Clan Darroch

Clan Darroch
Clan Darroch
Crest badge
Crest: On a chapeau Gules furred miniver a demi-Negro, in his dexter hand a dagger Proper
Region Lowlands

Claire Darroch of Gourock
The Chief of Clan Darroch

Clan Darroch is a Lowland Scottish clan. They were islanders who lived on the Isle of Islay and the Isle of Jura under MacDonald, Lord of the Isles.



Origins of the name

There are several origins for the surname Darroch in Scotland. In some cases it is an Anglicised form of the Irish Ó Dhubhdarach and Mac Dhubhdarach, which mean "descendant of Dubhdarach" and "son of Dubhdarach". The personal name Dubhdarach means "black one of the oak tree".[1] The surname borne by the earliest Darrochs on record, however, is thought to have originated as a habitational name, derived from Darroch, located near Falkirk, in Stirlingshire, Scotland.[1][2]

There is a tradition in the West Highlands that the surname borne there is derived from the Gaelic Dath riabhach, which is said to be a short form of Mac 'Ille riabhach; although etymologist George Fraser Black thought such a derivation doubtful.[2] The present line of chiefs, recognised as such by the Lord Lyon King of Arms since the late 18th century, claimed to descend from a "McIlliriech" from Jura.[3]

15th to 17th century

John Darroch was baille of Stirling in 1406. John Darach de Cruce is mentioned in 1445 and may be the same person as John Darraugh who was the commissioner to Parliament for the burgh of Stirling in 1450.

Mariote Darrauch was nurse of Lady Margaret the second daughter of King James II of Scotland in 1462.

Marion Darroch of Stirling protested in 1471 that she had not given consent to the alienation of an annual rent due to her.

Jacobus Darroch was a notary public who appears as a witness to a charter relating to the lands of the Stirlings of Keir around 1477.

Although the Darrochs were notable in and around Stirling, they were most numerous on the Isle of Islay and the Isle of Jura where they were part of the powerful Clan Donald or MacDonald who were ruled by MacDonald Lord of the Isles.

In 1623, Clann Domhnuill Riabhaich appears on a bond acknowledging Sir Donald MacDonald, first Baronet of Sleat as their overlord and protector.

18th century

In the later half of the 18th century Duncan Darroch returned to Scotland after making a fortune in the West Indies. He acquired the Barony of Gourock from the Stewarts of Castlemilk in 1784. He was also granted arms by the Court of the Lord Lyon and designated Chief of McIireich.[4]

19th century and later

His son, who was also called Duncan and was 2nd Baron of Gourock rose to the rank of Lieutenant General in the Glengarry Fencibles Regiment

His son who was also called Duncan became 3rd Baron of Gourock and also married the daughter of a wealthy merchant who was the Laird of Fairlie in Ayrshire.

Long after the Scottish clans were over the northern estates in Torriden Ross-shire were acquired by the fourth Baron of Gourock in 1873.

The clan was united by marriage to the Clan Mackintosh when Margaret Darroch of Gourock married the Chief of Clan Mackintosh; Rear Admiral Lachlan Mackintosh. She later published a well-respected history of the Mackintosh clan.

The sixth Baron of Gourock, also Duncan, followed a military career serving in the British regiment of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He served in both World Wars. He was also a member of the Royal Company of Archers. His son Duncan, the seventh of Gourock, also served in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, (Way of Plean and Squire, pp 116-7) and was the Clan Darroch Chief until his death on 1st February 2011. The present Clan Darroch Chief is his eldest daughter, Claire. [5]


  1. ^ a b Learn about the family history of your surname,,, retrieved 9 February 2011 , which cited: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4 , for the surnames "Darragh", "Darroch", and "Darrow".
  2. ^ a b Black, George Fraser (1946), The Surnames of Scotland: Their Origin, Meaning, and History, New York: New York Public Library, p. 201 
  3. ^ Burke's landed gentry of Great Britain, page=278.
  4. ^ "History - Darroch Family Web Site". Retrieved 2011-02-06. 
  5. ^ "Darroch of Gourock". The Daily Telegraph (London). 

See also

External links


George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, Barnes and Noble, New York, 1998

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