CLAN MACLACHLAN

THERE IS A HIDDEN NOBLENESS IN THE CLAN LACHLAN

Early MacLachlan Chiefs

Some suggestions for discussion

GilleChriost. 1st recognised Chief 12th Century.

He may have married a daughter of Ruairidh MacDunsleve the last King of Ulida, one of the Kingdoms of Northern Ireland.
His lands were to the West of Loch Fyne in Glassary and Kilmartin. He had at least two sons, GillePadraig and GilleEscop who became the Chiefs of the family later to be called the MacLachlans and the Gilchrists. He seems to have divided these lands between these two sons.

The Charter granting the lands to GilleEscop MacGilchrist dated 1240 during the reign of Alexander II is the earliest surviving charter relating to Argyll. It should not be assumed however that the King was granting new land to GilleEscop, it was standard practice to aquire a regrant everytime there was a new monarch.

 

GillePadraig. 13th century.
The 2nd Chief married a daughter of Muireadach Mor of Menteith. He had been Earl of Menteith but was replaced by his younger brother also somewhat confusingly called Muireadach, who inherited the Earldom. Muireadach Mor was left with enough land to support him during his lifetime and four properties as tocher for his daughters. The original document is lost but there is evidence from it’s re-examination under Henry III of England who was supporting a later deposed Countess. This document mentions one of the daughters lands by name and it is at that time called Stradlochlem. Given the varied spelling and pronunciation of the time there can be no doubt that this refers to the lands of StathLachlan, the current seat of the 25th Chief.
It obviously came to GillePadraig as dowry and would have been welcome addition to the Clan lands after his father had divided them between the two brothers.
It would also have had the effect of physically distancing the Chief from the powerful the sphere of influence of the powerful MacSorelys and giving him easier access to the centralising power of the Kings of Scots.
There was still a strong conection with the lands across the water; Maclachlan cadets were prominent land holders until the 18th century and the Loch was of course a highway between them not a barrier as it is viewed today. Even in the 19th century there was a ferry between the small settlement of Portindrain in StrathLachlan and lands that the Chiefs still held at Goatfield across the Loch.

Lachlan Mor 13th century.

It is from this Chief that the Clan takes it’s name and it is therefore rather ironic that so little is known of him. In truth the only documentary evidence is in the Clan genealogies found in the so called 1467 manuscript. Here he is said to have married the daughter of the Lord Henry Kennedy of Carrick who did not exist at this time. The first Lord Kennedy was created during the 16th century shortly before the manuscript was written so it would seem likely that the genealogist of the time was projecting backwards to enhance the family tree. There was however a Henry Kennedy active in the Carrick area in the 13th century and it may have been this individual who’s daughter was married to Lachlan. The MacLachlans did own a small parcel of land in Galloway which one of them later gave to the Abbey of Whithorn and this adds a little weight to the story.

It is usualy assumed that Lachlan Mor was given the ‘Mor’ because of his greatness but it should be remebered that the word could also be used to mean elder. The two Muireadach of Menteith were referred to in the documents as Muireadach Mor and Muireadach Oig.

There is one possible explanation for the lack of information about him and that is contained in a story which is attached to the MacLachlan name. At one time it was the custom for the Chief of MacLachlan and the Chief of Campbell of Strachur to be responsible for laying the head of the late Chief of the other Clan in his grave. This was said to date back to a time of joint service in ‘The Crusades’ and there is just a chance that Lachlan Mor could have taken part in the 8th Crusade. The Earl of Carrick died during this Crusade in North Africa so perhaps there is some truth behind the legend although the Lord of Strachur at this time was unlikely to have been a Campbell.

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