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Clan Fletcher

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Clan Fletcher

Clan Fletcher
Mac-An-Leister (Son of the Arrowmaker)[1] Fleisdear[2]
Motto Alta Pete (Aim at High Things)[1]
Region Scottish Highlands
District Argyll
Clan Fletcher has no chief, and is an armigerous clan
Historic seat Archallader House[3]

Clan Fletcher is a Scottish clan.[2] The clan is officially recognized by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, however as the clan does not currently have a chief recognized by the Lord Lyon, it is considered an armigerous clan.[2]


  • History 1
    • Origins of the name 1.1
    • Origins of the clan 1.2
    • 17th century 1.3
    • 18th century and Jacobite risings 1.4
  • Castles 2
  • References 3
  • See also 4


Origins of the name

The name Fletcher is derived from the French word flechier, which means arrow maker.[2] The name was a very common trade name, so much so that it became used in the Scottish Gaelic language as fleisdear.[2] In the eighteenth century some families went full circle and anglicised the name from the Gaelic, Mac-an-leistear, back into Fletcher.[2]

Origins of the clan

Sometime after the eleventh century a band of Mac-an-leistears settled in Glen Orchy, Argyll.[2] There they became arrow makers to the Clan MacGregor.[2] Other small groups of Mac-an-leisters settled in glens that belonged to other clans, in order to make arrows for them.[2]

The first recorded clan chief was Angus Mac-an-leister, who was born in about 1450.[2] However Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy, who was in high royal favour with James VI of Scotland coveted the Mac-an-leister's lands.[2] Campbell had royal authority to maintain a large band of armed retainers who he employed in a campaign of intimidation and violence.[2] Campbell deliberately provoked a dispute with the Mac-an-leister chief and trumped up a murder charge against him.[2] As a result, Mac-an-leister was compelled to sign a deed in which all of his family lands were ceded to the Campbells, and from then onwards they were only tenants in Glen Orchy.[2]

17th century

Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun "the Patriot" was a fierce opponent of the union with England.[2] He became MP for Haddington in 1678, however he was forced to flee to Holland for having supported the Monmouth Rebellion against James II of England (VII of Scotland).[2]

18th century and Jacobite risings

During the Jacobite rising of 1715 Archibald, ninth chief of the clan led the Mac-an-leisters in support of the Jacobites, as did his younger brother John during the Jacobite rising of 1745.[2] However, during "the 45" the elder brother who was the chief, provided some men for the British-Hanoverian forces under his Campbell overlords and in doing so avoided forfeiture.[2]


Castles owned by the Clan Fletcher have included amongst others:

  • Archallader House, three miles from Bridge of Orchy in Argyll, is ruinous sixteenth century tower house.[3] The lands were held by the Fletchers but were lost to the Campbells who built the existing castle.[3] In 1603 the castle was burnt by the MacGregors and again in 1689 by Jacobites, and was not restored.[3]
  • Saltoun Hall, five miles west of Haddington, East Lothian was sold to the Fletchers in 1643, and was the seat of Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun "the Patriot".[3]


  1. ^ a b Clan Fletcher Profile Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Way, George and Squire, Romily. (1994). Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. (Foreword by The Rt Hon. The Earl of Elgin KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). pp. 388 - 389.
  3. ^ a b c d e Coventry, Martin. (2008). Castles of the Clans: The Strongholds and Seats of 750 Scottish Families and Clans. pp. 199 - 200. ISBN 978-1-899874-36-1.

See also

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