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www.maclean.org - Home to the Worldwide Family of Clan Maclean  
Iain Dubh had three sons - Hector, Lachlan and John about whom many romantic and probably unprovable stories are told. Research done for Nicholas Maclean-Bristol when writing his excellent "Warriors and Priests" shows that Hector was the oldest, Lachlan the middle son and John the youngest. The latter was also a "natural" or illegitimate son and is considered the progenitor of the mainland Macleans of Lorn, Ardgour and Morvern.
Lachlan Lubanach and his brother Hector Reaganach were, respectively, the progenitors of the Duart and Lochbuie families but how these two acquired land in Mull is not known for certain, but they are certainly the first Macleans on the island. The most popular clan legend claims that the two brothers murdered Mackinnon a vassal of MacDougall of Lorn, took MacDonald, Lord of the Isles, prisoner, and finally demanded lands in Mull from MacDonald. Given the critical strategic position of the lands granted to Lachlan and Hector, this legend seems unlikely and requires some more analysis.
MacDougall held many of the western isles but the family sided against King Robert The Bruce in the Wars of Independence whereas the MacDonalds sided with him and when King Robert won, MacDougall saw his lands forfeited and granted to MacDonald. However, when the King died and was succeeded by his son King David II in 1329 there was a rapid realignment of loyalties and MacDonald supported the Balliol faction against King David - fortunately for his survival, this support was not very prominent and in 1343 John MacDonald received a Royal Charter (which included the island of Mull) and started to call himself John de Yle or John Lord of the Isles.
This is where dynastic marriage came into the equation - bubonic plague (the Black Death) was sweeping Scotland and MacDonald was finding it hard to man all his strongholds and needed reliable men, bound to him by marriage, to install as constables. On 13 May 1367, Lachlan MacGilli eoin received a mandate from the pope to marry Mary, the daughter of John de Yle, and, given the supreme importance of the matrilineal inheritance (inheritance through the female line), this gave Lachlan a particularly powerful link to his immediate overlord.