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Clan and Tartan

Tartan Tuesday: Clan MacLennan

Tartan Tuesday: Clan MacLennan
By Kirsty McIntyre


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In Gaelic: Mac Gille Fhinnein (Son of the Follower of St. Finnan)
Clan Motto: Dum Spiro Spero ("While I Breathe, I Hope")
Clan MacLennan are a Highland clan originating from the north west of Scotland. The clan are descended from Clan Logan, and the two share a tartan.

Clan MacLennan's heritage can be traced back to the fifteenth century. A battle between the clans Logan and Fraser ended in disaster, as Chief Gillegorm Logan's troops were ambushed near Inverness and slain. His pregnant widow was captured and gave birth to a son. There are differing reports of what became of the child, but the most well known is that the Frasers intentionally broke the child's back, causing him to be deformed for life. He was given the name Crotair ("crooked back") MacGillegorn, but later, as a follower of St. Finnan, he was also referred to as "Gille Finnan". His son was therefore known as Mac Gille Finnan, or "son of the follower of St. Finnan", and it is here that the name MacLennan is derived from.

Clan MacLennan had close ties to the MacKenzies, and may at one time have been custodians of their seat at the famous Eilean Donan castle. They fought alongside Clan Mackenzie at the Battle of Bealach nam Broig, against the troops of the Earl of Ross. It was a conflict which saw them almost decimated at the hands of the Fraser clan. The clan faced further tragedy while fighting alongside the MacKenzies during the Civil War. Despite being led into battle by their fearsome clan chief Ruaridh, the MacLennans suffered severe losses.

Subsequently, the clan was fractured by the 18th century, and subsequently played little part in the Jacobite uprising, but there is a record of eleven MacLennan prisoners after the Battle of Culloden. As the clan system was eventually dismantled in the aftermath, a number of MacLennans left Scotland and set up home in the wider world. The evidence of this is still there - the MacLennan Mountains in New Zealand and MacLennan County in Texas are evidence of clan settlers across the world.

The current chief of Clan MacLennan is Ruairidh Donald George MacLennan of MacLennan. Upon the death of his father and previous chief, Ronald George MacLennan, in 1989, Ruairidh inherited the title at the age of 12, making him the youngest recognised Clan Chief in history. The clan chief is based in Inverness in the Scottish highlands.

Noteable MacLennans

The Scottish actress Elizabeth MacLennan is noted for participating in the first known televised interracial kiss in 1962, as part of the play You In Your Small Corner.

Canadian Olympic gymnast and trampolinist Rosie MacLennan is the first Canadian and the first trampolinist to defend a gold medal at the Summer Olympics. Her gold medal in London 2012, was Canada's first ever gold medal in trampolining.