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Clan Paterson

Clan Paterson is a Lowland Scottish clan. The clan is officially recognized as such by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, however as the clan does not currently have a chief it is considered an Armigerous clan.[1]



The name Paterson in Scottish Gaelic is MacPhadraig, which could be a shortened form of MacGille Phadraig which means son of the devotee of Saint Patrick.[1] This suggests that the ancestor may have been a churchman as the Celtic church allowed priests to marry.[1] Or it could mean that the ancestor was a “layman” who was part of the ecclesiastical hierarchy.[1]

In around the end of the 13th century the Patersons had settled on the shores of Loch Fyne with name becoming widespread in the Scottish Lowlands.[1] As of 1994 it was amongst the twenty most common surnames in the Lowlands.[1]

15th and 16th centuries

A gentleman named William Paterson witnessed a charter in 1446 in Aberdeen.[1] In 1563 James Paterson was sheriff-depute of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.[1] He later became Provost of Inverness.[1]

17th and 18th centuries

William Paterson was a founder of the Bank of England, but he is better-remembered as being the architect of the disastrous Darien scheme.[1] The scheme was an attempt to establish a Scottish colony at the isthmus of Darien in Central America.[1]

A celebrated episode of the Paterson family was during the Jacobite rising of 1745 when Sir Hugh Paterson, 2nd Baronet (of Bannockburn) entertained Prince Charles Edward Stuart in January 1746.[1] Sir Hugh’s niece, Clementina, became Prince Charlie's mistress and bore him a daughter, Charlotte Stuart, Duchess of Albany.[1] Bannockburn House still stands today as it was when Bonnie Prince Charlie visited it.[1]

Highland Patersons

The Scottish surname Paterson is also considered as a sept of the Clan MacLaren and Clan Farquharson who were based in the Scottish Highlands.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Way, George and Squire, Romily. Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. (Foreword by The Rt Hon. The Earl of Elgin KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). Published in 1994. Page 444.
  2. ^ List of Clan Septs and Dependents Retrieved 17, February 2013.