Rev. Roderick Charles MacLeod
b: 18 APR 1852
d: MAR 1934
!MENTION: Alick Morrison, THE CHIEFS OF CLAN MACLEOD, East Kilbride,
Scotland, 1986.
!BIOGRAPHY: Rev. Dr. Donald MacKinnon and Alick Morrison, THE
MACLEODS--THE GENEALOGY OF A CLAN, Section II, Edinburgh, The Clan
MacLeod Society, ND, pp. iii-xxii.
Rector of Conington, Vicar of Bolney and later of Mitford and finally
Canon of Newcastle 1916-1934. Canon Roderick was keenly interested
in the history of his clan and published THE MACLEODS OF DUNVEGAN, THE
as learned articles in the SCOTTISH HISTORICAL REVIEW and other
journals. In 1885 he married Katherine Louisa (d. 1935), daughter of Rev.
W. E. Jelf, with issue.
!SOURCE: BURKE''S LANDED GENTRY, Burke''s Peerage Ltd., London, 1939, p.
Archaeologist and author of THE MACLEODS OF DUNVEGAN and THE
ISLAND CLANS DURING SIX CENTURIES, Canon of Newcastle, 1916-34,
Rural Dean of Morpeth, 1910-28, Rector of Conington, Hunts, 1884-86,
Vicar of Bolney, Sussex, 1852; educated at Harrow and Trinity College,
Cambridge, M.A. (1896).
OF MACLEOD, A SHORT MEMOIR, Inverness, the author, 1941.
My father, RODERICK CHARLES MACLEOD, was born in London on 18th
April, 1852. He was the youngest son of Norman, 25th Chief of MacLeod,
and of Louise Barbara, daughter of the 13th Lord St. John of Bletso. His
father had been completely ruined by his efforts to feed his starving
people in the disastrous potato famine in the Highlands in the years
1846 and 1847, so that in 1848 he and his wife, to their sorrow, had to
leave Dunvegan and go to London, where my grandfather obtained a very
junior post in a Government office. Years of grinding poverty followed,
and probably for this reason and also because he was five years younger
than his next brother, Reginald, my father had a very lonely childhood. In
consequence he became a great reader, and before he was ten he was
reading Macaulay''s History, thus unconsciously laying a foundation for
the historical research to which he devoted so many years of his life.
By 1863 the family finances had so much improved that it was
possible for my grandfather to take Dunvegan once more into his own
hands, and in that year my father, at the age of eleven, paid his first
visit to Skye. From that time onwards his parents spent several weeks
every summer in their beloved home, where they entertained large
parties of relations and friends, among them some of the most
interesting men of the day. My father, in later life, used to recollect
these happy holidays with the greatest pleasure, and was never tired of
telling us children a,bout the many interesting and amusing happenings
of his boyhood days in Skye. He learnt to shoot and fish there, and later
became very keen on sailing a small boat, which he handled himself with
considerable skill .
When the time came for him to go to a public school he went to
Harrow, following in the footsteps of his father and elder brothers.
From there he went on to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took a
second class Honours degree in Law and History. I remember him saying
that when the lists were out, his history tutor came to him raging
because he was not head of the Tripos, as he was his most promising
pupil. But in those days it was not possible to take a degree in history
alone at Cambridge, and it was necessary to combine it with a subject in
which he took no interest whatever.
After he left the University my grandfather sent the young man
abroad, and he made a protracted tour in Italy and Austria. In 1875 he
was ordained, and held various curacies until he was presented to his,
first living at Conington in Huntingdonshire in 1884. Soon after this he
first met his future wife while on a trip in Norway. She was Katharine
Louisa, daughter of the Rev. Dr. William Jelf, a famous Greek scholar of
his time. They became engaged on New Year''s Day, 1885, and were
married at Hustings less than six weeks after. Later in the same year
my father took her to Skye for the first time. From the earliest days of
her married life she entirely identified herself with her husband''s old
home and its interest, and was never so happy as when at Dunvegan,
where the Skye people took her absolutely to their hearts.
In 1887 my parents moved to Bolney, in Sussex, where their three
children were born, the youngest of whom, Ian Breac, was killed in the
trenches in April, 1915. Sussex never suited my mother, so another move
was made early in 1897 to Mitford, in Northumberland, where my father
remained as vicar until his death in 1934. He was keenly interested in
his Church work, and was a great believer in visiting and getting into
personal touch with his parishioners. He and my mother used to bicycle
many miles to visit out-lying farms and hamlets, and they became very
much loved by the people of Milford. He had also considerable gifts of
oratory, and became a popular preacher.
Besides all the work in his own parish, my father was a member of
various Diocesan committees. In 1910 he became Rural Dean of Morpeth,
and in 1916 the Bishop made him an honorary Canon of St Nicholas''
Cathedral, Newcastle-on-Tyne. During his term of office as Rural Dean
he realized that several of the livings in the Deanery were very
inadequately financed, and by his efforts they were all raised to a
minimum stipend of £300 a year.
With all his interest in his professional work he had many hobbies. He
was a keen musician and was at one time his own organist, going
straight from pulpit to organ-stool. He also composed various hymn
tunes and other Church music. He was very keen on Gothic architecture,
besides being a capable amateur photographer, and he left behind him a
volume in typescript describing the Churches of the Deanery with his
own illustrations.
But one might say that the mainspring of his life was his intense love
of Skye. As a young man, instead of accepting invitations from friends of
his own age, he would prefer to spend his winter vacations with his
aunt, Miss Emily MacLeod, at Dunvegan. She was a delightful old lady,
full of all the legends and traditions of the Highlands in the past, and
she found a more than willing listener in her youngest nephew. As the
years went on, his love of Dunvegan became almost a thing apart in his
life, and it was this intense affection for the place, combined with his
interest in history, which must have made him undertake the truly
herculean task of reading and sorting the hundreds of documents in the
muniment-room. My sister and I cannot remember when he began this,
but we both have vivid recollections of the interest he took in it, and
also his joy in the many discoveries he made.
The actual work at Dunvegan was necessarily intermittent owing to
his professional duties, but he took photographs of many of the
documents, and read and transcribed them at leisure at his home in
My parents spent the winter of 1919-20 at Dunvegan, and during that
time a tremendous amount was accomplished in the muniment-room, and
order was produced out of absolute chaos. In all this work my father was
much helped by my mother, without whose assistance and
encouragement so much could never have been achieved.
As a result of all this research, several books were produced. "The
MacLeods of Dunvegan" came out in 1927, followed by " The MacLeods:
Their History and Traditions" in 1928. These were both published by the
Clan MacLeod Society. Later, Carruthers of lnverness brought out "The
Island Clans Through Six Centuries," also a short life of my uncle,
Norman, 26th Chief. Articles were also contributed to various Scottish
periodicals and newspapers, and in consequence letters of appreciation
were received from clansmen all over the world. ["The Book of Dunvegan"
has been published by the Spalding Club of Aberdeen since my father''s
death, and I am grateful to this Society for permission to reprint this
short memoir, and also for the use of the block of the photograph.]
Thanks to the hospitality of the Sir Reginald, the 27th Chief, my
parents, during the latter years of their lives, spent some weeks every
summer at Dunvegan, where "Mr. and Mrs. Rory," as they were
affectionately called in Skye, spent much time in seeing their many
The work in the muniment-room still went on until June, 1933, when
the 7000 papers were finally put away in a large cabinet which Sir
Reginald had had made for the purpose. I remember that they only just
got this finished before leaving Dunvegan for what proved to be the last
time. My mother died at the end of August after a very short illness, and
my father followed her less than seven months later. Up to the time of
his death he was eagerly looking forward to a possible visit to Skye the
following summer. Both of them lie buried in Mitford Churchyard, and
there is a stone to their memory in the family burying-ground in the old
kirk at Dunvegan. On this is recorded the fact that my father was
historian to the family, so that clansmen in the far and distant future
may be reminded of all he did for his family and clan.
His life on the whole was an extraordinarily happy one, and he was
singularly blessed in having the only too rare opportunity of doing work
in which he took a real joy, and for which he was so well fitted in every
  • 18 APR 1852 - Birth - ; London
  • MAR 1934 - Death -
Norman MacLeod
18 JUL 1812 - 5 FEB 1895
Rev. Roderick Charles MacLeod
18 APR 1852 - MAR 1934
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Norman MacLeod
Birth18 JUL 1812Dunvegan,Skye,Scotland,United Kingdom
Death5 FEB 1895 Paris,,,France
Marriage15 JUL 1837to Hon. Louisa Barbara St._John
Marriage7 JUL 1881to Hanna von Ettingshausen
PARENT (F) Hon. Louisa Barbara St._John
Death27 OCT 1880
Marriage15 JUL 1837to Norman MacLeod
FatherSt._Andrew 13th Lord St._John
MTorquil Olave MacLeod
FLouisa Cecelia MacLeod
Marriage1860to John Moyer Heathcote
MNorman Magnus MacLeod
Birth27 JUL 1839
Death5 NOV 1929
Marriage27 APR 1881to Emily Carolina Isham
MSir_Reginald MacLeod
Birth1 FEB 1847Dunvegan,Skye,Scotland,United Kingdom
Death20 AUG 1935Dunvegan,Skye,Scotland,United Kingdom
Marriage1877to Lady_Agnes Mary Cecilia Northcote
MRev. Roderick Charles MacLeod
Birth18 APR 1852London
DeathMAR 1934
Marriage1885to Katherine Louisa Jelf
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Rev. Roderick Charles MacLeod
Birth18 APR 1852London
DeathMAR 1934
Marriage1885to Katherine Louisa Jelf
FatherNorman MacLeod
MotherHon. Louisa Barbara St._John
PARENT (F) Katherine Louisa Jelf
Marriage1885to Rev. Roderick Charles MacLeod
FatherRev. W. E. Jelf
MIain Breac MacLeod
FEila St._John MacLeod
Marriage1914to Commander Kenneth MacKenzie
FBrenda Katherine MacLeod
Marriageto Bertram Lane Osbaldeston_- Mitford
Descendancy Chart