MacNab Clan Origin : The territory of Clan MacNab lay historically between the south-western shores of Loch Tay and the village of Tyndrum. The clan’s name derived from the Gaelic Mac an Aba, meaning son of the Abbot. Its founding chiefs were based around Glen Dochart and descended from Kenneth McAlpine, first King of Scots. The first mention of MacNab in written documentation is found in 1124 during David I’s reign.

Clan Location : West of Loch Tay

MacNab Clan Motto : Let fear be free from all Timor Ommis Abesto

The MacNabs and the Bruce Dynasty : During the Scottish Civil War, a protracted conflict which took place alongside the Wars of Independence, the MacNab clan upheld the claims of the Comyns to the Scottish throne. As a result they incurred the wrath of Robert the Bruce whose army defeated Comyn supporters, including the MacNabs, at the Battle of Brander around 1308. Subsequently their lands were stripped from them, returning only during the reign of the Bruce’s son, David II, when a charter was issued for Gilbert of Bovain, MacNab clan chief. The clan would go on to prosper for the next few decades from strategic family alliances and territorial acquisition.

The MacNab Family Crest

Clan MacNab Tartan

The 17th and 18th Centuries : During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, in which Scots found themselves politically divided over the course of action to take against with regards to King Charles and the English Roundheads, the MacNabs supported George Graham’s failed Royalist rising against Scottish Covenanters. Clan chief John MacNab was captured at the Battle of Kilsyth in 1645, and escaped internment only to die six years later at the Battle of Worcester surrounded by kinsmen. During the Revolution of 1689-90, the clan remained neutral, as it was during the 1715 rising. During the ’45, however, the clan was split between clan chief and his kinsmen: the former supporting the government troops while the latter upheld the title claim of Charles Edward Stuart. Origins of the Clan Crest : The crest of clan MacNab has its origins in a violent, 17th century, inter-clan episode. In 1612, a MacNab was ambushed by a group of MacNeishes, based at Loch Earn Castle, their hitherto secure rampart. Clan chief, ‘Smooth’ John MacNab laid designs for retribution. One night a group of his kinsmen, under the cover of dark, rowed across the loch and found a way inside the castle. There they killed all MacNeishes apart from one young boy, taking the clan chief’s head as a trophy. Thereafter the head of their brutally dismembered rival adorned their clan crest. The words, meanwhile translate as: let fear be far from all.

Prime Minister of Canada (1854-56) when it was still a British colony 

Macnabs worldwide: MacNabs over the next few centuries travelled the globe, with emigrants particularly favouring North America and Australia. Indeed, a MacNab, Sir Allan MacNab became Canada’s Prime Minister in 1854. Today the resting place for MacNabs of old is the island of Inchbuie on the Dochart River.

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