Ewan The Headless – A MacLaines of Lochbuie Story

ewan the headless

ewan the headless

I came across a great story to read in full follow this link.

Legend / oral history has it that the clan Maclain of Lochbuie chief had a son called Ewan ‘with the small head’. concerned that they wouldn’t inherit the clans castle and it’s lands on the chiefs death Ewan continuously hassled his father. During an argument Ewan hit his father on his head with a sword. Ewan’s father furious with Ewan complained to his brother who was chief of the MacLeans of Duart. Ewan’s uncle seeks revenge on Ewan and challenges him to battle.

On the eve before the battle Ewan comes across a washer woman at the ford of a river ( a bad omen) The clothes are clean but at she washes them blood flow from them. Ewan asks her who will win the battle tomorrow. She tells him if he gets served butter without asking for it with his porridge then he will be victorious in battle. Ewan annoyed at this answer curses the washer woman. The next morning the servants don’t bring the butter and he shouts at them ordering it. The battle doesn’t go well, Ewan aptly is hit on the head with a sword which takes the top of his head off, he manages to mount his horse, but dies as it gallops off the battle field

The clan MacLaines of Lochbuie are supposed to be haunted by Ewan The Headless and feel his presence when one of the clan dies. I would love to hear any other great Scottish legends

Ewan's home lay on the little islet at the east end of Loch Sguabain, where stonework can still be traced, a natural defens

Ewan's home lay on the little islet at the east end of Loch Sguabain, where stonework can still be traced, a natural defens


About Amanda Moffet

I run www.scotclans.com with Rodger Moffet. Live in Edinburgh and love travelling around Scotland gathering stories.

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7 thoughts on “Ewan The Headless – A MacLaines of Lochbuie Story

  1. Amanda Moffet

    There is also a tale concerning Ewan’s father – Hector (known a Red Hector of the Battles). Hector was allowed to take land on the Isle of Mull by the Lord of the Isle. But he was only granted land to build a castle at Lochbuie “as big as the skin of an ox”. Hector was very cunning and cut the ox skin into a continuious thin sliver and laid it end to end. He now had ample room to build a castle…. very clever indeed!

  2. Michelle

    I want to say thank you to the founders / operators of this website, and also to those of you publishing legends and whatnot here. I just found out from my Grandmother than we are “Clan Maclean of Lochbuie” and I am currently learning about our family, our history, and everything related. I knew I was half scottish, but never knew a thing about my family history. Thanks to my Grandmother, I am now learning it. A big thank you to you all!

  3. neil mclean

    tremendous stuff, i never took the time to learn about my forefathers thank you for making it so easy, as u see im a mclean and proud

  4. amandamoffet

    Thanks Neil!
    Clan MacLean/McLean has the best tales! And Mull is an amazing place, have to go back and try and locate Ewan the Headless’ cairn, supposedly it’s at the top of the Falls of Lussa – 150 yards below Torness. Love quests like these.

    You’re lucky to be part of such a great Clan

  5. Robert McClain

    Although I’ve read that Washington Irving based his Legend of Sleepy Hollow on tales from upstate New York,I can not help but think he had at sometime had heard the legend of Ewan the Headless;after all his father was born in Orkney.
    Thank you for this site,I’ve been enjoying reading through it.


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