Origins of the Clan System
The Origin of the Scottish Clan System
The name 'clan' is derived from the Gaelic word 'clanna', meaning 'children' and historically illustrates how the power of single family groups evolved as successful leaders extended their territories and thereby their ability to support larger groups of people, all acknowledging their paternal authority.
The line of families extending from each chiefly line can be likened to a social pyramid with the chieftain at its apex, spreading down through the ever broadening ranks to the clansmen themselves. The gradual absorption of other families into the main clans was through time responsible for the system of septs or sub names which developed and exist to this day.
Through time the clansmen were granted arms in their own right, based upon the arms of their clan chief and they became part of a documented community recognised by the Crown.
Although Scotland is a small country with less than five million inhabitants there are reckoned to be thirty million persons of Scottish descent scattered over the globe today, many of them bearing family or given names from their country of origin.
The only form of heraldic device which may be used by a non-armigerous clansman (one without any family heraldic arms of his own) is the clansman's crest badge. Apart from tartan, these are the commonest symbol of clan affiliation and take the form of the clan chief's crest encircled with the representation of a strap and buckle bearing the motto.
At Galloway Glass we have on file all the Scottish clan crests and have carefully chosen the small range of crystal products shown below to complement them. Our expert team will engrave your crest with your name underneath it to order - which means that ANY spelling of the name is possible. You are not restricted to the more common versions of the clan name. You can also have your crest engraved on a malt whisky - a truly individual gift!
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