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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

More on the Clan Gunn Family Convention 2015

I have asked that my views - as shown in the previous entry - be published by the Clan Gunn Society UK and the Clan Gunn Society North America to ensure that both sides of this crucial issue could be debated by all Clan Gunn Society members.

Reducing my view to the minimum is simple - the new Clan Gunn Chief should be the one most closely related to the old Clan Gunn Chief bloodline.

This was not possible for the CGSNA. I look forward to hearing from the CGSUK editor.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Clan Gunn Family Convention called for July 2015 - Clan Gunn Chief issues

I shall be at this Convention...

Concerning the Clan Gunn Family Convention / derbhfine to be held in July 2015

The derbhfine is very much a last resort and should not consider proposing a person for chief unless there is no real hope that a genealogically related descendant could ever be found.

Lord Lyon, 19 February 2002

There are many people genealogically related to the Clan Gunn Chiefs. The only relevant question for the Clan Gunn Family Convention is who is the most directly related to these past Chiefs.


Lord Lyon has, following a petition, called a Clan Gunn Family Convention (derbhfine) to be held at the Ayre Hotel in Kirkwall on 18 July 2015.

I do not have the petition in front of me but the two texts I have relating to it are clear that the petition is not like the first petition in that this petition does not specifically mention converting the Commander to Chief.  It is worth remembering the reason Lord Lyon rejected that first petition – ‘it has become evident that there are in all probability clear and proveable lines of descent senior to that of the present Commander’.  In other words, the role of a Convention is to work out who is the person closest to the old Clan Gunn Chief line.

So what does this new petition say? One text says it is ‘to decide who the new Lord Lyon Morrow should be invited to recognise as our Chief’ and the other text suggests the petition is more open ‘No particular person is named as our proposed Chief, and the Family Convention can therefore consider anyone (or no one) for this position.’  

However the idea that the Family Convention can choose who they want goes against Lord Lyon’s statement given at the start of this document and against  Lord Lyon’s ‘Guidance as regards the holding of a Derbhfine or Family Convention’.  This ‘Guidance’ as it applies to the Clan Gunn, states–

(1) Where a blood link to a past Chief or Head of Name is likely but is not conclusively proven and it is wished to propose a particular person in that situation to be recognised as Chief.

(2) Where the main line of descent from a past Chief has died out and it is wished to recognise the Representer of a cadet line as Chief.

Concerning Lord Lyon’s point 1 ‘blood link to a past Chief’

Lord Lyon’s words that a Convention should firstly consider, as Chief, direct line descendants ‘not conclusively proven’ are crucial. There are three main lines of direct descent (‘blood link’) from the Chief alive today. These are

·         Esther Gunn – see and Esther Gunn is recognised by Lord Lyon.

·         ‘Unknown Gunn’ who married John Gunn of / in Kinbrace. This ‘Unknown’ Gunn and marriage to John Gunn of / in Kinbrace is recognised by Lord Lyon. The Kinbrace story (and genealogy) as given in the history books is mainly wrong, this is clearly shown by primary source material in the Sutherland Estate documents in the National Library of Scotland. These Sutherland Estate documents show that the genealogy of the Kinbrace line is from Donald the Scholar (a descendant from William Beag younger son of Chief Alexander MacHamish). But the real concern is with the descendants of ‘John Gunn of / in Kinbrace’ who married the ‘unknown Gunn’ daughter of the Chief.  There is a more on this line – and its living descendants - to come…

Lord Lyon’s point 2 about cadet lines is also of real interest. I am totally convinced that the main line of Chief descent has not died out and I am also very convinced that cadet lines from the Chief are very much alive and well, not least as I am descended from one of them. See which is now out of date on the news, but has major detail on one cadet line (mine).

On a different cadet line issue I note Gunn of Rhives. Lord Lyon states the male line has died out, but the female line has not.

Plan of action

The Convention should firstly request from Lord Lyon the grounds by which people can be disqualified from being a Chief (the various alienage laws etc) as this will help clarify the following points -

·         There are definitely at least three valid lines of direct Clan Gunn Chief lines able to be found - the Convention needs to research these to see which, if any, are valid to legally be Clan Gunn Chief.  I suspect one, at least, is certainly valid. One must note the 'likely but is not conclusively proven' words of Lord Lyon.

·         In the unlikely event all these direct lines being invalid then research should be given to the myriad cadet lines from ‘John Gunn of Killearnan and Navidale’.  I’m certainly a cadet line.


The only true Clan Chief is one with blood descent from earlier Chiefs. Lord Lyon’s guidelines for the Convention makes this quite clear.  Randomly choosing a person to be Chief, whilst direct, living bloodline descendants of the Clan Gunn Chief are known, would be an absolute travesty and an insult to history.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Clan Gunn Origin - the original tribe of Sutherland

Smibert (1850) gives a very sensible Clan Gunn origin possibility namely that Clan Gunn are the original inhabitants of Sutherland (rather than the absurd Clan Gunn Orkney Islands / Norway / Vikings origin idea). 

Smibert's idea goes well with the Caereni tribe in the Sutherland area (Ptolemy 150 CE). 

See for more discussion on Smibert and the Clan Gunn origin.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Clan Gunn origin is not from the Orkney Islands / Norway / Vikings

Given how important the supposedly Orkney / Norse origin Clan Gunn was meant to be before Gunn Coroner (wrongly called George Gunn Crowner) why are there no Norse place names associated with the Clan Gunn in Sutherland? Answer? The Clan Gunn has no Orkney / Norse origin and so will obviously have no Norse (or any other) place names attached to it.

There are many Norse personal names used in place names in Sutherland, see pages 11 and 12 of Alex MacBain's 'Place names Highlands & Islands of Scotland'.

For a more detailed rebuttal of the supposed Clan Gunn Orkney Islands  / Norway / Vikings link see