Motto: Creag an Tuirc (The boar’s rock)

The surname MacLaren is in fact incorrect and should properly be in English MacLaurin, from the Gaelic ‘MacLabhrainn’ meaning son of Laurence.  MacLaurin originated in Argyllshire may have taken their name from Lorn, one of three sons of Fergus MacErc who arrived there in 503 and founded the Scottish-Irish kingdom of Dalriada.  From his son comes the name for the district of Lorn in Argyllshire.  From Argyll the tribe of Laurin moved to Perthshire when their traditional lands in Balquhidder and Strathearn were granted to them by Kenneth MacAlpin in the 9th century.  There may also have been a line linked to Tiree.  

Perthshire though has traditionally been the home of this clan, where three brothers received the lands of Auchleskine, Stank and Druach, while another branch held the lands of Ardveche on Lochearnshide.  It may be that the MacLaurins were a junior branch of the native lords, later Earls of Strathearn, and may have been the tribe called ‘Lavernani’.  

Surrounded by several other clans, the MacLaurins were involved in many feuds, including a pitched battle with the Buchanans in the 12th century which nearly wiped out the Buchanans.  The MacLaurins joined in a bond of defence with the Campbells and were to appeal to Argyll when in 1558 a band of MacGregors killed eighteen families and moved into their land.  

The MacLaurins were followers of the Stewart cause and fought with the Appin Regiment under Stewart of Ardsheil.  This association comes about due to the fact that during the 16th century John, 3rd Lord of Lorn, had an illegitimate son, Dugal, by a daughter of a Perthshire MacLaurin, and from this union descended the Stewarts of Appin.  

The MacLaren tartan is known under a number of different names; Regent, MacLeish, Gilles and more often MacLaren.  It appears to date from the turn of the 18th century.