Clan Carruthers

Clan Carruthers: Why should I join a Clan Society?

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Chief’s Arms, Clan Donnachaidh

As a Society we have always worked very hard to ensure our Name has achieved and continues to attain the international and historic recognition it deserves, but is that reason enough to support us……… we hope so.

Therefore, with Christmas coming up, an Individual Membership, Family Membership or Life Membership would surely be a lovely gift for your Carruthers loved ones. It would have the added advantage of helping the Society continue with its work, in accurately promoting our Name and rich history, both at home and abroad.

But why should you join,  here is an excellent piece from History Scotland, offered for publication by Clan Donnachaidh Society, an ancient and well respected Clan, whose Chief is Alexander Gilbert Haldane Robertson of Struan. Alexander is, like our own Chief, a member of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs.

Why should I join a Clan Society?

Chief of Clan Donnachaidh Robertson of Struan

Do you have Scottish roots? Would you like to make connections with others and find out more about your ancestry? Read on to discover the many reasons you should join a clan society.

Anyone with even a drop of Scottish blood in their veins surely feels some affinity to, and some pride or at least interest in, that part of their ancestry. Along with the centuries – and the many centres of educational excellence, which produced Scotland’s great scientists, engineers, soldiers, explorers and world famous thinkers, this rugged and often breathtakingly beautiful country also gave birth to, and long nurtured, a very special social and cultural treasure: the Clan system.

Ancient roots

Clan, meaning “children” in the old Gaelic tongue, referred originally to a close-knit family by blood, but later to a larger and essentially social group. These groupings date back even to prehistoric times. A combination of passionate loyalty to, and the protection provided by, a strong leader, in a defined and sometimes quite narrow geographical area, usually with natural mountain or river boundaries, over the centuries led most people in the area to follow – and eventually when surnames first became common, adopt the family name of – that very strong leader. This was the Clan Chief.

The Clan system was historically at its most powerful in the Highlands: that huge north west and most mountainous part of Scotland, where Gaelic was the traditional language. Here the major social unit was the Clan, at least until the Union of the Scottish and English crowns in 1603, after which the Stuart kings and then – much more brutally – the Hanoverian monarchs of the United Kingdom sought to and succeeded in diminishing the historic patriarchal authority of the Clan Chiefs and integrating them into wider society.

(The Lowland and Border families, were also purged before, during and after the Union of the Crowns. The Lowland Clearances occurred in order to bring Government justice to one of the most lawless regions of the British Isles and to bring under its yolk, those folks who inhabited it: the Border Reivers ed).

Changing times

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The Official Clan tartan; Carruthers Red.

However, in contrast to that loss of authority – accelerated as it was by the failure of the great 18th century Jacobite risings, which were supported by many of the Chiefs, to defeat the Hanoverian monarchy – it was the mass emigration which followed that failure and the ensuing cruel suppression of all elements of Scottish (and particularly Highland and Lowland) Scottish culture, traditions and language, which ensured that those very same elements, except for the Gaelic tongue, spread out across virtually the whole of the English-speaking world, and even further afield.

Today it is the Clan Societies, and their often world-wide memberships, which not only remain loyal to their Chiefly families (in our case Carruthers of Holmains ed.), but also keep alive that wonderful traditional spirit of family pride and togetherness, and indeed Scotland’s instantly recognisable cultural identity.

Clan societies today

Is there a Scot anywhere in the world whose heart doesn’t swell at the sight of a kilt after tartan kilt swinging; at the sound of massed pipe bands; at the unforgettable rhythms of Scottish country dances; at the miracle of the tossing of the caber and at the skill with swords of the energetic youngsters who nowadays leap over them with such precision and elegance instead of using them in battle?

If you want to learn more about the history and the traditions, or to meet and share cultural experiences, re-enactments, stories, friendships and conviviality with members of your own wider Clan, at a Gathering in Scotland or a Highland Games anywhere in the world, you surely can’t do better than become a member of your own Clan Society.

It may even give you advice and get you discounted accommodation if you visit Scotland and your own local Clan country. There are dozens of these Clan Societies, all run largely by enthusiastic volunteers, of whom I’m one, and many of them are Charities. Finding them through an internet search is not difficult if you have a Scottish family name and base your search on it.

GC BADGE ARTWORK Chosen Black.pngClan Carruthers Society – International

So what makes your Society special, other than the usual membership deals:

  • It is authorised by our Clan Chief, Peter Carruthers of Holmains to represent our family and derivations of our name, internationally.
  • It is officially represented in Africa, Australia and Oceania, Canada, Europe, Scotland/UK and the USA.
  • It publishes family related articles based on current evidence and research in order to enhance your knowledge of our rich historic past, and the country we originated from.
  • It publishes a bi-annual journal, offering in many cases, shared and recent research with our membership.
  • Its yDNA and genealogical resources, led by Society experts in their field, are based purely on the latest scientific methods, evidence and factual documentation.
  • It is there for you and for your children and children’s children going forward, to help keep alive and share in the deep pride of our own Carruthers heritage.

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Chiefs Arms

Carruthers as a name, originating in Dumfriesshire in south west Scotland. It has links going back to Brythonic times and existed through the Border and Anglo-Scottish wars, the Reivers and the lowland clearances. Although named as one of the 17 Border Clans in the 1587 Act of Unruly clans, as a Border Name we are known locally as a family, but the term Clan has been interchangeable between the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland for hundreds of years.

Carruthers have been knights of the realm, Barons, Reivers, Chancellors and High Chamberlains to the Regent, Guardians of the ‘Old Kirk Ford’ at Hoddom, Keepers of the Trailtrow Preceptory, Canons of the Kirk, Explorers, Wardens and Commissioners of the West March, Justices of Peace, Advisors to the Monarch and as supporters of the Crown. have fought and died in battles, both against our ancient foe and in border raids against the enemy of our friends and family. We were and are a tough breed, living in tough times, yet survived and thanks to our ancestors, to be who we are today.

Carruthers Angel and Quote 2 2.jpegWe are proud that we are no longer considered to be armigerous, through once again having a Chief of our family in place. He is a direct descendant of the ancient and chiefly line of Carruthers of Holmains, dating back to the 1200’s and because of that our clan and family are officially recognised by the Lord Lyon. We are in membership, again through our Chief, of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs and as can be seen above, have played our part in the history of the Scottish West March with all that that entailed.

We are Proud to be Carruthers, we hope you are too.

If you are, come and join us and let us continue to work to support our Name and uphold and enhance our reputation as a Scottish Border Reiver riding family, on the international stage.

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