Clan MacDougall history - Scotland Magazine

Clan MacDougall history

Like Clan MacDonald, Clan MacDougall claims descent from Somerled, Lord of the Isles

After Somerled, ruler of the Kingdom of the Isles, was killed in battle, his son Dougall held most of his father’s lands in Argyll and the islands. In turn, Dougall’s son, Duncan, was the first to be styled MacDougall, and from him the clan claims descent. 

It was Duncan who founded Ardchattan Priory in 1230, where subsequent clan chiefs were buried up until the 1730s.

The clan fought alongside William Wallace during the Wars of Independence, but found themselves embroiled in a feud with Robert the Bruce. In fact, the MacDougalls defeated Bruce at the Battle of Dalrigh in 1306. For this, they forfeited their lands after his victory at Bannockburn in 1314.

Despite this, the MacDougalls were loyal supporters of the Stewart dynasty, fighting alongside ‘Bonnie Dundee’ at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689.

They remained loyal during the Jacobite Risings of the 18th century but often suffered because of it, mainly at the hands of the Campbells. 

There are many variations of the spelling of MacDougall – McDougal, McDougle, Macdouall, Macoual, for example. Dunollie Castle in Argyll is the clan seat and the present chief is Madam Morag MacDougall of MacDougall, the 31st chief of the clan.

There are three clan tartans – Modern, Ancient and Dress. Details of the Ancient were published in 1842 in the Vestiarium Scoticum, an enjoyable but entirely unreliable source of information written by John Sobieski Stuart.
The clan crest is “On a chapeau Gules furred Ermine, a dexter arm in armour embowed fess ways couped Proper, holding a cross closslet fitchée erect Gules”. The motto is “Buaidh no Bàs” (“Victory or Death”).

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