MacThomas

Clan MacThomas is a Highland Scottish clan, associated with the Chattan Confederation. The clan traces its descent from a fifteenth century Thomaidh, who was the great-grandson of the 8th chief of the Clan Chattan MacKintoshes. The seat of the Clan MacThomas was at Finegand (Scottish Gaelic: Feith nan Ceann, meaning “burn of the heads”) in Glenshee.

 

 

History

 

 

Origins of the Clan

From ancient times, the MacThomas families were originally a sept of the Chattan Confederation.

However by the 15th century the Chattan Confederation had become too large to be effectively managed as a single clan. Consequently, Tomaidh Mor (Great Tommy), a greatgrandson of the 8th Chief of the Chattan Confederation, William MacKintosh, left the familial lands at Badenoch, which Chattan had recently wrested from Clan Comyn in the 15th century, with his kinsmen and followers, crossing the Grampians to settle in Glenshee. They flourished there, becoming an independent clan named “MacTomaidh” after Great Tommy, though maintaining very close ties with the other clans stemming from Chattan.

 

 

16th Century

In 1571 a charter confirmed John McComy-Muir the lands of Finegand, Glenshee where the 4th chief Robert McComie was murdered. The MacThomas were named as one of the ‘broken’ clans in the 16th late century.

 

 

17th Century, Clan Conflicts & Civil War

The Clan MacThoms spent much of their time breeding cattle and fighting off those who tried to rustle them. One of these incidents in 1606 is remembered as the Battle of Cairnwell. A force of around 200 men from the Clan MacGregor and some Catarans made off with around 2,700 of the MacThomas’s cattle. The MacThomas’ eventually caught up with their enemies and defeated them but not before they had butchered most of the MacThomas’s cattle out of pure spite. This caused much financial damage to the MacThomases with some of the clansmen being completely ruined.

During the Civil War there were MacThomases on both sides. As a Reformed Presbyterian the 6th chief of Clan MacThomas acted as a Covenanter government agent. As the 7th chief, Iain Mor found abusive tax collectors who exploited the weak particularly repugnant. On one occasion when Iain Mor ran off collectors who were abusing a widow, the Earl of Atholl enlisted an Italian champion swordsman to assist his money gathering duties. The Earl did not count on the martial abilities of the MacThomas, and the unfortunate Italian met his end with the bite of Highland steel.

When questionable parties took advantage of Covenanter legislation to seize land from their historic clan adversaries Iain Mor fought on the side of the Royalists under James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose at Dundee in 1644 where he dispatched the Covenanter cavalry commander Sir William Forbes in single combat. Iain Mor’s tombstone bears a religious inscription that indicates a return to his Covenanter roots later in life.

The Clan MacThomas were often involved in feuds with other clans, especially the Clan Farquharson. Of the six sons born from the clan MacThomas chief, both John and Robert, the eldest and fourth eldest respectively were killed in a skirmish at Drumgley on January 28th 1673. The feud was as a result of the MacThomases allowing their cattle to pasture on the Faquharson’s land. After the skirmish the MacThomases were fined, there was a crippling lawsuit made against them. After the chiefs death which followed the remaining sons were forced to sell their lands.

 

 

Clan profile

 

 

“Ancient” version of the MacThomas Tartan

 

 

Motto and current chief

      Clan Motto: Deo juvante invidiam superabo (Latin) (With God’s help, I will overcome envy).

      Clan Chief: Andrew MacThomas of Finegand, 19th Chief of Clan MacThomas.

 

 

Associated names

Associated names of Clan MacThomas, recognized by the Clan MacThomas Society:

      Combie.

      MacOmie.

      MacOmish.

      McColm.

      McComas.

      McComb(e).

      McCombie.

      McComie.

      McComish.

      Tam.

      Thom.

      Thoms.

      Thomas.

      Thomson.

 

Note: Prefixes Mac and Mc are interchangeable.

 

 

List of clan chiefs

Chief

Name

Dates

Notes

1st

Thomas (Tomaidh Mor)

15th Century

seated at the Thom, east bank of the Shee Water

2nd

Unknown

 ?

presumed to be Ane (Iain), father of Aye

3rd

Aye (Adam) MacAne MacThomas

 ?

Led a MacThomas party to aid Clan Chattan on 2 May, 1543

4th

Robert McComie of the Thom

 ?-1600

murdered by cateran (cattle rustlers) in 1600

5th

John McComie of Finegand

1600-1606

Robert’s brother; moved seat to Finegand

6th

Alexander McComie of Finegand

1606-1637

John’s grandson; lands passed to Clan Farquharson in 1616 through marriage of Robert’s daughter; a long feud and numerous battles restored the clan lands under John (below)

7th

John McComie (Iain Mor)

1637-1674

Alexander’s son; known as “McComie Mor”, greatly expanded territory and prestige of the clan; acquired lands and Barony of Forter in Glenisla (1651); rose to support Montrose in 1644

8th

James McComie

1674-1676

3rd son of Iain Mor

9th

Thomas McComie

1676-?

5th son of Iain Mor

10th

Angus Thomas

 ?

aka “Mr. Angus” educated at St. Andrew University, Fife; 6th son of Iain Mor, anglicized surname, (dejure Chief)

11th

Robert Thomas

 ?-1740

Large estate at Cullarnie, later moved to Belhelvie; son of Angus, (dejure)

12th

David Thomas of Belhelvie

1740-1751

eldest son of Robert

13th

Henry Thomas of Belhelvie

1751-1797

second son of Robert

14th

William Thoms

1797-1843

eldest son of Henry, became a merchant in St. Andrews, further Anglicized surname, died with no children

15th

Patrick Hunter MacThomas Thoms

1843-1870

son of George Thoms (a son of Henry and half-brother of William)

16th

George Hunter MacThomas

1870-1903

son of Patrick; Sheriff of Caithness, Orkney and Shetland (bequethed his vast fortune and lands to St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall

17th

Unclaimed

1903-1967

with no estate, the title went unclaimed by any possible heirs

18th

Patrick MacThomas of Finegand

1967-1970

great-grandnephew of Patrick, first chief known to be officially recognized by the Lyon Court since Thomas McComie in 1676

19th

Andrew MacThomas of Finegand (MacThomaidh Mhor)

1970-date

Current Chief, Retired Banker

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