The MacLeod (in Gaelic MacLeoid) clan can be traced back to Leod Olafson who was born around 1200, the youngest son of Olaf the Black one of the last Norse Kings of Mann and the Isles. Leod inherited the regions of Lewis and Harris along with parts of Skye on his father’s death in 1237. Through marriage to the Norse seneschal of Skye, the family acquired Dunvegan Castle, which remains the ancestral family home. The Clan consists of two main branches: the MacLeods of Lewis descend from Leod’s son Torquil while the MacLeods of Harris and Skye descend from another son, Tormod. I have also included a detailed lineage of the clan chiefs. There are quite a few tartans now associated with the clan MacLeod, but by far the most common are those of Lewis and Harris.
The most treasured relic of the Clan MacLeod is the “am Bratach Sith” or the Fairy Flag, which is kept at Dunvegan castle. It is said to have been woven by fairies to be used by the chief of the MacLeods in dire times. Its magic has been called upon to turn defeat in victory on at least two occasions. Tradition holds that MacLeod pilots in the Battle of Britain carried pictures of the Flag. We see here an image of the Fairy Flag as it is today. It was on public display for many years in Dunvegan Castle but the last time I was there I couldn’t find it. Perhaps it has been put in storage as you can see it is in a pretty sorry state.