Clan Strachan is a Highland clan from the Grampian Highlands of Scotland. The clan does not currently have a chief therefore it is considered an Armigerous clan.

The Clan Strachan warcry/slogan is Clachnaben!







In the year 1200, Walderus de Stratheihen made a grant of lands to the church of St Andrews.

John, son of Rudolph de Strachane, gave the lands to the Abbey of Dunfermline which was confirmed by a charter of King Alexander III of Scotland in 1278.

The barony of Strachan and the lands of Feteresso passed to the Clan Keith family from the Strachans by marriage, in the reign of King David II of Scotland, but Sir James Strachan of Monboddo obtained the lands of Thornton in Kincardine. He had two sons the elder, Duncan, took the lands of Monboddo, while the younger had the lands of Thornton.



17th Century & Civil War

Sir Alexander Strachan of Thornton was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia by King Charles I in 1625. The baronetcy passed in to the senior line of Monboddo by a charter under the great seal in 1663.

During the Civil War the chief, Colonel Alexander Strachan led a body of dragoons from Clan Strachan at the Battle of Carbisdale in 1650, where he held command under General Sir David Leslie on the side of the Covenanters. They were victorious against the Royalist army of James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose.

In 1654, Chief Sir James Strachan, 3rd baronet and 17th laird married his 16 year old cousin Elizabeth Forbes of Waterton. Their son James Strachan married Barbara Forbes of Newton. He led the clan at the Battle of Killiecrankie on the side of John Graham, 1st Viscount of Dundee where he was killed. After his death to the estate passed into the successive ownership of three Forbes lairds and, in 1720, to Thomas Fullerton of Gallery, the initials of whose son, Phillip (Beau) Fullerton of the Dragoon Guards and of his wife Katharine Scott of Benholm embellish the gilded weather-vane on the keep.



Napoleonic Wars

In the 19th century, during the Napoleonic Wars, Admiral Sir Richard Strachan, 6th baronet from the direct line of the chieftenship of the Clan Strachan, commanded a squadron. On 2 November 1805, his squadron engaged four French battleships that had escaped from Lord Nelson’s triumph at the Battle of Trafalgar. Sir Richard captured all four French vessels with little loss of British life. He was created a Knight of the Bath and in 1810 was granted freedom of the City of London.



Present day



Clan Strachan Tartan - designed in 1987, by Tony Murray. According to Kenneth Dalgliesh (Scottish World Tartan Society) it was first seen in 1999, and was registered in 2000.

The chieftenship of Clan Strachan and title of the barony of Strachan became dormant in 1854, therefore it is currently an Armigerous clan. The Clan Strachan Societyofficially recognizes Ben Strachanas current Patron of the Armigerous Clan Strachan. Ben is the proprietor of the Mill of Strachan, located on the west end of the village of Strachan, Kincardineshire.



Clan Castle

The last seat of the chief of Clan Strachan was at Thornton Castle.

The original Chief of Clan Strachan were the ‘de Strachan’ barons, whose lands included much of what is now the Royal Deeside area of the Grampian Highlands. In 1296, the barons ‘de Strachan’ were important local nobles until this time, when they backed the Earls of Buchan and Comyn (to whom they were probably related) in support of King John Balliol against Robert the Bruce. This culminated in the Battle of Inverurie in 1308, by whom they were defeated by the Bruce and disinherited. The barony ‘de Strachan’ passed to Bruce’s Great Chamberlain, Sir Alexander Fraser.

Fifty years later, at around 1350, shortly after King Robert’s son and successor, David II, had been defeated and captured by the English, 1341, at the battle of Neville’s Cross six descendants of the former Baron de Strachan received grants of lands and baronetcies.

House of Glenkindie: Adam Strachan was granted lands in Aberdeenshire from William Keith (1350). William Keith had inherited the barony of Strachan through his mother, the daughter of Sir Alexander Fraser and niece of King Robert I. Adam Strachan also married the Daughter of the Earl of Mar, Margaret Mar, and gained the lands and baronetcy of Glenkindie. As a result of this marriage between the Strachan of Glenkindie and the Earldom of Mar, Strachans may wear the Tribe of Mar tartan. Additionally, as the Earldom of Mar were related to the King Robert the Bruce, descendants from this marriage would no doubt have royal blood. Glenkindie House

House of Thornton: In 1348, seven years before Adam Strachan obtained Glenkindie, a Sir James Strachan of Monboddo married Agnete, heiress of the Barony of Thornton, which had been granted to her father by Robert I in 1309. From thenceforth, the Strachans of Thornton and the Strachans of Glenkindie became the two principal chieftains of the Strachan family. Thornton Castle lies about 15 miles to the south of the village of Strachan and Glenkindie House lies about 30 miles to its north. Thornton Castle

House of Carmyllie: Alexander de Strachan granted the barony of Carmylie in Forfarshire (1347) by Sir Henry Maule (or Mauld) of Panmure. Also received the lands of Drummayeth, Hackmangerum, Acheyclare, and Moncur. Carmyllie Castle

House of Lenturk: Sir John de Strachan was granted the barony of Lenturk in Aberdeenshire (1350 possibly by the Earl of Mar, as his lands were situated quite near to the Earl of Mar’s fortress, Kildrummy Castle). In 1359, Sir John became Viscount (Sheriff) of Forfarshire. In official documents of the time, we find him listed as a witness to the installation of John of Mar as Bishop of Aberdeen and, to another charter, as co-witness with William Keith, the Earl Marshall. In 1380, the granted the lands of Petgervy to his son Galfrid. Lenturk Castle

• ~ 1347, King David II himself granted to Donald de Strachan and his wife Annabel very extensive lands in Forfarshire, and a barony in Aberdeenshire.

• Thomas de Strachan got the lands of Knock in Kincardineshire.

It is highly unlikely this is a coincidence, as all these grants occurred almost simultaneously, particularly as they involved marriages, and marriages amongst the nobility were almost invariably political. It follows that there must have been some new motivation that made marriage with the Strachans politically desirable.

It is believed that the former Baron de Strachan was one of the large numbers of pro-Balliol nobles who, after the Battle of Inverurie (1308) fled to the English court, and where they were known as “the disinherited.” But in 1347, King David, honoring obligations under the Franco-Scottish alliance, invaded the north of England, were heavily defeated, and captured by the English. So, from the perspective of “the disinherited,” here was the son of the man (King Robert the Bruce) who had disinherited them arriving captive in London. If one King could disinherit them, why should not another? With a little persuasion King David reinstated the Strachans, among others.



Clan Septs

The Anglicization of the Gaelic led to different spellings of the name, as transliterations were made in various censuses: Strachan (mainly Scots), Straghan (mainly Irish), or Strahan (both).


Clan Strachan

A demi stag springing Or holding a thistle in his mouth Proper


Non timeo sed caveo (I fear not but am cautious)


Strachan District, Kincardineshire

Gaelic name(s)



Houses of Thornton, of Glenkindie, of Lenturk, and of Carmyllie




(of Thornton) Or, a stag at gaze Azure attired Sable


Clan Strachan Tartan, ITI No. 002601 (shown below)

Clan badge

Two greyhounds Argent each charged on the shoulder with a thistle Proper

Clan chieftain

Benjamin Strachan, Patron

Clan seat(s)

Thornton Castle, Glenkindie House, Lenturk Castle, Carmylie Castle, Claypotts Castle, Culloden House


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