History Of The Clan Chattan Association

In the past, when the 'clan system' was at its peak, there was no real need for the clan societies. People of similar names, sharing the same areas of land, owed allegiance to their chiefs and territorial leaders.

It was only when the clan system began to break down over a lengthy period of time that formal societies became necessary to meet the various needs of individual and scattered clansfolk.

Culloden BattlefieldAlthough 'the brunt of the battle' fell upon Clan Chattan at

Culloden in 1746, as contemporary records show, this great Confederation survived that tragic event and the later Highland Clearances. However, social conditions in the Highlands were already changing and clansmen drifted to the Lowlands in search of new opportunities and to the colonies overseas where fortunes were to be made.

The first Clan Chattan Association was established in 1727 with the aim of watching and defending the interests of the clan 'against all who would seek the injury of any of its subscribers'. It might be seen as an unsuccessful attempt to recast the clan in modern form.

The development of clan societies, as we now know them, aimed to provide friendly social intercourse between those linked by a common name and to stimulate interest in the knowledge and understanding of their clan’s history.

The writings of Sir Walter Scott romanticised the Highlands and led to the revival of interest in the affairs, culture and economic wellbeing of its people.

The fashion for 'all things Highland' was at its peak once Queen Victoria fell in love with the land and acquired the estate of Balmoral. In that era, many clan societies and associations emerged, among them the second Clan Chattan Association which was founded in Glasgow in 1893.

Support for the Association was strong and the meetings, lectures and dances were described as 'a brilliant success'.

Despite a growing membership, the Association waned and died around the turn of the century. Even so the clan historians of the period had produced several works of merit which are still of value today.

There was little concerted activity until, in the summer of 1933, a few enthusiastic clansfolk in London founded the third Clan Chattan Association. It has flourished to the present day and now has a world-wide membership although it remains firmly based in Scotland.

The Association is sustained by a handful of active and enthusiastic office bearers. It continues to organise successful activities such as the annual events which take place at Moy Hall in conjunction with the Highland Field Sports Fair towards the beginning of August. Although scattered throughout the world, members are kept informed of these and other events through the annual journal of the Clan Chattan Association. The cover of the journal features a cat 'salient proper on a wreath' – of red whortleberry and a scroll with the motto 'Touch not the cat bot a glove'.

At all times the journal seeks to promote a knowledge of Clan Chattan – its past, present and future.