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Clan MacAlister

Clan MacAlister

The first record of Alistair is as a witness to a charter granted by his brother, Angus, Lord of the Isles, to the Abbey of Paisley c.1253. The earliest clan chief can be traced in 1366 when Ranald led the clan whilst living on the lands of Kintyre. Charles Macalister, the chief of the clan at the time, became constable of the Castle of Tarbert and received a grant to lands in Kintyre. The next chief was his son, John, who was commonly known as 'John of the Lowp'. The Macalisters took control of the estates of John Montgomery of Skelmorlie and ravaged possessions that were valued at nearly £12,000 Scots. The situation was repeated two years later when Archibald Macalister gathered the clans of north Kintyre to raid the Stewart island of Bute. As the Macalisters grew they spread to new territories settling in Stirlingshire during the 14th century. It was during this time that their name became anglicised to its Lowland version, Alexander. The 16th century saw the Macalisters settling on the estates of Menstrie near Stirling Castle. William Alexander of Menstrie was taken under the patronage of the Earl of Argyll as a courtier and took an important role in the colonisation of the new territories of Nova Scotia. The Earl of Stirling was visited by Archibald Macalister of Tarbert in 1631. It was during this visit from Archibald that William received an acknowledgement that he was the Chief of Clan Macalister despite the fact that he had no clear claim. The early part of the century saw the chiefship being held by Charles Godfrey Somervill Macalister who held the arms of Macalister and Somervill, being a descendant of Charles Macalister who married the heiress of Somervill of Kennox which passed to the family in 1765. The chiefly family were eventually forced to sell their estates in Kintyre although Glenbarr Abbey is the modern clan centre and holds artefacts relating to the Macalisters. The clan is still represented on the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs.

Septs of Clans: Alastair, Alexander, Alison, Alistair, Allison, Alister, MacAlasdair, MacAlaster, MacAlester,MacAlister, MacAllister, MacAllister, McAlister, McAlester, McAllister, McCallister, McCollister, McLister, Sanders, Saunders.

Gaelic Name: MacAlasdair

Motto: Fortiter (Boldly)

Badge: Heath

Lands: Kintyre, Arran and Bute

Origin of Name: Son of Alexander

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