History of Clan Urquhart

Clan Urquhart is of ancient Celtic origin. Associated during most of its history with the northeast of Scotland, the Clan derives its name from Glen Urquhart and Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness.

Traditional history traces the descent of the Urquharts from Conachar Mor, scion of the Royal House of Ulster, a mighty warrior and hunter who ruled over the territory around Urquhart Castle during prehistoric times. Hero of a Gaelic legend, Conachar Mor killed a wild boar of extraordinary fierceness from which no man had ever escaped.

Conachar’s descendant, William de Urchard, the first Chief of the Clan whose name appears in written Scottish records, was a staunch supporter of Robert the Bruce.

Adam de Urchard, second Chief, became Baron and Sheriff of Cromarty about 1358, and for over three hundred years, the Chiefs of the Clan held the Barony of Cromarty as their principal seat where they erected an imposing castle overlooking Cromarty Firth.

Younger sons of the family acquired extensive land holdings of their own, establishing themselves as Lairds of Meldrum, Byth, Craigston, Craighouse, Kinbeachie, Newhall, Braelangwell, and Burdsyards.

From 1741 until 1898, the seat of the Chief of Clan Urquhart was the Barony of Meldrum in Aberdeenshire. The last Chief of the Meldrum line was Major Beauchamp Urquhart, an officer of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, who was killed in action. The Chiefship passed to his cousin, Urquhart of Braelangwell.

In 1959, Wilkins Fisk Urquhart was recognized by the Lord Lyon as Chief of the Name and Head of Clan Urquhart. He was succeeded in 1974 by his son, the 27th Chief of Clan Urquhart, Kenneth Trist Urquhart of Urquhart, who died in October 2012. The 28th Chief is his eldest son, Colonel Wilkins Fisk Urquhart of Urquhart (USAF Ret.).

The seat of the Clan is Castle Craig, the ancient Urquhart fortress on the Cromarty Firth, which the clan hopes to preserve as a clan focal point.