Ann Gordon
Moab, Utah

© 2006-2014
Gordon Computer, LLC

 
 
 

Clan Gordon
History, Tartans, Mottos, Crest, etc.


A Brief History of the Gordon Clan

The Gordon clan is an ancient family of Britain and Scotland. Although the chiefs were not of Celtic origin, the clan adopted the distinctive Celtic badge of the rock ivy.

The Gordons originally came to the islands from Normandy (France). The Anglo-Norman family that became known as the Clan (or House) of Gordon settled in the Borders area in the 12th Century, but moved to Aberdeenshire in the 14th Century when Sir Adam, Lord of Gordon, was granted lands by Robert the Bruce.

Sir Adam of Gordon was granted Strathbogie, confiscated from the Earl of Atholl by Robert the Bruce, in return for service to Bruce's cause. Sir Adam of Gordon served as one of the ambassadors to Rome who fought to have the Bruce's excommunication removed. The Gordons wielded enormous power during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Gordon castle was considered the most magnificent edifice in the north of Scotland.

 

Motto, Slogan, Branches

Motto:  
Bydand (Remaining, Abiding) - and also:
Animo non astutia (By courage not craft)
Slogan:  
A Gordon! A Gordon!
Branches:  
Gordon of Haddo, Gordon of Lochinvar, Gordon of Strathbogie
   

The Gordon Clan Tartan

Gordon clan tartans are available in a range of color ways, which are commonly grouped into descriptions like: Modern, Ancient, Subdued, Dress or Hunting colors. Which tartan the wearer chooses often comes down to personal preference.
ancient
Ancient
modern tartan
Modern
dress tartan
Dress
muted tartan
Muted
In my research, I found the green / blue / yellow tartans most commonly associated with the Gordon clan. There are some Gordon red tartans, but I'm partial to the green combinations (or ways).
 

The Gordon Crest

Crest or logo The Clan Gordon crest consists of a stag's head sitting on a bejeweled crown surrounded by a belt. There are ten tines on the stag's antlers, five on each side. The word 'ByDand' (Remaining) runs across the top.
   

The Gordon Coat of Arms

Gordon coat of arms

The Clan Gordon coat of arms consists of a blue shield with the heads of three boars on the front, topped by a helmet of armor. The boars have to do with the origin of the Gordons.

There is a tale that makes the first of the Gordon family the savior of a Scottish king, in this case from a wild boar. This is said to explain the boards' heads which appear on the Gordon arms.

   

The Gordon Standard

Gordon Standard

The Clan Gordon standard consists of a pennant shaped flag with several 'compartments'. The hoist side shows the cross of St. Andrew (the flag of Scotland) followed by two horizontal bars of azure and gold. The second compartment shows the Clan Crest of Gordon and then two oblique red sashes reading 'AnGordonach' and 'ByDand'. Interspersed are leaves of rock ivy.

   

Clan Feuds

Clan feuds and battles were frequent in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Gordons most often clashed with the Mackintoshes, the Camerons, the Murrays and the Forbes.

   

Dukes

The Duke of Gordon, who was the chief of the clan, was often styled "The Cock of the North." George, the fourth marquis, was made Duke of Gordon in 1684. The fifth Duke of Gordon died without issue in May of 1836. At his death, the title of Duke of Gordon became extinct. The Marquis of Huntly became the chief of the clan Gordon.

 

Note: With help from the Genealogy Center in SLC, I traced my Gordon ancestors back to England in the 1500s. From there, the Gordons emigrated to Massachusetts.