An Outlandish Clan History Part4

Are you all caught up on the other three clan posts? Just in case, read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here! While these might not be the biggest clans, they’re your clans, each one sent to me through this blog, or your Facebook comments. Let’s dive right in and learn a little about Scottish clan history.

Clan MacLea/Livingstone


  • Clan Motto: Cnoc Aingeil- Hill of Fire
  • Alternative Clan Motto: Ni mi e ma’s urrain dhomh- I shall do it if I can
  • Livingstone is the anglicized version of MacLea and came from an area of Scotland.
  • The chief of the MacLea clan has been traditionally called the heir of Siant Moluag. Saint Moluag was a Scottish missionary who is credited with evangelizing to the Picts and may have been the first patron saint of Scotland. He is still the parton saint of Argyll.
  • They weren’t so awesome when it came to battles. They lost almost every one they participated in, usually with heavy losses that decimated their population. Their inability to hold land and numbers for a prolonged period of time may be why they were not officially recognized as a clan until 2003.

Clan MacLaren


  • Clan Motto: Creag an tuirc- The boar’s rock
  • They are said to be descended from the Fergud MacErc, the founder of the Dál Riate kingdom. Even if they weren’t, they still hold strong ties to the royal families of Scotland.
  • When the MacGregors and Campbells were driven from their lands in the 1500s, they settled in MacLaren lands. When the MacGregors began plundering MacLaren villages, the MacLarens asked the Campbells for help, as they continued to have a large number, but the Campbells refused unless the MacLarens pledged fealty to them.
  • They were very active in the Jacobite uprising of 1745, losing a large number as a result. They also fought at the infamous Battle of Culloden.



  • Clan Motto: I make sure
    • They do not have a registered, nor an adopted tartan.
  • They are an armigerous Lowland clan, although the term is meant to be used loosely as they have never been recognized, and their name has been interchanged with Kilpatrick throughout history. They have also been septs of the Douglas and Colquhoun and they got their name from Saint Patrick.
  • Roger Kirkpatrick, the cousin of William Wallace and the cousin and attendant of Robert the Bruce. He saved Bruce several times and is credited for leading his men to overtake several castles from the English. After Bruce was crowned, he gifted the crest and motto to Kirkpatrick, which has since been adopted by the clan.

Clan MacInnes


  • Clan Motto: Ghift dhe agus an righ- By the grace of God and King
  • MacMaster is a variant, as are dozens of other names, and were one of the first clans to settle in Scotland from Ireland. It is possible that these small sects fell under the Macinnes protection and were then adopted.
  • They were accomplished seamen, but moved off of the western coast towards Argyll when the viking raiders became too much for them to handle. Still, they could not escape the vikings and formed an alliance with other small clans known as “Siol Gillebride”,  or the “Seed of the Servant of St. Bride”, under the leadership of a Celtic-Norse warrior named Somerled.
  • The last chief dies in the 14th century and in the 16th, the remaining members of the clan moved the Sleat in the Isle of Skye. They were adopted loosely into some larger clans, such as the Campbells and Mackinnons, and fought on both sides during the Jacobite uprising.

Clan Maxwell


  • Clan Motto: Reviresco- I grow strong again


  • Maxwell is another Lowland armigerous clan without a chief.
  • The name comes from “Maccus well”, a poor part of the River Tweed and an old Norse king Maccus.
  • The Lord John Maxwell was very Catholic and participated in the attempts to restore Mary Queen of Scots to the throne. It didn’t go well, but even after Mary was executed, John petitioned Spain for help in restoring Catholicism in Scotland…that didn’t go well either.
  • One of the last Maxwell Lords, William, was a proud Jacobite supporter. After he was captured in battle and imprisoned in the Tower of London, he escaped in such a move way. His wife dressed him up as a servant woman and they just walked right out of there and into Rome like a boss.

Actual historical footage of William’s escape

The Malcolm/MacCallum Clan


Clan Motto: In Ardua Tendit- He aims at difficult things


  • The MacCallums were a separate clan until the 18th century when the MacCallum chief inherited the Malcolm estate, uniting the clans. MacCallum comes from the Gaelic “Mac Ghille Chaluim”, which means, “son of the disciple of Columba”.
  • The clan largely stayed out of large wars and battles, only participating in small skirmishes between clans.
  • Book readers will recognize a variant of this name 😉 BTW here’s a gif of our fav man with Malcolm in his name…

yes, please

The Hay Clan


  • Clan Motto: Serva Jugum- Keep the Yoke
  • War Cry: A Hay! A Hay!
  • The Hay clan came from Normandy, with the original name of Haye. They settles throughout Scotland.
  • They were staunch Catholics and fought Protestant rule throughout history, constantly trying to overthrow Queen Elizabeth with Spain’s help and even trying to convert King Edward I. There were even Hays involved in the Hundred Year’s War under Joan of Arc.
  • They supported the Jacobites in both rebellions, but became loyal British citizens when they failed.

Clan Rose


  • Clan Motto: Constant and True
  • Unrelated to Clan Ross, they came from the de Bisset and the de Bosco families of Ros Normandy.
  • They were very politically savvy. They expanded their lands through good marriages and royal favor. They were very close to Robert the Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots. It’s said that her own son, King James VI, thought of Hugh Rose, the chief, as a father. But the clan was split during the Jacobite rebellions. Since many of them supported the British, they didn’t have many issues after the rebellion ended.
  • Kilravock castle housed the chiefs of Clan Rose from the 13th century until 2012, when it was gifted to a Christian group.


Clan MacQuarrie


  • Clan Motto: An T-arm Breac Dearg- The Red Tartaned Army (Also used as a war cry)
  • Clan Motto #2: Turris fortis mihi Deus- God is to me a tower of strength


  • They are one of the oldest of the Highland clans and are descended from both the kings of the Picts and the Dál Riata. In fact, they can be traced back to Kenneth MacAlpine, who was the first King of Scotland.
  • They owned many islands in the Scottish Hebrides and had powerful allies in Clan MacLean.
  • Since they don’t have an active chief, and haven’t since the 1700s, they’re technically an armigerous clan. The last chief had crazy debts and sold off a bunch of clan lands, then joined the British army. So if you’re a part of this clan and want to do some digging, see if you’re in the line and can prove a direct link back to a former chief. This Clan is too interesting to let go on without a chief.
  • BTW here’s a pic of Taran MacQuarrie, the leader of the Watch, who was hanged at Wentworth Prison. He wasn’t in the books, but was created for the TV series.


The Erskine Clan


  • Clan Motto: Decori decus addit avito- He adds honour to that of his ancestors


  • They got their name from an area called Erskine, which may mean “green rising ground” in ancient British.
  • They were very politically influential. Great supporters of the Bruce clan, they intermarried, gained great favor, and many Erskkine leaders were given political power within the cabinet when Robert the Bruce was named king. They also had a great hand in putting Robert II, Robert the Bruce’s grandson, on the Scottish throne. That means they basically created the Stewart line of succession.
  • John Erskine, the leader of the clan during the Jacobite rebellion was known for changing his alliances like the wind, to keep his clan in favor of the winning side. At one point, he went to London, where he felt slighted by the English king. So John was all all “F*ck them!” and went home and immediately raised an army for the Jacobites.
  • It’s said that John Erskine now haunts Culross Palace, an old holding of his BFF the Bruce Clan. The palace, and the surrounding area, was used for shooting locations for Outlander. This includes Geillis’s parlor, the village of Crainsmure, and the herb garden the two time traveling women meet.

The Hunter Clan


  • Clan Motto: Cursum Pericio- I have completed the course


  • The Hunters are of viking stock. They came with Rollo to Paris in 896 and stayed on in the area, following the powerful nobles of Normandy, but went to Scotland with King David I in the 1100s, where they finally settled.
  • The Hunters were largely gifted their land and didn’t participate in cattle raiding and the usual clan skirmishes. They were appointed the keepers of the royal forest, and this duty kept them fairly busy. They also didn’t participate in larger battles and many of their leaders ended up well educated.
  • Hunterston Castle has been the clan’s seat for over 800 years. Finally, a clan that holds on to their castles!


Clan MacEwen/Ewen


  • Clan Motto: Reviresco- I grow strong again


  • There are five MacEwen septs and two of them are under Campbell and MacDougall leadership. Their tartan is even very similar to that of Clan Campbell.
  • Because they were so divided, the clan was chiefless for a number of years, making it an armigerous clan. But a chief was selected in 2016, the first since 1493, so that may change in the near future.

Names asked for, but lacking strong Scottish clan presences outside of being a sept: Wotherspoon, Miller, McHugh (Irish clan), Brennen (Irish Clan), McMahon (Irish Clan), McCole (mainly Irish), Harvey (members of Clan Keith), McCracken (sept of the Macnaghten), Mackie, Gates, Nichols (sometimes associated with Clan MacLeod), Aitken, and Oliver…all awesome names! If your name was one of those listed, and you’d like to privately discuss your name and get some history, let me know and I’ll be sure to tell you what I have!

That’s all for today, and my list! If there’s enough interest, I’ll do another post, so don’t be afraid to post your clan name in the comments for me to review. And read all of our Outlander posts here!

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.



6 thoughts on “An Outlandish Clan History Part4

  1. Lana says:

    Thank you for this most excellent post!!! My clan is McCrea! Can you tell me a bit about it and I’ll compare notes to what I have found. Thank you again! Love the history! Lana

    Liked by 1 person

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