Scotland's History, Legends, Wildlife and Hunting Practices...because the past lives in us and guides our footsteps.
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CLAN URQUHART OF SCOTLAND

The Urquhart clan, castle, crest, motto, legends, warriors, ghosts and a love story - Urquharts and the Kinsmen from Urquhart

Urquhart Lands
This hamlet is typical of the Scottish Highlands
To the right is a picture of a Scottish Highland Hamlet - a little village in other words.  This would have been similar to the Urquhart hamlets near Urquhart Castle in the good old days.  It is in such simple structures that most Urquharts, highland warriors and highland kinsmen lived.  A far cry from the illustrious Urquhart castle close by, but even in those days, division by wealth and title was considerable.
Urquhart Castle  as it once stood.

 

To the right is the Urquhart Castle, in which the Urquhart Clan Chief and his family, possibly extended family, would reside, along with some Highland warriors.  During times of English attack, one of the key strategies was to try and wait it out for Scottish reinforcements to come.  Urquhart Castle has proved to be a death trap on several occasions - for the Scottish, as well as for the English.

CONTENTS THIS PAGE

URQUHART COAT OF ARMS

THE FOUNDING FATHER OF THE URQUHART CLAN: GREAT CONACHAR

URQUHART CASTLE AND THE MAGIC WELL OF THE GREAT GLEN - HOW LOCH NESS GOT IT'S NAME

A ROMANTIC LOVE STORY OF ETERNAL LOVE TOLD IN THE LANDS OF URQUHART AND GLENMORISTON

THE HARSH CLIMATE AND RUGGED GEOGRAPHY OF THE URQUHART AND SURROUNDING LANDS and the KILLER VOLCANO THAT THREATENS IT ALL

THE EMBLEMS OF THE URQUHART CLAN: TARTAN and so on

WARRIOR GHOSTS OF THE LAST JACOBITE URPRISING

GENEALOGY: POSITIONS AND RIGHTS IN CLAN URQUHART

OUR PERSONAL URQUHART GENEALOGY, LINEAGE

TRACED YOUR URQUHART OR SCOTTISH ANCESTORS AND WANT TO KNOW WHERE ALL THOSE PLACES ARE?

THE ROMANCING OF THE URQUHART CLAN

CONTACTING US URQUHARTS

OTHER URQUHART WEB SITES YOU MAY LIKE


URQUHART COAT OF ARMS

Urquhart Coat of Arms Left is the Urquhart Coat of Arms. In Scottish heraldry, the boar represents a tenacious warrior who would rather die than lose the battle. An emblem of a true warrior and quite a befitting shield for the Urquhart clan, as you will learn from reading the legend of the Urquhart clan founding father. Klingon Clans and Star trekians take note, the Scottish clans and clan Urquhart had the concept of death before dishonor centuries before Gene Rodenbury was born! Even the naming of Klingons, such as Warf, son of ... is very much done in the early Scottish manner, in the way of the very early Urquharts.

 


THE FOUNDING FATHER OF THE URQUHART CLAN: GREAT CONACHAR

ACCORDING TO SCOTTISH AND URQUHART LEGEND

The boar has even more significance for the Urquhart clan, as it also represents the legend of the great battle between our clan Urquhart founding father - Conachar Mor Mac Aoidh, which means Great Conachar, son of Aodh - and his encounter with an enormous and extremely ferocious wild boar which had ravaged and ruined the countryside. If it had not been for a very old, very large, almost useless, but extremely loyal hunting dog known as Au Cu Mor, which means the Big Dog, the day may have been lost to the boar and the Urquhart clan history may have been vastly different. Needless to say, it took great courage of our Urquhart ancestor and of Au Cu Mor to bring this massive, deadly beast down that had been terrorizing the countryside. The interesting point in this is that Conachar, son of Aodh, had wanted to kill the old dog for being useless prior to the battle with the boar, but an old woman said to Conachar, son of Aodh, let the animal live its days and so the dog was allowed to live. During the battle with the great boar, Au Cu Mor received a mortal wound and died at the Great Conachar's feet. Conachar, son of Aoidh, lived long after his dog died. Conachar, son of Aoidh, now rests with his sword beneath Clach-Ochonachair, at Innis-Ochonachair, in Urquhart.


URQUHART CASTLE AND THE MAGIC WELL OF THE GREAT GLEN

Long, long ago, in the days when the Great Glen held it's deepest valley, before Urquhart castle was even a thought. The valley's steep sides had pathways that wound up and down and around them. A large number of people had settled - perhaps some of our Urquhart ancestors before the name of Urquhart was even spoken - and took advantage of it's abundant food and resources. It was a fertile valley which made life easy.

These fortunate people also had a magical well, a spring which Daly the Druid had made magical, which brought forth healing waters for all ills. There was a condition placed on using this magical well - after each use, the cover had to be placed back upon the well lest the well rise up and destroy the valley.

Alas, one day, a mother had removed the cover from the well and was drawing the magical water. Her baby started to cry and when she heard, like all good mothers, she went to her child's aid. In her speed to do so, she neglected to replace the cover upon the magic well and although she may have had all intentions of doing so, by the time she realized she had left the cover off unattended, the well had turned into a roaring fountain of water, gushing forth water with such force that she had no option but to run with her baby, clambering up the sides of the valley.

The other settlers, seeing and hearing the great commotion and roaring of the water, also took to the paths up out of the valley, knowing that all was now lost. Their homes, possessions, but they escaped, all escaped I believe.

One of those who escaped, looking back at their great valley filling with water almost as fast as they could climb, cried out in disbelief and anguish "Tha loch ann a nis!" - which means "There is a lake in it now!" That great valley of the Great Glen, draws it's name from those words "Loch ann a nis": Loch Ness.

So, all I can say is this, if your over by Urquhart Castle having a look for Nessy, remember those waters around the Urquhart stronghold have magical healing properties, as I cannot find any reference to that healing well ever being covered again. So if you are feeling crook, dip your toe in and see if it helps. Would not advise drinking the water from around Urquhart castle, as the peat bogs the lochs' water runs over puts a lot of small debris into the water, which affects the sonar of ships. So Nessie may still be hidden in the waters around Urquhart Castle.

But, getting back to Urquhart Castle, that magical well and the careless action of that mother in haste, produced the landscape and loch that Urquhart Castle took advantage of - in fact, you could say the magical well was responsible for Urquhart Castle ever being built there!


A ROMANTIC LOVE STORY OF ETERNAL LOVE TOLD IN THE LANDS OF URQUHART AND GLENMORISTON:

In the windows from Urquhart Castle overlooking Loch Ness, one can imagine this legend of undying love being spoken amongst fair maidens of Urquhart in giggles and sighs, or even of between lovers who knew their love forbidden. The legend goes thus:

Colum Cruitire of Ireland, whose daughter, Deirdire or Dearduil was the most beautiful in all of Ireland, the most beautiful virgin to ever walk in the lands of Ireland, had his daughter noticed by Conachar MacNessa, King of Ulster, in the 1st century AD. Conachar resolved to have Dearduil and she agreed if he would allow her to spend one year and one day as a virgin within his castle first. He agreed. During that time, Dearduil fell in love with Conachar's cousin, Naois and Naois with her. Naois and Dearduil then made haste to Scotland to try and avoid the King's wrath. They built a tower on Loch Naois - now called Loch Ness - and for one year they lived joyfully there. King Conachar found out and asked them to return to Ireland in peace and with his assurance for their safety. Dearduil believed the King false, but Naois returned to Ireland with his brothers and Dearduil. Naois and his brothers were slain at the King's command and placed in the same grave. Dearduil, on seeing them in the open grave asked the dead to move enough to let her in with them, which they did and she lay with Naois and died. The king, enraged, order Dearduil to be placed in another grave on the other side of the stream from them, so that they could not be together in death. The eternal love sprouted a young pine tree from Naois's grave and another young pine from Dearduil's grave. The two pines grew, their branches intermingled above the stream and the two trees were joined, so that even in death Naois and Dearduil were together.

Those who believe in this legend, believe Loch Ness was another spelling for Loch Naois and got it's name that way. I can imagine my Urquhart ancestors, in the cold of night or in moments of forbidden passion, speaking of this beautiful legend and of their own undying love for each other or waiting for the right lover to appear.

The legend also speaks of a king's dishonor and to mind the words spoken by people, something some Urquharts learnt all too well in the dealings with the English King's authorities.


THE HARSH CLIMATE AND RUGGED GEOGRAPHY OF THE URQUHART AND SURROUNDING LANDS and the KILLER VOLCANO THAT NOW THREATENS IT ALL.

Here are a couple of photographs showing the climate and terrain that people in and around the Urquhart lands have endured with for many centuries.

The harsh lands and climate in which the Urquhart's and other highlanders lived
Home lands of clan Urquhart If you click on this photo of the Urquhart ancestral lands, it will take you to a much bigger photo of lands roamed and claimed by the Urquharts - Urquhart was the name of the geographical area, so the people who lived there were called Urquharts.
Home lands of clan Urquhart The highlands of Scotland has a harsh climate, so to survive, one had to be strong. If you click on this photo, it will show the area of or near the Urquhart ancestral lands covered in snow.  You can imagine living in such cold and harsh conditions -  having to gather the wood to last a winter, the difficulty in finding food if you run out...

The above two images courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center.

The history of Urquhart castle is also tied heavily into the landscape. Originally the land of Scotland were settled when the country was much warmer and more hospitable to occupation. A volcanic eruption in Iceland is alleged to have sent a cloud of ash over Scotland, which cooled the climate by several degrees - meaning wheat farming, for example, came to an end. Scotland never returned to it's former warmer state. Urquhart castle and a large area of Scotland is now under threat from a massive volcano that resides beneath Loch Ness. Urquhart castle and Loch Ness are on top of a 2 kilometer deep fault line, known as the Great Glen. Minor earth quakes having been going on for some time now and I have to wonder how long the Urquhart ruins will remain, but scientists and others suspect a major earthquake and or volcanic explosion are going to occur with devastating consequences for all of Scotland.


THE EMBLEMS OF THE URQUHART CLAN:

Urquhart tartan, shield, flower and castle

Left is the Urquhart Tartan, the Urquhart Shield, the tower of Urquhart castle and the Urquhart flower, which is the wallflower Cheiranthus, in the old scottish tongue, Gaelic, "Lus leth 'n t-samhradh".

The Urquhart tartan has changed over the many years the tartan has existed, the above Urquhart tartan colors are likely the ones of around the 1700's or earlier, which you may still be able to see on the trousers, kilts or shoulder wear of some Urquharts today. Several Urquhart tartans were produced over the centuries, often reflecting the availability of local dyes.

The ancient Urquhart motto is "Meane weil, speak weil and do weil", which means "Mean, speak and do well.", which is correctly placed beneath the Urquhart shield, not above the Urquhart shield as many portray it.

Correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I can determine, the clans of Scotland, including the Urquhart clan, did not have a battle cry. Each battle may have produced it's own battle cry, if there was one.

For those of you who want to see pictures of Scottish highland warriors, they will eventually appear on SCOTTISH HERALDRY - A CLAN IS BORN

Urquhart clan crest and tartan circa 1920
You can see that the Urquhart crest has been changed to include greyhounds, which were a favorite pastime of the Urquhart clan chief in the 1700's.

WARRIOR GHOSTS OF THE LAST JACOBITE URPRISING

On the 16th of April, 1746, the last Jacobite uprising occurred. Men from Urquhart and Glenmorriston marched to battle with Bonnie Prince Charlie - as it turned out - for the last chance to return him, a Stewart, to Scotland's throne. At this point Urquhart Castle had been laid waste for 54 years and the Urquhart clan had lost it's clan chief 5 years earlier with no apparent Urquhart heir to the title and so on thus found. The Urquhart warriors, like many of the Scottish warriors, had grown weary of the Jacobite uprising, but the Urquharts marched off to the war after an impassioned plea from one of the Prince's authorities. Many Scottish warriors chose not to go. In a sense, the Jacobite uprising had lost it's spirit over the years of battling the English. This was the last roar of the great lion of the north, after a slow gathering death.

However, every descendant of the men who fought at that last Jacobite uprising, including those descendant from the Urquhart and Glenmorriston men that fought there, will, it is said, on the 16th of April every year, if they visit Culloden, Inverness - the last battleground for the Jacobites - will be thrown back into a ghostly past. For on that anniversary, all the descendents of those brave Scottish warriors will supposedly witness the battle, played out by the ghosts of those who fought there. As an Urquhart you will possibly see your Urquhart ancestors marching, fighting, dyeing, bleeding, laying wounded and, in the end, retreating. For those who fell wounded on the battlefield on that fateful day, there is first hand testimony of a ghost helping the wounded highland warriors back to a hotel, where a normal doctor then tended their wounds.

Although the Urquhart and Glenmorriston men and all the others put up a worthy fight, if the truth be known, Bonnie Prince Charlie was the cause of our brave highland warriors being massacred - he did not heed the words of the seasoned highland warriors as to how best to fight the battle in the mountainous terrain nearby, but, instead, in his arrogance, Bonnie Prince Charlie took to the field suited to the English soldiers and artillery, lost the battle and 1000 Scottish highland warriors - clansmen and others - died that day. For some time after the battle, the English authorities hunted down the highland warriors like dogs and imprisoned them or exiled them or both. Some of the exiled warriors returned to Scotland under a different name, to avoid being detected and put to death or imprisoned.


Genealogy: Position and Rights in Clan Urquhart

Right to heraldic arms is protected by law for all the descendants of the clan Urquhart.

To clear up any confusion, a clan chieftain is the head of a branch of the clan and comes under the clan chief. The true bearer of the Urquhart arms was the Cromarty Urquharts, but the Urquharts became very greedy and took opportunities to take control of the land of their neighbors. In the end the Urquharts lost it all, castle, lands, everything was lost to them, then they lost their clan - they all died out or were lost from the paper and tombstone trails. James Urquhart of Cromartie was the last clan chief of the Urquharts, he died in 1741 having served with distinction in the military and childless - it is possible we or you may be the remnants of those Urquhart's.

That was curse or prophesy fulfilled. Apparently a preacher or a monk spoke out the destruction of the Urquhart clan because of it's greed.

When you go further into why the Urquharts lost everything, yes there was financial mismanagement by the Urquhart clan chief, but the biggest loss of money and lands came from the Urquharts supporting the Scottish royalty in campaigns against the English. So much was confiscated from the Urquhart clan when the Scots lost and campaigns of war are never cheap.

By and large our Urquhart clan was loyal to Scottish royalty and fought hard to bring them back to power. The Urquhart's may have been one of the smaller clans, but we Urquharts fought with our heart rather than with monetary concerns. Urquharts went into battle shoulder to shoulder with the bigger clans and Urquhart warriors fell and died on the battle field, just as the warriors of the other clans did.

Following the death of James Urquhart of Cromarty, Clan Urquhart then devolved and by virtue of a marriage in 1636, the Meldrum Urquharts arose and were then able to lay claim to the title of Chief of Clan Urquhart and claim the Urquhart heraldry, after James Urquhart of Cromarty died.

The Meldrum Urquharts also have had some misfortune, with the direct Urquhart line dyeing out on at least two or three occasions. The title of Chief each time then devolving to a lesser line of the Urquharts, so to speak.

After reviewing the history as best I can, there is no one else that stands out to me as more deserving of the title chief of the Urquhart clan, as the current Urquhart line of succession. However, it is not clear whether the Meldrum Urquhart Clan Chief is the Chief of our Urquhart blood line; though he most likely is our Urquhart clan chief, but proving he IS our clan chief may be possible through the Urquhart DNA testing he implemented, which any male Urquhart can have done for a small fee.

The Urquhart tartan can be used by anyone, as it is not a restricted tartan, though the wearing of the Urquhart tartan would normally indicate the person supported the Urquhart clan. The Urquhart crests and the Urquhart badges are subject to different interpretation: Only Urquhart clan members and descendants of a person granted a coat of arms, may wear the Urquhart crest within the buckle; the person granted a coat of arms wears the Urquhart crest within a circlet.


OUR PERSONAL URQUHART GENEALOGY, LINEAGE

Over 300 years of Urquhart Genealogy

OUR FAMILY URQUHART TREE:

Jacob Urquhart, 2000AD < Donald (2) Urquhart (+ Carolyn Hayes ) < Donald Urquhart (+ Sylvia Long) < Murdoch Urquhart (+ Margaret Sutherland) < Murdoch Urquhart (+ Christine Wills) < George Urquhart ( + Elizabeth Ross) < Duncan Urquhart (+ Janet (Christine) Taylor) < George Urquhart ( + Ann McRae) 1700's AD. 300 Years of Urquhart history, plus a thousand more years of the Urquhart clan.

The last 300 years of our Urquhart genealogy in more detail:

George Urquhart & Ann McRae begat Duncan Urquhart 29-06-1778 in Mackay in Garty, who apparently died as a child. Janet Urquhart 14-07-1780 in Garty. Duncan Urquhart 05-11-1785 in Kilmuir East.

Duncan Urquhart & Christine Taylor married on 20-10-1810 OPR. Rosskeen; at the time Duncan Urquhart was a soldier in the 42nd Regiment and we can therefore assume was loyal to the English royalty, being in the Black Watch and all. They begat George Urquhart 30-05-1821 OPR Rosskeen. They also begat a daughter whose name started with J.... on 01-01-1818 OPR Rosskeen. Christine died and Duncan Urquhart remarried: Helen (Hester) Ross. Helen died on 04-10-1867 at Saltburn (Duncan Urquhart was then a Chelsea Pensioner). Both her parents were deceased: John Ross, mason & Janet Munro. Elizabeth Davidson was her niece.

George Urquhart & Elizabeth Ross married in November 1846 OPR Resolis. George Urquhart was a journeyman smith of New hall. Their union was proclaimed in the Parish Church on Sabbaths 08, 15 & 22 November, with no objections being offered. They begat Murdoch (Murdo) Urquhart on 27-09-1849 in Resolis/Kilmuir East, Duncan Urquhart in Resolis, John Urquhart in Resolis, Christina Urquhart in Resolis, Eliza Urquhart in Banff, Georgina Urquhart in Banff, Donald Urquhart in Rosskeen. Elizabeth died aged 92, on 20-10-1914 in Leith; her parents were then both deceased - Murdoch Ross, meal miller & Jane Ferguson.

Murdoch Urquhart & Christina Wills married on 02-07-1875 at Invergordon. Murdoch Urquhart was then a cabinet maker (journeyman) They begat Euphemia Urquhart 06-04-1876, George Urquhart 07-09-1877 died 21-01-1878, George Urquhart 08-12-1878, Elizabeth Urquhart 14-06-1880, Alexander Wills Urquhart 23-03-1882, Murdoch Urquhart 20-10-1883, Christina Urquhart 20-04-1885, James Urquhart 13-10-1886, John Urquhart 26-10-1889 and Donald Urquhart 04-07-1891 . All children born Invergordon, Rosskeen, except for John and Donald Urquhart who were born in Tain.

Murdoch Urquhart died on 16-02-1928 in Tain, aged 80 years and occupation meal dealer. Christina died 29-06-1926 in Tain, aged 75; both her parents were deceased - Alexander Wills, inspector of poor & Euphemia Dean - Murdoch Urquhart was a cycle agent when she died.

Murdoch Urquhart (Jr) & Margaret Sandison Sutherland married on 30-12-1911 at the Manse Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh. They then immigrated to Australia. Murdoch Urquhart was a master cabinet maker and they resided in Penshurst (now Beverly Hills), Sydney, NSW. They begot Jack Urquhart and Donald Sandison Urquhart circa 29-06-1914. Margaret was the child of John Sutherland (his father was William Sutherland) and Helen MacPherson (her father was Alexander MacPherson.

Donald Urquhart and Sylvia (Sylvie) May Long begat Mona Urquhart, Sylvia Urquhart and Donald Sutherland Urquhart - the latter born on 26-06-1957. Donald Urquhart (Snr.) worked as a NSW Public Servant for most of his life and died in Wangaratta, Victoria, on 18-11-1978. Sylvia Urquhart, his wife, was born on 19-06-1920 in Sydney and now resides in a dementia unit for the aged.

Donald Sutherland Urquhart and Carolyn Rose Hayes married 14-02-1987 at the Baptist Church in Bendigo, Victoria. Donald Urquhart was at that time a psychologist and Carolyn a Crisis Counsellor. They begat Donald Shannon Urquhart on 16-11-1988 in Grafton, NSW. Christopher Hayes Urquhart on 09-01-1990 in Queanbeyan, NSW. Jonathan Joel Urquhart on 06-02-1992 in Queanbeyan, NSW. Hannah Lily Urquhart on 10-05-1996 in Mount Gambier, SA. Jacob Anthony Joseph Urquhart born 11-01-2000 in Mount Gambier, SA. Carolyn's parents: David Hayes (his parents Henry Hayes and Rose Winter) and Lily Dixon - deceased - (her parents were Joseph Dixon and Ethel Harrison).


TRACED YOUR URQUHART ANCESTORS AND WANT TO KNOW WHERE ALL THOSE PLACES ARE?

Like where so and so Urquhart lived, married, died? The following picture below provides a map that can help you see the Highland townships that Urquharts may have been involved in.

The townships around Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness

Hopefully, the above map may assist you in identifying the area your ancestors may have had some connection with back in Scotland.


THE ROMANCING OF THE URQUHART CLAN:

Please note, that although I may romanticize the day of the Scottish clans and of Clan Urquhart, I, in no way, support any return to such feudal days. They were days filled with much dishonor, where if one were wealthy, you could murder, steal or even torture someone and get off by paying a fine - special laws were passed to that effect to protect the wealthy from their crimes. It was very much, the rule of the wealthy.

The scottish clearing I find personally disdainful: The days when Scottish farmers and laborers were evicted from their ancestral lands, because the wealthy Scottish clan landowners felt they could make more money without them. I see no honor, but greed.

It is the romance of the Scottish clans, of Clan Urquhart, that draws me - the modern idea that the Scottish clans and clan Urquhart were loyal and honorable. It is irony, that the kilt that is portrayed as Highland warrior attire, was in fact the costume of laborers forced to wear the kilt in the field, because a rich Scottish clansman thought he could get more work out of the laborers by dressing them in less restrictive clothing. So the modern kilt is actually the kilt of field laborers, not of warriors. So when you see the Scottish gatherings with people in their kilts, they are not dressing up for the occasion like they think, they are dressing in the clothes of the peasant worker! Pomp and ceremony with no understanding of reality? Still, that's not the point of the gatherings, it's about reunion and being part of something bigger than oneself.

Urquhart or not, we are all related. Something that science and religion both finally agree on.


CONTACTING US URQUHARTS:

As with most Urquhart's, we are unable to go back any further than the 300 years, due to the paper and tombstone trail running out. If you think you can tie into our family tree, or that I have made a mistake in the heraldry or some such, then write us - Captain Glen Cook, FSA (Scot), Heraldry Society of Scotland, took us up on this offer and helped us get some of the errors out. So a special thank you for your help.

Please note that we due to commitments and pressures, we are unable to respond to emails individually.

To get us to read the email, include "DS" in the subject line.


A COUPLE OF OTHER URQUHART WEB SITES YOU MAY LIKE:

If you liked that bit of wee Scottish history, then have a gander at this: The Full history and legends of Urquhart and Glenmoriston areas For Scottish history written with a passion, with a strong focus on the role of the Urquhart and Glenmoriston people in war and life. This is another Urquhart, Scottish site run by us.

More on the History of the Urquharts can also be found at at www.edwardcromarty.com This urquhart web site is not one of ours and is own and run by another Urquhart.


But first, if you want to come back to Scotland's History and Legends again, just add www.historyandlegends.com to your bookmarks or favorites now! Then you'll find it easy!

Also, please consider sharing our Scottish History and Legends website with your online friends.


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