The Buchans took their
name from the district of Buchan in Aberdeenshire as a means of identifying those of the
area who were not connected to the successive families that held that earldom; the Comyns,
Stewarts and the Erskines. The Earldom of Buchan was the most powerful ancient earldom in
the Highlands and as such was much fought over. The first Buchan on record was Ricadus de
Buchan, clerk of the bishopic of Aberdeen in 1207-8, but the name also travelled north and
south; Andrew B uchan who died about 1309 became Bishop of Caithness, Thomas Buchan of
Edinburgh rendered homage in 1296 and Malcolm and Patrick Buchan were tenants of the
Douglas in Morton. The most prominent family of the name of the Buchans in Aberdeenshire
were the Buchans of Auchmacoy who first emerged in the 15th century. Thomas Buchan of
Auchmacoy, third son of James Buchan of Auchmacoy is known as a Jacobite general of the
15th century. He succeeded Graham of Claverhouse, generally known as Bonnie Dundee after
hi s death at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689. He became the leader of James VII's
forces in Scotland against William but was defeated in 1690 and consequently had to flee
to the exiled court at St Germain in 1692. The most famous Buchan of this century was John
Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, the celebrated author of the "Thirty-Nine Steps"
and "Greenmantle". He was also a member of Parliament and Governor-General of
Canada from 1935-1940.
BUCHAN: The name derives from North-east Aberdeenshire where the kindred were quite distinct from the line which held the Earldom of the same name. The name is first noted in 1207, and as landholders in Aberdeen by 1281. As a family the line of the present chiefs can be traced from Andrew Buchan of Auchmacoy (fl.1446-57) whose eldest son, also Andrew, received a charter of the lands of Auchmacoy and Oykthorn from James IV in 1503. These lands were erected into a Barony for Alexander (7th Chief) in 1598 and were conveyed to his son James in 1624. A supporter of Charles II, James' loyalty was surpassed by his 3rd son Thomas, who rose to be General and commanded the Jacobite forces in Scotland following the death of 'Bonnie Dundee' at Killicrankie. Though defeated in the Haughs of Cromdale in 1690, he was invited to join James VII at the Jacobite Court in St Germains. The General unsuccessfully made a claim to the "Earldom of Buchan". The 11th Laird of Auchmacoy served under his uncle, the General, and afterwards became an officer in the service of Louis IV of France. James, the 14th Laird, matriculated arms as Chief of his Name in 1830 and was succeeded by his daughter. On her death without issue in 1910, the representation passed to her cousin Sir Norman MacLeod Sinclair, 18th Earl of Caithness, who took the Name and Arms of Buchan of Auchmacoy in 1913, and his daughter, Lady Olivia Buchan, was the mother of the present chief. The Buchans of Cairnbulg descend from John, the younger brother of General Thomas, but he did not share his older brother's Jacobite sympathies, and served as an officer in the Protestant Army of William of Orange. The Jacobite-v-Williamite sympathies of the families were resolved when Thomas, 12th of Auchmacoy, married his 2nd cousin Nicola, heiress of Cairnbulg, in romantic circumstances in Edinburgh. John Buchan (1875-1940) as Lord Tweedsmuir, was Governor General of Canada (1935-40).