The founder of the House of Barcaldine was Patrick Campbell "para beg" (1592-1678), in the gaelic meaning "little black Patrick". He was a son of Sir Duncan Campbell 7th Knight of Glenorchy (Black Duncan). He did not take possession of the lands of Barcaldine at first, but was instead given land at Innerzeldies near Comrie in Perthshire by his father on the occasion of his marriage to Annabel, the daughter of Campbell of Dunstaffnage in 1620. During his life Para beg was always styled as "of Innerzeldies", never, in any legal document at least, "of Barcaldine". However, sometime between 1631 and 1640, after the death of Black Duncan in 1631 he apparently changed this land for the lands of Barcaldine with his elder brother, the new clan chief, Sir Colin Campbell of Glenorchy. Para Begs's half brother John was actually the first Bailie of Barcaldine. In 1596 he was granted lands of Auchinryre by Black Duncan, and was susequently always styled as John of Auchinryre. John of Auchinryre left no descendants which is probably the reason for the previously mentioned exchange of lands between Para Beg and Sir Colin Campbell of Glenorchy.
Para Beg's successors over the next century maintained close ties of trust with their Glenorchy (later Earls of Breadalbane) chiefs of the day and were responsible for administering the Breadalbane lands in the West of the country. In 1644 Para Beg was given £666 13s 14d by Sir Robert Campbell of Glenorchy to fund a unit of Barcaldine men to join Argyll's troop of horse on its expedition into England to fight against the Royalists at the start of the English civil war. Para Begs eldest son John, 2nd of Barcaldine, was part of this force.
John's son Alexander, 3rd of Barcaldine, took a leading part in Sir John Campbell of Glenorchy's expedition into Caithness in 1680. Glenorchy had virtually acquired all the estates, the Town of Wick, and even his title of Earl from the sixth Earl of Caithness as a result of Caithness' failure to repay a mortgage on his property guaranteed by large loans from Glenorchy. The Scottish Privy Council had approved Glenorchy's claim and to make the point he marched on Wick with several hundred men including fifty from the Benderloch area. Sinclair of Keiss was waiting for the Campbells with about four hundred men but, the worse for wear with drink, the Sinclairs recklessly dashed to the attack and were easily defeated by the disciplined Argyll men. However, after the slaughter of so many of their kinfolk the Caithness people made it impossible for the Campbells to rule from such a distance. Glenorchy gave up the title of Earl of Caithness in 1681 and as compensation was made Earl of Breadalbane. Alexander Barcaldine was given the lands of Auchinryre by Glenorchy in return for his loyalty.