My Maternal 11th. Great Grandfather, Sir Lachlan Mor MacLean, Knight, 14th. Chief of Clan MacLean


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

Charles Maclean

Bethag Maclean, married to Hector MacLean of Lochbuie, 9th Chief

Isle of Islay, Scotland

Battle of Traigh Ghruinneart

The Battle of Traigh Ghruinneart or in Scottish Gaelic Blàr Tràigh Ghruineart or sometimes called the Battle of Gruinart Strand was a Scottish clan battle fought on 5 August 1598, on the Isle of Islay, in the Scottish Highlands. Wikipedia
Date: August 5, 1598
Result: Clan Donald victory

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 and Cross, Isle of Islay, Scotland

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.

Legacy: 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.” source: Wikipedia 

Birth: 1558 in Dowart, Skye, Inverness, Scotland

Argyll & Bute, Scotland

Married: about 1579 in Duart, Argyll, Scotland to Lady Margaretha Cunningham

Death: 5 August 1598 in Battle of Traigh Ghruinneart, Gruineart,  Argyll, Scotland

Lachlan Mor Maclean of Duart fell here

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.

Maclean of Duart and Morven arms, image from Wikimedia Commons.

MacLeans of Duart and Morven arms, image from Wikimedia Commons.

This is a biography of Sir Lachlan Mor Maclean of Duart, the “Great Maclean” who dominated the Western seaboard of Highland Scotland from 1578 until his death in 1598. The scene is set against changes in European warfare and politics in the mid-16th century and in the turbulent society of the Hebrides. Then follows an account of Lachlan Mor’s role in the dramatic battle between Protestants and Roman Catholics that was fought both in the hills of North-East Scotland and in Ulster. The “Great Maclean” played a prominent part in both conflicts. It is, however, his involvement in Ulster that makes him a figure of more than merely national importance. Lachlan Mor’s story is based mainly on the reports of spies working for Queen Elizabeth I of England and Philip II of Spain. The author also draws on Sir Lachlan’s original letters in both Scots and Gaelic. source: Wikipedia

Ulster County, Ireland

Ulster, Scotland



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