Clan MacLachlan is one of the oldest Scottish Highland clans. There are numerous spellings used by people around the world who originate from the clan, including Maclachlan and MacLaughlin. If your name is Claflin, Ewan, Ewing, Gilchrist, Lachlan or MacEwan you are also part of the clan.
The clan is descended from Lachlan Mor (‘Great Lachlan’) a powerful chieftain who lived on the shores of Loch Fyne in the 13th century. Lachlan Mor is said to be descended from Anrothan O’Neill an Irish prince who left Ireland in the 11th century. A further line of descent is claimed from Anrothan O’Neill to the High King of Ireland, Niall Noigiallach, who ruled in the 4th to 5th century.
The first documentary evidence of the clan's ownership of the land known as Strathlachlan on the east of Loch Fyne was in 1292, when Gilleskel Maclachlan received a charter from John, King of Scots.
Old Castle Lachlan’s existence was first acknowledged in a document dated 1314. In 1680 the Maclachlan lands were made a barony by Charles II of England. To this day the chief of the clan is styled as Baron of Strathlachlan.
The Maclachlan Jacobites
The Maclachlans were loyal Jacobites, supporting attempts to restore the Stuarts to the throne of England and Scotland. This led to conflict with the other major Loch Fyne clan, the Campbells based at Inveraray.
Lachlan, the seventeenth chief of Clan Maclachlan, supported Bonnie Prince Charlie in the Jacobite Rising of 1745, and died leading the clan at the battle of Culloden in 1746. Following the defeat a Government ship is believed to have sailed up Loch Fyne and shelled Castle Lachlan, forcing the chief's family to abandon it, and in Edinburgh the Maclachlan colours were burned on the orders of Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, son of King George II. However, the chief of the Campbells, despite helping crush the Jacobite forces, aided Donald, son of the deceased Maclachlan chief, and helped saved his lands.
The Modern Clan
In the late 18th century, a new Castle Lachlan was built for the chiefs of the clan. It is the home of the current chief Euan John Rome Maclachlan of Maclachlan, Chief of Clan Maclachlan, 25th of Maclachlan and Baron of Strathlachlan.
The Clan Maclachlan Society was formed in 1979 with branches around the world. It holds regular events, provides networking opportunities and support to people wanting to trace their family histories and publishes a magazine, Clan Lachlan.
A Message From the Chief
Welcome to Old Castle Lachlan.
My ancestors built a castle here at least 800 years ago to protect our homeland and clan members. From here, my fellow clansmen and women contributed to the development of Gaelic and Scottish life and culture across many centuries, and set out to make new lives in every corner of the globe. Almost every day I hear from someone in a distant land wanting to connect with our clan and discover the story of their ancestors’ place in Scottish history.
My family and I still live nearby in ‘new’ Castle Lachlan, and meet many of the people who find their way here. To some the Old Castle is their ancestral home. To all who visit, it is a beautiful, natural, tranquil place that lifts the spirits and often inspires life-changing chapters in people’s personal stories.
But even something as solid as a centuries-old castle weakens over time. The Old Castle, the symbol of enduring bonds that span the world, is in a fragile state. It needs specialist attention to repair and conserve it. No-one will ever live in it again. It will stay a romantic ruin, a magical place accessible to everyone, conjuring up all manner of feelings and thoughts about the past, contemporary life and the future.
The castle and its unique designed landscape are now in the hands of a charity, the Lachlan Trust, which is raising funds to ensure people can enjoy visiting for centuries to come. If you are able to make a donation to the fund-raising effort, I’d like to thank you on behalf of everyone involved. Your generosity will make a big difference.
Euan Maclachlan of Maclachlan