Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Clan Ewan of Otter

Sometimes we have to disappoint people. In the last few weeks we have had requests for information on the Mitchell, Hunter and Wilson clan lands. Now whilst these are all good Scottish names, none of these families operated as clans, with all the ingrained Celtic traditions that come with clanship. But today we were asked about the MacEwans. Now there is a fine Scottish name, still associated with a fine Scottish beer! And yet the unfortunate MacEwans of Otter lost their lands to the expansionist Clan Campbell right back in the 15th century. Worse, they lost their chief and so became a 'broken clan', without protection. The MacEwans dispersed along the west coast, becoming dependents of other clans or surviving on their wits and by thievery. In 1602 they were listed in an Act of Parliament as 'broken Highland men, heavily armed and living by robbery'. The Earl of Argyll (Chief of Clan Campbell), was made responsible for their good behaviour.
I very much doubt he was successful!

Castle Ewan, Caisteal mhic Eoghainn, by Kilfinnan, and Ballimore Castle by Otter Ferry, both on Loch Fyne in Argyll, are sadly now just heaps of stone. And any MacEwans visiting Ballimore should be warned that the burial enclosure is to commemorate - I hate to report it - the 'Campbells of Otter'.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Even though the MacEwen castle is no more, there is a very nice monument of stone and a plaque at the site. It takes a 15-20 minute walk and climb to get there fromt he ilfinan Hotel, but well worth the effort.