Chisholms come from all over the world to visit their historic home here in Strathglass. There are a number of sites that have strong links to the Clan even after a long passage of time. On this page we have put together a collection of just some of the places of interest while others are discussed in other parts of the website.
1 ERCHLESS CASTLE (NH 4104 4079)
Built around 1600, replacing an earlier building, Erchless Castle stands near the River Beauly a few miles east of Struy. The castle came into the possession of a branch of the Chisholms in the 15th century, by the marriage of Alexander de Chisholme to Margaret, Lady of Erchless, and became their ancestral home.
It is an L-plan tower house, with a rear wing added to it in 1895. The Clan Chisholm owned much of Strathglass from the Middle Ages onward. Several years following the death of the last surviving member of the direct line the trustees sold off the castle and estate in 1937. Ownership has changed hands over the years and the castle is now rented out as holiday accommodation and has also been used as a film location.
2 CHISHOLM BURIAL GROUND & MOTTE (NH 4105 4105)
The burial ground sits on top of the mediaeval motte of Cnoc an Tighe Mhoir. It was constructed in the 19th century as a private burial ground for the Chisholm family, who were then the owners of Erchless Castle and hence holds the remains of a number of Clan Chiefs. There are four tall Celtic cross memorials, as well as other tombstones of 19th and 20th century dates.
The motte stands on the left side of the A831 east of Struy. It would have been constructed of earth, possibly using an existing hill, as the base for a timber castle. The Gaelic name means hill of the big house. The early castle was superseded by the first stone castle at Erchless, built in the 13th century, which was replaced in its turn by the present Erchless Castle which was built around 1600.
3 THE CHISHOLM STONE AT MAULD (NH 404 395)
Mauld is on the east side of the River Glass, about 1km south of the bridge across to Struy. The modern house is on the east side of the road. William Chisholm’s house was between the road and the river. The stone is on the west side of the road, at the junction with the road with goes across the bridge to Struy,
The following extract is taken from William Mackay: Gaelic Placenames of Upper Strathglass (1968, published by the Inverness Courier, p. 5):
William Chisholm, the Clan Chisholm standard bearer at Culloden, lived with his wife, Christine Ferguson, at Mauld. The site of his house is said to be near the river below the Mauld – Eskadale road at a place called by the old people “Innis nan ceann” – the meadow of the heads – after some old Clan fight. William killed 16 men at Culloden with his broadsword, but was killed himself.
His widow composed a Gaelic song in his memory, “Mo run geal og” [my fair young love] in which she says that he was the handsomest, bravest, kindliest man in Strathglass, the best swordsman, and had the sweetest kisses and the strongest head in the Strath. In the Beerhouse at Struy when all others were below the table he was still on his feet. A stone at Mauld House inscribed “Mo run geal og”, erected by the Frasers of Mauld, commemorates him.
For more about the stone read The Story Behind The Stone (pdf file).
4 FORMER CHISHOLM ESTATE OFFICE (NH 4600 4090)
Now the Cnoc Hotel, the building dating from the 1850s was once part of Erchless Estate and comprised four estate workers cottages together with the Estate Manager’s Office in the east wing. The locality was referred to as Knockvoit from ‘Knowe of the court’, the site of the barron court of Erchless, and traditionally where executions were carried out.
The Chisholm’s sold the Estate in the late 1930s and over the next 30 years ownership changed several times eventually being bought by the Robson family. The building was converted by the estate to a hotel in 1971 and was sold off during the following decade.
5 CHISHOLM MEMORIAL STONE (NH 327 316)
The stone is situated just outside the village of Cannich, on the south side of the road which leads up Glen Cannich, on the hillside overlooking Comar Lodge former seat of Clan Chisholm built in 1740.
The stone, about 1.70 metres high, was erected by the Clan Chisholm Society in 1968, with the inscription: “Erected within former clan territory by Clan Chisholm Society Home and Overseas 1968”.
Another inscription reads: “In memory of the founder of the Clan Chisholm Society, Mairi Lambert Chisholm of Chisholm M. M. D. ST. J. 1896 – 1981”. The clan crest and the inscription“Cuimhnichaibh air na daoine o’n d’thainig sibh” (“Remember the people from whom you have come” were added by the Clan Chisholm Society, Canada branch, in 2001.
6 THE CHISHOLM CAIRN & STONE (NH 217 316)
The cairn is situated on the north side of Loch Mullardoch, beside a track which continues along the north shore of the loch. It overlooks the rocky shore where on one particular large rock or outcrop with a flat surface the clan chief, according to local tradition, received his rents from his clansmen. The rock – exactly which one it is, is uncertain – is wholly or partly submerged in the loch, due to the rise in the water level caused by the building of the dam.
An inscription on a tablet beside the cairn states:
“Here according to tradition the chief held counsels with his Glen Cannich clansmen. The centre stone now sometimes submerged is known to the clan as the Chisholm’s stone. Clan Chisholm Society” (no date). There are further plaques on the cairn commemorating Chisholms from Australia and New Zealand. The most recent addition is a granite slab below the tablet plinth with the inscription: “Two centuries after the diaspora of the Chisholms from Strathglass their descendants returned from five continents to the lands of their origin, now devoid of the Chisholm name, to confirm their heritage.
Erected by the Clan Chisholm Gathering 2001 by the Clan Chisholm Society in Nova Scotia”.