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(Including events of significance in chronological order)

9th century AD

Chiefs elected from among ruling families of each glen

GlenLyon GlenLochy GlenStrae

A period of anarchy in Scotland
Picts seek help from Dalriadic Scots in face of horrific incursions by heathen Viking marauders
Picts lost control of Alba to Scots through intermarriages
King Grig (Gregor), a Pict, and maternal nephew of Kenneth MacAlpin (was was half Pict) ruled Alba from 882 to 893
Pict language and culture was overwhelmed by Scots.
  Isolated Picts and Scots in western Perthshire glens came together to defend against encroaches by powerful expanding Dalriadic Scottish tribes from nearby Argyll, to the west.

10th century AD

Chiefs elected from among ruling families of each glen

GlenLyon GlenLochy GlenStrae


Finghin was the Abbot of Glen Dochart in 966.   He was a man of action, he packed his bags and went to Rome for an audience with the Pope.  Finghin's answer to the problem of getting Pictish successors to the Abthanerie in Glen Dochart and elsewhere, (for he was titular Abbot of Iona), was quite simple.  He would provide them himself, if he could get the Papal sanction to marry.   This the Pope readily granted.  The precedent was set for Pictic Abbots to marry and spawn their own clans.

In this way, arose the clan Finghin (MacKinnon), and MacNab (son of the abbot).  There are many other clans, (Macpherson, Mac Austillan, and Macvicar) that had Pictic churchmen as their founders, but the MacGregors were different.   They always signed official documents as: (i.e. Donaldus Gregorii) signifying they were members of the Gregory group or clan, but not necessarily descendants by paternal bloodlines. 

There is a Gaelic tradition that Finghin was a grandson of King Girig, however there were several notable "Gregors" after his death, indicating that there was no stigma attached to the name.  Some of the Glen Dochart or Strathearn people were known to be directly descended from Girig by other grandchildren.   

However, in those early years, many of the Gregarach were not sure, and, the clan had, according to Pictic custom,  assimilated everyone who lived in the area as full clan family members from both paternal and maternal family lines of descent.   To properly include every man, it was agreed to drop 'Mac' from the proper name of the Clan.  To this day we are referred to as Clan 'Gregor', not clan 'MacGregor', although in those early days we were referred to as Clan MacAlpin.

Griogair of "Golden Bridles". The name-father and thus the first chief of the Clan known as Clan Gregor. . died 19 April 1390.  Buried on the north side of the high altar in Dysart near Dalmally,  the old church in GlenOrchy. This continued to be the burial place of Clan Gregor chiefs until 1528. A number of stone coffins together with foliated tomb slabs each showing in a panel the figure of an armed warrior  with spear and two-handed sword, short tunic and high, conical, pointed helmet were found when the old church was demolished.

Griogair spawned four principal Clan Gregor families, these were GlenStrae, GlenCarnaig, Roro, and GlenGyle. The Chiefs originally were of the GlenOrchy branch, then the GlenStrae branch which died out as a result of long persecution. Leadership then often switched from one to the other of the remaining families, depending on which was perceived as the more capable of handling the position.

Clan  MacAlpin expanded westward into GlenOrchy, assimilated many Dalriadic Scots of eastern Argyll who, within a few generation became the most aggressive of the Clan families

11th century AD 

According to Buchanan of Auchmar, Clan Gregor  was located in GlenOrchy before the reign of Malcolm Canmore (1057-1093). Hugh of GlenOrchy appears to have been the first of the Chiefs who was so styled. Before this, the Clan system as we know it, did not exist.  

Supreme Chief elected from among ruling families from each glen

GlenLochy Glenstrae GlenLyon GlenOrchy
(most aggressive)

12th century AD

In 1124, King David brought 1,000 Norman nobles into Scotland and granted them land seized from native clans, mostly in the lowlands in the south.  He introduced the feudal system to consolidate control  over a difficult mountainous country where only local Chiefs commanded obedience.  The Lowlands quickly succumbed.  The Highlands took much longer.

    GlenOrchy family gains supreme hereditary Chieftainship of the entire Clan Gregor.
Clan Gregor begins  transformation into a quasi-feudal clan under pressure of Kings in Edinburgh

GlenOrchy GlenStrae GlenLyon GlenLochy

13th century AD

In 1222, King Alexander II bestows GlenOrchy to Clan Gregor for their help in conquering the Nordic/Scots in Argyll.

Bruce grants Loch Awe to Campbells, who also claim GlenOrchy.  In 1100, Clan MacAlpin changed its name to Clan Gregor to consolidate control over all former Clan MacAlpin property, and to resist Campbell efforts to encroach on Clan Gregor territory.   MacGregors lose influence at  the usurped "Norman" Royal court.

Campbells were granted Loch Awe by Bruce, then blockaded MacGregor glens  by sea  

GlenOrchy GlenStrae Glen Lyon GlenLochy

14th century AD

                 Campbells became most powerful clan in Argyll, encroached on GlenOrchy

GlenOrchy GlenStrae Glen Lyon GlenLochy

Campbells became hereditary Sheriffs, continued their land acquisitions with force of law.

John of Bruckleg, (2nd son of Iain "Cham" MacGregor of Glenorchy), (b: 1329). Founder of the Brackley MacGregors of GlenCarnaig, defeated the MacNabs  at Crianlarich.

Iain Dubh, 3rd Chief:  b c1360, d Stronmelochan 1415.  Founder of the MacGregors of GlenStrae.

15th century AD

Seat of the Clan Chief moved to GlenStrae

GlenStrae GlenOrchy
(became extinct)
(of GlenLochy)
(became extinct)
Brackley Roro Dughaill Ciar

Gregor Aulin MacGregor,  (who was the 6th son of Iain Cham),the last MacGregor Laird of Glenorchy who died owning the ancestral lands there in free tenure and not as undertenants of the Earls of Argyll. This loss of free tenure of the family estates occurred about 1435.

Duncan "Beg" MacGregor
, died 17th Feb 1477, (eldest son of Gregor Aulin MacGregor), Ancestor of the MacGregors of Roro.   The house of Roro inherited the representation of the extinct house of Glen Lyon.

Dughaill Ciar MacGregor, born about 1416, was the youngest son of Gregor Aulin, ancestor of the GlenGyle MacGregors.  Dughaill Ciar was so termed from a peculiar gray color of eyes and hair. He settled in the parish of Balquhidder in Perthshire, a few miles east of Glenorchy in Argylshire, the ancient home of his ancestors. He established a branch of the MacGregors which continued in Balquhidder for over three centuries.

By 1440, Clan Gregor lost all their Argyle-shire lands Colin Campbell became the first Campbell Earl of GlenOrchy and began expelling MacGregors, Fletchers and MacGruders, replacing them with Campbells

Patrick of GlenStrae, the 5th chief, was faced with an ever-increasing encroachment of his territory by Sir Colin Campbell, whose father, the Clan Campbell chief, had granted him the superiority of Glenorchy in 1432, died at his fortress of Stronmelochan 28 April 1461.

 In 1488, Campbell and Stewart Lords are given Royal permits to exterminate displaced Gregarach.
Stewarts annihilated MacIvers, and MacLivers in Glen Lyon, then sold it to the Campbells.
Clan Gregor retreated east into Perthshire.

16th century AD

GlenStrae becomes the senior branch with hereditary right of Chieftainship
GlenStrae Lochaber
(of GlenLochy)
(of GlenCarnaig)

(rep. GlenLyon)

Dughaill Ciar
(of GlenGyle)

John Dhu nan Lann, the last of the house of GlenLyon, died soon after 1500.
The house of Roro inherited the representation of the extinct house of Glen Lyon.

When Iain Dubh II of the house of Glen Strae died in 1519, he left no heir.  Passing over the senior houses of Brackley and Roro, the MacGregors'  superiors (landlords), the Campbells of Glen Orchy, imposed the succession of Iain dubh, chieftain of the line known as Clan Dughaill Ciar, residing in GlenGyle, as 7th Chief of MacGregor.  This was because Iain had married to the daughter of Sir Colin Campbell of GlenOrchy, who hoped to control the Gregarach through his son-in-law.  These MacGregors proved the most unruly of all.

In 1571, Grioghair ruadh of GlenStrae, 10th Clan Chief, was executed by Colin Campbell. 

17th century AD

Campbells pursued and murdered the ruling family of GlenStrae until it was rendered ineffective

(formerly of Glen Strae)
GlenCarnaig Roro GlenGyle
(most powerful)
(formerly of GlenLochy)

Another period of anarchy in Scotland, MacGregors become landless

By April 1601, John Vallich, younger son of Gregor of Roro was residing at Strath Allan, prospered, and founded the house of Balhaldie at Strath Allan.

In 1604, Grand Chief Alasdair ruadh MacGregor of Glen Strae sent out the Fiery Cross to gather Gregarach for retribution for the slaying of two MacGregors by Colquhouns

Robert Aberach MacGregor, Chief of the Lochaber MacGregors, and a brilliant military strategist, planned the battle of Glen Fruin.  He was the eldest son of Duncan Abrach.

Malcom Og MacGregor, Chief of the GlenGyle MacGregors, led the Gregarach in their victory over a combined force of Colquhouns, Buchanans, Grahams, and a detachment of Dunbar militia at Glen Fruin.

 In 1604, the 11th Clan Chief, Alasdair ruadh of GlenStrae, accepted responsibility for Glen Fruin, was betrayed by the Earl of Argyll, and executed nearly a year after Glen Fruin, along with 10 of his relatives.

GlenStrae and Glen Lochy were seized by the Earl of Argyll

The disinherited line, the Glenstrae MacGregors, known in Gaelic as the 'Children of the Mist' (though some say the real name was the 'Sons of the Wolf') carried on the resistance with some success, involving the usurping chiefs in their brigandage.

The Campbells resorted to a campaign of treachery, murder, and annihilation of the Glenstrae line of Chiefs.  They concentrated on three generations, which they hunted down and murdered.  Duncan Ladassach 'the lordly' MacGregor of Ardchoille, Tutor of Glenstrae, and the rightful Chief, was the leader of all the most recalcitrant Gregarach of his time.

After Glenstrae was lost to the clan, the Glenstrae line became known as the "House of Ladassach".  They continued to form the Grand Chiefs of the clan even though the family was severely weakened and rendered ineffective by Campbell predation.  Their position was held simply through the utmost respect and admiration held by all Gregarach, who never forgot the sacrifices made by this, the bravest of all Clan lines.

Archibald, of Ladassach was an ineffective Chief, so Donald Glas MacGregor of Glenstrae, Lt. Col. in King James VII's (James II of England) Scottish army, assumed the responsibilities of defacto Chief of the Clan Gregor and financially supported the Clan Gregor apparatus.

Donald Glas was imprisoned after the battle of Killiekrankie until 31 October 1691 in Edinburgh's notorious Tolbooth.  He was released but died from injuries he received while being tortured, buried after 1693. 

18th century AD 

The Glenstrae/Ladasach line died out in 1714. Despite Ian Og of the House of Glencarnaig being the next senior claimant, Alasdair of Balhaldie was elected Chief in 1714 by 5 ruling families.
John Murray of GlenCarnaig was elected Chief in 1774 by an assembly of over 800 Gregarach. 

of Glenstrae
(became extinct
in 1714)
(next in seniority)
(passed by in 1714)
(became Chief 1774)

(representing Glenlyon)
abdicated 1760)


(most wealthy)


Ciar Mohr
of Glengyle
(Most powerful)
(last in seniority)

Death of Archibald of Kilmonnan in 1714, last of the Glenstrae line.  In 1714 Alasdair MacGregor (William Drummond) of Balhaldie, was elected as Chief. He was succeeded by his son, Alexander, in the late 1760s.  Part of the agreement to his succession was for him to allay the Queen's pension to him as Chief and divide it among the major Houses of Glencarnaig, Roro, and Glengyle. 

Gregor "Ghlun Dhu" of Glengyle, born in 1688, bought the lands of Glengyle in 1703.  With MacGregor of Glencarnaig, he was joint Colonel of the Jacobite MacGregor regiment in 1745.

In March of 1740, the Balhaldie line was recognized by James VIII as the superior house of Clan Gregor by the declaration of Alexander and his heirs as "Knights and Baronets of the Ancient realm of Scotland".

After Culloden, in 1746, the Clan system was abolished by the victorious Hanoverians .

On 1st April 1760, Duncan MacGregor, (alias Gordon) impoverished by being on the losing side of the rebellion of 1745, renunciated his claim to  the Roro estate, causing the House of Roro to lose their voice in Clan Gregor affairs.  His descendents emigrated to Australia.

In 1774, when the Act of Proscription was finally repealed, there was another election by 800 Gregarach in attendance.  General John (Murray) MacGregor of Lanrick, descended from the Brackley/GlenCarnaig line, became the new Chief. He was elected while Alexander of Balhaldie was still alive and serving in the army in the West Indies.  The Glencarnaig line (renamed Glencarnoch) provides current chiefs.

19th Century AD to present

House of Lanrick/Glencarnoch

Clan Gregor Society inc. 1822

Sir Evan John MacGregor 1785-1841, 21st Chief, founded the Clan Gregor Society in 1822

List of Chiefs since the clan's name was officially changed to Clan Gregor:

Griogair of the Golden Bridles, b~1300; d~1360

Iain cam (Iain of the One-Eye), son of Griogair, .b~1325; obit.1390

Iain dubh, son of Iain cam, b~1350; obit.1415

Gille-coluim (Malcolm "the lame lord"), son of Iain dubh, b~1375; obit.1440

Padraig, son of Gille-coluim, b~1405; obit.1461

Iain dubh, son of Padraig, b~1440 obit.1519 (his son Maol-coluim dsp 1498)

Iain MacEoghan, gt-gt-gt-grandson of #3. Iain dubh, b~1480; obit 1528

Alasdair ruadh of Glenstrae, son of Iain MacEoghan, b~1515; obit 1547

Iain ruadh,
son of Alasdair ruadh, b~1540; obit 1550

Griogair ruadh of Glenstrae 'The arrow of Glen Lyon', brother of Iain ruadh, b~1541; executed 1571

Alasdair ruadh of GlenStrae, son of Griogair ruadh, b~ 1569; executed 1604

(English names used from this point onwards)

Gregor, nephew of Alasdair ruadh, b~1599; obit 1629 (forced to sell Glenstrae to Campbells in 1624)

Patrick Roy, brother of Gregor, b~1600; d~1650s

James, son of Patrick Roy d~ 1670s (?)

Gregor, son of Malcolm, grand-son of Ewin the tutor, d~ 1680s

Archibald of Kilmanan, cousin of Gregor, d~ 1704 (last of the GlenStrae/Ladasach line)

William MacGregor Drummond of Balhaldie - Roro - elected in 1714, died~1766

[Alexander MacGregor Drummond of Balhaldie, died~1794]

Sir John Murray MacGregor of Lanrick (GlenCarnaig branch), elected in 1774

Sir Evan John MacGregor 1785-1841, founder of the Clan Gregor Society in 1822

Sir John Athole Bannatyne MacGregor 1810-1851

Sir Malcolm Murray MacGregor of MacGregor b.1834

Sir Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor, Bart.

Brigadier Sir Gregor MacGregor of MacGregor, Bt. 1925-2003

Major Sir Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor, Bart.