Origins of the Clan

In the thirteenth century Maol Domhnaich, Earl of Lennox granted the lands of Colquhoun, located in Dunbartonshire, to Humphry de Kilpatrick. Humphry’s son, Ingelram de Colquhoun, who lived in the reign of Alexander III, was the first person recorded as taking Colquhoun as a surname. Around 1368, Luss, on Loch Lomond, was acquired by Sir Robert Colquhoun through marriage. From then on the chiefship has been described as of Colquhoun and Luss. His grandson Iain Colquhoun of Luss married Margaret, the daughter of the Earl of Lennox. When James I returned from English imprisonment a few years later in 1424, one of the people he took his vengeance upon was the unsupportive Lennox. Lennox’s position was devastated, and Iain of Luss took advantage of this to win the King’s favour by capturing Dumbarton Castle from Lennox. By 1427 he was Sheriff of Dumbarton and by 1439 he was dead, like his King, killed by those he had treated so badly. By way of compensation, James II made Luss a free barony for Colquhoun’s grandson Sir Iain. It remained this way until the 1745 Jacobite rising.



15th to 16th Centuries

In 1424 the Clan Lennox was decimated and Iain Colqhoun of Luss took advantage of this to win the King’s favour by capturing Dumbarton Castle from Lennox.

Sir John Colquhoun of Luss was appointed governor of Dumbarton Castle during the minority of King James II of Scotland, and was murdered in 1439 during a raid at Inchmurrin. He was succeeded by his son, also Sir John, who rose to be Comptroller of the Royal Household, and extended considerably the family estates.

In 1457 he received a charter incorporating all his lands into the free barony of Luss. The forests of Rossdhu and Glenmachome together with the lands of Kilmardinny, followed a year later. In 1474 he was part of the embassy to King Edward IV of England, seeking to negotiate a marriage between the infant James IV and Edward’s daughter, Cecilia. He fought at the siege of Dunbar Castle, held by rebels against the king, where he was killed by a canonball.

The Clan Colquhoun were among the clans who fought against the English at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547, where the Colquhoun chief was killed. Clan chiefs from Clan Hunter, Clan Macfarlane, Clan Munro and Clan Farquharson also died at this battle. A good clan chief was expected to lead by example; this meant being first into battle at the head of the clan. For this reason many clan chiefs died during battle. Because of the awful number of Scottish lives lost at the Battle of Pinkie the 10th of September is known in Scotland as ‘Black Saturday’.



17th Century

The Battle of Glen Fruin saw Luss invaded by the Clan Gregor in 1603 and the defeat of five hundred Colquhoun men, three hundred of whom were on horseback, by four hundred MacGregor men. Over two hundred of the Colquhoun men were lost when the MacGregors, who had split into two parties, attacked from front and rear and forced the horsemen onto the soft ground of the Moss of Auchingaich. It meant the proscription of the Clan Gregor. It wasn’t until the eighteenth century that the enmity between the clans was interred when, at Glen Fruin on the site of the massacre, the chiefs of the Clan Gregor and Colquhoun met and shook hands.

The 11th Laird of Luss, Sir John Colquhoun, became a baronet of Nova Scotia in 1625. Seven years later, however, he vanished along with Lady Catherine Graham, his wife’s sister. He was accused of using witchcraft and sorcery to woo her and never returned to clear his name.



18th Century

Sir Humphrey Colquhoun, fifth Baronet, represented Dunbartonshire in the last Scottish Parliament in 1703, and strongly opposed the Treaty of Union. On 30 March 1704, having no male heir, he resigned his baronetcy to the Crown and obtained a new patent, allowing the title to pass on his death to the male issue of his daughter’s husband, James Grant of Pluscardine. When Pluscardine’s elder brother died, he succeeded to the substantial estates of his father and once more assumed the name of Grant. He was ancestor of the Earls of Seafield and the Barons Strathspey, on whom the baronetcy devolved. Sir James Grant Colquhoun, fourth son of James Grant and Ann Colquhoun, succeeded to the Colquhoun estates, and built the grand mansion of Rossdhu which was until recently the seat of the chiefs.



Clan Colquhoun today

Sir Ivar Colquhoun, 30th Laird of Luss and 32nd Chief of Colquhoun succeeded as chief of the clan in 1948. He was the longest serving chief of the clan having served as chief for almost 60 years until his death in 2008. Upon his death he was succeeded by his surviving son Malcolm.



Clan profile

Clan chief: Sir Malcolm Rory Colquhoun of Luss, 9th Baronet of Luss



Clan septs

The Clan Colquhoun Society of the United Kingdom considers the following names as septs of Clan Colquhoun. However several of the names are claimed by other clans, including Clan Gregor - traditional enemy of Clan Colquhoun.

Cowan, Ingram, Kilpatrick, King, Kirkpatrick, Laing, McCowan, McMain, McManus, McLintock and McOwan.

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