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Current & Past Chiefs

Chiefs of Clan Farquharson - Past and Present

Clan Farquharson, of Celtic origin, derives from Farquhar, fourth son of Alexander “Ciar” Mackintosh of Rothiemurchus, 5th Chief of Clan Shaw. A grant of arms made by Lord Lyon in 1697 stated that John Farquharson of Invercauld was lawfully descended of Shaw son of MacDuff, Thane of Fife whose successors had the name Shaw until Farquhar Shaw, son to Shaw of Rothiemerchus, Chief of the whole name came to be called Farquharson. Thus the Farquharsons branched from Clan Shaw. Farquhar settled in the Braes of Mar and was appointed baillie or chamberlain thereof.

Philip Farquharson

17th Chief

Philip Farquharson of Invercauld

Following the passing of his Great-Uncle, Captain Alwyne Farquharson, Philip succeeded him to become the 17th Chieftain of Invercauld. He was appointed by the late Chief earlier in 2021 and succeeded him as Chieftain of the Ballater Highland Games on May 1st 2021. Philip is dedicated, regularly attends events and provides valuable support as Acting Secretary and Archivist of Clan Farquharson UK.

Philip was born and educated in London, eldest son of James Compton and Rebecca Wigan, with five younger siblings and half-siblings. He holds an undergraduate and two Master’s degrees, worked as a private client archivist and researcher and has several academic publications.

Philip married Lilibeth in 2007 and has two daughters, Heather and Iona. He enjoys painting in his free time. In recent years, Philip has moved away from his career as an archivist and moved into local governance, working as a Parish Clerk and Responsible Financial officer for a Council in Milton Keynes. Throughout the past several years he has shadowed his uncle and gradually taken on roles of Chieftain of the Ballater Highland Games, Vice-patron of the Braemar Royal Highland Gathering, laird and trustee of Invercauld and Chief of the Clan Farquharson.

Alwyne Farquharson

16th Chief

Captain Alwyne Arthur Compton Farquharson of Invercauld MC

Captain Farquharson was educated at Eton College and Oxford University. He assumed the title of Chief in 1941 when his aunt Myrtle was killed in a London air-raid. Captain Farquharson was a former Cavalry Officer and served with The Royal Scots Greys of which Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth is Colonel-in-Chief. He actively served during WWII at El Alamein and in France, where he was wounded. He would later be awarded the Military Cross for his efforts. 

His appointment as Chieftain of the Ballater Highland Games was confirmed in November of 1948 and continued through 2019, he never missed a games day. In 2019 he celebrated his 100th birthday at his 71st consecutive games as its Chieftain. He stepped down from his role in May 2021. 

Captain Farquharson was a member of the Aberdeenshire County Council from 1949 to 1975 and a Justice of the Peace for Aberdeeshire in 1951. He is the son of Major Edward Robert Francis Compton and Sylvia Farquharson of Invercauld and was born May 1st, 1919. At 102 he is believed to have been the oldest and longest serving Clan Chief in Scottish history. Alwyne could trace his lineage back to Farquhar, 4th Son of Alexander Ciar Mackintosh of Rothiemurcus. He was first married to Frances in 1949, who died in 1991. In 1993, he married Patricia, lived in Norfolk and returned regularly to Royal Deeside.

15th Chief

Mrs. Myrtle Farquharson of Invercauld

Myrtle was confirmed Chief by Lyon Court Decree on December 3, 1936. She, unfortunately, was killed in an air-raid in 1941.

14th Chief

Alexander Haldane Farquharson of Invercauld

Alexander died in 1936 and was succeeded by his daughter Mrs. Myrtle Farquharson of Invercauld.

13th Chief

James Ross Farquharson of Invercauld

12th Chief

James Farquharson II of Invercauld

11th Chief

Catherine Farquharson of Invercauld

10th Chief

James Farquharson I of Invercauld

James was a Captain of Foot in the Hanoverian Army and died in 1805. James married the widow of Lord Sinclair. His wife built a school in which to teach women spinning and making of flax linen. The laird introduced new methods of agriculture and steadily improved his estates. He carefully put together an estate of 25,000 acres in Perthshire and 110,000 acres in Aberdeenshire. Marrying two wealthy wives helped make this happen. He and his father were head of the clan for a combined 111 years. He was succeeded by is only surviving child Catherine. Catherine Farquharson has granted the position by virtue of the Lyon Court Decree, 1815, assigning the chief arms and supporters, was head of the ventral or “stem” family of Farquharson of Invercauld and so was Chief of the Clan. She married Captain James Ross, Royal Navy, who took the name Farquharson. She was succeeded by her son John.

John Farquharson 9th

9th Chief

John Farquharson II of Invercauld

Invercauld hosted a meeting of John Erskine, 24th Earl of Mar, at which the Earl tried to raise the clans in an attempt to restore the exiled Stuart king. John Farquharson saw the move as futile and was not present for the meeting. He had no choice but to join the cause as the Earl was his feudal superior. John  Farquharson led his men in the 1715 battle and was captured, but released a year later due to the fact he had no part in the planning. This experience caused him to refuse to play a part in the 1745 Uprising and instead he hid the charter and went south. John died in 1750 and was succeeded by his son James.

8th Chief

William Farquharson II of Invercauld

7th Chief

Alexander Farquharson of Invercauld

In 1672 Alexander was made to enter into a Bond for the good behavior of his clansmen and any others on his land. It was an attempt by authorities to stamp down on the wild and lawless Highlanders by making the chiefs responsible for those within their territory. Alexander in turn entered into a Bond with all the Farquharson cadet families. He also made the first major extension to Invercauld House in 1679. 

6th Chief

Robert Farquharson III of Invercauld

Robert obtained Armorial bearings which portray the Lyon Rampant, marking their descent from the royal race of MacDuff; a pin tree marking their original roots in wooded Rothiemurchus; and the Royal Standard and a dagger marking their part in the battle of Pinkie.

5th Chief

Robert Farquharson II of Invercauld

4th Chief

John Farquharson I of Invercauld

3rd Chief

Robert Farquharson I of Invercauld

2nd Chief

William Farquharson I of Invercauld

1st Chief

Finlay Mor Farquharson,

It was Donald Farquharson who married Isobel Stewart, heiress of Invercauld and their son Finlay Mór, 1st of the House of Farquharson of Invercauld, who gave to the Farquharson Chiefs their style MacFionnlaidh (siol Fhionnlaidh or descendants of Finlay). At the age of 60, Finlay Mòr accompanied the Earl of Huntly to the Battle of Pinkie in 1547 as the Royal Standard Bearer. As the army descended toward the sea he was killed by a cannon ball fired from one of the enemy ships. His body lies interred in the church yard of Inveresk. The place is known to this day as the “Lang Highlandman’s Grave.” His widow, Beatrix Garden, also has a claim to remembrance having been an outstanding performer on the little harp or clársach. Queen Mary presented one of these instruments to her and this instrument is now preserved in the National Museum of Antiquities as one of two surviving examples of the musical instrument which Celtic Scotland shared with Ireland before the music of the bagpipe had achieved its full popularity and sophistication.