Hailing from lands to the north of the Cromarty Firth, the Munro Clan are said to have arrived in Scotland from Ireland during the 11th century.
The clan’s traditional progenitor is given as Donald Munro, ancestor of the Munros of Foulis, who is said to have received the family’s original lands in Ross-shire as a reward for helping Malcolm II against invaders from Scandinavia. This would mark the beginning of the family’s involvement in key Scottish battles, as they fought bravely at Bannockburn and Halidon Hill during the Scottish Wars of Independence before finally emerging as a recognisable clan in 1369 when the first Munro chief was recorded in history after he was killed by the Earl of Ross.
The next mention of the Munro clan in history would come during the early part of the 15th century when James I arrived in Inverness to assert his authority, seizing many leading highlanders before offering a pardon to the Munros. This appears to be because the clan were not as overly combative as their near-neighbours as only two skirmishes would be recorded with other clans, a fight with the MacKenzies in which the Munro chief was killed and another against the MacKintoshes when another chief would lose a hand.
Due to their lack of controversy, the Munros would eventually rise to a position of public office under the Stewart Monarchy, with the chief serving as the Royal Lieutenant. They would go on to fight for the Stewarts at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547 as the chief was slain with many of his men before Mary, Queen of Scots, would require their assistance during a visit to Inverness in the subsequent years. The family would then be given control of crown lands in Ross and the Black Isle as the Stewarts tasked them with helping to keep control of the northern highlands. They would manage this successfully and would eventually take their skills in battle across the continent as two successive Munro chiefs fought and died in the Thirty Years’ War.
The clan would then support the Scottish monarchy as George Munro commanded the King’s forces from 1674 to 1677 but the Munros would then split as, during the Glorious Revolution of 1688, some members would support the incoming William and Mary while others would remain staunch supporters of the Stewarts. Luckily, the majority of the clan would side with the chief and would continue to support the Government during the significant Jacobite Risings of the 18th century, cementing their assets as others were stripped of their lands, titles and castles. Despite this, the final rising of 1745 would cause the semi-ruin of the Munro Clan Seat, Foulis Castle, as it was attacked during the fighting. It would eventually be rebuilt but would again fall into ruin and was not properly restored until 1884. Dating back to at least 1491, it is the iconic symbol of the clan and, after a further restoration during the mid-2oth century, it continues to be their chief’s seat until today – as it is held under the ownership of the present chief, Hector William Munro of Foulis.