Clan and Tartan

Tartan Tuesday: Clan Buchanan

Tartan Tuesday: Clan Buchanan
By Kirsty McIntyre

In Gaelic: Buth chanain (House of the Canon)
Clan motto: Clarior Hinc Honos ("Henceforth forward the honour shall grow ever brighter")

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Clan Buchanan's origins can be traced back to the 11th century, with the granting of lands on the shore of Loch Lomond to clergyman Sir Absalon of Buchanan. The Buchanans held these lands for nearly 600 years, until the death of the 22nd Chief in 1682.

The Buchanans gained much of their predominance after the Scottish Wars of Independence. The clan supported Robert the Bruce and assisted with his escape in 1306 following the Battle of Methven. As one of the most influential clans in Scottish history, the Buchanan coat of arms is almost exactly the same as the Royal Arms in Scotland, with the only difference being the lion rampant and fleur de lis are black on the Buchanan shield. This is believed to be an allusion to the marriage between Sir Walter Buchanan and Isabel Stewart, great-granddaughter of King Robert the II of Scotland. Through marriage this gave the Buchanans a connection to the Scottish royal family.

Between 1682 and 2018 clan Buchanan had no recognised clan Chief. The 19th Chief, John Buchanan, left no male heirs and failed to secure an heir through the marriage of his daughters, and as a result the direct chiefly line ended with his death. The Buchanans were therefore absent as a united force from many battles and events from the late 17th century onward, such as the Jacobite uprising.

In August 2018 John Michael Baillie-Hamilton Buchanan was formally recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, the official responsible for regulating Scottish heraldry, as the Buchanan clan chief. Formally known as "The Buchanan", his instatement as chief was the result of decades of genealogical research. His claim proved he was a descendant of Francis Buchanan of Arnprior, who was one of the few Buchanans to take part in the Jacobite uprising and was subsequently executed for high treason. The clan had previously flown banners depicting a lion rampant with tears of sorrow, to symbolise the sadness of their clansmen without a chief, and the new chief will head a clan community that numbers over a million members across the globe.

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