Campbell – also known as Black Duncan, Black Duncan of the Cowl,
and Black Duncan of the Castles – was born on 7 Aug 1550 to Sir
Colin Campbell and Katherine Ruthven, in Glenorchy, Argyllshire,
Scotland. At the age of 23 in 1573 he married first Janet
Stewart in Perth, Perthshire, Scotland. According to some
historians they had nine (9) children: Archibald, Duncan, Jean,
Margaret, Colin, Robert, Agnes, John and Alexander.
In 1583 Duncan became the 7th Laird of Glenorchy at the death of
his father, also inheriting Kilchurn Castle in Loch Awe, Argyll,
Scotland and Balloch Castle in Kenmore, Perthshire, Scotland. It
was also in 1583 that Duncan built Loch Dochart Caastle in
Stirlingshire, Scotland. Duncan now had three of his famed seven
castles across Scotland.
In 1584 Duncan was appointed 7th Earl of Argyll, and on 18 May
1590 he was knighted by King James VI of Scotland (King James I
of England (King James Bible)) at the coronation of Queen Ann,
where he was one of the barons.
Duncan continued his castle quest by acquiring Achallader Castle
from the Fletcher Family by trickery in 1590. In 1590 Sir Duncan
Campbell built Edinample Castle in Lochearnhead, Perthshire,
Scotland. One year later in 1591 Duncan built Barcaldine Castle
in Benderloch, Argyll, Scotland. At the age of 41 Duncan had six
of his seven castles.
In 1593 Duncan Campbell was a Member of Parliament (MP). Duncan
suffered the death of his first wife Janet in 1593. In 1609
Duncan had finished building his 7th and final castle, Finlarig
Castle in Killin, Perthshire, Scotland, this one he made the
family home. Duncan Campbell finally reached his goal, at the
age of 59, of being able to cross his vast expanse of land from
one end to the other being able to spend every night in his own
castle on his own land.
Duncan married his second wife Elizabeth Sinclair about 1610.
They had five (5) children, Catherine, Elizabeth, Juliana,
Patrick and William, according to some historians.
In 1617 Duncan was appointed Keeper of the Forest of Mamlorn,
Bendaskerlie, Scotland. On 29 May 1625 Sir Duncan became 1st
Baronet Campbell, of Glenorchy. Duncan was also one of the six
guardians of the young and appointed Sheriff of Perth for life.
During his life Duncan was able to extend the family land
holding from Barcaldine Caste in the West to Balloch Castle in
the East reaching over 100 miles with 438,696 acres. Duncan was
ruthless in his politics to gain what he wanted even to the
point of trying to take control of the Clan Campbell by the
murder of Campbell of Cawdor. Yet during all this he managed to
remain in good favor with the monarchy of both Scotland and
At his death on 23 Jun 1631 he was buried in his last castle
Finlarig, which was the family home. According to the Black Book
of Taymouth by Ines, Cosmo Nelson (1798-1874) Published 1855,
Duncan Campbell was buried in the Chapel Mausoleum.