Western USA Branch
500 Years as a Protectorate
As with any refugee population, many of the displaced MacEwens turned to their relatives for assistance. This included the MacLachlans, who, historically, are direct cousins. Five hundred years ago, the Chief of Clan MacLachlan offered protection to their homeless kin in exchange for allegiance to the Clan. For the past 500 years, Clan MacLachlan has continued to serve in this role as protectorate to their MacEwen cousins.
To this day, unless a particular MacEwen family can be shown as not having sought protection from the MacLachlans, MacEwens desiring to join Clan MacLachlan will be openly accepted as part of Clan MacLachlan. This relationship has recently been confirmed by Sir Malcolm of Edingight, the Lord Lyon.
As can be seen in the history, Clan MacEwen was independent until Swene MacEwen used the lands of Otter, and his title, as collateral for a loan he was ultimately unable to repay. As a result, these lands were forfeited upon Swene's death. The situation is made more tragic since no record of Swene's having an heir can be found.
The loss of both the lands and the Chief's title meant that Clan MacEwen was to become a broken clan upon Swene's death.
During this period in Scotland's history, the Highlands were a feudal state. Land "ownership" as associated with the Chief - and not the general populace. If the Chief was displaced, so were all of the clan members. Swene MacEwen's loss of his land resulted in the loss of the right to live on the land for all of the clan members. (Individuals that were forced to leave their homes in this manner are sometimes referred to as children of the mist.
Without a Chief to lead and speak for the displaced MacEwen families, no oath of allegiance could be made between the MacEwens and the Chief of another clan. Without this formal oath, the displaced MacEwen families could not create the traditional sept relationship.