Clan Darroch

Clan Darroch
Clann Domhnuill Riabhaich[1]
Motto Be Watchful[2]
Region Highlands and Lowlands
District Inner Hebrides (Highland)
Stirling (Lowland)
Claire Darroch of Gourock
The Chief of Clan Darroch (McIllreich[1])

Clan Darroch is a Scottish clan.[1]


Origins of the name

The name Darroch is said to derive from Macdara which is Scottish Gaelic for son of oak.[1] The Darrochs settled around Stirling and the name appears to have been derived from the lands of Darroch, near Falkirk, where there may have once been an oak grove.[1] In accordance with this legend the chief's arms bear three oak trees.[1]

There is a tradition in the West Highlands that the surname borne there is derived from the Gaelic Dath riabhach, which is said to be a short form of Mac 'Ille riabhach; although etymologist George Fraser Black thought such a derivation doubtful.[3] The present line of chiefs, recognised as such by the Lord Lyon King of Arms since the late 18th century, claimed to descend from a "McIlliriech" from Jura.[4]

Darrochs of Stirling

In 1406 John Darroch was ballie of Stirling.[1] Later, in 1445, John Darach de Cruce is mentioned and is maybe the same person who was Commissioner to Parliament for the burgh of Stirling by the name of John Darraugh.[1] In 1462 the nurse of Lady Margaret Stewart, daughter of James II of Scotland was Mariote Darrauch.[1] Marion Darroch of Stirling protested in 1471 that she had not given consent to the alienation of an annual rent owed to her.[1] In 1477 Jacobus Darroch appears as a witness to a charter to the lands of the Stirlings of Keir.[1]

Darrochs of the Inner Hebrides

The Darrochs were most numerous on the Isle of Islay and Isle of Jura.[1] Here they were part of the larger Clan Donald.[1] These Darrochs were known as the Clann Domhnuill Riabhaich which is a corrption of dath riabhach, which is Gaelic for brindled colour.[1] This was to distinguish them from the fair headed inhabitants of Jura, who were known as dath buidhe - from which the name 'Bowie' is derived.[1]

The Mic ille Riabhaich appear in 1623 on a bond acknowledging as their overlord, Sir Donald MacDonald, 1st Baronet of Sleat.[1] In the bond MacDonald promises in return due protection.[1]

The Gaelic patronymic of the Darroch chief became McIllreich.[1]

18th century

The Barons of Gourock were descended from the McIllreich of Jura.[1] Duncan Darroch who had been born on Jura, probably in the early 18th century, settled in Jamaica.[1] There he amassed a considerable estate and prospered.[1] However he was determined to return to his native soil and in 1784 acquired the lands and barony of Gourock from the Stewarts of Castlemilk.[1] He was designated Chief of that ancient name the patronymic of which is McIllreich by the Lord Lyon King of Arms.[1]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 Way, George and Squire, Romily. Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. (Foreword by The Rt Hon. The Earl of Elgin KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). Published in 1994. Pages 116 - 117.
  2. Clan Darroch Profile Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  3. Black, George Fraser (1946), The Surnames of Scotland: Their Origin, Meaning, and History, New York: New York Public Library, p. 201
  4. Burke's landed gentry of Great Britain, page=278.

External links

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