An Outlandish Clan History


Good morning, fellow Outlander fans! Today, I’m getting into one of my favorite things…History! Specifically, I’ll be talking all about the Scottish clans and giving you a little Outlander love along the way! Because there are numerous Highland and Lowland clans, I’ll be picking some of my favorites with the most amount of history fun.

The Gregor/MacGregor Clan


  • Clan Motto: Roighal Mo Dhream-Royal is my Race
  • Minor Motto: Een dhn bait spair nocht-Slay and spare not (this one is so metal)
  • War Cry: Ard choille!-The woody height!

Here are several facts associated with this the MacGregors:

  • They were among the first clans to adopt the bagpipe in the 1600s!
  • In 1603 James IV outlawed the MacGregor name, forcing them to renounce their heritage or die. Many took on other Scottish names, but others were hanged.
  • During the Jacobite Risings, the Gregor clan (which was not an outlawed name), fought with the Jacobites and was defeated at the Battle of Littleferry, making them unable to participate in the Battle of Culloden.
  • The MacGregors were reestablished in the 1800s, finally bringing back the chiefs.
  • The only MacGregor mentioned in Outlander is Alexander MacGregor, the 18 year old cattle thief who was a victim of Black Jack Randall, and the initial owner of Jamie’s bible.
  • I’ve written a romance novel, The Amethyst Bride, featuring a MacGregor man. You can read about it here!

Clan Fraser of Lovat


  • Clan Motto: Je Suis Prest- I am Ready
  • War Cry #1: A Mhor-fhaiche!- The Great Field!
  • War Cry #2:Caisteal Dhuni- Castle Dounie (referring to their ancestral seat)

Here are several facts associated with this clan:

  • There is also the “Lowland Fraser Clan”, which is entirely separate from the Frasers of Lovat.
  • The Frasers fought with William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, who you might know from the (historically inaccurate) movie Braveheart, in 1303.
  • The clan supported Mary Queen of Scots in the Siege of Inverness in 1562.
  • A real man named James Fraser hid in a cave for years after surviving the Battle of Culloden. Read more about him here!
  • The Frasers have participated, in force, in all of the wars based on American soil, such as the Seven Years War and the Revolutionary War.
  • Here are some bonus pics of our fav Fraser…

Clan MacNaughten


  • Clan Motto: I Hoip in God-I Hope in God
  • War Cry: Fraoch Eilean!- The Heathery Isle!

The clan’s tartan…festive.

Here are several facts about this clan…

  • This clan are descendents of the Picts, some of the earliest, tribal, dwellers of Scotland. Possibly with Celtic roots.
  • They opposed Robert the Bruce (ya know…the Braveheart guy) and when he took the throne, they lost much of their lands to the Campbells.
  • There are many forms of this clan, such as McNitt, Macnaughton, McNett…and McKnight! Yeah, it’s my family’s father clan!

The MacLeod Clan


  • Clan Motto: Hold Fast
  • Old Clan Motto: Murus aheneus esto- Be the wall of brass

    Here are some interesting facts about the MacLeods:

  • My first historical romance novel, Queen of Emeralds, follows a MacLeod Chief and a British Heiress. You can read about it here!
  • They are the holders of the Fairy Flag. Shrouded in mystery, this flag is said to have come from the far east, possibly made by vikings, or have been used during the crusades. But in one popular MacLeod tale, the Fairy Flag was wrapped around a MacLeod Chief’s baby by a group of fairies. It has been artfully preserved and says to have the power to heal the sick, give military prowess to in battle, and protect the clan in times of famine or danger. But you’re not supposed to touch it, nor photograph it…but here’s a photo lol.


  • In the early 1600’s, the Clan MacLeod of Lewis became extinct and the seat, Castle Leod, it fell into the hands of the Mackenzie clan. It then became the seat of the Mackenzies. It was also the inspiration for Castle Leoch in the Outlander book series. It would have been used for filming, as it is still in good condition, but another castle was selected instead.

Castle Leod

The Mackenzie Clan


  • Clan Motto: Luceo Non Uro-I Shine Not Burn
  • Clan War Cry:Tulach Àrd-The High Hillcdd95f372869dc95770dd40d92dc5625

Let’s look at some fun Clan Mackenzie facts…

  • Mackenzie is actually an Anglicized version of “Mac Coinnich”, which means handsome.
  • They were once the 4th most powerful clan in Scotland.
  • In the 17th century, the Crahan Seer  foretold that the direct Seaforth Mackenzie line would die out after a deaf mute was born. A few years later there was a Seaforth Mackenzie named Francis. Wouldn’t you know, a bout of Scarlet Fever made him deaf and mute and he outlived all his sons, ending the line for good.
  • Here are some bonus pics of your fav Mackenzies…

The Wallace Clan


  • Clan Motto: Pro Libertate- For Liberty
  • Clan War Cry: Freedom!

The Wallace tartan

Here are a few little facts about the Wallace Clan…but mostly William Wallace.

  • The Wallace clan came to Scotland in the 11th century from Normandy, France.
  • The true William Wallace is nothing like what you saw in Braveheart!
    • Little Willie wasn’t a poor orphaned kid. He was raised a nobleman and even became a knight. Far cry from the ragamuffin living in a shack.
    • Wallace never met Isabelle of France. Girl was like…5 when he was participating in Scottish military endeavors.
    • Wallace wouldn’t have worn a kilt. Kilts didn’t become a thing in Scotland until the 1600’s. So no butt flashing in real life.
    • Scots in the 12 and 13,000s never painted their faces blue. The Picts did to scare off Roman invaders hundreds of years before Wallace was even a gleam in his noble father’s eye.
    • But he was hanged, drawn, and quartered…so that’s true. Yay?
    • Robert the Bruce was the real Braveheart. Literally. After he died, his heart was removed and given it’s own fancy casket.tumblr_mmr26uUumw1s3h43ko1_r1_500.gif

Clan Murray


  • Clan Motto:Furth, Fortune, and Fill the Fetters.
  • Old Motto: Tour Pret- Quite Ready

Here are a few facts about this clan:

  • They descended from Flemish and Norman lords and prided themselves on being from noble stock.
  • After Culloden, there was a massive diaspora from the Highlands, due to persecution of the clans. A great number of Murrys settled in Nova Scotia.
  • Their old crest featured a mermaidmurray_crest_big
  • This clan maintains the old private regiment in Europe; the Atholl Highlanders. This is because Queen Victoria was so moved by the Murrays of Atholl’s greeting to her upon visiting the country, she repealed the man that outlawed Scottish military regiments, just for them.
  • Bonus gif of our fav Murray…tumblr_nne9ufmZAu1r1wyxno4_500.gif

Clan Campbell


  • Clan Motto: Ne Obliviscaris- Forget Not
  • Clan War Cry: Cruachan!- Referrs to a popular rallying spot in times of crisis


Here are some facts about this clan:

  • At one point, they were the largest and most powerful clan in Scotland.
  • Their name might have come from the phrase “cam bul”, which means “crooked mouth”, referring to a founder of the clan.
  • They could be d*cks…especially to the MacDonald clan. But, that’s how you stay on top. We’ll talk about their issues in a bit.
  • Their castle seat, Inveraray Castle, was used in some filming for the show Downton Abbey.Inveraray_Castle,_Argyll_and_Bute,_Scotland-31May2010.jpg

Clan MacLean


  • Clan Motto: Virtue, Mine, Honor
  • Clan War Cry: Bàa no Beatha- Death or Life


Here are some fun facts about the MacLean clan…

  • They are one of the oldest clans in Scotland and are known for their fierceness in battle.
  • in the 1500s a chief named Lachlan MacLean married a Campbell girl. He hated her so much, and instead of just ignoring her and getting a mistress like the other guys in the 1500s, tied her to a rock by the sea in hopes the tide would drown her. But much like a Batman villain, he was too cocky and didn’t see her death through. She was saved by a fisherman and one of her brothers killed Lachlan…but he deserved it.

Clan Donald/MacDonald


  • Clan Motto: Per Mare Per Terras-By Sea and By Land
    Minor Clan Motto: Fraoch Eilean-The Heathery Isle

180px-macdonald_of_the_isles_tartan_vestiarium_scoticumHere are some interesting things to know about the Donalds…

  • One of the oldest on record, the clan is descended form both the Norse and the Celts.
  • The MacDonalds were sneaky in the Battle of Culloden!
    • Many of them bailed when they saw how the Scots were being slaughtered
    • They also had two minor regiments fighting for the British, so some of the smaller groups were able to maintain their positions and lands.
  • Remember how I told you that the Campbells and MacDonalds had some major bad blood?
    • In 1642, a group of Campbell soldiers in Ireland were ordered to kill all the MacDonald Catholics and threw dozens, possibly even hundreds, to their deaths over a cliff. This sparked a long series of battles between the two clans
    • And the Campbells kept being jerks…any Game of Thrones fans? Remember “The Red Wedding”? Well that scene was inspired by the Massacre of Glencoe, where a bunch of Campbells came to chill with the MacDonalds of Glencoe…as you can probably guess, it ended up with the Campbell forces massacring numerous people, burning homes, and allowing scores of woman and children to die of exposure.


      Shown: Frank Randall partying it up at the Red Wedding before it all went to shite.

Are you part of a clan? Which one?

That’s it for this week! I know I didn’t come close to covering a fraction of the clans, but I think we all had fun. Was your clan not mentioned? Let us know, maybe we’ll bring up the clans in a future post. And make sure to check out out Outlander page here to help you through Droughtlander.

Sarah and I both have books out now, so if you like our posts, you’ll probably love our books! First Semester is a thrilling college romance that you can get HERE. Queen of Emeralds is a historic romance set in the highlands that you can get HERE.



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