Robert MUNRO, XVIII of Foulis

Robert MUNRO, XVIII of Foulis

Male Abt 1589 - 1633

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  • Name  Robert MUNRO, XVIII of Foulis  [1, 2, 3, 4
    Suffix  XVIII of Foulis 
    Born  Abt 1589  [5
    Gender  Male 
    Died  Mar 1633  Ulm, , Baden-Württemberg, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Buried  Ulm, , Baden-Württemberg, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    Person ID  I21  Munro
    Last Modified  21 Mar 2013 

    Father  Hector MUNRO, XVII of Foulis,   b. Abt 1562,   d. 14 Nov 1603 
    Mother  Anne FRASER,   b. Abt 1564,   d. 16 Mar 1597 
    Married  Abt 15 Jul 1590 
    Family ID  F1579  Group Sheet

    Family 1  Margaret SUTHERLAND,   b. Est 1589,   d. Abt Jan 1616 
    Married  Abt 24 Nov 1610 
    >1. Margaret MUNRO,   b. Abt Jan 1616,   d. Yes, date unknown
    Last Modified  21 Mar 2013 
    Family ID  F2415  Group Sheet

    Family 2  Mary HAYNES,   b. Abt 1591,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married  1618  London, , Greater London, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Florence MUNRO,   b. Est 1620,   d. Yes, date unknown
     2. Elizabeth MUNRO,   b. 1623, , , , England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1618
    Last Modified  19 Apr 2010 
    Family ID  F2416  Group Sheet

    Family 3  Marion MACKINTOSH,   b. Abt 1591,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married  Abt 1624 
    Last Modified  20 Jan 2009 
    Family ID  F4544  Group Sheet

  • Notes 
    • Robert Munro was served heir to his father in all his estates by a special warrant from King James VI dated 8 Jan 1608. Thus he succeeded his father and became the 18th Baron of Foulis. He was known as Rob du' dugh or dow which means black or the Black Baron of Foulis apparently because of his dark complexion. He succeeded as a minor and had as tutor first Andrew Munro of Daan and then John Munro of Obsdale.

      At a meeting of the Privy Council held on 27 Mar 1612, a commission under the Signet was granted to Robert Munro of Foulis and others to apprehend two men charged with stealing "a fair dun ox of six year old" from George Munro of Tarrell, and bringing the alleged thiefs before the Council for trial. He had another commission along with the Earl of Sutherland and others on 15 Mar 1614, to apprehend three men put to the horn on the 2nd of the same month, at the instance of William Sutherland of Duffus, for having murdered a certain Donald Angus Gairson. The three had failed to appear before the Justice on the day appointed to answer the charge against them.

      On 15 Nov 1612, he had a commission, also under the Signet, along with William Sutherland of Duffus and John Munro of Limlair, to try the alleged murderers, Angus and Hucheon Murray, sons of Andrew Murray, some time of Craggy, and one other person in the custody of William Sutherland of Duffus. The three were charged with the murder of Donald Angus Gairson. The prisoners had been wounded when they were captured and could not be taken to Edinburgh for trial.

      Robert married, first, in Apr 1615, Margaret, daughter of William Sutherland, Laird of Duffus, county of Sutherland. Margaret died in childbirth in about 1616 without leaving a male heir.

      George Gray of Swordale and Skibo writing from Skibo on 21 Sep 1616, to Sir Robert Gordon, Tutor of Sutherland, says that Robert of Foulis will soon be married to the daughter of William Murray and should get 14,000 merks with his entertainment, which would bring him out of debt. However, it is thought that the marriage never took place.

      In the list of "Commissioners for the Burghis," in the Parliament held at Edinburgh on 17 Jun 1617, occurs the name of "Robert Munro of Tayne." The Munros seem, from an early period, to have cultivated the closest connection with Tain and Easter Ross rather than with Dingwall, though the latter lay geographically much nearer to their residence. Even down to the end of the 18th century they continued to acquire additional lands on every side all around Tain, until it became almost the centre of their scattered estates. Tain, on the other hand, has been reciprocally and favourably influenced in the course of its history by its connection with the Munros.

      Robert must have been very extravagant in his habits for he greatly encumbered the estate, alienated considerable portions of it, and indeed practically disposed of it all for a time, to the irreparable injury of his successors. He went into debt by prodigal spending on his travels in France and disposed of some lands. Then in 1617, to meet his most pressing obligations, he granted the whole estate of Foulis etc. to Simon Lord Fraser of Lovat, reserving the superiority. Lord Lovat, with Robert's consent, afterwards actually sold the lands of Inverlael to John Mackenzie, Archdean of Ross. But worse still was to follow.

      He and Lord Fraser quarrelled seriously. Lovat appears to have not only taken actual possession of the estates but of the Castle of Foulis itself under the disposition by Robert in his favor. On 1 Jun 1619, they went before the Privy Council. On that date Lord Simon stated before their Lordships that he was the possessor of the lands and the barony of Foulis, "with the castle, tower, and fortalice thereof," and complained that of late Robert Munro, sometime of Foulis, ungrateful for many favours granted him by Lord Simon, had endeavored to molest him in his said possession. On 30 Mar 1619, Lovat's complaint continues, Munro went with a number of armed accomplices, insolent persons, all of his own humour and disposition, to Foulis Castle, entered it by force, broke up all the gates with forehammers and "gavelokis", and other instruments fit for brashing and breaking up houses, and took possession of the castle. He and his friends had it fortified, and intended to keep it as a place of war and a refuge for all broken men and rebels. His Lordship appeared by his advocate, and the Council ordered an officer of arms to pass and demand surrender of the castle to Lord Simon of Lovat within six hours, and if Munro refused, he was to be denounced a rebel. He apparently obeyed the orders of their Lordships, for he did not seem to have again come before them.

      The Frasers of Lovat must have continued in actual possession of the estate and castle for several years, for Hugh Lord Lovat is served heir to his father Simon Lord Fraser in the lands, castle, and fortalice and other lands of Foulis as late as 1635.

      On 28 Apr 1624, Robert and others received a commission under the Signet to apprehend several men who were accused by Hector Munro of Balconie of stealing ten oxen, a cow, forty stones of cheese and twenty stones of butter from Balconie's house at Letter.

      His second wife was Mary Haynes (or Haines), an English woman. They were married in London, England before 1624. They had a daughter, but he allegedly deserted her and married Marion (or Marjorie) Mackintosh by 1625. Marion was evidently the daughter of Lachlan mor Mackintosh of Dunachton and the widow of Donald gorm Macdonald of Sleat who died in 1616.

      The following is a letter from King James I, dated 14 May 1624, instructing the Scottish Privy Council "to attend to the case of Mary Haynes, an English woman married to Robert Munro of Fowlis, but deserted by him for another woman."

      "Right trusty and well-beloved Counsellors, we greet you well: whereas there hath a humble complaint been made to us by one Mary Haynes alias Monro, born in this our kingdom (of England) showing that she was lawfully married to Robert Monro of Fowlis, and that he, having had with her a sum of money in portion, did carry her along with him to Newcastle, where he left her, pretending that she, who was then with child, might be refreshed, and that he might go before to that our kingdom (of Scotland) to provide for her coming; notwithstanding whereof and of the great trouble she has suffered by this neglect of his, he has never since come near her, but, though he entertained her still with hopeful letters protesting the continuance of his love and duty, hath in the meantime married himself to another; which is a course so barbarous and contrary to all conscience and equity that we cannot in justice but see her repaired and him punished: Therefore having taken this her petition which we have sent you herewith enclosed to [? for] your consideration, our pleasure is that you call the said Robert before you, and thereafter, after due trial, with advice of our Right Rev. Father in God, and right trusty and well-beloved Counsellor, the Archbishop of St. Andrews, and such other of the spiritual court whose opinion is found requisite, you give order whereby some course may be taken how she may be satisfied and the kingdom purged of that vile scandal. The doing whereof we remit unto you, wishing you to have a special care of the same and so bid you farewell. From our court at Theobalds', 14th of May, 1624."

      There is another letter from his Majesty on 8 Jun concerning the same subject. Letters were ordained to be directed against Robert of Foulis accordingly.

      Robert must have ignored the authorities on this matter because he was declared a rebel on 20 Jun 1626 for not submitting to justice on this charge of bigamy.

      Much burdened with his increasing difficulties and debts, Robert went abroad along with some of his friends and followers to repair his dilapidated fortune. The state of the Continent of Europe at that time presented many opportunities for military distinction, and the Black Baron, who was still in the prime of his manhood, raised a company of his clan and proceeded to Denmark, sailing there from Cromarty on 10 Oct 1626, as a volunteer in the regiment of Colonel Sir Donald Mackay of Reay, then in the Danish army in the service of King Christian IV of Denmark. They covered themselves with glory in the Thirty Years War. During a battle at Stralsund on the Baltic, his unit lost many men, but the enemy lost three times as many and was defeated.

      Peace having been proclaimed between the Emperor Ferdinand II and Denmark in Aug 1629, the Danish army was disbanded, and the Scottish officers who served in it were honourably dismissed. In the ensuing October the Black Baron of Foulis with six companies of Mackay's regiment, offered their services to Gustavus Adolphus, the "Great King of Sweden, the champion of Protestantism." The offer was willingly accepted, the men being well known for their bravery, and their steady conduct in quarters as well as in the camp and in the field. Colonel Robert Munro in His Expedition says that the "Baron of Fowlis was allowed a free table to entertain an Earl, being ordinarily above sixteen person at the table, his visitors, horses and servants, entertained accordingly." He also states that his "Chief and cousin, the Baron of Fowlis, being in his travels in France a little prodigal in his spending, redacted his estate to a weak point, being advised by his friends timely to look to the wounds of his house and family, and to forsee the best cure to keep burden of his estate, having engaged his revenues fourteen years to pay his creditors, he went beyond sea a volunteer to Germany with Mackay's regiment, well accompanied with a part of his nearest friends, and having the patience to attend his fortune, his first employment was to be a Captain of a Company of Scots soldiers levied by hemself, and thereafter advanced to be a Colonel of horse and foot of strangers, under the invincible King of Sweden of worthy memory."

      After further reference to the same circumstances, he says, "Here we see that the Baron of Fowlis, of worthy memory, thought it no disparagement at first to follow my Lord of Reay and his regiment as a volunteer, till he had seen some service, and attained unto some experience; and beginning with a Company, coming at last with credit to be Colonel over horse and foot, and that to animate others of his name and kindred to follow his example, rather to live honourably abroad and with credit, than to encroach (as many do) on their friends at home, as we say in Scotland, leaping at the half loaf, while as others through virtue live nobly abroad served with silver plate and attendance."

      Having thus entered the service of Gustavus Adolphus, the Black Baron set out with the Swedish army for Rugen where he landed in March, 1630. He entered Stettin in Pomerania in June following, his Company being one of the first three--all commanded by Munros--that arrived. It was about this time that he was promoted to Colonel commanding a regiment of foot. Between July, 1630, and the following February he greatly distinguished himself by his gallantry and successful achievements. In July 1631, he, with his own regiment alone, stormed and took possession of the fortified castle of Bloc in Mecklenburg, while on the march to join the Swedish army at Werben on the conflux of the Havel and the Elbe, which was waiting there for the advance of the Imperial forces under the celebrated Count Von Tilly. About the end of the following August, Colonel Munro, at the head of his regiment, was at Wittenburg along with the King of Sweden, by whom he was appointed to the command of a cavalry regiment in addition to his Colonelcy of infantry. He at the same time received many other tokens of His Majesty's confidence and the Royal appreciation of his personal bravery and military skill. The famous battle of Leipsie fought in September, 1631, where Tilly was defeated by Gustavus, was shared in by the Munros, who by their last charge contributed most materially to the victory of the Swedish army.

      During the wars of the 17th century, especially in Germany under Gustavus Adolphus, there were engaged three Generals, eight Colonels, five Lieutenant-Colonels, eleven Mojors, over thirty Captains and a large number of subalterns bearing the name Munro.

      During the lull in the campaign towards the end of 1631 Colonel Munro, after an absence of five years, visited his native land. He, however, remained but a few months in Britain, and returned to the seat of war in Germany about the date of Tilly's death in April, 1632. He subsequently bore a conspicuous part in the sanguinary battle of Lutzen, on 6 Nov following, where the "Great Gustavus, the Champion and Deliverer of God's Israel," fell in the glorious hour of victory, after completely defeating Wallenstein, the new Imperial leader of the German army.

      The successful military career of the Black Baron of Foulis was, however, fast approaching its end. In one of the many skirmishes which occurred during the Thirty Years' War, he was wounded in the right foot by a musket ball while crossing the Upper Danube with the Swedish troops, under Bernhard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, and was thereafter carried to Ulm, in Wurtenburg, near at hand. There his wound was dressed, but he fell into a low fever because of the inflammation of his foot, and every effort made for his recovery proved unavailing. He died at Ulm in March or April 1633, about forty-four years of age and was buried there. The following account of his death is given by his cousin, Colonel Robert Munro of Obsdale:--

      "My Cousin Fowlis being shot in the foot, retired to Rhue to be cured, who through the smart of his wound fell into a languishing fever; and as the wound was painful to the body, so the sinful body was painful to the soul, the body being endangered except the wound were cured, and the soul was not sound till the body's sin were healed, and both for six weeks did much smart the patient while as his wounds were dressed. but though his bodily wound was incurable, yet his soul was cured by the punishment of his body. For all the time he, like to a good Christian, made himself night and day familiar by prayers unto God, till he found reconciliation through Christ. So that his end was glorious, having long smarted under correction, though his life was painful. O happy wounds that killed the body, being they were the means to save the soul by bringing him to repentence! Let no friend then bedew their eyes for him that lived honourable as a soldier, and died so happy as a good Christian."

      Robert left no male heirs and so was succeeded by his brother, Hector, in 1633.

      In an inventory accompanying the last will and testament, of Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun dated 1 Mar 1656 is an interesting item -- "item be Mistress Mary Haynes, relict of the umquhile Robert Munro of Fowlis, fifty-three pounds six shillings and eight pennies, with the annual rent thereof." This entry shows that Robert took his second wife home with him to Scotland after the Newcastle affair, and that she outlived him.

      During Robert's time, a dispute arose between the Earls of Sutherland and Caithness, caused by the latter attempting to hunt on the lands of the former. The Earl of Sutherland raised his followers to resist his Lordship of Caithness. Robert Munro, being closely connected by marriage with the house of Sutherland, sent a number of his clan under the leadership of Robert Munro of Contullich to the aid of his kinsman. The Mackays and the Macleods of Assynt also went to the assistance of the Earl of Sutherland. The Earl of Caithness, hearing of the army raised to resist him, at once collected his vassals and proceeded to Sutherland as far as Bengrime. The allied forces of his opponents were encamped about three miles beyond. Caithness having been made aware of the large body of men brought against him sent messengers to Sutherland offering to arrange for a peaceful settlement of their differences. His proposals were, however, rejected and the reply forwarded to him was to the effect that if he and his army should remain where they were until next morning they would be assured of battle. The men of Caithness on getting this answer, Sir Robert Gordon says, "left their stuff and carriage and went away by break of day in a fearful confusion, flying and hurling together in such headlong haste, that everyone increased the fear of his fellow-companion, upon the good report that was made by their own men of the Earl of Sutherland's army, which by this time had advance in this order: Mackay with the Strathnaver men were on the right wing; the Munros and Macleods were on the left; Earl John himself with the Sutherland men were in the middle battle; having sent his vanguard a little before him, conducted by Patrick Gordon and Donald Mackay. In this order they marched early in the morning towards the place where the Earl of Caithness was encamped. On arriving there they found that the enemy had precipitately fled during the night. They resolved to follow him; but before doing so they gathered a number of stones, threw them into a cairn, and called it Carn-teichidh, that is, 'the Flight Cairn,' or Heap in mamory of the flight, and which is yet to be seen hard by the hill of Bengrime." Peace was, however, soon after established between the two Earls, and the Munros returned home without engaging in battle, much, it is said, to their disappointment.

      Compiled and edited by Allen Alger, Genealogist, Clan Munro Association, USA [1, 4]

  • Sources 
    1. [S247] History of the Munros of Fowlis, Alexander Mackenzie, M.J.L., (Published in Inverness, Scotland by A & W Mackenzie (1898)), p. 72-83 (Reliability: 3).

    2. [S247] History of the Munros of Fowlis, Alexander Mackenzie, M.J.L., (Published in Inverness, Scotland by A & W Mackenzie (1898)), p. 73 (Reliability: 3).

    3. [S668] RW Munro's Genealogy Database, Robert William Munro, (The collected genealogy notes of RW Munro, Hon. Historian of Clan Munro (Association) edited by Dr. Jean Munro, transcribed by Charles C. Munroe, III and others. Transcription completed Jan 2009. Original card file is kept at the "Storehouse of Foulis" near Foulis Castle in Scotland.), card 376, 398, 405 (Reliability: 3).

    4. [S686] The Munro Tree (1734), R. W. Munro, (Privately published in Edinburgh, Scotland (1978)), p. 19 (T) (Reliability: 3).

    5. [S247] History of the Munros of Fowlis, Alexander Mackenzie, M.J.L., (Published in Inverness, Scotland by A & W Mackenzie (1898)), p. 81, 83 (Reliability: 3).

    6. [S247] History of the Munros of Fowlis, Alexander Mackenzie, M.J.L., (Published in Inverness, Scotland by A & W Mackenzie (1898)), p. 80-81, 83 (Reliability: 3).

    7. [S247] History of the Munros of Fowlis, Alexander Mackenzie, M.J.L., (Published in Inverness, Scotland by A & W Mackenzie (1898)), p. 83 (Reliability: 3).