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Clan Macalister is a chiefly family


Alastair, Alexander, Alison, Alistair,Allison, Alister, MacAlasdair, MacAlaster, MacAlester, MacAlister, MacAllister, MacAllister, McAlister, McAlester, McAllister, McCallister, McCollister, McLister, Sanders, Saunders

Early History

This family was originally a branch of Clan Donald. <ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 204</ref> There is some doubt as to the founded of this clan, but it is now accepted that they are the descendents of Alistair Mor, son of Donald of the Isles. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref> Alistair Mor first appears in the historical record as witness to a charter by his brother Angus, Lord of the Isles, to the Abbey of Paisley around 1253. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref> The lands of Lowp, later called 'Loup' are mentioned in a charter of James III confirming lands in Kintyre to the Lord of the Isles. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref>The name 'Loup' is associated with an area of Kintyre. <ref></ref> In 1481 Charles Macalister was made constable of the Castle of Tarbert and recieved a grant of lands in Kintyre.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref> Charles was suceeded as chief by his son, John, who was the first to be styled 'of the Loup'. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref>

Middle Ages

Tarbert Castle, in modern day Argyll, was used by James IV as a naval supply based during his campaign to suppress the Lordship of the Isles. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref> The clan were not a paticularly numerous group and as such sought to secure their position with alliances with other houses. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref> In 1590, the clan rendered a bond of dependence and service to Lord John Hamilton; shortly afterwards a similar bond was given by the Tutor of Loup and clan members also Lord John Hamilton. In 1591, Godfrey MacAlister of Loup received a charter from the Earl of Argyll which they held until after 1745. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref>


In 1598 Godfrey Macalister of Loup killed his tutor and guardian Charles Macalister and besieged his sons at their house at Askomull. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref> In 1600 the Island of Arran was invaded by the Macalisters, who seized the house of John Montgomery of Skelmorlie and plundered posessions worth £12,000 Scottish Crowns. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref>

Two years later Archibald Macalister led his men, along with other clans of north Kintyre to raid the prosperous island of Bute. It is said that a force of over twelve hundred men ravaged the island, which was a Stewart possession.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref> Archibald Macalister was denounced as a rebel and he and his kinsman, John Macalister were ordered to appear before the Privy Council in Edinburgh and fined surety. Alexander Macalister, along with Angus Og, leader of the MacDonalds of Islay were found guilty of treason, incarcerated in the Tolbooth in Edinburgh and hanged. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref> However, by 1623 Macalister of Loup was one of the justices of the peace in Argyllshire. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref>


William Alexander, Earl of Stirling

The Macalisters came to Stirlingshire during the fourteenth century.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref> At some point their name became anglicised to Alexander. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref> By the sixteenth century they had settled on the estates of Menstrie near the royal castle of Stirling. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref>William Alexander of Menstrie became a courtier under the patronage of the Earl of Argyll and promoted the colonisation of Canada, known as Nova Scotia. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref> Earlier he had been appointed a gentleman usher to Prince Charlies, son of James VI of Scotland.<ref>,_Earl_of_Stirling</ref> He was a poet and writer who assisted James VI and I in preparing 'The Psalms of King David, translated by King James' and published by authority of Charles I. <ref>,_Earl_of_Stirling</ref>James knighted him in 1609 and appointed him the Master of Requests for Scotland in 1614- effectively his private secretary. In 1615 he was made a member of the Scottish Privy Council. <ref>,_Earl_of_Stirling</ref> In 1630, King Charles rewarded his service by creating him Viscount of Stirling and in 1633 he became Earl of Stirling.<ref>,_Earl_of_Stirling</ref> Alexander's innovation was to reward investors in the Canadian colony with the title of 'Baronet of Nova Scotia' - although Way of Plean notes that its success was greater in bolstering the flagging royal finances than encouraging emigration. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref>

In 1605 Archibald Macalister of Tarbert visited his kinsman the Earl of Stirling at his Castle of Menstrie. Alexander had his guest elected as a burgess of the royal burgh of Stirling. In return the earl obtained an acknowledgement that he was chief of the Macalisters, although this had no genealogical foundation. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref>

Later History

By 1706 the ancestral lands of Tarbert had passed to the Macleans. However the Macalisters remained in Loup. A younger son- Duncan Macalister- had a successful military career and later settled in Holland, where there are now descendants.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref> The chiefly family eventually left Kintyre and the present chief lives in England. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 204</ref>

MacAlisters of Glenbarr

However, a cadet branch, the MacAlisters of Glenbarr aquired lands in Argyll from the Campbells, on which they built Glenbarr Abbey. MacAlister also married into the chiefly Brodie family of Aberdeenshire. <ref></ref> Today Glenbarr Abbey is home to the Clan Macalister Centre and attracts visitors from around the world in search of their heritage. <ref></ref> Jeanne MacAlister, Lady Glenbarr still resides in the Abbey and conducts tours when required. <ref></ref>

Glenbarr Abbey