Clan Strachan Pre-Feudal Earldom
Clachnaben (archaically "Cloch-na'bain"; Scottish Gaelic: "Clach na Beinne") , one of the eastern Grampians in Strachan parish, Aberdeenshire. It is crowned by a mass of bare granite, from which it is sometimes called the "White Stone Hill." According to an old-world couplet: "There are two landmarks out at sea, Clochnabin and Bennachie."
By Jim Strachan,
January 6, 2012
This article is an extract from his book "Here's Tae Us, Wha's Like Us - A History of Clan Strachan." This material is protected under copyright.
were an ancient title
pre-feudal Latin title that originated during
the Roman occupation of
Moreover, there have been Earls and Counts Palatines, the later of which had a more eminent and royal authority within their territories than the ordinary earls. It is stated by one historian, “… I think that those earls whose earldoms are erected into a regality, may be understood Palatines. (Nisbit)
We find no examples but one called Earls Palatines… Walterus Comes Palatinus de Strachan. According to Nisbet’s, “System of Heraldry”, Sir George Mackenzie suggests the reason why we find this title so rare is, “Because the Lords of Regality had the same power.”
A Lord of Regality was granted high jurisdictional rights in liberam regalitatem (usually the Four Pleas of the Crown - murder, arson, rape and robbery - in fact, complete criminal jurisdiction only excluding treason). A Regality was the highest feudal dignity. The proprietor of a Regality was called a “Lord of Regality”.
Given this information we know for certain the “de Strachans” were one of the great pre-feudal and ancient Earldoms of Scotland, and at one time was a Regality that exercised more power then the Earl of Mar himself. The pre-feudal Earldom de STRACHAN was likely transformed into the Barony de STRACHAN upon the introduction of the feudal system by King David I (around 1100).
In reality, information pertaining to pre-feudal northeast
“Little is known with
certainty of the proprietary history of the barony in Kincardine
from 1383, until a late date.
It appears to have been broken up into several sections,
and of these the Earls Marischal (Keiths) and the old family of
The period he discusses is well after the introduction of the feudal system, and after the era of the ‘de Strachan’ nobles.
According to historical information provided in an article published by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (Yeoman, 1981), by the mid-thirteenth century, the area of Strachan, north of the Mounth (aka Cairn ‘o Mount), had already undergone a transformation owing to the introduction of feudalism.
 Nisbet, “System of Heraldry” Volume II, Part Fourth, page 46 (1722).
 Jervise, Andrew. FSA Scot. “Memorials of Angus and the Mearns.” Pg. 86 (1861)