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Clan McArthur




McARTHUR MODERN TARTAN background                                                  CLAN HISTORY:-   PAGE 1,   PAGE 2

        Motto: Fide Et Opera (By fidelity and Work)

        Arms: Azure, a cross Moline argent between three antique coronets

              Badge: Two laurel branches in orle, proper

            Tartans: MacArthur

     Plant Badge: Fir club moss, wild myrtle

    Gaelic Name: MacArtuir

               Motto: Fide et Opera  ( by faith & work )
           War Cry:
Eisd! O'Eisd! (Listen! O Listen!)

Origin of Name: Son of Arthur

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clan badge

Septs: (some of ) Arthur McArthur MacArther McArther McAuthur MacAuthur McArthor MacArtair McArthure Makarturicht Maccaiter Makkerthrye M'Carthur Maccarter M'Erthir Mc Harter M'Arthur Makarthure M'Carthair M'Artour M'Carthour McCarthair M'Artoure M'Arthor M'Arthour M'Carter M'Airthour M'Cairter M'Kartur McHarter McKerter MacArtur McKairtour M'Cairtter McAtur Makcairtour Mackartar MacArter McCarturMcerter McArter M"Cartour Maccart McArtor M'Arthure Makarta M'Cartur mcArthour Magarta M'Arthur Mecarta McArta mcArtor MacArta MacAtair McCartor Carter MacArtar McArthor Cartter McArtair Makarthour MacArtor McArther McCarter Mcarthor MacArthor McArtour Mcartur  etc

Clan Badge

Clan MacArthur is one of the most ancient and revered clans from Argyll & the Highlands, so ancient as to make modern research difficult. They had resided there so long that, even in Celtic days, they were the subject of a celebrated couplet


        "The hills and streams and MacAlpine but whence came forth MacArthur?"


Another saying known by Highlanders was:


             "There is nothing older, unless, the hills, MacArthur and the devil"


There is some uncertainty whether our forebears sprang from Cormac MacArt, third-century king of Ireland, whose descendants spread to what is now known as Argyll, or from later ancestors. However, we do know that our early kinsmen supported one of Scotland's great heroes, Robert the Bruce, in his struggle for Scotland's independence in the early 14th century.


After Bruce's success at the battle of the Pass of Brander in 1308, the MacArthurs were given large grants of land in Argyll. The Clan remained a powerful force until 1427 when our then Chief, Iain (or John), "a leader of a thousand men" was beheaded by King James I of Scotland.


The clan held the chiefship of the clan Campbell until the 15th century.


Iain and other clan chiefs opposed James' policy of a strong central government for Scotland, which they feared would lead to the dissolution of the ancient clan system. This attempt by James to eliminate his opposition so enraged many Highland clans that a year later Alexander of the Isles marched on Inverness with 10,00 men and destroyed it.


Following the tragedy of 1427, the power of the MacArthurs was greatly reduced, and many Clan members left the area. Some settled in the Western Isles where they became celebrated pipers. Several MacArthur names holding prominent positions appear in the 15th century annals of Argyll.


This leads historians to believe some MacArthurs had regained lands they lost following the tragedy of 1427. Many MacArthurs left Scotland after the infamous Battle of Culloden in 1746 and settled in the New World.

Their descendants today continue to keep the MacArthur name both respected and honoured.

The MacArthurs of Strachur were the principal family of the clan after the execution, and one of it members, John MacArthur became the respected 'father of New South Wales'. He travelled with the 102nd Regiment to Sydney in 1790 and was Commandant at Parramatta until 1804. He took an enormous interest in the development of Australia and it was through his concentrations of sheep breeding and the founding of the first vineyard, that two of Australias greatest industries were created.
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Dunstaffnage Castle is a partially ruined castle in Argyll and Bute, western Scotland. It lies 3 miles (4.8 km) N.N.E. of Oban, situated on a platform of conglomerate rock on a promontory at the south-west of the entrance to Loch Etive, and is surrounded on three sides by the sea.  Dunstaffnage Castle is one of Scotlandís oldest stone castles built before 1240.
Dunstaffnage Castle

Dunstaffnage Castle.
MacArthurs' one of the oldest Argyll clans we owned lands around Loch Awe which must have been populated in close proximity with MacGregors, Campbells and even Stewarts. During Robert the Bruce's reign the Gregor clan were squeezed and later to be outlawed while the MacArthurs were rewarded with lands from the MacDougalls as thanks for support at Bannockburn.

We were given the title, at that time, of Captains of Dunstaffnage Castle in 1309 till 1470. The castle was an impressive fortress built on and originally occupied by the MacDougalls until captured by The Bruce in 1309.

In 1424 King James 1st returned to Scotland having been imprisoned by the English and he set to sorting out his rule over Scotland with gusto. There were a number of clan chiefs summoned to a meeting in Inverness Castle. When they arrived they were thrown in prison. Among them was the clan chief of the Arthurs, who it was said could call upon 1,000 men at arms, probably because of that power he was put to death and his clan lands and rights were severely curtailed.

The clan never recovered, many dispersed throughout the highlands or were forced to rent the properties that they had once owned, from the Campbells.

Circumstances came to a head when in 1771 Patrick MacArthur, chief of Clan Arthur sold what was left and sailed away to try his fortunes abroad. Unfortunately he died within the year without a male heir.

This left the clan with no figurehead for 230 years until April 2003, when after an exhaustive search through the blood lines a "new" ancestral trail was located and approved by the Lord Lyon King of Arms. the clan finally had a new Chief.

Kilchurn Castle
Kilchurn Castle
Kilchurn Castle, a 13th century military fortress located on a small island at the northern head of Loch Awe. This Castle was given to my ancestors for supporting Robert the Bruce when he became King of the Scots'. In 1427 the Chief of our Clan was beheaded by King James I, for supporting Robert the Bruce 200 years earlier. This Castle was to be given to Clan Campbell, but the few remaining MacArthurs refused to leave. The Chief of Clan Campbell ordered his clansmen to take the Castle and rid the Loch of any MacArthurs. The Campbell's, captured Kilchurn Castle and then drowned all of the MacArthurs.........




James Edward Moir MacArthur

After a long gap, Canadian-born James Edward Moir MacArthur was recognized by the Lord Lyon in August 2002 as the Arthur clan chief. The new chief was 87 at that date and lived in Edinburgh. He had not sought the title - the research was initiated by a group of senior clan members. The genealogist had to go back to the 16th century to find a common ancestor for the last chief, Charles MacArthur of Tirivadich. The Lord Lyon further decreed that the Chief of Clan Arthur's shield should be "three antique crowns Or (gold) set on an Azure (blue) background". The silver cross molene which, up until now, was thought to form part of the Clan Arthur Chief's shield, has been omitted. James MacArthur's coat of arms now reverts to the earliest, original arms of Clan Arthur, a shield identical to the description given in ancient manuscripts for the legendary King Arthur's blazon. James MacArthur was officially inaugurated in April 2003 but sadly the old chief died in April 2004.


MacArthur Ancient Tartan
mcarthur modern
MacArthur  Modern Tartan
MacArthur  Milton Tartan


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