MacBean Clan

MacBean Clan Crest: A Wildcat, a targe on the foreleg.

MacBean Clan Motto: Touch Not A Catt Bot A Targe. (Don't touch this cat without a shield).

History of Clan MacBean or MacBain:
The surname originates from 'son of Bheathan,' the Gaelic word for 'Lively one.'  Another suggested provenance is that of 'Mac ic Bheatha,' which means 'MacBeth,' and therefore connects the Clan to the 11th century Scottish king of that name.      

According to tradition, however, the family joined the Clan Chattan Federation at some point in the 13th century and became closely allied to Clan Mackintosh, with whom they are said to have shared a common ancestry. In this relationship, the Macbeans supported Robert the Bruce against the Red Comyn during the conflicts for Scottish independence.  They nevertheless fought in support of the Lord of the Isles at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411 and suffered heavy losses from which they never fully recovered.

The Macbeans supported the Jacobite Cause during the 1715 and 1745 Uprisings. After the 1715 defeat, a large number of clansmen were transported to Virginia and South Carolina. In 1746, at the Battle of Culloden, Gillies Mor Macbean, standing over 6ft 4in tall, slew fourteen Government Dragoons before he himself was killed.  In the aftermath of this disaster, it became increasingly impossible for the Clan Lands to be saved and they were eventually sold in 1760.

Thereafter, several Clansmen distinguished themselves militarily abroad. In 1778, Lieutenant General Forbes Macbean became Commander of the Artillery in Canada. Major General William MacBean earned the Victoria Cross for bravery during the Indian Mutiny of 1858, and in 1897, Major Forbes MacBain of the Gordon Highlanders earned the DSO for his part in the capture of the heights of Dargai on India's North West Frontier. Commander Alan Bean commanded the Apollo XII expedition to the Moon in 1969.

In 1959, Hughston MacBain, an American descended from the MacBeans of Kinchyle was recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms as 21st Chief of the name.

Surname distribution in Scotland: The MacBean surname is most commonly found in the Highlands (incorporates the historic counties of Caithness, Inverness-shire, Nairnshire, Ross and Cromarty, Sutherland and small areas of Argyllshire and Morayshire), Angus (Forfarshire), Dundee City and Perth and Kinross (Perthshire and Kinross-shire).
Places of Interest:
Kinchyle. Loch Ness, Inverness-shire. The MacBain Memorial Park was created north of Dores on the Loch Ness/ Inverness Road by Hughston MacBain of MacBain, 21st Chief.

Tulloch Castle, Dingwall, Easter Ross. Fifteenth century Royal Castle held by the MacBains but acquired by the Davidsons in 1762.

Associated family names (Septs): Bain, Bayne, Bean, Beattie, Binnie, MacBain, MacBeath, MacBeth, MacBheath, MacIlvain, MacIlveen, MacVane, MacVean.

Clan MacBean membership certificates.