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During the War of Independence, The Buchanans supported the cause of Bruce which assured the fortunes of the family. Sir Alexander Buchanan fought for the French against Henry V of England, and fought at the Battle of Beauge in Normandy in March 1421. His exploits during this battle are given as one explanation for the heraldry of the family. It's thought that Sir Alexander killed the Duke of Clarence and took his coronet as a trophy, this is the reason for the ducal cap held aloft in the crest. The shield differenced only by changing the lion and the double tressure of fleurs de lis from red to black. This is said to allude to the marriage of Sir Walter Buchanan to the only daughter of Murdoch, Duke of Albany and Regent of Scotland. His estates were confiscated in 1425, and the regent was ultimately beheaded by his cousin, James I. His son had died childless and the Buchanans were the nearest relatives to this disinherited branch of the royal family. The arms are said to mourn the family's loss of status.
The Buchanans of Arnprior, who held lands in Perthshire around Kippen, are also descended from the chiefly family. The Lairds of Arnprior lived in some style and were nicknamed the 'kings of Kippen'. James V was fond of travelling in disguise, using a name known only to his close friends and attendants. When the king arrived at Arnprior, a grim retainer met him and advised him that the laird was having dinner and was not to be disturbed. The king asked him to tell the king of Kippen that 'the Goodman of Ballengeich is come to feast'. When Buchanan heard this, he knew the king was at his door and he begged forgiveness. The laird was killed at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547. When the last chief died in 1682, Buchanan of Arnprior was supposed to recieve the ancient lands of Buchanan, but they were sold to meet heavy debts. The Graham Dukes of Montrose now have the mansion house of Buchanan.
Distinguished poet and protestant reformer George, is possibly the most famous Buchanan. He was born at Killearn in Stirlingshire in 1506, the third son of Buchanan of Drumikill. Around 1520, he moved to Paris to continue his education and travelled around the Continent, and began a literary career. Around 1560 he returned to Scotland and in April 1562 he was appointed tutor in classics to the young Mary, Queen of Scots. Eventhough he was in with the royals, he still made vicious attacks on the queen in his writings.
He was appointed preceptor and tutor to the young James VI after the abdication of his mother, and he is generally credited with laying the foundations for that monarch's considerable academic prowess as well, unfortunately, as poisoning the child's mind against his mother.
James Buchanan was the fifteenth president of the United States of America. There has not been a recognised chief since the seventeenth century.