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MacKenzie Clan

  • Crest:
  • Badge Stagshorn clubmoss
  • Gaelic Name: MacCoinnich
  • Motto: Leceo non uro (I shine, not burn)
  • Origin of Tartan:
  • Name Variations:
  • Septs of the Clan: Charles, Charleson, Clunies, Cromarty, Ivory, Kenneth, Kennethson, MacBeolain, MacConnach, MacIver, MacIvor, MacKenna, MacKerlich, MacMurchie, MacMurchy, MacQuennie, MacVanish, MacVinish, MacWhinnie, Murchie, Murchison, Smart.
  • Lands Ross and Cromarty, Isle of Lewis
  • Seat: Castle Leod, Ross-shire
  • Clan Chief: John Ruaridh Grant MacKenzie, 5th Earl of Cromartie

John Ruaridh Grant Mackenzie: Viscount Tarbat, Baron Castlehaven, Baron MacLeod, of Castle Leod; Earl UK created 1861; recognised by Lord Lyon as Chief of Clan Mackenzie; discontinued the use of the forename and surname of Blunt 1962; b. 12 June 1948; son of [ Roderick Grant Francis Mackenzie] 4th Earl of Cromartie, MC, TD and Olga (d. 1996), daughter of the late Stuart Laurence; succeeded his father, 1989;

Origins of the name

From the Gaelic, MacCoinnich (Son of the fair) or "fair, bright one", the MacKenzies are thought to descend from the ancient royal house of Lorn. The clan held lands in Ross-shire, stretching from the Outer Hebrides in the west, to the Black Isle in the east.

History of the Clan

The Clan Kenneth or MacKenzie traditionally believes that it is descended from the Norman family of Fitzgerald which settled in Ireland. This belief is founded on a fragment of the records of Icolmkill, and a charter of the lands of Kintail in Wester Ross, said to have been granted by Alexander III to Colin Fitzgerald, their supposed progenitor.

The ancestor of the clan Kenzie was Gilleonog, or Colin the younger, a son of Gilleon nahair'de, that is, Colin of Aird, progenitor of the Earls of Ross, and from the MS of 1450 their Gaelic descent may be considered established. Colin of Kintail is said to have married a daughter of Walter, lord high steward of Scotland. He died in 1278, and his son, Kenneth, being, in 1304, succeeded by his son, also called Kenneth, with the addition of Mackenneth, the latter, softened into Mackenny or Mackenzie, became the name of the whole clan. Murdoch, or Murcha, the son of Kenneth, received from David II a charter of the lands of Kintail as early as 1362. At the beginning of the 15th century, the clan Kenzie appears to have been both numerous and powerful, for its chief, Kenneth More, when arrested, in 1427, with his son-in-law, Angus of Moray, and Macmathan, by James I in his parliament at Inverness, was said to be able to muster 2,000 men.

Extensive History at Electric Scotland, including videos.

The western stronghold of the clan MacKenzie was at Eilean Donan Castle at the mouth of Loch Duich. During the seventeenth century, the MacKenzies installed the clan MacRae as hereditary constables of the castle, and the MacRaes were to remain fiercely loyal to the family for many centuries.

The MacKenzie clan achieved political eminence between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries. They were resolute in their loyalty to the Stewart monarchy, and were rewarded for this when they were created Earls of Seaforth. This loyalty is symbolised in the clan motto "Cuidiche an righ" or "the king's tribute" and also in the appearance of a stag's head (a feudal gift to a king) in the chief's coat of arms.

The fourth Earl of Seaforth remained loyal to James VII, and even followed him to Ireland and France, where he died in exile. It was at this time that the famous prophecies of the Brahan Seer foretelling the downfall of the clan as a political force began to unfold.

Profiles on GENi

Famous McKenzie names

  • John MacKenzie was the author of "Beauties of Gaelic Poetry", which has been hailed as the finest Gaelic anthology ever written, and W.R. MacKenzie is noted as a famous historian.

References, Sources and Further Reading