John MacLeod of MacLeod

(29th Chief of Clan MacLeod)

1935 - 2007

Chief of Clan MacLeod. Born into the Wolrige-Gordon family, on the Esslemont Estate near Ellon (Aberdeenshire), MacLeod's maternal grandmother was Dame Flora MacLeod, the 28th MacLeod Chief. Educated at Eton and following national service, MacLeod became Conservative Member of Parliament for Aberdeenshire East. This was followed by a career in acting and music. His inheritance of the MacLeod title was not something he greatly wanted but when it came, in 1976, he took the duties and responsibilities very seriously. His hard work in supporting clan gatherings and local events brought him much affection and respect.

His inheritance was somewhat of a poison chalice; the ancestral home, Dunvegan Castle on Skye, was in need of considerable repairs, with water pouring through the roof, yet the 8093-ha (20,000-acre) estate brought limited income. MacLeod did his best to turn the castle into a modern tourist attraction to raise much-needed funds and was able to initiate many improvements including restoration of the 18th-century gardens, but controversy struck when he tried to sell the Cuillin Hills to pay for repairs.

He was also responsible for initiating an annual chamber music festival at Dunvegan Castle.

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