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Clan Thompson

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Scotland Project > Scottish Clans > Clan Thompson


Welcome to Clan Thompson

Clan Thompson Team
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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 Clan Thompson together with members bearing the name Thompson, the related families and those recognised as septs of Clan Thompson.

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 Thompson on Wikitree.
  • ensuring entries appearing on Wikitree are as accurate as possible, correcting mistakes once spotted.
  • encouraging interest in and study of Clan Thompson



Clan History

Clan Branches

Other Names Associated with the Clan

Allied Clans

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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.

Clan MacTavish

Septs Name Thompson


Crest - idelicet:-Argent, a stag’s head cabossed Gules between the attired of ten tynes a cross crosslet fitchéeSable all within a double orle nowed of eight Celtic knots Azure. Above the Shield is placed an Helm suitable to an Incorporation, videlicet:- a sallet Proper lined Gules with a Mantling Gules doubled Argent, and on a Wreath of the Liveries is set for Crest a Border Reiver on horseback Proper.


Gaelic - Nosce teipsum

English- Know thyself

District- Cumberland

Region Perthshire

Gaelic Name- Mac Tamhais

Crest Badge -

Pipe Music -


Names associated with the clan

Taes Tais Taise Taish Taiss Tam Tameson Tamesone Tamson Tamsone Taus Taweson Tawesson Tawis Taws Tawse Tawseon Tawseson Tawson Tawst Tawus Thomason Thomasson Thomassone Thomassoun Thomessone Thompson Thomson Thomsone Thomsoun Thomsoune Thomsson Tomson Tomsone

  • A Brief History of Clan Thomson/MacTavish

Origin of the name

The clan name MacTavish is an Anglicised form of the Gaelic Mac Tamhais, which translates to Thomson or Thom(p)son in English. This name is a patronymic form of the Scots personal name Tammas, which in turn is a form of the name Thomas.

The Gaelic name Mac Tamhais is pronounced similarly to 'MacTavis' or 'MacTavish' (the "mh" in Gaelic pronounced as the "v" in the English word "very"). In old charters, the name had many variant spellings. Some spellings found within old charters, post-Culloden parish registers, and in The Commons Argyll appear as MacAvis, MacCamis, McCawis,McKavis, McKnavis, M'Ash, MacAnish, mcTais, MacTavifh and mcThavish, to give but a few. It seems that from near the end of 17th century, the spellings, MacTavish and/or Thom(p)son or Thomas were the most common. Variations in surname spelling within one document are often seen for the same person.

THOMSON This name means literally 'son of Thom or Thomas,' and it should be noted that its prevalence throughout the British Isles clearly shows that Thomas had been a popular forename from the Middle Ages. Consequently, many families of differing origins now bear this name. Thom(p)son tends to be an English form, and Thomas is usually Welsh. The most eminent families, were found about Edinburgh where those of Duddingston held their lands until about 1688, and those of Corstorphine had long association with the Forrester lairds of that place. Thomson is also an anglicized form of MacTavish, MacThomas and MacComie. The MacTavishes of Argyll are said to derive from 'Taus Coir' an illegitimate son of a Lord of Lochow who lived about the beginning of the 13th century, but many of these have now changed their name to Thomson or Taweson.

The Clan MacThomas of Glenshee (Perthshire), were originally MacComies who took their name from Thomas, a son of the 6th Chief of Mackintosh who settled there in the 15th century and from where many of his descendants became established in Angus and the surrounding counties. Although MacThomas remains the official name of that clan, having appeared as such in the Rolls of Clans compiled in 1587 and 1594, it is remarkable that few of its members have ever borne the name. Clan associations may therefore lie with the MacTavishes or MacThomases, and it is possible that some Thomasons are linked with Clan MacFarlane, for some are said to descend from Thomas, a son of a MacFarlane chief, who lived about 1390-1406.

The name Maclehose is reputed to be of similar origin and is found in Argyll and areas adjacent to lands occupied by MacThomases and MacFarlanes. In 19th century Scotland Thomsons advanced the cause of Arts, Science and Invention beyond the 'per capita' endeavours of any other name - one patented a pneumatic tyre as early as 1845 and later, William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, gave his name to the scale of degrees Kelvin. In the absence of genealogical or geographical evidence of clan association, suitable tartans would be the Dress and Hunting Thomson patterns, both recorded at Lyon Court for Lord Thomson of Fleet, but now in general use.

There was no single originating family named Thomson responsible for all the Scottish Thom(p)sons found today. The name is patronymic, in that the next generation is named after the father’s personal name. Although many have been linked by the Thompson DNA project. Thomsons are very numerous over a large part of Scotland and are primarily found south of the Forth and Clyde. The lowlands or border lands are neither purely English nor purely Scottish. In fact, the border lands and the region known as Lothian just north of the border have now become the center of Scotland with Edinburgh as it’s capital.

The earliest Thomsons; spelled with an (a), (e), and sometimes a (p), slowly evolved from the 12th century into families with a central head or leader in the border and Lothian areas of the Scottish lowlands from Dunfriesshire to Rosburghshire.

The Thomsons of Eskdale were a rather small fifteenth-century clan closely aligned with the larger clans Beattison snd Nixons. In the 1540’s the English Lord Wharton reported to the Earl of Shewsbury that the Batysons, Thomsons, and Lytles of Esskdayle have made raiding (reiving) forays on several English towns.

In 1547 the English Lords Lennox and Wharton crossed the Esk River to subdue the south of Annandale and Castlemilk. The continuing reiving on the borders resulted in several lairds and clans being forced to give an oath of obeisance to the King of England. Bell’s MS, preserved in the Carlisle Cathedral Library, lists the names of 166 Beatties and Thomsons who had surrendered to the English King. The 1551 peace accord created the Debatable Lands between the Esk and Sark rivers which belonged to neither kingdom.

The farmers of the fertile plains of Berwickshire and the middle Tweed valley saw themselves as different from the horsemen of Liddesdale. In 1569 the lairds of the eastern and middle marches asserted that, while they themselves were peaceable, the thieves of the western ranges were not. In a memorandum to the Scottish Privy Council, they insisted that reivers must be controlled. They produced a black list of the surnames of the worst offenders: All Armstrongs, Batesons, Bells, Crosiers, Elliots, Glendinnings, Hendresons, Irvines, Nixons, Routledges and Thomsons.

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Categories: Clan Thompson