MacGregor Clan @ MacBraveHeart

MacBraveHeart homepage
16th November 2000

Ask or tell us about the MacGregor Clan, and we'll add the information to this page.

MacGregor Clan

macgregor_crest.gif (3082 bytes)

Associated surnames: Stirling

Clan Gregor carries the Gaelic motto 'S'rioghal mo dhream', meaning 'Royal is my blood'. The motto predates the Clan's claim to Royal descent by centuries, but serves to highlight the sense of outrage long felt by most MacGregors at the centuries of repression endured by their forebears.

The claim that the 'Gregor' who was the Clan namefather was either the son or the brother of Kenneth MacAlpin, the first paramount King of Scotland, is unproven. He was probably the second Chief of the clan, succeeding his father, 'One-eyed' Iain as late as 1390.

The homelands of the MacGregors were the three glens of the rivers Strae, Orchy, and Lochy, now the heartland of the Campbells.

It was the expansion of the powerful Campbells which led to the MacGregors becoming landless outlaws. The most unscrupulous branch of the Campbells, by 1519 calling themselves by the old MacGregor title 'of Glenorchy', appointed as Chief of Clan MacGregor a younger chieftain who had been forced to marry a Campbell heiress whom he had ravished.

The true heirs to the leadership of the Grigorach were driven to continuing their struggle as guerrillas in the mountains of Argyll and Perthshire, earning the nickname 'Children of the Mist'. Their Chief was captured in 1552 and personally beheaded by Black Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy, the brother of the ravished heiress.

Fifty years later, the MacGregor's policy of taking bloody revenge for each instance of persecution led to a 400-strong force of Colquhouns (Campbell allies) being sent, on the orders of King James VI, to wipe out 'the haill tribe, root and branch'. The MacGregors and their allies ambushed the advancing Colquhouns in Glen Fruin, slaughtering over a hundred of them.

The King issued a special order outlawing the Clan MacGregor and forbidding anyone, on pain of death, to bear the MacGregor name. The Chief, Alexander MacGregor of Glenstrae, was hanged with many of his followers in Edinburgh. The Clan were thus proscribed and persecuted until 1774, when the Act against the clan, its people, and their name was repealed. As a result, many people today, who are of MacGregor stock. use the names adopted during the two centuries when the clan name was forbidden.

The most famous character in the clan's history is probably 'Rob Roy', who for much of his life called himself Robert Campbell (his mother's surname). Despite an adventurous life, Rob Roy lived to die in his bed at 70.


dorktoo ...
My clan is the MacGregor, I only found out I was Scottish a few months ago, could you give my clan info?
[See above. Watch out if you have any Campbells as friends!]

Raymond MacStay ...
My name is Raymond MacStay and in researching my name I have found it is from Clan MacGregor, I found this out in a reference called "What Color is your Tartan". I attended the annual "Gathering of the Clans" at Loon Mountain, in northern New Hampshire, in the U.S.. There I went to the MacGregor tent and was told that yes I am descended from the clan and the following story.
During the suppression many people used other names, some used names of allied clans, while some created new names. It was said that some declared that they would say MacGregors forever, hence the name MacStay, or McStay.
Can you verify this story? And, can you send me other references so that I may continue to research my heritage.
Thank you very much