The Macnab Website
The official website of Clan Macnab in Scotland
Archibald McNab of McNab (17th Chief) died in France on the 12th August 1860 aged 83. He was the last in the male line of the old Chiefs. His daughter Miss Sarah Anne McNab, the last surviving member of the family, is now recognised as the 18th Chief. She died in Florence in 1894. The right of succession was in dispute for the next 60 years.
On 26th October 1903 the inaugural meeting of the Clan Macnab Association (later to become the Clan Macnab Society) was held in Edinburgh, at which the first Constitution was approved and office bearers were elected. In July 1904 the first Clan gathering was held in Killin. This was followed in December 1904 by the first Annual General Meeting held in Glasgow, at which Mr John McNab of Callander accepted the post of "Historian of the Glen". In 1907 his 27-page "Clan Macnab - a short sketch" was published by the Association.
At the AGM in December 1907 a letter from Major A H McNab, Lynton Dene, Liphook, Hampshire, England was read, in which Major McNab complained of a statement in the Clan History "that the Clan, since the death of Archibald 12th and last Chief, do not know where to look for the Chieftainship". The letter goes on to claim that he, as the male descendant of Alexander McNab of Innishewan the senior cadet of the clan, was the rightful Chief and called on the Association to recognise him as such. John McNab, historian of the clan, stated that Major McNab's claim was a good one. The meeting decided to appoint a small committee "to get all possible claims and information and thereafter to submit such to the Lord Lyon King of Arms...". However the matter was not finally settled until 1956.
Archibald, who considered himself 12th Chief, is now recognised as 17th Chief and his daughter Miss Sarah Anne as 18th. After several years of research by Archibald Corrie Macnabb, youngest son of James William Macnabb of Arthurstone, with assistance from Brigadier John Macnab of Barravorich, Iain Macnab of Barrachastalian and the 9th Earl of Albemarle (a descendant of Sir Allan Macnab of Dundurn and Hon President of the Clan Society), the claim of the Arthurstone Branch descended from a younger son of Finlay 12th Chief (died Jan 1645) was finally established. James William Macnabb of Arthurstone (1831-1915) is now accepted as 19th Chief de jure; and his grandson James Alexander (1901-1990), a famous Olympic oarsman, as 21st Chief de jure.
In 1949 Archibald Corrie Macnabb bought Kinnell House and much of the former Macnab lands from the Breadalbane Trustees. In 1956, his nephew James Alexander 21st Chief de jure, relinquished his right to the undifferenced arms of the Chief in favour of his uncle, who is now recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms as 22nd Chief de facto, "in the name of Archibald Corrie Macnab of Macnab with style of 'The Macnab'." In 1959 James Charles son of James Alexander was confirmed by the Lord Lyon as heir presumptive of his great uncle Archibald Corrie, on whose death in 1970 he succeeded as 23rd Chief.
The Late Chief
JAMES CHARLES MACNAB OF MACNAB 23rd Chief (The Macnab) was born on 14 April 1926. His education started in England at Cothill House School and Radley College. In 1940 he and his two brothers were sent to Canada and completed their schooling at Ashbury College, Ottawa. In January 1944, aged 17, he joined the RAF at Monkton New Brunswick. In early April he was sent back to the UK and transferred to the army joining the Scots Guards at the Guards Depot, Caterham, Surrey. On completion of training at Caterham and Pirbright he was posted to 161 Officer Cadet Training Unit, Mons Barracks, Aldershot. In September 1945 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and joined the Seaforth Highlanders in Elgin. In December he embarked from Southampton for the Far East, arriving in Bombay in January 1946. After a short spell in Transit Camps in Bangalore and Madras, he embarked for Java, then part of the Netherland East Indies, and joined the 1st Battalion Seaforth Highlanders. He saw active service during the troubles in that country.
In September 1946, after a spell in hospital with Amoebic Dysentary, he was sent on a Company Commanders Course at the Tactical and Administrative School near Dehra Dun in Northern India. By the time he arrived in Dehra Dun he was suffering from a relapse of Amoebic dysentry and went into hospital followed by convalescence in the hills at Missourie. Several weeks later he attended the next course following and then rejoined the Battalion, by then in Singapore, in early 1947. In April 1948 he returned to the UK and was demobilised.
After leave he worked for a spell on a farm (to get fit) and then a market garden. In September 1948 he joined the Colonial Service as an Assistant Superintendent in the Federation of Malaya Police Force and served for the next nine years during the communist insurrection in Malaya. In 1957, shortly before the independence of Malaya and the birth of Malaysia, by then aged thirty one and an acting Deputy Superintendent, he opted to retire from the police and returned to the UK.
He took up residence with his great uncle at Kinnell House and, after some training in land management in Edinburgh, he took over the running of the estate and farms on behalf of his great uncle.
On 11 April 1959 in St Andrews Episcopal Church, St Andrews he married Diana Mary Anstruther-Gray elder daughter of Lord and Lady Kilmany. For a time they rented Auchtubhmor House, Balquhiddrer from Sir Gregor MacGregor of MacGregor, before purchasing Finlarig and Tirarthur Farms in Killin. They have two married sons and two married daughters and currently five granddaughters and three grandsons.
In 1960 he volunteered for service in the Territorial Army and served as a Captain with the 11th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders (TA) until 1964, when he found that his work as a Local Government Councillor prevented his regular attendance.
He was active in local government from 1961 to 1982, serving successively as Councillor in the former Western District Council of Perthshire, Perth and Kinross Joint County Council and Central Regional Council. He was a Justice of the Peace from 1968-1988. He is a member of the Royal Company of Archers, Queen's Bodyguard in Scotland.
Following the death of his great uncle in 1970, he was faced with a large death duty liability. In 1978 he had to sell Kinnell House and a large portion of the estate. The family continued to live at Finlarig, Killin until 1985, when following the death of Lord and Lady Kilmany they moved to Fife. They now live at Leuchars near St Andrews.
His elder son, James William Archibald Macnab younger of Macnab, born in 1963, is his heir apparent. He is a Director of Savills in Edinburgh. He is a member of the Royal Company of Archers, Queens Bodyguard in Scotland. In 1994, he married Doctor Jane Louise MacIntosh, a consultant obstetrician/gynaecologist. They live in Edinburgh and have a son James David, born 27 December 2000, and a daughter Daisy Sophia, born 26 June 1999.