Kinship and Clientage

Highland Clanship 1451-1609


This volume examines Highland society during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries highlighting the extent to which kinship and clientage were organising principles within clanship. Based on clans located in the central and eastern Highlands this study goes some way to addressing the imbalance in Highland historiography which hitherto has concentrated largely on the west Highlands and islands. Focusing initially on internal clan structure, the study broadens into an analysis of local politics within the context of regional and national affairs, raising questions regarding the importance of land and the nature of lordship as well as emphasising the need for Highland history to be integrated further into broader studies of Scottish society during this period.


EUR €141.00USD $175.00

Biographical Note

Alison Cathcart, Ph.D. (2001) in History, University of Aberdeen, is Lecturer in Scottish History at the University of Strathclyde. She has published a number of articles on Highland society focusing primarily on the late medieval and early modern period.

Table of contents

List of illustrations List of maps Acknowledgements List of abbreviations Introduction – setting the scene • Historiographical introduction • Central and eastern Highlands • Origins of clans • Structure of clans Chapter one – the Highlands in context • Perception of the Highlands: savagery & barbarism • Role of the crown Chapter two – internal clientage • Role of the chief • Clan formation: fine & satellite kindreds • Fosterage & socio-economic manrent • Military cadres & caterans Chapter three – external clientage • Marriage • Clientage • Bonds of political manrent • Bonds of friendship Chapter four – land: property & possession • Tenurial superiority and customary claims • Economic considerations • ‘Inalienable possessions’ Chapter five – regional lordship in the central and eastern Highlands • Conflicting spheres of influence • Dominant influence of the Gordons earls of Huntly • 1609 and its impact at local level Chapter six – conclusion List of chiefs Chronology Family trees • Grants of Freuchy • Mackintoshes of Dunachton Bibliography


All those interested in late medieval / early modern Scottish society, especially Highland history and with a particular interest in issues of kinship and clan organisation.