Category: Clan Sutherland

A part of Scottish Clans -

Clan Manager - Michael Thomas


Clan Sutherland is a Highland Scottish clan whose traditional territory is located in the region of Sutherland in the Northern Highlands of Scotland, and was one of the most powerful Scottish clans. The clan seat is Dunrobin Castle, Sutherland. The chief of the clan was also the powerful Earl of Sutherland, however in the early 16th century this title passed through marriage to a younger son of the chief of Clan Gordon.

The progenitor of Clan Sutherland was a Flemish nobleman named Freskin, who was also the progenitor of Clan Murray. It has been claimed that Freskin was Pictish, but it is much more likely that he was a Flemish knight, one of a ruthless group of warlords who were employed by the Norman kings to pacify their new realm after the Norman conquest of England. David I of Scotland, who was brought up in the English court, employed such men to keep hold of the wilder parts of his kingdom and granted Freskin lands in West Lothian.

The ancient Pictish kingdom of Moray was also given to Freskin, and this put an end to the remnants of that old royal house. In a series of astute political moves Freskin and his sons inter-married with the old house of Moray to consolidate their power. Freskin's descendants were designated by the surname de Moravia. Freskin's grandson was Hugh de Moravia, who was granted lands in Sutherland and was known as Lord de Sudrland. Hugh's younger brother, William, was progenitor of Clan Murray. Hugh's eldest son (also called William) was William de Moravia, 1st Earl of Sutherland.

The place name and clan name of "Sutherland" came from it being the 'land to the south' of the Norse Earldom of Orkney and Caithness. Although the senior line of chiefs who were the Earls of Sutherland had the surname 'de Moravia', they often used the territorial surname 'Sutherland'. The younger sons of the family also took the surname 'Sutherland', thus creating the cadet branches of Clan Sutherland


Motto: Sans Peur (Without Fear)

Slogan: Ceann na Drochaide Bige!

Region: Highlands

District: Sutherland

Historic seat: Dunrobin Castle

Plant badge: Cotton Sedge

Pipe music: The Earl of Sutherland's March

Gaelic name: Suithearlarach (Singular) & Na Suithearlaraichean (Plural)

Septs: Cheney, Cheyne, Chiene, Clyne, Duffes, Duffus, Federith, Gray, Grey, Keith, Mouat, Mowat(t), Moray, Murray, Norman, O'May

Allied Clans:

Clan Murray (13th to 16th centuries), Clan Gordon (16th century), Clan Mackay (18th century), Clan Gunn (18th century), Clan Sinclair (18th century), Clan Munro

Rival Clans:

Clan Murray (18th century), Clan Gordon (18th century), Clan Mackay (14th, 15th & 16th centuries), Clan Gunn (16th century), Clan Sinclair (16th century)

Clan branches:

Earl of Sutherland (chiefs)
Sutherland of Duffus
Sutherland of Forse
Sutherland of Kinsteary
Sutherland of Clyne
Sutherland of Uppat
Sutherland of St. Vincent
Sutherland of Killipheder

Names associated with the clan: