Campbell of Argyll
The early records of the Campbells, as with so many of the clans from the western highlands, are incomplete, and several different origins have been accorded them. James Taylor, an enthusiastic historian writing a little over a century ago, claimed them to be "hid in the mists of antiquity" (which Sir Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk insisted were where all families began).
One of Taylor's contemporaries, John Keltie, edited the notes of several historians to produce an examination of the more popular explanations of the Campbell origins, and concluded:
Frank Adam's book, Clans, Septs, and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands, as revised by Sir Thomas Innes of Learney in 1970, places Eva, the daughter of Paul O'Duine, Pol an Sporain, in the 13th century, but Beryl Platts agrees with the earlier version and identifies Archibald with Erkenbald, living in the reign of David I. Research into this difficult area continues, and the detailed genealogy given here begins with Sir Colin Campbell of Lochow, Calein Mor, who lived in the latter half of the 13th century and whose father, Sir Gillespic (or Archibald) Campbell may perhaps have been the Gillespic (or Archibald) who married the heiress of Lochow.
Erkenbald is the Flemish equivalent of Archibald, which reinforces John Keltie's supposition that the husband of the Lochow heiress was an "Anglo-Norman" (for until very recently most historians have treated the substantial Flemish presence in the Conqueror's army at Hastings as "Norman", and neglected the subsequent near-monolithic structure of Flemish society and influence in post-Conquest England, a substantial political force that moved north to Scotland with David I and his Flemish wife, Maud).
The hints of the Flemish connection are strengthened with the first appearance of the Campbell arms. Beryl Platts noted that at Cunningham the Campbell lands marched with those of the Morvilles, and that the first of the Morvilles in Scotland was Hugh de Morville, husband of Ada d'Enghien. Ada's family in Flanders bore gyronny of ten argent and sable, and the earliest known version of the Campbell arms, in Lochow, were gyronny of eight argent and sable. The gyron, of course, limited in Scotland to the Campbells only, is rare in all countries other than the lands influenced by early Flanders.
Subsequently, the Campbell arms became gyronny of eight or and sable. (Students of armory may note that early rolls blazon "gyronny of eight" arms as parti, coupé, tranché, taillé, which recognises that they are formed from the partitions per pale, per fess, per bend and per bend sinister.)
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