Clan Maclaine of Lochbuie

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Clan Maclaine of Lochbuie
MacGhille Eoin[1]
File:Clan member crest badge - Clan Maclaine of Lochbuie.svg
Motto Vincere vel mori (To conquer or die)[1]
Region Scottish Highlands
District Lochbuie, Mull
Plant badge Blackberry[1]
Pipe music Lament for MacLaine of Lochbuie[1]
The Much Honoured Lorne Gillean Ian Mclaine of Lochbuie, Baron of Moy
26th Chief of Clan Maclaine of Lochbuie
Historic seat Moy Castle

Clan Mclaine of Lochbuie is a Scottish Clan that inhabited lands on the southern end of the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides of the western Scottish Highlands. "Mclaine" is an alternate spelling for "McLean." Clan Mclaine of Lochbuie and Clan Maclean of Duart are two separate clans. However, the two clans share a strong family connection. The 26th (and current) clan chief is The Much Honoured Lorne Gillean Ian Mclaine of Lochbuie, Baron of Moy.[2] The clan is recognized by both the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs and the Lord Lyon.


Origins of the clan

Clan Maclaine of Lochbuie is translated in Gaelic as Mac'ill-Eathain Locchabuide, but their history can be traced back farther than the Gaels to Tuscany in Italy. A Tuscan follower of William the Conqueror had a grandson named Maurice Fitzgerald, who moved to Ireland with the famous Earl of Surrey, known as "Strongbow." The Fitzgeralds of Ireland sent offshoots to Scotland in the thirteenth century. Two Fitzgerald cousins are said to have started both Clan Maclean and Clan Mackenzie, with the name MacLean being coined by Gillean-na-Taughe (Gillean of the Battle-Axe), a fierce warrior who lived in the thirteenth century.[3] He and his three sons were also said to have fought against the Vikings at the Battle of Largs in 1263.[4] Later Gillean was said to have signed the Ragman Roll in 1296 as "Gilliemore Macilean" or "Gillean the Great, Son of Gillean."[3]

Wars of Scottish Independence

During the Wars of Scottish Independence Gillian's grandson, Malcolm, fought at the head of his clan at the Battle of Bannockburn.[4]

14th and 15th centuries

File:Moy Castle on Mull - - 33674.jpg
Moy Castle on Lochbuie, Mull is the historic seat of the chief of the Clan Maclaine of Lochbuie.

Gillean's great-grandson, Iain Dubh, or Black John, had two sons, Eachin Reaganach (Hector the Stern), and Lachainn Lubanach (Lachlan the Wily).[5] When the Gaelic Highlanders broke away from the Lowland monarchy in the 14th century, the MacLeans allied with the Highlanders - receiving lands from John, Lord of the Isles, in exchange for their support. Lachlan married John's daughter, and he and his brother moved to the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides, where the two dominant branches of the family were formed: the Maclaines of Lochbuie and the MacLeans of Duart (The Maclaines of Lochbuie used the "MacLean" spelling until the 17th century). Lachlan was the head of the Duart branch, with Hector being the head of the Lochbuie branch.[6] Many of the clansmen at Lochbuie retained other spellings of Maclaine or MacLean, such as Maclayne, McClain, and McLain. Various smaller families intermarried or banded together with the Maclaines, and they were all accepted into the clan.[5]

In about 1350, Hector was granted lands on the Isle of Mull by the Lords of the Isles.[4] He also sat on the Council of the Isles as did subsequent chiefs of Lochbuie until the Lordship was forfeited in 1493.[4] Hector built Moy Castle, a typical Scottish tower house at Lochbuie, Mull in the 14th century.[4] It was built on land formerly held by the Macfadzeans.[4]

Once the MacLeans allied with the Highlanders, they expanded beyond Lochbuie and Duart to Ardgower, Morvern, and Coll. Clan MacDonald, arguably the most powerful highland clan, became envious of the growing power of the MacLeans; and subsequently, the MacLeans - including the Maclaines of Lochbuie - feuded with the MacDonalds for many years.[7]

The Headless Horseman (Ewan The Headless)

The lands held by the sixth Lochbuie chief were united into the barony of Moy in 1542.[4]

One of the famous legends associated with the Clan Maclaine of Lochbuie is that of the headless horseman.[4] Before 1538, Iain Og, the fifth chief's son, Ewan, lived on a cranog (artificial island) in Loch Sghubhain, north of Lochbuie.[4] Ewan's wife (nicknamed the "black swan") constantly pressed him for more land off his father.[4] This resulted in a heated argument between the father and son and a clan battle ensued.[4] The two sides met at Glen Cannir and Iain Og was supported by the Clan Maclean of Duart.[4] During the battle a swing of a claymore completely severed Ewan's head from his body and his horse kept galloping with his headless body held in place by the stirrups.[4] The horse was eventually stopped and Ewan's body was buried on the island of Iona, where his grave can still be seen.[4]

17th century and Civil War

John Mor the seventh chief was renowned as an excellent swordsman and when an Italian master-at-arms challenged the Scottish nobles to meet him in a duel, John Mor accepted the challenge.[4] John Mor fought and killed the Italian in the presence of the king and court.[4] His son was Hector the eighth of Lochbuie who initiated the spelling of the surname as Maclaine which was the accepted spelling used by subsequent chiefs.[4]

Historically Roman Catholic and proud to see a Scottish monarch on the throne, the Maclaines of Lochbuie, along with the MacLeans, fought on the side of the Royalists in the English Civil War against Oliver Cromwell and his Parliamentarians. Murdoch Mor, the tenth chief, fought for James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose in 1645 and as a result his lands were forfeited and not restored until 1661.[4]

The twelfth chief, Hector, was the victor at the first battle of the Jacobite campaign of 1689 where he overcame five troops of horse sent by Hugh Mackay's army to intercept him.[4] He also took part in the Battle of Killiecrankie where Mackay's forces were annihilated in the same year.[4]

18th century and Jacobite risings

However, the Maclaines of Lochbuie and other clans were persuaded by Duncan Forbes, Lord Culloden not to rise with Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745. Thus the Maclaines and MacLeans were spared the ramifications that resulted throughout northern Scotland as a result of Charles' defeat at the Battle of Culloden. The Maclaines later on converted to Presbyterianism as a result of the rising influence of that denomination in the lowlands.[8]

During the American Revolution, many Highland regiments were raised in Scotland, and rarely one of them was formed that did not consist of a MacLean or a Maclaine.[9] The period of colonization before the Revolution saw many Maclaines and MacLeans settle in the sandhills of eastern North Carolina, and these settlers were almost all British sympathizers during the war.


Hector Maclaine received his lands in the Hebrides from John, 1st Lord of the Isles around 1350. Hector chose to build his castle, Moy Castle, at the head of Lochbuie. Moy Castle was a beautiful Scottish towerhouse, and it remained the home of Maclaine chiefs until 1752, when Lochbuie House was built not far from the castle. Lochbuie House is a Georgian style house that sits just behind Moy Castle, overlooking Lochbuie. Moy Castle and Lochbuie House are still standing today, with Lochbuie House now owned by the Corbett family. Moy Castle is not accessible due to its old age, but remains a beautiful example of ancient medieval architecture. Over the years, the Lochbuie branch has held lands in Mull, Scarba, Jura, Morvern, Locheil, and Tiree. Lands were also granted in Duror and Glencoe but were never taken.[10]


Since most Scottish emigrants could not read or write, carried thick highland "brogues," and had trouble being understood, names might have been changed or misspelled. This makes it hard to pinpoint the clan that one's Scottish ancestors came from. Listed below are surnames that are associated with Clan MacLean, but more specifically, the Maclaines of Lochbuie (note that there are over 200 alternate spellings for these names):

McLean, Maclaine, McClain, McLain, MacLayne, MacLean, Lane, Laine, Lain, Layne, Lean, McFadyen, McFadzean, McFayden, MacFadden, Macfadyen, McPhadon, McPhadzean, Fadden, MacCormack, McCormick, Cormack, Cormick, MacGillivray, MacIlvora, MacBay, MacVay, MacAvoy, Avoy, MacEvoy, Evoy, MacFetridge, Patton, Patten, Paton, Peden, Douie, Huie, Beaton, Black, Clanachan, McSpadden[11]

Insignia and Clan Recognition

Clan Crest

A branch of laurel and a branch of cypress in saltire, surmounted of a battleaxe in pale, all proper. The motto reads: "Vincere Vel Mori," Latin for "Conquer or Die."

Clan Plant

Blaeberry or "bramble"



The clan's Pìobaireachd is Cumha Mhic Ghilleathain (Maclaine of Lochbuie's Lament).

Clan Chiefs

Chief Name Birth Death
1 Hector Reaganach Maclean, 1st Laird of Lochbuie 1330 1407
2 Murdoch MacLean, 2nd Laird of Lochbuie - -
3 John MacLean, 3rd Laird of Lochbuie - -
4 Hector MacLean, 4th Laird of Lochbuie - 1478
5 John Og MacLean, 5th Laird of Lochbuie[Note 1][12] 1470 1538
6 Murdoch 1496 1568
7 John - -
8 Hector MacLean of Lochbuie, 8th Chief 1555 1614
9 Hector MacLean of Lochbuie, 9th Chief 1575 1628
10 Murdoch Mor MacLean of Lochbuie, 10th Chief - 1662
11 Lachlan 1614 1685
12 Hector MacLean of Lochbuie, 12th Chief 1697 1706
13 Murdoch - 1727
14 John - 1741
15 Lachlan - 1743
16 Hector MacLean of Lochbuie, 16th Chief - 1745
17 John 1700 1778
18 Archibald 1749 1784
19 Murdoch 1730 1804
20 Murdoch 1791 1818
21 Murdoch 1814 1850
22 Donald 1816 1863
23 Murdoch 1845 1909
24 Kenneth Douglas Lorne Maclaine 1880 1935
25 Gillean Robert Maclaine 1921 1970
26 Lorne Gillean Iain Maclaine 1945 -
27 Angus Gillean Mathew Maclaine (Younger) 1975 -


  1. John Og, or young John, appears to have made a great figure in his time. He was of such prominence that James IV attempted to win him, and further appears to have been a favorite of that monarch. Previous to his lairdship the principal lands were those of Glenforsay and Moloras, held from the Lord of the Isles. Those of Lochiel were only nominally held.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Clan MacLaine of Lochbuie Profile Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 McNie, pages 9-11
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 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 234 - 235.
  5. 5.0 5.1
  6. McNie, page 12
  7. McNie, pages 14-15
  8. McNie, page 19
  9. McNie, page 23
  12. MacLean, John Patterson (1889). A History of the Clan MacLean from Its First Settlement at Duard Castle, in the Isle of Mull, to the Present Period: Including a Genealogical Account of Some of the Principal Families Together with Their Heraldry, Legends, Superstitions, Etc. R. Clarke & Company.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>