Clan MacLachlan Cadet Families

What is a Cadet Family?
A cadet family (or branch) is a secondary line to that of the chief. Many cadet families descended from a brother or cousin to the Chief who, through marriage or as payment for services rendered, was given a parcel of land to manage. Cadet lines were often affiliated with other clans.


MacLachlan Cadet Families

  • The MacLachlans of Craiginterve
  • The MacLachlans of Inneschonnel
  • The MacLachlans of Keilaneuchanich (or Dunadd)
  • The MacLachlans of Kilbride
  • The MacLachlans of Kilchoan
  • The MacLachlans of Coruanan
  • The MacLachlans of Camasalachan and Fassiefern
  • The MacLachlans of Auchentroig
  • The MacLachlans of Lismore
  • MacEwen Cadet Families

  • The MacEwens of Argyll
  • The MacEwens of Lennox (Loch Lomond)
  • The MacEwens of Galloway
  • The MacEwens of Lochaber
  • The MacEwens of Perthshire (Inverness)
  • The MacEwens of Skye
  • The MacLachlans of Craiginterve

    The MacLachlans of Craiginterve (or Cowal) were established near the west end of Loch Awe. They held this property for approximately 300 years. For three generations, they were the hereditary physicians to the Earls of Argyll, sometimes using the Leech and Leitch surnames.

    In 1678, an Archibald MacLachlan of Craiginterve served in Parliament under Charles II as a Commissioner for Argyll.

    The MacLachlans of Inneschonnel

    The MacLachlans of Inneschonnel appear to have been the Hereditary Captains of Inneschonnel Castle, the primary fortress of the Campbells of Lochow, which was located on an island in Loch Awe. This cadet family, descendent from a younger brother to the Laird of the MacLachlans of Craiginterve, took its position in 1613 after the previous incumbent, a member of Clan Arthur, was convicted of theft. The MacLachlans of Inneschonnel had probably broken their allegiance with Clan MacLachlan and sworn a new allegiance to the Campbells. It is unlikely that the Chief of Clan Campbell would have entrusted a key fortress to another clan.

    The MacLachlans of Keilaneuchanich (or Dunadd)

    The MacLachlans of Keilaneuchanich (or Dunadd) lived near Dunadd in Glasrie. In 1436, the Chief of Clan MacLachlan appointed his cousin Allan, son of John "Riach" (the Grizzled) MacLachlan, to the post of Seneschal and Toisechdeara of the Glasrie lands.

    The MacLachlans of Keilaneuchanich had a castle that was situated close to the old hill fort known at Dunadd, which was the first capital of the Scots. They held benefices of the churches of Kilmartin, Kilmichall and Glasrie.

    During the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, Kenneth MacLachlan of Keilaneuchanich was very active in raising recruits for the Jacobite cause. Another name, Duncan MacLachlan of Dunadd, appears on the list of suspected Jacobites in Glasrie.

    Seven generations of MacLachlans are on record as having occupied these lands. The property was eventually sold to pay off debts by the father of Robert MacLachlan of Dunadd, who was the Duke of Argyll's tacksman at Rohoy in Morvern during the 18th century.

    The MacLachlans of Kilbride

    The MacLachlans of Kilbride settled in Kilbride near Oban. The MacDougalls are said to have descended from this branch. Tradition holds that a member of this family traveled to Aberdeen to purchase cattle. While there, he fell in love with the daughter of the Duke of Gordon. The two lovers eloped and eventually settled down and built a home on the island of Seil. After a time, the MacLachlan, his wife, and their two small sons returned to Aberdeenshire to make peace with the Duke and Duchess. When the family reached the castle, the two bairns were sent ahead. Upon seeing the lads, the Duke and Duchess immediately recognized them as being the children of their daughter. The two families subsequently reconciled their differences.

    The MacLachlans of Kilbride also held land on the Garvellachs off the west coast of Scotland. In 1628, John MacLachlan, then Vicar of Seil, resigned all rights to the parsonage and vicarage of Kilbrandon in Seil to Alexander Campbell of Ardchattan. One quarter of the teinds was subsequently returned to him by Alexander.

    The MacLachlans of Kilchoan

    A sub-family of the MacLachlans of Kilbride, often called the MacLachlans of Kilchoan, lived near Kilmelford. This family, like their relatives in Strathlachlan, was watched over by a brounie who made his presence known by wailing at a nearby waterfall whenever any member of the family went off to war. The last of this branch, two brothers named John and Peter, fought in the various wars in America. John, who had achieved the rank of Major, was known to claim that his baldness was the result of his having to escape from a band of Indians by pulling his hair out by the roots after the Indians had tied him to a tree by his hair. Peter, who had achieved the rank of Captain, returned to Scotland with a Newfoundland dog that used to swim with him across the River Euchar, even during periods of flood.

    The MacLachlans of Coruanan

    The MacLachlans of Coruanan were the hereditary standard bearers to Cameron of Lochiel in Lochaber. Their home was along the shore of Loch Linnhe where the Kiachnish Water tumbles into the loch and is about four miles south of Fort William just below Druimarbin. Additional lands were held on the western side of the loch to the southwest of Ardgour. The translation of Coruanan is "Corrie of the Little Lamb".

    The MacLachlans of Coruanan first appeared in Lochaber shortly after 1502 when the lands of Mamore and the Isle of Dundarva were granted to Duncan Stewart of Appin by King James IV. Alasdair Dubh MacLachlan, who is known to have had a close association with the Duncan Stewart and is the progenitor of the Coruanan branch, is believed to have descended from the MacLachlans of Inneschonnel.

    During the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, the Chief of the Camerons had to threaten the MacLachlans, as he had with others who had refused his summons, before they agreed to follow the Jacobite banner. This initial hesitancy to take part on the 1745 Rebellion is underscored by Alexander MacMaster of Corriebeg, servant to the MacLachlans of Coruanan, having to carry the standard for the Cameron of Lochiel at Glenfinnan. John MacLachlan of Greenhall, the younger brother to the laird of Coruanan and a merchant in Fort William, his wife, who was the daughter of Alexander Campbell then Governor of Fort William, and their daughter were Jacobite spies who would entertain the officers of the Government forces stationed at the Fort. They often learned of the planned movements for the troops and would send word of these movements in advance to the Jacobites.

    After the Chief of the Camerons was wounded during the Battle of Culloden and carried off the battlefield, a member of this family managed to escape with the Chief's banner. (It was hidden by the MacLachlans until 1877 when it was returned to Lochiel, the 24th Chief of the Camerons.)

    The MacLachlans of Camasalachan and Fassiefern

    The MacLachlans of Camasalachan and Fassiefern are an offshoot of the MacLachlans of Coruanan. Fassiefern, "the alderwood station", is situated at the mouth of the River Sulaig and lies east of Corriebeg in Lochaber.

    On September 2, 1675, Dougal MacLachlan of Camasalachan was granted a sasine for the lands of Fassiefern by Ewen Cameron of Lochiel. In 1685, Dougal MacLachlan's eldest daughter Veronia married Archibald Campbell of Achanduin. By the time of his death in 1700, Dougal MacLachlan was referred to as coming from Fassiefern. Dougal was succeeded by Lachlan, who married the daughter of Dougal Campbell of Kilmory.

    According to tradition, Sir Ewen Dubh Cameron of Lochiel and his son John once stayed a night in Fassiefern with the evil intention of murdering Lachlan. When Lachlan realized that his life was in danger, he fled with his family to Ardgour. From there, it is believed that most of the family immigrated to Jamaica.

    On of the most distinguished members of this branch of MacLachlans was Ewen MacLachlan, the renowned Gaelic poet, classic scholar and linguist. Ewen was born at Torracalltuinn, a house on the Mamore Estate, in 1775. His father is known to have been very poor. Dr. Thomas Ross, recognizing the signs of brilliance in the young lad, took an interest in Ewen and encouraged him in his studies. Ewen is best remembered for his Gaelic poetry and his authority on the basic structure of the Gaelic language. He died in 1822 at the age of 46 with his mortal remains being buried at Kilvaodan, Ardgour, alongside the final resting site of other kinsmen.

    The MacLachlans of Auchentroig

    The MacLachlans of Auchentroig are believed to be one of the older families in what is now Sterlingshire. While very little is known about this branch, they are believed to have been a subbranch of the MacLachlans of Coruanan.

    John MacLachlan of Auchentroig is known to have raised 100 men to fight under Lord Randolph at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Richard Lochlane was named Constable of Sterling in 1328. By 1329, he is listed as Sheriff of Sterling. In 1394, during the reign of Robert III, Celestin (Archibald) MacLachlan of Auchentroig received a charter of land in Sterlingshire. By 1425, Celestin MacLachlan had grant of the lands of Blarindess, Auchentroig and Garthclachach in the Earldom of Lennox.

    The old Laird's house was built in 1702 by John MacLachlan of Auchentroig. The windows are small and the door is both heavy and studded with iron. The house is said to have withstood an attack in 1710 by Rob Roy MacGregor. In the early part of the 18th century, during the annual fair at Aberfoyle, Rob Roy MacGregor was offended by a MacLachlan. In retaliation, Rob Roy decided he would attack the laird of Auchentroig. (The attack is believed to have taken place after the Battle of Flanders Moss.) Rob Roy's initial attack of the House failed, but he returned later and kidnapped both the laird, John MacLachlan, and his son John. (Records exist in the Dumbarton Accounts showing a ransom being paid to Rob Roy for the safe return of the laird and his son.) The feud between the MacLachlans and the MacGregors appears to have ended with this event for the laird of MacLachlans and Rob Roy became friends.

    The last of this family was William MacLachlan of Auchentroig. He died in 1884 leaving no issue. The estates today are used as a religious retreat.

    The MacLachlans of Lismore

    The MacLachlans of Lismore appeared briefly in the history of the Island of Lismore, an island to the northwest of Oban.

    During the reign of James II, Sir Gilbert MacLachlan was Chancellor of Lismore. Gilbert and Sir Marys McFadyane, who was the Treasurer, deposed Master Hercules Scrymgeor, who was then the parson of Glasrie. The parson appealed to Bishop Lawder, who summoned all parties to meet him at the Cathedral of Lismore. While the Bishop was in route from his castle at Achnadum to the Cathedral, a small force spearheaded by Clan MacLachlan intercepted the Bishop's party. The Chancellor and the Treasurer held the Bishop until he had given them absolution and promised there would be no reprisals.

    The MacEwens of Argyll

    Many MacEwens even sought protection from the Earl of Argyll, some eventually becoming hereditary bards and sennachies to the Campbell Chiefs of Glenorchy. These positions were considered honorable thus enabling the dispossessed clansmen to obtain posts without a loss of rank. In 1572, one of the MacEwen of Argyll families was given title to the free lands of Barmolloch in Lorne in recognition for their service as bards to the families of Argyll, Breadalbane and Sir John McDougall of Dunolly. Further mention of this family is made in a genealogy from 1779 where several generations of the family are referred to as the sennachies and pensioners to these Argyll families.

    In 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. According to the records from the Privy Council of Lennox, a series of raids against the Colquhouns were committed in which two men were killed and over 900 head of livestock were stolen to be sold in lands held by the Campbells, who also happened to be feuding with the Colquhouns. Because of the proceedings, the Earl of Argyll was held accountable for the actions of his men and the Colquhouns were given permission to pursue the raiders "with fire and sword".

    In 1603, the MacGregors and their allies staged a retaliatory raid on the Colquhouns that 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. The Earl of Argyll was ordered to "fall on the perpetrators with fire and sword."

    The MacEwens of Lennox (Loch Lomond)

    The MacEwens of Lennox (Loch Lomond) settled early in Dumbartonshire along the shores of Loch Lomond, well before the end of the 15th century, owning allegiance to the Stewart Earls of Lennox. Some even claim this branch, under a Chieftain of its own, settled in the area when they sought protection from the Earl of LeVanach during the 5th century.

    Boyce, in his history of the Scots, written in 1527, says that there were at least three kings of the Scots named Ewen. The first ruled in the years just before Christ's birth. The second, who is sometimes referred to as Owen, Son of King Arthur, died about 764. He was also the father of St. Kentigern, otherwise known as Saint Mungo, Patron Saint of Glasgow. Finally, an epic poem tells of the death of a Eugenius (or Eoghan), the third Ewen, in a battle in 1018 who had the motto Audaciter (Latin for 'Bold').

    The MacEwens of Lennox fought on the side of Mary, Queen of Scots, at the Battle of Langside in 1568. After Mary's escape by boat from Lochleven Castle, she attempted to raise an army to regain her throne. The MacEwens had decided to join her cause, perhaps hoping a victorious Queen would be thankful and reinstate the Clan. In gratitude for their help, Mary presented the MacEwens with a new banner. (A William Ewing is said to have been a personal flag-bearer to Mary.) Mary was defeated at the battle by her half brother, James Stewart, the Earl of Moray. Mary was ultimately forced to flee to England for her life. Seeking revenge for the death of Lord Darnly (the eldest son and heir to their Chief), the MacFarlanes mustered a force of 300 clansmen against Mary and are reputed to have captured three of Mary's standards during the battle.

    The MacEwens of Lennox received numerous grants of land within Lennox. Between 1625 and 1640, there were at least four successive charters between the MacEwens and successive Dukes of Lennox and Richmond.

    The MacEwens of Galloway

    According to tradition, this branch of MacEwens first made their appearance in Galloway as early as the 14th century. They again appear in Galloway around the time the clan lands in Otter were lost. It was through this branch that the use of the crest of the broken oak springing into leaf and the motto Reviresco is first recorded.

    The MacEwen farm lands in High Mark, on the Rhinns of Galloway, bear names that are easily recognized as being of Gaelic origin. There is even a cove along the coast with the dubious name Otter Cove, an obvious reference to the original clan lands. One MacEwen from High Mark is said to have escaped legal trouble by way of the cove to the Isle of Man.

    In the middle of the 15th century, the Laird of Lochnaw, also named Andrew Agnew, who was appointed Sheriff of Wigtown in 1451, was besieged in his castle, an island fortress in the middle of the loch, by forces loyal to the last of the Black Douglas line because of a feud between the Laird of Agnew and the Black Douglas over the Sheriffdom of Galloway. At the point the Laird of Agnew was about to capitulate, he was surprised to see that his enemies had been attacked from the rear by an unknown ally. The Agnews then emerged to help their new-found allies route their adversaries.

    In 1745, Sir Andrew Agnew, 5th Baronet of Lochnaw and 12th and last hereditary Sheriff of Galloway, commanded the forces loyal to King George that defended Blair Castle against the Jacobites. Two MacEwen brothers from High Mark, John and Thomas, served under his command. Two other brothers, Robert and Gideon, joined the Jacobite forces that laid siege to the castle. It is said that Sir Andrew was making his rounds one day when he saw Robert among the rebel forces. He ordered John to shoot his relative, an order John refused to obey. Sir Andrew obviously had an understanding of Celtic kinship blood is thicker than water for John continued to serve under his command.

    The MacEwens of Lochaber

    Following the loss of Otter, some MacEwens took allegiance with MacDougall Campbell of Craignisch in Lochaber, also known as MacDougall of Lorne. Another tradition holds that Lochaber was the original seat of the MacEwens before migrating to Otter. In either case, the MacEwens have lived in and around Lochaber from very early times.

    The daughter of one of the MacDougalls of Lorne bore an illegitimate son to Ewen Beg, the 2nd Cameron of Lochiel. (Ewen was assassinated by order of the Chief of the MacDougalls.) This illegitimate son, Donald MacEwen Beg, better known as Tailear Dubh or the Black Donald, became a highly celebrated warrior specializing in the Lochaber axe. He was so successful that he was suspected of having supernatural powers. This only served to enhance his legend and make him a subject of much romantic history. Tradition holds that when he tired of fighting, he retired to a monastery in Cowal near Strathlachlan. He later left the monastery and returned to Lochaber where he settled down with his family.

    Following the outlawing of Clan Gregor, many MacEwens and Camerons in Lochaber were convicted of essentially aiding members of the fugitive clan. In 1612, John Cameron MacEwen was denounced for refusing to comply with directives given by the Lochiel against Clan Gregor. In that same year, several other MacEwens were fined for defending members of the outlawed Clan Gregor. In 1613, several MacEwens were named as associates of Allan Cameron of Lochiel and were charged with not taking measure against the MacGregors.

    The MacEwens of Perthshire (Inverness)

    The MacEwens relocated to Perthshire, probably in Kenmore, possibly as early as the 13th century. According to the Mackintosh clan records, Kenneth MacEwen was a retainer and tenant of Lauchlan Mackintosh, 8th Laird of Mackintosh. (Lauchlan died in 1407.) In addition, the daughter of Ferquhard, 9th Laird of Mackintosh, married Duncan MacEwen, the son of Kenneth who was commonly called Parson.

    In 1618, several MacEwens were named as followers of Sir Lauchlan Mackintosh in a complaint before the Privy Council. Sir Lauchlan and the MacEwens were accused of causing a riot at the ford of Culloden to prevent the Lord Gordon from collecting the teinds (tithes) of the Parish of Inverness.

    According to one legend, when the original Chieftain of this branch died, he left two sons and a beautiful white horse. To settle the claim as to which son would inherit the horse, both sons agreed to compete in a rather strenuous test. The winner would be the son that could roll a millstone down a certain mountain by means of a straw rope passed through the hole in the center of the stone. The son that failed to pass this test, thus loosing the horse, is said to have relocated to Ayrshire where he founded another branch of the clan.

    The MacEwens of Perthshire, Inverness and Skye

    Another large group of MacEwens appears to have settled in Skye. While the exact date is unknown, they are known to have been living there in 1715 when General Wade, then Commander of the Crown's forces in Scotland, mentioned that 150 MacEwens were supposed to have come from Skye to participate in the Jacobite rebellion of 1715. A second unsubstantiated tradition also holds that 120 MacEwens from Skye fought for Prince Charles at the Battle of Culloden.

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    This page was last updated on June 17, 2011.

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