Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs’ Holyrood Palace Heirs’ Party

Guest Blog:  SCSC Convenor Sir Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor Comments On An Exceptional Scottish Clan & Family Event


Sir Malcolm Gregor Charles Mac Gregor of Mac Gregor, 7th BT, of Lanrick and Balquhidder, 24th Chief of Clan Gregor speaking at a recent Highland Games to Malcolm Sinclair, 20th Earl of Caithness PC and MacGregor’s predecessor as SCSC Convenor.

A somewhat historic event took place at the Palace of Holyrood House on Friday 28 November. The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs

The Macnab family [Jamie, Daisie, Jane and James (heir)] decked out for the SCSC heirs' party.

The Macnab family [Jamie, Daisie, Jane and James (heir)] decked out for the SCSC heirs’ party.

(SCSC) hosted a reception for heirs to clan chiefships and heads of families. It was scheduled as a finale to an outstanding year of Homecoming, which saw a myriad of clan events. The Duke of Hamilton kindly allowed the party to take place in his private apartments. He is the hereditary keeper of Holyrood Palace and bearer of the Crown of Scotland, a duty last performed at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. The Earl of Elgin generously supplied the whisky, being the year of Bannockburn. Some 90 chiefs, heirs and their wives attended; including Lord Lyon King of Arms, Dr. Joseph Morrow, and, Lyon Clerk, Elizabeth Roads. Other heralds present were Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw (chief of the Agnews) and the Hon. Adam Bruce who is heraldic adviser to the Standing Council, and the younger son of Lord Elgin. Also present was the Reverend Neil Gardner, Minister of the Canongate and Holyrood.

The heirs and guests were piped into Holyrood by Pipe Major Canning of the Pibroch Society and welcomed by myself as Convenor, along with The Hon. Alexander Leslie, Vice-Convenor. Additional music was provided by Iona Warren and Iona Munro from Fettes College, playing the harp. Having shared a traditional commemorative toast with Pipe Major Canning to mark the occasion, I gave a short speech stressing the importance of the relationship between chiefs and their clansfolk which stretches way beyond the shores of Scotland.

The aim of the party was to develop a sense of cohesion and camaraderie amongst the heirs, and to introduce them to some of the duties and responsibilities of chiefship. This was supported by a booklet prepared by the SCSC Executive. Greetings came from a number of quarters, but perhaps the most significant was from COSCA in the USA. The President, Susan McIntosh, sent a heartfelt message of affinity and affection for clan chiefs, their heirs and families. She stressed, in the spirit of American generosity, that should any heirs find themselves in America they would be hugely welcomed.

The furthest travelled was Richard Broun younger of Coulston, all the way from Australia. Angus Maclaine younger of Lochbuie had come all the way from Hong Kong. Claire Henderson younger of Fordell is Australian but working Glasgow.  Many heirs work in London and they made a big effort to get north to Edinburgh. Within Scotland the furthest travelled was Colin, Viscount Tarbat from Strathpeffer, heir to the great clan Mackenzie. From the Isle of Lismore came Catriona, the Maid of Bachuil heir to the chiefship of the Macleays, and her sister Flora Livingstone of Bachuil.scoc-c

Other heirs present were: John, Master of Lauderdale; Alexander Burnett of Leys, Andrew Carmichael of Carmichael, Patrick Colquhoun of Luss and his brother Fergus, Alexander, the Master of Cranstoun; Ben Eliott of Redheugh, Alistair Forsyth of that Ilk, Harry, Lord Hay; Angus Kincaid of Kincaid and his sister Jessie, Duncan Ban MacIntyre of Camus-Na-H-Erie, Roderick Oliphant of Oliphant, Arthur Macmillan of Macmillan, James Macnab of Macnab and his sister Daisie, Ossian Moncreiffe of that Ilk, William, Master of Napier; Simon, Lord Ramsay; Jamie, Master of Rollo; Fiona Ross of Ross, Francis, Master of Sempill; Dugald Skene of Skene, Henry Trotter of Mortonhall, Ranald Macdonald of Clanranald, and The Hon. Georgina Leslie (heir to the Borthwick chiefship).



5 responses to “Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs’ Holyrood Palace Heirs’ Party”

  1. brian young says:

    Dear sir i enjoyed the article and i have in the past enjoyed meeting lord cathness and sir malcom macgreor of macgregor.
    But i am not the only one who thinks that the council of scottish clan chiefs should make themselves more widely known to the scottish people.
    Also have clan tents at scottish highland games.
    Fair play to the yanks for being proud.
    But we should not pander to thare every wish.
    Make yer sel known to scots and dont just be a farmer or land owner who lives in a castle.
    Scots may have scottish clan names and also have the cash to support thare clans.
    But meny scots know littel about thare clan name and whare thay come from.
    This is how social media and clan tents can get the clans and councils message out thare to the scottish people.
    This was my experience helping to run the clan young tent at Bannockburn 700.
    I hope the coucil can take note of my comments and think on them.
    Have a happy Christmas.
    Yours sincerely
    Brian young
    Events manager
    Clan young uk.

    • Sir Malcolm MacGregor says:

      Dear Mr. Young,

      Thank you for your kind comments in respect of myself and Lord Caithness, whom I succeeded as Convenor of the SCSC.

      In response to your observations, the following comments are offered.

      Your point about making the SCSC more widely known to Scottish people is well made and something we are working on. Certainly at Bannockburn Live, there was a considerable interest in the clan system and how this works within Scotland and overseas. More importantly people were very keen to know about the history of their own names. The clan village was a colourful and important part of Bannockburn Live. On a smaller scale, we certainly encourage clan tents at local highland games and other events, which has been going on for many years.

      The Standing Council is not as well known as we would like it to be, as you say. However, our commemorative service of Flodden 1513, last year, raising £25,000 for ex-servicemen’s charities, was something of an achievement. We are also working closely with Visit Scotland and the Scottish Government through a new body called the Clans Forum chaired by the Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism. This is a great step forward. There is now a general acknowledgement of the benefit the clans bring to local communities through tourism and heritage projects. In addition to which, the Government orchestrated Clan Event Fund has had a beneficial effect on clan gatherings and involved more local people. More clan events will be supported in 2015 through this scheme, creating greater awareness of clans and their history within the regions of Scotland.

      Many clan based heritage projects in local communities are led by, or participated in by, clan chiefs. The Girnigoe Castle restoration project in Caithness was driven by Lord Caithness. The Macneil of Barra is playing an active role in the Gaelic Castles conference on Barra next year. The revival of the Highland Games by the Gordon-Lennox family at Gordon Castle, Fochabers, is another example. Earlier this year, Lord Lovat was the driving force in the erection of a statue of his grandfather, who led the Commando Brigade at Sword Beach, Normandy in 1944. I acknowledge that this is not Scotland, but Caen in France. The principal of community involvement is the same though. Clanship, its artefacts and symbols, can also reach well beyond Scotland.

      There are some 50 on-going clan based projects in Scotland that I am aware of. Many of these of these are funded by the overseas Scots, particularly Americans. There is no pandering – all this work is done jointly in the spirit of clanship. Indeed the Americans, Australians, and Canadians are part of the Clans Forum which does indicate how far we have all come.

      My feeling is that individual clan chiefs do make themselves known to Scots at home within their localities. Despite the fact that farming, land management, and running a castle are all full time occupations, clan chiefs do a pretty good job within their local communities, organising clan gatherings, heritage projects and associated events.

      But as a council rather than individual clan chiefs I accept we could do more. With the support of organisations like COSCA and other clan based groups, I am sure we will.

      Have a great Christmas and New Year,

      Best wishes,

      Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor

  2. Frank Wherrett says:

    Dear Brian, The Standing Council, through its web-site, DOES make itself known to Scots both at home and abroad. As the person who replies to enquiries I can assure you that the enquiries are many and varied, an example being one I replied to just a few minutes ago regarding Clan Sinclair. Yours sincerely, Frank J Wherrett FSA (Scot)
    Secretary to the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs

  3. […] was for the heirs of the clan chiefs to network. The event was hosted by an organisation called COSCA, which stands for Council of Scottish Clans and Associations Inc. The mission of this organisation […]

  4. Robert Findley says:

    What was the Scottish Royal Standard before 1214 when the Lion was used??

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