Mac An T-Srònaich

Worksheets     6History - History

There aren’t many people on the Isle of Lewis who have not heard about Mac an t-Srònaich.  According to legend he roamed the moors of Lewis murdering people during the middle of the 19th century.  Every area of the island has their own stories about the devastation that he caused during his time on the island.  Mac an t-Srònaich was not a native of Lewis and there are several thoughts on his place of birth.  One theory is that he was from ‘Strònach’ in Aberdeenshire.  Another theory is that his father owned a hotel in Garve and that the hotel was called ‘Taigh na Sròine’.  He did, however, have a connection with Lewis as his mother’s sister was married to the minister, Robert Finlayson, who was in Lochs at the time.  It is rumoured that she looked after him and provided him with food and shelter.

There are also many different opinions on how many people he actually killed.  Some think eleven people and other think he killed a dozen people.  Many of these well-known stories are contained in the book ‘Mac an t-Srònaich’ which was written by Colin Norman MacLean and published by Acair in 1989.

According to legend Mac an t-Srònaich was fearful of two things -  dogs and ghosts!

He was finally captured around the year 1836.  When questioned if he regretted anything that he did he commented that he regretted the murder of one small child. 

There are other stories which say that he killed twenty people.  The story tells that the day he was hanged that he had killed nineteen people.  He asked for some whisky and was given this in a large iron mug.  After consuming the whisky the constable said to him ‘why did you stop at nineteen, why did you not continue to twenty?’.  Mac an t-Srònaich turned to the constable and got him right on the side of head with the iron mug and killed him there and then.  He then quipped ‘Well that now takes it up to twenty’.

Since there was no internet, television, radio or newspapers at the time Mac an t-Strònaich was alive it’s difficult to know what exactly happened and what has been embellished in the ceilidh house.  But, there is nothing like a good story and we have plenty of tales about Mac an t-Strònaich.


  1. Tha thu ag obair airson pàipear naidheachd ionadail.  Tha Mac an t-Strònaich air duine a mhurt anns an sgìre agad fhèin.  Sgrìobh aithisg mu na thachair.
  2. Cleachd do mhac-meanmna airson sgeulachd a sgrìobhadh mu dheidhinn a bhith a’ coinneachadh ri Mac an t-Strònaich.  ‘S e an tiotal ‘An là a choinnich mi ri Mac an t-Strònaich’.
Share on social networks:

Collège de Samatan Département du Gers ACPPG Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Sgoil an Taobh Siar Comunn na Gàidhlig Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Cíosóg

Erasmus+ This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.