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Clan Campbell

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Clan Campbell

Clan Campbell
Caimbeulach (Singular) & Ó Duibhne (Collective)
Crest: On a boar's head erased fessways erased Or, armed Argent, langued Gules
Motto Ne Obliviscaris (Latin for Forget Not)
Slogan Cruachan! (from the mountain north of Loch Awe, overlooking the bulk of the Campbell lands in Argyll)
Region Highland
District Argyll
Plant badge Bog Myrtle
Pipe music "The Campbells Are Coming" (also known in Scottish Gaelic as "Baile Inneraora", which translates as "The Town of Inveraray")
The Most Noble Torquhil
Duke of Argyll ('MacCailein Mor')
Seat Inveraray Castle
Historic seat Castle Campbell
For pipes and drums.

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Clan Campbell is a Highland Scottish clan. Historically one of the larger of the Highland clans, their lands were in Argyll and the chief of the clan became the Earl and later Duke of Argyll.


  • History 1
    • Origins 1.1
    • Wars of Scottish Independence 1.2
    • 15th century and royal relations 1.3
    • 16th century and clan conflicts 1.4
    • 17th century and Civil War 1.5
    • 18th century and Jacobite Uprisings 1.6
      • 1715 to 1719 Jacobite Rising 1.6.1
      • The Black Watch 1.6.2
      • 1745 to 1746 Jacobite Rising 1.6.3
  • Castles 2
  • Tartans 3
  • Chief 4
  • Branches 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8



In traditional genealogies of the Clan Campbell, its origins are placed amongst the ancient Britons of Strathclyde.[3] However the earliest Campbell in written records is Gillespie who is recorded in 1263.[3] Early grants to Gillespie and his relations were almost all in east-central Scotland.[3] However the family's connection with Argyll came some generations before when a Campbell married the heiress of the O'Duines and she brought with her the Lordship of Loch Awe.[3] Because of this the early clan name was Clan O'Duine and this was later supplanted by the style Clan Diarmid.[3] This name came from a fancied connection to Diarmid the Boar, a great hero from early Celtic mythology.[3]

The original seat of the Clan Campbell was either Innis Chonnell Castle on Loch Awe or Caisteal na Nigheann Ruaidh on Loch Avich.[3] The clan's power soon spread throughout Argyll however at first the Campbells were under the domination of the Lords of Lorne, chiefs of Clan MacDougall.[3] The MacDougalls killed the Campbell chief Cailean Mór (Colin Campbell) in 1296.[3] (See: Battle of Red Ford). All of the subsequent chiefs of Clan Campbell have taken MaCailein Mor as their Gaelic patronymic.[3]

Between 1200 and 1500 the Campbells emerged as one of the most powerful families in Scotland, dominant in Argyll and capable of wielding a wider influence and authority from Edinburgh to the Hebrides and western Highlands.[4]

Wars of Scottish Independence

The family of Colin Campbell went on to become firm supporters of King Robert the Bruce and benefited from his successes with grants of lands, titles and good marriages.[4] During the Wars of Scottish Independence the Campbells fought for Scotland against the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.[4] During the 14th century the Clan Campbell rapidly expanded its lands and power. This is partly explained by the loyalty of Sir Neil Campbell (Niall mac Caile), (d.1315), to the cause of Robert the Bruce – a loyalty which was rewarded with marriage to Bruce's sister Mary.[4] The family was also closely associated with the Stewarts as well as the Bruces in the time of Cailean Mór.[3] Sir Neil, as a staunch ally of the Bruce was rewarded with extensive lands that had been taken from the forfeited MacDougall, Lords of Lorne and other enemies of the Bruces in Argyll.[3]

15th century and royal relations

Innis Chonnell Castle on Loch Awe, possibly the earliest seat of the Clan Campbell.

The Campbells gave support to the Crown throughout the 15th century.[3] By the end of the 15th century the power of the Lords of the Isles (chiefs of Clan Donald) who were the Crown's most powerful rivals had been broken leaving the Campbells as the main power in the area.[3] From this time onwards the Campbells acted as the main instrument of central authority in the area and this could be the real cause of the ancient enmity between the Campbells and the MacDonalds.[3]

Descendants of Sir Duncan Campbell, 1st Lord Campbell (Donnchadh) and his wife Lady Marjorie Stewart would be descendants of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland and Robert II Stewart, King of Scotland. Lady Marjorie Stewart, b. 1390 was the daughter of King Robert II's son, Robert Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany.[4] This would make all descendants of Sir Duncan Campbell and Lady Marjorie Stewart descendants of Robert I Bruce and most of the early Kings of Scotland.[5]

The first Lord Campbell was created in 1445. It was from the 15th century that the Campbells came to take an increasingly prominent role. The personal reign of James I of Scotland, saw that king launch a great political assault on the Albany Stewarts and their allies in the west, however Duncan Campbell, 1st lord Campbell (Donnchadh), escaped the fate of his Albany kinsmen who were all either executed or exiled.[5]

Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of Argyll (Cailean) was en-nobled as the Earl of Argyll in 1457 and later became Baron of Lorn and was also granted lands in Knapdale, signs that the Argylls were one of the major forces in Scotland.[4] In 1493 after the forfeiture of the MacDonald, Lord of the Isles, the Campbell lords may well have viewed themselves as natural successors to the Clan Donald in terms of leadership of the Gaels of the Hebrides and western Highlands.[4] The Campbell lordship thus remained one of the most significant bastions of Gaelic learning and culture in late medieval and early modern Scotland.[4]

In the Battle of Knockmary, 1490, men of the Clan Campbell and the Clan Drummond joined forces to defeat the Clan Murray.[6] This also became known as the Massacre of Monzievaird.

16th century and clan conflicts

In 1513 the 2nd Earl of Argyll was killed along with many of his clan at the Battle of Flodden.[7]

The Battle of Langside took place in 1568 where the chief of Clan Campbell, Archibald Campbell, 5th Earl of Argyll, commanded the forces who fought for Mary, Queen of Scots.[7]

In 1567, a conflict took place between the Clan Campbell and Clan Arthur. Duncan MacArthur and his son of the Loch Awe MacArthur family, became the victims of their own success when jealousy of their power drove neighbours to drown them in Loch Awe during a skirmish with the Clan Campbell. In the archives of Inveraray Castle a charter dated 1567 confirms that a pardon was granted to the Campbells of Inverawe for the "drowning of Clan Arthur". It is believed that the MacArthurs trying to defend themselves were driven into the loch. Centuries later in the 1970s an ancient sword was unearthed on the shore of the loch.[8][9]

In 1594 Archibald Campbell, 7th Earl of Argyll was granted a Royal Commission against the Earl of Huntly but was defeated at the Battle of Glenlivet.[10]

17th century and Civil War

The support that the Campbells gave to the central government brought them rewards: In 1607 Arhibald Campbell, 7th Earl of Argyll was granted the former MacDonald lands of Kintyre and in 1615 Campbell of Cawdor was allowed to purchase the Isle of Islay which had previously belonged to the Macleans of Duart.[3]

Kilchurn Castle, seat of the Campbells of Glenorchy.

At the Battle of Inverlochy (1645), the Scottish Covenanter forces led by Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess of Argyll were defeated by the Royalist forces of James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose whose army was mainly made up from Scots of the Clan MacDonald, Clan MacLean and others from Ireland. After the Battle of Inverlochy, Montrose laid siege to Castle Campbell but was unable to beat the Clan Campbell defenders and failed to take the castle.[11] In the wake of the Battle of Inverlochy the Clan Lamont took the opportunity to raid the Campbell lands.[12] However in 1646 the Clan Campbell responded and massacred the Clan Lamont in what became known as the Dunoon Massacre.[12][13] The vengeful Campbells also ravaged the lands of the Clan Maclean who had fought against them at Inverlochy and in due course the Maclean's Duart Castle surrendered.[14]

In 1648 at the

  • The Clan Campbell Society (North America)
  • Clan Cambell@ElectricScotland
  • Clan Cambell at
  • Clan Campbell Heraldry
  • Campbell Tartans

External links

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac "OFFICIAL LIST OF SEPTS OF CLAN CAMPBELL". Retrieved 3 June 2007. 
  2. ^ a b Campbell, A, A History of Clan Campbell; Volume 1, From Origins To The Battle Of Flodden, p.254-255
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Way, George and Squire, Romily. (1994). Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. (Foreword by The Rt Hon. The Earl of Elgin KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). pp. 90 - 92.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Lynch, Michael. (2011). Oxford Companion to Scottish History. pp.64 – 66. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-923482-0.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ "Clan Drummond". Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  7. ^ a b Clan Campbell Timeline retrieved 24 May 2014.
  8. ^ "MacArthurs of Tirevadich". Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  9. ^ "History of the MacArthur Clan". Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  10. ^ Campbell, Alistair of Airds. (2002). A History of Clan Campbell: From Flodden to the Restoration. pp. 113 - 117. Edinburgh University Press.
  11. ^ "Battle of". Archived from the original on 23 August 2006. 
  12. ^ a b Way, George and Squire, Romily. (1994). Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. (Foreword by The Rt Hon. The Earl of Elgin KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). pp. 188 - 189.
  13. ^ Levene, Mark & Roberts, Penny. (1999). The Massacre in History. Berghahn Books. ISBN 1-57181-934-7.
  14. ^ Campbell, Alastair. (2004). A History of Clan Campbell: From the Restoration to the Present Day. pp. 15.
  15. ^ "Battle of". Archived from the original on 14 April 2005. 
  16. ^ "– Person Page 15045". Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  17. ^ Anderson, William (1862). "The Scottish nation: or, The surnames, families, literature, honours, and biographical history of the people of Scotland". Fullarton. pp. 524–5. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f Anderson, William (1862). "The Scottish nation: or, The surnames, families, literature, honours, and biographical history of the people of Scotland". Fullarton. pp. 524–5. 
  19. ^ Campbell, Alastair. (2004). A History of Clan Campbell: From the Restoration to the Present Day. pp. 22.
  20. ^ Campbell, Alastair. (2004). A History of Clan Campbell: From the Restoration to the Present Day. pp. 39 - 60.
  21. ^ Campbell, Alastair. (2004). A History of Clan Campbell: From the Restoration to the Present Day. pp. xviii.
  22. ^ Campbell, Alastair. (2004). A History of Clan Campbell: From the Restoration to the Present Day. pp. 80 - 93.
  23. ^ Chambers, Robert. (1856). Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen - Significant Scots John Campbell. (New edition along with the supplemental volume says by the Rev. Thos. Thomson). Retrieved 25, February 2012.
  24. ^ Battle of Sheriffmuir Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  25. ^ Siege of Fort William Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  26. ^ Pollard, Tony. (2009). Culloden: The History and Archaeology of the last Clan Battle. pp. 71 - 72. ISBN 978-1-84884-020-1.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab Coventry, Martin. (2008). Castles of the Clans: The Strongholds and Seats of 750 Scottish Families and Clans. pp. 76 - 87. ISBN 978-1-899874-36-1.
  28. ^ a b c Government, or Black Watch Retrieved on 11 September 2007 Archived 16 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ a b c d e f g Which are the authentic Campbell tartans? Retrieved on 11 September 2007
  30. ^ "Clan Campbell Tartans". Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  31. ^ "". Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  • Boardman, Steve, The Campbells 1250–1513. Edinburgh: John Donald, 2006. ISBN 0-85976-662-4.
  • Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland


See also

Duke of
Marquess of Breadalbane
Earl of Cawdor
Earl of Loudoun
Campbell of Aberuchill
Campbell of Ardchattan
Campbell of Barcaldine
Campbell of Cawdor
Campbell of Clathick
Campbell of Lawers
Campbell of Lochaw
Campbell of Lochdochart
Campbell of Lochnell
Campbell of Monzie
Campbell of Moy
Campbell of Ottar
Campbell of Park
Campbell of Possil
Campbell of Smiddygreen
Campbell of Craignish
Campbell of Auchinbreck
Campbell of Auchawillig
Campbell of Ardentinny
Campbell of Ardkinglas
Campbell of Gargunnock
Campbell of Inverneil
Lord Stratheden
Campbell of Netherplace
Campbell of Glenlyon
Campbell of
Campbell of Blythswood
Campbell of Glenfalloch



The Sixth Duke of Argyll added a white line to his tartan to distinguish himself as Clan Chief. He was the only member of the family to do so, but the tartan has persisted as "Campbell of Argyll". Campbell of Argyll, as with any other tartan not listed above, is not recognized as official.[30]

  • Campbell:[29] More commonly known as the Black Watch tartan or the Government Sett. The Black Watch, first raised in 1695 to police the 'Black Trade' of cattle smuggling in the Highlands, taking role later as a militia in 1725 by General Wade (after the act of Union in 1707), become what was the first Highland Regiment in the British Army.[28] All Campbell tartans are based upon the Black Watch tartan, as are many clan tartans. The tartan was used, and is in current use, by several military units throughout the Commonwealth.[28]
  • Campbell of Breadalbane:[29] This tartan may be worn by Campbells of the Breadalbane, or Glenorchy branches.[29]
  • Campbell of Cawdor:[29] This tartan may be worn by members of the Campbell of Cawdor branch.[29]
  • Campbell of Loudoun:[29] This tartan may be worn by members of the Campbell of Loudoun branch.[29]

Although mills produce many fabrics based on the Campbell tartan, the Clan Chief recognizes only four:

The Black Watch tartan, also known as the Government sett, or the Campbell tartan. The tartan was used, and is in current use, by several military units throughout the Commonwealth.[28]


  • Inveraray Castle in Argyll is the current seat of the Chief of Clan Campbell.[27] The present symmetrical mansion with towers and turrets was built in 1743 and replaced an earlier 15th century castle.[27] It contains a "clan room" with information for members of Clan Campbell.[27]
  • General Monk for Oliver Cromwell and the Clan Ogilvy are also said to have torched it in revenge for the burning of Airlie Castle.[27]
  • Innis Chonnell, possibly the earliest seat of Clan Campbell.[27]
  • Kilchurn Castle was seat of the Campbells of Glenorchy.[27] The lands were originally held by the Clan MacGregor but they went to the Campbells of Glenorchy who built or re-built the castle.[27] The castle was strengthened and improved after being damaged by the MacGregors at the end of the sixteenth century.[27] Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy who was known as Black Duncan of the Seven Castles was responsible for building castles at Kilchurn, Achallader, Loch Dochart, Finlairg, Balloch (Taymouth) and Edinample.[27] In 1654 the Campbells withstood a two day siege in Kilchurn Castle by General Middleton who retreated from Cromwell's forces.[27]
  • Achallader Castle,[27] was seat of Sir Duncan Campbell of Glen Orchy which he acquired in 1590.
  • Finlarig Castle,[27] was another seat of the Campbell of Breadalbane branch of the clan.
  • Edinample Castle,[27] was another seat of the Campbell of Glenorchy branch of the clan.
  • Taymouth Castle, originally built by Sir Colin Campbell of Glenorchy in around 1580 and known as Balloch Castle, the current building was built between 1801 and 1842 and incorporates the cellars of the original stronghold.[27]
  • Saddell Castle was owned by the Campbells from the late 17th century onwards.
  • Torosay Castle,[27] built by John Campbell of Possil in 1858.
  • Castle Sween was granted to Colin Campbell in 1481 when he became the first Earl of Argyll, but it was captured by the MacDonalds in 1647.
  • Carnasserie Castle,[27] has belonged to the Clan Campbell since the 16th century.
  • Kilmartin Castle, passed to the Campbells in 1674.[27]
  • Ardkinglas Castle,.[27]
  • Auchinbreck Castle, held by the Campbells but demolished by 1870.[27]
  • Cawdor Castle, originally seat of the chiefs of Clan Calder, it later passed to the Clan Campbell of Cawdor.[27]
  • General Monk for Cromwell after a siege in which the castle was damaged.[27] The earl took part in Glencairn's rising in support of Charles II of England in 1653.[27] John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudoun fought for the British-Hanoverians during the Jacobite risings.[27]

Castles that have belonged to the Clan Campbell have included amongst many others:

Inveraray Castle, seat of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of Clan Campbell.


Just before 1745 the strength of the Clan Campbell had been put at a total of five thousand men.[3] During the Jacobite rising of 1745 the Clan Campbell continued their support for the British Government. They fought against the rebel Jacobites at the Battle of Falkirk (1746) where government forces were defeated. However shortly afterwards the Campbells held out during the Siege of Fort William where the Jacobites were defeated.[25] At the Battle of Culloden in 1746 where the Jacobites were finally defeated, involved in the fighting on the government side were four companies from the Campbell of Argyll militia, three companies from Loudon's Highlanders who were under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John Campbell and one company from the 43rd Highlanders who were under the command of Captain Dugald Campbell of Auchrossan.[26]

1745 to 1746 Jacobite Rising

In 1725, six Independent Highland Companies were formed to support the Government: three from Clan Campbell, one from Clan Fraser, one from Clan Munro and one from Clan Grant. These companies were known by the name Reicudan Dhu, or Black Watch. The Regiment of the Line was formed officially in 1739 as the 43rd Regiment of Foot and first mustered in 1740, at Aberfeldy.

The Black Watch

During the Jacobite risings of the 18th century the Clan Campbell supported the British-Hanoverian Government. On 23 October 1715, chief John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll learned that a detachment of rebels was passing by Castle Campbell, towards Dunfermline. He sent out a body of cavalry which attacked the rebel party and defeated it and took a number of prisoners, taking only light casualties.[23] A month later the British government forces, including men from Clan Campbell, fought and defeated the Jacobites at the Battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715. However there were in fact a small number of Campbells who took the side of the Jacobites led by the son of Campbell of Glenlyon whose father had commanded the government troops at the Massacre of Glencoe against the MacDonalds 22 years earlier. These two families then settled their differences and swore to be brothers in arms, fighting side by side in the Sheriffmuir. However the British government forces led by chief John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll defeated the Jacobites.[24]

1715 to 1719 Jacobite Rising

18th century and Jacobite Uprisings

In 1692, 38 unarmed people of the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed in the Massacre of Glencoe when a government initiative to suppress Jacobitism was entangled in the long running feud between Clan MacDonald and Clan Campbell. The slaughter of the MacDonalds at the hands of the soldiers, led by Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, after enjoying their hospitality for over a week was a major affront of Scots Law and Highland tradition. The majority of soldiers were not Campbells, but a roll call from a few months before included six Campbells in addition to Cpt. Robt. Campbell: Corporal Achibald Campbell, Private Archibald Campbell (elder), Private Donald Campbell (younger), Private Archibald Campbell (younger), Private James Campbell, Private Donald Campbell (elder), and Private Duncan Campbell.[22] See also: Earl of Argyll's Regiment of Foot.

In 1678 Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll led the Campbell of Argyll militia on an expedition to the Isle of Mull and took Duart Castle of the Clan Maclean.[19] However Argyll was hanged on 30 June 1685 for his participation in the Monmouth Rebellion to depose Catholic James II and place the Protestant James, Duke of Monmouth on the throne.[20] Later in 1692 Archibald Campbell, 1st Duke of Argyll again gained possession of the Maclean's Duart Castle.[21]

[18] by way of compensation.Earl of Breadalbane Campbell was made [18] Having failed to regain his inheritance by force, Sinclair of Keiss then turned to the law. He took his place as Earl of Caithness on 15 July 1681, and his lands were restored on 23 September.[18] Legend has it that so many Sinclairs were killed that the Campbells were able to cross the river without getting their feet wet.[18], 13 July 1680, between the Clan Campbell and the Clan Sinclair in which the Campbells were victorious.Battle of Altimarlech This was followed by the [18] In 1672 a feud took place between the Clan Campbell and


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