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This blog has been prompted by Kate Morley who got in touch to suggest a blog on Clan Mar, it seems that more people than just my mother are reading these posts – which is a relief! Thanks for the recommendation Kate, it was a lot of fun learning about his clan, I hope you enjoy the post.
About Clan Mar
Back in ancient times, like a really long time ago, Scotland above the Firth of Forth was divided up into seven main kingdoms namely: Angus, Athole, Strathearn, Fife, Mar, Moray and Caithness. Each of these kingdoms had an Earl or a Moraemar as a leader; these leaders were some of the most powerful people in the country subordinate only to the King of Scotland and far out-ranking clan chiefs. The eagle-eyed among our readers might have noticed a striking similarity between the name of one of these kingdoms and the clan in question today. Clan Marr descends from the Moraemar of Mar who was the ruler of lands between the rivers Dee and Don, so we are looking at a family that should have had a fairly sizeable influence on Scottish history, and indeed they have.
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The remains of Scone Abbey[/caption]
It seems that no matter what event it is in Scottish history, the Marrs have been involved on some level. There is evidence to place a Marr at the erecting of Scone Abbey, the chap in question was given the title Comes
which in Latin means more or less the same as Earl, making the Earldom of Mar the oldest peerage in the UK. The fifth Earl of Mar was one of the regents of Scotland, a regent being a person who is basically babysitting the country while the monarch is unable to either through being too young, too mad or too dead. The fifth Earl’s son was Donald I who was knighted in 1270 and went on to be a witness at the wedding of Eric II of Norway and Margaret of Scotland; it was their child (Margaret, Maid of Norway) who was to become the heir to the Scottish throne on Alexander III’s death. Donald I supported Margaret’s succession to the throne but unfortunately she died on her way from Norway to Scotland, this is where things started to go a bit nuts in Scotland as there was no clear heir to the throne and several claimants to the position – so began the Wars of Independence which the Mars got themselves nicely caught up in the middle of.
During the Wars of Independence, the Earls of Mar supported the claim of Robert the Bruce. As if they had much of a choice, the families were related; the Sixth Earl’s daughter married Robert the Bruce. The Earl's son also married married a Bruce - Christina Bruce (Robert’s sister) and it was through this marriage that the eighth Earl of Mar came to be born. The eighth Earl of Mar would go on to become Regent of Scotland, albeit only for nine days! Clan Mar continued to be involved in Scotland’s history in significant ways; the 20th
Earl of Mar was appointed the governor of Edinburgh Castle and fought for the royalists during the civil war, causing the family estates to be forfeited when the royalists lost the war. Thankfully the estate was restored to the family upon the restoration of Charles II. The family later had their titles remove during the Jacobite uprisings as a punishment for supporting the rebels; again these honours were restored after the conflict had been resolved.
As distinguished as the Marrs have been in times gone by, the reputation of the family is being kept alive in several different fields. Let’s have a look at a couple of the more notable Marrs of recent years.
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– Andrew Marr began his career as a political commentator before becoming the editor of The Independent in 1996 and then the Political Editor of the BBC in 2000. Andrew Marr is the host of The Andrew Marr Show, a Sunday morning political talk show; in this guise he has interviewed all manner of influential people from Ban Ki-Moon, David Cameron, Dmitry Medvedev and most critically, Russell Crowe. Aside from all of this, Marr has found the time to write a number of books such as The Battle for Scotland, A history of Modern Britain and The Diamond Queen: Elizabeth II and Her People.
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– Although Johnny Marr’s family is of Irish descent, his surname allows us to consider him as a member of this illustrious family. Johnny was the lead guitarist for the seminal 1980s band The Smiths. Marr’s work with The Smiths ranks along some of the greatest music in rock and roll history; tracks such as “How soon is now?”, “Shoplifters of the world unite”, “There is a light that never goes out”
and “Stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before.”
Since The Smiths broke up, Marr has gone on to work with Paul McCartney, The Pretenders, Modest Mouse, The Cribs and his own band The Healers.
Both Johnny Marr and Andrew Marr are keeping the long standing tradition of the Marr family alive by being firmly in the middle of the action in their given fields. If you have any other stories of Marrs, prominent or otherwise, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and maybe they will feature in one of our future blogs!