Is Clan Strachan a Family (or Sept) of Mar, or
any other Clan?
The Strachan surname is listed
prominently in every Sept List as a Family of the
Mar. However, like all clan tartans today, this
is largely a Victorian era romantic notion. The short "technical" answer
is Strachan is not a sept of any clan, nor are any other
clans a sept of Clan Strachan.
Regardless, this fact nonetheless dampens
the strong affection many Strachans from around the globe
have toward the Tribe of Mar, and Lady Mar herself.
Many Strachans wear the Mar tartan, which reflects a sept
relationship, and outwardly demonstrates particular
affection to the
Mar. It is the official position of the Clan Strachan
Society not to deny the family relationship to those who
wish to honour it, but embrace the heritage and history of both
the Mar and Strachan families.
Clan Strachan is popularly thought to be
a Sept of Mar, because Adam de Strachan, a descendant of the
'de Strachan' baronetcy dispossessed by Robert de Bruce
before 1316, married Margaret Mar, a
kinswomen (daughter) to Earl Thomas Mar, and with this marriage
he obtained the lands of Glenkindie (c. 1355). As a
result of this marriage the Strachan House of Glenkindie is
confirmed as a vassal of the Earl of Mar.
is defined as:
A holder of land by feudal tenure on conditions of
homage and allegiance.
In 1355 there were five other noble
Houses of Strachan in existence, and all descendant from the
ancient 'de Strachan' line. Like most families today,
each acted very independently of each other. Of the six
noble Houses of Strachan, Glenkindie
was the only that was a vassal or the Earl of Mar.
Certainly the entire family of Strachan had no allegiance
nor did the entire family pay homage to the Earl of Mar other than this single
branch of the family. And, even if Glenkindie were recognized as
the senior branch by the other noble Houses of Strachan, it
still would not technically result in a sept relationship.
As such, from a technical
perspective it is
“presumptuous” to think that STRACHAN as a Name (i.e., the
entire family) is a sept of Mar.
Others argue that the
Parish of Strachan fell within the Earldom of Mar.
This again is false. The Strachan territory is south
of the Waters of the Dee, and just outside the boundaries of
the earldom of Mar. The Parish of Strachan was instead
part of lands belonging to the Mormaer of the Mearns.
Regardless, simply being located within a "clan territory"
or within an District, would not necessitate a sept
relationship. (Ref. Lochnaw)
Is there another family that Clan
Strachan might be Sept of?
the chartularies, Strachan of Carmyllie
and over several generations had
Bonds of Manrent,
or personal service and attendance, in favor of their superior, Sir Thomas Maule of Panmure, and his heirs.
As a result of Carmyllie's Bond of Manrent,
one might suggest, and even make a stronger
argument, that Clan Strachan should be a Family
(or sept) of Clan Maule. However, this assumption
again would be false for the same reasons discussed
previously. That is, no other Houses of Strachan were
vassals of Maule.
Regardless, many Strachans in Scotland
and abroad wear the Mar District tartan, or the Deeside
District tartan. These families may have a long
standing family tradition of wearing these tartans perhaps dating
back generations. Some may wear the Mar tartan presumably
to show their affiliation with the now extinct Strachans of
Glenkindie and the Earldom of Mar.
Naturally, people can wear whatever they
want, and it is after all their choice. That said,
is highly recommended that those who wish to outwardly demonstrate
their loyalty and affection to Clan Strachan, should most appropriately
wear the Strachan tartan.