Clan Rose is a Highland Scottish clan. Their motto is "Constant and True" and their family castle is Kilravock Castle, built in 1460. The current clan chief is Anna Elizabeth Guillemard Rose, 25th of Kilravock.
The clan Rose was formed in the early 13th century in Nairn, in Kilravock County, Scotland. The name Rose originates from the Norman family 'de Ros' who settled in Scotland in the middle of the 13th century. By tradition the Clan Rose traces its origin to deRos, a Norman knight who emigrated to the Moray Firth area early in the thirteenth century along with two other Normans, deBosco and deBisset. deRos was granted the lands of Geddes in Strathnairn and deBisset the lands of Kilravock. deRos later acquired Kilravock through marriage. It was a turbulent area and era. The Scottish kings in Edinburgh deliberately fostered the feudal system whereby the King owned all land and granted it to his chosen followers.
In 1390 the Rose family records and charters were destroyed when Elgin Cathedral, where they were kept was burned down by the notorious Wolf of Badenoch. All records relating to the family were lost. however from this point onwards records of Clan Rose are complete. During the 14th and 15th centuries the Clan Rose had an alliance with the Clan Chisholm and Clan MacKintosh.
Chief William Rose, son of the first Rose of Kilravock, married Morella or Muriel, daughter of Alexander de Doun, and Andrew, his second son, became ancestor of the Roses of Auchlossan in Mar. William’s grandson, Hugh, again, married Janet, daughter of Sir Robert Chisholm, Constable of Urquhart Castle, who brought her husband large possessions in Strathnairn. This chief’s grandson, John, also, who succeeded in 1431, married Isabella, daughter of Cheyne, laird of Esslemont in Aberdeenshire, and further secured his position by procuring from the King a feudal charter de novo of all his lands. It was John’s son Hugh who built the existing old tower of Kilravock in 1460, and his energy, or his need for protection, is shown by the fact, recorded as marvellous, that he finished it within a year.
The family at this time was at serious variance with one of its most powerful neighbours, the Thane of Cawdor who was the chief of Clan Calder. This Thane’s father, six years earlier, had built the present keep of Cawdor Castle, and Thane William himself had made one of the best matches of his time by marrying a daughter of Alexander Sutherland of Dunbeath, whose wife was a daughter of one of the Lords of the Isles. Thane William was an ambitious man. He had his estates changed into a Crown holding by resigning them into the hands of the King and procuring a new charter, and, to make sure of the permanence of his family, he set aside with a pension his eldest son, William, who had some personal defect, and settled the whole thanedom and heritage of the family on his second son, John, whom, to close the feud between the families, he married to Isabella, daughter of Rose of Kilravock. The marriage, however, was not happy, and out of it arose one of the most curious romances of the north.
The young Thane John did not long survive his marriage; he died in 1498, leaving as sole heiress to the Cawdor estates an infant daughter, Muriel. The old Thane, William, and his four sons were naturally furious. They did their best to have Muriel declared illegitimate; but their efforts were useless. By reason of the new charter the child was a ward of the Crown, and the Earl of Argyll, who was then Justiciar of Scotland, procured her wardship and marriage from James IV. The Roses were no doubt glad to have the keeping of the child entrusted to so powerful a guardian, but old Lady Kilravock was evidently not without her doubts as to the good faith of Muriel’s new protector. When the Earl’s emissary, Campbell of Inverliver, arrived at Kilravock to convey the child south to Loch Awe, the old lady is said to have thrust the key of her coffer into the fire, and branded Muriel with it on the thigh.
Inverliver had not gone far on his way to the south when he was overtaken by the child’s four uncles and their following. With shrewd ability he devised a stratagem. Sending Muriel off hotfoot through the hills under a small guard, he dressed a stook of corn in her clothes, placed it where it could be seen by the enemy, and proceeded to give battle with the greater part of his force. Seven of his sons, it is said, fell before he gave way, and even then he only retired when he felt sure the child was far beyond the reach of pursuit. When someone afterwards asked whether he thought the prize worth such sacrifice, and suggested that the heiress might die before reaching womanhood, he is said to have replied, "Muriel of Cawdor will never die as long as there’s a red-haired lassie on the shores of Loch Awe." Muriel, however, survived, and indeed lived to a good old age. The Earl of Argyll married her when twelve years old to his second son, Sir John Campbell, and the Earls of Cawdor of the present day are directly descended from the pair.
Hugh Rose of Kilravock, grandson of him who built the tower, for some reason now unknown seized William Galbraith, Abbot of Kinloss, and imprisoned him at Kilravock Castle. For this he was himself arrested and kept long a prisoner in Dunbarton Castle, then commanded by Sir George Stirling of Glorat. A deed is extant by which, while a prisoner, in June, 1536, the laird engaged a burgess of Paisley as a gardener for Kilravock—"Thom Daueson and ane servand man with him is comyn man and servand for all his life to the said Huchion."
The next chief and Laird of Clan Rose was known as the Black Baron. He lived in the troublous time of the Reformation, and in his youth he fought and was made prisoner at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh during the Anglo-Scottish Wars. However he managed to pay his ransom, 100 angels, and to provide portions for his seventeen sisters and daughters, built the manor place beside his ancient tower, and reigned as laird of Kilravock for more than fifty years. It was in his time that Queen Mary paid her visit to Kilravock. The Castle of Inverness, of which the Earl of Huntly was keeper, had closed its gates against her and her half-brother, whom she had just made Earl of Moray, and the Queen, while preparing to storm the stronghold, took up her quarters at Kilravock. Here possibly it was that she made the famous remark that she "repented she was not a man, to know what life it was to lie all night in the fields, or walk the rounds with a Jack and knapscull." A few days later, overawed by her preparations, the captain of Inverness Castle surrendered and was hanged, and shortly afterwards the Queen defeated Huntly himself at Corrichie, and brought the great rebellion in the north to an end.
The Black Baron of Kilravock was justice depute of the north under Argyll, sheriff of Inverness and constable of its castle under Queen Mary, and commissioner for the Regent Moray. He lived to be summoned to Parliament by James VI. in 1593.
The Clan Rose supported the Covenanters during the Civil War. They fought against James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose at the Battle of Auldearn in 1645. The thirteenth baron, who died young in 1649, was well skilled in music, vocal and instrumental. Hugh, the fourteenth baron, lived through the trying times of Charles II. and James VII., but, though sharing his wife’s warm sympathy with the persecuted Covenanters, managed himself to avoid the persecutions of his time.
The fifteenth baron, again, educated in a licentious age, began life as a supporter of the divine right of kings, but afterwards admitted the justice and necessity of the Revolution. He voted against the Act of Union, but declared openly for the Protestant Succession, and, after the Union, was appointed one of the Scottish Commissioners to the first Parliament of Great Britain.
During the Jacobite Uprisings the Clan Rose supported the British government. At the outbreak of the 1715 Jacobite Uprising Aurther Rose was killed leading a detachment of the clan to seize Inverness. He stood firm for King George’s Government, armed two hundred of his clan, kept the peace in his country side, and maintained Kilravock Castle as a refuge for persons in dread of harm by the Jacobites.
He even planned to reduce the Jacobite garrison at Inverness, and, along with Forbes of Culloden and Lord Lovat, blockaded the town. His brother, Arthur Rose, who had but lately been ransomed from slavery with the pirates of Algiers, and whose portrait in Turkish dress may still be seen at Kilravock, tried to seize the garrison. At the head of a small party he made his way to the Tolbooth, but was betrayed by his guide. As Rose pushed past the door, sword in hand, the fellow called out "An ehemy! an enemy I" Upon this the guard rushed forward, shot him through the body, and crushed the life out of him between the door and the wall.
On hearing of his brother’s end, Kilravock sent a message to the garrison, ordering it to leave the place, or he would lay the town in ashes, and so assured were the governor and magistrates that he would keep his word that they evacuated the town and castle during the night, and he entered and took possession next day.
During the 1745 to 1746 Jacobite Uprising the commander of British government forces, the Duke of Cumberland stayed at the Roses town house in Nairn, however that same night the Jacobite leader Charles Edward Stuart was entertained by the people of Kilravock in the Roses lands.
The Roses of Kilravock were diplomatic in their relations with neighbours and they lived peacefully compared to other clans. The Barons of Kilravock intermarried with the first families of the North and in 1460 the present Kilravock Castle was built on the banks of the River Nairn, where it is still inhabited by the family today.
The Rose family is one of the few in Scotland where the chiefship has descended in an unbroken line to the present day. The present chief is Anna Elizabeth Guillemard Rose, 25th of Kilravock.