MacArthur Clan Crest: Two laurel branches in orle.
MacArthur Clan Motto: Fide Et Opera (By fidelity and labour).
History of Clan MacArthur:
The origin of the Arthurs of Argyll (Mac-ic-Artair) is lost in Celtic antiquity. However, there can be no doubt that they were closely associated with Clan Campbell, and from their support of Robert the Bruce, they acquired extensive lands, large parcels of middle Argyll which had been confiscated from the MacDougalls who had opposed Bruce.
Two families of Arthur were dominant around Loch Awe during the 15th century, the MacArthurs of Tirevadich, and the second having an association with the Campbells of Strachur. The darkest period for the Clan came in 1427 during the reign of James I who was determined to bring the Highlands under his control and executed the MacArthur Chief for opposing his system of central government. During the 16th century the conflict between the two branches appears to have reached a climax with what is described in the archives of Inveraray Castle as "the drowning of Clan Arthur,” for which the Earl of Argyll insisted compensation be paid.
Following this, the Chiefship passed to a nephew of the MacArthur of Tirevadich, but by the late 18th century the senior line had died out. In the meantime, several MacArthurs had found their way to the Isle of Skye, becoming hereditary Pipers to the Macdonalds of Sleat. Others appeared on the Island of Islay, where they became armourers to the MacDonalds of Islay.
The MacArthur's of Milton, at Dunoon, became prominent in the 18th century in the service of the Marquis of Montrose. Members of the Clan fought on both sides during the Jacobite Uprisings of 1715 and 1745, and thereafter emigrated to Jamaica, America and Canada.
In 2002, the Lord Lyon King of Arms recognised James MacArthur of Ilk as Chief of Clan MacArthur. His son John assumed the Chiefship on his father's death in 2004.
From the Strachur line, John MacArthur emigrated to Australia in 1790 and, crossing Bengal and Merino with Irish sheep was instrumental in creating the Australian wool industry. In America, General Arthur MacArthur became a Lieutenant General in 1906, the twelfth officer in the US Army to attain this rank. His son was the equally distinguished General Douglas MacArthur (1880 - 1964).
Surname distribution in Scotland: The MacArthur surname is most commonly found in the Western Isles (the major islands in the Outer Hebrides include Lewis and Harris, North Uist, South Uist, Benbecula and Barra), Stirlingshire, Renfrewshire, Argyll and Bute, Fife, Lanarkshire and Highland (an amalgamation of the historic counties of Caithness, Inverness-shire, Nairnshire, Ross and Cromarty and Sutherland).
Places of Interest:
Dunstaffnage Castle, Argyll. The MacArthur Chief was appointed Captain in the 14th century.
Tirevadich, Loch Awe, Argyll. The name means Hayfield and a ruined mansion of that name remains.
Inishail, Loch Awe, Argyll. This island formed a link to the MacArthur property on the south shore.
Associated family names (Septs): Arthur, Arthurson, Campbell, Dewar, MacCairter, MacCarter, MacIndeor.