Millionaire stakes claim to be named head of clan Buchanan

A Scottish landowner hopes to become the first chieftain of an ancient clan in more than three centuries.

The Buchanan clan has been without a head since 1682, when 15th chief John Buchanan died, leaving no male heir apparent nor finalising arrangements for his title to be passed on.

And now millionaire John Michael Baillie-Hamilton Buchanan, who owns Cambusmore Estate near Callander, has petitioned the Lord Lyon for the title.

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The 58-year-old believes he has a hereditary right to title as a descendant of Francis Buchanan of Arnprior, who was executed for high treason for his role in the 1745 Jacobite uprising and named by Sir Walter Scott as the true Buchanan leader.

The father-of-four said: “It has been 300 years since there was a chieftain at Clan Buchanan and, yes, I am keen.

“The notice period is 42 days but I’d not be surprised if that got extended. Anybody who has a claim will have to declare themselves and the Lord Lyon can decide on the matter.”

The Court of the Lord Lyon has made the claim public for any objections or claims to the title to be made. Local clansfolk have been campaigning for their chief to be reinstated but until now no candidate had been able to demonstrate their right.

Elizabeth Roads, Lyon Clerk and Keeper of the Records, said: “In a case such as this, where no one has recorded the principal coat of arms of the name for a very long period, any petition to do so must be advertised so anyone else who thinks they may have a better claim has the chance to come forward.

“Inevitably, when the direct line of descent has not been maintained, there may be 
several people who understand that they stand in a more senior position to other claimants. This is an unusual case in the sense such a long time has passed without anybody going for the title.

“That is why it is being advertised because there may be people out there who we don’t know anything about but may feel they have a better claim. But we don’t know if anyone else will enter.”

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Lloyd Gibson, president of Clan Buchanan Society International, said: “We applaud Mr Hamilton for his actions and energy – it takes a huge effort to do what he has done.

“We wish all the best for Mr Hamilton in this endeavour.”