Greetings from the Chair

Last month (November 2021) the Hunter’s full moon rose so large and orange in the east that my wife and I had no choice but to simply sit down on the porch and watch in awe. It was one of those wonderful moments that make one feel very small and insignificant in the grand sweep of life. As the cold crept in and the hard frost set up, my mind wandered to our Highland ancestors and, as is increasingly the case as I get on in years, I mused on the number of similar moments my forebears shared in Scotland watching the same moon hundreds and even thousands of years ago. It was a powerful connection.

Connections are important. They serve to anchor us in the past and help us better comprehend the future. More and more our modern society is understanding the importance of language and oral traditions and their critical role in unlocking the traditions of culture and heritage. Take away native spoken or written language and you take away the culture. For these reasons, all over the world there has been a renaissance of classes and teaching aids to help orphaned cultures repatriate their unique contributions.

We here in Canada are in the early stages of trying to redefine the role and relationship between peoples indigenous to what is now Canada and the immigrants who landed here to establish new lives in the “new” world. Our Scottish ancestors arrived as early fur traders, hardworking farmers and industrialists and played a significant role in this story.

Today there is controversy surrounding this chapter in our history.  As we work to sort this out and acknowledge fundamental injustices arising from the times, circumstances and norms of the colonial past, the question of cultural appropriation often comes up. This fascinates me, especially as it relates to the Scottish diaspora all over the world.

A recent blogger innocently wrote of the joy she felt in taking her children for a quiet paddle on a beautiful northern lake. She felt very Canadian. This ignited a flurry of accusations that travelling by canoe she was appropriating a cultural icon unique to indigenous peoples. The post was eventually taken down due to heavy and unwanted controversy. This led me to wonder what those of us of Scottish descent think about the use of our cultural icons!

Take the bagpipes for example. While the great highland pipes common today are universally associated with Scotland and Highland regiments, they are actually descended from lowly shepherd’s pipes in use over 3000 years ago in the Middle East.

They were brought to Scotland by the Romans who modified them by adding a reservoir for air so that the piper could play longer while accompanying marching legions. When I play my pipes I can acknowledge the shepherds and Romans without feeling like I’m taking something that isn’t mine. Or, consider the tartan and the kilt so unique to Scottish culture. The belted plaid, feileadh mor or great kilt, evolved in the highlands as an eminently practical and useful multi-purpose garment.  As a rocky island in the North Atlantic Scotland is constantly being drenched by sea mists that condense in the higher elevations. One only needs to walk in the heather and brush to realize that wearing troos (pants) would have you soaked from the waist down in no time flat! Practical experience in Scotland and here at home in Canada has shown me that the kilt rides nicely above the dew and remains comfortable. And so it evolved. Today, are members of a pipe band or dance routine that are not Scots or of Scottish descent guilty of appropriation? I think not, provided that the kilt is worn properly and with a nod to it’s cultural role in history.

When wearing our clan tartans and kilts, I earnestly believe it is important to wear these properly and with the respect they deserve as important Scottish cultural icons and specific Gregor association. They were once outlawed by British Parliament in the wake of Culloden.

Anyone participating in a modern Kirkin o’ the Tartan celebration will remember that this service had its origins in an attempt to educate the young and remind themselves that their own culture was rapidly fading into the history books. As a result Scots, and Scotland’s diaspora, do identify with tartans and kilts all over the world today. It’s important to them.

With this in mind, if you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to look into wearing a kilt, skirt, sash, shirt or scarf in one of the handsome Clan Gregor tartans. (See page 7 for tartans authorized for our use by our Chief, Sir Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor.)  If you’re like most, you will find this to be a profound and meaningful connection to your heritage and past. Many wonder what to purchase and how it all goes together. A useful guide to help you through this process is a wonderful little book, So You’re Going To Wear the Kilt, by J. Charles Thompson. It is a good resource for outlining how to wear these garments, what is appropriate on what occasions and what to avoid.  Above all, he makes the point that this is not a costume, it is a heritage and deserves respect and care to preserve its importance in history.

Now that’s cultural identity!

As we head into winter here In Canada I want to wish each of you a warm and safe place to celebrate the season and all that we hold dear.

Beannaionn seasuir.

Wayne MacGregor Parker


2023 CGS International Gathering Update

Gathering Update from Scotland 

The Highland Tour

We regret to announce that the main Highland Tour, proposed for 2022, has been postponed until 2023 due to the uncertainty about COVID19 and it's effects on air fares, the hotel and tourist industry.  The Society is unable to provide estimated costs for 2023 at present, but the programme will be fantastic and we will continue to strive for best value for money, as ever. 

​We have given members the option of a refund of their deposit or keeping it in the tour fund for an additional 12 months.  We are pleased to report that 99% of members wish their deposits retained. Summary

Contact Ross at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions.

For enquiries about the Edinburgh & Scott Country Tour please contact Keith on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please continue to view the website for updates and keep well. We look forward to a fabulous Highland Tour in due course. 



Reminder about Dues

Important Reminder

Annual Membership renewals for 2022 are due in January.  Your prompt payment will be much appreciated and will spare me the extra effort of chasing down stragglers. This does not apply to those who have taken advantage of the Society’s offer of five years membership for the price of four ($156). If you are unsure of your status send me an email and I will clarify. 

Please remember you can conveniently pay by e-transfer to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Alternately you can send your $39.00 cheque to CGSCC, PO Box 232, Dorset, ON P0A 1E0. Your prompt attention to this will be much appreciated.

If I don’t receive your subscription by the end of May I will send you an email reminder. I’m a volunteer with a day job and it’s always nice to have prompt renewals without repeated appeals.

Many thanks.                                                                                                    

Wayne MacGregor Parker 


Gregors in the News

In Flanders Fields and Nova Scotia Connections

In the weeks leading up to the celebration of Remembrance Day every November 11th, red poppies are worn by millions as a way to remember the Great War and the brave soldiers who lost their lives fighting for our freedom. Lt. Col. Dr. John McCrae was a physician with the Canadian army in WWI from 1914-1918 and is remembered throughout the world as the author of In Flanders Fields and its celebration of the poppies growing row on row beside graves of the fallen. Dr McCrae is among them.

He died of pneumonia, in hospital, just days before the end of the war and is buried in the Wimereux cemetery, N.W. France near the Flanders region of Belgium. Dr. McCrae was from Guelph, Ontario. His home in Guelph is now a great museum that is well worth a visit.

Matron of the hospital where Dr. McCrae died was Katherine MacLatchy R.R.C.(Royal Red Cross nurse) of Grand Pre, Nova Scotia.  She lived well into her 90’s and is buried to the left of the front door of the old Covenanters Church, Grand Pre, along with other members of the MacLatchy family. Professor Cy MacLatchy, retired Acadia University, lives in Wolfville and is a living relative of nurse Katherine.

Today Clan Gregor Society is pleased and proud to share that Canada Chapter member Major Trevor MacGregor Jain, MD (pictured to the right in a Chinook) is receiving the Canadian Medical Association’s 2021 John McCrae Memorial Medal in recognition of his exemplary service as a clinical health service member of the Canadian Armed Forces. He has served as a medical director in multiple war zones, such as Bosnia, Kuwait and Iraq, but it was a disaster right at home, off the coast of Nova Scotia, that shaped Major Trevor Jain’s military and medical career. Born in Coldbrook Nova Scotia, Major Dr. Jain is a graduate of Acadia University.

These are the connections to Flanders Fields, and the counties of Guelph and Kings, Nova Scotia.

Information submitted by June MacGregor Jain

For more visit the Canadian Medical Association site at


Our Tartans

Wearing a particular Clan tartan indicates that the wearer bears an allegiance to the Chief of that Clan.   A tartan which uses the name of a Clan may only do so if the Chief of that Clan has given his approval to the particular design.”  

~Lord Lyon

The four tartans above are the only tartans recognized for Clan Gregor by Sir Malcolm

SNACC 2021

The annual Scottish North American Community Conference was once again held virtual on Dec 10th through Dec 12th.   The three day event began on the Friday with genealogy and developments around research of one’s Scottish roots. 

A full Saturday dealt with the expression of arts, heritage and culture today; how the way we engage changes and is developing - from fashion, to museums, heritage sites and highland games.

Sunday focused on plans for 2022 by Scotland’s leading organizers and organizations.  These included plans for the Year of Scotland’s Stories, the continuing celebration of the 250th Anniversary of Sir Walter Scott, the 75th Anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival and the new focus around “Responsible Tourism”.

The success of the event was in no small part aided by the key participation of many MacGregors in planning, organizing,  presentation and panel moderation.   This included:

  • Our Chief Sir Malcolm MacGregor co-moderating a panel on Highland Games and Festivals.
  • Dr. Fiona Armstrong, Lady MacGregor of MacGregor presenting and discussing films on Sir Walter Scott.
  • Keith MacGregor, North American Representative for Clan Gregor Society on the effect of clan relationship following the visit of George IV. Keith’s presentation follows on page 8.
  • John King Bellassai - President, Council of Scottish Clans & Associations (COSCA) as organizer, presenter and moderator
  • William Petrie - Chair, Clans And Scottish Societies of Canada and Clan Gregor Society - Canada Chapter Newsletter Editor as organizer, presenter and moderator.




Join us on Facebook

Can’t wait for the next newsletter to come out?  Check out our Facebook page.

In June 2020, we created a Community page for our Canadian chapter on Facebook.   Although all Scottish events were being cancelled all over the planet, the online world was very much coming alive! 

CASSOC kicked it off with a Celebration of Highland Games and Festivals in June 2020. Fergus Scottish Festivals and Highland games moved online; it even featured a wee digital Ceilidh. 

Highland dancers, groups and associations held competitions online… there was and is still no shortage of Scottish events happening online.

The objective for our page is to allow us to interact more and have focus on information that is relevant to us. 

We have made the page public and allow you to create your own posts.  Note that all posts will be reviewed before they are published.

SNACC - Keith MacGregor

Editor’s Note:  The following is a transcript of Keith MacGregor’s presentation to the Scottish North American Community Conference on Sunday December 12 for the discussion about the effect by George IV’s visit to Scotland on Clan relationships.    The accompanying images were provided as slides for the talk.

We don’t have an abundance of time, so I’ll get right to it…

It has always been astounding to me how rapidly the savage struggles of Scotland’s past become romanticized in word and song and yet how long they remain in the popular historic imagination.  The times Sir Walter Scott and Sir John MacGregor Murray lived in were certainly no exception – in fact they reflect an era of accelerated change not often seen, which carries on right down to our meeting here today.  Following the Jacobite defeat at Culloden, no less than William Pitt the Elder suggests a choice be offered to all Jacobite prisoners – keep your kilts and your pipes, don the red coat and fight for the British Empire – or hang. The net result, which clearly appealed to the Scottish martial character, sees Scotland fielding some 50 regiments by the time of Waterloo.

We don’t know exactly when Sir John MacGregor Murray and Sir Walter actually met.

MacGregor Murray served for many years in India as Comptroller for the Bengal Army and upon his return managed to get his son Evan Murray MacGregor an appointment in the Royal Highland Volunteers in 1803.  At that time, both MacGregor Murray and Scott were members of the Highland Society of London, largely for those who had done military service - an organization which in 1782 managed to have the Disarming Act (dating from Culloden) repealed, and in 1784, declared as its object the Restoration of Forfeited Highland Estates.

One has to ask, what was the real nature of their enduring friendship, which would underpin the stunning results of 1822?  We know that both men were romantics who loved the stories of the past, and were passionate about redressing the wrongs done to their kinfolk in earlier times when the Scotts were pursued as reivers on the borders as were the MacGregors in the Highlands. What many readers don’t realize is that John MacGregor Murray, born 1744, was nearly thirty years older than Walter Scott, born 1771.   One has to wonder about Murray’s role  as a possible mentor, sharing his stories and experiences with Scott; about their mutual admiration of Rob Roy,  their love of the Highlands, and even if the publication of Rob Roy itself in 1817 was  cause for their deeper friendship. 

Nor was it a secret that both were united in their socio-political aims of raising Scotland and the clans up.   What may not be as well known is that both men were ardent Unionists of a certain kind who wanted Scotland in the vanguard of the union and not as a vassal of England. It is not hard to imagine their excitement when Scott conjured up the vision of a pageant which so clearly and powerfully served that goal – a gala visit to Scotland by the king– the first time a reigning monarch had visited since Charles the 2nd was crowned in Edinburgh in 1651, in defiance of Oliver Cromwell.

The story goes that Sir Walter is said to have wooed George the 4th by telling him he was indeed descended from ancient Scottish kings (a bit of a stretch at best!) and by getting him into a kilt…pink tights and all!  It should be noted the Sir John, along with General David Stewart of Garth, would have been instrumental in bringing in the military elements they knew well, who were vital to a royal exposition.

What is beyond doubt is the MacGregors were given pride of place as the Guard of Honour for the Kings Regalia – the Crown (dating from 1570) and the Scepter - escorting them in the parade from Holyrood up to Edinburgh Castle with a contingent of 70 MacGregors in splashing new red MacGregor kilts financed by Sir John, and likely the envy of other clans attending.

Sadly Sir John MacGregor Murray dies in June, 1822, just two months before the king’s visit.  We have diary entries for him a year earlier when he traveled to Glen Orchy, the MacGregor homeland to see Dalmally kirk where the carved stone monuments of his ancestors lay. But it will be his son, Sir Evan Murray MacGregor, who will lead the MacGregors as chief in the 1822 march 

Nor is Sir Evan any less an inspiration than his father.  Cited for his leadership during the harsh Peninsular Campaign during the early Napoleonic wars, Evan is chosen to command a Scottish contingent in the Anglo-Maratha Wars in India (1817-19). In attempting to take the surrender of the killedar (‘commander’) of Fort Talneir, Evan and a small party of men including his cousin Peter are treacherously ambushed inside the fort.  Peter is shot dead and Evan receives 14 wounds including slashes to his face and nearly having his right arm cut off.  When the Scots break through, the killedar is hung over the outer wall with no prisoners taken.

This event will end Evan’s military career, and it is much to his credit that, a mere five years later, he ably leads the MacGregor contingent up the Royal Mile to present the King’s Honours.  He is memorialized in his toast to King George, mentioned by Clark, during the Royal Banquet at Holyrood – “To the Chief of Chiefs – the King!”.

In the aftermath of the “Celtic Revival”, “the King’s Jaunt” or as others called it, “the 21 Daft Days”, we note the establishment of the first Scottish clan societies which now exist around the world.  In 1823, supported by a petition of some 2600 names, the Clan Gregor Society of Scotland becomes the third clan to confirm that status. 

In closing, much of the successful transition in elevating the image of Highlanders in the early 19th century is owed to Scott’s pen and his knack for embracing Scottish history.  There can be no denying the impact of the popular historic novel upon the imagination of Europeans and then the world.  That creative vision (and I romanticize a bit here), seems to come at the perfect moment in time allowing Sir Walter Scott to influence the course of both literature and history, which is never easily done.

Keith MacGregor, North American Representative

The Clan Gregor Society of Scotland


The MacGregors' Gathering

Some time ago we received this from CGSCC member Nick Gregor.

Hey there! I thought I would share this with you. My girlfriend found this for me in a vintage shop. It’s a print of an R.R. MacIan painting called The MacGregor's Gathering. I have seen many of MacIan’s paintings and prints and I can honestly say this is the only one I've ever seen like this. Very beautiful and sad scene. Feel free to pass it along with the rest of the clan.

Kindest regards,    Nick Gregor

We, too, were not familiar with this print and so we asked our Vice Chair, Peter Lawrie if he knew anything about the context of the painting. We wondered if there was a specific Gregor incident MacIan had in mind when he painted it.  Any number of scrapes that the Gregors were in could be represented by this depiction of grieving and avowed revenge.

Peter wrote back:

I think you should tell Nick that McIan (along with James Logan) imagined all of his pictures and invented most of the history that went along with them. Most of what Logan wrote about the MacGregors was also from his imagination. Logan wrote the romantic text while McIan imagined the illustrations.

I would not consider any of their work accurate or reliable. Their romanticized history continued the distortions of Walter Scott.


Editor’s note: Thanks to Nick for bringing this to our attention. If any of our members have something that is Gregor related to share and submit for opinion, please send along and we’ll get you an answer whenever possible.


DNA - Available Testing

DNA - A Description of Available Testing :  Keith MacGregor

The first test most people elect to do is influenced by the advertisements on television for $59-79.  This is the ethnicity test, also known as the Autosomal test, which measures all your ancestors for the last five generations against population groups around the world. Similar Autosomal testing is offered by Family Tree DNA and My Heritage DNA, both of whom expand upon what you can do with this data. What it gives you is the names and addresses of others you may be related to, so if you like corresponding, it’s good for finding numerous cousins with whom you can compare genealogies. A majority of our Clan Gregor inquiries are looking for their grandparents, great-grandparents, etc., to fill in the family tree, and this is one way to go about that task. On Family Tree DNA the Autosomal test is called Family Finder - $59 when on sale. 

This test does not provide the Y-DNA (male) data which is used to construct the Surname Projects on Family Tree DNA. *To see our MacGregor Project, go to

Once you’ve done your Y-DNA you can see your place in the MacGregor Surname Project and which sept you are closest to in the clan.  We recommend the Family Tree DNA Y-37 or Y-67 Y-DNA test ($269). Our various septs and aliases are color-coded.  This test provides your haplotype (the male population you belong to) which helps define your deeper MacGregor identity.

Females can also test their haplotype, but the results for mtDNA (Mitochondrial DNA) are considerably different from the male DNA due to slower mutation rates and different migration patterns for females throughout history.  The test for your mother’s mother’s mothers, etc. line is the mtDNA (Mitochondrial) at $169 with Family Tree.  While it is revealing in many ways, bear in mind that the Surname Projects, and surnames in general are based on the male line. If you are a female looking for your MacGregor connection, you will need to find a male relation who is in the direct male line for MacGregor.

The tests described above have been useful for many years, but more recently the use of SNP’s (single mutations which can be dated) has widely become the "gold standard". "Snips" are single genetic markers which occur in all our cells, some faster, some slower, throughout time.  The science of dating the SNPs allows access to whole new view of your identity - ancient origins and the paths of your ancestors’ migrations, including dates, going all the way back to genetic Adam and Eve. Family Tree has also created the Block Tree, a worldwide genetic chart which shows your mutations down to your nearest kin who have done the Big Y 700 test ($359). With this data you can also go to to view an interactive map which shows where your genes have been over the millennia - in color! Also note that both males and females can see their individual results by using the SNP Tracker site above.

OF NOTE:  As current members of CGS, Susie McGregor’s male MacGregor cousin appears a few lines away from my own on the Big Y Tree, demonstrating not only that our families are related but also when and where our MacGregor ancestors split from our common ancestor some 600 years ago. If you are interested in this level of knowledge, and want a true learning experience, I’d recommend Big Y 700 with Family Tree DNA.

Be sure to let Richard McGregor, Chairman, or me know if you're planning to test.  As Administrators for the Surname Project we can suggest which test may be right for you and help look for discounts. For further information contact Keith MacGregor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Editor’s Note:   It would be nice to have step by step instructions for common types of research such as ‘Am I descended from a MacGregor?’ and ‘Where in Scotland would I have found some Medieval ancestors?’.  However, for now we can just suggest these 3 steps to get started for the MacGregor Project.

1) Order and submit an appropriate DNA test with FamilyTree.

2) Join the MacGregor DNA Project group on FamilyTree. 

3) Send an email to Keith MacGregor and/or Richard McGregor to let them know about you and include your kit number.

Note to Historians & Genealogists

Note to all Historians and Genealogists

The Ontario Government has contracted with LDS Family Search to put the 'township papers' of all townships of all counties in Ontario online from microfilm.  This started just last week.  If you find the Family Search site hard to navigate, as I do the Ontario ONLAND land registry to find about lots and buildings, just google the name of the township and 'papers' instead.

This is fantastic news.  Equal to Ancestry's contract with the federal government last year to gift the people of Canada with the records of every soldier in WWI and WWII online as a gift on the 75th anniversary of VE and VJ Days.

Submitted by Elizabeth McDonald

Editor’s Note:  The following links may be of interest for those researching genealogy in Ontario.

Tracing your family history :

Access Digitized Microfilm Collections on FamilySearch

Archive Descriptive Database[ARCHON]search.htm

Trust a Campbell?

What does “Never Trust a Campbell” mean to Clan Gregor?

The 2018 Gregor Gathering took us on tour of the town of Glencoe where the shameful massacre of MacDonalds took place in 1692. Under pressure of the new King William, Secretary of State Lord Stair ordered an example be made of unruly Highland Clans by forcing a signed oath of allegiance. The Glencoe MacDonalds were late in complying. To make an example a government force, the Earl of Argyll’s Regiment of Foot under the command of Campbells ruthlessly slaughtered their MacDonald hosts as they slept unaware in their beds and homes in the dark of winter. Even today the details of this assault on Highland hospitality and the underhanded dealings that lead to the unprovoked ravaging of Keppoch MacDonalds lives large in Scottish folklore. As we toured Glencoe I noticed a B&B sign on main street offering affordable accommodations. Beneath the sign was a simple statement: Campbells Not Welcome.

While the Glencoe affront to Clan Donald often takes centre stage, we Gregors have also experienced distrust and unrest at the hands of certain Campbells. We have a long and complex history with the Campbells going back to Robert the Bruce. Our stormy relationship is made all the more difficult by the many times we went back and forth between working with and working against each other. We benefited from marriages, shelter and other arrangements. We received protection and later even royal pardons arranged by our Campbell relatives. It was a complex relationship where both party’s actions were based on what they considered to be the most expedient and self-serving objectives of the moment. 

The historical record shows that we were willing participants in Campbell manipulations at times. All too often we were outmaneuvered.  Campbells, unlike Gregors, shrewdly understood the value of advancing their agendas by working with the Crown, Privy Council and ruling class. In contrast Clan Gregor stubbornly held onto the old ways and traditional Highland values of trust, fealty and the ancient notion of holding land by the right of the sword.  While there is a list of abusive Gregor interactions with the Campbells spanning many years, which of these incidents is the one that led us to believe that we should distrust Campbells?

To be clear, our trust issues largely centre on a handful of manipulative and self-seeking Campbell lords and not the Clan at large. Our three greatest Campbell enemies all appear around or just before the 1603 battle Glen Fruin – Gray Colin d.1587 and Black Duncan d.1631 are both of the Breadalbane line, and Archibald the Grim, the 7th Earl of Argyle d.1638.  During the 1590’s both sides are trying to manipulate the MacGregor’s against each other, while at the same time Black Duncan is discovered slipping arsenic into cousin Archibald’s food. It appears that Archibald is more behind the betrayal of our Chief, Alasdair Roy MacGregor in 1604 than the Breadalbanes, although Black Duncan, and later his son Robert, pick up the pursuit with renewed vigor in 1611. They later try to buy us out of Glenstrae in 1624. All very complicated but a matter of record.

Years later, in a twist of irony, Robert Campbell goes bankrupt losing much of the money his father stole from others including forfeited Gregor lands.  On the other hand, fate has it that Robert is Rob Roy’s uncle through his mother Mary Campbell and we see a Campbell helping Clan Gregor. When Rob comes into his own doing business from 1702, his chief enemy becomes James Graham, 1st Duke of Montrose who spends his life trying to get rid of the Glengyle MacGregors.  With the disappearance of Rob’s cattle money in 1712, the Campbells, notably Red John of the Battles (2nd Duke of Argyll), turn out to become his best supporter against Graham, even going before King George in 1723/24 to plead Rob’s case.  Instead of deportation, Red John gets Rob exonerated in 1724, takes the post away from Graham as Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland and sets Rob up  with the Highland Watch – a legitimate cattle trade  - and likely influences Rob’s ability to own property in Balquihidder where the Campbells are our landlords at that time.

So it really comes down to the where and when details of who and why Gregors might have reason to distrust Campbell leadership. Cruel or kind ironies keep happening over relatively short periods of time in Scotland where fortunes change through marriages, alliances, political events, and even the clever political cunning of a guy like Rob Roy, who masterfully plays 3 dukes to his advantage and lives to a ripe old age.

For me, it’s the story of Alasdair Roy MacGregor of Glenstrae, the Arrow of Glen Lyon and Chief of Clan Gregor, and the evil way in which he was brought to his death after trusting himself to the protection of Archibald Campbell, MacCailein Mor, 7th Earl of Argyll.

This incident takes place in 1603 in the furious aftermath of the Battle of Glenfruin (a long story for another time) where Clan Gregor soundly defeats Clan Colqhoun and subsequently ravages the lands of Luss at the covert urgings of the Campbell’s and specifically Argyll. Retribution was swift and brutal. Masterfully seizing the opportunity, Argyll deftly switched allegiance and used his influence to further weaken and displace the bothersome Clan Gregor by urging King James VI to take action. On April 3rd, 1603 King James gave the order to, “extirpate Clan Gregor and to ruit oot their posterite and name.” An Act of Privy Council immediately proscribed the use of the name Gregor or MacGregor upon pain of death and specifically prohibited anyone who had used those names from owning or carrying weapons of any sort. Scores of Innocent persons were now required to change their names by law. All who had taken place in the slaughter of Glenfruin or gave food or shelter to Glenstrae’s clansmen thereafter were also declared rebels, outlawed and sentenced to death. As Chief, Alasdair was the key fugitive. He successfully hid out in the highlands of his own country and avoided capture for some time. For the MacGregors there was to be no reprieve as the policy of Privy Council turned to one of extermination once and for all. All the while his clansmen suffered horrendous atrocities and hardships. Eventually this became untenable and Alasdair responded to an offer to negotiate from, who else? The Campbells!

Here is an account in Alasdair’s own words:

"Now on the 2. day of Oct. (1603) the Laird of Arkinles takis in hand to the Erll of Argyill, to tak the Laird of MacGregour ; and callis him to ane bankatt in his hous, quhilk hous stuid within ane Loche ; and thair takis him prissoner to send him to Argyll. And putting him in ane boitt, with fywe menne with him by thame that eowit the boitt ; he seing him selff betreiffit, gettis his handis lowse ; and striking him our burd that was narrest him he lowpis in the watter, and out-sowmis to the land. And so escheappis wntene (untaken) for the presentt.

"Now the Erll Argyill, perseaffing that he was eschappit, he sendis to him ; desiring him to cum to him, that he mycht confer with him, wilder promeis to let him gang frie gif thay culd nocht agrie. Wpoun the quhilk, the Laird Macgregour come to him ; and at his curning was well ressauit be the Erll ; quha schew him, that he was commandit be the King to bring him in ; bot he had no doubt bot his Majesty wald, at his requeist pardoun his offence ; and he suld with all diligense, send tua Gentill menne to Ingland with him, and suld with all diligense follow him selff. Wpoun the quhilk fair promeissis he was content ; and come with the Erll of Argyll to Edinburgh ; quhair , on the 10 day he was be the Gaird conwoyit to Berwick, within Inglis grund and syne brocht back to Edinburgh. And on the 20 day he was hangit at the Corse, with tenne of his kin and friendis hangit with him to the gritt discredeit of the Erll Argyill, quha wes the doare of the sarnin."

(Extracts from the MS History of Scotland, Anon, Advocates’ Library A. 4. 35)

In general, here’s what happened. Alasdair received a message from his cousin, Sir John Campbell of Ardkinglas, to meet at his home on Loch Fyne. Ardkinglas had been a friend in years past and had recently benefited from resetting some of the booty lifted from the Luss raids. He was also desperate to curry favor with his powerful kinsman Archibald the Grim, Earl of Argyll.  Trusting on the bonds of kin and honour, alone and unsuspecting, Alasdair went to meet with Ardkinglass with the hope of negotiating favorable terms of surrender. Upon arrival he was immediately seized, bound and loaded on a boat with five of Sir John’s men for delivery to Argyll. Glenstrae managed a daring escape by untying himself, jumping overboard and swimming to safety. Ardkinglas’s duplicity was foiled.

Fall turned to winter and the persecution of Gregors continued. Now it was Archibald, MacCailien Mor, who would turn Judas. Under the guise of friendship, and disassociating himself from the betrayal of Ardkinglas, Argyll offered to lobby for Glenstrae’s pardon if he would give himself up on suitable terms. He further offered to provide Alasdair with a safe escort across the border and into England so that he might have an opportunity to seek his own pardon directly from King James. With his back to the wall and recalling another occasion (here’s another story!) when the King had pardoned him, he capitulated and agreed to a secret meeting with Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyll, member of Privy Council and himself complicit with inside involvement with fomenting the raids on Luss. Surely, Alasdair reckoned, this could be his best chance to end the madness and so they met secretly in December. In a most cunning fashion, to demonstrate trust Campbell let Alasdair go after their meeting.

In early January, Alasdair said goodbye to his clansmen and gave himself up to Argyll who then accompanied him to Edinburgh. Ten days later he was transported by the Edinburgh town guard to the English border at Berwick. Honoring “an hielandman’s promise”, MacCailien Mor’s instructions were to allow Glenstrae to cross into England. He did so and was immediately seized by the town guard and transported right back to Edinburgh to stand trial.  Alasdair was arraigned, tried and convicted of treason in short order.  The Arrow of Glen Lyon, Chief of Clan Gregor was then publicly hung at the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh. In a nod to his position, he was strung up a body’s length higher than the ten of his clansmen who were hung at the same time. As his sentence included being drawn and quartered, his head was sent to Dumbarton where it was stuck upon a spike at the town tollbooth as an example for all to see. 

So there you have it. Perhaps some might still consider Glencoe proof enough to refuse Campbells a room for the night or Alasdair’s sad end a reason to distrust. While these events are indeed a matter of historical record, they happened a long time ago.  Today we can clearly see that these incidents were the outcome of the actions of a few despicable individuals and certainly not an entire Clan.

Still, once upon a time the Gregors had ample reasons to distrust Campbell leadership!

Wayne MacGregor Parker


In Search of a Great Scottish Ale

In Search of a Great Scottish Ale

In my travels I am always on the lookout for a good Scottish Ale. There’s just something about the slightly sweet, malty and thicker nature of true Scottish ale that I find very appealing. Best of all, these are typically only brewed by small craft breweries so it gives me the satisfaction of supporting local home grown businesses. Part of the fun of traveling is to find and enjoy these local and often rural establishments. In my search for the perfect (or at least the best!) true Scottish Ale I have tried dozens and dozens of offerings all over North America. I have finally found, at last, what I believe to be the very best Scottish Ale offered today on this side of the pond.

I’m pleased to introduce South River Brewing Company’s Scottish Ale from South River, Ontario. Not only is it an outstanding ale, it has the good sense of coming to us dressed up in the Rob Roy red and black tartan! I have had several conversations with the good folks at South River and they have offered us a special discount by creating a discount code (macgregor) on their website that is valid for 5% off any of their beverages.  This code expires at the end of December so hurry.  The code is to be entered at checkout to receive the discount.  You can order directly from them and if you order a case they will ship directly to you at no extra charge. Sure to be a fine Scottish ale, och aye.


Wayne MacGregor Parker

PS. The gold standard against which I compare all Scottish Ales is the Red MacGregor brewed by the Orkney Brewery in Scotland.

MacGregor Core Reading List

Submitted by Keith MacGregor as being good for starters

Book of the Dean of Lismore/Obituaries
*Medieval bardic collection of poetry by James MacGregor, Dean of Lismore/1512
which also includes the Obituaries (records of the MacGregor Chiefs’ burials at
Dalmally church, 1390‐1528.  
There are 7 poems specifically about MacGregor Chiefs.  Introduction by
Donald Gregory in 1830 but doesn’t add much.  Available on request from the Clan Gregor Society.
Bardachd Albannach‐Scottish Verse from the Book of the Dean of Lismore
William J. Watson/1937,  reprinted 1978/ISBN 0 7073 0236 6
*These poem translations by Watsonare better than McLaughlan’s 1878 edition

History of Clan Gregor, Vols 1& 2
Amelia Georgiana Murray‐MacGregor 1903
- available online from the Clan Gregor Society (987 pages).

Chartulary of Clan Gregor
Rev. William McGregor Stirling.  Collected notices on the history of the clan, which became the basis for Amelia’s History of Clan Gregor. - -available from the Clan Gregor Society

Rob Roy‐His Life and Times
W. H. Murray/1982/ISBN 0 86241 429 6/also available for purchase from the Clan Gregor Society
*The definitive work on Rob Roy which contains accurate details!  

Campbell Letters 1559‐1583
Jane E.A. Dawson/1997/ISBN 0 906245 19 2
Available for purchase from the Clan Gregor Society.  Highlights the period of the “MacGregor Wars”.

In Famed Breadalbane
William A. Gilles/ISBN 902965 14/ available on Amazon books

The Lairds of Glenlyon
Duncan Campbell/1886, reprinted 1984/available on Amazon books
*Particularly good on the history and families of Roro

The Arrow of Glenlyon
A.A.W.Ramsay/reprinted 1980
*/xerox copies available or try Amazon

Sons of the Wolf
Ronald Williams/1998/ISBN 1 899863 42 7
*Quick read on the deadly feud between the Campbells and the MacGregors – like Murray, good exposition from our point of view!

Celtic Life Interview and Offer


On behalf of our publisher, Siobhan L. Covington, please enjoy this complimentary copy of our new edition!



Sláinte & Stay Safe!

Celtic Life International

Editor's note:   The following is a previously published interview with Celtic Life

Response from Wayne MacGregor Parker, Chairman Clan Gregor Society Canada Chapter

*How long have you been involved in the Clan and in what capacity?

I have been active in the Clan Gregor Society for over 21 years. I first joined the Great Lakes Chapter based in Ohio, where I served in a number of capacities including Chapter Chairman for seven years. In 2003 I returned to my home in Ontario Canada. I currently have the honour of serving as elected Chairman of the newly formed Clan Gregor Society of Scotland - Canada Chapter.

*What inspired you to get involved, and stay involved?

My love of history and a strong desire to learn as much as I could about the truth of the tragic yet romantic past of Clan Gregor brought me to the Clan Gregor Society. Unfortunately, a lot of bad history has been promulgated as fact and the story of the Clan has been misunderstood and misinterpreted as a result. I was seeking a better understanding and I wanted to find my own roots and place in the story of MacGregor. In the Society in Scotland I found both. From the outset, I was thrilled by the focus on properly understanding our history and heritage. I was given a list of 10 books every Gregor should read. At the same time I was advised to not take everything I read (in any given account) as the whole story, that it was best to explore topics from many points of view because in doing so a clearer and more rounded picture would emerge. This made sense and an amazing journey of discovery and purpose was launched.

Since that time the Society has been a leader in actively using DNA to probe and test historical connections or confirm Gregor origins. Researching, finding and documenting important structures on our traditional clan lands continue. Important research papers and meaningful clan related information is routinely shared amongst membership. We have a wonderful newsletter that is robust with stories of interest to Gregors worldwide. Gatherings are held from time to time to bring us together.

Here at last is a Society on the move. I appreciate the fact that we are much more than just another Scottish social club.

*What is the Clan's origins and history?

This is a big story. Too big for here, so I’m going to focus on Gregors here in Canada.One of the driving forces behind formation of a Canadian Chapter was to bring forward the contributions, past and present, of Gregors in their new country. This includes our current young people and their involvement in the modern world.

Canada has a higher percentage of people of direct Scottish decent than any other nation. In Great Scots! How the Scots Invented Canada, author Matthew Shaw offers that Canada is Scotland’s answer to British rule as it provided an outlet for the ambition and ingenuity of Scottish immigrants, and in the process, the Scots built a great nation. True, Scottish explorers, traders and pioneers were the vanguard of entrepreneurs opening up this vast rugged land, but as the forward to Shaw’s book notes, “ was in politics, and in particular the act of Confederation that the Scottish genius shone the brightest. Indeed, Canada’s existence as an independent state in North America , a nation apart from the American super power, is a balancing act that owes much to a Scottish sense of the possible, the Scottish style of management and their own long history of living in the lee of a great power.”[1]

The same can be said of Clan Gregor. A little research reveals that Gregors have carried this same spirit forward in the development of Canada. Here are just a few bearing the surname of MacGregor. No doubt there are many more;

  • John McGregor, one of the first permanent residents in Canada when the Hector landed in Nova Scotia
  • James MacGregor, first Gaelic speaking Protestant minister in Nova Scotia
  • Barry MacGregor, actor and director of the Shaw and Stratford Festivals
  • Bruce MacGregor, Hockey player and Edmonton Oiler’s Assistant Manager for four Stanley Cups
  • Gordon MacGregor, Builder of the Ford Motor Co. of Canada
  • James D. McGregor, pioneer in development of agriculture and stock breeding
  • James G. MacGregor, historian and popular author of the history of western Canada
  • James K McGregor distinguished doctor and founder of the McGregor Clinic
  • John MacGregor Canada’s most distinguished soldier awarded the Victoria Cross
  • Roy MacGregor Columnist and popular author of over 30 best-selling books

Without question, many unsung MacGregors figured prominently in Canadian history and we need to understand and honour their achievements both modest and bold.  It is for this reason that we have formed a Canadian Chapter.

[1] The Honourable Duff Robin P.C., C.C., O.M., L.L.

*How has it evolved over the years?

The new Canada Chapter was formed and recognized by our Chief, Sir Malcolm and Council as a Chapter of the Clan Gregor Society in September 2012. This was built around a nucleus of Society members present in Canada. There has been an independent Canadian Clan Gregor organization in Canada since the early 1980’s. This group has done a wonderful job of keeping the flame of MacGregor alive and we look forward to building on this strong foundation. While effective as an organization, it was never established as a chapter of the larger world wide Clan Gregor Society formed in 1822 and under the leadership and direction of the Chief and Council in Scotland. Under the umbrella of the Society, Canadian Gregors can now participate more fully in bringing the history, heritage and expanded resources of the Society to life as part of this larger community. We are exploring the benefits of merging the two organizations and are committed to working out the practical details subject to each respective organization’s needs and by-laws. Several Canadian Gregor Society members have already joined the Chapter and more are anticipated in the near future.

*How many members are actively involved?

We currently have 23 members on the active list and another 50 or more in consideration.

*Where are Clan members from and how do they find you

Our members are from across Canada. We have active memberships in 7 Provinces and two expatriates living in the USA.

Inquiries should be directed to:

The Clan Gregor Society Canada Chapter

PO Box 232,

Dorset ON, P0A 1E0

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*What kinds of Clan-related events do members participate in?

The Society is most interested in working within the Canadian Scottish community to strengthen ties and help coordinate efforts to keep our connections with Scotland alive and meaningful for the future. The Chapter focus is to bring to light and emphasize the many significant contributions of Canadian MacGregors, while sharing and disseminating information about the history and heritage of the Clan, events and related things of interest to engage Gregors here in Canada. Our Newsletter, The Maple Leaf MacGregor is published bi-annually in the spring and fall.

Organizations all over the world struggle to keep members and relevance in modern society, especially with young people. We are committed to working hard to further these important objectives through participation in Highland Games, and building social and organizational contacts and connections. To further these aims, the Canada Chapter is a member of CASSOC, the Canadian Association of Scottish Clans, We enjoy and look forward to building effective relationships with our sister organizations, American Clan GregorSociety , COSCA and SAHCA in the US and Australia as a part of this effort.

Our Chief, Sir Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor, is the current Convener of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs and is working to build partnerships all over the world to strengthen common ties within the Scotland and it’s diaspora.

*What does the Clan have planned for the rest of 2013 and in the years to come? 

Here in Canada, as we are in the fledgling stage we are selectively participating in several of the premier Highland games. In the future, we hope to expand this with regional representation and increased membership participation. We will have a strong presence this summer at the Glengarry Highland Games in Maxville, the home of the North American Pipe Band championships and the last stop before the World’s in Edinburgh. The other venue will be the Fergus Games, also one of the largest in the country and the site of our annual general meeting. There will be other venues yet to be determined.

Going forward, in 2014 the Society in Scotland is hosting a worldwide Gathering of MacGregors in Stirling in July as part of the anniversary celebrations of Bannockburn.

In Clan Gregor Society it’s more than just wearing the kilt or sporting some MacGregor tartan. We believe in and count upon strong participation. Membership has its privileges, not the least of which is doing one’s part in keeping the flame of Gregor alive and moving forward.

Wayne MacGregor Parker

Response from Richard McGregor, Chairman Clan Gregor Society, Scotland

*How long have you been involved in the Clan and in what capacity?

For me personally since 1984, from 1993 as Vice Chairman and since 1995 as Chairman (re-elected annually)

*What inspired you to get involved, and stay involved?

Genealogy. First interested when parents emigrated to Canada and left behind documentation. Genealogy at is best is always driven by the question 'I wonder what happened before that' - so I have spent the last 30 years building up a database and collection of resources which cover the clan and its various family groups across Scotland. There's always something new to learn - that's why I created a MacGregor clan DNA project in 2002 which now has over 800 members worldwide

*What is the Clan's origins and history?

This could fill a book (and does). Tradition says the origin is King Alpin but the first historical figure we know is Ian Cam MacGregor died 1390 in Glenstrae buried in Dalmally. All MacGregors supposedly descend from him though the DNA project suggests that about 53% of those who bear the name do and 47% do not, so must have adopted the name for other reasons.  The clan originally had lands round Loch Awe but lost them to the Campbells and after various bloody incidents were finally outlawed (the name was banned) in 1603. Nearly 100 male MacGregors were slain during the next 10 years (and that's the ones we know about) in a concerted effort to purge the MacGregors out of existence (and included branding of women and children). After a brief respite in 1660-93 the name was again proscribed for supporting the Stuart family pretensions to the throne of the U.K., and the name was only reinstated in 1774. As a result there are many people with different surnames that were adopted at the time of prescription who never took the name back - some of these, like Stirling, Drummond, Bain have been identified from the DNA project. The DNA project has also identified different lines of MacGregors, much smaller in size, from Ireland, Rosshire and Perthshire. There are also many aliases associated with the clan - such as Grier, Grierson, Peterson etc and it is assumed these were adopted when the name MacGregor was banned.

*How has it evolved over the years?

The Clan Society started in 1822 as the third Clan Society in Scotland. Apart from some short periods of inactivity the Society has functioned across these last 190+ years in a constant manner - having Objects that support the education of clan members, the preservation of culture and artifacts and the dissemination of knowledge about the clan and its history, and genealogy. Lately as you might expect this has been through internet sources (one of the worst aspects of the internet is the promulgation of inaccurate false and invented information as fact so our goal is accuracy and evidenced statement).

*How many members are actively involved?

Depends what you mean by active. we have a membership of about 700, a council of 14 members, about 25-40 attend the annual AGM, and anything from 40 to 200 attend annual gatherings (every four years there is an International gathering which attracts between 80 and 200 people). We regularly receive queries about the clan which we always answer, we provide genealogy services largely for free for members, we have a large amount of historical information available for members and non members and every year we produce 2 newsletters which contain both 'social' and 'historical' articles

*Where are Clan members from and how do they find you?

All over the world but predominantly in former British Commonwealth and America/Canada.many come via the internet, or through Chapters of the Society in America, Canada and Germany often via Highland games, also, by word of mouth

*What kinds of Clan-related events do members participate in?

Highland Games, social events, Gathering weekends, which in Scotland include trips out to clan lands or other areas of interest

*What does the Clan have planned for the rest of 2013 and in the years to come?

AGM and Gathering in Scotland in July, and in 2014 International gathering based in Stirling (again in July) which currently has about 200 people booked to attend a ten day long series of events.,  Chapters have their own social gatherings and many attend the Highland games local to their geographical area

Richard McGregor