MacAlister Clan

MacAlister Clan Crest: An armoured arm, the hand holding a dagger.

MacAlister Clan Motto: Fortiter (Boldly).

History of Clan MacAlister:
Alasdair Mor, son of Donald of the Isles and great-great grandson of the mighty Somerled, leader of the native people of Scotland's north west coast against the Norse invasion, is ancestor of Clan MacAlister which, for many years, was closely allied to Clan Donald. Clan lands were in Kintyre and the original MacAlister Seat was on the north-west side of West Loch Tarbert, the narrow neck of land with Loch Fyne on the far side. It was later established at Loup.

The lands of Amod in Glen Barr were rented from the Crown by Alexander MacAllister of Loup in 1541. He also obtained lands at Ardtardill, and Ronald Mor McAllister rented the adjoining lands at Dewpin, later Torrisdale. By 1636, Hector McAllister of Loup had nine different areas on rentals, but when Clan Donald supported the Marquis of Montrose against the Covenanters, General David Leslie (later Lord Newark)) defeated their forces at Dunavery Castle and laid waste the MacAlister lands.

MacAlister tenantry reappeared in 1678, this time having tacks from the Earl of Argyll. They remained there for one hundred years until Colonel Matthew Macalister, sixth son of Ranald Macalister of Torrisdale and Skirrinish purchased Rosshill and later the lands of Barr from Colonel Charles Campbell.

Four sons of this family served with the East India Company. Three of them, John, Matthew and Norman, attained the rank of Colonel, while the fourth, Keith, became a General. It was General Keith who purchased the Loup Estate, previously sold by his cousin, Charles MacAlester of the Loup. Norman became the Governor of Prince of Wales Island which later became known as Penang.

Surname distribution in Scotland: The MacAlister surname is most commonly found in Glasgow City, Renfrewshire, Dunbartonshire, Argyll and Bute, Ayrshire and Lanarkshire.

Places of Interest:
Tarbert Castle, Tarbert, Loch Fyne, Argyll. The MacAlisters were Constables here until 1706

Kennox, Stewarton, Ayrshire. Former Clan Seat.

Glenbarr Abbey, Argyll. Owned by the MacAlisters of Glenbarr since 1796. It was formally presented to the Clan in 1984 and today operates a Clan Visitor Centre.

Associated family names (Septs): Alastair, Alexander, Alison, Allison, Allister, MacAllister, Sanders, Saunders.

Clan MacAlister member certificates.