Nicolson / Nicholson

Clan Nicolson is a Lowland Scottish clan. In the 1980s Sir David Nicolson, 4th Baron Carnock was recognized by Lord Lyon King of Arms as Chief of Clan Nicolson. Not content with this, Ian Nicolson, an Australian, petitioned Lord Lyon to be chief of the Nicolsons of Scorrybreac, and in 1988 was regonized as Ian MacNeacail of MacNeacail and Scorrybreac, Chief of the Highland Clan MacNeacail.

Origins of the clan -

The surname Nicolson means son of Nicol. Nicol, a diminutive of Nicholas (Greek: Νικόλαος “Victory People“), was first brought to the British Isles by the Normans, and was a very common medieval name. Today the surname Nicholson is distributed in high concentrations in Northern England (postal areas: Carlisle, Newcastle upon Tyne, Lancaster, Darlington, York) also in Scotland (postal areas: Outer Hebrides, Inverness, Dumfries and Galloway). It is thought by some that the surname could perhaps be derived from the personal name Olsen, ‘Nic’ in Gaelic signifying ‘daughter of’.

The surname NicRolson found in the Hebrides is an anglicization of MacNeacail (Scottish Gaelic). The MacNeacails/MacNicols first populated the Isle of Lewis, but eventually made their home and chief seat at Scorrybreac in Skye. Although the Clan MacNicol of the west Highlands and islands are, according to their heraldry, apparently linked to the Nicolsons of that Ilk, there is little genealogical evidence available to explain this. The chiefs of both clans bear gold shields charged with the heads of birds of prey, with red hawks for MacNeacail and red falcons for Nicolson.

Clan Chief: David Henry Arthur Nicolson, 4th Baron Carnock.


Motto: Generositate (by Generosity)

Badge: Juniper


Tartan - MacNicol/Nicolson


The MacNicol/Nicolson tartan that appears in the MacIan/Logan work represents a woman wearing a tartan shawl. Logan even admits they had never encountered a tartan for the MacNicols/Nicolsons, and that “it is probable they adopted that of their superiors”