Henderson Clan

Henderson Clan Crest: An arm, the hand holding an estoile (six pointed star) surmounted by a blue crescent.

Henderson Clan Motto: Sola Virtus Nobilitat (Virtue alone ennobles).

Henderson Clan History:

Tradition has it that Big Henry, otherwise Eannig Mor Mac Righ Neachtan, son of King Nectan, ruler of Caledonia in the 8th century, founded the Clan Henderson of Glencoe. The Lowland Hendersons of Fordell, in Fife, are thought to descend from the Henrysons of Dumfries. In 1374, a William Henderson is listed as being Chamberlain of Lochmaben Castle, responsible to Edward III of England.

Clan Henderson of the North lived in Glencoe in Argyllshire and took their name from an anglicised version of their Gaelic name Maceanruig.  Traditionally, they formed the bodyguard for the MacIan Macdonald Chiefs of Glencoe. When the Massacre of Glencoe took place in 1692, Big Henderson of the Chanters, the Chief's piper, was among those killed.

A branch of Clan Gunn also carries the name Henderson, claiming descent from a Chief of Clan Gunn during the 15th century.

Alexander Henderson of Fordell (1583-1646), was a Professor of Philosophy and bitterly opposed to Charles I's attempt to reform the Church of Scotland.  He was responsible for drafting the Solemn League of Covenant in 1638.  Thomas Henderson (1798-1844) was born in Dundee and became Scotland's leading astronomer.

Places of Interest:
Fordell Castle, Inverkeithing, Fife. The Estate was acquired in the 16th century by James Henderson, who became lord Advocate of Scotland. The castle dates from that period, but was sold by the family in the 19th century. In the 20th century it was restored by Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, who became Solicitor General for Scotland. 

Glencoe, Argyllshire. The notorious massacre took place on 13th February 1692. The MacIan Macdonalds of Glencoe were late in swearing allegiance to the incoming King William (of Orange) and Queen Mary and were put to the sword on the instructions of the Master of Stair. Today there is a National Trust for Scotland Visitor Centre which explains the story.

Clan Henderson membership certificates.