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Clan MacPhail


The Macphails are descended from one "Paul Macphail, goodsir to that Sir Andrew Macphail, parson of Croy, who wrote the history of the Mackintoshes. Paul lived in the time of Duncan, first of the name, and eleventh of Mackintosh, who died in 1496. The head of the tribe had his residence at Inverarnie, on the water of Nairn".

The name comes from Gaelic meaning 'son of Paul'. It is first recorded in 1414. Members of the clan were associated with the Camerons, Clan Chattan, the Mackintoshes, and the Mackays, a number of MacPhails appearing on a list of tenants on the Reay (Mackay) estates in 1679.

The following information was provided by Joseph Broom, Commissioner, Clan Phail Society in North America

The chiefly branch of Clan Phail formed part of the original blood of Clan Chattan, and its ancestors were reported to have moved from Lochaber to Strathnairn with Angus Mackintosh in the early 14th century.  According to Sir Aeneas Mackintosh of Mackintosh, 23rd Chief, Clan Phail took protection of Clan Chattan in the year 1500. There is documented evidence that its chiefs were associated with the lands of Inverarnie in Strathnairn as early as the 1540's and that they intermarried with the Shaws of Tordarroch and other Clan Chattan families.

Several Macphails were officers in the Mackintosh/Clan Chattan regiment in the '15.   The heir to the chieftainship, along with other Clan Chattan officers,  was deported to the American colonies following surrender at Preston and died on board ship to Virginia. The chiefs continued to hold Inverarnie until the early 1770's, when the lands were lost.  The last Macphail to be regarded as chief died in Australia in the early 1900's.  The clan, though never numerous, was once found throughout eastern Inverness-shire and Nairnshire.

Another branch of Clan Phail, perhaps descendants of the Macphails who once lived in Lochaber, were associated with Clan Cameron in the 16th century.  There were also many McPhails who lived on the Isle of Mull and throughout Argyllshire.  Another branch was found in Sutherland and was a sept of Clan Mackay.


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