Biography of Rob Roy McGregor

Portrait of Rob Roy McGregor

Roy Roy McGregor was an eighteenth century Scottish folk hero and outlaw for the Jacobite cause.

When and Where was he Born?

7th March 1671, Glengyle at the Head of Loch Katrine, Buchanan, Stirlingshire, Scotland.

Family Background:

Rob Roy McGregor was the third son of Chieftain Donald Glas MacGregor and Margaret Campbell.  Rob Roy became their war leader, which entitled him to wear the three eagle’s feathers of a chief in his hat.


Rob spoke Gaelic but was also taught English. He was educated in the clan system, which meant he not only learnt swordsmanship but also cattle droving and welfare. The name Rob Roy was derived from the Gaelic Raibert Ruadh (Red Robert) because he had red hair.

Timeline of Rob Roy MacGregor:

1679: The MacGregors fight for the King at the Battle of Bothwell Brig.

1690: Rob Roy and his brother Iain take charge of the soldiers of the Lennox Watch.

1691: Death of Rob Roy’s mother Margaret Campbell. Rob Roy leads a raid on Kippen a village nine miles to the west of Stirling.

1692: The massacre at Glencoe of members of the MacDonald Clan takes place.

1693: There is a re-introduction of a proscription against the MacGregors. In January he marries Mary Helen MacGregor of Comar, Strathyre at Glenarklet.

1695: Birth of his first son James. In Glasgow in December Rob is arrested for an earlier crime  and is sentenced to be deported to Flanders however he escapes and returns home.

1702: Death of Rob’s father. Rob continues to work as a cattle drover and animal trader.

1707: The Union of the Scottish and English Parliaments takes place.

1708: Rob Roy buys more porperty at Rowardennan.

1712: Duncan Mac Donald, one of Rob’s drovers, fleas with money and letters of credit from Montrose. Montrose calls Rob a thief and a bankrupt and he is summoned to appear before the courts in Edinburgh. When he doesn’t appear he is declared an outlaw.

1713: Rob’s family are evicted from Craigrostan by Montrose’s men. Rob then leases land at Auchinchisallen.

1714: Death of Queen Anne and the subsequent succession of the Hanoverian Kings starting with George the First.

1715: The standard is raised at Braemar for James the Third by the Earl of Mar and Rob Roy joins the Jacobite side. Rob takes Falkland Place and leads raids on Fife however James fleas to France and the Jacobite forces are disbanded. Rob Roy is accused of treason. He hands over all his weapons to the Duke of Argyll and settles at Glen Shira.

1717: Rob Roy leads raids on Montrose’s land and Rob is captured at Balquhidder. He escapes on the way to Stirling but is recaptured at Dunkeld. He then escapes once more at Logeirait.

1718: His property at Inversnaid is seized by the Commissioners for Confiscated Estates and turned into a military barracks.

Eilean Donan
Eilean Donan Castle near the Kyle of Lochalsh on Loch Duich, Scottish Highlands  (copyright Anthony Blagg)

1719: Rob Roy uses Eileen Donan Castle as his base. He is badly wounded at the Battle of Glen Shiel and the Jacobites are defeated. He returns to Glen Shira.

1720: He moves to Inverlochlarig at Balquhiidder and continues to command The Lennox Watch.

1722: Rob Roy’s feud against the Duke of Montrose finally finishes when he is forced to surrender. 

1725: He finally sends a letter of submission to King George the First.

1727: He is imprisoned.

1730: Ron Roy converts to Catholiscism.

When and Where did he Die?

28th December 1734 of natural causes in his house at Inverlochlarig Beg, Balquhidder, Perthshire, Scotland.

Age at Death:



January 1693 to Mary Helen MacGregor of Comar, Strathyre at Glenarklet.
He had four sons: James, Ranald, Coll and Robert (Robin Oig).

Site of Grave:

Balquhidder Churchyard.

Places of Interest:


Inveraray Castle holds some artefacts relating to McGregor.


Imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle.


Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, by Kyle of Lochalsh


Rob Roy and the Trossachs, Visitor Centre, Ancaster Square, Callander.
Drummond Castle.