Sir Lachlan Mór Maclean (1558–1598) or Lachlan Maclean the Great, was the 14th Clan Chief of Clan MacLean from late 1573 or early 1574 until 1598. Mór or Mor translates as great in English, or magnus in Latin, when added to a name in Scottish Gaelic.
Birth: 1558 to Eachuinn Og Maclean. Sir Lachlan became the 14th Maclean Clan Chief at the death of his father in 1573 or 1574.
“He was called ‘Big Lachlan,’ both on account of his stature and the greatness of his mind. He was the most accomplished and warlike chief that ever held sway in Duard. His military talents were of a very high order; his chivalrous character commanded the respect of his most inveterate foes, and his personal interest for and kindness toward his followers endeared him to his clansmen. So great were his qualities that historians have been forced to pay tribute to his memory.”
Marriage and children:
He married Lady Margaret Cunningham of Glencairn, daughter of William Cunningham, 6th Earl of Glencairn. They had the following children:
Hector Og Maclean, 15th Clan Chief
Lachlan Og Maclean, 1st Laird of Torloisk
Gillean Maclean, married to Mary the elder, daughter of John Dubh Maclean of Morvern
Allan Maclean, married to Mary the younger, daughter of John Dubh Maclean of Morvern
Bethag Maclean, married to Hector MacLean of Lochbuie, 9th Chief
Battle of Traigh Ghruinneart
Death: August 5, 1598 in the Battle of Traigh Ghruinneart on the Island of Islay. He was killed by the forces of Sir James MacDonald, 9th of Dunnyveg. His remains were left on the battlefield. A day or two after the battle, it is said that two women, of whom different accounts are given — some calling them strangers, some clanswomen, some relations of the dead — grieving to think that the body of so notable a chief as Sir Lachlan Mor should be unburied and uncared for on the moorland, came from a distance in search of it. They hired a vehicle, the only one to be had in the neighborhood, and having found the corpse, proceeded to carry it to the nearest burying-grounds, about six miles distant. The way was rough, and the driver looking behind him saw the head of the great chief, which extended beyond the car, nodding to him at every jolt, as if it had life, and were giving him directions. At the next heavy rut he looked again to please his savage soul with ferocious enjoyment. But this time the elder female, who had watched him, acted as described in the ballad, and killed the brutal driver with the chieftain’s dagger. Then, along with her companion, she brought the mortal remains of Sir Lachlan to the place where they still lie buried.
Kilnave Chapel, Islay, Scotland
Sir Lachlan Mor MacLean was buried in the churchyard of Kilchoman on Islay, near the south wall of the church, and over his grave is laid a great stone. There is a churchyard, Kilnave, near the battle-field; but the body was taken to Kilchoman that it might be more honored, for he was buried inside the church, and when a new church was built there, around 1829, the wall was so constructed that the grave was left outside the church.
The plaque that marks the spot where he died says: “Lachlan Mor Maclean of Duart Fell Here. This cairn marks the spot where Maclean fell in the Battle of Traigh Ghruinneart. The battle is the best known incident of the long and bitter feud between the Macleans and the Macdonalds for control of the Rinns. Sir Lachlan was killed by his nephew, Sir James Macdonald of Knockrinsay.”
Birth: 1558 in Dowart, Skye, Inverness, Scotland
Married: about 1567 in Duart, Argyll, Scotland to Lady Margaretha Cunningham
Death: 5 August 1598 in Gruineart, Argyll, Scotland
Lachlan Mor Maclean of Duart Fell Here. This cairn marks the spot where Maclean fell in the Battle of Traigh Ghruinneart. The battle is the best known incident of the long and bitter feud between the Macleans and the Macdonalds for control of the Rinns.
MacLeans of Duart and Morven arms, image from Wikimedia Commons.