Muriel Calder of Cawder


Young Muriel was the only child of John Calder, 7th Thane of Cawder and Isabel Rose of Kilravock. The marriage was a political one to bring peace between the two families but it did not work and the marriage was an unhappy one. John died in 1498 when Muriel was an infant and as Scottish law allowed her to inherit the title and castle she was at dire risk from her own uncles. To keep her safe from her family and other noble families she was branded by her grandmother (though some say a nurse), the Lady of Kilravock, with the key to her coffer burnt into the child’s hip. Her mother also removed a tip of a finger between the two she would be unable to be switched with another child. Due to her age and position her lands and titles were protected by having her made a Ward of the Crown. Archibald, second Earl of Argyll, and Hugh Rose of Kilravock, her uncle, were appointed ‘tutors dative’ to her by King James IV.(1) In the autumn of 1499, the Earl sent Campbell of Inverliver to Kilravock, to convey the child to Inverary to be educated in the Argyll household. Her four paternal uncles perscued them and two were lost in the following battle. She was retained by the Campbells at about 12 she was married to John Campbell. This marriage appears to have been a happy one and John was a strong leader and obtained the loyalty of a number of the Highland Clans. Muriel eventually outlived her husband and eldest son and made her grandson her heir. She died in 1575.

Sources 1


2 thoughts on “Muriel Calder of Cawder

  1. To brand and remove the tip of a finger to insure the “authenticity” of a child… Words fail me.

    As you know, Muriel married John Campbell, son of Archibald Campbell and Elizabeth Stewart. Archibald and Elizabeth were my 15th great-grandparents. I descend through John’s brother Colin Campbell (1486–1529).


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