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Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland
IX. The Gaels


Croy-Leckie, who descend from Corc, younger brother of Gilchrist of Arrochar, ancestor of the MacFarlanes (John Leckie of Croy-Leckie, the then head of the family, married a daughter of MacGregor of Glengyle by his wife, a Campbell of Glenfalloch, and thus became brother-in-law to Rob Roy, whom he joined at Sheriffmuir); and finally also the MacAulays (Mac Amhalghaidh) of Ardencaple in Dumbartanshire.

The MacAulays were chiefs of the district along the east shore of Gare Loch, between Loch Long and Loch Lomond. They descend from Aulay Arngapill, or Ardincapill, of that Ilk who is mentioned in 1513. He himself descended from a long line of barons of Ardencaple (Morice de Arncappel rendered homage in 1296, Johannes de Ardenagappill was a charter witness about 1364, and Arthur de Ardincapel witnessed a charter by Duncan, eighth Earl of the Lennox about 1390). Though not originally descended from the House of Lennox, they seem to have inherited the leadership of some of the earls’ kindred of the name of MacAulay, for the Aulay is distinctive to that family (the House of Lennox); that is, Amalghaidh mac Amhalghaidh (Aulay mac Aulay), son of Aulay, was a younger son of Alwin, second Earl of the Lennox about 1200. Furthermore, Alexander Ardincapple, Aulay Ardincapill’s representative in the reign of James V (1513—1542), adopted the surname of MacAulay in order to better represent the clan at the head of which he found himself, that of MacAuley: Alexander Ardincapple, "then the head of the family, took a fancy to call himself Alexander MacAulay of Ardincapple, from a predecessor of his of the name of Aulay, to humour a patronymical designation as being more agreeable to the head of a clan than the designation of Ardincaple of that Ilk" (Black 29). Alexander’s taking the name of MacAulay seems tantamount to acknowledging the name and line of the clan he represented, hence the inclusion of his family in the discussion of the Lennox kindred. Awla McAwla of Ardencapill appears in 1536, while another Awla McAwla was clerk of the watch of Queen Mary’s guard 1566. Getting back to the pre—Ardincapple MacAulay kindred, Sir Duncan MacAulay, son of Aulay mac Aulay, joined Robert the Bruce in the time before Bannockburn, and his son Aulay "de Faslane" was given the office of Tosheagor, or heritable bailie, by Malcolm, Earl of the Lennox. His son Walter was the Walter de Faslane who married the heiress of his kinsmen Donald, Earl of the Lennox, thus keeping the earldom within the House of Lennox for the time (this situation was analogous to the marriage, some 200 years later, of Mary Queen of Scots, heiress of the Royal House, with Lord Darnley, the Stewart heir-male). It is probably a cousin of the above family that appears as "Iwar McAulay in Lennox" in 1326. The stronghold of the MacAulays was Ardencaple Castle, sold in 1767 and now in ruins.


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