A name derived from the district of Buchan which comprises
the northeastern part of Aberdeenshire and part of Banffshire.
The ancient mormaership, or earldom, of Buchan came into the
hands of the Comyns, who were later deprived of it after their
defeat at the hands of Robert the Bruce. Buchan was thereafter
conferred on Alexander Stewart, the feared Wolf of Badenoch,
natural son of Robert II. The geographic name would, however, have
been used by notable inhabitants of the district, even although
they may have had no provable connection with the great earls.
Black lists Ricardus de Buchan as clerk to the bishopric of
Aberdeen around 1207. William de Buchan held land in Aberdeen
before 1281. Sir Thomas de Boghan appears on the Ragman Roll
rendering homage to Edward I of England in 1296. His lands were
around Edinburgh, and his seal bears an eight-rayed figure which
may be the derivation of the shining sun which forms part of
the chief's crest.
It cannot be accurately ascertained when the Buchans gained
the Lands of Auchmacoy, but Andrew Buchan of Achmakwy was
one the assize appointed to settle the boundaries of the lands
of St. Peter's Hospital in 1446. Auchmacoy seemed to have been
in the family's hands from the beginning of the fourteenth
century, but it was in 1503 that Andrew, generally reckoned to
be the second chief, received a charter to the lands from James IV.
The Barons of Auchmacoy were staunch royalists and from
supporters of the Stuarts throughout the seventeenth century.
Thomas, the third son of James Buchan of Auchmacoy, was a
professional soldier who learned his trade in the wars in France
and Holland. He served in Douglas's Scots Regiment, raised for
the king of France, until 1686, when he was commissioned
colonel in the Earl of Mar's regiment of Jmaes VII. Loyal to
his commission, he joined Viscount Dundee to fight for his
deposed monarch. After Dundee's death at Killiecrankie in 1689,
Buchan was appointed commander-in-chief of all Jacobite forces
in Scotland, receiving his commission from the king in Ireland.
He returned to Scotland in April 1690 where he met at Keppoch
with chiefs sympathetic to the Jacobite cause. It was resolved
to delay the general muster of the clans until the summer, but
General Buchan was to harry the enemy with his force of twelve
hundred foot. On 1 May 1690 at Cromdale, Buchan was taken by
surprise by a strong government force under General Mackay.
Buchan escaped, regrouped his men, and joined forces with
the Farquharsons. The Highland reinforcements encouraged
Buchan to take the offensive again. He marched from Abergeldie
through the Mearns towards Aberdeen but he was soon opposed
by the Master of Forbes and a strong force of cavalry. Buchan
cleverly disposed his troops to give an appearance of numerical
superiority and his ruse was successful. Forbes retreated
towards Aberdeen, causing panic in the city. Buchan, however,
had no intention of attacking the city and turned towards
Inverness. General Mackay's forces however, marched to
intercept him, and Buchan's Highlanders drifted away into
their home glens. Buchan was allowed to go into exile in France,
but he fought again at the Battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715 and
was still in communication with the exiled royal family
when he died in 1721.
James Buchan, fourteenth of Auchmacoy, was recognised
by the Lord Lyon as chief of the name in April 1830. The title
then passed through his only daughter, Louisa, to her cousin,
Sir Norman Sinclair, eighteenth Earl of Caithness. He
petitioned the Lyon Court in April 1913, taking the surname
and arms of Buchan of Auchmacoy. His daughter, Lady Lucy
Buchan, married Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, the great
Lord Lyon, in 1928. She was the mother of Sir Thomas's
younger son, the present Lord Lyon, Sir Malcolm Innes of
Edengight. The earl's eldest daughter, Lady Olivia, became
the seventeenth of Auchmacoy. Her son changed his name in
1949 to be recognised by the Lord Lyon as chief of the
Buchans. The chief's seat remains at Auchmacoy House near Ellon.
Alexander Buchan was an eminent British meteorologist who
first observed what were to become known as Buchan spells:
departures from the normally expected temperature occuring
during certain seasons. Buchan established the weather map
as the basis for weather forecasting. John Buchan, born in
August 1875, was a clergyman's son, educated at the Universities
of Glasgow and Oxford before being called to the Bar in 1901. He
served in the colonial service in South Africa and this inspired
his literary career. His most famous work was The Thirty-nine
Steps, popularised by the motion picture directed by Alfred
Hitchcock. In 1935 he was appointed Governor General of
Canada and was created first Baron Tweedsmuir.
(Way of Plean, George, and Romilly Squire. 1994. Scottish
Clan and Family Encyclopedia. Glasgow, Scotland: