Scottish clan profile: Campbell

Clan Campbell's tartan, sometimes referred to as Black Watch. Picture: Contributed

Clan Campbell's tartan, sometimes referred to as Black Watch. Picture: Contributed

WITH a name deriving from the Gaelic for ‘curved mouth’ (Cam beul), Clan Campbell is one of the most prominent in Scottish history.

The family’s connection with Argyll came prior to the 1200s, when a Campbell married the heiress of the O’Duines, bringing with her the Lordship of Lochawe. Thus the Clan’s early name was Clan O’Duine, later supplanted by the style Clan Diarmid, after Diarmid the Boar, a hero from Celtic myth.

As a result, Innis Chonnell Castle on Lochawe is considered one of two possible original seats of the Clan, the other being Caisteal na Nigheann Ruaidh on Loch Avich.

Although the Clan’s power began to spread throughout Argyll, the Campbells were initially dominated by the Lords of Lorne, chiefs of rival Clan MacDougall.

Campbell Clan chief Cailean Mór (Colin Campbell) was killed by the MacDougalls in 1296, and all of the subsequent chiefs of Clan Campbell have taken MaCailein Mor as their Gaelic patronymic.

Rise to prominence 1200-1500

Between 1200 and 1500, the Clan rose to prominence, emerging as one of the most powerful in Scotland and capable of influence and authority from Edinburgh to the Hebrides and western Highlands.

Colin Campbell’s family went on to become big supporters of King Robert the Bruce, benefiting from his successes with grants of lands, titles and favourable marriages. They fought against the English at the Battle of Bannock burn in 1314 during the Wars of Scottish Independence, with Sir Neil Campbell’s loyalty to Bruce rewarded with marriage to the King’s sister Mary and a rapid expansion of Campbell land and power - including extensive lands taken from the forfeited MacDougall Lords of Lorne in Argyll passing over to Sir Neil.

Anglo-Scottish Wars of the 1500s

By the end of the 15th century, the power of the Clan Donald chiefs (the Lord of the Isles) who were the Crown’s strongest rivals had eroded, with the Campbells assuming power and, due to their support for the Crown throughout the century, acted as the main instrument of central authority in the area, thought to be the real cause of the long-standing emnity between Clans Campbell and MacDonald.

At the Battle of Flodden in 1513, during the Anglo-Scottish Wars, Clan Campbell, under the leadership of 2nd Earl of Argyll Archibald Campbell, fought on the side of King James IV of Scotland against an English army. Later, they numbered among the Scottish forces who battled the English at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, and in 1568, 5th Earl of Argyll, also Archibald Campbell, commanded forces who fought for Mary Queen of Scots against the forces of Regent Moray at the Battle of Langside.

Glencoe Massacre

In 1692, 38 unarmed members of Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed in the Massacre of Glencoe, when a government initiative designed to suppress Jacobitism became mixed up in the long-running feud between the two clans.

The slaughter of the MacDonalds at the hands of soldiers led by Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon - after enjoying their hospitality for over a week - was seen as a major affront of Scottish law as well as Highland tradition.

Most of the soldiers were not Campbells, but the massacre is widely viewed as a result of the emnity between the two clans.

Jacobite uprisings of the 18th century

During the Jacobite uprisings in the 1700s, Clan Campbell backed the British-Hanoverian Government, and a number of men from the clan fought on the side of British government forces at the Battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715 - however, there were Campbells on the side of the Jacobites, believed to have been led by the son of Campbell of Glenlyon, whose father had commanded the Glencoe Massacre against the MacDonalds 22 years earlier.

The two families settled their differences, fighting side by side in the Sheriffmuir.

The British government forces under the leadership of John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll, were victorious.

The strength of Clan Campbell had been estimated at 5,000 men. During the Jacobite rising of 1745, Clan Campbell maintained its support for the British government, fighting against rebel Jacobites at the Battle of Falkirk in 1746, where government forces were defeated.

But the Campbells held out during the Siege of Fort William, defeating the Jacobites.

In 1746 at the Battle of Culloden, the Jacobites were finally defeated, with four companies from the Campbell of Argyll militia.

Notable battles

Battle of Red Ford

Taking place in around 1294, this was a battle fought over disputed lands between Clan Campbell and Clan MacDougall, in Lorne, Scotland.

It ended in defeat for the Campbells of Lochawe. The battle took place on the borders of Loch Awe and Lorne, with the battle site named ‘Red Ford’ (or Ath Dearg in Gaelic) after the ford which ran red with blood following the clash.

Clan MacDougall seized Innis Chonnell Castle after the battle.

Battle of Glenlivet

Fought in October 1594 near Allanreid and Morinsh, this is often seen as a religious conflict, fought by the Catholic forces of George Gordon, 1st Marquess of Huntly and Francis Hay, 9th Earl of Erroll, against the Protestant forces of 7th Earl of Argyll Archibald Campbell. When a decree in November 1593 stated that Catholics must give up their faith or leave the country, Huntly refused to obey. with his continued resistance culminating in the Battle of Glenlivet, where, along with Erroll, he engaged Argyll’s army above Allt a’ Choileachain.

Huntly’s retainers prepared for battle with mass, confession and communion, their weapons were sprinkled with holy water and a cross was placed on their armour, symbolising the fact they fought in defence of the Cross of Christ.

Huntly’s men, numbering around 2,000 routed the Earl of Argyll’s forces of 10,000 - a dramatic victory of horse and artillery over irregular infantry.

Battle of Altimarlach

A clan battle that took place on July 13th 1680 between the Campbells and Sinclairs, the Battle of Altimarlach came about after debt-ridden 6th Earl of Caithness George Sinclair was forced to resign his titles and estates in favour of Sir John Campbell, who took possession of the estates on Sinclair’s death in 1676, becoming earl of Caithness the following year.

Sinclair’s heir, George Sinclair of Keiss, disputed the claim and seized the land in 1678.

In July 1680, Campbell took 800 men north to evict Sinclair of Keiss, who was waiting for him with 500 men near Wick. The drink-fuelled Sinclairs attacked the Campbells and were routed.

Legend has it that so many Sinclairs were killed that the Campbells could cross the river without getting their feet wet.

The Campbells’ piper also composed a tune before the battle, with the English translation ‘Gaffers in Trousers’, designed to mock the Sinclairs who wore tartan trews rather than the kilted Highland dress favoured by the Campbells.

Clan motto: Ne Obliviscaris (Forget Not)

Notable lords: Hugh Rose, 10th of Kilravock, a confidante of Mary, Queen of Scots; David Rose, 26th of Kilravock, the current clan chief

Sub septs: Arthur, MacArtair, MacArthur, MacCarter, Bannatyne, Ballantyne, Blanton, Burnes, Burness, Burnett, Burns, Caddell, Cadell, Calder, Cattell, Connochie, Conochie, MacConachie, MacConchie, MacConnechy, MacConochie, Denoon, Denune, Gibbon, Gibson, MacGibbon, MacGubbin, Harres, Harris, Hawes, Haws, Hawson, Hastings, Isaac, Isaacs, Kissack, Kissock, MacIsaac, MacKessack, MacKessock, MacKissock, Iverson, Macever, Macgure, MacIver, MacIvor, Macure, Orr, Ure, Kellar, Keller, Maceller, MacKellar, Lorne, Louden, Loudon, Loudoun, Lowden, Lowdon, MacColm, MacColmbe, MacLaws, MacLehose, MacTause, MacTavish, MacThomas, Riddell, Taweson, Tawesson, Thomas, Thomason, Thompson, Thomson, MacDermid, MacDermott, MacDiarmid, MacElvie, MacKelvie, MacGlasrich, MacKerlie, MacNichol, MacNocaird, MacOran, Macowen, MacPhedran, MacPhederain, Paterson, MacPhun, Moore, Muir, Ochiltree, Pinkerton, Tanner, Tonner, Torrie, Torry.

Notable castles: Inveraray Castle, Castle Gloom, Innis Chonnell, Kilchurn Castle, Taymouth Castle, Castle Sween, Dunoon Castle, Carnasserie Castle

Current clan base: Inveraray Castle, Argyll

Current Clan Chief

Torquhil Ian Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll is the current chief of Clan Campbell.



Lord Campbell of Croy

The Lord Campbell of Croy, who died in April 2005 aged 83, was, as Gordon Campbell, Conservative MP for Moray and Nairn from 1951 to 1974, and Secretary of State for Scotland throughout Ted Heath's administration; during the Second World War he had won the Military Cross and Bar.

Indeed, his ambition had always been to follow in his family's military tradition, but this foundered when he was gravely injured during the battle for the River Elbe in 1945, where he won a Bar to the MC he had already been awarded for "outstanding gallantry" in Normandy, and was left with a permanent limp and constant pain.

Gordon Thomas Calthrop Campbell was born at Lossiemouth on June 21 1921, the son of Major-General JA Campbell, DSO and Bar, who commanded 15th (Scottish) Division, in which his son was to command 320 Field Battery. After leaving Wellington, Gordon entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1940.

In 1942, still only 20, he became a major and his brigade later spearheaded Epsom, Montgomery's plan to cross the Oden and the Orne. In 36 hours, the brigade lost two officers and seven men, leaving only himself and a corporal to control operations. "We were being attacked by tanks from the rear and it wasn't very pleasant," he recalled. His driver was killed, and then his replacement, but Campbell carried on, later crossing the Seine, where he saw 50 of the Gordons mown down.

In February the next year, he lost his crew at the Siegfried line. "All four were killed, and I picked myself up from the rubble."

Three days before the ceasefire in Europe, he was crossing the Elbe when he was struck by a bullet. Campbell had been leading his radio operator on an attack on the enemy-held north bank, clutching a sten gun and picking his way over German bodies, when a bullet severed his sciatic nerve. He was carried back across the river "a bundle covered in blood and mud"; he was so dirty that he was mistaken for a German, and identified only by the ribbon of his MC. He remembered losing feeling in his facial muscles. "I'd seen a lot of dying men like that: that was the only point I thought I was going to join them."

Campbell spent a year in hospital re-appraising his future career as, in his words, "an old crock". He decided on the Foreign Office, and by the time he was discharged had passed the entrance examination with flying colours. He entered the Service in 1946 and spent three years in the Eastern Europe Department, followed by another three at the UN General Assembly.

After his return to London, Campbell was seconded to the Cabinet Office as Private Secretary to the Cabinet Secretary. This aroused a taste for active politics, and he discreetly put out feelers for a seat. In 1957 he resigned from the Foreign Office to stand in Moray and Nairn for the forthcoming election. He spent the intervening period in Central Office's research department.

Almost immediately after entering the Commons, Campbell was appointed an assistant Whip and then a full Whip and Lord Commissioner of the Treasury, before becoming Joint Parliamentary Secretary, Scottish Office, in 1963-64. In the six years of opposition that followed, he was a front bench spokesman on Defence and Scottish Affairs.

This made him the natural choice as Scottish Secretary after the Conservatives' victory in 1970. His four years were marked by competent administration and success in attracting resources from the Treasury and the drive for inward investment.

But it was to no avail against the background of an upsurge in support for the Scottish Nationalists, fortified by claims that North Sea oil was "Scottish oil". Their cause had, in fact, ceased to be the preserve of a vociferous minority and had begun to win support across the political and class boundaries. It was to cost Campbell his seat at the hands of the party's leader, Winnie Ewing, in 1974.

A more fruitful part of Campbell's political career, both as an MP and a peer, was his campaigning for the welfare of the disabled and for greater understanding of their problems.

In 1968 he introduced a Private Member's Bill to establish a commission to investigate discrimination against the disabled. It showed the lack of interest in the issue that it failed, albeit by a narrow margin, even during a period of extensive social reform under Labour.

Fourteen years later, however, he had the satisfaction of piloting through the Lords and into law a similar Bill. Nor had the intervening period been wasted.

The original debate began to weaken public opinion and was given added force by his own personal experiences. A start was made on providing facilities such as lavatories, doorways and ramps in public buildings and office facilities.

Even more important was the growing awareness that disability in a variety of forms afflicted many more than the ex-service victims of war.

In the 1960s, Campbell introduced a campaign for those he called the "civilian disabled", and secured a strengthening of the statutory duty of employers to provide access for the disabled. His work was honoured with the award of the first Nuffield Trust Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Fellowship; it was for the paper Disablement in the UK, Problems and Perspectives 1981 which he had subtitled Everyman's Guide to a Diverse Subject. It gave him particular pleasure to receive it in the presence of the eminent neurosurgeon John O'Connell, who, as a young Army surgeon, had operated on him and saved his life in 1945.

Campbell was patron of the National Schizophrenia Society. He campaigned for greater understanding for its victims and for improved care in the community.

In the controversy over the role of the secret services during the 1980s, Campbell called for a body of Privy Counsellors, lawyers and former senior officers to monitor their activities and reconcile the need for security with the wider interests of the public.

He was a keen ornithologist, and campaigned to exterminate the Highland midge, drawing attention to the usefulness of Natterer's bat and the red mite in tackling the menace. He also had a sharp eye, and once revealed a misdescribed portrait in the National Gallery. The picture, which hung in the Commons Committee corridor on loan from the gallery, was said to depict the great railway engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Campbell realised it actually showed Brunel's father, Sir Marc Isambard Brunel. His knowledge derived from the fact that his wife was a descendant of the Brunels.

Campbell was created a life peer in 1974.

He married, in 1949, Nicola Madan; they had two sons and a daughter.



A Very Short History of the Campbells

The name is said to derive from two Gaelic words, "cam" meaning twisted and "beul" meaning mouth, these features traditionally belonging to Gillespie O Duithne who lived early in the 13th century. Some historians suggest that the most likely origin of the family is Flemish, coming over with William the Conqueror in 1066. Ancestors of the Campbells used the Flemish name Erkinbald (Archibald in Scotland). Others say that the line goes back to the Britons of Strathclyde. A former name for the Campbells was "Clann O'Dhuine" and Duine's son was Diarmid and so the name "Clan Diarmid" is also used. There are a number of main branches of Campbell - Argyll, Breadalbane and Cawdor.

The first Campbell in written records is Gillespie Campbell in 1263 although it would appear that the clan had been established in Argyll at an earlier date. Archibald Campbell obtained the Lordship of Lochow when he married the King's Treasurer and Sir Colin Campbell of Lochow, knighted in 1280, founded the Campbells of Argyll. Sir Colin was killed in a skirmish with the MacDonald Lords of the Isles and a cairn still marks the spot where he fell. From him, the title "MacCailean Mor" or "Son of Great Colin" has been carried by the clan chief to this day.

Sir Neil Campbell supported Robert the Bruce and was rewarded with lands forfeited by the Macdougals. Sir Neil also married King Robert's sister and their son, John, was created Earl of Atholl. Another Colin Campbell was made Earl of Argyll in 1457 and his son, Archibald, who was Lord High Chancellor, was killed at Battle of Flodden in 1513.

The fifth earl commanded Mary Queen of Scots' army at the Battle of Langside in 1568, while his brother supported the opposition. Archibald, the 10th Earl was a close supporter of William of Orange and was rewarded with the title of Duke of Argyll and Marquess of Lorne and Kintyre in 1703.

Campbells were noted as staunch supporters of the government both in the early years when they opposed the MacDonald Lordship of the Isles and later opposed the Jacobite Uprisings. They were well rewarded for their loyalty - and also married shrewdly to extend their lands and power. By the 19th century they owned 40 estates covering almost 1.25 million acres, most of it owned by the Duke of Argyll. Castles with Campbell connections are Dunstaffnage near Oban, Cawdor near Inverness and Inverary in Argyll (the latter is the seat of the current clan chief).

Campbell was the 8th most frequent surname at the General Register Office in 1995.

 Maureen Campbell-White


Make a free website with Yola