The Duke of Buccleuch, Chief of the Name of Scott, insisted, "Our doors are open" at The Gathering in Edinburgh's Holyrood park. Accompanied by a figure bearing a passing resemblance to Sir Walter Scott, the Duke acknowledged that it was indeed his kinsman who had largley invented much of the tartan flummery which accompanies clan celebrations today for th visit of King Geroge IV ot Edinbrugh in 1822.
But he reminded everyone that ties of family and kinship are just as strong in the Borders, where the Scotts come from, as they are in the Highlands. Great Border families such as the Kerrs and the Armstrongs are as represented around the world as any Ross or Macdonald.
"We must celebrate the clans in the Borders as wel as the Highlands" he said.
The Scotts were in any case almsot certainly settlers from the south as the surname is as common in Northumberland as they are in the Borders. And of course large tracts of territory on either side of the Border regularly changed hands between England and Scotland in earlier days.
Richard, son of Uchtredus filus Scoti, was the ancestor of the Scotts of Buccleuch, and Michael, another son, was ancestor of the Scotts of Balweary. The Scotts of Scotstarvit, near Cupar, emerge in Fife towards the end of the 13th century.
Six Scotts rendered homage to Edward I of England in 1296, but in the ensuing Wars of Scottish Independence, Sir Michael Scott, 2nd Laird of Buccleuch, fought for Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333. Thereafter, the clan became even more firmly entrenched in Liddesdale, exchanging lands in Lanarkshire for lands at Branxholm in Selkirkshire. In the 16th century, the Scotts could muster 600 men in battle from their stronghold of Branxholm Castle, near Hawick.
There were Scotts of Balweary, Scotts of Gala, and Scotts of Harden, the latter acquiring the Barony of Polwarth. From the last-named descended Sir Walter Scott, Scotland's greatest novelist, poet and patriot, who built the great country house of Abbotsford which serves as a shrine to his memory.
The Lordship of Scott of Buccleuch was created in 1606, and the earldom in 1619 for the 2nd Lord who had distinguished himself while in command of Scottish forces in the Netherlands.
Francis, the 2nd Earl opposed the National Covenant and, at the age of nineteen, led his men against the Marquis of Montrose at the Battle of Philiphaugh in 1645.
Francis had two daughters who both succeeded him in turn, becoming countesses of Buccleuch in their own right. The second daughter married James, Duke of Monmouth, natural son of Charles II. On their marriage in 1663, they were created Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, each in their own right.
When the duke of Monmouth was subsequently executed for rebellion by his uncle, James VII, and the Monmouth title confiscated, the Duchess was able to retain the Buccleuch title to pass on to their eldest son. From this sad occasion springs the fortunes of the Scotts of Buccleuch. The Duchess Anne lived on until 1732, residing at Newark Castle on the Bowhill Estate, then at Dalkeith Palace, which she built in its present form around a previous Douglas Castle.
A later marriage linked the Buccleuchs with the powerful Douglas dukes of Queensberry and brought them Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfriesshire, now the principal centre of the family. In 1767, the 3rd Duke of Buccleuch married Lady Elizabeth Montagu, only surviving daughter of George, Duke of Montagu, and thus the Boughton Estate in Northamptonshire, England, passed into the family.