A new chief for Clan Gunn after 230 years
At a ceremony in Edinburgh on April 16th Iain Alexander Gunn was appointed chief of Clan Gunn. The Clan has been without a chief for more than 230 years. This is wonderful news for this Scottish Clan and the hard work of the Gunn Society. This is a truly historic event.
The Clan Gunn is one of the oldest Scottish Clans descended from the Norse Jarls of Orkney and the Pictish Mormaers of Caithness. An incredibly beautiful area of Scotland.
After a long process of researching various connections and branches of people linked to the distant Chiefs of Gunn one claim was unanimously voted for and the claim from Commander Iain A. Gunn of Banniskirk was put forward the Lyon Court. This was accepted.
“Edinburgh, 25 September 2015. The Lord Lyon King of Arms, having considered the foregoing petition, Recognises the Petitioner as Representer of the House and Family of Gunn, Chief of the Clan Gunn, and that he is entitled to the additaments of Chief to his Ensigns Armorial, the form of such Ensigns Armorial to be determined by His Lordship at a later date.”
The new chief said: “I am most grateful for the congratulations and messages of support from members of the clan worldwide on my recognition by the Lord Lyon King of Arms as chief of Clan Gunn.”
Finding a Chief
The last chief, Morrison Gunn died in 1785 with no traceable heir. Since 1860 The Clan Gunn Society have been trying to find a chief, with no success. In 1978 the Gunn Society resolved “that processes should be set in motion to recognise the Commander as Chief of the clan”. Interested parties were invited to put forward their claims. The outcome was that, by 1993, four possible claimants had researched their genealogy. In order of claimed nearness to the last Chief they were:
- Robert E Kamp, of Rotterdam (now of Bilthoven), whose descent was researched by Willem de Graaff
- Michael J Gunn, of London and Wick, who claimed that Robert Gunn in Thurso, grandson of Esther, daughter of the 6th Mackeamish, married his ancestress Ann Whear.
- Dr Alexander Gunn of USA, believed to be heir male, whose lineage was researched by Edith Gunn Jensen with Michael Gunn’s help.
- Iain A Gunn of Banniskirk, Commander, did not put forward a formal claim in response to the Clan Gunn Society’s motion in 1978 . While of proven descent from Gunn Chiefs through both male and female lines, he accepted that there might well be someone with a closer genealogical link to the last Chief, and if such a person could also prove an undisputed claim.
- A fifth possibility with Jack Gunn in Australia – who was genealogically senior to Iain. He removed his claim.
A petition was made to the Lord Lyon by leading members of the Clan worldwide. On December 22, 2014 Lyon Morrow accepted the Petition and appointed John Malden Esq, Unicorn Pursuivant to supervise a Convention and report his findings to him. More information on this can be found on the Clan Gunn Society website: http://www.clangunnsociety.org/chiefship/
A Change to the Gunn Crest
The last chief died in 1785 his arms are unknown, or at least not officially recorded in the Lyon Court’s records, so the Gunn Clan Crest has never been completely set in stone. Now with the new chief it is. There will be some changes (motto is the same, the sword is now basket hilted and the arm has tartan on it). We are in the process of updating this on the ScotClans website and will be contacting other Scottish manufacturers of this change of crest.