Am Baile

Location: Uists and Benbecula
the jacobites, gaelic language and placenames, hiding places

Nunton House and Flora MacDonald

Nunton House has a rich history stretching back to the 17th century. From the MacDonald's of Clan Ranald to the MacPhee family the house has had many different occupants.

The first mention of Nunton House was in a document issued and signed in ‘Baile nan Caileach’ (Gàidhlig for Nunton) on the 10th March 1659. In the early 1700s the status of Nunton House is unclear. After the loss of Ormiclate Castle through fire and the fatal wounding of Clanranald at Sheriffmuir in the rising of 1715, the MacDonald’s of Clanranald relocated to Nunton. Following this, Nunton House became their principle residence in the Uists. As Clanranald's principle residence in the 18th century it had a particulary significant role in the history of the 1745 Jacobite uprising and the post Culloden escapades of Bonnie Prince Charlie in hiding. His legendary escape over the sea to Skye with Flora MacDonald in 1746 is well known and well documented. Clanranald’s wife dressed the Prince as Betty Burke, Flora’s maid in Nunton House to aid his escape.

By 1795 Nunton House is documented to have had a new role as the residence of Clanranald’s factor John Butter, who was appointed to manage Clanranalds estates in relation to the kelp industry. Butter was granted the tack of Nunton Farm and lands. John Butter's successor is not known, but after an interlude, Duncan Shaw was named as Clanranald’s factor at Nunton on 8th June 1815. Shaw was an important man at Nunton, under his factorship major changes took place – he was a key figure in the implementation of a policy of assisted emigration.

More information on visiting the area can be found here.