Referred to by historian George MacDonald Fraser as, “the most feared and dangerous riding clan on the border”, legend has it the Armstrong name originates from a man who lifted the King back onto his horse as he fell during a battle.
Probably originating in Cumbria, England, the territory of the Armstrongs in the south of Scotland even rivalled the great MacGregor clan of the North as some of the largest in the country and by the 15th and 16th century, Armstrong was a byword for lawlessness along the Scottish border with England as they fought tirelessly with their southern neighbours during countless raids.
In fact, it was only after the Union of the Crowns in 1603 – when both countries came under a common monarchy – that fighting stopped being as fierce between the nations, but only after the Armstrong’s had one last stand ending in the loss of much of their land.
Today, the clan is without a chief. However, the Armstrongs do have a clan association and the clan Armstrong trust which is in Langholm and includes a museum.