name Campbell is said to be derived from two Gaelic words,
"cam" meaning twisted and "beul" meaning
mouth, these features traditionally belonging to Gillespie
O Duithne who lived early in the 13th century. Some historians
suggest that the most likely origin of the family is Flemish,
coming over with William the Conqueror in 1066. Ancestors
of the Campbells used the Flemish name Erkinbald (Archibald
in Scotland). Others say that the line goes back to the Britons
of Strathclyde. A former name for the Campbells was "Clann
O'Dhuine" and Duine's son was Diarmid and so the name
"Clan Diarmid" is also used. There are a number
of main branches of Campbell - Argyll, Breadalbane and Cawdor.
The first Campbell in written records is Gillespie Campbell
in 1263 although it would appear that the clan had been established
in Argyll at an earlier date. Archibald Campbell obtained
the Lordship of Lochow when he married the King's Treasurer
and Sir Colin Campbell of Lochow, knighted in 1280, founded
the Campbells of Argyll. Sir Colin was killed in a skirmish
with the MacDonald Lords of the Isles and a cairn still marks
the spot where he fell. From him, the title "MacCailean
Mor" or "Son of Great Colin" has been carried
by the clan chief to this day.
Sir Neil Campbell supported Robert the Bruce and was rewarded
with lands forfeited by the Macdougals. Sir Neil also married
King Robert's sister and their son, John, was created Earl
of Atholl. Another Colin Campbell was made Earl of Argyll
in 1457 and his son, Archibald, who was Lord High Chancellor,
was killed at Battle of Flodden in 1513.
The fifth earl commanded Mary Queen of Scots' army at the
Battle of Langside in 1568, while his brother supported the
opposition. Archibald, the 10th Earl was a close supporter
of William of Orange and was rewarded with the title of Duke
of Argyll and Marquess of Lorne and Kintyre in 1703.
The Campbells are still remembered for the massacre of 38
MacDonalds in Glencoe on 12 February 1692, in an act of treachery.
The government troops who carried out the orders were led
by a Captain Robert Campbell but the orders were signed by
the Secretary of State, Sir John Dalrymple, Earl of Stair.
Campbells were noted as staunch supporters of the government
both in the early years when they opposed the MacDonald Lordship
of the Isles and later opposed the Jacobite Uprisings. They
were well rewarded for their loyalty - and also married shrewdly
to extend their lands and power. By the 19th century they
owned 40 estates covering almost 1.25 million acres, most
of it owned by the Duke of Argyll. Castles with Campbell connections
are Dunstaffnage near Oban, Cawdor near Inverness and Inverary
in Argyll (the latter is the seat of the current clan chief).
Campbell was the 8th most frequent surname at the General
Register Office in 1995.
The Campbell motto is "Ne obliviscaris" ("Do
A number of other clans/families are septs (sub-branches)
of the Campbells, including Burns/Burnes, Caddell, Hastings,
Hawes/Haws/Hawson, Lorne, Loudon, MacConnechy, MacDermid/MacDiarmid,
McIsaac, MacIver/MacIvor, MacKellar, MacKelvie, MacLehose,
MacOwen, MacPhedran, MacTavish, MacUre, Pinkerton and Ure.
Information courtesy of RampantScotland.com
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