Clan Munro & the Barons Foulis


The Clan Munro traces its history back to the Roman invasion of the British Isles. In the ancient times of the 4th Century, a band of Scots were driven to Ireland by the invading Romans. They settled by Lough Foyle on the Roe water, where they remained about 600 years until their return to Scotland circa 1000 AD. Known as the Men of Roe, the name Munro evolved. Or there was another option that upon returning to Scotland the group settled in the highland country called Ross, where the narrow Cromarty firth reaches inland from larger Moray Firth. The tribe were the Mountaineer of Ross, later contracted to Monrosse, and then Munro. Yet another legend speaks of early converts to the Roman Church and an identification with Mary, the Virgin, the Rose among all women. The men who wore her badge as Men of the Rose were later Munro. There is an enormous body of legend dealing with the early origins.

The first recorded name is that of Prince Ocaan who organized the clan for their return to Scotland from Ireland. The historical dates for the Munro clan began in 1025 A.D. when Donald Munro, son of Prince Ocaan, fought for King Malcom II. As a reward, during the next parliament at Scone, he was granted a Barony. Donald Munro named the new barony Foyle or Foulis after the lough (lake) in Ireland where he had been reared. Scotland was not an organized or independent country at this time in history. The inhabitants, called Celts on the basis of their language, were a fusion of Mediterranean, Alpine, and Nordic stock which included a dark Iberian and a light-haired stock. The isles scattered about the periphery and the north were under Scandinavian dominance as a result of the Viking raids. The south, England under Alfred the Great and his successors, aimed to make Scotland her vassal and extended English influence northward through the lowlands until the natural barrier of the fierce Scottish mountains was reached.

The Celtic fringe in Scotland claimed independence from all outsiders under a vague vassalage to their own king. Eventually the old tribal and clan organization where each leader was his own "Prince" was superseeded by a feudal system where each leader had a lord who was responsible for him at law. In this structure the great earldoms began to emerge and the small territory of the Clan Munro lay within the much wider reaches of the land and Lord of the Earldom of Ross.

Donald Munro did not take the title of "Baron of Foulis" unto himself nor did his son who succeeded as head of the clan and was hailed by his colorful placename as "George Munro of Fearann, Damhnnill in Ross." (The vast lands of Ross eventually joined those known as Cromarty to form the old country, Ross-Cromarty, stretching across the entire breadth of Scotland, just to the south of the old counties, Caithness and Sutherland. As mentioned previously, for those planning to travel back to your roots in Scotland, all this in now encompassed and called Highland Country.)

The Clan Munro began to gather about their castle at Foulis when Hugh, son of George, became First Baron or Chief of Foulis in 1101. In times of clan warfare a signal beacon was lit on the highest tower of Foulis castle to gather the clan under arms. Hence the Munro slogan or gathering cry of "Casteal Foulais na theine," meaning Castle Foulis ablaze.

The current Chief of the Name and Arms Munro is Hector Munro, 30th Baron Foulis