Courtly Lives - Clan MacLaren

The MacLaren Clan
Written and Researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska, B.F.A.

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Left: The MacLaren Crest:

A lion's head erased Sable crowned with an antique crown of six (four visible) points Or, between two branches of laurel issuing form the wreath at either side of the head both Proper. The Motto: Creag an Tuirec means "The Boar's Rock." The Boar's rock or Manse Rock is a large rocky hill sacred to the MacLarens. A view from this vantage is thought to be one of the best in Scotland. The mausoleum of the MacLaren chiefs is set in a grove of rowan trees off the glen road to Balquhidder.

Middle: The MacLaren Coat of Arms:

Or., two chevrons Gules, accompanied by a lymphad sail furled and oars in action sable in base.

Right: The MacLaren plaid.

The MacLaren plant is the laurel.

The MacLaren Badge is:

A mermaid proper, her tail part up ended Argent, holding in her dexter hand a spray of laurels paleways Vert and in her dexter hand a looking glass Proper, mounted Gules.

The MacLaren Supporters:
(on a compartment semee of laurel leaves)

Two mermaids Proper their tail-parts, argent, each hold in their exterior hand a laurel branch paleway Vert.


Lair ..... Lawrence ..... Lawrie ..... Lawson ..... Low ..... Lowson ..... Macfater ..... Macfeat ..... Macphater ..... MacLaren ..... Leurin ..... MacLaurin ..... Laurin


The Clan MacLaren/Clan Labhran traces back to:

The Ragman Roll of 1296, named the Scottish nobles who supported Edward I, the Hammer of Scotland. They were:

  • Maurice of Tiree - Tiree was an island.
  • Conan of Balquihidder
    They were the Celtic Abbots of Achtow in Balquhidder, Perthshire, Scotland.
  • Leurin of Arveche

In a chapel in Balquhidder they decided to omit the letter "u" from the name, Laurin or Laurin in Argyle, whose descendants were from the districts on Menteith, Lennox, Strathearn, and Balquihidder. Today the name is corrupted to MacLaren.

The clan fought for the crown at Sauchieburn (1488), Flodden (1513), and Pinkie (1547). They fought with Montrose in the cause of Charles I. The clan was decimated at Culloden.

Later on, John MacLaurin, Lord Dreghorn petitioned for clan chief, on the grounds that he was a descendant of the MacLarens of Tiree. The MacLaurins possessed and occupied the island of Tiree from early times. The MacLarens held land in Perthshire in the thirteenth century. The two families connected in 1781 when John MacLaurin (1734-1796), Lord Dreghorn, a judge and a man of letters, was established as clan Chief by the Lyon Court. Their chiefship is now with the MacLarens of Archleskine, who claim descendant from the Laurin/Lawrence hereditary Abbot of Achtus, Balquhidder. Balquhidder (pronounced "Balwhidder") is a Highland glen where the MacGregors, MacLarens, Stewarts, and Fergusons engaged in bloody feuds. Rob Roy McGregor's son, Robin, killed John MacLaren, the clan chief at Balquhidder in 1736.


  • MacLaren of Achleskine
  • MacLaren of Ardveche
  • MacLaren of Invernently
  • MacLaren of Struthill.


Balquhidder is a parish in the county of Perth, containing the village of Strathyre and Lochearnhead. Balquhidder is part of the Trossachs (cross-hills) because of the three Christian Crosses. St Angus was their patron saint.

Rob Roy MacGregor was born in 1671 and is buried at Balquhidder with two of his sons. Thus the reason that Balquhidder is known as "Rob Roy County." Balquhidder is also the place of a desperate battle between the MacLarens and the Leney families.


Black, Goerge. The Surnames of Scotland: Their Origins, Meaning, and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1999.

Fulton, Alexander. Clans and Families of Scotland: The History of the Scottish Tartan. Edison, N.J.: Chartwell Books, 1991.

MacKay, James. Clans and Tartans of Scotland. New York: Gramercy Books, 200, 91.

Martine, Roddy. Scottish Clans and Family Names: Their Arms, Origins, and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainsteam Publishing Company, 1996.

Omand, Donald. The Perthshire Book. Edinburgh: Birlinn Limited, 1999.

Way of Pleans, George and Romilly Squire. Scottish Clans & Family Encyclopedia. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1998.

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