Having a Crest Tattoo’d… Family History prt.1

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The other day I got a call from my cousin who said that he was going to get the family crest tattooed on his arm before he leaves for his new life in the US. My uncle has one, his eldest son and another of my cousins does too. My cousin called to catch up, but mainly to hear what I would think about getting one myself since I’m into family history and tattoos… so what do you think? Should I even consider it? I’m 50/50 about it… but then there’s the other clan in my blood too… I don’t know that much about the Ferguson and Sutherland clans but I intend to do some thorough research. So far this is all I know, taken from: http://www.scotsconnection.com/clan_crests/Ferguson.htm

Ferguson Clan

Ferguson Clan Crest: Upon a chapeau, a bee on a thistle.

Ferguson Clan Motto: Dulcius Ex Asperis (Sweeter after difficulties).

Fergusson Clan History:
The Fergussons first appear in Kintyre, and Kilkerran, the name of the Clan Seat in Ayrshire, derives from St Ciaran, one of the twelve apostles of Ireland who landed at Dalruadhain in the 6th century.  The Fergussons in Argyllshire claim descent from Fergus Mor mac Erc, King of Scots c.500.  The Fergussons  of Kilkerran in Ayrshire descend from Fergus, Lord of Galloway in the reigns of David I and Malcolm IV.  The Fergussons of Craigdarroch in Dumfriesshire have a recorded history that dates from a Charter from David II in the 14th century.

By the 13th century, the name was widespread throughout the South West of Scotland. Sir John Fergusson of Kilkerran fought for the Royalist cause during the Civil War in the 17th century and his estates fell heavily into debt. His grandson, also Sir John, restored the family fortunes by becoming a successful lawyer, and his son, James, became a Judge of the Supreme Court, taking the legal honorarium of Lord Kilkerran.

The Fergussons of Dunfallandy, near Pitlochry in Perthshire, were Jacobite supporters who took part in both the 1715 and 1745 Uprisings. Other branches of the family include the Fergussons of Pitfour, one of whom became a High Court Judge in 1763.  Ronald Fergusson of Raith, near Kirkcaldy in Fife, was Member of Parliament for Leith Burghs from 1886 to 1914, when he was appointed Governor General of Australia.

The poet Robert Fergusson (1750-74) was much admired by his near contemporary Robert Burns, who erected a monument to his memory in the Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh. Adam Ferguson (1723-1816) was Chaplain to the Black Watch  and became Keeper of the Advocates Library in Edinburgh while writing extensively.  Patrick Ferguson (1744-80) was inventor of the breach-loading rifle.  Sir James Fergusson (1832-1907) was Governor General of South Australia from 1868-72; of New Zealand from 1872-4, and of Bombay, 1880-85. J.D. Fergusson (1874-1961) was a noted painter, based in Glasgow.  Sir Bernard Fergusson, 1st Lord Ballantrae (1911 – 1980) was Governor General of New Zealand, 1962-67.

Places of Interest:
Kilkerran House, Maybole, Ayrshire. Seat of Chief of Clan Fergusson.

Dundrennan Abbey, Kirkcudbright. established in 1142 by Fergus of Galloway. Today a ruin, it is maintained by Historic Scotland.


Sutherland Clan

Sutherland Clan Crest: A wildcat sejant.

Sutherland Clan Motto: Sans Peur (Without fear).

History of Clan Sutherland:
The surname originates  from the ‘South Land,’ discovered and colonised by Norse invaders from Scandinavia and Orkney. Many of today’s inhabitants of Sutherland are said to be directly descended from the Celtic tribes who retreated away from these Vikings, and the Chiefs of Clan Sutherland are descended from Hugh, grandson of Freskin de Moravia, a knight of Flemish origin, who was given the lands of Sutherland by William the Lion in 1197. Hugh was also the ancestor of Clan Murray. At that time, Sutherland territory extended south into Nairn and Moray, and north into Cromarty.

William de Moravia was created 1st Earl of Sutherland around 1236, and William, 2nd Earl, fought for Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn, and was one of the Scottish noblemen who, in 1320, signed the letter to the Pope, known as the Declaration of Arbroath.  The 3rd Earl was killed at the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333, but the Freskin line of earls of Sutherland survived until 1514, when the title passed to the 9th Earl’s sister, Elizabeth Gordon. Thereafter, both lands and title were held by the Gordons until the 18th century.

The 11th Earl and Countess were poisoned by their aunt who wanted the lands and title for her own son. She failed, however, to dispose of their son, the 12th Earl, who married the former wife of Mary Queen of Scots’ third husband, the Earl of Bothwell.

The 14th Earl was appointed Keeper of the Privy Seal in Scotland, and the 15th Earl supported William of Orange by fortifying Inverness on his behalf. With the ability to field 2,000 fighting men, Clan Sutherland was an invaluable asset to the Hanovarian Government during the 1715 and 1745 Jacobite uprisings.

In 1771, the 18th Earl’s daughter Elizabeth, Countess of Sutherland in her own right, married George Granville Gower, Marquess of Stafford who was created 1st Duke of Sutherland a year before his death in 1834. The 5th Duke of Sutherland married twice, but had no children. When he died in 1963, the ducal title passed to his distant cousin, the 5th Earl of Ellesmere, who became 6th Duke. The more ancient Sutherland earldom, however, went to the 5th Duke’s niece, Mrs Charles Janson, who, under the old Celtic system of inheritance, became 24th Countess of Sutherland in her own right.

Graham Sutherland (1903-80), born in England, was a distinguished artist and painter. Dame Joan Sutherland (1926- ) was an Australian soprano who joined the Royal Opera in London.
Douglas Sutherland (1919-1998)wrote the English Gentlemen series of books, along with other publications includingThe Yellow Earl – The Life of the 5th Earl of Lonsdale (1965), Against the Wind (1966), The Fourth Man (1980) and Born Yesterday (1992). Donald McNichol Sutherland (1935- ) was born in New Brunswick, Canada, and became a prolific actor of stage and screen.

Places of Interest:
Dunrobin Castle, Golspie, Sutherland. Seat of the earls and dukes of Sutherland. Said to be ancient, but virtually all of the existing building dates from the Victorian era and was transformed by the 2nd Duke of Sutherland . The 3rd Duke donated a large sum of money to the building of the Highland Railway and had his own line built from Golspie to Helmsdale.

Helmsdale Castle, Sutherland. Scene of the murder of the 11th Earl and Countess of Sutherland in 1567.

Dornoch Cathedral, Dornoch, Sutherland. A major restoration was sponsored here by the Duchess of Sutherland between 1835 and 1837.

Ben Braggie, Golspie, Sutherland. A statue of the 1st Duke of Sutherland who died in 1833 towers over the landscape. A renowned and much respected Liberal Reformer, he built the town of Golspie, but is largely held to blame for the Highland Clearances of the 19th century.

Carbisdale Castle, Ardgay, Wester Ross. Built by an estranged Duchess of Sutherland in the 19th century. 


Oooh… that’s just the brief history hundreds of years before slaves got the names…. =]

Author: Sy Calaelen

Sy Calaelen aka Sylvia Beckett Davidson, is a British writer, blogger and Youtube vlogger, though she isn't filming at the moment. English literature graduate. Both sites will focus on literary reviews, book lists, comic books and nerd chat, writing and novel tips, and discussions in magick, paganism and the occult. A mixture of everything from her. Reach out on social media from Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram, GoodReads, and Pinterest.

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