Clan Fergus(s)on History


Clan Fergus(s)on is a Scottish clan.  Known as the Sons of Fergus they have spread across Scotland from as far as Ross-shire in the north to Dumfriesshire in the south.

The name Fergusson, or Ferguson, and its history originates in Antrim in north-eastern Ireland, extending to the shores of Dalriada on the western coasts of what eventually became Scotland, under Fergus mor Mac Erc, and onwards into the Highlands and to Dunkeld. The Fergussons in Argyllshire claim descent from Fergus Mor mac Erc, King of Scots c.500. The Fergussons of Kilkerran in Ayrshire descend from Fergus, Lord of Galloway in the reigns of David I and Malcolm IV. The Fergussons of Craigdarroch in Dumfriesshire have a recorded history that dates from a Charter from David II in the 14th century. The name Fergusson within Scotland first appear in Kintyre, and Kilkerran, whilst the name of the Clan Seat in Ayrshire, derives from St Ciaran, one of the twelve apostles of Ireland who landed at Dalruadhain in the 6th century.


A Fergus who lived in Ireland about 300 B.C is credited by medieval historians as the founder of Scotland’s monarchy. By 500 A.D. the Scots under King Fergus Mor had left Northern Ireland and became established in Dalriada, now Argyll. The Fergusons or Fergussons, are a very ancient clan of Gaelic origin. They are believed to have descended from Fergus, a Dalriada Prince of Galloway who was married to a daughter of Henry I of England. Prince Fergus was the ruler of Galloway in 1165. They became the Lords of Galloway and Allan, Lord of Galloway witnessed King Alexander II’s charter to the monks of Melrose. Alan was the last Prince of Galloway before it was annexed by Scotland 1234.


Fergussons from both Galloway and Carrick alike claim descent from Fergus of Galloway. The grandfather of Donnchadh, Earl of Carrick and in turn great-great-grandfather to Robert Bruce, Fergus, restored the see of Whithorn and founded Dundrennan Abbey during the reign of David I and Malcolm IV. He died as a monk at Holyrood in 1161. Through Robert Bruce passes the line of the Royal Family of Britain. It was the 1st Earl of Carrick’s signature that might suggest the origins of the Fergusson surname, Duncan, son of Gilbert, the son of Fergus, hence MacFhearguis.


Different branches of Fergusons developed. The “Tract on the Men of Albyn”, one of the oldest documents of ancient Scottish history lists Fergusson. “Some writers believe the Fergussons had their day as a powerful clan prior to the 13th century and became dispersed from Argyll (Dalriada) as the Scots spread into other parts of Scotland. Before the 18th century, at least five groups of Fergussons possessed lands and lived in the style of a clan under their respective chiefs in Argyll, Perthshire, Aberdeenshire, Dumfriesshire, and Ayrshire. Today, the Kilkerran Fergussons in Ayrshire and the family of Fergusson of Baledmund and the Fergussons of Balquhidder, both in Perthshire, are still owners of extensive lands.


“The Craigdarroch branch was the oldest but branches were in Cowalm, Kintyre, Kilkerran, Atholl, Kimmundy, and Pitfour. Like many other Clans of the central Highlanders their territories were scattered and all though kinship existed between the various branches it was not until the 18th century that the Clan was brought together again under one leadership.


The Scottish Gaelic patronymic of Fergus(s)on is MacFhaerghuis which can also be translated as son of the angry. There is a tradition that attributes a common ancestry to the various distinct families bearing the name of Fergus(s)on, however there is no evidence to support this and the heraldry of the chief’s family is significantly different to that of other Fergus(s)on families.


Clan Ferguson Map


















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