Clan Gunn Museum and Heritage Center

IF you believe that Columbus discovered America you should have a look at the annals of the Clan Gunn because it – and others – makes a strong claim for one of their adherents getting there first.

The Gunns were, of course, a powerful Caithness family and like so many others in that flat, sea-girt land with its big skies and its stones and cairns from distant centuries they were Norse in origin.

The raiders with their longships and their raven crests and their expansionist desires came to Caithness to raid and pillage and rather liked the place and its fertile corners and settled there. Most of the place names have a Norse root and indeed, there is a Northlands Festival held there in the autumn when links with Scandinavia are celebrated.

The Clan Gunn Heritage Centre was established by the Clan Gunn Heritage Trust in 1985 in the 18th Century Old Parish Church of Latheron. The remains of Castle Gunn, the original seat of the chief’s of the Clan, and of Halberry Castle, the later stronghold, are situated on the Caithness coast seven miles north of the Heritage Centre. Neil Gunn’s “Highland River”, which was the basis for a number of his works, is at Dunbeath four miles south.

The centre tells the story of the clan from its Norse origins to the present day against the background of the history of the north of Scotland. It also contains one of the best clan archives in Scotland based on many years of research by Dr.Colin Gunn, the clan Seannachaidh and by Abb L. Gunn the clan genealogist. A variety of early archaeological sites particularly between Latheron and Wick include excellent examples such as the Grey Cairns of Camster, while north of Wick, the Northlands Viking Centre reveals the Scandinavian influences.

Celebrate Tartan Day April 6, every year.
Wear the Tartan on this day in observance of the Declaration of Arbroath – the Scottish Declaration of Independence signed in 1320 at Arbroath Abbey on the east coast of Scotland. These words are from this document “We fight not for glory nor for wealth nor honours; but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life.” Details document are here

Why not come to the Clan Gunn Heritage Centre and Museum at Latheron, in Caithness and see the evidence for yourself? Perhaps you can throw some light, for instance, on the 600-year-old portrait of a Scottish knight, marked out in stone, on a quiet roadside in Massachusetts.

There are tartans, artefacts, antiques , pictures and much more as part of the display, The collection is well loved by the people of the local area and the many visitors who come here. The Centre has a Clan Shop and is the base of the Clan Gunn Society, which maintains the traditions of the Clan throughout the world. There are also Clan Gunn Societies of North America, Nova Scotia and New Zealand open to members of Clan Gunn and its septs. It also contains one of the best clan archives in Scotland.

Opening Times: 11.00 – 13.00, 14.00 – 16.00

There is a small admission charge. There are 77 septs associated with clan Gunn (e.g. Georgeson, Henderson, Jamieson, Johnson, Nelson, Manson, Robison, Robson, Sandison, Swanson, Williamson, Wilson) – so visit and see if your family name is one of them.

Clan Gunn Heritage Centre and Museum
Tel: +44 (1593) 741700
Fax: +44 (1593) 721325

Further read:

  • Clan Gunn History
  • Clan Gunn Walking Tour
  • Clan Gunn guide Book
  • Clan Gunn Society, Scotland
Clan Gunn Museum and Heritage Center at Latheron, By Dunbeath near Thurso and Wick, just off the A9, Caithness


Clan Gunn Heritage Centre and Museum
just off the A9, near Thurso and Wick Latheron, By Dunbeath
Caithness KW5 6DL
Scotland, UK

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