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MacLellan


This name translates as the son of the gillie, or servant of St. Fillan. Fillan is a reduced form of "faelchu", Old Irish for wolf. MacLellans were numerous in Galloway in the later half of the 14th Century and they gave their name to Balmaclellan, MacLellan's town, in the Stewartry of Galloway. It is said that these lands were given to John MacLellan by James III in 1466 on John MacLellan's bestowing a site for a church on them. The chiefly family descends from the MacLellans of Bombie, the title Lord Kirkcudbight being conferred on Sir Robert MacLellan in 1633 ; he died in 1641 leaving only a daughter and as the barony was only heritable by a male heir bearing the family's names and arms he was succeeded by a nephew. The second Lord Kircudbright died without any children and the title and lands were passed on to a cousin. The 3rd Lord was a zealous Royalist and forced his vassals to take up arms in the cause of the King, during the course of which the villages of Dunrod and Galtway were ruined. However, his ardour seemed to cool somewahat after the Restoration and he sanctioned a riot by the people of Kircudbright to prevent an Episcopalian minister taking over the church in the town. He died, greatly in debt, in 1664 and his son, by right the 4th Lord died without having fathered children in 1669. The estate had been seized and sold by creditors ; the title was reclaimed in 1736 when James MacLellan petitioned the King on the matter, and passed on through to the 9th Lord when it became dormant on his death in 1832. A story is told of how the MacLellans got their unusual crest. Sir Patrick MacLellan was forced to forfeit his lands and some years later James II offered the barony to anyone who could clear the country of a band of marauding band of gypsies. Sir William MacLellan, whose father had been the proprietor of the lands, carried out the task and to prove this he carried the severed head of one of the gypsies on the point of his sword when he went to claim his prize from the King.


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