Capt. Donald McLaren of Invernenty at Culloden

First let me be perfectly clear, Donald McLaren of Invernenty was not in the Stewart of Appin Clan Regiment.

Since Clan MacLaren chose to utilize a completely fictional acoount of Donald “The Drover” McLaren of Invernenty, in their 2006 campaign of deceit to have the name “Maclaren” carved on to the Appin Regiment Marker on the Culloden Battlefield, it is important that Donald’s true story be told.

It is a shame that Clan MacLaren can now never recognize the role that the most important individual in their history played in the Jacobite uprising of 1745 and 1746. A history that has been sacrificed to further the unprovable and purposefully contentious agenda against Appin McLaurins by their Clan Chief Donald Maclaren of Maclaren and Auchleskine along with the Clan Maclaren Society of North America. The Maclaren Clan Chief whose own family history and genealogy does not pass the smell test.

“The Stonefield list challenges the notion that the MacLarens who fought under the Appin banner were all Balquhidder men motivated by a centuries old bond between the clans. The MacLarens in the Stonfield list are local tenants and retainers.” (Angus Stewart, Q.C. And A. T. B. Stewart, C.B.E.)

The Balquhidder MacLarens were not in the Stewart of Appin Clan Regiment. Only Appin McLaurins were in the estate companies of the Stewart of Appin Clan Regiment, were they had lived since the 13th century at least. There are no contemporaneous accounts or historical evidence that Capt. Donald MacLaren or other Balquhidder MacLarens were in the Appin Regiment. This often repeated error based on the similarity in surnames, started by Wiliam Anderson in his 1867 book "The Scottish Nation", then repeated so frequently and for so many decades it became fact.



The Duke of Atholl was Donald's feudal superior.

In 1736 Murray Duke of Atholl granted a feu over two and a half merk land of Easter Invernenty for five scots annually to Donald M'Laren in Invernenty.

On 28 October 1738, James Scott in Kincraigie acted as attorney for Duncan MacLaren, portioner of Wester Innernenty, presenting a Charter of Resignation and a precept of sasine from the Duke of Atholl in favour of Duncan McLaren granting to him and his heirs in feu farm the just and equal half of the town and lands of Wester Innernenty including half of the two and half merk lands, Wester Innernenty between it, and Easter Innernenty, burn Blair-fearnach which runs between Easter and Wester Blairfearnach and from the march dyke to top of Craigvrech and from the top of Craigvrech to the top of Strobvrech and from the top of Stobvrech to the top of Sliguanin. Grazings were the arable ground and meadows which had been divided by march stones and balks, these boundaries were then described in detail. A Duncan McLaren was portioner of Wester Invernenty which means he already owned part of the lands, presumably the other half. In 1736, John McLaren disponed his half to Duncan, so in 1738, Duncan became the owner of the whole of Wester Invernenty!" http://maclarensofgreenwichpei.com
About 1740 Donald McLaren married Elizabeth Stewart daughter of the Rev. Duncan Stewart, b. 1660 1st of Strathgarry and Innerhaden, Episcopal Minister of Blair Atholl and staunch Jacobite.

In 1743 Donald and Duncan M'Laren in Invernenty together give a bond for 1300 Scots to the Duke of Atholl. One more reason why they fought in the Atholl Brigade.
The three above contracts made both brothers Donald and Duncan MacLaren vassals of the Duke of Atholl, obligated to follow His Graces directives. Chronicles of Atholl and Tullibardine Families.

"1745 August 22nd Duke James (Murray) of Atholl had sent orders to Gregor Murray at Coinneachan to raise the Glen Almond men and join Cope as he passed which he accordingly did at Amulrie. When the army reached Tay Bridge Gregor and his men left and proceeded to Blair to get further orders from Graham of Fintry the factor. He accompanied them back to the army which they rejoined at Dalnacardoch ; but as Cope would allow them no pay with which to support themselves, they dispersed there and returned to their homes." Atholl and Tullibardine Chronicles
So it is likely that Donald MacLaren and other Balquhidder MacLarens were in the British Army for a short time in late August at the pleasure of the Hanoverian Duke of Atholl, James. Gregor Murray was also instrumental in Donald's activities in late January, 1746, as you see in the letters below.




The Jacobite Muster at Kirkton, Balquhidder 30 August, 1745

According to Peter Lawrie BSc, BA, MPhil, MBCS, CITP, FSAScot, CFA
"The Muster - There was a meeting at the Kirkton of Balquhidder on August 30th 1745. According to Macpharrie; Glengyle [MacGregor], Glencarnaig [MacGregor], Stewart of Glenbuckie and Buchanan of Arnprior met with the Duke of Perth to arrange a muster on the 8th September, 1745. Glencarnaig and his two brothers with 8 followers mustered at noon on the 8th, and at 3pm, Glenbuckie arrived with 40 Stewarts and Ranald with a further 40 MacGregors. This group of a little under 100 marched for Callander."
As you can see there was no Clan Maclaren Muster. Donald might have been in this group of 100, but certainly not the leader or a Captain.

That evening of the 8th, Stewart of Glenbuckie committed suicide. The next morning the Stewarts returned to Strathearn from Leny with the body. So it is entirely likely that Donald McLaren and his small contingent then joined his cousins in the MacGregor Regiment.


The 1746 Letters

As you will see from the letters below Capt. Donald MacLaren also known as "Donald the Drover" Tacksman from Invernenty, Balquhidder was recruited by Gregor Murray a Captain, Atholl Brigade at the request of Duke William Murray, Marquis of Tullibardine, Colonel, Atholl Brigade from a recommendation by James Stewart of Clunes a Captain, Atholl Brigade. Then Gregor Murray's letter to Mungo Murray, Secretary to Atholl confirms finding Captain Donald McLaren and that the officer has talked to many tenants, instead of using the fiery cross in fear of raising the alarm of Government troops stationed nearby. Then if he is successful in raising the tenants they will proceed to Blair Castle.

In the third letter Donald is referred to as an officer, probably a Captain as described in the account of his capture July 1746.



Further Comments

Donald served in the Atholl Brigade with his brother Lieutenant Duncan MacLaren from Wester Invernenty, Lieutenant Arratt MacLaren (uncle to MacLaren younger of East Haugh) and six or seven other MacLarens from Starthearn in the Atholl Brigade. *William Murray, Marquess of Tullibardine (14 April 1689 – 9 July 1746 Scottish army officer and Jacobite leader.

*Gregor Murray of Coinneachan Captain, Atholl Brigade

*James Stewart of Clunes Captain, Atholl Brigade, wounded, Culloden: was a descendant of the Stewarts of Fasnacloich.

On Thursday, 6th Feb., Prince Charles arrived at Blair Castle. Feb. 9,

From the "History of Clan Gregor published in 1901, Pg 387 comes the following information on the events following the above letter.

"Duke James of Atholl (Hanoverian)sent out from Perth to summon the Atholl vassals
'Innernenty (Invernenty)to go to Dunkeld and Kirkmichael to join the troops which were to be sent there to disarm and apprehend " the Rebells." Prince Charles on
hearing that Duke James was to be at Dunkeld on the Saturday, and that
a large body of the Government troops were passing the West Boat of Dun-
keld, retired with his forces from Blair, loth Feb., to the North. A day
or two afterwards Sir Andrew Agnew advanced from Dunkeld and took
possession of the Castle.

Feb. 18. The Prince reached Inverness, and on the 20th the Castle
of Inverness surrendered to him, H.R.H. having been joined by Lord
George Murray and the column which had marched by the East Coast.
Lord Loudoun who had been holding the North for the Government
retired into Ross-shire on the approach of the Jacobites, and it was in
pursuit of Loudoun that Glencarnock was sent off with the MacDonalds,
Camerons, &c.

"Feb. 22. Duke James having been informed that 'one Grigor Murray alias
MacGrigor, tenant of Conachon, one of the rebel Captains was skulking in Glen-
almond sent out a party of his tenants to search for and secure him. Feb. 23 the
party returned carrying with them the said Grigor who was committed to the prison
of Dunkeld.

"Feb. 26, 1746. Memorial for Grigor Murray from Glenalmond, present
Prisoner in the Tolbooth of Dunkeld.



Campbell of Glenurchy’s Statement

From six 16th century Bonds of Manrent and Calpes found in “The Black Book of Taymouth” we know for certain that the Campbell’s of Glenurchy were the true historical Chiefs of Clalaurane. So this account is very important even though by 1746 the Campbells’ influence in the lives of Clanlaurane has been replaced by the Duke of Atholl.

The next account of Donald MacLaren of E. Invernenty, at least we think it is Donald is this statement from Campbell of Glenurchy to Major-General John Campbell from Taymouth.

"Upon the first news of this defeat I gave orders to watch the passes and to seize all who attempted to go thro this Countrey; but not having arms for any number of men nor time to assemble them, a great many have crossed the Countrey towards the South with their arms. MacClaron a great drover, with a Knight supposed to be Sir Harry Seaton, passed yesterday morning very near Finlarig with about 100 Men, which was greatly to strong to be stopped by my little army of twelve Men, and they made no halt but went as fast as they could to Balquhidder. They were gone long before the Countrey could be raised, for 'twould require a great number of Men well armed. MacClaron was on horseback being wounded in the thigh. Several small Parties have passed in the Night time several miles from Finlarig, much nearer to Tyne drom which I did not hear till two day after. I believe most, if not all of those who belong to Balquhidder and those parts are already gone tither, so that few will probably come either near Finlarig or Tynedrom" The Eyewitness Account - MS3735,#291 22nd, April 1746

That does not automatically make the 100 men MacLarens by any stretch of the imagination, there were MacGregors, Fergusons, Stewarts who far outnumbered the MacLarens in Balquhidder.

And there is more.

There is no record whatsoever of Captain Donald McLaren of East Invernenty being at the Battle of Culloden. Also, Donald MacLaren of MacLaren’s own mother, Margaret MacLaren the author of “The MacLarens” places doubt in our mind that he was at the battle when she calculated his movements from the timeline found in Manuscript 3735, #291 22 April 1746.

"This makes it doubtful that the MacLarens had been with the bulk of the army at Ruthven. From Ruthven to Finlarig is nearly 60 miles by the shortest route (Dalwhinnie, Loch Ericht, Killichonan on Loch Rannoch, round the western end of Loch Rannoch to Dall, down the drove road to Brig of Balgie in Glen Lyon, then south past Lochan naLairge to Loch Tayside): two days' march rather than one". The MacLarens pg. 74.

After Culloden, Murray and the Jacobite army, including the Appin Regiment went to Ruthven. Murray did not release the army until the 20th when he wrote his famous letter.


Without a doubt

These fourteen reasons that clearly show why Balquhidder McLarens were not in the Stewart of Appin Clan Regiment led by Capt. Donald McLaren of East Invernenty.

There are no, zero, nada, contemporaneous documents placing Donald McLaren in the Stewart of Appin Clan Regiment, none whatsoever.

1. In 1736 James Murray 2nd Duke of Atholl granted a feu over two and a half merk land of Easter Invernenty for five scots annually to Donald M'Laren in Invernenty.
Chronicles of Atholl and Tullibardine Families.

2. On 28 October 1738, James Scott in Kincraigie acted as attorney for Duncan MacLaren, portioner of Wester Innernenty, presenting a Charter of Resignation and a precept of sasine from the Duke of Atholl in favour of Duncan McLaren granting to him and his heirs in feu farm the just and equal half of the town and lands of Wester Innernenty including half of the two and half merk lands, Wester Innernenty between it, and Easter Innernenty, burn Blair-fearnach which runs between Easter and Wester Blairfearnach and from the march dyke to top of Craigvrech and from the top of Craigvrech to the top of Strobvrech and from the top of Stobvrech to the top of Sliguanin. Grazings were the arable ground and meadows which had been divided by march stones and balks, these boundaries were then described in detail. A Duncan McLaren was portioner of Wester Invernenty which means he already owned part of the lands, presumably the other half. In 1736, John McLaren disponed his half to Duncan, so in 1738, Duncan became the owner of the whole of Wester Invernenty!"
Chronicles of Atholl and Tullibardine Families.

3. In 1743 Donald and Duncan M'Laren in Invernenty together give a bond for 1300 Scots to the Duke of Atholl.
Chronicles of Atholl and Tullibardine Families.

4. Original Warrant from Duke Wiliam of Atholl for raising the whole Lands of Balquhidder for the King's service, addressed to Alexander Steuart of Glenbucky and Robert Murray of Glencarnock dated Camp at Blair, Sept. 2, 1745.
Chronicles of Atholl and Tullibardine Families.

5. 8 Sept. 1745 MacLarens are probably there, as they are related to both families.
"According to promise Glencarnock, Duncan and Evan, his two oldest brothers and eight of our good men came to the place appointed at 12 o'clock. Glencarnock raised the MacGregor Standard, and none of the rest of the gentlemen appeared yet, about 3 o'clock came Steuart of Glenbuckie and forty men, and as Arnprior (Buchnan of Leny) was before them, MacGregor of Glencarnock and Steuart of Glenbuckie and Ronald MacGregor from Kirktown with forty men marched straight for Callander so that they would get Arnprior to join them at Callander : Arnprior met us at Kilmahog, no more with him but a single man. He invited Glencarnock and Glenbuckie up to Leny House that night ; Glencarnock said that he and his men would be together at Callander, Glenbuckie went with him (Arnprior) to Leny that night, and shot himself before the morning. This made a confusion amongst us, such a thing happening so early. The Stewarts got him coffined, set off with him on their shoulders and got him tombed that night, and they never joined us more.
History of Clan Gregor, 1901 pg. 365

6. Donald McLaren's letter to James Stewart of Cluns Atholl Brigade, Jan. 1746 from Touch, Stirling with John Roy Stewarts Edinburgh Regiment.
Chronicles of Atholl and Tullibardine Families.

7. Willam Murray Duke of Atholl’s letter to Gregor Murray Feb. 1746
Chronicles of Atholl and Tullibardine Families.

8. Grigor Murray to Mungo Murray letter Feb. 1746 describing the Duke of Atholls order to assemble at Blair Atholl
Chronicles of Atholl and Tullibardine Families.

9. Campbell of Glenorchy describing seeing  Donald McLaren the Drover with Sir Henry Sinclair and others on 22nd, April 1746. Not with the Appin Regiment
MS3735,#291

10. Account of Donald’s capture with other Atholl Regiment Officers.
"In July of 1746 Capt. Donald MacLaren was captured along with three other officers of the Atholl Brigade. "Upon the 15th Instant, Capt. James Campbell, commanding the Perth Volunteers in Balquhidder, having information of several Rebel Officers having returned to the Braes of that Country, went himself with a Party by the South side of the loch, whilst Daniel M’Euen, his Ensign, went up the Strath of that Country, towards Glenkarnock; but notwithstanding all the precaution used by the Captain, they found Means to escape, 12 towards the Braes of Brodalbine, and 18 towards the Breas of Lenny, and the Forrest of Glenartney. The Captain having Information thereof, marched with about 30 of his Men towards the Breas of Lenny, divided them so as to surround a party of them in a Sheill [a summer hut up in the hills used for grazing livestock], and to guard the Passes below, that none of them might escape. About Five o’Clock the Party under Ensign M’Euen surrounded a Lodge or Sheilling hut, from which they received a very brisk Fire, from the Door and two Windows, for 15 Minutes or upwards, which was returned by the Volunteers with the same Alacrity; afterwards the Rebels lodged in the Hutt, being all wounded except one, surrendered, viz. Major Stewart, Brother to the Laird of Advorlick; Capt. Malcolm M’Gregor of Comour; Capt. Donald MacLaren; Sergeant King, Alias M’Ree, late of Sir Patrick Murray’s Highland Regiment 2nd Battalion, Atholl Brigade, and three private Men. Of our Men none were hurt tho’ several Balls went through their Cloaths, especially Thomas More the late Lieutenant Follie, who always shewed himself upon every Occasion, "willing to destroy Rebels". "Extract of a Letter from Sterling, dated July 22, 1746
11. Lord President Forbes account places Balquhidder McLarens in the Atholl Regiment.

12. The Order Book of The Stewart of Appin Clan Regiment so often cited as the sources for Donald McLaren in the Appin Regiment actually makes no mention of Donald. I can email the .pdf files from the War Museum if anyone would like them

13. Appin's List May 3, 1746 no mention of Donald McLaren

14. Stonefield List July 6, 1746 no mention of Donald McLaren


The Invernety Sword on display

The "Protector of the Clan" sword presented to Donald MacLaren of MacLaren in 1973, by Dr. Janet McLaren his "Tutor" was repurposed by Donald MacLaren of MacLaren in 2007 by being represented to the National Trust for Scotland as belonging to Donald McLaren of Invernenty. That is a lie which means that Donald Maclarenof Maclaren defrauded the National Trust for Scotland. This lie along with his checkbook greased the wheels, which enabled this glory hunting “Poser” to have his name “MacLaren” carved on to the Appin Regiment Marker on the Culloden Battlefield. History for sale, sold to the highest bidder.

Dr. Janet MacLaren never claimed the sword belonged to her ancestor neither before or after it was presented to the new young Clan Chief in 1973

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