School of Divinity

Grey Colin

A successful chief and a caring husband and partner, Grey Colin was also known as a keen political operator and supporter of the Protestant Reformation, a ruthless executioner and the centre of a significant communications network.

His early life

The third son of Colin, 3rd laird of Glenorchy, Grey Colin was not expected to succeed to the main Glenorchy inheritance, and as such, was expected to make his own way.

His ascent to power

By the 1540s Grey Colin was playing an active role in the Glenorchy lordship.

Success as Laird of Glenorchy

Grey Colin was a sprightly laird who used his aggressive and single-minded determination to transform a stagnating lordship into a power centre dominating the entire Breadalbane region.

The darker and lighter sides of Grey Colin

A calculating and ruthless noble fighting to expand his house, at other times Grey Colin could be a concerned family man and the 'good lord' who inspired respect and loyalty in his followers.

'Two gossips': Grey Colin and John Campbell

In the series of letters between them, both men signed themselves 'zour gossap.' In 16th-century Scotland this term, originally from 'god-sib' or godparent, was used between male friends as a sign of affection and easy familiarity.

Grey Colin's networks

Grey Colin’s extensive range of contacts, as revealed in the Breadalbane Letters, was crucial to his ability to maintain and expand power.

The successor: Black Duncan

Grey Colin was succeeded by his eldest son, Black Duncan, who inherited both his father's ambitions and his drive, proving to be more ruthless in his methods and surpassing Grey Colin's record for expansion in all categories (BBT 23-72).