MacNab Clan

MacNab Clan Crest: The head of a savage.

MacNab Clan Motto: Timor Omnis Abesto (Let fear be far from all).

History of Clan MacNab:
Early Chiefs of Clan MacNab were Celtic Abbots of Glendochart, and the surname in Gaelic translates as “ Son of the Abbot.” Traditionally, the founder of the Clan was a nephew of St Fillan.

The MacNabs were related by marriage to the Comyns and fought with their kinsmen, the MacDougalls, against Robert the Bruce. Following Bruce's victory at the Battle of Bannockburn, therefore, the Clan lands on Loch Tay were confiscated. However, in 1336, Gilbert Macnab received a Charter from David II and the Clan's fortunes thereafter improved through marriage and acquisitions.

The MacNabs joined the Marquis of Montrose in support of the Royalist Cause and fought at the Battle of Kilsyth in 1645. Although captured, John Macnab, the Chief, escaped from imprisonment in Edinburgh, but in 1651 was killed leading his men at the Battle of Worcester.

In the 18th century, Robert, 14th Chief of MacNab, married a sister of the Earl of Breadalbane. The 15th Chief fought for the Government in the 1745 Uprising and was taken prisoner after the Battle of Prestonpans.

A magnificent portrait of Francis, 16th Macnab of Macnab (1734-1816) by Sir Henry Raeburn hangs in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow. Unfortunately, he left crippling debts when he died unmarried. In 1823, his nephew Archibald, who had become 17th Chief, emigrated to Canada where he obtained an estate and a community drawn from his clansfolk in Scotland which he re-named Macnab. On his death in 1860, the Chiefship passed to his daughter, then to the Macnabs of Arthurstone.

John Macnab (1732-1802) a herd boy from Dollar who made a fortune in shipping and left a sum of money to found Dollar Academy.  Sir Allan Napier MacNab (1798-1862), born in Canada of Scottish descent, became Prime Minister of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada (1854-56).

Surname distribution in Scotland: The MacNab name is most common in Renfrewshire, Argyll and Bute, Perth and Kinross and the Highlands.

Places of Interest: Eilean Ran, on River Lochay, Perthshire. This was the site of a MacNab stronghold burnt to the ground by the troops of Oliver Cromwell.

The Falls of Dochart, Perthshire. Islets here were used as MacNab burial grounds.
Glendochart, Perthshire. These lands were part of a Celtic monastery run by forbears of Clan MacNab.

Kinnell House, Killin, Perthshire. Ancestral seat of the MacNab Chiefs.

Associated family names (Septs): Abbot, Abbotson, Abbott, Cleland, Clelland, Dewar, Gilfillan, Gillan, Gilland, Gilliland, MacClelland, MacLellan, MacClelland, MacNabb, MacNair.

Clan MacNab membership display certificates.