MacLean of Duart

THE Macleans of Duart are Celtic. They claim descent from a famous Celtic warrior, Gillean of the Battle Axe, and have lived in Mull from a very remote time. They were vassals of the Lords of the Isles, but became independent on the forfeiture of the latter in 1476. In many old deeds and Acts of Parliament their chief is styled “Laird of Maclean.” Duart Castle, facing Lismore, is their family stronghold. Their Chief, Hector, was slain at Flodden. Lachlan Cattanach Maclean of Duart left his wife on a low rock, hoping that the returning tide would drown her, but she was rescued, and her husband was assassinated in Edinburgh by her brother, Sir John Campbell. Another Lachlan harried the other Macleans and the MacDonalds. He fell in battle with the MacDonalds of Islay in 1598. Sir John Maclean fought with Claverhouse at Killiecrankie and with Mar at Sheriffmuir. The clan was in the front line at Culloden under the Duke of Perth. On the death of Sir Hector Maclean in 1750 the title passed to his cousin, great-grandson of Maclean of Brolass, from whom descended the centenarian Chief, Colonel Fitzroy Donald Maclean of Duart and Morvern, Bart., who restored the ancestral castle of Duart in Mull.


COWAL was originally the home of this clan. On the coast of Glenfyne, there stood in 1750 the ruins of MacEwan’s Castle. The first MacEwan Chief on record lived in 1200. From this date there were nine chiefsΒ— Swene MacEwen, the 9th, was the last of the Otter Chiefs. In 1431-32 this Swene granted a charter of certain lands of Otter to Duncan, son of Alexander Campbell. This was the beginning of the transference of the MacEwan estates to the Campbells of Argyll. The MacEwans were hereditary bards to the Campbells, for which, we are told, they had free lands. Neil MacEwan composed a Gaelic elegy on Sir Duncan Dow Campbell of Glenorchy in 1630. There is a manuscript in Cawdor Castle, entitled “Genealogy Abridgement of the very Ancient and Notable Family of Argyll, 1779,” written by MacEwan, hereditary sennachie and bard.