Clan MacLaren

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Clan Labhran
Clann Labhruinn[1] or MacLabhruinn[2]
Clan member crest badge - Clan MacLaren.svg
Crest: A lion's head erased Sable crowned with an antique crown of six (four visible) points Or, between two branches of laurel issuing from the Wreath at either side of the head both Proper.
Motto Creag an Tuirc (The boar's rock)[2]
Slogan CREAG AN TUIRC (The Boar's Rock)
Profile
Region Highland & Tiree
District Perthshire
Plant badge Laurel[2]
Animal Lion
Chief
Arms of MacLaren of MacLaren.svg
Donald MacLaren of MacLaren & Achleskine
The 25th Chief of the Name and Arms of MacLaren
Seat Kirkton Farm, Balquhidder
Historic seat Balquhidder, Strathearn

Clan MacLaren (Scottish Gaelic: Clann mhic Labhrainn) is a Highland Scottish clan.[1] Traditional clan lands include the island of Tiree and the old parish of Balquhidder which includes the villages of Lochearnhead and Strathyre, and is about 18 miles long and 7 miles broad spanning 54,675 acres, long known as "Maclaren Country".

History[edit]

Origins of the clan[edit]

A romanticised Victorian-era illustration of a MacLaurin clansman by R. R. McIan from The Clans of the Scottish Highlands published in 1845.

There are two quite separate possible origins for the surname MacLaren.[1] One of these comes from the county of Perthshire while the other comes from the island of Tiree in Argyll.[1] In Argyll the MacLaren family is said to be descended from Fergus MacErc, founder of the kingdom of Dál Riata.[1][3][4][5] In Scottish Gaelic the clan name is Clann Labhruinn.[1] However the ancestor of the MacLarens is generally given as Laurence, Abbot of Achtow in Balquhidder, who lived during the thirteenth century.[1] Balquhidder was part of the ancient princedom of Strathern whose heraldry is shown in the heraldry of the MacLarens.[1] The heraldry borne by the clan suggests that they descend from a cadet branch of the Celtic dynastic house of the Earls of Strathearn.[6]

There is also a tradition that the MacLarens fought at the Battle of the Standard under Malise, Earl of Strathearn for David I of Scotland.[7]

Wars of Scottish Independence[edit]

Three names identified as belonging to the Clan MacLaren are found in the Ragman Rolls of 1296, giving allegiance to Edward I of England.[1] These are Maurice of Tiree, Conan of Balquhidder and Leurin of Ardveche.[1] During the Wars of Scottish Independence it is probable that the Clan MacLaren fought for Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn, under the standard of Malise, Earl of Strathearn in 1314, where the English were defeated.[1] The last Celtic Earl of Strathearn was deprived of his title in 1344 when the MacLarens came under pressure from their more powerful neighbours.[1]

15th and 16th centuries[edit]

Balquhidder passed into the hands of the Crown and in 1490 a Stewart was appointed the royal ballie. (see: Stewart of Balquhidder).[1] Then in 1500 James IV of Scotland granted the lordship to Janet Kennedy, his mistress, and the chief of the Clan MacLaren found that his lands had become part of another barony.[1] Balquhidder would later pass to the Clan Murray of Atholl.[1]

The persecution of the Clan Gregor by the Clan Campbell drove the MacGregors from their own lands into Balquidder where the Clan MacLaren lacked the power to stop them.[1] As a result the MacGregors plundered the lands of the MacLarens.[1] The MacLarens appealed to the Campbells but they demanded that the MacLarens acknowledged them as their feudal superiors as the price of protection.[1] However it appears that the Crown continued to regard the MacLarens as an independent clan as they are listed in the Acts of Parliament in 1587 and 1594, for the suppression of unruly clans.[1]

17th century and Civil War[edit]

During the Scottish Civil War the Clan MacLaren fought for James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose, in support of Charles I of England at the Battle of Inveraray,[8] Battle of Inverlochy (1645), Battle of Auldearn, Battle of Alford and the Battle of Kilsyth.[1]

In 1689 the Clan MacLaren again fought for the Stuart cause, this time under John Graham, 1st Viscount Dundee, at the Battle of Killiecrankie.[1]

18th century and Jacobite risings[edit]

Jacobite rising of 1715[edit]

Marker stone at the site of the Battle of Culloden marking where the MacLarens and Stewarts of Appin formed up on the field of battle.

During the Jacobite rising of 1715 the Clan MacLaren fought at the Battle of Sheriffmuir in support of the Jacobite cause.[1]

Jacobite rising of 1745[edit]

During the Jacobite rising of 1745 the Clan MacLaren fought in support of the Jacobite cause at the Battle of Prestonpans and the Battle of Falkirk Muir where they were victorious on both occasions.[1] However they were also present at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 where they were defeated.[1] At Culloden the MacLarens were on the right in the Clan Stewart of Appin regiment which was under the command of Lord George Murray.[1] Donald MacLaren was captured at Culloden but later escaped while British-Hanoverian troops were taking him to face trial in Carlisle, Cumbria.[1] He was a fugitive in Balquhidder until the amnesty of 1757.[1]

Crest badge[edit]

The MacLaren clan crest on the 'old kirk' wall.

The crest badge suitable for members of Clan to wear consists of the heraldic crest and slogan. The crest is: A lion's head erased Sable crowned with an antique crown of six (four visible) points, between two branches of laurel issuing from the Wreath at either side of the head both Proper Or. The slogan within the crest badge is CREAG AN TUIRC, which translates from Scottish Gaelic as "The Boars Rock".

Plant badge[edit]

The clan badge or plant badge is a Laurel branch

Chiefly house of Clan Labhran[edit]

The view from on top of Creag an Tuirc

The following is taken from the book by Margaret MacLaren of Maclaren, mother of the current clan chief.

Margaret Maclaren says (page 138): "The names from Lorn Mor to John (c1400) are taken from the genealogy of Clan Lawren quoted by Skene (Celtic, Vol. III, p 483) from a MS of 1467 based on a genealogy in the Book of Ballymote and from other medieval genealogies. Skene considers the genealogy reliable from Donald Og (contemporary of Kenneth MacAlpine) onwards. The derivation from Lord Mor is sound, as are most of the names, but for the period before 800 the different sources for the genealogies not only of the various chiefly houses, but even for the main royal line are confused and often contradictory. The line given is that which seems the most probable. The genealogy quoted by Shene ends about 1380-1400 with the names of the three brothers, John, Donald and Anichol Og, and so far no references have come to light to supply the missing names between John and Patrick Mor whose testament, recorded in the Dunblane Commissariat, shows that he died in 1544" (Page 138)

Name Died
King Lorn Mor, son of Erc, brother of King Fergus Mor
Muredach
Eochaidh
Baedan
Coluim (Mal;colm)
Nechtan
Fergus
Feradach Finn (the fair)
Ferachar Foda (the Tall)
Fearachar
Ambcellach
Donald Donn (the Brown)
Donald Og
Carlusa
Baltuir
Dougall 950
Finlaech mor
Finlaech og
Philip
Gillamichael
Cilchrist 1100
Disiad, kinsman & contemporary of Malise, 1st Earl of Strathearn
Imaig
Eoan
Aedh
The Abbott Labhran of Achtow, name-forfather of Clan Labhran 1250
Baltuir
Eoan, signatory of the Ragman Roll 1296
Donald
Malcolm
John brother of Donald and Anichol Og 1400
MacLaren of MacLaren
MacLaren of MacLaren
MacLaren of MacLaren
MacLaren of MacLaren
Patrick Mor 1544
Neil 1573
Finlay
John. Eldest of the "bairns" of Findlay M'Neil named in the Bond of Manerent
Finlay 1669
Donald 1687
Finlay 1733
Malcolm, born Achtow, 1734
Donald, born Achtow, 1782
Donald, born Achtow, 1811 1892
Donald, born Achtow, 1840 1913
Duncan, born Kirkton of Balquhidder, 1882 1926
Donald, born 1910 1966
Donald, born 1954 (current Clan MacLaren Chief)

[9][10]

In 1781 John MacLaurin (Lord Dreghorn) was established as Clan Chief of Clan Labhran by the Lyon court on the grounds that he was a descendant of the MacLarens of Tiree. The MacLaurins possessed and occupied the island of Tiree from early times. The MacLarens held land in Perthshire in the thirteenth century. The two families connected when the chiefship was granted to Lord Dreghorn. He later died in 1796 without an heir and the clan was left without a chief until in 1957 Donald MacLaren of MacLaren and Achleskine successfully matriculated his Arms at the Lyon Court. He also purchased land in Balquhidder, including Creag an Tuirc (the "Boar's Rock"), the traditional rallying point of the Clan. The label "chiefless and landless" was finally removed.

Following his death, Donald's son, Donald succeeded as Chief in 1966.[11]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Way, George and Squire, Romily. Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. (Foreword by The Rt Hon. The Earl of Elgin KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). Published in 1994. Pages 236 - 237.
  2. ^ a b c Clan MacLaren Profile scotclans.com. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  3. ^ Margaret Maclaren of Maclaren "The Maclarens, A History of Clan Labhran"
  4. ^ "CELTIC SCOTLAND: A History of Ancient Alban" by William F. Skene, D.C.L. LL.D (Historiographer-Royal For Scotland) Volume III. "Land and People". Second Edition 1890 (First edition was 1880), David Douglas, Edinburgh. "William F. Skene wrote the descent of Highland Clans based on a 1467 manuscript belonging to the Faculty of Advocates", The Book of Ballimote (14th Cent.), Book of Leccan (1407) , Kilbride MS (c 1540), Annals of Ulster (1363), and other old Irish and Scottish manuscripts.
  5. ^ Hickling, Doug. (2002) Appendix VIII. The LEGENDARY DESCENT OF THE HIGHLAND CLANS, According to Irish MSS. (Page 458) Page 483 Third Group- Clans descended from Donald donn, son of Fearadach Finn of the Tribe of Lorn.
  6. ^ Moncreiffe, The Highland Clans, p. 215.
  7. ^ Adam, Frank. (1934). The Clans, Septs And Regiments Of The Scottish Highlands.
  8. ^ Maclaren, Margaret of Maclaren. The Maclarens, A History of Clan Labhran.
  9. ^ Margaret Maclaren of Maclaren. "The Maclarens, A History of Clan Labhran"
  10. ^ "CELTIC SCOTLAND: A History of Ancient Alban" by William F. Skene, D.C.L. LL.D (Historiographer-Royal For Scotland) Volume III. "Land and People". Second Edition 1890 (First edition was 1880), David Douglas, Edinburgh. "William F. Skene wrote the descent of Highland Clans based on a 1467 manuscript belonging to the Faculty of Advocates, The Book of Ballimote (14th Cent.), Book of Leccan (1407) , Kilbride MS (c 1540), Annals of Ulster (1363), and other old Irish and Scottish manuscripts. This debunked many of the fictitious claims from the 17th-19th Century and although very controversial at the time is now generally accepted (with some minor changes) as the most accurate account." (Doug Hickling, 2002) Appendix VIII. The LEGENDARY DESCENT OF THE HIGHLAND CLANS, According to Irish MSS. (Page 458) Page 483 Third Group- Clans descended from Donald donn, son of Fearadach Finn of the Tribe of Lorn.
  11. ^ The Clan MacLaren Society - About Clan MacLaren clanmaclarensociety.com. Retrieved 27 October 2013.

Further reading[edit]

  • The MacLarens, A History of Clan Labhran by Margaret MacLaren
  • Creag an Tuirc by Neil McLaurin

External links[edit]