Kilt Pins, Cap Badges, Belt Buckles, and Cufflinks at USA Kilts
From sporran to sgian dubh and from kilt pin to cuff links, we can embellish most any part of your kilt outfit with your clan crest. Use it as an accent piece or deck yourself out head to toe in clan crest items. The choice is yours!
What is a Scottish Clan?
The word "clan" comes from the Gaelic word 'clann' which roughly means "children of so-and-so". However, it is very expansive and does not simply refer to lineal descent from a common ancestor of the chiefly house. If this were so, clans would be tiny.
Today, the office of Lord Lyon considers a clan to be a community that is distinguished by heraldry and recognized by the Sovereign of Scotland.This essentially makes the chiefly family a "noble incorporation" since the arms they bear are granted, or otherwise recognized, by the Lord Lyon as an officer of the Crown. In other words, they are a form of noble because the King or Queen says they are. This recognition extends loosely to the entire clan, though members not of the chiefly family are NOT noble. Clans with recognized chiefs are thus considered a "noble community" under Scots law. A group without a recognized chief has no official standing under Scottish law.
For more information about these topics, check out the Scottish Clans Playlist on the USA Kilts Youtube Channel!
What is a Sept? How did Scottish Clan Septs from?
Clans mainly grew through the proffered loyalty of native men who accepted the authority of the local dominant family. And this expansion is where "Septs' came in. These dependent families had only a loose association with the Clan, or the chiefly family of the clan. For a wide variety of reasons, they allied themselves under the clan chief, taking him as their leader and protector.
Clans may have lists of Septs; surnames, families or smaller groups that historically, currently, or for whatever reason the chief chooses, are associated with said clan. Despite what many think, there is no governmental list of clan septs. The decision of who is a sept of a clan rests solely with the clan membership and their chief (assuming they have one). Sept names can be shared by more than one clan. So it is up to the individual to use their genealogy, family history and geography to determine the correct clan association.
There are many reasons over the centuries why such alliances happened. In most legitimate cases, it was a matter of practicality (resources, mutual protection, etc.). However in the 19th century, there was an enthusiastic expansion of the Clans as more and more people wanted in on the allure of Highland culture and ancestry. This resulted in some names being more or less arbitrarily added to the Clan rolls as septs.