Click below to find other Scottish Clans

Clan Urquart





Ross-shire gives its name to this clan, the area called Urquhart stands to the north side of the Great Glen. The name Urquhart is thought to be of Gaelic origin. The Clan have a huge old castle there, built on a promontory on the eastern end of Loch Ness. It was the obvious point to build such a massive fortress and has one of the most spectacular settings in Scotland . It was first built on by the Picts to guard themselves from the Gaelic western approaches.

The Urquharts at one time possessed almost the whole area of Cromarty. Thomas Urquhart was Bishop of Ross in 1449, and in 1558 Alexander Urquhart was last Dean of Ross.

Sir Thomas Urquhart and his family of Cromarty are frequently referred to in historical Scottish matters of that time. Going a little further back William de Urchard is said to have defended the Moote of Cromarty against supporters of the English crown in the time of Sir William Wallace the great Scottish patriot.

The Urquhart Clan were the hereditary sheriffs of Cromarty from the reign of David the second until the early sixteenth century. Thomas Urquhart is said to have sired twenty five sons and lost seven of them in one day at the battle of Pinkie in 1547.The man who built Craigston castle was John Urquhart of Craigfintry about the year 1604, he is registered as the guardian of his nephew Thomas Urquhart who would later become a Knight.

Sir Thomas Urquhart attempted to destroy Inverness castle in 1649 he was better known as a scholar, poet and author. He forfeited his estates to Cromwell on account of financial difficulties. In 1678 the Laird of Cromarty and Alexander Newhill were commissioners in Parliament. Colonel James Urquhart rose for the ‘Old Pretender' in 1715, and was severely wounded at the battle of Sheriffmuir. In the last years of his life he was the principal Jacobite Agent in Scotland . Another member of the Urquhart clan died at Sheriffmuir that day, James of Craigston he was also known as

'The Pirate'. Craigston castle still remains in the Clans possession to the present day. In 1741 the Chieftainship passed to William Urquhart of Meldrum, he was a cautious supporter of the Jacobite struggle and avoided the disaster of Culloden. He had a cousin Adam Urquhart who displayed more open Jacobite sympathies and was a member of Bonnie Prince Charlie's court - in – exile at Rome . Unfortunately the last of this line was killed in the Sudan at the battle of Atbara in 1898.

Urquhart of Braelangwell established his right to Chiefship before Lyon Court , and was officially accepted and recognised in the style Urquhart of that Ilk.

He was reponed in Castle-Craig, the Urquhart ancestral fortress, at Urquhart-on-the-Firth-of- Cromarty.


Chief: Urquhart of that Ilk

Clan Seat: Castle-Craig of Urquhart, Black Isle, Ross-shire

Plant: Wallflower

Memorials: Cullicudden Old Kirkyard


Click below to find other Scottish Clans

Back to Top

© Crann Tara 2006