William H. Bell
After several months
of discussion, we are pleased to announce that The Clan Bell Society
of Scotland has consented to join in cooperation with Clan Bell
International, and the 17 countries that have their own Bell
representation, in our quest to have a Chief of the Bells appointed
by the Lyon Court.
It has been decided
to request an individual who is an expert in Lyon Court procedure to
present our case to the Lord Lyon and gain his approval to appoint a
"Cean-cath" or Commander of the Clan. The method to choose the
Commander would in all probability be an Ad-hoc Gilfine, which needs
only five Scottish tenants to vote on the Commander selection.
We had approval for a
Gilfine in 1988, but this was cancelled by Lyon as our genealogist
James Thompson had found living Blackethouse Bells. This "find"
resulted in Douglas Bell, CBE, being specified as our Chief Apparent
with the petition formally begun in 1990.
No doubt you are
aware that an effort has been underway for the past 13 years to
prepare the necessary petition, with proofs, to obtain from the Lyon
Court authorization to reestablish Clan Bell under a duly appointed
Chief. Regrettably, that effort has not reached fruition, and it is
extremely doubtful that it ever will. Further, we have no idea as to
the status of the petition, and are thus placed in the position
where we must now take control of the situation. We have chosen,
therefore, to act on this matter jointly, the initial step being to
seek Commander of the Clan approval.
Further to the
seeking of a Commander of the Clan is the decision to also seek
approval to appoint "Ceann-tighes" or Chieftains. These are next in
line to the Cean-cath. The title Chieftain has been used
synonymously for that of 'chief' and that until recent times there
was no practical difference. Chieftains are heads of Gilfine
branches of the Clan (i.e., sub house with the Clan). Under a Chief
or Commander of the Clan, Chieftains would today, in all
probability, be responsible for their own country's Bell
Our objective is to
bring administrative order to the Clan. A Commander of the Clan can
later have a petition submitted to have him appointed Chief, if he
has a genealogical right. If not, a petition may be submitted for an
individual who has a better claim. Upon appointment, he would then
become Chief and the position of Commander of the Clan would be
Each country's Bell
organization is autonomous. No one organization holds the right to
be prime. All have their own vote concerning the furtherment of the
Clan until a Commander or Chief is appointed, then we all become
part of the one Bell Clan and again have our true place within the
recognized Scottish Families.
We are now united on
a world basis with all Bell organizations cooperating, in fact, to
attain Clan Bell reestablishment.
For more information
about Clan Bell, contact: Bell-A-Peal Publication, Clan Bell
International, 12147 Holly Knoll Circle, Great Falls, VA 22066.