Edwin Sheffield


Research title: Clan MacKenzie chiefship, 1651-1716

Research Summary

This thesis examines the chiefships of Coinneach Mor MacKenzie, third earl of Seaforth (d. 1678), Coinneach Og MacKenzie, fourth earl of Seaforth (d. 1701), and Uilleam Dubh MacKenzie, fifth earl of Seaforth (d. 1740) from 1651 to 1716. In addition to comparing how each chief led their clan, this thesis explores the relationship between clan and chief, how the clan operated during a chief’s absence, and the role of women in Clan MacKenzie. Furthermore, this thesis analyses how each chief worked with or against the central authorities and the Crown to advance the MacKenzie position. The chronological end of this thesis is 1716, when Parliament declared Uilleam Dubh’s estates and the title of ‘earl of Seaforth’ forfeit due to his support of the 1715 Jacobite rising.


  • “Clan MacKenzie, the Act of Union, and a Chief Abroad” – North American Conference on British Studies in Providence, Rhode Island (Oct 2018)
  • “The Battle for Ross: the MacKenzie-Glengarry Feud in Clan Genealogical Histories and their Restoration Context” – Rannsachadh na Gàidhlig in Edinburgh, Scotland (Aug 2018)
  • “Inconvenient Truths? Reframing Clan MacKenzie’s Past Royalism after the Restoration” – Communities and Margins of Early Modern Scotland in Glasgow, Scotland (Oct 2017)
  • “Restoration era clan histories and genealogies” – Scottish Medievalists Conference in Croy, Scotland (Jan 2017)
  • “A Welsh Enlightenment? Religion and the Spread of Enlightenment Principles in Wales” - North American Conference on British Studies – Midwest Region in Detroit, Michigan (Sept 2015)