Clan Maclean Association Western Australia Inc.



Two crests are associated with the clan Maclean; the battleaxe and the tower. In the grant of arms to Maclean of Duart, the Lyon Register shows that the tower is the personal crest of the Duart Coat of Arms and Clansman's Badge Chief's Crestthe battle-axe between branches of laurel and cypress is explicitly stated as the Badge of the Clan Maclean.

Early Clan Maclean Association (Scotland) publications were careful to make this distinction, but recent custom, encouraged by the standardisation of jewellers' taste, has established that the Chief’s personal crest, put within a strap and buckle, is the badge of any clansman or clanswoman of the Chief’s clan. Inevitably, through constant recent use, this has meant that the now familiar tower has become the usual badge of the Maclean clansmen. It is not the peculiar right of Association members to wear it, for all clansmen can, and do, wear it and it can easily be bought from shops.

On the other hand, the battleaxe is registered as the badge of the Macleans,Clan Maclean Badge and I do not know of any other clan that has this interesting distinction registered by the Lyon Office. It is the crest of the coats of arms of most of the Maclean chieftains and families, apart from the Duart family, and used to be used by all Macleans, including the Duart family, at Clan Gatherings.

It is eminently suitable for the clan, as it depicts Gillean's Lochaber axe, or battle-axe, which enabled him to be found when traditionally he was lost in the mists on Ben More, on Mull. The laurel and cypress represent the alternative wreaths for victory or death, to which the clan mottoes of ‘Vincere Vel Mori’ (to conquer or to die) and ‘Alterea Merces’ (alternate rewards) refer.

In the future I hope that we will continue to use both badges; the one as clanspeople of the Chief, Maclean of Duart and the other as members of the Clan MACLEAN.

(The articles on clan tartans and badges were written by the Very Rev. Allan Maclean for a 1977 Clan Maclean Association (Scotland) magazine and is reproduced with his kind permission.)

Back to Top