|Clann Ros (Rois)|
Crest: A dexter hand holding a garland of laure
|Motto||Spem Successus Alit (Success Nourishes Hope)|
|Plant badge||Juniper, or bearberry|
|Pipe music||The Earl of Ross's March|
|David Ross of Ross and Balnagown|
|The Chief of Clan Ross|
|Historic seat||Balnagown Castle|
- 1 History
- 2 Chiefs
- 3 Tartans
- 4 Castle
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 External links
The first recorded chief of the Clan Ross was "Fearcher Mac an t'sagirt" which in English meant "son of the priest" alluding to his O'Beolan descent from the hereditary Abbots of Applecross. Fearchar helped King Alexander II of Scotland (1214–1249) crush a rebellion by Donald Bane, a rival claimant to the Scottish thrown. Fearchar was knighted by the king and by 1234 he was officially recognized with the title of Earl of Ross.
The Earl's son, William was abducted in about 1250 in a revolt against the Earl's rule. However he was rescued with help from the Munros who were rewarded with lands and who became closely connected with their powerful benefactors.
Wars of Scottish Independence
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, Earl of Ross (Hugh, 5th Earl), was killed at the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333.
15th century and Clan Conflicts
Uilleam III, Earl of Ross (William, 6th Earl) 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 (1st of Balnagown), who was granted a charter, in 1374, for the lands of Balnagowan.
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 Rosses took part in the Battle of Verneuil 1424, against the English in France. On the death of the Earl of Buchan and Ross, at that battle, the Earldom of Ross reverted to the crown. James I on his return from his long captivity in England, restored it to the heiress of line, the mother of Alexander MacDonald, Lord of the Isles.
In the late 15th century the Clan Mackay and Clan Ross had long been at feud. This resulted in the Battle of Tarbat in 1486 where the Mackays were defeated by the Rosses and the Mackay chief was killed. This was followed by the Battle of Aldy Charrish where the Rosses were defeated by the Mackays and the Ross chief was killed along with many of his clan. According to 17th-century historian Sir Robert Gordon, who was a younger son of Alexander Gordon, 12th Earl of Sutherland, the Clan Sutherland joined the side of the Clan Mackay at this battle. However 19th-century historian Angus Mackay disputes the Sutherland's presence at the battle stating that it would be unlikely that the Earl of Sutherland at the time would have assisted against the Rosses as he was married to a daughter of the Ross chief of Balnagowan, and also that the feudal superiority of the Sutherlands over the Mackays "nowhere existed save in his own fertile imagination".
In 1496 the King summoned chiefs David Ross and Iye Roy Mackay. He ordered them to appear before the Earl of Argyll who was then the Lord High Chancellor of Scotland and make peace, on the understanding that should they not be peacful that they would be fined 500 merks. The Mackays continued to raid the Rosses and it would appear the civil authority was too feeble to stop them. However the Mackays soon became involved in feuding with the Clan Sutherland and raids on the Rosses did not continue.
16th century and Anglo-Scottish Wars
During the Anglo-Scottish Wars, John Ross, 2nd Lord Ross of Halkhead, died when leading his forces against the English at the Battle of Flodden Field on September the 9th, 1513. Fought in the county of Northumberland, in northern England, between an invading Scots army under King James IV and an English army commanded by Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey. It ended in a bloody defeat for the Scots. It is sometimes referred to as the Charge of the Earls.
Chief Alexander Ross 9th of Balnagowan (d.1592) is recorded as being a man of violence, utterly unscrupulous, given to raiding lands and forcing his clansmen to draw out agreements in his favour with total disregard for the law. Soon he was imprisoned in Tantallon Castle. Later he was released on the condition that he would live peacefully but he did not. His own son George was given permission to use fire and sword against him but Alexander could not be brought in. Alexander died in 1592.
17th century and Civil War
George 10th of Balnagowan was educated at St Andrew's University, the first Ross chief to receive university education. However, he became as notorious as his father and died in 1615. His son David 11th of Balnagowan was a more peace- and law-abiding chief than his father and grandfather. David died in 1632 and his son, also called David, succeeded him.
David Ross 12th of Balnagowan signed the National Covenant at Inverness on 26 April 1638. He later joined the royalists for a short time only to become a covenanter again and was present at the defeat of James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose at the Battle of Carbisdale in 1650. The Clan Ross and Clan Munro fought on the side of the Scottish Government, then led by the Duke of Argyll. They defeated the royalist army of James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose. David Ross, 12th of Balnagowan later led some of the clan at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651 where he was captured and imprisoned at the Tower of London. He is said to have died there in 1653 and been buried in Westminster. A number of Ross clansmen who were taken prisoner were subsequently sent to Massachusetts Bay Colony as indentured servants.
In 1689 100 men of the Clan Ross occupied Castle Leod to watch for movements of the Jacobite MacKenzies.
Jacobite rising of 1715 - 1719
In 1715 during the Jacobite rising, the Clan Ross along with their allies the Clan Munro, Clan Mackay and Clan Sutherland were forced into a retreat by a larger force of Jacobites in what is known as the Skirmish of Alness. The Jacobites were led by William Mackenzie, 5th Earl of Seaforth, chief of the Clan Mackenzie.
The clan rivalries which had erupted in rebellion were finding an outlet in local politics. The Mackenzie's Earl of Seaforth title came to an end in 1716, and it seems to have been arranged that while the Clan Ross held the county seat the Munros would represent the Tain Burghs. To secure the burghs, control of three out of the five was necessary. The Ross ascendancy was secure in Tain, and from 1716 to 1745 the Munros controlled Dingwall. In 1719 a company of men from the Clan Ross fought for the government at the Battle of Glen Shiel where the Jacobites, including the Mackenzies were defeated.
In 1721 a small force of men from the Clan Ross, led by chief William Ross 6th of the Pitcalnie line and his brother Robert went on a rent collecting expedition into the lands of the Mackenzies. They were defeated by a much larger force of Mackenzies at the Battle of Glen Affric.
War in France
Col. Charles, 13th Lord Ross of Hawkhead and 15th of Balnagowan was killed in 1745 leading some members of the clan at the Battle of Fontenoy fighting against the French on 30 April 1745. Balnagowan passed to George, 13th Lord Ross, in 1745. William, 14th Lord Ross, died unmarried, and Balnagowan then passed to Sir James Lockhard, 2nd Baronet of Carstairs.
Jacobite rising of 1745 - 1746
During the Jacobite Risings in the County of Ross, although from the Pitcalnie line, the nominal 18th Chief of Clan Ross was Alexander Ross of Pitcalnie. He was a staunch Protestant, somewhat more tolerant of Jacobites than his father but definitely pro-Hanoverian. In addition, Alexander's uncle, Duncan Forbes of Culloden, was Lord President of the Court of Session for King George II of Great Britain's government in London. Duncan Forbes and Alexander Ross the Pitcalnie chief raised a Ross Independent Company to garrison Inverness Castle against the Jacobites.
The McFarquhars of Redcastle brought a strong Jacobite contingent from the Black Isle to join the forces of the Earl of Cromarty and a rebel, John Ross joined them. Forays were made before the Battle of Culloden and on the day before the battle, 15 April 1746, about 200 of the McFarquhar's Jacobite force were ambushed by pro-government Scots at the Battle of Littleferry near Golspie. At most one-tenth survived; John Ross escaped to Sutherland but was first to be put on a list of rebels. However, apart from him the Clan Ross supported the government.
The chiefship of Clan Ross devolved upon Ross of Pitcalnie, heir of David who was the last of the direct line of Balnagowan. Sir John, the 5th baronet, assumed the name "Ross" and then, after Carstairs was sold in 1762, the designation "of Balnagowan."
The Balnagowan estate itself is no longer in Ross hands. It is currently owned by the millionaire Egyptian proprietor Mohammed Al-Fayed of the Harrods department store who has put a lot of money into improving the estate and restoring the castle. The current Chief lives in Perthshire. His son, Hugh lives in Aberdeen with his family: Jennifer, Calum and Catriona Ross.
- The current chief of Clan Ross is Baron David Campbell Ross, of Ross and Balnagowan.
Clan Ross has three tartans:
- Ross Dress tartan (modern & ancient)
- Ross Hunting tartan (modern, ancient & weathered)
- Ross Red tartan
- MacKinnon, Donald (1957), The Clan Ross, Edinburgh: W. & A. K. Johnston & G. W. Bacon, p. 5, ISBN 978-0-7179-4537-5.
- Way, George and Squire, Romily. Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. (Foreword by The Rt Hon. The Earl of Elgin KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). Published in 1994. Pages 308 - 309.
- MacKinnon, Donald (1957), The Clan Ross, Edinburgh: W. & A. K. Johnston & G. W. Bacon, p. 8 – 11, ISBN 978-0-7179-4537-5.
- MacKinnon, Donald (1957), The Clan Ross, Edinburgh: W. & A. K. Johnston & G. W. Bacon, p. 11 – 16, ISBN 978-0-7179-4537-5.
- MacKinnon, Donald (1957), The Clan Ross, Edinburgh: W. & A. K. Johnston & G. W. Bacon, p. 14, ISBN 978-0-7179-4537-5.
- MacKinnon, Donald (1957), The Clan Ross, Edinburgh: W. & A. K. Johnston & G. W. Bacon, p. 16–18, ISBN 978-0-7179-4537-5.
- MacKinnon, Donald (1957), The Clan Ross, Edinburgh: W. & A. K. Johnston & G. W. Bacon, p. 16 – 18, ISBN 978-0-7179-4537-5.
- "History of the Clan and House of the Name Mackay" (1829). p.P.86. by Robert Mackay: Quoting from the "Geanealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland" by Sir Robert Gordon (1580 - 1656)
- "History of the Clan and House of the Name MacKay" (1829). p.P.86. by Robert MacKay: Quoting from the "Geanealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland" by Sir Robert Gordon (1580 - 1656)
- Mackay, Angus. (1906). Book of Mackay. (St Andrews University). Printed by William Rae, Wick. Pages 70 - 71.
- MacKinnon, Donald (1957), The Clan Ross, Edinburgh: W. & A. K. Johnston & G. W. Bacon, p. 18 – 19, ISBN 978-0-7179-4537-5.
- MacKinnon, Donald (1957), The Clan Ross, Edinburgh: W. & A. K. Johnston & G. W. Bacon, p. 19 – 20, ISBN 978-0-7179-4537-5.
- MacKinnon, Donald (1957), The Clan Ross, Edinburgh: W. & A. K. Johnston & G. W. Bacon, p. 20, ISBN 978-0-7179-4537-5.
- MacKinnon, Donald (1957), The Clan Ross, Edinburgh: W. & A. K. Johnston & G. W. Bacon, p. 20 – 22, ISBN 978-0-7179-4537-5.
- MacKinnon, Donald (1957), The Clan Ross, Edinburgh: W. & A. K. Johnston & G. W. Bacon, p. 23, ISBN 978-0-7179-4537-5.
- Alan Mackenzie's History of the Clan Mackenzie. Chapter 11
- MacKinnon, Donald (1957), The Clan Ross, Edinburgh: W. & A. K. Johnston & G. W. Bacon, p. 24, ISBN 978-0-7179-4537-5.
- Alan Mackenzie's History of the Clan Mackenzie. Chapter 10
- See the estate's web-site.
- MacKinnion, Donald, The Clan Ross, Johnston and Bacon
- Clan Ross Association
- Clan Ross Association of Canada, Inc.
- Clan Ross images from the Tain Through Time museum