Origins of the clan

The Ogilvys are one of the most distinguished families in Scotland and take their name from Gillibride the second son of Gilliechriost, Earl of Angus. The name Ogilvy or Ogilvie derives from Gilbert one of the descendants of the ancient Earls of Angus. The name is also believed to be derived from the Old British word Ocelfa meaning high plain.

Patrick de Olgilvy appears on the Ragman Roll swearing fealty to King Edward I of England in 1296.



Wars of Scottish Independence

However Patrick’s two sons supported King Robert I of Scotland during the Wars of Scottish Independence. The Ogilvy lands are found in Angus where the Ogilvy family were made hereditary sheriffs in the 14th and 15th centuries.



15th Century & Clan Conflicts

In the 15th century the Tower of Airlie was built as the castle of the Chief of Oglives. In 1394 a clan battle took place between Clan Robertson and the Clan Ogilvy, during a cattle raid on Angus. Sir Walter Ogilvy was slain at this battle, though his son became the Earl of Mar who commanded the Duke of Albany’s forces at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411.The Clan Ogilvy fought at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411 in support of the Duke of Albany. The Earl of Mar who commanded the Duke of Albany’s forces was the son of Sir Walter Ogilvy who had been slain in a clan battle in 1394

Battle of Arbroath 1445, The Clan Ogilvy who were also supported by men from the Clan Oliphant, Clan Seton, Clan Gordon and men from the Clan Forbes of Pitsligo fought at the Battle of Arbroath on the 24 January 1445. Their enemey was the Master of Crawford and his Clan Lindsay who advanced with over one thousand men. The Earl of Crawford himself was the father of the Master of Crawford. The Earl rode in between the two armies in an attempt to call a truce. However, an illadvised Ogilvie, thinking that this was the start of the Lindsay’s attack, threw his spear at the Earl, hitting him in the mouth and killing him instantly. So the battle began which went in the Clan Lindsay’s favour. Here fell Ogilvie of Inverquharty, Forbes of Pitsligo, Brucklay of Gartley, Gordon of Borrowfield, and Oliphant of Aberdalgie, along with 500 or so Ogilvie’s. However, the Lindsays lost a disproportionate amount of men, most notably the Earl himself.

Battle of Brechin 1452,During the fifteenth century the Clan Lindsay lost much of their land due to feuding with the Clan Ogilvy. Chief Alexander Lindsay, the 4th Earl of Crawford, also known as the Tiger Earl and Earl Beardie was badly defeated by the Clan Ogilvy and the Clan Gordon under the Earl of Huntly at Brechin in 1452.



16th Century & Anglo-Scottish wars

In the 16th century during the Anglo-Scottish Wars against the English the Clan Ogilvy fought at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547 where the Chief’s 4th eldest son called James was killed.



17th Century & Civil War

During the Civil War the Clan Ogilvy supported the Royalist cause. They fought under James Graham the 1st Marquess of Montrose and fought with him at the Battle of Inverlochy (1645), the Battle of Kilsyth and Battle of Philiphaugh in 1648 where James Ogilvy 2nd Earl of Airlie was captured. His was imprisoned in St Andrews Castle but escaped one night before the day of his execution, disguised in his sisters clothes. The ‘Bonnie Hoose o’ Airlie’ was destroyed in the Civil War by the Clan Campbell and this tragic incident is described in a ballad from the time.



18th Century & Jacobite Uprisings

The Ogilvy Clan supported the Jacobite Uprisings in 1715 to 1716 and 1745 to 1746. A regiment from the Ogilvy Clan fought at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. After their defeat the chief of the Olgilvy Clan escaped to France and enterd royal service there. By this point in time the title of Earl of Ogilvie had been lost and was not restored by parliament until 1896.



The clan today

The present chief of the Ogilvie clan serves as Lord Chamberlain to the Queen. Royal links were also reinforced when Angus Ogilvy, the brother of the chief, married HRH Princess Alexandra.




      Auchindoun Castle was acquired by the Ogilvys in 1489.

      Airlie Castle, Airlie, Angus was home of the Ogilvy Earls of Airlie  

      Cortachy Castle.  

      Bamff Castle.

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