A Scottish Wedding
A special version for that Hallmark and Fleurop day, February 14th. *grin*
Lachlan Mhór Maclean's own marriage seems to have been a happy one. Neither did he need to kidnap his future father-in-law to get the bride, like another Lachlan Maclean in 1367 when he fell in love with Mary, the daughter of the Macdonald Lord of the Isles. Nor did he maroon his wife on a rock in the sea, as was the fate of Catherine Campbell, wife of the 11th Maclean chief (see here).
No, Lachlan fell in love with Margaret Cunningham, daughter of William Cunningham, Earl of Glencairn, while he stayed in the house as guest (not as hostage, for a change). Margaret obviously was quite taken with the handsome young Highland chief, and her father agreed to the marriage which took place in 1576. King James VI may have been miffed, though, because he had arranged for Maclean to marry the daughter of the Earl of Atholl.
The silhouette of Duart Castle, seen from the ferry
A less happy fate befell Maclean's mother. She was the sister of the Earl of Carlyle and had a fortune in her own right, which made her a desirable match still. One of her suitors was John Mac Iain of Ardnamurchan (alternate spelling MacIan), a smaller clan related to the Macdonalds. Obviously, Lachlan Maclean hoped to break the Macdonald alliance by allowing the marriage of his mother and John MacIan to take place, though the MacIans of Ardnamurchan had a lost a lot of power to the Campbells at that time and were not the biggest fish in the pond of Maclean's enemies.
I could not find out anything about John MacIan, and I can only make a few guesses about Lachlan's mother. Maybe my genealogist readers can find more with what little information I can provide.
Lachlan was born in 1554 and had at least one surviving sister (who married Angus Macdonald and ended up in the middle of a fierce feud between her husband and her brother). Maclean's heir apparent was a cousin, Allan Maclean of Morvern, so there seems to have been no further surviving male offspring. One can assume that the lady was something between 16 and her mid-twenties at Lachlan's birth, which would make her between 50 and 60 at the time of her third marriage in 1588. I don't know how old the bridegroom was; a man of her own age, or a trophy boy bought with her money. Duart Castle
The marriage was celebrated at Torloisk House on Mull, close to Duart Castle. There are several versions of the ensuing events. In one, Lachlan Maclean, angry that John refused to join the Macleans against Angus Macdonald, broke into the bridal chamber and dragged the bridegroom out of his mother's arms, while his men killed the Ardnamurchan retainers.
Another version has it that Maclean suspected that greed was MacIan's motive but gave in to his mother's wishes. When at the banquet following the ceremonies one of the MacIan men joked about gold being the true motive for the match, swords were out in seconds and while the Macleans happily butchered the MacIans, Lachlan himself went for John. Only his mother's pleas saved the life of her unfortunate husband.
The third is the most spectacular one. It has Lachaln Maclean burst into the reception at Torloisk and single-handedly kill several MacIan retainers, then dragging John away to the dungeons. The badass Scot version, lol. It also implies that Lachlan didn't agree with the marriage in the first place.View from the peninsula to Mull
Whatever version is true, eighteen MacIan of Ardnamurchan were killed, and John was thrown into the dungeons at Duart where he suffered 'dailie tortour and panis.' Ouch.
The dungeons must have been quite crowded at the time, since the three Spanish officers were hanging out there as well. John MacIan was held in captivity for a year until he was exchanged for Maclean's son, then a hostage of Angus Macdonald. That John was still alive after a year of torture makes it clear that Scots are very difficult to kill. Or that the chronicles exaggerate. ;)
Lachlan Mhór Maclean died in a battle on Islay in 1598, aged forty-four. A befitting end for him; a straw dead would have been the wrong way to go for that adventurous and brave Maclean chief.