We received so much interest in our last clan history post, which you can read here, that we thought it was a good idea to do a second. This installment is made entirely of clans that you readers wanted to know more about! In fact, so many of our followers asked to learn more about their personal clans, a part 3 is currently in the works, so make sure to check back in!
- Clan Motto: Invictus Maneo- I Remain Unvanquished
Let’s learn some fun clan facts!
- There hasn’t been an Armstrong chief since the clan was outlawed by the British in the 17th century, after decades of unrest between them.
- Neil Armstrong took a piece of the Armstrong tartan up to him when he went to the moon!
- The Armstrong clan was so wild with their raids and battles, it is said that in 1524 the Bishop of Glasgow cursed them. He said something like this…
- “I curse their head and all the hairs of their head; I curse their face, their eyes, their mouth, their nose, their tongue, their teeth, their neck, their shoulders, their breast, their heart, their stomach, their back, their belly, their arms, their legs, their hands, their feet, and each and every part of their body, from the top of their head to the soles of their feet, before and behind…”
- Lord John Grey’s full name is John William Bertrand Armstrong Grey!
- Clan Motto: Dulcius Ex Asperis- Sweeter After Difficulties
- War Cry: Clann Fhearghuis gu brath!- Clan Fergusson goes on forever!
- Here are some interesting things about this clan…
- They are widely known as “The Sons of Fergus”.
- They claim to be descended from Fergus Mór, the king of Dál Riata (an area that encompass parts of Scotland and Ireland. In turn, King Fergus claimed to be descended from King Arthur, the legendary British leader. So if you’re a Fergusson, there’s a chance you could be double royal!
- There aren’t any Fergussons in Outlander, but here’s a wee Fergus to tide you over!
Clan Donnachiadh/Clan Robertson
- Clan Motto: Virtutis Gloria Merces- Glory is the reward for valor
- War Cry: Garg ‘nuair dhùisgear!- Fierce when roused!
Let’s learn a few fun things about this clan…
- One of the oldest clans, the Donnachiadhs took on the secondary name of Robertson when they were hearty supporters of Robert the Bruce, AKA King Robert I, in the 1300s.
- This clan is in possession of the Clach na Bratach, a sacred quartz stone that is said to have been pulled from the ground by their King Duncan in the 1300s on the eve of a battle. They say it has healing powers and has been carried into battle by every chief since.
- Clan Motto: Spem suvvessus alit- Success nourishes hope
Here are a few things to know about this clan…
- In 1689, a hundred Ross men were sent to spy on the Mackenzies at Castle Leod to ensure there wasn’t any Jacobite uprisings in the works.
- Their traditional seat, Balnagowan Castle, is now owned by Mohammed Al-Fayed, former owner of the Harrod’s Department Store. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because his son Dodi was killed with Princess Diana in 1997. Thankfully, Al-Fayed is in the process of restoring it.
- Shout out to Ross!
- Clan Motto: Bydand- Steadfast
- Clan War Cry: A Gordon! A Gordon!
Here are a few facts about the Gordon clan:
- They supported Robert the Bruce and William Wallace in the Scottish Wars of Independence.
- Clan Forbes were their bitter enemies and they spend decades killing each other. Like the Forbes once invited some Gordons to dine, only to murder them and then the Gordons turned right around and slaughtered a tower full of Forbes. It took two Acts of Parliament to get them to stop killing each other every other week.
- then chief of Clan Gordon is always known as the “Cock o’ the North”.
- And here’s Sir Fletcher Gordon, the governor of Wentworth Prison!
- Clan Motto: Cuaidh No Bas- Victory or Death
Let’s learn about the MacNeil Clan!
- They are said to be descendents of the Irish King Niall of the Nine Hostages, who lived in the 300s. In the legend of his birth, it’s said that his dad was such a d*ick, he forced Niall’s mom to do hard labor, hoping she would miscarry. When Niall was finally born, his mother abandoned him out of fear and he was brought up by a poet. He later returns to his rightful home and rescues his mom. When it comes time for his bio-dad to name his successor, he gives his sons, including Niall, different tasks. One was kissing a hideous monster. The other guys chickened out, but old Niall gave that nasty beast the time of her life and was rewarded by her turning into a beautiful maiden and giving him the fealty of the people for many generations.
- There is also a large number of MacNeil’s of African descent, more so than any other clan name. It came from the Scotch-Irish servants who served with them or the MacNeil slave masters. While there is no data showing exactly how many, a DNA test could prove to almost any MacNeil, regardless of race, if they had come from the historic MacNeil clan.
The Grant Clan
- Clan Motto: Craig Elachie- this was the name of the rallying point for the Grants. They would light signal fires at the bottom of Craig Elachie, also known as “The Rock of Alarm” to call the clan.
- Clan War Cry: Stand fast, stand sure!
Here are some fun things about the Grant clan!
- They most likely descended from Normans who came to Scotland with the British.
- During the 1600s, the Grants hid a number of MacGregor outlaws from the British crown, resulting in fines and threats.
- After the Battle of Culloden, eighty-four Grants were taken to Barbados and sold as slaves.
- Clan Grant was affected little by the great Highland clearance that affected many other clans. This is because their chief during that time cultivated a town called Granton-on-Spey that provided enough work to sustain the clan.
Clan Motto: Virescit Vulnere Vistus- Courage Grows Strong at a Wound
- The Stewarts originally came from Brittany, France, during the Norman conquest of England.
- During the Wars of Independence, they were originally sided with the British, then quickly turned to support Robert the Bruce.
- The Stewarts took the crown of Scotland when Walter Stewart married Robert the Bruce’s daughter, Marjorie. When Robert died, the crown passed to Water and Marjorie’s son, also named Robert. The Stewarts firmly held the crown until 1714.
- There are 21 sub-clans of Stewarts.
- Mary Queen of Scots and “Bonnie” Prince Charles Stuart descended from this line.
- Here are some lovely Charlie gifs…
The MacDougall Clan
- Clan Motto: Buaidh no bàs– Victory or Death
Let’s get a little historical up in here…
- They got their name from their first chief Dougall, who descends from the royals of Norway. In fact, one of his sons, was given the title “King of the Isles” by the King of Norway in the 1200s.
- The MacDougalls kept the vikings out of Scotland and even won the country the Hebrides from the Norse in the 1260s.
- The Bruces and MacDougalls hated each other, which made things pretty awkward during the Scottish Wars for Independence, when they both supported William Wallace and independence from England. The MacDougalls kept things chill until Robert the Bruce was crowned king, then they went wild and ambushed him, defeating the Bruces in battle and taking some rather expensive jewelry for their troubles. But Robert was like, “nah, f*uck this,”and overtook the MacDougals three years later. Robert gave all their lands to the Campbells, who have always been loyal to him.
Clan Motto: Fide et Fortitudine- By Fidelity and Fortitude
War Cry:Na Bean Ris A Chat! Touch not the cat! (Because even the Scots know that cats can be as*holes)
- The history of how Clan Shaw came to be is fuzzy, and it seems to be as a result of a mixture of marriages, chiefs, and second sons wishing for power, but they’re greatly connected to the Macintosh clan.
- They are a part of Chattan Confederation, a federation of twelve smaller clans, who often worked together. The Shaws were known for their strength and bravery in battle.
- Clan Motto: Touch not the cat bot a glove-Touch not the cat without a glove (Scots and their cats…)
- Clan War Cry: Loch Moigh- the name of a lake where the clan would rally
- They are the chiefs of the Chattan Confederation.
- They are descendents from Shaw MacDuff, making them the “cousins” of the Shaw Clan.
- They were heavily involved in an ongoing feud with Clan Cameron that lasted 250 years.
- The clan saved Prince Charlie during the Jacobite Rebellion. When she heard that the British were coming to get Charlie, Lady Macintosh rallied the men to hide along the road. When the British troops passed, the Macintosh men began shooting and calling for the Cameron and Donald men to advance. It was a buff, neither of those clans were there, but it worked and British retreated.
The Forbes Clan
- Clan Motto: Grace, me guide
- Clan War Cry: Lonach!- a mountain on their lands where they would rally
- The name “Forbes” refers more to an area than a family name. The first record of Forbes referring to a person was in 1271.
- The Forbes, who were Protestant, were really salty that the Gordons remained Catholic after the reformation. So, naturally, the Fobes killed a bunch of Gordons then the Gordons killed the Forbes…they stopped, eventually, but it took two Acts of Parliament.
- Clan Motto: Fuimus- We Have Been
Lets learn about the Bruce clan!
- This clan came from the French de Brus in Normandy.
- in 1219 Robert the Bruce married the wealthy Isobel of Huntingdon, the niece of King William the Lion, who has a king of Scotland. When King Edward I of England forced the King of Scotland, John, to abdicate, the Scots were left without a king. Robert, who was made the ‘Guardian of Scotland’ along with John Comyn after Willaim Wallace was executed was all, “hey, you know what Isobel? I should be king, not just guidian. I gotta ditch Comyn. He’s cramping my style!” So Robert stabbed him, was excommunicated by the Catholic Church, and crowned king. But the Bruce reign ended when Robert’s son David died without an Heir.
- Robert the Bruce was the real “Braveheart” and had his heart removed from from his body after he died, because he wanted his heart to go on a crusade, because who said adventure ends when you die? It was taken for a ride, but the holder died in battle and Robert’s heart was sent back to Scotland all willy nilly. It finally found a resting place in Melrose, Scotland.
Are you a member of any of those clans? Didn’t see your clan? Let us know, because a third installment of Outlandish Clan History is in the works and we can add your family name to the list!
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.