Gaelic Name: MacDhaibhidh

Motto: Sapienter si sincere (Wisely if sincerely)

Tartans: Davidson, Davidson of Tulloch, Davidson "Double".

Original Territory: the Ross-shire, Inverness area.

Septs of the clan: Davey, Davie, Davis, Davison, Dawson, Day, Dea, Dean, Deane, Deas, Deason, Dey, Dow, Dye, Kay, Keay, Key, Keys, MacAdie, MacDaid, MacDade, MacDavid, MacKay, Slora, Slorach.

Our family name "Davidson" has its roots in the early 1300's. Donald Dubh of Inverhaven, was the third son of Robert Comyn and the grandson of John Comyn, known as the "Red Comyn", who was killed by Robert the Bruce in the year 1306 in Dumfries. Donald married the daughter of Angus, the sixth chief of the MacKintoshes. The Davidson family name comes from their son, Dhai Dhu, or David Dubh of Invernahaven. By 1308, Robert the Bruce had completely destroyed the Comyn or "Cummings" and caused the name Comyn to be proscribed around 1320. Because of this, the descendants of Dhai Dhu changed their name and became known as Clan Dhai, or MacDhais or Davidson.
Although Davidson sounds like a English name, it is in fact derived from the Gaelic "MacDhaibhidh". The Clan Dhai was one of the earliest to become associated with the confederation of the Clan Chattan. This association with the Clan Chattan almost proved to be the end of the Davidsons.

In the late 13th century the Camerons invaded Arkaig which was Clan Chattan land. In 1370, a group of Camerons were returning from a raid into Badenoch, when they were met by a force of MacKintoshes, MacPhersons and Davidsons. This became known as the Battle of Inverhaven. Prior to engaging the enemy, a dispute broke out between the MacPhersons and the Davidsons regarding the right to command and military precedence. This was not an unusual occurrence in the Highlands where Clans were accustomed to claim the honor of certain positions on the field. When the MacKintoshes supported the Davidson side, the MacPhersons withdrew from the field while in sight of the enemy. The Camerons exploited the chaos and the Davidsons suffered badly in the battle. The MacPhersons did eventually take the field and routed the Camerons. Even though the Clan Dhai had lost their Chief Lachlan Davidson, and his seven good sons in the Clan Battle, the MacPhersons were accorded the credit for the victory. The outcome of this battle was a bitter feud between Clan Chattan and the Camerons that would last until 1666.

In ancient times the Davidsons controlled the lovely picturesque valley of Glen Truim. Their stronghold was at Invernahavan in Badenoch, near the mouth of Truirn Water where it emptied into the Spey above Craig Dhu. In the aftermath of the battle of Inverhaven, the Chief of Clan Davidson, along with many of his followers, migrated north and settled in Cormarty, where the Chief's property became known as Davidston. In the the eighteenth century Davidston was sold and the Davidson Chief bought the estate called Tulloch, in Ross-shire. This branch which became the leading line of the family, became known as the Davidsons of Tulloch. Tulloch Castle, a keep built in 1466 near Dingwall, Ross-shire, became the family seat through the marriage of Alexander Davidson to its heiress, Miss Bayne of Tulloch. This Chief was hereditary Keeper of the Royal Castle of Dingwall, and his descendents continued to reside at Tulloch.

Some of the Davidsons remained in Chattan territory, and the Davidsons of Cantray in Nairnshire and Inverness, are their representatives. Another major branch of the family is the Inchmarlo with Dess. Another branch of this family could be found in France, where the Livre d'Or shows six generations of nobility before 1629.

By the 16th century the name Davidson had spread from Aberdeen to Ayr. There was a family of Davidsons at Samuelston in the Borders and the name Davidson can be found along with the Elliots and Turnbulls as wild and unruly Clans. Duncan Davidson, Lord Lieutenant of Ross-Shire, was a favorite of Queen Victoria whom he used to call upon regularly when she visited Balmoral.

During the 1715 and 1745 uprisings the Clan Davidson largely fought on the Jacobite side and suffered because of this. During the '45, the chief of the MacKintoshs was an officer in the Black Watch and fought on the government side. This, however, did not stop his wife (a Farquharson), from raising the Clan Chattan confederation in his absence. She selected the MacGillivray of Dunmaglas as commander and he led the Clans of Clan Chattan to victory in the Battle of Falkirk in 1746.

FYI the Clan has finally achieved the reinstatement of the Chiefship, with the recognition of Duncan Davidson of Davidston, a direct descendant of the Davidsons of Tulloch, as the rightful heir to our last Chief, Duncan the VIth of Tulloch who died in 1917 without an heir.

The Clan Davidson Society of Canada

Heather Davidson
P.O. Box 91
Hantsport, Nova Scotia BOP 1PO, Canada. Newsletter subscription is $9 per year.