Origin of name

The origin of the name Chattan is disputed. There are three main theories

The name derives from the Catti, a tribe of Gauls, driven out by the advancing Romans.

The name is taken from Cait, an ancient name for the present counties of Caithness and Sutherland.

The clan derives its name from Gillchattan Mor, baillie of Ardchattan, follower of St Cattan. This is the most widely accepted theory.



Clan Chattan

Until the early 14th century the Clan Chattan was a seperate Scottish clan with its own chieftencey, until Angus Mackintosh, 6th chief of Clan Mackintosh married Eva, the daughter of Gilpatric Dougal Dall, the 6th chief of Clan Chattan. Thus Angus Mackintosh became 6th chief of Clan Mackintosh and 7th chief of the Clan Chattan. The two clans united to form the Chattan Confederation, headed by the chief of Clan Mackintosh.



Chiefs of Clan Chattan

The following is a list of the traditional chiefs of the Clan Chattan before uniting with the Clan Mackintosh to form the Chattan Confederation:




Dougal or Gilpatric, daughter married 6th chief of Clan Mackintosh.










Gillcarten Mor, first known chief of Clan Chattan.



Chattan Confederation




The Chattan Confederation formed when the Clan Chattan and Clan Mackintosh united under the Mackintosh chief. See chiefs of Clan Mackintosh.

During the War of Independence with England, the clan sided with Robert I of Scotland, most likely due to the fact that MacKintosh’s enemy, John Comyn had declared for Edward Balliol. In reward for his fealty, MacKintosh was awarded the Comyn lands of Benchar in Badenoch in 1319. It was after this event that the Chattan Confederation grew in size and influence to 17 tribes.

During the 1745 Jacobite Rising, Angus, the chief of Clan MacKintosh was a captain in the Black Watch. Although traditionally the Clan supported the House of Stewart they had not declared for the Young Pretender. Angus’s wife, Anne, of Farquharson, successfully rallied the Chattan Confederation to the Jacobite cause.

Following the defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 the clan was severely diminished in strength and influence. In 1747 the Clan Chattan Association was established as a way to stimulate interest in the clan history. The Association floundered and a second Association was founded in 1893, but again died out around 1900. The third Association was founded in 1933 in London and continues to this day.

In 1942, the Lyon court separated the leadership of Clan MacKintosh and Clan Chattan. The leadership of Clan Chattan passed to the Mackintosh of Torcastle line.



Clan Chattan Association

The activities of the Clan are now carried on by the Clan Chattan Association. The first Clan Chattan Association was established in 1727 with the aim of watching and defending the interests of the clan ‘against all who would seek the injury of any of its subscribers’. It might be seen as an unsuccessful attempt to recast the clan in modern form.

The development of clan societies, as we now know them, aimed to provide friendly social intercourse between those linked by a common name and to stimulate interest in the knowledge and understanding of their clan’s history.

The writings of Sir Walter Scott romanticised the Highlands and led to the revival of interest in the affairs, culture and economic wellbeing of its people.

The fashion for ‘all things Highland’ was at its peak once Queen Victoria fell in love with the land and acquired the estate of Balmoral. In that era, many clan societies and associations emerged, among them the second Clan Chattan Association which was founded in Glasgow in 1893.

Support for the Association was strong and the meetings, lectures and dances were described as ‘a brilliant success’.

Despite a growing membership, the Association waned and died around the turn of the century. Even so the clan historians of the period had produced several works of merit which are still of value today.

There was little concerted activity until, in the summer of 1933, a few enthusiastic clansfolk in London founded the third Clan Chattan Association. It has flourished to the present day and now has a world-wide membership although it remains firmly based in Scotland.

The Association is sustained by a group of active office bearers. It continues to organise successful activities such as the annual events which take place at Moy Hall in conjunction with the Highland Field Sports Fair towards the beginning of August. Although scattered throughout the world, members are kept informed of these and other events through the annual journal of the Clan Chattan Association. The cover of the journal features a cat ’salient proper on a wreath’ – of red whortleberry and a scroll with the motto ‘Touch not the cat bot a glove’.

The Association’s journal seeks to promote a knowledge of Clan Chattan – its past, present and future.



Clans of the Clan Chattan Association

The clans that currently make up the Clan Chattan Association are as follows:

Clan Davidson

Clan Farquharson

Clan MacBain

Clan MacGillivray

Clan Macintyre of Badenoch

Clan Mackintosh

Clan MacLean of Dochgarroch

Clan MacPhail

Clan Macpherson

Clan MacQueen

Clan MacThomas

Clan Shaw



Clan chief and the Council of Clan Chattan



Chief of Clan Chattan

In 1942 the leadership of Clan Chattan was passed from the Mackintosh of Mackintosh line, to the Mackintosh of Torcastle line. The current chief, MacKintosh of Torcastle, resides in Zimbabwe.



The Council of Clan Chattan

There is currently a council of eight chiefs, representing the major clans of the Chattan..

John Mackintosh of Mackintosh (President).

Captain A.A.C. Farquharson of Invercauld.

Honourable Sir Wm. McPherson of Cluny.

John Shaw of Tordarroch.

James McBain of McBain.

Alister Davidson of Davidston.

Andrew McThomas of Finegand.

The Very Reverend Allan MacLean of Dochgarroch.



Clan profile

Plant badge: Red Whortleberry lat. vaccinium vitis-idaea

Crest badge: A cat salient, proper.

Clan chief’s motto: Touch not the catt bot a glove. ‘Bot’ may mean “without” or “ungloved”, either being a warning to those who would harm the clan.




The individual Clans of the Chattan Confederation had their own. There is a Clan Chattan tartan, formerly known as Mackintosh Chief, recognised by Lord Lyon in 1938.

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