This blog post examines the Campbell Clan, looking back at their History, studying their Clan Crests and a glimpse at the associated clan tartans!
The Campbell Clan is one of the largest Scottish Clans and historically one of the most powerful. According to the 2001 census, ‘Campbell’ was the 4th most common surname in Scotland.
It is thought that the Campbell’s originally hailed from the Strathclyde area on the west coast of Scotland, with strong connections to the Argyll region. The clan chief of Clan Campbell has been the Earl of Argyll since 1445, then Duke of Argyll from 1701.
The Argyll region of Scotland and the Campbell Clan Crest
In the 14th Centuary the Campbell’s were strong supporters of Scottish Independence, and fought along side Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314
The Campbell’s are perhaps best known for their part in the infamous Massacre at Glencoe, where troops (including several Campbell’s) lead by Robert Campbell of Glenlyon murdered members of the MacDonald Clan in Glencoe on 13th February 1692.
During the two Jacobite uprisings in the 18th centuary, the Campbell’s sided with the British government and fought against the Jacobite armies. The Campbell’s had four divisions of men at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the last battle of the uprising which crushed the rebellion.
Today, the Clan Chief of the Clan Campbell is Torquhil Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll, who captained Scotland’s Elephant Polo team to victory in the 2004 and 2005 World Elephant Polo Association World Championships. Inveraray Castle has been the seat of the Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell, since the 17th century.
Torquhil Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll (L) and the Scottish Elephant Polo team in 2005, with Campbell in the centre (R)
The Campbell Tartan is predominantly green and blue, intersected with a black check. The tartan may look quite familiar to many, as it also goes under the name ‘Black Watch‘ – the tartan used extensively in the UK military.
A variety of Campbell tartans
There are variations of the tartan based on different locations around Scotland where certain Campbell’s hailed from. These tartans include: Campbell of Argyll, Campbell of Breadalbane, Campbell of Cawdor, Campbell of Lochawe and Campbell of Loudoun. Each design uses the base colours from the Campbell tartan, but add a thin, coloured line through the design.
Clan crest and motto
The Clan Campbell crest is of a Boar’s head and they have the motto ‘Ne Obliviscaris’, which is Latin for ‘Forget Not‘). Houston’s stock many varieties of Campbell Clan Crested accessories here.
Other Useful links
The Clan Campbell Society of North America (CCSNA) is a great resource to learn more about the Campbell Clan’s history.