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History of the MacIntyre Clan
Transcription of the 16 Feb. 1737 agreement signed by Donald McIntyre (II) of Gleno

Here is my transcription of the 16 Feb. 1737 agreement signed by Donald McIntyre (II) of Gleno, which represents an accounting of the status of the Glenoe's wadset and rental payments with the Earl of Breadalbane. It answers many questions, gives new information and raises some other questions. Of course, what it tells us depends on an accurate understanding of what it means and I have listed the meaning of the terms that either help or keep us from understanding. My analysis follows the transcription.

advance = loan; augmented = increased, raised; bargain = agreement; ciking = attaching; conform = in agreement; deducted = subtract; duty = rent or fee; interest = interest on a loan; merk = approximately an English shilling; redeem = reclaim; renounce = disclaim, give back, return; reduced = subtract; secured = claim, obtain; surplus = superplus = remainder

Rental and State of Glenoe's wadset

Rental and State of Glenoe's wadset


  1. The preceding document, dated 16th Feb. 1737, refers to the 1656 Glenoe's wadset and also to rental payment.
  2. Donald (II), MacIntyre of Glenoe, obtained the wadset, (after which he and his predecessors were called "of Glenoe"). The MacIntyre chiefs had lived at Glenoe for at least a century and probably many centuries before 1656. It is not known on what basis the MacIntyres lived at Glenoe before 1656 although the legend says it was for a nominal rent of a snowball and a fatted calf delivered on Mid-Summer's Day. This was probably started with the possession of Lorn by the Campbells around 1469. The basis for possession of Glenoe by the MacIntyres before that is unknown. A wadset is a possession in lieu of repayment of a loan and allows the person who has the wadset to use the property as he see fit, including subletting part or all of the property, improving the property, and passing on the wadset as an inheritance. The Glenoe wadset was obtained by Glenoe in return for a loan of 3000 merks to the then son, and later, Earl of Breadalbane. The use of the land was considered sufficient compensation pending repayment of the loan.
  3. The heading on the top right is Surplus Duty. What does this mean? First, the terms superplus and surplus seem to be interchangeable, the latter being a shortened form. Thus, word surplus was originally super-plus. The question is what does the "duty" represent? tax?, rent? It shouldn't be rent since it was a wadset but it appears to be synonymous to rent, as will be seen in the next statement where it refers to the renouncing of the Barrs part of the wadset and the 20 pounds rent attached to it. The 20 pounds rent was subtracted from the 51 pounds of surplus duty, because Gleno (the person) no longer had to pay it. This reduced the added-on rent (duty) on Gleno to 31 pounds. Why would Gleno need to pay rent if he held the property as a rent-free wadset? My thought is that sometime between 1656 and 1737 an additional charge, or duty, was added to the wadset. Perhaps it was the tax that the Earl had to pay the Crown for the lands he held from the Crown. That is, the Earl had the land as a gift from the King in return for his loyalty. The Earl, in turn, gave Gleno to the MacItnyre chief as a wadset in return for an indefinite loan. The King, needing money, would require the Earl to pay him, and in turn the Earl passed this charge on to Glenoe. This would be called "superplus" or an add-on.
  4. The document lists the Glenoe wadset as including Gleno, Duo and Barrs of old (Barsalchan) and valued at 3500 merks. Glenoe also had an "Inveraw's wadset" which Glenoe probably obtained from the Earl as collateral for a separate loan of 500 merks. This 500 merks was probably added on to the 3000 Glenoe wadset at the time the Earl redeemed his Inveraw wadset (so he could get the income from the property). This would have been the start of a repeated practice of adding on to the value of the Glenoe wadset when redeeming a wadset or a loan.
  5. Prior to this time, Glenoe (of late) made a bargain with the Earl. The nature of the bargain is not stated but it was at the same time as the Inveraw wadset and Barrs part of the Glenoe wadset were redeemed. That bargain may have been to educate James (III) who would have been under age ten at the time of the bargain while his father was nearing age 60.
  6. Donald then loaned the Earl 800 merks as an advance on the superplus duty that Glenoe would eventually have to be pay in the future, and the Earl paid "interest" on the 800 merks amounting to 26 pounds, 11 shillings and 4 pence per annum. This is approximately 3.3% interest. The maximum allowable interest at that time was 5% (anything above this was considered usury). This loan was not a wadset (which would have included inheritable rights) and this is why there was interest. This interest was then subtracted from the 31 pounds of annual duty owed by Glenoe, leaving a balance of 4 pounds 6 shillings and 8 pence (very close to a negative balance). This demonstrates that the Surplus Duty was being paid by Glenoe to the Earl and that the interest was to be paid by the Earl to Glenoe. The numbers under the merks column was the amount that the Earl had to pay Glenoe if he were to redeem the Glenoe wadset. In the late 1500s (Henry VIII), the law against charging interest on a loan of money was repealed although maximum limit were set at 10% and later reduced to 5%. Before this time there was a religious prohibition (usury) against one Christian loaning to another Christian. Nevertheless, it was necessary to borrow money so up to the year 1300, money was borrowed from Jews. Jews were also prohibited by Mosaic Law from loaning to Jews but they could lend to non-Jews. These Jews had come to England as a result of the Inquisition in Spain. This view of charging interest was so definite, that in England, if a Jew converted to Christianity, all his possessions were confiscated because they had been soiled by usury! In the late 1200s, it became acceptable in England (although not legal) to charge interest, and the Jews were expelled. The Jews were replaced by non-English Christian goldsmiths from Lombardy (now Italy). These goldsmiths eventually became the bankers. Apparently, there is still a Lombard St. in the financial section of London.
  7. An additional 62 pounds, 6 shillings, and 8 pence were added at the time of this document to the surplus duty without any explanation as to what it was for, thus raising it to 66 pounds, 13 shillings and 4 pence. This sounds fishy to me. Arm twisting? There was no rent control in Campbell-land! The Earl was apparently very hard up. It looks like he had to raise the duty arbitrarily to cover any interest he would have to pay on the money he was borrowing and to keep the surplus above zero or worse have to pay the MacIntyre chief interest out of pocket. So it appears that the surplus duty was rent in another disguise to keep the Earl from having to pay the lower ranked Glenoe, an annual payment (interest) out of pocket. He just kept subtracting the interest from the "Surplus Duty" which he kept adding on to cover the interest! There may be another explanation but it isn't found in this document.
  8. A similar practice was being followed with respect to the principal of the loans. They were either secured by a wadset or secured by property but with interest being paid. Then the loan or wadset was redeemed and the principal added to the Glenoe wadset amount.
  9. The next instance was when Donald (Glenoe) loaned the Earl 1200 merks secured by holdings of Gulalchulin, Kinlochetive and fishing rights. Then, in this document, these holdings were also redeemed and instead of paying back the 1200 merks the Earl attached (added) that amount to the value of the Glenoe wadset, bringing the total to 5500 merks that has been loaned. The interest of 40 pounds was subtracted from the surplus duty, which had fortunately been raised by over 62 pounds to cover the 40 pounds.
  10. This was the third, and probably fourth instance where he borrowed money from the MacIntyre chiefs (3000 merks in 1656 secured by the Gleno wadset, 500 merks sometime between 1656 and 1737, secured by the Inveraw wadset, 800 merks, also secured by the Glenoe wadset and then 1200 merks, secured by Gulachulin, Kinlochetive and fishing rights -probably fishing rights at the entrance of the River Etive into Loch Etive- on which interest was owed, and then subtracted from the annual surplus duty). The principals of the loans were not paid but simply added (ciking = attached?) to the redemption value of the Glenoe wadset. Thus the 500, 800 and 1200 merk loans were not repaid but only added on to the total owed and the interest wasn't paid but subtracted from the surplus rent (surplus because there was no allowance for rent in a wadset). Glenoe received nothing from these transactions but he probably had no choice either.
  11. The 1200 merks was a loan and not a wadset because there was interest assigned of 40 pounds (the same rate of 3.3%). The 40 pounds of annual interest that was owed was subtracted from the 66 pounds, 13 shillings 4 pence Duty to leave a surplus duty owed by Glenoe of 26 pounds, 13 shillings, 4 pence to be paid on St. Martin's Day or Martinmass (Nov.12th). By adding this loan to the existing wadset loan, the Earl avoided having to make any payments while still requiring Glenoe to make some payment. It also permitted the Earl to collect rents from these properties, which during the period of the loan, had been collected by Glenoe. That Glenoe could do this (give up these incomes and properties without any concurrent compensation) probably means that he was financially secure. It also meant that it put him in a better position vis a vis the Earl, so long as the Earl couldn't pay back the loan.
  12. Although the statement is only signed by Glenoe, and the only payment acknowledged is for 26 pounds 13 shillings and 4 pence to be paid by Glenoe, it is clear that the Earl owes Glenoe 5500 merks, the ever increasing value of the remaining Glenoe + Duo wadset.
  13. This agreement has nothing to do with the snowball and calf being exchanged for rent. What the snowball and calf were payment for and at what point the payment was no longer observed is unknown. It could have been rent and, if so, it would have stopped when the wadset began. It could have been a token payment for the murder that took place around 1440. This could have stopped when the Campbells made fun of the Chief's son (as told in the story by Aleck of Inveraray) or just a lapse in tradition as the cultural climate changed over the years.
  14. There is one very important question, "what is a merk worth?" I have saved this for the last since it involves arithmetic and guesswork. The numbers on the right side are clearly money and are related to the numbers on the left side but the relationship needs clarification. For example, the first number on the left at the top has the pound sign and 194. 8. 102/3 or . This is apparently equal to the 3500 merks on the right side. There are other places where equivalents can be noted 44.8.102/3 equals 800 merks. These numbers would lead you to think that 18 merks on the right side equals on Pound on the left side (3500/194 = 18). However, there is another obvious equivalent that indicates that L 2.4.51/3 on the left side equals L 26 13S 4 P, or 6,504 pence. If this were to equal 2 Pounds 4 shillings and 5 1/3 pence (565 1/3 pence) then the L on the left side is worth 11 times that on the right side (6504/565 = 11+). The most obvious explanation is that they represent different currencies, e.g. English on the left side and Scottish on the right side. However, this doesn't explain the 102/3. The two/thirds could be short for 8 pence, which is 2/3rds of a shilling. However, if this were the case then the 10 would be shillings and the 8 would be pounds and then what would the 194 be? There was a coin that was smaller than a pence, called a farthing, but there were four farthings in a pence so it couldn't have been 2/3 of a pence.
  15. Another question concerns the merks column on the right side, which is separate from the pound, shillings and pence. This is probably because merks are a land value and the redemption value of the wadset, while the coins are used for exchange (rent/interest/duty etc.). We must remember that this was the period when they were converting from the barter system to a monetary system.

Per Ardua, Marty



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