The five major clans of the New Territories – A brief introduction

The Five Major Clans of the New Territories were by no means the only settlers in the region but they became the most visible.

Settlement of the New Territories began in the late tenth century, the early years of the Northern Song Dynasty. Over the following 400 years five clans would emerge that would dominate economic and political life in the region. Between them they established numerous villages many with fortified walls. They built temples, great halls for ancestor worship, schools and study halls.

Whilst ownership of land was the main indicator of a clans wealth education was also seen as important. It was through education that men could enter official life. Not only would this enable them to earn money but to help advance the interests of his clan through contacts with other officials.

The Tangs were the first to arrive around 973 AD. The Tangs were the largest and most successful of all the clans. They took land around Kam Tin with clan lineages branching off to Ping Shan and Tai Po amongst others.

The Haus arrived towards the end of the twelfth century during the Southern Song Dynasty. They settled at Ho Sheung Heung, the lineage later segmented to form three branch-villages at Yin Kong, Kam Tsin and Ping Kong.

The Pang clan settled at Fanling and claim to have arrived during the sung dynasty probably mid or late thirteenth century

The Lius arrived from Fukien Province in the thirteenth century and settled around Sheung Shui. They have not lost any branches, the entire lineage still lives together in the one village-cluster.

The Mans have two large groups of villages. The first is at San Tin, to the north of Yuen Long. The second village cluster is at Tai Hang, near Tai Po. Each of these village groups is a separate lineage, separated by a great distance, apparently owning no property in common, and each under separate leadership.

Picture: Statue of Man Tin Cheung (Wen Tianxiang) 1236-1283 at Tai Hang, near Tai Po

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