The Clan Campbell History Project

 

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As the 20th century closed, there was no authoritative written history of the Clan Campbell.  Although a few efforts had been made, they lacked the benefit of adequate sources and were mostly the history of the Chiefly family alone.  The few books in print offering information on the history of the Clan Campbell are brief and lack the perspective available with primary resources.

Many have asked how such a history could best be produced, who would be the best author, and where can the facts be found.  The answers to these questions are:

  • The Clan Campbell Education Foundation

  • Alastair Lorne Campbell of Airds and

  • the Archives and Libraries of Inveraray Castle and of Scotland itself.

Based on the support expressed by a number of members of the Clan Campbell Society (North America), the Clan Campbell Education Foundation moved forward with the creation of a definitive History of the Clan Campbell in Scotland.  This project fulfilled every purpose, goal, and objective of the CCEF.

Searching through ancient and faded documents can be done by a researcher; but, transforming the information into history takes the broader knowledge of the local setting, the lifestyles of the times, the local geography, and the social systems of the day.  This takes critical analysis.  The writing takes imagination to bring alive the dusty facts to life again and build accurate images of characters and events in history.

This History is historically definitive with the highest degree of accuracy, given the surviving records.  This is because it was written by the person who is the leading authority on the history of the Campbell kindred in Scotland, whose life's great passion has been for Highland and Campbell history.  Further, he is the man who has access to and knowledge of the primary sources in the Archives of Inveraray Castle and throughout Scotland.

For many years, Alastair Lorne Campbell of Airds was the Chief Executive of Clan Campbell, appointed by the Chief of the Clan, Mac Cailein Mor the 12th Duke of Argyll.  He was also Unicorn Pursuivant (1986-2008) to the Lord Lyon, King of Arms.  He has managed, as Archivist, the cataloguing of the volumes and artifacts in the Jacob More Library at Inveraray. Since 2008 he has been Islay Herald of Arms Extraordinary in the Court of the Lord Lyon.

The history begins at the earliest dates for which there is written record relating to Campbell history and concludes in the nineteenth century, after which there is substantial published material on the history of Scotland and the participation of the Campbell Chiefs, the Dukes of Argyll.  After that period, many members of the Clan Campbell were still prominent in Scottish life, but more as individuals than as part of the Clan.

The work is in three volumes:

  • Vol. I - Spanning the years from the earliest times to 1513 and the death of the second Earl of Argyll at the Battle of Flodden Field.

  • Vol. II - Covering the period from 1513 to 1685 and the death of the ninth Earl on the block in Edinburgh following Monmouth's rebellion.

  • Vol. III - Taking the history from 1685 to the end of the Napoleonic Era in about 1815.

So now we have the why, the how, the who, and the where.  The how is the "reality check".  This project was funded through the worldwide support of members of the Clan Campbell and others interested in perpetuating Scottish history.

The Clan Campbell Education Foundation commissioned Alastair Lorne Campbell of Airds to write the three volumes.  He has completed all three volumes.  Since the CCEF contracted for the Alastair's effort, the copyright for the three volumes belongs to the Foundation.

The history itself is more than just a history of Clan Campbell.  It is more than just a portrait of the Chiefs of the Clan.  It is a mural in which we can all see and share in the life in the western highlands during the period covered by the work.

The Edinburgh University Press has published the work.  All three volumes are now available for purchase.

Profits from the books go towards the costs of the History Project and for future educational projects.  (FYI: There are no paid employees of the CCEF and neither the Officers nor the Board Members receive any compensation for their work.  Therefore, ALL funds contributed go directly toward Clan Campbell Education Foundation projects.)