The Gaelic name for Macpherson is 'Clann Mhuirich' - Children of Murdoch.
Plant Badge: White Heather
not the catt bot a glove.
'Bot' means without. The 'glove' of a wildcat is the
pad. If the cat is 'ungloved', its claws are unsheathed. The motto serves as a
warning that one should beware when the wildcat's claws are 'without a glove'.
It is a reference to the historically violent nature of the clan and serves as
a metaphorical warning to other [clans] that they should think twice before
interfering with Macpherson business.
Castles: Cluny Castle was the seat
of the Chief of Clan Macpherson until the 1930s. Ballindalloch Castle has been owned by the
since the middle of the 16th century.
Hon. Sir William Macpherson
Clan association: Clan Macpherson
has a very active clan association, with 2500 members in many countries of the
world. It publishes an annual newsletter, Creag Dhubh, operates the Clan
Macpherson House and Museum at Newtonmore in the heart of clan territory, and
organises the annual clan gathering at Kingussie and Newtonmore. Members
participate in activities worldwide, including Highland Games in Scotland,
Canada and the United
The chairman of the Clan Macpherson Association is Shelagh Macpherson-Noble of Haddington,
of the Name
The name Macpherson
-- or MacPherson or McPherson, according to different spellings -- comes from
the Gaelic Mac a' Phearsain and means 'Son of the Parson'. The Parson in
question was Muriach, a 12th century parson, or
lay preacher, of Kingussie in Badenoch.
Historically, the term 'parson' (in the Gaelic pearsain or pears-eaglais
literally 'person of the church') had a different meaning. Before the
Reformation in Highland Scotland,
the religious leader of a parish was the priest and the parson was the steward
of church property, responsible for the collection of tithes.
of the Clan
The history of Clan
Macpherson has been called "The Posterity of the Three Brethren" as
the three grandsons of Muriach are the antecedents of the three main clan
Pitmain and Invereshie.
For many centuries,
the Macphersons have been a leading clan in the Clan Chattan Confederation along with Clan MacKintosh, Clan Shaw
and others. Although the Macphersons have a strong claim to the Chattan
lineage, they have been unsuccessful in wresting control of the Clan Chattan
from the MacKintosh. Today, the clans cooperate closely in the Clan Chattan
Association, where John MacKintosh, chief of Clan MacKintosh, is president and
Sir William Macpherson, chief of Clan Macpherson, is vice president of the
association along with allied clan chiefs.
Century Clan Conflicts
In the 14th century that Macphersons were partly
responsible for the defeat of Clan Comyn,
the enemies of Robert I of Scotland, at
of Invernahoven 1370 or 1387. The Clan Cameron
numbering approximately 400 men were returning home with the treasures they had
acquired after a raid at Badenoch. They were overtaken at Invernahavon by a
body of Chattan Confederation led
by Lachlan, Laird of Clan MacKintosh. The Chattan Confederation
forces consisted of the Mackintoshes, Davidsons and Macphersons. As a result of
a disagreement as to whether the Davidsons or Macphersons would occupy the
right wing which was the post of honour, the Macphersons withdrew in disgust
from the army. The combined numbers of the Clan Chatten confederation had
outnumbered the Camerons but with the loss of the Macphersons the Camerons now
had a greater number. The battle resulted in a defeat for the Clan Chatton
confederation (Mackintosh and Davidson). It is said that an ally of Cameron
known as Charles MacGilony led the clan into battle and is believed to have
changed the outcome of the day with his uncanny ability as an archer. At this
point, possibly the next morning the Macphersons changed their minds and
decided to rejoin the Chatton confederation attacking the Camerons with such
vigor that they changed the victory into defeat, and put the Camerons "to
flight" towards Drumouchter, skirting the end of Loch Ericht, and then
westwards in the direction of the River Treig. The Mackintoshes later claimed
that the Macphersons were coaxed into the battle by a man from clan Mackintosh
who turned up at Macphersons camp pretending to be from Clan Cameron and
calling the Macphersons cowards. The Macphersons then attacked the Camerons
camp making a dreadful slaughter of them, even killing the Cameron's uncanny
archer Charles MacGilony at a place now called Charles's Valley, or in Gailic
Century Jacobite Uprisings
At the beginning of
the 1745 Jacobite
Rising, the Clan Macpherson chief commanded a company of his clan in
the services of the British government. However a party of Camerons, commanded by Dr. Cameron, was sent to
the house of Macpherson of Cluny, the chief of the Macphersons. They were there
to apprehend him, and succeeded. The Macphersons then joined the Jacobites.
The chief of the
clan, Ewan of Cluny, raised a force of 400 men to aid Charles Edward Stuart. The Macphersons
played an active role at the beginning of the rebellion and even fought at the Clifton Moor Skirmish in 1745. However Charles was urged to wait for Cluny, who was engaged in
operation in Atholl, before the Battle of
Culloden. He did not and the men of Macpherson took no part in the
famous defeat at Culloden. The regiment was disbanded and Ewan went into
hiding. A reward of 1000 pounds was placed on his head, but he was never
captured in the nine years he spent in hiding. In 1755
he fled to France.
During his time in hiding, his wife, Janet, gave birth to their son. The child
was born in a corn kiln, earning him the nickname 'Duncan
of the Kiln'.
During his time
hiding in and around the clan seat at Laggan, Macpherson had many hiding places
made for him. One of these was Cluny's
Cage, which featured in "Kidnapped" by Robert Louis Stevenson, a
heather hut on the slopes of Ben Alder. In another
story Cluny was
staying at Dalchully House in a bolt hole in the East wing when he was caught
outside by Colonel Munro, the very man charged with searching for him. Since
the two men had never met, Cluny
calmly held the Colonel's horse whilst the soldier went inside the house. It is
claimed that he was given a penny for his trouble. Another of the famous hiding
places is Cluny's
Cave high on the crags of Craig Dubh between Newtonmore and Laggan. This cave
is no longer accessible without expert assistance. Every year in August, clan
Macpherson holds a family gathering, during which a ceremonial run to the top
of Craig Dubh and back takes place.