The original Constitution of the House of Gordon was drawn up in 1961 when the House was first created. Some twenty years later it was realised that circumstances, both within the organisation and more widely in the world, had altered quite considerably in that time, and that some updating of the aims and intentions of this document was necessary.
This modernisation was carried out in 1983, and resulted in the Constitution currently in use. In the Preamble to the Draft Constitution, by way of explanation for its revision, the underlying reasons for the formation and maintenance of clan associations, as well as membership criteria, repeated, as follows:
“Preamble 1: The Clans, Septs and Families of Scotland have generated in the 20th century a new social framework for the expression of their traditional identity, “the Clan Society”. Personal names are the main link between these groups and their predecessors in historical times. The complexity and swiftly changing character of contemporary society ensure that only those social structures capable of rapid adaptation can now effectively preserve tradition and develop usefully on the basis of recorded history. The House of Gordon demands a constitution sufficiently flexible to serve as an open window on the past and an open doorway to the future”
“Preamble 2: The Foundation of the House of Gordon: 1961. Families named Gordon, then residing in Scotland, formed an Association to maintain contact among those of the name who had answered the invitation of The Chief to acknowledge him and appear with him ceremonially during the Festival of Britain in 1951. Annual newsletters record development from 1961 to 1976. The Constitution adopted in 1961 has, however, become obsolete.”
“Preamble 3: Due to the rapidly expanding number of House of Gordon groups forming around the world, the need to adjust the Constitution has arisen.”
- Name of Association.
The House of Gordon
The House of Gordon consists of all persons bearing the name of Gordon, or one of the names of the Septs of Gordon, and the descendants of Gordons and Septsmen; those who serve or have served in the Gordon Highlanders, and their families; other followers and supporters of The Chief including those wearing the Gordon tartan with his permission; all those with special knowledge of and interest in Gordon history and tradition (who may take out a Bond of Manrent).
Persons, and representatives of groups, in any of the foregoing categories are eligible, upon payment of a subscription (the amount of which shall be published annually in August prior to payment falling due on January 1st), to receive the following:
- A membership card and lapel badge;
- One copy of the Annual newsletter;
- Registration as a paid-up member of The House of Gordon;
- Copy of the 1983 Constitution.
- Overseas and Local Corporate
Individuals resident outside the UK are eligible for membership on the same terms as UK residents on payment of the equivalent of the sterling subscription. Either alternatively, or in addition, they may constitute the House of Gordon as a group in an overseas country, or part of a country, subject to the approval of the Council of the House of Gordon of their constitution and of the financial contributions to the House of Gordon in Scotland of such an overseas group. UK residents may form local groups subject to Council approval of local constitution and financial contributions.
- The Head of The House of Gordon is The Chief. The Chief is that member of the Family who is designated by the Lord Lyon King of Arms as Chief of the Gordons.
- Other Office bearers
The Convener (The Chief may be elected Convener, in which case the two offices are combined); Secretary, Treasurer, Auditor;
The Council Members (UK) and the Council Members (Overseas), who advise The Chief on the appointment of the Convener (if necessary).
- Eligibility for Office
All Office-bearers, except the Secretary, Treasurer and Auditor, must be paid-up members of the House of Gordon;
Heads of families named Gordon resident in Scotland and owning land and/or houses acquired by their direct forebears before the year 1850 shall be invited to stand for election as UK Council Members. Any other paid-up UK member may be nominated as a candidate for election to any elected office by not less than two other paid-up members who shall have secured his or her written agreement to serve if elected. Heads of local branches of the House of Gordon within the UK will be considered by the Council for nomination as UK Council Members.
Heads of Overseas branches of the House of Gordon which are recognised in terms of article II:b of this Constitution shall be ex-officio Overseas Members of the Council, but may not cast postal votes.
- Election of Office-bearers other than The Chief:
The names of Office-bearers as at January 1st in any year shall be published in a Newsletter during that year. Resignations from office and nominations shall be notified to the Secretary in writing before July 1st following. Elections of Office-bearers shall take place, normally, at the Council Meeting held the day before the Aboyne Games. The Convener shall be eligible to stand for a consecutive three-year period. This position of Convener should change after six years. However, this does not prevent any previous Conveners standing again at some later date.
- Provision for the interim appointment of Office-bearers.
The Convener may call a meeting of Office-bearers (or consult with Office-bearers by post) to co-opt a replacement for any Office-bearer deceased or notifying his or her resignation at any time. Such a co-opted Office-bearer shall be deemed to demit office on July 31st and shall stand for election in the normal course. Interim appointment of a replacement for the Convener can be made by majority vote of a meeting, or postal consultation, of UK Members of Council called for by any such Member of Council, or by the Chief, in the event of the Convener’s demise or withdrawal from the duties of his office.
- Duties of Office-bearers
These are to promote, by all lawful means, the objects of The House of Gordon as laid down in this Constitution, and to adapt these objects, with the consent of paid-up members present at an annual meeting at Aboyne, to circumstances as they arise.
- The provision and management of a House of Gordon Centre.
- The selection and supervision of beneficiaries of Gordon studentships.
- The publication of historical and literary works dealing with the Gordon Family, including Bydand, the History of the House of Gordon by the late Edward Gordon of Cairnfield.
- Objects of the House of Gordon
Generally, to unite Gordons, Septsmen and others eligible for membership, including those holding a Bond of Manrent, and promote their common interests in loyalty to the Chief.In particular:
- To facilitate communications among members, especially by publication of a directory.
- To provide a permanent Centre, staffed and equipped as a contact point, library, museum and study-centre for Gordon Family history.
- To promote scholarly research in all aspects of Gordon Family and Regimental history and tradition.
- To endow one or more annual studentships for the maintenance, travel and study expenses of persons eligible for membership of The House of Gordon in any academic field, and/or of any person carrying out academic studies in Gordon history or allied subjects.
- To publish an Annual Newsletter which shall:
- provide and keep up to date a directory of members;
- publish the results of learned research in Gordon family history and allied subjects;
- maintain an exchange of information between The House of Gordon in Scotland, its constituent corporate members overseas, and all individual members.
- To encourage exchange of visits between members of The House of Gordon, especially educational exchanges and children’s holiday visits.
- To contribute to registered charitable (especially educational charitable) objects connected with Gordon Family and Regimental interests.
- To preserve and make available to scholars and to the general public authentic information and the results of research on Gordon Family history and allied subjects.
- To co-operate with other bodies working in allied fields including the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, the Scottish Genealogy Society, the Scottish Tartans Society, the Committee of the Aboyne Games and the managing body of the Upper Deeside Community Centre, Aboyne.