The antecedents of Clan McBain (MacBean) arrived in Scotland as part of the Celtic migration about 500 A.D. Originally, they settled in the Kingdom of Dalriada (Dál Riata) in present-day Argyle. Around 1100 A.D. they moved to Lochaber at the southeast end of the Great Glen that runs from Inverness to Fort William. In those days Bean was a given name, not a surname, as the population was sufficiently small that surnames were not used. Later, surnames grew up, typically using Mac or “Son of” appended to a parental given name. Similarly, “Daughter of” is rendered Nic.
The MacBean Clan was closely allied with the Mackintosh Clan and the Clan Chattan Confederation. In the 1300’s a land dispute arose between Clan Mackintosh (and its allies) and Clan Cameron. The latter attempted to usurp lands vacated, but not relinquished, by Angus, Chief of Clan Mackintosh. Despite an adverse ruling by David II, King of Scots, Clan Cameron would not be moved. In 1370, a force of 400 from Clan Cameron attacked Clan Mackintosh at their seat at Badenoch. In an attempt to resolve the dispute, Robert III, King of Scots sponsored a contest of controlled combat between the feuding parties. Each side fielded thirty warriors, agreeing to abide by the outcome of this battle to the death. Clan MacBean was prominently represented in the forces of Mackintosh/Chattan, which defeated Clan Cameron (twenty-nine dead, one escaped). The conflict subsided until 1430 A.D. when Clan Cameron killed the son of the Mackintosh Chief. The MacBeans, battle arm of the Clan Chattan Confederation, killed the Chief of Clan Cameron and received high honors for this service.
Among the Christian MacBean Clan, there were several Saints Bean (700 A.D. Culdee; 1000 A.D. Aberdeen). Major Gillies MacBean was a battle hero in the forces of Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Battle of Culloden. Alexander Bain (1810-1877) was a prominent inventor of the electric clock, the printing telegraph, and the facsimile (FAX) machine. Alan Bean, U.S. astronaut, made a lunar landing with the Apollo 12 mission in 1969. Our honored Clan today is represented by Richard McBain, the McBain of McBain.
McBain of McBain
We are talking about time periods almost before things were even written down. The official Mackintosh history puts the start of the “modern ” Clan Chattan at 1291. This was also the time frame we have for Mabean coming into the organization. Others say that a shadowy figure known as Gillichattan Mor was one of the earliest Chiefs of Chattan going back another 100 years.
The original group of Clans who formed the Clan Chattan were related as a family therefore the term “blood” was used for these earliest member of Clan Chattan.
Clan McBean (McBain)
The Clan Mackintosh brought other names to the association
Clan McCombies (Thomas)
Later other Clans joined the Association:
Clan Maclean of Dochgarroch
Clan Smith (or Gow)
Clan Macintyre of Badenoch
The Clan Chattan is unique in that it’s membership consists of members of the members of the constituent Clans.