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MacRae Tartan

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Motto: Fortitudine (Fortitude)

The name MacRae is from the Gaelic ‘MacRhath’, the son of favour, grace or prosperity.  It will be seen to be similar to some Old Bretonic names, i.e. Ratfrid and Ratlouuen.  Clan MacRae is normally associated with Ross-shire where it was a minor clan.  However, very little is known regarding their early history. Their first known home in Scotland was in the Aird of Lovat in Inverness-shire, and they appear to have moved to Ross-shire by the 13th century.  

It would seem they fought under Fitzgerald at the battle of Largs in 1263 and subsequently became vassals of the Seaforth MacKenzies.  The MacRaes became almost permanent constables of Eilean Donan Castle.  They were also chamberlains of Kintail and often vicars of Kintail.  The MacRaes were a loyalist clan in politics, who long remained Episcopalian.  When their religion became proscribed in 1688, a number of them returned to the Church of Rome, founding the church still maintained in Donnie.  

In 1539 Donald Gorm MacDonald of Sleat, a claimant to the Earldom of Ross, laid siege to Eilean Donan Castle as Lord of the Isles, wounded and killed.  Later, c.1557, Duncan MacRae, Chamberlain of Eilean Donan was granted the estate of Inverinate, where some of his lineal descendants lived for two and a half centuries.  

The Clan suffered heavy losses in 1715 at the Battle of Sherrifmuir.  In 1719, during the unsuccessful Jacobite Rising from Spain, the Earl of Seaforth, the Earl Marischal and the Marquis of Tullibardine and about 300 Spanish troops with some Irish, landed and encamped by Eilean Donan waiting for reinforcements, having been scattered by a storm.  No more Spaniards appeared, only a few hundred Highlanders including Rob Roy and a party of MacGregors.  Having surrendered to Royal navy ships, Seaforth’s estates were forfeited.  Seaforth reclaimed his estates in 1726.  

His son did not take part at Culloden 1745, but some MacRaes did join Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s forces.  Following the defeat, many of those from Kintail emigrated to America and many enlisted in the Seaforth Highlanders in 1778.

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