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Anderson Clan

The Andersons are a mysterious breed.

There are references to them from both the highlands and lowlands of Scotland dating back to the 14th century. Yet the clan had no chief, nor a place to call its own.

The name’s most natural meaning is ‘son of Andrew’, a reference to St Andrew, Scotland’s patron saint. Indeed, his cross appears in the clan’s shield.

Saint Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland, and St. Andrew's Day is celebrated by Scots around the world on the 30th November

The name is first mentioned in 1296 when David and Duncan fiz Andrew took the oath of fealty to Edward I. Now it is the eighth most popular name in Scotland and is widespread around Europe, especially in Scandinavia.

The clan is a branch of the Ross clan and is recorded coming to Badenoch in the central Highlands around 1400. Here, the Andersons were one of 16 clans that made up the powerful Clan Chattan.

Some famous Andersons
• John Anderson (1726-1796): prime mover in the formation of Strathclyde University

John Anderson was a professor of Natural Philosophy at Glasgow University. This remarkable academic, teacher and inventor played an integral part in starting what is today Strathclyde University. He was an innovative and radical thinker with criticisms of the academic restrictions of the 'red brick' established universities of the time. He wanted a seat of 'useful learning' with equal opportunities for women. Over two hundred years later the phrase 'useful learning' is still the motto of Strathclyde University.

• Patrick Anderson (15??-1635): inventor of “Anderson’s pills”, a popular, if dubious medicine

Here, the Lawnmarket opening up to Edinburgh Castle on the hill, in the lofty tenement dated 1690, is the "shop" where Anderson's Pills were sold. Patrick Anderson, an entrepreneur exploiting the most powerful human drive, that of achieving good health, very successfully sold his pills claiming to cure an assortment of maladies ranging from fatigue to flatulence and everything in between

• William Anderson (1750-1778): surgeon and naturalist to Captain Cook on the HMS Resolution

· William Anderson, served on board the Resolution under Captain Cook.. Unfortunately he died of consumption but the same day he died land was sighted and was named Anderson's island in his memory.

• Arthur Anderson (1792-1868): chairman of P&O.

Arthur Anderson became chairman of the world famous P&O shipping company. A Shetlander, he started as a shipbroker and worked up to managing the Penisular Steam Navigation Company with principal routes to Spain and Portugal expanding with trips to Alexandria in Egypt in 1840. The Penisular Steam Nav. Co later became P&O.








Find out more about these and other famous Andersons by going to our page of useful links.