Posted on 05 September 2018
A ‘Clan’ is a social group whose core comprises of several families derived from, or accepted as being derived from, a common ancestor.
The word ‘Clan’ became accepted in the Scottish Highlands, originating from the Gaelic word for ‘children’ which was more accurately translated into ‘family’ during the 13th century. Despite being supplanted by the English in the Lowlands of Scotland for around a thousand years, Gaelic (the Celtic native language) is an acceptable convention to refer to the great Lowland families such as the ‘Douglases’ as clans, however the heads of certain families like ‘Bruce’, prefer not to use this term.
Celtic tradition includes a strong element of decent through and loyalty to, a mother’s line. However, allegiance was generally given to a father’s clan. The chief of a clan would ‘ingather’ any individual, from any family, who possessed appropriate skills, maintained his allegiance and if compulsory, adopted a clan surname.
Clans give a sense of shared identity and descent to members. Today, the modern image of clans, each with their own tartan and specific land, was promulgated by the Scottish author Sir Walter Scott after influence by others. By process of social evolution, it followed that the clans/families prominent in a specific district would wear the tartan of that district, soon becoming identified by it.
At Great Scot, we offer a broad range of Clan related items from small gifts and accessories to regimental regalia. Tell our Heritage Specialist HERE about your Clan association and she will be delighted tell you what is available to you.