Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Lorn de Ardebethy also known as Laurin of Ardveich, of the Ragman Rolls 1296

We now know from recent Scottish scholarship, that the two accounts of McLarens in Balquhidder prior to 1512 were not McLarens at all.

Abbot Labhran of Achtow (clan MacLaren’s eponymous ancestor according to Margaret MacLaren, pg. 15 in “The MacLarens”) found in MS:1467 never existed, according to research by Ronnie and Mairi Black on MS:1467, turns out he was a west coast of Scotland MacLaverty.

Lorn de Ardebechey alias Laurin de Ardveich, who first appears in the 1834 Edition of  “Instrumenta publica sive processus super fidelitatibus et homagiis Scotorum” edited by Thomas Thomson, Esq., Advocate, President of the Bannatyne Club (1768 - 1852), a translation of the Ragman Rolls from 1296.

Before going further, please keep in mind that Thomson’s “Lorn” (Latharna in Gaidhlig), is a completely different name from “Laurin” (Labhrainn in Gaidhlig). There is no record extant of anyone with the surname McLaurin or McLaren using McLorn. There are many McLaurin and McLaren especially in Argyll whose surname was also spelled McLeran or McLearen, even in 19th century North Carolina, but none using McLorn.

In the very first Clan MacLaurin history written by James Logan in 1845, which was a pay to play vanity history of the Clan MacLaurin commissioned by Daniel MacLaurin a wealthy London attorney, who later became “Daniel MacLaurin of Auchleskine” as a result of Logan’s version of McLaren history.

Logan wrote the following, transposing Lorn to Laurin, one of many errors in the McLaren history

“In the Roll of submission to Edward I. of England, which so many of the nobles of Scotland were compelled to sign, 1296, we find Maurice of Tiree, Conan of Balquhidder, and Laurin of Ardveche, in Strathearn, who are presumed by competent authority to have been cadets of the Earl of Strathearn.” James Logan, 1845

After King George IV’s visit to Scotland in 1822, it was very important in the following decades to establish ones noble ancestry. Logan’s presumed competent authority is unknown since he did not share his sources. Logan’s history, is where the Balquhidder McLaren narrative that they are the cadets of the Earl of Strathearn began.

After Logan’s Clan MacLaurin history was published in “McIan’s Costumes of the Clans of Scotland” in 1845, the Laurin of Ardveche narrative was repeated so often by later historians and people in high places that it eventually became a fact:

“The Clans of the Highlands of Scotland” by Thomas Smibert in 1850,
“The Scottish Nation” by William Anderson in 1867,
“The Stewarts of Appin” by J.H.J. and D. Stewart in 1880,
“The Tartans of the Clans and Septs of Scotland” by W. & A.K. Johnston LTD. in 1906,
“The Highland clans of Scotland; their history and traditions” Vol. II by G. Eyre Todd in 1923,
“The MacLarens” by Margaret MacLaren in 1960
 “The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland” by Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, Lord Lyon King of Arms in 1964,
“The Scottish Tartans Book” by William Semple in 1966,
“The Clans Septs & Regiments of the Scottish Highlands” by Frank Adams in 1970.

The following is an excerpt of a “McIan’s Costumes” book review from 1899 describing Logan’s clan histories. It is fascinating to me that the author predicted the future when Donald MacLaren a wealthy industrialist from London, England became chief of Clan MacLaren in Balquhidder and Strathearn.

“Since 1845 very much has been done to render a good deal of the text somewhat antiquated. Many clans are chief-less now, and the wealthy alien often, too often, reigns in their stead.” The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art. London, 21, October 1899 Pg.526

Thankfully Scottish universities have answered the call to correct Logan’s errors, one is in the form of “The sigillography of the Ragman Roll” by Bruce A. McAndrew. [ ]

The seals, originally attached to the deeds recording the fealties of the Scottish nobility to Edward I of England in1296, and described in Volume II, Appendix III of Bain's Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland, have been analysed using computer database techniques, and correlated with their owners on the notarially attested enrolments of the original deeds. The number identified has been more than doubled to approximately 600. The pattern of seal appendage closely follows the 'homage groups' of the enrolments: seals associated with some groups are almost entirely present, while those associated with others are completely lost, especially in the latter sections of the enrolment. Heraldic seals have been correlated with coats of arms found in early rolls of arms wherever possible. 

McAndrew’s entry number for Thomas Thomson’s Lorn de Ardebethy is #1256 describing the sigillograph (heraldic wax seal) as a possible Oak Tree?, definitely not the Earl of Strathearn Chevrons Gules.

McAndrew’s then writes S’… ANDEAS ROBERV… Lorn de Ardbethey per legend possibly reads …V…NDE…BER…” Homager is properly Orm de Abernethy?, so it is not a definitive Homager assignment.

“For a very long time, U and V were allographs. What’s an allograph? An allograph is a variation of a letter in another context. Uppercase and lowercase letters are allographs. Before the use of the letter U, the shape V stood for both the vowel U and the consonant V.”

“This item in the calender begins with Adam de Hepe (RR465) and covers Ragman Roll homagers between RR465 - RR564. It contains 90 seals, mostly in green wax, suspended by 19 strings. PRO reference E39/99/1.The string divisions are now included.” Bruce McAndrew


When I asked Ronnie Black his opinion on whether McAndrew’s interpretation had merit he wrote the following which describes the huge differences between Abernethy and Ardveich.
“Abernethy was certainly a significant power centre in the middle ages, in a way that neither of the Ardveichs was. I’m afraid that between this and the 1467 MS, the MacLarens have been victims of more than one doubtful reading.” Ronnie Black 26/3/2016

“Abernethy is an extremely potent name in Scottish history. In ancient times it was the religious centre for the Southern Picts and later their political capital and home of their king.” Destinations UK

Abernethy is the location of several important historical locations including Abernethy Tower, Scone Palace, The Royal Palace of Falkland and Huntington Castle. As opposed to Ardveich, a small farm on the northern shore of Loch Earn of no political importance.

“Instrumenta publica sive processus super fidelitatibus et homagiis Scotorum”
“McIan’s Costumes of the Clans of Scotland”
The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art. London, 21, October 1899 Pg.526
“The sigillography of the Ragman Roll” by Bruce A. McAndrew
Bain's Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland, Volume II, Appendix III of
Dr. D. C. McWhannell

Hilton McLaurin


Dr. D.C. McWhannell kindly weighs in on the subject, removing without doubt that Maurice of Tiree was in Perthshire, not the Isle of Tiree, Argyll.

“Three names identified as belonging to the Clan MacLaren are found in the Ragman Rolls of 1296, giving allegiance to Edward I of England. These are Maurice of Tiree, Conan of Balquhidder and Laurin of Ardveche. Perhaps this is all fiction.

For Instance ref. Tiry, Morice de (del counte de Perth)  
Tyree of Drumkilbo, Perthshire
The present house incorporates the remains of a fortified tower dating from the 13th century. Indeed, the first recorded owner of Drumkilbo was King Robert the Bruce, who gave it to Morice de Tiry in about 1300. The Tyrees were the first confirmed inhabitants of Drumkilbo. On an old tombstone in Kirkinch (Nevay) Churchyard. they are described as ' 'honest men and brave fellows '. The chief of the clan joined Robert the Bruce in the Wars of Independence.

The Tyrees lived at Drumkilbo for 300 years. Sir Thomas Tyree was fond of horse racing. His horse, Kildaro, won the first silver cup raced for at Perth on Palm Sunday 1631. King Charles 1 wrote to him asking for a ' loan ' of his grey gelding. This was probably the famous Kildaro, and one wonders whether the horse was ever returned to Drumkilbo. 

Sir Thomas sold the estate to the Nairne family in 1650. They were descended from Michel de Narai, an Italian from Narni who came to Scotland as Italian ambassador during the reign of King Robert III. 

Alexander Nairne enlarged the House in 1811, but his descendant, David Nairne, who died in 1854, was the last of the Nairnes of Drumkilbo. The property was sold to Lord Wharncliffe in about 1851. 

In 1900, Drumkilbo was sold to Edward Cox of Cardean for his younger son, John Arthur Cox. The Cox family were the leading proprietors of the jute industry in Dundee. The property was then let for a time to Lord Glamis, the heir to the Earldom of Strathmore and Kinghorne, whose seat is nearby Glamis Castle. 

Bithweder, Conan de (del counte de Perth) Conan and the 13th. Century landowners in the area of Balquhidder , Gaelic Both Chuidir, were; Conan, Gilchrist and Henry (Eanruig) of Balquhidder mentioned in time of Robert I (see Barrow, “The Bruce”).

Ardebechey, Lorn de (del counte de Perth) As you have pointed out Lorn, Loarn or Latharn is not Labhrann or Labhruinn and who were the 13th. Century landowners in the area of Glen Beich ?”

Ard-Bheathaich or “height of the birch woods ”. 

Dal-Bheathaich- “The field of the birch woods ” the lands of this part of Glen Beich were occupied by the Stewarts from about the middle of the 17th century on leasehold tenure ( wadset ) . These Stewarts were a branch of the well known Stewarts of Ardvorlich on the south side of the Loch. The old parish records show countless generations of Stewarts lived in the area but by the mid 19th century all was to change. The Perthshire clearances began both here and in Glen Quaich near Amulree . The people moved away having been thrown off their lands and the roofs of their cottages stripped and burned.

“there is no way of knowing who Lorn of Ardebethey's (Loarn of Ardbheathaich) father was. He was probably not a MacLaurin.” “MacLaren and the Ragman Rolls” review of the facts by Dr. D.C. McWhannell 8/1/2018, Copyright

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