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Shaw Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: FIDE ET FORTITUDINE (By faith and fortitude)

Your family, the Highland Shaws of Tordarroch, stand distinct from the Lowland Schaws, each with their own unique heritage. Your Highland lineage traces its roots back to Shaw Macduff, a valiant descendant of Duncan, Earl or Thane of Fife. This remarkable figure was entrusted with the guardianship of the strategic Inverness royal castle by Malcolm IV. The legacy of Shaw Macduff’s successors, known as the ‘Mhic an Toiseach’ or the ‘sons of the Thane’, flourished around Inverness, steadfastly supporting the royal government.

The tale unfolds with Shaw Macduff’s grandson, who secured lands at Rothiemurchus in 1236. Faced with challenges from the formidable Clan Comyn, his son Ferquhard sought an alliance with the influential Macdonalds. The union of Angus, Ferquhard’s son and the sixth chief of Mackintosh, with Eva, Dougall Dall’s descendant, marked the emergence of the vast tribal confederation called Clan Chattan, and within it, the foundation of Clan Shaw under its first chief, John.

By 1468, Aedh, the grandson of Clan Chattan’s second chief, established himself at Tordarroch, a strategically positioned site overlooking the River Nairn. His followers formed a powerful force known as Clan Aedh or Ay. Meanwhile, the Mackintosh chief’s untimely death in 1524 left an infant heir, William, under the supposed guardianship of the Earl of Moray. This sparked conflict with Clan Chattan retaliating against Moray. Alan Ciar Maclain, leading Clan Ay, raided the earl’s lands, resulting in fines and the sale of Rothiemurchus’s feu to the Earl of Huntly. Through years of resilience, the ties of Clan Chattan grew stronger.

Historic events marked your family’s journey. In 1715, William Mackintosh of Borlum called upon Clan Chattan to champion the Jacobite cause. The Shaws, led by Robert and Angus, showed remarkable discipline, bravery, and equipment in their service. Imprisonment followed the uprising’s collapse, yet the spirit of your family endured.

As time went on, the flame of loyalty remained undiminished. Your family’s commitment to the Jacobite cause in 1745 saw many Shaws rally under the prince’s banner. Lady Anne, the wife of the Mackintosh chief, even called forth the entire Clan Chattan. This unyielding dedication ultimately led to a significant recognition by the Lord Lyon in 1970. Major Iain Shaw of Tordarroch, your forebear and father of the present chief, was acknowledged for bearing the undifferenced arms of the name, establishing an unbroken connection to the ancient earls of Fife. Your family’s history is one of resilience, bravery, and unwavering loyalty, painting a vivid tapestry that continues to inspire admiration today.

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Family Crest Motto: FIDE ET FORTITUDINE (By faith and fortitude)

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