Origins of the Clan

Clan traditions credit the founder of the clan as Maurice of Hungary, a Hungarian prince descended from Arpad, who is said to have accompanied Edgar Ætheling, heir to the English throne, and his sister Saint Margaret of Scotland, when they sailed there in 1066. This disregards accepted history that Edgar and Margaret were brought to England in 1057 by their father, Edward the Exile: Edward died immediately, and his children lived at court with their mother Agatha; Edgar, about thirteen in 1066, was elected king after the battle of Hastings and the death of Harold, but together with the rest of the English government surrendered to William of Normandy at Berkhamsted two months later (December 16th 1066). He first sailed to Scotland, accompanied by his mother Agatha and sisters Margaret and Christian, several years after 1066. In turn Maurice was the son of György, who, according to Europaeische Stammtafeln, went to Scotland in 1055 and became ancestor of the Drummond family. E.S. cites a 1959 work published in Warsaw as the source for this. It has long been asserted that the Drummond family was founded by a Hungarian who returned to Britain with Edward Ætheling, so this may be true. György was an illegitimate son of Andrew I of Hungary.

The clan’s first recorded chief to take the name was Malcolm Beg, whose son, also called Malcolm, fought at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. After the battle the clan was given lands in Perthshire by King Robert I. Two of his grandsons, Gilbert and John de Drumund, swore fealty to Edward I. Malcolm’s great-granddaughter, Annabella became the mother of King James I of Scotland in 1394.

Sir Malcolm, the eldest great-grandson of the aforementioned Malcolm, obtained the clan home, Stobhall Castle, from his aunt Queen Margaret Drummond, King David II’s wife. He was murdered by Highland marauders in 1403. His brother John’s great-grandson, also John, became a Lord of Parliament and the first Lord Drummond. One year of his life was spent in confinement within Blackness Castle after he assaulted the Lord Lyon, King of Arms. He had a daughter, Margaret, said to have been secretly married to King James IV, who died by means of a meal, along with two of her sisters. Although some say it was murder, others claim it was simple food poisoning.



Wars of Scottish Independence

In the 14th century during the Wars of Scottish Independence Clan Drummond fought against the English at the Battle of Dunbar in 1296 and the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 in support of King Robert the Bruce. Malcolm Beg’s son, The third Malcolm of Drummond fought at Bannockburn. He is credited with the deployment of caltropes, iron spikes, which when thrown onto the ground , always have one spike uppermost to injure horses and de-seat cavalry. This was done prior to the battle.( Caltropes were used by the SOE during WW11 for cavalry and motor-vehicle disablement ).

In 1357, Annabella Drummond married, John, High Steward of Scotland, and later married King Robert III of Scotland.



15th Century & Clan Conflicts

Chief Sir Malcolm Drummond married Isabel Douglas the Countess of Mar. He obtained the lands of Stobhall from his aunt Queen Margaret who had first obtained it from King David II of Scotland. Sir Malcolm was murdered in 1403 by a band of Highland marauders, said to have been the Clan Stewart of Appin led by Alexander Stewart, the son of the Wolf of Badenoch. Malcolm was succeeded by his brother John, whose great-grandson, also called John was made the 1st Lord Drummond.

Chief John, 1st Lord Drummond was judiciary of Scotland, a Privy Councillor, constable of Stirling Castle and was created a Lord of Parliament on January 29th 1487.

Battle of Knockmary 1490; This battle was between the two long feuding clans of Clan Murray and Clan Drummond. The Murrays were first successful, however the Drummonds were later reinforced and drove the Murrays off the battlefield. Many of the Murrays took refuge in a small church near Crief. Legend has it that at first the Drummond pursuers could not find them but an all too eager Murray clansmen, seeing his chance fired an arrow and killed a Drummond. The Drummonds then heaped combustibles around the church and burnt it to the ground with all those inside. Eight score Murrays were included in the holocaust, only one of those within the kirk escaping by the compassion of a Drummond clansman outside, who was his relation.



16th Century & Clan Conflicts

In 1501 another Drummond, Margaret the fair, enraptured King James IV of Scotland. She was, to him, “The diamond of Delight.” Because of his love for her, James originally declined the marriage to Mary Tudor, daughter of the King of Henry VII of England. It is rumored that James had indeed married Margaret and was to have her crowned Queen of Scotland. The nobles, mostly lowlanders and border Lords, feared that the Drummonds were becoming too powerful. They decided that Margaret must die, thus forcing James to marry the Tudor Princess. Margaret, and her two sisters, were poisoned. Shortly after, James married Mary Tudor, which made way for the union of the Scottish and English Crowns a century later.  

In 1589 John Drummond was appointed Royal Forester of Glenartney. It was in this post that he had the ears of some of the Clan MacGregor (one account says MacDonalds) poachers cropped. Clan MacGregor swore revenge and attacked Drummond and chopped off his head. They then proceeded to John’s sisters residence, burst in, and demanded bread and cheese. The MacGregors then unwrapped John’s head and crammed its mouth full. The feud between the two clans lasted for over a century.



17th Century & Civil War

James Drummond, descendant of John, Margaret’s father, became the first Earl of Perth in 1605, and his brother John became his successor on his death in 1611, and his sons became Earls of Perth like their father before them. Lord Drummond led his forces in support of the Covanenters against the Royalists at the Battle of Tippermuir in 1644. The chief of Clan Drummond, third Earl of Perth joined James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose in August 1645 and was taken prisoner at the Battle of Philiphaugh the following month.

During the battles that followed in the decades after the Civil War the Clan Drummond fought at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689.



18th Century & Jacobite Rebellion

During the Jacobite Uprisings the Clan Drummond were largely supporters of the Jacobite cause and the House of Stuart, however Drummond’s (Edinburgh) Volunteers Regiment fought on the side of the British government at the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745.

When King James VII came to the throne in 1685, James Drummond, 4th Earl of Perth, had converted to the Catholic Faith, as did his brother, the 1st Earl of Melfort.

James Drummond, the Duke of Perth was one of Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s closest commanders. He was involved in the Siege of Carlisle. Clan Drummond fought as Jacobites at the Battle of Falkirk (1746) and the Battle of Culloden in 1746. For their support of the Jacobite Stewarts through the risings of 1715 and 1745 the property and titles of the Drummonds were twice forfeited. It was not until 1853, through an Act of Parliament, that the title of Earl of Perth and other forfeited titles were restored to George Drummond, who was also in the French peerage as a Baron.



Clan Drummond in the 20th Century

James Eric Drummond (1876-1951), 16th Earl of Perth, served as the first secretary-general of the League of Nations. Lord Perth, a Catholic, was also British ambassador to Rome, from 1933 to 1939, and was chief advisor on foreign publicity at the Ministry of Information during World War II.

His successor, John David Drummond, was able to buy back the family home, Stobhall Castle.



Clan Castles

      Drummond Castle was built in 1491 by Sir John Drummond.

      Balmoral Castle was built in 1390 by Sir William Drummond.

      Megginch Castle was home of Cherry Drummond, 16th Baroness Strange



Clan Profile

      Gaelic names: Druiman

      Origin of name: Drummond - from Gaelic “drum” and “onde”, meaning “high ground”

      Motto: Gang warily - “Go carefully” Although the motto would seem as a tiding for a safe journey, the motto is actually a warning to those outside of the clan.

      Tartans: Drummond tartan



Clan Septs















Clan Drummond today

      Approximate numbers in various countries: Unknown

      Prominent members: see Drummond, under People.

      Ancestral lands: Perthshire.

Chief: John Eric Drummond, 18th Earl of Perth

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