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Chiefly successionRe: Congratulations to Berri
> How and when did this essentially English idea take root in a Scottish Clan
GAC: It's not clear which selection method is thought to be English.
Tanistry was the rule and derbhfine selection the exception. The idea of an
immutable descent is a reflection of late English peerage-law. The chief may
settle the chiefship upon any blood relative and even upon an adoptive heir,
though the latter is disfavored. Adam, Clans Septs and Regiments of the
Scottish Highlands, 168-174; Squire and Way, Scottish Clan and Family
Encyclopedia, 25-26; Scots Heraldry, Innes of Learney (2nd ed.), 125-126.
The process to select a chief when the hereditary line fails and the Chief
has failed to designate a successor is an ad hoc derbhfine. The guidelines
are nicely set out by Squire and Way of Plean at 26-27. The most recent
example of which I am aware would be the McCauley chiefship. See
A Gunn site (no pun intended) (http://www.nsynch.com/~clangunn/gunn.htm)
reports that the chiefship of the Clan has been dormant since the death of
the son of George Gunn of Rhives in 1874. The Commander, appointed by Lyon by
the landed and armigerous members of the Clan (a derbhfine) is Iain Gunn of
Banniskirk. I am not aware of a derbhfine called to select a chief.