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Clan Cochrane

Clan Cochrane is a Scottish chiefly family

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Traditionally the original ancestor of the Clan Cochrane in Scotland was a Scandinavian Viking who settled in what is now known as Renfrewshire, near Paisley, between the eighth and tenth centuries.<ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 106</ref><ref>David Dorward, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 47</ref> It is evident that the name is of territorial origin and that the Cochranes took the name of the lands in the ancient Barony of Cochrane. The origin of the name itself is believed to be derived from two Gaelic words which jointly mean The Roar of the Battle or Battle Cry. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 106</ref>

The Cochranes took the boar as their heraldic beast, in keeping with the character of their traditional ancestor. The three boars heads adorning the chief's shield are said to represent the exploits of a warrior who killed three of the beasts who were terrorizing the countryside.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 106</ref>

The name may incorporate the Brittonic word coch-meaning red. <ref>Dorward, Surnames, 47</ref>

Another traditional origin of the name Cochrane is that it comes from when an early member of the family fought in battle with such bravery that his leader singled him out from the others and clapped him on the shoulder calling him coch ran which means brave fellow.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 106</ref>

A history of Paisley refers to the purchase by William, Lord Cochrane, of the lordship and barony of Paisley from the Earl of Angus in 1653 and states that the Cochranes had been connected to Renfrew for upwards of five hundred years.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 106</ref> This puts their presence in the area back to the early 1100s.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 106</ref>However the Cochranes do not appear on any written record until 1262 when the name of Waldenus de Coveran occurs on a charter for a grant of land to Walter Stewart the Earl of Menteith.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 106</ref>

Middle Ages

Other early bearers of the name are William de Coughran in 1296; and Robert de Cochrane in about 1360. The name of 1296 appears in the Ragman Rolls swearing fealty to Edward I of England.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 106</ref>

John de Coveran appears in 1346 as a witness to the election of an abbot of Paisley. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 106</ref> Gosline de Cochran appears as a witness to several grants made by Robert the Steward to Paisley Abbey. De Cochran appears to have been in favour with Robert II and often appears in Robert's charters around this time.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 107</ref>

William Cochran of Cochran gained a charter from Robert II a charter to the family lands.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 107</ref> He was the architect of the Great Hall at Stirling Castle but was also discovered to be counterfeiting currency and was hanged in 1481.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 107</ref>

Sixteenth Century

William Cochrane gained Dundonald Castle in 1638 and became first Earl of Dundonald in 1669.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 107</ref>The chiefship was almost lost due to lack of male heirs but the name was kept through a stipulation in marriage negotiations. Sir John Cochrane served in the army of Charles I and in 1650 became ambassador to Poland. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 107</ref>

Fighting Cochranes

Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald

A series of chiefs during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are known as the 'Fighting Cochranes' due to their military achievements. In 1745 the seventh Earl survived having his horse shot from under him while opposing the Jacobites at Edinburgh.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 107</ref>

Admiral Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, 1st Marquess of Maranhão, GCB, ODM ( 1775–1860), styled Lord Cochrane between 1778 and 1831, was a Scottish naval flag officer of the Royal Navy and radical politician. He was a daring and successful captain of the Napoleonic Wars, leading the French to nickname him Le Loup des Mers ('The Sea Wolf'). In 1801 he captured a Spanish frigate assisted by only fifty four men in what was considered a feat unparalleled in the history of the British navy.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 107</ref> He was also a radical politician and his attacks on naval corruption led to his conviction on trumped up charges of fraud. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 107</ref>

He helped organize and lead the rebel navies of Chile, Brazil and Greece during their respective wars of independence through the 1820s. While in charge of the Chilean Navy, Cochrane also contributed to Peruvian Independence through the Freedom Expedition of Perú. In 1832, he was pardoned by the Crown and reinstated in the Royal Navy with the rank of Rear Admiral of the Blue. After several more promotions, he died in 1860 with the rank of Admiral of the Red, and the honorary title of Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom.

Twentieth Century

The father of the present chief, who was the fourteenth Earl served with the Black Watch, then during World War Two, he served in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Greece. When the war ended, he served with the War Office and in Germany until he retired in 1953.

Sir Ralph Cochrane the youngest son of Thomas Cochrane, 1st Baron Cochrane of Cults, was a British pilot and Royal Air Force officer, perhaps best known for his role in Operation Chastise–the famous "Dambusters" raid.


The chief of the Name and Arms of Cochrane is Iain Alexander Douglas Blair Cochrane, known as Douglas Dundonald (b.1961). The heir is his eldest son Archibald Cochrane (b.1991)<ref></ref>

There is a Clan Association: