The Moffats are an ancient family, their name Norwegian in origin, having emigrated to the Scottish lowlands sometime in the 10th century. They later became a powerful and influential family, and by the 12th century were recorded in historic records as ‘de Moffet’, showing that they were considered principal lairds and land-owners. Active during the war-stricken years of William Wallace’s independence campaign, the Moffats were granted four charters of land in the barony of Westerkirk by Robert the Bruce, Lord of Annandale, in 1300. One of these charters was to Adam Moffat of Knock, who – alongside his brother – fought with Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. They were but two Moffat clansmen who formed ranks against the English during the Scottish Wars of Independence.
A notable reiving family, the Moffats were often overshadowed in their homelands around Moffat, Annandale (probably named after the family, rather than vice-versa) by the more powerful West March reivers, the Johnstones. A long-standing feud between the two families culminated in a particularly nasty episode in 1557. In that year, Johnstones murdered the Moffat chief, Robert Moffat; they then went on to burn the local church with the most important members of the Moffat family inside, slaughtering anyone who tried to escape. Clan Moffat was almost wiped out, and seventy years later all of their lands were passed to the Johnstones as a means of clearing debts. From that time, until very recently, the Moffats were considered a leaderless clan. However, in 1983 the late Francis Moffat, after many years of research, was recognised as hereditary clan chief, and the Lord Lyon confirmed to him the undifferenced arms of Moffat of that Ilk. His daughter, the present chief, succeeded to the title on his death in April 1992.
The Moffat Clan’s heraldic symbol is a crest coronet, and issuing therefrom a cross crosslet fitchee Sable, surmounted of a saltire Argent. Their motto is Spero meliora (‘I aspire to greater things’).