McCain Tartan & Coat of Arms

The McCain family of Glassary belonged to Clann Lachlainn.   There is a growing body of both DNA and primary source data that links us to the historical Mac Eáin family connected to the historical figure Giolla Chríost, the lord of Glassary in the early 1200s.  His descendants held extensive lands in what is now the parish of Kilmichael Glassary and the primary records clearly show they held their lands from the Taoiseach (chief) of Clann Lachlainn in Cowal and were considered part of that clan from the 1300s hundreds well into the 1700s.

There is not a unique Glassary McCain tartan, but the 'MacLachlan Standard' tartan is a good one for the McCain family to use.  The MacLachlan Standard and its ancient and weathered forms also.  Many of our members also wear the widely available Black Watch tartan.  It is a bona fide old tartan from mid Argyll and was worn by a military unit sponsored by the Earls of Argyll of Clann Chaimbeul.  We also know that while we were Clann Lachlainn, as a family we were often allied to the Caimbeul clan of Argyll. 

So on tartans we recommend 1. MacLachlan Standard, 2. MacLachlan Ancient, 3. MacLachlan Weathered, and 4. Black Watch.

The McCains do have a bona fide coat of arms.  Like many other families in Glassary the McCains use the Lion as their family symbol, or totem animal.  The burial stone of Donnchadh Rua Mac Ailein Mhic Eáin has three lions on it, all 'passant.'   
Lion passant

 Above is a photo of the actual burial stone of Donnchadh Rua.  Some of the inscription and one of the lion icons is highlighted in red.  Gaelic people did not use English style heraldry art.  Only after the collapse of Gaelic sovereignty did some of the leading family adopt English style coats of arms, complete with modern style heraldry art.  The stone's inscription is in Latin and reads 'lachlan' at the top, the 'Thane'  and 'hic iacit Duncanus Roy McAllen.'    Roy was how Rua, or Ruadh to use the older spelling, was put into Latin.   


Robin said...

Would be nice to see actual pictures of the suggested tartans posted. Thanks!

Barry R McCain said...

Robin, the best method is to 'google' those tartans. And, Black Watch is always good, usually much less expensive, and native to mid Argyll. The last few McCain men who bought kilts or tartan wear, used it.