What is a MacEwen
The question arises, what is Clan MacEwen?
Without making any claims regarding ancestry, we derive the core of our identity from Clan Ewen of Otter, that part of it which scattered far and wide before and after the Clan lost its lands at the end of the 15th century. Travelling here and there these (variously spelled) MacEwens formed alliances with other Clans, and others of the name, were described as bandits, children of the mist, a broken Clan. Throughout this time, it might be imagined, the longing remained to become organised, to regroup and elect a Chief once more.
Then, once the Act of Proscription had been repealed in 1782 and the Revival of the Clans, led by Sir Walter Scott, took hold, MacEwens sought to solidify their self-image. A crest and a motto were settled upon and a tartan recognised. No one knows whether these symbols of our identity relate to whatever such symbols were employed by Clan Ewen of Otter but we would like to think they do. There has been, at any rate, much scholarly attention paid to the importance of the oak tree to the people of Dalriada. Whatever, our crest, motto and tartan are by now sufficiently time-honoured to be considered historical and entrenched.
Whatever our various origins (and no one, it seems, can be certain of his or her 15th-century forebears), we seek to bring together our several traditions, and are especially proud of the bardic element. We are a Clan of song and poetry, of art and literature and, now, photography; we also seem unusually rich in legal minds, politicians, doctors and even bankers. It would be fine indeed if we could intertwine our various strands of MacEwen expertise and provide a coherent voice to speak loudly among the other Clans, in Scotland generally and to the diaspora; and to listen. The MacEwen Clan is a good thing and seeks to do good.
We are of course aware that there are some in our beloved sister-Clan, the Ewing Clan (also sporting a newly-appointed Commander), who believe that the sept of Clan Ewen, referred to by RST MacEwen, which came to the Lennox country after the loss of Otter, gave rise to the Ewing family which established its arms in the 16th century - and that the heirs of the chiefly line are Ewings. There is plenty of room to accommodate this hypothesis and for both Clans to gaze through the mists in the direction of Kilfinan.
Even if the hypothesis were correct it would not claim that Clan Ewen of Otter in its entirety settled in Lennox under the "Audaciter" banner. Clan MacEwen is concerned with the remnants, the scattered element, those who wandered, bereft, chiefless and recognizing no Chief. Also, the Ewing name has long had a strong presence elsewhere than Argyll and, as prospective "Chief of the Arms and Name", the new Ewing Commander will doubtless be seeking to bring together all expressions of the vigorous Ewing identity. God bless the Ewings!
Clan MacEwen meanwhile must look to thrive in 2017 and onward. The Clan Ewen Society is doing all it can to promote the Clan and it would be grand if everyone could encourage other Clansfolk, and those sympathetic to the Clan, to become members of the society. Wear the tartan, proclaim your identity, be proud of your Clan! We have done quite well so far fulfilling our ancestors' command - to rise again - but there is a road yet to travel.
and all best wishes,
Sir. John McEwen ,5th Baronet of Marchmont and Bardrochat
Commander Clan MacEwen