BURNS: Perhaps the best known ever to bear this name was Scotland’s National poet, Robert Burns. However, the surname is well known and used throughout Scotland by persons who have no blood affiliation with the poet.
CARE is taken by the historians of this clan to draw a distinction between its patronymic and that of the Lowland families whose original name was “Mathews son” The Highland name, they point out, is Mac Mhathain, “the son of heroes,” and the chiefs of the clan claimed to have been settled on the shores of Lochalsh in the west of Ross-shire as long ago as the time of Kenneth MacAlpin in the middle of the ninth century. According to tradition they were among the followers of that king in his wars with the Picts, whom he finally overthrew at the great battle of Cambuskenneth near Stirling in 838. They claimed to be of the same blood as the MacKenzies, whom they aver to have been the junior line. A certain Coinneach, or Kenneth, who was chief in the twelfth century, they say left two sons. From the elder of these Cailean or Colin, the Mathesons were descended, and from the younger, Coin neach or Kenneth, the MacKenzies took their origin. In the beginning of the fifteenth century the Matheson chief was strong enough to defy the Earl of Sutherland, and upon the latter descending upon Lochalsh, intent upon punishing so presumptuous a person, he was actually defeated and slain by the Mathesons. The scene of the encounter is still pointed out at a spot known from the event as Cnoc an Cattich.
THE name Campbell first appears in 1216, in connection with a proprietor of lands in Stirling; but the first of importance was Neil Campbell, who, in 1296, was made King Edward’s Baillie over lands in Argyll. His great-grandson was created Lord Campbell by James II, and was the first of the family to take the title of Argyll. His grandson, Colin, was made Earl of Argyll in 1457, and Baron of Lorn in 1470. The Marquis of Argyll was the great leader of the Covenanters during the Civil Wars in the reigns of Charles I and Charles II. The 8th Earl was created Duke of Argyll in 1701. The Peerages and estate descended to John, second Duke of Argyll and Earl of Greenwich (died 1743). He was succeeded by his brother, who died without issue, and so the title devolved upon his cousin, General John Campbell of Mamore. Inveraray Castle is the seat of the Campbell Chiefs, whose designation is MacCailein Mhor.