Malcolm mac Giliosa

3rd Chief

Like his father before him, Malcolm mac Giliosa expanded the prominence and influence of the young clan. Born about 1270,3 Malcolm had become a prominent figure, holding lands in Kintyre by 12963 when he rendered homage to Edward I as “Malcolm McCulain en l’isle de Kintyr,” or Malcolm MacCulian in the Isle of Kintyre.3 Malcolm succeeded as the third chief upon the death of his father, Malise, in 1300.1

History has recorded Malcolm’s name under several variations, some of which include Maolcaluim, Maol-Calum, and Gille-Calum.1 In Scots Gaelic, the prefixes “Maol” and “Gille” both mean “the servant of,”4and “Calum” refers to St. Columba,1 who brought Christianity to Scotland; thus his Gaelic name, Maolcaluim, means the “The Servant of St. Columba.”1 and has been anglicized to simply “Malcolm” which means the same.1

Malcolm’s marriage to Rignach,6 daughter of Gamail, Mormaer (or Earl) of Carrick and relation of he Bruces5 was possibly the most important event in the early history of the Macleans as it established Malcolm in both society and land.6 This marriage couldn’t have happened at a better time, as it was at the beginning of the transition of Scotland’s crown from the House of Balliol to the House of Bruce.1 Rignach simultaniously provided a direct link to both the outgoing Carricks and the incoming Bruces thus maintaining favorable relations with the Scottish crown.

Malcolm and Rignach had three sons, Donald, Neil, and John Dubh,3 all of whom lived in the area of Kintyre in 13253 and strengthened the alliance with the Bruces. The rise of the House of Bruce put Scotland on a path to the Wars of Scottish Independence; a path that would rely heavily on seapower which the Macleans were ready and eager to provide.

Malcolm’s sons used their new influence to establish control and command of ships and shipping in the region.4 Both Donald and Neil appear in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland. Malcolm’s eldest son Donald sent a ship for Robert Bruce’s visit around the Mull of Kintyre to West Tarbert3. Malcolm’s other sons sent 8 men1 to watch the ship while it waited in Tarbert3 for 15 days.1 Malcolm’s second son, Neil, was appointed constable of the Castle “Scraburgh” (probably a misreading of Karnaburgh) in 1325.3

At the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, Malcolm fought3 at the head his clan supporting Robert Bruce’s successful bid to throw off English rule forcing Edward II to recognize the sovereignty of Scotland. The Macleans, being part of the reserve1 as were all the men of Argyll, Carrick, and Kintyre, were commanded by Bruce personally.1

The date of Malcolm’ death is unknown, however we do know that he died during the reign of David II, King of Scots.1 Malcolm was succeeded in the chiefship by his youngest son, John Dubh.2


  1. 1.  MacLean, J. P. A History of the Clan MacLean from Its First Settlement at Duard Castle, in the Isle of Mull, to the Present Period. Cincinnati: R. Clarke, 1889. p33. Print.
  2. 2.  Seneachie. An Historical and Genealogical Account of the Clan Maclean. London: Smiht, Elder, and Co. Corrnhill, 1838. 2p4, 2bp220. Print.
  3. 3.  Sinclair, Alexander Maclean. The Clan Gillean. Charlotteown: Haszard and Moore, 1899. 3p39-42 3bp50.
  4. 4.  Maclean-Bristol, Nicholas. Warriors and Priests: The History of the Clan Maclean, 1300-1570. East Linton, East Lothian, Scotland: Tuckwell, 1995. 4p4-7 4bp163. Print.
  5. 5.  White, Alasdair. “One Clan, Two Families.” Clan MacLean. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2014.

Article added May 25, 2014