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Clan Maclean Association of England and Wales

News Archive - 2013

11 Oct 2013
2013 AGM and autumn dinner
Our Annual General Meeting and autumn dinner were held on Friday, 11th October 2013, at the Caledonian Club in Halkin Street, London SW1.
Draft Minutes of the AGM are available on our Members only page (see the section headed "For members only" below). The Minutes of last year's AGM and the accounts for the year ended 31st July 2013 were both approved and are also available on that page.
There has been a change of Secretary. Helen Bailey has stepped down after three years of hard work, for which we are immensely grateful. Alison Tottenham has kindly agreed to take on the role (see contact details above).
The dinner that followed was attended by Malcolm Maclean, Yr of Duart and Morvern, who brought the good wishes of his father, the Chief, for the evening, as well as by Elizabeth, Lady Maclean, our Patron.

Lord Blencathra

Our principal guest speaker was Lord Blencathra, the former Opposition Chief Whip and Home Office Minister David Maclean MP. He spoke about the political choice facing Scotland next year.
By way of introduction, he noted how government had changed since he first became a Member of Parliament. In his early days in the House of Commons there were large numbers of Members who had served in the armed forces during the War and were accustomed to following orders. Today's Members were less accepting of discipline and more personally ambitious. As the result there is much less party loyalty today.
At the same time, easy access to the internet has brought vast amounts of information to the public, while at the same time providing the means for people to organise via the social media and lobbying organisations. In terms of government policy, politicians have become less influential and lobbying groups more so. Yet politicians retain the responsibility for running the country. As the result, much Government legislation is in response to public pressure. Public opinion, however, is being formed by emotion and sound-bites rather than a deep understanding of the issues, creating what Lord Blencathra described as a democratic deficit.
He feared that the decision facing Scotland in next year's referendum would be similarly made on an emotional basis. The key question was whether or not Scotland could survive as an independent nation. Lord Blencathra thought that it could, although it would be a very different country. Scotland could not assume, for example, that its thriving financial services industry would remain in Scotland. He felt that the strategy of the Scottish National Party was to appeal to Scottish emotions and to capitalise on anything that Unionists said or did that inflamed Scottish sensitivities. Although he was not party to the planning, he thought that the Unionist strategy was to avoid such mistakes and to point out the practical difficulties involved in breaking up, such as what happens to the armed forces.
His speech was followed by a vigorous question and answer session, in which Lord Blencathra responded openly to questions about the strategy of the various parties, the effect of independence on the EU membership of both countries, and the West Lothian question.
6–26 September 2013
John McLean
During 6 – 26 September 2013 The Fine Art Society, 148 New Bond Street, London W1, held an exhibition of the paintings produced by John McLean during his sojourns as guest artist at the University of Saskatchewan’s Emma Lake workshop during the 1980s. This was the first time that these paintings had been shown together or seen in the UK. See the Fine Art Society website here.
Also being exhibited at the same time was the stained glass triptych by John McLean that was commissioned by Norwich Cathedral. This was on display to the public for the first time, at the Masterpieces: Art and East Anglia exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich, which ran until 24th February 2014.
26–30 July 2013
On 26th – 30th July 2013 the Association undertook a hugely enjoyable and successful visit to Sweden. The object was to see various items that are an important part of the Maclean heritage and to meet Macleans living in Sweden. We visited several museums and private houses containing historic Maclean portraits and other items, and we enjoyed most generous hospitality wherever we went.

The Maclean group at Svaneholm

The Saturday was spent mainly at Svaneholm Castle in southern Sweden, the home of Baron Rutger Maclean (1742-1816), the 4th and last Friherre [Baron] Maclean of Sweden and 6th and last Baronet of Dowart, who pioneered land reform in Sweden in the late 18th and early 19th centuries by introducing large-scale farming with its economies of scale. We had the privilege of being accompanied for the whole of our visit by the Curator, Håkan Cerne. We were joined by numerous members of the Öhrbom family, who are directly descended from Sir John Maclean (c1599-1666), 1st Adlad [Noble] Macklier and 1st Baronet of Dowart, as well as by other Macleans from Göteborg, making a party of 22 in all.
Later that day we visited the home of Baron Carl Henrik Leijonhielm in Malmö, in order to view the oldest known Maclean portrait in existence, the portrait of Lilian Hamilton (d. 1658), second wife of Sir John Maclean (as above). This portrait has never left the ownership of the Hamilton family, the Baron's grandmother having been a Hamilton.
On the Sunday we flew to Stockholm, where we had a delightful picnic lunch on Djurgården with another 20 Macleans and then visited the Vasa Museum, containing the magnificently restored vessel which sank in Stockholm harbour in August 1628. In the evening we dined at the Magic Bar, which opened especially for us, thanks to the good offices of Michael MacLaine, and enjoyed a mesmerising performance from Daniel, the resident magician.
On the Monday we visited the regimental headquarters of the Royal Lifeguards at Kungsängen, just outside Stockholm, where hangs a portrait of a portrait of Baron Johan Adolf Maclean (1694-1761) by Johan David Swartz, dated 1728, on loan from the Nationalmuseum. We then drove to Brunneby Manor, which was owned by Baron Gustaf Adolf Maclean (1693-1779) from 1752 until his death and which contains several Maclean portraits. We were wonderfully looked after by the splendid Bettina Kjellin, the 87-year old chatelaine, who most generously gave lunch in the Manor's restaurant to all 14 Maclean visitors.

In the Great Hall, Riddarhuset

On the Tuesday we visited the Riddarhuset [House of Nobility] in Stockholm's Gamla Stan [Old Town], in order to see the coats of arms of Sir John Maclean (as above) and his son Baron David Maclean of Gäsevadholm (1646-1708), 1st Friherre [Baron] which hang in the Great Hall there. We also visited the Church of Santa Clara, where Baroness Elisabet Mariana Maclean (1740-1814) of Brunneby lies buried with her husband, General Baron Adolf von Siegroth, as well as the Riddarholmen Church, which is one of the oldest buildings in Stockholm, with parts dating back to the 13th century. Until recently it was where all Swedish monarchs were buried. Finally we visited the Kungliga Myntkabinettet [Royal Coin Cabinet] in the National Museum of Economy, which was supposed to be displaying a gold coin featuring Baron Rutger Maclean. Although we never found this, and no-one at the Museum knew where it was, we did see silver and copper versions of the medal, which had previously been unknown to us.
A fuller report on this visit, with more photographs, will be posted here shortly. Meanwhile, several photographs of our visit have been posted on the Facebook site of the Macleans of Sweden (although you have to join this group to see them).
Ashbourne Highland Gathering
Having planned to attend last year's Gathering at Ashbourne in Derbyshire, which was cancelled by the organisers due to the weather, we had hoped to attend this year's Gathering. Unfortunately we were unable to do so, because the people who were going to man our stand at this event were unavailable.
Polarice in Greenland

Tim Tottenham

In April 2013 Tim Tottenham, son of CMA E&W member and Secretary-designate Alison Tottenham, took part in an two-man expedition to cross the Greenland icecap, attempting to kite-ski 2,400km unsupported South to North.
The pair, together with a third member who was unable to join them on this trip, won the 2006 Polar Challenge and completed a 30-day expedition on the Greenland Ice Cap in 2010. This longer six-week trip was intended to raise awareness and funds for two charities, The Dallaglio Foundation and the Mines Advisory Group. The team had to spend 12-14 hours a day pulling a sledge weighing up to 120kg, in temperatures as low as -40C and in the teeth of winds of up to 80mph.
Unfortunately adverse weather delayed their progress and they were in danger of running out of time (as they had all taken absence from work to make the trip) and supplies (food and fuel). They therefore cut short the expedition after 30 days, having reached half-way towards their intended destination.
In order to learn more about the expedition, and to contribute to the charities, visit
George Gillon

George Gillon

George Gillon, who is a long-time CMA E&W member as well as being Vice-President (formerly Chairman) of the Caledonian Club, has been elected by the Court of Common Council, the prime decision-making body in the City of London, to be Chief Commoner for the 12 months beginning 1st April 2013. He previously held the High Office of Sheriff of London from 2008 -2009. The Chief Commoner is the foremost representative of the Commoners in the Court of Common Council and is effectively no. 2 to the Lord Mayor.
A Chartered Surveyor by profession, George is a past Chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in the City of London. He was Master of the Chartered Surveyors’ Livery Company in 2002-2003.
Marion Hart
It is with great sadness that we report the death of Marion Hart in March, after a very long illness borne with great fortitude and an admirable lack of complaint or self-pity. Our thoughts and prayers are with Nick, our former Treasurer, who looked after Marion devotedly for many years.
2013 Burns Supper
On Friday, 1st February 2013, we held our annual Burns Supper at the Caledonian Club in Halkin Street, London SW1. Over 100 people attended, in terms of numbers our most successful event ever. Our guests of honour included the Chief and his wife, as well as Elizabeth, The Lady Maclean, our Patron.
The Chief, who had served with Lord Guthrie (see below) in the SAS, spoke about the role of a Clan Chief in the 21st century. He believed that it was important for the Chief, as the head of the Clan, to make himself visible and known to Clan members. He himself did this by overseas visits but most importantly by making sure that he personally welcomed Maclean visitors to Duart. He also helped Macleans to re-connect with their roots, by responding to requests for sources of genealogical information, which contributed to the cohesion of the Clan. Above all, maintaining Duart Castle, the spiritual home for all Macleans world-wide, gave the Clan a focal point that many other clans did not have.

David Dunham and piper Rod McFadyen

The Address to the Haggis was given with great gusto by David Dunham.
The Toast to the Immortal Memory was given by The Rt Hon the Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank, GCB, LVO, OBE, DL. Lord Guthrie had been due to give this toast at the 2012 Burns Supper but had to cancel. We were very grateful to him for now honouring his commitment to us.

Lord Guthrie

Lord Guthrie spent most of his career in the Army, initially in the Welsh Guards and then, after service in Germany and Aden, and with the 22nd Special Air Service Regiment in the Persian Gulf, Malaysia and East Africa, rising to become Chief of the Defence Staff (the professional head of the British Armed Forces and the most senior uniformed military adviser to the Secretary of State for Defence and the Prime Minister) in 1997. After retiring from the Army he was made a Life Peer in 2001 and now has a number of non-executive directorships, as well as being President of several charities. He was made a Field-Marshal in 2012.

The Guthrie family has an association with the Clan Maclean which we particularly wanted to celebrate in 2012, because it was from Murray Guthrie, or his estate, that Sir Fitzroy Maclean, 26th Chief, bought Duart Castle in 1911, prior to its re-opening at the First International Gathering in the following year. It was the centenary of this event that we were celebrating at the International Gathering on Mull in June last year. Duart had formed part of the Torosay Estate since it was sold by the Duke of Argyll, to whose family the lands had been surrendered by the Macleans in 1691, to Charles Macquarrie in 1821. Murray Guthrie's widow then very graciously changed the name of her house from Duart House to Torosay Castle, in order to allow the Macleans to have the sole use of the Duart name.
Lord Guthrie celebrated the internationalist side of Burns and welcomed the many different nationalities represented at this supper, notably those from the Anglo-Polish Society, of which he was Honorary Vice-President. He had more difficulty with establishing Burns' credentials as a military man, although Burns was certainly proud of Scotland’s warrior tradition and celebrated this in poems such as “Bruce’s March to Bannockburn” and “Ye Jacobites by Name”. He had however discovered that in January 1795 Burns had enlisted as a founder member of the Royal Dumfries Volunteers, a home-defence unit. When Burns died in Dumfries on 21st July 1796, he was buried by the Volunteers with full military honours.

Jamie Stewart

Jamie Stewart, Chairman of the London District and Commissioner for London and Southern England for The Stewart Society, proposed the Toast to the Lassies. He too welcomed the lassies from many different countries present at the supper. He reminded us of Burns' charms and enthusiasm for women, and listed some of his amatory adventures. He ended with an alliterative tour de force:
  Lairds, Lords and Lads (Lassies and Ladies Lie Low):
  Let me Lure You to Level Lustrous Loving-Cups with
  Limpid Libations of Liquor Lavishly to Eulogise
  Lovely, Luscious and Libidinous Lassies, an 'Ell of a
  Likeable, Loquacious and Loveable Lot, Lastingly,
  Lingeringly Linked by the Alliterative Letter 'L'.

Lesley Downer

In her response on behalf of the Lassies, Lesley Downer, the well-known writer and lecturer with a deep knowledge of Japan, gave us an insight into the geisha's technique with men. She emphasised the importance of allowing men to think that they are the bosses. She was unsparing in her catalogue of the faults of men but ended by admitting that they, and their kilts, were irresistible!
Rod McFadyen, our piper, played a medley of tunes from the newly-published Pipe Music of the Clan Maclean, including "Sir Lachlan Maclean of Duart and Morvern 28th Chief of Clan Gillean", composed as a tribute to the present Chief by his personal piper James MacLean, and "The Maclean’s Welcome to Duart", composed by Pipe Major Hector Maclean.

After this David Dunham on the melodeon and James Arber on guitar entertained with more songs. The evening ended with rousing renditions of the Skye Boat Song and Auld Lang Syne from the assembled company.