A sept is an English word for a division of a family, especially of a Scottish or Irish family. The word may derive from the Latin saeptum, meaning "enclosure" or "fold", or via an alteration of "sect". The term is used in both Ireland and Scotland, where it may be translated as sliocht, meaning "progeny" or "seed", which may indicate the descendants of a person (for example, Sliocht Brian Mac Diarmada, "the descendant of Brian MacDermott").
In the context of Scottish clans, septs are families that followed another family's chief. These smaller septs would then comprise, and be part of, the chief's larger clan. A sept might follow another chief if two families were linked through marriage; or, if a family lived on the land of a powerful laird, they would follow him whether they were related or not. Bonds of manrent were sometimes used to bind lesser chiefs and his followers to more powerful chiefs.
Today, sept lists are used by clan societies to recruit new members. Such lists date back to the 19th century, when clan societies and tartan manufacturers attempted to capitalise on the enthusiasm and interest for all things Scottish. Lists were drawn up that linked as many surnames as possible to a particular clan. In this way, individuals without a "clan name" could connect to a Scottish clan and thus feel "entitled" to its tartan.
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Clan Leslie has 5 Septs: Bartholomew, Cairney, Lang, Abernethy and Moore.
There are are a variety of spellings for each sept name associated with Clan Leslie. To learn more about Clan Leslie septs, download the pdfs below. These pdfs can also be found on our resource page.