MacArthur Clan Origin :  According to legend the MacArthurs are descended from King Arthur and the name was first referenced around the 6th century. Suggestions that the MacArthurs were formerly a branch of the Campbells, with whom the MacArthurs feuded with for much of the 13th century, are more plausible. The clan’s seat was located and based around Loch Awe in Argyll.

Clan Location : Loch Awe

Macarthur Clan Motto: Faith and work (Fide et Opera) or Fidelity & Labour

Loyalty and Dispossession : During the Wars of Independence the MacArthurs of Loch Awe supported the cause of Robert the Bruce and fought at the crucial Battle of Bannockburn. From the King’s (and Scotland’s) success the clan prospered, gaining estates taken from the Comyn-supporting MacDougalls of Lorne. Additionally, Dunstaffnage castle was put under the protection of the MacArthur chief. With these gains, the influence of the MacArthurs increased substantially to a degree that by the 1400s, its chief, Iain (or John) MacArthur, could summon a host of 1,000 men.

However, during the reign of James I, overly powerful chieftains began to clash with a Crown fixated on limiting the dominance of such men and in 1427, Iain MacArthur was executed and his lands were absorbed by the Crown. It appears that this single dispossession, dispossessions not being uncommon throughout Scottish history and by no means preventing some form of restoration at a later date – largely brought an end to Clan MacArthur in its former state, its lands were never recovered.

The Macarthur Family Crest

Clan Macarthur Tartan

Waning of the Macarthurs: During the 1500s, MacArthurs did gain control over Loch Awe as hereditary captains or officers. However, this seemingly fortuitous opportunity appears to have ended horribly for at least two MacArthurs around 1567 when they were drowned in the very loch they supervised. The neighbouring Campbells of Inverawe, implicated in the deaths, were pardoned subsequently. During the 1715 and 1745 Jacobite rebellions numerous MacArthurs were to be found supporting the claims of James Francis Edward Stuart (and subsequently Charles Edward Stuart, ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’) as well as found fighting for the Hanoverian government. With the failure of the latter uprising, the demise of the traditional clan system was hastened and MacArthurs began emigrating to North America, the Caribbean, and Australia.

Famous MacArthurs

General Dougals MacArthur: General Douglas MacArthur (1880 – 1964)Commander of American operations in the Pacific during World War II and overseer of Japanese occupation (1945-52). Probably the most well-known name bearer he was most well known for receiving the Medal of Honour for the Philippines campaign in WW2 when he famously said “I will return”. Well known for his quips, other MacArthur quotes include: “A better world shall emerge based on faith and understanding”.
“A general is just as good or just as bad as the troops under his command make him”.
“Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul”
“Americans never quit.”
“Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be”.
“I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within.” 

Are you a MacArthur?

If your surname is listed below you can claim to be a MacArthur.