Council of Scottish Clans & Associations
Advancing Scottish Heritage Societies through Service, Education, and Advocacy
CHIEFS of the Name and Arms
Chiefs of the Name and Arms
A clan chief is that individual recognized by the ancient Scottish clan to be their leader. In the modern-day world, a clan society usually recognizes as its honorary leader an individual who is the Chief of the Name and Arms of a specific surname. However, a Chief of the Name and Arms may not necessarily be a clan chief.
In Scotland, all coats of arms are granted by the Lord Lyon and the Court of the Lord Lyon. This role was established by the Scottish Parliament in 1592 to manage all heraldry. This was hundreds of years after the clans dominated Scotland. As a government agency, the Court did not involve itself with internal clan affairs and still does not engage in the matters of modern-day societies. The Court does determine who has the right to bear arms.
The Chief of the Name and Arms is entitled to bear "the undifferenced arms of the clan or family (i.e. the principal arms of the clan or family that descend from one chief to the next in undifferenced form through the generations)." (See "Guidance Note: Chiefs of Clans and Families, Succession Of Chiefs, Family Conventions, Nomination of Heir," The Court of the Lord Lyon, 16 December 2021)
The Lord Lyon may also appoint a "commander" when a hereditary chief cannot be identified. "The purpose of the appointment of a commander is to allow time and space for the clan or family to raise its profile, build itself up, publicise itself and for a potential candidate to be hereditary chief to be identified." (Ibid.) If another individual cannot prove descent from the chiefly line, then the commander may be endorsed as the Chief of the Names and Arms.
Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw, 11th Baronet
Hope Vere Anderson, Baron of Bannockburn
Toby Anstruther of that Ilk
Keith Arbuthnott 17th Viscount of Arbuthnott
John MacArthur of that Ilk
Commander Richard Holman Baird of Rickarton, Ury and Lochwood
Sir David Gordon Bannerman of Elsick, 15th Baronet
Peter Barclay of that Ilk
John Hugh Borthwick, 24th Lord Borthwick
Robin Jordan Boyd 8th Baron Kilmarnock
Patrick Robin Archibald Boyle, 10th Earl of Glasgow
Alexander Tristan Duff Brodie of Brodie
Sir Wayne Broun of Colstoun Bt.
Andrew Douglas Alexander Thomas Bruce, 11th Earl of Elgin, 15th Earl of Kincardine, K.T.
David Buchan of Auchmacoy
Michael Buchanan of that Ilk and Arnprior
James Burnett of Leys
Donald Cameron of Lochiel
Torquhil Ian Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll
Campbell of Cawdor
Colin Campbell, 7th Earl Cawdor
Richard Carmichael of Carmichael
David Carnegie, 4th Duke of Fife
Dr Simon Peter Carruthers of Holmains
Charles Alan Andrew Cathcart, 7th Earl Cathcart
James Charteris, 13th Earl of Wemyss and 9th Earl of March
John Mackintosh of Mackintosh
Hamish Chisholm of Chisholm
Iain Alexander Douglas Blair Cochrane, 15th Earl of Dundonald
Sir Malcolm Rory Colquhoun of Luss, 9th Baronet
Charles Mark Townshend Colville, 5th Viscount Colville of Culross