The Statutes of lona (1609) and the Destruction of the Highland Clan System


  • Valerie Smith


The destruction of the Highland Clan system is often dated from the defeat of the Highland Jacobite Clans at Culloden on 16th April1745.1 It is true that Drumossie Muir on that day saw the final defeat of a system that had arisen from early tribal beginnings in the vastness of the Scottish Highlands but if this date marked the end it is not this date that should be dwelt upon, nor perhaps, its Jacobite origins, if one seeks the way in which the Highland Clans were brought down. Only a full examination of preceding events in Scottish History will clarify all the ways that led to the final demise of the Highland Clan, its culture, land, people, laws, wealth, language2 and leaders. Culloden was the last Government action taken to enforce what had been aimed at for centuries and had been threatened in the so called Statutes of Iona in 1609.