- Crest: - Badge Juniper
- Gaelic Name: Rôs
- Motto: "Spem successus alit" - direct translation, "Success nourishes hope", which today could be interpreted as "Success breeds success".
- Origin of Tartan:
- Name Variations:
- Septs: Anderson Andison Andrew Andrews Corbet Corbett Crow Crowe Croy Deas Denoon Denune Dingwall Duthie Fair Fear Fearn Gillanders Hagart Haggart Lockhart MacAndrew MacAndrews MacCullie MacCulloch MacLulloch MacTaggart MacTear MacTier MacTyre McLulich Mitchell Taggart Tarrel Tullo Tulloch Tyre Vass Wass Waters
- Lands Ross-shire, Ayrshire and Renfrewshire
- Clan Chief: A Norman family called de Ros settled in south-west Scotland in the 11th century and some of their descendants also became known as "Ross" or sometimes "Rose". At one time they managed to convince the Lord Lyon that they were the chieftains of the clan Ross but this was overturned in 1903 and David Ross of Ross and Shandwick is the current chief.
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Origins of the name
The gaelic word "ros" means a "headland" and is often used as part of place names in Scotland. There was an ancient Celtic earldom of Ross in the north-east of Scotland, in what is now the county of Ross and Cromarty, between the Cromarty and Dornoch Firths, north of Inverness. The clan was sometimes referred to as Clan Anrias or Gille Andras/Gillanders, the old Celtic Earls of Ross, who were said to have descended from Gillianrias, the son of the hereditary abbot at the monastery of Applecross.
The Ross Clan is a Highland Scottish clan first named by King Malcolm IV of Scotland in 1160. The first of the chiefs was Farquhar Ross, Earl of Ross from the O’Beolain family, also known as ‘Fearchar Mac-an-t-sagairt’ (meaning “son of the priest”) of Applecross.
Ferquhard Ross helped King Alexander II of Scotland (1214 - 1249) crush a rebellion in Moray and Ross-shire. When King Alexander II ascended to the throne, a rebellion broke out in Moray and western Ross-shire, whose Celtic population were opposed to the laws and customs of the south. The King marched northwards with his army but was unable to crush the insurgents from Ross and Moray. However, Fearchar, Earl of Ross, with a large body of men from his own clan and his allies, appeared on the scene and soon wiped out all opposition to the King’s authority. Fearchar brought the King the heads of the rebel leaders and was knighted on 15 June 1215. He was created Earl of Ross in about 1234.
Clan Ross fought at the Battle of Largs in 1263 in support of Alexander III of Scotland against King Haakon IV of Norway. The Norwegian forces were defeated by the victorious Scots.
During the Wars of Scottish Independence the Clan Ross fought against the English at the Battle of Dunbar (1296) where their chief, the Earl of Ross was captured. This meant that for a short time Uilleam II, Earl of Ross sided with the English but he later supported Robert the Bruce of Scotland. The Clan Ross fought alongside King Robert the Bruce when Earl Fearchar’s grandson William led the clan against the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Aodh, the 5th earl, was killed at the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333, and his successor William died without male issue. The earldom of Ross and the chiefship of Clan Ross were then separated:
The chiefship of the Clan Ross passed to Earl William’s brother Hugh Ross of Rariches, who was granted a charter, in 1374, for the lands of Balnagowan. The Rosses of Balnagowan held the chiefship for 300+ years. David, the last of that direct line, passed the chiefship to the Hon. Charles Ross, son of Lord Ross of Hawkhead, Renfrewshire, although they were not connected by blood.
The earldom of Ross passed through a female line, and that later led to dispute between two rival claimants — the Lord of the Isles and the Duke of Albany. This resulted in the Battle of Harlaw 1411, where the Clan Ross fought as Highlanders in support of the Lord of the Isles against an army of Scottish Lowlanders who supported the Duke of Albany.
The title reverted to the crown in 1424. King James I of Scotland restored the title to Margaret, whose son was Alexander, 3rd Lord of the Isles. The earldom of Ross remained with the Lord of the Isles until that lordship was forfeited to the crown in 1476.
More at Scotweb
The last chief of the clan Ross to hold the earldom died in 1372, having fathered no sons. His daughter tried to claim the earldom, but it passed to the MacDonalds of the Isles and subsequently into the hands of the crown in 1476. The once proud Ross estate of Balnagowan became heavily burdened by debt in the 18th century and it was purchased by a lowland branch of the Ross family who, although bearing the family name, were genealogically complete strangers to the Celtic Earls of Ross.
In the early 20th century the chiefship of the clan Ross was restored to the true line.
Famous Ross People
- Fearchar Mac an t’sagairt (circa 1200) was known as the ‘son of the priest’, alluding to his descent from the hereditary abbots of Applecross. he was a renowned fighting man, and for his servides to Alexander II he receive a knighthood and became the first Earl of Ross.
- David Ross (d.1711) Led 1000 men of the clan Ross against Oliver Cromwell at the Battle of Worcester in 1651.
- Sir Ronald Ross was a pioneer of modern medicine. He is famous for discovering the cause of malaria. In 1902 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine.
- Admiral John Ross (1777-1856) Renowned Arctic explorer. Beginning in 1829 he made an attempt to discover the North-West passage. He returned unsuccessful in 1833, but had during that time discovered the Magnetic North Pole. Ross returned to the Arctic at the age of 73, attempting to find any trace of explorer Sir John Franklin.
References, Sources and Further Reading
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