clan claims descent from Griogar, a son of Alpin, king of
Dalriada but some genealogists question this. The first chief
was probably "Gregor of the golden bridles" and
his son, Iain Camm, succeeded as 2nd chief before 1390. Robert
the Bruce granted the barony of Loch Awe to the Campbells
and this covered much of the land occupied by the MacGregors.
As a result, the clan were confined to Glenstrae.
In 1519 Iain of Glenstrae died without direct heirs and the
Campbells supported the succession of Eian MacGregor (who
was married to the daughter of Colin Campbell of Glenorchy).
Eian's son, Alistair, fought at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547
but, following his death, Colin Campbell refused to acknowledge
the claim to the land by Gregor Roy MacGregor. Gregor was
forced to wage a guerilla war for ten years but was captured
and killed by the Campbells in 1570.
MacGregors were involved in the killing of John Drummond,
the king's forester (after Drummond had hung some MacGregors
for poaching) in 1589 and MacGregors took part in the Conflict
of Glenfruin in 1603. With encouragement from the Campbells,
King James VI and the Privy Council issued an edict banning
the use of the name MacGregor. The clan chief was hanged at
Edinburgh's Mercat Cross in 1604. Many adopted the name Murray,
Graham, Stewart, Grant and even Campbell. The surname was
not fully restored until 1774.
In the 18th century there were disputes over the chieftainship
but eventually John Murray (later MacGregor) of Lanrick was
recognised. The MacGregors of Glengyle disputed this but eventually,
following a petition signed by 800 MacGregors, the Lord Lyon
recognised him as chief in 1775.
Rob Roy MacGregor (he was forced to use his mother's maiden
name Campbell due to the proscription of the MacGregor name)
was a younger son of MacGregor of Glengyle. He took part in
the first Jacobite Uprising in 1715.
Afterwards, his raids on Lowland farms and his prowess with
the sword earned him a reputation which was considerably enhanced
by Sir Walter Scott's romantic tales. Rob Roy died peacefully
in 1734 and is buried with his family in the churchyard at
Balquhidder. A 20th century addition to his grave is defiantly
inscribed "MacGregor Despite Them"!
The MacGregor chief, Sir Evan MacGregor, played a prominent
part in the visit of King George IV to Scotland in 1822 and
he and his clansmen guarded the honours of Scotland (changed
days from their former role as outlaws). And it was Sir Evan
who had the honour of proposing the toast to the "chief
of chiefs" King George, at the royal banquet in Edinburgh.
The MacGregor clan motto is "'S rioghal mo dhream"
which means "My race is royal" and refers to the
claim that they are descended from Griogar, a son of Alpin,
king of Dalriada.
Despite its persecution and proscription, MacGregor is found
frequently in Scotland. It was the 82nd most frequent surname
at the General Register Office in 1995.
Surnames regarded as septs (sub-branch) of the MacGregor clan
include Black, Bowers, Bowmaker, Brewer, Caird, Comrie, Dochart,
Docharty, Gregorson, Gergory, Greig, Grier, Grigor, Gruer,
Leckie, Lecky, MacAdam, MacAra, MacConachie, MacGrewar, MacGrowther,
MacGruder, MacGruther, MacLeister, MacNee, MacNeish, MacNie,
MacNish, MacPetrie, Malloch, Neish, Nish, Peterkin, Petrie,
Skinner, Stringer, White, Whyte.
Information courtesy of RampantScotland.com
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