The Munros in History - 2

King James VI and his advisers were determined to bring peace and order to the troubled Borders and the Highlands, and here they looked to the clan chiefs as their principal instruments.

The Laird of Foulis figure in a roll of Highland landlords attached to an Act of Parliament in 1587 and three years later Hector was one of those who had to find caution for the good behaviour of their tenants and adherents (even those living on other men's lands).

When more peaceful times came, military service abroad had its attractions, and many Munros fought under Gustavus Adolphus in Germany as commissioned and non-commissioned officers and in the ranks. Many of them fell, including two successive chiefs, Robert and Sir Hector (the latter shortly after being made a baronet of Nova Scotia). Some returned home to serve in the Covenanting armies or to join the royalist cause, and General Robert Monro commanded a Scottish army sent to Ireland in 1642.

A long minority in the chiefship (1635-51) coincided with civil war and divided loyalties: under Cromwell's Commonwealth and Protectorate, Sir Robert Munro was Sheriff of Ross and his lands raided and his tenants abused, but his brother George was 'of different principles' and rose to command the King's forces in Scotland (1674-77).

The revolution which brought William and Mary to the throne vacated by James VII was supported by Sir John Munro of Foulis, a devout Presbyterian; but Dr Alexander Monro of the Fyrish branch, an Episcopalian who refused to change his allegiance, lost all his offices as principal of Edinburgh University, minister of the High Kirk (St Giles'), and bishop-elect of Argyll. His sympathies were not shared by the rest of the clan, and in 1689, and later in 1715, 1719 and 1745-46, the Munros were among the group of clans and families in the north of Scotland who supported the ruling government against the Jacobites.

After Culloden, the clans were no longer an effective force in the national life, but many individual Munros have achieved distinction both at home and abroad.