There are some claims that the Grants were descended from King Alpin, the father of Kenneth Macalpin> the first king of Scotland (or at least those parts occupied by the Picts> and Scots). Other sources suggest that the name derives from the French "Le Grand" meaning of great stature as it was used originally in Normandy. Lord Strathspey, the clan chief, supports the view that the clan has Viking origins, based on recent research. The family motto at that time was "Tenons ferme" which eventually evolved into the well known clan war cry "Stand Fast Craigellachie" (from a hill near Aviemore where a fire was lit to rally the clan to fight).
A Nottinghamshire land-owner named Le Grand obtained land in Strathspey in the 13th century, founding the powerful clan which spread over Strathspey and the Grampian mountains into Aberdeenshire. The Grants supported Robert the Bruce> in the 14th century and John and Randolph de Grant were captured at the Battle of Dunbar in 1296.
The first authenticated chief of the Highland clan was Sir Ian Grant who was Sheriff of Inverness in 1434. In 1493 the Grant lands became the barony of Freuchie and Sir James Grant built a castle there in 1536. Originally called Castle Freuchie it was renamed Castle Grant> at the end of the 17th century.
Like most clans, the Grants had occasional feuds with their neighbours and they joined the Campbells> against the Gordons> of Huntly in 1594. The Grants were loyal to the crown in the Civil War in the mid-17th century and joined the Marquis of Montrose on his campaign after the Battle of Inverlochy. Grants also gave shelter to the MacGregors> during the persecution of that clan as there had been a long history of alliance between the two. Later, the Laird of Grant supported William and Mary> and their government and did not get involved in the Jacobite Uprisings of 1715 and 1745 although the Grants of Glenmoriston and others in the clan supported the Stewarts. In 1766 Sir James Grant established Grantown-on-Spey, building mills and factories there.
In the 19th century the 27th chief of Clan Grant had a serious dispute with his brothers and the estates were split up, the Seafield Earldom was lost to the chief of the clan but the line continued with the title Lord Strathspey of Strathspey.
The Grant motto is "Craig Elachie" - "The rock of alarm".
The Gilroy, MacGilroy, Pratt and Suttie families are regarded as septs (sub-branches) of Grant.
There is a Clan Grant Web sites here>.
Return to Index of Clans/Family Histories.
Where else would you like to go in Scotland?
All Features Index>
Search This Site>
Scottish Pictorial Calendar 2014>
Places to Visit>