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In addition to the names ‘Gregor’, ‘McGregor’ and ‘MacGregor’ (various spellings thereof), more than one hundred names are recognised as part of Clan Gregor. This is due to the clan name being proscribed (unlawful) for almost 200 years.
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What exactly is a 'Clan'?
A clan can be described as ‘a group of people, united by kinship, and living on land controlled by it and it’s chief’.
Clans can be named after their founders, the lands that they live or lived on, or descriptions of their founders. In Scots Gaelic the word ‘clan’ means both children and kin. The prefix Mac means ‘son of’ (the prefix Nic is ‘daughter of’). The clans therefore, contain people who are literally and metaphorically the kin of the founder.
Clans were a warrior people. Fighting and feuds were common and the 'lifting' or taking of another clan’s cattle was considered entirely fair.
Clans could field many hundreds of fighting men. In the 17th and 18th centuries some clans supported the Hanoverian Kings, others the exiled Jacobites.
After the battle of Culloden in 1746, and to prevent another Jacobite rising, the clan system was abolished. Some clan chiefs had their lands forfeited. Other chiefs were given money, by the King, to raise regiments of their fighting men for the benefit of the Crown. These clan-based highland regiments fought with great distinction all over the world.
The MacGregors are named ‘ the sons of Gregor ’ after our founder.
The Rosses are named after the lands of Ross granted to their originator, Fearcher, the Earl of Ross.
The Campbells are named after the description of their founder (Campbell in Gaelic means 'twisted mouth').
Latterly, when clansmen and women were no longer needed on the clan lands many were ‘cleared’ to make way for more profitable sheep farming, hence the mass emigration of highlanders to North America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other colonies and thereafter the spread of clanship and Scottish tradition across the globe.
In Scotland a clan is a legally recognised group, distinguished by Heraldry and recognised by the Sovereign. Most clans still have Chiefs whose right to the title and the Heraldic Arms they bear has been approved by the Lord Lyon as the representative of Her Majesty.
What exactly is a 'Sept'?
Septs are smaller clans and families with different surnames, who follow another family’s Chief.
These smaller septs then comprise - and are part of - the Chief’s larger clan. A sept might follow another Chief if both families were linked through marriage or if this offered greater protection. Occasionally these septs were almost as powerful as the main clan and the bonding of the two brought added strength to both.
Open the attached PDF to see which names are associated with Clan Gregor