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Clan Cameron (Modern)

Clan Cameron
Gaelic Name: Camshron
Clan Cameron Clan Crest

Septs of Clan Cameron (what is a sept?)
Camerario, Camerarius, Chalmers, Chambers, Chlerich, Chlery, Clark, Clarke, Clarkson, Cleary, Cleireach, Clerk, Cummings, Dowie, Gibbon, Gilbert, Gilbertson, Gillonie, Kennedy, Leary, Lonie, Mac a' Chlerich, Mac a' Cleireach, MacAldowie, MacAlonie, Mac an Taillear, MacChlery, MacChlerich, MacClair, MacClear, MacGillery, MacGillonie, MacGuillonie, MacIldowie, MacKail, MacKell, MacKenzie, MacKildowie, MacLachlan , MacLear, MacLeary, MacLerie, MacMartin, MacMasters, MacMhaolain, MacMillan, MacOnie, MacOstrich, MacOuildowy, MacPhail, MacPhee, MacSorley, MacSorlie, MacUlrig, MacVail, MacVaile, MacVaill, MacVale, MacVee, MacWalrick, Martin, Martinus, Paul, Sorley, Sorlie, Stronach, Taillear, Tayler, Taylor

Clan Badge: A sheaf of five arrows, proper, tied with a band, gules
Motto: Aonaibh Ri Cheile (translation from Gaelic: Let Us Unite)

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cameron clan
Clan Cameron

Clan Cameron History:
The origins of Clan Cameron are uncertain. There are several theories of the Camerons' origins. A manuscript of the clan says that it is old tradition that the Camerons were originally descended from the son of the royal family of Denmark who assisted the restoration of King Fergus II of Scotland and that their progenitor was called Cameron from his crooked nose and that his dependants then adopted the name. However the chronicler adds that it is more probable that they are the aborigines of the ancient Scots known as Caledonians. This statement proved that the writer of the history understood neither the meaning of the language he used nor the subject on which he pronounced an opinion. According to John Major the Clan Cameron and the Chattan Confederation shared a common origin and together followed one chief, but this statement has no foundation or evidence to support it. Allen surnamed MacOrchtry the son of Uchtred is mentioned by tradition as the chief of Camerons during the reign of King Robert II of Scotland and according to the same source the Camerons and Chattan Confederation were two rival, hostile tribes. This is a more likely explanation.

Wars of Scottish Independence: In the 14th Century during the Wars of Scottish Independence Clan Cameron fought alongside King Robert the Bruce against the English at the Battle of Bannockburn June 24th 1314. The clan later fought at the Battle of Halidon Hill July 19th 1333.

14th Century & Clan Conflicts: Clan Cameron was involved in many clan battles mostly against Clan MacKintosh with whom they had an extensive feud which lasted over 350 years: The Battle of Drumlui 1337, A dispute between the Clan MacKintosh and Clan Cameron over land at Glenlui and Loch Arkaig. The lands had previously been undisputedly owned by the Camerons for many years until they were demanded by William MacKintosh, son of Angus, 6th Chief of Clan MacKintosh. The MacKintoshes appealed to the sword and a battle was fought at Drumlui. The Camerons were defeated under the leadership of Donald Alin Mhic Evin Mhic Evin. This battle led to a very long-lasting feud with the two clans constantly attacking each other. The Battle of Invernahoven 1370 or 1387. The Clan Cameron numbering approximately 400 men were returning home with the booty they had acquired after a raid at Badenoch. They were overtaken at Invernahavon by a body of Clan Chattan Confederation led by Lachlan, Laird of MacKintosh. The Clan Chattan 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 outnumberd 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 Chattan 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 Chattan 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 Camerons' uncanny archer Charles MacGilony at a place now called Charles's Valley, or in Gailic Coire Thearlaich. Battle of The North Inch 1396, In the aftermath of the battle of Invernahoven the Camerons did not not wait long to take their revenge on the MacKintoshes and their Clan Chattan Confederation. The feud between them had become so fierce and bloody that the King Robert III was made aware of it. The King sent two of his Generals to the Highlands to try and resolve the problem, they found it would not be possible to execute the King's orders without loss of the King's own men. The King brought the two rival Chiefs of Clan Cameron and Clan MacKintosh together and decided it would be resolved by the sword. The King ordered part of the river near the City of Perth to be enclosed with a deep ditch in the form of an amphitheatre with seats and benches for the spectators. His Majesty himself sitting as the judge on the field. Crowds and combatants appeared. The clans chose thirty of their best warriors each to take part. A battle was fought that was so bloody and horrible that the crowds and even the King himself were seized with an inexpressible horror. Four of the MacKintoshes survived the battle but they were all fatally or mortally wounded. One Cameron survived and escaped by swimming across the River Tay. The battle had been orchestrated by the King to end the feud between these two rival clans but it did nothing but make it worse and more battles between them were fought.

15th Century & Clan Conflicts: Battle of Harlaw, 1411 The Clan Cameron fought as Highlanders at the Battle of Harlaw near Inverurie in Aberdeenshire on 24 July 1411 against an Army of Scottish Lowlanders. The Camerons took the side of Donald, Lord of the Isles, (MacDonald) who was the current Earl of Ross through marriage. Their enemy was the Duke of Albany. The Battle of Split Allegiances 1429, This conflict was between forces led by Alexander MacDonald, 3rd Lord of the Isles, who was in pursuance of his claim to the Earldom of Ross and the Royalist army of King James I. It is believed that Donald Dubh, XI Captain and Chief of Clan Cameron, rose in support of the Lord of the Isles, and that Cameron clansmen joined a "large force" (recorded as being 10,000 men) in sacking the town of Inverness and surrounding Crown lands. On the return of their army to Lochaber they were intercepted by King James I with his large army. Donald Dubh, finding himself opposed to his Sovereign, led his men in deserting the Lord of the Isles and joined forces with the King. The Clan MacKintosh is also said to have done likewise and the Lord of the Isles army was defeated/sued for peace, with Alexander submitting to the King and being imprisoned afterwards. Battle of Palm Sunday, 1429; On this day which is traditionally reserved for Christian worship, an incident took place in Lochaber that lives on in infamy. The Chattan Confederation, including the Clan MacKintosh, attacked the Clan Cameron, which was assembled in a church, to which they set fire "and nearly destroyed the whole clan." The incident probably took place between those members of Clan Cameron and Clan Chattan that separated from the Lord of the Isles, or perhaps just a portion of the clan as a whole. This conflict, which might be referred to as "The Massacre of Palm Sunday" is not the focus of this narrative. Many accounts make mention of a battle which was also fought on this date, between these same clans. While it is unknown whether this action took place in the near vicinity of the church massacre, it is probable. History relates that during the engagement most of the MacKintoshes and almost the whole tribe of Camerons were "cut to pieces." It is unclear exactly which tribe of Clan Cameron this would have been. This feud between the two clans seems to date back to 1336, when the rights to the lands of Glenlui and Locharkaig, in Lochaber, were contested. Some authorities believe that these disputed lands at one time made up the official demesne of the "Old Toisech," or head of the tribe which controlled early Lochaber. The Battle of Inverlochy 1431, Clan Cameron fought as Royalists during this battle between the nephew of Alexander the Earl of Ross and Lord of the Isles against the Royalist forces led by the Earl of Mar and Earl of Caithness. The Battle of Corpach 1439, Clan Cameron defended their lands against the Clan MacLean. Clan Cameron won the battle. Prior to this the Cameron lands had been bestowed upon John Garve MacLean of Coll by Alexander, Lord of the Isles. It is recorded that a young MacLean Chieftain, Ewen/John Abrach (the son of John Garve MacLean, so called from his residence in Lochaber) was killed in this battle. It is not likely that this is one and the same with "Hector Bui M'Lean." Rather, they were possibly the leaders of their respective tribes of the MacLeans. With the defeat of the MacLeans at Corpach, the Camerons continued to retain their lands, despite MacLean attempts to "dislodge" them throughout the coming years. The Battle of Craig Cailloch 1441, Clan MacKintosh, at the instigation of Alexander, Lord of the Isles, began to invade and raid the Cameron lands. A sanguinary conflict took place in this year at Craig Cailloch between Clan Cameron and the MacKintoshes in which MacKintosh's second son, Lachlan "Badenoch" was wounded and Gillichallum, his brother, killed. Raid on Ross-shire 1491, Ewen Cameron XIII Chief of Clan Cameron and a large body of Camerons, joined by Alexander of Lochalsh, Clan Ranald of Garmoran and Lochaber and Clan Chattan - who they must have made peace with - went on a raid into the county of Ross-shire. During the raid they clashed with the Clan MacKenzie of Kintail. They then advanced from Lochaber to Badennoch where they were even joined by the Clan MacKintosh. They then proceeded to Inverness where they stormed the Royal Castle and MacKintosh placed a garrison in it. The Lords of Lochalsh appear at this time to have had strong claims upon the Camerons to follow them in the field. They were superiors under the Lord of the Isles of the lands of Lochiel in Lochaber, in addition to the claims of a close marriage alliance (Ewen married a daughter of Celestine of Lochalsh). This would serve to explain the quite unusual mutual participation under a common banner between the Camerons and MacKintoshes in this raid.

16th Century & Clan Conflicts: Battle of Achnashellach 1505, Little is known of this battle which is often described as an obscure skirmish between the Clan Cameron and Clan MacKay, where the Munro Chief who was on the side of the MacKays was killed. The Clan Munro themselves were not involved but historical research has found that their Chief was acting on the King's orders: "Sir William Munro of Foulis was sent to Lochaber on the King's business and was killed in an engagement between the Camerons and MacKays at a place called Achnashellach in 1505". The outcome of the battle is also disputed as both sides claimed victory. It is Cameron tradition to say they defeated a joint force of MacKays and Munros, however this is thought unlikely as the Camerons would have been massively outnumberd by the MacKays and Munros. William Munro left two sons Hector and William. The eldest, Hector Munro took over as Chief of the Clan and had extensive lands confirmed to him by King James V at Stirling and was made the Royal Lieutenant of Western Ross-shire as his father was before him. During the Anglo-Scottish Wars the Clan Cameron fought against the English army at the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513. Battle of Shirts, Clan Cameron provided archers who sided with Clan MacDonald at the Battle of Shirts in 1544, where they fought against Clan Fraser. Legend has it that only five Frasers and eight MacDonalds survived. The Battle of Bun Garbhain 1570, Donald Dubh Cameron, XV Chief of Clan Cameron, had died, leaving an infant son at the head of the clan. The Chief of Clan MacKintosh, at the head of 200 men, invaded the Cameron lands near Loch Arkaig. The MacKintoshes had approached by Lochielside where, meeting no resistance, they made camp for the night. The following day MacKintosh led his men past Beinn an t-sneachda and approached Loch Arkaig from the south. Barring their way, with a strong position on a hillside, were the men of Clan Cameron. A bloody battle ensued. Though outnumbered, the Camerons had the high ground and soon the field was littered with MacKintoshes both dead and injured. The remainder of their army was put to flight. MacKintosh led his men in retreat around the head of Loch Eil to the Ardgour shore and rallied his men. The Camerons were in swift pursuit and a second engagement took place, with similar results as the first. In the midst of this action the Chief of MacKintosh is believed to have been killed when a fearsome Lochaber axe felled him to the ground. His followers took their stricken chief and fell back to Bun Garbhain (Bun Garvan). Both sides met once again for an indeterminate time, before disengaging for the night. The MacKintoshes made camp in a small hollow called Cuil nan Cuileag, and thought that they were safe. However, the Camerons were not done with their mortal enemies, stormed the encampment and fell upon them. Not a single MacKintosh would leave that hollow and the Cameron victory was absolute. Interestingly the mother of the infant chief of Clan Cameron was in fact a MacKintosh. After the battle she was banished from Lochaber forever. Battle of Glenlivet 1594, XVI Chief of Clan Cameron called Allen Cameron led the clan when they fought and defeated the Clan MacKintosh. At this battle the Camerons sided with the Earl of Huntly whose forces consisted of Clan Gordon, Comyn/Cumming and others. Their enemy was the Earl of Argyll whose forces consisted of the Clan Campbell, Atholl and the Chattan Confederation of Clan MacKintosh and Clan Forbes and others. The Camerons pursued their enimies with great eagerness. The Chattan Confederation of Forbes and MacKintosh and Argyll and Atholl were soundly defeated.

cameron clan
Clan Cameron Tartan

17th Century Clan Conflicts & Civil War: During the Civil War at the Battle of Inverlochy 1645, Clan Cameron fought on the side of the Royalist Scotts and Irish led by Clan MacDonald who defeated the Scottish Covenanters of Clan Campbell. Standoff at the Fords of Arkaig 1665, the Clan Chiefs of Clan MacKintosh and Clan Cameron were ordered by the Privy Court to end the dispute over the lands near Loch Arkaig once and for all. While MacKintosh was declared to have the legal right Cameron was declared to be the owner. Cameron was ordered to pay MacKintosh a large sum of money for the land but MacKintosh refused this. Soon after Clan MacKintosh and the Chattan Confederation assembled an army of 1500 men. Camerons had raised a force of approximately 1000 men who took up a defensive stance at Achnacarry. Camerons' biographer records that there were 900 men armed with guns and broadswords and a further 300 men armed with bows. It seemed the battle to end all battles between these two ancient adversaries was about to commence. However just as Clan Cameron commenced their attack the powerful Clan Campbell and Chief appeared on the scene. John Campbell, Chief of Campbells brought with him 300 men and declared that he would fight against whichever side initiated the impending battle. The Cameron Chief Ewen soon withdraw all his troops. As a result one of the bloodiest feuds in Scottish history came to an end after 360 years. On September 20th 1665 a contract was signed by both Chiefs of Cameron and MacKintosh with Cameron agreeing to buy the lands from MacKintosh. Then at a place called Clunes around 24 men from each side met face to face and shook hands for the first time in generations. Here they exchanged swords as a token of reconciliation and drank together. The Battle of Mulroy 1668, Clan Cameron and Clan MacKintosh were at peace and Cameron Chief Sir Ewen was responsible for keeping the peace between his men and their former enemies. However when the Chief Sir Ewen Cameron was away in London a feud broke out between Clan MacDonald and their enemies Clan MacKintosh and Clan MacKenzie. As the Cameron Chief was away he was not able to hold back his clan and the combined forces of Cameron and MacDonald defeated the MacKintoshes and MacKenzies.

18th Century & Jacobite Uprisings: The Clan Cameron fought as Jacobites at the Battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715 during the initial early Jacobite uprisings. The Clan Cameron of Lochiel branch fought at the Battle of Glen Shiel in 1719. Their chief John Cameron of Lochiel, after hiding for a time in the Highlands, made his way back to exile in France. The Clan Cameron fought on the side of the Jacobites against the British Army at the Battle of Culloden 1746. Although they had previously shown loyalty to the British Government, they were talked into joining the Jacobites by Prince Charles Edward Stuart. After the Battle of Culloden the chief, Donald Cameron, also known as 'Gentle Locheil', took refuge in France, where he died in October 1748.

20th Century & World War One: During World War I the 25th Chief of Clan Cameron raised four additional battalions of the Cameron Highlanders and in 1934 he was created a Knight of the Thistle, a title his son, the next chief was also awarded in 1973.

Current Clan Chief: Col. Sir Donald Cameron of Lochiel Achnacarry Inverness-shire Scotland
Surname Meaning:

Clan Cameron Arms
Arms: Gules, three (originally two) bars or.
Crest: A sheaf of five arrows, proper, tied with a band, gules
Supporters: Two savages wreathed about the head and middle with oak branches, each holding in his exterior hand a Lochaber Axe all proper.
Motto: Aonaibh Ri Cheile (translation from Gaelic: Let Us Unite)

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Clan Standard:
Azure, a St. Andrew's Cross Argent in the hoist and of two tracts Gules and Or semee of oak leaves Vert, upon which is depicted a sheaf of five arrows points upwards Proper tied with a band Gules along with the word 'Lochiel' extended in the fly in letters Azure.

Origins of the Name: Gaelic, Camshron from 'Cam' (wry) and 'Sron' (nose)

tor castle
Tor Castle

Clan Seat, Lands and Castles:
Tor Castle: Ewen Cameron, XIII Chief of Camerons, built "Tor Castle" in the early 15th century. It was torn down by his great, great, great grandson Sir Ewen "Dubh" Cameron of Lochiel, XVII Chief of Camerons.
Achnacarry Castle: Chief Sir Ewen wanted a more "convenient house" and built Achnacarry Castle circa 1655.
New Achnacarry: In 1802, Donald Cameron, XXII Chief built a new mansion house at Achnacarry after repaying a huge fine to the British Government to regain the estates of ancestors. The house remains, near the line of trees that Lochiel (the Gentle) was planting on the day that he heard of the landing of Bonnie Prince Charlie. There is a small museum nearby.

Warcry: Sons of the hounds come here and get flesh
Plant Badge: Cranberry other Cameron clan plants - Crowberry or Oak
Pipe Music:
Pibroch of Donald Dubh

Clan Tartans: Basic Clan Cameron.
Cameron of Lochiel.
Cameron of Erracht.
Hunting Cameron (of Lochiel)

External Links:
Clan Cameron Online

What is a Sept
In Scotland, a sept is often a family that is absorbed into a larger Scottish clan for mutual benefit. For example, the Burns family sept was absorbed into the Clan Campbell. The Burns family, being very small and of questionable heritage, gained legitimacy and protection; the Campbell clan absorbed a potential rival for British affection in Scotland. Each Scottish clan typically has a number of septs, each with its own surname. Septs have rights to wear clan tartans although they often have tartans of their own.

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