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Logan


The 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!

LoganLITTLE indeed is known of the Logans as a Highland clan, but that little is tragic enough—so 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 wife’s 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 Logan’s 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 father’s 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 history.

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 Logan.

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 master’s heart far into the press, rode after it and fell, Sir Walter and Sir Robert fell with him.

[Read more about the Logans in the Story of Leith]

During the reign of Bruce’s 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 years.

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 King’s 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 Arthur’s 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, and Aberdeen.

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 Gowrie’s 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 Logan’s 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 man’s 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 distress.

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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