The Campbells arrived in Argyll as part of a royal expedition in c.1220. They settled on Lochaweside where they were placed in charge of the King's lands in the area.
Colin Mor Campbell (‘Colin The Great') was their Chief and his name ‘MacCailein Mor' is still used by the chief of the Clan Campbell, The Duke of Argyll, today.
Colin Mor Campbell was killed in 1296 and was succeeded by his son Sir Neil Campbell, companion and brother-in-law of King Robert the Bruce. The family headquarters were the great castle (now a ruin) at Innischonnell on Loch Awe, and remained so until 1450 when Sir Duncan Campbell (great grandson of Sir Colin) moved to Inveraray and built the first castle there. He was created Lord Campbell and thereafter a steady string of titles were awarded to the family. His grandson, Colin, was created 1st Earl of Argyll in 1457.
Master of the Royal Household
Archibald, the 2nd Earl of Argyll was granted the appointment of Master of the Royal Household in Scotland, a privilege still held by the Duke today. He was killed at Flodden fighting the English along with many of his Clan.
The 5th Earl, Archibald, was another military hero commanding a force of his own people which was more powerful than the existing armies of France and England. He was a power of international importance and only fell in defeat when in command of the army of Mary Queen of Scots in 1568.
The 8th Earl became the 1st Marquess of Argyll but his devotion to the Presbyterian religion led him reluctantly to enmity with King Charles I. The Earl led the Covenanters opposed to the King and was subsequently executed. The fortune of the House of Argyll was down until the Glorious Revolution in 1688.
Ending the Rebellion
The 10th Earl was very much in favour and was granted the Dukedom in 1701, together with a string of titles. Before that, however, he had raised a regiment know as the Earl of Argyle's Regiment of Foot, the unit tasked with the notorious Massacre of Glencoe, an episode inaccurately classed as an act of clan vengeance by the Campbells.
The 2nd Duke was a famous soldier who commanded the Government Army at the Battle of Sheriffmuir which put paid to the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715 and was one of the first officers in the British Army to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. He instructed Vanbrugh to design a new Inveraray Castle befitting his elevated status. The Duke was created the Duke of Greenwich alongside the Argyll Dukedom, but the title lapsed without a direct male heir.
His brother became the 3rd Duke of Argyll; another distinguished soldier who subsequently became the Lord Justice General of Scotland. He was responsible for starting construction of the Castle and developing the garden and surrounding policies in Inveraray, building the bridges, canalising the river to enhance its beauty through the grounds and building the watch tower overlooking the castle today.
On the brink of economic disaster
The 4th and 5th Dukes were both renown soldiers and the far seeing efforts of the 5th Duke were almost destroyed by the 6th, a charming but dissolute playboy who left a string of debts and illegitimate children.
His brother, the 7th Duke, fought hard to avoid disaster and the family fortunes were, to an extent, restored by the time of the 8th Duke who was a successful politician, a Cabinet Minister and Renaissance Man.
It was the 8th Duke's son and heir who married Queen Victoria's daughter, Princess Louise, thereafter serving as Governor General of Canada before succeeding as 9th Duke. They had no children and the title went to a nephew.
Niall, 10th Duke, was a scholarly recluse and an expert on Scottish History and the Clan Campbell. He never married and the title passed to his cousin.
The 20th century and beyond
Ian Douglas, the 11th Duke, was a gallant officer taken prisoner with most of the Highland Division in France in 1940. He was married 4 times with the infamous Margaret Argyll as his third wife. His son Ian, from his second marriage succeeded him as heir.
The 12th Duke laboured hard to restore the Argyll name and became the Lord Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute as well as meticulously carrying out the traditional duties of the Clan Chief of the Campbells. His passion for the family and clan meant that he worked tirelessly following the terrible castle fire in the early 1970's to restore the castle to the high standard it is in today.
The present Duke, Torquhil Ian, inherited the title on the death of his father in 2001. He combines his duties as Duke, Clan Chief and Landowner with a consultant role with Pernod Ricard, promoting Scotch Whiskies including Chivas Regal and Glenlivet. He captained Scotland to victory in 2004 and 2005 in the World Elephant Polo Championships. He is married to Eleanor Cadbury, they have three children and live in the castle today.