Lachlan Lùbanach Maclean

5th Chief, Lieutenant-General in War to the Lords of the Isles

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  • Fifth Chief1
  • Likely born before 1350
  • Became chief sometime before 13651
  • Known as Lachlan the Wily1 or Lachlan the Cunning?
  • Lachlan and his brother Hector earned the friendship of John MacDonald, First Lord of the Isles. This infuriated the chief of the MacKinnons who plotted kill them while hunting with Lord John. The brothers were warned and thwarted his plan. MacKinnon was on his way to join MacDonald when he met the brothers and renewed his quarel with them; both groups were armed and had several retainers with them when a fight broke out. In what Skene recorded as "one of the most daring actions which has ever been recorded of any Highland chief" The Highlanders, Vol II. p207 the brothers killed the MacKinnon as he attempted to escape to his galley.1

    Not knowing how John MacDonald would take the news of the death of his ally, MacKinnon, the brothers took MacKinnon's galley and caught up with the MacDonald and kidnaped him near Ardtornish. The detained him at one of the islands of Garvelloch untill he solemly promised to remain in a fudal alliance with the Macleans. Unsatisfied with an oath obtained under durress, the brothers took MacDonald to Iona. They placed him upon the sacred Black Stone, which a vow sworn upon could not be broken, and had MacDonald re-afirm his oath. Not only did MacDonald vow indemnity for the death of the MacKinnon, but also for the violence done to himself. The MacDonald further obligated his daughter, Margaret, to marry Lachlan and swore to use his influence with the MacLeod of Lewis to obtain the hand of his daughter for Hector. Lachlan would not let MacDonald leave the stone until MacDonald included Mull in his daughters dowery. Again the MacDonnald went one step further and appointed Lachlan and his posterity Lieutenant-General in War and gave him the right hand of the clans vasaled to the Lords of the Isles in battle; this position of affluence was never disputed among the Lordship.1

    Lachlan already held by fair means the land and affluence he made MacDonald swear to him, and MacDonnald gave more than asked; thus it would seem that Lachlan was merly solidifying his holdings and position.1
  • Despite having been promised by her father to Lachlan, Margaret is said in the MacDonald manuscript to have married Lachlan of her own inclination and yeilding.1
  • The first recorded mention of the Macleans of Duart is in a papal dispensation of 136716 which allowed their Chief Lachlan Lubanach Maclean to marry the daughter of the Lord of the Isles, Mary Macdonald. (Marry was also the granddaughter of Robert II, King of the Scots) This it is said, was a love match, and her father was persuaded to to allow it only after he had been kidnapped by Lachlan (an incident in which the Chief of the Mackinnons was killed). Thus the Macleans came to own much of Mull , the Mackinnon lands being granted to them by the Macdonalds as a dowry.
  • This marriage made Lachlan Lubanach the son-in-law to his overlord where he was eventually appointed chamberlain to the Household of MacDonald (the second highest position in the feudal system). It also made him grandson by marriage to Robert II, King of the Scots
  • His marriage and political positioning made him the most powerful MacLean at the time; and also earned him his nick name was Lachlan Lubanach or Lachlan the crafty
  • built a four story keep outside, but against the north side of the curtain wall and a deep ditch was cut from the rock on the landward side
  • Lachlan formalized the vassalige to the Lords of the Isles1
  • Since Lachlan's time, the House of Duart has been officially recognized as the chiefly line1
  • Brother of Eachann reaganach, Hector the Stern, who was the first Maclean of Lochbuy and of Urquhart in Inverness1
  • Lachlan and Hector were "affectionate brothers, faithful in their friendships but fearful in their resentments."1
  • With Hector's assistance, Lachlan extended his possesions acquiring lands in Locharber and othe places1
  • Though the details are lost to history, they feuded with the MacDougalls and the Camerons1
  • Lachlan secured a charter for Duart castle from Donald MacDonald, Second Lord of the Isles; and a second one for Duart from the Scottish Crown after the Lordship of the Isles was annexed to the crown. Lachlan is regarded as the First Maclean of Duart since official charters for Duart did not exist prior.1
  • Died before 1405

From The Clan Gillean p50-532

Hugh Macdonald tells us that Lachlan Lùbanach and Hector Reaganach had some conference with the Lord of the Isles about the island of Mull. The supposition that they went to Ardtornish as ambassadors for Macdougall of Lorn is out of the question ; they went simply on business of their own. What they wanted was evidently a title to some lands in Mull, which they regarded as their own, and which they must have held under Macdougall of Lorn. When they found that talking and pleading were of no use, they resolved to take heroic steps for gaining their ends. They found, in a short time, a fitting opportunity for carrying their purposes into effect. They slew Mackinnon, whom they evidently regarded as their enemy, seized the Lord of the Isles, and carried him off to see the wonders of lona. In the "Genealogical Account of the Family of Mackinnon " \ve find the following statements : " Mackinnon of Strathordill was master of the household to John, Lord of the Isles. Being jealous of the rising influence of Lachlan and Hector Macgillean, he formed the project of assassinating them ; but, being made aware of his intention, they anticipated him, and murdered him at his own castle of Kilmorie ; the spot is still pointed out." Mackinnon could not dread the rising influence of the Macleans unless they had lands in Mull. He had lands there himself, and what he dreaded was that the Macleans would take some of them from him. The probability is that he had already suffered at their hands. Macdougall of Lorn detested the Mackinnons. He may, then, have allowed the Macleans to deal with them as they pleased. It is extremely difficult to believe that the Macleans would rise at one bound to the influential position which they occupied in Mull in 1366. The only rational way of accounting for their influence then is the supposition that they had been in Mull for some time, and that they had gradually increased in strength. Rome did not spring up in a day; neither did the Macleans.

Lachlan Lubanach married, in 1366, Mary, daughter of the first Lord of the Isles by his wife, Amy Macrory. As he was related to her within the prohibited degrees, it was necessary for him to obtain a dispensation from the Pope, Urban V. He was chamberlain of the household to the Lord of the Isles, an office which became hereditary in his family. He received three different charters from Donald, second Lord of the Isles. The first is a charter of the custody and constableship of the castle of Duart, Torosay, Brolas, and other lands in Mull ; half of the constableship of the castle of Dunconnel in Scarba ; half of the constableship of the castle of Dunkerd, together with the islands of Garvellach ; certain lands in Luing and Scarba ; the upper half of Jura ; lands in Morvern; and other lands. The second is a charter of the constableship and custody of the castles of Cairnburgh and Ileburgh, together with the small castles of Fladda and Lunga; Treshnish, Calgary, and other lands in Mull ; and the office of Fragramanach and Armanach in the island of lona. The third is a charter of the bailiery of all the lands of Tiree ; certain lands in that island ; and the office of steward of the house to the Lord of the Isles. These three charters were granted at Ardtornish on July 1 2th, 1390. They were confirmed by King" James I. They were confirmed again by King" James IV., at Glasgfow, on July I3th, 1495. Lachlan Liibanach died about 1405. He was succeeded in Duart by his son, Hector Roy.


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