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Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland
IX. The Gaels


the early fifteenth century (after the unjustified beheading of Duncan, the last earl of the House of Lennox by James I in 1425 for his relationship to the House of Albany). Afterwards, a family of the name of de Levenax (later "Lennox"), a branch of the House of Lennox, settled in South Galloway where they appear as early as 1508 as followers of the Earl of Cassilis and acquired wide lands in Kirkcudbright (Lennox is also one of the name-titles of the Gordon-Lennox dukes of Richmond, Lennox and Gordon, descendants of a natural son of Charles II).

The MacFarlanes (Mac Pharlain) descend from Parlan, whose great-grandfather Gilchrist of Arrochar was a younger son of Alwyn, Earl of Lennox about 1200. On the death of Earl Duncan the chiefs of the MacFarlanes claimed to be chiefs of the whole kindred of the House of Lennox, as heirs-male to their kinsmen the earls. The earldom was granted to the Stewarts of Darnley, as mentioned, and the district was consolidated by the marriage of the MacFarlanes’ then chief, Andrew MacFarlane of Arrochar, to a daughter of the new earl. Their son, Sir lain MacFarlane, used the old-style chiefly title of Captain of Clann Pharlain, and led the warlike clan under the Earl of the Lennox at the battle of Flodden in 1513. The MacFarlanes were described by a contemporary as "men of the head of Lennox, that spake the Irish and the English-Scottish tongues, light footmen, well armed in shirts of mail, with bows and two-handed swords" (Moncrieffe 139). The MacFarlanes had island strongholds in upper Loch Lomond, while the chief’s residence was the primitive house at Arrochar on the shore of Loch Long.

The Buchanans (Canonach) take their name from the barony of Buchanan on the eastern side of Loch Lomond. They were an ecclesiastical family devoted to St. Kettigern, their Gaelic patronymic being MacAuslan (Mac Absalon), from a local ecclesiastic of the early thirteenth century. Sir Absalon of Buchanan (buth chanain, "house of the canon") appears in the early thirteenth century as the temporal lord of what were probably recently secularized church-lands (see page 106). As Absalon son of Macbeth, he was granted the island of Clarinch opposite Buchanan by the Earl of Lennox in 1225. There is a family tradition connecting the Buchanans with Moray, or at least the Moray area. Both the name "Macbeth," and the original Buchanan arms of "three bears heads," could indicate a connection of their ecclesiastical line with the family known as "of the Aird" (see page 56). In any case, as the then laird of Buchanan appears as Steward of the Lennox in 1238, either he, or his father, probably married into the House of Lennox, for stewartrys were reserved for younger branches of the earl’s family (see under "Drummond" and in Chapter IV). In the early fifteenth century the Buchanan chiefs married into the discouraged House of Albany (Stewarts), and thus became the nearest lawful heirs of this house; hence the black royal "lyon" in the Buchanan arms—a symbol of mourning.

Other branches of the House of Lennox include the Leckies or Leckys of


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