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.

MacDonnell of Glengarry

IT is not many years since there lived in an old house with high-walled garden in the heart of Rothesay, two old maiden ladies whose pride and regret were that they were the last in this country of the great old house of the MacDonells of Glengarry. They were women of noble appearance and strong character, and one of them at least took a considerable part in public affairs. Many stories regarding them were told in the town. Among these one may be cited as characteristic. When the late Marquess of Bute, as a young man, called upon them on the eve of his marriage to a daughter of the great Roman Catholic house of Howard, it had become known that he was likely himself to become a member of the Church of Rome. Of this proceeding the Misses MacDonell did not approve, and they took the opportunity to inform him that if he did enter the Roman Communion they would “no longer be able to call at Mount Stuart.” Among the treasures which the survivor of them took delight in preserving was a tall Shepherd’s crook of hazel which had been sent home to her by her nephew, the young Chief of the Clan in Canada. That hazel staff represented the tragedy of the race, for after the death in 1828 of the seventeenth Chief of Glengarry, who is said to have been the model in part of Pergus Macivor in Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley, his impoverished successor, gathering together between 500 and 600 of his clansmen, emigrated with them in a body to Canada, where they still perpetuate the traditions of the race which had its headquarters on the lovely shores of Loch Oich in the Great Glen.


THIS is a Celtic clan. The male line of Somerled of the Isles, who died in 1164, is continued in MacDougall of Dunolly, probably descended from Dugall, eldest son of Somerled, ancestor also of the Lords of Lorn. Dugall’s grandson was King Ewin of Argyll, 1248. His son was Alexander de Ergadia or Alexander of Lorn. He died 1310, and his son was John of Lorn, Bruce’s most obstinate opponent. In the battle of Dalree, 1306, between Bruce and John MacDougall, the famous “Brooch of Lorn” was torn from Bruce’s shoulder. It is now owned by MacDougall of Dunolly. Bruce ultimately overcame the clan. Dougall of Dunolly, a direct descendant of MacDougall who opposed Bruce, entered on the lands of Dunolly 1562. Sir John of Dunolly, who succeeded in 1598, married a daughter of Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy. John, styled of Lorn, fought for the Old Chevalier in “the ’15,” and his lands were forfeited, but afterwards restored and are still held by the present MacDougall of MacDougall. There are MacDougalls of Freugh, Garthland, Gillespick, Logan, Mackerstoun, and Muirtoun. The ancestral burial-place is Ardchattan Priory, on Loch Etive. Several of the clan have been distinguished in war, notably Colonel MacDougall, who, in the Swedish service, defeated the Imperialists at Leignitz.


COWAL was originally the home of this clan. On the coast of Glenfyne, there stood in 1750 the ruins of MacEwan’s Castle. The first MacEwan Chief on record lived in 1200. From this date there were nine chiefs— Swene MacEwen, the 9th, was the last of the Otter Chiefs. In 1431-32 this Swene granted a charter of certain lands of Otter to Duncan, son of Alexander Campbell. This was the beginning of the transference of the MacEwan estates to the Campbells of Argyll. The MacEwans were hereditary bards to the Campbells, for which, we are told, they had free lands. Neil MacEwan composed a Gaelic elegy on Sir Duncan Dow Campbell of Glenorchy in 1630. There is a manuscript in Cawdor Castle, entitled “Genealogy Abridgement of the very Ancient and Notable Family of Argyll, 1779,” written by MacEwan, hereditary sennachie and bard.


According to Mr Fraser-Mackintosh, there is a tradition that the Gows are descended from Henry, the smith who fought at the North Inch battle, he having accompanied the remnant of the Mackintoshes, and settled in Strathnairn. Being bandy-legged, he was called “Gow Chrom”. At any rate, this branch of clan Chattan has long been known …

Gow Read More »


THE Colquhouns derive their name from the Barony of Colquhoun in Dunbartonshire. In Alexander II’s reign Humphrey Kirkpatrick was granted a charter of these lands of Colchoun. His successor, Ingram, took the surname of Colquhoun of Colquhoun, married the “Fair Maid of Luss,” and so acquired that estate. There were three branches of the Colquhouns—of that Ilk, of Kilpatrick, and of Luss. Luss became the chief seat of the family. Sir Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss received other lands from James IV. Sir Humphrey, 17th Laird of Luss, fought against Rob Roy at Loch Lomond. He died in 1715, when the estates and chiefship passed to his daughter and her husband. Grant of Pluscarden. Their son, James Grant, on his succession, took the name of Sir James Colquhoun of Luss. He fell heir to the Grant estates, and, resuming the name of Grant, was succeeded in the Chiefship of Colquhoun and estate of Luss by his second son Sir Ludovick Grant. He in turn succeeded to the estates of Grant, Luss going to his brother James, who was made a Baronet in 1786, and died the same year. He was succeeded by his son, Sir James, whose great-grandson, Sir James, 5th Baronet, was succeeded by his cousin, Sir Alan John, in 1907.

Campbell of Argyll

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.