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Clan Chattan is one of the oldest Highland clans; however its history is quite complex and almost has to be told in two separate parts as you cannot discuss the Clan Chattan history without also discussing the history of the Clan MacKintosh.
Clan Chattan means the clan of the cats. The Clan Chattan is believed to have descended from Gillichattan Mor, who was "Servant of St. Chattan" and had the galley coat-of-arms. Clan Chattan was founded in Lochaber at the close of the thirteenth century. The Clan consisted of various families or septs, bearing diverse names, who had banded themselves together under one chief for mutual protection.
Clan Mackintosh's earliest authentic ancestry is traced to Shaw MacDuff, son of the third Earl of Fife, who was of the Royal Family. MacDuff took the name of Mackintosh "Mac-an-Toisich" which means son of the Chief or Thane. In 1163 he came to the north to supress a rebellion. As a reward for his services, he was made keeper of the Royal Castle of Inverness. Shaw Mackintosh, the first Chief of the Clan, died in 1179.
There are many theories on the origin of this unique group of families which did not follow the ordinary pattern of other Scottish clans, but rather became a community or confederation, consisting of various descendents of the original ancestors. They were distinguished by the wildcat which figures so prominently in their heraldry. The most widely accepted, however, says they descended from Gillichattan Mor, the great servant of St Cattan. Gillichattan was probably the baillie, of the abbey lands of Ardchattan.
Around the time of Malcolm II they became possessed of lands at Glenloy and Loch Arkaig, where Torcastle became the chief¹s seat. Little is certain until the clan became established around Lochaber at the close of the thirteenth century.
In 1291, Eva, daughter of Gilpatric, or Dougal Dall married Angus Mackintosh, sixth of Mackintosh.
The Chattan chief gave to Angus Mackintosh with his daughter Eva the chiefship of Clan Chattan and the lands of Glenloy and Loch Arkaig. Eva was descended from Gillichattan Mor and her father was Gilpatric, or Dougal Dall of Clan Chattan in Lochaber, sixth in line from Gillichattan Mor.The chieftainship of Clan Chattan was regarded as a hereditary honor, and the son-in-law became Chief in right of his wife, just as the husband of a Scottish countess became earl in her right. After his marriage to Eva, and upon the death of Dougal, Angus Mackintosh succeeded to the lands and chiefship of Clan Chattan, with the approval of the entire clan. Angus and Eva lived at Torcastle, but due to the enmity of Angus Og of Islay they soon withdrew to Rothiemurchus.
Angus was the seventh Chief of Clan Chattan and sixth Chief of Mackintosh.
The Camerons, claiming that the lands around Arkaig had been abandoned, occupied them by right of conquest. Thereafter a long and bitter feud was fought between the Camerons and Clan Chattan which lasted unitl 1666. In 1370 four hundred Camerons made a raid into Badenoch but while returning home with their spoils they were met at Invernahavon by a strong force of Mackintoshes supported by the MacPhersons and Davidsons. The Camerons were defeated, but the battle was the origin of feuding between the MacPhersons and the Davidsons. In 1503 the Camerons rebelled against the king and ravaged Badenoch. Despite several bloody encounters, it took some three years to quell the insurrection.
Prior to the fourteenth century, Clan Chattan appears to have been a conventional clan though little is known of it. Subsequently, however, it evolved into a confederation or alliance of clans made up of (a) the descendents of the original clan (Macphersons, Cattanachs, Macbeans, Macphails), (b) Mackintoshes and their cadet branches (Shaws, Farquharsons, Ritchies, McCombies, MacThomases), and (c) families not originally related by blood (MacGillivrays, Davidsons, Macleans of Dochgarroch, MacQueens of Pollochaig, Macintyres of Badenoch, Macandrews). By the eighteenth century the clans in and around Strathcairn (Shaw, Macbean, Macphail, MacGillivray) looked to Mackintosh as their chief, having none of their own, but whether this was Clan Chattan or Clan Mackintosh is unclear, the histories of both clans being inextricably entwined.
In the risings of 1715 and 1745 Clan Chattan declared for the Stuarts, and suffered as a consequence. Among the dead and captured after the Battle of Preston in 1715 were numbered many bearing Clan Chattan surnames, especially MacGillivrays. The Mackintosh chief was imprisoned until August 1716 and he died at Moy in 1731. When Bonnie Prince Charlie returned in 1745 to promote his father¹s claim to the throne, the chief of the Mackintoshes was an officer of George II in command of a company of the Black Watch. He did not rally to the prince¹s call to arms, but his wife, Anne, daughter of Farquharson of Invercauld, raised the confederation in his absence, selecting MacGillivray of Dunmaglas as commander. Under him the Clan Chattan Regiment fought at the Jacobite victory of Falkirk in 1746. It is of note that there were separate MacPherson and Farquharson regiments.
The suppression of the Highlands after the Forty-five undermined the nature of the confederation, and its members largely sought independent destinies. The major families continued to dispute the vestiges of power, but no more violently than in heated debate before the Court of the Lord Lyon. As early as September 1672, the MacPherson claim had been swept aside by the Lord Lyon, and Mackintosh was declared to be chief of the name of Mackintosh and of Clan Chattan.
The chiefs of Clan Mackintosh continued as captains of Clan Chattan until 1947, when Duncan Alexander Mackintosh of Torcastle was recognised by the Lord Lyon as thirty-first chief of Clan Chattan. The present chief lives in Zimbabwe.
Clan Chattan Bond of 1664
"Wee under subscryt, Gentlemen of the name of Clan Chattan, in obed- iene to His Majesty's authority, and Letters of concurrence granted by the Lords of His Majesty's Privie Council in favour of Lachlan Mackintoshie of Torcastle, our Chieffe, against Evan Cameron of Lochyield, and certain others of the name of Clan Cameron, and for the love and favour we beare to the said Lauchlan, do hereby faithfully promitt and engage ourselves everie one of us for himself, and those under his power, in case the prementional Evan Cameron and those of his kin, now rebells, do not agree with the said Lauch- lan anent their present differs and controversies before the third day of Feb- ruary next ensuing, that then and in that case, we shall immediately thereafter upon the said Lauchlan his call, rise with, fortify, concurr and assist the said Lauchlan in the prosecution of the commission granted against the said Evan, to the uttermost of our power, with all those of our respective friends, foll- owers, and defenders, whom we may stopp or lett, or who will anyway be counselled and advised by us to that effect. Now thereto we faithfully engage ourselves upon our reputation and credite and the faith and truth in our bodies, by these subscribed at Kincairne in the nineteent day of November and year of God, Sixteen Hundred, Sextie and Four Years."
It is signed by twenty-eight gentlemen, heads of families, including five Mackintoshes.
( To learn more about the affiliated clans and septs click on the names below )
Septs of Clan Mackintosh which are a part of Clan Chattan
CLAN MACBEAN or MacBain
CLAN MACLEAN OF DOCHGARROCH
MacPhail, Macphail, McFail, McPhaul, McFaul, Fail, Fall and McPaul.
Comb, Combie, McColm, McComas, McComb, McCombie, McComie, McComish,
Macomie, Macomish, Macthomas, Tam, Thom, Thomas, Thoms and Thomson.
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