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Pict Clanns of Albann



The Fletchers (Mac an Fhleistear in Gaelic) claim to have been the first humans to have drawn water in Argyll.  If that is not sufficient proof of their aboriginal Pict origins, one only has to glance at Clan Gregor history to see that many Picts who belonged to Clan Gregor were given trade names such as Skinner, Fisher, Stringer, Bowmaker, Stalker, Wanamaker - and Fletcher.

In 1497. Fletchers recovered cattle belonging to the Stewarts, which had been rustled by the MacDonalds.  This earned the clan the gratitude of Stewart of Appin, who pledged to help the Fletchers whenever they needed it. 

Although the Fletchers spread throughout Albann, they had particular associations with the MacGregors and with the Achallader at the head of Glenn Orchy.  The MacGregors of Argyll used arrows made by the Fletchers of Glenn Orchy.  The MacGregors of Perthshire used arrows made by the Fletchers of Glenn Lyon, another MacGregor territory.  Clan Fletcher lived in many areas of Albann as there was a universal need for their skills. 

Down through history, MacGregors have considered the Fletchers as their own, and they were interchangeable with the MacGregors in historical narrations.  A Fletcher saved the life of Rob Roy MacGregor after he was wounded in battle.  On the official Clan Gregor website, there is a unique genealogical  section reserved for the Fletchers.

Many touching stories of MacGregors were actually about Fletchers, such as the true story of the most revered of all Scottish love songs;  One of the most immoral and horrific acts of vengeance in the annals of English armed forces was committed under the orders of the butcher of Culloden at Carlisle, a few miles south of the Scottish border on England's west coast. 

When Jacobite troops swept out of Scotland towards London in 1745, they met with success after lucky success.  The town of Carlisle was quickly surrounded and the English garrison was promised a safe passage out of the town if they surrendered their arms and left peacefully.   That is exactly what happened.  A skeleton garrison force was left behind, amongst them was an officer in Charlie's army of the Clan Gregor.  In 1746, when two English armies were chasing the Highlanders back into Scotland, the town was surrounded again, this time by Hanoverian troops.

Naturally, this garrison expected to be treated as they had treated the English when the fortunes of war were reversed.  Such was not the case.  The men were quickly rounded up and treated  as common criminals.  Those men from the ranks who took a renewed oath of allegiance to George II were pardoned.  The remainder were thrown into prisons where many perished from maltreatment.   However, they fared much better than their 3 officers, who were summarily sentenced to death by hanging and quartering.

That method of execution was uniquely English, and terribly gruesome, as it combined hanging, drawing, and then before death, the victim was quartered, a special death accorded to traitors, the same death they had forced on the greatest of all Scottish patriots, Sir William Wallace..  Due to a request by the town officials for mercy, the condemned men were allowed one letter each to family.  One such letter was sent by Lt. Fletcher to his wife, through a friend who was being pardoned and was returning to the Highlands.. 

An old Gaelic myth claims that a Highlander who dies outside his beloved homeland will return home through the underground.  So he told his friend "Ye take the high road and I'll take the low road, and I'll be in Scotland afore ye".  It became one of the most beloved and moving love songs ever written.  It was written in Gaelic, but the English version was called:

"The ballad of Loch Lomond"

-and it was attributed to a MacGregor, although his surname was Fletcher.

To download this hauntingly beautiful song in mp3 format, click here.