April 27th, 1650 was a black day for the great Montrose, James Graham. On that day,
the Royalist Montrose and a host of Orcadians, fighting in support of King Charles I,
lost the Battle of Carbisdale, to a Covenanter force led by the the Marquess of Argyll,
Archibald Campbell. Montrose was supported by the Sinclair clan, and survived the battle,
escaping with the help of one of the Sinclairs. Montrose surrendered shortly afterward to
Neil MacLeod, who sent him to Edinburgh to meet his end.
Another family name from the Battle of Carbisdale is that of Whitefoord. In
“The Whitefoord Papers”, edited by W. Hewins, is found a description of Walter Whiteford.
‘…Colonel Walter Whitefoord, a stout and desperate man, was one of the Scottish followers
of Montrose, many of whom were at the Hague in 1649. When the Commonwealth sent over
Dr. Dorislaus, the regicide, as their special envoy in April of that year, Whitefoord took part in
the scheme to murder him. On the evening of May 2, just as Dorislaus was sitting down to
supper, Whitefoord and five others burst into his room, and while some of them secured his
servants, Whitefoord, ' after slashing him over the head, passed a sword through his body.
He escaped into the Spanish Netherlands. He is next heard of with Montrose in Scotland,
in 1650. With Sir William Hay of Dalgetty, and 100 men, he was left in Dumbeath Castle,
when Montrose marched to Glenmtiick. After the battle of Carbisdale (April 27, 1650),
the garrison of Dumbeath Castle were forced to surrender, and were sent to Edinburgh…’
The Whitefoord family is one whose history Walter Scott drew on more than once in
his work. The following comes from the introduction to “The Whitefoord Papers”.
‘SIR WALTER SCOTT once apologized to the late Mr. Whitefoord for misspelling the family
name in the preface to the Chronicles of the Canongate. ' Dearly as I am myself particular,'
he wrote, ' in the spelling of my name to a " T," I had no right to treat your "O" as a cipher,'
and when he transferred the story of Colonel Charles Whitefoord, in which the mistake
occurred, from the Chronicles to Waverley, he took care to introduce the additional letter.
But the name is, in fact, spelt in at least twelve different ways in authentic documents.
Before the main branch of the family settled down to Whitefoord, the forms Quhitefurd,
Quhitefurde, Quhitefuird, and other variations, frequently occur. The first of the family is
said to have been a certain Walter, who, for his services against the Norwegians at the
Battle of Largs in 1263, received the lands of Whitefoord near Paisley, in the shire of
Renfrew. It is much more likely that Walter derived his name from the lands,
than that they were named after him.’