The clan can be traced back to the 12th Century where it was based around Dunrardarie in Argyll. the MacTavish clan was also known as ‘The Children of the Mist’, an acronym more commonly attributed to the clan MacGregor.
During the Rebellion of 1745 the clan was sympathetic to the Jacobite cause. he were also great friends to the nearby Campbells of Achnabreack but had uneasy relationship with neighbouring Campbell of Argyll. The Duke of Argyll betrayed Dugald MacTavish, son of Archibald the Clan Chief and he was imprisoned in Dumbarton for his alegiance to Prince Charles Edward Stuart.
During the bloody aftermath of Culloden many MacTavishes changed their name to Thompson to avoid the persecution perpretrated on the highland clans, some of these later claimed to be a sept of Clan Campbell which has led to confusion.
Dugald’s son and Heir, Lachlan MacTavish succeeded his father in 1775; but by 1785, was forced to sell Dunardry by public auction. although Lachlan had registered his Arms in 1793 and was intending to buy back Dunardry he died in 1796 and in a few generations the line of the Chief was lost. This was only reinstated in 1997 after the Lord Lyon had traced the chiefly line.
The current chief of Clan MacTavish is Steven Edward Dugald MacTavish, 27th Chief.