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The Earls of Lennox and The MacFarlane Chiefs

By Chuck Poland, Terrance Gach MacFarlane, and Andrew Macfarlane 


© November 2012


The primary sources for this article are “History of Clan MacFarlane” by James MacFarlane (1922) and Clergymen and Chiefs” by Alexander M. Quattlebaum (1990). Additional material was obtained from and



For six centuries, the MacFarlanes, as barons of Scotland, influenced its history through their intermarriages, military achievements, and escapades. The entire line of MacFarlane chiefs, and the Earls of Lennox, from whom they originated, is included to enable you to visualize the impact that this one respected family had on the history of an entire country.


Mormaer of Lennox (c1050-): Murdac


Mormaer of Lennox (c1075-): Maldouen, (may have witnessed a charter of King David I to Glasgow in c. 1136).


Mormaer of Lennox (c1100): Murdac, married a daughter of Alwyn MacArkyl (who was prominent at the Court of King David I (1124-1153).


Last Mormaer and 1st Earl of Lennox (c1125-1177/8): Alwyn, elder son of Murdac, was created earl by William the Lion, King of Scotland, who was born in 1143 and died in 1214.


2nd Earl of Lennox (c1160-Bef 1217): Alwyn, son of Alwyn, 1st Earl of Lennox. He married Eva, daughter of Gilchrist, 1st Earl of Mentieth. The second Alwyn had eleven sons, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Malduin. Among the other sons of Alwyn, there appear to be only three who left any male descendants. One of these, Gilchrist (possibly the 7th son) obtained possession of the northern portion of the district of Lennox and became progenitor of the Clan Pharlan, the MacFarlanes, and was the first Baron of Arrochar.


3rd Earl of Lennox (-c1250): Malduin appears to have lived until shortly after 12 March 1250/1251. He surrendered to the king the stronghold of Dumbarton, which had previously been the principal seat of the family. He married Elizabeth Stewart, daughter of Walter Stewart, 3rd High Steward of Scotland, and was succeeded by his grandson.


4th Earl of Lennox (-c1303): Malcolm, who died about 1303, was a supporter of Margaret, the maid of Norway.

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The MacFarlane Country

As printed in "Loch Lomond, Loch Katrine, and the Trossachs"

The shores of Loch Lomond, north of Luss are made specially interesting by certain heroic memories of the two greatest of our early kings. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the monkish chronicler who died in 1154, in his fantastic account of King Arthur, describes how that king pursued his enemies up Loch Lomond, besieged, and all but exterminated them on the islands, and overthrew an Irish army which came to their relief. The earlier historian, Nennius, from whom Geoffrey seems to have got his facts, merely states that Arthur fought certain of his battles in Glen Douglas, and this Glen Douglas is identified by Skene in his Celtic Scotland with the high pass which comes over from Loch Long, and descends at the little inn of Inverbeg between Luss and Tarbet

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Clan MacFarlane History According to A history of the highlands and of the highland clans

As printed in "A history of the highlands and of the highland clans, Volume 4"... 1843

With the exception of the Clan Donnachie, the Clan Parian or Pharlan is the only one, the descent of which from the ancient earls of the district where their possessions were situated, may be established by the authority of a charter. It appears indeed that the ancestor of this clan was Gilchrist, the brother of Maldowen or Malduin, the third earl of Lennox. This is proved by a charter of Maldowen, still extant, by which he gives to his brother Gilchrist a grant " de terris de superiori Arrochar de Luss;" and these lands, which continued in possession of the clan until the death of the last chief, have at all times constituted their principal inheritance.

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