The surname of Campbell derives from the Gaelic 'cam-beul' which means 'crooked mouth,' and possibly relates to the physiognomy of an early chief. Marriage to the West Coast heiress Eva O'Dubhne or O'Duine, brought Lochawe into the Campbell portfolio during the 13th century, and the first recorded Chief was Sir Colin, or Cailein Mor, who was recognised by John Baliol as one of the principle barons of Argyll in 1292. The original castle headquarters of the clan was on the island of Innischonnel on Loch Awe. Landholdings thereafter incorporated Craignich, Melfort and Strachur, together with lands in Cowal.
To begin with, the Campbells were dominated by the all-powerful Macdougalls of Lorne who were responsible for killing Sir Colin in 1296. This situation was soon remedied by his son Neil, who became a devoted follower of Robert the Bruce, and, indeed, married the King's sister. For his support, he was awarded the confiscated Macdougall lands after Bruce's great victory against the English at Battle of Bannockburn.
The Campbells of Strachur claim descent from Sir Colin's cousin. From his younger son come the Campbells of Loudon. From Sir Neil's younger son originate the Campbells of Inverawe.
Clan Campbell consistently supported the Royal House of Stewart and, following the break up of the Lordship of the Isles at the end of the 15th century, emerged as the most powerful clan in the West Highlands. In 1445, Sir Duncan of Loch Awe was created Lord Campbell. In 1457, his grandson Colin was created 1st Earl of Argyll and through marriage acquired the Lordship of Lorne and one third of the Lorne estates, which included the ancient castle of Dunstaffnage.
The acquisition of Knapdale and Kintyre followed. By the 17th century, the Clan held Mull, Morvern, Coll and Tiree. The titles in the 1701 grant by which the Earl of Argyll was created Duke indicate the clan territories under his authority: 'Duke of Argyll, Marquess of Kintyre and Lorne, Earl Campbell and Cowal, Viscount Lochow and Glenlya, Lord Inveraray, Mull, Morvern and Tiree.' Dukes of Argyll were appointed Hereditary Sheriffs of Argyll and Masters of the Royal Household in Scotland, Admirals of the Western Coasts and Isles of Scotland, and Keepers of the castles of Dunstaffnage, Tarbert, Carrick and Dunoon. However, it is always said that their greatest distinction lies in carrying the title MacCailein Mor, (Son of Big Colin) after the first Chief.
In 1641, Archibald, 8th Earl, was created 1st Marquis of Argyll. He supported the more radical Covenanters against Charles I, but later came to an understanding with Charles II and crowned him at Scone in 1651. Nevertheless, his two-sided dealings with Oliver Cromwell led to his execution for treason following the Restoration. In time, his forfeited lands and titles were restored to his son, another Archibald, but he too was executed for supporting the Monmouth Invasion of 1685.
Things took a turn for the better for the Campbells when William of Orange arrived in 1703. For supporting the Protestant Cause, the10th Earl was created 1st Duke of Argyll and Marquess of Lorne and Kintyre. During the negotiations running up to the signing of the Treaty of Union in 1707, the 3rd Duke of Argyll was considered to be the most influential man in Scotland.
In 1752, Colin Campbell of Glenue was murdered on his way to evict tenants of Jacobite chiefs. The crime became known as The Appin Murder and James Stewart of the Glens was found guilty and hanged for the deed although it was widely believed that he was innocent.
In 1871, the 10th Duke of Argyll married Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria.
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1836-1908) was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1905-1908. He was born in Glasgow and, to inherit the fortune of a deceased uncle, hyphenated his surname to add on the name Bannerman. Sir Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde (1792-1863) was a carpenter's son who rose through the ranks of the British Army to become a Field Marshall in 1862.
The Clan Campbell Society is now a world-wide organisation with a permanent base at Inveraray Castle.
Gaelic: Caimbeulach (Singular) & Ó Duibhne (Collective)
Crest: On a boar's head erased fessways erased Or, armed Argent, langued Gules
Motto: Ne Obliviscaris (Latin for Forget Not)
Places of Interest: Black Castle, near Moulin, Perthshire. King Robert I granted lands here to Sir Colin Campbell of Loch Awe.
Castle Campbell (Castle Gloom), near Dollar, Stirlingshire. Acquired by the Earl of Argyll in the 15th century. Today the ruined castle is managed by Historic Scotland.
Crarae, Loch Fyne, Argyll. Seat of Campbells of Succoth. Today the famous gardens here are managed by the National Trust for Scotland.
Dunstaffnage, Argyll. Former McDougall Castle awarded to Sir Colin Campbell and placed in the hands of a Hereditary Constable. A chapel was constructed outside of the castle walls by the Lords of Lorn. There is a burial aisle of Dunstaffnage Campbells. Flora MacDonald was held prisoner here in the tower after having helped Prince Charles Edward Stuart to escape from the Uists.
Innis Chonnel, Loch Fyne, Argyll. Ruins of castle which belonged to Sir Colin Campbell of Loch Awe. The castle is still owned privately by the Argyll family and is not open to the public. However it can be viewed from the shore road along the east side of the loch.
Inveraray Castle, Loch Fyne, Argyll. Headquarters of the Clan Campbell Society and ancestral home of the dukes of Argyll. Open to the Public.
Tobermoray Bay, Isle of Mull. The Florencia, a great ship of the Spanish Armada, sank here in 1588. Rights of Salvage were granted to the Earl of Argyll by Charles I.
Associated family names (Septs): Arthur, Bannatyne, Burnes, Burness, Burnett, Burns, Caddell, Cadel, Calder, Cawdor, Connochie, Conochie, Denoon, Denune, Fisher, Gibbon, Gibson, Harres, Harris, Hawes, Haws, Hawson, Isaac, Isaacs, Iverson, Kellar, Keller, Kissack, Kissock, Lorne, Louden, Loudon, Lowden, MacArtair, MacArthur, MacCarter, MacColm, MacColmbe, MacConachie, MacConchie, MacConnechy, MacConochie, MacDiarmid, MacDermont, MacDermid, MacEller, MacElvie, MacEver, MacGibbon, MacGibson, MacGlasrich, MacGubbin, MacGure, MacIsaac, MacIver, MacIvor, MacKellar, MacKelvie, MacKerlie, MacKerlich, MacKessack, MacKessock, MacKissoch, MacLaws, MacLehose, MacNichol, MacNiven, MacNocaird, MacOnachie, MacOran, MacOwen, MacPhedran, MacPhun, MacTause, MacTavish, MacThomas, MacUre, Moore, Muir, Ochiltree, Orr, Paterson, Pinkerton, Tawse, Taweson, Tawesson, Thomas, Thomason, Thompson, Thomson, Ure.