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Featured Clan

Scottish American Society

This is the clan we have chosen to spotlight.  If it is your own, feel free to offer constructive criticism.*  If it isn't, enjoy learning about one of the many Scottish families. 

Clan MacQuarrie

Crest badge: Out of an antique crown, An arm in armour embowed, grasping a dagger, all proper.

Motto: Turris fortis mihi Deus, (translation from Latin: God is to me a tower of strength).

Slogan: An t'arm breac dearg, (translation from Scottish Gaelic: The red tartaned army).

Clan badge: pine.

Chief:  Armigerous*


Origin of Name: MacQuarrie is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic Mac Guaire, a patronymic version of the Gaelic name meaning "proud" or "noble". According to tradition, Guaire was the brother of Fingon, the progenitor of the MacKinnon clan. Both clans, linked in a common descent, went on to become dependent on the Lords of the Isles.

The MacQuarrie chiefs had their seat in Ulva, which lies close to the island of Mull. The first historical record of the MacQuarrie clan is Iain of Ulva who witnessed a charter of the Lord of the Isles in 1463.

Clan MacQuarrie is associated with the islands of Ulva, Staffa and the Isle of Mull, which are all located in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. MacQuarrie is first found in possession of the island of Ulva in the Scottish Inner Hebrides, and as a result was dependent on the Lords of the Isles. The first record of Clan MacQuarrie is of the chief John Macquarrie of Ulva, who died in 1473. In 1504 MacGorry of Ullowaa, along with other chiefs, was summoned to answer for aiding in Donald Dubh's failed rebellion. The following chief, Dunslaff's son John, was one of the chiefs denounced in 1504, for treasonous correspondence with the King of England.

As a supporter of the Lord, the chief of the clan MacQuarrie was one of the chiefs summoned to Iona by James VI in 1609 and forced to sign the infamous Statutes of Iona. This effectively ended the reign of the Lords of the Isles. Following the fall of the Lordship of the Isles the clan followed Maclean of Duart, and with the Macleans, the MacQuarries had supported Domhnall Dubh's quest for the Lordship of the Isles at the beginning of the sixteenth century. John's son, Dunslaff, was the chief of the clan during the forfeiture of the Lord of the Isles, after which the MacQuarries gained some independence, though a minor clan surrounded by more powerful ones.


The family papers of the clan were lost to a fire in 1688, and consequently much of early clan tradition that exists is considered suspect. According to the nineteenth century historian William F. Skene, Clan MacQuarrie is one of the seven clans of Siol Alpin, as the manuscript of 1450 gives the clan's descent from Guaire or Godrey, brother of Fingon (supposed ancestor of Clan MacKinnon) and Anrias (supposed ancestor of Clan Gregor). The clans of Siol Alpin claim a descent from Alpín, the father of Cináed mac Ailpín of whom popular tradition describes as the first King of Scots.

The clan suffered greviously at the Battle of Inverkeithing on July 20, 1651, as they supported the Scots forces in aid of Charles II of England against an English Parliamentarian army led by John Lambert. In the battle the Scots were decisively defeated by the well disciplined New Model Army of the English, and amongst the slain was Allan Macquarrie of Ulva, chief of Clan MacQuarrie, and most of his followers.

The last chief of Clan MacQuarrie, was Lachlan Macquarrie of Ulva. MacQuarrie was head of the clan when Samuel Johnson and James Boswell visited Ulva in 1773. Debts to creditors forced the last chief to sell off his lands and in 1778, at the age of 63, he joined the British Army. The chief then served in the American Revolutionary War, and died at the age of 103 in 1818, with the title Lord Lynedoch. Since the clan does not have a current Chief recognized by Lord Lyon it can be viewed as an Armigerous clan.


*An armigerous clan is a Scottish clan, family or name which is registered with the Court of the Lord Lyon and once had a chief who bore undifferenced arms, but does not have a chief currently recognized as such by Lyon Court.

For further information on Clan MacQuarrue, click here.

For more information on this or other clans, click here.

For information on past featured clans, click here.

*With correct documentation, we will be happy to amend any clan presentation.  Without correct documentation we will simply remove any reference to that clan.

The word "clan" comes from "clanna" which means family group or group functioning as a family.  Information on the specific clan above comes from various sources. For more information on the clans and the Highland Clan System, see Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_clan