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Castle Chanonry of Ross, also known as Seaforth Castle, was located in the town of Fortrose, to the north-east of Inverness, Highland, Scotland. Nothing now remains of the castle. The castle was also known as Canonry or Chanonrie of Ross, the former county.
The Castle no longer stands however it is known that it was a rectangular tower house built by the Bishop Fraser between 1497 and 1507.
In 1569 a feud arose between the Clan Mackenzie and Clan Munro, who by this time were among the most powerful clans in Ross-shire. The trouble arose when John Leslie, Bishop of Ross, made over to his cousin Leslie, the Laird of Balquhair, the right and title to the castle at Chanonry together with the castle lands. Bishop Leslie had been secretary to the deposed Mary, Queen of Scots and there was strong feeling against episcopacy in Scotland. He therefore felt it best to get the church property under his bishopric passed into his family's hands to preserve some of the important privileges that came with being a bishop. Not withstanding this grant the Regent Moray, acting in the name of the infant King James VI of Scotland gave the custody of the castle to Andrew Munro of Milntown.
James Stewart, Earl of Moray, who was the illegitimate son of King James V of Scotland and the most powerful man in Scotland, promised Bishop Leslie that in return for ceding the castle and lands he would give him some of the lands of the barony of Fintry in Buchan. This scheme, however, became somewhat interrupted when, in January 1570, the Regent Moray was shot dead, preventing Andrew Munro of Milntown from obtaining the title to the castle and lands of Chanonry, but that did not deter him from occupying them as though he did.
The Mackenzies were not particularly pleased to see their powerful neighbours, the Munros, in possession of this castle and recognizing the inherent weakness in Munro's title, or lack of it, they purchased from Leslie the legal title and rights and proceeded to demand possession of their rightful property from Munro. However Munro would not cede.
Munro decided to stay put and made a new approach to the new regent, the Earl of Lennox who seeing the justice of the situation supported Munro. The situation became even more complex when the unfortunate Earl of Lennox was also shot and killed in September 1571. The next regent, the Earl of Mar, subsequently also gave his approval to Andrew Munro to retain possession of the castle.
The Mackenzies regarded the Munros as wrongful possessors of their property which they had legally purchased from Leslie. They therefore laid siege to the castle. The Munros defended the castle for three years with the loss of many lives on both sides. Finally in 1573 the Munros peacefully passed the castle to the Mackenzies under an Act of Pacification, in the terms of which Munro was awarded compensation for his expenses in occupying the castle.
Sir Robert Gordon (1580 - 1656) writes of the feud in his book "Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland":
The Munros defended and keipt the Castle for the space of thrie yeirs, with great slaughter on either syd, vntill it was delyvered to the Clanchenzie, by the Act of Pacification. And this wes the ground beginning of the feud and hartburning, which to this day, remaynes between the Clanchenzie and Munrois
In Alexander MacKenzie's book The History of the MacKenzies, published in 1890, he claims that an attempted sortie by the Munros for fish at a nearby loch was foiled and as a result the MacKenzies took control of the castle. Although it is recorded by contemporary evidence to have been handed over peacfully under King James VI. This affair was probably part of wider political intrigue and the rival claims of the King's and Queen's parties which ended with the 'pacification' of Perth in 1573.