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The Scottish Nation
MacLellan


MACLELLAN, a surname of considerable antiquity in the south of Scotland. The Maclellans of Bombie, a family at one period of great power and influence, supposed originally to have come from Ireland, were, in ancient times, sheriffs of Galloway. Duncan Maclellan is mentioned in a charter of Alexander II. in 1217. Among the faithful adherents who accompanied Sir William Wallace, when he sailed from Kirkcudbright for France, after his defeat at Falkirk in 1293, was Maclellan the then laird of Bombie. The family became so flourishing about the beginning of the 15th century that, according to Crawford (Peerage, p. 237), there were no fewer than 14 knights of the name in Galloway at the same time. The account of the murder of Sir Patrick Maclellan, tutor of Bombie, by the 8th earl of Douglas, in Thrieve castle, in 1452, has been already related. (See KIRKCUDBRIGHT, baron.) Local tradition states that when James II., in 1455, arrived with an army at Carlinwark, to besiege the castle of Thrieve, the Maclellans presented him with the celebrated piece of ordnance, called Mons Meg, wherewith to batter down the stronghold of the rebellious chieftain.

      Sir William Maclellan of Bombie, knighted by James IV., fell at Flodden with a number of his followers. His son, Thomas Maclellan of Bombie, was killed in a feud with Gordon of Lochinvar at the door of St. Giles’ church, Edinburgh, 11th July, 1526. His great-grandson, Sir Robert Maclellan, was created Lord Kirkcudbright, 25th May 1633. (See KIRKCUDBRIGHT, baron.) There were also the Maclellans of Barclay, descended from the Maclellans of Barmagachen, of the original bombie line.

      Although the crest of the Maclellans was a Moor’s head on the point of a sword, in allusion to their recovery of the estate of bombie, after being forfeited, by the slaying of a gipsy chief who infested Galloway, as already related under the article KIRKCUDBRIGHT, they sometimes used for crest a mortar-piece, with the motto, “Superbo frango,” having reference, we are inclined to suppose, to the great iron gun named Mons Meg, which is said to have been made by a local smith, one Brawny Kim or M’Kim and his sons. As a reward for constructing so noble an engine of war, M’Kim is stated to have obtained the forfeited lands of Mollance, in the neighbourhood of Thrieve castle, hence this gun was called Mollance Meg, that being the name of the smith’s wife, afterwards corrupted into Mons Meg. There is, however, an impression on the cannon itself that it was cast at the town of Mons in Flanders, whence it took its name. Nisbet thinks that the Maclellans adopted a mortar-piece or bomb for their crest, in allusion to their designation of Bombie, a somewhat fanciful notion certainly.


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