The WATSON Surname

Up until August 2000, the only information I had stated that Watson was a Sept. However I was recently contacted by Elaine Watson Qualley, President Clan Watson Society International who has put forward the case that Watson is a Clan in its own right. I've put this information below in the section "Watson as a Clan" and have left the original Sept information under "Watson as a Sept".

Watson as a Clan:

According to the Lord Lyon, King of Arms, Edinburgh (in both 1988 and 2000), Armorial Bearings recorded in the books of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms, Edinburgh, Scotland, Vol. 2, Folio 178, 1818, describe "James Watson, Esquire, as direct male line from Richard Watson of Saughton, to be described as: Chief of the name in Scotland." Saughton is now part of Edinburgh. That record states that James Watson of Saughton is a Chief of the Name in Scotland, eldest son and heir of Charles Watson of Saughton who was descended in the direct male line from Richard Watson of Saughton, proprietor of those lands in 1537.

The Arms recorded in the name of James Watson of Saughton are as follows:

Shield: Argent, an oak tree Proper surmounted of a fess Azure.

Crest: Two hands holding the trunk of an oak tree sprouting out fresh branches, the hands issuing out of clouds all Proper.

Motto: INSPERATA FLORUIT (It has flourished beyond expectation).

Supporters: Two griffins Proper, each gorged with a Ducal Coronet Or.

Collins' "Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia" in the section 'Clans and Armigerous Families of Scotland' lists Watson, on page 469. Also, the Standing Council of Scottish Clans and Chiefs recognizes Watson as being a Clan unto itself.

The tartan was designed by the Rev. Mhuir Watson, of Glamis Church, in 1935. It is a recent tartan.

John Watson, Past President of Clan Buchanan, is a charter member of Clan Watson Society.

For more information about Clan Watson, contact: Elaine Watson Qualley

Watson as a Sept:

A Sept is a family line that either descended from the Chief of the Clan though the female line, or those who obtained protection of the Clan. Those with either a Sept name or a Clan name may wear or display the Crest Badge and Tartan of the Clan.

Watson is a Sept of both the Clan Buchanan and the Clan Forbes, but is most commonly associated with Clan Buchanan.

The name Watson, which means "son of Walter" was first recorded in Edinburgh in 1392.

The origins of the Buchanan Clan go back to 1225 when a small island named "Clar Innis" was given to Sir Anselan of Absalon of Buchanan. The name Buchanan is likely derived from the gaelic, "Buth Chanai" which means house or seat of the canon. It may be that Absalon was a clergyman or a member of a family dedicated to the Celtic Church. In 1282, Morris of Buchanan was awarded a charter confirming him in his lands with baronial rights. In 1692, the main Buchanan lands lying to the east of Loch Lomond were sold to the Marquess of Montrose after the death of John Buchanan, the 22nd laird. These lands were originally to have been passed on to Buchanan of Arnprior but had to be sold to cover heavy debts. After this time, the clan became dispersed.

The Clan Buchanan crest badge is a dexter hand couped at the wrist, holding up a chapeau tasseled with a rose gules, all within a laurel wreath, proper.

The Clan Buchanan battle cry is: "Clar Innis" which is the name of the original island awarded to the first clan member.

The Clan Buchanan tartan is shown above, a combination of greens, yellows and reds.

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This page was last updated on: August 30, 2000
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