Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

8/3/2004

The Clans of Scotland-The Clan Colquhoun

Although the name “Colquhoun” is a territorial and probably Celtic meaning a “Wooded area”” or “Thicket” from the area of Dumbarton near the Clyde.

However the first mention of the name comes in the records prior to the reign of Alexander III. They were Anglo-Normans and served the Celtic Earls of Lennox and in return received the lands of Colquhoun. They held their lands for several hundred years.

The first recorded member of the family was Humphrey of Kilpatrick; however it was his Robert of Colquhoun who expanded the family lands. By 1308 Sir Humphrey was given the lands of Luss which was originally church property but this was confirmed by his subsequent marriage married to the heiress of Luss in 1358. However the Lairds of Luss didn’t use the name “Colquhoun” until the 15th century.

The Family served both James II and III as Exchequer and Chamberlain and as ambassadors to Denmark and England. However Sir John’s career came to an end at the Siege of Dunbar in 1478 by a cannonball. This was being held by Alexander, Duke of Albany.

They didn’t after that involve themselves in state affair but quietly increased there land holding. This eventually brought them into conflict with the Macgregor’s and the MacFarlane’s. This came to a head in 1603 with the Battle of Glenfruin with the result that the Macgregor’s were proscribed. The Macgregor cause had not been helped by their involvement with the MacFarlane’s. At the Siege of Bannachra in which Sir Humphrey Colquhoun was killed. Because he was having an affair with the wife of the Chief of the MacFarlane’s his genitals were cut off and served up to the errant wife.

Sir Humphrey’s nephew Sir John of Luss eloped with his sister in law, Lady Catherine Graham and ended up being charged with incest, Witchcraft, and was excommunicated from the Church and ended his days in Italy.

By 1640 the family fortunes were redeemed by Sit John, Nicknamed “The Black Cock of the West and had close connections with house of Argyll in supporting the Covenanting movement in 1640.

By the 18th century the family had married in the “Grant” family. However by a deed of entail the name and estates were preserved. Whereby the Younger members of the family successfully re-established the family line. They went into Slate quarrying and built the Georgian Mansion of Rossdhu in 1773 and later start Helenburgh in honour of the wife of Sir John Colquhoun of Luss. He was a founding Officer of the Black Watch. During the First World War as an Officer in the Scots Guards his descendant Sir Ian kept a lion in the trenches during World War I.

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