"Lachlan" was a popular first name in Celtic times. It came from the Gaelic "loch-lann" meaning "fjord land" and was used as the Gaelic word for Norway. There is good evidence that the MacLachlans in Scotland were descended from "Niall of the Nine Hostages" who was High King of Ireland around 400AD. The MacLochlainns ruled over the whole of Ulster until 1241 when they were defeated by King Brian O'Neill.
The Maclachlans were well established in Scotland in Lorne, Argyll, in the 13th century. Ewan Maclachlan was one of the 2,000 landowners and clergy who signed an oath of allegiance to King Edward I of England in the "Ragman Roll"> of 1296. Gillespie Maclachlan was a supporter of Robert the Bruce> and was one of the nobles who attended his first Parliament at St Andrews in 1308.
In the 15th century the clan had consolidated their position and became known as the "Lords of Strathlachlan". Somehow, they managed to avoid coming into conflict with their powerful close neighbours the Campbells>. There is legend that following a marriage between a Campbell and a Maclachlan a local "Brounie" spirit was so annoyed that he made the wedding feast disappear! Relations with the Lamonts were not always so cordial and the Maclachlans may have been involved with the Campbells in the massacre of the Lamonts in 1646.
The Maclachlan lands ran along both sides of Loch Fyne (a sea loch) and branches of the clan became established near Loch Awe. The clan's centre was Castle Lachlan, south of Strachur, on the other side of Loch Fyne from the Campbell seat at Inveraray Castle>.
Unlike the Campbells, the Maclachlans were staunch Jacobites, supporting Viscount Dundee at the Battle of Kiliiecrankie in 1689, James VIII in the 1715 Uprising and again in support of Prince Charles Edward Stuart in 1745. The chief was at the head of his clansmen at Culloden in 1746 and lost his life in the cannon fire; his son was also killed in the battle. News of the chief's death is said to have been broken at Strathlachlan when his riderless horse came home. Retribution after the Uprising resulted in Castle Lachlan being left as a ruin. The estates were forfeited but later returned (thanks to the intervention of the Duke of Argyll). A new mansion house was built not far from the ruined castle and it is today still the seat of the chief of the Maclachlans.
In the West of Scotland in particular the name is usually pronounced "MacGloughlin" and in Ireland, where the name is frequently found, it is often spelt that way or as "MacLaughlin".
The Maclachlan clan motto is "Fortis et fidus" which means "Brave and Faithfull".
Surnames regarded as septs (sub-branch) of the Maclachlan clan include Ewing, Gilchrist, Lachie, Lauchlan, MacGilchrist, MacLaghlan.
There is a Maclachlan clan Web site here>.
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