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Maclaine of Lochbuie 'dress' tartan

Maclaine of Lochbuie ancient 'dress' tartan

Maclaine of Lochbuie 'hunting' tartan

Maclaine of Lochbuie ancient 'hunting' tartan

The Maclaines of Lochbuie formed an important part of the clan structure of the Herbrides. We are descended from Gillean-na-Taughe, or Gillean of the Battleaxe, a fierce Scottish warrior born about 1210 who later held lands on the Isle of Mull and in Movern. He is said to have fought against the Vikings, along with his three sons, at the Battle of Largs in 1263. The four fought valiantly and were well received by King Alexander II. Gillean was succeeded by son Gilliosa (also known as MacGillean, or Son of Gillean - thus the name of our clan), whose son Malcolm fought at the head of the clan at Bannockburn in 1314, alongside Robert the Bruce.

Gillean's great-grandson Iain Dubh, or Black John, had two sons, Eachann Reaganach (Hector the Stern) and Lachainn Lubanach (Lachlan the Wily). Hector, the eldest son, married Margaret, eldest daughter of MacDonald, Lord of the Isles, via a Papal Dispensation dated 14 April 1356. Lachlan married a younger sister of Margaret in May of 1367. Hector and Lachlan were granted independent charters to lands on the Isle of Mull by the Lord of the Isles - Hector at Lochbuie and Lachlan at Duart. Thus the two dominant branches of the family were formed: the Maclaines of Lochbuie (the Maclaine family used the 'Maclean' spelling until the early 1600's) and the Macleans of Duart . Many of the clansmen at Lochbuie retained other spellings of Maclaine or Maclean, such as Maclayne, McClain, and McLain. Various smaller families intermarried or banded together with the Maclaines, including the McFadyens, MacCormacks, Blacks, Beatons, MacGillivrays, Huies, MacAvoys and Pattons (all with over 200 different spellings). They were all accepted into the clan as loyal members.

Iain Mor, 7th chief, was renowned as an excellent swordsman. When an Italian master-at-arms challenged Scottish nobles to meet him in a duel, Iain Mor accepted. The two fought in the prescence of the King and his court and, to the delight of the King, the Maclaine chief defeated the Italian. Iain Mor's son Hector, 8th Lochbuie, initiated the spelling of 'Maclaine' in preference to 'Maclean' around 1600.

The Maclaines of Lochbuie occasionally feuded with the Macleans of Duart, but joined forces with them when threatened. One feud was put to rest when the Lochbuie Chief and his followers came upon the Duart and his clansmen in the woods. Duart and his followers were asleep, exhausted after losing to the Lochbuie Clan in a scuffle. Lochbuie's followers wanted to attack immediately but the chief chose to take another approach. Instead, the Lochbuie Chief crept up on the Duart Chief and twisted Maclean's hair around his dirk before sticking it in the ground. When the Duart Chief awoke to find his hair pinned to the ground he recognized the dagger to be that of the Maclaine Chief. He was so moved by the act of mercy that he decided to end the feud immediately.

The Maclaines of Lochbuie and the Macleans of Duart, seven hundred men all told, joined the Marquis of Montrose in time for the Battle of Kilsyth in 1645. Hector Maclaine brought three hundred raw Highlanders to bolster the cause of Viscount Dundee in 1689. Five troops of horse (Berkeley's Dragoons) were sent to intercept them. Lochbuie duly defeated the Dragoons  after enticing them to dismount and attack up the slope of a hill on foot. This battle is recognised as the first battle of Dundee's campaign. Lochbuie and Duart then fought side-by-side at Killecrankie under Bonnie Dundee.

When the Duart chief was imprisoned in Edinburgh by the English, Maclean of Drimnin brought five hundred clansmen of both houses out for Prince Charles Edward Stewart in 1745. But due to what proved to be wise advice, the Lochbuies as a clan, did not join in the uprising. Consequently, the Lochbuie estates were not lost as a result of the rebellion, as was the Duart's estates. Of the five hundred who fought under Drimnin, is reported that only thirty-seven returned to Mull alive after the Battle of Culloden.

Moy Castle, built in the late 14th-Century, was abandoned as the Chief's residence in 1752 in favor of the nearby smaller Lochbuie House. The larger Lochbuie House, a Georgian mansion, was built around 1790 and is still occupied by the Corbett family who acquired it in the 1920's.

John Maclaine, 17th Lochbuie, was host to Dr. Samuel Johnson and James Boswell on the last stop of their famous tour of the Herbrides in 1773. Boswell said of John, "Lochbuie proved to be a bluff, comely, noisy old gentleman, proud of his hereditary consequence and a very hearty and hospitable landlord".

Donald, 20th Chief of Lochbuie, made a fortune in Java in the nineteenth century with which he cleared the estate of debt. The estates were lost, however, in the 1920's when it was claimed and appropriated by an English bondholder.

Kenneth Maclaine, the 24th Chief, made a mark for himself by going on stage as a singer to forestall closure of the Lochbuie estates. Unfortunately, the onset of World War I made it impossible for him to avoid the inevitable, and the entire estates of some 30,000 acres were lost. Kenneth served with distinction throughout the war and was awarded the Military Cross twice and the Croix de Guerre with palm.


The present chief is Lorne Gillean Iain Maclaine, 26th Lochbuie, who resides in South Africa with wife Sandra. Lochbuie's Tanist is son Angus Maclaine, "The Younger Lochbuie", who resides in London with wife Susan and sons Cameron and Gregor and daughter Nathalie.

Many of the Maclaines were coerced by the Crown to settle the Ulster Plantation as a way of subduing the Irish, or suffered economic hardships and were forced to leave Scotland. From Scotland or Ireland, many made their way to Canada, the United States, Australia, and other countries. We never lost our Scottish heritage or love for the sound of the 'pipes, and we will always have a special place in our hearts for our homeland.

Lochbuie Arms


The Arms of the Chief of the SENIOR LINE of Gilleathain-na-Tuaidh, The Much Honoured Lorne Gillean Iain Maclaine of Lochbuie, 26th hereditary Chief of Clan Gillean of Lochbuie, as granted by The Lord Lyon, King of Arms in 1978, and amended in 2009,  are described as;

  1. His shield has four quarters:

    1. A red lion rampant (indicating descent from the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada… the tribe of Loarn) on a field of silver.

    2. A lymphad, or galley, in black (symbol of Norse Royal power and signifying descent from, or intermarriage with, the family of the Lords of the Isles) on a field of gold.

    3. A red hand (heraldic device of the High Kings of Ireland) holding a blue St. Columban’s crosslet (implying a connection with St. Columba and Christianity) on a field of gold.

    4. An embattled tower (signifying Moy Castle) in silver on a field of blue.

  2. His shield supporters are seals.

  3. His cap or chapeau, placed above the shield, is ermine trimmed and blue – indicating the Chief is not currently in possession of his hereditary lands.

  4. His Knight’s Helm is appropriately a Great Tilting Helm.

  5. His crest over the helmet comprises Gillean’s battle axe (signifying the senior line of Gillean) with a laurel branch (victory) and cypress branch (honour) crossed.

  6. His motto in the streamer is VINCERE VEL MORI (Victory or Death).

The use of Gillean’s battleaxe as a family crest continues in the Lochbuie bloodlines, e.g. MacLean of Dochgarroch, whereas the Duart crests (and their bloodlines) are the embattled tower.

The approved badge for Clan followers and supporters is the Chief’s motto on a buckled belt surrounding the Chief’s crest. Some rendition of the Clansman’s badge show the battleaxe with a curved haft, however this is not heraldically correct.

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