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  Posted: 06-Nov-2006, 12:56 AM
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Who is Clan MacLachlan?

Clan MacLachlan is one of the oldest of all Scottish Clans. According to Irish manuscripts, the Clan is descended from the same line as the O'Neills, High Kings of Ireland. The name MacLachlan means "son of Lachlan", and Lachlan itself is from the older Gaelic name Lachlann which literally means "land of lochs". It was a common Christian name in the family tree of the High Kings.

As early as 1230 Gilchrist MacLachlan witnessed a land charter and in 1292 Gilleskel MacLachlan received a charter for his land in Argyll. A MacLachlan served in the first parliament of Robert The Bruce in Saint Andrews. The MacLachlans were loyal supporters to the Stewarts and fought in all the royalist campaigns. In the 1745 uprising with Prince Charles Edward Stewart, the Chief of the Clan served the Prince and was lost at Culloden while commanding a regiment of 300 men. The loss of the battle and war resulted in the destruction of the castle by the British in 1746.

The present Castle Lachlan was built in 1790 and is the home of Euan John Rome Maclachlan of Maclachlan, the 25th Chief. It is located in Strathlachlan, near Strachur, on the banks of Loch Fyne in Argyll.

Clan MacLachlan History

For nearly a thousand years, Clan MacLachlan has played a role in Scottish History. This pages gives some of the highlights in that long and honorable history.

Clan MacLachlan - A Millenium of History

# Relocated from Ireland to Scotland in the 11th Century
# Somerled's Revolt in 1164
# Robert the Bruce's First Parliament in 1308
# Many Allegiances and Ties Made with Clan Campbell
# MacEwen Lands and Titles Lost in 1432
# The MacLachlan Lands Received Charter in 1574
# Aided the MacGregors in the Battle of Glen Fruin in 1603
# Fought for Charles I at the Battle of Alford in 1645
# Clan Lands Erected into Free Barony in 1680
# Fought for the Bonnie Dundee at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689
# Joined The Jacobite Rebellion of 1715
# Joined The Jacobite Rebellion of 1745
# Fought for Prince Charles Edward Stuart at the Battle of Culloden in 1746
# Clan Lands Returned to Clan in 1749
# Construction of New Castle Lachlan in 1794
# Commanded Argyll Unit During WW I
# Aided The Allied Cause During WW II

11th And 12th Centuries

* Aodh Anrothan (Hugh the Solitary), the son of Aodh Athlone O'Neill, relocated to Scotland from Ireland in the early eleventh century. He married the heiress of Cowal and Knapdale, a princess from the Royal House of Argyll. It is from this union that the MacLachlans descend. (Some historians believe the relocation was the result of conflicts within the House of O'Neill.)

* 1132. Gillecrist mac Finguni and Gillecrist mac Cormoic witnessed several Grants made in behalf of the Abbeys of Paisley and Lennox.

* 1164. According to tradition, Clan MacLachlan supported Somerled in his stand against the Scottish Crown. Somerled, the most powerful of the Warlords in the mid-twelfth century, led a revolt of the Argyll clans against the Crown. The clans considered themselves independent rulers of their region without obligation to the Crown.

* Late 1100s. Suibhne Ruadh (the Red-haired Sween) is often mentioned in various pedigrees as being Toisech of Knapdale. He is credited with being the builder of Castle Sween, whose ruins still stand in grandeur on the shores of Loch Sween.

13th And 14th Centuries

* 1222. Clan MacLachlan received the lands of Glasrie near Dunadd as a dowry for marrying the daughter of Suibhne Ruadh, the Red haired Sween.

* 1249. Legend has it the King Alexander II ordered his Chiefs to pay their taxes by "the fleetest messenger". Lachlan Mor, the 3rd Chief, tied the money bags to the antlers of a Roebuck. This is why the Chief's coat-of-arms is supported by two Roebucks.

* 1292. King John Balliol erected Argyll into a sheriffdom. Gillescop MacLachlan, the 4th Chief, was one of the twelve barons whose lands where encompassed within the sheriffdom.

* 1301. Eoin MacEwen, accompanied Sir Hugh Bissett and Angus of Islay to both Bute and Kintyre with a fleet of ships in King Edward's service against Robert the Bruce. Upon Eoin's return, Eoin found his lands and home in Knapdale, which had been rightfully granted to him by King Edward, had been seized by John of Argyll and Sir John Menteith. Robert the Bruce subsequently granted these lands to Sir John Menteith.

* 1308. Gillescop gave his support to Robert The Bruce and attended the King's first Parliament in Saint Andrews. Gillescop and Robert The Bruce spent many hours hunting on Clan lands.

* 1314. Gillescop made a grant to the Catholic Church Friars of Glasgow. Since the Friars had ties to the kindred of Saint Columba, the MacLachlans were granted permission to show the hand of Saint Columba holding the cross within their coat-of-arms. (This grant was later confirmed in 1456 by Donald MacLachlan, the 8th Chief).

15th And 16th Centuries

* During this period many ties to Clan Campbell were made through allegiances and marriages. Legend has it that the Brounie who watched over Clan MacLachlan was so angry at the first marriage between the MacLachlans and the Campbells that he spirited away the wedding feast.

* 1432. Swene MacEwen, 9th Chief of Clan MacEwen, granted his lands to Duncan Campbell of Lochow and resigned his Barony of Otter to James I. In 1493, James V confirmed the transfer of the Barony to the Campbells. The displaced MacEwens became a protectorate of the MacLachlans.

* 1536. Lachlan MacLachlan, the 11th Chief, was a close friend to the Earl of Argyll and is said to have been prominent in the Earl's party.

* 1568. MacEwens from Lennox fought for Mary, Queen of Scots, at the Battle of Langside.

* 1573. Archibald MacLachlan, the 12th Chief, is said to have been the first Highland Chief to use the term "Of that Ilk" to convey rank and nobility.

* 1574. Archibald MacLachlan was granted a charter confirming his lands of Cowal and Glasrie on him and his male heirs bearing the name and arms of MacLachlan.

* 1592. Lachlan MacLachlan received a grant from King James VI that consisted of the parsonage and vicarage of the Kirk of Kilmory, with the lands of Strathlachlan and others in the west across Loch Fyne. (The charter was ratified by a special act of Parliament in 1633 during the reign of Charles I.)

17th Century - Civil Strife Abounds

* 1602. Several MacGregors, MacEwens, MacLachlans and MacNeills, under the direction of the Earl of Argyll, raided the lands of the Colquhouns of Luss in retaliation for the arrest and execution of two of their own by the Colquhouns. In 1603, the MacGregors and their allies staged a further raid in retailiation for the Crown's retribution measures imposed on the MacGregors following the 1602 raids. The raid on the Colquhouns resulted in the Battle of Glen Fruin where 80 Colquhouns, including the Colquhoun Chief, died in an ambush. After this battle, a Special Order In Council was issued by King James VI that outlawed the entire Clan Gregor.

* 1644. The MacLachlans, Lamonts, MacNeils and MacDougalls joined Alasdair Ciotich Mhic Cholla MacDonald (The Red Handed Horse Knight also known as Alasdair Colkitto) to harry the lands of the hated Campbells.

* 1645. A MacLachlan, having achieved the rank of Colonel under James Graham - the 5th Earl of Montrose who was more commonly known as the Marquess of Montrose, led a regiment of Highland foot soldiers in support of King Charles I to route the Covenantor's cavalry at the Battle of Alford in Aberdeenshire.

* 1646. Several MacLachlans joined with the Campbells to massacre the Lamonts. The Reverend Colin MacLachlan took part in the massacre. He ordered the murder of many women and children. After the massacre, Sheriff MacPhail is said to have observed that the difference between an honest fanatic and a criminal lunatic is difficult to define and is of little interest to the victim.

* 1680. The Clan is erected into a free Barony consolidating all lands under the Strathlachlan name.

* 1689. The MacLachlans were loyal Jacobites and are said to have been with Bonnie Dundee at the Battle of Killiecrankie.

* 1698. The last witch to be put to death in Scotland was Elspeth MacEwen in Kirkcudbright.

18th Century - The End of Civil Turmoil

* 1715. Lachlan MacLachlan of that Ilk, the 16th Chief, signed the address of Welcome to the Old Chevalier, the rightful King James VIII Stuart, on his landing in Scotland and served as a Colonel with the Earl of Mar. It is said that for this act, Campbell of Ardkinglas followed Lachlan MacLachlan for years before shooting him to death.

* 1745. With support from Kenneth MacLachlan of Keilaneuchanich (the Glasrie property near Dunadd), who was appointed Adjunct to the company, the MacLachlans were able to field a band of over 100 Highlanders when they joined Prince Charles at Holyrood in Edinburgh.

A garrison of the Argyll Militia occupied Castle Lachlan during the '45 Rebellion. The Chief's family was forced to abandon their home and take refuge with the Stewarts of Appin.

* 1746. Prince Charles dispatched MacLachlan of MacLachlan with a few horses to Perth to give them intelligence of his designs and to hasten their march to Carlisle.

At the Battle of Culloden, Lachlan MacLachlan led a Jacobite Regiment that consisted of 115 MacLachlans (a reasonable turnout given that the MacLachlan lands were surrounded by Campbells) and 182 MacLeans of Mull (who chose to be under his command when their Chief failed to show up) into battle alongside Clan Mackintosh and Clan Chattan. It was this front line that, having survived the Hanoverian artillery barrage, launched a fierce offensive against the government lines. (The battle cry used by the Jacobites in their charge, Life or Death has since become Clan MacLachlan's war cry.)

After managing to break through the Hanoverian defenses at the point protected by Barrell's Regiment, the Jacobites, finding themselves outnumbered, retreated toward their own lines. Few clansmen survived the battle. Lachlan MacLachlan himself was a casualty of this battle when he was struck and killed by a cannon ball. His body was later found behind Hanoverian lines.

Retributive measures imposed by the government after the defeat at Culloden caused the dead Chief's property to be confiscated for his part in the rebellion. Castle Lachlan was destroyed when the Argyll Militia vacated the structure.

* 1749. Through the intervention of the Duke of Argyll, the lands were returned to Robert MacLachlan, the 18th Chief, on November 18th, then age 14.

* ~1790. Many Highlanders were forced to leave their homelands when the Lairds of the various estates switched from tenant farming to raising sheep. Donald MacLachlan of MacLachlan, out of compassion for his tenants and Clansfolk, built the village of Ballure (or Newton) to enable his former tenants to become crofters and fishermen and stay in the land of their birth.

* 1794. Donald MacLachlan also oversaw the construction of the new MacLachlan castle and its grounds.

19th and 20th Centuries

* 1806. Donald MacLachlan of MacLachlan was appointed a Deputy Sheriff for Argyll.

* 1817. MacLachlan lands are said to have encompassed some 12,000 acres within Argyll.

* ~1910. John MacLachlan of MacLachlan served as a member of the Honorable Company of Archers, the Sovereign's bodyguard in Scotland. He also commanded the 1st Battalion of the Argyll Volunteers during World War I.

* 1939. Marjorie MacLachlan, the 24th Chief, aided the Allied War Effort. She and her party escaped across the River Seine as the Nazi forces approached to make their way, under strafing fire, to the French coast.

* 1957. Sir Ian Moncreiffe, 11th Baron of Moncreiffe, arranged to have Madam Marjorie MacLachlan officially release a primitive tartan that was no longer favored by Clan MacLachlan to the Moncrieffes. The tartan is a simple pattern of red and green squares and is more commonly called both Old MacLachlan and Pattern 66.

* 1996. Madam Marjorie MacLachlan of MacLachlan died. She served as Clan Chief for over 50 years.


Clan MacLachlan Society of North America

Mike F.

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.

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