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Updated 09/13/2017


Black Duncan

Sir Duncan 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 England.

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.