Clan Buchanan is considered the 5th largest Highland Clan Worldwide, with over 5 million clansmen located in almost every country. 

Clan Buchanan is comprised of over 50 affiliated families (or Septs) and our history dates back to 1016 or earlier on the banks of Loch Lomond, northwest of Glasgow. 

According to DNA, our forebears were located on the shores of Loch Lomond, in the Auld Kingdom of Alba, well before the year 1000 (CE) and possibly going way beyond that.

A rich arrary of activities are provided by the Clan Buchanan Society International. Click here to learn more

The Leadership of the Clan

In keeping with the modern organisation and clan folks’ expectations, the Clan is democratic and inclusive in its approach and decision-making.

The Clan is led by the Clan Chief, the first amongst equals, and is supported by groups (that comprise the Clan Court) that can be drawn on for advice and action.

The Clan has traditional or symbolic roles as well as delivering on important strategic and operational aspects. These are reflected in the traditional and modern clan organisational arrangements. The traditional organisation of the clan includes the Chief’s Household, the Clan Parliament and the Clan’s Armigers. The modern is the Clan’s Society, the Clan Buchanan Society International (CBSI).

The role of a chief

Unlike the pre-18th-century chiefs, a 21st-century chief is not going to lead their clan in war or demand rents and levies.

  • adds to the clan’s sense of completeness;

  • adds to the perceived prestige of the clan;

  • performs and adds dignity to ceremonial duties;

  • enables the clan to speak with one voice;

  • helps to focus clan effort on matters of clan wide interest;

  • represents clan interests in multi-clan forums;

  • promotes the right use of chiefly arms and associated heraldry;

  • promotes a general awareness and increased use of heraldry by the clan folk;

  • interacts with the clan society in a similar way to how a constitutional monarchy interacts with the elected governments of his or her subjects;

  • appoints lieutenants to represent them when they cannot be present; and

  • uses modern communications to achieve effective (sometimes synchronous) communication between him or herself, the lieutenants and the clan folk.

Timeline of Buchanan Arms and Badges

1445 Coat of Arms of the
Chief of Clan Buchanan

Or, a chevron compony counter-compony Azure and Argent between three bears’ heads erased Gules


Coat of Arms of the Chief
of Clan Buchanan
Est circa 1455

On a Gold shield, a Black lion rampant, scattered with golden tears, all within a Black border flory counterflory

Crest of Clan Buchanan

Clan Buchanan Crest

A dexter hand holding a ducal cap proper, tufted on the top with a rose gules, within two laurel branches disposed orleways proper

Coat of Arms of the Chief
of Clan Buchanan

(recreated). As apearing in The Buchanan’s formal Arms (right)

Coat of Arms of the Chief of Clan Buchanan.


Buchanan Clan Jewels and inauguration regalia

One of the consequences of the absence of a Buchanan Chief (since 1682) is that we sadly have large gaps in our Buchanan Clan’s ceremonial past and insignia heritage. The lack of clear succession left by the last chief, resulted in both the physical loss of all the ancient Buchanan family charters and any accompanying insignia.

The charters seemingly stayed with the building and were fortunately put into the National Museums of Scotland’s collections by the Montrose family who now own the buildings. With the insignia largely gone, any ceremonies created around their presence, were also lost.

These have not only been gathered or recreated to support the Inauguration ceremony, but they are also intended to act as symbols to revive the importance of key elements of Buchanan histories to current clan life. They will be the focus of all the future inaugurations as well as other major Buchanan events held at the Clan Seat.

The Buchanan family have recreated and resurrected these artefacts to continue and renew our clan culture !

The manufacture of most of these new jewels was project managed by Roddy Young, silversmith of Inverness, plus he designed and sculpted all the silverware.

More details on the manufacture and symbolism are available at 

Photography by Stewart Attwood and Ian Georgeson