Through the marriage of Donald Dubh Comyn of Invernahavon to Slane, daughter of Angus, 6th Mackintosh of Mackintosh, David, their son, sought protection from his uncle William, 7th Mackintosh of Mackintosh. David's followers, who became known as Clan Dhai, thus joined the Clan Chattan Federation.
At the Battle of Invernahavon in 1370, Clan Chattan stood firm to oppose an invasion of Camerons. To the annoyance of the Macphersons, the Davidsons were put in command and the former withdrew from the ensuing conflict which left the Davidsons decimated. Thereafter, Clan Dhai and the Macphersons remained at odds for almost two centuries.
William filius David was Provost of Aberdeen in 1340, and Sir Robert Davidson or filius David was elected Provost in 1408. He was killed at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411.
In the following century, the name was to be found not only in Aberdeenshire, but as far south as Ayr. However, the more prominent families remained the Davidsons of Cantray in Inverness-shire and the Davidsons of Tulloch in Easter Ross. Another branch settled at Samuleston in East Lothian, but became extinct in 1670. John Davidson (1549-1603) violently opposed some of James VI's church reforms. In the 18th century, Alexander Davidson of Fortrose had two sons, Henry, who became a merchant in London and first Laird of Tulloch, in Easter Ross. It was he who in 1762 purchased Tulloch Castle (originally the seat of Clan MacBain) from his cousin Kenneth Bayne. Henry's brother Duncan, who became a member of parliament, was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ross-shire.
Robert Davidson (1804-94) was born in Aberdeen and invented the printing machine and electro-magnetic locomotives. Baron Davidson of Lambeth (1848-1930), was born in Edinburgh and became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1903.
The Clan Davidson Association was formed in 1909, and, after lengthy negotiations with the Court of the Lord Lyon King of Arms, Duncan Hector Davidson of New Zealand was recognised as Chief of Clan Davidson in 1996.
Places of Interest:
Castle of Tulloch, Dingwall, Easter Ross. Former seat of Clan MacBain. It dates from the 15th
century and was acquired by Henry Davidson in 1762. It is now a popular hotel.
Dingwall Castle, Dingwall, Ross-shire. Thirteenth century Royal castle, now in ruins. The Chief of the Davidsons was appointed Hereditary Keeper.
Associated family names (Septs): Davey, Davie, Davies, Davis, Davison, Dawson, Day, Dea, Dean, Deane, Deas, Deason, Dey, Dow, Dye, Kay, Keay, Key, Keys, MacDade, MacDaid, MacDavid, MacKay, Slora, Slorach.
Surname distribution in Scotland: The Davidson surname is most commonly found in Aberdeenshire (includes Kincardineshire and part of Banffshire), Angus (Forfarshire), Moray (includes a large part of Banffshire), Perth and Kinross (Perthshire and Kinross-shire) and Highland (includes the historic counties of Inverness-shire, Caithness, Nairnshire, Ross and Cromarty, Sutherland and small portions of Argyllshire and Morayshire).
Motto: Sapienter Si Sincere (Wisely if sincerely)