the very earliest records, the deer-haunted hills and wooded glens and
loch-side lands of Luss have belonged to the ancestors of the present Chief
of Clan Colquhoun. His remote forefathers who lived there more than seven
hundred years ago were most likely a branch of the ancient rulers of Lennox,
and they used the surname of Luss, taken from the name of their lands.
They were a sacred family, Celtic priests and hereditary guardians of the
bachuil or crozier of St. Kessog: the martyr who dwelt in Glen Luss or
on Inchtavannach, the "monks isle" in Loch Lomond.
name Colquhoun is territorial in origin from lands of this name in Dumbartonshire.
In 1246, during the reign of Alexander II, Humprey
de Kilpatrick obtained from Malcom, Earl of Lennox, a grant
of the lands and barony of Colquhoun, in the parish of Old or West Kilpatrick,
servitio unius militis, etc., and in consequence assumed the name of
Colquhoun, instead of his own.
Humphrey de Kilpatrick's son
Ingram is said by tradition to be the first to take the name Colquhoun.
About 1368, Sir Robert Colquhoun of that Ilk married the heiress of Luss
and the clan have since that time been known as "of Luss". Sir Robert supported
Bruce and fought at Bannockburn. The seat of the clan remains to this day,
Rossdhu House, in Luss, on the West Shore of Loch Lomond.
In 1603 a feud between the
Colquhouns and Macgregors came to a head at the Battle of Glenfruin, the
"Glen of Sorrow", the Colquhouns were massacred and as a result the Macgregors
had their name "outlawed" under pain of death, by King James VI before
he left to take the English throne. The Macgregor chief was caught through
Campbell treachery and hanged with eleven of his principal clansmen. (check
the stories page for a full account of this incident)
Sir John, 19th of Luss, was
a necromancer and the last known person openly to practise witchcraft in
Scotland. He became one of the first Nova Scotia Baronets and married a
sister of the Marquis of Montrose. He subsequently fell in love and eloped
with another of Montrose's sisters!
Perhaps one of the most remarkable
clan chiefs of living memory was the late Sir Iain Colquhoun of Luss. During
World War I he killed a Prussian officer with his revolver and 5 Bavarians
with an improvised club. Both weapons are now at Rossdhu. Sir Iain was
also noted for keeping a fairly tame pet lion in the trenches.
Like many other clansmen,
Colquhouns have scattered worldwide and many have found fame. John Caldwell
Colhoun 1782-1850 was Vice- President of the United States of America,
and a Lieutenant Jimmy Calhoun of the 7th U.S. Cavalry fell fighting the
Sioux Indians in Custer's last stand at the Battle of Little Bighorn.
story of the crest of a stags head and motto "SI JE PUIS" originates in
an action by a Chief of Clan Colquhoun seizing Dunbarton Castle. In 1424,
when King James I returned from his long captivity in England, Colquhoun
of Luss was chosen by the king for the key post of Governor of Dunbarton
Castle, the royal fortress that dominated the Lennox. Colquhoun wrote back
to the king, in French, the accepted universal language of the time, "Si
Je Puis" (If I Can). The Chief gathered a group of clansmen and hid them
in the woods outside of Dumbarton's gates. Then he lured a red stag (deer)
by the gates chased by two greyhounds. The starving garrison in the castle
opened the gates to chase the stag, wherepon the chief's clansmen rushed
the castle and captured it for the King.