The Clan Morrison

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The Morrisons of the Outer Hebrides

The Chlann Mhic-Ghille-Mhuire, meaning "Devotee of St. Mary" orMorrison clan is said to be Scandinavian in origin, supposedlydescending from the natural son of the King of Norway who wasshipwrecked of the shores of Lewis. This is the Morrison clanwhereas the Morrisons of the Central Highlands, "sons of Maurice",and the Morrisons who descend from the O'Muirgheasain bards fromIreland who settled in Harris have no connection with the Hebrideanclan of Lewis. The Morrison chiefs once held the hereditary office ofBrilheanh, brieve or judgement, under the Macleods from whom theyheld Habost in north Lewis. The first recorded Morrison is Uisdean ofHugh who lived in the 16th century, a contempory of the last Macleodof Lewis, Roderick, who was chief till about 1595. He is said to haveincurred their wrath when he betrayed Torquil Dubh Macleod, whowas beheaded by the Mackenzies in 1597. The Morrisonsconsequently had to seek refuge on the mainland and about sixtyfamilies of Morrisons are said to have settled in the vicinity of Durnessin the Mackay country, accounting for the similarity of the Morrisonand Mackay tartans. They lost the hereditary brieveship of Lewis in1613 when they resisted the takeover by the Mackenzies, and by the19th century it became impossible to even trace the line. A branch ofthe clan, the Morrisons in Pabbay of Harris were the hereditary smithsand armourers to the Macleods of Harris. John Morrison of this familywas a celebrated poet of the 19th century. The Morrisons of Ruchdi inNorth Uist are descendants of the Morrisons of Pabbay and on petitionof the Lyon Court were reinvested in arms as the chiefs of ClanMorrison.


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