MacTavish clan chief corrects “injustice” of Campbell link

DUGALD MacTavish is proud of his heritage and, in particular, his historic name. After a five-year campaign to correct what he saw as an injustice dating back over two centuries he can finally make something clear. He is not a Campbell.

Mr MacTavish, or Edward Stewart Dugald MacTavish of Dunardry to give him his full title, became the clan’s first chief in 210 years in 1997. Since then he has sought to have his coat of arms changed to amend an error made in 1793. Mr MacTavish, 73, originally from Montreal and now living in Florida, is the first chief since his great-great-great-great grandfather, Lachlan MacTavish, whose coat of arms were granted by the then Lord Lyon, John Hooke-Campbell.

However, for an unexplained reason, the arms were designed with the Campbell symbols more prominent than those of the MacTavish clan.

Under the MacTavish motto Non Oblitus - Do Not Forget Me After Death - the shield in the centre of the arms had the Campbell colours of black and gold in the first and third - the predominant - quarters, making it appear the bearer is a Campbell.

But the present Lord Lyon, Robin Blair, has now approved “corrected” arms for MacTavish of Dunardry who will be able to pass them down through his family.

These put the MacTavish buck’s head symbol and colours of argent (silver) and blue in the dominant first and third quarters, and the Campbell colours to the second and fourth.

The issue over the incorrect arms had irked the new clan chief as there has been a long-held dispute over which clan came first. It has been claimed that MacTavish is a sept of Campbell, but MacTavishes say they originated before their cousins. Mr MacTavish said: “The Lord Lyon, John Hooke-Campbell, set Lachlan’s arms up in an incorrect way - the man’s name was MacTavish but his arms showed his name was Campbell.

“I had a perfect right to try to get justice done because that was an injustice to the name of MacTavish. Here I was inheriting the MacTavish arms and I was carrying the arms technically of a Campbell.”

He added: “My arms showed that I was a Campbell. I am not a Campbell and I don’t really want to be a Campbell, although I have a lot of Campbell friends. But never again will anyone, Campbell or anyone else, be able to say that MacTavishes are really Campbells.”