Scot­tish clan ap­points first chief in 337 years

The Guardian - - NATIONAL - Libby Brooks Scot­land correspondent

One of Scot­land’s most an­cient clans has ap­pointed its first chief in more than 300 years.

John Michael Bail­lie-Hamil­ton Buchanan has as­sumed the chief­ship of the Clan Buchanan af­ter his claim was for­mally up­held by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, the head of Lyon Court, which reg­u­lates Scot­tish her­aldry.

The role was last held by his an­ces­tor John Buchanan, un­til his death with­out a male heir in 1681.

Buchanan, who is the man­ager of Cam­bus­more es­tate near Dornoch in Suther­land and will now be known as The Buchanan, said he was “hon­oured and proud” to as­sume the chief­ship.

“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,” he said.

Adding that it had been a “long jour­ney” to prove his fam­ily’s lin­eage, Buchanan thanked his clans­man Hugh Pes­kett, a ge­neal­o­gist, who traced his an­ces­tors back to 1370 and es­tab­lished ref­er­ences in 300 doc­u­ments from around the world to ver­ify the claim.

Buchanan ex­plained: “We first ap­proached the Lyon Court in­for­mally over 20 years ago and it has taken decades of ge­nealog­i­cal re­search to back up our claim.”

Pes­kett, who has also traced the Ir­ish lin­eage of the for­mer US pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan in the 1980s, de­scribed it as a “his­toric mo­ment” for Clan Buchanan. He be­came a ge­neal­o­gist 50 years ago af­ter his grand­mother en­cour­aged him to find the right­ful Buchanan chief.

He said: “Trac­ing hun­dreds of years of lin­eage and un­pack­ing the se­crets of the past is no mean feat. My re­search took decades to com­pile and un­equiv­o­cally con­firms the chief­ship claim.”

Tra­di­tion­ally, the Clan Buchanan can trace its line back to the early 11th cen­tury, when an an­ces­tor re­ceived lands around Loch Lomond from King Mal­colm II for his ser­vices in fight­ing the Danes.

It now has sev­eral mil­lion mem­bers across Bri­tain, the US, Canada, Aus­tralia, New Zealand and else­where.


▲ John Buchanan, who will now be known as ‘The Buchanan’

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