Descended from Crinan, Lord of Atholl and hereditary lay Abbot of Dunkeld, the Robertson clan would first be led by Duncan, a younger son of Henry, Earl of Atholl.
Duncan would support Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn but would eventually be captured by the English at either Durham or Neville’s Cross. He would later pass away in 1355 and would pass the chiefship onto his son, Robert, from whom the clan’s name is taken.
As the years progressed, the clan would gain more power as they garnered influence with the monarchy. This influence is said to have started in 1437 when, following the murder of James I, the Robertson clan chief, captured the king’s assassin and handed him over to the authorities. For the part he had played in the execution of the assassin, the clan chief was given the honour of his lands at Struan being erected into a barony and a memorial being added to his coat of arms to signify the event – a hand holding aloft the imperial royal crown and a naked man in chains underneath symbolising the assassin.
From here, the clan’s problems would begin to arise closer to home as rifts with nearby families caused the deaths of the 6th and 8th chief before lands were forced to be sold due to rising debts. Fortunately for the Robertsons, this change in fortunes would be short-lived, however, as the lands were recovered in 1606 when John Robertson reconveyed the lands of Struan to the clan.
The clan would then become involved in national issues once again as Donald, Tutor of Struan, fought alongside the Marquess of Montrose for the Royalist cause during the middle of the 17th century. The family would continue to align themselves with the Stewarts for the rest of the century and would, unfortunately, be forced to forfeit their holdings after James VI’s defeat in 1690. Subsequently, the chief and his family were exiled in France and were not allowed to return until the monarchy of Queen Anne allowed it over a decade later. The chief would, however, not accept a pardon from the Queen and fought for the Stewart cause at the Jacobite Rising of 1715, eventually being exiled to France once more in the aftermath of defeat. Loyal to the end, he would once again rally in favour of Charles Stewart in 1745, although he was at this point too old to fight. He would finally pass away 4 years later, leaving no issue, and the chiefship would pass to Alexander, the son of his kinsmen, Duncan.
After a tumultuous century, the clan would finally receive their lands and titles back after they were restored by the crown in 1784. The chiefs would subsequently move to Jamaica, where they remained until the 20th century as they moved back to the UK. They now own a farm in Kent but remain connected to their Scottish heritage and the Robertson clan.