Wednesday, October 31, 2018

John MacLaurin Lord Dreghorn, 18th century Chief of Clan MacLaurin

John MacLaurin, Lord Dreghorn

In 1781 John MacLaurin, Lord Dreghorn of Edinburgh, matriculated chiefly arms with this description. “BEARS Argent a Sheepherds Crook Sable, CREST a Lady from the middle upwards ifouing out of the Wreath in her arms a Child both proper and habited Vert, MOTTO Bi'se mac ant' Slaurie, SUPPORTERS two Britons proper Matriculated. Rc Boswell Lyon Dep"

The lady with child in a green habit is the ‘Mother Church and children’

John McLaurin’s "Sheepherds Crook Sable" is a reference St Moluag’s Crozier” on the Isle of Lismore. Heraldsnet.org more accurate description "a bishop's crook in pale sable--M'LAURIN, Dreghorn", eludes to his ancestor Laurence de Ergadia on Lismore circa 1300, as the Keeper of St. Moluag’s Crook.

John MacLaurin was well versed in family history, his father Colin MacLaurin, had hand delivered to the Advocate Library in Edinburgh, what is known today as MS:1467, which he had collected that contained his ancestors genealogy “Clann an Aba Uaine”, ‘the Children of the Green Abbot’.

"Mr. MacLaurin presented to the Society from the Reverend Mr. Malcolme an old Irish Manuscript ", "This is a clear description of the 1467 ms," Ronald Black, 2011

John’s direct lineage contained a long line of Protestant Reverands from the University of Glasgow. My ancestors were the Episcopalian cattle droving Jacobite sympathetic Appin and Ardchattan McLaurin cousins.

Seventeenth century testaments in the National Records of Scotland and other legal documents including John’s matriculation, link these contradictory McLaurin families who fought against each other during the siege of Edinburgh in 1745. Colin MacLaurin a volunteer cannoneer aiming at the invading twenty-seven Appin McLearans in the Stewart of Appin Clan Regiment.


A Family Divided

Three branches by the mid 1500's

In 1470 the Lordship of Lorne where the McLaurin ecclesiastical families had lived for centuries was divided by Colin M’Gilleasbaig M’Conochy Campbell, first Earl of Argyll between Dougal M’Iain M’ Robert Stewart of Appin I and Colin M’Conochy Campbell of Glenorchy I, this declaration, divided the family Labhruinn's territory and eliminated many of the MacDougal holdings in Appin and parts of Ardchattan.

In the early and mid 1500's many McLaurin families were induced to move into Perthshire, with most living on the Tay River from Strathfillan then northeast to Atholl. A few families were placed in Balquhidder by the Glenorchy Campbells.

It was Grey Colin Campbell of Glenurchy who first assigned the Makolcallums’ as part of the kin-group he described as V’Lauranes in a 1559 Bond of Manrent. Because of Glenorchy, we have a fairly complete four generation genealogy of McLaurin men contained in three Clanlawren Bonds of Manrent. The 1559 bond contains the descendants of the first McLaurins to arrive in Balquhidder in 1512 and perhaps Malcum M’Olchallum one of the three sons.

First McLaren arrives in Balquhidder in 1512. Malcolm M’Olcallum V’Laurane settled at Invernenty, Balquhidder in 1512 along with four MacIntires who are also from Lorn. It appears that Malcolm Maklawryn and Gilbert Makyntyr are paying a reduced rate for the woodlands which other tenants have the right to use without destruction. A forest conservation program in place by the Campbells. The Clann Dubhghaill Cheire MacGregour’s also lived at Invernenty and nearby Drumlich, the two families would intermarry frequently, but there were problems, the MacGregors attempted to displace Invernenty MacLaurins with violence and perhaps were successful in the 1550s. Resulting in the Coule Keir MacGregors required to sign a Bond of Calpes to Campbell of Glenurchy in 1559 as punishment.

At Stirling, on the first of June in the 512th year [ie 1512]. Innernenty; £6 13s 4d, with the consent of William Stewart who had the same in fee-farm, is now assessed to the underwritten tenants just as is particularized above, that is to say,
To Donald Makyntyr, £5 for two marklands and a half, to be paid in respect thereof annually, with part of the marts,
To John Makyntyr, £5 for two marklands and a half, to be paid in respect thereof annually, with part of the marts,

To Gilbert Makyntyr, £5 for two marklands and a half, to be paid in respect thereof annually, with part of the marts,

To Duncan Makyntyr, 1s for one markland and a 40 shillings land, to be paid in respect thereof annually, with part of the marts,

And to Malcolm Maklawryn, 1s for one markland and a 40 shillings land, With this condition, that the rest of the tenants of the Lord of Buchquhiddir shall have licence to take timber for their necessities, without destruction [of the woodland], And for entry of a new infeudation £40, out of which sum £13 6s 8d is to be paid by the said tenants, and £26 13s 4d by the said William Stewart. (transcribed from Rotuli scaccarii Regum Scotorum Vol. VIII, Pg. 638)

It appears that Malcolm Maklawryn and Gilbert Makyntyr are paying a reduced rate for the woodlands which other tenants have the right to use without destruction. A forest conservation program in place by the Campbells.

Malcolm’s son Malcolm M’Olcallum elder and grandsons (with the same names of course) are in the 1559 bond, with their great grandsons in a 1606 bond to Campbell of Glenurchy, which gives us where they lived. In the 1559 Bond, there are six other family groups of V’Laurane the MacPatricks, the MacAllens, the MacDougalls, the MacEwens, the MacDuncans and the MacJohns, with John the servant of Cristine the last of name are all the clan MacLaurin. You can track the names, in the three bonds, most names contain three generations such as Nicoll M'Ane VTatrick Moir (Nicol son of John son of big Patrick) in the 1573 ClanLawren Bond to Glenurchy. The Balquhidder MacLaurin history is for another time.


8 November 1559 Clanlaurane homage transferred. This very important legal document pertaining to Clanlaurane and the only one written in the royal burgh of Sterling, on 8 Nov 1559 confirms that several McLaurane families from Kilmartin Parish south of Loch Etive in Argyll, had moved into Perthshire. Two weeks later on 21 November 1559 at Balloch on Loch Tay in Perthshire, Alexander McLaurane and his followers from Kilmartin parish gave their Bond to Colyne Campbell of Glenurchy. This document is one of two, that directly contradicts the legend that McLarens had been in Perthshire since the time of Kenneth McAlpine, it also eliminates any notion of a Strathearn origin for Clanlaurane before the early 1500’s.

“WE Archibald Erie of Ergyle . . . grantis ws to haif gevin ... To our traist cousyng Colyne Campbell of Glenurquhay and his allis male the manrent homage and sendee quhilk our predecessouris andwe had and hes of the haill kyn and surname of the Clanlaurane and their posterite togidder with the uptaking of thair calpis . . . Prowyding the said Colyne obtene . . . thair consent . . . thairunto . . .

In witnes of the quhilk thyng to thir presentis subscriuit with our hand our propir seill is affixt at the burgh of Sterueling the aucht day of Nouember the yeir of God M v and fifty nyn yeiris befoir thir witnes Johne Campbell off Inuerlevir Johne Corswell persone of Kilmartyne and Andro Quhit. And this we gif for the gud and faythfull sendee that the said Colyne hes done to ws. ARD. ERGYLL.” Black Book of Taymouth

In the 18th century many of the indigenous Appin McLaurins that had remained in the original homeland, along with related Livingstones, MacKenzies, MacDougalls, MacColls and Stewarts, including a handful of "Culloden Veterans" emigrated to Richmond County, North Carolina in 1790 where they flourished. North and South Carolina where there are more Scots living today than in Scotland itself.

McLaurin, MacLaurin, McLaren, McLerran, McLarran, McLarine, McClaren and more are all found in historical and genealogical records for the same persons surname, especially in the United States. This makes research more difficult, compared to researching names Campbell, McDonald, Stewart, McColl or McCall for example. And like Sherry says, "they are all named Hugh".

In ancient days on the Isle of Lismore

"When the line of Lord Dreghorn [John MacLaurin] came to an end the clan remained without a chief until, only a few years ago, the representative of the Auchleskine branch was recognized as MacLaren of MacLaren. These circumstances do not inspire confidence that much is known for certain about the identity of the MacLaren chiefs during the period when their office played a meaningful part in Highland life". Ian Grimble Ph.D., F.R. Hist.S. 1973.

Back in the 1970's, Grimble's public comment perked my interest, a respected Scottish scholar whose notoriety far surpassed  other 20th century Clan MacLaren writers. Grimble was questioning a decision by The Court of the Lord Lyon of Scotland, so I set out to find out what he was referring to and also double check the sources cited in "The MacLarens, A History of Clan Labhran" since it is the official Clan MacLaren history. What I found, was a VERY DIFFERENT family history.

My interest began in 1967 with a letter from Banks McLaurin Jr., who along with James Hudson McLaurin formed the Clan MacLaren Society U.S.A. to publish their and other contributors research into a cohesive, readily available to all family history. Over the next decade they published forty-four “Quarterly's", typically of about 30 pages in length. It was not long into the project that they realized that the name “MacLaren” had been a poor choice for the Society as they found that the primarily Virginia and Carolina McLaurins from the west coast of Scotland, had little if anything to do historically with the McLarens in Balquhidder.

"In ancient days the Bishops of Argyle made Lismore their fertile and peaceful abode, and there the forefathers of Duncan McLaren lived for generations." Duncan McLaren, MP, 1800 -1886.

Duncan McLaurin’s clergy ancestors lived at Balimackillichan, just to the northeast of St. Moluag’s Cathedral property on the Isle of Lismore. Laurence the Bishop of Argyle was an abbot from the indigenous tribe of Lismore and the adjoining abbey lands called Appin, this tribe described as the “slaves of Christ”, MacVicars, M’Olchallums, then later also MacLay and McLaurin lives as far as the parishes of Ardchattan Kilmichael and Kilmartin to the north shore of Loch Awe.

This clergy tribe of Loarn, is now thought to be the heirs of Saint Moluag the patron saint of Cenél Loairn. Nearby are the ‘Laity’ readers, known as the Mhic Laeich who descend from ‘Fin’ the ‘lay son of Fearchar’ who probably lived at Bachuil, where Niall Livingstone of Bachuill lives, “Keeper of St. Moluag’s Crozier” and Chief of the McLeas’ and Livingstones’. Niall Livingstone of Bachuill, the only Saint Columba heir, out of thousands from the district of Loairn, to be recognized as a Clan Chief within the Cenél Loairn. Quite an honor.

“Dominican bishops such as ‘Laurentius Dei gratia epifcopus Ergadie’ and Andrew were, like Màrtainn of Argyll, probably local men who were unlikely to have regarded the western seaboard of Scotland as ‘missionary’ territory.” MacDonald, Iain. The Northern World : Clerics and Clansmen : The Diocese of Argyll between the Twelfth and Sixteenth Centuries (1). Leiden, NL: Brill, 2013.

Laurentius Dei gratia epifcopus Ergadie’s descendants and followers in Argyll and Kintyre included:
Vicar Laurancii at Kilmartin, 1355
Vicar Laurancii at Ardchattan, 1420
Vicar  Dugal Cristini Laurencii at Kilmichael, Glassary, 1436
Vicar Donald Dominici Maclaurante at Kilkerran, Kintyre, 1456
Vicar Johannes M’Lern, 1466.