History of the Clan Gunn
The Clan Gunn claims direct descent from Gunni, grandson of Sweyn Asleifsson, the “Ultimate Viking” and hero of the Orkneyinga Saga. Clan Gunn is also descended from the Norse “Jarls”, or Earls of Orkney through Gunni’s wife Ragnhild, who was grand-daughter and eventual heiress of St. Rognvald, Jarl of Orkney. Through Ragnild’s father Erik Staybrails the senior heir of Moddan of Dale, the Clan also descends from Moddan of Dale and the ancient Mormaers or High Stewards of Caithness
The principal Gunn lands were acquired through Ragnhild who inherited great estates in Caithness and Sutherland in 1198 on the death of her brother Harold Ungi, Jarl of Orkney and Caithness. These lands were inherited by Snaekoll Gunni’s son, the second chief of the Clan.
By the thirteenth century the Gunns were at the height of their powers and appear to have possessed the whole of Caithness.