Campbell Clan History

Clan Campbell (Scottish Gaelic: Na Caimbeulaich [na ˈkʰaɪmbəl̪ˠɪç]) is a Highland Scottish clan. Historically one of the largest and most powerful of the Highland clans, their lands were in Argyll and the chief of the clan became the Earl and later Duke of Argyll.

In traditional genealogies of the Clan Campbell, its origins are placed amongst the ancient Britons of Strathclyde.[4] However, the earliest Campbell in written records is Gillespie who is recorded in 1263.[4] Early grants to Gillespie and his relations were almost all in east-central Scotland.[4] However, the family’s connection with Argyll came some generations before when a Campbell married the heiress of the O’Duines and she brought with her the Lordship of Loch Awe.[4] Because of this the early clan name was Clan O’Duine and this was later supplanted by the style Clan Diarmid.[

Between 1200 and 1500 the Campbells emerged as one of the most powerful families in Scotland, dominant in Argyll and capable of wielding a wider influence and authority from Edinburgh to the Hebrides and western Highlands.

The Campbells gave support to the Crown throughout the 15th century.[4] By the end of the 15th century the power of the Lords of the Isles (chiefs of Clan Donald) who were the Crown’s most powerful rivals had been broken leaving the Campbells as the main power in the area.[4] From this time onwards the Campbells acted as the main instrument of central authority in the area and this could be the real cause of the ancient enmity between the Campbells and the MacDonalds.[4]

Descendants of Sir Duncan Campbell, 1st Lord Campbell (Donnchadh) and his wife Lady Marjorie Stewart would be descendants of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland and Robert II Stewart, King of Scotland. Lady Marjorie Stewart, b. 1390 was the daughter of King Robert II’s son, Robert Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany.[5] This would make all descendants of Sir Duncan Campbell and Lady Marjorie Stewart descendants of Robert I Bruce and most of the early Kings of Scotland.[5]

The first Lord Campbell was created in 1445. It was from the 15th century that the Campbells came to take an increasingly prominent role. The personal reign of James I of Scotland, saw that king launch a great political assault on the Albany Stewarts and their allies in the west, however Duncan Campbell, 1st lord Campbell (Donnchadh), escaped the fate of his Albany kinsmen who were all either executed or exiled.

16th century and clan conflicts
In 1513 the 2nd Earl of Argyll was killed along with many of his clan at the Battle of Flodden.[7]
The Battle of Langside took place in 1568 where the chief of Clan Campbell, Archibald Campbell, 5th Earl of Argyll, commanded the forces who fought for Mary, Queen of Scots.[7

Castles that have belonged to the Clan Campbell have included amongst many others:
Inveraray Castle in Argyll is the current seat of the Chief of Clan Campbell.


Duke of Argyll arms.svg

Duke of

Earl and Marquess of Breadalbane arms.svg

Marquess of Breadalbane

Earl of Cawdor arms.svg

Earl of Cawdor

Earl of Loudoun arms.svg

Earl of Loudoun

Campbell of Aberuchill arms.svg

Campbell of Aberuchill

Campbell of Ardchattan arms.svg

Campbell of Ardchattan

Campbell of Barcaldine arms.svg

Campbell of Barcaldine

Campbell of Cawdor arms.svg

Campbell of Cawdor

Campbell of Clathick arms.svg

Campbell of Clathick

Campbell of Lawers arms.svg

Campbell of Lawers

Campbell of Lochaw arms.svg

Campbell of Lochaw

Campbell of Lochdochart arms.svg

Campbell of Lochdochart

Campbell of Lochnell arms.svg

Campbell of Lochnell

Campbell of Monzie arms.svg

Campbell of Monzie

Campbell of Moy arms.svg

Campbell of Moy

Campbell of Ottar arms.svg

Campbell of Ottar

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Campbell of Park

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Campbell of Possil

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Campbell of Smiddygreen

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Campbell of Craignish

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Campbell of Auchinbreck

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Campbell of Auchawillig

Campbell of Ardentinny arms.svg

Campbell of Ardentinny

Campbell of Ardkinglas arms.svg

Campbell of Ardkinglas

Campbell of Gargunnock arms.svg

Campbell of Gargunnock

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Campbell of Inverneil

Lord Stratheden and Campbell arms.svg

Lord Stratheden

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Campbell of Netherplace

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Campbell of Glenlyon

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Campbell of

Campbell of Blythswood arms.svg

Campbell of Blythswood

Campbell of Glenfalloch arms.svg

Campbell of Glenfalloch