Clan Macarthur (Arthur) Tartan

Written by Chris Thornton | 13th of February 2024
Clan Macarthur Tartan

Legends trace the lineage of Clan Arthur (Macarthur) back to the mythical King Arthur of the Round Table, believed by some to have been born at Red Hall in Dumbarton in the 6th century. This clan, deeply intertwined with the Campbells to the point of once leading them, is among the most ancient in Argyll. For their allegiance to Robert the Bruce during the early 14th century, the Clan Mhic Artair was rewarded with vast territories along Loch Awe, primarily seized from the MacDougalls who had opposed Bruce. At their zenith, the clan's leader was named Captain of Dunstaffnage Castle.

The 15th century saw a dramatic turn when Iain MacArthur of Strachur was put to death on the orders of James I, aimed at curbing the power of the Highland chiefs. This led to the dispersal of the clan and enabled MacCailean Mór along with Clan Campbell to claim the MacArthur territories.

The MacArthurs also had notable roles outside of their leadership; the MacArthurs of Islay served as armourers and blacksmiths to Clan Donald, while the MacArthurs of Skye held the position of hereditary pipers to the Lords of the Isles. Additionally, they were entrusted as the perpetual caretakers of Flora MacDonald's grave, the famed heroine of the 1745 Jacobite Uprising.

Ancestral locations of interest for Clan Macarthur

Dunstaffnage Castle, situated near Oban, stands as a majestic guardian over the seaward gateway to the Firth of Lorn. This partially ruined fortress is under the stewardship of Historic Environment Scotland, offering a glimpse into the past where history and landscape merge.

McArthur’s Head lighthouse, perched on the Sound of Islay, has been a guiding ships since its establishment in 1861.

The Isle of Skye is home to the MacArthur Pipers cairn in Duntulm, a monument that celebrates the rich musical heritage and the timeless tradition of piping within the Scottish culture.

Tiricladdich, located in the scenic area of Argyll by Loch Awe, carries the legacy of ancestral lands. Known for its breathtaking landscapes, this area, often referred to as "the shore land," holds stories of families and their connections to the Scottish Highlands.

All information was correct at the time of writing, please check things like entry costs and opening times before you arrive.

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