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Invergarry, Well Of The Seven Heads Monument

Commemorative Monument (Period Unassigned), Well (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Invergarry, Well Of The Seven Heads Monument

Classification Commemorative Monument (Period Unassigned), Well (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Tobar Nan Ceann; Loch Oich; Great Glen; Glen Albyn; Glen Mor

Canmore ID 23911

Site Number NN39NW 3

NGR NN 30473 99140

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Kilmonivaig
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Lochaber
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Recording Your Heritage Online

Well of Seven Heads Monument (Tobar nan Ceann), erected 1812 by Col. Alasdair Ranaldson Macdonell, 15th Chief of Glengarry, in commemoration of the 'foul' Keppoch murders of 1663. Re-sited in the 1930s after road widening along Loch Oichside, the short, ashlar-plinthed obelisk bears inscriptions in many languages, confusingly inaccurate in their content. Its finial is a hand holding a dagger over seven carved heads, '... so grouped ... that they look as if they grew from the single neck of a Hindoo God' (Robert Southey, 1819).

[The Keppoch Murders are one of the best known incidents in a string of bloodthirsty inter-clan hostilities. The assumed perpetrator of the murder of the young chief Alasdair Macdonell and his brother at Keppoch in 1663 was their uncle, tacksman of Inverlair. Reprisals taken with the be-heading of him and his six sons at Inverlair on the orders of Macdonald of Sleat. The Monument marks the site of a spring or well at which the heads were washed before being presented to the Chief, Macdonell of Glengarry, at Invergarry Castle.]

Taken from "Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Mary Miers, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press

Archaeology Notes

NN39NW 3 30473 99140.

(NN 3046 9914) Tobar nan Ceann (NR) (and Monument)

OS 6"map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1904)

The inscription on the monument reads: As a memorial of the ample and summary vengeance which in the swift course of feudal justice, inflicted by the orders of the Lord McDonnell and Aross, overtook the perpetrators of the foul murder of the Keppoch family, a branch of the powerful and illustrious clan, of which His Lordship was the chief. This monument is erected by Colonel McDonnell of Glengarry XVII. MacMhicAlaister his successor and representative in the year of our Lord 1812. The heads of the seven murderers were presented at the feet of the noble chief in Glengarry Castle, after having been washed in this spring: and ever since that event, which took place early in the sixteenth century, it has been known by the name of "Tobar-nan-Ceann", or the Well of the Seven Heads.

Information from Postcard pasted to OS Record Card for site.


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