THE Macphersons are Celts. The Chief is called Cluny Macpherson. The Macphersons of Invereshie (now Macpherson Grants of Ballindalloch) are another branch. This branch is called Sliochd Gillies. Skene traces the Cluny family from Duncan, the Parson, 1438. Duncan was from Strathnairn. The Invereshie Macphersons are from Badenoch. Andrew Macpherson in Cluny and of Grange, in Banffshire, was tenant in Cluny in 1603. Duncan Macpherson of Cluny was in 1672 defeated by Mackintosh in obtaining official recognition as Chief of Clan Chattan. The Invereshie and Pitmean families opposed, being real Badenoch Macphersons descended from Muireach Parson. Duncan died in 1722. The Macphersons had now been recognised by Lyon Court as a clan, and Cluny as Chief given “supporters.” Lachlan Macpherson married a daughter of Lochiel. He died in 1746. His son, Ewen, who married Lord Lovat’s daughter, fought for Prince Charlie. In 1784 the estates were restored to his son, Duncan, whose son, Ewen, the next Chief, died in 1885. Duncan Macpherson of this clan led the Black Watch over the trenches of Tel-el-Kebir. Their Chief’s seat was long at Cluny Castle, Kingussie, Inverness-shire.
The given name is an Anglicised form of the Gaelic Gille Easbaig (also rendered Gilleasbaig), meaning “bishop’s servant”. The surname Gillespie is an Anglicised form of the Scottish Gaelic Mac Gille Easbuig, and the Irish Mac Giolla Easpaig, both of which mean “servant of the bishop”