MacPherson Clan

MacPherson Clan Crest: A sitting wildcat.

MacPherson Clan Motto: Touch Not The Cat But A Glove.

History of Clan MacPherson:
The surname of this clan originates from Duncan, Parson of Kingussie, in the 15th century, himself a descendant of Muriach Cattenach, Chief of Clan Chattan in 1173. During the mid-14th century, Ewan Ban of Badenoch had three sons, and these are regarded as the ancestors of the Macphersons of Clunie, Pitmain, and Invereshie.

At the Battle of Invernahavon in 1370, Clan Chattan stood firm to oppose an invasion of Camerons. To the annoyance of the Macphersons, the Davidsons (Clan Dhai) were put in command and the former withdrew from the ensuing conflict which left the Davidsons decimated. Thereafter, Clan Dhai and the Macphersons remained at odds for almost two centuries.

Clan Chattan's feud against the Camerons also continued, and in 1396, a contest between the two protagonists was organised on the North Inch of Perth. It was held in the presence of Robert III and Clan Chattan was triumphant.

In 1722, Duncan Macpherson of Cluny was succeeded as 11th Chief  of Macpherson by Lachlan Macpherson of Nuid.  The Macphersons had earlier followed the Marquis of Montrose in support of the Royalist Cause, and in the 1745 Jacobite Uprising, Ewan Macpherson of Cluny, Lachlan's son, loyally supported the Jacobite Cause. After the Battle of Culloden, his lands being forfeit, he successfully dodged the Government troops who had placed a price of £1,000 on his head.

Accepting the defeat of the Jacobites, Euan's son Duncan fought for the Government in the American Wars of Independence. The Cluny estate, restored to Duncan in 1784, eventually comprised most of Laggan, but this was sold to meet family debts in 1940. At about that time, the Macpherson Clan Association was formed,  and several acres of the Cluny estate were put aside in perpetuity as Clan Land.  Each August, the Clan Macpherson Rally and Newtonmore Highland Games take place and are attended by Macphersons from around the world.

James Macpherson (1738-96) was born at Ruthven and published The Highlander in 6 cantos when he was twenty. In 1760, he began publishing “fragments” of ancient “Ossianic” poetry translated from the Gaelic. Although they excited an enormous international following, they were later proved to be almost entirely made up. Paul Macpherson (1756-1846) was educated at the Scots College in Rome and became its first Scottish Rector. Sir John Macpherson Bt (1745-1821) joined the East India Company, became a UK Member of Parliament from 1779-82, and was appointed Governor General of India in 1785. Sir William Macpherson (1926-2021) of Cluny and Blairgowrie, 27th Chief of Clan Macpherson, was born in 1926, and served as a Judge of the High Court of England and Wales (Queen's Bench Division). On his father's death, in February 2021, James (Jamie) Brodie Macpherson of Cluny, became the 28th Chief of the MacPherson Clan.

Surname distribution in Scotland: The MacPherson name is most common in Highland (an amalgamation of the historic counties of Caithness, Inverness-shire, Nairnshire, Ross and Cromarty and Sutherland), Perth and Kinross and the Outer Hebrides.

Places of Interest: Clan Macpherson Museum, Newtonmore.

Craig Dubh, by Laggan Bridge, Newtonmore. Clan MacPherson Gathering Ground.

Balavil, Kingussie, Inverness-shire. Built by James Macpherson, traslator of the fabled Ossian poems.

Associated family names (Septs): Archibald, Cattanach, Clark, Clarke, Clarkson, Clerk, Clunie, Cluny, Currie, Ellis, Ellison, Fersen, Gillespie, Gillie, Gillies, Goudie, Gow, Gowan, Gowans, Leary, Lees, MacChlery, MacClair, MacCleary, MacCleish, MacCurrach, MacCurrie, MacGillies, MacGoun, MacGow, MacGowan, MacKeith, MacLear, MacLeary, MacLees, MacLeish, Maclerie, Maclise, MacLish, MacMurdo, MacMurdoch, MacMurrich, MacVurich, MacVurrich, Murdoch, Murdoson, Pearson, Smith.

Clan MacPherson membership certificates.