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THE YOUNG CHIEFTAINS WHO ARE STRUGGLING TO KEEP ALIVE AN OLD SCOTS TRADITION; Come on, come on ... I'm the leader of the clan, I am!

David Chrichton of that Ilk was only 19 when he became chief of the Clan Crichton.

His father, Charles Crichton died in 1992, passing family responsibilities to young David.

The family home is Monzie Castle, a splendid property in Crieff, Perthshire.

The building dates from 1634 and stands at the foot of Knock Hill on the outskirts of town.

It is famous for the sumptuous fitting out by Sir Robert Lorimer, which took place after a major fire almost 90 years ago.

David, who is single, now works as a banker in the City of London. During a brief holiday at the family home, he told the Sunday Mail:

"I appreciate that there is a huge responsibility attached to the fact that you are clan chief.

"It's got nothing to do with silly dressing up but rather trying to promote Scotland in a very positive light."

He knew there was a growing band of young chiefs in Scotland, who only stepped up to their lofty office because of family tragedy ... the death of their father.

"But we have to move on," he said. "I take very seriously my duty to do my best for Scotland and to encourage the tourist industry in any way I can."

LORD OF FAMILY AT 17

ONE of the youngest heads of a famous Scots family is 17-year-old Lord Elphinstone.

Born Alexander Mountstuart Elphinstone, he succeeded to the title when his father James died suddenly from a brain haemorrhage in 1995. He was only 41.

Alexander, who has two younger brothers, is the 19th Lord Elphinstone.

The Elphinstone family took its name from the lands it held in Lothian during the 14th and 15th centuries.

The first Lord Elphinstone was a loyal ally of James IV of Scotland and died alongside the king at Flodden in 1513.

His great-grandmother was a sister of the Queen Mother and his grandmother was a lady-in-waiting to the Queen.

TRAGEDIES have scarred the history of Clan Fraser, one of Scotland's most noble families.

Simon Fraser, 21, is the 18th Lord Lovat and is a student at Edinburgh University.

His father and uncle died within 10 days of each other in 1994. His Uncle Andrew was gored by a buffalo while on safari in Africa.

Then his 54-year-old father, also Simon, died from a heart attack while hunting on the family estate in March 1994.

The family was recovering from these double blows when clan chief Lord Lovat, 83, died in his wife's arms on the first anniversary of Andrew's death. The tragedies forced the sale of the family seat, Beaufort, to Ann Gloag, boss of the pounds 500 million Stagecoach bus and rail company.

The Frasers had lived there since 1511 and can be traced back to the 12th century. So Simon now lives in a lodge on the 6,000-acre estate in Inverness- shire.

Effects were sold, including three locks of the Old Pretender's hair and a silk veil, which was thought to have been owned by Mary Queen of Scots.

One of the earliest blows to hit the clan was in the 18th century when the 11th Lord Lovat was caught up in the '45 Rebellion. He was executed in the Tower of London.

TO the girls of the sun-drenched Nanyang High School, the young teacher with the Scottish accent is "Mr" Mackintosh.

There are no airs or graces as he moves among his Far East students...

Nothing that hints at his noble background.

For 7,000 miles away in his home country, this 27-year-old has a different title - Mackintosh of Mackintosh, 31st chief of the Scottish clan.

John has taught English and History at the independent girls' school at Buckit Dimah, in Singapore, for four years.

He assumed the title at Christmas, when his father, Lachlan, died.

John said: "Some of the people here are aware of my title but I'm not sure if they understand what it entails."

John sleeps in a spare room of a family's home on the 14th floor of a block of flats in a busy residential area.

The teeming district of Toa Tayoh is a far cry from Moy Hall, at Tomatin, near Inverness, the ancestral family seat where the Mackintosh family have lived since 1336.

John said: "After living out here for almost four years, going back to the Scottish weather is quite a relief.

"I intend to return to Scotland but living in the Far East has given me the chance to see some fascinating places.

"On occasions, my signature has been required for clan business. My mother and two sisters are fabulous at sending out correspondence through the post."

MILLIONS WANT A CHIEF

THE word `clan' comes from the Gaelic `clann' meaning children or descendants.

Many of today's 130 or so clans can be traced to the 13th century. The chief is the father of his people, war leader and upholder of clan law.

The Battle of Culloden in 1746 dealt a major blow to the clan system. Wearing tartan and speaking Gaelic were forbidden.

The clearances meant that many people were forced to live on land that could not support them.

Today, almost every Scottish name is linked to a clan.

Millions of people worldwide are desperate to trace their Scottish origins, to `belong' to a clan or clan society,

Groups flourish where there is a sizeable contingent of Scots or descendants of Scots.

Clan chiefs now live all over the world - but are still recognised by their clansmen.

THE 35th chief of the Clan MacLennan has a hectic social life... to make ends meet.

Ruairidh MacLennan - unlike any other clan chief in history - plays the pipes for his OWN supper!

He has no castle, no grand estates, no rolling acres and definitely no personal piper.

The 20-year-old student has to watch the pennies, which is why he has taken THREE summer jobs.

He plays the pipes at weddings for around pounds 40, labours for a landscape gardener and, at nights, pulls pints for pounds 3 an hour behind the bar in the picturesque Dores Inn, on Loch Ness-side. Ruairidh - clan motto "While I Breathe, I Hope" - wants more people to become involved in the clan.

He said: "The feeling for clan and family is much stronger abroad, especially in America and Australia.

"I think we should organise a grand meeting and a ball for all the clans.

"This is something I will be discussing with the other clan chiefs."

He inherited his title, aged 12, when his war hero dad, Ronald, died from leukaemia. It gave him the nickname "Wee Chiefie."

He's been challenged for the title by a claimant in Australia but he will only lose it if he fails to get married and produce an heir.

Although there is no special woman in his life at the moment, Ruairidh said: "When I meet the right girl, I will settle down. But it will be for love - not for the title."
COPYRIGHT 1997 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 20, 1997
Words:1157
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