The Clelland clan takes its name from the surname Clelland, which is believed to have territorial origins. The name is thought to be derived from the lands of Cleland in Lanarkshire, Scotland. The Clelland family likely took their name from this place and became associated with it. The Clelland family can be traced back to the medieval period in Scotland. They were landowners and held estates in Lanarkshire and other parts of the country. The Clellands were part of the landed gentry and held positions of influence within their communities.
The Clelland clan was not one of the major Highland clans but was recognized as a sept or associated family of larger clans. They were often affiliated with the Clan Douglas and the Clan Campbell, among others. Clellands who were part of these clans would often adopt the tartan and symbols associated with their respective clan affiliations.