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MacSporran Tartan

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Motto: Per mare per terra (By sea and by land)

The name MacSporran means literally ‘son of the purse’ and by tradition the MacSporrans were the purse bearers (or treasurers) to the Lords of the Isles.  It is said that Donald, first Lord of the Isles, appointed a court of sixteen office bearers in the 12th century. These were either close family members or persons of high position, and each was given a hereditary title, including Beth (physician), Murrich (bard), Lavery (speaker) and Sporran (pursebearer). Thus only one person at any one time held the name until 1497 when the Lordship was annexed by the Stuart King of Scotland.  

A charter of 1168 refers to a reigning chief Paul O'Duine as 'Pol an Sporain'. The legends of Kintyre record this Paul as leaving his daughter Eva as his heir and from her marriage with Gillespie Cambel came the founding of Clan Campbell.  The graves of Paul and Gilbred Sporain are reputed to lie amongst the tombs of ancient kings on the Isle of Iona off the west coast of Scotland.  The book "Antiquities of Iona" by Robert Graham of 1850 documents the position of the gravestone of Paul An Sporain in the north-east corner of St Orans chapel. In about 1926 a new floor was laid in the chapel and the stones were moved.  

The earliest recorded person of the modern spelling was Duncan Roy McSpairand, a tacksman of the Twa Duchries in 1541. This farm area is near Carradale on the east coast of Kintyre. A tacksman was an administrator of lands for the landowner.  

The name MacSporran seems to originate from the Kintyre peninsula in western Scotland and is commonplace there even today. The McSparran and McSparron variants can invariably be traced back to County Antrim in the north east of Ireland and they can also still be found there. In fact only a few miles of water separate the Antrim coast from Kintyre.

The names McSparren, McSparen, McSparrin and McSparin occur today only in North America but are almost certainly also of Irish descent. The name McSpurren is found in Scotland and in Canada.  Although the MacSporrans are not accepted as a distinct clan by the Lord Lyon, they are recognised as a sept of the Clan Donald.  The MacSporran tartan is based on the MacDonald design but with a distinctive gold stripe. 

Choose from one of the MacSporran Tartans listed below

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