'The Robertson Clan are an Ancient Clan whose forefathers once walked and lived in the spectacular scenery of Perthshire in Scotland'(1)
And indeed they still do, maybe not walking as much as they used too more like wandering through the heather in any case. Most of the Clan members that still remain in Perthshire gradually relocated to Rannoch Moor a few hundred years ago and made it their home.
As a member of this, one of the oldest documented clans, I can vouch for the fact that both the moor and Kinloch Rannoch are deeply entrenched in the Robertson blood.
The Clan itself was originally known as the Clann (sic.) Donnachaidh whose origins are entwined in legend and speculation. The most feasible account would follow that the Donnachaidh are a Sept, a branch clan so to speak, of the great conquerors and Celtic rulers; the McDonalds their ancestor having been Duncan (hence the Donnachaidh or Donnachie) the Fat, son of Angus Mor Lord of the Isles in the reign of William the Lion.
The more fanciful and head strong of the Clan have claimed that they are in fact descended from Duncan I, the King of Scots but after studying this route most of the evidence falters or points back to Duncan McDonald.
The Sept of Robertson adopted the name after Robert Riabhach (literally meaning "grizzled") their fourth chief. Robert Riabhach, grandson of Robert of Athole, was given this exalted honour when in 1437 he captured Sir Robert Graham who along with his band of men had murdered James I in Perth. For this victory James II awarded Robert a feudal barony with administrative control. The barony was called Struan and the chief was henceforth known as Robertson (from this Robert) of Struan, or now a days Struan Robertson (2).
Throughout the 15th and 16th century the Robertson ruled the lands of Atholl. In the 17th century they were drawn into battle in support of the Stuart kings and in 1644 fought with Montrose and are not know to have lost a battle. The also took a very active part in the Jacobite Risings, at the end of the century and the beginning of the 18th, under Alexander Robertson of Struan (3), the Poet Chief. Throughout these troubles however the hold on the family lands was lost and they gradually moved to the neighbouring moor securing what now is a small collection of hills, farms and more than one cemetery.
The tartan of the Robertson clan is shared with the Donnachaidh, as well as the most of the other Clan symbols. As most other clans we can claim to two tartans: the traditional dress tartan know as Robertson tartan or Robertson Red, and the Robertson Hunting tartan for…err, hunting.
The Robertson Red is based on a bright red weave with a blue and green pattern. Each section is divided into four squares by two thin green lines. The sections form a green and blue weave that is bordered by a heavy set green square border. This tartan has been recently restored as the clan tartan having been usurped for years by a darker maroon version.
The Robertson hunting is almost identical but the background weave is a navy blue with the green remaining the same except for the thin section dividing lines which in this case are made of a red which is darker and blood like.
The motto of the Clan which was adopted into Latin reads 'Virtutis Gloria Merces'; "Glory is the Reward of Valour". The unofficial slogan which was kept in Gaelic is 'Garg'n uair dhuisgear' translates as "Fierce When Roused".
The coat of arms is a Gules, three wolves' heads erased two and one Argent, armed and langued Azure, where as the badge shows is a dexter hand holding up an imperial crown Proper
Songs of the clan include Robertson's Rant", "Robertson of Ladykirk" and "Robertson of Lude.
The Septs of the Clan Robertson are listed as following
Collier, Colyear, Dobinson, Donachie, Duncan, Duncanson, Dunnachie, Inches, MacConachie, MacConnechy, MacDonachie, Macinroy, MacIver, MacIvor, Maclagen, MacRobbie, MacRobie, MacRobert, Reid, Roy, Stark, Tonnochy.
Know branches are the Robertson of Struan and the Robertsons of Lude
(1) Exctract from http://www.yourscottishname.com/robertson_clan.htm
(2) Due to the fact my father is a Perthshire Robertson of old he is called Duncan Struan Robertson. Not a fact to be taken lightly after learning this.
(3) Alexander Robertson was training to become a priest when he inherited the chiefship. He left the church, took up the chiefship, wrote celebrated poetry and eventually joined Viscount Dundee. He was attained but received remission in 1703. He was captured again at Sherriffmuir but managed to escape to France.
As part of an attempt to maintain the spirit of the clan alive my little Nephew is called Alexander Struan Robertson.