Scottish clan
Overview
 
Scottish clans give a sense of identity and shared descent to people in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 and to their relations throughout the world, with a formal structure of Clan Chiefs
Scottish clan chief
The Scottish Gaelic word clann means children. In early times, and possibly even today, clan members believed themselves to descend from a common ancestor, the founder of the Scottish clan. From its perceived founder a clan takes its name. The clan chief is the representative of this founder, and...

 recognised by the court of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms which acts as an authority concerning matters of heraldry
Heraldry
Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander"...

 and Coat of Arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

. Most clan
Clan
A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolical, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a...

s have their own tartan
Tartan
Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns...

 patterns, usually dating from the 19th century, and members of the clan may wear kilt
Kilt
The kilt is a knee-length garment with pleats at the rear, originating in the traditional dress of men and boys in the Scottish Highlands of the 16th century. Since the 19th century it has become associated with the wider culture of Scotland in general, or with Celtic heritage even more broadly...

s, plaids, sashes, ties, scarves, or other items of clothing made of the appropriate tartan as a badge of membership and as a uniform where appropriate.

The modern image of clans, each with their "own" tartan and specific land, was promulgated by the Scottish author Sir Walter Scott and others.
Encyclopedia
Scottish clans give a sense of identity and shared descent to people in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 and to their relations throughout the world, with a formal structure of Clan Chiefs
Scottish clan chief
The Scottish Gaelic word clann means children. In early times, and possibly even today, clan members believed themselves to descend from a common ancestor, the founder of the Scottish clan. From its perceived founder a clan takes its name. The clan chief is the representative of this founder, and...

 recognised by the court of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms which acts as an authority concerning matters of heraldry
Heraldry
Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander"...

 and Coat of Arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

. Most clan
Clan
A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolical, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a...

s have their own tartan
Tartan
Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns...

 patterns, usually dating from the 19th century, and members of the clan may wear kilt
Kilt
The kilt is a knee-length garment with pleats at the rear, originating in the traditional dress of men and boys in the Scottish Highlands of the 16th century. Since the 19th century it has become associated with the wider culture of Scotland in general, or with Celtic heritage even more broadly...

s, plaids, sashes, ties, scarves, or other items of clothing made of the appropriate tartan as a badge of membership and as a uniform where appropriate.

The modern image of clans, each with their "own" tartan and specific land, was promulgated by the Scottish author Sir Walter Scott and others. Historically, tartan designs were associated with Lowland and Highland districts whose weavers tended to produce cloth patterns favoured in those districts. By process of social evolution, it followed that the clans/families prominent in a particular district would wear the tartan of that district, and it was but a short step for that community to become identified by it.

Clan membership

The word clan in Scottish Gaelic can mean 'offspring, children, or descendants' Each clan was a large group of people, theoretically an extended family, supposedly descended from one progenitor and all owing allegiance to the clan chief. It also included a large group of loosely-related septs
Sept (social)
A sept is an English word for a division of a family, especially a division of a clan. The word might have its origin from Latin saeptum "enclosure, fold", or it can be an alteration of sect.The term is found in both Ireland and Scotland...

– dependent families - all of whom looked to the clan chief
Scottish clan chief
The Scottish Gaelic word clann means children. In early times, and possibly even today, clan members believed themselves to descend from a common ancestor, the founder of the Scottish clan. From its perceived founder a clan takes its name. The clan chief is the representative of this founder, and...

 as their head and their protector.

According to the former Lord Lyon, Sir Thomas Innes of Learney
Thomas Innes of Learney
Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, GCVO, WS was Lord Lyon from 1945 to 1969, after having been Carrick Pursuivant and Albany Herald in the 1930s. He was a very active Lord Lyon, strongly promoting his views of what his office was through his writings and pronouncements in his Court. In 1950, he...

, a clan is a community which is distinguished by heraldry
Heraldry
Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander"...

 and recognised by the Sovereign
Sovereign
A sovereign is the supreme lawmaking authority within its jurisdiction.Sovereign may also refer to:*Monarch, the sovereign of a monarchy*Sovereign Bank, banking institution in the United States*Sovereign...

. Learney considered clans to be a "noble incorporation" because the arms borne by a clan chief
Scottish clan chief
The Scottish Gaelic word clann means children. In early times, and possibly even today, clan members believed themselves to descend from a common ancestor, the founder of the Scottish clan. From its perceived founder a clan takes its name. The clan chief is the representative of this founder, and...

 are granted or otherwise recognised by the Lord Lyon as an officer of the Crown, thus conferring royal recognition of the entire clan. Clans with recognised chiefs are therefore considered a noble community under Scots law
Scots law
Scots law is the legal system of Scotland. It is considered a hybrid or mixed legal system as it traces its roots to a number of different historical sources. With English law and Northern Irish law it forms the legal system of the United Kingdom; it shares with the two other systems some...

. A group without a chief recognised by the Sovereign, through the Lord Lyon, has no official standing under Scottish law. Claimants to the title of chief are expected to be recognised by the Lord Lyon as the rightful heir to the undifferenced arms
Undifferenced arms
Undifferenced arms are coats of arms which have no marks distinguishing the bearer by birth order or family position. In the Scottish and English heraldic traditions, these plain coats of arms are legal property transmitted from father to eldest male heir, and are used only by one person at any...

 of the ancestor of the clan of which the claimant seeks to be recognized as chief. A chief of a clan is the only person who is entitled to bear the undifferenced arms of the ancestral founder of the clan. The clan is considered to be the chief's heritable estate and the chief's Seal of Arms is the seal of the clan as a "noble corporation." Under Scots law the chief is recognised as the head of the clan and serves as the lawful representative of the clan community.

Historically, a clan was made up of everyone who lived on the chief's territory, or on territory of those who owed allegiance to the said chief. Through time, with the constant changes of "clan boundaries", migration or regime changes, clans would be made up of large numbers of members who were unrelated and who bore different surname
Surname
A surname is a name added to a given name and is part of a personal name. In many cases, a surname is a family name. Many dictionaries define "surname" as a synonym of "family name"...

s. Often those living on a chief's lands would over time adopt the clan surname. A chief could add to his clan by adopting other families, and also had the legal right to outlaw anyone from his clan, including members of his own family. Today, anyone who has the chief's surname
Surname
A surname is a name added to a given name and is part of a personal name. In many cases, a surname is a family name. Many dictionaries define "surname" as a synonym of "family name"...

 is automatically considered to be a member of the chief's clan. Also, anyone who offers allegiance to a chief becomes a member of the chief's clan, unless the chief decides not to accept that person's allegiance. The only rule is that it is up to the chief whom he may decide to accept as a member of his clan.

Clan membership goes through the surname. It does not pass through a married woman who has taken her husband's -440582.html | location=London | work=The Independent | title=John MacLeod Of MacLeod | date=17 March 2007}} Today clans may have lists of septs
Sept (social)
A sept is an English word for a division of a family, especially a division of a clan. The word might have its origin from Latin saeptum "enclosure, fold", or it can be an alteration of sect.The term is found in both Ireland and Scotland...

. Septs are surnames, families or clans which historically, currently or for whatever reason the chief chooses, are associated with that clan. There is no official list of clan septs, and the decision of what septs a clan has is left up to the clan itself. Confusingly sept names can be shared by more than one clan, and it may be up to the individual to use his or her family history or genealogy to find the correct clan they are associated with.

Several clan societies have been granted coats of arms. In such cases, these arms are differenced
Cadency
In heraldry, cadency is any systematic way of distinguishing similar coats of arms belonging to members of the same family. Cadency is necessary in heraldic systems in which a given design may be owned by only one person at once...

 from the chief's, much like a clan armiger
Armiger
In heraldry, an armiger is a person entitled to use a coat of arms. Such a person is said to be armigerous.-Etymology:The Latin word armiger literally means "armour-bearer". In high and late medieval England, the word referred to an esquire attendant upon a knight, but bearing his own unique...

. The former Lord Lyon King of Arms
Lord Lyon King of Arms
The Lord Lyon King of Arms, the head of Lyon Court, is the most junior of the Great Officers of State in Scotland and is the Scottish official with responsibility for regulating heraldry in that country, issuing new grants of arms, and serving as the judge of the Court of the Lord Lyon, the oldest...

, Thomas Innes of Learney
Thomas Innes of Learney
Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, GCVO, WS was Lord Lyon from 1945 to 1969, after having been Carrick Pursuivant and Albany Herald in the 1930s. He was a very active Lord Lyon, strongly promoting his views of what his office was through his writings and pronouncements in his Court. In 1950, he...

 stated that such societies, according to the Law of Arms
Law of Arms
The law of heraldic arms governs the "bearing of arms", that is, the possession, use or display of arms, also called coats of arms, coat armour or armorial bearings. Although it is believed that the original function of coats of arms was to enable knights to identify each other on the battlefield,...

, are considered an "indeterminate cadet".

Inheritance and authority

The Highland
Scottish Highlands
The Highlands is an historic region of Scotland. The area is sometimes referred to as the "Scottish Highlands". It was culturally distinguishable from the Lowlands from the later Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland Scots replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands...

 clan system incorporated the Celt
Celt
The Celts were a diverse group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Roman-era Europe who spoke Celtic languages.The earliest archaeological culture commonly accepted as Celtic, or rather Proto-Celtic, was the central European Hallstatt culture , named for the rich grave finds in Hallstatt, Austria....

ic/Norse
Norsemen
Norsemen is used to refer to the group of people as a whole who spoke what is now called the Old Norse language belonging to the North Germanic branch of Indo-European languages, especially Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, Swedish and Danish in their earlier forms.The meaning of Norseman was "people...

 traditions of heritage as well as Norman
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 Feudal society. Chieftains and petty kings under the suzerainty
Suzerainty
Suzerainty occurs where a region or people is a tributary to a more powerful entity which controls its foreign affairs while allowing the tributary vassal state some limited domestic autonomy. The dominant entity in the suzerainty relationship, or the more powerful entity itself, is called a...

 of a High King
High king
A high king is a king who holds a position of seniority over a group of other kings, without the title of Emperor; compare King of Kings.Rulers who have been termed "high king" include:...

 (ard rí) ruled Gaelic
Gaels
The Gaels or Goidels are speakers of one of the Goidelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to western and northern Scotland and the Isle of Man....

 Alba
Alba
Alba is the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland. It is cognate to Alba in Irish and Nalbin in Manx, the two other Goidelic Insular Celtic languages, as well as similar words in the Brythonic Insular Celtic languages of Cornish and Welsh also meaning Scotland.- Etymology :The term first appears in...

, with all such offices being filled through election by an assembly. Usually the candidate was nominated by the current office holder on the approach of death, and his heir-elect was known as the tanist, from the Gaelic tànaiste, or second, with the system being known as tanistry
Tanistry
Tanistry was a Gaelic system for passing on titles and lands. In this system the Tanist was the office of heir-apparent, or second-in-command, among the Gaelic patrilineal dynasties of Ireland, Scotland and Man, to succeed to the chieftainship or to the kingship.-Origins:The Tanist was chosen from...

. This system combined a hereditary element with the consent of those ruled, and while the succession in clans later followed the feudal
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 rule of primogeniture
Primogeniture
Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn to inherit the entire estate, to the exclusion of younger siblings . Historically, the term implied male primogeniture, to the exclusion of females...

, the concept of authority coming from the clan continued.

Thus the collective heritage of the clan, the dùthchas, gave the right to settle the land to which the chiefs and leading gentry provided protection and authority as trustees for the people. This was combined with the complementary concept of òighreachd where the chieftain's authority came from charters granted by the feudal Scottish crown, where individual heritage was warranted. While dùthchas held precedence in the medieval period, the balance shifted as the mainly lowland Scots law
Scots law
Scots law is the legal system of Scotland. It is considered a hybrid or mixed legal system as it traces its roots to a number of different historical sources. With English law and Northern Irish law it forms the legal system of the United Kingdom; it shares with the two other systems some...

 became increasingly important in shaping the structure of clanship.

Legal process

To settle criminal and civil disputes within clans both sides put their case to an arbitration
Arbitration
Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution , is a legal technique for the resolution of disputes outside the courts, where the parties to a dispute refer it to one or more persons , by whose decision they agree to be bound...

 panel drawn from the leading gentry of the clan and presided over by the chief. Similarly, in disputes between clans the chiefs served as procurators (legal agents) for the disputants in their clan and put the case to an arbitration panel of equal numbers of gentry from each clan presided over by a neighbouring chief or landlord. There was no appeal from the decision which awarded reparations, called assythment, to the wronged party and which was recorded in a convenient Royal or Burgh court. This compensation took account of the age, responsibilities and status of the victim as well as the nature of the crime and, once paid, precluded any further action for redress against the perpetrator. To speed this process clans made standing provisions for arbitration and regularly contracted bonds of friendship between the clans which had the force of law and were recorded in a convenient court.

Social ties

Fosterage
Fosterage
Fosterage, the practice of a family bringing up a child not their own, differs from adoption in that the child's parents, not the foster-parents, remain the acknowledged parents. In many modern western societies foster care can be organised by the state to care for children with troubled family...

 and manrent
Manrent
Manrent refers to a Scottish mid 15th century to the early 17th century type of contract, usually military in nature and involving Scottish clans...

 were the most important forms of social bonding in the clans. In fosterage, the chief's children were brought up by favoured members of the leading clan gentry (traditionally the mother's brother or similar, i.e. in another clan), whose children in turn were brought up by other favoured members of the clan (again the mother's brother or the like - i.e. in another clan). This brought about intense ties and reinforced inter-clan cohesion. Manrent
Manrent
Manrent refers to a Scottish mid 15th century to the early 17th century type of contract, usually military in nature and involving Scottish clans...

 was a bond contracted by the heads of families looking to the chief for territorial protection, though not living on the estates of the clan elite. These bonds were reinforced by calps, death duties paid to the chief as a mark of personal allegiance by the family when their head died, usually in the form of their best cow or horse. Although calps were banned by Parliament
Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

 in 1617, manrent continued covertly to pay for protection.

Less durably, marriage alliances reinforced kinship between clans. These were contracts involving the exchange of livestock, money and rent, tocher for the bride and dowry for the groom.

Clan management

Payments of rents and calps from those living on clan estates and calps alone from families living elsewhere were channelled through tacksmen
Tacksman
A tacksman was a land-holder of intermediate legal and social status in Scottish Highland society.-Tenant and landlord:...

. These lesser gentry acted as estate managers, allocating the run-rig strips of land, lending seed-corn and tools and arranging droving of cattle to the Lowlands
Scottish Lowlands
The Scottish Lowlands is a name given to the Southern half of Scotland.The area is called a' Ghalldachd in Scottish Gaelic, and the Lawlands ....

 for sale, taking a minor share of the payments made to the clan nobility, the fine. They had the important military role of mobilising the Clan Host, both when required for warfare and more commonly as a large turn out of followers for weddings and funerals, and traditionally in August for hunts which included sports for the followers, the predecessors of the modern Highland games
Highland games
Highland games are events held throughout the &Highland games are events held throughout the &Highland games are events held throughout the &(-è_çà in Scotland and other countries as a way of celebrating Scottish and Celtic culture and heritage, especially that of the Scottish Highlands. Certain...

.

From the late 16th century the Scottish Privy Council, recognising the need for co-operation, required clan leaders to provide bonds of surety for the conduct of anyone on their territory and to attend regularly in Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, encouraging a tendency to become absentee landlords. With an increase in droving, tacksmen acquired the wealth to finance the gentry's debts secured against their estates, hence acquiring the land. By the 1680s this led to the land in ownership largely coinciding with the collective 'dutchas' for the first time. The tacksmen became responsible for the bonds of surety leading to a decline in banditry and feuding.

Disputes and disorder

Where the oighreachd, land owned by the clan elite or fine, did not match the common heritage of the duthchas this led to territorial disputes and warfare. The fine resented their clansmen paying rent to other landlords, while acquisitive clans used disputes to expand their territories. Ferocious feuds such as that between the Clan Gordon
Clan Gordon
Clan Gordon, also known as the House of Gordon, is a Scottish clan. The chief of the clan was the powerful Earl of Huntly, now also Marquess of Huntly.-Origins:...

 and the Clan Forbes
Clan Forbes
Clan Forbes is a Lowland Scottish clan from Aberdeenshire, Scotland.-Origins:Concerning the origin of this Scottish clan, John of Forbes, the first upon record, seems to have been a man of importance in the time of William the Lion, and was the father of Fergus, from whom the clan are descended....

 lasted for centuries, causing heavy casualties on both sides. On the western seaboard, clans became involved with the wars of the Irish Gaels against the Tudor English, and a military caste called the buannachan developed, seasonally fighting in Ireland as mercenaries and living off their clans as minor gentry, but this was brought to an end with the Irish Plantations
Plantations of Ireland
Plantations in 16th and 17th century Ireland were the confiscation of land by the English crown and the colonisation of this land with settlers from England and the Scottish Lowlands....

 of James VI of Scotland and I of England
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

. During that century law increasingly settled disputes, and the last feud leading to a battle was at Mulroy
Battle of Mulroy
The Battle of Maol Ruadh was fought in August 1688 in the Lochaber district of Scotland between the Chattan Confederation led by the Clan Mackintosh against the Clan MacDonald of Keppoch and the Clan Cameron...

 in Lochaber
Lochaber
District of Lochaber 1975 to 1996Highland council area shown as one of the council areas of ScotlandLochaber is one of the 16 ward management areas of the Highland Council of Scotland and one of eight former local government districts of the two-tier Highland region...

 on August 4, 1688.

Reiving had been a rite of passage, the creach where young men took livestock from neighbouring clans. By the 17th century this had declined and most reiving was the spreidh where up to 10 men raided the adjoining Lowlands
Scottish Lowlands
The Scottish Lowlands is a name given to the Southern half of Scotland.The area is called a' Ghalldachd in Scottish Gaelic, and the Lawlands ....

, the livestock taken usually being recoverable on payment of tascal (information money) and guarantee of no prosecution. Some clans offered the Lowlanders protection against such raids, on terms not dissimilar to blackmail
Blackmail
In common usage, blackmail is a crime involving threats to reveal substantially true or false information about a person to the public, a family member, or associates unless a demand is met. It may be defined as coercion involving threats of physical harm, threat of criminal prosecution, or threats...

.

Although by the late 17th century disorder declined, reiving persisted with the growth of cateran bands of up to 50 bandits
Outlaw
In historical legal systems, an outlaw is declared as outside the protection of the law. In pre-modern societies, this takes the burden of active prosecution of a criminal from the authorities. Instead, the criminal is withdrawn all legal protection, so that anyone is legally empowered to persecute...

, usually led by a renegade of the gentry, who had thrown off the constraints of the clan system. As well as preying off the clans, caterans acted as mercenaries for Lowland lairds pursuing disputes amongst themselves.

Lowland clans

It is quite acceptable to refer to the great Lowland families as clans also, since the Scots themselves appear to have used both terms interchangeably. Until the early 19th century, most of the Lowland and Border clans did not identify themselves by specific family tartans other than that of their local district, nor did they wear the kilt or play the Great Highland Pipes (although they would be familiar with the widely used Lowland or Border or Northumbrian Pipes), but afterwards they adopted these characteristics of Highland culture as a form of clan identification, which they continue to use to the present day.

The Lowlands
Scottish Lowlands
The Scottish Lowlands is a name given to the Southern half of Scotland.The area is called a' Ghalldachd in Scottish Gaelic, and the Lawlands ....

 had been Brython
Brython
The Britons were the Celtic people culturally dominating Great Britain from the Iron Age through the Early Middle Ages. They spoke the Insular Celtic language known as British or Brythonic...

ic Celtic, with the southeast becoming Anglian
Angles
The Angles is a modern English term for a Germanic people who took their name from the ancestral cultural region of Angeln, a district located in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany...

, and Galloway
Galloway
Galloway is an area in southwestern Scotland. It usually refers to the former counties of Wigtownshire and Kirkcudbrightshire...

 and the western seaboard becoming Norse-Gaelic
Norse-Gaels
The Norse–Gaels were a people who dominated much of the Irish Sea region, including the Isle of Man, and western Scotland for a part of the Middle Ages; they were of Gaelic and Scandinavian origin and as a whole exhibited a great deal of Gaelic and Norse cultural syncretism...

. Then by 1034, the Kingdom of Alba
Kingdom of Alba
The name Kingdom of Alba pertains to the Kingdom of Scotland between the deaths of Donald II in 900, and of Alexander III in 1286 which then led indirectly to the Scottish Wars of Independence...

 had expanded to bring all but the last area under Gaelic Celtic rule. From the accession of King David I
David I of Scotland
David I or Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim was a 12th-century ruler who was Prince of the Cumbrians and later King of the Scots...

 (1124), the traditional social patterns of much of eastern Scotland began to be altered, particularly with the growth of burghs and the settlement of Norman feudal families on royal demesne lands. This process was, of course, very slow, but its cumulative effect over centuries was to undermine the integrity of Gaelic in the areas affected, areas which later became known collectively as the Lowlands, though to a large extent Galloway and Carrick, where Galwegian Gaelic
Galwegian Gaelic
Galwegian Gaelic is an extinct dialect of Scottish Gaelic formerly spoken in southwest Scotland. It was spoken by the independent kings of Galloway in their time, and by the people of Galloway and Carrick until the early modern period. It was once spoken in Annandale and Strathnith...

 survived into the 17th century, were not affected as much as elsewhere until very late.

Aristocratic Gaelic clans did, however, survive, especially in Galloway (e.g. MacDowall
Clan MacDowall
Clan Macdowall is a Scottish clan. The clan claims to descend from the senior descendants in the male line of the princely house of Fergus, first of the ancient Lords of Galloway...

, MacLellan, MacCann), Carrick (e.g. Kennedy
Clan Kennedy
Clan Kennedy is a Scottish clan and an Irish surname.-Origins:The Kennedys had their home territory in Carrick in Ayrshire, in southwestern Scotland. Originally they were of Pictish/Norse stock from the Western Isles. In the fifteenth century, one Ulric Kennedy fled Ayrshire to Lochaber in the...

) and Fife (e.g. MacDuff
Clan MacDuff
Clan MacDuff is a Scottish armigerous clan, which is registered with Lyon Court, though currently without a chief. Moncreiffe wrote that the Clan MacDuff was the premier clan among the Scottish Gaels. The early chiefs of Clan MacDuff were the Earls of Fife...

). The term clan was still being used of Lowland families at the end of the 16th century and, while aristocrats may have been increasingly likely to use the word family, the terms remained interchangeable.

An Act of the Scottish Parliament of 1597 talks of the "Chiftanis and chieffis of all clannis...duelland in the hielands or bordouris" - thus using the word clan and chief to describe both Highland and Border families. The act goes on to list the various Lowland clans including the Maxwells, Johnstones, Turnbulls and other famous Border Reivers
Border Reivers
Border Reivers were raiders along the Anglo–Scottish border from the late 13th century to the beginning of the 17th century. Their ranks consisted of both Scottish and English families, and they raided the entire border country without regard to their victims' nationality...

 names. Further, Sir George MacKenzie of Rosehaugh, the Lord Advocate (Attorney General) writing in 1680, said: "By the term 'chief' we call the representative of the family from the word chef or head and in the Irish (Gaelic) with us the chief of the family is called the head of the clan". So it can be seen that, all along, the words "chief" or "head", and "clan" or "family", are interchangeable. It is therefore quite correct to talk of the MacDonald family or the Stirling clan. The idea that Highlanders should be listed as clans while the Lowlanders should be termed as families was merely a 19th century convention.

By the late 18th century, the Lowlands were integrated into the British system, with an uneasy relationship to the Highlanders. The total population of Lowlanders diminished drastically in some parts of the south as a direct result of the Agricultural Revolution
Scottish Agricultural Revolution
The Agricultural Revolution in Scotland began in the mid-18th century with the improvements of Scottish Lowlands farmland and the beginning of a transformation of Scottish agriculture from one of the most backward into what was to become the most modern and productive system in Europe. The...

 which resulted in the Lowland Clearances
Lowland Clearances
The Lowland Clearances in Scotland were one of the results of the British Agricultural Revolution, which changed the traditional system of agriculture which had existed in Lowland Scotland in the seventeenth century...

, and the subsequent emigration
Emigration
Emigration is the act of leaving one's country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement before the establishment of political boundaries or within one state is termed migration. There are many reasons why people...

 of large numbers of Lowland Scots.

However, with the revival of interest in Gaeldom and the visit of King George IV
George IV of the United Kingdom
George IV was the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and also of Hanover from the death of his father, George III, on 29 January 1820 until his own death ten years later...

 to Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 in 1822, there was a new enthusiasm amongst Lowlanders for identification with pan-Scottish culture. Consequently, Lowland families and aristocrats now appear on clan lists with their own tartans, in some cases with a claim to ancestry from the Highland area – and as a result, more Lowland/Border clans than ever now have their own clan societies, website
Website
A website, also written as Web site, web site, or simply site, is a collection of related web pages containing images, videos or other digital assets. A website is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network through an Internet...

s and annual reunions. No doubt this has economically benefited traditional industries such as manufacturers of tartan cloth and other clan items, and has been encouraged by the immense growth of Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 genealogical research
Genealogy
Genealogy is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. Genealogists use oral traditions, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family and to demonstrate kinship and pedigrees of its members...

 in the last few years of the twentieth century. Regrettably, this last development has also led to certain companies springing up to exploit public enthusiasm by marketing supposed "family" coats-of-arms and heraldic devices
Heraldry
Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander"...

.

Origins

The Senchus fer n-Alban
Senchus fer n-Alban
The Senchus Fer n-Alban is an Old Irish medieval text, believed to have been compiled in the 10th century. It may have been derived from earlier documents of the 7th century which are presumed to have been written in Latin...

lists three main kin groups in Dál Riata
Dál Riata
Dál Riata was a Gaelic overkingdom on the western coast of Scotland with some territory on the northeast coast of Ireland...

 in Scotland, with a fourth being added later:
  • The Cenél nGabráin, in Kintyre
    Kintyre
    Kintyre is a peninsula in western Scotland, in the southwest of Argyll and Bute. The region stretches approximately 30 miles , from the Mull of Kintyre in the south, to East Loch Tarbert in the north...

    , supposedly the descendants of Gabrán mac Domangairt
    Gabrán mac Domangairt
    Gabrán mac Domangairt was king of Dál Riata in the middle of the 6th century. He is the eponymous ancestor of the Cenél nGabraín.The historical evidence for Gabrán is limited to the notice of his death in the Irish annals...

    .
  • The Cenél nÓengusa
    Cenél nÓengusa
    The Cenél nÓengusa were a kin group who ruled the island of Islay, and perhaps nearby Colonsay, off the western coast of Scotland in the early Middle Ages....

    , in Islay and Jura
    Jura, Scotland
    Jura is an island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, situated adjacent and to the north-east of Islay. Part of the island is designated as a National Scenic Area. Until the twentieth century Jura was dominated - and most of it was eventually owned - by the Campbell clan of Inveraray Castle on Loch...

    , supposedly the descendants of Óengus Mór mac Eirc.
  • The Cenél Loairn, in Lorne
    Lorne, Argyll and Bute
    Lorne is an ancient district in the west of Scotland, now part of the Argyll and Bute council area. It is within the region once named Lorna which may have taken its name from Loarn mac Eirc. However the last cartographical reference to Lorna is in 1607 with that same area being referred to as...

    , perhaps also Mull
    Isle of Mull
    The Isle of Mull or simply Mull is the second largest island of the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland in the council area of Argyll and Bute....

     and Ardnamurchan
    Ardnamurchan
    Ardnamurchan is a peninsula in Lochaber, Highland, Scotland, noted for being very unspoilt and undisturbed. Its remoteness is accentuated by the main access route being a single track road for much of its length.-Geography:...

    , supposedly the descendants of Loarn mac Eirc
    Loarn mac Eirc
    Loarn mac Eirc was a legendary king of Dál Riata who may have lived in the 5th century.The Duan Albanach and the Senchus Fer n-Alban and other genealogies name Loarn's father as Erc son of Eochaid Muinremuir...

    .
  • The Cenél Comgaill, in Cowal
    Cowal
    thumb|Cowal shown within ArgyllCowal is a peninsula in Argyll and Bute in the Scottish Highlands.-Description:The northern part of Cowal is mostly the mountainous Argyll Forest Park. Cowal is separated from the Kintyre peninsula to the west by Loch Fyne, and from Inverclyde and North Ayrshire to...

     and Bute
    Isle of Bute
    Bute is an island in the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. Formerly part of the county of Buteshire, it now constitutes part of the council area of Argyll and Bute. Its resident population was 7,228 in April 2001.-Geography:...

    , a later addition, supposedly the descendants of Comgall mac Domangairt
    Comgall mac Domangairt
    Comgall mac Domangairt was king of Dál Riata in the early 6th century. He was the son of Domangart Réti and grandson of Fergus Mór. The Annals of Ulster report his death in 538, 542 and 545, the Annals of Tigernach in 537.-Comgall:...

    .


The Senchus does not list any kindreds in Ireland. Among the Cenél Loairn it lists the Airgíalla
Airgíalla
Airgíalla or Airgialla was the name of an Irish federation and Irish kingdom which first formed around the 7th century...

, although whether this should be understood as being Irish settlers or simply another tribe to whom the label was applied is unclear.
The meaning of Airgíalla 'hostage givers' adds to the uncertainty, although it must be observed that only one grouping in Ireland was apparenly given this name and it is therefore very rare, perhaps supporting the Ui Macc Uais hypothesis. There is no reason to suppose that this is a complete or accurate list.

Some clans such as Clan Campbell
Clan Campbell
Clan Campbell is a Highland Scottish clan. Historically one of the largest, most powerful and most successful of the Highland clans, their lands were in Argyll and the chief of the clan became the Earl and later Duke of Argyll.-Origins:...

 and Clan Donald
Clan Donald
Clan Donald is one of the largest Scottish clans. There are numerous branches to the clan. Several of these have chiefs recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms; these are: Clan Macdonald of Sleat, Clan Macdonald of Clanranald, Clan MacDonell of Glengarry, Clan MacDonald of Keppoch, and Clan...

 claim ancient Celtic mythological
Celtic mythology
Celtic mythology is the mythology of Celtic polytheism, apparently the religion of the Iron Age Celts. Like other Iron Age Europeans, the early Celts maintained a polytheistic mythology and religious structure...

 progenitors mentioned in the Fenian cycle
Fenian Cycle
The Fenian Cycle , also referred to as the Ossianic Cycle after its narrator Oisín, is a body of prose and verse centering on the exploits of the mythical hero Fionn mac Cumhaill and his warriors the Fianna. It is one of the four major cycles of Irish mythology along with the Mythological Cycle,...

, with another group including Clan MacSween
Clan Sweeney
Clan Sweeney is an Irish clan of Scottish origin. The clan did not permanently settle in Ireland before the beginning of the 14th century, when they became Gallowglass soldiers for the O'Donnell dynasty of Tyrconnell...

, Clan Lamont
Clan Lamont
Clan Lamont is a Highland Scottish clan. Clan Lamont claim descent from Lauman who lived in Cowal in 1238. Tradition gives this Lauman a descent from an Irish prince of the O'Neill dynasty, Ánrothán Ua Néill, son of Áed, son of Flaithbertach Ua Néill, King of Ailech and Cenél nEógain, died 1036...

, Clan MacEwen of Otter, Clan Maclachlan
Clan MacLachlan
Clan Maclachlan, also known as Clan Lachlan, is a Highland Scottish clan that historically centred on the lands of Strathlachlan on Loch Fyne, Argyll on the west coast of Scotland...

, and Clan MacNeil
Clan MacNeil
Clan MacNeil, also known in Scotland as Clan Niall, is a highland Scottish clan, particularly associated with the Outer Hebridean island of Barra. The early history of Clan MacNeil is obscure, however despite this the clan claims to descend from the legendary Niall of the nine hostages...

 tracing their ancestry back to the 5th century Niall of the Nine Hostages
Niall of the Nine Hostages
Niall Noígíallach , or in English, Niall of the Nine Hostages, son of Eochaid Mugmedón, was an Irish king, the eponymous ancestor of the Uí Néill kindred who dominated Ireland from the 6th century to the 10th century...

, legendary High King of Ireland
High King of Ireland
The High Kings of Ireland were sometimes historical and sometimes legendary figures who had, or who are claimed to have had, lordship over the whole of Ireland. Medieval and early modern Irish literature portrays an almost unbroken sequence of High Kings, ruling from Tara over a hierarchy of...

, through the O'Neill dynasty
O'Neill dynasty
The O'Neill dynasty is a group of families that have held prominent positions and titles throughout European history. The O'Neills take their name from Niall Glúndub, an early 10th century High King of Ireland from the Cenél nEógain...

 of Cenél nEógain
Cenél nEógain
Cenél nEóġain is the name of the "kindred" or descendants of Eógan mac Néill , son of Niall Noígiallach who founded the kingdom of Tír Eoghain in the 5th century...

 (Kings of Ailech
Kings of Ailech
The Kings of Ailech belonged to the northern Uí Néill and took their name from the Grianán of Ailech , a hillfort on top of Greenan Mountain in modern County Donegal...

). Others such as Clan MacAulay
Clan MacAulay
Clan MacAulay is a Scottish clan. The clan was historically centred around the lands of Ardincaple, which are today consumed by the little village of Rhu and burgh of Helensburgh in Argyll and Bute. The MacAulays of Ardincaple were located mainly in the traditional county of Dunbartonshire, which...

, Clan Mackinnon
Clan MacKinnon
Clan Mackinnon or Clan Fingon is a Highland Scottish clan associated with the islands of Mull and Skye, in the Inner Hebrides.Popular tradition gives the clan a Dalriadic Gaelic origin. The 19th century historian W. F. Skene named the clan as one of the seven clans of Siol Alpin - who according to...

, Clan Grant
Clan Grant
-Origins:The Grants are one of the clans of Siol Alpin, and descend from the 9th century Kenneth MacAlpin, King of Scots; and also of Norse origin, from settlers who are the descents of Haakon inn Riki Sigurdarsson , Jarl of Hladr, Protector of Norway ,-Origins:The Grants are one of the clans of...

, and Clan Gregor claim descent from the Scots
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

 King Kenneth Mac Alpin
Kenneth I of Scotland
Cináed mac Ailpín , commonly Anglicised as Kenneth MacAlpin and known in most modern regnal lists as Kenneth I was king of the Picts and, according to national myth, first king of Scots, earning him the posthumous nickname of An Ferbasach, "The Conqueror"...

 who made himself King of the Picts
Picts
The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Mediaeval people living in what is now eastern and northern Scotland. There is an association with the distribution of brochs, place names beginning 'Pit-', for instance Pitlochry, and Pictish stones. They are recorded from before the Roman conquest...

 in 843, founding the Kingdom called after the name of the land Alba
Alba
Alba is the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland. It is cognate to Alba in Irish and Nalbin in Manx, the two other Goidelic Insular Celtic languages, as well as similar words in the Brythonic Insular Celtic languages of Cornish and Welsh also meaning Scotland.- Etymology :The term first appears in...

 (modern-day Scotland). The MacDonalds
Clan Donald
Clan Donald is one of the largest Scottish clans. There are numerous branches to the clan. Several of these have chiefs recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms; these are: Clan Macdonald of Sleat, Clan Macdonald of Clanranald, Clan MacDonell of Glengarry, Clan MacDonald of Keppoch, and Clan...

 and MacDougall
Clan MacDougall
Clan MacDougall is a Highland Scottish clan consisting of the descendants of Dubgall mac Somairle, son of Somerled, who ruled Lorne and the Isle of Mull in Argyll in the 13th century...

s claim descent from Somerled
Somerled
Somerled was a military and political leader of the Scottish Isles in the 12th century who was known in Gaelic as rí Innse Gall . His father was Gillebride...

, the half-Gael/Norse-Manx Lord of the Isles
Lord of the Isles
The designation Lord of the Isles is today a title of Scottish nobility with historical roots that go back beyond the Kingdom of Scotland. It emerged from a series of hybrid Viking/Gaelic rulers of the west coast and islands of Scotland in the Middle Ages, who wielded sea-power with fleets of...

 in the mid-11th century.

Though the clans had always been a feature of pre-Christian Scotland and Ireland, they first emerged into English consciousness from the turmoil of the 12th and 13th centuries when the Scottish crown pacified northern rebellions and re-conquered areas taken by the Norse, and after the fall of Macbeth when the crown became increasingly Anglo-Norman
Anglo-Norman
The Anglo-Normans were mainly the descendants of the Normans who ruled England following the Norman conquest by William the Conqueror in 1066. A small number of Normans were already settled in England prior to the conquest...

. This turmoil created opportunities for Norse
Norsemen
Norsemen is used to refer to the group of people as a whole who spoke what is now called the Old Norse language belonging to the North Germanic branch of Indo-European languages, especially Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, Swedish and Danish in their earlier forms.The meaning of Norseman was "people...

, Scottish
Gaels
The Gaels or Goidels are speakers of one of the Goidelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to western and northern Scotland and the Isle of Man....

 and English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 warlords and their kin to dominate areas, and the instability of the Wars of Scottish Independence
Wars of Scottish Independence
The Wars of Scottish Independence were a series of military campaigns fought between the independent Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England in the late 13th and early 14th centuries....

 brought in warlords with Norman
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

, and Flemish ancestry, founding clans such as the Chisholms
Clan Chisholm
Clan Chisholm is a Scottish clan. The clan had its origin outside Scotland. The first Chisholm to appear in the records of Scotland was Alexander de Chesholme, who witnessed a charter in 1248/49.-Origins of the Clan:...

 and Menzies
Clan Menzies
For Menzies as a personal name, including its pronunciation and a list of famous people of that name, see Menzies.Clan Menzies ; , a member is a Mèinnearach) is a Highland Scottish clan.-Origins of the Clan:...

.

Civil wars and Jacobitism

As the civil wars of the Three Kingdoms
Wars of the Three Kingdoms
The Wars of the Three Kingdoms formed an intertwined series of conflicts that took place in England, Ireland, and Scotland between 1639 and 1651 after these three countries had come under the "Personal Rule" of the same monarch...

 broke out in the early 17th century the Covenanter
Covenanter
The Covenanters were a Scottish Presbyterian movement that played an important part in the history of Scotland, and to a lesser extent in that of England and Ireland, during the 17th century...

s were supported by the territorially ambitious Argyll Clan Campbell
Clan Campbell
Clan Campbell is a Highland Scottish clan. Historically one of the largest, most powerful and most successful of the Highland clans, their lands were in Argyll and the chief of the clan became the Earl and later Duke of Argyll.-Origins:...

 and the Clan Sutherland
Clan Sutherland
Clan Sutherland is a Highland Scottish clan whose traditional territory is located in the region of Sutherland in northern highlands of Scotland and was one of the most powerful Scottish clans. The clan seat is at Dunrobin Castle, Sutherland...

, both powerful Highland clans, as well as some clans of the central Highlands opposed to the Royalist House of Huntly. While some clans remained neutral, others led by Montrose
James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose
James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose was a Scottish nobleman and soldier, who initially joined the Covenanters in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, but subsequently supported King Charles I as the English Civil War developed...

 supported the Royalist cause, projecting their feudal obligations to clan chiefs onto the Royal House of Stuart
House of Stuart
The House of Stuart is a European royal house. Founded by Robert II of Scotland, the Stewarts first became monarchs of the Kingdom of Scotland during the late 14th century, and subsequently held the position of the Kings of Great Britain and Ireland...

, resisting the demands of the Covenanters for commitment and reacting to the ambitions of the larger clans. In the Wars of 1644-47, the most prominent Royalist clan were Clan Donald
Clan Donald
Clan Donald is one of the largest Scottish clans. There are numerous branches to the clan. Several of these have chiefs recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms; these are: Clan Macdonald of Sleat, Clan Macdonald of Clanranald, Clan MacDonell of Glengarry, Clan MacDonald of Keppoch, and Clan...

 led by Alasdair MacColla
Alasdair MacColla
Alasdair Mac Colla was a Scottish soldier. His full name in Scottish Gaelic was Alasdair Mac Colla Chiotaich Mac Domhnuill . He is sometimes mistakenly referred to in English as "Collkitto", a nickname that properly belongs to his father. He fought in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, most notably...

.

With the Restoration
English Restoration
The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

 of Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

, Episcopalianism
Scottish Episcopal Church
The Scottish Episcopal Church is a Christian church in Scotland, consisting of seven dioceses. Since the 17th century, it has had an identity distinct from the presbyterian Church of Scotland....

 became widespread among clans as it suited the hierarchical clan structure and encouraged obedience to Royal authority, while some other clans were converted by Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 missions.
In 1682 James Duke of York, Charles' brother, instituted the Commission for Pacifying the Highlands which worked in co-operation with the clan chiefs in maintaining order as well as redressing Campbell acquisitiveness, and when he became King James VII
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

 he retained popularity with Highlanders. All these factors contributed to continuing support for the Stuarts when James was deposed by William of Orange
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

 in the Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, is the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau...

.

Clan support, their remoteness from authority and the ready mobilisation of the clan hosts made the Highlands the starting point for the Jacobite Rising
Jacobite rising
The Jacobite Risings were a series of uprisings, rebellions, and wars in Great Britain and Ireland occurring between 1688 and 1746. The uprisings were aimed at returning James VII of Scotland and II of England, and later his descendants of the House of Stuart, to the throne after he was deposed by...

s. In Scottish Jacobite
Jacobitism
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

 ideology the Highlander symbolised patriotic purity as against the corruption of the Union, and as early as 1689 some Lowlanders wore "Highland habit" in the Jacobite army.

Collapse of the Clan system

Successive Scottish (and after 1707 British) governments had portrayed the clans as bandits needing occasional military expeditions to keep them in check and extract taxes. As Highlanders became associated with Jacobitism
Jacobitism
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

 and rebellion, the government made repeated efforts to curb the clans, culminating with brutal repression after the battle of Culloden
Battle of Culloden
The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite Rising. Taking place on 16 April 1746, the battle pitted the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart against an army commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, loyal to the British government...

. This followed in 1746 with the Act of Proscription, further measures making restrictions on their ability to bear arms, traditional dress, culture, and even music. The Heritable Jurisdictions Act
Heritable Jurisdictions Act
The Heritable Jurisdictions Act, 1746 was an Act of Parliament passed by the Parliament of Great Britain in 1746. It abolished the traditional rights of jurisdiction afforded to a Scottish clan chief...

 removed the feudal authority the Clan Chieftains had once enjoyed.

With the failure of Jacobitism, the clan chiefs and gentry increasingly became landlords, losing the traditional obligations of clanship. They were incorporated into the British aristocracy, looking to the clan lands mainly to provide them with a suitable income. From around 1725, clansmen had been emigrating to North America; both clan gentry looking to re-establish their lifestyle, or as victims of raids on the Hebrides
Hebrides
The Hebrides comprise a widespread and diverse archipelago off the west coast of Scotland. There are two main groups: the Inner and Outer Hebrides. These islands have a long history of occupation dating back to the Mesolithic and the culture of the residents has been affected by the successive...

 looking for cheap labour. Increasing demand in Britain for cattle and sheep led to higher rents, with surplus clan population leaving in the mass migration later known as the Highland Clearances
Highland Clearances
The Highland Clearances were forced displacements of the population of the Scottish Highlands during the 18th and 19th centuries. They led to mass emigration to the sea coast, the Scottish Lowlands, and the North American colonies...

, finally undermining the traditional clan system.

Historians debate whether the dramatic changes merely reflect long-term trends that were more-or-less inevitable, or whether government intervention played the decisive role in changing the goals and roles of the chiefs. As Conway (2006) concludes, the new policies "went far beyond earlier efforts to promote economic development in the Highlands and ...represented the first real endeavour to transform the region's social system....the post-rebellion legislation certainly seems to have accelerated the change." However on the other side, Devine (1999) and Ray (2001) argue that long-term economic and social changes were already undermining the clan system.

Romantic memory

The Ossian
Ossian
Ossian is the narrator and supposed author of a cycle of poems which the Scottish poet James Macpherson claimed to have translated from ancient sources in the Scots Gaelic. He is based on Oisín, son of Finn or Fionn mac Cumhaill, anglicised to Finn McCool, a character from Irish mythology...

 poems of James Macpherson
James Macpherson
James Macpherson was a Scottish writer, poet, literary collector and politician, known as the "translator" of the Ossian cycle of poems.-Early life:...

 in the 1760s suited the Romantic
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 enthusiasm for the "sublime" "primitive" and achieved international success with a disguised elegy for the Jacobite clans, set in the remote past. They were presented as translations of ancient ballads, a fraud caustically dismissed by Dr. Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson , often referred to as Dr. Johnson, was an English author who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer...

. This damaged the reputation of the poems, but their artistic merit had widespread influence. Literary historians now agree the poems were written entirely by Macpherson to reflect his own impressions of the legends.

Shortly before or after the Dress Act restricting kilt wearing was repealed in 1782, Highland aristocrats set up Highland Societies in Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

 and other centres including London
Highland Society of London
The Highland Society of London is a charity registered in England, with "the view of establishing and supporting schools in the Highlands and in the Northern parts of Great Britain, for relieving distressed Highlanders at a distance from their native homes, for preserving the antiquities and...

 and Aberdeen
Aberdeen
Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 25th most populous city, with an official population estimate of ....

, landowners' clubs with aims including "Improvements" (which others would later call the Highland Clearances
Highland Clearances
The Highland Clearances were forced displacements of the population of the Scottish Highlands during the 18th and 19th centuries. They led to mass emigration to the sea coast, the Scottish Lowlands, and the North American colonies...

). Clubs like the Celtic Society of Edinburgh included Highland chieftains and Lowlanders taking an interest in the clans. The success of the historical novel
Historical novel
According to Encyclopædia Britannica, a historical novel is-Development:An early example of historical prose fiction is Luó Guànzhōng's 14th century Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which covers one of the most important periods of Chinese history and left a lasting impact on Chinese culture.The...

s of Sir Walter Scott as well as the pomp surrounding the visit of King George IV to Scotland
Visit of King George IV to Scotland
The 1822 visit of King George IV to Scotland was the first visit of a reigning monarch to Scotland since 1650. Government ministers had pressed the King to bring forward a proposed visit to Scotland, to divert him from diplomatic intrigue at the Congress of Verona.The visit increased his popularity...

 in 1822 spurred 19th century interest in the clans and a reawakening of Scottish culture and pride.

Clan symbols

The revival of interest, and demand for clan ancestry, has led to the production of lists and maps covering the whole of Scotland giving clan names and showing territories, sometimes with the appropriate tartan
Tartan
Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns...

s. While some lists and clan maps confine their area to the Highlands, others also show Lowland clans or families. Territorial areas and allegiances changed over time, and there are also differing decisions on which (smaller) clans and families should be omitted. Some alternative online sources are listed in the External links section below.

This list of Clans contains clans registered with the Lord Lyon Court.
The Lord Lyon Court defines a clan or family as a legally recognised group, but does not differentiate between Families and Clans as it recognises both terms as being interchangeable. Clans or families thought to have had a Chief in the past but not currently recognised by the Lord Lyon are listed at Armigerous clan
Armigerous clan
An armigerous clan is a Scottish clan, family or name which is registered with the Court of the Lord Lyon and once had a chief who bore undifferenced arms, but does not have a chief currently recognized as such by Lyon Court...

s.

Tartan

Ever since the Victorian "tartan craze", tartans and "clan tartans" have been an important part of a Scottish clans. Almost all Scottish clans have more than one tartan attributed to their surname. Although there are no rules on who can or cannot wear a particular tartan, and it is possible for anyone to create a tartan and name it almost any name they wish, the only person with the authority to make a clan's tartan "official" is the chief. In some cases, following such recognition from the clan chief, the clan tartan is recorded and registered by the Lord Lyon. Once approved by the Lord Lyon, after recommendation by the Advisory Committee on Tartan, the clan tartan is then recorded in the Lyon Court Books. In at least one instance a clan tartan appears in the heraldry of a clan chief and the Lord Lyon considers it to be the "proper" tartan of the clan.

Originally there appears to have been no association of tartans with specific clans; instead, highland tartans were produced to various designs by local weavers and any identification was purely regional, but the idea of a clan-specific tartan gained currency in the late 18th century and in 1815 the Highland Society of London
Highland Society of London
The Highland Society of London is a charity registered in England, with "the view of establishing and supporting schools in the Highlands and in the Northern parts of Great Britain, for relieving distressed Highlanders at a distance from their native homes, for preserving the antiquities and...

 began the naming of clan-specific tartans. Many clan tartans derive from a 19th century hoax known as the Vestiarium Scoticum
Vestiarium Scoticum
The Vestiarium Scoticum was first published by William Tait of Edinburgh in a limited edition in 1842...

. The Vestiarium was composed by the "Sobieski Stuarts" who passed it off as a reproduction of an ancient manuscript of clan tartans. It has since been proven a forgery, but despite this, the designs are still highly regarded and they continue to serve their purpose to identify the clan in question.

Crest badge

A sign of allegiance to a clans, possess a heraldic coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

. Even though any clansmen and clanswomen may purchase crest badges and wear them to show their allegiance to his or her clan, the heraldic crest and motto always belong to the chief alone. In principle, these badges should only be used with the permission of the clan chief; and the Lyon Court has intervened in cases where permission has been withheld. Scottish crest badges, much like clan-specific tartans, do not have a long history, and owe much to Victorian era
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

, having only been worn on the bonnet
Bonnet (headgear)
Bonnets are a variety of headgear for both sexes, which have in common only the absence of a brim. Bonnet derives from the same word in French, where it originally indicated a type of material...

 since the 19th century. The concept of a clan badge
Clan badge
A clan badge, sometimes called a plant badge, is a badge or emblem, usually a sprig of a specific plant, that is used to identify a member of a particular Scottish clan. They are usually worn in a bonnet behind the Scottish crest badge, or attached at the shoulder of a lady's tartan sash...

 or form of identification may have some validity, as it is commonly stated that the original markers were merely specific plants worn in bonnets or hung from a pole or spear.

Clan badge

Clan badges are another means of showing one's allegiance to a Scottish clan. These badges, sometimes called plant badges, consist of a sprig of a particular plant. They are usually worn in a bonnet behind the Scottish crest badge; they can also be attached at the shoulder of a lady's tartan sash
Sash
A sash is a cloth belt used to hold a robe together, and is usually tied about the waist. The Japanese equivalent of a sash, obi, serves to hold a kimono or yukata together. Decorative sashes may pass from the shoulder to the hip rather than around the waist...

, or be tied to a pole and used as a standard. Clans which are connected historically, or that occupied lands in the same general area, may share the same clan badge. According to popular lore, clan badges were used by Scottish clans as a form of identification in battle. However, the badges attributed to clans today can be completely unsuitable for even modern clan gatherings. Clan badges are commonly referred to as the original clan symbol; however, Thomas Innes of Learney
Thomas Innes of Learney
Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, GCVO, WS was Lord Lyon from 1945 to 1969, after having been Carrick Pursuivant and Albany Herald in the 1930s. He was a very active Lord Lyon, strongly promoting his views of what his office was through his writings and pronouncements in his Court. In 1950, he...

 claimed the heraldic flag
Heraldic flag
In heraldry and vexillology, an heraldic flag is any of several types of flags, containing coats of arms, heraldic badges, or other devices, used for personal identification....

s of clan chiefs would have been the earliest means of identifying Scottish clans in battle or at large gatherings.

See also

  • Clan
    Clan
    A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolical, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a...

  • Feud
    Feud
    A feud , referred to in more extreme cases as a blood feud, vendetta, faida, or private war, is a long-running argument or fight between parties—often groups of people, especially families or clans. Feuds begin because one party perceives itself to have been attacked, insulted or wronged by another...

  • History of Scotland
    History of Scotland
    The history of Scotland begins around 10,000 years ago, when humans first began to inhabit what is now Scotland after the end of the Devensian glaciation, the last ice age...

  • Highland Clearances
    Highland Clearances
    The Highland Clearances were forced displacements of the population of the Scottish Highlands during the 18th and 19th centuries. They led to mass emigration to the sea coast, the Scottish Lowlands, and the North American colonies...

  • Scottish Heraldry
    Scottish heraldry
    Heraldry in Scotland, while broadly similar to that practised in England and elsewhere in western Europe, has its own distinctive features. Its heraldic executive is separate from that of the rest of the United Kingdom.-Executive:...

  • Scoto-Normans
  • Scottish names
    Scottish Gaelic personal naming system
    -Forenames:Scottish Gaelic has a number of personal names, such as Ailean, Aonghas, Dòmhnall, Donnchadh, Coinneach, and Murchadh, for which there are traditional forms in English...


External links

general information

clan map
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