Clan Henderson (or MacKendrick in Gaelic) possessed a legendary ancestor, in Eanruig Mawr Mac Ri Nehhtonn - 'Great Henry, son of King Nechtan'. The chiefship passed to an heiress, thereby severing the male line in the Chief's family, and she married an Angus Og of Islay. Their son, Iain Fraoch, who eventually, settled in the lands of Glencoe of his grandfather to whom he was heir. His son became known as Iain Abrach (John of Lochaber) who pledged the family, MacIain, to the MacDonald chiefs of Glencoe. The MacKendricks in Glencoe were eventually absorbed into the MacIains of Glencoe.
They formed the MacDonald Chief's bodyguard, and they were the first to carry the dead chief's coffin in a funeral procession. The benevolent assimilation of Hendersons with the MacDonalds was is stark contrast to what occurred when the Campbells obtained a similar footing in the lands of the MacGregors.
In the far north, another tribe of Hendersons arose of equally ancient, but entirely different origins. Here the chiefs of Clann Gunn had become hereditary coroners of Caithness, and one of these, George Gunn, possessed a younger son, Hendry, from whom the Henderson sept came into being in the 15th century.
The name has shed extraordinary lustre on Scottish literature. Henry the Minstrel is perhaps the best known of all those wandering bards who recited the deeds of centuries. He live din the 15th century and recreated William Wallace as a folk hero of singular strength and ferocity, quite unlike the statesman and skilled strategist of history
In 1643, Alexander Henderson, was among the Scottish commissioners to the Westminster assembly, who tried to force Scottish Presbyterianism on the unwilling English as the price of Scotland's military support against Charles I. He died in 1646, just as his party reached the summit of its success.