||Copyright ©1995-2013 by Celtic Studio
CREST: A dexter hand holding a star Argent surmounted by a crescent Or.
MOTTO: Sola virtus nobilitat.
TRANSLATION: Virtue alone ennobles.
PLANT: Cotton Grass.
GAELIC NAME: Mac Eanruig.
ORIGIN OF NAME: Henry's son.
The forms of Henry, Hendry and
their sons have many variants and diverse
geographical origins. The Gaelic form is Mac
Eanruig, and the Hendersons of Glencoe possessed
a legendary ancestor in Eanruig Mor Mc Righ
Neachtan - Great Henry, son of King Nechtan. It
appears that the chiefship passed to an heiress,
and that she became united in a handfast marriage
with Angus Og of Islay. Their son was known a
Iain Fraoch (Heather John), and he evidently
settled in the lands of the grandfather to whom
he was heir, Dugald Mac Hendry, at Inverlochy in
Lochaber. Here his son was born and became known
as Iain Abrach (John of Lochaber). It was he who
gave the patronymic Mc lain to the Mac Donald
chiefs of Glencoe. But recognition was given to
precedence of the Henderson's in various ways that
satisfied Highland pride. They formed the chief's
bodyguard , and they were the first to carry a
dead chief's coffin in the funeral procession.
They were hereditary pipers to Mac lain, and one
of them, Ianin Breac MacEanruig, composed the
well known air Gabhaidh sinn an rathad mor. The
assimilation of Henderson's and Mac Donalds after
the chief ship had passed with an heiress to
another name is in stark contrast to what
occurred when the Campbell's obtained a similar
footing in the lands of the Mac Gregors. In the
far north another tribe of Hendersons emerged of
equally ancient, but entirely different origins.
Here the chiefs of Clan Gunn had become
hereditary coroners of Caithness and one of
these, George Gunn, possessed a younger son
Hendry, from whom the Henderson sept came into
being in the 15th century. The corrupt Gaelic
form of the name Mac Kendrick, does not appear to
have been favoured in this area, as Gow was in
place of Smith, and as it would be logical to
expect in all such areas in which forms of
English and Gaelic have existed side by side for
upwards of a thousand years.
At the opposite end of the
country, Dumfries-shire, lived the Hendersons of
whom James became Lord Advocate in 1494 and
founder of the line of Fordell in Fife. It is
thought that the man who played the greatest part
in Scottish history of any of this name belonged
to the branch of Fordell. Alexander Henderson was
born in about 1583 and attended St. Andrews
University, where he became a professor of
philosophy. He was appointed to Leuchars, whose
church still possesses its Romanesque chancel
built before 1200. Despite the influence of its
beautiful architecture, Henderson was one of
those who opposed Charles I'
s attempt to
restore the beauty of vestments and ritual in
Scottish religious observance. With Archibald
Johnstone he drew up the historic National
Covenant of protest that was exhibited for
signature in Greyfrairs churchyard in Edinburgh
in 1638. 'We have now cast down the walls of
, declared Henderson. In 1643 he was
among the Scottish commissioners to the
Westminster assembly, who tried to force
Presbyterianism on the unwilling English as the
price of Scotland's military support against
Charles I. He died in 1646, just as his party
reached the summit of it's success.
The name has also shed
extraordinary luster upon Scottish literature.
Henry the Minstrel (Blind Harry, as he is called)
is perhaps the best known of all of those
wandering bards who recited the deeds of their
countrymen in Gaelic and English in the firelight
of centuries. He lived in the 15th century and
recreated William Wallace as a folk hero of
singular strength and ferocity, quite unlike the
statesman and skilled strategist of history.