The Clan History
According to Mr Skene, MacAulay or clan Aula belong to the Siol Alpine. Many formerly held that the MacAulays derived their origin from the ancient earls of Lennox, and that their ancestor was Maurice, brother of Earl Maldouin and son of Aulay, whose name appears in the Ragmans Roll as having sworn fealty to Edward I in 1296. According to Skene, these Aulays were of the family of De Fasseslan, who afterwards succeeded to the earldom.
The MacAulays consider themselves a sept of the clan Gregor, their chief being designed of Ardincaple from his residence in Dumbartonshire. That property was in their possession in the reign of Edward I. They early settled in the Lennox, and their names often occur in the Lennox chartulary, hence the very natural supposition that they sprung from that distinguished house. In a bond of manrent, or deed of clanship, entered into between MacGregor of Glenstrae and MacAulay of Ardincaple, of date 27th May 1591, the latter acknowledges his being a cadet of the former, and agrees to pay him the "calp", that is, a tribute of cattle given in acknowledgement or superiority. In 1694, in a similar bond given to Sir Duncan Campbell of Auchinbreck, they again declared themselves MacGregors. "Their connection with the MacGregors", says Mr Skene, "led them to take some part in the feuds that unfortunate race were at all times engaged in, but the protection of the Earls of Lennox seems to have relieved the MacAuleys from the consequences which fell so heavily on the MacGregors".
Mr Joseph Irving, in his History of Dumbartonshire (p.418), states that the surname of the family was originally Ardincaple of that ilk, and seems inclined to believe in their descent from the Earl of Lennox. He says, "A Celtic derivation may be claimed for this family, founded on the agreement entered into between the chief of the clan Gregor and Ardincaple in 1591, where they describe themselves as originally descended from the same stock, 'M'Alpins of auld', but the theory most in harmony with the annals of the house (of Ardincaple of that ilk) fixes their descent from a younger son of the second Alwyn, Earl of Lennox". Alexander de Ardincaple who lived in the reign of James V, son of Aulay de Ardincaple, was the first to assume the name of MacAulay, as stated in the Historical and Critical Remarks on the Ragmans Roll, "to humour a patronymical designation, as being more agreeable to the head of a clan than the designation of Ardincaple of that ilk".
When the MacGregors fell under the ban of the law, Sir Aulay MacAulay, the then chief, became conspicuous by the energy with which he turned against them, probably to avert suspicion from himself, as a bond of caution was entered into on his account on Sept 8, 1610. He died in Dec 1617, and succeeded by his cousin-german, Alexander.
Walter MacAulay, the son of Alexander, was twice sheriff of Dumbarton.
With Aulay MacAulay, his son and successor, commenced the decline of the family. He and his successors indulged in a system of extravagant living, which compelled them to dispose, piece by piece, of every acre of their one large possessions. Although attached to Episcopacy, he was by no means a partisan of James VII, for in 1689 he raised a company of fencibles in aid of William and Mary.
Aulay MacAulay, the twelfth and last chief of the MacAulays, having seen the patrimony of his house sold, and his castle roofless, died about 1767. Ardincaple had been purchases by John, fourth Duke of Argyll, and now belongs to the Argyll family.
About the beginning of the 18th century, a number of MacAulays settled in Caithness and Sutherland. Others went into Argylshire, and some of the MacPheiderans of that county acknowledged their descent from the MacAulays.
A tribe of MacAulays were settled at Uig, Ross-shire, in the south-west of the island of Lewis, and many were the feuds which they had with the Morrisons, or clan Alle Mhuire, the tribe of the servant or disciple of Marg, who were located at Ness, at the north end of the same island. In the reign of James VI, one of the Lewis MacAulays, Donald Cam, so called from being blind in one eye, renowned for his great strength, distinguished himself on teh patriotic side, in the troubles that took place, first with the Fifeshire colonies at Stornaway. Donald Cam Macaulay had a son, Fear Bhreinis, "The Man", or Tacksman "of Brenish", of whose feats of strength many songs and stories are told. His son, Aulay MacAulay, minister of Harris, had six sons and some daughters. Five of his sons were educated for the church, and one named Zachary he bred for the bar.
One of the Aulay MacAulay's sons was the Rev. John Macaulay, A.M., who was grandfather of the celebrated orator, statesmean, and historian, Lord Macaulay. One of his sons entered the East India Company's military service, and attained the rank of general.
Another son, Aulay Macaulay, was known as a miscellaneous writer. In 1796, he was presented to the vicarage of Rothley, by Thomas Babington, Esq, M.P., who had married his sister Jane. He died February 24, 1819.
Zachary, a third son, was for some years a merchant at Sierra Leone. On his return to London, he became a prominent member of the Anti-slavery Society, and obtained a monument in Westminster Abbey. He married Miss Mills, daughter of a Bristol merchant, and had a son, Thomas Babington Macauley, Lord Maccaulay, author of "The History of England", "Lays of Ancient Rome", &c, and M.P. for the city of Edinburgh.
Motto: Dulce periculum - "Danger is sweet". The badge is a spurred riding boot.
Badge: A spurred riding boot.
Septs of the Clan: MacPhedron, MacPheidiran
Names associated with the clan: MACALLEY AULETH AULAY MACAULIFFE MACAULEY MACAULE MACAULLA MACAULLAY MACAULA MACAUIHLAY MACALAY MACCALLOW MACALLAY MACCALLA MACALA MACAULAY MACCALLY MACCALLIE MACCALLEY MACAULLY MACCALLAY MACCALA MACAWLAY MACAWLA MACCAULAW MACCAULEY MACCAULY MACCAULA MACCAULAY MACCAWLEY MACCORLEY MACCOWLEY MACGAWLEY MACGAULAY MACKALLAY MACKALLA MACKAULEY MACKAULA MAKALLY MAKCALLA MAKCAULAY MAKALLEY MAKKALAY FASLANE MACCAELL MACALL MACKALL MAKCALE MACAULL MACCALE MACCAULL MACCAUL MAKCAILL MACKALE MACKAILL MACKAIL MACKEIL MACKELL
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