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Arms of Clelland of that Ilk as shown in Niset's System of Heraldry (1722)

Clelland are a Scottish family or kin-group which does not have a recognised chief and is therefore considered an armigerous clan.


This name is said to derive from the lands of Kneland or Cleland in Daziel, Lanarkshire. <ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 372</ref>


John Burton Clelland's family history (1905) lists a number of branches of this family. As well as Clelland of that Ilk, they are: Clelands of Connoblehill, Auchinlee, Monkland and Gartness, Stonypath and Barbados, Blairlin, Glenhoope, Faskine, Rathgael and Stormont Castle. <ref></ref>

Middle Ages

The Clellands of that Ilk were hereditary foresters to the Earls of Douglas, which is may relate to the device of a black hair with a hunting horn around its neck on their arms. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 372</ref>

George Black listed Alexander Kneland of that Ilk as husband of Margeret, sister of William Wallace.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 372</ref> Kneland fought at Bannockburn in 1314 and in return received extensive lands which included the barony of Calder in West Lothian.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 372</ref>

Sixteenth Century

Alexander Clelland of that Ilk and his cousin William were both killed at the Battle of Flodden in 1513.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 372</ref> A later Alexander Clelland was related to the Earl of Bothwell, third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, and implicated in the murder of Lord Darnley, along with others. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 372</ref>

Seventeenth Century

In 1632 Alexander Cleland of Cleland gifted 20 merks to the fund for building a library at the University of Glasgow. A relative, Claud Clelland is listed as a student there in 1598. <ref>The Ancient Family of Cleland, 25</ref> In 1634 James Cleland appropriated the title 'of that Ilk' after the death of his brother Alexander, during the childhood of Alexander's son. The title and lands were later formally purchased by James Cleland, possibly by force. <ref>Ancient Family of Clelland, 28</ref> <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 372</ref>

In 1651 James Cleland of that Ilk assisted with the marriage negotiations of the younger son of Cambusnethan. <ref>Ancient Family of Clelland, 29</ref>

In 1696 James Cleland, son of James Cleland of Edinburgh invested £200 in the disasterous Darien scheme, as did John Cleland, an Edinburgh merchant. <ref>James Samuel Barbour, a History of William Paterson and the Darien Company, 260-262</ref>

In 1702 Alexander Cleland of that Ilk sold the family estates to meet debts. <ref>Ancient Family of Clelland, 31</ref>

John Cleland

The novelist John Cleland (1709-1789) was most likely the son of Major William Cleland of Cleland (1709-89).<ref>Ancient Family of Clelland, 40</ref> He is best known as the author of the bawdy erotic novel, Fanny Hill, which is now considered a classic of eighteenth century literature.

The account of Cleland's early life quoted in the family history implies that William Cleland of Cleland had consumed any remaining family fortune.<ref>Ancient Family of Clelland, 40</ref> John Cleland wrote his novel while imprisoned for debt. He had originally been a soldier for the East India Company. <ref></ref>

Cleland was a member of the London literary scene during the Enlightenment and was an associate of Boswell and David Garrick. <ref></ref> He died aged eighty in 1789.

Further Information

Online pdf of 1905 family history:

References <references/>