Cluny MacPherson Antique Engraving Print

Cluny MacPherson Antique Engraving Print - We recently acquired a large late 19th century engraving of Cluny MacPherson - Chief of Clan Chattan. The print has some foxing and a stain in the bottom corner but it has made a great addition to the office - studio.

So we thought we would share a few other images of the great Cluny MacPherson's of the past.

Victorian antique Cluny MacPherson Clan Chattan engraving
Victorian antique Cluny MacPherson Clan Chattan engraving
Cluny MacPherson Antique Engraving
Cluny MacPherson Antique Engraving

Macpherson Clan – A Brief History

In Scottish Gaelic the name Macpherson is Mac a’ Phersein which means son of the parson. The Celtic church allowed priests to marry and the progenitor of the chiefs of Clan Macpherson is believed to have been a man named Muireach or Murdo Cattenach who was the priest of Kingussie in Badenoch. The Clan Macpherson is part of the Chattan Confederation (Clan Chattan).  In 843 the chief of Clan Chattan was Gille Chattan Mor and one of his sons, the first chief of Clan Macpherson was forced to resettle in Lochaber byKenneth MacAlpin, first king of Scots. The chief could have been the lay prior ofArdchattan and he seems to have been named in honor of Saint Cathan.

Macpherson clan traditions is that in 1309 Robert the Bruce offered the lands of Badenoch to the chief of Clan Macpherson on the condition that they destroyed the Bruce’s enemies, the Clan Comyn, and the Macphersons carried out the king’s wishes. The Clan Macpherson is sometimes known as the Clan of the Three Brothersowing to the fact that chief Ewan Ban Macpherson had three sons: Kenneth Macpherson of Clunie, Iain Macpherson of Pitman and Gillies Macpherson of Invereshie.

14th-century clan conflicts

In 1370 the Battle of Invernahavon took place between the Chattan Confederation and the Clan Cameron. There was a dispute between the Macphersons and another clan of the confederation, the Clan Davidson over who should take the right wing in the battle. The Clan Mackintosh, whose chiefs were also chiefs of the Chattan Confederation favored the Davidsons and as a result the Macphersons left the field of battle. The Clan Cameron took advantage of this situation and gained the upper hand, however the Macphersons were eventually coerced back into the battle and the Camerons were defeated. The feud between the Clan Cameron and Chattan Confederation continued for many years after and in 1396 the Battle of the North Inch took place, which was watched by Robert III of Scotland and his whole court.

17th century and civil war

In 1618 Andrew Macpherson, eighth chief of Clan Macpherson acquired the abbey-castle grange in Strathisla. Andrew’s son, Euan Macpherson supported the royalist cause during the Scottish Civil War and fought forJames Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose. The tenth chief was Duncan Macpherson of Cluny who in 1672 lost his claim to lead the Chattan Confederation. The Privy Council of Scotland instead found in favor of a Mackintosh. Duncan had no sons and in 1722 was therefore succeeded as chief of Clan Macpherson by Lachlan Macpherson, fourth Laird of Nuid

18th century Jacobite uprisings

Chief Euan Macpherson of Cluny was a notable leader in the Jacobite rising of 1745 and fought at the Clifton Moor Skirmish. After the Jacobite defeat at the Battle of Culloden, Cluny was able to escape capture by government troops for nine years even though a reward of £1000 was offered for his capture. He escaped to France in 1755. William Macpherson was killed at the Battle of Falkirk (1746) and he is the ancestor of the current chief of Clan Macpherson. His brother witnessed government “red coats” burning Macpherson of Cluny’s house. Duncan Mapherson of Cluny fought for the British government during the American Revolutionary War.


  • Cluny Castle, about five miles south-west of Newtonmore in Strathspey was a stronghold of the clan. The original castle dated from the fourteenth century but was razed by the Duke of Cumberland after theJacobite rising of 1745 which the Macphersons had supported.[2] The present Cluny Castle is in fact a nineteenth century mansion that was built on the site of the original stronghold.
  • Ballindalloch Castle was built by the Clan Grant and owned by the Ballindallochs before coming to the Macphersons, now the Macpherson-Grants.
  • Newton Castle, Blairgowrie, Perthshire is the current seat of the Macpherson chiefs.
  • Invereshie House, near Kingussie, Strathspey was held by the Macphersons from the fourteenth century. William Macpherson of Invereshie captured Blair Castle from the Marquess of Montrose in 1644.
  • Pitman House, near Kingussie, Strathspey was held by the Macphersons from the fourteenth century. The present building forms part of the Highland Folk Museum.
Cluny Macpherson, C.B., Chief of Clan Chattan Born 24th April 1804; Died 11th January 1885.
Cluny Macpherson, C.B., Chief of Clan Chattan Born 24th April 1804; Died 11th January 1885.
Ewan Macpherson of Cluny (1804–1885), 'Old Cluny'
Ewan Macpherson of Cluny (1804–1885), 'Old Cluny'

Cluny Macpherson, C.B., Chief of Clan Chattan

Born on the 24th of April 1804, Cluny, as he was popularly known all over the Highlands, had at the time of his death entered his eighty-first year. He was the representative of the ancient chiefs of Clan Chattan, embracing, in that general appellation, the Macphersons, Mackintoshes, Macgillivrays, Shaws, Farquharsons, Macbeans, Macphails, Clan Terril, Gows (said to be descended from Henry the Smith of North Inch fame), Clarks, Macqueens, Davidsons, Cattanachs, Clan Ay, Nobles, Gillespies; and was the twentieth Chief in direct succession from Gillicattan Mor, the head or Chief of the clan who lived in the reign of Malcolm Canmore. He succeeded to the chiefship of the clan, and to the Cluny estates, on the death of his father in 1817, and thus possessed the estates for the long period of nearly seventy years. A very interesting fact in connection with his boyhood, carrying us back to the third decade of the present century, is that Sir Walter Scott, in a letter to Miss Edgeworth, describes him as “a fine spirited boy, fond of his people and kind to them, and the best dancer of a Highland reel now living.” In 1832 Cluny married Sarah Justina, a daughter of the late well-known Henry Davidson, Esq. of Tulloch, who now cluny’s early manhood survives him with an unbroken family circle of four sons and three daughters.

The son of a gallant officer who fought in the American War of Independence; grandson of the devoted “Ewen of Cluny,” who died in exile after the ’45; great-grandson of Simon Lord Lovat, who suffered in the same cause, and great-great-grandson of the heroic Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, Cluny always maintained with true dignity the fame of his ancestry, and inherited all their military ardour. To a quaint old engraving of Sir Ewen at Cluny Castle, the following just and appropriate lines are appended 

CLUNY MACPHERSON, C.B., Chief of Clan Chattan BORN 24th APRIL 1804; DIED 11th JANUARY 1885.
Cluny Macpherson, C.B., Chief of Clan Chattan Born 24th April 1804; Died 11th January 1885.

Colonel Ewen Henry Davidson Macpherson

Colonel Ewen Henry Davidson Macpherson, the Chief of the clan, had a long and distinguished military career. With the 93d Highlanders, which he joined shortly after his brother Colonel Duncan MacPherson of Cluny joined the Black Watch. He has saw most of the military campaigning from 1854, and eventually rose to command the famous regiment. The following is the record of Colonel Ewen’s military services as given in ‘ The Historical Records of the 93d,’ published in 1883 :

“Ensign, 3d of November 1854; lieutenant, 9th of February 1855. Served with the regiment in the Crimea from 14th of July 1855, including the siege and fall of Sebastopol; also in the Indian Mutiny, including the relief of Lucknow by Lord Clyde, operations at Cawnpore and battle of the 6th of December 1857; pursuit to Serai Ghat; action of the Kala Nuddee; siege and fall of Lucknow, campaign in Oude, and attack on Fort Mittowlie. Became captain, 13th of May 1859; was aide-de-camp to the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal from 1st of June 1859 to 31st of May 1862. Served in the Eusofzai campaign of 1863, under Sir John Garvock. Brevet-major, 5th of July 1872; major, 29th of October 1873; and Lieutenant-Colonel commanding, 1st of January 1879. Lieutenant-Colonel E. H. D. Macpherson has the Crimean medal and clasp, Turkish medal, Indian medal with two clasps, and the Frontier medal with clasp for Umbeyla.”

Colonel Ewen has naturally taken the greatest interest in the 93d, and it was under his direction that the ‘ Records ’ of the regiment, written by Captain Burgoyne, were prepared and published. After relinquishing the command of the 93d, Colonel Ewen commanded the 1st Regimental District, “ The Royal Scots,” and he is now Brigadier-General commanding the Highland Volunteer Brigade. The following extract from a letter addressed to him by Field-Marshal His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, K.G., &c., Commander-in-Chief of her Majesty’s Forces, speaks for itself:—

“Horse Guards, War Office, 24^ August 1892.

“Sir,—I have the satisfaction to acquaint you that her Majesty the Queen has been pleased to approve of your receiving from the grant for Distinguished and Meritorious Service an allowance of ^jioo per annum, from the 20th July 1892 inclusive......—I am, sir, yours, George.

“Colonel E. H. D. Macpherson, Half-pay,
Coming. Highland Voir. Infy. Brigade.”

Colonel Ewen Henry Davidson Macpherson
Colonel Ewen Henry Davidson Macpherson

2 Responses

  1. John Sinclair Jr., D.D.S.
    | Reply

    Greetings to all at House of Labhran;
    Thanks for sharing the engraving prints of the Macpherson’s of Clan Chattan.
    I am looking to purchase similar engraving prints etc. of the Sinclair Clan.
    If you happen to have vintage items related to the Sinclair’s of Scotland for sale,
    please let me know.
    Kind regards,
    John Sinclair, Jr., D.D.S.

    • House of Labhran
      | Reply

      We will keep our eye open and if something appears we will let you know.

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