Scottish clan to gather to inaugurate first chief in 340 years

It was a Scottish clan without a chief for 340 years – but no more.

Now, a worldwide call has been put out for clan members to reunite for the inauguration of the first Buchanan Clan Chief since the 17th Century.

Clan Buchanan is calling on clansfolk, affiliated families and supporters to gather for the historic occasion at its modern clan seat, the Cambusmore Estate in Perthshire, in October.

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The inauguration ceremony, which last took place in the 17th century, follows the appointment of John Michael Baillie-Hamilton Buchanan as Chief of Clan Buchanan.

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He will lead the first Clan Parliament in over 350 years to explore the future of Clan Buchanan and discuss how its traditions can be celebrated in modern times.

The Chief of Clan Buchanan, 63, said: “The clan has a thriving global community of more than five million people so we’re calling for Buchanans, affiliated families and supporters around the world to unite for this incredible moment in Buchanan history.

“For centuries our ancient clan was left without a Chief or Clan Parliament but this year we’re finally gathering in Scotland. This is a chance to restore Scottish traditions that have been confined to the history books for hundreds of years, bringing them back with a thoroughly modern twist.”

John Michael Baillie-Hamilton Buchanan will be inaugurated as the first Chief of Clan Buchanan in 340 years PIC: Stewart Attwood Photography.

The last Chief of Clan Buchanan was John Buchanan, who died in 1681 without a male heir. The October ceremony will feature millennia-old clan inauguration rituals and a stone ‘throne’ carved by specialist craftsmen.

New ‘clan jewels’ have also been carefully reconstructed following years of historic research. These include the ancestral Sword of Leny, a white rod to symbolise clan justice and a falcon-shaped sguian dubh, the small knife traditionally worn with a kilt.

The inauguration will be the centrepiece of a weekend of celebrations in the picturesque setting of Cambusmore Manor in Callander, which is home to the chief. Scottish ceremonial traditions, including a Clan Court and a ceilidh, will be enjoyed.

The appointment of The Buchanan, a former civil engineer, was the culmination of decades of genealogical research conducted by renowned genealogist, the late Hugh Peskett, who famously traced President Ronald Reagan’s Irish ancestry in the 1980s.

The new Chief is calling on clan members from around the world to join in him celebrating his inauguration in October. PIC: Stewart Attwood Photography 2022.

While Clan Buchanan can be traced back to 1010 AD in Scotland, its global community includes members from across Great Britain, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa among many other countries.

Over 120 affiliated family surnames are recognised as part of the clan including Watson, Morris, Richardson, Coleman, Gilbert, Walter and Harper.

They are represented by the world’s oldest clan society, the Buchanan Society, which was established in 1725 to support members of the clan in times of hardship, and the worldwide Clan Buchanan Society International.

David J. Byrne, President of Clan Buchanan Society International based in the USA, said: “We're eagerly looking forward to the inauguration of our new Chief, which will demonstrate to the world that Clan Buchanan is still a vital and thriving family with a shared history.”

John Michael Baillie-Hamilton Buchanan, pictured with his wife, Lady Buchanan, his daughter Lucy and son Rory. PIC: Stewart Attwood Photography.

The Clan Chief Inauguration will take place on Saturday 8 October as part of a weekend celebration beginning on Friday 7 to Monday 10 October 2022. Tickets and further information are available at theclanbuchanan.com/inauguration.

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