An­cient Buchanan clan wel­comes first chief in more than three cen­turies

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By MAR­TYN MCLAUGHLIN mm­claugh­lin@scots­man.com

It has taken more than three cen­turies and more than two decades of tena­cious ge­nealog­i­cal re­search, but the search for a chief of one of Scot­land’s most an­cient clans has come to an end.

Af­ter a 337-year ab­sence, John Michael Bail­lie-hamil­ton Buchanan has been ap­pointed to the helm of Clan Buchanan, suc­ceed­ing a dis­tant an­ces­tor who died dur­ing the reign of Charles II.

His as­cent to the ti­tle caps an ex­tra­or­di­nary story which spans the Ja­co­bite era, the Act of Union, the In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion, and be­yond.

The death in 1681 of the last chief, John Buchanan, cast the clan into limbo. Al­though the 22nd laird was twice mar­ried and a father to two daugh­ters, he had no male heirs. De­spite at­tempts to pass the chief­ship through mar­riage to his old­est daugh­ter, a six cen­tury-long legacy looked to have ended. Buchanan House, the clan seat, be­came oc­cu­pied as the seat of the Mon­trose fam­ily un­til it was rav­aged by fire in 1870. All the while, Buchanans the world over were left to won­der if they would ever see a chief again.

Now, mr buchanan, the manager of Cam bus more Es­tate in Cal­lan­der, has a de­fin­i­tive an­swer. In the 1990s, he em­barked on the “long jour­ney” to prove his fam­ily’s lineage, en­list­ing the ser­vices of Hugh Pes­kett, the ge­neal­o­gist who traced the Ir­ish an­ces­try of former US pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan.

Af­ter 20 years, Mr Buchanan, 59, has sat­is­fied au­thor­i­ties he has a hered­i­tary right to the ti­tle as a de­scen­dant of Fran­cis Buchanan of Arn­prior, with the Lord Lyon King of Arms, head of the Lyon Court which reg­u­lates Scot­tish her­aldry, for­mally up­hold­ing a pe­ti­tion for him to as­sume the chief­ship.

The new chief, whose for­mal ti­tle will be The Buchanan, said he was “hon­oured and proud”.

He said: “There has not been a chief for a very long time – over 337 years – but there is a thriv­ing com­mu­nity of Buchanan clans­men, clanswomen and septs around the world.

“I look for­ward to meet­ing mem­bers of the clan, com­mit­ting my­self to clan mat­ters in Scot­land and at­tend­ing some of the pop­u­lar clan func­tions that take place over­seas.”

Ge­orge Lauder Mcaus­land, com­mis­sioner for Scot­land and the UK of the Clan Buchanan In­ter­na­tional So­ci­ety, con­grat­u­lated Mr Buchanan on his ap­point­ment.

He said: “Clan Buchanan has mem­bers world­wide and hav­ing a chief for the first time in over 300 years will be an ex­cit­ing time and a great op­por­tu­nity to pro­mote our great clan to even greater heights.”

John Michael Bail­lie-hamil­ton Buchanan – now known as The Buchanan – near his Cal­lan­der home

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