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Rose Red Ancient Tartan Kilvarock Castle RoseHunting Tartan
           (Rose Red Ancient Tartan)                 (Kilravock Castle, Scotland)                            (Rose Hunting Tartan)
(Ancestral Home of Rose Clan chief)

Rose Armour Crest (Rose Armour) The ARMORIAL BEARINGS for Rose are,
or, a boar's head couped, gules, between three water bougets, sable.


Rose Motto Rose Badge and Motto "Constant and True"

Rose Clan History and Genealogy Links

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Flower Vine

Rose Clan History

The Gaelic word for clan is clann and means children. So the central idea for clanship is kinship. A clan is a family and theoretically the chief is their father. This idea was not new when adopted by the clans but it has survived in some form longer for the Scots than for any others and became the basis for their society. It has left it's unique mark on them and will ever link them together no matter where they roam and settle.

Not only has it banded together those of the same clan but has banded together a people no matter which clan they were members off. Originally it was their style of dress that stood them apart and binded them together, today it is the Tartan and the Kilt which has developed over many centuries. The Tartan pattern was developed over time to reflect a particular locality, and was only associated with a clan because different clans predominated in each district. Each clan is but a piece of the puzzle and the people or nation make up the whole.

In pre-Roman times Scotland was inhabited by Mainly Celtic People who had arrived in Scotland in three principal waves of immigration. Some came to the east coast by way of the South of England, others by way of Gaul to the south of England; and thirdly from the Continent by way of Ireland. After the Roman departure, five races settled Scotland; the Picts who occupied most of the land North of the Forth and Clyde; the Scots who arrived on the West coast at the beginning of the sixth century in what is now Argyll; the British who had been pressed out of England; the Attacotti who inhabited Galloway; and the Saxons who settled the South-East of Scotland. It is about this time that Christianity was introduced into Scotland by St. Ninian about A.D. 396 and by St. Columba about A.D. 563.

The Roses are either of Irish or Norman descent. No one knows for sure but the Irish descent is thought to be the most probable. Mr. Hugh Rose, the geologist of the Kilravock Family, believed them to be English in origin because of their coat of arms which contains three bouggets (buckets) which was similar to the English family of Roos but this similarity was also carried by other families.

Ros, in Gaelic, signifies a promontory, and it is applied to a headland, either seaward-as it projects into a lake or into a plain, and from whatever place the unknown founder of this clan may have acquired the name, or however it may have become softened into Rose, the only probability is, that dwelling in such a locality, he would naturally be styled "de Ros." Ros is, indeed, a rose; but it is by no means likely that any kelt or clan would accept a name with such little significance and so unmanly.

The Norman descent comes from the notion that the first clan Chief Hugh Rose was a protegee of Bishop Odo, half brother to William the Conqueror.

The Rosses, or Roses, were in other parts of Scotland as early as the time of King David I.; but the documentary history of the Kilravock family commences in the reign of Alexander II , A. D. 1241 -- 1285 at which time they held the lands of Geddes, in the county of Inverness, Hugh Rose appearing as a witness around the year 1219 to the foundation of the Priory of Beaulieu or Beauly by John Bisset of Lovat.

The Clan Rose, descended from Hugh Rose of Geddes who came over from Ireland in the early 12th century, being one of the original Maray clans. They were, before the forfeiture of the last Lord of the Isles, vassals of the old Earls of Ross. They are quite separate in origin from Clan Ross. The family of Rose of Kilravock (pronounced Ross of Kilraik) appear to have settled in the county of Nairn, in the North of Scotland, described by some as "the barbarous north."

The name Rose of Geddes changed to Rose of Kilravock when Hugh Rose of Geddes' son, of the same name, acquired the barony or lands of Kilravock near Inverness through his marriage with Mary, daughter of Sir Andrew de Bosco (Knight), of Redcastle, who inherited the barony of Kilravock through her mother Elizabeth (Lady of Kilravock), who was third daughter and co-heiress of Sir John Bisset (Knoight) of Lovat, Kilravock becoming the chief title of the family, Hugh Rose obtained that addition to his possessions, the deed of conveyance being confirmed by charter from King John Baliol, in 1293.

From that period the estate has descended linearly to the present proprietor; and what is uncommon, every link of the pedigree is proved by documents among the public records, or on the family charter chest.

He was succeeded by his son, William, who captured Invernairn Castle from Bruce after his succession in 1306. He married Morella, daughter of Alexander de Doun, by whom he had two sons, Andrew, the second, ancestor of Ross of Auchlossan, , in Mar and Hugh, his successor, the 4th of Kilravock. Hugh, married Janet. Daughter of Sir Robert Chisholm, Constable of the Castle Urguhart on Loch Ness, by whom he received a large tract of land in Strathnairn or Strath Nairn, near Nairn called Cantray.

Hugh Rose the 5th, in 1390, lost the family charters and other documents when they were destroyed by fire in the cathedral church of Beauly in Elgin, where they had been placed for safety. He was succeeded by his son John, 6th of Kilravock, in 1431, and procured a charter de novo of all his lands, in 1433 from James I, a feudal provision for the better security of property against adverse claims, so often preferred in those troubled times, and used frequently as pretexts to cover the outrages consequent on feuds. The wife of this chief was Isabella, daughter of Cheyne, laird of Esslemont, in Aberdeenshire, Hugh, son of this marriage, built the old tower of Kilravock, in 1460, and it is related as somewhat marvelous that he finished it within the year.

From this time onwards the records of the Roses are among the most complete in Scottish family history. The history of the family started in 1633 was finally completed in 1753 and finally published by The Spalding Club in 1848.

His son Hugh Rose the 7th Laird, from 1454, by a license from the Lord of the Isles, built the old tower of Kilravock in 1460. The Baron of Kilravock in law used a seal with the family arms, with the inscription "S. Hugonis Ros Baronis". A style very unusual in Scotland, but which seems to have been adopted by many of the Lairds of Kilravock. The Hugh Rose of 1460 married Loir daughter of Malcolm MacKintosh and had three sons, Hugh his heir ( Captain of the Clan Chattan ) Alexander Progenitor of the Roses of Holme and William. In 1492 he took advantage of a commission from Gordon of Huntly aimed against the MacKenzies to invade Cromarty. The feud ended when Alexander Urguhart's daughter Agnes married the 9th Rose Laird.

Bonds of manrent, or contracts of friendship, were frequently made between different clans, and others, by which the parties bound themselves to "tak oppin upricht pairt in all and sundrie thair causis and querells," as is expressed in one between Kilravock, Lord Forbes, the MacIntosh, and others, 1467, in which they "maid to uther the greit bodilye aith," touching , "the haly Evangell", and declaring, that whoever should break any of the conditions should be held mansworn, renouncing the faith of Christ, and never to be received as a witness "ne ly in kirk, nor Cristin berrial." In a deed of submission, executed in settlement of a dispute between one of the chiefs and two of his neighbours, about 1560, he facetiously signs himself "Hutcheon Rose, of Kilravock, an honest man, ill guided between you baith."

The Barony of Kilravock was erected by James III for Hugh Rose of Kilravock in 1474.

Hugh Rose served heir to his Father in 1493 fifth in descent from him came Hugh Rose of Kilravock, Colonel of the Inverness-shire Regiment for duke Hamiltons engagement. The Roses enjoyed the friendship of the MacKintoshes from a very early date, and by an act of council dated 28th July 1643, 'The broken men of the name of Rose were bound upon MacKintosh who was ordained to be accountable for them."

In May 1648, Hugh Rose married Margaret daughter of Sir John Sinclair of Dunbeath, and had two sons, Hugh his heir , and John of Weoter Barichies. The Colonel died March 1649 and was succeeded by his elder son Hugh Rose who married (first) Margaret daughter of Sir Robert Innes by whom he had (four younger sons who all died childless) Hugh his heir, and two daughters Margaret and Elizabeth. He married (second) Mary daughter of Alexander, tenth Lord Forbes, and had by her five sons, Alexander Colonel of Dragoons. (William, George and Arthur all unmarried) and John who practiced as a Physician in Ireland where he married and left a son John. His father Hugh died in 1687 and was succeeded by his oldest son Hugh Rose of Kilravock Sheriff of Ross - and one of those named by the last Scot's Parliament, to represent Scotland in the first British Parliament in 1797. He married Margaret eldest daughter of Sir Hugh Campbell of Calder and by her had a son Hugh his heir ( He married secondly Jean daughter of James Fraser of Brae and thirdly Catherine Porteous and had by her two sons Arthur Capt. in the Army and Alexander a merchant in Carolina). He died 1732 and was succeeded by his son Hugh Rose of Kilravock who married first Elizabeth daughter of Sir Lewis Grant of Grant by whom he had two sons Hugh his heir and Lewis ( He married second Jean eldest daughter of Hugh Rose of Broadley and by her had two sons John and George both Officers in the Army, and six daughters.

In 1704, this clan was accountable to muster five hundred men, but Marshal Vade estimated their strength, in 1725, at three hundred only , and then he believed them to be well affected to his Majesty.

Hugh, l6th Baron, entertained Prince Charles and the Duke of Cumberland on l4th and l5th April 1746 before the battle of Culloden , on which occasion his manners and deportment were described by his host as most engaging. Having walked out with Mr. Rose, before sitting down, he observed several persons engaged in planting trees, on which he remarked, "How happy, Sir, you must feel, to be thus peaceably employed in adorning your mansion, whilst all the country round is in such commotion." Kilravock was a firm supporter of the Hanoverian family; but his adherence was not solicited, nor his principles alluded to by his Highness. Next day, the Duke of Cumberland called at the castle gate, and when Kilravock went to receive him, he bluffly observed, "So you had my cousin Charles here yesterday." Kilravock replied, that he could not prevent the visit, "you did perfectly right."

Hugh, l6th Baron, died 1755 and was succeeded by his eldest son Hugh Rose of Kilravock Advocate who married Elizabeth daughter of Colonel William Clephane from the ancient family of Carslogie, in Fife, and by her had (with a son who died childless) a daughter and heiress Elizabeth Rose of Kilravock.

On the death of Hugh, l8th Baron, he was succeeded by his sister, Elizabeth, Baroness of Kilravock, and recorded as Representer of the Family, Chief of the Clan, who married her cousin Capt. Hugh Rose of Brea and had a son, Hugh Rose of Kilravock, who married first Katherine daughter of Colonel John Baillie of Dunain County Inverness, and second Katherine daughter of MacKintosh of For and had: Hugh Rose, 20th Baron and Chief by lineal descent of Kilravock born March 1808, 3 other sons and 5 daughters.

The Barons of Kilravock intermarried with the first families in the North, and filled various situations of high trust and honour. The Castle is situated on the bank of the River Nairn. It was built by Hugh, 7th Baron, in 1460 and added to in the seventeenth century. It is still inhabited, and contains much armour, portraits, and family relics. Many Rose ancestors who have visited the Castle have related how they have found striking resemblance to former Clan Chiefs portraits to some of their Rose descendants. It was built on a steep bank, so that a room may be on the ground floor on the one side and on the other very high up. And being narrow from front to back, and facing the sun, it is a bright and cheerful dwelling. It was also designed for strength and stormy times. In the old tower the walls are nine feet thick, with narrow steep little turret stairs in the corners. The interior walls are bare stone with dark beams in the ceiling. Over the big brick fireplace was carved a motto:

RELIGION, JUSTICE, TRUTH, AND THE EXERCISE OF
THE FEAR OF GOD, ARE SURER PRESERVES OF A FAMILY
THAN ALL THE OTHER METHODS AND MEASURES IN THE
WORLD -- FROM THE KILRAVOCK BOOK, 1683

The French Connection with the Rose of Kilravock family is with J. A. Rose who was an extraordinary player in the French Revolution. He was born in Scotland in 1757 and went to Paris in his early years. He became an Usher of the National Assembly but raised himself above that position to become closely related to distinguished figures of that eventful epoch. He was able to inform the unfortunate Louis the Sixteenth of his imminent demise and did likewise for Marie Antoinette. Therefore he was thought of as playing a better role than that of the fictional Scarlet Pimpernel.

Other septs associated with Clan Rose are Barron, Geddes, Baron, Ross.

The Roses have always been a law-abiding clan and were diplomatic in their relations with their neighbors and consequently lived peaceably compared with most other clans. In the time of the Jacobites Risings they leaned to the Hanoverian side, but were diplomatic and easy-going in their relations with both sides. Perhaps because they stood aside from the tumults of the years, they have retained a great store of family relics and valuable old documents. As a result of their way of life the succession of chiefs has come from a direct line for more than six hundred years. The eldest son is almost always named Hugh; in fact, out of twenty-five of the line, nineteen bore the name Hugh.

The castle has over the years had some notable visitors. Mary Queen of Scots, stopped here on her way to Inverness in 1562, and on that occasion she made Hugh Rose of the day Sheriff of the County of Inverness. Her son James VI visited in 1598. Prince Charles Edward Stuart stopped by in April of 1746, shortly before the battle of Culloden, and his host brewed him a punch in the big white and blue bowl that still sits on the dining table. A few days later the Hanoverian Duke of Cumberland dropped in, and he too was cordially treated. In 1922 Queen Mary was an honored guest.

In the Jacobite uprising great numbers died in the battle of Culloden at Culloden Moor, the bid of Prince Charles for the throne of his fathers. Here on a day of sleet and rain in April 1746 the hopes of the Stewart Dynasty died, 5,000 Scots against Cumberland who had 9,000 men. The battle only lasted 40 minutes as the Scots faced the sleet and rain, were both hungry and tired. Scotland was never the same again. The rebel chiefs were punished or sent away, and their lands were seized by the government in London. The Highlanders were not allowed to have weapons or wear the tartan, and the chiefs no longer had any power. The children had to learn English instead of Gaelic in school. Slowly the clansmen were sent away from their lands by new landowners. Some immigrated to the Americas and many who were poor with their families went south to become servants or beggars.

The 24th Baron, Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Rose of Kilravock, C.M.G., died 1946, killed in action, and was succeeded by his elder daughter, Anna Elizabeth Rose, 25th Baroness of Kilravock, present Chief of the Clan. So the chiefship has continued in an unbroken line to this day. The seat of the chief is still the Castle of Kilravock.


Everyone with the Scottish surname Rose who can trace their genealogy roots to one of the Clan Chiefs or one of their children, are related. Once a genealogy link is made to a Clan Chiefs family, you can trace your genealogy back to the early 13th century through two old documents that have been preserved by my family.

They are Notes (text file 8k). The other is titled Rose, The Highland Roses (text file 5k).

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Last update April 23, 2000

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