Clan Robertson History

The murder of James I infuriated Robert Riach

The murder of James I infuriated Robert Riach

The Robertsons claim to be descended from Crinan, Lord of Atholl, from whom sprang the royal house of Duncan I, the King of the Scots. The Robertson clan is more properly called ‘Clan Donnachaidh’ from their ancestor Duncan, who was a staunch supporter of Robert the Bruce, and who led the Clan at the Battle of Bannockburn.

The general surname of the clan Robertson was taken from Robert Riach (Grizzled Robert) the clan chief, who was known for his intense loyalty to the Stewarts. Riach was responsible for capturing the murderers of King James I, and was rewarded by the crown for this act by having his lands at Struan erected into a Barony.

The clan was also granted a symbolic memorial by additions to their coat of arms – subsequently the chief of clan Robertson bore as his crest a hand holding an imperial royal crown, and underneath a man in chains, representing the regicide. About a century later, the Robertson family lost the lands of Struan to the Earl of Atholl but the family regained them in 1606.

However in the seventeenth century, after the final defeat of James VII, all Robertson estates were forfeited and the chief of the Robertson clan joined the exiled court in France. To this day the chiefs of the clan Robertson still have the right and privilege of interment in the family burial ground at Struan.

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