Urquhart Clan Crest: Issuant from a crest coronet, a naked woman holding in her dexter hand an azure sword and in the sinister a palm sapling.
Urquhart Clan Motto: Meane Weil Speak Weil And Doe Weil.
History of Clan Urquhart:
This is a surname originating from the lands of Urquhart on the western shore of Loch Ness. William the Urchard is the first Sheriff of Cromarty on record in the 13th century, with Adam Urquhart having a grant of the Sheriffdom of Cromarty from David II in 1358.
The Urquharts remained Hereditary Sheriffs of Cromarty for 300 years. Sir William Urquhart was knighted by James I in 1416, and in the reign of James III was granted "the Mote and Mansion Mound of Cromarty, with licence to build a tower or fortalice thereon.” Thereafter, Thomas Urquhart, 7th Chief, built an impressive castle which was finally demolished in 1772.
Tradition has it that seven sons of Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty died at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547. Subsequently, Urquharts became lairds of Meldrum, Byth, Craigston, Craighouse, Kinbeachie, Newhall and Braelangwell, but today only the Craigston branch of the family in Aberdeenshire retains its lands.
Misfortune followed the career of Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty, who
supported Charles I and, having been captured at the Battle of Worcester,
was exiled to France where he died. Financially strained, a large proportion
of the family estates had to be sold, yet the Urquharts continued to support
the Royalist Cause, then took part in the Jacobite Uprisings of 1715 and
1745. Colonel James Urquhart of Cromarty, 16th Chief, was the principal
Jacobite agent in Scotland for the de jure James VIII, father of Prince
Charles Edward Stuart. On his death in 1741, the Chiefship passed to his
cousin, William Urquhart of Meldrum in Aberdeenshire.
Meldrum was the seat of the Urquhart Chiefs until the death in 1898 of the 22nd Chief of Clan Urquhart, Major Beauchamp Colclough Urquhart of Meldrum. He was an officer of the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders and was killed at the Battle of Atbara during the Sudan Campaign. The Chiefship then passed to his nearest male relative, his cousin, the Rev. Edward William Urquhart, who died in 1916; then to Edward's cousin, David Urquhart of Braelangwell. By this stage, all that was left of the Urquhart estates was the ancient church and burial ground of Kirkmichael on the southern shore of the Cromarty Firth.
In 1959, Wilkins Fisk Urquhart, descendant of a younger son of Urquhart of Braelangwell who had emigrated to America, was recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms as Chief of the Name and Head of Clan Urquhart
Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty (1611-60) who supported Charles I against Oliver Cromwell, moved abroad after his capture at the Battle of Worcester. He translated Rabelais, and wrote Epigrams, Divine and Moral and An Introduction to the Universal Language. David Urquhart (1805-77) was born in Cromarty and became a diplomat, travelling to Turkey with Sir Stafford Canning. Back in England, he founded the Free Press, later called the Diplomatic Review, and opposed Lord Palmerston's foreign policy. He wrote The Pillars of Hercules (1850). Major General Roy Urquhart (1901-88) was the hero of the Battle of Arnhem in the Second World War, and the subject of the film A Bridge Too Far. From 1950 to 1952, he was appointed General Officer Commanding Malaya Command. Sir Brian Urquhart (1919- ) became Under Secretary General of the United Nations.
Places of Interest:
Castle Urquhart, Loch Ness, Inverness-shire. Ancestral lands of Clan Urquhart.
Craigston Castle, Turriff, Aberdeenshire. Ancestral seat of the Urquhart Family since 1604-07.
Castle Craig, Udale Bay on Cromarty Firth. This was an ancestral fortress of the Urquharts of Cromarty.
Surname distribution in Scotland: The highest concentrations of the Urquhart name occur in Highland (includes the historic counties of Caithness, Inverness-shire, Nairnshire, Ross and Cromarty and Sutherland), Moray (including most of historic Banffshire), Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire (includes all of the historic counties of Aberdeenshire, Kincardineshire and part of Banffshire), Perth and Kinross (Perthshire and Kinross-shire), Dundee City and Angus (Forfarshire).
Associated family names (Septs): Urquhart, Urcutt, Orcutt, Erquitt, Cromarty, Cromartie.