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The Rose family line in Scotland

Numerous records indicate that the family de Ros/ Rose appeared in Nairn during the reign of David I, and are of Anglo-Norman origin (See Norman origins of Clan Rose). At a yet to be definitively determined point a man descended from the de Ros family of Helmsley, possibly through the barony of Wark, settled in Geddes during the 1200s. The lands of Kilravock were acquired later on through the marriage of Hugo de Ros of Geddes to Marie de Bosco, whose mother was an heiress of the Bisset Family and father was Sir Andrew de Bosco of Redcastle. The ties between the de Bosco, de Bisset, with the de Ros family appear to have gone back to earlier times in Normandy.

During the Scottish Wars of Independence, Norman Baron Robert de Ros Lord of Wark in Northumberland, due to his love of a young Scottish lady and disdain for Edward I, sided with the Scottish cause for independence.

[ Source references states ] “On 25 September 1298 Robert de Ros of Wark was forfeited by Edward I, King of England, probably because he joined William Wallace and took part with him in the Battle of Stirling Bridge.” [Geoffrey W. S. Barrow, Robert Bruce and the Community of the Realm of Scotland, page. 102]


Robert de Ros was not the only de Ros who supported Robert the Bruce, and Sir William de Ros/ Rose was responsible for capturing Invernairn Castle for him in 1306.

Domestically, from acquisition of the property in the 1200's through to 1460 the de Ros / Rose Clan chiefs lived in a stone fortified house up the hill from the later ancestral home we know as Kilravock Castle.

Of historic note during this pre-castle period is the marriage of Hugh, 4th of Kilravock to Janet Chisholm, the daughter of Sir Robert Chisholm, Constable of Urquhart Castle. It is from this union that Hugh gained lands in Strathnairn and later generations of the Kilravock line would adopt the Red (gules) Chisholm boars head as a heraldic device incorporated into the arms of Kilravock.

It has been said that, all of the earliest family records were lost in this pre-castle period during the destruction of Elgin Cathedral, where the documents had been placed for safekeeping. This happened in 1390 when Robert II's renegade brother Alexander Stewart, also known as the 'Wolf of Badenoch.' laid seige to the Cathedral. Afterwards, the family had to obtain replacement Charters from James I, the earls of Ross and the Chisholms.

The ancestral home best recognized by the Clan, Kilravock Castle, was built in 1460 by the 7th Laird, Hugh Rose, and despite the turbulence of the following century, the Clan remained mostly peaceable, with the castle only being taken once for a very brief time and quickly reacquired. Kilravock has remained an important part of Clan heritage and identity from the 1460s to the present day. It and our Clan have been players in both Scottish and world history.

One well known account states that Mary Queen of Scots stayed at Kilravock on her way to Inverness in 1562. She is known to have corresponded with the 10th Laird several times. Mary's son, James VI, also visited in 1598 treating the 10th Laird like close family.




In the reign of Charles I, the 13th Laird was a supporter of the National Covenant and in 1643 lead the Clan against the Marquis of Montrose at the Battle of Auldearn. Around this time Alexander Rose (1647-1720) was born in Aberdeenshire. Alexander became Bishop of Moray in 1687 and Bishop of Edinburgh in 1688. Although he represented the Scottish Bishops when William of Orange arrived in London, he refused to give up his allegiance to James VII.

During the 1715 Jacobite Uprising Arthur Rose a brave brother of the 15th Laird, was killed while fighting with the Government forces

In 1746, both Clan and ancestral home were in jeopardy. On the eve of the Battle of Culloden, Hugh, 16th Laird, despite favoring the Government Cause, cordially entertained Prince Charles Edward Stuart at Kilravock Castle, while the Duke of Cumberland was installed nearby at the Rose's town house in Nairn. While the Kilravock estate is not often sighted as a factor in the battle, some historian do point out that Charles Stuart's forces found great difficulty navigating through the forrested terane of Kilravock. Shortly after Bonnie Prince Charlie's visit, his cousin and advisory the Duke of Cumberland also paid a visit. Knowing that the old Laird had no substantial force to resist an army on his doorstep he found no fault in Kilravock the 16th's Highland Hospitality to his cousin.

Another well known member of the family was George Rose (1744-1818) who entered politics and became a staunch supporter of the British Prime Minister, William Pitt.

One of the most prominent soldier-politicians of the Victorian era was Field Marshall Sir Hugh Rose(1801-85) who served Great Britian's interest in India and was created Baron Strathnairn.

Skipping ahead to the 20th century; the Clan suffered a true tragedy in its history. Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Rose, son and heir apparent of the 24th Laird, while serving in the the Black Watch Regiment, met his death at the second battle of El Alamein in 1946. With his passing the Chiefship passed instead to his sister Anna Elizabeth Guillemard Rose 25th of Kilravock.


Our curent Clan Chief is David Hugh Heriot Baird Rose 26th of Kilravock. See Council page for more info on our chief.

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