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This name is derived from the lands of Strachan, or Strathachen, in Kincardineshire. Strath is derived from the Gaelic, 'srath', meaning broad mountain valley. In 1200 Walderus de Stratheihen made a grant of lands to the church of St Andrews.

John, son of Rudolph de Strachane, gifted lands to the Abbey of Dunfermline which was confirmed by a charter of Alexander III in 1278.

The barony of Strachan and the lands of Feteresso passed to the family of Keith from the Strachans by marriage, in the reign of David II, but Sir James Strachan of Monboddo obtained the lands of Thornton in Kincardine. He had 2 sons the elder, Duncan, took the lands of Monboddo, while the younger had the lands of Thornton. Sir Alexander Strachan of Thornton was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia by Charles I in 1625.

The baronetcy passed in to the senior line of Monboddo by a charter under the great seal in 1663.

During the Napoleonic Wars, Admiral Sir Richard Strachan, 6th baronet, commanded a squadron. On 2 November 1805 his squadron engaged four French battleships that had escaped from Lord Nelsons triumph at the Battle of Trafalgar. Sir Richard captured all four French vessels with little loss of British life. He was created a Knight of the Bath and in 1810 was granted freedom of the City of London.

The title became dormant in 1854.