The name Bruce comes from the French 'de Brus' or 'de Bruis', a land now called Brix, situated between Cherbourg and Valognes in Normandy, France. The first of this family on record, in Great Britain, was Robert de Brus, a knight of Normandy who came to England with William the Conqueror. After the victory over King Harold in 1066, at the Battle of Hastings William sent Robert to the northern parts of England. Before the end of William the Conqueror's reign, Brus owned no less than 94 lordships in Yorkshire. Robert left a son also called Robert who founded a priory at Gysburn. Soon after the accession of David I of Scotland to the throne, Robert visited the monarch and obtained from him the lordship of Annandale. Robert de Brus (known as Robert le Meschin, or 'the Cadet') was the first of the family to be connected with Scotland. He came from Normandy with Henry I around 1100, and by 1103 had acquired some or all of the family's holdings in Yorkshire, which he increased over the following years. The family’s ambition and assets allowed them to marry into the Scottish royal lines and in time assert themselves as heirs to the throne.


The true progenitor of Clan Douglas was almost certainly "Theobaldus Flammatius" (Theobald the Flemming), who received in 1147 the lands near Douglas Water in Lanakshire in return for services for the Abbot of Kelso. In 1179 William Douglas was Lord of Douglas and it seems likely that he was Theobald the Flemming's son and the first to take the surname Douglas. During the Wars of Scottish Independence, Sir William Douglas the Hardy, Lord of Douglas was governor of Berwick-upon-Tweed when the town and Berwick Castle were besieged by the forces of Edward I of England. Douglas was captured and was released only after he had agreed to accept the claim of the English king to be overlord of Scotland. He subsequently joined William Wallace in fighting for Scottish independence, but was captured and taken to England, where he died in 1298, a prisoner in the Tower of London. William Le Hardi's son, James Douglas, "The Good Sir James", was the first to take the epithet "Black". Douglas was set to share in Bruce's early misfortunes, being present at the defeats at Methven and Dalrigh. But for both men these setbacks were to provide a valuable lesson in tactics: limitations in both resources and equipment meant that the Scots would always be at a disadvantage in conventional Medieval warfare. By the time the war was renewed in the spring of 1307 they had learnt the value of guerrilla warfare – known at the time as 'secret war' – using fast moving, lightly equipped and agile forces to maximum effect against an enemy often locked in to static defensive positions. Sir James Douglas recaptured Roxburgh Castle from the English in 1313. Sir James Douglas was made a knight banneret, a high honor, on the field and commanded a wing of the army at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. James was called "The Black Douglas" by the English for his dark deeds in English eyes, becoming the Bogeyman of a Northern English lullaby "Hush ye, hush ye, little pet ye. Hush ye, hush ye, do not fret ye. The Black Douglas shall not get ye."


The first Graham known in Scotland was Sir William de Graham (or De Graeme), an Anglo-Norman knight who accompanied David I, England’s premier baron, on his journey north to claim the Scottish crown in 1128. William De Graeme personally witnessed the signing of the charter founding the Abbey of Holyrood in the same year 1128. From this line descended the Montrose line of Grahams, one of the most distinguished families of Scotland. Twice the Montrose Grahams married into the royal family. From these came some notable men. First among them was Sir John de Graham, right hand man to William Wallace, killed during the Wars of Scottish Independence at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298. The Clan Graham also fought at the Battle of Dunbar in 1296 where Sir Patrick Graham of Kincardine was the only man of all the Scots not to retreat and instead fought to the death. The Clan Graham also fought against the English at the Battle of Durham in 1346, in support of Robert the Bruce. The Grahams acquired the lands of Mugdock north of Glasgow, where they built a stout castle around 1370.


The Wallace family first came to Scotland with a Norman family in the 11th century.[2] King David was eager to extend the benefits of Norman influence and gave grants to the nobles of the south. Among them was Walter Fitzallan, who the Scottish king appointed his Steward in 1136.[2] One of Fitzallan's followers was Richard Wallace from Oswestry who came north to try and improve his fortunes] Oswestry is on the Welsh border so it is possible that the name Wallace may be a corruption of Le Waleis meaning the "Welshman". Lord Fitzallan received from King David lands in Ayrshire and so it was here that his follower Richard Wallace settled. Richard Wallace was granted his own estate in Kyle. The family is best known for the knight William Wallace, but the family was also active after his time such as in the 1400s under General John Wallace who commanded Scotland's armies to victory over England at the Battle of Sark. Among those who joined him were the forces of George Douglas from the powerful Douglas family.


The clan Cummings is believed to descend from Robert of Comyn, a companion of William the Conqueror who accompanied him in his conquest of England. Shortly after his participation in the Battle of Hastings, Robert was made Earl of Northumberland, and, when David I came to Scotland to claim his throne, Richard Comyn, the grandson of Robert, was among the Norman knights that followed him. Richard Comyn quickly gained land and influence in Scotland through an advantageous marriage to the granddaughter of the former Scottish king Donald III, Hextilda of Tynedale. Richard's descendants continued the Comyns' rise to power through marriage, and, at the close of the thirteenth century, the Comyns were the most powerful clan in Scotland, members of which were holding (or had held) at one time thirteen Scottish earldoms, including those of Buchan, Menteith, and Angus, and lordships including the Lordship of Badenoch. The Lords of Badenoch represented the chief line of the clan and ruled their vast lands from their impregnable island stronghold of Lochindorb Castle. After the death of the last descendant of the royal line of David I, the clan chief John "the Black" Comyn was one of six competitors for the crown of Scotland due to his connection to King Donald III. A Comyn ally, John Balliol, was chosen as king, and Balliol's sister was soon married to the Black Comyn. This marriage produced a son, John "the Red" Comyn, and, upon the exile of the Balliols by Edward I of England, the Red Comyn was left as the most powerful man in Scotland and one of the claimants to the Scottish throne, having a double claim through the male and female lines. During the Wars of Scottish Independence John the Red acted as co-leader of the Scottish forces with his rival Robert the Bruce after the death of William Wallace and achieved some notable successes against the English, including at the Battle of Roslin. However, Robert the Bruce, murdered the Red Comyn at a meeting at a church in Dumfries in 1306. This led to a bitter civil war between the Bruce's faction and the Comyns and their allies that eventually resulted in the Comyns' power being completely broken at the Battle of Inverurie in 1308. The taking of Castle Grant, 14th century; Originally a Comyn Clan stronghold, Clan Grant traditions tell us that the castle was taken from the Comyns by a combined force of the Grants and MacGregors. The Grants and MacGregors stormed the castle and in the process slew the Comyn Chief - and kept the Chief's skull as a trophy of this victory. The skull of the Comyn was taken as a macabre trophy and was kept in Castle Grant and became an heirloom of the Clan. Clan tradition predicts grave things if the skull ever leaves the hands of the family - prophesying that the Clan would lose all of its lands in Strathspey.

Date: 1066

Region: York, England

Effects: Influence, Command


The Stewarts were an originally Breton family that settled with the Normans in England, after 1066. Related to the FitzAlans via the 1140s immigrant Walter FitzAlan who obtained from King David I of Scotland large grants of land and property in Renfrewshire as well as in many other places, together with the hereditary office of Senescallus Scotiae, Lord High Steward of Scotland. From this title Walter's grandson, also called Walter, took the name Stewart, which was forever afterwards retained by the family. This Walter was also rewarded lands by King Malcolm IV of Scotland. Walter is celebrated as the founder of Paisley Monastery in 1163 in the barony of Renfrew. Walter married Eschina de Londonia, Lady of Moll, in Roxburghshire. Walter died in 1177, he was succeeded by his son Alan Stewart. The family remained in high standing and nobility until in 1371 Robert Stewart, succeeded to the crown of Scotland as King Robert II of Scotland.


The family originated in Brittany, France, and shares common ancestry with the Stewarts. The Scottish nameholders held an earldom of Arundel during the period 1267 – 1580. Beginning with the 1140s immigrant Anglo-Norman Walter FitzAlan who obtained from King David I of Scotland large grants of land and property in Renfrewshire as well as in many other places, together with the hereditary office of Senescallus Scotiae, Lord High Steward of Scotland. This line continued as the Stewarts clan of Scotland.


In the thirteenth century the MacSweens controlled lands across central Argyll, extending as far north as Loch Awe and as far south as Loch Fyne.[3] Their principal seats included Lochranza Castle on the Isle of Arran, Skipness Castle and Castle Sween at Knapdale, which may be Scotland's oldest surviving stone-built castle. The MacSweens held this lordship of Knapdale and lands in Kintyre until 1262. A contingent of the MacSweens eventually re-established themselves at Donegal as Gallowglass mercenary soldiers and became the progenitors of Clan Sweeney. During the Great Cause, which led to the First War of Scottish Independence, the MacSweens were supporters of the powerful MacDougall Lords of Lorne who supported John Balliol as patriots, as long as John was king of Scotland. After the murder of John Comyn, the nephew of Balliol, by Bruce in 1306, the First War of Scottish Independence became at one and the same time a civil war. This was an era of constantly shifting alliances, and in 1301 John MacSween was in alliance with Angus Og against the MacDougalls of Lorne.

Clan MacDougall

The Clan MacDougall takes its name from Dougall, the eldest son of Somerled by Ragnhild, who, after his father's death in 1164, held most of Argyll and also islands such as the Isle of Mull, Lismore, Jura, Tiree, Coll, Iona and many others. Likewise the Clan MacDonald of Clan Ranald branch take their name from another of King Somerled's sons called Ranald and the head Clan Donald take their name from Somerled's grandson and Ranald's son who was called Donald. After Haakon IV of Norway had been defeated by the Scottish army at the Battle of Largs in 1263 the Clan MacDougall attacked his fleet. The Norsemen were defeated by the MacDougalls in the sea battle. The Battle of Red Ford, in Lorn 1296; was fought between Clan Campbell and Clan MacDougall due to the feud over coastal lands between the two clans. In the late 13th century the rising force on Scotland's Western Seaboard was the MacDougalls. Controlling the Western mainland was MacDougall's Dunollie Castle and Dunstaffnage Castle, near Oban in Argyll while their huge fleet of galleys commanded the seas.


The family's early landholdings, around Menstrie, and in Cowal, were related to the partition of the Mormaerdom of Mentieth in 1213, and one early ‘Gilleasbuig’ may have been a kinsman of Mormaer Muireadhach Mór. The lands around Loch Awe, which would later form the core of their possessions, were not held at an early date. The name begins to be established in Argyll at the end of the 13th century, as followers of the Earl of Lennox, with Campbells owning lands in Kintyre and the famous warrior Cailean Mór (Great Colin) knighted (1280) and established at Loch Awe. Cailean Mór's older brother established at Strachur forming the oldest branch of Clan Campbell, see Campbell of Strachur. Between 1200 and 1500 the Campbells emerged as one of the most powerful families in Gaelic speaking Scotland, dominant in Argyll and capable of wielding a wider influence and authority in the Hebrides and western Highlands.


The Norse-Gaelic Clan Donald traces its descent from Dòmhnall Mac Raghnuill (d. circa 1250), whose father Reginald or Ranald was styled "King of the Isles" and "Lord of Argyll and Kintyre".Ranald's father, Somerled was styled "King of the Hebrides", and was killed campaigning against Malcolm IV of Scotland at the Battle of Renfrew in 1164. Clan Donald shares a descent from Somerled with Clan MacDougall, who trace their lineage from his elder son, Dugall mac Somhairle.[3] Their dynasties are together commonly referred to as the Clann Somhairle. Furthermore they are descended maternally from both the infamous House of Ivar and the Earls of Orkney, through Somerled's wife Ragnhildis Ólafsdóttir, daughter of Olaf I Godredsson, King of Mann and the Isles and Ingeborg Haakonsdottir daughter of Haakon Paulsson, Earl of Orkney. The MacDonalds fought with Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. It was Donald's great grandson, Angus Og of Islay who was the 6th Lord of the Isles who sheltered King Robert the Bruce. Angus led a small band of Islesmen at the Battle of Bannockburn. In recognition of Clan Donalds support King Robert the Bruce proclaimed that Clan Donald would always occupy the honored position on the right wing of the Scottish army.


The most popular and accepted theory as to the origins of the chieftenship of the Clan Mackay is that the chief was descended from the Pictish royal house of MacEth. They settled in the province of Moray but were dispersed principally northward to Strathnaver by order of King Malcolm IV of Scotland after the king's victory in 1160 over Malcolm MacEth, Earl of Ross, whose daughter Gormflaith married the Norse Harold, Earl of Orkney which then also included Caithness. Their son was called MacHeth and he was raised to the chieftainship of his Clan Mackay in 1250. 1260 - Iye Mor MacHeth married a daughter of Bishop Walter of Caithness. 1263 - Clan Mackay fought in the Battle of Largs in support of King Alexander III of Scotland. 1314 - Clan Mackay fight under Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn where they helped defeat the English. The clan continued to fight no less than ten major battles in the 1400s.


The founder of the clan was a Scots warlord descended from the royal Cenél Loairn named Gilleain na Tuaighe of the Battleaxe", who lived circa (1174–1249). Gillean's son Malise (from the Gaelic Maoliosa "Servant of Jesus") was thought by some to have taken the name Gillemor in 1263 and wrote his name as "Gillemor Mcilyn ("son of Gillean"), County of Perth" on the third Ragman Rolls of 1296. Malise is said to have led his followers against the Norsemen at the Battle of Largs in 1263 during the Scottish-Norwegian War where the Scottish were victorious. During Battle of Stirling Bridge, 1296-97 the MacLean's allied with Andrew de Moray. At the Battle of Bannockburn, 1314, fought with Robert the Bruce defeating King Edward II. They were involved in many battles in the 1400s. Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull is the traditional home of the MacLeans. There has probably been a fortress on the site (the "Dubh-Aird" - Black Height) since early mediaeval times. The current castle originally consisted of a square curtain wall surrounding lean-to buildings, and was most likely built for MacDougall of Dunollie around 1250. Some 100 years later it was part of the dowery of Lady Mary Macdonald, daughter of the Lord of the Isles, upon her marriage to Lachlan Lubanach Maclean. Lachlan built the Great Keep of Duart ca. 1370

Region Duart Castle

Date 1174


The Clan MacLeod of Lewis claims its descent from Leod, who according to MacLeod tradition was a younger son of Olaf the Black, King of Mann (r.1229–1237). They were based at Dunvegan Castle.


The progenitor of the Clan Sutherland was also the progenitor of the Clan Murray who was a Flemish nobleman by the name of Freskin the son or possibly grandson of Ollec. Freskin's grandson was Hugh de Moravia who was granted lands in Sutherland and was known as Lord de Sudrland. Hugh's brother, William was progenitor of the Clan Murray. Hugh's eldest son (also called William) was William de Moravia, 1st Earl of Sutherland. The place name and clan name of "Sutherland" came from it being the land to the 'south' of the Norse Earldom of Orkney and Caithness. Although the senior line of chiefs who were Earls of Sutherland were known by the surname 'de Moravia', the younger sons of the family would take the surname 'Sutherland', creating the cadet branches of the Clan Sutherland. Battle of Bannockburn, 1314, During the Wars of Scottish Independence, the Clan Sutherland under chief William de Moravia, 3rd Earl of Sutherland fought at Bannockburn in 1314 where the English army was defeated. Battle of Halidon Hill, 1333, Kenneth de Moravia, 4th Earl of Sutherland later led the Clan Sutherland where the Scottish army was defeated. William de Moravia, 5th Earl of Sutherland, whose wife was the daughter of Robert the Bruce and sister of King David II of Scotland, led the clan at Kilblene where he participated in the siege of Cupar Castle Fife. Along with the Earl of March took foray into England. Battle of Neville's Cross, 1346, William de Moravia Earl of Sutherland accompanied King David II of Scotland into England where both were captured in battle by Durham. They remained in prison for over ten years before being released. John, the son of the Earl and Princess Margaret, was designated the heir to the Throne over Robert Stewart, who eventually became King Robert II in 1371.


A Scottish warrior slew the Danish General Camus at the Battle of Barrie in 1010. For this, King Máel Coluim II of Scotland dipped three fingers into the blood of the slain and drew them down the shield of the warrior. Thereafter the warrior was named Marbhachir Chamius or Camus Slayer. Ever since then the Chief of the Clan Keith has borne the same mark of three red lines on his arm. Máel Coluim's victory at the Battle of Carham in 1018 brought him into outright possession of the lands of the Lothians and the Merse. The Keiths derive their name from the Barony of Keith, Humbie, East Lothian, said to have been granted by the king to Marbhachir Chamius for his valour. The office of Earl Marischal and later Knight Marischal of Scotland was hereditary in the Keith family until the 18th century. It may have been conferred at the same time as the barony, since it was confirmed, together with possession of the lands of Keith, to Sir Robert Keith by a charter of King Robert the Bruce, and appears to have been held as annexed to the land by the tenure of grand serjeanty. Sir Robert Keith commanded Scottish light cavalry at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 and was killed at the Battle of Dupplin Moor. His grandson, also a Robert Keith, was killed at the Battle of Neville's Cross in 1346. At the close of the 14th century Sir William Keith, by exchange of lands with Lord Lindsay, obtained the crag of Dunnottar in Kincardineshire, where he built the Dunnottar Castle, which became the stronghold of the Clan Keith.

Region Dunnottar Castle

Date 1080


Clan Ross is a Highland Scottish clan first named as such by King Malcolm IV of Scotland in 1160. The first of the chiefs was Fearchar, Earl of Ross from the O'Beolain family, also known as 'Fearchar Mac-an-t-sagairt' (meaning "son of the priest") of Applecross. Ferquhard Ross helped King Alexander II of Scotland (1214 - 1249) crush a rebellion in Moray and Ross-shire. When King Alexander II ascended to the throne, a rebellion broke out in Moray and western Ross-shire, whose Celtic population were opposed to the laws and customs of the south. The King marched northwards with his army but was unable to crush the insurgents from Ross and Moray. However, Fearchar, Earl of Ross, with a large body of men from his own clan and his allies, appeared on the scene and soon wiped out all opposition to the King's authority. Fearchar brought the King the heads of the rebel leaders and was knighted on 15 June 1215. He was created Earl of Ross in about 1234. The Clan Ross by tradition fought at the Battle of Largs in 1263 in support of Alexander III of Scotland against King Haakon IV of Norway. The Norwegian forces were defeated by the victorious Scots. During the Wars of Scottish Independence the Clan Ross fought against the English at the Battle of Dunbar (1296) where their chief, the Earl of Ross was captured. This meant that for a short time Uilleam II, Earl of Ross sided with the English but he later supported Robert the Bruce of Scotland. The Clan Ross fought alongside King Robert the Bruce when Earl Fearchar's grandson William led the clan against the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Aodh, the 5th earl, was killed at the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333, and his successor William died without male issue. The earldom of Ross and the chiefship of Clan Ross were then separated. The chiefship of the Clan Ross passed to Earl William's brother Hugh Ross of Rariches, who was granted a charter, in 1374, for the lands of Balnagowan. The Rosses of Balnagowan held the chiefship for 300+ years.


The Clan Gregor is believed to have originated in Scotland during the 800s. The MacGregor's suggest that they take their name from Gregor (derived from the Latin 'Gregorius' and the Late-Greek 'Gregorios' which means "Alert, Watchful, or Vigilant"). Gregor is said to be a son of the Scottish king Alpin II Mac Eochaidh and younger brother of Kenneth MacAlpin, the now famous Scottish king who first united Scotland in A.D. 843. Alpin II was the son of Eochaidh VI 'the Poisonous,' High King of Scots, by his marriage to his cousin, the Pictish Princess Royal, and thus had claims to the Scottish and Pictish Thrones. By tradition in the 14th century during the Wars of Scottish Independence the Clan Gregor fought at the Battle of Bannockburn under chief Malcolm MacGregor. The MacGregors suffered a reversal of fortune when the Scottish king, Robert the Bruce, granted the barony of Loch Awe, which included much of the MacGregor lands, to the chief of Clan Campbell. The Campbells ejected the unfortunate MacGregors from these lands, forcing them to retire deeper into their lands until they were largely restricted to Glenstrae. The MacGregors fought the Campbells for decades and were eventually dispossessed of their lands. Reduced to the status of outlaws, they rustled cattle and poached deer to survive. They became so proficient at these endeavours other clans would pay them not to steal their cattle as they exhausted other means of stopping them. The taking of Castle Grant in the 14th century; Originally a Clan Comyn stronghold, Clan Grant traditions tell us that the castle was taken from the Comyns by a combined force of the Grants and MacGregors. The Clan Grant and Clan Gregor stormed the castle and in the process slew the Comyn Chief - and kept the Chief's skull as a trophy of this victory. The skull of the Comyn was taken as a macabre trophy and was kept in Castle Grant and became an heirloom of the Clan Grant.


The first recorded Grant was Sir Laurence le Grant who was Sherriff of Inverness in 1260. His son, John Grant was captured by the English during the Wars of Scottish Independence. Members of Clan Grant have owned land in Strathspey at least since 1316, prior to that , most likely in Stratherrick, to the east of Loch Ness. In 1316, John Grant of Inverallan sold his land to John le Grant, who was father of Patrick le Grant, Lord of Stratherrick. The clan's lands in Stratherrick would later become controlled by Clan Fraser. During the Wars of Scottish Independence Clan Grant were supporters of William Wallace and fought at the Battle of Dunbar in 1296 where both Randolph and John de Grant were captured and imprisoned for a time. The Clan Grant later supported King Robert the Bruce and it was this support that secured their landholdings in Strathspey upon Bruce's ascent to the throne. The taking of Castle Grant, 14th century; Originally a Comyn Clan stronghold, Clan traditions tell us that the castle was taken from the Comyns by a combined force of the Grants and MacGregors.

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