Clans and Families
of Ireland and Scotland VII. The Érainn
the chief family of the clan. He was
also father of Eachin Reganach, progenitor of the MacLaines of Lochbuie, and the MacLaines
disputed the chiefship with the Duart branch on the claim that Eachin was elder to
Lachlan, though the chiefship was settled on the Duart branch by tanistry. Both of these
brothers lived in the reign of Robert II. The clan held wide power in the Hebrides, as
allies of the MacDonalds, under the Lord of the Isles. One of Eachin’s Sons, Charles MacLean, settled in
Glen Urquhart, in Moray, and was the founder of the Clann Thearlaich, also known as the
MacLeans of the North. The Clann Thearlaich joined the Clan Chattan confederacy (see
below) about 1460, but nonetheless appealed to MacLean of Duart, as their hereditary
chief, for protection against harassment by the Chisholms. The Duart chief recognized
their rights as clansmen, and forced the Chisholms to desist.
The MacNaughtons (Mac Neachdainn), like the MacLeans, were one of the
clans transplanted from Moray about 1160 by Malcolm IV to the Crown lands in Perthshire,
where they became thanes of Loch Tay. However, by 1247 they were back in Argyle, and held
the upper part of Lochawe, Glenara, Glenshira, and Loch Fyne. The strongholds of the clan
were in the latter two places, at the castles of Dubh—Loch in Glenshira and Dunderave
on Loch Fyne. Since the clan had resided in the region of Strathearn (Perthshire) for the
previous several generations, it is not surprising that in 1247 the then chief, Gillecrist
MacNachtan, son of Malcolm MacNachtan, granted the church of Kelmurkhe (Kilmorich) at the
head of Loch Fyne to the Abbey of Inchaffray (a foundation of the original earls of
Strathearn, and continued under their special patronage). In 1267 this Gillecrist
(Gilchrist) was appointed hereditary keeper of the Castle of Fraoch Eilean on Loch Awe,
thenceforward to be held for the King of Scots by the Clan MacNachtan. A branch of the
clan returned to Loch Tay and Glen Lyon, and was connected with the bishopric of Dunkeld.
The MacNabs (Mac an Aba) of Strathfillan and Glendochart in Perthshire
descend from the hereditary abbots of Glendochart, who were, before the secularization and
discontinuance of Celtic abbacies around 1300, of equal status with the local medieval
earls of AthoIl and Menteith. Afterwards, the MacNabs became important chiefs in the
western part of the old abbey lands. The original line of abbots were the co-arbs of St.
FilIan, a prince of the Cineal Loairn, and descended from the Saint’s brother. The
chiefs of the MacNabs were known by the proverbial title of "The MacNab."
The Clan Chattan (Clann Chatain) was a confederation of clans in the
Moray areas of Lochaber, Strathnairn and Badenoch. The main stem of the clan included the
MacPhersons, Davidsons, MacBeans or MacBains, Cattanachs, and by inheritance, the
MacKintoshes. These clans were joined by others, of different origin, who at various times
applied for protection of the MacKintosh chiefs, who were also captains, or high chiefs,
of the Clan Chattan confederation. These included the MacGillivrays, Maclntyres, MacLeans,
MacQueens, MacAndrews, and others.
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