Sons Of Arthur

Setps of Clan Arthur



Spelling Variations

A Sept is a stem or branch from the main clan, often headed by a younger brother of the chief line. If your name is on the list above (or in the spelling variations) then you are a member of the Global Family of Clan Arthur and entitled to join our Clan Society - Please do!

Clann Artair is the Gaelic spelling of Clan Arthur and the original form of the ancient family name - Meaning simply "The Children of Arthur". Mhic is the Gaelic for "son of" and Nhic is the Gaelic for "daughter of". It is from these ancient words that the modern "Mac" or "Mc" have been derived. The original spelling of MacArthur was Mhic Artair, meaning "Son of Arthur", hence the name Arthurson. Nhic has passed out of current usage, but was still prevalent amongst my female ancestors as "Nc" and "Nik" until a few centuries ago. The corruption of the ancient Gaelic language by the modern English tongue, coupled with historic bad spelling, indecipherable writing and regional accents, has given rise to a host of Spelling Variations of the Clan name ranging from Artair to Cartter and MacArta to Makkerthrye.

Dewar derives from the Gaelic Deoradh which originally meant "Pilgrim" or "Wanderer" but later came to mean "Custodian", and the original Deoradh were the custodians of St.Fillan's relics. St.Fillan or Feolan came to Scotland from Ireland in the early 8th century with his uncle, St.Congan, and his mother St.Kentigerna (The daughter of a Prince of Leinster). Feolan eventually settled in Glen Dochart at the head of Loch Tay and left his mark in the place name of St. Fillans at the foot of Loch Earn to the south.

Before his death in 777AD, Feolan gave charge of his most precious items to his five most faithful lay brothers: Deoradh Coigerach (Custodian of the Pastoral Staff) Deoradh Bernane (Custodian of the Bell) Deoradh Fergy, Deoradh Meser and Deoradh Mayne. The last three are now forgotten objects, but Alter, Armbone and Manuscript have been suggested, although I thought a Meser was a Holy Cup! Dewar is also listed as a sept of Clan MacNab and Clan Menzies, clans who were prominent with the MacArthurs around Loch Tay, and it appears that the original Deoradh were drawn from these families. MacIndeor translates as "Son of the Custodian".


MacCarthy derives from the Irish Mac Carthaigh and is the most common "Mac" name on The Emerald Isle, prominent in the South. Kings of the ancient Irish Kingdom of Munster (now known as County Cork) the MacCarthys had their main residence at Blarney Castle. Apart from the ancestral relationship between MacArthur and MacCarthy through the High Kings of Ireland, the Munster Coat of arms also displays a shield bearing three gold crowns on an azure background similar to Clan Arthur's.

MacArtain, MacArtan, MacCartan and MacCarton are names common in Northern Ireland around County Down and County Armagh. The name originates from Art or Artan in the diminutive. The oldest form of the name is MacAirt from Cormac MacAirt, a third century Dalriadic "king" of Ireland who has strong associations with Argyll - The homeland of Clan Arthur.

MacCartney and MacArtney translate as "Son of Artaine" and share the same root as MacArthur. The names were common in Galloway and Ayrshire from whence it spread to the Northern Irish counties of Antrim, Down and Armagh. Glen Artney and Strath Gartney are to be found in Central Scotland.


The early name forms of Art, Artan, Artur and Artair from which the modern Anglified Arthur is derived, all originate anciently from Argyll, Ayrshire, Galloway and Northern Ireland - Areas all linked culturally by the Northern Irish Sea. The British name Arthur originates from the ancient peoples in the West of Scotland. The Legends of the sixth century "King Arthur" must surely originate from the life of the sixth century "Prince" Artur MacAeden, in the West of Scotland.

Copyright Hugh McArthur 2001


Eyre-Todd, George
The Highland Clans of Scotland
Hopman, Ellen Evert
A Druid's Herbal
ISBN 0892815019


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