Clan Gathering (Edinburgh 2009)


Origina of our name.

The following are the three most probable sources form which our surname may have evolved. There would seem to be a strong argument for the first two, since many Highland Clans acquired ecclesiastical patronymics in honor of Celtic saints.

  • Siol Adamnan (Race of Adamnan) probably in honor of St. Adamnan.
  • Siol Finan (Race of Finian) probably in honor of St. Finian.
  • Siol Liannan (Race of the Sweetheart) possibly referring to an illegitimate offspring.

In ancient times, a Chief wore in battle a distinguishing badge on his helmet, a device which his followers could recognize in the turmoil of action. This is known as the Crest of the Chief and appears at the top of his Full Coat of Arms. Anyone baring the same name as a Scottish Chief is a Clansman of the Chief and has the privilege of wearing his Crest surrounded by a Strap and Buckle Garter to denote his Clan Allegiance. The great Scottish Clans contain families who bore a different surname but were descended from the Chief through the female line. They are called Septs. Therefore anyone who has an ancestor bearing a Sept name or the Clan name itself has the privilege of wearing or displaying the Crest Badge and indeed only they may legitimately wear this authentic Scottish Ancient Device.

A There are many excellent sources on the internet for finding history on the Clans of Scotland.

One of them is www.tartans.com. The following is excerpted from their site. Please see their site for even more information, links and newsletters.

The Clan MacLennan

  • Arms: Or, a heart Gules between two passion nails conjoined in base Sable, on a chief Azure a stag’s head cabossed between two antique crowns, all of the First.
  • Badge: A demi-piper all Proper, garbed in the proper tartan of the Clan MacLennan.
  • Motto: Dum spiro spero (Latin: While I breathe, I hope)
  • Tartan: MacLennan & Logan (modern), Ancient, Weathered
  • Associated Names & Septs: Gilfiman, Gillfiman, Gilfillian, Gilliland, Lagan, Laggan, Lenan, Lennan, Lennon, Leonard, Leonerd, Loban, Lobban, Logan, Loggan, Lyndon, LacAlemnon, MacAlinion, MacAlinden, MacAlonan, MacClanachan, MacClanchan, MacClaron, MacClennen, MacClendon, MacGilillan, MacKilligan, MacLarnon, MacLenagan, MacLenahan, MacLenadhan, MacLenden, MacLendon, MacLennon, MacLernon, MacLoran, MacLorinan, MacLyndon, MacWilname, McClenaghan, McClendal, McClendas, McClendon, McLandon, McLendall, McLendon, McLennon, MackLenddon, MackClenden, MackLendin, MackLendon, MacLendall, Meclendon, Mclendon, Winan, Winning, and Winton

The MacLennans are of ancient Celtic origin from Ireland, and in the mist of antiquity we find Lide MacLennan and his Clan of twelve hundred men in Ossianic poetry. The MacGillafinnens, or MacLennans, were titled Lords of Loch Erne, Tarig, and Muintir Peodachain. In Scotland they were appanaged land in Lorne, Mull, Tiree, and Iona. St. Adamans recorded they were occupying Glenshiel at an early date and were in residence at Eilean Donnan Castle before 1263. They spread to Strathearn in Perthshire, Kirkcudbright, Dumbarton, and Galloway. In Kintail, they lived with their kin, the MacRuairis, who were granted ten davochs of Kintail By David II in 1342.

After raiding Tain and Chanonry in 1372 the Clan was defeated by the Frasers and MacRaes of Aird at Drumderfit, Black Isle. The sept name Lobban originated from this battle. A further reverse at Lagabraad Conon in 1481 of Chief Duncan and his Clan terminated the MacDonald association. The name Logan is from the Gaelic word for Laggan, meaning low lying ground, and this sept provided the Knights Sir Robert and Sir Walter Logan who escorted King Robert the Bruce’s heart to the Holy Land. Both died with Sir James Douglas fighting the Moors in Spain in 1329.

At an early date they held lands in Strathearn, Galloway, Ulster and later were Barons occupying Restalrig and Fast Castles. Geoffrey, son of Knight Logan c1150 took the name of his estate GASK from whom those of the name Gass descend. Duncan MacLennan of Strathearn, who is mentioned in the charter of Alexander II in 1217, became Laird of Bombie. This spelling over a period of time became MacLellan and there were no fewer than 14 Knights in Galloway at the beginning of the 15 th Century.

The religious strife in Scotland and Ireland brought the Clan together. Chief Ruairidh Ban, Son of John MacGillafinnen, was in Holland around 1630 in connection with the flight of the Earls from Ireland. At the Battle of Auldearn in 1645, the Clan (Scottish, Irish and Logans) failed to receive the order to retreat; were isolated and cut down by the Duke Gordon’s Cavalry; eighteen Captains of the Clan were killed; and brothers of the Chief (Donald and Duncan MacIan) died defending the Standard. In recognition of the outstanding bravery of gigantic red-haired Chief Rory Ban, he was offered an honourable surrender; however, he declined and was shot. As Bothwell observed, the MacRaes married the widows and became a considerable Clan. A hundred years later at the Battle of Culloden, only twelve of the Clan took part, including Roderick (grandson of Chief Rory), so the great losses at Auldearn were still obvious.

Emigration to seek betterment in places throughout the world saw further disbandment of the Clan. However, the ember of pride in our heritage still glow as Chief Ruairidh Donald George MacLennan of MacLennan, th 35 th Hereditary Chief of Clan MacLennan, enthusiastically leads the clan, and along with his sisters Kirsteen and Lorna, ensures the continuation and grace of our evergreen line.

Reprinted from Clan MacLennan Worldwide -- http://www.clan.maclennan.com/history.htm

This page maintained by David A. Jones

In 1645 on May 9th, King Charles’ representative, the Marquis of Montrose, confronted an army of Covenanters led by Sir John Urray, near a village named Auldearn in Scotland. Rain was falling as the battle commenced and among the 3,500 foot and 400 horse assembled under Urray's command, was Ruairidh MacIain Domhnull Bhain MacLennan, Chief of the Clan, defending the standard of Lord Seaforth. A tall, rugged, red-bearded highlander, he fought savagely and desperately in the ensuing clash, during which Urray's forces were slowly overwhelmed by a flanking movement of the Gordon Cavalry. 

Ruairidh and his two brothers were ultimately killed along with many more MacLennans in that segment of the battle. – For the next 330 years, the Clan had no official Chief. During 250 of those years, due to pressures political and financial, many remaining Clansmen and their descendants were forced or chose to leave Scotland to seek survival in newly discovered lands. Many septs with names distorted by usage or altered for practical purposes have resulted.

In 1969, Ronald George MacLennan declared his intention to claim the position of Chief. Due to the tireless energy of this vital, proud Scot, the Clan recognized his right to the position. Thirty years of tenacious searches and researches were rewarded with the Matriculation of Arms - the acknowledgment of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms of Scotland - and his installation as Chief of the MacLennan Clan at a ceremony in Inverness in 1978, which was the first such ceremony to be performed for at least two centuries.

In 1989, Chief Ronald died of leukemia, and his 12-year-old son, Ruairidh Donald George MacLennan inherited the title to be the Chief of the MacLennan Clan, becoming the youngest Clan Chief in the world. Ruairidh, quietly proud of his heritage, knew throughout his childhood that he would he Chief one day and he is handling the position with dignity and due gravity. 

The Chief's Coat of Arms, with the motto "Dum Spiro Spero" includes two pipers, because like the MacCrimmons, the Clan is noted for its piping. Ruairidh is a very proficient piper and was Pipe Major of the Pipe Band at Fettes College in Edinburgh. Early in 1995 he won the Scottish Schools Piping Competition. He is also a competent rower and sailor, sailing on a Tall Ship from the south of England to Ireland and Scotland as part of his school curriculum. During the summer of 1993 he, with others, did a solo row the length of Loch Ness for Scottish charities. In 2002 Ruairidh graduated from the University of Aberdeen with a Master of Rural Surveying Degree, and was re-commissioned into the Officer Training Corps at Aberdeen as a Piper in their Pipe Band.

Our Chief Ruairidh’s home is on the shore of Loch Ness in the village of Dores, approximately 10 miles from Inverness. He is currently employed by Strutt & Parker at Banchory, in the north-east of Scotland close to Aberdeen, and he is currently involved with the factoring of a number of estates.