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The Official Home of the Clan McLea - the Highland Livingstones

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MacLea Cadets and Lands

The Chiefs of McLea were the Coarbs of St Moluag, Hereditary Celtic Abbots of Lismore. As you might expect the main strength of the clan was in Lorn, centred on the old abbey lands. There was a large grouping around Loch Etive where we find McLea of Achnacree, McLea of Lochnell (who had the forty merk land of Lochnell) and McLea of Achnacloich (Stonefield) in Muckairn.

McLea /Livingstones of Achnacree (North Shore Loch Etive)
This family seem to have been the principal cadets owning substantial tracts of land on the North Shore of Loch Etive from Achnacree at the Mouth of the Loch in Benderloch right up to Dalness, near Glencoe. This land is terminated by the massive Buachaille Etive More. Family legend has always described this as the border of our land.

“ They possessed peat rights in both Kingairloch and Benderloch at one time: indeed it is held that no one could stop them if they even now sought to take peat from the Moss of Achnacree” .

This confirms the close connection. Bearing in mind that the whole of Lismore was considered to be a bout 80 merk lands the McLeas of Achnacree must have possessed much the same – or even more. In 1557 the McLeays of Achnacree were almost wiped out, losing 80 men supporting the MacDougalls of Lorn against the Campbells of Inverawe in a clan battle.

“ Donald Livingstone, Bun-a-mhuilinn, Morvern, was of the Livingstones of Achnacree, Benderloch. These Livingstones of Achnacree had been the keepers of the Royal Forest of Dail-an-eas till this was wrested from them by the Macdonalds of Glencoe. The Livingstones of Achnacree were of the same line as the Livingstones of Bachuill, Lismore, keepers of the Staff of Saint Moluag. The two families separated many centuries ago, yet they still resemble one another, physically, mentally, and characteristically.”

“There were also the McLeas of Achnacree of whom the family of Lindsaig is descended, who were possest of the Lands of Achnacree for a long time, and who made the longest appearance in that corner of any of the McLeas there….. But before this happened, they tell a story that happened above more than one hundred years ago, as there were at and before that time in Cowal feuds betwixt several families in the Highlands, so the then McDugald and the family of Inveraw were at variance, and both the familys brought all their sons and strength to the field to fight it fairly and to decide their quarrell by the sword. And both McDougalds and Inveraw with their families friends and followers having taken the field, the McLeas being the followers of McDugald, McLea of Achnacree brought with him four score of the McLeas to McDugald's assistance against Inveraw. …. Achnacree and his fourscore McLeas were killed that day upon that spot, and from that day to this time, the McLeas never made any head or appearance, and this was a very great loss to them, so many of them to be killed in one day.”

McLea of Lochnell (2m East of Oban 5 m S of Loch Etive)
The forty merk land of Lochnell belonged to McLea of Lochnell who, not having issue of his own, disponed his Lands of Lochnell to a son of the family of Argyle who was called John Gorm Campbell. This was a substantial tract of land amounting to approx 8 square miles.

McLea of Achnacloich (South Shore Loch Etive)
A McLea of Stonefield (formerly called Achnacloich) in Muckairn who, wanting children, gave his lands to a son of Campbell of Lochnell's who was fostered in the house.

McLea of Lindsaig (Cowal - Overlooking Loch Fyne near Otter)
On 26 December 1634 Archibald M'Enlay obtained from Lord Lorn a precept for infefting him in the six merk land of Lindsaig. The McLeas of Lindsaig are descended fromthe McLeas of Achnacree.

McLea of Ach na skioch (Cowal)
The five merk land of Achnaskioch was held by a family of surgeons, who had for several generations had been Physician in Ordinary to the Family of Lamont of Inveryn.
According to the Irish genealogies, the clan Lachlan, the Lamonds, and the MacEwans of Otter, were kindred tribes, being descended from brothers who were sons of Dedalan and tradition relates that they took possession of the greater part of the district of Cowal, from Toward Point to Stacher at the same time; the Lamonds being separated from the MacEwans by the river of Kilfinan, and the MacEwans from the Maclachlans by the stream which separates the parishes of Kilfinan and Strath Lachlan.

McLea of Strathconnon
An Earl of Seaforth married the heiress. According to some sources they migrated there from Appin in the early fifteenth century. The main lands were lost when a McLea of Strathconnon died leaving no sons and the Earl of Seaforth married the heiress. The McLeas of Achilty were overwhelmed in the Great Battle of Bealach nam Broig in 1452.

The Maclays/Gorms in Perthshire
“ Others also of them call and design themselves Gorm, the first of them that came to Perthshire having had that designation and yet also own themselves Livingston and that they are come of the McLeas of Argyleshire.” Are these descendents of An Gorm Mor who killed the Morvern bull?

Last updated 22 May, 2008