Ross Clan Crest: A dexter hand holding a garland of laurel.
Ross Clan Motto: Spem Successus Alit (Success nourishes hope).
History of Clan Ross:
In the Norse Sagas, Beolan, a powerful Chief in the north of Scotland in the 10th century, married the daughter of Rollo, the Viking adventurer, who went on to become first Duke of Normandy. Their descendants as mormaers or earls of Ross are sometimes called Clan Anrias after one of the holders of the title. Unlike their followers, those who occupied the territories over which they held dominion, none of the early earls of Ross ever assumed the surname of Ross
In 1214, Fearchar MacinTagart ('Son of the Priest'), Earl of Ross, helped Alexander II to crush the Highland rebellion of Donald MacWilliam, a son of Donald Bane. For this he was knighted in 1234 and officially recognised in his earldom of Ross. He was granted lands in North Argyll which thereafter became known as Wester Ross. In the next generation, his son was gifted land on the islands of Skye and Lewis.
At the same time, lands in Ayrshire were held by a Ross Family, but these Rosses came from Yorkshire during the 12th century and were vassals of the powerful de Moreville Family, from whom they received the lands of Stewarton. In the following century, several of the surname of Ros rendered homage to Edward I of England in 1296.
The Ross Clan fought at the Battle of Largs in 1263, at the Battle of Dunbar in 1296, and at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
In the meantime, Hugh, 4th Earl of Ross had married Maud Bruce (also known as Matilda), sister of Robert the Bruce, but Hugh was killed at the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333. Their son died in 1372 and the earldom passed to their granddaughter Euphemia. It was later acquired by the Macdonalds of the Isles, then confiscated by the Crown. The Chiefship, however, passed to the Rosses of Balnagow(a)n.
In 1651, Ross Clansmen fought for the Royalist Cause at the Battle of Worcester, where David, 12th of Balnagow(a)n was taken prisoner and imprisoned in the Tower of London where, it is assumed, he died. After the death of his son in 1711, the Chiefship passed to a kinsman, Ross of Pitcalnie, and Balnagow(a)n Castle was later bought by Lieutenant-General Charles Ross of Hawkhead, whose family descended from the Lowland family of Ross.
Over the following two centuries, the Balnagowan inheritance passed through the Lockhart Family of Carstairs to 1972, when the estate was sold. In 1957, the Ross Chiefship passed to the Rosses of Pitcalnie, then in 1968 to David Ross of Ross and Shandwick, 29th Chief of Clan Ross.
Alexander Ross (1590-1654), was born in Aberdeen and became a schoolmaster in Southampton. He wrote a celebrated couplet on Hudibras. Sir John Ross (1777-1856) was born in Wigtown, in 1818, he set off to explore Baffin Bay and made and attempt on a North West Passage.
Sir James Clark Ross (1800-62) accompanied his uncle Sir John Ross on his first and second polar voyages. He discovered the first magnetic pole in 1831. In 1847, he published his Voyage of Discovery. The Ross Barrier, Sea and Island are named after him. William Steward Ross (1844-1906) was born at Kirkbean and wrote educational texts under the pen name of 'Saladin.'
Sir Ronald Ross (1857-1932), grandfather of the current Chief of Clan Ross, discovered the malaria parasite. He became Professor of Tropical Medicine at Liverpool University and won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1902.
John Ross (1790 - 1866), Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1828 to 1860. Ross led the Cherokee through the forced removal from their ancestral lands. An estimated 4,000 died from starvation, disease and exposure during the 1200 mile forced march which became known as the "trail of tears".
Surname distribution in Scotland: The highest concentrations of the Ross name occur in Highland (includes the historic counties of Caithness, Inverness-shire, Nairnshire, Ross and Cromarty and Sutherland), Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire (includes all of the historic counties of Aberdeenshire, Kincardineshire and part of Banffshire), Moray (including most of historic Banffshire), the Western Isles, Dundee City, Angus (Forfarshire) and Perth and Kinross (Perthshire and Kinross-shire).
Places of Interest:
Balnagowan Castle, Easter Ross. Ancient chiefly seat of the mormaers and earls of Ross. The Estate and Castle are currently owned by the Mohammed Al-Fayed, the owner of Harrods Department Store in London.
Old St. Duthus Church, Tain, Ross & Cromarty. The sacred shirt of St. Duthac was kept within this sanctuary. The shirt was worn in battle by the mediaeval Earls of Ross.
Associated family names (Septs): Anderson, Andison, Andrew, Andrews, Corbet, Corbett, Crow, Crowe, Croy, Denoon, Denune, Dingwall, Duthie, Fair, Gair, Gear, Gillanders, Hagart, Haggart, MacAndrew, MacCullie, MacCulloch, MacLullich, MacTaggart, MacTear, MacTier, MacTire, Taggart, Tullo, Tulloch, Tyre, Vass, Wass.