Clan Calder Septs


Spelling variants include: Calder, Cadder, Caddell, Cawdor, Cauder, Caldell, Caldille, Cattel and many more.

Calder is seen as a sept of the large and powerful Clan Campbell:


The name is geographical in origin and it appears in various forms in various parts of Scotland; Calder in Caithness, Lanarkshire, Inverness, Ayrshire, and Midlothian; Cadder is in Glasgow; Cawdor is in Nairn.

It is the last which has the Campbell connection; elsewhere in this volume will be found the story of Muriel, heiress of Cawdor or Calder, whose removal for safekeeping to Argyll as a child enabled her to marry John Campbell, younger son of the 2nd Earl of Argyll and thereby to found the important branch of the Campbells of Cawdor whose head, the Earl Cawdor, still possesses the old family seat of Cawdor Castle today.

Muriel’s family would seem to be probably one of the incoming southerners, most likely Flemish, planted in Moray during the twelfth century to subdue the local tribes who had a constant history of rebellion. Many of them were expelled as a result, but not all and many of the incomers married into the families of the ancient possessors of the land to found new dynasties based upon the old. From an early stage the family held the position of Thane although any connection with Shakespeare’s Macbeth has immediately to be discounted.

First on contemporary written record is Donald, Thane of Cawdor in 1295. (16) Thanes of Cawdor, xiii and 3). Then in 1310 King Robert the Bruce granted a charter of the Thanage to William Thane of Cawdor – ‘as had been the custom in the days of the Lord Alexander, King of Scots, of Blessed Memory’. (17) (Thanes of Cawdor, 3.)

With the arrival of Muriel and her Campbell husband her uncles at first made trouble but in due course all was dealt with and the Calders settled down under the new regime.

Lord Cawdor, today, is still referred to, by friends of the family, as ‘The Thane’.