Clan MacDuff

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Scotland Project > Scottish Clans > Clan MacDuff


Welcome to Clan MacDuff

Clan MacDuff Team
Team Leader
Team MembersKenneth Shelton
Clan Chief:
Slogan/War Cry:
Historic Seat:
Plant badge:
Pipe music:
Gaelic name:

Clan Team

Team Goals

The focus of this team's work is to identify, improve and maintain profiles associated with the Lairds and Chiefs of Chiefs of Clan MacDuff together with members bearing the name MacDuff, the related families and those recognised as septs of Clan MacDuff.

Team To Do List

This list will be developed by the Team. If you are working on a specific task, please list it here:

  • promoting the entries of those bearing the name MacDuff on Wikitree.
  • ensuring entries appearing on Wikitree are as accurate as possible, correcting mistakes once spotted.
  • encouraging interest in and study of Clan MacDuff.


Clan History

Clan Branches

Other Names Associated with the Clan

Allied Clans

Rival Clans

Clan Research and Free Space Pages

Source Material

Image Credits and Acknowledgements

Information below this line should be summarized and incorporated into this team page. Detailed information should be moved to additional Clan pages.


The Clan MacDuff (Duff) claims descent from the original Royal Scoto-Pictish line of which Queen Gruoch of Scotland, wife of Macbeth, King of Scotland was the senior representative.

After the death of MacBeth, Malcolm III of Scotland seized the Crown and his son Aedh married the daughter of Queen Gruoch. Aedh was created Earl of Fife and abbot of Abernethy.

The early chiefs of Clan MacDuff were the Earls of Fife. Sir Iain Moncreiffe wrote that the Clan MacDuff was the premier clan among the Scottish Gaels. Today the Earls of Wemyss are thought to be the descendants in the male line of Gille Míchéil, Earl of Fife, thought to be one of the first Clan MacDuff chiefs. Gille-michael MacDuff was one of the witnesses to the great charter of David I of Scotland to Dunfermline Abbey.

Crest Badge Clan MacDuff

Arms of the Chief of the Clan

Clan MacDuff Lands Tartan

Dress Modern


Hunting Ancient

Crest: Red Whortleberry
Motto: Deus Juvat (Latin; God Assists)
Region: East Coast
District: Fife
Plant badge:
Pipe music: MacDuffs Lament
Gaelic name: MacDhuibh.

14th and 15th centuries

In 1306 during the Wars of Scottish Independence, Duncan MacDuff, Earl of Fife was as a minor, held by Edward I of England at the coronation of Robert the Bruce as his ward while Duncan's sister, Isabella MacDuff, placed the golden circlet upon King Robert's head. As a result when she fell into the hands of King Edward's army she was imprisoned in a cage which was suspended from the walls of Berwick Castle. Duncan MacDuff later married Mary, the niece of King Edward and threw in his lot against the Bruce. However he was captured and imprisoned in Kildrummy Castle where he died in 1336. The Earldom later fell into the hands of Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, however although the MacDuff family lost their rank they continued to prosper. In 1384 the earl of Fife was described as capitalis legis de Clenmcduffe, meaning chief of the law of Clan MacDuff. In 1404 David Duff received a charter from Robert III of Scotland for lands in Banffshire.

17th, 18th and 19th centuries

In 1626 John Duff sold the lands in Bannfshire which his ancestor had acquired in 1404. The title of The Fife returned with William Duff, 1st Earl Fife and Viscount Macduff in 1759. James Duff, 4th Earl of Fife fought with distinction in the Peninsular War where he was wounded at the Battle of Talavera in 1809 and was later made a Knight of the Order of St Ferdinand of Spain.

Alexander Duff, 6th Earl of Fife married Louise, Princess Royal, eldest daughter of Edward VII. Alexander was advanced to the rank of Duke of Fife in July 1889.

20th and 21st centuries

With the death of the 1st Duke of Fife, the Clan MacDuff had its last Chief. As of 2014, the representative that should eventually succeed to its Headship is, according to, James Richard Valentine Duff, born on 19 October 1941.


Duff, Fife, Fyfe, Clan Kilgour (Kilgore), Spence, Spens, Wemyss.

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Categories: Clan MacDuff