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Clan Farquharson
Kellas Family


Dear Alastair,
 
Firstly, I must thank you for making available such a vast amount of interesting information at "electricscotland.com." In both breadth of scope and depth of detail it is unequalled.
 
As you will be more than aware, there are numerous Scottish Clan and their Septs web sites. Almost all list the Kellas family as a Sept of the Farquharsons, including the "List of Clan Septs and Dependents" provided by "electricscotland.com". But the list supplied by George Way of Plein, Secretary to the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, which can also be accessed at "electricscotland.com" does not include "Kellas" as a Sept of the Farquharson's, or any other Clan. Several other web sites which provide Clan information which they claim to be "Approved  by the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs" also do not include "Kellas" as a Farquharson Associated Family. From this I conclude that the present chief, Captain Alwyne Farquharson of Invercauld and the Court of the Lord Lyon do not recognise the Kellas Family to be a Sept of the Farquharsons. I am therefore wondering what is the basis for so many Farquharson Sept listings including "Kellas" as an associated family. My own research indicates that Kellas' were tenant farmers on mainly Gordon lands in the Parishes of Strathdon and Cabrach (*) in Aberdeenshire for over 250 years, but there is no suggestion of them being a Sept of the Gordons, or of the Grants through intermarriage. [(*) I am a descendant of the Cabrach line of the Kellas'.]
 
A tradition retained by several branches of the Kellas' has it that 3 brothers, who may have been Irish and who may have originally been named MacDonnell, escaped a massacre and were granted refuge at the lands of Kellas (now the village of Kellas) in Morayshire, but then had to move suddenly to Strathdon where they adopted "Kellas/Kelles/Kellis" [depending on the vagaries of the phonetic spelling of Parish Clerks and other officials] as their name. The most probable timing that might cover such a circumstance would be after the Battle of Philiphaugh and after Montrose disbanded his army at Rattray near Blairgowrie on 30 July 1646, following which most of his few surviving Irish troops entered the service of George Gordon, the Marquis of Huntly which ultimately led to the execution [by General David Leslie] of [almost?] all of them without trial in early 1647... [as also mentioned in your sites "General History of the Highlands 1645-1649 (Part 2)"]. I have found evidence that at that time, the "lands of Kellas" in Moray were owned by "William Farquharsone of Kellas". His Grandfather (or Great-grandfather) was granted the "lands of Kelles" by the Bishop of Moray in 1562. The ancestor was also called William Farquharson but had originally been named Cumming, but after a dispute with the Chief of that Clan, changed his name to Farquharson as he could claim descent, presumably through his mother, from "Fearquhard, son of Alexander, sixth laird of Altyre." (||) This is also mentioned on page 5 of your sites "History of Clan Farquharson" which begs the question, did the Farquharsons of Aberdeenshire ever recognise (#) the Farquharsons of Moray and Banff as members of Clan Farquharson, and were the Kellas' ever a recognised Sept of the Farquharsons of Moray? [ please note  that again "Kellas" is not included in the Septs of Clan Farquharson listed on page 5.]
 
[(||) Altyre is about 10 miles West of Kellas in Morayshire] [(#) William Farquharson was an Elder in the Parish of Dallas so he may have been a Covenanter supporter. In 1625, "Archibald Dunbar, son of Dunbar of Bothe married Merione Farquhar, daughter of William Farquhar of Kelles". At the Battle of Auldearn on 9 May 1645, which took place about 15 miles North-West of Kellas, Montrose's Royalists consisted mainly of the Irish Regiments under Alastair MacColla MacDonnell, the Farquharsons, and the Grant and Gordon Cavalary. The Covenanter army under Hurry, was made up by regular infantry regiments, Loudoun's and Lothian's, and Lawer's and Buchanan's plus cavalry, to which were added Covenanter levies from Moray, led by the Inneses, Dunbars, Cummings and Roses. William Farquharson's sympathies may have been with the Dunbars but after the crushing defeat of the Covenanter Army, he may have been one of those who willingingly or otherwise, were required to provide care for the wounded Royalists in the area around Elgin. What ever his true affiliations, he may still have been viewed with suspicion by the Deeside Farquharsons. William Farquharson had no male heir and the line "of Farquharson Killess now extinct", his lands became the property of the Earl of Fife in about 1700.]
 
Please also see page 6 of your sites "History of Clan Comyn, Cumming" which provides the same information as in my third paragraph above, but adds "It is from them that the Farquharsons of Balthog, Haughton and others in the county of Aberdeenshire derive their descent". [This may be the source of the claim made by "Clan Farquharson USA" at http://members.tripod.com/~StiabhanMor/Kellas.html that "The Farquharsons  of Haughton held Kellas". I did ask Clan Farquharson USA for further details but have never received a reply.] I have been unable to find Balthog on any detailed modern survey map or Gazetteer of Aberdeenshire, and though the Haughton Estate near Alford was owned by Farquharsons until the 1920's, I have yet to find any connection to the Kellas'. I also note that Haughton is not included as a Branch of Clan Farquharson on the list approved by the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, but does appear in other listings of the Clan.
 
If you can direct me to any authoritive source that can provide further information about the Clan Farquharson, Haughton, Kellas Family connection, I will be most appreciative.
 
Best regards, and thanks again for such an informative web site,
 
Melbourne
Australia.