From the late nineteenth century onwards, Ewings were
usually grouped as a family within Clan MacLachlan and
were entitled to wear MacLachlan tartan. This provision
was considered to include MacEwens as well as Ewings and
in 1992, Lord Lyon gave permission for Clan MacLachlan to
list 'MacEwens as a dependent group within Clan
MacLachlan' (letter of 13 July 1992). Many Ewings
campaigned alongside MacEwens for independence in the
belief that together they made up a single clan, as
suggested in Robert S. T. MacEwen's book Clan Ewen:
Some Records of its History (1904). However, it
became clear that in all but a few cases, Ewings and
MacEwens have entirely different clan origins. Although
the Ewings were clearly a single family, they were now
divided between two separate clans; there were Ewings who
identified with Clan MacLachlan and others who identified
with Clan MacEwen.
Lyon Court has always considered the Ewings to be a
unique kinship group with all the hallmarks of a clan.
Thus in 2001, Rothesay Herald, Sir Crispin Agnew BT QC
wrote warning that if a joint Ewing-MacEwen clan were
established, 'one or other group would be disenfranchised'
and he advised that the Ewings should 'consider whether it
is appropriate to continue under the umbrella of the
MacEwens and whether or not each name group should go its
own way' (letter of 14 August 2001).
The tradition of Ewing clanship had remained particularly
strong in America, as is reflected in Elbert W. R. Ewing's
book Clan Ewing of Scotland (1922). Although
Elbert Ewing theorized about Lowland origins, he also
preserved oral traditions testifying to our Highland
roots. In 1988, Rev. Ellsworth S. Ewing established a
network of Ewings throughout the US under the name Clan
Ewing in America, which developed to become the Ewing
Association in 2008.
Also in 2008, UK writer and historian Thor Ewing began
rigorously investigating the historical evidence. His
research has confirmed that the Ewings are indeed a clan
in their own right, with their own unique history,
heraldry and traditions.
A joint MacEwen/Ewing Family Convention (or Derbhfine)
was held on 6 June 2014, overseen by Marchmont Herald,
Hon. Adam Bruce. At this meeting, Clan Ewing was
represented by the Ewing Family Association and Clan
MacEwen by the Clan Ewen Society; other interested
clansfolk from Clan Ewing were also present. The two clans
met in a spirit of fellowship, and nominated separate
commanders. As the leading voice in historical research
and in the campaign to restore our ancient clanship,
writer and historian Thor Ewing was chosen as Commander of
Clan Ewing. On 13 October 2014, Dr Joseph Morrow, Lord
Lyon, confirmed John Thor Ewing as Commander of Clan
Ewing. Thus, the independence and legitimacy of the
Honourable Family of Clan Ewing is now officially
recognized in Scottish law.
As a footnote to this account, it is beyond doubt that
some of the descendants of our ancestral clan now go by
surnames other than Ewing. Naming traditions were not
fixed before the eighteenth century, and people named as
Ewings in contemporary records would have been known to
the Gaelic-speaking community as Mac Eoghainn.
Some of our clan traditions were preserved by descendants
of Walter MacEwen 'of Luss' whose ancestors may sometimes
appear in early records under the Ewing name. In other
cases, the name Ewing occurs in variant forms such as Ewin
or Ewen, and is sometimes even confused with the name