Motto: Meane weil speak weil and doe weil
Clan Urquhart is of ancient Celtic origin. Associated during most of its history with the northeast of Scotland, the Clan derives its name from Glen Urquhart and Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. Traditional history traces the descent of the Urquharts from Conachar Mor, scion of the Royal House of Ulster, a mighty warrior and hunter who ruled over the territory around Urquhart Castle during prehistoric times. Hero of a Gaelic legend, Conachor Mor killed a wild boar of extraordinary fierceness, from which no man had ever escaped alive.
Conachar Mor’s descendant, William de Urchard, the first Chief of the Clan, whose name appears in the written records of Scotland, was a staunch supporter of King Robert Bruce (1306-1329), during the Scottish War of Independence. Adam de Urchard, second Chief of the Clan, became Baron and Sheriff of Cromarty about 1358; and for over three hundred years, the Chiefs of the Clan held the Barony of Cromarty as their principal seat, where they erected as imposing castle overlooking the Cromarty Firth. Younger sons of the family acquired extensive landholdings of their own, establishing themselves as Lairds of Meldrum, Byth, Craigston, Craighouse, Kinbeachie, Newhall, Braelangwell and Burdsyards.
Loyalty to the House of Stuart was a major characteristic of the Urquharts, who fought, died and suffered imprisonment for the Royal Family, to whom they were related through maternal descent from Bruce and the early Stewart Kings. Seven sons of Thomas, the seventh Chief, were killed at the battle of Pinkie in 1547. Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty, the eleventh Chief, a celebrated Royalist whose outstanding translation of Rabelais is a literary work of major importance in the English language, was captured while serving as a colonel under Charles II at the Battle of Worcester in 1651; and imprisoned in the Tower of London and later Windsor Castle.
Support for the Royalist cause led in part to the loss of the ancestral lands in Cromartyshire. Urquharts served and died with Viscount Dundee at Killiecrankie in 1689. The fifteenth Chief, Colonel James Urquhart of Cromarty, took a prominent part in the Jacobite uprising of 1715, during which he was severely wounded at the Battle of Sheriffmuir and later imprisoned at Carlisle. In the last years of his life he served as the principal Jacobite Agent in Scotland for the exiled Stuart King. With his death, the Chiefship passed to his cousin, William Urquhart of Meldrum. More cautious than his cousin, he avoided being embroiled in the defeat at Culloden in 1746.
Another cousin Adam Urquhart of Byth, was imprisoned for his part in the uprising, later moving to the Jacobite court in Rome, and serving as Gentleman-in-Waiting to Bonnie Prince Charlie. From 1741-1898, the seat of the Chief of Clan Urquhart was the Barony of Meldrum in Aberdeenshire. The last Chief of that line was Major Beauchamp Colclough Urquhart of Meldrum, killed in the Sudan in 1898. The Chiefship then passed to a cousin, Urquhart of Braelangwell.
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