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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
These questions and answers are included to provide introductory information about the Scottish Clan Grant. More detailed and comprehensive historical information is available under the heading “A History of the Clan Grant” under the “Members Only” section of this website.
Select the question to expand and see the answer.
Last Updated: November 8, 2014
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What is a clan?
The Gaelic word clann means children. A Scottish clan was an extended family united by a real or perceived descent from a common ancestor. Clans were generally identified by the surname of their Chief and situated in specific geographical areas held by the Chief and chieftains of the clan. Essentially, anyone who considered the Chief to be their leader and relied on him for their protection was a member of the clan.
Most clans were formed during the 14th – 16th centuries by strong, ambitious leaders who earned the support of powerful political and ecclesiastical patrons. They gained footholds in geographical districts in Scotland, organized their followers, and in most cases held their lands by charter, and when necessary by brute force.
What are the origins of the Clan Grant?
As is the case with many highland clans, the origins of the Clan Grant are lost in the mists of antiquity. DNA evidence suggests that Grant clansmen descended from disparate ethnicities over the centuries, including the following:
- Descendants of aboriginal ancestors who came to the British Isles 8,000-10,000 years ago,
- Remnants of the Roman legions who conquered and occupied much of Britain – but not the highlands of Scotland – in the first four centuries of the first millennium AD,
- Northern European Angles and Saxons who came to Britain during the 5th and 6th centuries AD,
- Norse Viking marauders who plundered the north and west coast of Scotland during the last quarter of the first millennium,
- Anglo-Norman barons who ventured north under the aegis of King David I and his successors during the 12th and 13th centuries,
- Incomers from Ireland who crossed the North Channel at various times. In fact, the ebb and flow of transmigration from Ireland to Scotland and from Scotland to Ireland continued over the course of many centuries.
There are essentially three theories which attempt to describe the origin of the early Chiefs of Grant. (These will be discussed in depth in “A History of the Clan Grant” under the “Members Only” section of this website.)
Who is the present Chief of the Clan Grant?
The Chief of the Clan Grant is the Right Honorable 6th Lord Strathspey, Sir James Patrick Trevor Grant of Grant, Baronet. He is a direct lineal descendant of Sir Duncan le Grant of Freuchie who held lands in Strathspey in the mid-15th century, and presumably from previous Grant chieftains whose precise histories cannot be determined.
How do I address the Chief of Grant?
The Chief of the Clan Grant is addressed as Lord Strathspey.
Are the Grants of England, Wales and Ireland part of the Scottish Clan Grant?
Not all Grants in England, Wales, and Ireland descend from the Clan Grant. A ‘Robert Grante’ was listed among the names of the companions of William, Duke of Normandy, at the time of the conquest of Britain in 1066, and the name ‘Graunte’ was included on a roster of Norman men who fought with the Duke at the Battle of Hastings in the same year. Moreover, there were may significant families of Grants (le Graunt, le Grant, Grante, Grente, Grandis de Grantes) who held estates and property in the English counties of Durham, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Buckinghamshire, Shropshire, Oxfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Berkshire, Essex, and Kent, and in the counties of Denbighshire and Glamorgan in Wales, and Kilkinny in Ireland before the name Grant was mentioned in the annals of Scotland.
How do I know if I belong to the Clan Grant?
If your surname is Grant, or if you are descended from a Grant, or if your name is one of the many dozens of surnames and patronymics associated with the districts held by the Clan Grant in Scotland, and if your ancestors were loyal to the Chief of Grant or one of the chieftains of the cadet or branch families of the Clan Grant, then you are a descendant of the Clan Grant.
Who can become a member of the Clan Grant Society – USA?
Anyone who has a genuine interest in the Scottish Clan Grant and wants to enjoy the fellowship of its members may join the society.
What is “Grant Country”?
The country of the Clan Grant can be defined as any district in Scotland formerly held by the Chief or chieftains of the Clan Grant during the days of the clan system. Generally speaking, the principal territories of the Clan Grant were “the lands between the two Craigellachies” in Strathspey, and the districts of Glenurquhart and Glenmoriston, northwest of Loch Ness.
Do the Grants have a castle?
Yes, the Clan Grant held a number of castles and manor houses. The Chief's principal residence was at Castle Grant near Grantown-on-Spey. Other prominent Grant estates were Arndilly House, Ballindalloch Castle, Balmacaan, Cullen House, the Doune of Rothiemurchus, Easter Elchies, Invermoriston House, Kilgraston, Monymusk, Muckrach, Prestongrange House, Urquhart Castle and Wester Elchies – just to name a few. (Many other Grant estates, castles and manors are discussed in "The Castles and Manor Houses of the Clan Grant" under the “Members Only” section of this website.)
Does Clan Grant have a visitor's center?
Yes, the Clan Grant has a center in the old Duthil Kirk, situated on the main road between Dulnain Bridge and Carrbridge. The center is open for events in early August each year during the annual Clan Gathering at the Nethy Bridge Highland Games. The center is otherwise not open to the public except by appointment.
What tartan should I wear?
It is the prerogative of the chief of a clan to designate a specific tartan to be the authorized tartan of his clan. Lord Strathspey has selected the sett designated ‘Grant’ illustrated by Plate XIX in The Tartans of the Clans of Scotland by James Grant, published in Edinburgh in 1886. (A color image of that tartan can be found on this website under the heading “Tartans of the Clan Grant.”)
The Grant hunting or ‘undress’ tartan is the same sett as the tartan of the 42nd or Royal Highland Regiment, the Black Watch.
If you are descended from the Clan Grant and wish to wear Grant tartan, the standard red Grant tartan and the Black Watch tartan are available from most kilt makers and purveyors of Scottish woolen goods.
Are all people with ‘associated family names’ considered to be Grants?
No, in fact, almost all the Grant ‘associated family names’ are also connected to other clans, families and districts in Scotland. The key is where your ancestors came from and whether they were loyal to the Chief or chieftains of the Clan Grant. (A list of the surnames and patronymics associated with the Clan Grant can be found in under the heading “A History of the Clan Grant” under the “Members Only” section of this website.)
James Grant, historian
Clan Grant Society – USA