early Lowland Logans originated from Galloway. It is documented that two of them were
killed in Spain in 1329 on their way to the Holy Land with the heart of King Robert I (the
Bruce). Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig (d. 1606) had his bones exhumed and paraded in
Parliament so that he could personally be convicted of treason.
The Highland Logans claim descent from the
Logans of Drumderfit in Easter Ross. See also MacLennan, with whom the Highlander Logans
are closely linked.
Another Account of the Clan
BADGE: Conasg (ulex
Europaeus) whin or furze.
SLOGAN: In the north, Druim-an-deur; in the south, Lesteric lowe!
indeed is known of the Logans as a Highland clan, but that little is
tragic enoughso tragic as to have brought about the change of the name
Druim-na-clavan, the height on which the stronghold of the chiefs was
built, to Druim-an-deur, the "Ridge of Tears." The estate, now
known as Druim-deur-fait, in Eilan-dhu, the Black Isle, in Ross-shire, was
still, in the middle of last century, in possession of the representative
of the family, Robert Logan, a banker in London.
The word Logan, Laggan, or
Logie, in the Celtic tongue signifies a hollow place, plain, or meadow,
encircled by rising grounds. As a place name it is common throughout
Scotland. Logie is the name of parishes in Clackmannan and the north east
of Fife, while Logic-Easter is a parish in Ross and Cromarty, Logan Water
is the old name of the Glencross Burn in the Pentlands, and Port-Logan is
a village in the south of Wigtonshire.
The original seat of the
Logans in the north seems to have been Druimanairig in Wester Ross. Early
in the fourteenth century, however, the original line of the chiefs ended
in an heiress, Colan Logan, who married Eachan Beirach, a son of the Baron
of Kintail, and carried the estates into his possession. Eachan took his
wifes name, and, dying at Eddyrachillis about the year 1350, left a
son, Eanruig, from whom descended the Sliochd Harich, who continued the
race in the island of Harris.
But the chiefship could not
pass through a female, and the new head of the clan, having moved into
Easter Ross, settled at Druim-na-clavan, already mentioned, in the Black
Isle. This chief, known as Gilliegorm, the "Blue Lad," from his
dark complexion, was a famous fighting man. He married a relative of Hugh
Fraser, who at that time had attained a footing in the Aird, and became
ancestor of the Lords Lovat. Between the two a dispute arose, which
Gilliegorm prepared to settle by force of arms. Fraser, however, obtained
the help of twenty-four gentlemen of his name from the south, and with a
force, including the MacRaes in the district of Aird, and others, marched
to the attack. The two parties met on the Muir above Kessock ferry, and
there, in a bloody battle, Gilliegorm and most of his men were slain.
It was as a result of this
battle that the name of Druim-na-clavan, the seat of the chief, was
changed to Druim-an-deur, the Druimdeurfait of the present day.
Among the plunder of Logans
lands which Fraser carried off was the wife of Gilliegorm himself. She was
about to become a mother, and it was determined that if the child proved a
male it should be maimed or destroyed, to prevent it revenging its fathers
death. The child, which proved a boy, was, either by accident or
intention, a humpback, and from the fact received the name of "Crotach."
He was educated by the monks of Beauly, became a priest, and travelling
through the Highlands, founded the churches of Kilmore in Skye and
Kilichrinan in Glenelg. Following the old fashion of the Culdee clergy he
married, and among several children, left one known as Gillie Fhinan, the
servant of St. Finan, whose descendants are the MacGhillie Fhinans, Mac-
illie -inans, or MacLennans of the present day.
The separate line of the
Logan chiefs was, however, continued, and, though shorn of most of their
consequence by the battle at Kessock and the alienation of their original
possessions through Colan Logan the heiress, maintained themselves in high
respect by means of farming and commercial pursuits to modern times.
It has been supposed that,
like the Frasers, the Chisholms, the Gordons, and other clans, the Logans
of Ross-shire were originally a branch of a family of the same name in the
south of Scotland. This seems the more likely as the Highlanders were not
in the habit of adopting a place-name as a family designation, and Logan
is distinctly a place-name. If the conjecture be correct it brings into
relationship with the clan some highly interesting personages of Scottish
According to Guillim, the
writer on English heraldry, the first of the name to obtain a footing in
Scotland was a certain John Logan of the house of Idbury in Oxford-shire.
On the defeat of the Scottish force under Edward Bruce at Dundalk in
Ireland in 1316, this individual, he says, captured Sir Alan Stewart, who,
by way of ransom, gave him his daughter and certain lands in Scotland, and
from this union came the Logans of this country. Unfortunately for this
theory, however, there is documentary evidence of the existence of a
family of the name in Scotland a century and a half before that time.
Robertus de Logan appears frequently as a witness to royal grants during
the reign of William the Lion, between 1165 and 1214.
Among the signatures to the
Ragman Roll, the bond of fealty exacted from the Scottish notables by
Edward I. in 1296, appear the names of Walter, Andrew, Thurbrand, John,
and Philip de Logan, and among those whose doubtful allegiance the same
monarch disposed of by despatching them to his wars in Guienne was Alan
Logan, a knight, "manu et consilio promptus."
Also, ten years later,
among the Scottish prisoners who were hanged at Durham by the same crafty
monarch in presence of his son Edward of Carnarvon, was Dominus Walter
During the reign of Robert
the Bruce, the barony of Restalrig, on which the town of Leith is built,
passed by marriage into possession of the Logans, and soon afterwards
occurred the most heroic episode which stands to their name. Sir Robert
and Sir Walter Logan were two of the knights who accompanied the Good Sir
James of Douglas in his expedition to bury the heart of King Robert the
Bruce in the Holy Sepulchre. On the plain of Granada, when the little body
of Scottish knights found itself hemmed round by Moorish spears, and
Douglas, throwing his masters heart far into the press, rode after it
and fell, Sir Walter and Sir Robert fell with him.
During the reign of Bruces
son, David II., in 1164-5, Henry Logan obtained a safe conduct to pass
with six companions through England to Flanders and return; and others of
the name procured similar passports for various purposes in the following
The great man of the family
appears to have been Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig, who, a few years after
this, married a daughter of King Robert II. by his second wife, Euphemia
Ross. He it was who in 1398 granted to Edinburgh a charter giving liberty
to enlarge and build the harbour of Leith, with permission to the ships
frequenting it to lay their anchors and cables on his ground. He also made
over the ways and roads thither through the barony of Restairig "to
be holden as freely as any other Kings street within the kingdom is
holden of the King." "And gif any of his successors quarrel
their libertyes, he obliges him and them in a penalty of two hundred pound
sterling to the Burgesses for dammadge and skaith, and in a hundred pound
sterling to the kirk of St. Andreus, before the entry of the plea."
Fifteen years later he gave a further grant of land on which to build a
free quay. Still later, in 1430, probably feeling age creep upon him, and
the necessity of providing for a future state, Sir Robert founded the
preceptory of St. Anthony, the ruin of which is still to be seen
overlooking Holyrood, on the steep side of Arthurs Seat.
Sir Robert was one of the great men
of his time. Besides Restalrig, he owned an estate in Berwickshire with
the wild sea eyrie of Fastcastle for its stronghold, held the barony of
Abernethy in Strathspey, and lands in the counties of Ayr, Renfrew, Perth,
Some of the lairds of
Restalrig were sheriffs of the county and some provosts of Edinburgh, but
in those times it was no advantage to be the owner of property so near to
a great city as Restalrig was to Edinburgh. Encroachments and quarrels
took place between the retainers of the Logans and the city burgesses;
fighting even took place on the streets of the capital; and one of the
lairds was actually thrown into the Tolbooth on the charge of being
"a turbulent and implacable neighbour," who had put certain
indignities upon the townsmen. At length the Gowrie conspiracy afforded
the citizens an opportunity of getting rid altogether of their restraining
neighbour and superior. Whether the Gowrie conspiracy was a plot of the
Earl of Gowrie against James VI., or of James VI. against the Earl of
Gowrie, remains to the present day a debated question, but whatever were
the facts the upshot provided James with satisfaction for his old grudge
against Gowries father for the Raid of Ruthven, and with ample
forfeited estates wherewith to satisfy certain grasping favourites. That
strange and mad affair took place in the year 1600. Sir Robert Logan, the
laird of Restalrig of the time, was a dissolute, extravagant, and
desperate character. In 1596 he had been forced to part with his estate of
Nether Gogar to Andrew Logan of Coalfield; in 1602 his lands of Fastcastle
went to Archibald Douglas; in 1604 his barony of Restalrig itself was
disposed of to Lord Balmerino; and in 1605 his lands of Quarrel-holes were
sold to another unknown purchaser. In 1606 he died. Two years later one
George Sprot, a notary public, produced some letters from Logan to the
Earl of Gowrie, his brother Alexander Ruthven, and others, from which it
appeared that Logan had been deeply concerned in the plot. The letters
mention meetings of the conspirators at Restalrig and Fastcastle, and
suggest that the plan was to convey the king by sea to the latter
stronghold, where, said Logan, "I have kept my Lord Bothwell in his
greatest extremities, say the king and his Council what they would".
On the strength of these letters Logans body was exhumed and brought
into court to be tried for treason. At the trial Sprot recanted from his
first testimony that the letters, which he said he had purloined, were
genuine, but on pressure being brought to bear, and a promise made that
his wife and family should be well provided for, he returned to his first
statement, whereupon, to prevent further changes of mind, he was promptly
hanged. Regarding Logan the Lords of the Articles, in view of the shady
nature of the evidence, were inclined to vote not guilty; but the Earl of
Dunbar, who was to get most of the accused mans remaining estates
"travelled so earnestly to overcome their hard opinions of the
process," that at last they declared themselves convinced. Doom of
forfeiture was accordingly pronounced. This was accompanied, as in the
case of Clan Gregor a few years previously, by proscription of the name
Logan itself, and accordingly many families were thrown into trouble and
The name of Logan did not,
however, any more than that of MacGregor, disappear altogether from use.
Among noted personages of the name was James Logan, who, as secretary,
accompanied Penn to Pennsylvania in 1699, and rose through many legal
offices to be governor of the colony in 1736. The Rev. John Logan, author
of the tragedy of "Runnymead," disputes with Michael Bruce the
authorship of the exquisite "Ode to the Cuckoo," and some of our
finest Paraphrases. And James Richardson Logan, editor of the Penang
Gazette, remains noted for his services to the struggling settlement,
and for his scientific contributions to the study of the East. Logan of
that ilk in Ayrshire, the last of his house, has left a name for wit and
eccentricity, though the volume of drolleries published under the title of
The Laird of Logan can only in part be attributed to him.
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