The original name was Adam before taking territorial name from Gordon in Berwickshire where they held lands. Sir Adam of Gordon was a supporter of Robert the Bruce and travelled to Rome to ask the Pope to reverse Bruce’s excommunication, served after Bruce killed Comyn in a church. The king gave the Earl of Atholl’s confiscated lands of Strathbogie in Aberdeenshire to the Gordons.
The castle there became known as Huntly and Sir Alexander Gordon was created Earl of Huntly in 1449. Their near-regal status earned their chiefs the still used nickname Cock o' the North. During the Reformation, they fought with the men of Mary Queen of Scots, resulting in Huntly dying in battle and his son being beheaded before her. By the time of Montrose they had become supportive of the Scottish crown. Huntly was captured in 1647, then beheaded after two years in jail. During the Risings of 1715 and 1745 there were Gordons on both sides. The 2nd Duke of Gordon followed the Jacobites in 1715, but the 3rd Duke supported the Hanovarians by the time of the 1745, while his brother raised two regiments against him at Culloden.