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The origins of the clan are uncertain, but by tradition the MacLarens are descended from Loarn mac Eirc of Dál Riata, who landed in & settled Argyll in 503 A.D. The clan name is supposedly derived from Lorn (variations Loarn, Laurin, Laren); these variations are all ultimately pronounced Lawrin by the Gael. However there is no concrete evidence of Lorn being the progenitor of the family. A more likely origin of the clan is that they take their name from a 13th century abbot called Laurance of Achtow. This theory is also supported by the MacLaren rallying cry which in gaelic is: "Creag an Tuirc" which means "Boars Rock". The rock in question is near Achtow in Balquhidder.
Creag an Tuirc, The boar's rock.Arms:
Or, two chevronels Gules, accompanied by a lymphad sails furled and oars in action Sable in base.Crest:
A lion's head erased Sable crowned with an antique crown of six (four visible) points Or, between two branches of laurel issuing from the Wreath at either side of the head both Proper.Supporters:
(on a compartment semee of laurel leaves) Two mermaids Proper, their tail-parts Argent, each holding in her exterior hand a laurel branch paleways Vert.Badge:
A mermaid Proper, her tail part upended Argent, holding in her dexterr hand a spray of laurel paleways Vert, and her dexter hand a looking-glass Proper, mounted Gules upon which is depicted the Badge along with the Slughorn 'Creag an Tuirc' extended in the fly in letters Or.Plant:
Laurel.View the Heraldry Dictionary for help.
t is possible that there are two quite separate origins of this name, one arising in Perthshire around Balquhidder, and the other in Tiree in Argyll. In Argyll, the family are said to descend from Lorn, son of Fergus MacErc, founder of the kingdom of Dalriada in the sixth century. In Gaelic, they are Clann Labhruinn. However, the eponymous ancestor is generally given as Laurence, Abbot of Achtow in Balquhidder, who lived in the thirteenth century. The lands of the Church were often held by hereditary lay noblemen who had the courtesy title of abbot. Balquhidder was part of the ancient princedom of Strathearn and the heraldic device associated with the district is the mermaid. The Maclaren supporters are thus related to the mermaid crest of the Murrays.
In the Ragman Roll of 1296, which lists the Scots nobles who gave allegiance to Edward I of England, are three names identified as belonging to the clan; Maurice of Tiree; Conan of Balquhidder; and Leurin of Ardveche. The Maclarens probably fought at Bannockburn under the standard of Malise, Earl of Strathearn. In 1344, the last Celtic Earl of Strathearn was deprived of his title when the Maclarens came under pressure from their more powerful neighbours. Balquhidder passed into the hands of the Crown, and in 1490, a Stewart was appointed the royal baillie. In 1500 James IV granted the lordship to his mistress, Janet Kennedy, and the Maclaren chief found that his land had become part of another barony. Balquhidder later passed to the Murrays of Atholl. When the Campbell persecution of the Macgregors drove them from their own lands into Balquhidder, the Maclarens lacked the power to stop them. The Macgregors plundered the Maclaren lands, bringing fire and death in their wake. The chiefs appealed to the Campbells who demanded, as the price of their protection, that the Maclarens acknowledge them as feu-dal superiors. The Crown, however, continued to regard the Maclarens as an independent clan, and they are listed in the Acts of Parliament for the suppression of unruly clans in 1587 and 1594.
The Maclarens fought for Montrose, in the cause of Charles I, at Inverlochy, Auldearn, Alford and Kilsyth. At the end of the century, when the Stuarts again called for aid, the Maclarens joined James Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee, who was mustering resistance for James VII following him to fight at Killiecrankie in 1689. The Maclarens were ‘out’ in the Fifteen, taking part in the Battle of Sheriffmuir. They also flocked to the standard of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the ‘Young Pretender’, in 1745. The clan followed the prince from his victories at Prestonpans and Falkirk to the ill-fated Battle of Culloden in 1746. At the battle they were on the right of the line with the Appin regiment under Lord George Murray, brother of the Duke of Atholl. A Gaelic-speaking chieftain, the dashing and romantic Lord George led the Highlanders in one last great charge, which broke the Hanoverian front line, but this was not enough to win the day. Donald Maclaren was captured and carried off to Edinburgh. Balquhidder was ravaged by Hanoverian troops. Donald escaped while being taken to Carlisle for trial by hurling himself down a track which none of the redcoats dared to follow. He remained a fugitive in Balquhidder until the amnesty of 1757.
The Maclarens continued to farm at Achtow until 1892. The father of the present chief was recognised by the Lord Lyon as Maclaren of Achleskine and chief of the Maclarens. He acquired part of the ancient clan territory, including the clan heartland, Creag an Tuirc, the Boar’s Rock, which is also the clan’s war cry. He died in 1966, when he was buried with his ancestors in the Old Kirk of Balquhidder.
: Clan MacLaren has, along with MacGregor, Ferguson, and MacNab, occupied the lands in Balquhidder and Strathearn since the 12th Century, where they were the predominant clan. The name derived from Labhran (Laurin) of Ardveche who was hereditary Abbot of Achtus in Balquhidder in the 13th Century. The MacLarens signed the Ragman's Roll in 1296. In the 14th Century they became Crown tenants without actual ownership of the land. The MacLarens were a warlike clan with strong ties to the Stewarts of Appin. The Clan fought at Flodden in 1513, and suffered severely at Culloden with the Jacobites, on the side of Bonnie Prince Charlie, in 1746. Sir Walter Scott visited Balquhidder on legal business, which he describes in the introduction to "Rob Roy". In "Redgauntlet" he describes the escape of MacLaren of Invernenty after Culloden. In 1672, after many official records were lost, an Act of Parliament ordained that all nobility and gentry in Scotland register their armorial bearings with the Lord Lyon. Because of the earlier loss of the legal title to Clan lands, the then chiefly head of the Clan Labhran, and his successors, did not trouble to register his arms. The result was that the Clan became officially chiefless and landless pending compliance with the Act. Of course the Clan continued to recognize its own chiefs, and during the Jacobite rising came out as a Clan. In 1957, Donald MacLaren (father of the current Chief) finally complied with the Act by recording the ancient Arms in the Lord Lyon Register. The Chief also acquired title to a small part of the traditional Clan lands (including the ancient gathering site of Creag an Tuirc) and the stigma of "chiefless and landless" was removed. The heartland of the Clan MacLaren lies in and around the parish of Balquhidder, and the hills that slope north from Loch Voil and Loch Doine, which are known as the famous Braes o' Balquhidder. The parish is 18 miles long and 7 miles wide, and includes the west end of Loch Earn and most of Loch Lubnaig. The ruined Kirk of the village is dated 1631, and lies near the site of an even earlier church. The present church was built in 1855. Graves in the kirk yard date from 1685 and include that of Rob Roy MacGregor. The ancient rallying place of the Clan was Creag an Tuirc (The Boar's Rock), which is on a small hill overlooking the Kirk, and can be approached by a fairly steep path. In 1987 the Clan Society erected a cairn to commemorate the founding of the Society.
Name Variations: Cririe, Fade, Faed, Faid, Fead, Feid, Fetridge, Fied, Gilfeather, Gilfedder, Giothbrith, Godfraid, Godfrey, Goffraidh, Gorey, Gorre, Gorrie, Gorry, Gothbrith, Gowrie, Guoroor, Larrie, Laurence, Laurie, Laurri, Laury, Lawrance, Lawrence, Lawrie, Lawry, Lowrey, Lowrie, MacArorie, MacArory, MacClaran, MacClaren, MacClarence, MacClarene, MacClarens, MacClaring, MacClarren, MacClarron, MacClawrane, MacClearen, MacCleron, MacCorrie, MacCorry, MacCory, MacCrary, MacCreary, MacCreerie, MacCreery, MacCreire, MacCreirie, MacCreory, MacCrerie, MacCrery, MacCrire, MacCririck, MacCririe, MacCriuer, MacCrore, MacCrorie, MacCrory, MacFaddrik, MacFade, MacFadrick, MacFaid, MacFait, MacFaitt, MacFate, MacFater, MacFather, MacFatridge, MacFead, MacFeat, MacFeate, MacFeaters, MacFederan, MacFedran, MacFeeters, MacFetridge, MacGilfatrick, MacGilfatrik, MacGillefatrik, MacGillefedder, MacGillepartik, MacGillepatrick, MacGillepatrik, MacGillephadrick, MacGillephadruig, MacGillifudricke, MacGilliphatrick, MacGillphatrik, MacGilparick, MacGilphadrick, MacGilpharick, MacGorie, MacGorre, MacGorrie, MacGorry, MacGory, MacGroary, MacGrory, MacGrury, MacGyllepatric, MacHpatrick, MacIlfadrich, MacIlfatrik, MacIliphadrick, MacIllepatrick, MacIllephadrick, MacIllephedder, MacIllepheder, MacIllephudrick, MacIllfatrick, MacIlliruaidh, MacIlpadrick, MacIlpatrick, MacIlpedder, MacKilpatrick, MacKlarain, MacKrory, MacLabhrain, MacLabhruinn, MacLairen, MacLaran, MacLaren, MacLarin, MacLaring, MacLauren, MacLaurent, MacLaurin, MacLaurine, MacLawhorn, MacLawran, MacLawrin, MacLawrine, MacLeran, MacLern, MacLeron, MacLorn, MacOlphatrick, MacPaid, MacPartick, MacPatrick, MacPeeters, MacPhade, MacPhadraig, MacPhadrick, MacPhadrig, MacPhadrik, MacPhadruck, MacPhadruig, MacPhadryk, MacPhaid, MacPhaide, MacPhait, MacPharick, MacPhate, MacPhater, MacPhatrick, MacPhatricke, MacPhatryk, MacPheadair, MacPheadarain, MacPheat, MacPhedar, MacPheddair, MacPheddrin, MacPhedearain, MacPhederan, MacPhedran, MacPhedrein, MacPhedron, MacPheidearain, MacPheidiran, MacPheidran, MacPheidron, MacPhete, MacPhoid, MacRaurie, MacRearie, MacReary, MacReirie, MacRerie, MacRiridh, MacRirie, MacRorie, MacRory, MacRourie, MacRoyre, MacRoyree, MacRoyri, MacRuairidh, MacRuaraidh, MacRuary, MacRuidhri, MacRurie, MacRurry, MacRury, MacRyrie, Makcrire, Makerori, Makfatrick, Maklaurene, Makpatrik, Makreury, Makririe, Makrore, Malpatric, Meiklefatrick, Meiklfatrick, Padair, Padan, Padesone, Padison, Padon, Padraig, Padruig, Padson, Padyn, Padyne, Pait, Paitt, Paruig, Patair, Pate, Patein, Paten, Paterson, Patersone, Patersoun, Patersoune, Patesone, Patheson, Pathruig, Patieson, Patirsone, Patirsoun, Patison, Patisone, Patisoune, Paton, Patone, Patonson, Patonsoun, Patoun, Patoune, Patowne, Patric, Patrick, Patrickson, Patricksone, Patricson, Patrikson, Patrison, Patrisone, Patrisoun, Patrykson, Patten, Patterson, Pattie, Pattinson, Pattison, Pattisoune, Patton, Pattone, Pattoun, Pattoune, Pattounsoun, Pattowsone, Paty, Patynson, Patyrson, Pautoun, Pawton, Pawtonsoun, Pawtoun, Pawtoune, Peathine, Pedair, Pedan, Pedden, Peden, Pedin, Petensen, Pethein, Pethin, Petirsoun, Phadair, Ririe, Rorie, Rorison, Rorrison, Ryrie, Vclaurent
References:One or more of the following publications has been referenced for this article.The General Armory; Sir Bernard Burke - 1842.
A Handbook of Mottoes; C.N. Elvin - 1860.
Scottish Clans and Tartans; Neil Grant - 2000.
Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia; George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire - 1994.
Scottish Clans and Tartans; Ian Grimble - 1973.
World Tartans; Iain Zaczek - 2001.
Clans and Families of Scotland; Alexander Fulton - 1991.
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