Clan Rose traces its origin to deRos, a Norman knight who emigrated to the Moray Firth area early in the thirteenth century along with two other Normans, deBosco and deBisset. deRos was granted the lands of Geddes in Strathnairn and deBisset the lands of Kilravock. deRos later acquired Kilravock through marriage. It was a turbulent area and era. The Scottish kings in Edinburgh deliberately fostered the feudal system whereby the King owned all land and granted it to his chosen followers.
But Strathnairn was very much a part of the Highlands where quite another system was in vogue. The old Highland Clan was a family in which the Chief acted as father of his people. They followed him in war, obeyed him in matters of justice, but the Loyalty he received was by consent of the family. Further, in contrast to the Lowlands, Gaelic was the common tongue, the kilt the common dress, the pipe and the harp were the common source of music. John (Macdonald), Lord of the Isles, was the accepted sovereign in the Highlands and openly challenged rule by the Scottish King. Although granted their lands by the King, the Norman knights were compelled to adjust to their environment. To the King, deRos was a Baron, to the Highlanders, he was Chief of Clan Rose.
Clan Rose included all of the descendants of deRos: the baronecy and role of Chief was restricted to the first son of the first son of the first son. etc. The Kilravock line, therefore, includes only 26 individuals (24 men and two women) extending from Hugh, Kilravock I in 1280 to the present David, Kilravock XXVI. But there were other sons and daughters as well. Indeed, there are many intersections into the Kilravock line -- and now the Rose Family or Clan Rose is worldwide.
It is with justification that one historian describes Clan Rose as "Men of Peace From Nairn." On the mantelpiece in the old Dining Hall of Kilravock Castle are these words:
Historically, although men of peace, religion and honor, Men of Rose have not hesitated to serve their countries in time of war. Col. Hugh Rose, Kilravock XXIV, commanded the Black Watch for many years. His son and Chief apparent gave his life with the Black Watch in North Africa in World War II. Likewise, the military records of the Roses of America have seldom been surpassed.