Chief of Clan Arthur

John MacArthur of that Ilk, Chief of Clan Arthur

I was born in Calcutta India but did not live there long. Our family, which included my older sister Mary (now Mary Wood), returned to Scotland. I spent my weekends at my Granny’s house, my father’s mother, in Dunoon and during the week in Edinburgh where I went to school, until June 1970.

Leaving school, I started a garden training apprenticeship with the National Trust For Scotland at Falkland Palace Gardens, and attended Elmwood Agricultural College in Cuper, Fife, to do my City and Guilds in Horticultural on day release from the garden. After a year went to the National Trust For Scotland's Threave School of Practical Gardening for two years and was awarded my Threave Diploma along with many other Qualifications and a lot of hands-on practical work in the garden.

I was awarded a scholarship by the Scottish American Heritage Society to go to Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania, as an international horticultural trainee in 1973/74, where I worked in the gardens. I also gained an insight into Horticulture Education in the United States at Cobleskill Agriculture and Horticulture College in up-state New York. At the end of my year, I travelled through 29 states and 3 provinces of Canada. A 15,000 mile trip visiting many places of horticultural interest and seeing the sights of America.

Upon returning to Scotland, I worked at the Suntrap Gardening Advice Centre near Edinburgh where I gave talks to gardeners on various topics to do with gardening, as well as working in the garden. I later moved to Balmacara, Wester Ross --near the Isle of Skye, where I started to develop Lochalsh Woodland Garden, a National Trust for Scotland Property, for 9 and half years. Following this, I moved to Castle Kennedy Gardens as Head Gardner to the Earl of Stair. For 32 years I was in charge of a garden of 75 acres of many plants and lots of rhododendrons, and also many tender plants, as the garden has the advantage of being on the Gulf Stream and in South West Scotland, near the sea. I am now retired.

The Coat of Arms of John MacArthur of that Ilk. Reproduced with permission.
The Coat of Arms of John MacArthur of that Ilk. Reproduced with permission.

I became the Chief of Clan Arthur in June 2004 after my father died in April 2004; he was the first Chief of Clan Arthur for 220 years.

I enjoy mountain walking and have been in a Mountain Rescue team as well as an auxiliary member of the Coast Guard. I play the Highland Bagpipes. I also do sub-aqua diving and have many hours under water. I have dived in Scotland as well as abroad in warmer water.

My wife’s name is Lorraine. I have two sons: Gavin, the Chieftain of Clan Arthur, who has a Master's Degree with Honors in Physics, and teaches Physics at a high school in Scotland. He is married to Fiona, and they have a daughter. Calum is the Clan Bannerman. He has a degree in Business with Honors, and is the sales administrator for for a skateboard company in the United States. I also have two step children: Michelle is a Hotel Manager and Wedding Planner for a hotel that is in a lighthouse in Scotland. She is engaged to be married and has a daughter. David was in the Army, and now is a fibreoptics engineer for a telecommunications company. He is married and has four children. My sister has a son, Ian, who is the Clan Bard, and he has his own sound engineering company.

Chief John MacArthur of that Ilk, Chief of Clan Arthur
From the left, Calum MacArthur - Bannerman; John MacArthur of that Ilk; Lorraine MacArthur; Gavin MacArthur - Chieftain

From the left, Calum MacArthur - Clan Bannerman; John MacArthur of that Ilk; His wife, Lorraine MacArthur of that Ilk; Gavin MacArthur Yr. of Milton - Chieftain