Maclaines of Lochbuie

The House of Lochbouie is both the first senior cadet branch of the Clan Maclean and a feudally independent clan. The branch takes its name from Lochbuie on the Isle of Mull. The estate of Lochbuie, or Locha Buidhe which means yellow loch in Scots Gaelic included the land from Ben Buie to the Firth of Lorn as well as the tidal islands of Eilean Mòr and Eilean Uamh Ghuaidhre. At the head of the loch is the main village of Lochbuie which was once knows as the Garden of Mull. The Lochbouie Chiefs trace their lineage to John Dubh Maclean, 4th Chief of the Clan Maclean. Hector Reaganach, John Dubh’s son, was the first Chief of the Maclaines of Lochbuie.

At present Lorne Maclaine, Feudal Baron of Moy, is the 26th Chief of the Macleans of Lochbuie.

Origin of the Maclaines of Lochbuie

According to legend, Hector helped his brother Lachlanh kidnap John of Islay, 1st Lord of the Isles. Lachlanh had fallen in love with John’s daughter, Mary Mcdonald. Having kidnapped John the brothers also saw an opportunity to secure thier lands and influence within the Lordship of the Isles. The brothers held John for three days before he acquiesced to the marriage. John further granted each of them charters for their lands and titles within the Lordship. Hector was granted the feudal title of Barron of Moy (a reference to Moy Castle which Hector Built); and Lachlanh, was granted the position of Lieutenant-General of the Army of the Isles along with the responsibility for raising armies at the command of the Lord of the Isles.

In 1367 the Lord of the Isles granted lands to Hector Reaganach and his brother Lachlan Lùbanach; Hector Reaganach was granted Lochbuie, and Lachlan Lùbanach was granted Duart Castle, which would be formally chartered in 1390, and much of the land on Mull that had previously held by the Mackinnons. Thus were established the two greatest houses of the Clan Maclean.


As one of the oldest clans, the Macleans have an expansive and sometimes complicated cadency. The simultaniously cadet and independent status of the Maclaines of Lochbuie illustrate this well.

An Independent Clan

Based on the 1367 grant to Hector Reaganach, the Court of the Lord Lyon properly acknowledges the Maclaines of Lochbuie as a feudally independent clan in their own right. This in itself is not unusual as the Macleans of Coll and Dochgarroch also have operated as independent clans based on charters their Chieftains held directy from the Crown. A differientiation for the House of Lochbuie is that it has operated independently since its inception.

About 1670, Hugh Macdonald introduced the idea that Hector Reaganach was the elder brother of Lachlan Lùbanach in his history of the Lords of the Isles. Unfortunately Macdonald introduced this idea two centuries after the the brothers lived and provided no supporting evidence to his claim. Further weakening his assertion is the fact that his genealogical work throughout the book has proven highly inacurate. Even if Hector had been elder to Lachlan, Tanistry would have determined seniority in those days rather than birth order, as Primogeniture was still several centuries from practice in Scotland. In 1895, Murdoch Gillian Maclaine, 23rd of Lochbuie, first asserted—and quickly dropped—that he was rightfully head of the Clan Maclean based on Macdonald’s assertion; for some this has since remained a point of contention.

A Cadet House to Duart

Broadly the Clan Maclean refers to the entire aggregation of Gilleain na Tuaighe’s descendents. Hector Reaganach, as the son of John Dubh, is a direct descendant of Gilleain na Tuaighe, thus the Maclaines of Lochbuie are properly included in the agrigate Clan Maclean.

While Hector Reaganach was granted land more agriculturally desirably, Lachlan Lùbanach was granted the strategically vital estate and castle of Duart that guarded the convergence of the Sound of Mull, the Firth of Lorn and the entrance to Loch Linnhe. Lachlan Lùbanach was also appointed Lieutenant-General of the Army of the Isles and married the daughter of the Lord of the Isles. Based on the favor shown to Lachlan, he clearly appears to be in superior standing to Hector; whether that is due to his birth order or audacity, only history knows.

The brothers understood their relative status and no record exists of it being challenged. At no time in history has any descendent of Hector Reaganach been described as a Chief of the Clan Maclean. All have been properly described as Chiefs and Chieftains of the Maclaines of Lochbuie and the Feudal Barons of Moy, but never at the head of the entire Clan. The House of Duart has always held the distinction of being the dominant branch of the Clan Maclean. Thus the Maclaines of Lochbuie are the first senior cadet of the House of Duart.

Simultaneously Independent and Cadet

Today, the Court of the Lord Lyon, which dates back to 1592, recognizes the Maclaines of Lochbuie as a branch clan of the Macleans of Duart. The head of a branch is designated, Chief of the Name and Arms of the Branch and is entitled to wear three eagle’s feathers. Thus the head of the Lochbuie branch is properly styled Chief of Clan Maclaine of Lochbuie. More recently, the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, founded in 1952, recognizes the Maclaines of Lochbuie as an independent clan. Both organizations came into existence centuries after the Lachlan and Hector lived, and each tried to balance the historical origins of the Maclaines of Lochbuie with the role into which it had evolved.

While clearly one family, the rather unusual situation exists in that the Maclaines of Lochbuie are simultaneously a senior cadet of Duart (broadly considered) and a distinct clan (by charter). Acknowledging this peculiar situation does not diminish the status of clanship, but rather celebrates that fact that Macleans are among the few Scottish families that became significant enough to form multiple distinct clans. Today the Macleans of Duart and the Maclaines of Lochbuie operate as distinctly separate yet closely kindred clans.

Chiefs of the Maclaines of Lochbuie

Hector Reaganach
Murdoch Roy
John Maclean
Hector Maclean
John Og Maclean
Murdoch Gearr Maclean
John Mor Maclean
Hector Maclean
Hector Odhar Maclean
Murdoch Mor Maclean
Lachlan Mor Maclean
Hector Maclean
Murdoch Maclean
John Maclean of Pennygoun
Lachlan Maclean
Hector Maclean
John Maclean
Archibald Maclean
Murdoch Maclean
Murdoch Maclaine
Donald Maclaine
Murcoch Gillian Maclaine
Murdoch Maclaine
Kenneth Maclaine
Gillean Maclaine
Lorne Gillian Iain Maclaine

Junior Cadet Houses

The junior Cadet branches of the Clan Maclean that trace their lineage the Macleans of Lochbouie include the Macleans of Urquhart, and the Macleans of Scallasdale.

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