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Saturday, 23 September, 2000, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
Rob Roy letter sells for 14,000
Rob Roy McGregor letter
The letter is given careful examination
A letter signed by legendary Highland outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor has sold for 14,000 at auction.

The manuscript, in which Rob Roy requests payment of a bond from the Duke of Montrose, is dated 20 October, 1724.

It dates back to a time when the famous rebel was outlawed and living under the protection of a fellow Jacobite.

The bidding exceeded the expectations of 8,000 to 12,000, and the letter was finally sold to an anonymous Scottish industrialist.

Anonymous seller

The buyer had faced competition from the Clan MacGregor Association at the Edinburgh sale.

The letter, addressed to the Duke of Montrose's land agent, details one of the pair's many financial wranglings and is unusual in that it is signed by Rob Roy in his own name, rather than under the name of Campbell.

Rob Roy letter
Signed by MacGregor himself ...
A spokesman for auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull said: "The letter is from his post-outlaw period and shows that he can write very well.

"It is also interesting in that it shows he is chasing the Duke of Montrose for money, when it was usually the other way about.

"It has gone to a Scottish industrialist, who wishes to remain anonymous, and will be kept in Scotland."

The spokesman said he understood that the letter might be given to a museum to be put on display, but said no plans had been confirmed.

Bids were lodged ahead of the auction from as far afield as the United States and Australia after the letter's owner, who remained anonymous, offered it for sale.

1745 Rebellion

It had been a family heirloom thought to have come into the possession of the Jacobite Earl of Seaforth, who fought beside the rebel Rob Roy at the ill-starred battle of Glen Shiel in 1719.

The seller's grandmother could trace her ancestry to the Earls of Seaforth, who were stripped of their title in the aftermath of the failed 1745 rebellion.

Also at the sale a copy of the Act of Union of 1707, which created the British state out of Scotland and England, fetched 3,400 from a private collector.

A letter from Samuel Pepys to William Penn, whose son founded the American city of Pennsylvania, fetched 850.

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