Ancient Buchanan clan welcomes first chief in more than three centuries
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