With the failure of the Rebellions of 1715 and in particular that of the 1745, the Clan system in Scotland rapidly broke down, with the inevitable loss of lands of the supporters of Prince Charles Edward and the influx of English officials and landowners.
The only mention of any import concerning the Clan around this time was in 1746 when one John MacNaughton of the family of Moar in Glen Lyon, a quartermaster in Kilmarnock's Regiment, was taken prisoner after Culloden while delivering a white charger from Menzies of Culdares to Bonnie Prince Charlie. Known to have been in rebellion and being accused of cutting down Colonel Gardiner with a Lochaber Axe at the Battle of Prestonpans in the '45 he was offered a pension of thirty pounds if he would turn King's Evidence and divulge the name of his Jacobite master. He refused and was hanged at Carlisle Castle and was remembered thereafter as 'Honest John MacNaughton' or 'Macneachdain of the White horse'.
And so the Clan remained leaderless and landless until in the early 19th century, there became a desire by the Macnachtan in Perthshire to appoint or re - establish the position of Chief of the Clan and to this end, they appealed to Edmund Macnaghten of Beardieville in Ireland to accept the appointment.
While there does not now appear to be any record of correspondence on the matter or just how they arrived at the conclusion that he was the rightful heir to the title, we do know of his descent from the line of Dunderawes through a Shane (Iain or John) Dhu. There were more than one of the Clan bearing this name at the relevant period, for example an Angus and Johne Dow held land in Keremenach and Cardavay in Kintyre around I6OO but it seems probable that the progenitor of this line, was the Iain Dhu, son of Iain MacAlexander, son of Alexander who fought at Flodden, or the son of Alexander, brother of Sir Iain who married the sister of the 1st Earl of Antrum.
This Shane went to Ireland about 158O with his 'relative' Sorley Boy MacDonnell and settled in the County of Antrum where he and/or his son acted as secretary to Sorley's son, Randal, and obtained land in Ballymagarry. His Heir was Daniel who married the daughter of the Bishop of Armagh and on his death in the 168O's, his son John inherited the Estate of Benvarden. He had married Helen Stafford of Portglenore, a descendant of Thomas rootstock, Duke of Gloucester and third son of Edward III.
During the uprising in 1819, his wife took their three children to seek refuge in Londonderry where they remained with her brother the Rt. Hon. Edmund Francis Stafford who was in charge of the city's defences against the siege by the Catholic army of James II.
After the deaths of his father and elder brother, the estate passed to Edmund MacNaghten.
He married Leonara Vesey of the De Vesci Family, descendants of Eustace de Vesci who in 1209 married Margaret, illegitimate daughter of William the Lion, of Scotland. There were no children of this marriage and in 1761 at the age of eighty two, be took as his second wife, Hannah Johnstone by whom he had two sons.
This was the Edmund to whom the offer to be Chieftain was made but refused.
The invitation was repeated again 1818 to his eldest son Edmund Alexander and was accepted.
On January 13 of that year, Thomas, Earl of Kinnoul, Lord Lyon, King of Arms for Scotland, issued a Patent on the attestation of the Clan in Scotland acknowledging him as their Chief but he never took the necessary formalities to have the honour bestowed.
On his death, his brother Sir Francis successfully claimed the title.
THE COAT OF ARMS
The heraldic description of the Amorial Bearings or Coat of Arms of the Chief as illustrated at the beginning of this History, and here, and as they appear in the Lyon Register, are as follows:
ARMS-- quarterly 1 and 4 argent, A hand dexter fesswise, proper, holding a cross crossley fitchley azure;
2 and 3 argent, a castle masoned embattled gules.
CREST-- a castle masoned embattled gules.
SUPPORTERS -- two roebucks proper.
MOTTO-- surmounted, I Hope In God.
For those unfamiliar with heraldic terms, ARGENT is silver, PROPER is natural colour, AZURE is blue, and GULES is red.
The Coat Of Arms of course, can only be used by the Chief.
In America, so I understand, this does not apply, but I would like to assume that nobody would be that pig ignorant, crass or tacky as to do so!
The misuse of the Coat of Arms can bring down on you a curse, which involves a rather large haggis being thrust rapidly and with brute force into your
..well put it this way, it will guarantee to change the way you walk!
(Ed Note: not really, I just made that up.)J
Those who bear the Clan name or are direct descendants, may display the Clan Badge at any time, perhaps on a wee bonnet or on your pyjamas...
There are a number of Scottish names associated with McNaughton and these families are designated Septs meaning those who descend from or were dependent upon the Clan and include the:
MacNuir of Argyllshire
MacVicar of Kenmore
Macays and MacKays of Strathtay
This history has of course dealt principally with the families of the Chiefs and leading members. Obviously there will be some hundreds of the name who will be descended from some branch of this great Clan, regardless of the area of Scotland from which their families or Forebears originated.