Clan MacQuarrie is a Highland Scottish clan, associated with the islands of Ulva, Staffa and the Isle of Mull, which are all located in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. The last chief of Clan MacQuarrie died in 1818 and since the clan does not have a current Chief recognized by Lord Lyon it can be viewed as an Armigerous clan. The family papers of the clan were lost to a fire in 1688, and consequently much of early clan tradition that exists is considered suspect. According to the nineteenth century historian William F. Skene, Clan MacQuarrie is one of the seven clans of Siol Alpin, as the manuscript of 1450 gives the clan’s descent from Guaire or Godrey, brother of Fingon (supposed ancestor of Clan MacKinnon) and Anrias (supposed ancestor of Clan Gregor). The clans of Siol Alpin claim a descent from Alpín, the father of Cináed mac Ailpín of whom popular tradition describes as the first King of Scots.






A proposed descent of the seven clans of Siol Alpin.

Clan MacQuarrie is first found in possession of the island of Ulva in the Scottish Inner Hebrides, and as a result was dependent on the Lords of the Isles. The first record of Clan MacQuarrie is of the chief John Macquarrie of Ulva, who died in 1473. John’s son, Dunslaff, was the chief of the clan during the forfeiture of the Lord of the Isles, after which the MacQuarries gained some independence, though a minor clan surrounded by more powerful ones. Following the fall of the Lordshop of the Isles the clan followed Maclean of Dowart, and with the Macleans, the MacQuarries supported Domhnall Dubh’s quest for the Lordship of the Isles at the beginning of the sixteenth century. In 1504 MacGorry of Ullowaa, along with other chiefs, was summoned to answer for aiding in Donald Dubh’s failed rebellion. The following chief, Dunslaff’s son John, was one of the chiefs denounced in 1504, for treasonous correspondence with the King of England.

The clan suffered greviously at the Battle of Inverkeithing on July 20, 1651, as they supported the Scots forces in aid of Charles II of England against an English Parliamentarian army led by John Lambert. In the battle the Scots were decisively defeated by the well disciplined New Model Army of the English, and amongst the slain was Allan Macquarrie of Ulva, chief of Clan MacQuarrie, and most of his followers.

The last chief of Clan MacQuarrie, was Lachlan Macquarrie of Ulva. MacQuarrie was head of the clan when Samuel Johnson and James Boswell visited Ulva in 1773. Debts to creditors forced the last chief to sell off his lands and in 1778, at the age of 63, he joined the British Army. The chief then served in the American Revolutionary War, and died at the age of 103 in 1818, with the title Lord Lynedoch.



Clan profile



The MacQuarrie tartan. Today this is the most common MacQuarrie tartan, and it is very similar to the “MacDonald of the Isles” tartan.

      Crest badge: Out of an antique crown, An arm in armour embowed, grasping a dagger, all proper.

      Motto: Turris fortis mihi Deus, (translation from Latin: God is to me a tower of strength).

      Slogan: An t’arm breac dearg, (translation from Scottish Gaelic: The red tartaned army).

      Clan badge: pine.

      Origin of Name: MacQuarrie is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic Mac Guaire, a patronymic version of the Gaelic name meaning “proud” or “noble”.

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