Clan Cameron History

Clan Cameron pendant           Clan Cameron Signet Ring


There are few Highland Clans of greater antiquity than the mighty Clan Cameron. While the Clan is known to be of a much more ancient origin, the earliest recorded chief is Donald Dubh, who, with the typical ferocious spirit of his Clan, fought on the side of the Lord of the Isles in the Battle of Harlow in 1411. The origin of the Cameron’s name is said to derive from the Gaelic “Cam-shron” (crooked nose), which is believed to have been a nickname of an early chief, but over the course of centuries the name became more associated with an unquenchably fierce nature, than any physical attribute.

Clan Cameron’s bond with its lands in Lochaber were established in the mists of antiquity, and their estates expanded into the hills of Loch Lochy, Loch Arkaig and Loch Eil, as the Clan’s power grew. There was, however, intense competition for these sought-after lands and the Clan fought with a indomitable tenacity against all who challenged their sovereignty to this ancestral birthright. The Camerons became embroiled in a conflict with the powerful Clan Mackintosh over a territorial dispute in 1430, and remained fighting for over 200 years. Such was the ferocity of Clan Cameron that their war-cry struck terror into the heart of any warrior unfortunate enough to become their enemy - “Sons of the hounds come here and get flesh”. It was not until Ewen, the 13th Chief, was granted the barony of Lochiel in 1528 that the Camerons received legal title to their lands, and could fight with the right of law, as well as the power of the claymore.

The warlike nature of the Camerons also ensured that they were granted a special position in the history of Scotland. Clan Cameron was consistently loyal to the cause of the Stewart monarchs, and the 17th Chief, Sir Ewen, is renowned for being one of the few Highland chiefs that Cromwell failed to subdue.  Among other exploits, Sir Ewen is attributed with slaying the last wolf in Scotland, and with biting out the throat of a Roundhead officer during an attack on a government castle. Clan Cameron fought valiantly in both the 1715 and 1745 Jacobite Risings, and Sir Ewen’s grandson, Donald led the Clan at the Battle of Culloden under the banner of  Bonnie Prince Charlie.

The 28th Chief is Donald Andrew John Cameron of Lochiel.

There are four tartans associated with the clan: Cameron of Lochiel (the personal tartan of the chief and his immediate family), Clan Cameron, Hunting Cameron and Cameron of Erracht. This last was devised for the 79th Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, a regiment which was raised by Alan Cameron of Erracht in 1793.

The Cameron Crest shows a sheaf of five arrows tied and the proud Cameron clan motto, “Aonibh ri cheile’’ meaning (Unite) 

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