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 Clan Gunn

 The Clan Gunn are true Highlanders who claim their descent from Guin, second son of Olans or Ollar the Black, the Norse king of Man and the Isles, who died in 1237. The Gunns were a small but very fierce, turbulent and warlike clan of Caithness and Sutherland in the extreme north and east of Scotland. Their ancent seats were at Hallburg and Kilernan. Jamison/Jameson (at one time MacKechnie and/or MacHamish) is one of several septs of this clan.

"About the middle of the fifteenth century the chief of the clan was George, who lived in what the dismal jimmies of modern degeneracy have termed barbaric romp in his castle Halbury at Clyth. Actually he maintained the colorful culture of a Celtic chieftain's home."[1]

From his office of Tusticiary or Crowner of Caithness he was known as Crowner Gunn, or by fellow clansmen and other Highlanders as from the great silver brooch which fastened his plaid and was worn the badge or cognizance of his office of Crowner.

George was slain about 1464 in a deadly battle with the clan's archenemies, the Keiths, when the latter showed up to fight with two men per horse. Later that night Henry, a son of George Gunn and one of the few survivors of the battle that had claimed his father, killed George Keith of Ackergill and his son at Dilred Castle, where the unsuspecting Keith's had retired. Reportedly he was shot with an arrow through the heart from an open window as Henry exclaimed "The Gunn's compliments to Keith" (afterward used as a proverb in the north Highlands).

The Jameson name can be found among the septs of the Clan Gunn. They are said to have been descended from Gun, or Gunn, or Guin, second son of Olaus, or Olav, the Black, a Norwegian king of Man and the Isles, who died 18th June 1237. Gun, the second of three sons of Olaf, is described as a man of great bravery, who lived in the Orcadian Isle of Graemsay in 1100. Gun or Guin is supposed to have received from his maternal grandfather, Farquhar, Earl of Ross, the possessions in Caithness. The earliest stronghold of the chief in that area was Halbury castle, or Easter Clythe, situated on a huge rock, overhanging the sea. From a later chief who held the office of coroner, it was called Crowner Gun's Castle.

The Crowner's eldest son, James, succeeded as chief. He moved with his family and the greater portion of his clan, into Sutherland. From then on, the main residence of the chiefs was Killernan, in the parish of Kildonan. That house was accidentally destroyed by fire about 1690. From this chief, the patronymic of Mac-Sheumais, or MacKeamish, (that is, the son of James), which then became the Gaelic sept-name of the chiefs, is derived. From this chief of the clan Gunn, come the descendants Jameson and Jamieson.

No specific connection has been made with any Jamesons of Clan Gunn and our Jameson ancestors either from old or current times. There doesn't seem to be any Jameson or anyone else from the Gunn Clan nor for that matter anyone from that region of the far north Highlands to be living amongst our Jamesons in either Ulster nor in New Hampshire. Furthermore, there doesn't seem to be much similarity with YDNA results from the Gunn group and that from our Jamesons. For these reasons it is unlikely our Jamesons are descended from that group.

The history of this clan is rich in its descriptions of many of their chiefs, their life and their battles, all of which is documented well elsewhere. As this is not intended to be a history of the clan the interested reader is urged to separately seek out this documentation.


[1]      The Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scotish Highlands - Frank Adam and Sir Thomas, Innes of Learney - 1965 pp224