An Outlandish Clan History Part2

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 Armstrong


  • 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 Fergusson


  • 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 Ross


  • 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 Gordon


  • 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 MacNeil


  • 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 Stewart


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 bàsVictory 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 Shaw


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.

Mackintosh Clan


  • 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 Bruce


  • 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.

A reconstruction of what Robert the Bruce looked like.

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.



15 thoughts on “An Outlandish Clan History Part2

  1. Kay Heath says:

    I am told that my family came from the Clan McPherson, and would love to know more, but I worry. What if we were feuding with everyone?


    • AKissAtMidnight says:

      Well, I know a bit about your clan, and I won’t say that they were a particularly peace loving people. They were known for their fierceness in battle, which was a good thing while they were fighting for their lands. Bloody history doesn’t always mean terrible history. Each clan has seen war, some more than others, but that’s history! Your people were strong and proud members of the Chatten confederation. You should be proud. I’ll add your clan to part 3!


      • Kay Heath says:

        I looked for some information and am somewhat appalled. Thank you for your time and effort. Ewen McPherson of Cluny does remind me of Jamie Fraser, but why were the McPhersons not there in time to help during the Battle of Culloden?
        I don’t expect you to answer; I am rambling and wondering ‘aloud’. Again, thank you for your time, and have a blessed day.


  2. Jennifer says:

    I know very little about MacEwen clan, and i am interested in learning more, but i am afraid you won’t find much because i do know we were disolved and i think absorbed into the Campbell clan 😦 but i want to know more.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anonymous says:

    I would love to know about McLeod Clan (Mother’s Side) & MacMillan Clan (Father’s Side) Any info would be of great help, esp. getting past all the Alexanders, seems to be where we seem to be so stuck….Thanks for ANY help!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ann Wahlström says:

    I’m looking at most tartans and find the colours way too bright, there are no way they could have created bright colours like that in the 18th century, not with the herbal colours they mostly used. My question is: What colours DID they have 250+ years ago?? I get that many of the lovely tartans you have displayed is newer and I get that many have changed during time, but are there anything left after the English ransacking the highlands? Any cloth with pattern and colours?


    • AKissAtMidnight says:

      The kilt didn’t exist in Scotland until the 1500s and wasn’t how we picture them now. The “plaid” would refer more to the pattern of weaving, which was very durable, and less to an array of checkered colors that we see now. They started out in nothing more than brown, for the most part. Only the wealthy could afford to buy the colorful dyes from merchants and was used to show their status. The early tartan kilts weren’t colored to match the clan, but was based more on what was affordable and available at the time for each wearer. And Scotland had the means to create all sorts of colors naturally, depending on their locations, so don’t take “Outlander” as a rule for what was widely available. For example, cup moss created a lovely purple when boiled and dried. Add in some alum and something else that escapes me at the moment, and you get a nice bright blue. Heather could supply a mustard yellow, if treated correctly. The natural availability of those natural items is what gave the clan tartans their individual colors. While a certain plant may be available in one area, it wouldn’t in another. And by the 1700s, mass produced dye was becoming more widely available if you had the money, as were ways to create your own, naturally, in more vivid colors. There are snippets of surviving tartan that shows vibrant yellows, reds, and purples from before Culloden. Sorry if it’s a bit confusing, but did that answer your questions?


  5. Mary Ellen Ryan says:

    According to I am 1.5 percent Scottish Celtic. I found my maiden name in the Gunn Clan and managed to get a scarf in that plaid. How about adding it to your list? I have read 4 of the Outlander books and see that part of their traditions are similar to my Irish roots.
    Mary Ellen Ryan

    Liked by 1 person

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