Clan Buchan

Clan Buchan
Clan Buchan
Crest badge
Crest: (upon a chapeau Gules furred Ermine) A sun shining upon a sunflower full blown Proper
Motto: Non inferior secutus
District Buchan

Buchan of Auchmacoy.svg
David Buchan of Auchmacoy
The Chief of Clan Buchan
Seat Auchmacoy House

Clan Buchan is a Scottish clan from Aberdeenshire in Scotland.



Origins of the Clan

The Clan names derives from the district of Buchan. This in turn may have taken its name from ‘bwch’, a word meaning cow in the Brythonic language. The first recorded Buchan was Ricardus de Buchan, clerk of the bishopric of Aberdeen around 1207 and in 1281 William de Buchan is recorded as holding land. Sir Thomas of Boghan of Edinburgh is documented in the Ragman Rolls as rendering homage to Edward I of England in 1296. His seal depicted an eight-rayed figure from which the current crest may have derived.

15th and 16th Centuries

It is not certain when the lands of Auchmacoy were gained, but Andrew Buchan of Auchmacwy (now generally considered the first chief of the clan) was one of the assize appointed to settle the lands of St Peter’s Hospital in 1446.

The lands of Auchmacoy and Oykthorn were granted by charter to Andrew’s eldest son, also Andrew, by James IV of Scotland in 1503 but it seems the land may have been in the family’s hands since the beginning of the 14th century.

In 1598 the lands were erected into a Barony.

17th century and Civil War

Throughout the 17th century the Barons of Auchmacoy supported the House of Stewart. Thomas, 3rd son of the 8th chief, James Buchan, was a professional soldier who fought in both France and Holland.

In 1686 he was commissioned as colonel in the Earl of Mar’s regiment by James VII. Ever loyal to his king he joined John Graham of Claverhouse, ‘Bonnie Dundee’ when the king was deposed in favour of William III of Orange.

Following Dundee’s death at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689, Thomas Buchan was appointed commander-in-chief of the Jacobite forces in Scotland.

In 1690 General Buchan was taken by surprise at the Battle of Cromdale and the rebellion was effectively ended. Buchan was allowed to go into exile on France.

Ancient Buchan Tartan

18th century and Jacobite Uprisings

However General Buchan fought again at the Battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715. He died in 1721, still in communication with the exiled royals.

Ironically, another line, Buchan of Cairnbulg were descendants of John, younger brother to General Thomas Buchan who served in the army of William of Orange against James II. The Jacobite/Williamite schism was resolved when Thomas Buchan, 12th of Auchmacoy, married Nicola, heiress of Buchan of Cairnbulg.

Modern history

James Buchan, fourteenth of Auchmacoy, was recognised as chief of the name in April 1830 by Lord Lyon, King of Arms. Upon his death the title passed to Louisa, his daughter, who died without issue in 1910. The title then passed to her cousin, Sir Norman MacLeod Sinclair, 18th Earl of Caithness. In 1913 he petitioned the Lord Lyon, taking the surname and arms of Buchan of Auchmacoy. His daughter, Lady Olivia Buchan, was the mother of the present Chief.

Perhaps the most famous Buchan was John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, author of The Thirty-Nine Steps and Governor General of Canada.

Major General Ross Stuart Buchan, AO, was an Australian Soldier. In his career he served as a Major on a tour in Vietnam and went on to become the General Officer Commanding Headquarters Training Command. During his Vietnam tour, a close friend, Major Peter Badcoe was killed and subsequently posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. The Sydney Morning Herald has a decent article online regarding his career.


The clan has no official septs, but the following names have been linked to the Buchan region :[1] Basken/ Baskin, Bede, Buchan/ Bichan/ Bichen, Bonnieville, Boyne, Buck/ Buckie/ Bucky, Cawsell, Chapp, Chrystal, Clapperton, Coscrach/ Costie/ Costy, Cranach/ Crannach, Cruddon/ Cruden/ Crudon, Crystal/ Crystal/ Crystall, Fitchie/ Fitchy, Gammerie/ Gammery, Hardin/ Hardman/ Hardnan, Kermack, Leisk, Mac, Meason/ Merson, Mondie/ Mondy/ Mundie/ Mundy, Nible/ Niblo, Ogston/ Ogstone/ Ogstoun, Prince, Ratcliff/ Ratliff/ Rattcliff/ Rattliff, Runcie/ Runcy, Shakle, Tarves/ Tarvis, Teunion/ Teunon/ Tewnion/ Tinnon, Tucks, Wadsworth/ Wadsworther, West, Whammond/ Whyman/ Whymon, Willgook

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Clan Buchan: The Septs". Clan Buchan Association.  quoting Smith, Philip D. Tartan for Me. Heritage Books. ISBN 0788401378. 

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