'Concerning Chief' (not) Alexander MacHamish Gunn, great grandson of Coroner Gunn
There's a problem...
Alexander is normally regarded as the great grandson of Coroner Gunn.
There is a big issue with his years. It is accepted that Alexander first married Barbara, a daughter from the second marriage of Iye Du Mackay of Farr, 12th of Strathnaver, chief of Clan Mackay. Barbara had a brother Huistean (Hugh) Du Mackay 13th of Strathnaver who is consistently given as born in 1561. Barbara is normally listed as the fifth child of this second marriage, Huistean is the first mentioned of that marriage. A birth year for Barbara of about 1570 is reasonable given other females are listed before her, it was not a case of placing a sole female last in a list.
So when was Alexander born? His father William MacHamish Cattigh was fighting in 1517 at Torran Dubh. In fact more than fighting, William was joint second in charge of a large number of Sutherlanders (other Gunns are not mentioned, the idea that Torran Dubh is a 'Clan' Gunn event is wrong, but that's another entry).
You would have to be at least thirty years old, or so, to hold such a position. Around thirty is also a reasonable age to have your first son born, supposedly Alexander. So that gives Alexander a provisional birth year of around 1517.
So if Alexander was born 1517 his wife – and she is only his first wife, he has another - was born fifty years or so after him. That’s extremely unlikely. And the age gap is so large it would have been remembered and be in the history texts.
Solution? I'm working on it...
James’ descendants are often called the MacHamish line.
The term MacHamish was an indication of which Gunn family line was meant for legal and other reasons; there were many Gunns with the same name in the highlands of Scotland so the need to clarify which Gunns were under discussion was obviously of real importance. Mark Rugg Gunn says ‘William son of James, succeeded his father and was known as Uilleam mac Sheumais; he was the first MacHamish’. Another version of William’s name is ‘Uilleam - Mac-Sheaumais - Mhic-Chruner’ ; ‘William son of James, grandson of the Coroner’. Note the lack of any mention of Chief of the ‘Clan’ Gunn and, in fact, any mention of the surname Gunn in William’s names.
If the MacHamish line had been Chiefs of the Clan Gunn as Gunn myth would have it, then as Chief of the Clan Gunn is how the individuals would have been known in legal and other documents as Chief of a Clan was far more important than being ‘named’ after the basically anonymous James. In other words, there is no reason for the term MacHamish to exist if the line had been Chief of the ‘Clan’ Gunn, as Chief of the ‘Clan’ Gunn would have made the term MacHamish irrelevant.
The use of MacHamish in Gunn history again shows that the Gunns did not have Clan Chiefs.
 I have seen a document written on Lord Strathnaver’s behalf dated 23 September 1738 which is part of the Sutherland Estate papers held by the National Library of Scotland. The document twice uses the word Mckeamuish, and once Mckaimish, when referring to this Gunn MacHamish line - and it has no mention of a ‘Clan’ Gunn Chief in the document. MacHamish is an anglicisation of these 1738 Mckeamuish / Mckaimish spellings.
 To rely on place to identify a Gunn family line (such as Gunn of Wick) is inadequate as many Gunns could live in one named area – the clear identification is by family line such as MacHamish..
 Page 166 MRG
 Page 179, James Browne, A History of the Highlands and of Highland Clans, A Fullarton and Co, Volume 1, published 1840.
Interested to see in the current Clan Gunn Society UK magazine that they are advertising their hugely expensive 19th International Gathering. It has a trip to Orkney as part of it because the Society has a quasi-religious faith in Gunn Orkney Islands origin. The key person for the myth believers is 'Chief Snaekoll Gunn'.
There is no academic support for the idea of an Orkney islands origin for the Gunns as there is absolutely no evidence for Snaekoll returning from exile in disgrace in Norway.
Professor Barbara Crawford's view is simple -
'Despite his part in the murder of the earl Snaekoll was not condemned to death at the trial in Bergen but "remained long with earl Skuli and King Hacon" and there is no evidence that he ever returned to Orkney or Caithness (she then footnotes and the footnote reads) ‘Despite the claims of Clan Gunn to be descended from him …’.
http://research-repository.st-andrews.ac.uk/handle/10023/2723 accessed 14 March 2016; page 8 of her thesis.
She also says -
'Snaekollr Gunnison … went to Bergen (Norway) in 1232 … (but never seems to have come home again)'
Page 8, B. E. Crawford 'Medieval Strathnaver' in ed. John R. Baldwin The Province of Strathanaver, 2000, The Scottish Society For Northern Studies.
Now Professor Crawford’s academic credentials are beyond dispute - ‘Dr Barbara Crawford M.A., Ph.D., F.R.S.E., F.S.A., F.S.A. Scot., Member of the Norwegian Academy … Honorary Reader in History at the University of St. Andrews … Dr. Crawford is a Member of the Norwegian Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She was a Commissioner of the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland from 1991-2001, chaired The Treasure Trove Advisory Panel for Scotland from 1993-2001, and was President of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland from 2008-2011. She was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to history and archaeology, and has recently been awarded an Honorary Professorship at the University of the Highlands and Islands….’ From https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/history/staff/barbaracrawford.html accessed 14 March 2016.
So if you believe Snaekollr Gunnison managed to make it back to Scotland after his exile in disgrace in Norway (and don’t forget he also joined a rebellion against the Norwegian King – and lost) you have to explain how the key academic in the area does not agree with you.
Believing in Gunn descent from Snaekollr Gunnison is like supporting a flat earth theory or believing that Elvis is alive or that pigs fly… but in this world of alternative facts (lies) some people believe absurd dreams to be true… It is absurd to think 'Clan' Gunn descend from the Orkney Islands.