Clan Muir

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Clan Muir
File:Clan member crest badge - Clan Muir.svg
Crest: A savage head couped Proper
Motto Durum patientia frango
Region Lowlands
District East Ayrshire
File:Muir of Muir arms.svg
Clan Muir has no chief, and is an armigerous clan
Historic seat Rowallan Castle

Clan Muir is a Scottish clan that is armigerous (it has no chief recognized by the Court of the Lord Lyon).[1] Historically, holders of the surname Muir (also spelt Moir, Moor, Moore, More, and Mure) can be considered septs of Clan Campbell [2] and septs of Clan Gordon in the highlands.[3] The spelling variation More/Moore is a sept of Clan Leslie in Aberdeenshire.[4] Some members of Clan Muir who trace their ancestry to Ayrshire are septs of Clan Boyd.[5] A single family, the Mores of Drumcork, are septs of Clan Grant.[6]

Origins and history

The Scottish surname Muir originated as name denoting someone who lived beside a moor. The name is derived from the Scots form of the Middle English more, meaning "moor" or "fen".[7][8] Muirs are thought to have descended from the Pictish Celts, of both Ireland and Scotland.[9] The name may alternately derive from the Scottish Gaelic word muir, meaning sea, or mòr meaning of great size, tall and important, as in duine mòr, a great man or considerable personage.[10]

Mures of Rowallan

The family is said to have come from Ireland. Polkelly seems to have been the most ancient property held in Scotland by the Mures. An Archibald Mure was slain at Berwick in 1298 when Baliol's army was routed.[11]

The Mures were prominent figures throughout the history of Scotland, from Sir Gilchrist Mure, who married the daughter and sole heir of Sir Walter Comyn with the blessing of King Alexander III, for his part in the battle of Largs.[12] This secured the family seat at Rowallan Castle. Another version states that Gilchrist Mure was dispossessed of the house and living at Rowallan by the strong hand of Sir Walter Cuming, and was compelled to keep close in his castle of Polkelly until the King Alexander III raised sufficient forces to subdue Cuming and his adherents. The family had held Rowallan, in this version, from unknown antiquity.[13]

The conjoined arms of the first Muir of Rowallan were visible on the oldest part of the castle up until the 18th century.[12] Elizabeth Mure,[15] daughter of Sir Adam Mure of Rowallan and Jannet Mure, was mistress to Robert Stewart (who later became Robert II of Scotland in 1371).[16] Later on 22 November 1347 she married him by Papal dispensation to legitimize their previously born children.[16] After their legal marriage, Elizabeth Mure was styled Countess of Atholl, and her surname became Stewart. Elizabeth died sometime before 1355.[16]

Sir Gilchrist Muir built two chapels, one at the Well named for Saint Laurence and the other at Banked named for Saint Michael. The vestiges of these were still visible in 1876. He also built the chapel of Kilmarnock, commonly called Muir's Isle (sic).[14]

One of the Sir Robert Mures was slain at the Battle of Sark. His namesake was called the Rud of Rowallane, being large in stature, very strong and prone to pugilism; these characteristics neatly define the meaning of this archaic Scots word. He wasted his inheritance and during his lifetime a protracted feud took place with the house of Ardoch (Craufurdland) which resulted in much bloodshed. The 'Rud' resigned his lands in favour of his son John, who married a mistress of James IV.[17]

Campbells, Lairds of Rowallan

The tartan associated with Clan Muir was documented in John Ross's, Land of the Scottish Gael published in 1930.

Sir William Mure was the sixteenth and last Mure of Rowallan. He served in Germany under Gustavus Adolphus. One of his daughters married Sir James Campbell of Lawers, third son of the Earl of Loudoun, who thus became Laird of Rowallan. His son, Major-General James Mure Campbell of Rowallan (1726–86), became the fifth Earl of Loudoun in 1782. His only daughter's great-grandson, Charles Rawdon-Hastings, 11th Earl of Loudoun succeeded in 1874 and held the lands of Rowallan as Laird.[12]

Cadet branches

Sir Adam Mure's three younger brothers gave rise to numerous branches of the Mure family who settled in Caldwell, Aucheneil, Thornton, Glanderstoun, Treescraig, Auchendrane, Cloncaird, Craighead Park, Middleston, Spittleside and Brownhill.[12]

Clan motto

  • Motto - Durum Patientia Frango (By patience I break what is hard).[18]

Associated names

Clan Muir does not have any septs, though common variations of the name Muir or Moore are associated with the clan.

  • Muir/More/Moore/Mure - more common in Ayrshire and areas in the Southwest lowlands[19]
  • Moar/Moare/Moer - more common in Orkney and Shetland [19]
  • Moir/Moire - more common in Aberdeenshire and areas in the Southeast lowlands [19]
  • Mohr/Mor - more common in the Central lowlands [19]
  • Moor/Mur
  • Mour/Moure
  • Myre/Myres
  • Langmoore/Longmuir
  • O'More/O'Morhda/O'Moore - more common in Ireland [19]
  • Moore/Morey - more common in Ireland
  • de Mora - more common in Ireland

Clan affiliation by spelling variation

Clan membership

Clan membership is determined by surname. According to Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw, if a person has a particular sept name which can be attributed to a number of clans, either they should determine from which part of Scotland their family originally came from and owe allegiance to the clan of that area or, alternatively, if they do not know where they came from, they should owe allegiance to the clan to which their family had traditionally owed allegiance. Alternatively, they may offer allegiance to any of the particular named clans in the hope that the Chief will accept them as a member of his clan. Thus if a person offers his allegiance to a particular Chief by joining his clan society or by wearing his tartan, he can be deemed to have elected to join that particular clan and should be viewed as a member of that clan.[20] Members of Clan Muir who do not give their allegiance to any of the clans that list their surname as a sept or who do not have a family history of belonging to any of the aforementioned clans wear the Muir tartan.

See also


  1. "Official Scottish Clans and Families". 2002-08-28. Retrieved 2011-10-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Septs of Clan Campbell". Retrieved 2011-10-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Lois M Todd/House of Gordon USA. "House Of Gordon USA About Us". Retrieved 2011-10-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "index". Retrieved 2011-10-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Septs of Boyd Clan". Retrieved 2011-10-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Septs". Retrieved 2011-10-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Learn about the family history of your surname". Retrieved 24 October 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>. This website cited: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Black, George Fraser (1946), The Surnames of Scotland: Their Origin, Meaning, and History, New York: New York Public Library, p. 617<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Clan Muir". Clan Muir. Retrieved 2011-10-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. MacLennan, Malcolm (1991), A Pronouncing and Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language, Stornoway: Acair and Aberdeen University Press, ISBN 0-08-025713-5<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Paterson, James (1866), History of the Counties of Ayr and Wigton. Pub. James Stillie, Edinburgh. Vol.III. P. 437 - 447.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Miller, A. H. (1885). The Castles and Mansions of Ayrshire. Reprinted by The Grimsay Press, 2004. ISBN 1-84530-019-X P. 128.
  13. Adamson, Archibald R. (1875), Rambles Round Kilmarnock. Pub. T. Stevenson, Kilmarnock. P. 144 -145.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Dobie, James. (1876) Cuninghame Topographized by Timothy Pont. Pub. John Tweed, Glasgow. Facing P. 364. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Dobie" defined multiple times with different content
  15. A painting of Elizabeth Mure
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "Person Page 10210". Retrieved 2011-10-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Adamson, Archibald R. (1875), Rambles Round Kilmarnock. Pub. T. Stevenson, Kilmarnock. P. 146.
  18. Dobie, James. (1876) Cuninghame Topographized by Timothy Pont. Pub. John Tweed, Glasgow. Facing P. 402.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 Jann Muir (2008-02-28). "Clann Muir WorldWide ~ Durum Patientia Franco". Retrieved 2011-10-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Clans, Families and Septs". 2001-08-13. Retrieved 2011-10-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links