Clan Buchanan (Pronounced B-eww-cannon in North America and Buck-annon in Europe and Australia) is an Armigerous Scottish clan whose origins are said to lie in the 1225 grant of lands on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond to clergyman Sir Absalon of Buchanan by the Earl of Lennox.
Origins of the Clan
Clan Buchanan has occupied the lands surrounding the shores of Loch Lomond since 1225 as a result of a grant by the Earl of Lennox to Sir Absalon of Buchanan in which he is referred to as ‘clericus meus’, meaning ‘my clergyman’.
Furthermore, Clan Buchanan can trace its origin back to Anselan O Kyan who was a son of the King of Ulster who landed in Argyll in 1016. For his services against the Danes he received the lands of Buchanan, which lie to the east of Loch Lomond.
Wars of Scottish Independence
During the Wars of Scottish Independence the Clan Buchanan supported King Robert the Bruce fighting at the Battle of Bannockburn and securing their lands.
15th Century & Clan Conflicts
The Sir Alexander Buchanan, Chief of Clan Buchanan led men of the clan in support of the French against the English at the Battle of Baugé in 1421. It is said that Alexander Buchanan came face to face with the Duke of Clarence and, escaping his thrust, pierced the Duke through the left eye, killing him.
Sir Alexander Buchanan however was later killed leading the clan against the English at the Battle of Verneuil in 1424.
In the 15th century a feud broke out between the Clan Buchanan and the Clan MacLaren resulting in a full scale battle. At first the Buchanans were faring better and drove the MacLarens back. Legend has it that the Chief of MacLarens saw one of his sons cut down and being suddenly seized with battle madness turned and shouted the MacLaren battle cry “Craig Turic” and whirling his Claymore rushed furiously at the enemy. His clansmen followed him and the Buchanans were cut down like corn. Only two escaped by swimming the River Balvaig but even they were followed. One was cut down at Gartnafuaran and the second was cut down at a place since known by the circumstance as Sron Laine.
16th Century & Anglo-Scottish Wars
During the Anglo-Scottish Wars the Clan Buchanan fought against the English at the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513 where the chief’s elder son Patrick was killed. However Patrick had already married a daughter of the Earl of Argyll and had two sons and daughters.
Later the Clan Buchanan fought against the English at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547 where their chief was killed. Clan chiefs from Clan Colquhoun, Clan Hunter, Clan MacFarlane and Clan Farquharson also died. A good clan chief was expected to lead by example and this meant being first into battle.
17th Century & Civil War
During the Civil Wars Clan Buchanan supported the Royalist cause of King Charles. Sir George Buchanan commanded the Stirlingshire Regiment and led the clan at the Battle of Dunbar (1650) on the side of the Scottish Covenanters.
He later led the clan at the Battle of Inverkeithing but here he was captured.
The Buchanans fought on the side of the Covenanters at the Battle of Bothwell Brig in 1679.
18th Century & Jacobite Uprisings
The Clan Buchanan took no part in the Jacobite Uprisings of 1715 to 1716 or the 1745 to 1746 uprising. This was probably due to several reasons including their proximity to the land of the more powerful Campbells who fought with the English and a break in the line of the chieftainship of the clan.
Castles and seats of the Clan Buchanan have included: Buchanan auld House, Buchanan Castle, Buchanan Monument at Killearn, Craigend Castle, Dunglass Castle (Dunbartonshire), Northbar House, and Wolfshire Manor.
Notable Clan Members
James Buchanan: Fifteenth President of The United States of America
Isaac Buchanan: Canadian businessman, held a seat at the Executive Council of the Canadian Federal government, described as “The Father of National Policy”
Benjamin Buchanan: Financier and industrialist
David Buchanan: Australian Politician
John Buchanan: Oceanographer
Roy Buchanan: Guitarist and blues musician
James M. Buchanan: Nobel Prize Winner
Clarior hinc honos (Brighter hence the honour) and Audaces Juvo (I help the brave) both are Latin
Grant of lands east of Loch Lomond to clergyman Sir Absalon of Buchanan.
Macauselan (derived from Anselan O Kyan their founder), Cononach and Buth Chanain (Canon’s House)
Arnprior, Auchmar, Carbeth, Leny, Spital
Or, a lion rampant Sable, armed and langued Gules, within a double tressure flory counterflory of the Second
Ancient Tartan (Old Sett)