Clan Crest: A Horse Passant, Argent
Clan Motto: Virtute et Labore
Clan Plant Badge: The Sea Holly
Clan Cochrane History
Few areas in Britain have produced as many notable families in world history such as the names Stewart, Wallace, Erskine, Blair, Ramsay, Montgomery, and Bruce as the Central Lowlands of Scotland. The family name COCHRANE is included in this group. Researchers have confirmed the first documented history of this name in lowland Scotland, tracing it through many ancient manuscripts, including private collections of historical and genealogical records, the Inquisition, the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, the Ragman Rolls, The Hearth Rolls, the Domesday Book, parish cartularies, baptismal, and tax rolls. The first record of the name COCHRANE was found in Renfrewshire where they were seated from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D. Different spellings of the name were found in the archives researched, typically linking each alternate to the root source of the surname. The surname COCHRANE, occurred in many references, from time to time the surname was spelt COCHRANE, COCHRAN, COCRANE, COCRAN, COCHREN, COCKRAM, COCKRAN, COCKREN, COCKRON, MaEACHEARN, McECHERN, McEACHRAN, McEACHERN, and these changes in spelling frequently occurred, even between father and son. Scribes and church officials recorded the name from its sound.
"After fighting so ferociously in a battle, an early family member was praised by his leader as ‘brave fellow’. In the Gaelic they spoke he would have pronounced him 'coch ran'. Another Gaelic manipulation of the words ‘battle cry’ or ‘the roar of battle’ leads to Cochrane."
Tracing its ancient development, the name COCHRANE was found in Renfrewshire where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated at COCHRANE near Paisley in the shire. Early recorded bearers of the surname are Waldeve de Coueran in 1262; William de Coughran in 1296; and Robert de Cochrane in about 1360. The family is deeply associated with both Paisley Abbey and Glasgow Catherdral in the area.
In 1456 Allan Cochrane of Cochrane had the Cochrane lands resigned to him from his father Robert. James II then gave him a charter for the lands. The manor house had a tower added to it by William Cochrane of that ilk before he died in 1594. It was then known as Cochrane Castle. The chiefship was in jeopardy when, during the early 1600’s, William Cochrane of that ilk had no male children. He ensured that whoever married his daughter Elizabeth be bound to assume, as their own, the Cochrane name and coat of arms. He found her match in Alexander Blair, a younger son of ancient family in Ayrshire. Alexander took on the name and Arms of Cochrane ensuring the name continued. Sir William Cochrane of Coldoun, who was knighted by Charles I, acquired the estate of Dundonald in 1638. He was created Baron Cochrane of Dundonald in 1647 and later created the first Earl of Dundonald in 1669. He erected the tower which is now known as COCHRANE Castle.
The Cochrane men were renowed soldiers, but it was Elizabeth’s eldest son Alexander who became a colonel for Charles I and began the recurring ‘fighting Cochranes,’ a line of chiefs who consistently served their country, both at sea and on land, with distinction. The most famous of these was Thomas, the tenth Earl, whose exploits as a naval commander gained him the name Le Loup de Mer (the Sea Wolf) from Napoléon Bonaparte himself. This tradition of military service continued thru the 11th Earl of Dundonald to the 14th Earl of Dundonald who served during World War II.
In North America, one of the first migrants who could be considered kinsmen of the family Sir John COCHRANE of Ochiltree applied to the King for a grant of 12,000 acres in Carolina on which to settle his clansmen in 1682, and many of the Clan followed naming villages and towns in North America with the Clan name. The migrants formed wagon trains westward, rolling west to the prairies, or the west coast.
The family name COCHRANE is
believed to be descended originally from the Strathclyde Britons. This ancient, founding race of the north were a mixture of Gaelic/Celts whose original territories ranged from Lancastershire in the south, northward to the south bank of the River Clyde in Scotland. Another theory is the ancestry of this family began with a Viking warrior who decided to settle in Renfrewshire in the ninth century. There are a number of theories as to the creation of the name the ancestors took. The first theory is the family took its name from the "five-merk" land of Couren or Cochrane near Paisley, Refrewshire. The second is the name is derived from a feature in the area where the Cochranes were settled with the Old Welsh word coch meaning "red" and ran meaning "brook". The final is the name was the result of an ancestor performing exceptionally well during a battle. The story is: