Sir Allan Maclean

22nd Chief, 6th Baronet of Morvern, 18th of Duart, 4th Laird of Brolas, 2nd Lord Maclean*

Lt-Col. Sir Allan Maclean, 6th Baronet of Morvern, 4th Laird of Brolas, 22nd Chief of the Clan Maclean
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Colonel Sir Allan Maclean, 6th Baronet of Morvern,3 4th Laird of Brolas, 2nd Lord Maclean10 succeeded his cousin as the 22nd Chief of the Clan Maclean in 1750.1 Only a year earlier Sir Allan succeeded as 4th Laird of Brolas upon the death of his grandfather.2

Though Sir Allan’s chiefship is the first break in the direct line of succession6 Sir Allan, as both third cousin of his predicessor19 and second great-grandson of the 15th Chief,3 was rightful heir and scion of the Duart line.19 With Sir Allan’s succession, the Chieftainship of Brolas forever merged into the Chiefship of Duart.7 Despite inheriting the Baronetcy of Morvern Sir Allan never petitioned the Lyon Court for matriculation of the Duart Arms, as would have been proper; but rather retained the Brolas Arms throughout his lifetime.2

After his education at the University of Glasgow,27 Sir Allan sought out a military career,6 and served with considerable distinction both in Europe and North America.3 Sir Allan is often confused with General Allan Maclean of Torloisk with whom he served in both Holland and the Americas.13 Sir Allan retired at the rank of Colonel3 after the Seven Years’ War. Throughout his life, Sir Allan is often referred to as the Knight,27 a nickname he seems to have picked up after his father’s passing.

Sir Allan was the last Maclean Chief to live in the Highlands for nearly two centuries,2 and was the was the last Maclean chief who could natively address his clan in their ancient Gaelic language.2 He is the subject of several Gaelic songs.2 Sir Allan was a good-looking man, of a frank disposition and polished manners; and, like Highland chiefs in general, liberal and hospitable.2 Sir Allan was beloved by his clan1 and spoken of with great affection during his life and for many years thereafter.3


Captain, Scots Brigade, Drumlanrig’s Regiment15
Lieutenant, British Army, 77th Regiment of Foot28
Captain, British Army, 77th Regiment of Foot29
Major, British Army, 119th Regiment of Foot30
Retired from active service in the British Army3
Lt-Colonel, British Army, Unattached31
Colonel, British Army, Unattached6


Arms of Lt-Col. Sir Allan Maclean, 6th Baronet of Morvern, 4th Laird of Brolas, 22nd Chief of the Clan Maclean
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Sir Allan was born about 17102 to Donald of Brolas and Isabella Maclean,1 daughter of Allan MacLean, 10th Laird of Ardgour. Donald and Isabella were married shortly after the turn of the 1818 century.1 Sir Allan’s father, who was a Lieutenant during the reign of Queen Anne, was severly wounded in the head by a trooper's saber at the Batle of Sheriffmuir;1 having attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, he died in April of 1725 while Sir Allan was still a young man.1 Sir Allan had five siblings, Ann, Catherine, Gillean, Isabel, and James.1

In 1737, Sir Allan matriculated at the University of Glasgow as Allanus McLean a Broloss in Insula de Mull.27 In the 18th century, the typical age of students entering universities was 17,27 thus Sir Allan either began his education late, or was born later than it has been thought. Though he would always return home, this was the first of Sir Allan’s many extended absences from his homeland.

After returning from military service in Holland, Sir Allan married Una Maclean in 1750.27 Una was the fourth daughter of Hector, 11th Maclean of Coll;19 they had one son, Lachlan, who died in infancy9 and three daughters,6 Maria, Anna, and Sibbella.9 Maria married Charles Maclean of Kinlochaline.19 Sibella married John Maclean of Inverscadell and became a lady of high accomplishments; they resided near Cheltenham.19 Ann died unmarried.

Una died from a nervous feaver on the 30th of May in 1760.2 Sir Allan was in North America, with the 77th Foot Regiment of the British Army when learned of his wife died.3 Sir Allan took a leave of absence and returned to Great Britain to make arrangements for his children before returning to military service. Observing Una’s death in his diary, Alexander Maclean of Pennycross wrote, That is the end of that family.9

Military Service

Though born to a Maclean Chieftain,1 the Macleans had been disposessed of their lands by Campbells more than a generation earlier; thus Sir Allan’s early life was one of limited means and with few prospects in the homeland of his ancestors.18 As did many of the highlanders after the ‘15 Jacobite Rising, Sir Allan saw that his opportunity for advancement lay in a military career.6 King George II was eager to enlist his rebellious subjects for military service abroad. Most of what is known about Sir Allan’s military service is from examining regimental records. Sir Allan’s military service took him to the mainland of Europe and to North America where he participated in various campaigns that won Canada for the British Empire.9

Jacobite Uprising of ’45

Melville Henry Massue records in his comprehensive work, The Jacobite Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Grants of Honour, that Sir Allan joined the Argyleshire Militia in 1745 to fight against Prince Charles’s attempt to restore the Stuarts to the throne.10 However there is no other record of Sir Allan participating on either side of the ‘45 Jacobite Rebellion.

“tho’ the Knight has failings, want of friendship is none of his faults.”
Gen. Allan Maclean of Torloisk, 176427

Three facts call this record into question. First, by 1750, Sir Allan had attained the rank of Captain15 in the Scots Brigade while in the service of the Dutch. The rank of Captain, as a company-grade rank, implies having risen through the subaltern-grade ranks either by purchase or appointment. Since Sir Allan had not the means to purchase a company-grade commission, he would have earned his rank over time. Second, The Macleans were openly supporters of the Jacobites. Third, when Sir Allan sued the Duke of Argyll for the return of the lands of Brolas, Allan Maclean of Drimnin was the primary claimant because he had not participated in the ‘45 Rebellion and therefore was not processucted.9 Had Sir Allan fought for the Crown in the ‘45 Rebellion, there would have been no need for Allan Maclean of Drimnin to stand as claimant in the lawsuit. In all likelihood, Sir Allan was already in Holland when the ‘45 Rebellion broke out in Britain.

Scots Brigade in the Netherlands

The first reference to Sir Allan’s military career appears in July of 1747.16 Allan Maclean, Brolas, a Capt. of the independent companies is the fith senior captain listed on the roll of The Officers of Drumlanrig’s Regiment &c.13 Henry Douglas, Earl of Drumlanrig, raised a regiment of 2 battalions which he commanded from 1747-1751.3 Drumlanrig's regiment augmented the 3 old regiments of the Scots Brigade6 which numbered 6,000 men strong in 1747.17 Loaned to the Dutch Republic by Britain, the Scots Brigade operated as a separate organization within the Dutch army.15

The Scots Brigade fought in the War of Austrian Succession and was present at the Battle of Fontenoy on 11 May 1745.
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Sir Allan served in the 2nd Battalian of Drumlanrig’s regiment2 durring the War of Austrian Succession.15 The Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle ended hostilities of the War of Austrian Succesion. The additional troops of Drumlanrig’s regiment were no longer needed, and thus the regiment was reduced to a single battalion. Sir Allan appears in the Dutch army list of 1750 after the reduction.15 Sometime after 1750, Sir Allan took leave of the Scots Brigade and returned home to the Island of Mull2 on half-pay.1

Seven Years’ War

By the summer of 1754, the Seven Years’ War had spilled into the British Colonies. The French intended to use territories their American Colonies as leverage when the time came to negotiate peace; hoping to trade territory in the Americas for territories in Europe. This strategy required the agressive expansion of French colonial territories.

Initially Sir Allan was recalled from half-pay as a Lieutenant in March of 1756 to serve with Montgomerie’s Highlanders, then designated as the 62nd (Royal American) Regiment of Foot. Sir Allan was a great companion of the Earl, Archibald Montgomerie the 11th Earl of Eglinton9 who raised the 77th Regiment of Foot at the outset of the Seven Years’ War, and quickly obtained a commission as Captain from Lord Eglinton on July 16 of 1757.13 Sir Allan personaly raised a company of 100 men, all said to be from Mull,2 within two weeks.9

Montgomerie’s Highlanders were sent to America to reinforce the Highland regiments1 already particpating in the Conquest of Candada3 In November of 1757 the three new companies of the 77th Regiment, including Sir Allan’s, mustered in Glasgow14 and departed for Cork in Ireland where they set sail for North America on December 1.14 They reached Charleston, South Carolina after a 12 week crossing,23 where they were not received well.23 The Living conditions were very poor2 and consequently many suffered illness.14 After arriving in Charleston, Sir Allan was also appointed Captain General6 of nine infantry companies.20

The Forbes Expedition

Brigadier-General John Forbes led an expidtion to capture Fort Duquesne in 1758. The French built the fort as part in an attempt to claim the entire region surrounding both the Allegheny and Mononhahela river vallies near Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. Sir Allan was with Montgomerie’s Highlanders when they joined Forbes Expedition.

Fort Dewart, built by Sir Allan in 1758, is the last surviving structure from the French & Indian War

Forbes ordered the construction of a road and series of forts stretching from Carlisle to Pittsburgh which would serve as supply lines and depots for the attack on Fort Duquesne. Construction of the road and forts took most of the summer. Among these was Fort Dewart, a redoubt built by Sir Allan’s company which was also called Maclean’s Encampment.18 Fort Dewart was one of the forts of respite along Forbes’ Road and was built about 200 feet short of the highest point in the Allegheny Mountains. Today, Fort Dewart is the last remaining colonial structure from the Seven Years’ War, also called the French and Indian War.

In September of 1758, Forbes sent a detachment of 800 men,14 including 300 Montgomerie’s Highlanders,23 under Major Grant to reconnoitre Fort Duquesne, take prisoners, and strike fear in the French. Unfortuately the raid was outnumbered and ended in disaster. 270 British soldiers were lost or captured.23 The French learned from their captured prisoners that Forbes’ forces were close and far stronger than their own.

Map of General Forbe’s route for the march against Fort Duquesne in 1758. Copied from General Forbes’s Marching Journal. Sir Allan’s Fort Dewart is likely marked as <em>Redoubt 10</em>
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Knowing they were outnumbered, the French destroyed Fort Duquesne with explosives on November 24th of 1758 rather than endure seige and capture.14 Before their retreat, the French executed all their prisoners.14 One account noted, On the night of November 24th the men heard a tremendous explosion. Next day they came in sight of the smoking ruins of Fort DuQuesne, blown up and burned. No enemy was in sight - only a row of grisly stakes erected by the Indians. On each one was the head of one of Grant's detachment and a Scotch kilt tied around its base.14

Sir Allan was present at the capture of Fort Duquesne. In December of 1758 Montgomerie’s Highlanders marched back to Pittsburgh14 before the batallions dispersed between Lancaster, Fort Mercer, Fort Ligonier, and Long Island to pass the rest of the winter.23 Forbes commanded approximately 8,000 men durring the expedition, among them was Colonel George Washington took part in the Expidition and retired from his commission shortly thereafter; the Forbes Expedition is the last military action Washington participated in as a British Officer.

Annus Mirabilis

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The success of Forbes’ expedition was followed by a year of military victories for the British both in North America and the West Indies; 1759 is remembered as the Annus Mirabilis or Year of Mirracles.

Sir Allan, with Montgomerie’s Highlanders in July of 1759 when all the companies of the Montgomerie’s Highlanders mustered in Albany, New York23 and marched toward Lake George to join General Jeffery Amherst.14 While with Amherst, Sir Allan was present at the capture of Fort Ticonderoga, Fort St. Frederic, and Fort Niagara.2 Two divisions of Montgomerie’s Highlanders took part in the Capture of Quebec,25 whether or not Sir Allan was among them is unknown. These victories played a key role in preparing for the Capture of Quebec in September of 1759 and the ultimate Conquest of Canada.

“Sir Allan Maclean…
is much esteemed. I hope if we live to go home to have no discredit to… him.”
Major Alexander Campbell

In a letter dated June 19th, 1759 Major Alexander Campbell wrote, Sir Allan Maclean is doing very well, and is much esteemed. If I survive the campaign I shall be more full on the subject. When the Knight gets a little Drink, he swears that he can scarece knows the difference betwixt a Breadalbane Campbell and a M’Lean. I hope if we live to go home to have no discredit to my tutory of him.9

In October, half of Montgomerie’s Highlanders returned to Crown Point, where they had captured Fort St. Frederic earlier that year, and built Fort Crown Point.14 It is likely that Sir Allan helped build the fort2 before the two halves of his regiment rejoined in Claverack in the upper Hudson River Valley where they made winter camp.14

The Cherokee Uprising

The British built Fort Prince George and Fort Loudoun as part of Govenor James Glen’s treaty between the Cherokee and the Creek.21 The Cherokee initially wanted the forts to protect them from their enemies, the Creek; however over time, the Cherokee eventually came to view the forts more as a threat to Cherokee sovereignty than as a protection from their enemies.21 Distrust between the British Troops and the Cherokee erupted in 1758 into the Cherokee Uprising. By February of 1760 the South Carolina Commons House asked for British Troops to help quell the uprising.

Plan of a tower at Fort Loudoun. Montgomerie’s forces, which included Sir Allan, were never successful in reaching and replentishing Fort Loudoun.
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Sir Allan was among the 12,000 men sent by Amherst in response to South Carolina’s call for help. On the 8th of March in 1760, Sir Allan along with 600 other Highlanders boarded ships in New York bound for Charleston.14 They arrived on April 1st to find that no preparations had been made for their mission.14 They set up a temporary headquarters in Moncks Corner23 and began provisioning themselves for an expedition to relieve the forts and subdue the Cherokee by razing their towns and crops. At the end of the month, the British Troops marched out of Moncks Corner. After marching for nine days, they stopped to rest in Congarees for 17 days before continuing to Fort Ninety-Six near the Saluda River. Colonel Montgomerie cursed the shameful backwardness of this province in every particular.14

On June 2nd in 1760, Montgomerie’s men arrived at Fort Prince George.23 They continued inland toward Fort Loudoun, but were ambushed at Tessuntee,14 the mountain pass five miles from Cherokee vilage of Echtoe.14 The ambush, remembered as the Battle of Echoee, forced Montgomerie, who was himself wounded, to retreat back to Fort Prince George.23 Montgomerie returned to Charleston, burning Cherokee villages and crops along the way; though he claimed Cherokee defeat and that September rejoined Amherst in New York,21 Major James Grant, Montgomerie’s second in command,23 would later be sent by Amherst to to chastise the Cherokees [and] reduce them to the absolute necessity of suing for pardon.26

Return to Great Britain

Sir Allan returned to Charleston with his regiment in August of 1760,23 where news of the death of his wife, Una, reached him. He immediately took a leave of absence2 and returned to Scotland to make arangements for the well-being of his daughters who lived there.

With the Conquest of Candada completed,6 Montgomerie’s Highlanders were sent to the West Indies,14 thus rejoining them became very difficult, so Sir Allan joined a regiment being raised from independent companies by Colonel Charles Fitzroy, 1st Baron Southampton.1 Sir Allan obtained a commissioned as a Major in the 119th (Prince’s Own) Regiment of Foot on June 25th of 1762.13 The 119th readied for deployment in Ireland,22 but the Peace of 1763 eliminated the need for further military action. Sir Allan remained with the 119th untill it was reduced at the end of the Seven Years War in 1763.2 In all 54 additional regiments were raised for the British Army specifically for the Seven Years War, after the Treaty of Paris was rattified in February of 1763, all but 2 were disbanded.22 Sir Allan retired on half-pay9 to Mull2 and subsequently was promote to Lieutenant-Colonel on May 25th of 1772.13 Sir Allan retired from his commission at the rank of Colonel6 though he had not been in active service since 1763.2

Reclaiming Brolas

When Archibald Campbell, 1st Duke of Argyll, seized the Duart estate in 1689,1 he also took posession of the Brolas estate, claiming it as part of the Duart estate2 under a dubious agreement signed a century earlier by Sir Allan to settle the debt bond incurred by Sir Lachlan in 1634.6.

In 1770 Sir Allan initiated what would be a lengthy and expensive lawsuit1 against John Campbell, 5th Duke of Argyll, for the recovery of the titles and lands of Duart and Brolas.2 Sir Allan retained the well known lawyer, James Boswell and MacLaurin to represent him in the suit.1 Sir Allan’s suit was backed by Hugh Maclean of Coll,9 with Allan Maclean of Drimnin as the nominal pursuer—a technicality that strengthened their standing as Allan of Drimnin had not turned out in the ‘45 Rebellion against the crown.9 Allan of Drimmin was also the primary force in raising funds to defray the costs of the suit.9

Our Enemies have our places
And they do not care for us
Though we are polite to them
Our hearts are cold
a Maclean bard, 17899

Sir Allan’s suit against Argyll was decided on the 2nd of July in 1777,9 The decision was a partial victory for Sir Allan, retaining the titles of Duart and Brolas9 but only the lands of Brolas.6 Reluctant to comply with the rulling the Duke of Argyll was compelled in 1783—nearly 20 years after the suit was initiated6— to restore disputed lands to their lawful owner.2

Nicholas Maclean-Bristol noted, without the lands, the title of Duart became empty. The basis of the contract between clansman and chief, granting land to kinsmen in exchange for service, had dissappeared.9 It would be nearly two centuries before the Maclean Chiefs again lived in the home of thier ancestors.


Sir Allan retired to Inchkenneth, near the Isle of Mull, rather than in Canada where he had applied for land that was due him for service in the Seven Years War.27 The small island leased by the Chief2 was only a mile long and half as wide; it was as close as he could live to Duart.6 The Island had been set as the seat of the Macleans of Brolas in 1748,27 as such it had been the the home of his mother, Lady Brolas, until her death.27 His immediate family and servants, were the only inhabants of the island.1 Though his only source of income in retirement was his military pension, it must have been generous enough to support his lifestyle and famous hospitality.6 It is said that, Sir Allan maintained the dignity and authorty of his birth, living in plenty and with elegance.1

Visitors were regularly intertained at Inchkenneth,19 and Sir Allan was known as much for his hospitality as for his friendliness and courteousness.20 Among the guests at Inchkenneth were the English philosopher and moralist, Dr. Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, 9th Laird of Auchinleck, lawyer and author. Their visit in mid-October of 1773 is recorded in his Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides.1 Boswell and Johnson were quite taken with the Chief, his daughters, and their pleasant island home. Boswell noted in his Journal that Inchkenneth was furnished with unexpected neatness and convenience, practiced all the kindness of hospitality and refinement of courtesy.19 Johnson was so delighted that he wrote a poem in Latin about his hosts and thier island.13

Sketch of the grave of Sir Allan Maclean, 6th Baronet of Morvern, 4th Laird of Brolas, 22nd Chief of the Clan Maclean
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On the little island in the land of his ancestors, Sir Allan passed the remainder of his days.3 On the 10th of December in 1783,4 Sir Allan died at Inchkenneth;2 he was beloved and revered by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance.3 He was burried in the north-east corner and against the south wall of the ancient St. Kenneth's Chapel on Inchkenneth1 in an enclosure reserved for the Macleans of Brolas.19 Sir Allan’s death marks the last engagement of the Maclean-Campbell feud, though ill feelings between the clans would continue for centuries.9 Sir Allan died without heir, his only son died in infancy,3 thus the baronatcy and chiefship passed to his cousin, Hector, who also descended from Hector Og.6

Lieutenant-Colonel, Army of the United Kingdom   Baronetage of Nova Scotia


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