Clan Carruthers

CLAN CARRUTHERS: Our clan/family and identity.

The same questions seem to be on a repeat loop, so please for clarification and to help better understand about the Scottish Border Reiver family and clan of Carruthers, please see below.

  1. Is the Ancient Bruce tartan the Carruthers Tartan ?
  2. Does the Chief reside in America ?
  3. Does Carruthers have clan birds or clan dogs ?
  4. Is the clan plant badge a yellow rose ?
  5. Are we a Scottish Royal Family ?
  6. Are we descended from the Gaels and Irish Royalty ?
  7. Were Carruthers Knights Templars ?
  8. Is our Chief Carruthers of Mouswald ?
  9. Why does Carruthers have the Scottish Unicorn in its crest?


  1. The Bruce tartan, as the name implies is the Bruce tartan irrelevent whether it is ancient, modern, weathered or hunting etc. It is not owned by Carruthers, given to Carruthers or loaned to them as such that they can claim any Bruce tartan as Carruthers. Carruthers has only one official clan/family tartan registered as such with the Scottish Register of Tartan, a government agency based in Edinburgh Scotland. See Here, Here and Here
  2. Carruthers chiefs can trace their lineage back well before 1320 in Annandale Dumfriesshire and have never ever resided in America. Until 1809 all Carruthers chiefs lived in Annandale, Scotland, but our current chief, 22nd of his line, presently lives in England due to ongoing work commitments. See Here, Here and for a full list of recognised Scottish clan Chiefs, Here.
  3. In a similar fashion to all other Scottish clans and families, Carruthers does not have, nor has ever had a clan dog or bird. Some clans may have birds or dogs on their chiefs arms as supprters or crests but they are not listed as clan animals that we are aware of. Carruthers has the seraphim as their crest and fallow deer bucks as their chief’s supporters. See Here
  4. The Carruthers Plant Badge is not the yellow rose, or any other plant other than the common gorse. It is normal for a clan or family to choose a plant common to the region they originated from, and in the case of Carruthers, our clan plant is the common gorse (Ulex europeaeus), for reasons mentioned below and Here.
  5. Carruthers is not a Royal Family Scottish or otherwise and any links if at all, will be tenuous at best and shared with at least hundreds of thousands if not millions of people around the world. The claims of lineage from Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots, Kenneth McAlpin, Rydderrch Hael etc, are sadly based on no strong evidence whatsover. See Here and Here
  6. Carruthers originated in Annandale, Dumfrishire with the earliest known use of the name dating back to the 1100’s around the time that surnames slowly started to appear in Scotland. The name Car-ruthers comes from an area around an ancient fort, which is now strongly suspected to have been on Birren Hill (Carruthers Hill) behind Carruthers farm. It is said that it was there from around 200 AD in an area occupied by the Brythonic tribe the Selgovae. The fort or Caer was said to have been inhabited by Rhydderch, a war chief of the time. In ancient the ancient Brythonnic dialect of Cumbric and in a similar vein to modern Welsh, Rhydderch is pronounced Ruthers, hence Caer Ruthers. Regarding the Gaels, as an area, the border lands of Annandale were not taken over by them we and did not speak Gaelic as out common tongue (See Here). Therefore the only link with Ireland was when the border Scots left Scotland during the plantations and lowland clearances to work in Ireland. Some staying, some leaving to go further afield such as the colonies and some returning home as such any link with Irelands is from Scotland outwards.See Here, Here and Here
  7. Because Carruthers were Keepers of the Trailtrow Preceptory, their was a common misconception that we were in some way linked with the Knights Templars due to the term Preceptory. However, evidence shows that Trailrow was found in the lands of Cummertrees owned by Carruthers, and the preceptory was actually a building belonging to the church at the time and not any military order. There is also no evidence of anyTemplar ownership in that area. In fact if there are any links they are to the Knights Hospitallers who recieved rents from parcels of land owned by Carruthers. As the Hospitallers were intiated by Italians and not French this also breaks the link with Carruthers, the fleurs de lis and France. See Here and Here
  8. Carruthers of Mouswald were our first recognised Chiefs, but their line became extinct in 1548 when Sir Simon Carruthers, 10th of Mouswald was killed on a raid into the debatable lands. The chiefship was then passed to Carruthers of Holmains, where it remains to this day under the chiefship of the 22nd of the line; Peter Carruthers of Holmains. See Here
  9. Carruthers neither has a Scottish Unicorn nor a Lion in its Arms. The badge photoshopped by some from the Scottish Royal Arms, the Arms of the City of London and illegally using our Chiefs shield, is not recognised anywhere as Carruthers arms. The arms of the Carruthers chiefs were granted supporters of two Fallow deer bucks rampant. These came from the British monarch through the auspices and office of the Lord Lyon and as such are genuine honours borne by our Chief. See Here, Here and Here

So, hopefully this smasll attempt to put the record straight, caused by the irrational and uneducated comments of some, please find below a chart of the 4 basic components of our clans visual identity which identifies us at gatherings and Festivals and we hope this helps.

As an aside, if the clan Chief is themselves present their personal banner, in the form of a flag will be flown above his tent. This are reflects the design of their shield.

They may also fly a standard described by the Heraldry Society of Scotland as : a long, narrow, tapering flag, granted by the Lord Lyon only to those who have a following, such as clan chiefs or chieftain. As a ‘headquarters’ flag, its principal use is to mark the gathering point or headquarters of the clan, family or following and does not necessarily denote the presence of the standard’s owner as his personal banner does.

The four main components of our visual identity. These are based on our history and should bnever be changed.

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