The Arms of Campbell of Breadalbane
The Breadalbane Family
No one can look at the history of Glen Orchy and Loch Awe without realising the immense impact this family had on the area. At one time every piece of land was owned by them, with Ground Officers acting as local agents, collecting rents, making decisions about which trees could be cut or planted, and generally controlling the lives of those who lived here.
The first of this branch of the Campbells started off as the Laird of Glenurquhay in 1432. He built Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe, and gradually spread his land eastwards, towards Perth. Eventually the family was ennobled and took the name Breadalbane. Succeeding Lairds gathered land east and west of Glen Orchy, which then settled back into some obscurity. At the height of the family's fortune and influence, Punch carried a copy of a verse current in Perthshire:
Frae' Kenmore to Ben Mhor The land is a' the Marquis's,
The mossy howes, the heathery knowes, and ilka' bonny park is his.
The bearded goats, the touzy stots and a' the braxy carcases;
The tinkers' tents, the crofters' rents and ilka' collie's bark is his.
The muircock's craw, the piper's blaw, The ghillie's hard day's wark is his.
Frae' Kenmore to Ben Mhor The warld is all the Marquis's.
Ben Mhor is the highest mountain on the Isle of Mull; Kenmore is the site of Taymouth Castle, once the family seat at the head of Loch Tay in Perthshire.
The present Earl, 20th Laird and 10th Earl, retains only the title, with no land any longer remaining in the family. About 1680, the Lady of Lawers (on Loch Tay) prophesied the end of the family, laying a curse that no line of the family would last for more than two generations, and that they would end their days in a stable. In effect, lack of direct heirs has contributed to the family's downfall, and the last Countess of Breadalbane died a few years ago in a mews flat in Edinburgh.