Although the difference between Rose and Ross is a single letter in English and a mere accent in Gaelic, they are nevertheless of quite separate origins. The lordship of Ros near Caen in Normandy belonged to William the Conqueror' s half-brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, who received the lands of Kent after the Conquest. Many young knights of Ros accompanied Bishop Odo to England, of whom three received manors in Kent from him. As these extended into other parts of England, they maintained a tight-knit family connection with the Boscos and the Bissets to whom they had been related in Normandy. This provides the over-riding assumption that the Hugh Rose who had obtained the estate of Kilravock in Scotland by 1282 descended from one of the Norman prots of Bishop Odo, for he gained it with the hand of the heiress Mary Bosco.
Hugh of Kilravock is one of the few significant Scottish barons who does not appear in the Ragman Roll of 1296 as having submitted to Edward I of England; and his son Sir William captured Invernairn Castle for Bruce after his succession in 1306. The episode is related by Blind Harry. Hugh the 4th of Kilravock married the daughter of Sir Robert Chisholm, Constable of Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness, and received with her hand the lands of Strathnairn. Hugh the 5th lost the family charters at Elgin in 1390 when the Cathedral was burned.
But from this time onward the records of the Roses are among the most complete in Scottish family history, preserving a fascinating picture of local life as it revolved round the characteristic tower-house. Hew Rose, Minister of Nairn, first told it in the history he began writing in 1633, and in 1753 the Minister of Elgin, Lachlan Shaw continued it. The Spalding Club published these histories in 1848 with a wealth of documents from the Kilravock charter room.
Hugh the 7th Laird built or restored the castle after his succession in 1454. This was when the feud with the Urquharts of Cromarty reached its climax, provoked by the attempt of the parents to arrange a double marriage to which all four of the intended spouses objected. In 1492 Hugh the 7th took advantage of a commission from Gordon of Huntly aimed against the Mac Kenzies to invade Cromart. The feud ended when Alexander Urquhart's daughter Agnes married Hugh the 9th Laird.
Mary, Queen of Scots, stayed at Kilravock, as did her son, James VI, and regarded Hugh, the 10th Laird with great affection.
It was at this time that Campbell of Argyll used falsehood, deception and the difficulties of the Roses to carry off the heiress of neighbouring Cawdor and so secure this inheritance. Her mother was Isobel Rose, and the child was intended for Kilravock's own grandson. This grandson inherited Kilravock in the troubled year 1544; he proved to be a most remarkable man.
Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Rose, 24th Baron of Kilravock, had a distinguished military career, commanding the 1st Battalion, the Black Watch. When he died in 1946, he was succeeded by his daughter, Elizabeth. Kilravock is still the clan seat and the chief's family home.