The Earl of Cromarty says of Kenneth, "that he raised great fears in his neighbours by his temper and power, by which he had overturned so great ane interest as that of Macdonald, yet it appearit that he did not proceid to such attemptts but on just resentments and rationall grounds, for dureing his lyfe he not only protected the country by his power, but he caryed so that non was esteemed a better neighbour to his friends nor a juster maister to his dependers. In that one thing of his caryadge to his first wife he is justly reprowable; in all things else he merits justly to be numbered amongst the best of our Scots patriots." The same writer continues-- "The fight at Blairnapark put Mackenzie in great respect through all the North. The Earl of Huntly, George, who was the second Earle, did contract a friendship with him, and when he was imployed by King James 3d to assist him against the conspirators in the South, Kenneth came with 500 men to him in summer 1488; but erre they came the lengthe of Perth, Mackenzie had nottice of his father Alexander's death, whereupon Huntly caused him retire to ordor his affaires, least his old enemies might tack advantage of such a change, and Huntly judgeing that they were rather too numberous than weak for the conspirators, by which occasion he (Kenneth) was absent from that vnfortunat battle wher King James 3d wes kild, yet evir after this, Earl George, and his son Alexander, the 3d Earl of Huntly, keipt a great kyndness to Kenneth and his successors. From the yeir 1489 the kingdom vnder King James 4d wes at great peace, and thereby Mackenzie toock opportunity to setle his privat affaires, which for many yeirs befor, yea severall ages, had bein almost still disturbed by the Earls of Ross and Lords of the Illes, and so he lived in peace and good correspondences with his neighbours till the yeir 1491, for in the moneth of February that yeir he died and wes buried at Bewlie.
All his predecessors wer buried at Icolmkill (except his father), as wer most of the considerable chieffs in the Highlands. But this Kenneth, after his marriage, keipt frequent devotiones with the Convent of Bewlie, and at his owin desyre wes buried ther, in the ille on the north syd of the alter, which wes built by himselfe in his lyftyme or he died; after that he done pennance for his irregular marieing or Lovit's daughter. He procured recommendationes from Thomas Hay (his lady's uncle), Bishop of Ross, to Pope Alexander the 6, from whom he procured a legittmatione of all the cheildrein of the mariadge, daited apud St Petri, papatus nostri primo, anno Cristiano 1491."
Bishop Hay strongly impressed upon Mackenzie the propriety of getting his marriage with Agnes of Lovat legitimized, and to send for a commission to the Pope for that purpose. Donald Dubh MacChreggir, priest of Kirkhill, was despatched to Rome with that object, and, according to several of the family manuscripts, procured the legitimation of the marriage. "This priest was a native of Kintail, descended from a clan there called Clan Chreggir, who, being a hopefull boy in his younger days, was educat in Mackenzie's house, and afterwards at Beullie be the forementioned Dugall Mackenzie, pryor yrof. In end he was made priest of Kirkhill. His successors to this day are called Frasers. Of this priest is descended Mr William Fraser and Mr Donald Fraser." [Ancient MS.]
Another writer describes the messengers sent to Rome as Mr Andrew Fraser, priest of Kintail, a learned and eloquent man, who took in his company Dugal Mackenzie, natural son to Alexander Inrig, who was a scholar. The Pope entertained them kindly and very readily granted them what they desired and were both made knights to the boot of Pope Clement the VIII., but when my knights came home, they neglected the decree of Pope Innocent III. against the marriage and consentrinate of all the clergy or otherwise they got a dispensation from the then Pope Clement VIII., for both of them married--Sir Dugall was made priest of Kintail and married nien (daughter) Dunchy Chaim in Glenmorriston. Sir Andrew likewise married, whose son was called Donald Du Mac Intagard, and was priest of Kirkhill and Chaunter of Ross. His tack of the vicarage of Kilmorack to John Chisholm of Comar stands to this day. The present Mr William Fraser, minister of Kilmorack, is the fifth minister in lineal and uninterrupted succession." [Ardintoul MS.]
Anderson, in his Account of the Family of Fraser, also says that "application was made to the Pope to sanction the second marriage, which he did, anno 1491." Sir James D. Mackenzie of Findon (note, p. 19) however says that he made a close search in the Vatican and the Roman libraries but was unable to find trace of any document of legitmation. Of Roderick, Sir Kenneth's fourth son, who was an exceedingly powerful man, the following interesting story is told--He was a man of great strength and stature, and in a quarrell which took place between him and Dingwall of Kildun, he killed the latter, and "that night abode with his wife" Complaint was made to King James the Fifth, who commanded the Baron of Kintail to give Rory up to justice. His brother, knowing he could not do so openly and by force without trouble and considerable danger, went to Kintail professedly to settle his affairs there, and when he was about returning home he requested Rory to meet him at Glassletter, that he might privately consult and discourse with him as to his present state. Rory duly met him on the appointed day with fifty men of his "coalds," the Macleays, besides ordinary servants and some Kintail men. While the two brothers went to discourse, they passed between the Kintail men and the Macleays, who sat at a good distance from one another. When Mackenzie came near the Kintail men, he clapped Rory on the shoulder, which was the sign between them, and Rory was immediately seized. Gillecriost MacFhionnla instantly ran to the Macleays, who had taken to their arms to relieve their Coald Rory Mor, and desired them in a friendly manner to compose themselves, and not be rash, since Rory was seized not by his enemies, but was in the hands of his own brother, and of those who had as great a kindness for him, and interest in him as they had themselves; and further he desired them to consider what would be the consequences, for if the least drop of blood was shed, Rory would be immediately put to death, and so all their pains would be lost. He thus prevailed upon them to keep quiet. In the meantime Rory struggled with the Kintail men, and would not be taken or go along with them, until John Mor, afterwards agnamed Ian Mor nan Cas, brother to Gillecriost MacFhionnla, took Rory by the feet and cast him down. They then bound him and carried him on their shoulders, until he consented to go along with them willingly, and without further objection. They took him to Ellandonnan, whence shortly after he was sent south to the King, where he had to take his trial. He, however, denied the whole affair, and in the absence of positive proof, the judges declined to convict him; but the King, quite persuaded of his guilt, ordered him to be sent a prisoner to the Bass Rock, with strict injunctions to have him kept in chains. This order was obeyed, and Rory's hands and legs were much pained and cut with the irons. The governor had unpleasant feuds with one of his neighbours, which occasioned several encounters and skirmishes between their servants, who came in repeatedly with wounds and bruises. Rory, noticing this to occur frequently, said to one of them, "Would to God that the laird would take me with him, and I should then be worth my meat to him and serve for better use than I do with these chains." This was communicated to the governor, who sent for Rory and asked him if he would fight well for him. "If I do not that," said he, "let me hang in these chains." He then took his solemn oath that he would not run away, and the governor ordered the servants to set about curing Rory's wounds with ointments. He soon found himself in good condition to fight, and an opportunity was not long delayed. The governor met his adversary accompanied by his prisoner, who fought to admiration, exhibiting great courage and enormous strength. He soon routed the enemy, and the governor became so enamoured of him that he was never after out of his company whenever he could secretly have him unknown to the Court.
About this time an Italian came to Edinburgh, who challenged the whole nation to a wrestling match for a large sum of money. One or two grappled with him, but he disposed of them so easily that no one else could be found to engage him. The King was much annoyed at this, and expressed himself strongly in favour of any one who would defeat the Italian, promising to give him a suitable reward. The governor of the Rock having heard of this, thought it an excellent opportunity for his prisoner to secure his freedom, and at the same time redeem the credit of the nation, and he informed the King that a prisoner committed to the Bass by his Majesty if released of his irons would, in his opinion, match the Italian. The King immediately answered, "His liberty, with reward, shall he have if he do so." The governor, so as not to expose his own intimate relations with and treatment of the prisoner, warily asked that time should be allowed to cure him of his wounds, lest his own crime and Rory's previous liberty should become known. When sufficient time had elapsed for this purpose a day was appointed, and the governor brought Rory to Holyrood House to meet the King, who enquired if he "would undertake to cast the Italian for his liberty?" "Yes, sir," answered Rory "it will be a hard task that I will not undertake for that; but, sir, it may be, it will not be so easy to perform as to undertake, yet I shall give him a fair trial." "Well" said the King, "how many days will you have to fit yourself?" "Not an hour" replied Rory. His Majesty was so pleased with his resolution that he immediately sent to the Italian to ask if he would accept the challenge at once. He who had won so many victories so easily already did not hesitate to grapple with Rory, having no fear as to the result. Five lists were prepared. The Italian was first on the ground, and seeing Rory approaching him, dressed in his rude habit, without any of the usual dress and accoutrements, laughed loudly. But no sooner was he in the Highlander's grasp than the Italian was on his knee. The King cried with joy; the Italian alleged foul play, and made other and frivolous excuses, but His Majesty was so glad of the apparent advantage in his favour that he was unwilling to expose Rory to a second hazard. This did not suit the Highlander at all, and he called out, "No, no, sir; let me try him again, for now I think I know his strength." His Majesty hearing this, consented, and in the second encounter Rory laid firm hold of the foreigner, pulled him towards him with all his might, breaking his back, and disjointing the back-bone. The poor fellow fell to the ground groaning with pain, and died two day's after. The King, delighted with Rory's prowess, requested him to remain at Court, but this he refused, excusing himself on the ground that his long imprisonment quite unfitted him for Court life, but if it pleased his Majesty he would send him his son, who was better fitted to serve him. He was provided with money and suitable clothing by Royal command. The King requested him to hasten his son to Court, which he accordingly did. This son was named Murdoch, and His Majesty became so fond of him that he always retained him about his person, and granted him, as an earnest of greater things to follow, the lands of Fairburn, Moy, and others adjoining, also the Ferry of Scuideal; but Murdoch being unfortunately absent from the Court when the King died, he missed much more which his Majesty had designed for him. [Ardintoul and Cromartie MS. Histories of the Mackenzies.]
The following, told of Roderick and Kenneth, the fifth son, is also worth a place--Kenneth was Chaunter of Ross, and perpetual Curate of Coinbents, which vicarage he afterwards resigned into the hands of Pope Paulus in favour of the Priory of Beauly. Though a priest and in holy orders he would not abstain from marriage, for which cause the Bishop decided to have him deposed. On the appointed day for his trial he had his brother Rory at Chanonry,, when the trial was to take place, with a number of his followers. Kenneth presented himself before the Bishop in his long gown, but under it he had a two-edged sword, and drawing near his Lordship, who sat in his presiding chair, whispered in his ear, "It is best that you should let me alone, for my brother Rory is in the churchyard with many ill men, and if you take off my orders he will take off your head, and I myself will not be your best friend." He then coolly exposed his penknife, as he called his great sword, "which sight, with Rory's proximity, and being a person whose character was well enough known by his Lordship, he was so terrified that he incontinently absolved and vindicated the good Chaunter," who ever after enjoyed his office (and his wife) unchallenged.
Sir Kenneth of Kintail, who was knighted by James IV. "for being highly instrumental in reducing his fierce countrymen to the blessings of a civilized life," was twice married; first, to Lady Margaret, daughter of John, Lord of the Isles and Earl of Ross, with issue--