Clan Maclachlan, also known as Clan Lachlan, is a chiefly Scottish clan that historically centred on the lands of Strathlachlan on Loch Fyne, Argyll on the west coast of Scotland.
This is a Norse name. <ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 232</ref>Lochlainn was the name of a senior branch in Tireconnell (Donegal) of descendents of the semi mythical Irish king, Niall of the Nine Hostages (a.400). <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 232</ref> Until 1241 the MacLochlains were dominant in Ulster, but they were defeated by King Brian O'Neill.
By the thirteenth century they were granted land in Argyll. <ref>David Dorward, Dictionary of Scottish Surnames (Harper Collins, 2000) 223</ref> An early chief was Lachlan Mor, who is remembered in various placenames in the area, such as Strathlachlan, Castle Lachlan and Lachlan Bay.<ref>Moncreiffe of that Ilk, Iain. The Highland Clans. (Barrie & Rockliff, 1967) 87-92</ref>
Tradition gives Lachlan Mor a descent from an Irish prince of the O'Neill dynasty, Ánrothán Ua Néill, son of Áed, son of Flaithbertach Ua Néill, King of Ailech and Cenél nEógain, died 1036. Clan Maclachlan has been associated with other clans, such as Clan Lamont, Clan Ewen of Otter, Clan MacNeil of Barra, and the MacSweens: as all claim descent from Anrothan O'Neill who left Ireland for Kintyre in the 11th century.
From this descent the clan claims a further descent from the legendary Niall Noigíallach, High King of Ireland, who lived from the mid 4th century to early 5th century.
The Irish version of the name is McLaughlin, and they are also seen as kin members. <ref>http://www.scotsdiaspora.com/resource/index.php?title=MacLachlan&action=edit (accessed 19th June 2014)</ref>
In 1292 Archibald Maclachlan was one of twelve barons whose lands were formed into the Sherrifdom of Argyll. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 232</ref> Ewan Maclachlan appears of the Ragman Roll as a noble, swearing fealty to Edward I of England in 1296. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 232</ref>
Gillespie Maclachlan, probably the son of the chief, attended the first Parliament of Robert the Bruce in St. Andrews in 1308.<ref>David Dorward, Dictionary of Scottish Surnames (Harper Collins, 2000) 223</ref><ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 232</ref>
In 1309. Gillespie was one of the sixteen Scottish magnates who signed a letter to Philip IV of France in 1309. <ref>Origines Parochiales Scotiae, 75–76</ref>The King of France had asked for Scottish assistance in a Crusade he was forming, with the Scots answering that they were at war with England and had their hands full. His name appears on one of the seal tags with that letter, though the actual seal that had been attached to the tag has since been lost.<ref>Origines Parochiales Scotiae, 75–76</ref>
He is also recorded in a charter of 1314 granting a stipend to the friars at Glasgow from his lands at Kilbride.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 232</ref>
Gillespie was dead by 1322 and was succeeded by Patrick his brother. Patrick married a daughter of James the Steward of Scotland, and had a son, Lachlan, who later succeeded him. In 1410 Iain Maclachlan, lord of Strathlachlan, ("Johonne Lachlani domino de Straithlaon"), witnessed a Lamont charter. <ref>Moncreiffe of that Ilk, 87–92</ref>
In 1436 Iain, Lord of Strathlachlan granted a charter to his cousin, Alan, making him seneschal of the lands of Glassary in Argyll. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 232</ref>
Recognising the growing power of the Campbells, the Maclachlans allied themselves to them. Iain Maclachlan witnessed a bond by Stewart of Appin in favour of the first Earl of Argyll in 1485.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 232</ref> His son, Archibald, married a daughter of the chief of the Lamonts. Lachlan Maclachlan travelled to France with the Earl of Argyll for the marriage of James V to the eldest daughter of Francis I of France. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 232</ref>
In 1615 the chief, Lachlan Og, led the clan to support the Earl of Argyll's conflict with the Macdonalds of Islay. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 233</ref> In 1633 he procured an Act of Parliament confirming him as Laird of Maclachlin.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 233</ref> His lands extended to over thirty- four farms in Strathlachlan and Loch Fyne.
The wars of the seventeenth century allowed many clans the opportunity to settle scores. The Maclachlans fought their neighbours, the Lamonts. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 233</ref> Lachlan Maclachlan of that Ilk became justice of the peace for Argyllshire.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 233</ref> His son Archibald became the fifteenth chief and received a charter in 1680 erecting his lands into the barony of Strathlachlan, with Castle Lachlan as its seat.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 233</ref>
The Maclachlans fought for Viscount Dundee at Killiecrankie in 1689 as well as the rising of 1715. Archibald Brown, in The History of Cowal, wrote, "The chief of MacLachlan appeared with the Earl of Mar at Sheriffmoor as Colonel in the Pretender's army, and for this act it is said Campbell of Ardkinglas followed MacLachlan like a sleuthhound for five years and shot him dead in 1720".<ref>Moncreiffe of that Ilk, 87–92</ref>
Lachlan, the seventeenth chief of Clan Maclachlan played a part in the Jacobite Rising of 1745, and lost his life leading the clan at the Battle of Culloden. Lord President Duncan Forbes estimated that the Maclachlan force of that time was about 200 men. In 1748, Rev. John MacLachlan of Kilchoan, in a letter to Rev. Robert Forbes, wrote:
'I hope you'll take notice of Collonel MacLachlan of that Ilk, whom the newspapers and magazines neglected. 'Tis true he got but few of his clan rais'd, because most of them are situated amidst the Campbells. However he attended the Prince at Gladsmuir, and march'd with him to Carlyle, from whence he was detach'd by the Prince with an ample commission and 16 horses to lead on to England the 3,000 men that lay then at Perth... ...The Collonel join'd us again at Stirlin, and when we retir'd to Inverness the Prince made him Commissary of the army. At the battle of Culloden he had a regiment of 300 men, whereof 115 were his own people and 182 were Mackleans, who chose to be under his command, seeing their chief was not there. The said Collonel being the last that received orders from the Prince on the field of battle, he was shot by a canon ball as he was advancing on horseback to lead on his regiment, which was drawn up between the Macintoshes and the Stewarts of Appin. <ref> Forbes, 208–210. (online version @ National Library of Scotland website)</ref>
Following the Jacobite defeat a Government ship sailed up Loch Fyne and shelled Castle Lachlan, forcing the chief's family to abandon their residence, and in Edinburgh the Maclachlan colours were burned on the orders of the Duke of Cumberland. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 233</ref>It had been assumed that the chief's lands had been forfeited for his support of the Young Pretender and the Jacobite cause, but it was ruled that he had been killed before he could be attainted.<ref>MacGibbon & Ross, 357–363</ref>
The chief of the Campbells, the Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Argyll, who although helped crush the Jacobite forces, aided Donald, son of the deceased Maclachlan chief, and helped saved his lands.<ref>Moncreiffe of that Ilk, 87–92</ref> On 12 February 1747 Donald Maclachlan of that Ilk received a charter for his lands "at the intercession of the Duke of Argyll", though it was considerably unpopular decision at the time, and Maclachlan's estates were "surveyed but afterwards found not to be forfeited".<ref>Moncreiffe of that Ilk, 87–92</ref>
Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
In the early 19th century, a new Castle Lachlan was built for the chiefs of the clan, and it remains the seat of the clan to this day. The last of the male line chiefs of Clan Maclachlan was John Maclachlan who died in 1942.<ref>Moncreiffe of that Ilk, 87–92</ref> He commanded the Argyllshire Regiment during the First World War. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 233</ref>
He was succeeded by his daughter, the twenty-fourth chief of the clan, Marjorie Maclachlan of Maclachlan.<ref>Moncreiffe of that Ilk, 87–92</ref><ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 233</ref> Under her the Clan Maclachlan Society was formed in 1979. <ref>http://www.clanlachlan.ca/clan%20information.htm (Accessed 19th June 2014)</ref>and on her death in 1996, she was succeeded by her eldest son Euan John Maclachlan of Maclachlan, Chief of Clan Maclachlan, 25th of Maclachlan and Baron of Strathlachlan, who is a member of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs.<ref>http://www.clanlachlan.ca/clan_history.htm (accessed 19th June 2014)</ref>
Old Castle Lachlan lies on the eastern shore of Loch Fyne, near Newton. The ruinous castle dates to the 15th century, and lies about 70 feet (21.3 m) north to south, 54 feet (16.5 m) east to west, and at its highest point 43 feet (13.1 m) feet high. <ref>http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/40549/details/castle+lachlan/ (accessed 19th June 2014)</ref>
In the late 18th century, Donald Maclachlan oversaw the construction of New Castle Lachlan, a mansion which stands about a ten-minute walk away from the ruinous old castle. <ref>http://www.scotland.com/castles/argyll/lachlan/ (accessed 19th June 2014)</ref> This new house was first built in the Queen Anne Style, then later at the end of the 19th century it was transformed into the Scottish baronial house that stands today. The building, upon the 1,500 acres (2.3 sq mi; 6.1 km2) estate, has been divided in two with the chief residing in one part and the second available for rent.<ref>http://www.scotland.com/castles/argyll/lachlan/ (accessed 19th June 2014)</ref>
Members of Scottish clans show their allegiance to their clan and chief by wearing crest badges. These are usually worn on a bonnet. Crest badges are usually made up of the chief's heraldic crest surrounded by a strap and buckle with the chief's heraldic motto or slogan. The crest badge used by members of Clan Maclachlan contains the Latin motto FORTIS ET FIDUS, which translates to "strong and faithful".<ref>http://www.cmana.net/indexfr1newformat.html (accessed 19th June 2014)</ref> The blazon of the crest within the badge is (Issuant from a crest coronet of four (three visible) strawberry leaves Or) a castle set upon a rock all Proper.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 232</ref>
Another clan symbol used to show a clan member's affiliation is a clan badge or plant badge. Consisting of a particular plant, these badges are sometimes said to be the original means of identification used by Scottish clans. Clan Maclachlan has two clan badges attributed to it. These include: rowan (or mountain ash) and lesser periwinkle. <ref>http://www.cmana.net/indexfr1newformat.html (accessed 19th June 2014)</ref>
There are several MacLachlan tartans. <ref>http://www.clanlachlan.ca/tartans.htm (accessed 19th June 2014)</ref> The most popular is that published in 1850 by Smilbert.