The clan derives its name from Farquhar Shaw, 4th son of Alexander "Ciar" Mackintosh of Rothiemurchus, 5th Chief of the Clan Shaw, who settled in the Braes of Mar, the source of the River Dee. A grant of arms made by Lord Lyon in 1697 stated that John Farquharson of Invercauld was lawfully descended of Shaw son of MacDuff, Thane of Fife whose successors had the name Shaw until Farquhar Shaw, son to Shaw of Rothiemurchus, Chief of the whole name came to be called Farquharson (from the Gaelic 'fear' and 'char' meaning 'dear one').
Farquhar Shaw's son married Isobel Stewart, heiress of Invercauld and it was their son, Finlay Mor, who has become known as the first real Farquharson. He was killed during the Battle of Pinkie in 1547, aged 60, while performing the duty of the King's Standard Bearer. His nine sons ensured that the clan became numerous and influential. In 1595 the clan became associated with the Chattan Confederation.
The graphic here is a Victorian romantic depiction of a Farquharson clansman illustrated by R. R. McIan, from James Logan's The Clans of the Scottish Highlands, 1845.
At the end of the sixteenth century the Erskines attempted to reclaim the Earldom of Mar and John Erskine, who styled himself Earl of Mar, built Braemar Castle in 1628 to defend himself against the claims of the Farquharsons. But the castle later passed into the hands of the Farquharsons and remains in their ownership to this day.
The clan developed a reputation for their fierce fighting qualities which led to them being known as the "Fighting Farquharsons". They were staunch supporters of the Stewart monarchy and Donald Farquharson of Monaltrie fought with Montrose in 1644 and supported King Charles II. John Farquharson of Inverey, known as the Black Colonel supported King James VII and followed Graham of Claverhouse. In the first Jacobite Rising of 1715 John Farquharson of Invercauld joined the Clan Chattan regiment but was taken prisoner and held in London for ten months.
During the rising of 1745, the chief of MacKintosh was Angus, who was an officer in the Black Watch, part of the Hanoverian army fighting against the Jacobites. His wife Anne, on the other hand, was daughter of Farquharson of Invercauld, and she rallied the Clan MacKintosh to fight under Clan Chattan for the Jacobite cause. When Angus was captured at the Battle of Prestonpans, he was sent home to his wife. Anne greeted him with the words, "Your servant, Captain". He famously retorted, "Your servant, Colonel". From then on she has been known as "Colonel Anne". At Culloden, in 1746 (pictured here), some three hundred clansmen led by Farquharson of Monaltrie were in the front lines in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie. After later saving Bonnie Prince Charlie from capture at one point, "Colonel Anne". Farquharson was imprisoned at Inverness for six weeks. Francis Farquharson of Monaltrie was captured and sentenced to be executed but was reprieved on the day of his execution. However, he was not allowed to return to Scotland for over twenty years.
More Recent Times
Since 1949 the clan chief has been Captain Alwyne Compton Farquharson of Invercauld. Invercauld House is the seat of the current chief. He served with distinction as a Captain in the Royal Scots Greys during World War Two. Braemar Castle, owned by the clan chief, has been restored and is open to the public. The Farquharson estate covers about 200,000 acres of forest and moor in the Grampian region in Aberdeenshire. The estate is famous for hosting the world famous Braemar Highland Games, a favourite with royalty since Queen Victoria's reign.
The Farquharson clan motto is "Fide et fortitudine" which means "By fidelity and fortitude".
The name Farquharson is usually pronounced more like "Farkerson" - with the accent on the first syllable. See/hear at Talking Dictionary.
Surnames regarded as septs (sub-branch) of the Farquharson clan include Barrie, Bowman, Brebner, Christie, Christison, Christy, Coates, Coats, Coutts, Cromar, Farquhar, Ferries, Findlay, Findlayson, Findlaison, Finlay, Finlayson, Gracie, Grassick, Greusach, Hardie, Hardy, Kellas, Kerracher, Leys, Lyon, MacArtney, MacCaig, MacGaig, MacCartney, MacCuaig, MacEaracher, MacErcher, MacErracher, MacFarquhar, MacHardie, MacHardy, MacKerchar, MacKerracher, MacKindlay, MacKinlay, MacKinley, Paterson, Patterson, Reiach, Reoch, Riach, Tawse.
There are Farquharson clan Web sites here> and here> and here.
Clan chief and members of the clan at the Gathering in Edinburgh in 2009.
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