iure entitled to the title, on the death of John Stewart, Earl of Buchan in 1424, he was granted the title of “Earl of Ross” by James I.

In 1427, in order to restore peace and order in the Highlands, he answered a call from James I to a meeting of all the leaders in Inverness. There, however, he was placed under arrest, and other leaders were immediately executed. After his escape (or release?) he raised an army of men from Ross and the Isles. He returned and burned Inverness, but was unable to take the castle there. Pursued by an army under the personal leadership of the king, he surrendered without a fight with his troops at Lochaber on 23 June 1429, his principal allies having deserted earlier. He accepted an unconditional surrender and was subsequently imprisoned at Tantallon Castle. His kinsmen gave no rest despite his imprisonment, and were defeated at Inverlochy in 1431 by an army led by Alexander Stewart, 12th Earl of Mar, who had been successful against Donald MacDonald, Lord of the Isles, 20 years earlier.

The pardon for Alexander’s deeds took place in 1431 on the occasion of the celebrations for the christening of the heir to the throne, James II; but the title of “Earl of Ross” was not restored to him until 1436. In 1438 he was listed as Justiciar of Scotland for the territories north of the Forth, and until his death his signature appeared repeatedly on documents with legal content

Alexander was married at least once. From his marriage to Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Seton[1], came his son John, heir and later 11th Earl. Further the sons Celestine and Uisdean (also Hugh) as well as the daughters Margaret and Florence are attested; their legitimacy is however not clearly provable.


  • John Anderson: The Ancient Earls of Ross. In: James Balfour Paul (ed.): The Scots Peerage. Volume 7: Panmure-Sinclair . David Douglas, Edinburgh 1910, pp. 230-244 (English, Text Archive – Internet Archive).
  • A. J. Macdonald: MacDonald, Lord of the Isles. In: James Balfour Paul (ed.): The Scots Peerage. Volume 5: Innermeath-Mar . David Douglas, Edinburgh 1908, pp. 27-48 (English, Text Archive – Internet Archive).

Web links

Individual references

  1. lists “Halyburton” as a last name
Predecessor Office Successor
Mary Leslie Earl of Ross
John MacDonald
Donald MacDonald Lord of the Isles
John MacDonald