Scottish Clan Affiliations of the Sproul Families
Although the Sprouls are indeed an ancient Scottish family they are not a clan. Scottish clans in the sense of Highland and Island clans stem from the family based socioeconomic structure that dominated much of those areas of Scotland up until 1746 when the Jacobite forces of Prince Charles Edward Stuart were defeated at Cullodon. Clan members may have genetic ties to the chieftain or may be members of other families which gave allegiance to the chieftain and clan - and may have taken the clan surname. The area of Dumbartonshire and the Lennox lands straddle the boundary between the Highlands and Lowlands, but the Sprouls may be more properly thought of as a Lowland rather than Highland family, and indeed are neither Celts or Norse Gaels who make up the Highland and Island families and clans. However, there are some Lowland families who have taken on the mantle of clans - Stewarts being an example. In addition, many Lowland families have come to be associated with clans and are accepted into the modern clans and may wear the tartan and the belted crest of that clan. These associated families as sometimes called 'septs' although this use of the term is not always strictly correct.
So, are the Sprouls associated with any clan? Well, as a matter of fact in view of the long historical association of the Sproul family with the Earls and lands of Lennox, the Sproul family members and kin - regardless of the spelling variation of the name Sproul, have been officially recognized as a Sept of Clan Lennox by the Chief and Council of Clan Lennox. You can read the historical Petition for Recognition by Sprouls, Sprowls, Sproules, Spruills etc and kin from around the world and the resulting Clan Lennox Proclamation. In addition, Clan MacFarlane Worldwide, recognizes the Sprouls as an associated family through the shared history and connection with the Earls of Lennox. You can read a Statement from Clan MacFarlane Worldwide on this. The story behind this is provided below.
Clans, Tartans and Kilts Today
Let's start with some history and a grounding in the reality of the modern clans and tartans. There are many online sites and books that list the proposed clan affiliation of various Scots families including the Sprouls. Before getting too wrapped up in this, it is important to know that much of the clan lore in terms of septs and tartans etc. that exists today only dates back to Victorian times. Queen Victoria and others of that time became fascinated with the ancient culture, customs and dress of Scotland and started a Scottish cultural movement - and resulting industry. Clan power and much of clan history and symbols such as tartans had been legally suppressed after the defeat of Prince Charles in 1746. Prior to that time distinctive tartan patterns may have been more asscoiated with regions than specific families. By Victoria's reign much of the oral and physical evidence of original tartans or family associations had simply been lost. In many case, the clan tartans and 'septs' of today are recreation from Victorian times. Sometimes they may spring from from fragmentary ancient sources, but often they arose from the imagination of Victorian 'authorities'. Over the past two centuries numerous additional tartans have been created, kilts have become widely and proudly worn by Lowland and Highland Scots and Scot descendants all over the world, and an international Scots identify and culture has been emerging. One can look at this way - when we wear a tartan or kilt today we are not recreating a vanished and geographically narrow culture, but are part of a two-century long process of making history of ourselves and contributing to the evolution of a global Scottish culture. With that all in mind - the Sproul families do have documented and recognized historical and modern ties to both a Lowland clan and a Highland clan - Lennox and MacFarlane.
Ancient Ties to Lennox and Hence MacFarlane
Online sites, Scottish clothing and regalia shops etc. commonly cite association has been Spreull derived names and the MacFarlane Clan. This arises from the fact that Walter Spreull and his immediate descendants were vassals of, and served, the Celtic Earls of Lennox from whom arose Clan MacFarlane. The clan's name arises from Maolchaluim Mac Pharlain (the son of Parlan) whose family were cousins of the reining Earl of Lennox in the mid 14th century. With the fall of the original Earls of Lennox and ascension of the Stewarts, the Sproul lands fell under Stewart influence. The Lennox descendents, the MacFarlane Clan, remained living and ruling in the adjacent Highlands. Some sources also associate the Sprouls with the Stewarts. However, the strongest and most ancient association is with Lennox. Since Walter Spreull served the original Earls of Lennox. The Spreull lands fell in the Lowlands and the Highland Border region along the southern shores of Lock Lomand. This was traditional lands of the Earls of Lennox and Clan Lennox and bordered the lands of the cadet clan - MacFarlane.
Today - An Offcial Sept of Clan Lennox and Thus also Affiliated Sept of Clan MacFarlane
In the 19th century the Lennox of Woodhead family produced claim to the mantle of the ancient Celtic Earls of Lennox and have been recognized as chiefs of Lennox. The current Chief is Edward James Howell Lennox, Chief of the Name and Arms Lennox and Baron of Antermony. This long historical and geographic relationship why Clan Lennox recognizes the Sprouls as a sept or associated family. Lennox also considers the MacFarlanes to be a cadet clan of Lennox. A cadet clan is a clan that branched of from an older existing clan - perhaps through a younger son or other relative of the clan chieftain. This was certainly the case in the founding of Clan MacFarlane. The MacFarlanes are today by far the largest and most active cadet clan of the orginal Earls of Lennox. The shared connection to the Earls of Lennox and the Lennox lands is why Clan MacFarlane Worldwide also recognizes us as a sept and invites members of the greater Sproul family to join in their activities. Clan MacFarlane is a large friendly membership and offers us active involvement in many Highland Games etc. Clan Lennox is growing and we should of course support Clan Lennox, our ancient relationship, as Walter Spreull supported the Earls of Lennox over 700 years ago!
Get involved, support and join in clan activities: Clan Lennox - https://clanlennox.org/
Clan MacFarlane - https://clanmacfarlane.org/
Read More and See Documents Related to Sproul Families and Clan Lennox and Clan MacFarlane
Clan Lennox Clan Crest and Tartan Clan MacFarlane Clan Crest and Tartan