Saturday, April 5, 2008


In Britane’s distemper… Patrick Gordon of Ruthven mentions the efforts of “corronell M’Lachlen” during the battle of Alford. I assume this brief reference is the source taken by some chroniclers of Clan MacLachlan to claim, understandably given Gordon’s choice of spelling, the presence of a MacLachlan among the officer corps of Montrose’s army at Alford. This claim has further evolved to include the assertion that “corronell M’Lachlen” “ achieved the rank of colonel while in Montrose’s service and that after capture at Philliphaugh was taken to Edinburgh and hanged.

David Stevenson, in Highland Warrior: Alasdair MacColla and the Civil Wars, identifies Gordon’s “corronell M’Lachlen” as Major Thomas Laghtnan who was in fact captured at Philliphaugh and, along with Manus O’Cahan, subsequently hanged. Laghtnan was not from Scotland, but in fact came over with the three Irish regiments under MacColla’s command. I think support for Stevenson's position can also be found in fact that M'Lachlen is placed in command of a "braue regiment of Irrish foote" by Gordon rather than leading MacLachlan clansman.

Gordon, Patrick, fl. 1649. A Short Abridgement of Britane's Distemper, From the Yeare of God M. DC. XXXIX. to M. DC. XLIX. Aberdeen: Printed for the Spalding club, 1844

Stevenson, David. Highland Warrior: Alasdair MacColla and the Civil Wars. Edinburgh: John Donald, 2003.

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