Chief and Chieftains of Clan Carruthers

img_2767-1Selecting a Chief – Patrilineal Descent:

Firstly, the office and title is passed patrilineally (from father to child) in descending order of male birth then descending order of female birth, hence the oldest surviving son is the classed as the heir presumptive.

If the heir presumptive produces no heirs, then on the heir presumptive’s death the office and title goes to the next younger son, etc., then eldest daughter, etc.

The term cadet is used to describe family groups which are descendants of younger sons, thus the oldest surviving son of each generation maintains the main or principal family line and younger sons establish cadet lines.

In the case of the chiefly line of Carruthers the first recognised house was Carruthers of Mouswald and the last was Carruthers of Holmains from which sprung the cadet line of Dormont whereby those cadets can also have their own cadet lines.

When a chiefly line is extinguished in the case of a Mouswald, the most senior line to branch off the chiefly line eg Holmains, becomes the new chiefly line.

In the case of Carruthers, Holmains continues through the female line of Susan Carruthers, 3rd daughter of John, 12th of Holmains.

Maintenance of Surname:

Secondly the office and title is implicitly linked to the surname, thus an Elliott, a Maxwell or a Douglas etc. cannot be chief of Clan Carruthers . In some cases, where the heir is a daughter, arrangements have been made so that her husband and children assume her surname, and thus the office and title can be passed to her offspring.

This practice has given rise to the use of compound (hyphenated or ‘double-barrelled’) names as in the case of one branch, the Mitchell-Carruthers while the other has reverted back to Carruthers. The matter of principal names was established by the Lord Lyon Innes of Learney when in the case of Monro-Lucas-Tooth that he was a Tooth rather than a Monro or Lucas.

It is now clearly established that it is the last name which decides the matter. Thus by the Court of the Lord Lyon (the heraldry court of Scotland), a Moodie-Buchanan is consider a Buchanan but a Buchanan-Moodie is considered a Moodie. Further, in the case of a chief as the representer of the family, the surname cannot be a compound name.

Lyon Court – Confirmation of a Chief:

One of the main roles that the Clan Society are currently involved in, is to follow the official route to have a Carruthers Clan Chief confirmed through the auspices of the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh. This would allow us to move from armigerous status (without Chief) to one of official clan status.

The Society wholeheartedly supports this process, and is there to work with any future Carruthers Chief to promote and support the clan.

A Scottish Clan Chief can only be confirmed by the Lyon Court in Edinburgh and only then after the presentation and analysis of sound genealogical and historical evidence. This means that the individual, if accepted, will be worthy to bear the Chiefs Coat of Arms. It is therefore only through this process that a Chief of the Name is recognised as a legal entity in Scottish law and culture, wherever it is celebrated. This ensures we leave, as an officially recognised clan, something for future generations to be proud of.

For this reason we cannot simply self appoint our Chief and only after attaining legal recognition will that chief confirm any Chieftains. That is if we wish to maintain any sort of credibility and respect both nationally and internationally.

Currently as of 1809, when the the head of the House of Carruthers of Holmains passed, Carruthers has had no Chief. Carruthers of Holmains has led the Clan since the last Chief of the Mouswald line died on a border raid in 1548.

However, we do have direct descendants of the chiefly line alive today and have located through, intense background research, the following two senior members of the chiefly line alive today are recognised by the Society as Chieftains:

Peter Simon Carruthers (House of Holmains)

James Andrew Carruthers (House of Dormont)

Where we are:

Carruthers Chieftains Holmans & Dormont
Recognised Heads of Houses (Chieftains) of Holmains and Dormont. There are no other recognised Chiefs or Chieftains of the Carruthers name, or any of its derivatives.

A hearing of the Lyon Court took place initially in Edinburgh on Wednesday, 31st October 2018. The Lyon at that hearing requested all evidence to be finalised and presented to him by the 6th of February 2019. This was carried out and a date set for mid March for the final hearing. This hearing occurred on the 19th of March, in Edinburgh.

The petitioner present was represented by Sir Crispin Agnew QC, Chief of Clan Agnew and a Senior Herald in the Court of the Lord Lyon. The legal bundle presented exceeded a few indeed pages of both proofed genealogy, and supporting documentation going back hundreds of years. As an observer, the Society Convenor reported that the evidence presented seemed rock solid, although Clan Law was not his speciality.

Afterwards the Lyon stated that, unless any further questions required answers that he would deliberate and make a decision on our petition to him before the summer.

Clan Roll Call

We therefore hope you are able to support us in our endeavours by signing the Clan Roll Call to mirror that support to the Lyon for the recognition of a Chief. There is no cost.

The Clan Roll Call can be found at the clan website:

Other Clans:

Interestingly Clan Buchanan have themselves only very recently been successful in having a chief confirmed by the Lyon Court after more than 300 years, and Clan Irving before them. Clans Bell, MacKinnon and Glendinning, to name but a few, are currently progressing down the official route via the Lord Lyon as we speak. Clan Bell are having a gathering and Derbhfine in the summer of 2019, supervised by the Lyon Court, in order to elect a commander. A Commander is not a Chief, until a timeframe, set by the Lyon, is completed. This is usually 5-10 years.

We are also proud to say that we have the full support of many Scottish clans and families in our endeavours, to include that of the the Family of Bruce.

Carruthers Tartan:

In order to be seen as a stand alone clan, a Carruthers tartan had to be designed and registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans in Edinburgh. The STR is a Scottish Government Agency under the auspices of the National Records of Scotland and advised by the Lyon Court.

As a family, we can however still use the Bruce tartan, but must recognise that it is registered and owned by the Family Bruce and does not belong to Carruthers.

Once a Chief is confirmed we would, as an official clan in our own right, need our own as a visual signature to signify who and what we are. Hence the Red Carruthers tartan was registered in Edinburgh as STR 11700, in 2017.

As the official Clan and Family Society, we will keep you updated of any progress.