Maclaine of Lochbuie



The Maclaines of Lochbuie, Mull are descended from Gillean-na-Tauighe, (Gillean of the Battle Axe), a fierce warrior who lived in the thirteenth century. He is said to have fought, along with his sons, at the battle of Largs in 1263. Gillean’s great-grandson, Iain Dubh, or Black John, had two sons, Eachann Reaganach (Hector the Stern), and Lachainn Lubanach (Lachlan the Wily). Hector and Lachlan were granted independent charters to lands on the Isle of Mull from John, 1st Lord of the Isles (MacDonald); Hector at Lochbuie, and Lachlan at Duart. Thus the two dominant branches of the family were formed: the Maclaines of Lochbuie and the Macleans of Duart (the Maclaine family used the Maclean spelling until around 1750). Many of the clansmen at Lochbuie retained other spellings of Maclaine or Maclean, such as Maclayne, McClain, and McLain. Various smaller families intermarried or banded together with the Maclaines, including the McFadyens, MacCormacks, Blacks, Beatons, MacGillivrays, Huies, MacAvoys and Pattons (all with over 200 different spellings). They were all accepted into the clan as loyal members.

John Mor Maclaine, the seventh chief, was renowned as an excellent swordsman. When an Italian master-at-arms challenged Scottish nobles to meet him in duel John Mor accepted the challenge, and fought and killed him in the presence, and to the delight, of the king and the court. His son, Hector, eighth of Lochbuie, initiated the spelling of the surname ‘Maclaine’, which by the middle of the 18th century became the accepted spelling by subsequent chiefs.

The Maclaines of Lochbuie are recognised by the Lord Lyon as a “Branch Clan” within Clan Gillean (aka Clan Maclean). Even though the Maclaines consider themselves an independent clan from the other Macleans, Scottish history has shown this to be untenable.




Hector received his lands in the Hebrides from John, 1st Lord of the Isles in the fourteenth century, around 1350 to be precise. There on the island of Mull laid Lochbuie to the South and Duart to the East. Hector chose to build his castle, Moy Castle, at the head of the loch. Moy Castle was a beautiful Scottish towerhouse, and it remained the home of Maclaine chieftains until 1752, when Lochbuie House was built not far from the castle. Lochbuie House is a Georgian style house that sits just behind Moy Castle, overlooking Lochbuie. Moy Castle and Lochbuie House are still standing today. Lochbuie House is now owned by the Corbett family. Moy Castle is not accessible due to its old age. The years have taken their toll on the old castle. Another interesting thing about Lochbuie is its stone circle. Over the years the Lochbuie branch has held lands in Mull, Scarba, Jura, Morvern, Locheil, and Tiree. Lands were also granted in Duror and Glencoe but were never taken.



Arms and insignia




Quarterly: 1st argent, a lion rampant gules; 2nd or, a lymphad, sails furled, oars in saltire sable, flagged gules, in base vert a salmon naiant proper; 3rd or, a dexter hand fessways coupled gules, holding a cross-crosslet fitcée azure; 4th azure, a tower embattled argent masoned sable.



Clan Badge

A branch of laurel and a branch of cypress in saltire, surmounted of a battleaxe in pale, all proper. The motto reads: Vincere vel mori (Latin: To conquer or die)




Blaeberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)





Maclaine Dress tartan


Maclaine Hunting tartan


Mull District tartan

      Maclaine Dress

      Maclaine Hunting

      Mull District




The clan’s Pìobaireachd is Cumha Mhic Ghilleathain (Maclaine of Lochbuie’s Lament)



Clan Legends



The Resourceful Chief - Hector, 1st Lochbuie

When Hector was granted a charter to lands on the Isle of Mull by the Lord of the Isles in the fourteenth century, he was given permission to build a castle at Lochbuie “as big as the skin of an ox.” Hector cleverly cut the skin into a continuous thin sliver and laid it end-to-end to establish the size of the castle; the same story is told of Dido of Carthage.



Ewan “The Headless”

Members of the Maclaine clan shun the nocturnal sound of clattering hooves and a jingling bridle. They fear the sight of a spectral horse bearing a headless rider who forebodes death. The name of the rider is Ewan, son and heir of Chief Iain Og, 5th Lochbuie. Ewan envied the Chief’s wealth and position and this eventually developed into a feud between father and son. In 1538 the two men sought to settle the matter by force of arms. Father and son led their partisans into battle and Ewan was beheaded by one of Iain’s followers. From that time on legend has it that Ewan “The Headless” rides to harvest the souls of Lochbuie Maclaines. Note that the central figure of this legend is not the same as The Headless Horseman, who is a fictional undead and ghost character created by Washington Irving who appeared in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.



Clan Chiefs

Chief               Name        Birth       Death

1      Hector     1330 1407

2      Murdoch -       -

3      John       -       -

4      Hector     -       1478

5      John       1470 1538

6      Murdoch 1496 1568

7      John       -       -

8      Hector     1555 1614

9      Hector     1575 1628

10     Murdoch -       1662

11     Lachlan   1614 1685

12     Hector     1697 1706

13     Murdoch -       1727

14     John       -       -

15     Lachlan   -       1743

16     Hector     -       1745

17     John       1700 1778

18     Archibald        1749  1784

19     Murdoch 1730 1804

20     Murdoch 1791 1818

21     Murdoch 1814 1850

22     Donald    1816 1863

23     Murdoch 1845 1909

24     Kenneth  1880 1935

25     Gillean    1921 1970

26     Lorne      1945 -

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