The Clan Gregor is a Highland Scottish clan. Outlawed for nearly two hundred years after losing their lands in a long power struggle with the Clan Campbell, the Clan Gregor claims descent from the third son of Kenneth MacAlpin, the first King of Scotland, a descent which is proclaimed in the motto, 'S Rioghal Mo Dhream, translated as Royal is my Race.
History Origins of the Clan
The Clan Gregor is believed to have originated in Scotland during the 800s. The MacGregor's suggest that they take their name from Gregor (meaning "Watchers" in Greek), a son of the Scottish king Kenneth MacAlpin. The Y-chromosomal data supports this contention as the hierarchical family Y-DNA is consistent with that of the other clans claiming similar descent. The data supports descent from the Dalraidic kings. Many historians have suggested the clan descends from Griogair, son of Dungal, who is said to have been a co-ruler of Alba, an area of north central Scotland, between AD 879 and 889. The Y-DNA data does not support this second contention.
14th Century & Wars of Scottish Independence
In the 14th century during the Wars of Scottish Independence the Clan MacGregor fought at the Battle of Bannockburn under chief Malcolm MacGregor.
Most historians agree that the first certain Chief was Gregor "of the Golden Bridles." Gregor's son, Iain Camm ("of the One-Eye") succeeded as the second Chief sometime prior to 1390.
The MacGregors suffered a reversal of fortune when the Scottish king, Robert the Bruce, awarded the bulk of their lands to the Clan Campbell. The MacGregors fought the Campbells for decades and were eventually dispossessed of all their lands. Reduced to the status of outlaws, they rustled cattle and poached deer to survive. They became so proficient at these endevours many other clans would pay them not to steal their cattle as they exhausted other means of stopping them. They were formally banished in 1603 by King James VI who made it a capital offence to bear the MacGregor name. From this period comes the Clan MacGregor's most famous historical figure, Rob Roy. Persecution of the MacGregors ended in 1774.
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 Clan Grant and Clan 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. (In the late Lord Strathspey's book on the Clan, he mentions that the top of the cranium was hinged, and that he saw documents kept in it.) Clan tradition predicts grave things if the skull ever leaves the hands of the family - prophecying that the Clan would lose all of its lands in Strathspey.
In a stunning reversal of fortune, the Scottish king Robert the Bruce granted the barony of Loch Awe, which included much of the MacGregor lands, to the chief of the 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.
16th Century & Clan Conflicts
Iain of Glenstrae died in 1519 with no direct heirs. This plunged the Clan MacGregor into disarray as the powerful Campbells meddled with succession and asserted claim to the last remaining MacGregor lands. In 1560, the Campbells dispossessed Gregor Roy MacGregor, who waged war against the Campbells for ten years before being captured and killed. His son, Alistair, claimed the MacGregor chiefship but was utterly unable to stem the tide of persecution which was to be fate of the "Children of the Mist."
Argyle and his Clan Campbell henchmen were given the task of hunting down the MacGregors. About sixty of the clan made a brave stand at Bentoik against a party of two-hundred chosen men belonging to the Clan Cameron, Clan MacNab, and Clan Ronald, under command of Robert Campbell, son of the Laird of Glen Orchy. In this battle, Duncan Aberach, one of the Chieftains of the Clan Gregor, his son Duncan, and seven other MacGregors were killed. But although they made a brave resistance, and killed many of their pursuers, the MacGregors, after many skirmishes and great losses, were at last overcome.
Clan MacGregor fought against the English at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh 1547.
In 1558 a deadly feud took place between the Clan MacLaren and the Clan MacGregor when the MacGregors slaughterd no less than 18 MacLarens men along with their whole families and took posession of their farms. This incident was not investigated until 1604 when the MacGregors were on trial for slaughtering many men of the Clan Colquhoun. However the MacGregors were cleared of doing anything against the Clan MacLaren.
17th Century & Clan Conflicts
The Battle of Glen Fruin took place in 1603 where the MacGregors were victorious, defeating five hundred Clan Colquhoun men, three hundred of whom were on horseback, by four hundred MacGregor men at Glen Fruin. Over two hundred of the Colquhoun men were lost when the MacGregors, who had split into two parties, attacked from front and rear and forced the horsemen onto the soft ground of the Moss of Auchingaich. It meant the proscription of the Clan MacGregor. It wasn’t until the eighteenth century that the enmity between the clans was laid to rest when, at Glen Fruin on the site of the massacre, the chiefs of the Clan MacGregor and Colquhoun met and shook hands.
The dispossessed MacGregors rustled cattle and poached deer to survive. When John Drummond, the king’s forester, was murdered after hanging some MacGregors for poaching, the chief of the Clan MacGregor (who?) was condemned by the Privy Council. In April 1603, King James VI issued an edict proclaiming the name of MacGregor ‘altogidder abolisheed’, meaning that those who bore the name must renounce it or suffer death.
MacGregor (which MacGregor?) , along with eleven of his chieftains, was hanged at Edinburgh’s Mercat Cross in January 1604. Clan Gregor was scattered, many taking other names, such as Murray, King, or Grant. They were hunted like animals, flushed out of the heather by bloodhounds. Persecution of the MacGregors continued until 1774 when they were permitted to be reestablished.
The Clan MacThomas spent much of their time breeding cattle and fighting off those who tried to rustle them. One of these incidents in 1606 is remembered as the Battle of Cairnwell. A force of around 200 men from the Clan MacGregor and some Catarans made off with around 2,700 of the MacThomases cattle. The MacThomases eventually caught up with their enemies and defeated them but not before they had butchered most of the MacThomases cattle out of pure spite. This caused much financial damage to the MacThomases with some of the clansmen being completely ruined.
18th Century & Jacobite Uprisings
In the 18th Century during the early Jacobite Uprisings men from the Clan MacGregor fought at the Battle of Glen Shiel in 1719 led by their chief Rob Roy who was wounded.
During the 1745 to 1746 uprising the Clan MacGregor who were under the Duke of Perth fought as Jacobites at the Battle of Prestonpans in 1715 and the Battle of Culloden in 1746.
- Origin of the name: Son of Gregory (flocksman)
- Gaelic name: MacGrioghair ("Son of Gregory")
- Motto: 'S rioghal mo dhream (My race is royal) (Royalty is my race) or (My blood is royal)
- Slogan: "Ard Choille!" (The woody height!)
- Pipe music: Ruaig Ghlinne Freoine - The Chase (or Rout) of Glen Fruin
- Crest: A lion's head erased proper crowned with a five-pointed antique crown.
- Clan members were called "Children of the Mist" as they were said to be able to dissapear into the Highland fog at will.
- Tartan: Red, green and white plaid. On red, three stripes of dark green, the middle stripe bisected by white edged with black.
- Argent: An oak tree eradicated in bend sinister proper, surmounted by a sword azure hilted and pommelled or, in bend supporting on its point, in the dexter canton, an antique crown gules.
Notable Clan Members
- Alasdair MacGregor
- Gregor MacGregor
- Malcom MacGregor
- Ian Macgregor, Former CIO of The Wellcome Trust, oversaw growth of £1bn per annum over fifteen years, making The Wellcome Trust the worlds largest foundation (total assets valued at c. £15bn at his retirement in 2000). Regarded by many as the most successful investment officer ever seen in the not-for-profit sector, Macgregor was behind the largest private share sale on record: initial floatation of Wellcome Plc.
- Scott David MacGregor
- John Malcom MacGregor 1990-
- Robert Roy MacGregor (Rob Roy)
- Ewan McGregor, actor, 1971-
- Sir Ian Kinloch MacGregor, 1912-1998. Chair of the British Steel Corporation between 1980 - 1983 and British Coal from 1983 - 1986. Sir Ian faced down the steel unions in his first days in post, but entered history as the man who finally broke the coal unions in the year-long miner's strike during 1984 - 1985 working alongside Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
- James Grierson MacGregor 1905-1989. Dr. James Grierson MacGregor was born in Scotland but came to Canada at the age of one when his family homesteaded in Alberta, north of Edmonton. Graduated from the University of Alberta with a BA degree in 1926 and a BSc in Electrical Engineering in 1929 and went on to become a professional engineer. At one time, general manager of Canadian Utilities, Ltd. and later chairman of the Alberta Royal Commission on the development of Northern Alberta, he retired in 1970. Dr. MacGregor then wrote fifteen books on the history of Alberta and has received several awards from both the Canadian and American historical bodies for his outstanding contribution towards the preservation of western Canada's history. In 1971 his alma mater bestowed on him the honorary degree of L.L.D. Durin 1973 he was named a member of the order of Canada.
- Chief Sir Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor, 7th Bart., 24th Chief of Clan Gregor. His Gaelic designation is An t-Ailpeineach, a name which bears testimony to the Clan's Clann Ailpein - Clan Alpin origin, the older kindred name of our Clan.
Septs of Clan MacGregor Alpin Bain Beachley Black Bowers Bowie Coleman Comrie Dochart Dunn Fletcher Greer Gregg Gregor Gregorson Gregory Greig Grewer Grier Grierson Grigg Grigor Gruer Gudger Johnson King Kirkwood Lakie Landless Leckie Lockie MacAlpin MacAdam Macaldowie Macara Macaree MacChoiter MacConachie MacCrowther MacEan MacEwin MacGregor MacGrigor MacGrowther MacGruder Macilduy MacLeister MacLiver MacNee MacNie MacNeice MacNeish MacPeters MacPetrie Magruder Malloch McGehee McNish Mor Neish Orr Patullo Peters Petrie Pippig Roy Skinner Stirling Stringer White Whyte Willox
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Clan Gregor sites you may find of interest:-